Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 11/26/12

We're eating from what we have on hand for the most part this week to save money. Cheap eating this week but still some yummy stuff!

Sunday 11/25: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread
Monday 11/26: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Tuesday 11/27: Mummy Dogs, Mac & Cheese
Wednesday 11/28: Chicken Taquitos, Beans
Thursday 11/29: Soup and Grilled Cheese
Friday 11/30: Italian Chicken, Rice, Green Beans
Saturday 12/1: Pancakes, Eggs, Sausage

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu plans!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hey Sugar, Sugar!

When the girls had their first few birthdays, it never occurred to me that I could bake their birthday cakes. Any cakes I had made up to that point consisted of boxed mix in a 8x13 pan with frosting and maybe some sprinkle on top. I didn't even take the cake out of the pan until we were serving it. So I bought cupcake cakes from the store for their birthdays. They were cute and always had some type of Princess toy on top. Then Noah's first birthday came along and I couldn't find a cute dinosaur birthday cake for my little guy. Everything at the store was Jurassic Park-style. And then I found this:

I decided to try my hand at making my own cake. I spent a lot of time on the Wilton cake boards and found a ton of great tips. I also found my go-to Buttercream recipe: Bunnywoman's Buttercream
It took me some time but I was really proud of how my first cake turned out!

And I was hooked. I have made every cake for my kids' birthdays and other events since then. It's an awesome creative outlet. Some turn out better then others but I'm getting better. :) I have a crazy amount of cake and other baking ideas on Pinterest and let the girls pick their favorites to base their birthday cakes and school treats on. Some cakes I make from scratch while some I go the quick route and still use boxed. The scratch tastes better but I'm am a working mom with 4 kids. I can only do so much! Here are the other cakes and treats I've made.

Hannah's 7th Birthday: Lorax cake

"Barbie" Cake Pops
My sister in law's baby shower cake

The fondant/gumpaste cake topper

Rainbow cupcakes

Avery's 5th Birthday: Candyland

Radiology Tech Week (Radiation Symbol) 2012

Lollipop Cookie Pops

Avery's 4th Birthday: Little Mermaid

Radiology Tech Week (Chest XRay) 2011 

Hannah's 6th Birthday: Hula Barbie

Noah's 2nd Birthday: Thomas the Train
The more cakes I make, the more tips and tricks I'm learning. I'd love to take a class at some point to learn how to do things for efficiently. I think I have at least one cake to make every month now. Hopefully I can sell some at some point too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 11/19/12

My husband has been really happy with dinners lately. I won't be cooking for the most part starting next month when I go back to work so I'm trying to make up for it now. I am so obsessed with Pinterest. Almost everything we've tried on there has gone over really well! Feel free to follow me on Pinterest if you'd like: stephanil

The next few weeks, I need to come up with a list of easy, make ahead or crockpot meals for the weeknights that I work. Jason can handle dinners on his own on the weekend but 3 nights during the week, we will have a babysitter here for a few hours until Jason gets home. Between my 4 kids and her daughter, she has to manage 5 kids and get dinner on the table. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments!

Saturday 11/17: Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, Mac and Cheese
Sunday 11/18: Fish, Rice, Veggies
Monday 11/19:  Chicken Tacos, Beans
Tuesday 11/20: Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Wednesday 11/21: Ravioli Bake, Garlic Bread
Thursday 11/22: Thanksgiving! Bringing birthday cake for my dad, stuffing and having shrimp cocktail and deviled eggs for snacks during the day.
Friday 11/23: PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Rice
Saturday 11/24: Takeout

The Philly Cheesesteak rolls were pretty good. I thought they were going to be a big fail because I couldn't find the frozen sandwich steak anywhere. I was looking for Steak'ums and they didn't have them at 2 stores I went to. So I bought steak that was cut into strips like you would use for fajitas. They were a bit thick for the size of the phyllo squares. They tasted good though. I would prefer the texture of thin steak better. What kind of steak do you use for steak sandwiches?

Head over to Orgjunkie for more menus!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 11/12/12

This week is a busy week for me. My oldest is turning 7 on Friday (where did the time go?!?!) and that means a lot of baking. I started baking my kids' cakes (as opposed to getting store bought) for Noah's 1st birthday and got hooked on it! I have fun planning their cakes (and the girls' school treats) and have been getting better each time. I've also made my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower cake (probably my best work so far) and some cakes for work and holidays. I actually find it relaxing and gets out some creative energy. I started a Cake/Baking board on Pinterest and have a crazy amount of ideas pinned on there. I let the girls go through and pick what type of cake/treats they wanted and make it my own from there. Hannah requested The Lorax. I'll post some of my cakes at the end of the week once I have Hannah's to add!

I'll be busy making cupcakes for her to take to school on Thursday (they have a minimum day on Friday) and her cake for at home on her birthday. I tried to make the menu easier this week plus things that can be in one dish or the crockpot. Baking makes enough dirty dishes as it is!

Sunday 11/11: Crockpot Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans (My husband loves this meal! I made it with Ground Turkey this time and he liked it better then the beef. That's great because I don't usually buy beef and always have the turkey on hand from Costco trips.)
Monday 11/12: Ham, Stuffing, Broccoli (From last week.)
Tuesday 11/13: Eggs, Pancakes, Bacon (From last week.)
Wednesday 11/14: Chicken Rollups, Corn
Thursday 11/15: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan, Pasta
Friday 11/16: Lemon Butter Tilapia, Rice, Fruit, Mixed Veg, Cake (Hannah's Choice)
Saturday 11/17: Takeout

Head to OrgJunkie for more menus! And check back in a few days to see examples of my cakes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 11/5/12

I made another Pinterest recipe last night and it was a big hit! I love being able to see a picture of a recipe. It's much easier to find new ones to try that way instead of just skimming through the titles of recipes like other recipe websites! Next week will need to be easier dinners because I'll be baking for Hannah's birthday! :) I'll post pictures of her Lorax cake and cupcakes when they're done.

I always type of my menu plan/grocery list. I like being able to go back to old ones and see what we haven't had in a while. And it makes it easier to shop with a neat, easy to read (and organized by section of the store!) list. I recently realized that I could put links to the recipe I'm using in the word document. That makes it so much easier to find the recipe during the week! I just open the file and click. :) Plus I can just copy and paste it for MPM!

Sunday 11/4: Stovetop Mac & Cheese, Salad, Rolls (For the recipe, I only used 1 tsp of mustard. I wanted to make sure it wasn't overly strong for the kids. It was perfect! Use more if you like mustard!)
Monday 11/5: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice, Salad
Tuesday 11/6: Eggs, Pancakes, Bacon
Wednesday 11/7: Ham, Stuffing, Broccoli
Thursday 11/8: Crockpot Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday 11/9: Out to Dinner!

Head to OrgJunkie for more weekly menus!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Year By Year...

Lately I've been realizing just how quickly my kids are growing up. We've had our last baby and he's already almost 2 months old. My oldest will be 7 in two weeks. I can't believe how fast time has gone.

Having babies is definitely bittersweet experience. It's so easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives and miss truly enjoying the fleeting moments we have with our children. I've never been great at documenting their childhoods (I think I've only written a handful of things in the older 3's baby books...and haven't even opened Nix's.) and I'm recognizing now that I should really take more pictures and write down things they do. Time goes so quickly and it's so hard to remember the little moments. In fact, I decided to show how our family has changed since our first Halloween with Hannah in 2006...and can't find a picture I can see perfectly in my mind (of Pumpkin Hannah in my mom's kitchen cabinet!) on any of our computers! I will have to update this post with that picture when I can find it!

Here are our Halloweens, year by year:

 Hannah~ 23 months, Avery~1 month

Hannah~ Almost 3, Avery~ 1

Hannah~ Almost 4, Avery~ 2

Hannah~Almost 5, Avery~ 3, Noah~ 4 months

Hannah~ Almost 6, Avery~4, Noah~ 1


Hannah~ Almost 7, Avery~ 5, Noah~ 2, Phoenix~ 1.5 months

Love my babies!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 10/29/12

I'm trying to cook as much as I can in the next few months. I go back to work mid-December and since I work the evening shift, I only get to make dinner 2 days a week. Menu planning is going to get harder since both Jason and I will be working. We'll have a sitter 2-3 days a week in the afternoons and she will need to make dinner. I have no idea what to plan on those nights! Any ideas or tips would be great!

I'm back on Weight Watchers now but not being very successful. I'm not very focused on it. I need to set up some kind of game plan though! My sister is getting married in Hawaii in May and I want to be able to look as good (or even better) than at my own wedding! Just a bit over 6 months. Eek! This week I didn't even look at what points I'd be using. Next week, I'll try to plan better for me.

Sunday 10/28: Crockpot Potato Chowder, Biscuits

Monday 10/29: Honey Sauced Chicken, Rice, Broccoli

Tuesday 10/30: Million Dollar Spaghetti, Salad

Wednesday 10/31: Takeout Pizza, Halloween Candy!

Thursday 11/1: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Corn

Friday 11/2: Leftovers!

Head over to OrgJunkie for more menu plans!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 10/22/12

I'll admit it...I'm a Pinterest addict. At the moment, I have over 2500 pins. We've found some great recipes on there lately and many have been keepers for us. My grocery trips have been a bit random lately instead of the same day every week. On occasion (ok like every week lately!) I don't have something planned for dinner and can't get to the store. I have been able to search on Pinterest for recipes with things I have on hand. And I adjust a lot of the recipes to add spices etc. It's so helpful! Here are some of our favorites (some the girls have picked themselves):

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Shepherd's Pie
Forgotten Chicken
Creamy White Chicken Lasagna
Ritz Cracker Chicken

Feel free to Follow Me on Pinterest to see my obsession. :)

We're eating quick, cheap meals for the beginning of this week. My paycheck is late so we're making due until one of us gets paid this week. Yay for late maternity leave pay...Thank you State of California! :(

Monday 10/22: Mummy Dogs, Mac and Cheese
Tuesday 10/23: Unsloppy Joes (minus the cheese and using my own sauce...not canned), Mini Pizzas (for the kids), Green Beans
Wednesday 10/24: Tilapia, Rice, Broccoli
Thursday 10/25: Baked Potato Bar (Chili, Cheese, Sour Cream, Broccoli etc)
Friday 10/26: Crockpot Potato Chowder, Homemade Sourdough Bread
Saturday 10/27: Movie Night (Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings)! Snowman Pizza, Veggies/Dip, Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn

Visit OrgJunkie for more weekly menus!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Party of 6!

September 11th was an amazing day for us this year. We became a family of 6! Our 2nd baby boy was born at 10:00am, about 10 minutes after we arrived to the hospital! I almost got my wish of a home birth. :)

Phoenix Orion
9/11/12 10:00AM
8lbs, 20.5 inches

My 4 Kiddos!
(Hannah~ 6, Avery~ 4, Noah~ 2, Phoenix~ 1 day)
We didn't plan on having a 4th baby just yet but I am SO happy God decided it was time. :) He's our last baby (though I have second thoughts about that sometimes...) so I'm trying to enjoy every second with him! We are very blessed to have 4 healthy, happy kiddos!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 8/20/12

School starts in 2 weeks so I can consider it Fall right? Ok maybe not with our 100 degree days...

I'm 37 weeks pregnant with our 4th baby and thankfully started Maternity Leave last week. After a year and a half of working fulltime on the evening shift, I am super excited to be able to cook dinner for my family and spend evenings with them. It's even better that I'm off during my favorite season (Fall obviously...). I can't wait to try a bunch of new recipes!

Jason started a new job last week and doesn't always get home in time for dinner.I'm trying to make sure whatever I make for dinner has plenty leftover that tastes good warmed up when he gets home.

Pinterest is awesome and I've been letting the girls pick a recipe that looks good for dinner the next week. Hannah's pick this week was: Creamy White Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna. We substitiuted canned diced tomatoes for the sundried (much cheaper!) and added extra milk since we had no-boil noodles. It was so yummy! Hannah and I aren't fans of tomatoes and the diced were pretty big chunks. I think we'll use crushed next time...and we definately will make it again!

Here's this week's menu (trying to keep it easy in case I go into labor or something...)!

Monday 8/20- Hamburgers, Mac & Cheese, Corn

Tuesday 8/21- Avery's Pinterest Pick: Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta

Wednesday 8/22- Make Your Own Frenchbread Pizza (pepperoni,sausage, pinapple, olives, ham etc)

Thursday 8/23- Pancakes, Eggs, Sausage or Bacon, Fruit

Friday 8/24- (Girls at Nana's) Takeout

Saturday 8/25- (Girls at Nana's) Steak and Mushroom Fajitas, Salad

Sunday 8/26- Lemon Galic Tilapia, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans

Head on over to OrgJunkie for more menu plans!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cloth Diapering Momma!

I toyed with the idea of cloth diapering when Noah was born (almost 2 years ago!) but couldn't get Jason on board. As soon as we found out we were pregnant again, I decided we were going for it this time. I feel awful about all of disposables we have tossed in the the landfill (and I'm sure Hannah's are still there!) with 3 kids. Add the fact that we're going to have a tight budget after the baby arrives AND the fact that Noah is still in diapers and Avery wears pull-ups to bed, cloth diapering is a smart financial choice for us.

I've been stalking the Cloth Diapering board on Baby Center and have started a Newborn stash for when the baby arrives. The start up costs are a bit much but over time we'll save money. Plus good condition diapers have a decent resale value. Since this is our last baby, I plan on selling everything once the baby is out of diapers.

I've decided to go with a mix of different types of diapers. Prefolds and covers seem to be the go-to for most mom's CDing a newborn. So I got some of those. I also figured some All In Ones (like a washable need for inserts etc) would be easier for Jason get used to and will be better for middle of the night, half asleep changes!

This is what we've bought so far:

(Flip cover, BumGenius AIO, GroVia Newborn AIO, Swaddlebees Simplex Newborn AIO)

(3 Thirsties Duo Covers, Swaddlebee Capri Giraffe Cover)

(3- Blueberry Econappi Pockets)

(Inserts, Green Mountain Diaper Prefolds/Workhorse Fitteds, Cloth Wipes, Fleece Liners)

I'm so excited to see all of these on the little Sweet Pea's tushie! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ 3/12/12

Menu plans aren't as fun for me anymore...I typically work 3p-11:30p M-F (with the occasional Sunday morning thrown in) and don't get to cook for the family anymore. Add in the 1st trimester blah-ness and I didn't even want to think about food! I still planned for the family but didn't put much thought. We really need to start focusing on our budget and elimating fast food. So I plan for this to be the last thrown together menu plan. I need to start prepping during the day and using the crockpot again so I feel like I'm helping Jason out at night. I can't wait to cook every night again this Fall while I'm on leave!

Monday 3/12: Eggs, Bacon, Toast

Tuesday 3/13: Tilapia, Rice, Green Beans

Wednesday 3/14: Spaghetti, Rolls

Thursday 3/15: Ham, Stuffing, Broccoli

Friday 3/16: Chicken Taquitos, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans

Saturday 3/17: Steak/Mushroom Fajitas, Corn, Leftover Spanish Rice

Sunday 3/18: Laughing Cow Chicken Cordon Bleu, Noodles, Broccoli

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu plans and ideas!

Changes, Changes, Changes...

I'm constantly falling off the blogging bandwagon...time to try again!

How about a quick update?

Miss Hannah is do amazing in in school. She was doing so well in reading in the Fall that they allowed her to have her reading level tested...even though they don't normally do it until 1st grade! My smartie-pants Kindergartner is reading at a 2nd-3rd grade level! She's been able to check books out at the school library since January and loves it! Recently she started taking tests on the books she checks out. This past week she decided she would get a new book every day and test on it the next day. I'm excited that she loves reading as much as I do!

Miss Avery is a ball of energy. She goes to preschool 2 days a week and stay home with me the other days. She's really started to learn a lot the past few months and will be ready for Kindergarten in the fall! She's definitely my goofball kid and always doing silly things or telling jokes. She's very insistent lately that she's my baby...more on that later!

Mr Noah is such a big boy now! We're just a few days over 2 months until his 2nd birthday! He's still not talking much which I think is partially because he still has a binky in his mouth most of the time. We're starting to work on weaning him off those. He is most definitely a boy and loves "Choo-choos" and cars. Yesterday he was captivated by Caillou. I think that's the first cartoon I've seen him really pay attention to.

The big news is this little one that's Due in August/September! Our New Year's surprise Baby #4!! The timing isn't perfect but we're already in love with this little one. We've decided not to find out the gender until the birth. This baby was a surprise from the start and we figured we might as well keep it that way! Another decision I made is to cloth diaper this time. This baby-wearing, co-sleeping, breast-feeding, baby food-making is getting a bit crunchier! I'm actually really excited to not add a bunch more disposables to the landfills!

Jason started school in January for Solar and Wind Technology. He's doing amazing and has about a 3.8 GPA. I am SO proud of him and hope he continues to enjoy school. He'll graduate next May and be able to get a really great job. It will hopefully make things easier on us financially!

I'm just trying to keep up with everything! I'm finally starting to get a bit more energy now that I'm in the 2nd trimester and hopefully I can keep it up. I'm counting down the days until my Maternity Leave when I can spend some time at home with my kids!

Monday, February 13, 2012


I've been baking a lot of cakes this past year and I made the best one for my sister in law's baby shower. I thought I'd post it here to add to Pinterest!