Meal Plan Jan 8-14

Broccoli rice casserole or chicken spinach puffs

Chicken veggie pizza


roasted chicken

tortellini with tomato cream sauce

veggie pancit

mac and cheese

I know it seems weird that my meal plan runs Wednesday thru Tuesday.  I typically grocery shop mid-week, so I plan the menu the night before I go to the grocery store.  Yes, we eat a lot of chicken!  I have a whole board devoted to chicken recipes on Pinterest.  The original pancit recipe calls for pork but I am switching it a little and doing only veggies. I’m also leaving the chicken out of the chicken veggie pizza.  We have done at least one meatless meal a week for over a year now, but this year I am trying to work in meatless meals 2 or 3 times a week on a regular basis.  This week, I’ve got 4 planned.  The pancit, veggie pizza, mac and cheese and tortellini.  With the pizza, mac, and tortellini, we will also have a salad.

Also, some of those things listed above are meals that I have made for years, so I don’t use a recipe or I’ve posted before—like the mac and cheese.  We are on day two of no sugar as a family and so far there have been no complaints or uprisings.  I’ve made E “ice cream” with milk and frozen banana slices the last two nights.  He thinks it is awesome and I don’t think he even realizes yet that I’ve cut out sugary foods.  And we are eating tangerines like crazy around here for the last three weeks.  I am shooting for 5 fruits and/or veggies a day for each of us.  I think we are each at 3 right now.  I’ve found that the trick is that we have to start with fruits and veggies first thing in the morning.  This weekend I made 10 “smoothie packs” for this week.  (you can check out the source post here)  I didn’t add the nuts or the seeds this week.  I didn’t have the seeds and didn’t have any nuts that would work—I didn’t think salted peanuts were appropriate.  🙂   I put 1/4 C of oatmeal, 1C of frozen mixed fruit in a sandwich size ziploc.  Then I crammed in spinach to fill up the bag before zipping it closed.  They are filling.  Yesterday, I didn’t get hungry until about 1:00 and I had drank my smoothie at 7:30 while dropping the kids at school.  And even at 1:00 I just ate some cheese cubes and an apple.  I do think I need more sweetener for my taste though.  The milk I used was unflavored so I think I am going to try vanilla almond milk next week and maybe a little vanilla greek yogurt, if needed.  The Mr. was not excited about the green color of his shake.  “I don’t typically drink things that are GREEN.”  But he tasted it and then decided it wasn’t repulsive, so I take that as success!

Blessings friends,


The last hurrah

The last month has been a non-stop sugar buffet around here.  Candy, cookies, pies, cakes, and more.  Sugar, sugar, sugar.  And now it is time to stop.  You know you’ve had too much junk when you start dreaming of veggies, and fresh fruit and salads.  But today, I had to fulfill a promise to my youngest before I put us all on a sugar free diet.  I had pinned a recipe for a giant cinnamon roll a few weeks back.  I had told E that we would make it.  And we hadn’t, so I had to get it done today.  Here is the link to the original recipe.  One tip for rising your dough:  bring a pot of water to boil as you are prepping your dough.  Once you have it covered and ready to rise, place the dough in the oven and put the pot of boiling water in the oven along with it.  Shut the oven door and leave it shut for at least an hour.  Then check your dough.  After an hour it should have risen fully and be ready to bake.  If your dough needs two risings you can do this both times.  

Image      This is the dough in the oven after rising and ready for baking.    Image      This is after baking.  After the roll had been in the oven for about 20 minutes, I laid a piece of foil over it to prevent it from over browning.  I then continued to bake it for another 15 minutes.  Image   This is after frosting.  I had leftover frosting from Christmas cookies in the fridge, so I just used it.  I warmed the frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then drizzled it over the roll.  Image   Here it is on a plate.  Yes, we are still using my Christmas plates.  I’m going to try and get them put up tomorrow.  This was a HIT with all three of my guys.  They LOVED it!!! I guess it was a good choice for their final sugar binge.  🙂

Gotta run, Downton Abbey’s on!!!!

Blessings friends,


The key to organizing anything

I don’t know if it is 

(a) finding space for the new things received at Christmas

(b) packing up Christmas decorations inspires a through cleaning or

(c) a new year makes you realize all the things that are driving you crazy that you’ve been ignoring for months.

Whatever the cause, this time of year I get the itch to purge, organize and clean.  And, like giving a mouse a cookie, one thing leads to another and another and another.  In this case, making breakfast for the kids led to putting up some dishes which led to me working on this…..Image

This is the only “before” picture I took because, I wasn’t planning to do this project.  I have two large, deep drawers in my kitchen that I use to store my plastic storage containers and cups.  And it was a mess.  And one of my biggest “this drives me crazy!!” issues is when I can’t find a lid to go with a bowl.  So, it was time to organize.  

Now, I am going to tell you the secret to organizing anything—drawer, closet, pantry—it doesn’t matter.  You aren’t going to like it.  You are going to try and talk your way out of it.  But, I am telling you, if you really want to get something organized you HAVE to do this first.  You have to take EVERYTHING OUT.  Everything.  Take every single item out of the drawer (or closet, or pantry, etc).  Once everything is out, you need to clean the interior.  In this case, I used a damp cloth to wipe out the interior of the drawers.  

The next step is to sort the items you just removed.  In this case, I started by matching bowls to lids.  Any bowls that didn’t have lids or any lids that didn’t have bowls was set to the side.  The bowls that were paired with the matching lids were grouped according to size.  (I have several that are the same size and use the same lids).  Then I used a Sharpie to label each bowl and corresponding lid, i.e. I wrote a “2” on the bowl and a “2” on the matching lid, so that when I am looking for the lid that fits I just look for the matching number/letter.      ImageImage

Image  Image Well, that little project led to this…Image    Image   those containers are my large ones that I use for things like soup, that 30 lb watermelon my husband brings home in the summer, etc.  I did the same with these, matching up the lids to the bowls and then restacking them.  And, since I was in the cabinet, I went ahead and went through all the spices too.  (I figured if the expiration date was 2011–it was pretty safe to assume they could be thrown away)Image  Image  Then, once those were done, I felt that I ought to do the other large drawer that holds all the plastic cups.  Image  Thermal coffee cups on the right, cups that have lids in the center, and the far left is plastic cups that don’t have lids.  In the back, on the left are the lids for those cups in the center and on the right are thermoses for the boys’ lunches.  And then, since I was in the kitchen, I decided to go ahead and tackle the pantry.  For the first time, since we moved in 8 years ago, I took every single thing, from the top shelf to the floor, out of the pantry.  The boys helped with this one.  We sorted and grouped.  We poured packages into clear storage containers. Put categories of items into containers and labeled them.  And finally, put things back in the pantry.  ImageImageImageImage  On the top shelf I put things that we don’t use often like extra pitchers, odd shaped cake pans, etc.  The floor of the pantry is where I store my large containers of flour and sugar, lunch boxes, a basket that I use to corral plastic utensils, cups, and paper goods.  And that rather large and overflowing box of candy there on the bottom shelf?  That is what my children got over Christmas.  I am waiting for them to go back to school so that I can slowly get rid of it.   All totaled it took about 3 hours to get the two drawers, two cabinets, and pantry done.  And, I had a lot of trash to be hauled out afterwards.  But, boy was it worth it!!

Blessings friends,


Brown paper packages tied up with strings…

I’ve got pics of the elf to post, and some pics of decorations, and some recipes buuuuuut……I’m tired.  And to post those things I would have to get up from the sofa to get the camera and the memory card and, well, that is just too much trouble right now.  So instead, I am jumping on the “favorite things” bandwagon.  

1.  My favorite Christmas song—probably Oh Holy Night, although I really like the Carol of the Bells too.  

2.  My favorite Christmas movie—White Christmas with Bing Crosby.  No matter how many times I see it, I still love it.  (I just watched it for the second time, this Christmas, last weekend.  🙂  I always marvel at how tiny Vera Ellen’s waist is!  And Rosemary Clooney in that black dress—wowza!

3.  My favorite sentimental Christmas tradition—watching Rudolph, the original with Burl Ives as the snowman.  LOVE it!!! 

other faves, non-Christmas——

1.  Mrs. Meyers Sunflower all  purpose cleaner, this smells so good!  It is hard for me to find in stores though so my fall back is geranium.

2.  Neutrogena rain bath—-it smells fresh and clean,  it rinses clean and doesn’t leave you feeling sticky, and it is gentle on skin

3. and since I seem to be on a “smell” trend

These two are my fave perfumes: Hampton Sun Privet Bloom and Philosophy Pure Grace.  Hampton Sun I have only found at Sephora.  They both are clean scents.  Love them both.

               philosophy pure grace spray fragrance

4.  Best lotion/cream for sensitive skin  First Aid Beauty is the absolute best if you have dry skin.  And in the winter, oh my gosh, it is FABULOUS!!! I just ordered a gigantic jar from Sephora this week to get me through the winter.

5.  Voluminous Butterfly mascara—–Loreal just came out with this a few months ago and I already love it.  it does a fabulous job of separating and lengthening my lashes.  

L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Butterfly Mascara

6.  back to how things smell….Scentsy Happy Birthday

OH MY GOODNESS!! As my youngest says “I want to eat the air!!!”  It smells just like cake!  And my winter fave is cozy fireside—-it smells like Christmas.


7.  Salted caramel mocha coffee creamer.  This came out last year as “seasonal” so whenever I would find it at a store I would buy 6 at a time!!! Mr. G thought I was crazy.  But, it was so popular that they have it year round now!! Yay!!!

International Delight Presents: Salted Caramel Mocha

8.  Not Your Mother’s beach babe salt texturizing spray  I love this stuff.  It gives my hair enough “umph” that I don’t need to add anything else to it other than a little hairspray after I finish drying it.  

Not Your Mothers Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray, 8 oz

9.  OPI nail polish—yes, it is a little pricey—but it goes on smooth, the colors stay true, and it just the best.  Right now my toes are DS bold with Minnie Style top coat—that means they are red with red and white speckles—very candy cane Christmas!

OPI Classic Collection Nail Lacquer Big Apple Red

10.  office supplies—yes, I am a big nerd, but I love Sharpies, colored pens, note pads, post its and pretty paper, oooo and calendars!!!

           2013-2014 life planner -paisley

folded greeting -spring -flutter spin   


And that’s it for now.  🙂

Blessings friends, 


Mom Jail

My youngest child and I have an ongoing battle.  He throws stuff all over his room and then I send him back in to the room to pick it up.  I scold him and he promises that it won’t happen again.  But it does happen again….and again…and again.  Now, I have tried everything to get this kid to put things away.  Consequences, bribes, rewards, working with him, making him do it on his own, asking him how it should be organized, blah, blah, blah.  I still walk in his room in the morning to find this…ImageImage  Not even IN the room yet!

ImageImageImage  This is every day.  And really, this isn’t one of the worst messes I’ve found.  Sunday I told this boy that on Monday I was implementing “mom jail.”  This means that anything that I find on the floor (or cabinet, table, shelf, etc) that he has been told to put away is getting picked up and put in a big trash bag and it becomes mine until further notice.  And THEN, he is going to have to PAY me to “bail” his stuff out of mom jail.  Well, guess what I did this morning.

ImageThat box?  The Jail!

Image  Look at all this stuff!ImageImage  Even Oreo thinks this room is much nicer when it is cleaned up!

Now, he has been home for hours.  He has been in and out of his room several times.  He has yet to mention any of the missing items.  Now, I’m really curious to see how long it takes for him to realize that he has lost some things.  NOTE:  I didn’t put the clothes in mom jail.  Because, he really won’t care about those going missing and then he’ll outgrow them, so that’s just shooting myself in the foot!  Instead, I kicked the clothes into the closet with the other clothes he had laying there.  I sent him in to pick up and put away all the clothes as soon as we got home.  I haven’t checked yet to see if he actually took care of them or not.  I’m betting NOT!

Blessings friends!

14 days ’til Christmas–better get a wreath on the door

I’ve been thinking about making this wreath for months.  The problem is that I haven’t moved past the thinking stage.  I had all the supplies and the idea, so I just needed to DO it.

Here’s all my stuff…

Image   Now, I can tell you that I have more here than I will end up using.  I got it all out because I wasn’t sure what I would use or need.  I think that is how it often goes when you are making a wreath or flower arrangement.  And I prefer to have everything that I might need on hand rather than stopping in the middle of what I am working on to go and track down more materials.

Image  I started with placing the hydrangeas.  I knew these were “for sure” and since they were the largest items to be on the wreath they were the logical starting point.  Now, you can use floral wire or even pipe cleaners to wire your items on to your grapevine wreath.  This is especially good to do if you know that you are going to want to take things off later to reuse or repurpose.  I have no plans to reuse any of this stuff (actually most of this stuff is in the 2nd or 3rd project now) so I used hot glue.

Once I had the largest portion of the wreath in place.  I started working with the burlap.  This the second time I’ve done a project with burlap and I think it may be my last.  I love the look but it is very difficult for me to work with.  It makes a HUGE mess and it isn’t easy to manipulate.  I knew I wanted to make a bow with this but…that plan wasn’t going very well.  What I finally came up with was to fold the burlap into loops and wire the base of each loop to hold it’s shape.  ImageThen I crossed the two loops over and wired them together in the middle  That looks kind of bow-like right?ImageThen I THOUGHT I would glue it onto my wreath.  But that didn’t really work too well, so I ended up wiring the bow onto the wreath.  Image Ugly, I know.  But, I’m about to cover that up.


Looking better.  I added in a few more sprigs of holly and pine and tucked in the ends of the bow, because I didn’t like how they looked sticking out on the sides.

Image  I wasn’t planning to use that last hydrangea bloom  that is up there on the top.  And this is the direction I had planned to hang the wreath as I was making it.  But then after I got the bow on, I felt like I needed something above the bow.  And once I put that hydrangea above the bow I started thinking that maybe I would turn it on the side to hang it.  Like this….

Image  And that is how it now looks on my front door.  Here’s a wider shot with my mini pine trees in the pic.


I got the galvanized buckets at a yard sale in the summer and I knew I wanted to get mini trees to put in them.  These babies were on clearance for $4 at Lowes on black Friday!!! SCORE!!! I just added red and white tulle.  As you can see the snow/ice messed up my bow on the one at the edge of the porch.  Mother Nature is messing with my decor!

Blessings friends!

Linking up at From My Front Porch to Yours

It’s a SNOW day!!!

Now if you live in the northern part of the US, you are probably going to get a chuckle out of this post.  But, if you live in the south, you will relate.  Here in our part of Texas we get snow maybe once a year.  So it is a BIG deal.  Ice is a BIG deal here too.  And because we had both last night, school was cancelled today.  My kids were soooooo excited.  Truth to tell, we had maybe 1/4 of an inch of snow.  The main problem was the icy roads.  If the roads are icy the buses can’t run, and if the buses can’t run, then no school.  Woo HOO!!!

The boys and I spent the day watching movies—crazy Mr. G went to work.  We stayed home in our comfy clothes and ate grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup for lunch.  I think we had the waaaay better end of the deal!


He reminds me of the little kid from “A Christmas Story” in these pics.  I kept folding his hat up and it kept falling back down over his eyes.  Image

This was the only snow man he could make.  As you can see, from the grass poking through the snow, there really wasn’t that much snow and it was very icy and powdery so it really didn’t “mold.”    While I had the camera out, and while I was making breakfast for supper, I took some pics of the Christmas decor in the kitchen.Image

I put these past Christmas pics in my kitchen window every year.  It makes me smile to see my babies “of Christmas past.”ImageThese are my two Jim Shore angels.  I keep them in the kitchen year round, but at Christmas they sit in the window with my pictures.ImageThis is the top of the china hutch.  The little green foil tree we got several years ago at a local florist shop.  The ornaments on it are vintage metal Christmas balls that I found at an estate sale a couple of years ago.  The scrappy garland is one that I made last year or the year before and I added the ceramic gingerbread men that I made a couple of years ago.  ImageAnother scrappy garland along with the candy train my mom gave me (it has little lights on it but they are too tiny to see in the pic) and the tree I also made a couple of years ago when I was still going to pottery class.      I forgot to take a pic of the scrappy garland over the sink window.  The gingerbread men on that one have “bites” missing from them.  LOL.  I’ll have to post a pic of those for you later.Image

Here’s the tree in our kitchen.  It is covered in “sugared” fruits, copper cookie cutters and these cute little guys



The tree skirt is this cute little quilt that I found at a garage sale.  It is the perfect size for this tree.


It know this looks a little blurry but it was the only way I could take it so that you cold see the lights on the tree.

And finally, since we are looking around the kitchen, look what Jack did today!