Menu Plan Monday

A new year is starting this week and I have a confession to make....I have been slacking in the menu planning category.  I think I got in a rut and didn't know what to make.  So I just got out of the habit of planning meals ahead of time.  But let me tell you that it is so much easier to plan for the week, I do this on Sunday, and then know what I need to buy at the store and lay out for each day.  So, I'm doing my best to get back in the habit!

Besides posting my menus here on the blog, I also write it out on a dry erase menu board that sits on my kitchen counter.   I have found some other cute ideas for a menu board on Pinterest.  I was using what I had and it works well for my space.

Monday ~ hamburgers, sweet potato fries, pickles
Tuesday ~ cheese ravioli, salad, bread
Wednesday ~ New Years Eve snacks
Thursday ~chicken & cheese taquitos, rice, guac & chips
Friday ~ orange-ginger tilapia, green beans, potatoes

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

What a wonderful time of year!   I just love Christmas, celebrating Jesus and retelling the story of his birth, singing hymns at church and Christmas songs on the radio!   I also love getting to see family and friends that we don't see very often. 

Even though the holiday itself is over in the blink of an eye,  I hope you are enjoying these days after to reflect on the past year and what lies ahead in 2015. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours!


boot refashion

So...who else has a child that scuffs their shoes the first or second time they wear them?!  It is so frustrating.  The number one reason I refuse to pay full price for kid shoes if I don't have to.  I buy most of Little Bit's shoes on clearance in the off season.

Enter the tan boots.  I scored these beauties on clearance at Target for around $6.  But the first time she wore them they were scuffed!  So I put my craftiness to the test and tried my hand at making them beautiful again. 
I taped off the toe area, spread on a layer of Mod Podge, sprinkled with glitter, then added another layer of Mod Podge, glitter and Mod Podge.  I let it dry about 20 minutes in between first and second coat.  Then the next day I added a 3rd spot coat....filling in more around the scuffed area as needed. 

They turned out wonderful!  Little Bit is loving them and wearing them every chance she gets!

Have you ever tried refashioning any shoes?


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ crockpot cheesy potato soup, bread
Tuesday ~ turkey, dressing, baked sweet potatoes, bread
Wednesday ~ scrambled eggs, bagels, bacon/sausage, fruit
Thursday ~ steak bites, green beans, mashed potatoes, bread
Friday ~ fish tacos, refried beans, chips & guac

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Christmas at Disney

I know I haven't posted for awhile but I'm still here.  Life just happens and blogging gets pushed aside.  I wanted to share some pics from our recent trip to Florida.  

This is the first time we have visited Disney during the Christmas season.  We LOVED it!  If you are thinking of planning a trip I highly recommend this time of year.  One stop we made were the streets of New York in Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights....amazing!!!

This was also the first time we attended a special party night put on at the Magic Kingdom.  We attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  There are special characters and Christmas costumes just for this event.  Free hot chocolate and cookies!  The Jungle Cruise is transformed to the Jingle Cruise.  A special Christmas parade.

Seeing the seven dwarfs was top on our list!  The line gets extremely long for them so we jumped in early and were visiting with them in no time!  So worth the wait....they are too cute!

Elsa & Anna were also top on the list of must sees.  We had met Anna when we were in Disneyland in May.  BUT Elsa is Little Bit's favorite so we waited in yet another line.  The joy on her face when meeting them was worth it though! 

One of my favorites was watching the lighting of the castle.  Isn't this just breathtaking?! 

I'm already dreaming of the next Disney adventure! ;)


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ hamburgers, chips, pickles
Tuesday ~ crockpot beef stew, bread, fruit
Wednesday ~ fish sticks, mac & cheese, salad
Thursday ~ turkey pot pies, fruit salad
Friday ~ dinner on the go!

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Preschool 1 2 3

Many of you know that I am a preschool teacher.  I've heard many parents struggle with the fact of whether to send their child to preschool or not.  I am a strong advocate for early learning for your little ones whether it's at a preschool or at home.  I remember several years ago when I was entering into the preschool years with Little Bit....thinking "I know she's old enough for preschool, now what?!"  Which preschool do you choose, when do you start looking, how do I know if my child is ready? 

My goal is to share some preschool posts periodically that might be fun and informative.  I will offer you my views as a mom and as a teacher.

I hadn't started teaching yet when my daughter was entering preschool so I really was clueless to the whole preschool process.  I had vaguely remembered one friend telling me that most registrations begin sometime after the start of the new year....like February or March maybe.  This was shocking to me....school doesn't start until September and you have to register in February.  That means a month or so before February you should research preschools and visit them.  WOW!  So you might be registering before you child has even turned 3!

I had a mindset of what days I thought my daughter should go to school.  I thought for the 3s she would go Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Then in the 4s she would go Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  Well let me just tell you that classes fill up fast and sometimes you don't get what you want.  We ended up getting in a little late in the game and had to settle for afternoons.  BUT we LOVED it!  Even though it wasn't what I thought I wanted, it worked great for our schedule.  So don't forget to be open to new ideas than what you might have had your mind set on.  They could turn out to be blessings!  


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ taquitos, mexican rice, chips & guac
Tuesday ~ ham & beans, corn bread, salad
Wednesday ~ grilled burgers, tater tots, corn, pickles
Thursday ~ turkey pot pies, fruit salad
Friday ~ crockpot beef stew, bread, fruit

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Menu Plan Monday

Well, it's been a crazy last few weeks....sicknesses, family visits, several out of town trips, school stuff, winging it meals, eating out and lots of leftovers.  I'm happy to be back into menu planning this week.  The pork fried rice was a hit the first time, so it's back!  Still haven't made the salmon but I will be making it this week, I can feel it!  ;)  Plus another new recipe to try.  Would love to hear some of your go to menu items!

Monday ~ pork fried rice, fruit
Tuesday ~ maple-baked salmon, green beans, mashed potatoes
Wednesday ~ orange chicken, rice, sauteed zucchini
Thursday ~ fish sticks, mac & cheese, salad
Friday ~ pizza night

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Meijer Baby Week


Baby Week at Meijer is back from August 31-September 6! To celebrate, Meijer is offering huge savings in-store on individual items with over $100 in savings through the mPerks Rewards for Baby program.
·         Buy $100 in baby items and earn $10 through the mPerks Rewards for Baby program
·         Bibs – 20% off
·         Toys – Buy 1 Get 1 50% off of equal or lesser value (Baby Department Only)
·         Pacifiers – Buy 1 Get 1 50% off of equal or lesser value
·         mPerks Coupons (signing up for mPerks Baby Rewards is easy and free: mPerks.com)
  • $0.25 off Gerber Juice 32 oz
  • $0.25 off Gerber Cereal w/ Fruit 8oz Multipack
  • $1.00 off Gerber Read to Feed Formula 4/8.45 oz
  • $0.10 off Gerber Graduates Little Meals 6 oz
  • $0.10 off Gerber Graduates Pasta Pick-ups 6oz, Breakfast Buddies 4.5 oz, or Fruit/Veggie Pick ups 4.5 oz
  • $0.50 off Luvs Diapers
  • $1.50 off Pampers Cruisers or Extra Protection or Baby Dry Diapers
  • $1.50 off Swaddlers or Swaddler Sensitive Diaper
  • $1.50 off Easy-Ups Training Pant
  • $0.50 off Pampers Wipes 56ct or higher
  • $3.00 off Meijer Bulk Pack Diapers
  • $20.00 off Graco Nautilus
  • $5.00 off Kolcraft Mattress
  • $15.00 off Baby Trend Sit and Stand Ultra Stroller
  • $40.00 off Motorola Digital Video Sound Baby Monitor
  • $40.00 off Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor
  • $10.00 off Aden and Anais 4 pk Muslin Wrap


Menu Plan Monday

As much as I like Taco Tuesday for the name, it doesn't work on Tuesday's every week.  Sooooo, we will still have a mexican night but not always Tuesday. ;)  Also, I really hope I can try this new salmon dish finally...it keeps getting bumped from the menu. 

Monday ~ penne with meatballs, salad, rolls
Tuesday ~ maple-baked salmon, sauteed zucchini, fruit
Wednesday ~ beef tacos, refried beans, guac & chips
Thursday ~ pork fried rice, fruit
Friday ~ dinner on the go!

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Menu Plan Monday...{on Tuesday}

One of Little Bit's favorite meals is mexican.  She loves her a quesadilla, taco, beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, chips...she loves it all!  So we have decided to deem Tuesdays...Taco Tuesday.  We will have beef tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos, quesadillas, taco soup...anything mexican goes on Tuesday!

Monday ~ scrambled eggs, bagels, bacon, fruit
Tuesday ~ Taco Tuesday...chicken tacos, refried beans, chips & salsa
Wednesday ~ 1st day of 1st grade...pizza night!
Thursday ~ fish sticks, mac & cheese, sauteed squash medley
Friday ~ crockpot pork chops, carrots, mashed potatoes

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


{Dressed} and ready...

Little Bit starts school on WEDNESDAY!  I think I've been "back to school" nesting...school supplies are in the backpack, items are checked off the summer bucket list, snack & lunch items are organized and now the closet is in order!  Even with just one girl, picking out clothes for the day can be an ordeal!  We've tried picking out clothes the night before but sometimes we forget and then we run late in morning and tears are often shed.  So I wanted to start planning a weeks worth and have them organized and ready to go.  I searched Pinterest for some ideas and thought this one would work best for us. 

I found several colored hangers and thought these would be great for the weekly outfits.  All of the rest of Little Bits hangers are white, so these stand out as special.  I also gathered some gallon sized ziplock bags, scissors and a sharpie.  I wrote one day on each bag and then cut a small hole so it would slide over the hanger. 

Little Bit was so on board with getting her clothes picked out we have Sunday thru Saturday for the coming week ready to go!  Here they are all hanging in her closet.

Now we can just grab the next days hanger, put it on her dresser with shoes underneath and she is all set!  This is Sunday's outfit all ready to go.

We decided to hang the dress or shirt on the hanger and then the bottoms, socks and accessories go in the bag!  
I sure hope we can keep this up!  Now maybe I should do this for me too?!  ;)


Back to school {teacher gifts}

Little Bit and I are enjoying our last few days of summer before back to school next week!  We have meet the teacher night on Monday evening.  She is excited to see her classroom, meet the teacher and see what friends might be in her class!  One thing I think is fun {and we did last year} is take a gift for the teacher.  I wanted it to be something useful...and cute of course!  

I saw this idea and love Ball jars, so went with it for my inspiration.  I took a blue Ball jar {found at Joann Fabrics} and filled it with pencils, pens, sharpies, highlighter and dry erase markers.  Then I attached a jar shaped tag with the teachers name on one side and the saying {Can't wait to have a "BALL" with you this year in class!}

Here are a few other ideas that I thought were super cute as well...

I just love the Method hand soaps you can find at Target.  How cute are these with the tag saying "If I can give you a hand please call"

I also loved this one....my future is looking "sharp" with you as my teacher!  A Ball jar would be cute filled up with sharpies with that tag attached. 

Several sites featured back to school survival kits that looked like they could be fun to put together.  Just get a cute basket, tin or even a fun cup/mug and include items like chapstick, gum or mints, chocolate, hand sanitizer, lotion, personal sized kleenex, bandaids, post it notes, etc...

Are you planning on doing any little back to school gift for your child's teacher?  I would love to hear!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ taco soup, chips, fruit
Tuesday ~ dinner out
Wednesday ~ girls night...probably pizza!
Thursday ~ maple-baked salmon, sauteed squash medley, corn on cob
Friday ~ grilled burgers, tater tots, corn on the cob

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Getting ready for Kindergarten...

Schools are starting back up soon...I know some started this week even!  Little Bit starts in just under 2 weeks.  Needless to say the time to think about going BACK to school is here.  Or maybe your child is just STARTING school this year.  I recently wrote an article for Springfieldmoms.org about getting your child ready for Kindergarten.  You can check it out here

Springfieldmoms.org also has a great list of resources to help get you ready for back to school!

If you have any tips on getting ready for back to school, I'd love to hear! 


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ chicken & cheese taquitos, chips & guac, corn on cob
Tuesday ~ meatball stew, sweet rolls
Wednesday ~  yummy meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday ~ fish tacos, refried beans, corn on cob
Friday ~ grilled burgers, tater tots, salad

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Homework ready!

Defining an area in your home for school papers and homework was essential for getting Little Bit ready for starting school last year...and again this year.  Not that she had that much homework in Kindergarten, but it was nice having a designated place for all the papers coming in and out.  I posted about my back to school organizing where I used an existing dry erase board and turned it into a school information board.  A few times Little Bit brought home an assignment that didn't have to be turned in right away.  So we would work on it, then hang it on the board with a magnetic clip.  When it came time to turn it in we knew exactly where it was.  

This year Little Bit will be starting first grade.  I am sure she will be bringing home more school work than last year.  She has a small table and chair right beside our school info board.  It is the perfect spot for her to be creative and complete school work.  We have it all set up with jars of pencils, markers and crayons!  We even added a little wall art collage to help personalize it!  She loves that is is "her space" and is already wanting me to give her "homework" that she can do.  {Hello Pinterest and first grade worksheets!}  She is definitely ready to get this school year started!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ chicken caesar burgers, sweet potato fries, corn on cob
Tuesday ~ grilled shrimp, spaghetti squash w/tomatoes & basil, salad
Wednesday ~ chicken taco soup, chips, fruit
Thursday ~ maple-baked salmon, sauteed squash medley, corn on cob
Friday ~ BBQ chicken quesadillas, guacamole & chips, fruit

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


{chicken} taco soup

This taco soup is one of my favorite go-to recipes!  It is so easy to throw together and just yummo!  Plus you can easily adapt it based on what ingredients you have on hand.  I was out of ground meat but had chicken.  I was also out of beef stock...so chicken stock stepped up to the crockpot!  ;)

1 can corn or 1-2 cups frozen corn
1 can can rotel
1 can white beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch seasoning
2-3 frozen chicken breasts

optional toppings:  shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips

Drain beans and place them with all other ingredients in the crockpot.  Stir to combine seasoning mixes.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6.  About an hour before serving remove the chicken, shred, and place back in crockpot.  Stir and let cook the remaining hour. 

Enjoy just as it is or with your favorite toppings!


Meeting {Anna}!

Little Bit is a tad Frozen crazy....she LOVES the movie, soundtrack, toys, books and any Frozen related item in between!  So one thing on her list for Disneyland was to see Anna & Elsa, the Frozen princesses.  The lines are over 3 hours long people!!!  There is no fastpass for this in California. :(

But wonderful hubby had a plan to get to Disney gates super early and see how close we could get to the front of line.  Little Bit and I followed behind a bit later and met up with him in line.  His efforts paid off and we were 7th in line at park open to see the much anticipated princesses! 

Unfortunately Elsa was not meeting.  I guess she was off freezing something that morning...lol!  She is Little Bits favorite and she was a bit bummed but LOVED seeing Anna.  Anna is my favorite!

Little Bit was wearing her favorite Elsa shirt and carrying her new doll!  One side is Anna, then flip her over and you find...
Elsa!  One tip...when you see something Frozen related...buy it!  We saw this first thing and thought we would wait a bit.  She was set that this was the souvenir she wanted for the trip.  So the hubs went and bought it around lunch.  Lucky thing cause by that evening they were sold out!


Menu Plan Monday

Monday ~ cheese & zucchini pasta, corn on cob

Tuesday ~ crockpot pork chops, green beans, apples
Wednesday ~ beef tacos, refried beans, chips & queso
Thursday ~ maple-baked salmon, sauteed zucchini, mashed potatoes
Friday ~ BBQ chicken quesadillas, corn, apple slices

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


cheese & zucchini pasta

During the summer when zucchini is readily available, this is one of my go to dishes!  Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables and this recipe is just so easy to throw together and tastes yummo!  I hope you give it a try.

1/2 box pasta of your choice {I usually use whatever I have on hand}
1 medium zucchini
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
2 gloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 cup shredded cheese {provolone or mozzarella}
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Start by washing and slicing your zucchini.  I slice it into rounds and then cut then in half.  This makes them about the same size as your pasta pieces.  Salt & pepper the zucchini and set aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions.

In a separate pan, heat olive oil on medium to medium-low heat.  Add garlic and basil, cook for a few minutes.  Then add zucchini and cook until tender.  Once pasta has finished cooking, drain and add to zucchini.  Stir to coat pasta with oil.

Turn off the heat and add cheeses.  Toss pasta and cheese mixture, cheese will begin to melt.  Serve & enjoy!!!


Menu Plan Monday

We've got some Disney food favorites on the menu this week! I have made Monte Cristo sandwiches a couple times and they are just yummo.  We had them while in Disneyland and we are craving them again.  I like cooking mine in the oven instead of frying them.  Tonga Toast is another great Disney treat.  We had it for breakfast during a stay last year in Disney World.  It was delish!  I'm going to try it for the first time.  Hopefully I can do it justice. 

Monday ~ monte cristo sandwiches, chips, fruit
Tuesday ~ pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans
Wednesday ~ tilapia sticks, mac & cheese, salad
Thursday ~ tonga toast, sausage, fruit
Friday ~ brats & hotdogs, corn on the cob, chips

Linking up with Org Junkie...check them out for more recipes.


Cars Land!

I mentioned last week that our trip to California was wonderful.  Especially our visit to Disney!  Over the next few weeks I thought I'd share some of the highlights. 

We splurged this time and got the PhotoPass+ and it did not disappoint.  Not only do you get pics that photographers around the park take of you, you also get ride photos and character dining photos!  So once we got home, I ordered the photo cd and now I can print photos from anywhere I'd like. 

Cars Land in California Adventure was amazing!   We met a wonderfully nice photographer while exploring there.  She took us around on a 20 minute photo shoot.  Here are a few of the pics she snapped....so many great family shots! 

Cars Land was a favorite of ours and these pics will help preserve our memories.  The best ride...Radiator Springs Racers.  We rode it 5 times and it was so awesome knowing that we were getting the ride photos!  I think this one turned out best...

Have you been to California Adventure?  What is your favorite part?