Mar 22, 2012

Boys will be boys...

"How lovely! The Boy is playing so quietly as I blog in the sunlight and sip my coffee. What a joy!"

After a few posts, I decided he was all too quiet. Then, I walked into the kitchen...

... to the dissection of the sippy cup cabinet...
... an expedition through the trash can (coffee grounds and egg shells included!)...
... and caught in the act of turning on the stove.

How could I not grab the camera? Boys will be boys!

In the words of James Taylor...

... "Shower the people you love with love; show them  how much you care."

Our Growth Group (a.k.a. small group, life group, small church, etc.) had so much fun showering the M's with love as they prepare for their first born.

In preparation, there might have been some child-labor laws that were broken... we call it "playing Cinderella" ...

Guests were instructed to sign the guest book puzzle (yes, I got the idea via Pinterest...) and write their name on a small piece of paper for another game, too.

This will be fun when baby girl is 2 and can finally attempt the puzzle... Mom and Dad can attempt to remember this shower...

Take a slip of paper from the creamer cup... write your name on it... put it in the sugar bowl...

Guests were also asked to bring a baby photo of themselves for a rousing game of "Guess Who?" It was determined that most of our mothers have yet to let go of our baby photos, and therefore, most of us do not have them in our possession!

Guests were also asked to bring a dish to share. This worked splendidly, as we had quite the smorgasbord... and I didn't have to do all the cooking ;)

Guests were also asked to bring a onesie that described themselves... things got very creative at this point. (Notice the bottom row... 4th from the left. It's half Ohio State, half Notre Dame... sewn together. Can you say, CRAFTY?!)

Mom & Dad used those slips of paper that guests left in the sugar bowl in the foyer (see above) to try and determine which onesie described who...

And, because this was a co-ed shower, we had to do the most fun game of all. Baby food guessing! Each guest was given multiple plastic spoons (no double-dipping for this germaphobe!), a piece of paper and a pen. As the jars were passed, they had to attempt to guess what the food was. This was highly entertaining... especially when it came to the guys answers...

And, of course, there was the gift opening. Is this the most adorable tu-tu ever?

Congrats M Family! We can't wait to meet your sweet girl!

Easter Rocks

Once upon a time, in a land very much like our back yard, there lived some rocks. They weren't fancy rocks, just your average, likely-to-be-found-by-your-three-year-old-in-your-neighbors-landscaping rocks. One by one, said rocks appeared in our back yard, where The Hubby could easily run over them with the lawn mower and injure himself... or say things he would later regret.

There also happened to be a surplus of paints, a sleeping Boy, some beautiful weather, and a Mama and Girlie with cabin fever.

"Daughter!" said the Mama. "I have a wonderful craft idea!"
"Really!?!" said The Girl, with her eyes full of wonderment.
"Yes," said the Mama. "Lets paint those rocks!"
"Mama," said The Girl disappointedly, "those are my EGGS!"
"Ah yes," said the Mama, "I meant the eggs. Lets paint those EGGS to look like... Easter eggs!"
"Ohhhhh Mama," exclaimed The Girl in her high-pitched, excited voice. "Can we? CAN we? CAN WE NOW??"
"Lets do it," said the Mama.

One at a time, the "eggs" were painted. Lovingly they were stroked with paint soaked brushes and dotted with pastel-colored cotton swabs. They were born. (What did she just say?) Yes, born. And, as soon as they all "came to life" The Girl sang "Happy Birthday" to every. last. one of them.
"Happy Birthday dear yellow striped egg..."
"Happy Birthday dear polka dot egg..."
"Happy Birthday dear purple egg..."

And then, after the bunny sat on them for a few days (so they could "hatch," of course!), they got to serve The Mama's intended purpose. As a free (thanks to the neighbors), lovely centerpiece.

The End.

Mar 10, 2012

A new twist on an old favorite...

I'm a big fan of t-shirt scarves for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the variety in which you can make them (see what I just did there?). Well, my sister-in-law whipped up a whole new version for The Girl for Christmas, and I finally had a chance to attempt it for myself. SO easy. SO cute!

It all started on Thursday evening when some friends and I went down to Hope Ministries to teach the ladies there how to whip up these guys. Discovery of the night: Tie-Dyed t-shirts make some sweet-looking scarves!

This gal is a big ND fan so she opted to make a gold and blue one, too!

1). Do steps 1-7 on this tutorial. (That will take you about 10 minutes.) Then...
2). Coil the string/loops around your wrist until...

3). end up with little piles like this. (You can do all one color, but I liked the varying shades.)

4). Cut a 2-3 inch section of one of the loops to use as your "tie."

5). Tie two coils together with a simple double-knot.

6). And then I cut off the excess...

7). And continue on until it's the length you desire.

8). Adorable re-purposing of all. those. t-shirts.

Bracelet Art

So The Roommate made this ADORABLE bracelet holder, thanks to Pinterest. And, all you need is a paper towel holder...

Simply cover the paper towel holder "info sleeve" with construction paper and adorn with stickers...

... and there you  have it! Art!

Tex-Mex Ravioli

This is a great spin on an old standard... ravioli.

1 (16 oz) jar mild salsa
1 (10 3/4 oz) can tomato puree
1/2 tsp cumin
1 (28 oz) bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed
2 (19 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 Cups (8 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 Cup (4 oz) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients. Pour 1/2 Cup sauce mixture in lightly greased 2 qt oval or 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Top evenly with frozen cheese ravioli. Layer with black  beans, chopped cilantro, green onions, and remaining sauce mixture; top evenly with shredded Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350* for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.

Spring Tortellini with Pesto

From the fine folks at Southern Living, circa 2006.

1 lb fresh asparagus
2 (9 oz) packages refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 (7 oz) container basil pesto
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup pine nuts

Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces.

Prepare cheese-filled tortellini according to package directions. Add asparagus pieces to pasta water during last two minutes of cooking, drain.

Pour off any excess oil from top of pesto container. Toss together tortellini mixture, pesto, lemon rind, and salt. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Skinny Beef Enchiladas

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
1/2 a small onion
1 small zucchini
1 cup of tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans of enchilada sauce

10 6 in flour tortillas
8 oz of low fat Mexican cheese blend
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375. Brown ground beef in a pan until it’s no longer pink. Drain any extra fat. Add in zucchini, onion, garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add in 1 cup of tomato sauce and 1 cup of enchilada sauce. Place about 1/2 cup of beef mix onto a flour tortilla and roll up like a burrito and lay seem side down in a 9 X 13 baking dish. When all flour tortillas are done spray with cooking spray. Cook enchiladas for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven, and pour on enchilada sauce and top with cheese.

Chicken Pesto Minestrone

* 4 cups baby spinach
* 1 cup fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup slices almonds (or whole)
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 5 cups chicken stock
* 1 cup small pasta shells
* 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
* 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Toss the spinach, basil, almonds, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper into a food processor. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream, until you get a pesto consistency.

Bring the chicken stock to a light boil. Add the pasta shells and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken, pesto, tomatoes and asparagus. Simmer another 5 minutes until the pasta is al dente and the asparagus is crisp-tender. Taste. Need more salt? Toss in a pinch.

Crockpot 3 Envelope Pot Roast Sliders

1 3-4lb beef roast
1 Cup water
1 Cup salsa
1 envelope each: onion soup mix, Italian dressing mix, Au Jus mix

Place beef in crock pot. Whisk together all other ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Shred meat.

1 pkg King's Hawaiian Rolls
sliced Swiss cheese
Creamy Chipotle Sauce (recipe below)

Cut each roll in half and place on baking sheet. Place a slice of Swiss cheese on the bottom half of each roll. Place baking sheet in oven with broiler on low. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the edges of the rolls are golden and the cheese has melted (be sure to watch them closely so they don't burn!) Remove baking sheet from oven.

Place a spoonful of shredded beef on top of each roll with Swiss cheese on it. Spread Creamy Chipotle sauce on the top half of each roll. Assemble each slider.

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
1/4 Cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chili sauce
2 tsp creamy horseradish sauce

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

1.5 lbs chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Combine everything except chicken breasts in the crock pot. Season the chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, shred chicken and stir. Adjust salt and seasoning if needed. Serve over rice.

Tasty rolls

So a friend made these for small group a few weeks ago, and they're SO good! If you need something different for garlic bread, give this a go...

Thaw one frozen loaf of bread overnight. (I buy mine in bags of 5 or 6 in the freezer section at Meijer.) Cut the loaf in 1/4s, then cut each of the 4 sections into 3 (so you have 12 rolls total.) Melt 1 stick of butter and put it in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan (I just turned on my oven and melted the butter IN my glass pan.) Mix together 1/4 tsp each of basil, parsley, oregano, garlic powder and seasoning salt. Sprinkle into butter. Place the rolls on top of the butter mixture. Allow to rise for about 3 hours. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (approx 15 min.). Flip the pan over on a platter so that the butter mixture is on top.