Sunday, July 31, 2011

The End is Nigh

The end of the world as we know it is near!  The end of summer, that is - oh, we will still have this heat I am sure, but the kids are going back to school, fall sports will be getting prepared for, and schedules will be much fuller.  For the kids that is.  I, for one, have a list of things that I am looking forward to getting done once school starts again!  I will be able to get back to my poor, neglected sewing machine for one.  I had plans of fitting it into my weekly summer routine, but then a certain baby started crawling 3 MONTHS before his siblings ever did so that idea flew out the window!  That isn't the only thing that stopped me though, my work schedule has been nuts the past few weeks as well.  I have talked to my boss (dad) and he has agreed that after I finish up this last project, that he will let me do the minimum that I can for a couple of weeks so that I can make sure the kids have a rockin' last 2 weeks of summer!  I have really LOVED this summer - it is the first summer in 4 years that I have been at home and able to do fun things with the kids.  Well, I was home last summer but was pregnant and sick all the time so don't really count that....  Also, this summer, we took our first family vacation without my parents - wow, I feel like a real adult now!  I love vacationing with all of my family so much but it was a nice bonding time for me, Mike, David and Ally - especially with how much time and energy was devoted to Wyatt with me on bedrest the last couple of months of pregnancy and then the whole having a new baby - those kids really deserved the extra attention!  Wyatt had his first sleepover at my parent's house so he was pretty happy as well.  I will miss all the fun until next summer but boy am I looking forward to having the house to myself again (well, except for Wyatt, of course).

So, what am I going to do with all of my newfound free time?  Number 1 - have more time with God.  Then, sew, organize, and clean out!  I also want to get more organized with my couponing and see if can can figure out a way to stop my desk from looking hurricane-hit within hours of cleaning it off!  I am an orderly person - I have no idea what happens!!!  Maybe I can sweet talk the hubby into putting some shelves up for me hmmm...

What about you?  Are you sad or happy that summer is ending?  Why?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Last week's meal plan worked well - the only exception is that we ended up going out to eat on night so that night's meal got pushed to this week.  Not bad!  Here is what this week looks like:

Tuesday:  dinner out, at Chili's (hoping to get an email coupon today for kid's eat free like I have the last 3 months)

Wednesday(Mike):  Hamburger Casserole

Thursday:  Steph's Southwestern Chicken and Rice Casserole, salad, chips and salsa

Friday:  Breakfast for dinner!  Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit salad

Saturday (Mike):  Turkey spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad

Sunday:  Fajitas, refried beans, rice, salad

Monday:  Chicken Lollipops, stir-fry veggies

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On My Counter

Italian Sausage Lasagna
From The Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 lb bulk Italian pork sausage
1medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained
1 can (15 oz) Muir Glen® organic tomato sauce
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (12 oz)
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese or small-curd cottage cheese (2 cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1.  In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.
2.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, sugar, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered about 45 minutes or until slightly thickened.

3.  Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook and drain noodles as directed on package.
4.  In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and the oregano.
5.  Spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Top with 4 noodles. Spread 1 cup of the cheese mixture over noodles; spread with 1 cup of the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 4 noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, 1 cup of the sauce mixture and 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining noodles and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
6.  Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake about 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
Serves 8 - add salad and garlic bread and it is ready for everyone to enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Yeah, I know it is Tuesday but yesterday was a holiday so I am counting today as Monday ;-)  This week, I am starting meal planning and sticking to it!  I will post my plans on Mondays as Tuesday is grocery day.  This, in correllation with "On My Counter" will help me keep track of some of the meals that I have made in the past as well as help me not repeat too often, hopefully.  I hope others will join me because I really don't have too many meal ideas :-)

Tuesday:  small group, dinner provided
Wednesday: Pork chops, spinach, mac 'n' cheese
Thursday: lasagna, salad, garlic bread, apple pie
Friday: soft tacos, rice, beans, salad
Saturday: hamburger casserole
Sunday: eat out
Monday: homemade pizzas

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On My Counter

Hello friends!  I am joing my cousin Krystal in her "On MY Counter" venture and hope that you will join me too!  A couple of times a week, I will post what is on my counter, what we are having for dinner, along with the ingredients and directions to make it.  Hopefully enough of us will get in on this that we will get some new dinner ideas going!

Tonight, we had steak and baked potatoes - easy, breezy.

I used GrillMates Marinade, with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup water, put it in a large ziploc baggie with 3 ribeye steaks and shook them around until they were all covered.  I cooked them on the stove and just cooked them on medium high for about 20 minutes flipping them over every few minutes.

The potatoes I covered in "I can't Believe It's Not Butter" and wrapped them in foil, then cooked them in a 400 degree oven for 1 hr 20 minutes.
And yes, this would have been healthier with a salad but the kids and I had been snacking on fruits and veggies all afternoon so I didn't :-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Monkeys are back!

Finally, my two oldest monkeys are home and my zoo is complete, once again.  I love how well my monkeys love each other - when we got to their grandparents to pick up David and Allison, the bypassed mommy and daddy to go straight to Wyatt to give him cuddles!  It makes my heart glad that they are so bonded.  Wyatt was jabbering at them most of the way home and giggling at their antics.  Of course, Mike and I finally got our hugs and kisses after they greeted their brother :-)

Ally with her "baby"

David, looking so grown up

This was the first year that the kids made it the whole trip without getting sad every time they talked to me.  It tugs on my heart a bit that they are growing up, but more so makes me proud of the fact that they are becoming more independent.  That means that Mike and I are doing our jobs well, in my opinion.  They did end up coming home a few days early but they were gone for 12 days and that is pretty long for a 5 and just barely 7 year old.

I am so grateful to Rosa, my ex-mother-in-law, for the love and attention she bestows on David and Ally, even though her son is no longer their (legal) dad.  She is an amazing woman who has so much patience - she took 4 grandkids total to visit family in Brownsville and she was by herself the last week of it (Jim, her husband, and Mimi, the kids aunt, had to go back after a week for work)!  It was a huge blessing to Mike and I to have the time alone together and with Wyatt and now it is wonderful to have all of my mokeys in one place.

My little monkeys