Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Toddler's Creed

I ran across this post on another site and thought it was too appropriate not to link to.


While her daughter is just about to turn two, Ladybug is right in the middle of two-dom, and boy do we know it some days. I'm hesitant to say terrible twos because she really is great 98% of the time. The only times she gets defiant is when she's tired so you could say that's our fault too.

We're enjoying the ride and are still very optimistic that she will do great transitioning to the role of big sister in the next month or so. But for now enjoy the truth in the toddler's creed!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween

Despite Ladybug not walking well we still decided to take her Trick or Treating. Another use for the wagon! We made a stop at Maamaa and Papa's before heading to Uncle Guy and Aunt Holly's for dinner and trick or treating with the group. These are the only pictures we remembered to take.

Chris wheeled her around in the wagon while the other kids went to the doors. We did skip in front of the group a couple of times to let her walk up to the door. I think we may have gotten her to say trick or treat once but she was good about saying thank you.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Since the only people that read this blog are family (any non family readers please comment and let me know) this isn't much of an announcement. Ladybug is going to be a big sister in just a few short months! We are due the middle of January although Chris is hoping for the end of December.

We again decided not to find out the gender and will be anxiously awaiting to find out when this little one decides to make their arrival. We have been busy getting prepared for this one.

Chris left his job at the county and is working on his own at http://www.simmonscomputersolutions.com/ This is an exciting time/change for our family and we have faith that it has been God's will for him to do this since we have both had such a tremendous peace about it. With this development he has moved his office out of our house and into the Centercourt office building. This leaves us with a sitting room/office/craft room in place of his office and our guest room will now be the baby's room.

There is still a lot of work to be done and our hope is to be finished before we get Christmas decorations up.

I foresee a lot of Saturday evenings (after hunting of course) and Sunday afternoons (with the game on) spent organizing and arranging.

Pumpkin Carving

Chris and Ladybug had fun carving the pumpkin Wednesday night. I'm pretty sure Chris did most of the work but I know he enjoyed Ladybug's 'supervising'. She did help some although I'm thinking she wasn't to sure about pulling the seeds out!

I think the face in this picture says it all!

This was the only scoop we could get her to do.

Once she realized that mommy had the camera out she was more interested in posing for pictures, Cheese!

The finished product - Ladybug says we put a happy face on it!


From two and a half bushels of apples, mostly Granny Smith, I was able make 25 quarts of applesauce, 5 quarts of apple pie filling and 5 quarts of apple butter. We should be able to make it until next fall now. I also had enough apples left over to make an apple pie and we've been eating apples with lunch for a couple weeks also.

For the applesauce I just peeled, cored and sliced the apples, cooked them down with a tiny bit of water and lemon juice then pureed them before canning.
The apple pie filling recipe was found at www.tastykitchen.com and the apple butter was made from 6 quarts of applesauce. I used splenda instead of sugar and cooked it down in the crock pot before canning.
I'm still working on the perfect apple pie recipe so as soon as I get it right I'll be sure to share.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Signs of Fall

We have been busy with fall activities! Apple picking and visiting the pumpkin patch. Our visit to Carter Mountain Orchards was fun and productive. We remembered to bring the wagon this year and it was helpful in toting the apples and Ladybug. She enjoyed eating the apples but was a little unstable trying to walk on the mountainside. Chris got quite the workout pulling her around!

We picked two bags of apples and then got another two bushels of Granny Smith. I'll be showing you later what became of all those apples.

Our trip to the pumpkin patch was just as successful. Ladybug enjoyed the hayride and loved following Gage and Riley around. She was insistent on getting a small pumpkin even though Chris and I tried to talk her into a bigger one. We did end up getting a large and small pumpkin and she points to them on the porch as Mommy and Daddy's pumpkin (the big one) and Madelynn's pumpkin (the small one).

She's holding her pumpkin and ours is in the front. Her and Chris will be carving that one some time this week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time Saving Tactics

As a busy working mom of one and another on the way I feel the need to be as organized and planned as possible in order to get things done. One of my favorite ‘tricks’ is menu planning.

I have been menu planning since Chris and I got married, in fact we used to have a sign over the kitchen that said ‘Dinner Choices: 1) Take it 2) Leave It’. I have my brother in law to thank for that sign! His wife was asking what I did if Chris did not like what was on the menu and I said I did not ask, if he did not like it he could make something himself. I try and choose things that we all like and the deal is that if something does not turn out we will order pizza. I now try and get him to approve the menu before I finish my grocery list.

My approach to menu planning has changed over the years and the practice has come and gone as well. I always know when I have been lax about planning because our grocery bill goes through the roof and we start eating out a lot.

I originally created a weekly menu and went to the grocery store at least once a week. Since we started our budget (we love Dave Ramsey) in April I have started doing a biweekly menu and have tried to limit the trips to the grocery store to 3 times a month. It also helps that I only have so much money to spend every two weeks.

A problem that I encountered with trying to plan two weeks worth of menus at a time was that I could not come up with meal ideas for 14 days. Not to mention breakfast and lunch everyday as well. To help with this I have a list of our favorite meals to pick from as well as side ideas. Breakfast and lunch is simplified by having the same thing everyday during the week and then concentrating on leftovers on the weekend.

My first glance through the meal list is to look for things using what we already have in the house. I try and buy meats in bulk and freeze so that it keeps our grocery costs down. We also buy canned vegetables and tomatoes in bulk as quick sides and for use in recipes. Once I have used everything in the house I can fill in with what’s on sale at the store when I plan on shopping.

I would say it probably takes me 20 minutes to create our menu and grocery list for 2 weeks. I start by listing anything I know we’re out of, then create the menu based on what we have, then I go back to my grocery list and fill in with anything being used up and needed for the 2 weeks.
So far we have managed to keep our spending with in budget and not eat rice and beans every night. (although Ladybug probably would not mind that)

Do you menu plan? Why or why not?

Monday, August 30, 2010


I can not believe how fast time flies! Our little one is not so little anymore at 2 years old. She loves to help her daddy work on the computers and he has given her her own keyboard and mouse.

We had her birthday party a few weeks ago and it was a huge success. The theme was Hawaiian Luau. I made little favor boxes with candy and I made her cake (it's a flower if you can't tell).

Instead of making everyone eat my cooking I got a Ukrops cake. Besides what's a birthday without Ukrops cake?

Her party was on a Sunday and I made cupcakes to take to school for Monday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Beach Fun

Please ignore my picture. Ladybug was not afraid of the water at all she would walk in all by herself.

I'm going to guess that these white birds were cranes of some sort. They were all over the beach and very unbothered by humans - even the little ones. Ladybug had fun chasing one and almost caught it before it flew away.

Beach Trip

So we got back from vacation about a month ago, I figured it was time to get some pictures up and things seem to have slowed down enough to be able to do something. (Ha Ha)

Ladybug loved the beach but was ready to come home by Friday. This worked out well for us since she didn't ride well and leaving early enabled us to drive in spurts.

This was on the beach in front of where we stayed (Fort Myers Beach). The water and weather was wonderful!

Ladybug had a lot of fun climbing all over the furniture and spending lots of time with daddy. She has also discovered what a camera is and will start saying cheese when she sees one.

Captiva island was so pretty, we didn't stay very long and didn't find many shells but the water was great.

We stopped in Daytona Beach on the way down to visit our friends Ronnie and Kelly. We usually go down in April so Chris can go fishing but just tacked the fishing trip to the beginning of our vacation. They had a fun day on the water and caught quite a few dolphin fish (mahi mahi). We really enjoyed this fish later in the week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recipe Time - Lasagna


3 pounds ground beef (I use venison)
1 large onion, diced
½ large head of garlic, diced
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

32 oz Cottage Cheese
32 oz Ricotta Cheese
5 large eggs
1 tbsp Parsley
¼ tsp Italian Seasoning

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (14 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
¼ tsp anchovy paste
½ tsp garlic powder

2 boxes lasagna noodles

In large skillet cook onion 5 minutes, add garlic cook another 3 minutes. Add meat (if using beef, remove onion and garlic before adding meat) and brown. Drain if using beef and add onion and garlic back in. Add seasoning. Set mixture aside.

In large bowl combine cheeses, egg and seasoning. Mix well, set aside.

In large bowl combine tomatoes, pastes and seasoning.

Place ½ cup tomato sauce in bottom of pans. Layer noodles, beef mixture, and tomato sauce. Place another layer of noodles then add a layer of the cheese mixture. Continue alternating between beef layer and cheese layer, finishing with noodles on top. Cover with tomato sauce.

At this point the lasagna can be frozen until ready to use.

If baking immediately bake at 375 for 45 minutes, add shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes before cutting.

If frozen either thaw completely and bake as above or place covered, frozen lasagna in 375 oven for 2 hours. Remove cover and bake at 400 for another 30 – 45 minutes. Add shredded mozzarella cheese and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 20 minutes before cutting.