Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

A little late as usual. . .and no post from last week. Things just get busy. . .and lazy. It's summer. Loving it!

And it is crazy hot, so some meals just need to be simple to reduce the use of hot cooking things in the house! Thank goodness for barbecues and easy meals!

This week:

Monday-Hamburgers, carrot sticks

Tuesday- Campbell's Chicken Alfredo, cut veggies

Wednesday- Salmon Strudels (from an old MPM post) or Pizza buns, salad

Thursday (CP)-Chicken Wraps

Friday- left-overs or out or grilling something. . .company may be coming. . .

Saturday's Snack-ice cream cone cupcakes

Sunday-? not sure. . .maybe hot dog BBQ at the local park

For Saturday's Snack. . .Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. I made these ages ago. Pretty much a cupcake in an ice cream cone, and decorated to make it look like ice cream. I wanted to make them again for Princess A's birthday, but the party got kinda cancelled and moved around because of sick kids, and then doing plain cupcakes was just easier! I used this recipe--pretty much baking a cupcake into a cone. Beware, because the cones get brittle and can burn-ish, especially the no-name deals. But as I was searching for the recipe I used, I found this Betty Crocker one, where you bake the cupcake, stuff it in the cone, and then decorate. Looks easy and less prone to problems. A good idea to try anyway.
(Photo from delicious.blogspot.com)
Yep, pretty boring week, but it's summer. We can eat ice cream if we are still hungry. ;)
For more MPM, see www.orgjunkie.com

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Reading Reviews

Well, we have joined the local summer reading club at our library. We being the kiddos. (As if I have time to read!!! Maybe in the future I can give it a try!) We read daily anyway, and being a teacher, I have quite the collection of books here at home, but this does force me to go to the Library each week and gives the kids the opportunity to pick out books and a video of their own choosing. (Okay, I admit, I jump right in there and offer my own suggestions to them as well! I love children's books!)

I did the summer reading club last year with E, and he thought it was great to collect the stickers and find the poster of the "frog" around the library. This year E and Princess A are doing it, only difference being the search is not for a frog to find this year, its a little guy. They are loving it. (The power of being able to put a sticker on a fancy paper for children! I love it!)

So. . .just to do something with it. . .I thought I would offer my {humble} opinion of some of the selections our family has chosen. I'm going to try to review two a week, but as you can see, I'm already quite behind! But here goes a try!

Weeks of July 12-23

Billy & Milly, Short & Silly by Eve Feldman and illustrated by Tuesday Mourning (hee-hee--isn't that cute? We did not read it on a Tuesday morning. . .that was our Library day!)

This is an amazing book--one that would be appreciated more by kids older than pre-school, but was still quite interesting to my 5 yr old. It is a bunch of "short word stories" that rhyme. This book relies heavily on the photos to help tell the story, and teaches synonyms. An example of our own short word story is "tree, me, flee!" The pictures would show a tree, me standing my a tree, the tree getting cut down, me running away before it falls down on me. Get it? I found E asking many times, "What does mean?" So hopefully his knowledge of words/vocabulary is expanded because of reading this book. :) We tried to make up some ideas for stories on our own, but that was too hard at this age, but it would be a great way for a teacher to use the book!

*A good book to teach vocabulary for younger grades or ESL.

Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! by Tony Mitton and Lynne Chapman

This book is great fun--a rhyming information book about dinosaurs! E is totally into dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures right now, so this book was an easy find for him. Lots of information packed into the pages (about 6 lines per page?) The other cool thing about this book is that it has fold out pages that show/ talk about different traits about dinosaurs--for example: one page showed a dinosaur (an apatosaurus?) eating low, and then if you fold the page out, it shows how high it can stretch its neck. Pretty neat, huh? And all kids love fold out pages. (Thank goodness our kids are beyond the breaking books phase, otherwise, this would be hands-off for them!)

Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! by Barbara Park

What a cute book! I met a friend in the library, and she found this book for me. She is getting ready to have #2 (so she looks like the cover of the book) and my little man is getting well over that newborn stage. When she offered it as a suggestion to me, she said that her mom had found this book for her. It is a story about a baby's perspective of being "trapped" inside and the things going through his/her little mind as he/she grows and gets ready to be born. It is very well done, and after reading it, my kids had a lot to talk about with their new baby sibling! It was neat to hear to hear them say, "Was I like that?" and "Is that what little A did in your tummy?" And it is a very cute book for every mom who knows the feelings of jumpy, bumpy, wiggly, jiggly babies inside! :)

You're All My Favorites by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram.

This book is by the same author (and illustrator) as Guess How Much I Love You and a few others with these same characters. A feel-good story about sibling bears who are trying to figure out who their mom and dad love best. Then mom and dad go through reasons why they are each unique and special--and all their favourites! My kids were smiling the whole time. It's just a good, wholesome book! We've read the other one mentioned, and this one was quite similar in style and feel-good-ness.

This book was SUPER special to me because the three bears are the same as my three kids (same age, order, some of the same traits, etc). It was neat to see my oldest be able to make that connection as we read it. (My younger one had to be walked through the connections.)

And, as a mom who LOVES kids and who knows three is it for us, this one got me a bit teary. It reminded me once again that God made each of my kids special for me, for our family, and for his purposes. They are each unique and special for their own reasons--just as in the book.

Well, until next week. . .happy reading!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Here are some updated pictures of this re-reno we are doing. Yep, it's STILL not done. If you are doing any renos, I have a company NOT to use!

This is the new flooring.
And a close up. . .I posted a picture like this one on the post when we had just re-done this flooring for the first time!
Since these photos were taken, all the appliances have been moved back, hooked up, and I can do laundry again (after a month of NO laundry at my own house. . .and a newborn! Seriously!!!) We've had baseboards put in, some touch up paint done. . .and some carpet cleaning done.
However, we made yet another call to the adjuster and told him we were not happy. The baseboards are not smooth, there are scratches that still need painting and the carpet cleaning guy decided to clean "around" furniture, rather than possibly moving anything. This company just is doing a half-_ _ _ job on everything. They have been in three times since the above pictures, and twice they have told us they thought they were done. And we had to say, hey, can you come check out this terrible work? We even had one baseboard that didn't reach the end of the wall and they claimed they were done!
So. . .now our basement has "sticky notes" all over it to show the people coming in tomorrow where work has to be done. Grr. . .
I can't wait until this is done and I can have my house back! On the bright side, I can use the laundry. . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

a {quick} card

i'm out of "extra cards".
(you know, the ones you make just to have around for extra occasions?)
i really need a card-making day or evening.
little A was doing well a few nights ago, trying to master his roll and commando crawl, so i took a small peek into the old scrapbooking box.
this is just a card i pulled together for my little nephew's baptism
i was looking in my "scraps" bag and came across all the right stuff to make this little card.
(which was great because who has time to actually do card-making anymore?!?!?)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Berry-Birthday Festival

Yet another blog entry posted a {little} late. . .

Happy birthday to my little princess!
Here is her "cake." After doing E's cake in a similar way, I just thought this was so easy and fun looking. I used the same vanilla cupcake recipe, but added sprinkles in the recipe. Very yum and very cute. . .and of course they had to be pink and purple. Again, gotta love Wal-mart for the party favours. . .in A's cake (I don't know if you can see it or not in the photo) but she had little bubble potion wands. The kids had fun with them!
Princess A has always had a birthday on or near the Berrybeat Festival. When E was little-er, he completely believed that the Festival was a party made just for A. LOL! But it has been fun to spend a few hours wandering around and doing a thing or two there.
Here are my "kids" at the Lego tent.
They made a few crafts, played a few games, wandered around, and panned for gold. A got a picture painted on her face, but E was too shy to do that.
Sitting down for a little treat. . .
In the afternoon, hubby took the kids berry picking. They loved it! Princess A really got the hang of it--she took a bite out of each strawberry, then put it in her bucket. I guess she wanted to make sure they all tasted great before bringing them home!

Canada Day

Another post that is a {little} late. . .

For the past few years we have gone to White Rock/Crescent Beach for Canada Day. This year the weather did not look promising at all, so instead we decided to go to the local Canada Day parade. First we had to get decked out in all of our Canada gear--we all had at least one patriotic clothing item!
(Someone should let you know before you even try, that the more people in the family, the less photogenic everyone becomes! But in the end, I still got a family photos--and those things that are very rare for us!)
Then we gathered the troops together and found a cozy spot to show off our Canada spirit! (And we may have found this spot because there were samosas nearby, and I LOVE samosas!)
Princess A--spent much f the time covering her ears because some of the trucks and floats were just too noisy for her liking! Well, except when people were handing out candy. . .
(Who knew that Halloween could happen twice in one year!)
E taking it all in (and noticing his relatives who were in the parade!)
This tractor used to be hubby's dad's and before that his grandpa's. My hubby's dad donated it to . . . the people who collect old tractors here locally. . .(here is where someone who knows better will fill in the group who owns and displays it now! Can't remember what it is called! Oops!) When E was little we took him to the Agrifair and had a picture taken of him on it to give to Grandpa. The hubby thought it was pretty cool to see it up and running, rather than just on display!

Here is what the kids worked on in the morning. . .coloring Canada pictures and hanging them up for the neighbors to see! By the afternoon a few of the neighbors also had flags in their windows, which E thought was great!
Happy Canada Day all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm a {little} late in posting about this, so sorry extended family/friends who are looking here for photos! Things have just been too busy here!

On June 20th, Aaron we celebrated Aaron's baptism. Here he is in his little gown (aka:"dress.") Oma made it for E's baptism (I had big plans to cut up my wedding dress and make one. . .and then the reality of giving birth hit me and that idea was tossed rather quickly! Oma came to the rescue instead!) and it was worn by princess A as well, with a few pink ribbons added here and there. Now it was little A's turn.

Here are our precious kiddos--love them to pieces!!!

Oma holding little a. . .she held all of our kiddos before or during their baptism services and loved it to pieces. She is such a "baby-person." (This definitely came in quite handy when princess A developed colic--she took that little crying/screaming girl for a morning once a week so I could have some quiet time. princess A cried the whole time for her, but she was just fine with that and didn't stop the love and cuddles and little conversations!)

Little a checking things out behind him. . . all his aunts and uncles.

Our family watching little a being baptized . . . our pastor did such a nice job of explaining what his name meant (Aaron Joel-- some strong Biblical and easy Hebrew names, which made it quite easy for the pastor!)and how he was a special part of God's family.
Little a's cousin, Logan, was born exactly 1 month later than him. Logan was a big baby! Here he is about 6 days after birth. (Man am I glad Aaron decided to come into this world early. . .which means smaller than an on-time arrival, and smaller than Logan! All I can say is kudos to you, Pam!)

Our happy little family. . . (I didn't say we were photogenic, just that we were happy. . .)

Oma and Opa. . .

Grandma and Grandpa Al. . .

It was such a blessing to be surrounded by our (local) families and friends on this special day--during the service and afterwards for a little lunch. Thanks you all!
And here is a little poem I found. . . (from here)
You have come into this world so tiny
Yet with such great promise for the future
Before you were even born
God planned wonderful things for you
As you are baptised,
May you feel His love
And the love of those around you,
And may you always follow His way.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome, again! I'm finally posting this on time. . .and have a bunch of photos to show. I actually had some time to do a thing or two around the house this past week, so I'm showing it off! :) But first the Menu Plan for this week:
Monday-Personal Pizzas or Calzones (if the weather is cooler and I have time!)
Tuesday-Sub Sandwiches, cut up veggies and dip
Wednesday- Beef and Vegetable Stir fry, rice, biscuits
Thursday (CP)- Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs (still from last week's plan!), noodles, salad
Saturday's Snack-Homemade Iced Latte (see below)
Sunday-pancakes and bacon
From last week, I finally had the chance to try the Indian Spiced Chicken. (We ate it with jasmine rice and a fruit/corn salsa).
I totally recommend it! It was amazing. . .and easy! Okay, it was a little more work than a throw-in-a -pot-and-let-coo- all-day kind of crock pot recipe, but the {little} extra work is completely worth it! The whole family loved it! (I have to admit, I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and used sour cream instead of yogurt. . .cooked it for the minimum time recommended). And then we ate it again for left-overs. I shredded the remaining chicken, tossed it back into the "sauce" and we had it on wraps. Totally works (not quite so authentic on wraps, but hey, whaddayado?).

Here is my snack idea. . .
With the crazy hot weather we have been having and my NEED for coffee in the a.m., this is what one of the days got me doing. I got the idea from a HomeMadeSimple e-mail I got. I was originally looking for a chai or "dirty chai" drink (Thank you for introducing me, Helen!), but stumbled upon this and figured it was just too easy to try.
Super easy: make coffee, chill it, add flavour (syrup and milk or flavoured creamer), top with whipped cream or whipped milk. drink it. . .yum-yum.
And, hubby has been taking the kiddos berry picking (end of the season=super cheap strawberries!), so I made some strawberry-rhubarb jam.
hubby hates rhubarb. can't even get him to try the jam. but he will sit down and eat 2 lbs of strawberries in one sitting, so I made jam for me and the kids. . .hopefully that will make the strawberries last a little longer!
Used this recipe. Was thinking about this one, but went for the first one. Not sure why the recipe wants you to flip the jars over. I tried it with some, just to compare if anything different happened. . .nothin' happened.
For more MPMs, hop on over to http://www.orgjunkie.com/.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well, I'm back again after being MIA for a while. Things have been busy, and blogging is not always a #1 priority. Hubby had some time off, we were out and about for a few days. I have a few free minutes, so we will see how far I get today!
Last week we ate. . .I'm just having a hard time remembering what we ate! Spaghetti Casserole, Pizza, Grilled Cheese, Hamburgers. . .
From the previous week. . .don't try that Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake. It wasn't very good. It looked good on pictures, but there was a unanimous consensus not to try that one again. Lots of left-overs that eventually were never found in the fridge. Oh well.
This week. . .
Monday- Pizza (Hawaiian)
Tuesday- Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs(CP), noodles, cut-up veggies
Wednesday- Tortilla Pizzas or Taco Salad
Thursday (CP)- Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Chicken, rice, glazed carrots
Friday- left-overs
Saturday- Salmon, Potatoes (of some sort-see below for a Potato Salad), buns, salad
Sunday (BFS)- French Toast, Ham
So. . .here is a recipe for you. Last week I had a friend over and we had hamburgers (kid-of-all-ages-friendly meal!), but I also made Potato Salad. I honestly hate making potato salads of any sort. But I gave it a try, and my hubby loved it--and he dislikes most potato salads. It came {mostly} from the Sioux Center Christian School Cookbook (1996), page 270.
Mom's Potato Salad
2 c.miracle whip
1T mustard
4 eggs boiled and mashed
3/4 c. sugar
diced onion, celery, radishes as desired
5 lbs potatoes, boiled, cut up
Mix dressing together and put on potatoes while they are still warm. Chill several hours before serving.
*So here are the changes I made: First of all, I halved the recipe--you never want too much of a good thing, just in case it doesn't turn out very good! I also added a few tablespoons of sour cream to the "dressing", along with a dash or two of Cajun seasoning. The veggies I added were green onions, carrots and red pepper. And I baked the potatoes. I diced them, put them on an oiled cookie sheet, and baked them in the oven for about 1/2 hour at 375. Kinda hash brown-y. But me and my hubby like it. . .the odd thing I thought about when I was eating it, was that there were no pickles or relish. Hmmm. . .
There you have it. . .quick and easy. . .now baby is fussing, so I'm over and out. For more MPM, visit http://www.orgjunkie.com/!