Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meal Plan Monday (On a Tuesday, because that's just how I roll)

I'm going to get a bit nostalgic on you. Have you ever associated the smell of a certain food with a certain place or time in your life?

For me it's rosemary.

Back about a million (ok, 7) years ago, when Gabe and I were younger and Ella was about a year old, we moved into a "furnished with everything" apartment. Apparently, everything also meant a spice rack.

I had never used rosemary for anything before. I think the first time I used it involved chicken and potatoes. Now, back then, I was a pretty shoddy cook, but that particular dish turned out pretty good.

In the last two weeks, I dried some sprigs of rosemary and the very smell took me back to 2007, and that little apartment. I was working 80+ hours a week, and so I rarely every cooked, but I wanted to. Oh, did I ever want to.

I used to make snide remarks about ladies who stayed at home with their families (because, believe me 80+ hours a week in a miserable environment makes you miserable and hateful), but I think some part of me craved that so much. That safety. Being able to give something to my family other than whatever was left of me after work sucked out just about everything.

Fast Forward Seven Years.

I still work. It's not 80 hours a week, but it contributes to the household budget and has gotten us through some pretty rough times. I homeschool our now 8 (!!!) year old daughter and I live a pretty busy life. The main difference is that I cook our meals almost every single day.

If you've made it this far in this already-way-too-long post, congrats! I do have a point, I promise :)

Every Monday, I'm going to try (see how well it worked this week?) to show you my meal plan from Monday to Sunday. If you want or need recipes, let me know. I'm still fairly new to this blogging thing.

Monday: Chicken Stew
Tuesday: It was going to be Mexican eggs and bacon but I hurt my ankle at work. So, McD's.
Wednesday: Salisbury Steak. I've never made that before, so I'll update with recipe.
Thursday: I'll be attempting to make that breakfast-for-dinner day
Friday: Beef Stew.
Saturday: Chicken Soup, probably in the crockpot.
Sunday: One-pot Spaghetti

If you find yourself on the panicky end of meal planning (been there!), you can check here every Monday (or Tuesday, if I'm not being particularly punctual).

Sunday, July 27, 2014


30/52: Ella read to a therapy dog named Molly this week. She was pretty excited about it. That's Lincoln (formerly known as MaybeAlex) looking on.

30/52: We were running pretty late for church today. Despite that, she looks lovely :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fridays with Ella: Helping Grieving People


Mom asked me today if I knew what grieving means.

I think when you grieve over something or someone, it means you are sad. Some people grieve lost loved ones, and some people grieve when friends or family members move away.

My Mom still grieves for my sister.

Just the other day we found out that our friend's son had died. He wasn't old at all, he was younger than my Dad. And now his Mom, our friend, is grieving.

So, what do you do when someone is grieving?

When our friend Ms. Lora died two years ago, a lot of people made food for her family to eat after the funeral. I remember that Mom and I made macaroni and cheese from scratch and we baked peanut butter cookies.

Sometimes, people don't have a funeral you can go to. This man didn't, so we couldn't cook food for the funeral. But we did write sympathy cards for his parents, so they know that people are thinking of them.

That's the best thing we can do for grieving people, I think. Grieve with them and remember who they are remembering.


What Ella wore:
Shirt: Disney
Skirt: Homemade (from my old top)
Shoes: Sketchers

Tidbits from this week

Yay!!!!: My oldest sister Gosia found out she is getting promoted to pharmacy manager. She has come so far and deserves every bit of recognition she gets. So proud of her!!

Thank Goodness: Gabe's co-worker took in Beaky and Sneaky (formerly Faith and Blessing). We were somewhat sorry to see them go, but they now have a wonderful forever home. How fast they grew!!!

New Arrival: My nephew arrived last Friday, and he is beautiful. I won't post pics for the privacy of my sister in law, but let me assure you that he is gorgeous.

And it continues: Our selfie tradition. This morning we took a particularly awful picture, but I figure one day when we're really REALLY old, we'll laugh at this. Maybe.

Accomplished!: I get to cross another food off my bucket list. I conquered the porcupine meatballs! Gabe says they were awesome. I'm just glad they were edible. :)

How cool is this?:  My next door neighbor, Denise, and I started a kitchen swap. For some fresh basil, some canned mushrooms, macaroni and cheese and rice, I got....

Vegetarian veggie broth, Campbell's noodle soup (don't judge, hubby likes it), turkey gravy (for open-faced turkey sandwiches when I am lazy) and some other things. Yay! Denise and I have officially found a new tradition: the pantry swap!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Girls and Pearls: July 2014 Edition

Today was our July Girls and Pearls day. We chose to have a picnic in our living room. The weather has left a lot to be desired the past few days, and our allergies are awful anyway.

Excuse the paleness and awfulness. I'm recovering from a bout of anemia. (first time in 8 years, ugh)

She looks beautiful though, if slightly bemused

check out the back of her hair, how pretty is that :)

I love this kid! ya'll have no idea!

Ella and her owl (Orlando)...how do you like our awesome picnic blanket?

It's a pizza picnic!

Afterwards? dessert and our favorite movie!


29/52: Apparently, our neighbor Ms. Margaret has blueberry bushes. She insisted on having Ella pick some berries this week. They were delicious!

29/52, Sunday. Ella loves her dress, because it has cats on it and is so very, very preppy. I love it because it was on clearance at Wal-mart :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tidbits from this week

Waiting: My newest nephew will likely be born sometime today! Say a prayer for my sister in law, please!!!!

Boys and their toys: Gabe received a present in the mail today...a new camera! His old Fujifilm just wasn't cutting it anymore, being over 5 years old and quirky besides...say hello to his new bff, Mr. Sony Cybershot ;)

My hero!: Gabe decided to do something colossal (in my eyes anyway!) and commit himself to cooking one meal a week to make things easier on me. Last Sunday, he made stuffed shells. They were DELICIOUS.

Speaking of food: I made Zuppa Toscana for the first time ever and it was amazing!!!!
Going strong: My couples selfie tradition!


Fridays with Ella: Loving our Pets


A lot of you know that I love animals.

At our old house, we fed every stray cat that came our way. We do that at our new house, too.

We have a pet cat, Sparrow. She's mainly my Mom's cat, but I think she tolerates me and Dad. Lately, she's been sleeping in my room. I set up a bed for her there, lined with some old blankets and a throw my Mom found in a back closet.
Sometimes, Mom and I go to the Humane Society to feed and play with the cats and dogs there. We're actually going tomorrow to bring lunch to the kittens and then to have lunch together.
God created animals, just like He created us. He put us all on this earth to take care of one another, and that includes animals.
If everyone could go to this link and maybe donate, this would help Roxie's owners a lot. Roxie's owner is a friend of my Mom's and her daughter is my pen pal. So, if you could donate anything, even a dollar to help Roxie that would be amazing. With prayers, she is doing really well right now!!!
What Ella wore
Headband: $2, Family Dollar
Striped top: gift, Total Kid brand
Leggings: gift, Justice brand
Rain boots: gift, Zulily
Raincoat: gift, Zulily
Crystal Necklace: borrowed (from me), $2, Rose's/Maxway

Sunday, July 13, 2014


It's been a long day, that's why I'm late with my post. I've got some personal stuff going on, and would appreciate any and all prayers, thank you!

28/52. She very rarely wears her hair up, but this week has been HOT, and she just has SO MUCH HAIR.

28/52, Sunday: I love her combo of ruffly socks with glittery half-boots. The whole outfit just rocks.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fridays With Ella: Respecting the Elderly


On Monday, Mom and I went to see Ms. Phyllis from our church. She lives in the same apartment building as Ms. Lora, and first I wasn't too sure about going to see her because even going to that building makes me sad.

And then Mom and I had a talk about what it means to love and respect the elderly. Mom said that sometimes, people forget about the elderly and don't go see them. She said that after these people are done caring for their babies, and their babies grow up, they don't take care of their parents. Ms. Phyllis had seven children, and even though some of them come and see her, she is still lonely sometimes.

We didn't want to go empty-handed because when we used to go see Ms. Lora we always brought something. Sometimes it was a flower. Sometimes it was a plate of food. We bought Ms. Phyllis a card and some flowers.


We stayed and talked with Ms. Phyllis for a while. Well, mostly she and Mom talked and I listened. I found out that even though her husband died when they were young, Ms. Phyllis never got married again because that's how much she loved her husband.

My Mom also promised to come by and cut Ms. Phyllis's hair for her because right now, Ms. Phyllis doesn't have a car. Hers broke down. So, one day next week, Mom and I are going to take all her haircutting supplies and make Ms. Phyllis feel beautiful. Maybe the most important thing about this visit is how different Ms. Phyllis looked by the end of it. When she opened the door for us she looked happy to see us, but kind of sad and lonely, too. She was smiling and laughing when we left.

What Ella wore:
Printed T-shirt: gift from a fried, Xhilaration brand
Navy skirt: hand-me-down, Justice brand
Shoes: Thrift store

Tidbits from this week

A promise kept: I promised myself that I would take more pictures of Gabe and me, since that's virtually stopped since we had children. So far, I've done well to keep the pic-a-week tradition going.

...this leads me to the next thing....

Yikes!: I just realized that in virtually every pic of me and Gabe, I have my hair up. Why, you ask? Because it's way too long and is driving me crazy. I really should look better in these pictures. That's my next promise to myself. Look.better.in.these.dang.pictures!

Making Grandma Aniela Proud: This week, I mastered my Grandma's mushroom soup recipe. It was dee-licious, as Ella says.

It's....Bat-owl?: Putting my (extremely limited due to a lack of a sewing machine) sewing skills to use, I made Ella a pair of bat wings. She says they are way cooler than fairy wings, and hey, they only cost me 15 cents to make.

Gabe's New Fave: Gabe has been missing Chicago-style pizza puffs, and truthfully, I have too. Except the deep-frying. I don't miss the deep frying. So, this week, I made pizza puffs and baked them. They were amazing. Success!!!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


We are definitely making headway in the spiffying up of our house!!!

And then there's this....

27/52: Looking for turtles

27/52, Sunday: I love her little outfit. We got the skirt for a dollar, and the tank top and shrug for not much more.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy (Belated) Independence Day!

We celebrated Independence Day here with hamburgers, hot dogs, family and fireworks. I would have written up this post yesterday, but we all pretty much fell into bed exhausted at the end of the day and didn't wake up until this morning.

Here are some 4th of July pics!

Ella got her face painted by one of her friends. Great fun!!!

Aren't those fireworks awesome?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fridays with Ella: Helping people in my town


I decided to type in pink, to make my blogs different from my Mom's.

Yesterday, Mom and I went to unload a truck at the Manna food bank in our town. Mom usually helps there a few times a month, and sometimes I go with her.

Our food bank helps out the people in our town. I had no idea so many people were going without food. Whole families with little kids, smaller than me.

The food bank doesn't just give out food. They also give out things like toothpaste and soap, and even laundry detergent.

Another wonderful thing about our food bank is that all the workers there know each other and treat each other like family. Whenever I come with my Mom to help, Mr. John is always there to greet me. We all do a lot of work, but then we laugh together and have lots of fun!

What Ella wore:
Polo shirt: Thrifted, "Self-Esteem" brand
Plaid skort (skirt with shorts under it): Gift from a friend, "Faded Glory" brand
Jeweled flip-flops: Rose's/Maxway: "Sarah's Closet" brand