Monthly Archives: January 2011

This Week’s Menu

Wow! I got a lot of hits for last week’s Menu Plan Monday so I’ll take that to mean my readers (what few of you I have) love menu plans as much as I do. :) So maybe I’ll just make it a regular thing. Here is this week’s meals. These are based on the weekly Publix ad and my budget of $60 a week. I have all new meals this week except for Monday’s so it should be interesting.

Monday – Italian Pasta Bake with salad

Tuesday – Caramelized Onion and White Bean Flatbread with salad

Wednesday – Creole Shrimp and Rice

Thursday – Veggie Bean Burritos with brown rice

Friday – Chicken Tortilla Soup

Saturday – I’m hosting a bridal shower this night so my husband and daughter are going out for a “date night”. :)

Sunday – Nachos (Superbowl Sunday! I’m bringing this to a get-together.

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday Surfing – week of January 23

Another Sunday, another surf. Apparently I’m really into food lately as you will see from the links. Enjoy!

Weekend Web Walk – The Super Bowl Snacks Edition – This one is just worth it for the picture of the Snackadium or whatever it is called. Crazy. But you might also find some good snack ideas for the big game, too.

New No-knead Version of My Moist 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (Flax Seed Optional) – I just might be compelled to try this…maybe. Baking bread scares me but no kneading makes it seem like maybe I could do it.

Cooking with Kids: Turkey Kale Meatballs While my not quite 2 year old isn’t really going to be able to help me with this quite yet, I’d still like to try these…maybe with beef though. My husband is NOT a turkey fan.

Against “Babywise,” NOT Against Parents Who Use it YES! My thoughts exactly.

People are Where They are – This post is something I have thought on before and think it’s good to remember in our interactions with people.

White Tea: The New Green Tea? – As someone who has always kind of wondered what was up with white tea, I found this interesting and insightful. I had some white tea this week even before I read this.

Changing Tastes – Q’s Eats has had some great posts lately (well, actually, they are pretty much always great). This one is particularly great for anyone that thinks they can’t eat healthy because they don’t like how “healthy” tastes.

The PGEW Top 10 of 2010 – I saw some great recipes in here that I’d love to try and they are all supposed to be frugal as well.

Saturday Throwback: Cheap Healthy Salad Dressings – 102 Recipes – Now you don’t have any excuse for buying the bottled stuff.

Some New Things


I have some new things up my sleeve. For one, you can now “like” me on Facebook. I hope to interact with my readers more this way and get to know all of you!

I hope to unveil my other “new” thing sometime next week, maybe sooner. I just wanted to give you all a heads up to expect something!


Raising an Obedient Child is not my Parenting Goal

My pastor preached a wonderful message this week entitled Christ our Cornerstone (part of a 4 part series entitled “Who We Are“). It got me thinking about parenting. (He actually does mention parenting in the sermon, although it is not the topic of the whole message.) And it brings me to the title of this post. I have said this before but I don’t think I’ve said it here on the blog but my goal as a parent is not based on performance, on what my child looks like on the outside. What drives me in the decisions I make and the way I am raising my daughter does not revolve around getting results and a pat on the back and people commenting on what a well-behaved child I have. Raising an obedient child is not my parenting goal!


In the message referenced above, my pastor speaks about the need for our life to have Christ as our cornerstone, nothing else. Even good things, scriptural things cannot be our main objective or our focus. If we have anything else as our cornerstone, we veer completely off course. At first, it is just gradual but inevitably as time goes on we stray farther and farther away from where we should be as a Christian. I don’t want to be characterized by and overwhelmed by just one “good” thing but by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. I want the same for my child!

I appreciated what McKay Caston had to say on the subject:

However, if my primary parenting goal is to raise obedient, well-behaved children, then in the end, I will not be serving them well.  This is because, as a parent who claims to follow Jesus, my goal in the child rearing process is not merely to see my children reformed morally, but to see them transformed spiritually– and there is a huge gulf between those two goals.  The former focuses on actions. The latter focuses on motives. The former wants to create a rule-keeper. The later desires to shape a Jesus-lover. The former demands immediate results.  The later recognizes that reaching the heart of a child is a process.

My goal as a parent is simple really. I want Christ to show through in everything. I want Christ to be the reason for everything. I want my daughter’s life to be transformed by the power of the Gospel! Do I want her to obey? Sure I do. But obedience is not IT, Christ is!

Menu Plan Monday

This is late. I know, it’s Wednesday. And this is a shameless repost from a new blog I’m contributing to. But, here it is all the same.

I try to keep my grocery spending around $60 and have healthy meals but, as you will see, not everything is healthy here. :) I use the weekly Publix ad to create my list to help save money as well. I shop Sunday/Monday and plan meals from Monday-Sunday.

Monday – Pork and Poblano Skillet with brown rice
Tuesday – Potato Soup* with rolls
Wednesday – Roast Chicken with lemons with sauteed yellow squash and zucchini
Thursday – Pasta with garlic bread and sugar snap peas
Friday – Tamale Pie* (one dish meal)
Saturday – Stuffed Red Peppers with mashed potatoes
Sunday – Chicken and Artichoke Casserole* with cheesy broccoli

*New recipes I haven’t tried yet.

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Home Renovations – Which Ones Are Really Worth It?

A Little Bit of All of It has reached 4,000 hits so it’s time for a guest writer! I have been wanting a male voice here on the blog so I’m excited to welcome Josh Lyall! He blogs regularly for Jackson Marketing Group where he is involved in offering research-based strategic marketing solutions. I hope you enjoy something from the male point of view today here on the blog!

First, let me acknowledge what you are already thinking: “Josh is a weird name for somebody writing on a mommy blog.”  It’s true, I’m a dude – so what am I doing on a mommy blog?  Well, I thought about turning down the invite to guest-post, but this blog is just so warm and inviting compared to the normal ones I write for (marketing/business/technology blogs), that I just had to stay a little longer once I visited.

I know I could earn bonus points with my host if I wrote on one of her favorite topics like the upcoming National Hug a Pug Day (Note to Self:  March 23rd – make more effort than usual to avoid people with pugs) or my discovery of some sort of granola and green tea based exfoliating cream.  But instead, I thought I’d just write about something that is occupying a good percentage of my free time right now: home renovations, and deciding which ones are worth it.

My house is getting to the age when the second wave of more serious repairs/renovations kicks in.  At 15 years old, the house has been through a round of carpet and linoleum replacements and the normal paint and appliance/HVAC system repairs, but the bigger stuff is looming – roof, gutters, full HVAC replacement, etc.

It is with these larger repairs looming that I have been considering renovations.  The goal is to not incur significant costs that would limit the ability to complete larger projects that come up, while still making the house more livable and more re-sellable when the time comes.  As I went down the list of potential projects for the house and began to investigate their related costs, the need for some supporting research became clear (I don’t make decisions without data).

The Cost vs. Value Report published annually by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine provides a good resource for evaluating which home renovation projects give you the most value for your investment in the long-term appreciation of your house.  The data can be viewed broken down by the region of the country the house is in, which provides some interesting insights into the different average costs of projects throughout the country.  The most interesting information is definitely the average percent of project cost recouped.  Looking at different regions of the country, you’ll see things that make sense, like the value added to your house by adding a deck is higher in the Southeast or Pacific West than New England (where you’d need to shovel your deck to use it most months of the year).

For my purposes, I screened the data for the Southeast and compared all the potential renovation projects that were on my list.  It quickly became clear that several projects made the most sense, starting with a minor kitchen overhaul.  It is interesting that a minor overhaul (done well, of course) actually lends 4% more return on investment than a major overhaul.  Plus, both a minor and major kitchen overhaul are in the top ten for project costs recouped, putting them among the best projects to help your potential resale value.  Other high-return renovation projects are entry door and garage door replacement, changing to vinyl windows, and of course, adding that deck (assuming you’re in a climate with less than 10 months of winter – sorry Minnesota).

During a time when selling your house might not be possible and improvements are needed to make staying more enjoyable, it would be advisable to do a little investigation into which projects you will be able to get the most value out of when the housing market turns around and a move is possible once again.

Well, I’m heading back to tearing up flooring in my kitchen – thanks for the respite in the land of the mommy blogs.  And if someone does start selling green tea granola exfoliant, I want a cut.

Sunday Surf for week of January 16

Here are my favorites for the week!

Breakfast Shortcuts with the World’s Healthiest Foods – This has some good ideas for that first meal of the day.

Confused About When To Wean? Your Baby Has The Answer. – Great post about the current controversy in the UK

Edible DIY: Paula Deen’s Homemade Kit Kat Bars – Just reading this recipe put me in sugar shock……but I still want to eat it.

Gentle Parenting Ideas Series: Shopping Trips – Tips for taking your little one shopping with you so you both enjoy it

She’s Not “High Needs” ~ She’s Vivacious! – Loved this post from Peaceful Parenting

The Anterior Cervical Lip: How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Birth – Very interesting post about pushing in labor

50 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids plus Fun Serving Suggestions
– There are some great ideas in here that I’m excited to try with my daughter.

The Greatest Gift… – A wonderful post about a father’s gift to celebrate his grown daughter’s breastfeeding milestone

Check out Authentic Parenting, Maman A Droit, Navelgazing, Momma Jorje, The Parent Vortex, Hobo Mama , Motherhood Moments and Mama and Baby Love for more Sunday Surfing!

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