Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Exciting Day!

Today was a very exciting day because it was our very first Sonlight BOX day!!! Our big white box arrived just after lunch and it was greeted with equal excitement from the kids and I! My pre-schooler squealed with every book I lifted out of the box screaming that he "loves that book!" I can't wait to dig in to these books, but in due time... I am hoping that we can begin on Monday. It just depends if I can make my other homeschooling plans in time.

I just love each and every book that I have taken out of the box, and I love that so many of them are Usborne books (my favorite books!) A few of them are classics like Peter Rabbit and Mother Goose...then there's Dr. Seuss, the Berenstein can take a little peek below. I have literally looked through my stack of books 4 times already!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pantry and Refrigerator/Freezer Staples

I have a confession to make: I HATE grocery shopping. I have tried doing it solo and buying myself a treat of a coffee before I do it, but that honestly didn't make it much better (and many times I'd spill the coffee!) I realize it is a part of adult life though, but I really would rather hand off the duty to my husband, or go as a family (which is not a great idea at all these days!!). Thankfully, my husband loves grocery shopping! It is one of his ways of having down time, and he actually tells me some evenings "i'm going to Mariano's (our grocery store of choice)" without me even asking him to go buy food. The one problem I have with him doing the shopping though, is that many times when he is prepared to go to the store, I am not ready with my list. This leads to him walking around rather aimlessly and buying things that seem good (basic cuts of meat, for example), and me remembering what I need only once he has left the store and is on his way home.

I am trying to find a solution to this problem to make meal prep a little bit smoother in our home and cut back on emergency trips to the store for missing ingredients or staples. One thing I decided to finally do is make a list of pantry and refrigerator staples: things we use daily that do not really get included into recipes, therefore things that I am constantly forgetting to put on the list.

I am sharing my list here. I got the idea from a book I'm reading called Family Feasts for $75 a Week but of course, this idea of having a "staples list" is not a new one. I went off of the author's list, taking out things I don't use, and adding in other staples, and here is what I came up with so far. I am sure I missed something (or a few things) which I can add later on.

My plan is now when my husband is ready to go to the store, or I am planning my meals and making I can skim my basics list and see what I may be in need of.

Pantry Staples

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate chips (regular and mini)
  • Coffee (k-cups, Serbian, and regular ground coffee)
  • Caffeinated Tea
  • Decaffeinated Tea
  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Coffee creamer
  • Bread Flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Wheat flour
  • Sugar: Regular, Brown, Confectioner’s
  • Minced Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola/Vegetable Oil
  • Onions (red and yellow)
  • Pasta: Egg noodles, lasagna noodles, and regular (any shape)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Potatoes (any kind)
  • Quick-Cooking Oats
  • Rice (Brown and/or white)
  • Spices: Garlic powder, paprika, dried parsley
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestire Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Vinegar
  • Pasta Sauce (non-dairy so it can be used for lent as well)
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Clams
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Yeast
  • Cereal: Multi-Grain Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Special K
Refrigerator/Freezer Staples

  • Apples (organic)
  • Butter
  • Margarine (spreadable and stick form)
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cheeses in shredded form: Cheddar, Mozzarella
  • Parmesan Cheese (in any form)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Lettuce
  • Organic Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Caeasar Salad Dressing (natural)
  • Salsa (Whole Foods 360 Corn and Bean Salsa)
  • Fruit Juice Ice Pops

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Some News

I have been quiet lately for a big reason... I have been hiding a big secret, and that is....

Come February 2016 (if God wills it to be so...), we will be welcoming a new member to our family... a new sweet baby, #4!!! We are so very excited about this coming addition to the family! Unfortunately, the kids do not understand the concept of not picking baby's gender very well. They have their hearts set on a boy, because it's only fair to have another boy now that we already have 2 girls (to them). I keep reminding them that God is already giving us a huge blessing in a new baby, and that we have to be thankful for what we get, whether it is a boy or a girl. Poor Lazar really does want a roommate, though (and I don't blame him!) Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will be finding out the baby's gender. I had 2 surprise genders out of 3, and I think that's enough for now. :-) I cannot wait to have a sweet little newborn in the house again!

In other news, we have made some very big decisions regarding school for our children. After many months of discussion since moving to our new home, we have come to the decision that we would love to attempt sending our children to a Greek Orthodox school "around here." I said "around here" because the school is actually 40 minutes away (much to our dismay). However, given that we have not found a school that we like better than this one, (and given the fact that it would be amazing to have them in an all-Orthodox school environment), we decided to sign the kids up for 2 days of pre-school this fall and see how things go. If it is not going well in terms of the drive to and from school, we will know not to continue.

At the same time though, I have kind of had my heart set on homeschooling my babies for at least the early years. I have such a love for educating since completing my education degree while pregnant with my second child, and therefore, I have not been able to get away from the idea of homeschooling. After many conversations with my hubby about it, and a lot of prayer, we have decided that on the days  that the kids are not in preschool, I will be attempting to homeschool them. I have bought Sonlight's pre-kindergarten curriculum (which is a Charlotte-Mason, literature-based curriculum). I'm excited to do a lot of reading with the kids! This should be really special for them, because I have never read to them in English - always in Russian. So now we get to start something new together! I'm very excited. I am hoping that within a few months of preschool and Sonlight, we get to see what our preference is. We will need to make a big decision about what we will do for Kindergarten before next fall.