Friday, May 29, 2015

Did I do That?

I introduced Vance to Steve Urkel and now I'm paying the price in "Did I do that's?" and snort laughs.  While Vaughn sleeps in, Vance uses that time to watch old episodes of Family Matters and Full House on his iPad. We juice (apple, celery, carrot, ginger, lemon is our go-to), eat some breakfast, then see where the day takes us. 

I found this in the kitchen today along with a trail of mess that leads to the office. I have no idea why he's deconstructing baseballs but I do know he's mine because of that smiley face that he drew on the cork ball bag. Where does doodling fall in the nature vs. nurture debate?

Vaughn is busy with creative messes of her own and I've accepted the fact that her desk will always be her own unique version of "clean" which can be seen below. It's a hot mess again now - mountains of paper, stickers, markers, glitter glue, and so forth, and I've learned to take a deep breath, look the other way, and remind myself of the Einstein quote and move along. 
"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"

The first week of summer has been great for us. Hoping it continues on! 
Cheers to that and hope everyone has a great weekend!!

*I've missed writing about the random stuff, so even if it means losing readers, I'll be doing more posts like these. I won't quit doing the other stuff, but it feels good to just sit down, type, and hit 'publish' without over thinking things, taking stylized pictures, and forming perfect paragraphs. Hope you choose to continue along with me! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Grilling Ideas

* I wrote this for a publication last year and thought I'd share it here this year. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!!!

There’s nothing like a backyard barbecue to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. In fact, it is the official opener to grilling season for my family. Every year I look forward to trying new recipes and techniques as much as I love making my tried-and-true recipes. Either way, I'm not heating up the house by cooking inside. That's the why grilling is so great! 

I love each of these three recipes. The first one is a fun appetizer that will definitely add some spice to your party! Jalapeño peppers can be stuffed with almost anything and can be prepared hours before your party, which is always a plus. Grill racks for the peppers can be found at most stores nowadays and are a fun, new way to enjoy peppers.

The Balsamic Dijon marinade is my favorite go-to marinade for chicken. It is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy and goes with just about anything. 

Grilled Portobello mushrooms are a favorite of mine and are typically what I eat when my family wants hamburgers. Whether eaten plain or on a bun topped with sliced tomatoes and avocados, they will definitely satisfy any appetite!

Stuffed Jalapeños
Jalapeño peppers
Grill rack for jalapeño peppers
Ideas for toppings, but certainly not limited to,
   Cream cheese
   Monterey Jack cheese
   Bacon (pre-cooked)

Wash, dry, and core the peppers. Since the seeds inside are the source of the heat, make sure they are all removed. Or, if you can handle the heat, leave a few in. 
At this point, the peppers can be stuffed with anything or any combination that you would like. Plain cream cheese is my favorite since it balances the heat of the pepper but it is fun to try different combinations. Make sure everything is cut to fit inside the pepper and have fun creating. 

Once peppers are stuffed, place them in the pepper grill rack and grill them on medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until heated through. 

Balsamic Dijon Marinade for Chicken

1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil 
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon honey
1 lime, juiced
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts

Add all ingredients, except chicken, into a large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and mix ingredients together until well combined. Add chicken to the bag and let it marinate in refrigerator for as little as 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours. Flipping the bag over or shaking every hour or so while in the fridge will help cover all of the meat. Before grilling take out the garlic cloves and disregard.

Grill on medium high heat for 7 minutes per side or until cooked through. 

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms
Extra virgin olive oil
Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and pepper

Carefully snap stems off of mushrooms and clean caps with a damp paper towel. Drizzle both sides of mushrooms with the olive oil and use fingers to coat the cap. (This well ensure it will not stick to grill.) Sprinkle worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper onto the gills of the mushroom. 

Grill on medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side. Can be eaten plain or on a bun with sliced tomatoes and avocados!  

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ways the Kids Mess with Me: Reason Numero Uno

"It's like it's the Great Depression and syrup is scarce. I have to utilize every drop."

These were Vance's comments one morning last week, obviously not happy about the amount of syrup that I had poured onto his waffles. I've never heard him use the word scarce much less talk about the Great Depression, so there you go. Proof that he's learned something this school year.

And then there's this, which may be hard to tell from the picture, but it's a twisty tie on a bread bag that isn't twisted but tied in a knot to close. That's right, tied in a knot. I don't know if they're trying to mess with me or if they've forgotten the basics of life, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when I'm trying to make lunches in the morning and can't figure out how to unlock the bread. I untwist this way, nope! I untwist the opposite way, nope! It's the Fort Knox of bread bags! When I start making a "Ways the Kids Mess with Me" list, this is going to be number one. Count on it to grow quickly because school's out in just two and a half days.

Friday, May 15, 2015

School's Almost Out: Time To Get Stuff Done

This is the kid's last full week of school, meaning it's GO TIME on getting things done before I have 2 full-time helpers that really don't have any intentions on helping whatsoever. 

I'm out of makeup 

I love trying new products and Sephora lets you do just that. A couple of weeks ago I took home two samples of CC creams to test out and headed back this week to buy the one I like. The winner? bareMinerals Complexion Rescue tinted gel. I also took home a sample of this Stila One Step Correct and with only using it for 2 days, I'm already a fan. (Wait. You knew that you can do that, right? Yes, Sephora has all the stuff out for you to try, but if you ask they'll pack up a sample for you to try at home (even perfume!). Great for trying things on your own and also for traveling purposes, wink wink.)
Photo cred

I need summer clothes

I found the cutest top at Madewell, but sadly can't find a picture of it online so you'll have to trust me when I tell you how cute the white linen shell top with blue embroidery is. Adorable! I also always get lucky with J. Crew factory and found some shorts and a couple tops to get me through the hot and humid baseball season. 

I need to clean

And when I say clean, I really mean declutter a few areas of major concern, namely the kid's linen closet and bathroom cabinets. Vaughn's hair accoutrement's have exploded everywhere and the closet looks like a terry cloth abyss. I came up with a quick new system (strips of ribbon hung with Command Velcro strips) for her bows and clips and I counted 13 hand towels for two kids that would be happy using their shorts to dry their hands. 

I need to finish this project

This wreath has been a sore in my side for the past 3 weeks. Plan A didn't work, neither did Plan B, not wanting to scrap it, I went with Plan C and I'm not thrilled with the outcome. I'll post about this next week, but I'm happy to have it finished and off of my dining room table. 

Are you ready for your kids to be out of school???  
Hope everyone has a great weekend! I'll be spending mine between baseball games, a softball game, and a dance recital rehearsal! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Let There Be Light!

It's been confirmed by an electrician that the original owner's of our house screwed us out of ever having recessed lighting in our family room. I mean, it's doable, but only if we want to have 27 holes drilled into the ceiling and then have 27 drywall patches that I'm sure will be glaringly noticeable. So,  I quickly launched Plan B, which meant taking down the existing ceiling fan and putting up a drum shade for light because the 3 lamps in the room are not cutting it. (This lady needs good lighting for all those games of Trouble that I beg the kids to play.)

Sometimes, when trying to fix one situation, you create a whole new situation. Our current situation is having 3 coordinating light fixtures, which to some isn't a situation at all, but I never intended things to be this matchy matchy.  That's what happens when you change light fixtures one at a time without a clear vision. I have 2 fixtures left to pick out on the main floor (kitchen pendants and a foyer chandelier) and I MUST change things up a bit. 

Here's a few that have caught my eye for the kitchen. I'm a bit torn because I like the look of clear glass pendants, but I'm afraid seeing the lightbulb will be glaring and harsh, so I'm trying to find alternatives. Decisions, decisions!

clockwise from top: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I'm not kidding around about Trouble being my favorite game. What's your favorite game?

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Love to Cook, Hate to Plan: Weekly Menu 5/11-5/17

Monday seems like a good night for quesadillas because leftovers and tortillas are a match made in heaven. Try it! It's a great way to clear the fridge from any leftovers. I'm a believer that melted cheese and a grilled tortilla can make anything taste great again.

Tuesday is our crazy night of the week, so diner's choice!

On Wednesday I'm going to make slow cooker honey sesame chicken. I was on the fence about it when I first made it, but it was so good we're going to try it again! About an hour before eating I throw a few handfuls of frozen broccoli into the crock pot and mix it together, that way I don't have to dirty another dish.

Thursday is salad night and I'm planning on chopping up a ton of veggies and letting everyone make their own. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, white beans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, feta, and whatever else we have on hand. My current favorite vinaigrette can be found here. (If you don't have champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar will work just fine.)

On Friday we'll eat out and on Saturday we'll make pizzas.

Slider Sunday's have become a thing because it's an easy way to end the weekend. (Vaughn turns her nose up at a full size burger but will eat a mini version. Kids!) Beef for the family, veggie for me. I like Hilary's bean burgers but am thinking it's time to venture out and try something new. Let me know if you have a favorite veggie or bean burger!

Here's a link to a blank  printable menu if you need it. Have a great week and 
Happy Mother's Day!

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Friday 5: Celebrating Simplicity

5 simple things from the week worth a little celebration. 

(I find her amazingly interesting and loved looking at these pictures of her wardrobe that have been locked up for the past 50 years, per her husband's request.)
Photo Cred: Ishiuchi Miyako
Here's to Vaughn's birthday. 
(I owe her a birthday post and will get to that as soon as the shock of the baby being 7 wears off.)

Here's to surviving another field trip.
(Thankful for the other parents that go along that make the adventure even more fun. Last one for Vance as a 4th grader!)

 Here's to new stuff!

Here's to all the Moms!
 (I'm looking forward to lunch with the ladies today for an early Mother's Day celebration!
Pardon the old picture
What are you celebrating this weekend? Enjoy it!

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