Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Monday, March 29, 2010

Here Comes Peter Cottontail...

Traditions are important for a family and if nothing else, our family has traditions! I keep thinking that someday, I will write them all down so I don't forget one. There's nothing worse than waking up the day after a holiday and having your child wistfully reminiscing about something we "used to do"...only it wasn't supposed to be just a fond memory, Mom forgot because that's just what she does sometimes! Well, I've been cruising along thinking, "I've got this Easter thing taken care of". I've already bought new baskets, grass (which I always forget), more eggs because the 1500 (no, I'm not kidding) we already have are in storage, invited ourselves over to my mom's for brunch and an egg hunt (I bribed her by offering to bring all of the food...oops, let me add that to the list). Then I realize, my girls have nothing to wear, we have not yet made the white shoes pilgrimage...yes, I still believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny and that white should not be worn before Easter or after Labor Day; and I have no peeps....!!! The kids could probably overlook a lot but not having peeps would probably push them over the edge, not to mention what my marshmallow-lovin' mother-in-law might think!
We have established some really fun and meaningful traditions, in spite of my occasional absent-mindedness. Two of my favorites are Resurrection eggs which tell the story of Easter and Easter cookies which offer another create (and edible) telling of the story of Jesus crucifixion and ressurection.
I've got to go hit the fabric and dollar stores but I will leave you with this recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy it!

Easter Story Cookies (by Wanda Long in Home Life magazine)

Begin on Easter Saturday

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
ziploc baggie
wooden spoon
duct tape

We gather around the kitchen island and Dad reads each scripture as we go along. Place pecans in ziploc bag and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to until they are broken into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19: 1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19: 28-30
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10: 10-11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the mixing bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing are they? Add 1 cup sugar to the mixing bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3: 1-3
Fold in broken nuts.
Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Explain that the mounds represent the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27: 57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matthew 27: 65-66
Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight just as Jesus' followers were in deep despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read 16: 20 and 22
On Easter Morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matthew 28: 1-9

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week 13

Well, I missed last week completely. We have been so busy! In the last week we celebrated a birthday, traveled to Dallas, performed Irish dance for the Veteran's Administration hospital, started a new school unit and I started a new diet...whew! My husband is starting a new eating plan this week so our dinner plans will be different for each of us and yet something different still for the kids. This is getting pretty messy! This week, while I attempt to regroup, I'm only posting dinner for the kids.

Monday: Tomato cheeseburger macaroni, salad

Tuesday: Homemade tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Wednesday: Chicken and rice casserole, glazed carrots

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Family Fun Night!

Saturday: Chicken Ranch ring, veggie chips

Sunday: Easter Brunch and egg hunt at Grandmommy's

Happy eating!

PS: I've lost 16 pounds so far!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Menu Plan Week 11

Well, better late than never I like to think. We have had a super busy few days and it's not going to let up any time soon. Many of last week's intentions have remained just that but are now this week's intentions instead! Last week we had all of the usual lessons but added marching in a St. Patrick's day parade, a date out with my husband. This week we will spice things up with 2 St. Patrick's Day performances, a trip to the rodeo, a birthday for my 4 year old, volunteering at the food pantry, cleaning day at the dance studio and a visit/extra dance lesson with our Irish dance school's founder Maureen McTeggart. It's going to be fun...can you keep up? Can I keep up is the better question!
Here is my plan....

Monday: Breakfast-Sausage & pancake on a stick
Lunch-Dickies for BBQ (let me tell you, they have wonderful pulled pork BBQ...not an easy thing to find in Texas...we're beef people but this is sooo good. Also, the best deal in town - Our family of 9 ate, drank and had ice cream for $21.00!!!!)
Dinner-antipasto, sort of: cheeses, crackers, olives, apples, grapes, salami, pickles, mustards

Tuesday: Breakfast-homemade blueberry waffles
Lunch: Homemade mac and cheese
Dinner: Stir fry beef and fried rice

Wednesday: Breakfast-Baked oatmeal with fruit
Lunch: whatever the lunch special is at Goose's Acre (the kids are performing there)
Dinner: Corned beef with horseradish sauce, cabbage, roasted herbed potatoes, Irish soda bread

Thursday: Breakfast-Fruit and cereal bars on the go...
Lunch: Rodeo food..we're going to the Livestock show and carnival
Dinner: William's choice and birthday cake with ice cream

Friday: Breakfast-Omelets
Lunch: Chuck E Cheese (late birthday lunch with cousins for William)
Dinner: Family Fun Night!!!

Saturday: Breakfast-Ham and cheese on toast
Lunch: Soup from the freezer
Dinner: Turkey tetrazzini from the freezer

Sunday: Brunch-Hashbrown casserole with sausage (from the freezer), scrambled eggs and biscuits
Dinner: Leftovers

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week 10

We had such a fun and busy weekend! Friday we traveled to Dallas and went to "Day Out with Thomas". We rode on a real train pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine! Radio Disney was there and filmed us playing games for the Disney Channel. I won the parent version of "Simon Says". My mother is still astounded that I finally follow directions!
Saturday was spent watching the kids compete at Irish dancing from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.
They have all been working really hard and it really is paying off. We came home with a couple of handfuls of medals. Their hard work translates to hard work for me as two of the girls now need new dresses to compete in and the good news and the bad news is...I can sew! Actually I'm really excited about it. The dresses are unbelievably ornate and whimsical which makes it super fun for me!
We ended our weekend by taking my mother out for a belated birthday lunch at Benihana. We had a great of all we didn't have to cook or clean up!

But now back to normal (when related to my family, I use that term loosely).
Here is our plan....

Monday: breakfast: out while shopping; lunch: leftovers; dinner: Swedish meatballs that we didn't get to last week, angel hair pasta (isn't it a little weird...normally no one would eat anything named "hair"), cranberries

Tuesday: breakfast: homemade egg mcmuffins; lunch: BBQ out after field trip to the Houston Ballet; dinner: Goose's Acre while the kids dance

Wednesday: breakfast: Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream; lunch: hamburgers and onion rings; dinner: Rascal Flatts concert at the Rodeo for Mom and Dad, TV dinners for the kids (they think these are so cool...weird, huh?!)

breakfast: Mexican frittata; lunch: chicken sandwiches; dinner: fish and chips, coleslaw

Friday: breakfast: muffins and yogurt; lunch: soup and sandwiches; dinner: Family Fun Night

Saturday: breakfast and lunch: we're going to be in Houston's St. Patrick's Day Parade so we'll be eating on the go; dinner: macaroni and cheese (from the freezer), hot dogs

Sunday: Grandma is in charge so probably...candy.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Week 9

The McTeggart Fundraiser was a great success! The food was wonderful, the dancing was outstanding and I didn't lose control of my auction paddle!
This week I only have to plan for five days. YAAAAHH! We are going to Dallas for an Irish dance competition and....shh, don't "Day Out with Thomas" for my four-turning-five-year-old's birthday. He's going to flip when he sees Thomas the Tank Engine in person and then gets to ride on him! None of the kids know we're going to see Thomas...we'll see if we can keep this a surprise.

Here is our plan...

Monday: Breakfast: Cheese toast and hashbrowns
Lunch: Pasta salad, crackers
Dinner: Lasagne (from the freezer), garlic toast, salad
Tuesday: Breakfast: Tropical oatmeal (in the crockpot)
Lunch: Sweet and sour chicken nugget skewers, sticky rice, oranges
Dinner: Nacho cheese chicken chowder (in the crockpot)
Wednesday: Breakfast: Beignets, coffee milk
Lunch: Cheese stuffed pigs in blankets, veggie straws
Dinner: Swedish meatballs, angel hair pasta, cranberry sauce
Thursday: Breakfast: mini bagels and yogurt parfaits
Lunch: Monte Christos
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore (in the crockpot), rice
Friday: All meals: Out to eat
Saturday: Breakfast: out to eat
Lunch: Out to eat
Dinner: Something super-easy...we'll be rushing home from Dallas to get to Cotillion on time!
Sunday: Out to eat...Grandmommy's birthday celebration!

Promise kept:
Also, I in honor of the rodeo kick-off, I made bull's horns last week and they were a hit! Take thawed chicken drumsticks, wrap them in bacon, douse in BBQ sauce and cook on the grill (remember, chicken on the bone takes about twice as long to cook as boneless). Yummy, yummy and the kids love the name. I guess I should have made cow patties for dessert (rice crispy treats dipped in caramel and then dipped in chocolate)!