Monday, June 3, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Just a quick post today. We tried out Green Bean Delivery which delivers organic and local foods to your door. It was cool! I liked the selection we got and I like that we can customize the bin. I replaced a few things to fit our family better (no radishes, but added kiwi, etc.). The food was so fresh and very generous portions. I also like that most of the produce was organic since our baby girl starts solids this week!

So with the produce we have left, here is this week's plan. (I am going to try the bin next week and see how it goes.)

Here is the list:

Monday: Pasta with rolls made from Trader Joe's pizza dough (dipped in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper...a thing in our house right now)

Tuesday: Grilled Taco and Lime Chicken soft tacos.
Wednesday: General Tso's Chicken from Meal Makeover Moms
Thursday: Quesodillas
Friday:  Corny Tuna Cakes, Mac & Cheese, and green beans.
Saturday: Polynesian Shrimp Tacos
Sunday: Pork chops, pasta side, apple sauce, and veggies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

We Need a New Title :)

Now that we are a family of 4 - well 4.5 months into being a family of 4 - I need to come up with a new title. We are no longer just 3 bears. Any good suggestions?

Three Bears and a Baby?
The Bears?

Scrap the Bears and go with something else??? I am at a loss!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Menu Plan

Now that I am back at work, our schedules have finally set into a pattern. Having a baby and a 5 year old is fun, but also demanding and my time is very limited. Our evenings are nice because our time together is shorter so we enjoy it more. I am trying to remember to enjoy it and put aside unnecessary tasks and to just snuggle and play with my babies. I am trying to use my time as wisely as possible by menu planning so our short evenings are not stressful and time wasted by standing at the pantry door saying, "What sounds good to you?" Plus the faster I cook and feed all of us, the less meltdowns occur (myself included!).

Why a month at a time?

1. It takes just a little more time to plan a whole month rather than a week since my brain is already in planning mode.
2. I don't forget it each week.
3. I do one big trip to stock the pantry = less trips to the store.
4. I don't repeat too many meals in one month. 
5. When I have the main ingredients on hand at the beginning of the month, its easy to switch a harder meal with an easier at the last minute.
6. I don't have too many of one type of meal in the week (for example tacos, enchilada casserole, and tortilla soup all in one week)

With that said, here are The Goals of our March Plan:

1. Dairy Free meals or dairy added later to the meal (figured out baby girl is sensitive to lactose = no dairy products for mommy)
2. Lots of fruits and veggies.
3. Less packaged foods.
4. Total for the month: $300 (or less including eating out)
5. Use up what we have on hand so stuff doesn't go bad or expire.

The Menu:

Week 3/1-3/2

3/1 - Rotisserie chicken (Sam's), quinoa pilaf with cranberries and almonds, salad
3/2 -  Pulled Pork Sandwiches, roasted potatoes, salad, corn

Week 3/3-3/9

Sun - Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, peas
Mon - Chicken Quinoa Soup (
Tues - Pasta, salad, garlic knots (freezer)
Wed- Quesadillas (With leftover chicken, refried beans, cheese. Mine will be cheese free with sauteed mushrooms inside and lots of avocado and salsa)
Thurs - Sausage, Potato, Green Bean Skillet (featured in the Meal Makeover Mom's cookbook)
Fri- Chili and Cornbread
Sat - Coconut Chicken Fingers (I am planning on doubling the recipe so we can have chicken salads on Mon), fruit kebabs (made by Xavier), roasted potatoes.

Week 3/10-3/16

Sun - Stir Fry Veggies & Orange Chicken (from Trader Joes) over Rice with Edemame
Mon- Crispy Coconut Chicken Salads (with leftovers from Sat.) Smoothies
Tues- Tacos with toppings of lettuce, cheese, salsa, avocado, sour cream
Wed- Potato Carrot Soup with Goldfish Croutons (will take mine out before adding cheese), Sandwiches, and apple slices
Thurs- Make Your Own Pizza or Pizza from Papa John's (we have a free one)
Fri-  Roasted Chicken, Bread-machine bread, baked potatoes in the oven, broccoli
Sat- Corny Tuna Cakes (Xavier LOVES these), roasted potatoes, veggies

Week 3/17-3/23

Sun - St. Patrick's Day - Corned Beef, Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes
Mon- Beef and Veggie Noodle Bowl (I stir fry beef, broccoli, carrots, etc. while whole wheat noodles cook with edemame then toss everything together with TJ Island Sauce)
Tues- Fish Nuggets, tots, peas, sliced apples, salad
Wed- Leftovers
Thurs- Crockpot Chicken Tacos, with toppings of lettuce, cheese, salsa, avocado, sour cream
Fri- Tortilla Soup (from leftovers from Thursday)
Sat- Tuna Noodle Skillet (I will have leftovers)

Week 3/24-3/31

Sun - Mini Meatloaf Muffins, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies
Mon- Last Minute Black Bean Soup over rice with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese. Smoothies
Tues- Pasta, Salad, Bread from bread machine
Wed- Pork Chops (bbq flavored), knorr noodles, apple sauce, peas, bread from bread machine.
Thurs- Chicken Pot Pies (frozen) with Extra Mixed Veg. Cake and Ice Cream (or whatever Buddy wants for his Birthday)
Fri- Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Smoothies
Sat- Chicken and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole served over rice, in a tortilla, or over lettuce
Sun- Easter: Ham, Potato Salad, Deviled Eggs, Fruit, Fresh Veggies, Green Bean Casserole.

Xavier - provided at school.
Buddy - cereal

For me:
1/2c oats
1/4c walnuts
1T chia seeds
cinnamon to taste
1c milk (soy or almond for me)

Put all in microwaveable dish with lid overnight. Remove lid and microwave 2.5 min. Stir and top with 1-2T brown sugar.

Buddy - sandwiches or leftovers
Xavier - provided at school.
Me - leftovers

Now that you are either bored or hungry, thanks for stopping by! Off to finalize my grocery list.

If you want tools on menu planning, check out

Check out the Menu Calendar I made

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome Baby Faith

Welcome the newest addition to The Staats Family -

Faith Marie Staats

Born December 3, 2012 5:36pm

8lbs 13oz

20.75 inches long

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cloth Diaper Liners, Cloth Wipes, and Wipe Solutions

With Xavier, we used cloth diapers until he was potty trained and they worked great! We also used cloth wipes to save money, and they were gentle on him and took less wipes to clean up one diaper change.

This time around, I broke out the sewing machine to make some wipes and liners. I first bought some flannel wipes from Sweetest Caroline's. (I also bought a wet-bag for dirty diapers and can't wait to pick it up from her.) She does an awesome job making wipes, diapers, wet-bags, kitchen cloths, and more. Her prices are great, too and everything is super cute! She was even chosen to make some custom diapers for Cotton Babies for their Stashing Through the Snow feature. (super cute penguin cloth diapers.) She inspired me to make some more wipes. Xavier went to the fabric store and he helped me pick out some monkey flannel. I was able to make 10 wipes from one yard of flannel! And they are super cute!!

I cut 8"x8" squares of the flannel and pinned the wrong sides together. I zigzagged stitched around the edge and that was it. They turned out super cute! When I was getting to the end of the material, I came up with pieces that were about 8"x9" so they are more rectangular, but the good thing is these are just for wiping up messy babies, so it doesn't matter what size they are really. I didn't want to waste a tiny strip of flannel and knew it would be helpful to have a couple of bigger wipes. You could also make these for general clean-up-baby wipes. Some people have used terrycloth to make the wipes, or terrycloth on one side and flannel on the other. May experiment later with different types of wipes. Would love to hear what other people used.

We use a diaper solution with these and store them in a wipe warmer. It worked great with X. Zany Zebra has lots of recipes for wipe solutions. We used the Olive n Tea Tree Solution.

1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin not necessary)
1/8 cup gentle baby bath
A few drops tea tree oil (think I would prefer lavender and it could probably be substituted just fine)
4 cups water

You gently whisk the ingredients together and soak the wipes in the solution. Then place the wipes (folded in half to fit in the warmer) in the warmer and that's it! I only did enough wipes for 2 days at a time so that they didn't grow anything or get musty. The leftover solution is put in an empty water bottle or container for the next batch of wipes. This usually lasted about a week. (I may try the Zany Lavender Solution this time around.)

The oil acts as a carrier oil for the essential oils (lavender/tea tree/etc.) The essential oils act as an antimicrobial (both in the warmer and for bottoms). The soap helps to take away the dirty stuff.

Just remember that the wipes with the solution should not be washed with diapers because of the oils. We hung an extra wetbag on our diaper pail and put wipes and liners in it. They got washed with towels/bedding.

After making the super easy wipes, I moved on to liners. Unfortunately, diaper cream and cloth diapers don't mix well since the oils stick in the diaper. When it doesn't wash out completely, it can cause:
-More rash because of the dirt trapped in the ointment/cream
-Smelly diapers (ammonia smell when baby wets)
-Leak issues

To prevent this, you can make really easy liners for the diapers (I only used these when using creams). You can use old t-shirts, micro-fleese (never used this one), and flannel. I used some too-tiny-to-use-for-anything-else receiving blankets that were a light flannel. To make them I just cut them into rectangles that would fit inside the diapers and then zigzagged around the sides. I made 16 out of 2 tiny blankets. Not too shabby :)

These two projects were pretty simple and don't require too much accuracy. (the liners were definitely not cut straight)

I will let you know how they work out. (and you should go check out Sweetest Caroline's if you like cloth diapers stuff!) We should get to try them out any day now, but I have been saying that for a week at least. Just waiting till our baby girl decides to join us.

Have a blessed day!