Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful for Menu Plan Monday

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We traveled to Houston, and had a wonderful time catching up with family! As I look around me daily, I am overwhelmed with the blessings in my life. Family, Friends, Faith... and also for you guys. I am so thankful to all my blog friends. I look forward to your visits and comments everyday and look forward to getting to know you more and more! I missed you all last week, but we all need breaks right?  
I am also thankful for Menu Plan Monday!! I have to admit, although I don't always stick with my menu, I would be lost without it! Meals seem to be an after thought in our home, we get so busy and before I realize dinner time is upon us, and I have three hungry boys at my feet. Luckily at that point all I have to do is check my menu and start cooking, instead of digging through my pantry hoping something is there that might make a decent meal. It is a must for me to stay organized and Menu Planning is such a large part of that.

So here is my menu plan for this week. Many of the dishes will use MORE Thanksgiving leftovers!

Menu Plan Monday

Grandma's Spaghetti and Meat (recipe below), Cornbread, Salad

Turkey Pocket Pies (recipe tomorrow)

Wednesday: 1st Wed. at BAF
Black Bean Quessadillas strips, fruit salad


Friday: Family Movie Night
Pizza, popcorn, Peppermint Sundaes

Saturday: Christmas Shopping
Crock pot Turkey Soup, cheese, crackers

Hash brown Ham Bake, green beans, salad


Grandma's Spaghetti and Meat (exactly as she wrote it on a recipe card for me)

1 1/2 c. Small Elbow Macaroni
1/2 lb Hamburger meat
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 46oz can of tomato juice

Cook Macaroni in enough water to be loose. While it's cooking brown meat loose or in small balls. Drain off water on macaroni and add tomato juice, meat, salt & sugar. Heat to a boil. Very good with Cornbread or butter and crackers.

Southwest Sliders w/Chipotle Mayo

I have been inspired!  I saw some cute little home style burgers at a restaurant the other day, and thought I would give my hand at them, but because I can't leave anything alone... I decided to spice things up a bit and add a little Southwest pizazz!!

I like to call them Southwest Sliders, but William refers to them as  SKY BURGERS. ( free iPhone app, you'll have to check it out)

Southwest Sliders w/Chipotle Mayo

  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 (10oz) can Rotel original
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  1. Mix Beef, rotel, eggs, onion powder and garlic salt
  2. Form into 2 inch balls and flatten into a patty (making middle slightly indented)
  3. Preheat Grill on Medium heat  cook for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • 1 c  mayonnaise or light mayonnaise (do not use salad dressing, it will be too watery)
  • 2 chipotle peppers with 1 tbs adobo sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. Chop peppers,adobo sauce, and lime juice in a food processor until smooth texture.
  2. Stir mixture into Mayonnaise
  3. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks. Use Mayo on Burgers, Sandwiches, and Fajitas.
Spread mayo on both sides of potato roll, add a southwest patty, and top with all your favorites.
We used American Cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: The one with the turkey! :)

It's Thanksgiving week, and I'm anxious to see what all of you have planned for your menu this week. I'm hoping it includes some yummy recipes.
 I'm super excited today b/c I'm roasting my very first turkey!! We have always been given smoked turkeys by my husbands employer, so I have never had to cook one. And although we are still getting a cooked turkey, I just have to try out this roasting thing for myself! So get ready for a whole lot of turkey dishes on my menu plan! :) YUM... I love TURKEY!!!

Poblano and Cilantro Roasted Turkey, Twice Baked Salsa Potatoes, Mexican Corn, and Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce

Grandma's Spaghetti & Meat and Cornbread

Wednesday & Thursday: In Houston with family!
Taking snacks. Chex Mix, Sausage Balls, and Pumpkin Muffins.

Friday: Christmas Pizza Movie Night- THE TREE GOES UP TODAY!!
Pizza, Popcorn, Fruit Salad, and Mint M&M Brownies

Thanksgiving Fried Pies with Salad

Leftovers Leftovers, and More Leftovers

Did I mention I love turkey!!! YUM!!!!
Hope you all have a very blessed Turkey Day and are surrounded by those you love!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Safeguard your Marriage

I am very blessed to have a husband that adores me, as I do him.  I am also very blessed to have a husband that is under the same opinion of how to prioritize our marriage. Although, we are definitely not perfect at it, we both try very hard. 
I never want to look back at my marriage and think... "if only I would have told him how much he means to me!" I want him to know everyday that he is MY MAN!! and that I would Fight for him anyday, anyplace, anytime!

I beg you today, make your Husband and your marriage a priority! Don't fall into the busy trap of life... remember how important it is to a model strong relationship to your children!

Here is a great way to start! The Six-Second Kiss

I know my husband is going to LOVE this, I'm sure yours will too!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thomas the Tank Engine : Toy Review

Can I just tell you how much I adore Thomas the Tank Engine! All things Thomas are fantastic in my eyes. If you have never seen Thomas, let me encourage you to check out a book or a movie.

Thomas the Tank Engine originates from the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, as a way of entertaining his young son Christopher as he recovered, in isolation, from scarlet fever.  Eventually, the oral tales were turned into books and then into movies, toys, and an entire aisle at Toys-r-us. :) 

My boys love the smiling faces of Thomas and all his friends and I love what Thomas represents. Each character has a specific personality and each story illustrates how the engines interact with moral dilemmas, and biblical concepts.

As mentioned before, there is quite an array of Thomas products. For today, I'm going to focus my attention on the Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Railway

Things I love about Wooden Trains (especially Thomas the Tank Engine):
  • Classic:   Unfortunately, sometimes the classic toys get pushed to the side while the toys that light up buzz and ding demand the most attention. I adore the quiet imagination that emerges from my boys when the trains are brought out and set up. The conversations that begin to take place as the
    boys choose the personality of the train they become.
  • Sturdy: As most Classic toys are, the wooden nature of the train and accessories is very durable. The paint may get chipped a bit, but those are just "love dents".
  • Compatibility: I have yet to find an off brand wooden track that is not compatible with the Thomas tracks and Trains. However, I do love the name brand and they do seem to be a bit more sturdy, it's nice to have an alternative.
Things I do NOT love about Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • Price:  Ok, here is the deal. Actual Thomas the Tank Engine Wooden Railway Products are a bit pricey. You will pay $10-$25 for one engine. But in our house, we had to step back and look at it this way... Our Trains are an INVESTMENT!! This is a toy that we will keep for generations to come. They are a special toy that carry special memories in our house, and we will continue to purchase them! 
    • I really do believe that the Brand Name Tracks are best, but we do quite a bit of store brand tracks and brand engines and bridges. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Year Ago Today! November 17th, 2009

I was looking at my pictures today and here is what was in the folder dated one year ago Today! The STORY, William was such a trooper through it all! Wow, that seems like so long ago!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

God What are You Teaching Me? A Life Interrupted!

Have you ever been in a moment, when you were able to look back and see the tapestry of your life?   A tapestry not completed by any means, but at a point that you see  the beauty of the creation, and not so much the snags and knots that seemed impossible at the time. Each beautiful thread touched by God's own hands, woven into a magnificent story. A story that at that very moment has a clear purpose in your life.

 6 weeks ago, I started a Bible Study titled, Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. For several weeks now, I have attended weekly, studied daily, and really enjoyed the discussion; but found myself thinking... How does this apply in my life?  The other girls in my group seemed to have been going through a season of "interruption" or just come out of one... Of course, God has "interrupted" my life before, but what was happening now? 

And then, His word spoke to me... I was looking back over the study, and this verse Hit me like a ton of bricks!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."  Psalms 139:23-24

I began to pray that prayer.... Which is so scary!!
What was God going to show me? Did I really want to own up to it? Was I ready to do this?

But I continued and day by day, God began to reveal to me that there was a huge part of my life I had not given to him. A part, that I didn't want to give up, I didn't want to let go... it was much to precious and I wanted to keep it for myself, and make sure nothing ever happened to it!

Can I just tell you what a hard time I was having! I am talking major inner struggle, a big knot in my tapestry!!  I want my children to love God! I want them to grow to be warriors for Christ. I want them to have a relationship with God and to know the unconditional love and grace, that covers them daily.
I also know good and well, that  I can't do all that by myself...

But, if I let go, what if something happened to my boys? What if God's plan was different than mine? Could I bear that.. what would I do? What if it wasn't all pretty and sweet as I have planned it in my mind?

As I sat one day thinking about all of this, contemplating God's work in my own tapestry, I knew what God was asking me to do. I had to obey and willingly give God control to interrupt my sweet boys' lives. So I did,  I committed to fight the temptation to control. I made the choice to step back and give God the control!  No matter what God's plan is for our family, individually and together, I will trust in HIM! I will follow unconditionally! And can I just say, God never fails to amaze me! 

Almost everyday since, God has opened doors of discussion with the boys. Over the last week we have talked about Heaven, Death, Truth, Love for Others, things that we talked about before, some alot, but this time it was different. These discussions were on Gods time, and not mine.

Priscilla Shirer says, "When we come face to face with God and respond in obedience, we will see supernatural results."   and I expect nothing less! God will do great things, just look back at the tapestry He has woven in your life and each life around you. Even the lives that refuse to believe, are covered in God's amazing work. 

I am so thankful that I have a God, that never lets me down. Even when I'm not sure of His plan, and I can't see my way through the tangles and snags of my "interrupted" life, God never fails! And I know He will not fail my children either. They must face there own "interruptions"... and I will watch from the bleechers cheering encouragement and guidance as God, the faithful, unwavering, loving, God;coaches them through life.   

Thursday, November 11, 2010

LeapFrog Tag Reading System - Toy Review

Christmas Toy Review #2:  LeapFrog Tag Reading System

William received his Tag System from his Grandparents last Christmas.  It is all he wanted and was so excited to see that green box emerge from the wrapping paper! I have to admit I was too!

The Tag System is comprised of a Tag "pen" and a variety of books.  You download electronic files onto the pen and it matches up with to books you own. The pen can hold up to 10 books at a time. Then you can point at a variety of settings within the books to do various activities: Games, reading word by word, sound out words, reading entire page, and spelling.
The Tag  uses 2 AAA batteries, but don't really have to change them out very often. Comes in two colors Green or Pink.

What I love about this toy:

  • Really does work!! I'm not saying this will teach your child to read, but I can  say I saw a significant improvement on Williams word recognition after he started using this toy! We also have books that focus on certain vowel sounds that have come in handy during schooling.
  • Ease of use: William received this toy at age 4 and was a pro!, but even Cade (3) is able to use all the functions and Brennan (2 1/2) can use some of the functions. All with a print rich toy! We also have a friend with a 7 year old daughter who still loves to play with her Tag system, and has asked for more books at Christmas
  • Book: There is a huge variety of books! Some gender specific, others not. I also love that there are classic titles included, ex. "The Cat in the Hat" and "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom".  Most of all, I love that the book look like regular books. Most of them have hard back covers and paper pages, just like every other book on the shelf. Williams quote, "Mommy, these books are just like the ones you read to me". 
  • Compact: You can buy a storage case for the Tag Reading System, but we keep ours in a small toddler backpack. The books are all the same size, and store easily. And the "pen" is no bigger than a soup spoon. Great for travel! 
    • Also the software for the books is kept online. I love that I don't have Cd's for every book we own floating around in our house. Just the pen, the books and the cable to connect to the computer.
I honestly can't come up with anything I don't like about the Tag.

It is a great buy!!!

Does your family own a LeapFrog Tag System?  What is your favorite Learning Toy? 

Happy Toy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Easy Loaded Yams

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but I am craving the seasons flavors NOW!!! This recipe is one that holds all the taste of that traditional Sweet Potato Pie w/Marshmallow Sauce, but takes half the time!!  Enjoy!!

Easy Loaded Yams

  • 1 large can of yams (drained)
  • 1/4 c.  brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. miniture marshmallows
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecan pieces
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pour yams into an 8x8 baking dish
  3. Sprinkle top of yams with sugar, marshmallows and pecans
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Yep, it's that easy! Enjoy this dish anytime you need a delicious, quick sidedish!

Menu Plan Monday

It has been a crazy weekend! But it is leading into another typical week, which I like.  I am planning on spending all week home and no extra running around. But I am in the mood to cook lately so watch out! I'm testing out several Thanksgiving dishes too! Have fun menu planning.

Breakfast Pie, w/ Fruit slices

Grilled Pork chops, Easy Loaded Yams, Salad, Dinner roll Wreath

Wednesday: Awanas

Chicken Fajitas, beans, rice

Unknown(Small Group)
Chicken Noodle Soup, w/ crackers, veggie dippers(if home)

Saturday:Pizza Movie Night
Lunch: PB&J, fruit salad
Dinner: Pizza, Popcorn, Strawberry-Peach Slushies

Sunday:Small Group
Lunch: Spaghetti with Meat sauce, Cesar Salad, Garlic Parmesan Poppy Seed Bread sticks
Dinner: will provide side for small group

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Best Cream Corn Ever!

I love corn, as do my children and my husband. I could eat that sweet, yellow, goodness any way: grilled on the cob, cold in a salad, with salt and pepper straight from the microwave, but as the holiday's draw nearer, I start to crave the smooth sweetness of Cream Corn!  This is a dish, that was introduced to me by my mother-in-law ; and I love love love it!!! The other great thing about this cream corn is, it's so easy and almost better the next day (great leftovers)!! You will definitely find this dish at our Thanksgiving Dinner! Confession: I usually make a double batch when, just so we can eat it for a few days... I have even been known to heat it up and eat it for a snack... Yes it is THAT GOOD!!

Cream Corn
  • 24oz. Frozen Kernel Corn
  • 4Tbs. Butter
  • 3Tbs. Flour
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Heat corn according to package directions. (Hint: I usually use the microwave(keeps my burners open for other dishes) and you don't actually have to add any water, I never do)
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter.
  3. Whisk in the flour to make a rue.
  4. Whisk in cream and sugar on medium heat, until thick gravy forms.
  5. Stir gravy and corn together.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley, or mint.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Now, just for fun, I saw this little tag on someones blog and thought it fit well w/ My Husband Rocks, so here it goes!

Where did you meet? We met @ Lubbock Christian University (Go Chaps!!) We actually met about 3 times before it actually stuck, obviously we didn't make that big of an impression on each other. 

How long did you date b/f you were married? 9 Months

What does he do that surprises you? His humor constantly surprises me. He is always throwing out the funniest things, they always take me back at first and then I can't stop laughing.

What is your favorite quality of his? His integrity. He is just a very trustworthy, loyal, and honest.

What is your favorite feature of his? ooohh, that a toughie...I love that he is so tall. but his eyes and smile make me melt!

Does he have a nickname for you?  We call each other "babe", Nothing too cutesie... That's just not how we roll. :)

What is his favorite food?  He really likes... hmmm. I don't know if there is an all time favorite. He's very easy to cook for!!! :)

What is his favorite sport? basketballl....although I think he likes them all!

When and where was your first kiss? In front of his apartment, he was walking me to my car... 

What do you like to do together? Everything. We really enjoy being together. A lot of our dates are spent at Barnes and Noble. We do love exploring the books there.

Do you have any children? 3 boys

Does he have a hidden talent? Are you kidding? I can't share any hidden talents.. Then they wouldn't be hidden!

Who said "I love you" first? Ha! I did. Michael and I had been friends for a while before we started dating, and I knew before we started dating that I loved him... I told him on our 2nd date! I just couldn't hold it in! I was so glad when He responded with "I love you, too" :)

What is his favorite type of music? He has pretty broad taste. I don't think I could say his favorite!

What do you admire most about him? He really has so much wisdom. The way he is able to step outside of situations and really think them through is amazing to me! We have been married 8 years and I learn something from him everyday.

Do you think he will read this? There is no doubt!  He knows this blog means a lot to me and he is so supportive in all I do! See the unselfishness, and loyalty... He is amazing!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christmas Toy Review - Little Tikes Easy Store Picnic Table

Sweet Cade and Sally Dog.. Cuddling and Enjoying the backyard view.
So with Christmas right around the corner, My hubby and I have started our  search for those things that our kids will actually play with long term! Not just that toy that gets played with and then tossed aside... I know that many of you are in the same place. Money is tight, so we all want to make those purchases count. I thought I would take this opportunity to share with all of you some of the toys that know for a fact kids (my kids) use and love! So over the next several weeks I will be reviewing on of our toys each Thursday. Please feel free to comment on any toys you would like to know more about or if you have an idea for a review. Also, please feel free to click the Amazon link to find more reviews, specifics on dimensions, or for any of your Holiday Purchases!

Christmas Toy Review #1:  Little Tikes Easy Store Large Picnic Table

We have owned the Little Tikes Easy Store Large Picnic Table for about a year and a half, and I have to say it was some of the best money we have ever spent on a toy!! We literally use this toy every single day.

My favorite Things about this Table:
  •  Sturdy design:  Holds up well to the wiggling, climbing, banging, and jumping that my three boys and the dog dish out! There is not a dent, scratch, or ding in this table. And please take my word when I say,"we are rough on this table!"
  • Cleans easily:  Because it is made solely of hard plastic, I can take this table out in the yard and scrub it down and hose it off. (I do this almost weekly) But I also wipe it often with cleaners, no sign of wear!
  • Versatile:  We have many different uses for this table. It is our craft/snack table during school time,  dinner table on Fridays, and general play area the rest of the time. Oh and the dog uses it to climb on and stare out the window, when she needs to go out... Don't worry we clean it often, remember it cleans easily!
  • Light Weight:  Like I said before, we use it often and everywhere. So it is important that it moves easily!! It is so simple to move from the playroom to the living room, to the backyard, Without any hassle!! The boys even move it for me sometimes.
  • Raised edges: So on the table top, there is a slight raised lip around the outside edge. I can not even begin to express the amount of clean up it has saved me over the last year. It catches almost all drinks spilled, paint dripped, or glue squished. Such a great thing!
Other Positives: I also like that it can hold so many kids. We use this during gatherings to serve the kids dinner, it can hold 6 kids (1 year to 8 years) easily! It also folds flat to store away, under a bed or in the garage. But lets be real here, you are going to love this table so much you won't ever put it away.  It also comes with a cute umbrella, we never use it because our table really stays inside most of the time, but it is really cute.

Ok, so now you know this is a great table! I love it!! But there are a few things I could do without... so I better share them too.

Negatives: There is an indention in the middle of the table that contains, two cup holders and a hole to support the umbrella.  The cup holders do not hold all of our cups and a few times it has been the leading cause of a spilled drink. Thank goodness for lids!!  Also, even though the raised edge catches most of the spill and keeps it contained on the table top instead of all over the floor; some dripping will occur from the hole meant for the umbrella. Personally I would like to see a raised edge added around the indention. That's it.... nothing to keep me away from this table!!

Hope this gives you some ideas!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bleach Alternative=Peroxide?

Bleach vs. Peroxide

For years, bleach has been my go-to cleaning supply... but I have been looking for a few budget friendly cleaning supplies for the last few months. I can't seem to get away from bleach... bleach is the epitome of germ free to me. NOTHING can live through that right! I have tried using more vinegar, but honestly I would rather smell bleach. But after I got this email I had to share, I thought this was quite interesting, and honestly had never thought of cleaning with Peroxide before. I haven't tried it for all the things listed below, but so far the ones i have used worked.  I have used Peroxide on my wooden cutting board and it has taken out onion smell; I never cut raw meat on it, so the salmonella thing didn't really apply. I have also used it to clean the bathrooms, and my mirrors did sparkle and so did the porcelain throne (even in the brothers bathroom!!); and there was no lingering smell like with bleach.

What is your go-to cleaning supply? Please share with a comment below.

"VERY interesting and inexpensive. This was written by Becky of Indiana  (a doctor's wife). The benefits of that Plain little ole bottle of 3% peroxide you can get for under $1.00 at any drug store. My husband has been in the medical field for over 36 years, and most doctors don't tell you about peroxide. Have you ever smelled bleach in a doctor's office? NO!!!

Why? Because it smells, and it is not healthy! Ask the nurses who work
in the doctor's offices, and ask them if they use bleach at home. They
are wiser and know better!

Please think about this:
1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle)
and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it
when I bathe.) No more canker sores, and your teeth will be whiter
without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash.

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of peroxide to keep them free of

3. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs and
leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe,
or spray it on the counters. 

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to
kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and
keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic
system like bleach or most other Disinfectants will.

6. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of
whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing,
pour it directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub
it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

7. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors. There is no smearing, which is
why I love it so much for this.

8. Another place it's great is in the bathroom, if someone has been
careless & has peed on the floor around the toilet & it's begun to
smell of urine. Just put some peroxide in a spray bottle & spray. In
the blink of any eye all the smell will be gone & the bacteria

I could go on and on. It is a little brown bottle no home should be
without! With prices of most necessities rising, I'm glad there's a way
to save tons of money in such a simple, healthy manner!
This information really woke me up. I hope you gain something from it,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cherry Lime Cake

So the girls are coming over for coffee? Family is coming for dinner?
Oh and you need a simple quick recipe to wow them... Here it is!
This is a to die for recipe!!!
Seriously, so easy and so worth it!

Cherry Lime Cake

By: Audra Caldwell

Monday, November 1, 2010

Game Day Face!

We are defiantly a football family! The boys are getting bigger and the realization of football is ever growing. I love to see all 4 of the boys (Michael and the brothers) sitting on the couch, cheering and examining every move the players make. So... here is my favorite Game Day Face! All I can say is whoever he is up against, better watch out!! We are out to win!

Also, a friend of mine is giving away an amazing Game Day Pack on her blog A Southern Fairytale... Check it out! 

Menu Plan Monday

A new Month and a new Menu:  I am really looking forward to this week. Looking at my calendar, it seems to be a little more laid back. (Last week got a little crazy) Which means, more time to try a few new recipe creations this week. I'll link the recipes here, if it all turns out yummy! I also have a new recipe being published at tomorrow... come back and check for the link to Cherry Lime Cake. IT IS OH SO GOOD!!!

Breakfast Casserole & Vanilla Monkey bread

Grilled Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Almond Green Beans

Wednesday: Awanas
Bean & Cheese Tostadas w/ salad

Cheeseburger Pie, salad

Friday: Family Movie Night (Grand Prix check-in)
Frozen Pizza, popcorn, smoothies

Saturday:Grand Prix
B: Yogurt
L: Black bean quessadillas with fruit
D: Southwest Burgers with chipotle mayo and  french fries

Sunday: Small Group
B: Cereal
L: BBQ sausage, veggie dippers, rolls
D: Small Group???