Category Archives: Parenting

December 18 – 24, 2016 meal plan

This is our basic meal plan for the week. Sometimes we will switch the days around if I forgot 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:

Eggs (made your favorite way), grits (we love bacon grits), toast

Lunch:

PB & J w/fruit

Dinner:

Goulash, cheddar muffins

Snacks:

Muffins


Monday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Skillet Chicken, Baked Eggplant, salad

Snacks:

Sopapillas


Tuesday

Breakfast:

French Toast

Lunch:

tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Crockpot Tortellini Soup, buttered bread

Snacks:

Peanut butter crackers


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Muffins

Lunch:

egg salad sandwiches, veggies

Dinner:

Root Beer Slow Cooker Pork, French Fries, slaw

Snacks:

Pizzelles


Thursday

Breakfast:

Pancakes

Lunch:

Leftovers

Dinner:

Red & White Pasta, Salad, Cheesy Garlic Pull-apart Bread

Snacks:

Popcorn


Friday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Dinner:

Fish w/Honey Mustard Sauce, baked sweet potato, salad

Snacks:

Homemade Cookies


Saturday

Breakfast:

Strawberry Strudels, yogurt

Lunch:

Pepperoni pockets, salad

Dinner:

Breakfast for Dinner (make your favorite breakfast meal and change things up a bit)

Snacks:

Birthday Cake for Jesus (this is a new tradition here at our house)

Pepperoni pockets

This is our version of a hot pocket. These are fun and easy to make. The kids will gobble them up really quickly too. They can be made as a snack or pair with a salad to make a meal out of them.

Pepperoni pockets

Ingredients:

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls
  • pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pack sliced pepperoni
  • block of mozzarella cheese,sliced thinly
  • 1 T. butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with butter.
Open the crescent rolls and pat them out just a bit. Spoon about a teaspoon of sauce onto each roll leaving an edge on them. Place 2 pepperonis and a slice of cheese on the roll and top with 2 more pepperonis.
Fold the rolls up to make a  little pocket. Place onto the pan. Lightly brush with butter and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes and then cool for about 5 minutes as the filling will be extremely hot! Serve warm.

Strawberry Strudels

Strawberry Strudels (original recipe link)

Ingredients
•1 package (17.3 oz; 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed (I had enough filling to do 2 packages of puff pastry.)
•3/4 cup strawberry preserves
•1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
•1 egg, separated
•4 tablespoons powdered sugar
•1 tablespoons water
•2-3 teaspoons sugar
•1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1 pinch salt

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
2.In a large bowl or mixer, beat cream cheese with vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, egg yolk and salt. Beat until smooth.
3.Dust remaining powdered sugar over work surface and unfold puff pastry sheets.
4.Cut pastry along the creased lines and then evenly cut pastry strips into small squares or rectangles. (Note: I cut each sheet into 12 squares.)
5.Place strawberry preserves in a small glass or bowl and whisk until relaxed and loosened.
6.Take 1-2 teaspoons cream cheese filling and place it in middle of pastry square. Top cream cheese with 1 teaspoon strawberry preserves.
7.Take another piece of puff pastry and place it on top of filled puff pastry. Seal the edges and use a small knife to cut 2 small vents into the top of strudel to allow steam to escape. (I made a ‘burrito roll’ like in the video below and used a fork to seal the edges.)
8.Beat egg yolk and water in a small bowl and brush it over mini strudels. Sprinkle sugar over strudels, transfer to baking sheet and place in oven.
9.Bake for 17-19 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from All Food Recipes

Here is a video  that shows how to assemble these. Just in case anyone else hadn’t a clue like me 🙂

Cheesy Garlic Pull-apart Bread

I’m not sure where exactly I found this recipe but my family is glad I did find it. This one takes a little bit of time to put together so I don’t make it very often.

Cheesy Garlic Pull-apart Bread

16 frozen Rhodes white dinner rolls
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Take rolls out of the freezer and place in a greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Let dough sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Next, use some clean scissors to cut each roll in half.

Melt butter in a large microwaveable dish. Add the parsley, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and onion powder. Stir to combine, then add the mozzarella cheese. Now, throw in all your dough halves and using your hand move dough around until it is all evenly coated.

Line the bottom of a 9 inch Springform Pan pan with dough pieces. Cover with the Parmesan cheese.

Cover dough with same sprayed plastic wrap you used in the beginning. Let raise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Place spring form pan on a cookie sheet to prevent the buttery goodness from leaking all over in your oven and making a terribly mess! Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned and the center is cooked through.

Remove the sides of the spring form pan and just pull sections off and devour! Ours was gone in 5 minutes flat!!

Pizzelles

These dainty little cookies are a real treat. They take me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Her neighbor would make these delicious little cookies and bring them over every so often. How I loved them! I can’t say that these are as good as the ones I remember but I really do enjoy them.

My kids are amazed at the details in each cookie too. You can play around with the flavors to make suit the tastes of your family. Sprinkle them with a bit of powdered sugar for a extra special treat!

Pizzelles

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder

Directions:

Beat eggs and sugar until thick. Add in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients, and blend into the batter until smooth.
Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each side of the iron. You may need a little more or a little less depending on your iron. Bake until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Chocolate pizzelles, sift 1/4 cup cocoa with flour and baking powder, add 1/4 cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder.

Crockpot Tortellini Soup

This is a fairly new recipe that we have added to our rotating menu plan. My DD17 made this one day when I was out of town and it turned out beautifully even though she didn’t add the sausage.

I believe I had seen this posted on a FB page and jotted down the ingredients on a scrap piece of paper.

Crockpot Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of cheese tortellini
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach, i think frozen would work in this too
  • 2 cans of italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 block cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb. of ground sausage, cooked and broken into small pieces
  • 4 c. of chicken broth

Directions:

Put all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover, stir, and cook for 1 more hour. It’s that easy! The kids ate it with buttered bread.

Goulash

This meal looks amazing and smells so good when it is cooking. Sometimes I will add a little leftover spaghetti sauce to it too, if I happen to have some sitting in the fridge.

1 lb. hamburger (can use other ground meats, if desired)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped (use whatever kind you hav)
2 cups uncooked elbow noodles
1- 15 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
1- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
5 cups of water
1 T. sugar
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
dash of hot sauce, optional
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown meat with the onion and the bell pepper. Add the everything else except the hot sauce and cheeses. Bring to a boil then set on low. Cover and simmer, about 15-20 minutes, until the macaroni is tender and most of the water is absorbed. Be sure to stir occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking. Add more water if it seems too dry or leave the lid off to get rid of excess water.
Sprinkle with cheeses before serving.

Bacon Grits/Cheesy Grits

My kids love grits, buttered grits, cheesy grits, and especially bacon grits! This is a super simple way to prepare them when you are short on time. My kids usually eat these served over their scrambled eggs with some jelly toast on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. grits, prepared according to package
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Add the butter to the prepared grits and stir until completely melted. Season to taste. Save a few bacon crumbles for sprinkling on top and stir the rest into the grits. Serve.

For cheese grits:

  • 2 c. grits, prepared according to package
  • 4 T butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T. garlic powder, more or less depending on your taste
  • 1 c. cheese, sliced, shredded, cubed or whatever you have on hand

Add the butter to the prepared grits and stir until completely melted. Season to taste.Add garlic powder and cheese. Stir until melted. Serve.

 

 

Help! There’s a snake in my boot!

Help! There’s a snake in my boot, actually it was in the closet but it could’ve been in my boot as some point. The cover photo for this post was taken just last month. My 14-year-old had said he spotted a snake in the heat vent. Many people would think that he was just imagining things. But I know that this could have been a real possibility. So I prepared myself with a pair of kitchen tongs and my brother helped me to close off all the heat vents.

Last month appeared to be a false alarm. No snake ever emerged from the heat vents or anywhere else in the house that we saw. However we have had some not so false alarms in the past year.

The picture below is a snake that we found in our kitchen last November. Yes, those are the kitchen tongs. This was not the only snake we found though.

I was actually pretty calm this time around as this has been the second snake we had found in the house within a few months.

snakekitchen.jpg

This is what my bedroom looked like after my daughter had called me last May. She had saw a snake in the playroom. Imagine her surprise when she bent down to pick up the toy snake so she could vacuum and it moved.

snake8.jpg

This is another picture of my closet when we were looking for the snake. Needless to say this prompted me to do a major decluttering.

snake 7.jpg

This is a picture of the play room after the snake was spotted.

snake-6

After a second, more thorough, search of the house the snake was eventually found in my closet. If you look closely in the corner there is a tiny hole in the wall and that’s where he was.

snake4.jpg

This is the snake that was found in the closet the first time. He was let loose only to be found in the chicken house a couple weeks later.

snake3.jpg

Below was the second snake that we found near the house. He was curled up under the hood of my truck. I could not believe my eyes when my son sent me this picture. He had borrowed my truck to jumpstart his early in the morning. I bet he was shocked to find this under the hood.

snaketruck2.jpg

After asking Google and many of my Facebook friends no one had a good solution for getting the snake out of my truck. My truck sat in the hot sun for three whole days trying to bake him out. I tried to throw mothballs under the truck and various other suggestions to no avail.

You can see him playing peekaboo in the grill. I was paranoid that the snake would pop out while I was driving down the road or something. That’s when I found out that kitchen tongs work well for grabbing hold of snakes.

snaketruck.jpg
Remember that if you ever happen to find a snake in your house, or your vehicle, just try to stay calm. If you’re unsure of how to remove the snake or if you cannot positively identify the snake then don’t touch it. Call the professionals, if needed.

This was just a quick little post to show you that it that it always pays to be prepared for anything.

Egg carton snow man craft

These are fairly simple to make. They are also very easy for kids of all ages. 

You will need:

  • one egg carton 
  • Glue 
  • pipe cleaners 
  • sequins 
  • sharpies 
  • construction paper 
  • other craft supplies, as desired

Cut each egg carton into four pieces. Turn over add eyes and mouth with marker. Make hats from construction paper. Use pipe cleaners as hanger. Allow kids to decorate with sequins and other supplies as their imagination guides them.

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.


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.