Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday Pictures

I'm sure it's silly, but I have seen this before and I thought it was really sweet. I've been trying to incorporate these into my posts during the week. I've been playing a little catch up this week, so they get their own little post! 

I can't believe how quickly time flies. My babies are getting bigger and bigger every day. 

We had a wonderful, lazy Sunday. Anna-Kate had trouble and ended up only taking a 30 minute nap. Thomas was a toot in church and when we went to eat, but he is working on a new molar. 

Here are their Sunday pictures: 

He's so hard to catch on camera these days... especially with a smile! 

Thomas kept scooting away from Anna-Kate! He did not want her to touch him at all! haha. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm linking up with Jamie today to share what I'm loving! Click on the picture to link up and share what you're loving too! 

I'm loving that Derek only has one more day of his hour long commute! Hopefully he passes his insurance exam tomorrow and he will be done with that. :) 

I'm loving that Anna-Kate has a spring program tomorrow night! I can't wait to go see her perform! She is really excited too.

I'm loving how big Thomas has gotten! He started calling "oh toodles" when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on! It's adorable! It seems like he is adding new words every day. Between all of the words and his new 'no' head shake we have been cracking up! He does seem to be going through an ornery phase, which I'm not loving! I'm missing my sweet boy but I know that it will end soon.

I'm loving these matching brother and sister outfits I found here on Etsy! If you buy them as a set, then you can save a little too. How awesome is that?! 

What are you loving today? 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saturday Cooking!

I thought it would be fun to share more about how we do our Saturday cooking! We have been doing this every other week, since we are a family of four and most recipes have about 8 servings. We are able to make 7 meals and divide them in two so we have 2 weeks of dinners and only one day with the messy kitchen. 

We have been spending about 3-4 hours on Saturdays cooking. Usually we time it during nap time, so we only spend the last hour or so cooking while the kids are up. This week only took us about 2 1/2 hours! 

We had two meals that will be made the days we need them. So we only had to do 5 meals, so that helps. 

When we got home with the groceries, I realized that I needed to come up with a game plan. Then I quickly realized that we chose more complex meals this week. 

I posted this yesterday, but here's the menu I came up with: 
Broccoli and Cheese Spuds
Santa Fe Chicken
Chicken Divan
Asian Chicken
Greek Turkey Meatballs
Spinach Manicotti 
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I know I've said this, but just in case... all of these recipes (except the spuds) are off of a website called Skinny Taste and they all are pretty healthy so that is awesome! 

So back to the planning. I realized that it was going to be a bit overwhelming if I didn't just take it one recipe at a time. I decided that I would try to do more of the prep work and grabbing things, while Derek did a lot of the cooking and assembling part. It actually worked really well! We make such a great team. 

The first thing we did was sort through the groceries. I like to put away what we won't be needing right away and then sort of group the items by recipe.

Next we divided up the chicken and put what we needed for the Santa Fe chicken in the freezer. Then we boiled what we needed for the chicken divan. While that was boiling we started on the Asian chicken. 

I pulled the ingredients and chopped the onion while Derek browned the chicken and then added the ingredients for the sauce. He also "grated" the ginger for me too. (I'll get to the grated items in just a sec)

Once all of that was mixed in the pot, it needed to simmer for 20 minutes. So while that simmered we decided to get started on the Tzatziki sauce for the Greek turkey meatballs. 

On a side note- that tzatziki sauce is 0 weight watchers points. Yes you heard me... ZERO points! It's delicious, so how awesome is that?! 

The sauce is a little complicated to make, but it really didn't take long.

While we were cooking, I noticed that she used the term "grated" in a lot of her recipes. It did not take long for me to realize that she was probably using that to say minced. It kind of drives me crazy. I'm not sure why. Maybe things really are supposed to be grated... but we just ran them in the food processor and let them be finely chopped. 

So after the tzatziki (I'm really loving typing that word- even if spell check is not) sauce was made, Derek turned off the boiling chicken and stirred the Asian glazed chicken. Since we did not use drumsticks, the chicken did not take the full 20 minutes to cook. We also had a hard time getting the sauce to reduce down to a glaze, so he removed the chicken and did the glaze on it's own. 

Meanwhile, I was getting the turkey meatballs together.

After we finished the Asian glazed chicken and the meatballs we got started on the manicotti.

The recipe calls for crespelles. I had never heard of them but I learned that it's an italian thing and they use them in place of pasta. They are very similar to crepes. It's basically flour, milk and eggs. We put everything in a blender to mix it.  Derek made the crespelles since he has experience with crepes. While Derek made those, I got the rice started for my chicken divan. The recipe does not call for it but I thought it would be good.

I simplified the recipe by using a jar of marinara sauce. I poured a little of it in the bottom of the pan.

I got a crespelle and put the ricotta/ spinach mixture on top and then rolled it.

I laid each crespelle seam side down in my dish. I squeezed 8 in each dish.

I topped the manicotti with more marinara and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.


After the manicotti we just had two dishes left. I had already cooked the chicken and the rice for the chicken divan so all I needed to do was make the cream sauce and mix it together. 

I was a meanie and left Derek to do the spinach and feta stuffed chicken by himself. I know- he's great and I'm terrible for leaving! :)

Here's the mess when I left...

just keeping it real. :)

When I came home he had finished the stuffed chicken and cleaned the kitchen.

AND my freezer was neatly arranged!

If you're still here... you get a special award! haha.

That's basically how our cooking Saturdays go. We have a small kitchen, so it gets pretty interesting! It's always so much fun to spend the time doing something we enjoy though. It's so nice to know that most of our dishes are done for the week! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Monday- Week 12

I found this awesome website last week called Skinny Taste. I have been planning on doing healthier meals anyway, so this was just perfect. All of the recipes look so good! 

All but one of our meals comes from her website! 

These recipes were a bit more complicated than what we have been doing but it was worth it! Plus, these are ALL new meals! That's nearly 12 weeks of (almost) no repeats. I'm pretty excited. :)

Here's what's on our menu this week: 

Via Skinny Taste

Via Skinny Taste

Via Skinny Taste

Chicken Divan
Via Cookbook Jungle
Broccoli and Cheese Spuds (just throwing this one together)

Via Skinny Taste

Via Skinny Taste

Via Skinny Taste

Seriously, don't these all look so good??! I had to share her pictures. I can't wait to eat these this week! Be sure to check out her wonderful blog! 

So there's no linky this week but participate and leave a comment, so I can check your menus out too! Thanks for sharing! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Blog Swap

I know I have mentioned that I signed up with Molly over at the Fuschia News to do a blog swap. I love the spring and I love to shop, so I thought it would be lots of fun. 

My wonderful partner was Tricia from Flip Flops and Guinness. She is so great! I'm so glad that she was patient with me... since I was a terrible partner and sent my package a couple days late! 

I had so much fun shopping for Tricia! I love spring and all of the colors and smells that go along with it! 

My package just made my day! Here's what I got: 

The loot :)
My sweet spring card! 

Awesome water bottle
I try to drink water while I'm at work and this sure beats taking my big yellow STL Zoo cup! ha. :)

Apron notepad, colored pens and 'N' recipe cards
 I broke out the notepad to plan our weekly menu! I can't wait to add some recipes to the cards!

Purple nail polish, sunglasses and a cute anklet
 Who doesn't love a fun nail polish! I am loving this color! It's on my toes right now. I'm always losing or breaking my sunglasses, so these are awesome. And I love the girly touch of an anklet!

On top of all that, she sent me a cute purse! I love to switch out my bags with my moods, so I like to have plenty of options! This is so cute with the flower detail on the inside!

Tricia- thank you SO much for being such a great blog swap partner and sending me so many wonderful goodies! :)

If you have not already, go on over to Tricia's blog! You can see what I sent her too!

If you would like to see some of the other packages, visit Molly's blog and check out the blogs that linked up.

Thanks Molly and Aly for hosting! It was so much fun! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving that it is spring! We have had beautiful weather this week so far! 

I'm loving that Derek is home. I'm no good without him! :) We all missed him so much. I know there are so many women who go a lot longer than a week without their husbands. I'm just a big baby! 

I'm loving that we are all back to normal this week. I loved being at home with Anna-Kate and Thomas but it's so nice to be back in a routine! 

I'm loving that I sent my package to my blog swap partner and that I received mine this week! More on that tomorrow. :) 

via Gymboree

I'm loving this adorable Gymboree dress and the matching sandals! 

via Gymboree
Aren't they so cute? If only I could get Anna-Kate to actually wear these sandals! 

I'm loving The Laughing Giraffe on Etsy! I saw that someone blogged about this a few weeks ago and I had to check it out. They have the cutest little dresses. I even found this little jon jon to match one of my favorite dresses! What's better than matching brother/ sister outfits?? A matching tie for Dad! Derek's not as thrilled about this idea... :) Click on any of the pictures to see them on Etsy. 

It's spring and there's so much to love! We are so very blessed and for that I'm thankful. 

What are you loving today? Link up and play along! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Monday- Week 11

This week, we are taking a break from our cooking and freezing so that we can use up some of our overflowing pantry items! I'm not going by any sort of menu, just kind of winging it. Sorry! But we will be back at it next week! 

I still wanted to give everyone (both of you guys) a chance to link up your menus this week! So play along if you would like! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our Weekend- Lot's of Pictures...

Since I went on an unplanned blogging hiatus last week, I wanted to include the rest of the week's pictures, along with this weekend. So that made this post loaded down with pictures! Sorry! 

Last week, we did lots of playing! I realized how much Thomas loves to play outside and that even though Anna-Kate can sort of swing herself, she will not if someone is there to push her! Acceleration is just not something that a 3 1/2 year old understands... hmm...

Thomas enjoyed swinging with the girls and whoever else would get on this with him! 

When he is outside he just goes and goes... it's hard to keep up with him! I was trying to catch him before he fell out of Kristen's car, but I was too late and he fell and scraped his little cheek and nose! 

He's also getting to an age of boundary pushing! If only the two's could just hold off a few months... 

Wednesday we went to lunch with Derek's parent's. 

He's such a ham! 

The girls- goofy as always!

Wednesday after church, we did a little baking with her Easy Bake Oven! She was so into it! 

Wearing her apron and heels :) 

Baking with her is always interesting... she has to taste everything! haha. 

Turns out we had the wrong kind of light bulbs for her oven, so we wound up baking them. They were still good! 

Thursday, I decided to let her bake the pink cupcakes my mom got her for Christmas. She loved that idea! 

We mixed them and then they baked during her nap. I iced them and then let her "decorate them." 

And by decorate I mean dump the whole section of pink sugar on the cupcakes! ha! 

Friday and Saturday we had a yard sale with my friend Amanda! Anna-Kate was hardcore and woke up at 6:15 with me on Friday. She did great playing on her own. 

Anna-Kate picked these flowers and we decided they would look perfect in Maddie's hair! :) 

After the yard sale on Friday, we went to Chick-fil-a and did some shopping with Derek's grandmother. When we got back, Anna-Kate was so excited about Derek getting home that night, that I could not get her to take a nap. She was worn out though! 

After dinner, we went to Derek's parent's house and they watched the kids while I picked up Derek. 

When I pulled in their driveway, I looked back and Anna-Kate was OUT! haha. I took about 100 pictures... between her still holding the monopoly money and the balloon and her drool, I couldn't help myself! :) 

We had a great day Saturday. We are all so glad Derek is home! 

I'm trying to get a Sunday picture of Anna-Kate and Thomas (I just thought it would be fun). Here are today's.

After church, we had a picnic at the park. It was fun, but Thomas just wanted to roam everywhere! 

Sitting like such a big boy! 

Anna-Kate helped push Thomas! 

I just love them! :)

 Sorry for the picture overload! 

We are all looking forward to getting back into our routine this week! 
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