Thursday, January 27, 2011


Me: "Is tomorrow Friday? Wow... this week has flown by!"

Asher: "Yay! That means the end of the budget. We get to eat real food... like, ice cream!"

Special Delivery

Despite all the complaints about Facebook, my status update gained me a stick of butter.

My status update said, "I need a stick of butter. I wonder if I can find one for 80 cents." A friend and neighbor commented, "Need one? I have one for free." Then she gave me a call and said, "I'm about to go pick up my kids from school. I'll bring you the stick of butter."

So, now I have enough butter for baked potatoes and toast. Thanks, Amanda!

Yet again, I am amazed by the generosity of my friends and neighbors during this challenge. I have gained quite a bit of knowledge about meal planning, grocery shopping, and using coupons. I hope to take the lessons I've learned and keeping using them throughout the year to keep my grocery bills down. Eating simply and shopping wisely make the "splurge" on going out to eat or expensive ingredients for a special meal at home even more meaningful.

I want to learn to rejoice in my blessings... because they are abundant!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

80 cents

As of tonight, I have 80 cents left for the week.

Here are my expenses: 29.73+10.07+47.53+13.01+39.12+8.40+9.06+33.16+9.12=$199.20

I used salt pork (which is actually glorified bacon) for the first time today. I fried it for a few minutes and put it in my beans. OH MY... delicious! I'm still waiting for the girls to get home from dance so we can all sit down to our economical, nutritious, and tasty victuals!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week Four... The Final Countdown

I titled this post The Final Countdown because it is currently Asher's favorite song and he is singing it non-stop... I also am nearing the end of the food challenge.

I made my menu this morning and went grocery shopping this afternoon. I only allowed myself to get $40 from the ATM because of D's unexpected shopping trip early Sunday morning. (I was out of eggs. I told him I would just have "scrape" something together for breakfast and he had frozen biscuits, eggs, sausage, and a $9.06 receipt waiting for me when I woke up. Even though I had plenty of frozen biscuits, I didn't fuss at him because his gesture was so thoughtful.)

I spent $33.16 today on bread, organic milk, syrup (with no corn syrup in it), a box of cereal (the first I've purchased all month because the kids are begging!), sour cream (of course), a couple of cans of beans, frozen broccoli, apples (4 for 99 cents), shredded cheddar cheese, salt pork (never bought it before...I'm planning on putting it in a pot of beans for flavor), croutons, bananas, carrots, an avocado, Fritos, bakery bread (72 cents!), and half-n-half.

It was really strange... but it seemed like everything on my list was on sale! Even the organic milk, sour cream, Fritos, and avocado! I didn't splurge on a new bottle of Caesar dressing because I think I can get by with what I have in the fridge.

Menu for Week Four:

Monday  fried eggs, toast  /  LOs , hot dogs (for the kids), fruit

Tuesday  pancakes  /  chicken caesar salad, multi-grain french bread, pears

Wednesday  cereal  /  beans, cornbread

Thursday  biscuits, sausage  /  baked potatoes, broccoli

Friday   oatmeal  /  chili, Fritos, cheddar cheese, carrot sticks, apple slices

Saturday  breakfast tacos  /  *Lil's birthday party

Sunday   scrambled eggs, biscuits  /  chili, LOs

*I guess I'm not totally a "purist" because I'm ordering pizza (Lil's request) for my child's birthday party and making brownie sundaes. She deserves a treat not only because it's her birthday but because she has gone without ice cream for almost a month with minimal complaining.

Now... I am looking for suggestions for future monthly challenges. I want to complete a challenge every month for 2011. I already have a few ideas in the works but your input is greatly appreciated!


This challenge has been such an eye-opener for me. From the initial excitement of reaching a goal to the panic attack because of certain failure, I have learned so much about myself and others. The best part of friendship... the sharing part... has been shown in abundance to me and my family.

Sharing has been shown to me through your money-saving recipes, hints on using coupons, and potlucks on "Game Night." A dear friend advised me on my taco and chili seasoning blunder (buying it by the packet) and bought me the canister version of both from Sam's! My sister and I have continued our meal-sharing on Wednesday nights... taking into consideration each others budgets. I have also benefited from my dad's chickens and their nutritious eggs.

In my blog post, Down to the Last Penny, I told you how I had no meat left in my freezer. Not anymore... due to a friend's generosity.

I took pictures for a friend's "Sweet 16" party for her daughter. She wanted to pay me but I wouldn't let her. She is a great friend who goes above and beyond the call of duty in being a mama to her five children. After taking pictures for a few hours Saturday night, I packed up my gear and headed out to my car. I wanted to tell my friend "goodbye" but she was nowhere to be found. As I was about to pull away, I saw her coming out her front door waving her hand at me. I rolled down my window to say "goodbye" and she said (while putting a brown grocery bag into my front seat), "I want you to have this." I told her, "I don't need anything. My work tonight was free of charge." She insisted I take her gift. "It's steaks and hamburger meat for your challenge. It's from my dad's beef cattle."

Now, thanks to generosity... I'm stocked on hamburger for three or more months!

I am so thankful for the abundance in my life. Especially, the abundance of friends. Thanks, everyone.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I know I come off as extremely confident to most of the people in my life. Well, I have a little secret I need to share... I am usually terrified of trying anything new.

When I decided to start taking pictures for other people, it was a huge leap for me. It was really hard for me to "put myself out there." It was hard for me to think some people will not like my photography... I know it's true... but it was hard. I also don't like to show any weakness. I also want to know everything there is to know about the situations of life I find myself in...

Take parenting, for example. When I found out I was pregnant with Asher, I immersed myself in my child development books from graduate school. I needed to know every detail about every developmental phase he was going through so I could be prepared with the proper stimulation for optimal development. Having my girls 22 months apart cooled my jets on the "proper stimulation for optimal development" obsession... I was lucky to make it through a day without a mental breakdown.

Photography was a challenge I didn't have to take. I should have been happy taking pictures of my own family. But, the lure of new lenses is too much for someone who likes to take pictures. So, I found myself busy with Reality Focused Photography. I found myself taking chances I hadn't taken before in my life. The weddings were the biggest challenge. A wedding isn't a "do over" in photography. You either capture the moments or you don't. It's that simple. And, it's that terrifying.

Therefore, I have scratched weddings (except for really special people) from my list. I can capture the pictures... I'm just not in love with "love."

Another terrifying part is when a good friend recommends you for a job. All I can think about is not disappointing that friend. I'm not even worried about my "reputation." It's all about them.

I've been nervous all day. Hoping I did a good job at the recommendation of a friend.

I thought by now I'd be invincible... apparently, I'm not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I bought a mini muffin pan last Friday and Lil has been "REALLY wanting" to use it. The kids got out an hour early from school today (because of the sleet/snow) so I decided this afternoon was a great time to bake with the girls.

Lil read the recipe, helped measure the ingredients, and both girls did A LOT of spoon and beater licking. At one point, I had to teach them some baking etiquette... of the "enough licking already!" variety. I even taught Lil about "preheating" the oven. The muffins were delicious and with a glass of cold milk made a great afternoon snack.

I'm blogging about this as I prepare the evening meal of penne rigate (just a fancy name for a variety of pasta) with meat sauce and a Caesar salad. This 30-day food challenge is teaching me more than I thought possible. I am learning there is a certain "joy" to cooking. In preparing food for my family, I am taking the time to think about the nutritional aspect of eating. In getting suggestions on what to prepare from each of my children, I am remembering my favorite meals from my childhood I would ask my mother to make for me.

Meal time is a special part of being human. Animals simply eat out of necessity. Humans eat out of necessity and for enjoyment. Cultures all over the world take part in a family meal. Meal time is an important part of family we lose when we simply go through the drive through or throw a "tv dinner" in the microwave.

My childhood is filled with fond memories of discussions we shared around the supper table. I also remember the bell my Grandmother kept on top of her refrigerator. She would ring the bell to indicate to my Granddaddy it was time for dinner/supper if he was in the field or garden. I still remember my Granny making cornbread to go with the big pot of pinto beans simmering on the stove. My dad would always go out to the garden to see if he could find some fresh, green onions to go with the meal.

Even though my mother worked part-time as a nurse when I was growing up, she always prepared me a nutritious (and usually hot) breakfast before I headed to school in the morning. I also loved our Saturday night tradition of popcorn and Coke. She would always make sure our popcorn bowl was full while we enjoyed the Disney movie of the week on ABC.

I guess I'm learning what a big part of the day food is... I was getting frustrated with the kids always being hungry and just grabbing whatever was available in the fridge, cupboard, or pantry. Now, I'm even thinking about their snacks. Staying in my budget has required me to take a little extra time in food preparation. And, this extra time has taught me the joy of cooking.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back into the Groove

After my mini panic attack last week, I was feeling good about my food challenge as I headed to the K-Roger tonight. It was probably because I ran for 40 minutes before my trip to the grocery store. The endorphin-high always helps me work through my issues and I felt positive I could make my purchases and still have some spare change.

My total was $39.12! I purchased romaine lettuce hearts, frozen green peas, two bags of shredded mild cheddar cheese (had a coupon when I purchased two bags and they were on sale!), a bag of frozen chicken tenders, Laura's ground beef (my splurge... can't eat beef fattened at a stock yard anymore... but that's another blog post), Smart Balance (had a coupon), butter (wow! I use a lot of butter), a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes (yum!), bread, organic half-n-half, and (you guessed it) bananas.

When I got to the checkout line, another checker asked me if I wanted to check out at aisle 8. (I was at aisle 7.) "Sure," I said. "Could I ask you a favor?" He replied "yes" and I told him I wanted a subtotal on the first items (the deli meat and other loaf of bread were in the kids' lunch category) because I was conducting an experiment. He smiled and said, "I checked you out the other day." I knew he hadn't and answered, "That was probably my sister." He looked at me again and said, "Yeah. She was talking about how she was doing a $50 a week food experiment with her sister. How's it working out?" We discussed some of the specifics and he wished me good luck.

I have also been offered a trade of deer meat for honey (my freezer has meat again!) and another friend has suggested I sign up for the Angel Food something or other... When I said to my friend... "that would be stealing" from the people who really needed the assistance he assured me there was no "socioeconomic" requirement. I told him I would pass. He just likes to tease me. I'm going to make it at least another 7 days!

Just sayin'...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I'm planning my menu for Week Three and I had to give my sister, Mandie, a call. We take turns in taking the girls (her daughter and my two) to ballet every Wednesday. Whoever takes to ballet is exempt from cooking supper. So, it's my sister's turn! Being on the budget, I wanted to make sure she was prepared to feed all of us... she assured me she was ready! (I fed her family last Wednesday.)

As we were chatting, I told her about my excess mozzarella cheese I needed to use and my joy at finding a homemade pizza crust recipe online! I also told her about my homemade pancake mix I'm going to make to substitute the store-bought I usually use. I was happily going through my menu as I realized I panicked prematurely a few days ago! (Funny what sisters can bond over...)

Menu for Week Three:

Monday  fried eggs, toast  /  LOs for lunch (home for MLK Day)  /  cheese pizza (homemade pizza crust), salad

Tuesday  pancakes  /  homemade fried chicken tenders, green peas, mashed potatoes with gravy (white, Southern style... mmmmm mmmmm good!)

Wednesday  scrambled eggs, grits, toast  /  Mandie's house for supper

Thursday  oatmeal  /  penne rigate with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese, salad

Friday  pancakes  /  tacos, homemade Mexican rice

Saturday  breakfast tacos  /  hot dogs, homemade French fries, fruit  /  beans, cornbread

Sunday  biscuits, scrambled eggs  /  tomato soup with grilled cheese, fruit

Bon Appetit!

Down to the last penny...

Well, almost! I had 43 cents left after my little trip to Kroger yesterday.

I counted my money before I entered the store. I was determined to stay in my budget for at least another week! I had $13.44.

I had on my list: parmesan cheese, milk, bread, eggs, a packet of taco mix, tortilla chips, and half-n-half, and bananas. I didn't buy the half-n-half... we still had enough for a few mornings. I bought a half gallon of regular (not organic) milk instead of organic milk. I bought bread (still no high fructose corn syrup and still stone ground whole wheat) that was 40 cents cheaper than my regular whole wheat bread and... grand total... $13.01!

We ate a delicious dinner of spaghetti. I only used about a 1/3 of a pound of ground beef with some sausage and used the rest of the ground beef for the taco soup I took to church potluck today!

Now, the challenge of this week looms... with no meat left in the freezer I am going to have to get creative. We don't eat a lot of meat but it is nice to serve at least 4 evenings a week. Any suggestions?


A young man I know was robbed at gunpoint this weekend. He was pulled out of his own bed while sleeping, thrown face down onto the carpet, and threatened with a gun. "Where's your wallet? Where's your cell phone? Where's your money, rich boy?" Two gun shots were fired into the floor right by his head. He was terrified... and he prayed for his life.

This young man attends college. He also works at a nursing home taking care of those who can't take care of their own basic needs. He is not "rich." He does drive a new sports car... one he is paying for... it was not given to him by "rich" parents.

This young man's life was spared. His possessions were stolen (including his new sports car) but his life was saved. I know this young man's mother. I have watched her cry many tears over the last two days. I know what she is thinking because I have an only son just like she has... she is crying from relief... her son is still alive. She is crying over "what could have been." She is crying for all of the other mothers who have lost children to violence.

This mother is realizing what her most important possession is... it is love.

When I think about what happened to this young man, I get angry. Angry at the violent man who had no business trespassing into a home that was not his own. Angry at the way he treated the young man I know. Angry at his use of "rich boy"... as if the label "rich" made what he was doing okay. Angry at the possibility of someone hurting my own loved ones for no other reason than possessions. Angry. Just angry.

People always ask, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I don't know. Evil exists. And evil can be very random. I do know that evil didn't totally win in this case because the young man is still alive. Praise God for that...

Friday, January 14, 2011

I had a teensy-weensy panic attack last night. I thought I would sit down and start planning next week's menu... so, I was looking in the fridge, pantry, and cabinet and started to realize I still had two weeks to go on my food challenge... and I began to panic. I had an overwhelming urge to just trash the entire challenge and go out for pizza on Friday night!

Hint: To save money on the family food budget someone has to do a lot of planning, food preparation, and cooking.

The Hamlins are not a fast food family and we don't eat out a lot. But, not eating out at all for 30 days can start to get to a mama. It's not just the cooking either. My hands are noticeably drier from all of the dish washing and kitchen cleaning I have been doing the past two weeks. (I guess I should wear my yellow, rubber gloves... ya think?) I have to have a perfectly clean kitchen if I am going to be spending a lot of time in it. I'm thinking about food a lot more than I want to be.

I am also tired of being a "waste Nazi" ... I remind the kids at least a few times a day... "We don't waste food." I'm also weary of looking at the few dollars I have left in my wallet and wondering... is it going to be enough?


I WILL endure. I WILL MAKE IT through the challenge. I am being challenged. Saving money is a challenge. Denying myself is a challenge. I'm quickly tiring of being challenged. (I wish I was a cartoonist. The last six sentences would be accompanied with 1. a happy face with a big smile and hands on hips 2. an "I think I can" face 3,4,&5. a face that shows my emerging self-realization and 5. a face of total frustration.)

Maybe it's just my ADD kicking in...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Change Up

The Hamlin family enjoyed a delicious dinner last night... but it wasn't what was on the menu.

We were blessed enough to be invited over to a friend's house on Monday night to watch football and play Qwirkle... the kids' schools would be closed again on Tuesday because of the icy roads. We enjoyed a wonderful supper of beans and cornbread. Again, every family contributed to the community meal.

Tuesday morning I put three chicken quarters into the crockpot with chicken seasoning, a pinch of salt, pepper, and a small pat of butter. By 5 pm, the chicken was falling off the bone! It was so tasty! I can't believe I have never made crockpot chicken before now!

I have one chicken quarter left to make chicken and dumplings. Instead of having that meal on Friday night, I might have to serve them tomorrow night because I might be too low on leftovers to make a meal of LOs for Thursday night! I am also skipping beans and cornbread because we've already eaten them this week.

I'm thinking of substituting spaghetti for beans and cornbread because I think I have all of the ingredients in my pantry. I went shopping Monday and spent $47.53. I'm cutting it close... Luckily, I still have $8 and some change from last week. I thought I might be able to "splurge" on some ice cream... but better save it for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"ALL I want for Christmas is a kitten, mama. That's ALL!" Eden told me... over and over again.

D and I had decided to continue our tradition of keeping Christmas simple. We want the focus to be on family time and sharing God's blessings with others. This philosophy is hard to explain to a 6-year-old who was counting down to Christmas Day before the beginning of December. "ALL" she wanted for Christmas turned into "Do I have any more presents?" It was interesting E took this approach because she is not a "gimme" kind of kid.

We found a kitten for her two days before Christmas. He was a rescue and 13 weeks old. I named him prior to picking him up. I told Eden his name was Shalom which means "peace." Peace between siblings who would be "sharing" the kitten. I thought she would be possessive of Shalom. She wasn't. He is being shared by the entire family including Sissy and Mr. Jane who are tolerating him!

Both girls are being quite responsible and making sure he has food and water. They are also taking turns scooping the litter box. Shalom has added some "new kitten" fun to our family! He is giving us all hours of entertainment. Thanks for the suggestion, Eden. It was time for a new pet.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On Budget

Week #1 of the $50 "food challenge" budget was a success! There were only a few minor complaints from the peanut gallery (i.e. the children) and everyone enjoyed a healthy diet and full bellies. I spent a little extra time on the planning and the preparation but less time shopping. (Less shopping is always a bonus in my opinion!)

Week in Review: Shopping trip on Monday I spent $29.73, on Friday I spent $10.07, and D bought celery for me on Saturday for $1.45. (Grand total = $41.25)  Even with the sour cream splurge, I still came in under budget!

(Since the Fenders had us over last night for bean burritos, we'll have to return the favor with our extra cash and have a feast!)

Here's my menu for Week Two:
Monday  cereal, banana  /  baked chicken, Rice-a-Roni mix, green beans

Tuesday  french toast  /  tuna salad sandwiches, potato chips, fruit

Wednesday  scrambled eggs, grits  /  beans, cornbread (because I didn't make them last week because we were invited to a friend's house

Thursday  biscuits, sausage  /  LOs

 Friday  cereal, banana  /  homemade chicken-n-dumplins', green peas, carrot sticks, corn bread

Saturday  pancakes  /  chicken enchiladas, homemade mexican rice (had it at Lynelle's house... delicious!)

 Sunday  oatmeal  /  (potluck at church for lunch) taco soup  /  LOs

I'm looking forward to the challenge of Week #2! I'm so thankful for my generous and understanding friends during another one of my whims...

* A little after thought... I was discussing the savings of $400-$500 (my usual food budget is around $600... it's hard to believe and I'm looking into why...) during this food challenge with a friend and we started brain-storming. If we did this same food challenge every third month (4x a year) we could potentially "save" $1600-$2000! And that's a nice family vacation... the possibilities are endless with ingenuity and determination!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Entertaining on a Budget

I can't believe it has almost been a week since the beginning of the January "Food Challenge." I have a bottom shelf in my refrigerator full of leftovers and chicken thawing on the counter ready to be used for multiple meals in the coming week.

Our good friends, the Price family, wanted to host a game night last night. I already had invited my sister, Martie, to come watch Lilli's basketball game and then join us for tacos... so I told the Price family to come on over... I should have known what was coming next... "But, what about the budget?"

(My tongue-in-cheek Martha Stewart style write-up follows...)
Budget Entertaining 101:
When entertaining on a budget, a potluck of sorts becomes the order of the day. Let each family or person invited contribute to the meal. Put any food you don't want to be consumed out of sight. Make an inexpensive dessert so guests will still feel special.

I didn't stop with the Price family... I also invited my mom and dad to join in a Spades tournament. Mom contributed a pound of deer meat and shredded lettuce. Aunt Martie brought a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa. Debbie brought a pound of hamburger meat, a 2-liter of soda, a bag of tortilla chips, and a bag of shredded cheese. I provided hard and soft taco shells, cheese dip (the other half of the Velveeta from the mac-n-cheese), onions, sour cream, and a pound of hamburger meat.

Everyone was filled with a delicious meal prepared by many loving hands. The kids watched a movie while we played Spades. A great night of budget entertainment was had by all!

And even better... the first thing I heard when I opened the gym door for the basketball game today was some friends discussing the food budget.


Early Morning

Eden crawled in bed with us this morning and asked two important questions.

Question #1:  "When's breakfast?"
Question #2:  "Is there more blue on the earth... I mean... is there more ocean on the earth than land?"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Death Trap

Yesterday, Asher was banging away in his room all afternoon. I was so busy with dinner and laundry I never investigated the reason for the noise.

Apparently, he was creating an instrument of death for Spider Man.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Laundry Day

Today was laundry day. And my "long run" day. (Instead of Saturday.) I had to run seven miles. Luckily, it is unseasonably warm... although windy... and I enjoyed the chat with my two sisters. I left them after too many "walk breaks" and ran the last two miles by myself. I was feeling fast and wanted to push myself.
I am about to take the girls to their piano lessons and then start preparing dinner. We will be having homemade macaroni and cheese (Eden's request), sweet potato fries (one of my Grandmother's specialties), brussel sprouts (already in the freezer), and homemade corn bread with lots of butter!
My mom called me yesterday to make sure we were eating enough. Apparently, my sister's (Mandie) kids visited her after school yesterday and acted like they were starving! I assured her we were eating plenty of nutritious food. She offered me eggs and butternut squash.
My sister, Martie, wants to watch the girls' basketball game tomorrow night so I invited her to dinner. She said, "Are you sure? Is it in the budget?" I assured her we would have plenty of tacos to go around...
She offered to bring some salsa and chips.
Good grief.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Second day into it...

Strange as it may seem... I'm loving this food challenge. Even though I have already started to look into next week with some self-doubt as to my ability to succeed.

First, it was D's question to me when pouring his cup of coffee on Monday morning and realizing I had only made enough for one cup each. "Are we on a coffee budget too?" Second, it was me catching Asher with an "unauthorized" snack on Monday afternoon. "Those crackers are for the soup on Sunday... you just ate your portion." Third, it was the realization tacos are on the menu for Thursday evening and we're out of sour cream. (Lilli's favorite food.)

I suppose I have a love/hate relationship with food. I hate that I'm the one in charge of feeding everyone in my home and I happen to be the one that "needs" food the least. I could live off of yogurt, cereal, bananas, eggs, cheese, and beer with the occasional prime filet mignon and bottle of Shiraz thrown in for good measure. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast... after that I nibble a little here and a little there.

The best part about this challenge is how organized I am about it. I made my menu Sunday night. I made a grocery list and stuck to it. I know what I'm going to have for every meal so there is no scurrying around at the last minute. This challenge is very fitting for the "first born" half of my soul... it might set a new precedent for kitchen management in the Hamlin home.

Now, I'm hoping there's a sale on sour cream...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Food Challenge

My personality requires me to always be learning something new. I love information! Usually my pursuit of information comes in the form of the stack of library books I bring home every few weeks... this time I wanted it to be a "real life" study.

So, I am attempting to feed my family of five (two adults + three children) with $50 a week. This challenge will last for 30 days. I have a distinct advantage over many families that might find themselves in a similar belt-tightening situation... I can use whatever is already in my pantry, freezer, or refrigerator.

I sat down last night and made my week's menu and went on my shopping trip to the local Kroger a few minutes ago. I got $100 from the ATM and headed with my shopping list of seven items. 

It was a strange feeling to not grab a few "extra" items as I made my way through the aisles. (Traditionally, I never stick to my grocery list!) I focused on the necessities and only purchased one extra item (a loaf of bread from the "day old" section to go with our fettuccine tonight). I debated over what syrup to purchase and splurged on a "new item" because it didn't contain corn syrup. I opted out of two packages of sausage...only purchasing one. (I want to see how far I can "stretch" it.) I also purchased chicken quarters (something I never do) because of the 74 cents a pound price. (Planning on smoking those for several meals.)

I spent $29.73 and purchased 9 items.

Here's my menu for Week One: (School lunches are not included in this deal and as I make after-school snacks I will blog about them.)
Monday  cereal, banana  /  fettuccine, broccoli, multi-grain french bread

Tuesday  scrambled eggs, grits  /  dirty rice mix with sausage, green beans, corn bread

Wednesday  oatmeal  /  potluck chili*

Thursday  cereal, banana  /  homemade macaroni and cheese, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cinnamon applesauce

Friday  fried eggs, grits  /  tacos

Saturday  pancakes, sausage  /  LOs or pbjs /  dry beans (cooked), cornbread, apple slices, cheese slices, carrot sticks

Sunday  breakfast tacos  /  homemade chicken vegetable with rice soup, crackers, cheese slices, fruit  / hodge podge supper... LOs, popcorn, etc.

*I am not counting a pre-planned church event in my challenge.

Wish me luck! I am hoping this challenge will teach me more than I expect to learn. I also hope this challenge will arouse others interest and they will try it too!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


My promise of 365 days of blogging has already been broken.
Forgive me.
I had guests.
Being hospitable is one of the few things that can totally and completely stress me out. Yet, I completely love to do it. I love sharing my home with friends and family. If I didn't open my home to others...what would be the point? An  apartment would be more appropriate to my needs. A place to sleep. A place to eat. A place to keep my stuff.

So, the weekend was great! Friends from Texas made the journey to continue our tradition of celebrating the New Year together. 7 years together. It's so much fun to catch up and see how much our children have grown. We even discussed our future celebration (when the kids are grown and gone) in Turks and Caicos.

Good friends. Good times. God's blessings.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

May God give you what you NEED in 2011. Serve him. Love others. Be happy!