Long Weekend

I hope you all had wonderful Memorial Day holiday weekends (applicable only to those in the U.S., though). Ours was really nice and I’m trying so hard to get back into the swing of things today. Yesterday we went to the parade over in Rhinebeck, like we do every year. It was a lot of fun because Rhinebeck Little League and a local karate school marched so Jake saw a few of his friends. (Little League assigns teams by zip code, not school district, so he got put in a different league with a few other kids from this side of town.) I feel like everyone was throwing even more candy than ever before. Seriously — it was like Halloween, only you didn’t have to go door-to-door! The weather was just gorgeous — an absolutely perfect day for a parade. After it was over we had lunch at Del’s (a local drive-in type of restaurant). We thought it was going to be packed, but we were one of the first people there. We then realized that the way the roads were closed off, it didn’t make it easy to get over there, so most of the weekenders probably lunched right in town. Meanwhile, we enjoyed some yummy hot dogs, cheese fries and soft-serv ice cream cones. So good!

After lunch we went to Home Depot for more pavers. Drew is making a small patio up by the kids’ swingset. We have a small bistro set up there and the patio blocks will look so pretty. We came home and set up the pool for the boys and they splashed around while we enjoyed gin & tonics. For dinner I make ribs, grilled pineapple, and cole slaw. It was just a fun, relaxing day.

Now I’m trying to tackle my to-do list. I’ve got one item crossed off (using one of my trusty personalized pens, of course). Does that count for anything? I really need to rally though and get some of this stuff done. I will probably order a pizza for dinner tonight because today is our first CSA pickup!!! The farm is just down the road from where we usually get pizza, so that will work out great. I’ll update later with a photo of the delicious veggies in our first distribution. I can’t wait!

Someone Hand Me A Box Cutter!

Seriously, we have a HUGE accumulation of shipping boxes in our garage that I need to cut up for recycling. A lot of them are from packages we’ve received in the mail, but not all. We had a lot of stuff already packed away when we were trying to sell our house, and now that we’ve unpacked most of them… well, you can just imagine. It’s just such a hassle and I am dangerous with a box cutter so I keep putting it off. But at some point, we’d like to be able to put both vehicles in the garage again!

At least I’m finally making a dent in our donations pile. Yesterday, Drew’s mom had Noah for the day so while Jake was at school I ran a bunch of errands including dropping off 5 bags of clothes, 2 boxes of old dishes, and 1 stack of brand-new dishpans (I have no idea what I had planned to use those for!) at Goodwill. We still have like 4 or 5 boxes of books, and a lot of baby stuff. The baby stuff I am hedging on (no, not because we’re thinking about it — nope, no way). Some of it I’m hesistant to donate just in case someone close to us has a baby in the near future. Sigh… what to do? At any rate, I really want to clear that side of the garage out this week because it’s making me crazy!

I feel like I’m nesting (but I’m not… I *swear!*)

I wish I could figure out a good way to use the space under our bathroom vanities. I use the space in the upstairs vanity to store the kids’ bath toys and that works out perfect. It’s the other two bathrooms where I have a problem. I do my hair and make-up in the half-bath (because it is right off the kitchen), so I need to figure out a better way to organize all my junk under there. And the cabinet in the master bath is where I used to throw random things when people were coming to view the house. There’s not much under there at this point, but storage is storage and I should utilize it in a better way. Maybe I’ll get some large plastic containers and organize all my CVS loot under there. That way toothpaste, soap, etc. is easy to get to, but out of sight and protected in the plastic container. See people? This is why I blog. Sometimes I get these ideas while I type, LOL… (And I suppose it is slightly better than talking to myself. Not much… just slightly 😉 )

Week’s Eats: 3/17

Here’s what’s cooking at Chez Carol this week. Nothing too exciting, except for the lobster dinner on Wednesday night. Oh, I love me some lobstah!!! But yeah, otherwise, kinda boring.

Monday: Turkey tacos
Tuesday: Loaded baked potatoes
Wednesday: Lobster dinner
Thursday: Tuna wrap, soup
Friday: Dinner @ my mom’s
Saturday: Frozen pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches
Sunday: Easter dinner @ my mother-in-law’s

If you celebrate Easter, what are you planning on making (or planning on eating if you’re going to someone else’s house)? My MIL is going to be making lamb. It’s not one of my favorite dishes ever, but I can think of things I like less (like corned beef!). We’ll be bringing dessert and I’ve decided to turn my Coconut Lemon Mousse Cake into a trifle. It will be easier to transport and faster to assemble. Time is of the essence, since I’ll be putting it all together Saturday after we get home from Massachusetts. And naturally we’ll be bringing wine too, though which one? Thinking of a Meritage maybe… We’ll see.

And yes, I realize that tonight’s dinner — tacos — is not Irish in the least, LOL. Well, we’re not Irish at all and I hate corned beef, as I mentioned above. The boys’ had green bagels for breakfast this morning, though, and I remembered to put a green shirt on Jake this morning. That has to count for something, right? LOL!

For more weekly menus, head over to Organizing Junkie!

Spring Cleaning: Dining Room

Well that was easy! Of course, I have a bunch of stuff I still have to put away, but the room itself is nice and clean. Here’s what I did:

* Hung up coats in coat closet, brought misc. junk in the den to sort through this afternoon
* Swept
* Microfiber mopped
* Washed the floor
* Dusted the furniture and cleaned with Orange Glo
* Switched around some decorations

And the proof, of course. (I can’t believe I’m showing these… ugh, so embarassing!) Before:

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And after:

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I also just put together a few finishing touches to spruce things up a bit. I went “shopping” in other parts of my house and moved things around. This runner was in storage with old linens. The candles were on the sofa table. And the pitcher and bowl (a bridal shower gift from my grandmother) were in our bedroom. I thought the pansies were perfect for spring! Once our forcythia blooms (probably not until late next month), I’ll snip some stems and put them in the pitcher.

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I also just switched things around on the sofa table. I found a doily yesterday, and I moved the tealights that were on the dining room table. I also moved the vase (with dried flowers from Valentine’s Day!) from the side to the middle for some height.

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And finally I grabbed a few vintage books from the basement to add a little color and lift up the wine bottle light that my sister-in-law’s mom made for me. I think it stands out more this way than just on the table.

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And there you have it! The change isn’t dramatic, but it sure feels nicer to me! Now I’m off to grab some lunch so I can start putting away all the random doo-dads that found their way into the dining room and made it such a mess!

Week’s Eats: 3/2/08

mpm8.jpg This week’s menu is highly subject to chage.

Sunday: Dinner out
Monday: Garlic roasted chicken breasts, steamed veggies
Tuesday: Chili & cornbread
Wednesday: Chicken-fried rice
Thurday: Running errands after school – probably grab take-out
Friday: Tuna melt, soup
Saturday: Cuban pork loin roast, black bean salad

The pork roast recipe is a new one. On the spur of the moment I bought a pork roast that was on sale a few weeks ago. I’ll shred some of the cooked roast for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches to have next week. Here’s the quick recipe from the March “Month of Menus” in Woman’s Day magazine:

Cuban Pork Roast
Rub pork with lime juice, ground cumin, oregano, salt and pepper before roasting.

And the salad to go with it:

Super Easy Black Bean Salad
Toss rinsed, canned black bean, red onion, chopped tomato, diced avacado, and chopped cilantro in oil and vinegar dressing.

For more menu ideas, be sure to visit Organizing Junkie!

Week’s Eats

mpm8.jpgI’ve been pretty lame with the menu plans, lately. Honestly, I’m just uninspired this time of year. I was recently telling a friend that nothing is really calling out to me, and cooking is more of a chore than anything else. I need to break out of my rut. Although, I’ve been reading over all my cookbooks and dreaming of all the fresh produce we’ll be getting this spring and summer. So many recipes to try! Alas, this week is pretty run-of-the-mill. Here you go:

Sunday: Eat out (Friendly’s)
Monday: Hawaiian pizza, oven fries, salad
Tuesday: Buffalo chicken salad
Wednesday: London broil, roasted cauliflower, salad
Thursday: White chili
Friday/Saturday: I’m not planning meals for these days because I will probably be heading up to/home from Massachusetts. My cousin’s baby’s birthday party is on Saturday, so we’ll be going to that, of course!

I’m hoping to start taking more food photos, so look forward to that soon (I hope!) For more recipe ideas, head over to Organizing Junkie.

Works For Me Wednesday: Grocery Shopping Tip

wfmwsmall.jpg I just read this tip in a magazine recently (of course, I can’t remember which one), and I’ve been testing it out. Although I always go shopping armed with a list, I am an awfully impulsive shopper. When I see a new or interesting product, I always want to try it out, and as you can imagine all those little extras can really add on to the total at the end of the trip. So here’s what you do. Put any tempting item that isn’t on your list in the small, upper section of your shopping cart (assuming you don’t have a small child sitting there, of course). At the end of your trip, assess all of these potential impulse purchases and allow yourself to get one of them. This way, you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself, but you’re not going overboard either. So far, I find that it works for me!

And Now You Know

A lot of people resolve to really get their acts together once the new year arrives. It’s important to have everything in order because… well… you just never know do you? One of the things that I’ve found confusing is life insurance: permanent vs. term, specifically. There are a lot of places online that you can visit for term life insurance quotes, and permanent life insurance quotes as well. But what does it all mean? In a nutshell:

Term Life Insurance: These policies offer death benefits only, so if you die you win (so to speak). If you live past the length of the policy, you (or, more specifically, your family members) get no money back. They are, however, generally less expensive.

Permanent Life Insurance: Permanent life policies offer death benefits and a “savings account” (also called “cash value”) so that if you live, you get back at least some of, and often much more than, the amount you spent on your premium. You get this money back either by cashing in the policy or by borrowing against it. These policies are more expensive.

Of course, that is an oversimplified explanation. Each type of policy has its nuances and you really need to examine which kind is right for you. But just in case you were as confused as I was, hopefully it makes at least a little more sense now.

Arts & Crafts Storage – Help!

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This is my first time participating in Works For Me Wednesday, and it’s a “backwards” edition. That is, instead of me giving you a tip, I’m going to ask a question and hopefully you, dear readers, can offer some advice. And what perfect timing because I have a huge problem with arts & crafts storage. Over the past few months, Jake has really gotten into arts & crafts which thrills me! I’ve also started accumulating a lot of supplies — egg cartons, pipe cleaners, foam stickers, paper, markers, glitter glue, small craft kits, you name it. My current storage solution is… well, less than ideal. Crayons and coloring books are in the cupboard under the fish tank (this way Noah can easily get at them too), and everything else that should be out of Noah’s reach basically gets thrown into a tote bag that I put in the laundry closet. This worked OK for a while, but now the tote bag is just a huge mess of stuff and in order to find anything, the entire bag needs to be dumped out:

Any storage ideas? The hard part is separating out the stuff that I don’t want my two-year-old’s hands on. I’d prefer to use what I already have (though you probably guessed that!), and I have plenty of baskets, plastic “shoebox” containers, etc. But I am open to any and all suggestions!