Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Review, Menu, and Goals

We had such a busy weekend! We celebrated an eleventh birthday. The birthday girl’s dinner choice was steak and potatoes. She also requested a vanilla cake with strawberry lemonade frosting. (A different request, but accomplished!)

egg-free birthday cake

I used this cake recipe (its egg-free), minus the raspberry filling. Absolutely delicious! The frosting also turned out pretty yummy, look for a post in the future.

We took the family and four extra girls (aged 9-11) swimming at the Y. (Are we crazy or what!) They had a blast. Then we all came home and continued the birthday celebration. Our weekend was finished off with the birthday shopping tradition.

I love celebrations and having friends and family over, but my goodness am I glad to see Monday!

Want to know what we are eating this week?

  • Monday- Clean out the fridge (we have so much food left over from this weekend)
  • Tuesday- Spare Ribs
  • Wednesday- Spaghetti
  • Thursday- ? Chicken maybe.
  • Friday- Fish
  • Saturday- Easter get together with my family, ham and cheesy potatoes
  • Sunday- Dinner at husband’s parents


Last Week Update

  1. Work on etsy shop. I have been putting this off for too long, I really need to get moving on it.
  2. Post 3 blog posts, work on two others.
  3. Work on baseball tee tutorial.
  4. Clean/purge attic.
  5. Make some lunches for the freezer.
  6. If I find time, peel wallpaper border from living room, and wash walls.

This Week:

  1. Easter presents/baskets.
  2. Post 3 blog posts.
  3. Finish all unfinished projects on sewing table.
  4. Clean/purge spare bedroom closet

This looks like a short list, but oh my do I ever have the pile of half-finished sewing projects building up. I plan to finish these this week, and spend the rest of the time working on Easter stuff.

Do you have any Easter gifts to finish up this week (or are you like me, and just starting them)?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mama’s Cutting Up Daddy’s Shirts, Again!

Do you remember this shirt? I made that shirt over four months ago, and the boys hadn’t worn it until last weekend.
Reason #1, I had only made one shirt. Reason #2, that upside-down decal was quirky, but annoyed the crap out of this perfectionist.
This is one downside to being a crafty mama of twins (and the reason I temporarily traded my knitting needles for crochet hooks). You have to corral your crafting ADD, and make two of everything. This is also why I do not knit socks, can you imagine having to make four!
Here’s the first refashion, refashioned:
Boy Button-up Refashion, Triceratops
I covered up the upside down decal with a Triceratops applique. The design was copied from a coloring book, cut out from t-shirt material, and fused on with Wonder-Under (doing a little experiment).
Boy Button-up Refashion, T-Rex
The second shirt was also one of hubby’s donations. I used the same method and pattern. T-Rex came from the same coloring book and was applied in the same manner.
I am in love with making these shirts for my boys. Absolutely free (always a good price in my book), simple and straight forward, and minimal time investment required. Not to mention how handsome my boys look. Winking smile
Now that I have two under my belt, I am trying a couple of different methods to save a little finishing time. I’ll keep you updated.
I am thinking that we may need some pants. Do you have any favorite pants patterns? If so, leave a link in the comments, I would love to give it a whirl!
Thanks for stopping by!
Participating here:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Twin Tip Tuesday; Borrow Before You Buy

There are so many gimmicks and gadgets made for babies (and kids). Today’s twin tip is aimed to save you a little dough.

If at all possible, Borrow Before You Buy

Ask friends and family to borrow items you are thinking about purchasing. If you cannot borrow what you are looking for, start with just one. (Twins learn to share early.) Winking smile

Big Picture Dump 034

Take these swings for example: I thought babies needed swings. My mom bought us two very nice (read that as slightly expensive) swings. As you can see from the photo above, the boys didn’t care for them too much. They did grow to like the swing, but by that time they also grew out of them.

Lessons I learned:

  1. Babies grow fast!
  2. Baby gadgets are expensive.
  3. Twins do not necessarily like the same things.
  4. Think creatively.

That’s it, short and sweet. Thanks for stopping by to read my Quick Twin Tip. I hope this helps anyone approaching baby season.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Menu and Weekly Goals

If you have been following for a little bit, you know Mondays are usually the boring post days around here. I try to post a menu for the week, and my weekly goals. (Although I haven’t been very consistent with goals lately.) So here’s what I am planning this week:

  • Monday- Chicken Fingers
  • Tuesday- Chicken Fried Rice
  • Wednesday- Tacos
  • Thursday- ??
  • Friday- Steak
  • Saturday- Party food


  1. Work on etsy shop. I have been putting this off for too long, I really need to get moving on it.
  2. Post 3 blog posts, work on two others.
  3. Work on baseball tee tutorial.
  4. Clean/purge attic.
  5. Make some lunches for the freezer.
  6. If I find time, peel wallpaper border from living room, and wash walls.

What are you eating this week? Do you have any goals this week?

Stop back tomorrow for a twin tip! And thanks for sticking through the accountability posts! Winking smile

Friday, March 15, 2013


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Egg-Free Friday Peanut Butter Rolls

While searching for egg-free recipes I found the blog TREAT & TRICK. This blog is amazing. Her recipes are eggless, and pretty healthy to boot (she uses a lot less sugar than average recipes; something I truly appreciate). She also makes bread right from scratch, without a bread machine! Talk about amazing.
I wanted to share one of my family’s favorite recipes from this blog; Peanut Butter & Jelly Rolls. I am not posting the recipe, because I did not have to change a thing! I did however, use a slightly different method, and tried a different filling.
I placed all the ingredients except for the peanut butter and jelly into my bread machine; in the order recommended for my machine. I set it to dough cycle, and cleaned my kitchen while the machine did its job.
Next I divided the dough into 12 balls. I put 6 of them into the refrigerator. I rolled, filled, and wrapped the first six per the recipe.
Let them double in size, then bake.
Rub some butter on as soon as they come out of the oven. Try to snap a picture before the vultures swoop in.
Here’s what happened with the second batch: I was curious to see how the dough would behave if I didn’t cook it right away. I left it, covered, in the fridge over night. In the morning I pulled it out and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour. The dough behaved exactly the same as the first batch. This is wonderful, because I can double the recipe, and serve rolls for breakfast.
Ready for the filling variation? I added chocolate chips instead of jelly. Simply divine! There is nothing better than chocolate and peanut butter.
These bad boys were so delicious they were devoured in minutes! After the family gobbled them up, I received a few requests. My stepson would like them with pizza filling, and hubby wants ham and cheese filling. I have yet to try these versions, but I am sure it would work out perfectly since the dough is not too sweet.
If you want your family to think you are a culinary genius, give this recipe a whirl.
What would you fill these rolls with?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bring On Baseball; Little Man Refashion

The melting snow signifies one thing around here. Not the end of the school year, or tulips and daffodils, not even hot dogs and campfires. What else is there, you ask?

Baseball season! My stepson keeps us busy from spring through summer with baseball. Hubby plays men’s softball through summer. Needless to say, we are a busy baseball-loving family.

The boys were in need of team apparel. I had an image in my head, and boy was I excited. I actually jumped up and ran to the basement in search for a red t-shirt I could cut up. No such luck. Then after tearing my own closet apart, I begged every family member to search their closets, while I may or may not have been looking over their shoulder “in case they missed something.” Still, no red t-shirts.

What’s a mama to do? I patiently (or not so much) waited for the little guys to take their nap, then told hubby I was headed to Goodwill. “You better come home with a red shirt.” I guess he may have been a tad bit annoyed with my sudden urgent t-shirt need.

I found the perfect shirt, for half off; .99! The blue shirt was in our donate pile. An hour after washing the tees and .99 later, I had 2 shirts for the boys to sport their school spirit.


These shirts came together easily. I drafted a pattern based on the one I used here.

Baseball T 1

Can you believe that I used to be afraid of t-shirt fabric?

Baseball T 2

Want to know how I did it? Stay tuned, hopefully I have a tutorial to share in the next week or so.

Do you share our baseball love? Want proof of our love? The boys had been to six ball tournaments before they turned eight weeks old! (Talk about starting them young) Winking smile

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lessons From Great Grandma’s Kitchen; Recipe Organization

Recipe Organization

Recipe organization is something I have been struggling with for a while now. I even made corralling my recipe chaos one of my 30 by 30 goals.

Like most recipe hoarders, I have a stash of recipes that are spilling out of folders, notebooks, and drawers. This doesn’t even include my abundance of cookbooks that I need to weed down (hmmm… do I see a 31 by 31 goal…). Don’t forget to throw Pinterest in there.

I had this idea that I would digitize and organize my recipes. After many unsuccessful attempts I gave up (quite a few times). The thought of starting up my computer, then searching for a recipe all but drained any kitchen ambitions I had. The worst part was when hubby would ask, “could you make that dish you made….? You know it had….?” I realized that I was not keeping track of recipes that my family liked.

One of the best things about cooking with Grandma was pulling out her green metal recipe box. I would flip through the 3 x 5 index cards adorned with Grandma’s penmanship and years of cooking smudges. As I grew older our time together in the kitchen grew far and few. One habit that never ceased was requesting to look through Grandma’s recipe box.

I have recently accepted that digital isn’t for me. I have taken to Grandma’s recipe organization; the green metal box. Each recipe in Grandma’s little metal box had been tried, tested, perfected, and family approved. No magazine clippings shoved in there.

I still have my overflow of paper. I still add to my Pinterest boards. But when I find a successful recipe (meaning a recipe that my family will eat again), I handwrite the recipe on a 3 x 5 index card, and tuck it safely into my very own green metal box. (Do you know how many garage sales we went to before we found a green metal box?)

This method has been working so far. I guess I just wasn’t meant to be a digital cook.

How do you organize your recipes?

*Did you miss the first lesson from Great Grandma’s kitchen? Here it is.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Toddler Tip; 3 Ways to Sneak In Nutrition

Today’s tip is geared for toddlers, twin or not.

I have such a hard time feeding my boys. Some days they eat good, other days they insist on practicing their “splatter technique” (painting the wall with their dinner). This mama gets frustrated!

Through trial and error, I have found three ways my boys are guaranteed to eat nutritious food:

Toddler Smoothie Love

1.  My boys love smoothies. We found these cups at Wal-Mart for $0.98. They have been a life-saver! I add frozen fruit, fresh fruit, yogurt, and milk or juice. I have even added veggies to the smoothies! The trick to these smoothies is to make them a thinner consistency, so the straw doesn’t get clogged.

Toddler Coffee Cup Love

2.  They get so excited to eat out of a coffee mug. They love these blueberry mug muffins. I have also successfully served them oatmeal, applesauce, yogurt, and soup in a coffee cup. (If you are looking for an egg-free chocolate cake, my boys and I recommend this recipe.)

Egg-Free Cheesy Veggie Muffins

3.  I think the mini-muffin pan was designed for toddlers. My boys love these little bundles of nutrition. Of course, the veggies muffins are a hit. We love these egg-free chocolate chip banana muffins. I have also thrown meatloaf mixture, pancake batter, and even shredded veggies into the mini-muffin pan. Our freezer is always stocked with little muffin food.

Your turn: How do you avoid the ‘food on the wall’ episodes? We are willing to try anything.

Monday, March 11, 2013

30 by 30 Update. Is 30 Really Only Two Months Away?

A quick update on my list

  1. purge home, clear clutter {Ongoing. I have been spending naptime working on this.}
  2. make cleaning a habit {Always ongoing, but being deliberate has helped a ton!}
  3. make recycling a habit {After a few visits to town council meetings, our town finally started curbside recycling last August!}
  4. scan pictures, organize pictures {This goal is crossed off because I know I’m not getting to it in the next 3 months.}
  5. organize recipes {I have found a method that seems to be working, will share with you Wednesday.}
  6. paint bedroom; decorate {Rearranged, and deep-cleaned/organized. Started thinking about colors…}
  7. paint living room; decorate {Picked a color, bought a sample, loved it. Need to remove wallpaper border at top of 12 foot wall, buy paint, and paint!}
  8. learn how to effective manage household, and time {I am happy to say that I am getting much better at this.}
  9. make wedding album {See excuse #4}
  10. journal for the boys {I am not very consistent, but the journals are started.}
  11. journal for my husband {See #10}
  12. learn how to use my camera, and take more pictures {Ongoing, getting better.}
  13. have monthly date nights with my husband {Christmas gifts have helped us in this department.}
  14. go on mini-vacation with hubby {We did go away overnight in September, and December. (not my idea of mini-vacation, but we will take what we can get!)}
  15. go on vacation with the family {Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift last year we took the family to Great Wolf Lodge. This is probably going to have to suffice for this year.}
  16. read to the boys every day {I may have figured this out!}
  17. learn to/teach the kids to pray (and Lord's prayer, and Ten Commandments) {Am I a bad mom?}
  18. teach my step-daughter to sew and/or encourage her creative interests {Struggles here…}
  19. implement a budget {Nope}
  20. start nursing clinicals {Crossed off because I didn't get in this winter, hopefully in fall.}
  21. manage time better {Isn’t this the same as #8? Improving greatly!}
  22. get up early (like to start day by 6:00) {Boys are early risers. I am no means perfect, but so much better.}
  23. dress for my hubby more often (less jeans and t-shirts) {I am struggling in the colder season, but I am crossing it off because 1. I wore skirts/dresses most of summer and 2. hubby likes me in jeans and t-shirts.}
  24. style hair more, less ponytails {Since I made the cut, I have been better, not perfect, but better.}
  25. blog regularly {Getting better, but I think I need to make myself a schedule.}
  26. exercise regularly {You would not believe that one of my previous careers was a full-time fitness instructor and personal trainer.}
  27. craft through books; get rid of books not needed {I have not actually been crafting through books, but I have been getting rid of the ones that do not inspire my creativity.}
  28. craft through stash {Stash is still here, but getting smaller. The only materials I have bought have been project-specific.}
  29. make a dress, and wear it {Made another one, look for it in the future, meanwhile check this one out.}
  30. start selling on etsy {Been working on shop, a little. Need to tell my confidence (or lack of) to leave me alone. }
  31. do a 365 project {I started. Got 21 days in. And quit. I will restart, after I knock out some of my more important goals.}
  32. have a (semi) handmade Christmas {did not finish all I aspired too, but did manage to make a few gifts.}

Wowza! Only two months left.

I actually feel pretty good about my progress. When I think of where I was a year ago when I made this list, I have made huge strides. My life doesn’t feel nearly as chaotic as it used to. (Want a few laughs, or even tears? Check out some of my posts from about a year ago.)

What method do you use to track your personal progress? I really like this method, it is a nice reminder of the desperation I felt ten months ago, which is now replaced with ‘I CAN do this!’

*Posts planned this week: Tuesday- Toddler Tip, Wednesday- Lesson’s from Grandma’s Kitchen, Thursday- More Little Boy Refashions, Friday- Egg Free Sharing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Moment He Became a Man


I had plans for Tuesday night. Since hubby bowls Tuesday nights, I had planned to write (blog posts) after the twins went to bed. I had at least three days worth in my head, ready to be stroked onto the keyboard and rescued from the tornado of ‘things to remember.’

Its funny how life never happens the way you plan.

The boys and I were on one couch while my step-daughter was on the other couch. We were cuddling, and watching her movie choice, Tinker Bell. My step-son was in the kitchen.

We heard a BANG.

He came in the living room a minute later, “Did you hear that?” Yes, indeed I did.

Let me give a little background here. We live in what I would call a rural town. One of those communities where you don’t have to lock your doors, because bad things don’t typically happen. Neighbors are family (literally and figuratively). It’s usually quiet around here.

Our community is also of the hunting variety. It is normal to hear a BANG echo from the bay… during the fall.

Its not fall.

We dismissed it, and went on with our tasks. About an hour later the next-door neighbor called. Our street had been barricaded. She was not allowed home. She was told everyone had been evacuated. There was a man. With a gun.

While talking to her and looking out the front window State police pulled up in front of our house, parked in the street, and exited their car with guns aimed. “I have to let you go,” I told the neighbor.

I called the local police. “We have a sensitive situation. Everyone has been evacuated.”

“NO! Everyone has NOT been evacuated! I am in my house with 4 children.”

They told me they were someone was on their way to escort us out on foot.

Obviously I am scared. I coral all the kids into the kitchen. I ask them to stay on the floor. Then I calmly (at least as calmly as I could), explained to them what was going on. “I need you guys to help me get your brothers’ snow pants, coats, and boots on.” I then crept through the house gathering everything I thought we might need; sippy cups, extra milk, warm clothes for the bigger kids, diaper bag, etc.

This story is not to ruminate about the incident itself, the fact that we were overlooked, or even the fact that we sat on the kitchen floor dressed for a snowstorm for an hour before being rescued from the chaos. This story is about a boy becoming a man.

We have been blessed with the most wonderful children. My step-son gets good grades, is very active in sports, and makes good decisions. Today, he stepped up to the plate. While it would have been easier to argue with his sister, panic, worry, or freak out he choose the more difficult road. He helped get the confused toddlers dressed. He kept in touch with his dad. He helped council his sister and entertain his brothers. He pushed his fears aside and put our safety first.

This transformation from boy to man usually happens slowly. Changes that often go unnoticed until one day you wake up and wonder where did our little boy go? Despite the stress, fear, and anxiety; I am so thankful God opened my eyes so I could see this transformation amongst the havoc.

Have you been blessed to see a character transformation in your children?

Monday, March 4, 2013

How We Menu Plan

Making Menu Planning Work

Menu planning has been a struggle for me. I have the freezer cooking down. I love my crockpot. The problem I usually had was sticking to the menu.

This is how it used to go; I’d start the week off good. I would get two days in, realize that I ALWAYS cook too much food, get discouraged with myself, and just give up on our menu. Not anymore. (Well, I do still cook way too much.) I have devised a plan that works for us, and that’s what is important- that it works for us.

Want to know what works around here? Here is a step-by-step (well, sort of):

Menu planning goes on all week. When hubby mentions something that sounds good, I make note of it. No, not a mental note, because I lose those notes, but I actually write it down.

On Friday or Saturday I ask the family what sounds good for dinner this week. I write those suggestions down. If nobody offers any suggestions, there is absolutely no complaining about what is for dinner.

Next I look at our schedule. For instance, my step-son’s sports schedule. On busy days we eat from the crockpot. Every Wednesday everyone is here, so I need a picky-eater-friendly meal. I usually take my step-daughter’s suggestion (since she’s the picky eater) and put it down for Wednesday, or we have roast or spaghetti.

Every other Friday is pizza night. I make pepperoni for the kids, and some version of pizza using whatever is in the fridge for the adults.

I fill these meals on the board. Then I get to work filling in the blanks. My goal is to have 5-6 meals planned for the week, and one leftover day. I then make sure we have everything needed to make these meals.

If have a lot of leftovers or something came up, I just push a planned meal to the next week. (Have you noticed that some meals show up repeatedly on my menu posts?) After trying many ‘meal planning techniques,’ I think we have found what has worked for our family.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

  • Sunday- Leftovers
  • Monday- Spaghetti
  • Tuesday- Sloppy Joes 
  • Wednesday- Chicken Fried Rice
  • Thursday- Leftovers
  • Friday- Pizza
  • Saturday- Steak and Potatoes

Do you plan a menu? If so, what method have you found works for you?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Egg-Free Cheesy Veggie Muffins

I get stuck figuring out what to feed my toddlers. Meals have to be easy for little hands to pick up and eat, egg-free, and mama wants the meal to be nutritious. I love freezer-friendly recipes, so I can make more now, freeze, and pull out later.

While catching up on my blog reading, I came across this Savory Muffin recipe. When I was ready to bake, do you think I could remember where I found the recipe? I didn’t feel like searching through Pinterest, so I just pulled up a recipe that sounded close and made my adaptions.

*These muffins are very versatile. Try any veggie/cheese combo. (I am thinking about adding meat next time.)

Egg-Free Cheesy Veggie Muffins

Egg-Free Cheesy Veggie Muffins

*recipe adapted from Best Recipes

  • 2 cups vegetables (used 1 1/2 c. grated carrot, 1/2 cup corn)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 Tablespoons warm water (or 2 eggs)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease muffin pan (I made mini-muffins).
  3. Mix flaxseed and water, set aside.
  4. Combine veggies, 3/4 cup of cheese, flour, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
  5. In a separate bowl mix flaxseed mixture, oil, and milk.
  6. Add to dry mixture. Stir until combined. (Do not over mix. Nobody likes rubbery muffins.)
  7. Spoon into muffin tins.
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  9. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until golden. (mini-muffins only took 15 minutes).

Serve warm. Freeze leftovers.

These muffins are delicious, egg-free, and toddler approved. I have enjoyed having these in the freezer for those dinners that the boys decide to throw everything we offer them.

Have you tried a savory/veggie muffin? If so, what are your favorite combinations?