Friday, December 31, 2010

Jack's Journey

Jack arrived December 6th.

I am having such a hard time writing this, but it has been on my mind for a few weeks.  First and foremost I would like to state that I am completely, over the moon in love with my new son. I would never change him or want to give him back. He is a complete miracle and a wonder.  This is my vent and thoughts on a difficult situation, and want no flames.

I am having a few people that seem determined to remind me and everyone else that Jack is A.D.O.P.T.E.D.  It seems to be that people think since he was wanted and adopted, he should be a perfect baby, or maybe I should not get frustrated or ever complain.  Honestly, I am not that strong. Infants are hard. They wake up a lot.  They want to be held constantly. (I don't mind, but it is hard to do homework, cook dinner, work and hold a baby at the same time) They cry and don't tell you why.  And there is always the mommy guilt and worry.  Should I have been more patient last night at 4 AM, going on 4 hours of sleep during the last 2 days.  He shakes his arms a lot.. is that a sign of some obscure illness?

I have a friend that was trying desperately to conceive a few years ago.  She was really angry that she was not able to conceive easily like other women around her.  She wrote once that if she had a baby, she would never complain or get frustrated with her baby because she wanted him so much, so much more than the rest of us who take our fertility for granted.  I was kind of upset at the time.  I had 3 children.  Did that make me less worthy of another child?

I was already infertile at that time and ached for the 4th child.  I was MEANT to have a 4th and there was a big gaping hole in my heart where #4 should be. I felt guilty, like she thought that I did not not need another because I already had 3.  And I did.  3 beautiful, healthy, perfect children. It wasn't enough.  I had another baby out there somewhere.  But I knew that she was thinking that it was selfish of me to want another when I had 3 and she had 0.  Eventually, she did get her baby. He is a fantastic, super cute boy. And she has never complained. to me anyway.

There is someone I have met recently that seems to feel the same way.  She seems to think that I should not have any frustrations or complaints about Jack.  Maybe even that i don't have a right to complain.  He is ADOPTED.  He must be perfect, or i must be super happy and grateful since I had to work hard to get him.  I recently posted on facebook that I had a crappy day and wanted it to end.  Her response was that I should look to my children and be happy.  I love my children, i really do.  But my baby doesn't poop rainbows and spit up butterflies.  He cries.  He poops out his diaper and up his back while we are out.  He pretends to sleep until I lay down my head.  Newborns are hard work.

She mentioned a few days later that she is struggling with jealousy.  She did not specifically say she was jealous of me, but she mentioned heartache, and trying to be happy for others.  I know she is struggling with trying to conceive.  I want to have compassion for her and her situation, but sometimes I am too wrapped up in just struggling through my days. My situation is hard. newborn, no husband.  Sometimes whining makes me feel better. It upsets me that someone should imply that I have no right to a bad day or that Jack should make every problem seem miniscule.

Jack's journey to me was really long.  I waited 7 years for him.  7 years ago, October 2003, I had a baby.  A cute cuddly girl baby named Lucy.  4 days later, i had an ovary-ectomy.  No more eggs = no more babies.  I was already heart broken. It was a really dark time for me. I had a hard time mothering Lucy.  This was the baby that wasn't supposed to be the last baby.  I was going through menopause, and had 3 young children.

Eventually, i stopped feeling so black.  The kids and I moved a couple times, and Adan came home and left and came home again.  We decided to look into adoption and immediately realized that was a pipe dream.  We are a military family who moves on average every 9 months.  There was no way we could afford 15,000+ dollars to grow our family. That idea went to the back of the mind.  Every time it popped up, i would dismiss it and push it to the back.

I felt that jealousy.  It wasn't fair. I KNEW i had another baby, and now i would never get to meet him. All my friends were having kids and I had to sit around them and know that i would never get to do that again.   I had my children so much earlier than all my school friends... I had an 8 yo, and 6 yo and a 3 yo when my bff started having kids. I had to suffer through baby showers and cuddles with a black hole in my heart.  

A couple years later we moved again.  I had mostly gotten past my burning envy and settled in.  I had new friends and they were my age with children that matched the ages of my children.  We decided to try and adopt through the foster care system.  We went through the classes and finished our home study.  Due to a stupid loophole, we could not foster adopt and live on post.  We could adopt or foster, but not both.  We fostered for 9 months, but we quickly realized that this was not going to work.  The only children free for adoption were teens or severely medically challenged.

I had considered donated eggs, but without ovaries it would be nearly impossible to sustain a pregnancy.  We thought about surrogacy, but it was just as expensive as adoption.  We realized finally that a baby wasn't going to happen.  Adan and I finally came to a decision that we would shelve all the baby stuff come December 2010.  There was no use getting ourselves all worked up all the time when it never seemed to pan out.  In December we were moving on.

God works in his own time though.  2 1/2 years ago, I opened a family child care home.  The first family that I interviewed did not meet the criteria that I had set out.  I wanted only before and after school care children. No youngsters.  this family had a kindergartner, a 4th grader and a 2 year old.  I wanted to say no, but something in me said yes.  So I started watching them.  I was caring for them as we went through that foster care class, and as we fostered a child.  A year later I decided to go back to school and closed my daycare.  My family bugged me to keep watching the children, and I decided to continue watching them through the Army's respite care program.

I met the children's grandparents, and aunt in the course of the time and I felt almost like they were my second kiddos.

June 2010, their aunt decided to give her baby up for adoption.  She chose us to take Jack.

We visited the lawyers, and did all the necessary shopping, but it did not feel real at all.  I never felt like I would really be having a baby in my arms. Momma was great. She let me be at all the ultrasound appointments and at the birth.  I was with Jack from the time he was born until he came home.  Jack is mine. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real.  But it is.

And I am still human. Even after hoping and wishing and crying for the last 7 years.  He still cries in the middle of the night or wants to be held when i need to go to the bathroom or cook.  But I would not give him back for anything in the world.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Menu Board

I found this coolio menu board tute. I used a frame I already had. I bought a metal sheet at Lowes and some cute little cutters. Adan cut it down to size for me. We primed it and painted it with spray paint primer and spray paint chalkboard paint (found at Michaels). I popped it into the frame, and woila! Handy Dandy menu board. Of course since I have made it, I can't find chalkboard chalk ANYWHERE!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Scary Spider Wreath


This cutey pie wreath was just in time for Halloween. It was all dollar store items. I got a wreath that was like sticks intertwined.. not sure how to explain that, spanish moss, and plastic spider rings. I found the sign there, or maybe at Michaels.

I did a few things differently from the tutorial. i did not paint the spiders. I just got various colors and some skeletons and centipedes, and just glued them right on.

WARNING - The moss is helllllla messy. Put newspaper down on your work station.

Another warning - I actually found real spiders crawling on it at one point and was afraid to bring it back in the house. Realism, baby. We don't play around in this house.

Tute found here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hang up Laundry Separators

We have a tension shower curtain rod in our laundry room. As things come out of the dryer, I hang them up as needed. It was becoming a pain in the ass to figure out which was whose, and whose was which. So i got a nifty idea. At the store they have those round separators that divide the size 12 from the size 10 and so on. I needed some. So i made some.

Excuse the craptastic pictures. I guess I was shakey that day!



I made circles on a piece of cardboard.



I used a jumbo coffee cup for the big and a little bead container for the middle.




I cut out the circles and made a slit from the outer edge into the inner edge. Then, I wrote names on each circle



And then I slipped the circles onto the shower curtain rod. Taaaa daaaaa! Fancy and organized. (Oh, and I did turn the white one around so they all show brown.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

The summer of the butterfly

This is the summer of the butterfly.  Butterflies seem to represent a new beginnings.  They come from leaf-eating wormy things and turn into beauteous nectar sipping creatures.  I want to sip nectar.

I have thrown off the base relationships.  I am coming out of the mires and mud related to them.  Wiping my feet and moving on!  Just walking away from that was like putting on wings.

I have lost weight!  I joined a biggest loser challenge club locally and I lost about 14 lbs.  I went down 2 pants sizes which is always a win!  New clothes!  Less picture phobia!  I saw a picture of myself today, and i wasn't completely horrified.  The last couple of years I have begged to be erased from pictures.  i still felt a twinge, but it wasn't the horrified, tear-welling feeling i have previously had.

Kentucky is the most BEAUTIFUL place I have ever lived. This summer there has been a multitude of butterflies.  Every place I turn I see another butterfly. They are in the road, and I always worry I am going to hit them with my car.  bright yellow and black, dark blue and black, orange and tons of other butterflies.  Butterflies always remind me of home.  I can remember being in elementary school and going to see the migration of the monarchs.  It was so fantastic to see the butterflies flitting from tree to tree.  About 2 1/2 years ago, we went home for a visit and were able to take the kids to see the monarchs.

Jack is coming.  In June we heard that our baby was coming.  Jack is due in December and we can't wait to take him home from the hospital.  It is such a wonderful thing that I can't even express how I feel.  The butterflies from this summer will forever be connected in my mind with Jack.

There is nothing more wonderful than a butterfly. To think that such a wonderful thing can come from such an icky caterpillar gives me hope for everything.  No matter how horrible things seem, soon they will change into wonderful. It's like the ugly duckling for bugs.

I want this tattoo. Minus the butt crack.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Project-a-week club

For a couple years I have been wanting to finish up my unfinished objects and make all the things that are bouncing around in my nugget.  I decided it was time for a commitment *gasp* *shudder* Yes, a commitment.  My commitment is going to be to finish one project each week.  I will list all the finished projects in the side bar.  Check back each Thursday for the recap.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More of me whining about friends

Sooo... Okay....

I knew this girl at Ft. Carson. (we will call her J)  She became a pretty good friend, but I quickly realized she was a "taker". I felt like I always had to give, and do, and support but I got very little in return. Not long after we met, she found out she was pregnant with her first child.  I was her doula for her first baby.  After she had her babe, she got 1000 times worse.  She could not go out of her house, because she had her baby. She needed someone to bring her stuff from the store so she would not have to leave.  She quickly wore out the people around her.  For some reason, I never took a hike. Her house was always a dang mess.  Horrible.  You would walk into her house, and be slapped in the face with the smell of cat box and filth.  I spent quite a few Saturdays helping her clean because she was not able to take care of her child, and clean the house. Eventually, someone called CPS on her, and she genuinely did not know why.  For some reason, I never said anything to her about the state of things.  Maybe I was trying to save her feelings.

2 years later she had her second child.  Everything intensified.  It got to a point where I felt completely taken advantage of.  She never cared about what was going on in my life, and completely dismissed me when I was going through a really tough time.  I had enough, but I still did not want to be mean.  I basically stopped talking to her or going out of my way for her.  A few months later, we got transferred to our new duty station.

A year later, she was transferred to the same duty station.  I had only spoken to her a couple times in that preceding year, but she called when she found out they would be again in our neighborhood.  I was pretty stressed out about it, but thought maybe she had changed.  Things became much worse though.  Here she knew no one. She had left all her friends in Colorado, and I was pretty much her only friend.  She began calling me 6 times a day.  Every issue she had before was completely intensified.  She was hardly the person I had first become friends with.  Her kids were always "sick".  She had every disease imaginable, from Bopolar to Anxiety, from fibromyalgia to rheumatoid arthritis to random shooting electrical shocks in her body. Nothing was ever her fault.  There was mold in her house, or her parents beat her, or, or, or. She made new friends, but I again felt dismissed and taken advantage of.  I was again cleaning her house and helping her with her kids.  I stopped watching her children after a while.  She had not enforced any rules for her children.  Because of this, her oldest was mean to my daughter, and her youngest was a tornado of destruction.  Her house was again sick and disgusting.  I helped her clean again.  One time, I helped her clean her room. Her floor was a disgusting mix of dirty laundery, cat litter and cat shit.  Another time, I helped her fold her laundry, and she sat on her couch and watched me work.

A bit over a year passed and I was really at my limit of her self-centered attitude. (I found this link and it describes her completely.  I really think this is what is wrong with her. Scroll down to Cluster B Personality.)  I started setting more boundaries for her, and stopped doing everything she asked.  This of course upset her. I set a special ring tone on my phone to say her name so I could avoid her calls. My tolerance for bullshit became really low.  When she told my dumb things I had a hard time biting my tounge.  At one point she told me she had fed her sick 2 yo skittles because that's all he wanted.  Really?  How about some soup or applesauce.  Another time she told me that she yelled at her daughter so much that she actually crapped her pants.  She was not upset about this, and in fact laughed a bit.  I was appalled.  How can you joke about scaring the crap out of your kid??  I would have been so upset if that was me. She did not concern herself with anything that was going on in my life.  Did not even congratulate me on our pending adoption of our new baby.  Did not care about the autoimmune disease I am dealing with.  Never once a care or concern about my visits to the hematologist. I felt so unimportant.

This summer, I was just beyond frustrated with her.  I guess she could tell.  As a sign of how far facebook as crept into our lives, she "broke up" with me and 2 others over facebook.  She blocked me so I could not see anything she says at all.  Did not call, did not text, just blocked me.  I actually find it kind of funny, that you feel the need to virtually erase someone from your life.  Blocking a person on facebook does not make them disappear.  I honestly don't care about the break in friendship.  Once it was done, I seriously felt a huge weight disappear from my shoulders.  The knot in my stomach relaxed.

She felt determined to keep all the mutual friends we had made.  I knew that she probably told them all kinds of horrible things about me.  I suppose if they believe all the crap, then she can have them.  2 other friends got the boot too.  As we have been hanging out together, they have told me things that she had told them about me. She had been telling ALL of our mutual friends random bullshit about me for the whole past year.  How can she even think she was my friend?? I spent my time cleaning her house, and running errands for her, and bringing her cigarettes, and lending her money. (She still owes me $20, but it's not even worth it to try and collect.)  I am sure she told all those other people that i talked shit about them.  I am sure I made the random comment, but she was a big complainer.  She complained how Amanda told her that her house was a mess, and how Amanda looked at her bills and made comments about them, and how she did not want Amanda to do her laundry at her house and use all her soap. Certain people she did not say anything about, other than the fact that they were as pure as the virgin Mary.  I did complain about some people.  I said that Amanda talks about stupid shit too much.  That her eyeliner is scary. I said Amber is way loud.  I complained about Jackie every other minute, but it was generally to my husband or one other person.  BUT NO.. she was apparently talking mad shit about me to everyone I had met, and probably people I hadn't.

Now I am paranoid.  Am I really those things she said? Are other people saying or thinking them too?  I am afraid to talk or be around my other friends for fear that I am a horrible person that people can't stand.  I have been hanging out with 2 friends. One (S) I have been friends with for about 7 months... I have really enjoyed her company, and am glad for her friendship.  The other (B) is a new friend.  She was J's friend.  J always talked about how they were best friends and how wonderful she was.  I had been afraid to talk to her.  Any best friend of J was not someone I wanted to be close to.  When J decided she did not want to be her friend either, I thought maybe we have more in common than previously thought.

So my friend S and I have been hanging out with B too.  And now I feel like I don't fit in. I feel like the third wheel, constantly behind and struggling to catch up.  The nerdy girl that the cool girls allow to follow them around. I am constantly worrying about what they are saying and thinking about me.  Their children get along very well, and I feel like my children get left out.  I feel like my kids are whiny, contrary and bad, and I wonder what they are saying about my kids.  I feel sad. I feel like I am being pushed out.  Adan says not to worry about it.  If it happens that I get pushed out, then so be it.  I guess I would get more done around my house, and have way less heart ache if there was no one around to break it.  BUT I would be so sad. I like having friends, and coffee dates, and BBQ's and movie nights and all that. I don't want to be super lonely during the deployment.  I am going to need adult time... I will be all alone with 4 kids, one a brand new babe, and no husband.

Also, because we have all 3 been hanging out, I feel obligated to invite B to everything I have had planned with S.  I don't want her to feel left out, but I don't want to feel left out either.  I feel stuck again.

Makes a girl just want to go to bed for a week or two.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Foodalicious Friday

Food for the coming week!  Again, let me know if you want recipes!

Friday - Pizza and salad
Saturday - Spinach Salad
Sunday - Chile Rellanos, rice and beans
Monday - Steak Skewers, rice and salad
Tuesday - Lemony chicken Pasta, salad
Wednesday - Chicken and Fruit Packets, salad
Thursday - Taco Soup and rolls

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

MYTH BUSTERS - Grocery store checkout!

People tell me every other day that it would be so much cheaper if I would shop at Walmart.  There are two plusses for walmart shopping - generic brands and no tax on food.  Soooooo I decided to take this test on the road.  Myth Busters here we come

I purchased my groceries for the next two weeks at my normal store, the Ft. Knox Commissary.  I wrote down each item and the price and took my notebook to Walmart. At walmart, I wrote down the price for the exact same brand, or a comparable brand, and wrote down the price for the generic brand. I did not include generic brand pricing for generic brand items I would not use. (I will not substitute bottled water, coffee creamer, granola bars, or coffee. Other items I already use a generic brand at the commissary so the similar Walmart product is the generic brand)  For the purpose of this test, the figures below include only 1 of each item on the list.  All items in the test were the same size, or the prices was calculated per ounce and the total price was based upon the per ounce price. Below you will find my results and below that you will find the detailed figures.

Results:

General Observations:

Some items were cheaper at Walmart, but much of the produce was icky. Walmart did not carry everything the Commissary carried. Non-food items were generally cheaper at Walmart. Check the detailed list at the bottom for specifics.

Shopping at the Commissary - Total = $196.42 + $9.82 (5% surcharge) = $206.24
Shopping at Walmart with comparable brands - Total = $238.47 + $2.48 (6% tax on non-food items) = $240.95
Shopping at Walmart with generic brands - Total = $224.23 + $2.48(6% tax on non-food items) = $226.71

Results are clear!  Commissary wins by $20.47

So.. here are the prices.  I have highlighted the items that are cheaper at Walmart in a name brand OR a generic brand.

Item Commissary Prices Walmart Name Brands Walmart Generic Brands
Chicken Breast Tenderloins frozen 5.99 7.00 n/a
Chicken boneless skinless breasts - frozen 5.99 6.48 n/a
1 % Milk 2.17 2.28 n/a
Chicken tenderloins - fresh 2.93/lb 1.25/lb n/a
Tombstone Pizza 3.25 4.00 2.70
Mini corn on the cob - 16 count 1.86 3.28 3.60
Mozzarella Cheese 16 oz. 3.00 4.00 3.62
Cheddar Cheese - 32 oz. 4.99 8.16 7.25
Monterey Jack Cheese - 16 oz. 3.00 4.00 3.62
Ricotta Cheese - Light 1.99 2.13 1.83
Sour Cream - 8 oz. 1.11 1.28 .78
Deli Roast Beef - 10 oz. 2.89 3.00 2.88
Pepperoni 1.82 2.98 n/a
Cherry Tomatoes 1.50 2.48 n/a
Hummus 2.99 2.98 n/a
Jumbo pasta shells 1.35 1.96 1.50
Cilantro .79 .88 n/a
Strawberries - 1lb1.981.88n/a
green bell peppers.99/lb.98/lbn/a
poblano peppers1.98/lb2.28/lbn/a
celery.991.28n/a
Planters to-go packs - 25 ct.7.9820.00n/a
Deer Park .5L - 6pack.991.32n/a
Northland Cranberry/Black Cherry juice2.002.97n/a
Jolly Time popcorn kernels - 32 oz.1.193.981.48
Cantalope1.502.28n/a
Pineapple2.692.98n/a
Bananas.54/lb.49/lbn/a
Honeydew3.502.98 - but it looked ickyn/a
Hamburger Buns - 12 ct1.491.981.48
Eggs - 18 ct.1.401.74n/a
Spaghetti sauce with mushrooms.99.98n/a
Chili Beans.78.86.66
Pinto Beans.68.76.64
Cream of mushroom soup1.19.78n/a
Chopped tomatoes with zesty mild green chilis1.131.141.12
Quaker chewy granola bars - 18 ct.2.793.38n/a
Coffee Mate - Coconut Cream & Cinnamon Vanilla2.50 each3.38 eachn/a
Millstone coffee beans - two flavors5.99/lb each7.97/lb eachn/a
Lipton hot tea - Island Mango, Tuscan lemon, bedtime, blueberry pomegranate2.75 each3.16 eachn/a
Tomato sauce.89.58.50
White Vinegar1.071.50.84
Natural peanut butter with honey1.893.58n/a
V8 juice2.192.582.00
Malt o Meal version of Fruity Pebbles2.893.263.64
Malt o Meal version of Frosted Flakes2.452.222.50
Nectarines1.48/lb1.28/lbn/a
Kale1.091.18n/a
Broccoli.89/lb1.48/lbn/a
Tortillas - burrito size and fajita size1.691.781.78
Hefty Casserole Pans - disposable - 2 ct.1.333.00n/a
Kiwi.25.25n/a
Mushrooms - 16 oz. - whole2.192.98n/a
Romaine Lettuce1.681.88n/a
Green Leaf Lettuce1.681.88n/a
Red Peppers2.00 each1.64 eachn/a
Bagged Baby Spinach1.651.98n/a
Plulots1.15/lb1.28/lbn/a
Plums1.15/lb1.28/lbn/a
Navel Oranges.69 each.78 eachn/a
Sheer Strip Band-aids1.772.431.40
Juicy Juice - 32 ct juice boxes10.269.60n/a
Granny Smith apples.99/lb1.67/lbn/a
Gala Apples.99/lb1.50/lbn/a
Pantene Color treated hair - smooth shampoo and conditioner3.77 each3.97 eachn/a
Olay wet express facial wipes4.504.47n/a
Band-aid flex fabric XL3.542.881.80
Band-aid blister treatment2.903.67n/a
Pantene Color Treatment3.133.97n/a
Degree clinical protection deoderant5.496.87n/a
Goody Girls flower clippies3.492.98n/a
Stay put elastics3.303.10n/a

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

B-12 really *is* important.

Back in January I was told that I had a B-12 deficiency.  I kinda blew it off.  Ehhh, B-12, who needs that?!  Well, apparently I do.  I have been seeing doctor after doctor to figure out my health "issues" and in the process was referred to a hematologist for a sudden and large drop in my HGB levels.  Of course, it took Tricare 600 years 2 1/2 months to get my referral in.  Today I visited with the hematologist.  Basically I have pernicious anemia.

From the Mayo Clinic website:

  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia). Rarely, vitamin B-12 deficiency results from a diet lacking in vitamin B-12, which is found mainly in meat, eggs and milk. A shortage occurs because your small intestine can't absorb vitamin B-12. A deficiency is most often due to a lack of a substance called intrinsic factor.


    Vitamin B-12 is released from food in your stomach. Intrinsic factor is a protein secreted by the stomach that joins vitamin B-12 in the stomach and escorts it through the small intestine to be absorbed by your bloodstream. Without intrinsic factor, vitamin B-12 can't be absorbed and leaves your body as waste. Lack of intrinsic factor may be due to an autoimmune reaction, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the stomach cells that produce it. Vitamin B-12 deficiency ultimately leads to anemia. The Doctor says it is most likely an autoimmune disorder.


    If the deficiency is from a lack of intrinsic factor, it's called pernicious anemia. Pernicious means "deadly." Super Great. Lack of intrinsic factor was often fatal before the availability of vitamin B-12 shots. Because vitamin B-12 is stored in large amounts in your liver, it may take several years before signs of deficiency appear. Makes sense.  I started having the stomach problems about 11 years ago.  Doc said the IBS is most likely a symptom of this autoimmune disorder.

    Symptoms:
    Vitamin deficiency anemias can result in:
  • Fatigue  check!
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Sore mouth and tongue halfway check!
  • Weight loss I wish!
  • Diarrhea
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet check!
  • Muscle weakness sometimes
  • Irritability double check!
  • Unsteady movements you mean the doorways aren't jumping at me??
  • Mental confusion or forgetfulness What was I doing?
Vitamin deficiencies usually develop slowly, over several months to years. Vitamin deficiency symptoms may be subtle at first, but they increase as the deficiency worsens.

  • Complications: Nervous system disorders. While vitamin B-12 is important for the production of red blood cells, it's also important for a healthy nervous system. Untreated, vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to neurological problems, such as persistent tingling in your hands and feet. It can lead to mental confusion and forgetfulness, because vitamin B-12 is necessary for healthy brain function. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause these and other health problems before it leads to anemia. So, if it is already at anemia... does that mean it is progressed??  Have I left this untreated for too long??

     Treatment: Vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia). You can treat vitamin B-12 deficiency related to a poor diet with changes in your diet and vitamin B-12 supplementation, under a doctor's supervision. If your body can't absorb vitamin B-12, you'll either need lifelong vitamin B-12 injections or nasal B-12 spray. At first you'll need the shots or nasal spray as often as every other day. Eventually you'll need injections or the nasal spray just once a month. Prompt treatment is important, because neurological complications may become permanent if the B-12 deficiency isn't corrected within several months. PERMANENT??

    So.... I am not sure what all this means for me.  I gave 542 vials of blood at the office today.  I go back in a week and may need another CT scan and a chest xray.  He says that if I have one autoimmune disorder, then I will likely have another one.  poo.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

school and school and friends in the army

School starts tomorrow!! What the heck happened to summer vacation.  Phinneas and Ferb have it wrong. We only get 60 days.  This summer was no where what i had in mind.  I had dreams of baseball games, museum visits, pool time, and all around funness.  I think we only went to the pool 2 times.  No zoo or museuming, only 1 baseball trip.  Where did all the time go??  I feel like I missed a bunch of chances to make memories.  I hope that what we did was enough to get us through this year.

With the start of school, we had to gather school supplies and spruce up appearances. School supplies now include 48 pencils, rolls of paper towels, kleenex, wet wipes, and a partridge in a pear tree.  WTH?  Why don't schools supply basic necessities?  What happened to me supplying what MY child needs?  This bothers me.

I have decided that I will be putting off school for a while.  Okay, We decided that.  As much as I want to throw a BF, i have to admit that it really does make some sense.  My house is suffering lately.  I am not able to keep it clean, or complete projects, and I have almost zero time to write articles for the website.  These are things that i want. I want a clean house. I want my projects completed. I want to be able to write an article a week.  NONE of these things are happening lately.  AND add to that a new baby. I want to be able to stay home my new one. I don't want to feel stretched out between house, school and children.  Something has to give.  If i put school off the table, the other things will come together better.  Also, with school off the table I won't have to stress about moving and how my classes will transfer to the new college at the new duty station.

Friends are hard to make when you move every 3 years.  It makes you quick to judge, and I like to think, and good judge of character, or at least a good judge of compatibleness.   I think it also makes you less tolerable of bullshit.
Tthis post seems to have a lot of young wives who are new to the military. I think the military has change in the last 12 years.  And because of the change in soldiers, the wives expect more.  You can not expect the army to just let your husband go every time you hiccup.  You can't bitch if your husband comes home past 5:31.  The mission comes first, and family comes second.  You have to realize that your soldier will miss milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, christmas and first moments in your children's lives.  You have to be able to change your own damn lightbulbs, and sometimes, washing machines, flat tires, and toilets.  That's the life.  That's what you have to do.  I want to tell these wives, that their soldiers WILL miss OB appointments, and if they can't take it, they are in the wrong place. Maybe I am hard, but I don't think it's a bad thing.  The military has taught me that I am strong enough to stand on my own.  I can make it happen.

I don't want friends that i have to coddle.  If you can't take, leave. Go home and live with mommy during deployments.  Don't stay here and cry about how you have no support.  I want friends that are capable. I want friends that i can hang with, that have children who I don't want to tie up and that can handle their own.  Yeah, i want to get together, and play games, have BBQ's and drink it up, but I don't want someone up my ass who is going to freak out if I decide to stay in.  I feel like that isn't too much to ask for, but reading this list.. I am pretty specific.  LOL. I want a certain kind of person.  I guess it's more of an attitude.

I have a group of friends here, but I don't feel connected to the majority of them.  I don't think they would care or really notice if I disappeared. I always feel like they are getting together with out me.  Like I am the smelly one in the room. Maybe it's because my children are older than the majority of the children.  Maybe the majority of the women don't like me but just won't say it.  Who knows... Life is too short to play games, and just thinking about this makes my brain hurt. (I should mention here that this is a group of about 15 women. One of these ladies is a long-time friend, and I am also friends with one of the other ladies.)

I have a new friend, and she is new to active duty, but she doesn't have the attitude of a cry baby.  Maybe it's because she isn't 18.  It's nice to have someone with similar goals and attitudes.  I look forward to our nightly walks, and we have plans to hit the gym.  It is nice to have someone that is completely unattached to any other friends I have.  It's like she is all mine and I don't have to share.  She cares if I am not around, and she wants to be around me as much as I want to be around her.  That sounds like we are dating or something LOL, but really with husbands gone so much it is so important to have friends that care, and will support you when you feel like hiding in bed.

This was kind of convoluted. I guess I just want some friends.  I want friends that I can hang with.  I am not willing to lower my standards to have a big group of friends.  I think that this means I will never have a ton of friends.  Maybe having 2 or 3 great friends is better than having 20 so-so friends.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Motherhood and Random Manipulation

Motherhood: This summer, my boys had 2 weeks of sleep-away camp.  One week in June, and one in July.  The second week, my friends daughters attended the camp at the same time.  She missed her girls so much, and thought about them, and worried about their health and safety.  She made me reflect on my mother role.  I am a craptastic mother!!  I know, I know, no one is super mom, we all have our faults, but DANG!  I did not worry about the boys, I missed them a wee little bit, but not enough for it to impact my day.  I did not worry about their health or safety, and the week went by hella fast.  I will admit that this is their 3rd year at this same camp, and I am familiar with the structure and such of the camp and the days they spend there, but STILL!!  I did not send any letters or emails (yes, the camps now have emails for campers!!) I just did not figure the boys would want to hear from me, or miss me that much.  At the end of camp, I got an email from Alex that asked me why i did not email.  Apparently the other boys told him that I did not love him. Boo.

Now I am trying to figure out ways to "care" more.  I thought i was a good caring mom... not a super fantastical super mom, but good enough.  I am not so sure at the moment.

Random Manipulation: *disclaimer: Local friends that read this.. this is not related to anyone in my immediate vicinity*
What do you do when people you know make up stories to make you feel bad for them?  I am feeling manipulated by  someone in my life, but I am not sure how to deal with it.  I just want to be me and live my life the best I can.  I feel like my life's ups and downs are being co-oped by someone else which makes every unique thing in my life feel cheap and un-special.  I need to figure out how to deal with this in a diplomatic manner, with out offending everyone and their aunts, while still maintaining those things which make me Susie.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Foodalicious Friday

Updated with recipes on 8/5/10

We have made a pact to not eat out for 90 days.  90.  So, I want to get back to posting my meal plans.. if you want any recipes, let me know!

Today was BBQ ribs, rolls and cauliflower but that ended up being hot dogs and tortilla chips.   Why, you ask?  Oh, it's because Adan charred the skids out of the ribs.  Lucy had come by and said. "Dad, the BBQ is steaming." He said something along the lines of, "yeah, yeah."  About 10 minutes later he goes out to the 'que and starts cursing.  Yup.. i don't think even the dog would eat that charcoal.

So, next week:

Saturday: Greek Chicken and Veggies
Greek Chicken and Vegetables
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cut green beans or 1 can of cut green beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
  • 2 t. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 4 sheets of aluminum foil approx 12x18"
  • 1 pkg crumbled feta cheese
  1. Cut chicken in stripes. Toss with beans, tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Center 1/4 of mixture on each sheet of foil.
  3. Bring up sides of foil to make packets; leave space for heat circulation.
  4. Place packets on grill over medium hot heat. Grill 10-14 minutes or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender crisp. Open foil packets; and sprinkle with cheese.
 

Sunday: Spinach Salad and rolls

Monday: Grilled chicken and mango salad

Tuesday: Fajitas, rice and beans

Wednesday: BBQ chicken packets and baked potatoes
BBQ Chicken Packets
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 sheets of foil - 12x18"
  • 1 c. BBQ sauce
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 c. chopped green pepper
  1. Center 1 chicken breast on each sheet of foil. Spoon BBQ sauce over chicken. Top with vegetables.
  2. Bring up foil sides to make a packet; leave room for heat circulation.
  3. Place packets on grill of medium hot heat.  Grill for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.

Thursday: Cajun Sausage and beans
Cajun Sausage and Beans
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 t. cajun seasoning
  • 4 sheets of aluminum foil, 12x18"
  1. Mix sausage, beans, tomatoes, green pepper and seasonings
  2. Center 1/4 of the bean mixture on each sheet of foil
  3. Bring up foil sides to make packets; leave room for heat circulation.
  4. Grill packets over medium hot coals or until thoroughly heated.

Friday: Basil Chicken Packets and rolls
Basil Chicken Packets
  • 4 chicken breasts - I use boneless skinless
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil - 4 sheets approx. 12x18"
  • 2 T. chopped parsley
  • 2 t. grated lemon peel - I use fresh lemon zest
  • 2 t. dry basil leaves - I use fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 t. each salt and pepper
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut in rings
Center 1 chicken breast on each foil sheet. Mix parsley, lemon peel, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over chicken. Top with squash and red peppers.
Bring up sides of foil to make a packet.  Leave room for heat to circulate inside.
Place packets on grill over medium hot coals. Grill for 11-13 minutes or until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.

Yes, the majority of these meals are grilled.  It's too hot for the oven and the stove.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A positive outlook

A positive outlook changes everything, right??

* We have groceries

* I have 2 cars, so we still have something to drive

* The dog survived

* Adan's grandmother did not pass away

* I have friends

* My parents are nice

* Eventually I will be able to return to school

* I have loyal Scentsy customers

* Diaper Decisions will not go fold

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iron on Wall "Vinyls"

I have always admired those cutesy wall sayings.
"Home, where your story begins"
"Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath"
You get the idea.

I really did not want to fork out $50+ to get fancy stick on wall sayings that I can't take with me when we move. Every tutorial I found online had to do with fancy cricut machines and vinyl sticky sheets. Stuff I don't have.

SO.... I found these instructions on how to do it yourself with out a fancy cricut.

Basically you use fabric to iron on your letters! I bonded the heatnbond to the fabric, cut out my letters, and then ironed them onto the wall. It was a pita getting them on the wall semi straight because the wall was not straight across... part of it was taller than others. I know.. that sounds like a lame excuse, but please consider that this house was built by the military.

And I am convinced i was holding the camera crooked when i took the picture. Yeah. That's it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Operation New Board - Completed!

Remember the mission??

So... New board is done.  Thanks for the fabric input everyone. I ignored all your advice and went with the Revolutionary War toile because I will never ever ever use that fabric.  That fabric has been sitting alone and ignored in my fabric closet for 6 years.  Okay, not alone.  Sitting with 300 other cuts of fabric in the closet, but ignored by all of them.

I love it!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Water Bottle Carrier


I have been walking with a friend, and I decided I needed something to carry my bottle and my cell phone.

I really just winged this pattern. I measured around my bottle and the height and i cut the pieces and sewed them together. The pocket was a bitch because canvas doesn't stretch much at all. Eventually I got it as close to good as I could and I called it quits. I already had the fabric and webbing, so it was a free project!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Operation New Board

My ironing board has given me a mission.

The mission is called Operation New Board.  Operation New Board consists of ironing board makeover a la Vain and Vapid.

The old board is icky. That hole has gotten huge and raggedy during the last 6 months.  The ironing board is crying out for a successful completion of this mission.

Your task is to help me pick the fabric to cover my ironing board.  All of this fabric is in my closet and begging to be chosen for this mission.

 
 Carebears










 Green






 Cream with Red flowers









 Blue with flowers









Toile with Revolutionary war scenes - cream with dk blue








American Flag (doy)









Camo in browns






This message will NOT self-destruct in 5 minutes.

Summer Dresses

Summer Dress time!


I made a pillow case dress. I hate making these. Pain in the ass. I hated doing those rolled hems.










Next I made some shirred dresses. These were so freaking easy that I made 10. I started out with this pattern, But it just wasn't really super understandable. Then I made one of these dresses (the first one, but I did a different fabric on top.) It wasn't quite right either. So.... I ended up with my own style of fun.

Basically I took a rectangle of fabric. I used the full width of fabric, and measured out the length i wanted, based upon where i wanted the dress to fall on Lucy. Sometimes I used a complementary color on top, or I used a color on top, a diff for the skirt, and then a strip of the top color at the hem.

I prepared the straps as in the SewMamaSew pattern. And then I attached the straps as in the pattern also, but I did not leave a casing for the elastic.

Next, I shirred the top, about 16-20 rows. I just used the pressure foot to measure the distance from the previous row. I did not sew especially straight, but you can't tell in the end.

Okay, after the shirring, I used the iron on a steam setting to shrink up the shirring. It still seems super big though.

Next, sew up the sides to make a tube with the shirring going around the top. Then hem the bottom.

The end.


Oh, to make this fit, wash and dry on high. It shrinks up super well.

my babies aren't really babies anymore

I am going to miss how my babies talk.  I should have written these things down as they happened but I never seem to do that.  When Alex was 2, everytime we went for a walk he would "ssssmell ssssumsing."  It was always BBQ or dog poop.  When CSI first started, AJ was 3.  He would sing the theme song, "ooooo, ah deee, oo-oo, oo-oo" Today, Lucy told me that she "earned a bruise."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in the day...

I have a uni-brow. I always have. In high school, I tweezed.  It hurt. I made a promise to myself that once I was on my own I would never pluck again. I had dreams of lying in a salon chair, wearing a fluffy robe, while my eyebrows were masterfully sculpted by a stylist.


I found out that there are no fluffy robes and the chairs are uncomfortable and waxing HURTS.  But the pain is quick and I can bear the 6 hours of swollen red eyebrow.  So I wax, and I am very happy with letting someone else rip off my uni-brow.

Some where along the way, I forgot about tweezers.  We have made a plan to get out of debt and that includes cutting out frivolities.  I tried to explain that my self-esteem would plummet if I had a uni-brow and mustache but Adan did not understand.  No more salon. Boo.

Then I remembered!  I used to do something before salons.  It took me a while to remember, but finally I remembered this tweezer thing.  I remembered how I marked with a pencil how far to tweeze, and voila! no more uni-brow.  Doin' it old school.

Yesterday, Alex and I were making waffles.  I had to melt some butter, so I popped it in a measuring cup and threw it in the microwave.  Alex said he loved the microwave, and could not imagine living with out one.  So I told him that I was about 11 when we got our first microwave. He looked horrified and told me that he could not live with out PS2 or PS3 or PSP.  I let him know we did not have one of those or a DVD player.  I thought he was going to fall out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Juice Feasting

I love raw food.  I got away from it this winter and am ready to renew my commitments!  So, I started a juice feast.  4-5 quarts of yummy healthy juice every day for 90 days.  Yes, 90.

So yesterday I started with 2 quarts.  I had lettuce, spinach, carrots, celery, cilantro, lemon, apple and beet juice.  I drank that in the AM and had a regular dinner.

Today I wanted to do my whole day juicy, but, alas, I watched my extra kiddos today.  I was slightly stressed about having 6 kids inside on a rainy icky day, and a puppy that doesn't understand not to jump and chew and pee on the floor.  Then it took like 2 hours to juice all my stuff for the day. Fast forward to lunch time and I was all tense with a facial tic.

My juice today: 48 ounces of orange, pineapple, strawberry juice.  Berry berry good.
96 ounces of romaine, spinach, carrots, cucumber, cilantro, celery, apple, lemon.

I drank all the fruit juice first, and was full FOREVER, so I did not have any more until about 5.  I drank the remaining quart from yesterday and another quart from today, so total intake was 102 ounces of juice. Then I was craving french fries, pasta, anything!  I know it has to do with an addiction to crappy food so I tried to resist but I lost.  I had a bowl of pasta salad we made for dinner.  It was a fairly healthy meal though.  rotini noodles, broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, whole olives, cheddar cheese chunks in a zesty italian dressing. Yum! I only had a small bowl and now I feel super full.

I can tell I am detoxing right now.. should be a scary week or so.  I have had no soda in over 24 hours.. this is a big accomplishment for me!  I feel light headed and fuzzy and TIRED.  I know that in a couple days I will feel better, but it's a bitch in the meantime. Before anyone freaks out, I had the same symptoms when i moved to raw food from standard american diet last time.  Only this time I am not chewing. :)

I need to get some cute straws.  Maybe glass ones. I have been eyeballing them.I think maybe I should vlog these things.  Maybe.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

baking - PB&J muffins

I was super busy today. I made 2 batches of PB&J muffins, and a batch of poppy seed bagels. Tomorrow I am going to make dinner rolls, Italian cheesey bagels and maybe some cranberry bagels.

Recipe:

PB&J muffins
I found this recipes on a blog somewhere, sometime. I made a few tweaks and now I am sharing with you! Completely yummalicious. As anyone who knows me knows, before 9 AM is still the night before. Morning is not offically here until 9:01 AM. And I like to sleep in. Sooooo...I made a batch this afternoon for breakfast tomorrow morning. The muffins did not survive the hour.. I had to make more tonight after everyone went to bed!

  • 1 1/3 c. flour
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. applesauce
  • 1/3 c. peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • jelly or jam

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and sugar. In a medium bowl, combing egg, applesauce, peanut butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fill greased muffin cups half full. I use a larger silverware spoon and pour a heaping spoonful into the muffin cup. This is usually about half of the muffin cup. Put 1 teaspoon of jam or jelly in the middle of the muffin batter. Spoon more batter over the jelly. Make sure the jelly if completely covered. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.

Tips:
  • To make buttermilk, add 1 T. of vinegar to a measuring cup and then fill the milk to the desired amount.
  • Make sure that the jelly is in the middle of the batter and does not reach the edges of the muffin.
  • Make sure the jelly is completely covered with the remaining batter.
    Do not use more than 1 t. of jelly. The muffin will not be structurally sound, and will collapse.

craziness

Some days I feel like Jean Grey. Shit falls apart all around me. I am dangerous and scary.




Some days Meredith Brooks says perfectly.


We found out a couple days ago that I may have some health problems. The joy of military health care is that it takes forever to see a specialist. I have a great primary care provider, and she says things aren't right but she doesn't know what or the severity of my problems. I will most likely need surgery, but I don't know until I get the surgical consult.

I had to give 600 stool samples. It was soo-oo grody. Nothing like filling a bunch of cups full of shit. mmmm, good times.

So I feel slightly crazy. I keep having an image in my head. I am standing in the middle of a hurricane. Trees are whipping around and I can hear the wind blowing through the streets. I am standing in the middle of the melee perfectly still. Not one hair on my head moves. It is the perfect opposite of how I feel now. Instead of chaos inside, it is chaos outside.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teacher gifts on the fly


Last night I realized that I needed teacher gifts ASAP! So, i found me some fabric, some extra apple jelly (yes, it is the trash jelly, shhhhh!), a Scentsy room spray, and a handmade heart shaped card. Oh yeah. All handmade. Cost = $0.00.

I basically winged the bag. Rectangle, sew up the sides, box the corners. The straps are rectangles with the sides ironed into the middle and then folded in half. I sewed it into the hem as I turned the hem on the top.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Plant Cell Cake

AJ's science project. Totally edible. I think this speaks for itself. HAHAHA

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pretty Pots

I made some cutie pie mosaic pots. It was pretty easy. First I taped off the top lip part of the pot and painted the bottom with chalk board paint. After it was dry I taped off the chalkboard paint part on the bottom so no grout would get on it. I used mosaic glue to glue pieces of tile on the top, close together, and then i glopped grout on the top. I used my fingers to make sure the grout went into all teh cracks and in between all the tiles. Then i took a damp sponge and wiped grout off the tiles and made sure it was all even and level-ish. Done!

I also made some non-grout type. They are just the flat bottom marbles from Walmart/dollar store. I got a huge amount of them on sale at Walmart when they ditched the craft department. I just glued them on. Done!

ETA winter was not kind to these pots. Most of the marbles fell off. Different glue is needed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

commercials - yikes & yay review

So this Dell commercial skeeves me out. Watch below



Yeah.. that guy at the beginning... he is smiling why? And why does his buddy pop up and finishes getting dressed? And why do they share a meaningful look? yikes! Yes, go back and watch the beginning. You will feel slightly sickened and naughty. We *so* should not be sharing THAT private moment.


This next commercial makes me feel free and fantastic! Oh to be a sock monkey with a car.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Coffee Cup Rack



I super love my new coffee cup rack! (That's, like, a huge amount of love) I made it yesterday and it was really easy. Okay, I didn't really make it. Adan did. He put up the bar, and he bent the forks. BUT it was my idea, and that counts, right? Okay, it wasn't my idea. I got it HERE

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CSI love

Yes, I am a CSI addict. I don't love it as much now that Grissom is gone, but I watch all the spin offs.. Miami and New York. Adan is convinced they are about to start an LA version.. we shall see. Adan won't watch Miami with me though; he says Horatio is annoying. Which makes this Phinneas and Ferb clip all the more fun. (Have I mentioned that I love Phinneas and Ferb?)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Barbie as a role model

Whether we like it or not, media is a role model for our children.  I think Barbie has become something of a role model for our young girls. I have always been anti barbie for her huge tatas and tiny waisted physique, but this commercial is taking things too far.  Babysitting as a career choice?  Babysitting is a wonderful career, don't get me wrong.  In fact, I have been a home day care provider for many years.  However, I have high goals for my daughter.  How about she become a president, or an activist standing up for people's rights or environmental issues.  Maybe she could be an astronaut, or a scientist looking for cures for diseases, or an agriculturist looking to preserve our food heritage.  Barbie's aspirations are a tad bit different.  She wants to teach children to use the toilet.  And look, her toilet comes with it's very own pile of poo.




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sun on a Snowy Day


I love the soft feathery snowflakes of "dry" snow. I was driving home from my doctor appointment and the snow was falling towards my car. I felt like I was at Universal Studios in one of those 3D movies with the snowing jumping out of the screen to my face. My mesmerized staring at the snow hitting my windshield probably wasn't too safe though.

My new wreath is like a bright bit of sunshine on a dark and dreary day. It was so easy to make too. All you need is a styrofoam wreath and some fake flowers. Trim the stems off the flowers and then hot glue the flower heads onto the wreath, close together so you don't see any styrofoam in between the flowers. Glue a looped piece of ribbon on the back and VOILA! Bright and cheery wreath for your door!

I got all the supplies at Michael's but you might be able to find most of these things at your local dollar store.

Monday, February 22, 2010

OAMC updates! Day 1 and 2


So, I went shopping, and was able to purchase all ingredients minus meat, assorted spices and pantry staples like rice for $350.00. I went down today and picked up all the ground beef and chicken (50 lbs ground sirloin, 30 lbs chicken breasts, 2 lbs chicken tenders, 10 2-lb fryer chickens) for 215.00. This brings my 60 meal total to $465.00. I normally spend that in one month! I will still need to hit the store for milk and salad fixin's and assorted other small purchases but I estimate that to be around $60 per month. That will bring us to $645.00. YAY!! Counting eating out, and left overs (We do leftover night every saturday), I estimate this to be pretty close to 3 months worth of meals for us. That rounds out to $215.00 per month. My normal grocery budget is $225.00 every 2 weeks... so we will be saving $235 per month and $705 in 3 months. Holy wow!

Of course I have no where to store the ingredients before they are assimilated into meals so my kitchen looks like the grocery store barfed in my house. And speaking of the store... I got some crazy looks with my 9 jars of spaghetti sauce and 5 jars of salsa, and 45 lbs of potatoes in 5 lb bags. And 3 doz. eggs balanced precariously on top of a mountain of broccoli, cauliflower, pre-shredded cheese...

Yesterday was beans day. I had cooked all the dry beans ahead of time, and Adan mashed most of them up. Split pea soup simmered in the crock pot while I worked and it smelled so good. I have learned that good shoes are a must while doing my OAMC. Also counter space is at a premium so I may haul the small craft table in there while I am working. Also, run the dishwasher at intervals during the cooking so it is not such a bitch to clean up when you are done. Tomorrow? I will be doing vegetables. Gotta get those done before they go bad. Day 4 is chicken, followed by beef, cheese and baking on days 5, 6 and 7. Then done!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Broccoli and Cauliflower Oh MY!



It seems so hard to believe that it is time to start my seedlings. The ground is covered in snow and more keeps falling. How on earth will I be able to plant peas in 2 weeks?? I have started my broccoli and cauliflower and little sprouts are showing. it always amazes me that I plant and then something grows. So thrilling! Of course the new kitty Max finds it thrilling as well and has started nibbling on my sprouts. Bad Kitty!!



The garden in February. Yup, still snow covered. I am supposed to plant peas in a couple weeks, and I can't even find my boxes!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vegetable OAMC Plan

The Vegetable OAMC Plan

Meals:
Tortilla Soup with Rolls
Brown Sugar Carrots – 2 side dishes
Dijon Carrots – 3 side dishes
Rice – 8 side dishes
Baked Potato Soups with rolls
Rolls – 8 side dishes
Broccoli – 3 side dishes
Dill Potatoes – 5 side dishes
French Fries – 5 side dishes
Mashed Potatoes – 5 side dishes
Twice Baked Potatoes – 1 side dish
Cauliflower – 3 side dishes
Garlic Bread – 5 side dishes

Master Ingredient List:

15 cans or 29 c. chicken broth
3 onions, chopped
1 ½ c. frozen corn
2 T. chopped cilantro
3 t. hot pepper sauce
chili powder
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 flour tortillas
5 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
2 T. butter + 3 ½ (56 T) cup butter, room temperature + 2/3 cup butter + 20 T butter + 10 T butter + 4 cups of butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar
9 cans of Mexian Style chopped tomatoes
salt
garlic powder
8 c. uncooked rice
flour
8-12 strips bacon, cooked
2 cups sour cream
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
pepper
½ c. minced cilantro
7 c. milk (110 degrees F.) + 2 c.
2 ¾ cup granulated sugar
14 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
28 c. bread flour
21 t. instant yeast
12 large stalks of broccoli
42 lbs potatoes + 12 baking potatoes
dried dill
1 ¼ t. dried rosemary
6 c. shredded paremesan cheese
olive oil
2 heads cauliflower
1 ½ c plain yogurt
¾ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
skim milk
3 tsp kosher salt
½ t. pepper
garlic salt
4 loaves of French bread – or make your own
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 ½ t. grated orange peel
Dijon Mustard
1 ½ t. ground ginger




Dishes Needed:
15 storage containers – 1 for tortilla soup, 2 for brown sugar carrots, 3 for Dijon carrots, 8 for rice, 1 for baked potato soup

Processes:

Rolls – We are making 7 batches of rolls. Every time you take dough out of the bread maker, add the next batch in. Place all ingredients (in order given) in bread pan of your bread machine. 1 cup milk (110 degrees F.), 1/2 cup butter, room temperature, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 4 cups bread flour, 3 teaspoons instant yeast. Select dough setting and press start. When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface (I use a non-stick cooking spray. Form dough into an oval, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes. After resting, shape the dough as desired (see Types of Rolls below). For 13 large rolls - weigh dough into 3-ounce pieces.
Shape pieces of dough into balls and freeze shaped dinner rolls on a cookie sheet, and once frozen transfer to a plastic bag. This way you can bake up just the quantity you desire for dinner and not the entire batch. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen rolls out of the freezer 3 to 4 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) and let thaw and rise.

Tortilla Soup – Heat oven to 350. In a soup pot heat ½ c. chicken broth. Add 1 ½ c. chopped onions and 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, and simmer, covered for 5 min. Add 1 ½ c. frozen corn, and 1 can of Mexican style chopped tomatoes and 4 c. of chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Add 2 T. chopped cilantro, 3 t. hot pepper sauce, and 3 t. chili powder to soup. Cut each tortilla into 8 strips. Spray lightly with cookin spray and bake for 8 minutes until golden. Remove and cool. Transfer soup to a storage container and Freeze. Also Freeze tortilla strips and 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese. To eat, reheat soup in a sauce pan on the stove. Serve with tortilla strips and cheese sprinkled on top.

Brown Sugar Carrots
– Heat 1 inch water to boiling in large saucepan. Adding 1 lb of carrots at a time, heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 6 to 9 minutes or until crisp tender; drain and set aside. Repeat with all 5 lbs of carrots. Reserve 3 lbs for Dijon carrots. In saucepan, combine 1/3 c. brown sugar, 2 T. butter, ½ t. salt, ½ t. grated orange peel stirring constantly untly bubbly. Stir in 1 lb of carrots. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until carrots are glazed and hot. Transfer to a storage container and freeze. Repeat once more to have to side dishes of carrots. To eat, defrost in refrigerator and reheat on stove.

Dijon Carrots – Melt 3 T. butter in a sauce pan. Add 2T brown sugar, 1 T Dijon mustard, ½ t. ground ginger, and ¼ t. salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Place one lb of carrots in a storage container. Pour sauce over carrots, stirring to coat. Freeze. Repeat twice more for 3 side dishes. To eat, defrost in fridge and reheat on stove.

Rice – In a saucepan, sauté 2 c. rice in 1/3 c. oil until golden. During the last 2 or 3 min. add 1 c. chopped onions. In a blender, combine 2 cans or 4 c. chicken broth and 2 cans of Mexican style chopped tomatoes and 1 t. garlic powder. Process until of uniform consistency. Pour liquid carefully into rice. Bring to a boil over med. High heat. Reduce heat, cover and cook 20 -25 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Divide into 2 parts, transfer into storage containers and freeze. Repeat 4 times, totaling 8 rice side dishes. To eat, defrost in fridge, and reheat on stove.

Baked Potato Soup - Bake 2lbs potatoes until soft, then peel. Mash or cube the potatoes depending on the desired consistency for the soup. In a large soup pot, combine butter and flour to make a roux. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the liquids. Add salt and pepper, potatoes, cooked bacon, and 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese. At the last minute, stir in 1 c. sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Transfer to storage container and freeze. Defrost in fridge. Soup will be thick. Reheat on stove, add milk to thin as desired.

Broccoli – Heat a pot of water to boiling. Cut broccoli into florets and drop into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry. In thirds, transfer to zip closing bags and freeze. To reheat, microwave in bag for 2 to 3 minutes or heat on stove in sauce pan in 1 inch of water.

Cauliflower – Heat a pot of water to boiling. Cut cauliflower into florets and drop into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry. In thirds, transfer to zip closing bags and freeze. To reheat, microwave in bag for 2 to 3 minutes or heat on stove in sauce pan in 1 inch of water.

Dilled Potatoes – Wash and dice 2 lbs of potatoes into bite size chunks. Place in a casserole dish. Slice 4 T. of butter into small pieces and place on top of potatoes. Top with 2 T. dried dill. Stir to coat. Cook in a 350 oven for 20 min. Cool and freeze. To reheat, defrost in a fridge then cook in a 400 oven for 30 minutes. We are making 5 of this side dish, so repeat 5 times.

French Fries – Peel 10 lbs of potatoes and cut in to french fries or steak wedges. Shake the raw french fries in a little olive oil and seasoning salt, (this is easy in a big plastic bag) then bake till just browned, cool. "Flash freeze" (set on the cookie sheet they are baked on in the freezer until they are frozen solid). Scoop them off with a spatula and store in 5 quart ice cream buckets or zippered plastic baggies, pressing out extra air. Shake out only what you need for reheating. To eat, fully preheat your oven to 475 degrees. To heat them up, spread frozen potatoes apart on a cookie sheet in a single layer, bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for about 15 minutes, they get crispy. For a very large amount, turn the oven to 425 degrees.

Mashed Potatoes
– Peel 10 lbs of potatoes. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Be sure not to over fill, as we will be adding potatoes and bringing the water level up. Once boiling, add half the potatoes. Reduce heat and cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain. Shake pan with potatoes over low heat to dry. This will help the mashed potatoes be fluffier. Mash potatoes in pan until no lumps remain. Add 1 ¼ c. chicken broth in small amounts, mashing after each addition. Add 2/3 c. olive oil, 2/3 t. rosemary, 1 ¼ t. salt and 2 ½ c. parmesan cheese. Mash vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. Cover and let stand 4 minutes. Transfer to a muffin pan. Fill each cavitiy with mashed potatoes. Freeze. Transfer to a zip closing bag. Repeat with other half of potatoes. To eat, defrost in fridge, and reheat on stove or in oven.

Twice Baked Potatoes - Bake the 12 baking potatoes in the microwave for 6 to 10 minutes or until soft. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop pulp out of each half, leaving a shell of skin and some potato. Mash the pulp with a potato masher. Add 1 c. sour cream, ½ t. garlic salt, ¼ t. pepper, 1 c. shredded parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Transfer to a zip closing bag. To eat, place on a cookie sheet and cook in a 425 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot.

Garlic Bread - Take 4 loaves of french bread, and make cuts every one inch down the loaf, not cutting quite through the bottom. Soften one cup of butter or margarine and mix with two crushed cloves of garlic for each loaf. Spread evenly between the slices. Wrap in aluminum foil, then wrap in a large freezer bag. To eat, remove from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Open the foil wrapper to allow steam to vent, increase oven temperature to 450 degrees and heat for another 10 minutes. Serve.

The Beef OAMC Plan

This seems like a ton of ground beef, but it will stock out your freezer for a long time!

The Beef OAMC Plan

Meals:
16 Taco Burgers with French Fries and fiesta corn
Tacos with Beans and Rice
16 Sloppy Joes with tortilla chips and green beans
Enchilada Chili with tortilla chips
Meatballs Sandwiches with pears and French fries
Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread and green beans
Meatball Soup with rolls
Meatball Chili with rolls
Meatball Macaroni and Cheese with salad
16 Lemon Basil Burgers with Dill potatoes and carrot sticks
16 Hamburgers with Mashed Potatoes and Dijon Carrots
Burritos with beans and rice
Deep dish pizza with salad
Pot Pies with salad and macaroni and cheese
Empanadas with salad and cauliflower
Porcupines with rice and peas
Meatloaf with corn on the cob and salad
Meatloaf Sandwich with French fries and broccoli
Mexican Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn
Bierrocks with salad and tomato soup
Cheeseburger turnovers with peas and salad
6 Pizzas with salad and brown sugar carrots
Salsa Chili rolls and cauliflowers
Mexican Lasagna fiesta corn and salad


Master Ingredient List:

50 lbs ground beef
7 envelope taco seasoning mix (about 1 ½ oz. each)
8 slices Monterey jack cheese
9 med. Onions, chopped
2 cans tomato soup
4 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp mustard
4 Tbsp. vinegar
4 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 can enchilada sauce
4 c. frozen corn
1 can pinto beans
24 slices white bread, diced
16 large egg whites + 4 eggs
3 2/3 c. grated Romano or parmesan cheese
1 ½ T. grated onion
1 c. minced fresh parsley
Salt
Pepper
8 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 t. chili powder
Bay leaf
4 ½ c. cheddar cheese, grated
7 ½ c. baking mix
1 ½ c. cornmeal
1 ¼ c. butter (18 T)
1 c. cooked rice
2 jar marinara sauce
Vegetable oil
1 1/3 c. Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ lb. bulk sausage
2 lg cans chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon dried oregano
15 ½ cups bread flour
11 ¾ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ head cabbage, chopped
36 slices American cheese
3 c. flat beer
6 T. sugar
16 lasagna noodles
1 lb Colby-jack cheese, shredded
3 jars, 15 oz., salsa
Chili powder
1 t. dried basil
¼ c. lemon juice
9 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 c. pizza or spaghetti sauce
Pepperoni and pizza toppings of your choice.



Dishes Needed:
4 storage containers – 1 for taco meat, 1 for burritos, 1 for sloppy joes, 1 for enchilada chili, 1 for salsa chili
2 Pie Plates
6 loaf pans
6 pizza pans
13 x 9 x 2 baking dish

Processes:


Salsa Chili – Cook 2 lbs ground beef and 1 c. chopped onions in a 10 inch skillet until beef is browned. Drain. Mix beef, 4 c. salsa, 2 cans chopped tomatoes with green chilies, 1 lg can of chopped green chilies, 4 t. chili powder in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in 2 cans or 4 c. pinto beans. Divide into 2 parts, 1 for Mexican Lasagna. Transfer remaining part to a storage container and freeze. To eat, defrost and heat on stop top.

Bierrocks Part 1 - Place 1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2/3 teaspoon salt, 4 cups bread flour and 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommend by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle. We will come back to this later.

Taco Burgers – Mix 2lbs of ground beef and 2 packets of taco seasoning mix. Shape into 12 patties. Freeze between layers of wax paper. When frozen transfer to zip closing bag.

Tacos and Burritos - Brown 10 lbs of ground beef. Season with 5 packets of taco seasoning mix, following directions on packet. Divide into 5 parts, set aside 3 parts. Transfer remaining meat into two storage containers, half in each, and freeze. Shred 4 c. cheddar cheese. Freeze in 2 zip closing bags. To eat, defrost meat and cheese in fridge. Reheat meat on stove top. Serve in taco shells with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and any other taco toppings. Or as burritos in a tortilla with cheese.

Sloppy Joes – Cook 2 lbs of ground beef with 2/3 c. chopped onion. Drain. Combine with 2 cans tomato soup, ¼ c. brown sugar, ¼ c. Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp mustard, ¼ c. vinegar. Transfer to a storage container and freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge. Reheat on stove. Serve on hamburger buns.

Enchilada Chili – Brown 2 lbs. ground beef and 1 c. chopped onion over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until beef is brown. Drain. Stir 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies, 2 cans of enchilada sauce, 2 cans or 4 cups pinto beans and 3 cups corn into meat. Transfer to a storage container and freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge and reheat on stove in a sauce pan.

Cheeseburger Turnovers Part 1 – Remove dough from bread maker and set aside for Bierrocks. Place 1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2/3 teaspoon salt, 4 cups bread flour and 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommend by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle. We will come back to this later.

Bierrocks Part 2 – Brown 2 lbs of ground beef in a large skillet. Drain. Add ½ head of shredded cabbage and ½ c. chopped onion. Continue cooking until onion is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide dough into pieces the size of tennis balls. Roll out dough pieces as thin as possible. Place ½ slice of American cheese on half of the dough, top with some filling, and then the other half of the slice of cheese. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and seal. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge, then place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 oven until hot.

Meatballs – Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. In a very large bowl (maybe cut recipe in half and do it twice), combine 24 slices of diced white bread and 2 2/3 c. water. With your hand, mix until bread is evenly moistened. Add 16 lbs of ground beef, 16 egg whites, 2 2/3 grated parmesan cheese, 1 ½ c. grated onion, 1 c. minced fresh parsley, 2 2/3 t. salt, 8 cloves of minced garlic. Shape mixture into 92 2-inch meatballs. Place meatballs on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Freeze. Once frozen transfer to a zip closing bag. To eat, defrost in fridge, and then cook in oven until hot. Use these to eat:

Meatball Sandwiches – Sauté bell peppers and onion slices in oil until hot. Add thawed, cooked meatballs (3 meatballs per sandwich) and 14 ounces of prepared spaghetti sauce. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through. Transfer to hoagie rolls and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Spaghetti and Meatballs – Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Cook meatballs (3 per person) in a saucepan with a jar of spaghetti sauce. Serve sauce over noodles.

Easy Meatball Stew - In a large saucepan, bring 2 12-ounce jars of brown gravy (or make your own!), a 16 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, 1 ½ c. water, 1 ½ t. dried thyme, ¼ t. pepper to a boil. Stir in 1 16-ounce bag of frozen vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Stir in thawed, cooked meatballs and heat through, about 5 minutes.

Meatball Soup – In a 4 qt. saucepan, heat 2 cans of chicken broth and 2 cups of water to boiling over high heat. Add 3 med. Carrots, sliced, 3 stalks of celery, sliced; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in 5 ounces of prewashed spinach, 1 ½ c. cooked rice, and 8 defrosted, sliced meatballs. Heat through and eat!

Meatball Mac and Cheese
- Defrost 1 serving of macaroni and cheese and 3 meatballs per person. Combine in a casserole dish and cook in a 350 oven until heated through.

Lemon Basil Burgers – Beat 1 egg, 1/3 c. dried bread crumbs, ¼ c. chopped onions, ¼ c. lemon juice, 2 T. parmesan cheese, 1 t. dried basil in a medium size bowl with a fork. Add 2 lbs of ground beef. Mix well. Shape into 12 patties. Freeze between sheets of wax paper. Once frozen transfer to a zip closing bag.

Hamburgers
– Add 2 t. garlic powder to 2 lbs ground beef. Shape into 12 burgers. Freeze between sheets of wax paper. Once frozen transfer to a zip closing bag.


Deep Dish Pizza – Mix 7 ½ c. biscuit mix, 1 ½ c. cornmeal, 1 ½ c. water and ¾ c. butter, melted. Divide dough into 3 pieces, and reserve 2 for pot pies. Preheat oven to 425. Grease 2 pie plates. Pat dough on bottom and sides of pie plates. Bake 10 minutes and remove from oven. Spread 1 cup of refried beans in each pie plate; next add half of one part of reserved taco meat in each plate. Top with ¾ c. of shredded cheddar cheese in each pie plate. Freeze. To eat, cook frozen pizza in a 375 oven until heated through. Top with taco toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes.

Pot Pies – Using one part of reserved dough, line bottoms and sides of cavities of a muffin tin. Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes. Fill with 1 part of reserved taco meat. Roll out remaining dough, cut into circles slightly bigger than cavities of muffin tin. Add to cavities and pinch closed. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, remove from muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a zip closing bag. To eat, cook frozen pot pies in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Empanadas – Using reserved empanada dough, roll out to ½ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a cup, cut out smallish circles. Using 1 part of reserved taco meat, place a teaspoon of meat in the middle of each one. Top with a pinch of cheese. Brush edge of one side with a little water. Fold edges together to seal. Bend to resemble a crescent moon and crimp edges with the side of a fork. Freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. To eat, bake with out thawing in a 400 degree oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until lightly browned. OR bake first and then freeze.

Pizza Part 1 – Remove dough from bread machine and set aside for cheeseburger turnovers. Add to bread machine: 1 c. flat beer heated to 110 degrees, 2 T butter, 2 T sugar, 1 t salt, 2 ½ c. flour, 2 ¼ t yeast and process on the dough cycle. When dough finishes and repeat until you have 3 batches of dough.

Cheeseburger Turnovers Part 2
– Using reserved dough, roll dough out thin. Cut into 8 inch squares. In a skillet, brown 2 lbs of ground beef with ½ c. chopped onion. Drain. Place a rounded spoonful of ground beef on one half of the dough squares, and top with a slice of American cheese. Fold dough over and seal. Freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge, and then cook in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until turnovers are golden.

Porcupines
– In a medium bowl combine 2 lbs ground beef, 1 c. cooked rice, 1 c. chopped onion, 2 t. salt, ½ t. pepper, 2 eggs, and 1 c. marinara sauce. Shape into 16 meatballs. Put ¼ c. oil in a frying pan. Add meatballs and fry until lightly browned. Freeze. Once frozen transfer to a zip closing bag. Also freeze 1 c. marinara sauce. To eat, defrost marinara sauce in fridge. Add to a casserole dish. Combine with 1 c. beef broth, and 1 c. water. Add meatballs on top of sauce. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes or until hot all the way through.

Meatloaf
– Mix together 4 lbs of ground beef, 2 egg, 1 c. chopped onion, 1 c. spaghetti sauce, 2 c. breadcrumbs, 2 t. Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into a loaves and place in loaf pans. Bake in a 350 oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, Cool. Freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge, and heat in a 350 oven until heated through. Use half of the meatloaves for meat loaf sandwiches. Just defrost heat, slice and serve on hoagies.

Mexican Meatloaf – In a large bowl, mix 1 ½ lb. ground beef, 1 ½ lbs bulk sausage, 16 oz can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, 1 8 oz. can chopped green chilies, 2 eggs, 1 ½ t. dried minced onions, ½ t. cumin, ¼ t. salt until well combined. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Place each into a loaf pan. Top each with ¾ c. salsa. Bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours. If the sausage makes a lot of grease drain it once or twice while cooking. Let cool and freeze. Freeze 1 c. of cheddar cheese. To eat, defrost in fridge, and then cook in a 350 oven for 45 minutes or until heated through. Top with cheese for last 15 minutes of cooking.

Mexican Lasagna – Cook Lasagna noodles. Place ½ c. of reserved salsa chili in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish. Top with 4 lasagna noodles. Spread 1 c. chili and ½ c. refried beans over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1 c. of Colby jack cheese. Repeat layers 3 times ending with cheese. Freeze. To eat, defrost in fridge, and then cook in a 350 oven, covered for 40 min. Then uncover and cook 20 min. longer or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Pizza Part 2– Divide each batch of pizza dough into 2 pieces. Press each piece of dough into a pizza pan. Cook pizza crust in a 350 oven for 5-7 minutes. Top each pizza with 1 c. spaghetti sauce, 1 ½ c. mozzarella cheese. Add pizza toppings of your choice. Freeze. To eat, cook frozen pizza in a 400 oven until crust is golden and cheese is melted.