Monday, January 20, 2014

Eating ~ Large Family Style!

A friend of mine asked recently what a week of cooking or meal planning looked like at our house.  I thought I would take a minute to jot down our weekly meal plan for this current week.

Monday (today)
Breakfast: Eggs and potatoes with sauteed onions
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas with homemade salsa, homemade peach yogurt
Dinner: Grilled chicken, mashed garlic potatoes, southwestern corn

Tuesday
Breakfast: Egg McMuffins, green smoothies
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, applesauce
Dinner: Oriental veggies and rice, grapes

Wednesday
Breakfast: Homemade applesauce muffins, green smoothies
Lunch: Homemade mac-n-cheese, homemade mandarin orange yogurt
Dinner: Taco Salad, fruit salad

Thursday
Breakfast: Eggs over rice, green smoothies
Lunch: Peanut Butter and banana sandwiches, applesauce
Dinner: Black beans, rice and fresh chimole, pineapple salad

Friday
Breakfast: Homemade applesauce muffins, green smoothies
Lunch: Egg Sandwiches, apples
Dinner: Homemade pizza, salad

Saturday
Breakfast: Waffles with strawberries and fresh whip cream
Lunch: Leftovers if there are any
Dinner: Homemade calzones, salad, applesauce

Sunday
Breakfast:  Cold cereal, bananas
Lunch: Leftovers if there are any
Dinner: Lasagna (store bought), salad (made the day before), applesauce

Snacks for the week
homemade banana or applesauce muffins, popcorn, trail mix, smoothies, yogurt, homemade granola bars

I spent $210 on our groceries this week for our family of 11.  This included a few items that will be used for the next couple of weeks.  Some weeks our food bill might hit $300 and there have been some weeks we've actually kept it down to $100.

We save a lot of money during the week by making our own yogurt by the gallon.  It's so super easy that our 9 year old asked to take over that job.  We make three gallons of yogurt a week to use in smoothies, muffins, and fruit yogurt. The cost for a gallon of yogurt is roughly $4 homemade and to get yogurt from the store can cost us around $12 or more for a gallon. Cha-ching!

We also save money buying in bulk.  This week I spent $25 on 15-20lbs of hamburger on sale for a great price.  I then took the portion we are going to use....for this week it would be the taco salad...and put the remainder in the freezer for another week. Next week I will plan a meal with hamburger and I won't have to purchase anymore which might help my food budget be lower next week. Buying flour, rice, sugar and other items we use a lot during our week in bulk saves us money as well and I usually only have to purchase them once a month.  I also have started making our own salad dressing and spice mixes which can add up when we use them so much. 

Lastly, we have been trying to keep our Sundays as relaxing and free from work as we can.  One thing we have cut is a major cooking and dish washing.  Sometimes I will make a freezer meal early in the week that we can just pop in the oven for dinner. Other things we have done is make extra pizzas, chicken or double a meal the night before that we simply reheat for dinner. We tend to just have cold cereal and leftovers that take seconds to make for breakfast and lunch.  Throwaway plates, bowls and silverware keep our dishes to a minimum as well. It has been a great change for our family!

Davidson turns 12!

Tim had the day off a few weeks ago and decided it would be a great time to whisk Davidson out on a date for his birthday.  First stop was lunch at Golden Corral which was Davidson's top choice.  After a wonderful time at lunch with my two guys we headed to our next surprise.  


We had a great time watching Walking with Dinosaurs.  At first Tim and I thought we might parish from boredom, but the movie did pick up and turned out pretty cute.  Davidson however announced we MUST purchase this movie as soon as it comes out.  Ha!  Maybe rent it for a $1...but not sure this movie will be a making it to our MUST have list.  It was fun enjoying the movie with him even if the overpriced Twizzlers were like ancient jerky!  :)  

We had one final surprise for the day.
Davidson's first trip to BuildABear!  He was so excited he was practically wiggling.

He chose the perfect bear and loaded him with lots of love!

Giving Apache a scrub before moving on to pick out the perfect outfit for the little guy.

The second outfit he found was a cut shorts outfit with a dinosaur t shirt.  He was thrilled!

Davidson's actual birthday dawned sunny and full of smiles!
He was very excited to start his special day.

We woke up to find the "birthday fairies" (Jeffries teens) had visited in the middle of the night and decorated the living room.  The kids were all excited to see the hanging balloons and streamers flying and fluttering around in the living room.

My baby girl, Aurora, whose getting so big!  She has turned into such a great addition to our family.  She is one spoiled Great Pyrenees.  

What's a birthday without a twirling princess!

Even Princess' get dizzy when they twirl, twirl, twirl!

This little Princess' dressed  up just for Davidson's birthday!  She came out so proudly from her room with this jumper on WITHOUT a shirt.  Sorry my little princess, but it's freezing outside and pretty cold inside while we wait for the fire to take the early morning chill off.  Shirts are a must for a few more months.  :)

Davidson chose to watch a movie with his dog Lily and Apache!

Look at these two cuties!  Jensen and Tinkerbell seemed to be enjoying the movie as well.
 
Daddy came home at lunch time so Davidson could open his presents early.  He was pretty excited about not having to wait until after dinner to get his loot.  :)

Each of the kids saved their money and purchased things with such care for him.  It was so much fun to watch him open his gifts.  Dinosaur wall stickers from Holly were a BIG hit!  Dino stickers + putting them on the wall beside his bed = pure awesomeness!

 His very last gift to open was a new K'nex theme park set.  It is so cool!  He LOVES K'nex so very much.

  He was really excited to get his first hook rug from Morgan.  He has been asking for a new "hands on" craft project for when we are listening to our audiobooks.  This hit the mark for him.

He was so blessed by everything.  Dog toys for Lilly from different siblings, new shoes, $20 towards his Lego Castle savings, new dino cups, new dental care stuff, new containers for his Lego organization, and Becca/Johnston gave him a new to him mp4 player/new headphones/charger and box.  Now to find new places for all his new stuff!

We enjoyed a day celebrating Davidson with some of his favorite foods.  Lucky charms for breakfast, mac-n-cheese for lunch, smoothies and popcorn, and for dinner corndogs, homemade orange jello with mandarin oranges and whip cream, baby carrots and for dessert a strawberry poke cake.  We played outside, played a racing game on the Xbox, and tons of other things Davidson wanted to do.  

We are so very blessed with this boy so full of love and kindness.  I couldn't imagine our life without Davidson's mega watt smile in it.  Happy 12th Birthday to an amazing young man!

Friday, January 17, 2014

TRU Magazine

Morgan has had the privilege of writing for TRU magazine since the very beginning.  She has had such an amazing experience through it all.  It's so exciting to have seen the magazine coming from a start up magazine to now being sold in stores.  How exciting!!!!

Tomorrow Morgan is turning in an article on best friends for an upcoming issue.  She asked Becca and her BFF Katie to be a part of her article which they were more then excited about.  Today we spent a little time getting a current picture of them for the magazine. Here are a few that they liked:

 Katie (12) and Becca (14)

 

If you are looking for something positive for your teen daughter to read....check out TRU magazine.  Written to encourage our girls in every way to be the best they can be and to be their TRUe selves and not what others want them to be.  Written by mostly teens for teens.  Check it out!

2014!

2014!  2013 is gone...loaded into our memory banks! We have entered 2014 with an eagerness that is contagious.  New adventures to be had by us all.  New lessons to learn.  New family dynamics. This might be the year more adult children venture off into their current destiny.  The year my teens step out more independently.  The year my youngest four advance in many new areas.  Just so much to accomplish and look forward to in this fresh new year. 

To me a new year is like a new journal.  Fresh pages awaiting your thoughts, emotions, prayers, desires, adventures, etc.  We wasted no time in putting 2014 memory making to good use.  Lots of special things have happened and I've just not taken the time to journal as I wish.  Pictures are stored in my camera and computer waiting to be written about, but I just don't know if I will ever get to them all.  So for now...I just write what I can and what doesn't get written will have to remain unwritten.
 
2014: 
~ So far we have had two...yes...two car accidents.  One major one that was not our fault and one extremely minor fender bump that was our fault.  
~ Tim has gotten a major promotion and is looking forward to actually working as a civil engineer from here on out.  
~ We have been growing so much as we hit the half way mark on an annual fast as a family.  
~ Davidson turned 12 and we had an absolute blast making it his best birthday EVER!  (He says his 10th was 2nd best) 
~ Morgan purchased took the final step and purchased her ticket for Uganda today.  
~ An all day hiking expedition to the gorge in North Georgia.  
~We cleaned out the ENTIRE attic and donated 50% of what was up their.  Tim put more shelves and organizing things up there and everything is tucked away until our annual Summer clothing change out.
~We have been going through many boxes/closets/bags in our house and downsizing by 50%.  It has felt wonderful getting rid of so much stuff that we just do not need or use.  There is much to do still...but it has been a steady progression. I'm so happy the kids have been as aggressive in this change as I have been.  
~ Lots of outdoor adventuring has happened.  Muddy kids here and there and EVERYWHERE!  They have enjoyed the creek in the back yard and more often then not come inside cold and wet!
I could go on, but all in all it's been a great start to a new year.  

Lots of changes in the Jeffries house.  Taking our lives to a new level.  God has some pretty amazing things in store for each person in our home and I look forward to seeing what they are!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook!


Outside my window...it is pitch black as it should be since it is 4:30 am.  The cool, early morning breeze is coming in through the window that is opened wide this fall morning.  It feels refreshing!

I am thinking...oh...so many things!  What is the refrigerator tech going to say about our fridge today when he comes.  (Fixable or dead?)  Also, I'm making a list of questions I have for a friend who I am meeting with over lunch to discuss Lifestyles of Learning.  Those are the top on my mind at this moment.

 I am thankful...for a husband who was gone out of town all last week for work...who came home and took a two day engineering class this weekend, yet still made the time to do many important things with the kids.  He is my hero!  He is catching two hours of sleep after an all nighter with Morgan.  He will be heading out of town this morning for the week.  

In the kitchen...the smell of fresh coffee waft out.  Steaming mugs of hot mocha's will be soon in our (Morgan/Justice/myself) hands.  A month ago I gave in for the first time in my life and purchased a coffee maker.  This has made our early morning time together so enjoyable as the weather turns cooler.  
  
I am wearing...comfy capris and a tshirt.  A little chilly as I sit here with the morning air blowing on my bare feet.  I wonder when our morning fires will begin?  It's still a little to warm for them yet, but I know they are right around the corner.  :)

I am creating..lots of memories with my kids.  Justice is a week away from graduating with an accredited diploma and he has a busy schedule at work.  Talk of college and his next step is in a lot of our daily conversations.  Morgan is working long hours to finish up her school work for this year early as she prepares to travel to Uganda for two months...possibly more.  Packing in as many memories with them and each of the younger seven that I can.

I am going...to be taking Holly to her first dance class today!  She is one very happy little girl!  Just how many times can one pull out the dance leotards and pick out a new "prefect" one.  Well, let me tell you, dozens and dozens!  ;)

I am wondering...about what our plans are going to be this coming week.  My very beautiful and most amazing friend Katie and her fiance are coming to visit us and we are beyond excited.  So much to do and yet only a week.  What to do, what to do....

I am reading...quite a few things at the moment.  I am reading Hunger Games,with the older kids as we gear up to go see Catching Fire in November.  Nothing at the moment with the younger kiddos.  I need to start a new series with them.  (Putting that on my to do list)  Personally, I just finished Twilight and Kisses From Katie.  I am currently half way through Facing Your Giants/Max Lucado and also reading lots of stuff off the Lifestyles of Learning website.

I am hoping...my fridge will be working by the time I return home from Holly's dance class.  That would be a great thing!  Now...if it isn't fixable...I am hoping that we will be able to have it 100% replaced through our appliance coverage we had on it.  That would be even better!

I am looking forward to...Katie and Ty arriving Thursday.  Fun times!


I am learning....to be more loving to my family, more approachable to my family, and more involved in my family.  This is something our pastor spoken on yesterday is how God is loving, approachable, and involved in our lives and we need to live that out for our families to see.

Around the house...we have our summer clothing being switched out for the cool weather ones.  Tim's bags are laying at the top of the stairs waiting for him to leave for the week.  A pile of letters are sitting awaiting stamps so they can be mailed.  Sleeping children are still wrapped all snug in their beds.

I am pondering...about having Becca drop guitar until after the new year.  She is taking violin, piano, dance on top of her school lessons.  That is a lot of daily practice and she is very diligent in practicing.  Thinking she might have more success if she takes a break from one and then picks it up when she's had more foundation in the other two. Hmmm....

A favorite quote for today...“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.”~ Francis Chan

One of my favorite things...spending time with Tim in the early mornings before he heads off to work.  Sets my day up nicely!  :)

A few plans for the rest of the week: 

Monday: Fresh cinnamon/raisin bread for breakfast!  Lunch with my fellow homeschooling friend.  More clothing washed and switched out.  We are on vacation mode since Aunt Katie is visiting at the end of the week so light school is in effect!  Holly's first dance class!!!!

Tuesday: Eye appointments for the four youngest Jeffries, CO-OP, more clothing switched out, and YMCA!

Wednesday: Yep...more clothing switched out, cleaning day and church! Aunt Katie arrives at midnight!!!!!

Thursday:  Eye appointments for the older four Jeffries, art class for Johnston, YMCA, and tons of fun with Auntie Katie and Uncle Ty!

Friday: A whole day of hanging out with our special visitors, first bonfire of this Fall season, roasting hot dogs and S'mores!!!!  :)

A peek into my day...
 What a hard life, Aurora, (my 5 month old Great Pyrenees) has snuggled up next to Jameson and Tiggy.  :)

Please follow this link TSWD if you would like to read other daybooks!

 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Jeffries Gang Is Back Together!

All has been restored to balanced perfection!  


Daddy has returned from a week out of town for work.  (He came home Monday morning to tell me he was being sent out of town...NOW!)  It was a very long week without him.  He made it to Norcross this morning in time for an engineering class he is taking this weekend for his new job and rolled down the driveway to find a swarm of very happy kids at 5pm. 


HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY DANCING AND SILLYNESS  ENSUED!


He was assured of how very much he was missed this week.  Spoiled, blessed, and pampered by his kiddos.


Morgan and Johnston whipped up homemade pizza and it was fabulous.  Just Dance Kids on youtube to get our dance on.  (We have Just Dance on the Wii...but I've found we enjoy it more on youtube.) The kids had to fill him in on all the new youtube finds they made and sibling plans that were made throughout the week. 


I woke up this morning having slept through all three of my alarms.  It was 11am!!!!  Johnston had woken up at 8 and taken all the little kids outside to play, create, explore, and have a grand time playing in the woods.  They are very happy when Fall rolls around and they can once again escape into our woods without the fear of our lovely snake neighbors preying upon them.  I've noticed this past week as I've started our annual Fall clothing switch out, that my children get way to excited about outdoor hiking boots and camo.  ;)

(My Aurora girl! ~ 5 months old)

Bonfire season is upon us as well!!!  We are working on our new fire pit area.  Me thinks it will be a great addition to our back yard.  I envision many, many S'mores and hot dog roasts in our near future.  :)  Also, chili and paint ball are coming up very soon.  


Tim finished his night by serenading Morgan.  :)  She was laughing so hard and plugging her ears at the same time.  He sang just for her and it was....um....beautiful... 


....and scary at the same time!  LOL!  ;)  Sigh...I love him! ♥

Jinja, Uganda ~ 2014!

Please head over to my daughter Morgan's blog and check out what exciting things God is doing in her life!