Monday, March 30, 2009

Feeding a Family of Eight Part V

Today we had banana oatmeal for breakfast. I was going to make muffins with the leftovers, but when I went to start that I realized that I had left the burner on low. I let the kids have seconds.

I didn't get our lunch started in time for Jon to eat with us. He took leftover vegetable beef stew, yogurt, Cheez-its, and I don't know what else for lunch. He packed his own lunch today. He picked up a sub on the way to work. He has been buying a few food items with his spending money, so I'll have to add that into our food totals. He didn't eat the bun or rolls that were in yesterday's lunch. I may be making bread pudding soon.

The kids and I had chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole; salad; and milk for lunch. Little Bear decided he was too tired to eat lunch. He went to the couch and took a three to four hour nap!

Supper was tuna and egg salad sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Little Bear got up right as we were getting ready to fix supper. He ate most of his lunch and most of his supper, while the rest of us fixed and ate supper.

We have a lot of running to do tomorrow, so I'm going to have to come up with some quick on the go meals and snacks.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Beat

After an abbreviated night of sleep, I got up and made monkey bread. We had the monkey bread and milk for breakfast.

When we got home from church I fixed spaghetti with meat sauce and Parmesan cheese, green beans with onions, and rolls. We had water to drink. Jon took a nap before going to work. He didn't eat with us, so I packed his up for him to take with him. He also took the leftover Sloppy Joe and bun, the rest of the egg salad, two rolls, pineapple rings, yogurt, pop, and Cheez-its.

The kids and I went back to church for an extra 4:00pm children's choir practice. Since we got there a little early, we stayed in the van for a little while and I read to the kids. I carried a sleeping Little Bear into the church. I left him in the charge of his older sisters while the three choir kids and I went in search of their practice. We ended up just reading in the foyer and visiting with those who passed by. The kids and I snacked on the fruit chews I brought with us. There are only supposed to be six packs in a box, but when I was done passing them out to the six children there was one left. While we were in the foyer one of the choir directors came by and we found out that there hadn't been enough interest in the extra practice, so it was never actually scheduled.

Monkey went to her ensemble practice, some of us stayed to watch the practice, and the older girls walked around the church with two of their cousins. After the ensemble practice, I signed all the younger children into their classes and then made sure that the older girls made it to their small group. I then went into the sanctuary and read while listening to the adult choir practice.

After church we came home and I made pepperoni and pineapple pizzas for our supper. We had water to drink.

The children are all in bed, but they're not all asleep yet.

I really want to go to bed, but I have some things I have to take care of before I can.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today Was Better Than Yesterday

I think a big part of today being better than yesterday was that I started my day out with God. The pets woke me and I had to take care of them, but none of the kids bothered me until I was done with my devotions. I take that back. I sent two girls back to bed. Puppy Dog came to our room while I was praying and laid down beside Jon. P.D. was quiet though and let me do my devos. without interruption. I went back to sleep after my devos. LOL

When the kids all started to congregate in the dining room, I told them that we were having cold cereal for breakfast. Some time went by and they started fussing about really being hungry. Apparently, I have catered to them too much this past winter. It only took a small verbal nudge to convince them to fix their own cereal though. I came out while they were fixing theirs, fixed mine, and added some banana slices to everyone's bowls.

Lunch was Sloppy Joes, baby carrots, applesauce, and milk. We used Manwich, because it was a good price this week and Jon wanted it. I used two pounds of ground beef and two cans of sauce. We had enough left over for Jon to have enough for a sandwich at work later this week. The buns were also storebought. They were on sale and I had a coupon.

Jon took the rest of our leftover chili, a yogurt, and some pop for his work lunch. He usually drinks water and eats some of the fruit that his workplace keeps out for employees as well.

The kids and I had yogurt for an afternoon snack while we waited for our bread to cool for supper. I also made rolls for tomorrow.

Tonight's supper was egg salad (homemade) sandwiches (homemade bread), baby carrots, cottage cheese with pineapple rings, and water. We had enough egg salad for Jon to have a sandwich later.

This is Little Bear's plate from supper. As the youngest, he got the priveledge of having the heals of the bread. The younger three children tend to take turns eating the heals. If they fight, then I get them.

I assigned How-to reports to three of the children this week. Kitty Kat decided on "How to Make Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies", Froggie chose "How to Make Meatloaf", Monkey chose "How to Make Chocolate Tea Bread", Puppy Dog chose "How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies", Birdie wants help deciding, and I haven't heard from Little Bear yet. Did you catch that five children are planning their reports when I only assigned reports to three?

Kitty Kat decided to use the recipe on the back of a sugar package. I tried to dissuade her, but she wouldn't budge. I let her try the recipe without interference at first. She would ask my opinion from time to time.

One of those times was when the "dough" was supposed to be ready to go in the fridge to chill. It looked like quick bread batter. I went through the ingredients with her and double checked the measurements she used. It turns out that she measured the milk before adding the lemon juice to it (as a replacement for buttermilk). I had told her a day or two ago to first put the lemon juice in and then to finish measuring the milk. Apparently, she forgot. She also confessed to having the milk a little over the mark on the measuring cup. Add that to the fact that the eggs we have right now are extra large and there was definitely too much moisture. I had her add a little extra flour a 1/4 cup at a time to get a better consistency. She added 1/2 cup and we decided to try it.

I let her work on the cookies alone after the "dough" chilled. I came to help her check on them when the first set was ready to come out of the oven. The cookies were a little burnt. I helped her get them off the pans quickly and then the kids and I ate those cookies as a bedtime snack. The oven temp. was at 400 degrees and she baked the cookies for 7 minutes. I checked and she had followed the directions. I then proceded to help her by getting the rest of the cookie "dough" onto the pans and she added the cinnamon sugar. I made the cookies bigger than the recipe called for, left the temp. the same, and had her time them for 5 minutes and then reset the timer as needed. She ended up with enough nice cookies that she can take them to her small group at church tomorrow evening and leave a couple for Jon to have later. She will be trying a different recipe before writing her report though. I tasted the raw batter and it tasted just like the batter minus the bananas of a banana bread recipe that I once made from a recipe on the back of the same brand of sugar. I have never made that recipe again because the banana bread turned out bland.

The kids were in bed before 10pm tonight. I actually sent them to bed before 9:30 but I had to fuss with the boys to get them to stay in bed. Once the boys were in bed, they fell right to sleep. I did have to go upstairs to send the girls back to bed a little while ago, but I think they have settled down. Hopefully, they will get enough sleep, because we are going to be at church a lot tomorrow.

Rough Day

bacon, egg, and cheese onion bagel

Thursday night we were up late, so I let everyone wake up on their own. I also didn't fix breakfast or brunch or whatever you want to call it until everyone was up and downstairs. Yes, that's right, the girls are back upstairs! So, we had our first meal at about 1:00 pm. That was not a good start to the day! We hoped that the day would get better after everyone's tummy was filled with the bacon*, egg, and cheese bagels and orange juice we had. The day did not get better.

Jon had a family ticket to go to a Cincinnati Bengals vs. the local Sheriff's Association basketball game at an area school. He was going to take the kids to that while I went to see my niece in the musical, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. The kids were so rotten yesterday that Jon decided they wouldn't go. If you know Jon, then you know what a big fan he is of the Bengals.

We had our next meal, vegetable beef stew with biscuits, before I left to go to the musical. The stew was planned for earlier in the week, but our plans had changed. I would normally make homemade biscuits, but there was a very good deal on biscuits at Kroger this week. We got four four packs of ten count Pillsbury biscuits for $4.00. I sent Kitty Kat to make some biscuits and she pulled out a can. I had totally forgotten about the canned bisuits. LOL We drank tea with our meal. Kitty Kat makes most of our iced tea and yesterday's was no exception.

I left to go to the musical with a heavy heart knowing that Jon was missing out. I'll have to be sure to take someone with me next time I go to something like that. There were long periods of time when I was by myself and I didn't know what to do with myself. My mom, nephew, and niece were there too, but Mom and my nephew were helping with costumes and my niece was running around with a cousin. There was also the trip from Springfield to Urbana and back alone in the car.

I got back and was swarmed by kids and pets. The pets are still acting like I was gone too long.

While I was gone, Jon and the kids snacked on some battered shrimp and Girl Scout cookies. When I returned, we had hot dogs and jalapeno brats with leftover chili, applesauce, and salad. We only had six hot dog buns, so some of the kids had their hot dogs cut up and had leftover rolls to go with it. Little Bear didn't want to eat his salad. He asked if we could put it in the fridge for the next day, and since he asked nicely, I complied.

Once again we got to bed late.

*I saved the bacon grease to use later in the week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Feeding a Family of Eight

Some friends and I were talking yesterday and they seemed surprised when I said that we only spend $100.oo per week on food. So, I decided to use our shopping trip last night through the end of April to find out on average how much we spend on food.

There are some things you'll need to know up front. I am not starting with an empty pantry, so I won't be buying every single thing that I need for all our meals each week. Because I am not starting with an empty pantry, I am able to stock up on sale items that will be used in future weeks. That's why I decided to go with an average rather than a weekly amount. There will be some weeks that I go over $100.oo. There will be other weeks that I spend less. For the sake of this study, I will not be counting non-food items or pet food since the study is about feeding our family of eight. If we buy a new pan (we're looking for an inexpensive bun pan) I may add that in. I usually shop at two main stores, Super Wal-mart and Kroger. I buy mostly store brand items if they are of good quality. If name brand products are cheaper, then I go with those. If another store has a good sale, then I will shop there if the savings is worth it. I make most of our baked goods. I cook from scratch a high percentage of the time. I'm sure there is more you'll need to know, but I'll address that as necessary.

So, let's take a look at what we purchased last night.

We unpacked everything quickly and I rushed to get a picture and get it all put away. I can't afford to have our milk or other cold items spoil. Obviously, it takes a lot of food to feed eight people, so I won't be listing off the whole list of purchases.

Cost of groceries 3/26/09:
  • Wal-mart $0 - We didn't make any food purchases there this time.
  • Kroger $119.41
  • Meijer $18.28 - We saved ~ $6.00 over the cost of the same items at Wal-mart or Kroger. That's definitely worth the extra stop.
Our total for this week is $137.69.

Menu options:

  1. oatmeal
  2. muffins
  3. cold cereal
  4. eggs, bacon, and toast
  5. bagels
  6. bacon, egg, and cheese bagels
  7. banana bread
Lunch, Supper, or Dinner

  1. Sloppy Joes, applesauce, carrots
  2. meat loaf (a la Froggie), mashed potatoes, corn, rolls
  3. pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, bread and butter (We use Country Crock w/Calcium and Vit. D added.)
  4. chicken and rice casserole, salad, rolls
  5. fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits
  6. BBQ ribs, green beans, baked potatoes, rolls
  7. roast chicken, stuffing, rolls, brocolli and cheese
  8. egg salad sandwiches, carrots, cottage cheese, bananas
  9. tuna salad sandwiches, carrots, applesauce
  10. spaghetti, bread sticks, corn
  11. tacos, chips and salsa
  12. hot dogs, salad, applesauce
  13. pizza
  14. PB&J, chicken noodle soup
  1. yogurt
  2. cookies (sugar cookies a la Kitty Kat, chocolate chip a la Puppy Dog)
  3. chocolate tea bread (a la Monkey)
  4. fruit snacks
  5. tangerines
  6. cantaloupe
  1. 1/2 caf. coffee (just me)
  2. water
  3. orange juice
  4. iced tea
  5. milk
  6. hot tea
  7. Mt. Dew (Jon)
  8. Dr. Pepper (Me)
Last night we had a bedtime snack. The kids had fruit snacks. Jon and I snacked on some Pringles and had salads (We had a package of Sargento Cheddar Chicken Salad Finishers that was about to expire. We tried a raspberry vinaigrette on it and we both liked it. We must be getting old, our tastes are expanding.) The kids didn't have drinks since they were headed straight to bed. Jon and I had pop.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Second Thought... And, We're Still At It

We never did start the elimination diet. Of course if you've been keeping up with us you probably already figured that out. I'm pretty sure there would have been a mutiny if I had started the diet. Everyone was relieved when we made the announcement. I think more center aisle foods made it into our cart on the last shopping trip. Of course, that may have been because everything else was so expensive and we had limited funds.


The kids are still helping me in the kitchen on their days to pray. They each have their own count-down going to the day they get to help next. Yesterday, Froggie helped make pepperoni pizza. Today, Kitty Kat helped make PB&J sandwiches and a vegetable salad. We also had a fruit and nut salad that I made to go with it. Birdie had to check (for the umpteenth time) to make sure that tomorrow is her day to help before she would go to bed. Cold cereal and bananas (breakfast), vegetable beef stew with rolls or biscuits (lunch), and chili and rice (supper) are on the menu for tomorrow. I also have some leftover oatmeal from this morning's breakfast, so I may make some muffins for snacks.

Second Shift Can Be Hard On A Family

Little Bear was having a difficult time getting to sleep last night. I had him come to lay down on Jon's side of the bed to see if I could get him to sleep. The following conversation took place.

~12:45 am 3/24/09

Little Bear - Mom? Why do you and Daddy share a room?

Me - because we're married

L. B. - If I was Daddy, and they called me into work I wouldn't go.

Me - Then you would lose your job.

L. B. - Well, if I had to go to work, then my kids might miss me.

Me - Is that why you can't get to sleep?

L. B. - Yeah.

Me - Well, you just lay down on Daddy's side of the bed, and I'll move you later.

L. B. - OK.

I ended up falling asleep too, so Jon moved Little Bear.

* Little Bear helped type this. His self appointed job was to type B and b. He thought it was hilarious to hold the key down. I was mean and erased the extra ones. So, here are some lines typed by none other than Little Bear himself:

g;;jmnnnfnmnnnnb,mb,bbb9Benjkphwrr jvkjitrjjtguj5r3ut5huhr3euireyuewyuhrewyu3yggf
bbuhhbfuhfhet5yeutrediotue3y78934uu4ui5ihyu4yuggg bvvcvvvvswvsvgbbbbbbb b bb b bbb

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday at the Owings Cafe

Today is Little Bear's day in the kitchen again. He helped make Hot Pot Slop for lunch.

L.B. pours the cheese sauce mix into the pot. Do you see the cheesy pose? He kept wanting to do this for each picture, but I told him to watch what he was doing.

L.B. dumps the corn into the pot.

L.B. scrapes tuna into the pot.

L.B. adds an extreme amount of Worcestershire sauce to the pan. (It ended up being just fine.)

L.B. pours milk from the cream of mushroom soup can.

L.B. nearly stirs the pot off the stove. (Actually, it just started to slide a bit as I snapped the picture. I grabbed the pot right after the shot. I had to tell him to hold onto the pan every time he stirred before this. This time, I just decided to capture the moment. Now, I can point out why he needs to hold the handle with a visual.)

Little Bear shows off his plate.

Friday at the Owings Cafe

Friday was Puppy Dog's day in the kitchen.

Puppy Dog chops onions. (This was a very sharp knife and he thought he should move at lightning speed. He really made me nervous.)

Puppy Dog cutting hot dogs. (We had leftover grilled hot dogs from earlier in the week. Notice that he is using a fork and a different knife. The fork keeps his fingers out of harms way and the knife was an old dull steak knife.)

P.D. puts the chopped hot dogs into the pot with the onions.

P.D. dumps in pork and beans.

P.D. stirs the beans and weenies after I added some brown sugar and ketchup.

P.D. cuts bananas in half.

P.D. counts out baby carrots onto Daddy's plate.

Puppy Dog shows off his plate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday at the Owings Cafe

Today was Monkey's turn in the kitchen. She helped make stir fry veggies (we also added a bag of broccoli so we would have enough to go around) with chicken and teriyaki sauce, rice, and fruit cocktail. She also helped make mandarin orange spice tea.

Monkey cuts up chicken (precooked with yesterday's lunch).

Monkey stirs the chicken and veggies.

Monkey adds teriyaki sauce.

Monkey shows off her plate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday at the Owings Cafe

Today was Birdie's day to help with meal prep.

Birdie peels carrots.

Birdie adds onion to the dish.

Birdie seasons the dish.

Birdie shows off her plate.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday at the Owings Cafe

We had fish sticks, fries, green beans, and macaroni and cheese for lunch today. Kitty Kat made the macaroni and cheese. We have a cold bug going around right now and it just might spread a little quicker now. Kitty Kat ate off the cooking spoon and then put it back in the pan. We added more milk and cooked it a little extra in the hopes that any germs would be killed off since Kitty Kat has a sore throat.

We had drop biscuits and dried beef gravy with buttered peas and mashed potatoes for supper. Kitty Kat made the biscuits from the recipe without my help until it came time to put them on the baking pan. She also did most of the work on making the gravy and mashed potatoes. I helped her by fixing the peas so she wouldn't be totally overwhelmed. We also worked together to make peppermint flavored hot tea.

Kitty Kat mixes the biscuit dough.

Yech! Kitty Kat wasn't fond of the Crisco on her fingers after greasing the pan.

Kitty Kat stirs the gravy.

Kitty Kat fixes Little Bear's plate.

Kitty Kat shows off her plate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday at the Owings Cafe

Monday is Froggie's day to pray and now her day to help fix a meal. We had Sunflower Scouts tonight, so it was just us five girls. The boys are at my parents' house for the night, and Jon is at work. Froggie wanted to fix pepperoni pizza, but we decided that she could do that next Monday and do something else tonight. We needed something quick and easy. Taco salad was our choice.

Froggie is cutting up a slice of onion while the beef starts to brown.

Froggie puts the chopped cabbage into a serving bowl.

Froggie stirs the seasoned meat and onion.

Froggie shows off the finished product.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Little Chef

In the past I have tried to have each child take turns helping in the kitchen. Usually, we get out of the habit for one reason or another. We're trying again. Each of my children has a day of the week that he/she is responsible for certain prayers (meals and before school), but that's another story. Anyway, each child is now going to be my kitchen helper for at least one meal on the day he/she is to pray. I hope to keep up with it by blogging about each child's turn at least at first.

Today it was Little Bear's turn. Here he is with the pepperoni and pineapple pan pizza he made for supper.

Last Weekend

Friday, March 6, 2009

Jon's workplace had their award's banquet. The theme this year was Prom. Jon received a trophy for competing in a forklift rodeo. My parents watched the kids overnight. One of Jon's coworkers surprised his girlfriend and married her at the banquet. Yeah, I'll just say, that was different. We didn't stay for the whole thing. They always have a Monte Carlo time when you win raffle tickets. They always have a lot of raffle prizes at these functions, but we left without getting our starting tickets and didn't go back. Instead, we went home, changed, played board games, etc. Etc. in this case means I forgot what all we did. We enjoyed the time without kids. Thanks Dad and Mom!

Do you know how difficult it is to find a modest Prom worthy dress for someone my size? We got the most modest one we could find. We had to wait until Friday to get a dress. We didn't have the funds before that. Jon and the girls had gone dress hunting earlier in the week, so Jon knew what our options were. We found a dress and the additions items I needed. It didn't seem like a good idea to wear hiking boots with the dress. LOL (We also found a coat for Froggie. It was a $350.00 genuine lambskin leather coat and we got it for about $45.00 after taxes!)

We were running late getting ready so Mom met me between our house and hers to get the kids. I got back home with just enough time for us to get ready and get to banquet right on time. Jon was nearly ready when I got back. He had shaved! The last time he shaved was for our anniversary back in August '08. He was helping me get ready. He started to hand me the dress and found out the cashier hadn't removed the security tag! We had to go back to the store before going to the banquet. I got dressed as best as I could and wore jeans and a t-shirt to the store . The cashier was the same one and didn't recognize Jon all dressed up and clean shaven. LOL I changed into the dress in the dressing room and then we went straight to the banquet.

I was fine in the dim lighting around people I didn't know well (most of whom were at least a little or a lot drunk). However, much to my embarrassment, a lady in the restroom recognized me from church. Jon had me put the picture of us on Facebook so I might as well post it here as well. I think my cheeks are turning a shade of red similar to the shirt I am wearing as I post this.

Wasn't Jon handsome!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The girls are in Sonflower Scouts at church. Last Saturday was their annual Father/Daughter Banquet. This year's the was Masquerade. I help lead the K and1st grade group, so I had to be there to help. Mom kept the boys and Dad came to the banquet so that Jon wouldn't be as outnumbered. I'll have to see if Jon will post more about the banquet. In the meantime, here are some pictures.

Froggie twirling with Jon

Froggie dancing

Jon dancing with Froggie

Kitty Kat dancing with Papaw

Kitty Kat and Jon

Birdie dancing with a friend

Jon and Monkey

Papaw (Brandi's dad), Birdie, Kitty Kat, Froggie, Monkey, and Jon

They make a beautiful group, don't they!?

Update 3/15/09: Today, when Birdie went to put on her dress for church, we discovered that the top skirt seam had come out for a length of about five inches. She had to wear a different dress.

After church, when Froggie was changing, the straps on one side of her dress pulled out.

Below is a picture our Sonflower Scouts Events coordinator gave me at church today.

Papaw (Brandi's Dad), Kitty Kat, and Froggie in their masks