Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's for Dinner? Week 5: Braided Baked Spaghetti Bread

This week's new recipe idea was found here.  I modified it a bit by making homemade spaghetti sauce (using the sauce recipe for Paula Deen's baked spaghetti, which is a favorite dish in our house) and adding some ground beef.  So, I guess you could say that this recipe is the Braided Spaghetti Bread recipe plus the Baked Spaghetti recipe.   

So, I've called it the Braided Baked Spaghetti Bread.....

The sauce recipe makes more than enough (since only 1 Cup of sauce is needed per braid), so I actually made 2 braids (yay for leftovers!) and even still had some sauce leftover (yay for leftovers!).  I used some of the leftover sauce to mix in with some extra noodles for the kids, since I figured they might not be too keen on trying the braided-spaghetti-in-the-bread thing.

While this was a bit time consuming (mostly because I made the homemade meat sauce), it was fun to make and it turned out pretty yummy!  Serve it with a salad and call it a meal.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cute & Fun (though somewhat time consuming) Valentine's Day Crayons

I came across this idea on Pinterest, and thought it was so cute....
heart-shaped crayons!

That, plus the fact that I have been looking for a use for all of the broken crayons we have, made it a must-do project.  Immediately, I knew that this would be a great activity for the kids to do, and a very fun Valentine's gift to give to the kids' school & playgroup friends.

What I didn't anticipate was how tedious the act of peeling paper off of crayons is.  Thankfully, I had some help.

Meredith sat on this chair next to Daddy for a good 45 minutes and peeled. 

And peeled.

And peeled some more.  

She was so focused and diligent!  And she didn't get frustrated once.  Such a good little helper...

After a whole lotta crayons were peeled and chopped, the kids set to work on filling up the hearts.

I was a little nervous when 15 minutes went by and the crayon chunks were still not melted.  But, I kept them in the oven for a bit longer and after about 23 minutes, we had hearts!

Enough hearts for Caleb's preschool friends, our playgroup friends, and even some left over.  Of course, we had to try them out...

 How fun!  All of these colors came from 1 crayon!

Caleb worked very hard at signing his name on all of the Valentine cards.  Nothing like Valentine's Day to give a kid lots of name-writing practice...

Assembling the cards (we used sticky-tack to adhere the hearts to the card stock, which seems to work really well)...


I made up a little poem for our cards...

Some crayons are red,
Some crayons are blue,
This crayon is lots of colors,
I made it for you!

I know, I know....I totally missed my calling to be a poet....

Some other cute wordings I have come across:
Have a Happy Valentine's Day, for "crayon" out loud!
You color my world.
Have a colorful Valentine's Day.

Caleb is so excited to pass these out to all of his friends.  Now, if only we didn't have to wait 2 weeks to do so!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photography By Nicole

A few weeks ago, we had my friend Nicole take some pictures of the kids.  Here are my favorites (I'm apparently in a black-and-white-kinda-mood)...

What's For Dinner? Week 4: Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Honey Beer Bread

My kids love broccoli cheddar soup from Panera.

I've served homemade broccoli cheddar soup to them in the past, fully confident that they would love it, since they gobble up the stuff at Panera.  But, they've never liked what I have made.

So, I was sure that if I made this one for them, they would love it.  It is, after all, the Panera recipe (supposedly!)...I did have to add a bit more liquid to it, as the recipe as is comes out a little thick for our tastes.

The consensus?  I thought it tasted just like Panera's soup.  Kris has never had the Panera version but said this stuff was amazing, and most likely better than Panera's.  Shane really liked it.  Caleb & Meredith did not (whaaa!). 

I was definitely disappointed, as I really hoped that they (C & M) would like it.  In my opinion, this was as close to the "real thing" as you can get, minus the Panera bowls and trays. 

Oh well.  At least they liked the other new recipe I tried...homemade honey beer bread.  Apparently, beer acts in place of yeast.  Much less time consuming and no kneading involved.  My kind of recipe.  And, it is seriously yummy.  Caleb ate his with some raspberry jam, Meredith and Daddy ate it plain, and I had mine with butter.  It's also good for dipping into soup.

Click here for the soup recipe and here for the bread recipe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Colossians 5:2

The monthly memory verse for January:

Colossians 5:2
"Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."

As we were practicing this today, Caleb said..."This means that we need to think about God.  And Heaven."   Couldn't have said it better myself...

Gotta love Meredith's excitement.   And her pronunciation of things ("fings") and earth ("irf")! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shane's 1st Haircut

We took Shane to get his very 1st haircut today.  We probably could have waited a bit longer, but we had a free morning, and Meredith needed her hair cut as well, so it just seemed like a good time. 

A bit long on the sides and in the back!

 He did a great job and sat very still throughout the entire process.  And, his lack of smiles don't in any way indicate sadness or anger.  He was just pretty darn serious about the whole thing.

He looks so much less babyish, and much more boyish.  
Sniff, sniff.


Such a big boy!  
Sniff, sniff.  
Wait, did I already say that?

Standing all by himself!  He does this a lot lately, though he does not seem interested in taking any independent steps just yet. 


 And, here is his 13-month picture with Sock Monkey (pre-haircut).  He turned 13 months yesterday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's For Dinner? Week 3: Easiest Broccoli and Pasta

This week's new recipe was passed along to me by my friend Lisa, who came across it here.  This meal definitely lives up to its title...  it's about as easy as you can get!  

I added some marinated & grilled chicken to it as well.  


If you are ever in need of a really yummy and simple marinade, here's the one that we use a LOT:

Chicken Marinade
(for 4 chicken breasts)
1/2 C. olive oil
1/3 C. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 C. soy sauce
3 cloves of garlic, chopped

And, just for an extra bonus, here's another somewhat similar recipe that we make a lot, especially in the summer....it's so good and really easy.

Grilled Chicken & Bow Tie Pasta

You'll need:

4 chicken breasts, marinated overnight in the above marinade
1 box of bow tie pasta
1 C. olive oil
1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese (NOT grated)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 container of cherry tomatoes, halved
6 leaves of basil, chopped


1.  Grill chicken.


2.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.


3.  Add olive oil, Parmesan cheese, green onions, cherry tomatoes and basil to the pasta.


4.  Top with slices of chicken.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jumps 'N Jiggles

Unlimited rides...

 ...on a carousel...

...it doesn't get...

...much better than this!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Heading to the hill...

A little help from brother...

So much fun!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


 The kiddos made clay snowmen yesterday (homemade clay recipe found here).  They only took 1 day to completely harden, yay!

Meet Frosty & Lucy...

They also each helped write a "story" about their snowman!

 My Snowman
By: Caleb
His name is Frosty.  He likes to play snow trucks.  He likes to eat snow blueberries - blueberries with coconut on top for snow.  He likes to wear snowflake shirts.  He likes to sing La La La La La La La.  His favorite color is my favorite color red.  His favorite season is he likes to melt he likes Summer.  Frosty is a snowman.  He has 3 balls for his tummy and his face and his feet.  He likes the snow.

My Snowman
By: Meredith

Her name is Lucy.  She likes to play toys.  She likes to eat some tacos.  She likes to wear scarves.  Her favorite color is green.  Her favorite season is Summer.


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