Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday

Here is a more positive post for the day. I love reading all the great tips at Works for Me Wednesday.

My tip this week is if you are hankering for pizza and don't want to shell out the dough(pun intended, lol) for takeout or don't want to take the time to make your own crust use one of these substitutes:

*pocketless pita bread works great for mini pizzas

*bagels- why spend the $$ on store bought bagel bites when they are so easy to make

*tortillas- I especially like the multigrain variety- just adds a little nuttiness to the crust

I bake mine on a stone which helps crisp up the crust, but if you don't have one, you could always spray the baking sheet with a little non-stick cooking spray or even brush it with olive oil.

The other night I made this:


Mexican Chicken Pizza
4 chicken breasts, shredded
1 small can rotel, drained or 1 cup salsa
1/2 c. sour cream

Mix all together and spread evenly on 4 tortillas. Sprinkle generously with your favorite cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. If the cheese is not yet bubbly and brown, turn on the broiler for a minute or two to finish it off.

Don't forget to check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great tips!

Just Wednesday

Went to Nebraska City today.

Should have stayed home.

Made a not so fun stop at the library.

Forgot my card- got reprimanded b/c they can only allow that once in a 6 month period of time.

Had a .35 fee on my card and only .23 in my wallet.

Found out my card is actually expired-a brusque reminder to have $10.12 with me next time.

Oh and by the way, did I know my zipper was down?

The self check out in Lincoln is looking better and better!

Took two squirrelly girls into Walmart to get groceries.

Had to spot assist several attempted acrobatic moves on the roll bar of the double seated cart.

Came out of the store with several less fistfulls of hair than I went in with.

Ate 1/2 the bag of honey wheat pretzel twists to console myself.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Random Ramblings

I am very happy to report that the Pinewood Derby is over for another year. Both boys' cars made it down the track without losing a wheel or stopping before it crossed the finish line. Jameson's did pop a wheelie on one it's runs, but thankfully it stayed on track. Both boys did actually finish in good standings. Jameson got 2nd in his den race and Connor 1st in his.





Before the race we had Troy's parents over for lunch. I made chicken tortilla soup and banana muffins. Our thoughts are with Betty today as she has a knee replacement surgery.

We didn't have church yesterday because of the snow and ice we got the night before. It hailed for a bit and Connor thought it looked like dippin' dots.

Last night, Troy had a meeting for church in Lincoln. While he was gone we played Wiz Kidz, which is a pretty fun game and a good purchase, if you feel obligated to buy something from Discovery Toys. Genna has recently learned all of her letters by sight and so she had fun playing this time too!




Genna was jammin' out today to High School Musical on Connor's MP3 player. She had to have the hat on so she could keep the ear buds in.




Genna wanted to take a picture of me after I took some of her. She was very specific in how she wanted me to pose. Here I am with the book(Pride & Prejudice) I just finished up today. I am looking forward to watching my copies of P&P while I fold laundry this week.



This last time at the library I got a lot of safe books- or rather, books I know I won't be disappointed in. So I ended up with a bag full of Jane Austen books. Most of them will be re-reads. I think next I will start on Sandition, which if I have read before, I don't remember a thing about it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Week in Review

Gosh, has it already been a week?? I didn't mean to let so much time pass by. I'll try and catch you up on what we have been doing.

Last week we had the last of the boys' home games. They both played hard, made some baskets and had a lot of fun.




The sun decided to come out last weekend.



Goodbye snow!



Last weekend, Troy and I were able to go to the temple with the Barth family and other members of our ward, it was so incredibly wonderful. Afterwards, we tried out Qdoba for the first time. It was pretty tasty!

Yesterday, we got Genna's hair cut. She originally said she wanted short like her friends' but, changed her mind at the "beauty shop". I think it turned out adorable- makes her look even spunkier!



The kids have really been enjoying our beautiful weather. Much different than the below zero windchills we had last week. Connor broke out the golf clubs and Jameson tried out his new bike that he bought with his Christmas money.




Tonight, I am going visiting teaching. My friend Kori came over a couple weeks ago and we made these together. I found the idea on this fun blog. I know it is a little past Valentine's Day, but there are some yummy cookies inside.



Ok, so that about wraps it up. I have been a little consumed in my spare time with Jane Eyre. I finally had a chance to finish watching the Masterpiece Theater version. I also had to rewatch my A&E version that I thought I loved. Now I don't even think I like that adaptation at all. Of course, this also led me to reread Jane Eyre and pick up copies of Wide Sargasso Sea and Adele. Didn't care for either of them- especially the later. Neither author could do justice in adding to Bronte's story. I have even gone so far as to find and take online Jane Eyre quizzes. Yes, I know I am a nerd. Anyway, if you haven't checked out the 2006 movie- I'd highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day, part deux

Just wanted to blog about the rest of our fun Valentine's Day.

I got to help out at the 3rd Grade Valentine's Party. There was a clothes pin relay, a paper heart game where you transferred the hearts from a plate to a cup with a straw, a sweetheart guessing game and a Valentine madlib, made by yours truly.
Add a whole lotta sugar, including pink cupcakes and you've got the perfect party for 8 & 9 year olds.





After school it was a mad scramble to make our Valentine dinner. The kids asked at breakfast about eating somewhere else besides the kitchen. I had my hands full with the food preparations and so they accepted the challenge to get everything set up for our Heart Rock cafe. They made it a complete surprise for me and I wasn't allowed to come down until they finished every last detail.

J. made a huge heart out of wrapping paper and made a little paper sign indicating where the Valentine presents should be placed.




C. set the marquee on the kids' computer so it would be appropriate for our festivities. J. wanted to have all the candles out like we did that one year, all these beauties are actually in a box with some matches in case we would ever need them in case of a power outage. Troy did light all the candles. J. also created a beautiful tablescape complete with place cards.




They even came upstairs and brought all the food down.

We had:

Baked Ham
Cheesey Mashed Potatoes
Spinach Salad with dried cranberries, feta cheese and toasted pecans
Chocolate Fondue with marshmallows & strawberries



This is what I saw when I came in the room.



Dinner was excellent. I was so impressed by all the kids' hard work. Troy said they were looking up online for a quick craft to make as well.

The fondue, was one of the best parts- we all enjoyed it.






After dinner, we quickly opened up our Valentine treats before we had to leave to go to church for the night.

I was excited to get a Rachael Ray cookbook. Troy got a white shirt and a video. Sorry about the blurry photo- one of the kids snapped it. I missed out on getting one of Troy and I.




It really was a fun, fun night. I love my family so much!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday- Happy Valentine's Day

A lot of you have probably seen this floating around. I thought it was lots of fun. I made my own up and used them to make simple Valentine cards for my family.



I was happy to find out last night that the kids had a late start for school today. We were able to have a nice relaxed breakfast together this morning. I set the table last night after everyone went to bed.



I made pink pancakes and cut out just a few with heart shaped cookie cutters.




Even my 4 year old, who decided last week that she did not like pancakes anymore, thought these tasted much better than the pancakes I normally make.

So finally my Works For Me Wednesday Tip. I like to use a pastry blender or whisk to help me sift the dry ingredients of a recipe together. A long time ago, I never used 2 bowls to seperate the dry and wet ingredients- I was just too lazy. Then finally I stepped it up a notch and started using a seperate bowl, when called for. But I never sifted the ingredients together. One reason being, I didn't own a sifter and the other, again, I thought it took too much time. Well, when I started making pancakes, muffins and cookies more often, I realized it really could be a helpful thing to have the baking powder/soda mixed completely in with the flour. Then I wouldn't have to stir quite so much to combine everything, when I added the wet and dry together. So I started using a whisk or my pastry blender. Just make sure you use a big enough bowl that you can really get to the bottom without dumping it all over your shirt(not that I've ever done that, lol).

Oh and one more tip- I use my pastry blender to help break up chunks of meat. It helps shred tuna and chicken for salads and hamburger or sausage when browning.

Check out more tips at Rocks in my Dryer.

And Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feeling the Love

Just wanted to share a couple little things that make me happy.

First, is a little Valentine heart I made for my little screen that sits on the desk in our kitchen. I got this at Christmas time with the idea that it would look cute with something seasonal on it. I stumbled upon a little quilted holly & berries ornament at the thrift store at Christmas time. Then I ended up having a small wooden snowmen for January. I don't have much in the way of Valentine decorations, but I was excoted once I realized I could make something to put on it from supplies I have here at home. I have a shamrock with different shades of green buttons planned for March.



The next thing I just wanted to share because it is just one tiny of example of what a thoughtful husband I have. Every morning he sets my vitamins out for me. Now maybe that doesn't seem like much to some of you, but I think it is just the sweetest thing. It feels like there are a million and one things I need to think about getting done in the morning, including, getting my children their asthma medicine, plus everything else needed to get them out the door to school. So I really appreciate that he takes the time to worry about me before he gets himself off to work.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cake Raffle X 2

My kids go to a great school. I think their teachers work very hard for not much money and I am very grateful for all their efforts. So when they asked for parent volunteers to bake for a cake raffle, I was all over that! Growing up my Mom always made the coolest cakes! One of the earliest ones I can remember was a ghost. It had coconut on the white frosting and eyes that were on fire. She used a sugar cube inside an egg shell. She doused the sugar cube with alcohol and lit it. In high school, she made me a cake that looked like a hamburger. So thanks to my Mom's legacy, I guess I have always attempted to make those fun kinds of cakes as well.

Someimtes they turn out, sometimes they don't. Remember last year, I did this one for the 3rd grade cake raffle. I was happy with how it turned out. The Dora birthday cake had a few problems.

Here are the cakes from this year's cake raffles.

3rd grade (This was supposed to be a pencil, but I added to much red to the yellow food coloring and it turned a lovely shade of orange.)




4th grade



These cake raffles were held to raise money for new risers for the school. Both boys got an opportunity to work at the table collecting money, which was also a good experience for them.

SMART Habit

I know, I am WAY late in posting this time. It was another busy weekend. Saturday consisted of 5 basketball games, Worldwide Leadership Training and cake decorating for the 4th grade cake raffle. Sunday, I went to Marysville, Kansas for a Branch Conference. I have been going to church all my life, but it was quite different from what I am used to. They meet in a ranch style house. You could not just slip in the back, when you were late because you made a wrong turn. There were 8 primary children there- 2 of which were visitors. Their small branch is made up of mostly converts over the age of 60, as well as, 2 families who recently moved in, with primary aged children. We went on a visit afterwards to a Spanish family, who lives 35 miles away from the church building. Despite all the differences from my personal experience, I was SO incredibly touched by the Spirit and the love I felt from and for these members there. I can't wait to go back. It was however, a very long day. I left the house at 8:00 and got home after 5:00. I was able to catch a short little nap and then we went over to the IL's for some yummy homemade pizza and warm chocolate cake.




On to my SMART goal. I am happy to report that I was finally able to make some
progress on my goal of getting to bed by 11:00. The only night I missed was Friday night and that was because we were just getting home from our date at 11:30 and putting the kids in their beds. But it has felt great to get bed at a decent hour. I will eventually work up to getting up early to exercise every morning before scriptures, but for now when it is so cold out, I will be happy with my progress of getting to bed at a decent hour.

And my desk was kept cleared off, all but one night, as well. But I was in the middle of a valentine project and finished it up the next afternoon and cleaned it off then.

This week I would like to work on going to bed with a completely picked up house. My kitchen is almost always clean when I go to bed, but sometimes, I am just too tired to pick up Connor's shoes that he left downstairs or Genna's socks that she took off by the computer or Jameson's backpack he left in the kitchen after he finished up homework, etc. In doing this, when I give my 10 minute bedtime warning, I will remind the kids to do a sweep of the house for their things & messes.

If you are not sure about what this SMART habit thing is all about, go here. I am really grateful to Lara, for starting this whole thing. Right now would be about the time, that I start easing off on the habits/goals I made in January. Life would get busy and stressful and I would fall back to my old wicked ways. But not this year!! I like feeling accountable and having a place to post my progress. Even though my ultimate motivation is to help myself, it is nice to know that someone out there is rooting for me to accomplish my goals.

Read about more SMART habit goals here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Oh Yeah!!

I love watching my kids- whether they are playing basketball, tumbling, learning how to tie a rope at Cub Scouts, it doesn't matter- it makes me happy to see them doing something they enjoy.

I have to say that one of the things, I find so exciting is that recently my boys have learned to like to read. Oh, they have always read and they are actually required to read a certain amount of time each day for school. But lately, I haven't had to ask them to read, they've done it all on their own.

Jameson started reading a Charlie Bone book in January and loved it so much, he breezed through it in a short time.

Connor started the first Harry Potter book for the second time. He had read around 110 pages a year or so ago, but lost interest. He read his little heart out this week. Of course, getting grounded from the tv & computer, helped progress his reading along. But he finished it this week and was proud as could be.



Wanna hear something else that made my day? The night he finished up The Sorcerer's Stone, he couldn't wait to go down and borrow Jameson's copy of The Chamber of Secrets.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

OAMC, sort of

Yesterday I got a wild hair and decided to do a mini version of OAMC- Once A Month Cooking. I got a lot of inspiration looking at this blog. In December, my friend, Cheryl and I did this together and I loved the results. I have been wanting to do it again, and decided I could do at least a few meals by myself. I wasn't near as organized as last time. I went to Sam's Club and then to a Super Saver, which I don't normally shop at. I completely spaced picking up any chicken at the store.

Here is what I made last night:

Breakfast Burritos (3 meals)



Lasagna (2 meals, or 1 company meal)



Vegetable Beef Soup (2 meals)




Brownie Bites (for the boys to take to school)



And then this recipe for granola bars- also for school lunches or even a quick breakfast


Then today I made:

Twice Baked Potatoes (3 meals)



Pizza Kit (2 meals)
I just froze the dough and will thaw and let rise the day I make the pizza



Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza (1 meal)
This one I tried freezing with the toppings to see how it goes



Pizza Rollups (1 meal)
My family really loves these, otherwise it would be 2 meals




Chicken Fingers (at least 2 meals)




Meatballs (1 meal in spaghetti sauce, 1 meal in gravy)



So if my calculations are correct- I did about 15 meals and then some extras. I did make my own pizza/spaghetti sauce as well as a loaf of bread and some whole grain rolls for sandwiches tomorrow. I also tried out a recipe I found on a blog- it was called Mexican Bake, and it was really yummy!

The only thing missing was my good friend Cheryl. My sink did not look like this when we got done the day we did OAMC.



Thankfully, I still had the energy to clean up. There is nothing worse than waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes.