The Days are Long, but the Years are Short

Life at The Castle



May’s menu

I typically plan our menu out a month at a time.  That seems like a lot, I know, but it really helps me to stay on track with cooking instead of eating out.  Normally I make a plan at the beginning of the month for as many dinners as we’ll need (every night except ones that are already filled with social events like weddings where we’ll be fed).  Having a meal planned for every night allows us to eat out when circumstances demand it because we haven’t planned an eat-out night and busted our “entertainment” budget.  So I make a master recipe list for the month and a master grocery list for the month (oh, it is SO bad if I lose this).  Then I am free to buy the meats that are on sale from my list and plan each week off of my list based on the meat that was purchased.  Does that make sense?  I spend no more than $2/lb on meat and $1/lb on fruits and veggies unless it is a culinary emergency.  Daniel and Jack crying for overpriced apples does not count!  🙂  A few friends have asked about the recipe list so I thought I’d share May.  I repeat a few favorites but not much because Brian likes a little variety; I could eat the same 7 meals every week and not care.

  1. cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries (my favorite!)
  2. cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries
  3. hotdogs and homemade chips (the guys always eat this when I go to our church ladies’ meeting because I don’t care for hotdogs)
  4. spaghetti (Daniel’s favorite!)
  5. spaghetti
  6. Italian chicken (crock-pot) (repeated because it’s very yummy and so, so easy for a Sunday lunch!)
  7. Italian chicken (crock-pot)
  8. Ranch chicken (grill)
  9. Chicken enchiladas
  10. Taco salad
  11. Burritos
  12. Grilled chicken Caesar salad
  13. spicy chicken and rice
  14. homemade pizza (Jack’s favorite!)
  15. homemade pizza
  16. Dave Ramsey soup
  17. Pepper-Lime chicken
  18. chicken jambalaya
  19. rubbed pork chops (grill)
  20. BBQ pork loin (crock-pot) (Brian’s favorite!)
  21. BBQ pork loin (crock-pot)
  22. Crock-pot fajitas (new–we’ll see!)
  23. homemade chicken nuggets (new–we’ll see!)
  24. Cheesy chicken and rice bake
  25. honey sesame chicken – crock-pot (new–we’ll see!)
  26. Baked ziti
  27. BBQ pork chops (grill)
  28. BBQ chicken (grill)
  29. leftovers (boring but necessary)

It’s getting late, and I’m exhausted so I going to go to bed.  BUT I’ll come back later and add more links to recipes.  I might even give you a few other posts on recipes that we eat regularly but that are in cookbooks or in my brain 🙂


A secret for Melissa :)

My friend Melissa has been asking me for my “secrets” to maintaining our grocery budget.  Truth be told, I have no secrets, but I do know a good idea when I read one, and here is one that I’d like to share!  I’ve been experimenting with this for three months now (today is the third month) and I can honestly say that the results have been delicious thus far!  SO!  I highly recommend the concept of Dave Ramsey Soup (can I tell you how much I love that name?!?!) as a way to stretch the last few pennies out of that grocery budget.  We have been having it on the last day of the month so that I have plenty of time to collect leftovers.  Don’t worry: it’ll make sense after you read the link!

A fun but challenging project

I saw this great idea on pinterest– a photobook with 365 pictures, one from each day of the year.  I love this idea because I think that the collective pictures would really capture the life of that family, not just special occasions.  As much as I want to do this, it’s not going to be easy for me to remember to do it each day.  That’s where you come in.  My hope (and plan) is to post the previous weeks’ pictures each Sunday night.  I hope that doing so will keep it in the forefront of my mind.  So be on the lookout on Sunday evening.

*Note: I probably won’t do it until after church so don’t expect it until 10 or so 🙂

Birthday Time

I’m up to my elbows in cake batter getting ready for Jack’s birthday party tomorrow, but I thought about sharing this idea and decided to do it right away instead of waiting (and then forgetting).  Since Jack’s birthday party is so close to Christmas, I try to have cupcakes in lieu of cake so that I can tuck 4 cupcakes away in the freezer.  Then on Christmas Eve, I thaw them out, ice them, and serve them in the morning at “Jesus’ birthday party.”  Um…yes, I just admitted that one day a year, my children eat a cupcake for breakfast but if the Savior of the world isn’t a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is!!

We each light a candle in our cupcake, light that last Advent candle, sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, blow our candles out and smile as we gobble up our breakfast 🙂

*Special note: no one has difficulty being truly thankful for breakfast on Christmas morning!!


This morning the boys and I rocked out to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack!  It was a pajama-wearing, “guitar” playing good time!  We’ve been especially busy this week so it was wonderful to spend the morning at home and just have fun together.  You can click on any photo if you want to enlarge them.

Exercising Gratitude

Our family has been exercising our gratitude muscles a lot over this past month so when I saw this mess on the floor after only two meals since I’d scrubbed it on my hands and knees, I stopped to think of how I could be grateful.  It didn’t take long, which is evidence that this muscle is growing stronger!  I swept that mess up while thanking God that we have so much food that the stuff that hits the floor instantly becomes trash.  Well, to everyone except Jack.

Happy Thanksgiving/A Keeper of Traditions

It’s Thanksgiving Day.  I hope that you have a super blessed day remembering all of the reasons that you have to be thankful.  For believers this day has so many layers of meaning, and I pray that you’ll fold back more than a few layers today and truly explore the depths of gratitude that you have in Christ.

In keeping with our family tradition, I have been putting up our nativities today while Jack naps and Mr. Thompson and Daniel hang out at Grandma’s house.  I never gave much thought to the practical side of family traditions until I became a mom.  My family has loads of little traditions that make holidays special–decorating the tree together as a family, my dad’s famous homemade turtles, oh, the list goes on and on!–but they always just seemed to happen.  Little Kay didn’t think about the preparation that these traditions required.  Now I am the one who has to think in advance to ensure that everything runs smoothly (or as smoothly as possible) for our family’s traditions.  It is such an honor to oversee these traditions that I pray will, by repetition and instruction, point my boys to the truth of the gospel.

Here are a few pictures of my progress today.

My table before I got started.  Don’t judge me harshly, please; this is real life.

Our table afterwards.

These wreathes are random and have nothing to do with the nativity tradition.  I just also got them made today for free using things that I already had laying around the house and clippings from my yard!

Oh no! Not again!!

After the time change last fall, both of my boys started waking up at 6:30 (an hour early), and I had really forgotten all about it as we adjusted our schedule to their new wake time.  But over the course of the year (and the new time change), they gradually returned to their original schedule.  Then…guess what?  The time changed again.  Uh.  Too early.  Too early!

Mr. Thompson has graciously agreed to let me purchase window treatments for the kitchen (where the majority of the light is coming into the house) even though it was not budgeted in for this month.  So I went online shopping because it’s the only way I have any time to comparison shop.  I knew what I wanted, but I also knew that $150 was not what my husband meant when he said that I could purchase window treatments.  There are three windows in our kitchen, and of course I wanted fabric and functionality….meaning Roman shades.

Now, let me be honest.  I don’t like our kitchen.  Mr. Thompson is in love with its orangish-brown stained wood panel walls and cabinets, but I think that it looks like a cave.  I’m always inspired by renters who boldly paint walls and make changes knowing that they can change it back, but once you paint wood, you can’t take it back to being stained so that’s not really an option for me.  I must add as much pretty as I can to an ugly space in the hopes that it will be decent when I’m done.  ALL of that to say I really wanted to purchase something that I loved, not just something that would do.  And the Lord was SO good 🙂  Yesterday, I found 3 WHITE (oh, how that room needs some white!) Roman shades – with blackout lining nonetheless – for a total of $55!!!  I can’t wait for them to arrive and put them up  and show you some before and after photos!  I think that I may even add a little trim to them. We’ll see.

October 2011

The month always seems to fly by and when it’s gone, there’s so much that I missed sharing on the blog.  That makes me sad because the blog really serves as a family journal of sorts, and I want for all of you to be able to see/hear about the normal, everyday things that the boys do.  So I’m taking a page out of Sarah’s book and doing a month in review.  Kind-of a catchall post!  With captions 🙂

Daniel and Jack had their faces painted for the first time.  This was completely unplanned; there was just free face painting at Chick-Fil-A that day!  Daniel asked for a yellow spider, and Jack asked for a blue dog 🙂

The boys LOVE to take baths together, and Daniel (as you can see) is getting braver about the water.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoons, Daniel waits as patiently as he can for Jacob and Luke to arrive on the school bus.  He has waited at the window for up to TWO STRAIGHT HOURS!

Jack has a new-found love for this monkey.  I love it because it reminds me of my Granddaddy, who used to wear a toy monkey randomly while playing with us.

We’ve been having a campfire about once a week at the request of little Daniel!  Sometimes we have sparklers courtesy of our sweet neighbors but we almost always have “marmellows” or s’mores.

Daniel got his own library card!!  He was so excited!  Here he is reading the first book he checked out while drinking his nighttime milk.

Carving a smiley pumpkin with Daddy was great fun!  Daniel said, “That’s a silly pumpkin!”

Just because they’re so stinkin’ cute!

Our planned trip to the pumpkin patch with the Robbins family was rained out so on Monday we went to the WEBC pumpkin patch.  Most everything was gone since it was the last day but the boys loved the corn box that Pepa built!

Mommy’s knights in shining armor!


Well, that’s about it!  It was a long post but now I feel better!

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