Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jalapeno Cheese Enchiladas

Dinner tonight is going to be a modification meal. I was looking towards making something Mexican but I didn't really have everything that I needed to make enchiladas.

I whipped up something quick using just a few ingredients. If there are more than about 6 ingredients in a recipe, I don't want to cook it. Does that make me lazy? Oh well!

These did turn out yummy if I do say so myself.

Jalapeno Cheese Enchiladas

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz shredded cheese
  • 1/4 c diced onion
  • 4 oz canned chopped jalapenos
  • 4-6 flour tortillas
  • chunky salsa

Blend cream cheese with a mixer until smooth and add onion, jalapenos, and 1/2 of the cheese. Mix until well blended.

Spoon mixture into center of tortilla, roll, and place in a baking dish (seam side down) that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Cover the top with salsa and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
This was quick and easy and can be made with more calories or fewer calories. This is what I had in the pantry so I had a major, "make it work" Tim Gunn moment. I love that man. Wish he could be my personal stylist every day of my life!

Dinner is served!

Monday, January 30, 2012

One small victory at the store...

This morning's trip to Kroger proved to be a big one. A happy one. A great day for all!

Who am I kidding? All? It was just me at the store....but I digress.

Behold....the back of my car, with no more space for extra groceries!

Today, I menu planned for February, cut out about 25 coupons, grabbed the Kroger circular and headed out for another dreaded grocery trip. As I sat in my car, I said a little prayer just to say thank you for the blessing of being able to have groceries for my family and another quick one for sale success.

For a family of four, we usually spend somewhere around $300 a month for groceries. We try to only go out to eat once a week and with three guys in this house...food is huge. Knowing that I can do even better than that, but not really wanting to become an extreme couponer, I clip what I want and do a little matching. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

Today it worked out. (****Now I am in no way where I would like to be with this, but I am celebrating every victory, no matter how big or small****)

What did I do? The lazy girl's version of couponing.
  1. I printed out my coupons from Coupon Surfer
  2. I circled the items I needed from the Kroger ad
  3. I shopped for the items that were on sale....The Mega Mix and Match sale at Kroger
  4. I combined my Kroger card first, with my Mix and Match sale items, with my printed coupons
  5. I walked out happy!

Today's shopping trip should have cost me almost $300, but I walked out paying $162.12. This is not stockpiling. This is not 40 tubes of toothpaste, 16 spaghetti sauces, and 24 bottles of gatorade. This is ground beef, chicken, cereal, shampoo, Kid Essentials, fruits, veggies, toiletries, Lunch-ables, yogurt, milk, eggs, butter, hot dogs, sodas, peanut butter, laundry detergent, toilet paper, bread, snacks, Smart Ones meals ( for me, you know, the girl on the go), etc. This is a month's worth of food for us...breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
That is February's total for groceries. WOO-Flipping-HOO!! That is a personal best for me. My refrigerator and freezer inside the house is full, and the freezer in the garage is full, as well as my pantry.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You make my heart glow Valentines..

When I saw this HERE, I thought to myself...

"Self, this is the greatest thing I have ever seen!"

I love this idea of giving kids a fun Valentine, that is easy to pass out to all the classmates, that is not full of sugar! Who doesn't love glowsticks????!!!!

So here are Caleb and Jansen's classroom Valentines.
Go to her site and download the free printable she so graciously offered, print it out on some card stock, cut it out, and tape a glow bracelet to the back.

I got 100 of these glow bracelets for about $8 and only needed 48 for both of their classes. So I might use them as birthday party favors at the Angry Birds Party...yep, I decided. I WILL use them as party favors!!!! YAY! Dual purpose!!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

School update for a kid with Autism

Caleb has had a rough year this year. This year, my oldest child is in the 3rd grade, mainstreamed into a "normal" class. While he is high functioning, and has a definite group of strong skills, he has a list of quirky characteristics and several areas in need of improvement.

At the beginning of the year, he started out in a homeroom class with a teacher he was familiar with and would only be transitioning between that class and one other. Then, a couple of weeks in, the class was dissolved due to low enrollment numbers in the 3rd grade. He was then grouped into one of the three remaining classes to rotate between all three teachers every day. I also started working at the beginning of school as well, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

It was frightening and maddening to realize that the regulation we had worked so hard for was slipping through our fingers. Caleb was crying every day, his grades were dropping, his coping skills were nil, he was up all night and I was done. I quit my job, got him started in equine therapy, and started a fairly strict routine at home. He is still not where he was, but at least he is functioning better.

So here is what we are dealing with now:
  • inconsistent grades, some high but low in reading
  • problem solving skills are nil
  • he cannot read a word problem and figure it out
  • he still cannot find the main idea of a passage
  • he is failing his benchmark tests
  • homework is a disaster
  • he is inattentive
  • he is "in his own bubble"
  • he is not focus
  • he is not following spoken directions
  • he is not completing his work
He is also getting conduct marks every day...no joke, every day. Many times 3-4 a day for the last 5 things on the list. This is the problem I have with that. First of all, he should not be penalized for symptoms of his disorder. These are all symptoms of his disorder that he cannot help. We don't even know to what extent he will ever be able to do those things. I am hopeful.

Second of all, at this point in the year, he should be getting less marks, and he is getting more! He comes home very upset because he got marks but often cannot tell me why or in what situation he got them for. Then he is in a bad mood. It is one thing for a typical child to be in a bad mood, but anyone that knows anything about Autism knows that a symptom of this disorder is that one small thing can ruin their day and they are incapable of overcoming it. Classic symptom. Once he gets one mark...it is all downhill from there.

Third of all, this system is not working for him. The purpose of a system like this is to eliminate the undesirable behavior. But this is just not working for Caleb. For me, as a child in school...this would have worked for. I am a people pleaser and would be devastated to get marks. But not Caleb. He has no way of getting attentive, and focused, and out of his bubble.

I have had a conference with all of his teachers, and while I understand the need for him to be engaged and attentive to learn new concepts, it is not a skill he possesses. There has to be another method, or incentive that would help him. I mean, engagement is not his thing. If it was his thing, he wouldn't have Autism.

So I am struggling to find a way to help his teachers help him. We are all in it for the same reason. We all want him to learn and be successful. He is definitely going to need some new accommodations to help him get through this year and years after that. I am definitely concerned that at some point, I may have to homeschool him and I really, really don't want to. Not because I don't have faith in our school system...exactly the opposite, but because he has special needs and they have to be addressed in his learning style.

Oh boy....advocacy is challenging!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Angry Birds Party Favors part 1

Guess what arrived this weekend?????

Yep, you guessed it. The King Pig party favors I ordered off etsy from Bonnie.

Caleb is loving these like nobody's business!

Can't wait to get these arranged in the bins at the party. Go check out Bonnie's etsy page HERE!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini Angry Birds buckets....

Target dollar bin strikes again!

Seriously, isn't that section like crack? It lures you in as soon as you walk in with the promise of a cheap high...and it delivers!

I found these little mini buckets in the dollar section for yep, you guessed it, a dollar. They are just the size for the favor buckets for the Angry Birds party and for the table decorations. Both of these are still a work in progress, but making these is the first step!

Now, for all you super artsy moms out there...you would have painted cute little faces on these bins. But let's be real. I was too lazy and impatient to go out and get paint by the time I was done for the day, so let's improvise.

Google search.....print the face on card stock.....cut it out......glue it on.....done!
The red one will be filled with M&M's and the favors will be stuck into them. ( The favors were shipped today!!!!! I am so excited. )

The black one will be made into a table decoration....still mulling some options in my head.

Mark that off the birthday list!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Houston Texans in the Playoffs

What a season! What a team! What fun we had as a family tailgating and going to all the games this season!!!

Well, the season came to a bittersweet end yesterday against the Baltimore Ravens, and now having a day to cool off, I see the amazingly great side of things. We weren't beaten by the Ravens, we were beaten by ourselves. This year we played 2 playoff games... that's 2 more than ever in franchise history. We took away the AFC South Division Championship, although I was praying to win the whole AFC Division. We played with a good majority of our star players injured, we were using our 3rd string quarterback, and we still almost made it. What a great season to watch football! What a painful rollercoaster at the end! What a great season next season will be!

Maybe next year Texans. Changes need to be made, but I love you all the same!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Angry birds birthday banner

Let the official party planning begin. Since Caleb's party is at a sportsplex, we don't have to do much decorating. The only thing that we can really decorate is this long white table that we put the cake and presents on.

The plan in my mind is long table, red table covering, cake in the middle, bucket with favors on one side, a table decoration on the other end, maybe some balloons if the sportsplex allows, and a birthday banner across the front edge of the table.

So far, I have a red table covering left over from the Lego party last year, a plan in place for the cake, the favors ordered (but no bucket yet), no table decoration yet (although I can see it in my mind), and a completed birthday banner.

Here's what I made....

Caleb really wanted to focus more on the King Pig. He really likes him. I don't have a Silhouette, or card punchers, or anything fancy. But what I do have is a pair of scissors, a printer, a bunch of primary colored cardstock, glue dots, and ribbon leftover from the Lego party.

Easy enough....I cut several pennant style flags out of multi colored cardstock. I googled the Angry Birds font and downloaded it off the web, and printed out "Happy 9th Birthday" in the font. Then I traced out a circle around each letter and used a glue dot to attach it to the flags. Using the basic Word document, I made a starburst pattern and printed two of those, as well as two King Pigs, onto white cardstock, layered them with the glue dots, and glue dotted them to the flags as well. Two hole punches on each flag, and a little blue ribbon, and this is done.

Caleb saw me working on it and literally started jumping up and down. It's cute enough for him and was basically free since all the materials were leftovers!

Now I can't wait to get the little favors in the mail. They are so, so, so cute!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Party planning....

Now that Christmas is over, the New Year has passed, and 8 days in most people have already abandoned their resolutions, it is time to think about all those fun events that come up in Spring.

Valentine's Day, Easter, Caleb's birthday, and Jansen's birthday, just to name a few.

My pinterest has been blowing up with cute Valentine ideas for both boys' classrooms, Easter basket ideas, and decorations and cake ideas for birthdays. I think I have a plan for Valentine treats and snacks...some pretty good ideas for basket fillers, and a plethora (yes, I said plethora....as in pinatas!) of great ideas for the boys' birthdays.

This year Caleb wants an Angry Birds party...and honestly, what boy around this age doesn't like Angry Birds? He chose to have the party at All Star Pizza and Sportsplex....which includes a ton of indoor bouncies. Ok, That's easy enough. Then I am only responsible for the party favors and making the cake. Done.

I have an idea for a banner to make for the one and only table they provide you to hold your cake and presents. Pictures to come...

He chose party favors from a lady on etsy...and when they come in, I will share her information and pictures with the blogosphere. But we will make a red bird bucket filled with M&M's, holding these cute party favors to sit on the table next to the cake. And speaking of cake...

He chose an inspiration cake...

But here are his demands, errr requests. He doesn't want it smooth like fondant. He loves the bumpy texture of the piped buttercream. I am preparing for the hand cramps now. He also wants the top to be the red bird, but he wants it to include the bird's beak. Ok, I can do that. Then he wants the bottom tier to be the green king pig "And make sure he has the crown, Mom..." Ok, I can do that too. But here is where we differ. He wants to have all the other characters put all over the cake. No sir, my friend. I think we will draw the line there.
And Jansen, although he loves Angry Birds as well, wants to have his party at the local bowling alley like Caleb did last year. What is his theme??? Bowling. For real??? No characters, no angry birds, transformers, Super Mario characters, or Sonic the Hedgehog??? Nope. Just regular bowling. Ok, I can do that too.

Here are the two things he is debating on: cake or cupcakes. Last year I made cupcakes for all his friends and made him a little 6 inch cake of his own. And I could do that last year...unless he comes up with a decision. He likes both of these:

His request is "Red, white, and blue, Mom...you know, like the Texans colors." Ok, child after my own heart. Cupcakes in red, white, and blue, or the cake with a red bowling ball, blue cake, and white bowling pins.

Party favors will include bowling ball cake pops with cardstock bowling pins attached with coordinating ribbon., similar to these, only in his colors...Set-up is still swirling around in my head. I can't see it yet, but I will as we get closer to the date.
I am going to be so sad when the kids no longer want to have birthday parties like this anymore. We don't go all out with the decorations like some of the amazing party bloggers out there, but I enjoy doing it. Super fun!

To give credit for all the inspiration photos....see my pinterest boards for Caleb and Jansen....if you click on the pictures it will take you directly to their pages. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jalepeno cream cheese crescent poppers!

Today is the day! THE DAY! The first EVER playoff game for my Houston Texans. Let's take a little trip back in time....a trip back to those dog days of summer where I called it. That's right friends, I called the playoffs. Exhibit A ( more of my excitement for football ). And Exhibit B but I digress.

Behold, the most delicious, and easy tailgating item I have made all year. Well, I think it is delicious for sure!

You can do this too...have no fear. If you can roll up crescents, you can make these!

Here is what you will need:
  • 1 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 4 oz can of diced jalepenos
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 roll of refrigerated crescent rolls, original or garlic butter. I used garlic butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl mix together about 3/4 of the cream cheese, 3/4 of the jalepenos, and sugar. Do a little taste test and add more of the cream cheese and/or jalepenos based on your taste.

Pull out the crescent rolls and divide them into 2 rectangles. Pinch the little perforated lines together and you might want to use your rolling pin to smooth it all out.
Smooth out half of the cream cheese mixture on each rectangle.

Now, starting at the longer end, gently roll together to form 2 logs.

Cut each log into 8 little discs.

Place them on a greased baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 11-13 minutes depending on your oven.

These are totally delicious, and are super easy. They are perfect for tailgating...just watch out. If you don't pay attention, you might all of them and not even think twice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It's a perfectly fine question. To resolute, or not to resolute. Really, I don't care one way or the other. I usually like to make goals...

My favorite goal of every year is to work to get out of debt. Do I honestly ever feel that we will get out of debt. No, I really don't. We really want to enjoy our lives and finances responsibly. I would hate to spend 8 years of my boys' lives scrimping and not going places just so that we can say that we are debt free.

Now, of course I don't want to go into more debt because of it...and I think we did a pretty good job of that in 2011. That said, we paid off 1 credit card and 2 medical bills. Steps in the positive direction.

2011 was also expensive, so we could have paid off more. But all in all, I am satisfied with how we spent our money.

This year, I would love to pay off our other credit card. The credit card debt is the stuff that drives me insane. Not the mortgage, not the car payments, not the loans...the credit cards.

This year, I would love to be more fit. Not necessarily lose weight, but just be healthier.

This year, I want to be more present. To not take things for granted...to not wish my life away, but really enjoy my moments. I am so blessed.

This year, I want to make decisions and stick to them. I am no longer wanting to apologize for the way I am...I am that way. I do not want to base my decisions based on what other people think or what I THINK other people will think.

This year, I want to create. Be creative. Really work on being creative. And encourage my children to be more creative.

This year will be a great year. The year of our 11th anniversary. The year of my 32nd birthday. The year that my boys will turn 9 and 7. The year that my hubby will be 35. The year that will be my oldest's last year in elementary school. The year that we make it! I am looking forward to it!