Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our families to yours!  

Thanks for all of your love and support in 2012.  We are looking forward to another great year in 2013.


Delicious Red Salad Dressing

This salad is sure to be a hit!  I took this one to a big church event.  I had a HUGE bowl and it was gone in minutes.  Everyone wanted the recipe so here it is! ; )  The dressing coupled with almonds, bacon, and croutons is the perfect mix!

Salad Ingredients:
A bag of spinach
A bag of Romaine lettuce
Bacon Pieces (crumbled)
Sugared Cinnamon Almonds

Salad Dressing:
1/4 of a red onion
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 cup of olive oil

Blend together in blender, pour over salad and enjoy.


White Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies

These cookies are yummy and made from a simple cake mix! Adding a couple seasonal sprinkles make this a fun holiday treat too! We made these for the 4th of July and have made them for Halloween by adding black and orange sprinkles, you can also replace the yellow cake mix for chocolate and it works great too.

1 box cake mix (I used yellow cake mix, any mix works)
2 eggs
1/2 cup veg oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 pkg. chocolate chips (I used white)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together. Don't follow the directions on the cake box just add what is in the package with eggs, veg oil, baking powder and choc chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet and cook for 8-10 min. These are a lot better soft so try not to overcook. 


Brie Croissant Sandwich with Avocado and Bacon

This is a fun way to switch up the usual lunch routine.  If you are tired of the traditional peanut butter and jelly or lunch meat sandwiches for lunch, then this is for you! ; )

2 Avocados, pilled, pit removed and sliced 1/8 thick
8 oz. Brie Cheese, cut into 1/4'' slices
6 oz. apple wood smocked bacon, cooked and drained
sprouts (optional)

Slice the croissant in half lengthwise.  Spread each slice with desired amount of mayonnaise.  Place 3 slices of avocado, 1-2 slices of brie cheese, and 1 slice of bacon.

Printable Recipe


Sausage Kabobs

We don't eat a lot of sausage but I heard it was really good grilled and had to give it a try so we came up with these yummy sausage kabobs. 

1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
cherry tomatoes
medium fresh mushrooms
bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

On metal or soaked wooden skewers alternately thread sausage and vegetables. Grill on medium heat for 20 min, rotating about halfway through.  



Chicken Fajitas

This is a simple recipe and one we do a lot because it is fast.  Everybody makes these a little different, we like to mix it up too but this is the recipe we use most of the time. 

2 Tbs. olive oil
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 sweet yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 sweet green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 (1.25 oz) pkt. McCormick fajita seasoning 
8 flour tortillas, warmed
sour cream
cheese, shredded 
tomatoes, chopped

In a large skillet add oil, chicken breasts, bell peppers and seasoning over high heat until chicken cooked through and peppers have softened. Serve hot with warm tortillas, sour cream, shredded cheese and tomatoes. 



Little Smokies Wraps

We love these around our house!  You can't beat how easy they are either.  If you haven't tried these, give them a shot.  My husband and my 3 year old love them! ; )
1 pkg. cocktail smokies
2 cans of crescent rolls

Cut crescent rolls in half the long way, so they still look like triangles.  Wrap smokies into crescent pieces.  Sprinkle with cheese if you would like.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Printable Recipe


Easy DIY Gingerbread Houses

Okay, so instead of the traditional recipe tonight, I thought I would share our family gingerbread houses and how we make them.  This is the easy way, so if you want fancy....this isn't it!  We started out with chocolate milk!  Chocolate milk??  Okay so really you just need the empty milk carton.  We rinsed out the cartons and let them dry and used that as our foundation.  The small gingerbread house below is an empty milk jug covered with frosting and then graham crackers covering it.  My husband got a little fancy with his...the mansion (as we call it)!  It has a milk jug under the crackers to make the entry way but the back part of the house has no real support.  It's just A LOT of frosting, crackers and some patience.  

Here is a picture of everything we used to make our gingerbread houses.  I wrapped a piece of cardboard in aluminum foil to use as a base.  For our frosting we just bought 2 cans of regular vanilla frosting from the store and spooned them into zip-lock bags.  I know you can make it, but we are keeping this EASY!  Anyway, to get the frosting out, just cut a small hole in a corner of the zip-lock and squeeze (make sure the bag is zipped tight).  Make sure to get a variety of candy for decorating!  

Personally, my favorite part of making gingerbread houses is the decorating!  Check out what me and my 3 year old made!  Easy enough, cover the crackers with frosting and stick the candy to it.

People have asked if you are supposed to eat these when you are done!  I don't know if you are supposed to or not, but we sure do!  It's the kids FAVORITE part! ; )  Have fun!


Letter O (Ostrich and Octopus)

Three Cheers for Osterich by Francesca Simon

Printable Ostrich Craft at Learn Create Love

Letter O at Totally Tots

Fun Facts
The Ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird, It can weigh up to 350 pounds and is 9 feet tall.

Ostrich's don't fly but run, they use their wings for balance. 

An Ostrich can live to be 30 to 40 years old. 

Female Ostrich's are gray and brown, Males are black and white. 

One Ostrich egg is about as big as 24 chicken eggs.

Octopus' have 8 arms, if they loose one another will grow back in it's place. 

Pretend to be an Octopus with 8 arms.


Spaghetti O's

Octopus Hot Dogs on Sea Weed Noodles


Tips to Teaching Letter O
Teaching ABC's Idea for the Week
Theme of the Week

Letter N (Nightingale)

We had a crazy busy week and didn't do a lot with this letter other then our zoo wall and tracing page.

Fun Facts

Tips to Teaching Letter N
Teaching ABC's Idea for the Week
Theme of the Week

Letter M (Monkey)

5 Little Monkeys Play Hide and Seek by Eileen Christelow

Footprint Monkey @ Handprint and Footprint Art

Paper plate Monkey

Fun Facts
Monkey's live in groups known as troops.

Most monkeys have tails.

Monkeys eat fruit, grass, leaves, eggs, insects and spiders.

Sing 5 little Monkeys jumping on the Bed (use bed and monkey prop)



Monkey Lunch @ Cookie Cutter Lunch

Monkey Cupcakes @ Cupcakes take the Cake

5 little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed 

Monkey See Monkey Do Fingerplay 

Tune:  This Old Man 

(perform the motions as you sing about them)
If you raise your arms,
I will, too—
Monkey see, monkey do!

Whatever you do,
I’ll do it too—
Monkey see, monkey do!

If you clap your hands,
I will, too—
Monkey see, monkey do!


If you scratch your head,
I will, too—
Monkey see, monkey do!


If you stamp your feet,
I will, too—
Monkey see, monkey do!


If you hop around,
I will, too—
Monkey see, monkey do!


Tips to Teaching Letter M
Letter M for Monkey @ Confessions of a Homeschooler

Teaching ABC's Idea for the Week

Theme of the Week


Reindeer on a Rug, similar to Elf on the Shelf!

Okay, so you have most likely heard of the oh so popular "Elf on the Shelf"?  It's a children's book that comes with a magical elf.  The elf watches the children and reports back to Santa.  He tells Santa if the children have been naughty or nice.  I thought that it looked like fun, and actually wanted to buy it a few years ago...until I saw that it cost $30.00.  Okay, so we are students and cheap....so I didn't buy it and life went on. ; )

Last week I was reading through some of my friends private blogs.  My dear friend Savannah had this awesome idea where she had bought a reindeer at dollar tree and wrote a poem similar to the one used with elf on the shelf.  

In the book it says that if children touch the elf then it will loose it's magical powers.  Savannah has 3 boys, and I have 2 of my own.  We didn't like the idea of our children not being able to touch the elf.....with this "Reindeer on the Rug" your little ones can touch the reindeer all they want!  No magical powers lost here! ; ) Anyways, I thought this was a BRILLIANT idea, and I'm so glad that Savannah was willing to share the words of her poem with us.

I've made a free printable for anyone wanting to save some money and join in on the fun!  All you will need to do is print this off and swing by dollar tree and pick up a little stuffed animal reindeer and you'll be ready to go.

My husband and I introduced "Reindeer on a Rug" to my 2 boys tonight and they loved it!  My boys have been excited to watch the movie "The Polar Express" all day long.  Right before the movie started they found the reindeer and the poem.  We introduced it to them, they seemed excited but were ready to watch the movie.  I'm excited for them to find the reindeer in the morning and maybe even come up with a name!

Our family is still young enough, we are are experimenting with family traditions.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?


A list of Things to Do this Holiday Season!

Kitchen Fun:
Gingerbread houses or nativity scenes
Sugar cookies
Almond bark/ Peppermint bark
S’mores over the stovetop or fire
Hot coco
Apple cider
Peppermint ice cream
Pretzel rods
Chocolate spoons for hot coco
Try a new recipe

Outside Fun:
Go sledding                                                                                  
Catch snowflakes on your tongue
Catch snowflakes on black piece of paper and look at how they are all different
Ice skating
Play in the snow
Go caroling
Go on a drive to see the Christmas lights
Build an igloo or snowman

Inside Fun:
Make paper snowflakes
Write a Christmas letter to Santa
Read Christmas stories
Game night
Make candy cane swords (Just lick the end till it’s poky)
Ride sleigh (sleeping bag) down the stairs
Sit by the fire
Re-enact the nativity
Magical moments under the Christmas tree
Christmas photo-shoot
Make a Christmas craft
Make a Christmas Playlist of your favorite music
Send Christmas cards
Wrap presents
Watch a Christmas movie

Make room for new toys by giving old ones to someone in need
Invite a friend to dinner
Donate food
Deliver goodies to neighbors
Do a secret act of service
12 days of Christmas for a friend or neighbor
Buy someone else a meal

Christmas Eve Fun:
Make a trap (for anybody trying to peek early Christmas morning)
Leave cookies out for Santa
Leave carrots or reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter) for reindeer
Open pajamas
Leave a key for Santa with poem (perfect if you don’t have a fireplace)

Elf on the shelf or Reindeer on the rug
Christmas ornaments-make or buy one each year
Christmas PJ’s (Day after Christmas tree is set up or Christmas Eve)
Christmas book each year
Advent Calendar or Christmas chain

Click here to print!



Zuppa Toscana

This is a classic and a personal favorite of mine.  It tastes a lot like Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana soup...although I think this recipe has more flavor.  If you haven't tried this before it is a creamy soup full of yummy bites of potato, sausage and kale. 

Yields: 8 servings

1 lb Italian Sausage 
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
2 (14.5) cans of chicken broth

3 large russet potatoes, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Real Bacon Bites
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups kale or Swiss chard

Cook sausage and onion over medium heat until cooked, drain. 

Boil water, broth, garlic and potatoes over medium heat until potatoes are cooked through. Turn to low heat, add sausage, onion, bacon, cream and kale, cook about another 10 min.



Cheesy Stuffed Peppers

2 cups of minute rice white or brown
2 cups of water (to cook the rice)
1 green pepper
3 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 lbs hamburger
1.5 cups of shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 (15.25 oz) can of corn
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the hamburger.  Dice the green pepper and add it to the uncooked rice.  Follow the directions for cooking the rice.  I usually just put 2 cups of water and 2 cups of rice in a microwave safe bowl for about 8 minutes with the peppers.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and cook for a couple more minutes.  At this point everything is cooked, so you are just cooking to get everything warm.  Sprinkle the top with leftover cheese and enjoy.

Printable Recipe


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