Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: m

I left Morgan at the kitchen table to practice writing the sound "mmm" and a couple minutes later she came out to show me this. At first I was a little upset that she decided to write on herself until I realized how well she wrote. That is one awesome 'm' for a 3 year old! ;-)

*Morgan is working on learning how to read using a book recommended to me by Alexia at The Mommy Rambles called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She's only on lesson 4 so far, and we repeat lessons that I think she needs to work on more, but she's doing good so far!

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Star of the Show!

Okay, so she wasn't the star of the show, but she was a starfish! Morgan was in her first children's program at church this past Sunday. She did as well as you would expect a 3 (soon to be 4) year old to do and had a great time.

Here she is with her best friend singing in the choir before getting into costume.
Blake excitedly watched his sister with his Oma.
In costume with some of the other sea critters.
Yawning a little early-it's only the 1st performance. There is still one more to go!

This is just a little clip of the opening song:

I'm so proud of Morgan! My little girl is growing up!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Make Something Monday: Meatloaf

Make Something Monday
I've actually made a couple different meatloaves recently and I really liked them both, though the one stuffed with cheese and spinach was my favorite! :-)

The first meatloaf I made, the simpler of the 2, I found the recipe at and forgot to take a picture of it. (It wasn't pretty anyway-LOL!)

Meatloaf...a Little Southwest Style:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (I didn't have)

1.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Mix the ground beef, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salsa, ketchup, barbeque sauce, salt, pepper, and celery salt together in a bowl; transfer to a loaf pan.
3.Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, about 1 hour.


This next one I got from Alexis, at Running Away? I'll help you pack, who had posted recipes from a cookbook called The Skinny Chef.

Doesn't this look delicious!?

  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used beef)
  • 1 cup oats (not quick cooking)
  • 2 egg whites (I used 1 whole egg)
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup non-fat milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup part-skim mozzerella cheese (I used the real stuff)
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup or BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Set aside.
  3. Place oats into large bowl, along with eggs, milk and soy sauce. Stir well to coat and soak about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Mix well.
  4. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray and smooth half the meat mixture into the pan. Top with spinach. Sprinkle over cheese, then press the remaining meat over top and cover with ketchup or BBQ sauce.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the center, test by inserting knife. Rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
*If you would like the recipe for the Creamy Corn Bake shown in the picture, it also came from the Skinny Chef cookbook and can be found on Alexis's blog. It was also very delicious!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Our Springtime Blooms

I'm still waiting on my tulips, but they look like they're just about ready! :-)

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Make Something Monday: Orange Cream Cookies

Make Something Monday

I think the recipe originally came from Alexis and Debby, from Just Breathe, convinced me that this was really worth a try by telling me how much she loves it! I'll admit that they were a lot better than I expected and they are definitely something I'll be making again!

So, being cheap and already buying the orange extract and vanilla chips, I decided to try making these from scratch instead of using the Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mix. This is actually what I came up with from combining a sugar cookie recipe and the Orange Cream Cookies recipe.

Orange Cream Cookies

  • 1-1/2 cups flour (I actually used 3/4 cup white and 3/4 whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice (called for lemon extract, but seems to work)
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 5 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 1-1/2 white vanilla baking chips

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the softened butter until the mixture is crumbly.

In a separate bowl, beat egg, vanilla, lemon extract/juice, orange extract and food coloring until light and fluffy. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until well blended.

Stir in vanilla baking chips, then drop onto ungreased cookie sheet by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes or just until dough is set (do not overbake). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooking racks. Cool completely.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Potty Training Pics

Morgan went to stay with Oma for a couple days and she and Blake talked on the phone about how potty training was going. Morgan was asking about his stickers, telling him well how good he was doing and trying to convince him to go poo! LOL! It was priceless!
Sporting his new undies

This morning's sticker count.

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Potty Training is Going Well!

Blake has been doing SO GOOD on the potty this past week....
  • He has hardly had any accidents the last few days (except for poo, but I'll get to that).

  • I bet he has over 50 stickers on his pirate hat. I'm so happy we're doing the pirate hat too, because adding that little bit of fun to the pottying routine is keeping it exciting for him!

  • I actually don't have to ask him if he has to 'pee-pee' much anymore because he has been telling me when he needs to go.

  • Up until Sunday he had still been wearing diapers to bed, but all of a sudden he decided he didn't want to wear a diaper anymore! I thought for sure I'd have a mess to clean up in the morning, but I didn't! Yay! Unfortunately I wasn't that lucky last night and his sheets are currently in the wash! LOL!

As you can see, he is doing AWESOME! I'm so proud of him! I don't think I could have asked for it to go any better.

Now, even though he is doing so well, I still have some concerns...

  • Blake went poo on the potty after 4 days of not going and now he is having pooing accidents. I'm not sure how to make him more comfortable about going #2 on the potty.

  • We haven't left the house/yard yet. We still need to see how Blake does going potty somewhere else or if he'll even remember.

  • Of course only one dry night so far is a bit concerning, especially if he doesn't want to wear a diaper to bed anymore. I don't really care to do laundry every day! LOL!

So far so good, though! Hopefully my concerns will end up being nothing and Blake will continue to do better with this whole potty training thing. Keep your fingers crossed for me ;-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Make Something Monday: Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

Make Something Monday
This is a recipe that I had made a long time ago. It came from a program on PBS that gave ideas for healthier versions of everyday foods. These chocolate chip bar cookies turn out super yummy tend to be cakey or's hard to describe. They are definitely worth making for their healthy qualities! :-)

Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade, which is sweetened)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites (I used 2 eggs)
  • 1 lg pkg instant vanilla or instant chocolate pudding (I used the small pkg of chocolate pudding and it still turned out great!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (I used whole wheat white flour, but the recipe suggests that you can substitute with 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour.)
  • 1 cup oats (quick cooking or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 bag (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Use a fork to mix the applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla and egg whites in a large bowl.

In medium-sized bowl mix vanilla pudding, baking powder, baking soda and flour with a fork. Then add to the liquid ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon to stir well.

Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix, then allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place dough in greased 9x13 pan and press down with wax paper. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 2 dozen. If keeping past 2 days store cookies in refrigerator or freezer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Homemade Hair Clips

While shopping at Target a little while back, I came across some a set of six 18 inch pieces of ribbon for $1.00 that I thought would be great to make Morgan some inexpensive hair clips. It seemed like it would be a simple little project at the time...
I searched for the alligator clips at Hobby Lobby for what seemed like forever and finally found someone to help (who happened to be an old high school friend) and bought 5 for $1.99. I thought they were cheaper than that, but they would I thought....

The clips ended up being too wide and those were the only ones that Hobby Lobby had. I then checked online and found a 25 pack on e-bay for $8.00. Still a little more pricey than I was expecting, but they were the right size and they would I thought....

The e-bay alligator clips came in the mail and the teeth were on the top of the clips instead of on the bottom, so when I tucked the ribbon under, it would cover up the teeth that were suppose to be holding the clip in Morgan's hair....

Well, I wasn't spending any more money! (So I thought!) I decided that I'd make it work by trimming down the sides of the ribbon. I looked up a tutorial online and saw that I could heat seal the ends and sides with a lighter, so the ribbon wouldn't fall apart. It was going to work and I still wasn't going to spend much money, until I realized that I didn't have glue to attach ribbon to metal...
My mom ended up checking out Jo-Ann Fabrics and found some glue that would work well...another $5.00, but I should be all set and ready to make all sorts of hair clips...

A few days after finally having everything to make some not-so-cheap hair clips, I decided to start putting them together. I jumped right into it and got the ribbon cut and ready to glue on the alligator clip when I realized that glue was some pretty strong stuff on the nose! As I'm thinking it, Rich is standing beside me reading all the warnings about how it should be used in a well-ventilated area, shouldn't touch the skin, causes cancer.....oops! Should have read THAT first! I only made one at that time and decided I should wait until the weather was nice and finish making them in the mudroom (where there is a window across from a sliding glass door and a door from the garage and a door into the house. VERY well-ventilated!)

So, they are done and they turned out to be some fairly expensive, somewhat toxic, but super cute hair clips.

And I made enough for my nieces and my best friends' daughter too! :-)

What I thought would be an inexpensive and easy little project, turned into a big, kinda pricey ordeal, but it was well worth learning something new and all the little girls' excitement receiving their brand new homemade hair clips. :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Potty Training....again

I've tried potty training Blake twice before. The first time he was nowhere near ready. Peeing 20 times a day was too much to try to keep up with for either of us! The second time we were doing fairly long as he wasn't wearing anything on his bottom. As soon as we put underwear or training pants on him, he was going in them and forgetting about the potty. I was going to stick with it last time until the whole family got sick and we kinda forgot about the potty training thing. Now we're at it again and we're not giving up until Blake has it down!

This time I went all out. I wanted Blake to be excited about potty training. He tends to be pretty laid back and I thought the bigger deal we made about potty training the more interested he would be in it. So on Tuesday we had a Potty Party to kick off our final (hopefully) attempt at potty training.

I spent an hour making his sign and wrapping his presents. I decorated the kitchen, put out the Easter cookies and candy, chilled some sparkling juice and put out little tasting cups.
Blake got to wear his pirate hat (from the Pirate Potty book) and blow out a candle.
After enjoying some cookie, candy and juice (for breakfast!) he opened his gifts.
He received some character underwear and a potty book that was right up his alley! :-)
We spent the day reading the 4 potty books he has and watching a potty movie. He had 2 accidents (while wearing underwear) then went on the potty the next 5 times (without underwear-seeing a pattern again!) Each time he went on his little potty, he got to dump the cup in the big potty, flush and wash his hands. Then he got a sticker for his pirate hat and then he also got to play with a little game from the Potty Tots program. He also got to choose a game/puzzle/activity for us to do together each time. After the first time he went on the potty, he called his Daddy and his Oma who both congratulated him.

I hope we made a big enough deal about potty training to make it last. He gets another present and can go pick out a toy at the store (probably the dollar store-I'm cheap) when he's all trained. He is doing quite well so far and I'm really proud of him. I'm still reminding him constantly and he is still running around without underwear, but I'm sure he'll get it....eventually. I really hope he doesn't have to go around unclothed forever to remember to go potty! ;-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Weekend

Friday was full of playing outdoors and making Easter goodies.

Saturday the kids had an Easter Egg hunt at Rich's grandma's....

Then the Easter Bunny came with some of his friends! (Blake made the Bear cry because Blake wouldn't hug him.)

Easter morning the kids discovered their Easter baskets and searched for eggs the Easter bunny hid. (The kids got a little more than usual this year due to some giveaway winnings!)

Then we got ready for church and the rest of the day...the kiddos couldn't wait to get out the door!

We went to church, then from there took a 2 hour drive to my sister's for Easter dinner and then came back for a visit with Rich's parents. It was a busy Easter, but really nice.

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Go Graham Go! and Healthy Moms.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Make Something Monday: Beef Tamale Crockpot Pie

Make Something Monday

This is yet another recipe from Alexis at Running Away? I'll help you pack. I had to buy a few ingredients for this that we don't typically have around, but it was well worth it! The kids didn't eat it as well, but Rich and I LOVED it! This is definitely something that we'll be making again!

Beef Tamale Crockpot Pie

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloved garlic, minced
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 6 oz. package corn muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded Colby cheese
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I left this out)

In nonstick skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked. Drain thoroughly and stir in drained kidney beans and enchilada sauce. Pour into 4-5 quart crockpot.

In large bowl, mix together corn muffin mix, milk, butter and egg just until combined. Then add cheese and chilies, including chili liquid. Spoon over beef in crockpot.

Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the corn bread mixture comes out clean. In small bowl combine sour cream, salsa, and cilantro; serve with pie. 4 servings

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Best Thing about Easter... Jesus! Despite all the candy, eggs, bunnies and all other things associated with Easter, I want my kids to know what Easter is really about. In the past, and even a couple times so far this year, we've read the book, The Best Thing About Easter. In the book a young girl takes us through all the fun things about Easter, but none of those things are the best thing....the one best thing about Easter is Jesus. The little girl goes on to tell us why Jesus is the best thing by telling the Easter story. It's really a great book, super cute, and keeps the kids very entertained!

This year, after seeing it on a blog (I can't remember which one now), I decided to make some Easter Story Eggs or Resurrection Eggs. (Instructions can be found here.) It was really easy to make and Morgan has asked to go through it over and over again! Both of them LOVE being able to open up the eggs and see the little surprises inside. (Blake always wants to keep the money! LOL!) And as they open them, I tell them what each item represents and read a corresponding Bible verse. I don't know how much of it they understand, but at least they are hearing the Easter story in a fun way and hopefully the message of Jesus will grow in them as they grow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Decorating Easter Eggs

I am terrible at making hard-boiled eggs, so I'm not sure why I decided we could decorate eggs this year. Maybe it's because it was a tradition I had growing up and I want to share it with my kids despite my egg cooking skills. We tried anyway and the eggs were undercooked and for some reason had moisture all over them. Anything we tried putting on them kept sliding off. I guess it was still fun though!

This is the kit I picked up at Target for $2. I thought it would be simple for a 2 and 3 year old to use. Plus they LOVE stickers!

Morgan getting started.

Blake going to town on his.

Quite proud of his finished egg!

Rich's egg.

My 1st attempt at an egg.

Morgan's 1st egg.

My 2nd egg.

Another egg...either Morgan's or Blake's.

The kids had a lot of fun! They weren't letting the stickers falling off get them down and they kept right on working. Rich and I decided that the old fashioned egg dying will probably work best in the future. And after talking to a friend, I found out that there are egg timers that will help me make a perfect hard-boiled we can actually eat them afterwards! :-)

I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to my Mom today! I definitely don't envy her for having an April Fools birthday! ;-)
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