Monday, November 30, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

My tackle this week was to come up with a list of activities from now till Dec 24th in leu of an Advent Calendar. I first got the idea from reading this post by I Blame My Mother.

Sarah was talking about some of the wonderful ideas she had for spending time together with her family. As we all know, December is the most hectic month of the year and our kids can tend to get so lost in all the craziness. And as we've been talking about Advent Conspiracy, I thought, what better way to intentionally plan time with my kids every day for the next several weeks.

So starting today, here's what I am up with:
Advent Calendar Celebration 2009

1st—Make Chocolate Cherry Cookies
2nd—Make breakfast for dinner (in jammies)
3rd—YMCA Christmas/ Anniversary Event
4th—Put up the tree/ Make Hot chocolate and play Go Fish
5th—Christmas parade
6th—Watch White Christmas (or child alternative) with Popcorn and hot chocolate
7th—Lay in front of tree and read Christmas stories
8th—Make Kool-Aid Playdough/ Pray for the persecuted church
9th—Make a fort with sheets and read a Christmas book
10th—Make Christmas cards for Ms. Michelle/Ms. Teresa
11th—Take out Samaritan's Purse Christmas Catalogue/ Pick a project
12th—Go to the Downtown Light Display with Rickey’s/Gaido’s
13th—Game Night!
14th—Make Jelly Cookies
15th—Wrap completed presents and pray for family members
16th—Have a fancy dinner (dress up)
17th—Last day of school: Monkey Bread breakfast
18th—Look at Christmas lights
19th—Go out to dinner with family to celebrate Baby Girl’s 2nd birthday
20th—Make a birthday card for Jesus/ put it under the tree
21st—Take Baby Girl’s 2nd birthday photos
22nd—Let your light shine/ ask “how can we do this?”
23rd—Print and color Christmas pictures
24th—Make birthday cupcakes for Jesus

Now this is a bit ambitious for me. I'm making Christmas presents, planning a birthday party, and trying to keep with this Advent Calendar. So I hope I'm not over extending myself. But really... haven't we been saying all along that the holidays (and every day for that matter) are about celebrating Christ and celebrating our relationships?

So this is my goal and should be more than do-able. I took some ideas from Sarah, some ideas from Kristen (and her Advent Calendar), and a few of our own family traditions, and put them all together. This is all an experiment for me as we've always had traditions, but have never done anything like this.

I hope this inspires you to think about how you can better spend intentional time with your family this Christmas.

For more Tackle it Tuesday posts, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Creative Leftover Turkey Ideas

I love turkey. And having leftover turkey in the house is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. We have a Thanksgiving tradition (at my mom's), to pack up leftover turkey sandwiches and hunt for Christmas trees on Friday. There's few things I like better than yummy turkey salad on fresh white bread with a little bit of cranberry sauce and Dijon mustard.

Although we didn't host Thanksgiving this year, I have a turkey in my freezer just waiting for that moment when I NEED that aroma in my house again. Still if you're looking for a little inspiration, I've compiled a list of leftover ideas to get you through the next couple of days. You're sure to find something here to please any family's appetite.

Turkey Enchiladas
3 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
leftover cooked turkey
1 can enchilada sauce
cheese of your choice
tortillas of your choice

1. Dice and saute onion. Add minced garlic to your taste and saute. Be careful not to cook too long as it will burn and ruin the flavor of the dish.
2. Add turkey, and drained and rinsed beans and corn. Heat through.
3. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Start with a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the pan. Next layer TORN tortillas, a layer of sauce, layer of turkey and veggies, layer of grated cheese, repeat using all the meat and veggies in second layer.
4. Finish with a layer of tortillas and cheese.
5. Bake covered @ 350 degrees for 1 hr. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 min or until golden.
6. Serve with green salad and Spanish rice.

Turkey Noodle Soup
2 cans of chicken or vegetable broth
leftover roasted veggies from turkey OR:
chopped onion, celery, and carrots
5 cloves garlic, minced (adjust to your taste)
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
leftover turkey
pasta (I like the fun stars or alphabet pasta)

1. Add minced garlic, chopped veggies (unless using leftovers), broth, turkey, and corn to crock pot. If using leftover roasted veggies, add them later as they will be over cooked.
2. Set crock pot on low for 4-5 hrs. This is a quick cooking recipe as everything is cooked. You're just heating through.
3. Cook pasta separately and add to crock pot. Add roasted veggies (if using).
4. Season to your liking.

You could also keep your pasta separate and serve soup over the top. This will prevent your pasta from becoming too soggy if you have leftovers.

Turkey and Rice Casserole
1 box rice a roni mix (cooked to directions on box)
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 can green chilies
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. leftover turkey

1. Cook rice a roni to package directions.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a 9x 13 pan.
3. Top with a little more cheese and cover with foil
4. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through (35-40 min).

This dish is yummy served with some french bread and a green salad. Great evening comfort food.

If you're looking for more inspiration, here's a variety of recipes, sure to please your pickiest eaters:

Turkey Quesadillas with Chutney and Brie

Asian Turkey Noodle Soup

Cranberry Pancakes

Turkey Poblano Tostadas

Turkey Sandwich with Herbed Farmer Cheese, Sprouts, and Tomatoes

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Monday 11/30-12/6

Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Granola and milk
Yogurt and fruit
Cranberry Apple Muffins

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Fancy Salads
Fruit Jello

Monday: Split Pea Soup
Tuesday: Lentil Tacos
Wednesday: Mexican Corn Chowder
Thursday: Veggie Pizza
Saturday: Christmas Parade: Grilled Cheese, hot chocolate, snacks
Sunday: Pasta Fagoili

Granola Bars
Wheat Crackers

Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Link Love

These Oreo Cupcakes look fantastic (@ The Idea Room). Great for a holiday get together.

These Framed Silhouette Words would make a beautiful addition to any room (@ CraftyNest).

As I'm always on the lookout for crockpot recipes, I'm bookmarking this Crockpot Spicy Peanut Chicken for when hubby and I are in an adventurous mood (Prudent and Practical).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Baking cookies...

I planned on posting a tutorial today for more felt food: raviolis, orange wedges, and tea bags. However, I'm being a little lazy. We're out of town, celebrating the holiday with my in-laws. And after a week of sick husband and packing in my house, I'm in need of a well deserved break.

So while I'm baking my heart out today with my sisters-in-law, here are a few recent (and older) posts you might enjoy:
How to Throw a Curious George Birthday Party

Best 4 Year Old Gift Idea (and handmade alternatives)

Using Credit Cards to your Advantage

How Will Advent Conspiracy Change You?

Obama Wants to Ruin Summer Vacation

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Growing Your Own Garlic

One Cake Pan, Thee Birthday Ideas

Planning Ahead for Company

Thriftyness Vs. Frugality

And of course:

Felt Food Tutorial #1


Felt Food Tutorial #2

We'll be home next week and I'll be back to crafting and blogging. In the meantime, I'll think of you while I'm eating cookies and hominey casserole. Oh, that's a recipe I need to share with you soon. Hope you're having a great weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

May you use this day to recount the many blessings you have and thank the One who has blessed you so much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tackle it Tuesday

In the midst of packing for Thanksgiving travel, planning menus, making presents, etc, we are also planning a 2 year old birthday party. Baby Girl's birthday is Dec 21, can't get much closer to Christmas than that. So I like to get her birthday invitations sent out early as everyone is planning their holiday schedules. This year we're having her party on the 19th and so my plan has been to mail out the invitations with my Christmas cards this coming weekend. Those invitations were what I tackled this week:

Aren't they cute? We took a picture of her in a laundry basket with her Halloween costume on. Then matted it on pink paper and finally on a piece of black cardstock folded in two. I had the kitty stamp in my scrapbooking stuff and added a cute dimension to the front. The inside has the details.

I wised up this year and printed the inside off the computer. Added some cute colored hearts with a marker, and I'm done. Can't wait to see her face on birthday day.

For more Tackle it Tuesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How is Advent Conspiracy changing you?

Share with us how this season is changing your life!

Menu Monday 11/23-11/29

Fresh Fruit
Maybe a weekend breakfast???

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Turkey Salad sandwiches
Veggie Dippers

Monday:Lentil Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Mac & Cheese, and steamed broccoli
Thursday: (If here):Turkey breast, hominy casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie cake
(If away)-- taking hominy casserole and pumpkin pie cake
Friday-Saturday: At my In-laws
Sunday: Veggie Pizza

Chocolate Cherry Cookie Dough
Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Link Love

This Harvest Dinner in Felt Food (@So you think your crafty) would make a great addition to Baby Girls' Birthday Gift. Maybe next year.

Christmas on a Zero-Budget (@Moms Frugal) is giving me some great ideas for being intentional and economic during the holidays.

I'm rewarding myself with one of these Handbags from Placemat (@ Dollar Store Crafts) as soon as I find a cute placemat at the Thrift Store.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's your take on this?

Frugal Friday: Homemade Christmas #3

Continuing with the felt food I've been making for Baby Girl's birthday, I worked on tomatoes, fried eggs, and pancakes this week. I'm really quite proud of how these are turning out and can't wait to see her playing them. For last week's tutorial on bread, toppings, and bacon, look here.

Tomato Slices--
I used this pattern to get the basic idea for the red part of the tomato. But I didn't like the inside. So I made my own pattern for tear shaped seeds. Play with how many you like. Originally I cut 7 for each tomato slice, but ended up only using 5 a piece. Two slices fit nicely onto a bread slice from last week.

I cut and laid out my pieces, particularly noting the pattern of the seeds. First stitch your seeds onto the top tomato piece. I like the star pattern for the seeds.

Stitch the top tomato slice to the bottom, stuffing as you go. Make it as plump or as thin as you'd like. I like mine plump.

Already for a BLT sandwich with the bacon and lettuce we made last week.

Fried Eggs--
I used this pattern to get me started. For each egg, you'll need two white pieces and one yellow "yolk."

Laying out the pieces for my egg.

I began by stitching the yolk onto the top white, stuffing as I went. It helps to lift the foot while you're stuffing. Don't forget to do some backstitching at the beginning and end.

Finally stitch the bottom white, again stuffing as you go. Push the stuffing into the corners, rounding the egg out as much as you can. A popsicle stick works great for this.

I stuffed mine quite a bit, but play with how much stuffing you like.


These were pattern-less. I made a brief outline on copy paper based on the size of my bread. I didn't want my pancake to be bigger than a piece of felt bread. I also tried to make it more of an oval shape, rounding the corners. These pieces were cut out of a orange-tan.

From there, I made a smaller, "squishy" pattern for the syrup and cut a tiny yellow square for the butter. I didn't stuff any of the toppings, but looking back on it, it would be fun to stuff the butter, just a little bit.

Stitch the butter onto the syrup; then stitch the syrup onto the top piece of pancake. Finally stitch the top and bottom pancake together, stuffing as you go. Instant breakfast!

So what do you think? Any ideas of other items I could tackle to complete this set?

Click here for the Sandwich Set Tutorial.

Check out my blog next week for popsicles, raviolis, and tea bags.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, go to Life as Mom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Throw a Curious George Birthday Party

When I set out to throw my 4 year old son a monkey party, I had no idea what I was looking for. He's just at the right age where I wanted to incorporate the theme as much as possible, and yet he's too young to really plan a lot of cooperative games. So this one took a bit of creativity.
Planning did however get a bit easier when N suddenly decided we weren't just having a monkey party, but a Curious George party. Now there's something I can roll with. But how do you keep a 4 year old character party from breaking the bank? That's what I set out to discover. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1. We made our own invitations. A picture of N in his Monkey costume from Halloween, some sale scrapbook paper, and I was on my way.
2. I calculated how many kids would attend and even recognize Curious George. If they were 2 and up, I had character plates and cups for them. If they were any younger or over 13, it was plain yellow and red plates and cups. Plus I bought all the solid color party supplies at the Dollar Tree. Along with an array of colored balloons. The balloons were great party decor and each of the guests took one home as well.
3. We have a trampoline and although I was nervous, it turned out ok. There always seemed to be one adult nearby to watch the kids and break up any rough housing. Additionally, we borrowed a small bounce house from a friend that attends our church. Don't be afraid to exchange services and equipment with other families. This can cut down on your cost drastically. Just be the type of family that other people want to share with.
4. Another thought on keeping these elements under control: Print out a sign with your character and label the activities "2 Monkeys" (or however many you are comfortable). Many preschoolers are used to seeing similar signs in school deliniating how many friends can use an activity at a time.
5. We planned the party for early afternoon, after lunch, but still early enough that party guests could take a late nap afterwards. This drastically cut our food costs as we only served a few chips and salsa, and cake and ice cream. Quick, simple, affordable. Additionally, we avoided the costly soda, and served ice water and juice at the party. I did some research an other foods that monkeys eat are fruit salad and nuts, maybe popcorn. Depends on your budget and ambition.
6. We kept the guest list short. We have a small house and a small yard. And every one of Big Boy's friends has a younger sibling. That adds up fast. So I invited four of his closest friends and their younger siblings, and all pertinant family members (grandparents, and aunts and uncles). That's it. Most of the guests came from church. Since I knew I'd be taking a special snack to his class during the week, I felt that could be his time to celebrate with classmates without my having to invite 15-20 more kids.
7. We make cute little Thank You cards (I'll share these some time next week) and will be mailing them out with our Christmas cards this year. This doesn't work for everyone, but with a middle of October birthday, I figure it's not too late to send out Thank You's at the end of November. Save a stamp or two.

That's about it. There's plenty of resources on the web to help you plan with games for older kids. But this year we kept it simple and all the kids seemed to love it. A little music playing in the background and plenty of time for parents to visit. We had a great time.

Party favors waiting for the guests.
Plain paper bags decorated with monkey stickers and labeled "Monkey Munch." Warning: this is a VERY dangerous recipe to have.
We filled snack size baggies inside for the guests to take home with them.

Curious George masks waiting for the party guests
I printed these off the internet and purchased elastic jewelry cord from Walmart. I measured the length of the cord on my children and labeled them (BK=Big kid and LK=Little Kid). After knotting the end of the cord, I sealed it with a tiny bit of clear fingernail polish to secure it.
So cute!

Scenes from the party table
I found that buying locally, the initial cost of supplies was higher, but I saved drastically over Amazon on the shipping. Only thing I couldn't get was the stickers I wanted.

Plastic Bananas hanging from twine in our backyard tree.
Cheap unexpected party decor.

Big Boy with his Curious George cake (by Grandma).
My mom used the Wilton's 3-D Bear cake pan and transformed it into a monkey with a chenili stem tail.
Grandma's a whiz with cakes so we've saved the cost of buying a cake each year.
Grandparents are often willing to volunteers services and time.

Two friends wearing their Curious George masks

Big Boy riding his bike after the friends have gone home.

Other ideas we had (some I wasn't brave enough to try):
*George says
*Pin the Banana in George's hand
*Cover an outside way with butcher paper and let the guests paint with washable paint
(Apparently George likes to draw on the walls)

Further Curious George/Monkey Party Resources:
Curious George Birthday Party-- the most extensive resource I found. Great ideas!

Curious George Mask--This is a great mask. It's the one we used and sooo cute.

Curious George Parties--Great ideas for the preschool set. Very practical!

Monkey Birthday party--Great game ideas!

Monkey Cupcakes--super cute cupcakes that we didn't use, but I would love to try sometime. Our preschool wouldn't allow sweets, but this is what I had planned on making.

For more Works for Me ideas, check out We Are THAT Family.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

Yeah! I'm tackling!

Bakerella is one of the first sites on my bookmark list. And for good reason. Her imagination and creativity know no bounds. Recently I've been in love with her Sesame Street characters.

Aren't they cute???
Some day when I don't have kids and unlimited time and money, I'm working on these.

She has so many things I want to try. And then has some things I'd like to try, but I can just imagine how they'd turn out in my hands. Like these:

Don't they make your mouth drool???

But awhile back she posted these yummy Pumpkin Pie Bites and I thought, "I CAN do that!"

Pumpkin Pie Bites

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.

Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

Bakerella's Pumpkin Pie Bites

My Pumpkin Pie Bites-- Not as pretty, just as tasty

My batch was only made with one pie crust, but it yielded 20 mini bites, plus enough filling for a small pie in a graham cracker crust. Very yummy!

Let me just say this: these babies will quickly pack on the pounds. They're so light and delicious; you hardly realize how many you're eating until it's too late.

A word to the wise: watch your chocolate in the microwave. My little bites didn't end up nearly as pretty as Bakerella's. I was using a plastic bag that kept clogging with little burnt chocolate bits. It didn't taste burnt, but it sure kept sticking in my bag.

You may think the pumpkin/ chocolate combo isn't for you, but trust me. I really wanted to get this recipe in your hands before Thanksgiving because they are fantastic. You won't believe how good they taste.

For more Tackle it Tuesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Pardon My Dust...

I'm playing around with some templates and designs these days thanks to Rachel. Kind of fun. Kind of intimidating. Let me know what you think.

Thought I'd do something fun and go seasonal for now. Not sure what kind of look I'm going for. Something fun, crafty, DIY-ish, without being too whimsical. Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Monday 11/16-11/22

Cottage Cheese
Scrambled Eggs
something baked??? muffins???

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Fancy Salads

Monday: Turkey Noodle soup
Tuesday: Sesame Chicken, brown rice
Wednesday: Turkey Pot Pie, salad
Thursday: Macaroni and Cheese, steamed broccoli
Friday: Taco Soup
Saturday: Turkey and Rice Casserole
Sunday: Turkey Enchiladas

Chocolate Cherry Cookie Dough (for freezer)
Boiled Chocolate Cookies
White Bean Dip and chips
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Spice Lattes

I cooked a turkey on Saturday so I'm working on using up a bunch of the meat this week. Saturday's dinner included Turkey, Baked Squash, and canned peaches. The turkey will easily last our family of four throughout the week and we'll probably make a turkey sandwich spread out of it as well. What a great payout for the price!

Link Love

This Recycling/ Garbage Truck Birthday Party is very ... talented! You've gotta check it out (@ Creative Party Place).

Light Lemon Sesame Chicken sounds like a wonderful choice for our Chinese food-loving family (@ Betty Crocker).

This article on Warning Signs of a Toddler's Language Delay (@ BabyCenter) is a wonderful resource for any parent facing this situation.

What a wonderful reminder to Nurture Marriage no matter what season of life you're in (@ Frugal Granola).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Frugal Friday: Homemade Christmas #2

With a December baby in the family now, Christmas and Birthday shopping is becoming quite a challenge. Only four days apart, it's hard to come up with one good idea, let alone two. But I still want to make Baby Girl's birthday special and give her something she'll enjoy, love, and will have some meaning for her.

I was first introduced to felt food via Frugal Granola around this time last year. She was making some pieces for her, then, two year old daughter's birthday. Since then, the idea stuck with me and continued to ruminate in the back of my mind. Until I couldn't stand it any longer and had to make some myself. These are just a few of the pieces I've been working on.

My first was tackle was this sandwich set. I used this PDF as a starting point and adapted it from there. I found that I didn't like the tomatoes so I adapted those and will include them next Friday. But the pattern was good for the bread, lettuce and cheese.

First I cut out the pieces for the bread from dark brown (we eat whole wheat. I pinned them together and machine stitched 3 1/2 sides, remembering to back stitch ever so far. I then stuffed the bread and finished the stitching. If you'd like your stitching to be cohesive, simply stuff while the piece is still on the machine and continue the stitching.

I then used the lettuce pattern for the lettuce, peanut butter, and jelly. The original instructions call for doubled felt and stuffing. I only cut one of each and stitched around to finish it off. It will serve it's purpose; however, the stitching puckered a single layer of felt. If you want a truly finished look, you would need to at least double the material, if not add stuffing.

I followed the same directions for the cheese.

Finally, for the bacon, I used 1 in strips of dark brown felt, cut in a slightly wavy pattern on each side, but not the top and bottom. I tried the pattern on the ends, but didn't like the look. I then cut light brown strips of felt and stitch them to the top of the bacon. Three strips will fit nicely in a BLT sandwich.

So that beginning of Baby Girl's frugal fun birthday set. This week, I'm working on tomatoes, pancakes, and eggs. Look for photos and directions next week.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Christmas #1

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I love giving homemade gifts for Christmas. It's fun for me to create something new and different, and give a piece of myself to the recipient as well. Well, I stumbled upon a gift last year that really seemed to be a hit.

For years, my mom has made family calendars for our family. Each month has several pictures of the cousins, aunts and uncles, along with our birthdays and anniversaries marked on the appropriate date. She makes each on her computer and has them printed and bound as New Year's gifts. I love flipping over every month to see the new pictures and having the reminder of upcoming birthdays.

As the cousins have grown up and moved away, we still see it other every few months, but not as regularly as we'd like. It's nice to have the beautiful reminder of our family and reminder to call and pray for each other throughout the year.

So last year, I decided to take on the task for my in-laws and include the calendars in their Christmas presents. Again, we aren't often together throughout the year, but when we are, I make it a point to take a few pictures, with these end of the year calendars in mind.

My husband and I purchased a computer program which gives us the ability to create our own calendar layout with graphics and multiple photo positions. We bought it on sale and it came with a partical rebate form. After only two years, it's more than paid for itself. I print my pages at home and take them to the local copy place to be bound. Or if you have a friend with a binding machine, all the better. Just buy the "combs" and put them together yourself.

You can also find some good deals this time of year for photo services that offer calendars. While these aren't as economical or versital, they still make wonderful gifts. Some places to start are:
Vista Print
Kodak Gallery

Let your imagination run wild, enjoy looking through old family photos, and have fun creating this one of a kind holiday gift.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackles abounded in our house this week. Limited budget and upcoming holidays afforded lots of opportunity for creativity. And it actually feels pretty good to have some stuff done.
Thursday night I stood in my kitchen watching "Flash Forward" on the internet (my newest fall obsession) and loading the dishwasher. When I realized I could be getting ready for Christmas and passing the time with a great new drama. So after the dishes were done, I sat down at the dining room table and painted the kids' Christmas ornaments.
They've both recently discovered hot cocoa dates so these little ornament cups of cocoa were perfect. I love being able to give my kids a little something for the tree each year, but the cost was adding up so quickly. But I found these $.69 ornaments at Jo-Ann's and added a little paint from my stash making them quite a bargain.
I also made some felt food for Baby Girl's Birthday coming up December 21st. I'll post ornament photos and a felt food tutorial on Friday.
For more Tackle it Tuesday posts, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Menu Monday 11/9-11/15


Peanut Butter and Jelly
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Carrots and dip

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Veggie Pizza
Wednesday: Tortellini Soup

Thursday: Lasagna Style Casserole
Friday: Sesame Chicken Strips
Saturday: Turkey and baked squash
Sunday: Turkey noddle soup

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Link Love

I would love to do a Garden Birthday Party like this as Baby Girl is in upper elementary (@CreativePartyPlace).

These little Nursery Paintings would look great in any child's room, depending on the design (@ Lil Blue Boo).

Corn Husk Dolls would be a lovely Christmas ornament idea (@ Scribbit).

I've always wanted to make Homemade Egg Noodles as a great cooking lesson (@ Giver's Log).

These Magic Bottles are great sensory toys for toddlers and preschoolers (@bookhourcraftprojects).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frugal Friday

These were a cute little stuff in Big Boy's Easter basket this year. They are a set of cardboard "dominoes" from the dollar store and have actually provided us with hours of entertainment. This particular set is "Cars," but I've also noticed Winnie the Pooh and Dora.

This game is great for reinforcing the idea of same and different, a great elementary concept for Math. And again, games are a wonderful way for taking turns and encouraging family interaction. All this for a dollar.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, check out Life as Mom.

Roses for Mama

When we moved in our new home in June, part of our backyard was a rose garden. red roses, pink roses, yellow roses, white roses... Roses! Even now, there's so many of them still in bloom; I catch my breath each time I turn toward that part of the backyard.

And my Big Boy has apparently inherited his Mommy's love for the outdoors as well. I practically have to hide the pruning sheers to keep him from constantly picking my roses.

But a few weeks ago, when my mom was here, I relented, and he and Grandma went out to pick Mommy some roses. This is what he came back with:

He was so proud of himself. He said he picked this set because two more were groing to open soon and that's how much he loved me. That when the next two opened, then I would be REALLY happy.

What's a Mommy to say?

I LOVE My Baby!

Lots of Giveaways

Win a gift certificate for Handbag Heaven by checking out Two of a kind, working on a full house: Handbag Heaven Review And Giveaway

Or what about a beautiful Wax Seal Necklace at Making My American Dream?

Want another chance to win from Handbag Heaven? Check out Baby Loving mama and her Handbag Heaven Giveaway.

What about a set of beautiful Pearl Earrings? Courtesy of Pearl Paradise and Two of a Kind Working on a Full House.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

I love the holidays. I love the feeling of fall coming on, October coming around, rolling into Halloween, partying through Thanksgiving and all the festivities that come with Christmas. What's not to love!

The lights, the music, the spirit of unity that permeates this time of year... wish I could bottle it.


My best tip for the holidays is to sit down, sometime in October or the beginning of November, and prioritize. Make this a family meeting or, if you have younger kids, make this a meeting between just you and your spouse. What are some things that you like to do as a family? What worked last year? What do you not want to do again? Was your schedule too full or do you want to add something new this year?

Next get out your calendar and begin to outline your plans. Is there two events on one day? You're probably going to have to cut one or the other. Sometimes it works out to do both. Maybe one is geared toward a specific parent and child while the other child is more likely to want to skip out. But more than likely you'll need to par down to one activity in a weekend.

Don't forget to make time for special worship events if that's a priority for your family. Is there a special Christmas Eve service that you want to attend? Don't schedule anything else for Christmas Eve.

These are just a few of the things that we are scheduling for this holiday season:
*Thanksgiving with D's parents--We're not entirely sure he'll get the day off, but if he doesn't we'll just down for the weekend. This gives our kids a great chance to spend time with extended family they don't usually see. Additionally, we'll try to see some family friends.
*Evening in Avonlea--I still have hopes that I'll get to do one this year. Have the girls' over for an evening and watch Anne of Green Gables with fun munchies.
*Lighted Christmas Parade--A family tradition since we moved here. Picnic dinner on the parade route and hot chocolate afterwards.
*Lighted Tree and Christmas Display--We'll probably make this an evening to spend with a few friends and enjoy the season through our kids' eyes.

Along with this, always comes the unexpected. I'm volunteering at a craft fair for my MOPS group, we have a few birthday parties to attend, and our church is doing a ladies' night. But by prioritizing our time early on in the season, I can take a deep breath and think about the real reason for why we do all these things. The real reason why this is such a joyous time of year.

Prioritizing also keeps me from overcommitting to things that aren't worth my time. Why commit to so much when I already know what's going to be most beneficial for my family? Sure there will be things I'll want to do and I'll have to say no. But really in the long term prespective, say no will be better for all of us.

For more Works for Me ideas, check We Are THAT Family.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

What an Attitude to have!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Menu Monday 11/2-11/8

Yogurt and fruit
Granola and milk
Cinnamon Rolls (weekend treat)

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches
Leftover soups (Lentil and Mexican Corn Chowder)
Almond Chicken Salad
Veggie Soup
Hummus and carrots

Monday: Aztec Chicken
Tuesday: Lasagne Style Casserole, salad
wednesday: Veggie Pizza
Thursday: Tortellini soup
Friday: Spaghetti, French Bread, and Salad
Saturday: Taco Salad???
Sunday: Dinner at Miss Michelle's

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Link Love

This week's Link Love is all about creative gifts. Holiday season is upon us and we're looking for fun frugal gifts in the spirit of Advent Conspiracy: giving more of ourselves. Hope these ideas get your minds going.

Check out this great Felt Playhouse, and following tutorials,(@ Homemade by Jill). What little one wouldn't love this?

These are gorgeous custom made Votive Candle Holders (@ Design to Shine) using minimal supplies. Very pretty!

This is beautiful Homemade Baby Tutu (@ Baby Good Buys) for that sweet little girl in your life. So pretty. Think I"ll have to make one soon for Baby Girl.
Related Posts with Thumbnails