Thursday, May 22, 2014

Teacher Gift Idea: Target Gift Card Holder {with free printable}



I like to get the boys' teachers a little gift at the end of the year to show our appreciation for the time and effort they have put in with the kids all year. Last year, I designed a cute coffee cup card with Starbucks and Target gift cards. This year, I decided to just do Target gift cards, and I found this cute idea via Pinterest, of course. She offers a free printable on her blog, but I wanted to change it up a bit with my own fonts, so I recreated it, adding a bit more color and some arrows, too, to go with the bullseye theme.


I printed the page and allowed it to dry. Next, I marked where I wanted the gift card to be, then used an exact-o knife to cut around the white circle of the bullseye.


Then, I slipped the gift card down in. By keeping the opening snug, it should stay in place on its own, but you can add a piece of tape under it to be sure. I attached the card to a piece of plain black card stock, to help keep the card in place.


Next, I dressed it up with some baker's twine (purchased at Michaels) and a chalkboard gift tag (found in the Target Dollar Spot!). It would also be easy to use some of the extra black card stock to create a tag. I used a metallic silver Sharpie to write on the tag.



Perfect!

Here is a link to the free printable. The card is a 5" x 7" card, and you can print this page with 2 cards on a regular 8.5" x 11" sheet.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu Monday #54 {Chicken Parmesan Cups recipe}

On Friday night, my mom and I let Ethan choose our dinner location, and we ended up at Cracker Barrel. We had visited Bagel Exchange for lunch, so I managed to have breakfast for all three of my meals that day. Yes, that is awesome. 

On Saturday morning, I made Ethan's favorite, whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing, for breakfast. After that, Grandma got packed up and headed back to Ohio. After being gone from home for a month, it was time to go back for a bit. Hopefully we didn't scare her off, and she'll be back later this week to keep us company again while Josh is still away in China! That evening for dinner, I made the boys' day by letting them make their own personal pizzas. I had made my dough earlier in the bread machine, then we topped them with sauce and cheese. I also added some chicken to mine. If that wasn't enough to make the night awesome, I won "Mom of the Year" for making them some M&M cookies, too!! I figured they would work well for bribes if I need them! ;) Haha!

On Sunday morning, I continued on as Super-Mom by making our usual egg bagel sandwiches, doing some laundry, dishes, and getting the boys ready and to church, on time!! I lucked out and scored a nap since I got them all down at the same time for their naps. Perfection. After that, we played outside, watered our garden (it's starting to sprout!), took a walk, then we came in so I could make dinner. I would definitely say it was a successful day. Let's hope I can keep it up this week!

Sunday: Chicken parmesan cups (see recipe below)
I tried out a new idea for dinner. I've made "cups" in the past using Pillsbury® Grands!® biscuits. This time I used chicken parmesan ingredients in them. They turned out awesome and were a big hit with the boys!

Monday: Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese
The boys love it and I love that it's quick and easy. :) Who doesn't love some mac every now and then?!?

Tuesday: Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Ethan has been begging for grilled cheese for awhile now, so it's time to make it! Another easy meal while we're on our own. :) I'll probably add some tomato and fresh basil to my sandwich to make it even tastier!

Wednesday: Whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing
Who doesn't love brinner? The boys love these pancakes so much, and they're actually fairly nutritious with the pumpkin in them, so I figure they'll work for dinner. ;)

Thursday: Preschool picnic
The boys' preschool will be having its end of the year picnic. I'll need to figure out what I want to bring to share with the other families. It will be a fun evening with the other parents!

Friday: Out to eat
Not sure what we'll have yet. I'll probably let the boys pick.

Saturday: TBD
I may make some homemade pizza again. The boys loved their personal pizzas so much!


What's on your menu this week?

Now for the recipe...



Chicken Parmesan Cups
(Serves 4-5)

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits (8-count)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, optional
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 16 pieces/chunks Perdue® Simply Smart® lightly breaded chicken chunks, frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups pizza, or spaghetti, sauce
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Fresh basil, optional
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 16 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.

Pull each biscuit apart into 2 layers; press each into 4-inch round. Place 1 round in each of the muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up side, forming 1/4-inch rim. Put 1 tablespoon of the mozzarella cheese into each cup. If you like ricotta cheese, put 1 teaspoon on top of that. Place a chunk of the frozen chicken on top of that. I used the bigger chunks and it's ok to use them frozen - they'll cook along with the biscuits! On top of the chicken, spoon about 1 1/2 Tbsp of either pizza or spaghetti sauce. Top it all off by sprinkling on about 1/2 Tbsp of the shredded Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.


Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let sit in the tin for 1 minute, then gently remove.


I love how quick and easy this meal is! The most time consuming part is getting all of the biscuits flattened and into the muffin tin. After that, it's a breeze! Being able to use the frozen chicken chunks makes this so easy to prepare. I love that I didn't have to dirty another dish trying to cook the meat first. I used pizza sauce for mine because I already had an opened container of it, but spaghetti sauce will work great, too. The kids would prefer this without the ricotta cheese, so next time, I'll make some with it and some without it. Enjoy!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Menu Monday #53

I had a great Mother's Day yesterday with my babies. Sadly, Josh was out of town, but my mom came to stay with us, so I was able to spend Mother's Day with her, too! :) Before leaving, Josh made sure to get me some pretty flowers to try to make up for being gone. ;)

Daisy had a rough week after her first chemo treatment. She lost her appetite again and just wanted to lay around and rest. After speaking with the vet, she said that this is normal, but that they can adjust her dose next time so that she won't experience the GI distress again afterwards. So, hopefully it will go better for her next time. She seems to be feeling better now and her appetite has definitely returned. She is playing more and just acting more like her sweet self again. Whew!

On Friday night, it was just me and the boys before Grandma arrived later that evening, so we drove through Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Yep. Simple and easier to feed them all back at the house!

On Saturday morning, I made Ethan's favorite, whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing, for breakfast. The boys literally gobbled them up. Ethan managed to eat FIVE pancakes!!! Seriously?! That's how many I ate! I guess we need to start saving up now. Feeding these three boys as teenagers may send us to the poor house! Haha! That night, I made pizza crust in the bread machine and made cheese pizza for dinner. My mom and I also had some stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. For dessert, we enjoyed strawberry shortcake. They had strawberries from a local farm available at the store, so I figured that was the perfect excuse to make a shortcake! ;) The boys were very happy with that decision. Surprise!

On Sunday morning, I made fried egg toast sandwiches before church. Afterwards, the boys took us to O'Charley's for a Mother's Day brunch. :)

Sunday: Leftovers
Since we went out for lunch, we ate light for dinner.

Monday: Crispy shrimp pasta, roasted broccoli
We all love this tasty pasta dish and it's so easy!

TuesdayBrown butter chicken and crispy sage, roasted cauliflower, quinoa
I haven't made this one in several weeks, but it sounded good. It's quick and easy and should go great with the cauliflower.

Wednesday: Lasagna
I haven't made lasagna in a looooong time. I wanted to make something for a neighbor who recently had a baby, so it'll be easy to put two pans of this together at the same time. :) I'm going to use a mixture of beef and sausage with the oven-ready lasagna noodles, and a mixture of mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses. So good!

Thursday: Pork chops, roasted butternut squash, couscous with cranberries and toasted pine nuts
I'm hoping for some decent grilling weather, though we're expecting a lot of rain this week. If not, I'll just sear them on the stovetop. I bought extra squash to roast so that I can stock up more food for Amos. He still doesn't seem interested in moving beyond purées yet, but I can make this a bit chunkier to get him used to the idea.

Friday: Out to eat
Not sure what we'll have yet. It'll probably depend on whether Grandma is still here or not.

Saturday: TBD
I may make some homemade pizza again. Noah gobbled it up!!


What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

I can hardly believe it's my sixth Mother's Day already! I consider myself pretty fortunate to be the mother to these three amazing little guys and sweet fur girl! :)


Here's a fun look back at my first five Mother's Days! :)


So as I was scrolling through Facebook the other day while nursing the tiny one, I saw a cute Mother's Day card (All About Mom) that a friend's preschooler made. It was a fill-in-the-blank form where the child answers questions about their mother. I thought it was a fun idea, so out of curiosity, I wanted to see what my boys had to say about me! ;) I put their answers in bold and italics.

Ethan:

My mom is five feet tall and weighs about five pounds. Her hair is brown and her eyes are blue.

My mom's favorite colors are pink, blue and gray, and her favorite food is salad. Her favorite place to eat is Chick-Fil-A. On the weekends, my Mom likes to sit and rest.

My mom is the happiest when we play outside. You are special to me because you're my mommy.


Noah:

My mom is really tall and weighs about three pounds. Her hair is brown and her eyes are blue.

My mom's favorite color is pink and her favorite food is tacos. Her favorite place to eat is Chick-Fil-A. On the weekends, my Mom likes to get dessert.

My mom is the happiest when we play with toys. You are special to me because I just love you.

Ethan, Noah and Amos. Love these sweet boys!

I guess I need to thank my kids for thinking I'm so skinny! Haha! I think perhaps they just have no concept of weight yet. ;) They do know their colors though! And they did a good job knowing my favorite ones. I don't know about salad and tacos as my favorites, but I do like them. :) While Chick-Fil-A may not top my list as favorite-favorite, it is my favorite "fast-food" place to go! My favorite answer has to be what they both came up with for what I like to do on weekends! LOL!! They are both right, I love resting and I love getting dessert, too! Haha! They are too sweet and I was right, this was super fun!!


They brought home super cute gifts that they made at preschool.



Happy Mother's Day to all fellow and future mamas! Hug your babies, human and fur, extra tight today!!

Mother's Day 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Amos is Eight Months Old!


Age of Baby: 8 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 16 lbs 0 oz (up to the 4th percentile), +1 lb from last month
  • Length: 27 inches (down to the 27th percentile), no growth from last month
  • Head circumference: not measured
  • Height-to-Weight ratio: up to the 3rd-10th percentile
Amos is now wearing a size 3 diaper (it's a bit big, but the size 2s were starting to leak a bit) and 6-9/6-12/12-month clothes. He wears either a size 2 or 3 shoe.

Immunizations:

None this month.

Doctor's Visit Summary:

No visit this month.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Amos's 8-month picture in the 12-month onesie. He really hasn't changed much since last month! You can't tell here, but his hair is filling in nicely. His eyes are slowly changing brown, I think, but appear to be kind of gray/hazel for now.


And here is a comparison of all three of the boys at eight months, just for fun. Ethan and Noah were still significantly bigger at this point (Ethan was 28.5 inches long and weighed 18.5 lbs and Noah was 27 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 13 oz).

Ethan, Noah, and Amos (each at 8 months)

Accomplishments this Month:
  • Repeating consonants, babbling
  • Two teeth!
  • Sits upright with no assistance
  • First big boy bath
  • Self-feeds little snacks
  • Reaching for us
Amos has started to use his mouth for more than just eating. ;) He is repeating consonants and sounds, trying to babble some now. I swear I've heard "mama" a few times when he has wanted me, but it may just be wishful thinking.

His bottom two teeth broke through the surface together on April 9th! We knew they were coming, and now they're quickly making their way all the way in. I'm wondering if there aren't more on their way now, because he's still been waking at night a lot, and currently has a very low-grade fever and runny nose. I know they say that doesn't really happen with teething, but it always seems to for mine! Oh yeah, he can't keep anything out of his mouth either. Nothing is safe, and it drives his big brothers crazy! Haha!


He is so proud that he is able to sit up by himself now, without using his arm to help. It took him a bit, but he finally got it and he's loving it! It's now easier for him to get into things since he doesn't have to try doing it from his belly. Haha! Because he can sit up well now, he was able to experience his first big boy bath. :) He had an awesome time with his big brothers, splashing around and enjoying the water.

He did great feeding himself snack foods when I gave them to him at the end of the month. He has no problems finding his mouth! ;) He also reaches for us now when we put our hands out to get him. So far, he hasn't experienced any separation anxiety, so I hope that continues! He is fine if I leave him with Josh to run errands, or when we leave him in the nursery at church. He's just a happy guy that wants to have fun! :)

New Foods tried this Month:
  • Apples (April 6th)
  • Peaches (April 12th)
  • Avocado (April 19th)
  • Mashed potatoes (April 20th)
  • Snacks - Rice cups and Puffs (April 29th/30th)
We've continued to move ahead with more new foods for Amos, as he hasn't appeared to have any problems with any of them. He wasn't a big fan of avocado at all, and also wasn't crazy about peas this last month unless I mixed them with one of his orange veggies. :/ He really didn't care for the mashed potatoes either, surprisingly! I've also continued to nurse him every 3-4 hours during the day (around 8 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm) for around 10 minutes. It's become kind of a struggle because he often doesn't want to stay still that long to eat, as he would rather look around at everything. :/ When I nurse him before naps and bed, he does a much better job eating. He normally gets breakfast when we get back home in the morning, after we've dropped one or both of the boys off at school, around 9:30 or 10. He gets his dinner with the rest of us in the evenings. I'm going to hold off on a lunch for a bit longer, to be sure he still has room for breastmilk. I may start letting him keep himself busy feeding himself some Puffs during lunchtime, if he's awake. I'd like to move on and try some new things this month, like yogurt, eggs, and more of the stuff we're eating, if he's up for it!

Amos has had another decent month in the sleep department. He is still averaging around 13 hours of sleep a day (10 hours at night and 3 hours during the day). He still normally goes to bed between 9 and 10 pm, then sleeps until between 8 and 8:30 am. He has continued to wake most nights this past month, though, but goes promptly back to sleep if I feed him. Sigh. Half the time, he wants a morning nap, but half the time he waits until the afternoon to sleep. If he takes a morning nap, he still normally goes back down later in the afternoon for a 2nd nap. I definitely think the night waking was related to teething, so I'm hoping to get him sleeping through the night regularly again soon!

We look forward to all of the milestones yet to come for this happy little guy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Menu Monday #52 and Daisy Update

We had a pretty great weekend. After starting Daisy on prednisone last week, her appetite (and thirst) returned in full force and she had that familiar pep back in her step. It's been great to see her feeling better again! Unfortunately, with the steroid comes increased hunger and thirst, so she's been famished and drinking way more water than usual. So, in addition to waking at night with Amos, I'm also getting up 1-2 times a night to let her potty. Although I've been requiring a bit more caffeine to function lately, I'm just happy and thankful that she's feeling better for now. Her first chemo treatment was this morning. I picked her up this afternoon after picking Ethan up at school, and she is resting comfortably now. We'll be able to start weaning her off the prednisone now, which will be helpful for the side effects. Like I mentioned in my last post, we're doing a single agent therapy for her chemo treatment. They're using the drug doxorubicin. It has been shown to be fairly effective when used alone. It is expected to result in an additional 6-9 months for her, though our vet was only able to get an additional 4 months for her dog with it. I guess we'll see what happens! :/ Thank you to everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers for Daisy and our family. We really appreciate it! We're holding off on telling the boys how serious it is right now. They know that she is sick, and getting old, and have continued to pray for her to feel better. I think Ethan is starting to figure out that it might be something fatal, but he is remaining hopeful for her. I don't want them to worry too much about it these last months, and instead enjoy the time they have left with her. I know I'll be doing enough worrying for all of us. :(

On Friday night, we went out for a bit and tried out a new local Asian place, Ming's Asian Cuisine, for dinner. I had an excellent spicy tuna roll, and we also enjoyed our entrée, the curry seafood Thai style casserole. With shrimp, scallops and crab meat in a spicy curry sauce, it was delicious! For dessert, we hit up Rita's Italian Ice next door. For some reason, I had never before had frozen custard, so we enjoyed some vanilla custard. :) Yuuuuuum!!

On Saturday morning, I made Ethan's favorite, whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with cream cheese icing, for breakfast. The boys went down for early naps so we could get up and head to the park that afternoon for a birthday party for one of Ethan's preschool classmates. Unfortunately, I had it in my head that it was at Winged Deer Park, when it was instead at Willow Springs Park. So, we were definitely super late, having to drive across town to get to the correct park, but they had fun when we got there. Crisis averted. Sigh. I guess my mind has been a bit preoccupied lately! After the party, we headed to Mellow Mushroom for dinner. It was a gorgeous day, so we dined outdoors on the patio. We tried their Mellowterranean pizza (it has an olive oil and garlic base with grilled chicken, onions, roasted red peppers, black olives, chives, feta and mozzarella cheese with a side of tzatziki sauce) this time and both loved it!


On Sunday morning, we had our favorite egg bagel sandwiches before church. Afterwards, we came home to get ready to have friends over for dinner.

Sunday: Grilled NY Strip steaks, roasted asparagus, poblano pesto Alfredo cavatappi
We invited friends over for dinner and made a delicious meal. Josh grilled some steaks and I made my favorite poblano pesto to top them, and we also mixed it with my favorite homemade Alfredo sauce to top the pasta. Yum! Our friends added to the yumminess by bringing a delicious Maryland crab dip with bread, and dirt pudding for dessert! :) It was an awesome feast, the kids had a great time playing, and we enjoyed some adult conversation for a change!

Monday: Cajun pork fajita burritos with cilantro lime rice, mozzarella cheese, sautéed red onions and red peppers
We'll be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with this tasty meal! I'm marinating a pork tenderloin in a mixture of dijon mustard, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, and cajun seasoning (this recipe here). Josh will grill that, then we'll shred it up to fill my homemade flour tortillas. We'll also add in the other elements for a Chipotle-inspired fajita burrito, including this awesome cilantro lime rice recipe! I can't wait!

Tuesday: Masala chicken kebabs, roasted cauliflower
I'm finally going to try this new, yummy-looking recipe for chicken. I hope we love it! I roast my cauliflower with a little EVOO, cumin, and garam masala, so it will go perfectly with this chicken!

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers, baked sweet potato fries
We'll enjoy some classic burgers on whole wheat buns with cheddar cheese and our favorite fries on the side, complete with some of my spicy ketchup!

ThursdayTomato basil pasta
This will be something quick and easy as Josh will be preparing for his trip to Asia in the morning! :( We sure will miss him!

Friday: Out to eat
Thankfully, Grandma Frank will be coming to keep us company while Josh is out of town. We'll probably enjoy something out on the town. ;)

Saturday: TBD
I may make some homemade pizza since I haven't done that in awhile.


What's on your menu this week?