Worn Out

Is May over yet? Because the last couple weeks have zapped every ounce of energy and patience I have. Last week was rough. Here are just a few things we were dealing with: a sick little girl (thought it was Lyme Disease, but the blood test came back negative, thank goodness!), a very busy week at school, several days worth of house guests, and a memorial service an hour away. But it gets better…

Sunday, after Drew’s father and stepmother left, I decided to finish planting some annuals. The window boxes on the shed looked pretty and my whiskey barrel was filled with impatiens. Then, I set to finishing up about 4 loads of laundry that needed to be folded and put away. Pretty happy with everything I accomplished, I decided to treat myself to a dish of ice cream. Only when I took my Talenti gelato out of the freezer, it was totally and completely melted.

Everything had a layer of frost. This did not look good. Then, I noticed that it wasn’t running. So I pulled it out, vaccumed the back, cleaned up the area around it, and crossed my fingers. About 20 min. later it started running again, so I put a thermometer in the freezer to monitor the temperature. After 2 hours of running it was still at 35 degrees.

Long story short… it died. The refrigerator (at this point) was still cool, so we transferred what made sense and after the Memorial Day parade on Monday, we went to Lowe’s to purchase a new fridge. We found one we really liked and were told that they only had the floor model at our store. But another store nearby had two in stock. We could call them. Well, I was a little miffed that the sales rep didn’t offer to facilitate the sale for us there, but whatever. We got home, Drew called, and in the course of things was disconnected three or four times. So he went online and called the generic 800-number and got someone who was willing to help.

We thought we were all set and ready for a Wednesday morning delivery. Yesterday when we woke up, it was apparent that the fridge section was now also dead, so we were very eager to get our new appliance.

This morning. 7 a.m. Drew leaves for work. 7:10 the phone rings. I see that it is the Lowe’s store that had the fridge and silly me got all excited about a delivery confirmation. Nope. It was the delivery manager who was just checking to make sure I knew that this fridge was a floor model. With a dent. Ugh, my heart just sank. I knew we didn’t want a floor model, but naturally wanted to talk to Drew before making any decisions.

After several calls back and forth, the wonderful delivery manager at this store located a new, in-the-box fridge at another local store and organized everything so that it will be delivered tomorrow afternoon. I’m bummed we’re not getting it today, but at this point, what’s one more day?

So currently I have a cooler filled with chicken and steak that I grilled on Monday. The steaks were supposed to be for Laura’s birthday party on Sunday but at this point I don’t think I can serve those. I was seriously crying over all the food we had to pitch. But what are you going do?

I’m just hoping that the month of June will be much kinder to us!

Mad about Mad Science the Card Game

Some of you may have noticed the widget over there to the right, the one about something called “Mad Science the Card Game.” If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then chances are you’ve heard all about it, but in case you haven’t, let me tell you!

Several months ago, my husband came up with a concept for a card game. It involved funky creatures, a diabolical scheme, and many cheesy puns. He drew everything freehand (and had some help from our boys, too), and we did a lot of play testing to make sure the game played out the way it should. Then he decided to put it up on Kickstarter to gain some interest.

Basically, it’s a way for him to pre-sell the game. When you pledge your support, there are a variety of incentives (including the game itself, optional expansion packs, and tee-shirts… sorry no golf ball logos though). Here’s a video we made gives you a better idea about what Mad Science the Card Game is all about:

We’re getting close to our goal of $1,500, which isn’t a lot — there’s no profit at this level. All the funds will go toward ordering game packs for our backers and to place in retail outlets, for marketing, and for other related expenses. Although it’s not a “kids game” per se, it is definitely family-friendly!

It’s so exciting when people are interested in something you created from scratch! Drew was interviewed for a locally-based podcast (I’ll put up the link when it’s ready), and he was also interviewed for the super fun blog All Geek to Me.

We’re really hopeful that we can make this happen. Please check it out on Kickstarter, and help us spread the word!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Wishing all the mothers and mothers-at-heart out there a wonderful day today! I was certainly spoiled with very thoughtful gifts, including (not pictured) a lovely bottle of Prosecco and a very indulgent lunch of my favorite veggie pizza.

chocolate covered strawberries

pretty plant

mother's day yummies

home sweet homemade
Oh, don’t get me wrong — it’s been a fairly typical day around here with plenty of misbehaving children and frazzled nerves, but I guess I wouldn’t be a mother without all of that, would I?

Right now I think everyone is worn out and watching some nature program on Netflix (something about hippos vs. sharks?). I think tonight after they’re all in bed I’ll brew a cup of one of my new teas (which to choose: mint? chai? vanilla?) and snuggle up next to my sweetie and just relax with a movie.

Not a bad Sunday.

{Recipe} Herbed Roast Beef with Horseradish Sauce


Oh my, it’s been a while since I participated in Cooking Thursday! Today I’m sharing my favorite roast beef recipe. I often make a roast in the Crock Pot, just because the timing often works better for me. But when I have the opportunity, this is the one I think is the best! Sorry the photo isn’t the greatest, but I wanted to get to eating and not spend time on food styling 😉

Herbed Roast Beef
with Horseradish Sauce


4-5 lb. beef roast
1 tsp. crushed fennel seed
1 tsp. crushed dried rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. thyme
cracked pepper
1 medium onion, sliced

Combine the dried herbs in a small bowl. Rub the herbs all over the roast. Place in a roasting pan and cover the top with sliced onions. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 2-2.5 hours until meat reaches desired temperature. Discard onions and let the meat rest before carving.

* * *

Horseradish Sauce

1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. creamy horseradish
2 Tbsp. chives (I usually used dried, but you can also use fresh)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with the roast.

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!

It’s A Miracle! My Grout is Clean!


This is such a horrifying post to write, because I feel like it makes me look like a terrible housekeeper since the grout in my kitchen is so gross. But I have a feeling a lot of people struggle with the issue of cleaning grout. When we moved in (eight years ago!), we had no idea that the builder never sealed the grout on our kitchen tile floor. (And it’s a huge kitchen). It didn’t take long for the dirt to set in.

Over the years I’ve tried various methods of grout cleaning and nothing seemed to work. Then, the other day I was browsing Pinterest when I stumbled upon the miracle of miracles — a grout cleaner that does the job! Hat tip to Accessorize and Organize for this amazing discovery!

Could it really be this simple? Yes. Yes it could. Yes it is. Just… YES!!! All it is, is one part bleach to three parts baking soda. How amazing is that? OK, you might think that I’m way too excited about this, but lately the grout has really been getting me down and I was at a loss. But just look at this:



Shut the front, door! Right? Of course, now that I have something that works, I will be scrubbing my kitchen and hallway floors every night for the next two weeks until the job is done, but hey… I can live with that. Then you bet I’m getting my butt to the hardware store for some grout sealer.

DIY Homemade Grout Cleaner Paste

1/4 cup bleach
3/4 cup baking soda

Mix together until a paste forms. Apply to grout lines and use a toothbrush to scrub. Leave the paste on for an addition 10 minutes and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

I can’t believe what little effort it took to clean the grout. The dirt just melted away. The recipe as given above does not make a whole lot, so you will probably need to make several small batches depending on the size of your tiled area. The one caveat: cleanup is a huge PITA. The baking soda likes to stick to the tile, so just be aware of that. Even so, it’s just time-consuming and not difficult, so if you really want your grout clean (like I do!) it’s worth the effort!

{Recipe} Southwestern Wonton “Cupcakes”


Did you do anything fun for Cinco de Mayo this weekend? Maybe head out to your favorite cantina or cook up some special treats? I chose the latter. And as my husband will point out, there is nothing truly Mexican about this recipe, but it is definitely Mexican-inspired. I decided to put a new twist on deep-fried Southwestern eggrolls, and they came out muy delicioso!

I created this recipe based on an awesome eggroll recipe my brother makes (yay, Mike!). But I thought making a savory muffin (or a “cupcake” if you want to get cute) would be fun. Using the wonton wrapper lightens it up a bit, too. One Nasoya eggroll wrapper has 170 calories and 35 grams of carbs. Meanwhile, two Nasoya wonton wrappers (you use two per cupcake) have a total of 40 calories and 8 grams of carbs. (I happened to use the Nasoya brand, which is why I mention them specifically. Other manufacturers’ products might be slightly different.) One to one that’s a big difference and we’re not even talking about the fact that these are baked and not fried!

Yes, the ingredient list is lengthy, but if you have cooked chicken in your fridge or freezer, you can actually whip these up pretty fast. We totally pigged out on these on Cinco de Mayo, but the next day I had two with a salad for lunch and found that to be a reasonable portion for me.

Southwestern Wonton “Cupcakes”

2 Tbsp. oil or fat (olive oil, butter, heck I bet bacon grease would make these extra yummy!)
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts (roasted, grilled, poached, whatever)
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/8 cup jalapenos, finely chopped (optional – add more if you like it hot, less if you don’t)
2 1/2  teaspoons cumin
2 1/2  teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 c. water
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pack wonton wrappers

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium/large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Stir in green onion, jalepenos, and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne and fry until fragrant.

Add shredded chicken, frozen corn, black beans, and spinach and mix well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a water, a little bit at a time, if the filling doesn’t seem moist. You shouldn’t need much, but you don’t want it too try. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is thoroughly incorporated and melted. Set aside.

Spray a muffin with cooking spray and put one wonton wrapper in each cup. Add a tablespoon or so of the filling. Top with a second wonton wrapper (make sure the points do NOT line up if you want a pretty presentation) and then fill it up with the chicken mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the wontons crisp up.

Remove from oven, let cool for a minute, and the using a fork or a spoon to help you, ease each wonton out of the tin. The bottoms won’t be totally crisp, and that’s OK! You could also add an extra layer of cheese between the layers in order to help the top wonton “stick” a little better, but mine stayed together just fine.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or avacado-ranch dip. Yield: approx. 24 wonton cupcakes

I don’t know… some moms might want a Pandora bracelet for Mother’s Day, but I’d be happy with a big batch of these all to myself!

Samuel Morse House (Locust Grove)


Last week Jake’s 4th grade class went on a field trip to the Samuel Morse House (Locust Grove) in Poughkeepsie, and I was lucky to get chosen as a chaperone. I honestly had no idea that the man who created the Morse Code lived right here in the Hudson Valley, but yes he did. He had a brownstone in the city and his country home up here. The locale is easy enough to get to, and it’s kind of wild because you turn off of busy Rte. 9 and you’re instantly transported back to the 1800s!




Most of the day was spent in a classroom at the facility where the students learned about electromagnets, Morse Code (obviously), and simple machines. At the end of the day we got to walk around the grounds a bit, and that’s when I snapped these quick photos. The kids even got to see a real-life application of pulleys — one of the simple machines they’d just studied — when the group leader showed how they would haul up the hay bales back in the 1800s.

We also spent some time in the gallery, viewing the paintings of Samuel Morse and marvelling at old telegraphic historical items. It was a really cool trip and I definitely want to go back on a warmer, non-rainy day. Anyone can park for free, spend time in the visitors’ center, walk around the gorgeous garden, have a picnic, and enjoy the view. Check it out if you’re spending time in the Hudson Valley!

the weeks just fly…

First rosebud of the year

I know that every season seems busy, but for some reason I find the spring incredibly hectic. There’s Little League, Cub Scouts, and lots of other school activities. Plus, outside upkeep on the house and all the regular day-to-day stuff. I’m not complaining, but time really does seem to fly.

I had lots of ideas for blog posts this week, but just never had the time sit down and write them all out. Oh well… It really was a busy week. We had a birthday party on Sunday, I chaperoned a field trip on Tuesday, designed and ordered Laura’s birthday invitations, and yesterday I successfully completed a marathon freezer cooking session.

I put away three dinners worth of chicken in marinades (just thaw & grill), three lunches’ worth of shredded Buffalo chicken, a batch of chicken curry, two meals’ worth of broccoli cheese soup (plus a little extra), a batch of zucchini chips (Laura ate just about all of them — two zucchinis worth! — as soon as I took them out of the dehydrator), a dozen Oopsie Rolls, and a batch of Energy Balls. I had plans to make my coconut flour pumpkin muffins, but after three hours of cooking, I was beat and Laura’s tolerance had worn off. Still, I was really happy with everything I got done. It’s a small investment of time for how much it will simplify life for me in the coming weeks!

Today I have to do some puttering around the house and then I am hoping to fit in a little crochet or sewing. Happy Friday!