26 May 2012

Leave of Absence


I hope you will excuse me if I'm gone for a week or so. We had an unexpected death in the family, an uncle we love very much. I'll be back soon.


25 May 2012

Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

I adapted this recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff - strawberry banana chocolate baked oatmeal. My husband is not a fan of chocolate and my younger kids don't like strawberries (it's the seeds, you know?). I also substituted almond milk for the milk - some of us are not milk drinkers.

It turned out absolutely delicious.

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups Almond milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet (in case of boil over).
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt,  half the blueberries and half the white chocolate chips. (Save the other half of blueberries and white chocolate chips for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the almond milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.
Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining blueberries and white chocolate chips on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shimmy/shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar on top then place back in the oven under the broiler and broil for 20-30 seconds. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of sugar or drizzle of maple syrup.

24 May 2012

Memorable Family Trips

I may have mentioned this before - but I will tell you again. I grew up in a family of 8. I am the eldest child, then my four brothers, then my sister.  My sister was born just before my 7th birthday, Obviously, we're very close in age.

The summer I was 15, we had a big trip planned. We were living in California, and we planned to drive to Idaho for a family reunion. Just before the trip, our van broke down. My dad decided we would go in the Rabbit. That's right. My parents, me, my brothers (ages 14, 12, 11, 9) and my sister (7). In the Rabbit. 

Some highlights: 
  • The dismay of the people running the Circus Circus all-you-can-eat buffet when they saw my brothers coming...
  • my Mom - somewhere between Las Vegas, NV and St. George, UT - hitting a snake, a rabbit and a skunk in pretty rapid succession...
  • all of us getting out of the Rabbit at McDonalds at 6 am and looking up and seeing people staring out the window at us with their mouths open. They probably thought a clown car had escaped the circus...
  • my Dad, deciding it was time for me to learn to drive a stick shift somewhere out in the middle of the Nevada desert, much to the dismay of my brothers...
  • Mountain switchbacks - unfortunately - after the McDonalds pit stop...
 What's your most memorable family trip?

23 May 2012

To-Do List Tuesday

You all know, because I talk about it all the time, that I've been working on cleaning out my house for EVER. It seems like stuff is reproducing... 

Anyway, the kids have been talking about wanting a trampoline. I am all for it. The only kicker was, I told them we had to get rid of the backyard baby toys and a few other things to make room for a big kid toy like that. It took a little while for them to be OK with that, but we got there. It was interesting to note which of my children is more emotionally attached to stuff than the others. The bonus is that we have some really great toys that we've outgrown, most in resale condition.

Life lesson time. We told the kids that we would sell the toys that were in good condition, and if we earned enough money, we could buy the trampoline.




 SOLD! (we kept the Thomas trains and tracks though)


A word about buying trampolines. We wanted a 12' trampoline because our yard isn't that big. Sam's Club has one online for $199. We went to order it and found out that shipping would be $120. They do not ship items to the store. Wow. So we went and did a little research, and we found the exact same trampoline at Walmart for $249. Free shipping to the store.

The new trampoline is on the way and everyone is very excited. Know what's even better? They earned it.

22 May 2012

Menu Plan Monday

The boys had a great time camping over the weekend. They only got rained on a little...
One kid out of school for the summer, two to go. The 7th grader gets out Wednesday and the 2nd grader gets out May 31. Am I the only person who thinks it's silly to have Memorial Day off and then go back for three more days?

Kid's Choice Menu

Beef Satay
Asian veggie mix

Crock pot Mac N Cheese  

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Swedish Meatballs

Pizza Night




Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

20 May 2012

Too True

Found at TatteredCover.com

18 May 2012

Join the Club

JOIN THE CLUB from Wraps

4 Uncooked bacon slices, diced
½ cup chopped avocado
½ cup chopped tomato
⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
2 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
¼ lb thinly sliced smoked turkey
1 cup firmly packed chopped arugula (or lettuce you like)
Two 10 or 11 inch flour tortillas

Cook bacon until crispy and brown, about 5 minutes, cool on towel – lined plate.  Combine the avocado, tomato, onion, basil, lime juice, and bacon in a small bowl.  Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Spread desired amount of avocado mixture on tortilla, leaving at least a 1-inch border around the edge.  Top with turkey and arugula, and wrap.

17 May 2012

Gift Giving - Books

We definitely have our go-to gifts in this family. Mostly, it's books. I love books, so I like to give people books. Especially little people, like my nieces and nephews.

I was looking around for a way to personalize the book giving and I came across this post on giverslog (one of my favorite blogs). It's all about taking a simple picture book and making a personalized version to go along with the published version.

We had absolutely the best time taking pictures and putting together our little version of I Like Stars by Margaret Wise Brown, which is the perfect type of book to do this with. It's short and sweet and simple.

 Some other books that could be good for this type of project:

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
Horns to Toes and In Between by Sandra Boynton
Gossie  by Oliver Dunrea
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson 

What other books would you use? Please share!

16 May 2012

To Do List Tuesday


To Do? An end of year gift for our fabulous pre-school teacher. She's had three years with my kids and it's been great (for my kids, anyway). This year, my son's class was all boys. I think they wore her out. I thought she needed something to remember them by - when she's ready.

To Done!

Want to make one? If you sew, it's super easy. I had the boys trace their hands and write their names on 10" squares of white cotton using fabric markers. I found some fun fabric for some more 10" squares, then used 3" strips of coordinating fabric for the sashing.

Lay out the 10" squares the way you want them, alternating with the short sashing strips between them. Sew the squares and sashing strips together using a 1/4" seam. Then, sew the 10" block rows together, alternating with the long sashing strips. Want a photo tutorial on how to do it? Look here.
Next, make your quilt "sandwich". Lay the backing, wrong side up on the floor or whatever large flat surface you are using. Layer the batting and then quilt top (right side up). Make sure each layer is completely smooth. Pin it all over. Now you're ready to tie it! There's a pretty good video showing how to do that here.

What have you been up to? Link up below!

Also linking up to One Project at a Time.

15 May 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Anyone besides me ready for this to be happening in their garden? I may be able to plant the seeds this week...




Tamale Pie


Chinese Chicken & Pasta Salad


Teriyaki Chicken with Bok Choy


Boys are camping - girls go out to eat




French Dips and Salad

 Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

11 May 2012

S'More Bars

S'more Bars


3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
18 whole graham crackers, crushed, about 3 cups
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 milk chocolate bars, approximately 1 1/2 ounces each (I used 6)
3 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows (I only had regular marshmallows, so we cut them in half and it worked great)


Heat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in crushed graham crackers, flour, and salt. Reserve 1 cup of the graham cracker mixture and press remaining mixture over the bottom of a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Arrange chocolate bars, in a single layer, over graham cracker crust mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Crumbled reserved graham cracker mixture over the marshmallows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into bars and cool completely. 

Be prepared for gooey deliciousness.