Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The new year is fast approaching!  Its been a very trying year for our family, but we have come through it that much more stronger.  Mr. C and I are in a really good place in our marriage.  The kids are happy and healthy.  And we have our financials in a good place and headed in a good direction.  Mr. C will be starting a new job in January.  So the new year will be starting out great.

Here's some pictures of the holidays:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Naptime Confessions

Its a dark and dreary day, its nap time, and I'm going to make my mommy confessions.

*Ryann watches a movie every day during nap time.  Since she does not take a nap, she can at least rest.

*I don't really do much during nap time, I usually sit at the computer, or take over the T.V.  Yes, sometimes Ryann has to watch Hell's Kitchen or Bachelor pad with me.

*"Nap time" extends until we have to go pick up Mary from school.  Even if the baby gets up, we just rock in the recliner until its time to go.

*I sometimes hide in the kitchen and eat junk food, so Ryann won't hear me and ask me for snacks all afternoon.

*I love cuddling with just Ryann in the rocking chair during nap time.

*I don't wash Mr. C's clothes anymore.

*I secretly wish the kids were old enough to clean more, so I can clean less!

*I sometimes tell the kids certain moves are lost so I don't have to watch them for the millionth time this week.

*I am going to be very sad when all my kiddos get too old for nap time.

Monday, August 29, 2011


So money has been really tight around here this summer.  So I have been creative in meal planning and grocery shopping.  I have to say, I am really proud of myself.   I have been keeping our grocery bill around $100 each week, to feed our family of five.  That includes any diapers, dog food, personal items we may need too.  This week, I think I have outdone myself though.  A whopping $69.75 is what I spent this week, and that included two packs of huggies.
So how did I do it?

First I look at all the ads and my coupons.  And plan my week of dinners, using what's on sale, and what's in my freezer.
Here is this weeks meals:
Monday:  Hot dogs/pigs in a blanket, beans
Tuesday: ham, julienne potatoes, green beans (from garden)
Wed: Chicken, rice, carrots
Thurs: Ham and cheese omelets, toast, hash browns
Friday: Spaghetti
Saturday: Leftover Fagioli over rice

What I had in the freezer/pantry:
Hot dogs, crescent rolls, beans, julienne potatoes, green beans, rice, hash browns, tomato sauce/paste, Fagioli , ground turkey.

What was on sale and had coupons for:
Huggies, peanut butter, crackers, cookies

My store also price matches:
peanut butter, fruit cups, milk, granola bars.

Some of my big savings this week were:  Planters peanut butter was on sale at another store for $.99, and I had a $.75 cent off coupon.  Huggies were on sale, I had $3.00 off coupon for the new slide one ones. And milk I price matched ,  No frills had milk , buy 3 get $1.00 off.

*I also get a 5 cent sack credit for every reusable bag I use.  And I also collect pet prints and baby bucks.  This week I had enough baby bucks to turn in for a $10.00 gift card.

*Don't be afraid to try new things.  I would never have bought the new Huggies slide-on diapers.  But with a $3.00 off coupon , I'm willing to try it.  That coupon made the huggies as cheap as the store brand.
*Also, store brand is not always cheapest.  This week I had a coupon for Land O Lakes eggs.  That made the Land O Lakes eggs 40 cents less than the Hy-vee eggs.
*Plan meals from the pantry, or using leftovers.  I am making ham tomorrow, and I know there will be leftovers, so we will use the leftovers for ham and cheese omelets.
*Check the store website.  My store also puts out an online only ad with extra savings.  Check for your store savings.

I hope this inspires you to clip some coupons and save some money!

Kindergarden and Preschool

Mary had her first day of Kindergarden two weeks ago.  She is loving it!  She wanted to go to school on saturday this weekend.  Her teacher is really nice, and great at communicating with the parents.

Walking to school!

Mary's locker.  And apparently a couple of the boys in her class have already had their lockers taken away.  They were told the first day not to climb in their lockers! LOL!

Ryann also had her first day of preschool today.  I had to chase her down just to get a hug and a kiss goodbye!  She was ready to go!  When we went to meet her teacher last week, she kept telling us goodbye, she wanted us to leave her there that night!  She cracks me up!

Yes , her backpack is almost as big as she is!

Ryann's Birthday

Ryann is all about princesses.  So she choose a princess cake for her birthday.  I had fun thinking of things to decorate her cake with.  Instead of dying all the frosting pink, I found pink spray for the cake.  It turned out really cute.  I tried to make frosting flowers too, but that was a big disaster!  So I ended up finding cute little silk flowers at Hobby Lobby to stick in the cake.  Also some crystal looking things.

For about 3 weeks after her birthday,  all she could say was "I can't believe I'm three now!"

Monday, July 11, 2011


Wow, I have not updated since Mary's birthday!  I guess its been a busy summer.  We've been swimming, playing in the sprinkler, and having great family time.
So I made porcupine meatballs awhile ago and never got around to posting the recipe.  So here is the long awaited porcupine meatball recipe.

1 lb ground beef (could use ground turkey)
1/4 cup white rice uncooked
1/4 cup condensed tomato soup
1 egg
and breadcrumbs if needed to help the balls keep their shape better.  I usually have to end up using a 1/4 of a cup.

for the tomato gravy:
rest of the can of tomato soup
1/2 can of water
a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

roll up the meatballs and place in a pan with a lid, pour gravy over.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 45 minutes turning occasionally.

Now I like lots of gravy, so I always add another can of tomato soup and some more W sauce.

You could also hide some veggie purees in the meat mixture, but then for sure you would need bread crumbs.
I like to serve mine with mashed potatoes and corn.  That's how we always had it growing up.

Of course now I can't find my pictures,  they must be on my other camera.  But here are some other pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tangled Cake

The long awaited Tangled cake is finally here!

Mary's birthday was last week.  And she wanted a Rapunzel cake.   She picked out what she liked at Hy-Vee and when I saw it , I knew it was something I could do at home.

 And since I forgot to post pics of Weston's cake:
My first adventure in fondant didn't go so well.  Was a lot more work than it was worth.  Of course with three little helpers sticking little fingers in it makes the work a lot harder!

Here they are playing with the leftovers!  What a sugar high that was!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meal Plan Week of April 11-17

Sorry for getting this up so late!  But I still had to share.  Monday nights dinner was new and a hit!

Monday- Mexican Chicken Nachos
Tuesday- Pizza at my moms house
Wednesday- Tater tot casserole (we didn't end up having it the last two weeks)
Thursday- Turkey Burgers
Friday- Grill out hot dogs, beans, smores
Saturday- Cajun Chicken Linguine
Sunday- Porcupine meatballs (I know a few asked for this recipe, so I'll post it later this week)

So as I said the monday nights dinner was a hit.  The girls ate it up, and didn't even realize there was corn in it!
I adapted this recipe from a mom on my mom's online board.  Thanks Sarah!

3-4 chicken breast
1 can of black beans rinsed
1 small can of corn (or frozen)
1 packet of taco seasoning , mixed with 1/2 cup water
1 cup salsa (or more to taste)

stick it all in the crock pot on low.  1/2 hour before serving, take out chicken and shred it.
mix in small thing of cream cheese, and 1 cup of velveeta.

I served it over tortilla chips.  and Mr. C just ate it like a dip when he got home.

I used three chicken breast and it made a ton for us.  Next time I would half the recipe for us.   But I would also use this as a dip to take to a potluck.  Just add a ton more velveeta and maybe a can of Rotels tomatoes and another packet of taco seasoning.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Super Yummy Brownies!

So dinner was a bust last night.  I tried making a sauce using the new Philadelphia cream cheese cooking creme.  Didn't turn out too well.  Mr. C wouldn't eat it.  The kids and I liked it ok, but won't be using it again.  Oh, well.  At least I thought ahead and made some brownies before dinner.  Just decided at the spur of the moment to make some.  I got the recipe at Tasty Kitchen.   These homemade brownies were really easy and turned out great.  And that says a lot, since I'm not a very good baker.  Mr. C even said they looked good before we cut into them.

So here is the recipe from here

  • Prep Time 
  • Cook Time 
  • Difficulty Easy


  • ½ cups Margarine
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 3 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9″ x 12″ pan. Melt margarine over low heat. Add sugar. Stir until smooth and sugar is melted. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Sift flour mixture into egg mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a pan and bake 25–30 minutes.

Hope you enjoy these!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Swiper no Swiping!

Ryann is a punk!  This morning I poured cereal for both the girls, Lucky Charms.  Well Mary was not up yet when I went to take a shower.  When I got out Mary came in and asked where all her marshmallows were?  Ryann fessed right up.  She ate all the marshmallows right out of Mary's bowl!
And since we are on the subject of Ryann.  This little lady cracks me up.  She has been potty trained for a while now , but she still has to give herself a pat on the back every time she poops on the pot!  When I come into the bathroom to help her wipe she goes: "I pooped!, Whoo-Hoo Ryann !"
I just love her!

Skillet Lasagna

I finally found my recipe for skillet Lasagna .  I go off this recipe here
I usually use two small cans of tomato paste and up the water a little so it makes more.  We like leftover lasagna.  And I like this recipe because it uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta.   You could also easily use a jar/can of ready made spaghetti sauce to save some time.  I also just found mini lasagna noodles at my store, I like them better than the bow ties.

So what else is new with us this week?

Weston is forever climbing on the chairs and tables.  Ryann is stubborn as ever!  She cried in her room for over an hour because she didn't want to pick up the dirty clothes.  But then got mad when Weston came to help her!
Mary just wants everyone to play with her.   She is gearing up for her first dance recital soon.  I hope she learns her steps!

And here are some pictures from my girls weekend in Chicago.  I had such a fun time, I can't wait to go back with the family!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meal Plan Week of April 4-10th

So here's my meal plan for this week.  I was on top of the ball today and got that and my shopping list done.  Its nice to see what other people do for dinner and get new recipe's in the rotation.  My moms board routinely does WFD (Whats for Dinner) threads to come up with new ideas.

Monday:  Breakfast - Waffles, Bacon, Fruit
Tuesday:  Tater tot casserole
Wednesday:  Creamy Chicken Pasta with broccoli
Thursday:  Leftovers
Friday: Skillet Lasagna
Saturday:  Mexi Chicken in the crockpot
Sunday:  Leftovers or Pizza

And I am pretty flexible with my menue's .  Sometimes the day does not turn out as planned and meals get switched around.   Like , tater tot casserole was on last weeks menue, but silly me forgot to buy the ground turkey.  

Now the question to ponder,  do I go to the store in the morning with two kids, or the afternoon with three kids?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Real Chicken Dinner

So it looks like my blog about my family, is turning into more of a food blog.  But they go hand in hand.  Food, mealtimes, are a big part of our family.  We sit down at the table as a family every night for dinner.  We often go to breakfast at Mr. C's parents house.  We often eat dinner with my parents.  So mealtimes are a family affair.

I had a request for my crock pot rotisserie chicken.  And as luck would have it, that's what was for dinner tonight.  I even remembered to take pictures.

Start with a whole chicken, a roaster/fryer.  They are often on sale for 79cents a pound.  This one was a 4.3lb bird.  Defrosted, washed, patted dry.
In the bottom of the crock pot, place potatoes wrapped in foil, or foil balls, if you don't want potatoes. (but seriously, they turn out so yummy when all the juices from the chicken drip all over them)

Then I make a seasoning mix to put on the bird.  I used olive oil, parsley, garlic, onion, salt, pepper.  Really you can use whatever you want.  I never use the same seasonings twice.

Then rub it all over the bird,  under the skin, in the cavity.  Also stuff the cavity if you have stuff.  I use onion, lemon, carrots, celery.  Today I had nothing but an orange, so that's what I used.  Turned out fine!

Stick the bird on the potatoes and turn the crock pot on.  I usually do low for 6-7 hours.  Today, I forgot to thaw the chicken out all the way, so I turned it on high for 2-3 hours, then back down to low the rest of the day.  The first time I did this recipe, I put it on at 7am and took it out at 5pm.  And all the bones fell out of the chicken.  I just had to fish the meat and potatoes out of the crock pot.  It was still yummy, but if you want a whole chicken to come out of the crock pot, I would do a little less time.
I put foil around the sides,  if the chicken touches the sides, it will get done too fast.  Especially if the bones of the legs touch the sides. 

Tonight I made a cheese sauce with broccoli in it to go over the potatoes.  It was excellent.

Whenever I make a whole chicken, I use the carcass to make chicken broth.  After you take off all the meat, throw the bones back in the crock pot (don't even need to wash it out),  cut an onion in big chunks and throw it in, carrots, celery.  Turn it on low all night.  Then the next day, strain it out and put it in the fridge.  Skim off the fat, then put it in single serving Ziploc bags and freeze.  It makes a ton of chicken broth, for next to nothing!

Look how much extra chicken we had left.  Usually I make chicken fajitas, or Cajun chicken linguine, but this week we are having BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Tonight the girls had homemade Popsicles for dessert.  We just got new Popsicle molds because Ryann threw one of the old ones away instead of putting it in the sink!  So, I'm cool and got them rocket ship shaped ones.   They each got to choose what flavor to make them.  Mary choose apple blueberry, and Ryann chose tropical fruit.  I just used a jar of baby food fruit and Silk coconut milk.

Weston didn't get a Popsicle, but he had some coconut milk yogurt instead.