Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mouth-watering Wednesday--peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

I think I can honestly say I have never met a cookie I didn't like--especially one with chocolate chips in it.  I like peanut butter cookies--my favorite are the ones you stick the hershey's kiss in the middle right after it comes out of the oven--heaven!  But just plain peanut butter cookies are really not my favorite, and then I found these. . .
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies--oh my, does it get any better than this?
I found them at Mel's Kitchen Cafe which I love.
She shares her recipe here.

Happy dunking!

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Blue Jeans Week 8

Sunday:  Miss A is going to be in high school next year!!! Ahh!  Our high school has a madrigals choir--an auditions only song and dance choir.  They usually do not let incoming freshmen in, but the choir director changed her mind this year and is letting incoming freshmen tryout.  Ben was playing the piano so Miss A could practice her solos.  Tryouts are this week, so keep your fingers crossed. 

Monday:  My kids are into chopsticks.  They enjoy using them whenever they can.  Tonight we had chicken and rice, so Mr J pulled his out to eat.

Tuesday:  The drama in our front yard continues to unfold.  This is the new poll they put in today.  Isn't it ridiculous???  Look at it compared to the old poll!!  Ugh.  Makes me sick.

Wednesday:  Today was a fun day.  I was asked to accompany Miss O's class on a field trip to an educational science center about an hour away.  They did hands-on labs in bio-mechanics and pendulums.  Miss O was doing balance activities on the Wii in this lab.  Fun stuff!

Thursday:  Today was even more fun.  Some friends and I got together, had lunch, and made these cute hot pads.  So grateful for good friends to keep me grounded and sane :)

Friday:  My beautiful flowers from Ben for Valentine's are still going strong.  Fresh flowers just light up a kitchen I think.
Saturday:  It was a fairly nice day, so we all went to the park and played around on the track.  Mr J and Miss E were having a race.  With his tongue out Mr J is super fast, so watch out :)

Thanks for visiting and hope you have a great week! 

Naptime Momtog

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fabulous Friday-things I love

Five random things I love today. . .

--pretzels dipped in Nutella

--kisses when my kids get home from school

--even better kisses when my sweetheart gets home :)


--weekends with nothing to do (can't remember the last time we had one of those)

Have a good one!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mouth-watering Wednesday--crock pot beef stroganoff

Welcome to another edition of Mouth-watering Wednesday where I share a very simple, good, quick recipe.  This one I got from my aunt.  Super easy and so yummy!
Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff

In your crock pot mix together

2 lbs beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can French Onion soup

Cook on low 6-8 hours, serve on top of rice, pasta, or egg noodles and garnish with sour cream.

It doesn't get any easier or more yum that that.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Blue Jeans Week 7

It has been a pretty good week--lots of love, got a little bit spoiled, (which everyone should every now and then) and we enjoyed some fun family time.  Hope you all had a good week.
Sunday:  Valentine's Dinner is a very special tradition in my family.  It started with my great-grandma.  She was the mother of 5 girls (one of them being my grandma) and for Valentine's Day dinner she would decorate the dining room very fancy, finest china, and then no one was allowed into the room or to see it until dinner.  Everyone had to dress up for dinner.  In the middle of the table was a fancy box with small wrapped gifts.  Each gift had a string attached to it that went out to each place at the table.  When my grandma and her sisters were done eating dinner they were allowed to pull their string and get their small Valentine's present.  My grandma did this for my mom and her siblings when they were growing up.  My mom continued the tradition with me and my siblings.  Now the tradition continues with my kids--4th generation.  We are lucky enough to live by Nana and Grandpa, so I don't have to do the fancy dinner, we just go over to my mom's house :)  Lucky us!  So above is a picture from our Valentine's dinner at my mom's.  We were done eating, so Mr J and Miss E started to pull their strings.  So fun!

Monday:  Can you believe this is our very first snow of the whole winter???  It wasn't much of a snowstorm, and it lasted only one day.  The next day was sunny and 50, and it was all gone, so Mr J, Miss A, and Miss O tried to enjoy the one day of snow they had.

Tuesday:  Valentine's Day.  Tuesdays are usually crazy piano lesson nights, but because of Valentine's we had nothing tonight, so we had a special dinner at home--heart shaped meatloaf and potatoes with heart jello, decorated heart sugar cookies, opened our family Valentine's box, and enjoyed the evening.  Our kids got these cute balloon cars from their Grandpa for Valentine's day, and they had lots of fun racing them.  Thank you Grandpa T!
Wednesday:  Mr J practising his piano.  He takes it very seriously and works very hard at it.  Love my boy!

Thursday:  O happy day!  I got my birthday present today, even though my birthday is not for a month and a half :)  I have wanted a Blendtec blender forever, but they are pretty pricey, and I could never really justify it, but we were up in the city today at Costco.  They had them on sale, plus we had a nice Costco rebate and I begged and pleaded with Ben and told him it would be my early birthday present and maybe Mother's Day too, (but not Christmas :)  if he let me get it.  He is so nice, and said yes.  Boy, does he love me ;)  I am very lucky.  Anyway, we are in smoothie heaven here!  Yeah!  Happy Birthday to me! (a little early)  If you have some favorite recipes, please share!

Friday:  Are you ever too old for a tea party?  Or kool-aid party?   Not at our house.

Saturday:  Snapshot of our lives--cleaning the house day.  Next to our weekly dishes job chart, this is the next most important piece of paper in our house.  We clean the house every Saturday morning, and everyone helps.  The kids rotate jobs.  Having a chart you can easily rotate makes a big difference.  This is just printed off and put in a page protector so we can write and erase it with dry erase markers.

Thanks for visiting!  Come back soon and have a great week!

Naptime Momtog

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mouth-watering Wednesday

Okay, I don't know if that blog post is quite accurate, but I wanted to start sharing some more recipes and can't figure out a way to do it or when, so maybe "mouth-watering Wednesdays" will be my recipe sharing day.  What do you think? 

So, like I have mentioned before, I am so "not a gourmet" cook--so much a "simple and easy" cook.  I love crock pot recipes that I can just throw everything in during the morning and then take it out ready to eat in the evening.  That is a lot of my cooking style and recipes.  So, if you are looking for gourmet and complex, this is not the place to be :)  Simple and easy is my motto, and I don't make up my own recipes.  I usually get them from somewhere else, so if  I know where I got them, then I will share that too, but I will only share what my family of 6 likes a lot and what we make often.  Enjoy!

Creamy Black Bean Chicken

In your crock pot place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (it is fine if they are frozen, how easy is that?)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
2 cups salsa

Cook on low for 6-7 hours or however long you need (high for 4 hours), about 30 minutes before you serve take out the chicken and shred it, add it back in, stir it around and then drain the excess liquid off, then you have either one of 2 choices. . .

1.  Add in one 8 oz package of cream cheese (1/3 reduced fat works great too), cubed, stir until starts to melt, put lid back on for 30 minutes then serve over rice or in tortillas with cheese on top


2.  Add in 1 cup sour cream (low fat or fat free works good) and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and let warm, then serve over rice or in a tortilla with more cheese on top :)

Option #1 I got from my sister-in-law
Option #2 I got from 365 Days of Slow Cooking a great crock pot website to check out if you like simple, quick, and easy crock pot recipes.  It is a favorite of mine.

This also freezes really well.  It makes a lot, so freeze whatever you don't use and have it for dinner another day.

Happy Eating!

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Blue Jeans Week 6

 Welcome!  Hope you have had a good week!  Here is what we have been up to . . .
Sunday:  For Christmas Miss A got the Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights edition.  It has taken us a while to figure it out and play it.  Today Ben and Miss A were determined to figure out how to play it.   Now they just need to teach everyone else :)

Monday:  A Valentine's tradition at our house is the Family Valentine's box.  Remember making a Valentine's box for school for your friends to put your Valentines in?  Well, we do that as a family on the first Monday in February.  Then everyone makes Valentines for each other and we open the box and distribute the cards on the evening of Valentine's Day.  Everyone gets to decorate a side of the box.  Miss O got to decorate the top this year.  It is a tradition my kids love.
Tuesday:  Snapshot from our lives--our job chart.  This is probably one of the most important pieces of paper in the house.  I had tried several different approaches to dinner dishes and kitchen helping over the years, but 2 years ago we visited my sister-in-law, and she had a system like this--one kid, and one kid only, was in charge of all the dishes for that day--empty dishwasher, set table, clear table, wipe it, sweep floor, and load dirty dishes.  I thought it was a great idea, then there is only one kid in the kitchen, and usually fights about who is supposed to do what do not break out when only one child is responsible and one person in a room.  It took a while for my kids to be converted.  They didn't like having do to everything for the whole day, but I loved no one fighting and complaining about someone else not getting their stuff done so someone else can do their job :)  The care and feeding of our chickens are separate from the dishes.  I have another chart for Saturday house cleaning jobs.  I just printed off the chart and put it in a page protector so we can write and erase it with dry erase markers.
Wednesday:  In case you didn't know, we are getting a new power line installed down our country road.  It has been a mess.  Today I had 7 trucks and about a dozen guys in my front yard trying to get this huge new poll ready to go in the ground.  So glad when this will be over with!

Thursday:  A relaxing evening with nothing scheduled, so we watched  Planet Earth--or at least Ben and Mr J took turns watching as they took turns playing Tiny Towers on Ben's i-touch :)  Boys and their toys.
Friday:  Usually for Valentine's Day at school my kids don't get to make their own boxes--the teacher will have the whole class make the same type of box/bag thing in class, so Mr J and I were excited when his teacher sent home the note that he was supposed to make his own--any way he wanted.  Miss A was such a nice sister and helped him find this cool monster design in an old Family Fun magazine (yes, I keep all my old issues) and they made it together today.

Saturday:  Mr J got his class Valentine's made today.  We went with really traditional ones this year--red and white doilies with another heart glued on top with a mini-candy bar glued on that.  Of course, we had to all try the candy bars to make sure they were good :) 

Thanks for visiting and hope you all have a great Valentine's Day this week!  Share the love!

Naptime Momtog

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feeling ancient

So on Sunday Mr J had to bring the story of where we got his name and bring a family picture.  Well, Mr J was named after his great, great, great, great, great grandfather who was born in 1783.  I wrote this on a paper with a family picture and had it ready for Mr J to take to church.  Ben took all 3 girls earlier with him, so it was just Mr J and me in the car heading to church. 
J asked me "Mom, did you know this grandpa?" (meaning his 5 times great grandpa)

"No, he was born a long time before me." 

"Is he dead mom?" 

"Yes, he died a long time ago too."

"So, Mom, were you born after him?"


"So when were you born, Mom, 17. . .? (and his voice trails off)

I about ran off the road.

"No, J, I was born in the 1970's not the 1700's"

Talk about feeling ancient.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Blue Jeans Week 5

I love my approach to documenting our lives.  I try to take a picture a day--of normal things, but as a friend pointed out this week, the snapshots usually don't show how busy or crazy things are.  I don't have photos of my kids screaming at each other or me screaming at my kids :)  I don't have pictures of the kids and Ben racing out the door 5 minutes late in the morning, or rushing to get dinner eaten before we run out the door for some other thing.  Maybe that is a good thing :)  I want to remember my days and the little things that made them special and make me happy--me yelling or my kids fighting really don't make me happy, but that does happen, and probably more than it should, but it is important to remember the smiles and the little things.  So, I take pictures of things that will help me remember the smiles, the little things, and what makes me happy.  Enjoy!

Sunday:  We celebrate our state's birthday every year with a sunflower cake.  This year we were rushed and frosting it didn't go as well as planned :), but it still tasted good!  More details if you want on this post.
Monday:  We have had spring weather in January, and today Ben and Mr J made a train track with the sidewalk chalk to run his trains outside

Tuesday:  Laundry day.  It has been my firm tradition since we got married that I only do laundry once a week--Tuesdays are my laundry days.  If you want anything cleaned any other day of the week, you are more than welcome to do it yourself ;)  my laundry mat is only open on Tuesdays.

Wednesday:  Spelling words are a part of life right now.  We try to come up with fun ways to study them.  Spelling them with letter magnets on the fridge is something Mr J likes a lot.  Anything that makes spelling more fun is worth it.

Thursday:  So I have this yoga DVD that I never use.  The kids found it and wanted to try it out.  I think they laughed more than anything.

Friday:  We got some rain, and Mr J went out in it to get the mail. 

Saturday:  Miss E has this fascination with cleaning out my fridge and organizing it.  I have no problem with her doing it, but she does get kind of cold, so she wore her gloves and winter hat to clean it out and organize today. 

Hope you have a good week and can capture the moments of happiness in your lives!

Naptime Momtog