Menu Plans

Hey – it’s Monday….and by special request from Mary – here’s our menu plans for the week.  Many recipes are from skinnytaste.com

Monday: Pork Chops with Salsa-Cream Sauce

Tuesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu

Wednesday: Roasted Turkey

Thursday: Turkey Enchiladas with homemade tortillas

Friday: Broiled Salmon with Rosemary

Saturday: Tacos with homemade tortillas

Sunday: Big lunch at church and leftovers for  dinner

Sides are: salad, peas, stuffed Red Bliss Potatoes, Baked zuchhini, rice, baked potatoes and more salad.

I just finished making 24 giant belgian waffles for the boys to eat for breakfast and plan on making bagels after we run to the dentist. Muffins are on the baking list this week, too. I made 1o pans of cinnamon rolls that are in the freezer already.

Lunches are leftovers and sandwiches. Except for Sunday. Yeah, for Sunday!!

Desserts are: crepes, banana cream pie mousse, cheesecake mousse and cinnamon apple crisp (without the raisins – I would have a revolt on my hands if I added those)

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changing

I don’t know if you know this, but in April I turned the big 4-0. It’s true. I really did. I was blessed to celebrate with friends and family near and far and had a great time. I like being 40. I have felt 40 for some time, so it was no biggie. I have noticed some changes, though.

1) I think I might need bifocals. I have to take my glasses off to read things like a menu or a book. Weird. I also haven’t been able to wear contacts well since I moved down to the bottom of the earth (okay, really it’s just the bottom of the US…) I don’t know if that is because it’s so humid or because of my eyes.

2) I have started needing a lot more sleep. I used to be one of those people who didn’t need much sleep. I stayed up late and was fine the next day. No more. I am having a hard time waking up after 9-10 hours of sleep. What’s up with that?

2 1/2) I am taking naps. Really wrong. The only time this has ever occurred is when I was on a long car trip or when I was pregnant. Since I am neither of those things, I can only assume it’s the age.

3) I don’t listen to the radio. I simply don’t want the noise in the car most of the time. I think this may change when I don’t have the three amigos in my ride all the time, but who knows? I love music. I love LOUD music. Weird.

4) (possibly the most important) Something changed in my mind. It was strange. It was like an epiphany. I am tired of being a chunky monkey. That’s my cute way of saying I’m tired of being fat. I hate it. I have hated it. I gained weight in the months we have been down here and I hated it. I had a moment of clarity one day and something snapped in my brain. Maybe it was early dementia, but I don’t care because I am losing weight and loving it. I am still cooking like before. Healthy, homemade foods, but I am losing weight. This makes me very happy. I am hoping for a moment of clarity where I suddenly have the urge to exercise, but I don’t know if that is asking too much.

In the midst of our craziness – not knowing where we are going to live next month, etc. It’s nice to have some things settled in my mind: I’m older and proud of it. I love my family. I love my friends. God is good to me – ALL THE TIME.

~Janna

The things we do for love…

It’s Monday. That usually means big baking for me. Today, I just can’t will myself to do it. I keep hesitating to put anything into the big freezer because we don’t know when we are going to have to move. It’s the pits.  I have been working on our menu plan, though.  Wanna hear it?

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday: Turkey Sausage and tomato sauce over pasta

Wednesday: Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Thursday: Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce

Friday: Tacos

Saturday: Salmon Croquettes

Sunday: BBQ Chicken on the Grill

On Saturday, I made a delicious Rosemary Roasted Chicken in the oven. Today, I got to do one of my least favorite things IN THE WORLD…debone it. It’s gross. It’s disgusting. I feel like a wolf. I hate it.  I had the angel on one shoulder saying, “Janna, you are jsut like Nourishing Traditions. This is so good for your family. You are frugal, you are giving your children minerals from making this stock.” The devil on the other shoulder was saying, “This is seriously gross. Just go buy some chicken nuggets at Sam’s Club.”

I struggled today. I really did. Most days, cooking healthfully (is that even a word?) is easy and enjoyable. But that’s when I am not peeling cold chicken skin away from the bone. I persevered. It is on the stove in my gorgeous dutch oven cooking away. I will make a yummy stock and then tonight – a chicken pot pie. I may change that idea if Carter gets wind of what I am planing. HE thinks chicken pot pie is evil and the same thing as telling a lie to children because one time he saw Rachael Ray say how you could sneak veggies into it and the “kiddos will never know.” This bothered my Carter. He is all about what is fair and right and just.  I might have to make chicken and dumplings – which will be yummy, too. I do love my baby…

When Tommy and I were newlyweds, I made chicken and dumplings often. They were cheap and they were easy because I made them with Bisquick. We liked it. I felt like a grown-up when I made it. I don’t make it too often anymore, so it could be a real treat. I think I just changed my menu plan for tonight!! 🙂

I’ve got some homeschool stuff on ebay that is ending as I type this. I was so hopeful. I was already counting my chickens before they hatched. The first item had 12 watchers and didn’t sell. What a bummer!! I hate that.

In other blogging categories, I think I am going to make salted caramel brownies that I saw on the pioneerwoman.com  They sounded so very yummy. Just what we need to top off chicken and dumplings, don’t you think? If you make them, let me know!!

~Janna

Running with scissors

It’s Friday. And it’s hot out. Actually, it’s been mighty warm for pretty much every day since we moved here last July. I think we did NOT run the air for 2 weeks – maybe 3-but that’s it.  Anyhow,  it’s hot and sticky and Friday and I woke up thinking one thing: GO TO THE BEACH!!

Mr Darcy (who is the same guy as Mr Wonderful, unless I am talking about directions, in which case he’s my GPS unit) Ahem, Mr Darcy only has to work half days on Fridays (being that Sunday is a workday and all), so last year, we started our Friday tradition of going to the Island (that’d be South Padre Island to you outta towners).  He was at the office for a bit longer than his usual Friday time, but no worries – we ate lunch without him after my sweet boys mowed the lawn and I cleaned the house.  Mr BigStuff (that’d be the same guy as Mr Darcy and Mr Wonderful) got home around 2:00 today and we were off!

Let me backtrack to last year for just a moment. Walk with me in my mind….

Last year, we were newbies at the whole, I-live-here-and-can-go-to-the-beach-anytime-I-want-so-our-supplies- and-routine-are-different-now thing. We had some basic stuff: 2 beach chairs, 6 camping chairs for guests, beach towels, and sunscreen, etc. We also had a beach umbrella.  After our first weekend here, the beach umbrella got caught in a gust of wind and broke completely apart.  We bought another 8-dollar umbrella the next week at one of the beach shops-no problemo.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed, or you’ve never seen me in real life, you should know that I am pale. Really, really pale. Freckled and pale. I don’t tan. I tried in high school. I even applied ghastly amounts of baby oil to my body with hopes I would suddenly forget about burning and just get crazy tan.  It never happened.  I’m now older and wiser and cantankerous. I don’t like to lay out. I don’t like to burn. I don’t like to be hot. It wrecks my beach time. I say all of this to give you some background on why the umbrella is such a vital factor to my beach experience.

Every week, we would stare at the other people at the beach and see what all they brought. Many people had these fold-up cabana things. We watched them set them up – there are at least three different kinds – and watched them take them down. We planned, we schemed, we dreamed of having one for our very own.  We said to each other, next year, we are totally getting one of those. We knew exactly which one we wanted. We imagined perfect Fridays under our perfect cabana that never turned inside out with a wind gust and kept Janna pale and happy.

At Christmas, my wonderful parents gifted me with a new beach umbrella, beach hats and beach bag. I am very stylish. This beach umbrella was supposed to be awesome.  It had a little kicky-thing that you used to drive it into the sand and it tilted and had polka dots. Who doesn’t like polka dots at the beach?  Today was the first time to use it because we still don’t have that cabana. (Insert frowny face here)

We arrive  and I begin to set up my lair. Book, cute hat, water bottle..and finally, the umbrella. I take the bottom part and attempt to force it into the sand with the little kicky-thing. It moved about 1/4 inch. My man was afraid he’d break it if he tried (a reasonable fear, given his size and strength) and oldest son was chomping at the bit to give it a whirl. Oldest son moved it another 2 inches. Hubby couldn’t take this so he gave it a gentle shove with his foot and it went in about 6 inches. I inserted the top half and climbed oh-so-gracefully underneath so I could open the polka dot umbrella.

As I heard the melodious “click” of the umbrella locking into the bottom half, a hurricane force wind came out of nowhere.  Like a heat-seeking missile, the wind pinpointed my exact location and blew my umbrella. This would be the end of my story had I not had a viselike grip on the umbrella pole. Because of this, I was hoisted out of my chair about 4 feet, still holding the umbrella. I couldn’t stop myself. It was like a Mary Poppins blooper reel. But with less singing and dancing penguins.  I finally landed smack on my tailbone in the sand (which wasn’t actually soft, like you might be thinking) and still couldn’t let go of the umbrella, for some reason. I was wrestling the wind for my polka-dot umbrella and I was losing.

Finally, my oldest had to release my hand from the pole as my husband pulled me (again, ever so gracefully) from the sand. It wasn’t pretty. My tailbone throbbed. I wanted to cry from the pain, but the boys were all looking at me with the strangest expressions on their faces. It was as if they couldn’t decide if it was okay to laugh at Mom for the Tigger bounce across the beach she just did, or find me an ice pack for my nether-regions. I had only a moment to decide I couldn’t cry and whine, so I laughed. Relieved, they did too. I prayed no one nearby saw me. My super-sensitive man just shook his head at me. I am going to believe he still finds me cute and adorable after this.

Would you believe I tried that umbrella again? I did. The next time, I didn’t have it so high so the wind couldn’t find it. Mr Wonderful asked if I liked it in my umbrella cave. I couldn’t even see the water. I finally took the whole thing down and threw caution into the wind (did you catch that?) and sat in the sun. We had a great time.

My rear end still hurts. I’ll probably need to take some Advil. I don’t have a sunburn. We had a great time. I love the beach. It makes me so happy. I love Fridays. I love the beach. (did I already say that?) We really have to buy that cabana….

~Janna

Swirling Whirling

Last weekend I went to a ladies’ conference in Laredo, Texas. This was a four-hour drive in a SUV filled to the brim with women-some of them strangers to me. We had a great time during the ride as well as during the weekend.

When I returned home, Mr Wonderful and the mini-wonders met me at our church to take me home.  We arrived home approximately 8 minutes later and Mr Wonderful asked me, “Do you want to hear about the weekend, or do you want the bad news?”  What kind of question is that?  Since the house was still standing and none of the boys has a broken leg or stitches, I politely inquired about the bad news while holding my breath.

“Our landlord called right before we came to get you. We have to move by the end of the month because she is losing the house.” Mr Wonderful looked at me with his beautiful hazel eyes filled with questioning as he told me this. How would I react? What could I say? I think I replied with something close to, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

My first paragraph told you where I had been and what I had been doing, but I don’t know if you read between the lines of ladies’ conference: this means virtually no sleep. Seriously. I think I got in a full 3.5 hours. We stayed up late. We double-slept in double beds. Alarms went off at the wrong times. And am I the only one who gets super paranoid that her alarm won’t work when she really, really needs it to? I was also super paranoid about snoring. Not anyone else’s – mine. So far, I am pretty sure I’m not a serious offender unless I am 1) pregnant or 2)sick. Mr Wonderful gently (ha) informs me that this might not always be the case, so I worry when I do these kinds of trips. I was also paranoid that I would awake to find myself wrapped around the other lady in the bed with me – forgetting I was not at home with my hubby in our supersized bed. I DID NOT GET MY BEAUTY REST PEOPLE. This is what I am saying.

Meanwhile, back at the house that isn’t ours and is about to really not be ours….I took in the information, rolled over and fell asleep in my big bed, not worrying if I snored or cuddled or if the alarm ever went off again. I am pretty sure this was not the response he was looking for, but it was all I had to give. When we woke up Sunday morning, it was all hands on deck to get ready for church.  We didn’t have a chance to discuss the house until Sunday night after dinner. This is when we discussed our options. We came to the consensus that those options were:  a) move or   b) move.

Folks, I should mention that the rental market is not too great down here. It’s hard to find a rental house in a safe location that has the space we need at the price we need. We have been renting and want to continue to rent for a while for several reasons; the most important being we don’t really know where we want to live (neighborhoods, neighboring towns, etc) and haven’t taken the time to explore our city in that way. Mr Wonderful doesn’t like to be rushed. 🙂

My head is swirling. My thoughts are whirling.  When I think about all the possibilities that might be headed our way. I can’t even dwell on them. It’s too much. But it all boils down to: do I trust that it’s all going to work out? The answer is yes. Yes, I believe we’ll find a place to live. Yes, I believe we can survive moving twice in one year. Yes, I can believe we’ll see our deposit money again. Yes, we can find a house with a great yard and the rooms we think we need. Yes, we are still on the right path-headed the right direction-following the instructions we have been given. Yes, I will trust. Yes, I will believe. Yes.

I’ll keep you posted.

~Janna

Gratituesday – the big comfy green chair and more

It’s 9am and I have been up for over 5 hours. Anyone who knows me well is asking, “Did Janna have a trip planned today?”  That’s about the only thing I am willing to wake up early for (unless I’m actually on vacation- weird, I know).  So, I woke up several times during the night and finally at 4 am, I was up. UGH.

Yesterday, I was taking stock of my family room furniture. It was easy to slip into despair. That room just doesn’t look like “me”. Thanks for not saying I look like a couch. Seriously, I don’t feel like it reflects my personality at all. I’m not a natural at decorating, but I know what I like and what I don’t. So, I’m looking around, discouraged at the furnishings and getting more and more depressed. Now, before I go on, let me remind you that every upholstered piece of furniture in this room was given to us. Blessings, each one. Our old leather family room furniture didn’t make the move with us. We felt like that was best. It was rough looking. Alright, it was really rough looking. I was prepared to sit on folding camp chairs until we could get something new and was even pondering if we could sit on large cushions on the floor like the Bedoin.

Two weeks before we moved, my inlaws asked us if we wanted their leather furniture set. We said YES and were so thrilled to know we’d have something to sit on.  At Christmas, we were given a matching green recliner as well as another oversized chair.

With all these free blessings, I was still managing to complain to God. How come my room didn’t look like the Pottery Barn Catalog? Why doesn’t it reflect me – the keeper of the home? I was choosing to focus on what I thought was missing, rather than on what was overflowing! I thought I’d use the “Keeper of the Home” title to make myself seem more spiritual…but I don’t think I was fooling anyone.

Back to the wee hours of this morning. I stumbled downstairs. I guessed God wanted to talk to me since He wasn’t letting me stay asleep. I went straight to that recliner. You  know, the one I was complaining about yesterday? I curled up in the comfy seat and opened my Bible. I read. I prayed. I read some more. All the while, so relaxed and comfortable in my family room. I thanked the Giver of life for the precious 4 asleep upstairs and thanked Him again for my hand-me-down furniture. It may not reflect who I am, but the 4 who join me in that room each day and night do reflect who I am. Good and bad. It was an eye-opener for me. (And who doesn’t need that in the early hours?!)

I’m grateful for the generosity of those who could have sold their like-new furniture on Craigslist, but instead gave it away to us. I am grateful for the 3 boys who are doing their school on that furniture this morning. I am grateful for the amazing man I am married to who starts each day sitting on that furniture and talking with the Lord. I am thankful for the new friends who have joined us at our new house in our new town and sat on that furniture. Funny how the Pottery Barn furniture never has anyone sitting on it in the catalog, huh?

~Janna

I linked this post to the Heavenly Homemakers website. www.HeavenlyHomemakers.com