My Week in Pictures: March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Friday, friends!  It's that time again- time for the weekend (YAY!!), and time for another edition of "My Week in Pictures" (double- YAY!!).  So here we go. 

This week started on a super high note- the discovery of a 5-pack of Cadbury Creme Eggs.   Now, I have *heard* of this elusive 5-pack of deliciousness before, but have never actually seen one up close and personal, until now.  So obviously, it came home with me.  Are any of these eggs still around?  No comment.


This week, I also tried a new hot tea.  I adore jasmine tea, but it is so hard to find in the form of a tea bag.  I have loose jasmine tea, but sometimes you just want the convenience of a tea bag, ya know?  This was the closest I could find at the local grocery store.  It is lemon jasmine, and it's decaf, so I decided to give it a try.  But to be honest, I didn't care for it.  It was way too lemony and not nearly jasminy enough.  Oh well, back to the drawing board. 


On a brighter note, hubby is back home safe and sound.  He stayed in Los Angeles on business for about a week after I returned.  But, he actually came in a night early, so that was great news too.  Although, his flight didn't arrive until about 12:30 am, which meant that we got home and into bed around 2 am on Monday morning.  And then, I had to actually get up early and go into the office later that morning, so very little sleep for me Sunday night.  :(


All my co-workers were in town this week for a big team meeting, and while they were here, they threw me a surprise baby shower!!  It was awesome.  They are awesome.  So much to be thankful for!


Speaking of things to be thankful for, here's my sweet Izzie Lu, doing a little relaxing, with her favorite "baby".  She got groomed this week.  That always take it out of her.  But doesn't she look pretty with that fresh haircut?


On a random note, I have been trying (very successfully) to incorporate more fruit into my diet.  I really like fruit anyway, but John doesn't eat it that often, so I usually don't buy tons of it because I don't want it to go bad before I can eat it.  Now, this was a really ambitious meal.  I couldn't finish it, but I did save most of the fruit and finished it later.  There just isn't any room left.  Baby Peanut is taking up all the real estate these days.


Speaking of Peanut, here we are at Week 34.  We are now starting Week 35.  Won't be long now!  I thought I looked so springy this day.  And then it snowed so hard and fast all day, it looked like a blizzard outside.  Nothing actually stuck because the ground was way too warm, but nonetheless, I am so OVER winter weather.  It's great in January, but we are knocking on the door of April here.  This girl is ready for springtime.


And to leave you on a really bright note, take a look at what was  flying high in the sky over our house this week.  There were actually several of them out and about.  Reminds me of our hot air balloon ride from a couple of seasons ago.  Here's the link if you want to see the story of our hot air balloon adventure.  


So that's all for this week.  As always, we hope you have had an awesome week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead.  Make it a good one!

Easy Birdfeeder Craft

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The boys and I worked on this craft during one of the MANY winter weather events that we've had this winter. And considering that the European models are predicting that we have (if you can believe it) EVEN MORE SNOW coming our way next week, I thought I would share. (And, no, the irony of me writing this post on the third day of Spring is not lost on me.)


While this craft is also perfectly suited to Spring and Summer time, I found it to be particularly effective at keeping the boys busy when they've been stuck in the house for one too many snow days. And, of course, there's always the added bonus of making sure that your bird friends are well fed even when their little houses are snowed in too:



Birdfeeder Craft Supplies:
Ring shaped cereal (Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Cheerios, etc.)
Waxed dental floss

  1. Cut a length of dental floss that is not longer than your child's patience.
  2. String one piece of cereal onto the floss and tie it securely.
  3. Have the child string the cereal onto the remaining length of floss.
  4. Tie the last piece of cereal securely.
  5. Hang the cereal string from the tree branches for birds to enjoy!

My Week in Pictures: March 21, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

So this is a new column I thought it would be fun to do.  Like many of you, I take a lot of pictures on my phone, and I never really do anything with them.  So I thought it might be fun to share some of those pics with you each week.  Thus, a new column, "My Week in Pictures" is born. 

So here we go.  Enjoy!

My week started out great!  Fun in the sun in sunny California with my husband.  He was traveling on business to Los Angeles, so I tagged along for a few days.  This first picture was bound to happen. That just so happens to be the Dolly Parton star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


And then as we were driving through Beverly Hills, we saw this house, and I said, "That looks like the witch's house from Hansel and Gretel".  So we stopped and snapped quite a few pictures.  Then I immediately googled "Witch's House Beverly Hills" and wouldn't you know, there was all kinds of information out there on it.  As it turns out, this house is now privately owned, but was built in the 1920's where it was featured in all kinds of silent movies.  And most recently was also seen in the background of a scene from the movie "Clueless".  Too cool!



 And along the fence, the owners have posted this sign.  Loved it!


While we were in Santa Monica, John found a spot that offered an English breakfast.  Can you tell he's in hog heaven?


And this was my breakfast.  Tea and scones.  That's homemade clotted cream and jam.  Just like the Brits do it.  I also loved the little mini Union Jack flag they adorned my scone with, as well as the china they served it on.  Dang, come to think of it, I was in heaven too!


And right before I came home, we visited The Pantry.  This Los Angeles diner never closes.  It's open 24/7, 365 days a year.  We grabbed a spot at the counter and watched the short order cooks work their magic while we ate.  


Of course, Monday was St. Patrick's Day, which also happens to be Daddy's birthday.  So, of course I wore green.   Hope you all did too!  I snapped this photo at the very end of a very long day.  I should have taken it in the morning when I was fresh.  Oh well.  In other news, I hate maternity clothes.  The green top you see me wearing here is a maternity top, but the jacket isn't.  I do like pairing a jacket or cardigan over most of my maternity wear because I just think it looks so much better.  In any case,  our little Peanut will be here in a little over a month (YAY!), so I won't have to think about that kind of thing too much longer. 


So on Tuesday, I made my way to the floral department of my local grocery store in hunt for shamrocks.  I accidentally discovered that they sold them there a couple of years ago, and I have had great success with them.  I planted them outside in a planter and they wintered over and came back last spring.  However, after the kind of winter we've had, I don't hold out much hope for them this year.  So I'm hedging my bet.  I bought this pot of shamrocks the day after St. Patrick's Day on sale for $4!


And then this happened.  I knew my week was going too smoothly.  I had a little fender bender in the parking garage at my doctor's office.  Thankfully, it's just a bumper, and these things can be fixed.  Such is life.  We must take the bad with the good. 


So something good immediately happened my way.  Check out the name of this jacket!  It's the Deanna Jacket.  Now, if ever an article of clothing calls ever your name as blatantly as this one did, I advise you to swoop it up with a quickness!


And to round out my week, spring has definitely sprung here in Music City.  And our little Izzie couldn't be happier about it.  We have been taking nice long walks and playing in the back yard every evening.   

But even she can be a little like the month of March- 

In like a lion... (can't you just hear her roaring here???)



And out like a lamb.  :)


So there you have it- my week in pictures.  Hope you are having a great one, and gearing up for a lovely weekend ahead!!

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We've recently had a few sickies in our midst. (Note: sickies are sick people and are QUITE different from sickos). Anyhoot, to make sure that they were up and at 'em as quickly as they could be, I broke down and made RBW's tried and true chicken noodle soup for them. (You see, RBW was one of the sick ones. Otherwise, I would have had him make it.)

Armed with some very large tongs in hand, I managed to wrangle the chicken into the crockpot just fine. The soup got rave reviews, and everyone is better now. I'd like to think the soup made a difference . . . 


Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
2 1/2 to 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
8 oz egg noodles

  1. Place all ingredients except noodles in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3.5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken and bay leaf from pot. Dice chicken and return to pot.
  3. During the last few minutes of cooking, cook noodles according to package directions until al dente (about 7 minutes) and add to soup.
Notes:
I did not have 2 stalks of celery on hand, so rather than using only carrots as the other main vegetable, I used a half bag of frozen mixed vegetables with the chopped onion.

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This recipe is a quick and easy vegetarian variation of beef stroganoff. So, mushroom lovers unite! This one's for you. :-)


Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff
3 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
3/4 lb. portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
8 oz dried egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prepare egg noodles according to package directions. Boil until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  2. While egg noodles cook, melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for two minutes or until softened.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add sliced mushrooms. Cook for an additional five minutes, or until mushrooms are wilted and browned. Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, stir in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cook until the broth has reduced by 1/3.
  5. Reduce heat to low, return the mushroom mixture to the pan, and remove pan from heat.
  6. Stir together sour cream and flour, then blend into mushroom mixture.
  7. Return pan to burner and continue cooking over low heat until the sauce thickens.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

DIY Hair Treatment That Really Works!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I have been using coconut oil as a treatment for my hair for about the past month, and yes, I can really tell a difference when I use it.  Recently, my hair stylist suggested using it to help combat my hair's natural tendency toward dryness in the winter.  It just so happens we already had some in the cupboard, so I went for it.  Read on for the details.



There are lots of pros to using coconut oil as a conditioning treatment for your hair.  It's super easy- no mixing or fussing with lots of ingredients.  Coconut oil actually smells good so you don't mind it sitting on your hair for a while.  And it's readily available from your local grocery store.  What's not to love?

I usually use it about once a week on a morning when I have a little extra time to let it sit on my hair and work for a while.  You simply scoop out a good handful of coconut oil from your jar and work it into dry hair.  I only use it from mid-shaft to the ends of my hair, so the roots don't get greasy.  Once you have it on, I would either finger comb it through or use a wide tooth comb to work it down to the ends.   I usually just let my hair hang loose, but that's completely up to you. If your hair is longer, you might want to pin it up out of your way while it's working it's magic, or you can tuck it under a shower cap. 

I let it sit on my hair for at least an hour, sometimes two, and then wash it out in the shower.  I start with a warm water rinse, and then follow with shampoo (repeat if necessary), and finish with a light conditioner.  That's it.  Super simple. And you should notice an immediate difference.  My hair is always so much softer, shinier, and more manageable after this treatment.  

So there you have it.  Do you have any other hair treatments that work well for you?  As always, leave your comments below.

This post contains affiliate links.

Roasted Asparagus Risotto

Monday, March 10, 2014

Although there are a wealth of "quick" risotto recipes floating around on the Interwebs, I believe that this is one dish that is best left to the "old fashioned" way of cooking. Yes, it will take a little time and effort on your part, but it will be worth it in the end.


Roasted Asparagus Risotto
1 bunch fresh asparagus
6 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut woody ends off of asparagus and discard. Cut remaining asparagus into bite-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
  2. While asparagus roasts, bring vegetable broth to a boil in a small pan, then reduce to a low simmer.
  3. Melt butter and remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.
  4. Once the rice is toasted, add the wine and stir until incorporated.
  5. Gradually add simmering vegetable broth to rice one ladle at a time, stirring continuously until broth is absorbed. Risotto will become creamy but al dente.
  6. Once all vegetable broth has been added and stirred in, add Parmesan and roasted asparagus. Stir to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Notes:
This recipe really is a labor of love, but it is delicious and well worth it. I recommend you wear comfortable shoes and pour yourself some of the remaining wine because you'll be in the kitchen for a while!

If this recipe sounds up your alley, then make sure to check out all of our other roasted vegetable recipes:

Don't Forget to Spring Forward this Weekend!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I feel like I might quite possibly be the only person left on the planet who *didn't* know it was time change weekend.  But in case I'm not alone, here's your friendly reminder.  It is time once again to "Spring Forward" as we make our annual mad dash into (hopefully) some warmer weather and (definitely) some longer days. 

The official time to set your clocks forward is at 2 am on Sunday morning, but if you are like me you will get it done the night before (on Saturday night), or even more likely- much later in the day on Sunday (only after I have botched the time up a couple of times, and totally confused myself.)  




Although, if one of the walls in your house looked like this, you might also conveniently "forget" about time change every six months or so too.   This is actually a massively tall wall in our house that extends from our first floor to the height of our second floor.  We started filling it with large clocks a few years ago.  I actually have another clock on the way to create another "row" soon.  (My husband will love me for that).  In any case, I never realize how much I actually use these clocks for actual time telling until one (or more) of them aren't showing the correct time.  (See the one on the far left!)


So, I imagine we won't go too long past this weekend without getting these up to date.  And I hope you have just as much fun getting all your clocks set forward this weekend, and dealing with the loss of that much-needed hour of sleep.  :)

Free Easter Printables

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Easter will be here before you know it. And just so that it doesn't sneak up on you (what with March apparently both coming in AND going out like a lion this year for all I know), prepare yourself with these free Easter printables.

From gift boxes to gift tags to party printables to kids activities and crafts to home decor, we've got you covered.

Make sure to check out my Free Easter Printables and Easter Pinterest boards. I'll be loading them up in the days and weeks to come with my findings of FREE Easter printables and decor ideas.

In the meantime, here are my latest findings.


First up are the boxes and bags - perfect for little gifts or favors:

Easter Egg Basket Printable from Melissa Esplin:


Bunny Basket Printable from The Toy Maker:


Bunny Box Printable Template from Martha Stewart:


Next are tags that you might want to use to embellish gifts or baskets:

Vintage Easter Gift Tags from The Graphics Fairy:


Happy Easter Treat Tag Printable from Lolly Jane:


Peter Rabbit Treat Bag Topper Printable from Nest of Posies:


Peeps Treat Bag Topper Printable from eighteen25:


And don't forget to spruce up your favorite candy with these Hershey's Kisses Labels from Makoodle:



If you're entertaining kids, try some of these free printables:

Vintage Easter Bunny Coloring Page from The Graphics Fairy:



Vintage Bob Bunny Kids Printable (Cut Out and Craft a Spool Pet) from The Graphics Fairy:



Easter Egg Stencils from Spoonful:


Easter Egg Holders from Spoonful:


Flowered Easter Bunny Ears from Free Easter Printables:


Purple Easter Bunny Ears from Free Easter Printables:

And if you're hosting a party, these will help you with your party planning:

Easter Basket Cupcake Wrappers and Toppers from Skip to My Lou:


Hen Centerpiece and Chick Favors from Martha Stewart:


Mod Bunny Party Pack by Green Beansie Ink on Catch My Party:




Easter Garden Party Printables by Erin J. Rippy on World Label:


Egg Hunt on your to-do list this year? Try these printables:

Colorful Egg Hunt Party Printable set, including Egg Hunt 8 X 10 sign, byTom Kat Studio on HGTV:




Egg Hunt Clue Cards (perfect if you're entertaining little kids) from Spoonful:


Egg Hunt 8 X 10 Printable from Diary of Dave's Wife (available in multiple colors):


Chalkboard Egg Hunt 8 X 10 Printable from Blissful Roots:


And don't forget your Easter decorations! These will get you started:

Burlap Rabbit 8 X 10 Printable from Craftily Ever After:


Peter Cottontail 8 X 10 Printable from Tatertots and Jello (available in multiple colors):