Sunday, February 20, 2011

Zesty Broccoli Rice Casserole, Mantle Decor, Saving Kid's Papers

It's been a week since my last blog post, and I'm thinking I probably should have called it Lisa's WISH instead of Lisa's DISH--W for Weekly instead of D for Daily and WISHful thinking on my part that I could actually do this daily.  But, in the spirit of positive thinking, I will let the name stand, and attempt to post more frequently in the future.  It has been a busy week, full of sick kids, doctor's appointments, school projects, book fair volunteer shifts, solo and ensemble contest, and catching up with a visiting relative.  Silly me!  I thought when I quit my job last summer that I would never find myself up to my eyeballs in dirty laundry and with a messy house on a weekend...makes me wonder how I ever did it when I was working full time.  If you are working full time, part time, or just struggling along as a full time family manager like me, I am praying for us all today!  Today's recipe is a new take on a classic family favorite.

Recipe: Zesty Broccoli Rice Casserole  Thaw 1 package frozen chopped broccoli, and squeeze out excess liquid.  Saute 1/2 medium diced onion in 1/2 stick butter in a large skillet for 2-3 minutes.  Add thawed broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes more.  Add 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1 can cream of celery (or cream of mushroom) soup, 1 can Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup and 2 cups cooked rice and stir until well blended.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan (I spray with non-stick cooking spray), and bake in 350 oven for 35-45 minutes (until bubbly).  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  This is especially good served with the Parmesan Baked Chicken Breasts from my previous blog, and a salad. 

Homemaking Challenge: Mantle Decor  a few weeks back, I challenged you to take a look at your front porch and front door and clean/decorate as needed.  Now, it's time to walk through your front door to see what your guests see when they come through the door. 

Yes, I really want you to do it!

I would have said that what my guests would notice first would be my entry hall table, lamp, artwork, etc.  But when I actually walked through my front door, what I noticed first was the fireplace mantle, on the opposite wall.

Hopefully, you don't still have lingering Christmas decorations on it.

Often, mantles become a place for clutter, like any other flat surface in your home.  Try to think of your mantle as a decorating opportunity--a place that doesn't have to serve any practical function, but is strictly there to beautify your home and display objects you love.  I thought I couldn't display the yellow pottery I love so much against the tan painted brick of my fireplace, until I realized that by placing the pieces in front of the dark frame, they would still "pop". 

Change out what you normally have displayed on your mantle, if you don't love it.  Dust everything so that it gleams.  A fireplace mantle may not be what guests first see when they enter your home.  It may be a wall of windows--if so, make sure they sparkle!  Clean or replace your window treatments if they are worn, raise the blinds to let the sun shine in.  Beautify this second impression (the first being the front door/porch) and make your home welcome your guests.

Scrapbooking Tip:  Savings Kids Artwork/Schoolwork  This is a problem for every parent I know.  You want to save those treasure, but there just isn't enough room on the fridge!  Here are some options to keep your from drowning in paper while still honoring your child and his/her work:

1)  Scrapbook some of it.  I try to include 1 or 2 papers and 1 or 2 pieces of artwork per year per child in their scrapbooks.  I select the things that are humorous, unique or show growth or talent.
Some of my friends actually photograph oversized pieces of art and put the photos in the scrapbook.  I have done this once or twice with truly large projects, like Science Fair projects.

2) Frame some of it.  The truly special works of art are worth framing and displaying in your home.

3) Save some of it.  Each of my kids has a small plastic tub about the size of a banker's box in which I store their school work/ art work.  Periodically, I purge some of the past treasures to make room for new ones.  One box per child seems reasonable to me.

4) Toss some of it.  You can't keep everything, unless you want to end up on an episode of "Hoarders".  You don't need every spelling test, drawing, or multiplication quiz.  Really.  Just make sure you cover it up with some other household trash if seeing their work in the trash can will cause your child to have a meltdown.

Have a wonderful day!  Lisa

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