Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last week the Ham Cheddar Chowder was very delicious! We will definitely have that again. It's a good winter time recipe. The Crock Pot Italian Chicken was fast and moist, but I think that I will tweak it more to our liking next time. There are a few recipes that we didn't get to that I will be trying this week again. I will be filling in more as I find them!

1. Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Salad and Carrots
2. Asian Pork Tenderloin with Rice and Broccoli
3. Fettucine Alfredo
4. Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Rolls
5. Cavatappi with Sausage and Broccoli and Steamed Carrots (Swanson)
6. Carmelized Butternut Squash and Balsamic Chicken
7. Spaghetti and Quinoa Meatballs

1. Hard Boiled Eggs, Toast, Fruit
2. Salads
3. Leftovers
4. Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce

1. Scrambled Eggs
2. Yogurt and Toast
3. Strawberry Crisp
4. Smoothies
5. Pancakes
6. Oatmeal and Smoothies

Tot Week - On the Move

Tot Week was quite the adventure for us this week! We were a little busier than normal and were able to visit a lot of family and do new things.

Mini Diva's favorite activity was her first bowling trip. To say she loved it is an understatement. Most of the time Mini Dude took a nap, but he did join the little diva in pushing one of the balls. Sharing is always fun, right?

She picked out her own ball - she specifically wanted the orange one. She even insisted on carrying it herself after her dad helped her a few times. She did pretty well with all 8 lbs of it, but her dad was right there to help if it slipped.

Lining up the ramp and pushing the ball off was pretty fun, too. She was able to balance it on top just right. She would count to three and then push.

And then she would wait and watch how many were knocked down. I love her little bowling shoes. I didn't know they had them that small!

We also spent a day with cousins on Friday. I watched this little guy while his mom went to an appointment. It was good for Mini Diva to play with another littler person. We worked on sharing and using our nice voices.

The toddlers liked putting round pegs into their little cars. Balls were also a big hit.

And this little guy absolutely loved his grandma's swing!

That night we went to a fun local restaurant, The Mayan, where my dad works as a manager. The kiddos loved watching the divers and fire dancers. I wish I had my camera. We even got splashed! My dad brought the divers down for Mini Diva to meet. Her favorite part of the evening was when my dad brought out a chocolate and ice cream desert that had a large sparkler in it. She exclaimed, "Birthday cake for me?"

On Saturday we helped my brother and his family move. The mini diva had a hard day, but it was still fun to play with cousins in their new house. That night we went to her cousin's dance recital. Mini Diva LOVED it! She and her cousin danced on the stairs in the back. It was almost more fun to watch than the show. They also got in some quality time with their great grandparents.

At home, we had lots of fun with imaginative play. Mini Diva used her chairs and the water bottles to make a train for herself and her babies.

She also had a lot of fun of her Melissa and Doug foot set. She made many yummy foods for me to eat.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good Earth price list

I recently learned about lots of yummy things I could get at Good Earth. I think I got them for a pretty good. Here are some of my price points. I look forward to going on my March trip to Good Earth

Brown Short Rice .89/lb
Cream O' Wheat Germade .69/lb
Vital Gluten Flour 1.85/lb

Looking forward to making stuff from scratch!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tot Week - Valentines and Cousins

This Tot Week began with Valentines Day. Tot in hole, as my husband calls in, has come in handy for many breakfasts lately. Just change the shape in the middle to fit your theme! Lily loved eating her hearts for breakfast.

For Valentines Day, I got each of the children a book about love and a new snuggly blanket.

This week, Lily has come up with many of her own activities - which I love! It is fun to see what she comes up with. For this activity, she put all of her feathers in the shopping basket along with her fish magnets. The fish magnets were hidden under the feathers. She would then use her fishing pole to find them. She played this for a long time.

Oranges are a great manipulative, too :). She fit an orange into each slot of our food storage buckets. She also lined them up down the hallway and tried to share them with her little brother.

In our church, it is recommended that you have a weekly family home evening. We had a short message on the importance of preparedness and then went out for ice cream. Hopefully, we will have many more family home evenings to come!

Dress up is still a big hit at our house. Dude stepped on these glasses on accident, but Mini Diva doesn't seem to mind. She wore them just like this all the way to Mom Mom's house. Her princess costumes are also getting a lot of attention.
This is my favorite thing she has taken interest in - the lace up boards! Before she would use them as kites. This week she wanted me to teach her how to lace it through the holes. She did a pretty good job!

Cousin time! We had a lot of time with little friends this week. On Wednesday, we went to a playgroup with friends from our church. We also had our cute little one year old cousin over to visit. Mini Diva loves having the play mates.

One area we are trying to work on more is sharing. Any fun games or ideas that have worked for you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

I decided to try something new this week. On facebook I've been hearing rave reviews about Bountiful Baskets. So I signed up online with my sister in law. She was kind enough to pick up my basket for me. All this for $15! You don't know in advance what you are getting, but I love the results and look forward to cooking with new things. Check it out!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Very excited for this week! I visited Smockity Frocks's What's in Your Crock Pot post and found lots of yummy recipes to try! I'll be putting my crock pot to work this week.

But first, what went well last week .... the spaghetti with quinoa meatballs was a big hit with my family. I've been looking for more ways to use quinoa so I will definitely use it again for healthier and more filling meatballs.

The Homemade Cinnamon Rolls from Beauty and Bedlam definitely were VERY close to Cinnabons's. My brother and sister leapt over the back of the couch to get to the last one. Delicious!

1. Cheesy Beef and Rice
2. Ham Cheddar Chowder, Salads, and Rolls
3. Hamburgers with Homemade Buns with Baked Yam and Potato Casserole
4. Crock Pot Black Bean Ham Soup
5. Crock Pot Italian Chicken
6. Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
7. Asian Pork Tenderloin with Rice and Broccoli

1. Hard Boiled Eggs, Toast, Fruit
2. Burritos
3. Grilled Cheese and Carrots
4. Quesadillas and Broccoli
5. Salads
6&7 Leftovers

1. Yogurt and Toast
2. Scrambled Eggs and Toast
3. Strawberry Crisp
4. Tote in Hole and fruit
5. Pancakes
6. Oatmeal and Smoothies
7. Banana Bread

For later:
Homemade Apple Sauce in a Crock Pot
Rice Cream
Home made Graham Crackers

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Lots of fun giveaways happening right now!

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

$25 Cheesecake Factory Gift Card from

Julie Taggert Photo Session in Utah

Melissa and Doug Gear

I'm Booking It!

I just found this great Challenge on Since I love to read, I decided to jump on it - even though I am a month late!

My reading goals for 2010 are:
  • 15 minutes inspirational reading every day (scriptures, etc.)
  • read to my children every day
  • read at least one fun book and one learning book each month
Pretty basic, but with two under two - that's what I got.

Here is what is on my book wish list for the year:
  • Women of the Old Testament by Camille Olson Fronk
  • The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Abinadi: A Novel
  • The Amaranth Enchanment
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
  • Confessions of a Shop-a-holic
  • A Curse Dark as Gold
  • English Trifle: A Culinary Mystery
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
  • The Handmaid and the Carpenter
  • The Hourglass Door
  • In Praise of Stay at Home Moms
More to be added!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What I love about you ...

I love reading and getting ideas from the Tot School blog. Just recently, I discovered that Carissa also does a blog about her youngest daughter. She posts weekly what she loves about each stage her daughter is in. What a fantastic way to preserve the fun of babyhood. So I am starting to do it with Mini Dude as well.

Here is what I love this week!

  • I love this sweet in between stage. Not quite big enough to crawl or walk, but getting more and more independent and excited about the world around you every day.
  • I love how very aware you are of what we are doing and how you want to be apart of it, too. You were a little fussy when I was taking down the Christmas tree for your Nana, but when I gave you a flower to hold - you were content as can be. You just held it and looked at it for about 15 minutes.
  • I love that you are such a great little sleeper! You have been since day one! So, so, so nice. Swaddled in a blanket with your binkie - you go right to sleep. Love these mid day snuggle sessions on the couch that you have with your sister.
  • It is so fun to see you in your walker. A little man pushing himself around the room. This basketball is your favorite toy. It is squishy and you love to hold it - and eat it as well!
  • And I love that you are a fantastic little brother! So patient with your older sister, Mini Diva, when she wants to play with you!

  • Your favorite new thing this week is eating bananas in the little mesh holder. It makes you so happy!

Best Yet Whole Wheat Bread

I have a love/hate relationship with homemade whole wheat bread. Love to eat it - hate to make it. Up until yesterday, my efforts have resulted in less than satisfactory loaves ranging from edible as toasted garlic bread to barely recognizable. Try as I might, I just couldn't get it right.

Then came along this beauty of a recipe! I went to my church's enrichment night for women. It was an informative back to the basics night. I thought I was doing okay (except for the making bread part) in the basics of cooking and food storage, but, boy, did I learn a lot! It is one thing to read a recipe off the Internet, another thing to actually be able to see it every step of the way. Helped immensely!

The second portion of the evening was on food storage. Learned a lot during it as well, but that is another post! Until then - here is the fantastic whole wheat bread recipe! I have been enjoying it's moist goodness all day! Very excited to have it with sandwiches.

Wonderful Whole Wheat Bread

Combine these four ingredients and mix well:

6 cups warm water
2/3 cup honey
2 tbsp yeast
8-9 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup apple sauce
1 egg
2 tbsp gluten (I found mine for 1.85/lb. at Good Earth)
1 tbsp vinegar (optional)
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp salt

Mix well; then add additional flour until dough pulls away from the sides and begins cleaning off the sides (approximately 9 to 10 additional cups). Be careful not to add too much flour. Let the machine knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes. Roll out on oiled surface and put into four greased loaf pans. Fill half full. Let rise while covered until double (approximately 30 minutes) Preheat oven to 350 degrees). Plae bread in oven carefully with space in between loaves. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Remove and enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tot School

This week definitely went better as far as our Tot School activities. Unfortunately, I didn't get it all on camera!

One of the activities that we have begun is weekly mommy/daughter or daddy/daughter dates. Mini Diva loves these especially since we are cooped up at the house while Daddy is at work during the day. Our adventure this week was to the pet store where we had a marvelous time counting fish, petting dogs, and looking for the hiding hamsters.

Monsters was also a popular topic this week. She has loved talking about Monsters every since Halloween and watching Monster's Inc. We had a monster breakfast:

And her favorite towel of the week was the monster as well! Pretend playing is fast becoming one of her favorite activities and this towel is perfect for such fun.

As Mini Diva gets older, she is becoming more and more of a help around the house. She helped me take down her Nana's Christmas tree. It was a fun activity to serve as well as sort the different ornaments and flowers into the matching piles. She did quite well and was a happy helper.

Mrs. Potato Head or "Potato Baby" as Mini Diva likes to call her was still a hit this week. Fantastic since it is a toy I have had since my teens! Who knew she would love it so much? She found a new and fun use for Potato Baby's tongue. Looks like it found its way to Mini Dude.

Valentines Day was also central to many of our activities. I printed off lots of the Tot School activities and hope to get to them all. She really enjoyed learning this scripture even more than I thought she would. She would repeat the scripture title and the new word that we added on each day. I think we will do this more often and continue it.

Mini Diva also made a Valentines Box and Valentines for her cousins. It was fun for me to ask her the reasons why she loved her cousins so that we could write it on the card. Very insightful for a two year old!

All in all - a very fun week! Looking forward to more heart and Olympic activities this week.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week will be a fun baking week. I haven't done too good at following a menu plan, but we are FINALLY over all our colds and I am ready to jump in 100 percent. Especially excited to make our own bread. I went to an Enrichment night and was introduced to a yummy, yummy recipe. After a trip to our local Good Earth, I now have gluten and I am ready to experiment. I'll let you know the results.

My favorite item that I am going to try - the Cinnamon Rolls that are rumored to be just like Cinnabon. We shall see!

1. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls and Oranges
2. Blueberry Crumb Muffins and Scrambled Eggs
3. Strawberry Crisp
4. Tote in Hole and fruit
5. Pancakes
6. Oatmeal and Smoothies
7. Banana Bread

1. Hard Boiled Eggs, Toast, Fruit
2. Burritos
3. Grilled Cheese and Carrots
4. Quesadillas and Broccoli
5. Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
6. Leftovers
7. Leftovers

1. Spaghetti and Quinoa Meatballs
2. Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole
3. BBQ Chicken with Bacon Potato Salad
4. Mini Skillet Meat Loaves
5. Asian Pork Tenderloin with Rice and Broccoli
6. Black Bean Quesadillas and Vegetables
7. Engagement dinner with friends

To Try:
Rice Cream
Home made Graham Crackers

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Giveaway Saturday!

Slave to Save is always hosting great mommy/baby giveaways.
This week you can enter to win a
Bravado Nursing Bra.
Bumbo from CSN

Easy Whole Wheat Pancakes,164,150175-242196,00.html

Recently we were given some ground whole wheat and we have been looking for yummy ways to use it. My husband came across a fairly simply, yet still tasty recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes that our two year old especially loved. We made some minor changes and came up with this:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. 1 % milk (depending on how thick you like your pancakes
1 tsp. baking powder
1 eggs
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp honey

Mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs well. Add milk, oil,eggs, and honey to dry ingredients. Mix well. Make sure that the honey is especially mixed well.

This recipe is halved from the web-site. It was perfect for two adults and a two year old. The honey addition was our idea. Next time, we may try some applesauce instead of oil.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 3 & 4 Decluttering!

I am a big fan of the Flylady. She says that you can do anything for 15 minutes. With two young children (2.5 and .5), those are about the largest increments of time that I ever have available. Here are some of the things I got done today.

1. Garbage - Emptied all the garbages in the house. Two and a half bags and a box later - much better! No more tissues, diapers, scraps of paper. Relief!
2. Floors - It's amazing how much vacuuming you can get done in 15 minutes. I got to some of the edges that have been needing it.
3. Decluttering! - I sorted through all the toys, baby gear, etc. on the floor to see what really needed to stay in the room, what could go to storage, and what needed to be put away back in their bedrooms.

Now I need to edit, because about 2 pm I remembered that I may be having visitors at 4 pm. Nothing like a crisis clean. I put the kiddos down for the nap and really dug into the main living area. It looks so much better! Still decluttering to do and organizing to do, but it was nice to really focus and get a bunch done. I feel like I have a cleaner slate to start with.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

28 Day Challenge - Day 2 - The Plan

I'm jumping into the deep end of Organizing Junkie's 28 Day Challenge! My main room of focus is our primary living area -the kitchen/living room/dining room. It is all one big room and in it's current state - feels cluttered and is not living up to its potential. I'll also be tackling smaller challenges such as parts of our master bedroom, the kids, closets, etc. But for today, I'm starting the planning process for the main living area by answering the following questions:

1. What do I want the purpose of my room or area to be?

I would like the room to be warm, welcoming, and wide open! WWW=winner! When someone comes in the front room, I want them to feel right at home and want to stay awhile. That is what I envision the overall feeling of the room to be. The purpose of the room needs to include cohesive areas that take care of the following tasks: eating, entertaining, playing, working, and storing. It's a tall order, but I'm ready to take it on in 15 minute bites!

2. What do I need in or near the room to serve that purpose?

I need storage solutions for the children's toys, a garbage/recycling area, a functioning work desk with the needed tools

3. What can I remove from the room?

Lots of things! Sending the stroller to the garage. Reorganizing the kiddos toys. Some to storage, some to their bedroom. Since we are in an apartment, I am putting some of our books into storage, too. We'll see what else doesn't make the purge! I plan on asking myself, "Do I love it? Do I use it?"

4. What problems do I see with the room?

Too much stuff! There isn't a good flow to the room or a definite design.

5. What organizational tools might solve those problems?

I would love to get a bench to act as a launch zone for my family. This is where I would put the car seat. I would put baskets underneath for things that needed to go out or with me. It would also be a cute place for my kiddos to watch for daddy to come home.

6. What habits need to change to solve the organizational problems?

For starters, the toys cannot take over. I'm working with Mini Diva on picking up things as we are done with them. Also, in the kitchen area, I would like to take at least 15 minute after every meal to clean up.

7. What kind of a budget do I have to create the organized room of my dreams?

Still working on the budget with Dude.

8. What kind of a timeline is necessary to organize the room? (28 days!)

9. What is my plan of action?

Clean, clean, clean! Like Flylady says, you can't organize clutter! I am taking an honest look at the items and getting rid of everything we don't need. I'll post an exact timeline soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

28 Day Organizing Challenge

Life happens. Especially life with a 2 year old and a six month old. Between the holidays, several rounds of colds, and just plain day to day living - I am sad to say that our home became quite a bit cluttered. Last year, my husband and I were tempted to buy a house, but decided to make due with where we were at for a bit longer. In order to stay where we are at - major decluttering is definitely in order. For this challenge, I am going to do our living room/kitchen combo for the whole room. We have definite organization issues in this room which is our main living area and where we spend most of our time. There need to be defined areas for playing, working, eating, entertaining, storing, to name a few. I am excited to break down this room bit by bit until I love every inch of it. I am ready!

Here is a little taste of one of our areas in need of help - YIKES!

Check out what other people are organizing at

Let the organizing begin!

Tot Week -

This week was pretty quiet. We stayed in from the cold and settled back into some normal routines. This is what we got accomplished this week:

Lil Diva had her first trip to the dentist. No cavities - everything looked great! She went with her daddy and, big surprise, she loved it! The dentist let her ride up and down on the chair. The hygienist showed her how all the tools worked. She has told me many times since then that she wanted to go back. I am so glad that it was a good experience!

Sometimes Mini Diva likes to be swaddles up like her little brother.

I tried to make Cook and Serve pudding for the Mini Diva to practice her letters in. Unfortunately, I was making baby food at the same time and it got a bit too lumpy. Luckily, she did not mind. She was more interested in mixing with a spoon than doing letters. She has really been into helping make meals lately.

The little smartie decided to build a cave for herself and Mini Dude. She put one of her blankets over the top of his activity center. They had a lot of fun underneath.

And nap time .... one of my favorite times of the day.

This week we also worked on numbers. I bought a darling sticker book at the bookstore. Mini Diva did a good job at putting the right amount of objects next to each number.