Indulge me a little while I catch you up with all the latest Southern Fried Family happenings.
I traveled out of state alone with the boys for the first time the 4th of July. My Baby's Daddy had some previous work commitments that kept him from being able to attend a great holiday weekend at my aunt's house on the lake. The road trip was pretty smooth, but being the only parent on hand with Fat Baby loose on an open body of water...not so much fun. I did get some great photos & memories...which I've been scrapbooking in my head. (I've accomplished a lot in my head, if not in real life!)
My Baby's Daddy & I enjoyed mindless appointment television by watching The Bachelorette this season. As long as creepy, stalker Jeremy didn't win I was okay with any other choice she made in the final three. I was relieved when she sent Graham home, too. She was so trying to make him be something he wasn't just because he was smokin' hot-a-licious. Eye candy does not a relationship make. I was rooting for Jason, but I'm okay with Jesse, especially since they did a little something with his hair.
In light of the recent sucky economy, I've been really paying attention to our spending and wasteful or unnecessary habits this summer. I sacrificed monthly pedicures in the name of economizing, and My Baby's Daddy gave up our lawn treatment service. I know I watch way too much Jon & Kate Plus 8, but I think that anything that works for a family of 10 could also benefit my family of 5. She feeds her family organic foods as much as possible, and takes a little time & effort to not just give them cheap crap.
One thing that really makes things easier for me is planning menus. I found a template on this website for simple menu planning. It makes shopping more efficient & helps my week flow more smoothly. I write any scheduled events on that day's grid (baseball 6:00 p.m., picnic lunch at pool, etc.) So I can look over the week & see that dinner should be easy & early on Tuesday, and I need to have sandwich ingredients on hand for Monday and Wednesday. Since I usually work on Tuesdays, I try to plan a dinner with left-overs Monday night to take for lunch. I've also been concentrating on using the perishable items I purchase each week. I actually made banana bread on Sunday rather than letting some fruit go bad & throwing it away.
I really feel good about making things fresh for my family instead of buying the quickest (and almost always less healthy) alternatives. It did occur to me in thinking about this lifestyle make-over....Kate is kind of forced to be at home all the darn time. Not the Southern Fried boys & me...if we get the house clean, we've gotta hit the door before somebody (or two somebodies) trashes it again. We like to get out & do things together. It's very do-able to participate in lots of fun activities with only two boys. If it took half the day to load my brood of kids in the car, I'd probably find more fun things to do with them at home. (They'd probably get more hot breakfasts & home-made treats, too....Monkey Munch anyone?)
Finally, we just celebrated The President's 8th birthday. We hosted a sleep-over with 6 boys. It was great! Even though my outdoor activities were rained out, they still had a blast. There was a karaoke talent show, movies, and lots of video games. I had the cutest red & white striped popcorn boxes for movie time...and the biggest hit of the evening was the make-your-own trail mix. I labeled red plastic cups with each boy's name & they could fill it with their choice of cereal, marshmallows, goldfish, raisins, gummy worms, milk duds, m&ms, etc. We all had so much fun. After a pancake breakfast, all the boys were picked up by 10:00 a.m.
On his actual birthday, The Pres wanted to make a new Build-a-Bear for his gift from us. So, we did that & had lunch at a Japanese steakhouse (also his choice). We were seated with a couple of older ladies who were less than thrilled to be sharing our festivities. One of them said, "Cute kids." Just like that. That was the extent of their enthusiasm. Even after Fat Baby walked in & said, "Excuse me wadies....it's the President's birthday!" How could they resist?