Thursday, December 31, 2009

Small Successes


This week I'm joining the ladies at Faith and Family Live in sharing my small successes for the week. I hope to continue to join in each Thursday because it is important to celebrate the little things in life.

1. I've exercised on the Wii Fit for 30-40 minutes for the last five days. No weight loss, but definitely am feeling the toning and strengthening of my abs and thighs. ETA: I did lose 2 lbs!! according to today's calculations.

2. I have dramatically cut down my caffeine intake each day, which in turn means that I am drinking more water.

3. I finally bought the totes to start storing some of our stuff in prep for the big move. One tote is filled...five to go!

4. BONUS~DH and I had a date night. It was fabulous to spend some time together alone.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some thoughts for the new year...

I'm not one to make resolutions. I tend to set goals for myself in the areas of spirituality, family, friends, marriage, self, and home. Danielle Bean at Faith and Family Live posted these questions today, the same ones she posted last year:

1. Did I grow closer to God in the past year? How will I grow closer to God this year?

2. What is one new thing I will pray for this year?

3. What would I consider my worst habit and what can I do to work on it in the coming year?

4. What is the one thing I will do in the coming year that will most benefit my family?

5. What is the most important decision I made last year or will make this year?

6. What new habit would I most like to adopt this year?

7. What is one new skill I would like to learn the coming year?

8. What was the most important book I read last year/want to read this year?

9. What are my talents and what will I do to better serve God and the Church with them in the coming year?

10. What is one thing that I regret in the past year and what can I do about it in the new year?

They are great questions for reflection about the past year and a stimulus for setting goals in the coming year. I hope you find them useful.

May your new year be filled with peace, love and blessings,

Christmas Eve Dinner Table

It's a bit late, but I still wanted to share our place setting and table for Christmas Eve. The dishes are Pfaltzgraff's Winterberry. The stemware is crystal that my mil bought me for Christmas over 10 years ago. I added the stockings to hold the silverware (also Pfaltzgraff) and the ornament place card holders this year.
I seriously need to buy some chargers in red to add to the table. I think the color would be great.

Thanks for stopping by!



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My First Birthday Card with the Cricut

Just wanted to share my first card I created using my new Cricut machine. I love it and it will definitely save me money and time when I'm scrapbooking, making cards and doing displays at school. I used paper from a scrapbook pad by Making Memories in eliza.

Thanks for stopping by!



Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, December 28, 2009

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did! I can't believe the final MPM has arrived for 2009. Where did this year go? It was certainly filled with many ups and downs and LOTS of good food and new recipes that my family enjoyed. We're all on vacation this week, so we'll be eating well!

Sunday~ Dinner with DH's parents Herbed Chicken with Honey Butter, Olive Oil and Garlic Penne, French Cut Green Beans and Baker's Dozen Rolls

Monday~Beef Patties and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Carrots

Tuesday~BBQ Boneless Ribs (Slow Cooker), Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans

Wednesday~Sub Sandwiches, Chips, and Veggies with Dip

Thursday~New Year's Eve~dinner at the hockey game

Friday~Happy New Year! Pork Roast, kielbassi, Kraut and Mashed Potatoes

Saturday~Meat Lover's Pizza, Chicken Wings, and various appetizers (Game Night at our House)

Hope your week is filled with love and blessings,


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Lights and Santa, too!

We had planned to visit the Festival of Lights at Blue Spruce park last Saturday, but there was a snowstorm. On Sunday, dd was sick with a fever. So we headed out on Tuesday night to visit with Santa. Miss M couldn't wait to ask for a kitchen for Christmas. Santa did deliver on that one! Below are photos of some of the hundreds of lights surrounding the lake. This year's theme was Toys of the Century.

Water-skiing Santa

Hula Hoop Girl


The Nativity

The Festival of Lights runs through January 1st. Visit here for a dollar off coupon.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world!



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chocolate Mint Trifle

I made this for our Christmas Eve Dinner Desert. I didn't really follow a recipe, but here is my version.


1 chocolate cake, baked in a 13 x9 pan, cooled and cubed

2 boxes instant chocolate pudding, prepared according to package directions

1 tub Cool-Whip Light (8 ounces), thawed

Andes mints, chopped

In a trifle bowl, layer half of the cubed chocolate cake, half of the pudding, half of the chopped candy and half of the cool-whip. Repeat using remaining cake, pudding and cool-whip, ending with candies. Chill for 4 hours or overnight to let flavors blend. Serve chilled. Enjoy!



Monday, December 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome to another Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura at
I'm An Organizing Junkie.
I also can't believe it is Christmas week! On a positive note, all gifts but one are wrapped and ready to go. We stuck to our budget this year, which was extremely difficult, by the way, so there is definitely less to wrap for us too!
My baking and candy making are done, as well. Of course, I keep wondering if it will be enough and it will be! I have a few things to pick up at the grocery today for Christmas Eve dinner and then I will "officially" be ready for Christmas. I've also done pretty well spiritually this Advent season, preparing for the coming of Jesus.

Here's the plan:

Sunday~ Take Out after Shopping

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Kraut, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Taco Salads

Zesty Potato Soup, Ham and Cheese Paninis

Christmas Eve Dinner
Cheese and Smoked Sausage Tray for Appetizer
Breaded Veal Cutlets
Tossed Salad

Merry Christmas!
Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast
Lunch at my parent's
Dinner at dh's parent's

Beef Patties in Gravy, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Carrots

Have a week full of blessings and a merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lights 2009

Our home lit up for Christmas

From the other side, white lights everywhere.

The back of the house...with our nativity.

Merry Christmas! Thanks for stopping by!



Herb Chicken with Honey Butter

This week, I tried a this recipe for dinner. I found it in the November/December issue of Simple and Delicious magazine. It was delicious and moist. The contrast in flavors was very enjoyable. I highly recommend this one!

Herb Chicken with Honey Butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey

Place egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and seasonings. Dip chicken in egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear. Meanwhile, combine butter and honey. Serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spiral Ruffled Scarf and Throw

This is the throw I knitted my mom for Christmas. It was very time consuming, but looks beautiful!

This is the scarf I knitted for my brother's gf. It's done in Lion Brand's Homespun and Fun Fur. I think it's really neat! The pattern is on-line at
The pattern recommended mohair instead of fun fur, but my local stores didn't have the mohair. It think the fun fur, well, it is FUN!

Thanks for stopping by!



Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook, December 14, 2009

FOR TODAY...December 14, 2009

Outside my window... the skies are gray, but the sun is peeking out.

I am thankful husband, who took the kids to school today because I was up sick last night.

I am wearing... my robe and slippers.

I am remembering... in prayers all of the families who will be seperated this holiday season due to military service.

I am going... to wrap gifts, take dd to dance and go to a hockey game tonight.

I am reading... One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber and Christmas Angels.

I am hoping...for an easy sale of our home.

On my mind...details about our new home.

From the learning rooms... at school, Christmas Traditions Around the World.

I am noticing that... if I don't expect so much, I don't get disappointed.

Pondering these words...Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~Philippians 4:6

From the kitchen... Christmas cookies and candy! YUM!

Around the house... doing laundry, cleaning and packing up donations of used toys and clothes to make room for the new.

One of my favorite things~ kisses from my kids.

A Picture from my photo journal~

You can read other daybooks at The Simple Woman's Daybook and even post your own thoughts!
Have a blessed week!

Menu Plan Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome to another Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura at
I'm An Organizing Junkie. We're having another busy week filled with hockey, dance, school, parties and more! I'm trying two new recipes this week. I'll post if we like them or not. Here's our plan:

Sunday~Italian Pasta Bake, Italian Bread, Tossed Salad

Monday~Hockey Game

Tuesday~Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Homemade Fries, Baked Beans

Wednesday~Herb Chicken with Honey Butter, Buttered Noodles, Steamed Carrots

Thursday~Hockey Game

Friday~Pineapple Cranberry Ham, Parsley Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday~Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Mashed Potatoes and Hard Rolls

Have a week full of blessings!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chocolate Snowballs

Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Chocolate Snowballs

Create your own recipe - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox recipe

Our kids love these cookies and I do too! They just melt in your mouth.



Christmas Dance 2009

Miss M had her first dance performance on Friday evening. It was very sweet and totally girly!



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Home Tour 2009

Welcome to our home!
Poinsettias just say Christmas to me!

The stocking were hung by the chimney with care...
The dining room view from the foyer.

The dining room table centerpiece

Christmas Countdown in the kitchen

Our baking themed tree in the kitchen with the Mr. and Mrs.

This year's tree and train

Thank you for stopping by today! Stop back for more photos, food and Christmas fun!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Tonight is the official start of Baking Week in our house! Tonight's cookies are one of my favorites: Peanut Butter Blossoms. I just bought new cookie sheets and am thrilled with how well the cookies baked! Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter Blossoms

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.


Menu Plan Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome to another Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura at
I'm An Organizing Junkie. We really stuck with the menu last week. I was very pleased. It certainly saves us a lot of money when we do that! This week will be busy...we have two hockey games, two practices, dance lessons, dentist appointments, religious ed and Mass. What a week it will be! Here's the plan:
Sunday~ Spaghetti and Meatsauce, Garlic Toast and Salad
Monday~Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken, Pasta Salad and Green Beans
Tuesday~Chicken Noodle Soup (from the freezer) and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Wednesday~Buffalo Chicken Wraps, Homemade Fries
Thursday~Spiced Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and Steamed Carrots
Friday~Dinner out...Dance Recital and Party to follow
Saturday~Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
I will post recipe links later today.
Have a day full of blessings,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Snowfall

As soon as dd climbed out of bed and peeked out the window, she wanted to play in the snow. I held her off for a few hours because the temps were so low. She finally got bundled up and headed out to play. After about 10 minutes she was too cold and came back into the house. She's just like her mom as a kid...I hated to be outside in the cold! (Still do!)

Our Winter Wonderland

Trees from our back door....

One of our trees covered in snow.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost Homemade Soap

For Christmas gifts, I'm making my co-workers, secretaries and aides Almost Homemade Soap to go with the knitted faceclothes I'm making each of them. I followed Carrie's directions on her blog, Farming On Faith. I used Ivory Soap instead of Dove, but will probably use Dove if I make the soap again. I used a muffin tin to shape the soap, but think it would be neat to use mini muffin tins or even tree shaped molds to make them.

I wrapped each soap in cellophane, then wrapped strips of scrapbook paper around each soap, added a circle and the dot letters to spell soap. The circles on the red paper remind me of bubbles. :0)

Thanks for stopping by today!


Simple Woman's Daybook, November 30th

FOR TODAY...November 30th
Outside my window... the skies are gray and it is raining today. Hunters are out looking for "the" deer of the season.

I am thankful for...our ability to pay for Christmas this year with cash. What a blessing!

I am wearing... my robe and slippers. It's so nice being off of school today!

I am remembering... the wonderful day we had Saturday with our best girl Karin.

I am going... to decorate the kitchen for Christmas today.

I am reading... One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber

I am hoping...for a peaceful Advent.

On my mind...details about our new home.

From the learning rooms... at school, Gingerbread Men and Houses.

I am noticing that... it's taking much longer than I thought to knit a throw.

Pondering these words...Do not forget to do good and to share with other, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.~Hebrews 13:16

From the kitchen... Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Around the house... doing laundry, cleaning and some decorating.

One of my favorite things~ Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal on a cold morning.

A Picture from my photo journal~

Trees lit up in Pittsburgh



Menu Plan Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome to another Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie. This week will be busy with hockey practices, religious ed classes, hockey games, hunting and dance. Here's our plan for this week:

Sunday~ Lasagna Toss, Salad and Garlic Toast

Monday~ Chicken Cordon Bleu, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans with Bacon and Onion

Tuesday~ Take Out Tuesday (hockey game...GO TROJANS!!)

Wednesday~BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans

Thursday~Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf, Oven Roasted Potatoes and Corn

Friday~Pizza, Salad and Wings

Saturday~Slow Cooker Beef Tips in Gravy over Noodles, Steamed Carrots

I have a cute story to share with you today. I ran into a lovely older lady named Judy from our parish at the grocery store. I had my menu in hand, along with the list of groceries we needed for the next two weeks. She mentioned how hard it was to come up with ideas for dinner after watching her grandchildren all day and also how hard it was for her dil, since she worked all day. I agreed that it is hard, but that I do a menu for my family every week and that makes it much easier. She said she could tell that I had it by how I was shopping AND she could tell that I am a teacher, too. (Her husband was a teacher for 23 years before retiring.)
I thought that was cute and funny, too! I hope that I inspired her to take that step into menu planning! Also, can you keep Ed and Judy in your prayers? They are having some health concerns and could use prayers.

Have a week full of blessings and love,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. Advent is a joyful time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As part of our celebration of Advent, we have an advent wreath on our dining room table. Each week, we will light the candles and pray together using the prayers from Catholic Culture. org. The kids will be following this Advent Calendar each day until Christmas.

I hope your Advent is filled with peace and inspiration of the true meaning of this glorious season.


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

On Friday, we went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Benedum in Pittsburgh. The show was spectacular! DD loved it! Her favorite part was the Rockettes of course! She kicked her legs up all night long! It was a great show and we hope to see it some day in NYC.

DD in her Christmas dress in the hall at the Benedum.
Anxiously awaiting the start of the show...we had great seats!

Maddie and me

Karin and Maddie

We had a great girls day out in the city!