Saturday, February 23, 2013

Toothless Grin

Even though this was only taken a couple of weeks ago, this toothless grin is already starting to disappear.  Some days I forget that today is the day... today is the day to go outside in the 6 feet of snow (okay, it just feels like 6 feet!) and capture that toothless smile and all the memories that go along with it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine Family Fun

Valentine's Day has become a favorite holiday (since I accepted the fact that it's about showing extra, special amounts of love to my family instead of sitting around expecting some huge romantic gesture).

We started with Hungarian Pancakes filled with strawberries and strawberry milk straws.  Of course, the kiddos also got their Valentine books (what has now become a tradition).  Eli received a story recounting the story of St. Valentine.  Ruby got a Valentine's Day Amelia Bedilia.  David got a Valentine's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book.

Both big kids decided to buy their lunches on Valentine's Day, so no heart-shaped sandwiches were made, tear, BUT this left plenty of time of the holiday photo shoot!

Inspired by "Lady and the Tramp", we had a very romantic meal of spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, green beans, and heart-shaped fruit kabobs.

After dinner it was time for our two favorite Valentine games-- steal a kiss and heart bingo!  (Steal a kiss involves putting a big pile of Kisses in the center of the table and using chopsticks to retrieved them before your opponents!).

We finished the night with a free Red Box-- "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "A Charlie Brown Valentine's Day".  What a fantastic day to celebrate the loves of my life!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Puppy Chow

This puppy chow is going to be... wait for it... legendary!

I found this recipe from Life, Love, & Sugar for strawberries & cream puppy chow and decided to try it out for our Valentine's Day MOPS meeting.  To say it was a hit was an understatement!  WOW, did I ever get compliments on this stuff.  My kids were staking out leftovers even before I left the house (luckily they were not disappointed!).

The recipe really is quite simple:

Strawberries and Cream Puppy Chow
5 oz white chocolate or white vanilla candy melts
5 oz red candy melts (Found in craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby)
5 cups rice chex cereal, divided in 2 parts
1/2 cup strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. Put 2 1/2 cups rice chex cereal into a medium sized bowl.
2. Slowly melt white chocolate in the microwave, stopping it every 30 seconds or so to make sure it doesn’t burn.
3. Add melted white chocolate to chex cereal and lightly stir to coat evenly. Be careful to not break the chex cereal too much.
4. Add the powdered sugar to the white chocolate covered chex cereal and lightly stir to coat evenly with powdered sugar. You could add the chex cereal and powdered sugar to a ziplock bag, then shake, but save yourself the bag.
5. Repeat the same process with the red candy melts and strawberry cake mix (instead of the powdered sugar).
6. Allow to dry completely and then combine the two kinds of puppy chow together and add M&Ms.

I will say that I very rarely consume food coloring, so this had a bit of a twangy aftertaste to me (I think it was from the cake mix), but nobody else seemed to mind in the slightest!  I am thinking I might even play around with this general recipe to make it fit other holidays.  Try it for dessert tonight, or, try it next week; everyone will love you so much for making this, they won't really care if Valentine's Day is long gone!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Have you met Dave?

One of my favorite catch-phrases in "How I Met Your Mother" is "Have you met Ted?".  If you haven't seen the show, here is a brief synopsis:  A wing-man usually walks up to a woman at the bar and says, "Have you met Ted?" and proceeds to leave the scene, allowing Ted an easy intro to meeting her.  Classic.  Today I must ask, "Have you met Dave?".

Hang with me a minute and I will tie it altogether, k?
Friday at Target I ran into an aquaintance.  As we were talking she said, "Oh, I haven't been to Walmart in almost a year!".  Now, groceries in ND are expensive.  VERY!  Even at Walmart, not to mention the prices at the hometown grocery!  So, knowing she is a stay at home mom (and honestly not thinking before I opened my mouth), I asked, "How can you afford that?".  The way she looked at me you would have thought that I had just asked her when the little blue martians had arrived on her doorstep.  I'm pretty sure that budgeting for groceries is not a concept in her house.  If I had to guess, I'd say she is probably putting her groceries on a credit card with a terrible intrest rate and doesn't really have any idea how much she is really spending.

This all leads me back to the question, "Have you met Dave?".  Dave Ramsey and his theories on money saved our marriage.  I know, you think I'm saying that for dramatic effect right?  No.  I am serious.  I have said that to every person I have ever talked to on the subject.  So, friends, seriously, if I were to ask you, "How would you afford that?" and you wouldn't have a good answer, go meet Dave.  Please!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Just Add Ice

Ice skating birthday parties seem to be the thing to do around here.  I've been debated putting the kids in ice skating (just to learn to skate, no competing for us!), but if the birthday parties keep coming, I might not need to!

This particular party was for a boy at church named Reece. Apparently he told his mom he really wanted Ruby to be there!

This was Ruby's 3rd time on skates since we've been here and she is doing so well, but, most importantly, she is finally having FUN!

This was David's first time on skates.  The boy at the skate counter said, "Those are the smallest skates I've ever seen!".  Although he tired easily, he had a great time!

Yep, that's my kiddo eating shaved ice!

Look at those cute feet!

After we were finished skating, we headed upstairs for some cake and presents.  Then this energetic bunch "entertained" themselves with lots of acrobatics, running, chasing, and yelling!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog's Day & Pintrest Pancakes

It's no secret that I like to celebrate minor holidays.  It's also no secret that in the Main house, Saturday morning is pancake morning!  So it should be no surprise that a Saturday morning Groundhog's Day would lead to some fun results.

I started with the idea from {HappyLittleArt} and put my own spin on it (mostly to keep supply costs down!).  

1.  I made two pancakes, one medium size and the other small.  I put the small pancake down first and then the medium one on top.  I molded the hot pancake with my hand so that it would resemble a hill.

2.  Next I squished my thumb in the center to make a resting place for Mr. Groundhog's head.  I then put his donut hole head into the divot.

3.  I squished Cheerios in the top of his head for ears.

4.  I bought icing (I never buy icing; I must have been tired this morning!) and used the white icing to "glue" on the brown mini M&Ms for eyes.  BTW, spend the time looking for the mini M&Ms.  The photos I looked at on-line of groundhogs with large M&M eyes looked ridiculous!

4.  I "glued" on a red mini M&M for the nose, this time being careful not to let the icing show underneath.

5.  I colored a bit of my white icing with carob powder to make it brown.  Then I iced on his mouth.

6.  Finally, I added a bit of white icing to the bottom of the smile to make teeth.

It's that simple!  To check out last year's Groundhog's Day fun, click here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Cheap Bento-er

Keli over at  Kidnapped by Suburbia calls herself the "lazy bento'er".  Honestly, I don't think there is anything lazy about the way she makes lunches, but it's a cute title regardless.  

If I gave myself a title it would be the cheap bento-er.  I use "cutesy" techniques in lunch making to either 1.  save money or 2. reduce waste (which, really, is just another way of saying I'm too cheap to waste).  When I bought lunch boxes for this school year I refused to buy any type of lunch box that a 3 compartment Ziplock container wouldn't fit into. I use these nearly every day for lunches and, therefore, almost never buy plastic sandwich bags.  I'd like to say it's all about saving the environment-- it's not, I'm just that cheap!

So, getting back to Keli.  She hosted a great give-away on her blog for $20 worth of merchandise from All Things for Sale.  Seeing the cute products Keli uses for lunches, I decided to enter and... I WON!

Life got in the way for awhile, but I have now ordered my products and have begun to use them.  OH... I'm so in love! 
Here is a sample meal:

I used the puzzle shape cutter for Ruby's sandwich.  The thing I like must about the puzzle cutter is that it uses the entire sandwich (minus the crust that she would pick off anyway).

The leaf picks are adorable.  I caught my two year old putting grapes on the picks himself and then eating them off.  For him, I thought that was a pretty good fine motor activity!  

I also ordered a pack of 4 silicone muffin cups.  Here I used them because I actually had 4 different foods and, of course, the Ziplock container only holds 3 things.  Maybe it's just my Ruby, but I hear things like, "I couldn't eat the cauliflower because it got jelly on it!".  With the muffin cups, problem solved!

If I wasn't so cheap, all this cute bento stuff might have become a minor addiction!