Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer Schedule and Summer is Here Theme Night

First I need to start off with our summer schedule.  With 5 kids 10 and under life can get a little crazy if I don't have some kind of schedule for the summer.  I did one last year and I was not perfect at keeping it, but it was nice when we needed structure and something visual for the kids to see what the plans were, it was great.  Besides Friday at playgroup we only play with friends after 2:00.  This saves me from hearing 30 times a day "can I play with a friend", they know friend time is not until the afternoon.

Let me explain the activities a little bit.  First it might look super late to get up and eat breakfast but you know what is it summer and I work at night so if I can sleep in a little, life goes a little bit better ;) We do learning centers 3 days a week and they rotate between educational computer games (like Starfall), journal writing for the older kids and coloring for the younger, and reading.  The next activities are craft/art day (that is pretty self explanatory), service day will be finding ways to serve our families, neighbors, friends etc.  It can be as simple as writing letters to someone or pulling weeds at a neighbors house.  The last activity day is cooking.  I want my children to know how to cook so they will help make bread, granola bars and any other fun thing was can find.  And then the afternoon if full of free play because that is what summer is about too right!!

Here is the link to find my Summer Schedule

Now here is our Summers Here theme night.  I was thinking about summer vacation last month and I have always wanted our children to love playing in our backyard.  I want it to be a place of fun, imagination, and where great memories are made.  I decided that this summer every month we would have a theme night (most based off movies) and then I would buy or make them a toy that would make the backyard great fun!  I have limited each month's toys to $30 which is much cheaper than a night out to dinner with our family and the fun and memories will be far more long lasting than that too.

So here is our 'Summer is Here' theme night!!

First thing I did was give them their Summer Fun toys.  I bought everything at the dollar store and they loved it.  I bought some blow up toys for their little pool, sand toys, bubbles, hats, water soakers, sunglasses and water bottles (last year I bought them water bottles and it was wonderful)

They had a ton of fun while we got dinner ready.  Don't mind my 3 year old in pajamas, we go through about 8 outfits a day with that kid ;) 

Now because it is me there has to be a themed dinner.  Sorry the lighting seems to be a little strange but this dinner speaks summer to me...... Burgers (I didn't put a top on so you could see the blue cheese and grilled onions--so yummy) , potato salad, chips, cantaloupe and lemonade.  Super easy meal, in fact I cheated and bought the potato salad at Costco.  But it was the perfect meal to kick off Summer!!  

Now I said there is usually a movie involved and tonight it was 
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer!  I hope you all have a fantastic Summer!!  

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Healthy Chocolate Pancakes

Are you shocked I am actually posting??? I sure am!  So as I was making these this norming (they are a family favorite) I thought I needed to share them with other because they are really good and pretty healthy.  I found this recipe for Chocolate Pancakes on and I loved them but I tweaked some things to make them a little healither and so I could eat more ;)  I changed the egg to flax seed and the butter to applesauce and you can use whole wheat flour if you would like.  I may try replacing the sugar for honey next time but we were out of honey this week.

Chocolate Pancakes 
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon flax seed meal + 3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add the milk, flax seed/water, and applesauce in one bowl.  In another add the dry ingredients together until well mixed.    Add the wet and dry ingredients until just blended (do not over mix).

Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes or until small bubbles appear and then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.

We really like these with our Peanut Butter Syrup and bananas but so many things would be great on these. To me they taste like little brownie pancakes.  Hope you like them.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


So this may be a surprise that I am posting right now because it has been a long time since I have done any.  I have had a few people talk to me about doing my blog again my husband being my biggest supporter and encouragement for it.  Before my blog just got too much, most of it was on me because I felt like I could not compete with all those other fancy blogs but you know what I don't need to compete, I just need to do what I love and blog about it.  And so that is what it is going to be.  I cannot promise I will blog every week or month but I will blog and I will enjoy it again :)  My biggest focus this year is cooking food from scratch, I am tired of buying prepared food that just costs so much and you don't know what is in it, so I am going to buy more ingredients and staple food items and Make My Own this year!!  I will post things that work and maybe some that did not work and I try to save money and feed my kids better food!!  Thanks for listening :)

Oh yes and before I forget my husband finally started a blog (well he has it set up, no posts just yet) But I am so excited for him and he is a fantastic outdoor cook, anything dutch oven, smoking or barbecuing he masters so here is the link Kevin's Outdoor Cooking.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Meal Plan

Sorry my lack of posting these past 2 weeks but we have had a house full of sick kids off and on for 2 weeks, hopefully it will be better now.  So here is the plan for this week

~Mexican Lasagna
~ Pork Roast  (something like this maybe)
~ Left overs (probably some type of sandwiches with the pork)
~Italian Lasagna
~ I am not sure what we will have Friday because my husband won't be here for dinner so I usually make something he is not a fan of but I LOVE-- it might be this Italian Chicken
~ Tuna Sandwiches (we have been trying to eat a little more frugal and this one fits the bill some nights)
~ Enchilada Soup (I saw this on pinterest but I am going to make it a little different using my usual enchilada recpie sauce (minus the sour cream at first)  put in the crock pot with chicken breasts, beans and corn.  After chicken is cooked, shred and add back to sauce with the sour cream.  Heat until warmed and then serve with tortilla chips and cheese-- hope its good!!)

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Chinese New Year

We had a fun little Chinese New Year dinner with our kids and they love it!  In fact I did this 2 years ago and every once in a while my 8 year old will say "Mom when are we going to have that dinner with the fans and chopsticks again!"  Needless to say this one is a hit!
I bought fans and masks at our local party store for under $5.00 for it all and it was money well spent!!  

For dinner it has super low key because we have had a bunch of sick kids in our house lately so you could cook it from scratch but we just had orange chicken and egg rolls from Costco, steamed white rice and I did make a beef and broccoli but it was not a favorite (tasted too much like soy sauce) so I need to find a better recipe for it.  But you could do anything and with the fans, masks, chopsticks it is a party!!!

At the same party store I bought a HUGE bag of fortune cookies

And honestly all I need to buy is a bunch of balloons and my kids will think it is the best party ever!!!

And this sweet one hung out patiently while we ate and had fun!!!

Like I have said before it does not take a lot of money to make a special night with your family!!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Theme Night ~ No Plates or Forks Allowed

This dinner was so much fun.  I read a book called Great Kids are Homemade and it has super fun ideas for dinner, and tons of other things, and it helped inspire me for this one.  Her idea was to have spaghetti dinner only using your hands so we decided to do a finger food night.  (a little less messy but just as fun)  I bought this really cheap plastic tablecloth for less than a dollar.
We had fruit and veggies with Ranch dressing

Potato Chips are perfect for kids 

We bought 3 different chicken strips:  crispy,  honey bbq and buffalo (for my husband).  I did use plates for the chicken and the little smokies because I didn't want it to melt the tablecloth

At our grocery store we received a package of little smokies for free so we made the sauce of 1 cup grape jelly and 1 cup ketchup and heat on the stove top until warm and the sauce has thickened.

Here was my dinner.  (sorry about the quality of pictures I am using my cell phone because my camera is not working)

Here are the reasons I love to make these dinners.  My 6 year old Sam said "this has been such a fun day Mom!"

And Lydia my 4 year old said "This is a Wonderful Dinner!!"  Love my kids  (notice my girls put on blue eyeshadow for dinner :)

What is great about this dinner is this is what it looked like when we were done

And Clean up was a breeze!!!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meal Plan

A day late but here is the plan

~ Pulled pork sandwiches (I will post this recipe later) 
with Quick and Fluffy Rolls -- so easy and yummy
~ Pizza Night

~ Chicken Enchiladas

~ Corn Bread Waffles topped with chili  (she made homemade for both but I will use boxed mix and canned chili :)

~Slow Cooker Sweet Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

~ Lunch Meat Sandwiches  (usually on grocery shopping day it is quick and easy)


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Friday, January 25, 2013

Walk Down Memory Food Lane--Anniversary Dinner

Saturday was my 11 year anniversary and so I decided to have a Walk Down Memory Food Lane for our dinner!!  I made food that reminds me of things like the first thing we made together, things served at our wedding,  something we always loved eating while newlyweds etc.     

So first I thought I would write a little bit about how we came to be, because I always love hearing other people's stories why not share ours.  (if you don't care for those type of things just skip down to the recipes :)    We both grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California and went to the same Junior High and High School but did not know of each other until my Senior year and he had already graduated the year before.  We met when he joined our church.  We were just friends throughout that year and a half before he went on a  2 year mission for our church.  We both liked each other but it always seemed either I was dating someone or he was.  He says we went out on one date but really it was a friend thing so I don't count it :)  Anyways I went off to college and he went on a mission and we wrote to each other as friends and towards the end our writing became more frequent and the letters longer but never talk of dating or anything just letter of encouragement.   Then he came home and my Mom asked him over for dinner and that is where it began,  we started dating and a month later we were engaged  5 months later married and now 11 years and 5 kids we are still going strong!!  So that is our story now on to the food :)

After being married a year we moved in with my parents to save money for a house and just about every Friday night we would go to Mimi's Cafe and bring it home and watch American Choppers while we ate dinner!!  And every time we would get the Spinach Artichoke Dip which is so good.  I found out that Mimi's Cafe shares some of their recipes so here is the link to their Spinach Artichoke Dip  but for this time we bought this yummy stuff at Costco, it is super good and easy, just heat it up and serve!!

We had amazing food at our wedding, at least that is what I heard but you see I woke up the morning of the wedding with the flu.  At first I thought it was just nerves but it lasted all day  (at least for the actual ceremony I was feeling pretty good)  but the one thing I do remember eating was these delicious candied carrots.  I have found this recipe all over the internet and they change it up into all different ways but sometimes the simple things are best in my opinion.

Candied Carrots
1 pound carrots (cut however you would like)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Steam carrots until tender
Add carrots, butter and brown sugar to a sauce pan.
Cook until butter and brown sugar is melted and coated the carrots.

Now the main dish we made was  tri-tip with a blue cheese butter on top.  One of the reasons I knew Kevin was the one for me is he loved blue cheese as much as I did... silly to some but it was important :)

Blue Cheese Butter Topping
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup blue cheese

Mix well and top on cooked steak, let the blue cheese melt a little and enjoy!

Sorry this picture is sideways

No recipe but a meal could not be complete without some Sparkling Cider in glasses we received as a wedding gift!  Although you could make your own Sparkling Cider

Now here is my favorite thing we had and I love the story that comes with this dessert.   This is Better Than Anything Cake  (it has many different names but I am going with this one :)  This is the first thing my husband and I made together, long before we ever dated.  I still remember the day so clearly.   I was home from College for Christmas break and he was getting ready to go on his 2 year mission.  We were hanging out at my parents house with my friend Amy and decided to make this cake.  Now why this cake will forever remind me of my husband is how he helped me make it.  I need to explain the first thing I was attracted to on my husband is his muscles,  I always wanted to marry a football player looking guy and he fits that description perfectly.  In fact when he was on his mission I use to talk about him saying "I have this friend and his arms are so big I cannot wrap my hands around them!!"  they really are and I LOVE it!!  Anyways so there is a step where you pour a can of sweetened condensed milk on top of the cake and it was not coming out fast enough and so he crushed the can with his hands trying to get it out (those cans are not easily crushed)  and I just remember laughing so hard!!  

Better than Anything Cake
1 box Devils Food Cake  
1 small jar carmel ice cream topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Scor candy bars chopped

Prepare cake as directed.  Once cool  poke holes over top of cake.  Pour caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk over cake.  Do it slowly so it will sink into holes.  Frost with whipped topping and top with chopped candy bars.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  It tastes better if it is served a few hours later or even the next day.

One thing I love about knowing how to cook recipes from scratch is if you forget to buy things at the store you can just make them.  I forgot the cake mix and candy bars and I was not about to go back out in the freezing cold weather we have been having so I used this Chocolate Cake Recipe  (in fact I use this recipe far more then I buy mixes)  and this recipe for the toffee (I make half the recipe and didn't add chocolate)  and it was delicious!!

I hope you enjoyed my trip down Memory Food lane for our Anniversary and hope you are inspired to do the same for your special someone with your fun memory foods!!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Meal Plan

Here is the plan for this week

~ Chili Cheese Fries
~  Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken  -- can't wait to try this
~ Tortellini with homemade spaghetti sauce
~ Taco Soup
~ Roast Turkey  (we always buy at least 2 around Thanksgiving)
~ Leftovers :) 
~ Pumpkin Pie French Toast  -- this looks so yummy!!

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