Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meal Planning a Day Late : Jan 31, 2012

What a nightmare of a weekend!  We just spent the entire weekend painting and cleaning like mad people to get our rental ready -- all this on the same weekend that I am "supposed" to be getting ready for the new semester.  The one where I am teaching a class I have never taught before - yeah, that semester.  Ugh.  So now it is Tuesday afternoon and I am just now even starting to think about cooking.  We got pizza Sunday night after a marathon day of painting, we didn't even bother to eat dinner last night (Mon.), as we were both just too tired!  How lame are we??  So with what is left of the week we are going to try:

Tuesday: Beef and Blue Cheese Gnocchi
Wednesday: Honey Sesame Chicken in the Crock Pot [our new recipe this week]
Thursday: Fish Tacos that never happened last week
Friday: Lemon Chicken Pasta

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My kids love to go to the dentist, eye doctor, whatever.  They are totally "into" going and seeing the equipment, touching all the "stuff" and getting the sticker in the end.  Weird, right?  So Tuesday they had their 6 month check up at the dentist - and then we had to get two pairs of Grayson's glasses fixed.  Yep - he broke them both.

They were so good - the folks always comment on how great they are - which is always nice to hear :)  One really great thing about their dentist is the totally cool playhouse in the waiting room.  The boys love it and it keeps them contained.

On our way home it was starting to be dusk and we drove through this pass where there are always 1000's of birds feeding.  We hit the timing just right and when they saw it they wanted to go back and watch.  So we turned the car around, parked on the side of the road and just watched with the sun roof open.  I love that my kids notice this sort of thing AND that they are interested.  And as we got home the sun was just setting and they noticed the moon was just the thinnest sliver, but you could see the whole outline - almost like and eclipse.  Gabe announced he was going to ride an airplane all the way to it and then use a parachute to get back down.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Planning Monday: Jan 23

We are continuing our quest to 'use what we have' and keep the grocery budget under control.  Last week we actually did not go shopping - well, almost, we did have to buy 3 gallons of milk ans some fresh fruit for the kids - so $17.  Everything else we had on hand.

This week we did go shopping ($42) and will have to do a mid week milk and banana run - but other than that, we might be able to make it on what we have on hand.  Right now we are keeping the kids food really bland because the youngest has been fighting a nasty stomach bug for going on 4 days now.  There has been a lot of rice consumed in our house in the past 72 hours!

Saturday we made bread for the week using An Oregon Cottage Blog recipe.  It came out really great and we are looking forward to making our bread from now on!

The plan for the week is looking like this:

Monday: Grits, Spinach, and Black Eyed Peas
Tuesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole
Wednesday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Thursday: Gnocchi w/ greens and white beans
Friday: Grilled Tuna Steaks to make fish tacos

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Today had really yucky weather - so we spent the day at home.  I decided to use the time to try making bread for the week for us.  I used a recipe from An Oregon Cottage with only slight modifications.  I am really happy with the results.  This may be then end of us buying store bread!

Even though we were inside all day, the boys (Doug included) stayed VERY busy and played very hard.  Around 4:00 a few of the boys held still a little too long and this happened:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



Who would think hard boiled eggs could be fun to have for dinner?  Well, if they look like this they are!


PreSchooler Fun : Glass Beads

As I went to type the title of the post I realized that my boys - well, the twins - really aren't toddlers anymore!  I don't know why I didn't realize this before.  They are almost 3.5 - so I guess that makes them preschoolers!  Yikes!  When did that happen??  So now I think I need a new label.

So I have been lurking at a great site called Play at Home Mom and it has tons of great ideas.  While I can only wish to be so creative and offer my kids so many great things, I figured I could at least start small.  Since I am not at home during the day I can't really set up the 'invitations,' but I have been trying to offer up a new activity every few days when I get home.

I gave the boys to containers of glass beads and sparkle beads (both out of the floral department), a couple white bowls, and spoons.  I had the red and blue glass beads in one container and the clear and yellow sparkle beads in the other.  When I set them out the first thing Gabe asked was "How are we supposed to do this?"  I told them they could play with them how ever they wanted.

First they just stuck their hands down in them and wiggled their fingers, then they pulled the beads out and looked at them.  Then the scooping, pouring, and mixing began.  This simple set up kept them fully engaged for almost 40 minutes.  When they were done they picked them all up and even brought me the containers to put up so their little brother wouldn't get into them when he got home. 

I was amazed at how much they enjoyed this.  (They even asked for it again Thursday morning!)

Morning Commute

This morning happened to be prettier than usual, so I snapped a few pictures.  We were having snow flurries, but the sun was out - which is always nice.  You can't really tell from the top picture, but the sunrise was pink.  I couldn't stop where I wanted to for the second picture, but the mountains were kind of glowing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meal Planning Monday (well, almost) : Jan 17, 2012

Yeah for long holiday weekends!  Of course, this meant that I did not get around to meal planning because I had an extra day.  Somehow more time often translates into less accomplished! Well, maybe not less - but different.  I did get a nice trip to Costco accomplished, as well as some serious deep cleaning to the upstairs wood floors, so maybe it all balances out :)

We are continuing our "use what you have" project.  We spent right at $50 last week.  I haven't done a regular shopping trip yet this week.  I did grab 6# of ground beef ($18), ravioli ($9 for a big bag), and a 3 pack of pizza ($11) and a gallon of milk ($4) at Costco.  So those $42 dollars will make at least 10 meals - just not all this week.

Plan for the remainder of the week:

Tuesday:  Soft Tacos / Taco Salad Choice
Wednesday: Asparagus Ravioli and Grilled Chicken
Thursday: Crock Pot BBQ Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and veggies
Friday: TBD...

Saturday: Polynesian Flank Steak w/rice and stir fry veggies and grilled pineapple  (never got made last week)

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday night bath time...

Homemade GeoBoard!

Still taking inspiration from the Play at Home Mom blog and often scratching my head wondering, why didn't I think of that? 

The boys LOVE these boards at the Discovery Museum, but I honestly never thought to make them myself.  Then I saw them on the PAHM site and realized that there was no reason in the world we couldn't make one, too!

We made this Doug's project to do with the boys on Monday when he has them at work with him at the hardware store.  Throughout the day he sent me pictures showing me the progress they were making.  It started with showing the boys how to put the screws in the pegboard.  Doug said he went to do something and came back and they had done a whole row and started on another.  Then he found Gabe in the nuts and bolts isle taking matter into his own hands and getting more!

Then they played around with the spacing of the bolts and he showed the boys how to use the drill to attach the nuts to the screws.  (Yes, our 3.5 yr olds use power tools...)  

This turned out to be a great success.  The boys spent a large part of the morning working on making the board with guidance from Daddy, then they played with it on and off all afternoon.  Now we are working on a smaller one to have at the house. 

The next day Reece went with Doug to work while the boys were at school and he immediately found the board and started playing - and yes, Doug let him use the drill, too.  (He's 14 months old.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Afternoon

Snack Time!

Sometimes all it takes to make them happy is popcorn :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reece Helping in the Kitchen

Today Reece got to 'help' in the kitchen while his brothers were with Doug.  We started with just big tube shaped pasta stirring it in a pot.  Then he got out the colander.  Before it was all over we had added two more shapes, some cupcake papers, a chopstick to thread the pasta onto, and a canning jar.  He spent almost an hour on the floor scooping, threading, dumping, and banging -- and chewing on -- the pasta. 

Meal Planning Monday : Jan 9, 2012

Last week was a success and we pretty much stuck to the plan.  I decided to continue the pantry clean out project and plan with what we have and try and keep the new purchases to a minimum.  I went shopping yesterday and spent a total of $32.  Of course, we will have to buy milk and bananas midweek, but I think we can keep it under $40 for the entire week.  Not shabby for a family of 5.  The chicken was w/ bought last weeks' budget and the steak was in the freezer.
Saag Tofu

Monday: Chicken Slouvaki w/ whole wheat pitas
Tuesday: Saag Tofu (Yum!!)
Wednesday: Pasta w/ chicken and veggies with homemade bread
Thursday: Polynesian Flank Steak w/rice and stir fry veggies and grilled pineapple
Friday: Freezer soup/sauce with homemade bread
Saturday: Left overs

Sunday: ? Shopping day ?

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

And since I never list them - I thought I would today - for breakfast we usually have pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter toast and fruit, eggs and sausage, grits.  For lunch there are a lot of left overs, chicken nuggets, tofu, hot dogs, PBJ, cold plates, etc.  Snack consist of lots of fruit, gold fish, crackers, cheese, pretzels, etc.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Exploring Ice

While Reece was taking a nap today we spent the entire time outside since it was in the 50s - which is a treat for January.  The boys helped me clean flower beds, played on the trampoline, went around and around in the swings, then we explored the ice that had formed on the little swimming pool that never got emptied (I know, I know - but we're busy!)

They were both enthralled by the fact it was solid - they touched it and were surprised when it offered resistance - and by how cold it was, given it was not cold outside.  They both found little trucks and brought them over to see if they would stay on top of the ice.  This lead to a great conversation about why we don't go on the ice.  Then they smashed it up with the trucks and saw the big pieces would float.  They fished some out and looked through them, too. 

We need to try and remember that at this age everything is new and exciting. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Playing in the Dark

In my search for new ideas of things to do with the kids I came across a really great blog that has tons of easy ideas to try.  I knew I had some glow sticks in the kitchen somewhere, so I tried the 'hide and seek' in the dark with them.  It was a huge success.  They stayed in the kitchen with Doug while I hid them and then they ran around the downstairs looking for all the glowing sticks.  Once they found them they continued to play with them - linking them together, making shapes with them and just being silly in general.

When it was time to go up for a bath the glow sticks went with them and they took a bath in the dark, playing with them in the tub.  They learned they float, loved how they would make the whole tub glow, and generally had fun until the water got cold.  Gabe even took his to bed with him!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nothing to see here...

Doesn't everyone play with their Mr Potato Head while naked wearing snow boots?

Making Letters

More fun on the kitchen floor...  

Gabe is really into letters and numbers right now and wants to know all about what letters make up what words.   While he can't write the letters yet, he knows them all and figured out he could make a few with his drum sticks.  That lead him to ask for the wooden spoons in the kitchen so he could make an "A."  Then he wanted more to make more letters, so I gave him a few packs of wooden chopsticks that come with take out and he made letters on the floor while I made dinner for about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal Planning 1/2/2012

My first meal planning of 2012 - wow!  This week I decided to steal an idea I saw on someone's blog a few months ago and try to make a real effort to use what is in my house and keep purchasing to a minimum.  I know I'll have to buy about 4 gallons of milk and 2 loaves of bread along with bananas or other fruit - but I poked around in my cabinets for things I already had - things I bought for meals that never got made, etc. and made my menu from that.  On Sunday I spent $31 for bread, milk, hot dogs, bananas, and some produce.  We'll see how it goes!

Sunday:  Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Monday: Chicken w/ sausage dressing and asparagus
Tuesday: Bean Burritos w/ homemade tomato salsa
Wednesday: Stir Fry w/ Tofu and veggies
Thursday: Left Over Night (or omelets if there are no leftovers)
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Baked ham, mac and cheese, and  veggies

Linking to OrgJunkie, where Meal Planning Monday lives.

UPDATE: We did pretty well this week.  I did have to take a Thursday milk and bananas run - so that was $10.  I also grabbed two big trays of chicken breasts to freeze since it was on sale for under $2 pound.  I spent  a total of $27 more, for a total of$58 for the week - and I have 6 bags of chicken in the freezer now.