Friday, January 30, 2015

A Little More Organized

I love organization, but sometimes it's just so overwhelming with a house full of toys and educational materials.  Recently I decided to try to organize the puzzles.  Reid especially enjoys puzzles, so we have a fairly large collection.  And guess what?  Twelve boxes of puzzles take up a lot of space!

So I found these black snap folders at Big Lots.  A four pack is $3.00.  They turned out to be just right for organizing puzzles.  I cut out the picture from the puzzle box and taped it to the front of each file folder, so they can locate the puzzle they want and work it with ease.

See the row of black folders behind Pierce's shoulder?  Now all those big, bulky puzzle boxes are converted to a small, 8 inch stretch of bookshelf space.  It was the perfect solution!

Now, if only I could figure out something to do with all the board games....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Raptor Show

A few weeks ago we got tickets to a special Raptor Show at the science museum.  I have always loved raptors, particularly owls.  The boys put on their owl shirts and we headed to downtown Roanoke.

The presentation was very interesting.  I learned that we have more types of raptors in Virginia that I realized.  I learned about how they hunt, and what types of prey they chase.The boys weren't quite as excited about the presentation (which involved a powerpoint - not a 5 year old's cup of tea) but they did enjoy seeing the birds.  They especially loved seeing Eleanor, the red tailed hawk, fly around the planetarium.  It was amazing - she flew right over our heads.

No flashes were allowed, so I took pictures with my cell phone, and they aren't the clearest on earth.  My apologies!  This is a peregrine falcon. 

And this is Lenny, the owl, who I thought was just gorgeous.  I wanted so badly to pet his snowy white feathers.

The boys, all smiles, standing in the line afterwards to 'meet the raptors'.  It was a fun morning. 
Readers, do you have a favorite bird or raptor?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Southwestern Chicken Pasta

Some nights I don't have much time to toss dinner together, and this is a recipe that comes together in less than 20 minutes.  It was a big hit with the boys.

2 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups egg noodles
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz. Mexican style Velveeta
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, drained
6 oz. grilled chicken breast strips

Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large skillet.  Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to instructions and drain.  Once onion and garlic are softened, add Velveeta.  Cook on low heat until melted, stir in black beans, tomatoes, and chicken strips.  Heat through.  Add noodles and toss to coat.  Enjoy!

Readers, what are your go-to dinner recipes when you are pressed for time?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Perfect for Valentines

Every year my boys end up having Valentines parties in their classrooms, and I always volunteer to send in some treats.  Cupcakes are all the rage right now, but I do get tired of decorating them, and I wanted to come up with a suitable (but more speedy) alternative.

The red velvet brownies I made were tested by my 3 boys, and were 100% approved for use at classroom parties.  The recipe comes together nicely using a boxed cake mix, but is still just as festive and fun as cupcakes.

1 box red velvet cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix red velvet cake mix, melted butter, water and egg.  Pour into 13 x 9 inch pan and bake at 325* for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream butter and cream cheese.  Gradually add sugar; beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in vanilla.

Readers, what kind of treats do you like for Valentines Day?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homemade Valentines Soaps Giveaway, 2 Winners

I ordered some new soap molds over the holidays, and several of them came in last week.  I decided to celebrate by having a Valentines soaps giveaway.

There will be two winners.  Each one will receive one 3.5 ounce Valentines soap from the mold seen above.  Scent will be either lavender or lemon verbena.  These are glycerin soaps, and even though they are pretty, yes, you can use them!

Entry is easy - just click on the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Readers, do you have a favorite scent of soap? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Few Pictures from Dance

I shared one video a couple of weeks ago from Cort's dancing.  I have a few pictures I thought I'd share too.

Cort loves his hip hop instructor, Mr. Kenny.  

Doing the flip.

Doing his shasay in Ballet 1.

Taking a bow.

Cort loves doing the performances.  I think he's already looking forward to his Spring Recital. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ready to Foster

I don't foster animals all year round, but usually wait until the spring when the shelters become overrun with kittens and desperately need the help.  I did volunteer to take in a pregnant dog from a hoarder case over the holidays, but by the time I talked myself into it, she had already found a placement. 

Every time I've fostered, I've taken very young, sick kittens.  They usually have stomach issues.  Eye problems.  Fleas.  They take a little work to get straight.

But once they're healthy, we have fun with them.  I have always had to borrow a big cage, and have never been happy with the cages I've borrowed.  I wanted a cage with tiers, so the kittens could climb and have fun.  They never have tiered cages for borrowing.  The one level cages make even me feel a little stir crazy.

So over Christmas, I treated myself to a present, using money I'd earned from blogging this year. 

After Christmas, when Target had their Christmas stuff marked 90% off, I also picked up a bunch of cat toys.  I don't think the kittens will mind a bit if they are off season. 

Looking forward to having some little fuzzies in our home in a few months.

Readers, do you ever buy yourself a Christmas gift?