Tuesday, April 8, 2008


This is something I must share and I hope it's a blessing to many. Myself and five girlfriends are doing something we call Dinner Swap. It's a money saver, a time saver and a wonderful ministry!

Here are some of the details:

  • We each make SIX yes, 6 portions of a meal including one for our own family.
  • We meet at a sheduled time and give out our prepared meals, so each of us walks away with 5 new meals that only need to be heated (or baked) plus probably the sixth one that we all have admitted we either don't make or use what is left--keeping in mind Phil 2:3 where God tells us to think of others as better than ourselves.
  • We spend between $30-60 on the food (and containers) and we've all seem to spend between one and four hours preparation to prepare the bulk meal. If someone only spent about $30+ they add something extra, like healthy whole grain pancakes that we can use for another meal, or corn muffins or a healthy loaf of homemade bread.

This has worked out so amazing for us all. We are all pretty much in shock that it hasn;t been a disaster thus far. Our husbands love it! There's no way I'd be able to prepare 6 meals (mostly gourmet type) for my family in a three hour time span. And, I'd never be able to make these types of meals on this budget. But, because you buy in bulk, it's much cheaper.

When it comes time for dinner, I just shop in my freezer or fridge and follow the directions that one of my lovely sisters provided on the container!

Here's what each family of 4-7 people ate the first week:

Chicken Piccata (Weight Watchers style which was delicioso)

Vegetable Lasagna (zucchini, mushrooms, red pepper with white or whole wheat noodles)

Turkey chili, which was by far the best ever!

Good Chicken (a recipe with apricots and russian dressing, yum!)

Sausage and Peppers (WOW)

Chicken Enchiladas (My husband was upset that we only had one HUGE tray and not five!)

I highly recommend this Dinner Swap.

  • What we all did was chat about our likes and dislikes and we all happen to want very healthy food. We decided on portions of 4 chicken breasts per family and if we have extra that we throw it in for the larger families. (We all said we shouldn't eat so much anyway!) The chicken for the chicken piccata was filleted, so we all had about 9 pieces--a lot of leftovers with almost every meal! We can easily supplement with salad and/or bread if there isn't enough one week. Using say Gladware containers that are about 8-10 cups, those get about 3/4 filled with sauce/chili. Pastas and rice aren't included unless it's part of the dish (like lasagna or a casserole.) We all have also said that we take all this as a blessing to our families so we have all been very gracious and thankful.
  • Even those who were stressed the day of because they felt stressed by preparing the large amounts, realized it's worth it--financially and time wise. It just takes a little planning and time management.
  • Twice now I've divided my prep to a little bit of time one night and a little time the next day. I even had enough meat sauce this week to give dinner to a neighbor/friend and stash away a few extra portions for my own family.

This week's menu:

Meat sauce (ground sausage/beef), eggplant parm, monastery stew, pot roast with veggies, chicken parm. Can't wait!

If anyone wants more details or has questions, please ask! I think this is one of those gems!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Turning Six in Spring!

As you can see he has had six birthdays! Oh my goodness, I can't believe my honey pie is six.
He is such a fun little boy. I wish I could post all his funny clothes pics, but I wouldn't want to embarass him. He is well known for camouflage and cowboy boots by all who know him. And, anyone who knows him knows he'll go with just some boxer briefs as long as he can when he's home. We're homeschooling next year and all he talks about is how cool it is that we'll homeschool in underpants. I don't think so! I love my little guy who came into the world a week early weighing a whopping 9 pounds 13.6 ounces. Yikes, I gave birth to a toddler! He didn't speak until he was three as he had a numb tongue and it was difficult to cope--but God answered our prayers and once he was able to speak it was in three syllable words in full well spoken sentences! He is a smart little guy and has a crazy sense of humor--he often has us all in tears with his quick one liners. I love him to pieces.
This year we opted for his first party out at a kids' place--it was great fun and I loved that there was a host and I could actually socialize! Well worth the money spent!

I went into the classroom and did a fun edible plant project with the kids which seemed enjoyable! Pudding for the dirt, crushed oreos as topsoil, gummy worms for uh yeah worms! etc etc.


Turns out our chunky monkey was sick with RSV...but we didn't know it at the time.

He was already potty trained for months at this age. I said, "Big boys go on the toilet and don't wear diapers" when he was just over two. He nodded and never wore a diaper again.
No lie. He's just that way...
I think, yes, I know, I am wearing the same shirt in his 2nd birthday pic as I am in his 3rd birthday pic, hmmm...heeee heeee ooh and maybe the same pants.
If you notice above-- fourth birthday pic--he NOTICED in his peculiar little-everything-in-its place-kind-of-way that he has, that one candle was not lit. Do you see it? That one little stinker that I missed!? Well, when we finished singing he just couldn't make a wish and blow it out because well that just wouldn't be right since all the candles weren't lit properly. So, he tried desperately to get my attention and I was unaware. So, in order to get my attention, he tried pointing at it and ended up burning his hand on another candle. Hence the crying and the icepack in the following pic. Poor baby. I was just a few months from having baby boy three here. A new baby taking away mommy's attention and you fail to light all my candles? The nerve!
Birthday five was a St.Patty's Day celebration and everyone wore green, we ate green, everything was GREEN. It was fun, we used the community room at my church and played music for the kids to dance and played fun games. It was a nice traditional party.

I'm very thankful for my boys and privileged to be their mommy.