Elf escapades!

Our Elf on the Shelf has been getting into some interesting shenanigans this week so I wanted to share in case others were looking for ideas on what to do with the little stinker. Our elf has been really fun to pose and set up each night so that Owen can find him in the morning and he is starting to really get into finding the elf in the morning and seeing what he is up to. I'm just happy that I have so far remembered to move him every night. Alas, our elf still does not have a name because Owen can only come up with nonsense words or potty humor (I have refused to let him name the elf Poot or Potty). He also turns down anything I come up with. 
      Here are photos from our first full week of Elf on the Shelf:

Day 1: Our elf arrived with a brand new Christmas shirt and a countdown letting us know there were 24 days until Christmas.   
Day 2: Our elf brought Owen a Frozen coloring book and some crayons. The elf was coloring one of the pages and as Owen said, "My elf doesn't color very well." 

Day 3: Our elf was a bit mischievous on Wednesday. He drew mustaches and other silliness on our family photo wall. Papa Elf may have gotten into this and helped.  
 Our elf turned baby Graham into Harry Potter. 
 And Owen was turned into a fisherman. 
 Our elf doesn't have the best balance, so he had to be taped to the wall. He actually fell down during the night and scared the daylights out of me.
Here, one-year-old Owen is turned into Batman and is one of our favorite presents ever. 
Day 4: Elf added two books to our extensive Christmas book collection: Little Blue Truck Christmas and Llama Llama Holiday Drama. 
Day 5: Our elf brought Owen a pile of coins to put in his piggy bank. According to the note he left, the elf has been collecting change he sees on the sidewalks every night when he flies back to the North Pole. Owen got a particularly big kick out of the note and asked me to read it to him a dozen times that day. The notes were downloaded from Who-Arted.com. 
Day 6: Our elf made a mess in the kitchen, making snow angels in a pile of flour. He also brought us a box of pancake mix so we could have a nice pancake breakfast together as a family on Saturday morning. 
 Day 7: Our elf was found perched in our Christmas tree after having decorated it while we were sleeping. 
Day 8: Elf made Owen some snowmen out of donuts for breakfast. This was a particularly fun elf treat to create (once again, Papa Elf got into this one) and Owen of course, was obsessed with the note from the elf and made me read it to him a million times. He honestly was so excited about it that he just sat at the kitchen table and talked about the snowmen and the note for almost an hour without even eating them. 
 We set everything up at his place at the table so it was ready when he got up in the morning. Tim added a Reese's wrapper hat and a tiny scarf to the snowmen. 
The bodies are made of two small powdered donuts and the heads are donut holes. The arms are pretzel sticks, the nose is a piece of carrot, and the eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons are black sprinkles. 
This is the face of one happy kid. He's the cutest. Christmas is so much fun now that he's old enough to get into the spirit. 

Menu Planning Monday

This is really late, but I figured better late than never for those that like seeing our menu for each week and checking out some new recipes. 

Monday: P90x Island pork tenderloin, sauteed brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries. This is a really yummy pork recipe and it's super easy. I shredded the brussels sprouts and sauteed them in olive oil with minced garlic and we also had sweet potato fries from Trader Joe's. 
Tuesday: Cheeseburger salad. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that we all really like. It's super quick and easy, which is important on weeknights when Tim doesn't come home until after six and the kids start going nuts. 
Wednesday: We will be having taco night at our friends' house. 
Thursday: Chicken enchilada soup. Surprise surprise, a Skinny Taste recipe. This is one of our favorites though and it's a crock pot recipe so I can make it in the morning and then not have to worry about dinner in the evening. 
Friday: Pasta with butternut squash, spicy sausage, and spinach. Have you ever seen a recipe and thought, "That looks weird and interesting and unlike anything I would ever make?" and then decided to try it anyway? Well, that's how I came across this recipe. It's actually really good in a weird way and pretty healthy for a pasta dish. Give it a shot. 
Saturday: Chicken parmesan with roasted vegetables. This is from the Skinny Taste cookbook and is so simple that it's ridiculous that it tastes as good as it does. It's one of my favorite recipes from the entire cookbook. 

Menu Planning Monday

We are back from Thanksgiving vacation with family and are ready to get back into our normal routine and eat a little more healthfully (don't mind the pasta this week...) We are trying one new recipe and the rest are old favorites. I will include links and pictures when I can. 

Monday: Fig Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin with mashed potatoes and sauteed brussels sprouts. This is a new Skinny Taste recipe from her blog and one that I'm really excited about as a simple, yet filling and flavorful weeknight meal. While I was in town visiting my parents, I stopped by Trader Joe's so I could get the fig butter used in this recipe. 
Tuesday: Rustic Italian Gnocchi Soup. This is a recipe from the Skinny Taste cookbook. We made it a couple weeks ago and really liked it so we are taking it to a friend's house on Tuesday for small group.
Wednesday: Creamy Basil Chicken Pasta. Basically, I am making this recipe, except I use jarred pesto to save time and I add chicken for protein. We'll have it with Skinny Taste's house salad. 
Thursday: Taco meatloaf with turmeric-roasted cauliflower and black beans. This is a Paula Deen recipe that I have made since Tim and I first got married and it is one of his favorite meals. The cauliflower recipe is from the Skinny Taste cookbook. It's really yummy. 
Friday: Aztec chicken soup. Another Skinny Taste recipe from the cookbook. 
Saturday: Chicken broccoli casserole. This is a really good Skinny Taste recipe from the blog. I make mine with mozzarella instead of cheddar cheese and really like it that way. 
     I haven't made plans for Sunday yet. We tend to go grocery shopping after church on Sundays so we might wait and do it this weekend so we have fresher ingredients for dinner that night. What do you think about the menu this week? What are you eating?