Friday I’m in Love…

Happy Friday!

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions these past two weeks and I’m quite eager to get back to somewhat of a routine. So…let’s get this LOVE going!

~one~

PicMonkey Collage

On Tuesday, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I never knew exactly what love was…until I met him.

~two~

I’m the oldest of 6 kids so needless to say, we have a huge family. I spent some time with everyone in New Jersey last week and we always seemed to get together around meal time. On Sunday night, my father prepared a feast for us. He was looking to comfort us kids the best way he knows how…with comfort food of course! The picture on the left is a GIANT Chicken Pot Pie and on the right…3 pounds of Shrimp Scampi! Whoa! Talk about two of my favorite comfort foods. Both were delicious and I most certainly went back for seconds. Thanks dad!

~three~

1929069_10206199234515969_6164194461353771709_n

This cutie…my niece, Marina. I LOVED hanging out with all the nieces and nephews! We gave our parents 10 grandchildren, 6 girls and 4 boys. And the oldest is only 7! Here Marina is helping to make the guacamole. She LOVES to mash the avocado!

~four~

12705538_10206199397200036_7318318512502632315_n

Check out this amazing site, Pen + Paint by Lindsay Hopkins. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while now and I’m soooo in LOVE with everything she posts. I have my shopping cart full of her beautiful artwork over on Etsy but I’m having a hard time hitting the complete order button because I keep finding more things I must have!

What are you in LOVE with this week??

Advertisements

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~

12631452_10206036952139011_4435751114791301049_n

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~

12509894_10206036953379042_1035749129041605675_n

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~

12509858_10206036952539021_4266350150789008123_n

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~

12509819_10206036953259039_9019383074939981252_n

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~

12512716_10206036954859079_6589334984630554652_n

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…

Painting Is Easy. Choosing a Color Is Not.

paintingiseasy

The day we walked into this house, I knew I wanted to paint the kitchen. It took me months to finally decide on a color. Some days I wanted to stick my head in the sand and hope and wish someone else would do it for me. No such luck. My husband is a smart man. He would NEVER pick a color and paint without my approval. He would hear about that (and not in a good way) for the rest of his life. #happywifehappylife 😉

I had to think of the house as a whole. I like for the rooms to blend or compliment each other. I wanted a bold color but also one that would blend. Talk about a challenge…for me. I’m not good with that kind of stuff. Give me a recipe book and I can cook for days. Give my an empty room and tell me to decorate it…insert head in sand! Or better yet, I may just run away!

Here’s what I knew…I knew what I liked. I knew what kind of bar stools and kitchen table we were getting. I also knew that I’m always drawn to the beach and all of those beautiful shells! Now, how to bring it all together and have it look nice.

theme

Like I wrote in my last post about painting the kitchen, I googled & pinned for days. After much ‘research’, I finally decided on a blue, a nice navy blue. Great! The hard part is done, right? WRONG! Try going to the paint store and picking out a nice navy blue. Ugh…

3blues

I narrowed it down to ‘Inked’ and ‘Very Navy’ but ‘Very Navy’ scared me. It was really dark!

paintsamples

These swatches stayed taped to the wall for a few days but I’m sure if you ask my husband he would say a few weeks. One morning over coffee, I took the plunge and chose ‘Inked’. That’s it. It’s only paint. If I don’t like it, I’ll just repaint it a neutral tan color and be done with it. Gotta keep moving forward…

In the process of choosing the color, I did start painting over some of the painted on brick. And of course, every session of nighttime painting begins with a glass (or two) of my favorite red wine!

wine

Before…

barbefore

And the after….

barafter

Woohoooo!! Brick be gone! Now, let’s get going with that blue!

bicep

#icrackmyselfup

Stay tuned…

My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget!

kitchengadget

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!

Change the look of your kitchen with just a little paint!

It’s no exaggeration to say that I spend ALOT of time in my kitchen. I’m a stay at home mom with 3 kids, 4 if you count the husband, and they require to be fed on a routine basis….like every 10minutes, no lie!

When we were house hunting, finding the perfect house with the perfect kitchen was a bit on the impossible side. I almost nixed the idea of putting an offer on the house we are currently living in because I HATED the kitchen. I hated everything about it…

the old cabinets

12068793_10205478251211837_740312369532450690_o

the white appliances

12080115_10205478250731825_45452712721341590_o

the cream color formica counter tops

12087866_10205478248891779_7030794072462890708_o

the light colored tile, the red paint, the gold sponge paint on top of the red paint and the painted on faux brick on top of the red paint.

12140113_10205478249651798_2512257362568208035_o

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the color red. I really do. But it was too much for the kitchen. It wasn’t my style and it made me not want to be in the kitchen.

I firmly believe that the most memorable family memories are made in the kitchen. Any conversation or story that I tell my kids from my childhood, always has us in the kitchen. So I was determined to turn this kitchen around.

I pinned, I googled and I browsed Home Depot. I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t get the husband (or the checkbook) to go for it, no matter how hard I tried. Deep down, I knew it was unrealistic to redo the entire kitchen so I opted to work with what I had. I still pinned and googled but this time I added a few key terms to help with my search…oak cabinets, white formica, white appliances. I wanted the internet to show me what color paint would work best with what I had because I knew I could get the husband on board with that and he would love it too! I could change the look without draining the bank account. I was determined to LOVE my kitchen again and a little paint could bring me that love…right??

Stayed tuned for Part II…

Momma’s Favorite Banana Bread

 

20150508-165631.jpgWe’ve all had bananas ripen way too quickly before and believe it or not, I used to throw them away! I will never, never, never do that again. A few years ago, I stumbled upon this recipe from Simply Recipes for the BEST banana bread I’ve ever eaten. It is soooo easy to make! My four year old can even make it all by herself…well almost all by herself.  😉

20150508-165653.jpgMash 2-3 very ripe bananas with a fork and stir the melted butter in. I melt it in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.

Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar (I always use a full cup even though the directions say you can use less), egg and vanilla. Next up, mix in the flour. I love to add a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the mix too. Trust me, it makes this bread phenomenal!

20150508-165711.jpgAfter you pour the batter into the greased loaf pan, sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top and cook for about 50 mins at 350 degrees. The directions say 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, but I have found that it is done WAYYYY before that. Set your timer for 50 minutes and check it with a toothpick. I bet you won’t need to cook it for much longer than that.

20150508-165731.jpgThis bread freezes great! Even if you aren’t in the mood to have banana bread in the house (but seriously, who doesn’t want banana bread in the house!), use those old yucky bananas to make some out-of-this-world banana bread. Let it cool completely, wrap it in tin foil and then place it in a labeled freezer bag.

This is one of my mother’s favorite desserts. I always make sure I have a loaf or two in my freezer when she comes down for a visit. I LOVE sitting at the table with my beautiful momma, a cup of coffee and this bread. It’s one of my favorite things to do when she comes to visit. I love you mother. Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo

Hey, Plan To Eat friends…click here to add it to your planner!

Happy Cooking!!

xoxo

 

 

Taking A Chance

924eaaa774247674334d82ef5e428630(image found on Pinterest)

I was scrolling through pics on Instagram, and stopped when I came across Orlando Moms Blog post. They were looking for new blog contributors. What? Seriously? The post said they wanted local moms who “inspire, encourage, support, inform and simply share this journey of motherhood we’re all navigating together.” I paused, caught my breath and said, “This is the perfect job for me.”

And in the very next thought, all the negative, self destructive thoughts came flooding in. They would never pick you. You aren’t a writer. When would I find time to do this, IF they even picked me. What could I actually contribute??

I shut that voice up and went to sleep. The next morning on my run, it was all I could think of. This was meant for me. I knew. I felt it. But could I actually get the nerve up to apply for it?? That was the million dollar question.

I only had a few days until the deadline to submit the application. I knew that if I let this opportunity pass, I would be more upset than if I applied and didn’t get the job. So…I shoved all those insecurities in a box, duct taped it closed and answered those questions. All that was left to do was hit ‘Submit.’

{Insert Jeopardy music here…..}

It took a while…maybe a few hours. It wasn’t until my sister pretty much yelled at me through text that I went running to the computer, pulled up the application and sent it in.

HOLY CRAP! What did I just do??

A few weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything. I just assumed the new contributors were chosen and I didn’t receive my “Sorry, try again next time” email. And I was okay with that. I was glad that I took the chance. I didn’t have any regrets.

I was feeding the baby in the car, waiting for the big kids to finish school and I happened to check my email. Low and behold, there it was. I received an email from Orlando Moms Blog but it was asking me to join the team!!! I freaked out. I cried. I was shaking. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

My first post for Orlando Moms Blog,”Stock Your Freezer. It will save your sanity. I promise” went live this morning. In it, I give a bunch of simple freezer cooking tips to help make the endless task of feeding the family a bit easier. It saved my sanity and it can save your. Promise.

Stock-your-freezer

Happy Cooking!

xoxo