We have a fun but lazy weekend with a movie, shopping, and waffles on our new waffle iron.
It's been a nice, relaxing weekend. Fridays are my husband's regular day off, so we took the kids to see Prince Caspian at 11:30 on Friday. We hadn't been to a movie as a family since the Incredibles came out in 2004—yeah, that's four years ago! I think it was about time we had a family movie outing.
Thankfully, since I started doing our budget with an envelope system, I had already set aside $25 for "entertainment" for this month, exactly the cost for our family of five to see Prince Caspian.
So following breakfast, around 10:30 a.m., we headed to the movie theater, stopping at a couple garage sales on the way to look for a waffle iron that I've been wanting to buy. Of course, I didn't find one.
To avoid spending $6 on popcorn during the movie, I hid packed several peanut butter crackers in my purse for the kids to eat if they got hungry before the movie ended. It turned out that the movie was so long that the kids were hungry by the time it was over, so the crackers were completely gone before we left the theater parking lot.
Our next stop was the discount bread store where I purchased eight loaves of sandwich bread for $8.47. After that we headed to Wal-Mart to get the rest of our groceries. Before we went into the store, the kids said they were still a little hungry, so I opened up one of the loaves of bread and passed out a couple pieces to each child. They had their bottles of water from earlier in the day so they were set.
After I distributed the bread, I laughed at the absurdity of the circumstances. Here I am blogging about how I feed my family, yet my kids are standing here having bread and water for lunch. You know, when I put it down in black in white like this it sounds pretty bad. So I guess I should add that the bread and water was really more like a "snack" to tide them over until they could eat their real lunch after we got home a couple hours later. After all, bread and water is a whole lot healthier (and cheaper) than stopping at McDonalds for $1 McChicken sandwiches.
So with bread in hand we entered Wal-Mar, purchased all the items on our grocery list, and spent $106.87. I'll still need to buy another 2 or 3 gallons of milk before the end of the month, but I still have $33 left in my grocery budget for May, more than enough to cover the milk and any other miscellaneous items I might need in the next two weeks.
We got home around four, the kids ate their real lunch of turkey sandwiches, and I taught two piano lessons. Around 7 o'clock I prepared dinner—a very bland casserole of rice, chicken, and vegetables. That is one meal that I will not be making again without some drastic changes.
Jeff and the kids ate the casserole, but they didn't like it terribly much; and I don't blame them. It was a definite flop. At least my husband was kind enough to eat a serving at dinner as well as have some of the leftovers the next day. The kids and I ate one serving at dinner and haven't touched it since.
After dinner we watched the last few episodes we needed to watch to get totally up-to-date on Lost. Now we won't know what to do with ourselves in the evening without having three or four Lost episodes to watch. We'll now have to wait for the new Lost episode every week just like everyone else (bummer!).
Saturday morning I made cinnamon rolls again.
I made sure the yeast was room temperature before I mixed it in, and the cinnamon rolls turned out so yummy. The only problem with the batch was that I cut the rolls too thick; they were probably close to twice as thick as they needed to be, so the insides were still a bit doughy after I removed them from the oven.
But my husband said the doughiness was not a problem.
The rest of Saturday we spent in our pajamas. I spent several hours grading the kids work, browsing the internet, downloading recipes, and generally relaxing. We grazed all day, eating when we felt like it, and then late Saturday evening Jaden and I got the blender out and made our very first fruit smoothie. We put in frozen strawberries, diced apple, strawberry yogurt, and a little milk. And Jaden drank the whole thing! He said he really liked it, except it was a little sweet, so next time he's decided to put in less apple.
At church this morning I was more than pleasantly surprised when our drummer, the 16 year old son of a good friend of mine, walked up to me and handed me a waffle iron. He told me it belonged to his mom but she hadn't used it in years, so when she saw my "want to buy" post on our homeschool forum she decided just to give it to me.
I was so excited! I hadn't expected to be able to get ahold of a waffle iron so soon, and yet here was a perfectly good waffle iron in my possession…and I didn't have to pay a penny for it! How cool is that?
After we got home from church, I surveyed the kids—well, the ones that were still left since Jaden went home with a friend after church—to see who wanted waffles for lunch. Joely chose to have a turkey sandwich, but Jerah said she'd like waffles.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a waffle recipe yet, so I hopped on the computer—well, not literally on the computer—and searched for a whole wheat waffle recipe. It took me a little while, but I finally found one that looked like I might be able to use.
So I cleaned up the waffle iron, plugged it in, mixed up the batter, sprayed the waffle plates with olive oil, poured in about a 1/3 cup of batter and waited.
When the little red light turned off four minutes later, I opened up the waffle iron and I was amazed. It actually worked; I'd actually made a waffle right on my first try!
I will say that the first waffle didn't look perfect—I hadn't used exactly enough batter—but the waffle was done, it wasn't burned, it smelled good, and most importantly, it tasted good.
I proceeded to make 5 more waffles using a 1/2 cup of batter each time. The waffles continued to turn out great—again, much to my amazement.
After my recent cooking flops and misadventures, I was really stoked about this waffle success. I had been getting pretty discouraged about my cooking skills—or lack thereof— for a while, but now that I've (nearly) redeemed myself with the cinnamon rolls and I was able to make waffles right the very first time, I feel much better about my cooking ability. Of course, I'm still learning how to cook, but at least I feel like I'm a more experienced cook today than I was even a week ago—even if it's just cinnamon rolls, honey wheat bread, fruit smoothies, and waffles.
Here's the waffle recipe I used; it's an adaptation of this Mr. Breakfast recipe. I didn't bother with separating the eggs as the original recipe called for, and I used canola oil instead of melted shortening, but the waffles turned out delicious all the same.
Whole Wheat Waffles
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup Tablespoons canola oil
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
- Beat eggs. Add milk and oil to the eggs and blend.
- Combine salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder and add to the egg mixture. Beat until smooth.
- Bake in hot waffle iron.
We topped the waffles with our favorite spread, Brummel & Brown, and homemade pancake syrup.
Tonight our church held a covered dish fellowship so we didn't make a meal for ourselves. Instead we heated up a can of baked beans and made rotini pasta salad to take to the fellowship. As usual at most church gatherings, there was lots of food…and of course we overate. But it was worth it—lots of good friends and lots of good food.
This next week I hope to try some more new recipes. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to try yet, but pretzels, bagels, pita bread, and crackers are some of the recipes I'm considering.