Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Weekend Planning


Well, it's officially crunch time!  Our first holiday guest arrives on Monday, followed by five more on Friday.  Yikes!  We have a lot of work to do to be ready for their arrival next week. 

Friday:
  • Finish homemade Christmas gifts
  • Wrap the last few Christmas gifts
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 2 loads of laundry
  • Attend Gymboree Play & Learn 2 class
  • Maintenance clean the first floor
  • Take pictures of Christmas decorations
  • Take pictures of Dare to DIY project #5

Saturday:
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 3+ loads of laundry
  • Hang outdoor Christmas lights
  • Maintenance clean the second floor
  • Order prints from Shutterfly
  • Publish Jolene's 6-month post
  • Clean the stairway windows
  • Clean the stairway blinds
  • Clean the stairway light fixtures
  • Clean the stairway banister
  • Clean the stairway baseboards
  • Vacuum the stairway

Sunday:
  • Meal planning (Sunday-Thursday)
  • Menu planning (Friday-Sunday)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 3+ loads of laundry
  • Clean the office window
  • Clean the office blinds
  • Clean the office light fixtures
  • Clean the office furniture
  • Clean the office baseboards
  • Vacuum the office

What are your weekend plans?  Share them below!

Monday Morning Weekend Roundup


I am so behind this week!  I completely forgot to post my weekend recap...oops!  I really hope the upcoming weekend is more productive because I'm running out of time (our holiday guests start arriving Monday!).

Friday:
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 1 load of laundry
  • Work on homemade Christmas gifts

Saturday:
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 1 load of laundry
  • Lunch and shopping with Grandma and Grandpa Miller
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Work on homemade Christmas gifts

Sunday:
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Make Jolene's baby food (sweet potatoes)
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 4 loads of laundry
  • Take pictures of Christmas decorations
  • Take pictures of Dare to DIY project #5
  • Catch up on blog posts
  • Catch up on blog reading
  • Maintenance clean the first floor 
  • Make December to-do calendar (guest arrivals, events, cleaning schedule, etc.)
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Finish homemade Christmas gifts

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weekend Planning


What a hectic week it was!  I'm really looking forward to this weekend and tackling the items on my ever-expanding to-do list.

Friday:
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 1 load of laundry
  • Work on homemade Christmas gifts

Saturday:
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 1 load of laundry
  • Lunch and shopping with Grandma and Grandpa Miller
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Work on homemade Christmas gifts

Sunday:
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Make Jolene's baby food (sweet potatoes)
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 4 loads of laundry
  • Take pictures of Christmas decorations
  • Take pictures of Dare to DIY project #5
  • Catch up on blog posts
  • Catch up on blog reading
  • Maintenance clean the first floor 
  • Make December to-do calendar (guest arrivals, events, cleaning schedule, etc.)
  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Finish homemade Christmas gifts

What are your weekend plans?  Share them, or better yet, link up below!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dare to DIY Blog Party (Week 4 of 6): Homemade Almond Roca

This week's "Dare to..." challenge (courtesy of The NewlyWoodwards and their Dare to DIY blog party), is "Dare to...give homemade gifts!"  I've been working on a few homemade gifts already, but didn't want to spoil the recipients.  I generally make some sweet treats for friends though and decided to try something new this year - homemade almond roca.  This homemade gift is super easy and incredibly tasty.  The image below is of the almond roca itself.  I'm packaging it in holiday tins lined with parchment paper.  I found the tins at Dollar Tree - what a deal!


Homemade Almond Roca

1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
1 cup finely chopped almonds
12 ounces milk chocolate (I used Hershey bars)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat (with candy thermometer attached).  Add corn syrup, water, and sugar to pot and cook until mixture reaches 285 degrees F, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup almonds.  Pour mixture onto a greased cookie sheet with edges.  While the mixture is cooling, melt the chocolate over low heat until smooth.  Score butter/almond mixture into desired shape (I scored into rectangular shapes using a pizza cutter).  Pour melted chocolate over butter/almond mixture and spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining almonds on top.  Allow to cool completely and chocolate to harden before breaking apart (I covered my candy with foil and placed in our chilly garage since my refrigerator couldn't accommodate the cookie sheet).

Monday Morrning Weekend Roundup


This weekend was not very productive.  I don't know what is going on, but my sweet Jolene, who was only waking once or twice a night, has reverted to waking multiple times each night.  Last night was seven.  I am not kidding.  This Mommy is running on an empty tank right now so anytime she is asleep, I'm trying to sleep as well.  The house is getting dirtier by the day.  Fortunately, I stick with some of habits I made during the Happy House Challenge.  I am dedicated to emptying the sink every night before bed and to clearing the clutter around the first floor.  Our holiday guests arrive in less than two weeks though and I'm getting a little nervous about having everything done.  Thank goodness Dustin is almost done with school because I need his help!

Complete     Incomplete     Added

Friday:
  • Shop for Dare to DIY projects #4 and #5
  • Finish shopping for Christmas presents, decorations, and gift wrappings
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 2 loads of laundry
  • Put away fall decorations
  • Print address labels for Christmas cards
  • Sort Jolene's clothes and put away things that no longer fit
  • Catch up on blog posts
  • Make December to-do calendar (guest arrivals, events, cleaning schedule, etc.)

Saturday:
  • Attend Jolene's Gymboree Play & Learn 1 class
  • Meal planning
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 1 load of laundry
  • Address, stamp, and mail Christmas cards
  • Finish Christmas decorations and take pictures
  • Complete Dare to DIY project #5 and take pictures
  • Finish wrapping Christmas presents
  • Maintenance clean the first floor

Sunday:
  • Grocery shopping
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 2 loads of laundry
  • Complete Dare to DIY project #4 and take pictures
  • Prepare Christmas packages for mailing
  • Make Jolene's baby food (sweet potatoes, green beans)
  • Catch up on blog reading
  • Maintenance clean the second floor

Meal Plan:
Sunday - Crockpot Baked Potato Soup, Salad
Monday - Chicken Cobb Sandwich, Salad
Tuesday - Black-Eyed Pea, Red Potato, and Collard Greens Soup
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Italian Sausage, Salad
Thursday - Chicken Nuggets, Sweet Potato Fries, Salad
Friday - French Onion Soup, Salad
Saturday - Steak, Baked Potato, Salad

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dare to DIY Blog Party (Week 3 of 6): Chocolate Crinkles

This week, the NewlyWoodwards challenged their readers with "Dare to...eat cookies!"  Hello, eating cookies - sign me up!  I decided to make one of Dustin's favorite cookies, chocolate crinkles.  They were absolutely delicious, although a little time consuming.  I would definitely make them again for a party, but not necessarily just for having at home.  I also sent what was left with Dustin to work today...otherwise I might have eaten all of them.  Seriously, they're that good!


Chocolate Crinkles

1/2 cup butter, softened *
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt * 
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix butter, chocolate, granulated sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. **

Heat oven to 350 degree F.  Grease cookie sheet with shortening.  Roll teaspoonfuls of dough between hands to create a ball.  Roll ball in powdered sugar, coating entirely.  Place coated dough balls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet (12 per batch).  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Sides should be set, center is still slightly soft, and powdered sugar crackled on top.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
* Because I only had salted butter, I used only 1/4 teaspoon salt for this recipe.

** When first mixed, the dough is very soft.  I refrigerated my dough overnight.  I also put my dough back in the refrigerator or freezer between batches because it would become too soft to be workable.
 

Weekend Planning


Is it really December already?  I remember looking forward to December months ago (it does include my favorite holiday after all) and feeling both like it would never be here and that I wanted time to slow down.  That's one of the difficult things about being a mother.  Your precious little one grows so fast.  While you are happy and grateful for each milestone, your heart breaks a little at the speed of their lives.  Time is a thief I wish I could rob.

This month we have a lot to celebrate.  Jolene will be 6 months old on the 13th.  And after eleven straight years of college, my amazing husband is graduating for what I think will be the last time.  We both worked incredibly hard so that he could achieve his educational goals - first, his Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering, then his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and finally, his Doctorate of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering.  I'm so proud of my almost Doctor Miller!

Friday:
  • Catch up on blog posts
  • Shop for Dare to DIY projects #4 and #5
  • Finish shopping for Christmas presents, decorations, and gift wrappings
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 3 loads of laundry (diapers, towels, whites)
  • Put away fall decorations
  • Print address labels for Christmas cards
  • Make December to-do calendar (guest arrivals, events, cleaning schedule, etc.)
  • Sort Jolene's clothes and put away things that no longer fit

Saturday:
  • Attend Jolene's Gymboree Play & Learn 1 class
  • Meal planning
  • Finish wrapping Christmas presents
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 3 loads of laundry (diapers, darks, jeans)
  • Finish Christmas decorations and take pictures
  • Complete Dare to DIY project #5 and take pictures
  • Address, stamp, and mail Christmas cards
  • (Maybe) Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Miller
  • Maintenance clean the first floor

Sunday:
  • Grocery shopping
  • Complete Dare to DIY project #4 and take pictures
  • Prepare Christmas packaages for mailing
  • Make Jolene's baby food (sweet potatoes, green beans)
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 3 loads of laundry (diapers, baby, sheets)
  • Catch up on blog reading
  • Maintenance clean the second floor

What are your weekend plans?  Share them, or better yet, link up below!