Saturday, January 31, 2015

Project 365: Days 22-31

Day 22: Hanging out with Papa

Day 23: The donkey sings and dances to "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch"
Guess who loves to dance with him? :)

Day 24: "I don't need a nap," he said.
(This was after the first nap in his bed. He came downstairs and crashed on the sofa for the second.)

Day 25: Piggies!

Day 27: Napping in G's crib is Sophie. 
C insisted we turn on the monitor to make sure she was doing ok.

Day 28: In addition to Sugar Pie, little lady loves the Rubber Duckie Song!

Day 29: After delicious meal of yogurt and applesauce, G decided she was ready for some solid food.

 Day 29: Also, on this day, mysterious towers began to appear in the house. 
My sister's response to the photo on the right: "He wants a stack of cookies. Coooooookieeees."

 Day 30: The Soup bowl. Brilliant.

Day 31: After a trip to Lowe's with C, Daddy settles
in to pick out a snow blower with G.

Monday, January 26, 2015

HWFD: Breakfast - Banana Nut Porridge

We often eat eggs in some form for breakfast around here, other days we have sausage links with peppers, and sometimes I even eat leftover chicken soup in the winter! :)

One thing I definitely do miss is oatmeal - the apple-cinnamon flavor was my favorite! And wasn't there a brown-sugar/maple syrup one too? :)

Anyway, I love this recipe of Banana Nut Porridge as an "oatmeal" replacer from Against All Grain. It's filling and so delicious! Recipe link below photo!

Recipe here!

HWFD: 21-Day Sugar Detox, week 1

I spent a bit of time last week while we were away looking through my two Against All Grain cookbooks (First One) and (Meals Made Simple), and the 21-Day Sugar Detox book for recipes that would fit the detox. It's been a while since I actually sat down to menu-plan this far in advance! :) I knew that it would be much easier for me to stick to it if I did! I wrote out all my ingredients on Saturday that I needed and bought everything for the week on Sunday. To keep this post shorter, I'll include only a few of the recipes, but if there is one you would like to try, let me know and I'll post it separately! Also, all of these cookbooks are available at my local library, so you could check yours!

Week 1 - 21 Day Sugar Detox

(1) Sausage, Kale & Tomato Frittata (AAG)
(2) Tomato, Basil, Bacon & Spinach Quiche (21DSD)

Dinner leftovers :) I got into the habit of making at least enough for 2 meals, often 3 when we first started eating Paleo. It saves me so much time in the kitchen and fortunately, none of us mind eating leftovers. Sometimes they are even better the second time around!

(1) Lemon-Oregano Chicken Kabobs (AAG-MMS) & Summer Squash Salad (AAG-MMS)
*I made this last week and served the chicken with homemade tzatziki sauce. Dairy is omitted for the 21DSD so I won't make it this week, but the chicken was delicious after marinating for several hours)

(2) Salmon with Garlic & Lemon, and Asparagus (and maybe a salad)
This one my MIL showed me - cover a baking pan with foil, then place salmon filets skin-side down on top. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste). Crush several garlic cloves (I figure 1-2 cloves per filet) and spread over the top of the salmon. Thinly slice a lemon and place several slices of lemon on each filet. Bake at 425 until fish flakes easily with a fork. (about 20-25 minutes) The asparagus I also drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a few squeezes of the lemon juice I had leftover.

(3) Beef Tacos (AAG-MMS)
LOVED THIS ONE - I made it tonight. It will definitely be on a regular rotation around here!
3 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup water
2 cups tomato puree
4-5 Tbsp taco seasoning (I make my own - you can find lots of recipes on Pinterest)
Brown ground meat and onion and garlic then add water, tomato puree and taco seasoning. 
*Note - I did find that there was plenty of tomato sauce. It ended up making a taco salad instead of wrapping the fillings in a lettuce leaf. Next time I will probably cut down on the water and tomato puree.
Top with whatever you like - diced tomatoes, guacamole, avocado, onions, salsa, cilantro, and cheese if you eat it! :)

(4) Ginger Chicken & Broccoli (AAG-MMS)

(5) Chili
(I make my own for this - I like to add liver since I can't taste it with all the spices, haha.)

(6) Pepperoni Pizza Pasta - (AAG-MMS)
The link is a video of Danielle making it online. I've made this twice already since getting the cookbook - it's fantastic! This will be our meal on Fridays since Fridays are always homemade pizza night. I'll miss grilling pizza - nothing like a slightly charred crust! - but I use this spiralizer to make noodles out of squash and that's fun!
4-5 oz pepperoni (I use Applegate brand)
3/4 lb Italian sausage (I used 1 pound and used the hot Italian we got with our hog order)
3 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 pounds yellow squash
3/4 cup tomato paste
1-3 Tbsp water (I've used 1.5 Tbsp each time and it was fine)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. dried oregano
So that's it for Week 1! We briefly considered waiting until after the Super Bowl to start, but at least this way we'll be able to celebrate Valentine's Day evening and hubby's birthday (a few days later) with a yummy dessert! :)

Have you ever done a "detox" diet?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Recommendation - Thirsting for Prayer

Happy Friday, friends!

I've been reading a great little book recommended by my spiritual director called Thirsting for Prayer. Jacques Philippe has written a few others that I've read, and I highly recommend them all. But I think I'd recommend this one first!

I loved this quote from the book:
When meaning is lacking, people try to replace it with feelings and sensations. "Get your fill of sensations," said a recent car advertisement. But that is a dead end, producing nothing but frustration, even self-destruction and violence. A thousand satisfactions do not add up to happiness.
One final remark on this matter of prayer as a path of freedom. As I shall explain later, faithfulness to prayer causes us little by little to experience that our real treasure is within us, that we possess within ourselves the Kingdom and its happiness. This discovery will make us freer with regard to earthly possessions, liberating us gradually from the excessive need to have things--that current tendency to fill our lives with a host of material possessions that in the end weigh us down and harden our hearts.
So true, isn't it?

We are officially starting the 21-Day Sugar Detox on Sunday. DH has been working out of town this week, so we traveled with him to visit his family - and meet our new nephew! :) Since we knew about this trip, I figured it would be better to start once we were back home. Plus, I knew I needed to plan our menus in advance! :) I'll post our menu for the week on Monday!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Project 365: Days 11-21

Day 11 - this might have been taken on Day 10... but still. 
DH & I drove to and from VA on the 10th to pick up a whole hog and 1/2 a cow. 
Our freezer in the fridge upstairs is fully stocked too. Vegetarians we are not.

Day 12 - so glad for modern technology so we can still say goodnight to Daddy when he travels!

Day 13 - It doesn't matter who feeds her... still not a big fan of the sweet potatoes!

Day 14 - working on longer tummy time with the help of Veggie Tales. 

Day 15 - On his on initiative, C set the table. :)

Day 16- Friday Pizza Night! :) Wonder how long we'll be able to grill outside?

Day 17: Inspecting the fireplace. 

Day 18 - How well do you think that apron protected him?? He LOVED the science center! 
(Thanks aunties, uncle & cousin M)

Day 19 - Patting Memere's little praying bear to put him to sleep. :)

Day 20: First visit to Hobby Lobby ever. SCORE!!!! It's for C's room. 
I went with a nautical theme and this lamp is perfect. 
I've been eyeing the same one on Amazon since the fall - it was almost twice as much there! 
Love Hobby Lobby!!!

Day 21 - Loving the snow! He pronounced it "good" and "tasty."

I think I need to start taking more photos of G!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WHW: Spice Cabinet Organization

It has been ages since I did a Welcome Home Wednesday post!

One of the things I love about our new home is the prior owner's efficient use of space when they remodeled the kitchen. In our townhome, when we remodeled our kitchen one of the things I loved most was our spice rack mounted on the upper cabinet door next to the stove.

I was so excited to have this spice rack to store my spices, but it has been hard to see the labels when I open the cabinet.

Yes, I have a ton of spices. I use almost all of them. There are a few freebies I don't use on a regular basis but I've been attempting to use them more often just to see if I like how they flavor a dish.

I hesitated to buy these at Staples because they were so darn pricey! I looked a few pre-printed ones on Amazon, but knew I would prefer to have things match (I might be a little OCD, haha.) Anyway, I never thought to look for these ones on Amazon, but I searched and found they were much cheaper than the ones at Staples and came 36 to a pack instead of 12! Sold.

It's the little things! :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Project 365: Days 6-10 (and a Prayer Request)

Day 6 - love seeing the Christmas tree reflected in the piano! And an attempt at bokeh.

Day 7 - Snow Day!
(this outfit worn by her aunties - 25 year or so ago!)

Day 8 - Little Drummer Boy
he has been "practicing" a ton!

Day 9 
He likes to sniff the wine cork... and he always says "Mmmm... good"

Day 10
She alternates between chewing on his ear 
(major teething going on here!) and licking his nose!

Friends, I also wanted to ask for your prayers for some friends of a friend. I don't know this family personally, but it always breaks my heart when parents of young children are ill. Certainly, they would appreciate financial help as you are able, but prayers are welcomed most of all. Thank you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Goals

As someone who loves to make lists (and cross things off!) I always enjoy coming up with some resolutions or goals each year. I was trying to come up with categories for areas to work on, when Rachel Cruze posted this video on her FB page: The 7 Areas You Need to Set Goals. If you've been around here for a while, you know how much DH and I appreciate Dave Ramsey and his daughter! :)

Anyway, I had been working on goals in a few areas, and liked her list too, so here goes...

7 Goal Areas for 2015!!!

1) Intellectual
This year one of my goals is to read more - and I have a specific list of books - I wrote down all the samples of books I had on my Kindle. 28 books. Oops. I like checking out book recommendations that other bloggers have mentioned, and the easiest way to see them is the preview option for the kindle. Thank you Amazon! Fortunately, 14 of them are available at our local library, leaving 2 that were free and 11 that I will have to purchase if I get that far. I'm going to start with the library ones, and already have a few on the way! I have always LOVED to read, and I always checked out the max available on my library card growing up. I used to drive my poor mom crazy because she'd call me for dinner, or something else and I just wouldn't even hear her. (DH has experienced that too on occasion. What can I say - I get engrossed and I don't multi-task!)
Right now I'm reading Thou Shall Prosper that Dave Ramsey has recommended a number of times. Also on the above list is Dave's newest book, The Legacy Journey. I'm trying to spend about an hour reading before bed each night instead of staying online. A few others on the list:
Hold on to Your Kids
Eat that Frog
Simplicity Parenting (I have this on my kindle already, but I may borrow the print one too.)
Rena's Promise
The Hiding Place
The Bones of St. Peter
The Honest Toddler
Simplify (only on Kindle)
Clutterfree with Kids (Kindle)
A Mother's Rule of Life

2) Physical
I have been so crappy with regard to my workouts ever since G arrived. No more. Our garage is mostly underground so it actually stays pretty warm in there, and I have no excuses - we have so much equipment. My goal is to do something 5 days a week - and my time slot is right after I put the kids down for their afternoon nap. Today we had snow, and I was outside shoveling for about 1/2 an hour so I sure counted that, haha! DH and I are also going to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox - I'm waiting for the book from the library just to make sure I'm not keeping something in that should be out as we plan to start on Sunday. After all the Christmas cookies I made (and ate), I am looking forward to getting back off sugar. I just do not handle it well, and I feel so much better without it!

3) Spiritual
I'm focusing this month on Our Lady and devotions to her - the Rosary, the Angelus, and other Marian prayers. I'll probably do a new focus each month but I haven't picked each out yet.

4) Family
Get outside more as a family - hopefully we have some fun snow days ahead of us, and also go out and check out some of the activities in our area. We also got a family science center membership and my goal is to get there once a month with the kids. And then there is the Project 365, to photograph my family more (and finish the online photography classes I bought this summer.)

5) Social
Get more involved in the local Catholic mom's group. Maybe have one family over a month for a meal? Still deciding on this with DH.

6) Career
I'm not teaching now, but I want to learn 1 new piece this year. (I'd love to learn 2, but I have to be realistic about practice time!) I also want to re-learn and re-memorize 2 of my favorites and that will take some time. C often asks me to play and sing for him, which is awesome, but I need to keep challenging myself. I also want to talk to a few organists in the area and offer to sub when they need it.

7) Financial
When we moved, our top priority was buying a home with a 15-year mortgage we could comfortably afford. And with the move, we got rid of our last debt other than our mortgage, graduate student loans. I feel good about what we're saving, what we're spending and what we are giving more than ever. I do want to save a bit more toward the kids 529s. And... I do have one personal and BIG challenge this year...

I am not buying clothing, shoes or accessories for an entire YEAR!

I don't remember when I first found Sarah's blog, but I was so inspired by this idea. I also liked how she laid everything out.
  • If something breaks, I can replace it. (Honestly, I have enough options, so I can't really imagine this happening.)
  • If a specific function requires certain attire, I can buy that. For example, I already know I need a bridesmaids dress for my sisters wedding. But she's not requiring specific shoes, so I can wear ones I already have. I am not in my BIL's wedding this summer so I could borrow something "new-to-me" for that or wear something (gasp!) I already have. Haha. 
  • Gift cards and personal WAM do not count - I can use those. But I CANNOT dip into our family clothing budget -that is only for the kids and DH this year! (DH actually needs some new suits, so that is one goal - to save for those!)
I also loved Sarah's List of What She Learned. I think #2 will be so good for me to accomplish the above goals - I rarely go shopping by myself, and even more rarely with 2 small kids, but I often browse online. And Pinterest, ha!

Whew! I don't know that I've ever been this detailed about my goals, but there you have it. :)

What are your goals or resolutions this year? :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! and Project 365: Days 1-5

Happy 2015! :) I'm going to do a post later this week on some of my resolutions for 2015, but for my first post this year, I''ll share my photos from the Project 365 - photo a day challenge this year that some of you had on FB.

I don't often post photos on FB, and I doubt I'll be able to keep up with it every day, so I'll post in batches and the blog will be my medium for sharing!

Day 1
C received a Mass Kit for Christmas - he LOVES it... and Mass is "said" often throughout the day. DH & I know he's picked up a ton, but even we were astounded at just how much he knows. And one of us (mostly me) is instructed by him to ring the bell at the appropriate moments.

Day 2
We're enjoying lots of fires these days! I really hope we get snow soon!!

Day 3
Let's not discuss the game results. Let's focus on the adorable girl, ok?

Day 4
Pillow fights with Daddy. (Papa in the background)

(Still Day 4 - the goal with pillow fights is to get him tired before naps or bed! It works. ;))

Day 5
Spontaneous visit by Aunt R in the middle of the day. They ran around the island singing "Driving in my car." So cute and this is the beep, beep verse. :)

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