BAM Family

BAM Family

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Three Meng Boys: Recreated photo shoot

The Meng boys...
Almost exactly 5 years ago, this picture was taken. And today, this picture was taken....
Same location, different son
 Silas is eight months today. 
Benji and Micah were around 9 months in these pictures (this is Benji)
 Love Si's sweet, wrinkled nose!
Now my sweet twins are 5 1/2 years old! Look how cute they were! (ok, they still are...but really. Pure cuteness here!)

Here is a little montage of this repeat baby photo shoot: 2008 and 2013

 My three crazy kiddos today 

All photos were taken by Sabrena Carter Deal of S. Carter Studios, Lynchburg VA. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spinach-Bacon Mac and Cheese: Recipe

I posted on my FB status that I was making Spinach-Bacon Mac and Cheese for dinner tonight. Here is how I did it. I used this recipe for inspiration but I changed a lot of things to make it my own. 
2 cups short pasta (macaroni, penne, etc.; I used rotini) 
1/2 lb bacon, cut in small pieces
3 TBS butter
1/2 large or 1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste; I really like garlic)
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbs flour
2 cups milk (I had 1 cup half 'n half so I used that)
2 cups favorite sharp cheese (I used a Kraft 3 cheese blend with the "touch of Philly")
10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used 2 slices of bread and zapped them in my Magic Bullet and added some salt/pepper/garlic/Italian herb mix)
1 tsp olive oil

Make it!
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 4-5 minutes (it will continue cooking in the oven) and drain. Meanwhile, cook bacon. Let drain on paper towels and set aside. 

While bacon is cooking, melt butter in medium saucepan. Sauté onion until tender. Add salt, pepper, and mustards. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add milk and stir constantly until thickened and simmering. Melt in cheese. Add spinach and stir to contribute evenly in cheese sauce. Taste and adjust salt and spices as needed. Remove from heat.

Spray 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray. Add pasta and bacon and then pour cheese sauce over the top. Stir to combine. 
Toss breadcrumbs + spices with olive oil. Sprinkle on top of pasta. 
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. 
The verdict? 
I really liked it! It had tons of great flavors going on with the smoky bacon, creamy cheese sauce, the tang of the spinach and the sweetness of the onion. Yum. 
Micah and Silas seemed to really like it. 
Aaron thought there was too much spinach but overall, tasty. 
Benji had a good attitude about eating it but it took him a while. 

Personally, I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow for lunch! 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Meng Menu

Sunday: Chicken under a brick, mashed potatoes, kale with bacon and garlic
Monday: Sliders, roasted red potatoes, carrot sticks
Tuesday:  Chicken Caesar salad, rolls
Wednesday: Mac and cheese with bacon and spinach, fruit salad
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas
Friday: out to eat

I haven't blogged our menu in a while though I make one every week! So here it is this week. The two links on Wed and Sat are new recipes that I am excited to try. Gotta love pintrest inspiration! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our Summer Reading and Writing Adventure!

Today we started our great Reading and Writing Adventure! 
I wanted to keep the boys' school skills fresh this summer and in order to encourage them (hey, who am I kidding? I need to encourage ME!) to do reading and writing every day, we made this super cool chart/game today. It kinda looks like CandyLand! (right?) 
Anywho, here is how the game works. For each book we read out loud together (because I am not above bribing my kids to read with me) they get a sticker (one sticker per boy/book per day. The number of books we read is unlimited). 
For each worksheet they complete, they get a sticker too!
I made copies of this number and letter workbook we have so they can practice their writing throughout the summer. 
 Today they worked on some coloring. 
Coloring isn't their favorite thing in the world but I am just glad they actually completed the sheet! 
 And they got a sticker! 
We did some reading this afternoon so now there are 4 stickers on our chart. 
 There are 102 squares on our chart (I decided to go for a nice round number....just kidding. That's just how many squares it took to fill in my squiggly line on the poster board. 
My math major husband reminded me that 102 is not divisible by 4). 

When we get to 102, we get to go to TOYS R US to pick out a new toy! The boys can't wait. 
Really. They wanted to go today. 
I reminded them 7 times that this chart is going to take lots of hard work and patience. 
So, while we wait to get to TOYS R US, we have some Star incentives along the way. There are 11 stars (I just asked the boys where we should put the stars and we ended up with 11. Go figure).

At each star we will pick a Star Card and do something fun like "Play the Wii" or "get a slush from Sonic." Hopefully the Star Cards will keep the boys motivated this summer until we get to Square one-oh-two. 

I really have no idea how long it will take us to complete the chart. We may need to make another chart before the summer is over. (fingers crossed...maybe that is just wishful thinking...)

I am hoping that our great Summer Reading and Writing Adventure Game will keep us all motivated to keep practicing those skool skillz...

What do you do to keep your kids' academics fresh over the summer? 

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