lovely long weekend

It’s been quite busy over here, so I think the easiest thing to do is summarize it all in bulleted form:

  • Jake had his 2nd grade concert last week and it went very well. He practiced for everyone and did a great job at the show.
  • Drew’s dad and step-mom spent a couple days visiting with us. They live in Miami so we don’t see them often. The boys had so much fun with them and Laura did too. We had some great meals out as well as at home. (I felt like I could have benefited from weight loss supplements, LOL!)
  • Yesterday we spent the day with Drew’s mom and aunt. We grilled outside and just relaxed. I’ve been feeling a teeny bit under the weather, so last night Drew took the boys to the drive-in movie theatre to see Shrek 4. They loved it!
  • Today we went to the Memorial Day parade, but Jake marched with the Cub Scouts so that was fun for him. They both came away with tons of candy. At home we just cooked some turkey burgers and took it easy today.
  • I’ve got a busy week ahead. It’s our 9th anniversary and Laura’s 1st birthday.
  • Hope you all are enjoying a beautiful Sunday evening.

quickie weekend crochet

Clo baby poncho

This is the quickest little crochet project! Friday night Drew and Jake were camping with the Cub Scouts, so I decided to whip up a little something for Laura to wear to her cousin’s Baptism. Her outfit was very summery, and just in case it was cool, I didn’t want her to be chilly. I had the pattern for Vickie Howell’s Clo Baby Poncho in my craft binder and thought it would be perfect. Instead of the suggested embellishment, I made a more traditional flower. I was really happy with the result. Here’s Lulu modeling it with her favorite guy:

drew & lu

(Don’t mind her expression. She had just woken up from a nap). I had to use yarn from my stash and the only thing that even vaguely fit the bill in terms of color (I really wanted it to be white, not cream but such is life) is some leftover Bernat Berella 4 I used for my ripple afghan. This resulted in a very heavy garment. Since it’s a little big on her (I made the size 12-24 months version), it should be perfect for the fall. I think it will look adorable with jean or cords and a turtleneck. I think the pattern would be very easy to modify to larger children’s sizes, or even adult sizes. And if you don’t join the chain it would be a very pretty shawl or capelet. I think I’ll make a variation at some point.

no cavities

Last summer when I went to the dentist (after a couple years of skipping my visits), I had bad news: my wisdom teeth had to be pulled and I had three small cavities. I was devastated. Lucky for me, today I got a clean bill of dental health! I really love the dental office I go to (Aspen Dental) and they’re opening a branch closer to my house. It can be a real hassle going to my current office because you have to deal with some heavy (crazy) traffic. I feel like I should be suggesting that these people visit or something when we come to a stoplight. The way they drive, an accident seems imminent. I’m always glad to make it there and back without anything happening!

At any rate, my teeth are nice and clean now and I don’t have to worry about fillings. That’s such a relief 🙂


For some reason, people around here like to stack rocks. When we first moved to the area, I found it a little odd. But as the years have passed, the rock groupings (some of them quite large) have become rather compelling. I’ve tried to figure out what exactly they’re called, but the closest I’ve come up with is cairns. And that’s not quite right because the stacks are just one rock on top of another rather than piles. Whatever they are, they’ve grown on me. Over the weekend, Drew did a bit of rock stacking himself in front of the house.



This one is my favorite:


I think they add a fun touch to our gardens and they’re different from your standard garden statuary.

meal plan monday

My big successes last week were the chicken vindaloo and the black bean soup (which I made again for lunch today). I haven’t posted the soup recipe because I’m trying to get it perfect. It’s pretty close, though! The pork chops didn’t happen because the meat looked off. (Why do I buy pork chops? We don’t even like them all that much.) Spaghetti and meatballs turned into chicken marsala on a whim, and it was so yummy. Laura devoured the chicken and mushrooms! The whole wheat buns were a huge disaster since I had the wrong type of flour. The backyard birds ate well that night! Luckily I had a package of store-bought buns handy. And shrimp skewers didn’t happen. Noah wanted cereal and the rest of us ate grilled chicken sandwiches.

On to this week. I’ve got a huge package of chicken drumsticks in the freezer so I think I’ll pull that out and make a big batch of stock. I’m looking forward to the short ribs, but I think I’m the only one! We have a lot going on this week, so my meals are pretty straightforward. I also did a little freezer cooking over the weekend so if necessary I can pull something out at a moment’s notice. But here’s what I’m thinking about:

Sunday: Pizza and salad
Monday: Cheese ravioli, marinara (from the freezer), salad
Tuesday: Taco ring (made with ground chicken) with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, pico de gallo and guacamole
Wednesday: Cabernet braised short ribs, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables
Thursday: Homemade chicken soup and sandwiches
Friday: Grilled turkey burgers, chips, cole slaw
Saturday: Not sure yet

Visit Organizing Junkie for more great meal plans.

how to have a perfect saturday

1. Start the day with a good breakfast, in this case triple-berry muffins that I let the boys make (just the add-water-variety of muffin mix), yogurt, fruit, and a big mug of Green Mountain Coffee’s Dark Magic.


2. Buy some dirt-cheap Bosc pears and apples at the local farm stand. Then take a blurry picture of them.


3. Hook a row on the adorable dress you are testing for the fabulous Alicia Paulson (!!!)!


4. Allow your boys to run through the sprinkler even though you think it’s too cold out. Wonder how you made such cute kids.


5. Watch them play with their new Tech Decks and the set you found for $1 (!!!) at a yard sale this morning.

yard sale deal

6. Notice that one of the strawberry plants has a teeny tiny strawberry that is turning red and immediately yell, “Oh my goodness how cute!!!” And cause your boys to come run and see.


7. Make a baby smile 🙂


so long, restaurants (for a while…)

slow cooker chicken vindaloo If you know my family, you know that we enjoy eating out at restaurants. There are a lot of great places around here, from chains to hole-in-the-wall diners. But as I mentioned in my previous post, Laura is entering a rather, um… difficult phase. Last night we ended up at Friendly’s because the pork I’d thawed looked suspicious and quite honestly, Drew and I were restless and felt like doing something. She wasn’t happy with the applesauce I’d brought for her, grew tired of fries after a while and wanted little to do with a roll. I was mortified as she threw things on the floor and immediately I was cleaning up after her. (I can’t understand mothers or fathers who leave messes on the floor for the waitstaff to clean up — at least make an effort!)

So, we’re cutting back on our restaurant visits, which is fine. We’ll save some money and calories in the process I’m sure! I’m thinking about doing another freezer cooking day like I did back in February. It would be helpful to have some dinner kits prepared, some taco meat ready to go, and burger patties made up for quick dinners (and so we’re not left scrambling the next time I take a chance on marked-down meat). Maybe I’ll plan it for the beginning of June when several of the other blogs I read do their freezer cooking. I need to prepare for the big day, LOL!

While we were out we checked out new microwaves. Ours is probably seven or eight years old and it’s pretty tired. We’re considering splurging on an over-the-stove model. Our range hood isn’t the greatest and I’d love the extra counter space we’d gain by moving the microwave up. We checked out several models from name brands like Samsung to generic store brands and have an idea of what we’re going to go with. And then, as if by magic, we got a coupon for Lowe’s in the mail! Don’t you love when things like that happen?

Going back to cooking, I’m changing up tonight’s meal plan as well. I had a craving for chicken marsala, so I’m making that along with linguine, roasted asparagus, and I’m about to bake up some artisan bread to go with it all. I’m hungry just thinking about it! What are you having tonight?

(Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the photo up there? That’s the chicken vindaloo I made the other night. Seriously drool-worthly!)

laura was here

laura was here

See that? That, my friends, is evidence that our sweet little baby girl has become dead-set on destruction. Although she isn’t walking yet, she’s a super fast crawler and she can open cabinets. She leaves a trail of rubble everywhere she goes: DVD cases, CDs, shredded tissues or newspaper, and (obviously) pantry items — her personal favorite. I’m (almost) ready to give up on trying to keep the house tidy. OK, not really. But I’d kind of forgotten about this phase since Jake and Noah are relatively good about cleaning up after themselves. Hopefully Lulu will learn to emulate her big brothers. And quickly. On a positive note, maybe chasing her all over the house will result in some quick weight loss for me!

meal plan monday, back on track

Oh it’s been a while hasn’t it? I guess that’s my MO with this feature. My interest in posting weekly menus ebbs and flows. I always have something scribbled down, but for some reason when I post it on my blog I stick to the menu more often than not, so… here we go! I am back on Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Friday I mixed up a batch of dough and Saturday we enjoyed it with grilled chicken salads when my friend was visiting. I think it will be perfect with the soup I’m planning for tonight.  (It’s going to be a chilly week.) I’m also making a big crock of applesauce today, and that will be perfect with Wednesday’s pork chops. Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Monday: Black bean soup (recipe to come), salad, bread

Tuesday: Slow cooker chicken vindaloo, rice

Wednesday:  Rosemary & garlic pork loin chops, applesauce, egg noodles, green beans

Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs with marinara (from the freezer), green salad, bread

Friday: Sloppy joes or pub burgers on whole wheat buns, baked french fries, cole slaw

Saturday: Cajun spiced grilled shrimp and scallop skewers (recipe to come) over rice pilaf, broccoli

Between the May issue of Everyday Food, the May issue of simple & delicious, and my new copycat cookbook, I have so many recipes I can’t wait to try. I needed the inspiration and I can’t wait to get cooking!

Visit Organizing Junkie for more great meal plans.