Monday, November 30, 2009

meal plan monday

it's DECEMBER tomorrow, people!! Wasn't it just March a few days ago??

November 30 – December 6

Breakfast: banana oat muffins, yogurt
Lunch: soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: brie, turkey, and cranberry paninis, spinach salad

Breakfast: eggs in a nest, fruit salad
Lunch: chef’s salad
Dinner: out

Breakfast: pumpkin pie oatmeal
Lunch: soup, salad
Dinner: chicken baked with leftover stuffing and sour cream, roasted broccoli

Breakfast: soft boiled eggs, toast, fruit salad
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: out

Breakfast: oatmeal with yogurt and applesauce
Lunch: black bean soup, salad
Dinner: garlic pasta with sesame roasted sweet potatoes

Breakfast: applesauce pancakes and apple cider syrup
Lunch: soup, salad
Dinner: hummus pizza, salad

Breakfast: pumpkin waffles, bacon, eggs
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: lasagna, salad, roasted broccoli

honey whole wheat bread, cranberry orange muffins,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

many thanks

today I am giving thanks for:

good health

a warm, comfortable home

two happy, healthy, living girls

the best partner ever

amazing friends

the ability to make a seriously amazing pie crust

Happy Thanksgiving, my dears!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

when the husband is away...

Good thing: I can watch whatever trashy television shows I want. Sans peanut gallery comments.

Bad thing: Monday Night Football is just not the same when we have to talk about it on the phone.

Good thing: The girls sleep with me all night. I love hearing them breathe and I absolutely adore listening to Ava talk in her sleep.

Bad thing: They're both getting through colds and Emily snores like a Mack truck. She also insists on having one hand on me at all times. Nothing like being felt up by your two year old.

Good thing: The girls sleep later when Joel is gone. 'Nuff said.

Good thing: We can eat cereal or burritos for every meal!

Bad thing: We've eaten cereal or burritos for every meal. Ugh.

God thing: The girls behave like perfect angels on the first day, every time.

Bad thing: Not so much on day two.

Good thing: Joel is only gone for two days and two nights.

Good thing: He comes home in t-minus 8 hours.

Not that I'm counting...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

right now

right now I am...

listening:: to my girls play the piano and sing at the tops of their lungs.

smelling:: my chocolate cake cooling on the counter.

stitching:: an adorable cup of cocoa.

editing:: pictures on LOVE this site!

planning:: an evening of playing catch up on the laundry after having a broken washer.

watching:: the leaves (and branches!) blow right on down the street.

wondering:: if all little girls shriek, or if I'm just (un)lucky.

Monday, November 16, 2009

virtual cupcake, baby shower edition

These are some cupcakes I made for a baby shower/mama blessing. I made marshmallow fondant, which was super easy and also super easy to work with, along with vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting (requested by the mama). They turned out delicious, if I do say so myself. I'm really not a fan of regular old rolled fondant, but since I love marshmallows, I thought I'd give this a try and I'll definitely use it from now on for decorating. An added bonus is that the girls had a blast playing with it too!

To make the fondant, I poured a 15 ounce bag of mini marshmallows into a big glass bowl, added about 2 teaspoons of water, and microwaved them at 30 second intervals until everything was all melted. Then I sifted about 2 cups of powdered sugar and stirred that in. I waited a bit for the mixture to cool, then I poured it onto the counter (that I greased VERY heavily with shortening and extra powdered sugar). I kneaded everything until it was smooth, and then I separated it into thirds (one for the kids, one to stay white, one to dye pink - I used gel food coloring and it worked really well). Then I just rolled it out to about 1/8 of an inch and cut and decorated away. I'd say that one recipe of fondant will decorate about 24 cupcakes, depending on how you decorate them. For these, I spread a little buttercream on them, and then topped them with a round of fondant that I cut our with a cookie cutter. Then I made fondant bows, roses, and other shapes (and baby's initials).

For the buttercream, I used this recipe:

Vanilla Buttercream

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
pinch of salt
2 t vanilla
2 T heavy cream

In a stand mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy using the whisk attachment. Add sugar and salt, cream for about 4 minutes or until very smooth. Add cream and vanilla, whip another 3 minutes. Use immediately, store extras in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to use again. This is definitely the best tasting buttercream I have made in a while!

december daily

I saw this idea on Ali Edwards' blog. If you're a paper crafter and haven't checked her site out yet, do it! She's got some great tutorials for all kinds of things and does awesome giveaways every week.

She's made a December Daily album every year, where she counts down until Christmas. I liked the idea, but wanted to do all of the days in December so that I could include Hanukkah, Christmas, and our annual New Year's party. It's a busy month in our house, so I liked the idea of having one book with one small page per day for a picture or whatever.

It took me an afternoon to whip this up. I used a chipboard album that I got at Micheal's for the base, but if you're not lazy like me, you could make your own. Ali used an actual album, and recovered it. I'm too lazy for that, so I just used the 4 chipboard pages for the front, back, and two middle pages. Then I used either my craft knife or my Cricut to make the rest of the the pages. I couldn't find Hanukkah paper anywhere (!!!), so I had to make due with blue and white paper. I did find many, many "December" paper stacks that of course were made up solely of Christmas paper, so I used one of those and made my embellishments with the Cricut.

Here are a few pictures of the finished result. I can't wait to fill it in next month!


Blogger is not cooperating with picture posting. 4 posts have been eaten!

I'm trying to work things out with them, since I had some cool things to post, so until then, here's the weekly menu.

And on another note...does anyone use Typepad? Thoughts? I'm thinking of switching from this format to that one.

November 16 – November 22

Breakfast: gingerbread waffles, fruit
Lunch: huevos rancheros (yum!)
Dinner: leftovers

Breakfast: grandma mack's breakfast casserole for our breakfast potluck
Lunch: mini pizzas, veggies to dip
Dinner: curried tofu and udon soup

Breakfast: banana oat muffins, yogurt
Lunch: sandwiches, salad
Dinner: pizza party with friends

Breakfast: oatmeal, fruit
Lunch: tomato soup, cheesy toast
Dinner: white chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice

Breakfast: eggs in a nest, fruit
Lunch: out
Dinner: thanksgiving potluck with friends

Breakfast: bagels
Lunch: soup, salad
Dinner: hummus pizza, salad

Breakfast: pumpkin bread, yogurt
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: meatball sub casserole, broccoli, salad

french bread, whole wheat bread, snickerdooles, cranberry apple pie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

the yummy cookie

If you're familiar with the Greek system, you're familiar with little sisters. My second little sister, Rachel, liked baking even as an 18 year old. At the time, I thought she was crazy. Who baked when there were boys to kiss, beers to drink, classes to sleep through? She did. And she always brought these cookies to the house. 70 girls, huge, gooey cookies, and Thursday night TV. Excellent combination.

These are some humongous cookies. I usually cut the recipe in half and get 30 very large cookies. The dough freezes really well too. The key with these is not baking them longer than 10 minutes. They won't look done at all, but let them cool on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes and they will be amazing.

Rachel's Yummy Cookies
makes 48 gigantic cookies

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
4 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
4 cups AP flour
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits (heath brand)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, grind oats as fine as you can. Add semi sweet chocolate chips, blend fine.

Cream butter and sugars for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, blend well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add oat-chocolate mixture. Mix in remaining ingredients by hand.

Using a large cookie or ice cream scoop, place 6 balls of dough greased cookie sheet. Bake on center rack for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. Best enjoyed warm (microwave them for 10 seconds!).

I'd include a picture with this post but...we ate all of the cookies. Next time, my friends, next time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

meal plan monday

November 9 – November 15

Breakfast: oatmeal, fruit
Lunch: tomato soup and grilled cheese
Dinner: crock pot chicken adobo, brown rice, snow peas

Breakfast: eggs, sausages, toast
Lunch: sandwiches, salad, fruit
Dinner: out

Breakfast: apple oatmeal muffins, yogurt
Lunch: pasta salad, veggies for dipping
Dinner: eggplant parmesean, garlic bread, salad

Breakfast: oatmeal, fruit
Lunch: mac and cheese, carrot sticks, fruit
Dinner: creamy crescent casserole, spinach salad, green beans

Breakfast: eggs in a nest, fruit
Lunch: minestrone soup, homemade bread
Dinner: chicken marbella, couscous, green beans

Breakfast: gingerbread waffles
Lunch: chef salad
Dinner: sausages with peppers and onions, spinach salad

Breakfast: overnight caramel apple french toast
Lunch: lentil soup
Dinner: leftovers

Whole wheat sandwich bread, gingerbread, granola bars

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the to do list

i love lists. i am guilty of making lists of my lists. this week starts the beginning of the craziest time of year (ahem, the most wonderful time of here is now over - baseball and football seasons collide no longer. waaaaaah.)

today i found myself with too much free time, so i made a list of my various to do lists. yep, it's official...the end is near.

- the thanksgiving to do list (we're hosting 8 other people, plus whomever is dropping by to watch football during the day)
- the baby shower to do list (this weekend)
- the channumas gift list (we're shooting for handmade holidays around here, so i'm starting early!)
- the holiday baking list
- the monday to do list (because there's always a lot to do on mondays!)
- the homeschool plan for the week

and now i need a nap.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

right now i'm...

watching: thursday's grey's anatomy. it's finally back to being a good show!

listening: to the girls play the sweetie game. they hug and hug and call each other "sweetie." and then it starts all over again.

recovering: from a night of drinking wine with a girlfriend followed by a morning of watching my two friends' kids. tylenol is my friend.

planning: my thanksgiving menu. can't figure out what type of dressing to make! suggestions?

wearing: these slippers. i love them. you need to buy yourself some!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


a great stay at great wolf lodge

Last week, we took an impromptu midweek trip up to Grand Mound, WA for a night at Great Wolf Lodge. After hearing about this hotel from so many friends, we had to try it out for ourselves and it was a blast!

I'll be honest and say that it was on the spendy side ($190/night for their cheapest room - but that includes your admission to the water park), but I think it was worth it. They have a TON of activities for kids of all ages - the ginormous water park, an arcade, a craft room (both with free and pay for crafts), a spa for grown ups and another one for kids, an interactive magical quest game, story time, and seasonal activities (we went right before Halloween, so they had a trick or treat party and hayrides). Since the hotel is in the middle of nowhere, they definitely throw enough at you to keep you busy! Our kids loved the water park, as they had safe and fun options for all ages. We all loved the interactive game that took us on a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the hotel. I loved that there was a good mix of free and pay for activities.

Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Emily trying to shoot water at Ava:

Ava water slides:

Emily doing her best seal pup impersonation:

Big girl in the water:

Mama and her babes:

Spending time in the craft room:

Silly sisters:

Checking our status during our interactive quest game:

One of the stops along our quest:

Thanks, Great Wolf! What a fun two days!


we had this tonight for dinner and it was sooooo good.

Pretty Penne Ham Skillet

1 lb uncooked penne pasta
3 c cubed fully cooked ham
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c minced fresh parsley or dried
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c olive oil
3 T butter
1 T lemon juice
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in large skillet saute ham, red pepper, onion, parsley, garlic, basil and oregano in oil and butter for 4-6 min. or until ham is brown and vegetables are tender. Stir in broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Drain pasta, stir into ham mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

**Ayelet's notes: I used whole wheat pasta and tossed the parmesan into the skillet at the very end. YUM**

Monday, November 2, 2009


OK, I've been double dog dared, and I can't walk away from that!

This month, I'm taking part in National Blog Posting Month and pledging to post once a day every day this month. If you're a fellow blogger (and I know that most of my readers are), I double dog dare you right back...take the challenge!

meal plan monday

November 2 – November 8

Breakfast: baked eggs, toast, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: homemade pizza, spinach salad

Breakfast: cinnamon bun oatmeal
Lunch: lentil soup, homemade bread
Dinner: pretty penne ham skillet, salad

Breakfast: applesauce, blintzes
Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Dinner: black bean chipotle chili, cornbread

Breakfast: eggs in a nest, fruit
Lunch: sandwiches, salad
Dinner: chili dogs, veggies for dipping

Breakfast: oatmeal and fruit
Lunch: out
Dinner: croque madams, fruit compote

Breakfast: yogurt granola parfaits
Lunch: soup and sandwiches
Dinner: buffalo chicken sandwiches, carrots and celery

Breakfast: coffee cake, fruit
Lunch: out
Dinner: crock pot sausage and cabbage casserole

Bread, brownies. Granola bars

And on a side's NOVEMBER already?!?!?!