Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kitchen Organization


Organization is so very important in the Kitchen. When I moved in with Todd nearly 10 years ago we joined two households and had eight people (well nine because Kera's boyfriend was living with us as too basically.)   It was rather challenging trying to keep store the food I purchased weekly.  Our refrigerator I began to organize like this in 2009.  I basically still keep our refrigerator like this but we also have a container for water with a pouring spout in it.

In 2014, I decided I wanted assistance with measurements and a place where carbohydrate list of foods.  Todd and I started to track carbohydrates once again to become healthier, he is diabetic and I am border line.  I refer to my charts in the cupboard often the first several months.

 The same time I added my charts I added lid holders to my pots and pans cupboard.  I love this!
 
 Our pantry seemed to be a catch all and was not organized well at all.


In 2011 I did a little organization to the pantry.  It was just the beginning.

Then in 2014 I added more organization.  I removed all the appliances and stored them in the closet (small walk-in closet off the small living room.) and I added a few hanging baskets.

 As soon the weather warms up a little, we plan to re-organize the pantry one more time.  I am tired of having to go into the small living room closet to get my appliances so I have pinned this on Pinterest last year. I found my husband looking at it as well from some forum he belongs to.  We both have agreed this will be a project we are going to definitely do.  I plan to have the top shelf hold all of the boxes of cereals and other tall boxes. then the next shelves will be the cans.  I cannot wait because I will be able to move some of our canned items downstairs in a storage room moved into the pantry.  Seriously I am nearly squealing from excitement. 
Detailed instructions for a DIY narrow Rolling Pantry which slides between a wall and the fridge.


12 x 30 Challenbe
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Monday, February 16, 2015

My Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day as you may or may not know is my favorite holiday so I wanted to make it extra special for those who were home.  Of course I bought chocolates and candy for all the kids (Todd picked up a rose for each of the girls too.) and I added a couple of books for Taj as well.  I made a special breakfast for everyone who was home.  I made heart shaped pancakes for all. 
Each family member's plate was specific for them.  Todd had his egg white omelet and one over easy egg along with bacon and ham and his heart shaped pancake.

Ethan does not like eggs, so he is heart shaped pancakes to the max with ham, he also does not like bacon.

Noah likes his eggs scrambled, so he had scrambled eggs and cheese, bacon, ham, and a heart shaped pancake.

Taj had the same meal as Noah but he does not cut his pancakes and I wanted him to recognize the hearts, so I made his pancakes more of a bite size.  (Well we only had to cut them in half for him.)

Emily stopped by late morning and took Taj with her to pick up some flowers for Kera and bring lunch to her.  Taj loved giving his Mommy flowers and lunch.  I guess he did not want to leave her. 

While Taj was away, I baked some heart shaped cookies.  Well I tried to make heart shaped cookies as much as I could.  The dough was already made and in the squares.  I just made a cut on the top and pinched the bottom of the square to make a point.  The kids could see the hearts and it made them happy and that is what counts.

For dinner, Todd and I had reservations later that night but I did not want the boys to be left out or Kera, so I made heart shaped personal pizza for them.  They all loved it. 
My Sweetheart picked out some beautiful long stem roses for me.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Confessional


It is Friday and you all know what that means?  Yep, you guessed it, time to fess up.  Come join the fun over at Aubrey's High-Heeled Love.  She host this little party every Friday.  
Okay I am late again...this time for a reason as you will read.
 
I confess...

Where I work we do have a lot of fun.  It is silly fun but it really does set a fun atmosphere.

I confess...

In one of our weekly meetings we decorated Valentine bags.
One of my co-workers was gone for the day, so I made hers.
I hid a little message on the back to tease her.
 
Another friend used her little grumpy cat for her decoration.
Yes, like grade school.

I confess...

We then hung them up at the end of our cubicles or placed them on the corner of our desk.  Yes, you guessed it.  We purchased Valentine cards and goodies and distributed them to one another.  We had some co-workers go all out and bake cupcakes and cookies too.

I confess...

I felt young again and brought home my Valentine bag full of cards and candy.  I know the kids are happy my Mom taught me how to share.

I confess...

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday.  I am all about LOVE. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's Another Swap: Mug O'Comfort


My second favorite swap is Mug O'Comfort.  It is a delightful little swap where you get to know another blogger and then sending a package perfect for your new friend.  Mug required and then mug related treats.  This will be my third time participating in this one.  My first was definitely a lesson...wrap the mug well.  My poor partner received a broken mug.  I felt awful.  I am so excited about this swap. I cannot wait to see who I am paired up with.  You can participate too here is the info:

Your Swap Objective:
Get to know your fantastic partner and send them an awesome package that has a mug and other mug-related goodies.  Goodies can include things like treats, cocoa, coffee, tea, etc.
Dates to Remember:
  • Sign-Ups Start: Monday, February 9th.
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, February 16th.
  • Giveaway Ends: Tuesday, February 17th.
  • Partners Assigned: Wednesday, February 18th.
  • Packages Ship: by or on Saturday, March 7th.
  • Show-Off Link Opens: Wednesday, March 11th.
Mug O'Comfort Swap Rules:
  • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you're participating. Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted within 3 days of signing up.
  • Packages must cost $15-$25 before shipping.
  • Send things that fit your partner's preferences-make it a package you'd love to receive!
  • You must respond to host's & partner's emails in a timely fashion.
  • Packages MUST be mailed on or before Saturday, March 7th. (if you have any problem please contact hosts and partner immediately.)
  • All packages REQUIRE tracking when shipped. This tracking number must be emailed to your partner and to Chaotic Goddess Swaps when your package is sent out.
  • Flaking wont be tolerated. If you sign up for the swap you are making a commitment to participate and follow through. Flakers will automatically be added to our Blacklist.
  • After receiving your package, you must post about it on your blog and link up with the show-off linky when it is open. This is non-negotiable.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Sundays Make Me Happy~ Plus How to make Garlic Bone Bread Sticks and Blood Clot Brain Cupcakes

Sundays are my absolutely favorite day of the week.  It is the day most of our children come over to our house and have dinner.  It started with the boys playing games with one another after dinner, then the girls started to join the games and finally Todd and I did as well.  We also have some shows which most of us love and come on Sunday nights and we watch them as a family.  Yesterday was the premiere for the second half of the season "Walking Dead" and the premier for "Got to Call Saul" a spin off of "Breaking Bad"

Typically I am trying to find something to cook for our little get together.  Joshua's girlfriend is a vegetarian so I have been creative to include her.  Todd thought it would be fun to have a Walking Dead themed dinner. He suggested elbow macaroni and cheese and possibly chicken fingers for dinner.  I loved the idea and thought we could do better, thus I searched Pinterest for some creepy dinner meals.  I really wanted to make the meatloaf zombie head but I thought I really wanted to include McKenzie too.  (I do have an alternative now for McKenzie, so I might do it for the season finale dinner.)  We decided on our menu:  Chicken Alfredo (meatless pot for McKenzie) with Garlic Bone Bread Sticks and for dessert it was Blood Clot Brain Cupcakes.

Todd was excited when he saw the cupcakes completed and the bread stick prepped.
Blood Clot Brain Cupcakes.
I only had 3 minutes to decorate, so the brain did not turn out exactly like I would have liked.
Below, The Garlic Bone Bread Sticks prepared for the oven.
Everyone was excited about dinner.  The bread sticks turned out perfect.  
All you need to do is take a package of tubed garlic bread stick and unroll.  Instead of twisting, roll together, as if you were little playing with clay and making a snake.  Tie a knot on both ends and with scissors make a cut in the center of your knot.  Took as directed.  Perfect bones!
 
The cupcakes I cheated and used a box of white cake mix.  Follow the instructions on the box.  Fill the cupcake liner half full, then take a scoop of strawberry jam and place in the middle.  After the jam is placed in the middle top with cake batter.  Cook as directed and let the cupcakes cook.  Then decorate the top to make it look like a brain.  The insides was suppose to ooze but I do not think I placed enough jam in the center.
 
Although the cupcakes did not ooze, the kids loved them and thought it was a cool idea. 
 
Do you ever have themed dinners? 
 
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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Late Friday Confessional


It is Friday and you all know what that means?  Yep, you guessed it, time to fess up.  Come join the fun over at Aubrey's High-Heeled Love.  She host this little party every Friday.  
 
Alright I know this is late but I was enjoying time with my husband.

I confess...

Todd started his new schedule and we spent maybe 5 minutes every day with one another Monday through Friday.  I am off at 7 pm and that is when he begins.  I am missing him more than I thought I would.   He is missing me as much too because he will send me a text telling me.

I confess...

I am proud of my oldest.  His apartment had a fire in the laundry room and my husband listened to the 9 1 1 call and said Matthew did such a great job. He could hear him struggling with all the smoke getting out. He heard him knocking on the windows to tell everyone to get out by the window and how he was trying to help a Mom with three small children telling one of them to jump he will catch him.  NP one was hurt and nothing was lost except the dryer and the clothes in the dryer.

I confess...

I am so proud of Joshua too.  He was promoted at work.  He is so happy about it.  He and his girlfriend are strongly thinking about transferring to Florida this Fall.  I will miss him a lot but I want him to be happy too.

I confess...

I found out my Grandma fell two weeks ago and her arm has swelled up two days ago.  She finally went to see medical treatment yesterday.  She broke her elbow and has a skin infection.  I guess it is bad.  I am so worried about her.  She has had a hard time since my Dad's death and now this.  I know she has lived a lo g life she is 92 now but I am not ready to lose her.  I know this sounds weird but it will be like losing a little part of my Dad again.

I confess...

Things with Noah is like a dance, we move forward with some steps back.  Last week he had a few bad days.  He kept calling me a Bitch a few times where he lost his phone.  He was so angry about it he did this.
Yep, now he has no phone.

I confess...

Sundays are my favorite.  We have most of the kids over for dinner and play some games or watch some shows.  Tonight I am going to try a theme dinner.  If it successful I will post about it.

I confess...

I am excited for this Summer's vacation.  I am very motivated to lose more weight and build my endurance.  One of the tours we plan is to go white water rafting down Yellowstone River.  

What do you have to confess?

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

February Monthly Goals



  My So-Called Chaos and  A Peek at Karen's World, host the party.
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 JANUARY GOALS

  • Paint Joshua's painting Failed I opened the canvas wrappers but never even started painting any of it.  Hmm...I will have to make sure they are done for his birthday.  There is a good chance my second oldest will be moving this Fall to Florida.  It is going to break my heart having one of my children so far away but he is so excited and how can I not be happy for him doing what he wants to do.  Who knows, maybe Florida will be our vacation destination next Summer?
  • Read a book  SUCCESS I read two books: The Fault In Our Stars and Orphan Train.
  • Set my Goodread yearly goal   SUCCESS done!
  • Begin a Healthier Me Road  SUCCESS I am so proud and pumped about this new road.  I lost 9 pounds in January and my goal is to be down a total of 30 pounds by May 24.  I have a lot of pressure to stay on track more than just me wanting to be healthy.  One of the tours we will be taking while in Yellowstone is White Water Rafting and I need to make sure I am way under the weight limit maximum and fit into their wet suits. I know I can do this!
  • Make my final payment for Ethan's Spain Trip  SUCCESS  I am so excited for him. He deserves this 2 week get away to Spain.
  • Begin Ethan's slide show for graduation. SUCCESS  I cannot believe my little Ethan ( or not so little he is 6 foot 1 inches as he constantly tells me.) will be graduating in May.  My, my where does the time go?
I feel good with meeting nearly all of my goals, yes I did take it a little easy on me because of the Whooping Cough and I am so happy I am near the end of this illness.

FEBRUARY GOALS

  • Complete my paintings for Taj's Valentine's Gift
  • Participate in a painting class
  • Learn to crochet
  • Read a book
  • Work out 6 times a week
  • Have a special Valentine's Day/Night
  • Go on a campus tour with Ethan
  • Donate clothing to Goodwill
  • Start working on decorating the stairway
What goals do you have?

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The Beauty of Winter

Here in Iowa I have to say Winter has been mild up until last weekend.  Let me correct that, mild meaning not very much snow this year.  Cold, well it has been very cold.  Our first major snow storm was this past weekend Super Bowl Weekend.  The stores were crazy on Saturday morning because of it being Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl and a couple of major snow storms for the weekend.  Saturday's and Sunday's snow total came to 11 inches.  Below is a picture of our deck.  I wanted to show what 11 inches of snow looks like.
I could not avoid the screen because the glass part of the window had so much frost on it.  Below is a picture of my buried butterfly/hummingbird garden. 
I took some pictures on my way to work.  I have never seen trees with so much snow on them like this.  It is absolutely beautiful but very harmful on the trees too.  Too much weight on the branches and if the wind picks up any the branches can snap.  However, it is so beautiful and the blue sky with all the beauty white I find is breath taking.  I shared a couple of my favorite tree shots on my Wordless Wednesday post.  If you have not seen them yet, please do check it out.
Above is one of the roads I have to drive as I head to work.  Just look at how beautiful it is! Below is at the end of the street I live on.  I thought it was a great shot for you all to see how deep the snow really is, just look at the sidewalk, the wall of snow.
 
 I fell in love with this church nearly 10 years ago.  I love the simple look, the brick front, the white columns, and the white steeple.  I have always thought what a beautiful picture it would be with a winter snow fall.  I finally took a picture of it and I absolutely love it.  
I loved it so much, I had to take a picture of it on my way home from work at night.  I love how the steeple is lit up at night.
Here is a straight shot of the church during the day.
Another shot at night.  I just love this church!
I have a love/hate relationship with Winter.  I love the beauty and love watching the kids have fun in the snow.  I hate the cold and what it does to my knees.  I hate driving on the slick roads, the shoveling and scrapping cars, however sometimes the beauty can out weigh the ugly...well as long as it is limited.  ;)

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