Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — March 1

Sparky's coming home today, Sparky's coming home today (sung to the little playground ditty).

Although I still haven't heard from her as of Sunday night. Her flight from Ghana took off late (they drive from Togo into Ghana and fly for 12 hours), so they only arrived in New York two hours ago. I think they are still making their declarations and clearing customs. They are staying in New York overnight.

MondayTaco Bell, because Sparky thinks it's the best place in the world.

TuesdayChicken Spaghetti.

WednesdayItalian Baked Chicken Breasts and Butternut Soup (both from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

ThursdayTaco Salad (I froze the leftover taco meat last week)

FridayNachos (with the other half of the taco meat)

Saturday — Eat out since we ate in all week, and I'm not counting Monday since it was special.

SundayWild Rice Salad (another Taste of Home recipe that I can't link to since it's in my magazine and the web page is subscriber only). I'm going to make it on Saturday and then we can eat it chilled on Sunday. I plan to have some macaroni and cheese in the trusty blue box handy for a couple of my kiddos since this is a new recipe. It's a little bit of a risky one for me.

While I was typing this I got a text from Sparky that she is in New York. I'm waiting for her to get to the hotel so she can call me. Woo hoo!

Visit The Organizing Junkie for hundreds of recipe and menu-planning ideas.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Thing for Grandma Moses' Art

Did you read my Show and Tell post about The Whole Hole Picture?

Well, if not, here is the picture. A Grandma Moses' print I found at one of the local Salvation Army stores.

You'll have to go back and read the post though to hear about the reframing transformation and the hole it's covering.

It got me thinking back then that there might be more prints out there. So I checked out ebay and found a set of eight prints. Let's just say I got them for practically nothing.

When they came, the overall prints were the same size, but the images were varying sizes depending on how they had shrunk them to maintain their proportion. That made going to the store and just picking out a ready-made mat and frame and doing it myself more difficult.

Which basically means impossible.

Good thing the stores have killer sales sometimes on framing. I picked two of my favorites that were close to the same image size and had them framed. Here they are:

They share the same room with "The Hole Picture" Grandma Moses' print and also my Grandma Moses' cross-stitch, which is across the room.

Visit Cindy at My Romantic Home every week for Show and Tell Friday.

Theme Thursday — Bottle

The age old question:

Who's better?

Jeannie (with her bottle)

or Samantha?

See more Theme Thursday participants and their take on the theme here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sparky's Africa Update

We took Sparky to the Detroit airport Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

Her flight left for JFK at 10 a.m.

She arrived at JFK right before noon. She was meeting the rest of the team and they were leaving about 4 p.m. and arriving in Ghana at about 3 a.m. our time (11 hour flight).

With the five hour time difference, it was 8 a.m. in the morning there already.

Then there was about a five or six hour bus drive into Togo, counting the border crossing.

See Sparky's suitcase in the forefront of this picture:

It's getting checked in at Detroit. It made it to Ghana. It appears someone stole it off the cart because it didn't make it on the bus to Togo.

We are fortunate that we were told to pack her carry-on suitcase as if her checked bag might not get there, so she has enough clothing to get her by. The ladies are also going to try and get her things washed, which they don't usually do. We also hadn't hidden any of her money or put the copy of her passport in there, so that was good. It was mostly packed with stuffed animals and specific foods the missionaries requested, plus the other half of her skirts and blouses (all her t-shirts were in her carry-on). The bus driver was going back to the airport to see if it could be located.

I know all this because Sparky called me today! She had called on Sunday as soon as she got to Togo. The call was $5 a minute so she basically just said she got there and was safe. We were thankful to know that.

But today she was calling from a computer that was two cents a minute. It was a pretty decent connection too. We talked for about twenty minutes and she is having the time of her life!

Back when I first mentioned that Sparky was going to Togo I had said that no one from our church was going. You might remember that the people sitting at our table the night all this transpired were a lady and her daughter (husband and other three children not present) and then Mr. and Mrs. Missionary.

Well, the husband that was not present decided to sign up for the trip. He had to go on the waiting list, but then a spot opened up. It's the closest thing to having her dad go with her since he's not.

Here the three of them are before they left Detroit, Mr. Churchmember, Sparky, and Mrs. Missionary.

Sparky decided on the way to the airport that they were going to be her adopted parents for the week. She told me on the phone today that she has three moms there! They even had to protect her in the market on Monday.

Caboose had a rough first day and night. He's doing better now. Of course, I'm letting him sleep in my bed since Hubby's gone, so that could be a big contributing factor. Oh, well.

I Blame It On The Snow

Or Hubby who passed on the used snow blower at the garage sale last summer.

I was totally out of my migraine preventive, and I wore my pajama pants to the local pharmacy last night to pick up my refill.

That was after I had spent two hours in the driveway with Buddy shoveling, after Chatty had done what she could.

I was wearing my pj pants over my jeans to stay warm. We'd had about nine inches of snow, after Hubby, our big snow shoveling muscles, had left for Texas.

We found out at church Sunday night that a storm was coming. The worst was supposed to be coming through about the time on Monday morning when I would be driving the one hour to the airport and one hour back home from dropping off Hubby.

We decided it would be safest to use hotel points and have Hubby stay at a hotel close to the airport with a shuttle. It was definitely a good choice (we still only have one vehicle), except that I was driving home at 1 a.m. Monday morning.

The good thing about going to the pharmacy last night was that it was already 8:30 p.m. and there was no one else there. Good thing since I was clomping through wearing Hubby's snow boots too.

I was quite the vision. My sore muscles are still reminding me of it today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — February 22

Better late than never, right?

Last week didn't go quite according to the plan. So much so that it's not even worth talking about. But the Hawaiian Chicken Breasts...they were good.

This week, not only is Sparky in Africa, Hubby is in Texas, and Caboose is having "the worst week of my life."

MondayBeef Little Smokies wrapped in Crescent Rolls.

TuesdayBreakfast for Dinner...homemade buttermilk biscuits and smoothies (vanilla yogurt with frozen strawberries, peaches, blueberries, and fresh bananas).

WednesdayBaked Potatoes.

ThursdayTacos, with homemade taco seasoning.

FridayTaco Salad, with leftover taco meat.

Saturday — We're going to a friend's house for dinner.

SundayNachos, with even more leftover taco meat and homemade salsa.

Visit Laura for Menu Plan Monday!

Hawaiian Chicken Breasts

I've been on the lookout for a recipe to replicate, at least somewhat, Hawaiian Chicken I used to eat at a local cafeteria at my hometown in Arkansas. This was the closest thing that I've found. The chicken itself tasted similar, which is of course the main ingredient. It's been so many years since I've had it and the cafeteria is no longer there, so I can't really remember about the rice on the side and what was in it.

This was a yummy new recipe for us. I'll definitely make it again and would recommend it. Of course I also had to double it.

Hawaiian Chicken Breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
2 T margarine (I used butter, and a little more than it called for)
1 cup pineapple juice
2 T lemon juice
1 T cornstarch
1 T sugar
Slivered almonds, optional

Dip chicken breasts in egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Season with salt.

Melt margarine, or butter, in skillet. Brown chicken. I basically cooked mine over a medium heat for roughly 20 minutes until I knew they were pretty much cooked through. I have a hard time getting chicken done later in the process if it's not done first. Pour off excess fat, which I did not do. Add juices, cornstarch, and sugar to skillet. (I'd recommend mixing about a tablespoon of water with the cornstarch and adding it separately.) Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with almonds if desired.

I served this with white rice on the side. We used the juice in the skillet and poured it over the rice. It made it very tasty.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fabric Family Rules

I showed you a little teaser of my project when I was getting started the other day.Here's what you'll need if you do it like I did:

24x36 canvas
paint to finish out the sides and edges
fabric (at least fat quarter width works best, but you could use scraps and piece them)
iron-on transfer labels
mod podge (I used the gloss)
sponge brush
cutting mat and rotary cutter make it easier to cut the strips, but if you have decorative scissors that will cut your fabric (mine were too dull) you could do that

I downloaded some cute fonts from here. There are even directions on how to get them to show up in your dropdown menu, which I never knew how to do.

I typed out the rules I wanted to use and set up my page for landscape. I tried out different fonts on each one until I found the one I wanted in the size I wanted. I had the margins at 1/2" on each side and to fit on the canvas they can't run much past two full lines. I printed them out on plain paper and cut them out to see if they would fit and if I liked the fonts before I printed them on the transfer paper.

When you print them on the transfer paper you have to print them as a mirror image. Then I cut all of those out prior to ironing them on the fabrics I chose.

I placed an old moving box on the table with a beach towel on it. The nice thing was that the towel had lines on it so it made it easy to line things up as I was ironing.

I used 11 different fabrics and repeated all of them except for a couple. Once I got all the words ironed on I started cutting them out.

I lined everything up before I started mod-podging it on.

When I was done I decided that I didn't like the way the edges looked all different lengths, so I cut some of the dot fabric for the sides. It covers almost all of the ends.

Then you just mod podge it until it's stiff like my hair in the '80s and '90s.

It hangs in my newly painted 'mud room'.

My family rules were taken from other family rules I'd seen, some were original, and some a combination of the two.

The transfer does show up a little, but not as much as in the pictures with the flash.

I'm ready to make another one for the second floor outside the kids' bathroom and bedrooms. I think it will need to be a slightly smaller canvas because of the space, so if it is I'll have to alter everything. But I'm still going to do it sometime soon.

I got my ideas for the family rules here, here, and here.

This post is linked to Works-For-Me-Wednesday at We Are THAT Family and Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home.


Act justly, Love mercy, Walk humbly with your God
thank God for this day, for this family, for this home
use kind words - obey your parents - always tell the truth
sing silly, dance crazy, hug often, snuggle up, say I love you
always admit when you are wrong
say what you are sorry for - forgiveness is mandatory
give your guest your best
husband love your wife - wife always be on his side
hands are for hugging, not hitting
there is no “mine” in this house - it’s all God’s
encourage your siblings. . .share in their joy!
act responsibly, be respectful, choose wisely
too much t.v. is bad. . .too much reading is good
keep your promises
use your manners - yes, please; no, thank you; yes, ma’am; no, sir
pay with hugs & kisses
use nice words - ignore dirty words - no name calling
love the Lord your God

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday — February 15

It's going to be a bit of an unusual week for menu planning. Hubby's off on Monday for the holiday, and Sparky leaves on Saturday for Africa. We've also decided that maybe we should make our 'eating out' day Saturday instead of Sunday following church. It seems like we just get home in the afternoon and it's time to leave again, so we're thinking a change might be in order.

Oh, I finally got the Cookie Monster posted. I forgot until I was making it earlier that I was going to tell you all about it. The pictures are from one the girls and I had when the boys and Hubby had a boys' night about a week ago.

MondayCountry-Style Pork Loin.

TuesdayLeftover buffet. We also have small group at our house because it got canceled due to snow last week.

WednesdayBaked Spaghetti. I've had this on the menu the last two weeks and I'm determined to get it made this week.

ThursdayShortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu. The recipe I have calls for 1/4 cup water or dry white wine instead of the 2 T water and 2 T wine the recipe link calls for, but it's the same amount of liquid. This is a new recipe for us.

FridayHawaiian Chicken Breasts, another new recipe. I'll share it later in the week with pictures if it's any good.

Saturday — Eat out since we ate in all week (a new day)!

SundayNachos, or Bacon Frittata, or something simple. I have yet to figure this out. Maybe we'll have breakfast for lunch on Sundays!

Visit The Organizing Junkie for hundreds of other menu plans!

The Cookie Monster

Our favorite special occasion dessert.

Hubby and I had something like this at a restaurant when the girls were in the hospital following their premature birth. It's something I've never forgotten, and we've never lived that close to one of the restaurants.

You start out with a skillet cookie. It's an individual one in the restaurant, but at home, you use the prepared cookie dough in the long tubular package.

I used the smaller package of chocolate chip cookie dough in an oven-proof 10-inch skillet. If I use my family-size skillet I use the larger package.

I bake it at 350 degrees until it's done. I usually start at about 12-15 minutes and keep checking it. You want to get it before it looks like it's done. The edges will be browning, but the middle will be good and gooey. That's where it would be easier to have individual skillet cookies...they are a little hard to serve up neatly.

Cool for just a moment to let it set so it comes out a little neater, top with vanilla ice cream (I prefer enough for each bite), hot fudge, and whipped cream. Redi-whip is the best.

Gorge yourself.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm working on a project...

I can't wait to show you the finished project!

Overheard at our house tonight...

After a day of sledding at a party, Caboose had on pajamas but didn't appear to have had a shower.

So I checked with him and asked if he had.

His response, "I had two showers yesterday."

That must be how homeschool math works.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quilted Bear

Today I'm sharing my quilted bear.

I put him in a regular human chair (one we usually sit in at the computer) so you could get an idea of his real size.

My grandma had this made in the late '80s from part of an old quilt that my great-grandma (her mom) had made. It's one of my favorite things, both for sentimental reasons and because I think he's precious.

Visit Cindy at My Romantic Home for more Show and Tell Friday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Builder Beige Goes Blue

When you enter the house from the garage, you enter chaos.

We have a place for shoes and a coat, but it was sort of makeshift until we formally completed it into a mudroom area.

It was supposed to be a closet with two sliding doors and a wire hanging shelf, so basically a coat closet. It would have been nice to have, but we thought it would be better to have a spot for all the little people in our house (who aren't so little anymore) to sit and take off their shoes or put their shoes on when coming in or going out of the house.

A major build wasn't happening any time soon. I saw some pictures I liked that required much less construction that included some wall hooks and a long shelf with baskets.

I thought painting the area first would be a good idea.

But then I had to decide on a color, and it needed to at least not clash with the floor.

Since blue is my favorite color, and there are some blue shadings in the floor, I opted for blue.

I painted it on Sunday night after we got home from Awana.

Three of the kids have their shoe storage boxes/seating units right here.

Ignore the fact that I don't have a cute white shelf up above the hooks yet with some baskets for hats and stuff.

I liked the color so much, and it is right next to the powder room, so I decided I'd paint it the same color.

Like last night at 10:30 p.m. Until 2:30 a.m., because there are lots of crevices in a bathroom.

The bathroom is also not perfect. There is a white square behind the toilet tank where my brush wouldn't reach. I went in on all four sides as far as I could. Unless somebody stands above it and looks down, they won't see it. It's not worth taking the toilet out, and I don't have a longer brush right now.

I love it anyway!

(Still need a new light fixture.)

This is the what I see when I come in from the garage now.

I discovered I don't enjoy prep work, and that at 2:30 in the morning you don't care how much paint you get on your hands or wipe on your old pajama pants, as long as you don't get it on the cabinet, counter, toilet, or floor. Or hair or glasses.
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