Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Countdown Chain from Somewhat Simple

Somewhat Simple is sharing this countdown chain she made for her kids while her and her husband were on vacation! I love it! Thanks Stephanie for sharing!

This past May, my husband and I left our 3 kids with grandma & grandpa for 10 days and went on a Mediterranean Cruise. It was the first time either of us had been to Europe, and it was also the first time we had left the kids for that long!

Part of our preparations for this vacation included making a countdown chain for the kids. Since our itinerary was set by the cruise line and we had booked our shore excursions before we left, we knew pretty much exactly what each day would entail, and I wanted the kids to know what mom and dad were up to each and every day. Here is what I did:

1. I grabbed 3 pieces of coordinating scrapbook paper

2. I typed a little blip for each day simply telling the kids what mom and dad were doing that day. I ran the scrapbook paper through the printer & printed these small notes on the backside of the scrapbook paper. Here are what some of the notes said:

Sunday, May 9

Today mom and dad are in Spain and we get to board the big cruise ship! Mom will probably eat a ton of ice cream and dad will probably eat a ton of shrimp at dinner. Be good at church today! Ethan, remember you are saying the scripture in primary! You will do great! We love you!

Tuesday, May 11

Today mom and dad are in Naples, Italy. We are going to go see an old town that was completely covered in ash when a volcano exploded thousands of years ago! We will take a lot of pictures and maybe buy you all something fun! We hope you are being good for grandma! We love you!

3. Then I cut each day into strips and began assembling them in chronological order, forming the chain.

Each morning, the kids got to tear a link off & read what mom and dad were doing that day.
Each night they got a candy hug & a candy kiss just before saying their prayers- our way of "tucking them in" even though we were thousands of miles away.

... it was like we weren't even gone! ♥

Thanks again Stephanie from Somewhat Simple!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Menu

Monday: Grilled Pizza

Tuesday: Whole chicken, rice pilaf and veggie

Wednesday: Marinated grilled chicken and cheesy potato packets

Thursday: Popcorn shrimp, baked potatoes and veggie

Friday: Orange chicken with rice and veggie

Saturday: Grilled hamburgers, chips and fruit salad

Sunday: Italian chicken over rice and veggie


Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Newest Creation!

I am so excited to give our blog readers a look at my newest creation.

8 lbs. 3 oz
18.5 inches

This little sweetie is my 4th and final.
2 girls and 2 boys-Perfect!
I am loving just holding her and cherishing the newborn stage.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Harvest Blocks

I am helping with our Super Thursday (aka Super Saturday) at my church. I am in charge of the Harvest blocks. This is what I came up with.
The paper looks pretty yellow, but is really a more golden color.
I just used a 2X4 and cut it different lengths.

H=8 in.
A=5 in.
R=7 in.
V=6 in.
E=7 in.
S=5 in.
T=8 in.

-Painted the wood brown
-Cut my papers out
-Inked the edges
-used spray adhesive to attach papers (be careful so it doesn't bleed through)
-rubbed on vinyl which I got from Staker Sensations (Shannon is awesome and so nice! I love her! Hope she doesn't mind the shout out!
-Then added embellishments

I got all the supplies at Home Depot, Michaels, and a local scrapbook store.

I am planning on painting all the wood and cutting out the papers before that night so this project doesn't take all night at our Super Thursday! I can't believe I just said I am going to paint all the wood and cut out the papers! Am I nuts?!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Frosted Banana Bars

These are a big hit and very tasty!

1/2 C. butter softened
1 1/2 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
1 C. Sour Cream (8 oz.)
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Salt
2 Medium Ripe Bananas (mashed to = 1 C.)
Cream Cheese 8 oz.
1/2 C. Butter Softened
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 3/4 C. Powdered Sugar

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in bananas. Spread into a greased 15 in. by 10 in. by 1 in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. For frosting beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in enough powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheesy Potato packets

This yummy recipe is from Betty Crocker. It was the perfect side dish on the grill.

4 cups frozen potatoes with onion and peppers
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 cup shredding cheddar cheese

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Spray 1 (18x13-inch) sheet of heavy-duty foil with cooking spray. Place potatoes on center of foil. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Bring up 2 sides of foil over potatoes so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place packet on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 30 minutes, turning once. Carefully open packet; sprinkle cheese over potatoes. Cover loosely; let stand 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekly Menu

Monday: Shake N' Bake Chicken, Baked Potato, Corn on the Cob

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Chips, Baked Beans

Wednesday: Italian Chicken, Rice, Green Beans

Thursday: Pizza Stromboli, Green Salad

Friday: Enchiladas, Chips and Salsa

Saturday: Family BBQ

Sunday:Roast, Potatoes, Gravy, Corn on the Cob


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

I love having this for breakfast!

1 Cube Butter Softened
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 C. Milk
3 C. Oats
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Vanilla
2 TBSP. Cinnamon

Mix in mixer and then pour into a 9X13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes @ 375. Serve with any type of fruit on top and whip cream.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Grilled Hibachi Chicken

I love Habachi chicken from Sizzler. Here is my grilled version.

Chicken breasts
BBQ sauce
Teriyaki sauce

Combine equal parts BBQ sauce and teriyaki sauce and marinate chicken breasts for at least 2 hours. Make more sauce with equal parts BBQ and teriyaki sauce. Baste chicken with sauce while it is grilling. Use extra sauce for dipping if you like. Great with grilled pineapple.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thinking of You Cards

Have you ever needed a card just because...well here is a few cards to give you an idea of how you could make some! I am in a card club and each month we exchange cards! Here are our cards for the month!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creamed Peas and Potatoes

My mom always used to make these and I loved them.

Peas and Potatoes

4 medium red potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain. Cook peas according to package directions and drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan, add flour, salt and pepper to form a paste. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

Add peas and potatoes to sauce and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

* I also like to add salt to my water when I boil the potatoes.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekly Menu

Monday: Hawaiian kabobs and rice pilaf

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner

Wednesday: Grilled Pizza

Thursday: Chicken Quesidillas and chip and salsa

Friday: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, and green salad

Saturday: Cafe' Rio Burritos

Sunday: Grilled Chicken, mashed potatoes and veggie


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shadow Case

I just love this Shadow Case that I made for my husband. It is such a great place to house his Army memorabilia and is a great reminder of his service to our country. It was so fun to put together and is a great quality product. Thanks Shadow Case!

Get yours HERE.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Purse-Sized Photo Holder

I made this photo holder for my mother for Mother's day. You could really make it for any occasion! She loved it and it was so easy to make! It really took about 5 minutes if that! She loves it! I got the idea here! Brown paper Packages had a great tutorial!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Golfing Cake

My husbands birthday was in July and I really wanted to make a cake out of fondant. I thought this would be a great time to try! I went pretty simple considering I had never done this before! I did a golfing cake. I just read the Make It and love it Cake Series. She has such great tips, tutorials, and pictures!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Construction Birthday BBQ

To celebrate my son's 2nd birthday we had a small BBQ with friends. I wanted to keep it simple with my due date getting so close. Here are a few ideas that I used for his construction themed party.

Here are the invitations:

I made a dirt cake and put it in the back of a toy truck.
I used THIS recipe but changed the heath bars to Oreo cookies and added in gummy worms too.

On the food table there were little signs that said "Dig In."

The kids dug for prizes in a pool filled with sawdust.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekly Menu

Monday: Orange Chicken, Rice, Green Beans

Tuesday: Enchiladas Chips and Salsa

Wednesday: Pizza Stromboli, Green Salad

Thursday: Mexican Casserole, Salad

Friday: Eat Out

Saturday: BBQ with Family

Sunday: Roast, Potatoes, Gravy, Rolls


Friday, August 6, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

We love these easy and yummy sandwiches.

This is the same recipe I used for my Cafe' Rio Burritos. It makes a lot for our little family so we usually have sandwiches one night and burritos the next.

2 1/2-3 1/2 lbs. pork loin roast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion

Put all ingredients in crock-pot and cook for at least 4 hours on high or all day on low. Shread pork about 1 hour before eating.

*If my roast is on the big side, I will double the recipes for the sauce.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

BBQ Steak

We love this recipe in our family! My husband especially!
4 lb. Beef Round Steak
1/2 C. Minced or Chopped Onion
1 TBSP. Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/8 Tsp. Pepper
1 TBSP. Mustard
1 TBSP. Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 C. Ketchup
3/4 C. Water
1/2. C. Vinegar

Cut steak into servings. Brown Steaks in a large frying pan. Add onion to frying pan cook until a little tender. Add brown sugar, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, water and vinegar to make BBQ sauce. Simmer the sauce about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over steaks in baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (This just depends on how thick or steaks are)


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Save money getting the kids back to school

My kids are headed back to school and I was looking for ideas on how to save some money. I read recently that the average cost for sending the kids back to school is $500.00. I know that is more than I usually spend, but I am always looking to ways to save. Here are some ideas that I liked.

I wrote in blue how I am going to use each of these bits of advise.

Shop at home first

Any item already on-hand is a bonus freebie, so check the house for rulers and protractors, pencils and binder paper. You may not need to purchase many of these items.

I do not need to buy any new pencils. We already have a million!

Wait an Extra Month or Two

School supplies generally need to be brought to school on the first day, but all the clothing does not need to be purchased ahead of time. Ensuring that your child has one special, new outfit for the first day of school is often enough. Wait until the next month to make additional purchases to ease the initial financial burden. Most children start school at the end of the summer when the weather is still warm enough for summer clothes. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts will often not be practical right away and purchases can be delayed.

I do this. I always buy my kids a new back to school outfit and then have them wear their summer clothes for the first couple of months while it is still so hot. Then I watch for all the sales on school clothes and get stocked up for the cooler months with great deals.

Anticipate school supplies, when necessary.

Don't miss out on the back to school sales if you don't have your children's school supplies lists over the summer. Purchase back-to-school sale items that you know they will need or that will eventually be used by the household, i.e. lunchbox, pencils, paper, glue. Just remember to save your receipt, so if turns out your child absolutely must have wide-ruled paper and you bought college-ruled, you can exchange it.

I love school supplies and I love it when you can get them for a great price. I always try to buy extra supplies that I know we will need throughout the year when you can get them for a deal.

Reuse last year's school supplies when possible.

Many parents buy a new backpack or lunch boxes every year. But if you prefer to make these things last from year to year, buy high quality and nothing too trendy. After a spin in the washer, most book bags and lunchboxes come out ready for more use.

My kids backpacks for still in good shape so I think I will skip getting new ones this year, and get new one every other year. This will save me at least $40.00. Same with their lunch bags. Do they really need a new one every year?

Give kids a budget.

Kids can be resistant to using last year's backpack or lunchbox or wearing older clothes. Maybe they are hankering for a fancy new binder that everyone has this year. If this attitude is hampering your efforts to save money on school supplies, give kids a budget. Tell them that you will spend a certain amount on an item, if they want an upgrade they'll need to chip in (either with money they've saved or by doing extra chores.) Or perhaps let kids choose which items to reuse and which to buy new.

My kids are young enough that they really don't care, but I could see how this could be very helpful for older children.

Don’t bring your kids with you, if possible.

Even with school supplies, their eyes get big, and they act like they need everything and the best of everything. Kids are very brand conscious, but they rarely care what brand they are using after a couple of weeks of school.

I always loved picking out my school supplies and my kids do to, but I can see how this could be a great idea that I may try. My kids would be so excited with everything I got for them and would not know about all the cool stuff that they did not get at the store. I would be kind of like Christmas .


Let me know if you have any other ideas that have worked for you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shadow Case Winner!

The Shadow Case Winner is....The Cluffers!

who said...I would put my wedding things I have saved or daughters blessing outfit. Love it.

Congrats you won a Shadow Case Designer Kit(a $60.00 value)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekly Menu

Keeping it really easy this week.

Monday: Taco salad

Tuesday: Spaghetti and garlic bread

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday: Homemade Pizza

Friday: Baked potatoes with toppings

Saturday: Eat out

Sunday: Scalloped chicken and potatoes with veggie