What’s Cookin’?

I’m that person who looks at what others are buying in the grocery store.  I love to check out the conveyor belt and try to figure out what’s on the menu.  Is that weird?

I think this is mostly because I get tired of cooking the same.things.every.week.  Your shopping cart may have just the culinary inspiration that I need.

I’m putting my menu plans for the week out here so that if you lack inspiration, or if there is a dish that you have forgotten about, maybe you will get an idea.

Monday  – We have Bible Study Fellowship so we always needs a quick meal.

Taco Night

ground beef, shredded cheese, instant pot refried beans, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream

Tuesday 

Breakfast Night

stone ground grits (in our CSA box last week), scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and smoothies

Wednesday

Mississippi Roast in the crockpot, rolls in the bread machine

Thursday

Instant Pot Ribs (amazing), vegetables that come in our CSA box this week

Friday

Grilled Pork chops, parmesan asparagus, mashed potatoes

Saturday 

Leftovers

Sunday

Birthday Lunch Out

 

Breakfast is usually either muffins ( I use Krusteaz classic mix from Sam’s and rotate between strawberry, chocolate, and blueberry add ins), cereal, or smoothies.

Lunches consists of sandwiches and chips,  toothpick lunches (the girls’ name for their favorite lunch-things that can be eaten with a toothpick such as banana slices, crackers, sliced cheese sticks, and diced fruit), or simple pizzas from pita breads, shredded mozzarella, and sauce.

 

I hope that maybe you’ve found an idea or two that you’d like to try or had forgotten.  If you have a second, tell me in the comments what you’re cookin’ at your house.

 

 

Go Outside to Play

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Have my children played outside today?

Recent studies like this one show that our children are spending more and more time in front of screens.  I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of us.  We see it all around us, possibly in our own home.  Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that we would surpass those numbers ourselves.

Today, I read this article about the need to reinstate play for healthy kids. I took a trip down memory lane as the author described how she would play as a child.  I could NOT agree more about the importance of outside time and it rekindled my desire to model and monitor this important part of our day.

We are believers in going outside to play.  I was raised in the country and we played outside for hours.  I’ve passed that on to my kids and they know that I believe that we need to spend some time outside every day.  If they forget it,  I remind them! 😉  I am not naive enough to think that, if allowed, my children wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions with a bowl of cereal and stay for days.  But for right now, we are playing outside and enjoying it!

 

If they run out of ideas, I can give suggestions and let their little imaginations soar.  They do start to complain about the humidity and heat in July but I just throw some ice onto the trampoline and tell them to have fun!

These are some of the ways that they keep themselves entertained.

1) Get dirty!

2.) Catch critters!

They are in constant pursuit of a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly.  The poor snails aren’t fast enough and are often confined to snail city.

3.) Make fairy houses.

4.) Plant a garden.

They’ve grown tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes on their own.  They love to grow flowers and have great luck with zinnias.

 

5.) Create houses.

These were as a result of a Five In a Row unit that we had just covered about wigwams and turf huts.

6.) Ride bicycles.

Their bicycles usually have names, long manes, and live in stables.

7.) Jump on the trampoline, swing on their swings,  skate, and spin on their gym dandy teeter go round.

8.) Take pictures!

They photograph things that they find interesting.   These cameras have lasted for two years and provided endless hours of fun.

9.) Observe and study.

When they see something and need to identify it, they are quick to take out their animal or plant guides.  This makes my teacher heart happy!

I hope that we can delay the desire to be staring at a screen…….  Possibly forever!

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?

 

 

Our First House Flip

In August of 2017, we had almost finished restoring our own flooded home.  So we did what all people who are exhausted from the rebuild of their own house would do, we bought a flooded and gutted house in a nearby neighborhood to flip.

I wish that I had captured the first glimpse that we got.  We waded in knee deep grass and walked right in because there was no door.   It was love at first sight. 😉

Honestly, I didn’t share this with many people until four months later when it was almost complete.  The few people who I did initially tell all said something to the effect of “Y’all are crazy!” or “What were you thinking?” So I just kept it to myself.

For almost four months, the hubby came home at 5:30 from work and we were out the door to “Hickory House.”  This was our name for the house that we were pouring sweat, tears, money, and a little blood into.

Eight months later, it is under contract and we are ever so excited!  We are looking for our next house to rescue and flip.  However, we will do things a bit differently this time.

Things we won’t do:

1)  We won’t pay anyone “by the hour.”  This may work in some areas but when you are talking construction, it wasn’t the best idea for us.  We will get a bid for the entire job as specified.  By doing this, the person gets paid when the job is complete.  This might up the hustle factor.

2) We won’t always take the cheaper bid.  This cost us quite a bit in the end.  The cheaper bid somehow wasn’t including the x,y, and z that needed to be fixed and redone.   You get what you pay for turned out to be true.

Things we will do:

1) We will shop around for supplies.  For the most part, we did this but we could do even better.  In the initial phases, we were rushed on a few items and didn’t take the time to find the deals.

2) We will be open-minded about the style.  Because this wasn’t my personal home, I didn’t have an exact item in mind.  I was able to find flooring at discount stores, and cabinets and granite at wholesale.   Being flexible and having an open mind, I was able to get quality items for less.  This doesn’t mean that I mixed styles or created a hodgepodge of a house.  It simply means that I wasn’t picky about getting the exact shade of flooring, etc.

3)  We will use the site thumbtack to hire contractors.  This takes the work out of finding a contractor and seems pretty straightforward.  We have friends who highly recommend it.

4)  We will be more organized with the budget.  Because this was our first investment property, we weren’t as detailed as we should have been.  We tended to just jump in and work.  We will start the next one with those file folders labeled and ready!

Before and afters of our Hickory House:

 

There was a brick wall with a fireplace and chimney.  The wall was partially removed so that we had an open floor plan.  We created a dining room in the space behind it.  The exposed brick are one of my favorite things about the house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a wall between the living room and kitchen.  This was also torn out to make an open floor plan.  We love how it turned out.

The hall bath was a total overhaul and we love how it turned out.

We hope that it brings years of enjoyment its new family.   I can’t wait to get started again.

If you flip houses and have advice to give, I’d love to have it!