BAM Family

BAM Family

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meng Menu +tips for saving on meat

Sunday: BBQ beef sandwiches, chips, veggies
Monday: Flavorful (flounder) cod, rice, green beans
Wednesday: Scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, fruit
Thursday: General Tso’s chicken, fried rice w/ peas and carrots
Friday: BLTs, chips, carrots
Saturday: Chicken parmesan, pasta w/ marinara sauce, salad

Here's our menu for the week! I was really trying to keep our grocery bill low this week and I ended up spending $105 which included guinea pig food ($7), toilet paper ($6), shampoo ($3), and body wash ($3) for me. I wish the final tally had been less but oh well. 

I'm sure this is not a news flash to anyone, but I've found that a good way to save (and still have meat for dinner every meal) is to shop sales and stretch meat over two meals. 

The BBQ sandwiches are leftovers from our london broil yesterday night. 

I bought a bag of frozen cod on sale for $10 last week and we had it for a meal last week and this week. 

The chicken on Tuesday and Saturday I am using from a BOGO free Tyson boneless/skinless frozen chicken I got 2 weeks ago. Bone in Chicken breasts were also on sale this week for 99c a pound so I am going to use some for making soup for lunch for me and for the General Tso's chicken on Thursday. 

Breakfast for dinner is always a good money saver. I really like a brand of turkey sausage that I can buy for $1.89. It goes on sale frequently for $1 each but this week it wasn't on sale. Plus, eggs are a great source of protein and are really inexpensive for dinner (or breakfast!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pregnancy Diary 19-28 weeks

Well, it's been about 10 weeks since I did my last pregnancy diary post. Here are my thoughts--and my 4 year old twins thoughts--about my pregnancy in these past few months:

May 22: ‎(Benji, laying on my shoulder with his hand on my belly) Me: did you feel THAT?! Benji: (beyond excited) YES!!!!!

May 23: pink or blue? Only 7 more days till we find out!!!

May 24: it's 10:30pm. Time to eat cereal. BABY WANT FOOOOOD!

May 28: Micah: "But I don't WANT a new baby! I want it to go away!" Sorry kiddo....have a feeling that he is going to be a little jealous when Baby Q arrives....

May 29: Benji: Tomorrow, we get to see the baby in mommy's tummy on the TV! (a sonogram from a 4 year olds perspective)

May 30: soooo exhausted today....

Later: Boy or Girl? Appointment at 3:15 today!

Later: Well, looks like more snips and snails and puppy dog tails for this family. We're having a boy! (<-- click here for sonogram pictures and my thoughts about having 3 boys!!)

May 31: Trying to get excited about having a 3rd boy.

June 4: Micah got to feel his baby brother kick tonight!

June 5: wow! Baby is kicking so hard it is making me jump! Sounds like he is going to fit right in with his active older brothers! (I am scared....)

June 13: sleep as avoided me for night 2. :P

June 14: finally got a good sleep last night!

Later: just ate chips and salsa and a bowl of fruit loops for lunch. I must be pregnant, or something.

June 15: had a great time visiting with Debbie today! And I got a taste of what it will be like to have a newborn!

June 18: WOW! I received a brand-new stroller and baby tub today from a friend (Glory) (who got them from another friend who was baby-stuff purging)! They are perfect and I couldn't have picked out anything better myself! So thankful!

June 20: watching my belly shake with baby kicks. Always cool and kinda weird.

June 21: heartburn? from water? seriously? :P

June 22: someone searched "June 2012 Belly Shots" and found my blog. At first I was like, "wha-a-a-a-t???" Then I realized that the post was my 20 week pregnancy belly post. Wonder if that is what they were looking for....

June 24: Pregnancy perspective from a man: Me: Pregnancy is LONG. Aaron: Just be glad you're not an elephant. (Very true, my dear, very true).

June 26: naps for me and the boys this afternoon. Mmmmm....

June 27: Baby Q officially has a name! Silas Edward Meng :)

June 28: successfully went through ALL my baby clothes today (newborn-2T). With older twin brothers, Silas is not going to lack for clothes Except for 9-12 months. At this point, he will be naked because I cannot seem to find any 9-12 month clothes. What happened?

Weight gain so far: 16 lbs
July 3: (5 day Power outage!) Thankful to have some heat relief and a shower today but also feeling tired and cranky

July 3: tried to take a nap today but was thwarted by my pregnancy bladder and a fly who insisted on attacking my face.

July 5: My unborn child apparently views my bladder as his personal punching/kicking bag....oi!

July 6: Can I just stay in bed all morning? Yawn.........

July 6: people still don't realize I'm pregnant if I am sitting!

Later: Just put away all the clothes that don't currently fit me. Wonder when I will see them again...hopefully in about 6-8 months...

July 7: Being pregnant makes you consider normally insane ideas, like "if I had a catheter would I be able to sleep through the night? Hmmm...." I must be going nuts....

July 9: Abnormally exhausted today. Forcing myself to function. And my boys are wild! Sigh....

July 10: Spent the evening on etsy looking at baby nursery décor for Silas. :D

July 12: Total weight 19 pounds. had a doctor's appt this morning. Everything looks good. Baby/belly is measuring right on track. Talked about varicose vein leg pain.

July 13: has officially out-grown a pair of pregnancy capris. Thank goodness Brittany Meng Rollins (my sis-in-law) helped a girl out by sending me her maternity clothes!

Later: sewing burp cloths for Silas! :D

July 15: just watched The Business of Being Born (full documentary on youtube!) Excellent and inspiring!

July 16: Dear Energy, 1 hour? That is all it took for you to abandon me? please come back! I need you!

Later: agenda for this afternoon: Rest.

July 18: just ate a 2nd bowl of pasta and chicken. One for me, one for Silas. Right? :)

July 24: Best thing about a pregnant mama according to a 4 year old boy: Getting to push in the popped out belly button and say "BEEP!" hahah!

July 25: Benji: "Baby Silas is going to GROW! He is going to grow into a baby sister!"
Sorry, honey. That is not how these things work...

Later: working on diapers for Silas. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pillowcases and Matthew 7:11

It has been one of "those days" at the Meng house. 
A boys-fighting, boys-biting, boys-pinching, mommy-going-nuts, mommy-yelling, "mommy-you-aren't-my-friend-anymore!!!!", crazy kind of day. 
 Yesterday, fully in love with my children, I bought 2 yards of CARS flannel to make pillow cases for Micah and Benji. Today, after exhausting what little pregnancy energy I have (it was only 10am) yelling at the boys and shutting them in their room to lick their (literal) wounds from fighting, I thought:

"They don't deserve for me to make them something special! They are so bad! UGGG!"

While still shaking with anger I prayed, "God, you better give me wisdom right now because I don't know how to deal with these boys!"

Well, we all calmed down and talked about brotherly love and all that stuff. 
And a verse came to my mind:

Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

In that brief moment, I felt humbled and thankful. And I wanted to make the pillow cases again. So here they are, along with the little hooligans I made them for.

 They were so easy! I made two in 30 minutes (Definitely my kind of project. Fast and instant gratification). 
The boys LOVE them! 
 Here is Micah ready for nap time with his new pillowcase
Benji loves his too!

Glad you like these gifts, boys. 
Heaven knows I have been given so much more. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meng Menu + Sauteed Kale with Bacon and Onion Recipe

Sunday: London Broil, smashed red potatoes, garden salad
Monday: Crispy pan fried cod, parmesan rice, green beans
Tuesday: Frozen pizza, salad
Wednesday: Chicken pot pie
Thursday: Grilled pork chops, smashed potatoes, sauteed kale w/ bacon and onions (RECIPE below!)
Friday: Sandwiches, veggies, chips
Saturday: Homemade Biscuits and gravy, fruit salad

Wow. I haven't done a Meng Menu post in a while. The 5 day power outage we had at the beginning of July really threw me off. 

But I am back today! I stayed at budget at $125 today. We were actually given the London Broil by Aaron's aunt and uncle who are embracing a vegetarian diet. Win for us! The original price on the broil was $17! I would NEVER spend that much on a piece of meat so I am very happy to have it (and I have another one in the freezer too)!

We have been enjoying Kale from our garden this summer. Here is how I make it frequently:

Sautéed Kale w/ bacon and onions
Serves 4

20 stalks of kale (or more), washed, removed from stalks and torn into bite sized pieces (This may seem like a lot but Kale, like all greens, cooks WAY down)
1/2-3/4 cup Chicken stock (fresh or use a 1/2 TSP chicken bullion)
2 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 TSP minced garlic
2 TBS minced onion
1/2 lemon, juiced or 2 TBS red wine vinegar (if desired)

Make it!
Saute bacon pieces in a large skillet (that has a lid) until crispy. Remove from skillet, reserving drippings. Add onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute (or less). Add chicken stock and stir briefly. Stuff  kale in skillet and turn in liquid with tongs. Cover and braise for 5-10 minutes (until desired doneness), stirring 1-2 times. Add bacon back in. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon/vinegar (if desired). Cook and stir for 2-3 more minutes. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

DIY Burp Cloths

You can never, ever have enough burp cloths when you have a newborn. Unfortunately, even though I have twins, I don't have any burp cloths left. They got worn out, stained beyond respectable use, or just plain nasty. So, today I sewed a dozen burp cloths for our new little guy-on-the-way.
(the formatting is really screwed up on this post...not sure how to fix it...sorry!)
 Burp cloths are really easy to make. I won't do a tutorial here because it would be easier to google "burp cloth tutorial"
Basically, I cut two rectangles of fabric with rounded corners and put them right sides together. Then I sewed around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a 2-3 inch opening. I then turned and top stitched (a narrow stitch around the perimeter of the burp cloth to sew the opening shut). Done!
 This is a great fabric stash busting project! I didn't buy any fabric to make these. In fact, I upcycled several pieces of clothing to make these! The black plaid was a pair of Aaron's shorts that had a tear.
 These green plaid ones were a pair of Aaron's pj pants that were really worn out. 
 These burp cloths are made out of a pair of really soft corduroy pants.
These cloths are from the lining of a skirt that I didn't like. All the cloths are backed wit recycled flannel from Micah and Benji's old receiving blankets. So, this little project is a whole family affair! Shorts/pants from Daddy, blankets from big brothers, sewn by Mommy!

Now I have a dozen new burp cloths for Silas Edward! Think I have enough?? I'm not sure.... 
I also made these six for a friend who is having a girl.These cloths are backed by new white flannel.

They are so pretty! I hope she likes them. :) 
(I did a little upcycling on these too--the blue flowered fabric is from a skirt and the pink flowered is from a sundress. I love finding new purposes for unused garments!)

Burp cloths are so easy and inexpensive to make. I really enjoyed making them special for our new little boy. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Adult Homeschoolers Speak Out: Stereotypes: Better or worse today?

Homeschooling is surrounded by stereotypes. Here are a few:

Long Jean skirt
Weirdo kids
Socially Awkward
"Is that even legal?!"
"What about college?"
All homeschoolers are socially awkward
"There must be something wrong with the kids, otherwise the parents wouldn't be doing that"
Religious fanatics

And the list goes on. 

When I wrote my Socialization post, I said that the #1 question homeschoolers got was "What about Socialization????

When I was growing up, this was actually the #2 question.

The number one question I got when I told someone I was homeschooled was:

"What's that?"

Nowadays, everyone knows SOMEONE who has been homeschooled. But that doesn't mean that stereotypes have gone away or even changed.

Here is the survey Question:

Do you think public thoughts/emotions/opinions have changed about homeschooling today? Briefly explain.

The answers I got were all over the board:

Enjoy the answers below: they range from hilarious to bitter to though-provoking to wise.

37% or 17 adults said YES! Public opinion has changed--for the BETTER!

Corinna R. 35 from VA: Absolutely! One of the common questions I would get was "You what?!? How does that work?" Now it is common and accepted and as a whole more mature.

Jerusha C. 30 from VA: Yes! Very much so! My sister and I were like freaks to other people! And most of the other homeschool families we knew smelled like pee! Now it is much different now.

Stuart G. 29 from VA: I think it has changed. I believe home-schooling used to be considered abnormal. The stereotypes range from controlling religious fanatics to lazy families neglecting the true value of education, and everything in between. While these scenarios can be true, most of the time they are misconceptions, and I believe that more and more of the population realize that. Many now view home-schooling as a progressive approach, emphasizing the value of a self-tailored education.

Renee P. 30 from MS: When I was little and first started homeschooling it was kind of a new thing and everyone said I would never be able to get into college. I think homeschoolers have shown that this is not a problem anymore, and actually I don't think it ever was. Seeing a generation of homeschool students grow up and be very successful, especially academically has helped. As homeschooling has become more popular more people know homeschoolers and they find them "normal". I think that has helped change the image for the better. On the other hand as more people homeschool, more homeschool for the wrong reasons or don't do a good job with it. When I started it was kind of a novelty and only people who were 100% committed did it.

Stacey M. 29 from WV:
Definitely. Back in my day, no one had even heard of homeschooling and people assumed that my brother and I were mentally disabled and could not attend public school. I had to jump through many hoops and cut through a lot of red tape to attend college. In contrast, my younger brothers (11th and 12th grade currently) have no lack of social interactions and opportunities to do pretty much what they like. I've even noticed some comments on their Facebook about other kids being jealous.

Joshua M. 27 from MS:
Yes. More people are willing to accept it as an alternative, even outside of the church.

Christy L. 28 from CA:
Yes, I think that homeschooled kids are seen as more "normal" today than they were in the 90s. I remember my family attending a homeschool convention in Wisconsin when I was in 1st grade and it was so brothers and I didn't fit in at all, the other kids there were so extremely sheltered that they didn't own TVs or listen to music other than hymns. Today, you do still find some homeschool families like that, but the number seems 

20% or 9 adults said No, negativity and stereotypes are still very prevalent 

Kaitlin G. 22 from KS: No, people think that families who homeschool have something wrong with them and I feel like there are a lot of negative things associated with homeschoolers.

Beka R. 25 from KS: I think they have to a small extent - fewer people immediately judge a woman's ability to teach her children now, and most know that predominantly, homeschoolers have solid academic backing. 

I think that many of the stereotypes about socialization still exist. I think the examples of "homeschooled homeschoolers" that people see are kids who would be weird in public school too... goodness knows there's no shortage of weird kids in any environment! I think that there is still a huge and predominant bias against homeschooling. 

I do worry about some of the families who I see homeschooling sometimes... without a strong focus on academics, you're really doing your kids an injustice. If they can't read and write, what's the point? Sometimes I see parents who seem a little lazy and that makes me very sad, not only for their kids, but for the future of homeschooling in general. 

Jeremy T. 25 from VA: As far as the public, not at all. People still think homeschoolers play and don't do anything and aren't social people at all. They can think what they want, but they will never know unless they experience it. 

Melissa G. 26 from VA: Not really. We're still seen as overly Christianized families with too many children and absolutely no social skills. We're just harassed less by the government now.

Matt W. 30 from OH: There is a stigma attached to home schooling that only Bible thumping fundamentalist Christians are the ones who home school their children. It’s my personal opinion that this still how the public views homeschooling. Technology and the internet make home school much more accessible and possible. I feel that most people would assume that if you are home schooling your child either the family is extremely religious or something is wrong with the child.

Emily M. 26 from FL: I still believe a lot of people have all of homeschoolers lumped into this big sort of dorky group of socially challenged individuals. I don't often hear good things about homeschooling unless I go looking for it. Those that have been in the homeschool environment though, still often continue to sing its praises.

40% or 18 adults had mixed responses about how they think the public views homeschooling/homeschoolers today

Laura H. 34 from NE: I think it depends on the location. Here in Nebraska there is usually a favorable reaction. I encountered discrimination while in Iowa though (e.g. "you'll never be able to pass classes in college") where it's less common. 

Nara N. 30 from NC: Yes, it seems much more normal, and people know about it and what it is. There are all kinds of programs geared towards homeschoolers (like from the public library, community music schools, and public parks/recreation departments) and many more options (curriculum, online, hybrid w/public school) than there were. 

One bad thing, I think because it is easier to choose to homeschool, there are more people doing it now who really shouldn’t be, i.e. they are not committed to putting in the work to make sure their kids do school and learn. I don’t know an answer to this problem, because I do think parents should be free to determine their children’s education, even if they make a bad choice. It is not the government’s job to step in. 

Samantha C. 24 from MO: In some ways, yes. It’s not just for crazy religious nutjobs anymore, but it still seems to be considered pretty “fringe.”

Courtney M. 22 from VA: I think that some people are realizing that homeschoolers can be somewhat normal people, but it is a slow process. There is still the stereotype in people’s minds to where a girl walks down the hallway in a T-shirt, jean skirt, tube socks and tennis shoes and the first thing people think is “she was homeschooled” and they’re probably right. Thank goodness I never had that kind of look, but I think there are enough homeschoolers like that still around who keep the stereotype “alive”. But I think enough “normal people” homeschoolers are emerging that they are not as rare as they used to be and people are getting more used to that.

Christine M. 31 from KS: Yes and no. It really depends on who you talk to. I do think that since there are more and more homeschooled students out in "the real world" now, people are seeing and hearing more about the positives of homeschooling (other than the going to school in your pajamas assumption) and realizing that we're not all a bunch of unsocialized nerds who can recite the Declaration of Independence backwards but can't carry on a conversation.
Jonathan M. 30 from TX: Yes and no. We are more accepted, but we are still thought of as odd.

Marybeth M. 29 from CA: The whole viewpoint and ability to homeschool has changed a lot over the years. There's so much available to homeschoolers now, as far as co-ops, school activities and such. The stigma about homeschooling is either the kids are super smart and over educated or really sheltered. And both are true. I fall in the over sheltered category.

Bradley H. 23 from VA: To a degree. There are more “sects” of homeschoolers now (“unschooling” and others) which is a detriment to the practice. But I do feel that homeschoolers have proven themselves to be intelligent and resourceful, as well as able to function in the world.

Megan W. 27 from GA: I think people are more open to it. When my grandparents found out my sisters and I were being homeschooled they didn't tell anyone because it was so unusual. Of course there's that group of people who think all homeshoolers watch TV all day and have no social skills. And there are homeschoolers how fit that generalization. :-)

Personally, I fall into the YES! category. I am so glad that people actually know what homeschooling is today, that homeschool students have exhibited success both personally and academically, and that current homeschoolers have so many more opportunities today. 

I know lots of parents who are currently homeschooling or planning to homeschool and it just seems "normal." Oh, how times have changed--for the BETTER!

What about you?

Do you think stereotypes about homeschooling/homeschoolers are still very prevalent? 
If you were homeschooled, do you think thoughts/opinions about homeschooling have changed for the better?
If you currently homeschool, what stereotypes do you fight against today? 

Please feel free to comment or ask questions. I'd love to hear from you! 

Also, if you feel that this post or series would be interesting or educational for others, please feel free to link to Facebook or other social networking sites. You can "like" this post with the button below. 

This series is almost at an end. I have one more post I would like to write, a rather controversial post. In today's post, I addressed stereotypes that the public has/had about homeschoolers. 

In the next post, I want to address stereotypes or damaging attitudes that homeschoolers hold about non-homeschoolers, specifically attitudes and beliefs that I have had to overcome now that I am outside the "homeschool bubble." Stay posted....

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