Organizing Ideas for the Rest of Us

Easter Brunch for a Bunch Debriefing, Part 1

This year our Easter Brunch really was for a bunch.  Almost all of our family was able to attend with a few exceptions.  Since my family is rather large, that meant our grand total for Easter Brunch (including us and the kids) topped out at just under 30 people.  Whew!  Thankfully, it all did come together although I admit to running a bit late in getting all the finishing touches set up prior to our 1oa.m. start time.    Here are a few photos of the table set up:

Easter Brunch

The main brunch table

Easter Brunch

Starting point for plates, forks, and napkins  

Easter Brunch

Quiche and hash-brown potato bakes (far left)

I forgot to take the additional photos but we also set up an area for drinks on the other counter.  Drinks offered were coffee, orange juice, lemonade, and apple juice-boxes for the kids. Water was also available, of course.  Then, on the stove side, we had a brisket plus bread and a very small pan of sliced ham.

Most of the muffins were prepared on Saturday. Dishes prepared earlier in the week were the banana bread muffins (I used my banana bread recipe and made muffins instead), the caramelized bacon, and the quiches.  I made two trips to the store on Saturday.  The first trip to get ingredients needed for the muffins that I didn’t already have on hand.  I told G to pick out something new for us to add from my Easter Brunch Ideas Pinterest board and since he is my visual child he choose these Strawberry Shortcake Doughnut Muffins.  

Easter Brunch

Strawberry Shortcake Doughnut Muffins

I almost didn’t make them because of all the steps involved.  They were definitely worth the effort!  I tried taking a shortcut at first and thought I would just use whipped cream until I realized (er, my husband pointed out) that it would melt.   The muffin base is stand alone good and I set a few muffins out that way but the frosting and strawberries put them over the top I thought.

On the not the best idea ever front, I also tried a new recipe at 1op.m. on Saturday night that just didn’t do it for me although I did go ahead and put it on the table.  Trying to make Raspberry, Brie, and Chocolate Puff Pastries that late when I had no experience using puff pastry was not the best call.  After discovering my Trader Joe’s puff pastry sheets took 5 hours to thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge, I stubbornly bought some more on my 2nd grocery store run of the day.  I didn’t roll it out enough because it already seemed thin enough.  The thing is that puff pastry actually does “puff”  Oops.

I’m breaking this post into two parts because it is late and I’m tired.  On Wednesday, I’ll share the complete menu, my time-table for preparing the dishes and getting them set up by 10a.m., and how I clean up the mess.  Let me know what else I should share about how we do all this and I”ll address it.  Want to know a secret?  These posts are just as much for me as for the rest of you.  I refer back to them each year especially the photos to see how I set up table.

Weekly Planning Time

I didn’t do any weekly planning (other than my menu plan) last week and I missed it!  I do find it a bit ironic that the one time I didn’t do my weekly planning was when I had the most to do on a very busy week.  I’m determined to get back on track with my weekly planning for the upcoming week.  It is not quite as busy (whispers that) as last week turned out so I’m hoping to get a bit done around the house.  Maybe even publish a few more blog posts.  Anything over 1 a week would be progress, I think.   I even missed the Follow Through Friday post last week.  I must do better than that.

 Weekly Planning

Usually, every Monday I do my weekly planning and link up over at Starting Successful on Monday hosted by Felicia of Felicia’s Red Door Life.  I love to read her blog on the rest of the days of the week as well.  She’s always writing something interesting.  If only reading blogs was all I had to do each week, I would enjoy that!  However, I have so much more to do each week it seems.  Time to start my weekly planning:

Scripture of the Week:

In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:6

Focus of the Week:

Preparing for spring and summer.  I *think* we can perhaps put away the parka.  I also need to figure out spring and summer activities for the boys as well as decide how much or if I will work over the summer.  Maybe attempt to pin my husband down to some specific dates for a summer vacation.  Plant some flowers.

The Weather this Week:

SPRING is here!  I hope it stays.  It is rainy today but still fairly warm and supposed to stay fairly warm (in the ’70s) all week.

Currently:

I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty house as I work on this blog post.  I have laundry in the washer and dryer.  As soon as the dryer buzzes, I must go take my shower and start getting ready for work at the preschool.  I’m wondering why I said “yes” to working this afternoon and thinking that maybe I need to start practicing saying “no” while standing in front of the mirror.  I do still love going there but I’m tired today after hosting Easter brunch yesterday.  I really want to just sit and have a Netflix marathon.

To Do List:

I’m keeping my list super short as I do my weekly planning mainly because I currently am lacking motivation.  If I find some motivation, I’ll hopefully get more done this week.  If not, my list is manageable at least.

MONDAY:  Work from 3-6, have spaghetti ready to go in crock-pot, finish washing dishes from Easter brunch (just 1 load left!), and get some laundry done!

TUESDAY: Work all day, get G to his 6p.m. martial arts class, send out request for book fair volunteers, and remember not to commit to working next week as I’ll be working book fair shifts at the elementary school.  Also, call the mom about the baseball shirts.

WEDNESDAY:  Tackle a paperwork pile, finish laundry, find the rest of the boys’ shorts, and get J to baseball practice at 5:30p.m.

THURSDAY:  Go to bank, grocery store, and any other places that turn up on errand list.  Gather info on food handler permit class (something I said I would do for my preschool work).  Get J to baseball practice at 5:30p.m.

FRIDAY:  Complete the 3 tasks from my Follow Through Friday post.

What I Read Last Week:

I didn’t read anything last week outside of the scholastic edition of The Diary of a Spider to the preschoolers and a few magazines because I was busy!  The previous week I did read and love The Foundation by Isaac Asimov.  I’m now itching to get my hands on a copy of  Foundation and Empire.  I possibly see a bookstore or library trip in my future.

From the Camera:

A few signs that spring has finally arrived and just might be staying until summer comes to take over:

 

weekly planning

Our tulips are blooming!

weekly planning

Daffodil

weekly planning

Silly string from Easter but look it is sitting a top the start of green grass

weekly planning

Confetti Eggs…an Easter tradition from my sister-in-law.

Shopping List:

Short-sleeved shirts to wear to work.  I seem to have shortage of short-sleeved shirts that aren’t t-shirts.  Sweaters and 70 degree weather do not mix unless you actually want to sweat.  Spring/summer clothes for the boys depending on what they have and what still fits.  Baseball pants and shoes (we are supposed to get a certain color to match) for J.

On the Blog:

I’m hoping to have time to write this week because I have lots to say!  Posts in progress that are rattling around in my brain:   An Easter Brunch Debriefing (for tomorrow), Errand Day Errors (for Thursday), Follow Through Friday will happen this week, Coping when your Spouse is super busy (needs a better title), and maybe a recipe or two.

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That’s my weekly planning in a nutshell or rather a blog post.  What is on your agenda this week?

 

Living On Leftovers Menu Plan

This week is going to be all about breathing new life into our Easter Brunch leftovers.   Each year we host Easter Brunch for both our families which means quite a few people in our home (this year the number was around 30) and a lot of food.
leftovers

Part of the Easter Brunch offerings

We always seem to have tons of leftovers despite my best attempts to send home extras with family members as they leave.
Since I typically use a large chunk of our grocery budget on Easter Brunch (mostly on those panicked “we’re not going to have enough food!” last-minute trips to the store.  Someday I’ll learn, right?), the week following Easter Brunch is all about living on the leftovers.  Don’t worry we don’t eat Easter Brunch for dinner for an entire week.  I mix the leftovers in with our regular menu.  I also put some of the leftovers in the freezer.
We do also eat brunch leftovers for breakfast for a few days though.  I just had a lovely breakfast of leftover sausage bake and a few mini Robin eggs candy for dessert.  What?  You don’t eat dessert for breakfast?  You are missing out!  Here is our menu plan for the week and what or how I’m using leftovers as part of the meals:

Rainy Day Menu

MONDAY:  Spaghetti and Meatballs using extra bread leftovers for garlic toast and apricot nectar cake leftovers will be dessert (or Easter candy, of course)

TUESDAY:  Chicken strips (leftover buttermilk), broccoli and carrots (leftovers from the veggie tray I bought in a panic and forgot to set out!)

WEDNESDAY:  BBQ sandwiches made from leftover brisket (I may end up preparing a roast in the crock-pot as well to do a combo type thing so we can then, freeze those leftovers as well), chips (another brunch item that I completely forgot to set out this year.  I’m slipping!), and leftover strawberry shortcake doughnut muffins for dessert.

THURSDAY:  Pancakes and sausage or bacon plus fresh fruit (Yes, I am putting breakfast for dinner on the menu this week.  Hopefully, my family will forgive me).  We bought extra bacon and sausage for the brunch dishes but ended up with leftovers.

FRIDAY:  Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill.  No leftovers used for this one.  It just sounds good.

We hit the fast food places quite a bit more than I intended last week despite having a plan.  Hopefully, we’ll get back on track to eating a bit healthier this week.  Now, if some one would be so kind as to take my hand and gently lead me away from the Easter candy.  Perhaps, I should have put Easter candy casserole on the menu so it would be gone.  (Note:  This is not the boys’ candy.  It is candy leftover from table decor and an egg hunt we did for all the kids.)
What is on your menu this week?  If you need some inspiration, be sure to go check out Menu Plan Monday over at I’m An Organizing Junkie where hundreds of bloggers link up their menu plans each week.

Prelude to Easter Brunch, Menu Plan Monday

We’ll be hosting Easter Brunch for a bunch of family, my count is not complete but varies each year between 15 and 25 people, on Sunday so our menu this week is going to be pretty low-key.  Of course, we will still have all our typical activities happening as well so the menu will also be super simple (think heat & eat) this week.
Part of the Easter Brunch Spread from last year

Part of the Easter Brunch Spread from last year

I’m hoping to have my Easter Brunch menu finalized and possibly posted on Tuesday.  If you are searching for Easter Brunch Ideas, please consider following my Pinterest board on the subject.  While I do not have the brunch menu finalized, I do have some standby dishes that I typically make ahead of time and so I’ll be including those in my not so exciting menu plan this week.

MONDAY:  Chicken Legs, French Fries, and Salad (carry-over from last week.  The chicken legs are already cooked which is good since I work until 6p.m.)

TUESDAY:  Taco Salads (G has an activity at 6p.m.)  Make Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Caramelized Bacon Twists

WEDNESDAY:  Fish Sticks, Baked Potatoes (J has baseball practice at 5:30p.m.)  Make Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Ham and Cheese Quiche  plus (new for brunch this year) Sausage Rotel Quiche

THURSDAY:  Pork Chops (already cooked from freezer), corn on the cob, and grapes  (J has baseball practice at 5:30p.m.)  Do Ahead Easter Brunch Item:  Finalize Menu and do an ingredient check.

FRIDAY:  Probably pizza or chicken OUT or I may clean out the fridge and make them eat from those choices. Basically, I have no idea!  My Do Ahead Easter Brunch Item for this day will depend on the finalized menu.

If you are looking for a bit more exciting menu choices for the week, please go check out Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura over at I’m An Organizing Junkie.   This is when I start paying the price for my procrastinating habits and begin to feel a tiny bit overwhelmed.  Thankfully, I’ve hosted our Easter Brunch enough years that I’m not really panicking because I know things have a way of coming together.   Do you have plans for Easter weekend?

 

Saturday Success Stories, Three Cheers!

SaturdaySuccesspic1
It’s been too long since I’ve been able to declare a complete success in regards to my Follow Through Friday tasks.   Today, I get to do just that!  Three cheers for three tasks completed!  I had a long and somewhat stressful day so I didn’t really expect that I would manage any of the tasks.   However, by keeping them simple, I was able to get the tasks done in a fairly short amount of time.  It is nice to feel like I made a small amount of progress.  Here are the details:
  1. Fill out the microchip registry for the cats.

    I also consider it a success that I could easily find this information.
    I also consider it a success that I could easily find this information.

    Guess what?  I apparently had already begun to the process at some point so my contact information was there.  That made this task a bit of a cheat, I suppose.  I did go ahead and update the pet profile page which was not complete for either cat.  I also uploaded pictures of our cats.  Hopefully, I’ll never need to make use of the registry but it is ready to go now.

  2. Mail the Netflix DVD back.

    Ready for the mail.
    Ready for the mail.

    I did this at 10:45p.m. last night on my way to pick up my son from a church function.  I did get the envelope ready to go and put it in the car earlier in the evening though.

  3. I also spent some time updating my PTA notebook.  It is not finished but I did not have finishing this as a goal.  My main goal was to take out all the extra papers and a few personal notes.  I have a nice pile of “recycle” papers now.  I simply need to add new calendars and tabs for the next person now.

I would probably feel more accomplished if I weren’t still super tired from yesterday (not from the 3 tasks) and looking around at the scary status of the house.  A morning cleaning is definitely on the agenda!  How did you do on your to-do list?


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