Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Take Me Back Tuesday - USSR

Welcome to Take Me Back Tuesday! You can participate and/or check out other Take Me Back Tuesday posts at A Giveaway Addicted Mommy.

We were in Odessa, Ukraine...at the time it was still kind of the USSR as it was all breaking apart. We were there for about 6 weeks on an exchange program. Would couldn't go when we initially planned to because of the Gorbachev coup. We couldn't go home as expected either because of civil unrest. And I'm pretty sure we were told to try to "blend in" and if anyone asked, that we were from the Baltic Republic (nobody would have believed it - we smiled way too much). "Our Russians" (as we liked to call them) had come to stay with us earlier that year. I could fill pages with memories from the trip.

So here I am in my letter jacket (a must have those days) and a huge scrunchie. We were wearing their school uniforms. It was gray and smoggy all of the time as you can see in the background. We were there over Thanksgiving and I brought one can of Spaghetti O's and a can opener so I could celebrate :) The priorities of a high schooler!

Tempt My Tummy - Spinach and Strawberry Salad

This is what I am bringing to Easter dinner at my in-law's this weekend. It is so good and so spring-y! Enjoy your week.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together everything else. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not Me! Monday

It is NOT Monday again, is it??

I am NOT annoyed every morning by the crossing guard (she is new, we loved the previous one). She must have missed the part of her training that detailed how to stop traffic (hence the flashing lights, cross walk, bright orange clothing, etc.). She waits until there are no cars in sight...please remember this is right before school starts - RIGHT in front of the school. So we wait. And wait. And then, by the grace of God, when there are no cars in site she runs out with her stop sign and tells the kids to hurry across. This morning she commented on how busy it was (oh, really? That is so odd!) and I did NOT reply "It's a good thing you have a stop sign." To which she laughed. And we waited.........

Bigs did NOT lie about her and her friends picking all of the VERY hot habenero peppers off my plant and daring each other to try them. If she had lied about it, it would have been a great teachable moment about lies and their consequences (as she is screaming that it's BURNING). Poor dear. What a hard (but perfect) lesson to learn.
My Little Bit did NOT turn 8 months old yesterday. She did NOT learn to pull herself up to a seated position and crawl in the last 3 days. She just can't be that big already. Every time I write something about her I do NOT mention that time passed too quickly and she is getting big too fast.
I did NOT feed my friends a completely guinea pig meal last night...everything untested. The main dish took about an hour longer that I thought (cook COVERED, not uncovered, duh) and the cupcakes were my workings of the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest. They are NOT just the best friends ever and were completely OK with it :)
This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog and read about the fight they are having with baby Stellan's health. I don't think there will be a Not Me Monday post, just health updates on the little one. If you are inclined to pray, please do so!
Prayers for Stellan

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time Out Monday - The Secret Life of Bees and a Treat

A few weeks ago I got to watch a movie. All! By! Myself! I didn't have to get a kid movie, which is a once in a blue moon experience for me. I chose The Secret Life of Bees. I have had book on my bedside table now for many moons and haven't had motivation to start it. The movie was great so now I am starting the book. The book is always better than the movie so if the movie is great, the book must be wonderful :) I'm not going to tell you about it - go to a movie review site for that.

And to go along with the movie.....In the mail I received a free Betty Crocker Warm Delights Mini treat. Nice mail day that day! It was small - perfect portion for someone (me) who tends to take huge portions. It was also like making something for my Easy Bake Oven when I was 8. Add water to the mix, microwave for 30 seconds, and the treat is done. Same type of thing but without waiting for that little light bulb to cook it. Ah, how we have evolved :)

Time Out Monday is a new weekly feature over at My Charmed Life and she'd love for you to participate. Go check it out!

Aloha Friday - Easter Traditions?

It's Friday, which means that over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer.
I'm not one to fill my kid's baskets with candy. They eat too many sweets as it is. I get them little gifts instead. We have a fun way for the girls to find their baskets that I'm going to post about for Works For Me Wednesday. We do an easter egg tree that the girls love to decorate and of course, we dye eggs.
Do you have any Easter traditions?
Enjoy your weekend! Schools have today off so we have already started ours ~ WooHoo!

Kid Friendly Friday - Music Review

Welcome to Kid Friendly Friday! A place where we welcome your linked posts (old or new) to anything kid friendly.....recipes, crafts, books, giveaways, reviews.....Join the fun or look at all of the good ideas others have. Maybe you will be inspired :)

For this week's Kid Friendly Friday I wanted to share with you some of our favorite kids CDs.

1. Justin Roberts - Meltdown - We received this as a birthday gift and my 3 year old just fell in love with it. She calls it her "3rd year Birthday" CD....(we made a mixed CD that she calls her "2nd year Birthday CD").

....And I know that this might sound outrageous, outrageous
But a meltdown is contagious, contagious
Now Mom and me were having an M-E-L-T-D – down.....

And I’d stop the world and meltdown with you.

2. Eric Ode - I Love My Shoes - I was in Lakeshore Learning one day and this was playing. I swore it was Kermit the Frog. Turns out it was pretty good.

3. Imagination Movers - Juice Box Hero - OK, I don't have this yet (ordered it for an Easter basket present) but we love the Movers and the songs are from their show. I know it's going to be a huge hit. You can listen to the songs here.

4. Laurie Berkner - Under a Shady Tree - We love her videos as well. They are energetic and make you want to dance!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday - What a difference a year makes!

She is growing up so quickly! This was last March. Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - At the Ball Field

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts HERE or HERE.

Works For Me - Tooth Fairy

When my daughter lost her tooth due to a freak accident involving flipping over her bed at the tender age of two, we had not worked out a tooth fairy plan. I think my husband gave her a quarter...what did she know. She was two.

I have heard a huge range of monetary gifts from the infamous fairy and I am not inclined to be at the higher end (or maybe even mid-range) so I wanted to do something different.

I know the idea comes from somewhere else, and I have no idea where. The tooth fairy, is going to give my girls gems. My girls love sparkly things. I wanted something special they could save. For about 20 dollars on eBay I got this HUGE assortment of real stones. They are rubies, sapphires, amethyst, and most others that I don't know. They are not perfect (hence their price) but I couldn't tell. I'm going to give her a few stones for each tooth and will have a fancy bag for her to put them all in.

It works for me! Check out more Works For Me Wednesday ideas at We Are That Family.

Here is a better picture of what I was able to get...I like the top one better but you really can't tell what they are.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Weekly Carnival

Sarah at My Charmed Life is hosting a new carnival called Time Out Monday. She's starting this Monday, the 30th. If you are looking for more carnivals in which to participate my list (with links) is HERE.

Here's what it's all about....(description taken from her site)

"Have you done anything nice for yourself today? As busy women, wives and mothers it's easy to get so caught up in the rush of daily life that we don't stop to take care of ourselves. That is why I've decided to start Time Out Monday, to encourage you (and myself) to take a few minutes and do just that.

We could all use some inspiration as we start another week, and if you have a bunch of new ideas on Monday, you can use them anytime during the week when you need a little pick me up. Send yourself to time out!There are no real rules, perhaps you love to cook and want to share a recipe, you could tell us about your last girls night out, maybe you have some wardrobe tips for those of us (like me) who are fashion challenged, talk about your favorite tv show or share a review or giveaway for something fun (jewelry? chocolate? books?)."
Now go take a little time for yourself so you have something to post!

My Two Cents - Giving

Tutu's Bliss has a weekly meme, My Two Cents. This week's topic is giving. In economic times like this it's an important thing to think about. Don't just dismiss giving because you are going through tough times.

Last week I was asked to give to something that I don't even have the luxury to afford...and I didn't give because of this reason. And now I regret it. It was selfish and I see that now. I have to remind myself that giving in good times is great but giving when it has to be a sacrifice is a test of character. I'm not talking about giving away the farm but mindful giving. Just something to think about...and my two cents.

Temp My Tummy Spinach Meatball Sub Casserole

I've been waiting for just the right time to try the Spinach Meatballs over at My Muffin Thursdays. I was afraid that my husband and kids would spot the green intruder a mile away. Then I found a recipe for a meatball sub casserole in our preschool's cookbook. We all love meatball subs and casseroles can mask just about anything.....so I did the great experiment. The result? Everyone liked the meatballs. The girls didn't like the bread part. I loved the meatballs and ate it for lunch each day until it was gone. So good!

First, the meatballs. I thought it sounded like A LOT of spices, but it worked well. I made the meatballs pretty big...it might have been easier if I had made them a but smaller.

Mom's Spinach Meatballs

1lb ground beef
1 (10oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4c grated Parmesan cheese
2 large white mushrooms, quartered (I used canned - that's all I had)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1tsp pepper
1/2tsp salt
2 eggs

Directions:In a food processor, combine spinach, Parmesan, mushrooms, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, pepper, and salt. Process till well combined. Add eggs one at a time and process till well combined. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine with beef (I find this works best with one's hands). Mix well.

Shape into 1 1/2" balls. I got about 30 out of my batch. Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and/or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes, or till meat is no longer pink.

Then the casserole. Obviously, I skip the meatball part. I included it all in case you are not ready to jump in with the spinach and mushrooms. It will be good with regular ones. I also didn't use all of the water it called for. I used a little to rinse the rest of the sauce out of the jar (maybe 1/3 cup).
Meatball Sub Casserole

1/3 cup chopped green onion, to taste
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch slices
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise (not low-fat or lite)
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Preheat oven to 400.

In a bowl, combine onions, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Add beef and mix well.
shape into 1-inch balls; place on a rack.
In a shall baking pan, bake for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink. (Or cook in a skillet on medium heat.).
Reduce oven temperature to 350.
Meanwhile, arrange bread in a single layer in an ungreased 13x9x2" baking dish.
(All of the bread might not be used.).
Combine cream cheese, mayo, Italian seasoning and pepper; spread over the bread.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Combine sauce, water and garlic; add meatballs.
Pour over cheese mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
Bake, uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blog Awards :)

Thanks to Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessings , I have been given the "Honest Scrap" blog award.
I love her creative posts as they give me inspiration to do all sorts of things. She also does a monthly craft challenge where she picks one things (this month it's buttons) and challenges you to come up with some craft projects. So fun and fun to see what others come up with. Thanks, Heidi!

The rules of this award are simple:

1. Write 10 honest (and hopefully interesting) things about yourself.
2. Pass this award onto 7 bloggers who you find brilliant in content and design.

1. I am a list maker. Love them. And even like to plan out my day, list style (a little obsessive about the lists).
2. I think that I have allergies but it has only begun in the last few years. I won't go to the doctor just to confirm this. They would just tell me to take something, which I don't want to do. My self-diagnosis, pollen allergy. Aren't I efficient? I don't even charge a co-pay.
3. I hate to clean. I love to pick up.
4. I'm trying to get ONE scrapbook page done each week. And I haven't even been able to stick to that. It's all out on a table right behind me (excuse me, I'm going to finish that page - and done - one more thing to check off my weekly list).
5. I have never really decided what I want to be when I grew up. I have had a gazillion jobs. My favorite so far being a high school teacher. I would love to work at a nursery (garden variety).
6. I want to travel to Italy. Furthest I have been - Russia in 1991.
7. Even though traveling is fun, I love to be at home.
8. I am a fan of 90210, both old and new. I just love Tori Spelling and excited she's going to be on the new one.
9. I am cheap (can we call it frugal :) I don't remember the last time I paid full price for clothing for myself.
10. I don't like playing pretend. I lost my "pretend" gene. When the girls want to play something like that it is pure torture.

And now onto the award...I would like to give the "Honest Scrap" award to some of my favorites!
1. Katie at A Listmaker's Life
3. Courtney at Sister to Sister

Sarah at My Charmed Life gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award.Here are the rules:

List 7 things that you love and then pass the award on to 7 people...
tagging them and letting them know they won!

You can copy the picture of the award and put it on your sideboard
letting the whole wide world know you are KREATIV!

Seven Things I Love:


2.Spring Flowers

3.Fall (we don't get it here)

4.Colors (anything colorful)


6.The smell of fresh cut grass.

7.My family, of course!

Seven blogs that impress me with their creativity:

5.Sharon at Because I Must

6. Sharinskishe at My Practically Perfect Life

I received the Sisterhood Award from Jennifer at Frugal Front Porch.

This award is passed on by bloggers to other bloggers they feel show great attitude and/or gratitude! I'm very honored to be selected!

In order to officially be the recipient of this prestigious award, I need to do a few things first --

1. Put the logo on your blog or post. ( √ )

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude! ( √ )

3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. ( √ )

4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog. ( √ )

5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award. ( √ )

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - We made some of your projects!

Welcome to Kid Friendly Friday where we post crafts, recipes, ideas, reviews, books...anything that is Kid Friendly! Join us and link up to your kid friendly post - even if it's an old post - that doesn't make it an old idea! This week I am featuring projects that I have made from your posts.

Mel at The Domestic Engineer posted about these cute little birds. Here are the ones we made.

Katie at A Listmaker's Life posted this great frog math game. I really wanted to make the little painted frogs but I can never find nice smooth rocks here. Really. When I'm up north this summer I'm bringing home some for times like these :) I didn't have the frog die cut either.....but I DID have a flower punch of a decent size, so my game ended up being a flower math game. You gotta use what you got!

Check out Katie's post for more of the specifics. We modified some things as well. We are working on number recognition so made more numbers to label what we rolled on the die. Also, Anne at Teaching Two, says that getting kids to see groups (like the dots on a die) and being able to recognize them easily, is a great skill to have.....so I would have the girls arrange their flower pebbles just like it is shown on a die.

Easy to make. The girls love it. Thanks Katie!

So what do you have for us all this week? Link up with Mr. Linky below or look at some of the old KFF for more great ideas. Thanks everyone and have a wonderful weekend!

Aloha Friday! Spring Cleaning

It's Friday, which means that over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer.


I can't stand cleaning! I like everything picked up (I can't live with too much clutter) but really let my cleaning go. Dusting is on my most hated list. I started spring cleaning yesterday - no warning or planning, it just hit me that it should be done. I'm sure I'll be at it for a week or so. The baby keeps me from cleaning all out, all day, like I would like. So I need your help.....

Got any quick and easy cleaning tips?

Enjoy your weekend~

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Great Resource For You - Economy

I am involved in a ministry called Young Life. Last night the regional director gave us this. What a wonderful resource in these economic times. If you can't get it big enough or can't read it (try to click on the picture), let me know your email address and I will email it to you.

Show Me the Funny

One of my favorite elementary school PE activities was the parachute. Remember that? Check out this hilarious post from Noob Mommy about the dynamics of the playtime parachute! So funny!

Thoughts from the Toilet Bowl does a carnival called "Show Me the Funny." It doesn't have to be something you have written but may have seen on someone else's blog.

A Thousand Word Thursday - Young Cub

January 2005 - she's 6 now! The leopard coat was one that my mom made for me :)Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Tender Kiss

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts HERE or HERE.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Corned Beef and Cabbage

I have never tried this dish until I made it on Saturday. It was FANTASTIC and I'm even thinking of going back to Publix and buying another slab of meat. I did a lot of recipe research and combined what I thought looked the best from each. I'm sure it isn't the traditional way to make it (I read something about NOT serving it with carrots because it would offend an Irishman. Sorry, but I like my meat and potatoes with carrots). This is a very easy meal.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

corned beef brisket with spice packet - whatever size you want - I trimmed the fat off and rinsed it well - otherwise you might get a little foam when it boils
1 bottle of beer (darker is probably better, I used Blue Moon Belgium Ale)
beef broth - it will depend on how big your beef and pot are - liquid needs to cover the meat completely
small red potatoes
baby carrots
1 head cabbage
, cut into small wedges, cutting off the core
onions, cut into wedges

1. Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven, add beer and cover with broth. I covered with water and put a good sized scoop of the beef bullion in it. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender . Remove meat, wrap in tin foil and let rest until the veggies are done. Don't eat all of the meat at this point - you want to serve it with the veggies (I wanted to...it was SO good).
2.Add potatoes and carrots to the broth, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Use as many or as few of each as you want. The only rule is that they have to be completely submerged and you want some room for the cabbage. Add cabbage and onions and cook for 15 more minutes or until the cabbage is at desired consistency.

3. Place vegetables and a good amount of the cooking liquid in a bowl and cover. Slice meat across the grain. Mine was so tender it just kind o fell apart....I think if you left most of the fat on it would hold together better as well.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I ran my first post pregnancy race on Saturday (the last one being one month pregnant with Little Bit in Dec 2007 - yippee). I did NOT start feeling a trickle around mile 4.....because, of course, I have faithfully done all of my Kegal exercises. Really, not only do I get to go through childbirth but now have the bonus of not being able to sneeze, jump on the trampoline, do excessive jumping jacks, or run races without the possibility of leakage. The fun never ends folks!

I did NOT win 2 swagbucks while searching how to spell Kegal....simple word, I didn't need to look that one up. Sometimes it's worth not being a good speller. I always think the easy ones have some sort of trick!

Can someone remind me to write my Not Me! moments down? :) I KNOW I have more but just cannot remember much any more. I do NOT have to call and leave a phone message to myself any time I remember something in the car. Otherwise I would not remember.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - White Mud

I am bringing out another an older post for Amy's Round Robin carnival. Go check out other ideas HERE! White mud is a rainy day kind of activity. Kids love to unroll the toilet paper. The mud is fun to make and also to play in. We put it in our blow up baby tub for the girls to play with. A shallow rubbermade type storage container would work as well. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of it.

Step 1. Unravel about 1 1/2 rolls of two-ply toilet paper, then tear it into 2- to 3-square pieces. Put all of the pieces in a plastic tub.

Step 2: While the kids are doing step one grate half of a 3.1-ounce bar of Ivory soap into the tub. I used a knife to shave it instead of grating it.

Step 3: Slowly add about 6 cups of warm water, 1 cup at a time, while you and your child blend the mixture together by hand. It'll take about 15 minutes to mix it all up -- hang in there, it's worth the wait! Stop adding water when your mixture feels creamy and saturated. (You can always add more TP if yours gets too runny.)

Step 4: Help your child mold the mud into mountains, towers, and other shapes.

Step 5: Store the mud at room temperature in a covered container; it'll last for several weeks. (Dispose of it in the trash.)

Join in Kid Friendly Friday and add your post to Mr. Linky below. Include kid friendly recipes, reviews, giveaways, crafts, games, books.....anything! If you have a kid related question that you would like folks to help you with you can add that as well. Hope you find something useful! Thank you for participating!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aloha Friday!

It's Friday, which means that over at An Island Life it is time for Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that they take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So on Fridays we take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, she asks a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response. Then everyone else asks a simple question of their own blog for others to answer.

Have you ever used Target or Publix brand diapers? Thumbs up or thumbs down??

Thanks :)

Bubble Concentration

Angela at Angela's Adventures and Minor Mishaps is hosting a bubble picture contest! She tells us that the second week of March is National Bubble Week. I've already posted a bubble picture of the baby and big sister. The hardest subject to capture was Mimi as she was fast as lightening chasing those bubbles. She has such concentration! Enjoy!

Bubble Catcher

Angela at Angela's Adventures and Minor Mishaps is hosting a bubble picture contest! She tells us that the second week of March is National Bubble Week. I've already posted a bubble picture of the baby. Here is the big sister. Her big thing is to catch the bubble. Good job Bigs!

Little Bit of Bubbles

Angela at Angela's Adventures and Minor Mishaps is hosting a bubble picture contest! She tells us that the second week of March is National Bubble Week...which explain the bubble activities Mimi had at preschool all week!

Here is my first set of entries (I'm going to try for one set of each girl - wish me luck - the others are harder to chase after).....Little Bit and Bubbles!

Thousand Word - Best of Friends

My wish for today is that they will grow up loving each other unconditionally and delight in each other's lives. That they are strong when the others need it and they are carried by the other two when they need it themselves. I pray that they grow together spiritually and encourage each other. That they will be best friends. Sisters. How much fun!

Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Works For Me - Magazine Article Organization

I have learned that if I save an entire magazine I will not go back and look at anything in it. Tearing the pages out that I find helpful (the VERY FIRST time I read it) saves me a lot of time. I use an accordion file to stash these away for the times I am looking for a project. I organize them first by holiday...so I can just grab my Easter folder about now and see what I can come up with for the festivities. I even store holiday related recipes in there. I know I won't need them any other time during the year so why not have it all together? I also have random categories such as Birthday Party Themes, Everyday Crafts, Cookie Decoration, Gardening, etc.

You can see by the labeling that the file was also once my Alphabet file. I would cut things out that started with that letter so that when I needed them for an impromptu letter lesson I would have them handy. I also use a similar filing system for recipes that I have not yet tried so have not earned a place in my recipe box yet. You can see that HERE.

This works for me!

What do you do with all of the magazine articles you find?

For other Works For Me! Wednesday ideas go to We Are That Family.