Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Recent Recipes that we LOVE!

It's been awhile since I've shared some of the recipes that are keeping us fed and alive over here.  I thought that today would be a great day to do it.  So, just a warning. . . this is going to be a picture-less/boring post.  But, I promise if you click the links to the recipe, you will find delicious pictures that you will want to go and make this second.

This non dairy pasta was amazing!  It's even easier if you have a immersion blender (which I have now added to my wishlist!)

This orange chicken was absolutely amazing!  It is completely worth the effort (and the cornstarch!).

I have now made this multiple times and it even as a side for Father's Day.  It was a hit!

This 5 minute marinara was a huge hit!  Plus, not pricey at all and I can now make on a moments notice!  Even better with Italian sausage!

These have quickly become one of our go-to meals around here (in fact, we are having them tonight for dinner!)

We also have really enjoyed these and turned the leftovers into taco salad!

We just love this sweet corn pasta, especially with some of the fresh local corn that comes from the FSU Farm.

So, these are just a few of the fun and delicious things.  

Hope you are having a great summer!  Have you tried any new recipes that I should add to my list?

Monday, July 07, 2014

Summer Survival - The Klassen way


I can't believe we are in July already! Honestly, we are having so much fun around here that our vacation is just zooming by!  And to think that after Christmas vacation, I was dreading the summer.  So, over the months between Christmas and June, I researched.  I spent a little bit of money.  I planned.  I knew that we needed to have some sort of plan/schedule/routine because my kids need it or else they go a bit on the crazy side.  

Our daily schedule looks something like this (all times are approximate):
7-8:00 - sleep in/TV time.
8:00 - breakfast 
8:30 - get ready for the day, make beds, etc.  
9:00 - outdoor play (splash pool)
10:00 - Literacy fun (we have done some activities and crafts around space, 4th of July, and next week we will start our Beach unit).  
11:00 - chore time (we have a jar of sticks that they get to choose from). 
11:30 - "Shhh! time"  They have to play quietly and choose their own activity. 
12:00 - lunch and a movie
1:00 - naptime (for Weston)
1-4:00 - rest time for Ethan (movies, video games, etc)

It has been really effective for keeping the kids busy, and has really combated the arguing that was going on at Christmas! 
The boys one day at "Shh! Time."  Ethan was working on mastering a simple loom bracelet and Weston was having some Ipad time (he's playing with a Lego Duplo app).  
Ethan is also working on reading independently for 10 minutes a day.  We are reading for prizes at the library and also using this really fun printable that uses a BINGO card and fun places to read. . . like the bathtub! You need to suscribe to How does She?  But, it is soo worth it and free! Ethan sits where he wants and sets the timer on the Ipad and reads Level 1 readers until the time is up.  Then, he draws a picture.
We've also been keeping busy with kinetic sand.  The only way I would even think to let sand be played with at the kitchen table.  It is really fun! If you are not familiar with it, here's a fun video.
We have also designated every Wednesday our movie watching day at the theater.  Our local Regal Theater has some great movies for only a buck each!  Ethan is super excited for this week's showing of the Lego Movie.

Here's one of our crafts from the Space Unit.

And here are the boys working on water coloring their space ship. 

Here are some other activities that we are doing:
Rainbow Loom (Ethan).  He's following this guide for learning new patterns.  
Perler Beads - you can buy these at JoAnns for super cheap with a coupon.  Ethan plays with the small ones and Weston plays with the Biggies.  
Library events - we haven't gone yet because of sick kids and other happenings, but we hope to finally get there this week. 
Zoo trips - One day, it will be cool enough to venture outside and go to the zoo.  Maybe.  
Drawing and Coloring
Legos
Movies - some days are just meant for staying in your Pajamas and watching movies all day.  I am okay with that!  
Fort Building
Backyard camping - we did this at the beginning of Summer (before School was out) because it is just too hot here in the summer at night.  We are hoping to get another night in before Labor Day.  
Swim Lessons - These are keeping us busy!
World Cup Soccer - it's a big thing over here at our house!

I am sure there's more, but I won't bore you anymore.  What kids of things are you and your family doing this summer?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

It is so hot here.  I need a beach day.  Maybe I will stow away in by best friend's car when they go. 

I honestly can't believe how quickly summer is going.  I have this strange feeling it's going to be over before I know it.  I mean really.  Back to School stuff at Target will be appearing any day now (my favorite time of the year!) and soon, I will be taking Ethan on our annual back to school shopping trip.  Yikes!
Until then, we are enjoying summer and trying to stay cool.  I will confess that there hasn't been a lot of baking going on and the heat just leaves me a tad unmotivated.  However, I do have things to share with you, so I promise you won't be too bored. By the way (and completely off subject, aren't' these cupcake liners super cute?!  I picked them up at Sur La Table. . . they always have a good selection of sale liners).
Remember this post? These muffins were a huge hit.  I mean, they were just amazing!  The combination of white chocolate and strawberries was great.  They were also super moist. . . which is great, because who wants a dry, crumbly muffin? You might want to go to your nearest fruit stand and pick some strawberries up. . . you are going to want to make these soon!

Strawberry White Chocolate Muffins
Source: Will Cook for Smiles

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 a cup of milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with some fun liners.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the vanilla, sour cream and milk.  Beat until combined.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Stir until combined.  Don't overmix!
Fold in the strawberries.
Scoop batter into cups and sprinkle with white chocolate chips.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Eat.  They are sooo yummy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Things that I am digging lately.

Life is good over here in Klassen-ville.  We are surviving our summer. . . which is good, because we are barely 2 weeks in.  I can't wait to share with you what we are up to this summer and my plan to stay sane (which is working!).

Disclaimer:  This is going to be one of those crazy, boring posts with no pictures.  Please read on, you might find something funny, or interesting, or life changing (i doubt it, but it was worth a shot).

Last night, my husband and I were watching you-tube videos and found this, this, and this one funny.  If you haven't seem them pass through your feed on FB, watch.  They are funny.

I am making meatball sliders tonight and am going to try this easy marinara to go with it.  It's the end of the month and I'm not going to the store.

Have you seen this wallpaper at Target?  It's down the same isle as the the knobs and duct tape.  I have a couple of ideas for it in my house. . . just trying to justify it in our budget.  I think have my husband convinced, but I have to finish other projects first (you, know those cabinets I have been working on for months!).

I miss the Giada jarred spaghetti sauce at Target.  They were my go-to dinner on a hurry.  I might have come close to tears.  But, it lasted longer than I expected.

I bought some cute things for Ethan's upcoming birthday via Pick your Plum.  If you haven't bought stuff from them, I highly recommend it.  I've done it several times and have been so happy!

I'm reading this book right now.   So far. . . so good.  I've loved just about everything by this author, so I don't think I am going to be disapointed.

I am also working my way through this book. It's going to take me awhile.  It is so much easier to breeze through a fiction book.  (tell me I'm not alone!)

Have you tried the Reeces Peanut Butter Oreos yet?  Oh my goodness. . . amazing!

And now, I am going to go mop my brand new kitchen floor (I posted pics on Instagram if you follow me. . . if not come find me! my username is jolieklassen)

Have a great Tuesday!







Friday, June 20, 2014

Hexagon love!

So this week, has just been plain weird.  I am getting used to cement board in the kitchen.  The kids have gotten trained to not get their own water and ice from the fridge (in efforts to reduce water on cement boards).  And, Weston is on the second day of being sick.  It's fun over here.  Really!  

Here's a card I made last month with one of my favorite stamp sets.  I found a similar idea off of Pinterest.  I think I made this for my husband's aunt. . . but I can't remember. . . it's been that kind of week. 


Stamps: Six sided Sampler and "Birthday wishes" is from a retired SU set.
colors: Garden Green, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, Bashful Blue, and Baked Brown Sugar.
Baker's Twine: Martha Stewart

The hexagons are raised by using Dimensionals.

I also used the hexagon punch that coordinates with this set.

Have a great weekend!  Any plans on creating?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peach-Plum Cobbler (nearly dairy free)



My 5 year old fell asleep.  I am currently sitting here blogging because I am afraid to do anything that might wake the sleeping boy up.  Excuse the poor pictures, they were on my phone and it was late last night, and well, all I can say is this is soooo yummy!
Our plum tree has been harvested and now I am working on cooking up yummy things to do with all those plums.  When searching Pinterest, this one just looks amazing.  I made a few adaptions, and it Wow'd my husband!  I am not always sure how things will turn out when I don't use regular milk, with the whole fat/cream issue.  But, this recipe turned out delicious.  I didn't use any vanilla, because my vanilla almond milk already had it in it, and I also had some vanilla sugar I made up last month.  If you make this and use milk, and regular sugar, I would recommend some vanilla.

Have you been baking this week?  What are you making?


Peach-Plum Cobbler (and nearly dairy free)
adapted from Simple Bites

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups sliced peaches
2 cups sliced plums
lemon juice
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (regular sugar is fine if you don't have any)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
sugar in the raw, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Grab a medium sized baking dish.  I used my 9x9 glass pyrex container.  
In a medium bowl, toss sliced fruit in (I left them with their skins on) lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch.  Give them a few stirs to make sure they are all nice and mixed up.  Put fruit in baking dish and set aside. 
In a small bowl, combine flower, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Cut butter into small pieces and work them into the dough with your fingers.  Add almond milk and stir just enough until combined.  Scoop over dough and sprinkle with some sugar in the raw.  
Bake for about 30 minutes.  Serve with some yummy vanilla bean ice cream. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Great things are happening in my kitchen

Crazy things are going on here.  Things that I have been dreaming about since the moment I walked into this house as a homeowner.  It has taken 5 years.  5 glorious years of dreaming (and doing other projects).  Here's the floor that came with our house.
pretty, huh?  Don't lie. . . you know it screams back flashes to the 70's with it's yellow and brown-can't get it clean no matter how much scrubbing I can get.  It went great with the green floral print wallpaper that I stripped as soon as we moved in.  

Right now, we are hanging out with cement boards and all our kitchen furniture scattered in the dining room and living room.  Saturday the new flooring is going to finally go in.  I am so excited!
Up until Sunday morning we had planned on putting in this beautiful silverish-grey planks of tile.  It was going to be super lovely (and a lot of work).  But we have a problem area that keeps squeaking. . . and moves a bit and well, we are pretty sure that a week after our tile is laid, our tile will crack.  It's not even in a good hiding spot.  So. . . goodbye tile.  Maybe it will end up in our bathroom someday?

So, laminate flooring has been bought and will be put in.  I know this is probably not ideal as most people prefer you not put laminate in the kitchen due to spills, leaks, and pipes bursting.  But, it's cheaper, it goes in much quicker and it gives more than tile (as in it's a bit more flexible than tile).

In the meantime, the kids and I are decorating the cement board with our art work.  It keeps them busy.  

Oh and another thing that's happening around here is that our neighbors decided replace the fence.  Oh, I can't wait til they are done. . . the kids really want to get back there and play.  

What are some of your plans for this summer?  Any DIYing out there in your homes?

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