Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apple Picking

A few weeks ago...back on September 9th...the girls and I went out to an Apple Orchard way far away from here. It seriously took about 45 minutes to get there. And 35 minutes to get to a Starbucks after leaving there. But we had a good time. We picked about a 1/2 bushel of apples. That's why there were so many apple recipes happening last month, because we had a LOT of apples.


I had almost planned to go on a weekend when Anaya wasn't with us, and I'm glad that I didn't for two reasons. 1) Anaya told me that this is one of her favorite fall activities. 2) I wouldn't have picked anywhere close to a 1/2 bushel if I'd been there with just Claire. Evidently having a teenager along can be helpful.

apples1 apples3

We went to Alldredge Orchards, although I have since found out there is one a little bit closer that I would've liked to try - Cider Hill Family Orchard.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall Softball

We have spent 3 of the 5 Saturdays in September at Anaya's softball games. This is her first time playing softball, or any sport for that matter. She has really enjoyed it and wants to play again in the Spring when they have their full season. This was just a short 4-week league with two games every Saturday.

During her first game, she hit the ball and got to second base. Well, her second game but during her first weekend of playing. Which was funny because she was actually playing against her step-sister from her mom's house.

softball_1 softball_3

This also gave me an excuse to borrow my dad's telephoto lens. I wanted one earlier this year and then convinced myself that I didn't need one since I'm not usually more than 4 feet from my subject. However, if the kids are going to play sports then I'm going to need to either get my own lens or commandeer his lens for every game.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Project Life: Week 35

Week 35: Aug 27 - Sept 2

This was Labor Weekend. We ended up having Anaya for the long weekend, and even though it is something that her and her mom usually do, we went to her favorite festival, Santa-Cali-Gon. We spent a couple of hours there on Sunday, we even met up with her mom & her friends for a little while. Justin isn't a big "festival" person, so he stayed home. However, I did have a moment of selective photo taking. I decided this is my project life and documenting going to Santa-Gali-Con is fine, but I didn't need to include pictures of anyone besides me and the girls.

Week 35 (0)

We did not RIDE the Ferris Wheel, but it adds something just to have a picture of it in the album. It's just a fairly classic carnival picture.

Week 35 (4)

I really like what I ended up doing for my date card. I ended up with one more 6x4 than I could fit on my layout. Not sure how exactly I did that since I've started drawing a sketch to figure out where everything should go, but I did. I trimmed on of the Mon, Tues, Wed... text is a Cobalt journaling card. Then I used my date stamp to stamp the appropriate date for each day.

Week 35 (5)

The Mom Creative

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Right now....

Following Ali Edwards' Around Here prompt


Looking forward some fall activities I have planned for next month. I see lots of pumpkins in our future.

Getting "caught up" on my Project Life album - expect two Project Life posts per week for a while. This is week 39 and the last week that I worked on was week 35!

Enjoying our backyard in the cooler evenings. Claire & I have been racing from the back patio to different places around the yard. I ask her where we are racing to and she'll usually tell me, then she counts to 3 and says GO. And we run. Sometimes I have to watch wear she's running to figure out our goal. Usually it is the slide, fence, tree or trampoline.

Listening to Claire sing songs she learns in Preschool and being able to figure out some of the words!

Planning out the rest of the year - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

Drinking lots of coffee and water and diet coke.

Wishing for a new car, not because I need one, just want something else, something bigger.

Amazed at how much Claire has changed in the past year.

Listening/Watching Doc McStuffins since it is Claire's favorite show.

Thinking about meal planning and the new recipes that I have been wanting to try.

Reading LOTS of books from the library. Currently working through Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series (romance) and trying to read the Steve Jobs biography.

Deciding which shows to invest time in this fall. Elementary looks interesting. I would like to continue watching Once Upon a Time, but I need to watch the last few episodes from last season still.

Recipe: Pizza Soup

I can't remember where I found the basic recipe for this. I changed ours due to our lack of vegetable acceptance. But this could include whatever toppings you like on your pizza. The original included mushrooms, but we left those out.



  • 1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
  • 3 jars of water
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 lb Italian Sausage, browned & drained
  • 1 cup pepperoni slices, quartered
  • 1/2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry pasta
  • shredded mozzarella cheese


Put the bell pepper, tomatoes, sausage, and pepperoni (and any other toppings you might like) in a 5 to 6 quart or bigger crockpot. Pour the pizza sauce and water. Add the seasonings (I ended up using Pensezy's Pasta Sprinkle mix because I was too lazy to dig through the cabinet to find basil and oregano). Stir it around a little. Turn the crockpot on low and let it cook for at least 6 hours, or all day if you want. Everything is already cooked, you just want to flavors to meld.

About 30 minutes before dinner time, add the dry pasta and turn the crockpot to high. Watch it, my pasta only took about 20 minutes to be soft.

Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. We had a nice loaf of Italian bread with it.

Our Thoughts

We really liked this recipe. Justin is a huge fan of pizza, so I figured this would work for him. I think it might be fun to mix up what is it, kind of like I do with pizza toppings. It would also be easy to make this vegetarian by just leaving out the meat and adding more vegetables. Justin thought a different pizza sauce would be better. I used Prego this time because it was on sale. Next time I might see if they have a restaurant brand that might be better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Claire's House

On Saturday, I helped my parent's with their garage sale. I ended up spending more at one of their neighbor's garage sales than I made (from my stuff) at my parent's garage sale. I got this awesome Little Tikes Country Cottage from their neighbor for $20! That's a very good deal it you didn't know.

Claire loves her little house. She goes in. She comes out. She talks on the play phone. She runs around her house. According to the guy that we got it from, we'll probably get around 2 yrs before she out grows it. We'll see. I think she'll have to start ducking to get through the door before too long.


It's sitting on the patio for now because Justin doesn't want me to kill another section of "his" grass. He has really decided that the yard is HIS this year. Luckily, I've already killed a section of grass where my garden was, so I think we're going to pull up the stakes holding the frame around it and put the playhouse there. We'll need to do something about the ground because it's just dirt and weeds right now.

I've also been thinking about giving it a little remodel. I've seen a lot of things online in the past few days (since I got the playhouse) about painting it with spray paint that is made for plastic. Go here to see an example. I think it could be cute...but I haven't convinced myself that it is worth my time & effort.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Project Life: Week 33

Week 33: August 13 - 19

We had a lot going on this week. Claire had her first day of PreSchool, I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Anaya got her hair cut, one of our friends brought their 3 yr old over to play with Claire, we went to see Justin's parents and we celebrated Anaya's birthday...again, even though her actual birthday isn't until next Friday.

Week 33 (5)

Week 33 (7)

Week 33 (10)

Week 33 (11)

I almost didn't include the picture of Anaya by her school sign. I ended up getting better pictures that I've already included in Week 34, but I decided to throw it in there anyways. Obviously you can't read the sign, but it does actually say something about starting school.

Week 33 (1)

This is the most inserts I have ever had in a week. I usually attempt to squish everything down on to one or two at the most inserts. But I decided to just embrace all of my pictures and go for THREE inserts. The only thing that I don't really love about inserts is that my week ends up being out of order since the inserts are usually from the weekend and the last page sometimes includes mid-week things. This time the last page is from Sunday (the end of my week) but since I was grouping pictures I just ended up having to put things out of order to make it all work.

The Mom Creative

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Frozen Pizza
Tuesday - Shepherd's Pie
Wednesday - Ham & Cheese Omelets
Thursday - Sausage with Potatoes and Peppers
Friday - Deli Sandwiches
Saturday - Creamy Chicken-Apple Chili
Sunday - Scrambled Eggs & Hashbrowns

This week we eat the right things...just on different days. I did my main grocery shopping on Tuesday during lunch and then just took it back to work with me. I had a few things that we still needed so Claire & I made an emergency grocery run on Thursday night.

Monday - CrockPot Pizza Soup
Tuesday - Mexican Chicken Parme
Wednesday - Black Pepper Chicken
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - 3 Meat Pizza (Sausage, Pepperoni & Beef)
Saturday - Steak & Potatos
Sunday - Pancakes

I'm trying out making a menu plan for the entire month at a time and then being able to buy groceries when things are on really good deals to stock up since I would know what I will need. We'll see how it goes. I'll probably continue to just post the meal plans on here every week even though I do have an entire month planned out. New recipes for this week are the Pizza Soup and Homemade Pizza.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Spice Muffins

We went apple picking last weekend which means I now have a ton of apples that I need to use. This started out as Apple Strudel Muffins, but when I made them last week they were REALLY dry. I hadn't made them since I was pregnant with Claire, I think, so I'm not sure if I was doing something different back then or if my standards were lower. They were good, but just dry. I ended up taking them to work and got a lot of compliments on them, but when I was getting ready to make them to take as a morning treat for my Sunday School class, I decided to try changing it a little bit.

apple muffins

1/2 cup Butter (salted)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Apple (peeled & diced)
2 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
a pinch of Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp Milk
Raw Sugar (for sprinkling)

Cream together the butter and sugars, then add the eggs and the vanilla.

Stir in apples

Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon) in another bowl and then add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.

Stir in 1-2 Tbsp of Milk, the batter should be creamier than cookie dough, but not liquidy like cakes. The first time my batter was thicker like cookie dough.

Spray muffin tins, I make this recipe to make 48 mini muffins, it will also work as 12 normal muffins. Divide the batter evenly amongst muffins. (For mini muffins, I use a small cookie scoop to fill the muffin tin.)

Sprinkle with Raw Sugar. Bake at 375 degrees. For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular size muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.

Instead of Raw Sugar, you can make a strudel topping with 1/2 c brown sugar, 1 Tbsp Flour mixed together and then cut in 1 Tbsp of Butter. Both ways are yummy, but the Raw Sugar is easier for me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project Life: Week 34

I have been working on Project Life, I just haven't been posting...or taking pictures of the layouts...which is why I haven't posted them. This whole having the sun go down earlier thing is messing with my schedule.

Week 34: August 20 - 26

I skipped Week 33. Week 33 was great, but busy. So many pictures and I just can't figure out how to make them all fit. So I decided to step back (or forward as the case may be) and do something else and then finish it up later.

Week 34 (3)

Week 34 was much calmer. No inserts. No crazy picture sizes to make things work. Just a straight forward layout. Only one journaling card talking about Claire's recent obsession with the Disney show Doc McStuffins & her new doctor's kit that she uses to give 'check-ups' for her animals.

Week 34 (4)

Also, I love this picture of Claire & my pregnant sister-in-law. My mom watches Claire a couple of times a week and will also be watching their baby so she has been talking to Claire about the new baby. And we talk about the baby being in my sister-in-law's belly, so when she was playing with her stethoscope on Sunday we asked her if she wanted to listen to the baby - she couldn't actually HEAR anything because it's just a kid's toy, but she thought that was great fun to listen to the baby.

The Mom Creative

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Ravioli
Tuesday - Marinated Pork
Wednesday - Pizza @ School/Chinese Food
Thursday - Pork Stir Fry Breaded & Fried Pork with Rice & Gravy
Friday - Waffles & Sausage Chili Cheese Brats
Saturday - ??? Copycat Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
Sunday - ??? Waffles & Sausage

Even though I never posted last week's menu, but I did make one for most of the week. The Copycat Chicken Sandwiches are something that I have been wanting to try, but hadn't gotten around to yet. Justin ended up liking them BETTER than Wendy's actual sandwich, although I did change mine a bit from that recipe. I hate Tabasco sauce, so I used a Garlic Chili Pepper sauce that I had for making General Tso's. And I cut the ground red pepper down and used smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. They were delicious - still slightly spicy, but with more flavor instead of just spice (according to Justin). We went apple picking last weekend, so I've also made three batches of Apple Spice Muffins.

Monday - Frozen Pizza
Tuesday - Ham & Cheese Omelets
Wednesday - Shepherd's Pie
Thursday - Deli Sandwiches
Friday - Sausage with Potatoes and Peppers
Saturday - Creamy Chicken-Apple Chili
Sunday - Leftovers/Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I'm already pretty certain that the chili will get moved to next week. I just checked the weather and it's supposed to be 90 on Saturday, I probably won't want to make Chili, but I can't think of anything I will want to make. Quite a few new recipes that I'm looking forward to trying.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where the toddler sleeps...

I went down to check on Claire tonight after I knew she was asleep and her bed was empty. Which lead to searching the room for the sleeping toddler. This is the first time that I've had this joy. In fact, I did it the night before too. Once, back when she was still sleeping in her toddler bed, she was mostly under the bed. Occasionally she'll be laying next to the bed which makes me think she might have fallen out but not really cared. Not recently. Recently if she isn't in her bed she's in her closet (or in front of it).

Before this was Claire's room, we took the closet doors off. With the size of the room it just made more sense not to have doors. We re-installed them in the frame that divided the master bed and bath so that the light from me getting ready for work wouldn't wake up Justin. So Claire's closet is open to her room. We use the bottom part of her closet for her toys and pile of stuffed animals. She likes crawling in her pile of stuffed animals hiding in them.

Tonight though...this is how she was sleeping:

I made Justin come up and move her. I wasn't sure I would be able to get her out from under the table without hurting myself, waking her up or hitting her head on the table.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menu Monday

Monday - Spaghetti & Meatballs
Tuesday - Chicken & Stuffing Bake
Wednesday - Pork Stir Fry
Thursday - Fast Food
Friday - Breakfast Casserole
Saturday - Leftovers Sandwiches
Sunday - Hamburgers Leftovers

We ate our food last week. We really only changed things over the weekend. We ended up having sandwiches on Saturday because I made this really good Italian Bread that we ended up using for our sandwiches. Which meant we pushed leftover night back to Sunday and Hamburgers will go to this week.

Monday - Hamburgers & Fries & Fruit
Tuesday - Deli Meat & Cheese roll-up, Chips, Fruit
Wednesday - Bratwurst, Chips, Fruit
Thursday - Leftovers or Fast Food (Open House at Claire's school)
Friday - Taco Skillet
Saturday - Four Cheese Ravioli (maybe homemade)
Sunday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I'm pretty sure this week's food will be re-arranged. I've already changed some of the things around multiple times. I just can't decide the best way to arrange it all. I'm planning to make homemade hamburger buns, since the recipe makes 8, I might make 4 hamburger and 4 hot dog buns (for the bratwurst). Claire doesn't usually use a bun anyway, so that would still be plenty.