Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thoughts Before Naptime

I am only half-functional today, so read at your own risk. The boys & I spent the day at an amusement/ water park yesterday. It was so much fun, but I am exhausted beyond belief. Here are some random thoughts for your entertainment:

1. Should I become independently wealthy, one of the first things I am going to do is to hire a full-time nanny/personal assistant. I took our regular babysitter with us to "funland" yesterday & got a taste of how the other half lives. How much more could I enjoy my kids with some full-time help? And, it wasn't just having someone around to do the grunt work, it's little things like passing out snacks (that I usually do while I drive) that made life so much easier. I could easily see the job transitioning into someone to be my helper when the kids no longer needed hands-on care. (I'm talking about this like it's actually going to happen...)

2. If you saw me at the Wal-Marts a while ago, let me apologize if I frightened you. I know I look rough today, but it's Wal-Mart, okay?

3. While we were out, we needed to grab some lunch. The President wanted to have Chinese. When he has eaten Chinese, it has almost always been a buffet where he could try little bits & pieces of different things. I didn't know what he might order from the nearby menu-order only place, so I was describing things he might like. I said, "You would probably like sweet & sour chicken. It's fried chicken that you dip into a red sauce, kind of like chicken nuggets." He said, "Mom, I can't order American at a Chinese place...that would be disrespecting their flag." Well, duh, why didn't I think of that? We went to McDonald's because a) Fat Baby didn't want Chinese b)it's in the Wal-Mart, and c)I was ready to come home & be slovenly.

4. Potty-gate is still going strong. Fat Baby is very soon going to be four. years. old. He's not so much into the big boys go potty thing. At all. I am now potty trained--I go every 30 minutes and force him to tinkle. (Which he will do, but it has to be my idea). He has never(!) initiated a trip to the potty. Seriously. This is getting old. He is wearing underwear every day, and it is a constant battle to keep him dry. Lately, the pull-up he wears to sleep has been leaking. Big time. Not fun when said 4-year-old happens to be in your bed at the time. It was just what his diapers would do each time I had to move up to the next size. Luckily, there are Good Nights that go up to 65 pounds, because that's what he's going to be wearing tonight. And during the day, I'll just wash underpants until the cows come home and until he figures out how this all works. (Disclaimer: I did have a child who was completely potty trained with no accidents two weeks after his 3rd birthday, so this is not all my fault!) Fun times!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I actually plan my meals and shop on Saturday morning, so that's why my menu plan is Saturday-Friday. (This will most likely change when school starts back and I can shop alone(!) through the week.) This is my first "official" Menu Plan Monday post. (Hi, Organizing Junkie readers!) One of these days, I'll make something totally fabulous & share the recipe(s). If you see something here that you don't know how to make, e-mail me and I'll send you recipes/ instructions. Here's what we're eating at the Southern Fried House of Fun this week:

Saturday: steak, baked potatoes, salad

Sunday: veggie dinner--we were hoping to score some great produce at a local farmer's market, but ended up with our usual produce stand's offerings--fried okra, mashed new potatoes, coleslaw, cornbread, sliced onion & tomatoes, cucumbers marinated in olive oil & vinegar, meat totally not missed!

Desert of the week: Sunday night--homemade peach pie with fresh, locally grown peaches...yum!

Monday: teriyaki pork kabobs, rice pilaf (left-overs for my lunch work on Tuesday)

Tuesday: tacos with homemade guacamole & pico de gallo

Wednesday: the boys & mom will be at an amusement/ water park all day, and could be late getting home...dinner on your own night!

Thursday: crispy oven-baked chicken, mac & cheese, green beans

Friday: probably dinner out or pizza night


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just a reminder...

...of why being a Mom is the greatest job ever. The boys & I are lying across my bed, making a "President sandwich" (as he is the one being squished in the middle). Fat Baby puts his chubby little arms around both of us & covers us with sloppy kisses. After that it was an all-out smooch fest, which (as it always does with boys) led to a wrestling match. As we alternately grabbed, poked, and smooched each other, Fat Baby said, "You guys are the best buddy evers!"

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Train Wreck

I think my fascination with Jon & Kate Plus 8 has been pretty well documented. I've seen pretty much every episode, and I constantly record it. I will re-watch an episode I've already seen. I've gotten some good ideas from the show...and like much of America, I've had those "oh, no she did--n't!" moments regarding Kate. I will be the first one to say far be it from me to judge someone with four times(!) more kids than me. That's like 5 more Fat Babies!!!! God help me, just thinking about it! So, sometimes I will give her a pass. I've done things with the second (challenging, strong willed) kid I would not have dreamed doing with the first one. Including losing my cool a lot more.

I can relate to Kate when she snaps at her babies' daddy....because sometimes you just have to do that with the daddy people. I'm glad that there aren't cameras rolling around here all the time. The difference is I understand the concept of respect and have learned to call My Baby's Daddy out in private...and not demean him in front of other people, holler at him across a public venue, and surely not in front of millions of television viewers across the country.

But still...I watch. And I will continue to watch. I am so hooked. I won't bore you with my opinions on each and every "character" on the show, but rest assured I have opinions about all of them. I love "reality" tv.

Here's my point (and I do have one). I stumbled across a new blog last night called "What Would Kate Gosselin Do?" Automatic must-read. And when I did, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning googling and reading other blogs on the subject. I'll let you explore the internet for your own entertainment. If you watch the show, I will say that it is worth your time to review the post regarding the alleged blog by Aunt Jodi's sister....and follow the link! Great reality tv gossip & controversy! Draw your own conclusions. And leave me a comment & let me know if you're a fan of the show, too!

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Monday, July 21, 2008


I'm sitting here in the office all alone (a rare treat, definitely)...I'm doing some work, reading some blogs, and counting my blessings. God has grown me so much spiritually in the past two years, and I am excited to be on the verge of many great things in spite of great challenges my family has faced. I'm so thankful for my wonderful family. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to spend time with my boys this summer. I'm living in the moment. Thanking Him for all He has given to me.

Then, from the boys' room I hear sweet voice of my 8 year old telling his brother, "Sorry doesn't pay the rent!"

Evidence once again that God has a sense of humor.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cheap and Easy

My new lifestyle make-over is going great. It takes my type-A tendencies, love of lists, planning, and organization and smooshes it all together with saving money (a new concept, no?), quality family time, and stress reduction. I am still on board.

It took a pretty good chunk of time Saturday, but I planned my menu for the week, and then reviewed all the sale flyers, to see where I should shop for the best deals. I ended up with three grocery stops, but after spending $175.55 total, I saved $66.31!

Here's the scoop...I shopped Wal-Mart for probably 75% of my items. Paper towels, snack foods, and basic canned goods and other staple items will be cheaper there most of the time. But my local W-M store's produce and meat are horrible. I won't buy either there. I only saved a little $$ at Wal-Mart with coupons (try so my biggest savings was $1.50 off swim diapers. (Tell me about it...Fat Baby should totally not even need them any more...but you try to tell him not to poop in the YMCA pool & see how that works out for you!)

Then, I hit Winn-Dixie for my meat and produce needs. I bought two chuck roasts at $23 and one get one free. They were GINORMOUS--so, I made the investment, cut them in half, and have one for this week (recipe below) and now have THREE MORE servings in the freezer. I also bought country style ribs on buy one-get one, (more freezer stocking) which Pop will barbecue to sheer perfection!

Finally, Food World has 12-pack cans of coke products, 4 for $11. They also had a coupon in their flyer for $2 off milk (huge score!) when you buy two boxes of poptarts (2 for $5). Now, I'm stocked up with "emergency" breakfast-on-the-go food, and cheap milk.

I told My Baby's Daddy that it seemed kooky to go to three different grocery stores like some crazy coupon freak. He reminded me of the Dave Ramsey motto, "Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else." True that. Besides, all the stores are close to home and each other. I didn't really go out of my way. And by shopping on a Saturday---no kids to schlep in and out, it was pretty quick. I also had a really good list.

Here's the menu for the week, with a great easy recipe.

Sunday: grilled pork chops, rice pilaf, green beans
Monday: spaghetti with meat sauce, salad
Tuesday: country style ribs, cole slaw, corn
Wednesday: crock pot barbecue sandwiches, chips
Thursday: BLTs or gumbo (in freezer from great restaurant at the beach)
Friday: beef brisket (barbecued by Pop...yum-already in freezer) or dinner out

Crock Pot Barbecue

· 3 c. chopped celery
· 1 c. chopped onion
· 1 c. ketchup
· 1 c. barbecue sauce
· 1 c. water
· 2 Tbsp. vinegar
· 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
· 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
· 1 tsp. chili powder
· 1 tsp. salt
· ½ tsp. pepper
· ½ tsp. garlic powder
· 3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast

Combine all ingredients except roast in slow cooker. Mix well and add roast to mixture. Cover. Cook on high 6-7 hours. Remove roast, cool and shred meat. Return to sauce and heat well. Serve on hamburger buns.

This is so very easy and yummy. It's great for a group, and always gets rave reviews.

Edited to add: This is a great website with unlimited resources for organizing your world!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008 popular demand

Kind of. My friend Amy e-mailed to say she missed the blog. Only then did I realize another month had passed without a post. I am constantly blogging in my head. Too bad I didn't get it on here, y'all have missed some great stuff!

Indulge me a little while I catch you up with all the latest Southern Fried Family happenings.

I traveled out of state alone with the boys for the first time the 4th of July. My Baby's Daddy had some previous work commitments that kept him from being able to attend a great holiday weekend at my aunt's house on the lake. The road trip was pretty smooth, but being the only parent on hand with Fat Baby loose on an open body of water...not so much fun. I did get some great photos & memories...which I've been scrapbooking in my head. (I've accomplished a lot in my head, if not in real life!)

My Baby's Daddy & I enjoyed mindless appointment television by watching The Bachelorette this season. As long as creepy, stalker Jeremy didn't win I was okay with any other choice she made in the final three. I was relieved when she sent Graham home, too. She was so trying to make him be something he wasn't just because he was smokin' hot-a-licious. Eye candy does not a relationship make. I was rooting for Jason, but I'm okay with Jesse, especially since they did a little something with his hair.

In light of the recent sucky economy, I've been really paying attention to our spending and wasteful or unnecessary habits this summer. I sacrificed monthly pedicures in the name of economizing, and My Baby's Daddy gave up our lawn treatment service. I know I watch way too much Jon & Kate Plus 8, but I think that anything that works for a family of 10 could also benefit my family of 5. She feeds her family organic foods as much as possible, and takes a little time & effort to not just give them cheap crap.

One thing that really makes things easier for me is planning menus. I found a template on this website for simple menu planning. It makes shopping more efficient & helps my week flow more smoothly. I write any scheduled events on that day's grid (baseball 6:00 p.m., picnic lunch at pool, etc.) So I can look over the week & see that dinner should be easy & early on Tuesday, and I need to have sandwich ingredients on hand for Monday and Wednesday. Since I usually work on Tuesdays, I try to plan a dinner with left-overs Monday night to take for lunch. I've also been concentrating on using the perishable items I purchase each week. I actually made banana bread on Sunday rather than letting some fruit go bad & throwing it away.

I really feel good about making things fresh for my family instead of buying the quickest (and almost always less healthy) alternatives. It did occur to me in thinking about this lifestyle make-over....Kate is kind of forced to be at home all the darn time. Not the Southern Fried boys & me...if we get the house clean, we've gotta hit the door before somebody (or two somebodies) trashes it again. We like to get out & do things together. It's very do-able to participate in lots of fun activities with only two boys. If it took half the day to load my brood of kids in the car, I'd probably find more fun things to do with them at home. (They'd probably get more hot breakfasts & home-made treats, too....Monkey Munch anyone?)

Finally, we just celebrated The President's 8th birthday. We hosted a sleep-over with 6 boys. It was great! Even though my outdoor activities were rained out, they still had a blast. There was a karaoke talent show, movies, and lots of video games. I had the cutest red & white striped popcorn boxes for movie time...and the biggest hit of the evening was the make-your-own trail mix. I labeled red plastic cups with each boy's name & they could fill it with their choice of cereal, marshmallows, goldfish, raisins, gummy worms, milk duds, m&ms, etc. We all had so much fun. After a pancake breakfast, all the boys were picked up by 10:00 a.m.

On his actual birthday, The Pres wanted to make a new Build-a-Bear for his gift from us. So, we did that & had lunch at a Japanese steakhouse (also his choice). We were seated with a couple of older ladies who were less than thrilled to be sharing our festivities. One of them said, "Cute kids." Just like that. That was the extent of their enthusiasm. Even after Fat Baby walked in & said, "Excuse me's the President's birthday!" How could they resist?

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