Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shopping day…

We went out for a little shopping adventure today.  Here we are at the start of the day before Lauren went a few rounds in the play center.  The knees and bottom of those white leggings weren’t white for long!  By the way, I love this Naartjie dress on her and I love the casual look of cotton dresses with leggings underneath. 

Lauren and Mommy

We hit Target at just the right time since they just put out all their spring shoes.  I know this because that is the ONLY time they have size 9.5 or 10 in the women’s shoes.  I got the two pairs on the left from Target.  The adorable pair on the right is Payless.  I only go in Payless for Lauren’s shoes, but just happened to wander over to the women’s section today and got lucky with these. 


Target shoe cuteness…


Payless super shoe cuteness…


Here’s Lauren’s new shoes.  The two on the right are from Target and the cute pink ones are Payless…


We couldn’t pass up this adorable swim suit for only $12 for our blue lovin girl.  She wanted to try it on as soon as we got home. 


We also picked up this bright, eyelet swim suit cover-up.  They also have it in white, but I figured that was an accident waiting to happen. 


Also, Target had a selection of their Circo brand shirts, skirts and leggings for $3.50 each.  What an awesome deal!  I love these for play clothes and for preschool.  If she spills paint or something else that doesn’t come out, it’s not that big of a deal at that price. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kid friendly recipe…

I didn’t put together a menu plan this week for Menu Plan Monday, because I’m basically making whatever will help clean out my refrigerator and pantry.  They are bursting at the seams and are ready for a total overhaul.  Ughh…I hate that!

Last night I made skillet lasagna again since I had leftover ingredients from last week.  This recipe is yummy and so simple since everything, including the lasagna noodles, cook in the same large skillet.  Also, Lauren loves it and eats every bite.  Here’s the recipe…

Skillet Lasagna

1 24oz jar of marinara 
2 1/2 cups water
8 oz lasagna noodles
1lb Italian sausage or one tube of breakfast sausage
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 oz parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper

  1. Brown sausage and garlic in a large skillet.  Remove and put aside for later.
  2. Combine sauce and water in the skillet.  Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Break lasagna noodles into 3rds or smaller and add to skillet.  Stir them into sauce, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 16-18 min. or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. While noodles cook, grate parmesan cheese and chop parsley, putting aside 1 tbsp for garnish.  Combine all cheeses, 1 tbsp of parsley and pepper.
  5. When noodles are ready, add sausage back into the skillet and stir.  Scoop cheese mixture over noodles, cover and simmer until cheese is melted and heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining parsley before serving. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Family Day 2 Year Anniversary…

Tomorrow marks two years as a family of three! Project13

Here we are the day we met our girl…



It’s been amazing watching her blossom and grow over the past two years and it’s surprising how fast it goes!  I wish time would have moved this fast while we were waiting! 

Lauren has come so very far since that first day.  She’s smart, funny, beautiful, inquisitive, loves to learn, outgoing, fearless and her smile can light up a room!  Sometimes I wonder what we did to deserve such a wonderful gift and we appreciate each and every day with her. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday #2 and a Great Soup Recipe

It's my second week of menu planning and grocery shopping with a list of ingredients and I've got to say that it's much less stressful when you actually have a plan. I used to go to the store with a list of things we were out of and only a vague idea of what I could make for dinner during the week. It's so freeing to know that I have everything I need to make a week's worth of great dinners and not have to worry about what's for dinner when I come home from work. Here's my plan for this week, along with a couple of links for recipes. Also, I'm linking up at Menu Plan Monday.
MondaySausage & Tortellini w/Pesto
TuesdayChicken Chili
WednesdayWeekly play date
ThursdaySkillet Lasagna
FridayBeef with Snow Peas
Now for the great soup recipe. Tonight I made this big pot of total yumminess...

It's Spicy Tuscan Soup from a Tasty Kitchen contributor. It's a copy cat of the Olive Garden's sausage/potato soup and it's wonderful! If you like the Olive Garden soup, you will love this. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and you'll be in heaven.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend fun…

Today we met a couple of friends for lunch, shopping and some time at the play center.


Lauren had a great time with Lily…


We are so lucky to have such good friends and I’m so glad Lauren has a close connection with other little girls from China.  I think that will be really important to her as she gets older.  Thanks, Nancy & Heather, for such a nice day.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ginger cookie recipe and IKEA…

I just remembered today that I promised the ginger cookie recipe from Christmas and never delivered, so here it is…


Ginger Cookies

Sift together:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend together in a bowl:
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg

Add sifted, dry ingredients and blend.  Mixture will be a little stiff.  Roll into small balls, roll in sugar, place on cookie sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until crackly and lightly browned. 

These cookies melt in your mouth and I like them plain, but a drizzle of vanilla glaze adds a nice touch.  I make a mixture of powdered sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and a dash of salt.  Here’s a good recipe, but you need to thin it down a bit and make about half this much. 

Okay, the next time you’re at IKEA, BUY ONE OF THESE in the kitchen utensil area.  It’s like $1.99 or something like that. 


You pop in two little batteries, warm some milk, add your favorite flavor of International Cafe, insert the whipper thingy and you have frothy, yummy Starbucks style goodness in a cup!  This might be just the thing we were looking for at the office to shake our pricey morning Starbucks habit! 

If anyone has any yummy ideas for a Starbucks mocha or caramel macchiato taste-alike, I would love your recipe.   I’ve tried many different things and it’s just not the same. 


In sticking to my menu plan for the week, I made Shrimp Pad Thai tonight and it was yummy.  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow night or over the weekend.  Tomorrow night, chicken tacos. 


Monday, January 3, 2011

Menu plan for the week…

One of my resolutions for the new year is to sit down each week and make a dinner plan and grocery list. I’m hoping it will help us cut way down on eating out, save some money, try some new recipes and eat a whole lot better.

To make me more accountable, I’m going to post my weekly menu plan here along with recipes when I have a success. I’ll spare you all from the bad ones.

Here’s this week’s plan along with a rice recipe that will be a new staple in our house. I'm also linking to Menu Plan Monday, where you will find TONS of great menu ideas.


Fish Tacos (sautéed tilapia on white corn tortillas and shredded red cabbage topped with cilantro lime sour cream sauce)
Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)
WednesdayWeekly play date for me and Lauren
ThursdayPad Thai Noodles with Shrimp
FridayChicken Tacos

Cilantro Lime Rice
In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, 1/4 chopped white onion, 2 garlic cloves, season with kosher salt and ground pepper. Blend until combined, add 1 and 3/4 cups of water and blend until combined.

In a medium saucepan, heat a little olive oil, add 1 cup long-grain white rice and stir to coat. All herb mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 min. Turn heat to low, squeeze in the juice from half or a whole lime and fluff with a fork. Serves 4.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Menu Boards…

Today was a crafting day. My friend, Christine, and I decided to make menu boards since we’ve always admired them on Kim’s blog at A Girl and a Glue Gun. We took her idea and ran with it today.

We picked up 12” x 12” frames, acrylic paint and a roll of magnet tape at Hobby Lobby; some scrapbook paper for the backgrounds from Joann’s; metal sheeting at Home Depot; and I ordered the clear, acrylic calendar sheets from Oriental Trading Company. I also downloaded a cute digital scrapbooking kit for the lettering and flowers.

We painted our frames a creamy vanilla color, then brown over that so we could sand them a little to make them rustic. Then we inserted the clear calendar, scrapbook background, metal sheeting and cardboard frame backer. I used my digital kit to print out the months and flowers (for the first pic). We used a craft punch to cut out the little magnetic menu items. We left most of them blank for now to fill in later.

This one is mine. I’m planning on displaying it on this cookbook easel….


This one is Christine’s. She’s going to put magnets on the back and display it on her refrigerator…


I'm linking up at Somewhat Simple's Strut your Stuff Thursday...


While we made our menu boards, Lauren made some yummy Play Dough cinnamon rolls…