Monday, October 31, 2011

Jack-O-Lantern Pudding Cups

Check out the Jack-O-Lantern pudding cups we made for my sweet kindergartner's class! I thought they turned out so cute!

Yesterday, while daddy was carving pumpkins, the girls and I drew Jack-O-Lantern faces on plastic cups. Today, daddy and I tinted instant vanilla pudding with orange food coloring and filled the cups up. We covered them with crushed Oreo (actually Who-Nu) cookies and then a few Halloween sprinkles.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out, and I love that it isn't total sugar overload like a cupcake with a mountain of frosting. I think my big girl will be really proud of our handmade art too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hy Vee Shopping Trip

I'm a little late updating, obviously! I feel like I have been SO busy since the school year started. Dance, homework, Bible study and having my husband gone an extra day on top of what I am used to is wearing me out! We've also been dealing with a lot of allergy related illness the last few weeks. I'm still trying to keep up with our grocery project updates, but it is sure getting hard!

When I got home from the store, I thought I did really good with our $50, but even as I am writing, I'm realizing our fridge is looking empty. I just didn't get much to put in it! Hopefully we'll manage because I have about $12 for the rest of the week left to cover anything that might come up between now and then.

Our meal plan for the week looks a little like this,

Saturday - pumpkin smoothies / burritos at Taco Bell / chicken and potato bake

Sunday - went to church without breakfast / vanilla Dutch Baby with country store fried apples /ham and cheese sandwiches

Monday - bagels with pumpkin cream cheese / brown bag lunches / crockpot chicken and wild rice soup (We didn't have this last week.)

Tuesday - cereal / brown bag lunches / tuna noodle salad

Wednesday -cereal / brown bag lunches / broccoli and cheese baked potatoes

Thursday - pumpkin smoothies / brown bag lunches / grilled cheese and tomato soup

Friday - apples with peanut butter / brown bag lunches / crockpot black beans and cheese

I have a few recipes I need to find time to add. Hopefully I'll find some time to share how I've been making pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin smoothies and the new chicken and potato bake that I made last night some time this week!

In the early days of our $50 grocery project, I used to panic a little bit when it felt like we were low on groceries. These days, I've learned that we usually fly through the week, and we're on to a new start pretty quickly. Hopefully that we'll be the case this week!

For more meal plans, see

Friday, October 14, 2011

Egg in the Hole

I've been meaning to make this for my family for a LONG time, but I always used to forget! Incidentally, I watched Ree Drummond make it on her new Food Network show a few weeks ago, and I realized how ridiculously EASY it is. I followed her instructions, plus added a few things, and my family is IN LOVE.


1 piece of bread
1 egg
1 tbs butter
grated cheese
salt and pepper

Here is how I did it,

After cutting a disc out of a piece of bread with a glass, place a generous tablespoon of butter in a medium hot pan. Throw in your bread and round bread disc and crack your egg in to the center. Salt and pepper to taste. After 2-3 minutes, carefully flip and repeat. I have been adding a sprinkle of cheese to the second side.

SO DELICIOUS and ridiculously cheap. It's not even worth calculating! I'm so glad I added this to our repertoire of favorite dishes. It is a life saver if you need something quick, and it certainly comes in handy on a low grocery week. Eggs and bread are something I ALWAYS have.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dirty Kids

Every year for my birthday, we hit the pumpkin patch for some old fashioned fun. (Isn't that the best kind of fun anyway?) This year, the pumpkin patch added a fabulous new DIRT slide. It was seriously fun, and we got SERIOUSLY dirty.

And here, for the first time ever (as far as I remember,) are the five of us together!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My intentions were good...

I didn't get a picture of my groceries last night. I didn't get home until almost ten, and I had been going strong since 5 AM. I was just exhausted. I wanted to get things put away and GO TO BED. So I did.

I did a really bad job menu and grocery planning yesterday. I DID manage to get a list done, but as soon as I got to the store, I realized I hadn't even considered what I was going to actually cook or making anything new this week. So irritating. If I don't have a meal plan in mind, I end up with a bunch of random stuff. Of course, that is exactly what happened.

I spent $48 after tax, and I got cheese, a ton of yogurt, Sun Chips, canned pumpkin, dried black beans, granola bars, pears, salad mix, bagels, waffles, and I don't even remember what else. I at least did end up with some good lunch items, which is helpful because we had been running very low on lunch items.

That being said, I'm short a few items to make meals. I'm going to make another quick run for apples, cream cheese, cream of chicken soup cream. There I said it. We can't live without ice cream around here. We've given up soooo many luxuries lately, that I think ice cream is a relatively fair one to keep as long as I buy it on sale.

My husband is finally starting his regular work schedule at his new job, so we're starting a new tradition - crockpot Monday! I'll be working different hours on Mondays for awhile, so he'll be in charge of having dinner ready when I get home. Yay for me! I need a break! Thursdays, we have Bible Study, so we're switching over to a leftover night. (We're reading the book Practicing the Way of Jesus, if anyone is interested.) On Friday, we have to eat SUPER fast between school and three hours at the dance studio. I'm trying really hard to avoid fast food and am having reasonable success. The biggest problem is that we're usually just about out of EVERYthing!

Our meal plan for the week will be something like this,

Saturday - egg in the hole / birthday lunch out / my mom's chicken and rice and salad

Sunday - bagels with pumpkin cream cheese / grilled cheese and tomato soup /chili from the freezer

(We really drag out the birthday thing around here. Today is actually my bday.)

Monday - pumpkin smoothies / brown bag lunches / crockpot chicken and wild rice soup

Tuesday - cereal / brown bag lunches /breakfast sandwiches

Wednesday -cereal / brown bag lunches / tuna noodle salad

Thursday - pumpkin smoothies / brown bag lunches / leftovers

Friday - apples with peanut butter / brown bag lunches / crockpot black beans and cheese

I'd really like to do some baking this week, but I'm not sure I'll get to it! I've really been craving some apple cider scones, though!

See other meal plans at

Monday, October 3, 2011

$50 week grocery project (30th Birthday Edition)

I'm running super late (again) updating this week. We've had a busy week celebrating my birthday, and I am, once again, fighting off a sinus infection.

The above purchase was right around $22 after tax at Hy Vee. I also went to Hen House and Price Chopper where I got milk, cheese, yogurt, apples, and I don't even remember what else now.

We stuck almost perfectly to $50 this week, and I will tell you that my fridge is already looking BARE. Lucky for me, I have a few birthday coupons laying around that I will be able to use, but the budget doesn't really allow for a whole family affair. I will probably use them mostly for lunches this week. Thankfully, my kids don't seem to mind sticking to the super simple and cheap favorites too much. Heck, they don't even know the difference. And, to be honest, they've been eating really well lately. I'm proud of what well rounded eaters they are!

Here is our menu plan for the week, starting with yesterday. Saturday is a distant memory.

Sunday - cereal / Mexican buffet with family (I took black beans and queso.) / Mexican buffet leftovers

Monday - cereal / tuna noodle salad and apples / cavatini and a garlic Boboli

Tuesday - smoothie popsicles / brown bag lunches / egg in the hole

Wednesday - 100% whole wheat cinnamon toast / brown bag lunches/ vegetarian chili

Thursday - cereal / brown bag lunches / broccoli cheese baked potatoes

Friday - smoothie popsicles / brown bag lunches / Little Caesars at dance

Snacks will include our usual banana smoothies, cottage cheese, pumpkin applesauce, yogurt, PBJ and whatever else I can come up with!

For more meal plans, see

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Birthday Freebies (in honor of my 30th!)


It's true! This is my birthday week, and it is a BIG one! 30?!?!? Where does the time go?

I'll be celebrating with some special birthday freebies this week. If you haven't signed up, some of my favorite eateries that offer birthday surprises are,

Red Robin
Baskin Robbins
Cold Stone Creamery
First Watch
Ben and Jerry's
Caribou Coffee
Dunkin Donuts
Noodles & Co 
Olive Garden
On the Border
Papa Murphy's

Have fun!

(Photo Credit, I Am Baker)