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

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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!