Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Pizza Muffins

A few weeks back, my husband left for a week to go hunting down in Missouri with his dad. That week just happened to be crazy with work, doctor appointments and sports. Meals had to be simple and quick! This meal came together with items I already had in the freezer and fridge! (BONUS!!) I'm sure there are other combinations that would work really well, too! The possibilities are endless. Here's a little background on the leftovers I used to make this meal:
Every summer we spend many evenings out by our campfire ring in the backyard. One tradition is to make dinner in the fire. That dinner is usually Pizza Pie-dies. We use hamburger that is browned, mix in pizza sauce and Italian seasonings. Then we take buttered bread and put them in the pie iron, a spoonful of the pizza mix, some mozzarella cheese and pop that into the fire for a few minutes. Then for dessert, we do the same but substitute the pizza mix with cherry and/or apple pie filling! It is amazing!
Well, this summer when I made the Pizza Pie-dies, we had extra pizza filling, so I put it in a freezer safe container for later use. The week my husband was gone, those leftovers came in handy! I had an extra can of biscuits from the Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread I made and we always have mozzarella cheese on hand. That's all we needed to make these Pizza Muffins!
First, make sure your pizza mixture is warm to ensure you don't have a cold center when you eat these! Next, press the biscuits into the muffin tin, trying to stretch it up the sides a bit. Spoon in the warmed pizza mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake according to the biscuit directions. I think I added about 2 more minutes on top of the directions to brown the cheese a little more.

I scored two thumbs up for this easy meal that was on the table in 20 minutes! I steamed some broccoli in the microwave and served it along with the Pizza Muffins. Yum!

Pizza Muffins


Pizza Mixture (1/2 lb browned hamburger mixed with pizza sauce and Italian seasoning)
1 Can Biscuits ( I used regular, you could also use the "Grands" version, too)
Mozzarella Cheese

Line muffin tin with biscuits, stretching the biscuit up the sides of the tin. Spoon pizza mixture in the biscuit, top with cheese. Bake according to the biscuit directions or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serve warm.

I've got another very busy week ahead, but I'm hoping to post a few projects I've done recently! Have a great week!


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Monday, November 26, 2012

Grateful Monday

Happy Monday! Did everyone survive the Thanksgiving weekend? Did you go out on Black Friday? I enjoyed our Thanksgiving—it was low key and stress free! We enjoyed time with our extended family and stuffed our faces full of delicious food! Today, for Grateful Monday, I am grateful and thankful for my health. I haven’t always been the healthiest person. I remember being sick all the time as a child. And even in my early adult life, I recall getting everything anyone near me had—if someone had the flu, I was sure to get it. But over the last 5 years or so, I made some lifestyle changes. I lost about 50 lbs, started exercising on a regular basis and really watched the foods and beverages I consumed. I really believe these changes have helped me become a healthier adult.

This healthy habit has ultimately extended down to my children. They are accustomed to eating fruits and vegetables at our meals and snacks. They are also very active with sports.

Three years ago I was encouraged to run in a 5k—the Jingle Bell Run. I had never been a runner—walker, yes, but not run. I’m not fast and I didn’t think I had the stamina to last that long! I had just overcame a huge obstacle with three of my Sorority Sisters that summer by walking 39.1 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (that was amazing), so running a little over 3 miles seemed very doable! I trained for a bit just to prepare myself for the distance. I remember taking off when the gun fired off—it was such a rush! There were so many people, avid runners and newbies, just like me! I held my own. My goal was to finish before a walker—and I did! In fact, I had such an adrenaline rush, I wanted to keep running!

This year was my third Jingle Bell Run and my 7 year old son asked if he could run it with me. I was thrilled! He ran one other time in a Family Fun Run—he sprinted almost the entire mile! I had to prepare him that there would be no way he could sprint the 5k! Off we went! He did so good! He kept a good pace, stopped real quick to get a sip of water and kept on running. That little guy didn’t stop! At the very end, I told him we could sprint to the finish line—he did and came it at 32.09! Amazing! He told me that when he ran at the very end he couldn’t feel his legs. And once it was over, he said he was happy he didn’t throw up! (he’s been to a few of my races, always waiting for me at the finish line, so he’s seen a few people come to the end and then lose their cookies!) I was so proud of him. My daughter has walked in the Jingle Bell Run these last three years with her great friend, Abby, who has RHA. It’s a special event for them and she looks forward to supporting her friend each year. How awesome is that?
Back in October, my daughter and I ran together in a Breast Cancer 5k. I had done this race the previous year with a few other sorority sisters and after it was over, Hailey asked if she could run with me next year—so we did! Hailey hasn’t run any further than the 1 mile Family Fun Run we did in the fall, so this was all new to her too! I told her to just keep going, she could take breaks if she wanted to and I told her she was in control of our pace. We started out slow, mainly because there were so many walkers mixed in with the runners, but once we cleared them, she took off on a nice pace. We stopped a few times to rest her legs, but overall, she was amazing! She finished 31.29 with a pace of 10.08! That’s awesome for a girl that’s never trained and never ran further than a mile!

I hope we run together in more 5ks—it will be a great family experience and just another way we can remain healthy together! What fun things do your family do together?

Thanks for visiting! See you soon!


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

It's almost Thanksgiving--a day to give Thanks for all the blessings in our lives and GOBBLE till we WOBBLE! I'm excited to share this recipe with you because it is easy and a crowd-pleaser! I'm a working mother who has limited time, but I enjoy cooking and baking and do it whenever I get the chance! This comes together in less than 10 minutes! That's fast! And just like my Awesome Cinnamon Pretzels I featured last week, these would also be cute all wrapped up and gifted to your favorite neighbor or friend! I will be sharing these at the inlaws Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday!

Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbls pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 c Cinnamon Chex cereal
2 c Wheat Chex cereal
2 c Honey Nut Chex cereal
8 oz pecans, roughly chopped
10 oz pretzel sticks

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In a small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on HIGH about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwaveable bowl, mix all cereals, pecans and pretzels. Pour butter mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly distrubuted. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until covered.
Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 5 minutes, stirring after every minute. Spread on wax paper until cool. Store in airtight container.

If I don't get a chance to do another post before Thanksgiving--


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Monday, November 19, 2012

Grateful Monday!

This is the week of Thanksgiving--a time to reflect on those things you are thankful for. I've seen it all over Facebook this month--each day you say what you are thankful for. I love the idea. I believe if we sit down and think about our lives, we can find several things we are thankful for. This week on Grateful Monday I am going to talk about my family. My parents, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law specifically.
My husband and I work crazy schedules, requiring us to work every other weekend. We rely heavily on my parents, mother-in-law and sister-in-law to help us out. I can't recall the last time we hired a teenager to watch the kids while we went out on a date or out with friends--our family is ready and willing to watch the kids. I realize we are lucky. Several of my close friends don't have parents alive, around the area or able to assist with watching the kids.
I'm also grateful to my family for being supportive of my crazy ideas. You are my cheerleaders on the sideline and for that I am grateful. I'm not able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents because they have already left for Florida (lucky snow birds!), but the rest of the family and I will enjoy a nice meal, great conversation and many laughs this Thanksgiving--and I'm grateful for that!
Here's a Grateful Subway Art printable I created for you this week. Thank you for checking in with me this week. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Awesome Cinnamon Pretzels

These have got to be one of the easiest and tastiest snack-slash-dessert you will ever try. And they are perfect for holiday giving (packaged up real cute!) or for snacking at your holiday party or for after school snacking or just because they are amazingly awesome! 
If you have 30 minutes, pretzels, oil, cinnamon, sugar and an oven,  YOU CAN MAKE THESE!

 Here is the simple recipe:

Cinnamon Pretzels

16 oz bag pretzels
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Combine everything but the pretzels in a large bowl. Add pretzels and carefully stir. Pour onto a baking sheet. Put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir twice. Allow to cool (if you can wait), package up for gifting or dig in! Store in sealed container, if they last long enough for you to store!

I packaged up these for my friends that visited over the weekend! I got the small plastic paint cans at the Dollar Section at Target. I made a cute little tag to attach!

Hope you have a great Tuesday! Visit me over on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Stop back again soon!


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Grateful Monday

What a wonderful weekend I had! My college friends came into town Saturday evening! We haven't hung out together for probably 15 years or so! It was so refreshing and fulfilling. Sometimes, you don't realize how special some people are in your life. These two ladies are prime examples of that. After college, we all went our separate ways. It wasn't until Facebook that we reconnected! And after about 2 years on Facebook we finally were able to schedule a Girl's weekend! A lot has changed in our lives since college, but one thing remained--our friendship. We laughed a lot, ate a lot and shopped a lot! And we vowed to get together more often. Thank you Rina and Micki for spending the weekend at my place! I can't wait to do it again! Hope you enjoyed your "parting" gift and shared those apple cider donuts with your family! 
I created a FREE Printable again this week--reminding us to not take for granted our friendships or special people in our life. Here's to a great week ahead!



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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank a Veteran

Today we celebrate Veteran's Day. Please do one simple thing today--find someone who served and give them Thanks.
Today, I will be honoring all those who have served. Thank you for serving our country and protecting our freedom. God Bless.


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Friday, November 9, 2012

10 Ways to Recycle Gum Containers

Happy Friday! I'm so excited for the weekend! I've got a couple college girlfriends coming into town tomorrow and I'm beyond excited! We are going out for a nice dinner and then gossiping until the late hours of the night! On Sunday we are heading into the Suburbs for some gal-pal shopping! Before I have my crazy-fun weekend, I thought I'd share with you some cool idea I had (I hope its original anyways!)! Some time ago I had finished up a pack of gum that comes in one of those large containers (BIG E PAK) and it occurred to me that I could use those handy things instead of tossing them in the recycling bin. I gathered a few of them over the course of a month and set out to brainstorm on what I could do with them. TADA! The light bulb went off!

Here are 10 ways I use them in my home/car:
1.    Jewelry for the gym bag
2.    Confetti (if you have extra’s laying
      around like I do)
3.    Buttons
4.    Safety Pins
5.    Hair Ties & Bobby Pins (I keep
      this in my car because it never
      fails that we need one on the way
      to practice or gym!)
6.    Coins (again, I keep this in the car
      for spare change)
7.    Paper Clips
8.    Rubber Bands
9.    Miscellaneous Crafty Things
10. Stick Pins/Thumbtacks
I even spiced up my Jewelry container with Washi Tape! And I’m considering adding some cool Duct Tape to the Hair Tie one in the car! (that is whenever I can find my daughter’s stash of cool Duct Tape!) Have a great weekend! I'll see you back here on Monday--for Grateful Monday!
Drop me a note and tell me how you would you use these in your life!


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Apple Pie Donuts

I think by now you know I enjoy anything with apples in it. That 5 gallon bucket of apples from my parents apple tree kept me busy trying new apple recipes. This one was a keeper. I adapted it a bit and made it lower in fat than the original recipe. They were crumbly, but not dry if that makes any sense. Kids loved them, too. You don't need the donut tin to make these--I'm certain they would turn out well as a muffin too. Give 'em a try!

Apple Pie Donuts
adapted from momadvice.com

1/4 cup of lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 cups of bite size chunks of apple, peeled and cored (approximately 2 apples)
3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup of almond milk
For sugar & cinnamon topping:
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350F. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugars, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the cold chopped butter, cut into tablespoons. Cut the butter with the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a pastry blender or fork.
In a separate bowl, mix thein the egg, milk and fold in the chopped apples. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir using a spatula or spoon making sure not to overmix.

Place two spoonfuls of batter into a greased donut mold pan.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the donuts are just golden. Allow to cool for five minutes. Unmold each donut gently and lightly spray each with the butter spray. Dunk in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon mixed in. Shake off excess sugar and serve immediately.

Enjoy and have a great week!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Be Thankful

A lot has happened over the course of the week. There was tragedy out East, there is a local woman whose gone missing, there was another police shooting where the police officer is made out to be the bad guy, and many many more horrible happenings I'm sure. So as the beginning of November is here, I've decided to start Grateful Monday's. Why did I choose Monday? Well, I think Monday's are hard days. I mean, we have to get up and go to work, get the kids off to school...the weekend is over! So, why not choose that day to focus on all the good in life?

So today, Monday, November 5th, I am grateful for my husband. For one,  our relationship is more like a partnership--at home, with the kids, with our finances, with our hobbies. We listen, we give and take, there are compromises and sharing of responsibilities. He is active in our children's lives, he helps around the house (yes, he does laundry!), he works hard as a protector of our society and leader of his shift and he supports me in my crazy adventures. Our home wouldn't be a home without him. My life wouldn't be complete either.

I am also grateful for the ability to drive. Just a short while ago I had to renew my Drivers License and take a vision test. Boy, I didn't realize how nervous that would make me. But as I sat waiting for my turn, I thought about how much I drive and how much I would not be able to do if I didn't have a Drivers License, let alone a car! When I approached the counter to answer the standard questions about my health, I could feel my palms get sweaty! And then I had to take that vision test. I passed, but geez, you would have thought it was my first time there--I was a wreak!

So, share with me, today Monday, November 5th--what are your grateful for? Here's a free printable for you! Happy Monday! Make it a great week!


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Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's a Happy 7th Birthday!

My son is OBSESSED with sports--you name it, he loves it. In fact, he chooses to watch Sports Center on ESPN versus Sponge Bob! What 7 year old does that? He's really into football right now (surprise, surprise--GO BEARS)!

His 7th Birthday was coming up and he wanted the theme to be Football. Done. So when we started planning his party, all he wanted to do at his party was play a football game. But, I couldn't just let them do that, now could I? It took me almost 2 weeks to convince my husband that we should spray paint our backyard and make it look like a real football field. I also convinced him that we needed to make a goal post out of pvc pipe. 

Carson decided on his cake (thanks to some of the PINS I gathered on Pinterest) and agreed  that we needed to do something other than play a football game during the party. We decided we would have a punting contest and a football throwing contest (using that awesome pvc goal post!). He requested a simple menu of hot dogs, chips and Kool-Aid (good enough for me!)
So as party planning was underway, we kept our fingers crossed that the weather would hold out. We've had a dry summer and so far the fall was dry too (Hello--did anyone hear about that drought?). But, as the weekend approached, the rain chances increased.

NO RAIN--WE HAVE LOTS OF BOYS COMING TO PLAY FOOTBALL ON OUR BACKYARD FOOTBALL FIELD! I prayed and prayed for no rain, but we weren't lucky enough. So, onto Plan B...which also meant no football field or goal post. Bummer.

So, what do you do with twelve 7 year olds that were planning on playing football outside? Well, Plan B meant a game of Flick Football (paper football that you flick into a "finger goal post), Pin the Football on the Goalpost, and HOT! Football (like HOT Potato)! (all of these Carson approved of!) But, when it came to party time, all the boys wanted to do was play football...in the house! YIKES! But, they managed to do a good job of not breaking anything! We did get two of the three games in and prizes were awarded! Next, it was time for lunch! Boys. Can. Eat. Then it was time for gifts and before you knew it, cake and ice cream, too! The party was a hit and it seemed like everyone had fun despite the rainy weather conditions! Each boy was sent home with a Football Cup filled with candy, silly straw and football trading cards!

Here are a few pictures from the party:

Carson didn't want anything "written" on the cake, so I made a "Happy 7th Carson" banner and hung it off of two brown and white straws! The goal posts were made from
popsicle sticks, mini chocolates were the players, and we added green sugar to make the field look like grass. Each end zone had to be a Chicago Bears Color.

So glad you stopped in!


These boy party ideas were also featured on Spaceships and Laser Beams.

- See more at: http://spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com/blog/2013/02/party-central/boy-party-ideas-add-yours-to-our-linky#sthash.cDEcwr41.dpuf

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let's Talk Turkey (Napkin Rings!)

Today marks a very exciting day for me--I am officially the new Arts & Crafts contributor for RockfordParent.com! Wahoo! RockfordParent is a great resource for well, Rockford area parents. It has a great Get Inspired section, an Arts & Crafts section, and a Recipe of the month which is featured by Sylvia from Sylvia's Kitchen. You'll also find a Bookworms Section with great books for kids that are recommended by the Rockford Public Library. Each of the sections are updated at the beginning of every month. You can also keep up-to-date throughout the month via their Facebook Page. If you live in the Rockford Area, you need to check out this website and/or their Facebook page. You'll find some part of it a helpful resource for you!

This is what I featured this month, my debut! I think it's perfect for the Thanksgiving Table and something that the kiddo's will enjoy creating.

Thanksgiving Turkey Napkin Rings

·        Flat wooden craft spoons
·        craft paints
·        Paper towel or toilet paper tube
·        Scissors
·        Yellow pipe cleaners
·        Eyes or  Black marker
·        Tacky glue
·        Red felt

1.     Five craft spoons are required for each ring. Using craft paint, paint one of them yellow for the turkey's head, the others, a variety of colors—we used green, orange and blue—these will be the tail feathers.
2.     For the turkey's body, cut a 2-inch section from a cardboard paper towel or toilet paper tube and paint it brown.
3.     From yellow pipe cleaners, shape a pair of short legs with three-toed turkey feet. Cut small holes in the tubes and fit the legs through small holes, bending the tips inside the tube to secure them.
4.     Use tacky glue to attach the eyes or simply use a marker to draw eyes on the face.  Use tacky glue to attach a red felt wattle.
5.     Finally, glue the head to the front of the body and the tail feathers to the back.
6.     Allow to dry approximately 1 hour before using.
7.     Roll up a paper or cloth napkin and set at each table setting.

 Isn't he adorable?!

This is what the table setting could look like for the big feast!

  My son and I had fun putting this craft together! Can't wait to use them on our table in a few weeks! 


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