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!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's time for this mama to get more organized and start planning our meals out again. In the heat we've been having here, I've made a lot of lunch like meals for dinner lately but I'm going to try to change that and keep cool too. So here's the plan for this week:

Turkey & Cheese
Carrot & Pepper Sticks
Sweet & Sour Chicken

Chicken Nuggets
Snappeas & Celery
Fried Cabbage

Personal Pizzas
Zuchinni Rice Caserole
Green Beans

Hot Dogs
Potato Salad
Carrot Sticks
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Salad Pita
Carrots & Broccoli
Creamy Chicken & Pasta
w/ Peas, Carrots & Corn

Turkey Sandwich
w/ spinach, avocado, & cheese
Grilled Steaks
Grilled Veggie Medley
Grilled Corn


Now, I'd better go check to make sure I have everything I think I do. I need to go shopping anyhow. :-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sixteen Years Ago Today...

I went from Miss to Mrs! It amazes me that 16 years has already flown by. What amazes me further is that I still remember the day like it was yesterday. It was an incredible day! I am so thankful that God brought us together and that He has blessed our lives so richly.

My last stroll as a single woman with the first man in my life - my daddy.

The ceremony.

Our 1st stroll as Mr. & Mrs!

Posing for photos.

The wedding party.

Cutting the cake (and trying to wait until everyone was ready to take pics).

Our 1st dance.

The "drunk shot" but since we don't drink and nobody was loopy we added some silliness PRO style.
(PRO = Pittsburgh Role-Playing Organization)

So that was our big day in just a few of the many, many pictures we have of the day. What a fun and fabulous day it was. One of the 3 happiest of my life. Can you guess what the other two were?

Happy 16th Anniversary, My Dear Hubby! I love you ♥ and I look forward to the next 16, the 16 after that and the 16 after that!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Court Bento

Tomorrow, I have to be in court. Ok, not exactly. I have jury duty, so I have to be in the courthouse. I have no idea how long I will be there so I decided to plan for lunch just in case. I'm not really a big fan of the restaurants in the area, so I figured a bento would be a good thing to take along. While we've had bento as a picnic and at home, this will be the first time that I will take bento as a lunch while I have to be out for something else. Since I am a bento newbie and it still takes me a while to assemble a bento, I went ahead and packed my lunch tonight. It looks so yummy that I don't want to have to wait for lunch tomorrow!

It's not terribly colorful, but it's going to be tasty! (I know because I nibbled a tiny bit!)
Front: Fried Rice & Peas, Steamed Carrots, Ginger & Garlic Chicken
Back: 3 Halved Strawberries, Mini Corn, Boiled Egg

There's a little star shaped bottle of soy sauce hiding behind the corn. I had to throw that little blue bear pick in there just for fun.

Well, here's hoping jury duty turns out to be a decent experience. The last time I had it, I left after the first day, came for the next day, was there for 15 minutes before being dismissed for the rest of the week. Maybe something like that will happen this week too. I kind of hope so because I've really been feeling moved to start purging the house of some of the stuff we've accumulated over the years. I'm afraid that several days of putting it off for jury duty might make the urge to purge go away!

I linked this post to What's For Lunch At Our House here. Go see what's for lunch in other houses!

Muffin Tin Monday

There are no themes for the summer so today, I tied our tin to what we are learning about this week and that is weather! Here's what we had for lunch:

Both tins were the same except for the drinks. Each cup held something to represent a different type of weather.
Top: Peach Sun with Carrot Rays = Sunny Day; Yogurt Cloud = Cloudy Day; Blue Cup of Milk = Blue Skies with Scattered Clouds (Clear Day)
Bottom: Lightning Shaped Cheese & Crunchy Crackers = Lightning & Thunder (Stormy Day); Apple & Green Pepper Umbrella = Rainy Day; Banana Snow Man with Chocolate Chip Buttons, Chocolate Spinkle Eyes and Carrot Nose = Snowy Day

Laural loved this tin and ate everything in it and then some. Micah gets very excited when he sees the tin but it isn't enough to get him to actually eat all the contents. He only ate the yogurt, most of the bananas, and the crackers & cheese. He chewed up the apple which is progress since he actually put it in his mouth. We have a rough time getting that far most of the time. Unfortunately, I was making lunch for Steve and I as the kiddos ate, so I didn't get any action shots. Bummer.

To see more muffin tin meals, make sure to check out the Muffin Tin Mom blog by clicking the button below!
Muffin Tin Mom

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bento in the Park

We finally got out for a bento picnic! Since I ordered the bento boxes just before vacation, we were too busy to actually get to use them. So today, I decided to pack up our boxes and head out for a picnic.

Our 4 bentos and the snack box.

Each of our bentos contained: 
Top:  Fried Rice & Veggies, Homemade Gyoza, Mini Corn
Bottom: Sliced Strawberries, Tangerine Sections, Tiny Japanese Cookies

I got the cookies from the shops in Japan at Epcot Center last month. They were so good! I wish I would have bought more than one packet! 

Snack Box: Crackers & Cheese

I packed these since Micah is so incredibly picky, I knew he he wouldn't have anything to do with anything in the bentos except maybe the cookies. He only ate 2 of the cookies. I think he was just tired and didn't feel like eating. He really enjoyed playing with the little forks and spoons though.
Enjoying bento in the park. Laural loves gyoza!

We had our picnic in the gazebo in the park in town. It's a good thing we chose to eat there because not long into our meal, it started to rain. It didn't rain too long and Laural got to play for a few minutes before we headed home so Micah and Steve could sleep. It was a lovely lunch and I'm so happy to finally have had our bento picnic. Next time, maybe we will try for healthier drinks for Steve and I. At least the kids had fruit & veggie juice.

For those who are interested: I got the boxes on ebay. The seller was fromJapan2u. The boxes are called Natural Lunch Time. They also come in beige. I bought the straps separately from kawaii_kewpie_store and benrigoods09. I love these boxes and how nice it was to have matching boxes for our outing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Great Shopping plus Free Redbox

I haven't done one of these posts in a while so I figured I might as well since I am pleased with today's shopping trip. Since coming home from vacation a little over 2 weeks ago, I haven't needed to do any grocery shopping because my freezer and cupboards are still well stocked. It's actually been over a month since I've done a regular grocery trip. All I've had to do is buy milk and bread as needed and I've done a farmer's market trip too. There hasn't been much in the way of good deals lately, so I haven't been doing my usual thing. Today was no different, though I did have a good trip. I only bought 3 different items. Ok, so I bought 20 of the one item. Here's what I got today:

♦20 boxes of Cap'n Crunch cereal @ 2/$5 on sale for 4/$8 (must buy 4) - Q $0.50/1 (doubled) = $1 per box
♦1 Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese @ $3.19 - Q 1 Free Package = FREE
♦1 Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil @ $3.79 - Q 1 Free 12oz Bottle = FREE
•Total Before: $56.98
•Total After: $20.00
Savings: 65%

I don't usually buy sweet cereals for the kiddos but Cap'n Crunch is Steve's favorite, and since I got a really good deal, I went ahead and bought them. The 2 Kraft free coupons came in sample pack I ordered from the a few weeks ago. I also got 3 little bags of Wheat Thins and 3 samples of Caramel Latte mix in the Kraft box.

Today is also Redbox's Movie Monday. On the first Monday of each month, Redbox texts a code for a free movie to our cell phones. Steve and I are both signed up so we have two free movies for tonight! We got the new Alice in Wonderland and Tooth Fairy. If you aren't signed up for this, you should head over to the Redbox website and sign up. It's totally free and they don't spam you with any other texts, so if you are on a limited text plan (like I am) you aren't getting a lot of wasted texts. Time to go watch a movie!

Muffin Tin Monday

I didn't check to see what the theme was today. Steve was up for lunch, so I made a normal lunch and just put it into a tin for Laural and the rest of us used plates. I did cut Laural & Micah's hot dogs to look cute, but other than that, normal lunch.

Top: Wheat Thins, Carrots, Milk
Bottom: Ketchup, "Weinerpusses" on Beds of Macaroni & Cheese

When I made the hot dogs for the kids, I was just going to tell Laural they were hot dog octopusses but as I set the meal in front of my daughter, she said, "You made weinerpusses for us!" I laughed and told her that yes, I suppose I did. I'm not sure where she got the term weiner pusses but it's cute!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jelly Day!

Yesterday I got it in my head that I wanted to try making clover jelly, so Laural and I went out and picked all the clover we could find in our yard. While we were outside and I was sitting on the steps removing the stems from the flowers, I took a look at all the lovely spearmint we had growing and decided to give spearmint jelly a try as well. After starting the infusions last night, today was jelly day. After a quick trip to town to get sugar and Laural's glasses fixed - I don't know how that girl manages to lose nose guards so often - we came home, had lunch and I put Micah down for a nap and Laural in her room for quiet time so I could get to work on the jelly. Wouldn't you know that Micah decided to have a scream fest and refused to nap. So plan b was to put the gate up in the living room and hope that they would play nice while I worked in the kitchen. Well, that kind of worked but there was still a lot of "Mom! Micah is doing _____!" followed by an angry scream from Micah as big sister (aka. mother hen) would attempt to stop him from whatever he was doing. In between yelling back to the kids, I managed to get the batch of clover jelly made, but decided to put off the spearmint until after bedtime. The clover turned out so very good! It has such a delicate flavor - almost like honey. I took a little in to the room for the kids to try and they loved it. It was sweet, so of course they loved it.

My first batch of clover jelly! I wish the color came out better in photos. It's actually more of a pink color.

I tried to get a better pic of a single jar but it still looks more amber than pink.

After the kids went to bed, I got to work on the spearmint jelly. It only took about 40 minutes from the time I started straining to the time I took it out of the water bath. It also turned out beautifully. The flavor is mildly minty. Very good!

The color of these is more of an amber with a hint of green. A lot of people put food coloring in their mint jelly to make it green but I think that putting artificial color in kind of defeats the purpose of having natural jelly.

Just in case anyone would like to know how I made these, here are my recipes. 

White Clover Jelly
4 cups Clover Flowers
4 cups boiling water
5 cups sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package powdered fruit pectin

Spearmint Jelly
4 cups spearmint leaves, torn up
4 cups boiling water
5 cups sugar
1 package powdered fruit pectin

Both jellies were made the same way:
1. Make the infusion by pouring 4 cups of boiling water over the flowers or leaves. Let them steep overnight.
2. Strain the infusions. Add water if needed to make 4 full cups of infusion. Place in 6 to 8 qt pot.
3. Add pectin to infusion. Bring to a rolling boil.
4. Stir in sugar all at once. Bring back to rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam if desired.
5. Quickly ladle into prepared jars. Wipe rims, put lids & rings on.
6. Place in canner (with 1 or 2 inches water over tops). Process for 5 minutes.
7. Remove from water bath and let cool. 

Nice and easy! Thanks to Dana at Roscommom Acres for the inspiration!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Picking Clover & Spearmint

After reading Dana's post on her blog, Roscommon Acres, about her yummy looking batches of Red Clover Jelly, I was inspired to give it a try. We don't have red clover here, but we do have white clover in our yard, so Laural and I went out to see how much we could find. I was surprised at how little we had. It looked like we might have enough for a small batch, so we started picking. Laural looked so sweet in the middle of the high grass picking clover.
Picking Clover

Bringing Back Her Harvest
Doesn't she look like something right out of Little House on the Prairie?

We didn't get much but we did manage to get enough to make one batch of jelly.

 Since we didn't make out well with the clover, I decided to pick some of the spearmint that grows by the house to try making jelly out of that. I wasn't able to find a recipe that sounded like what I wanted to make. Most of the mint jelly recipes are for apple mint jelly. I really don't want apple in it, so I've put together my own recipe and will be making that tomorrow too. Both the clover and the spearmint are soaking overnight and tomorrow we will try to turn it all in to jelly! I am looking forward to giving it a go!


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