March 26, 2009

Landon's Birthday

Landon turned 5 a couple weeks ago! We went duck pin bowling, which is a Baltimore past time, complete with a small ball and smaller pins It's not exclusively for kids, but fits well. We went to Mustang Alley, an urban bowling joint on the second floor with good food and a full bar (not for the birthday). He invited a couple friends and we had good fun for 2 hours.

Above is Lucy. She's Landon's heart throb and such a sweet girl. Hardly a day goes by when he doesn't tell me he's going to marry her.

Etame got into the fun too. She loved the pizza. Yes, we're calling her Etame now. It's a tribute to her Ethiopian heritage and means "full of love". For the sake of clarity, I have decided to use our first names on the blog from now on as well.

Daddy and Landon. Loving Calvin's new glasses.

March 24, 2009

Once a Month Cooking Update

We have been using our meals from our Once a Month Cooking event. I've been asked from a few people how we are enjoying these meals.

I especially like the Mexican "un"stuffed Shells, Pizza Roll-ups, WW Orange Spice Muffins, and Raspberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes. The Shepherd's Pie and Mandarin Orange Chicken were not my favorite. I should have known. Even though I was almost sure these would not be our favorites, I'm very "by the book" and had to make them because the menu plan said so. I've learned and in future months will only make the meals I am sure our family will enjoy.

Another lesson learned: This "March Menu" was really intended by the Once a Month Cooking site authors to be made at the end of March to be eaten in April. You have the recipes and therefore shopping list at the beginning of March so you have the full month to shop for the deals in grocery stores before your cooking day. I will keep this in mind for the future as they have nicely coordinated recipes according to what may be on sale for the month (i.e. ham and eggs on sale near Easter so more recipes including these ingredients).

It is amazing to not have to think about what to fix for dinner. That is the greatest benefit. By the end of the day, I am in no creative state of mind to be able to pull together a fantastic dinner. This has tremendously helped in this aspect.

Etame is having tubes put in her ears (early!) tomorrow morning. I'm anxious about making it there on time, 2 kids in tow. Wish us luck.

Oh, and James' funny quote for the day... He was throwing a fit because I was making him brush his teeth. While laying on the ground at the top of the stairs kicking his feet, he yells, "Ohhhh, I'll bet Jesus is really mad at you right now".

Gotta give him credit - he goes straight to the top!

March 17, 2009

Once a Month Cooking

Sunday was quite a day. I went to the grocery store for about 2 hours, coupons in hand. I didn't know it but my store was doubling up to $1. Nice surprise. I saved 17% of my grocery bill just by the coupons I had from things on my list.

Anyhow, I was shopping specifically from a list to make meals for the entire month. There is this fabulous site, Once a Month Mom, that plans the menus, give you a grocery list, and instructions for the day. I had such a good time cooking all the recipes for that day. I was up until nearly 1am cooking and then cleaning.

Here's what I made:

- Chocolate Chip Raspberry Pancakes
- Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins
- Farmer's Casserole

- Pizza Roll-Ups
- Baked Chicken Fingers

- Shepherd's Pie
- Mexican "Un"stuffed Shells
- Mandarin Orange Chicken

I have a couple more to make - 2 salmon and 1 shrimp recipe - but I ran out of room in the freezer!

On Monday, when Lee came home, he was in a great mood. I think it's because there was so much food in the house, all ready to eat. Plus, I had corn chowder in the slow cooker.