Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Project 365: #15 and a Guest Post

I'm posting this 1 day earlier than usual, because we are leaving for Aaron's parents' house on Thursday right after school!

But, before we get to the next installment of Project 365, hop on over to my internet friend Kristi's blog And Babies Don't Keep to read my guest post about what it's like to have 3 daughters.

Here's a little tease :)  

I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that three can, indeed, be a crowd at times.  I knew from my days of working at camp that odd numbers of girls can be problematic; it’s so easy for someone to be left out.  I solve that problem by... (continue)

Day 101:

Leah has inexplicably started eating salad...very specifically, romaine lettuce with carrots and ranch.  I have no idea why, but I don't need to know!  I'll take it!

Day 102:

Some of our friends had an Easter egg hunt!  We got there a little late, so the girls didn't find any eggs.  The did find these cool stumps to adorably stand on, though!  And, yes, they are all wearing denim jumpers.  I'm totally not the matchy match mom, but sometimes the girls decide to coordinate :)

Day 103:

The girls decided that Sunday was fancy dress day!  So, Leah and Gracie wore their Christmas dresses and Maggie wore her flower girl dress.  Gracie was on board with the fancy dress thing, but not so much with the you can tell from the background :)

Day 104:

Leah and Gracie have a case of the Mondays.  Particularly a case of the Snow-on-April-14th-walk-through-a-field-to-get-to-the-minivan-because-of-road-construction Mondays.

Day 105:

Maggie had been asking and asking for me to make this cake!  I finally remembered and made it for our small group supper.  Chocolate Peppermint Mousse Cake!  It was a winner :)

Day 106:

Aaron and Gracie were taking a little dance break at supper.  I love their happy smiles...that girl's got spirit!  They're an awesome little team :)

Have a happy Thursday!

How I Get My Kids to Eat SOME Vegetables

OK, OK...stop laughing.  

Yes, I'm writing about this...

So, here's what I'm not saying:

I'm not saying the girls like to try new foods.

Although, Gracie is more adventurous than her sisters!

I'm not saying that they eat all of the vegetables in the world.

I'm not saying they aren't picky, because Maggie is pretty picky.  

I mean, she doesn't like watermelon.

Who doesn't like watermelon?

To be fair, though, she would gladly eat her body weight in cucumbers :)

BUT, they gobble up their veggies when I do this:

While I'm making supper, sometimes I set out a plate of carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and "sweet dippin' sticks."  

Sweet Dippin' Sticks is my fancy way of saying bell peppers; it just sounds more exciting :)

They all gobble these veggies right up before supper, and I don't stress about what veggies they eat at the meal, even though they do eat some at supper, too!

Give it a try!  I think you'll be amazed at how many vegetables your kids eat when they have a case of the munchies :)

Do you have any tips for getting your kids to eat veggies?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easy Supper: Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

I really easy-ed up one of the meals that was on my April menu, so I thought I would let you in on my helpful tips :)

I made the Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and Aaron and I loved them!

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

I did make the flatbread (it's really awesome...chewy and delicious), but you could very easily pick something up at the store like this:

Anyway, you are basically making a Chicken Caesar Salad and wrapping it up!

Oh, if you want to skip the pictures and commentary, you can hop down to the end where I have the recipe all typed up!

I put some bite sized pieces of romaine into a bowl

and topped it with bite sized pieces of chicken.

For the chicken, you can grill it or slow cook it or pull it off of a rotisserie chicken or you could even use canned chicken.

I had left over roast chicken in the freezer, so I used that.

Top your lettuce and chicken with dressing.

I use Ken's Steak House dressing.  I don't know who this Ken is or the location of his steak house, but he makes some great salad dressing :)

Toss it together.

Top it with parmesan.

I use the kind you grate, but you can totally use the kind in a can...also known as "sprinkle cheese" at my house.

And toss it again!

Grab some flatbread,

fill it with salad and fold it up taco style :)

I served it with an easy fruit salad of strawberries and mandarin oranges.  I had green beans, too, but everyone else had jello.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

This is a nice base recipe, too!  You could easily switch it up and do romaine, chicken, bacon, cheese, and ranch.  You could make it southwest style and do romaine, chicken, black beans, corn, red bell peppers and a cilantro-y dressing.  The options are endless.  

Plus, I think these would be perfect for summer!  It's an easy meal to make without having to heat up your kitchen.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps
Romaine Lettuce
Cooked Chicken
Caesar Dressing
Parmesan Cheese

Cut lettuce and chicken into bite sized pieces.  Place in a bowl.  Top with dressing, and toss to combine.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and toss to combine.  Put on flatbread, fold, and enjoy!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back in the Day

I've started going through a pile of boxes filled with randomness in the basement.

It's interesting, and I'm proud of myself for all of the things I'm tossing!

But, I came across something that is TOTALLY a keeper!

Yep, that's a first generation Strawberry Shortcake doll (the Apricot one)!  I remember playing with her in the wooden cradle with the lacy pillow and the vintage-y red quilt!  I think that her plastic bunny sidekick is around here somewhere...quite possibly in the bottom of the toy box!

I wasn't much of a doll kid...I liked puzzles and books and playing school and bossing people around, but I loved this doll!

Gracie loves her, too, enough to take her to her room...

...and welcome her to the bed community :)

I feel like the spot right by the Care Bear is a good one.

Funshine Bear has his/her eye on you ;)

Gracie even managed to sleep in spite of her excitement!

Maggie gets the doll in her bed next.  We might need to develop some sort of sign up sheet :)

Have a great start to your week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Project 365: #14

It's been a fun and full week!

Day 94:

That's how happy she got when I told her I ordered her the 2 Judy Moody books she doesn't have :)

Day 95:

Girls night out!  Dinner, a play, and then dessert!  It was amazing...all the things were amazing!  Especially the people :)

Day 96:

So happy together <3

Day 97:

My grocery shopping buddy!  My secret to well behaved grocery shoppers?  Go when they are well rested.  Also, a little snack while you're bagging at Aldi pretty much ensures happy campers :)

Day 98:

Aren't they just the cutest!?!  We love living on a dead end, but when they are doing road construction on the road we take in, it can present some...challenges!  We've been parking on a parallel street and walking through a field to get to our house/car.  They are walking to check out a big stick that the called The Goliath Stick :)

Day 99:

Maggie wanted to take some pictures, so I let her use the camera for a few minutes.  This is a view from her top bunk :)  

Day 100:

Cuddling with Daddy after school!  Maggie is so tired after school and Gracie was actually holding still :)

Have a great weekend full of your favorite people!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quick and Easy Garlic Parmesan Knots

I read a lot of Little House on the Prairie during my formative years.

a lot a lot a lot!

I think that's probably part of the reason that I enjoy making breads and yeasty things from scratch.

But, sometimes you just need to be fast.

And, who are we kidding, if Caroline Ingalls had tubes of buttermilk biscuits available to her, I bet she would have kept a tube or 2 in her fridge.

You use the mighty refrigerated buttermilk biscuits to make these...

Quick and Easy Garlic Parmesan Knots

I got the recipe from here.

I will admit, that I'm investigating how to make these from scratch, but the quickness and ease of using refrigerated buttermilk biscuits can't be beat!

Here's what you need!

That's 7.5 ounce tube of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, oregano, and parsley. 

Oh, I got the biscuits at the "expensive" grocery store.  They were 55 cents.  Not bad at all!

First off, you roll a biscuit into an 8-12 inch rope/snake...playdoh style.

Theoretically, this is a good way to involve your children.

I say "theoretically" because you cannot care if they roll it evenly.  

If you care, you will start to twitch and sweat.

It will not be perfect.

The dough might get oddly warm from their hot little hands.

Just push past that or else your stress level could ruin what is a great learning/bonding experience.

Somehow I managed to push through.


Nobody was emotionally scarred.

Now that you have the snakes, tie a knot and tuck the ends in.  Mine varied from great knots to clumpy things.  It's all good.

We aren't going for perfect; we are going for tastey!

Put them on a baking sheet.

Next, melt your butter and stir in the seasonings and cheese.

Brush the seasoned butter on the knotted dough.

You should have about half of the butter mixture left after brushing the dough.

Bake the knots at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Brush with remaining seasoned butter and serve.

Like all bread, they are best when they are warm.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April Menu took me a while, but here it is!  

So, seeing as we've eaten the recipes from the first week, let me tell you my thoughts :)

The Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore was amazing.  I served it over egg noodles.  It makes a ton and reheats well for lunch leftovers :)

The Bacon Corn Pasta was okay.  I made a substitution that might have made it too dry.  I think I might try it again, though, because...bacon!  

I didn't make the Garlic Lime Chicken because Aaron was out of town and I didn't want to make something big for just me and the girls.  I let them pick their own lunchable (because Leah always begs me and I always say no) and own fruit at the store for supper.  They all got the pizza lunchable and didn't really like it.  It made me oddly happy :)  

The Best Pasta Dish Ever really is awesome...such an interesting combination of ingredients.  I didn't make it, because I was tired.  I had leftover chicken cacciatore again.

We liked the Homemade Cheeseburger Helper.  I used mild cheddar instead of sharp cheddar which is what the recipe calls for.  That was a mistake.  You kind of lose the cheese taste when you use the mild.  I'll be sure to, you know, actually follow the recipe the next time I make it :)

Fish Sticks...I was having a girls night out, so Aaron made fish sticks and tater tots for the girls.  Yeah, it was their favorite meal of the week.

This brings me to answering a question that people often ask me: What happens if I don't want to make what's on the menu?

Answer:  I don't.  I am wild, edgy, unpredictable, and impossible to categorize.  Or something like that.

I would say that I make the assigned meal about 80% of the time.  I switch days around about 15% of the time and do something totally different about 5% of the time.  

I just reeeeeally like not having to figure out what to make for supper that morning.  Even though it takes 2 or so hours to figure out a menu a month at a time, it's a good investment of time for my peace of mind and stress level.

Tuesday, April 1  Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore 
Wednesday, April 2  Bacon Corn Pasta
Thursday, April 3  Garlic Lime Chipotle Roasted Chicken
Friday, April 4  The Best Pasta Dish Ever
Saturday, April 5  Homemade Cheeseburger Helper  Fish sticks :)
Sunday, April 6  Leftovers  Silly Cereal Supper

Monday, April 7  Mini Bagel Pizzas
Tuesday, April 8  Taco Salad Dippers  Buttermilk Berry Cake with Ice Cream
Wednesday, April 9  Greek Chicken Pita Pockets with flatbread
Thursday, April 10  Breakfast Quesadillas
Friday, April 11  Pizza
Saturday, April 12  Grilled Cheese  Breakfast Bites
Sunday, April 13  Leftovers  Silly Cereal Supper

Monday, April 14  Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps with flatbread from Thursday
Tuesday, April 15  Tex Mex Enchilada Casserole
Wednesday, April 16  Hot Dogs
Thursday, April 17  out of town
Friday, April 18  out of town
Saturday, April 19  out of town
Sunday, April 20  out of town

Monday, April 21  Huevos Rancheros
Tuesday, April 22  Honey Beer Chicken (make extra chicken for Wed) Garlic Shells
Wednesday, April 23  Confetti Chicken Bake (make half batch)
Thursday, April 24  Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
Friday, April 25  Pizza
Saturday, April 26  Skillet Mac and Cheese  
Sunday, April 27  Leftovers  Silly Cereal Supper

Monday, April 28  Carribean Rubbed Pork with Mango Salsa
Tuesday, April 29  BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Wednesday, April 30  Hashbrown Egg Bake