Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quick and Easy Breakfasts

With the start of school, quick breakfasts are more than welcome. In our own family we undergo the typical morning rush. For several years I served mostly cereal. My kids got tired of it. As a matter of fact, this morning I served them cereal and they moaned. I honestly tell you that I haven't served them cereal in over a week, so they have no excuse. Crazy kids, what are you going to do. :)

So, without further ado, I will give you some ideas. If you plan ahead you can serve your kiddos something different every day of the week!

  • Frozen waffles or pancakes - if you have time you can make your own, but I prefer buying them.
  • Toast with toppings - some ideas: cream cheese, peanut butter, jam, gouda cheese, nutella, plain butter. Here is a special treat that my Dutch friend taught me: butter with chocolate sprinkles (it is most delish, but ssshhh. We don't want the kids asking for that all the time.)
  • Muffins. You can make these the night before so they're ready for your morning. Here is a banana muffin recipe I have recently fallen in love with. 
  • Mini bagels with cream cheese
  • Scrambled eggs or hard boiled eggs you've boiled the night before
  • Parfaits. I love these. First place fruit (fresh or thawed frozen) on the bottom of a bowl. I like berries the best. Cover with your favorite yogurt. Top with your favorite not-too-sweet cereal or granola.
  • Instant oatmeal if you're into that kind of thing. :) Try to add fruits or nuts.
  • English muffins topped with pasta sauce and cheese then toasted.  Mini pizzas. They'll love it. :)
I hope this gives you some pointers. Please let me know if you have any others. 

Take a few minutes to check out my other back to school posts if you haven't done so already. ~Michelle

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

The kids completed their first week of school already. Now we're back to the routine of things.

Our menu last week went well. I think out of everything we ate, my favorite thing was the smoothie. It was a strawberry banana pineapple smoothie that I found at Cooks.com. It made quite a bit, but it was all finished within minutes.

On the menu for this week:

Breakfasts: cereal, smoothies, muffins, scrambled eggs, mini bagels and frozen waffles

Lunches: grilled cheese, pb and j, tuna sandwiches, lunch meat sandwiches, leftovers and mac and cheese



Black eyed peas, rice and some veggies

Jen's frozen beef enchiladas

chicken thighs, chili cheddar pasta and green beans

eggplant parm

main dish tuna salad


For more menu planning ideas make sure to check out I'm an organizing junkie's weekly feature: Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lunch Packing Ideas

It's Sunday night and I just finished making a batch of Marbles Cookies. With the kids back in school I find this the perfect evening of the week to make a batch of cookies.

When they are cool enough I put two at a time into baggies. (I usually prefer plastic wrap, but mine is giving me issues lately!) For this week I made 12 little packages. That's enough for 5 school lunches for two kids and 2 husband lunches.

I keep them all together in one handy place, so they're easy to put together when I need them.
It's also easy to do this with pretzels or veggie sticks. Whole fruits can be put aside. Canned fruits, yogurt or applesauce can be put into containers if you don't buy the individual cups. When your morning flurry of activity begins, the lunches are put together so much more easily with these short cuts on hand.

I am no where near being an organized person. Planning ahead and keeping up with things before they occur does not come naturally to me. However, I can assure you that simple short cuts such as this one will save you lots of time and stress in the end.

Take a few minutes to check out my other back to school posts if you haven't done so already. ~Michelle

Thank you Mrs. Fields for this recipe. :)
Marbles Cookies
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300° F.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine sugars with electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and beat until batter is grainy. Add egg, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until fully combined. Add the flour mix. Blend at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix!

Melt chocolate chips in double broiler or microwave according to package directions.

Cool chocolate for a few minutes then pour over cookie batter. Using a wooden spoon, lightly fold melted chocolate into the dough. Do not mix chocolate completely into the dough as you are trying to create a marble effect.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Do not brown. Quickly transfer cookies to a cool surface.

Notes from the Meeting

Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:26, 27

Nothing is too hard for The Lord. Not even allowing a way for sinful humans to enter a sinless heaven. The Lord God of heaven, Jesus Christ Himself, came to earth. He allowed us to hang Him on the cross in order to take the punishment for our less than perfect actions away. He freely offers this gift of eternal life to everyone. However, like all gifts, it must be accepted. As painful and difficult as it was for the Lord to die in our place, it was not too hard. Is it too hard for us to accept this wonderful gift? Just something to think about.

For those of us who are true believers, the Lord has only a few simple commands in the New Testament. One of them is "Do this in remembrance of Me" Luke 22:19. Do we take the time to remember Him who remembered us?

Disclaimer: I get the ideas for this during my time at church meetings on Sunday. I am not writing everything exactly as I heard it. Some of my own thoughts may be thrown in. (A special thank you to the sharer) May you be encouraged in your walk as I am in mine. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Space saving desk

Tabitha is happy to be using her desk for the first time this year. I bought all the supplies for it last school year, but only got around to putting things together the week before school started this year. (Seth also has one that is baseball themed.)

One of the supplies from her hanging pencil pouch along with an animated expression:

The cork board thingies for future use:

This was simple enough to make. If you're strapped for money or space this is a good answer.  I keep mine folded and off in a corner. The kids like that they can have their own privacy and all the supplies they could possibly need for their homework.

I read about this in Family Fun magazine. They always have lots of fun ideas.

Take a few minutes to check out my other back to school posts if you haven't done so already. ~Michelle

  • one tri-fold poster board cut in half
  • small cork board and thumbtacks
  • plastic hook
  • magnet friendly ruler and magnets
  • extra strong double sided tape
  • pencil pouch filled with student's needs
  • paper decorations (cut outs from magazines, children's art, memorabilia from a day trip, etc)
  • decoupage glue, paint brush and bowl
Attach ruler and cork boards in desired locations with double sided tape. Apply plastic hook making sure to leave enough room for the pencil pouch to hang.

Have your pictures ready to go. Paint the decoupage glue in the area for your first picture, place picture on top, then paint liberally with more glue, making sure it all looks even. Continue doing this until you are content with the outcome.

Set the poster board aside for 4 hours or so, laying it flat so everything dries nicely. Now you can hang your full pencil pouch. Place magnets on ruler and push thumbtacks into the cork board.

Time: 30-40 minutes or work. 5 hours til usable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here we go again

Today was Seth's first day of Kindergarten. He was excited, although he shows it differently than Tabitha. He's just not as giddy.

All morning Tabitha was giving him tips about school.  "You can't scream like that in school, Seth." "You have gym in kindergarten, but they call it PE."  "You get to take your own books out of the library EVERY WEEK." "Don't hit anyone or yell at them or you'll have to go to the principal's office." There was no end of advice.

I could not get him to stand still for pictures, so I had to accept his funky dance moves.

He's got some rhythm, like I haven't seen among the other kids.

Spiderman backpack:

Happy face.

Cluster of acorns. Our backyard is full of them.

And they're off. Patricia is always running.

We had the whole family with us today. Hi Enoch and Ian! (No pictures of the photographer, please and thank you. :)   )

Now he's at school and has on his stoic look that must run in the family.

There's his teacher. Seth gets his own locker... how fun!

I'll end with Ian our future ball player. He puts a smile on my face. He's wearing a baseball outfit. He insisted on the baseball cap and he cries when he doesn't have a ball in his hand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School binder

I am a BIG collector of memories. I think, in part, its because I have such a bad memory. Storing things away helps me remember them when I look at them. For my children, who I know will forget much of their early years, I feel like I have to store their memories for them.

For a couple of years now I have stored "special" school papers in a big closed folder type thingy. One for each child per year kind of thing. I think that system works ok, but the folder can get ripped if it's handled too much and the contents can get all out of sorts, so I am trying something new this year.

Behold, The Memory Binder:

Da, da, da, dun:

Inside I store all sorts of things (obviously). Today I'll be demonstrating Tabitha's Kindergarten binder.

When you open it up I have her class picture in a page protector. Easy to see and not so easy to bend or smudge. Well, I suppose with kids it will still be easy to destroy, but hopefully it won't be too bad.

Enoch saw this picture hanging in the school office and asked if he could have it when they were done. They said yes! I glued the glasses she's wearing in the picture on top. (Tabitha is the one with her head turned in the yellow shirt and overall dress)

I like to keep at least one copy of papers that she does regularly.

This is a certificate she earned during the year.

Larger art work gets folded in thirds and hole punched in.

Some pieces were too small to be punched or I just wanted to keep them whole. For those, I glued them onto construction paper and added them to the book.

Right now they are sitting on my book shelf, but they'll eventually make their way to a more secure storage location. Assuming I do this until about 5th grade for the four kids I should have about 24 binders. YIKES!

Do you have any good memory storage ideas I should know about???

For other tips, check out Works for me Wednesday at We are THAT family.

Take a few minutes to check out my other back to school posts if you haven't done so already. ~Michelle

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Does it bother you to throw things away instead of using them? I came across this tip a few years ago and I love it. You know the plastic tabs that close your bag of bread, potatoes or onions? We save them in our house. I use them to scrape off dishes that has food stuck to it.

For instance, this here pot, my mom tried using the scrub brush for, but she couldn't get it clean. My handy dandy tab did the job in just a few short minutes.

I used to use my fingernails a lot, but that can hurt! Let me know if you have any other methods of getting stuck on food off of your dishes.

To see other tips, visit Tammy's Recipes. She is a faithful sister in the Lord.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School- Tabitha

Tabitha has been waiting for this day all summer. Sure, she enjoyed our sporadic outings, but she missed being in school all day every day. She's a social girl, what can I say?
Today, she was totally ready to enter 2nd grade. She was dressed within 5 minutes of waking up and begging to leave right away. I had to convince her to eat something, anything to fill her little belly. When she was fed, she begged to leave again, but it was still too early.

The power of packed lunch. She got upset, because something in her lunch leaked. Every year something ruins her lunch bag early on. Hopefully this year she can hang onto this for the whole year.

This is the best pic I could get of all four kids together. They rarely ever cooperate for group shots. Seth makes sure that he looks upset in all group pictures, but he really is happy. Just another of his attention getting techniques, I suppose. (He gets to start school in two days, so you'll see another set of pics then, Lord willing.)

This is the view from our front door. As you can see, we don't have far to go.

Tabitha wasted NO TIME. She rushed ahead of me, I barely had time to take the camera out of the bag to capture this shot. :)

When she finally got in her class room, she was suddenly quiet and nervous. By the end she had a great day and made some new friends as well as connected with the old ones.

Menu Plan Monday

In October, Enoch and I will have our 8th wedding anniversary. Time sure does fly! Well, for about the last month I've been making weekly menus. I'm not sure what's taken me so long to finally do it, but it has helped me tremendously.

Not only do I now make menus, but now I get to share them with you. Isn't that exciting???!!! :)

Breakfasts: muffins, smoothies and toast, pancakes, cereal, dosai with sambar, and yogurt parfaits.

Lunches: PB & J, egg salad, leftovers, lunch meat sandwiches, pot pies, quesadillas, grill cheese sandwiches and leftovers.

Dinners: Chicken drumsticks with carrots and potatoes.

Mexican shepard's pie

Sausage in spaghetti sauce with rotini and coleslaw

Hotdogs with chili sauce, chips and veggies



leftovers night.

With menu planning I end up having more than enough food for the week. Whatever meals we don't end up cooking, make the follow week that much more easy.

For more menu ideas hop over to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Splashing fun?

Is this a face only a mother could love? Yes, it is... if you knew where he had just been. I will start off by saying that he is our first child who has repeatedly gone to this place for fun. I don't know how long he was there, but he was found at the toilet getting soaked. I'm sure you're just as disgusted as I get each time I find him in that area of the house.

I don't have any action shots, thankfully. This picture was taken after I scrubbed him down and put clean clothes on him.

What kind of yucky situations have you found your kids in?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Afternoon Amusement

Yesterday we bought this puzzle at Target in their dollar spot section. It's a 100 piece good quality puzzle.
Tabitha enjoyed spending her time making it. I like it. On the box they tell you what planets are what. Anything to quietly occupy children and teach them something at the same time sounds like a good deal to me.

Here's the coolest thing about the puzzle, though. You can imagine how much the kids liked the glow in the dark part:

Have you found any great $1 finds lately?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Side trip to Oregon

During our visit to Seattle we took a couple days to drive down the Oregon coast. Welcome to Oregon!!!

From this picture one would think that our kids really enjoyed the ride. Everything we saw was breathtaking, but the kids mostly complained about being in the car.

I guess in this case the kids were glad to be "out of" the car. :) Here they are with their abba.

This is from a 415 year old tree. Posing with the grands.

A cool piece of driftwood.

It wouldn't be complete without a climb, now would it?

The beaches are beautiful, although a little too chilly to go into.

"Be careful Patricia!" :)

My seagull friend.

Look! A picture with just Enoch and I together. Haven't seen one of those in a while.

This is what we went on the drive for- to see all these beauties. Too bad the kids couldn't understand that this is what its all about.

I loved the rocky cliff thingies.

I really think we should have gone on a nice hike. That really would have completed the trip, but it just wasn't in the agenda. Next time, right?

Abba and Jeji themselves.

I think these are cows, but I kind of forget.

The man, abba, himself, just a few short weeks after his heart procedure. Already braving an adventure with 4 rambunctious kids.

Just lovely.

Beach in the morning.

We looked for sand dollars, but we couldn't find any.

Ian and Jeji.

We stopped by a family friend's house on our way back to Seattle. Lovely visit for lunch.

Goodbye Oregon. See you next time!