Tuesday, September 27, 2011

spaghetti squash

I've seen this veggie roaming around blogland lately. Until last week I had never eaten it or even seen it before in my life. It just so happened that it was on sale a few weeks ago in our local grocery store and I decided to venture out and give it a try.

Guess what? I'm in love and will DEFINITELY make it again.

Here's what you do:

1. Cut this bad boy in half. It looks like a pumpkin on the inside so scrap out the seeds and stringy things.

2. Wrap each half in saran wrap and pop each half in the microwave for 6 minutes.

3. Unwrap the squash and take a fork and scrape it out. The insides will be spaghetti like.

We served it with our favorite sauce - grandma's homemade spaghetti sauce:

1 onion
1 green pepper
1 celery stalk
1 Tbs. minced garlic
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. ground hamburger
2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
8 - 15oz cans of tomato sauce
3 - 6oz cans of tomato paste

1. Cook meat in skillet with Italian seasoning.
2. Add onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, and oil.
3. Once cooked thoroughly place in large pot with sauce and paste.
4. Cook all afternoon.

Makes about 6 quarts

Try something new and give it a try!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

hanging files

This is a project I did for Kierste's Back to Basics party!

I have to admit my heart went pitter patter when I first found out she wanted me to post about back to school. I used to be a 2nd grade teacher and I secretly {heart} all things school related. The new clothes, school supplies, backpacks, classroom decorations, etc. all get me a little giddy this time of year!

But from my teaching turned mommy perspective I now know about all the PAPERS sent home (and my little one is only in preschool) - there's newsletters and book orders and worksheets and fundraisers and more book orders - what the heck do you do with all of them???!!!

Here's the solution. Or just my solution ;)

I {heart} Goodwill. Cheap. Good prices. Returnable. My mom is also a fan so when we get together complete with my grandma in tow- we're a force to be reckoned with. Here's the goodie I found last time we went -

This past trip I managed to snap these babies up for 99 cents. What are they? Hanging file holders.

So you didn't just happen to run across these as well...no worries - you can probably find them just about anywhere - Walmart, Staples, online, etc.

I took those bad boys and some trusty brown spray paint and went to town! I used my handy dandy silhouette to cut a vinyl initial and tada - everyone in our family now has their own file holder on the wall.

Gone are the days of papers strewn across the countertops or just a huge neat stack of papers in a corner in the kitchen. When the backpack/mail/anything comes home the sorting begins - some goes in the trash, their own papers go in their holder, ones mommy and daddy need go in ours. Keeps everything and everyone organized and the papers and mess to a minimum.

Hopefully our new set up will help my little kids participate in keeping our house more organized and maybe now mommy will be better able to keep track of all those school papers!

enjoy ~


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's well over 1/2 way through the year and I made one New Year's Resolution -
find balance & moderation in my life.

In my quest for finding {moderation in all things} one of the changes I've made has been to stop faithfully following Weight Watchers. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Weight Watchers and it has helped me lose 20lbs three different times in my life. But since I've been in a maintenance phase regarding my weight for the past year I've decided to tuck it all away for now and just follow and trust my instincts. I was getting way too obsessed and I realized I didn't need it any more to keep my weight. I know how to eat, I know what's healthy, and I really don't need to track or count points or follow a 'program' at this point in my life. Will I use Weight Watcher's again? Who knows? Maybe after I have another baby and am trying to lose that baby weight. Maybe I won't need it at all. But for now, I'm trying to have enough confidence in myself that I can do it all on my own.

Part of maintaining a healthy weight for me is to be aware of my body and what I'm eating. I try to find {moderation} in all the different foods I choose to put in my body. Here are what my typical dinners {try} to include: 1/2 plate full of veggies, 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 carb. Does it ALWAYS look this way? No. But this is what I aim for.

In the summer we do A LOT of grilling. Here's what dinner looked like on this particular night - 1/2 large baked potato, a skewer of marinated chicken, a couple of skewers of peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. A nice balanced plate full of healthy yet delicious foods!


Monday, September 12, 2011

stir fry

Now that the weather is starting to cool down my oven & stove have been getting a little more use. Although I absolutely love watermelon, cold salads, and the grill I'm actually kind of excited for the crisp cool air, hot bread out of the oven, and warm soups.

Here's a pretty simple and basic dinner we had the other night. I love stir fry's because they are an easy and yummy way to have a dinner jam packed with veggies. I try to make sure our dinners include these 3: a lean protien, veggies, and a carb. This one fit the bill perfectly!

I found the recipe at Annie's Eats - go over and check out all her other yummy goodies!

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Mushrooms


2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. dry sherry (I used white cooking wine)

2 tsp. water

4 tsp. peanut oil (I only used about 2)

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I only used about 1/2)

1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger (I used dried)

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 package fresh snow peas

1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and caps cut into 1” pieces

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 tsp. Asian sesame oil

1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

(I added 1/2 an onion and a can of water chestnuts)


1. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, sherry and water. Set aside.

2. Preheat a wok or deep, heavy fry pan over high heat. Add 2 tsp. of the peanut oil and carefully tilt and rotate the pan to distribute the oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they are bright pink but not yet cooked through, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook them. Transfer to a plate.

3. Return the pan to high heat. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tsp. peanut oil, tilting the pan to coat the bottom and sides with the oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the snow peas and mushrooms and return the shrimp to the pan. Stir-fry until the snow peas are bright green, 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Pour in the stock and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes more.

6. Briefly stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine, then pour it into the pan. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 2 minutes.

7. Add the sesame oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate-Banana-PB Protein Shake

Ever since the hubby and I did p90x together in the winter he's maintained a more protein rich diet which includes protein powdered. Mixing the stuff with milk just doesn't do it for me. Then one day a running partner told me about this combo she makes - chocolate protein powder, bananas, peanut butter, and milk - UM - YES PLEASE!

So I went home a few days later and tried it out using the recipe I found here

It was delish and I will definitely be making it again - beware it's definitely not a super low calorie drink but is perfect for after a long run or meal replacement.


- 2 bananas (sliced and frozen)
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 cup fat free milk
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder


1. Blend and serve!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pesto Panini

Salads and sandwiches have been my staples this summer. Oh - and the grill. Can't forget the grill. That's probably my number one.

Anyways - I've been having fun creating some yummy combinations for our panini's. Here's the latest.

Ingredients (for two):

- about 4 tablespoons of pesto (I buy it in a jar - you go girl if you make it yourself)
- 4-6 ounces of shredded chicken
- 8-10 leaves of fresh basil
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 slices of provolone cheese (I use the Sargento reduced fat kind)
- 4 slices of sourdough bread (of whatever other yummy carb you want to put it all on)
- a few slices of red onions


1. Spread both sides of your bread with some pesto. However much your little heart desires.

2. Mix the chicken with the basil, sundried tomatoes, and a little more pesto.

3. Slather it on your bread and top with sauteed red onions and a slice of cheese.

4. Stick that bad boy in a panini press (or for us that means the George Foreman grill) until hot and sizzily.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

strawberry salad




I love salads! The summer for me is a time for new yummy creative salads! The freshness in the hot weather is just perfect. I have two favorites and this is one of them.

Throw all these things in and I promise it will be pretty tasty -

- romaine/spinach

- chunks of grilled chicken

- sliced almonds

- crumbled feta cheese

- dressing - Brianna's Homestyle Blush-Wine Vinagrette (the big strawberry on the front - my momma introduced it and now it's the hubby's new FAVORITE - he eats it on all salads now)

enjoy ~


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

monogramed towels

My kids fight. Do yours? It drives me up the wall so when I have the chance to try and eliminate the bickering I jump at the chance.

When I saw these towels at Target I fell in love. Some blogger out there probably has already made these bags and added a ruffle and whatever else. I opted to just buy them. $9.99 for a towel + plus an already made bag complete with a ruffle - SCORE!

To help keep the fighting to a minimum I decided to #1 - buy my kiddos the exact same towel. #2 - I put their initial on them.

I had just purchased the Silhouette and so I quickly bought and tried out the heat transfer but was disappointed when I learned it wasn't washable. Perfect for other projects just not this one. So I went back to my trusty Heat 'n' Bond! Love it - works like a charm and holds up perfectly running through the wash a million bagillion times :)

If you haven't tried Heat 'n' Bond go get yourself some - you'll love it!

enjoy ~


Sunday, August 14, 2011

grilled pizza

I am trying to live up every last second of summer eating. In our family summer eating means ice cream, salads, fresh fruit, and the GRILL! We love the grill. Usually it's just steak, chicken, kabobs, hot dogs, etc. But this year I saw a couple of grilled pizza recipes and knew I had to give it a try. Man an I glad I did! It was fabulous and will definitely be repeated again.

I found this recipe for pizza dough over at My Bizzy Kitchen. It seemed easy and quick - and that was exactly what it was! I ended up using 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour and it was delish!

Then I used this tutorial from Meals&Moves.

1. Basically make and roll out your dough.

2. Spray your grill with non-stick spray.

3. Lay the dough on for 2-3 minutes.

4. Take it off, load the non-grilled side with toppings, and stick back on the grill!

We made one side with just pizza sauce and shredded mozzerella for the kiddos. The other side was jared pesto, chicken sausage, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, and fat-free mozzerella. Both were delish!

We can't wait to try more combinations! BBQ chicken, chicken and feta, the list could go on and on and on. Hopefully we'll find more favorites!

enjoy ~


Friday, August 12, 2011

keepsake notebook

I consider blogging a way to keep track of our family memories, milestones, and definitely a journal of our family. As my children grow more and more each year I'm reminded of how quickly time passes by. Especially at back-to-school time I'm more and more recommitted to recording all the funny, cute, special things my children do and say that make our day-to-day lives so enjoyable and that I want to remember forever.

For Mother's Day I gave my mom a cardstock covered and embellished notebook with the title "Words of Wisdom from Grandma". I wrote to her on the first page and left the rest blank for her to record anything and everything she wanted for my kids. My mom had a very special relationship with her own grandma and I want my kids to have that same thing with my mom. This is her little notebook to record things she wants them to know, advice, funny things that happen or they say when they're with her, etc.

One day my mother will give my kids this and I hope it's a special token and reminder of their grandma's love for them and something they'll end up cherishing forever.

enjoy ~

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

laundry baskets

I HATE cleaning. H.A.T.E. Laundry is actually one chore I really don't mind doing. Lately though I've struggled with how to sort and put it away efficiently.

I remember reading on the The Idea Room her laundry routine and so I followed suit and attempted my own.

Right now there are 4 people in our family. Everyone has a basket. On one side are laundry sorting labels - darks, whites, colors, towels/sheets.

On the other side of each basket is each person's name.

On laundry day the clothes are dumped and sorted into the correct baskets and brought to the laundry room. Once everything is washed and folded they are put in the correct basket and carried to each individual's room.

Once I made a permanent spot in the laundry room I'd like to buy additional baskets so each one doesn't have to do double duty. Once my kiddos are older they will be able to help more but for now they are doing a good job of learning how to sort, push clothes into the dryer, and hang!



Monday, August 8, 2011

burned silk flowers

My girls have been in desperate need of some new hair things. We have a TON of them already but they were wanting some new ones and I had a few in mind I'd been wanting to try. Introducing some of the easiest and cutest flowers (although I know they've been around for awhile now!)

My mom made these last year with some of her girls at girl's camp (a camp girls 12-18 go to from our church). She gave me a super cute red one and I've been meaning to make some of my own ever since.

Life happens and I am just now getting around to making some. I'm so sad it took me so long because they were super quick and easy - and adorable.


1. Buy whatever color silkyish fabric you'd like - I bought an 1/8th of a yard and that would make at least 3. I bought mine from JoAnn's and it cost me 50 cents.

2. Cut five different sized circles.

3. Hold the edges of each circle over an open flame. Be careful not to catch in on fire. The edges will start to melt and curl up.

4. Once you've done each of the five circles stack them on top of each other. Using a needle and thread put a small stitch in the middle to keep the fabric together.

5. Add whatever embellishment you'd like to the middle (button, bead, brad, etc.)

6. Attach a clip/rubberband to the back.

enjoy ~


Saturday, August 6, 2011

hair stuff

I live in the Mid-west. Right now that equals major HUMIDITY!!! It's been killer lately. Especially on my hair. I straighten it in the morning and after heading outside for more than a 1/2 hour my hair is frizzer and thicker and wavier in places I really just don't want it to be.

Last weekend I headed to the store and bought 3 different anti-humidity hair things. Guess what? None of them really worked too well. Then my good friend Lyndi told me about this:

I am IN LOVE! It is by Pantene and called creme. It can be purchased at just about any store. It can be put on wet or dry hair. And it's only 6 dollars. Perfect.

I tried it out this weekend and after an entire night outside my hair looked like this - exactly the way it looked when I left the house!

enjoy ~


Thursday, August 4, 2011

7-up biscuits

I love bread. Period. Warm hot doughy bread. Plain, with butter, homemade jam, etc. Just about any way sounds good to me!

When I starting seeing a few places feature a recipe for 7-UP bisuits I knew I had to try them. Number 1 because I had all the ingredients on hand and number 2 because they seemed quick and easy.

I found the recipe on your homebased mom but realized I only had low-fat versions of all the ingredients - but guess what? Still turned out PERFECT!


2 Cups Heathly Bisquick

1/2 Cup fat free sour cream

1/2 Cup diet 7-Up

1/4 cup butter


1. Mix sour cream and Bisquick. Add in 7-Up.

2. The dough will be very soft. I had to keep adding Bisquick to even be able to work with it.

3. Sprinkle Bisquick on counter, pat out to about 1 inch thick, cut into biscuits (I used the top of a drinking glass).

4. Place melted butter in bottom of a 9x9 pan.

5. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.

enjoy ~


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Do you hate these things? I sure did. Well I'd only had them on a veggie tray or sliced up on a salad.

Then my friend planted them in her garden. She was out of town FOREVER and they needed harvesting so I picked them for her. They wouldn't last till she came up from her vacation so I went home and looked on the internet for a recipe. The first thing that came up was a classic 'steamed radishes'. I decided, what the heck!, I'll give it a try.

And guess what? They were DELICOUS! Obviously not the best vegetable I've ever had - but I actually liked them and wanted to keep eating them this way. Kind of like a potato taste.


1. Wash and slice/chunck radishes.

2. Place in a glass dish and cover entirely with water.

3. Microwave for 8 minutes.

4. Drain and place in a dish.

5. Top with a little butter and some salt and pepper.


enjoy ~


Sunday, July 31, 2011

fabric binder

With 'Back to School' right around the corner I've been seeing all kinds of school supplies popping up everywhere! It's really too early for me and I hate having to shop for any last minute summer gear in the clearance sections already!!!

I don't know about you or your kids but I'm always using binders - for church, preschool board, etc. And if you are like me you just might have a collection of old college binders roaming around in your basement somewhere. What to do with them? Jazz them up! No need to go spend more money on newer cuter ones. Make your old junky ones look just as good :)

Stuff you need:


Adhesive Spray

Old Binder


1. Wipe down and clean old binder.

2. Use Adhesive Spray according to directions.

3. Cut and adhere fabric around the binder.

enjoy ~