boo for allergies

Oh my, the warm weather last week really got my allergies going! Poor Noah is suffering as well. We should buy stock in Benedryl or Claritin or something. (I wonder if the people who work for those companies get Employee Pricing? Maybe I should go into pharmaceuticals!)

Anyway, I have been sneezing up a storm and I hate it. The cooler temperatures this week have helped a little, but I know another round of itchy, watering eyes is just around the corner. Meanwhile, the rest of our family seems spared from this malady, thank goodness. My littlest is a little sniffly, but that might be a cold. It’s hard to tell. I love

Spring, but man I could do without the pollen!

yogurt drop flop

Do you remember Yogos? They were yogurt covered fruit bits that were sold a few years ago, but I can no longer find them. Which is fine, because I’m sure they were loaded with processed junk. But they were so tasty! Yes, even I loved them. So, I decided that with my trusty dehydrator, I could make my own.

I’d read about people making yogurt drops in their food dehydrators, so surely this was not an impossible task. I had lemon yogurt. I had blueberries. These babies were going to be awesome!

I put down the screen and without much thought I began dropping down yogurt blobs, then topping some with blueberries and some with walnuts.

yogurt drop flop

I turned the temperature to 135 degrees and let it go. About a half-hour later I realized that I never rubbed the screen with olive oil. This would be a problem.

yogurt drop flop

After about 2.5 hours I saw that really, what I had created, was flat yogurt blobs that weren’t going to release from the screen.

yogurt drop flop

Check it out. Who wants to eat that? It doesn’t look like a delicious yogurt-covered treat.

yogurt drop flop

Well, truth be told I did eat them because I hate wasting food. And the taste was actually pretty good. But I had to scrape them off with a spoon.

Oh well. You can’t win ’em all!

menu plan monday

Last week it was 80, but this week temperatures are more reasonable for this time of year, thankfully! I get nervous when it’s too warm when it should be cold. I mean, my roses should not be budding at the same time as my daffodils – that’s just weird! Anyway… I can make some cozier dinners to use up things in my freezer this week.

The kids have no school on Friday (a “give back” snow day since they only used up one this year), so as a treat, I plan on making these Jell-O pinwheels with them. I also plan to bake some more coconut flour pumpkin muffins. I made these a few weeks ago and they were ridiculously good. This time I’ll write down exactly what I do so that I can share the recipe! I love using coconut flour because it is so dense and filling. One coconut flour muffin goes much farther than one made from AP or even WW flour. (At least I think so.)

But I digress. Here’s my meal plan for the week.

  • Sunday: Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Cesar salad
  • Monday: Leftovers
  • Tuesday: Crock Pot roast beef with horseradish sauce, zucchini au gratin (based on this recipe, which was delicious, but the mini muffins are way too fussy for me), baby carrots, salad
  • Wednesday: Possibly take-out
  • Thursday: Crock Pot gyros (pitas optional) with romaine, tomato, onion, olive, feta, and tzatziki
  • Friday: Fish tacos, black beans
  • Saturday: Roasted chicken drumsticks, roasted sweet potato spears, creamed spinach*, salad

* Before I go, let’s talk about spinach. Specifically creamed spinach. This is a dish that never, ever, ever appealed to me until very recently. Chalk it up to changing tastes, I don’t know. Last week I grilled steak and thought creamed spinach would be perfect with it. So I cooked down a bag of fresh spinach, gave it a few pulses it in my food processor to break it up, and then added a hunk of butter, a couple spoonfuls of sour cream, a pinch of nutmeg, some parmesan cheese, and a little swiss. I let it all cook down so the flavors could meld together. It’s not rocket science, so I don’t have a specific recipe. Just a little of this, and a little of that.

All three kids loved and I mean loved it. They were dipping steak fries in it, asking for more. It was crazy! So now we’re on this spinach kick. With our CSA starting in a couple months, I’m relieved that this year I won’t have to eat all those greens by myself! I also made this Indian spiced creamed spinach for Drew and myself the other day. It was also really tasty (though I had to seriously cut down on they cayenne — woo, hot!)

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

getting serious about sewing


I’ll be honest with you. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal when it comes to, well, pretty much anything. Take a class? Pfft. Yeah, right. I tend to just dive in and start something new. Most of the time this has worked in my favor. Knitting and crochet were both successes, but I’m having a little more trouble with sewing. Time to get serious.

Of course, I’m still not taking a class, but I did buy this book called Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time by Deborah Moebes and I plan to sew my way through it, one project at a time. I also considered 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects by Ellen Luckett Baker but the projects didn’t seem as interesting. I mean, I can sew napkins, placements, pillowcase dresses, that kind of stuff. But the Moebes book seemed to go a little further. The final project is a cap sleeve blouse, and honestly that was the clincher. I’m really excited to get it!

Anyone have any other favorite sewing books they’d like to recommend? The first book I bought was Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol and I still love that book!

spring spruce-up

I am craving a spruce up in my kitchen. I’ve spent too much time looking at photos of great DIY projects and now I’m itching to start one. You see, April will mark 8 years since we moved into this house. Eight years! That’s the longest I’ve live anywhere except for the house in which I grew up.

But now the wood moulding, the builder’s cabinets, the gray speckled Formica… it’s starting to get a little boring to me. Of course, with three small kids there is NO WAY we’re investing any real money in a kitchen update. So I’m thinking about some small changes, starting with the curtains.

I’ve always like roman shades, but we don’t get enough sun through those windows to really warrant them, so I’m looking for new valances. I just can’t find anything I like. (Always my problem). Still, it’s the quickest and easiest change to make at the moment. Hopefully I’ll find something I like, or maybe my mind will just wander to another project!

random sunday

Is it time to put the kids to bed yet? Because I’m sure ready for them to go to sleep, LOL! It’s just been one of those days. Drew’s mom and aunt visited and that was nice. They’re having their floors redone, so they were craving an escape from the chaos at their house. I know how stressful it is to have furniture everywhere — we lived with that for months when we put on the upstairs addition!

Anyway, I didn’t really fuss much. I grilled chicken breasts, cooked green beans, and made a salad. They brought up desserts. We sat on the deck for much of the afternoon. I think we chatted about everything from their new neighbors to top term life insurance carriers! Just kind of a random day.

And now I’m tired and the house is a mess and I’m actually looking forward to Monday so I can get my act together 🙂

Friday Favorite Finds {Green Edition}

It’s Friday! So that means it’s time to link up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Please note, that the images in this post belong to the original blog owners. In addition, I am directly linking the name of the recipe to the original source so you can head right over there to get the details. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week.

Indian Creamed Spinach from Budget Bytes – I made this recipe earlier this week and it was delicious! However, I cut the cayenne pepper down to 1/4 tsp. and it was still blazing hot (and I like heat). So if you make this, just be aware of the spice factor.


Kale with Apples & Onions from Paleo Parents – Kale seems to be the hot green right now (everyone’s making kale chips!), and this seems like a tasty way to cook them up.


Crustless Spinach and Feta Pie from Skinnytaste looks yummy, but I will have to sub out a few of those ingredients. (I will spare you from my skim milk rant…)


And finally, Reuben in a Bowl from Health-Bent. Does cabbage count as a green? I’m not sure. But since corned beef is a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal I felt like I should include this 🙂


Be sure to head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what inspired everyone else this week!

dr. oetker ristorante pizza {product review}

In honor of “Pi Day” I thought I’d write up a quick review of one of my favorite kinds of pie — pizza! I don’t eat it as much as I used to, but on occasion I still indulge. I like to make my own, but sometimes it’s easier to pick up something at the supermarket. There are plenty of options in the grocer’s freezer case, but most of them are just OK. So when I was offered a chance to participate in the Dr. Oetker Ristorante BzzCampaign (I’ve been a BzzAgent for years!), I looked forward to trying something new.

I’d heard of Dr. Oetker products before. In fact I’ve purchased the creme brulee and other dessert mixes and I enjoy them. So I was hopeful that the Ristorante pizzas would deliver great taste, as well. The first pizza we tried was the Spinaci (spinach). When I took it out of the box, I was impressed by how much cheese was on the pizza. Usually, with frozen pizzas you get a sprinkling at best.

bzzagent dr. oetker pizza campaign

But the real test was yet to come. After baking it in my oven, I served it for lunch with a side salad. The pizza had a great flavor and if I hadn’t been sharing it, I would have been tempted to eat the whole thing. (Yes, it really was that good!) The spinach flavor wasn’t overwhelming, the cheese was tangy, and I really liked it a lot.

bzzagent dr. oetker pizza campaign

The other pizza we tried with the Speciale, which is topped with pepperoni and Canadian Bacon. Here it is frozen, out of the box. There is noticably less cheese on this one than on the spinach pizza.

bzzagent dr. oetker pizza campaign

This tasted more like a standard frozen pizza. I wasn’t all that impressed because I think the spinach version set the bar pretty high.

bzzagent dr. oetker pizza campaign

One thing I liked about both of the pizzas, though, was the thin crust. I could have a serving of pizza and not feel like I was completely sabotaging my diet. There are six different varieties including four cheese, mushroom, vegetable, mozzarella, spinach, and the pepperoni and Canadian bacon. Dr. Oetker pizzas are routinely on sale at my local Stop & Shop, and in the future I would probably pick one up to have as a quick meal.

Disclosure: I received promotional materials and coupons to try Dr. Oetker Ristorante pizzas for free as a result of my status as an active BzzAgent and my agreement to participate in this campaign. I did not receive any financial compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are my own.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

menu plan monday, feels like spring edition

Well it seems that spring is impatient and is sneaking her way into the northeast early this year! Of course I’m no fool – I doubt we’ll enjoy these warm temperatures for long. There’s bound to be another bout of chilly air, but for now I am so happy to sit on my deck with an iced coffee while watching my daffodils peek up through the ground! Having a meal plan means that I can have a little extra free time to do that because I’m not running around to the stores trying to pick up dinner at the last minute. Here’s my plan for this week.

  • Sunday: Leftovers
  • Monday: Roast chicken, cole slaw, green beans, spaghetti squash gratin
  • Tuesday: Beef curry over jasmine rice, cucumber and onion salad
  • Wednesday: Kielbasa, spinach, and white bean soup; green salad
  • Thursday: Turkey burgers (sans buns), black bean salad, baked sweet potato spears
  • Friday: Fish tacos or grilled cheese (for picky kids)
  • Saturday: Corned beef, cabbage, carrots

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

my newly organized craft closet

Please tell me I am not the only one with a totally embarrassing craft supply closet. I mean – seriously bad. I use our extra bedroom closet to store my stuff (along with extra coats, a fan, my wedding gown, and misc. other things). It’s kind of a tight space and I never took the time to make sense of it all. Until yesterday.

First, let’s take a moment to see how bad it was. You couldn’t even see the floor!


All those clothes? They are a mix of dresses I need to eBay or consign, out-of-season clothes for Laura, and baby clothes I want to keep. They ended up in a pile because she likes to “dress up” in whatever she can find. There were also donations of my clothes that no longer fit. Oh yeah, and most of my fabric. Good luck finding what I need in that mess, right?


Oh look! More random clothes I thought I’d refashion at some point, more of Laura’s clothes, more fabric, and misc. supplies. Oh, and there’s the balloon wreath I made last year! And apparently labels from about 10 years ago. And why on earth did I have my crappy iron upstairs with the ironing board? (I ended up bringing that one downstairs for quick jobs and my Rowenta is now up here where it should be.)


The first thing I did was take everything out of the closet. Wow, talk about a wake-up call. I felt like I should be on an episode of Hoarders. It was shameful. I went through everything and made some tough decisions. I Freecycled a large bag of yarn. I sucked it up and parted with a box of old trim and lace seam binding that belonged to my Babci. I parted with anything that was faded or stained because even though I keep telling myself “Oh, I’ll use it as scrap” in the two years I have had this stuff, I never have. I did keep some beautiful vintage fabric in good condition and buttons, bias tape, and ribbons that still looked great.

It took about six hours (remember, I was entertaining Lulu at the same time, so I couldn’t just focus on the task at hand), but I finished the job! Look!

craft closet

So much neater. I can’t believe how much I was able to cram in that small space.
craft closet

Here are some more detailed photos of what I did. Luckily we had a bunch of those plastic shoeboxes, and I already had that three-drawer cart for a portion of my yarn storage (now it’s all in there!) so I didn’t have to spend a dime on anything.

craft organization

craft organiztion

craft organization

craft organization

craft organization

My hair bow supplies are a big mess within those boxes, but I can tackle that another day. I also am still working on my actual sewing area, but the surface of the desk is clear and I’m making progress. Little by little, right? At least I can find everything now. What a relief!