Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mango Mania.

Yes.  That's what it's called.  The color my sweet hubby selected for our kitchen facelift.  It would be far more accurate to say that he absolutely insisted on it.  I am certain we spent at least 45 minutes in the paint aisle going around about this color choice.  Me, holding my ground for a subtle aloe green.  Him, pressuring me to go bolder.  Ay yi yi.  It was clear that I was not going to win this war.  After all, it's paint.  If it doesn't turn out, you paint over it.  No problemo.

Lucky for us, the previous owner nicely remodeled the kitchen, leaving only the walls undone.  So the last 5 days we have been buried in our kitchen, held hostage by layers of crumbling wallpaper, joint compound, and paint fumes.  I am happy to report that the deed is nearly done.

Hal.  Le.  Lu.  Jah.


We knew going in that the kitchen would be the toughest room in this house.  And because I spend so much time in there, it had to be done first or I was going to tear my hair out.  We meticulously removed 5 layers of wallpaper.  Yes.  Five.  This house was built in 1900 so we knew there were likely some hidden surprises beneath those layers.  I was time-traveling via wallpaper, literally peeling decades off these walls.  I am not sure which I found most intriguing, the 1950s fruit bowls or the circa 1930s teapot prints. 

My kitchen is mostly dry and back together.  And... I love the Mango Mania.  It's warm and Tuscan and not nearly as wild as it sounds.  As much as I hate to admit it, my sweetheart was right.  In this case.  And now I get to pick out new window treatments and accessories to go with my new kitchen colors.  Score.

And when I find a way to manufacture more time into my schedule (ha!), I will be stripping paint from the gorgeous woodwork on the five doorways in the kitchen.  (Yes.  Five.)  Seriously, who paints over such things?  Happy this madness seems to be contained to the kitchen and the wood work in the rest of the house is beautifully intact. 

Originally, this five-day vacation was slated to be just that.  Vacation.  Friday is our 10-year anniversary and our intention was to finally take a trip to celebrate.  But then we bought a house.  And I got a new kitchen for my anniversary.  And you won't find me whining about it one bit. 

So don't worry about me.  I'll be sipping coffee amid the warm, Tuscan mangoes.  Wait.  Are there mangoes in Tuscany?  Well, whatever.  It's just plain pretty.


BONUS TIP:  We found ourselves in need of an extension for the paint roller and not wanting to make another trip into town.  Hubby discovered he could unscrew the broom handle and it was a perfect fit to screw into the end of paint roller.  Voila!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Week.

Last week.

My sweet husband will readily tell you that he doesn't particularly care for that week.  He is not ever quite prepared for it.  And quite frankly when it's all said and done... we are mostly broke.

It's that week.  The week where one right after the other comes Peanut's birthday, my birthday, Mother's day, and graduation all in one sweep.  We devour cake til we burst at the seams, host hoards of   screaming, rambunctious  sweet, calm, and lovely girls for a sleepover, and deliver well wishes to esteemed graduates til the cows come home.  And somewhere in there, sweet hubby will find time to slip me a thoughtful card or whisk me away to a fabulous dinner.  Sometimes both.

To celebrate the passage of another year, I sipped expensive coffee, indulged in good chocolate, and savored every moment with my adorable little family.  

And I miss blogging.  Can't wait to post some new recipes later this week.  And catch up on everything.

Now if I can just get through dance recital next week...


Love & coffee!


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Peanut.

My oldest baby is 8.  

I did not ask for this.  I am not ready for this.  Please, stay small.

She is the one who made me Mommy.  She was the first.  It was a terrifying labor, but oh-so-worth-it.  I remember the doctor holding her up and showing her to me in a Simba-like, Lion King way. 

And me thinking, "Wow, she looks a little like a conehead, but at the same time the most captivatingly beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on." 

She just looked at me and blinked with fresh, wide eyes.  Never crying.  The doctor laid her across my chest.  The nurse kept poking her to get her to cry.  Please, don't poke my sweet little peanut like that. 

But she was fine.  Content.  Perfect. 

And here we are.  8 years later. 

Please, make time stop now.






Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Update.

For anyone who was following Grayson's story from my previous post (Speechless), I thought it would be appropriate to share an update.  

Grayson passed away late Sunday evening.  

He was 4.  

Hold your babies.  Hold them tight.  And please, pray for Grayson's family.





"Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
   ready to rescue you.  
If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
   if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath."

Psalm 34.17-17 (The Message)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just plain mean.

I am blind.  Nearly.  Well, sort of.  I am one of those people who pay loads of cash so my "coke bottle" lenses will be be deceivingly thin.  Most days, I just prefer my contacts.  Perhaps one day I will be brave enough to have a go at Lasik surgery, but until then, shenanigans like the following will continue...

It should have been simple.  It should have been easy.  It should have just the way it has always been.  You see, my lovely, eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner are packaged in nearly identical bottles. Except for the small print labeling them "shampoo" and "conditioner," its rather difficult to tell them apart.  Since I obviously don't shower with glasses, I have a system:  shampoo on the left, conditioner on the right.  Left to right.  Like reading.  Foolproof.  Almost.

Things were going along swimmingly as I first lathered my hair and rinsed.  I reached for the 2nd bottle.  The right one.  As I am applying the conditioner, I am surprised that my hair still feels rather soapy.  Strange.  Granted I was still rather tired so perhaps I forgot to rinse the shampoo out of my hair?  I fully rinse and try again with the bottle on the right.  I find myself richly lathered.  Again.  I am still groggy.  I can't recall if I used the bottle on the left or the bottle on the right.  I assumed one of the girls switched the bottles during their shower the evening before.  Rinsing again.  This time, I go left.  Argh!  Fully soaped!  Seriously, what the heck is going on here???  I violently take hold of both bottles clutching them as close to my feeble eyes as possible only to discover they BOTH say "shampoo!"  Super.  I have just shampooed my hair four times and there is no conditioner in sight (no pun intended). 

The jig is up.  I call for hubby.  "Where in God's green earth is the conditioner???!!!"  

He laughs.  Then smugly replies, "It's on the other side." 

Seriously.  Don't mess with my system.  What a mean trick to pull on a blind girl before her morning joe.  

But on the bright side... my hair is really clean.



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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lunch Lessons.

I love living here, but as I am quickly learning, there all sorts of little challenges popping up that I hadn't really thought about before.  

One hurdle in particular is lunch.

Yes.  We were spoiled in town.  Hubby came home for lunch nearly every day.  It was a sweet time to reconnect and catch up and nourish ourselves.  Now...  not so muchThere are simply too many miles between us and eating out every day isn't exactly friendly to our bank account.  ($5 Footlongs from Subway can only charm a person for so long.)

I wasn't really prepared for the whole packing-a-lunch ordeal every morning.  Packing for the kids is easy.  (Kid-friendly ideas here:  Lunch Much?)  

My sweetheart, on the other hand, eats at least three times as much, craves massive amounts of protein and is very...  specific about his food.  There have been more than a few recent mornings where a grumpy hubby left the house lunchless simply because I didn't plan ahead.  (Oops!)  Sandwiches and soup were getting old really fast.


Then a lightbulb...


Several weeks ago, while preparing a larger-than-usual pan of enchiladas (one of the few meals that everyone in the family will actually eat without someone rolling their eyes and pushing the plate away), I hit a wall.  The dish was stuffed to overflowing and I had 4 lonely enchiladas left over.  What to do?  Epiphany.  I wrapped each one individually and stuck them in the freezer.  Hubby's lunch!  He was thrilled and they reheated perfectly for his mid-day meal.  Now I make a double batch and freeze away!

Homemade, perfectly portable,  and oh-so-yummy.  Not to mention, exceedingly inexpensive to make.  


Some other things I am filling my freezer with for this purpose:


Pepperoni Pizza Poppers


A homemade version of a pizza pocket.  Use refrigerated biscuit dough (or homemade!).  Roll each out to a thin circle.  Fill with sauce, cheese and desired toppings.  Fold over into a semi-circle.  Use fork to press and seal the edges.  Bake at 450 for about 8 minutes.  Wrap individually for future use!  Experimenting with other fillings is fun, too:  chicken, cheddar cheese, and broccoli; ham and cheese; chicken, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese; etc.
Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.


Meatloaf Muffins


Use your favorite meatloaf recipe and scoop into a muffin pan.  Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.  Cool, wrap individually and freeze.  (Mix it up and top with marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese or barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese!)  Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.


Meatballs & Marinara

Freeze your homemade meatballs (this recipe is my fave:  Italian meatballs).  Store in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag.  For lunch, pack with a small container of marinara sauce for dipping.  (A baby food jar is the perfect size!)  Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.

Taco Cups

I cannot take any credit for this, but my amazingly kitchen-talented friend, Lori sent me this idea awhile ago.  (Check out her blog here:  4newtons.)  Press refrigerated biscuit dough into a muffin pan, fill with taco meat, cheddar cheese, and bake!  I imagine these would freeze equally well, but haven't yet tried it!



Almost any casserole can be frozen in individual portions in the same way.  I'll be experimenting some more with this...


Check out my Recipes page for more yummies!


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