Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Eat Whole Foods with a Large Family on a Budget


I decided to take a grocery challenge for this week. The Inspired Bloggers Network issued the challenge. Could I build a menu, including three meals and two snacks for each day, with only $25 per person for an entire week?

Groceries are the bane of my existence. lol I have a total of 11 people in my family: 5 adults and 6 children(two of them are nursing babies). Having two adults on the Trim Healthy Mama diet, two on special allergy diets, and a budget of only $300 a week for food, diapers, and toiletries can make for some serious number crunching each menu planning day! I try to serve at least two veggies with each dinner meal, one grain for the littles, and sometimes need to make up to 4 different meals for dinner each night. So, without further ado, here's my menu for this week...

Breakfast:

Pancakes, Eggs, Oatmeal, and Muffins

Pancakes are one of the cheapest meals I can make my kids. With just two eggs and two cups of flour, I can feed the whole bunch. Normally, we eat them with no sugar jam, or a sprinkle of non-dairy, nut-free chocolate chips.

For the THM-ers, I made refrigerator oatmeal to take and go.


Lunch:

We make turkey sandwiches, mac and cheese, salads, homemade bread, hardboiled eggs, and roasted veggies from the garden.

My dh buys a salad at work each day and brings leftovers to eat with it.

Dinner:


Sat.: Breakfast for dinner! We had omelets and my oldest dd had a Italian Cream Cakein a Mug THM style.
Sunday: 2 chickens roasted, rice, roasted broccoli, carrots
Mon: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, Chicken Nuggets, French fries, broccoli, salad
Tues: Chicken Crockpot Chili, mac and cheese, salad
Wed: spicy black bean soup and turkey sandwiches
Thurs: Chicken spaghetti, pasta carb, salad
Fri: Pork roast, salad, green beans, potatoes, sauerkraut

For my total this week, I spent $250 for all our groceries, including toiletries and diapers. Snacks for us are usually cheese sticks, crackers, popcorn, or fruit.



I hope this helps!





Blessings,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

An Update of the Baby Kind....

Charlotte Rose 3.5 months old already!

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She is soooo sweet, and squishy, and all around wonderful. :)
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Don't you just want to eat her up?lol
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I am so blessed.
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Blessings,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gluten Free/Peanut Free/Dairy Free Edible Playdough


Here's my recipe for GF/DF/PF Edible Playdough...

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1/2 cup soynut butter or sunflower butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp potato starch (you could probably use corn starch too.)
1/4 cup sugar
About 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar, just keep adding until a dough forms.

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Mix the first 4 ingredients together first. Then knead in powdered sugar until it's doughy. :)

Enjoy!

Blessings,


Peanut Free-Dairy Free Edible Playdough.

Ok. so, life in my family is quite interesting.lol We have a million allergies, some even life-threatening. I have been watching other people with envy for YEARS as they play with edible playdough. How fair is it that the two main ingredients are milk and peanuts? We are allergic to both! For years, I've just thought this was something that we would never get to do. I even looked on Pinterest!lol

Well, today I decided to experiment and find a recipe that we could have.

Here are the stars of the show...
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And is was success!

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And it even tastes good.lol

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Here's the recipe...

1/2 cup any nut or seed butter, you could even use Biscoff Spread. I used a forlorn jar of soynut butter that no one would eat.lol

1 package of pudding mix, any flavor. (Jello brand are dairy free, just cornstarch and sugar.) We used vanilla, but I think we'll go with chocolate next time.

About 1 tbsp potato starch. (I think I'll skip this next time.)

Mix in enough powdered sugar to make it a dough. It was about 1/2 cup. I just kept mixing until it wasn't sticky. :)

So there! A dairy free, peanut free playdough that you can eat!


Blessings,




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Montessori Language Object and Card...



Here is a sample of what I am working on...

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I'll be making (with a swap group) 2"x2" object cards with the name tag on the control photo. Then I'll cut the name off of the second one for matching against the object or the name.

This has many uses in a Montessori homeschool.

For the younger set, they can match the object to the photo...


They can match the starting letter to the object...
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Or to the photo...
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And as they learn, they can then match the Letter to the object, photo, and word..
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Finally, they'll be able to spell the word (I wonder how many will notice my mistake in this photo...lol)
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So, that's what I'm up to.lol

Blessings,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Empowering our young ones...


I'm a big fan of things that help our little ones do "Big People" things. :)

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Sometimes, it's as simple as a knife that won't cut fingers off.lol

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And confidence is accomplished...

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a job well done is enough to make anyone proud.

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Blessings,

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Snack Bins for Hubby and Son...



A few weeks ago, I started making snack bins for the two older men. They are both trying to lose weight and Jon thought, "What if we had snacks already prepared that were under 200 Calories each?" Then we could just choose different combos for the day and never eat too many calories. Pinterest to the rescue! I searched for low calorie snack ideas and snacks for under 200 Calories. This website popped up and was a huge help in the snack department.

photo of Eric's box in progress



1. They wanted no more than 1000 calories during the day, not including breakfast or dinner.

2. They could divide up the calories however they choose.

3. Everything would be grab and go. That way, dh could take them to work and not worry about messes.

So, here's what I've come up with...

Choose 3 of these per day in your box:

1. Turkey Sandwich Thin (3oz of turkey, one sandwich thin, lettuce, tomato, and mustard) 200 calories

2. Muffin Pizza (100 Calorie English muffin, 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, 3 turkey pepperonis, green peppers) 200 calories

3. Bagel Thin w/laughing cow cream cheese wedge 145 calories

4. 2 hard boiled eggs w/ 1tbsp reduced fat mayo and mustard 161 calories

5. Triscuits and Babybell cheese 170 calories

6. Veggie Pita thin w/hummus 150 calories + veggies

Choose 4 of these per day in your box:

1. Cottage cheese, flavored 90 calories

2. Apple and cheese stick 141 calories

3. Greek yogurt 140 Calories

4. 100 Calorie Pop Corn

5. 90 Calorie Granola bar

6. Carrots and low-fat ranch 52 Calories

7. 100 Calories of fruit (1 piece or 1 cup)

8. 70 calorie Italian ice (Obviously this one is for weekends. :)


They really come together quickly and the guys really love them. Now to work on one for the younger ones. :)

Blessings,



Saturday, September 01, 2012

School This Year 2012-13

This year I have 3 official students with an active 2.5yo thrown in for good measure. (The baby just tags along and makes things more interesting.lol) I really had a hard time deciding on curricula this year. I had to balance learning sytles with the amount of actual time that I can sit at the table. It's great to know what styles work with each child but if everything is very teacher intensive, that doesn't leave much of me left for the little ones. So, balance was key for me this year.

Here's the list of working items for each child...

Genevieve:

Heart of Dakota's "Preparing Hearts for His Glory"

What I love about this curriculum is that most of the assignments are written to the student or are easy enough for a bright 4th grader to do on her own. I sit with her for the read alouds, Bible, language arts, and occasionally math. Everything else, she can do without help. Love the focus on the Bible!

First Language Lessons Level 1

We're going through this quickly. I'm a late starter to grammar instruction. I like to start them reading, then work on spelling, then grammar, and finally writing. Genevieve's been focusing on spelling for the last 6 months and has really taken off, so we've just begun focusing on grammar. We'll probably go through Levels 1-3 this year.

All About Spelling Level 4

Genevieve has really made incredible progress with this program. She went from being unable to spell, to spelling at a 4th grade level in 6 months' time. We started this in January, took 2 months off for a new baby and she just finished level 3 last week. Really amazing!

Math U See Beta

She's been in this level for over a year. What can I say? Math is NOT her strong suit but she is making PROGRESS. That's all that matters to me. She'll be in Gamma in a few short weeks.

Isaac:

I went back to an oldie but goodie for this guy....

KONOS!

He's loving the study on American Indians so far. We're using Squidoo lesson plans to hash out a good direction for his lessons KonosI really like how it is put together! He's learning a ton. We do all the reading right before bed and he's always asking for more.lol We're going to follow the whole year 2 program. :)

Reading Eggs:

This is great for the non-bookie kind of learner. He's picking up reading without pain and I don't have to teach it.lol

Explode the Code:

I'm using this as his "Handwriting" and for more phonics help.

Math U See Alpha

He just started and is enjoying this level.


Sophia:

Sophia will be working with Isaac on History and Science. They'll be doing projects together and listening to the same stories.

She's using a new program that I found on Confession's of a Homeschooler's blog:

K3program

She's also going to do the K4 program this year also. We're starting off slow. :) It covers all the basics: Phonics, writing skills, math, colors, shapes, and anything else she may have missed being the 5th child.lol

David:

He's doing Preschool Busy Bags, Montessori learning, and anything else I can cook up to keep him busy.


That's it for now. My hope is to add photos and links to the things that we do each week starting next weekend. We'll see if that happens. :)

Blessings,

Photos...and A video...


Here's a photo of Isaac and Sophia. Love Isaac's eyes and Sophia's loving nature shows through...


Here's a photo of David, the stinker.lol

I just did a Preschool Busy Bag Swap with some local friends and this was one of the bags...fishing with cute little fish and numbers on them. I took a video of David doing this bag, although I had to shoot at odd angles due to potty training. :)

Catching Up.



Ha! Like that can even happen. In my last real post A WHOLE YEAR AGO, I wasn't even expecting a baby! Now look...

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Yep! A new baby arrived on June 7th. Charlotte Rose.

So, how do I begin this blog over again? Do I skip over all that happened or do I add it in as I go? Not sure. :)

Many things have happened since I last posted. Allison moved out and is now moving back in once she returns from Puerto Rico with her new boyfriend.


Jon graduated highschool and is now in college this semester with the hopes of joining the Air National Guard in January, going through boot camp and then finishing up college, hopefully debt free from the guard, then wants to join the Air Force and go through Officer Training. He has really worked hard this year to tone up and get physically fit for the job. He also received his Eagle just this past weekend. What a feat that was! I don't think any of us have ever worked that hard before.lol

Genevieve has taken her place as leader of the pack. She's a good organizer and helps me tremendously. She turns 10 on Oct. 1st and is hoping for a Beta Fish.

Isaac is always the first to obey and the quickest at his jobs. I'm always amazed at how fast and efficiently he works.

Sophia is our ray of sunshine. If fairies were real, I'd believe that she was one. She flits around on her toes, dancing and twirling wherever she goes. (but watch that temper of hers, it'll catch you off guard if you cross her.lol)

David is tornado of trouble. We've been gating off areas of the house just to keep him contained. He's working on potty training and is finally "getting it." Hopefully soon, we'll only have one in diapers again.lol

I accidently named Charlotte wrong. Who knew that I'd give birth to Mary Poppins? Oh well, she'll just have to make this name work.lol She's the most delightful baby I've ever had. Happy, content, smiley, alert, and sleeps through the night-most nights anyway. :) Love that baby.

So, that's a quick update of our happenings. Hopefully soon, I'll update our school happenings and life in general. :) (maybe some recipes too.lol)

Blessings,