Friday, March 24, 2017

Happy Weekend!

       Happy Friday!
      We had a little dip in the temperature earlier in the week, but the
      weather for the weekend looks like it may be some of the best that
      we have had so far this year.
      I mean a breezy 75-80 degrees and sunshine.
     This may be the last hurrah before the heat comes.

    I spent today with a friend of mine who just had a baby.
    I loved every minute of holding him and smelling that newborn scent. I soaked
    him in, but I am happy to be past the stage of little sleep and diapers as well as
    the stress of being a new mom. I am so very thankful I got to do that, but I love
    being surrounded by 6 of my favorite "big kids" ever.

    We have been doing yard work after school this week.  Anna Rebecca put new
     pine straw around all the crepe myrtles and swept out the garage. Tim got most of
     the garden planted and I weeded several flower beds. We still have lots to do and
     I am excited to have time to do it together this weekend in sunny weather.

     In other news, we are celebrating three of the little kid's birthdays tomorrow night.
     The twins and Alyssa all have March birthdays, so I do one celebration for them.
     We plan to grill hamburgers and have cake and ice cream. I am contemplating
     making another rainbow cake because I know how much they will love it.

     From our home to yours...I hope your weekend is lovely and filled with good weather!





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Cleaning Plan

I have started Spring cleaning this week.
Here is my checklist:

Freezer and Refrigerator-
 Clean out and organize with clear containers. 
Make freezer inventory list.

Mudroom -
 Put away all winter coats and boots. 
Wipe down all baseboards and walls. 
Put beach bag out packed and ready to go.

Clothes Closets and Dressers -
 Put away all winter clothing.
 Rotate in spring and summer. 
Donate items.

Docking Station -
 Clean out drawers and cabinets. 
Roll all change and deposit.

Kitchen -
 Clean out Tupperware drawer and recipe cabinet.
Discard any expired food.
Organize pantry

Bedrooms -
 Flip  mattresses
Launder pillows and comforters
Organize and purge from bedside tables
Dust ceiling fans

Living Room-
Wash inside of windows
Flip sofa and chair cushions
Clean out and dust inside TV cabinets
Dust ceiling fan
Wipe down light switch covers
Clean fireplace and flu
Test/replace batteries in smoke alarms

Outside - 
Wash all windows
Clean screens
Hire pressure washing to be done on all Hardie plank and wood porches
Clean grill area
Freshen up outdoor furniture cushions
Continue working on garden
Remove all weeds from flower beds
Fresh straw out in beds
Draw out plans for window boxes

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Break Number 1 Re-Cap

We just returned Saturday night from a whirlwind 3 day Spring Break trip to North Carolina with nine very sweet college students.
My nephews and their girlfriends along with Bethany and some of her friends went with us.
We stayed in our cabin that overlooks the Nantahala lake.
This is only the second time we have gone to the cabin during the winter.
There is always the potential of being snowed in and not being able to get down the mountain, so we usually go during the summer.
It turned out to be a fantastic trip though and lots of wonderful memories were made.
We took a five mile hike the first morning we were there up to a beautiful waterfall.
If you look closely, you will see the ICE!
Back at the cabin, there were lots of snow ball fights and building snowmen.
The following days we visited Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg where the kids ice skated and we spent some time in a museum about Alcatraz.
We ate supper at The Apple Barn which was a huge hit and then we drove the two hours back to the cabin playing games to help our sweet drivers stay awake on the winding, icy roads.
We ate lots of delicious meals in the cabin as well.
My sister n law sent a huge pan of lasagna and homemade yeast rolls for one night, Bethany baked a ton of cookies, and Tim and I fixed breakfast for them each morning.
Other activities included our new favorite board game- Secret Hitler- as well as lots of movies and reading and napping.
I am so very thankful for the time we had with all of them!

This will be the first time that our girls have had separate Spring Breaks.
Anna Rebecca stayed here with a friend from school and Tim's parents while we were gone.
So.... her Spring Break is coming up next week and we will be headed to Seaside for several days with a friend of mine and her daughter.
I'm trying to look at the bright side... I get to have a "winter vacation" and a "summer vacation" all within 2 weeks of each other.
I'm trying not to think of all the packing and laundry!

I hope Spring has arrived wherever you are!
Happy Tuesday from our home to yours!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Weekend

Early spring is in full swing around here and we have been soaking it up!
It's suppose to be in the 80's this weekend.
The upper 80's to be exact!
On the docket for us this weekend is a trip to Florida with our teens from church.
Each day and night is packed to the brim for them with Bible challenges, dinner at the local pizzeria, and war games with kids from all over the place. 
There are over 100 kids signed up this year, so I know it will be a lot of fun for them!
Us grown ups have our own plans which include bowling and Saturday morning coffee at the cutest, quaintest little Starbucks in town.
We will all meet back up at the home of some of our Florida friends for lunch and an afternoon of singing.

What's on your docket for the weekend?
 Whatever it is, I hope the weather is fantastic for you.
From our home to yours....happy weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2017

happy weekend

Although we haven't been blanketed with snow like most of the country this week, it was 39 degrees this morning.
Tim built a fire while it was still dark outside.
It was a great way to start our Friday morning.
How in the world is it Friday already?
This is one of those weeks where the days flew by, which makes the weekend even better, doesn't it?
We plan to work on drawing out plans for our Spring garden this weekend.
I'm really excited to think about what we will grow!

I have gotten several emails about posting recipes again. I will try to do better!
Here is a new one I made last night that Anna Rebecca and Tim loved.

Seared Steaks
I used Elk steak because that is what was in my freezer, but any steak from 6-8 oz. is good.
Coat all the sides of the steaks with sea salt and pepper. This will make a crust on the outside, so use a lot.
Heat a skillet on high until very hot and then add 1 TBS olive oil.
Add steaks and sear on both sides about 2-3 minutes.
Next, sear the sides another 2-3 minutes.
The steaks were medium rare after doing this, but I don't like a lot of pink, so I put them in a 450 degree oven for about 8 minutes and they were perfect for our taste.
If you are serving a crowd, I would sear the tops and bottoms ahead of time(earlier in the day), then put them on a sheet pan and refrigerate them. 
About 10 minutes before dinner, put them in the 450 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes.
Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the steaks.
 I served ours with white peas and Caesar salad.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!
Happy weekend from our home to yours!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Do It Now

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy listening to Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier.  If you aren't familiar with Happier, Gretchen and her sister, Elizabeth's  weekly podcast offers hacks and advice on how to form good habits to increase your happiness.
I usually listen to it when I am running errands during the day.
What I love about it is that it's thought provoking and the tips they give are practical and easy to implement into every day life.

One of my favorite tidbits of advice they give is from Gretchen's Twelve Personal Commandment's list.
 It is the command to "do it now."

We all have tasks we dread doing.  For me it's things like scheduling Dr's. appointments or returning phone calls or filing and shredding paperwork or clearing off the kitchen counters.
Gretchen's advice is that "no delay is the best way."
Sometimes by putting off tasks that need to be done, we make ourselves feel worse.
Isn't that so true?!
Whenever a to-do pops into my head that I'm not looking forward to, instead of pushing it away, I think to myself, "do it now." 
Implementing this simple advice has made a dramatic difference in my productivity over the last year. 
My plants are getting watered,  important dates are getting put on my daily calendar more regularly, and today, I even canned a batch of homemade apple butter for friends and relatives who put in requests for it over the weekend.
I was dreading peeling all of those apples!
Reminding myself to "do it now" helps me remember that if I will just push myself not to procrastinate, I will be able to accomplish so many more tasks in a day.
Do you procrastinate certain tasks too?

 Here's how you can subscribe to Happier.
Happy Tuesday(which feels like a Monday) from our home to yours!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cookie Dough Bites

We got a call from Bethany yesterday saying she is coming home again with my nephews and friends from college for MLK weekend.
I know it seems silly,  since we just saw her,  but we are so excited they are all coming!
So, I have been looking up new recipes for large groups.
I feel like I have served my same go to recipes over the last month, so I have a menu of a few new things I am going to try.
I always try to have homemade cookies for snacking on.
I made these cookie dough bites for our National Championship party the other night and they were a hit, so I am making another batch before the kids arrive.

Here's the recipe:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 roll Pillsbury peanut butter cookie dough
1- 12 oz. cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll cookie dough into 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheets.
Flatten each ball slightly.

Bake 8-9 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.
Remove from cookie sheets and let them cool.
Meanwhile,  in a medium bowl,  mix cream cheese,  brown sugar and honey until well combined.  Stir in mini chocolate chips. 
Spoon cream cheese mixture on cookies. 
Serve immediately.
Be sure to store the left overs in the fridge.
I forgot to do this and had to throw out the few that were left!

From our home to your....Happy Thursday!