Monday, December 31, 2012

MPM: A Brand New Year

I'm starting up with Menu Plan Monday again.  Although I continued to create a weekly menu, I didn't always post.  So a new year means more posting.  I generally just plan out dinner entres but I may include some sides, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks occassionally.  I'm also going to include more information so that I can look back at previous menus to create new ones.  I'll include links where available and pictures afterward.  Here's this week's plan:
  • Monday: Dinner Out for New Year's Eve
Paul and I are going to the Melting Pot while the kids have a sleepover at Grandma's.
This is a recipe I found on Pinterest.  Like the poster, I don't plan on using sour cream (saves me a trip to the store).  We'll probably have a veggie and rice as a side.
  • Wednesday:  Pasta, Sauce, and Salad
This is a go-to meal for us, meaning I know the kids will eat it.  It will probably be spaghetti noodles (their favorite) and whatever jar marinara sauce we have.  I'll also make a salad (starting with pre-packaged bag and adding other stuff) and maybe garlic bread.  This is also Logan's first day back to school so this is a good meal since the afternoon is going to be a little stressful, getting back into the routine.
I made this just last week (and I try not to repeat recipes too quickly) but it was really good so we'll have it again.  I think I'll try a new side like Honey Roasted Red Potatoes.
Another pinterest find.  I don't typically use whole chickens so I may just do breasts although Logan loves chicken with bones.
Paul is starting his busy season so I decided Saturday's would be good for the crockpot.  This is a pinterest recipe and should be plenty so that we can leftovers Sunday and maybe even enough for Paul's lunch on Monday.
  • Sunday:  Leftovers/CORN
This is the day we Clean Out the Refrigerator Night (CORN).  If we don't have any leftovers then we'll have sandwiches and soup or breakfast for dinner.

I have a set of school lunches that we rotate through for Logan (plus he usually buys once a week).  I'd like to add to the rotation but don't want to try new things at school (in case he doesn't like them, I don't want him to be hungry).  I'm going to use Saturday and Sunday to try out new lunch possibilities and then add them into the weekly menus if he likes them.  I'm going to be trying some new smoothies for breakfasts (at least for Paul and I).  Hopefully, we'll find some we like and maybe even the kids too.

I may also try to make a sheet cake this week to as a special treat.  I made this one just before Christmas for Jesus' birthday and it was so good.  I got the recipe from a church cookbook we had, but did get the icing recipe online because I didn't have one of the ingredients the cookbook used.  Unfortunately, I ruined it.  I put it in the oven to free up counter space for Christmas cooking and forgot to take it out when I turned on the oven to preheat.  Oops, melting plastic wrap and pampered chef server.

You can check out more menus at Organzing Junkie.

Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pinterest 79-110

I have completed 110 pinned ideas.  That's a lot but it's not even a 10th of the pins on my boards.

North Pole Breakfast:  Our elf on the shelf brought this on his first day back.

Elf Calendar:  I didn't specifically use hers, but I did write down the activity for the day, the special treat the kids got , and a general idea for the elf.

Elf Bubble Bath using marshmallows (until the cats started eating them)

Christmas Express: We used this idea when we took the kids to see the light display at the lake.

Reindeer Cam:  I had pinned this but forgot about it until someone reminded me on Facebook.  The kids loved watching Santa.

Paper Strip Tree (I had to delete the pin because it wouldn't link):  I did this one day with Sophie while Logan was at school then let him make one later while she was napping.

Wrapped Trash Present:  I did this the day we opened presents and it was so nice. The room didn't seem as cluttered as it usually does.

ABC Family Christmas Shows: I used the listed to set the Tivo.  The kids watched some oldies but goodies.  There are a couple that Sophie still asks about.  Of course there were a couple that didn't keep their interest.

Lemon Butter Shrimp:  This was really good and it didn't matter that I didn't have lemon slices.

Teriyaki Salmon:  This was good too.

Crockpot Lemon Chicken:  This was okay.  The kids didn't much care, but then they usually don't.

World's Best Chicken:  Yeah, the name is deceiving.  It was just okay.

Honey Glazed Carrots:  These were actually pretty good, I even ate them and I hate cooked carrots.

Easiest Dinner Ever:  Was very easy and we ate it a couple of different ways, just like she suggests.

Addiction Chicken:  Again, misleading name.

Beer Crockpot Chicken:  The only beer I had was some Asian ones I'd bought as a gift, but combined with the "fancy" seasoning mix I had, this chicken tasted really good.

Dump Chicken:  There's a whole bunch of options on this site and I've probably made a dozen of them.  Most are okay, in fact, none stand out in my mind as either really good or really bad.  The nice thing is that I'll do one of these when I make another chicken meal, using the other half of the big bag of frozen chicken breasts.

Cornucopia Fruit Cups (no link just a picture):  I wished I'd taken a picture when I made these for a playdate.

Crispy Flounder:  This was so, so good.  I just used regular breadcrumbs (not planko) and Old Bay seasoning.

Packing Peanut Snowman:  I had a bunch of peanuts that came in one of the kids presents.  I went online and found several activities for them.

Glue Sponge:  I think this would work better with more glue (it takes a lot to fill the container), but I did use it with Sophie.  I'm going to try to make it work because she loves to cut and glue scrap paper.

Birdseed Ornaments:  We've had amazing weather and the birds have been everywhere so we made a couple of different options for them.

Ways to Play:  I've printed out the monthly ideas and put them in my calendar so I'm already for the new year.

Fluffy Stuff:  The kids had a blast with this stuff.  First, they just played inside keeping in a tub, then I sent them to the backyard to throw it around.

Another Bird Feeder:  We found some pine cones at the church and decided to try these feeders.

I Spy Packing Peanuts:  I let the kids choose the objects to put in the box then created a checklist with simple drawings.

Clean the Garbage Disposal:  Not sure how much this helped but...

Refill the Swiffer:  I was halfway through mopping the kitchen floor when I ran out of cleaning solution.  I knew I'd pinned this so I had Paul help me and I refilled it with a pine cleaner.  I'll probably try a different solution next time.

Marble Track:  I've had the pool noodles for over a year to do this but couldn't find marbles so I started looking for small balls that would work.  Once I found the balls, I couldn't remember where I'd put the noodles.  Finally, the stars aligned and we were able to try this out.

Chopsticks and Pompoms:  I've had these out several times.  I usually use an ice tray to sort the pom poms.

Kids Journals:  I have one of these for each of the kids and will pull it out randomly to give them something to do.  They've traced objects, cut out things to glue in it, colored pictures, made their gift list.

Paper Fortune Cookies:  We made these as a special ornament during National Adoption Month.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pinterest 66-78

66. Aztec Casserole: We eat this often. It's my step-sister's recipe.

67. Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice:  This was okay, looked nothing like the blog pictures.

68. Chicken Ranch Tacos:  We all enjoyed this and it was really easy.

69. Bounce Baseboard Dusters:  I used my dryer sheets this week to wipe the baseboards.  It definitely picked up all the dust and pet hair.  We'll see if it actual repels it too.

70. Getting Rid of Ants: The list has several things but I needed an ant remedy so used cornstarch.  It does state it could take a while to stop seeing the ants because they have to take the cornstarch back to the nest.  But maybe it will help until the exterminator can come.

71. Back to School Fairy:  The back to school fairy came while Logan was at school on the first day.  And then she came a couple of weeks later when Sophie started preschool.  She brought new outfits and backpacks for the kids build-a-bears plus a couple of books, a toy, and hand sanitizer.

72. Budget Help:  I downloaded this to try using starting in November.  Mainly I wanted to keep track of my holiday spending, for gifts, supplies and decorations.

73. Clothes Dividers:  I created these before Sophie was born and made extra sets for my sisters who were also pregnant at the time.  I don't remember where I got the idea in the first place, but I used large yogurt container lids with the lip cut off.  I cut contact paper to cover the labeling and then added labels with my label-maker.  Originally, they were divided by size, then I switch labels to type of clothing.

74. Packing for the Kids:  I saw this before our summer vacation trip and my sister thought I was silly.  She has since used it herself when my nephew went to camp.  I thought it was useful because it kept the outfits together and whoever got the kids dressed (me, Daddy, or Aunt Kelly) didn't have to worry about which shirt went with which shorts.  It also made it easy when Logan just threw clothes toward the suitcase...we knew if they weren't in a bag, then they were dirty.  It also helped me make sure I had packed enough.  I labeled the bags Day1, Day 2, etc. so I knew everyday was accounted for.  I've also started doing this when the kids go to Grandma's since Sophie's pj's sometimes look like play clothes.  When I go to my sister's for the weekend, it's been helpful for planning special outfits for the kids activities.

75. The ol' Switcheroo:  I didn't start this in January, but I'll probably do that this next year.  What I've been doing is periodically looking to see which clothes are still backwards and making a decision about whether to keep or donate.  If I choose to keep (and it works seasonally), then I try to wear it ASAP.  It has also helped me to vary what I wear instead of grabbing the same blouse every time.  BTW, I am no fashionista, I live in jeans and Target tops.

76. Mini Rainstick Bottles:  I had gotten toothpicks for a teacher training so we used them to create mini "rainstick" bottles.  The kids carried them everywhere for a week.

77. Summer Fun Checklist:  Although we didn't get through all of the 200 items (2 different lists), I'd use the lists when I couldn't think of anything fun to do.

78. Card Holder:  Paul was playing games with the kids and one of them used cards so I pulled the egg carton from the recycling bin, cut it in half and each kid got one and all was well in the Walker house.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pinterest Weekend 56-65

My sister and I decided to get together and make a bunch of freezer meals and also cleaning stuff that we'd seen on Pinterest.  (Ok, it was definitely more her idea than mine.)  The cleaning stuff I didn't care too much about but I was all over the freezer meals.  Bonus was getting to spend time with my bestest sister.  After I got to her place, she went to the store and got everything on our list while I watched the kids.  We did cleaning stuff on day 1 and meals on day 2.  Below is a list of everything we did:
1.  Dryer "sheets"

 2.  Laundry detergent:  We actually used 2 different recipes for this.  The first seperated and so we tried a slightly different version.  Although, I think it was my fault the first round didn't work.

This one looks much better.
3.  All-purpose cleaner
4.  Dishwasher detergent
5.  Carpet deodorizer
6.  Fabric refresher aka febreeze
7.  Daily shower cleaner to be used in a dish scrubber
8.  Powdered laundry detergent (not pictured)  (My sister found a recipe to try)
9.  Taco meat (just browned the meat and added the seasonings and water before freezing)
10.  Ranch pork chops (the original link has been blocked but the directions are on the pin)
11.  Teriyaki Chicken
12. Savory Chicken
13.  Brown sugar chicken
14.  Honey Garlic chicken
15.  Beef Stroganoff (my sister's recipe)
16.  Layered Chicken Enchilada Casserole (not pictured)
17.  Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole (not pictured)

 We each came away with 9 meals (one set for each), plus the cleaners.  I'd like to do the meals every few months, tripling and quadrupling recipes we actually like and maybe adding some breakfast or lunch options from Once a Month Mom.

I've been using these for about a week and I like them all.  We all our pets, it's good to use the carpet powder and the febreeze often.  But they can be pricing so I would skimp, now it doesn't bother me because they are so cheap to make.  The scrubber in the shower has been great.

We've only had one meal (chicken enchilada casserole) and it was okay. I'd make it again but use corn tortillas instead of flour.  I'm sure there will be at least half the meals that we'll make again.  We had a great time, but I do need to get a bigger cooler to bring it all home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monica's Aztec Casserole

My sister Monica gave me this recipe, and  because I'm tired of trying to remember where I wrote it down (in my cell phone), I thought I'd post it here (then pin it to my recipe board).

Here's the ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2-3 cups cooked rice
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes
garlic salt
tortillas, taco shells, or chips
Brown the ground beef with some chopped onion.
 Drain the beans and corn.
 Cook your rice. I use steamed jasmine rice (since we buy it buy the gigantic bag at the Asian market).
 Add everything to the beef along with the spices to taste.

 As you can see we each choose our own way to eat it.  Paul adds salsa because he likes it spicier than the kids, everyone gets cheese on top except Logan (who doesn't like cheese).  We could also make it into a taco salad type with lettuce and fresh tomatoes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Project Life September

Although I've completed my first Project Life, I'm going to continue documenting my scrapbooking endeavors.  I liked doing the Project Life method for the kids albums but I haven't decided how I want to do the coming years now that Logan is in school.  I have plenty of pages, just not sure how I want to tackle the school stuff yet.  But, of course, I'm still behind on our family yearbook.  I attended an all-day crop with my sister and got so many pages completed.  Her are a few of my favorites from the day:

I'm able to get so many pages done because I do power layouts beforehand, where I go ahead and pull paper and stickers to go with the specific pictures.

I made the bow below at one of the make-n-takes.

 I only take a few tools (punches, special cutters, etc.).  It helps so that I can get in with only one trip and it also means I don't spend as much time trying to decide what to do, my options are limited.
 Once I get home, I'll add cricut titles as well as journaling.
 One of the good things about doing the power layouts is that I intentionally look at some of my older supplies, trying to find uses for the die cut playground below.
 I'll even use pre-printed layout pages like this one.
I love these all day crops (even though I'm usually sore the next day from all the sitting), but unfortunately I only get to about 2 of them a year.  Not nearly enough time to complete my albums.  But usually I'm motivated for a while afterwards.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pinterest Recipes 49-55

I've been doing my meal plans (just not blogging about them).  I've been using pinterest a lot to find recipes, escpecially crockpot ones.  Here's a few I've tried: 

Chicken Taco Chili  This was fairly easy and tasted pretty good.

Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole  I liked the idea of this one, but the hot sauce made it too spicy for the kids to eat.  Trying to find something with a little less kick.

Baked Greek Chicken  I didn't like this much, just another chicken option, nothing special.

Taco Soup  Another easy, fast, good option.

Ravioli Casserole  This was one of those that I should have read through all the instructions first.  For a crockpot recipe is was way too complicated and didn't really have much taste.  If I make again, I won't use the crockpot and I'll substitute pasta sauce for the tomato stuff for more flavor.

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing  This one was okay, but the kids didn't like having everything mixed together.

Potato Soup  Although the kids didn't like this, I thought it was great.  And so did the church staff, since they got the leftovers.  I've made it twice (it's good for groups) and I prefer diced potatoes instead of the shredded kind.

Pinterest 44-48: Teacher Gifts

I really enjoyed getting to use Pinterest to come up with ideas for Logan's Kindergarten teacher.  We had a little gift for her each day during that first week of school (#1, 3, & 5).  When we were shopping picking out a cup for his teacher, he said he wanted to get something for his new speech therapist too (#4 below).  I also came across some tags I'd printed last year for the preschool teachers so I did some scissors for the office staff at Logan's school (#6).
In addition to the pinterest ideas, I also took an apple napkin holder I had and filled it with notepads.  I had the photo boxes from before so I decorated the top and filled it with extra school supplies we'd been collecting.

1.  Mint to be

2.  Extra gum

3.  Cup of Supplies

4.  Cup of tea

5.  Smooth Lotion

6.  Cute Scissors

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pinterest 43: Glue Suncatchers

Another boredom buster...playing with glue.  We used heart cookie cutters plus an airplane and elephant.  Only the heart ones came out, the glue leaked out the sides on the others.  I did let them dry for 2 days.

Pinterest 42: Make It Rain

I followed the directions on this website to show the kids how rain was created.

Of course, they wanted to play with shaving cream afterwards.  Lots of summertime fun!

Pinterest 41: Soap Cloud

Pinterest has been great for when I need to find something for the kids do to this summer.  I found this idea and they loved it, plus it made them nice and clean.

You put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave for a couple of minutes.

It balloons up like this creating a cloud.  It looks like it would be squishy but it's actually dry and crumbly once you  played with it.

We added a bit of water and then created balls of soap that the kids used to wash their hands.

I did a quarter of a bar at bathtime and let them play with it while they bathed.  Playing and cleaning all in one!