Monday, February 9, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Lexie said something this morning that I want to hurry and write down before I forget. After we kissed "good morning" she had us kiss each other on each check - first one then the other. Then as I was walking away here's how our conversation went:

Lexie: "I think in France they kiss with their tongue."
Mommy: "Really?" (Said in a slightly grossed out tone.) "Where did you hear that?"
Lexie: "School...I hope it's with the person they're married to!!!"
Mommy: "Yeah!" (Trying hard to hold back laughter!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Say "Happy Valentine's Day" with Hugs

Happy Early Valentine's Day to everyone! Just thought I'd share another easy recipe I've been making since October. I discovered the recipe for "Pretzel Hugs" on Becky Higgins' Recipe Blog. They're a great treat to make for all the different holidays - just change the color of M&M's you use. For Halloween I made them with orange, black and purple M&M's. For Christmas I made them with red and green M&M's, put them in clear goodie bags, tied them with pretty ribbon and gave them as gifts for my co-workers and Lexie's teachers.

After making them with a few different shaped pretzels and different sizes of M&M's we've perfected the recipe. All you need are these 3 ingredients:
(Unfortunately we couldn't find the mini M&M's for Valentine's Day so we had to settle for the regular sized ones this time.) Hope you enjoy this tasty treat - we love them!

PRETZEL HUGS
1/2 a bag of pretzels (the square ones work best but you can also use the small knots)
1/2 a bag of mini M&M's
1 package Hershey "Hugs"

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place pretzels on baking sheet. Unwrap the Hugs and place one on each pretzel.
Bake for about 8 minutes (just keep an eye on them, when the Hugs start to melt they're done). Remove from oven & promptly place 3 mini M& M's or 2 regular M&M's on each pretzel, pressing into the melted chocolate.
Allow to cool before serving - this takes several hours. (Or put whole cookie sheet in fridge to speed up cooling.) Makes about 70.

* Lexie loves helping with this recipe. I let her do all the steps BEFORE they go in the oven, after that it's my turn. Of course her favorite part of helping is when it's time to eat the pretzel hugs!

Lexie's Poetry

On Friday Lexie's class had their 2nd writing celebration of the year. Last time they each read a book/story they had "published." This time they shared their own poetry at a special "Coffee House Poetry Night" - complete with hot cocoa, cupcakes, cookies and lots of great poems. Here are Lexie's poems (sorry about the sideways video - I used Lexie's camera and I didn't know I couldn't turn the camera when I did video):

Purple
video

Snowdog
video

I tried to upload video of her 3rd poem but for some reason it wouldn't work. Here it is (I typed it exactly as she wrote it):
LEXIE
Loves every thing
egg sanwiches are my favorite food
xtara speail (extra special)
i like fruit
everybody is my freind

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cheesy Mostaccioli

Tonight I made a favorite dish of ours that I've been making since before Lexie was born. (I believe it's a Pampered Chef recipe.) As I was making it I thought about how easy it is to prepare. I know I always love getting new, easy recipes so I thought I'd pass this onto you. The greatest part is that you probably have most of the items in your kitchen already! Just add a salad and some bread and you have a great meal for the whole family! (The leftovers are great too!) I hope you enjoy it!


Cheesy Mostaccioli
1 package (16 oz) mostaccioli/penne pasta, cooked
1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, browned & drained
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 jar (28 oz) Prego spaghetti sauce
1 can (11 oz) cheddar cheese soup
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions. In frying pan brown meat and drain. Add pepper and seasoning to meat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and soup. Combine pasta, sauce mixture and 2 cups cheese in pan of your choice. (I use the Pampered Chef Baking Bowl but you can make it in a lasagna pan.) Mix to combine. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake 40 minutes. (Makes 12 - 15 servings.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Time Management

I've recently taken over the kitchen desk as my own little "home office" space.
For the last year and a half it was Lexie's but she's only really used it as a spot to drop all her junk. So I've moved her junk to the scrapbook room - since I can close the door and hide the mess. (We'll get around to organizing it later.) I know it doesn't really look like much but I am so excited to have my own little desk to keep all my paperwork organized, etc. Obviously I still have some work to do - like buying a chair/stool instead of using our step ladder as a seat. :)

My only worry is that this beautiful clean desk will quickly become messy with my stuff if I don't work out a system for dealing with all my paperwork. But where do I start? The answer came while I was watching a decorating show yesterday. They were re-organizing a home office which of course turned out great. However, the best part of the show for me was when the personal organizer told the woman she couldn't keep the room neat without time management. She went as far as having the homeowner schedule time in her blackberry for all household chores including paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. When the organizer said that it was like a light bulb went off in my head! That's excactly what I need to keep my paperwork in order and more!

The idea of time management isn't new to me. I've written out my daily schedules a lot over the years, especially after I had Lexie. (Don't worry, I know I'm wierd.) However, I haven't done a new one since the summer. Of course a lot has changed since then, the biggest thing being my job. And since I've started working again, I've really struggled with keeping up on all the household chores while still finding time to spend with Lexie and Dave. And of course there's always guilt that goes along with either choice - "I should be doing that instead of what I'm doing right now."

So last night I sat down and started my plan - I went "old school" and hand-wrote it since I don't have a blackberry. :) First I wrote a list of all the tasks I wanted to get done during the week and then I wrote down how many times during the week I'd need to do each activity. (For example, I need to deal with paperwork once a week, make dinner every day and I'd like to scrapbook a few times a week.) Then I broke my day into 1/2 hour increments and plugged in the different activities to the times/days I thought they'd work.

So now I have a rough schedule and I'm excited to implement it! (I know, I know - wierd, that's me.) I'm happy that I now have a plan for all the chores that I never seem to find enough time to accomplish (like cleaning the house, making dinner, laundry, exercise, etc.). But what I'm most excited about is making time for the activities I like to do that I'm always trying to squeeze in but never seem to have enough time for (like scrapbooking, blogging and reading). I really hope this works! Wish me luck!