Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weed Violation

This summer my main squeeze, Sandy, and I purchased a new house.  This particular house came with a 38 page rule book, formerly known as the CC&R's.  I perused it quickly, noting that the only permissible fencing is white vinyl fencing- aka stupidest, least useable fence ever.  The makers of vinyl fences obviously don't have children.  Didn't anyone tell them fences are like trees, they are made for climbing.


Anyhoo, our new neighborhood has a lovely little HOA that we get to send our year dues to.  They even have fancy smancy meetings at the library.  My hubby couldn't wait to attend our first meeting....I, however, wanted to know if we could get the three bullet point version.  Recognizing that my humor can be lost on my man, I decided to attend my first HOA meeting.  Here's a few tidbits I learned:

1.  Weed Violation.  For a girl born to teenage parents, a weed violation can be easily misinterpreted.  Apparently my neighbors are not, in fact, growing weed.  They apparently grow weeds, and our HOA sends the police to give a friendly warning that lawn maintenance is a non negotiable.

2.  Quorums.....?  After an engaging meeting that required NO VOTING, one intense man wanted to know if we had enough homeowners for a quorum.   Fancy I tell you.  For  the next ten minutes, we listened to various individuals argue about having a quorum to vote on a proxy about NOTHING.

3.  Sprinklers......apparently they are offensive to evening walkers.

4.  Asphalt, also very offensive.

5.  I too can run for president.   I'll be working on my slogan. 

All in all, I loved the HOA meeting.  Poor Sandy had to give me "angry eyebrows" a time or two.  I couldn't help but occasionally giggle.  I think it's possible, maybe even probable, that I am not old enough or refined enough to live in my hood.

Till we meet again.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's For Dinner

   We are two, count em', two days into the school year; it feels like two months.  Every school year our family starts strong- pencils sharpened, bags ready to go, shoes in the shoe box, clothes clean, dinner hot and ready on the table, you get the picture.  Slowly after a few months we start the crazy cycle- socks are dirty, no one can find their shoes, everyone left the freezer packs, for lunch, at school, dinner is, well, not up to par.

     The thing is, we run well on structure, but it is so much stinking work to keep the engine running smooth.  Secondly, my hubby's love tank is filled by a home cooked meal.  This year I decided to create monthly meal plans; that way I only have to plan one day a month and then I can brainlessly follow the plan the rest of the month.  I like a titch of brainlessness here and there.  I decided if I shared our meal planning online, it could help you, and I can pull it up again next September- win win.

   To start the monthly meal plan I set some guidelines:  two standard easy meals a week, one meal that is soup or stew based, a pasta night, a chicken night, & two beef or pork nights.

Week 1

1.  Taco bar
2.  Homemade Chili, Rhodes dinner rolls & salad (Betty Crocker)
3.  Lasagna & salad (make two, freeze one)
4.  Honey Plum Chicken, salad & rice (Pioneer Woman)
5.  Steakhouse pizza (PW)
6.  Pasta with pesto cream sauce & chicken (PW)
7.  Spicy pulled pork sandwiches (PW)

Week 2
1.  Taco bar & Spanish rice
2.  Baked potato & bacon soup
3.  Rigatoni & Meatballs (PW)
4.  Chicken Enchiladas & salad
5.  Homemade Pizza (Betty Crocker- so easy & quick)
6.  BBQ Chicken & Pineapple quesadillas (PW)
7.  Shrimp Summer Stir Fry (PW)

Week 3

1.  Taco Bar
2.  Beef Stew, homemade bread & salad (double your batch of beef stew, freeze half and use next week in Shepherds Pie)
3.  Fancy Mac & Cheese (PW)
4.  Pizza
5.  Quesadillas de Carmone (PW)
6.  Tri-tip, 2x's baked potato, roasted green beans (Morton's preseasoned tri-tip at Costco)
7.  Roast Chicken, mashed potatoes & peas (buy hot & ready from Costco)

Week 4
1.  Taco Bar
2.  Homemade Chili, rolls & salad
3.  Pull your extra lasagna out of the freezer
4.  Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice (PW), salad
5.  Pizza
6.  Shepherds Pie with the frozen beef stew
7.  Mongolian Roast Beef (Betty Crocker)

Not the most gourmet of menus, but family friendly, with the added bonus on not having to figure out what's for dinner every night.  Most of my meals come from an old Betty Crocker cookbook or the new Pioneer Woman cookbook.  My littlest, Gracie, and I are cooking our way through the "Pioneer Woman Cookbook".  For "Pioneer Woman" recipes go to,  If you would like a grocery list, let me know.