Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

How do you feed 15 middle school boys?

This coming weekend, we are hosting 15 Middle School boys for their Walking Wisely Weekend through Browns Bridge Community Church. Wow! I am going to be in extreme food prep mode all week.

These are kids that are used to eating and drinking LOTS of processed food and drinks…which I try REALLY hard not to serve any more. I’ve already made the concession to buy soda ( 😦 ), but I want them to have lots of other options too. So I’m going to be making sweet tea concentrate and lemonade, and have lots of water bottles available. That way, they at least have healthier options around – which could make all the difference. 🙂

For the food…well, I could really, really use an infusion of ideas. We will be serving a post-session large snack on Friday night, Saturday morning breakfast, Saturday lunch, snacks all throughout, and Sunday morning breakfast. Here are the recipes I’ve compiled thus far, most of which have some component that I can get ready days in advance and throw into the freezer.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

Slab Apple Pie

Homemade Sandwich Rolls (I figured I’d also buy some different kinds of deli meats and cheeses).

Freezer Biscuits

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Veggie tray with Homemade Ranch Dressing (again, they need non-sweet, non-junk options, people!) 😉

BUT, I still need some lunch ideas. Here’s where you come in. If you could PLEASE share some tasty, healthy options that will appeal to 6th grade boys, I would be most grateful! Also, if you have any other easy, tasty snack ideas, please share those, too.  Comment below with your ideas, your web sites, or your Pinterest pins.

 

 

Advertisements
4 Comments »

Goals Update #1

On Saturday, January 18, I typed up the following list of goals for 2014:

  • Read through the entire Bible. (Already started this and using this plan: http://www.mgefc.org/476652.ihtml)
  • Participate in the T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge, starting January 25 and running through March 25.
  • Incorporate regular guitar practice into my week.
  • Complete the Couch to 5K program. (Yup, trying this one again.)
  • Organize our house and downsize our stuff, one room at a time. (I’m currently working on our great room and it looks GREAT! heh…you see what I did there, yes?)
  • Get the hang of and follow the Trim Healthy Mama program while working with my food sensitivities.
  • Keep in touch with my NC friends via letters, cards, and postcards.
  • Start and maintain a home management system such as the one outlined here: Motivated Moms Chore Planner.
  • Continue to home school our children and interface with our home school support group on a regular basis.
  • Participate in the Scripture Memory Project for this year.

I just wanted to give an update and hold myself to a quasi-form of accountability. (Even if no one else reads this, at least the process of putting together a post helps refresh the goals in my brain!) 🙂

I’ve gotten a little behind, but I’m still plugging away.

Due to some rules that I don’t have time/energy to accomplish, I am unofficially participating in this. I did the Instructional 1 workout last night and plan to continue for the next 13 days, for a full 14 day boot camp. At the end of the 14 days, I will determine whether or not to continue on every day or every other day.

  • Incorporate regular guitar practice into my week.

This one I still need to work on. I had a guitar lesson yesterday which involved more talking than playing. I hadn’t been able to find any of my music that I was supposed to be working on and assumed that the kids had been rifling through my case. I found them last night in a pile of papers. /sigh

I have been walking on the treadmill four times in the last ten days. Not awesome, but it beats zero! hehe…and I still need to print the treadmill program out and tape it to the whiteboard where N and I are currently engaged in a friendly walking competition. I reactivated my NikePlus account and have been uploading my walks there.

  • Organize our house and downsize our stuff, one room at a time. (I’m currently working on our great room and it looks GREAT! heh…you see what I did there, yes?)

I’m still working on the Great Room. I’ve been able to move a lot of stuff out of there – but now I need to organize it where it is. (And seriously…I would LOVE to finally, 12 years later, get a wedding album done!)

  • Get the hang of and follow the Trim Healthy Mama program while working with my food sensitivities.

This has been a work in progress. I’ve been following the program to the best of my understanding, but I’ve been including some different grains and dairy products that are affecting me in negative ways. My right foot is swelling again on a semi-regular basis and my digestion is not exactly awesome. Must do more research!

  • Keep in touch with my NC friends via letters, cards, and postcards.

I’ve got about ten different postcards started. I need to finish and address them.

I purchased this last week and printed out the month of January. It’s been great to read through for ideas, but I’ve absolutely not fully implemented it yet.

I’ve started printing out daily To Do lists for our oldest two children. This has been a huge help to me as I can continually refer them back to the list instead of having to try to figure things out on the fly. I’m all for some spontaneity, but this was starting to choke me a bit. Due to illness, we had to cancel a playdate on Monday, miss Clover Buds (a Jr. 4-H program) on Tuesday, and were unable to attend the regularly scheduled co-op on Thursday.

I have memorized the first two verses for this, but have not yet connected with either of my Facebook ladies via Skype to recite them to each other.

Oh! And a goal that didn’t make it on to the list was to participate in Jon Acuff‘s Empty Shelf Challenge. I’ve already read my first book for it, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews. It was, without a doubt, a book that I think *everyone* should read.

One more thing: I’m going to set a goal of finding a local mentor. I’ve been struggling emotionally in some areas and I know that is not where God has for me to stay. I also know that God moved us for a reason and that I need to find contentment in the knowledge that He is good and that His plans are good – even when I can’t see it. I need to look to the future instead of grieving for the past. It’s hard. Some days, it’s really, really hard. I need someone here who can look me in my tear-stained eyes and tell me, in love, to get over it.

So, there we are. I imagine that I’ll be using this as a template for the rest of the updates. You know…those updates that I’ll be writing into my new Motivated Moms Planner so I don’t forget them like I did last year. 😉

Instead of a “Peace out!”, let’s shoot for this:

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV)

Have a great week, y’all!
Jessica

2 Comments »

Family Meal Plan: 1/26 – 2/1

So…last Monday, three of my four kids were diagnosed with strep throat. Boo.

And it means that I, who really, really dislikes non-trauma related medical intervention (I’m SO thankful for modern medicine in emergencies!) have had all four of my wee ones on antibiotics for almost a week now. 😦

This has been helpful in that it finally got me to break open that package of dehydrated water kefir grains that have been staring me down for the better part of a year. (Thanks for the prodding, Heather!) 😉

Why is that important? Quite simply, the probiotics.

Antibiotics kill bacteria. All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. BUT, it does NOT kill off any type of fungal population – think the Candida fungus found in every. single. one. of us. This leaves our digestive track open to increased fungal activity as the balance between fungus and bacteria is completely upended in the fungus’s favor. (Ladies, this is why yeast infections are an EXTREMELY common side effect of antibiotic usage.)

This is why I’ve been trying to actively pump my kids full of probiotics in between their antibiotic dosings. I’ve been giving them dairy kefir every day as well as probiotic capsules emptied out onto a spoon for them. I started the water kefir after a pep talk and was actually able to give them some a couple days in a row due to a generous friend. This *should* allow their systems to not be quite as devastated by the antibiotics and give them both a head’s up in healing and repopulating their guts (aka the intestinal parts of the digestive system) thus keeping the (very necessary in the right proportions) candida at bay.

It also much easier than trying to get them to take my oil of oregano/grapefruit seed extract drink! 😉

Sunday, January 26 – serving at the 6 p.m. service

Breakfast: Fried eggs and bread
Lunch: Leftovers and sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Tend to milk kefir grains, water kefir grains, and sourdough. Start loaf of sourdough bread and sourdough pancake batter.

Monday, January 27

Breakfast: Sourdough Pancakes and fried plantains
Lunch: PB&J’s
Dinner:
Gluten-free breaded and fried catfish, steamed broccoli, and Brussels sprout salad

Tasks:  Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough. Soak oats for breakfast. Bake bread. Make more Sweet Onion Poppyseed dressing.

Tuesday, January 28

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers (or sandwiches…as there usually isn’t any catfish left over. 😉 )
Dinner: Sauteed Zucchini/yellow squash/chicken over rice (quinoa for me)

Tasks:  Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough. Check on kombucha. Pull a chicken from the freezer. Make mayonnaise.

Wednesday, January 29 – Dad’s work from home day with in town lunch meeting.

Breakfast: Fried eggs, biscuits and breakfast sausage
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Roasted chicken, potatoes/sweet potatoes, and green beans

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough. Make a quadruple batch of biscuits for freezer biscuits. Make fruit salad and soak oats for breakfast. Pull pita bread from the freezer.

Thursday, January 30 –  p.m. Small Group

Breakfast: Oatmeal and fruit salad topped with yogurt
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Chicken salad and pita bread

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough.

Friday, January 31

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, breakfast links, and freezer biscuits
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Tilapia, cheesy cauliflower, and green beans

Tasks: Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough. Soak flour for pita bread

Saturday, February 1

Breakfast: Pancakes or Waffles*, Chef’s Choice
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Egg salad and pita bread

Tasks: Make new meal plan. Go grocery shopping. Tend to milk and water kefir grains and sourdough.

 

*It’s pretty much going to always be pancakes for the next little while. Our waffle maker was Nathan’s waffle maker before we were married – going on 12 years ago! It is now flaking stuff off of the iron part and we’re not really sure what it is. So, until we get a new waffle iron (because Black & Decker doesn’t sell replacement parts – boo), we’re in a pancake-only season.

1 Comment »

Family Meal Plan, 1/19-1/25

I’m serving at the 6 tonight, so I’m hoping to get my THM meal plan done afterwards. 🙂

Sunday, January 19 – serving at the 6 p.m. service

Breakfast: Leftover pancakes and fried eggs
Lunch: Leftovers and sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers and cornbread

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough. Start loaf of sourdough bread. Make back up sourdough starters. Finish almond milk.

Monday, January 20 – Finding out whether we’re hosting for Walking Wisely Weekend or not. Playdate at 10:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Grapefruit and yogurt, Fisherman’s Breakfast
Lunch: PB&J’s
Dinner:
Crock Pot Lentil Vegetable Soup and biscuits

Tasks:  Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough. Soak oats for breakfast. Pull a chicken out of the freezer to thaw.

Tuesday, January 21 – Clover Buds, early p.m., guitar lesson, late p.m.

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Roasted Chicken, potatoes, and salad

Tasks:  Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough. Check on kombucha. Start pita bread.

Wednesday, January 22

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, biscuits and banana smoothies
Lunch: Pita bread with hummus and carrot sticks.
Dinner: 
Pizza with salami and black olives

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough. Make a quadruple batch of biscuits for freezer biscuits. Soak oats for breakfast.

Thursday, January 23 – a.m. Homeschool group, p.m. Small Group

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Leftovers

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough.

Friday, January 24

Breakfast: Fried eggs and biscuits
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Spaghetti (squash) and meatballs

Tasks: Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough. Roast spaghetti squash.

Saturday, January 25

Breakfast: Pancakes or Waffles, Chef’s Choice
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Chicken/veggie stirfry

Tasks: Make new meal plan. Tend to milk kefir grains and sourdough.

1 Comment »

Goals – because I *need* them

Goals.

Last year I set very lofty ones. Goals for reading. Goals for life. Goals for this and that and the other thing.

Some of them happened. Most of them did not.

Ironically, imo anyway, is that most of those that I did not accomplish – I didn’t even notice that I hadn’t accomplished them until this year.

Why did it take me so long to notice that my goals had completely fallen by the wayside?

Because I stopped looking at them. I stopped paying attention to them. I got busy with life and didn’t focus on making or having a plan.

I got sick in February and stopped running/working through the Couch to 5K program. My baby started walking and getting into everything. I had to start doing more reacting and responding and did not take the time to organize.

I did continue meal planning. I did determine that I had a lot of food sensitivities and start accommodating them. I did lose 25 lbs. I did start officially home schooling my two oldest children. I did get plugged into a serving position at our new church as well as a small group. I did have someone tell me to my face that she thought I was struggling with a little bit of depression. I did realize that she was right. heh…keepin’ it real, folks. Keepin’ it real.

So…all of that being said, here is a list of different things I would like to do for 2014:

  • Read through the entire Bible. (Already started this and using this plan: http://www.mgefc.org/476652.ihtml)
  • Participate in the T-Tapp 60 Day Challenge, starting January 25 and running through March 25.
  • Incorporate regular guitar practice into my week.
  • Complete the Couch to 5K program. (Yup, trying this one again.)
  • Organize our house and downsize our stuff, one room at a time. (I’m currently working on our great room and it looks GREAT! heh…you see what I did there, yes?)
  • Get the hang of and follow the Trim Healthy Mama program while working with my food sensitivities.
  • Keep in touch with my NC friends via letters, cards, and postcards.
  • Start and maintain a home management system such as the one outlined here: Motivated Moms Chore Planner.
  • Continue to home school our children and interface with our home school support group on a regular basis.
  • Participate in the Scripture Memory Project for this year.

These are my personal goals. As I’ve been praying recently, the word that keeps coming to mind for this year is “Focus.” Those of you who’ve been with me for awhile may notice that there are no web design goals or other out there goals. I’m feeling the need to focus instead of bouncing from interest to interest like a ping pong ball and having just as little impact. This is definitely a challenge for me, but I know it will yield good results. And that those results are not just going to benefit me, but our next generation as my children see me focus and hopefully internalize how to do so. You know, the old “More is caught than taught?” Or the old “Monkey see, Monkey do?” We’ve GOT to be intentional in the seeds that we sow. As believers, we know that if we don’t take the time to sow good and godly seed, there’s an enemy lurking nearby who will gladly sow destruction in the fallow ground of our children’s hearts.

Here are a couple of different links that have helped me lately:

So…if anybody’s out there reading this, please holler at me with your own list. And if you don’t periodically see updates on this periodically, holler again. I’ll both appreciate it and reciprocate, should you like.

 

Leave a comment »

Menu Plan, 1/12 – 1/18

This is the family’s meal plan only. As I’m now working through getting a grasp on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, my meals are frequently very different from theirs. My goal is to create a meal plan for me, too, but that’s not going to be happening today.

Sunday, January 12

Breakfast: Peaches and Cream French Toast (We have bread again – hooray!)
Lunch: PB&J’s
Dinner: Cheesy Pasta with Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Chicken.

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch. Boil eggs. Tend to milk kefir grains.

Monday, January 13 – Mom’s Meeting

Breakfast: Biscuits and Banana smoothies
Lunch: Tuna salad sandwiches
Dinner:
Taco salads

Tasks:  Thaw out pintos. Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk kefir grains. Make a quadruple batch of biscuits for freezer biscuits.

Tuesday, January 14 – cello lesson?

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Potato Soup and Biscuits

Tasks:  Tend to milk kefir grains.

Wednesday, January 15

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and banana smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Sausage Kale stuffing (without the cranberries), broccoli/cauliflower mix

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch. Tend to milk kefir grains.

Thursday, January 16 – a.m. Homeschool group, p.m. Small Group

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Leftovers

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Tend to milk kefir grains.

Friday, January 17 go to grocery store in the a.m., look for whole chickens

Breakfast: Fried eggs and biscuits
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Crock Pot Lentil Vegetable Soup and biscuits

Tasks: Tend to milk kefir grains.

Saturday, January 18

Breakfast: Pancakes or Waffles, Chef’s Choice
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Chili and cornbread

Tasks: Make new meal plan. Tend to milk kefir grains.

Leave a comment »

Weekly Menu Plan for 1/5 – 1/11and a few notes

We’re in an interesting place this week because the yeast* that I ordered last week from Amazon still hasn’t shipped yet. I was expecting it to get here mid-week and now, I’m having to adjust the meal plan accordingly. This is cool though, as it will force me to seek out other options. Options like this one that, thankfully, came across my Facebook feed this morning.

We’re also in a tight place because it was time to order a new 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil. This puts an unusual burden on our monthly grocery budget and so there’s no more grocery money until the next paycheck. Thankfully, I was able to restock our frozen veggie supply at the beginning of the month, so the lack of fresh produce is not all that big of a deal. Instead, it’s a LOT like our “Eat Down the Pantry Challenge” that we participated in last year. I’m sure that by the end of next week, we’ll be creating all sorts of new and unusual recipes! 🙂

On a side note, our house that was for sale and vacant was just rented! This most excellent blessing allowed us to put new tires on our family’s van *and* TO PAY IT OFF!!! We were able to PAY OFF our van on the last day of 2013!!! This is HUGE. This puts us at one more debt to go (plus the two houses out of state that are currently rented and haven’t sold despite repeated attempts) and we, Lord willing, will be consumer debt free before September 2014!

We are, as I type this on my seven year old laptop, paying a price to win. We’ve been without a TV since April of 2013 when our five year old daughter threw the remote at the TV and cracked the screen. We had the most minimal of Christmases, but we got to go see our families, which was really what mattered to us. (We also got sick while we were there, but that’s another story. 😉 )

Sunday, January 5

Breakfast: Leftover Breakfast Rice and Paleo Pumpkin Muffins (Note to self: Next time, add the honey.)
Lunch: PB&J’s
Dinner: Spaghetti and oven bread

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.

Monday, January 6

Breakfast: Pumpkin Pie Casserole
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Chef salads

Tasks:  Make big salad bowl. Make french and sweet onion dressings. Pack N’s lunch.

Tuesday, January 7

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Baked Tilapia, broccoli and cauliflower

Tasks: 

Wednesday, January 8

Breakfast: Biscuits and Banana smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Zucchini fritters and salad (the kids swarmed the salad bowl! Wowzers!)

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch. Make mayonnaise.

Thursday, January 9 – a.m. Homeschool group meeting, p.m. small group for N

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Meatloaf and green peas, chocolate chip cookies and baked grapefruit for dessert

Tasks: Pack N’s lunch.  Thaw out ground beef and ground bison. Make bison sausage.

Friday, January 10

Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Salmon patties, Sweet Potato Flatbread, and green peas

Tasks: Make Gwen’s Magnesium supplement.

Saturday, January 11

Breakfast: Pancakes or Waffles, Chef’s Choice
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:
Chicken soup and biscuits

Tasks: Make new meal plan. Thaw out chicken stock.

*If you do any kind of home bread baking, this is the way to go! You save SO much money by ordering in bulk. It works extremely well (I store the extras in my freezer) and has lasted us for well over a year. At $4.50-ish/4 oz. at Wal-Mart, the same amount of yeast would be $36.00 in individual jars. That’s a $25 savings!

Leave a comment »