Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Daily Charts

This is what I use to keep track of Baby Boy (2 months) and Toddler Girl's (13 months) accomplishments throughout the day.

Between the two of them, there are so many feedings, diaper changes and naps that I know it would be extremely difficult to try to remember the details for the parents. Some days I need a checklist for feeding the dog since I can't remember!

Whenever I care for infants, I make a habit of writing down their schedule for that day. It's always helpful to mothers to have that to take home and refer to if they wonder about something later that evening.

With two so young, I knew I'd need a more efficient method than just a scrap of paper. So we made up a simple document and I hung a clipboard on the kitchen wall for each child.

So far this has worked great!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

However you choose to celebrate the holiday, be sure and take a minute to remember and thank God for those who have served and sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have in America today.

Enjoy the day! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Farmer's Market Saturday

Summer produce is just now starting to come into season here in the South and the farmer's market season has now begun.

I like to kill two birds with one stone on Saturday mornings if I can and combine our morning walk with a stop for produce.

The market I go to is still fairly small on Saturday mornings and this morning only had one produce vendor but look at what I brought home!

*Head of cabbage
*Three zucchini
*One beet- Looking forward to trying a new beet salad recipe next week!
*One onion
*Basket of cherry tomatoes- the first of the season!

Note to self: Head of cabbage + water bottle = very heavy backpack for the trek home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Use For Shredded Zucchini

 As I've been using things up in the freezer to prepare for this year's harvest, I noticed I still had quite a few bags of shredded zucchini left!

Normally I would make zucchini bread and fritters, but since we're not eating baked goods or much grain, I needed to come up with another use.

I've added some of it to soup and spaghetti sauce with good results but wanted some other ideas too. So I started adding about 1 cup shredded zucchini ( with moisture squeezed out) to our scrambled eggs in the morning. I was surprised at how tasty it is.

Add some diced ham and you have green eggs and ham!

Adding veggies to eggs is a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients and uses up my stash too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Planning For The Week

I've shared my meal plans fairly consistently for quite some time now. I thought I'd start something new and post my to-do list and some of my plans for each week combining them with my menu plan post.

I love to plan; sometimes I think I prefer the planning part to actually carrying out the plan! The quote "Failing to plan is planning to fail""  is often true for me as I seem to be a whole lot more productive when I have a plan and a to-do list so I can check things off as I go.

Whenever making plans, however, I have to remember this verse from Proverbs 16:9 (NLT): " We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps."

It's vital to commit our plans to the Lord each day being open to His leading! My weeks and days very seldom turn out just like I think they will and many times certain tasks do not get crossed off the list. My meal plans very rarely go exactly as written out! Life happens and it's ok.

Menu plan for the week (Monday through Saturday): 

1) "Egg Roll" lettuce wraps( shredded cabbage, chopped chicken, grated carrot and onion sauteed in skillet with some spices and soy sauce and served in lettuce leaves), sauteed zucchini

** I've been buying cabbage at the farmer's market the past few weeks and this has been a favorite way to use some of it. Two people can only eat so much coleslaw! We love homemade egg rolls but since we're currently not eating wheat/bread items-- no egg roll wrappers.:-( So we tried it with lettuce instead and it's surprisingly yummy!

2) Buffalo chicken salad, deviled eggs

3) Meeting: Taking sweet potatoes cooked in the crockpot (works great!) and a veggie.

4) Turkey and gravy (from freezer; heat in crockpot), rice, veggie

5) Grilled pork chops, green beans, salad

6) Salmon patties( with rice instead of bread crumbs), two veggies


1) Chicken and rice (from freezer), leftover coleslaw, fresh veggies
2) Leftover egg roll lettuce wraps, fresh veggies
3) Soup (from freezer), veggies
4) Random assortment of leftovers
5) Leftover turkey and gravy
6) Whatever's left or something quick and easy.

** scrambled eggs with veggies (5x)
** grain-free banana pancakes(new to me recipe), breakfast meat (1x)

On My To-Do List this week:
1) Set up Facebook page for blog.  Done!
2) Work on a couple of gifts.
3) Yard work and gardening-- focusing on getting my few garden plants planted and some bushes trimmed. In progress!
4) Revise budget in time for the new month. 
5) Get some paperwork sent in.

Wishing all of you a wonderful week! 

What are some of the things on your to-do list this week?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Follow Me On Facebook!

You can now follow Mary Ann's House on Facebook!

I'll be linking to new posts and sharing links, ideas and fun finds that may not otherwise get put into posts here. For those of you who are Facebook users, this will be another way to interact with me and my blog. 

I'd love it if you 'liked' my page and became a follower! :-)

A Five Year Old's Perspective

I see a riding toy, 

That converts into a push toy for Toddler Girl to ram into walls and furniture at an alarmingly high rate of speed.

But to Big Brother-- " Wow! It's a Transformer!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I've Been Up To

While it's been quiet on my blog lately, it hasn't been quiet at my house!

I've started caring for a 7 week old infant (Baby Boy)  in addition to the 13 month old little girl (Toddler Girl, formerly known as Baby Girl) I already had been keeping.

Days are full and busy. But a good kind of busy!

I'm grateful for the opportunities I have to pour my life into these little ones. Although I am thankful for breaks and not every day is sunshine and roses, as we all know, I do love having my home full of littles!

And it will be full. In a few weeks, Big Brother will once again be joining us when school is out for the summer!

Since we visited Andy's parents  over Mother's Day weekend, we went with them to their church on Mother's Day. Their pastor announced that they were celebrating all women that day, not just mothers. He went on to explain that while there were lots of 'biological' mothers there (I'm guessing this term included adoptive moms as well meaning these are women who have raised or are currently raising children), there were also many 'cardiological' moms (those with a mother's heart who pour their lives into others) present.

That sounds kind of funny, but you would not believe how special and encouraging that term was to me! Encouraged that I wasn't looked over because I don't yet have children of my own. Encouraged that this time of waiting for my own children is not wasted time. And encouraged that spending time pouring my life into other people's children has eternal value!

I know my life has been blessed by many 'cardiological' moms!

I'm hoping to continue posting here on a regular basis but posting may be sporadic for a season as I find a routine that works with my busy schedule.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Broth

 **I originally posted this on Wednesday but Blogger seems to have lost it with all the issues they've had in the past few days. So I'm reposting. This is one good reason to subscribe to your own blog in Google Reader! I only had to copy and paste!

I mention making homemade chicken broth a lot here on my blog and I've also explained how to make it to a lot of people in real life. A commenter requested that I share how I make broth in the crockpot about a year ago. Oops!

So here it is!

This is really simple!

On a side note, my husband thinks I should have a blog named, "It's really very simple." Since he claims I say that every time I begin to give instructions for making something. :-)

You will need: 
  • a chicken carcass or a collection of chicken bones
  • a couple of carrots cut in large chunks
  • a celery stalk or two, cut in large chunks
  • an onion, cut in quarters or large chunks.
  • water: I like to use filtered water but that's up to you.
  • spices: I use sea salt, black pepper, a bay leaf, some garlic or garlic powder, and some basil or oregano. This is totally up to you as to which spices you use or if you use any at all!
  • a crockpot! The pot pictured is a 5 quart. Smaller or larger will work just as well.
  • Optional: a container of veggie scraps:  If you have lots of scraps, you can choose to use these instead of the other cut veggies if you prefer.
  • Optional: apple cider vinegar: A swig or two of apple cider vinegar added to the pot and allowed to sit  for a half hour before cooking will help to draw the minerals out of the bones into the broth. This does not affect the taste of the broth at all.
Add all ingredients to crockpot. Cover bones with water. If using vinegar, add and let pot sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. Otherwise, put lid on pot and turn to low.

Let cook for 10-24 hours. I usually let it cook about 12 hours or more if I'm really busy and don't want to deal with it. I often will throw this all in the crockpot after a chicken dinner and let it cook overnight.

Check pot every so often and make sure water is not running low. This doesn't usually happen to me but if it does, just add a bit more.

When done cooking, turn crockpot off and remove lid. This will be very hot so you'll probably be better off if you let it cool down some.

Get out a big bowl and using a strainer, pour broth into bowl. If there are bits of chicken in the broth, you can dig those out if you want and set them aside to put in a pot of soup. Otherwise, discard all the veggies and bones. I double bag them before throwing in the trash for leaking purposes and so pets aren't as likely to get into them.

Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours. Most likely, a hard layer of fat will settle on top. Scrape that off and underneath you'll see beautiful homemade chicken broth!

The best broth is more like a wiggly gelatin than a liquid. Mine doesn't always turn out that way but I use it anyways. :-)

Now you can use your broth to make soup or freeze in small containers for later use. If the broth has really cooked down into a rich broth, you can reconstitute with some water when using.

**I make beef broth this same way and sometimes I just make vegetable broth if I have veggies scraps and no bones.

** If you don't have a crockpot, use a large stockpot on the stove instead. Follow directions above and turn to high to bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and let cook all day. You will want to watch this a bit more closely than the crock and make sure it doesn't boil over or cook the water down to far.

Happy broth making!

Feel free to ask any questions about this or add comments in the comments section!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Way Of People, Flowers And Grass

  "All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

but the word of the Lord endures forever." 

1 Peter 1: 24-25

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Year Of Healthy Habits: A Little More Exercise

For May, I've decided to add 10-15 minutes to my daily 30 minute walk. I won't be able to do this every day because my early morning schedule is already about as packed as it's going to get. But I am going to try to implement this at least 2-3 times a week especially on the weekends. Maybe even some evenings if I have enough energy!

I am feeling really good since implementing these small changes each month. Drinking enough water continues to be a challenge. I do better some days than others!

What healthy habits are you working on and how is it going for you?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Spring Cleaning Week

Can you guess what I'm up to this week?

Yep. Spring cleaning!

I have a couple of days to spend working on this project and I'm trying to get as much as I can done in that time. This probably won't be the most thorough spring cleaning job that I've ever done and I may not even finish the whole house but what I can do will make a big difference and I can move on to other things! As FlyLady says, "Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family."

While I strive to keep my home reasonably clean,  I probably don't clean as much as I should. I think overall, I'm more neat than clean. Funny how a reasonably neat house can fool folks into thinking it's really clean! :-)

So in light of that information, it's time to do some real cleaning!

What I hope to accomplish:

All Rooms
*wash windows and mirrors
*clean blinds
*sweep cobwebs
*sweep and mop floors
*vacuum, wash and shake out rugs (depending on type of rug)
*dust and wipe all surfaces, furniture, decorations, table and chairs
*wash throws, pillow covers and curtains, if needed (only if needed!)
*scrub baseboards, doors,doorways, cabinets/woodwork and window frames
*wash spots on walls and ceilings, if needed

* wash shower curtain and bathmat
*deep clean tub (More than a quick swipe is what I mean here!)
* regular cleaning of sink and toilet

Kitchen and Laundry Room
* use oven cleaner on oven
*clean burners and cover with new foil
*clean microwave
*scrub outsides of appliances
*tidy laundry room a bit

What I Won't Be Doing
*scrubbing entire walls and ceilings
*cleaning out cupboards
*moving every single piece of furniture (although I will move some)
*organizing and decluttering every room (which I love to do, although is something is obvious then I will take care of it!)
*light fixtures
*spending hours on every room. I simply don't have the time for that this time around.  So I'll get what really needs to be done and work on the rest another time.

And now I'm off to give this house a freshening!

Monday, May 02, 2011

What's Cooking In My Kitchen

Happy Monday and happy May!

A short and easy menu plan this week for two reasons: hoping to get lots of non-cooking stuff done this week and we're headed out to visit family over Mother's Day weekend!

*scrambled eggs with meat and /or veggies (5x)

*leftovers: turkey vegetable soup, rice with tomatoes and peppers, green beans
*leftover sweet potatoes, green salad with egg and cheese
*leftover swiss steak, rice, broccoli
*soup (from freezer), rice
*Lunch-on-the-go: roast chicken slices, dijon mustard, lentil and rice salad, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, lots of water. (This includes snacks and enough for 2 meals- one on the way and one coming back.)

*leftover rotisserie chicken, sweet potatoes, green salad
*swiss steak, rice, broccoli
*Eat Away From Home: TBD
*Lentil and rice casserole (crockpot), green beans or whatever veggies are in fridge.

*yogurt with honey and pecans
*fruit smoothie
*celery, peanut butter
*fresh fruit