Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Recap - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Well, I wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped, but I did get some stuff done and most importantly, we had fun!

At least one load of laundry - 3 over the course of the weekend to be exact!

Carve pumpkins

I apologize for the blurriness in the first picture but Easton couldn't contain his excitment for pumpkin carving!

More cleaning
Store to get pinterest craft materials

Baby shower
Boo Bash in downtown Milford

Pinterest project

Thrilled to be a giraffe!
Meal plan/grocery shop
Lake Sherwood Halloween Gathering
Dinner at mom and dad's

Store to get pinterest project materials
Prep for pinterest project
File bills/paperwork
Participate in October Followers Fest!

Check back later for more on October/Halloween festivities. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings and I go way back -- back to the days at CMU when Tara and I would make dinner together. Now, back then, Tara had to be the pickiest (is that even a word?) eater ever - never incorporating a veggie and loving her pastas and breads. Thankfully, things have changed and Tara now loves her fruits and veggies, but back then, no way! Anywho, we were in college, living off ramen noodles, easy mac and cafeteria food, so our cooking recipes were limited. Thankfullly Tara's mom was only a phone call away with a recipe waiting for us.

Me and Tara circa CMU days

Now, this isn't Chicken and Dumplings a la Karen Miller, but it was pretty darn good. And easy, which is a must for this working mom!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used 1 cream of chicken and 1 cream of mushroom)
2 cans chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
4 Grand flaky refrigerator biscuits
And I of course added minced garlic :)

Place the chicken in the crock pot. Add all ingredients, EXCEPT for the biscuits.

Cook on high for 6 hours. After cooking time has elapsed, take fork and break up the chicken. I find it easiest to remove the chicken from the crock pot, pull it apart with a fork and then put it back in. Now, cut the biscuits into small pieces and add to the crock pot and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

This is also great as leftovers -- just ask Easton. He loved it in puree form. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Weekend Planning Blog Hop

Between working full-time, playing mom, wife, sister, auntie, daughter and friend, blogging and pinterest, I've been slacking on the household chores. I'm determined to get caught up this weekend!

At least one load of laundry
Carve pumpkins

More cleaning
Store to get pinterest craft materials
Baby shower
Boo Bash in downtown Milford
Pinterest project

Meal plan/grocery shop
Lake Sherwood Halloween Gathering
Dinner at mom and dad's
File bills/paperwork

And last but not least, I'm going to attempt to participate in Followers Fest:

No weekend is complete without a little fun, so let's just hope the fun doesn't get in the way of the things that need to get done!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinteresting Ideas - Sign for E's Room

Along with the rest of the world, I have a pinterest obsession. :) What the heck did we do before pinterest? More importantly, what did we do with all of our TIME before pinterest? Perhaps pinterest (and blogging) is is to blame for my dirty floors and mountain high pile of laundry?

Now that I've said that, I'm not even sure this is a pinterest project. I originally saw this idea at Milford Memories this summer and thought "Hey, I could make that!" So I added it to my pinterest and then took the idea and ran with it while I was motivated.

plywood, cut to size (mine was 27x24)
sand paper
contact paper
cricut machine
paint (2 colors)
small paint roller (2)
skinny masking tape

First things first, I had to determine what size sign I wanted. It was my brillant mother's idea to start by cutting a newspaper (she measures everything out with newspaper!) to the size I was thinking, and then cut the letters out on plain white paper for size (it is very important to label the letters with the font and size you used so when you go back to cut them out of contact paper, you know exactly what you need). I laid the letters on the newspaper to get an idea of what I was working with. After a few minor adjustments, we had it perfect.

I added a skinny strip of masking tape around all edges so that the edges would remain the background color.

You are safe to cut your plywood to size. My parents had the plywood on hand and my dad had a saw and was able to make the cut himself. Normally, I would have just gone to the hardware store. Lightly sand the plywood. Paint the plywood the background color (the color you want the letters to be).
This is where you would add the masking tape if you want. Lay out the letters on the sign to your liking (prior to removing backing). We (me and my sidekick, mom) were pretty precise on measuring, centering, etc. We made small markings of where the top and bottom of each letter was suppose to line up (you will not see these markings when you paint the top coat). Begin peeling the back of the contact paper, one letter at a time and press firmly to secure to the sign. Finally, take your top coat and roll it over the sign. Roll slowly in one direction (away from you) and be sure to watch for the letters to stick to the roller and lift. We had this problem and am not sure how it could have been avoided. It didn't effect the turnout of the sign at all - thankfully the idea is that the sign is suppose to look distressed and not be perfect. :) Once the paint dries, slowly and carefully peel up the contact paper letters.

Ta~da!!! This sign is hung in Easton's nursery but will grow with him when he moves from his nursey to his big boy room -- that is, unless we have another baby boy someday. ;)

And let me brag for a moment that we've had a few people ask if we'd make them a sign -- if only I had the time.....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Recap

This was an interesting weekend. Bryan's hunting trip got cut short due to the weather, so we plans were shifted a bit to accomodate his presence. Not only that, but Easton had a nasty cold and kept us up all night cozied up most of the weekend.

Pick up Easton from Grandma's (hopefully get dinner out of it) switched to Aunt Coll's - I was in desperate need of some nephew love, so did a quick switcheroo and had dinner/family time at Aunt Coll's. Easton loved seeing his bff, cousin Zain.
Play with my baby boy
Do at least 2 loads of laundry
Clean, clean and more clean! I have to say I'm quite impressed with myself. After a long day of work, followed by dinner at Coll's and not getting home til 8pm and then putting Easton to bed, I still manged to changed the sheets on the bed, do 2 loads of laundry, deep cleaned 2.5 bathrooms, dust our bedroom, and windex the upstairs. Granted I didn't go to bed until 1am, I was determined to get it done!
Zain and Easton
Quality time with mom and Easton - Mom2Mom sales, running errands - we had a productive morning at Mom2Mom sales, but our quality time was cut short by Bryan's return and the UM vs. MSU game.
Watch Michigan vs. Michigan State - we took ourselves over to Ryan and Sarah's to watch the game with friends. Easton enjoyed seeing all his pseudo aunties and uncles.
Scrapbook/Pinterest project
Easton with Uncle Ryan and Uncle Jake
Cider Mill -  The sun was shining and the air was crisp, so we bundled up and went on our way. We figured there were only a few weekends left and they would likely only be colder, so we headed down the street to Erwins Orchard. Pumpkins, cider and donuts, oh my!
Meal plan/Grocery trip - after being up all night with a sick baby, I had no desire to meal plan, grocery shop, or even cook for that matter. Bryan and I took full advantage of naptime with a movie and a nap ourselves. I have a feeling the crockpot is going to be working overtime this week!
Brother-in-law's birthday dinner - we were sad to miss Uncle Jim's birthday dinner, but with Easton feeling/coughing the way he was, he didn't want to risk getting cousins Landon and Maddie sick. Hopefully we can see them soon to make it up to Uncle Jim. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Planning

Cheers to the freakin' weekend! Bryan's gone huntin' so it's just me and Easton. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend in my comfys and getting stuff done around the house.

Pick up Easton from Grandma's (hopefully get dinner out of it)
Play with my baby boy
Do at least 2 loads of laundry
Clean, clean and more clean!

Quality time with mom and Easton - Mom2Mom sales, running errands
Watch Michigan vs. Michigan State
Scrapbook/Pinterest project

Cider Mill - weather permitting
Meal plan/Grocery trip
Brother-in-law's birthday dinner

Check back Sunday to see how I did -- and if things go as planned, a sneak-peek of pinterest projects I've been working on!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halfway to One!

17lbs 3oz, 26 3/4inches long

Happy Half Birthday to You, Happy Half Birthday to You, Happy Half Birthday Dear Easton, Happy Half Birthday to you!!!!

I cannot believe you already 6 months -- which means, only 6 months until your 1st birthday! I better get my butt in gear and start planning for the big celebration -- as if I don't already have the date set and a list of ideas going! ;)
You continue to be a great eater. You started having breakfast this month and I think it's your favorite meal of the day - just like daddy! You scarf down oatmeal like it's your job and love it mixed with any type of fruit, especially bananas. You also had zucchini, acorn squash, plums, blueberries and peaches this month, and don't seem to prefer one over the other.
And for the record, you are back to sleeping through the night! As much as mommy misses those late night nursing sessions, she loves her sleep -- and so do you! On average, you sleep from 8:30pm-7am, but babble in your crib until about 7:30am when I come to the rescue. Mommy gets you changed and dressed and then we (yes, both of us) enjoy a nice nursing before heading off in different directions for the day. Aside form sleeping through the night, you love naps (I mean, who doesn't!) and are one to let us know when you are tired. You also are capable of giving yourself a bottle, which gives mommy a break.
You have perfected your ability to sit and have really begun reaching for things in front of you. While you haven't learned your reaching limits, you are determined to get the toy in front of you and sometimes lose your balance and face-plant into the floor. No worries, mommy and daddy come to the rescue and help you back into position. We have also been practicing crawling, but you look more like a carpet swimmer.
We celebrated Papa's 60th Birthday with a "Par Tee" for him and Uncle Tim at Grandma and Papa's house! This was a huge milestone for Papa and I know he was so proud to have you, and all your cousins there for the celebration. It's always fun to get together with the family and get the traditional 'boys shot'. It's so fun to see how you are all growing.
Carson, Wyatt, Easton and Zain
I seriously can't believe how fast you are growing. People always told me the time goes fast, but I really didn't believe them. So for now, I'm just focusing on YOU and giving you everything I've got.

Current Likes:
Cooper is your new bff
Your swing (but only your outdoor one)
The tickle monster

And Current Dislikes
The indoor swing (although you love it at Miss Dawn's)
Having your diaper changed
Being tired

And here's your 6 month photos:

Each month with you gets better and better and continues to be the best month of my life. Keep the good times comin' little man.

I love you.

Cranberry Chicken

If I recall correctly, I got this recipe from my cousin Cari, or maybe my little sister (heck, I can't remember) in an email recipe exchange. I was a little hesitant at first, as I'm not a huge cranberry fan but she was raving about it, so I figured I'd give it a shot. This recipe is super easy, and is actually better when cooked slow. For that reason, this is a great Sunday meal, however it's equally as good when cooked quicker. I'm tempted to try this in the crock pot.  I'll let you know how it turns out if I do.

4 chicken breasts
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 package Mrs. Grass dry onion soup mix
1/2 container french dressing
minced garlic, to your liking

Preheat over to 250 degrees. In a bowl, mix cranberry sauce, french dressing, garlic and onion soup mix. Place chicken in glass baking dish. Pour cranberry mix over chicken. Bake for 2.5 hours. Quicker baking directions - 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I have to admit, this meal is better than it looks and sounds. Give it a try - it can't hurt! Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and veggies.

Chicken Pot Pie

When I was pregnant, I was searching for super easy recipes to have on hand for when the baby (a.k.a. Easton) came. My awesome friend, Nicole, who also happened to be pregnant at the time, was telling me about a Chicken Pot Pie she makes. And who doesn't love Chicken Pot Pie?!? This has definitely become a regular on our menu - not only is it easy, but it's sooo good! I can't wait for the leftovers - yum!

2 frozen pie crusts -- they come in packs of 2 and you can find them in the freezer section with desserts (I buy deep dish)
1 rotisserie chicken
2 cans mixed veggies, drained (can also use frozen or fresh if you prefer)
1 large can chicken gravy (I only had 2 smalls so I used 1.5)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Remove pie crust from freezer. Keep one pie crust in the container and remove the other, laying the pie crust flat on counter to thaw (this will be the top) while you prepare everything else. Pull the chicken meat off the bones and shred into bite-size pieces. In a bowl, mix 2 cans frozen vegetables, chicken and gravy. Mix well so chicken and vegetables are covered with gravy. Pour into pie crust. Cover with additional pie crust and pinch sides to close. Using a knife, make a couple small slits in the top. Place on baking sheet while cooking to catch any spillage. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until pie crust is golden.

(I need to work on the presentation of this!)

While this isn't the most beautiful meal when it's served, I recommend slicing and then serving with a spoon. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! As much as I dread Mondays, I started off the day with this -- no complaining here!

I wasn't as producitve as I would have liked this weekend, but I was busy tending to a baby who wanted extra snuggles. We had Easton's 6 month check-up on Friday afternoon and he was feeling the effects over the weekend. Thankfully, the little guy is feeling much better and hopefully I can get to the 'reds' sooner than later.

Work 1/2 day
Easton's 6 months check-up
Thirty One party at a neighbors

Help good friends/our new neighbors at their new house - our neighborhood welcomed a new family this weekend and it just so happens they are great friends of ours. Jen and I go way back -- we actually went to preschool together, and have been friends since I can remember! Not only do they have 2 little rascals, but Jen is pregnant, so I knew they could use extra hands moving in and getting settled. So, I loaded up the stroller with the pack n' play and diaper bag and walked on over, and it worked out perfectly with Easton's nap - little guy slept for nearly 3 hours while I helped them get settled.
Rick and Britt's wedding - Auntie Jessie is on babysitting duty and Easton can't wait! I was a little nervous leaving Easton for the night knowing he was feeling under the weather, but I knew Auntie Jessie would take great care of him and wouldn't mind lots of snuggles. Thanks Auntie Jessie for helping us out! And congrats BRICK! 

Fall photo shoot - despite Easton feeling under the weather, I think we got a couple good ones. Can't wait to see them. Thanks Lexi.
Spend the afternoon at Uncle Jim and Aunt Katie's Nana and Papa Choo-Choo's
Meal plan/grocery shop
Easton's 6 month blog
(I'll get to this soon - promise!)
Go for a run - 3 miles (Go me!)

Not only was it was it a great weekend, but it's an exciting week in Detroit -- The Lions are on Monday Night Football with the Tigers playing a matinee ALCS game....Tues/Wed/Thurs home Tiger ALCS games annnnd we finish off the week with a Wings home game on Thursday night. It's good to be us! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Planning

It's been a long, busy week over here -- between a crazy week at work, my 29th birthday (spent at work alllll day and night) and Easton's half birthday, Friday took a little longer to get here than I would have liked, but I'm not complaining -- it' here and it's going to be a gorgeous weekend. I can't wait to enjoy it!

Work 1/2 day
Easton's 6 months check-up
Thirty One party at a neighbors

Help good friends/our new neighbors at their new house
Rick and Britt's wedding - Auntie Jessie is on babysitting duty and Easton can't wait!

Fall photo shoot
Spend the afternoon at Uncle Jim and Aunt Katie's
Meal plan/grocery shop
Easton's 6 month blog

A sneak-peek at Easton's 6 month photos: (this is the reaction I got when I told him Auntie Jessie was coming on Saturday!)

What are you up to this weekend?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Skinny Chicken Tortilla Soup and Autumn Chopped Salad

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I hosted dinner at my house this weekend in celebration of October birthdays. Being that I had plans during the day with my mom, dinner had to be easy. And when I think easy, one thing comes to mind - crock pot! I think I have mentioned in the past that I love recipes that don't require measuring and that is exactly how this recipe is. Now granted, most of the ingredients are in cans, but it's the type of recipe you can alter to your liking. This recipe was given to me by my mom, who got it from a friend of hers. I'm not sure what makes it "skinny" but it makes me want to eat it everyday!

Skinny Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 can refried beans (I use fat free)
2 cans black beans - drained and rinsed
1 can corn - drained
1 can diced chiles (I used the bigger can)
2 cups salsa
2-3 frozen chicken breasts
2-3 cans chicken broth (I used about 3/4 box -- it will depend how think you want it)
1 small can tomato paste
Minced garlic and cayenne pepper for flavor

Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour cream

Combine all ingredients together in crock pot (except tomato paste), adding the chicken broth last so you can determine how thick/thin you want the soup to be. Cook on low for 6 hours. Pull chicken out and shred with fork. Put back into crock pot and continue cooking for another 2 hours. At this time, if the soup is thinner than you like, add a small can of tomato paste - this will thicken it up. Top with shredded cheese and tortilla chips and sour cream.

This soup typically serves as the main course at our house, however since I was hosting a dinner party, I wanted a little something to go with it. That is when I found this Autumn Chopped Salad that I knew would be perfect! And the best part about it, it looked super easy! I altered it a little from her recipe, and again, didn't measure anything. See Molly's recipe for the original version. This salad would also be awesome served with grilled chicken as she did.

Autumn Chopped Salad - this recipe was about 8 servings
3 stalks romaine lettuce, chopped
2 pears, chopped
dried cranberries
chopped pecans
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 container feta cheese 
Poppy Seed salad dressing

Combine lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle with poopy seed dressing to your liking.

I highly recommend not putting the dressing on the entire salad, and instead putting it on plated salads, as it preserves better. This salad (and soup) is great as leftovers (as pictured below). Enjoy!

Weekend Recap

Monday, already? So much for "Weekend Planning" motivation - I wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped to be, but that didn't stop me from having a great weekend! Let's take a look....

  • Work
  • Hit up some garage sales on my way home
  • Quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some things to get me through the weekend
  • Laundry
  • Relax - not really sure I have a good sense of what this word means! I put it on the 'to-do' list ever week but never seem to get there
  • Make baby food - acorn squash and peaches, yum! 
  • Mom-to-Mom Sale with mom
  • Spend the day with mom being productive and getting things done around the house -- it's much more fun doing stuff when you have someone to do it with :) More on this later....
  • Quick trip to the grocery store for stuff to make for dinner - did this Friday instead
  • Host October birthdays (mine and Jillybean's) dinner with the ladies -- no worries Tara, we'll toast to your birthday too! Great night with the ladies, as usual. And dinner was a hit! They've all requested the recipe so I'll be uploading that tonight.
  • Errands with Easton -- got some great deals on clothes for my growing baby boy
  • Meal plan
  • Grocery shop
  • Clean - a majority of this was done on Friday by the best mother in the world. Not only does she take awesome care of Easton, but she cleans and folds laundry too! :) :) :)
  • Laundry - washed and sorted old and new clothes for Easton to pack away in tubs
  • Spend quality time with Easton while something cooks in the crock pot waiting for Bryan to get home
My little hunter :)

Happy October!