Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals

The Lean Green Bean
Several months ago, I ran across a blog called "The Lean Green Bean".  She hosted something called Foodie Pen Pals and it sounded like so much fun that I signed right up!  This was my first month to receive a package and let me tell you, waiting for the package is like waiting for Christmas!  I was beyond excited when I got this fabulous box in the mail.
 This month I was matched up with Karen over at Skinny In Pink and she out did herself!  She even was so thoughtful to put the goodies in a box that made it difficult for my kids to get into :-)
What did she send?  Well, the very first thing I went to was the Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries.  I do believe that is my new favorite snack.  I've always enjoyed chocolate covered cherries but the blueberries have so much more flavor!!  Then, I really enjoyed the Chocolate Covered Pretzels.  Those were my evening snack for several nights in a row.  The container in the front holds Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds, which I consider my secret stash of energy.  I mean, aren't Almonds a power food?? She also included two packages of popcorn - so yummy.  I will admit that I did "lose" one item to my husband . . see that fabulous bag of chocolate covered Raisins? Well, those are HIS favorite snack so those disappeared before I had a chance to blink!!

Karen really hit the nail on the head with these treats and I loved having my own stash of snacks in the house :-)

If you would like to see what I sent to the person I was assigned, check out Kids and Canning Jars.  I'm looking forward to seeing how she liked her box too!

So, after reading all of this, are you interested in joining up?  
! Here are the details! -On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!
*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Decor

I'm going to skip my normal "Too Cute Not To Toot" post this week in order to share our Fall/Halloween Decor.  I am REALLY late in getting our house decorated this year - I just did it this past weekend, actually, but I'm really glad I did because the boys have really enjoyed it.

 The boys each wanted to help me decorate.  This was what Nate did.  Yes, everything is on the floor around the bottom of the chair ;-)  We did have to rearrange a little so the matching metal pumpkins with handles are now in the boy's room. 

 The top of the entertainment center house my glass pumpkins.  Some of these were used as decor at a baby shower 4 years ago and then I picked up a few more over the years. 
 One of my favorite displays.  I made the wooden pumpkins two years ago and the Jack-o-Lantern is one of 4 that I have that my mom has given me.  The boys LOVE them!! 
 Another favorite - I think I've had this for about 15 years :-) 
 This was part of Josh's decorating  (I'll be honest, I moved this to the dining room table).  This stand also now houses a Jack-O-Lateran also . . . it originally was on the floor next to it where Josh put it ;-)
 Our marble table in the dining room.  This was decorated by Josh as well.
 The dining room table (which now has THREE jars instead of two HA!)
 I love this little display in the kitchen window.  For the record, it was almost 80 degrees the day I was decorating.  It just didn't seem right (But now it is in the 40's!)
 Yes, I have my very own black cat!  I actually also have a stuffed black cat that Josh claimed has his own.  He loves that thing - lays it down for naps, feeds it, and even named it Misty (which is our REAL cats name too!)
 The patio Door - I love it and so far I've kept the kids from taking the "stickys" off the window too!
The top of the fridge :-)  I love those two figures - I've had those for at least 10 years as well.

The boys also have a Jack-O-Lateran in their room and there is one on the piano:-)  Such fun times!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Few of My Favorites

Here are a few blog posts that I found this week that encouraged me, stepped on my toes, or just made me smile.

1) The Year of Less - If you remember, my theme word last year was Simplify.  For as much as I cut out, I realize I could do more.  This post gives some simple reasons why we should live for less (And if you check  out the blog, she has other great posts too! )

2) shared an awesome post called 10 Great ways to be an unhappy mom. Wow, nailed that one right on the head!!

3) I Heart Organizing - A great post about . . .how to organize Lego's HA!  We are now the proud owner of our first Lego's and I want a plan in place now.  I love the Trofast system and, guess what? It is SOOO affordable. I actually want to get two systems - one to house all of their cars and trucks and then one to sort Lego's in.

4) The Sullengers - This is my inspiration blog - the whole reason I started blogging.  Ashley posted a great post about dealing with Denial.  She also gives some good insight on how to help others that are grieving and are IN that denial stage of grief.

5) Everyday Atchleys - Are you looking for a good laugh??  Read this post. The blog author makes me laugh 9 times out of 10 blog posts.  I wish she and I lived next door because we would be fast friends!

6) 31 Days to Impress your Kids - I just did a quick look at this one and it struck me as something that could be good.  I need to go back through and read it completely now though :-) 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Menu!

Welcome back to what we eat :-)  Another successful week of menus last week.  The only thing that changed was the kids and I grabbed something out on Wednesday after running a few errands.  I'm not sure why I plan a meal when my husband is gone to practice . . .we usually don't eat it :-)

This week I'm trying to use items more from our Pantry/Freezer.

Monday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Mac and Cheese, A Canned Veggie from the pantry, Crescent Rolls

Tuesday - Simple Stroganoff, Noodles, Blueberry Muffins, and Salad

Wednesday - It's Halloween!!!  Pulled Chicken and Slaw Sliders (I am going to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot and use some of it for this - then I'll freeze the rest for Chicken and Dumplings next month).  Rainbow Jell-o Salad (at the request of Josh - he said he wanted the Rainbow Jelly hehehe), and chips

Thursday - Chicken Scaloppini, pasta, canned veggie, salad

Friday- Corn Chowder and Homemade bread

Saturday - Old Fashioned Beef Stew and Spinach Salad, rolls

Sunday -A monthly potluck at church - not sure what I'll make - probably a dessert and then . . .maybe a salad. I haven't gone there long enough to figure out the hot food situation (crock-pots, oven space, etc) so cold food is best ;-) 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food Friday - Taco Stuffed Shells

Taco Stuffed Shells
adapted from

This is the second time I've made these Taco Stuffed Shells and they were a hit both time.  Even my boys ate them and that says a lot.  I love to serve them with a side of sour cream, some sliced green onions, and lettuce. Then add sides of rice and beans and you have a great meal (Ok, I don't eat the beans but my husband and kids do!!) 

1lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 4 once package cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 cup sour cream

Cooking Instructions: 
 Step 1: In a fry pan cook ground beef and add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and allow to fully cool. While burger is cooking cook the pasta shells, drain and toss well with butter.
Step 2:  Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Step 3: Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce.
Step 4: Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Step 5: After 30 minutes, uncover, and sprinkle crushed chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on top.  Cook for about 15 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, additional salsa, black olives or whatever you think goes good with tacos!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pinterest Projects

So I realized last time I posted my Pinterest post, I had actually written it a month or so before but didn't post it until after I finished the items - the post didn't make sense . . .. kinda.  So, I'm going to post my current projects that I want to do. I will then (hopefully . . if I remember) post an update in one month!

From my Thanksgiving Folder I want to make a version of this thanksgiving countdown calendar from Mom Colored Glasses
I'm in the process (the never ending process) of organizing my basement. I've tried so many ideas for organizing manuals and none seem to work so this simple binder idea from Designing Vitues seems like it might actually work.  I need to sort through all of ours anyway and then I can store the binder on a shelf in the classroom.
Lately I've noticed that our towels stink.  So when I saw this idea pinned from EcoKaren for cleaning a front loader washer, I figured it was something I should try.  I'll let you know how it works ;-)
This idea for a birthday calendar is awesome and I want to make one.  The idea comes fromEighteen25.  I already have the clipboard so I just need to print :-)
And finally is this - Christmas!   What is it??  My whole board from Pinterest.  I couldn't really narrow it down instead my goal is to print, plan, and create throughout November so I'm ready for December.  I'll update as I do different projects.  I have already started on our count down calender that I found through a "too cute" post last year.   (I guess doing the Thanksgiving countdown might be a better idea first HA!) 

I should also mention that I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year so I'm hoping to do a couple of other cute things too - last year I made place cards for the table that were adorable so I may just make up a few more :-) 

Happy Go Lucky

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Photos

Every year, our photographer hosts an open house a few weeks before Halloween and takes photos of the kids in Costumes . ..for free!  She then sends at least one print of each child for a keepsake. I love it because she gets such awesome shots of the boys.  On Friday, Kellys Korner will host her weekly "Show us your Life" and the theme is Halloween Costumes!  I thought I would post this today but be sure to check out her blog on Friday to see other cute costumes :-)

 Josh chose to be a fireman this year.  He just stood there so perfectly for photos!  Don't you love his green "fire boots"?? Those are his rain boots and he loves them!!!

Nate chose to be a Race Car Driver this year.  Now, these pictures are almost a "miracle".  See, he stood for his photo, saw some blocks and went running to play.  The photographer (not our normal one) reacted to him and he just started sobbing.  We could not get him to smile for anything and he wouldn't leave my side.  Our regular photographer came to the rescue and set up some tires for him to "fix" outside so we were able to get these photos of him in costume.

We have lots of Halloween activities coming up - I think they get to wear their costumes 3 more times which also means lots of Candy and lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot!

I'm sitting here on a Monday night after a busy day of prepping for a birthday party for my now 4 year old and realizing that I haven't written a post for Tuesday!  I've also realized that I have not decorated for fall.  I just have not had the desire to drag everything out even though my husband has asked me to do so . . .twice.  Not sure why, I just haven't but, Thanksgiving is now at my house so I guess I better get my fall on pretty soon! 

This first idea isn't just a single craft and it is whole house of halloween decorations.  A Pretty Life gives some great inspiration in her post!
Because it is so late tonight and, well, I'm tired, I'm going to let that by your inspiration for the week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Homeschool Happenings Week 8

First of all I must say Happy Birthday to my very special 4 year old today!!!  We'll be doing this to celebrate his birthday throughout the week so I'll be sharing a birthday post this weekend :-)  

This past week our learning focused more on things that we were doing each day than book learning.  Here's a look at our week!

Monday - I've figured out that I don't need to do preschool 5 days a week, 2 hours a day.  That's just crazy.  So, we don't normally do preschool on Mondays - instead we go to the grocery store (which is all about learning anyway!).  The boys usually have specific items that they are supposed to remember to get (I Help them remember!).  This week on Monday though, the boys had some building time with Darryl.

My sister-in-law picked up this huge set of Marble Works at a garage sale a few years ago and gave them to us because she remembered her brothers (my husband being one of her brothers) playing with them growing up. Well, the boys are finally hold enough to enjoy playing and building so my THREE boys spent the time before dinner making this fun tower.

Tuesday - The boys love playing games and this See and Spell activity is a favorite.  Don't judge, some days are just pajama days. 

Wednesday - Field Trip!  I've been trying to get us to the park for several weeks but due to rain, high winds, and cold temps (not to mention everyone with runny noses) it just didn't happen.  Well, today was IT!  It was 70 degrees, sunny and dry . . .well at least while we were there (It rained later in the day and rained the rest of the week!).  I'm hoping to get back to the park at least one other time . .. 

Thursday - I have to admit .. .I don't remember what we did today . . . .maybe nothing ;-)

Friday - We went to Friday school in the morning and normally I don't plan a lot on Friday afternoons other than picking up for the weekend.  But I thought I'd share these photos.
 Josh asked me to play blocks with him so how could I resist!  A week ago they went to visit their grandpa up north with Darryl and they had a little birthday party for both boys.  They each got some money so we took them to the store to pick out a gift.  Nate picked out the blocks and Josh picked out a whole bucket of play food.  Those have been the main toys this week! 

There is a story behind this little table :-)  At Friday school there is a huge table of . . ummm .. junk.  At least that is what I see normally.  It is stuff people bring to give away.  Well, this past week Josh spotted a big bag of dishes and play food.  His eyes got huge and he looked up at me and said "Look at that mom".  So I grabbed it and ignored the pretty pick dishes ;-) LOL  Let me tell you, we got home and the boys threw a tea party that lasted all afternoon and they even cleaned their floor before the day was done.  These dishes are such a huge hit.  Between the food he got for his birthday gift and this free bag of kitchen stuff, my kids are cooking up a storm! 

That's our week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Few of my Favorites

This week (and maybe in the future - who knows!) I've decided to share some of my favorite blog posts from this past week.  Posts that made me think, smile, or dream a little more.  To me, Sundays are the days to sit back and read something without feeling rushed so, take time and check out the following posts:

1) Rainbow Birthday Cake from Comfy in the Kitchen - Sure she shares an easy recipe but she also is not an over the top birthday party planner and that was great to see.  It often seems that blog land shows incredible parties that many of us can't recreate- this post does not do that :-)

2) Little Writer from Superchikk - I love this blog in general but this particular post shares her sons progress with learning to write and how it ties into the meaning of his name.  Such a great post!

3) Operation Christmas Child; Paper or Plastic from Mama Jenn- This is the first post I read this year about Operation Christmas Child and it reminded me that I wanted to do this with my boys.  My goal this year is one box.  I plan on taking the boys to the store the first week of November, allowing them to pick out toys for the box and then we can actually pay online and then will be able to track our box to see where it goes.  I really loved this post !

That's all for this week.  In the future, I am going to add these as I read them - I know there were some more great posts this past week but I can't remember them!

Enjoy your Sunday (Today I'll actually be busy prepping for a special party for a little boy turning 4!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly Menu

So, did I mention last week that I'm in love with my new plan?  Well, I am!  This weeks menu was a huge success and, because I was making things that I know well several nights of the week, it made it easy to cook.  I've also been diligent to save left overs so we can eat those on Sunday night (I hate cooking on Sunday evening!)  plus I also made a double batch of both the root beer pulled pork and shrimp so I have those two meals in the freezer.  I like to use those meals around the holidays when I'm busy cooking other things like pies, cookies and fun food to serve. 

We have a very busy week coming up - we have something going every single day Monday-Sunday.  It isn't often that we get weeks like this so we will just enjoy it!

Monday - Josh turns 4 today and we are having the grandparents over for a little party.  Since he is four and really enjoys certain foods I wanted the meal to be mostly about his likes.  We are having Chili Dogs and I'm going to make homemade Hot Dog Chili to use on the dogs, Plain Hot dogs for those that don't like Chili Dogs, Cole Slaw, Macaroni Salad and Pumpkin Pie Dip with Apples. Then we will have Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting (per Josh's request) and Vanilla Ice Cream.  YUM!!

Tuesday - On this day we get Josh's 4 year photos taken!  Dinner tonight will be Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin, sauteed cabbage and bacon and Thanksgiving Stuffing (both side recipes are new!)

Wednesday - Tonight my husband has practice so it is just the boys and I for dinner. I'm planning Skinny Swedish Meatballs over Noodles. My boys both like meatballs and noodles so hopefully they will eat well :-)  I made this recipe once before but I don't think I ever shared it.  This will be my "test" - if it isn't good, I won't share it HA!

Thursday - Guess what?  I'm done cooking for the week!  YIPPEE!!  Tonight we are going to the Fall Festival in our little town.  They do trick-or-treating down main street with lots of activities and a Chili Dog Contest. We will either get Chili Dogs for Dinner or stop and get a pizza on the way home.  It is usually determined by how cold it is outside!! (Who wants to sit outside freezing eating a hot dog??)

Friday - Our church is having a harvest party tonight and yes, there will be food ;-)  I signed up for dessert so I plan to make a couple of kinds of cookies to take (in a disposable container) so I don't have to worry about bringing anything home!

Saturday - Ok, I lied.  I am cooking brunch today.  I'm going to make biscuits and sausage gravy (I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe either!!) and eggs.  We'll then be heading to the zoo for the Zoo Boo as part one of Josh's birthday weekend.  Dinner will be out - not 100% sure where. The kids just want chicken and Fries so as long as the restaurant serves that we are good ;-)  (We are leaning towards our favorite Mexican place but we'll see!)

Sunday - We will still be celebrating with Josh so lunch will be out, again, not sure where yet.  For Dinner- frozen pizza's will be waiting for us :-) 

WOW!  So busy but so much fun :-)  Looking forward to a great week!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Food Friday - Roasted Zucchini and Carrots

Roasted Zucchini and Carrots
adapted from voracious vander

There is nothing better than fresh vegetables (verses frozen or canned) but trying to find good recipes is hard!  We have become huge fans of roasted veggies and this recipe is fantastic AND easy!  Even my kids, on good days, will eat the carrots because they are soft (verses hard raw carrots). 

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to making some shockingly delightful savory treats that you can feel awesome about.
1. Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F
2. Cut your veg into 8-cm/3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.
4. SEASON – go with the usual salt&pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once.
(Today I used salt&pepper - that's it and it's what we love!)
Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
5. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

I told you this was easy :-)  For the record,quite often, I cook these at 400 degree so I can cook something else at the same time.  They are still perfectly done in about 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

September Photo Panels

In the boys room, they each have a photo board that holds either photos or a photo panel.  I thought I would share their September panels!  I print 12x12 photos so that they will fit into the scrapbook album once I take them down each month.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Deep Cleaning Schedule

It's that time of year.  The time of year when I've recovered from the horrid heat of the summer and can actually focus on a cleaning schedule.  I was reading an article recently on the fact that you can keep your house clean by doing one thing a day above your normal cleaning.  I thought to myself, "Self, you know that is true because you used to do that!"  A year or so ago, I created a basic deep cleaning schedule where I assigned rooms to each month and basically did all of the dreaded deep cleaning stuff about three times a year.   I follow Flylady and she assigns zones each week of the month and gives "missions" daily to do in each of those rooms.  I found that if I do those missions each month, the house stays clean - then the added "one thing a day" really gets into the corners; the places only your mother looks HA! When I was cleaning the kitchen recently, I made a list of about 20 things to do in that room, the porch, entryway, and outside.  I've decided to assign October to those areas :-)

I plan to try and accomplish one of the items a day, leaving Saturdays to play catch up as needed.  I left open Josh's birthday because that day will be focused on him and also, anytime there are 31 days - the 31st is a free day :-)

Here is my list:
1. Clean the fridge - Inside, outside, on top and moving it to clean under it.
2. Clean the Dishwasher - outside, and inside!!
3. Clean the Stove - Inside, outside, and under it :-)
4. Clean the Microwave - you get the drift!
5. Clean out the Trash cupboard area - I will scrub out the trash cupboard and trash cans and then organize the "junk" drawer and the cupboard above it.  This will allow me to clean out things I haven't used or don't need anymore.
6. Stove Side Cupboards - same things as above - basically just going through the cupboards and wiping down the shelves and cleaning out stuff I don't need plus basic reorganizing.
7. Sink Side Cupboards - same as above.
8. Fridge Side Cupboards - same as above
9.  Windows - Wash the insides and outsides of the windows and also clean the window sill and Slider Track.
10. Deep Dusting - taking everything down and washing it, wiping down shelves, using the duster to go along the ceiling edges and also dusting down the baseboards.
11. Wash the curtains (an easy day HA!)
12. Counter tops - Cleaning the entire counter top and also wiping down all items on the counter top
13. Floor - Hand mopping the floors - all the nooks and crannies.  Also shaking out or washing the rugs on the floor
14.  The Basement steps - Vacuuming them with the shop vac
15. Walls - wiping down the walls
16. Porch - this is really just making sure it is clean and no junk is laying around
17. Recipe Binder - this thing tends to overflow so I want to make sure everything is filed and pull out recipes we haven't used in a long time.
18. Outside Garbage Can - that gross stinky thing!  It needs to be bleach and then sprayed out.
19.  Return Pop Cans
20. Clean the light fixtures in the kitchen and on the porch
21.  Clean the truck inside and out!!

**All month - outside!  There is weeding that needs done, lights to be replaced, kids toys to be put away before the first snowfall, and the garage needs to be cleaned up.   I'll be able to plug this stuff in on some of the days that have smaller tasks and when the weather cooperates :-)

Also - I'm hoping to be able to buy one replacement item for the house that we need each month - sometimes it is just something simple like a can opener and sometimes it is a deep fryer.  The other thing I want to start doing each month is something I'm calling "Restock $50".  Basically taking $50.00 a month and buying things like Paper towel, Toilet Paper, Batteries, Trash Bags, etc.  Those things that eat up the budget.  I can watch for the best sales and pick stuff up to help build a stock pile of those things.

*** I have to confess - I'm behind already.  I had planned to start strong but life has gotten in the way.  I'm hoping to catch up this weekend since it is supposed to be rainy . . ..

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Too Cute Not To Toot

So, do you have your kids halloween costumes figured out?  I thought I did, and I probalby do, but now I've been thinking about making spider costumes for them because they are so into spiders.  Most likely I'll stick with the costumes a friend let me borrow since they are free though . . .I digress. Time to look at some cute ideas!

Who doesn't love a countdown? This idea from Pink Polka Dot Creations is so easy and super cute.

Wow, I found zero inspiration this week :-(  I know that is really sad.  I think I have too much going on with an upcoming birthday (someone is turning 4!!) and Halloween. 

Enjoy our week :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A "No Reason" blogging break

I lost my groove in writing my blog posts so I got behind - that's the only reason I did not post today and won't actually have a post tomorrow (Monday).  I try to have a week in advance done but, I didn't, and I forgot I didn't OOPS! 

I'll be back to my old routine starting Tuesday :-)

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekly Menu

It's only been one week and I already love my new concept of using family favorites once a month and than filling in with some other things.  I went through the list of favorites with my husband and only ended up switching out one thing.  Having those good old stand by's has made menu planning so easy!  It really only leaves me 4 days to fill in and several of those are with other recipes we like and I just never made. 

I never got around to making the Flatbread PB and J morning wraps - my three year old ate all of the strawberries and bananas before I had a chance - he is a fruit maniac.  I also never made my Chicken Salad but did cook chicken on Saturday for pot pie for dinner AND to make the Chicken Salad for this coming Week.  One last thing - I didn't make the Chicken Salad Roll-ups I planned to make for ladies meeting because on Sunday they had a "food specific" sign-up list :-(  I signed up for cheese and crackers and made a cheese ball. Next time though, I'm going to make the thing I sign up for and one other thing . . .the food was a little lacking ;-) 

On to this weeks plan!
Monday - Taco Stuffed Shells, Savory Rice, Corn/Creamed Corn (My husband doesn't like Creamed corn but I do!!) This is a recipe I've made before but I never posted it.  I remember them being really good so, if they are, I'll share :-)

Tuesday - Stuffed Cabbage and Crash Potatoes and , Easy, Cheesy Garlic Bread. This is a true family favorite.  I never thought I would crave stuffed cabbage but . . .I do!! 

Wednesday - Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti, and Roasted Veggies.  This was one of the very first recipes I shared.  We really do enjoy it - it is true comfort food.

Thursday - Root Beer Pulled Pork, Buns, Broccoli Salad, and Oven Fries.  A recipe that makes my house smell heavenly AND tastes just as good!  I'm hoping for a chilly day because this heats up my kitchen :-)

Friday - Dill Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta, and  Easy Peasant Bread.  Darryl specifically requested this recipe - it is one of his all time favorites.  This is a great freezer meal too so I plan on making one batch to cook and one batch to freeze to use next month :-)

Saturday  - Crock Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup, and left over Peasant Bread (it makes two loaves).  We have a busy day today - the boys get Halloween photos taken in the morning and then Darryl and I are going with the adults from our church to a Corn Maze.  This soup will be ready when we come home.  It is a new recipe so I hope it is as good as it sounds! 

Sunday - Beef Tips and Noodles, 7-Layered Salad, and biscuits.  The good thing about this recipe is that I can actually make it up on Saturday evening and then dump it in the crock pot on Sunday morning so it is ready after church.  For dinner tonight, I think Pizza is the plan.  I have a frozen dough I need to use up so this is the perfect time to do it. 

As far as treats this week, I'm going to make M and M sugar cookies and I think a peach dump cake.  I made an apple version of the dump cake last week and, though it was ok, it was NOT anywhere near the peach version.  Now I'm craving the "real" thing :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Food Friday - Ribs in the Crock Pot

This week over at "Show us your Life" at Kellys Korner it is "Crockpotalooza 2" so before I share this weeks recipe, here are a few links to some other favorites that I've posted in the past.

Crock Pot Stuffed Cabbage - this is a true family favorite and it really is so easy to put together!
Super Easy Chicken Tacos - a simple meal to throw together
Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin - a great company meal!

Ribs in the Crock Pot
adapted from  Team Hess
I will admit that is not the prettiest food photo I've ever seen but the ribs were really good!  I've searched for ten years for a decent rib recipe and I finally have one!  The recipe states to stand your ribs up but, I have a long oval crock-pot and my ribs were too tall to do that - it might be worth it to "invest" in a round crock pot.  I'm sure I'd use it for other things. Because my ribs laid down partially in the juices some of them were more "steamed" then having the great sauce cooked onto them.  Otherwise, the ribs had great flavor and they fell off the bone.  The boys loved them too and that is always a good sign.

3 pounds pork or beef ribs of your choice
1 1/4 water (Or you could use beef broth too)
1 taplespoon Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I use Baby Ray's Honey BBQ sauce)

Place ribs standing upright in the crock pot.  Pour in the water.  Sprinkle with the Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cook on low approximately  8 hours.  Serve with extra BBQ sauce.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10 Reasons I Love Fall

After all of my complaining about the horrible, hot, awful summer, I thought I would share how much I love this time of year.  It makes me happy :-)

10.  The weather - it is cool and crisp.  I love both the sunny days where the sky is crystal clear blue and the gray, drizzly days that only happen in fall.  The dark grey clouds that hit of snow storms to come are just amazing.

9. Sweatshirts and Jeans.  I love being able to where sweatshirts, jeans, comfy slipper socks, and a sweat jacket without worry about getting hot.

8. Comfort Food - We have been enjoying comfort food - things I have not made since . .March (because it was in the 80's here since March!) Chicken and Dumplings, Lasagna, Meatloaf, and other soups are the things that we are loving now.  They heat up the kitchen and make the house smell great!

7.  Hot Chocolate and Mocha's! - Finally, instead of drinking my fake coffee (I.e. Pepsi in a coffee cup on ice) I can make Hot Chocolate and Tassimo Mocha's along with a few Caramel Mocha's from McDonalds, and yes, the wonderful Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks.

6. Pumpkins and Apples - I am a huge fan of things made with apples and pumpkin.  We've already enjoyed some apple crisp and I have more apple desserts on the menu soon.  Not to mention our pumpkin recipes that will be coming soon!

5.  The Colors - there is nothing like Michigan colors and this year is incredible.  The weather has been the perfect mix making for intense colors.

4. The Smell - I love the smell of burning leaves that happens in the fall.  As people rake, play, and burn leaves it just fills the air with the smell of . .. .fall.  Plus everything smells so crisp.  There is no humidity making things stink - it is just fresh, clean air.

3. Football!!! - Yes, we love Football.  The more the better.

2.  Orchards - I love going to orchards and pumpkin patches.  The activities, hayrides, corn mazes, fresh apple cider and orchard donuts are fantastic.

1. Looking forward - To what, you ask? Well birthdays (my kids), Thanksgiving, Christmas, snow, at least one good blizzard, snowmen and more.  Fall is just the beginning of my favorite time of year!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pinterest Again #2

This is what I'm working on now from Pinterest - it really is a  great place to get ideas!

We are in the process of changing rooms.  The boys will be sharing a room and I wanted to add some art pieces to their room that are for both of them - not just their "themes".  This idea comes from my board for the Boys Bedrooms and is from Words of Williams.  It's simple - a canvas, some paint, and my cricut cutting out some awesome scrapbooking paper.  I can't wait to complete it! Here is the photo of the inspiration:
It will say "Let Them Sleep  For when they wake, they will move mountains
And here is what mine looks like: 
Totally different then what I started with :-)  I used my Creative Memories software to actually create this photo print using photos of my boys, printed it and framed it.  I LOVE it.  It is perfect. 

This next idea is from the same board and comes from This Glorious Day.  I love that it uses their handprints and footprints and the verse from Micah is one of my top favorite verses. 
This is what I did with it: 
Again, I made a photo print using photos of the boys hands and feet.  I love this one too!

One last idea I want to work on right now for their room comes from Coffee Break with Liz and Kate and is the perfect idea for a night light for their room.
This is how mine version turned out.  I used a nightlight light instead of Christmas lights and really like it.

I also am working on getting our classroom together so this idea comes from my Homeschooling board and the idea comes from . . .well, it's just a picture so I'm not sure who to give the credit to on this one! I think I want to create this on a 12x12 or larger (we'll see) scrapbook type page and then hang it on the wall in our room . I'm not sure what I did but I can't write below this photo but - I haven't done this yet either.  Our classroom is done and there isn't a whole lot of room left for decor.  I still want to create this to hang on the entrance wall to the room but it took me about 4 weeks to get the things I created for the boys room correct and printed so now that I've learned a lot, I think I can get this done a little faster.