random pictures from the past week & Saving Dinner Information

Rich has had this past week off from work.  I told him yesterday, “It’s too bad we’re finally settling down and getting along perfectly when there’s just a few days left!”……yeah, it’s kinda sad….we’re so used to being apart all day every day that when we’re thrown together it take days to adjust.  LOL  Of course it doesn’t help much that there is constant activity around here, and that Seth has been miserable with a cold and hasn’t been sleeping well, and wakes up multiple times.  Rich slept with him on the couch the other night.  Thankfully last night was better but we’re still missing sleep.

This morning there is lots of beautiful snow coming down.  We’re in a snow globe that someone just shook vigorously.  I got up at 4:15 this morning, so hungry….I ate breakfast, drank hot chocolate, did some laundry, and went back to bed upstairs so I didn’t disturb Seth, who was sleeping in our bed with Rich.  Everyone is up now, and we had our breakfast (Davy fried himself an egg, Grace scrambled hers)…..

I’m sipping hot hazelnut coffee from a shamrock fiesta mug.

Thought I would post some pictures from this past week.

This first one is a picture of the children waiting for popsicles to freeze.  I had bought a Real Simple magazine (Christmas issue) and there was an advertizement for a popsicle maker that freezes them in less than 10 minutes.  I bought it for the family and it’s been a big hit.  It makes three at a time, and a total of nine before you have to put the base back in the deep freeze for next time.  You can add bits of fruit to your pops, and that’s how Rich and I make ours, with yogurt smoothies as the popsicle part.  The kids have juice….apple, lemonade, and grape so far.


I also got a belgium waffle maker.  Ethan got the very first stack but as he sat down, he realized that Rich was looking and offered his Dad (who was holding Seth) the first bite.  Rich let him have them.  We enjoyed watching our sweet E enjoy his huge stack of waffles.  Too bad I had forgotten to put the sugar in the recipe and didn’t realize it until he had eaten his.  The maple syrup helped disguise my mistake.


I always buy the children new books for Christmas and Ethan enjoyed his so much that he read parts out loud to his siblings.  (It was Summer of the Monkeys.)  They were ALL LAUGHING and Rich and I thought it was so sweet to see them listening to the story together.


This is the book I’ve been reading.  (for the first time) and I am greatly enjoying it.  Reading all those descriptions of journeying through woods makes me want to go out and tromp.  Love it.

Here’s a small passage I liked, “There they sat for some while, looking through the window at the bright stars above the steep-climbing woods, and talking softly.  They spoke no more of the small news of the Shire far away, nor of the dark shadows and perils that encompassed them, but of the fair things they had seen in the world together, of the Elves, of the stars, of trees, and the gentle fall of the bright year in the woods.”  pg. 232

My favorite chapter so far has been “A Short Cut to Mushrooms.”  LOVE IT!


I was reading my book one day, with Seth, and before I knew it all my children joined me.  I had Jacob take the picture and David had fallen off the bed and didn’t get back in it in time.


I noticed Davy sitting in some soft sunshine.  He has a Star Wars figure in his hands.


I went for a walk with Jacob, Ethan, David, and Caleb one afternoon.  It was cold out, but it felt so nice to be outside breathing the fresh air.  The trail through the woods had circles in the snow, from snow falling off the branches above us.  There were bits of tear-drop shaped ice in the pine trees and I picked a piece and nibbled the ice off it….pine flavored!  The boys were crazy with their swords and sticks. 

Caleb lingered behind us once, and when I went back to get him he was just finishing up writing his name in the snow with a stick and was saying to himself, “There, that says CALEB.”  It was so precious. 


We visited the stream and Davy ate some ice.


I got my feet wet on the way home.  We came across my chickens, scratching in the snow in the yard.



One last picture as I was about to go into the house.  Caleb’s tasting snow.  Do you still taste snow?


Now let me write about food for a while.  When I had Seth, my church friends gave us frozen meals to use as I was recovering.  One of my friends (a mother of 8) brought me an entire BOX of frozen main dishes that she had put together for me.  Every meal was put in a freezer bag and labeled nicely, with the directions for cooking included on a print-off.  I was so impressed by those recipes.  Each one was delicious, fresh, and healthy tasting.  I found out that she got the meal plans from a website called SavingDinner.  She recently gave me a folder at church with some of the recipes and the children and I had a wonderful time putting together nine main dishes in one afternoon.

I’ve enjoyed it so much that I had to pass along the information to my xanga friends.  The recipe packs are bundled as “Five for the Freezer” and are $2.95 (for five meal plans).  That includes detailed directions AND A SHOPPING LIST and serving suggestions. 

It was so fun doing all the work with Jacob, Ethan, and Grace.  Jacob had to prepare 8 green peppers and Ethan got to use my little food processor to mince 14 garlic cloves.  They got to slice lemons and mince herbs.  We did it all after a big trip to Costco and our local grocery store.  Next time will be even easier, now that I have my nice knives.

These are the meals we made:

Crock Smothered Steak (made with green peppers, onions, and mushrooms)…I had enough meat to do 2 of these.

Crock Lemon Pork Tenderloin (we made 2)

Halibut in Wine Sauce (We’re having this tonight with carrots and rice)

Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Chicken Satay

Country Fried Chicken and Peppers

Way Easy Chicken Stir Fry

Broiled Parmesan White Fish


We put the prepared recipes in freezer bags and labeled everything with a Sharpie marker and it’s such a great feeling to know that I have food prepared for those days when I don’t have much time, or am not in the mood to deal with kitchen mess.  The best part of all is that it saves me a lot of THINK work, because the planning is done for me.  I can just grab the shopping list and go, and not even think.  What a treat. 


Have a great day! 

0 thoughts on “random pictures from the past week & Saving Dinner Information

  1. Good morning Shanda.  Thanks for sharing from your home today.  I notice that you have your Christmas tree down already.  That task is still ahead of me, but we had company yesterday so our holiday was extended.  Those waffles look so very good.  Every once in a while I get the craving for them and there is no place local that serves them.  I guess I know what to ask for when my birthday comes around.

  2. Have your kids ever made snow ice cream? We used to love to make it. I’m not sure of the measurements but the ingredients are vanilla, white sugar, and chocolate chips- lightly mixed together…delicious πŸ™‚

  3. I loved your pics,especially the ones with your dog!Reminds me of our beloved Oliver.He always had to be in the midst of whatever was going on!Blessings to you in the New Year!

  4. Thanks so much for these meal saving tips!!!  I will definitely use them!  I get stressed sometimes coming home and having to cook a meal and then only having an hour or two for the rest of life.  I’ve never read the Tolkein books.  Are they hard to get through (slow reading) or no?  Love you, Lish

  5. My computer has been gone (to the computer hospital) for a few days and it feels like I missed “weeks” with some of my Xnaga friends’ lives!  I saw that you mentioned your Christmas gift knives, but I was planning to ask you how you liked your new pots and pans.  Are they too heavy to lift after you have food in them, or just right?I thought about getting an air hockey game for the girls.  How wonderful that your children received one!I’ll update a bit at my site.  I have a borrowed computer to use until ours is fixed.  It’s pretty slow, but better than none at all!  Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to your NOW teenager!Love,CHERYLYN

  6. Love your posts…can just feel the atmosphere of your home in your posts.   I love the picture of you, the children and dog reading!  That is how our bed frequently looks….dogs, kids and mom.  What great memories you are making!Jen C

  7. Yes, we eat snow, too.  When we lived in AK we would make cream snow (milk, snow and vanilla extract and sugar).  It was so yummy.  I love your description of your winter snowglobe wonderland.Enjoy the snow!!

  8. hazelnut coffee sounds great…and I don’t even drink coffee…I would probably add some milk into it, and it would be great!a popsicle maker? that’s awesome! great idea to use yogurt…and fruit…my sister used to make ones in the Tupperware popsicle molds out of chocolate pudding, and she would put strawberry and banana pieces in there (cause I don’t like fruit, it was a perfect way for me to eat it—I am a texture person)

  9. I have heard of this kind of meal planning before, I am sure it is nice on some days to know that dinner is already in the freezer!  The pop maker sounds like so much fun, my kids would love it too!Those waffles are huge!  So kind to offer Rich the first bite.I can’t believe how manu posts I have missed, I will come back after church and read them!

  10. I do FlyLady, and found out about Leanne and Saving Dinner through her site. I love that it’s all laid out plainly for you, and all you need to do is just get what’s on the list (and after the first visit to the grocery I had all the “basics” down) and follow instructions. She has plans for heart-healthy, budget, crock pot, you name it. I’ve gotten away from that, but am making it part of my plan for 2009. And I love, LOVE that you’re reading Tolkien. He’s one of my very favorites, and I’m reading The Children of Hurin right now. We are major Tolkien/Lewis lovers in this house, and I was probably about E and J’s age when I first read the series all the way through.Thanks for sharing the glimpse with us, and I pray you all have a smooth transition as the schedule returns to “normal.”

  11. @Kelly_O78 – Do you think the movies did a good job at staying true to the books?  Rich and I have been watching the first movie after the kids go to bed and I think it seems accurate (although I always think books are better than movies!).  I was disappointed that my favorite chapter (Shortcut to Mushrooms) was different in the movie…..and what about that girl elf?  I haven’t read any sign in the book, yet, that she and Strider were in love like they appear to be in the movie.  Ethan is asking to read them so I will let him try, I’m not sure if his reading level is advanced enough.  The Hobbit seemed to be a simpler written book so he will probably do fine with that one.

  12. @purpleamethyst76 The thing with Arwen and Aragorn is that it’s basically just part of the appendix at the end of Return of the King; it doesn’t pervade the series like the movies would make it seem. There is a lot that was left out, although the essence of the story is still there, which is really the most important thing. I figure they played up the romance angle to make the story a little more palatable for women, and to give Liv Tyler more screen time. Not that either of those things are bad, but Arwen isn’t the one who takes Frodo from Aragorn – Glorfindel puts him alone on his horse, and they take on the Black Riders behind him. She doesn’t appear in dreams or anything like that. The story in the books is much more focused on the battle between Sauron (and by extension, Saruman) and Gandalf and the rest of the “good guys.” Oh, but one of my favorite characters not included in the movies is Tom Bombadil – I was heartbroken to see the movies and not see him. They made up for it a bit with Treebeard and the Ents though.(Gosh I’m a geek – but like I said, I read these through the first time when I was 11 or 12, and they’ve been long favorites.)

  13. I’ve been spoiled by having my husband home too….I really am not looking forward to him going back to work! I’m really enjoying that blog you posted…I don’t have a large family but still getting a lot out of it. Those waffles look scrumptious!!

  14. Enjoyed your “life” pictures.  Im sure my kids would be thrilled with that popsicle maker too!  and those waffles!  Wow!!   And yes, you are right, the twelve pictures make the year seem so short.  Guess that’s a good reminder to savor each day.  Blessings~

  15. So happy for you to have a long vacation time with Rich. Bob used to have those back when our older boys were young and it was wonderful! We enjoyed his two long weekends this Christmas/New years. The snow looks and sounds so wonderful from the perspective of your warm house. I would like to go out for walks in the snowy woods, knowing that a warm house is waiting. I do eat snow…but rather carefully from pristine areas. I love that your E offered Dad the first bite. Truely an act of love from a hungry boy! The waffles are HUGE. I brought home a waffle iron from Bob’s parents kitchen…I need to try my hand at waffles again. I got rid of our old one because the waffles would stick. Love the reading together…both couch and in your bed. So nice to have long long books to enjoy. We have enjoyed the movies. They were too much for David when little so we waited for him to see them, but now he and Bob will watch them over every once in awhile. I always like books best too. The hobbit is easier reading and would be a good one for Ethan to try. Yummy sounding meals! Seems like a wonderful thing to put up and have at hand.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s