Monthly Archives: November 2013

Menu Plan and Goals

I’m excited! Coming up on the blog the month of December is going to be all things Christmas. You can expect posts with ideas for gifts, holiday recipes, and thoughts on Christmas and the season. What I’m looking forward to the most is having some of my family guest post! I’m excited to introduce them to you and share their thoughts and recipes.

Since Thanksgiving is this week, I’m cutting back on posting. I know I’m not going to be spending time reading and browsing the internet – I’m going to be enjoying my family! So, instead of writing posts that nobody is going to have time to read, I’ve decided to take focus on December.

This week is a short one. When it comes to menu planning the name of the game is to use up what’s in the fridge and hopefully avoid grocery shopping. Here’s our (non exciting) menu before we head into Thanksgiving activities:



  • Chicken Gravy over Potatoes
  • Leftovers
  • Salad
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes


  • Creamy Potato Soup (with veggies added in – carrots, celery, and zucchini)
  • Salad
  • Leftovers

Goals (affiliate links):

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan and Goals

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

Easy and healthy apple pancakes! Freeze well too.

We have pancakes on a pretty regular basis on our house. Normally a weekend lunch. They are an easy (and cheap) meal, our daughter inhales them, and pulled out of freezer they make the perfect weekday morning breakfast for my daughter. Sometimes it’s fun to change up the flavors. We’ve been having a lot of pumpkin lately but since I still have a drawer full of apples to use I decided to whip up some apple pancakes. They were a hit. My daughter ate four of them in no time at all and she can look forward to the leftovers all week for breakfast.

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes
Serves: 6-8
  • 2½ cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used sucanat)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or apple pie or pumpkin pie spice)
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated apples (I left the skins on)
  1. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. In a small bowl whisk eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir gently.
  4. Fold in the grated apples.
  5. Cook pancakes over medium heat.
  6. Top with butter and maple syrup.


Linking up to Natural Living MondayLet’s Get RealWeekend ReTreat, Good Tastes Tuesday, Create it or Bake itHealthy 2Day WednesdaySimple Live Thursday, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange

Truth in the Tinsel

This Christmas I’ll have a child that’s almost three. She soaks up every thing, asks questions, and figures things out in her little brain. I don’t want her to think Christmas is about presents, trees, lights, and cookies. Those things are all fun but that’s not what the season is about. I want her to know the true reason for Christmas – about the greatest gift ever.

Truth in the Tinsel - a way for kids to learn the real story of Christmas

There are many ways to go about this, but this year we have decided to use Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. (Affiliate links used) Each day there is a clue, scripture, ornament to make, and discussion. The curriculum is written for preschool to early elementary aged kids. An added bonus, there are downloadable ornaments you can purchase if you aren’t crafty or to help with those extra crazy days (we know December will be full of them).

This will be our first year using Truth in the Tinsel, but I think my daughter is going to love it. She’s at the age where she is getting into crafts and loves creating things and learning. This will be perfect.

If you choose to use Truth in the Tinsel you’ll want to print it off or at least look it over before December 1st actually arrives. This will give you time to look over the supply list and see what you have sitting around the house, what you need to keep (you are going to want to keep the lid from that empty oatmeal container), and what you need to buy. My crafting supplies are pretty limited since we are just getting into that stage with my daughter so I’m having to do some scrounging, a craft store run, and substituting for what I don’t want to purchase. If you have a nice craft cabinet, you might not have to buy anything.

I love how a full supply list is given as well as a daily supply list. You can easily find what craft the pop-dots or buttons are used for and decide if you can substitute something else.

(Don’t forget, if you don’t want to do the crafts or worry about rounding up supplies you can use the downloadable ornaments!)

Have you used Truth in the Tinsel? What are you doing to keep the focus on Christ during December in your family?

Truth in the Tinsel - teaching your kids the true meaning of Christmas

Linking up to Thrifty Thursday, Fellowship FridaysThe Weekend reTreat, Faith Filled Friday, Essential FridaysLiving Proverbs 31, Mama Moments, TGIMBabies and Beyond, Teach Me Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, WFMW, Women Living Well, Homemaking Link Up, Mindful Mommy MondayThriving Thursday

Pin-It Party

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Service Project

Every Christmas since our daughter has been born we’ve made a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child for a little girl her age. Last year she had fun shopping but didn’t really understand what was going on.

Preschool Service Project - Operation Christmas Child

(Side note, brother already has more hair than she did at 1 year 9 months)

This year at almost 3 she was way more involved and we added a box for a little boy. We talked about the purpose of the boxes and went on to Operation Christmas Child’s website and looked at pictures and found out what types of things we could put in the boxes and then headed out to go shopping. Our daughter ran from one thing to the next in the store, “Oh, the little girl would like this!” “Can we get this for the little boy?”

Arriving back home we had our daughter get the two boxes (we like plastic boxes instead of shoe boxes) and load everything into the right one.

OCC Packing

Brother even got in on some of the action.

Preschool Service Project - Operation Christmas Child

For the last step I had our daughter get out her coloring box and paper and draw pictures to put in the box. We’ll finish them off by writing a note and including a picture if I manage to get any printed this week.

OCC Cards

This is a fun tradition that helps keep the perspective on giving instead of getting during the holiday season. Next year I’m going to plan ahead a little better and have our daughter do some little jobs around the house to earn money to purchase some of the supplies with. It will allow her to have even more ownership and hopefully make more of an impact.

It’s not too late for you to join in on the fun! Collection week goes through the 25th! Check out the Samaritan’s Purse website for all the details and to find a drop off location near you.

Linking up to Teaching Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesday, Babies and Beyond, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesdays, WFMW, Homemaking Link-Up, Welcome Home Wednesday, Mommy Brain MixerPin It ThursdayThriving Thursday, House to Home, Thrifty Thursday, Fellowship FridaysThe Weekend reTreatFaith Filled Friday, Essential Fridays, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your StuffLiving Proverbs 31Mama MomentsTGIM

Menu Plan and Goals

Okay, how can Thanksgiving possibly be next week? It’s crazy. The fact that the weather the past few days has been in the 60s and 70s probably doesn’t help me having a hard time wrapping my brain around it. Not complaining though. I’ll take any days I can of being able to sit out in the backyard holding the baby while watching my very active daughter burn off some energy.

Menu Plan and Goals

I made a from scratch version of one of my family’s favorite desserts growing up, Mississippi Mud Pie. It was oh so good but I need to tweak the pudding a touch before I post the recipe. Let’s just say it didn’t set up quite enough to hold its shape.

Menu Plan and Goal


  • Oatmeal
  • Smoothies
  • Pancakes


  • Pizza
  • Apple Pancakes (recipe coming Friday)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Salad


  • Taco night at a friends’ house
  • Chicken Gravy over potatoes (was going for chicken ala king type of dish using biscuits, but then potatoes were on sale and easier to bake than biscuits so I decided to do it that way) Scratch that. Friends invited us over.
  • Pizza
  • Salads


  • Bananas, apples, grapes
  • Muffins


Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Delicious Pumpkin Dinner Rolls. I love these!

These light rolls have a beautiful color to them. They taste fabulous anytime but are especially perfect in the fall. We first found this recipe when I was growing up in a Taste of Home magazine. I hadn’t made them for years, but recently dug out the recipe. Yum. So I made them again the next time we had company. Not only are they tasty they also become a topic of conversation because of the rich color.

This recipes makes 24-30 rolls and can easily be cut in half.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup sugar (or ¼ cup honey)
  • 1½ cups pureed pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5½ - 6 cups flour (hard white whole wheat, white or a combination)
  1. In mixer bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk.
  2. Add butter, sweetener, pumpkin, eggs, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat with dough hook (or stir vigorously with a wooden spoon if making by hand).
  3. Add in remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth.
  4. Let cover bowl and let rise until doubled.
  5. Punch dough down and divide into 24 -30 pieces depending on what size rolls you like.
  6. Form into balls and place on greased baking sheets and rise until doubled. (30-45 minutes.)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Brush with melted butter after removed from the oven.

Linking up to Let’s Get Real, The Weekend reTreatLink Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff, Living Proverbs 31Natural Living Monday, Good Tastes TuesdayCreate it Or Bake itTGIM, Recipe Sharing Monday, Pin It Monday, Healthy 2DayWFMWWelcome Home WednesdayHomemaking Link-Up, Pin It ThursdayThriving Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thrifty ThursdayStrut Your Stuff, Link Party PaloozaThe Pin it Party

Cookie Plates Service Project

Cooker Plates Graphic

This is an easy service project that your child can be involved in from beginning to end. My husband was out of town one Saturday, so while the baby napped my toddler and I got busy.

1. Select who you want to bless with a plate of goodies. Our recipients were an elderly couple, two individuals who had been spending vast amounts of time working on our church renovation, someone whose birthday it was, and a friend.

2. Find a recipe (or two or three) to make. We made two different cookies and a pumpkin cranberry muffin. Yum. Then get busy cooking. My daughter helped measure, pour, stir and roll.

3. While the baked goods are cooling, get out your coloring supplies and have your child draw cards for each person. After the cards were colored I wrote notes on them.

Cookie plate service project perfect for preschools (or anyone for that matter)!

4. Distribute the food between paper plates, cover with plastic wrap, tie a ribbon around them and attach the card.

5. Deliver! This was my daughter’s favorite part. It was her “special deliveries”. I helped her walk up steps and let her stand there with the plate after we rang the door bell. She wanted to keep making more stops. From the smile on her face you could tell she felt important and that she was doing something nice. Having a 2 1/2 year old show up unannounced also made our recipients grin.

Out making deliveries

Out making deliveries

Do you have a favorite way to involve your child in serving? Next week I will be sharing another opportunity we involve our children in.

Linking up to Fellowship Fridays, Teaching TuesdaysLink Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff, Babies and BeyondTeach Me TuesdayTending the Home TuesdayTitus 2 Tuesday, Pin It Monday