Wednesday, January 25, 2012

tales from the schoolyard

One of my 4th grade teammates brought us all a candy treat today. Too bad I am powerless against Reece's Pieces and these will be gone before the dance class marathon is over tonight. 

Who am I kidding, they are half gone and we've only been here fifteen minutes. 

Have you noticed the lack of schoolyard posts this year (nevermind the lack of any posts in general)? I have come to the conclusion that 4th graders are not quite as hilarious as 2nd graders. Fun? Yes. But they do not bust out the innocently cute comments that the little guys do.  

We do have fun. Especially when we have a spontaneous 2-minute dance party. 

Or when I make them twist up like a pretzel and spell their names backwards to get their brain synapses firing.

Or when we are choreographing dance moves for our recent flag ceremony. 

Or when we have a "snowball" fight while I'm being observed by the assistant principal for my yearly evaluation. 

What can I say - I'm hecka fun! 

And when I'm not busy being fun, we are working hard because there's a lot of pressure for my kids to pass the state test later this spring. And since I'm returning to 4th grade from my 5-year stint in 2nd, I feel like I am really under a magnifying glass. 

Now that I'm all hopped up on sugar, I'm gonna be working on some grading while I watch my pretty girls dance. 

See you on the playground. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ties for the littlest guy

I've been busy at the sewing machine. I've added something to the shop for the littlest guys in your life. Aren't these just the cutest?

These ties are attached to a neckband that has a velcro closure. That way they are easy to put on your littlest guy and are adjustable. The tie is about 10" from the top of the knot to the bottom. The neckband is about 15 1/2".

I'll be working on ties for little guys (elementary age) soon that will be longer and have a little bit larger neckband.


Monday, January 16, 2012

menu plan monday ~ pantry challenge month

As I mentioned in my last post, our grocery store had a case sale last week. Holy cans, Batman! Greg went the first day for me to make sure everything we wanted was in stock.

With bringing home all of that goodness, the pantry needed a little overhaul. Some people have been getting lazy with putting things away neatly. Although we have lots of shelf space, the design of the pantry is less than ideal. On either side we have these wings that are hard to get to and make storage difficult.

After a few hours of cleaning, reorganizing, and stocking the shelves, the pantry is looking mighty fine.

I found some really old stuff in "the abyss" that needed to see its way to the trash can. Didn't I clean out the pantry just recently? Maybe it's been a few years while.

All of the case sale haul did not fit in the pantry ~ but I had a plan. This summer we knocked out the back wall of the closet under the stairs. Perfect for storing extra pantry supplies.

So, how are we doing with our pantry challenge? Let's review.

1. Use up items from the pantry & freezer. We are doing pretty good. For example, last week I found a bottle of mandarin sauce that needed to be used up soon. I forgot I even bought that! We had mandarin chicken over rice (and broccoli for three of us) and my family deemed it just as good as Panda Express. Hmmm, maybe because the sauce was the Panda Express brand.

2. Stock the pantry. Accomplished! I will be keeping my eye out for good stock up prices still, of course.

3. Save money. Yes and no. The stock up part was pricey (we'll talk about that another day). But as far as weekly shopping, we have been under budget so far, even with the midweek trip I had to make to get a few things for my grade level lunch last Friday.

Last week's menu plan was the same as the week before (the previous post) because I ended up making random things for dinner the first week. Now we have a fresh set of items for the plan:
  • chicken & stuffing bake
  • swedish meatballs
  • quesadillas & corn salad
  • bbq chicken pizza
  • tortilla soup
  • slow cook turkey chowder (new)

Linking up to Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday and Good Cheap Eats for the Pantry Challenge.


Monday, January 2, 2012

menu plan monday ~ pantry challenge month ~ week one

Woo! Ready for a new year?

Here at the Robinson house, we are working on getting back on track with things ~ like menu planning.  I actually have been menu planning for most of the ending weeks of 2011, I just didn't post about it.

On the menu this week:

  • baked potato soup
  • king ranch chicken
  • chicken spaghetti
  • slow cooker beef stew
  • cream cheese chicken
  • meatloaf
  • vegetable soup

Most of the items on the list are the exact items from my list last week, but I bought a ham at the grocery store at the last minute, so we had ham and scalloped potatoes plus some other recipes involving ham. That sure did make menu planning for this week a piece of cake.

Along with the weekly menu planning, we are participating in the Pantry Challenge. Here are my goals for the Pantry Challenge:

1. Use up items from the pantry and freezer. Right about now you're saying, "Uh, hello, isn't that why it's called a Pantry Challenge?" Yes, yes, it is. My hope is to use items that need to be used before throwing them away. For example, we have a nearly full, large container of fried onions left over from Thanksgiving. Since it is already opened, the window of usage is coming quickly to a close. I'd rather find a way to use it besides green bean casserole than throw it away. Check back as the month goes along and I will share with you how I used a few those odds and ends.

2. Stock the pantry. Oh, I'm really confusing you now, aren't I? When we participated in the Pantry Challenge last year, we realized that our grocery store has case sales in January. The store will be having case sales again this coming week. There is no better time to stock up on pantry staples than during a case sale. All the same stuff you're going to eat anyway, only cheaper. By focusing on clearing the pantry of older items, I am freeing up grocery budget money to stock up for later. See? Not so crazy after all.

3. Save money. When Greg took over the family accounting and bills over a year ago, he gave me a grocery budget based on what we'd spent in the previous months. That number was $132 a week. This is basically groceries only. I have a separate budget for household items from Costco and Target. For 2012, he has increased my budget to $140 a week. However, for the month of January my goal is to spend only $100 a week, or $500 for the whole month. Since we do our grocery shopping on Sunday or Tuesday, there are 5 shopping times in January. So far, I've spent $130. This is over my weekly January budget, but I plan to make up the difference in the coming weeks.

So how about you? Are you taking the Pantry Challenge this month? Are you menu planning?

I'm linking up with Organizing Junkie (menu plan) and Good Cheap Eats (Pantry Challenge).