December 20, 2011

Pinterest

I'll admit, I'm totally obsessed with pinterest!  I love all the fun ideas, beautiful clothes, and quotes.  

I've always been one to write down a good quote and pull it out later when I need it.  Here's one of my favorites from pinterest.



If you are a member, let me know and I'll follow you. If you want to follow me, you can find me here.  If you need an invite, I'll be happy to send you one!

December 15, 2011

Slow-Cooker Chili {Recipe}

Thursdays are our crazy day.  Between preschool, kindergarten, homework, and ballet there is little time to cook a great dinner.

I've been trying out new recipes and this one is a winner.I actually combined a few different recipes I found to suit our taste.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can Brooks Chili Beans
1 can Red Beans
1 can Chili Flavored Diced Tomatoes
1 - 4 oz. tomato paste
1/2 c. beef broth (you can use more if you like you chili thinner)
1 packet chili season mix. I like this one.
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cocoa

Directions:

Pour olive oil in a skillet.  Saute onions and green peppers until soft.  Add in ground beef and cook thoroughly.  Add in garlic until slightly soft.  Add to slow cooker.  Add all other ingredients.  Mix.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

December 07, 2011

It's Here

Yesterday I woke up to snow on the ground and a white sky that looked like it was going to burst snow at any second.



Honestly I should be happy that it is December and we haven't had a major snow, but I'm not.  I hate how my mood is controlled by the weather in the winter.

Today, although cold, the sun is shining.  That already makes today better than yesterday.

December 06, 2011

October 13, 2011

Tired

I often find myself saying, "I'm so tired." or thinking, "I'm so sick of being tired all the time."

On Tuesday, I was tired.  I felt really run-down and just not right, so when I put Blake down for his nap, I took a nap too.  Usually when I lay down, fifty million things run through my head, but not on that day.  I fell right asleep and woke up to my alarm I had set for 2 hours later.  I felt refreshed.  I also felt guilty.  I hadn't done my cleaning and other chores.  I hadn't caught up on my coupons, done the laundry, and on and on.

Then I read this post by Leo Babauta from zenhabits.  I felt slightly less guilty.  I love posts like this.  Read here.

When I was reading it, I was thinking, "yeah, duh".  But that is the thing, these are common sense ideas that get bogged down with the things that I feel have to get done.  Will those things be there when I get up, after my break, or even tomorrow? Yes.  Will the world end if my house isn't clean?  No.  Will my health suffer if I push, push, push?  Yes.  It seems like an easy choice.

Do you feel the same way?  Have you made changes along the way that have helped you slow down?  I would love to hear your changes.

I feel like I need to print out this post and put it on my fridge.

October 11, 2011

Weekly Menu: October 10

Once again we had some hits and some misses this week.  The one thing I am really enjoying about these weekly menus is that my grocery bill has gone way down!!  I still buy things that are on sale (last week was 10 for $10, 11th item free) like bread, pasta, canned goods that I know we will eat and won't go bad.

Also, I do cook every night, but these are the ones that work or what I choose to share.

The meals this week are:

Three Cheese Broccolini Turnovers

This recipe was very good.  The kids didn't really care for it, I think it had more to do with the ease of eating rather than the taste.  I probably won't be making this again simply because the prep time was over and hour!  I don't work with phyllo dough very often (and it's expensive!) and it took me awhile to handle it correctly and wash each piece with egg.

Beef and Taters TV Dinner


I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this one.  I knew my husband would like it, so I went for it.  Let me tell you, it was fantastic!  I did use extra cream in the potatoes because you only end up with a little in the box so I didn't want to waste it.  I also used ground beef instead of ground sirloin because we had just stocked up at Costco.  Put this one on your list!

Chicken with Mushrooms and Peas

Once again, I made some changes. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs, since that is what we had from our Costco trip.  Rob and I really liked this one.  The kids were fine with it, not their favorite, but they ate it with little complaint.  I will add this on our list, but only occasionally.

If you do use chicken breasts instead, don't forget to adjust the spices. I didn't and the taste of the thyme was a bit strong for me.

I also made roasted potatoes with this meal. Once again, I used a baking potato, because that is what I had at home. They turned out great, a keeper for those comfort meals of the winter.

Apple Crisp

I also made an apple crisp from a mix I got at the apple orchard from our apples we got last weekend. It is fabulous!  The above isn't the recipe, but it's similar.  Below is my crisp with vanilla bean ice cream!  YUM!




Let me know if you try any of these, I would like to know what you think!

October 10, 2011

Our Weekend, To Hell and Back

Howdy! How was your weekend?  We were lucky in Michigan this weekend to have high 70 degree weather. That is almost unheard of at this time of year.  We did enjoy it and you will see.

On Saturday, our friends (and neighbors) invited us to join them at their annual family hay ride.  We started out in Marion Township.


After getting organized with drinks and snacks it was time for the hayride!




One of our stops was a pumpkin patch/farm that they kids really enjoyed.  I'm thinking we need to build a hay maze in our back yard because both of the kids could spend hours jumping from bale to bale.







After a pizza break (which was delivered to our wagons on the side of the road), it was time to go to Hell for some ice cream.


They serve Hershey ice cream, which is so rich and creamy and tasted so good on this warm day!

As you can see, the boys were a little worn out from the hay ride.


We had a great time and I hope we get invited again next year (hint, hint).

October 07, 2011

Wish List {Fall Shopping}

It seems like at the beginning of every season I start wanting new clothes.  This year I have decided to only buy things that I love and that I can wear over and over without getting bored.  


These are the items on my wish list for the fall.


1- Moccasins.  I really want a pair with fuzzy lining for those cold winter days ahead.



2-  A Cardigan.  I really like this cozy brown sweater.  In fact, I already ordered it!

3-  A new necklace. I'm really liking wood in jewelry at the moment.





4- A new winter coat, a warm one!


What about you? What's on your list?

October 06, 2011

Around Here

Fall is in full swing in Michigan.  I love the colors that come along with it!



 Will our pumpkin ever turn orange?  We check it many times a day to make sure we don't miss the change!


October 05, 2011

What do you do with all your free time?

This is a question I get a lot these days.  I've entered another chapter in my life because each Tuesday and Thursday morning for 2 hours I am kid-free.  This is a big change for a stay-at-home Mom like myself.  Something I haven't had in 5.5 years!

With that comes a lot of questions, such as:

1.What are you doing with all your free time?
2.Isn't it nice to just relax and do nothing?
3.Aren't you bored?

Well the answers are simple.

1. Explained in pictures below.
2. Relax? What's that?
3.  NO!

I've decided to blog a typical Tuesday morning for you all.

6:15 Wake-Up/Shower/Dress
7:00  Wake Up kids, fix breakfast, get kids dressed, fix hair, pack lunch boxes, etc, etc.
8:15  Get backpack, coats, lunchbox and head out the door for our walk to school
8:35  Drop-off Ava at Kindergarten
8:40-9:00  Sit in school lobby talking to other Pre-k parents waiting for class to start.
9:00 Drop off Blake at Pre-K

9:00-10:40

Head upstairs to grab laundry.  See the cats bird watching.  Head downstairs to throw a load in the washer.

Start cleaning.  First stop, Blake room.  Find Georgey with Ba cuddled up in his bed.


Next stop, Ava's room.  Find Betsy reading her book as I get that room clean.



Next stop, living room. Pick up toys and sort them.  These are going back to the basement for a while.

Find this drawing by my budding artist.  It's a "pirate on an island with lots of clouds and rainbows."


I realize I'm really hungry and didn't eat breakfast!  I go get a piece of homemade apple pie made by my husband. It is yummy.  He used Mutsu apples this time.



Next stop dining room. I was embarrassed by this room, so no pictures.  After cleaning up the tornado, head into the kitchen and empty the dishwasher.

Start to clean the counters and realize it's already 10:45.  Get shoes on and head out the door for pick-up.

11:00 Play at the park for a few minutes. Walk home.
11:15  Get his "yellow bike" out and take a walk/ride around the neighborhood.
12:00 Lunch!
12:30 Nap

1:00 Finish all the cleaning I didn't get done.

The rest of the week:  repeat, repeat, repeat.





October 04, 2011

Weekly Menu: Oct. 3

I'm going to try to post a menu each week.   We are actually going to eat these meals the week before I post them so I can weed out the bad ones for you.


Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Onions


This was delicious!  The grilled tomatoes and onions were fine, but the cilantro sauce was amazing. I actually didn't have any cilantro, but parsley, and it still turned out great.  I plan to make this sauce again on its own to serve with other meats.

Italian Chili

I made this dish with out the zucchini, and it still turned out great.  We ate it for dinner and then we had enough leftovers to last the rest of the week.  In my opinion, this tasted better the next day!  I served it with french bread and parmasean cheese.

Crispy Taco Picadillo

This is a family favorite.  It is often on our menu weekly and no one complains.  I do make our own shells and I think that makes all the difference.  Make sure your oil doesn't get too hot or your shells will burn on the edges.

I also made a crock-pot lasagna, but it was a dud.  Anyone have a good crock-pot lasagna recipe?

October 03, 2011

Our Weekend

It's officially fall in Michigan.  October 1 brought the wind and cold air, but no rain!  So we headed out to enjoy our weekend.

Saturday was Greenfield Village to attend Fall Flavor Weekends.  We love to walk around and see all the cooking demonstrations.


Of course we had to pick up our favorite kettle corn!










 On Sunday we woke up early and headed out for our annual trip to the apple orchard.  We are so lucky to have an abundance of orchards to choose from, but our favorite is Erwin's Orchard in South Lyon, MI.  In our opinion they have the best cider and donuts and also the most variety of apples.  It also helps that a lot of the activities are free!


















 We have two dare devils in our family!  They had no fear jumping from hay barrel to hay barrel!



He'll do it "his own self"!






It was busy, but oh so fun.  Michigan really is a great place to be in early fall!
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