Archive | February, 2012

Let’s Have a Party, Proceed to Party!

2 Feb

Fun night at the Rutledges!  After Jerry and I both had long, crappy days (other than a fabulous time out for comfort food and girl time with the hotties I had lunch with!), I decided to make dinner yummy and simple.  I knew we had all the ingredients (all of which the kids enjoy).  But of course, you know, the best laid plans….

So for dinner, I made Strombolis (adapted from


1/2 lb. pizza dough (I used two cans of crescent dough sheets)

1/2 cup pizza sauce ( I did not measure how much sauce I put on, I spooned it out of the jar and lightly covered the    dough, since we are a light on the sauce kinda family)
shredded mozzarella cheese ( I used three different kinds of shredded cheeses – colby jack, pepperjack and the italian blend – no measured amounts, just covered the sauce)
9 slices salami ( I used mini pepperonis left over from my pizza muffins from the weekend)
7 slices deli honey ham (omitted)
1 egg, beaten (no need when using crescent dough)
dried parsley & parmesan cheese {optional}
extra pizza sauce for dipping {optional


Preheat oven to 500 degrees (375 if you use the crescent sheets like me). Line large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Spread pizza dough out on baking sheet to be approximately 10×16. Spread pizza sauce over 2/3′s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges. Top sauce with half the grated cheese, salami and ham. Top with remaining cheese. Brush the plain strip of dough with the egg. Fold in the sides about an inch and brush them with egg. Roll up like a jelly roll lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll. Brush the entire stromboli with egg and gently cut slats in the top of the dough every 1-2 inches (I skipped the slats). Sprinkle parsley and cheese over top and bake 8-10 minutes ( I baked 14 min) or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with more pizza sauce.

This came out of the oven smelling “magically delicious”!  I was so excited I knew the kids were gonna LOOOOVE it.  I even made a section that did not have pepperonis for my Kenmeister who “says” she doesn’t like them (although I made her eat two as we were cooking…to “try” it again”.

We started strong, both kids said “yummy”.  Then, neither proceeded to finish their plates.  Kole picked out all of the pepperonis and ate them.  Kennedy said her tummy hurt, but that she would be back later.  Do you think that happened?!?  Even Kinlee had to have an alternate meal.  It was just too cheesey for her to handle.  So Jerry and I gobbled up our slices, both really enjoying them!  Kole is not really a big fan of the crescent dough, while I think it makes any dish awesome, if he can taste too much of it, he tends to quit eating it.  I am not sure whose child he is, but no kid of mine would ever turn down bread, especially of the cresent variety.

All in all, this is a super easy dish, which should be a crowd pleaser (unless you have my children).


Craft Time!!

Okay, so tonight we had a Red Solo Cup tourney for the kids (and I have now officially been singing that song for two hours!).

We set up a pyramid with the cups and 10 “guys”.  Kole and Ken each picked 5 figurines to stack on the cups.  Then each child chose their weapon (okay, they chose which nerf gun they were going to shoot with). We played three rounds (and Jerry played too).

Kinlee just watched.

Round one…they each had 1 shot to knock down as many guys and cups as they could – Kole took home this round.

Round two…they had three shots to see how many they could knock down – Jerry won this one (geez, Dad, haven’t you ever heard of letting the kids win?)

Round three…they each had twelve shots to see if they could knock them all off the table, which no one did.  But Kole only had two cups left and was declared the winner!

This was a riot!  They got to choose their weapons, pick guys for the pyramid, had a little friendly competition.  Another great Pinterest hit!  We love you Pinterest!!!!


Last, but not least, we finished the night repeating the same exercises as last night, only adding one more of each – 6 push ups, 31 sit ups, and 26 jumping jacks.  Kennedy cried during the sit ups and Kole was the jumping jack energizer bunny.  He just kept going and going and going.


OHHH!  And I totally forgot to mention that Jerry is in the kitchen right now as we speak, making a Pinterest dessert – the Brownie Cookie Dough Sandwiches.  He brought me a taste of the batter while I was typing and it was sinful!  I cannot wait to try these little pieces of heaven.  I told him to take pics, so I will review tomorrow!!


Triple the Fun!

1 Feb

Wow, it has been three days since my last post and it feels like FOREVER!  (and my mom keeps giving me trouble about not having anything to read)

So, things didn’t go exactly as planned, I got the flu, stayed in town, so Jerry still had to help out with the activities, but everything went pretty well.

They tried three new dishes, three new activities and, tonight, even added a little exercise to the routine.  We have decided to round out the new eating habits and creative juices with a little moving our butts – working on the fam’s minds, bodies and spirits!  It is amazing, after one month of trying new foods, my kids have already broadened their horizons completely.  They have tried so many vegetables, new sauces, ingredients they have always turned their noses up at, and have actually liked, no LOVED, some of them.  They have also gotten into the habit of asking, every day, what we are doing for craft.  I realize that not all of, or even half of, our activities are crafts, but that is exactly the terminology they use, “Mom, what are we doing for craft today?”  I don’t care what they call it, as long as they are enjoying the extra family time together, doing things that we would normally never do, during a time of day when, previously, we would all be doing separate things (such as watching tv, playing video games, facebooking, etc).  We are experimenting together, being artistic (or as artistic as we unartistic people can be), having fun, but most importantly, building new memories (whether they know it or not 🙂  ).

Okay, enough with the cheesey, sappy stuff and on to the goods.

Monday was Turkey Enchilada Night from

This was one of the first times that I followed the directions to a t!


1 pound lean ground turkey
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 16 oz can reduced fat refrigerator biscuits
1 ¼ cups shredded low fat Mexican Cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown turkey and drain if needed. Mix in a can of enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Cut the refrigerated biscuits into fourths and stir them in the meat mixture. Then you just dump it all in a greased casserole (I use 8 X 11) and bake for 25 minutes until the biscuits are cooked through. Usually I use a tooth pick to see if the biscuits are done. Take out of oven and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

( In the notes on this site, they suggest you can add black beans or corn to the dish, we added corn, also we tore the biscuits into smaller pieces like 6-8 per biscuit.  Okay, so maybe we did not follow the recipe to a t, because we did not use reduced fat biscuits, we used the full fat content kind 😉 )

These turned out great.  It was easy-peasy.  Everyone liked it, with the exception of Kennedy.  She wasn’t a huge fan of the turkey, although I am proud of her for trying it.  She mostly just ate the sauce covered biscuits.  Kole said, “This isn’t just good, it’s great!”  Thanks, Tony the Tiger.  He had doubles and wanted more!  Kinlee of course eats everything and this was no exception!  Overall, a pretty positive result and we will be making this one again!


(yes, I know the weirdo is wearing camo!  But it is the face of a boy who just earned all 50 points, which means…PLAY DATE!)


For craft on Monday, we made a family Valentine decoration.  We used different colored construction paper and traced and cut out each of the kids’ hands, glueing one on top of the other.  We then glued the hands to another piece of paper and the kids wrote “A Rutledge Valentine” on it.  I have to find a frame, so we can hang it up!  I guess with me being sick and dad in charge, pictures went by the wayside.  So, as soon as I frame it, I will post some pics.

They did, however, really enjoy this.  They loved seeing how small and chubby Kinlee’s hand was compared to theirs.  It continually amazes me just how much they love and adore their baby sister!

Tuesday – Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne ( adapted from


  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • half of a rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • a few dashed of garlic salt
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded italian blend cheeses
  • 1  cup shredded italian blend cheeses for top


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter 40r5-quart baking dish.   In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot , melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer.  Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more.  Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in 2 cups cheese.
  4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place pasta mixture between baking dish.  Sprinkle cheese on top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

A few notes,

 1) we shredded the chicken, where the original recipe calls for chunks.

2) the recipe calls for putting half of the mixture in a pan to bake and half in a pan to freeze, we just made it all – it was a lot.

3) the recipe called for sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms, which we  omitted.  It really was pretty bland and the mushrooms and tomatoes probably add good flavor to the recipe.

This was so-so.  As I just mentioned, it was pretty bland, edible, but not fabulous.  Kinlee ate hers all up (go figure).  Kennedy finished hers for all five points and Kole only at some of it.  If, I were cooking for me and not the kids, I would probably add in some cayenne pepper and some chopped red peppers (the sun dried tomatoes also sound good, but Jerry is not a fan).


While my little chunky monkey is loving it, this dish was kind of a lot of work for very little satisfaction, so we probably will not be making this one again.

Craft time…Cosmic Bathing!

So, super easy and so, so, so, SO much fun!  In the dollar section at Target, we bought packs of 15 glow in the dark bracelets.  I put 15 in each of the kids’ tubs, added some bubbles and created the same effect of the hot tub in their baths!  We turned out the lights and they enjoyed play time in the glowing tubs!  They absolutely thought this was THE coolest thing ever, and I have to admit, it kinda was!

I highly recommend giving this a try…pure enjoyment for no effort and less than $2.50.


Tonight – Mexican Chicken Ring (adapted from


3 cooked & shredded chicken breasts ( I used the other half of the rotisserie chicken from last night)

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese plus some for sprinkling on top

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

¾ can of Rotel & all of the juice ( I substituted a can of red enchilada sauce, I thought the rotel would be a bit too spicey for Kennedy and Kinlee)

3/4 cup light sour cream

1 package taco seasoning

2 rolls of regular sized crescent rolls

1 lime (juice) ( I omitted)

2/3 cup finely crushed tortilla chips


Combine chicken, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, sour cream, taco mix, and cheese.

Unroll and separate crescent dough. Arrange triangles on a baking sheet making a circle with wide ends overlapping in the center and points toward outside. Spread chicken mixture evenly into the center of the ring.

Fold the points of the crescents in and over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and tortilla strips ( I did not put strips on top) and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Omiyummy!  This was soooo easy and everyone, yes EVERYONE, loved it.  Enchilada sauce, sour cream and taco seasoning – are you kidding me?!?  My kids turn their noses up at this stuff all the time, but they ate it all up!  Kole had seconds, Ken ate all of hers, Kinlee giggled with joy!  Crazy!  I don’t traditionally like sour cream, but I promised the kids that I would not make them try anything that I wouldn’t try and it was deee-liscious! I guess everything tastes good in a crescent roll!


Craft time – Hearts Galore on the Door!

I adapted a pin where you surprise your kids with hearts all over their door for Valentine’s Day.  The kids started by tracing hearts and cutting them out.  For each day in February until Heart Day, they are going to write on three hearts.  One for both of their siblings and one for mom and dad.  On each heart, each night they will write one thing that they love about the members of our fam. On the 13th, after they go to sleep, I am going to decorate their doors with the hearts.  They are really excited about this, which made me excited.  I can’t wait to see the things that they come up with, you never know what is going to come out of their mouths.  Tonight, Ken was so cute.  On all three, she wrote ” I love at you…”  It was so precious, that I couldn’t tell her it should say ” I love THat you…”  I will tell her tomorrow.  Or maybe I won’t and we can laugh about them on a few years….


And FINALLY, the last chapter in tonight’s saga…

I decided to incorporate some exercise each night.  I want to round out their experiences here and create good, healthy habits.  I have already seen what can happen with food and creative activities in just a few short weeks.  If we can create some good exercise habits too, we can set them on a great path for well-rounded and healthy lifestyles (okay, so I am getting a little ahead of myself, but it IS good for them!).

I pinned a few different exercises for kids and tonight we started VERY easy.  30 crunches, 5 push ups and 25 jumping jacks.  Simple, right?  Well “crunches are hard” says Ken.  And if you can’t do a jumping jack correctly, they are not easy either.  So we, slowly, learned how to do them and finished all of our exerices.  Their faces were priceless.  Kole also had to add an additional 6 push ups to show me how tough he is! 🙂


And I will leave you with the new jumping jack queen!