Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's for Dinner? Crock Pot Edition

Even though we don't plan on having soup until next week (yes, soup in August for this Alabama Auburn family is rare, but I was craaaaaaving it) I got the bug to cook this morning so I hit the ground bakin'. I also made bread of the first time in the bread maker as opposed to our regular oven, but that didn't turn out too well. That post shall wait for another day.

 In October 2011, I made a post about what I called "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" Vegetable Soup. It was a recipe that my mom always made for us growing up and served with a grilled cheese sandwich. When we started our family I knew I would make my family love this dish.... and over the years it's been tweaked to my family's taste. I also wanted to rename it to "Schoolhouse Vegetable Soup" because it truly reminds me of the vegetable soup served in school cafeterias.

Cast of Characters

1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
2 cups beef or vegetable stock, low sodium
15 oz can green beans, french style, drained
15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
8 oz can carrots, drained
15 oz can diced tomatoes, no specific flavor
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 - 3 cups white peas (optional)
6-8 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 TBS Lawry's Seasoning Salt
pepper to taste

*Note* I drain all of the juices from the cans because I think the juice is too sweet. Also, I use red potatoes because they stand up better than regular Idaho potatoes. Lastly, if you need to add more stock, feel free, but don't do so until before serving because there is a LOT of water in the potatoes. 

Brown the ground beef (or turkey) and drain if necessary. Drain all canned vegetables, except tomatoes, in a collander. Add meat and vegetables to slow cooker. Peel and dice potatoes and add to slow cooker. Add  stock and tomatoes. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. Add more stock if you like a wetter soup. 

Serve with grilled cheese or yeast rolls

I smell my bread baking... I guess it's time for me to see how horrible of a job I did :(

- Whitney

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Organize IT!!!

when we bought our new house ALL of our living room furniture was destroyed by the yuckiness most people call mold. Why that pertains to the story, I don't know... Maybe I'm just still mad about it because now we have no living room.

Anyways, when we bought our house I wanted to be more organized... I had always kept a planner for meals and appointments, but I still didn't feel organized...

Thus, the FAMILY PLANNER was born. It is still a work in progress but there are four areas that are used on a daily basis. I will try and make these editable, but for now I will just upload a PDF. I wish I could make them cuter, but all in due time my loves. All in due time.

The first thing you see when you open our planner is our bill pouch.

I know it doesn't look organized, but I tried to hide as much personal information as possible. This is where we put unpaid bills until they are paid. This way we aren't wondering where they are. Even though most of our bills are paid online and we opt for paperless billing, some things are still sent. Once the bill is paid we take it out and file it in another storage bin in our closet. We also keep a list of our bills and which week of the month the bill will be paid. Sort of like a mini budget. I would upload a picture but it has too much personal information on it.

The next 'tab' in our planner is my actual calendar/planner.

Please forgive the strange markings... someone got a hold of a pen and thought she was Emily Dickinson.
For now, the blue is for my Proverbs 31 challenge. the pink is for my cleaning schedule, and the purple is obviously our meal planning. Some women might be able to keep things neatly on different calendars, but I have to have everything on one page. I have to know what my ENTIRE day is going to look like.

The next 'tab' is for our monthly budgeting. I uploaded a blank one because we are already working on September.

In the first column is all of the bills we are expected to pay for that month. The second column we put in our expected income and the expenses for the month. The third column is where we put our actual expense for the month. The fourth column is where we write down our difference. We keep track of our savings balance on here as well. This is always tallied at the end of the month.

Our next 'tab' is our checkbook register.

I chose to make my own because I have big handwriting and I hate the little registers they give you from the bank. I also color coordinate everything. Household bills are pink, gasoline is yellow, food is purple, deposits are green, transfers are red, and miscellaneous is blue. This way, when I go to balance everything for the month all I have to look at is the color and write down the amount.

The next tab is filled with loose paper where I put recipes and ideas that I get from Pinterest or the internet. Hopefully I can get started on a Croy Family Cookbook soon because they are starting to take up a lot of room.

Future Plans
I usually hand write my shopping list throughout the week and categorize by store. When I go to the store I write down the price next to the item, but by the time I'm done shopping all of the prices start to get jumbled together, so I plan on making a shopping list with a box to neatly write the price next to the item. *Update* I have made the shopping list pdf available for download, but have not had a chance to implement it into our planner.

I also want to add an address book to our planner for party invitations, Christmas cards and what-not. This address book would also be good for birthday and anniversaries that way we can plan for gifts and cards much easier. *Update* The birthdays and anniversaries part is available for download, but I have not had a chance to implement it into our planner

A home project to do list would be awesome, because there are a lot of things we want to renovate/decorate aound the house even though it's brand new construction. We've already forgotten a lot of the things we said we would enhance by now and it gets really frustrating.

I plan on making a small list and taping it the front bottom pocket of the notebook filled with emergency numbers like our pediatrician, dentist, and family members in case we can't be reached.

Hopefully this can be used as a good resource for you mommies out there! it's definitely helped me as CFO of this household!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #3

Seems like all I do these days are from my homemaker edition.... but it's been a pretty busy July... with birthdays, a funeral, a vacation, and job interviews.. 

July has been emotional. On to my Happy Homemaker :)

The weather:::

its mostly cloudy this morning, but it doesnt look yucky at all. like it wants to rain, but can't find the courage to do so.

 On my reading pile:::  

  I just finished "My So-Called Life as A Proverbs 31 Wife" by Sara Horn. I picked it up at Walmart and I read it in two days. such a cute little book with discussion questions at the end and your very own challenge! I extended mine for 31 days (no pun intended) and so far I can definitely see the difference it's making in my household.

On my TV:::

I'm not watching TV but I can hear little one watching Smurfs in the other room

On the menu for this week:::
Monday - Spaghetti and Salad (It would be much cuter if we had Sunday Spaghetti but sadly, we don't)

Tuesday - talapia white rice and broccoli (boring, I know)
Wednesday - ranch chicken mac n cheese and green beans
Thursday - leftovers
Saturday - BBQ Pork sandwiches
Sunday - homemade beef stroganoff and salad
I'm pretty proud of this menu because everything is already in our pantry and it saved me a weekly trip to the store :)

On my to do list:::

Everyday I unload/load the dishwasher, wash/dry/fold a load of laundry and make beds but Monday is mainly bathroom day.  I Wonder if I will be able to muster up the motivation.

 Ive also got to make some index cards with Big Kid's High frequency words to review for the first week of school.. yikes! 

I need to organize the laundry room and make it look all cute-see as my Deeda would say. I'm so tired of looking at bare walls it's not even laughable. it's rather sad.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

This might not apply, but I'm researching Pinterest like my life depends on it for cute organization ideas. 

Summer Fun:::

We've got two weeks left of summer. I might be a bad mom for saying this, but I'm letting the big kid do whatever she wants, as long as she doesn't sass. 

Looking around the house:::

Sitting in the kitchen, I noticed that the kitchen table needs to be cleaned off. The living room needs to be tidied (yes, I'm a lazy slob), Big kid's room is cleaned, baby is taking her nap and our room is being occupied by Big Kid.

From the camera:::

I love the contrast of this photo... Can anyone else see it? hint: our food choices! 

Something fun to share:::

Big Kid thinks I don't have a good re-memoration! 

Also, that moment when I see kids in Walmart that I've subbed and they're acting up but it would be too awkward to discipline them/call them by name... knowing that they have no clue who I am and having to explain to their parents.... oh the dilemmas we face lol (well, it made sense in MY head lol)

On my prayer list:::

We pray for my Nana every night after losing my Gendy. Those two were together for 56 years. Hallelujah! 
Still praying for a job.
Praying that God's Glory will shine through our Haiti Mission team :)

Bible verse, Devotional::: 

went to a concert last night for This Hope and boy were they amazing... I've got family that struggle with their purpose in life, and whether there is a TRUE God who loves and cares for them... I struggle within myself sometimes because witnessing to them is like pulling teeth. This verse brings me such hope because in the end.. we will all call Him holy.

Philippians 2:9-11

New Living Translation (NLT)
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.