Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Hungarian Beef, Beans, and Barley Stew

As promised in my Menu Plan Monday post, here is a tasty and easy crockpot recipe. I got this in the cookbook that came with my crockpot when I got married. I've had to replace it since then because the knob broke since I use it so much :) Anyway, here's the recipe:

{Ingredients}
  • 2 pounds beef ribs or boneless short ribs (I use stewing meat too, and it works just fine)
  • 2 16-ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 14-ounce can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or more, a lot more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use more of this too!)

{Directions}
Combine all ingredients in crock pot. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours. Makes about 3 quarts.

Remember, next Tuesday (on April 6th), I will be doing a link party on Tuesdays for your recipes, so start thinking about it now!
Two ways you can participate: if you have a blog, write up a recipe and give the direct link OR if you don't have a blog, leave your name and the link to a recipe that you like.
Can't wait!

~S

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mommy Monday - sleeping in the same room?!?

It might actually be a reality...my kids are sleeping in the same room! After trying several times in the last few months, I came up with a couple new ideas so we thought we'd give it a go.
Before this, Nate would go to sleep in our room, then we'd transfer him to the living room when we were ready for bed. It was working okay, but kind of a pain AND he was waking up around midnight whether we moved him or not :(
So here's what's working so far:
*I have to be much more strict about what time they wake up from their afternoon naps. If I don't, it messes up what time they go to bed.
*I put Nate down in their room in his crib first.
*Kahlen and I then read stories in the living room
*She's been having "reading time" after we read to her for several months now. This is basically just time where she is in her bed with the reading light on. She's supposed to stay in bed, but it's not as strict as later on. We've moved this to the living room to give the boy more time to settle down.
*After her reading time, I tuck her in with strict admonishment that her brother is sleeping and she must be quiet!
*If Nate wakes up, I have no hesitation about moving him to the living room, we set it all up for him before we go to bed.

We've been doing this for four days I think and it's working great! Part of it is that I'm not stressing about whether it's working or not. If one of them isn't doing well, I just move Nate out of their room.
Last night (or this morning?) he woke up at 5 and wanted to chat. I just moved him downstairs and went back to bed.

Understanding that this is a process and not something that I can just expect them to do right away has really helped. I know, obvious, right?

Anyway, hope that helps someone out there struggling with the same thing.

AND here are a few of my favorite pictures from the week. I'm borrowing a nice camera from my stepdad (thanks potato head!) and have been taking waaaayyy too many pictures :)

Kahlen playing soccer. She has to wear her hat and backwards :)

"Baby Kahlen"

Nate likes it outside :)

Bath fun together

Cutie boy

~S

Preschool Planning - Easter Weeks 3-4

I really really meant to get this up sooner, it just didn't happen :(

Here's the overview for the next two weeks:
Easter at a Glance 2

and here's the detailed activity list:
Easter Detailed Activity List 2

Playdough Mountain from Desiring God

Resurrection Rolls

Easter story sequencing

Easter Puzzle and Die Game

Handprint wreath

C is for Cross magnet page

E is for Egg magnet page

Enjoy!
~S

Menu Plan Monday - March 29th


I had a spectacular dinner fail this week with the hashbrown casserole. Thank goodness for husbands; he made something else after I had a little fit and threw the whole mess away. I'll try it again a different time, now that I have a few ideas about what went wrong.

Our menu for this week:
Monday ~ Chicken Tetrazinni

Tuesday ~ Hamburger Helper (we take out the noodles it comes with and add Barilla whole wheat instead)

Wednesday ~ Beef, Bean, and Barley Stew. Got this out of my old crockpot manual, will type it up tomorrow for Tasty Tuesday

Thursday ~ Mexican Lasagna

Friday ~ Hidden Valley Crispy Chicken with noodles

Saturday ~ Chinese of some kind. Probably Orange Chicken Stir-fry or the like

Sunday ~ Easter! We'll probably be at the in-laws for the whole day.

Remember, next Tuesday, April 6th, I'm starting a Tasty Tuesday linky party. Come visit me then!

So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!

~S

Muffin Tin Monday - Blue & Purple

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week, the theme is Blue/Purple at Muffin Tin Monday.Wow, we actually made it on Monday this week! :)
I was trying to not buy anything that I didn't absolutely need this week at the store since I have a whole pantry and freezer full of food. This is what I found in our house :)


Top row: Blueberry Z-Bar, dried blueberries (thanks to my sister!), vanilla yogurt (with a blue lid)
Bottom row: Toast with grape jelly, 3 blue Robin Egg candies, 5 Starburst purple jellybeans


"First, mommy, I'm going to work on the jelly beans. Then the blue candies (Hey these have a nut inside!)"

 I think it was a hit! :)

~S

Great Giveaways #3

Just won another giveaway! This time it was the Money Savvy Pig that I  mentioned last week, hooray!

Here's the ones I've entered this week:
Madison Reece - Etsy jewelry store at Somewhat Simple (Ends ?)
Grapevine Studies at Granola Mom 4 God (Ends 4/8)
Dippy Cups at One Little Word She Knew Click here to see what they are :) (Ends 4/5)
Horizon Chocolate Milk at The Cloth Diaper Report (Ends today!)
Growing Up Organized book at The Cloth Diaper Report (Ends 4/6)
Magnetic Pompoms at Home Grown Hearts (Ends 4/1)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tot School - Easter Week 2

Tot School
Kahlen is 39 months old


We are following the Hubbard's Cupboard curriculum for 2's called Joyful Learning. For four weeks, we will be learning about eggs and Easter. Check out this post that includes the planning sheets for the first two weeks.

This week was a little crazy here in Colorado. Monday was sunny and 70 degrees. Tuesday we had a blizzard. Kahlen and daddy enjoying playing in both.

We didn't really do any stART projects this week because we just read the stories straight out of the bible and didn't have a book to go with it.

For our first day, we did:
We started by reading the triumphal entry in the Illustrated Children's bible. This is not Kahlen's normal bible, and she let me know about it several times! We made it through, though. We then did this simple sticker sorting activity:
I got a huge bag of foamie stickers from Oriental Trading Company and gave her a handful of them to sort into these little buckets that I also got at Oriental Trading Company. Of course, you can't sort stickers and not use some of them :)
"There's Mommy and Kahlen and Daddy and Nate"

Then we did the first two eggs in our Resurrection Eggs set that I made using this.
Next we made a Palm Branch
 I was expecting her to want to play with it after it was dry, but she forgot about it for now.

Then we did a donkey activity
Cutting
Ripping when she got tired of cutting ;)
Gluing

Last she did her dot painting and magnets P is for Palm. I really need to make her some more magnets, she ends up being short a few every time and gets frustrated :(

Shortly after this is when she went outside to play with daddy in the snow, crazy Colorado spring!

Our second day went something like this:

I switched back to her regular kid's bible for today, which she liked much better.
We then did the next three Resurrection Eggs.

Then we started our lamb craft. First I put black paint on a plate and Kahlen dipped her hand in it. She then put it on the paper. We had to wait for it to dry, so we moved on for awhile.

She then chose to do her handwriting practice page, which I got from First School.
Then we used these patterning egg sheets, which I really can't remember where I got, sorry!
They were difficult for her, but we figured it out by the end.

Next she played Easter Memory 

Then we came back to the lamb craft and glued on the wool (cotton balls)
I don't have a picture of the finished product because we had to wait until the afternoon to glue on the googly eyes because the black paint took a really long time to get all the way dry.

That was Kahlen's school for the week.
Soon, Nate will be joining us for Tiny Tot School, he's really started manipulated toys more and scooting/rolling to get to things, so cute!

~S

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crafty Wednesday - KAHLEN

I've been wanting to put something up in the kids' room since we moved in three years ago, and just haven't really gotten to it. Now I'm one step closer :) It still isn't hanging up, but at least it's done.

Here's the finished product:
It's just sitting on that piece of wood so it's not on the floor where little feet might trample it. I'll be hanging it all up hopefully in the next few days (need to get the right kind of adhesive first).

How did I do it? Read on!

First, you'll need:
  • Wooden letters. Got mine at JoAnn's during the coupon commotion sale a few weeks ago.
  • Scrapbook papers you like. I decided to coordinate mine instead of matching them, but that's entirely up to you.
  • Mod Podge. What else?
  • 1" Sponge brush. 
  • Ink pad for distressing
  • Sand paper
  • Embellishments (not pictured)
{Step #1}
Trace the letters upside down on the BACK of your scrapbooking papers























{Step #2}
Cut out the letters as close to the lines as you can.

{Step #3}
Apply a coat of mod podge to each wooden letter, place the paper letter on, and smooth out. Because my letters are pretty small, I just used my finger, but you could also use a ruler or something else if you're worried about bubbles. I didn't have trouble with most of my papers; the textured cardstock gave me a little trouble, but you can't really tell in the finished product.

{Step #4}
You could stop at this point, but that's not as cute! Next, sand the edges a little bit to make the paper lay flat around the outside. I didn't cut my papers as precisely as I could have, so they were hanging off the edges a bit.
  After sanding, it looked much better.












{Step #5}
Distress the edges with the ink pad. I chose green because that's one of the theme colors for their room and it generally matched with the papers I chose. I couldn't get into all the crevices with the ink pad. I pondered it for awhile, then thought I'd try another 1" sponge brush. Worked like a charm! I dipped the very end in the ink pad, then just distressed like I normally would.
{Step #6}
Embellish! I was in my craft room while working on the project, so I just pulled whatever I had on hand. I'd seen these cute paper flowers everywhere in blogland recently and was just waiting for a project to use them on. Cut out three circles on coordinating paper in incremental sizes. Crumple up to get nice texture, then flatten out. Distress the edges with the same color as you did the letters. Hot glue all the middles together and add a coordinating button. Mod podge to the best of your ability. Hot glue to letters.
I also used ribbon, self-adhesive jewels and buttons from Oriental Trading Company, and raffia.

And there you have it!

Now I just need to do the little man's too, need to get some more coupons or a screaming sale at JoAnns on the letters though, Nathanael is a long name ;)

~S

Remember, recipe linking party starts in under two weeks!



giveaways

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Grandmom Mary's Scottish Cookies

Starting in two weeks (on April 6th), I will be doing a link party on Tuesdays for your recipes, so start thinking about it now!

Growing up, we did cook-for-a-month where we would spend three days cooking and filling up our freezer. GREAT idea, and I plan to do this too, especially as my kids get older. This is one of the cookie recipes we used since it freezes so well (They actually almost taste better straight out of the freezer)

Grandmom Mary’s Scottish Cookies
{Ingredients}
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Bran Flakes
  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup Boiled Water
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 ¼ cup Butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup Raisins
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

{Directions}
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil ½ cup water and mix with ½ tsp baking soda and let stand until cool.
  • Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add softened butter and mix in with a slotted spoon.
  • Add water, vanilla and raisins. Mix until it comes together into a ball. Add a little more flour if needed so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
  • Kneed for a minute or two. Divide in half. Roll out on floured board and cut with a  round cookie cutter. Place on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden.
What are some of your favorite cookies?

Tot School - Easter Week 1

Tot School
Kahlen is 39 months old


We are following the Hubbard's Cupboard curriculum for 2's called Joyful Learning. For the next four weeks, we will be learning about eggs and Easter. Check out this post that includes the planning sheets for the first two weeks.

This was our first day for this week:
We first did our stART project about Humpty Dumpty. Fun book with a little twist on the classic poem.
I didn't get any pictures, but we also did a re-enactment of Humpty Dumpty using a shoe box, a plastic egg, and a band-aid. The egg that we used has since been joining her for walks, naps, and meals. Humpty likes her, I guess :)


We then did Eggs-tra ordinary sounds from our curriculum. I put various noisy objects inside eggs and she had to match them based on sound alone.
I made sure that the colors did *not* match so that she wouldn't be able to use that as a clue. She did extraordinarily well with this game. I thought for sure she would struggle or get frustrated, but she didn't!
"These match, Momma!"

We did our pompom magnets then with this sheet from Making Learning Fun
I wanted her to do her dot painter too, but ever since I asked her to do just one paint daub in each dot, she hasn't wanted to do it. I'm going to explain to her this week that she can do it however she wants and hopefully that will help :)

We then made orange play dough which she wanted to play tea party/birthday party like we did last week. 
Humpty Dumpty enjoyed playing too :)

After school, it was such a beautiful day that we took a walk to a park near our house and played for awhile (after Muffin Tin Tuesday lunch, of course)


Here's our second day activities:

We started by reading The First Easter by Carol Heyer. I'm always surprised at her attention span when I'm reading her a story. This one has quite a few words per page, but she didn't seem to mind and paid attention the whole time.

We then did a tissue paper cross. I made a cross out of a large piece of paper and gave her tissue paper to cut into small pieces. I'm trying to get her to practice cutting more, but she gets bored easily with that. 
I took over the cutting while she glued them on. After it was all covered, we used homemade liquid starch to paint the entire thing. I think it would have worked much better had I used actual liquid starch, but oh well, it was a good process ;-)

After that, we sang our new verse song, John 3:16. I admit, I had a little trouble getting this song to flow, so I had to sing it several times first. We got it eventually, and I'm looking forward to her memorizing the whole thing over the next few weeks.

She did an H handwriting page next from First School.

Last, we did an Easter egg counting game from Ramblings of a Crazy Woman. Kahlen is not too sure on her numeral recognition, so I was hoping this would help. Unfortunately, she did it mostly by color, which is why the original post has all the same color eggs, I'm sure :/ Also, I didn't have any stickers that were small enough on hand, so I just used a sharpie.

That was about it for us for last week. You can check here for a couple of my favorite pictures from the week.

~S
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