by Melanie

Green Eggs and Ham for Dr. Seuss Day!

February 26, 2014 in Great Room, Kitchen by Melanie

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A fun twist on Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate Dr. Seuss day with Deviled {Green Eggs} and {Ham} Broccoli Ring! from #drseuss

I am Sam. Sam I am.

I think Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite Dr. Seuss book because it’s the first one Beth could read on her own. A cute little girl reading a cute little story is just about the cutest thing ever! So naturally we’re celebrating Dr. Seuss Day on March 2nd with Green Eggs and Ham.

My older brother made {green} scrambled eggs for my girls once when we were all visiting grandma’s house. I don’t even remember why he did that, but I do remember how much they LOVED it. For the next few years, every time we visited, they would ask for green eggs. It became one of those special grandma’s house treats.

Getting ready for Dr. Seuss Day, I’m thinking about Green Eggs and Ham, but I need a new twist on green eggs to make it extra special. My kiddos are totally in love with deviled eggs, so I’m sure this is the perfect twist I am looking for! And of course, we can’t just have a boring old piece of ham. So we’ll add to the fun with a delicious Ham Broccoli Ring that everyone LOVES.

A fun twist on Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate Dr. Seuss day with Deviled {Green Eggs} and {Ham} Broccoli Ring! from #drseuss

My deviled eggs are simple and delicious and made to taste. Which means I don’t really have a recipe to share… since I never measure what I put in, but here is my basic process.

Start by making hard-boiled eggs. Add a single layer of eggs to your pot and cover with cold water. Heat to a boil over high heat. When you’ve got a hard boil going, turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let it sit for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, pour off the hot water and cover with cold water to stop the cooking.

When you’re ready to work with the eggs, remove the shells and slice the eggs in half. Remove the yolks. Place the whites on a platter and the yolks in a bowl. I usually end up with a few eggs that didn’t peel very well, and I add those to the bowl, too, whites and all. Mash the egg yolks (and those few mutilated whole eggs) with a fork and then start making them tasty.

I add onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, Miracle Whip and mayonnaise (yes, both), mustard, and dill pickle juice. I may add salt if they need it, but they usually don’t need any more than what is already in the pickle juice. To make them green add blue, yellow, and green food coloring — a lot of blue, a bit of yellow, and some green.

Scoop the filling into the egg whites. I think the easiest way to do that is with a baby spoon. The baby spoon is great for taking the yolks out of the eggs whites in the beginning, too. Or you could use a pastry bag or ziploc bag with a large star tip and pipe the filling into the whites to make it look extra fancy. Sprinkle the tops with paprika – which I didn’t do here because they’re green, but I always add paprika to my non-green deviled eggs – and they’re ready to enjoy.

A fun twist on Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate Dr. Seuss day with Deviled {Green Eggs} and {Ham} Broccoli Ring! from #drseuss

Broccoli Ham Ring

  • 2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1-1/2 c shredded Swiss cheese (or any kind of cheese you want! – I did a mixture of Swiss and cheddar in this batch)
  • 1 c diced ham
  • 2-1/2 c fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped (or 2-3 green onions – my fave)
  • 1 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 1/4 c minced fresh parsley (or about 2 tsp dried parsley)
  • 1 Tb mustard
  • 2 Tb Ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Unroll crescent dough and place triangles around a round baking pan (like a pizza pan) with the edges overlapping. Lightly press the ends together to seal them.

Combine everything else in a big’ol bowl, then spoon it over the ring you made with the wide ends of the rolls. Fold the thin points over the filling and tuck under the wide ends. This won’t cover the filling completely. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

A fun twist on Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate Dr. Seuss day with Deviled {Green Eggs} and {Ham} Broccoli Ring! from #drseuss

This may be my new favorite way to eat Green Eggs and Ham! And I will eat them in the rain and in the dark and on a train and in a car and in a tree. They are so good, so good you see!

You will like it, you will see. You will like it just like me!

How are you celebrating Dr. Seuss Day???

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by Melanie

Teaching Primary Music: Love is Spoken Here

February 24, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

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I am the primary song leader at church, teaching music to all of the 3-11-year-old kids. We sing their favorites over and over and over again, and I teach them at least one new song every month. Naturally the older kids are much easier to teach. They can read, they catch on faster, and they remember what we learned from week to week. The younger kids are much more challenging, but that makes it even more rewarding when they finally get it! 🙂

With the younger kids (junior primary) we sing a lot of action songs so the kids can get up out of their seats and move around. Church is loooooong for those little guys. The older kids (senior primary) love to sing some of the fun, harder songs they have learned in the past, although I have been known to make them sing some of the little kids’ action songs, too.

I taught them how to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes in Japanese, and now they request it. They want to learn it in more languages, so if you happen to be bilingual in body parts, hook me up!

This month I taught the kids one of my favorite primary songs, Love is Spoken Here. To help them learn the words, I found pictures that went along with key words in each phrase, printed them on white cardstock, and cut them out in heart shapes. Laminating them means they’ve lasted longer than a week, and sticking them to craft sticks gave me perfect handles.

It's so easy to teach Love is Spoken Here to the primary kids with these cute {FREE} printables from

If you would like your own copy of these cute, cute signs to help you teach your little singers this beautiful song, you can find them on my Printables page. Clicking on the small image or the link underneath will take you to the full-size image. Then just right click and save it.

One last thing… I printed the last page (the ending) twice so there is a copy for each verse. I taught it at the end of each verse with the appropriate notes (the first verse goes higher and the second verse stays lower). That way, they’re used to singing the right notes when we put the verses together, and it’s easier for them to know which version of the ending to sing when it’s time to harmonize. I love it when it all comes together!

Get them HERE. Happy singing!

It's so easy to teach Love is Spoken Here to the primary kids with these cute {FREE} printables from

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by Melanie

Favorite Family Games

February 21, 2014 in Playroom by Melanie

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 Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty Eigheten

I love family game night. We LOVE playing games together, and this past Christmas we discovered a few new faves.

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenTelestrations

My artistic skills are already pretty laughable, so I’m generally not a fan of games that rely on my ability to draw anything recognizable, but this game keeps us cracking up all night. Telestrations is a clever mash-up of Pictionary and the Telephone Game.

Each player starts with a drawing pad and a word to draw. The next person guesses what their picture might be. The third person has to draw what the second person guessed. The fourth person guesses what they drew, and it keeps going like that around the circle until it ends up back to the person who started it all. Did I lose you?

Occasionally the end result is surprisingly spot on, but more often we end up so far off we’re not even on the same planet. Know what I mean? One round started with “the bearded woman” as the clue. Which turned into a gypsy… minecraft… and somehow ended up “tic-tac-toe!”

Little kids and big kids can play together and we all have a hilarious time. If I can have fun with my complete lack of drawing ability, anyone can!

The other night we were playing Telestrations together. The older 2 girls weren’t home, so it was just the 3 younger girls playing with their dad, and I was helping the 5-year-old with the reading and writing. One girl started with the word “camel.” She drew a great camel and her sister guessed it right away. Dad was next and drew an amazingly realistic camel for having only a black marker and a wipe-off pad, complete with pyramids, sand dunes, and palm trees. I guess living in the Middle East for over a year made him pretty familiar with the landscape. He passed it to my little team. Chuck took one look at it, her eyes lit up, and she turned to me and said in her most excited stage-whisper, “A Llama!!!”

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenQwirkle

I love puzzle games that take more thought than skill – probably because I’m better at thinking through a puzzle than doing just about any skill required in a game.

Qwirkle reminds me a bit of dominoes, but it’s more colorful and more fun. The idea is simple: make rows of 6 blocks either by color or shape. The actual game play involves a little more strategy than that, and there are a few restrictions as you’re creating your rows.

It’s simple enough for the younger kids to play and complex enough for the older kids to really get into. Even my 5-year-old refuses any help and loves to play on her own. Of course, her favorite part is when she knows she has thwarted her dad’s big plans and put her own pieces in the way of his big moves. We may be a little cut throat…

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenTicket to Ride

At first glance my kiddos weren’t too sure about this one, but after one round, they were hooked. Now we play it every Sunday night without fail… and some other nights in between.

Ticket to Ride is another game where the overall idea is very simple: build trains from city to city. Add in certain routes you’re trying to claim, getting in the way of others’ routes, and trying to get the longest route bonus, and you’ve got a game full of strategy and fun.

Ours is a United States version, but you can also play on other continents. We may have to start collecting more. Just watch out for Bree – she has more fun getting in the way of your routes than actually trying to claim her own.


A few more honorable mentions aren’t new games we’ve just discovered, but they are long-standing family favorites:

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenPit

I have been playing and loving this game for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure we have our own family version that doesn’t involve all of the rules, but I’m okay with that ‘cuz it’s fun every time.

Quite simply, you’re trying to collect all 9 of one commodity so you can throw down your cards and yell “PIT!” thus declaring yourself the winner. You get there by loudly shouting “two, two, two!” as you try to trade your cards with someone else who is also yelling how many cards they’re trying to trade. We have tried silent versions of the game, but that takes away half the fun.

You keep trading the same cards back and forth until you realize that everyone is trying to get rid of their Wheat. So you collect all of the wheat and WIN! What’s not to love?

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenScattergories

This has been my all-time favorite game to play with my family since I was a teenager. We crack ourselves up and laugh all. night. long. I’m pretty sure cut throat Scattergories players would NOT be impressed with our games, but we have no plans to change.

If you have never had the great fortune of playing this game, here’s the basics: You are given a list of 12 categories and a letter of the alphabet. Before time is up, you try to list a word that fits into each category and begins with the chosen letter. If you can come up with multi-word answers that all begin with the chosen letters, BONUS POINTS for you!

Whether or not your answers are acceptable is totally up to the group. In my family, cleverness counts.

Top 5 Favorite Family Games from Forty EighetenUno

No family should be without a deck (or 2… or 3) of Uno cards. Every variation I’ve ever played has been fun (Uno Attack, anyone?), and even the younger kids understand the concept of matching colors and numbers.

Any game that puts this smile on my Chuck’s face has got to be a winner. Amiright? Is she winning the game? Oh, no. She’s just playing a little old draw 2 on Mom. Mwahahaha!

And of course, who doesn’t know a million more games to play with Uno cards? My favorites are Speed and Spoons, but I never turn down a game of War with my big brother – even though it may never end…

What are your favorite family games?

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by Melanie

Cherries + Cheesecake = Cloud Nine

February 20, 2014 in Great Room, Kitchen by Melanie

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Happy Cherry Pie Day! I may have mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of fruit pies. Honestly, cherry pie really isn’t my thing, but I couldn’t let this day go by without celebrating somehow.

I think adding the word “cheesecake” is the best thing that can happen to a pie.

I’m also a huge fan of desserts I can cut into bars. I mean, let’s be real. Bars are so much easier to eat. And so much easier to justify *just one more.*

One more bar? Sure! It’s not like I’m eating a whole piece of pie!

So let’s celebrate Cherry Pie Day with some fabulous Cherry Cheesecake Bars. All in favor?

I brought these to the kids’ school for the teachers’ monthly birthday treat from the PTA. I brought four different kinds of bars (and they were all delish!). When I went back later to clean up, there wasn’t even a crumb of these left on the plate. They’re so yummy.

cherry cheese bars

Cherry Cheese Bars


  • 1 c walnut pieces, divided
  • 1-1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c coconut


  • 2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

Start with your prep work. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Coarsely chop 1/2 c nuts and set them aside. You will use these later for the topping. Then chop the rest of the nuts.

For the crust, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until you have fine crumbs. Add 1/2 finely chopped nuts and mix well.

Take 1/2 cup of that mixture and add it to the nuts you set aside earlier. Press the rest into the the bottom of your baking dish. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Do not over bake.

For the filling, combine cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Spread over hot baked crust and return to the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Do not over bake.

Spread the cherry pie filling over the cheese layer. Of course for Cherry Pie Day we’ll use cherry, but you can substitute any flavor pie filling that sounds good to you. Next time I’m making strawberry. mmmmm I didn’t want big chunks of cherries, so I used my immersion blender to puree the pie filling a bit first.

Return it to the oven and bake another 15 minutes. (Do not over bake. Are you sensing a theme here? Don’t over bake.)

One more layer to go! If you haven’t mixed the nuts and crust mixture that you aside, do it now. Then sprinkle it over the pie filling. Return it to the oven one more time and bake another 15 minutes. And what’s our theme? Do not over bake.

Cool in the pan on a cooling rack, then refrigerate for several hours. When you’re ready to enjoy this delectable dessert, cut it into bars and try not to inhale it. If you do have any bars left over, store them in the fridge.

Savor every single scrumptious bite. Happy Cherry Pie Day!

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by Melanie

40 Favorite Free Fonts

February 18, 2014 in Coffee Table by Melanie

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This month’s installment of 40 Things is all about my obsession with fonts. I have wayyy too many, but I keep hoarding them like water in the desert.

It’s about time I learn to share, so here are 40 of my favorite free fonts.

40 Favorite Free Fonts from Forty Eighteen

1. Xiorama   2. Upper East Side 3. Return to Sender   4. Marker Felt   5. Ostrich Sans Rounded   6. In-House Edition   7. Pineapple Delight   8. Pupcat   9. Superstar   10. Pacifico   11. Sunshine Poppy   12. Love Ya Like a Sister   13. Making Lettering Tall   14. Little Days   15. AC Big Serif   16. Handwriting Draft   17. Blake   18. November Sky   19. Alex Brush   20. EcuyerDAX   21. Fontdinerdotcom (and sparkly)   22. Janda Safe and Sound   23. KG A Little Swag   24. KG All Things New   25. KG Be Still and Know   26. KG Hard Candy Stripes   27. KG Lego House   28. KG Strawberry Limeade   29. Bobby Corwin   30. Marbre   31. Little Bird   32. KG Melonheadz   33. Giraffe   34. Entia   35. Dolce Vita   36. Champagne & Limousines   37. Fearing Madness   38. Cursif   39. CF Font Shading   40. Drop Your Anchor

I probably don’t need anymore, but that never stops me. What are your favorite fonts?

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