CSA 2012 | Share #9


Please forgive me for the awful photo quality here. I just didn’t feel like taking the time to edit a pic of my veggies 🙂 Anyway! I was very happy to get the spinach this week, as I was hoping. (I did end up making tortellini soup the other night. The kids all loved it!)

We also got:

  • 3 lbs. of red potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • a zucchini
  • dill
  • garlic
  • fennel
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • 1 head of lettuce

I skipped one of the greens and the turnips. I just knew we weren’t going to eat them, and I rather them get donated than composted. I’ve really enjoyed all the green beans in this season’s share. They make for such a quick side dish at dinner time! Definitely a favorite. Nevertheless, I really am eager for the winter squash to make an appearance. Hopefully in two weeks!

Oh, My Aching Tooth…


I got two cavities filled today. Up until about two years ago, I’d never had a cavity in my life, so this is a bummer. It was between two molars, and I guess it wasn’t as bad as having my tooth drilled right down the center, but it was bad enough. And now that the Novacaine has worn off, my mouth is core and I’m cranky.

On the upside, since the kids are off from school today for Yom Kippur, we decided to take advantage of the “kids eat free” coupon at Chili’s (oh chicken enchilada soup, how I love thee…). We also went to Hobby Lobby and Christmas Tree Shops to browse.

I picked up these rolls of tulle for part of Laura’s Halloween costume. Can you guess who she wants to be?

A Spider-Man tutu is in the works.

Yes — Spider-Man 🙂 It’s been a while since I made a tutu, but I think it will be much easier working off of these small rolls than the last time when I made it from cut yardage. Even if she decides on something else for trick-or-treating she’s going to wear this to the party at the local comic shop. (Drew is trying to convince me to wear the girl Robin costume I bought on a whim last year… eep!) I think that Jake should dress up in a shirt, tie, hat, and over and find some briefcase for men and go as Clark Kent. Noah’s got a Super-Man costume. And I’m sure Drew has something in mind, LOL…

Anyway, there’s plenty of time to sort it out.

As for the rest of the day, well… it’s chilly and rainy and aside from maybe (maybe) folding a load of laundry, I think I’m going to play up my achy mouth. I think a cup of tea and some crochet is in order, don’t you?

On The Menu…


Good afternoon! Monday already, is it? Wow, we had a busy weekend. I’m not even sure where we were or what we did, but it definitely sped by. I’m feeling kind of disorganized today. We’re trying to get back into a good grocery shopping rhythm and I am just finally making my list and menu plan now before I head out later this afternoon.

List making. Menu planning.

I’ve got a few new recipes to try this week. Naturally I found them on Pinterest! Actually, I had the cod dish at my parents’ (my mom got it off of my sister-in-law’s Pinterest… ha!) and it was so amazingly good that I just have to make it again.

Here’s what I plan on cooking:

I also think I’ll be making some banana bread because I’m tired of looking at the bananas in my freezer. As for soup… roasted butternut squash soup in definitely in my plan, but I’m not sure that will make it until Friday. Maybe I’ll do a tortellini soup with spinach. I’ll see what we get from the farm share this week before I make a decision. I also think I have to make another dish of peach dump cake. I am so addicted!

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

Flower Pillow “Ta-Da!”


Earlier this summer when Lulu made the transition from her crib to a “big girl” bed, I knew I wanted to make something pretty for it. When my mom was visiting back in June, I started on a blooming flower pillow, using the pattern from Attic24. Only instead of using dozens of colors, I decided to make one enormous white flower.

And enormous it is! It took me forever to finish this, not because the pattern was hard, but I guess I got a little bored with all the white. Nevertheless, I’m happy with the way it came out, and my little girl loves it! The backside is a light green and the side is a dark purple, so everything coordinates with her room.


Of course, now the boys want pillows, too (only not flower pillows…) Good thing I have a couple of extra cushions laying around. I guess I’ll be added their requests to my never-ending “to crochet” list, LOL!

Menu Plan Monday


I hope you all had a great weekend! We did. We’ve been getting lots of little projects done around the house. I also finally finished up some crochet projects that have been sitting in my basket (post forthcoming).

The kids are off from school today in observance of Rosh Hashana. (L’shana Tova to my Jewish friends!) But after today things kick into high gear. CCD classes start, trumpet lessons start, Cub Scouts start… and Saturday I’m treating myself to a long overdue hair cut. I don’t think I’ve had a trim since March. Eep!

Anyway, nothing too crazy or creative on the menu board this week. But who knows… maybe I’ll find inspiration mid-week 🙂

    • Monday: Out to dinner while running errands
    • Tuesday: BBQ ribs in the Crock Pot, mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots, salad
    • Wednesday: Tacos, black bean salad
    • Thursday: Leftovers
    • Friday: Cheeseburgers, baked french fries, salad
    • Saturday: To be decided…

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

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, I had time to read 😉 These days, however, my magazine pile is about a foot high. Let’s not even talk about my stack of books. I often wonder if I’d be better off using our iPad as an e-reader. There are plenty of free books online downloads that I could try it out without spending a ton on the newest best-sellers. Then again, knowing my track record with technology, maybe it’s better if I still to low-fi paperbacks. (After all, it was about a year ago when I smashed my last laptop… I am still so sad when I think about that.)

Hopefully once we’re in the school groove I’ll feel like cozying up at night with a cup of tea and a good novel. But right now I feel like I’m frantically trying to finish up sewing and crochet projects that are scattered all over the house!

Friday Favorite Finds: Soups

Can you believe it? I’ve managed to write a post every day this week — woo-hoo! I love having a schedule. Anyway, it is indeed Friday and although I haven’t participated in a while, I’m linking up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Even after yesterday’s chicken stock post, I am still thinking about soup, so that’s my theme for the week.

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. Please pin from the original sources and not my blog. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Pancetta and Rosemary from Picture-Perfect Meals


Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup from More Fruit Please




Red Lentil Coconut Soup from Scaling Back



Tortellini, Basil, and Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup from Inquiring Chef

Source: inquiringchef.com via Carol on Pinterest

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

{Recipe} Overnight Bone Broth


I have admitted in the past that I am a soup snob. And it’s true. As a child, I was spoiled by my mom and grandmother with their delicious, homemade soups. Sure, there was the occasional bowl of Campbell’s Tomato, but the soups I remember from my childhood were full of barley, veggies, and homemade broth. The stuff in the cans or cartons just can’t compare, I don’t care which celebrity chef is on the label.

Making your own stock, or bone broth, is so ridiculously easy that it shouldn’t even need a recipe. In fact, I feel a little silly even writing about it. But I know people who have found it daunting to make homemade stock. If you’re making it on the stove top, it’s true — you need to pay a little bit of attention to it (only because you don’t want it to boil for too long). But there’s an easier way, perfect for even the laziest cook: just use your Crock Pot.

In the fall and winter, I roast a whole chicken twice a month on average. And often the weeks I don’t roast one on my own, I’ll pick up a rotisserie bird at Sam’s. After dinner, I just throw everything into my slow cooker and let it go. Here are the basic directions!

 Overnight Bone Broth

  • carcass from a roasted (or rotisserie) chicken (or turkey!), including skin, bones, and any resulting cooking liquid from roasting if you don’t use it for gravy
  • 1 medium onion
  • celery fronds or 1-2 celery stalks
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar (white or apple cider recommended)
  • water
Combine first 7 ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover with water (I usually fill it to 1-2 inches below the top of the crock). Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then turn to LOW and cook overnight. Strain out and discards solids. The amount of broth you end up with will depend upon how much water you use and how hot your Crock Pot cooks, but you should end up with quite a bit.
I know, it’s super-technical and specific right? LOL! Seriously, you just throw it in the pot with water and cook it. Sometimes I add a few cloves of garlic. Sometimes I add oregano or other seasonings, depending on whether or not I have a specific use for the broth.

So now that you have all this yummy stock, what do you do with it? Well you could use some of it to make Spicy Black Bean Soup, Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) and Wild Rice Soup, or maybe some Lazy Stuffed Peppers? I seriously love soup and even though I eat it all summer, it is extra delicious and comforting in the fall and winter. Now I just need some butternut squash so I can make a big pot of autumn bisque!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

CSA 2012 | Share #8


So… I forgot to write about our 7th farm share and I accidentally deleted the photos. Sorry about that. Let’s just move on to yesterday’s haul, shall we?

As you can see, we’re still rolling in tomatoes. I will be dehydrating another batch or two. They’re just so delicious this way. I don’t really like raw tomatoes, but when they’re dried they have incredible flavor. Here’s the low-down on my basket:

  • 5 lbs. of tomatoes
  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe
  • 1 lb. mixed greens (I chose arugual and tat soi)
  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 3 lbs. potatoes (There were still lots of red and purple potatoes when I got there, so I chose those over “regular” potatoes. I wish the farm shared the names of these varieties. Don’t you just love heirloom names like Black and Mild or Black Chenango or Peach-blow?)
  • dill
  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • summer squash
  • garlic
  • onions

We had some of the potatoes, carrots, and green beans with last night’s roast chicken (as well as most of the lettuce — there’s nothing like those fresh, tender greens). Then I threw a carrot and onion in the slow cooker along with celery, spices, and my chicken carcass to make some overnight bone broth.

I was pretty excited about the broccoli rabe — we haven’t had that in ages. And I have some sun-dried tomato chicken sausage in the freezer, so I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night 😉

{Review} 2012-2013 Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner

Last year around this time I started hearing about Erin Condren on various blogs. Several of the online deal sites had specials last fall and I was able to snag a half-price voucher. So, for my birthday, I got myself my very first Life Planner. And I fell in love with it!

I’ve been using it daily (well, let’s be honest — multiple times daily) for almost a year now and I can honestly say that no other planner has worked so well for me since my old Filofax in college. Since I’m starting to plan appointments and school events into next year, I decided it was time for a 2013 planner and again I chose Erin Condren.


There are so many cute designs that I literally (literally!) agonized over this decision for a couple weeks. My husband was so tired of me going back and forth and asking his opinion on color combos. He’s a saint for putting up with me, I swear! Last year I chose the Zig-Zag pattern. This year  I wanting something totally different so I went with the Candy Lace design in a custom colorway (lime and dark gray). I also requested that my first name be printed in purple because I wanted one more color on the cover.

While the overall layout is the same, there are a number of changes to last year’s design. Most noticably, it now has a metal coil (instead of plastic), and laminated monthly tabs. I never had a problem with the plastic coil, but the metal coil is certainly sturdier and looks a lot nicer.


Another change is the monthly calendar page. It went from a single page to a two-page spread. I was thrilled to see this! It’s much easier to write information down on the larger calendar blocks. Of course, there’s a trade-off and gone are the lined note pages before each month. I liked to use those as a line-a-day journal (when I remembered to do it), but I can easily include that information in the weekly spread. And there are also several blank sheets (both lined and unlined) toward the back of the planner so there’s plenty of room for notes and doodles.




The weekly spreads are the same, with the exception that the weeks no longer break up (even if the start of a new month disturbs the continuity. To me, it’s fine either way. Here’s a peek at what a weekly page looks like:


Now, while we’re talking about the bulk of the planner let’s also talk about paper. In the old version, the monthly calendar was on a heavier cardstock-weight paper. To me, it served as a great divider and I could easily flip between months. The current version no longer has this. I’m a little worried the monthly tabs might rip off, so I’ll have to be careful.  I’m sure it’ll hold up just as well, though. I think this might be a way to help trim down the thickness of the planner. As you can see, the new version is not as thick.


Erin Condren’s new version of the Life Planner also comes with sticker sheets, though fewer than last year. This year you get three sheets of pre-printed stickers and one sheet of blank stickers. Last year I got two sheets of pre-printed stickers and four sheets of blank stickers (I still have so many left unused!). Overall, this isn’t a big deal to me. I still have my “leftover” stickers, plus you can purchase extra blank sticker sheets. Or you use washi tape (like me) or other calendar stickers.


The folder design at the back is slightly different. The new version is one sided with a deeper pocket. This is great because my papers are always falling out of the old version of the folder. And there’s still the zip-lock pocket at the back, the perfect place for the labels that come with the planner as well as stamps and appointment cards.



Oh, one addition that I really like but don’t see mentioned in many other reviews: the Address Page. You can write down addresses & phone number for up to 14 people. It’s a great quick-reference for people you contact the most. And yes, there is still the My Important Numbers page. I use this all the time and keep the numbers for my kids’ school, my hairdresser, oil company, plumber, our doctors… they’re all right there.

Erin Condren Address Page

Overall, I’m very happy again. At $50, this planner is a huge splurge for me, but I use it faithfully and it works for my style of organization.  (Keep in mind that each planner is hand-produced in the U.S.A. — to me, that’s worth shelling out a little extra money!) It averages out to about 14 cents/day for something that helps keep me on time, remember birthdays, know what’s for dinner, and remember everything I need to do on any given day.

The only other thing I’d like to see on the Life Planner is some sort of elastic band to help keep it closed. But I improvised and just made my own, instead 🙂


So there you have it! If you are a new Erin Condren customer and are interested in ordering, you can use my referral link to save $10 off your first purchase (you’ll get a code via e-mail after you register).

* I was not compensated in any way for this review. I purchased the Life Planner completely on my own and just wanted to let you know why I love it! However, this post does contain an affiliate link. *