Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — February 1

Hubby will be in town during the week for the first time in two weeks. That means we might try a couple of new recipes!

MondayFrench Toast, using my homemade sourdough bread. I gave a girl at church some starter a month ago, and she said she used some of her bread for french toast and it was yummy. I think from talking to her this is the recipe she used. I might leave out the nutmeg.

TuesdayImpossibly Easy Chicken Pot Pie.


Thursday5-Minute Southwest Layered Salad. I'll be using this most delicious Homemade Salsa instead of store bought. I will probably not ever buy salsa in the store again.

FridaySoup, Salad, and Baked Potato Bar. Then maybe some popcorn and a movie.

SaturdayBaked Spaghetti.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week!

Check out the hundreds of menu plans at Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Puzzles as Wall Decor

One of the ways that we found to decorate Buddy's room with a sports theme when he was younger and there wasn't much available was to use puzzles.

We worked them and then we had them framed.

It's a cute way to personalize the decor for a room, and if the puzzle is the same size as a standard frame, you could probably get by with framing it yourself.

When Hubby and I were first married and headed back to our college apartment as sophomores, we used puzzles to decorate our bare walls. But back then we just glued the puzzles to cardboard and then glued two tabs from soda cans on each corner as wall hangers for the nails.

Military moves weren't so kind to them and they've been gone a while now so they are only part of my tell.

Everybody I live around now also calls it pop instead of soda.

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.


*Do Not Double Dip

We set the rule right up front.

I made homemade salsa today for the first time in my life. Hard to believe considering that we love salsa at my house. When I lived in New Jersey I had a couple of friends that made it and I'd be the lucky recipient sometimes. But that's the closest I've gotten.

I've seen yummy looking recipes, but I suppose at the time I wasn't craving it badly enough to try it. Plus most recipes call for tomatoes (at least all the ones I've seen). Fresh ones (and I can't stand to peel tomatoes...ranks with the dentist). And since I've never been fortunate enough to have a garden and tomatoes are usually pricey, another reason not to make it.

Yesterday I saw a recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa over at The Pioneer Woman's place. I'm craving it, it uses canned whole tomatoes,
and looked simple.

It was the ultimate in deliciousness! I ended up with this 4-cup bowl and a quart-size jar. I used my blender since I don't have a food processor and pulsed it. I also seeded my jalopeno since I used only regular Rotel (no mild), and substituted a tablespoon of lemon juice for the lime juice (which I didn't have). It had only the slightest bite to it.

Perfect, even if it is only 14 degrees outside.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WFMW — Homeschool Tips

When we lived in Illinois, I purchased a comb binding machine. Now that may seem like an unusual purchase, but homeschooling my four children I saw oodles of uses.

I purchased it online because it was recommended from someone in my local homeschool group, at the time it was an additional 10 percent off, and it was by far the best price anywhere. They had free shipping then and they still do (as long as you don't take their free $5 in supplies - I buy my supplies at the local office supply store, but you could get them online and just pay the shipping).

At $89.99, the binding machine is actually slightly less expensive than when I got mine. It punches the holes and also opens up the plastic comb binding so you can put the pages on. It is manual, not electric, but not difficult to use at all. You can check the Staples reviews and the OfficeMax reviews (and $199.99 price) to see how it stacks up.

We were working today on our world history timeline book. I purchased the software from Knowledge Quest so I could print it out multiple times, then I printed it on parchment-looking cardstock paper to give it kind of an aged look. I laminated the front and back covers to toughen them up. Then I used the comb binding machine to bind them together.

I also purchased the software for images to use in the timeline from Knowledge Quest (if you click on the link, hard copies are at the top and the cd-rom is at the bottom). I printed them out on clear sticker paper, instead of white, so that when it was placed on the paper the parchment color would still show through. I'm printing out pages as I need them.

The kids don't get into homeschool projects much, but they all enjoy this.

Some of the more unexpected things I've used the binding machine for are to bind pages the boys colored and collected and wanted to keep, paper for scrap pages for math work, and a scrapbook when we kept Flat Stanley (we cut the plastic comb binding to the length we needed). You can have your books flat when they have been bound with the comb binding, but you can not fold them back like a notebook.

The benefit to comb binding is that you can repair your book if anything comes loose, you can add pages, remove pages, fix messed up pages (if we goof on a timeline badly), replace a damaged cover, etc. You just put it back on top where you originally opened up the comb and put the pages on in the first place and take it apart. You still reuse the same comb and it's not damaged in the process.

Last week in a post about various projects I'd been doing, I showed off some books I'd had bound at Kinko's. Here's what I did.

I took my Motivated Mom's Planner to Kinko's and had them spiral bind it rather than put it in a three-ring binder myself.

The benefits are the ability for it be flat

or folded back.

Since we don't tear the pages out of Caboose's math book, the book is thick, and it's hard to write on the pages unless you put something under one side to hold it up, I decided it might be a good thing for that book too.

Did you know they can cut the binding off of a book? It's one of the greatest things since sliced bread.

So now his book can be flat

and fold under.

I took Buddy's the next day and had it done.

They can also 3-hole punch pages for you at Kinko's.

And this is what works for me (and my kids!) around our house and with our homeschooling.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I never say never

Because when I say never, then I do.

And when I want to say never, it's usually something I really don't want to do, so I don't want to say never. I've managed to get around that little technicality.

"I will probably not ever (fill in the blank)."

For example, I will probably not ever watch the movie "Arachnophobia" being an arachnophobe. Because I have absolutely no desire to ever in my lifetime watch it, so I won't say never.

And about a month ago when I was flipping through the onscreen guide to find something to watch, guess what movie was on? I actually thought to myself, "If I'd said never I'd have to watch that just because I said never, and now I don't.

See how it works.

And all of that nonsense just to tell you something really important. I will probably not ever read my Bible in a year again, because I am loving reading it through in 90 days.

I'm a little bit about instant gratification, which in and of itself can be a fault, but a year does drag out a little for me. 90 days is a fairly short timeline in consideration of the length of the Book. If I'm able to read without interruption, it's about an hour a day. It just means I'm not reading other books. Which is okay.

There were multiple bloggers that were doing this challenge. I never signed up anywhere officially. I think the first place I saw it was at We Are THAT Family. I clicked through the links and there is actually a Bible (NIV version) designed for reading it through in 90 days. I haven't seen it, but the type is supposed to be a little larger and easier on the eyes, and I'm assuming it's broken down by the days.

They also had a list to print of the daily readings for each of the 90 days where you use your own Bible. This is what I did since I didn't have time to buy the Bible and get it by the beginning of the year. I'm using my NIV version, until I get to Job and Psalms when I'll use The Message because I don't do poetry.

You don't have to start at the beginning of the year, so if you want to check out the Bible you can click here or here, and if you want to just print off the list and use your own Bible click here.

I highly recommend reading it this way. It reads much more like a book and flows so much better.

I will probably do it again this way after I finish it, maybe trying to group it into 90 days from my chronological one year Bible, and I will probably not ever read it over an entire year again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — January 25

Last week I made everything I had on my menu plan, and with only two nights flipped with each other.

I'm doing an imaginary wave of celebration right now by the way. I think that's twice. Ever.

Last week's new recipe was only so-so. It was the Two-Pepper Chicken with Honey Butter.

It was really kind of funny. Hubby said I should take off the peppercorns because it was really good with the honey butter. I personally thought the peppercorns were the only thing that were adding much flavor to it. The kids ate it. They at least weren't disgusted by it. It probably won't get made again, although I will hang onto the recipe for the honey butter for other things.

Hubby's gone this week again, so we're not really trying new things.

Monday — Beef Stew leftovers.

Tuesday — White Chicken Chili.

Wednesday — Leftovers.

Thursday — Macaroni and Cheese, from the blue box.

Friday — Soup and salad. Hubby is coming home and then has to man the Awana T&T Boys' Sleepover. It'll just be me and the three oldest kids. I do not envy him.

Saturday — Nachos.

Sunday — Eat out since we ate in all week!

Visit The Organizing Junkie for hundreds of menu plans!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We Played the Game

You know that game, "What's different?"

Except I didn't even tell Hubby he was playing it when he got back to town. I just knew he'd notice and I wouldn't have to. He was going to be so proud of himself.

You may or may not remember this picture.

It hangs on the long wall above my bathtub. I love it dearly.

So the end of the tub was empty. You can't just put any picture up there to go with that big old flower picture, and I didn't have anything else, and I hadn't seen anything cute or reasonably priced, etc.

So at Hobby Lobby the other day they had all wall art on sale 50 percent off. So I wandered. I do that well.

Now see what it looks like.

Because I wasn't sharp enough to take a before picture with the empty wall, just imagine it.

They're not tiny. I just knew Hubby would see them. This is our master bathroom! I still do a double-take every time I walk in there and see them hanging there.

I asked him in bed last night if he noticed anything different.

He didn't.

Not until I sent him in to look.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been working on a few projects this last week.

The first one many of you have probably seen or done yourselves — fleece tie blankets.

I'd made these for all my kids when we lived in Illinois. They were all at least five years old, not so soft anymore, and a little short for kids that had grown. I made them all a new one.

I used two and a half yards each for all three of the older kids and two yards for Caboose. I wash and dry both pieces first, lay them out flat on the ground wrong sides together, and cut four-inch strips all the way around about an inch or so apart. I eyeball it.

I cut four-inch squares out of each of the four corners.

Then I start tying them together in knots top to bottom like a crazy person until I've done it all the way around.

And yes, Betsy, I tie every single one the same direction every single time.

Then I made these handy-dandy chair bags.

I first saw the idea over at Organizing Junkie. Mine look so plain next to the fancied up ones showcased over there, but they serve their purpose. Here are the tools I used to make these:

All of these things are on sale this week (except for the Wal-Mart velcro) at Hobby Lobby this week.

First I cut off both handles where they met the top of the bag.

Cut little pieces of the velcro and sew it to opposite sides of the handles (so they meet when you loop them over the chair frame...I goofed the first time). I folded down the edge of the handle strip a little when I sewed on the velcro strip to give it a fake seam and to keep it from fraying. I also sewed each velcro piece on at both the top and the bottom and not just across the middle of it.

I covered a composition notebook for myself with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge thanks to Lora's tutorial. Again, hers were a little fancier and cuter because she added stickers, but I just really wanted one and I knew I wouldn't do it if I waited to do stickers.

I'm not sure what I'll use it for since I don't journal, but I'm thinking really hard about it! It's cute!

Then the other project required some outside help. I took my Motivated Mom's Planner to Kinko's and had them spiral bind it rather than put it in a three-ring binder myself.

The benefits are the ability for it be flat

or folded back.

Since we don't tear the pages out of Caboose's math book, the book is thick, and it's hard to write on the pages unless you put something under one side to hold it up, I decided it might be a good thing for that book too.

Did you know they can cut the binding off of a book? It's one of the greatest things since sliced bread.

So now his book can be flat

and fold under.

Now Buddy wants his done too.

This post is linked to Show and Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.
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