Summer Camp Review

Yes, it’s not even Spring yet but guess what?? Summer Camp registration is OPEN!!!!!  So now that you are hyperventalating, here is a short and sweet review of the camps and programs that we have been a part of.  Please post some of the camps you love so we can all be informed!

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422 Sports Complex

My youngest has been taking soccer classes here all year.  They are WONDERFUL!  The complex is basically a large sports arena with ice hockey rinks, roller hockey rinks and a large turf field.  The kids in the “Soccer Bugs” program get a uniform and class once a week for 50 minutes.  The coaches are great with the kids and my son gets out all his energy by the end of class.  The facility offers summer camps, summer classes and also “Days Off” classes for those holidays when you need child care.

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Perkiomen Watershed

If you’ve never visitied the Perkiomen Watershed, you must!  During the school year, they offer preschool classes for $10.  This includes a lesson, craft and free playtime in the nature discovery room.  During the summer, they offer week long day camps and special one day events.  Last year my oldest particpated in a one day camp where he explored the Branch Creek all day.  He loved it.  Check it out:

 http://www.perkiomenwatershed.org/index.aspx

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Camp Men-o-Lan

This is the first year my oldest will go to this camp.  Men-O-Lan offer a sleepover or day camp.  It’s a Christian camp and the facilites are amazing.  Our church has held retreats there in the past.  We’ve gone swimming, paddleboating, went down a waterslide and attempted the obstacale course.  I think it will be a wonderful and exhausting week for me oldest.  They offer theme based camps that will surely attract your youngster!

Men-o-lan Christian Camp and Retreat Center

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VBS (Vacation Bible School)

My kids really enjoy VBS and we usually sign them up for one or two each summer.  Our church does not host a VBS, but as the summer draws near you will see signs up everywhere for churches that will host a VBS week.  The cost is usually very minimal if any at all.  My kids love the music, crafts, games and new friends.  The lessons reinforce what they have learned at Sunday School and what I teach at home.  Love it!  If you are nervous about sending your kids to a place you don’t know, offer to volunteer.  Most VBS camps need volunteers and they are happy to welcome you on board.

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Looking for an alternative to camp?  I will be posting my “Camp At Home” ideas in the weeks to come.  For now, leave a comment on your favorite camps.  Thanks!

It’s An Italian Kind Of Day!

How many of you out there love PASTA as much as me?!?!?!  In my opinion, there’s nothing like a warm pasta meal in the winter.  Add some salad, bread and wine – I’m pretty much in heaven.  Not to mention, pasta meals are so EASY to make and EASY to freeze!  So for this cold, rainy week, I whipped up some of my favorite pasta meals and of course…. put them in the freezer.  In the chaos of the day, I did not take pictures of my Baked Ziti.  But I will happily put up some links for recipes on my Pinterest page .

Lasagna with Mushrooms

*Note – this recipe makes two 9×13 trays*

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, dicedIMG_3351
  • 1 package of portabella mushrooms, diced
  • butter or oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 boxes of no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 2 teaspoons of parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of basil
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 jars of marinara sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce) *there is only 2 in the picture, but I discovered I needed more*
  • 32 oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:IMG_3352

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter OR oil in a saute pan on medium/low heat
  2. Saute onion, mushrooms and garlic until tender – turn off heat to cool
  3. In a seperate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, oregano, parsley, basil and parmasean cheese
  4. In a separate bowl mix together pasta sauces and mushroom mixture – add salt and pepper if needed

IMG_3354      IMG_3355

Time to layer the Lasagna!

  1. Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan
  2. Place 3 noodles across the pan (leave some space in between, the noodles will expand)
  3. Layer the top of noodles with cheese mixture
  4. Add sauce mixture on top
  5. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top
  6. Layer with noodles and repeat.
  7. When you get to the last layer sprinkle the top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  8. Cover with foil and plastic wrap to freeze OR bake covered at 350 for 40 min until bubbly

IMG_3356    IMG_3357 ________________________________________________________________

Eggplant Parmesan

*Makes two 8×8 trays*

Ingredients:IMG_3343

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmasean cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups mozarella cheese
  • 2 jars pasta sauce
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:IMG_3348IMG_3346

  1. Slice eggplant in 1/2 inch slices – lay out on paper towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 20 min.
  2. Mix egg and water in a bowlIMG_3359
  3. Mix breadcrumbs and parmasean cheese in seperate bowl (I like to use a pie plate)IMG_3360
  4. Heat oil in saute pan (enough for the eggplant to float when fried)
  5. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, then breadcrumb mixture
  6. Fry in oil on both sides until golden and eggplant is tenderIMG_3362 – then transfer to paper towel to soak up oil
  7. Once eggplant it cooked, begin to layer in pan – sauce, eggplant (overlapping), sauce, mozzarella cheese.  Layer 2 times.
  8. Cover with foil and plastic wrap to freeze OR bake covered at 350 for 30 minutesIMG_3363

 

 

 

 

Buon appetito!

Organizing My Daughter’s Room

Exhibit A: This is my daughter’s room 99% of the time:

IMG_3299    IMG_3300

A mess of creative energy has spewed all over the place.  I’ve tried to organize her room before, but this is the result within minutes of my departure.  Today, I attempted once again to organize this room.  The challenge – cramming all of her crap beloved toys and crafts into one small room without it looking cluttered.

Step 1: The Dress Up Clothes

The dress up bin was previously located under the bed.  This was a great place when she didn’t play with it much, but now that dress up is an everyday occurrence – we needed to find a more prominent place in the room.  I present “The Dress Up Corner”.

BEFORE: The previous corner used for art:

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AFTER: The Dress Up Corner – Using a shelf I already had and a tension rod, I created a place to hang her dresses and a place to display her shoes.  I then hung hooks on the wall to hang accessories.  No dress up area is complete without a mirror, thus an inexpensive wall mirror was hung next to the dress up.  I spent about $20 on some hooks, mirror and tension rod.  Not too shabby.

IMG_3309   IMG_3320  IMG_3319   IMG_3318  IMG_3316

Step 2: Stuffed Animal Hammock

BEFORE: An attempt to use a cheap trunk which was supposed to hold the weight of a child, but quickly collapsed after stuffing it with stuffed animals and my children jumping on it.

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AFTER: A hammock made with a crocheted blanket (my daughter has about 5 thanks to my friends and my crafty ways) cinched together by some ribbon I had and tied to a screw in the wall.  Cost $0.  Woot woot!

IMG_3305   IMG_3307

IMG_3314   IMG_3322

Step 3: Organize the Art Center

BEFORE: Papers stuffed in every drawer. My daughter loves to cut EVERYTHING, then tape it back together.  She saves everything from empty cereal boxes to magazines to packaging from a recent gift.  If there is a picture on it, she wants to save it and cut it out, then save it again.  It’s enough to make me crazy.  So for this part, I told her to go play somewhere else while I filled up an entire LARGE trashbag full of “crafty collectables”.

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AFTER: Ah, nice and neat.  I’m sure it won’t stay this way for long, but at least it looks nice at this moment.  Coloring books together, stickers together, coloring items, etc.  I also moved it to another spot in the room.

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So there it is.  I’m exhausted and satisfied all at the time.  Here is the finished room (if you notice, in the time it took me to get my camera, my daughter sneaked in and messed up the blankets on her bed, hung some weird toy on the bed and poured Legos on the dresser.  *sigh*):

IMG_3341    IMG_3340

Hope you got some good ideas, and please share your tips and tricks to organizing the kid rooms in your home 🙂

Rainbows and Unicorns Birthday Party

We are not the type of family that celebrates our kids birthdays at fancy places with lots of people.  I don’t like chaos and we like to do everything on a low budget.  So when birthdays come around, I like to be creative in how I can make the event special, without spending loads of money.  Through the years, what I have found my kids like best is picking out a theme for their party.  I then order napkins and tablecloths with that theme and call it a day.  But as the party gets closer, I can’t help but scour Pinterest for great ideas to match the theme and brainstorm how I can turn my house into a wonderland for my kids – without breaking the bank.

This year for my daughter’s 5th birthday (sniff sniff I can’t believe she’s 5) she chose Rainbows and Unicorns.  As a horse lover myself, I was so excited she picked such a theme!  Here is what I came up with to make the day special.

DECORATIONS:

  • Paper banner (tutorial to come)
  • Colorful balloons & streamers
  • Theme dessert plates and napkins
  • Colorful Tablecloths
  • Cutlery, dinner plates and cups to match

 IMG_3211     IMG_3208

FOOD:

(Other food was available, but these were the rainbow themed foods)

  • Vegetable platter (tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers, celery, blue corn chips, olives)
  • Brownie cake with a rainbow using M&M’s (the dark chocolate M&M’s come in pink, white and purple)
  • Fruit Kabobs (strawberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, green grape, blueberry, purple grape)
  • Cupcakes (strawberry and vanilla, frosting with rainbow sprinkles and unicorn topper)

IMG_3221  IMG_3214   IMG_3215  IMG_3222

GAMES:

Pin The Horn On The Unicorn

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http://www.orientaltrading.com/pin-the-horn-on-the-unicorn-game-a2-12_3875.fltr

FAVORS:

  • Coloring Book (unicorn for girls, dino for boys – found for $1 each at dollar store)
  • Crayons
  • Rainbow Goldfish
  • Unicorn Horn Lollipop
  • Pencil

IMG_3202  IMG_3207

The party was short and sweet and we celebrated with our family and close friends.  Most of our party supplies were found at Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com/api/search?Ntt=unicorn).  Hope you got some ideas for your own Rainbows and Unicorn Party.  Enjoy! 🙂

Philadelphia Area Sale Alert!

Just a quick note to inform you about some awesome sales going on in our area!  

Carters @ Philadelphia Premium Outlets

PJ’s are on sale for $3.99!!  I got all this for $15.96!  Stock up for next year, or get that next size up for your kids that grew unexpectantly over the winter and can barely fit into their current jammies.  The store I went to had fleece PJs and also lighter weight PJs for the spring.  All for $3.99 each!!

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Columbia Outlet @ Philadelphia Premium Outlets

If you have never gone into the Columbia outlet, you are really missing out!  Columbia offers more than just camping and skiing gear.  I often get nice sweaters and shirts off the clearance rack for $12 (and the quality is wonderful)!  Today I was searching for fleece pullovers to keep me warm through the rest of this cold winter.   I found a lightweight pullover fleece on sale for $24.90 and a fleece jacket on sale for $29.98.  The jacket is slightly waterproof, breathable underarms and zips into any Columbia brand jacket as a liner.  Thanks to a wonderful friend, I also get a 30% discount which brought my total to $32.12 for both of these.  Ridiculous!!

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That is all 🙂

Breakfast, Brunch or Brinner?

I just finished a delicious “Brinner” with my family as a result of today’s cooking.  “Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner) is one of my families favorites.  How can I go wrong with options like pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast… I could go on.  In an attempt to have some “Brinner” meals on hand and in the freezer, I spent the day cooking two different kinds of quiche, and bread pudding.  See recipes below for a delicious Breakfast, Brunch or Brinner at your house.

Blueberry Bread Pudding

Ingredients: 

  • IMG_3245Any kind of bread cubed – enough to fill a 9×13 casserole dish
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 3 cups milk
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut up bread and place in greased pan
  3. Sprinkle blueberries on top

Step 2   Sprinkle blueberries on top  

4. In large bowl combine milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon – pour over bread mixture in pan

IMG_3250  IMG_3251  

5. Set pan inside cookie tray in the oven.  Fill cookie tray with water.

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6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm with maple syrup.

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Three Cheese Vegetable Quiche

This is a Betty Crocker recipe.  I LOVE Betty Crocker.  I have cookbooks that are 40 years old from good ‘ol Betty Crocker.  To get this recipe, go to my pinterest page and follow the link.  The only change I made was to substitute Gorgonzola Cheese with Feta.  Oh, and I doubled the batch so I could put one in the freezer and have one for dinner tonight.  Yum yum!

IMG_3258   IMG_3259IMG_3261  IMG_3263

http://pinterest.com/nicefamilyhome/cooking-day/

Corn, Cheddar and Tomato Quiche

Another Betty Crocker recipe.  See my pinterest page for recipe and enjoy!  Doesn’t it look scrumptious?

IMG_3236 IMG_3241 IMG_3244 IMG_3254

I’d love to hear your favorite Breakfast, Brunch or Brinner recipes 🙂

Spaceship Project

Project day! Project Day! Project Day! I love Project day!  A chance to sink myself into something creative without feeling guilty about all the other chores I’m not getting done.  I know some of you hear the word “project” and begin to cringe at the thought of being creative.  I on the other hand go into dreamland at the thought of working on a project.  This past week I planned, prepared and created with my sons Tiger Scout Den.  Each scout needed to make a space themed centrepiece to use at the upcoming banquet.  I was thrilled to help out with such a project.  They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Spaceship Project

Spaceship Instructions

Supplies:

  • 1 Empty 2 litre bottleIMG_3186
  • 1 piece of Construction Paper
  • Crepe Paper Streamers (red, yellow, orange)
  • Food coloring
  • glitter
  • stickers
  • Styrofoam bowl
  • scissors
  • markers
  • tape/glue

IMG_3187IMG_3192Step 1: Cut hole in Styrofoam bowl to fit soda bottle

Step 2: Glue or tape colored streamers on the bowl (this is the “fire” at the bottom of the spaceship).

Step 3: Fill bottle up with water.  Add food coloring and glitter. Shake to mix.

Step 4: Place bottle into Styrofoam bowl.

IMG_3191  IMG_3197

Step 5: Cut semi-circle out of construction paper and fold to make a cone. Place cone on top of bottle and tape or glue to IMG_3195keep in place.

IMG_3146SteIMG_3196p 6: Tape or glue on side fins.  Decorate with stickers, markers, etc.  Complete!!

Cooking Tuesdays

Tuesdays are one of my down days, and by that I mean that I only have to pick up one child from school.  Most Tuesdays I have the day wide open which allows me to food shop first thing in the morning and spend the rest of the day cooking or baking.  The goal of my cooking day is to make the biggest kitchen mess on “Cooking Tuesday” in hopes of minimizing the kitchen cleanup the rest of the week.

This past Tuesday I spent the day making “Freezer Meals”.  It took about 3 hours total (of course I had to stop and tend to the children and other daily happenings) to make the three meals.  Since I made double batches for each one, I now have 5 meals in the freezer and 1 meal which we at that night!  The recipes are linked on my Pinterest page.

Sausage Fundido

I made double batches and served one batch with taco shells, sour cream and salsa.  I froze the other batch for another day.  The kids loved it!

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Gnocchi with Kale, Cilantro & Cashew Pesto – Dinner

The recipe makes enough for 2.  I knew the kids probably wouldn’t try the pesto, so I made sure to have extra Gnocchi with butter for the kiddos.  The pesto is strong in flavor, but it’s the kind of meal that makes you feel good eating it.  It just tastes healthy.  I didn’t realize I could freeze pesto until now!  Wonderful!

Gnocchi with Kale, Cilantro, and Cashew Pesto  IMG_3141  IMG_3143   

Creamy Chicken

If your house is like mine, chicken is a staple.  This looked like a tasty recipe to have on hand in the freezer.  We haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to serve it over rice or noodles with a side of green beans.

IMG_3134  Creamy Chicken IMG_3139

What are your favorite freezer meals?

Daily Themes

Tip #1 to staying sane amongst the chaos of life…..Daily Themes.   I break down each day into a specific set of chores that I want to accomplish on those days.  Here are my daily themes:

Monday: Adult Laundry & Organize

Tuesday: Food Shop & Cook

Wednesday: Errands, Kid Activities, Kid Laundry and Clean Kid Rooms

Thursday: Project and Phone Calls

Friday: Clean House

Saturday: Animal Care & House Maintenence

Sunday: Church and Rest/Family Time

What are your daily themes?  I’d love to know how other folks organize their weeks to stay on top of the chaos.  Please share!

About Me :)

I’m a stay-home-mom of 3 munchkins.  A former teacher, aspiring crafter and wannabe farmer.  I have a wonderful husband of 8 years, but his job is demanding and his time to help at home is limited.  I despise the dreary winters of Pennsylvania and struggle to stay motivated.  Can you relate?

I hope that by sharing my motivational tips and tricks that you can become a Motivated Mama too!