Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot!

I want to start out with an idea that I actually asked a blogger about because she posted about it.  This is one of my favorite blogs to read called, Superchikk, and she shared an idea about creating a photo book for your child.  She gives one to her kids as a stocking stuffer each year that contain 100 photos from the year.  What a great little treasure for kids to hold on to and use as a reminder of people and things.

Oops!!  I started this last week and then forgot that I hadn't finished it so, I'm going to post this idea for today and try to remember to create this post the right way for next week!

Pinterest - Recap of my January Pinterest Goals

To begin with, I have one final item that I completed this month and that, of course, is a recipe.  Yes, recipes seemed to be the easy thing to do this month!  Even though I pinned this on Pinterest, it actually comes from a blog that I follow, Jenna's Journey, which gave me a little comfort since I've tried some of her recipes before and they turned out well.  This recipe was for a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake.
I was sold on this for two reasons.  1) We love pumpkin and 2) We love Chocolate Chips.  Put the two together and they are perfect. 

So, first, to give you a good laugh before I even tell you anything else about this recipe, this is what mine looked liked.

Notice that it is in three big chunks and it isn't a nice round cake?  LOL  Before I go any further I will say that this cake tastes fantastic, I just made a "baker's" error.  Do you want to know what I did?  Very simply, I tried to flip it out of the pan before it was ready and it just fell apart.  That's all.  So when you make this recipe, WAIT the full 15 minutes the recipe suggest BEFORE turning it out of the pan.  By the way, the rest of the cake I just dumped into a bowl and we ate it with dinner just using forks.  It was too good to throw away.   I don't actually own an bundt pan so I used an Angel Food Cake Pan and had to cook it for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 - 15oz can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups of chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10 inch bundt pan, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, fresh nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.
Separately, whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixer. Mix in eggs, one at a time. On low, add flour and pumpkin mixtures in batches. Mix just until combined, do not over mix. By hand, fold in the chocolate chunks.
Spoon cake batter into pan, smoothing top. Pound the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of cake, about 1 hour. Cool the cake in the pan, on a rack, for 15 minutes. Invert rack over cake and re invert cake onto rack. Cool completely before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

So, now to move on to my other ideas that I did not complete this month.

First up is an idea from Peppermint Creative and it was actually an idea I found prior to Pinterest but then ended up also pinning it.  It is the 52 Things Deck of Cards Album.
Now, this is a great idea, don't get me wrong.  But, after I had gathered my scrapbook paper from my collection, found a deck of cards, and starting thinking about this project I realized that for all of the work it would take, it would end up sitting on a table or shelf after my husband looked at it.  It would be two big to put in an album later so it would gather dust.  Why would I want to spend my time on something that will get dusty? :-)  So, in the end, I decided that I did not want to create this idea.  I think I can create a card for my husband for Valentine's Day that will express just as much but be something that I could actually keep in our scrapbook. 

Another idea that I still really like comes from Christina Williams and is for Canvas Silhouettes.  I think that this are classic and would actually really love to make them but I knew that it just wasn't going to happen this month or anytime soon. 
I actually had a 2 pack of 16x20 Canvas' in my cart at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago but those just seemed so big; the difference in price to buy two 8x8 frames was pretty big. (The 2 pack was on special for $7.50 . .. verses $15.00 for a single 8x8) Plus, I would need to get some contact paper and blow up photos . . .it was becoming a very extensive project that I just didn't have the time or the money to do right now.  I think I need to print a couple 40% coupons one of these days and have my husband and I each pick up a canvas in the size I want - then go from there.  So, you may see this idea show up on my goals before the end of the year!

Finally, this idea comes from Diary of a Quilter but I've seen it so many other places as well and it is just for the simple homemade magnets.
I'm halfway into this project - I've purchased the glass beads/marbles but need to get magnets still.  Then I can cut the scrapbook paper and I have plenty of letters to use as well.  These are great to use for learning letters or for doing all of the magnet worksheets.  I also want to pick up some inexpensive cookie sheets to use with these as well.  I do plan on finishing up this project in February. 

I did complete 4 items on my goal list (plus a few that weren't) but sadly, those 4 items were all recipes!!  Better luck next month :-)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recapping my January Goals

At the beginning of January, I posted my Goals for the month (and yes, it was a funky post because I tried adding my spreadsheet into the post and well, it only kinda worked!)  I wanted to take time to recap those goals and let you know what I actually accomplished.  I am the first person to tell you that I know that I will mostly likely not complete every goal I plan but I try to work towards completing them; you know, just make progress. 

Here's the low down, real life truth:

1. Our Mantel: We do not have a true mantel but my goal for January was two fold.  1)To pick some place to do a little decorating each month for the holiday/season and 2)To decorate it for January using snowmen.  Well this one gets a great big Check for being done!  I decided to use our dining room table and the top of our refrigerator as our "mantel".  The refrigerator because it is what you see when you walk in the house and the table because, obviously, we eat there and can see the decorations.  Here are a few photos of what I did for January:
 I love these snowman and I love that I can keep them out from Christmas through January :-)  I'm also trying to use table clothes again - I love them and now the boys won't pull them off like they used to! 

2) Holiday Celebrations:  One of my goals was to get some cards out on time.  Well, I totally missed one anniversary and my niece's birthday was Friday and her card just went out today.   I had planned to head to Frankenmuth to see the Ice Sculptures but those plans didn't pan out so instead we spent some family time on Saturday the 28th.  Finally, we've decided to celebrate half-birthdays so I've been working the basics of those ideas (these will just be with our little family of 4 for something fun to do!) and also a birthday board to use for the real birthdays :-)

3) Date Night: This was an easy one this month - we went away for the weekend to our niece's wedding :-)  We had planned to stay over on Friday night thanks to points my husband had used and ended up staying a second night due to the awful weather conditions! 

4) Daily Something Special: Does having good intentions count?  I did create my January binder and printed off some great ideas.  I also make a calender with what I wanted to do and put everything in order.  We did a few things like baked some cookies and colored but then. . .well, that was it HA!  We still have some things I would like to do but those might now carry over into February :-)

5) Pinterest Challenge: Check back tomorrow (Tuesday) and you will see the updates on this part of my goals!

6) Too Cute Ideas: 1) I made lots of ideas for February decorations but you will have to wait to see those - I'll be doing some crafty posts over the next couple of weeks! 2)  I did not create the birthday board but I did make my notes on what to do!  3) I finished up the clip boards this past weekend as well as the growth chart.

7) Quiet Books: No matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get these going!  I'll try again in February :-)

8) Celebrate Me: Crash and burn on this one :-)  Lets try for round 2 in February. 

9) Misc Items: I finally brought my nephews books inside this past weekend . . .I still need to research the best ways to list them and sell them.  I did write out my scrapbooking goal (and am already ahead!!) but I have not started the February binder as of yet!

10) House Projects:  I did make a list of house projects and even wrote a post about it.  That is as far as I got. . . I did not paint the kitchen . . . and we cancelled the big room switch.  We are all staying put!

11) Vacation/Camping - We haven't secured any dates or set anything in stone yet but I have done some beginning stages of planning.

I FELT like I got a lot more done then it appears . . .I think I need to be a little more specific in February HA! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Home School Haven

I've been on the look out for more ideas to post to use with kids - even if you don't officially home school, you may find some of this ideas useful on snow days or on those week long breaks from school.

This first idea I love because they did it in Florida . .. where there is no snow! This idea comes from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and she shares a totally awesome Snowman Experiment using giant ice balls.  I think that, here in Michigan, this would actually be fun to do in the middle of summer :-)
Homeschool Creations created some really neat printables to tie in with the book "The Mitten".  I love this story and look forward to using these with the boys.
This is another great science idea that uses TP Tubes and marbles :-)  The idea is shared over at So Here's My Life - such a great thinking idea for the whole family :-)

That's all for today - I ran out of time to search out tons of ideas :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekly Menu

Ya know, I'm really have a hard time accepting that fact that February begins this next week.  Searoulsy.  It seems like just yesterday it was New Years Day and now, the month is gone!  As I'm writing this post, I don't even have my February meal plan in place . . I'm not motivated for some odd reason.  I'll get there and will have it written by the end of next week but right now, I wish I had a chef who planned (and cooked) all of our meals HA! 

Here's are plan for this coming week:

Saturday:  More then likely, my husband and I will order dinner in which means the kids will have something simple like soup or grilled cheese.

Sunday: Chili and Cornbread (This Chili recipe is something that has been on the menu since SEPTEMBER but it just never gets made - I think in September it was too hot out HA!)

Monday: Overnight French Toast and Bacon

Tuesday: Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes with Parsley gravy and fried corn

Wednesday: Crispy Orange Beef and Broccoli with Baked Brown Rice (This is a new recipe!)

Thursday: Chicken Caesar Sandwiches and Baked Onion Rings, Peas

Friday: Stuffed Shells, Salad and Garlic Bread (I made this in December but totally messed it up so I wanted to try it again to see if it really is as good as I THINK it is!) 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Food Friday - Coconut Chicken

I've made these wonderful little chicken bits of goodness twice and we have loved them both times.  I originally made them on a day I thought Darryl would be gone overnight because he doesn't usually like Coconut but, he happened to make it home and guess what?  He said these were GOOD!  I made them again recently and they were just as good the second time around. 

Coconut Chicken
adapted from Confessions of a Homeschooler

The recipe below calls for Chicken Thighs but both times I've made it, I only had chicken tenders on hand so I used them and think I always will.  I still cook them for 45 minutes though and they come out tender.  Because of the butter drizzled on top, they have a great flavor and don't get overly crispy either (and I don't cover mine with foil either).  I served mine with Savory Rice, Peas and Rolls but it really does go with anything that you love!

  • 4-6 chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (can substitute olive oil)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Optional: tin foil
STEP 1: Season chicken with salt & pepper to taste.
STEP 2: In plate mix breadcrumbs and coconut together, and roll chicken thighs in breadcrumb mixture 1 at a time to coat well.
STEP 3: Place coated chicken in lightly sprayed baking dish and drizzle lightly with butter or olive oil.
STEP 4: Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes until chicken is done.
Serve with baked potato and your favorite veggie!
TIP: Place foil over the chicken for the first half of baking just to keep the coconut from browning too much.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What I'm Reading

Hello!  Last week I was reading the book The Fence My Father Built on my Kindle.
I did finish it and just wanted to say that it did not have the twist I thought might happen.  It really was a good book - I did feel like, after a pretty long story, the last 1/4 of the book moved really quickly to wrap everything up and I actually got a little lost and had to "flip" back through a few pages sometimes to re-read it to see what I missed.  I have decided yet whether this is a read again book so for now, it is in the archives of my Kindle.  :-)

Currently I really have no rhyme or reason to what I pick on my Kindle to read next.  I have the books sorted by the date I received them but they are sorted by the newest added so I just pick the one on the top (I should probably reverse that and read the oldest stuff first???) So, the book I'm reading currently is called Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride.
This book currently sells on Amazon for $9.99 for the Kindle ($11.99 for the actual book).  I am glad that I picked this one up for free - I wouldn't have actually bought it.  The story is cute - about a wedding planner who meets the love of her life and gets engaged within a few weeks; and then they move to take new jobs and run into all kinds of snags.  One thing I don't like is that in between each chapter are "tips or recipes" like the Top 10 wedding Flowers, or Themed Wedding ideas.  I just skip over all of those sections to get to reading part.  This one is a pretty quick read - I'm enjoying it, but not enough to have paid full price for it :-)

I'm still working on learning my Kindle better.  I've found the "manage your Kindle" button on Amazon and I'm thinking that maybe I need to save some of the books somewhere other than my Kindle because now, with so many books loaded on it, it seems to move slower than it used to (Kind of like an overloaded computer) which is why I also think I probably will delete books that are not my true favorites after I read them (Like the one I'm reading now!) I wonder how much space the books would take up on my hard drive/external hard drive?  I'll have to research that process.  I also need to clean my screen on my Kindle HA! 

What are you reading?  Anything really good?  I'm willing to pay for a GOOD book - especially if it is something I want to save and re-read later :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Special Feature Post

Do you recognize this button?  It is featured on the left hand side bar of my blog.  I've used this blog in the past for birthday ideas and was looking forward to possibly having my kids birthday parties posted on it.  I was kinda disappointed when I went to send Josh's party ideas because I noticed that there were no posts happening at all . .. but then the host e-mailed me to let me know that a friend of hers was taking over the blog and my party WOULD appear in January! 

Josh's Farm Party was featured recently!  How fun is that? 

One of the things I liked about this site is that she has lists for both birthday party ideas and cake ideas so if you are looking for something specific it is fairly easy to find. 

I guess I should send in Nate's party now that Josh's has been featured and see if that one gets a shout out too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too Cute Not to Toot!

I have to tell you - I have been busy making some projects from past "Too Cute" posts that I'll be sharing soon.  PLUS I have even made one of my OWN ideas!!  Seriously!  Can you believe it?  I'm also getting ready to start searching for some new ideas to work on next month too!

Lets start with this great printable from A Step in the Journey.  I really love the quote and will be printing my own this week.  I'm thinking that I will frame it and hang it above my desk as a daily reminder.  I'll show you once it is hanging up :-)
This next idea I am posting for one person who reads this blog - she got a Kindle Fire this year and mentioned that she hasn't been able to find a good case - well neither could Color Me Glamorous so she MADE one and shared her full tutorial.  Check it out!
I Heart Crafty Things shares an adorable tutorial for making these monster Valentine's Boxes.  In future years, as the boys get older, I plan on have each of us make boxes and then put notes in them through the weeks before the big Heart Day.  A Friend of mine does this with her 8 (yes 8) boys and I just think it is awesome! These boxes are just too great not to make :-)
Thought I would share this adorable idea for a little hot chocolate party.  It is such a simple idea from Dukes and Duchesses.  I think this would be fun to do with the boys after an afternoon of playing in the snow :-)
This is an idea I saw on Pinterest originally but the link sends you to a shop to buy the kit - I didn't want to buy the kit.  Then I found this idea over at And I Thought I loved you Then  with instructions on how to make the Snowball Kit!
So, this really isn't an "idea" but it is a concept and, since it is the plan to finally purchase "My" camera after tax time, I wanted to save this post from Its Overflowing - it's a blogger camera course.  It is the second post - so you can, I'm sure, find the first post and there will also be more.  I'm kinda excited to use it as a base to help me out (Plus I have a friend who has promised to teach me all she knows HA!)
Sassy Sites has done it again.  This time she is sharing a ton of links for ideas to make Valentine's for kids.  I love it for future years - it would be fun to make some of them and put them in those Monster Boxes and mentioned above.!
That's all for this week :-)  People have been kinda quiet this week in bloggy land - I think everyone is still recovering from Christmas :-)

Pinterest Challenge - Success and Not So Much Success

Lets start with the success.  This was a simple idea that came at just the right time.  Last week I posted about the Memory Shortage I had on my hard drive.  I remembered pinning this idea from Real Simple not long ago so I pulled it up and did a little research on this great way to store photo discs.
This just clicked in my brain and was such an easy concept.  Unlike most people (or so it seems) I do not catorgerize my photos by event but rather in chronological order so the color coding of the jewel cases was not something I needed to do but otherwise I loved this idea.  Here is what my simplified version looks like.
Very simply, I burn each year on to a disc (or multiple discs depending on the number of photos) and just put an small index card on the front of the first disc.  I did buy colored cases only because they were cheaper and look more fun in the box!  The box is just a Rubbermaid shoe box which fits the discs perfectly.  I also, as you can read, have "tabs" for the professional picture discs we have had done and I save the copies of the photo pages I create as well. 

Now for the not so much success stories.  Surprisingly, they were both food items.

First up, this recipe for 3 Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake was one of the very first "pins" and was so excited to make it - it just looked so incredibly yummy! 
I finally got around to making this last week for dinner.  Even while I was making it, it looked good but I kinda wondered what rocatta cheese would do to the texture.  I should of thought a little longer about that concept.  Really, I should have . . oy!
So, do you want to know what the best thing on the plate was?  Nope, not the pasta - it was the garlic bread.  The pasta dish was nasty nasty!  Two reasons.  1)The texture was just not good.  It was kinda chunky and not creamy - that rocatta cheese really messed with the alfredo sauce.  2)The taste - it had none.  It was very bland and non-interesting to eat.  To make it worse, it is actually an expensive dish to put together between the two containers of alfredo (at about $4.00 a container - YIKES!) and all of the cheese . . .not a good one to flop on at all!  So, I would not recommend making this dish personally but, if you want to try it for yourself click on the link I gave above and you will find the recipe there :-)

Now, for the second flop.  Amazingly, it is chocolate and peanut butter - how can you go wrong with that one?  These are called Better Than Crack Brownies which sounds like they should basically make you stand on a mountain peak and sing to the heavens after every bite, right?
So, I whipped a batch of these up with some left over Peanut Butter Cups from Christmas and this is what mine looked like:
I don't think the name suits them and that could be part of the problem - I expected way too much.  They are more like a brownie with some fudge on top.  It's one of those recipes that is just ok - not anything to make again but they weren't awful.  I will say that I used Cocoa Pebbles in the fudgy part instead of Rice Krispies and that probably impacted the texture but not the taste.  You can try them yourself, if you like, by clicking the link above :-) 

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Wedding

I don't know about all of you, but I love Weddings :-)  Especially those of people I know well!  On Saturday, January 14th, Darryl's Niece, Rachel, got married and we were honored to be part of it!  We were very excited about this wedding since Rob and Rachel have been together for 7 years and we figured that this day would come long before now!  Darryl and I were responsible for the music - we knew months in advance but, as is normal, we waited until 2 weeks before the wedding to practice . .. we should have practiced sooner LOL  No, it went really well but we could have used a few more songs for the prelude and postlude.  I also sang "When I Say I do" by Matthew West

The wedding itself was beautiful - it was held in a church that was just "grand" in appearance making for some beautiful photos. I will apologize now for my photos - my camera is on its last leg so it tends to be a little blurry sometimes plus I was not using the flash so any small movement caused a blur. 
 Rachel - she looked beautiful :-)
 Rachel and the Guys
 Rob, the groom, and our nephew Levi (Rachel's brother)

 Darryl with his sister, Kelly
 Rachel and Darryl - yes, she is really that short and yes, he is really that tall :-)
The First Dance :-)

Despite a really bad snow storm with white out driving conditions - it was a great weekend.  Darryl and I, thanks to his hotel points he has earned, were able to stay the weekend so we got some time away which was even better then the wedding - the wedding was just the excuse we needed to do something like that, I guess :-) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I wanted to follow up on Josh's Surgery! On Wednesday, January 18th, Josh was scheduled for surgery to clip his tongue.  My husband and I got up at 5:00 to get ready and then woke Josh up just before 6:00 to get dressed and head out.  On a side note, it isn't very often that we get to peek in on him when he is sleeping and he was so darn cute - then he heard my husband's voice (whom Josh hadn't seen since Wednesday the 11th) and he sat straight up in bed and said "Daddy's Home - Play train circle Daddy?" HA!  Surprisingly, my little non-morning boy was very happy and ready to get dressed and head out.  My mom had graciously stayed the night so she could take care of Nate and the munchkin while we were gone.  We arrived at the hospital right on time and checked in at 7:00.  Then we were called right back to the pre-op room where we waited . .. and waited. . .. and waited. . .and waited.  Seriously.  I have no idea why we had to be there an hour and half early since there wasn't even a nurse in the area until 8:00. 
 Darryl and Josh right after we were brought back to the Pre-Op room.  Josh was more then a little tired after getting up so early and talking the whole way to the hospital.
 This is Josh's bed - he didn't have to get in it until just as they took him away; don't you love the bed hair?? HA!   He didn't even have to change clothes :-)
 I had thought about taking some toys but wasn't sure about hauling stuff in with us.  Some one from Children's Welfare actually brings stuff to each of the kids - stuff to color, a book, and a toy to use while they are there. 
After talking to the doctor, the nurse and the anesthesiologist, they gave Josh some liquid sleep medication and this was taken as he started to get sleepy.  So we then put him in the crib where he just sat and stared at us, looking a little . .. well . .. stoned, for lack of a better word, and they wheeled him away.  He didn't cry, just looked at us like we were insane as we waved at him from across the room HA!

Darryl and I settled in to watch some TV and didn't even have time to find a channel before the doctor was back (actually 20 minutes) to tell us it all went well and he had put in three stitches under his tongue.  He warned us that most kids come out of the sleeping meds (everything was oral - no IV's) disoriented and will cry for 20 minutes to an hour.  We noticed other kids crying as they came out so we were ready.  We thought we would have about an hour wait but 10 minutes later, out came a nurse carrying Josh who was still very out of it (I thought it was neat that the nurses carry the kids out then roll the beds out a few minutes later).
 They got Josh a big cup of Apple Juice and some graham crackers right away.  There is actually a huge slushy machine so he could have had a slushy but he isn't a huge fan and really loves apple juice.  We found it funny that all of the instructions were soft foods only for the first 24 hours and yet they gave him graham crackers??? 

See that cute little face? He is still so out of it he has no idea what way is up!!!  About 20 minutes later we were wheeled out and on our way home.  Everyone raved about how great he was and that he didn't cry and all that stuff.  Well . . . apparently it takes him a lot longer to come out of the drugs then the normal 3 year old.  When we got home, he wanted to get out of the truck and walk himself but we did not realize that he was still 100% loopy.  He couldn't walk a straight line and kept falling in the snow and walking the wrong  direction.  Darryl finally just picked him up and the poor little guy went ballistic - screaming and crying.  Then when he got in he wanted to go downstairs (why? I don't know - my kids don't go downstairs unless they walk down with me to get laundry) so he got upset again.  It took him about an hour to come out of the anesthesia and get back to his normal self.  By early afternoon, he was playing on the floor and he ate a normal dinner.  On Thursday, other then saying once that his tongue hurt and once that he thought he had crackers stuck under his tongue (the stitches) he did fine.  We do notice changes already in his speech - but I have also noticed he hasn't figured out how to use his "new" tongue yet and some words that were clear aren't as clear now.  I'm thinking that as it heals, it will get better. 

All in all, it was a good experience - and I am actually glad that he didn't break down until we got home and no one else had to listen to his screams except for Nana and Darryl and I. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekly Menu - January 21

Can you believe that we are looking at the last week of January?  Wow!  Where did this month go?  As always, when we get to the last week of the month, I like to use up things in the freezer and keep the grocery list as small as possible. End of the month = end of the budget!!!  We have also heard that there are some big route changes coming to my husbands job so I'm not sure what nights he will be home - this might change our menu completely! (I cook SUPER simple when he is gone - my kids could eat Blue Box Mac and Cheese every night!!)

Saturday: No plans for dinner yet - I'm attending a baby shower and then going scrapbooking for awhile.  I'm leaning towards scrapbooking until about 7:30 then I can pick some dinner up for an at home date with my hubby :-) 

Sunday: Winter has finally hit Michigan so I love cooking meals on Sunday that make the whole house smell good AND warm it up!  It is time for a Roast, Carrots, Noodles and Rolls :-)

Monday: Hot Dogs and French Fries (so exciting, isn't it??)

Tuesday: Ham and Potato Soup with Homemade Bread - I have a great ham bone left from a few weeks ago that I'm going to simmer to get lots of ham for the soup :-)  My kids are not huge soup eaters yet so they may end up with hot dogs and bread HA!

Wednesday: Tacos, Rice and Refried Beans (We LOVE tacos!!!!!)

Thursday: Root Beer Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans (Check my "Recipe" Tab for all three of these family favorite recipes!!)

Friday:  Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti and Garlic Bread (Another family favorite in my "Recipe" tab)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Food Friday - Lime Sherbet Punch

This recipe is one that we had both on Christmas Day and New Years Eve.  My sister-in-law, Debby, provided punch for Christmas Dinner and I fell in love with it so I made it again for my husband and I on New Years Eve.  The funny thing is that just a few weeks before that, we had come home from a Christmas gathering and I mentioned to my husband how I wished we had something refreshing to drink - something I could mix together and enjoy.  Please let me clarify one thing, we do not drink alcohol at all - I don't cook with it nor do we have it in our home at all.  So by wanting something to mix together - I'm thinking of a "punch" idea.  This fits the bill and I plan on keeping the ingredients on hand to use when I want something other than milk, water, or Crystal Light!

Lime Sherbet Punch
adapted from Debby McMaster (My sister-in-law)

Isn't that a pretty drink?  It reminds me of St Patrick's Day (I'll have to remember that!)  This is so refreshing, easy and, honestly, inexpensive!

1 package of lime Koolaid (with sugar needed to make it)
1 2-liter of 7-up or other lemon-lime soda
1 container of Lime Sherbet

First, make the Kool-aid except only add about 1/2 the normal amount of water, or even a little less.  Then, add the Kool-aid, soda, and sherbet into a large punch bowl and enjoy. 

Instead of making a big punch bowl for just the husband and me, I poured about a 1/2 a glass of Kool-aid, added 1/2 a glass of Sprite and then put in some sherbet.  It was the perfect drink!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What I'm Reading

Currently, I'm reading The Fence My Father Built by Linda Clare.  This is a book that I got for free for my Kindle a few weeks ago (it is now $8.99).  The only reason I downloaded it is because it is free - it is not a topic I would normally chose but, with that said, it is a very well written, interesting book and I'm glad that I picked it up when I did. 

Here is the review from Amazon:
In The Fence My Father Built, when legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenage Nova and eleven year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she’s confronted by a neighbor’s harassment over water rights and Joe’s legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.

The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph. Along with Joe’s sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Right now, I'm about 70% of the way through the book (I have yet to figure out some things on my Kindle like how to tell what page I'm on!)  and I still haven't figured out how it will end . One part of me feels like there is going to be a little surprise about one of the characters but we'll see! 

A couple of other things I'm working on learning about my Kindle:
1) How to manage my books.  I find it overwhelming to look at 4 or 5 pages of books and have no idea what they are about.
2) How to make groups or something to sort books - I'd like to sort them by type (Romance, Drama, Mystery, Humor) so I can pick based on what I feel like. 
3) Cleaning the screen - I'm sure it is easy but, like a computer screen, I want to make sure to do it right (speaking of that, my computer screen is dirty!)

I hope that you are enjoying your Kindle - or at least reading.  By the way, if you are a traditional reader and read, well, books.  Try buying your books at Half.com.  It is a great site and you can often get books for $.75 (depending on popularity and age) and then right around $3.00 shipping.  A great price! 

What are you reading?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memory Shortage

No, I don't mean my own memory either!  A few months ago, my husband looked at how much memory was left on my computer and made a comment that he couldn't believe how much I had already used up.  We kinds knew that I needed to do something but then . . .we did nothing.  Sunday night, January 15th, I was busy scrapbooking digitally when all of a sudden, I can a message that said something to effect that it couldn't save my work due to lack of memory.  Oops!!!!  Guess what?  I ran out of memory!!! AHHHHHHHHH  So this is what I've been busy doing:

1) Looking at "my computer" to figure out if there were programs that I didn't need anymore  that were taking up space (There are tons of Microsoft updates . .. . I wonder how many of those you have to keep - or can you delete the old ones?  Don't worry I did not delete any of them HA)

2) Burning Discs - Now, I realize that a computer Hard drive is NOT a safe place to store all of your family memories and I've been "meaning" to do something.  Nothing like having no memory to make you "do" something.  I am currently working on putting all photos, photo pages, and documents I want to keep onto discs. 

3)Uploading - I'm also uploading photos and photo pages into sites I order from.  Yes, again, I realize that this are not totally "safe" but they are a back-up source for now.  I am busy making albums in Snapfish for all of my photos.  The nice part is anytime I want to order - they they are!!!  My 12x12 photo pages that I need to still order I am uploading into Scrapping Simply - a great printing site - I can store them there forever after I print them so it is a great place to use as a back up.  This takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  I did April, May, June and July in one day.  And that was back to back - it took about 8 hours.  Crazy. 

4) Deleting - Did you know you should empty your Recycle bin? HA!  Holy cow I had a lot of stuff in there that was taking up HUGE amounts of space.  I also cleaned out my documents and got rid of tons of things that were outdated or just not useful anymore.  Each document doesn't take up a lot of space but when you have a few hundred . .. well, that is valuable space.  I have also deleted photo pages that I have uploaded to Scrapping Simple and burned onto a disc.  Lets just say that freed up about 25 GB just deleting a few months worth (I think my digital scrapbooking is taking up LOADS of space!!)  I now need to also clean out my accessories in my scrapbooking folder as well.  All those digital papers and stickers I don't like or have used so much that I don't like them anymore !! 

5) Things I need to do - there are 2 things I still need to do.  1)Back up photos on my External Hard Drive.  I will also back up the most recent photo pages.  2) I plan on using some Christmas money to sign up for a year of a back up service called Sugar Sync.  It has come recommended to my by another blogger and after doing research on my own, I feel like this is the best service for me.  It will do a real time back up of everything on my computer so if there is a crash, I can retrieve everything easily.  I've had one instance of a virus in the last two years where I thought I lost everything and then recently got the blue screen one day - kinda scary.  I did not lose anything but don't want to risk that either.  Sugar Sync has a limit on storage space so cleaning out my hard drive actually helps with that as well. 

Needless to say, this little project is consuming a lot of time this week but it feels good to be getting it done.  I should have done this months . .a year ago.  Too man precious memories to lose!!

What do you do to backup your important information??  Do you feel less secure now that so much is stored on a computer verses the "old way" of paper/negatives?  Sometimes I feel like my data is so much more unsafe stored the way it is and miss all of the paper storage!!


This little guy is having surgery this morning at 8:30.  He is "tongue tied" - did you know that is a real thing???  We knew his tongue was tied a little short (meaning that piece of skin under his tongue was attached closer to the end tip then it should be) back when he was 13 months old but the ENT doctor suggested we wait and see if his speech was impacted.  Well, it is.  We took him back to the ENT doctor right before Christmas and his tongue is short enough that even with his mouth closed, it doesn't reach the roof of his mouth meaning that he can't form some letters/sounds.  (Which we could knew which is why we took him back!)  Hindsight is 20/20 - we wish we would have pushed to have it clipped at 13 months.  Even his regular doctor was surprised it wasn't clipped yet and pushed it through this time.  With all of that said - we'll be heading out to the hospital at 6:00 AM for the 8;30 surgery.  It is only about a 10 minute procedure with 2-4 stitches but he has to be knocked out to have it done.  Should make for an interesting morning :-)

If you are so inclined, feel free to say a prayer for him and for quick healing.  We have been told that it will just be uncomfortable for a few day but it heals quickly.   I am hoping to get some pictures of "our" first surgery with the kids but we'll see how it goes!