Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gratituesday: My Backyard

What a pretty sight it was the other evening.  Sitting in my living room and watching the sunset in our backyard.  Really too snowy and cold to go outside and enjoy the backyard, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Our backyard is one of the big reasons we bought our house nearly two years ago.  It is nice and flat, very shady in the summer (almost too shady...so much so that I can't grow a garden in our backyard but there isn't a single spot that gets enough sunlight...), has a play spot for the kids, and backs right up to woods - instead of staring into another's neighbor's house or an alley like at our old house.  We absolutely love it and are very blessed to have this big, beautiful backyard.

Why am I so obsessed with our backyard?  Because - compare it to our postage-stamp-sized backyard in St. Paul:

It was a great little house and we were blessed to have the house for over ten years, but still...not a whole lot of "breathing room" there.  (too bad my sweet little daughter was bending over this picture so you can't see her cherub-like 3-year-old face in this picture).

Deer and turkeys meandering through our yard.  Sunsets.  And room to breathe and run.

This post is linked to Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Plan: Week of 2/26/13

We were all still fairly under weather the last week and I didn't get my menu plan posted, but I did actually follow it almost to a "t" all week, which nearly never happens.  We enjoyed homemade backed mac and cheese and pumpkin chocolate chip waffles with lots of leftovers.  This week's menu is simple and easy:

Ranch Chicken Strips, homemade baked french fries, carrot sticks with ranch

hubby working late so I promised I'd take the kids to Applebees :-)

Oven Roasted Sticky Chicken (except making just one bird, not TWO like the recipe calls for...), sweet potato fries, roasted mixed vegetables

Creamy Chicken and Rice (using leftover chicken - this is one of my absolute favorite recipes and my mouth is watering already thinking about it!), fruit salad

Grilled Mexican Chicken Wraps (new recipe - using leftover chicken), chips and salsa, carrots and ranch

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday ideas!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeling better...and feeling old.

Feeling Better
We are all (finally) feeling better in our household after all of us were bitten by the nasty flu bug.  My little one did end up getting it but not nearly as bad as the rest of us, thank God.  I have a lingering annoying cough but otherwise all is well.  You know you  have a house full of sickies when this is what remains at your sink after you do dishes:

An array of medicine dosage cups and an empty orange juice pitcher.  That pretty much sums up our last two weeks.

Feeling Old

I am 38 years old.  There, I said it.

But prior to having my third child 16 months ago, I used to think that if the lighting was right and if someone looked at me after having a nice strong martini, I could definitely pass for a woman in her late 20s.  But all that has changed.  In a short year and a half, my wrinkles have become deeper, the bags under my eyes have gotten darker and bigger, new gray hairs are taking over my bangs, and just this morning I noticed a nice purplish vein making its way up my calf.

Yesterday I was walking through the mall with my kiddos and noticed a cute tank top in the window of the Buckle.  It was lavender with dark purple flowers and lace trim.  So cute.  And then I realized I was going to be FORTY YEARS OLD in less than two years and that I would look absolutely ridiculous wearing that tank top.  First, it was meant for teenagers that don't have a "I've had three kids" tummy pooch.  Second, I think the sales girl would assume I was shopping for my daughter or niece if I stepped foot into that store.

And here is the icing on the cake-
My daughter came home from kindergarten yesterday afternoon and showed me her work for the day.  Since Monday was President's Day, they had did a little workbook page on a president.  Isn't it cute?

And then she asked me: "Mom, was he the president when you were born?"

Case closed.

Monday, February 11, 2013


The flu bug has hit our house.  Big time.

First my kindergartner daughter.  Then me, my husband and 4-year-old son all got it at the same time.

Thankfully, so far, my 16-month-old has been spared.  I'm praying that this holds true and she escapes this terrible crud.

None of us have been this ill in quite a while.  Fever.  Chills.  Aches.  Coughing.  Oh my goodness, the coughing.  That is what has hit us the hardest.  I'm pretty sure my neighbors can hear us hacking away.

And yes, we all had the flu shot.

My daughter is feeling much better and is back to school now.  The rest of us are slowly recuperating.  I haven't been hit this hard in a while.

Why are there no sick days for SAHMs?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins/Bread

I've made this recipe before for Strawberries & Cream Bread.  It.  Is.  Fantastic.  I've always wanted to try it with blueberries but never got around to it.

So the other day I had some blueberries left from Costco that had a gotten a little too soft to serve by themselves.  I decided to make this bread with blueberries.  But then I looked at the list of ingredients and thought I would try to make it more healthy by cutting the sugar and butter and switching the flour.  And then I realized I didn't have enough time to bake the bread for breakfast before everyone ran out the door so I turned it into muffins instead of bread (and saved 40 minutes of baking time.)

The results of this experiment were fantastic.  Yummy!

Blueberries & Cream Muffins - adapted from this Food.com recipe


1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
heaping 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 T. butter, softened
4 T. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. Turbinado raw sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries (or 1 1/ 4 cups fresh & chopped strawberries)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, beat butter until creamy.
Add the applesauce and sugars and beat until well mixed.
Beat in the eggs.
Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, just until moistened.
Fold in the blueberries.
Pour into greased muffin pan bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  (If making this into bread, pour into greased 8x4 loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan: Week of 2/4/13

We did a pretty good job of sticking to the menu plan last week.  I wasn't feeling the greatest so there was one night when dear hubby picked up Chinese takeout on his way home instead of having me cook supper.  Otherwise, we did pretty well.

Here is what is planned for us this week:

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins (recipe to come soon)
cereal and fruit
Eggs and toast

sandwiches, chips, fruit
Spaghettios (my son's FAVORITE and I allow it once a week), carrot sticks
Fish sticks, cottage cheese, orange slices
Homemade chicken nuggets (my plan is to make a huge batch of these to keep in the freezer), veggie chips, apple slices

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa (new recipe) for mom and dad; Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (new recipe) for the kids; carrot sticks and ranch  (I don't normally make something separate for the kids but my hubby has been on a quinoa kick lately and my kids won't touch it, so hence the mac and cheese.)

Cheddar Beef Enchiladas (from the freezer), chips and salsa, grapes

Homemade Tomato Soup (new recipe), ham and swiss melts, apple slices

Homemade Pizza, romaine salad with ranch, grapes


This post is linked to I'm An Organizing Junkie - tons of organizing and menu planning resources!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Randomness - My "Baby" is 16 months old today!

No more babies in this house.  We have a sweet and smart kindergartner, a rowdy and cute preschooler, and a very busy and active toddler.  My sweet little Kate is 16 months old today.  Running, talking, laughing, teasing.  She is so awesome.

Nearly every day, when her sister gets dressed to head out to the bus for kindergarten or when her brother is getting ready for preschool, Kate grabs her little Elmo backpack (a hand-me-down from big brother as he has since grown into a larger "big boy" Avengers backpack) and brings it to me or big sister to put it on her.  She then walks around the house with it on as is if she is going to school, too.

(Notice the lack of both socks.  She views socks as the enemy.  I'm surprised she had even one on in this picture.  Truly, socks are her number one foe.  Mittens come in a close second.)

Slow down, little girl.

Mama's not ready for you to go to school yet.

You are sweet, sassy, and somedays you are full of you-know-what...but that is what makes you YOU.

So take off the backpack, grab a sippy cup and a baby doll, and settle down for at least two more years at home with mama.

I love you, Katie-Bug.