Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wreck It Ralph Birthday for Our 5 Year Old!

It is finally over! The party I have been stressing about for nearly two weeks is finally over and I can RELAX! And try to come to terms with the fact that I now have a 5 year old in my house. Eeek! Where has the time gone?!

For his birthday this year, I decided that Hunter was old enough for a *real* party, instead of one with just his family. Not to say that a party with just family is not a party, but he has friends this year so I thought it would be fun for him to have his friends help celebrate with him. Originally we were going to have a couple friends come over and stay the night, but later decided that he's probably too young for that, and since I don't know the kids' parents...they probably wouldn't let their child stay the night. As I was laying in bed, stressing about what to do, I remembered that I worked at a hotel with a WATER PARK. And then two minutes later I was on the phone to reserve it, at 11pm. That's how I roll. 

We invited his whole preschool class and I cannot tell you how excited Hunter was to put all the invitations in his friends' cubbys at school. Even cuter when his friends RSVP'd! Melt your heart kind of cuteness!

This year's theme was Wreck It Ralph, based on the Disney movie that came out last November. (Super cute movie if you haven't seen it!) Technically Hunter wanted a Fix It Felix cake, but more specifically it was a Wreck It Ralph cake. 
(See more pictures of the cake on my cake blog!)
In the movie, Felix has a golden hammer that he uses to fix the building Ralph wrecks. I incorporated the golden hammers by using a cookie cutter to cut hammers out of cheese. HUGE hit! And Perry called it, at least one little boy picked up a slice and pretended to bang on something. I was surprised it wasn't Hunter!
Going with the theme, I had Perry wrap all the juice boxes in brick paper and then I stacked them up next to the cake. In the movie Ralph lives in the dump which is basically just a pile of bricks. They turned out great too! I'm so glad I was able to convince Perry to help me!
Although I forgot to make one for the cake, Ralph wanting a medal contributes significantly to the plot of the movie. Instead of having a "normal" Happy Birthday banner, I used construction paper to create a banner for him that resembled the medal Ralph wanted in the movie. (Obviously I should have drawn the letters darker...)
A HUGE shout out to Aunt Kim for helping with EVERYTHING I needed her to help with, like arranging the table so nicely, loading up my car, corralling my kids, babysitting Kiki during the party...etc. She rocks! THANK YOU!
Hunter had so much fun at his party! I knew he would! And so did his friends! I was relieved to hear that this was also many kids' first birthday party to attend....Awesome : ) 
It makes me smile to see Hunter growing up. But sad at the same time. I was quickly reminded that he still has learning and growing to do when he commented that "I'm not 5 until I blow out my candles!" Just like one of his friends thought that it wasn't a party until Hunter opened his presents. Oh to be young!
Happy Birthday Little Man!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monkey Shiner Babblings

H - You know, I could call you James, Jim, Jimmy, or Jimmer. But I think I'll just call you Jimmer.
J - Uh no. That's not my name. My name is Jimmy, but how about you call me...Rocket Ship! Yeah, call me Rocket Ship!
H - No, Jimmy is your first name.
J - No that's my last name. Rocket Ship Jimmy. Yeah! Call me that! What did you have for snack today?
H - I just had some water.
*Funny how fast they can change topics...*

M - Hunter don't start with me right now.
H - OH I'm gonna start!

M - Can Charlotte shake her tail feathers?
J - Yeah she can.
M - Do you know what that means?
J - *blank stares*
M - Shake your booty. You do it!
J - *Shakes his booty*
M - You're getting a lot better at that!
J - Yup! Just like Aunt Bobby!

Hunter dismissed himself from dinner to "take a dump" and ran out of toilet paper and Perry made him work for it.
H - Mom! I need toilet paper!
M - What? I can't hear you.
H - I need toilet paper!
P - Hunter, it's called Special Paper! Tell her you need Special Paper!
H - Mom I just need toilet paper!
P - You have to say "I'm King of the Throne and I need my Special Papers!"
H - I need paper!
P - *walks to the bathroom and repeats the phrase*
H - I'm King of the Throne and need my Special Paper."
P - MOM! Did you hear that?!
M - No, what did he say?
H - *yells from bathroom* I'M KING OF THE THRONE AND I NEED TOILET PAPER!!
P - Alright. I give up.

M - JP, why don't you tell dad the word you learned in school the other day? The one that starts with corn.
J - I didn't learn a corn word. Hunter did.
H - Yeah dad. I learned cornucopia.
P - What!?! Do you know what it means?
*Hunter stares at him blankly*
P - It means to have a plethora of something, like a lot. Like a lot of turkeys.
H - Uh no dad. It's a basket you carry fruit and vegetables in.
P - Wow. Their conversations have changed drastically.

And with that, I leave you with this cornucopia.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Monkey Shiner Babblings

After going to the Missoula Maze this year, we decided to do ice cream and movie before bedtime. On the way home, we stopped at RedBox and then were on our way to pick up Frosties at Wendy's.
M - Should we get Kiki a Frosty too?
H - No! She's too little.
JP -That would be weird.
H - Mom, when Charli grows up, is she going to have to eat gross food like us?
M - Like the stuff you eat?
H - Yeah, gross food.
M - She'll eat the same food that you do, but I wouldn't exactly call it gross...

Because I spent so much time working on Hunter and JP's Halloween costumes, I ran out of time to work on Kiki's. I made her onesie and her leggings that morning. Because I was rushing, I wasn't paying attention to my sewing machine, which would cause it to "misbehave." Whenever this would happen, I, frustratingly, would say, "What the garbage?!" Hunter walked over, "Why is your machine acting like a garbage man?"

Aunt Bobby brought her boyfriend, Bobby, over to our house to meet the wonderful me, and probably more likely, my children. While playing Hunter asked, "Will you be my uncle?" Hahaha! So now to Hunter, he has an Aunt Bobby and an Uncle Bobby. Lucky him!

As I was "baby talking" to little Kiki, Hunter walks up to me, "Are you being serious mom? That's not how you talk..."

JP - Yuck Mom! You smell like sissy's burp!

Occasionally the boys will wrestle, also known to them as WSA, in the living room, just the two of them, no props or anything. As I was cooking dinner the other night, they got into again. Shortly after they started, JP ran to the kitchen and announced, "MOM! Hunter and I were playing WSA and I unlocked a new level!!" their "imaginary" wrestling game. How?!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mozzarella Pepperoni Bread

I've been doing a lot of meal planning lately so I don't have to run to the store multiple times a week. For one, it saves you money because you don't have a bunch of extra impulse buys. For two, who really wants to drag 2, let alone 3 kids around a store for a few items. Not me, especially since Hunter and JP refuse to sit in a cart and I'm helpless to make them since Kiki is usually sitting in the front carrier and would be kicked by said child upon their refusal to sit in the cart... 
Anyways, I called a friend to have her suggest a favorite meal of theirs. She routed me to something called spaghetti bread, or something similar. I was game for it since I had all the ingredients on hand except the loaf of bread. When I arrived home from the store though, I found this recipe in my "Ultimate Five Ingredient Recipes" book that I opted to try out instead. 
Here I present to you Mozzarella Pepperoni Bread. Also known to JP as Caterpillar Bread, or more commonly, Pizza Bread.

1 loaf French Bread
3 tbs melted butter
1 package of pepperoni
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tbs parsley

Cut the loaf of bread in half widthwise, and then cut into 1-inch slices, leaving the slices attached to the bottom. Brush butter on both sides of each slice. Stuff pepperoni between the slices. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Place the bread on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Made approximately 12 slices, which fed our family of 4 with some leftovers. JP gobbled 3 slices down and announced "I love it." Before he decided he was full. 

Our Chore Charts Are Up and Running

I have been putting it off for a long time, but since the boys were with dad this past weekend, I finally broke down and made them chore charts.
I surfed Pinterest for quite some time before I decided to make my own chart. But I used ideas from ones that I found to help me decide age appropriate chores. Originally they were just going to get check marks when they finished their task, but I found a stock pile of stickers that were begging me to use. Now I just need to make the boxes a little bigger to fit them. Next week...
 We started on Sunday, but they were too busy helping Perry make a baby gate that they weren't too interested in being inside. But we accomplished a lot today. Hunter *willingly* vacuumed the stairs and his room, which were both on his weekly duties. 
 At the time Hunter was vacuuming his room, this kid was supposed to be cleaning his room, which is on his list of things to do. 30% cleaning, 70% playing with the stuff you found. Here's a good example of that. Hunter walked into JP's room and saw this and announced, "Jim, I am not okay with this." Haha spoken like a grown up!
 Regardless, he still managed to get his room clean for a sticker. Here's how I'm working the chore chart, for now anyways. The top section won't change from week to week. Every day they'll have to make their beds, brush their teeth in the morning & evening, spend time reading with mom or dad (or by themselves), clean up the playroom, tidy up their rooms (they typically don't play in them so they don't really get messy), and then pick out clothes to wear the next day. I haven't determined it yet, but there will be some kind of payment plan for completing their tasks, with a bonus for completing them all. 
 They also have weekly tasks, which they are only required to do once a week, bonus if they do it more. But once a week they'll need to bring their dirty hampers to the laundry room and then put their clean clothes away. 
I put their rotating chores on popsicle sticks and they will draw for their chores on Sundays. Hunter has 4 weekly tasks that will change, and JP will have 3. They will also have daily tasks that will change each week, Hunter getting one more of those too. 

Even though we're only on Day 2, I'm surprised as to how willing they are to help out. Hunter was more than excited to feed and water Roxy, and he made it a point to help JP set the table, even though it wasn't his job for the week. And JP, oh my goodness, I have never seen a kid so excited to clean out the bathroom sink!

I'm sure I'll make a few changes when I figure out what works and what doesn't, but for now the new-ness of it is exciting for them. Who else has a chore chart? What do you have on yours?

Cheesy Beef & Tomato Casserole

One of my goals this year is to try 50 new recipes. I found this one from Betty Crocker and it has landed itself in our favorite meals category. Perry even ATE the zucchini instead of picking them out. My job here is done...


1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 cup uncooked medium-grain white rice 
1 cup water 
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 cups)
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 can (19 oz) Progresso® Vegetable Classics tomato basil soup
 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Place rice and water in baking dish; stir to mix. Layer cooked beef, zucchini and tomato over rice. Pour soup over top. Cut 16x12-inch sheet of foil; spray with cooking spray. Cover dish with foil, sprayed side down.
3. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover dish; sprinkle cheese over top. Bake uncovered 10 to 15 minutes longer or until edges are bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.
I always over do it with cheese!

*If you have zucchini from your garden you could it as well and cut it into small cubes. We however had a mix up in our garden planting this spring and didn't get ours planted... Oops!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Soupy Sunday this week featured the this tasty Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Yumm!


8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (save about 2 tablespoons of crumbled bacon for garnish)
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
7 cups milk (I use 2%)
4-6 potatoes, baked peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped plus additional for garnish
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded plus additional for garnish
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, whisk in flour and allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes.
2. Slowly add in 7 cups of milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking really well between each cup.
3. When all 7 cups of milk have been added, continue whisking until the mixture starts to thicken a bit.
4. Add in cubed baked potatoes and green onions, then bring to a boil making sure to stir frequently.
5. Reduce the heat to low, then stir in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.
6. When the cheese has melted serve immediately.
7. Garnish each bowl of soup with additional cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, and chopped green onion.
This recipe fed our family of 4 and then had a little bit of leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Potato & Ham Bake

Normally when we buy ham, we buy it by the...loaf? Not sliced. This way I have more options as to what to do with it, instead of buying it in pre-sliced packages. This is a great recipe to use up our ham, and the kids love it, even though it has asparagus in it! It also gives variety to how we're eating our spuds!

Potato & Ham Bake


3-4 potatoes sliced
1 8 oz tub of cream cheese spread with chive and onion
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
8 oz cooked boneless ham cut into bite-sized cubes
1 lb fresh asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

2. In a medium sauce pan, cook potatoes, covered, in lightly salted boiling water for about 7 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

3. To make the sauce, use the same sauce pan and combine cream cheese, milk, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, and the pepper. Heat and whisk mixture until smooth and the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in tarragon.

4. Layer half the potatoes, ham, asparagus, and cheese sauce in the baking dish. Repeat layers then cover with foil.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for an extra 10 minute. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I serve ours with a side of steamed broccoli. (Which is super good with Italian dressing!)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Off to Never Never Land This Halloween

I cannot tell you how excited I am that Halloween is OVER! Quite a while ago I decided we would theme our Halloween as the Disney Classic, Peter Pan. Mostly because I knew JP would LOVE to wear the green get-up of Peter Pan, after all his all time favorite color is green! Surprisingly though it took a lot of convincing for him to be okay with Peter Pan and not be Mr. Schmee. 
For those of you who have seen the new animated movie, Epic, quite a few people at school though he was a leaf man. Ironically enough, he hates the movie so he kind of had his feelings hurt when no one knew he was Peter Pan. Needless to say he didn't want me to leave him at school.
Hunter has been all about being Captain Hook ever since we decided on the Never Land theme. I threw JP's costume together in a matter of hours. Hunter's however took a while. I wasn't the least bit motivated to work on it. When I finally did, I began by making him some leggings that turned out too short and since I cut them out on the fabric wrong, they stretched up and down instead of across so he couldn't even get them on regardless. He wore his pajama pants instead. And his white shirt was actually JP's shirt, and is now a shade of pink since the red jacket rubbed off all over it...

I broke down and bought a pattern for his jacket and was clearly in over my head. Luckily my mom was just a phone call away. But after debating on whether or not I should follow the pattern's directions, she ended up having to come over to walk me through it. I added the belt and belt loops on my own, as well as the gold trim. The hat was surprisingly easy. And I made the hook from the top of a 2-liter bottle, clothes hanger, lots of electrical tape, some gold fabric and a hot glue gun. I was SO glad to finish it the night before his party, which was on Wednesday the 30th.
 That left me with hardly anytime to make Kiki's Tinkerbelle costume. I had made her tutu in September, as well as her headband, but other than that she would have been a naked baby if I didn't finish her costume. Truthfully I never actually finished it. I have everything to make her some wings but ran out of time. I made her a onesie Halloween morning, while JP was at his preschool party, and threw together some green leggings as well. She also has a skirt on similar to the bottom of JP's Peter Pan shirt, because with 30 minutes until we had to leave to pick him up, the costume wasn't quite done. So I cut the bottom off of the first shirt I made him and made it a little smaller.Ta-da! Make shift Tinkerbelle skirt for going out. After all, she couldn't exactly ride in the carseat with her tutu on...She wouldn't be able to see anything!
Here's the crew before we went trick or treating. Hunter and JP were so excited to leave they could hardly sit still! Right after picking JP up from preschool, we went to the hotel to visit Fay and a few other former co-workers. Then we stopped in to trick or treat at Grandma's office. There was a lot of Captain Hook chasing Peter Pan going on there. Before heading home, we went downtown to see Dad at work. While there, he bought the boys a bag of candy. Lucky them. Since Hunter is *still* having some listening issues, he about got shmucked when he ran down the sidewalk across an alley as a vehicle was about to pull out, all while I'm yelling at him to stop and wait for me... I was livid. I think I was able to *calmly* get my point across as to how ticked off I was... He's lucky we still took him trick-or-treating...