Friday, August 31, 2012

Counting Change

Tip: Find a cute container, place all loose change in it for a year (or two or three), and then roll it up and use it for something fun!  

While we use cards for 95% of our purchases, there are always times we use cash and somehow, we end up with TONS of change around.  A few years ago, I purchased an old glass container to put change in.

This last week, my husband and I finally rolled all the coins, and were shocked with the total, nearly $100!  We are going to use the money to celebrate our anniversary later this week.

This is a quick and easy way to keep loose change in one place AND get some extra money for something fun.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Boy Bed

On Sunday, we build my son's big boy bed.  We are moving him strait from his crib to a twin bed, and got him some really awesome 'Toystory' set.  However, with my son being sick, he was less receptive to it that I would have liked.  Here is what it looks like.

Wednesday night, (the one night I work and don't put my son to bed) he decided that he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed.  I snuck in and took a quick picture, because this kid NEVER stays still when he sleeps.  Apologies for the blurriness, I was trying to take it, without him waking up.  I also put tons of pillows on the floor just incase he should wiggle out of bed in the middle of the night.

I was most apprehensive about the next morning.  Would he get up and play? Call for us like normal?  If he woke up early would he not go back to sleep?  Well he woke up at 5am, I'm not sure if he fell out of bed, or got out himself, but he started crying and when I got into his room, he was standing next to his big boy bed.  When I picked him up he wanted back in his crib, and I obliged.  Just in case he did fall out, this fancy bed rail went up the next day.

If he did fall, this will prevent it from happening again (though I really think he got out of bed and freaked out because he wasn't used to the new bed).  I should have put it up 1st, but I wanted to see if he really needed it.  I am so excited about this transition, mostly because we need the crib for our sweet baby girl who will soon be moving into her big brother's room, but also because he is totally ready for a big boy bed.



PS For the month of September I will be doing a Tip's for Toddler's Tuesday series, and I'm super excited about it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Monday

I have decided that our lives are too hectic to try and plan meals to the day.  It never fails that SOMETHING happens and our plans go out the window and have to change.  So instead I have decided to meal plan in a different way.  I am going to plan to make 5 meals each week, but not determine what day we are going to have them.  This way I am still planing but have more flexibility with in my plan.  I can still grocery shop according to my meal plan, but I don't HAVE to make it on any particular day.  So here is what I am planing on making/eating this week:

Chicken Tortilla Bake (leftovers, I made it this weekend for lunch with a friend)
Cranberry chicken
Make Your Own Taco's (so I can use the leftover tortillas from the chicken bake)
Pasta w/ Alfredo
Pizza night

I'm thinking taco's sound good tonight, but then again, it's Monday and I may be exhausted by tonight and just go with the leftover option,  then again, my hubby may get home from work early and make the cranberry chicken for me.  It is so nice to have a plan with freedom. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Grilled Cheese Fail

Once upon a time, I decided I was hungry and for lunch a grilled cheese sandwich sounded good.  I sliced some cheddar cheese, buttered my bread and tossed what was soon to be a delicious lunch onto a hot griddle.  That is where it all went wrong, being distracted by a fantastic text conversation I was having with a friend, I realized too late that I had left my sandwich on one side for far to long.  Here are the results.

Yes, she really is homemaking challenged, and settled for leftovers instead.

The End.



Thursday, August 23, 2012


For longer than I will admit, I left our bathroom sink a disaster.  Keeping it real, I will should you a picture.

We moved in rather hastily, and I was using the hall bath to get ready because I didn't want to tackle this project.  I don't know why, but when things look big, I procrastinate.  It honestly really didn't take me that long.  MAYBE 10 minutes.  Why I waited (insert undisclosed amount of time that is ridiculous) to do this project I don't know.  However I feel sooooo much better now that it is done and I can actually use my bathroom sink instead of the hall sink.

For now it is functional, I for one can not wait to get rid of the horrid 70's decor.  The wall paper and fixtures HAVE to go!  However it is on the long list of projects we will have to do around this house for the next 5+ years that will keep us busy.

What project are you not doing?  Anything you are procrastinating doing?  My advice, just get in there and get it done!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Progress

We are "in progress" in lots of things in our life.  More specifically our home... here is a picture update of where we are at:

This is the corner of our bedroom, mostly books that we need to purchase a new shelf for but have yet to do.

Our desk/my crafting area is coming along, trying to find the best storage systems for all my crafts and projects.

Yes, this is a ceiling fan, still on the floor and not re-attached yet.  *sigh eventually.

The master closet is also coming along.  Two of those boxes are my "regular" clothes.  I'm not going to bother unpacking them until I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, (something having fresh baked cookies around isn't going to help with).  Yet, things are slowly finding places though.

The entry closet has shoes, and a few other miscellaneous items, we are still figure things out here.

Our kitchen is set and functional, which is important

My apologies for the horridness of the picture below, but do you remember the master bath looked on the walk though?  Well due to time and finances the horrid wall paper had to stay, we started pulling it down, I honestly don't know which is worse, the wall paper or the bare drywall (I'm leaning towards the wall paper)

This is our garage, still full of stuff to go through/unpack, however its 110 degrees here, so that is going to have to wait!

There has been lots of other progress, and more pictures/updates to come!



Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Monday

This week our family is planing to eat:

Monday:  Eating Out

Tuesday: Five Cheese Cannelloni with Tomato Basil Sauce

Wednesday: Mac and Cheese

Thursday: Cranberry Chicken

Friday: Pizza

This will all most likely change, as my sweet boy has pneumonia (again!) and our week is going to be super crazy, as hubby and I have to shift our work schedules around to keep him home, and deal with a sick clinging toddler and our sweet 2 month old baby girl.  Ahh the joy's of parenting.  Hope you all have a great week!



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fresh Cookies

I love fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.  There are few things I like better, I have been known to eat 5 an appropriate amount of cookies right out of the oven.

In order to assure we can make cookies quickly and easily, whenever I make cookie dough, I simply make it into balls, ready to place on the cookie sheet and go into the oven.  It's almost like having the "ready to bake" cookies at your finger tips, except they are homemade, AND way cheaper!

I just place them in balls in a tupperware, and bake them whenever we want fresh baked cookies!

They always smell so good when they are in the oven don't they?

Making them this way, makes them so easy to eat, but it also means you don't have to bake the entire batch at one time, leaving you with the ability to bake cookies, and not having tons just lying around.

Its easy and fun and yummy, enjoy the fresh baked cookies, and I take no responsibility for adding any pounds to your waist line.  If you want help with that, you can always try these Nabisco 100 Calorie Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies,  (Ad) they are not as good as fresh baked, but less calories for sure.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick weekend get away

Instead of doing the million things around my house that need to get done, unpacked and organized this weekend.  We went on a mini-vacation as a family.  My parents were staying at the beach and invited us to join them.  We also won Legoland tickets earlier this summer and since my parents were only 30 minutes away, we decided that it would be a perfect weekend trip.  Thursday afternoon we packed the kids up, and headed out on our two hour drive.

Thankfully baby girl slept the whole way and our son, is a pretty good traveler!

Friday we headed to Legoland.  I was disappointed with the lack of rides our toddler could go on, however there were tons of play areas AND we went to the water park. He had a blast!

Like father like son, building with legos
My sweet boy totally loved sitting on this bench with his new "friend"

When we got home, there was little food left as we hadn't gone shopping at all (was supposed to be done on Saturday) so we had a fantastic breakfast for dinner.

It was a great weekend, and nice to get out of the heat, one last time this summer.  Next weekend I am very exited that my Mother and Sister (in-laws) will be taking our sweet boy for the weekend (well Saturday/Sunday - Monday/Tuesday).  It will be nice to perhaps have a bit more time with hubby and baby girl, although I will miss him dreadfully!

Hope you have a fun few weekends before the summer ends!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork in the Crock Pot

BBQ Pulled Pork is one of our favorite staples in this house.  We have always relied on the quick microwave version, as it was quick and easy and honestly, I am intimidated by new meals.  However, we did the math, and it is WAY cheaper to purchase a pork shoulder and add a few ingredients, so i thought I'd give it a go.  I knew that there were tons of BBQ Pulled Pork recipes online, so I turned to google.  WOW, way too many, several with TONS of ingredients, and that looked a bit more challenging than I was willing to attempt.  So I looked at them, and decided that I would make it as simple as possible, following what my husband calls the "KISS" method (Keep It Simple Stupid).

I placed my pork shoulder in the crock pot on the rack, (which I wasn't sure if I was supposed to do or not, but I knew the fat would cook off, and I didn't like the idea of the meat cooking in it's own fat) chopped up a little onion, to place on top and poured root-beer over the whole thing.  Then I turned my slow cooker on high for 8 1/2 hours and let it go.

When i got home from work, I simply cut the rope part off (this is an important step) dumped the fat out of the bottom of the cooker, and shredded the shoulder with two forks.  I tried to pull off and get rid of any extra fat, as I went.  It felt a tad dry to me, so I added a bit more root-beer, and it made it a bit easier to shred.  When I was done, it looked like this.

Then I added BBQ sauce and left it on high for another hour to allow it to finish cooking.

Apparently, I choose a good night to make dinner in the crock pot, as my husband ended up not getting home from work until 8:30pm (usually he beats me home).  So I was able to keep it warm for him, which was an added bonus.  I know that most people make sandwiches with BBQ pork, but we aren't huge sandwich people so I aways just whip up some cornbread to serve it with, and it is wonderful!

This was such a great meal, and we had tons of leftovers, so I got to freeze some later!  We will be making our BBQ pork this way in the future.  My picky hubby even gave it the thumbs up saying it was easily as good, if not better than the microwave version we normally buy.

Want to make it yourself?

Here is what you need:
1 Pork Shoulder (4-6 pounds)
1/4 of a yellow onion
1/2 - 2 cups of root-beer
A bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Place the shoulder on the rack in your crock pot.
Dice the onion and place on to of the shoulder
Pour root-beer on top of all, so that there is about 1inch in the bottom of the pot
Cover and cook on high for 7-9 hours depending on pound of shoulder
Dump fat our of bottom of crock pot, remove string on shoulder and shred on bottom of pot
Mix in your BBQ sauce and cook on high for an hour until warm.
Serve hot on a sandwich or with cornbread and enjoy!

I hope that this will make your week night dinners go faster as it takes very little effort for a great and hearty meal.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The game closet...

If you know me and my hubby, we LOVE to play games!  I was brought up playing games as a family and we LOVED it.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas time our whole family will play Pinnacle together (it isn't an old person's game, I've been playing since I was 13).  Anyways, you'd better believe that finding a guy who enjoyed board/card games was high up on my list for a guy I could marry.  Luckily the guy I fell in love with, also loved games and as impossible as it may seem, loved them more than I do!

When we first looked at our new home, we LOVED the closet space.  My hubby immediately attempted to claim the linen closet as our new game closet.  You see, we had run out of storage space and there was a "no new games rule" that was in effect until we came up with a better storage solution.

Well, on move in day, hubby and 4 strongly male friends were moving all the big stuff, I was attempting to direct traffic making sure that boxes and furniture ended up in the right rooms, and I missed the fact that my hubby had placed all of the game boxes on the shelves in what is supposed to be the linen closet.  I went away busily unpacking the kitchen, (mind you I am also dealing with my sweet 3 week old baby and 19 month old toddler) so that we could perhaps be able to scrounge up some food.  Hubby's friends leave, and hubby starts to unpack other stuff.  About 2 hours later, I discovered that "other stuff" = our game collection into the linen closet.  He had it so nicely organized, that I couldn't say no.  It also had room for MORE games, (and he had birthday money burning a hole in his pocket) and was rather organized.  I couldn't say no, I mean look how great it looks.

 Here is what it looked like during our home clean out/ painting days

I think I will let the hubby keep the game closet (which may I had has already grown) as all of our games fit so nicely and we can easily open the closet when we have company to have them help select a game to play.  For those of you who are curious, yes, we really do play A LOT of games.  :)



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Menu Monday, on Tuesday

I know I'm a day late, but last night we had do do laundry and grocery shopping to catch up from our weekend (more on that coming soon) and I didn't have time to blog.  Here is what we are cooking this week.

Monday: Taco Night

Tuesday: Pulled Pork & Corn Bread

Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday: Cranberry Chicken

Friday: Pizza

I'm actually currently in the process of cooking the pulled pork, it is in the crock-pot, and I'm hoping that it turns out alright, as I haven't ever made it myself before.  I've always just purchased the microwave ones, because they are quick and easy.  Hopefully when I get home tonight it will be yummy and ready to go!  Yet as we all know, I am homemaking challenged so, that may not happen.

What are you cooking for dinner this week?


Thursday, August 9, 2012

When you need a chocolate pick me up...

Pintrest is wonderful.  Except when you see an awesome pin, and forget to pin it.  Then you have to google it.  I couldn't find the actual pin, but I did find the recipe on the Duncan Hines site.  Here is a quick and easy chocolate cake pick me up.  This is awesome for those of you, who are like me, and will eat 3 (or 6) cupcakes before you realize it if they are around the house.

This is the easiest recipe I have seen.  Simply mix one box of angle food mix and one of whatever your favorite flavor is.  (I obviously chose chocolate).  I mixed them in a gallon sized plastic bag.

 Then I wrote the simple directions on the bag.  3 Tbs mix, 2 Tbs water, & 1 min in the microwave.

 This is what mine looked like after I nuked it.  Texture of angel food, with the taste of chocolate...

and obviously topped with whip-cream!

It was a bit spongy (as angle food cakes are), I think I may want to try a tad less time in the microwave next time.  However, for a quick dessert where you can't over eat it, I will count this as a win!

Enjoy the official directions here...



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Confessions from the Homaking Challenged


I may or may not have gone to bed early the last 3 nights without touching dishes, or preparing for the next morning

I have woken up an hour late the last 2 mornings, racing out of the house and forgetting essential things such as a bottle for daycare.  Thus having to leave work, go home grab the bottles, and take them to daycare.

I have been incredibly lazy in the cooking department allowing my hubby to cook most of the meals.  OK I have been lazy in every department.  I really need to get back on my game.

I worked hard to clean the kitchen, hall bath, dining room and living room this weekend only to have it destroyed completely when my toddler woke up from his nap

I am having a hard time balancing life right now.  Between hubby, kids, work, church, blog, family and all of the other things that pop up, I have had practically no time for me, or friends, or projects

I am super stressed out about finances.  I am trying REALLY hard not to be.  Buying a house dipped pretty deep into our savings (which we knew and were prepared for) however hubby's hours getting cut to 0-5 PER WEEK while in escrow plus me on UNPAID maternity leave = good bye savings.  I know that I really have a hard time with it, and I shouldn't but it is really stressful and I don't do well with stress.

It has been one of those long and crazy times in my life where I am just overwhelmed and have been for a long time. Hoping to at least get my home under control again so that at least that isn't hanging over my head.  However, this is why I'm homemaking challenged.

Hope that you are all having a great week,



Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Monday

Here is what we are planing on eating this week:

Honey BBQ chicken with Rice

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Mac and Cheese

Backwards Breakfast

Micro meat w/ pasta roni


This week, is looking to be even more crazy than the last.  However I don't think it will ever slow down with working and kids.  I'm still trying to track down more healthy, cheap and easy recipes.  If you find any please send them my way!



Friday, August 3, 2012

It's the little things in life

Yesterday, I was able to mop the floors WHILE doing laundry!  I have not in my married life ever been able to do housework and laundry at the same time, because we have never had a washer and dryer.  Now we have them and it is AMAZING!  I did 3 loads of laundry yesterday, and cleaned the kitchen and floors at the same time.  What is it about multitasking that makes me feel so accomplished?  I have a very busy weekend planned between work, a bridal shower and family, so being able to do all of this helps so much!

What things do you multi task?



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Goals

Wow.  Where has this summer gone?  It seriously feels like I was just pregnant, even though my baby girl is going to be 8 weeks tomorrow.  I am back at work, still trying to unpack and settle into our new home with way too many goals to list this month.  I know that having goals keeps me focused, and helps me feel accomplished at the end of the month, so here it goes.

1. Blog 20x's during the month of August.  I fell off the bandwagon a bit with the baby, moving and vacation without internet.

2. Spend no unnecessary money.  Money is tight, REALLY tight.  My hubby has not been working recently because his company just doesn't have the hours, and with my recent unpaid maternity leave, and buying a house our savings has greatly dwindled.

3. Get crafty with what I have.  I have lots of stuff for craft projects, it is just a matter of getting them done.  I can't wait to try and do this with a 0 budget.  I would like to do at least one project this month, and I think I have the perfect one in mind.

Well, I still can't believe that it is August, but that is how life is.  I'd love to hear some of your goals for the month!