Back to School Ideas : Homework Caddy

Monday, August 26, 2013

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Today my three boys started a brand new school year. One more year of homework, projects and reading logs. I am a bit sad to see them go. I love having them here during the day with me. But I know that they are eager to be in a new class with new friends ( for a few weeks. We are relocating to another state in a few weeks. More on that in a later post). One of the things about the school year that I am adamant about is homework time. Same time every single day. They all know homework comes before outside play, Kindle play  and tv watching. One of the things I have learned over the years is that I need all materials in one common place.  If I have all pencils, markers, glue etc all in one place, they will not be as distracted and will focus on their work at hand. Sometimes ;). I found this caddy at Rogers Flea Market in Ohio a few years ago. It works perfectly for all of their needs come homework time. And it can be carried from room to room easily. No more trying to find glue or tape in every drawer in the house! Here's to a great new school school year for my children, and yours! 

Baked Turkey Pesto Meatballs

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I bookmarked these turkey pesto meatballs from Bree over at Baked Bree . Absolutely lovely blog with incredible recipes and incredible pictures. Tell her I sent you! Anyway, Bree blogged that her kids loved these meatballs and the ingredients intrigued me, so I made a batch this week. Wow, was she right. Every single one of my kids raved about these meatballs and every single kid ate every bit of their dinner. I made rotini noodles and added a bit of my homemade marinara sauce , then put the meatballs on top. I must admit, these are so easy to make and so good. I will be making them again and again. Next time I will make meatball subs with them.  When ground turkey goes on sale, I will make and freeze . Thank you Bree, for a fabulous recipe.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs
Baked Bree

2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs whites
Mix everything in a bowl and combine well.  Roll mixtures into balls.  I use an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size.  I put them on a cooling rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray.
Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

Sweet & Sour Smoked Sausage

This is a quick dinner to make on the weeknights. To make it easier, you can cut up the vegetables the night before and just toss in the skillet when you are ready to  cook it. I use bottled, store bought sweet and sour sauce for this. You can find it in the asian section of most grocery stores.My kids love sweet and sour sauce and this dinner always gets smiles from them. I serve it over brown rice with a side salad . You can mix up the veggies with what you have on hand. I think adding broccoli would be a wonderful addition. *If you are serving kids, make sure you adjust the hot sauce.

Sweet & Sour Smoked Sausage


  • 1  pounds smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1  can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sweet and sour sauce
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste


  1. Place the sliced sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes, flipping often, until well browned. Drain excess fat and set sausage aside.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat, combine the green bell pepper, red bell pepper,orange/yellow bell pepper, onion,pineapple chucks and butter .  Saute for 10 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Add the sausage and stir together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Then add the sweet and sour sauce, cayenne pepper and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing all the flavors to blend.
  4. Serve over rice or pasta.

Cucumber Salad

Monday, August 19, 2013

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Hands down one of my favorite summer recipes! We always get huge bumper crops of cucumbers in our garden every summer, and I make this salad for us all to much on a few times a week. Super kid friendly in our house! So simple to make with a minimal amount of ingredients! I use lots  and lots of fresh cracked pepper on mine, but you can use less depending on your taste!

Cucumber Salad

1 large English cucumber, sliced 
1/2 of a small red onion, sliced 
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
pinch of sugar

1.  Season sliced cucumbers  with salt and pepper. 
2.  Combine the sliced cucumbers  with the red onion slices.  Mix the sugar, if using, with the rice vinegar, and pour over the cucumbers and onions.  Mix well to combine.  
3.   Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.   Drain off any excessive juices that accumulate before serving . Refrigerate .

Honey Balsamic Fruit Salad

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I make many bowls of fruit salad for the kids (and myself) to munch on during the week. There is a very large lidded tupperware bowl to be found on the bottom shelf of the fridge that everyone knows is full of fruit. I usually buy fruit that looks good to me at the store, come home and cut it all up and just pop it in the bowl. Sometimes I will make a lemon poppyseed sauce or a honey balsamic glaze, which I used on this batch of fruit salad.  For the fruit in this particular salad I used organic blueberries, organic blackberries, red grapes and organic honeydew melon. I have to day, the darker colors of the fruit and the pop of green from the honeydew was beautiful in the bowl. ;) As far as the glaze, it is an eyeball it kind of recipe. I drizzled the salad with honey and balsamic vinegar and stirred well.I suggest using a small amount at first, taste , and add more if you need to. Both the honey and the balsamic go a long way, so you don't need much. You don't want your fruit saturated with balsamic, just a hint of it is all it needs. And the result is heaven in a bowl. And the kids love it as much as I do. This recipe is great for picnics or a brunch! Happy Eating!