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About BarbecueMom

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  1. This is my seventh year of homeschooling and the worst February yet. So far this month, I have: 1) Decided to stop cooking anything but the same seven meals every week, 2) Considered telling DH to pack up because we're listing the stupid house and moving to I-don't-care-where, 3) Investigated the nearest Catholic private school even though we're not religious, and 4) Searched out the nearest women's ice hockey beer league to see if they'd take 36yo beginners who really need to relieve stress by hitting a piece of vulcanized rubber. I have followed through with exactly none of these threats, but it's only the 26th. I have time.
  2. Yep. IME, there's was a perfect storm of factors. I don't want to get into specifics, because internet, but... yeah.
  3. I’m glad she’s doing this. Because of this, my music ed career screeched to a halt before it started, and my life turned upside down, and I wasn’t even an actual victim. I’m surprised the lid never blew off publicly the way it did with the Boy Scouts, athletic programs, and the Catholic Church scandals, probably because it’s not a recognizable, unified culture you can stick a name and logo on. And it gets lumped in with other individual abusive teachers, despite the fact there’s specific cultural issues that probably make student musicians more vulnerable.
  4. I found out that my 6yo doesn't know the order of the alphabet the other day, despite the fact that he's reading chapter books way earlier than my other kids. I felt bad for a minute, then I realized it's probably because I launched the Leap Frog fridge magnet toy into the sun by the time it got to the third kid. I instantly felt less guilty.
  5. Yep. Pop music is for concerts, marching bands are for halftime. I’d rather see someone wearing just a bikini and a snare drum than a tastefully dressed pop star during the best part of a football game.
  6. Leveling up characters on World of Warcraft. Nothing keeps the romance alive like fictional questing.
  7. My youngest emits very specific odors depending on what illness he has. But only I can smell it. One virus smells like a bowling alley ashtray, a different virus smells like a macaroni and cheese pan after it's been soaking in the sink. Since he's the only one who smells like that, and I'm the only one who can smell it, I think it's a shared "superpower."
  8. This is why I hate showers. No one remembers the rude host (and often may not even know who it is), so the blame for any faux pas gets passed to the "guest of honor". I adamantly did NOT want a baby shower when I was pregnant with my oldest. DH and I have been together since early high school, so it was too weird to me to go from "no blankets and adult supervision rules" to "invite grandparents to celebrate the aftermath of the no-pants dance". We were married and in our 20s, but still... no. Anyway, when a high school friend found out I was not having a shower, I think she partially assumed I didn't have enough friends to host a shower (not true, turned down several offers) and also thought it would be a nice occasion to set up a sort of high school reunion (whyyyyyy??). She ended up calling every female classmate she could find working contact information for and tried to get them to come to my "baby shower". 500+ in my graduating class, so many of these people I barely knew! Fortunately, someone tipped me off. I ended up going out to lunch with her and just a couple other friends (who did bring gifts, and I sent them thank-you notes), but I'm still mortified that so many people think I was so desperate for shower attendees that I had a mutual friend spam everyone in the yearbook. As if I didn't have enough of my own cringe-worthy moments in life, now I have to shoulder someone else's. Geez.
  9. This is me with Trader Joe's. I've tried at least six times, but I always walk out confused and empty handed. The employees are always kind, but it feels like I'm, um, socially outclassed, haha. It's a bit awkward.
  10. A family member works at a shoe company and buys my kids their shoes in the next couple sizes up for like $1/pair (returns, display models, slight imperfections, etc.). We have Rubbermaid bins of shoes for kids to grow into. Then my 11yo grew FOUR SHOE SIZES (and I think we skipped one) in nine months last year. So not only did he need new sneakers that we didn't have stored up yet, he needed sandals and baseball cleats (ended up buying three pairs) and nicer shoes and hunting/snow boots. I buy as much second-hand as I can, and my dad sends hand-me-downs from my 15yo brother, but still I spent a fortune in shoes last year. I'm dreading it happening again with the same child this year... plus the next one in line. At least we're prepared for him. I've been experimenting with only going to Costco every 5-7 weeks, which ends up being about $700 just for the food portion, and I have to bring someone along to push a second cart. The employees always ask me if I'm throwing a party. Not really, I just have three boys (although it's kind of like a loud party where the guests never leave...). The next several years should be fun, when the older two become full-fledged teens and the youngest starts inhaling everything in sight for every meal, not just breakfast. Real conversation last week - Me: "Do you want a smoothie, cereal, or eggs?" DS6: "Sure, that all sounds good." I'd get a job in 7 years to pad the grocery budget, but I'm pretty sure I'll need the time to shop more often, too!
  11. We buy all our produce there except shredded carrots; applesauce, canned goods (I make my own coffee creamer so we go through lots of sweetened condensed milk), dry pinto/black/northern beans, apple/orange juice, gluten-free pretzels, strawberry jelly (we don't use enough to warrant a Costco-sized jar), rice chex/rice krispies for making muddy buddies/treats, taco shells, jarred garlic, baking powder, powdered/granulated sugar, chocolate chips, espresso-roast coffee, butter (I have about 25# in my freezer from holiday prices), milk, sour cream, eggs, sliced cheese (DH LOVES the habanero jack), block/specialty cheeses, GF Hot Pockets (for "oh no, the leftovers are gone!" lunches). Seasonally, I stock up on popcorn kernels, molasses, arborio rice, no-crap-added ground sausage, and GF specialty items when they have them 2-3 times a year. I used to buy toasted sesame oil when they had it, but I have a sesame allergy now and can't use it. The chocolate almond milk is better than any I've ever had, like melted ice cream. I can't find an equivalent in any other store brand or name brand. It's a very infrequent treat (like yearly or less) because I already drink enough sugar in my coffee. The only things they carry that I don't buy there are gluten-free pasta (I buy Barilla in bulk on Amazon), things that are not GF-labeled or cross-contaminated (corn tortillas, nuts, lentils, certain spices, etc.) and the stuff I need Costco-sized quantities of (rice, oils, plain Cheerios, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, frozen fruit/veggies/quick foods, meat, spices).
  12. Just a couple hours ago, we were playing ping pong and talking about LeBron breaking his points total last night. Shocking indeed.
  13. January menu - the "final-but-will-probably-change-eleventy-billion-times" edition: 1/1 - Red Beans and Rice, Salad Hamburgers, Tater Tots, Salad 1/2 - Homemade Pizza/Breadsticks, Salad Red Beans and Rice, Brussels Sprouts 1/3 - Junk Food Night 1/4 - (Lunch) Bacon Spinach Parmesan Pasta, Salad (ran out of leftovers!) (Dinner)Tilapia in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Rice, Brussels Sprouts Steamed Carrots and Corn on the Cob 1/5 - Sheet Pan Honey-Dijon Chicken, Broccoli and Carrots, Potatoes 1/6 - Sweet and Sour Chicken, Rice, Green Beans Chicken Noodle Soup, GF Soft Pretzels, Applesauce 1/7 - Tacos, Beans, Chips and Salsa, Salad Cucumbers and Carrot Sticks 1/8 - Homemade Pizza, Green Beans 1/9 - Pulled Pork, Mashed Potatoes, Corn or Peas Breakfast Casserole, Biscuits, Butternut Squash (I had to use the ham, it fell out of the freezer and shattered the container) 1/10 - Junk Food Night 1/11 - Pulled Pork, Baked Potatoes, Corn, Leftover Green Beans/Squash 1/12 - Chili, Tater Tots, Apples 1/13 - Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, Roasted Broccoli 1/14 - Tacos, Beans, Chips and Salsa, Salad 1/15 - Roasted Italian Sausages, Carrots and Onions, Mashed Potatoes 1/16 - Smoky Black Bean Soup, Rice, Pupusas, Salad (thanks to whoever mentioned this soup earlier, it's been a long time since I've made it!) 1/17 - Junk Food Night 1/18 - Chicken Pot Pie, Salad (or another veggie if the salad is gone by then) 1/19 - Baked Fish, Rice, Frozen Veggies (green beans or broccoli) Leftovers/Chicken Nuggets (I think? DS11 wasn't feeling well that night and I didn't cook) 1/20 - Mock "Chik-Fil-A" Chicken Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts 1/21 - Tacos, Beans, Chips and Salsa, Salad 1/22 - Mock "Chik-Fil-A" Chicken Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries 1/23 - Italian Wonderpot, Pao de Queijo, Salad (also making a pot of Cauliflower Chowder for lunches for the next few days) 1/24 - Junk Food Night 1/25 - Pork Chops, Seasoned Rice, Carrots, Salad 1/26 - Turkey, Stuffing, Potatoes, Green Beans, Cranberry Sauce, GF Bread (no more room in the freezer for the turkey, so it's chillin' in the fridge) 1/27 - Turkey Leftovers 1/28 - Tacos, Beans, Chips and Salsa, Peppers and Onions 1/29 - Turkey Tetrazzini, Carrots 1/30 - Pinto Beans and Chorizo, Rice, Broccoli 1/31 - Junk Food Night *** So that's it! The freezer and the downstairs fridge are packed, pantry will be stuffed once the Subscribe and Save order gets here (every six months - end of January/July). I can probably skip Costco again in February (we went seven weeks between trips and needed two carts, fun times). We've had very little food waste so far, just some icky lettuce leaves and a couple apples that were too far gone. I've put chili, black beans, and refried beans in the freezer for later meals. And now that I have a second Instant Pot (a 3qt, it's so cute), I've started making yogurt again! Hopefully the inevitible bouts of winter illnesses won't derail things too much.
  14. Just an FYI on "cheaper alternatives", even if something is naturally GF, the safest brand without cross-contamination might be double the cost. Bulk bins are not safe. Cheap lentils are not safe (I buy the Palouse brand on Amazon, but they are double the cost of the ones at Aldi - DH did react to the store brands). Regular oatmeal is not safe (and GF-certified oats are often organic, which costs more). Store-brand nuts usually have a cross-contamination label (Planters are okay here but others have issues, and is usually fine). So keep that in mind when people recommend subbing oatmeal for cereal and lentils for meat. Sticking to specific brands isn't going to make the cost savings as pronounced as it would with someone who doesn't have to read labels. DH has celiac and I have a wheat allergy. We eat every single meal at home (or bring it with us), shop at Aldi and Costco, and average about $975/month in a low-moderate COLA. It's high, but we also can't order pizza, DH can't go out to eat at work, sometimes I have to feed extra kids who are used to gluten-filled meals (and I am NOT cleaning up tacos and rice after six kids, sorry), and we don't have relatives ever feeding us because we eat before we go (or bring it with us). And I know GF hamburger buns are expensive, but sometimes you just need a freaking burger. Still cheaper than a restaurant, but you can't hide it from your grocery bill in a separate category.
  15. It's not a dinner recipe, but sometimes I cook quinoa in apple juice with chopped apples, cinnamon, and vanilla and eat it for breakfast. I usually add milk and a pinch of brown sugar to my bowl.
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