Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simple Things

Earlier this week Sam's teacher came up to talk to me after school and passed on a compliment from the Vice Principal about my kids. She said my kids were as beautiful on the inside as they were on the outside :) Then they were saying how we have so many kids, yet there are some who only have 1 child and they don't know what to do with them. They wondered how we did it. Well, at this point I felt the Spirit welling up inside me and I had to tell her, "It's because we're Mormon and we live it!" I know I am nowhere near to being a perfect mom, and my kids are anything but perfect themselves, but I am so grateful for the gospel that teaches us to do our best, pick ourselves up when we make mistakes and never give up. Through and with Christ all things are possible!

When I stand back I realize how blessed we really are, and I can't help but feel grateful for all the little things that are so big to me.... for example... I am SOOO excited that last month I was under budget in EVERY spending category! I don't think I have ever done this before and I cannot begin to tell you how good that felt. The cash thing is totally working!

Another little thing that is huge to me is our "Page a Day". For about 4 years now I started reading a page a day out of the Book of Mormon with the kids. As schools and schedules have changed we've had to adjust our reading times, and what works now is as soon as all their breakfast is served and they start eating, I start reading. I give a brief review of where we're at and we stop and talk about new words and concepts. We're almost through the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time (obviously we've missed lots of days in those 4 years ;) and I love getting a small slice of gospel pie each day with them. I never get my breakfast warm and there are always a few "pass the syrup" interruptions, but it has worked. They are getting a little older though, and 3 of them can read on their own, so it's time to step it up another notch and I think we're going to start the 6am pj readings on the couch next week. Should be good.

The next thing I'm trying to figure out is how to get them to keep their rooms clean! Screaming is not working, reminding them a million times is not working, the whole "go pick up 10 things" prodding is not making enough of a dent so I think it's time to start the Gunny Bag. I'm not quite sure how to approach it though... specific times of the day it comes, 5 minute warning. I don't know, so give me your ideas of what you would try or what's worked for you! I would so appreciate it.

Lastly today I have to share my little lemon bar miracle. I'm working on getting the kids into the magnet schools in our area (like a charter they have to test into) and I've gone to one of them a couple times to check on things and I told them I'd bring treats the next time I came. So a couple of weeks ago, completely out of the blue, I felt the words "lemon bars to Vial". (Vial is the school). Weird, but ok, so I wrote it on my menu board and the next Sunday I made lemon bars. Which, by the way, the kids hated, but that's ok, more for me. The next day I took a small box of them into Vial and handed them to one of the secretaries and the other secretary said to her, "Oh, lemon bars, your favorite!" No kidding, lemon bars ended up being her favorite! I don't know why it mattered, and by no means does it affect the outcome for my children, but apparently God wanted her to know that she was love and He wanted me to learn to trust and listen. I was so overwhelmed and happy and grateful! Now to her I'll be the lemon bar lady, and I'm ok with that.

So budgets and cooking - I can credit staying within my food budget last month because I shopped from my menu. First I looked at my leftovers, figured what I could re-make them into, then checked out my pantry, then made my shopping list. It worked great, now this month I'm going to step it up by adding a bit of ad-shopping and simple couponing. But I thought I'd share with you my menu idea I look at when I'm trying to remember what to make. So here's the list of dinners that we like and I can refer to when planning my menu:

Menu Ideas

Chicken Basics:
Season-All Baked
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Ritz Chicken
Parmesan Chicken
Chicken & Rice
BBQ Chicken
Hawaiian Haystacks
Hawaiian Chicken
Broccoli Casserole
Chicken Pillows

Beefy Basics:
Meatballs (Pasta/Sub)
BBQ Casserole
Pot Roast

Ham Basics:
Ham Fried Rice
Ham Roll/Strombolli
Bean Soup/Lentils
Hawaiian Chicken
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Chef Salad
Ham & Funeral Potatoes

Chili Plus
Hard/Soft Tacos
Taco Salad
Taco Soup
Chicken Tacos
Quinoa & Bk Beans

Beefy Veg. Soup
Taco Soup
Baked Potato Soup
Lentils & Rice
Chowder Clam/Pot/Corn
Chicken & Rice Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Thai Salad
Strwberry Summer Salad
Chef Salad
Oriental Chicken Salad
Spinach/Pasta Salad

Pasta & Red Sauce
Leftover Pasta Bake
Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Curry
Sweet & Sour Chicken
Ham/Chicken Fried Rice
Stir Fry
Thai Salad
Beef & Broccoli
Teriyaki Chicken

Veg to Remember:
Brussel Sprouts


Heather said...

Great post! As far as the cleaning the room bit, the thing that has worked for us is if they want to play longer after dinner/homework they have to pick up their room. It's amazing how quickly they can pick up their rooms when they know they can play longer before lights out. But, staying consistent with it is also key. If I don't say anything, of course no one will lift a finger;) Also, I do use some form of bribes now and again too (but shhhh, that one is my little secret);)

Wendy said...

Love the little things!! If we don't pay close attention we miss them and they are there for us all the time!! Good luck with cleaning the rooms!! Just when you think you have it figured out they will change again!!! You are awesome!!! They are learning so much!

Hannah said...

Awesome post! And thanks for the food list. You don't know how much I need it spelled out for me right now! I am at a loss with dinners!

Chris and Jessie said...

You are an awesome mom and have wonderful children! Great job in staying within your budget! I've been trying to since Chris came home from Alaska and we haven't made it yet, hopefully this month:)

Beard Family said...

We use the program. It is wonderful. We made our own boards for it. You should check it out. Our house moves smoothly with no yelling or warnings. If you are interested in seeing our boards email me and I can send pics of mine! Best program ever!!!