Sunday, December 30, 2007

MPM: 12/31-1/6

Well, I'm back from my week off from menu planning. We ate out way more than normal this past week and I'm ready to get back to planning. :) But I thoroughly enjoyed the break and enjoyed having Andrew home!!! Anyway, here's the plan for this week (sorry there aren't any new recipes - next week, I promise!):

MONDAY: Eggs, Bagels, Bacon, Apples (we will be having a small New Year's Eve celebration - menu is yet to be determined but will definitely include the lg. wheel of brie I already have - I think this recipe :))
TUESDAY: Chili, Cornbread, Salad
WEDNESDAY: Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
THURSDAY: Pizza, Apple Slices, Veggies & Dip, Pretzels
FRIDAY (company): Oven Stew, Rolls, Salad, Jello w/blueberries & raspberries
SATURDAY: Tomato Soup, Grilled Sandwiches (probably ham & cheese), Fruit
SUNDAY: At my parents' house for my sister's birthday dinner!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Happy New Year! Christmas pictures, bedroom re-do pictures, and New Year's Resolutions to come this week....stay tuned. :)

For more men plans, go here!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Sorry for the lack of blogging! We had a great Christmas (a post and pictures to come) and have been enjoying our week at home. The big project is finishing the re-organization and re-decorating of our master bedroom, bathroom, and closet (also pictures to come). It's been keeping us quite busy (as you know from previous posts) but the end is in sight! We have been so delayed throughout this project and I really want to start the new year with it completed. Now if only the rest of the furniture would come....

I was supposed to work today but Calvin has been sick with some kind of stomach and intestinal bug (woke up sick to his stomach in the night) - yuck; anyway, Andrew decided (and I agreed) that I should stay home and with the major lack of sleep, it was definitely best. He seems to be fine as of later this morning and has kept everything down today. We hope he keeps it to himself!

So this is a brief, we're-still-alive post. More to come - hopefully tonight or tomorrow. I hope to be back to regular blogging after the first of the year. :) Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

3 Fun Evenings!

Our date night was perfect! So much fun. We had a yummy dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then stopped in Target to pick-up a few things for Christmas. We decided to catch the late movie (10:05pm) and we had the theater to ourselves! Enchanted was cute and even Andrew kind of liked it. It was clean for the most part, funny, and sweet. I happen to be a big Patrick Dempsey fan (ever since Sweet Home Alabama) and he didn't disappoint! It was such a relaxing great evening and I definitely recommend the movie!

Last night, we took the boys to Christmas at the zoo! The highlight for them was not the animals (though they enjoyed them); they LOVED the train exhibit at White River Gardens. It was a delight to watch the joy on their faces at seeing their favorite thing! The evening was beautiful, the lights at the zoo were awesome, and we had a wonderful time being together.

Tonight, we will stay home, eat pizza, and watch a Christmas movie with the kids! It will be a great start to Andrew being home for the next week.

Favorite Pics of Late...

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Driving the train with Aunt Stephanie!

Driving the race car!

Also, driving the race car - notice the transportation theme?!

My little dinosaurs!

Nooks and Crannies are the best spots to hide!

My Boys & Me

We went to the Children's Museum yesterday and this is just a sample of my attempt at having our picture taken by Aunt Stephanie. :)

To see more pictures of our fun at the museum, check out the boys' blog.


I think they'll be excited about their big Christmas gift this year....A TRAIN TABLE!

But don't tell them, okay?

Christmas Party!

Every year, our friends Tom & Becca help us host a Christmas party in our home for our young (and not so young :)) couple's group. We enjoy different activities throughout the year but the Christmas party is an annual favorite for all of us. It's a fun time to be together and fellowship with lots of yummy food, a fun gift exchange (I received a 1 year subscription to Everyday Food!) complete with the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas poem, and usually a craft or game.

This year (Tuesday evening) we decided to do graham cracker gingerbread houses. The catch? Each couple only had 30 minutes to gather supplies, construct their house, and decorate it. I think everyone had a good time with it and I was amazed at the sturctures! My friend, Rachelle and I did ours together since her husband was out of town and my husband was taking some pictures and announcing the time. Anyway, here are a few pictures (Heather and Catherine also have pictures on their blogs) from our evening:

The winning (people's choice) gingerbread house by Michael & Heather!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Date Night!

This afternoon, I decided to see if I could find a last-minute babysitter and surprise Andrew with a night out. Aunt Margaret (my youngest sister - home from college) agreed and will feed the boys, bath them, and put them to bed so we can go out! Thanks, Margaret! Date nights are rather rare between Andrew's schedule and our family schedule; it's just hard to find time. So, I'm excited for dinner out and a movie!

We are also looking forward to a relaxed family week next week - Andrew will be off from work. I can't wait - the boys will love having him around and we really need some time just to be together! So, I'm off to hang with my hubby - I think I've convinced him to see Enchanted, he's a good man. :)
**The picture is from this summer...we don't have very many pictures of the two of us these days. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dish & Victory

So far, we really, really dislike dish network. We had to unhook it and attach our antennae just to get the Colts game this week because we had "lost" the local networks. And we are continually losing the signal. So, they are giving us two months free, they sent someone out today, and they are refunding our set-up fee. We may still return to Comcast; they want us back and will give us a much better deal than we had before. We shall see - we'll take the free couple of months first. :) But we are unhappy customers. Oh what we will do for the food network and ESPN.

In other news, I finally won a FF game after being on a really horrible losing streak! And this was in the playoffs! I'm enjoying the victory while I can. :) I meet the #1 (aka my sister) this week. I've beaten her once this season but she has beaten me the last 2 times. Good times in FF. Well, there is much to do today - we have a party here tonight. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Open House

I wish I had taken pictures at the Open House on Saturday but I was too busy talking and keeping the food table full! :) Our day started with us losing power - yikes! We weren't sure what we were going to do if it didn't come back on but fortunately, we didn't have to actually plan an alternative. Instead, we worried about the weather. :) But even that didn't stop people from coming! We were so glad! We were blessed to have 50-60 people stop in, visit, and eat holiday treats.

The boys had a blast! Calvin terrorized his friend, Meredith, because he adores her - a little embarrassing for us when he made her cry. :) We are trying to teach him manners and personal space but alas, he's two. Don't worry, we'll keep working on it and hopefully we won't lose friends in the meantime. :) He also made some new friends and we hope to have a play date with them sometime soon! Patrick loved sneaking food from the table and playing with new friends, too! Thankfully, he was a little more subdued around the girls than his brother was. What are we going to do?!?!

It's always such a pleasure to have people in our home and I love an excuse to cook and bake! This year, I decided to try an antipasti platter (in addition to many other things) and it was so pretty! I loved the fresh, marinated, mozzarella balls - it also had marinated mushrooms, marinated vegetables, summer sausage, crusty bread, and tortellini. I made little bags of candy coated pretzels as gifts for everyone. All in all, a success.

The evening ended with 2 little boys on a major sugar high which didn't seem to end until today. :) It was worth it. My sister and brother-in-law stayed overnight since we knew the weather would be bad and we thought it would be fun to be snowed in together - it was. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Play!

We had so much fun playing in the snow and then coming inside for hot chocolate and sugar cookies!

Bundled up and ready to go!

Cautiously navigating the very icy deck!

Patrick loved the snow!

Calvin & Daddy

Pippi was excited to join in the fun and the boys were so happy to have her!

Family Fun!

Fun in the Snow!

Yep, my eyes are closed...but it's the only picture that included Pippi so I picked it anyway. :) The snow wasn't good for making snowmen so we made a few snow angels and just played in the backyard! Check out the boys' blog for more pictures of our snow day.

MPM: Week Before Christmas

We have our final busy week before Christmas! :) We've been enjoying time with family and friends. Yesterday and today brought several inches of snow and ice which has kept us home all day today - my sister and brother-in-law spent the night and we've had a great day! Anyway, here's this week's menu plan - always subject to change :):

MONDAY: Greek! Gyros, tzatziki, humous, pita, greek potatoes & green beans
TUESDAY: BBQ meatballs (leftover from Open House), rice, steamed broccoli
WEDNESDAY: Chili, crackers, cheese, fruit
THURSDAY: Grilled cheese, tomato soup
FRIDAY: Pizza, Jello jigglers, veggies and dip, yogurt parfaits
SATURDAY: Christmas with the in-laws
SUNDAY: Egg Sandwiches, fruit salad
I'm also hoping to make this week:
Butter Pecan Fudge
Plain Dough Cookies
Cookie Dough Truffles
Chex Mix

Have a great week! Check out Laura's site for more menus. I continue to post recipes on my recipe blog - if you have questions, recipe requests, recipe ideas etc. let me know!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pippi's Christmas Picture

Since Pippi wasn't able to be in our Christmas picture, we took a separate one of our pretty little girl. :) Here she is decked out for the holidays.

This year, she loves wearing clothes! And before you pass judgement on my (I won't even try to say that it's Andrew's idea) dressed up dog, know this - she seems to get cold very easily (you wonder how with all the extra "insulation"). She often crawls under blankets to sleep but seems really happy to not have to do that. Wal-mart now has a line of inexpensive dog clothes so I picked up a cute green sweater and the boys picked this outfit for her. She really and truly doesn't fight it and the boys think it's hilarious!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Lately, I've felt a little run by my to-do list. It's a busy time of year and we have a lot going on - some planned and some not. :) Today for instance, I ran errands, taught 2 biology classes, woke Calvin up for speech therapy (not a good plan - took him 10 min. to allow me to leave the area), put together 10 gifts for our Bible Study kids this evening, packed Calvin's bag to spend the night at Nana's house since Patrick will go to the hospital early tomorrow morning for surgery, and I have yet to make dinner (pizza, which is easy) and host a Christmas party. I'm tired already. :) I suppose it doesn't help that I was up until the wee hours of the morning grading papers and finishing class preparations. Oh well.

I've been working hard to stay ahead for the week but not quite making it. :) We broke down and hired one of my sisters to thoroughly clean the house tomorrow and to entertain the boys Saturday morning. We just can't do it all and the kids come first - thus the early morning, unexpected surgery.

So, all that to say, the busy-ness continues and posting may be a bit scattered (or possibly non-existant) for the next few days. I'll for sure be back for menu planning; I don't know how I managed meals before starting weekly planning - definitely not well, I'm afraid.

Oh and my back is getting better every day - still sore but manageable. Thank you all for your kind words and concern. I'm going to work on more graceful landings and I must admit, I was glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has humbly planted herself on pavement.

Looking forward to seeing some of you on Saturday! Anyone is welcome - Andrew is pretty sure we'll have enough food to feed an army! :) (If you need directions, feel free to e-mail or facebook me.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The boys are on their 2nd week of speech therapy! Calvin gets 2 hours per week and Patrick receives one. They are doing so well! We can already tell some difference but mostly we are excited that they really, really like their speech therapist, Renee. She comes to our house twice a week and the boys love it! We really like her, too. She is a new grad and has an obvious enthusiasm for what she does. She actually took an elective course on clefts in school which is great!

I met with the public school this week (also in our home) to discuss the boys' transition into the speech program there. For Calvin, that will be in April. The goal in having the meeting now is to avoid any lapse in services which will be helpful for Calvin's progress. I'm hoping that by July, Patrick will no longer need therapy and therefore we won't have to worry about transitioning him. We'll see. So that's a quick report on the boys. :)

*This picture was taken by my cousin, Leslie. Note the shoes Patrick is sporting. :) And they wish they were allowed to drink pop! In the meantime, they enjoy arranging and shaking the cans up to surprise the Bible Study kids that drink it. :)

You Want to Sing What?

We try to have devotions with the boys each night before bed. And we allow them to pick which songs to sing. Well, lately the most requested is "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes." :) We have tried to sing others but they are quite insistent that it be included in our worship and we oblige. We always remind them that God made them at the end. :) Thanks, Elmo (they have a cute musical Elmo book that plays it). :)

Caption Needed

As we were working in the kitchen while my cousin was here, we discovered this in the pantry... :) They were having such a good time - Calvin put himself in there. Pippi was rather confused!

Pictures thanks to Leslie!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

True Confessions

This morning, we had dish network installed. We've had cable and decided we were paying WAY too much so we shopped around and found that dish was the best deal for us. And yes, we had the debate - do we really need cable? We watch some tv but not lots - can't we live without it? The answer? Yes, we could live productive, fine lives without 100 channels - we really just need 2. The problem? They are only available with a package and not just a basic 40 channel package.

We thought about it and decided it was worth it. :) We must have ESPN and the Food Network. True Confession #1: I'm a food network junkie. True Confession #2: I know the chefs and I have favorite shows. True Confession #3: I would seriously love to be the next food network star except that I hate public speaking and probably wouldn't actually want to be in front of a camera but look at the kitchens and ingredients! :) Andrew is, of course, crazy about football. And you see, therein lie our interests and passions. And if we are going to actually watch tv, we would rather watch something we enjoy.

So, we have dish. We'll see if we like it - the best part, we now have DVR so we can record games, cooking shows, movies etc. to watch when we have time. You may think less of us and that's okay - just remember that when you come for a gourmet meal it may be in part thanks to dish network. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007


I'm doing okay today. Very sore, but okay. I know work would have done me in for the week because of the back pain so I'm glad that we made the call for me to stay home. I went to my chiropractor and feel a little better from that. Hopefully by tomorrow or Wednesday I'll be mostly pain free - maybe, although I suspect my tail bone may take a bit longer than that. :) What a weird accident; I'm just thankful it wasn't worse and that I wasn't carrying one of the boys.

Calvin and Patrick both had doctor's appointments this morning and that turned out a little unexpectedly. We will be headed to Riley for outpatient surgery on Friday. Nothing serious but Patrick needs a procedure. Our doctor was so gracious to offer it before the end of the year to maximize our insurance and deductibles for this year.

I'm taking it easy this afternoon but hope to get a few things started for the weekend later tonight. I'm not sure if Andrew will be home this evening - he was kind enough to stay home a couple of extra hours this morning so I could go to the chiro. by myself. :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I'm not sure how to relate this story without looking clumsy and smiling a sort-of-embarassed-sort-of-sheepish-sort-of-pained-smile.

I walked out of church this morning and hurried across the parking lot because I had inadvertantly left home without a coat on this 30 degree day. It was rainy and (as I soon discovered) slippery. All of a sudden, I felt myself sliding and the next thing I knew, I was on my back in the middle of the parking lot. I fought back tears of pain as I tried to catch my breath and stand up. I knew immediately that I had twisted my back and hit my right elbow.

It was embarassing (although few people saw it and now I'm relating it to all of you in blogger land :)), but more than that it was extremely painful. I've spent the rest of today putting ice on my back and elbow, taking anti-inflammatories, and resting. I won't be able to work tomorrow and I'm taking a trip to the doctor. What a way to start the week. Anyway, I'm back - kind of. :)

Menu Plan Monday: 12/10-12/17

It’s that time of week again… :) Doesn’t it come fast?! Last week was great but very full and busy. The dinner Friday night was a success and instead of the pumpkin bundt cake, we made cranberry white chocolate bread pudding which was delicious!!! We enjoyed family and had a wonderful time celebrating with my grandparents for their 65th anniversary. We are blessed with LOTS of family (just to give you an idea, there are 21 children under 9 – 19 of them were there!) and our grandparents are such an example of love and respect!

MondayChili (in the crock pot), Cornbread, Salad
TuesdayMade-rights, Oven Fries, Fruit salad
Wednesday – Pasta w/Cheesy White Sauce and Peas, Salad
ThursdayPizza, Pretzels, Veggies, Orange Slices (we have our Bible study Christmas party here after dinner)
Friday – Out With Friends
Saturday – Open House: veggie & dip, antipasti platter, fruit, cheese ball & crackers, chipped beef dip, BBQ meatballs & cocktail sausages, fudge (2-3 kinds), chocolate covered cherries, iced sugar cookies, Mexican wedding cakes, English toffee, peanut clusters, coated pretzels, lemon spritz, maybe a few other things :)
Sunday – Leftovers

Our menu is pretty simple this week since I will be focusing on getting ready for our annual holiday open house on Saturday! I’m hoping to work on the open house all week!

I've added some recipes to my blog, feel free to check it out. If you have any recipe requests, questions, ideas etc., let me know! Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for lots more menus!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I'm having a wonderful time with my cousin visiting. She flew in last night after being out west for 9 months or so and the boys have been entertaining her ever since! :) Actually, tonight we went to a yummy cooking class. The menu was all holiday treats - you can't go wrong with that! I'll post some of the recipes on my recipe blog when I get a chance so you too can enjoy them. We made chocolate angel food cake (from scratch), cranberry white chocolate bread pudding (unbelievably great!), truffles, eclairs, iced lemon tea cookies, and mexican wedding cakes (these will definitely be made next week). Everything I've tried has been so good! And it provided most of the dessert for our dinner tomorrow night which was a big bonus. :)

I work tomorrow morning and will be having 15 adults and 4 kids for dinner, so I'm going to take a couple days off from blogging! I'll probably be back Saturday night or Sunday - if I can stay away that long. :) Have a great rest of the week!

Oh and next week is our annual Christmas Open House, feel free to bring your family and stop in if you live in the area or just want to visit (Saturday, Dec. 15, 4:30-7:30pm)! It's my excuse to cook and bake up a storm. :) Okay, I'm really going now. :) Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Decorating the Very-Nice-But-Not-Perfect Tree

If you missed the first installment of this story, start here.
During the boys' naps, the Mommy and Daddy brought the tree inside and put it in the stand. The Mommy decided that it needed to be taller so the extra nice Daddy made a wood stand to put under the metal stand. It looked much better. The Mommy put lights on the tree and decided that the usual tree topper just wasn't going to work; the Daddy actually agreed. After the naps, one boy stayed with the Daddy and one boy went to the store with the Mommy to get a tree topper and some things for the tree trimming party.

The Mommy and the boy went to Wal-Mart and found a beautiful gold star for the tree. It was a very good deal. The boy and the Mommy also had to buy a birthday gift for their friend. The boy wanted to buy a car for himself instead. The Mommy told him, "not today," so he helped pick out the gift. Then they went to Kroger and bought some yummy food for the party. The boy insisted on the car cart which is very difficult to steer and the Mommy kept almost running into things. The boy tried to put a matchbox car in the cart but the Mommy said "no," again - what a mean Mommy. :)

They checked out at the store and went home. The Mommy made food - crusty bread with olive oil, tomato slices, and fresh mozerella under the broiler, hummus w/pita & carrots, basil and garlic goat cheese with crackers, summer sausage, pumpkin roll, iced sugar cookies (actually made by the Daddy), eggnog, and apple juice punch. The Mommy forgot to make the cream cheese & jam spread that is the Daddy's favorite but he forgot too, so it was okay. The family had lots of food.

The family decorated their tree. The boys mostly liked to watch the train underneath the tree. They put a few ornaments on the tree and took a lot off. The Mommy and Daddy decided less is more this year. So the decorating stopped. The lights were turned off, eggnog poured, and the family sang some carols but the Mommy and the Daddy sometimes forgot the words. The tree looked beautiful. The boys opened their advent calendars and ate their chocolate - the Daddy wished he had some chocolate, too. Then the boys went to bed. And that's the story of the family's Christmas tree. What a fun day the family had!

The End

WFMW: What Do I Fix?

It's a themed Works For Me Wednesday so here you go! My quick, go-to meal when it's zero hour (that's what we call 5:15 at our house :)) is made-rights and oven fries. We love them so much that we have them even when it's not a last-minute meal. I know Shannon said sandwiches are out but these are not just any sandwich and it's not lunch meat... :) I grew up eating them!

Here are the recipes:

Made-Rights (loose meat sandwich)

1 lb. ground beef
1 med.-lg. onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Buns, sliced bread, bagels - whatever you have on hand
Dill relish

Brown the ground beef and onion together and add the salt and pepper. (The pepper is the key to this recipe!) Spread the mayo, ketchup, relish, and/or mustard (whatever you like) on the bread and top with the loose meat. Doesn't sound like much but trust me, it's amazingly yummy and filling!

Oven Fries

Peel and slice 1 potato per person in strips, lengthwise (I use the fry cutter attachment for my Bosch)
Olive oil
Dried dill

Put the sliced potatoes in a bag with enough olive oil to coat them. Sprinkle with salt and dried dill. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Fruit or applesauce make a great finish to this quick meal. If you don't have time for the fries - chips work, too. :)

And that's what works for me! Check out Rocks In My Dryer for more last-minute meals.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Radish Report

Just wanted to say that the radishes were quite good. I tried them both when I cut them and the watermelon radish was definitely stronger and had more of the usual radish "bite." I combined the radishes with some sliced cucumber and put some seasoned salt, garlic powder, and celery seed on them as well as some real mayonaise (no miracle whip). The salt juices the cucumber some which thins the dressing. It was surprisingly tasty. So, next time you're in the market, try the radishes! Calvin loved them!

A watermelon radish is pictured - very beautiful inside!

Once Upon A Time...

...there was a family with a Mommy, Daddy, 2 boys, and a dog. The Mommy decided it would be fun to cut down a Christmas tree. The Daddy agreed. The dog stayed home. The two boys were bundled up from head to toe and toe to head because the Mommy was worried that they would get cold.

The nice family drove to a Christmas tree farm, got a saw and ruler and headed out to the trees. It was a very long walk to where the trees grew (at least the ones that the Mommy wanted to see). One of the boys didn't think this was very fun because he kept tripping on the uneven ground but the Mommy kept helping him up and reminding him that it was fun. The boy was unconvinced until he discovered that hiding among the trees is fun. His brother thought it was great, too and didn't want to pose for any pictures. The Mommy and Daddy tried to coax the two boys to smile for the picture but they wanted to run away and hide instead.

The Daddy kept showing the Mommy different nice trees and the Mommy kept wanting to look for the perfect tree. It was very cold. Finally, the parents agreed on a tree. The Daddy cut it done before the Mommy could get a picture so she made him hold it up. It was a nice tree but the Mommy found the perfect tree on the walk back. The family started the long walk to the bailing area. The boys did not think this was fun and the Mommy and Daddy forgot to get a cart to wheel the tree to the front. So, the Daddy pulled the tree with the help of one boy and the Mommy carried the 8-foot measuring stick and saw and helped the other boy walk without falling. It was cold. Finally, the family made it and learned that they had cut down a 6 1/2 foot frasier fir - they were happy. The Daddy stayed outside while the Mommy took the boys in the little store.

In the store, there was much excitement. There were dancing bears on a table! The two boys shrieked (okay, one boy shrieked) and ran to watch. The Mommy noticed Santa in the corner and thought it would be fun to take pictures of the boys with Santa. The boys were distracted by the music and the Mommy waited in line. Finally, it was the family's turn. One of the boys went and sat on Santa's lap and the other boy cried. No amount of convincing would make the boy sit on Santa's lap. The Daddy was inside the store by then, so he took a picture for the Mommy while the Mommy held the crying boy. Then the boy decided that maybe santa wasn't so bad. Santa gave both of the boys their first candy cane.

The boys thought the candy canes looked yummy but the Mommy said to wait until the car - the Mommy should have said, let's wait until after naps. The boys started eating their candy canes and they thought they were extra delicious. They ate them all and then they were very silly from all the sugar.

The Mommy and Daddy were hungry because they didn't have a candy cane. So, the parents decided to stop at their favorite Chinese restaurant. The boys didn't eat very much but the Mommy and Daddy thought it was good. Then they went home for naps.

To Be Continued....