Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Savings Update

I got a large portion of my Christmas shopping completed this past Saturday.  I had an hour and a half of kid free time to shop.  Let's just say I was on a mission.  I had my cash envelopes stuffed with coupons, my list of items, and time clicking away.  An hour and a half may not seem like a long time, but when you don't have 2 to 3 kids tagging along, you can accomplish almost anything.  Not only was I able to pick up almost all the items I was searching for, but I was able to really focus on making the most of the coupons I had in my hand.

Here's my totals to far...

2011 Christmas Spending...$288.39
2011 Christmas Savings.....$384.31

This coming weekend Steven and I are shopping for the kids.  I don't have near as many coupons for the items on their list, but I've done my research for the lowest prices in town this week.  I'm crossing my fingers for good savings, and more importantly, to be DONE with shopping.  Me likey presents under the tree, but me no likey having unchecked items on my list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sporting Adventures

Confession Time...

I'm competitive.

I can't help it.  It runs in the family.  We like to win.  We like to be the best.  It doesn't matter if we're playing cards, doing flips, walking into stores, or holding yoga poses, there has to be a winner.

I have another confession to make...

I'm an annoying cheer'er when it comes to rootin' for my family.

When Steven races, I'm the wife who's yelling for him to 'pick it up' and 'push harder'.  I know he really appreciates it.   You know, me standing on the sidelines watching him run his heart out, yelling.  It's motivational for him.  At least I tell myself that.  He probably wishes I would shut my pie-hole.

Back in the old football days before Steven had to report to summer training camps, we would hit the track and I would time him.  I wasn't nice.  I think the words 'pansies' and 'softy' might have come out of my mouth when I thought he could do better. 

I'm not sure what possesses me to talk to my husband in that manner other than I know he's had much worse in high school wrestling coaches and much, much worse in his college football coaches.  After all, I wasn't dropping F-bombs.  Just a few minor words that I know really get to pansy.

I've never really seen this as a problem (other than embarrassing myself at sporting events), until now.  Tomorrow Little Man starts his first real organized sport.  Basketball.  I'm not real sure how this is going to go.  I have concerns about containing myself and my mouth.  Hopefully, I won't be as hard on Little Man as I am on his daddy. 

Honestly, I don't know what I'm stressing about.  I won't need to yell insulting remarks at my child because he will be the best.  As far as I'm concerned he's going to smoke folks.  He's no pansy.  He's stinkin' awesome.  Just look at this kid and his guns...

He's one tough cookie.  He must get it from his mother!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Monday

I really don't want to think about turkey or ham right now.  Not at all.  We officially completed three full on feasts for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  It was wonderful to be with family and the food was spectacular at every location, but no more turkey for us for a while.  The leftover meat got put to the freezer for later use.  So this week we're back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday-Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole and Honey Butter Bread
Tuesday-Fish Fry, Leftover Broccoli Rice Casserole, Peaches (Little Man's first b-ball practice)
Wednesday-Tortilla Soup served with Chips and Garden Salad
Thursday-Roasted Italian Sausage with Potatoes and Carrots, Rolls
Friday-Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Green Beans, Spring Salad
Saturday-BEDLAM!  My FIL is cooking up some bedlam treats!
Sunday-Christmas Tree Night at Philbrook and dinner with extended family

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beatin' the Crowd

Can you tell the Torres family loves Christmas time? To celebrate Thanksgiving Break for Little Man we asked Chunky Monkey to come with us for a little Bass Pro Santa Shop visit, stay overnight for a sleepover, and morning donuts. The kids had a blast at Santa's Village. Chunky Monkey wasn't too sure about Santa until he saw the candy canes. He figured out pretty quickly if he sat on Santa's lap he would get candy. When he saw Little Man and Little Miss excited about Santa, he got into it too.

That's all I have for you today. My kids and precious nephew with Santa. I would, however, like to direct your eye to the bottom right hand pic. This is so my life. Three kids doing three different things, in three different worlds. They are some crazy funny kids.

There will be not posts for Thursday or Friday.
Enjoy the time with your family!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Running Tally of Christmas Savings

We have a lot of people in our family and we buy for everyone.  It's easy to spend an arm and leg on Christmas, and we have in the past, but now I use coupons and sales.  Throughout the Christmas season I hunt for the best deals to purchase exactly what's on everyone's list. 

Last year I know my receipts added up to well over $1,000, but we only spent $600 cash.  We didn't do anything on credit.  We did the envelope system

It worked so well because it kept Steven and I searching for the best deals, and we didn't impulse buy for our kids (we have a tendency to do that).

This year I want to keep a better tally of how much I'm really saving.  I'm hanging onto every receipt and adding up the savings.  Hopefully, I"ll be surprise.  Throughout the season I'll give you updates on how we're doing.  So far, I've done very well and I have a stack of coupons to utilize at the stores I need to visit.

Total Spending: $85.41
Total Savings:   $130.02

I hope to keep the spending amount well below the savings amount.  We'll see over the course of the next few weeks.

It's important to Steven and I to be givers.  Our hearts are mainly focused on those who have difficulties sustaining the basics of life, but we also like to give good gifts to our family and friends.  Giving good gifts doesn't have to put you in debt.  Just a little work and research can help you keep your costs down when searching for the gifts on your list. 

Here is one website I use religiously when retail shopping.  It helps me find coupons for the stores I'm shopping at for the season.  Matching those coupons when items go on sale is the best way to save your money.

You might be wondering if we do Black Friday at our house, and the answer is...nope.  We have never done it.  The main reason is I like my sleep.  The other reason is I usually don't find the items I'm searching for discounted at their rock bottom prices on Black Friday.  I have to really weigh my desire for sleep for the desire of savings.  So far sleep has won out.  I guess we shall see this year.  I'm still waiting to search through the Toys R Us ad.  So far Walmart and Target's won't be waking me from my slumber or keeping me up late into the night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Menu Monday

It's a short cooking week at the Casa de Torres.  Actually I'll be cooking, but it will be elsewhere.  We are headed to see my Grandparents!!!  I haven't seen them since the end of August, and the kids haven't seen them in a very long time.  We are all so excited.

I hope you are gearing up for Thanksgiving with your families as well. Such a precious time to be together with the ones you love, but don't get to see too often.

Even though it's a short cooking week, I still have plans.  Here they are...

Monday-Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken, Seasoned Steamed Veggies, Crescents
Tuesday-WW Bubble Up Enchiladas, Arroz con Gandules, Corn Saute
Wednesday-Not my night to cook!
Friday-Not cookin' again!
Sunday-Tomato Basil Pasta with Grilled Chicken, Salad, and Garlic Bread

*I always assume people eat the same type foods on Thanksgiving, but if your family has a dish that is different and delicious...please share!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

OCC...It's Not Too Late

Drop off week is here.  Operation Christms Child has arrived.  There are quite a few drop off locations around the United States and it's easy to check to see which one is nearest you.  Just go here for all the information you need to know.

If you haven't packed a box yet, don't despair.  You still have time.  The last day for drop off is Monday, November 21st.  Packing a box with your child can make a great impact in their life and the life of another child.  Little Man asked this year why we were packing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and socks.  He wondered why not all toys.  It was a pretty good lesson for him.  To him, all gifts are toys.  We went online and watched kids open their boxes from last year.  He was amazed to see how excited the kids around the world were about receiving things he doesn't even think about.  This is one reason why this will remain a huge part of our holidays.  Not only will Little Man and Little Miss learn how to be cheerful givers, but they will also have the opportunity to make difference.  A difference in kids they may not meet here on Earth, but will one day meet. 

Please excuse the ridiculous looks on my kids' faces.  I had time for one pic before naps. 
One pic, and this is what I got.  Feel free to laugh.  I did.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pinterest...Recipes I May Love

Pinterest is of the devil.  I am thoroughly convinced.  All those delicious recipes, crafts, decor ideas, DIY's, they all make themselves appear to be so simple.  I pin those suckers, and well, the only thing I do about it is pin...except the recipes.  Those I cook.  Too bad I don't pin the smoothies or 'green drinks'.  Nope I pin stuff like this...

Pinned Image
{via Plain Chicken}

This dip is totally low-cal.  Totally.

And there's this...

Pinned Image
{via Beyer Beware}

Yep, a heart healthy meal.  Definitely.

Last but not least, there's this...

Pinned Image
{via Eat Live Run}

Hello Carbs.  I love you.  I want to break you apart, slather on some butter, and gobble you up.
Oh gosh.  I'm blushing.  I shouldn't be talking to my carbs like that on the web.  Forgive me.

Now, if I could just talk you people into eating these same items then you too would put on the weight as well.  Then I wouldn't feel so bad for myself.  Then I would be surrounded by others who have a buldging mid-section.  Then I would feel...I would feel...I would feel like I could conquer the world.  At the very least by sitting on it.  I am going to be one l-a-r-g-e lady after consuming these calories.  Large and happy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To Trot or Not To Trot?

It has been a frustrating morning and afternoon.  No connection to technology until now, and my scheduled post didn't come up, but it's here now...

I'm so very sorry to dissapoint you, but this preggo girl has fallen off the running wagon.  It has been 2 weeks since I have ran.  TWO WEEKS.  I can feel my cheeks enlarging as we speak and I am not talking about my face.  Maybe this is just mental?  Maybe, but it makes me feel better anyway.

I was totally okay with letting running go and regressing to the speedwalk when I realized it was a Springfield, MO Thanksgiving year.  A Springfield, MO Thanksgiving year means we celebrate with my fabulous grandparents at their house.  It also means this...

Ever since we have been married, we've participated in the Turkey Trot when we are in Springfield.  When we first started it was a roughly thrown together event, and now it has grown to over 6,500 runners.  It's a fun time.  Getting up early on Thanksgiving morning, bundling up, heading to the run, running, and then stopping at Starbuckie's for a little coffee.  It's a must.

Here's the problem.  I could very easily walk the 5k, but the competitive person in me says, "I can run this."  Plus, I don't want to pay $ to walk. So here I am blogging about it.  To Trot or not to Trot?  That is the question.  I went online two times today to register Steven (who will run the entire race in under 20 minutes), but I couldn't complete it because something inside me stops my fingers from hitting enter.  Visions of this enormous belly crossing the finish line allure me.  That, and the idea that if I run that morning I can eat more...

I'm at a crossroads here people!  This is a real issue.  Real life stuff.  I guess I'll try and get my booty up tomorrow for a brisk jog to see if I can still hang with a 5k.  Yes, that's what I'll do.  Well, if not tomorrow, the next day...or the next...but definitely by Friday.  After Friday registration fees goes up, and you all know how I like to save $$$.

*My doctor knows I have been running.  He's totally okay with that and encourages me to keep it up.  So please, no worries.  I wouldn't do anything to harm my Little Nugget.  He's kinda grown on me...get it...grown on me.  Well at least I'm laughing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little Man's Outdoor Movie Party

Little Man had his party to celebrate his 5th birthday this past Saturday, but I've had my wheels spinning on what to do six months beforehand.  I like to do birthday parties at home.  It reminds me of when I was a kid.  I like to think up (or steal) unique ideas to make the day extra special.  When I saw Ashley Ann's post on an outdoor movie party she did to raise books for charity, I knew Little Man would love something similar.

Now let's get real.  Anything Ashley does blows us all out of the water. So please, use her beautiful pics to get some kind of idea of what we did.  My pictures are a little less desirable.  Okay, a lot less desireable, but you'll get the point.

When planning the party, I knew I wanted the kids to have popcorn for the movie.  At our house you don't watch a movie without popcorn. I was going to buy individual popcorn bags (found at Hobby Lobby) for the kids, but I wanted to personalize some parts of the party.  Instead I took brown paper bags (all of the stores in our area were completely out of white paper sacks) and printed his own Cinemark name on them...

This was a real labor of love.  Feeding each individual sack through the printer one at a time, forty plus times.  It took a lot of patience.  Those little boogers got jammed so easily.  I'm glad my persistence paid off though because Little Man was so excited to have his own bags.

I also personalized a concessions sign.  Plenty of years of making spirit posters for cheerleading finally paid off.  It trained me for making a birthday sign for my son...

Since Little Man was born in the beautiful month of November, I knew it would be a bit chilly.  What goes better with chilly weather than a warm fire and s'mores?  Uh, nothing.  So that's what we did.  Our neighbors loaned us their outdoor fire pit, and I gathered pounds of chocolate, graham crackers, skewers and marshmellows.  I'm not sure the kids were too into the roasting of the marshmellows, but I saw plenty of the parents going back for seconds...and thirds...and fourths.  If we ever do this again (which we probably will) I will most definitely have s'mores again.  At least for my own personal sake.

As for the movie screen, we owe the creation to my step-dad.  We were going to build a contraption like the one featured on Ashley's blog, but Michael stepped in and put together a pvc pipe frame.  My grandma gave us a white sheet that had openings on each end to slide the pvc pipe through.  Michael and Steven then hammered reebar into the ground for the pvc pipe to slide over.  A few zip ties to the fence and slits in the sheet to allow the wind to pass through (and it was windy that night), and we were good to go.  The screen held together well, and the best part, the frame is easy to take apart and set up.

The last part we needed was projector and a laptop to play the movie.  Steven got special permission to borrow his work projector he uses for presentations.  That's all we needed and we were good to go.  Until...

...we realized it would be super dark.  Since I'm married to the best man ever, he strung our white Christmas lights along the back of the house for extra light. It was just perfect.  Enough light to see by, but not too bright for the movie screen.

When it was time for the party guests to go home, they all got little popcorn containers filled with birthday trinkets, and their own little kit to make a s'more at home...

I'm just wondering how many of the kids actually got to eat their s'mores.  I'm betting some of the parents got into the goodie bags before their kids realized what was in there.  You don't think so?  I guess I'm the only parent who would do that!

There you have it.  The small details on how to put on your own outdoor movie party.  We really had a lot of fun, and I think the guests did too. Feel free to steal any of these ideas.  After all, I did!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Monday

I really want to thank all of you for the kind words and encouragement regarding Little Miss' hiccup.  I didn't get a chance to respond to all the comments with the events of our weekend, but I wanted you to know they really mean a lot.

The second kid birthday party in one month is over.  Thankfully I have a full year to gear up for Birthday Season again.  We still have Steven's to celebrate in December, but at least I don't plan a full out party for him.  Just family.  Family, I can do.  Forty plus people is exhausting.  However, I am so grateful for the forty plus people who came over to celebrate Little Man's 5th year of life.  Some of the best people I know were here.

I seriously can't believe Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away.  My mom and I have already made our menu for the meal we'll eat with my grandparents in Springfield, MO.  With all the talk of Thanksgiving food, this preggo girl had to add a little Thanksgivingish food to the menu.  The baby was pratically demanding it.

Monday-Spaghetti, Green Beans, Salad, Cheesy Bread
Tuesday-Baked Fried Chicken*, PW's Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Stuffing
Wedneday-Cresent Chicken Roll-Ups with Green Bean Casserole
Thursday-Chicken Bacon Sandwiches, Sweet Potatoes, Salad
Friday-MDA Benefit Tailgate Night
Saturday-Tacos with Chips and Queso Blanco
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's

*We actually ate the Baked Fried Chicken last night.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Very tasty and crispy.  I would definitely recommend it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Finally Friday

It's finally Friday which means we are one step closer to Little Man's Movie Party.  It's all coming together nicely, but I have a thousand things to check off my list before tomorrow.  Thankfully, cleaning the house is the last item on the list.  I really don't feel like doing that today.  Let's get real.  I really don't feel like cleaning the house on any day.  Instead I think I'll finish the popcorn bags, make a concessions poster, pack goodie bags, and finish the party supply shopping.  Yep, that sounds much better.  Avoiding the house cleaning. 

I'm also glad it's Friday because it means yesterday came and went.  It as a hard day for Little Miss.  Lots of little tests and a visit with a doctor she's unfamiliar with.  She did so well through the echocardiogram and the multiple blood pressure checks, but she got us on the EKG.  Steven was sitting next to her while she was on her back on the table.  She did well as they put the 13 stickers across her tiny chest and stomach, but when the nurse hooked up all the wiring I noticed Steven was tearing up.  Then I saw why. 

As I hopped up to see what was going on, I saw Little Miss' face.  My tiny three year old was laying on the table with silent tears streaming down her cheeks.  No sobbing.  No wails.  No audible noises.  Just tears welled up and pouring over.  My little thing as scared.  She had been so brave through it all, and she as trying to hold it in.  I couldn't stand it.  I went straight to the top of her head and sang her most favorite song.  By the time I was finishing up, the test was done.  Shortly after the cardiologist came in and gave us the news we were hopeful to receive. 

Little Miss is completely healthy.  Although she has two heart murmurs, they are nothing more than noises.  Her heart is performing just as it should, and she will never need to be seen again for this condition.  We knew that no matter the results Little Miss would be restored to the way God intended her to be, but to hear that we will never ever need to look into the murmurs again was the icing on the cake.  God is good!  So here is my little lady healthy, whole, and no doubt showing off her sassy self.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Little Hiccup

I really contemplated not sharing what we are doing today, but it's been on my mind today to share.  This morning, Steven and I are sitting at a specialist's office waiting for Little Miss to be evaluated.  We are personal when it comes to struggles we face as a family, so sharing this is a little out of the norm for us.  Usually when hard times come, we usually take it to God and resist talking about it with others.  God's pretty big and more than capable of taking care of our issues when we activate our faith.  We're doing the same thing in this situation, but for some reason I know I'm supposed to let it out.  So here it goes...

Last week I took Little Miss to the doctor for her 3 year old check-up.  Everything was going fine until the stethoscope came out.  I noticed the doctor taking a little more time than usual listening to her chest and back.  Before she said anything, she went over to Little Miss' chart to review her file.  I knew what she was looking for.  She was looking back to see if there was a history of a heart murmur, and I knew there was.  My heart starting pounding.  I thought we had already overcome this.

At two months of age we had to take Little Miss to get an echogram on her heart.  The results showed a little opening, but nothing that was of concern at the time.  Up until this moment, there had been no mention of a murmur.  However, three years later we're back at the same point.  The doctor decided that she should be seen by a cardiologist for further testing.  That's exactly where we are today.

When you hear news like we heard, it's easy to go into freak out mode, but we knew we had other options.  We could either freak out or to trust what we believe in.  We chose to do the latter.  Standing firm, this is what we believe...
  • God cares for Little Miss far more than we, as her parents, could even conceive.
  • She is a thriving little girl who, even though she's tiny, has had acceptable growth throughout the years.
  • Satan is an equal opportunity hater.  He's going to try and snatch our family's joy anytime he can.  It's not going to happen.
  • God's word says, "By His stripes, we are healed."  He did not send His son to die, for my daughter to have health issues.  She is healed.
  • God is good.  He wants good for us.  He wants good for my girl.  He is not the author of sickness or disease.
I say these things to myself often for my kids and my family.  In times when we are well and times when we are sick.  As a family, we truly believe God has only good for us.  When these little roadblocks come our way, we deal with them.  Satan will not steal the joy from our family.  Little Miss is going to be just fine.

I hope that whatever you are facing today, big or small, that you are able to stand on what you believe in as well.  God is good!

{My healthy, happy, and completely whole child}

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Final Installment: Getting Kids to Write

Are you ready folks?  It's the last part to the series of Getting Kids to Write.  If you missed the first parts, you can click the links to go back...

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

This last part is all about publishing, so I should be short and sweet.  After the child has finished the editing stage and had some time away from their work, you can pull it back out and dust it off.  It's time to finish what you've started. 

This is the real exciting time.  In public school we didn't have the time to type out the work and I needed to assess handwriting (in cursive), so I'd have the kids rewrite their final draft in cursive.  This gave kids a couple of opportunities.  One, to teach them how the hand written word should appear on paper, and two, utilizing legible handwriting for a purpose.  Both pretty valuable skills that often get overlooked because we love the convenience of our computers. 

For the rewrite process,  you should allow at least 2-3 days for the child to complete their work.  This will give the child ample amount of time to create a piece they would be proud to show off to their friends or classmates.  Adding an illustration is another great way to make the work really 'pop'.  It allows the new author to show what they were visualizing in their mind as they were writing.  After the rewrite and illustration is complete, be sure to find an opportunity for your child to share.  It's important to show off their hard work.

There you have it folks.  My secrets to teaching writing. There are lots of different ways to introduce lessons for the various genres of writing, but these basic steps will get you going in the right direction.  If you are looking for ways to assess your child's final writing, let me know, and I'll share some of my rubrics I used when I was teaching.  Rubrics are the best way to accurately assess the work.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hot Dogs and A Whole Bunch of Other Stuff

I haven't mentioned anything on this blog yet, but my SIL is pregnant!  She's about 15 weeks and they just found out they are having another little boy.  Chunky Monkey is going to be a big brother.  Rene and Lindsay were really hoping for another boy.  I, on the other hand, was hoping for a girl.  Poor Little Miss.  She's got a whole lot of hot dogs hanging out around her, and so do I.  We girls will have to stick together and make sure we teach all these boys how to aim for the toliet and not the floor when potty training time rolls around for the babies.  In all seriousness, we couldn't be happier for Rene, Lindsay, and Chunky Monkey.  A growing family is such a blessing.

Since we're on the topic of pregnancy, I thought it would be time to show you my growth.  Warning:  This is a full belly shot, and I have on NO make-up.  If gigantic stomaches and bare faces gross you out, simply scroll down with your eyes closed to skip it.  I really won't blame you!  Here it comes...

{Baby #3 @ 24 weeks}

Moving on to non-pregnancy related material, I mentioned yesterday that Little Man turned 5 on Sunday.  It really is hard to believe.  His party is scheduled for this weekend.  He wanted to have an outdoor movie party with his closest friends.  Funny how he's old enough to tell me who he wants at his party.  I hope to post lots of pics from the party because I think it's going to turn out pretty cool.  At least it looks really cool in my mind.

Since my mom is pretty much awesome, she threw him a family party on the night of his birthday.  Decorations and all.  She spoils him, and I love it.  Here's just a few photos from his special day...

Gosh I love him!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Monday and My Little Boy x5

Little Man hit a monumental mark yesterday.  He turned 5.  My precious little baby is now heading into mega boyhood.  If I wasn't sure of this, his requests for gifts sure sealed the deal.  If you are against little boys having guns, you should probably stop reading.  My little 5 year old boy asked for a gun that has a strap so he can carry it like a hunter climbing through the mountains.  Then his father one up-ed him and purchased a fake M16.  He pretty much thinks he's a hunting Rambo.  I think he's just a cutie pie.
He had a great day.  Presents from us, his Papi, and my mom and her husband.  His party for his closests friends and our family will be next weekend.  We like to stretch out the partying as much as possible.

As for the menu this week, here it is...

Monday-Zucchini Bake, Cheesy Bread, Salad
Tuesday-Dijon Crumb Chicken, Green Beans, Seasoned Potato Wedges
Wednesday-Creamy Chicken and Noodles, Steamed Veggies, and Buttered Bread
Thursday-Frito Chili Pie
Friday-Seasoned Flounder, Trees & Raisins, Cheesy Biscuits
Saturday-Pepperoni Sandwiches and Mozzarella Sticks
Sunday-Dinner @ my mom's

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nacho Pie

*This recipe comes from my mama*

First off, I can't even say the name of the recipe without saying it the way my kids do.  Na-CHO pie-eye-eye-eye.  I don't know where it comes from, but they do this with 'nacho cheese' too.  They sit in the bathtub and try to squeeze in tight until they can see their little faces in the chrome.  Then they say over and over and OVER, "Na-CHO chee-ee-ee-eese."  They are weird.  I have no idea why they do it or how it got started.

The only thing I find comical in their weirdness is I too have a thing that runs along the lines of nacho cheese.  My absolute favorite joke has it as the punchline.  When I was a teacher I told this joke every year and found myself laughing hysterically.  Even when no one else was, which rarely happened because you always have at least one kid who feels sorry for you and gives you a courtesy laugh.  So get your courtesy laugh ready 'cause I'm going to tell my infamous joke...

What do you call cheese that isn't yours?

Nacho Cheese!

Now I can add a new line to my all time favorite joke...

What do you call a pie that isn't yours?

Nacho Pie!

So here's the pie that isn't yours...

Nacho Pie
1 tube crescent rolls
2 cups crushed Nacho Cheese chips
1 lb cooked and drained ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Season cooked ground beef with taco seasoning and tomato sauce.
  • Pressed crescent rolls into a greased pie pan.
  • Sprinkly one cup Nacho Cheese chips on top of crescents.
  • Layer on ground beef mixture.
  • Spread on sour cream.
  • Sprinkle remaining chips and cheddar cheese.
  • Bake @ 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until crust is brown.
I fully anticipated taking step by step pictures.  Here's how far I got...

I know.  I'm so awesome!  I captured the first two steps.  You're welcome.  We can't all be overachievers like me, now can we?

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Sixty-five. 65. Six tens, five ones.  60+5. No matter how you put it, it's a big number.  There is one way to make the number sixty-five seem even bigger.  All you have to do is say 65 years of marriage.  Yep, 65 years of marriage is what these two lovebirds have accomplished...

{Married October 26, 1946}

Not only have they been married for sixty-five years, but they also worked side by side owning their own business.  Not many people have accomplished what my grandparents have done.  They make me proud, and have taught Steven and I a lot about working hard for what you want.  Your marriage, your career, your family, your finances. I'm so thankful to have family who gives us a goal to try and meet.  Sixty-five years of marriage.  We'll get there someday, and I'm hoping to enjoy all the days until we achieve it. 

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa. 
We love you so very much!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Kids to Write: Part IV

Revising may be the area you are more familiar with when rounding out the writing process.  It's the time to fix all those spelling and grammatical errors. Somehow, over the years we've learned to focus more on correcting these aspects instead of focusing on good content and ideas.  Even though editing is a very important step, it is NOT the end all be all of a good paper. 

When editing your child's paper, I have a few suggestions to avoid marking up their hard work and ideas.  There is nothing more frustrating then getting back your paper and someone has corrected every other word.  This is where leaving the pen (or pencil) in your child's hand will help out tremendously.

Remember in the first few stages I asked that you not tell the child their spelling is wrong, and to encourage them to do the best they can when they don't know how to spell a word.  When you have children do this, they are aware there are incorrect spellings.  Have them go through their paper and circle the words they think are misspelled.  You'll be surprised how many they find on their own.

After the child goes through their own paper and circles misspelled words I ask they pull out a pencil eraser side pointing toward the paper.  Nope, they aren't erasing now.  Just using it as a pointer.  The child is to go through their own paper, point to every word, and read it aloud to themselves.  This helps eliminate missing words.  Since our brains work much faster than our hands, there are often a few imperative words that have been omitted.  This also allows the child to read the paper a little slower and can 'hear' what they've said on paper.  Often times they find sentences that just don't make sense (fragments) and sentences that just go on forever (run-ons).  Again, you'll be surprised what they catch on their own.

Now that the child has already done a large part of editing on their own, you begin to work one-on-one with them.  Your job, as the teacher, is to educate the child on grammatical errors they may not be aware of at the time.  You'll get a good indication of who understands the structure of a good sentence, grammar, and spelling ability.  Allowing the time to work on the child's individual level. 

I will suggest you make the child work for what they know.  For example, if the child has the ability to spell a word OR is very close to the correct spelling, hand them a dictionary.  If the child is having a lazy moment with a grammar skill you KNOW they know, hand them a grammar book and ask that they use the index to look up the skill.  (For example, many kids make errors on the order of commas and quotation marks when characters are speaking.  A quick reference to a grammar book will show them the exact order.)  There are some kids who will stand there and let you do all the work.  It is important for them to work for the skill.  Never do for a kid what they can do for themself (or an adult for that matter)!

After you and the child are happy with the editing process it's time to put the work away for a couple of days.  I liked to work on the editing stage on a Thursday and/or Friday.  That way the kids had at least the weekend to take a break from their writing. 

Next week, is the final installment of Getting Kids to Write.  I'll talk about the final stage, Publishing.  This is the exciting time for the kids!

AND, on a personal note...

Happy Birthday, MOM!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Getting Kids to Write: Gonna Have to Wait

I was going to write Part III of Getting Kids to Write, but it's getting pretty late.  Soooo, here's my cutie pies...