Monday, September 15, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 14th & Updates

We've been enjoying some much cooler weather around here, which means plenty of outside time!

We visited the zoo on Tuesday and it was so nice!  Not only was the weather awesome, but it was so much less crowded than it has been now that everyone is back to school.


And this is the first visit that Jack has walked (well, sprint-walked) the entire time.  Such a big guy now!  It's a lot of walking.  Even I get tired.


Molly is always a character.  On the right there she's wearing 3 shirts, a pair of pants, and 2 pairs of shorts.  Most of the time she wants to run around naked, but that day she wanted to wear everything at once.  Either way, she's becoming very opinionated about what she wears.


Molly loves wearing her truck shirt!  I think it's her favorite piece of clothing.

And Jack *finally* mastered bike riding this weekend.  He's been working on it very periodically this summer and mostly he just lacked the persistence to figure out pedaling.  It's been quite a long stretch of us trying to talk him into giving it another try and Saturday he finally decided he would.  And he hopped right on and just started going.  This kid... so stubborn!  It will serve him well some day :)


And he also created some pretty impressive sidewalk chalk drawings.


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Rib Sunday!  Smoked Ribs with Corn Pudding and Broccoli

Monday:  Skillet Eggplant Parmesan with Bread and Salad

Tuesday:  Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Zucchini and Corn

Wednesday:  Mom's night out for me, homemade pizza for the fam

Thursday:  Sloppy Joes with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, September 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 7th + Updates

Jack started school last week!  Wednesday was his "meet the teacher" day where we went together for an abbreviated day.  He was kind of bummed that I went with him as he was ready to jump right in!  I, however, enjoy getting to see what he does while he's there.  He's not exactly forthcoming with information!  Friday was his first real day of school.



I'm so glad that Jack is back to school because he enjoys it so much and he learns a lot while he's there.  However, I'm going to miss having him around 3 mornings a week and we're going to have to figure out a whole new routine for those 3 days.

Friday we had our gutters replaced.  Super exciting, right?  This joins such illustrious projects as the Sewer Clean Out Valve of 2008 and the 'Create a Giant Hole in the Middle of the Front Yard That We Still Don't Know What to Do With' (A.K.A. Giant Tree Infected with Emerald Ash Borers Removal) of 2012 as our new favorite Most Underwhelming Home Improvement Project.

Behold, the amazing difference that brings joy to our lives and a hole to our bank account:


Oooooh, ahhhh!

I know... I know.  It's an incredible difference.

(No it's not.  *sigh*)

Despite my sarcasm, I do feel like I complained about this project less than the other 2 lame projects we had to throw money at.  I must be growing up.  I just don't think I'll ever get to the point where I appreciate a lack of leaky gutters more than I do the money we just laid down.

We have new garage and exterior doors sitting in the garage waiting to be installed.  Still not exactly an exciting improvement (especially the exterior door, which is going on the back of the house and isn't even a door we use *siggghh*), but at least it will be more notable than the gutters, not to mention less expensive!

We also have new furniture coming, which actually is relatively exciting!

Improvements.  They're happening.

Our gardening skills leave a lot to be desired, but we did have mild success this year with our garden.  We anticipated some beefsteak tomatoes - and then they died.  We had a great cherry tomato plant that was giving us lots of cherry tomatoes that the kids loved to eat right off the vine - and then it died.  And we have had some Early Girl tomatoes - until the plant looked like it was dying... and then came back!  And then looked like it was dying again.  And then rallied again!  And hasn't really produced much since it's 2nd brush with death, but there are a handful of green tomatoes on the vine.  We'll see what happens.

Despite half dying our zucchini plant has been flowering, but mostly the would-be squash just withers before anything comes of it.  We did have 2 zucchini actually grow.  Better than nothing (pretty sure I got nothing in previous years).

We have had green beans and our herbs are doing okay, which are so nice to have on hand!

We had two peppers nearly red until a squirrel ripped one down (we have an awful, evil little squirrel that shops our garden regularly).  I thought maybe the squirrel didn't care for red peppers since they had been left alone so long, but it seems he was just waiting for it to perfectly ripen, similar to the tomatoes he always snatches at the peak of ripeness.  ::shakes fist::

The star of our garden has been our jalapeno pepper plant.  It has been successfully producing plenty of jalapenos and is still going strong.  I'll take it!



I've happily used my overabundance of jalapenos in Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Buns, Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, and Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, among other things.

Other than that, we've been trying to soak up what's left of summer.

Clockwise beginnging with top left:  Ponytail!, inside our fort, new shoes!, and fun at the splashpad.


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Apps

Monday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Out

Saturday: Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 24th



This is our last full week before Jack returns to school!  Hopefully we will be able to fit in plenty of fun while our schedule is still fairly open.  Jack is very much looking forward to returning to school.  I'm a little apprehensive about settling into a new routine/schedule with him in school 3 mornings a week and I'm going to miss our relaxed (relatively anyway ;) ) summer days.




Last week was pretty busy for us and included dinner with friends and a birth(!) for me, a check-up for Molly (she is a healthy 26 1/2 lbs (85th percentile) and 32 1/2 inches (60th percentile)), play time with friends x2, and family gatherings with either side of the family both Saturday and Sunday.  Mark also went into work for a few hours on Sunday morning.  Basically, I blinked and it's Monday again!



So... yeah.  I tackled my stove top this weekend.  Funny story (not funny ha-ha, but funny like whhhyyy do these things happen to meee?!), back in April I started a small fire on my stove top.  It was towards the end of a crazy week where I was feeling stretched pretty thin.  Jack had a lingering cold (we all had been sniffly with the same bug, but Jack got hit the hardest) and he was finally willing to eat and requested mac and cheese.

In the process of making a box of Annie's mac and cheese (I mean, COME ON!  8-year-olds make this stuff without issue) I inadvertently turned ON the rear burner rather than turning DOWN the front burner as I had intended and minutes later items that I had sitting on the rear burner (obviously NOT a good place to sit things, oy...) like the cardboard mac and cheese box, a heavy plastic spoon, and a kitchen towel, caught on fire.  I realized it pretty quickly when smoke started coming from the kitchen and the smoke alarm went off (::facepalm::) and thankfully it wasn't an ordeal to smother the small fire, but it really did a number on my flat top stove.  Here's a tidbit of knowledge for you: melted/burned plastic cookware doesn't wipe off of glass stove tops.  Hope that helps!

This is the picture I sent to Mark after the fact.  I think he really looks forward to hearing from me while he's at work.

So anyway, I did an initial clean up of said fire mess (it has not looked like the above for the last several months), but was left with burned on plastic that had me feeling annoyed/guilty every time I caught sight of it (=all the time), but I did my best to just kind of... ignore it and hope that it magically went away on its own (proactivity is my strong suit) because I didn't know what the heck to do with it!  This weekend Mark left a putty knife laying on the counter and I decided I would reclaim my back burner!  Putty knife + baking soda + vinegar + lemon essential oil + elbow grease x a lot =

I have my burner back!

My new goal is to try not to catch anything else on fire.  So far, so good.


The boys brought me home some pretty flowers because they're sweet :)




And oh yeah, my completed birth doula certification packet is in the mail!(!!!)  Or... maybe it has arrived at its destination already.  I put it in the mail on Wednesday.  Anyway... WOOHOO!  It feels so great to have my packet completed.  I'll be impatiently waiting the next 6 weeks-3 months for my packet to be reviewed and (hopefully!) approved.


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Parents' house

Monday:  Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Green Beans

Tuesday:  Fresh Tomato and Whipped Feta Tart with Salad

Wednesday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 17th (and updates!)



I can't believe it's mid-August and we're gearing up for back to school!  This whole summer seems to be just flying by, but I guess that's nothing new.  Time seems to pass so quickly right now.

Jack will be attending preschool 3 mornings a week starting in just a couple of weeks and it's going to be quite a change for us!  I know he will love it considering how much he looked forward to the 2 afternoons a week he attended preschool last year, but it's weird that he will be gone so much and it's also going to be strange having so many of our days taken up by school.  I know Molly is going to miss Jack so much while he is at school, but hopefully she will learn to enjoy some one-on-one time with me!

Miss Molly is 18-months going on about 3-years-old in her head.  She's talking so much and saying a handful of new words every day.  She runs with the big kids and definitely doesn't think she's any younger or smaller than they are.  When we're at the park people often ask me how old she is and are surprised when I say 18-months because she does act quite a bit older than some other 18-month-olds!

Molly recently discovered the joy of reading books (well, having people read books to her.  She's so stubbornly independent that although she has always taken a strong interest in books she preferred to sit and "read" by herself rather than allow anyone to read to her.  She would sit and flip through books, babbling and chattering away, but only within the last month or so is she interested in letting us read to her.  Such a contrast to baby Jack!) and we spend a good portion of our days reading book after book (or sometimes the same book over and over, of course :)  She's partial to Big Red Barn, as was Jack at this age.)  And I just introduced chapter books to Jack and he's a fan!  We started reading the Magic Tree House series, so much fun!

With school looming we have been trying to pack a lot of fun into the unseasonably cool days we have had!  Lots of play time with friends, trips to the park, the zoo, and other fun places and events around town!

Pictured: Park play with friends, Jack's (and Puppy's) first visit to the dentist (he did awesome!), pig tails!, sunnies!, zoo (Molly is enthralled with the aquarium), Headstand Challenge, making pickles, and Cheeeese! face.

The kids have me constantly on my toes and I've had a steady stream of clients keeping me busy with birthwork.  I buckled down this past week and finished up some outstanding tasks for my doula certification and then spent time this weekend compiling all my paperwork.  So close to being able to mail out my completed packet to request certification!


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Monday:  Mom's night out for me!  I'll make Homemade Pizza before I go.

Tuesday:  Veggie Enchiladas with Mexican Rice (from the freezer)

Wednesday:  Corn Fritatta with Caprese Salad

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 22nd



Yup, it's Tuesday.

Last week was a super busy week with plenty of running around!  It was the second week in a row that I attended an overnight birth and while I really do prefer that timing because the kids don't even know I'm gone it leaves me dragging for... well, a long time afterwards.  When you're living in a season of life where sleep is already precious missing a night or two really throws things off!  Or at least it does for me.  But I'm not exactly the kind of person who does well with lack of sleep.  So there's that.  Anyway, I was super happy to be at the births and I think I've made it back to my constant state of slightly-tired-all-the-time so it's all good!

In addition to attending a birth there was plenty of other running around with the kids and doula work and I'm glad we're going to have a more low-key week this week and I'm also glad for a little break in doula work for July.  I will still be doing visits, but it should be a little bit before my next birth!  So now it's time to enjoy not being on-call and shift focus to our up-coming vacation!

Last week we enjoyed a little COSI time

This was Molly's first time playing at the water table.  She thought she was big stuff.


and saw some big trucks.

Jack was having an I-don't-want-my-picture-taken kind of day, which frequently happens.


We also played with friends yesterday and again, Molly thinks she's big stuff.  Climbed right up a ladder.  Sensing a theme here?

More fun yet to come this week!




Here's what we're eating:



Sunday:  Apps

Monday:  Fish Tacos with Mango Slaw

Tuesday:  Grilled Summer Vegetable Chopped Salad

Wednesday:  Smoked Gouda and Bacon Burgers with Chipotle Cream Sauce with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday:  Leftovers/Homemade Pizza

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 15th



We had a nice weekend and were able to enjoy some lovely weather!  I'm so thankful for this mild, warm, sunny weather we've been experiencing!

I got some business-y things accomplished that leave me feeling productive.  I love the doula work I'm doing and I'm so happy that things are coming along.  I'm still working on my certification.  I have a good chunk of the work accomplished now I just need to dive in to the rest and get tasks completed!

Sunday was Father's Day and we celebrated with a family brunch.  We spent the rest of the day laying pretty low around the house.

We finally finished up Dexter this weekend and goodness gracious I'm glad that's over.  The last season was a snore-fest for me. I'm always bummed when great series end up burning out before the finale, but I'm likewise bummed when great shows end before I'm ready (I'm looking at you Mad Men!)  Basically, I'm not please-able.

The kids have been waking far too early for my non-morning-person liking.  I think this is going to be a very long week.

Here are some happenings from last week:

Zoo trip fun with friends!

The Walking Dead: Book Eight.  Too advanced for a 16-month-old?  She's very mature!  Disclosure:  No babies' psyches were harmed during the taking of this picture.  She didn't make it past the title page.  TWD is for mama's enjoyment!

Jack's first selfie.  Don't worry, he won't be permitted an Instagram account until at least Kindergarten ;)

Some Sunday Funday coloring.



Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Father's Day!  Grilled brats with cheesy potatoes and fruit per Mark's request

Monday:  Mom's Night Out!  I'll make sure there's something easy on hand for the fam before I leave

Tuesday:  Buffalo Chicken Salad

Wednesday:  Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa and Green Beans

Thursday:  Leftovers or Homemade Pizza

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, June 9, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 8th



This past Saturday Mark and I celebrated 6 years of marriage and 9 years of being together (Wow!  That's nearly a decade.  That went quickly!).  We were able to enjoy a much needed date night.  The weather was perfection so we took advantage and went to the Gallery Hop, grabbed some drinks, and then enjoyed a lovely dinner.



At dinner Mark gave me my gift.



It went something like this:

So confused as to what I'm looking at, which was a paper with global coordinates and a date range.  At Mark's prompting I Googled the coordinates.  And up pops a beach in Florida.  What the what?!  

Yeah.  Totally unbeknownst to me Mark has planned a beach trip for just the two of us next month!  Amazed.  Excited.  Nervous.  All the feels.  I need a bathing suit!

I'm going to spend the next few weeks trying my hardest to focus on how much incredibly awesome fun we're going to have on our trip and actively avoiding thinking about having to leave the kids to do this.  I have issues with that part.  (And no, I'm not actually going to be able to avoid thinking about it, but at least I'll try?  It will be fine.  I think.  Eeep!)

Onto the foods:


Sunday:  At my parents' for dinner

Monday:  Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Ranch Potato Wedges

Tuesday:  Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta with Grilled Chicken

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday:  Tostadas

Friday:  Out

Saturday:  Out


I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com