Friday, February 26, 2010

March's Menu Plan

Tacos x3
Spaghetti Bake x3
Tuna Casserole x3
Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry x3
Homemade Pizza x3
Breakfast x1
Nachos x2
Rib Eyes x1
Fettucini Alfredo x1
Eat Out x1
Chicken Salad Sandwiches x1
Spicy Chicken Wings and Potato Wedges x2
Salmon fillets and baked potatoes x2
Leftovers x3
St. Paddy's Day Supper at Church x1
Roast Beef and fried potatoes x1

Bulk Cooking Agenda for March 1st-2nd

1.  Cook, drain, and season 5# of hamburger and freeze
2.  Soak and cook black beans and freeze
3.  Cook 4# brown rice and freeze
4.  Make 3 Tuna Casserole Kits (since our freezer doesn't have the space for all of the meals this month, I'm going to chop ingredients and mix and freeze in containers and plan to add them to the noodles, which I will cook fresh the night of the meal)
5.  Make 3 baked spaghetti casseroles and freeze
6.  Bake 4# of chicken breasts and slice into strips for stir-fry, freeze

There is no way to describe how WONDERFUL it is to have a fully stocked freezer and a month-at-a-time meal plan.  It has been AMAZING to reach into the freezer for a supper that requires only heating!  I don't know how moms of 3 or more kids or any moms who homeschool live without bulk cooking!  Yes, it's a day or two of hard work invested at the beginning, but the benefits far outweigh the input.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frugal Friday-Frugal Thank-You's

At my daughter's recent Angelina Ballerina Birthday Party, I took individual portraits of each of the 12 little ladies in front of our cream-colored curtain behind the couch.  All of them turned out fairly well and I was able to enhance them a little bit with our Kodak program and add some colorful borders to some of them at the Walmart photo site.  I wish I could have added text to the photo, but Walmart photo didn't have that option.  It would have been cute to write the child's name followed by Ballerina on their photo.

I plan to glue the photos to the front of a piece of folded cardstock for a sweet thank-you card for the nice gifts they brought for Ali.  The parents will enjoy seeing each of their lovely little ballerinas, and it will cost me merely a few bucks for the photos and cardstock.  A nice final touch for a fun occasion!
Kayci Ballerina
Lindsay Ballerina
Reagan Ballerina
Ali Ballerina

For more Frugal Friday Tips go to Life As Mom.

Birthday Party Pics

Here are some pics for anyone who's been wondering how all of my planning and prep for the Angelina Birthday Party turned out!
Coloring Angelina pictures.  The girls were SOOOOO quiet! 
All of the moms who were there were amazed at how quiet they were.
The cake was delicious.  I was so glad I had made it 2 days early as
I was busy cleaning and getting ready for the party the morning of the party.
The ballerina balloon stomp was fun, but the girls weren't very agressive and had trouble breaking the balloons.  A pattern emerged: The sisters tended to break each other's balloons since they felt comfy getting rough with each other!
Everyone was attentive during the gift opening.  My mom, who teaches 2nd and 3rd graders, kept remarking that the girls were soooo quiet and well-behaved during the party.  I expected chaos with 12 little girls in a tiny house, but it was very controlled.  The more girls that left, the wilder things got.  Ali + 1 girl can be horrifyingly loud but Ali + 11 was great!
The whole group
This is what happens when you are the only boy left at home with 12 little ballerinas!  Daddy took Jer to the Children's Museum for the afternoon but Justus was "supposed to be" sleeping.  He loved the ribbon wands and kept examining the 800-bead beading kit she received, hoping to get into it, and he loved all the attention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jer Bear's First Swimming Lesson

Even though he was excited the morning before swimming lessons began, Jer looked at me with huge eyes and said in a serious tone "What if I dwound Mama?"  I assured him I would leap out of the bleachers and rescue him if he started to drown and that two lifeguards would be watching him. 

He had a wonderful time!  He came out of his first session saying, "I LOVE swimming!  But I didn't learn how to do a backflip."  He had high expectations for the first day!
Swimming lessons run year-round in our town and in the past Ali has done them in the summer, when most kids in town do them. But we're enjoying this late-winter session because the kids can burn some energy even when it's cold outside.  There are only 5 kids, including them, in their class and they gets lots of attention.  It's twice a week for 6 weeks and only costs $20 a kid.  Justus can hardly stand to watch them from the bleachers.  He always looks like he is ready to jump the bar and dive in!

Swimming lessons are a huge priority in our family, partly because I love water and swimming for fun and partly because of the dangers for children regarding water. 
Do your kids go to swimming lessons?

Just a Note

Phew!  After a day of fighting computer templates, searching through hundreds of free templates online and trying to figure out html code, I finally decided on a web design!  Yay!  I apologize to those of you who checked my blog during that day or two of constantly changing templates.  I think it took about 12 tries to finally get settled on the current design!

This week I'm "attending" the online conference Heart of the Matter Homeschooling Winter Refresher.  So far, it has been excellent!  16 sessions for $13.  I'm excited to be able to download the mp3s and listen to them over again as I've had to miss some of the talks for swimming lessons and kid interruptions.  In a coming post I will highlight the things I have learned from the conference!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Half a Week's Worth....

Here's a pic of half of the laundry I fold in a week.  I should have had Justus stand in front of it to give you a better idea.  His head would be near the bottom of the pile.

It's always a race against gravity and little people.  Will Mommy get the piles put away before they topple over?  Will Justus get to the piles before me?  Needless to say, I fold quickly and put away quickly!
Looks like I'm gonna have to have a talk with JerBear about throwing half-used clothing in the laundry basket.  His piles (the two on the right) are bigger than everyone else's in the family.  Justus' are the two middle piles and my clothes are on the left.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thank You!

Dear Blog Readers,

It's a little bit sad and a little bit exciting to bid The King's Missus goodbye and say hello to the new blog name/design.  I appreciate ALL of the new name suggestions and all of your input on my polls.  So many of you had CUTE ideas; I loved so many of them and was thrilled to see that all of you are more creative than me when it comes to naming things! 

Kristin wins the naming competition with the name "Faithful Homemaking."  It was tough to choose amongst all the good suggestions, but my mom really liked Faithful Homemaking and it seemed to fit the content of my blog and the desire of my life well, plus you all voted it in as the favorite!  To be faithful is to be steadfast in our allegiance to Christ.  I want to glorify God and make much of Him in my homemaking; which is where God has me for this season.  I'm not always a faithful homemaker, but it is my pursuit to be one!

I'll be contacting Kristin about her prize!

Thanks to Jesse Blasdel for sharing the poem with me posted on my sidebar.  It fit perfectly with the new name for this blog.  If you still lived here in WY, I'd be sure to make you a HUGE plate of zucchini brownies to say thank you Jesse!

Bear with me as I figure out my new blog design.  It's already changed twice tonight.  I'm looking for a free, easy-to-cut-and-paste template that fits my style.  So, it may change a bit over the next few days until I find my fit.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Angelina Ballerina Birthday Activities

Found these free coloring pages here.  Had 15 of each pic printed off at the local print shop for around $1.

I was originally planning to roll 2 sheets up for each girl, tie a tulle ribbon around them, and use them for party favors, but then I decided to do the other favors instead.  So, I plan to have the girls color them as part of the party activities.  When you have an 850 sq. ft. house and 12 little girls filling it up, you need a QUIET activity for them to do!

Since Ali got an Angelina DVD for her birthday, our plan is to show that to the girls as one of the activities. 
We will also be doing the ballerina stomp (tying a balloon to each girl's foot and having them dance around to ballerina music while trying to pop each other's balloons) and the typical cake and presents.  I don't want things to be too structured since it's fun for them to simply play together so they will have time to do dress-ups and play with dolls too.  I also plan to take a group pic with their wands and individual portraits of each guest dressed like a ballerina, which we print off and glue onto a card for their thank-you cards.

Birthday Decorations

I used some of the Angelina wrapping paper to make little place cards.  Instead of Angelina Ballerina, I will (Child's Name) Ballerina on them.  Example:  Fernanda Ballerina, Alathia Ballerina
A foil roll cut into pieces with a knife.  The placecards stand up nicely when taped to these.

Had a lot of extra tulle from the tutu so I covered the window with a big piece of purple (it's hard to see) but then pinned little pictures of Angelina to the tulle.  I found an Angelina book at the Bargain Book Basement at the local library while shopping there a month ago and it was half-filled with pen markings.  So, I cut the non-marked up pictures out of it to use as party decorations.  I have some more little pictures that I could tape to the pink cups or the doilies or the favor bags.
Extra tulle put to work
My favorite decoration--an Ali Garland
I used the same picture I used for the invites and had the local print shop copy it onto pink cardstock for me.  I had them do 13.  Then I cut them out with scrapbooking scissors, punched a hole in the top and ran tulle from the Dollar Tree (wedding section) through them.  A beautiful dcoration for the living room, and one we will save in her box of special childhood things.  Total cost was around $3.

The Dollar Tree is a Mom's best friend!  $6 for all of these party supplies!

I had these doilies in the craft box.  They will be nice on the pink tablecloth or under the cups.

Other Decoration Ideas:

  • We have an Angelina mylar balloon

  • We plan to use her ballet costumes from the dress-up bin to hang around the house for added ballerina flair

  • Ballet shoes hung up

  • Ballerina books set up for display on shelves or tables

  • Wispy scarves or ribbons

  • Pink balloons tied to the chair backs (which we'll then use for the ballerina stomp at the end of the party)

Friday, February 19, 2010

She Likes the Tutu!

Angelina Cake

My first plan was to make a laminated picture to simply stick on the cake.  You can buy frosting cake toppers of characters but I didn't want to pay $10 for one online.  This was only about 50 cents to laminate at the local printshop.  However, I was thinking "mouse" when I colored it and forgot Angelina is white!  FAIL!  When my friend Tina suggested I trace a coloring page on wax paper with frosting to make an Angelina topper, I was excited to try it!  The laminated picture was demoted to front door decoration.

Here is my friend Tina's cake, which she did several years ago for one of her 5 lovely daughters.

All that I had on hand was whipped frosting (store bought) so it made a bit of a gooey mess but here is the final result of tracing a coloring page.  I thought I was supposed to freeze it to make it hard so that it would scrape off.  It turns out I should have just traced the outline of her, dumped it straight onto the cake and filled in the outline with other colors.  That's how Tina did it.

Instead I tried in vain to scrape the frozen Angelina from the wax paper with a metal spatula.  The legs, head and tail came off.  The body and tutu were a jumbled mess.
Here's my attempt at using decorator gel tube frostings to cover over the frozen whipped frosting Angelina.  I'm thankful the head and tail stayed intact because they were the cutest parts.

Here's what happens when you get halfway through your daughter's full first name only to realize it won't fit.  Should have stuck with her nickname!  I was out of pink base-colored frosting too!  Uh-oh!  FAIL!

Here is the solution to the problem.  Cover it over with MORE frosting!  I had thought about making a homemade batch of white buttercream to trim the cake with white lacy ridges but then I thought, "They don't need any more sugar!"  The cake is 2 9x13 layers, the bottom layer is strawberry cake, the top layer white.  I snipped a raisin apart with scissors to do the eyes and nose.

I did this cake two days before the party and have it in the fridge because I didn't want to be either melting down with stress on the day of the party or have a flop and no time to run to the store and get stuff to fix it.  Preparation is my key to party success!

For more Friday Fails, visit sweet Myra's blog here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Half a Decade of Precious

I loved you in the water when your little round face appeared for the first time after endless hours of agony...
you were worth it all....

I loved you on your first birthday when you had your first taste of cake and loved to learn and explore and get into mischief....

I loved you on your second birthday when you were already a big sister and such a helper to your Mama, potty-trained and oh, so opinionated and willful......

I loved you on your third birthday when you were so excited about your new doll clothes from Great-Grandma, and so thrilled to be having a Tea Party Birthday with all of your friends.....

I loved you on your fourth birthday when you decided that you wanted a "Moon" birthday instead of a princess one.  You absolutely loved dressing up and ordered us all to sing Happy Birthday to you....
And now that you are five today, I can't believe how fast the time with you has flown by.  Your arrival completely changed our lives......
.....for the better. 
We love you so much, our precious daughter named Truth, full of laughter and life.

Daughters are a mighty FINE thing!
For more of The Finer Things in Life go here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ballerina Birthday--Making a No-Sew Tutu

The nice thing about the ribbon tutus is that anyone can wear them.  Here I am modeling the tutu, since Ali won't open in until Thursday.

A fellow ballet mom shared with me how to make a ribbon tutu.  It took less than an hour (even though I had to cut my own strips since our Walmart doesn't sell the tiny rolls of tulle) and is so cute!  I love it!  I just need someone to give me some tips on how to keep it from getting wrinkled and squished up to smithereens since they definitely don't look cute like that (ask me how I know!)
You will need around 1.5 yards of ribbon and
5 yards of tulle
This will cost you around $6-$7 at Walmart.  Not bad for something so pretty that your little girl will LOVE!

Here's a great tutorial.  You can choose to use elastic (which is sewn together) or just use a thick and pretty ribbon, knotted at two points to hold the tulle loops on.  I went with ribbon since I've tried doing the elastic ones before.
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