Archive for October, 2011

  • Menu Plan

    Date: 2011.10.31 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    Whoops!  I forgot to post this this weekend!  And it was all planned out too!

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- wine tasting and appetizers with friends

    Monday- baked spaghetti

    Tuesday- creamy chicken piccata (I know I know!  This keeps getting bumped, but I really want to try it- it looks good!)

    Wednesday- crock pot bean and bacon soup

    Thursday- chicken pot pie

    Friday- orange beef (This one has been bumped several times recently too, but I’m hoping I’ll finally be able to make it this week.)

    Saturday- heavenly chicken (Ok, I know what you’re thinking- this whole week’s menu is recipes that have been bumped in the past month.  That might actually be true!)

  • Pumpkin pancakes

    Date: 2011.10.27 | Category: recipes | Response: 0

    I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin something (cookies, muffins, cake) lately and just haven’t gotten to it.  When it turned out that Chris was going to be home for dinner tonight (between parent/teacher conferences and a meeting at church) I decided that pumpkin pancakes (with scrambled eggs and pumpkin spice egg nog) would make a great last minute dinner.  Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

    I found a recipe online at Food.com that started with Bisquick. We have Coach’s pancake mix from Costco, so I used that instead. I used some of the suggestions in the comments and upped the pumpkin and the spices for more pumpkin flavor. Basically, my version was-

    2 1/3 cups Coach’s pancake mix
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    2 eggs
    1 1/4 cup milk
    2 Tbs sugar
    1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

    I thought they had too much ginger- I’d either decrease or eliminate it next time.  And these babies are crying out for some chocolate chips to be thrown in- ooooh, that would be good!  Even as they were, I liked them a lot!  I don’t think this was Chris’ favorite meal- he doesn’t love pancakes like I do and he got a spicy bite that wasn’t mixed well.  Oops- sorry honey.  I’m glad you got to be home for dinner with us tonight!

    yum!

  • Menu Plan October 23-29

    Date: 2011.10.23 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- Fall Festival at our church- dinner and s’mores provided

    Monday- chicken pasta salad

    Tuesday- creamy chicken piccata

    Wednesday- Mexican casserole

    Thursday- leftovers

    Friday- dinner with friends

    Saturday- dinner with friends

    Not a lot of cooking for this mama this week!  Hooray!  Plus I’m making a few things that I just never got to a few weeks ago- things keep getting shuffled around.

  • We have a winner!

    Date: 2011.10.21 | Category: giveaway! | Response: 2

    I know you’ve all been waiting impatiently to find out who won the recordable storybook.  Well wait no longer, Andrew Yee, come on down!  You’re the next contestant…

    Oh, wait.  That’s not right.

    Andrew Yee, you’ve won the recordable storybook of your choice from DaySpring!  Congratulations!

    I’ll email you with the information to redeem your prize.  Please let me know how you like your new book!

    Hooray!

  • What my house really looks like

    Date: 2011.10.21 | Category: homemaking | Response: 4

    I thought you all might enjoy a sneak peak into my real life.  Not the “I’ve cleaned the laundry room so I can take pictures” life, but the “my son spent two hours awake in his room during naptime today” life.  The “JT must make the biggest mess possible in the short amount of time” life.  It’s glamorous, let me assure you.

    All of these pictures were taken during the past week.  Not all of the messes have been cleaned up.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, there are 9000 words for you.

  • Easy Jack-O-Lanterns

    Date: 2011.10.19 | Category: crafts | Response: 3

    Years ago (1999? 2000?) some girlfriends and I had a little crafting party and made these cute jack-o-lanterns out of cans.  As I was putting them on my mantle this year I thought I’d show them to you in case you’d like to make some of your own.  They are super easy to make.

    Scrounge up some cans of varying sizes from your recycle bin.

    Clean and dry each can and remove any sharp edges from the lid.

    Paint each can with pumpkin orange paint and let dry.  Paint a face on each can with black paint.

    Stick some autumn picks in the top of each one and place them on your mantle.  Or make a large set and use them for bowling, or make a pumpkin pyramid, or stuff them with treats for friends and neighbors, or use them to hold your utensils at a party, or…

    These have held up surprisingly well considering they’re over 10 years old and I haven’t given them any special care; they have acquired just a few scratches and chips- which I think adds character.  I smile every year when I pull them out of the box and it always makes me think of my CA girlies (hey friends!)!

  • All Day Long With Jesus- recordable storybook giveaway!

    Date: 2011.10.17 | Category: book review, giveaway! | Response: 4

    I was contacted by DaySpring to host another product review and giveaway- and of course I said YES!

    I received the recordable storybook All Day Long with Jesus in the mail and it languished on my counter for a few days because I hadn’t gotten around to recording it yet.  Then JT noticed it and asked if he could read it.  I went ahead and let him have it (even though I hadn’t recorded it yet) and he loved it!  Even with the random lady’s prerecorded voice reading the story he probably carried it around and listened to it 20 times over 3 days.  Now that I finally got around to recording it myself he loves it even more!  Every time he hears his name on the dedication page he breaks out into giggles.  He keeps showing it to Kate and cuddling up in the big chair to read it.  It’s so cute.

    The story All Day Long with Jesus is a sweet and simple reminder that Jesus is with us as we go about our every day.  The illustrations are cute and engaging.  This one is a keeper and a great way to reinforce the message that Jesus loves us and lives within us.

    Recording the pages is simple and if you aren’t happy with how it came out the first (or 3rd!) try you can easily record it again.  The lock switch is hidden in the battery compartment, so there’s no chance of the kids accidently erasing the recording either.  My only complaint is there is a record button that the kids can push (that doesn’t actually work since the lock switch is in the battery compartment) that does interrupt the story.  I don’t know why the manufacturer doesn’t put all of the buttons where they aren’t accessible, it seems to be a simple fix.

    This book is a huge hit in our house, and I bet your kids (grandkids? nephews? neighbors?) would love one too!  Well, you’re in luck, because DaySpring is giving away one recordable storybook (retail price is $29.95, but you just pay shipping) to one of my readers!  This would make a great birthday or Christmas gift, or if you’re like me and leave it on the counter for too long, a great “just because I love you” gift!  You have your choice from 4 different recordable storybooks, Bedtime Prayers and Promises, I Love You Head to Toe, God’s Christmas Promise, or All Day Long with Jesus.

    I’d love for you to share one of these books with someone in your life!  To win just leave me a comment with which book you would choose and who you would give it to. Winner will be drawn on Friday, Oct 21.

    Legal disclaimerese- I was given this product to review by (in)courage by Dayspring at no cost to me.  The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own!

  • Sausage and Tortellini Soup

    Date: 2011.10.15 | Category: recipes | Response: 2

    I recently fell in love with a new (to me) blog.  Have you seen The Girl Who Ate Everything?  She’s funny and posts some great looking recipes.  Anyway, I pinned (Please tell me you’ve been using pinterest too?  If not you are missing out big time!  If you need an invitation just ask, otherwise let me know you’re on pinterest or start following my boards- my link is in the right sidebar.)  a bunch of recipes that looked good to me and I tried her Italian Sausage Soup with Cheese Tortellini tonight.  Chris doesn’t like tomatoes, so it was perfect to make while he was out of town.  I made it almost exactly to her instructions, but I did add a can of sliced olives and some frozen spinach to her recipe.  It turned out super yummy, if a little spicy for the kids.

    1 pound Italian sausage (casing removed)
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    5 cups beef broth
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup red cooking wine
    2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes
    1 cup thinly sliced or diced carrots
    1/2 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 1/2 cups green beans or sliced zucchini
    (1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach)
    (1 can sliced black olives)
    8 ounces fresh tortellini pasta (I used frozen tortellini)
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    1. In a large pot, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain.

    2. Saute onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

    3. Skim fat from the soup. Stir in beans and parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.  Serve with warm garlic bread.

    yum!

  • Menu Plan Oct 16-22

    Date: 2011.10.15 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- Creamy Chicken Piccata

    Monday- Amish Yumazuti

    Tuesday- Burritos

    Wednesday- Italian Wedding Soup

    Thursday- Leftovers

    Friday- Baked Spaghetti

    Saturday- Enchilada Casserole

  • Why I don’t take my kids to the grocery store

    Date: 2011.10.11 | Category: just blabbing, parenting | Response: 0

    I went the the grocery store last night at 8:30. While there I heard two different parents deal with their screaming, whining children. One little boy flung himself down on the ground and insisted that his mom carry him. She had her hands full of grocery bags and couldn’t pick him up if she wanted to. Of course in my snooty superiority I thought to myself, “Hello, it’s 9 pm! Put your kid to bed!” But I also thought ,”This is why I come at night all by myself. I’m so thankful I don’t have both kids with me.”

    There are lots of good reasons to take my kids with me when I go grocery shopping. I know lots of parents who always shop with their kids. They cite a lot of valid reasons. The kids learn to help by getting items off a shelf or “helping” to figure out which item is a better bargain. It teaches them patience. Delayed gratification. That you don’t always get a treat when you go to the store. That being part of a family requires participating in family chores. I know- there are tons of reasons I should take them. But I rarely do. And here’s why…

    Today we had 3 errands to run. We had an hour before Kate’s appointment to fill up the gas and get a car wash, go to the library and go to the bank. Since two of those errands didn’t even require us to get out of the car I was optimistic that it could happen. The fill up went fine and both kids giggled and loved the first part of the car wash. And then it got loud and Kate freaked. The poor girl was hysterical- totally panicked, sobbing, wailing for me. JT was so sweet, offering reassurances along with me, “It’s ok Katie. I know it’s loud but it’s not scary. Don’t be scared Katie.” She wasn’t buying any of it. It was five minutes of total meltdown.

    We pulled out of the gas station and headed to the library. Usually I bring the stroller in, but we were pressed for time and the location of my parking spot meant I would have to walk the long way around the lot if I brought it, where if we all walked we could cut straight across. I decided to carry Kate (and calm her down anyway) and let JT walk. Only Kate, in all of her 20 months has NEVER learned to help hold on while being carried. That girl is ALWAYS dead weight and ends up sliding halfway down my leg (often taking my clothes with her) resulting in a very difficult journey. Especially when my other hand is holding the hand of my three year old. Once inside the library I had to set her down and let her walk (so I could at least return my shirt and ill fitting maternity pants to their proper positions- and when I say proper I mean both their correct and modest positions!) and then I remembered the other reason why I always use the stroller. Because Kate pulls every book, video, CD, etc off the shelves that she can get her hands on. We found a few videos for the kids (the Laurie Berkner Band and the Mr. Ray Show in case you’re wondering), I cleaned up several videos Kate had thrown on the floor, and then we headed to the stacks for the book I was looking for. It was about then that I realized the most horrible stench was coming from my sweet girl. Horrible, gag inducing diaper smell. And I wasn’t even standing near her- she had wandered at least 10 feet away. I quickly scanned the shelf for my book, but nope- all checked out. “Well,” I thought as I returned the 5 books Kate had just pulled down, “we’ll see what’s in the new releases.” At the new release shelf is a bench. JT climbed up called Katie to come up with him. She started wailing and I see that he’s grabbed her by the arm and is trying to pull her on to the bench that way, which isn’t working. I picked Kate up and set her next to JT and she immediately flung herself back off the bench and landed nose first on the floor. Then the screaming really started. Full blown, “I hated that car wash, I’m hurt, I stink, I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it any more” screaming. I picked Kate up to cuddle and shush her at which point JT decided it was a good time to stand up on the bench and jump up and down and yell. IN THE LIBRARY. I took all this as my cue to leave. We scanned JT’s items and raced out the door. At the car I changed Kate’s diaper on the passenger seat while she squirmed and flailed and tried to flip over relentlessly. With the putrid smelling diaper on the floor of the car I zipped us to our next destination, the bank.

    As we pulled into the bank JT remembered that once (at least a year ago) the nice lady at the drive through window gave him a sucker. He politely requested that we go to the drive up window again so he could get another sucker. Since we were running so tight on time I decided that we were going to use the drive through ATM instead. JT didn’t like my choice and protested very vocally. The entire time. Setting Kate off again. And our whole car smells like that diaper.

    Once home we raced into the house, I brought in the milk from the porch that I had forgotten to retrieve hours earlier and I saw that we had maybe 2 minutes before Kate’s therapist arrived to clean up the tornado that had struck our play room. Just as JT started putting away blocks I got a text from the therapist that she was running 20 minutes late. We finished cleaning up the toys with at least 10 minutes to spare, plenty of time for making a new mess. During that time Kate threw 4 balls out Mollie’s door. Kate and JT fought over every toy either of them touched. Kate fell down and hurt herself at least 5 times requiring me to calm her down. And JT found every way to make as much noise as possible in an attempt to make me crazy.

    Our sweet therapist finally showed up to total chaos. Kate was exhausted, miserable, unwilling to go to her, fussy, and everything made her cry. Plus she keeps saying “Car wash. Scary. Cried. Water loud.” I think I’ve permanently traumatized her. JT on the other hand, was amped, making as much noise as possible, banging on drums, throwing toys, spitting, and causing a ruckus. Toys had managed to spread out all over the floor again. All of this had gotten Mollie excited, so she was jumping up and barking and getting all in our space. Awesome. Halfway through her therapy I finally took pity on Kate and put her down for her nap.

    That was my morning. And that is why I don’t take my kids to the grocery store.

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