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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Melanie's Lasagna

Lasagna....the word brings smiles to my family! One of Jason's favorite meals I make, it is our go-to meal for birthdays, special events, and many Sundays.

For many years, I bought and served Stouffer's lasagna instead of making it myself. Why, you ask? Because, simply- making lasagna intimidated me! Boiling noodles, using egg, so many ingredients....it was too much for a simple cook like me! Then I stumbled on a simple recipe several years ago- easy, few ingredients, and had good reviews. The rest is history! I've made this for the past several years and have passed the recipe on to many others. If you are looking for an easy, yummy lasagna recipe- this is for you!

Ingredients-
2 jars or cans of spaghetti sauce
1lb meat (ground beef or turkey)
Oregano
Ricotta cheese
Lasagna noodles (regular, not No Bake)
Mozzarella cheese (I use a lot! 1-2lbs)
Parmesan Cheese
(You could add mushrooms, peppers, etc. We keep it plain!)

Make it-
Brown meat, season with oregano
Preheat oven to 350

Layer in a 9x13 pan:
1/2 jar sauce
1 layer of noodles (uncooked. Yes, just throw them on!)
Ricotta cheese
Parmesan
1/2 of Mozzarella
Meat
1/2 jar sauce
Another layer of noodles
1 jar sauce

Cover and bake for 1 hour
Uncover, add rest of Mozzarella and bake uncovered another 20-30 min.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

I love enchiladas....Jason, on the other hand, not so much. That is, until I found this recipe on Pinterest. White Chicken Enchiladas- YUM! So easy, too!


Ingredients-

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies

Make it-

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

*Note- I added a packet of taco seasoning to the chicken while cooking it

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weekly & Chore Planners


I saw this adorable weekly planner on Pinterest and knew I needed to make one!
So off to Walmart I went! The frame for the weekly planner was $10 and the chore planners were $3 each. Add some scrapbook paper, and for under $20, we have a great new "Planner Wall" next to our back door!

Weekly Planner
I printed on the scrapbook paper before I inserted it into frame. Wrote the day of the week, and 3 categories- To Do (calendar stuff), Menu, and Daily Task (for my daily de-clutter group).


Kids Chore Planners

On the kids planners, I have a spot for daily chores (same every day), bonus chores (things I choose and they earn extra points for), and misc notes.

I still need to make something to hold the kids tokens for their chores and print out the reward chart, for under their planners. For now we are using a can on the counter.

I love having a cute dry-erase board to plan everything! And makes our back hallway cute!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No more lost measuring cups!

I am the worst at keeping measuring cups all together! Those little rings they come on always got in my way and I ended up separating the group...which led to losing one or two!
So, stumbled across this wonderful idea- hang them up! How simple!


I purchased a yard stick from Home Depot (.69) and cut it to length. Added some of my contact paper and some cup holders. A little bit of hot glue and labels, and voila! No more lost cups!

I am making a cute kitchen conversion chart to hang in that blank spot above the measuring cups. That will help when I can't remember all those baking conversions!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spice of Life

One of our daily projects was to go through our spices and toss the old ones. And boy, did I have quite the collection of expired spices! When my Gramma passed away almost two years ago, I inherited a ton of items from her pantry. I threw away the old stuff then, but haven't looked at most since. Also, I was given a nice countertop spice rack as a housewarming gift, 6 years ago. I ended up not using most of the "stock" spices, but still kept it on the counter. So, I decided to go through the rack and throw away all of the spices, wash the containers, re-fill and re-label them with spices I actually use. In doing so, I freed up a ton of space in my cabinet. .Here is the before and after of our spice collection:

Before- although the lazy susan worked well, it could only fit in our upper cabinet. Hard to reach, even for a tall gal like me. Also, getting to the spices in the middle was a pain. This set-up also hogged a big section of my cabinets.
(Sorry for the grainy picture! It was before I knew anything about ISO on a camera- which i am still struggling with!)
After- Rack with spices I use and new labels put on
Labels up close. Not perfect, but good for me!

Thanks a Latte!

I lead our coffee bar ministry at our church and was looking for a cute way to thank all of our wonderful volunteers for their hard work. I came across these adorable cards and recipe for yummy coffee and was thrilled! I printed the cards out (thanks for the free printable!), cut a Starbucks coffee sleeve to fit, and decorated it. I found some adorable mugs at Meijer, and filled each mug with a bag of Fireside Coffee. Topped with a ribbon and instructions for the coffee, and they were finished! They were a big hit! I love the coffee recipe and drink it at home :)


Fireside Coffee Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 1/2 cups instant hot chocolate mix
  • 1 1/2 cups instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Sift together creamer, hot chocolate mix, instant coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a jar and seal with a lid.
  2. To prepare: Stir 3 teaspoons of mixture into 1 cup of hot water. Adjust to taste.

Cake Batter Truffles

Cake Batter Truffles
Mine aren't as cute as hers but were still super yummy!!
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles
Truffle Coating:
  • 16 ounces (8 squares) almond bark (or white candy melts)
  • 4 Tablespoons yellow cake mix
  • sprinkles

Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Blend in vanilla. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.

While dough balls are chilling, melt almond bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a fork, dip truffles into almond bark and shake of excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished. {Note: for smoother looking truffles, don't add cake mix to melted chocolate, just leave it by itself}
Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving. Makes around 24-30 truffles.

Homemade Baby Wipes


Elizabeth discovered how to make baby wipes HERE. I was skeptical at first. Paper towels? I thought they would just fall apart. But these wipes are awesome! Easy to make and clean so good!! Here's our step by step process.

Ingredients:
1 roll Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels
(I have also used Viva brand and Beth has used Target brand. All work well)
1 1/2 tablespoons baby bath
1 tablespoon baby oil
2 cups water


First, cut your paper towel roll in half. Some recommend a non-serrated knife, I prefer one. It makes a bigger mess, but I don't have any nice sharp knives and can get through it fast. Note- this was the hardest part for me! Keep turning the paper towel roll over and smush, it helped!
Next, measure out your 2 cups of water, baby oil, and soap. Place into the container


Place the paper towel into the container. I put the cut side down.


After a few seconds, flip container upside down for 5 minutes.


Flip back over and pull the cardboard center out from the roll. This will make the wipes easy to grab.


Ta-da! Ignore my ugly container and condensation. It went away after a few minutes. I am on the lookout for a cute container :)



Normally, I use baby wipes for everything, even cleaning my house. But these leave an oily surface on my kitchen counters from the baby oil. So I made another container filled with cleaning wipes. I followed the same directions, but with 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of Shaklee Get Clean all natural cleanser. But you could use anything- Lysol, Method, vinegar, etc.

Teacher Monogram Gifts

Ethan and Brianah both started kindergarten this year (yikes!). So, Beth and I wanted to give their teachers nice gifts for Christmas.

We both purchased one of our favorite bags from Thirty-One,
the All-in-One Organizer. We filled with with a bunch of goodies (candy, hot cocoa, hand sanitizer, memo pads, etc), but it needed something more. To pinterest we went! We were thrilled when we found these
A quick trip to Michael's and we had everything we needed- 2 shadow boxes, a box of crayons, and some heavy-duty glue. We printed out a template for our teacher's initials and their name on heavy cardstock.
Then the fun began- breaking the crayons and shaping them. We used a box cutter to poke each crayon, which allowed it to easily break. We glued the crayons on, let dry, and placed in the frames. Beth made hers random colors and I did mine rainbow style. Both turned out great! Their teacher's loved them!
*Note, I put a computer block and fake names over the project. You know, just in case any weirdos are checking out our blog :)
Note #2- ignore the crappy picture and reflection of bike related stuff. We were at work and only had camera phones :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

How is it possible that 2012 is already here? Each year seems to pass quicker and quicker!

I am going to try to blog regularly on here this year. Keep you all up to date with our crafts and our lives. Note- I said "try"! I am not the best at updating the blog aspect on here as much as I have been with the projects themselves.

Myself, I have been busy planning and pinning ideas on getting my house organized. I have joined a facebook group that completes little declutter challenges each day (based on the Simple Life Declutter Calendar, found HERE). It is helping and I am actually excited for many of my projects. I will post a bunch on here, but you can also keep up with the progress under the Getting Organized tab. Other than that, am busy working, doing my mommy & wife duties, and helping at church. You know, the usual.

Beth has been busy working and with her own family duties, as well as getting ready for Brianah's cheerleading competition. It's so much fun getting to see Brianah in her cheerleading, ballet, and dance gear. I'm used to soccer, football, karate, etc. I love the girly stuff :) Beth has been working on some great hairstyles on Brianah. Hoping to get some of those posted, so stay tuned to the Girly Stuff tab.

Hope you all have a great New Year! Stay tuned for all of our projects!