Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been such a terrible blogger lately. I mean, on a good week I'm not that good, but I've been downright awful lately. But I have a very good reason. We have a house! We just closed on it and we've been busy making lists, checking them twice...oh wait. That's something else entirely. Really though, we have been making lists of things we need to get (a lot got left behind in the last move), buying things we need immediately, and starting to do work on the interior. Very exciting!

We have also had a load of car trouble (my van is still out of commission), lots of Scout related activities going on, and of course, gearing up for Thanksgiving.

For the one (or maybe two) of you that might read here, I will be very sparse with my posting in the coming weeks as house preparation will take precedence and almost all of my time will be taken up there. I hope to keep up with my menu plan and maybe one other post a week and hope to get to a more regular posting schedule in January.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another Week

I can't believe how fast last week flew by! Just a lot going on. This week promises to be busy as well, but perhaps not as busy as last! And then it will be Thanksgiving! That is hard to believe too.

Trying to keep things simple this week. Here's the menu:

Monday-Kielbasa, fried cabbage, mashed potatoes, pirogi (it was a toss up...I decided to make both!)

Tuesday-German Skillet Beef over rice. Going to attempt this in the crockpot. Wish me luck.

Wednesday-Pork chops, roasted potatoes, vegetable bake

Thursday-Meatball stew. Again, attempting in the crockpot.

Friday-Not sure...we have a Girl Scout meeting and a cub scout Pack meeting. Probably Golden Corral. lol


Sunday-Chicken Fried Steak Fingers, mashed potatoes, peas

For more great ideas for menu plans, check out!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013



Hello, Dolly! is one of my favorite films. Not only does it star Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau(The Odd Couple), and Michael Crawford(Phantom of the Opera), plus the fabulous Louis Armstrong,  it's funny, entertaining, and features fantastic music and songs. I have been enjoying this film for decades.

While I've seen the movie dozens upon dozens of times, I've never seen the play. And I love a play almost as much as I love watching a musical from my cozy couch in the living room. My mother grew up in Queens and has seen her fair share of plays and musicals and passed that love on to me. She's also been the benefactor of me being able to see such fantastic productions of Singin' In The Rain, Camelot, Cats, and Annie Get Your Gun, just to name a few. And while we both adore Hello, Dolly!, it's not one either of us have seen.

The movie (1969) is actually based on the stage play (1964) which in turn is based on a play by Thornton Wilder which he adapted from a one-act farce written in 1842). There was an earlier film version made, but I think most people think of this one when they hear Hello, Dolly!.  If you're not familiar with the plot, here it is: A meddlesome (matchmaker) widow (Dolly Levi) arrives in Yonkers to find a wife for the "half a millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (though she plans on marrying him herself).  She sends him to New York (City) to meet Irene Molloy, who owns a hat shop. She then puts it into the heads of his clerks, Cornelius and Barnaby, that they two should go to New York. They do and meet Irene and her assistant, Minnie.  A series of mishaps follows and the end of the evening finds everyone in court. To find out what happens to everyone you need to watch the film :)

Now we come to the crust of this post. There are several decent places where I live to see theatrical productions. Sometimes they cost an arm and a leg and you just don't bother. Sometimes the prices are reasonable but it's not a production you're interested in. And sometimes the prices are reasonable and it sells out before you can get a ticket. Which is what happened in this case. Hello, Dolly! is playing this weekend at one of the places close to me. With Sally Struthers as Dolly. Sally Struthers! I really wanted to go, but it sold out before I could get a ticket. My mother volunteers there (she's "working" tonight and gets to see the show with Buddy) and is going to be "working" on Saturday, so she'll get to see it.

Well, I didn't think anymore about it. Come to find out, my FIL bought my MIL and me tickets for a show on Friday night! I couldn't believe it! I'm still in a bit of shock, hence this rambling post. lol. I can't wait for Friday!!!! I'm already singing songs in my head! (not out loud...that's just pure torture for anyone in the listening range!)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Menu Plan Monday (November 11-17)

Here it is. Another week of menu planning. It always seems like a chore, but once I have it in place, grocery shopping and cooking is a breeze. The hardest part is coming up with what to make. Some weeks are definitely easier than others, but I'm not sure why that is.

Monday-Chicken Stroganoff, rice, peas

Tuesday-Ham steak, gluten free macaroni and cheese, fried cabbage

Wednesday-Pan fried pork chops, cottage potatoes, cheesy vegetable bake

Thursday-Creamy Italian Chicken, rice, green beans

Friday-Date night


Sunday-Meatball stew, bread

As always, for more menu ideas, head to!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mini Halloween Album-Part Two

I really meant to post yesterday, but I got so engrossed in my new book that I just wanted to finish it. So I did. And then I was tired and went to bed! The book was good, my favorite genre (cozy mystery), but I did figure out who did it before the end. This is a regular series that I quite enjoy and the author includes recipes!

As I mentioned in my last post, I watched some scrapbook videos that really gave me inspiration. Last night, oldest DD and I stopped at Joann's where I got some more paper and then today I had some fun! I even changed part of what I did on Tuesday. I apologize for the poor photo quality. As I've mentioned several times, my camera isn't the best. I'm really hoping for a new (better) one for Christmas.

 This is what you see when you open the front cover. The patterned paper on the left has candy corn and witches shoes and says trick or treat...smell my feet...give me something good to eat.

 Also on the left...there are two pockets with removable tags. That paper is an orange plaid.

This is what came out of the pocket on the right side. It's a mini mini album :)

 Here it is opened.
 And again, with the two removable tags.
 This is the other side of the tags. It's not plain white...more of a cream, with a little interest around the corners.

 The page with the mini mini album folds down and reveals a...
 And here is the top right. One flap is opened here.

Rather than bore you with photos of each flap open, I just opened them all :)

In this 6x6 album there is room for 23 photos and several journaling opportunities. Can you believe it holds so much? I really love how it's looking so far. When I have time (maybe this weekend) I want to see what embellishments I can find. I had gotten some stickers, but now that's turned out so well I want to see if I can find something more. And add pictures of course!

Can't wait to make another one!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mini Scrapbook Part 1

Yesterday I mentioned the women's meeting I attend on Monday nights at my church. Well last night was a blast! We always have a good time, but yesterday we made mini scrapbooks. It was a very simple project that didn't take a lot of time and yielded a wonderful finished result. I thought it would be fun to make one for each holiday/season or even just make them for gifts. Really, with the array of papers out there, there is no end to the possibilities! I thought I would start with Halloween from this year.

Here's the book I made last night:

Isn't it cute? I just love it!

Today, I spent some time watching videos by Kathy Orta on youtube. She has some amazing mini scrapbook tutorials and I can't wait to try some of them out. She gave me some ideas that I'm thinking of incorporating into my Halloween album, but my oldest daughter wanted to make an album today. So, I started it, but will finish tomorrow once I figure out what I'm going to add. Here's what I have so far:

Since I'm using it for Halloween, I thought I black and orange color scheme would be appropriate :) I also have some sweet embellishments to add. The kids will be back in school tomorrow, so I plan on working on the album/finishing it tomorrow and will post my results. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 4, 2013

After Halloween Cookies

I have my church women's group on Monday nights and I usually volunteer to bring refreshments. I love to cook and bake and it's one way to give me a creative outlet without expanding my waist line any further than it already is. Since Halloween was last week I knew exactly what I was going to make for tonight's meeting: After Halloween Cookies. What are they? Tasty little treats chock full of chocolaty goodness. There a few different base cookies you can use...sugar, oatmeal, even peanut butter, but I went with chocolate chip. Instead of adding chips though, I used chopped up candy. Delicious! And lest you think I took candy from my kids bags, I purchased it after Halloween for more than 50% off at my CVS :) Do you have candy to use up? Here's the recipe:

After Halloween Cookies

Cookie Dough*
2 cups chopped up candy**

As mentioned, I used a chocolate chip cookie dough sans chips. It's the same one on a Nestle bag, but just in case you're out of chocolate chips, here it is.

*Cream together 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter with 3/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Add two eggs and blend well. Add a tsp of vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and a dash of salt. Add to the creamed mixture. You can do this in increments but I'm a rebel and just throw it all in.Stir in your chopped up candy. Now you can do one of two things. The first is, you can drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes *or* if you're feeling quite lazy pressed for time, you can press the mixture into a greased jelly roll pan (I just used a cookie sheet), and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

I was thinking that this would be good for other holidays too, especially Valentine' of those heart shaped boxes of assorted chocolates. yum!

 ** Chocolate candy works best in this recipe. I do not recommend using hard candy or anything gummi. I also don't recommend Kit Kats. The wafers don't really translate well into the cookie. For these cookies, I used a mix of Resee's, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Hershey bars, Cookies and Cream, and Milky Way.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

MPM-November (week 1)

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it's November already. It hasn't been the best year, but it's certainly flown by. In just a few short weeks we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving and then a few short weeks after that it'll be Christmas. Time to start thinking about those goodies that need to be made and gifts that need to be purchased or made.

For the past few weeks I've had my kids helping with the menu planning. One of these days I'm going to take them shopping with me one on one. Last week my youngest son helped pick the meals and this week it was my oldest daughter. If my thoughts seem disjointed (it seems to me they are), it's because a) I have a headache and b) there is too much background noise going on.

At any rate, here's the menu for this week.

Monday- Pork chops (new recipe), golden nugget squash (new food and new recipe!), corn

Tuesday-Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday-Shepherd's Pie (using leftover roast and potatoes)

Thursday-Crock pot chicken and dumplings

Friday-Date Night


Sunday-Beef Stroganoff (I think)

For more menu ideas, check out!

A Long Day

Yesterday was a very long day and I apologize for no post. We spent a good portion of the day (9-4:30ish) at a local middle school for the FLL competition and then went out to dinner. What's FLL? Well, that stands for First Lego League. We simply refer to it as Lego Robotics. The kids (team) built a robot from Lego's and then used special software to program it. There are several missions for the robot to do on the board and you get points (or lose them!) for how well you achieve the mission (or not). It's a bit hard to describe, but know that it is a very cool, challenging program. Our team won the Judge's Award and I am very proud of all of them!

 Preparing the robot.
 More competition.
 These are my two youngest. It was pretty late in the day at this point and they were pretty bored!
Winning the Judge's Award!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trying Again

Going to try this posting thing (NaBloPoMo) again for November. I wasn't doing too badly for October, but then life just got in the way. November has its fair share of activities, but I'm hoping it will be better than last month. To get started, here are my kids last night as they prepared for trick or treating.

In the back we have Dr Who (the 11th Doctor) and a Weeping Angel (it's hard to see her wings, but they are there!) and in the front we have Darth Vader and a peacock!

Monday I'll be sharing a great recipe to use up leftover Halloween candy!

Monday, October 28, 2013

MPM-October 28-November 3

Have I really not posted since October 15? Wow! All I can say is that I've been super busy around here. We had a Cub Scout camp this past weekend, my oldest son is gearing up for a Lego robotics competition this weekend, and we have been house hunting. Plus we've started rehearsals for the Christmas program at church. Just crazy. If it makes you feel any better, my house isn't even decorated for Halloween yet. Of course, it's not my house (and boy I can't wait until I have one!), but I'm still going to throw up a few seasonal things. I should have some time today to assemble some things (I hope!).

On to the menu. It's been colder than usual here lately, though Thursday it's supposed to be pretty toasty (almost 80!). Lots of comfort food on the menu though, to go with the colder weather.


Pan fried pork chops
Parmesan potatoes
Creamed spinach


Peanut soup
Crusty bread


Pasta bake


Not entirely sure yet. Something Halloween-y


Date Night


Leftover Feast


Meatball stew
Garlic bread

As always, for more menu ideas, visit!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

French Dip Sandwiches (Crocktober Recipe)

I have a special treat for you today. I actually took a picture of the finished product! Woo hoo! As promised, here is the first in a string of crock pot recipes, all in celebration of Crocktober. Friday I will begin a 13 Days of Halloween series with crafts, decorations, and fun recipes.

This recipe is tried and true. I have made it many times and it never disappoints. It is deceptively simple (four ingredients!), incredibly easy, and quite delicious. I believe I found this recipe in an old freezer cooking cookbook, but for the life of me I can't remember. I do know that this is not my original recipe and I in no way claim that it is. All I can say is that it is quick, easy, and tasty. Yes, I know I just said that but it really does need repeating. Try this. Please. So, so good.

French Dip Sandwiches

Chuck roast or tri-tip roast (I used a chuck roast. Two, actually)
1 can Campbell's Beef Broth
1 can Campbell's French Onion
1 can Campbell's Beef Consumme

Put your roast in the crock pot. Pour the soups over the meat, cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours. I do not recommend cooking on high. Cooking this cut  of meat on low makes it supremely tender and I don't just get that from cooking it on high. I've tried.

Once your meat is done cooking, take it out of your pot, reserving the liquid. Shred the meat using two forks. Assemble as follows: take a sandwich roll, split it, and put a bit of the liquid on the bottom of the roll. Add meat, fold the top over, and cut in half. Server with the au jus on the side for dipping. I like to round out the meal with potato chips and carrot sticks. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Menu for October 14-19

Another Monday, another menu. Okay, so it's really Sunday, but I have a busy week this week and it was just easier to do it today :) Because I have some fun stuff starting on Friday and going straight through until Halloween, this week features four(!) crock pot recipes! Two of them are tried and true and two are new to me. I'm excited to try them and report back here.

Monday-Either kielbasa or ham steaks, homemade gf creamy macaroni and cheese, fried cabbage

Tuesday-French Dip (crock pot), carrot sticks with dip, potato chips

Wednesday-Creamy Italian Chicken (crock pot), rice, green beans

Thursday-Super Simple Cranberry Roast (crock pot), Potatoes au gratin (crock pot), peas

Friday-date night


Sunday-Loaded Baked Potato soup (may do in crock pot), biscuits

Looking for menu ideas? Check out for more!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Crocktober Recipe (Curried Chicken)

Yesterday I promised another Croctober recipe today. And I do have one. However, as I finished putting it into the crockpot, I realized I had forgotten to take pictures. I thought to myself, I will just have to take a picture of the finished product. It will be a nice change to see the end result on the blog for once! Did I take said pictures? Of course not. This cold has really addled my brain. I'm lucky I can remember I have four kids right now! The recipe is so simple though, that you really don't need pictures to guide you. There just nice to have. And I promise the next recipe will have them.

The original recipe for this Curried Chicken came from a Fix It and Forget It Cookbook. I honestly can't remember which one, but I think it was the Holiday one. At any rate, I pretty much just throw things in the pot now :)

Curried Chicken

1 pound chicken (I use tenders)
2 cans cream soup (I use a modified version of this recipe. It works just fine.)
8 oz cream cheese
2-4 tbsp curry powder (or to taste)

Throw everything into the crockpot and cook on low 4-6 hours or on high for 3-5 hours. Serve over rice.

*Note* I don't use actual curry powder as I don't like spicy. I toss in corriander, tumeric, cumin, black pepper, red pepper, cinnamon, and ginger (which is almost all of the spices in curry), I just don't use a lot. DH, who does like spicy, adds a hot curry powder to his).

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feed A Cold...

Starve A Fever.

I, like I'm sure many of you do, like to think of myself as SuperMom. It gives me great pleasure to know there are things that I do that would put a lesser man (my husband) to shame: laundry, dishes, cleaning. The usual. I pride myself on my multitasking. And even when I get the sniffles or I'm feeling a bit run down, I can still get things accomplished. I'm SuperMom after all! But a fever, a fever is my kryptonite. It knocks me down and hold me there until the dishes are piled up, there are no clean clothes to be had, and the house is a nightmare. The kids are forced to buy their lunch from school and supper is whatever my husband can throw together (he comes up with interesting concoctions!).

Tuesday, I had a scratchy sore throat, but by Tuesday evening I had a full blown fever. I was down for the count. I stayed in bed most of yesterday, thankful and blessed that my MIL made lunches for the kids and even made them supper. I was still feeling poorly this morning too, and she made lunches again.

Thankfully I started feeling better (though I still have a low grade temperature) and there is a load of laundry in the washer and supper in the crockpot.

So, I apologize for my absence and I look forward to sharing a crocktober recipe with you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 7-13 Menu

It's been awhile since I've posted a weekly menu. I've been making them, I just don't think about posting them until around Tuesday and by that time I feel it's a little too late. But I was making my grocery list for tomorrow and thought I'd just go ahead and post my menu now. The weatherman is calling for a lot of rain this week so there are warm, comforting recipes on the menu this week!

Monday-Pan fried pork chops, roasted potatoes, corn fritters

Tuesday-Spirit Night for the elementary school at a local Italian restaurant

Wednesday-Braised chuck steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley

Thursday-Curried chicken (crock pot), rice, cheesy green beans

Friday-Date Night

Saturday-Fend for yourself night (kids are with in laws)

Sunday-French Dip (crock pot), carrots, potato chips

For lots of menu ideas check out!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall Festival of Folklife

Today I ventured over to the annual Fall Festival of Folklife in my town. It was the first time I've been there in several years but I can honestly say not much has changed. This year was the 40th anniversary of an event that was originally only supposed to be three years. It was arranged to be part of the Bicentennial Celebration and run from 1974-1976. It has grown from 50 demonstrator/crafters to over 200. There are activities for children, musical performances, dancing (traditional types), different handicraft demonstrations, and lots of food. I had such a good time, I just may go again next year!

 An awesomely tall scarecrow
 Hand whittled faces
 Fun painted hubcaps!
 Civil war reenactments
 Lots of music
 Can you see the 40 in there? Loved this display.

Besides delicious food, I bought myself a tote bag with the 40th logo on it and several books the local library was selling (only .50 cents a piece!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's Crock-tober! (beef stew)

The other day I got an email from Saving Dinner that talked about it being crock-tober and I just thought that was too cute! As you might surmise from the "crock" part, we are talking about crock pot cooking. While I don't use my crock every day, I do use it quite often and even more so in the Fall and Winter. It's so gratifying to do a little bit of work in the morning (or even the night before) and not have to worry about supper. It's even nicer if the air is crisp and you've been out, to come home to a warm and cozy house with the delicious aroma dinner in the air. I thought it might be fun to share some crock pot recipes with you throughout the month of October. Perhaps you'll enjoy them too!

Jenn's Beef Stew (original recipe)

2 lbs stew beef
6 cups beef broth, divided
6 turnips, peeled and diced
a handful of baby carrots, diced
2 envelopes beef gravy mix

Mix everything but three cups of the beef broth together in the crockpot. Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 6-8 hours. Stir in the remaining three cups of beef broth. Serve with a green salad and rolls.

Modified Recipe (GF)

Exactly the same, except instead of gravy mix, mix in about 1/2 cup of gf cornstarch with some of the beef broth.

Stew before the beef broth was added. I don't usually like using a lot of plastic, but darn it! Those crock pot liner bags are genius! Also, hungry children took precedence again over a photograph of the finished stew!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crock Pot Recipe

In an effort to post more regularly, I'm just going to post random items. Perhaps that will get me more into a groove and then I can post more intelligently! lol! On that note, here's what I made for supper tonight. Comforting Cube Steaks. I had originally planned on Beef Stew. However, when I went to the store there was only one package of stew beef to be had *and* cube steak was on sale! So, I modified my menu to use them. I fell back on this recipe that I've used for a few years now, specifically in the fall and winter, when a warm, hearty meal fits the bill. I most often serve it with mashed potatoes, but it is lovely with rice as well. A few notes:

1. I do not cook mine in the oven. I use it, as stated in the title of my post, in the crock pot :) It always turns out super fall-apart-tender. I love being able to throw everything in the pot and go about my day!

2. I do not use Cajun seasoning. Most often I will use Lawry's or Montreal Steak Seasoning.

3. I use homemade onion soup mix. It works just fine.

4. Because we are a mostly gluten free house (my husband can't have it), I make my own "soup". It is based on this recipe. When I first found this version, I followed it to a t. Now, honestly, I mix milk and cornstarch (about 4 cups of milk with 1/2 cup cornstarch looks about two cans of soup) add some salt, garlic, pepper, and celery salt, and call it a day!

I wish I had thought to take a picture when it was finished cooking, but I had hungry children waiting to be fed!