Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My 100th Post!

It has taken me quite a while to get to it, but I now have 100 posts on my blog! I think I started this blog in 2007 just because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I mean, everybody was blogging, so why shouldn't I? I think I made 1 post in 2007 and maybe 2 in 2008. LOL No need to say that I wasn't much of a blogger. For some reason, this year was different and I decided to try to keep up with it, though I wasn't sure what direction I really wanted to go with it. I'm still not sure, to tell the truth. I don't have a set objective like some blogs - there is no goal of this blog, there's not a particular recipe I want to try each day or a product to review or anything to give away - at least not at this point. I guess, for now, it will be a simple place for me to share bits and pieces of our lives, providing a little window into the days of a fairly average family, just trying to get by in this crazy world.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday & Movie Time Monday!

Our Mondays have become quite the big deal over the past several months. Laural really looks forward to them because not only do we do Muffin Tin Monday but also Movie Time Monday. Today's movie is Monsters Vs. Aliens that the kids got for Christmas. While watching the movie, we had our muffin tin meals.

Top Row: Green Pepper Strips, Frosty Strawberries, Fruit & Veggie Juice
Bottom Row: Ham Cubes, Cheesy Christmas Tree Pasta, Yogurt

 Laural loves her muffin tin!

I didn't get the pic of Laural until she was mostly done with her lunch. Micah was his usual grumpy self and only ate the yogurt, a couple bites of cheesy trees and some of his juice. Then he was ready for bed. His nap schedule makes it hard to get 3 meals a day into that kid!

FYI, I got the Christmas Tree pasta at Le Gourmet Chef. I don't know if Le Gourmet Chef is all over the place, but if it isn't, you can find it and all kinds of pasta shapes at www.pastashoppe.com

Menu Plan Monday

This will be another hit or miss week when it comes to meal planning. Like last week, I expect things to change at a moment's notice, but here is the basic plan.

Dinner @ Mother-In-Law's

Sweet & Sour Chicken
(we didn't get to this last week)

Grilled Beer Brats
Potato Salad
Glazed Carrots

New Years Eve @ My Parent's

Chicken Enchilada Skillet
(another one we didn't get to last week)


Deer Roast in the Crock Pot
Roasted Potatoes & Carrots

Leftover Extravaganza

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Busy Christmas Day!

There's nothing like Christmas time to fill your schedule up in a hurry! We had endless errands and last minute gifts to buy in the days leading up to Christmas, not to mention all the gift wrapping. Today, Micah was cranky and fussy while we started opening presents. Thinking he was just hungry, I gave him something to drink to tide him over. A few minutes later, he was throwing up. After cleaning him up and finishing the rest of the presents, Steve cuddled with him on Laural's bed. He fell asleep for a few minutes and then threw up again. Next, we put him in his crib and after a 3rd throw up and clean up, he fell asleep for over 2 hours. I stayed home with him while Laural and Steve went to his mom's. Once they got home, we all went to my folk's house where Micah got better over the course of the afternoon. He acted like he was starving and ate and ate and ate! He had crackers, rolls and water. I was afraid to give him much more than that. No more throwing up. By 6 or 7 PM, he was back to his normal self. We hung out at my parent's for a little while, watching tv. My mom started having some sort of allergic reaction but couldn't find her Benedryl. By the time we were getting ready to leave, she was in bad shape, with an extremely itchy rash all over. So, after we got home, I found our bottle of Benedryl and sent Steve to meet my dad half way. We were just going to run to WalMart, but they were still closed. Once Steve got home, we finished getting the kids ready for bed and crashed out ourselves. It was a good Christmas though. Laural was super excited over all her presents. It was SO cute to see her get so excited over every little thing. I love watching her. She picked out a pretty pair of "diamond" earrings for me. She told me that she saw a commercial on tv about every kiss begins with K. And she wanted to get me the earrings "because they were beautiful just like you." So sweet! What a little angel! She is such a loving little thing. My baby girl. ♥♥♥

Laural got: a Tag reading system, a tub of Legos, a new Click Start game, an angel and mermaid dress up costume, Pixos, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake & If You Take a Mouse to the Movies books and a Mouse plush to match, a Flat Stanley book, a smiley spoon and spatula to help me in the kitchen, dress up shoes (from Micah), a giant pencil, Christmas stickers, stencils, a red shirt, lotion, Agent Cool Blue and Smart Rinse, a wooden penguins set, Glow necklaces, Diego glasses case, a tambourine-like hand instrument, and a Disney Princess dry erase board. Nana got her a Barbie Cruise Ship, Band in a Box, Ken doll, Barbie clothes, and a Bear Hunt wooden flip game. Tom & Steve got her a "I Can Do That" Cat in the Hat game. Grandma & Grandpa Cook got her a Dora dress up doll, a pretty purple fleece, Hello Kitty socks, and one of those expandable washcloths with Dora on it. Great-Grandma & Grandpa Wilson got her a Dream baby doll. Brian got her a bag of candy. Rob & Amy got her a Tinkerbell jewelry box like the one from the movie.

Micah got: a big bag of Mega Bloks, a My Pal Scout, Fridge Phonics, Alphabet Pal, If You Give a Moose a Muffin & If You Give A Pig A Party books and a Moose plush to match, A Fishie board book and The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book, 2 wooden cars, a giant pencil, Christmas stickers, stencils, farm stickers, nesting barrels, a wooden peg & hammer bench, Superstar microphone, green striped t-shirt, a maraca, and glow necklaces. Grandma & Grandpa Cook got him a Little People dump truck, Jack in the Box, a Spiderman expanding washcloth, and an orange shirt. Great-Grandma & Grandpa Wilson got him a bedbugs hammer toy. Brian got him candy. Rob & Amy got him a Busy Ball Popper (he already has one though).

Gifts to Both/family: Operation game, Hi-Ho Cherry-o game, Up dvd, G-Force dvd, Monsters vs. Aliens dvd (with bonus dvd), 3 Berensteins Bears dvds, an abacus, a Sit & Spin, Bunny Crackers, Pictureka card game, and the Candy Land Castle game. From Tom & Stevie: Pumpkin cookies and a $40 gift certificate to Compadres. From my parents: cookies & goody tray. From my grandparents: cookies and pumpkin bread. From Brian: cookies.

Steve got: A crank flashlight. From his mom: illuminated keyboard, Quantum of Solace dvd, Bible trivia and word challenge desk calendars, $50 gift certificate to Borders and Gospel Book Store, passport fees and a framed photo of Steve with his dad & brother.

I got: "diamond" earrings from Laural, Reese's cups from Micah, mini cookies cutters, silicone cupcake liners, silicone basting brush, magnetic to do list, fuzzy red gloves, and reusable shopping bags from Steve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

We are in the midst of very busy days in our house, so we are cutting corners in a couple of areas, one of those areas being Muffin Tin Monday. We still did MTM today. We just didn't stick too closely to the theme. On top of all the stuff I'm trying to get done, I woke up at 3 AM last night and couldn't get back to sleep, so my heart wasn't much into it today. But, we still had lunch in muffin tins and that makes it a better lunch anyhow. Just ask my daughter!

Top Row: Chocolate Chip Muffin, Christmas Marshmallows, Orange Slices
Bottom Row: Cheezits, Applesauce w/ Christmas Sugar, Gingerbread Man Sandwich
(I cut the remaining sandwich into cubes and put them under the gingerbread man)

Micah went right for the marshmallows.

Laural started with the marshmallows too.

Menu Plan Monday

I am so far behind this year. I can't believe that it is already just 4 days until Christmas! Since I have SO much to do in the next 4 days, I decided that having my menu planned for this week would be critical. So here we go:

Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Toast
Romaine Salad


Leftover Buffet

Christmas Dinner @ My Parent's Place*

Stuffed Pork Chops
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans


*Since my mom just had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday, our family is dividing up dinner and bringing it to my parent's house for Christmas Day. My dad will do the turkey and stuffing. He insists on doing the mashed potatoes as well. He has to have them his way. My brother, Brian, is bringing the rolls. My Grandma is making the sweet potatoes, Waldorf Salad and she wanted to have ham, so she's bringing that too. I'm making the Green Bean Casserole and Cheesy Veggies. I'm also taking my super yummy, super easy Peanut Butter Fudge Pie. As for other desserts, everybody is just bringing whatever they feel like and there will probably be loads of cookies. It's going to be an interesting Christmas Dinner!

Recipe: Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet & Sour Chicken

1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. pineapple Juice (I usually just use whatever I drain from a can of pineapple)
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (or garlic powder)
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
oil for cooking chicken
2 c. cooked rice

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add chicken and cook through, browning slightly. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add remaining ingredients except for chicken and rice. Mix well and place over low to medium heat. Stir constantly. Bring to a boil. Once it gets thick & bubbly, it's done. To serve: Place chicken on rice. Spoon sauce over chicken and rice.

I frequently saute julienne carrots with the chicken. My husband likes those chow mein noodles on his. I usually serve with broccoli and pineapple.

Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 c chopped onion
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp canola oil
1 can chicken broth
1/4 c ranch dressing
1 Tbsp flour
6 small flout tortillas, cut into bite size wedges
2 c cooked corn
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c salsa (if desired)

In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and onion. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Combine broth, ranch and flour. Slowly add to skillet, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 3 minutes. Stir in tortilla strips and corn. Sprinkle with cheese. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Top with salsa before serving, if desired.

Recipe: Stove Top Lasagna

Stove Top Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jar pasta sauce
3 c mini lasagna or noodle of choice
2 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 c mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, drain fat. Stir in remaining ingredients, except cheese. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Sprinkle with cheese. Allow to stand a few minutes before serving.

I stirred in a little Parmesan at the end before putting the mozzarella on top just to add a little more flavor. This dish reminds me a bit of Hamburger Helper.

Recipe: Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs
3 c sliced mushrooms
1 egg
1/4 c milk
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 c beef gravy

Finely chop about half of the mushrooms and combine with the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, milk and 1 Tbsp of the ketchup. Form into 5 or 6 oval shaped patties, about 1/2 inch thick. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook about 5 minutes, turning once, until browned. Add remaining mushrooms, gravy & ketchup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until done and meat thermometer reads 160°F.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

It's Monday which means Muffin Tin Monday in our house! We skipped it last week because I had some sort of virus which Micah also got. We are all better now! Today's theme was Christmas Stories, but we skipped that and went with Christmas foods. With all the craziness that's keeping me busy right now, I'm feeling pretty good about just getting a good lunch made.

 Our meal today.
Top Row: Hershey Kisses, Christmas Marshmallows, Milk
Bottom Row: Cherry Yogurt with Christmas Sprinkles, Mac-n-Cheese made with Christmas Tree Shaped Pasta

Laural just loved it, as always. We combine Muffin Tin Monday with Movie Time Monday, so she just loves Mondays! It's always so much fun to see how excited she gets over all the goodies in her tin. Micah enjoyed his tin today, too. He is so cute! Because our kitchen tends to be really chilly during the winter, we have a lot of our meals in the living rooms this time of year. When he saw me coming with the tins, he immediately went over to his Bumbo seat, flipped it over since he had previously turned it upside down, and proceeded to try to seat himself. He couldn't wait. He refused the pasta but enjoyed the rest of his goodies. He ate all of his yogurt, the marshmallows and a Hershey Kiss before he was too fussy and tired to go on.

Laural showing off her tin.

Micah munching marshmallows.

Friday, December 11, 2009

'Tis the Season for Yard Deer

Yes, Yard Deer. What are yard deer? They are the decorative deer that pop up in people's yards this time of year. At least that is what they have come to be known as in our family. I can't remember how long it's been now, but years ago, Steve and I began commenting on (maybe even poking a little fun at) how popular the deer became as a decoration. Once somebody would put some in their yard, it wasn't long before at least one neighbor had them in their yard too. It was almost like a contagious disease the way it spread. We started counting the yard deer whenever we went somewhere and that is how our Yard Deer game began. Now that we have kids and one is old enough to look out the car windows and count with us, it's even more fun. We have even made up official rules for Yard Deer. Here they are:

1. It must be a deer. It can be made of any material - wire, wood, concrete, plastic, inflatable or whatever. It can be lit or not, but it must be a deer - no moose, bears or any other animal. They need not be Christmas deer. If they are year round decorations, they are fair game and can be counted. You can count the target practice deer if you want. Real, living deer do not count because it would be tough to make them stay in a yard as a decoration.
2. It must be outside. It can be in the yard, on a porch or even a roof, but it must be outside. If it's a decoration in a window that doesn't count because it's in the house.
3. If they are a display at a store that are for sale or an example of what you can buy at the store, they don't count.
4. You count the deer on your side of the road. Back seat passengers team up with the person in front of them. If there is somebody in the back middle seat, they get to pick whose team they are on. The deer must be on the road you are on not side roads you pass by.
5. Once you get to your destination, the game is over and the person/team with the most deer wins.

Some alternate possibilities:
1. Poaching Rule: If you go past a house with deer that are not on your side and your opponents miss them, you can poach them and add them to your total.
2. Continuation Rule: Instead of ending the game at your destination, you can continue once you get back into the car. This is good when you have several places to go before heading back home. The game would start when you leave your home and end when you get back home.
3. Alternate Rule: If you live in an area where there aren't a whole lot of deer, pick another semi-popular decoration people use in your area as an alternative to deer. You don't want to pick something that is super common - like just Christmas lights - because that would kind of kill the thrill of the hunt.
4. Toddler Rule: For very young children, have them join in by pointing out all the houses they see that have lights or decorations. That way they can join the fun without feeling left out.

I think I have covered all of the Yard Deer rules but if there are any questions, feel free to ask in a comment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When It Rains...

It pours! Yes, it's been one of those kind of days in our house. I started getting sick on Sunday but yesterday it got worse. Today, Steve woke woke me up with the news that our computer wouldn't start up. After consulting with my brother, they thought it might be the power supply. Then as the day went on, Micah showed signs of getting sick. By evening, he was going through diapers as fast as we could change them and as a result, he now has a nasty case of diaper rash. This is the first time he's had real diaper rash. Poor kid. So, here I sit with my mother-in-laws laptop that we still happen to have, making and correcting loads of typos because I am not used to using a small keyboard.

I am starting to feel a little better but I don't know if it's the 800mg of ibuprofen I took or if I'm actually getting better. Micah finally fell asleep about 2 hours after regular bedtime. I am getting ready to go downstairs and make a batch of homemade pedialyte for him for tomorrow. As for the computer, it seems there were two issues with it. The power supply and the graphics card. Brian stopped by after he was done with work and took it with him. He is somewhat of a computer repairman and has plenty of computer bits and pieces laying about. So he replaced both faulty parts and should be dropping it by sometime tomorrow. This is a really good thing considering I have a webpage I am trying to update and our yearly calendar I'm in the process of making. I've been wanting a new graphics card for a while anyhw. These crazy machines sure do pick the most inopportune of times to fail. I'd better watch what I type - this machine might be paying attention!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey Sale & Giveaway

One of my very favorite blogs - The Krazy Coupon Lady - is having a sale on their new book and they are giving 3 books away to 3 lucky people! The books are on sale for 2 for $20 + $2.99 shipping which is a good deal to begin with but, there is also the chance of getting one for free! All you have to do is go to the site, follow KCL in one or more of 4 ways, comment that you are a follower and you are entered! For a bonus entry, you can blog about it (like I'm doing now). Just follow this link for your chance to win.

Even without the chance of getting a free book, I highly recommend checking out this site. I have been able to save so much money since I started couponing and KCL is all about helping you and me save money on mundane things like groceries and also more fun things like awesome jeans, movie rentals, dining out and other such stuff. I visit at least 3 or 4 times a day or more for info on savings, coupon matchups to specific stores and links to internet printable coupons.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Homeschool Today

I've been a little lax about keeping up with posting about our homeschooling stuff. I had fully intended to keep regular track of our activities and school work on this blog, but I just never seem to get it done. So, I decided that it's time to start. I also need to keep my camera handy during school time so I can post pics of what we are doing.

Today, we started a unit on penguins. I got it from www.schoolexpress.com. It's a little over her head as is, but I adjust it for her. She really enjoys it. Along with learning facts about penguins and answering questions, she had to draw some penguins. This is her first drawing.

The second drawing was what she thought a penguin looked like while swimming. I drew one first and she looked at my drawing and came up with her own version of a swimming penguin.

We also did a new math puzzle game today. It was a big hit! We did numbers up to 5 and simple adding and subtracting today.She did pretty well. Subtraction is still a hair tricky for her, but she is starting to get the hang of it.

Trying to Figure Out Blog Settings

I've been sitting here, trying to figure out a few things on this blog. I think I have the background thing figured out but I still need to figure out how to center the banner pic. I didn't see a way to do that. I need to edit the banner pic to personalize it. I would also love to figure out how to get those little corner thingies and lines that are around posts and such off my blog. I'm sure I will figure it out eventually. LOL I just hope I don't end up doing something crazy like deleting the entire thing!


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