Monday, April 21, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 4/21/2014

Hello everyone!  Did you have a fabulous Easter?  We did.  The bunny was good to us this year.  The kids all got new flip flops and bathing suits in their baskets.   I guess the bunny was getting us ready for the boat and summer.  

I have to say, The Mister did a pretty darn good job with keeping the family on track and fed last week.   I could get use to coming home to dinner on the table.  I just have to do the toughest part...think of the meals and prep the foods.  Actually, we had enough leftovers for two of the nights, that there are two meals on repeat here this week, because we didn't get to make them last week.

So with that said; here is this week's meal plan.

Monday: Oven Baked Pork Chops  (previously made freezer meal)

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker:  Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

Wednesday: Taco Braid

Thursday: Slow Cooker:  Amazing Chicken (previously made freezer meal)

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday: Dinner at a friend's house

Sunday: Steak 
w/ Cheesy Pesto Bread, side salad and green beans

I have one question for you this week.   What is your family's favorite healthy, go-to, quick and easy, weeknight meal?   I'd love for you to share it with us.

I hope everyone has a fabulous week.   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How I Turned A Stair Into A Shelf

Yesterday, I shared with you the before and after of our work area in our family room.  Today, I'm going to show you the super easy, way I built a new shelf for our desk area.  I went to the Home Depot and bought an oak stair tread and two wood corbels.
I had a coupon for a free samples of paint from Lowe's.  I have been collecting these coupons and getting different color samples each time I go in.  It's great for the little projects that I've been working on.
I painted everything with the satin, Du Jour, color.  I was able to get about 2 coats out of one of those small samples.
Measured it out on the wall, and made sure that it was level.  I also anchored it down with 4 screws on the to of the shelf into the corbel.  (Sorry, I missed getting a photo of that)  I basically anchored each corner down.

I then, sat back and admired my handy work.   This was once again, a project that was done while The Mister was at work.  Needless to say, he was quite impressed when he came home to see that I turned a stair into a shelf and that the entire desk area was organized.
See, we had a deal, I would organize the desk area, and then he would hang the new white door in Baby-Girl's room.  After that's done, I'll be able to give you the full room reveal.  :)

Back to the shelf supplies, I had purchased these items, months ago, I'm guessing about 7-8 months ago with this idea in mind. 

Supplies Needed:

Red Oak Stair Tread: $21.98 (I believe)
2 Corbels: $4.98
Paint: FREE

Total Cost: $26.96

What have you been organizing lately?  Taking anything from its original use and turning it into something new?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Work Station Is Up And Running!

Happy Tuesday!  Don't forget today is tax day, and if you haven't already done so, don't forget to get your taxes filed and/or mailed in!

While I was home last week, one of my main goals was to get through the organizing of our desk area in the family room.   This is the #1 drop all zone for EVERYTHING under the sun, when it enters our house.   It is aggravating and embarrassing all at the same time.  All the bills, the kids school work, forms to sign, magazines, it all seems to land on my desk.

When I showed it to you last week, it looked like this:  (remember, no judging here)
After working on this area for the last few days, and adding a new shelf and gathering some storage essentials, this is what it looks like now:

I am LOVING this new arrangement and seriously, how about that shelf?!  I am so excited about that shelf!  It has opened up so much storage for us...much needed, I might add.  I love the new layout as well.  I have been able to work at the computer and not only listen to the kids playing in the backyard, but watch them.

I have no doubt that I will find some child doing their homework there when I get home from work, instead of at their own desks.
See this shelf?  (Tutorial tomorrow on it)  :)

The faux tree colored pencils were from Cost Plus World Market, it was love at first sight.
This is a just a really old, very cool, old  fashioned pencil sharper.  The kids love using it, and it came from The Mister's Grammie.

Because I love a good before and after, here you go!
  I still have a few things left to do.  I'm going to sand down and stain that filing cabinet in a dark walnut stain to make it more complete and match the furniture in this room.  Also, when we start our kitchen remodel we are going to repaint the walls and take down the cedar planks on that far wall.  We really want to brighten this room up.  It's the only room that we really get a decent amount of natural light in.  It's all afternoon sun too.  Which I love.What have you been working on?  Any special areas that are a thorn in your side that you've had the time to tackle?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 4/14/2014

Today's the day!  Today I start my new job! 
Today is also where all my meal plans and freezer meals will be put to the ultimate test.   The Mister is officially on dinner making duty. 
I have enjoyed this last week off from work.  I'm rested.  I got projects taken care of.  I've had closure from a job of 10 years. I'm ready to move onward and upward.  

To kick of the first week of work, here is the Monday Meal Plan.

Monday:  Crescent French Dips Sandwiches with side of fries and cantaloupe

Tuesday: Slow Cooker -- Freezer Meal: Exuberant Chicken with a spinach salad and baked potatoes

Wednesday:  Chicken Taco Salad

Thursday:  Slow Cooker -- Freezer Meal: Pork and Veggies

Friday: Taco Braid

Saturday:  Steaks (BBQ) w/ Cheesy Pesto Bread, side salad and green beans

Sunday: Ribs (BBQ) with baked beans, macaroni and potato salad.

I hope you all have a great week!  Don't forget, tomorrow is TAX DAY!   Get your taxes mailed!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Favorite Foods Friday: Sweet & Sour Meatballs

**Sorry,this is up a day  late.  I spent the day with some important women in my life and was away from the computer yesterday.

WOW!   Friends, thank you so much for sharing my freezer meals post all over Facebook!    What a hit!  Obviously I'm not the only one who needs a little easy dinner prep in my life.  

Today I am going to share with you a HUGE hit with my family from this last week, and one of our freezer meals.  I'm not usually a big meatball fan, but let me tell you, this was hit with the kids and hubby...and I have to admit, I even liked it....a lot.

Slow Cooker: Sweet & Sour Meatballs 


2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey  (Or,  like I did, 1 lb of each, your preference)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 (10 oz) jar sweet and sour sauce (I used La Choy brand)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium red bell pepper, cubed
1 medium green bell pepper, cubed
1 medium onion, cubed
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained

I combined 1 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of ground turkey in a mixing bowl with the egg and the Worcestershire sauce.    Mix together until everything is combined.   Roll and form into meatballs.  
*You could use 2 lbs of frozen meatballs if you wanted to as well.  We purchase 1/2 a cow once a year, so we have a supply of beef at home and I like to make things from scratch as much as I can.

In a small mixing bowl coming the sweet & sour sauce, the brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic powder and stir until combined well.

Chopped up all the bell peppers and onions and set aside.

Lightly spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. 

Place ¼ of the vegetables in the bottom of the cooker, layer with meatballs, and layer with the remaining vegetables; and then pour the sauce all over the ingredients.
(In the slow cooker and ready to  be cooked)
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Serve over rice along with a side salad as main dish or serve with toothpicks as an appetizer.

Friday, April 11, 2014

We are needing a work space...badly....

I have always dreamed of having a beautiful organized home office that would double as my craft room.  Something that I could be creative in.   Something organized.  Pretty boxes.  Place for everything and everything in its place.  Something like this...

(two twenty one)
However, my craft room is not big enough to double as a home office, which happens to be downstairs and we like to be able to monitor the kids' computer time as well as the websites that the kids get on.  For our family, it works best to have the computer in the family room.  Where everyone is at and there is nothing to hide.

I was looking for a command center work area.  Like this....
(source unknown)
However, we need more storage.  The desk we have is this from IKEA.  
(Galant - Right corner)
See, no storage.

To top it off, this desk is a magnet for clutter.  
A magnet for paper.

This is what I had started with.  No judging, people, no judging!

AWFUL!!!  Just absolutely AWFUL!!!

There is so much paper.  There are things that the kids just dump...everywhere.  While I was home this week,  I have made this my #1 project before I start my new job on Monday.

I can't WAIT to show you the end product and my vision coming together!  I have been busy the last 2 days making a complete overhaul of this corner.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Freezer Meals in the Freezer!

Happy Tuesday!   Check it out TWO posts, back to back!   Yea me!   I have one full week off in-between jobs, which I mentioned about here, so I am going to use it my full advantage.  My Honey-To-Do list is a mile long...or more and I have only a short amount of time to complete the "chores" while The Mister is at work and the kids are in school.  

Yesterday the first task I wanted to complete was getting some freezer meals in our freezer.  I had started making these on Sunday night, but quickly ran out of steam; so this was one of the first things I finished yesterday.  With the new hours that I am going to have at work, which is later than I am currently working, I wanted to make sure that we were completely prepared in the meal time department since The Mister is now officially in charge with getting dinner on the table prior to our evening activities and at a decent time.

I went shopping on Sunday for our normal shopping trip and then I got a lot of extras to make some freezer meals.  Needless to say, our bill was larger than it normally is, but it'll average out and pay off in the end.

I have found some recipes over the years that have worked out really well for our family.  With having 6 of us, that makes for 6 opinions of likes and dislikes when it comes to food choices.

Here is a list of the freezer meals that I made:

Burger Patties
BBQ Meatloaf
Marinated Pork Chops
Exuberant Chicken
Amazing Chicken
Sweet & Sour Meatballs

I ended up making 19 meals total.  I am so excited when I open up the freezer and see this:

This also means that this is 19 meals that I don't have to think about making.

Helpful hints to freezer meals:
  • Make Multiples at one time
  • Wash and Chop all your veggies before hand
  • Write the name of the meal, the date you packaged it, and the cooking instructions in Sharpie on the outside of your bag, prior to filling it with your food.  
  • Add ideas for side dishes on the outside of your packaging.  This really helps when planning your grocery shopping & making sure you have the right amount of veggies for the week.

For example, if I know that my family just really LOVES the Marinated Pork Chops meal, I am going to buy in bulk so that I can make at least 4 of the meals at one time.  (Which is what I did)

Sometimes, I will do this while making one of the meals for dinner.  So I will plan to make the pork chops on Thursday night and while make 1 batch for dinner that night, I will be prepping 3 more for the freezer.  Since I'm already in the kitchen prepping and making dinner, it doesn't feel like I'm spending any more time in there than necessary.  Plus I've been able to add to my "stash".

"Hi, my name is Katie, and I'm a food hoarder."

Every week I am going to add a little bit more to our freezer stash until I feel like we've got a good enough supply.  Maybe I'll even wait till the whole freezer if full?  Who knows.   I'd love to be able to only buy produce for the week and pull all meals out of the freezer for a full week.

Are you doing any freezer cooking?  If so, what are some of your favorite meals?  I'd love for you to share with me.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 4/7/2014

I know that Monday is nearly over, but I thought I'd share with you our meal plan for this week.  I've been working on getting some freezer meals stocked up in our freezer.  So this weeks meals have a little more variety then the past.

Have you seen the Marcella Valladolid meats at Safeway?  These are great on the BBQ.   We have found that we were love cooking them on the grill and then making them into fajitas.  Slice up a few peppers and onions, sauté them and add them to the tortillas.

Sunday: Salmon w/ Asparagus and steamed baby red potatoes

Monday:  Tilapia w/roasted veggies mixture in an Italian dressing marinade (mushrooms, sliced red onions, sliced yellow & green zucchini, grape tomatoes)

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker: Sweet & Sour Meatballs, served over brown rice

Wednesday:  Chicken Fajitas (using the ready made meats I mentioned above)

Thursday: Slow Cooker: Lemon Garlic Chicken

Friday: Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday:  Pizza Night  (our cheat meal night, which usually ends in pizza because the kids always have a bunch of friends over)

Sunday:  Slow Cooker:  Turkey breast

Spring Break 2014

We wrapped up our Spring Break two weeks ago.  We don't normally take the week off from work, but decided to this year.  It was fantastic.  We actually had two mini vacations wrapped into one week.   The first part of the week we took off and went camping in China Hat which is in Eastern Oregon and we got in some dirt bike riding.
This is what relaxing looks like while camping

Our view for 4 days.   So incredibly peaceful.  One of our favorite spots to go.

Had to get all the kids in one picture
We then headed south to visit family in California.  We were able to bring the trailer and then stay at my cousins place and meet their new baby girl.  She is absolutely precious.  Such a good baby.  So relaxed and easy spirits.  
Isn't she just perfect?!
While we spent time with them, we also were coming down to see my sister and brother-in-law for their baby shower.  I can't wait to meet that baby girl!  Auntie is so excited for this newest family member.
My mother did a fantastic job with the shower.  While it was looking like THIS outside.
It was looking like this, inside!

I also have some exciting news to share that kicked off our spring break.  After 10 years at my brokerage firm, I put in my 2 week notice and will be starting my new job in mid-April.  I am very excited for this career change.  There will be some learning curves, hopefully not many speed bumps, but for sure some great advancements in my future.  I believe this next step will take me into a direction that I will truly love.  I will no longer be in finance but into a completely different industry.  That, is very exciting, in itself.  

Also, while on spring break, my son was offered a job at a very reputable company.  He started his first day of work last week.   He's been doing really well.  This company is actually a very good company that will work with him through is school and soccer schedules as well as support him through his college classes.  This is a very good fit for him and The Mister and I couldn't be more thrilled for him.

So needless to say we had a spring break filled with opportunities, fresh starts, family and fun.  All in all, a great week.

Hope you have a great week!  


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