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Monday, January 30, 2012

what's cookin?

I thought I would get back to my series here at Green Acres, "What's Cookin'?".

I am really having to tighten the belt per say since I lost my part time gig.  We are going to get through this spell, we always do.  I am trying to see each week how "cheaply" I can get by feeding my family.  Still being gluten free and organic as possible.  Trying not to buy as little pre made items as I can.

I plan on sharing one recipe a week with you that I am using.

Here is this weeks menu plan:

 Sunday               Monday

Black bean soup             Chicken and Rice

fritos                                Salad

Tuesday               Wednesday

Lasagna               Broccoli Cheese Soup

Green Beans        Cheddar Biscuits


Thursday              Friday   

Lasagna                Nachos

Green Beans                 


            Fish and Chips


We had a few change ups in last weeks menu so I was able to carry over a few meals and ingredients.  Mr. Miller will be at a dinner meeting Tuesday night so I will still make the Lasagne and we will have the leftovers on Thursday.

This weeks recipe is for the Broccoli Cheese Soup.

5 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 med onion, chopped
1/4c flour or for us 1/4 c sweet rice flour
2 C half and half
2 C chicken broth
1 head broccoli, medium and chopped
2 carrots, shredded
2 C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire
Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of your butter over medium to low heat. Add chopped onions, cook until translucent not brown.  Put onions aside in seperate bowl.  Add remaining butter to pot and melt.  Whisk in the flour a little at a time.  You want to whisk mixture for about 3 minutes.  Slowly add the half and half, keep whisking so it stays creamy.  Add the chicken stock.  Whisk and let simmer over low for about 20 minutes.  Make sure it doesn't boil or stick to bottom of pan.  Next add your broccoli, carrots and the reserved onions.  Give a quick stir and let it simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes.  Once the veggies are tender, add your shredded cheese.  (1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition.)  Stir in the nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.


I am hoping this gives some ideas for families that are in the same boat as us.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


3 years ago this was the face of an anxious Mama waiting to me her new little baby.  Would it be a Henry or a Lucy?

Henry Patrick Miller 005
Well we all know the answer to that… 
Henry Patrick Miller 013
Henry Patrick Miller blessed our world at 1:47 pm on Monday, January 26, 2009.  He weighed 7lbs 8oz and was 19 inches long
Henry Patrick Miller 028
Big brother wanted you so.  He asked and asked for a little brother, well you know how I hate to disappoint.
Henry Patrick Miller you took your own sweet time getting here but we are oh so ever happy to have you!  Each year you have changed so much.  Always curious, independent and so full of joy.
Henry 2010 004
When you turned 1 you decided to try things out. 
Henry birthday night 010
You turned 2 and the world became so exciting.
Today my sweet Junior Mint you are 3!  We love you so much, Mama and Daddy can’t wait to see what adventure you take us on this year!  Happy Birthday Monkey!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

we had a celebration this weekend!


This little man is turning 3 tomorrow!
We had lots of family, great friends, good food and sock monkeys!  Let’s not forget anything that I could find in Red, Brown and White.  Thank you to Mimi, Nana and Pops for helping this Mama who was under the weather give her little Monkey a great party!




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

how did i do it?

This weekend I decided to challenge myself.  The challenge was to see how cheaply I could feed my family of 4.  I gave myself a $60 budget for the weeks groceries.  Crazy, you say?  Maybe? Possibly?  Could it be done?  Yep, I did it!

I planned my menu.

Monday ~ Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Tuesday ~ Taco Tuesday

Wednesday ~ Black Beans and Rice
                       Kielbasa and Tilapia

Thursday ~ Spaghetti Rice

Friday ~ Terriyaki Chicken with Rice  (Recipe found in my Easy 30 day Gluten Free diet)
               Green Beans

Saturday ~ Black Bean Soup (Recipe found in my Make it Fast, Make it Slow book)
                  Frito's, Avocado, Sour Cream

Sunday ~ Chicken and Rice
                Green Beans

Not a bad menu and all Gluten Free.  I shopped at Hy-Vee and I spent $56.49, yep under $60 and I only used 2 coupons.

The trick is to see what you have on hand when planning your menu.  Look in that Freezer, dig in your pantry. 

I had the ground beef and a roasting chicken in the freezer from the last "big meat sale".  The chicken itself will cover 2 meals this week and give me another casserole next week.  Black beans, hello buy in bulk and soak yourself.  You save so much money that way.  I also take the Cecelia's Gluten Free Market Guide with me to the store.  You would be surprised at how many off label store brands, especially Hy-Vee, are actually gluten free.

Oh yes I did buy for lunches and breakfast too.  Buy your yogurt in the large container.  Make your own muffins, pancakes or eggs for breakfast.  PB&J is a staple in Cam's lunch and Henry, Mr. Miller and I will usually clean up leftovers from the night before.  This can be done and it is not hard.

Watch for your sales on meat and use that freezer.  When you make your soups freeze some of it for a night down the road.  Good luck and I hope this helps.

Monday, January 23, 2012

better late than never…

We adventured to Valdosta over Christmas to see Nana and Pops…
The boys got a very special Christmas present this year.


We had a great time.  At first they were very reserved so we decided that the adults might be more excited than them over the whole trip.  We developed our own battle cry.  “Where are we going?  We are going to LEGOLAND”!
Finally the boys gave in and joined us in the cause.


The day was full of fun and adventure.

We learned where Legos came from and how they were made.

Henry rode his first amusement park ride with Nana.

Mr. Miller and Pops kept watch over us all.

Cameron got to see a few friends from his favorite Movie.

Mama and Mr. Miller got to enjoy watching the boys and their Grandparents have a ton of fun making lifetime memories.

We saw a beautiful sunset and some great fireworks at the days end.


Legoland was a Blast and Thank you Nana and Pops for a great Christmas!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

new season

Yesterday Henry and I removed the last of Christmas in the house.  I was hoping to get the outside done as well but with Scouts last night and helping some friends out it didn't happen.  Tonight is a different story.  We will get it put away because there is rain in the forecast, I wish it was snow but I will take the rain.

New seasons seem to be all around me, from putting out a few Valentine decorations here at the house to a new season for several aspects in my life.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” --Thich Nhat Hanh

 My friends who own Happybottomus, where I have been working part time, have decided to close their doors.  It is a bittersweet time for them and me.  I am sad to see them go through the pain of closing this chapter and for me it brings back the memories of the Harold's liquidation days of 08-09.  Thank goodness I am not 8 months pregnant this time and that this is a short ending.  I am trying to help physically, prayerfully and mentally for them since I have been down this road before.  Please keep them in your thoughts as they transition into this new season for them.

Mr. Miller and I are working on moving the basement around to make my new sewing/create space.  I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new sewing table this week.  We lucked into a great butcher block on metal base conference table that will be perfect for me.  I can set all 3 of my machines up and just roll down the table to use each.  I am going to try and get the boys play area relocated temporarily today so we can move the storage area into their old space.  By moving the storage area we can set up the Green Acres Closet Manufacturing Headquarters.

New seasons are always good no matter what they bring.  They can bring sadness but also joy.  I think that if you look at the fork in the road in these 2 ways you will always succeed.

The past is no longer an option and your future is whatever you make of it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

potty training...ugh

Well it has come to that dreaded time of potty training or potty learning as some refer to it.  I prefer training because really is it the child being "trained" to not go in their pants or the parent being trained to watch for the "dance"?  Someone is getting trained at Green Acres.

Cameron was so easy!  At 2 he decided he hated to be wet and it took 48 hours and that was it!  We had maybe 3 total accidents in the day and has been totally dry at night from the get go.  Now we come to my stubborn child, HENRY!  He has no interest in this process at all.  Oh yes we have tried bribery with M&M's and etc.  Nope not one inkling or "tinkling"! (sorry couldn't help myself) As we approach his 3rd birthday on the 26th it is time to get on the Potty Train.  Yes, I will hate not seeing him in his fluff but I am ready for the next stop in his life adventure.  I will continue to make fluff as I have wonderful friends and family still making cute bottoms to model my stuff.

I ordered some new trainers today from Itsy Bitsy Bums we decided to go with the Kissaluvs. I also have a ton of underwear in the drawer from big brother and our neighbor, Anni, gifted us with some over Christmas that were too small for her Henry.

Junior Mint is in for a lifestyle change here at Green Acres.  I am asking for tips and prayers as we embark on this journey here soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

a clean slate it possible?  I am not sure where 2011 went.

I look at the year and I feel very blessed.  There have been some great opportunities given to us this last year and they are making 2012 look promising.  Mr. Miller and his promotion, Cameron doing well in school, Henry growing up and of course Green Acres Closet taking off for me.

I plan on continuing the focus on my faith and family first in this year.  I had a friend ask the question on New Year's Day "What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?".  This is such a great question for every day.  I plan on using this question daily. 

I will continue to build Green Acres Closet.  We are in the process of giving me a bigger work space downstairs.  It seems that I have outgrown my quaint little room.  It will be a great playroom for the boys.

We will regain our rhythm of being gluten free here.  I fell of that train hard and I am feeling the pain from it.  Please send me any suggestions and/or recipes that you have in your gluten free diet.  I am always looking for new ideas.

Lastly I hope all of you have an enjoyable start to the new year!