Love Overflowing

Yummy in my tummy

Ever make a meal that was super easy to prepare and tasted great? I really enjoy cooking and baking. What I don’t enjoy is cleaning up the mess I make. Unfortunately, I don’t cook as much as I want. No, we don’t eat out a lot. I just have a several meals that are my “go to” that I can just pop in the oven. You know, super easy. Zachary makes it really hard to cook. He is underfoot. All. The. Time. He wants picked up or he is pulling things out of the cabinet. Or opening the refrigerator a million times. Annoying enough to make me not want to cook until he’s older.

I ran across a few recipes that I have been wanting to try. I am sure I have mentioned how much I love cookbooks and recipes. I decided to finally a few out the other night. One I could prep while he was napping and just pop in the oven when it was time to prepare. I bet it would be a really good freezer meal too. The other, a dessert, I just put in the crockpot. Super easy. Emily loved the bake and even asked for seconds.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

Ingredients

  • 1-¼ pound Ground Chuck
  • 1 can 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 8 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 1-¼ cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • ½ cups Sliced Green Onions (less To Taste)
  • 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

***** I used a pound of ground turkey, low fat sour cream and low fat cottage cheese.

Crock-Pot Baked Apples

http://skinnychef.com/recipes/baked-apples/   Found on Pinterest

Ingredients

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
2 tablespoons orange liquor (optional)

Preheat a large crock-pot on high heat and preset it for 3 hours. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, margarine, and cinnamon. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the crock-pot. Pour in the apple juice or cider and the liquor, if using. Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.

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Yo Gabba Gabba, YO!!!!

Zachary loves the show Yo Gabba Gabba. He will actually watch a few minutes of it before he runs off to find something to destroy play with. That’s a record for him actually. He really loves the music. I can’t tell you how many times a Yo Gabba cd has saved me from listening to epic meltdowns on car trips. After a late night and an early morning Zachary wake up, Stephen and I brought him to our bed. It was too early for us to function. He kept saying “Watch show. Watch Gabba.” He would slide off the bed and try to open the TV cabinet in our bedroom so we would turn on a show for him. That’s how much he loves Gabba. Heck, he even chose his own Halloween costume, Brobee.

Last year, Stephen, Emily and I went to see the Yo Gabba Live show. We met up with my sister, her husband and her daughter. The girls had so much fun. It was a great show. This year we knew we had to take Zachary to see the show. He would be in toddler heaven. Emily and I were hyping up the show a few days prior to the show. We had him to the point where he would yell “YO GABBA!!!!”. It was pretty hilarious!

We even found a Brobee shirt for Zachary to wear. It’s been hanging in his closet for a few weeks. He has been asking to wear it. By asking, I mean screaming and pulling it off the hanger. Mean mommy that I am decided that we couldn’t risk any stains so it stayed in the closet. I made a Foofa shirt for Emily. I used iron-on paper, an image of Foofa and fabric paint to make it. I also made her a Foofa flower headband out of an existing headband, felt and pipe-cleaners.

The show, of course, was great. We got there a little early so we could peruse the merchandise stand and get the kids some souvenirs. One we might regret because it plays lots of music and Zachary loves it but that’s ok. The kids were able to get their picture taken at the Kia backdrop and with a Muno cutout. There was still some waiting in our seats. Zachary was starting to get a little antsy right before the show started. When the lights went down, he crawled up on my lap and didn’t know what to think. When they brought out Brobee, he started waving. He was in Gabba heaven. He watched with open eyes. Emily sang and danced. I have never seen Zachary sit so still in my life. He would just sit there and take it all in.

It was a great show. Definitely worth skipping the nap. You really can’t go wrong with Biz Markie and I Fight Dragons.  Emily’s favorite part was when they sprayed the crowed with confetti and snow. Zachary loved the whole show. Hopefully they will come back again next year. If both kids are still into Gabba, you know we will be there@

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Jingle Bell Run!

Bells will be ringing this holiday season as thousands of runners and walkers hit the nation’s pavements, pathways and parks this winter to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability.

I will be one of those people, tying jingle bells to my shoelaces to participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, a 5K fun run/walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  And YOU can help, too!

‘Tis the season for giving!  Won’t you sponsor me in my effort to raise funds to fight arthritis?  Arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children, costing the U.S economy over $128 billion annually.  The Arthritis Foundation needs our help.

I am actually doing it! Putting money where my mouth is. This will be my first 5K! Not only by signing up will I be motivated to keep running, but I will be raising money for a worthy cause. Most of us know someone who is affected by arthritis of some form or another. Cheer me on!

 

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My Dollar Store creation


I recently wrote about my new addiction to Pinterest. So much cool stuff that gives me ideas of things I want to make. I have been seeing some really cute ideas of wreaths recently. I have some really good ideas of a few that I want to experiment with. I thought I would try my hand at a wreath on the cheap first. The kids and I went to the Dollar Store recently on the hunt for fall and Halloween decorating ideas. I decided that I wanted to make a wreath. It’s a little smaller that what I wanted but I think it turned out cute regardless.

Foam Ring- $1
Fall Ribbon- $1
Bag of Leaves- $1*
Glass Bead Corn Cob- $1*
Glue Gun- on hand
Pinecone- Free! Love nature!

       Total Spent- $4

* The leaves came in a bag so there are plenty to use on another project. The corn cobs came in a pack of 3 so the remaining can be used in other decorating.

Super cheap, super easy. Took me less than 10 minutes to create and that’s while I was im’ing Stephen while he was on an airplane (love technology). The only downside was the hot glue gun. I recently purchased a high heat gun to complement my low heat gun. Whooeee, high heat is right! That glue burnt my finger when I touched it! Beware! 😉

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A stinker and a keeper

I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine. I think I would love it more if I actually had more of a clue what I am doing. But I don’t so I am learning as I go. A class might be worth looking into. I just need to actually do it.

I bought two different types of material back in May and just now got around to doing something with them. Those projects got put on the back burner while I made a few other things in the meantime. The first project was going to be a skirt for myself. I was going to use the waistband from existing skirt that had gotten torn. I had grand ideas for this skirt. I figured out how to do a gather stitch, sort of. My problem with the skirt in the long run was the material. The choice I made definitely showed that I was a sewing novice. The material was too heavy and stiff for a gathering stitch and didn’t look right. Besides not gathering correctly, I had some issues sewing the skirt to the waistband. Still, I didn’t think it looked too bad. I was told otherwise. And really, it was bad. The skirt has since been deconstructed and eventually will become either a bag or a pillow.

My other sewing project was an outfit for Emily. I found some super cute apple pattern material on sale at Hancock Fabrics. I had to have it. I bought way too much of it so you might be seeing it again in another form later on. I made Emily a basic elastic skirt. I played around with the zig zag stitch and it turned out pretty cute. It’s amazing how much easier the skirt was because I took the time to really wash the material first, iron and pin well. I also created some little pinwheel flowers for the corner of the skirt. Emily loved it. What’s a skirt without a matching shirt?? I took one of Emily’s plain white t-shirts and turned it into an apple shirt. I had some coordinating green material and heat n’bond. I made an applique apple and painted on the leaf and stem with acrylic paint. Easy enough.

So a stinker and a keeper. My next sewing project involves Halloween material and a pillowcase type dress. I think Zachary will get into the Halloween sewing action with some pajama pants that I saw on Pinterest. (Pinterest is invading everything!!) First I need to finish up birthday invitations for a certain little girl turning 5 next month….

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Grandparent’s Day

Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation creating Grandparent’s Day in 1979. Who knew it’s been around so long? Grandparents create special relationships and impart lessons that last a lifetime. As Carter wrote, “Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us.”  This holiday is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. So September 11 this year.

I am SO on it this year. Honestly, I barely remember there is a Grandparent’s Day let alone when it is. I just happened to be in Hallmark a few weeks ago when I saw their display with Grandparent’s Day cards. I wouldn’t have remembered had that not jogged my memory. I had been looking for activities to do with Emily in the afternoons now that she has started school. I had craft block, too much work to do going on. The upcoming holiday lit a fire under my butt.

Emily and I made two crafts last week to give to the grandparents. Zachary had a hand (har, har) in one of them. We already gave my parents their card and gift. They loved it! I am sure Stephen’s parents will love theirs as well.

Happy Grandparent’s Day!!

Handprint flowers

Flower Garden

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New addiction

Pinterest. It’s my new addiction. A virtual pinboard. A place to keep ideas, recipes, thoughts in one place. Better than bookmarks and sheets of paper. If you haven’t checked it out, be warned. It is addicting. I have found tons of crafty ideas, funny sayings and recipes. Many, many great ideas are pinned on my boards. I have actually made a few of them too! I like to think that I am crafty, you know.

My most recent creation came from an idea from Pinterest. It’s very simple and I have made something similar before. A rice bag that you can keep in the freezer or heat and use for aches and pains. The twist on this one is that it is not made out of material but a washcloth. Easy, no?

My dear friend had surgery this week and I knew that I wanted to make a feel better basket for her. I had planned on putting snacks and magazines in there. As soon as I saw the rice bag on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to add it. Wednesday morning Zach and I had some errands to run so I picked up a washcloth at the store. We had some time to kill before we needed to pick Emily up from school so we headed into the basement. Zachary made a mess played while I whipped this little bag up. Seriously, it was that quick. I attached a little poem to it and voila! It was ready for the basket! Easy, peasy! I will definitely be making this again! And I am sure this one be the last you see of my Pinterest creations.

Here’s the poem I printed up:

This little pillow is such a comfort that can’t be beat.

Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes
on HIGH and kiss those aches
and pains goodbye.

Apply it to the troubled spot,
The heat will ease the pain a lot.

Or warm those little toes, so cold.
You’ll find this nice to
have and to hold.

Or freeze it for a little while,
And fix that boo-boo up in style.

Instead of a compress made of ice,
Use this pillow of rice that feels so nice!

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Play Ball!

While we were on vacation, Stephen discovered that the Cardinals were selling $5 tickets for Labor Day. Emily had been asking to go to a game but we weren’t sure how Zachary would do. For 5 bucks, we’d take a chance. The four of us got tickets for under $32 with all the fees. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

We didn’t realize that we would have had such a busy day the day before since we had originally planned our family visit on Saturday. It would all work out. Zachary slept for about an hour on the way from Mt Vernon so he didn’t want to take a cat nap after lunch. He is a busy, busy little boy. Let the games begin!

Zachary lasted a few minutes up in the seat before he decided that he needed to play with a water bottle. I kept imagining him pouring water down the poor lady in the row in front of us. He was pretty peturbed when I took the bottle away. So he decided that he needed climb off and on his seat. Kicking the ladies in the process. I decided that it was time for a walk. We walked down to the team store and got him a new hat and Emily a pom pom. We walked along the lower level for a bit before we headed back to our seats for a bit. Emily and Stephen were enjoying the game while we were gone. After a snack break, Zachary and I headed out for more walking and exploring. I honestly can’t tell you the score or any plays of the game. We did have fun though. Stephen and Emily got to watch several innings of the game. Stephen got to answer a hundred questions. Zach and I got our exercise in. I especially did on the way back to the car. Zachary was done walking. He wanted carried. And not by daddy.

In the end, the Cards lost. It was cheap family fun and Emily got to go to a game. Win, win situation.

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Family Weekend

My extended family has always been pretty close. I have so many wonderful memories of spending time with my cousins growing up. So much fun and laughter. I want that for my children. I want them to have wonderful memories with their cousins and spend lots of time having fun and getting into mischief. I enjoy spending time catching up with my cousins as well. We don’t get to spend enough time together as we are somewhat spread out. The time we do get to spend together is precious.

Every year my family tries to spend Labor Day weekend together. This year was no exception. The weather though, in the beginning, left a lot to be desired. It was HOT! We decided that we would head down to visit them at the lake on Sunday instead of Saturday. A very good choice since Sunday was a beautiful day. A little overcast but at least it wasn’t 95 and humid. It was a wonderful day to catch up. The kids always have a lot of fun. I love that Emily, Kaleb and Chloe are getting old enough that they can somewhat do their own thing without us hovering and scrutinizing their every move. I know they are making memories to cherish. It’s also wonderful that Zachary, Cole and Gabriella are so close in age. Ben, Tim and Cameron are always full of energy and mischief.

The kids got to play on the playground for some time and then a couple of the older ones headed to the stable for a pony ride. What a cool stable! Kaleb and Chloe rode cute ponies. Emily didn’t want to wait for them to get done so she rode a HORSE. She didn’t want to at first but instead of waiting I tapped into her competitive side. “You want to be able to say that you rode the biggest horse, don’t you?” Mother of the year, yes. I take the cake. So she rode Sam. A very beautiful horse who liked to eat grass. I got to lead Emily and Sam around the pasture. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to or not since Zachary tagged along with us. Would you believe that turkey let the lady at the stable hold him? He has been very anti-stranger lately and I was SHOCKED that he went to her, let alone stayed with her the entire time. He petted the horses and got a good look but did NOT want to sit on one. When asked he violently shook his head, saying “Uh uh. NO!”

After we got back the kids played some more and ate smores. My girly, girly who likes worms and dresses had a hissy fit when Chloe wiped her marshmallow hands on Emily’s chair. “She made my chair GROSS!!!” Love her. After awhile, we decided that since Zachary thought 5 am was a good time to wake up that morning and didn’t have a nap that we needed to head back to the hotel. It was a lot of fun getting to visit with everyone. Our family is a riot. We don’t get together enough so we cherish the times we do.

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First day of school

Emily started pre-kindergarten this past week. It’s her second year of preschool and she thrives in the school setting. I think she really missed it over summer break. I know I did. She really needs the interaction and structure. Last year she had classes on Tuesday and Thursday. We wanted to prepare her for kindergarten so we chose to send her Monday through Friday this year. She only goes from 9am to 11:45 am but it gives her a chance to get used to attending school all week. We haven’t had a full week yet but she is really enjoying herself. She has been coming home super tired so I think we made a good choice by sending her all week. I could only imagine how tired she would be going all day, all week this year.

So much to learn! So many friends to make. Her teachers seem really nice and her best friend is in the class. I know she will have a wonderful time this year. I can’t wait to see what all she learns and how she grows. I love that girl!

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