Do You Know Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?

Today I wanted to share a cute little story-time play date idea of reading an adorable book and having a tasty book-themed snack!  The adorable book I’m referring to today is Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont.

The first time we read this book, we borrowed it from the library on a whim.  We liked it so much that we decided to buy a copy for ourselves.  This book is great for beginning readers as well as younger kids.  It has a lot of repetition in rhyme, so when we read it, it comes out sounding like a little song.  Basically, the kangaroo is making cookies, but she realizes her cookie dough is missing.  She asks another animal if he knows who ate all the cookie dough.  That animal directs her to another animal who promptly directs her to another animal.  We find out who eats all the cookie dough at the end under a lift-and-see flap.  Really a cute story! Continue reading “Do You Know Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?”

Menu Mondays are Back!

With all the craziness that came with the month of May, I dropped the ball big time on menu planning!  I tried but failed miserably.  YIKES, I know!  Back at it again this month! Continue reading “Menu Mondays are Back!”

Menu Monday & A Week of Rest

Wow, it’s been a busy two weeks.  I overbooked myself the week before last, and then last week, my husband had an unexpected work trip where he was out of town for a few days.  Plus, my girls were on Spring Break from school and preschool.  All the changes in routines and schedules made for another busy week for me!

But I have good news!  My schedule this week has a lot of free space, and boy, do I need it!  I love having some down time, where I don’t feel rushed to do everything.  Maybe I’ll do a little extra cooking.  Or perhaps, I’ll finish one of the many books I’m reading.  Maybe I’ll just nap more.  😊  Rest is something that everyone needs regularly.  It’s so important to let your body and mind take a break.  It’s easy to get caught up in being busy in life, but I’m looking forward to taking it easy this week.

My motto for this week!

On to my meal plan for the week:

Continue reading “Menu Monday & A Week of Rest”

Menu Monday – Late!

I wanted to get this post written yesterday so I could post it first thing this morning.  But life has been happening.  Better late than never, I guess?  😊

Last week I did not stick to my menu at all.  I’m not sure what happened.  Actually, that’s not true.  I know exactly what happened.  I completely overbooked myself.  And I was exhausted all week.  In addition to my over-packed schedule, we had a surprise dinner with my parents one evening.  Then the weather was so beautiful over the weekend that we added in another event by inviting friends over for an impromptu dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables.

Me, if I had made it to Costco this weekend.

We had a SUPER lazy Sunday, where I couldn’t even be bothered to put the pork into the crock pot early enough to be ready for dinner.  TALK ABOUT LAZY, huh?!?!  Anyway, we ended up having deli meat, cheese, & avocado sandwiches for dinner that night.  And I didn’t even make it over to Costco this weekend!  We are out of milk, bread, and butter.  Quite literally.  Don’t worry, we won’t starve.  I’ll get over there tomorrow.  😊

Continue reading “Menu Monday – Late!”

Menu Monday

This upcoming week is BUSY!  I’m overwhelmed just looking at my calendar.  In an attempt to keep myself sane, I put together a pretty simple meal plan.


Breakfast strata, coffee

Eggs, spinach, peppers, & onions, coffee

Oatmeal with peanut butter & banana



Cottage cheese & fruit



Salad with deli meat & cheese

Crock pot white chicken chili, cornbread, & salad

Grilled chicken, asparagus, & salad

BLT with eggs, salad

Homemade hamburger helper & salad


Pulled Pork BBQ, corn, & salad

Extra meals: Mexican casserole

A few notes about the meal plan:

This breakfast strata is one of my very favorite meals.  I typically only make it for special occasions, but it’s been on my mind for several weeks now.  I have a playgroup on Monday mornings, so I decided to make it for the group this week!  The recipe calls for part eggs and part liquid egg whites.  I just use 6 eggs.  I’ve also used goat cheese in place of the brie.

My crock pot white chicken chili recipe changes every time I make it.  Basically throw together white beans, chicken broth, chicken, peppers, celery, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cook until chicken is done.  Then shred the chicken.  Mix it all up.  Top with cheese, sour cream, chives, cilantro… whatever floats your boat.

My homemade hamburger helper is also one of those toss together recipes without a lot of structure.  Brown your ground beef with an onion and garlic.  Add in a little butter, milk, water, oregano, paprika, chili powder, and uncooked pasta.  Bring it to a boil.  Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer until pasta is done.  Then stir in some cheese and chopped parsley.  Sometimes I add in chopped spinach for an extra veggie.

For my pulled pork, I literally throw a big hunk of pork into my largest crockpot.  Then cook until the meat shreds easily.  Add in bottled BBQ sauce for convenience or make your own if you have time.  My kids LOVE BBQ.  Always a big hit in our home!


Also, I want to give myself a pat on the back because my grocery budget is on track to be MUCH lower than usual.  This week’s groceries was the most I’ve spent in one shopping trip because I was out of all meat.  I buy our meat from Costco, so we will have extra to freeze after making these meals this week.  Yay for meal planning and sticking to lists!!

Where Have I Been? And My Weekly Menu!

Hi friends!  I have missed you!  I did not intend to neglect my blogging all last week.  My husband was out of town for work, and it turns out that I depend on him A LOT in order to write for the blog.  Maybe you’ll find this hard to believe, but taking care of three little ladies all by myself takes up a lot of energy and time.  It takes a lot of self-sacrifice to parent in a two-parent situation.  So when you are down to solo-parenting, you end up using every single ounce of yourself to parent.  By the end of the day, I was zonked.  I gave myself a little grace this week and held off on blogging so that I could keep up with my girls and regular activities while my husband was out of town.

One of the many perks about my husband’s current job is that he does not have to travel frequently.  However, he does have to travel on occasion, and this past week’s trip was to Florida.  At the beach.  GAHHH.  Yes, I was jealous.  Especially when he returned with tan-lines.  Actually they are more like burn-lines.  But either way, they indicate that he was outside at the beach long enough to enjoy some sunshine and fresh ocean air.

Continue reading “Where Have I Been? And My Weekly Menu!”

Menu Monday!

Helloooo friends!  We had a pretty chill weekend in terms of our activities and the weather.  Our unseasonable weather of the past few weekends left us this weekend, forcing us to remember that it is, in fact, still winter.  Brr!

dinner photos
A few dinners from last week’s meal plan 🙂


During the week, I stayed with my meal plan beautifully, except for one night.  I skipped my vegetable curry because I couldn’t get myself to the grocery store to pick up the red curry paste that I needed.  For that night, we ended up having peanut butter sandwiches.  I tell you, peanut butter sandwiches are my #1 backup plan.  It’s a little embarrassing.  But hey, everyone in the family enjoys it, so it works for us.  🙂

I decided to make my meal plan be as easy as possible this upcoming week.  So I spent Sunday prepping everything I needed for the week.  I made muffins and granola bars and shredded lots of veggies for the week.  I made a minestrone-like soup for our Sunday supper, and MMMMM was it good!!  I’m thankful that there is a lot of that left over for lunches this week.  Yay!  Now let’s check out my meal plan for the week! Continue reading “Menu Monday!”

Menu Monday!!

Good morning!  We had another beautiful weekend here.  Getting spoiled with this sort of weather in February.  Unfortunately, I came down with a fever Saturday morning, so I spent a good chunk of the day trying to sleep it off.  All my rest worked a little magic because the fever was gone by the afternoon.  I felt like I dodged a bullet.  The flu is going around horribly in these parts, and the last thing I want is to be out of commission for 2+ weeks.

On Saturday while I had the fever, my husband took my oldest daughter to a Chinese New Year Party.  I was sad to miss the fun.  My daughter brought home gifts for herself and her two sisters: Chinese candy, a fortune cookie, a Chinese calendar, and a two-dollar bill for each.  I haven’t seen a two-dollar bill in quite some time!  I remember the awe and wonder of having my own odd bill many years ago, and now each of my girls has her very own.

As for following our menu last week, we were a mess, and we ordered pizza TWICE.  The first time we were out with some friends getting ice cream because it was a beautiful day.  Our friends mentioned they were getting pizza, and dang it! It sounded so good that we decided to do the same!  🙂  We are human here too!  I have no excuses for the second time around.  It just happened.  Pizza happens.

fish tacos
OMG Yum! Fish taco bowls! Follow me on Instagram @keepingthesparkle 🙂

One of the big recipe winners last week in my household was the fish taco bowls.  Particularly the cabbage-slaw.  It was so good that I could have skipped the fried fish all-together, which is exactly what I did for leftovers the next day.  I topped a bowl of half cauliflower rice/half brown rice with the slaw and some pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds).  Absolutely amazing.

The beef pepperoncini from last week turned out great too, especially for such an easy mindless recipe.  Literally throw in a chunk of beef and a jar of pepperoncini into a slow cooker.  I added in garlic, onion, salt & pepper.  The beef has a sweet taste to it.  One of my children LOVED it, one of my children said it was too spicy, and the other child rarely eats at dinnertime so her opinion is null.  I made beef sandwiches topped with provolone for the children, and I used the beef as a sweet potato topping for myself and my husband.  The sweet potato/pepperoncini beef combo was too sweet for my tastes, so next time, I’ll go with a regular potato or a rice bowl.

Ok let’s get on to fooooooood for this week!

Continue reading “Menu Monday!!”

Meal Plan Monday

We had another unseasonably beautiful weekend here, but unfortunately, I spent a lot of it with sick children.  My youngest needed a visit to the doctor on Saturday, and my middle started vomiting early Sunday morning.  Not the best way to spend the weekend, but at least we all got some much needed rest.  We opened up the windows, cuddled on the sofas, read books and watched cartoons.  To be honest, I love a lazy weekend at home.  I’m able to catch up on a few things.  Plus, today is a holiday so school is out and my husband took the day off.

Last week, I followed my meal plan pretty well.  I unexpectedly had to visit our pediatrician Monday late in the afternoon, so I couldn’t make dinner.  We ended up with simple sandwiches and little snacks.  I switched my Thursday and Friday plans, making stuffed acorn squash a day earlier than planned.  School was out Friday, and my parents came by and brought $5 hot-n-ready Little Caesar’s pizza for the girls for lunch.  I opted for leftover stuffed acorn squash instead of the pizza.  🙂  I like pizza and all, but I do think my leftovers were the tastier choice!

If you ever want to see what I’m eating, follow me on Instagram.  I often post photos of my meals over there!

Continue reading “Meal Plan Monday”

Meal Plan Monday

Wow, what a great weekend!  We had unseasonably warm temperatures here.  We took advantage of all that warm sunshine and spent a good portion of time outdoors playing, picnicking, and taking a walk.  Saturday night, my husband and I had an at-home date where I whipped up in a game of Boggle.  Exciting times, I know.  😉

I woke up early Sunday morning to work on our meal plan and grocery list.  Yay food!

Continue reading “Meal Plan Monday”