Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday December 10-16

The flu has invaded my little world (church and work) and I'm trying my absolute best to avoid it.  Unfortunately SOMETHING has got me DoWn :(  I'm hoping that it is NOT the flu!!  I am a little worried though,  fever, chills, aching, headache, cough, and congestion...............UGH!!!  But, enough whining!!!

This also puts a big damper on all my plans for the week.  It does NOT pay to be a procrastinator!!  I have so much to do this week; baking, shopping, wrapping, laundry,  packing, shipping, crafting, and of course working!!!  I'm fairly sure it will not get ALL done!!

So once again, this week's menu is super simple:

MONDAY - hot dogs, grandma's hot dog sauce, mac n cheese, and green beans

TUESDAY - hamburgers and homemade fries

WEDNESDAY - chicken gravy biscuits, mashed potatoes, corn, and peas

THURSDAY - taco night

FRIDAY - ravioli and garlic bread

SATURDAY - Out to eat

SUNDAY - Pizza at church (The kiddos will be spending the day at church preparing for the Christmas program)

Again I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie.  Head on over and find some more recipes and menu ideas.

Only 14 more days shopping days til Christmas!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorite Thing Friday

This week's Favorite Thing Friday has a theme: favorite Christmas ornament or decoration.

So,  I'm going to share two.

The first one is our Christmas Tree.  It's not the actual tree I love,  but all the special ornaments on it.  Since I got married,  my Grandma has given us an ornament every year for Chrsitmas.  They are all on there.  Plus,  there are the handmade ornaments from the kiddos.  I may have to get a fatter tree in the future.  Here is just a sample:

The one I should have put first is our nativity set.  I put one out EVERY year.  I've had this one for a long time.  It's been through many children and pets and unfortunately it shows.  I would love to get a larger one and keep this one down for the kiddos.  It usually sits under our tree,  but with the new kittens and little fingers this year,  it's up on a shelf.
I know you can't tell in the picture,  but the poor cow is missing an ear as is the donkey and lamb.  One of the wings on the angel is chipped as well.  Maybe a new one next year?

I'm linking up to Favorite Thing Friday this week over at Sippy Cup Chronicles, go check them out!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Christmas Card Photos

Hard to believe another year has passed and it's time for the "painful" Christmas card photo session.

Why "painful" you ask? Well,  first there is the outfit coordination (which this year, isn't so great).  Then, just getting them all ready takes ALL day and I just hope no one gets "messed up".  Finally,  my children are NOT camera bugs.  The actual idea of pictures makes them turn and run!!!

Obviously,  that would make you think I would start early,  right?  WRONG!!  I am a procrastinator to the core.  I keep telling myself I'll do better next year,  but the same cycle rolls around and here we are.

This year,  we did the standard Christmas tree photo, then took it outside to a covered bridge not terribly far from our house.  I'd been wanting to get some pics of the kids there and this was as good a time as any.

So, without further ado:

Not too bad.  Turns out I got a couple of good ones to put on the cards.

Until next year...............................................................................................................

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday December 3-9

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..........Well,  not weather wise.  It's another beautiful day here in the south and the rest of the week looks pretty promising.  I must admit,  it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit without the colder weather.  A few snow flakes wouldn't upset me either!!

I've finally got our house starting to look a little like Christmas.  The tree is up and the girls did a super job decorating it.

I've also done a pretty good job not moving any ornaments (well, except the ones baby Samuel takes off and I "put back").  

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!!  Well,  we don't have a fireplace,  so they are on the wall, but they are waiting to be filled.

Elvin the Elf has arrived to watch over the children and report whether they are naughty or nice (I'm guessing naughty).

I still have so much to do, but it's a start.  This week  is looking to be just as busy: school,  work, and Christmas prep.  That means easy prep meals since Mr Helper will be assisting in the kitchen.

MONDAY - Whole Chicken in the Crock pot, green beans, carrots, and corn

TUESDAY - Chicken gravy biscuits and mashed potatoes

WEDNESDAY - Chicken noodle soup (in the crock pot)

THURSDAY - Potato soup and grilled cheese

FRIDAY - Pizza

SATURDAY - hamburgers, homemade fries, and mac n cheese

SUNDAY - Spaghetti n meatballs, garlic bread

I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie.  Head on over to get some more meal planning ideas.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bread

A new take on an old favorite.  Well, new to  me anyway.  I'll have to be honest here and admit I've never actually made snickerdoodle cookies,  but I do enjoy eating them.  This recipe is quite delicious as well.  Being that it is Christmas,  they would also make a yummy gift for a teacher, neighbor,  pastor,  boss,  friend,  or anyone!!  

Here's what you need:
      2 1/2 cup flour
      1 tsp. baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      2 tsp cinnamon
      1 cup butter (softened)
      2 cups sugar
      3 eggs
      1 tsp vanilla
      3/4 cup sour cream
      1 pkg Hershey's cinnamon chips
      3 TB sugar
      3 tsp cinnamon

1. Cream butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until fluffy.
2. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.
4. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix until all combined.
5. Add cinnamon chips and stir into batter. Set aside.
6. Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans until about 2/3 full.
7. Mix 3 T sugar and 3t cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the batter in each loaf pan.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.

In all honesty,  I completely forgot the last step and didn't put the extra cinnamon and sugar on top,  but no one complained.  They were still good. 

Put one in a cellophane Christmas gift bag, add some ribbon, a handmade name tag, and cheerfully give!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving

In the land of facebook,  many people were posting each day what they are thankful for.  I'm going to do it all right here,  because I knew I would forget and miss many days.  So, here's my list:

     1.  First of all,  I'm thankful for my salvation.  My relationship with Christ gives me love, hope, peace, and so much more.

     2.  My highschool sweetheart, my hubby.  I don't know what I'd do without him.

     3.  My 6 beautiful children, they are a handful,  but I love them.

     4.  Caring, Godly parents, both mine and hubby's!!

     5.  Our home - it's not big and fancy, but it is just what we need.

     6.  Our jobs - I'm so glad I can honestly be thankful for my job.  This year the Lord provided a new position in which I have better hours and less stress.

     7.  Our vehicles - I know this one sounds superficial,  but with 6 kids, transportation can get rather tricky.  We have been blessed with 2 full sized vans, one of which is all wheel drive so we can visit family in the winter.

     8.  Our church - Thankful for a place I can freely go and worship with like believers.

     9.  My country - The greatest on Earth, still!!  Even with everything going on right now,  there is no place else I'd rather be.

     10.  My dear friends - you know who you are!  I love that even though we no longer live close by, anytime I call,  they listen! They also know the same is reversed!!

     11.  Freedom -  I'm thankful for the freedoms we are given.  I fear we are letting them go one by one without even being aware what is happening.

     12.  I'm thankful for always having food in our cabinets.  We may not be eating steaks very often,  but we have NEVER went hungry.

     13.  Another odd one,  but I'm thankful for telephones and internet.  They allow me to keep in touch with family and friends I don't get to see often.

     14.  I'm thankful for my Bible.  I'm thankful for the guidance it provides.

     15.  Prayer - for the ability to go directly to my Saviour with my needs, and for knowing that there are others praying for me as I pray for them.

     16.  My washer and dryer - again,  it seems silly,  but doing laundry for 8 people, I'm VERY thankful for my washer and dryer!!!

     17.  Running water and electricity - My dad recently went 2 full weeks without power.  He did have a generator so not all was lost,  but I'm so thankful that my lights turn on when I flip the switch and for knowing that even when the power is out,  it should eventually come back on.

     18.  The freedom to home school - People often ask why I have chosen this and I have many reasons,  but one main one is it allows me MORE time with my children.  They grow up so fast.

     19.  Family - There are many and we don't always agree,  but they are the family God has given me and I love them all.

     20.  Thankful for God's Protection - every day that I get in my car, watch my children doing crazy things,  or some of the crazy things I've done myself,  I know that our guardian angels are working overtime.

     21.  Hope - another odd one,  but I'm thankful that my outlook on life is generally positive.  I know that no matter what,  my life is in God's hands.  I know that one day I'll see my mom and others that have passed on again.  Being a nurse,  I see a lot of people without hope and in such a sad state, that I'm just thankful for my hope!!

     22.  Our timeshare - I'm thankful that every other year,  we are able to get away as a family and enjoy ourselves, leaving the cares of daily life behind.  If it weren't for our timeshare,  I know we would not be able to have this luxury!!

     23.  Quiet time - Since I have 6 NOISY children in my house,  I am VERY thankful for the quiet moments.

     24.  Family time - I'm thankful I'm married to a man that enjoys time with his children and makes an effort to be with them.

     25.  Memories - I'm thankful that even when people are absent from this life,  there are so many memories recorded of their time with me:  pictures,  movies,  letters, little things passed on, etc......

     26.  God's timing - I'm always amazed how things work out.  God always knows what is best for us and just when we need things.

     27.  Love - I'm thankful for God's love for me, which allows me to love others.

     28. Dishwashers - Yep,  my dishwasher runs 2-3 times a day and if I had to handwash all those,  I'd be forever in my kitchen!!!

     29. Learned lessons -  I'm thankful for all the things I learned growing up and for the ability to learn from experiences every day. Sometimes those lessons are hard,  and it takes a little longer to sink into this hard head,  but lessons learned none the less!!!

     30.  Finally,  since we are now entering the Christmas holiday,  I'm thankful for God's son being born an earthly man and paying the ultimate price for MY sins allowing me to have hope for my future,  my children's futures, my family's futures and all those that receive His gift of salvation.  The knowledge that I will someday leave this world and live with Christ in Heaven is hope above all else.  There'll be no sorrow there,  no more burdens to bare,  no more sickness, no pain,  no more parting over there.  And forever I will be with the One who died for me,  What a day,  glorious day that will be!!!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  God bless!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday Nov 19 - 25

Thanksgiving week is here!  Where has this year gone?  So much to do, so little time.  It is always so hectic from now until after Christmas.

Oh well,  prepared for another busy week.  Thanksgiving dinner will just be me, hubby, and the kiddos, but I still fix a feast.  That means the other days will be very easy meals.

Here's the plan:

MONDAY - potato soup

TUESDAY - steak n gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans

WEDNESDAY - homemade pizza


FRIDAY - leftovers

SATURDAY - Turkey noodle soup

SUNDAY - spaghetti and meatballs

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Week.  Head on over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Japanese Steakhouse Hibachi Chicken and Steak with Fried Rice

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Japanese Steakhouse.  I have to admit though when hubby first took me,  I was skeptical.  I didn't like trying new things.  That was MANY years ago, now it's a FAV!!!

Problem is,  it's so expensive to take our family there.  Who are we kidding,  it's expensive to take my family anywhere!!!  So,  I've learned to make a version at home.  I realize it doesn't taste exactly the same,  but it's pretty close.  Now,  if I could just find a white sauce recipe??  ANYONE????

Obviously I don't have a hibachi grill in my home,  but wouldn't that be nice??  So,  I have to make things in batches and then combine.  One warning though,  this is not a meal you can prep and leave to cook.  You will be standing over the stove while the food is cooking.  It will at times seem like you don't have enough hands.

First thing I do is put the rice in the rice cooker.  You can prepare your rice however you normally would.

I use three skillets: one for the veggies,  one for the meat,  and one for the rice.

Cut up your veggies, I use 3 medium zucchinis and 1 onion (occasionally mushrooms too).

In two of the skillets,  warm 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter on medium heat.  Once warm,  throw the veggies in one and give them a stir occasionally.  Add 1 tbsp soy sauce during cook time.

The other skillet is for the meat.  You can do all chicken,  all steak,  all shrimp, or any combo.  I've done them all.  I marinate the meat in Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze sauce for a couple hours.    Then,  throw it in the skillet and start throwing knives around like they do in the Japanese Steakhouse.  Just kidding.  If you are concerned about not having enough hands,  I recommend cutting the meat up before cooking.  Otherwise,  cut it as it cooks like they do in the restaurants.

By the time you get all that done,  your rice should be ready.  Simply set aside your veggies and meat and get ready for the fun and messiest part.

In the third and largest skillet,  heat 1 tbsp oil,  2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  I do three cups dry rice in my rice cooker.  I'm not exactly sure how much that is cooked,  but it's a lot!!   Once the butter and oil are hot,  scramble an egg in the skillet ( I did two this time because I made so much rice).

Once the egg is done,  add in the rice and desired amount of soy sauce.  I NEVER measure this!!  Start with a small amount and add until you get the desired taste.  You can add carrots and peas to the rice here if you like (my kiddos don't like).

Once it's all finished cooking,  you can serve it individually like the steakhouse,  or combine it all together in one bowl, which is what we do.  Either way,  it tastes great and I get my Japanese Steakhouse fix without cleaning out hubby's wallet.
YUMMY!!  Now,  if anyone out there has a fabulous white sauce recipe you'd like to share,  this would be near perfect!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Two Kids + Five Shots = Lots of Tears

You would think after 6 kids I would know better.  Evidently NOT!!  I scheduled my 4 year old and 18 month old well visits for the same time/same day.  When I did,  I didn't even have vaccinations on my mind,  just one less trip.

I do really like our pediatrician.  All the nurses are great and most of the doctors.  There is this one,  but that's another post (I just request not to see him).  They are pretty good about getting you in and out in a reasonable time.  There's nothing worse than spending half a day WAITING to see a doctor.

So,  things are going well UNTIL,  the nurse brings in the trays with the syringes.  Mini-Me, of course having made enough trips with me to know what that was, immediately went into hiding.

Poor baby Samuel, not expecting the needles again was blissfully happy for a short time.  I mean the doctor was done probing and he was sitting on a big table all by himself.

Before it was all done,  there was a lot of crying, many tears, and a lot of hugging going around.  I finally got them both dressed again and I assure you they were ready to get out of there!

They had their prizes in hand from the nurses and my promise to get them sour candies after IF they were good.  And by good I mean Mini-Me sat up there like a big girl and got her 3 (count them three) shots in her arms.  All considering,  it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  Being a nurse myself,  I've seen worse behavior from ADULTS!!  However,  I should not schedule two kids to get shots on the same day again.  That doesn't mean I won't though,  cause I'm always trying to condense trips and appointments.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday Nov 12 - Nov 18

Time to get back to the plan.  Last week we were in WV for the first part of the week.  My dad and grandma were still without power after Hurricane Sandy dumped about 18 inches of snow on them.  As a matter of fact,  they didn't get power back until just this past Saturday evening I believe.  That's almost 2 full weeks of no power!!  I wish I had my camera with me and ready as we were driving from my dad's house to my grandma's.  The roads were just littered with tree branches, electric poles, electric lines, and even a couple transformers.  It was a mess!!  Glad it's starting to get back to normal for them.

As for us,  we need to get back into the swing of things.  That means back to school,  back to work,  and back to plans and schedules to keep everything running semi-smoothly!!  I'm also trying to get things winter cleaned in prep for the holidays.  That means extra work for me and the kiddos.  I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week and then Christmas is just around the corner.  UGH!!!!

Here's this week's plan:

MONDAY - Crock pot Angel chicken with pasta

TUESDAY - Vegetable Soup

WEDNESDAY - Whole Chicken in a Crockpot, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and rolls

THURSDAY - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

FRIDAY - Hibachi steak and chicken with rice made at home (recipe next week)

SATURDAY - CAROLINA YOUTH RALLY, we'll be eating out

SUNDAY - Crock Pot Lasagna, Garlic Parmesan Bread

For more meal ideas for your family,  visit Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkine.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

While I am NOT a big pumpkin fan,  I have been doing a little experimenting.  After all,  it's that time of year.  I found this recipe on a Paleo site while I was looking for some other recipes and thought we'd give it a try.  Turns out they were pretty good and good for you.  Can't beat that!!

Here's what you need:
         1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie in a can)
         1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
         1/2 cup honey
         1 tsp vanilla
         1 cup almond meal/flour (this was the hardest part,  I had a hard time finding this AND it's a bit expensive)
         1 tsp ground cinnamon
         1/4 tsp baking soda
         1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
         1/2 cup walnuts, or pecans, or whatever you'd like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all wet ingredients together then add the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.  Scoop batter to whatever size you'd like and flatten out to the desired thickness since these do not spread on their own.  Bake approximately 10-15 minutes (mine took the full 15 minutes), according to thickness.  Remove from baking sheet 2 minutes after cooling and transfer to cooling wrack.  Chill them in the fridge and then eat.  These are not the "better when warm" type cookies.  While they are good warm,  they are better from the fridge!!  Believe me.

Halloween 2012 A Little Late

This year I had 3 princesses and a Tigger!!  Amazingly enough,  I was able to take them to a trunk or treat and still get home, get everyone ready,  and make it to church.  Not going to get into a great debate about that one,  I've heard enough.  I'll just let the pictures show you how cute they were and how much fun we had.

 The way to trick or treat,  get yourself a ride!!

 Patiently waiting in line and entertaining Tigger.  He would have rather been bouncing around (like Tigger's do).

 Pocahontas stopping to pose.

 Candy's all gathered, time for a picture!!

 So cute!!

 Beautiful Pocahontas and Jasmine!!


What fun we had.  We have candy to last us through this weekend at least, LOL!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hawaiian Sweet Bread

I love, love, love the Kings Hawaiian sweet rolls, so when I found this recipe online for a bread machine,  I had to give it a try.  It turned out really well.  Hubby said it was better than my usual bread recipe,  and as usual,  there were no left overs.

Here's what you need:
        3/4 cup pineapple juice
        1 egg
        2 tablespoons vegetable oil
        2 1/2 tablespoons honey
        3/4 teaspoon salt
        3 cups bread flour
        2 tablespoons dry milk
        2 teaspoons fast rising yeast or 2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine.  My machine calls for the wet ingredients first then add the dry.
I used the sweet cycle on my machine,  but the recipe said you could use white or sweet.  I also changed it to light crust. 

In 2 hours 50 minutes,  I had a delicious loaf of sweet bread.

This is definitely a recipe that will be repeated in our household.  Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan October 29 - November 4

Football is over :(  They had a great first season!!  They ended up second in their conference, not too bad.  I would have loved to see them win,  but there's always next year.

It's kind of a bittersweet moment.  I know my boys love to play and I sure do enjoy watching them and cheering them on,  but I'm also looking forward to a slower week.  I'm pretty sure hubby is going to enjoy not having to run somewhere EVERY night of the week.

Nice looking group of boys. 

Let's get this week started.  Fortunately,  we are not in the path of Hurricane Sandy here in the south,  but my thoughts are with my family, friends, and everyone having to brace for the storm.  We will be praying for them.  

Since the temperatures are trending down,  I've put a couple days of soup and sandwiches on the menu.  Here's what this week looks like:

Monday - Potato soup and grilled cheese

Tuesday - Baked chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet bread (recipe later this week)

Wednesday - spaghetti and meatballs, garlic parmesan bread

Thursday - homemade pizza

Friday -  vegetable soup and homemade bread

Saturday - Out to eat

Sunday - Dinner at pappy's house (hopefully)

Head on over to Menu  Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie and check out some other menu ideas.  Hope everyone has a blessed week.   

Friday, October 26, 2012

Easy Apple Pie

I'm just going to be honest here,  my apple pies at the holidays were Marie Callender's Dutch Apple Pies.

Pies are just one of my "fears".  I grew up eating probably the best pies around made by my grandma,  but mine were never even close.  It's one of those things I've just NEVER gotten right,  so I quite trying.

I still haven't mastered the crust (I still cheat there),  but I am working on them.  Since hubby is such a sport and pretty much eats ANYTHING I fix,  I'll just keep experimenting:)

Here's an easy apple pie filling I found and it turned out great.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

The crust I used is a package of Pillsbury 9 in. pie crusts.  You simply unroll one and put it in your ungreased pie pan,  how easy is that??  I'm still going to work on a homemade one though!!

For the filling:

     8 small baking apples peeled and thinly sliced (I used granny smith)
     3/4 cup sugar
     2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
     3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
     1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large bowl,  gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate.  Top with second crust.  Wrap the excess top crust under bottom crust edge,  pressing edges together to seal; flute the edges (I also need some work here,  mine wasn't so pretty).  Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.  Cover edge of crust with 2 to 3 inch wide strips of foil after first 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.
Cool on cooling rack for at least 2 hours before serving.  Serve with some whip cream or ice cream and enjoy.

I'm going to practice on a couple more before Thanksgiving.  Maybe I'll have them perfected by them.  Doubtful!!!

Still,  other than the looks,  it tasted GREAT!!!  The recipe is a keeper,  the presentation needs a little work!!