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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I am really excited for the upcoming year!
We have a lot of changes coming up, and the biggest one being is that we are moving AGAIN.  But for the last time!!!  I am very ready to dig in, grow roots, and settle.
My word of the year is:

Yes, it is 2 words, but I need both.  With all the things we have coming up, I need to be very organized, and with that comes the calm.  And I have to calm in order to plan things out well.  I want to make this transition as easy as possible on the kiddos.

Things I am doing for 2014:
1.  Organizing my Bloglist.  Putting my faves at the top of my toolbar, deleting obsolete links
2.  Using checklists that I found on Pinterest.  Search "Home Organization Checklist"

  • Monthly Calendar
  • Weekly Calendar
  • Weekly Meal List w/ grocery list
  • Weekly Cleaning List
  • Weekly Blog Schedule & Ideas

3.  Clearing out Cloth Napkins (which we use daily)--getting rid of the most used set.  They are pretty grubby.
4.  Taking Better (unwanted) clothes to consignment, donating the remainder.
5.  Scheduling daily quiet time.  (Probably the most important)
6.  Reducing screen time for me.

I'd love to hear what your plans, goals, hopes, resolutions are for 2014.  xoxoxo

(Update:  I don't LOVE my word of the year.  Still pondering one that feels right.... )

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cold Weather means Warm & Cozy Food.

My recipes are usually simple, with the ingredients listed in order of use.  Message me if you want more detail, I am happy to help!

So easy, so satisfying, ate it for breakfast because I was out of oatmeal. 

 This was one of the rare times that I didn't use the McCormick packet.  It was SO MUCH BETTER.

1. Marinate Top Sirloin with Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce, S&P
2. Olive Oil+Butter+ Top Sirloin.  Brown meat, set aside
3. Onion+Mushrooms+more S&P+Tarragon+a little water (to cook mushrooms through).
4. Add Meat back into pot.
5. Cream of Mushroom Soup+1/2 Cup Water+ Squirt of Ketchup (Trust Me!)
6. Simmer until Meat is tender and cooked through.  (I cooked for 40 min, but doesn't need to.)
7. Finish with scoop of Sour Cream.
8.  Serve over Noodles.

Best Leftover Turkey Ever.

1.  Olive Oil+Butter+Onion+Carrots+Celery (cook until starting to soften.)
2.  TBS of Flour+Leftover Turkey+S&P+Poultry Seasoning+Splash of Wine
3.  Chicken Broth+1/2 Milk (Bring to Boil, then simmer to thicken)
4. Leftover Rutabaga (optional)+Cooked Cheese Ravioli
5.  Finish with Chicken Bouillon to Taste.  You could also add cream, if you want thicker.

I fill the leftover soup into these jars, leftover from Bonne Maman Jam, which is my favorite.  They freeze well and hold just the right amount of soup for cold days:)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Break Fun Time

I like to set an activity for the kiddos on a regular basis because:
1.  They love it. 
2.  It makes life easier on me.
3.  It's fun.
3.  It prevents them from being on TV, which reinforces #2. 

 Mostly, I steal ideas off pinterest, or I just put out what I have in season colors and themes.  Here are some ideas to make your Christmas Break just a little more fun.

Styrofoam balls+toothpicks+buttons+mini marshmallows
 Prebaked Gingerbread House.  I like Wilton's brand better than the other brands out there.

 Tate rolling fondant.  It was like Cake Wars in my house. 

Gel pastels+watercolor+stickers+thick paper.

It is unseasonably warm here, so when Tate asked to go play in the rain, I said yes.  Notice the sled, even though it is 75F.

Easiest Lunch Ever:  Get a cute little stand (this one is from Ikea) and fill it with fruit, veg, carbs & Protein.  They love that is like a big snack.

And a Christmas tradition, we had the kids get ready for bed, and then we surprised them with going to see the Christmas Lights (at Norfolk Botanical Gardens).  
I packed cookies and cocoa and had it waiting in the car. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Club of ONE

I'm reading this book.  Ok, I'm not reading, I'm listening to an audiobook.  These get me through long drives and flights, and I downloaded it for my recent trip to England.  I didn't get to it until after the trip, because my 3 year was a TRAVELING ROCKSTAR and I could actually watch multiple movies on the flight.  

This book is hilarious.  Mindy Kaling holds on to her inner teeny bop ways, while being an adult, and doesn't apologize for it.  I love her and am secretly a little bit like this as well.  I love clothes and stickers and celebrity gossip and shopping.   I am also capable of an intelligent conversation about a multitude of subjuects, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the more fluffy things of life:) 
On a more serious note, this book was really, really good as well.  Defintely a more serious subject, as it is about a slave that escapes and is recaputured in the precivil war south.  I find myself thinking about Joanna, the main character, all the time as I go about my daily routine.  It makes me extremely grateful, as well as in awe of the women of that time.

 This is one of my favorite Christmas books.  It is themed around baking ( LOVE!) but each page is a different little lesson for your child, such as kindness and compassion.  Full disclosure:  Soleil doesn't love this book.  I want her to, but she would rather read Berenstain Bears Nutcracker.

And finally, a recommendation for an 8 year old.  This book is written comic book style by a guy with an awesome imagination.  The 26 story treehouse is the 2nd book, and Tate asked Santa for it this year.
I'd love to hear any books that you have been loving recently :)  xo cat

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Veggie Meal & Gift Bags

Yes.  This feels nice.... I won't go on and on regarding the last post, but I will say that
1.  It was hard to stay off FB.
2.  I did REALLY enjoy blogs that I went to yesterday.
3.  Blogging is a little bit about carving time out for yourself, which is great.

Right now, it is me and a cup of coffee and my computer, and the kids are reading Christmas books together before we walk to school.  :)  This is awesome.

Now on to today's post....

I was craving white beans.  Here is a very simple, veggie recipe that is quick and delicious.
Carrots+green onion+celery+mushrooms+a little oil+salt&pepper.  Sautee until starting to soften.
 Then add broth.  (I used chicken, obviously NOT vegetarian, but what I had.)   And then add canned white beans and more seasoning of your choice.  I used garlic powder, salt and pepper.
 Cook until warmed through, veggies are a little soft, and more of liquid has bubbled away.  I sometimes add more broth at the end so that it is more like a soup.

Ready to eat!!
 And I made these for my friend, Kat Knupp.  She inspires me to be a better environmentalist each day:)  I stitched up fabric like long pillow cases, with hemmed edges.  I then attached a ribbon to the back, to be tied around the middle after it has been filled.  The middle bag was made drawstring style, which I like the best.  Also, that one is made from felt because I LOVE FELT.  (I have a slight felt addiction.)  You can pull on the ribbons on the side and pull, and the contents will be secured inside.
I hope to make more of these before the holiday season is over!  xo cat

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blogging has more SOUL

WOW.  Since I have been writing my blog, this is the longest I have let it go without any posts.  I have been thinking about why, and have discussed BLOGGING vs Facebook and all other social media. I feel as if things have changed, but not for the better, and I am ready to return BACK to blogging. :)

You see, I go to FB every. single. day.  But I hate FB.  I feel kinda dirty and frustrated after sitting on facebook, kind of like when you eat an entire bag of potato chips.  And when I was recently doing Brene Brown's latest ecourse, she asked the question about what is nurturing and what is numbing?  For me, Facebook is NUMBING, but Blogs are nurturing.

When I read blogs, I am reinspired, I am connected with that blogger, I am calm or energized in the best ways.  When I read FB, I am frustrated, I feel as though I have wasted time, and though I can get a lot from it, I feel a different energy.

Here are some of my favorite blogs:

and some of my friends, who have lovely blogs, that make me feel connected to them:

I hope that you are as inspired by their words as I am.  With that, the one change that I will be making for 2014 (starting early, as in NOW!) is that I will be spending more time with blogs, less time with FB.  

If you have a blog, please leave the address below, as I would love to hear your words.
(Ironically enough, I am posting this on FB in order to make the transition back to blogs.)

Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject:) xo cat