Monthly Archives: January 2013

Frugal dinner….

Steak, mashed potatoes, salad….
It sure doesn’t sound like what you think of when you think of a normal frugal dinner that someone would recommend. What made this dinner frugal?

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My son was able to go hunting this year and we were able to get a small doe. Our expenses were limited to the cost of butchering and packaging, which was under $30 for the whole deer. These steaks are wonderful! I made them into little cubed steaks seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper.

The mashed potatoes were rich and buttery, but made with potatoes we got from our local potato farm, which we normally end up paying for, but this year, we ended up getting them for free.

The gravy was pennies to make!

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Our Salad cost about $1.50 to make which is on the expensive side for a salad….It was .98 for a bag of washed romaine, one red pepper which was .30 in a bag of ripe produce sprinkled with a light sprinkle of cheese, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and some croutons.

It was a very tasty dinner!

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Menu for the week

I ended up not having time to really do grocery shopping last week, so we made do, but our menu was a little different than I planned. I was craving vegetables when I went to the store today! The cucumbers looked pathetic though….but we got some things.

Wednesday:
Spicy Asian style peanut noodle dish- basically cooked noodles, meat, peppers, peanuts, cilantro, and some spicy peppers and spices. It was good!

Thursday:
Winter Baked Ziti, salad
Cottage cheese Fluff….

Friday:
Potatoes, Cube deer steak, salad, Sea Weed salad.

Saturday:

French Dip, salad, leftover cottage cheese salad

Sunday:

Leftovers, Chocolate Oatmeal Bars, Piroshki (filled with mashed potato and onion)

Monday:
Tortilla Soup, cornbread

Tuesday:
Spanish rice with meat in it, salad

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Lovelier than Daylight by Rossilyn Elliott

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Book Description:

Susanna is a lady of principles who values family above all. Johann seems to represent all she despises . . . but appearances can be deceiving.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby is headed off to college in Westerville, Ohio, when she discovers her sister Rachel and Rachel’s children have disappeared. Susanna suspects that Rachel’s alcoholic husband knows more than he’s saying and she vows to uncover the truth.

Johann Giere is heir to a successful German-American brewery in Columbus, but longs for a career in journalism in New York City. When Johann signs on as the supplier for a new saloon in Westerville, his and Susanna’s paths cross and sparks fly. A fiery temperance crusader, Susanna despises Johann’s profession, but she cannot deny the attraction.

When Susanna learns that Rachel’s children have been indentured to orphanages in the city, she despairs that her family will be fractured forever. But Johann makes Susanna an offer she can’t refuse—pitting her passion and her principles against one another.

If she can find a way for her head and her heart to be in harmony, a future lovelier than daylight awaits her.

Lovelier than Daylight is a story of love and faith based on the Westerville Whiskey War of 1875, a dramatic real historical event featured in the 2011 documentary Prohibition by Ken Burns.

My Review:

When Susanna Hanby comes to her sister’s house and finds no one there. The story her sister’s husband tells her, she jut cannot wrap her head around. Why would her sister abandon her family…her children in an orphanage, her home and why did her rotten husband say that she was unfaithful. I felt when I read this part of the book, I just could feel Susanna’s helplessness. She wanted to find her sister, she blamed her sister’s drunken husband, she blames the bar owner, the brewer’s and throughout the book this emotion is betrayed on every page.
When she meets Johann, he throws a kink in her ideals of what a brewer was. Here is someone that sets out to show her that they are not promoting drunkenness, and to attempt to make her fall in love with him. He is a noble man, and shows love and respect for his father, even when it means giving up his dreams.

This story is not so much a romantic one, as it is a historical one. It is a story of what love and respect is and what it isn’t. It will tell you how sometimes people let you down, even the best, when in impossible situations and what forgiveness can be. You will read history that you did not know happened, or at least I did not read about it before and you will be sucked into this book, which like her others, is excellently written and crafted.

I highly recommend it!

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Menu for the week

Wednesday:
Bean and cheese grilled burritos

Thursday:
Baked chicken, baked potatoes, salad, peach crisp
Granola bars or some other snack

Friday:
Crock pot cauliflower soup, artesian bread

Saturday:
Chicken tetrazzini, salad, Coconut dream bars

Sunday:
Leftovers, bars, popcorn

Monday:
Scalloped potatoes with turkey ham, salad

Tuesday:
Book Club for me….potato hash for boys.

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Week # 19

I am sorry this has taken me half the week to get this up! Week #19 was a doozy of a week!

Monday night, my husband thought he was getting sick. On Tuesday morning, he was in so much pain, he couldn’t see straight and had a high fever. We ended up taking our schoolbooks on the road and in between trying to get into see the doctor we got our school done.
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What is George saying?

While we had to wait, one of the nurses set up my youngest son with this way to paint with water, while waiting on test results.
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My husband had a bad kidney infection, which thankfully after an injection of antibiotics, was on the way to recovery.
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My oldest son loves to multi-task while working on his schoolwork. This often means he listens to an audio book, builds with something while working on his school work assignments. It means it also takes him twice as long.

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The boys enjoyed getting some wooden sets to decorate in the mail and were thrilled to do them at the end of school!

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But tomorrow is another day, and one where we have to apply ourselves once again.
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Working on the couch most mornings, is T’s favorite spot, either that or my bed!

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Math….His favorite subject, but still, not what he really wants to be doing.

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L. is very happy as you can see about his assignments.

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During history this week, L. also did some sewing, on his teddy bear’s arm. The surgery was a success for now, until it is ripped off again.

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Some of our history books this week!

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A Medieval book on things to make and do, that we have been getting ideas from!

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After a day of classes, I take my oldest to the doctor to re-check his broken finger (broken in Nov.) to see if it has finally healed completely. He was given a clean bill of health. We are just hoping no more breaks!

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Taking advantage of the down time and getting some reading time in, while waiting.

On Friday, we had play practice after school, and I had the pleasure of bringing dinner to someone. I was planning on having a Medieval style dinner for the inn, so, I planned a dinner of vegetable soup and bread.

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The loaves of bread rising to go into the oven.

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Our dinner by candlelight.

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Some people really enjoyed the fire part of it.
We discussed the culture, tried to talk a bit like they did and it was a lot of fun. I wished I had more time!

Later that evening, I was exhausted and ready to head to bed at 7pm, but a gentleman came and the boys were chosen to take part in a scientific research study. It took about 2.5 hours all together, but they each earned $30. It was funny, as the man said they could bring a certificate to their teacher and get extra credit for class. I laughed and said that I would give them extra credit!

I am enjoying this time period of study and was almost thinking about taking an extra week of time studying it!

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Menu for the week

Wednesday:
Cubed steaks, salad (These were the first of the venison steaks we ate this season. They were pretty good!)

Thursday:
Potato/cauliflower soup, wheat muffins, cucumbers

Friday:
Vegetable soup, oatmeal bread, chocolate chip bars

Saturday:
Twice baked Taco potatoes (I have made these before and froze them! They are really good). Salad

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn, snacks

Monday:
Breakfast for dinner- Deep Dish egg bake, warm tortillas

Tuesday:
Shredded BBQ sandwiches, roasted potatoes, salad.

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Under the Summer Sky by Lori Copeland

My Review:
This story brings us back to tie up some loose ends from the previous stories, which is always nice. I enjoyed this story, although I actually enjoyed the one before it in the series a little more. It is for sure some very light reading, with characters that misunderstand and frustrate each other, which I guess is par for the course for these books normally! It can be some good, light reading for a winter day! – Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books’ Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

After a man named Jones rescues Trinity Franklin from a river, they find their destination is the same: a small town in North Dakota. A seemingly coincidental beginning comes to a delightful and charming ending when orchestrated by the One who can put the pieces of any lost and broken life together.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930205
ISBN-13: 978-0736930208

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Near Piedmont, South Dakota, 1893

“Don’t put me in that barrel!”

“Do you want to die, woman?”

“No! That’s why you can’t put me in the barrel—I can’t swim!” She had gone to the river for a simple bucket of water when this beast had swept in and captured her. She loved the good Lord, but she wasn’t ready to meet Him face-to-face. The sound of rushing water overwhelmed her senses as iron hands gripped her waist. War whoops filled the air as three riders poured over the hillside. She pounded the solid wall of flesh that enveloped her. “Let me go!”

“I’m trying to save your life, lady.”

The stranger heaved her over to the barrel and unceremoniously dumped her inside, stuffing her head between her knees before he slammed the lid down on top.

“I can’t swim!” Her muffled voice echoed in her ears. Was he deaf    ? Mad? What kind of man would put a woman in a barrel and send her over the rapids when she couldn’t swim? She banged on the wooden sides. “Let me out!”

All bedlam broke out, and even through the barrel Trinity could hear grunts, shouts, and the sound of bare fists meeting flesh. Her heart hammered in her chest. She willed herself to be still, but she could feel the barrel shifting underneath her, teetering at the water’s edge. “Don’t let me fall in, don’t let me fall in,” she whispered. A flour mill sat downstream, but if she reached it she would be too late. A few minutes in the turgid waters and she would drown.

Grunts. More fists.

Please, God. Please, God.

She swallowed back the urge to shout. Calling out would mean certain death. Her brother, Rob, had written tales of rebels, both Indian and white, banding together to plunder and commit unspeakable acts, but never in her wildest dreams would she have thought to encounter one of the lowlifes. A gunshot—then another. Trinity’s heart crowded her throat as the fighting grew fiercer. The barrel shifted again.

Don’t let me fall in. Don’t let me fall in.

A deep rumble. A shove. Trinity’s heart sputtered. She was close—too close. She could almost smell the cold, rushing water. She heard the shuffle of men’s boots—though now it sounded as though there were fewer of them. Maybe two? Against overwhelming odds, the stranger appeared to be winning.

Rapids rushed in the distance. Relax. That beast of a man is strong. He still faced formidable odds, but it sounded as if he were besting the enemy. Trinity felt the tension draining away from her. The ruckus would be over soon and he would release her from her wooden prison.

And then she would demand to know who he was and how he’d had the audacity to risk her life!

Locked in a duel, the men’s groans filled the air as they strained against one another. The sheer force in their tones made her cringe. Then—the unthinkable. A boot caught the edge of the barrel and sent it toppling into the churning water.

Trinity screamed as the current caught the barrel and bounced it downstream. Terror-stricken, she watched the water seeping through the cracks in the wood. The rapids were only two hundred yards downstream—she had to be getting close.

She was going to die. Rob had perished far too young, and now she was going to join him. And it was all her fault. She should never have left her nice, safe café job in Sioux City and come to this rugged land. She had refused to accompany Rob a year earlier when he’d pleaded with her to join him and help him settle Wilson’s Falls, the plot of land their family had owned for generations. She should have held to her belief that no good would come of her visiting this remote country for even a short time. No amount of money on earth could keep her safe now—not even the handsome sum the railroad was likely to offer for the family’s parcel of land.

The trip was supposed to be brief. Never once had she thought her journey would end at the Pearly Gates.

W

Jones whirled when he heard the barrel hit the water. The man locked in his grip took advantage of the distraction and landed a blow that took Jones to his knees. He swung wildly, landing a punch that momentarily staggered his opponent.

His eyes swung back to the barrel. Only a few moments before it went over the rapids. The other thug came at him and he managed a hard right and then his signature left, the knock-out blow. His opponent slumped to the ground and Jones took off running down the bank. His boots thrashed through a heavy thicket as his eyes followed the bobbing container. When he reached a wide spot, he dove in and surfaced just within reach of the barrel.

“Hold on! I’m here!” he yelled.

The girl’s reedy voice came back. “I can’t swim! Get me out of here!”

“I’m trying!” He lunged, his hand brushing the barrel in vain. Charging again, he only managed to hurry the barrel along. It flew over the rapids and he heard her screams until the roar of rushing water snatched them away.

Shoot. She was going to be mad as a wet hen.

“Are you still there? I can’t hear you!”

He couldn’t imagine why not. She was yelling loud enough for them to hear her all the way to Canada.

“I’m here! Just hang on!”

“I can’t swim!”

Like he hadn’t heard her the first eight times. Closing his eyes, he dove under the swift current.

W

The thin wood split as the water and rocks smashed the barrel into kindling. Trinity gasped for air, her breath lodged in her throat. The wind and water whipped wildly about her. Where was he?

Anger churned with panic as she bumped along. Objects blurred as she choked, struggling to right herself. She went down, down, down, thumping and bumping over rocks. This was it. This was the end. She’d never done anything worthwhile in her nineteen years. Nothing but wait tables and serve others—but that was good. To her knowledge she’d never caused anyone an ounce of trouble, so she could meet her Maker in good faith.

Now she would draw her last breath—gurgle it, more like—but…she broke the waterline, choking. A strong hand latched onto her hair as she went under again.

Pain blinded her—pain the likes of which she’d never experienced. Her very roots were being ripped out. She struggled to break the fierce hold, and did, momentarily, but then something snared her and yanked her back to the surface.

“Stop fighting me!” a male voice demanded.

She saw him then—the man who’d stuffed her in the barrel. At the moment it didn’t matter what he’d stuffed her in; he was an anchor in the storm. Her efforts ceased. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on tight.

He was a strong swimmer, but she was dead weight. Dragging her through the water, he reached a ledge and paused to catch his breath. Paralyzed with fear, her heart threatened to pound out of her chest, and for the first time in her life she couldn’t find the words she wanted. His arms around her were powerful, and the feel of his prickly dark beard against her cheek brought a blush to her face. She’d never been this close to a man before—except Rob, of course. When she poured coffee at the café she bent close, but never this close. She could smell him, hear his ragged breath in her ear.

“Sorry I scared you,” he said, swiping his face to clear the water out of his eyes. “I didn’t mean for the barrel to go over.”

She nodded, still not able to find her voice. She was in the middle of a rushing rapid, standing in the arms of a stranger, finding her brush with death very difficult to comprehend.

“Hold on.” He hitched her up and swam the remaining distance to shore. Throwing her on the bank like a landed carp, he crawled out and collapsed beside her. For a moment they lay in the warm sun, gasping for breath. In a novel the moment might have been romantic, Trinity thought. Instead it was wet and cold and ghastly.

“Who are you?” she asked, finally finding her breath. Since she could speak she should probably thank him—it was only polite—though at the moment she wanted to throttle him for putting her life in danger in the first place.

“Doesn’t matter. I’m just passing through.”

“What’s your name?” She had the right to know who’d almost killed her, didn’t she?

“Jones.”

“Jones what?”

“Just Jones.” Rolling to his back, he stuck out his hand. “Are you all right?”

Trinity stared at the proffered hand, stultified. “Why did you stick me in that barrel?”

“I saved your life.”

“You could easily have taken it. I don’t…”

“Swim. So you’ve said.” Struggling to his feet, he removed his left boot and dumped out a stream of water. “Sorry I upset you, but those men would have distressed you more.”

Her gaze fixed on the tall stranger. She knew she should feel nothing but gratitude, but he’d scared the wadding out of her. “Well, before you stick a lady in a barrel and send her downstream, you might want to make certain you can save her.”

Jones dumped the water out of his right boot. “Don’t figure there’s any reason for me to apologize for saving your neck.” He glanced up. “What are you doing out here alone, anyway?”

“I was doing my wash.” She pushed to her feet and brushed the wet hair out of her eyes.

“You live around here?”

“Not live. I’m staying here for a while. I’m in the process of selling my land, and once I do I’m going back to Sioux Falls.”

“Nice town.”

“You’ve been there?”

He nodded, shoving his foot, wet sock and all, back into his boot. “Couple of times. Do you want me to walk you back to your place?”

“No, thank you.” She’d had quite enough of him for one day.

Nodding, he set his Stetson on his head and adjusted the band. “You might want to keep a close eye out for the others. The men scattered, but they’ll meet up again.”

Trinity swallowed, trying to retain her composure. She’d get home, and then she wouldn’t rest until she’d sold the land and left this godforsaken place behind her forever. “Thank you. I’ll be careful.”

“You think you can handle these wilds?”

She lifted her chin. “Of course I can handle myself.” Granted, he had caught her in a bad circumstance, but chances were that the men were only passing through and she’d have no more trouble with them.

“Do you have a gun?”

“My brother left one.”

“Do you know how to use it?”

The chin rose higher. “I do—if necessary.”

He paused, a slow grin starting at the corners of his mouth. Dark curly hair, penetrating brown eyes, and skin browned by the long hours in the sun. He was handsome, no denying it, but Trinity had more important things on her mind. “I see you’ve got things well in hand.”

She nodded coolly. He had every right to suspect that she was one of those helpless simpering females, but she was far from vulnerable. She’d been on her own since Rob had left to work this land, and she’d learned to care for herself nicely.

He started off and then turned back. “By the way…”

She pushed another lock of soggy hair out of her eyes. “Yes?”

His gaze drifted down. “You lost your skirt in the water.”

Gasping, she looked down. She was wearing nothing but her bloomers! And he hadn’t said a word until now.

When she looked up, he was gone. Drawing herself up straight, she sniffed. And a good riddance it was.

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Week #18

We hopped back into school for week 18 very slowly. I decided that we needed to keep moving along, but we started with just doing our read aloud books, lots of outdoor time, games, history, some math drills and just all around going at it easily. It was a good way to get back into our schedule.

We did a lot of sledding and hiking as well!
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T. having fun sledding with little friends.

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This hill is a good workout to climb. The boys spent time sledding and my friend and I hiked up and down and around on the hill.

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Breakfast or maybe brunch, with his coat on! His school was done, he just had to finish eating so he could go and play in the snow.
He was even having fun with some easy times tables.

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I had some extra boys this week and they colored with us, while we did our other subjects. It was a little harder to keep everyone on track, but we managed!

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Silly faces!!

We had a late night New Years day party with games, fireworks and food! I knew I was getting old when I dreaded New Years! It used to be my favorite day!

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Some of our food!

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The game players!!

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Everyone was having a really good time!
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This is a really serious game.

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Catching up on grocery shopping. I like to do things in the grocery store to incorporate learning. When I have just my second grader, we find certain products that are in certain size containers or something like that. It helps keep them occupied. We also do math figuring and finding the cheapest price on items as well.

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Yep, you guessed it. This is a basketball game. And you thought we were done with basketball. So did I!! But my oldest has been practicing with the JV team and they won this game!

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He hurt his ankle part way through the game so he was unable to play as much as he wanted, but he had fun!
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Looking serious…..let’s do this!!!

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They were playing the local Christian school here. Later that day we watched several games, and the rest were against a larger town’s nearby high school.

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They move fast!!

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Huddled up….

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More sledding! This little sled can really whiz down the hills! T. is a little bit of a daredevil and can almost give me a heart attack.

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But then…..he may have inherited it from someone close to him!!! I have always love sledding and have to really bundle up to be padded enough anymore, but it is fun!

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H. with his second cousin…..

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This is not the most attractive picture, but who is attractive bundled up in the snow!!

So, that was some of the highlights of our week. I did not take many pictures of us actually doing our school work, but we did do some of it and this next week, we are back at it hard!

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My menu for the week

I have not done this for awhile, but am trying to get back on track when it comes to our meals.

Wednesday:
Cheesy potato sausage soup, bread
Thursday:
Roasted chicken, roasted vegetables- carrots, potatoes etc.
Friday:
Chicken Tetrazzini, salad
Saturday:
Chicken burritos, spanish rice, salad
Sunday:
Leftovers, popcorn
Monday:
Crock pot something….I am not sure yet.
Tuesday:
Fiesta Chicken Salad

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