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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Epic Tantrum

It was a normal afternoon yesterday...four year old Chuck (his name has been changed in case someday he wants to run for President  :) )  and his little sister had been playing nicely for quite some time.  Then the play started getting a little wild, then wilder then Chuck started hitting and pushing Sister down and laughing.  Hmmmm...time for an intervention.  Let the tantrum begin...

Me (softly), "You're out of control.  You can't hit Sister.  You need some time-out time."
Chuck, "NO!  (laughing, hitting Sister, and running away from me)
Chuck refuses to go to time-out.
Me, "Ok, we can do time-out here on the couch." as I gently but firmly pick him up and carry him to the couch.
Chuck, "NO! (kicking and thrashing and yelling)
Me (talking softly), " I'm not going to let you go until you are ready to calm down and not be mean."
Chuck (kicking, thrashing, yelling and scratching), "NO!"  I quietly tell him that he's hurting me and he stops the scratching.
This goes on for about ten minutes.  All the time I'm just holding him firmly so he can't escape (he tries his best to get away), and talking softly to him about how I'll let him down when he's ready to calm down.
Then I notice his stuffed puppy across the room.
Me, "Would it help to have your puppy?"
Chuck (quietly), "yes."
I get up and give the puppy to Chuck.  He clutches it, calms down and sighs.
Me, "Would you like to sit next to me now?"
Chuck, " Yes."
He sits next to me for a few minutes, leaning against my shoulder then gets up and starts playing with his toys.
After about five minutes, I go to him, give him and hug and tell him that I love him and I'm glad he's feeling better.  He tells me that he loves me too.
 The End.

It's been a long time since I've had to deal with a tantrum of that magnitude but the technique still works.  You can't yell at your kid to stop yelling and expect him to understand.  You can't hurt your child so he'll stop hurting others.  It doesn't make sense.  Be calm, be quiet, be firm and be loving.  Your child needs you to be in control so you can help HIM get in control. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The story of the wasp

Once there was a little wasp queen.  She was looking for a new home and found what she thought was a lovely place tucked under the eaves of a porch, protected from rain, wind and sun.  She set to work building a sturdy nest, full of individual chambers to lay her young.  Soon she was joined by a multitude of female worker wasps and together they built an elaborate structure, grand enough for the queen.  Life was busy for the workers, continually building and caring for their home until one day...

Poor wasps!  Maybe next time a little farther from humans  :)

The moral of the story is that while it is fascinating to watch nature at work, a little intervention early on will save a LOT of work later.  :)  "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Fruit Crisp

Today I had several peaches sitting on the counter that were getting ripe too fast.  Time to make a peach crisp!

This recipe is very versatile.  You can use any fruit, fresh or canned.  You can add spices (cinnamon with apples, etc.).   Serve it warm or cold with ice cream or whipped topping.  It's a great way to use up fruit!

Fruit Crisp

1 package yellow, white or spice cake mix, dry
1/2 c. butter or oil
2 T. Cornstarch (optional)
enough fruit to make a layer about 1-2 inches deep in a 13"X9" pan.  Today I used 10 peaches.

 In medium sized mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix and butter or oil until crumbly.
Peel (if needed) and slice fruit into baking pan.  Sprinkle cornstarch over fruit and stir it around.
Sprinkle the dry cake mixture over the top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Let cool slightly and top with ice cream or Cool Whip or other whipped topping.  Enjoy!

P.S.  You don't have to use cornstarch but some fruits are runny without it.  It all depends on how you want your fruit to turn out, liquidy or thick.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tidy Tuesday - Efficient vs effective

We all want our homes to run smoothly so we declutter, plan and organize all our possessions, trying to make things as efficient as possible.  Even then, sometimes it just doesn't seem to be working.  Maybe instead of focusing on being efficient, we should concentrate on organizing things so they are effective.  Things that are used frequently should have prime space in cupboards and cabinets.  Less often used things can find homes somewhere else.  My cookie cutters and cake making equipment doesn't need to take up space in the kitchen.  They can go into the pantry until I need them.  Same with craft supplies.  They're not part of my everyday activities so I store them in the garage.

Think about something you have a hard time putting away.  Why is it difficult?  Maybe you have a linen closet but you like storing sheets in the bedroom closet where they are used.  A linen closet doesn't have to be for linens.  We don't need to be bound by anyone's rules except our own.  Keep the sheets in the bedroom and use the linen closet for something else.

I used to keep my budget files in a file cabinet in a bedroom but I had such a hard time putting papers away regularly.  My system was efficient but not effective.  When I rearranged my kitchen and installed an undercounter file cabinet in place of a regular kitchen cabinet, it became easy to use the files.  It might seem odd to have my files there but it works for me.  How about you?  Can you look for ways to be more effective in organizing your home?  It's your house.  Make it work for you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to school!

Either the kids are back in school or will be soon.  Does that mean you're off the hook for teaching them?  No way!  Not only are you your children's first teacher, but the teaching you provide your children will be an ongoing thing for the rest of your life.  You don't even get to retire at age 65!  :) 

First day of school!!!
You might depend on public or private school to teach your kids academics or you might homeschool your children and oversee their education yourself but however you do it, you have the responsibility to see to it that your children are educated, academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally.  That's a big responsibility but there is no one who cares more about your children than you.

Make your home a place of learning.  Have comfortable and distraction-free places for your kids to study and do homework.  Set aside time for school related activities.  Be an involved parent.  Know what is being taught to your children.  Probably most important, talk with your kids every day about what went on at school that day.  Not in an interrogating sort of way, but as a concerned and interested parent.

Help make this a great year for your kids!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dress little girls like little girls

I realized something odd today.  A while ago I wrote a post about how mom's shouldn't try to dress like their teenage daughters.  Today I noticed that some mom's try to dress their little girls like teenagers too, and not particularly modest ones either.  The teenage years will come soon enough!  What is so wrong about dressing little girls like little girls? 

As a mom, you have great control over the clothes your young children wear.  You pick them out, you pay for them, and often, you help your little girl get dressed each day.  How your daughter looks each day is a reflection of you and your values.  Comfort and appropriateness for the occasion are important considerations and it's possible to buy clothes that are current yet meet your standards and her desire to fit in. 

If you want your daughters to value modesty, you are going to have to teach them when they are young.  That is when they are forming habits and developing their own personal style.  Make sure that the example you set and the messages you send are consistent with those values. 

Little girls are also extremely active!  Please have her wear shorts, tights or leggings under her dresses!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mother's intuition

All mothers have it to some degree or another.  Whether you call it instinct, intuition, inspiration or that still small voice, most of us feel it when we sense something is not right within our families.  A few instances stick out in my memory that have reinforced my inclination to listen to that feeling when it comes.

When my second child was about four months old, I put him down for his nap as usual.  His crib was positioned directly under a window, which was hung with mini blinds.  I went into the living room to tend to other things when I got the distinct impression that I needed to check on the baby.  I couldn't imagine why, as he was safely tucked into his crib but I went in to check on him anyway.  Somehow he had grabbed the cord of the mini blind and had wrapped it around his neck and it was choking him.  I don't even want to think of what could have happened to him if I hadn't gone and checked on him.  Of course, I never put a crib anywhere near a window after that.

Another time my teenaged son wanted to go to a Halloween dance several miles away.  I told him I didn't feel good about him going but it was up to him.  (With teenagers, it's best not to make ultimatums unless you really have to).  Well, he went anyway and on the way home he got pulled over by a policeman for speeding and a few other things.  He told me afterwards that he should have listened to me.  An expensive lesson for him but at least he was ok.  Oh, and I refrained from saying, "I told you so."  :)

Even when your kids are grown and married, sometimes that "vibe" (as I call it) hits you hard.  A year or so ago, I felt like I needed to call another son.  It was about 10 pm and I don't usually call anyone after 9 pm but I made the call anyway.  He answered the phone and I asked him if he was all right, that I'd had a vibe that I needed to call him.  He paused and said that he was fine and I hung up the phone, wondering why I had that feeling.  The next day my son called me and thanked me for calling him the night before because he had been about to make a bad decision and my call helped him do the right thing.  He also told me that whenever I have that vibe again, to make sure and act on it. 

Never underestimate the power of a mother's intuition.  Learn how to listen to that still small voice and act on it.  It is a tool we possess to help protect our children.  As the saying goes, "Better safe than sorry."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Redefine enjoyment

Society seems to think that to have an enjoyable time, we must spend money...and the more money spent, the better the activity.  Well, what do we have activities for?  Is it to spend time with loved ones?  Is it to learn something new?  Is it to discover new places?  If so, money shouldn't be the standard we measure happiness with.  It is very possible to have an enjoyable time without spending a lot of money.  And sometimes, we have a better time because we aren't worrying about getting our money's worth of fun or worrying about how much money we're spending.

Instead of feeling bad because you can't take your family on a dream cruise or a vacation to an exotic location, be happy because you are together.  Find joy in the experience of discovering the world around you.  Memories are made wherever you are...your family will remember the fun times regardless of the simpleness or extravagance of the experience.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Speed cooking

I was going to post a recipe for enchiladas today but while putting them together, I had a different idea.  Cooking is not my favorite thing to do so I try to come up with shortcuts to speed up the process.  Maybe some of these tips will help speed up the time you spend in the kitchen too!

There are many people who like to do large batch cooking - where you spend a whole day making meals in advance and freezing them to heat up later.  I tried that and wasn't happy with the results.  In theory it was a good idea but either the food didn't taste as good as when prepared fresh or I forgot about it and it ended up in the bottom of the freezer, only to be discovered a year later when I got around to defrosting the freezer.  But, I found that a modified approach gives me the best of both worlds - that of preparing food in advance and preparing it fresh.

Whenever possible, I prepare more than needed for a meal and freeze the leftovers. I do this with rice, pasta, beans, bulgar, oatmeal, beef, and chicken.   With the exception of oatmeal, these foods take at least 20 minutes to cook; meats and chicken much more.  So, if they are already cooked and only need to be reheated in the microwave, a meal can be put on the table quite quickly.  Regular oatmeal only takes about 10 minutes but sometimes my husband is in a hurry in the morning and I can get it ready in two minutes if I previously made enough for three or four breakfasts.  Not bad!

Today I put eight chicken breasts in the crock pot with a little water and some chicken soup base and cooked them until the chicken shredded easily with a fork.  I used the equivalent of about three chicken breasts for the enchiladas and froze the rest in quart size freezer bags.  The next time I make enchiladas, the chicken will be ready.  I also grated far more cheese than I needed and put the rest in quart sized freezer bags for another meal.  The more you can prepare ahead, the better.  Then when you want to make something, most of the work is already done. 

Freeze everything flat then store upright in a Rubbermaid-type container to keep organized and easy to see.
With crock pots, freezers, food processors, and other equipment (and a little forethought) you don't have to spend all day in the kitchen.  And that's my goal.  I'm lazy that way  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The more the merrier?

 The more the merrier...uh, not if you're trying to get a family picture taken!  I realized at my daughter's wedding reception that all of my eight kids and most of their families were actually at the same place at the same time. (We were missing one son's wife and kids who were attending HER sister's wedding in another state.) I knew we wouldn't have another opportunity like that for quite a while so I gathered everyone together to capture this monumental occasion...
Not bad but I'm completely hidden and someone is getting her hair pulled.  Try again...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Comparing kids

I think it's only natural to start comparing kids from the moment you realize you're pregnant for the second time.  "I gained more weight with this one."  "The baby was more active last time."  This continues into babyhood and beyond.  Only one problem...while comparing circumstances is ok, comparing kids isn't.  Because no two children are alike (even identical twins) and there's birth order and family circumstances to consider too, you are doing your children a disservice by comparing them. I don't even think we're aware that we're doing it sometimes.  I know it's hard to do but try to stop yourself from using your children to prove a point.  "Your brother never did that!"  "Sister was reading chapter books by now."  It may be true but it doesn't help your child's relationship with that sibling he's being compared with nor does it help build his confidence in his own abilities.  Do you really want your son resenting his sister?  Of course not!  Yet, that's exactly what can happen when one sibling seems to be looked upon favorably and another less so. 

For the sake of building relationships between siblings,  try not to compare them with each other (or any other child).   It's hard enough for them to get along!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's time for bed!

Putting the kids to bed is one of the highlights of every hardworking mom's day.  There is something so satisfying about saying that quiet good night, turning out the light and softly closing the door.  Do you think I'm dreaming?  It is possible, you know.

The routine you set up for the evening makes a big difference in how easily your kids go to bed.  If you spend the time after dinner roughhousing and wrestling and getting the kids all worked up, it's going to be difficult to get them to relax.  Save the stimulating activities for the afternoon.  The same goes for video games and movies.  They usually aren't conducive to sleep.  Try to see to it that anything done after dinner is aimed at quieting down the kids for the night.

Work on establishing a regular routine of bedtime activities that your children can expect every night before they go to bed.  This might include nightly reading aloud a story or scriptures, a bath and teeth brushing, saying prayers and being tucked in by Daddy and/or Mommy.  Whatever you decide to do, do it regularly and try to make it a time of winding down for the whole family.

If you can get your kids in the habit of going to bed early and without too much fuss, the rest of the evening is now yours and your husband's to enjoy.  And you deserve it!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Never say Never!

The picture of innocence  :)
When you were single, how often did you say "My kids will never behave like THAT!" or "I'll NEVER be like THAT mom!"  Then you got married and had children.  All of a sudden you see things from a whole new perspective and you understand just a little the pressures that every mom faces as she tries to raise children who aren't perfect.  It also becomes very clear that you aren't perfect either.  What a revelation!

When single friends say that they'll never let their children eat sugar or watch TV or have cereal for dinner or talk back or that they'll never yell or get frustrated at their kids, I just smile and think to myself, "Just wait..."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Waiting

Being thrifty often means waiting...waiting for the thing you want to go on sale, waiting until you've saved enough to buy it, waiting until you find it at a thrift store or yard sale.  Today my waiting for something paid off.

My home is a vintage 70's house that came equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and gadgets of  that time.  Luckily, most of the appliances and the hideous carpet have since been replaced.  One of the things I actually enjoyed using was a built in 18 inch Jenn-Air grill in the kitchen.  It died after using it for about 5 years.  I wanted to replace it but couldn't.  Jenn-Air no longer made it or anything like it in that particular size.  I couldn't find it on Ebay or Craig's List.   So, I converted the empty space in the counter where the grill used to be with a cutting board but I still hoped that someday I'd find a replacement.

This afternoon my son-in-law and I stopped at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, looking for a bathroom cabinet and there in the back corner of the store it was...the exact grill I was looking for and in great shape!  It was stuck in an ugly cabinet but there was no mistaking my grill.  I was so excited!  I know, I get excited about the weirdest things  :)  My son-in-law helped me take it out of the cabinet (I didn't need nor want it), I paid $25.00 for it and we brought it home where he spent the next two hours installing it.  Then we turned on the switch worked!!!  I am one happy girl!

Unexpectedly finding something you want at a price you like is like finding hidden treasure.  Now if only I could find that --- 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Cheesecake Cloud Pie

Although chocolate is my favorite indulgence, cheesecake is a close second.  My daughter made this simple light cheesecake (light as in fluffy, not light as in low calorie!) and everyone gobbled it up and went for more.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Cheesecake Cloud Pie

1 8oz + 1 3oz package cream cheese, softened  (regular, lite, or non fat)
1 8oz container Cool Whip (regular, lite, or fat free)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 pre-made graham cracker crust

Using an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, Cool Whip, sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
Pour into graham cracker crust.  Put in freezer for 1-2 hours until firm.
Top with whatever fresh fruit is in season, or freezer jam or just leave plain.  We used strawberries today. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tidy Tuesday - Maintenance

It's time for your dental cleaning!
Every six months I get a little postcard in the mail, reminding me of my scheduled dental cleaning.  Getting my teeth cleaned is not one of my favorite pastimes but deep down I know if I want to keep my teeth I need to take care of them.  Without that postcard, I probably would forget about the cleaning and I certainly would take my time making an appointment in the near future.

That little postcard got me thinking about other things that it would be nice to have scheduled reminders for...things like cleaning the furnace filters, cleaning the gutters, getting an oil change for the car, cleaning behind the refrigerator, taking care of the water heater, and other tasks that aren't done on a regular basis.  

Like getting teeth cleaned, doing regular maintenance on our homes, cars and property will prolong their useful life and avoid costly repairs.  Usually these projects don't take long either.  We just don't think about them unless they start giving us problems.

We don't need a professional repair person to remind us to perform periodic maintenance.  We only need to sit down with our master calendar (you DO have one, don't you?) and write down our own reminders for upcoming projects during the year.  If we treat these projects as important scheduled appointments, we might just follow through.

Your furnace will thank you  :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Don't expect what you don't inspect

  Messy room?  What messy room?
A long time ago I heard a saying that really made sense.  It says "Don't expect what you don't inspect."  Think how this relates to child rearing.  It's so easy to say "Go clean your room" or "Go do your chores" and then promptly get busy doing something else and forget all about it.  That's exactly what your child is hoping you'll do...forget about it.  So she does a very half hearted attempt or does nothing at all and then goes off to play with friends or leaves for school.  Later, you walk by her room and notice that her room is a mess and/or her chores aren't done at all.  You roll your eyes and clean her room or do her chores for her.  Your daughter (or son) won another round in the Chore Wars game.

It really isn't hard to check the work your child has been asked to do.  If it's not completed, simply stating that the job isn't done yet and sending her back to finish up will send a strong message that Mom cares about her finishing the work and has the expectation that it WILL get done.

Oh and don't forget to give her some praise when she has completed the job she's been asked to do when it is done to your satisfaction.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You have control

At one point or another, each of us gets our feelings hurt.  Someone says or does something and we take offense to it.  What happens next is up to us.  We have no control over what others say or do but we have total control over our response to it.

Being human, often our first reaction is to retaliate.  We want to hurt the other person like they hurt us so we lash out with hurtful words of our own or whip off a nasty letter.  I don't suggest either of those two methods.  It will do no good to hurt another person, regardless of how they treat you.

Might I suggest the following - Before responding to offense, step back and give yourself time to process the event.  You don't have to respond immediately.  In fact, you shouldn't respond immediately!  Ask yourself if there is any truth to what the other person said.  Sometimes it hurts to hear the truth.  Even if there is no truth to the accusations, can you see their point of view, even a little?  It's hard to put yourself in another's shoes but sometimes that is enough to understand where they're coming from.  Please don't write a letter or email in the heat of anger or frustration and send it.  You can never take it back.  Don't think yourself above apologizing either.  Most instances of offense happen because of misunderstandings or things out of your control.

Sometimes,  the only thing you can do is put it aside and move on.  That isn't the same as ignoring it or forgetting about it.  It's just recognizing that there isn't anything else you can do.  As long as you've done your best to repair any hurt, you don't have to worry about the rest.

Friday, August 10, 2012

True Love!

It all started with a blind date, set up by her sister and sister's future husband.  And today, a perfectly beautiful summer day, they were married, surrounded by family and friends.  It's days like this that make being a mother all worthwhile.  Seven of my eight children are now married to their sweethearts.  And I am feeling truly blessed. 

All five of my daughters! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Snack Cakes

As you probably know by now, when I'm stressed I head for the chocolate.   Today is one of those days so I'm making a snack cake.  Snack cakes can be made in a variety of flavors but when I'm stressed, only chocolate will do  :)  A basic one serving snack cake takes less than a minute to make.

Snack Cake

1/4 c. dry cake mix
1 1/2 T. water
handful of chocolate chips (optional)

In small bowl, mix the cake mix and water.  Add chocolate chips.  Microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Let cool if you want or eat warm.  You can also get fancy and top with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.  Surreptitiously sneak your cake into a quiet place, sigh contentedly and eat.

1/4 c. cake mix, 1 1/2 T. water plus a handful of chocolate chips

20 seconds will make a slightly gooey cake, which is what I like.  30 seconds will make a cakey cake.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tidy Tuesday - Our cars

I call my husband's Subaru his mobile landfill.  :)  He seems oblivious to its condition and I pretend that I don't know who's car it belongs to.

Our cars aren't designed to permanent receptacles of all our earthly possessions.  They aren't restaurants on wheels.  Their function is to get us from here to there safely and efficiently.  When you fill your cars with extra stuff, you put yourself and your passengers in danger.  In the event you have to stop quickly, those books, toys, and who knows what else, become projectiles in the interior of the car, flying and striking anything that comes in their path.  Or, if there's stuff under your feet while you drive, that stuff can interfere with the brake pedal or accelerator.  You don't think anything like that can happen, but most people who are in accidents didn't think that anything could happen to them either.

Most cars have rear trunks or cargo compartments.  Their purpose is to hold all that loose stuff.  If you have more stuff than your trunk can hold, you might want to seriously consider cleaning it out. Keep the spare tire, the jack, the emergency kit and maybe a blanket and clear out the rest.  Now you have room for your groceries, your stroller or other baby gear, your sports equipment or anything else and you are protecting your most important cargo, your family.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I am having an overwhelming week.  Lots of preparations for a wedding, lots of family visiting and  on top of that, some unexpected stress.  I've learned from the past that when things are like this, I need to just focus on just the basics.  Forget the usual routine but keep up with a few essentials.  I'm trying to make sure the laundry is kept up, the dishes are done each night before I go to bed and the living areas are kept clear of clutter (no easy task!).  If I can do those things, the rest can wait until life is back to normal.  If I don't do those things, I get this wild eyed look and EVERYTHING seems out of control.

I might not get a blog post published every day this week (I'll try though) and I definitely won't be seen outside weeding the garden, but the house will at least look like it's running smoothly and the stresses will get taken care of and the wedding will be beautiful and I'll soon have a new son in law.

Sometimes, that's just the way it is...  :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Baby Steps

There are few changes that can be made overnight.   Even if you have a bad habit and completely stop doing it, the temptation is probably still there and must be fought off for a long time.  The longer you have done something a particular way, the harder it is to change.  But, that doesn't mean change isn't possible.  Any positive change puts you in a better place than you were before, regardless of how long it takes to get there.

The key to any change is to take baby steps.  Don't try to do everything at once.  Start slowly, be consistent and don't quit.  I heard once that if you start an exercise program, it takes six weeks before results are noticeable.  Most people stop long before six weeks are up because they don't see results.  They quit too soon.  How sad!  If they had only stuck with it for just a little while longer, they would have gotten the rewards for their effort.  That is true with most things that are worthwhile.  We either take on too much at a time or quit too soon.  No wonder habits are so hard to change.  We expect immediate results and are disappointed that all our hard work seems futile.

Give yourself time to make changes, in your life, your dealings with your children and/or husband, your relationships with others.  Just take baby steps. You'll get there.  :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

She did WHAT?!

My daughters love each other.  So, daughters A and B (I'll protect their "innocence")  thought daughter C needed to update her jeans.  Daughter C resisted.  Hers were still perfectly fine in her opinion.  This is what daughter A did...

And that was the end of the discussion.  All three daughters went shopping that afternoon  :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Recreational Shopping

Think how much money you'd save if you stopped going shopping when you're bored or feeling down.  How many times have you hopped in the car to go to the mall or your favorite store even if you didn't need anything?  I do it too.  When Kohl's sends me a coupon for 30 percent off, I have to go see what great buys there are so I can save 30 percent.  Isn't that stupid?  I spend money I shouldn't spend on stuff I don't need to "save" 30 percent.  Where is the logic in that?  If I didn't go to Kohl's, I'd save 100 percent!   Or, I go to a thrift store and see all sorts of things that I didn't know I wanted.  If I didn't go to the thrift store, I wouldn't see or miss the items I consider buying.  And it's all because I shop when I don't feel like doing any of the worthwhile, productive things I have to do.

Do you really need it?!
I have been working really hard to put a stop to recreational shopping.  It's hard.  I like to buy things that I think my family might need.  Sounds like I'm trying to justify my shopping, doesn't it?  :)  Sometimes I really do find things at wonderful prices that I DO need.  So, those few times reinforces the desire to continue shopping.  I'm doing better though.  If I don't walk into a tempting store, I don't see anything so I don't buy anything.  Willpower, isn't it great?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Broccoli Beef

Just another quick, easy main dish for a warm summer evening.
Broccoli Beef

Broccoli Beef

1/2 - 1 lb round steak or sirloin steak, sliced thin
2 lbs fresh broccoli, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, sliced thin (optional)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. BBQ sauce
(amounts are approximate)
Cooked rice, white or brown

Combine the soy sauce and BBQ sauce in gallon sized Ziploc bag.  Add steak strips to bag and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan or wok on high heat.  Add steak and cook until done, turning meat occasionally.  Transfer meat to plate.
In same pan, add broccoli and onion.  Add about 1/2 c. water.  Cook over high heat until broccoli is slightly tender.
Add cooked meat to pan.
Serve with cooked rice.