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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Gingerbread House and Sugar Cookies!

Dustin went to "Deer Camp" for a whole weekend.
So we found lots of fun things to fill our weekend without him!
Grandma Sue has bought a gingerbread house the past few years and we have loved helping her decorate it!
We had a few more  helpers this year that made it even more fun.
I said, "Peighton, can you look at me?"
This is what I got...

Preston was very precise with where he wanted his candies to go.

Peighton liked making patterns with the candy.
We decorated sugar cookies too but I guess I was having too much fun decorating to take pictures!

All of our helpers!
Someday everyone will pay attention when we want them to look at the camera!!!!!
I guess three out of four isn't too bad.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Potty Training Boot Camp

Preston is attending Potty Training Boot Camp this week.
He's doing a great long as there are skittles and M & M's for motivation!!!!!
We also have a basket full of "Potty Prezzies" as he calls them.
(It's a basket full of small treasures from the Dollar Store!  He thinks it's fantastic.)
We set our timer and every time it goes off I see this fabulous face:

And in between our potty sessions we play LOTS of tractors.

He makes the best tractor noises.

We got a little more creative today and made some roads with tape on the floor.
This little farmer is LOVING it.
Hopefully someday soon we will wear pants again....and maybe leave the house too!
We can only hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sourdough Bread- In the Bread Machine and NO starter!

We LOVE sourdough bread.
It's so yummy with soup or made into paninis or french toast....I could go on.
One time,
 (when I had a lot of time on my hands...a.k.a. no kids)
I made a sourdough starter that I kept in the fridge.
I made a loaf every few weeks or so and when I wasn't using it I had to "feed" it.
It made FABULOUS sourdough bread.
But it took a lot of "feeding."
A few years and a few kids later I know I would NEVER remember to "feed" something that didn't whine, cry or throw a fit when it needed fed. ;-)
When I found a bread machine recipe for Sourdough bread I was a bit skeptical.
No starter?
It doesn't have to sit for a few days before you use it?
I figured it was worth a try.
And it was pretty good!
It does taste different that a normal loaf made with a starter.
But it's still pretty good and has that distinct sourdough taste.
Sourdough Bread (made in the Bread Machine)
2/3 cup water (70-80 degrees)
2 T white vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (I used plain greek yogurt)
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
3 Cups bread flour
2 1/4 active dry yeast
Add all ingredients in this order.
(wet ingredients always in the bottom, then dry ingredients and the yeast last)
Choose the Basic cycle.

Super yummy and very easy!
We're having ours with soup tonight!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amy Butler + Grey Chevron = :-)

Two of my favorite things:

Amy Butler Bag Patterns
Grey Chevron
Naturally, combining the two of the makes me smile!
I tried out Amy Butler's Field Bag
Super cute.
A little larger than I thought it would be but still very cute.
I did not use the piping because I just don't like it.
I also chose the "tote" version which does not include a zipper.

I made it in my current fave, Chevron.
I LOVE it.

I will definately be making this again and adding the zipper.
It is a LARGE bag though.
I was hoping it would be more of an "everyday" bag but it's just too big.
I think I could easily size it down a bit.
I used it thanksgiving day to put all of our "stuff" in and take to Mom's house.
I had :
Preston's diapers
 nap things,
 extra clothes
 a box of crackers
 a container of batter for our fried cheese curds
and a cheese ball in there with room to spare!
This one's a keeper!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CHEVRON tree skirt!

I've been meaning to make a tree skirt for about the last TEN years.
I bought a cheap one our very first christmas.
Each time I've pulled it out the past few years I have thought to myself how much I needed a better one!
I finally took the time to get it done.
I had pinned Amy Butler's version on Pinterest and I think that's what finally inspired me to do it.
I did download it and read through it.
But that's about as far as I got.
I decided to just start cutting and do it my own way- I figured it couldn't be THAT hard, right!?!
And hers had felt for part of it....I didn't want felt.
I used a cream colored duck cloth.
I was right, this was such a super easy project!
And I used my most favorite Chevron!
I think it turned out pretty cute.
It is a LARGE improvement from what we had before!
And it was easy too!
Follow Amy's directions if you want to make your own...or just start cutting circles like I did!
Either way, it's a fun project that made a big difference under our tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hello Kitty Christmas!

Peighton in the fabric store usually costs me money.
She likes to pick things out.
A LOT of things.
I don't usually do much (other than pajamas) with character fabric.
I just don't love it.
I often tell Peighton that there "just isn't enough for a dress."
But when she saw this Hello Kitty fabric she asked me with very hopeful eyes if "there was enough for a dress."
I told her "maybe" knowing that I was probably going to have to do it...
So, I did.
And I don't mind it too much.
I cut off a t-shirt and added a very full skirt to it-her favorite kind. ;-)

And I thought a little flower with a peppermint button in the middle would be pretty cute too.
Preston was "dozing" the dress while I was trying to take a picture.

Monday, November 19, 2012

She's FINALLY 6!!!!

Friday, the 16th, Peighton finally turned six years old.
I think the day after she turned five she "couldn't WAIT to be six."
She told me this at least once a week.
She had very specific things she wanted to happen for her birthday this year:
1. Bacon for her birthday breakfast.
(I convinced her to add waffles to the menu too.)
2. Pizza Ranch for dinner on Friday night.
3. A Princess Tiana birthday party so she could wear her dress from Disney again.
Her birthday breakfast-the bacon was cooking while we blew out candles!

Our traditional "bear picture."
We have been doing the bear picture since she was tiny and it is so fun to look at all of them!
This one is at 2 months old.
I have put them into a book on Shutterfly and Peighton loves to look at them and hear stories about herself!

Nellie got a new ice skating outfit!

She was so excited for her birthday party!
She asked me if she "could pose" for this picture.
It must be a princess pose.

It was a bit of a "crock-pot-palooza" that night!

Every party requires a pinata!

I think her most favorite present was a pair of roller skates.
She has worn them almost nonstop!

These crazy hair clips were in the pinata....and she wore every single one of them!!!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Farewell to Fall....and Halloween a little bit late...

It's cold.
To me, that means Fall is almost over and Winter is about to set in.
I really like Fall but it can't last forever!
We have enjoyed the past few weeks of "warm-ish" weather by playing in the leaves one last time, carving pumpkins, making fun Halloween food and of course Trick or Treating!
(If you ask Preston though it's "Licky-Leat.")

He was "sleeping" in the leaves.

Mummy Dogs!
We wrapped breadsticks around cocktail weinies-the kids thought these were fantastic.

No Fall is complete without a few Jack-O-Lanterns!

Trick or Treat time!
My Princess and the Frog duo were adorable.

We went trick or treating with Spiderman too but I think he was off saving the world and was too busy for a picture.
Or he was just being of the two.
Tiana and Spiderman thought they had to race each other to the door because they wanted to be the first to ring the doorbell.

Preston tried to keep up...but his legs are kinda short.
Another wonderful Fall for the Fords.
Can't wait to see what fun Winter brings!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chewy Granola Energy Bars

The kids LOVE granola bars.
I pinned a recipe that looked pretty yummy.
We tried it out and they are quite good!
Chewy Granola Energy Bars
The original recipe came from HERE.
Chewy Granola Energy Bars
2 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 cup Rice Krispies
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup mini M & M candies
1/2 cup chopped peanuts ( left these out)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground flax ( left this out-didn't have any!)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9x9 pan with Pam.
Combine all ingredients and press into prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes and score the bars.
Cool completely and then cut the bars.
The kids LOVED these!!!!!!

I have a request to make these again for "Deer Camp."
You know, for when they force themselves to be out in the cold waiting for "the big one" to come by.
At least they'll have something yummy to eat!

Monday, October 29, 2012

We love crock pot freezer meals!!!!!

Crockpot Freezer Meals=
Best. Thing. Ever.
We have eaten almost all of my first round of freezer meals.
I've learned a few things.
And it's for sure time to make more!
What I've learned:
1. I do NOT like broccoli or cauliflower in the crock pot.
No good.
When we got home from dance class that night and had one cooking it smelled so awful.
And I still smelled it a few days later.
And it stunk up my dishwasher.
We really like broccoli and cauliflower-just not in crock pot dishes!
From now on, I will do those on the side if needed!
2. Chicken dishes do not do well when cooked all day.
Most of the recipes use chicken breasts, which are just too lean to be cooked for that long.
So, I've been using the chicken dishes when I can start it in the early afternoon and it only cooks for about 4-5 hours.
3. These meals are so great to have in the freezer!!!!!
Dustin does a lot of traveling and when it's just me and the kids I don't always have time to cook something decent.
Peighton is also getting more involved with evening activities and I'm just not home to cook.
Freezer meals to the rescue!
I whipped up a few more this weekend.
The recipes I chose this time were from The Crockin Girls Cookbook.
Love this cookbook!!!!

Pictures of every recipe and most are super easy and normal-my kinda cookbook.
They include appetizers, breakfast, side dishes, main dishes AND dessert!
I might be trying every single recipe.
Frito Pie
1 lb cooked ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cans pork and beans
1 package chili seasoning
Combine all ingredients and freeze.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Serve on top of fritos.
Optional toppings include:
shredded cheese, sour cream black olives

( We actually ate this one last night-it never made it to the freezer!
Peighton gave it two thumbs up!)
Teriyaki Chicken
1 small bag baby carrots
1 (20 oz) can chunk pineapple
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 chicken breasts, or 6 thighs
1/2 teriyaki sauce
Combine all and freeze.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve over rice.
Caribbean Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups water
1 bottle Caribbean jerk marinade
 1 small onion, sliced
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
Combine all ingredients, freeze.
Cook on low 7-8 hours.
The pineapple can be added the last hour but I like to dump everything in.
Serve over rice or in tortillas.
Zesty Shredded Chicken Barbecue
6 chicken breasts
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T Worchestershire sauce
1 onion, sliced
Combine all and freeze.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
Shred the chicken and return to slow cooker.
Serve on sub rolls.
Parmesan chicken
1 package onion soup mix
1 cup uncooked rice (Add when ready to cook)
2 cups parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup milk (add when ready to cook)
2 can cream of mushroom soup ( Add when ready to cook)
6 chicken breasts
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together onion soup mix, parm cheese, chicken and butter.
When ready to cook add the rice, milk, and cream of mushroom soup.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Cranberry Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1 can cranberry sauce
1 bottle russian dressing
1 package onion soup mix
Combine all and freeze.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Serve over rice or egg noodles.
I made this one last time too and we all LOVED it.
Salsa Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1 large jar of salsa
1 can black beans
Combine all and freeze.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve in tortillas.
Polynesian Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 can pineapple chunks
Combine all and freeze.
COok on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve over rice.
Heartthrob Pork
2 pound pork tenderloin, cut in large pieces
1 can apple pie filling
1 bottle BBQ sauce
Combine all and freeze.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve over rice.
I can't wait to try these!
I picked recipes that I know the kids will like and do NOT include cauliflower!!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Egg Sausage and Biscuit Cups

We have a serious love for breakfast around here.
Especially when I can make them ahead of time and freeze them for another day!
These little biscuit cups are some of our favorites.
I make a dozen of them and freeze half.
Dustin will often grab one on his way out the door in the morning!

Egg, Sausage and Biscuit Cups

1 package Grands Pull apart biscuits
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 lb sausage, cooked and drained (I used spicy sausage)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

I used my jumbo muffin pan to make these.
I think they would work in a regular sized muffin tin as well.

Lightly spray the muffin pan with Pam.
Preheat oven to 350.
Wisk together the eggs and milk.
Add salt and pepper.

Technically, the package of Grands biscuits would make 16 egg cups if you pulled each biscuit in half...but I like to do just one round of baking.
So, a few of my cups have a whole biscuit in the bottom because I only have room for 12 egg cups!

Flatten the biscuit and press into the bottom of each muffin cup.
Put the cooked sausage in the bottom.
Top with the egg mixture.
Then sprinkle on the cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs are done.

If freezing, let them cool in the fridge then wrap each one in saran wrap.
I've frozen them for about a month and they were still really good!
You can either thaw them overnight in the fridge or unwrap them and put them straight into the microwave!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A day at the "Punk-O" Patch

It has become a yearly tradition to make a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.
Preston calls it the "punk-O" patch.
We tried a new one this year and it was fabulous!
We went to Bloomsbury Farm in Atkins.

Peighton's favorite part was the pig races and I'd have to agree.
Preston loved the corn pit.
All ready to go!

They look kinda scared in this picture!

The big wooden tractor was a highlight for Preston.

There was a fun little train to ride on that everyone loved!

And what is a pumpkin patch without a pit of corn!?!?!

This boy loved it.

You can imagine the scene that happened when it was time to get out though.....;-)

Of course, we picked out a few pumpkins before we left.
Preston was determined to pick up a big one.

And he had to haul it in his own wagon.
He was doing great until Katy put a HUGE pumpkin in!
Such a fun day!
Now we just need to carve our pumpkins and put them on the porch!