Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I tried this once before, but found that I couldn't stick to my monthly meal menus. We have too much random stuff come up, or Kevin's not home for dinner. I thought it would be much easier to plan week-by-week (accounting for eating leftovers, too)! This is starting back up right now for a very specific reason: we eat out too damn much! Seriously, looking at our credit card bills, the vast majority is spent at restaurants! To try and remedy that, I need to plan better! Here's our menu for this week:

Monday - Stuffed Shells
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Mighty Meatloaf
Thursday - Orange-Sesame Pork
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Fajitas
Sunday - I don't cook on Sunday nights. It's a cereal/ice cream/sandwich/fend for yourself dinner! I have another blogging friend (who is my real-life friend's older sister) who has "Sunday Sundaes" for supper. Genius idea, and one that our family might be implementing!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Friday!

I emailed Megan's teacher yesterday to ask if it would be okay to bring a treat for the kids today. She loved the idea and said yes. I did make the little apples that I posted about yesterday, and they turned out so, so cute! I couldn't find the black edible markers that Bakerella used, so mine don't have faces. I'm not sure how it would have worked, anyway. Once the candy coating was on the "apples", mine began to sweat a little. I'm afraid the pen would have run. That's an experiment for another day, I suppose!

Here are a bunch of pictures of the process, since Lisa wanted to see it!

I didn't have any cake mix in the house, so I made the cake (devil's food!) from scratch. I almost felt bad about butchering the cake after it cooled, but it was necessary to make the cake pops.
After the cake was thoroughly destroyed, I added a can of icing and mixed. At this point, I could have eaten it as-is all by myself! YUM!

I used a small cookie scoop to get the balls, and then rolled them so that the tops were a little fatter than the bottoms. I made a small indention in the top (to make it look more apple-like, although some seem like a mixture of tomotaoes and cherries). I didn't get a picture of this stage. I put them on wax paper and into the fridge to firm up. This didn't work too well, and when I put them on the sticks, they kept sliding all the way through. I had to put them back into the freezer to get them even harder. While they firmed up, I emptied about 3/4 of a bag of red candy melts into a measuring cup and zapped them in the microwave to melt them.

After the cake balls were firm, I dipped them in the red candy coating, shook off the excess, and added my "stem & leaf" (pretzle stick and tiny green sprinkle). To dry, I shoved the sticks into a piece of styrofoam.

I wasn't sure how I was going to store them overnight so they wouldn't dry out. They won't fit in any tupperware containers that I have, and I wanted to keep them upright. I had little plastic bags and ribbon, so I ended up packaging each one individually, like a lolipop. They turned out so, so cute! I hope the class enjoys them!
All in all, although they were time consuming (I had to keep putting the cake balls back in the freezer because they were getting too gooey to dip), they were really pretty easy. The cute factor is through the roof, and Megan is going to be so excited to share them with her friends! I'll definitely try things from the Bakerella site again!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A new favorite

I have a new favorite website to browse through, and wanted to pass it along so that y'all can all waste your time there, too. It's Bakerella ( It has the cutest baked goods you ever laid eyes on! There are a few things (like the little apple cake pops!) that I can't wait to try. I wonder if Megan's teacher would appreciate her class being sugared up as a back-to-school treat? Hmmm...

Take a look and let me know what you think. I can't wait to have a reason to try some of these! Just look at these little apple cakes! Adorable!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sin City, here we come!

On Wednesday, we are leaving for Vegas, baby! My sisters, Lisa & Karen, and I had been trying to find a way to take a sisters' trip this summer, but nothing seemed to work out. Then, a few weeks ago, Karen said that she and her husband were trying to plan a trip to Vegas. Kevin and I have never been, so when we started looking into it, we were surprised at how afforadable the flights and hotels were (the real money maker there is the casions, of course). We talked Lisa into it, also, and 2 of Chris's friends are coming as well, to make us a group of 7. The timing isn't great since we won't get back until next Saturday, get the kids from my in-laws on Sunday and school starts up for Meg on Monday, but we'll figure out a way to make it work!

Here's to coming home with more money that we take with us! For those of you who are Vegas veterans, any advice? Suggestions? Favorite places to see?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Boys will be Boys

Every day, when I go in to get Owen out of bed, he greets me happily. Happily, sans clothes (except for a diaper) and with numerous books, toys, little cars, old cell phones and even his little rug in his bed with him! It's gotten bad. A toy or two wouldn't be so bad, but he's dragging everything that isn't nailed down into bed with him!

The no-clothes thing is another problem. My dear friend Andrea reminded me that boys (of all ages) just like to be n.aked (sorry for the dot in the middle of the word...I don't want weirdos who google "n.aked" to stumble on the blog). Owen's bed time is 7:30. He's usually in bed by 8:00 at the latest. A few nights ago, we heard him playing until almost 9:00. By then, I had been in his room and re-dressed him 3 times. UGH!

Bedrooms are a big topic in our house right now. Hannah is a chatterbug and bothers Megan so much at bedtime that we are splitting them up. With school starting, we can't have Meg staying up so late dealing with her (seriously, she comes out 4 or 5 times during the evening, telling us that Hannah won't let her sleep). I'm sad that we are losing our playroom (Kevin is moving his office into the basement and Megan is taking over his former office as her room) but it's for the best. It's a great time to purge toys anyway! All of the re-arranging and room changes have Hannah in a bit of a funk. Our recent move affected her more than the other kids. She often asks about our house in Iowa and about our Iowa friends, missing them. Seeing Megan's stuff leaving her room has her worried that we're about to move again. We've assured her that we'll be in this house for a good, long while, but I'm not sure she believes us. Given our history, I'm not sure that I blame her!

Summer is coming to a close soon. We have one more vacation to squeeze in before school starts back up (Kevin, my sister Lisa, my sister Karen, my BIL Chris and 2 of his friends are going to Vegas in a week and a half) but then we'll finally be less frantic. I love summer time, don't get me wrong, but I've come to realize that our family needs the structure that the school year provides. Regular school hours, CCE classes at church, MOPS starting back up - I've missed it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Texas Hill Country

After our fun weekend in Aggieland, we decided to extend our visit to that part of Texas! We went on to San Antonio, but the kids weren't very impressed by the Alamo. They were ready for the next day, our trip with my sister and her family to Sea World! Shamu has reached rock star status in our house, and the build-up to seeing him live was huge!

As you might imagine, a whale that size (and there were 5 of them!) can make quite a splash. The majority of us were smart enough to stay dry, but Chris, Zachary and Megan wanted to sit in the "splash zone"! After the Shamu show, they were soaked and smelled kind of fishy, but a good time was had by all!

Hannah and Alex have gotten to be good buddies, and they spent most of the day walking together (aren't they cute?)!

No one actually rode this particular ride (the daddies thought the line was too long) but that didn't stop the kiddos from imagining the screams they would have let out if they had!

After spending a long day in the Texas heat, with tons of walking, and feeling slightly sunburned, we decided to spend the next morning at the Natural Bridge Caverns. Caves are cool, right? Wrong. The humidity in those dang things is like 80% and we had to walk for miles up and down steep, slippery rocks with 5 kids in tow. It was interesting, but I think we might need to wait until Owen is comfortable walking that far by himself before attempting it again. Those who know me well, know that I'm a klutz. Imagine then, me holding a wiggling, 35 pound child, while walking on a slippery, steep terrain, where if you fall, you might go 100 feet into the center of the earth. Not a pretty picture.

Here are Kevin, Karen and the kids before we went in, when we didn't know what was in store!

Here we are, close to the end (sorry for the bad quality, it's a picture of a picture). We were so tired and sweaty. Only 1/2 mile to go at this point (that's sarcasm, by the way)!All morning in the caverns, and all the kids wanted to do was climb on the dinosaurs in the parking lot!All in all, we had a great little vacation with the kids. Not much longer and school will be starting back up (not that any of us are complaining). Who knew that mom wasn't much fun day in and day out? Little things like this and spending time together make me happy, though, and I hope we can do more fun little trips like this. The older they all get, the easier it will get, right?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back in "God's Country"!

We've made several little trips this summer, but last week was one of my favorites! We headed to College Station for Kevin's cousin's wedding (congratulations, Jeremy and Lori)! Being back in Aggieland was great...good food, good people, and great memories! Before we headed out of town, we couldn't wait to take the kids around campus and show them all of the hot spots!

Our first night in town, we couldn't wait to take the kids to Wings-N-More, our favorite college restaurant!
Before the wedding, the kids (and Kevin!) were glad to cool off in the hotel's pool.

Before we left town (after the wedding), we took the kids to campus...

...visited Kyle Field...
...stopped by to see Sully and the Century Tree (where Kevin and I got engaged)...

...and then dodged a squirrel who got a little too friendly (seriously, the Aggies reading this must remember how they can chase you...this one did)! Look at him? He's like "who, me?"

It was the start to a great mini-vacation! Next up, New Braunfels, San Antonio and Sea World!