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Monday, April 21, 2014

FOOD-Guest Post-Venetian Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

My eating habits have changed over the past few weeks since I've started following a Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle (watch for interesting recipes as I experiment with them). But luckily I have some people who are willing to submit their delicious, creamy, comfort foods and will let us know how they turned out. 

Jen shared this great recipe that she tried and it looks wonderful! 

Venetian Mac-n-Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis

Butter, for greasing dish
12 ounces wide egg noodles
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


She said that she used chopped garlic from a jar instead of fresh, and forgot to top it with cheese. It looks scrumptious to me! 

She also noted, "I've only made this once, but a family friend makes this every 4th of July for us. It's kind of expensive to make, but I think you could easily make this instead of going out to eat. Be prepared for 2nd's or 3rd's."

I'm sure my family would love this for supper one night! 

What other ingredients would you add? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

FOOD-Roasted Brussels Sprouts



I had no idea I was a fan of brussels sprouts...until TODAY! These were so good that I had to stop myself from eating all of them and was able to save just a few for another time. They were a hit with 2 out of the 3 little kids (though the 1 year old ate one raw, so his approval may be a little questionable). 

I kind of mixed both of the above recipes together. I put olive oil on a cookie sheet (with edges) and cut the sprouts from top to bottom as thinly as possible with my paring knife. I mixed them around for a bit and sprinkled them with sea salt, garlic salt, and pepper.

I threw it in the oven (at 400) for 20 minutes, stirred them around and put them in for another 10. I sprinkled parmesan cheese on them at the end (I think you're supposed to use fresh, but I only ever have the shaker). They came out perfectly! I was so shocked at how good they tasted, and I can't wait to make them again!

Please comment with any other ideas you have for flavors/different techniques! I would love to try it next time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Guest Post-DIY Wedding Shadow Frame With Name

Tracy from MN submitted an amazing wedding gift she made for a very special couple using the above link as inspiration, but putting in her own unique twist. 

She said, "I used the Silhouette which is very similar to a cricut. They had monogram letters that were 50 cents in their design studio so I bought the "S" and then put their names and wedding date in using the silhouette program. You can use any color vinyl. I went with black to match the frame.

I bought a shadow box at JoAnn's Fabric and cut the burlap to fit and glued it on inside."

I attended this wedding as well, and it may have been the most fun and hilarious wedding I have ever been to (the couple is very fun-loving, so I should have expected as much). I loved every minute of it! Her wedding decorations were so neat and this gift went right along with the theme (shown below).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Post- DIY Baby Banner & Ribbon Wreath

Girls 1st Birthday High Chair Banner - First Birthday Small Banner - Photo Prop - Cake Smash

Jen from WI submitted some great DIY projects that she made for her little girl's 1st Birthday Party. They turned out really cute! Maybe she could turn around and sell them to someone else who isn't as crafty! 



Jen said, "I pretty much did what she said, however her first picture is deceiving. It doesn't show felt, which you really need to cover the wire form. And I did run out of tulle, so I had to buy a second one." 

Cost for wreath:
Wreath form 2.77
Tulle 2.97x2=5.94
Ribbon (one spool was also used on the banner) 2.97+1.97=4.94
4 sheets of felt to cover wreath form .34*4=1.36
$15.01 plus tax



"Here's the high chair banner.  I didn't even see until just now that she has all the size info on there. I just kind of made my own. I used cross grain ribbon, instead of satin, and the dots are just paper instead of felt."

Cost for banner:
2 sheets of felt, one stiff sheet and one sparkly stiff sheet, .99 each
Spool of ribbon, guessing 2.99
Yarn for pom poms, 2.77
Paper dots, already had
My cost about 7.75 plus tax. I could have made it cheaper with regular felt and no pom poms.

I would like to do some crafty projects for my kids who have birthdays this summer! This has inspired me to start looking for ideas! Thanks Jen!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Smart Money Smart Kids-Replacing Allowance with Commission

For ways to raise responsible children check out Dave and @Rachel Cruze's new book!

Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze wrote a book together that is scheduled to release on April 22! It is really neat to hear different perspectives from each side (the parent and the child) when talking about learning/teaching financial principles. Click below to check out their site.

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze

The first thing they address in the second chapter is to make sure your children know that work is NOT a bad thing! It is something to be proud of. 

Dave says that the word allowance "implies that a child is 'allowed' a certain amount of money just for living and breathing." He thinks it contributes the the entitled attitude that is so common in recent generations.

Rachel says to replace the word allowance with "commission" and teach them from an early age that money comes from working. "Once your kids understand that money comes from work, they won't be able to spend money on a toy without considering how much work went into actually making that money."

They explain that some chores should be done just because you're part of the family, and some are to earn your commission.

Dave and Rachel list many ideas for chores for toddlers to teenagers in chapter 2 of their book, and have offered the first two chapters free to everyone (the book hasn't even come out yet!). 

Click the Smart Money Smart Kids link below and scroll to the bottom to read the first 2 chapters of this book. They are GREAT! 

This week, I am changing my vocabulary and giving "commission" instead of "allowance". They will know exactly why they are (or are not) getting paid. 

Also, please check out my post using Dave's principles to teach our kids to GIVE SAVE SPEND

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

KIDS- April Fools Day Pranks

pranks for kids

There were some really fun ideas in the above link to playfully prank your kids. I might attempt more throughout the day, but so far I thought it would be funny to serve lunch on tiny pretend play dishes.

The 5 year old went to the library with a friend, so my 1 and 3 year old were in on the prank. When he was dropped off, this was waiting for him on the table. 

He thought it was really funny when he saw it and we yelled, "April Fools"! I forgot how easy it was to be silly and kids think it is great. I think I need to try something else in a couple hours.

Did anyone else prank someone today?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Therapeutic Foster Care- ReMoved Short Film

Originally seen at

This heart wrenching 12 minute film won the 168 Film Festival Short Film award. "They were given ten days to prepare, including writing, casting, scheduling and rehearsals before the 168 hours of filming." (

I have never posted a video on my Pinterest Experiment blog, but this one is well worth it. I started crying about 20 seconds into it. I can justify posting this because it inspired me to start a new Pinterest board for Therapeutic Foster Care! 

We have been blessed to share our home with a little boy this year, and this video is a great reminder of the unconditional love, acceptance, and understanding kids who have experienced trauma need.

Warning: Some of the content might not be suitable for children to watch.

Please leave a comments with any thoughts!