A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Sam Looking Like His Dad

To me, Sam's facial expression looks like "Why are you bothering me??"

Monday, March 29, 2010

365 Days Ago . . .

The most wonderful creature came into our lives- our son Samuel.
HERE is the original posting of his birth.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!!

We are going to celebrate when Mommy and Daddy both have the day off on Wednesday. The weather is supposed to be perfect- 72 degrees and sunny. We know how you like the swings at the park.

Here is a photo of Samuel just after we brought him home (about 5 hours after he was born).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sam's First Haircut and the Easter Bunny

I was really worried about Sam's first haircut. He isn't the type of boy that stays still for very long.

He did wonderfully!! We are so proud of him.





Just like with Santa, Sam had no problem taking a picture with the Easter Bunny.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thank you - Real Heart Prints

During the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I don't use my slow cooker as much as I could. I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen fixing dinner when I could be spending it with my family.

I have a slow cooker that my sister bought for me 8 or 9 years ago (when I was single) that is now too small for my growing family.

I became aware of Real Heart Prints when a contest for a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6 Quart Slow Cooker in Stainless Steel was linked to a blog that I read regularly. I entered the contest twice (comment # 571 and 572). Because of the large number of entries (763) and the small number of times that I entered I really didn't think that I had a chance.

This morning I received an e-mail stating that I was in fact the winner of the contest.

Here is what I won.
•Designed to travel to the party, with new features for easy potluck and party setup
•Secured lid with canister-style clips and a gasket for spill-resistant travel
•Full-grip handles for a sure grip and easy carrying
•Comes with a serving spoon that clips onto the lid handle
•Use removable paper labels in the recipe nametag slot to quickly identify the slow cooker's contents (multiple recipe nametags included)
•Lid rest keeps the lid out of the way for stirring and serving
•Stoneware and lid are designed for easy cleanup
•Heat settings include Low, High and Keep Warm
•Oval shape saves counter space
•6-quart capacity

I just love the "Keep Warm" function.

I'm still going to continue to use my other slow cooker for smaller items, but I'm super excited to receive my new item. Thank you Melissa at Real Heart Prints.

Easter Osh Kosh & Carter's Coupons- Through 03/30/10 and 3/31/10

Do you have all of your child's clothes purchased for Easter? If not, here are a few coupons that could help.

Osh Kosh 20% Off Coupon. Expires March 31st.

Carter’s 20% Off Coupon. Expires March 30th.

Thursday's Houshold Tip- I'm a Cheater

Due to the snowstorm in Colorado, my son's daycare was closed so I was unable to find my own tip, so I'm stealing from another source.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Monday, March 22, 2010

Swinging Around

Our family partook of the nice weather in Denver on Sunday and went to the park to have Sam swing on the swings. He had a blast.

First we had to put sunscreen on Sam.

He loved it.

Even before we started swinging him, he was laughing like crazy.

Definitely a fan of the swings.

Sam's leg was sticking out and Brian didn't want it to get cold.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spoonful of Wonderful

I'm excited to announce that Sam grabbed the spoon from Brian during his lunch and put it in his mouth. He fed himself for the first time. Yea!!!
It looks like he is only going to be able to feed himself when the food sticks to the spoon. Otherwise, it will be on his shoulder or on the floor behind him.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Woobie, Lovie-- Whatever You Want to Call It

Woobie, Lovie-- whatever you want to call it, my son doesn’t have a transitional object.

Right now, he has not had any need for it, but I’m afraid that one day he suddenly will. When he was very young (2-3 months old), I started to put a frog doll between us when he nursed, but he didn’t seem to be very interested in it. I’m not sure if I should start bringing it into our nursing routine again so that he has something to hold onto.

He has been going to the same daycare since he was 6 weeks old, so he is very comfortable with his caregivers, but he will continue to be exposed to new situations and people and I don’t want to be caught without one when he needs it.

According to Dr. Richard Passman, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, up to 60 percent of children in the United States have some sort of security blanket during childhood. Through his research on the effects of security blankets on child development, he has found no negative or lasting effects—but he has found many positive ones.

Sometimes called a "transitional object," a lovey can help ease children into new situations and provide a feeling of familiarity and comfort. This can happen quite organically when a child shows an affinity to a particular object, or it may happen as a result of a mother or father encouraging the attachment.

Some daycare centers may discourage security blankets because of hygiene or other reasons—some say children become very territorial of special blankets or toys, which leads to social problems. Consider encouraging him to use it at nap time only while at daycare and bedtime only while at home. Although, for some parents it may be the only way to coax a stubborn toddler out the door!

As always, when it comes to making decisions about what may be best for your child, use your judgment and follow your instincts.

I have spoken with our daycare facility and they don’t have any problem with Sam bringing in a security blanket or toy. Thank goodness.

Sam is almost a year old right now, should I encourage an attachment to an object or should I see if he is one of the 40+% that doesn’t want one?

What do you think? Does your child have a transitional object? Was it encouraged by you?

Thursday's Houshold Tip- Greener Home Cleaning

When cleaning, the last thing you want to do is fill the air with toxins that are hazardous to the environment -- and even to your family's health. Yet that's what you might be doing if you use certain traditional cleaners, many of which contain synthetic chemicals that haven't been safety-tested. Experts are divided as to whether these cleaners can harm you, but if you're concerned, here's how to limit exposure, from Linda Mason Hunter, co-author of Green Clean:

Air it out. Leave windows open during and after cleaning so that the chemicals don't linger in the air.

Buy "green" alternatives, like Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer's. Or look for products with these terms: biodegradable; plant-based; hypo-allergenic; formulated without dye or synthetic fragrance; non-flammable; does not contain chlorine, phosphate, petroleum, ammonia, acids, alkalized solvents, nitrates, or borates.

Make your own. Try:

• A mix of baking soda and distilled white vinegar to scrub the toilet
•Distilled white vinegar mixed with warm water to clean hardwood floors
•Vegetable-based soap with a few drops of lavender essential oil to make an antiseptic cleaning spray

Do what you can. Using green cleaners even some of the time is better than never. To learn more, visit Houshold Products.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- One Year Ago Today

I was 38 weeks pregnant with my son, Sam. He would be born 12 days later.
Here is my Bump photo.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Estate Planning

Ever since Brian and I got married, I have thought about making a will. We had already contacted people for our “Financial Planning,” but had not determined what we should do for our “Estate Planning.”

Since Sam’s birth, planning our estate has been on my mind more often. I definitely don’t want the courts to determine what happens to my assets after I’m gone. I talked to a few people about attorney’s fees to set up a will. The prices in Denver varied between $500-$750. That just seems crazy to me for a single document.

After doing some research, and speaking with some people, LegalZoom.com might be a good choice for us. I had heard about LegalZoom.com a few years ago and had questioned the legality of their service, but the people that I know that had gone through their service, seemed very happy. It just seemed too easy and too cheap to be sound.

It seems that there are several options regarding estate planning. There is always the standard “Last Will & Testament,” but there is also a “Living Trust” that might be a good option to go along with the will.

The differences between a Living Will and a Last Will & Testament
• A Living Trust is designed to control who receives your assets after you die—but with one important difference. The property you place in a trust is not subject to the delays and expense of probate court. Instead, it passes directly to your designated beneficiaries.
• Living Trusts also offer the added benefit of privacy. Because you are not required to register your Living Trust with the courts, the details of your estate remain off the public record.
• Setting up a Living Trust may also help reduce your estate taxes so more of your property goes to your heirs.
• With a Living Trust, you have the option to assign a trusted person to manage your property should you become incapacitated.
• Because the trust is a legal entity, the trust—and not you—legally owns your property once it is transferred into the trust. But as the trust’s “grantor,” you can also designate yourself as the trust’s initial “trustee,” which means you retain complete control over the assets placed in the trust. You can move property in or out of the trust, change your beneficiaries, or sell assets as you see fit.
• Like a Living Trust, a Last Will and Testament allows you to decide who receives your property and who manages your estate—with one important distinction. A Last Will also allows you to name guardians for any minor children.

Before we make any decisions, we are going to do more research on these options to determine which is best for us.

I know that this isn't the most favorite thing to think about (our own demise), but not having a directive would be a lot worse.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Previously Owned (Used) Toys and Clothing

Some people do not like the thought of having their child play with and wear previously owned (used) toys and clothing. I have no problem with used toys them as long as they are still in production and are not on any recall list. As for clothing, I wash the items in hot water with detergent and they are as good as new without worrying about cleanliness.

Currently, my son has several toys that are previously enjoyed; two of which are a Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Bounce & Spin Zebra that I bought from another mother yesterday and a LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table that my mother-in-law got for him that he totally loves.

We were able to put Sam on the Zebra yesterday, after I wiped it down with Clorox and rinsed it off. He was initially apprehensive, but started bouncing after a minute or two. He really isn’t tall enough to fully enjoy it, but the lights and sounds intrigued him. I was even able to get a smile out of him.
Sam and his Zebra

There was a huge Just Between Friends sale this past weekend where all of the items (baby clothes, toys, strollers, shoes, highchairs, maternity clothes, furniture, etc.) are inspected for quality before they are offered to the public for sale. The clothes that I saw were all brand names (Carter, OshKosh B'Gosh, Polo, etc.). We (me, my husband, my son and my mother-in-law) all went to the Denver sale and were able to find 8 outfits and 4 pairs of pants that we liked for under $45. Now that’s a great sale in my opinion.

This particular sale in Denver happens twice a year (Spring and Fall). There are a lot of other reputable consignment sales and normal sales that happen. Don’t be afraid. Try it out.

Remember, buying previously owned (used) items is GREEN!!

Mothers Of Multiples Society (MOMS)
Kids Consignment Sales - A national listing of consignment sales across the country
Yard Sales

Friday, March 12, 2010

Formula Fed America

For those of you that don't know, I'm a big supporter of breastfeeding. One of my blog friends discusses a new documentary about breastmilk and breastfeeding that is scheduled to open this summer.

Formula Fed America

This is my favorite quote.
While commercial infant formulas are commonly perceived to be the medically recommended second choice infant food after breastfeeding, the World Health Organization (WHO) states: "The second choice is the mother's own milk expressed and given to the infant in some way. The third choice is the milk of another human mother. The fourth and last choice is artificial baby milk."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Wish for Sam List

I am calling this the I Wish section of my blog.

This is the diaper bag that I Wish that I could afford, but my husband would kill me for spending that much since we already have 2 diaper bags.

The following is the school that I Wish that I could afford when Sam is old enough to attend. I would want Sam to take Chinese.
Denver Montclair International School

This is the jogging stroller that I Wish that we could buy for Sam.
BOB Revolution Stroller

This is the bike trailer that I Wish we could afford.

There are 1,472,890,473 other things that I Wish that my family could have. Everyone wants the best for themselves and their children, but I'm not going to waste my time worrying about what we don't have and concentrate on the things that we do have. Everyone is healthy, happy and thriving.

What else more could I Wish for?

Thursday's Household Tips- Trivia and Cooking

Pretty good tips for those who like trivia and cooking.


Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper.
Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing pantie hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... ta da! ... static is gone.

Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water.
Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such
as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

Reopening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about
pets or small children being harmed!

The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in
the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very longtime (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) . He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?!Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!

I hope that these tips save you some time and aggravation.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Attempted Suicide

The brother of one of my friends tried to commit suicide last week. This is the second time that he has attempted it in the past couple of years.

Right now, I don’t know all of the details, but the previous time, he took a bunch of pills and parked his car in a Target parking lot in the middle of the night. Thank goodness someone found him before they fully kicked in. It sounds like the same thing happened this time.

Since his previous attempt, he enrolled in cooking school and seemed to be doing so well. Of course, the last time that I saw him was at Halloween.

I have never known anyone else that has tried to commit suicide.

I feel so helpless. I don’t know what to do to help the family.
Is there anything that can be done?

What Are The Warning Signs For Suicide?
Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:
• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
• Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
• Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
• Feeling hopeless
• Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
• Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
• Increasing alcohol or drug use
• Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
• Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
• Experiencing dramatic mood changes
• Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs.

But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs, so we need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them.

A Nice Wilson Weekend

The Wilson Family had a very nice weekend. The weather was so nice on Saturday that Sam and I picked up Brian from work, stopped for brunch and then headed to the zoo.

The zoo was completely packed, which I was afraid of. It took us about 15 minutes to find a parking space in their underground lot. I'm glad that Sam was busy playing with his toys, because if he started getting really fussy, I was probably going to drop them off at the front and find them after I had committed a felony.

This was not Sam's first trip to the zoo. When he had his herpangina and wasn't allowed to go to daycare, I took him with one of my friends on a Wednesday. Now that was a great day to go — no screaming kids, no aggravated parents, and no lines.

I made sure to have everything packed the night before (Sam’s lunch, spoons, extra bibs, diapers, wipes, extra outfit, my outfit, toys, stroller, camera, etc.) so that I wasn’t completely frazzled walking out the door. By the way, that’s one of the biggest things that can send me into a murderous rage- not being prepared with what might be needed. Brian is definitely not as organized with that as I am (it drives me nuts).

I forgot that the zoo had gotten expensive ($24 for 2 adults and an 11 month old), but this was our first family zoo outing so we happily handed over the money and walked in. I’m so glad that we ate before we arrived. You get taken to the cleaners buying food there.

We spent a total of about 2.5 hours there. Sam was more interested in all the people than the animals. Whenever we would stop in front of an enclosure, Sam would be looking everywhere else but toward the animals. I guess that he likes the human species most of all.

As you can tell from this photo, Sam had a blast.

Sunday, we ran a bunch of errands and crossed off some of my “To Do” list items (Lowe’s, Target, and Babies R’ Us). There is still a bunch of stuff to do before we throw Sam’s birthday party on April 2nd, but we are getting closer.

Thank you boys for a great weekend.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hasbro Rocks!!

My son received the Playskool Busy Ball Choo Choo Train for Christmas from his Great Aunt and Great Uncle Burstein and recently we have noticed that the balls do not circulate and the train does not move the way that it is supposed to. Unfortunately, it never did.

I went online and found that Playskool is owned by Hasbro so I took down their customer service number and gave them a call this morning. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was told that since the Train has been discontinued, a replacement toy (of equal value and age appropriate to Sam) would be sent to me within 7-10 business days. I was told that I do not need to ship back the Train to them. We get to keep it.

Taking a few minutes to report a difficulty has been rewarded by a free replacement toy. Hasbro is definitely a company that I am willing to purchase from again because of their excellent customer service. Thank you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Simmons family - Winners of the Free Photo Session Giveaway

The winner of the free photo session that I gave away had their session at Red Rocks recently.
Giveaway Winner Photo Session
Kelsey is a blast to work with. I hope that they had as much fun as my family has with her.

Kelsey- I will see you on April 3rd for my son's 1 year photos and his birthday party.

To reserve your 2-hour session, please contact her at on her cell phone- 720.308.9662 or bookings@kelseybigelowphotography.com

If you wish to book Kelsey for your next event or photo session her session fee is $125 and all images will be available to view online. From the online gallery, you will be able to order prints and disks with images. The session fee will include a 8x10 print but beyond that, everything is up to you. Kelsey is introducing a few print packages and session packages which will be announced on the website throughout the year.

She also has a referral program, which some of you have already been able to take part of. First of all, you will receive a bundle of referral cards in the mail. Each person you refer who books a session with me will receive a free 11x14 print of their favorite photo from their session. In turn, you, the referrer, will build up print credit for your next session! Everybody is a winner!

Deals in Cyberspace

Barnes & Noble
Buy One Children’s Book, Get One 50% Off
Enter coupon code H4U9M3W at checkout.

Or In Store Coupon


Carter’s 20% Off Coupon. Expires March 10th.


Osh Kosh 20% Off Coupon. Expires March 10th.


Kodak currently has two offers running right now which, when combined, can net you 100 photo prints for $1.99 shipped!

• Sign up for a new account with Kodak Gallery. You’ll automatically get 50 free prints added to your account.
• Add 100 photo prints to your cart (these can all the same print, or up to 100 different prints). Use coupon code 50FREE at checkout and you should get your initial free 50 prints plus an additional 50 free prints for only approximately $1.99 shipped!

The 50FREE coupon code is only good through March 11, 2010.

I already had a Kodak account, but I was able to get the 50 free photos with the coupon code. They will be used during my son’s birthday party.

Thursday's Houshold Tip- How to Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags (if you still have not moved to fabric bags)

If you don't know what to do with those annoying plastic grocery bags, read on!

Don't want to purchase trash bags, use plastic grocery bags for small trash cans, by tying a small knot in one or both handle ends and by stretching the bag over the lip of the trash container.

Use larger knots for smaller trash cans. To improve the appearance, fold the excess knotted ears under the trash container lip to make everything look nice. Once the trash is filled, remove the bag and tie the two bag handles together to form a sealed trash ball for easy disposal.

Store used plastic grocery bags for use later. Wrap the plastic bags into small knots for easy storage. Follow three steps: The first step is to fold and twist the bag into a long rope. Next, fold the bag 'rope' in the middle.

Finally, make a simple knot out of the whole thing. The bag should look like a little ball. Use an old sock to store dozens of these bags for instant use later.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Photography Business

A few years ago I was going to start a photography business. I fooled around with logos, so here they are.





Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Powerful, Personal Story and a Great Quote to Live By

I am a Blog-a-Mama. While on their site I linked to a very powerful, personal story from a woman who survived years of physical abuse and came out stronger on the other side.

the AWWWBUTmum story brought tears to my eyes, but made me remember that we are all stronger than we could have ever imagined.

Here is a quote that is listed on the same blog that I hope to live by.

"All your life you are told things you cannot do. All your life they will say you are not good enough or strong enough or talented enough. They will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or achieve that. They will tell you no, a thousand times no. Until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no quite firmly and very quickly. And you will tell them - YES!"
NIKE - Just Do It

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rudeness in the Workplace

What has happened to common courtesy in offices??

There was a package left for one of my coworkers at the front desk that I brought to her office. Upon dropping it off at her desk, she did not even acknowledge my presence or that I took the time to drop off this item to her office. She just took a quick look at me and then proceeded to look at the package.

This woman does not like me. That’s fine, but a quick “thank you” is not something out of the ordinary. Upon walking out of her office I said “you’re welcome.” I didn’t say it in a nasty tone or anything, I just said the words.

That’s probably the last time that I will do anything for her.

February Pantry Challenge- Wrap Up


Another stellar week (please read sarcasm)!

Here was the menu plan for last week.
Monday- Fish and veggies
Tuesday- Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne
Wednesday- Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne (if there is enough leftover)
Thursday- Shredded chicken tacos
Friday- Black Bean Soup
Saturday - Black Bean Soup
Sunday- Pizza

Here is what actually occurred.

Monday- Fish and veggies
Tuesday- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Wednesday- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Thursday- Pizza
Friday- Thawed marinated chicken
Saturday - ILs took us out to dinner
Sunday- Crockpot Chicken

One of these weeks I will finally make Black Bean Soup and the Plum Tomatoes and Artichokes with Penne that I have been saying I would for a while.

I’m definitely going to keep heading to my freezer first for meal selections, instead of the grocery store, but the restrictions that I tried to abide by wasn’t for us at this stage of my family’s life.

Here were our family’s goals for the “Eat From The Pantry Challenge”:

1) Stop at the store a maximum of three times in February.
2) Only buy dairy (milk, eggs, cheese, etc.), produce (fruits/vegetables), and breads (we eat too many sandwiches to not have fresh bread). - FAIL
3) Spend a total of $100 or less on groceries during the month of February. - FAIL
4) Donate the extra $85 leftover (or more) that we would usually spend on groceries to Sam’s college fund. - FAIL, but I have donated $40 to his college fund.

What I have learned from this experience
• Unless you have time to cook on the weekends, don’t try to cook full meals during the week with a 10 month old that is on a certain schedule.
• Make sure that everyone in your house is eating the same thing. Sam is not fully eating table food yet, so his dinners were different.
• I think that this would have worked a whole lot better if I was a SAHM (stay at home mom). I don’t have a lot of time with my son after I pick him up from daycare. I don’t want to spend it in the kitchen, cooking.
• Utilize the Crockpot more often on the weekends.
• Purchase a programmable Crockpot with a warmer option, so that things aren’t overcooked after a 10 hour day. (I drop Sam off at daycare at 7am and get back to the house after picking him up at 5pm.)

My next adventure will probably be a Monthly Freezer Weekend by making an entire month’s worth of dinners over a single weekend.

When I first hear about making an entire month's worth of meals in a single day, I didn’t believe it was possible. But with dedication and some prep work, it can be done. I know people who have done it.

I will try to do it over a weekend instead of a single day. I’m not that ambitious.

There are many families who will spend an entire day making a month’s worth of meals. It requires planning, such as selecting recipes, listing all the ingredients needed then shopping for them and doing any prep work such as chopping or peeling. Then on the day, it will consist of a systematic routine to prepare all the meals, most of which are made in multiples of at least two or three to make up the monthly quota. Finally, packaging and labeling, then popping it into the freezer to be served as the meal later in the month.

Of course, it does take dedication to do this. It is a lot of work, but then it makes a lot less work over the rest of the month, which is why so many people do it. And you can easily plan these meals around what happens to be on sale at the time, which enables you to budget better, particularly when the bulk of your food budget is purchased at once.

So many people swear by this system, and would never ever go back to cooking a meal for the family every night. It is much easier to simply defrost and reheat that it is to go through the entire preparation, cooking and serving of a new meal every single night.

Of course I will wait to do this until I get my programmable crock pot so that I can have 2 going at once along with the oven.

Wish me luck!!!