Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meal Plan in Review

OK we sort of did it. The week went well for eating in our house we held to our plan most nights. On Thursday we deviated from the type of chicken dish and on Friday we totally deviated to the wishes of an 11 year old son who wanted to make egg sandwiches for the family. Never turn down a boy on a mission. He wanted to use our newest Pampered Chef Stone.

Photo: Make perfect poached, scrambled, and fried eggs in the new Microwave Egg Cooker. Perfect for breakfast sandwiches! 

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 Pampered Chef Microwave Egg Cooker

Since this week was better we hope to do it again next week. We will do at least two prep ahead meals on Wednesday and Thursday since we are busy on those evenings. I am also trying to give each of the bigger kids more time in the kitchen learning. Last week Matthew made muffins for everyone the morning I had a "meeting" with my friends. There is always a trade off of cleaning up after them when I get home but they are improving on that front too. 

Another little update we are still happy and moving forward with our laundry and dish detergent. I cancelled my standing Amazon orders for these items so that is going to save us a bit.

Follow up on laundry

Well I think it was a success. We have clean clothes and it even cleaned the babies less than wonderful as I call them "blow-out" clothes. While working on the laundry project and keeping up with the rest of our crazy house we realized we were out of dishwasher detergent. So I did a little search and we are now using homemade dish washing detergent as well. Easier than laundry you take equal parts Borax and baking soda and then use 2 tablespoons in the dishwasher.

While all this was underway I was realizing over the last week a build-up on my dishes both while hand washing and machine washing  Went down and checked the water softener and filter to find everything was bypassing the system. Thank you to the hubby for taking a look and fixing things quickly. We no longer have the build up and the dishes are coming out great with the new powder we made.

With all this I also decided to rearrange a few things and now have my lovely little coffee/tea center in the kitchen. Hopefully this will keep me from cluttering this spot up and free up some counter space for food prep.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back to the drawing board.

After spending the last few months in an organizational fog I think we are getting back on track. Last night I made my meal plan for the week, first time in a while. Recently it has just been open the refrigerator and go with what we have.

So this week here is the plan:

Monday -- Spaghetti Pie
Tuesday -- Chicken Enchiladas
Wednesday -- Crock Pot Stew
Thursday -- Chicken Cordon Bleu
Friday -- Zesty Ravioli
Saturday -- Leftovers

We will see how it goes when we get to Friday. I used the All Recipes tool for meal planning. When you drag your recipe into the week it gives you a shopping list. I was able to go through the list highlight what we don't have and now I just need to pick up a few items to complete the week.

Next week we will add breakfast and see if we can really have a healthy eating week. Lunch around here is pretty simple PBJ, ham, tuna or mac and cheese.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Laundry Detergent

OK for the past 10 years we have used only two different laundry detergents and they both have been decent at keeping  our clothes clean, no great decent. So recently when I saw a bunch of posts about making my own I was skeptical. That was until friends who I know have active kids and large families like mine said they were having success. So now I have joined the ranks and hopefully this will save us some money and still keep us clean:

I found many recipes, most of them used a very diluted recipe calling for 1 cup or 1/2 cup or a 1/4 cup per load. I wanted a recipe for 1/8 cup since that is the scoop I have and I don't want a 5 gallon drum in my laundry room. 

I used:
1 bar ivory
2 cups Washing Soda (arm and hammer, heard they have it at Wal-mart but I ordered on Amazon, convenience)
2 cups Mule Team Borax (had in cabinet already)

I grated the ivory then melted it in 1 quart of boiling water. Then I added it to a gallon of room temp water (I used an old pretzel barrel for this).
I then added my 4 cups of powered stuff and mixed. I used a whisk and made sure everything was dissolved. I am storing it in the pretzel barrel and leaving a wooden spoon in the container to mix each time before use, it gets clumpy. This is more concentrated than the other recipes but hopefully it will work. I put some baby explosion clothes in this first load to give it a serious test drive.

I will let you know what the results are.

BTW: just ran out of dish washing detergent and found a recipe that says equal parts baking soda and borax and 2 tablespoon per load. That will be the next experiment. If it works I'll be saving a lot since the amount of dishes and clothing we wash is just staggering.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Boy Scout Decision

As many of you have talked about this week and watched unfold on the news the Boy Scouts are exploring changing a policy they have had for 103 years. When all was said and done Wednesday morning came and went and they tabled their decision until May. There has been much speculation regarding the tabling of the discussion and why they may have done it. So here is my take.

Yes, many people weighed in on either side of the issue and on Tuesday we were told we even shut down their phone lines. I guess they didn't obtain a proper phone bank to handle the volume of calls. Maybe you should have used some of that fat salary you give to the CEO to manage your phones properly. Well I digress. Here is my theory. Currently we are in what is referred to as rechartering month in Boy Scouts. From what I understand we pay our dues and each Troop sends their dues to the powers that be. In the next 30 to 60 days most scouts will also be committing about $250 to $350 per scout to camp. So here is my theory. They realized the potential impact and decided if we re-charter first that we will be less likely to pull out  if the decision goes in a direction that displeases us, what parent would take camp away from their child when they are this far into the process. I know you may think I am a skeptic well I think I am a realist and every decision is calculated.

So here is my suggestion. We fill out our re-charter papers and our camp papers and send copies of bank statements showing we have the funds at the ready. Once the decision is made and we can decide if this is an organization we still want to be affiliated with then we will send them the funds, if every troop does this we can make an impact. Although I want to stand behind this organization I am not a fool and I want to show them that we are not foolish and lemmings who will just follow no matter what they decide. I have been told by friends we need to stand firm and make our changes from within. I am all for that and I think this would be the first step toward that.

So there is my two cents on the subject.

Mark off to his first Scout Camping Trip

A little snow goes a long way

Today we received another scant of snow. We have had quite a few of these this year most of which were not even worth breaking out sleds.

Today was almost worthy so they were out in snow stuff. Maggie took Monica out this morning and they played and now Matthew is out there with Monica. Matthew tried to get the baby ready to go out and by the time she was ready she fell asleep. I love days like this they are coming in and out to do school work and getting slushy outside in the "Wintery Mix."

We are definitely jealous of our northeastern friends who are getting actual real snow. Hopefully we will get at least one real snow of the year so the kids can enjoy their new front lawn and their dad and brake in the new tractor.