Simple Food – Creativity Within Limits!

For years I’ve tried menu planning. My girls are awesome at it… They decide on their menu for the week, create a detailed shopping list, and actually cook the things they planned to cook. Me? Not so much. I’d plan the week’s menu, and plans would change… We’d get invited out to dinner, or have extra leftovers from the night before, or I was just plain too tired to execute the special meal I thought was a good idea for Tuesday night. I’d make a detailed shopping list and then leave it on the kitchen table when I went to the store. I’d buy lots of special fresh ingredients and watch them grow fuzzy in the fridge. So, I thought I’d think through this a bit more, and discovered…

…My cooking skills are a mix of bulk-buying, mega-cooking, comfort food,
doomsday prepper, dinner’s-in-the-freezer, and “wing it”…
…with an occasional burst of “we need to eat healthy!!!” added in.

How do you “meal plan” with that mix?

I might have found a way.

Several bloggers/writers/organization gurus that I’ve bumped into keep mentioning the “Day of the Week” meal planning method. Kind of like “Taco Tuesday,” but not limiting Tuesday to tacos only. I’ve been working on that concept for a while now, and so far, so good. The plan is to have a general idea of what meal to serve for each day of the week, to have the basic ingredients in the pantry or fridge, to have lots of simple and quick possibilities within the “plan,” and not be the end of the world if dinner plans change at the last minute. Not too much to ask, right?

Here’s what’s working so far…

Sunday Dinner
Chicken & Dumplings?
Ham with Macaroni & Cheese?
Pork Roast & Mashed Potatoes?

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
…Which is near and dear to Hubby’s heart!

Tuesday: Pasta
This was the first “No Brainer Meal Plan Day” I implemented.
Spaghetti or Ravioli was my fallback dinner, though without a plan
I found myself falling back on it more than I would like to admit.
Pasta on Tuesday was actually a ploy to limit our spaghetti nights
to just once a week. Eventually, as dinner rolled around and I was
wondering what to fix, my brain would say “Hey, it’s Tuesday… Pasta!”

Wednesday: Church Dinner
Our church does something absolutely amazing…
They serve dinner almost every Wednesday night before Bible Study!
Yes, you read that correctly.
🙂

Thursday: Chicken
If you ask Hubby what he’d like for dinner, his answer will always,
without a doubt, be “chicken.” Any kind, any way, any recipe… It’s all good.

Friday: Out to Dinner/Pizza
Friday nights have been an “Out to Dinner Night” with my parents
since I was a kid. It doesn’t happen every Friday night, but usually
it’s a last minute “Hey, do you want to go to…” so I needed a flexible plan!
Pizza is the back-up plan! Homemade, Delivered, or Frozen.

Saturday: Crock Pot or Grill
Saturday dinners can be hands-on or carefree, depending on the
day! Sometimes Saturday is a “Company Night” for us, so maybe it’s
a crock pot full of chili or taco soup, or some chicken on the grill!

Creativity within limits… So far, so good!
dinner

P.S. Can anyone guess what that breakfast meat is?
You get extra points if you’re not from Delaware,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or New Jersey!

Simple Learning & Day #15… Books on a Theme

One of the favorite Christmas presents this year was a tiny bit “retro”…

FarmSounds

A brand new version of The Farmer Says…

Just like the ones Hubs and I had as kids…

…And our girls had as kids…

…Same animals, same farmer making the sounds.

The only difference is the size… It’s much smaller and
much easier for little hands to hold and operate.

And it created quite an interest in farm critters among the toddler crowd.

And when interest is at its peak, what better time to pull
together an impromptu Farm Theme Unit Study?

Not a “sit down and do school” sort of unit study, but a small
pile of toys and books that all follow the same theme.

FarmTheme

The barn and critters were an eBay find… Looking for more critters to fill out the barnyard!

And then we looked for books…

FarmBooks

Some of the board books were from our stash here at home, and a few are from the library. (Actually, we fell in love with a couple of the library books and went searching on Amazon for our own copies!) When I went digging through our books, I was surprised at how many focused on farm animal sounds! Little Blue Truck  and The Very Busy Spider were already popular reads around here, but it hadn’t crossed my mind that they were about farm animals.

One of my favorite new finds, is Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton. There’s even a fun “reading” of it on YouTube, which thrilled my Civil War dancing heart. (Dancing to it in a crazy sort of way also thrills the heart of a certain little man!)

The plan is to leave these toys and books out during the whole month of January, and play with them often. It’ll be neat to see how many animal sounds we learn, and which animals names we can recognize at the end of the month. So far we have “moo” and “baaa” down, as well as a very impressive monkey sound, thanks to Curious George. (Maybe next month we’ll move on to a Noah’s Ark theme? I don’t know very many farms that have monkeys.)

Simple Faith

 

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.

Tonight, we big people sang this song with the little
people before they were snuggled off to dreamland.

And what a relief to know that in the big scheme of things,
we big people are counted among the little ones that belong to Him.

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For God so loved the world
that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish
but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16 ~

Simple… and so very sweet.

One Simple Word

Simple.

My One Word for 2016.

Can’t get much easier than that, right?

I am really good at reinventing wheels. We’re talking some serious skills in that area. There are signs hanging in my home that say “Simplify Simplify Simplify” or something similar, in hopes that someday I’ll catch on. All I had to do to choose my One Word was look up…

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But I even thought a bit too hard about that. Should it be “Simplify?” Choosing the verb form seemed like adding something else to my “To Do” list. “Simplicity?” The noun sounded a bit too formal. Maybe something fun, like “Uncomplified?” Then it came to me.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Sister.

So “Simple” it is.

There you have it…

2016… The year of just plain Simple.

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