Menu Plan: September 7-15

I’m back to planning lunches as well as dinners. I’ve been taking it far too easy on myself for the last several months and our lunches have turned into quick nachos in the microwave or the kids and I eat a lunchtime snack while Jason eats at the galley at work more often because I just haven’t been making lunch. How sad is that?

Friday, September 7:
Rehearsal Dinner

Saturday, September 8:
Wedding Dinner

Sunday, September 9:
Lunch – Pizza Quesadillas
Dinner – Meeting Jason at the galley since he’ll be at work on duty all night.

Monday, September 10:
Lunch – Korean Beef and white rice (I might skip the rice and just make these into tacos instead)
Dinner – Sweetangy Pork Chops, parmesan roasted potatoes, corn, and beer bread

Tuesday, September 11:
Lunch – tuna sandwiches
Dinner – Cheese Enchiladas and white rice

Wednesday, September 12:
Lunch – Lemon Parmesan Pasta
Dinner – Slow Cooker Pot Roast (I perfected this recipe and will share it as soon as I remember to take a picture!), “Crack Potatoes”, carrots

Thursday, September 13:
Brunch – I’m bringing this yummy casserole to MOPS.
Lunch – I’m sure there will be some yummy leftovers to clear out by now.
Dinner – Smoked Sausage Hash Bake

Friday, September 14:
Lunch – Queso Dip & salad (Holy moly, I’m pulling this one from the OLD archives. We haven’t had this in over two years and I’ve got a serious craving! Reminder to Self: Get it together and transfer this recipe with a real picture to your current blog. For goodness sake!)
Dinner – Chicken Fried Rice

Saturday, September 15: Jeremy comes home!!!
Lunch – BBQ Chicken Crescents (I’m going to use this recipe as a guide, but use barbeque sauce instead of buffalo and throw a little mozzarella cheese in there as well.)
Dinner – Million Dollar Spaghetti and I need to think of a special dessert. Think, think, think…

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Menu Plan: August 6 – 12

It’s been over two months since Julie joined the family and though I’ve been cooking pretty regularly since we brought her home, I have finally gotten back into the swing of menu planning.

Last weeks menu brought back some old favorites and this weeks is pulling in a few new recipes that I’ve found on Pinterest and we’re really looking forward to.

Monday, August 6:

Brunch — Blueberry Buckle (I’m going to make these up tonight because somehow it’s better eaten the day after it’s baked.)

Dinner — Chinese Lemon Chicken with veggie fried rice.

Chore — Make pizza dough for tomorrow and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

Tuesday, August 7:

Lunch — We’ll be getting home from Playgroup utterly famished (as usual), so some quick mac & cheese from the famous blue box will fill the bill perfectly.

Dinner — Homemade Pizza (another one I forgot to make last week).

Baking — Banana Nut Bread (I bought extra bananas on purpose because I knew we couldn’t eat that many and I wanted to have some get extra ripe because I’ve been seriously wanting some banana bread.)

Wednesday, August 8:

Lunch — Smoked Sausage Hash Bake (I’ve got a lot of eggs hanging around and this is a great recipe that uses up 6-8 of them.)

Dinner — Daddy’s on duty, so we’re planning to clean out some leftovers.

Thursday, August 9:

Lunch — Grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit.

Dinner — Adobo Grilled Chicken (another yummy Wildtree meal from the freezer stockpile) with brown rice and sweet corn.

Chore — Make meatballs and freeze them for tomorrow.

Friday, August 10:

Lunch — Tuna salad sandwiches with carrot sticks and dip.

Dinner — Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs with white rice.

Saturday, August 11:

Lunch — We’re going to a birthday party for a super sweet 4-year old of my friend Carey.

Dinner — Roasted Corn & Potato Chowder with breadsticks made from the same dough recipe as my Butterflake Rolls.

Sunday. August 12:

Breakfast — Sticky Lemon Rolls (Getting them made up the night before so I can just bake them off in the morning and glaze them.)

Linner — I’m going to have to give this a little bit more thought. I’m out of ideas for now.

Coast Guard Day 2012

Yesterday was Mobile’s celebration of the Coast Guard’s 222nd birthday. Jason’s base rented out the entire West End Beach on Dauphin Island and everyone gathered for a nice day at the water. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny, a little bit of a breeze, nice gentle waves.

Food and drink were provided, sno cones for cooling off, inflatable bounce houses and water slides were set up for the kids. It was lots of fun.

We brought our EZ Up tent, blankets, and chairs. I slathered Jesse in sunscreen and took him out to the edge of the sand. The same little boy who is always terrified of our pool (hangs around our necks and refuses to be let go even when he has a life jacket on) wasn’t scared in the least of the waves lapping at his feet. As the afternoon went on, it was all we could do to keep him from running headlong into the ocean. As the water rolled back, Jesse would run out to pick up seashells, and Jason had to run out to snag Jesse before the water caught up with him. A few times he sat in the wet sand and waited for the waves to come wash over him. He laughed like crazy as it splashed around him and a couple of times it was strong enough to spin him around and roll him onto his side.

Julie napped pretty much the whole time, so she and I spent most of the day together in the shade of the EZ Up. I was pleased with how well she handled the heat of the day, but not entirely surprised. I take her out into the Southern humid heat every week when we go to the park for playgroup and she’s a real trouper during hot car rides and seemingly endless errands. I figure that if you get them used to it when they’re little, they’ll mind it less and have less to complain about when they get bigger.

I can’t wait to head back out to the beach when Jeremy gets back next month. The last time we took him he was pretty scared of the waves. He’s so much bigger now and I doubt he’ll be afraid if his little brother isn’t. And next time we won’t forget all of our sand castle making supplies!

July Family Update

What a cheeky smile, and look at that big belly!

Having children is so neat, and mind-boggling. You spend months growing them inside you and waiting for them to arrive, then they’re here and you instantly wonder how they were ever not a part of the family because it seems like they’ve always been there. Then the days start flowing together because you’re a very sleep-deprived parent and suddenly, BAM!, they’re already 2 months old and you ask your husband how that happened!

Julie turned 2 months old last Wednesday and had her check-up the next day. My big girl gained two pounds since her 1-month check-up, weighing in at just over 14 pounds. She also grew two inches and is now two feet long. Julie has been flashing us her precious smile for a while, but I very rarely catch it on camera. She also loves when we talk with her, Julie gets very chatty in the evening just before bed time.

After catching up with our favorite doctor (we’re so lucky to have our primary care physician also happen to be a good friend) my poor girl had to get her first round of shots. She had the one in the hospital after she was born, but since then she hasn’t had any until today. Julie cried through three shots and one oral vaccine; Jesse was very concerned about why his baby was so upset. It was sweet to see him caring for her so much. For being such a good big brother the nurse gave him a squeezy toy whale and two stickers (one even had Elmo – his favorite) which he decided were band-aids like Julie’s. He stuck them on his thighs and proceeded to cry and limp like he was the one who got the shots. My sweet little empath! (I also had to buy him a small bag of bite-size Oreos at the drug store because he was hugging and kissing his sister to keep her happy.)

We’ve also been asking ourselves lately how Jesse got so big all of a sudden. It doesn’t seem like it’s been over two years since we brought him home.

It’s been a slow and steady process to get Jesse from co-sleeping with us all night, to nursing to sleep and staying most of the night in his bed, then to rocking to sleep and sleeping all night in his room, to where we’re at now which is falling asleep in his own bed. This is a HUGE deal for him. It takes 30-45 minutes each night for Jason to work his routine with Jesse, but it is successful and the boy is getting used to falling asleep in there. I crocheted Jesse an Elmo doll (his favorite character) and having that to snuggle with seems to have helped greatly at bedtime. Hopefully he’ll be laying down and falling asleep on his own soon without needing us to stay in the room with him. Before long he and Jeremy will have the same bedtime routine and our evenings will be so much easier!

For now, since Daddy is master of the night time routine, I still get my one-on-one time rocking my boy to sleep for his mid-day nap. Well, it’s not always one-on-one because there have been a couple of times when Jesse *needed* to snuggle but Julie also *needed* to be held as well, so I rocked them both!

For the most part, Jesse and Julie nap at the same time and I don’t have trouble with them during the day. However, sometimes their schedules don’t always match up. There have been a few instances when Julie just could not wait for her feeding and I had no choice but to let Jesse stay up a little longer. He will usually wear himself out a bit more, get sleepy and let me rock him or he’ll fall asleep in any number of positions on the sofa. This is how I found him just yesterday:

Poor kiddo just rocked himself to sleep. I have a million more pictures of how I’ve found him, but I’ll save those for another time. Nap time changes every day because I never really know how it’s going to go down. It’s usually around the same time, but the method is different. I feel like I’ve focused mostly on Jesse’s sleeping, but that is currently our major battle, so that’s what’s on my mind. After bedtime and naptime are conquered, we’ll move on to potty training. Dun Dun Dun!!!

Jesse’s vocabulary is growing day by day. He picks up new words all the time and is learning to string them into longer sentences than he was just a couple of weeks ago. He is really good at telling us what he wants (and doesn’t want), describing things, expressing some general feelings, and just pretty much talking all the time. He also has started loving books and brings us big stacks to read. I love when he picks out one that we’ve read a million times and he shushes me. He doesn’t want me to read, just turn the pages for him and he tells me (in his best 2-year old way) what is happening on the page. He’s such a character! I love watching this big huge personality develop out of a small person.

Jeremy is currently at his dad’s house in California, but he has grown by leaps and bounds over the summer as well. Most of this past year we worked specifically on reading (sounding-out words and using sight words) and math (adding and subtracting). So over the late spring and early summer while he was here, we completed a workbook meant to be a summer bridge for kids going from kindergarten to first grade. He flew through it and enjoyed most everything. I’m looking forward to checking out curriculum for first grade so we can start on that in September.

By the way, can someone please tell me how my firstborn, my tiny baby, is suddenly almost 6 years old?!?! I am flabbergasted, utterly astonished, every time I think about it. This picture is from back in May, but it shows my favorite side of this kid. He is so funny (weird knock-knock jokes and all), and surprises me all the time with how smart he is. But my favorite part of him is his total goofiness. He can be extremely moody, but his goofiness always comes through eventually and totally knocks me out. 🙂

So, that’s us in a nutshell! Our happy life is going along pretty well as we take things day by day. We’re still enjoying living in Mobile. Even though we do miss our family and friends in California all the time, we’ve got great friends here as well as well as some who have moved on to other places. Thank goodness for Facebook! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here for 3 years already and are beginning our last year of this tour. Three houses in three years, whew! Military families really are professional movers. Around this time next year we’ll be packing up and moving to some other place. Coast Guard life is exciting!

Menu Plan: July 29 – August 4

It has been a long long time since I posted a menu plan here. I always make one, and lately we’ve been trying to eat from our pantry and deep freezer as much as possible, but I seem to constantly fail at posting it.

This week I’m pretty proud of myself because I’ve got some yummy stuff on the menu…

Sunday, July 29:

Lunch — Leftover pizza from Mellow Mushroom and nachos.

Dinner — Korean Beef and brown rice (I honestly can’t believe how well-received this was when I made it a couple of weeks ago. It’s just ground beef and a couple of other ingredients, but it was SO good!)

Monday, July 30:

Lunch — Mac & Cheese

Dinner — Spanish Garlic Chicken (Wildtree seasoning), mashed potatoes, and sweet corn.

Tuesday, July 31:

Lunch — Tuna salad sandwiches and applesauce

Dessert — Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (some for us and some for Jason to take on his night flight at work).

Dinner — Penne with meat sauce (with some left over for Jason to take to work for lunch).

Wednesday, August 1:

Lunch — Grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips

Dinner — Balsamic Chicken, lemon potatoes, carrots, Blueberry Buckle, and fresh whipped cream. I’ll be cooking up all of this earlier in the afternoon to take over to my good friend Becca. They just added another beautiful girl to their family a week ago and our local military spouses’ club has a Sunshine Committee that volunteers to help out families when they could use a few blessings.

Thursday, August 2:

Lunch — Hot dogs and homemade fries.

Dinner — Barbacoa tacos (I haven’t made this is *forever*) and fruit cocktail.

Friday, August 3:

Lunch — We’re headed out to Dauphin Island to participate in the festivities for Coast Guard Day. I sure hope it’s a nice sunny day instead of thunder and rain!

Dinner — Homemade Pizza. After a long fun afternoon at the beach, something quick and easy for dinner will fill the bill. I’ll make up the dough on Thursday to rise in the fridge overnight and then all I have to do for dinner on Friday is press it out on the pizza stone, add toppings, and bake it off.

Saturday, August 4:

Lunch — Sausage & Cheese Crescent Squares and some fresh sliced fruit. It’s been quite a while since I made this also and it will be a perfect brunch meal since we tend to sleep in and laze around on Saturday mornings.

Dinner — We might be going to a local fish restaurant right on the bay with some friend. Erica is turning 40 and wants to celebrate with some friends. Way to embrace it! We’re hoping to go, but we’re not sure of Jason’s work schedule that night, so it’s still a maybe. If we wind up not being able to go, then we will probably meet up at the galley and have dinner with my honey so he won’t be lonely stuck at work all night.

Nothing Better

Honestly, is there anything in the world better than this?

I didn’t think so.

Julie girl had fallen asleep mid-feeding and when I moved to take her to bed in her room, she gripped my finger with her hand. She’s only done it a few times since she was born, but it just makes me smile every time. Something about my babies holding my hand at such a young age reminds me of the tight hold they have on my heart as well.

Pound Cake

I have to admit, until the other day I had never before made a pound cake. For no reason at all I had imagined them to be difficult and use up lots of ingredients.

How silly! This pound cake came together so quickly I had to check to make sure that I didn’t forget anything. When it was finished baking and we sliced it up, I couldn’t believe how light it was! The pound cakes I’ve purchased for years from the grocery store (both frozen and bakery) have always been very dense and dry. This one, while still being dense, was also airy in a way that made it feel like a cross between a typical cake and a pound cake. Kind of hard to describe, but if you make it you’ll know what I mean. Also, the outside browns up quite a bit and the crust looks too dark, but trust me that it’s great. It’s not burnt, those edges aren’t crunchy as they appear to be – they taste like a sugar cookie.

I wish I’d gotten a picture before we sliced it and served it up with strawberries and homemade whipped cream, but unfortunately I did not. Next time!

1 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1) Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy, then add the sugar and whip for about 5 minutes.

2) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.

3) Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in the vanilla.

4) Spread into a 9×5″ loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour at 350°.

Tip: If you double the recipe it’ll fit perfectly into a 10″ tube pan.

I saw another recipe that used a cup of slivered almonds (run through the food processor) in place of some of the flour. That would add a really yummy flavor.