A Whole Day Out, Didn’t Spend a Dime on Food

Yesterday was a BUSY day for us. Unusually busy. Like, we’re rarely that busy.

  1. I had to go out of town (40 min drive) to get some blood labs done.
  2. I had to nurse the baby before we left for home. So while I fed the baby, and since we had gorgeous weather (high 60’s in mid Nov!), the kids got their wiggles out at this super cool park:


    SO fun!

  3. Ran into Aldi to get some pecans for a Thanksgiving recipe.
  4. Rushed home to meet my husband. We had to take our son to the Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment. He had an accident/head injury in October and needs to have a couple check-ups.
  5. And the long drive home through a crazy thunderstorm.

Basically, we were in the car all.day.long.

It would have been SO EASY to buy food and snacks for everyone while we were out.

But, with proper planning, we didn’t spend a dime on food while we were out.


What we did yesterday:

  1. Ate breakfast at home before leaving to get my labs taken.
  2. Packed several canteens of water and water bottles for everyone for our AM outing.
  3. During that quick stop at home for lunch, we:
    1) packed several non-messy food items for lunch & snacks: peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly), deli ham, swiss cheese, peanuts, raisins, chips, protein bars, and apples.
    2) Literally threw in the crockpot a fryer chicken, some water, and some herbs/spices.
    3) Got the rice cooker going (it automatically turns off when done).
    4) Refilled canteens and water bottles.
    5) Hubby and I grabbed a pop each, just for us.

We had plenty of food and drinks for the car ride. And when we came home from the hospital, dinner was 80% ready. I simply threw some frozen veggies on the stove, and voila, dinner was served in a jiffy.

I’m not gonna lie, that quick trip home at lunchtime was a tad crazy. But I assigned everyone with a job and we were able to get stuff done in an organized, very fast fashion.

When I menu-planned for this week, I took into account this crazy day. I knew we were going to be gone most of the day. So I specifically made sure we had quick and easy food items on hand so we could just GO.

I had the fryer chicken previously thawed and waiting in the fridge, because I looked ahead at Friday’s activities the day prior.

With proper planning, trips out do NOT need to be costly.

Sure, it would have been EASY to run through McDonald’s and buy food for everyone. But I’m telling you, with a family of 9 (well, 8, because the baby is nursing), we could easily spend $40-$50 at McDonald’s. Convenience has a price.

But with proper planning, looking ahead, and some prep work, you can save money by not eating out on those super busy days. Especially if you KNOW those super busy days are coming.

Sometimes the unexpected occurs and you can’t plan ahead and you do have to eat out. I get that.

But if you know, just be prepared. Save yourself a wad of cash. $$$

I Want More Joy

The other night, my hubby and I snuggled down with the kids to watch the movie “Inside Out“, which we had received as a Christmas present. Only my hubby and Duckling #4 (aka Master Lieutenant) had seen it before at the theater. It was brand new to the rest of us.

Our entire family gave it a thumbs up. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should take the time to. It will be well worth your time. Very interesting, artistic interpretation at the inner workings of the human mind.

Throughout the movie’s entirety, I found myself consistently drawn to the character of “Joy”. She captured my heart and attention. No matter what life events were thrown in her direction, she always seemed to take a positive spin to it. Yes, she’d get distraught and annoyed… but she didn’t stay there. She thought the best of everyone and everything.


“INSIDE OUT” (Pictured) JOY. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

She did have some faults, though. She lied at one point. She shoved other emotions away from the control panel, as she didn’t quite understand their necessity or importance. She outright left Sadness behind as she clamored to get into the tube that would return her to HQ. (I know much of this isn’t making a lick of sense to those of you who haven’t yet seen the movie. But hang with me.)

I like what wikia said about Joy in her character profile:

Joy’s goal has always been to make sure Riley stays happy. She is lighthearted, optimistic and determined to find the fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley’s life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. As long as Riley is happy, so is Joy.

After the movie, I got to thinking even more about “joy” in a more general sense. In my own personal life, I am totally naturally drawn to joyful, happy, exciting people. Now, I’m not saying I epitomize the character of Sadness (no thank you). But I guess my introverted tendencies lend themselves toward a more slightly melancholy demeanor. Happy people just make me happy. And I like that. I want to be with that. Alone… I really have to purposefully work at cultivating true joy. It doesn’t seem to come naturally.

But I’d like to change that about myself.

Now Biblically I understand that happiness/joy can come from several different sources:
1- being saved from sin
2- having a living, vibrant relationship with God
3- recognizing God’s sovereignty and power in every situation
4- seeing God as good
5- believing that God will work out ALL circumstances for good
6- having real community with fellow believers

It’s #7 that I believe I need to be working on…

Sometimes my circumstances loom big and scary over me and I feel like I’m drowning in them. My emotions will sometimes take the driver’s seat and get the best of me. Sometimes my focus can only see what’s dark and potentially bad. Eeek… and don’t even get me started on wandering in the land of “what if’s”.

It takes a real act of purpose for me to see the bright side of life.

All my life I have been drawn to the happy-go-lucky, positive, uplifting, adventurous types of personalities. That was the kind of best friends I had growing up. And although my husband may appear to be stoic to the untrained eye… he actually is terribly positive in his perspective of people and life as a whole.

One of my goals for 2016 is to be actively and purposefully focus of the goodness of life. To be intentionally filled with thanksgiving for all the many many blessings that God has richly chosen to give me.

To take Philippians 4:8 truly to heart and to fix my thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. To think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What’s one of YOUR goals for 2016?

**A really great article on how we can experience Biblical joy can be found here. I always like reading the articles that GotQuestions.org has on their site. Check it out.

Master War Bird’s Perfect Sunny Side Up Eggs

Instead of using my children’s real names (in an attempt to protect their online privacy), together the children and I created fun alias’s for each:

Child one: Miss Fashionista
Child two: Master War Bird
Child three: Little Miss Seamstress
Child four: Master Lieutenant
Child five: Master Bam-Bam
Child six: Miss Pebbles

I thought they did good picking names. 🙂

So… this blog post is all about Master War Bird’s infamous and PERFECT sunny side up eggs. He has far SURPASSED me in the egg cooking department, and at this moment in time he’s only 10. Seriously, this kid has amazing budding culinary skills. I’m quite impressed.

So without further adieu…

Start off with a good amount of real butter (NOT oil or anything else), approx 2 dollops of this size.

2015-05-06 10.43.54Cook on medium low heat.
Season with paprika, minced dried onion, and garlic salt.
Cover with lid.
Check often. Keep a very close eye on it.
As *soon* as the white around the yolk is fully cooked, it’s done!
Turn off heat & *immediately* remove from pan
2015-05-06 10.35.27Voila!
If you used enough butter, it should basically just slide out of the pan.
Especially good served over a buttered piece of toast.

2015-05-06 10.35.52Master War Bird makes a seriously excellent/mean egg.

2015-05-06 10.36.29This can easily be replicated in a bigger pan with more eggs.