Thursday, January 27

Five Fun Family Friendly Foods

As much as I love to bake, cook, & creat in the kitchen; there are days when I just don't have time. Since it takes me a little longer to measure & chop, I like to have a few super simple "throw-together" recipes on hand.
Here is a list of my faves. They are easy to make, store well, & they're easy on the pocketbook.

1. Kids love spaghetti:

Keep some noodles & a can or 2 of sauce, boil & drain the noodles, pour the sauce over & stir over medium heat to warm, you can even sprinkle some parmesan or mozarella chese over it. & who says you need those long noodles, try some stars, macaroni, shells, or any other pasta you can find. Get creative.
2. Soup & sandwich:

A can of tomato or vegetable soup accompanied by a grilled chese or ham/turkey sandwich makes a perfict meal & it's easy too. Kids can even put their sandwich together if it's a cold one. Heat the soup in a pan & ta-da! This is so easy. For a fancier touch, use mini bagles to make the sandwiches.

Note: To reduce the saltyness of condensed soup, drain the liquid & add the can of water as usual.
3. PB&J:

As a child my favorite lunch was a PB&J (peanut butter & Jelly) sandwich & a glass of milk. Don't like Jelly? try honey or apple butter instead. Kids can spread these using a spoon or butterknife & you can even use cookie cutters to make shapes if crusts are a problem or even just to be "fancy".
4. English muffin Pizza:

These can be made ahead or have fun with the kids while they create their own. English muffins, sauce & chese are the base of this meal. You can add any toppings you want; from pepperoni & olives, to roasted tomato & mushrooms. The possibilities are indless. Bake them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees & serve them warm.
Note: I love this for play dates because it pulls the group together & if I line the baking sheets with foil cleanup is a snap.
5. Chicken bites & fries:

I love how easy this is to make & the kids love to help . I cut boneless skinless chicken breast in to 1 inch cubes, roll them in egg, then put them in a bag of crushed potato chips (our favorite is BBQ), once they're coated, put them on a foil lined baking sheet & bake at 375 until golden brown about 20 minutes. The kids love to crush the chips, & shake the rolled top bag to coat the pieces.
To make the fries, cut 6 clean unpealed russet or sweet potatos length wise to create 1/4 inch wide sticks, coat them in a mixture of 1/4cup oil, 1tsp garlic-salt, & pepper. Arange in a layer on a lined baking sheet; Bake at 450 for 30 minutes until golden brown,
Note: While this can take more time to prepare, the fries can be cut & seasoned (omitting the oil) & frozen to have on hand for a later time. If using sweet potatoes use 1/2 tsp salt instead.

Serving these with some fresh fruit, carott or celery sticks, or some apple sauce adds a yummy extra bit of neutrition to these easy fun & healthy meals.
What easy recipes do you like to keep on hand? I'd love to hear your responses, please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, January 26

Chores & Fun Go Hand-In-Hand

We all have house work, that needs to be done. But, who ever said we had to do it all alone?
Not this mama that's for sure. lol If I'm gonna have the mess of 3 cherubs I'm gonna have the help of  3 cherubs too.
By making a game of it all.
here are some ideas to help you & your cherubs get started.
Before playing, Create a check list of cleaning tasks for each room in the house.
Post this on the back of the door or in a place that is out of sight but can be accessed easily; such as inside the pantry or cupboard door.
Get the kids involved in this process by having older children write the list, younger children draw & little ones color the pictures,   then place the list so it can easily be seen by all who need to se it.
Kids just have this thing for seeing things they made. If you're like me & need to braille a list, use label tape under their written words, or post your list above the kid's list.
It's a good Idea to have their lists laminated so they last longer & when you don't need them anymore, you can save them.


1.  Scavinger Hunt:
a. Hide clues in the last place each check list leads to. (IE: if the last place in the bathroom is putting the toothpaste in the holder, leave a small sticky note with the clue there for the kids to find.)
b. Have each clue lead to the next room, & in the last room place a small surprise; such as stickers, or a snack.
Additional ideas: Have children write a list of favorites & earn tokens tward things on that list, Have the clues lead to the front door for a trip to the park or icecream shop etc.

2. Relay Race of Chores:
a. Have each child choose a task from the check list for that room, (see above)
b. Upon completion of that task each child passes a simple object (such as a baton, bracelet, small sign, etc) to the next child. until all tasks are complete
c. reward the "team" for a job well done.

These games not only get the house work done, but teach reading, teamwork, and independent living skills. The best thing with out a doubt is that you & your babies will have fun doing it all.
So, whether it's everyday household chores, or a big cleaning day; let those little hands take some pride in helping mommy&Daddy make home a cleaner place.
I hope these ideas help you as much as they have helped me.
Make it a great day!

Monday, January 24

A Message from God - while cleaning out a deep-freezer

Today was the _stinkiest day I've had in a loooong, time.
Because I spent the better part of my afternoon cleaning out a deep-freezer.
A few weeks ago, my son came in from the garage where I had sent him to retrieve a bucket of cookie dough. "Mom the fridge stinks!" he said holding his noes.
Upon investigation of this "stink" I found that my inlaws had disconnected my freezer. (gee thanks.) so the food, (3 trashbags full, as we would find out later) had all spoiled.Needless to say, nither one of us was looking forward to cleaning that out.
Lesson #1. Procrastination only makes things worse.
My brother inlaw (who has been nothing but kind through all this) reconnected the unit. But, that only refroze the now bad food. (yuck!)
Lesson #2. Lazy people work harder.
When we finally decided to tackle the problem, the smell was as expected, not pleseant but still barable. Problem was, we couldn't take anything out since it had all frozen solid. (Eeeeewww!)
So we had to leave it to defrost overnight. After running out of excuses, my husband & I looked at each other & went out to the garage, opened the freezer to find the smell had increased significantly. We held our breath & got to work.
Lesson #3. it's me & hubby against the world. Or, noone will care for your things the way you do.
We spent 2hours defrosting, tossing out food, & sopping up water from the bottom of the unit. (ug!) but in reaching down to the bottom to pull up slimy packets, I bruised my rib cage, & pulled a muscle in my arm. I had to throw out 3 trashbags of food that otherwise could have been eaten.
Lesson#4. Who I was meant to be.
Sometimes God will put us in a place we _hate for our own good. This is 1 of those times. I've lived in a hous we share with my inlaws for 3 years. It's finally coming to an end. Although I have learned lots during this time. I saw all this food go to waste, (we paid $2600 at the time) I thought about all the fights & arguments, All in a moment of reaching for another defrosted packet; & then I thought about how I used to be. Outspoken, strong, sassy, &... then ... it hit me. That's how God wanted me to be. Stand up for me&mine, be loving but strict, & most of all not a push over like I had been for the past few years.
So, here's my challange to you & me. Be you, if you don't like something make it known, stand for what you believe in, & know that God is on your side. Live, Love, & Light the way for your children so that they will gro to do the same.
Don't let yourself be belittled like I did. Stand tall & strong.
Make it a grate day!

my forgotten blog & what I've learned

Today I had to laugh. I found my blog again. I had lost it in may of last year, started another, only to find that _nothing I had written over the past 10 yes 10 months had posted live, start another to find that I couldn't download the client to use it, (can we say arg?) & then.. so, here I am looking through someone's posts, & it occurs to me that I had a blog on here too.
What I've learned is, how to tweet, how to facebook, & most of all how to find my way back to my long lost blog. I think I'd better keep better track of my info. lol oh well, you know what my modow is,
"experience is the best teacher, even if it means making mistakes" - author unknown.
Note: I hate to find a blog I love, only to see that the last post was _um 10 months ago.