Friday, November 23, 2012

Easy Beef Stew!

When the cold weather comes to town, I want to hibernate and eat warm food! One of my favorites is Stew Beef. However, every recipe I have ever made contains some type of flour. Well, that is all well and good, but foods thickened with gluten free flour doesn't reheat well! So I tried something new. I came up with this recipe out of sheer desire to eat comfort food!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Oh, and by the way, this was Daddy and kid approved!!

Here are the stars of the show. Yep! That is it! The only thing I added that isn't pictured is salt and pepper. If I were to add anything else, it would be mushrooms. But we were out! Oh well!

Start by getting about a tablespoon of olive oil hot. Next add your finely chopped onions. You will notice all the vegetables are cut pretty small. You don't have to do this at all. My little ones will only eat them if they are cut up small.

Brown the onions well before adding the beef. Brown the beef well, but it does NOT have to be fully cooked. It is actually better if it rare!

Once you have the beef cooked add enough water to cover the beef. Stir in the carrots and celery.

And not for the GREAT part. Bring it to a boil, turn it down, and walk away!! Let it go until the vegetables are tender and/or you are ready to eat! I usually serve this with rice, but potatoes would be great as well. Or if you want throw the potatoes in the pot!! Enjoy!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gluten Free on the Cheap!!

Charlotte has officially been gluten free for two years! It doesn't seem like it has been that long. Many times, I feel like we just began this journey! A gluten free diet has been WONDERFUL for our baby girl!! She is a totally different person. When she does get gluten, watch out world!! She is a bear! She is a three year old force to be reckoned with!! Needless to say, we try to insure she NEVER gets it!!

Gluten free can be expensive!! In the summer, it isn't bad at all! We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. In fact our house looks like the corner market in the summer. The fall and winter in a totally different story!! And Charlotte is beginning to notice that her food is different! 

We attend a Classical Conversations meeting every Tuesday and we eat lunch together as a group. No big deal normally, but it obvious that her food looks different. So we make a lot of homemade "lunchables"!  But, Charlotte's crackers cost $5.32 a box! There are 3 (or so) lunch portions in a box. And she LOVES these crackers. She would eat them for any meal! We make her stick to snacks and occasionally for lunch. We also pack her snack for every outing, including church and play dates!

We have been spending $6.50 on bread, $8.32 on pretzels, $5.32 on regular crackers, $5.32 on garlic bagel chips, and about $5.00 on cookies per WEEK (some weeks we don't buy the pretzels)!! ON ONE CHILD! Needless to say, I am always looking for a cheaper price! Occasionally, you can find them on sale, but a sale is rare! 

So a few weeks ago, I found this website. I know I am behind on the times, but I really don't order a lot of things online. Maybe it is the fear that the delivery man will be eaten by the dog! She has never eaten anyone, but I am pretty sure she has caused the occasional change of undergarments! 

Whatever the reason, I overcame my fear last Friday. I placed an order with Vitacost! I received my order today! That is right, the order was placed on Friday and received on Monday!! 

**Vitacost is a company that carries pretty much anything health food (not just gluten free stuff)!**

Check out the comparison!! 

Grocery Store
Bagel Chips
Bagel Chips
I ordered multiple boxes of everything and 4 new things to try. It ended up costing $65.22! That is nearly $70 in savings! I also received an emailed coupon for 10% off my next purchase. I am pretty sure we have enough GF food to last Charlotte about 2 months!! The only "necessity" I will need to buy is bread. I am one happy mommy!! 

Now I have been planning on writing this post as long as I was satisfied with the company, but when I picked up my invoice it had a beautiful little treasure on the top of it! They have a refer a friend program!! That is right, by me referring you I get $10 AND you get $10!! How awesome is that?!? Just use the link attached and we will both receive our little gift. I hope you guys are as satisfied as we have been. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

15 minute pick up

I have been a fan of for a few years. Her thing is called a 15 minute sweep and it is basically the same thing as what I describe. Now if you need some serious help organizing/cleaning, check her out. She seriously helped me after the miscarriage. I found lots of things that I could do to fill my time and keep my hands busy. I have kept up with most of it because it is simply that easy.

Now, I do NOT claim to have a house that is picture perfect!! Did you hear that?? If you were to come over, you will see cups on the counter, toys on the floor, and other random items laying around. This does make my type A personality a little crazy. We have a "every item has a place" kind of house. Well, I like to think we do. The girls are quickly driving me nuts with all their baby stuff that ends up all over the house. You know how it goes, as soon as you finish cleaning one room, they destroy it while you are cleaning the next room.

But today I decided to get the little ones involved! I am not sure why it has taken me this long to get them on board. But the crazy nesting stage has begun and the constant picking up after them is driving me nuts. Plus bending down these days is, well, interesting!

We have cleaned out just about everything that we can clean out, and they are still having a hard time keeping it picked up! So today I actually used my brain and decided not to nag or threaten, we played a game.

I called the game "The 15 minute Pick Up".

Right after lunch, we started. I still needed to get the dishwasher going, so I knew where my 15 minutes were going to be spent. The object was to see exactly how clean we could get the house in 15 minutes. I am very impressed with how they worked. After about 10 minutes they said they were done and I did a quick glance into the rooms. There were a few things that still needed to find their homes, but they were pretty much done!! By the end of the 15 minutes all the clutter had been put away!

I could breathe! AHHHH!!

We all sat down for a story and then it was rest time. And today instead of cleaning while they rested, we ALL rested!! And I am a happy mommy!

Do any of you have some kind of system like this?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Field Trip

We all have weaknesses! One of my homeschooling weaknesses is taking field trips. Between trips to the grocery store and extra children around the house I just don't have the time (nor the energy) to plan a field trip!

BUT!! Being apart of Classical Conversations has remedied that situation!! Every week we get together to learn all sorts of amazing facts about the world we live in. I truly believe, I have learned more in these 10 weeks than any of the kids I tutor (or my own). It is an absolutely fascinating program!! We, also, are able to draw from each other's strengths. Jennifer Grimsley is super-mom field trip planner and has actually planned a few field trips for us this fall! YEH!! 

This mommy doesn't have to think about those days and they COUNT!! 

The first trip was to Lynches River County Park. They offer such an impressive program!! The younger students learned about the needs of plants and came home with a planted seed. When they start sprouting, I plan to have the girls measure them every few days and chart their growth. The older students talked about trees. They went home with a ring of a tree! 

The park also offers animals to observe and a beautiful nature walk. Charlotte and I left early because I was totally wiped, but Ansley stayed and came home totally excited about her trip. She was ready for Daddy to come home to teach him what she had learned. 

If you need a FREE field trip, this is the place to go!! Here is a sample of our trip!!

With love,