Monday, December 31, 2012

'Possum Drop: More to the Story

Generally by this time of the evening I'm ready to dish out a play-by-play of our day. And, in spite of my doomy gloomy predictions, today was remarkably good. Unfortunately, I will not have amazing stories to tell about the 2012 'Possum Drop because tonight I am not in attendance. My plan is to have The Preacher catch you up on all the goings on at some point tomorrow. Instead, I am here to offer you a bit of insight into the story of The 'Possum Drop - as I understand it.

Let me preface by saying that I absolutely adore Tallapoosa, GA. There are very few locales enticing enough in which to consider working, raising my family, and serving a church - all at the same time. Here, in our little  metropolis we have it all. There are not many communities where you can find fairly equal dosing of Historical Society and Garden Clubs balanced by a strong Chamber of Commerce and Better Hometown crew. We have generous arts patrons as well as the gang that prefers whatever's on tap at Johnny's Bar. Yes, we have a dichotomy of culture, but that is part of what makes Tallapoosa fun and quirky and interesting and a delight to serve.

Knowing this background will help you better understand that not every Tallapoosian is a fan of the notorious 'Possum Drop.

Gasp! Who doesn't love this, strange though it may be, claim to fame? There are those, and those I love dearly, who hold strongly to the belief that 'Possum Snout and Tallapoosa were historically two separate entities and these two entities never became one. They say 'Possum Snout was more on the outskirts of Tallapoosa and, similarly to other early settled communities, it slowly disappeared until there was nothing left. It seems, as they tell it, there's not much even there today - perhaps a still or two - to mark that there ever was such a place. (And we will certainly not even entertain the thought that said still might be active!) Thus the feeling has developed among a certain segment of our beloved populous that a celebration of the place called 'Possum Snout with a New Year's 'Possum Drop is not a celebration of Tallapoosa. And, they feel, it is rather a base and vile thing to attempt the association.

Then we have the other side of Tallapoosa, the "New Blood," if you will. (It would be appropriate to note at this point that not all of the "New Blood" is new nor does all the "Old Blood" qualify as old. They are merely being used as appropriate qualifiers since any other and better term is, at this time, lacking.) This side of the town fence is always looking for ways to promote Tallapoosa and enlighten the world about the joys rural living has to offer. They are the ones who, much to the disgust of the others, would willingly plaster opossums, both dead and alive, to anything that is marginally associated with our 33 degrees North by 85 degrees West. The New Blood likens themselves to the idea that all exposure is good exposure.

Truthfully, I think most of us just fall somewhere in between the two Tallapoosa extremes. We don't let our disagreements about whether dropping an opossum is tacky or good for business come between us. We love each other, we like to have fun, and if a big, stuffed 'possum named Spencer hanging upside down in a lighted sphere helps out local businesses a few times a year, then why not?

~Megan

NOTE:

I would be remiss if I did not also mention there is a third, though not necessarily member of the community, group having something to say about our annual 'Possum Drop. There are those of the animal rights persuasion who suffer greatly on behalf of the opossums of the world; who are soundly disturbed that we are so insensitive and uncultured as to use and abuse a poor, innocent opossum in our reckless pursuit of New Year's fun. For y'all, let's get it straight right now: Our dear Spencer was more than willing to sacrifice the body his sweet 'possum spirit was no long in need of when the Lord took him on to Glory that warm spring morning in the late 90's on the side of Highway 120 miraculously near the home of the taxidermist extraordinaire, Mr. Bud Jones. The end. Thank you very much.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 12 - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

So what if I've been under the weather and zonked out of my mind on codeine and want to reach into the recesses of my mind for an Eastwood fix? Maybe I'm feeling the need to channel Clint Eastwood to be able to make it through these next few days that I am feeling are going to get interesting. Although, reviewing the last two weeks and looking over the next two to come I am thinking that I may just have one up on our favorite outlaw.

An afternoon with Cousin Jack,
Aunt Suzanne, Uncle Dan, & Jonah
I noticed this morning that Denys's attitude is getting a little surly. (Yes, I did use the word, surly.) Well, I didn't notice because it's difficult to notice anything when your head is swimming from a codeine induced slumber the night before, but Jason noticed that when asked to get dressed Denys began huffing and puffing and rolled his eyes. Now, this didn't lapse into total drama and he straightened up quickly, but the big bad wolf has raised his ugly head and we both realize it. He also got rather grumpy when I took him to a new Sunday School class. I thought he might enjoy being with the older crowd, but he wasn't happy about the move and tried to ignore me. And finally, when headed out to play with Cousin Jack today, he refused to take his coat - flat out refused - so he went to play in the 30 degree weather without it. As we come to find out, he found a coat, for which we are grateful.

I also noticed (when momentarily recovering from my stupor) that he is looking a bit peaked and has some bags under his eyes. These have not appeared before and in my parenting prowess I am wondering . . . .
S'mores!

Is he sleeping? Or is he up playing video games when he's supposed to be sleeping?
How much candy is he consuming unbeknownst to us? (I refrained from taking a photo of his trashcan - full of candy wrappers.)
In the midst of feeling cruddy and the my own kiddos coughing and hacking is Denys beginning to come down with something and I've just been too self-involved to notice?

I know you see it. I do too. I'm am learning that my parenting skills are SHABBY! My own know the rules and they know how to follow and the subsequent consequences if they choose a different path. I've been training them from the get-go. Getting one this late in the game requires vigilance and discipline and energy and I've been fresh out of those qualities this week.

The good news is that all his candy has been eaten. Yay! (Please don't give us any more.) We've commandeered what's left in the rest of our house and should be able to make it the next two weeks mostly candy free . . . and if we can make it two more weeks then we can go on and on and on and on . . . Ah, now you're catching on to the long-term plan!

Tomorrow morning I will be taking up the video game. I'm not sure where he's hiding it because I was unable to find it this afternoon, but it is somewhere. It will be mine until evening and then I will take it up again when it's time for bed. This kiddo needs as much sleep as my own do and I will not let him get sick because I didn't want him to be mad at me.

Tomorrow is Clean Monday. Usually around here we have Clean Friday, but we have skipped that for 2 weeks and it's time to get this house back into order. Everyone will have a job to do, surly attitudes or not, and we will accomplish a great deal. Even if it has to be done with cough meds on board. (No more codeine, thank you.)


Once we get the house clean the kids will be able to enjoy the New Year's Eve festivities . . . And who can't wait for the post reviewing the Tallapoosa 'Possum Drop?!?!?

~Meg

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 10 - Mama Needed a Break

I don't know if The Preacher realized it, or if God just orchestrated our day in such a way, but Jason took the boys out with him for most of the day and I spend the morning and most of the afternoon with the girls and my Grandmother. I even fit in a little nap while Anna Ruth was snoozing. (Best part of the day!) It was a much needed break for this mama who is still battling laryngitis. Ew.

My fellas went rabbit hunting with some dear friends that are in town from Jacksonville, FL. I'm not sure they saw any rabbits, but the boys had a fantastic time running around and being boys.

After the trek through the outer reaches or Haralson County, Jason dropped the boys off with me at the newly renovated library (very nice!) and went to check on his grandmother, Mamaw Sanders, who has been put back into the hospital. Please stop now and ask God take care of this very special lady who has experienced more than her fair share of illness the last 3 weeks.

We met some of our BFFs at the library and we moms quickly decided that maybe a library wasn't the best place on the planet for 8 kiddos to play and catch-up on the goings on in kid world. So, we moved our little (he he) party to Chick-fil-A. Let me give a big fat shout-out to the inventor of the indoor playground - GENIUS! Thankfully, we were there for an early dinner so our babies got the run of the place for a good hour; they worked that little playroom over. Once other families began to arrive we figured it was time to move our brood home and call it a night - early.

I had my crew showered by 6:30 and settled in ready for a movie. I was attempting to start a fire - failing miserably - and Jason came in and saved the day. We watched Madagascar 3 (not as funny as the first 2) and they are all in bed before 9pm! Wah-hoo! We are learning that Denys really prefers the Tom & Jerry/Looney Tunes type movies and this wasn't his first choice tonight. Usually J & M will give in to his desires, but he was out voted and the creepy, but hysterical, King Julian won out.

Obviously we got no school done today, but without a voice that would have been an effort in futility and we would have all ended up frustrated. I figured I would let it go and shoot for Monday. No voice does mean that there's a certainly level of control I feel I don't have right now and attempting school might have added to that feeling. The finger snap is working and the "Mom Look" can still shoot flames into their souls. However, I miss a nice elevated vocal rebuke. Maybe it is time to get creative and look for other ways to keep attitudes and actions in check. Ideas?

It's better late than never, but pray for us all as we try to begin a real "routine" next week. We've got to get some discipline back into our lives and need to figure out what our new routine is going to be. Of course, throw New Year's into that mix and it's looking like Denys's entire trip here will be nothing but a big party. I feel we'll be doing him a bit of a disservice if that is the case, but am at a loss as to how to fix it. From the outside looking in, we play all the time. This mama is tired of playing and is ready for some order in her life and home again.

So, the 3 prayer requests tonight are:

Mamaw Sanders
A Voice
Returning to Discipline in our home!

~Meg

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 9 - Are We There Already?

The first week has flown by. We have all learned a lot about each other and not an insignificant amount about ourselves.

We've been a bit slower yesterday and today. (Thank goodness!) And we have cousin Jack over to play today. I'm officially down for the count and am hoping that the good Dr. Hendricker has some excellent pharmaceuticals in his stash he is willing to share with my poor sinuses and throat. Jason is going to take over this afternoon and keep everyone busy and away from the video games. That being said . . .

There are some members of the fam
that LOVE the snuggle time that comes
with  video game time!
We've hit our first hump in the road and, not surprisingly, it's over video games. The truth is, I don't get video games; I never really have. I enjoyed The Super Mario Bros. back in the day, but there's so much more I could be doing with my time I don't understand why someone would want to sit and play in an imaginary world all day long. That being said, I realize there are plenty of people who do enjoy them and find great relaxation in that imaginary world. I also remember a gal who spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica when she graduated from high school. In the evenings she would watch MTv - not because she was particularly fond of MTv, but because it was in ENGLISH and after a day of Spanish-only communication she needed something that (sort of) resembled home. So, I totally get that Denys is needing some down time and a way to relax away from this crazy world where we go and do all the time and people are always trying to talk with him and he doesn't understand. However, I must draw the line at the Nintendo DS at the breakfast table. No dice, kiddo.

I had planned to start school again next week, but it's looking like tomorrow morning might be a better idea. School early and then play in the afternoon. Video games for only a short while before bed. Does this sound like a good plan? Anyone?

Denys and Jonah at the Christmas Tourney at HCHS.
Tonight was our first high school basket ball game of the season - Go Rebels! Denys seems to have a good time, but in the middle of a free throw by one of our good friends we had to have a quick lesson via Google Translate: Ми не використовуємо слово "лайно". Це не дуже гарне слово.  (We don't use the word "s**t." It is not a very nice word.) He just gave me a big grin and I kept a straight face, but had to giggle on the inside. It's a smart cookie that tests his bounds so subtly. He realizes we run a pretty tight ship, but he seems to be up to the challenge!

I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to brag on the rest of the gang around here. I caught this picture in Jonah's room early this morning. Do you see what it is? It's his Bible; open and laid out and ready to pic up where he left off. It's an awesome (and convicting) thing when your kiddos realize the need to pursue God in their own lives and without prompting. I'm thinking the Bible was a good "Santa" choice this year. Thank you Lifeway for great deals on fantastic Bibles during the summer!

We also had an exciting event here last night (Day 8). Jason received a call from the Atlanta CBS affiliate wanting to interview him regarding some ministry the church had done over Christmas. So, we did a 10 minute quick-clean and had Mike Paluska and his cameraman, Ray, in our dining room taking video of our Christmas tree and The Preacher. Unfortunately, Ray had his wide angle camera lens going and caught me hanging out in the corner. Ew. But, it was fun and something that certainly doesn't happen every day. It was also a cool thing for Denys to see and to be a part of . . . though he was quickly more interested in playing video games. Surprise, surprise. (Watch the video link here:  CBS Atlanta Video ) We encouraged Mr. Paluska to check into NHFC while he was looking for "feel good, holiday stories," and gave him the NHFC contact info. Hopefully he will have an opportunity to do a story on hosting and promote these amazing kiddos very soon.

It's getting late and I have one kiddo screaming for her daddy, two talking in bed, and one (are you ready for it?) playing video games in bed. They're all supposed to be sleeping. Thanks to Doctor Hendricker and his great shots and new cough meds I plan to beat them to it. Here's to a good night's sleep and a tomorrow that brings with it the ability to talk!

~Megan


Here's a bonus pic we found
in the HCHS Hall of fame? 
Who is that handsome football player?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Days 6 & 7 - Christmas!

I think it would be impossible to fit all of these last two days into one blog post. We have had an amazing time and I have seen more gigantic smiles on the face of an orphaned Ukrainian that I'd have ever expected.

Let me reiterate that we were told to expect a child that did not know how to be grateful. We were told to expect a kid that would need to be told how to introduce himself and how to hug. None of these expectations have been Denys. He played all afternoon with my cousins - with whom he's now planning play dates next week. After one lesson he greets everyone with a smile on his face and an outstretched hand. And tonight, when leaving Jason's family's Christmas party he got up, of his own accord, and gave everyone hugs before we left! Ladies and Gentlemen, THAT is a Christmas miracle.

Yes, NHFC, I confess that we have spoiled Denys rotten. Maybe he hasn't had time to be angry or upset because he arrived just in time for the Christmas festivities to begin. Perhaps tomorrow we'll have a major melt-down and an all out fit fest. But we'll worry about that when tomorrow arrives.

For tonight we will sleep knowing that the "stuff" we gave up for Christmas this year was totally and completely worth it. Jason and I haven't missed a thing. Our children haven't missed a thing. And, if nothing else, Denys has gained the perspective and understanding that he is valuable and worthy of love.

Thank you family for doing what you do so well and absorbing Denys as if he's always been one of us.

~Meg

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for us as we begin a "normal" routine over the next several days. 
  2. Pray that Denys transitions easily into the life that is not always a party.
  3. As we are all tired and worn down and sickness is beginning to appear, pray that we will conquer and not succumb.
  4. Pray that God has prepared a home for Denys and that He would make this abundantly clear to this family.
  5. Pray for me as the reality of living with a 14-year-old Ukrainian is beginning to sink in. Pray that God grace me with exorbitant patience and gentleness. And as the giving is beginning to hurt, pray that God show more grace to me who is much in need.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Days 4 & 5

I am so excited about a long afternoon and evening with nothing to do! The 3 big kiddos have been riding bikes and playing. The temperature is entirely too cold for me, but if your general geographic location is closer to Siberia, then temps in the 40s don't seem painfully low. (That means Denys doesn't even have on a coat!) We are short one adult sized bicycle helment, so we are improvising and Denys will be riding in a baseball helment. Hey, the rules say he must wear a helment; a helment is a helment? Right? Once inside, it was time for the Wii. Here's a little clip of the moment I like to call "I Might Lose My TV."

video


This morning was our first time at church. The nursery workers were stoked we brought the screaming monkey Anna Ruth received from Honey & Papa. (Hmmm . . . another video might be in order.) Denys went to class with Jonah and Millie Grace. That crowd was probably a bit young for him, but Mrs. Wanda and Mrs. Pattie are two of the best Sunday School teachers we have at FBCT so if he was going to learn anything he would certainly do it there. I'm sure he didn't understand much, but our church family loved on him anyway. I caught him copying the inscription of the Lord's Supper Table on his doodle paper. "This do in remembrance of me." I was gently reminded that it's in remembrance of what Christ has done that's entirely the reason Denys is here!

How Denys would've spent the entire weekend,
if we'd let him!
We had lunch at the wonderful Crossroads Restaurant here in Tallapoosa. (If you've never been let me share that it gets 4-Stars for a great Sunday Buffet of country cooking at incredibly reasonable prices.) Denys's plate looked a bit different than what I would have let my kiddos choose normally - fried chicken, puree (mashed potatoes), twice baked potato, macaroni & cheese and a biscuit. A plate full of starches! He put a hurting on it and as long as he's not hungry, I'm good.

I had every intention of blogging when we got home last night, but our 2 hour trip was rather elongated  We were all very sleepy and grumpy when we tumbled through the door at 9:30pm and I sent everyone to bed - ASAP!

Trying on Papa's old helments!

I have always known I have a fantastic family. Dad, Mom, Abby, Wes, and Taylor are some of the coolest people I know, but getting to see them in action, loving on a kid with whom they can't fluently communicate and whom they've never met, is truly a beautiful thing. These guys did such a great job helping Denys feel comfortable that we all got to learn more about him that we didn't know - he can do back-hand-springs!

Since Abby and Wesley shared Dexter, their boxer, we got to see how much Denys loves dogs and how gently he is willing to play - or not so gently as the case may be. Mom & Dad shared their time and food and home and toys. Denys was so comfortable that he asked my mom if he could bring home a couple of her old Hot Wheels cars - the Ferrari and the Porsche  And I have to give a shout-out to my little bro. I've never noticed before, but he gives the most AWESOME hugs - the kind that just wrap you up and don't let you wiggle until he's done. For a kid without a family this is a BIG deal!

This weekend I've seen Denys interact with Anna Ruth a bit more and even help her up when she's fallen. He's playing until he's wiped out and sleeps soundly until at least 7am. (And yes, I know this because baby monitors aren't good only monitoring babies!) He seems a bit more adamant about the things he doesn't like, but not to the point of anger or acting out. Jason and I are able to use Google Translate (the app we couldn't live without!) to make sure he understands what we want him to, but he is not as efficient at using the Ukrainian keyboard so we're not sure what he's thinking. He seems plenty happy and I suppose as long as he's smiling we're in good shape. We'll have him call the chaperone again tonight to check-in and get ready to celebrate Christmas with the big families tomorrow and Tuesday.

Merry Christmas and (Jason's new holiday greeting of choice) Happy Incarnation!

~Megan



Days 4 & 5 - Coming Soon!

For those of you who have asked about last night's post I apologize. Our 2 hour trip home from Macon took about 3.5 hours. By the time we walked into the door everyone was nearly asleep and some of us were sick.

Since there's no church this evening I am going to take the nap of the year (Jason has kiddo duty) and I promise that tonight, while catching up on 4 days worth of laundry (for 6!) that I will post all about yesterday and today.

Thank goodness for this quiet downtime!

~Meg

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 3 - Shopping and Christmas Presents

Wow. I am completely exhausted. The day has been good, but maybe too busy. I'm ready for a break!

Breakfast was MiniWheats this morning. And again, not a complaint but an empty bowl. I'm thinking I could serve this kid something from Granny Clampett's kitchen and he would eat it 'til it's gone.

After breakfast we all got dressed and 7 of us headed to Dr. Monte Murphy's office for Denys's eye care visit. I have to say this was the BEST eye doctor experience of my life. I was envious that I wasn't the patient. Dr. Murphy's staff was a bit unsure about the prospect of treating a Ukrainian, but he never missed a beat and said that Denys's eyes were nearly perfect and he wouldn't have to worry about a thing until he was 40 - Denys was thrilled at that prognosis!

We came home and had a quick lunch (that he wasn't interested in) and he and I headed out with Papa (my dad) to do some clothes shopping. I am thankful for Old Navy! We found super clothes at fabulous prices and he was happy with what came home. Next was Target. I was looking for a sweatsuit as he has worn his from home since his arrival. Success again.

We were told not to expect too much response or gratitude for the things we give him, but the smile on his face, while looking for clothing just for him, was priceless. After shopping we grabbed some popcorn and water and made a few other stops before heading back to the house. And on the way home . . .

Let me preface by saying I am SO grateful my dad went shopping with us. It was a wonderful experience that I will treasure my life through. He is an amazing and generous man, but, well, sometimes he drives a bit like he's the only one on the road. 200 yards from the house the dreaded carsickness hit. The neighbors now have a bit of extra fertilization in their yard.

Other than the fact that he hasn't eaten much else tonight, I think he's recovered nicely.

Once we had dinner and got all the kids off the iPhone games we unwrapped presents. Denys got his suitcase for his return home trip and his first UGA shirt - GO DAWGS! (Yep, we ain't scared!) But, I have to say that the sunglasses from Aunt Abby and Uncle Wesley were the hit of the night. I don't think his face could hold a larger smile!

Before shower time I did catch him trying to use the phone. I asked him did he need to speak to the translator or his chaperone. He smiled and shook his head, "no." I had to take the phone and away and tell him "No phone." We'll probably never know who he was trying to call or what on earth he was going to say!

One of the cutest moments of the day was when he spotted a sports car in the parking lot. "Ferrari?" He asked. I giggled and responded, "Corvette." We also looked through a Creation magazine and he would name an animal and I would repeat what he said and they we'd try it in English. And I shed a few tears when I got text/picture message from my sweet Uncle Danny and Cousin Jack with handwritten Ukrainian messages for Denys.

We are learning that Denys probably knows more English than he's letting on; he's a smart cookie. Once all the Christmas chaos is over we'll get started on some serious learning of English for him and Ukrainian for us. Google translate is working well, but we're making an effort to learn more phrases and trying to make a really strong connection away from the computer.

Showers are done and we're headed to bed soon. I'm hoping everyone sleeps long and hard and maybe we won't all be up by 7am! Thanks for the prayers as my throat has hurt less and less throughout the day. Christmas at home with the fam has been AWESOME and I will hate to leave. I hope Denys has loved being her with my "brat" and sister as much as we have loved having him.

~Meg

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 2 - You HAVE to watch the video

We have packed a lot into this 24 hrs. Denys was up and kicking at 7am. He did wait for me to come let him know he could get out of bed. I fixed oatmeal for breakfast (butter only), added raisins and he ate it up. He declined the yogurt I offered and doesn't seem to like milk either, but apart from egg salad, those are the only things he's turned down.

Since the other kiddos were still snoozing I let him play video games for a bit. Jason and I decided that we were going to nix the whole video game thing, but the batteries beat us to the fix. I told the boys absolutely no video games until late in the evening and, surprisingly, they agreed without argument. (But as Jonah doesn't usually get to play video games except on the weekends I didn't expect anything different from him.)

Our adventure of the day was shoe shopping. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures, but we made it through the event unscathed thanks to a surprise assist by MaMac. I laughed when I realized how conservative Denys is. He wanted the black tennis shoes and was only interested in the gym shorts in dark colors. He did choose a brightly colored t-shirt. Did I mention that I was shopping for shoes for ALL my kiddos today? The gal behind the counter tried to convince me I need to do just a little more shopping. What?!? I'm sure I met their daily quota by myself!

At lunch he met Gmama, Uncle Danny and Cousin Jack. Jack is 13 and only about 6 months younger than Denys. After a while of silence they began drawing pictures and writing notes and playing games on iPhones. I am always amazed how fun knows no language boundaries! It was a joy for me to watch them figure out how to be friends. I was proud of Jack for being unselfish and showing love.

He ate 3 hotdogs and did not touch the ketchup. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with how this thing is supposed to work let me explain: He's not supposed to want to eat anything we try to feed him and what he does eat he's supposed to slather with ketchup. (Per the stories of the other NHFC host families past and present.) This kid is amazing in that he truly does eat everything we put in front of him. He doesn't seem to eat grudgingly either. He starts slowly, but at the end of the meal there's nothing left on his plate. WOW. If only Jonah and Millie Grace would pick-up on that life skill!

After dinner (streak-o-lean, biscuits, potatoes and molasses - yep, he ate it all) we packed up and we headed to Macon.

*NOTE: If you are a sketch-o-rama reading this then please stop now. As far as you are concerned we are at home and are armed to the gills. If Hooper doesn't eat you on the way in, you won't make it out.*

Now, for those of you who aren't looking to burgle our home while we're gone, we're in Macon until Saturday. Denys was asleep before we could get gas and get out of town. He slept the full ride down and wasn't quite ready to wake when we arrived.

But, Papa & Honey's house is Christmas Magic Land. I have not counted the total number of push-button music makers in their house, but we have to be pushing 50. I couldn't resist the temptation to post Denys's favorite one:

video
SCORE! (I can't believe I was actually able to post that!!)

Are you getting sound? I'm not. If you don't it's a rthymic/rap version of "Jingle Bells." And, it's hysterical the first 27 times you hear it! Now, I've heard these guys are at Cracker Barrel, but if one shows up at my house I will personally find a way to make this giver's life a misery. All the kiddos do love these elves, but we only been here 2 hours and have head them Jingle Belling 66 times (I don't think that's an exaggeration).

My parents really do put on an amazing Christmas show and I'm so glad we brought him down. Short of Callaway Gardens you won't find a brighter, more festive place to spend the holidays. I only wish our visit was going to be longer.

Denys took a bubble bath in Honey & Papa's giant garden tub. He didn't have much to say about it, but I think he enjoyed it. I noticed that he didn't use his washcloth or the soap - hmmmm. But at least he washed his hair!

It's eye doctor and Bass Pro Shop visits tomorrow. We should have some good stories then too. I'm thinking of calling the interpreter just to make sure things are going as well for Denys as they are for us. (Wouldn't that be a downer if we were having a great time and he wasn't!?!)


Oh, and I'll have to add the story about this lamb in at some point. Suffice it to say he is something that Denys and I do not see eye to eye on!

Prayers for me as I think I may be coming down with some kind of cootie bug and Happy Birthday to Anna Ruth who turns two today.

~Meg

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 1 - Conquered

Glory! Hallelujah! And pass the offering plate. We have everyone in the bed and it's 9:30p. I'm so excited (and ready for bed myself) I can't hardly stand it.

Let me begin by getting all you late arrivals up to speed on what is happening. We are NOT adopting. We are HOSTING. New Horizons for Children (NHFC) is an orphan hosting program that brings Eastern European kiddos to the states twice a year - during the summer and during Christmas. (They are also opening a China hosting program and that crew will come for the first time in Feb. Yay!) And before you get worried, let me explain that these kids would be travelling during these seasons anyway and going on some sort of holiday. Coming to the States is just in place of another institution, camp, or European destination. Now Denys (our handsome fella) is available for adoption and if you are interested in that please talk with us and let us know, but under NO circumstances is anyone to say anything to him regarding the "A Word." It's off limits. Period.

*Just checked on this awesome kid and he is snoozing! Yay! I told him lights out & video games off at 9:30p and he complied! Wow!*

If you saw my earlier post I want to explain that I in no way meant anything negative towards NHFC. They have done a fabulous job putting this program together and because of international flight delays, that were completely out of there control, have nearly 230 eastern Europeans at their expected destinations (among nearly as many families) in under 24 hours. That's outstanding work! My intent was merely to share how overwhelmed I was feeling. NHFC has done a superb job preparing us; there's just no way to not be overwhelmed when a 14-year-old who speaks no English joins your family!

The good news is that he's eaten everything I put in front of him thus far. He did choose the pizza (fresh deli pizza) for lunch. Dinner was BBQ chicken (NC style) with roasted potatoes, peas/broccoli, and bread. He also had some Southern sweet tea! He cleaned his plate and, when offered, did not choose seconds.


Funny food story - I was teaching him to put his plate in the sink when finished eating and he thought I meant for him to wash it!

As far as the kiddos go, Jonah, Millie Grace, and Anna Ruth love him already. AR follows him around saying, "Hey, Denys. Hey, Denys. Hey, Denys." The highlight of my day was to the oldest 3 in a Nerf gun battle all over the yard (anyone want to donate Nerf bullets??) They had a BLAST. Even when MaMac (my grandmother) came to visit she was "talking" with Denys and suddenly Nerf bullets started flying. He light up like a Christmas tree and ran off to find his gun and fire back!

And just in case you didn't know, 14-year-old boys from Ukraine smell much like 14-year-old boys from the States! He has not been nearly as excited about the American underwear I bought him as he is about his new (in the package) underwear he brought from home. I put it in his drawer anyway. I hope by the time the 3 pair he brought get dirty he'll figure out that the others are necessary. He was, however, excited about American deodorant. (Yay.)

Oh, did I mention we decorated the tree? It was fun and Denys never missed a beat - getting the back of the tree covered as nicely as the front. And we only suffered one ornament casualty in the melee!

As of now he's not used to lots of hugging, but between the 5 of us and FBC Tallapoosa he'll get over that pretty soon. Family story time seemed a little awkward for him as well, but he sat patiently while I read about Mike Huckabee opening all his Christmas presents early.

The best God-moment of the day was when I sent the kids to check the mail and Jonah came in with a package. I had ordered a Richard Scarry book in Ukrainian/English from a publisher in Canada several weeks ago. He mailed it ahead of receiving my check payment and it came today! A small event orchestrated wonderfully to coincide with Denys' arrival. Thanks to this silly little book we won't have to run to the computer every time we need to say something. It has also given me the chance to make sure my kids hear words in Ukrainian and he hears lots of specific words in English.

Whew. I think that's enough for tonight. Tomorrow is a new day and I have another 17 hours or so I've got to figure out how to fill for a house full of kiddos. Keep us in your prayers. Pray specifically that we have peace in our home, that our communication grows stronger and easier, and that God graces us all with a special love for each other.


~Meg

He's here. Now what do we do?

We finally met Denys today. I don't know how exactly to describe the event:

Hi, where's your id?
Here's your kid.
See you in a month.

Now, don't get me wrong. These ladies work long and hard to make sure everything goes that smoothly. It was just a bit overwhelming when that extra-efficient moment finally came.

Up until I saw him walk up to us I thought I had this thing whipped. I was not going to sweat it. I figured we'd figure it out and I wasn't going to worry. I'm not sure The Preacher was ever fooled, but I nearly had myself convinced.

By the time we were walking back to the vehicle I nearly panicked. I felt all trembley. Jason began to tell me the things he needed to do once we got home and my only thought was, "DON'T LEAVE ME WITH THE BABIES!"

We ran by the groc because I was out of everything and in the last few days a trip to the grocery store had just not fit in. Denys chose pizza. Score! At least that's one food down that he'll eat. We got home and they ate and I looked at the clock.

11:30. We're only into this thing not quite 3 hours. We still have 27 days and 17 some odd hours to go! What on earth have I gotten myself into?!?

Fast forward a few more hours.

It's 4p now and I'm thinking I can handle this. He seems excited about his room. Jonah and Millie Grace have taught him the joy of Nerf gun wars. They've put a hurting on Wii bowling. Even Anna Ruth is getting into the action yelling, "DENYS!" every few minutes. I did have to wash the sweater he flew in wearing and we will definitely be learning the joys of deodorant.

We'll see if he likes barbecue chicken for dinner and whether or not he sleeps tonight. But, I think he may survive this trip to the USA and life in the chaos that is the Hatchett family.

Lord, be big for us all.

~Megan

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today is the Day . . .


There are no words to express the anxious excitement we are all feeling today. I haven't slept well in two nights; poor Jason has had to suffer through my tossing and turning. I had big plans yesterday. I was going to get the house all cleaned up and just hit Ingles today and relax. Um, didn't happen. I left home at 9am and got home nearly 12 hours later. I have a list a mile long of things that need to be accomplished before this evening. My tummy is rumbling with butterflies and I'm praying the kids are so tired they sleep until noon.


And then I take a deep breath and I sing -
                                       
                                       I cast all my cares upon you.


I think I learned that song from Psalty the Singing Songbook over 20 years ago, but it pops into my head often these days. I don't know that this is a Psalm; I Peter 5:7 is most likely the closest literal translation. Anyone? But, it is certainly a sound way to approach the the day and the worries of my little world.

I am gently reminded that Denys (who is flying over Europe as I type this) does not care all my floors are mopped or that the kiddos drawers are all neat or even that the laundry is all done. God has not prepared our home for him as an example of perfect tidiness. Truthfully, he probably comes from a much neater home than I have to offer him.

I am to afford him a palace of love. Yes, by keeping the floors swept, and the laundry done, and the toilets wiped down I will show him a great deal of love - the same as I do for all the other wild hooligans that abide here. Stressing about these things will rob me of the energy and the joy needed to love him and his time here will become burdensome. And that does not seem like a very good trade.

Today, with much prayer and thanksgiving and intentional joy, I will do what I can and leave off what must wait. I will be ready when our Ukrainian arrives. I will smile and laugh and love and sleep like a log whenever bedtime finally arrives tonight. I will cast all my cares on Him.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ingles 4 Under $40 - December 3, 2012

I know, I know. I really stink at getting this blog post done by Monday afternoon. I'm trying, really I am, but it's looking like Tuesdays are just going to be a better day for me. The good news - This stuff stays on sale all week. So I'm thinking of changing my format to Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and leaving Sunday and Monday to fend for themselves rather than the weekend. What do you think?

Tuesday - Chicken Salad

It sounds girly  but if you do it right, any man will get full on chicken salad. Add in the fact that croissants are on sale and you're in good shape for a "lighter" mid-week dinner. If you're crew is not a fan of mayo then try Greek yogurt. The LL cups are $1.10 ea.

Tyson Boneless Combo Pack - $2.28/lb - boil and chop it up!
Apples or Pears - $1.28 - $1.78/lb - chop
Add some S&P (that's salt & pepper) and a little mayo and mix well. Throw in any variation of dried fruits or  nuts (a favorite).
Iceberg Lettuce - 78c/head
Croissants - $3.98

There you go. Easy dinner Tuesday for about $6.

Wednesday - CHURCH


Thursday - Pork Roast

Boston Butt is on sale too and if you prefer, go with it. But, I prefer a pork loin. At $4.98/lb this may run you close to $10, but it's SO WORTH IT. Rub it with your favorite seasonings (I like McCormick Mesquite rub) and toss into the Crock Pot. Add some red potatoes (3lb/$1.50) and an onion (pennies). Yumm-O-Rama! And at 78c a head, a salad is an easy extra side. Leftover croissants? Even better - Bread too!

Pork loin - $9
Red Potatoes - $1.50
Onion - pennies
Seasoning packet - ~$1

I'm thinking $12 max for this one.

Friday - Nachos

I can't resist nachos, especially when LL Tortilla chips are 3/$5. Tostitos are on sale too, but at 2/$7 who can afford them?!? And the LL chips taste just fine. For these you can use leftover chicken from Tuesday (if you have it) or go for ground beef. (I may even still have some in my freezer from early November.) Grape tomatoes are 2/$3 and your second head of Iceberg lettuce is still only 78c. LL Salsa con Queso is $2.28.

LL Tortilla Chips - $1.67/bag
Chicken or Beef - ~$2.30/lb
Lettuce - 78c
Grape Tomatoes - $1.50
LL Salsa con Queso - $2.28
Taco Seasoning Packet - ~$1

Ha. Nachos for the fam for $9!! Awesome.

Saturday - Blackeyed Peas, Greens and Cornbread

Did I do this last time I posted? I don't remember and we never ate it, but if I did sub your favorite beans/peas or do a soup. Dried peas are on sale as is bacon. I'm sure Ingles has greens this time of year (and probably very well priced), but I like Glory. They taste like "Top of the River's." Cornmeal I have on hand.

This meal is $5 without the bacon $9 with it.

Conclusion

It's hard not to get into a rut when it seems the sale papers does. I can find plenty of junk and ideas for baking, but it's getting harder and harder to add variety to meal time. Oh well, I suppose that routine is not a terrible thing - especially when it has us eating at home rather than out!

~Megan



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our Plan for Christmas

Tomorrow we'll get to 4 Under $40. Today I felt it was time to let the world know (he he) our plans for Christmas.

Yes, we'll still be at home. Yes, we'll still go to the half-dozen Christmas parties we can't avoid. And yes, we are still getting our babies Christmas presents (we've not totally lost our minds).

But this year, Christmas won't just be about us. This year Christmas at our house will be about Denys, too.

Denys is our new friend who will be with our family over the Christmas Holidays. He will come all the way from Ukraine (that's Eastern Europe), arrive on December 18th and return home January 15th. Whether or not he's orphaned in the truest sense of the word, he lives in an institution and will be experiencing Christmas in America this year.

And no, we are not adopting Denys. We are hosting Denys. In January he will return home.

Last summer I randomly came across the name of the group New Horizons for Children (NHFC) on Facebook. I "liked" their page which meant I began to receive their feeds on my news page and discovered what this group was doing. I found out that twice a year they visit Eastern European institutions and interview kiddos and the institution workers to see which kids might benefit from a trip to the US and would fit well into a family environment during that time. As I followed these posts I thought, "Wow. That's a really cool idea. I'm glad someone thought of it". And, "Good for these families."

Fast forward six months and on my news feed pops up this photo of a super cute kiddo - Denys - who is in need of a host family for the Dec/Jan trip. I show the pic to The Preacher and read him the 4 sentence bio. He says, "Call and check on it." I do. And Denys has already been spoken for. The NHFC staff encourages us to look at the photo-listing for other kids and . . . well, we don't. We're not really interested in other kids. Fast forward another few weeks and his photo pops up again. His initial host family has fallen through and he's available. The Preacher says, "Call and check it out."

I call again and get a little more information and discover Denys is a bit older than we thought he was from his photo. I tell the gal we'll think about and I'll let her know. Two days later we receive a phone call from another NHFC worker who tells us that not only is Denys available, but he has a scholarship and his hosting fees are half-price!

Did I mention that part of hosting is footing the bill for getting him here, flights, documentation, room and board, and getting him home?

I look over at The Preacher and tell him. He says, "Let's do it."

Because God is big, he had seen fit to provide. The Sunday before Denys became available again our church family had blessed us and honored us in an amazing way. Thanks to their generosity and some side jobs The Preacher had recently completed, when the opportunity came to say "yes" to Denys, we were able to do so with much freedom and peace.

At the risk of boring you or adding more typos that you can bear to read I'll stop here for the night. I'll add more about Denys in the coming days; let you know how he does while he's here and what we're up to with him. I'll even fill you in how completely nuts our families think we are (of course, they were headed down that path anyway!). If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll answer them as best I can. Also, check out the NHFC website and the New Horizons Facebook page and see who they are and the ministry they do. It really is super-neat.

~Megan




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ingles 4 Under $40 - Thanksgiving2012


Yay for a week (mostly) back to normal. Of course, normal for us means still in the throes of a den renovation (I’ll post pics later) and laundry piles up to my ears, but we are home and we are blessed. I look forward to Thanksgiving more and more every year. It’s such a peaceful time for us to reflect and celebrate Christ, and all he has graciously chosen to bless us with. But, I still have a family to feed. (Unfortunately they’re going to want to eat more often this week than only Thursday.) So here’s an easy 4 Under $40 to get you through the chaos!

Monday
Make a big pot of chili tonight. Use the ground beef that may or may not still be in your freezer and the beans that you may or may not have picked up on previous store excursions. If there’s no beef on ice, go with extra beans or add in some rice (brown even) to make it plenty filling with less fat and more fiber. Thanks to the sales last month this meal for me is $0 out of my pocket this week. Keep what you buy under $10 and you’re good to go.

Tuesday
I found this Sausage Cheddar Quiche recipe and thought it look amazing. Since nearly every single ingredient is on sale I figured we should give it a shot.

9in Pastry Crust (Sure, make your own if you want. I will buy the pre-packaged suckers for $2 – Pillsbury)
1 lb pork sausage (Jimmy Dean $2.50/lb – I like it “Hot”)
4oz can of sliced mushrooms (entirely optional)
½ c chopped onion
¼ c chopped green pepper (if you buy a small bunch you’ll use them tonight and tomorrow)
½ t dried basil (Ok, the small “t” is teaspoon; the capital “T” is Tablespoon)
1 ½ c sharp cheddar cheese – shredded
2 eggs beaten
1 c milk
Paprika
1.    Prick the pie crust with a fork and bake at 400° for 3 min. Remove, re-prick, and bake another 5 min.
2.    Brown and drain sausage then mix with mushrooms, onion, pepper, and basil and spoon into pie crust. Sprinkle cheese on top.
3.    Combine eggs and milk and pour into pie crust and sprinkle with paprika.
4.    Bake at 350° for 50 min or until set. Let stand 10 min before slicing.
Voila! You may end up with this meal for $5 or less if you have what you need on hand. If not it should still be under $10.

Wednesday
I’m thinking “light” tonight since tomorrow will be a throw-down (at least it is at the THREE family events we will have). Boneless/skinless chicken is $1.98/lb so if you don’t have some in the freezer grab a small package (<$4) and cook it however you prefer. Throw it in a bowl with some sliced green grapes ($2.98/lb), spinach (+/- $3), celery ($.88 ea), one box spiral pasta ($.88 ea DaVinci - cooked per package directions), one jar ¼ marinated artichoke hearts ($3 +/-), 3 green onions chopped, and a large can of mandarin oranges ($.98 ea – Laura Lynn). For the dressing mix ½ c EVOO, ¼ c sugar, 2 T white vinegar, 1 t salt, ½ dried onion, 1t lemon juice, and 2 T parsley.  If you don’t have most of this on hand you’ll pay more than $10, but it might be worth it. Of course have fun substituting what you do have for some of these recommended ingredients. What what’s in my stash I’ll probably pay about $5 for this one.

Thursday
Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family. Post in “Comments” the things for which you are thankful. I’d love to see what you have to say! This year I am thankful for this blog, poor though it is, for helping me develop discipline and to feed my family well without spending lots of money.

Friday
Easy-peasy is the plan for Friday. (That and lots of fiber!) It’s about time for black-eyed peas ($1 lb) and greens ($2.50 bunch) around here. (Of course, for the same $5 I may grab a can of Glory Seasoned greens and save myself the trouble of making my own!) We’ll have a bit of corn bread too, but this meal will pack a punch at under $5. Depending on what leftovers you may have, soup is a great option too. Of course, you may not need to make a meal at all depending on the leftovers at hand. $6

Conclusion
There’s this week’s 4 Under $40. Make sure you don’t miss out on the free turkey from Ingles if you have 6 or more “Turkey Points” (I’ll be grabbing mine tomorrow). This is also a great time of year to stock up on pantry staples as LOTS of great stuff is on sale (sugar, flour, spices, etc.). Check the sale paper for more awesome ideas. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~Megan

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ingles 4 Under $40 - 12Nov2012

Alrighty guys and gals, it is looking like you will have fun this week with a quiche, salmon, pork loin and chicken. Also, think about your best sweet potato recipes because those suckers are going cheap! (I think I will throw mine into the Crockpot with the pork loin.)

I will do what I can today to get this posted quickly, but please have much grace this week. My sweet granddaddy is not doing well at all and apart from an awesome intervention of God he will likely not last the week. He has suffered long with the disease that is dementia and it has robbed him of his vitality and now of his very life. I am thanful, though, that he will soon be in a place where there is no more hardship and no more dispair. He will be free from the body that is bogged down in sin and receive the new body and new name waiting on him in glory.

Thanks for your prayers this week and if I don't get to the new recipes or meals then respond to this post and show everyone else what you came up with!

~Megan

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

4 Under $40 - 5Nov2012

So Tuesday is still not Monday, but it's a sight better than Thursday! Grab your boots and here we go . . .

Day 1 - Veggie Soup
With the Green Giant canned goods at $0.60/ea this week go for 5 or 6 and make some yummy veggie soup. A bonus: for every 5 you purchase Ingles will donate 1 to Manna Food Bank.  If you like it a little spicier, add a can Rotel (those have been only $1ea.) I like to pour in V8 juice (2/$4) and delve into the fridge for the frozen ground beef you should have in there if you want a "meatier" soup. Total: $8.

Day 2 - Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs (which I like better than country ribs) are on sale again for $3.48/lb. You'll probably get at least 2.5 lbs in a package so this will be close to $8. Put 'em in the crock pot with your bbq sauce of choice (we make our own) and slow cook 'em all afternoon. A bag of slaw and some bakery bread would be enough to round out this meal for us. Total: +/- $10.

Day 3 - Roasted Chicken Legs
Roasted chicken legs are a favorite around here.  Grab a family size package of leg quarters ($0.78/lb) add salt & pepper and put them into a dutch oven. Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes. In a small bowl melt 1/4c butter. Add to it 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) and 1t dried thyme. Mix well. Removed chicken from oven and turn. Throw in potatoes, onions and carrots  and pour the butter mix over it all. Bake another hour until its all done. You may need to add a little more s&p to taste. This is a Hatchett Family Favorite for under $5! Deli bread is good, but if Pilsbury is more your suite you can grab a can of biscuits for a dollar.

Day 4 - Taco/Pasta Night
I know you may get really tired of the same old change from tacos to pasta. But, we don't. My family could eat Mexican or Italian foods nearly every night of the week. This makes my week easier and hey, the cost is so fabulous you can't go wrong. If you have a better idea for a mid-week meal cheapie then please let me know. Otherwise we'll be doing the taco or pasta thing for about $5. 

Conclusion
Ribs are always a budget buster, but they are a yummy change from the ordinary. We're a lot closer to $40 than we normally are, but it'll be worth it. To eat cheaper make some more chicken noodle soup with the leg quarters or just toss an extra package or two in the freezer so we can eat on those another week. Have a wonderful week and don't forget to be an active participant in this lovely republic we call America - that means VOTE! ;o)

~Megan

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Rather Late 4 Under $40

Yep, I'm in need of grace this week. Our lives are crazy right now and so 4 under $40 just had to take a back-seat this week. I could have done it Monday, but we finished up gymnastics and baseball. On Tuesday The Preacher took me to a super-happening Association meeting (and yes, do skip this if you ever have the opportunity to go). On Halloween our church folks tied enough balloon animals to fill a naval destroyer for all the trick-or-treaters that descend on our little town. And yesterday, well yesterday was my birthday! (34, because I know you wanted to know.)

So, if it's not too late and you are in need of some extra meals for this weekend or just want to get a head start on next week here you go -

Day 1 - Frozen Lasagne
Stouffer's Lasagne (the gigantic size) is on sale for $12.98. That's a bit above the $10/meal I shoot for, but this should feed your crew at least twice. Or if you're having company tonight it's perfect - just make sure you give yourself enough time to get it baked. Add a crusty French bread from the bakery for $1.50 and a head of lettuce and carrots and you have the prefect Italian dinner for $16.

Day 2 - French Bread Pizzas

Ok, two "Italian" meals in two days - just change it up and don't serve them in a row. ;o) Thomas's English muffins are BOGO and that makes them $2.10/pack. (I went ahead and bought two.) A super exciting find for these guys was the fancy mozzarella in the cheese fridge (just opposite the bakery) is only $2.99! Go for the good stuff in the balls and slice it thin and one piece will do for each muffin - PERFECTION! Now, my favorite pizza sauce is LE Roselli's Pizza Sauce. Unfortunately, I did not see this kind in the pizza sauce section, but I did find the marinara with the pasta sauces. Any other pizza sauce you can get for under $3. I did splurge on the mini pepperonis ($3.88), but I couldn't resist the fact they will look so cute on those little pizzas. So, if this is all you want on your pizza you've got it for $8. Check your pantry for mushrooms, use some of your frozen ground beef or grab a red bell pepper ($1.50) and chop it up nicely for some extra umph to your dish. NOTE: You may want to toast your muffins a bit before you pizza-fy them just so they don't get soggy once the sauce is added. Pop 'em in the oven at 350 until your cheese is melted and you're good to go.

Day 3 - Croissant Chicken  

Here, Lynn, is your long awaited recipe! I apologize this one wasn't done sooner. I hope you froze your chicken from last week and bought the crescent rolls because this is a good one. This will put you over your $40 for the week if you don't have these in your fridge, but it's a great recipe to keep around and serve when guests visit.

 If you can't read this email me and I'll type it out for you. After you boil your chicken retain your broth rather than opening a new can for only 1/2 a cup. Usually I serve this with rice and something nice and green. But since I'm STILL working through that 10 lbs of potatoes from a month ago I'll serve my chicken with those tonight. (FYI - they have 10lb bags on sale again and it's a great deal, but I think I'll skip it this time because I'm tired of potatoes!) If you have this stuff in your fridge/freezer this may be FREE for you this week - yeah, you already paid for it, but I'm talking about this week! If you need frozen broccoli go for the Laura Lynn big bags. They're about $6, but you can use them in several sittings. Asparagus looked good too, but it's not on sale at about $3.50 a bundle.

Day 4 - Black Beans and Rice

This is one of my favorites! And I have found I love it even more with brown rice (Mahatma $0.96/bag). To make brown rice not so sticky fry it first in a little butter and have your boiling water ready in a kettle to pour into the rice when it's golden brown. If you use the brown rice rather than the long grain white then cook it according to package directions and add it to the beans when they're done. Otherwise follow the recipe. I bought black beans the other week, but even if you didn't they're not going to run you more than $2.00. (Also check the ethnic foods isle if you prefer the Goya brand of beans.)  All-in-all a meal for under $10 and likely under $5.

Recipe - Dice a med onion (pennies), 1 garlic clove, a green and a red bell pepper ($3). Heat 2T olive oil in a large saucepan (I like my Lodge Dutch oven) and cook veggies until tender. Add 1.5 cups of tomatoes ($2) and cook 8-10 min until thick. Season with salt and pepper and stir in beans (prepped per bag instructions), 1 cup uncooked long grain rice , and water. Cover and reduce heat and cook 25 min until rice is tender.

I want to add that a sweet friend was trying to tell me this week that his wife won't let him to go the grocery store any more until she checks 4 for $40! There was a lot going on when he was talking  and it wasn't until we got home and The Preacher was telling me what he had said I realized I missed the compliment! 

Enjoy this weeks meals, late though they may be! The next few weeks should see some super fun deals in the Ingles circular just in time for the holidays. If I'm going to be this late again I'll let you know in advance!

~Megan

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ingles 4 Under $40 - 21 Oct 2012



If you make it to Ingles today, be sure to check out the meat fridge for extra deals. I found some ultra-thin pork tenderloin (2 lbs) for $6.54. That will either go into the freezer with all this week’s extra ground beef ($2.48/lb) or it will make a yummy breakfast soon. Stock up on the boneless/skinless chicken breasts ($1.88/lb) too! 



Monday
Ground beef is on sale. That opens up a world of possibilities. Sloppy Joes will cost about $4 including buns (BTW – stock up on Manwich now if you like the stuff while it’s still $1/can). Do you need to finish off last year’s canned goods? Then chili it is. Large cans of Hanover Kidney Beans are on sale for $1.98. Add a chili seasoning packet and a few cans of tomatoes (some brands are still 10/$10) and you have chili for about $7.50, if you purchase everything this week. Pasta is always a good option at our house. What do you like to do with ground beef at a low cost? Let me know!

Tuesday
Pork roast was looking good and I found a Boston Butt that was only $5.59 (1.45 lbs). I still have potatoes coming out of my ears from the last few weeks so I grabbed some organic baby carrots ($1.50lb – same as non-organic) and will do a roast. If you prefer barbeque then go for it, but if you put your Boston Butt in the crockpot and add a packet of mesquite seasoning (+/-$1) then you will have a roast that is AMAZING and your veggies will taste out of this world. See, you can have this meal at $8.09 (if you already have the potatoes) and that is less than taco night! ***You can eat well for less money than it costs to do fast food!***

Wednesday
Church – I did plan ahead when I thought this Wednesday was Halloween. Those extras will mean either White Chili on Saturday or extra for next week.

Thursday
We’re switching “Taco Tuesday” to “Taco Thursday” this week. It doesn’t have the same ring, but rather than eating ground beef two nights in a row I thought the change might be necessary. I may add variety this week and have enchiladas or burritos – wild, I know. I’ll just use all the goodies I picked up the other week when Old El Paso was running a great deal. Otherwise it breaks down to $2.48/lb for beef, $3.50 for a lb of LL block cheese, and $1.48 for a head of lettuce. Tortillas and taco seasonings will cost you +/- $3 if not already in your pantry. If this is in your stash you are looking good. If you are only a week to week shopper this meal will run you at least $10.

Friday
It’s not freezing outside, but fall is certainly in the air. I couldn’t resist the chicken breast deal ($3.82/pkg +/-). Whole, cut up chicken is unadvertised, but cheap too if you prefer that option.  Tonight it’s Chicken and Dumplings. Mary B’s dumplings are on sale for $2.38 (freezer section) and between those and the chicken I’m making this meal for $6.30. (If you don’t have a recipe you can use the one on the back of the dumpling package.) You can save a few pennies if you go the whop biscuit route and cut those into quarters, but I hear Mary B makes a mean dumpling and I am excited to give it a shot.

Conclusion
The Hatchett family will be eating well the next few weeks from all the inexpensive meats (both advertised and not) I found while shopping. Next Thursday is going be Croissant Chicken – I’ll post the recipe later. It’s a super-yummy dish so grab an extra roll of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (3/$6) to go with an extra packet of chicken breasts and keep them until then.

~Megan