Category Archives: Kids

Popsicle snowflake crafts

This is another easy craft for kids of all ages. Adults will need to use the hot glue gun to assemble the basic snowflake and to attach the ribbon but after that let the kids have use own imaginations.


You will need:

  • Popsicle sticks, 3 per snowflake
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon or yarn to make hanger
  • Sequins
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Other decorations, as desired


First glue the three popsicle sticks together to form a snowflake.


Next add the ribbon to the back to form a hanger.


Finally, let the kids decorate as desired. Let dry and hang on tree.


Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a simple and quick meal or snack around here. They can be made from just about anything and come together very quickly.

Ingredients:

  • tortillas, flour or corn
  • shredded cheese
  • Fillings (Optional): mashed potatoes, refried beans, cooked shredded chicken, cooked hamburger or just about anything else hiding out in the fridge
  • sour cream, if desired
  • salsa, if desired

Directions:

Heat oil, butter or margarine in a skillet. Place the tortilla in the skillet and flip quickly to warm. Place fillings, if desired, on one half of the tortilla and top with cheese. Fold over and flip to brown both sides. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

 

 

Surviving the nasty bugs

Now is the time of year when all the stomach bugs are floating around. When you have a large family like we have it can get very stressful. So how do we handle the stomach bug or nasty bug as my little ones call it?

First, I try to keep the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned every day to prevent the nasty bugs from declaring war on us. This includes sanitizing the doorknobs and light switches. I think this helps cut down on the number of germs that are passed back-and-forth.

Second, when someone starts to show signs of being sick they are quarantined. This doesn’t mean that they have no contact at all with anyone I just try to limit the contact as much as possible.

Third, we have a puke bucket and old beach towels. The puke bucket is just an old sand bucket that is lined with a grocery bag for easy clean up. This bag also has a couple of scrunched up paper towels in the bottom of it to help absorb anything that gets deposited. The bucket is small enough that even the little ones can keep a hold of it. (Old ice cream pails work as well.)

I keep some old beach towels on hand also. Sometimes the The Littles can’t be or don’t want to be left in their bedrooms so we let them sit on a beach towel to help with the cleanup.

Fourth, we keep plenty of Gatorade on hand. The green Lemon-lime Gatorade seems to work best here. Of course we try to keep plenty of crackers and ginger ale also.

When the kids are sick, whether they are vomiting or have diarrhea, we try to keep to a simple diet. They can have bananas, toast, crackers, applesauce, or other bland foods. We also keep Jell-O on hand for when they feel up to it.

As their strength and appetite comes back they will start to eat more soups and other foods. We generally try to stay away from dairy products when they’re sick.

Lastly, it is important to keep up with the cleanliness of the house. Sometimes it is possible to catch the nasty bug early enough that it doesn’t go through the whole family.

We try to keep the laundry done up. Sometimes that is easier said than done when you have Littles that are sick. We also try to make sure we disinfect and clean up any accidents that may occur.

And the bathrooms may get cleaned several times a day during periods of illness. I do recommend that you keep disinfecting wipes on hand for these emergencies.

Being prepared goes a long way as the nasty bug can hit at any time without warning. If you find your house under siege from nasty bugs just remember that this too shall pass.

 

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

We love peanut butter here at our house. This is our go to recipe when we get the urge for peanut butter cookies. These are super simple to make and taste delicious. The kiddos love to help with rolling the dough into balls and using the fork to flatten them.
Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies (link to original post from Real Mom Kitchen)
 Ingredients
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (can also use crunchy if you like)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the sugar. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Shape dough into small round balls and place on a cookie sheet. Using a fork dipped in sugar, lightly flatten the balls making a criss-cross pattern on the top.
  4. Bake all cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (check at 9 or 10 minutes to prevent over-browning). Makes 2 dozen cookies.

December 11-17, 2016 meal plan

This is our basic meal plan for the week. Sometimes we will switch the days around if I forget to set something out or put something in the crock pot. Please feel free to use this or change it around to suit your family’s needs.

Sunday

Breakfast:

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Lunch:

PB & J w/fruit

Dinner:

Oven Fried Chicken, Baked sweet potatoes, slaw

Snacks:

cupcakes


Monday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Pintos, hoe cakes, greens

Snacks:

Popcorn


Tuesday

Breakfast:

French Toast

Lunch:

Bean Quesadillas w/leftovers

Dinner:

Tater Tot Casserole, Veggies

Snacks:

PB Toast


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Muffins

Lunch:

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Dinner:

Chili Dog Casserole, salad, chips

Snacks:

Muffins


Thursday

Breakfast:

Pancakes

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Salmon Patties, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Peas

Snacks:

Fruit


Friday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

ramen noodles, grilled cheese

Dinner:

Sweet N Sour Meatballs, Mac N Cheese, Veggies

Snacks:

Boiled Eggs


Saturday

Breakfast:

Bagels w/cream cheese, fresh fruit

Lunch:

tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia, Steamed Asparagus, Steamed Red Potatoes

Snacks:

Russian Tea Cakes

Just a twinge

Last night I was reading over some things on my computer when I happened upon a very nice comment left for someone regarding something they had written. There was nothing wrong with the comment, nothing wrong with the person who wrote the comment, and nothing wrong with the person it was directed to. When I read it though I felt an instant twinge of jealousy. Why? I really wasn’t sure.

I admire the life she has. She seems to have everything going for her. The profile picture shows a happy family with a handsome, smiling husband and two kids right beside her. She has many accomplishments listed in her profile and she has traveled the world. So many things that I had planned on doing when I was younger.

When I felt the twinge I knew why, well at least partly. Then I thought about my family and all the things that I have done. If I had been in school or working I might’ve missed out on some of the opportunities that I have had. I instantly knew that I am where God would have me to be at this moment in time and I felt a sense of peace. I asked God to forgive me. Then I also asked him to bless her and her family as I know that they are right where He would have them to be.

 

The key to overcoming this feeling is to be aware of it. Don’t let it grow or it will overwhelm your emotions. I realized it immediately when I felt it but sometimes it is an emotion that comes on more subtly. It creeps into our minds and our hearts without us noticing it. We may start to feel discontent and not know why.

We may admire something someone has or something someone else’s husband has done for them. These feelings may trigger other feelings of insecurity and doubt about ourselves, our marriages, our families, and our lives. These feelings can grow and manifest themselves into bigger uglier problems like resentment, distrust, and anger.

 

Maybe you know or admire someone but you feel anxious or resentful towards them. Maybe you compare yourself to them and you feel like you are never enough or that you just can’t measure up to them. Maybe you wonder why they always seem to have all the luck. Maybe you wonder what they ever did to have or to earn the things they have.

You need to recognize that these feelings can come from being jealous. I know, I know, we don’t want to admit that we could possibly be jealous over someone else but it happens. We might laugh at someone if they suggest that we could possibly be jealous of a certain person.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? – 1 Corinthians 3:3

The truth is that we are human and we have emotions. We feel things like no other creature on earth. We also have the ability to control these feelings. What do we do about this?

First, you need to recognize the feeling. Let yourself acknowledge it but don’t let it over take you. You can’t let it control your emotions, your actions, or your life. Accept responsibility for the emotions.

Second, take a look at why you feel the way you do. Take a step back and really look at the situation. Are you jealous of someone’s relationship? Are you jealous of someone’s appearance? Are you jealous of the recognition someone else gets from their job or other accomplishments?

Third, remember that you have the power to change the way you feel. The root of the problem lies within yourself and your own heart. Think about things you can do to improve yourself. Look at your own strengths and build on them.

Fourth, stop comparing yourself to other people. I mean it! Stop! You need to remember that what you perceive to be true is not always as it seems. Look at everything you have been blessed with and be thankful for what you have. Remember that if it is in God’s will for you to have something then He will give it to you in His time. I know how hard it can be to watch things fall in place for others when it might feel like your own life is falling apart. Just remember that everything is working together for the good.

Fifth, pray about it! Admit the feelings you have and ask God to forgive you for feeling that way. Ask God to help you develop a more positive outlook on life and to help you make positive changes in your life. When you recognize your faults and weaknesses you can ask for specific changes. God hears your prayers and He knows the innermost thoughts of your heart.

If you are struggling with jealousy God can and will help you. He can take away those feelings and He can create a new heart in you. He can help you overcome these feelings. Jealousy is a tool that Satan uses to get to you and he will use it to destroy you.

I pray every morning that God will help me to take away any feelings of jealousy, lust, envy, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness or discontentment that may be hiding in me. I may not see these until its too late and I have done or said something that I will regret later.

I ask Him to give me strength to prevent these emotions from creeping into my relationships with others. I ask him to help me remember that I was beautifully created by His own hand and that He loves me even when I don’t love myself. I also ask Him to prepare me for the changes He is making in my life and to help me accept the things that I can not change.

I trust in God and His plan for my life. He only wants the best for us and He has a plan for each and every one of us. So when you are dealing with jealousy or anything else you need to hand it over to God. He will help you just as He has helped me.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. -Song of Solomon 8:6

Polar Express Party

This our annual family Christmas get together. It is based on ‘The Polar Express’ movie. We have so much fun with this every year and it just gets better and better. It has become a fun family tradition here that everyone looks forward too!

Unfortunately we are not having a party this year but the following pics are from previous parties. I also have a Polar Express board and a Polar Express ‘Fish Fry’ 2015 board on Pinterest.

I will continue to update this page as I can. I may be able to add menu ideas as well. Last year we had a Fish Fry as the weather was really nice. Just have fun with it and build on it year by year.

Here is an example of the Facebook invitation I send out:

‘All Aboard! Our annual trip on the Polar Express Train is scheduled and plans are being made. We hope to see everyone there. Make sure you wear your PJs and get your tickets to board the train! We’ll have lots of food, hot chocolate, crafts, games, and of course a viewing of ‘The Polar Express’. I’m still trying to get through to the North Pole to see if maybe we can arrange a visit from Santa too!’

We always have lots of food and special treats which include chocolate covered marshmallows. Use sprinkles to decorate them and small stirring straws as handles. We also dipped pretzel sticks in chocolate and decorated those as well:

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We also have a ‘gingerbread’ decorating activity, among other activities, and each child gets to decorate a house or in this case a train. I used graham crackers and Homemade Buttercream Icing to make the trains. I make them a few hours before the party so the icing has time to set up a little before the kids try to add decorations.

I usually fill several small pastry bags with icing (no tips just a small angled cut at the end) and have an assortment of candies for them to decorate with.

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These were some of our party favors one year. Small pastry bags, red pom poms, hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, and brown pipe cleaners for the antlers. Use a black marker to make the faces. So cute!

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Paper conductor hats. The black conductor’s hat is worn by our ‘conductor’ when he comes through to punch the tickets for all of our ‘passengers’. I bought the hat at Dollar Tree one year. I used scissors, some sparkly ribbon, a couple of buttons, and a hot glue gun to transform it into a conductor type hat.

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Of course a visit from Santa will make any party extra special. I bought a Santa Outfit from Oriental Trading a few years back and it was well worth the investment. This unhappy child is the same one who has been begging to see Santa this year! (This picture is hard to see but we also had a couple of elves who joined us for the festivities as well. Those outfits were also bought from Oriental Trading.)

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You can also have a cookie exchange, a ‘Guess how many candies are in the jar?’, a gift exchange, or anything else your heart desires. These are just a few of the ideas that we have done. I was trying to locate some pictures from last year’s party but my phone died around Christmas last year so those pics may have been lost.

I try to have some small gifts as party favors. For the kids it might include train whistles, wind up trains, small games, coloring books, or a small stocking of treats. For the adults I usually have a variety of pocket calendars, small bottles of Bath & Body works products (that I find on sale), small games, or hand made items like jars of hot cocoa mix.

There are some more pics of some of the decor that we used from Oriental Trading on the Polar Express ‘Fish Fry’ 2015 . We went with a ‘Winter Wonderland theme’ and I plan on building on that theme through the years to come. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Just do what works for you.

After showing some of these pics to a friend last night I got so excited that I am thinking of doing a low key party for the kids this weekend. Just seeing the smiles on their faces is motivation enough for me to pull something together really quick. I’ll be sure to do another post on that. Now where can I find a Santa on such short notice?

Salmon Patties

My kiddos really didn’t care for these when I first started making them but now they do ask for them from time to time. Salmon is a great source of protein and is full of other very beneficial nutrients that we need. you can read more about the health benefits of Salmon here.

Salmon Patties

Ingredients:

  • 1- 15oz can of salmon, undrained
  • 1 c. bread crumbs or crushed crackers (try using crushed pork rinds or oatmeal for a lower carb version)
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 T. sugar (I have been using Stevia in place of the sugar)
  • dash of lemon pepper seasoning, optional
  • 1 egg, optional
  • oil or butter for frying

Directions:

Use a fork to mix together salmon, bread crumbs, egg (if using) and seasonings. Use hands to form into small patties, set aside.
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Fry patties, in small batches, until crispy and brown on both sides.
Makes about 8-10 patties.


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Chili Dog Casserole

My family absolutely loves this recipe and it is one of their all time favorites. It is also super simple and the kids can help with it.

Ingredients

2 -15 oz cans chili with or without beans
1 pack hot dogs (about 8-10)
10 -8 inch flour tortillas
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Spread 1 can of chili in the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Roll up each hot dog in a tortilla and place seam side down on top of chili. Top with remaining can of chili and sprinkle with cheese.

Cover baking dish with foil, and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb hamburger, ground turkey, or ground pork
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 lb tater tots
pinch of parsley
1/2 can water
1/2 c chopped onion
1 pack Lipton Onion Soup Mix, optional
shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat, drain, add onion and parsley. Add soup and water. Put into 9×13 greased casserole dish. Top with tater tots and then shredded cheese.

Bake according to Tater Tot directions.

Hoe Cakes

These are delicious and we often eat them with pintos and greens for a cheap and easy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. self-rising flour
  • 1 c. self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, or use 3/4 regular milk mixed with 1 t. vinegar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c.  oil
  • 1/4 c. minced onion, if desired
  • 1 T. garlic powder, if desired

Instructions:

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl. Heat oil (or butter) large skillet over medium heat. Drop your batter, by tablespoonfuls, into the hot skillet. Use 2-3 spoonfuls per cake.  Fry until brown and crispy on both sides. Remove cakes from pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

 

Baked Sweet Potatoes

These are so simple to make and so yummy to eat! This is also an easy side that the kids can help with.

Gather enough sweet potatoes to feed your crowd.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wash the potatoes well and pierce each potato with a fork several times. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil.Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until tender. Serve hot with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar, if desired.