Monday, November 16, 2015

Week of November 15th

Last week was a pretty low-key week, which is always nice.

I'm doing my best to ignore all of the pictures I've seen all over social media of people moving right on into Christmas and bypassing Thanksgiving completely.  Or, I guess they still celebrate it, but surrounded by Christmas stuff?  I don't know.  So weird.  I choose to live in a world where each holiday is celebrated in its own special time.  #waronthanksgiving

I'm super pumped that Thanksgiving is next week.  Everyone knows it's the best holiday and I'm ready to eat all the things and give all the thanks!

I've been Instagramming and I totally love it.  I realize I'm like 5 years late to the party and the cool kids are probably already post-Instagram, but I loves it!  I love seeing pictures from friends and strangers that capture everything from the special to the mundane.  I love that you can browse different topics depending on what your interest is at that moment and it's fun to see what different people share.  After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, eh?

In other random news, I've perfected homemade coconut oil kettle corn so it made an appearance for snack twice this weekend.  Nothing beats freshly made salty sweet popcorn!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday:  Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Panini

Monday:  Sweet Potato Nachos

Tuesday:  Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday:  Mom's night out for me, Homemade Pizza for the fam!

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week of November 8th

So, let's see, last week...

My car went for a little spa visit and came back looking beauteous.  When we purchased it the car had *just* become available and when we test drove it literally hadn't even been vacuumed out. While we were dealing with paperwork they did a quick once over and washed, wiped down, and vacuumed, but it was in need of a full detail and a few miscellaneous things like a good wax and buffing out some surface scratches, basically everything a dealership typically does before selling a car.

I had to drive a Chevy Cruze for a day and... that was sad.  Glad to have her back!

Tuesday was chicken day!

^That's 40lbs of quality chicken, purchased at an awesome price, trimmed and ready for the freezer!  Well worth the hour or so it takes to get it freezer ready.  This will last us for about a year!

Know what's nice when you have to deal with 40lbs of chicken?  Having adequate workspace to do so.  I used to have to do this on a little ~3ft x 3ft (that's probably a generous measurement) square of counter space that wasn't even dedicated and still had some things sitting on it.  Doing anything feels so much easier when you have more room to do it in!

I'm still feeling the effects of the time change.  That^ was taken at about 4:30pm.  When the sun was going down.  ::facepalm::  I dislike that it's completely dark out by the time dinner rolls around at 6pm.  It's going to be a long winter.

At my nieces' birthday party over the weekend Molly played stand-in for her slightly older cousin who had enough of birthday partying by the time cake time rolled around.

Somebody had to do it.  Molly's just practicing for her own 3rd birthday in just over 2 months (say what?!?)

And I got this full of awesome shirt, which pretty much made my life.

This is a phrase I use on the reg so I'm pretty sure Target designed this shirt just for me.

Also: I'm Instagramming now.  Apparently this is where all the cool kids hang out so obviously I need to be there jump on this trend about 5 years after everyone else.


Sunday:  Meatloaf with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Leftovers/Freezer Meal

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza with Salad

Friday & Saturday: Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

The above link to Zaycon Foods is a referral link.  I'm in no way affiliated with that company other than loving them for quality bulk meat purchases at a good price.  I've been a regular customer for several years now.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week of November 1st

Woooweee!  I can't believe it's already November.

Last week we celebrated Halloween with some pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating.

Mine is the happy pumpkin.  Always.

Firetruck and purple princess (A.K.A. Sophia the First)

Molly chose her own costume.  At this age, Jack still didn't care what he dressed up as (he was a lion).  It wasn't until his 4th Halloween that he wanted to choose his costume.  Big surprise, Molly had an opinion :D

Jack, of course, wanted to be a firetruck.  A fire fighter?  No, a fire truck.

His costume turned out pretty cute.  Lucky for me, I have experience with crafting truck costumes.  I also bought him a little fire fighter coat and hat to wear with it, but that idea was nixed because according to Jack he's a firetruck and firetrucks don't wear clothes.  Obviously...

The coat and jacket came in handy for his school party because kids were allowed to bring costumes to wear, but they had to fit in their backpacks.  Firetruck =/= backpack friendly.  Lucky for everyone, Jack was okay with wearing the firefighter costume to his party.

This was our first year trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood so I wasn't sure what to expect as far as how much candy to have on hand to pass out.  There's a lot of kids around so the day of trick-or-treat I panicked and picked up a few extra bags of candy giving us probably 1 1/2 big bowls or so to hand out.  We left a bowl out for trick-or-treaters while we went around trick-or-treating ourselves and came home to... at least 2/3 of the bowl still filled.  And with a half hour of trick-or-treat left to go we didn't even get anymore trick-or-treaters.  Womp, womp.

I have no idea where all the kids were because there were plenty of trick-or-treaters out and about.  I guess many just didn't make it back to our little cul-de-sac despite the fact that nearly everyone back here had candy to pass out.  ::shrug::  Guess I'll know for next year.

And now Halloween is over and everyone's all like...

And I'm just sitting over here like...

It's only November, people, slow your roll.  #waronThanksgiving

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos with Guacamole

Monday:  Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup with Panini

Tuesday:  Paleo Sausage Veggie Bake

Wednesday:  Freezer Meal or Homemade Pizza

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Week of October 25th

Last week we made our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch.

We picked the best pumpkins in the patch, which are waiting patiently to be carved in preparation for trick-or-treat tomorrow night.

In true Stephanie fashion, I'm still working on Jack's costume, but hopefully that will be finished tonight.

We've just been living life over here.  We had friends over last week for the first time at the new house and I also finished up my lactation counselor course and exam.  I'll be anxiously awaiting the results as the assessment portion of the exam was challenging and no one I talked to, including myself, felt super confident about their performance on that portion,  Eeep!  Did not help that I had to wait ~8 weeks to take an exam that's designed to be taken at the end of a week long course :/  Too bad it's not just a written exam because I'm not worried about passing that portion! ::fingers and toes crossed::

We've been eating apple-y things and soups and squash and all manner of fall things around here.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday:  Leftovers with some Buffalo Chicken Dip thrown in the mix

Monday:  Roasted Chicken with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Honey-Glazed Carrots (better believe those chicken scraps were turned into delicious homemade stock!)

Tuesday:  Acorn Squash with Apple Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing with Salad

Wednesday:  Pumpkin Chili (Crock Pot) with Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Thursday: Trick-or-Treat!  Pumpkin Chili Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of September 27th

Last week, I authorized an upgrade to my computer for Windows 10.  I was sucked in by promises that it would be more like the old windows I know and love (I'm not a fan of Windows 9, I basically don't use it and keep my computer in desktop mode the whole time, only interacting with the rest of the system if I'm forced to.)

I'm usually the kind of person who will not allow upgrades until I absolutely have to because all too often it comes with changes that I don't like, I tend to not appreciate change.  So, with this upgrade that was supposed to be a change back to what I'm used to, I decided I'd go for it.  My computer ran the upgrade, all was well and good until I realized that it got rid of the scroll-ability (yeah, not really a word, but I don't know what else to call it) on my touchpad! Do you know how annoying it is to try to use the interwebz without scrolling capabilities?!  Awfulness.  I should have just stuck with my non-upgrading habits.

So I spent 2 days suffering, unable to scroll, until some googling, and random clicking (my husband LOVES when I do things with the computer beyond general browsing) I somehow fixed it!  FIXED IT!  Myself! Wheee!  That was my win for last week and it was definitely noteworthy enough to share.

In other news, Molly and I hit up a consignment sale and she was the only 2-year-old there actively shopping.  I'm talking, browsing through the racks the whole time and picking out her own clothes and approving/disapproving my picks.  This girl is trouble when it comes to clothes!

She's already very particular about what she wears from her hair, to her outfit, to her shoes and other accessories.  I am not used to dealing with this as Jack still barely cares what he wears.  Most days he throws on whatever, only rarely does he have a request and I can easily talk him out of it if necessary. His only real request is that as many of his shirts have vehicles on them as possible.


We finally accomplished some more progress on the floor!  We're *so close* to being done.  We just have to finish up installing the quarter round, right now we probably have like 20% of it done?  Maybe less.  And we still have to deal with the bathroom.  Laying the flooring will be easy peasy, how much work it is overall is going to depend a lot on how tearing out the old flooring goes.  ::fingers crossed::  But for now, I have a whole floor down and that's enough to leave me feeling pretty happy after dealing with having only a partial floor for the last few weeks.

I busted out the Old English Scratch Cover, which is magic in a bottle, to fix up our existing baseboards.  I first discovered this bottle of awesome when we were getting our old house ready to sell.  It's some sort of wood oil/polish stuff that you rub on with a cloth and then buff off and I'm telling you it is magical!

I think I spent like $7-$8 on the bottle at Lowe's and you only use a little bit at a time and it makes wood with shallow scratches look like new.  Well, maybe not BRAND new, but very much improved.  It hides some scratches completely and well camouflages others.  We laid down this nice floor and it only highlighted the fact that the baseboards were all dinged up.  Well, Scratch Cover to the rescue!  They look so much better.

I thought for half a second about putting new baseboards down, but then I watched Jack slam a truck into the old, scratched up baseboards and was reminded that spending time/money/effort on new ones would only make me sad when they got beat up by little kids and their toys.  I'm happy with how they look now. As you can see, we still have quarter round to install in this area, that's why there's a seam along the edge. Sooooon!

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Monday:  Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tuesday:  Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Guacamole

Wednesday:  Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week of September 20th

Book reading season 2015 has begun!  You weren't aware of the season opening?  Well, it happens to directly coincide with football season.  This time of year Mark watches all the football and I read all the books and it works out pretty nicely.  With football on alllll day Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights, and allllll day Saturday I'm tempted to watch even less TV than usual and get plenty of reading done.  Fine by me!

I ordered an area rug for the family room and ended up not liking it, so that's going back.  I ordered another rug that's maybe arriving today?  I have to like it because I'm over the rug buying thing already.  I guess if I don't like it, it will just lay there taunting me forever because it's staying.  Buying a rug is hard.

Decorating is just not my forte.  I really, really dislike the decorating process.  I assume some people like it?  Not me.  I don't enjoy decorating, just the end result.  I want my space to be nice, but don't like the work of getting there.  First world problems, eh?

This past weekend feels like the official end of our crazy summer.  My weekend was filled with appointments, but looking at the next month to six weeks my calendar is blissfully open.  Sure I already have a sprinkling of commitments, but just a sprinkling.  I feel like I can breathe!  This summer amidst buying a house, renovating a house (mostly DIY), getting a house ready to sell (all DIY), moving, selling a house by owner, AND taking care of 2 littles full time I also took 2 doula clients a month every month and had a sprinkling of advanced trainings in there.  Crazy.

Looking back, I'm still not sure how I made it through in one piece.  Or, in one piece, minus a few pieces of my mind that I lost along the way.  ::releases held breath::

Moving into the holiday season I've decided I'm going to scale back my birthwork calendar and only accept 1 client a month through the end of year at least, probably for the first couple months of 2016 as well as the holiday season runs right into birthday season in our household.  That means I'm fully booked for the next several months already, now I just need to stick to my boundaries and not take on any more clients.

I love what I do and I'm thankful to be busy, but I need to make sure I'm doing a good job of balancing everything and this summer left me feeling like I ran a months long marathon. Time to recover a bit and have some space to focus on other things that need attention, there's plenty on the list.

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Smoked Ribs with Corn Pudding and Baked Beans

Monday:  Paleo One Pan Italian Chicken w/ Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Grilled Sausages w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tried & True Recipe: Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fall arrives in less than 6 days, but with temps still in the 80s I'm not yet ready to transition to all those warm yummy comfort foods (like soup!) that will surely start popping up on my menu in a few weeks.  I love to eat salads during warm weather months, just like I love to eat soup during cold weather months.  It drives my husband a little nuts, but I'm definitely one of those people with strong weather-related food associations.  Warm weather is for grilling, salads, lighter fare, and food that doesn't require heating up your house for hours to cook it.  Cold weather is for sooouuuppps(!), stews, comfort foods, and things that can cook away for hours heating up your kitchen before they heat up your belly.

Salad is on our menu nearly weekly during warm weather months.  It's easy to throw together, versatile, everyone can top their salad to their preference, and leftovers are good.  The very best salads have a variety of ingredients with different, complimentary flavors and textures.  I've already shared one of my very favorite summer salads, allow me to introduce you to it's late summer/early fall counterpart: a chopped salad with chicken, apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and pecans, topped with sweet and tangy honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad is well-balanced, fall-ish, and takes advantage of seasonal produce (apples!), but is still light and refreshing.

Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette inspired by Brown Eyed Baker

For the vinaigrette:

2T Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2T Honey
1/2 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Salt
1/8 t Ground Black Pepper
1/8 t Garlic Powder

Combine ingredients in small mason jar or other container with a tight seal.  Shake until well combined and set aside.  Can be made in advance and keeps well stored in the refrigerator.  Yields ~3/4 cup.

For the salad:

Romaine Lettuce (or other lettuce of choice: spring mix/spinach blend, baby kale, or rubbed kale would be good here)
Diced Grilled Chicken (we season ours with salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
Diced Granny Smith Apple (I like Granny Smith's for salad because they're firm and crunchy and have a nice tangy flavor, but whatever you prefer)
Blue Cheese (or Feta)
Pecans (or Walnuts)

Combine ingredients to your preference and top with honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  Easy peasy. Obviously, the ingredients are super flexible, that's another thing I like about salad.  Switching a few things up will make a similar, but slightly different salad!  Bacon would also be a good addition, because bacon is always good.