Weekly Meal Planning and Grocery List Printable

I just thought I’d jump on here and share this simple printable I made. Today is meal planning day here as tomorrow will be our grocery pickup day and I have misplaced the meal planning sheet I was using so I decided to make a new instead of scribbling it out on a scrap piece of paper again this week. Now that it is posted on my blog here I can find it the next time I need it… at least I hope. I’ve already lost a copy of it somewhere on my computer this afternoon… lol.

Meal planning is a must around here and with all of the social distancing precautions still in effect we try not to make too many trips to the store… I really love the Walmart Grocery Pickup service but even with their ‘No Contact’ feature I try to only go once a week.

When I write out my meal plans the older girls can see them which means they can help get out the items that I need for each meal. This is especilally helpful right now because sometimes our littlest princess can be very needy and refuses to cooperate when Momma needs to get things done.

Speaking of our adorable little princess, she is singing her ‘you better get over here and pick me up before I start screaming’ song right now. So without further ado, here you go:

Here’s a link to my grocery list that I use as well but I need to update mine as our needs have changed a little bit since the last update. It was also originally organized by the order of the aisles in our favorite store at the time but we know how frequently those things can change. I currently use this as I am meal planning so I can check my pantry supplies and check off what I need for the week’s meals. I then use the grocery app to place my order.

Here’s a blank one also:

A Christmas To Remember!

I can remember this Christmas like it was yesterday!

Depression Tips

I saw this post on Facebook the other day and I thought it was such good advice:

DEPRESSION TIPS

Shower.

Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything.

Use whatever lotion you like. Unscented? Dollar store lotion? Fancy 48 hour lotion that makes you smell like a field of wildflowers? Use whatever you want, and use it all over your entire dermis.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Continue reading “Depression Tips”

Our recent Amazon purchases

As you all know I’ve always been partial to Amazon because you don’t need to leave your house, or couch, to get what you need. While this isn’t always a good thing to have everything just a click away it has been very useful during this COVID pandemic. Here are just a few of our favorite purchases lately:

Baby

Isn’t this the cutest?
Continue reading “Our recent Amazon purchases”

White Chocolate Fudge

This is a family favorite that is so easy to adapt to make your own unique fudge flavors. You can add crushed cookies and/or candies to this to make it extra special as well as adding colorings to customize it for different holidays or occasions. The possibilities are endless!

Continue reading “White Chocolate Fudge”

Getting back in the groove

Well, to say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement. It was a year full of surprises (both good and bad), unbelievable stresses, and so much more than I could have ever imagined.

On top of everything we had just gotten married (we celebrated our 1 year anniversary on December 25th!!) and found out that we were expecting. That in itself can be quite stressful but we were also dealing with our new house issues (which seem to be never ending) and it felt like things kept hitting us one right after another.

In January of 2020 we learned that our pregnancy was extremely high risk and the odds of making it to term and having our baby survive birth were very grim. I also began experiencing some pregnancy related issues with my thyroid and blood pressure which I’d never had issues with before.

I seriously felt like I was losing my mind and felt completely helpless about everything. I was doing my best to ‘hold it together’ and kept myself busy working on our new house so we could get moved in.

Then the COVID pandemic took over and so many restrictions were put into place. We moved into our home during the beginning of it and all the hopes we had of celebrating our accomplishments with friends and family were dashed.

That in itself was upsetting as we’d also been separated from our beloved square dance family and I was already beginning to feel isolated. As the following months followed that feeling grew and grew and I could feel a bit of depression trying to settle in.

My husband wasn’t allowed to come to appointments with me. I had to face all the grim news alone and I shed many tears in the doctor’s office. They pretty much got accustomed to me coming in with a smile and leaving with puffy red eyes… they hold even keep me in the room for a bit so I could collect myself after each appointment.

I can’t say that I blame them because it wouldn’t help reassure any mom-to-be that everything was going to be alright when they can obviously tell that something wasn’t ‘ok’ with me.

A lot of the tears came from what felt like a constant push from the doctors to ‘stop being selfish and do what was right’ and just terminate the pregnancy. I had to request that they not suggest or bring it up several times but they still did almost every time I went in.

There definitely was an internal battle going on because termination was not an option for me but was it true that I was being ‘selfish’? Several doctors insisted that our baby would have severe handicaps and would basically be a vegetable and would have no quality of life at all.

While dealing with all of these emotions my body was also shutting down. I had the thyroid issues, blood pressure issues, some cardiac issues, extreme nausea, kidney stones, and by the time we moved into our new home I was almost bedridden.

Everyday was a struggle just to get the basic things accomplished and make sure the kiddos were fed and such. I did my best to keep nourishing my body so the little one growing inside would get the best start possible but even that was a struggle as I had absolutely no energy or appetite.

I felt so bad that I wasn’t even doing what I needed to do to prepare for our little one’s impending arrival. Thankfully something clicked on me day and I decided that I wasn’t going to listen to anything negative but rather just focus on the positive.

Some of friends and family came together to have a ‘mail order’ baby shower and they sent tons of gifts. We took pictures of us opening the gifts and posted them on Facebook for everyone to see. It wasn’t the way things should’ve been but it was very uplifting to see how many people were praying and supporting us during such a difficult time.

The kiddos held up fairly well even though they missed being able to get out and do everything we had done previously. We had plans of zoo trips and museum adventures but all of that was put on hold due to COVID.

Needless to say our routines and schedules also fell by the wayside. I tried to keep the basic stuff going like laundry and some basic cleaning. I orchestrated as much as I could from the recliner and had chairs set up in every room so that I could have a place to sit when I needed to supervise activities.

Most of the meals were made as I sat at the kitchen island because walking short distances or standing for any amount of time would cause me to get short of breath and extremely lightheaded.

Seeing everything that needed to be done and trying to spend ‘quality’ time with my other kiddos felt like a complete failure… I just couldn’t juggle or multitask. I felt like I couldn’t ask for friends or family to come and help because of the COVID restrictions and I truly felt as though I was drowning.

I kept telling myself that once the baby got here things would get better and we’d get back into routine. I told myself that I’d have more time and energy to get things in order and straight when she got home.

We had already made plans for my daughters to be here when she was born so they could stay with the kiddos at home while I was at the hospital. Plane tickets had been bought and leave from work scheduled when little miss decided to come a couple of weeks early.

Once again our lives where thrown into a whirlwind as we tried to arrange childcare while I was in the hospital. Then when I was discharged it was another crazy mess and our routines flew out the window as I desperately tried to hold onto my sanity between keeping up with the house and kids, visiting the baby in the NICU, and trying to squeeze in times to pump, shower, eat, and sleep. Life was a crazy mess!

Shortly after she was born some of my family tested positive for COVID. Two of them fought for their lives and one didn’t make it. The not knowing how your loved one was doing and waiting on the doctor to call with updates was so hard. It was definitely a daily struggle as we’d wait for that call in the morning to let us know if they made it through the night and then wait for another call later that day if there had been any changes. It was just excruciating and so much to try to make sense of at one time.

Then a week or so later I got the call that our daughter had been exposed in the NICU. I just about fell to pieces when the doctor gave me the news. The one place where she should have been safest and she wasn’t safe at all. She was quarantined which was an emotional experience that I might share later but thankfully I was still allowed to visit with strict guidelines to follow.

Things settled down a tad when she got home but then we found ourselves overwhelmed with appointments and telemed visits with all of the specialists and therapists.

We had a nurse sent to us who has proven to be an angel on earth as we tried to adjust to having a medically complex baby in the house. Just as all of that seemed to get a bit more manageable it was getting close to time for her open heart surgery.

That too didn’t go as scheduled. We had arrangements made for big sister to come be with the kiddos so Mommy could stay at the hospital but the day before our pre-ops the office called to say that her surgery was being postponed until the following week.

We never got a call with a date and little miss decided she wasn’t waiting any longer and took things into her own little hands. She ended up being admitted on the Thursday before Halloween and had surgery the following Monday.

When we got back home there were no remnants of our past routines left. The house and everyone in it were just CHAOS… including the dog.

None of it really seemed to matter though as we were just basking in the revelation of just how blessed we were and how thankful we were to have our family together again. All I can say is that God has had us in the palm of his hand and he has taken care of us through it all.

Just after Thanksgiving we lost another family member as well. I didn’t take it well because I had promised I’d be back to visit and I hadn’t been able to because of the pregnancy and COVID. I have found comfort knowing that I’ll see all of them again and that they are truly in a better place.

The past two months I’ve just truly been in survival mode. I’ve tried to ‘fake it until you make it’ but I’m not making it anywhere yet. It’s been so hard to be so completely and utterly out of control when I am not accustomed to this. I’m not a control freak but I did like having our schedules and routines to keep us in check.

Last week I was so unhappy and couldn’t really figure out why. I mean we are so blessed in so many ways but when I looked around my house it was (and currently still is) total chaos. I’ve never had my house to be in such disarray… from dirty socks hanging out in the living room, empty toilet paper rolls playing in the bathroom, cobwebs everywhere I look, and everyone running around like sugar laden zombies not knowing what to do next.

Ok, maybe the sugar laden zombies were my doing as I went a little overboard with the Christmas goodies but now it’s time to get back on track.

Several times over the past few months I’ve really tried to get back in routine but I keep skipping off track like a scratched record… things are going along beautifully and then out of nowhere we hit a bump or two and can’t seem to find our groove again.

Well, this is a new year and I am determined to get back on track. I’m going to take it one day at a time with everything. I did invest in a couple of nice calendars and have all of our important dates and appointments written down.

The calendars also have areas to write notes/goals so I may start utilizing those spaces to help keep me in check.

I had an app on my phone that helped me keep track of routines but sometime over the past year they all disappeared! Thankfully I’ve written a few posts about our routines and schedules so I can reference them to help get back on track. I also have some routines printed out.

I plan to use all of these resources to get some new routines going by setting up my daily priorities and building on those. I’ve been told that I’ve just been trying to do too much and there is a possibility that I have.

Having a houseful of kiddos who depend on you can be overwhelming but when you add a new baby it is definitely overwhelming at times. When you add that a couple of the kiddos are special needs and that the littlest one is medically complex things can get interesting.

Setting priorities

Over the past month a lot of things have come to light about the paperwork for our house… things that weren’t correct and so it’s been a mess trying to get it all sorted out as well. It’s also been stressful as things are here and there and I have to search through this pile and that pile to find the correct paperwork.

One of my main priorities this month will be to get my ‘office space’ set up. I’ve been waiting for this and that to happen but for now I’m just going to need to make do with what I already have so I can have a space that functions for our household.

Another priority will be getting the kids clothes organized because they are a hot mess!!! I need to get rid of the clothes that are too small because my boys have been coming out with some interesting outfits in the mornings. I have already tackled my closet and the baby’s dresser and I have a plan to tackle the other areas and hope to start this week.

Then we also need to get back to homeschooling… yeah, we’ve had a few breaks but they are learning important skills everyday even if we don’t have our noses in the books everyday.

I’ve also sat down this morning and planned out a few THM meals for myself because those sugary treats didn’t zombify me but they have made me a little extra squishy… 🙄

I know that sometimes when we feel like things are playing like a broken record we can be tempted to throw it all out the window and start new but if we know that the songs/routines were good we shouldn’t just start new. We can clean them up a little and keep going over them again and again until we find the right groove again. It just takes a little time and patience to see it through.

Having a plan to get things going makes me feel better and I’m going to pull out those old routines and see how I can clean them up to get back in my groove because I know that I’ll feel better and everyone will benefit from having a happy Momma in the house.

Cookies N’ Creme Fudge

This is yet another adaptation of our family favorite fudge recipe. I didn’t get a picture because the fudge disappeared so fast I didn’t have a chance! I will definitely be making this again and will try to snap a picture when I do. I plan to test out some more flavor variations throughout the year as well.

Cookies N’ Creme Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 – 1 c. crushed oreos or similar cookie (you could also experiment with different cookies/candy bars for your own unique flavor)

Directions:

Line 8 x 8 pan with wax paper.

Combine marshmallow creme, sugar, milk, butter, and salt over medium heat.

Bring to a full boil. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly.

Working quickly, remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth.

Gently fold in the crushed cookies or candy of your choice.

Pour into prepared pan.

Gently tap/shake your pan to remove air bubbles.

Chill for two hours.

Cut into 2-inch pieces and store in airtight containers.

Note: Can also be made in cupcake liners for individual servings.

Colds, a collapsed well, and some deep cleaning

It’s New Year’s Eve and I, along with many others, will be glad to be putting 2020 behind me. It was a rough year in so many ways. We did have quite a few good things that came from it, like our beautiful baby girl, but it seemed like something new and even more ominous was lurking behind every corner.

Such a cutie!
Continue reading “Colds, a collapsed well, and some deep cleaning”

Red Velvet Fudge

This is a new family favorite as my daughter brought home some red velvet fudge she had found at a gas station. The challenge was on to adapt our recipe to include this new flavor and it’s been a hit so far.

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Is Santa Real? … That is the question

I saw this explanation in one of my Facebook groups and I love it…

For those of you questioning the way to tell your children about Santa Claus, here is a sweet story on combining that with training. Delete if inappropriate for this group.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit Grandma on the day my brother dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” he jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted, “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. “Where” turned out to be Kirby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kirby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were — ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share,

HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care…

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

☆Copied and pasted from another page.

Crazy Times

Hey everybody… I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve checked in but I had a few minutes so I thought I try to catch up with you all. I hope everyone is doing well… I know things are so crazy everywhere with LIFE, COVID, and POLITICS but things have been especially crazy for us here lately.

Little Shyanne had her open heart surgery this past Monday… yes, we were scheduled for October 21st but things happened and we got postponed however little miss wasn’t too keen on being delayed and she let us know rather quickly that something needed to be done ASAP!

The past few weeks have been rather scary but we are so happy to be over that part and the road to recovery right now!

Continue reading “Crazy Times”

Just a quick ‘Hello’

Hi everybody… I just wanted to stop in and let you know that I haven’t forgotten about my blog. Things have been a little crazy and I’m just starting to get on top of our new routines and schedules with the new baby. Its been a lot harder than I had imagined it would be bit we are so glad to have her home.

I was updating a couple of things like adding a link to her Facebook page on the sidebar… check it out if you get a chance and follow along with her updates. I also noticed that our page has been getting quite a bit of traffic even though I’ve not been posting as regular as I once did… thank you COVID?!

We do have a lot of great resources listed on our site and hopefully I’ll be able to add even more and maybe get some more of those Little House on the Prairie Adventures finished up… they seem to be a big hit right now! Feel free to search for those posts and download whatever you can use as it is all FREE!

Well, I’ve got to finish up dinner and some homeschool planning so I’m gonna jump off here but here’s a couple of super cute pics of our little miracle:

Isn’t she precious? Talk to y’all soon!