Monday, September 24, 2007

I just love a sale!

Our family loves to listen to CD's while we are driving. Music is great but we love books on CD and radio drama. We've listened to Focus on the Family readio Theatre's version of the Chronicles of Narnia several times. It sure makes a long drive seem shorter. And of course we could probably all hum the Adventures in Odyssey theme song in our sleep. We recently found out that Children's Bible Hour has a similar type of radio show called Down Gilead Lane. We downloaded a few episodes and listened to them on our last big trip. We were all impressed and can't believe that they have 8 full seasons already and we had never heard of it. Well TODAY, SEPTEMBER 24th, CBH is having a 50% off sale on everything in their online store including the CD season sets of Down Gilead Lane. We had a credit balance on one of our credit cards from some returned items so I am heading over to their site to pick up several seasons so we can get "caught up". We'll be set for a good many hours of car travel once they arrive.

Menu Plan Monday: September 24-30

Wow! Where have the days gone? I missed out on posting my menu last week. Since we were away for the weekend and didn't get home until late Sunday night, I didn't get the menu planned on Sunday. Somehow the rest of the week was spent running around trying to "put out fires" as a friend of ours recently described their hectic life. The menu for last week was written down but only one day at a time. This week I hope to settle into our school schedule a bit and hope the running around will slow down a bit. Being the end of the month, but before payday, the plan this week is to use as much as possible from food onhand in the pantry and freezer and keep the grocery list to the absolute minimum. If there is a bit of cash on Wednesday I will try to hit the outdoor market for fresh fruit and veggies and those will be added to the meals depending on what I buy. If that doesn't work out, we'll stock up on lots of fresh goodies next Wednesday.
I mentioned before that I was going to include breakfast in the menu to try and give variety and keep the costs down by not buying so much cereal. It is working well so I am going to continue that. The kids have to bring a snack to school each day to eat at recess to hold them over till their midday meal after school (around 2pm). I thought about having a rotation of snacks but the teachers seem to be taking that job over. I have 3 that attend the same school -- preK(4 year old), 2nd grade, and 5th grade. Each of them came home with a list of "suggested" foods for certain days of the week. (For example the 5th grader is supposed to bring fruit on Thursdays). I understand the idea that the teachers want to see the kids bringing healthier foods rather than storebought sweets and junk food, but a bunch of us mothers are bristling at being told what to send with our kids each day, especially since the grades couldn't seem to come to a consensus on what day should be fruit day, for example. Here is what I am supposed to do if I comply with all the "suggestions" which are obviously designed so that the peer pressure for the kids to be eating what "everyone else" has will cause them to make sure that Mom sends what is on the list.
5th grader: PTL, I only have one suggested day which is Thursday -- fruit day. Well chosen since it is the day after the farmers market in our town.
2nd grader: Original plan was fruit day on Tuesday and bocadillo day on Thursday. When we pointed out that market day was Wed. the teacher switched the two so fruit day is Thursday. The bocadillo (sandwich) must be out of pan (baguette type, not soft sandwhich bread) because the teachers are concerned that these kids are not getting the muscular exercise in their jaws and some are only eating soft foods all the time, so she wants them to have to do a bit of chewing using the thicker bread. Problem most of us have is that the majority of bread here is made fresh and isn't very good the next day. I have never sent the kids to school with this type of sandwich before for that reason.
Preschooler: Oh boy! this one is the worst. There is a "plan" for each day. Monday: dairy products, Tuesday: pastry, muffins, etc --specified to be homemade and not "industrial" or commercially made, Wednesday: fruit day, Thursday: sandwich, Friday: free choice.
Here is the plan for this week.

Breakfast: cereal, poptarts
Snack: croissant and mini cheese
Lunch: Finish up last week's lentils
Supper: spanish tortillas (potato and eggs), chorizo sausage

Breakfast: bran muffins
Snack: left over tortilla in baguette bread for bocadillo day, bran muffin for the Princess
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches
Supper: Homemade macaroni and cheese, hotdogs

Breakfast: eggs
Snack: Croissants with either peanut butter or salami and cheese
Lunch: Meatball subs, cucumber spears
Supper: Fish, baked potatoes, broccoli

Breakfast: oatmeal
Snack: Fruit-- apple slices and grapes
Lunch: fried rice
Supper: grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit slices

Breakfast: cereal
Snack: red pepper slices, cherry tomatoes or cucumber spears
Lunch: sandwiches or something light to tide them over until our late picnic with friends.
Supper: Picnic with friends to the mountains north of Madrid -- we'll pick up KFC to share together along with fruit or brownies or something for dessert.

Breakfast: waffles
Lunch: leftovers
Supper: homemade pizza

Since we will be in two different churches (AM and PM) we will either grab gyros downtown or buy chicken at the local rotisserie place for midday meal.

Head on over to Laura's for more menu plans.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: September 10-16

We are going to be away next weekend so I only need to plan the menu through Friday lunch for this week. That is nice and the plan came together fairly quickly. I was able to plan most of it from food I have on hand so I think I can get away with just a quick walk to the local store for just one or two more items. For example we are all out of butter so I will need to pick that up tomorrow plus some ground beef for the burritos, and a bag of broccoli and a box of rice. I am thinking of having a standard rotation for breakfast to see if we can get the mornings to move smoothly without having cold cereal everyday. Besides being a bit boring, it is also expensive. I'll try that next week. If that works maybe I can try to do something similar in the daily snacks that the kids bring to eat during recess. (They don't pack a full lunch because the schoolday ends at 2pm and everyone heads home to eat the midday meal which is typically the big meal of the day here in Spain.)

Here's the plan for this week:

Breakfast: toast and poptarts (an unusual treat but we found the poptarts on 1/2 price sale at the american import store.)
Lunch: sandwiches (egg salad or pb&j)
Dinner: Spaghetti with sausages, baguette bread

Breakfast: Oil bread (left over baguette bread cut in half, toasted on the griddle and drizzled with olive oil and salt. The boys love it -- very Spanish)
Lunch: leftover spaghetti
Dinner: chicken and gravy (left over from Sunday's meal at the church)
rice, corn

Wednesday -- First Day of School for the preschool Princess and the two elementary boys
Breakfast: Oatmeal (I cook plain oatmeal and they can top it with their choice of brown sugar, apples and cinnamon, honey, raisins, maple syrup, etc)
Lunch: quiche (To feed my crew we need two so one is bacon and cheese and the other is broccoli and ham)
Dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches

Breakfast: cold cereal
Lunch: Broasted chicken and fried potatoes
Dinner: burritos

Friday -- First Day of School for our "institute man" (our oldest begins secondary school this year --the equivalent of 7th grade -- but known here as the first year of institute.)
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and toast
Lunch: Tuna fish sandwiches and then we will hit the road.
Dinner: We'll look for a place to eat on the road or once we arrive at our destination. Most likely McDonald's but we'll see what is in the area.

Head on over to Laura's to see tons of great menus for the week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tuesday Tackle: The end of the lazy days of summer

This week I'm needing to tackle making the switchover to our fall schedule. The kids head back to school next week and we need to start weaning our bodies of those lazy mornings sleeping in until the double digits and get those bodies ready to get up at the crack of dawn. That means I have to stop reading in bed until the single digits. I will miss summer.
Our neighborhood pool is open for another week or so and Princess came out with a good one yesterday while at the pool. She was so cute while she was saying it but after I had a quick giggle over her mannerisms I got to thinking about it some more.
Here's what went down:

September 3, 2007

We were at the pool and Princess had gotten out of the water because she was cold. I was sitting on the edge of the pool while she played next to me. Suddenly she got up and walked a couple of feet away from me to my left. I turned my head to watch her.

“Mommy, turn your head the other way! Don’t look at me!”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t look, OK? You’re not going to like what you see, so look the other way.”

“What are you going to do, Princess?”

“Mommy! You won’t like it. It’s only a little bit dangerous. Look the other way, Mommy.”

“I’m sorry, Sweetie. I can’t look the other way. I have to make sure that you’re OK and safe.”

As it was she was just reaching her hand into the pool and swirling it through the water quickly to make a little splash. She knows that I am usually telling the kids not to splash in the water so she didn't want me to see so she wouldn't have to hear me tell her to stop doing it.

This got me thinking about how often I (well, we all do this I think) do this same kind of thing with God. It's like I know that what I am planning to do isn't exactly the right thing but since I really want to do it I wish I could just tell God to turn his head and look the other way. Oh My! When I think of the ramifications of that I know that I don't want Him looking the other way. I need his watch care over me, even if it seems to stifle me at times. I may need to remind my Princess of this little conversation at some time in the future when she wants to get a bit too close to danger and asks me (with or without verbalizing it) to just look the other way. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching whom in this whole motherhood thing.

The tackle for today (and the rest of the week):
Gradually move up our morning start until we are ready to get up at aprox 7am on school days
Make shopping list and go do a big "stock-up" grocery shopping trip since the supermarket is running a 3 for 2 sale on many items -- about the best they do as far as food sales so I try to stock up the pantry and freezer.
Visit the two schools to find out when the first day of school is. Done. Elementary starts next Wednesday the 12th and jr high starts next Friday the 14th.
Take quick inventory of any clothing items that Princess needs since she will be in school this year so she will need some actual "outfits" that match and are also easy to manage if she needs to use the restroom during the school day.
Gather up miscelaneous school supplies around the house to see what we need to purchase as far as pens, pencils, etc to start the year. (We won't get the final lists from the teachers until the first day so I will have to wait until then to know what they all want as far as notebooks, etc.)

Head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom to see what others are tackling this week.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Menu: September 3-9

Princess has been coming up with some good ones lately. Some make me laugh out loud and others just have me shaking my head. Here's an example of her latest:

Aug 30, 2007
Princess came up to me in the kitchen with a water gun.

“Mommy, do you want to get killed?”

“No, not really.”

“But Mommy, you know that one day you are going to die. Because that’s what happens when you get really old … you die. Like Meagan’s Sunshine (her friend's dog) just did.”


Now, one would think (after all we are missionaries you know) that I would jump on this opportunity to have a lengthy (or at least pointed) discussion with my child about death, eternity, salvation etc. Sadly, I just stood there speechless and shook my head as I continued making supper and she skipped merrily off to the living room. Wow! The mysteries of the 4 year old mind!

Now-- on to the menu for the week. We'll see if I can stick to it this week.

Lunch- Lasagna leftovers from yesterday
Dinner- french toast
Breakfast- Oatmeal
Lunch- BLT's
Dinner- landlubber's paella
Breakfast- eggs
Lunch- chicken escalope (breaded chicken breasts), mashed potatoes, broccoli
Dinner- Large spinach salad with cold chicken pieces (left from lunch), hardboiled eggs, bacon bits, etc.
Breakfast- cereal
Lunch- Tuna sandwiches
Dinner- beef stew in the crockpot
Breakfast- pancakes
Lunch- leftovers
Dinner- pizza (either homemade or on french bread depending on my energy level)
Breakfast- cereal
Lunch- egg salad sandwiches
Dinner- unsure. I think we will be out so we'll have to catch fast food or grab leftovers when we get home.

Breakfast- cereal or maybe oatmeal
Dinner- Chicken dinner at the church

Head on over to Laura's to see what others have on the menu this week.