Menu Monday {Jan 25, 2016}

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It’s always good to start the week off with a plan but as we all know, life with children and a husband who was traveling for work, it can get a bit unpredictable and crazy. We never had the on Tuesday because we had more than enough left overs of the Chicken Soup. And I used the white meat from the chicken to make several homemade chicken salad sandwiches…my husband’s favorite lunch! I did make the Mustard Chicken but served it with rice instead of spaghetti squash and a potato…much easier! The Little Big Meal from The Fresh Market was DELICIOUS!! I can’t wait to check out what they will have this week! We ended up eating the The Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes (the best recipe ever!) Friday AND Saturday night so we saved the Pork Chops for Sunday night. I didn’t have the kids try it because I needed to feed them earlier and I knew we weren’t going to be eating until later. These pork chops NEED to go on a regular rotation because they were OUT OF THIS WORLD!

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Homemade Whole Chicken & Veggie Soup

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Mustard Chicken, Broccoli & Jasmine Rice

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12642735_10206093072181977_3901682966002475020_nThe Fresh Market’s Big Little Meal

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The Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes

 

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Ruhlman’s Twenty Brined & Fried Pork Chops and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What do you have cooking this week?

 

 

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Friday I’m in Love

Happy Friday!!

This week has been the first week since the holidays, that it feels like we are back on a somewhat predictable schedule. Naps are back in full force, bedtime routines are kept to a manageable time frame, everyone is sleeping through the night and life is good!

So let’s get this Friday love going!

~one~

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Ahhh….Dunkin’ Donuts, oh how I’ve missed you! Since I started my half marathon training, I have really been focusing on what I eat. I’ve also started saying to myself before I eat, “will this fuel my body?” and that has helped me to continue to make healthy choices. Except for Monday morning…I wanted and needed a donut. It had been 8 weeks for goodness sake! Oh, Toasted Coconut it had been way too long!  You will always will be my favorite. I LOVE you!!

~two~

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My baby girl, Charlotte. Although, these days she seems more like a kid than a 3 year old. She started ballet last year when her older sister decided to stop. The studio let Charlotte (then only 2.5 years old) take Madeline’s place. Charlotte did wonderful! And she loved it. At first, I thought she only loved it because she was doing something that her older sister did but that’s not the case.

In May, when classes were over for the season, I didn’t enroll her again. We weren’t living close to that studio anymore and I really wasn’t sure if she loved it or not. A few weeks into the summer she asked me why she didn’t do ballet anymore. I answered her question with a question…”Do you like ballet?” My love responds with, “Oh momma, I love to twirl and leap!” And yes she does! She leaps and twirls allllll over the house, the yard, the driveway, at school, in the parking lot, at Publix, at Target…

Needless to say, I did sign her up for another season and on Monday, I was finally able to capture my baby girl doing what she loves…leaping! Watching her do something she loves with a huge smile on her face, makes this momma’s heart skip a beat.

I love you Charlotte Anne!

~three~

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Eeeek!! My girl has hit the 100 day mark in kindergarten! I just can’t believe it. There were some days that I didn’t know if we were coming or going. It was a HUGE adjustment going from VPK to kindergarten…for both of us!

I’m so proud of my girl and everything she has accomplished in these past 100 days. Her heart is so full of love and compassion and she continues to amaze me every single day.

I love you Madeline Kate!

~four~

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Oh Elizabeth! We have been together every single day since the day you were born…almost 20 months ago. Your days get jammed with to do lists, errands, sitting in car line and fighting your sisters for my attention usually all while perched on my left hip. I loved it this week when you played…on the floor…All. By. Yourself. You are following in your sisters footsteps and starting to grow into your independence. Hallelujah!

I love you Elizabeth Jane!

~five~

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And last but not least…An amazing smelling candle for 50% off at Publix, an amazing speed workout that included 8:26, 8:45 & 8:40 mile splits, and a new favorite red wine from Quantum Leap WineryKaley’s Rescue Red. This was the perfect way to relax at the end of a crazy day!

What are you in love with this week?

Get Uncomfortable {Jan 2016}

 

I was inspired by a fellow Orlando Moms Blog contributor, Tracy, to just choose one word (or words in my case) to “guide and lead me through adventures of uncharted territories.” I chose ‘Get Uncomfortable‘. Click, take a look and see why.

I have been using this phrase, ‘Get Uncomfortable’, every day. I know words are powerful but I never knew repeating this ONE phrase when I was unsure of what to do or what step to take next, would push me in every aspect of my life. From pushing myself on a speed workout or tempo run, to pushing myself in keeping the lines of communication open with my family when all I really want to do is shut down…and sleep.

Last week, my oldest and I had a disagreement. She’s 5 (going on 25) and I’m 43. Both of us love to be right. Most days, I’m the parent and the other days, she thinks she is. It was a rough morning getting out of the house.

My patience was gone. I was wound up a bit tight and she needed more compassion and understanding than I had that morning. All I could think about was getting to school on time. The big kids were acting up in the car kicking the seat in front of them.

I ignored it…for a few minutes. I asked them to stop…a few times. Needless to say, they didn’t. We were at a red light and I turned around with anger in my eyes I said, STOP KICKING. I didn’t yell or raise my voice but there was not an ounce of love in my words.

They stopped. She started crying. Uncontrollably. I screwed up yet once again.

Thankfully, we were around the corner from school. I had to fix this. I couldn’t let her be angry or mad or sad all day at school.

We parked and I jumped in the back of the minivan. She wouldn’t look at me. She wouldn’t make eye contact or acknowledge my presence. She shut down…completely.

I said all the ‘right’ mother things but she wouldn’t budge. I grabbed her bag and out the car we went. Her teacher at the door said good morning and she didn’t respond. Into the classroom she went…

I drove to the other side of campus to drop off the three year old. All went well and I looked at the time…I had seven minutes before her class was to start. If my heart was aching, what was her heart feeling?!?

Go ‘Get Uncomfortable’ Kate!

I made it to her classroom with four minutes to spare. Unbuckled the baby and ran to her door. I asked her teacher if I could speak with her for just a minute. I walked into the class, she saw me and with the biggest smile on her face said “Mommy!” My heart started beating again, a lump formed in my throat and my eyes started to fill. I can’t remember the last time she called me mommy. Don’t blink. Don’t blink. Not here. Not now.

I walked over to her, got on my knees and gave her all the love I had and squeezed it into one hug. I whispered in her ear that I loved her with all my heart, to have her best day ever and to remember to have fun.

My baby girl was back. The love was in her eyes and and that smile was radiating the room. I don’t know if she was already over it. I don’t know if it was a distant memory for her. We never spoke of it again. All I do know is that I needed to get uncomfortable and make it right. My baby needed to know that I loved her regardless of what had happened.

As I left the classroom and buckled the baby back into the car seat, I blinked and all the tears came pouring out.

I know I’m not the first mom to say this but seriously…

Parenting is the toughest gig I’ve ever had.

How did you ‘Get Uncomfortable’ today?

Some People Are Worth Melting For

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I saw this cute video in my facebook feed of these adorable melting snowmen and I knew I had to make them! I signed up to bring in cookies for the Christmas parties at school with the hopes of making these but just in case it was a complete fail, I knew I could swing by Publix and pick up a few dozen cookies in the bakery. Kids really don’t have a preference.

The parties were on Friday so on Tuesday night, I started making the homemade sugar cookies from Make Bake Celebrate. I had a total of 64 to make and these looked very detailed, which is what I loved about them, so I had to get a head start.

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Turns out, I do not have a plain round cookie cutter. And I didn’t realize it until the dough was made and rolled out. I’m not usually good at thinking outside the box but this time I did! I used the opening of a tall glass dipped in flour to make the circles. And it worked out great! I did find out that I need a bit more practice rolling out the dough EVENLY. Some cookies were paper thin and some were as thick as a steak! Again, I wasn’t worried because kids really don’t have a preference when it comes to cookies…at least mine don’t.

I hoped to start the icing on Wednesday and then label and bag them on Thursday but…it didn’t happen as planned. I ended up decorating and bagging all 64 of them on Thursday and into Thursday night. I do not recommend doing it that way!

This was my first time using Royal Icing  and I went with a recipe that didn’t need meringue or egg whites from Tips From A Typical Mom. My girlfriend has used this recipe many times and her cookies always came out great!

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The first batch of icing had to be thicker so it could act as a border and outline of the melted snowman. It took me few times to know exactly how thick it needed to be. If you zoom in on the picture above, you can see where the icing was too thin!

Next up, a batch of thinner icing to fill inside the border. As I started on my first one, I realized that I would need the cut marshmallow ready to place in the wet icing. I had no idea how quick the icing would take to set, so I stopped after one to cut all the marshmallows.

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And then I finished icing the cookies. I only filled 2-3 at a time and then gently pushed the marshmallow (sticky side down) into the icing.

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The baby was napping at this point and I was hustling! Her nap times were so unpredictable that week. I wanted to at least finish all the icing and the marshmallows before she woke up. I also had to go and pick the big kids up from school. Talk about a wee bit of anxiety!

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Once the marshmallows were set, I added the black sugar pearls from Wilton to use as buttons. I gently pushed those into the icing to make sure they would stay.

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The baby was stirring at this point and I was relieved that I got as far as I did. While she was eating her lunch, I used some orange sprinkles from Wilton for the nose. I used a toothpick first to make a tiny hole and then gently pushed the sprinkle in. Talk about detail! My dental hygienist hands were in heaven!

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I was in LOVE!! These were the cutest cookies ever and I wasn’t even finished yet! I definitely could have stopped here because they looked great…and again…kids don’t care! But I kept going. I just had to see how they would turn out.

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I thought about using the black sugar pearls for eyes but chose to use black gel instead. It was quicker to do but not quite as neat as the black balls would have been. I then used a red sparkle gel to make a scarf for the snowmen. I think if I make these next year, I may try to use fondant instead. I like the ease and quickness of gel but I LOVE the neatness and perfection of fondant.

I originally was going to print out tags saying…”Do you want to build a snoman?” But these cuties were already built and started melting. So I went with…”Some people are worth melting for.” And that was a perfect way for my girls to spread Christmas cheer to their classmates.

How did your children spread Christmas cheer?

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Menu Monday {Jan 18, 2016}

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Pan Seared Salmon, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pasta, Kale & White Bean Soup from my monthly Pampered Chef Cooking Club. Also shown Creamy Chipotle Lime Sauce & Hollandaise Sauce

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Skinnytaste’s Stuffed Pepper Soup

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Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken& Veggies from Damn Delicious

Oops…forgot to take an after picture. Definitely adding this dish to the regular rotation! Husband, kid & babysitter approved!

 

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Skinnytaste’s Baked Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

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Ahhh…Saturday Date Night In! The husband found a great recipe from his new cookbook, Ruhlman’s Tweny, Coq Au Vin. Oh my! Delicious! Even the kids ate it…well just the chicken…no skin & no evidence of any mushrooms or sauce on it. Ok, they just ate the chicken. But still that’s a win!

What do you have cooking this week?

 

 

Friday I’m in Love

Hello!! This is my first ‘Friday I’m in Love’ and truth be told…I’m a bit nervous. I’ve read a few of Kendra’s Friday posts over at The Gilbertson Family and I LOVE them! They always make me smile!

So here’s hoping I make you smile!

~one~

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I am loving this cooler weather Central Florida is having! I love wearing my old, comfy sweats with my leopard-ish robe and my new gold glitter slippers while sipping my favorite wine by the fire. This does not happen but just a few times a year and when it does, I am sure to photograph it!

~two~

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Once a month, I meet with some of my favorite ladies for our Pampered Chef Cooking Club. Our consultant (and fellow runner!), Becky created our menu which consisted of Pan Seared Salmon with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Ham & Pasta Soup and Chocolate Mousse in an edible chocolate bowl. OMG. Absolutely delicious! I look forward to these evenings all month long. It’s an evening filled with great chit chat, swapping of recipes & kitchen tips and LOTS of wine! We just met on Monday and I’m already counting down the days until the next one.

~three~

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I took over the Orlando Moms Blog Instagram account for Takeover Tuesday and I ended up taking ALOT of pictures! This is one of my favorites. It’s proof that all three of my girls can actually play together without whining, crying or fighting. I tiptoed from the kitchen to this front room to ever so quietly take this picture. And once I captured it, I ran like heck back to the kitchen and they never even knew I was there!

~four~

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Ahhh…my new Garmin 620 running watch! Talk about being in love!! I’m in week 7 of half marathon training and I have been doing ALOT of speed work to help me run faster. Setting up a workout in Garmin Connect and then sending it to my watch has helped tremendously. Instead of being forced to only run on the track during Wednesday’s group run, I was able to go out into the park and through the neighborhoods. I was able to stay ON track because I got OFF the track!

My coach had me do a one mile warm up, run 1/2 mile fast, walk for 90 seconds and repeat SIX times. Then end with a one mile cool down. The watch beeped and vibrated to let me know when I need to increase or decrease my pace. I LOVED it. The jury is still out on whether I loved the actual speed work or not…

~five~

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I ended Takeover Tuesday with Orlando Moms Blog on Tuesday with my favorite picture of my mother. When I look at this picture, I see a mother full of love and happiness. I hope that when my girls look back at pictures of us that they see the same thing…love and happiness. Thank you mother for always loving me! I love you!

What are you in love with?

Until next Friday…

DIY No Sew Indian Costume- Part 2

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Better late than never, right?! I started this two part post back in November around Thanksgiving and well…things got crazy and I actually forgot that I never finished it. Until…this morning. So here we go!

This costume was relatively easy, I promise. My oldest had a Thanksgiving day feast in November and the classroom was divided into Pilgrims and Indians. My girl needed an Indian costume quick!

I really didn’t want to buy yet another costume and I had this giant bag of beads leftover from a previous project. I had to make it work somehow. So off to Pinterest I went. This post from Playdates & Pearls caught my eye and it gave me the inspiration to go ahead confidently and make one.

In my last post, I showed how I dyed, washed and dried the shirt.

After the shirt dried, I cut the long sleeves off to make a short sleeve shirt. I purposely bought long sleeves because I will use the cut parts for the costume.

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Then I cut the bottom hem of the shirt completely off and saved it to use later as well.

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I cut fringes all around both short sleeves. They were about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long. I needed to make sure there was enough room for beads and to tie a knot after the fringe was beaded.

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Then I cut the same size fringes all along the bottom of the shirt.

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I had the girls help do all the bead work. Some of the fringes were a little thick. I had to snip the end to form a point so the girls were able to bead it. My 3 year old probably did about 4 beads total and then she was done. She was more interested in goofing off with her little sister. My 5 year old LOVED beading! She’s very detailed oriented and has great dexterity…future dental hygienist?? 😉

I cut the long sleeves so that I had about 4-5 inches of fabric past the cuff. I was originally thinking that my daughter could wear these on her wrists but then thought it would look cuter (and stay on longer) if she wore them on her legs. Thank you for the idea, Samantha!

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And here’s the final picture! I used the bottom hem that I cut off to tie around my daughter’s waist as a belt. We also made a headband out of the foam and stapled the feathers on the back which she actually wore all day at school! The necklace was her idea and she thought it would look “fashionable” if a feather was added.

I did all the fabric dyeing and cutting and she did all the beading. I had to tie the knots for her after the beads were on. This an inexpensive and relatively easy craft to do WITH your child for Halloween, a school party or just for some good old fashioned fun!

I hope you enjoyed my project with my girl! Now go get crafty with your kids and make sure to send me a picture so I can see what you’re up to!

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And here’s the breakdown of the cost for this costume:12573935_10206034111547998_8594811136944350054_n