What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been! Hubby started his new job in Georgia on November 19th. We weren’t very fond of the idea of him going down to stay in a hotel and the rest of us here, so we loaded up the kids and the car and headed down. What an adventure it is to stay in a hotel with five people with four of them having nothing in particular to do while the other is at work. Not to mention, one of those five is an almost two-year-old that is used to being in her own bed for naps and bedtime. I’m just thankful we could all be together.
To prepare for the trip, I decided to cook a few meals to help save money. This worked out really well. Here is a pic of everything packed up for the first trip:
The first thing I made was Pioneer Woman’s Best Lasagna Ever. This has been a family favorite since I made it after buying her first cookbook. The only thing I do differently is use Italian Seasoning instead of fresh herbs. I do this because…well, because I’m too lazy to buy the herbs and chop them up. It still turns out pretty darn good.
The next thing I made is something called Easy Santa Fe Skillet. I found this in a magazine a while back and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember which one. It is similar to what I grew up calling goulash, but I use Velveeta in this. Maybe not the healthiest thing, but tastes really good after sitting for a few days and then being reheated. I also love that you only use one skillet to cook everything, including the pasta.
Next, I made Easy Beef & Rice. I really like this because I can add celery and onions and no one complains about it. Of course, I have to cook them down first so that they are really tender, but it makes me feel better knowing they are in there.
I also made a Breakfast Casserole. This keeps pretty well too for a few days. I usually use regular sandwich bread, but this time I used some Italian bread we had left over and it was AWESOME!
I wanted to try to save on snacks as well. I made a Chex mix and bought a few large bags of Cheez-its and carrots and separated everything in snack size baggies.
We were supposed to be in Georgia until the day before Thanksgiving and then come back to Tennessee. However, my mom called me on the Tuesday before and “suggested” that since we were already half-way there, we might as well come home for Thanksgiving (to Florida). I’m sure it’s this way in other parts of the country too, but when a Southern mama “suggests” something, it’s really no suggestion at all. The thought hadn’t really crossed our minds because our Lola-dog was being boarded and we had only booked her through Wednesday. Well, it worked out that she could stay longer and we headed to Florida.
I’m SO glad we did! We had the best time. It was a tough Thanksgiving for my family due to it being the first since my Granny and my cousin passed, but I felt like everyone lingered just a little longer. Everyone seemed to pay attention just a little more to what was going on in each other’s lives. The kids played hard (and so did some adults). We also had a chance to celebrate our oldest son’s 11th birthday with all the fam. I can’t believe he is 11 already. He *wink-wink* is getting so old. Here are a few pics (I have more, but they are on my sister’s camera and I’m waiting on her to share):
We went on a hay ride (I promise there’s hay, just under the sleeping bags).
That’s our girl – riding the trike with coozies on her arms.
Baby A and Cousin G on the tractor.
This is me (on the left) and my absolutely beautiful sisters with our 91-year-old Grandpa on Thanksgiving Day.
After hanging in Florida for the weekend, we had to go back to the hotel in Georgia for a few days. Our Lola-dog was very excited to see us when we went to pick her up and has been my side ever since. I keep telling her not to worry, that we’ll always come back for her, but that we don’t plan on leaving her for that long again. I’m sure she understands.
It looks like it will be the end of this coming week before we close on the house. I can’t wait to share the pictures and details and plans with everyone!
See ya on the flip side,