Home Improvements

13 Sep

It’s been crazy in our house.  We painted it.

Before:

After:

Oh, we aren’t done.  There’s still two windows, a sliding glass door, and some trim work.  Chris keeps trying to point out how much money we saved doing it ourselves.  Which is true, but we wouldn’t be exhausted or sore if we’d paid professionals to do the job.  It does look so much better now.  We had wonderful family and friends helping us out.  I am so thankful for all their help, I hate thinking about how long this would’ve taken without them.  I grilled us up some beer butt chicken (amazing) green beans, rolls and baked potatoes.  Great meal with great people.

My stepmama introduced me to a really cool blog, This Lunch Rox!  I love it so much, I bought G a new lunchbox.  It made me realize that we haven’t put enough emphasis on nutrition.  Natural/organic doesn’t mean there isn’t junk food.  Until the new one arrives, I’m using little tupperware cups to pack stuff.  There’s a lot more washing involved, but it’s working good.  Having Grace bring home the containers has brought another issue up, portion sizes.  I know some days G won’t be as hungry, or will be more hungry, but I really want to keep food waste to a minimum.  Tomorrow I’m sending her with a sandwich, strawberries, blueberries, grape tomatoes, almonds and some dark chocolate covered blueberries.  This weekend I’m picking up some dried cherries and making her some cookies using almond flour.  I’m also researching energy bar and breakfast cookie recipes.  I really want to make Grace nutrition packed meals.  Especially her lunches, she needs that brain food at school!

Before dinner, G and I went out hunting for milkweed and caterpillars.  As it turns out, there is only one milkweed plant on our entire acre.  Can you believe that?  We still had a great time looking at leaves and chasing the pups.  After, Grace went to her room to read while I made dinner and apple crisp.  I made Grace a reading nook this weekend.  It’s just the floor of her closet.  I put up felt flowers, bought her a lovely pink pillow and put her green sleeping bag in there.  The dogs drive her nuts when she’s trying to read, so I figured a quiet space that was for her and only her was just what she needed.  Chris added a little touch light, and Grace was in love.  She closes the doors and snuggles down.  Grace decided she wanted to go to bed early tonight, she has a test and wants to make sure she’s well rested.  How did I raise such a responsible little girl?  Please tell me this will last!!

 

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I Like Bread And Butter

18 Aug

Started the night off right!  Made G a strawberry slushy.  Just put ice, strawberries and a little sugar in the blender.  Simple and tasty.  Then, I made some chocolate zucchini bread. I’ve made this recipe before, trust me,  it’s divine.  Moist and chocolately and so easy to make. I made some butter to go with it. A pint of cream and a little salt in a food processor. Viola! Butter! G plans on having toast with jam and butter for breakfast tomorrow. Good choice little one.

 

 

 

Yesterday me and the husband celebrated eight years of marriage.  I can’t believe we even remembered!  It’s amazing how quickly time passes.  Sometimes it feels like we’ve been married for decades, other times, it feels like just a few years.  I love that man.  I also loved waking up to flowers.

 

 

Grace got new shoes for school.  They’re made by Keen, made from recycled and eco-friendly material.  That’s my girl!  She is so excited for school to start, she asks almost everyday when she gets to go meet her new teacher.  She has all her school supplies and new clothes, G is ready to go!  I can’t believe she’s already in second grade.  I wish time would slow down, I wish she wouldn’t grow so fast.  It’s like I’m holding a fistful of sand, the harder I squeeze, the quicker it slips away.  I think I’ll hug her extra tight tonight.  Just because I can.

 

 

 

Serve Immediately

15 Aug

Baked an apple pie yesterday. It was superb. I used this recipe for the crust. Again, it was superb!  Don’t believe me?

Even Grace needed a picture!  After the pie was out of the oven, it was off to the Game Fair.  Nothing too interesting happened there.  Grace shot a clay pigeon with a sling shot, that was pretty cool.  The pups were on their best behavior.  Although we did learn they are water snobs.  They refused to drink out of water bowls unless they were filled with fresh water.  Prissy, prissy!  They crashed as soon as we walked in the door.  Which we appreciated, we were able to eat our pie in peace.  Yeah, none of us wanted to wait until after dinner for a slice, where’s the fun in that?  Chris and G went out and shot her BB gun.  Since I’m intelligent, I stayed inside, away from the seven year old with a gun.  Papa didn’t raise no fool!

Tonight, I made Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta.  It was phenomenal!  The only thing I changed, was I added garlic salt.  There’s no such thing as too much garlic salt.  All three of us cleaned our plates.  The plan was to have a slice of pie after, but…..our tummies are a little full.  It’s doubtful I’ll eat anything else tonight.  But I might do a little more baking tonight.  At Trader Joe’s today, I picked up some brownie mix and mini peanut butter cups.  It’s back to work for me tomorrow and I have a feeling I’m going to need all the chocolate I can get my grubby hands on.  Have you had Trader Joe’s mini pb cups?  They’re little pieces of heaven.  I’m starting to drool just thinking about them!

Now I’m going to sit back and relax.  Probably alternate between rubbing my belly and knitting.  I’m making G a Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan.  I could link the pattern, but I’m much too lazy.  I’m using Cascade 220 heathers in a gorgeous dark purple.  G-funk is really excited, she loves it when I knit things for her.  I’ve been rolling around the idea of making some reusable sandwich and snack bags.  There are a lot out there, but they’re a little pricey for my taste.  Chris is always complaining about buying ziplock bags, we have lunch containers for G, but they don’t make lunch bags big enough to hold it all if you use them.  Maybe that’s our fault.  We like her to have a drink, sandwich, fruit, veggie and a snack.  That’s a whole lotta ziplock bags/containers.  Maybe reusable bags are the choice for us?

Fresh Baked

12 Aug

Little G and I made some brownies today.  Oh, they are good.  They would be better slathered in chocolate frosting, but that’s an addition for another day.  We ate them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.  The website I got the recipe from is called They Draw And Cook. All the recipes are illustrated. They are beyond cute and hilarious. I was referred to the site by Just A Smidgen, you need to check out her blog. She has a recipe for lemon cake and beergaritas on there that I am dying to try out.  Also, next week we’ll be baking some chocolate zucchini bread and trust me, you want that recipe.  It’s the only food G and I have ever fought over.  We finally decided to be mature and share the last piece, but it got a little ugly for a while there.

I finally finished season 1 of Glee.  I still don’t really get the appeal.  It was interesting enough to keep me watching, but the only characters I truly felt invested in were Kurt and his dad.  There’s one quote in the show that’s really stuck with me.  Kurt’s dad said this to him, “I will fight to the death for your right to love.”  How beautiful is that?  Doesn’t that just resonate inside?  Their relationship is the only thing that really drew me in.  Are any of you fans?  What keeps you watching?  The incredible Kristin Chenoweth was on the show and the first song she performed they had Lea Michele sing with her.  Well, not with her, they were cutting back and forth between the two, which in my opinion was a huge mistake.  It made it glaringly obvious who was the good singer and who was the talented singer.  Kristin is the talented one, if you’re wondering.

And that’s it.  That’s all I’ve been doing.  Baking, watching Glee, and knitting.  I am nothing if not boring.  And I’m alright with that.  This has been such a wonderfully relaxing week.  Starting tomorrow, Chris will be off the rest of the weekend.  We’re hoping for nice weather tomorrow night.  The plan is to sit in front of big bonfire and watch the stars.  There’s this app called Star Walk.  You just point it at the sky and it tells you what constellations, planets, and satellites you’re looking at.  It actually has a lot of really neat information on it.  Maybe we’ll pop some popcorn, too.  All I know is that I have a really nice night with my family planned.

Wildflowers And Butterflies

9 Aug

Baked some delicious blueberry muffins. They were wonderful! I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar before popping them in the oven. The smell was amazing. We ate them before they were fully cooled. Oh, these will be made again. I really enjoyed the hint of lemon. The muffins weren’t too dense, and not at all dry. Truly a great recipe. This weekend I will be baking an apple pie. Who doesn’t enjoy a slice of warm apple pie? I don’t know who’s more excited, Chris or Grace. Those two love my pies. My greatest joy is watching my feal enjoy something I’ve made from scratch. My next adventure will a be a dye-free red velvet cake. Chris has pointed out that it should be called a velvet cake, since it won’t be red. I’m determined to find the perfect birthday cake recipe. Something tells me a velvet cake is exactly what I’m looking for.

When Grace came home, we grabbed our cameras and headed outside. (After she ate a muffin, of course!) We walked around the yard taking pictures of flowers, bees and butterflies. Grace has really gotten into photography. She loves taking pictures of herself, the pups and anything she finds interesting. I love looking through the memory card after. It’s interesting to see what catches her eye. She picked flowers on our way back in, and put them in a vase. Grace read Judy Moody while I made us dinner. Orange chicken and white rice. That little girl had three helpings! Growth spurt! She won’t fit into any of her back-to-school clothes. Grace picked out a Captain Recycle shirt. Big surprise, right?

 

Just Eat It

8 Aug

Little G had a very productive morning.  She got up early, swept the kitchen and dining room, cleaned the table, dusted the living room and did work in her math book.  Then she woke us up and politely demanded breakfast.  You see, Grace wants a Nintendo DS.  We won’t buy her one.  But we did tell her if she worked hard, did some chores around the house and yard, we would give her an allowance.  That way, she could earn money and buy the DS herself.  We really want to teach Grace the joy of working hard, saving money, and buy the things she wants herself.  We don’t want to raise a spoiled, irresponsible, entitled little girl.  Wish us luck!!  Trust me, we’re going to need it.  I do feel the need to point out that she willing chose to study her math, no prompting from us.  That might be due to the fact that we’ve always put an emphasis on education.  The brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised, just like any other muscle.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wrangling up four puppies.  Yeah, that’s right, four puppies.  My parents were out-of-town for the weekend so we watched Bad Brutus and Ivan The Terrible for them.  It was…..trying.  I mean, Ivan and Brutus are sooooo cute and funny.  But four young pups in one house is just a whole lotta dog.  Taking them potty, chasing them out of each others food dishes, separating disagreements, you get the idea.  I did love it when Brutus and Ivan would curl up in my lap and snooze.  Brutus pretty much didn’t leave my lap, which I loooooved.  Luckily, they didn’t destroy the house and there was only one potty accident.  And all the puppies survived.  What more could we ask for?

Dinner was a new recipe. Parmesan Chicken with spaghetthi sauce I made up as I went, and angel hair pasta. Simply Recipes is a really great food blog I just came across. Tomorrow I’m going to make some blueberry muffins with a recipe I found there. The chicken was fantastic! It is definitly one that I would make again. Chris and Grace both had second helpings. We are now parked on the couch rubbing our overly full bellies. For dessert we’re having some frozen yogurt. Well, if we can find room in our tummies we’re having frozen yogurt. It isn’t looking too good right now.

After Grace goes to bed, Chris and I will pass the night watching season 2 of Castle.  I love Nathan Fillion.  Any of you Firefly fans?  That is our favorite show, we watch it all the time.  I really wish they’d make another Firefly movie.  I miss Capt. Mal.  I hope all of you had a great weekend.  If you’ll excuse me, my tummy needs a little more rubbing….

You Bugs Can Bite Me

4 Aug

Grace got stung/bit by something on her forehead Saturday night.  By Sunday evening, both eyes were starting to shut.  Let’s just say, after a run to Urgent Care, getting the prescription filled, and then coming home and medicating G, it was almost midnight when we finally got her into bed.  Monday morning her face was so swollen she could barely open her eyes.  Today was her first day back at her summer program.  (Daycare if you want to call it that)  Her poor face is mainly normal.  The Prednisone mixed with Benadryl made her quite cantankerous.  It was almost more than I could take!

Speaking of her summer program.  They went on a field trip today to Grand Slam.  Local arcade.  What they failed to mention to us parents is that the kids weren’t allowed to bring their lunches.  All kids ate hot dogs and had either soda or water.  I was NOT happy.  Had we known they were going to make everyone eat that nasty food, we wouldn’t have had G go.  We have explained to them and filled out paperwork stating that Grace can only have food brought from home or that is all natural.  Really, really, really unhappy.

Things weren’t much better once we got home.  Did you know it’s hard to make spaghetti without spaghetti sauce?  Thankfully I found small jar of spaghetti sauce and a can of tomato sauce in the cupboard.  Seasoned it as I went.  And you know what?  It turned out pretty dang tasty if I do say so myself.  For dessert there are two options.  Some all-natural Ben & Jerry’s ice cream I found or some incredibly yummy banana bread.  Here’s the link for the recipe: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/  WordPress won’t allow to make a super cool link, the jerks.

Well, that’s about as interesting as it gets around here.  I have otherwise been knitting and reading.  Finished A Game Of Thrones and am now working on A Clash Of  Kings.  Very interesting books so far!