• Beef Nacho Casserole

    Date: 2012.05.11 | Category: recipes | Response: 1

    So I forgot to start the crock pot the other day.  Thankfully I hadn’t put anything in it yet- I just completely forgot that I had planned a crock pot meal until about 3:30 in the afternoon.  I have a bunch of pre-cooked ground beef in the freezer (I’ve switched back to doing it in large batches on the stovetop, sometimes I was getting a weird texture from the crock pot that I don’t get on the stove) so I decided to pull out a pound and search online for a new casserole recipe.  I’m pleased to report that I hit upon a winner!  I found it on All Recipes, but of course I altered it a bit!

    Beef Nacho Casserole

    1 pound ground beef
    1 1/2 cups chunky salsa
    2 cups frozen corn
    1 can refried beans (I had half a can left from another recipe but a full can would work just as well!)
    1/2 cup mayo
    1/2 cup ranch dressing
    1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
    2 cups crushed tortilla chips (I used the new Tostitos Garlic and Black Bean chips- YUM!)
    2 cups cheddar cheese

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring to crumble, until evenly browned. Drain grease. Remove from the heat, and stir the salsa, corn, beans, mayonnaise, ranch dressing and seasonings into the beef. In a 2 quart casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture, tortilla chips and cheese twice, ending with cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and dish is thoroughly heated.

    Now if only I were a good blogger who took pictures of my food…


  • Menu Plan May 6-12

    Date: 2012.05.05 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Edited based on my successful Costco trip and an evaluation of my freezer but still no regular grocery store run…

    Sunday- spinach chicken and artichoke pasta (from the freezer)

    Monday- chicken and rice casserole

    Tuesday- pulled pork

    Wednesday- orange beef

    Thursday- ranch pork chops

    Friday- GIRLS NIGHT!!!  (Chris and the kids are on their own!)

    Saturday- chicken pot pie

    We’ll see.  Several of these recipes are dependent on a trip to Costco and who knows if that will happen!

  • What Life is Like With 3

    Date: 2012.05.01 | Category: homemaking, just blabbing, parenting | Response: 1

    Well, I admit it. Having three kids is kicking me in the butt. We’re actually doing fine; we eat 3 meals a day plus a snack, we change out of our pajamas (most days!), we’ve made it to church every week since James was 3 weeks old. You know, we’re fine. But I am exhausted! Chris has track season right now, so 4 days a week he doesn’t get home til 5:30 or 6 which is when I try to serve dinner so I’m doing all that without help- and with the addition of my 2 nephews on Mondays and Thursdays. Plus he’s gone all day Saturdays at track meets. James is doing great at giving me long stretches of sleep at night, but JT has started having nightmares and calling for us in the middle of the night several times a week. Gone are the days of sleeping in until 8 or 9, at least one or two of the kids is up by 7 am most days. Which makes it awfully hard for me to take a shower, so I’m lucky to get one every other day lately. Odds of me getting more than half an hour of all three (or five) kids resting at the same time in the afternoon are pretty low. Maybe twice a week I get a decent break- so then it’s always a big decision… do I sleep? shower? start dinner? catch up on email? pay bills? blog?

    Anyway, all that to say- Hi. I’ve missed you. Here’s what’s been happening around here lately…

    JT has started showing a lot more independence. He’s dressing himself most days, using the potty on his own, helping with snack and meals, doing little things to help with James and Kate. He is a great big brother!

    The other day we got the kids loaded up in the car to head to church. While clicking JT in to his seat we noticed he was wearing socks, but no shoes. So I ran in the house and grabbed a pair. Once we got to church I was helping him put them on and I discovered that he was wearing a pair of jeans under his khaki pants! This week he wore his pajama bottoms under his pants. Silly silly boy.

    JT watched me using the toilet the other day and asked “Mama, is that tricky how you go pee pee without a penis?”

    We had an exercise bike in our foyer and JT pushed it across the room. I asked him how he did it and he said “Well, I was doing really hard work!”

    JT climbed up so his feet were higher than my head at the playground!

    JT broke out in some wicked hives in the middle of the night all over his legs. He started calling them his “bubblygerks”.

    Kate gets super possessive of James. When she’s holding or hugging him she doesn’t want any help and heaven forbid someone else wants a turn!

    Kate was watching me breastfeed and noticed the blue veins on my breasts. She became very concerned and said “Blue! Blue! No drawing!” She thought someone had drawn on me.

    (please note that two of us are still in our jammies!)

    Kate loves to pick out her own hair bows! She has also taken to carrying a pair of footie pajamas around as her lovey. Lucky for us she’s not picky about which pair!

    Kate is definitely two- she’s got a real willful streak and she’s likely to melt down over any small injustice. But she’s still super sweet, so kind, really funny and loves to cuddle in with me every chance she gets.

    The good news is we’re all happy. The kids love James and don’t seem resentful of the time he takes at all.

    We loved having Grandma and Grandpa here for three weeks in March and then our friend Daniel here during spring break. That added some nice variety and was a lot of help!

    (please note the kids are actually fighting over the baby- and they’re in their jammies!)

    Both big kids are go go go all the time. They are super adventuresome and always climbing and jumping and creating and getting into stuff!

    We’ve been having lots of fun playing hide and seek, coloring and using stickers, playing outside (Oh thank you God for the warm spring weather we’ve had!), building with blocks, and reading books.

    It’s nearly impossible to get the kids to sit still long enough to take a picture.

    This is the best Easter picture we got of the family- do you see how crazed we look?!?

    The sweet boy who tipped us over the edge!

    James just turned two months old, he weighs 13 pounds 11 ounces which is 87%. He’s a great eater!

    He’s smiling and noticing his toys and the people around him now. He’s a great sleeper and he’s pretty easy going.

    So you see why I haven’t been on the computer much lately. Most of my Facebook and email time is on the phone while I’m breastfeeding. The blog has just had to go for now. Thanks for understanding, I’ll be around as often as I can!

  • Menu Plan April 29-May 5

    Date: 2012.04.28 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- grilled lemon dill salmon

    Monday- lasagna (from the freezer)

    Tuesday- orange beef

    Wednesday- gnocchi soup

    Thursday- creamy salsa chicken

    Friday- dinner with friends

    Saturday- dinner with pastoral search team and elders and church staff and our NEW PASTOR!

    I’m so sorry that I’ve been such a negligent blogger.  Something about having baby #3 and my husband coaching track and watching my nephews 2 days a week and blah blah blah…  Chris was asking me why I haven’t been posting lately and I laughed out loud.  Then I said “I haven’t had two moments to put a coherent thought together, more less write it down!”  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  You can always check our family photo website for the latest pictures.  Or, I have been randomly chatty on Facebook lately, so if you’d like to follow me there you might have better results!  You can see the soap that Kate bit, hear how JT did in his first week of bribing him to stay in his room during nap time, find out how much it costs to deliver a baby in Colorado, and see a cute picture of Kate and her fashion accessories.  Maybe I’ll get my act together and do a compilation post for you here.  Don’t hold your breath though.  I realized on Thursday night that I had experienced less than one hour of awake and child free time in the previous 48 hours.  Oof.

    In other news, we are so excited to meet our new pastor next weekend.  Chris served on the search team for about 10 months and walking through the process has been wonderful, but boy are we glad it’s finally wrapping up!  We are looking forward to the next season at our beloved church and are thrilled to have been part of the decision making process.

    And in other other news, James is 2 months old!  How the heck did that happen?

  • Menu Plan April 22-28

    Date: 2012.04.23 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- fish tacos

    Monday- cheesy beef stroganoff

    Tuesday- meatloaf

    Wednesday- leftovers

    Thursday- lasagna

    Friday- Mexican casserole

    Saturday- gnocchi soup

  • Reworking naptime

    Date: 2012.04.20 | Category: parenting | Response: 1

    Naptime has become a bit of a challenge at our house. Kate still desperately needs a good two hours, and mama still desperately needs a good two hours, but James and JT aren’t always willing to cooperate. I’m working on training James (and coming along nicely, I think), but JT is a bit more challenging. Most days he doesn’t nap, which means he’s bored and looking to get into trouble. Now I don’t mind him demolishing his own room, but he also gets into the bathroom. We kept discovering that he had filled a garbage can with water to float his toys in, or used all of the little flossers for some game, or squirted out half of the soap onto the floor. So he lost his bathroom privileges. Which means he needs to ask us to supervise him in the bathroom during naps. And he quickly realized that it is much more fun to call for mommy to take him to go potty 8 times than to play by himself. Aside from the fact that he’s keeping me from napping or showering or interrupting my quiet time, he’s hollering right outside Kate’s door and often wakes her up before she’s ready to wake up cheerful. And the last thing I want is a short nap AND a grumpy girl for the rest of the day.

    Now I know some of you are thinking that its too much to ask a three year old to rest quietly for two hours, but I don’t buy it. For one, I think are kids are capable of much more than we regularly expect from them. Two, he can and has done it in the past. In fact he was doing it daily back when he was still in a diaper- it was the whole bathroom thing that did him in. Three, while some moms may not need as much down time as I do, I find that if I don’t have a few hours to myself I go a little crazy. It is much easier to parent when I am recharged. Four, when else am I going to sneak some chocolate into my diet? Those kids can hear a candy wrapper crinkle or the sound of a handful of m&ms several rooms away!

    Yesterday was the final straw. JT was standing in the bathroom as I was putting Kate down for nap and I asked if he needed to go potty. He said no. So I closed the bathroom door and the baby gate and walked downstairs to feed James. JT immediately started hollering that he had to go potty. I told him that he should have gone when he had the chance and proceeded to feed James. JT spent the next 15 minutes yelling with increasing panic that he had to go poop and wasn’t going to make it and I needed to hurry. I finally finished on the first side with James and went up to let JT in the bathroom. As he was going in he told me that I could go back to feeding James and that he didn’t need any help. So I went ahead and started to feed James on the other side only for JT to start hollering that he needed help wiping. Are you kidding me? Ri-dic-u-lous. I was ready to kill him.

    Anyway, I decided that I needed to come up with an incentive plan for a better nap time. A behavior chart or something. EVERY DAY I have to listen to him and deal with him waking up the other kids and needing to use the restroom every 5 minutes and I have had it.

    Here’s what I came up with-
    He starts nap with the potential to earn 20 cents. The first two times I have to interact with him he loses a dime each time. When he’s out of money he starts getting punished each time I need to deal with him. As soon as he earns a dollar we make a trip to the dollar store for a prize. If he can earn his dollar in just 5 days he gets the option to spend it on a treat at McDonald’s where he can play on the play structure.

    Today is day one. He lost both dimes in the last half hour which resulted in a tantrum. Maybe tomorrow. I have high hopes.

  • Menu Plan April 15-21

    Date: 2012.04.15 | Category: meal plan | Response: 2

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- impossible cheeseburger pie

    Monday- free pizza from Dominoes

    Tuesday- pork loin and potatoes

    Wednesday- melt in your mouth chicken

    Thursday- Mexican chicken crockpot

    Friday- fish tacos

    Saturday- Mexican chicken lime soup

  • Menu Plan April 8-14

    Date: 2012.04.09 | Category: meal plan | Response: 1

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- Easter Sunday!  We brought jello jiggler eggs, potato salad and bunny cake!

    Monday- spinach, artichoke, chicken pasta bake

    Tuesday- melt in your mouth chicken

    Wednesday- taco salad

    Thursday- gnocchi with pink sauce

    Friday- fish tacos

    Saturday- impossible cheeseburger pie

    Whew- the clock seems to be moving at a faster pace than I can move lately… I keep realizing that I’ve fallen behind on something and when I catch up with that there is always something else that has slipped.  Too bad we didn’t win that huge lotto jackpot- we sure could use Alice from the Brady Bunch in our home!

  • Dump Cake

    Date: 2012.04.05 | Category: recipes | Response: 1

    When I met my husband he had a few recipes that he wowed me with. Beef stew, pasta roni with chicken, and dump cake. I had never heard of dump cake, but quickly became a fan. It’s a yummy, quick, easy dessert and we always keep the ingredients on hand for dessert emergencies. We’ve learned in the intervening years that you can actually mix things up with your dump cake- so here are our original recipe and a few variations that we’ve tried and enjoyed for your dining pleasure! I like mine warm with ice cream on top.

    Original Dump Cake

    1 can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
    1 can cherry pie filling
    1 yellow cake mix
    1 stick of butter

    Pour the pineapple (with it’s juice) and the cherry pie filling in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with dry cake mix. Cover with thin slices of butter. Bake at 350º for 45-60 minutes.

    Peach Dump Cake

    1 can sliced peaches (do not drain)
    1 can peach pie filling
    1 yellow cake mix
    1 stick of butter

    Pour both cans of peaches in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with dry cake mix. Cover with thin slices of butter. Bake at 350º for 45-60 minutes.

    Mix it up a little Dump Cake

    1 can sliced peaches (do not drain)
    1 can peach pie filling
    1 can cherry pie filling
    1 yellow cake mix
    1 stick of butter

    Pour both cans of peaches and the cherry pie filling in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with dry cake mix. Cover with thin slices of butter. Bake at 350º for 45-60 minutes.

    Cherry Brownies

    1 can cherry pie filling
    1 box brownie mix

    Mix the brownie mix and cherry pie filling. Place in a greased 9×13 pan and bake 30-40 minutes at 350º.

    Chocolate Cherry Cake

    1 chocolate cake mix
    1 can cherry pie filling
    1 package chocolate chips
    1 can diet Coke

    Mix the cake mix, cherry pie filling and diet Coke. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in a greased 9×13 pan and bake 30-40 minutes at 350º.


  • Menu Plan April 1-7

    Date: 2012.04.02 | Category: meal plan | Response: 0

    What are we having for dinner this week?

    Sunday- Beau Jo’s pizza and fro yo for dessert!

    Monday- pesto chicken and pasta (from the freezer)

    Tuesday- cheesy beef stroganoff

    Wednesday- enchiladas (from my friend Jen- thank you!)

    Thursday- crock pot chicken cordon bleu

    Friday- gnocchi soup

    Saturday- artichoke baked tilapia

    Our friend Dan ended up coming last week for a visit and to meet his namesake (we chose James’ middle name in honor of him!) so things got a little switched around, we ate out a few times, but we did have salmon, burgers and brats, and grilled pizza.  Not to mention snicker doodles, not one but two batches of Golden Graham S’mores, a dump cake, several bags of chips, a trip to the frozen custard shop, a trip to the frozen yogurt shop, and a trip to a candy store!  On Sunday we drove up to Evergreen  and had some super yummy pizza at Beau Jo’s and let the kids run and play in a park on the drive back down the mountain.  Yesterday the temps were in the low 80’s- today?  It’s in the 30’s, people and they’re calling for rain and snow.  Dude.

    This week is my first week with just me and the kids (between Chris and my parents I got a full 5 weeks of help!) so I’m finally digging into the freezer to use some of the meals I have stashed in there.  Unfortunately, not only is Chris back at school this week after a delightful Spring Break, but track season starts today, so now we have 4 evenings a week when he won’t be home until 6 or so.  UGH.  I mean, man, I sure am thankful to have a husband who works so hard to provide for our family!

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