Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Once again I've got a few meals left over from last week that are coming back this week. We switched some meals out and ate out once so I didn't cook them all. Some weeks just work out better than others.
Monday - Dijon chicken (286 calories) and Parmesan-roasted broccoli
Tuesday - Crock pot salsa chicken and black beans
Wednesday - sandwiches for me & the kids (hubby's gone)
Thursday - Orange sesame pork chops (370 calories) and rice (instead of the noodles the recipe calls for)
The white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake that I made for my family reunion over the weekend was a hit. (I posted the recipe last Monday.) I didn't make the almond topping but decorated it with white chocolate chips and a dusting of cinnamon. I brought home an empty plate!

For tons of great recipe ideas go to

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A surprise in the yard

Who knew we had a friend with a bobcat? A really nice guy that works with Chris offered to come and help us move around our piles of dirt, rocks, and tree stumps (from when the land was originally cleared for the house). Of course we took him up on it! It took about a day and a half but the work got down. Chris spread more grass seed in the back yard so that maybe one day we'll actually have a yard and not a mud pit. Even so...the yard looks much better. While the guys were moving dirt around they came across a patch of wild onions. I guess it doesn't matter that I never got around to planting a garden. Our friend also brought his 4 year old son with him so the three boys had a great time playing in the yard all day. Boy did they get dirty!

After the little bit of rain/sprinkles that we're getting today (great for our new grass seed) maybe we can get back out and do a little more work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

At some point this week hubby won't be home for dinner but I'm unsure of the day just yet....probably Wednesday or Thursday. So, some of our meal may shift around but this is what is planned for the week.

Sunday - Chicken and sesame noodles
Monday - Dijon chicken (286 calories) with parmesan roasted broccoli and bread sticks
Tuesday - Orange sesame pork chops (370 calories) and rice
Wednesday - Sweet and sour chicken with rice - in the crock pot
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Shake & Bake pork with butternut squash casserole
This weekend is our family reunion and although I'm not sure what main dish I'll bring for the potluck I do know what dessert I'm bringing - Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. Let me tell is a little bit of work but it is wonderful! You will love it and your friends and family will love it. There is a topping for it that I don't usually make but I'm including it here.
Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake
2 cups gingersnaps (whole)
6 T butter (or a little less)
1 1/2 T brown sugar
3 pkg cream cheese (8 oz each)
3/4 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup melted white chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup almonds
1 t sugar
2 T butter
Preheat oven to 350. Wrap outside of springform pan with foil. In processor, grind gingersnaps; add sugar and melted butter and press into a 9" springform pan. Bake 5-7 minutes. Take out and keep oven at temp.
Mix cream cheese and sugar in processor until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until completely mixed and smooth. Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until cheesecake starts to crack.
While cooling, process almonds, butter and sugar in processor and spread evenly on cookie sheet. Put in oven for 6-7 minutes, or until it starts to toast.
Spread almond mixture evenly on top of cheesecake and cool 4-5 hours. Remove rings of pan and serve.
For lots of great meal planning ideas go to

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last week in review

We haven't done just too many exciting things lately to warrant their own blog post so I'm condensing the week into one. Last weekend we took the boys to the movies to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The boys like to watch movies at home but it's hard to sit still for that long. Still, they're getting better and never even got out of their seats.....just a little wiggly at the end. After the movie we headed to a Halloween store to look at costumes. Alex had decided that he didn't want to be a soldier like daddy after all, at least not for Halloween. This is what I hoped they'd be:I thought they looked so cute as Batman and Robin and really hoped they'd dress in "matching" costumes but Zachary wouldn't have any of it. He barely let me keep the Robin costume on him long enough to take the picture.

Alex on the other hand, loved the Batman costume (as though you can't tell from his super hero poses) and so we got it for him. Zachary is going to wear the soldier outfit (we got another one in his size) and he will be super cute too.

Monday was when I got my hair done after a weekend of suffering with the grey hairs. My hair is not too much different from before but it is a little lighter and better shaped up. I can still see those darn grey hairs though!

Thursday I started a 30 day challenge on my Wii Active. I have been neglecting my Wii exercises (or any at all!) and had fallen off the diet wagon. I'm back on track now and started the 30 day challenge to make myself do something. After only two days (today was a rest day) I am sore. The Wii Active is more exercise than the others and not really fun. It will make you run in place, and do lunge after lunge after lunge. Plus it's got a resistance band so you work out your arms too. Ouch! Hopefully by workout time tomorrow I won't be hobbling around and groaning when I sit and stand like I am today. I am down 16 pounds from when I started towards the end of June but I've got at least that more to go until I'm where I want to be. Wish me luck!

Oh, and the pool is fixed now. No more green and no more leak!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh no!

I found a grey hair! Last week I noticed two of the nasty little suckers and asked Chris for his opinion. He said that he couldn't tell but was happy that I got them before he did. What a nice hubby. Luckily I was already planning to get some high lights put in (so that should hide them). When I went to the salon yesterday the hairdresser confirmed my grey hair sighting and even said there were a few more on top. What?!? I don't feel old enough for grey hair but I am in my mid-thirties so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. *Sigh*

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week hubby ended up taking off work Thursday and Friday so it threw my meal planning off a little bit (we ate out). So....I've got one of last week's meals making a repeat appearance this week.

Monday - Lime garlic chicken with rice (in the crock pot) & Easy zucchini Parmesan (52 calories)
Tuesday - Apple & pork stir-fry (298 calories)
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Taco pizza
Friday - Crunchy onion chicken (331 calories) with baked potatoes

I also plan to make biscuit donuts for a snack for the kids (O.K., maybe for me too) sometime this week. If you've never had donuts like this you should really try it. They are super easy, cheap and oh so good.

Biscuit donuts
One can of plain biscuits - I usually just get the cheapest can
Vegetable oil

Heat several inches of oil in a pot. Unwrap biscuits and poke holes in the center of each with a thimble (or whatever you've got). You could also just use your fingers but you won't get the yummy donut holes. Fry the donuts a few at a time in the oil making sure to flip them over when browned. It will only take a few minutes. Remove to a plate.

To top the donuts I usually make a glaze of milk and powdered sugar (add cocoa powder for a chocolate glaze). Dip the donut tops in the glaze. Another yummy topping would be to shake the donuts in a bag of sugar and cinnamon.

Don't forget to visit for tons of great meal ideas.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Green with envy

or maybe it's just algae. Whatever the reason our beautiful pool is full of green murky water - yuck! Luckily we have a pool guy (free 3 months of service when we bought the pool) so someone other than us is taking care of it. He said it's happening to lots of his clients because of all the inches and inches and inches of rain we've gotten. On top of the green water, our pool also has a leak. Great, huh? We're pretty sure the problem area has been found and the concrete guys should be here any day to get it fixed. (It's leaking where the top pool flows into the bottom one. The "waterfall" isn't sealed well.) Of course it's too rainy and cool for swimming but it sure would be nice to having it pretty and working!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Today seemed to be a picture day around here. Some days the boys are just so stinking cute. Like this morning when Chris dressed Alex in some of his new fall clothes. See the shirt? Chris thought that meant that he needed to be in the picture with Alex and then of course Zachary jumped in too. When Chris and Alex left to take the dog to the groomers, Zachary and I started getting out our Halloween/fall decorations. Zachary loves this scarecrow and keeps hugging it and asking if he can hold it. It's just about his size. While the boys were napping I finally finished up a project I've been trying to get done. I found super cute instructions on another blog for making a reversable super hero cape. It's Batman on
one side and Superman on the other. Alex & Zachary (especially Alex) are really into super heros right now so I thought they'd love it. After Alex had worn it for awhile and gave it to Zachary to take a turn he said "I'm Wolverine". Uh oh. I don't think I can make a Wolverine outfit. I am planning to make another cape though so the boys don't have to share. I've got all the stuff...just have to find the time.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week hubby forgot to tell me that he'd be gone friday night so that meal is now set for tonight. Other than that I made all last weeks meal according to schedule. They were all new ones for us and they were all yummy. I never got around (again) to the homemade pop tarts but still want to try them. I'm counting calories still when I can but remember this is sometimes counted by me with my particular brand of ingredients so they could vary a little.

Monday - Italian turkey sausage manicotti (242 calories) & garlic bread

Tuesday - Nacho chicken (541 calories - yikes!) & corn

Wednesday - Crock pot peppercorn steak & butternut squash risotto

Thursday - Crispy ranch chicken (246 calories) & carrot souffle (209 calories)

Friday - Apple & pork stir-fry with rice

Crispy Ranch Chicken

4 boneless shinless chicken breasts

1 oz pkg ranch dressing mix (I use 1/2-3/4 pkg)

2 cups crispy rice cereal (they work better if you crush them a little)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 egg whites (beaten)

Mix rice cereal, ranch mix and parmesan cheese together in a bowl. Dip chicken in egg whites, then in the cereal mixture to coat evenly. Arrange chicken on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

For tons of great meal ideas go to

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Last weekend

This weekend the boys and I are a little bit under the weather (both figuratively and literally - will the rain ever stop?). So, here are a few pictures from last weekend. We went to my parents to visit. Their church (and the one I grew up at, was baptised at, made first communion at, married at, etc) was having their annual picnic fundraiser. Several of my extended family members also go there so we always get to visit with even more family. Although my camera was out of reach during most of the day I did have it handy for the ride on the "train". Now that I think about it, I think I posted pictures just like this last year. First, though, is a picture of Alex & Zachary licking the frosting off of beaters as I was helping my mom frost a cake for the dinner. Yum! Alex got to sit right up front next to the mini tractor pulling the train.Then Zachary got his turn along with a stuffed animal he won playing a carnival game.I couldn't leave out a picture of two of our sweet cousins - Mary and Elizabeth.We had a great weekend and the rain stayed away (the ground was still a little bit soggy). We also "won" at the auction a green John Deere wagon and a little kids tool set. Chris took the boys for a walk in the wagon a few days ago and they thought that was such a cool thing. The tools.....well, that hasn't been opened yet and will need close supervision. Alex talks about wanting to help daddy work outside with them. I wonder what he thinks they'll do?