Monday, February 13, 2012

Family Meals. Student's Budget

Every time I make an inexpensive meal for dinner, I think, "I should post this on my blog. I'm not really doing anything on my blog, anyway. It will give it substance."

Well. I'm finally doing it tonight. I'm going to add some of the meals I have made this past week for our family of four (that eats like a family of seven).

1. Chicken Noodles

2 boxes of Chicken Pasta Roni ($1 each), a cubed chicken breast (we buy the frozen chicken breasts. It's like $7 a bag making 1 chicken breast = $1.17). I cook those together and then heat up a can of corn (My kids LOVE corn. It's about $1 a can, depending on where we buy it)

So that made tonights meal a whopping $4.17 for 6 servings.

2. Food Storage Chili

We thrive off of our food storage. We build it up in the summer when we are making more money, and eat from it all year long.

1 Can Tomato Sauce ($.89), 1 can corn ($1), I can of black beans ($1), 1 can of Kidney Beans ($1), 1lb of Hamburger ($3.49), 1 TBS Chili powder, 1 Onion ($.79).

Brown the meat, mix it all together in a pot, let it lightly simmer for 30 minutes. $8.17 for 6 servings.

3. Sloppy Joes

1 lb Hamburger ($3.49), 1/4 small onion, chopped ($.20) 1 cup Ketchup ($.50), 3 TBS Brown Sugar (hardly enough to count), 1 tsp yellow mustard, 1 tsp garlic salt, 8 hamburger buns ($1.50)

About $5.85 for 8 servings.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pa Kirkham, We Love You


As I am sitting down to write, I know that my heart wants to say something, but my brain isn't sure what to write. I'm sure when I hit that little orange "publish post" button, I won't have said nearly as much as I have wanted.

I guess it started in the late morning yesterday. I was on a commercial shoot and as I looked outside, it felt ominous. The clouds hung over the surrounding mountains of our little valley, and the light that reflected from them brought a peaceful daylight. The juxtaposition of those two created a bazaar feeling within me. February had already been a heart-breaking month within our small group of friends. It seemed as though I had been placed where I was to help carry several of our friends who needed companionship through the trials of their lives.

In all honesty, I was burned out. My kids have reached the fighting milestone, the never-ever-napping-again milestone, the terrible twos, and they have come full circle with sibling rivalry. They listen to everything I say, really, they do. They take it into account, consider their options, and find humor in what will be the most stressful option for me. This sounds complex, but anyone from my family knows: it's how the brains of the young O'Neil's work. I was once just as cruel to my parents. My patience was running thin.

As the day progressed, I began to look forward to the weekend. I knew that my husband and I would have time to spend together this weekend, and we may even be able to travel to Utah to see his maternal grandparents and spend some time with my dad. As I was making dinner, my mother-in-law texted me, informing me that they had taken my grandfather (Ok, Matt's grandfather, but honestly, I love him just the same) into the ER because he had been feeling dizzy. I asked her to keep me updated. Twenty minutes or so later she texted me again, letting me know he had a stroke. She did not let on the the severity of his condition. Moments after I received the news of his stroke, my husband came home, we put dinner on our children's table, and assembled in the kitchen to prepare our dinner when Matt received a phone call.

We drove the children to my parents house so that we could go to the hospital to say our goodbyes. We tried to explain to Mason, our two and a half year old, what had happened. "Pa Kirkham" is Mason's hero. He has his very own tractors, two dogs, and a trampoline in his bedroom: this is just the icing on the cake. Since the day Mason was born, Grandpa has praised his every move. He has never let Mason feel as though love falls short. This little boy acknowledges and appreciates that.

We walked into the hospital not really knowing what to expect. Our sweet friend knew why we were there and immediately let us in and directed us where we needed to go. When we walked into the room, my heart was flooded with gratitude for the man who was no longer in the room with us.

Since the beginning of our relationship, Dale had been pulling for me and Matt. When we made the decision to get married, he was the only person who knew without doubt that it was the best decision for us. He is the only person who has boldly been behind us one hundred precent from the very beginning. He is the only person who openly sincerely loved and supported us with all of his heart when we were facing the greatest trial of our young lives. He helped us come into our home. He was there the day our first child was born, and the day our second child was born. He has celebrated first birthdays with us.

The thing about Grandpa is that he calls it as he sees it. He's a no BS kind of guy. This means that his kind words were always the purest form of genuine. He would say things like, "Well, I don't have a favorite, but if I did, it would be this guy." And he meant it. He said it to all of his great-grandchildren. Brennan has heard it the most of our children in the recent year, but all of his great-grandchildren are his favorite. His words spoken to me of my mothering were always kind. He always regarded my sincere love for my children, and my desire for their growth and accomplishments. He took the time to acknowledge the work that I put into educating them, and teaching them of reality. I will forever remember the great deal of love he had for our family and the kind words he spoke to me as a result.

I will remember the little things about Grandpa that made me laugh. I once had a client in the valley behind his house. He came up to us on his four wheeler, chatted, and then asked if we needed a ride. After declining his offer, he went on his way at a starting speed of something like 20mph. I will remember all of the times that genuinely voiced his opinion, and the several times it may not have been the appropriate moment to do so. I will remember going to the BYU football game with him, and the kind things he said about Matt who at the time was across the stadium. I will remember the Sunday dinners and the holidays. I will remember the extra effort he put into my children. I will remember all of the times he went out of his way to acknowledge me on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Birthdays, etc. Most importantly, I will remember who he is. Matt and I will teach by his example of honesty, respect, and adventure.

Goodbye, Grandpa. I love you. We'll see you soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shauna Sotelo Give Away

We know I'm a photog.
And that I love to support my fellow photogs.

This one happens to be local. Her name is Shauna Sotelo and I can say without doubt that she is currently doing the nicest work in Pocatello. She is clean and precise, yet artistic. She is very professional and is kind in assisting others. I just love her a ton.

Click the link and check her out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tropical Protein Smoothie


So today I was in the mood for a smoothie that would be a little more uplifting. It has been a rough few days and I knew I could use an emotional boost. I wanted to make it creamy, like a milk shake, but healthy. I wanted the protein to enhance my workout. This is what I came up with:

Banana Pina Colada Protein Smoothie
1 Cup Dole Pina Colada Juice
2 sliced bananas
6 Ice cubes
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein
1 TBS of any brand Stevia

Blend about 1 minute or until smoothie is blended together well. I actually blended everything without the protein first, poured two cups for my little boys for a treat, and then put the protein in. It helped my little ones to feel special and it helped me to have only one serving, which is easy to handle. Sometimes I make my shakes so big that it takes 2-3 glasses before I get all of my protein.

I loved this recipe because the banana makes it feel creamy, like ice cream, the stevia makes it sweet like sugar, the pina colada juice adds just a touch of happy, and the combination covers the protein taste pretty well. I could use it as a comfort food without any guilt, because I am headed to the gym with enough nutrients to help me get in a good work out.

You'll have to excuse my crappy iphone photo. I was too lazy to get out my camera.