Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Monday- Week 8

It's Menu Monday again!! Link up and play along! You can click on the picture to see my other menu's this year!

This week is our repeat week! 

Last week was a little different for us, so we actually haven't made the poppy seed chicken or the pork chops yet! 

Here's what's on our menu: 

Chicken Spaghetti
Smothered Pork Chops
Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Poppy Seed Chicken
Taco Soup
Shepherd's Pie

You can go here to see last week's post and to get the links to the recipes I used! 

This has been a strange couple of weeks for us. I was sick, so the menu planning/ grocery shopping didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped. So it's not been quite as efficient but the menu is great. I enjoy these recipes. 

I really like having a good combination of easy and harder meals and I like to have at least one that requires a little cooking so I still get to have some different recipes and I'm not totally restricted to freezer only meals. 

I'm also really excited that we have gone this far and barely repeated items! I'm trying to see how long we can go so I have a nice rotation of dishes. 

Well that's this week! I'd love to hear from you to get ideas or tips! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Show Us Your Life- What You Make

Kelly's Korner is is featuring what we make today! I wish that I could hone in on my craftiness more, but right now I don't! Today I thought it would be fun to feature my crazy talented older sister- what a perfect day since it is her birthday!! 

She is extremely meticulous, so her work turns out beautifully! 

Here are a few things she's sewn:

How cute are these little rosette rings?? 
So that's a little preview of the things she does on the side! I think she is going to venture out and do more things along that line soon too! 

She also has an Etsy shop. She wanted to slow down a bit after all of the Christmas craziness, so she has 4 hats available right now! 

This little bunny eared hat is perfect for Easter! 

The "Hipster" cat hat

The "Lumberjack" Cat Hat

The "Be My Valentine" Earflap Cat Hat

Don't you just love them??! You can click on the pictures to see them in Etsy! 

She has done some adorable hats for different seasons too! Here are some of the hats that she has done in the past: 

A sleeping cap! 

Halloween Witch Hat

Christmas cap! 
So I think you can see why I think she's so talented!! She also knits other things! 

This can be put on a pin or made into a hair bow for little girls! 

She also knit this sweet little cardigan with leather buttons and matching hat! 

Thanks for letting me share the amazing things my sister makes!! I'm so proud of her! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Bigger Now

Seems like Anna-Kate is growing and changing so much lately! As she constantly reminds me, "I'm bigger now. I'm getting bigger!"

I learned very quickly that she is not small! It's very hard to explain to a 3 1/2 year old that she is petite! We had a full on meltdown because someone told her she was little for a 3 1/2 year old! ha!

I thought I would take a minute to write down the funny things Anna-Kate is saying and doing lately! 

During her Christmas break we told her that Thomas was going to her old school but would be in a different class. She was a little upset because she wanted to go to school with him. It is really sweet how much she loves him. We tried to explain to her that when he was big enough he would go to the Academy and be in Mrs. Penny's class but that by then Anna-Kate would be in a different class. It really seemed like she got the concept by the end of the break. 

On her first day back at school she informed her teacher that when she was done in Mrs. Penny's class she would move on to the 6th grade! haha! She's too funny! 
Playing with Kristen in her room after church is a must!

Anna-Kate is a sweet heart and a really great child but there are the occasional "sad" notes sent home from school saying that she wouldn't stop talking (poor thing has no chance to be quiet with her genetics) or that she was just disobedient in some form or fashion. This week as soon as she saw Derek she said the names of three girls who had gotten sad notes that day and then very quickly pointed out that she had not! She was very proud!

The other day, my boss' little girls saw Anna-Kate while they were on their way to class. Anna-Kate stopped and said "hi." Right after that, the little girl in front of Anna-Kate fell. Anna-Kate quickly threw her hands up in the air and said "she did it by herself!" 

She has really gotten into saying a prayer at dinner and then before she goes to bed. She gets the sweetest little high pitched voice. Usually it includes something like this, "Dear God. Thank you for this day. Thank you for me and Thomas and my mommy and daddy. and me. and thomas. and reagan and maddie and bella (derek's parent's dog). and the snowmens. and the neighbors next door. (and anyone else she thinks of at the time)." Sometimes she will say thanks for random stuffed animals or things she sees too. She usually gets Derek and I pretty cracked up.

The other day she was playing at our Chick-fil-a. After we left she told Derek and I that  a girl had pushed her down. Derek asked Anna-Kate what she did and she replied in the tiniest, most pitiful voice ever "I said 'please don't push me'" It just broke my heart!! I wish I could imitate her little voice- it was so sad!

Anna-Kate is full of sass but she sure is the sweetest thing ever!!

Just one of her many silly faces she makes! 
This was her fake smile- haha! 
The other day, I got to pick her and Thomas up. I got Anna-Kate first and then let her come in with me to get Thomas. Anna-Kate was very quick to point out that her daddy does not let her go in! As we were pulling away I said look, your friend Molly is going to get her baby sister with her mommy. Anna-Kate looked and said "Mommy's let us go in to get our baby brothers and sisters. I'm going to tell my daddy 'let me go in!'"

So today Anna-Kate went in with Derek to get Thomas! So funny. Derek said that Thomas usually cries when he gets there but today Thomas saw Anna-Kate and just squealed! While they were there another little baby was crying and Anna-Kate tried to make him feel better.

I just love her!

I'm going to miss the funny little things she says and the way she pronounces words!

She calls her school "hardemy cademy" (Harding Academy)
She used to call Chick-fil-a "Chicker-way"

Saturday, she kept asking for candy, cookies or ice cream. She told us she did not want dinner, she just wanted a cookie. Finally, Derek was pretty firm with her that she was not getting a cookie and she did not need to keep asking for one. I was in the other room and she came up to me and said "my daddy is so rude." I immediately got an image of what to expect during the teenage years.

Boy do we love this girl! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving that I'm feeling better! I started feeling sick Thursday night with a really bad headache and Friday I woke up with one. I wound up going home from work early on Friday and stayed out Monday. Being sick is no fun- I'm so glad that I'm feeling much more like myself! 

I'm loving my sweet hubby who was SO good to me this weekend! He took care of the house, the kids, the groceries and even the cooking! I helped where I could, but that wasn't very much! I am really lucky to have him! 

Image from Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss
I'm loving this magnetic chalkboard idea I found over at Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss! I am totally inspired to make one of these for Anna-Kate's room! While you're there- check out the rest of her cute blog! She's full of cute ideas! 

I'm loving these little cakes in a jar! I found a tutorial over at Cakies ! How cute are they?? I might be making these for all of my friends this year! 

I'm loving all of the hilarious faces Anna-Kate has been making! She is such a mess. We probably sat around and took pictures of her for 30 minutes solid! ha! 

I'm loving my little guy too! Last week, his teacher had to get on to him for stealing the food off the other kids plates! While the teacher was getting on to him he flashed a big smile and made her laugh. What are we going to do with him?! ha! 

I'm loving that it's almost the weekend! Friday and Saturday the grandparents are keeping Anna-Kate and Thomas so we can tile our kitchen (finally)! We are so excited- I can't wait to share what it looks like! This will be Thomas' first night away too, so hopefully he does good for them. 

Link up share what you're loving today! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Monday

I am really excited that we have been doing this and are still going! Sometimes those ideas we have that are just going to make things so much better don't stick. Thankfully this one has and it has made our life so much easier! I don't plan on doing this forever, but right now it has been exactly what we needed!

I've tried really hard at not repeating meals so far, but we are doing one again- two if you want to be technical. It is hard to keep coming up with new things (and to both agree on them). Derek has just as much say in the menu as I do. We sit down on Friday nights and plan out what we are going to make and write the grocery list. This week's menu was a little tricky, but we finally settled on one. I think it's going to be a good week!

You can just click on the picture or the item for a link to the recipe I used as a guideline!

Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Shells (I didn't follow a recipe)

The Pioneer Woman's recipe is so good!  
Chicken Spaghetti


Taco Soup  (I add a packet of ranch seasoning to mine!)

Shepherd's Pie 

Poppy Seed Chicken

Smothered Pork Chops

For the spinach and ricotta shells, we just made a tomato sauce similar to the one I made a few weeks ago. I just let tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, meat, garlic and herbs simmer in my crock pot. Then I made a ricotta mixture, similar to what you would make for lasagna but I added spinach and I filled cooked shells with the ricotta mixture. Then I poured the tomato sauce over it! Yum!

I included the link to the Kraft recipe for Shepherd's Pie that Derek and I used the first few times we made it. Now that I've made it so much, I really didn't use a recipe! Oh and my mashed potatoes were nowhere near that "fancy!" ha! I just mashed them with butter and milk! Oh and a few weeks ago when we made it, we used a recipe from Derek's favorite Irish place back home. That one had tomato sauce, so I am not counting it as a repeat! :)

Since this is working so well for us, I thought it would be fun to give it a catchy title (I stole this from my awesome friend Amanda) and then create a button that you can grab for your blog. You can see my button in the left hand column! Coming up with menu's for each week is hard! I thought it would be fun to see what others are cooking each week and maybe it will help give us ideas. I know that not everyone likes to freeze meals either, so don't worry if you don't do that!

What are you cooking this week? Link up and play along!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Show Us Your Life- Your Alma Mater

I thought it would be fun to link up with Kelly's Korner blog again this week and talk about our Alma Mater.

Derek and I both graduated from Harding University.

When I was a junior, I got to join my sister on a college tour when her friend backed out of going. I am so glad her friend couldn't go! Ha! 

I fell instantly in love with Harding. I knew that's where I wanted to go! The only problem was that it was 6 hours away and my sister chose a different school. I stood my ground and tried my hardest to persuade my grandparents this was the school for me. They were worried about sending me somewhere so far away. 

Thankfully I started in Fall of 2004. 

My very first class was Freshman Bible- New Testament Survey. I chose a seat by a girl I sort of knew from Nashville- thanks Jennifer! :) 

What I didn't know was that Derek was sitting in the row right behind me. 

I met Derek during his dorm open house. (The guys and girls are only allowed in each other's dorm lobbies, so once a month or so they would let a few dorms have open houses where they guys or girls could come up provided they followed a few rules!)

A few weeks later he waited for me after we finished one of our Bible tests and that night we had our first date! 

That's one of the reasons I love Harding so much. Without it, I would have never met Derek! 

Derek wasn't the only amazing person I met! I was blessed with a great group of girls on my hall freshman year. We had so much fun! I feel like I was richly blessed with all of the people I got to meet. It was an absolutely amazing experience. 

I chose to major in Interior Design, but I chose late so I was put behind in my classes. Having Anna-Kate right as I started my lab classes didn't help me speed up my timeline either! I am so glad though. 

God blessed me with such a wonderful group of friends in my classes! When you spend as much time together as we did, you learn to love each other. I really did. I miss my classmates and teachers more than anything! I'd almost go back, just so I could have my friends back! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

16 Months

How about an update on Thomas? It's been a while huh? 

Thomas is 16 months old now and doing so much! 

Here are his stats: 

I'm not sure how much he weighs right now, so I'll have to add this in later!

He has 6 teeth. 4 on top and 2 on the bottom. 
He can walk and bounce and squat- so cute! 
He sleeps 12 hours at night and usually take one or two naps a day. 
He eats everything. There are very few things he turns away. He's a big eater too! 
He drinks milk and water mostly. Sometimes juice at school 

Thomas is saying so many words now! 
Da Da
Anna-Kate (comes out k k or kate kate)
Bella (he calls all dogs bella, after Derek's parent's dog)
All done (he signs that too)
More (he sometimes signs that too)
Milk (sounds a lot like more)
No no 
Uh oh
Blankie (sounds like ball) 
Bye Bye (waves too)
Hi (waves too)
Bow Wow
Belly Button (he's still working on this one but he's trying!)
Rock A Bye (comes out either rock rock) 
Peek a boo (comes out bye bye but he covers his little eyes- so cute!)
I love you (he repeats this, doesn't say it on his own yet)

He also blows on his food and can whisper! He will try to repeat just about any animal sound you make too, but they're not always right! :)

If you ask him where his belly button is, he raises his shirt up and pointes to it. He also can point to his nose!

We're still working on actually pointing... ha!

He also is very good at blowing kisses.

and giving hugs! :)

Thomas has the best little personality! He is super sweet and snuggly. He's extremely laid back but he is a bit territorial. Stay away from his blankie and shoes! ha. 

He loves to sing and to dance. He rocks the other babies at school. He is super playful too. He really likes to pick at Anna-Kate- it's pretty funny. He can be quite the ham too- oh my! He loves to get attention and to make us laugh. He is really big on mimicking things we do.

In the morning Derek will say "Knock the bed down" and he grabs the rail of the crib and shakes it. It's really funny! He also likes to wave "hi" and "bye" to me from his crib. 

He is just such a special little boy- we are so blessed! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm linking up with Jamie at Little Daisy May again this week! You can too- just click on the picture! 

I'm loving that we started this week with Valentine's day! Having a day dedicated to showing your love is such a positive way to start the week! We wound up having a last minute dinner with Derek's family before we went on our date. Derek and I went to Lowe's and got some seeds and a starter kit to grow some vegetables and herbs! 

I'm loving my valentine! This was our 7th Valentine's day together! :)

I'm loving cookies and milk with my beautiful little girl and sweet baby boy! 

I'm loving that it's Wednesday and we are well on our way to the weekend! I'm cooking up some ideas for next week's menu (ha- get it?) and I can't wait to share them! 

I'm loving Orville Redenbacher's Kettle Korn! It's delicious- oh my! I have to admit that Derek and I have been eating a bag a night! Yikes!  

What are you loving today?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 6 Menu

We are kind of settling into a routine of this! I just can't stress how nice it's been to have our meals prepared ahead of time! You can see last week's menu here. (You can click on the meals in last week's menu for the links to the recipes if there is one!) 

Here's our menu for the week: 

Meatballs (with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli)
Corn Chowder with Dumplings 
Breakfast Casserole
Cheeseburger Pie
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

We had a pot luck on Sunday and it was so easy! I didn't realize we were having one until Saturday. Usually, it would have been a struggle to go get groceries and get something put together but this was as simple as thawing out our chicken pot pie filling and throwing a pie crust on top! :)

I'm not going to lie- this week is going to be hard for us. We are a little bored with this menu! Some of the things we made were a little bland so I'm going to try a few tricks to fix that. 

Derek also learned a lesson this week. He made the pizza and pie crusts for me last week. When he did I reminded him to label them. Someone thought that they would be easy to tell apart though. So Tuesday night he made pizza on a pie crust. No it was not as good as you might think! ha! So next time we will definitely label everything! 

As always, I would love to hear meal ideas and see what you are cooking this week!

 Also, check out our food blog- there's a link on the top left-hand corner of this blog! I plan on moving the weekly menu's there once that blog has caught on more! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

Friday, Anna-Kate had a Valentine's party at school. When I got there they were playing a cute little game where they all held hands and walked in a circle (or tired to). There was one child in the middle that got to choose who would stand in the middle next. We got there just in time to see Anna-Kate get in the middle! 

She was so excited to see us! 

After the circle game they played another game where they had to eat a piece of a twizzlers without using their hands. Anna-Kate was a little shy about it, but she did good!

Getting started
Almost done! 
Earlier in the day they made boats to keep their valentines in. They were really cute!

They finished up the circle game and then got to eat some yummy treats!

She was excited about the pink cupcakes! ha! 
Thomas got to eat some fruit too! 
My valentines! 
Thomas was out of school last Wednesday through Friday, but I don't think they have a party planned for the little ones. Either way, Thomas wanted to share his valentines! :)

Puffs and cheerios! :) 
They almost look like X's and O's! 
Derek and I are celebrating Valentine's day this evening with a date. Our awesome friend, Joanna is going to babysit! Thanks Joanna!! When I told Anna-Kate she was going to come over, she got so excited- I think she'd rather play with Joanna than us... ha! 

It's just been more of a low key Valentine's for us but I am loving it! 

Happy Valentine's Day! 
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