Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday's Song ~ Catch Up On My Life~ Plus Two New Recipes!


This will be so much more than my Sunday's Song post, it will be a catch up from last week as well, so let's catch up!

Many little yet big things have happened this week.   Let us begin...I absolutely love my job and where I work.  They announced they will begin a new program, a new position.  It sounds like a good opportunity, I am mixed on trying or not.  It would be a great opportunity as I said earlier and who knows if I will get it or not.  What I do love is how I am able to try with how little I have been at the company already.  I might have to go back to school and the position is a medical coder.  I have a lot of experience so I think I might have a chance at least at the apprentice position, where the company will pay for me to go back to school too.  I am so torn if I should try or not.

Noah absolutely loved the painting.  We are looking for another class which my hours will limit which one we can do as well. This time I would love to include Ethan.  If you missed my post you can read about it by clicking here but here are our paintings.
Noah's painting on top and mine is below.
Ethan celebrated his actual birthday with his girlfriend in another stated.  Today we will be celebrating with as a family with his birthday dinner.  He chose one of his favorite dishes, Taco Bake.  This will also be a challenge because Joshua's girlfriend is a vegetarian, so I will have to make up a new recipe to try to create something similar without meat.  We will see how this turns out.  *wink*

The upcoming week we will have two more birthdays within our family. Noah's will be Thursday, the 13th and Emily's is the next day the 14th.  Noah will be going to his father's next weekend while Ethan and I will be going to Des Moines to attempt take two for his Senior Pictures.

Thanksgiving plans are beginning and we actually have begun Christmas shopping.  I am so excited for Christmas this year!  I want it to be so special.  I know it will be also a rough one without my Dad this year so I have to do everything in my power to keep the spirit.  The boys will be with their father, it is his year.  Tonight at Ethan's birthday dinner the kids are going to start a new tradition.  They plan to draw names, this will save them money, okay Todd and I money.  The past few years, they have struggled and we have gone over our budget by far because we buy gifts from the kids to the kids.  This year they are going to draw a name and buy a gift for this one person and not everyone.  They seem to be excited about it. 

The weather is changing and my knees are hurting!  It is making difficult for me to work out and I kind of gave up until...we started to plan for next year's Summer Vacation.  NOW, I am super excited and have more incentive to workout and get my knees hopefully stronger.  A couple of years ago we went to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone.  We only had one day in Yellowstone, our second day was robbed from us because of Todd's car breaking down.  From that day forward we always wanted to return and said we would have to spend more than two days there because of everything Yellowstone has to offer.  We also were so disappointed about being so close to Devil's Tower and not seeing it.  This Summer we will be taking twice amount of days for our vacation, to ten days!  We plan to go to Yellowstone but a different way this time.  Four of our ten days will be driving to and back, this leave six days to enjoy. We are going to go in the West Entrance this time so we sill see the Grand Tetons.  We will exit from the North Entrance and head up to see Devil's Tower as well.  We plan to take some tours within Yellowstone this time and might even tent camp within Yellowstone.  I am so excited!  We are so excited!  I am not sure if Joshua and Ethan will be going this year.  Emily definitely will be and Matthew will as well.  Matthew was not able to go with us last time.  Kera might have plans of her own during our vacation time and Noah does not have a choice he will be going with us.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from our first visit.
If you want to see more or read about our vacation here are my links to my post:

Vacation 2013~Day One/Mt Rushmore
Vacation 2013~Day One/Crazy Horse
Vacation 2013~Day Two/The Drive to Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Three/The Drive To/And Yellowstone National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Yellowstone National Park Old Faithful
Vacation 2013~Day Three/Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park/ Back to Cody
Vacation 2013~Day Four/Cody, Wyoming
Vacation 2013~Day Five/The Drive to Custer, South Dakota
Vacation 2013~Day Five/Big Horn National Park
Vacation 2013~Day Six/Our Last Day Of Vacation

After my Sunday's Song you will find my two new recipes:  Zucchini Noodles with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce and the second is Zucchini Lasagna. I will be making both recipes more often.  They were delicious!

This week's Sunday's Song ... I fell in love with this song recently.  I have no clue where I was when she released the song but I love it.  I love the beat.  I love the tone.  I love her voice.  I love the message.   I am very thankful for everyone in my life.  The support from you all and my family and friends.  This song is for you all.  Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodle with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Zucchini Noodles
Ingredients:
  •  Large Zucchini
  • Salt
  • Water
Directions:
  1.  If you want zucchini noodles that more closely resemble actual pasta, peel the zucchini before turning it into noodles. For something a little more colorful, though, keep the peel on. You can peel the zucchini with one of those new veggie noodle spiral cutter, julienne peeler, or with a or mandolin. I used the mandolin to cut mine.
  2. Cut slices of the zucchini off the vegetable lengthwise using a knife. The noodles should hold their form but still be fairly thin.
  3. When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and begin slicing another side. The seeds will prevent the noodles from holding together, so you do not want to use the part with seeds in it.
  4. If using a mandolin, use the thickest blade setting possible. Pass the zucchini over the blade lengthwise to produce long slices.
  5. Zucchini is rather moist, however, so you should drain them even if you plan to consume the noodles raw. There are many ways to remove the moisture but I chose to placing the noodles inside a colander and letting them drip dry for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, wrap the noodles in paper towels and squeeze gently to absorb as much excess moisture as possible.
  6. Fill a medium saucepan between 1/2 and 2/3 full with water. Place it on the stove and heat it over medium-high until the water reaches a rolling boil.  Add salt. After the water reaches a boil, add a generous amount of salt to the water. The zucchini will absorb the salt as it cooks, thereby becoming flavored on both the inside and outside. You can add salt before the water reaches a boil, but doing so will cause the water to take a longer amount of time to reach a steady boil.
  7. Place the zucchini noodles in the boiling water and cook until they are tender but not quite falling apart. The exact amount of cooking time will vary depending on how soft you want the zucchini noodles and how dry they are when you start. If the noodles are still fairly moist, 2 minutes should be long enough. If they are very dry, however, you will need to cook them 10 minutes for al dente noodles and 15 for soft, silky noodles. The main thing to remember is simply to keep an eye on them. If the noodles start breaking apart, you need to stop the cooking process.
  8.  Drain the water by pouring the zucchini noodles through a colander. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, just long enough for any excess water to finish dripping off each noodle.
Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Cauliflower cooked
  • 1 1//4 cup Fat Free Milk
  • 3 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of Flour
  • 1 Tbsp of Salt
  • 1 Tbsp of Light Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of 2% Milk Italian Cheese Blend, Shredded
  • 2 Tbsp of Steak Seasoning
Directions: 
  1. Boil cauliflower (about 15 minutes) in water.  Cook until the cauliflower is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the cauliflower to your blender. Puree until smooth about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is moving, stream the olive oil into the blender
  5. When puree is very smooth, transfer back to the butter/garlic skillet.  Add the milk and slowly add the flour and mix well.
  6. After the milk and flour have been mixed add the cheese to the mixture.  A little at a time.  Once the cheese has been melted add the steak seasoning.
Add the sauce over the zucchini noodles and Enjoy!

(Left overs: the sauce may dry out a bit.  Just add a little water when re-heating.)

Zucchini Lasagna
 (unfortunately no picture)
Ingredients:
  •  Large Zucchini
  • 2 eggs (slightly blended)
  • 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese (divided)
  • 1 tsp of dried Basil
  • 26 oz of Pasta Sauce
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 pound of sausage
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked rice
  • 1 cup of Swiss Chard (shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp of Minced Garlic
Directions:
  1. Brown beef and sausage into small pieces.
  2. While the meat is browning, cut the zucchini into long strips (thin slices)  Once you reach the seeds, turn the zucchini and begin to cut long strips until you reach the seeds once again.
  3. Drain the grease from the pan, where the meat has been browned.  Add the pasta sauce (all but 3 Tbsp, Swiss Chard, and garlic.  Simmer the mixture in the pan.
  4. While the mixture in a medium bowl, combine the cheese (1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese will not be included.), eggs, and basil.  Mix well.
  5. In a 9x13 pan, spray the pan with non-cooking olive oil spray.  Add the rice to the bottom of the pan. This will help with the extra moisture the zucchini will create.  
  6. On top of the rice add the 3 Tbsp of remaining pasta sauce.  Next you will add a layer of the zucchini noodles.
  7. On the zucchini noodles, add the cheese mixture,
  8. Next add the sauce/meat mixture.
  9. Next will just be repeat, noodles, cheese mixture, sauce/meat mixture. 
  10. The last layer of sauce/meat mixture the remaining cup of Mozzarella cheese will be added.
  11. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven 425 degrees for one hour.  
  12. Remove from the oven and leave the foil on for an additional 10 minutes prior to serving.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Painting with Noah!


In August I won two free painting classes from Brush & Barrel, Noah and I cashed in my prize last Saturday.  We have been watching the calendar and he finally found one he liked "Tree of Life".  Once we arrived one of the owners told us the class would be full, she gave us a choice we could sit next to one another or across from each other and if we chose the across from one another, we can have another free painting class for each of us.  I let Noah chose, he went for us sitting across and then getting another free painting class.

Here is a picture of the painting the teacher was teaching the class and techniques.
 http://www.brushandbarrel.com/admin/paintings/August720131115treeoflife700.jpg
Noah and I had a great time.  We both chose to do ours different than what he was teaching.  Noah wanted to use the colors of this YouTube account.
 
 
Noah's is a little dark, but the exact colors he wanted.  I think he did a great job for his first canvas painting.

Next time, we are going to find one where it is possible for Ethan to join in with us as well.  The three of us have gone to the ceramic shop and painted, I think Ethan will enjoy painting on a canvas too.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy List ~ Halloween

We love Halloween and we typically put up a lot of decorations.  Here are my past years post:
This year was a different one for us.  I work until 7 pm now, so it was going to be my first not seeing Taj dressed up.  I was going to miss out on all the Trick or Treat kids except maybe the last 30 minutes.  The week before Halloween, Todd found out he had to work until 7 pm as well, so we thought we were NOT going to decorate at all this year.  No one would be home to pass out candy.  I was really sad about this.  I then started to think, Wow!  My first year with none of my children in costumes.  I then became very sad about it.  Noah found out we were not decorating or handing out candy, he volunteered to stay home to pass the candy out.  He felt bad for the kidos too.  (This made me happy.)  We then decided to put up a few decorations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Halloween morning came and Ethan delighted me.  He came into my room an asked me to tie his bow.  I was so giddy.  He looked ADORABLE!!!  I had forgotten he and Mady were going to dress up later that night, but he wore his costume to school that day, the high school will allow them within reason.
 
Noah smiled and said "Oh, yeah!" and then went into his room and put on his simple costume.
The two made me so HAPPY!


Ethan and Mady stopped by after work before they went out for ice cream so I can see the two together.  My only picture and it was not a clear one, sorry.
Kera posted a picture of Taj for us.  He was thrilled with his costume.  He just loves Spiderman, just look at his smile!  He is such a big Super Hero fan right now.
 
Joshua and McKenzie went to a couple of parties.  Halloween they were The Fox And The Hound.
 
and Saturday, they went to the bar as characters from The Game Of Thrones.
Matthew did not go out either Friday or Saturday but he did host a little get together for his co-workers on Sunday.  He did a great job on his make-up.  He took a selfie for me.

I did not get to see Emily.  I love how the children still include us even though they are too old to Trick or Treat now.  They made Halloween HAPPY for me still.

Oh, I also dressed up for work.  Everyone on my team did. We were Cops and Robbers...robbing a bank.  Can you guess who I was?

We had four bank tellers and two cops the rest of us were robbers.
 
I really love this company I am working for!  Our team did not win but we had a great time!

Right after Halloween we start the first of our three children's birthdays in November.  Yes, half of our children celebrate their birthdays in the month of November.  Ethan turned 18 on the 1st.  I cannot believe he is an adult now.  He spent the day in Illinois with Mady.  Her brother's wedding. This Tuesday, Ethan will be voting for the first time.  I am so proud of this kid. He has matured so much this year and is such a good kid.  He has such a good head on his shoulders regarding money and saves most of what he earns for big things, like his car and he will be paying nearly half of his trip to Spain this coming March. He has become such a nice young man.  He makes me so Happy and I am so proud of him.
 
What makes you Happy?

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday's Song


This week will be a double Beatle feature because both are so appropriate for me.  If it were not for family and friends I would have a much tougher time getting through everything I have been going through this year.  This song is for you all!  Enjoy!


No matter what type of day I have I know I will always have his love and I will always love him.  He is such strength to me.  I could never have a better support system here on earth.  I love you Todd.  Enjoy!


 I Will

Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime?
If you want me to I will
For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same
Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart
And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
Oh, you know I will, I will



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Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Goals



It is a blog hop, so click on the Monthly Goal button and you will see those who play along post as well.
Monthly Goals

RECAP OF OCTOBER GOALS 
  • Work out regimen SUCCESS - It was not the entire month, but it is a start.  I will succeed with this one.  I have no choice.
  • Lose 10 pounds  Well I did not lose 10 pounds.  I did lose 5 pounds though.  Neither SUCCESS OR FAILURE on this one.
  • Complete two books FAIL close only 50 more pages of the second book.
  • Ethan's Senior Pictures SUCCESS and FAIL  - Yeah both.  The day his pictures were taken it was a very windy and cold day.  The pictures did not turn out.  He looked cold in a lot of them and hair blown hair.  None are worthy for Senior Pictures.
  • Decorate for Halloween SUCCESS
  • Participate in a Halloween Party  FAIL- Yeah, I have been torn away from my creative time. Noah's mental illness has consumed a lot of energy and free time.  I cannot wait until December when he will be tested to find out exactly what is wrong with him, so we can move on to the road of a new beginning and healing.
  • Decorate for Fall SUCCESS- Both Living Rooms have been decorated.
  • Paint my front door FAIL
October was no different than most of the months in 2014!  I have good intentions but LIFE has different plans for me.  The remainder of the year, I am just going to take one day at a time and plan simple plans.  Try to enjoy every minute if that is all I get at a time until Noah is healthier.   I do see hope in our future from time to time as a family, so with all the failures I have done with my goals.  All the post and linky parties I have missed, this is a BIG SUCCESS in my life.  It is a baby step, but that is how we all learn to walk, one baby step at a time and Noah is worth it, just like each and everyone one of my family members.  Oh and by the way, we did finally celebrate Joshua's birthday dinner.  It was nearly six months late but we did it.  He chose to have Chicken Alfredo.  I made one serving with just the noodles and broccoli because his girlfriend is vegetarian and a new type, less carbs for Todd and I.  We had Zucchini Noodles and Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce.  I just have to share the recipe, I found the basic recipe on Pinterest but tweaked it and it was wonderful.  You will find the recipe sometime this week.

NOVEMBER GOALS 
  • Continue and build on work out regimen
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Complete two books
  • "Tree of Life" Painting Class with Noah
  • Painting for Emily's Christmas Gift
  • Painting for Joshua's Christmas Gift
  • Ethan's Senior Pictures Take Two
  • Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving
  • BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING
  • Decorate for Christmas
What goals do you have?

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