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Archive for September, 2008

I don’t have a weekly menu for this week.  It’s just going to be a bit spontaneous.  Tonight, we’re having homemade chicken tenders with Mac and Cheese (not homemade).  Tomorrow, my fantastic husband has offered to make Hamburger Helper with biscuits.  Wednesday, I’ve got Church dinner, so we don’t need to plan dinner again until Thursday.

Chicken tenders (a take on Rachel Ray’s recipe):

  1. Mix bread crumbs, salt, dried minced onion, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
  2. Roll chicken tenders in bread crumb mixture.
  3. Put on cookie sheet in oven at 400 for 18-20 minutes (flip halfway)

I was watching RR’s 30 min. show and saw the chicken tenders with Mac and Cheese.  I went to my pantry and freezer, got ingredients, and got to work.  Hooray for having food items on hand!

For more menu ideas, see orgjunkie.com.

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Update on 30 Days of Nothing

At the beginning of September, I set out to do Owl Haven’s 30 Days of Nothing.  I made a goal to eat more at home and spend less.  I made a monthly menu, purchased food for the month, and began.

It all went well the first half of the month.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner came from home.  About the middle of the month, I believe that I started to get a bit stressed here and there (lots to do at work?).  I also got bored of my boring menu (I repeated the same meals every 1-2 weeks on my menu) and I started eating out at restaurants more (Boston Market, Kolache stores,…).

Then came the gardening project.  It started small, but escalated quickly.  First, I bought three 6-packs of veggies, a few annuals, and some 50% off perennials (actually, I got two $7 ones free, because they looked pretty pathetic – now, they look great!).  Then, I started getting more and more compost/soil.  After that, I bought 4 kinds of bulbs and a flat of 18 snapdragons.  Of course, there were more trips for more compost.

I kept telling myself that the veggies would save us money at the store, and that the perennials and bulbs would come back every year.  Plus, I was having a FABULOUS time gardening in the sunlight for hours at a time.  Sunlight is good for me.  As it’s darker in the mornings now, I use a S.A.D. light therapy box every morning as I read my Scriptures and eat breakfast.  Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is a real problem for those who are susceptible to the effects of reduced natural sunlight.  It can cause lethargy (I stand around in the morning, staring into space.  My husband has to remind me to get moving) and weight gain. – Hmm, is that why I’ve gained weight recently?  No, it must have been that ice cream and cake…

This past week of gardening has made me SOOOO happy everyday.  Aside from Church, I spent the entire weekend outside.  Each day at work, I looked forward to the time when I would be able to go back outside and garden some more.

Now that I think about it, it would be fun to start on the backyard, right?!!

Anyways, I was successful for the first part of the month.  I’m glad that I got outside to garden, although I admit that I did purchase quite a bit for my garden.  To help with the menu problem, in future, I plan to vary the foods that I will prepare.  My best friend got me a gift card for my birthday, so I purchased a subscription to Clean Eating Magazine.  It’s fabulous, because it gives recipes, shopping lists, and monthly menus (including snacks!)

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After planting veggies, annuals, and perennials, I decided to attack an overgrown bed of bushes and vines.  It took a few days, but I finally cleared it out.  I kept having to buy more compost and topsoil, because the soil was so packed down.  Then, I planted ranunculus, daffodil, and freesia bulbs.  I also put in some snapdragon annuals, to give the bed some color until the bulbs begin to bloom in the Spring.

Here are some pictures of the bushes before and after, as well as the pile of brush that I now need to tie in bundles.  I’m also putting in a pic of some snapdragons that I put around a tree.

The bushes and vines BEFORE...

The bushes and vines BEFORE...

A few days later...

A few days later...

My next job is to bundle this mess...

My next job is to bundle this mess...

Snapdragons around a tree.

Snapdragons around a tree.

For more before and after projects, go to Boo Mama.

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Still Gardening

I’ve decided to expand my gardening project.  I’m now working on a fourth garden bed.  This one had seriously overgrown bushes and vines.  I’ve already worked to trim the lower branches of the bushes and to clear away the vines.  I’ve also put down a thick layer of compost and fertilized top soil.  

Next, I will plant bulbs that will bloom in early, mid, and late Spring, as well as those that will bloom during the Summer.  In the meantime, I’ll also plant some snapdragons (annuals) to give the flower bed some color.

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Garden Pics

I enjoyed spending most of the day outside gardening.  Here are some pictures.

Cucumbers, Squash, and Zucchini

Cucumbers, Squash, and Zucchini

Annual Flowers

Annual Flowers

Perennial Flowers (incl daisies)

Perennial Flowers (incl daisies)

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Gardening

I’m embarking on a gardening project today.  I’ve already mowed what lawn we have (drought) and picked up a few things from the plant nursery.  I have a raised bed for veggies (3 x 3), a bed by the door for annual flowers (3 x 3) and two beds on the side of the house, which used to be for veggies, but will now be for perennials (3 x 3 and 6 x 3).

I would take a picture of everything in the back of my car, but I can’t find my camera…

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Ice Cream Giggles

Only ate half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  Now experiencing extreme sugar high.  At giggling stage.  Off to ride stationary bike in effort to get rid of energy and somehow sleep tonight.

Will I try Phish Food again?  Hmm…

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I avoided the pool most of the summer.  The water was too cold.  Even on hot days, even when I waited until the hottest parts of the day, the pool was too cold.  Yes, in 100 degree weather, the pool was too cold.  I’m such a wimp.  In my lovely town, we have natural springs and public pools.  The natural springs pools are freezing cold.  I don’t set foot in them.  I’m saying that the public pools are too cold for me.

So what did I do yesterday?  I waited until the first cold front (more like cool front) and then I went swimming.  In the public pool.  It was FANTASTIC.  Why?  The water was warmer than the air.  It felt like bath water, like a hot tub, it was so wonderfully relaxing.  I just wanted to stay with my shoulders under the water and not get out.

Am I nuts, or what?!!

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FOR TODAY… September8

Outside My Window… I see joggers going both directions in pairs and singles down my street.

I am thinking… that I need to get outside and enjoy the beautiful morning.

I am thankful for… this chance to sit back and relax today.

From the kitchen… I plan to make a cumin-rubbed pork roast.

I am wearing… a homemade dress with a white sweater.

I am creating… a knitted baby blanket for a friend.

I am going… to work tomorrow (sigh…).

I am reading… “Twilight” on audio CD by Stephenie Meyer.  I’ve already read the entire series in hardback.  Now, I’m going through it again on audio.

I am hoping… that I won’t get too bored today.

I am hearing… birds singing and the pounding of joggers’ feet on the pavement.

Around the house… a pile of dishes wait to be put away, while a new pile grows as it waits to be washed.

One of my favorite things… listening to “Twilight” on my I-Pod.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: I have handbells on Wednesday night.

Here is picture thought I am sharing… of some flowers in my front yard.

Check out more of The Simple Woman’s Daybook entries.

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I still have leftovers from last week.  We’ll be eating those for lunch until they’re gone.  I’d say that last week’s menu went relatively well.  I was quite determined to stick to it, coming home and cooking when I would normally grab something from a fast food place.  There was even one night that I came home, got on my stationary bike, went directly to the treadmill after that, and then went to the kitchen to cook the next day’s meal.

As for Owl Haven’s 30 Days of Nothing, I’m doing reasonably well.  I stopped by the grocery store once this past week for apples, salad, tilapia, and a few more items.  This week, I might go later in the week for bananas and bread (I can make bread, but it doesn’t last as long as a loaf from the store.  We need a loaf to go without spoiling for at least a week.).  I’m definitely spending less than I normally do, especially in regards to fast food.

Menu for the week of September 8:

Monday – Spaghetti (Game Night)

Tuesday – Cookbook TBD (I’ll pull out recipes and try something new or a dish that I haven’t tried in a while)

Wednesday – Church dinner and handbells for me, a delicious Totinos pizza for my sweet husband

Thursday – Chicken noodle soup

Friday – Tilapia

For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com

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Saturday, September 6

It’s interesting how eating a simple fast food meal with your husband in a crowded food food court at a mall on a Saturday morning can be so RELAXING.

This morning, my husband and I went to the mall.  We walked around, I got a fantastic chair massage, we looked around some shops, we purchased some lovely items from the candy store, and we hit the food court.  It was lovely.  My favorite part was sitting at a table in the food court, happy to be in my husband’s company and doing absolutely nothing else.  

This past week at work has been quite busy.  Actually, it’s been extra busy, because I’ve had things going on after work as well.  Wednesday, I had handbell practice.  Thursday, I had Back to School Night.  Friday, I finished up the best I could at work (knowing that I would probably have to come in and work on the weekend), came home, did my part to help with dishes, cooked dinner and dessert, ate, and was off to my volunteer gig.  This week, I got home and immediately went to bed each night.  In the mornings, I had to be up and off to work as soon as I was able to get out the door.  There was definitely a lot to do this week!

That’s why, it was so wonderful to have that unpressed, relaxed time to just wander the mall aimlessly, holding hands with my sweet husband.

What do you do to unwind on the weekends after a busy week?

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I know that it’s only the second week of school, but my goodness, I’ve got a lot of paperwork piling up in my classroom!  

Here’s why:

1.  We have a new math adoption, so I’ve got boxes of teacher materials and bags upon bags of manipulatives that need to be put away or passed out.

2.  I’ve got several more students than last year (15 to 22), so everything just feels more “cozy” in the room.

3.  I’m already behind on grading.  I have very tall piles of spirals with work inside that needs grading.

4.  I need to put away general paperwork that’s piling up everywhere.

Today, when I sat down at my desk, it felt like everything around me was much taller than me.  

Never fear, I know that I’ll conquer the mess soon.  I’m quite determined!  Of course, with such a busy schedule this week, I wonder if I’ll get much time to truly relax!  Still, I’m confident!  I’ve got a fantastic group of kids this year, and that makes everything simply wonderful!

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