Wednesday, February 29, 2012

70 in Cleveland in FEBRUARY!

So... the day started in the 30's.  It was raining.  I did my 2 miles on the treadmill (its amazing how at this point 2 miles is nothing) and began my day.  Hubby was working so I flew solo.  I got the kids up, jumped into the shower and got both dressed & fed.  My MIL and BIL came to get D1 to take her to her art class at the museum.  D2 and I had a nice peaceful quiet morning.  Its amazing how much a 2.5 year old talks.  Sometimes I wonder if she just does it to hear herself.

D2 taking 2 naps a day is heavenly.  I got 2 loads of laundry done, dishes done and a crock pot dinner started.  D1 came home shortly after 12:30 so we had lunch and played with toys.  I put both to sleep at 3 and decided not to waste this now 70 degree day.  I went outside, donned my gardening gloves and went to town.  I got all the old leaves out of the flower bed. I pruned my butterfly bushes, I got SOME muck out of the pond.  It was a fabulous time.  I'm hoping that this is the beginning of spring.  What I would do to have 3 months of spring!

Its suppose dot be nice again tomorrow.  I have 3 miles to do and then I am going to try to get more pond cleaning done and some cleaning around our ravine edge.  I have decided that we want to de-brush it so its usable.  CANT WAIT.  Last year I was preggo.  Even though that didn't stop me from doing yard work I feel like a lot was put to the wayside.  This year I have some pretty clear cut design ideas that I want to implement to make the yard look awesome.  Pics to come.

Wanted to share.... Pineapple Chicken in the Crock pot.  I made roasted brussel sprouts and white rice with it.  Very good!

Cooking in the crock pot!

Plated.


Here's the recipe:


PINEAPPLE PEPPER CHICKEN


FOR ONE FAMILY
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbls soy sauce
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 chicken breasts
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
1 medium green pepper, julienned (optional)


 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tax day

I have been dreading it.  The 2nd part of our household financial restructuring was tonight.... getting taxes done.  I was worried the whole time.  I had to go alone because for the 1st time EVER I messed up the schedule and thought Hubby was off and he wasn't.  I had all the paperwork in order, my spreadsheets printed, I was ready.  I spit out the numbers as he asked... I whizzed through.  Then.... he hit the 'calculate' button.  I just about kissed the man.  He successful made me no longer hate CPA's.  He critiqued our prior firm (and makes me want to SUE THEM) and is willing to file amended returns.  He gave tax PLANNING advice which was never offered prior. I am in heaven.  PATIO HERE I COME!!!!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Warrior Dash

Gotta get to bed so this will be quick.

I just signed up for the Warrior Dash.... SO STINKING EXCITED.  

CAN.NOT.WAIT.


Ok.... g'night!  Gonna do 2.5 in the morning!  Was thinking about doing it outside... we will see what I feel like when I get up!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A for effort?

Tonight I made yet another 'from the pantry & freezer meal' and it was FABULOUS!!!  I know I say that a lot but MMMMmmmmm.  It was from pinterest... of course.  SOOO easy!

the "gravy"

Crock Pot Good Seasons Chicken



ingredients:
2-4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. italian dressing seasoning (the dried kind in the packet)

Stir the cream cheese, cream of chicken, and seasoning together in the crockpot.  Start crock pot on low to allow ingredients to soften and then stir. Add frozen (or fresh) chicken and cover with the mix. Cook on high 4-6 hours or until the chicken is cooked and fall-apart-tender. Stir a few times to continue coating chicken.

I served this with mashed potatoes.  Tonight I added Boursin cheese, a bit of milk, S & P and 2 Tablespoons of horseradish to my potatoes... YUM.  Then I spooned a bit of the chicken 'gravy' on it and O.M.G!!!!!!


Then tonight I attempted my first satin edged baby blanket.  I had a $70 Walmart sewing machine from the 90's.  I loved it.  Well I upgraded when my mom upgraded.  She sews pretty much anything and everything so she splurged and got some fancy machine that does EVERYTHING.  I got her machine.  Its automatic (the Walmart special had NOTHING of the sort) and I knew that there would be a learning curve but GOSH... this is VERY different.  Im almost sad I gave away my old machine... but I think tonight I would have reverted instead of plowing forward.  I decided that I was going to make D2 a blanket.  I said yesterday that she really hasn't 'adopted' on yet so I wanted to try a few different kinds.  I bought a pink minky fabric and a light pink binding.  I got everything cut and pinned up and started the zigzag stitch around with no problem.  


cut to size


The 'upgrade'


zigzag in 


binding pinned in


DONE!!






Then I added the binding and nothing is ever perfect with me and sewing.  My mitered corners are pretty butchered and there is not a single even straight stitch in the thing but its done.  A for effort?????? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

A little of this and a GREAT dinner

Last night I didn't blog because I have a mile long 'to do' list and its making me insane.  I decided to get a bunch of things done which, with my new go to bed early and wake up early routine, didn't allow me time online.  I got 2 blankets and a wreath done.  Don't be too harsh on me... they were just the polar fleece tie blankets.  I wanted to make one for D2 and I had a request from a cousin to make her one.  D2's took a whole 20 mins as I only made it about a yard square.  The request blankie took a bit of time because I did 3 1/4 yards.  Glad its done.  I have it boxed up ready to go to the post office and head out to Philly.  I look at pics of D1 and noticed that she had a blankie by D2's age.  D2 has still not 'adopted' a blankie.  So I keep making/buying them in hopes that she finds one that she likes.  I just bought 'minky' fabric and a wide satin binding to see if she likes it.... ahhhhh... another project!

D2's fleece blankie

Cousin's!


The wreath was just adding easter grass to one I had 1/2 made prior.  I went to Pat Catan's and bought a wreath form and saw that they had paper mache eggs for like 20 cents.  I bought the whole box.  They also had these cute felt egg stickers for fifty cents.  I got 2 packs of them too.  I hot glued everything together and then added easter grass anywhere you could see the foam.


 I have been wanting to clean out my pantry a bit and I also went through my fridge & freezer trying to get things rotated.  I found a 1/4 bag of cooked shrimp in the freezer as well as a bunch of press parsley in the fridge.... this is what I came up with.  OMG... SOOOO YUMMY!!!

Pesto Shrimp, Penne Pasta and Veggies

3/4 cup Classico Pesto
15 oz can Italian Diced tomatoes
1 box penne pasta
1 can medium black olives (halved lengthwise)
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 pound shrimp
3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
Shredded Parmesan garnish

So I mixed the basil, black olives, artichoke hearts, and garlic in a bowl.  I added the parsley and diced tomatoes.  Meanwhile, I cooked the penne per the directions and in the last 5 mins or so I threw in the shrimp (they were already cooked).  I drained the pasta and shrimp and tossed all together.  I added a bit of shredded parmesan on top.  SOOOOOO easy & yummy!!!!  Best thing was it was all stuff from my fridge, pantry & freezer that I wanted to clean!  You can obviously use more or less of any ingredient!
**** this dish would be good hot or cold!!!

All tossed together

Plated.  YUM.
ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meatballs in the crockpot

So I get Better Homes & Garden's emails.  I pin a lot onto pinterest from them.  They always have great color and the recipes always sound yummy.  A few days ago they did a '5 ingredients or less' Crock Pot meal article.  I was salivating by the end.  There were 2 that spoke to me.  An easy chicken curry and a pesto meatball stew.  I made the latter tonight.... YUM....  I don't think of crockpot meatballs as anything besides Super Bowl food, but tonight changed my mind... and D1 LOVED it!!!  The other nice thing was that it only took 2.5 hours.  Here's the recipe!


Pesto Meatball Stew
  • 2
    14 1/2 ounce cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1
    16 ounce package (32) frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, thawed
  • 1
    15 - 19 ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2
    cup water
  • 1/4
    cup basil pesto
  • 1/2
    cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
directions
1.In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine undrained tomatoes, meatballs, drained beans, the water, and pesto.
2.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.







Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bathroom!

I did it. I hung the shelves and did some quick decor for the bathroom and its PRETTY much done.  I am going to make Hubby a table/storage unit for his magazines (so I don't have to look at them) and then we will *Officially* be done but I feel like I MUST post pics now.  So excited!

I cut the frame and sheath

And assembled them

done!
This one is for the basement.


Before pics of the bathroom... Unit that held the TP & magazines

Boring

Shelving unit that took up a lot of space

Blank wall

I decided to do an accent wall of a midnight blue (color of our towels)

Then I stained the shelves to match the cabinets (I teetered on painting them the trim color and I am SO glad I didn't!)

Wall done.  Looks purple but its very blue

Done

I did a straight edge with tape and then touched up the gray of the rest of the room

I decided that the shelves "needed something" so I went to Lowes and found a dental molding piece that fits with the rest of the house.  I saw it and HAD to have it!


1st shelf hung.  Its VERY snug

2nd shelf going up.  Frame first then the sheath over

2nd shelf installed

Molding installed & more touchup painting.

Then for the art.

I've seen people (and my mom did it) used scrapbook paper and squares.  I decided to "Shawn it" and do circles.  I traced them and then hot glued them.

I got 4 and I will get some more... I like the look.

I just put a small brad (nail) in the wall and pushed these on. 

My plan is to add circular black & white pics of D1 & D2 at the beach this summer!

I pulled all colors (variations of) from the room.

Then I accessorized from the bathroom.  I did purchase a battery operated gas lamp look alike (with a timer) that is not here yet.  That will go on the top shelf for those night time visits when you really don't want full light.


What do you think???  I am VERY happy with it and even Hubby has complimented!  All for about $50.  Not too shabby!  I'll post another photo when I get the lamp and again when I make the storage unit!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Negativity won

I ran the Chili Bowl 5K this morning.  I woke up grouchy, had to get D1 ready to go and motivate hubby to get D2 ready.  I was running late and it was cold.  Temp said 40 degrees but the wind was KILLER.  There were only 2 of us with strollers.  Runners are pretty much in one of 2 camps with strollers.  Either they are AMAZING or dog shit.  The AMAZING people hold doors, talk to D1, and cheer me on.  The dog shit crew do the opposite.  They walk or run for that matter RIGHT in front of me practically cutting me off, don't pay attention to the stroller, or just do not care.  Most people are in the latter camp, sorry to say.  Anyways, I ran a slow race to say the least.  The wind killed me.  We ran down around the Brown's stadium and back up the hill and I died. This body doesn't do hills and especially pushing 60 extra pounds.  I walked.  The negative voice on my left shoulder was far louder than the positive voice on my right.  I was very disappointed in myself.  The stroller kept pulling to the right... I took the front wheel into the bike shop a couple of weeks ago and though the problem was resolved; guess not.  Its no fun trying to stay positive when its cold, you're tired and you are constantly straightening out a stroller.  The cards were against me.  We had our chili, and headed home.

Im in the upper right corer in the turquoise shirt with my hand up.  Happy BEFORE the race.


How does the saying go?  Don't let a black cat cross your path?  I didn't.  I was 5 minutes from my house and a black cat ran out in front of my car.  Yep; bump, bump.  I stopped the car and the cat was dead.  VERY dead.  In pieces dead.  I called my husband (we took separate cars so he could run errands afterward) who was unimpressed and then called a girlfriend who agreed that I should call the police.  The police dispatcher told me "its ok... not your fault.  We will have someone clean it up by Monday".... MONDAY!?!??!  Eww.  I just asked Hubby if it was still there when he went shopping, its still there.  Poor thing.  I felt horrible.  After a horrible day just more despair.

D1 and I then stopped in at another friend's party.  1st birthday party fun!  It was very nice and the cake was amazing.  I ate mine and finished D1's.  Eating away my sadness.

Tonight hubby made chili (we got in the mood for it after sampling at the run).  Pretty good!  Hubby got a deer processed a few weeks ago and has been trying to incorporate it into our meals.  I have never been a fan of venison, but this is fabulous.  Last week he made tenderloins on the grill and I had him get some beef steaks as well 'just in case' and BY FAR the venison was better.  It had been a LONG time since I had tried it as the last time was horrible and I will stand corrected.  There is NO gamey flavor AT ALL.  NONE.  Everything I have tried I have loved so I will continue on until further notice.

Never got a chance to finish the bathroom today.  My plan is to go to bed now, get up and do an easy 2 miles and then attempt it at nap time. I will post pics as soon as its done.  Night!

Friday, February 17, 2012

WIsh me LUCK!

Going to bed on time tonight because I am running my first 5K of the year (my 3rd race to date).  I joined the Cleveland Road Race Series.  Tomorrow is the Chili Bowl Run and I am pushing D1 in her jogger.  Its pretty funny.. whenever I slow down she turns around and says "faster Mommy".  What a great coach!!!  Love her!  Tomorrow will also mark 10 miles ran this week.  I started my 12 week training program in preparation for the Cleveland Half in May!    

Today the MIL & BIL took D1 to an art class at the museum.  They always seem to have a blast.  It was nice because it was just D2 and I all day which is a rarity.  I got a lot accomplished as she is still taking 2 naps a day!  HA!

My 1st order of business was to make taco seasoning.  One of the blogs I am a regular reader of (Hip2Save) posted it recently.  I LOVE anything taco and I always hate spending the buck on the packet as its always too little or too much so this was PERFECT.  I had bought a dozen glass seasoning jars last time I was at Penzey's so I had the perfect storage.  Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

Ingredients all ready to go!

All mixed

Store in an airtight container (or 2)
After I was all done I got on a kick to get some of my 1/2 started projects done.  I got the shelves ready to go up in the bathroom (but I then realized that I didn't have 3" screws so I have to hit Home Depot tomorrow!) I did some touchup work and edging.  I should be able to post the FINISHED product tomorrow.  

I then decided to CLEAN MY CAR.  Not sure if you are like me but we go EVERYWHERE in MY car.  Hubby has carseats & bases but we always seem to be in mommy's car.  Lately the thing has been point blank disgusting.  D1 must have exploded back there because there were sticky juice spots, smushed up goldfish, and trail mix EVERYWHERE.  Enough is enough.  It was so bad that I took the Dyson out there to do it, which I swore I would never do. Dyson always stayed inside, but not for this job!  I have 3rd row seating that folds down.  I never use that row but I decided to set everything up so I could clean.  I then realized that the time I had allotted to do this chore was far to little.  I had planned to work on it for 30 mins and it took 1.5 hours. That was just the INSIDE of the car!  I cleaned, wiped. threw away, and organized.  I washed the floor mats and carseats.  The next person to dirty my car is dead!  I told Hubby tonight that if he EVER has no idea what to get me for my birthday, Christmas, or Anniversary.... get my car detailed.  What a great idea... RIGHT?  If everyone's family is like mine and mom's car is the family car... WE NEED IT!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The "L" is done!

So I am gonna write quickly as its past my *NEW* bedtime.  I had a meeting tonight and got home late!  Meeting was at Melt.... YUM!!!!

Today I FINALLY finished my letter L for D1's room.  Came out AWESOME!!!!  ENJOY!!!

Spray painted a large letter L with white paint.  Then started hot gluon the buttons

All done!
Then I took ribbon and ran it along the outside to tidy up the edges

Then I added a string to hang it with


All done!  Looks GORGEOUS!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

I'm writing this with feet propped up and a full belly.  The morning started with our weekly music class with Miss Tammy.  I had an empty refrigerator so I decided to brave the store.  I hit Costco first and got the necessities.... toilet paper, paper towel, and milk.  Then we moved onto the grocery store.  Crazy place on Valentine's day.  There was a HUGE line of all men in front of the balloon station.  WHO GETS BALLOONS on VALENTINES DAY????  Here's the pic:
Then the girls and I made cookies for Daddy.  D1 was so excited.  She had picked out sprinkles at the store. She let D2 "help".  It was cute!

Almond Sugar Cookies... YUM!!!


Here's the recipe!  Light, flaky and YUMMY!!!

Ingredients (5 dozen)


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar for decoration
Directions


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; blend into the creamed mixture. Cover and chill for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of the dough out to 3/16 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Sprinkle cookies with plain or colored granulated sugar.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


After the kids went to nap I made more Chicken Bundles as they disappeared last week.  I also was hungry for Chicken Enchiladas so I made some for dinner.  I called hubby's mom & brother and invited them over for dinner and cookies.  Once Hubby got home from work we have dinner & celebrated together.  The funny of the night was our card exchange.  At the grocery D1 INSISTED that we get daddy a "fairy princess" card.  The ladies in the aisle chuckled when I tried to explain to D1 that daddy probably does not want a Fairy card.  She just didn't get the idea that it was for dad.  She continued to insist and I finally gave in.  When we exchanged cards Daddy must have been a mind reader because he bought the EAXCT CARD for D1. HOW FUNNY!!!
And mommy got flowers!