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Makes My Monday: Synchronized Cooking – Virtually

My friend Lori created a Recipes group on FB for those of us who have come to a stalemate with what to make for dinner. She figured we’d all just post recipes to share and have some more cool ideas to run with.

What we didn’t anticipate was the brilliant idea of another member: a Group Cooking Party. Or, Synchronized Cooking. What a cool idea! Everyone does the same recipe on the same night (or weekend, as the case was this time around). Then we all post pictures and describe how it went…and if we changed stuff around and all that.

Even better? Having a neighbor who is doing the same thing and then heading to her house to swap the final results. Especially since she used a different sauce on top than I did. 🙂 (Although, that was also a bit intimidating – she’s a much better cook than I am! LOL!)

The kids didn’t love it. Maggie – my spicy girl – ate a bit…and then turned to the pizza. Burke and Logan ate a bite and turned their noses up at it. All of the adults LOVED it though.

What’d we cook? Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells with Creamy Ranch Sauce. I got the ranch sauce from Astrid’s blog except, her’s is a much healthier version ;). (Mel made Blue Cheese Sauce instead). Both were *so good* – but I think I liked the Blue Cheese sauce one a bit better. Although, if I were to do the ranch one again, I’d add more milk or double the recipe or something so that there would be more to put over the top.

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested.

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells with Creamy Ranch Sauce

  • 1 package jumbo shells
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into very small pieces (bite size)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 c hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
  • 1/3 c blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/3 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 c ricotta cheese

For Creamy Ranch Sauce

  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 packet ranch dressing seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 F.

  1. Boil a big pot full of water and cook pasta shells according to directions.  Drain and set aside. (You’ll probably end up with a lot more shells than filling, just FYI)
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Put the bite sized chicken pieces into the pan and cook until no longer pink in the center.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the hot sauce and cheeses.
  4. Stir cooked chicken into the cheese and hot sauce mixture.
  5. Stuff the shells with the mixture and fill a 9×13″ baking pan with them.
  6. In a small skillet, melt the cream cheese.  Stir in the milk and the shredded Parmesan cheese into the melted cheese, and then stir in the ranch seasoning packet.
  7. Spoon this sauce over the stuffed shells.
  8. Bake the stuffed shells for 20-30 minutes.

Synchronized cooking and sharing the results with a good friend totally Makes My Monday!

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Blizzard (and a New Camera to Capture it!)

Mike gave me a camera for Christmas!!!! I’m so happy with it 🙂 I can’t wait to capture Disney with it!

I got to use it today to document the kids playing in the blizzard. We were only able to stay out for about a half hour – it was COLD!!

Logan Shoveling

Burke: King of the Mountain (of Snow)

Maggie Moving Snow

Makes My Monday: Last Minute Building Application – SCORE!

Remember when we were in the Fireplace store and Logan smacked his head? Well…right before that incident, the nice salesman had mentioned we might need to go to our town hall to apply for a building permit. (Not required in all towns; he wasn’t sure if it was for ours.) Needless to say, we forgot…and it’s needed for tomorrow!!

Thank goodness for super nice clerks at our Town Hall. I went in right after lunch and asked what I had to do…fill out a form, find an itty bitty number from the manual (which I don’t have – did we not mention that it’s not being delivered until tomorrow??), and then come back between 3:30 and 4:30 to get the Treasurer’s signature and drop the forms off.

Luckily, the salesman at the fireplace store was super nice as well and faxed me a copy of the number I needed!

I brought all of the forms in, paid my fee – and we’re all set for tomorrow!! (Come back tomorrow for what’s going on!)

The fact that everyone was super nice and I was able to get this all done, TOTALLY Makes My Monday.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Free Books and a Warm Welcome

Today’s mail brought me some wonderful things!

The Usborne Book party I hosted (while contemplating becoming a consultant) brought in about $85 worth of free books! I spent a few bucks as well, but this is my stash:

The one I’m most excited about is the Very First Reading collection. The adult reads one side of the page and the child reads the other. As the child gets more confident, the books become “harder” and the child side gets more and more words. How cool is that??

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The second thing the mail brought to me today was my new consultant package! I opened the flap and saw:

Cute 🙂 It totally made me smile!

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The third thing the mail brought today was my new business card!! (Thanks Vistaprint!)

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: The 80’s?

Maggie requested a side ponytail for school today… (are the 80’s *really* coming back into style??)

When she got back home, she donned her roller skates.

I totally had an 80’s flashback. (And…I THINK that Makes My Monday 😉 )

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: DRY!

Our town had its annual Halloween parade yesterday. Since it was a little rainy and chilly, I decided to put the kids’ PJs on under their costumes. (Plus, these PJs are the skin-tight kind, so they fit under their costumes quite nicely.)

When we got home, all we had to do was take off the costumes and viola! Ready for bed. Except…then I remembered that Logan usually wears a Pull-up to bed still. So, while we were getting teeth brushed and pottying for the last time of the night, I asked Logan if we should switch to the Pull-up.

He said, “Nope. Undies.”

I kind of looked at him and said, “So…you’ll stay dry all night? You’ll use the potty if you have to pee in the middle of the night and have a dry bed in the morning?”

He nodded.

Okay then….

Fast forward to 4AM. I hear “Mommy!” and think, “doh…” But all he wanted was a re-spray of Monster Spray (thank you, Halloween, for scaring my kid). Since he was up, I insisted that he empty his bladder (which really wasn’t all that full).

Fast forward to 7AM. While trying to figure out if I should wake him up at the same time I’m waking Burke and Maggie for school, Logan wakes up on his own and comes out to say Good Morning….completely DRY!! And he didn’t have to run to the potty either (so I didn’t push it), he went when he was good and ready.

I know he’ll have the occasional accident – it’s bound to happen – but…do I dare say “Buh Bye Pull-ups” ???

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Burke’s Perspective

Today was Burke’s second art class of the semester.

He was able to finish up a self portrait from the first class:

And then they worked on light boards today. Ms. Art had a horse figurine for the kids to draw using ordinary shapes. They first drew the shapes, and then using the light box, colored the shapes in on a different piece of paper.

She was tickled pink that Burke was the only one to turn the horse up-side-down and draw it that way.

Burke’s unique perspective totally Makes My Monday.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Fairs

Over the past few days we’ve been to two fairs. The first was a Church fair where all of them women’s groups got together to sell home made things and stuff like that. There was a “General Store” where jams and knitted items and such were displayed (where I worked for an hour). There were booths full of flannel blankets and one booth entirely dedicated to pies. There was a crafting booth where kids could go and paint or make a sand necklace. There were booths with hot dogs for lunch. My women’s group put together bags of bulbs to sell (we almost sold out!). They also had a lawn sale with items that members of the church had donated. The Fair was pretty big! I had a good time at my table…and even came away with an apple pie and 3 of those towels with loop-type tops sewn on so they won’t fall off my oven handle anymore. 🙂

The second one was a book fair at the school. So much fun! I remember loving looking through those Scholastic pamphlets at all the books that had the potential to come home with me…and Burke and Maggie have picked that tradition right up. As soon as the pamphlet came through the door, they were pouring through trying to figure out which books would make it into our house. I gave them each a $20 spending limit. Maggie immediately pointed to the book she wanted …which, of course, was $19.99. And Burke spent his time choosing 4 books that equaled $20. (Shows so much about their personality…most expensive vs. largest number of things for his buck…) The fun part of this though was this it was an actual book fair during their library time today. I got to go in and help them choose what they wanted. Actual books! Luckily, Maggie was the first session of the day and she knew exactly what she wanted – I couldn’t sway her in the slightest – so she made a B-line right for her book. I say “luckily” because there were only 2 of those books…and another little girl in her class snapped up the other one. Burke’s session was later in the day (after lunch) after 4 or 5 other classes had already gone through, but he wasn’t as picky as Maggie. I think we made one substitution for him and he was fine with it.

Helping out at two different (but fun in their own way) Fairs Makes My Monday.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Quality Time

The past few weeks have been crazy at our house. With the start of school, a whole bunch of things have also started up and it seems as if everything is happening at the same time. For example, the evening schedule at our house last week and this week looked like this:

  • Monday 20th: BOTH home!! (Thank goodness – because that was our anniversary)
  • Tuesday: Mike showing the ropes to his replacement for his old job
  • Wednesday: Nancy at a MMOTA State meeting
  • Thursday: Mike teaching
  • Friday: Nancy at the MMOTA Sale setup
  • Saturday: BOTH HOME!!
  • Sunday: Nancy at a Church Women’s Group meeting
  • Monday 27th: Nancy To Logan’s School PTO meeting*
  • Tuesday: Mike helping replacement
  • Wednesday: Nancy at MMOTA Meet the Officer’s Dinner
  • Thursday: Mike helping replacement
    AND Nancy at Open House for Burke and Maggie’s school

Not a lot of Mike and Nancy time there 😦

* So…I decided that I’m blowing off tonight’s PTO meeting. (Mike doesn’t get home in time for me to get there in a timely fashion, and I’ve already asked him to come home early enough times…) Plus, I’ve been helping out the PTO for that school for 2 years now – I don’t need to go to the meeting to have them know who I am and know that I can help out. I only feel slightly guilty that it’s one of Logan’s things that I’m blowing off…but he’s not directly impacted, so I’m forcing myself to get over it 😉

Blowing off a meeting that won’t make me feel too guilty so I can spend more time with Mike totally Makes My Monday.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Makes My Monday: Preschool Orientation

Logan had his preschool orientation today! I’m going to take it as a good sign that he didn’t want to leave…School starts tomorrow!!

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)