Friday I’m In Love

Today marks the first full week of summer break and the girls and I are FINALLY starting to settle into our summer routine. Over the last week and a half, I’ve found a few things that we are in LOVE with and I’m so excited to share them with you!

So…let’s get this LOVE going!

~one~

Legos!

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These only come out only when the baby is sleeping. And these are the real deal, not the chunky toddler ones that we have had for years. My oldest loves them! She got her first set for her birthday last week and I LOVE watching her play with them. I can actually see her think when she puts them together. She does this cute little thing with her lip when she’s thinking hard and the whole process of following directions, figuring out which pieces go where and actually creating a finished project has her mesmerized.

~two~

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I stumbled upon these dry erase boards on one of our Saturday morning trips to Lakeshore Learning for their FREE weekly craft. My almost 4 year old would rather run, jump and twirl than sit down and practice her letters but…she is in LOVE with these boards! She actually sits down and does them all. And I happened to get them on sale for 1/2 price! #momwin!

~three~

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I didn’t expect to add this one to my list but here it is… Grammy’s Indoor Playground. The girls went nuts! I actually wished I had brought my book to read because I was just sitting there. All by myself! Best money I ever spent! And we were there for FOUR hours!  If you go, make sure to look for a coupon or get some friends together for a group discount.

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The girls even read a few books!

~four~

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Trotwood Park Splash Pad was my back up plan yesterday because we missed story time at the library. I surprised the girls with this outing and even hid their bathing suits and towels in the car. It’s a great splash pad! Completely fenced in and small enough for you to stay seated and still be able to see them at all times but big enough that they can run and have fun. Oh and it’s FREE for Winter Springs residents! $3 per kid if you’re not. As you can see, the girl LOVED it!

~five~

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All the libraries! I cannot stress enough how wonderful the libraries are. It’s air conditioned and they have programs for every age…even the parents. From Lego Building to Mother Goose Stories, it’s the best place for families to hang out and it’s educational too!

Seminole County Libraries

Maitland Public Library

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What are you in LOVE with this week?

 

 

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?

 

 

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?

DIY No Sew Kids Indian Costume

My kindergartener is having a Thanksgiving Day Feast with the 1st and 2nd graders next week and they can come dressed up as either an Indian or a Pilgrim. My girl wants to be an Indian but I’m not allowed to braid her hair. WHAT?!?! I’m going to have to work on that one…

I searched Pinterest and found what appears to be an ‘easy’ no sew do-it-yourself indian dress. I pinned it and headed out to the stores. Well, truth be told…I headed to my husband’s closet first to see if I could steal an old brown t-shirt or two. No such luck. **Note to self…buy him a variety of colored shirts, not just orange and blue 😉

I headed to Hobby Lobby first and they had a great selection of long sleeve t-shirts at a great price…and they were on sale too! Score! But…they didn’t have brown. And I really, really wanted brown. Ok, no biggie. I’ll just dye the shirts. Easy peasy. But…they didn’t have brown dye. They were all out. Ok, no biggie. I’ll stop at Michael’s on my way home.

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While at Hobby Lobby, I picked up two (I only need one costume but I have a feeling my 3 year old will want one) long sleeved, size small adult t-shirts, 2 packs of feathers, and 1 piece of brown foam board (maybe to help in making a headband??). I already had beads at home left over from another project. So off to Michael’s for some brown dye…I was also hoping they had brown shirts so I could save a step but they didn’t.

They had brown dye and I was able to use a 50% off coupon so it came to $2.13! Score! Now…let’s change the color of these shirts because I promised the big kids they could help put beads on when they got home from school.

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I took a bucket from the garage (thank goodness it’s black), rinsed it out and filled it with HOT water. I dumped the liquid dye in and mixed for about 2 minutes before I put the wet shirts in the bucket. The directions say to add 1 cup of salt but I didn’t. I’m not looking for a perfectly brown shirt. I just need it not to be white and to be kind of brown.

Now, the directions say to mix CONSTANTLY for 30-60 minutes. Umm…who the heck has time for that?! And I’m pretty sure my arm would fall off in the process. So I left it and mixed it maybe every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes.

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After thirty minutes, I very carefully emptied the bucket and started to rinse the shirts with cool water. Talk about a mess! Thank goodness the big kids were at school and the baby was sleeping because this was hard enough to do by myself let alone have my little helpers helping me.

This is what the shirt looked like after I rinsed it with cool water. I tried my best to keep rinsing until the water was clear but I probably could have done a little bit better. Next up, I threw them in the washer and dryer!

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This is how it looked after the washer…

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And this is how it looked after the dryer…

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Definitely a bit blotchy but it will be perfect for an indian costume! Next up, time for the scissors and some beads!

Stayed tuned…

{insert Jeopardy music here}

For Part 2, click here!

My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget!

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I had a Pampered Chef party a few weeks back to help my best friend raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is running the Space Coast Half Marathon in a few weeks with Team In Training and when she first told me about this, I volunteered to help her raise some money! I’m all about a good cause, food and a running! The perfect chance to give back since November is all about ‘Giving Thanks’.

I’ve been trying (and I use that word loosely!) to get my eating back on track. My youngest is almost 1.5 years old and I really can’t use the excuse ‘I just had a baby’ anymore. It’s time to combine healthier eating WITH my running. Running alone is not going to get me into better shape.

Breakfast is my most challenging meal. The mornings are CRAZY in this house. Going for a run, showering, and getting myself dressed before the kids wake up is a piece of cake! It’s getting THEM dressed, fed and out the door that is the hard part. Before I know it, we are in the car on the way to school and I haven’t eaten breakfast. Not good. Not good at all.

So…my best friend told me I needed this gadget…aka Microwave Egg Cooker, because everyone has one minute to cook a decent breakfast.

I love my eggs over easy with a runny yolk that is perfect for dipping my toast in. Following the directions for ‘Fried’ Eggs, I added a little butter in each well.

Next up, I melted it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

I cracked one egg into each well and then pierced it once with a fork.

I covered it with a paper towel and put it in the microwave for a total of 55 seconds.

And voila! Two eggs done in under a minute. And they were delicious!!

This gadget is definitely a keeper! Thank you BFF! You always know what I need! xoxo

Happy Cooking!

Weekly Meal Plan for August 3 – August 9

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My mother, sister, nephew and niece were in town visiting this week and I was beyond excited to cook for them. It was a bit trickier than usual because the big kids really didn’t nap but we got it done. It really does take a village to raise a family, doesn’t it?

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Malaspine Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli

Now, my mother had this meatloaf the last time she was in town and she LOVED it! So of course I had to make it again for her. This was a huge hit with everyone, kids included! My mother in law, sister in law and her kids stopped by the next day and I fed them the leftovers. They loved it too! Seriously, if you are looking for a great meatloaf recipe, this is the one.

The kids did not love the broccoli because of all the garlic but us grown ups gobbled it up with no problems! Ha!

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Jenn’s Chicken & Veggie Soup

This one was easy to do with the family in town. I chose to make this one on the day that we stayed home. It takes about 2-3 hours in the oven. I have done it in the crock pot as well and it’s good but I really love it in the dutch oven. Best. Comfort. Food. Ever.

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Chicken Mozzerella Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ahhh….one of my husband’s favorite meals! There were no leftovers this night. Even the kids ate it! I left out the red pepper flakes for the kids but sprinkled them on ours. The red pepper flakes give it a nice kick!

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Lasagna Soup

My sister is the one that told me I needed to make this so I knew her and her kids would love it. I was a little worried about my mother though. She loves lasagna but I wasn’t sure she would go for it as a soup. But she was living in my house, under my roof for the week so she had to eat it, right?!?! Hahaha! I’ve always wanted to say that!

I used regular sausage instead of the chicken sausage the recipe calls for. I love all the skinnytaste.com recipes but I tend to fatten them up just a bit.  😉

Mother LOVED the soup! I overheard her tell my daughter that I was a great cook. OMG! I learned from one of the best cooks around!

Desserts:

We put a HUGE dent in the #GoBigOrGoHome birthday cake but we still needed something sweet. I had to make my mother’s favorite banana bread and I also wanted to make something new for them. Cannoli Cake was it! My mother and my sister LOVED it! I should have made that at the beginning of the week because now I have a ton left and they flew back to NJ today.

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Cannoli Poke Cake

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Banana Bread

What favorite meals do you like to cook when you have family in town?

Enjoy all the recipes!

Happy Cooking!

and Happy Eating!

Katie 🙂

Hey, Plan To Eat users…look me up and let’s swap recipes!

MrsRoemersNest

Weekly Meal Plan for July 27 – July 31

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Tilapia with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes & Corn

 

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Jenn’s Chicken Veggie Soup

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

(I must remember to get a picture!)

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Honey Balsamic Chicken Breasts & Veggies

And here’s a shopping list for this week’s meals, minus the brisket, burgers and hotdogs. We are having the family over to celebrate my daughter’s 3rd birthday and my husband usually does the shopping and the grilling for the cookouts! Love that man!

I would LOVE to connect with some more Plan To Eat users! Look me up… MrsRoemersNest

Happy Cooking!

Katie 🙂

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