Saturday, July 30, 2011

Creamy Sausage Pasta

A friend gave me the recipe for this several years ago and it's probably one of my favorite recipes since. It is so versatile and easy. It also doesn't make a lot of dishes. (Big plus!)

Here's what you need:
1/2 lb beef sausage (link style)
2-2 1/2 cups veggies (broccoli, onion, pepper, asparagus, peas, red or yellow peppers, or green beans.)

1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2T butter
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder
Pepper

1 box of pasta (The original recipe called for spaghetti, but I really like medium shells or cellentani. Anything would work... bow tie, elbow, penne, wheels....)

Get your water boiling for the pasta

Chop the sausage into thin slices and put in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of water


Bring water to boil and then cover and cook for 7 minutes.

Drain off water and add 3/4 cup evaporated milk, butter, parmesan, garlic powder and pepper to taste and 1t. Italian seasoning. 

Cook on low till it thickens.



While the sausage is cooking, chop your veggies, you can use frozen or fresh because you actually throw them in with the pasta for the last 4 minutes of cook time. I usually use fresh onion and pepper, but often times frozen broccoli and peas.

When your pasta has about four minutes left to cook, throw in your veggies.


Strain the noodles and veggies.

Put the veggies and noodles back in the pan you cooked them in and add the sausage mixture. Stir it up and it's ready to serve!




Friday, July 29, 2011

Guys and Dolls with my Guy

A few weeks ago my hubby and I decided we needed a date night. It has been hard to find time for one now that C is a part of our lives. We always try to make time together every week ( Walks, a movie at home, stopping to get ice cream, grocery shopping together, and even just sitting together to talk.) but it had been awhile since we had an 'away date' by ourselves.

Our local theatre was putting on a performance of the musical Guys and Dolls, so we decided that would be fun to go to. We went to White Christmas there this past winter and loved it. We were not disappointed this time either. It was great! Fun costumes, live (and lively!)music, dancing, and witty prose.

The theatre itself is a beautiful old building. It was recently remodeled, but they kept much of it's character. I love old buildings, so that adds a lot to the experience for me. Here are a few pictures of the interior:





Isn't it beautiful?

Here's a pic of my guy and I


What do you like to do for dates?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WIWW

I really like the accountability of doing this! There were a couple times I put more effort into dressing a little nicer because I knew I'd be doing this post. (I didn't remember to get pictures of a couple outfits, but I'll get better at remembering.)

Event: Cousin's wedding
My lovely cousin!

Sorry, this is a bit blurry! (This was taken at my parent's awesome turn-of-the-century farm house. It's awesome! Maybe sometime I can feature it here by doing a photo tour.)

 Dress: Ann Taylor Loft (It was a steal. I got if for $24 and it was regularly $100. 
I love it! I love the length, the soft ruffles at the sleeves, the pleating on the front, and the stand up collar.)

I haven't worn this dress since I was pregnant with C, so I was a little nervous putting it on, but it fit perfectly! Yesss! Huge confidence boost.

Moving on....

Sandals: Bear Traps from Younkers. I was actually going to wear some cute strappy sandals, but we were in such a hurry to get out the door I forgot to change out of these.

I was a little nervous about getting yellow shoes earlier this summer, but they go with almost everything. I wear them all the time.


Necklace: me

Also blurry. Ack! (better pictures on etsy)

Earrings: my shop


Event: Date with the Hubs!


Top: Forever21 $11 ( Please ignore the cherry icee stains.)
Shorts: Lee
Cardi: Thrifted $3 (I think it's actually a child size, but it's perfect for a cropped sweater. :)


Linking up with:


pleated poppy

Monday, July 25, 2011

90 day challenge update.

If you didn't see it, check out my first post about why and what I'm doing here.

Well, this week was a bit challenging (haha!) because I had a small group dinner at an Italian restaurant, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding, and my nephews birthday party. Not exactly helpful for someone trying to get healthier and lose weight. I did try to make good choices though, to minimize damage.

Biaggi's:
I opted for a lighter option on the menu; fish w/ cous cous.
For dessert: sorbet. (More low cal than their fabulous bread pudding. A couple of friends got that, so I was able to have a bite of theirs.)
In hindsight I should have just skipped buying dessert for myself.

Rehearsal dinner:
I ate one hamburger in a bun and a hot dog without a bun. ( that saves 80-90 calories.)
I had two cake balls for dessert and passed on the brownies.

Wedding:
I had only one pulled pork sandwich, even though they were small.
I filled half of my plate with a green salad and only ate a small handful of chips.
I did have 1 1/2 cupcakes though. 1 would have probably been fine.

Birthday party:
I tried to fill up on the veggie tray and only have a small handful of chips.
I didn't have any cake.

Even though I made some good choices I was a little nervous to see my results this morning. I was happy to see I lost 1 pound when I hopped on the scale today, and a 1/2" off my waist and hips! Not bad.

As for my exercise goals, I did okay with walking. I maybe went 3 times. The burpees.... let's just say I did less than 40 all week. Definitely room for improvement. :)

I love the convenience of taking a shake for breakfast! It's so fast and really streamlines my morning routine. It also creates only two dishes because we have a rocket blender. So all I have to wash is the cup and lid. Nice.

I've been also trying to have more healthy snack foods on hand. Some of my favorites right now are fresh cherries, cubed watermelon, sunflower seeds, all natural fruit leathers, and low fat wheat thins.

The company that I'm doing the challenge through just rolled out that they are no longer offering 100,000 dollars in prizes (Spa, makeovers, free wardrobes, vacations, cash and product giveaways) now they are offering 10 million dollars in prizes for completing the challenge!!! It also used to be that you had to have a big transformation to have a shot at the prizes, but now they have a family category and also a random lottery pick so there are more chances to win!

I would also say this has helped my energy level. There have been as couple evening where I've thought, "I usually am more tired right now."

Excited to see how this week goes since I'll be eating more "normally."

What about you? What are some good choices you make when you're eating out or have a lot of weddings/parties to attend?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flowers and a Wedding


I arranged the flowers for my cousin's wedding.
 She decided to go with dyed daisies for her wedding flowers. Aren't they fun?

Here's one of the bridesmaid's bouquets:

With the ribbon:

 Each of the four bridesmaids got a different color bouquet:
 I forgot to get a picture of the bride's bouquet!
It was a combination of white daisies and the colors from each of the bridesmaid's bouquets.

It was a beautiful wedding. They had it at a country church and made all their own food and decorations. It was simple and intimate.

Here's a few shots of the wedding: (complete with lots of backs of  people's heads.)






Hubby and C. 

  Notice C's death grip on the Hubs? Yeah, well he decided he only wanted mommy or daddy all day. He warmed up to a couple people, but he is officially in the separation anxiety phase. Oh, joy.


 Best wishes to the newly weds!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Salads!

Now that it's summer, salads sound really good to me. I think this also has something to do with the heat index being at 105 for the past week. Not using the stove/oven is a plus. I am also blessed to have a husband that views a green salad with sauteed chicken strips as a complete meal. I know this is a rarity. He's one in a million.


I have decided that it is easier to buy bagged lettuce mixes than to wash and shred lettuce. It's a little more expensive, but I've decided the cost is worth it because we eat more salad.

Then I just buy a variety of toppings. Here's a list of some ideas. I usually pick 4-5 of these and mix and match to create a salad.

Meat:
Real bacon bits or bacon cut into bite sized pieces.
Chicken cut into strips, sauteed in oil, and flavored with a little black pepper and garlic salt.
Browned hamburger (For a taco type salad.)
Sliced turkey deli meat. (or ham)

Veggies:
Pea pods
Radishes
Carrots
Tomato
Onion
Black or green olives
Cucumber
Cabbage
Bell peppers

Seeds/Nuts:
Pine nuts
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts
Pecans

Crunchy toppings: (My husband's favorite part.)
Oyster crackers
Croutons
Chow mein noodles
Crunched up tortilla chips

Other:
Black beans
Cheese cubes
Shredded cheese
Cottage cheese
Sour cream
Feta or other soft cheese crumbles
Artichoke hearts

Here's a few combos to get your started:

Greek: Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, black olives, red onion, and feta. (Good with Italian dressing) 

Tex-mex: Lettuce, hamburger, black olives, onion, tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamamole, shred cheddar.

Simple: Field greens, blue cheese, ripe pear, strawberries, red onion. (Try a sweet poppy seed or blue cheese dressing.)

Chicken veggie: Lettuce, radishes, tomato, shredded carrot, shred cheddar, black olives, onion and croutons. (Ranch dressing)

Happy salad making!

Do you have any recipes that are summer favorites?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIWW first post!

So, for awhile now I have been following a linky party hosted by The Pleated Poppy called "What I Wore Wednesday." The purpose is to encourage women to put effort into how they look, especially if they stay home, since it is all too easy to just wear pajamas/sweat all day. (I never do this, of course.)

I love seeing everyone's combinations and outfits they put together. I didn't think I could do it because I thought you had to do pictures of each day for a week and frankly, I'm not quite there yet. But I've been seeing women who only do one or two, so I'm going to take the plunge.

Taking these pictures was somewhat challenging due to the fact that I don't have a full length mirror, but I prevailed. Here they are:


The event: a baby shower.
Top:Banana Republic, thrifted
Cami: Gordmans
Shorts, Lee Riveted

Baby: Gift from heaven

 Earrings: my shop
Thanks for stopping by!

Outfit 2:

Event: Girls night out.

Top and Cami: Gordmans
Sweater: JCPenneys
Belt: Thrifted $1!
Skirt: American Eagle, thrifted
Shoes: Wally World

Linking up with:

pleated poppy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What we've been up to.

Busy weekend! Hubby was in Florida over the weekend so C and I had some mommy and me time. We attended a baby shower for a friend. It's their first and it was fun to share in their joy. She's decided to do cloth diapers, so I'm curious to see how that works out for her. Hubby and I debated going that route, but ended up going with disposables. I'm definitely open to trying it next time and it'd be great to have someone I know that could give me tips.

C enjoyed the baby shower a lot. He flirted with all the ladies and tried to open/eat the presents. I think he thought they were his. But he's just at a stage where he thinks everything is his. You know how that saying goes;

If it's mine, it's mine
If it's yours, it's mine
If I want it, it's mine
If I see it, it's mine
If I touch it, it's mine etc...

Sunday night C got really tired and fell asleep on me right before Hubby got home. This is kind of unusual, but I figured he was just tired because he hadn't taken a very long afternoon nap. When Hubby got home, I noticed C was a bit warm, but I though, "He was laying on me, so it was probably just our body heat." He was super excited to see Daddy, but obviously wasn't himself. Hubby noticed he was warm too so we took his temp and it was over 101.

We gave him some tylenol and a lukewarm bath and put him to bed. Later when we woke him up to give more tylenol his temp was down, but he threw up when I went to give him some milk. Long story short, a trip to Walgreen's at 2am, several more vomiting issues on the carpet and couch, and a doctors visit later, I am happy to report that C is back to his normal self. He is still running a low fever, but he is obviously feeling much better because he is getting into things he shouldn't and generally being ornery.

It's the first time he's had a fever really, so I was pretty concerned. I probably overreacted by wanting to take him to the doctors office, but it was nice for peace of mind. Apparently something like this has been going around and they've seen several kids with it in the last few weeks. The doctor said his fever should clear up in a day or so.

Anyways, our usually active little boy was very cuddly and sleepy yesterday and I snapped this cute pic of him and daddy.


Little blurry. This was the best out of 20 shots. He was starting to feel better and consequently was moving more.

Fell asleep at Gma and Gpa's


Obviously Tigger is well loved. I think he makes it into roughly 50% of C pictures.

Joining the challenge

A few months ago Hubby and I found out about a company called ViSalus promoting a 90 day challenge to getting healthier. The company makes a protein/ nutrition shake mix that can be used in several different ways to reach different health goals. It can be used to;

-Maintain current weight and build muscle
-Gain weight and build muscle (For professional athletes especially.)
-Lose weight 

Hubby completed his first 90 day challenge a couple weeks ago. He lost 22lb and 5" off his waist. I have a little baby weight that's still hanging on, so I'd like to lose a little weight and also build some muscle.



My Goals:
 
Here are my specific goals;
-Get down to 118 lbs (A few pounds over a healthy weight for my height)
-Lose the baby stomach
-See some ab definition

I will be replacing breakfast with a shake. I also plan to try to (continue) walking 1.5 miles 3-4x a week and start doing 40 burpees a day. The cool thing about the shake mix is that it is a basic sweet cream flavor so you can mix it with anything. I've tried some of Hubby's creations and I know these three will be at the top:

Chocolate Almond milk and peanut butter powder(Peanut butter cup)
Orange juice and vanilla (Orange Julius)
Banana and frozen strawberries

Here are my current measurements and weight: (Gah! I can't believe I'm putting these out there, but I guess it's good for accountability.)

Weight: 124
Hips: 38 inches
Natural Waist: 27 1/2"

I'll post the before picture that I took today when I have the after picture to put with it. :) I'll do updates every so often to let you know how it's going.


Here's a short video that explains the challenge a little more from one of the company's founders.


My ViSalus page is here if you want to check it out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Our little man is 10 (.5!) months!

C. can clap now and is just starting to wave. So cute! He claps when he's excited or proud of himself. (Like when he stands) He can stand on his own for a few seconds and loves to pull up and walk around things like the couches and coffee table.

C. wears 18 month clothes. (Yep! He's our little fire plug!) He takes close to 28oz. of milk a day and eats 3-4 jars of baby food.

His latest and greatest trick is opening drawers and doors in the kitchen. Now he's starting to realize how exciting it is to take things out too. A frying pan was dropped on toes earlier this week and he was NOT a fan of that.


Nights are going pretty well. Most nights he goes down between 8-9 and sleeps til 5:30/6. I do a "dream feed" at 10 of just a few ounces. (it's called a dream feed because he sleeps through the whole thing.)
He also has 8 teeth now. He's just starting to be a little sad when we leave him places and is much more aware of whether or not mom and dad are close by.

He loves his daddy! When Hubby comes home from work C is so excited he gets shy and rolls his arm behind him. It's really the cutest. thing. ever.

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment. (And also as a reward for making it though a long post of me gushing about my awesomely talented adorable baby.)






C is not happy unless ALL of his toys are out of the basket.




More getting into cupboards.




Playing the piano.






Reading with Daddy. C actually likes to turn pages and 'read' now. He used to just eat books.



C is such a blessing to us! What did we do before we were parents??

Thursday, July 14, 2011

'Redding' up

It is quite possible that only my mother knows what this title means. Her mother taught it to her and in turn she taught me. Now I will share with you. (Don't you feel special?)

'Redding' up is the phrase my mom used for picking up the house in the evening; readying it for the next day. (I assume 'redding' is just short for readying, but one mustn't analyze these things too deeply.)

I have since heard of the same concept from other older moms and it seems like the women I know who do this keep a very tidy and welcoming home.

Different people have different things they like to do in the evening to prepare for the next day. Here are mine:

-Do all the dishes. (If this isn't feasible, I do one strainer full and wipe all the counters and stove. Clean counter tops are a must for me.)

-Fluff pillows, straighten magazines, take shoes back to bedrooms.

-Close blinds.

-Put papers/mail in each of our inboxes and clear off dining room table.

Basically I clean off surfaces in the kitchen and dining room, and tidy the living room. This is not the time to clean the stainless steel, wipe under the fridge, and dust the picture frames. The purpose is simply to tie up loose ends and do a surface pickup. It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.

This makes such a big difference the next day! I feel so much more relaxed and ready to start my day.

Maintenence

I feel like I'm learning how to be a much better house keeper lately. I know I'm definitely learning how to manage my time better because of having a baby. (I maximize every second of nap time!) When I first got married I would do a "cleaning day" every week. I always got stressed and put it off. Now I've been trying to make the most of small increments of time and clean every day.

What does this look like? 

-When I do my make up in the morning I wipe down the toilet and mirrors. I keep windex and paper towel in the bathroom to make this easy.

-When I wash C's bottles I do the rest of the dishes on the counter.

-While C is playing on the floor I grab the vacuum and do the living room and hall. (He loves chasing it.)

-If I'm going to throw a kitchen wash cloth in the hamper I spot clean the kitchen floor first.

-When it's garbage day I take the opportunity to clean out the fridge. ( I learned this one from my hubby. They do that at the fire station.)

-I also try to make piles thoughout the day that need to go to certain areas of the house and then if I'm going there I grab it on my way. For example; I just finished working on a craft project upstairs, but I keep all my supplies in the basement. I make a pile to take down there on the top step and when I go down to watch a movie I'll take it down w/ me. This saves dozens of trips and also allows you to stay on track with whatever else you're doing.

These are pretty little things, but I feel like I'm keeping up much better and am less stressed. We even had a surprise family get together last week that I didn't find out until the night before and it didn't bother me at all. All I had to do to get ready was run the dishwasher and sweep the kitchen floor. It was such a good feeling. I used to spend all day cleaning and picking up. Maintenance is truly so much better than overhauling.

So, what about you? Do you "redd up" at night? What things are on your must-do list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mini Redo

Sometimes the littlest things can make such a big difference! I didn't really have a rug for my laundry room. I just used a bath mat. This didn't work very well because my laundry room is also the entry way in from the garage. A little bath mat was not enough for that space.


It also wasn't very heavy so it got pushed/kicked into a pile a lot. I went shopping at Kohl's this week because I had an additional 20% off sale prices coupon. I came across this beauty and it was love at first sight. I wasn't sure about the measurements, but it fits perfectly!


Love! It hasn't stayed this clean though. :) Eventually I'd like to paint the walls a blue or green.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spray paint love

I've been working on spray painting  C.'c changing table for several weeks now. It's been either windy, humid, or raining so it's been hard to get it done. I've just been doing a coat every once and awhile on a nice day.

I miss my changing table. So I decided to bring it in today and I figured I'll finish later. This goes against everything in my type-A firstborn personality, but I really want to use it again. I can't believe at one point I thought I could just change all C's diapers on the floor. Yeah right. I mean, I could if I had to, but I'm pretty much a wimp and don't like to bend over.

Here's a before picture:


I like it, but I have a lot of white painted furniture in C.'s room so I thought it would go better in there if it was painted white. I also have some dark brown baskets that I thought would look really sharp up against the white.

(What is that in the backround, you ask? That would be another spray paint project that is also still in the garage, unfinished. I think we might need to get rid of a car to make room for my paint projects.) 

Here it is (mostly) finished! I love it!

Baskets for diapers, shorts and pants, and various baby implements. (Diaper rash creme, vaseline, bulb syringe, nail clippers etc..)


 Close up of baskets. (Don't look too closely at the paint job! :)



With some of the other furniture.


This was such a good project to use spray paint for. With all the spindles using a brush would have taken FOREVER. I love spray paint.

I'm linking up with Thrifty Decor Chick: