Thursday, November 6, 2014

Menu Plan and Updates - Week of November 2nd

Trick or treat!


Last week brought Halloween and trick-or-treating.  Jack was super psyched this year for trick or treat and all but ran from house to house.  He was very polite and in the days leading up to the event he was teaching everyone from Molly to his cars and trucks the proper way to trick-or-treat: "first you knock on the door, and then you say, 'trick-or-treat!' and then they give you some candy for your bucket, and then you say, 'thank you!'"

Molly was an insta-pro trick-or-treater.  She walked right up to houses to collect her candy and walked for over an hour around the neighborhood refusing to ride in the stroller.  Obviously it's not cool for not-yet-2-year-olds to trick-or-treat whilst riding in a stroller like a baby.  Obviously.

The day following Trick-or-Treat was actually Halloween.  Molly rocked her strawberry costume all over town and refused to take it off all day.  

Speaking of not-yet-two... Molly has hit the TEST ALL THE BOUNDARIES stage of toddlerhood and the last 2 weeks have been extremely challenging.  I remember hitting this stage with Jack and was all... where did my sweet baby go?!?!  And yeah, it's even more challenging with Molly because, of course.  So basically, picture anything that involves Molly cooperating.  Okay, now picture her making that task as difficult as humanly possible.  And now repeat that over and over again all. day. long.  By about Noon I'm so exhausted from it all I could cry.  Or run away.  Or hide in the closet.  Or eat all the Halloween candy.  Typically it's that last one that happens ;)  And then she does something super cute because, look at that face!  And I decide I'll keep her after all.  It'sjustaphase.It'sjustaphase.It'sjustaphase...

In better news... shutters are up!


Love it!  The green was just kind of meh.  Green is green, at least it was tolerable, but not something I would choose.  I love the new color scheme.  I actually think it gives our house quite a facelift.

Here's from the other side so the garage is actually included.  My car was in the way of my picture taking.



Much fresher.

And a close up of the door:


It's actually not a great picture because the sun was blazing right onto the door and causing weird reflections, but RED!  The color actually turned out beautifully, I think!  The door looks really great in person.  We ended up doing 2 coats of gray-tinted primer and then 3 coats of Valspar Posh Red exterior paint.  If you're going red USE THE TINTED PRIMER!  Red is notoriously hard to get good coverage with and I feel like our system worked beautifully.  I've seen other people having to use upwards of 7 coats of paint when trying to paint with red.  That's just crazy. This tutorial was really helpful.

We also updated the hardware to an oil rubbed bronze.  No more brass!  The oil rubbed bronze looks awesome with the red, and bonus, it better matches our other accents (house number, mailbox, porch light, etc.), which we replaced a while back.  (Wow, that was 5 1/2 years ago!)

In other, random, news:


We've been nomming on some seriously delicious jalapeno jelly that I made and canned using some of our over abundance of jalapeno peppers.  Jalapenos seem to be the only thing I can grow, but that's not such a bad thing.


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Leftovers

Monday:  Chicken and Dumplings

Tuesday:  Turkey Apple Panini with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Skillet Ground Beef Stroganoff

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Menu Plan & Updates - Week of October 26th

We've been busy bees as usual.  In addition to the every day crazy, here are some highlights from the last couple of weeks:

We went apple picking with friends.

Molly's version of apple picking is walking around the orchard eating an apple.


Jack decided we should use some of our apples to make a pie.  Done!



We've also made apple crisp and Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze (+ nuts and some extra spices, super yum!)  Mark was appled-out before we even made it through the apple crisp.  Lame.  More for me!

And for more fall picking goodness we also made a trip to the pumpkin patch.


The patch we visit charges by the armload, carried in from the field and across the street.  Hence the showcase of Mark's carrying skillz.


And pumpkins were carved. Mine is the happy one on the left; Molly's choice, Elmo, is next to mine; and Jack's choice, scary pumpkin, is next to that.  Mark's angry pumpkin is on the end.

Jack is super excited for trick-or-treat tonight!

We've been doing lots of home improving around here.  Well, maybe not "lots", but the focus of what little time we have available is on projects.  The bathroom is... a long way from finished.  2 walls have been dry walled and a new tub surround has been ordered.  *Sigh* It takes a lot longer than you would think to measure, cut, and put up dry wall.  See also: little time.

Last weekend I took advantage of some gorgeous weather and painted our front door.  Red!

Action shot of Jack helping.
I've always wanted a red door.  We replaced our garage door a few weeks back and we then had the ability to switch up the accent colors on our house.  Whee!

We also got new shutters, which was supposed to be an easy little swap project.  Buuuut it's a project around our house so of course it got very complicated.  Now we have no shutters.  ::thumbs down::  Hopefully the new ones will be up by the end of this weekend and I can share an "after" pic :)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have 40lbs of chicken in my kitchen waiting for my attention.  (Hooray for chicken!)



Sunday:  Family Gathering

Monday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:  Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Fried Rice

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

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Menu Plan & Updates - Week of October 5th

We've had a busy couple of weeks!  I feel like we always have somewhere to be or something to do anymore and while it's nice in some ways it just wears me out in others.  I'm not the kind of person who likes to be overscheduled!  Thankfully, today we're having a hang around the house kind of day.  The weather is rainy and chilly and I have things that need to be done around the house so that's what we're doing today!

This past weekend marked one year of my being a doula and it has been an incredible year!  It was a big step for me to start doing birthwork and there were so many unknowns to intimidate me when I first began my journey.  A year ago I was sitting in a workshop thinking this is amazing!  But how am I going to do this?  Well, I'm doing it!  The right clients always seem to find me and even when I have moments here or there when I think maybe now is not the season in my life to be doing this type of (on-call) work... Then I'm there, supporting a mom in labor, watching a baby being born, and it just reaffirms that this is what I'm meant to be doing.  I love the work that I do!

I just attended my 9th birth as a doula and I somewhat unexpectedly ended up with 2 births within 1 week of each other.  Both were overnight births, which means that I've missed 2 full nights of sleep in the last week.  And being that there are no bonus nights or real naps (or fairy nannymothers) available I'm very much still catching up in the sleep department!  So, if I can still say this work is for me at this very moment... it's a good thing :)

In other news, 2 weeks ago we had new furniture delivered!



It was supposed to be delivered several weeks ago, but we were trying to sell our old-new couch with no interest.  We got to the night before delivery and were all, uhm... we're going to have 2 couches!  So, we rescheduled our delivery to give ourselves more time to sell, or at least figure out a spot for it.  The new furniture arrived and the old couch got bumped to the garage and just when I thought we would not sell it a few days later it sold!  I was so glad to be done with that whole process.

And then we decided we needed one more thing to do so we ripped the ugly faux-tile down that's in our only bathroom.



It's taken 8 years and selling our house on the horizon to drum up the courage to work on our only bathroom.  Have I mentioned it's our ONLY bathroom?!  It's kind of a necessity to have everything in there functional.  Ugh... Here we go.

We've also slowly been working on finishing up decor in Molly's room.  I added a rug and this cute little addition this weekend:




I DIY'd based on something I saw on Etsy.  The original inspiration is super cute, but as much as it might be worth the $39 + shipping for a handmade item you know *I'm* not paying that when it's something I could swing myself.  So I made my version out of materials I already had on hand, which makes it kind of free-ish :)


Here's what we're eating this week:


Sunday:  Mark made Chicago-style pizza - nom!

Monday:  Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Tuesday:  Turkey Pot Pie

Wednesday:  Autumn Salad with Acorn Squash and Pomegranate Dressing

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 21st

First day of fall!

Or... maybe not.  I think the autumnal equinox is actually tonight, which would make the first day... tomorrow.  So... first day-ish of fall!

Last week we had a new garage door installed.


As well as a new back exterior door.



I'm pretty excited about the garage door because it means our garage door works again - yeehaw!  A spring on our door broke like 3-4 weeks ago (boo!) and we decided rather than repair it we would use the opportunity as motivation to replace the old garage door, which really needed replacing.  So now, new, operational door.  I'm excited because a working garage door makes my life a lot easier!

The back door was obviously in desperate need of replacement.  Our house was built in 1961 and I'm pretty certain both the door proper as well as the storm door are original to the house.  Mostly you can see the lovely aluminum storm door there, but what you can't really see is that the door itself was in really bad shape.  We didn't bother with it for a long time because we don't even use the stupid door, nor do we see it all that much.  We use the sliding glass door that's just to the right of what's pictured.  The slider was added during a kitchen remodel at some point.  The door we just replaced is actually off our laundry room and is only ever used when we have to move washers and dryers around (read: almost never).  So, it does look better, but meh.  At least it's done.




Sunday:  Apps

Monday:  Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken Burgers with Guacamole with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:  Leftovers/Freezer Meal

Wednesday:  Sloppy Joes with Zesty Oven Fries

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out


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

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