food · through my camera lens

Cheeseburger “TOTchos”

I always menu plan the night before I go to the grocery store. I really don’t know how people shop without menu planning!

Well this week, we had one night that was unplanned. We just could not come up with something to have as one of our weekend meals. I looked when I went to the grocery store and we looked again yesterday when we were at Costco for something to get for dinner. We did buy pork chops and ground turkey. But, I just did not feel like pork chops tonight. So… I started to think and think  of something to make. I ended up making a recipe off the seat of my pants.

In the past I’ve made “TOTchos”, but I always made them Tex-Mex. I didn’t want that. I have been on an anit-taco meat kick lately. But the concept of TOTchos sounded like a perfect meal for tonight. So I created Cheeseburger TOTchos. (it tastes better than it photographs! )

Cheeseburger TOTchos

  • -ground turkey (or any ground meat you like)
  • -small onion-minced
  •  1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp steak sauce
  •  3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Steak seasoning (I use McCormick Montreal Blend)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like on your burgers)
  • -tater tots
  • -EVOO
  • -S&P
  1. Preheat oven and bake tater tots according to the package
  2. In a large cast iron pan (or frying pan of your choice) sauce the onions (seasoned with S&P) in some EVOO
  3. When the onions begin to brown add in ground turkey and cook it while breaking it down into chunks
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, steak seasoning, and ketchup to the meat and continue to stir
  5. I popped this into my second oven at 350 to continue to cook, but you can do it all on the stove top.
  6. When the tots are done, season the tots with S&P
  7. Put the cheese on top of the meat mixture
  8. Put the tots on top of the cheese and pop back in the oven for 3-5 min to melt the cheese

Serve with your favorite tot and burger toppings. I used ketchup, mustard and pickle slices, Colby used ketchup, Blake and Richard didn’t t add anything to theirs.

This was really good. Richard felt it needed a bit more seasoning. I think the tots needed to cook a bit more so they were super crisp. I think the next time I’ll cook them for the longer time on the bag instead of the shorter. I will certainly make it again.

 

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family · life

Sunday rambles

Yesterday we spent time checking things off our list. It was nice that each of us were able to do some of the things that needed to get accomplished. It was a beautiful day outside, temps in the 60s all day.

I spent a good chunk of the day plowing through a bunch of the things I needed to get done for work. I wrote the monthly newsletter, created the snack calendar, and wrote my overall monthly plans (this covers the theme, sub-topics, as well as free choice area changes).

We struggled to get moving in the morning and I do think we finally got out of bed around 10am. It was nice to sleep in and enjoy the extra hours of rest. We had a really late breakfast and then just decided that we’d just have a snack and then an early dinner. We went back to Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza for an early dinner. This time we tried their chicken wings. The manage suggested these to us the last time. The wings were really tasty. They were not hot wings, they were garlic wings with sliced onions on top. We also got another pot of meatballs. I did pretty good eating… I had wings and meatballs. I love the pizza there, but decided to pass on pizza last night.

The boys went through a stint of listening to Jeff Dunham’s autobiography. Then they were listening to audio versions of his shows, over and over and over again! We told them it was time to listen to something else. Now they are onto listening to podcasts. Ok this is fine, but they again are listening to the same ones, not meaning different episodes of the same podcast streaming, but the same episodes. They said this is because they have missed parts of the podcast. Ok you might have, but you left it on and I heard the whole thing and don’t want to listen to it again.

Well today is Sunday. time for hiking/biking. Time for football. Time for getting ready for Monday. But, we will enjoy the fall weather. We will enjoy time slow and quiet of a Sunday.

life

It’s Friday!

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This was a good week and we got a lot done at work. While it wasn’t a perfect week, it wasn’t horrible… it just was. I’m glad that it is over and we are ready to move forward.

Richard and I finished up our 6th week of LIIFT4 on Beachbody. Two more weeks and we will have finished the program. We are then going to start again and see how much changes when we start with the heavier weights we are using now.

The boys are off to a dance tonight. Richard and I will go out to dinner and we will enjoy the fact that the work week is done and live continues on!

 

Hope you have had a good week and are ready for a great weekend

family · life

What is next to check off the list?

Ahhh the never ending feeling of what next. I spent time today revising my lesson plans for next week. I realize I was crazy to do so many weeks ahead of time. I tried to get the whole month of Sept done, but then when you get to the end you realize, what was I thinking?

I’ve had to tweak the schedule of my classroom and move things around to make it work for all my students. I am still working on what things do I do twice to make sure most of my students get the activity and which ones do I say… oh well you missed because it wasn’t your day at school.

The same feels for life at home. I am trying to figure out a schedule to get things done. I want to get most of the cleaning and shopping done during the week, but then that leaves me little time for me. I had a whole year of being home and there are times already where I miss those quiet moments that I had during that year. I feel like I’m either trying to cram in things for work or cleaning or doing some other things that needs to get done before the boys get home. Then it is homework, dinner and evening activities.

I need to remember to carve out those “me” moments in life. The fact that Richard and I get up at 5:30am and workout helps. I start the day doing something healthy for me, but then life gets busy to get everyone off to school and work. There is a bit of time in the mornings before I leave, but often times I find this filled with bits of this and that. I need down time. I realize that I have only been teaching officially for 10 days and things will smooth out. I realize that I know what I need and I just need to make it work. But for now, I’ll keep the feeling of what is next? And then check it off the list!

food · through my camera lens

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

So, yesterday when I walked in the house, I decided that I wanted to bake. It wasn’t because I’d had a tough day or anything it just was a need to bake. (granted the world imploded after the kids got home.)

I decided that since I had homemade applesauce from the weekend that I’d use it to make applesauce muffins. I found a recipe for healthy applesauce oat muffins on Tastes Better from Scratch, and decided to alter it.

  1. 2018-09-19 17.04.14

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 cup applesauce (I used homemade)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 Tablespoons butter , melted 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Microplane a few swipes of nutmeg

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375. line muffin pan with liner or spray with pam
  2. Stir together wet ingredients in one bowl (applesauce, milk, egg, butter and sugar)
  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  4. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until just mixed (do not over mix)
  5. scoop into muffin liners
  6. bake 15-20 min or until a toothpick comes out clear
  7. cool completely
Education · PreK class

Changes and color mixing

This week we are learning about color mixing in school. We are doing a walking water color experiment and colored ice cubes mix. The children will color on coffee filters with markers and then wet the filters to let the colors bleed together. We are also doing rainbow writing with their names and sorting pom poms by color.

Water walk color experiment: You fill cups with water (I used 9 cups) set the cups in sets of three. Put color into the outside cups and leave the middle cup with just water. Then put paper towel “bridges” between the cups. The water will begin to wick up from the colored water cup into the plain water cup. Then the two colors will mix together. This took a LOT more food coloring than I expected. I ended up having to put food coloring right at the top of the “bridge” to get it to mix. But in the end, it worked and the children got to see yellow and blue make green, red and blue make purple, and red and yellow make orange.

Colored ice melt: Fill and ice cube tray with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to the sections to color the ice red, blue and yellow. Once frozen, you can put the ice into clear cups and then let the ice melt together. As it melts you should see the colors begin to mix. When we do this I will also add a cup that has red, yellow and blue so they can see it mix together into brown.

Coffee filter color mixing. This is a process based art activity. The children draw on coffee filters with markers. Then you have them use pippets to drop water onto the filter a few drops at a time. The marker colors will then begin to bleed and blend. Often times you will also see the colors separate. This is really cool when the black starts to separate into other colors.

Rainbow writing is a great way to help children master writing words. You write a word in one color, pencil or black works best. Then you have the children choose 3 or more crayons. The children have to write on top of the word you wrote with each of the three crayons, layering each on top of the last color. The more you write it the more colorful it becomes, and writing in layers of crayon helps build up the “feel” of the paper. (I often had my first graders use this method to practice spelling words)

Our poem this week is very simple and the children are already mastering it. I wrote it out on chart paper writing each line in the color word at the beginning. I then added quick illustrations to help them remember the last word. The children then had to illustrate their copy of the poem for their poetry journal.

Colors

Orange is a carrot.

Yellow is a pear.

Green is the grass.

Brown is a bear.

Purple is a plum.

Blue is the sky.

Black is a witch’s hat.

Red is cherry pie.

life · through my camera lens

Deck the halls with Ghosts and Pumpkins

We got up this morning with the plan to go out for breakfast. Richard had requested a few weeks ago to go to Kelly O’s for a cheat meal. Colby had asked for pancakes and bacon when we were creating our meal plan. So, this morning we went to Kelly O’s for breakfast. Colby had his chocolate chip pancakes, Blake had a ham and cheese omelette, Richard had an omelette with pretty much everything in it and I had a breakfast burrito.

Then off for hair cuts we went. Richard, Blake and I got hair cuts. Colby didn’t since they really cut his short last time (2 months ago) and his bangs just grew to the length that he usually asks for them to be cut.

When we got home, Richard and I tackled the lawn work. When we were done we decided to put out the outside Halloween decorations. Now the house is done!

The boys headed to the park and I decided to camp out on the couch and catch up on some of my tv shows. I don’t often have time on my own to sit down and watch tv anymore. This is not a big thing, but it was nice to have that bit of time today.

 

family · life

Almost the start of fall

Yesterday was the first time that Richard and I did not get up to complete our workout. We did it when he got home instead. Well then both of us were achy and slept like crap. I guess we need to get up and workout in the morning from now on!

Since we were tired and so were the boys we had a slow morning today. Richard decided to go on a bike ride by himself and then he needed to take his bike into the shop. The boys headed off to the playground with a football and I decided to clean and put up some decorations. For the last few weeks I’ve been saying I need to put out my fall decorations. Well since it’s already half way through Sept. I decided to put up my Halloween decorations too. I did not put out the outside ones, just the ones in the house.

I always like this time of year. Time to open up the windows. Time to decorate for the upcoming holidays and so much more. This is the beginning of the craziness of the holidays, but also the beginning of the fun.

This week I have salsa stoup and chili on our menu. Since the 21st is the official start of fall I guess I’ll get into the fall spirit. (One of my students tried to convince me that fall already started, ummmm nope sorry it hasn’t. Labor day is the unofficial start of fall… the autumnal equinox is not until Sept. 21)

This means plans to go apple picking, pumpkin picking, decorating for Halloween and so much more.  I can tell you one thing I won’t do, have anything pumpkin spice. I don’t like pumpkin spice. I do not get the fixation everyone has with this smell and taste. Personally it does nothing for me. Oh well to each their own.

Are you ready for fall? Do you like pumpkin spice? When do you decorate for Halloween?

book · reviews

The Bette Davis Club– book review

I know it has been forever since I wrote a book review. At the end of the summer, I was plowing through a book series that I was picking up from the library.

After we dropped off our last set of books to the library, I dove back into my kindle reading list. The book I choose to read was The Bette Davis Club, by Jane Lotter.

The Bette Davis Club

Margo Just traveled to CA for her niece’s wedding. She didn’t really want to go, but since her half-sister Charlotte was footing the bill, Margo decided to consider it a vacation. When Georgia, Margo’s niece, runs away on her wedding day everything begins to take a very interesting turn of events. Charlotte offers to pay Margo to go find Georgia and a “few things” that Georgia took from the house as well. Here’s the kicker, Charlotte will allow Margo to take their father’s 55 MG, but the would be groom has to drive.

Margo and Tully, the would be groom, travel from CA in search of Georgia and manage to meet a variety of unique characters along the way.

Through the story the author weaves in a multitude of Margo’s back story. How she moved to England, the relationship between herself and her father, her one love (or so she thought) Finn, and so much more that makes Margo…. Margo.

Will they find Georgia? Will anyone find happiness? Can Charlotte and Margo mend the fences that came about in their youth? Will Margo learn to love and come to some type of peace with her past?

 

I did enjoy this book and found it a good read. It wasn’t super deep and while there were a few twists and turns it was not a “OMG I can’t put this book down” type of book in any way shape or form. The relationships were a bit weak, but worth reading about. I am glad I read the book, if only to have read the touching forward written by the author’s daughter. You see this book was actually published after Jane Lotter passed away. She never saw her dream of publishing come to completion, but it was. We can only hope that she is able to rest in peace knowing that many readers are picking up and reading “The Bette Davis Club.”

Education · PreK class

Changes and Names (school post)

Each month I will pick a different over all theme for the month. Then each week we will look at a different aspect within that theme.

For the month of September, our first month of school, I choose the theme of changes. Oh and let me tell you we are having some major changes. Some of my students have never been in any type of school setting before.  Others have, but it was not very structured and they were pretty much allowed to do what they wanted to do. That won’t work for me. While I know this is Pre-K and they need time to play, I’m pretty much known for developing a great structure and routine to my classroom day. We will get there!

For this first week, we are focusing on our names. I expected this to be a quick fun week knowing that I’d need to work on switching some children from writing their names all in capital letters over to writing their names with just one capital and the rest lowercase. I was shocked to see how many of my students did not even recognize their name in print, nevermind be able to write it. A few the struggle was the fact that they knew how to read their nickname, but I didn’t know that they were called by a nickname when I labeled everything in the classroom. Oh well, they will at least learn to read their given name.

Our poem this week is called Everybody Has a Name. We are working on learning this poem using echo reading. Having worked with K students so long and never having to actually teach this skill, I was surprised at how many children did not know how to just repeat what I said. It is getting better, but I still have some looking at me like I just read the line in a foreign language. Again… it’s week 1 and I know thing will get better as the year progresses.

Our 3 must do stations this were were covering their name with colored squares (these are being hung in the classroom), drawing a self portrait for our class-book, and illustrating the poem. Each week we will take a children’s book and rework it into a class book. This time around we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. We are rewriting it as Friend, Friend Who Do You See?.

Everybody Has a Name

By Jean Warren

Everybody has a name
Some are different
Some the same

Some are short
Some are long
All are right
None are wrong

My name is___________
It’s special to me
It’s exactly who
I want to be