Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Air 1 Positive Hits Tour

We are huge music lovers in this house. Before we married, I would listen to all kinds of music, but Aaron really introduced me to Christian music. We haven't listened to mainstream music since before we were married. So, the only music that Tae and Hensley hear are on Christian radio stations.

Tae has been begging to go to a concert for quite some time. She REALLY wants to see Skillet (her favorite band), but they were on tour with some not so Christian bands, so we decided that wouldn't work for us. They had been advertising the Positive Hits Tour on the radio and we decided that this would be a great first concert for Tae.

My parent's kept Hensley and we took Tae out to dinner at Panera and then on to the concert.

 The first band was OBB. I think Tae was a little surprised at how loud it was. We brought ear plugs, but she never asked for them. 

 Moriah Peters was great. I really loved how each singer gave their testimony and shared their story. This was a special aspect to this concert that made it special.

 Rapture Ruckus was LOUD and I imagine kind of like being at a rave, haha!

 Royal Taylor was probably Aaron and I's favorite.
 She was excited about her light stick we got!
 This was Jonathan Thulin. He was really good!
Jamie Grace was the last band. We left a little before it was over. The concert lasted about 3 hours and Tae was super tired! She still really wants to see Skillet in concert, so we are hoping they come back around on a better tour!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meal Plan, grocery list, recipes!

I'm changing things a little since I can't seem to always post these on Sunday's. Also, things come up and we eat out, or we eat leftovers an extra night. Sometimes my weekly menu stretches to a week and a half. I'm not going to list what I have on hand, as this was getting a little confusing. I will just make a list of what I need. Be sure to look through the recipes to add additional things you may need. Also, even though I don't always write out organic, I do, almost always, buy organic.

Please let me know if you want to see anything added or done differently. I would love your feedback!


Tomato Basil Pasta, salad
Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, fruit
BLAT's and sweet potato fries
Mushroom Swiss Quiche, salad
Pork Fried rice, veggies
Salmon cakes, salad
Chicken fajitas, black beans

Farmer's Market finds this week: peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, cheese, eggs, apples, tomatoes

Grocery List

Salad mix (usually spring mix and a spinach)
Assorted fruits
Green onions

Swiss cheese
Canned organic biscuits (I know, I know, but I don't do biscuits well and these are easy, ha!)
Sour cream
Frozen veggies (broccoli, peas and carrots, stir fry mix, etc.)
Organic ranch dressings (need to start making my own....one day!)

Cereal (usually get two boxes)
Organic whole wheat linguine (or similar pasta)
Brown rice
15 oz can diced tomatoes
Whole wheat tortillas
2 cans salmon (wild caught)
Vegetable broth
Organic whole wheat bread

Pork chops (thin)
Chicken breasts
Bacon (I like Applegate Farm brand)
Sweet Italian sausage


This is the tomato basil pasta recipe. I haven't tried this particular one, but some like it. Sounds delicious!

For the sausage gravy, brown sausage in a large skillet. Once browned, add in a pat or two of butter (depending on how much grease is in the pan) and once melted sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour (I use whole wheat). Whisk this around for awhile to cook out the flour. Add in 2 1/2-3 cups of milk and whisk until thickened. Add in salt and pepper to taste and you are good to go,

Everyone knows how to make a BLT! I add avocado to ours to make it yummier. For the baby I just chunk up the ingredients and give her toast cubes since she can't eat a sandwich yet.

Mushroom, swiss quiche: I make a simple pie crust with whole wheat flour, like the one here. I saute an onion, mushroom, and spinach until soft. Put mixture in the pie crust, pour over egg mixture, sprinkle with swiss cheese and bake until done.

The fried rice recipe is on my first menu post. I just brown cubed pork chops instead of the chicken. Yum!

Salmon cakes are a family favorite. Hensley can chow down on these! I'm going to make this version here this time for a little Asian flare.

Chicken fajitas are so easy! I cut chicken into strips and saute in some oil with salt and pepper, a little cumin and a little chili powder. Next slice up an onion and a few bell peppers and saute in the same pan you cooked the chicken in. When soft, add the chicken back into the peppers and onions to warm. We serve with cheese and sour cream in a warmed tortilla with a side of black beans.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Gray't family update!

Well, it's been awhile since I've done a family update. A lot has been going on this summer. We've been busy with work, family, and the kiddos. We've started a new home school curriculum with Tae called Five in a Row. We think she will really love this learning style since it is based off of reading classical literature. Hensley's been growing like a weed and is ever changing. We have a trip down to the lake house next month to do some work on the ceiling and some other minor updates. We are taking down a couch and an entertainment center. Next on the list will be to install flooring. Can't wait until it is all fixed up and we will be able to enjoy it as a family. We also are planning a little vacation during my fall break. We are still trying to figure out the details, but we are excited to take a little trip as a family. I have loads of pictures to share from the past few months, we have had a busy time!

 Who doesn't love a good airplane? 

Oh Taelyn! Such a sassy, sweet, loving child. She loves to pose and be the center of attention. These are just a few of the many exciting sides of this girl!
 She wanted me to take a picture of her with the mannequin. 
Super proud of the stone she made and then painted. She loves arts and crafts!
My mom and dad took us to see the USO's Elmo live show. I thought maybe Tae would feel like she was a little old for it, but I think she still loved it. Hensley had a great time too!
We've had my nephew over several times to watch him and the girls just love having him over to play. They are all worn out by the time he goes home!

I've been adding my meal planning to my blog lately and have also been trying out some new ideas. On the top is BBQ pork in a sweet potato that is one of our new favorites!

We've had a pretty wet summer and these girls love to play in the rain. Anytime it is raining and it isn't too cold I let them have fun. It's so fun to watch them and listen to their giggles.

We went to the state fair and Disney on Ice the other day. This was Hensley's first time at the fair and she had a blast. She loved the petting zoo and had a blast petting all the animals. Tae's favorite was the firefighter training they had. She got to crawl through a smoke filled house to practice. We also got to watch pigs race for oreos and her pig won (hence the pig nose prize). Disney on Ice was great this year. This is our second time to go and Tae just loved it. Hensley had her moments of interest, but I think is still a little too young to really enjoy it.

All in all, we've had a great summer. We are definitely ready for the cooler temps, vacations, pumpkin patches, and holiday's. We also can't forget that Tae's 6th birthday is just about a month and a half away!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hensley at 15 months!

Oh this sweet silly child! I just can't believe that she is almost a year and a half old. Time is just moving too quickly. She is growing and changing every week it seems. Learning so much and doing new things.

We haven't been to the Dr. in a good while, so I'm not sure on her weight or length. I would guess she is in the mid 20's on weight. She is wearing 24 months to 2T. This past month she has cut 4 molars and that has been tough for us.
This child has no fear whatsoever. She loves to climb on things and get into anything. She has mastered the coffee table and I will catch her standing on it several times a day. She also loves to find anything small and put it in her mouth. We have to watch this girl like a hawk! The other day I caught her trying to put a paperclip into a power strip! I about had a heart attack!
This picture above cracks me up! I've been double stuffing her diapers to get more absorbency and it makes her booty so big and makes her waddle even bigger, haha!
Some of her favorite things to do is to watch music videos on YouTube. Some of her favorites are Skillet, Nine Lashes, Finding Iris, and the song Happy by Pharrell Williams. She also loves to eat! Man, this girl can eat. She easily out-eats Taelyn on a daily basis. Her favorite things are cheese and fruit, but she will honestly eat anything. I have still not found anything that she doesn't like, it's amazing!
She also loves being outside, playing in the rain, drawing with chalk, looking for airplanes or birds, reading books, and of course, playing with sishy (aka sissy).
I love this picture of her sitting at Tae's desk. She's playing the "woof woof" game on the kindle. She has learned quite a few signs and the ones she does most often are "more, eat, all done, please, and thank you". She can also say these words, but signing them gives them more emphasis! She is talking up a storm and can pretty much say anything you ask her to say.
Her sleep schedule is pretty regular. She wakes up between 9-9:30 in the morning, takes a nap from 1-3 in the afternoon and then is asleep for good most nights about 9 pm. She is still bed sharing with us, but we are about to get some new (bigger) bedroom furniture, so I think we will be putting up a toddler bed in Tae's room and trying that out. We also night weaned her about a month ago using Dr. Jay Gordon's night weaning method so she no longer nurses at night anymore either! I think she will like being in the same room as her "sishy".
She still likes to be worn. This one above was on a day I had so much to do and she was suffering from teething and a cold. I wrapped her up and let her watch music videos on my phone, haha! I got a lot of laundry done and the kitchen cleaned this way. I also wear her while we are out shopping, either in the Tula or the ring sling. Sometimes she gets a little frustrated and says "off, off!", but most of the time she loves it.
Look at these sweet sisters! I love the bond that has been forming over the past year and a half. The first thing Hensley asks for when she wakes up is her "sishy". She's constantly bringing her her drink and toys and they love to play together. There is some sibling rivalry of course, but for the most part it is sweet love.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meal plan and grocery list with recipes!

I'm a little late posting this, but you can just adjust the days as needed. We had quite the busy weekend. I hope last weeks menu was easy and helpful for you. I've come up with another 7 day menu along with a grocery list and some recipes. Feel free to adjust your grocery list to add what you may need in addition to what I've listed.

Menu and grocery list 9/14/14


Sunday- Lasagna baked spaghetti squash, salad
Monday- Grilled cheese and tomato soup, salad
Tuesday- Stuffed peppers, veggies
Wednesday- Refried black beans, salad
Thursday- Honey garlic chicken lettuce wraps, veggies
Friday- Baked cod, sweet potato fries, salad
Saturday- Supreme pizza, veggies

*On hand I already have these ingredients: rice, potatoes, yeast, whole wheat flour, olive oil, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, soy sauce, pizza sauce, cereal, cheddar, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly, popcorn, oatmeal, eggs, milk, sour cream, popcorn (and other snack items), butter, some fruit, spinach (for salads), dressing, and some other veggies.

*Farmer’s Market purchases for this week were potatoes, onions, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and cheese.

Grocery List

Organic spaghetti sauce
Organic tomato soup
Black beans (dry)
Green chilis (1 can)
Organic whole wheat bread
Organic white corn tortilla chips
Organic tomato sauce (1 can)

Ricotta cheese
Organic frozen vegetables (few bags)

Garlic bulb
Organic romaine lettuce leaves
Fruit (strawberries, raspberries, grapes, etc.)

Green onions

Sweet Italian sausage (1 lb)
Ground beef (1 lb)
Chicken breast (1 lb)


The lasagna baked spaghetti squash is a recipe I saw on Pinterest. You can find it here. I'm changing the recipe slightly to add in italian sausage and ricotta cheese into the layers.

 Stuffed peppers are an old family favorite. I half and core bell peppers. Combine ground beef with partially cooked rice, half can of tomato sauce, and spices and stuff into peppers. Top with remainder of the tomato sauce and cover with foil. Cook on 400 for 30 minutes with the foil and finish for 20-30 minutes uncovered until cooked through.

Refried black beans are easy and done in the crock pot. I use this recipe here, but instead of the peppers, I sub a can of green chilis. We eat the beans with some cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and tortilla chips.

Honey Garlic Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Cut chicken up into thins strips or dice it. Heat up olive oil in a wok or large pan. Add chicken and some s&p. Stir fry for a minute to sear the pieces, add in about 1 inch of grated ginger, 3 garlic cloves (chopped) and cook for 2 more minutes. Add in chopped green onions (about 6) and stir fry for 1 minute. Mix together 3T of honey and 1/4 cup of soy sauce to make a sauce and glaze chicken. Serve in romaine leaves.

I do the cod the same way I make the tilapia and the pizza recipe was on the last post. I just do pizza sauce, sauteed bell peppers, onions, and sweet italian sausage for the supreme toppings.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan with Shopping List and Recipes!

Recently I was part of a discussion in a Crunchy group on Facebook concerning eating whole foods on a budget. We try really hard to stay on a budget of $120 a week to feed our family of four. This includes buying almost all organic items. I shared my weekly menu and grocery list with some of the ladies and it was discussed that I should put this on my blog weekly so it is easily accessible. I figured it wouldn't be much extra work for me since I already type it up for myself.

So, here is my weekly menu with grocery list. I added in some info about breakfast, lunch, snacks, items bought at the Farmer's Market, and a list of things I currently have on hand. I've also added some of the recipes if you're interested. *I shop at Sprout's*


Breakfasts usually consist of a mixture of the following: eggs, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, waffles, breakfast cookies (banana, oats, chocolate chips), fruit, yogurt.

Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before and then once a week the kids get macaroni and cheese (Sprout’s organic brand), peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese.

Snacks we keep on hand are fruit, cheese, Annie’s bunny crackers, organic fruit strips (Target), popcorn (stovetop), and raw veggies.

Sunday- Spaghetti, salad
Monday- Black bean and corn enchiladas, veggies
Tuesday- BBQ pork on sweet potatoes, salad
Wednesday- Mushroom, spinach, alfredo pizza on a whole wheat crust, veggies
Thursday- Chicken fried rice, salad
Friday- Tilapia, roasted potatoes, veggies
Saturday- Chili, salad, homemade corn bread

*The only meals above that usually don’t have leftovers are the pork sweet potatoes and the Tilapia. Everything else makes more than enough for the next days’ lunch.

*On hand I already have these ingredients: pasta, rice, corn, potatoes, yeast, whole wheat flour, olive oil, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, BBQ sauce, chili powder, soy sauce, cheddar, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly, popcorn, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, milk, popcorn (and other snack items), butter, some fruit, and some other veggies.

*Farmer’s Market purchases for this week were potatoes, onions, bell peppers, okra, cheese, eggs, peanuts (for peanut butter), and apples. ($20)

Grocery List (since I already have a lot on hand this list should cost around $65+tax)
Organic spaghetti sauce (usually Muir Glen is cheapest)
Organic can black beans (Sprout’s brand)
2-cans organic kidney beans (Sprout’s brand)
1 pkg whole wheat tortillas (Sprout’s brand)
Simply Organic enchilada sauce mix
3- 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
1 loaf Organic whole wheat bread (Alpine Valley is usually cheapest)
1 box of organic cereal

Organic salad mix (big plastic container) -if you get spinach it can be used for the pizza too!
Organic Ranch dressing (refrigerator kind)
Organic baby portabella mushrooms
2-3 large organic sweet potatoes
Assorted organic fruit (usually bananas, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries or raspberries)
Mozzarella (block)

Tilapia (1 lb-fish counter at Sprout’s)                                        
Ground beef (1 lb)
Chicken breasts (1/2 lb)                                             
Sweet Italian sausage (meat counter)

Pork chops (boneless, ½ lb)


Enchiladas are easy and I actually wrote the recipe up on my blog, here:
The BBQ pork is super easy as well! I pan sear the pork chops and then put them in a baking dish, cover with BBQ sauce and cook in a 350 oven for 15 minutes until the chops are cooked through. Dice up the meat and serve inside a baked sweet potato with a pat of butter and a little bit of sour cream.
For the pizza, I use this dough recipe:
Alfredo sauce-melt 4T of butter in a saucepan and then sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour, whisk around until flour is cooked out....add in 2 cups of milk and whisk until thickened. Then take off heat and stir in 1 cup of parmesan cheese (give or take).
This makes a lot of sauce, but we use it for dipping too
I then saute some garlic in olive oil, add in the chopped mushrooms. Cook until soft and then add in a couple handfulls of spinach and cook just until wilted. Put this over the alfredo sauce and top with mozzarella. Bake pizza in oven until done!
For the chili-Saute a diced onion in some olive oil until soft. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Add in both cans of kidney beans, two cans of tomato sauce, 2-3T chili powder, and a bay leaf or two. Simmer on low for 20 minutes or so.
Spaghetti- really doesn’t need a recipe! Sausage, pasta, sauce….easy!
Chicken Fried Rice- cook brown rice and set aside. Dice up chicken and sprinkle with soy sauce and ginger powder. Saute in some olive oil until cooked through. Toss in half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and cook until thawed. Pour in rice and add soy sauce until the taste is right (2 T or so). Once everything is cooked together, move it all to one side of the pan and add some olive oil to the empty side of the pan. Beat 2-3 eggs in a bowl and pour into pan. Mix around until cooked through and then combine with the rice mixture.
Tilapia- I make little “boats” with tin foil to contain the fish. Slice a lemon and lay out on the foil. Place the fish on top of the lemons, sprinkle with salt and some herb seasoning (I use Frontier brand) and a few pats of butter. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.