Friday, October 21, 2016

Coffee Chat & random thoughts

I honestly cannot believe it's Friday already.  I blinked and the week was gone and all that was left was traces of a deliciously busy week.  So, I thought we should have coffee really quick and chat.

First of all, I just want to welcome those of you who are visiting my little space here for the first time.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you come back.  And welcome back to all my friends who visit when they have time (you guys rock!).  I am so very thankful for you and the time you take to join us. 

This post is just some random thoughts and tid bits about what is going on in my neck of the world.  Kind of like if we just sat down over coffee or tea and chatted, caught up, and enjoyed each other's company.  And what better way to wrap up a really busy week than this!?! 
Last night, I made macarons.  Not the coconut ones, but those super yummy french sandwich cookies that are taking the world by storm.  This was the third time I've made them, and the closest I've come to getting it right.  They looked gorgeous. . . until I touched them.  The majority of them cracked and it became a cookie sheet of sad deliciousness.  But, they will still be eaten. . . I promise.  I'm pretty sure I over mixed the batter and that's what caused the hollow cracking.  Lesson learned.  Eventually, I will get them perfect and I guess I will just have to keep practicing! 

Today was Ethan's field trip to the zoo.  We missed his first grade field trip last Spring because we all had some insane stomach bug, so he was super excited for this trip.  I got to go and even managed to grab some Starbucks before meeting them at the zoo.  He wanted to bring his notebook and pencil to take notes on the animals.  There wasn't much time for that, but notice his bag. . .It reminds me of Joey and his man bag (total Friends reference here).  I made that bag for him when he was 4 because he wanted a little bag to carry his stuff in.  It was way to long back then, but he found it and thought it would work. 
I may have a messy house right now, but my house is decorated for Fall.  Monday, I snuck over to Trader Joes and picked up some fun pumpkins and finished my mantle.  I am kind of impressed with my chalk lettering. . . it never happens like that!  There are a few more things that I want to work on and maybe I will be able to sneak those in.  We shall see.  Do you decorate for Fall?  What do you do?

We finally got to go to another Earthquakes game and it rained! Soccer games don't get rained out a whole lot (only for lightning. . . see, you learn something everyday).  We had a blast and didn't freeze our butts off.  The kids did some slip and sliding in the grass while we waited (in a down pour) to get some autographs.  My favorite thing about going to these games is the wide variety of Food Trucks. . . I counted 10 this week. . . that they have available inside the stadium.  The whole point is to come and get food and hang out.  It's pretty awesome (and fun!).  This soccer thing is growing on me. . . as long as I don't have to play.  (my face was always a magnet to the ball in Jr. High. . . oiy.) 
We checked off our annual visit to some pumpkin patch on the way to the game with a stop by Casa De Fruta.  Things have been so busy that I just don't think that it's going to happen any other time.  So, we got out and played in the rain, picked some cute pumpkins and headed on down the road.  

Well, that's just a tid bit of things that have happened and I am gearing up for another crazy busy weekend. . . just bring it!  

Here are some other random thoughts:

:: This election:  I can't take it.  I am done.  My husband likes to send me crazy videos that people put together about the debate.   Videos like this one.  Laughter might be the only thing that gets me through this. 

:: I know we are full on Fall mode, and these pumpkin muffins are being pinned and repinned like crazy!  I don't blame them. . . they are amazing!

:: I am still reading the same book Simply Tuesday and it keeps tugging on my heart strings. . . I think she wrote it just for me. . . uhhh. .  . anyone else feel that way with a book?

:: My son has been reading about what the Bible says about courage during his weekly Bible Study and I can't tell you how many times I have been reminded of those verses this week. . . be strong, be courageous, for the Lord, your God goes with you . . . oh, and Time Hop brought up a video of Ethan reciting the same verse when he was 3.  Yep.  I guess these are things I need to hear, because I have a project that I am just sort of scared to start.  It's one that I am not sure I want to share with people yet, but it's something that God has been whispering into my ear since last spring when I started praying about what he wanted from me now that both boys were in school.  

::  I got to have lunch with a dear, sweet friend and former college roommate this week.  It's amazing how time gets away from you and suddenly it's a good 7 years since you've hung out.  It was so refreshing to go have lunch and pick up right where we left off.  Is there a friend in your life that you need to reconnect with?  

And well, I think it's time I should go.  The day awaits and so does the "to-do" list that is ever growing.  I hope and pray that you have a blessed weekend!  Take some time to do something creative, read a book, or go on an adventure . . cor even call up a friend and see how they are doing. 

Happy Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Teal Pumpkin Project Time

It's that's time of year, when we start stocking up on bite sized chocolatey goodness and buying (or making) our kids something cute to wear for Halloween.  We used to go to our church Harvest festival thingy until a few years ago, but we stopped going because it was so crowded and at that point Weston didn't realize he had a food allergy, and so he it sometimes ended with a super sad kid. (We also stopped because we really saw this as an opportunity to meet our neighbors. . . after all, this is the one time a year where people willingly come knocking on your door. . . but that's a whole other blog post). This is where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in.  Last year, we started joining in on The Teal Pumpkin Project fun.  I think we were the only ones in our neighborhood who did it, and most people had no clue what it was. 

Last year, and this year we have a teal colored pumpkin that is full of NON CANDY items for kids who have food allergies .  We will still give candy out, but there are special things for those kids that just can't have it.  The look on a kids face when they get some bubbles or this year, I found slime instead of something that they can't enjoy is amazing! 

There are so many kids out there that have allergies like Weston that go trick or treating every year and can't eat ANYTHING they get.  Weston has a soy and dairy so, unless someone out there hands out $4 Theo bars, Weston can't have any chocolate.  And let's be real, that's never going to happen.  We have friends that have kids that are allergic to nuts, fructose, gluten, and so many other things, that really, trick or treating is fun to do, but the when the rest of the kids are going through their stashes, they just hand it over to their parents.  At our house, Weston gets to trade his candy in for a Theo bar of his choice and that makes everyone happy. 
I just went to the dollar store and picked up a cheap halloween bucket and used my 50 percent off coupon at JoAnns to buy spray paint in a color that resembled teal and adhered to plastic.  Last year, I tried acrylic paint and it was horrible.  Do do that.  Bleh.  This worked great.  It bubbled in a few places, but probably because I was doing it in a hurry and got to close.  But, it's going to be filled with candy and sitting in the garage 364 days out of the year and I can re-do it next year because it's just so cheap. 
And isn't Target wonderful!  They have a whole isle of cheap things that are not candy.  I chose a lot of the $3 things that had 18-24 things in them.  That package of spider rings. . . 1 dollar!  And we are just excited about slime!  Last year, I bought some Halloween tatto boxes after Halloween for less than a dollar, so I will throw those in there, too.

 You can go visit last year's post and check out the free printable I made to stick outside your door to let people know that you have non food options for food allergies. 

And visit here to find out more about Teal Pumpkin Project.

And here to put your address on a map! How cool is that?!?!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ethan is 8 {A Soccer Party!}

 This post is way past due.  But, with all the crazy of back to school and getting back into the swing of things, Ethan turned 8.  It is hard to believe that he is that old.  Pinch me.  Anyways, we went back and forth with having a party or going to an Earthquakes game.  He is really into soccer these days and so we decided to have a soccer party and attempt to do tone it down.  I looked into renting one of the fields at our local indoor soccer place, which was super inexpensive, but it's still HOT here in September and it's super hot in the facility.  That, and we had to juggle the start of the soccer season so we decided to do it at home and do it in the evening, when it was cooler and grill some hotdogs.  We invited family and friends and borrowed my nephew's soccer goals.  It was so much fun! 
I made these cupcakes from Annie's Eats, except I forgot cream cheese and just made a whipped buttercream frosting that tasted amazing!  I made them back for Ethan's 4th birthday and they were just so awesome, I new that they would be perfect for this party!

Soccer Popcorn was so easy!  Just some almond bark melted and crumbled up oreos tossed with some popcorn.  It was also a big hit!  I may have gone a little crazy with Oreos!

We printed out coloring pages for the kids to color if they got hot, or just didn't want to play.  Ethan invited a few of his girl friends (not girlfriends. . . ha ha ha).  I really wanted to have something for them to do, if they weren't all that interested in playing soccer.  I also had tattoos, bubbles and chalk to keep them busy. 

And that's pretty much Ethan's party!  Kind of simple, but Jon still said I went overboard. . . ha ha! I can't really help it, I love throwing parties!  I did all of the design work with some soccer balls and backgrounds I bought off Etsy. And stocked up on Target's Cheeky plates and napkins that were black and white.  Black, white, and green we easier than I expected it to be!

Friday, October 07, 2016

What's For Dinner {Catch up Edition}

I have a love-hate relationship with meal planning.  I love it when I have lots of recipes pinned or inspiration from magazines.  But, when things get busy and we are out of food and I have to make a decision it become the hardest thing ever!  This summer, and with the busyness of the beginning of school, we ate out a lot. It was just really busy.  We also made some yummy things and so I thought I would  catch you up maybe inspire you in your menu planning. 

1.  Honey Garlic Butter Salmon

This Salmon was super tasty and incredibly easy.  The ingredients were simple (probably all things you keep in stocked up) and it didn't take long!  We all enjoyed it and I will definitely make this again! 

2.  Grilled Eggplant and Spinach Salad
 Before this recipe, I hadn't really done a lot with eggplant.  But then I discovered grilled eggplant slices with balsamic vinaigrette and honestly, it might just be one of my new favorite flavor combos.  So, when I saw this recipe, I could not get enough.  I ate it for lunch the next day. I wish I had bought more so I could have had this salad all week! Definitely going to make this again. . . soon!

3. Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

This was a delicious alternative to spaghetti.  Plus, it's almost completely dairy free!  I think I may have a thing for balsamic vinegar in just about everything.  I may need help! 

4.  Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

I loved the combination of the cool strawberries and salad.  I am actually getting really hungry typing this post.  I think I cooked all of our meat on my hubby's grill this summer, so this recipe was perfect for some grilled chicken. 

Well, that's all the recipes I have for you right now.  These were delicious and someday I will most likely make them again!  Have you made anything delicious lately?  Please share on FB, IG, or in the comments!  I love to hear what you are making. . . and am always on the lookout for new meal ideas!

Hope this inspires you in your menu planning this weekend!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Cooking with Kids: Great Pumpkin Dessert

 This summer, Ethan decided he wanted to make a cookbook of recipes we were going to make.  He has really gotten into baking lately and I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes my heart!  And, now that he's a bit older and can read, baking is a cinch! 

Right now, you might even be thinking that you don't want to read this post any more. You are tired and the very thought of cooking with your kids seems like a horrible nightmare.  I get that. 

I know.  It's a little more effort to cook with your kids.  If you are like me, you find peace and sanctuary as you dive into a recipe.  It's your space.  Your time.  Having your kids in there does not feed your soul, like you probably want.  More messes are made (it's just gonna happen!), But, cooking with kids is equally important and it excites me that someday my boys will be able to cook for their wives some day.  It excites me that they are doing something that is not in front of the tv, video games, or device. 

Want to know what else?  Your kids start talking.  They open up.  They share things with you.  It's absolutely wonderful!  Also, they start eating things they wouldn't normally try, because they created it.  They put the effort into making the deliciousness.  You could also throw in that measuring ingredients is math. . . but that's just boring.   I love the joy that radiated from Ethan's face as he made something entirely on his own.  I just sat there watching him.  Giving him advice when he needed it.  It was pretty awesome! 

This recipe is a great one to start out with because
1.  It's pumpkin. . . and it's October, so it just makes sense.
2.  It's easy and the only appliance you use is the oven (and even if you don't make this with your kids, make it and eat it and enjoy when the house gets quiet). 
3.  If you have a child old enough to read independently, they can really just make it on their own and you can put up your feet, drink some coffee, and enjoy the process through the eyes of your child.

First, you should print out the recipe.  Mine is written on a recipe card, because we've been making this recipe since it first appeared in Taste of Home back in my high school days.  It really is amazing!
Then open up the can of pumpkin.  He may have needed a little big of help, because ours in one of those take the seal off and not actually cut the can kind of deal.  But, I think he's pretty much getting the hang of it.

 And add the eggs.  Why is cracking eggs so stinking exciting for the kiddos? 

 Okay, so this part kind of took forever. . . Like F-O-R-E-V-E-R (please read like this).  I finally talked him into just pouring it all out over the cake instead of using a small spoon. After the cake mix, it went super quick. 

 I just want to say one thing:  BEST kitchen gadget ever!
And ta-da!  It's done and he is proud!  It was delicious and I am wishing I had a yellow cake mix in the pantry right now because I want to make some!  My mouth is watering and it's October, so everywhere I go screams pumpkin (no joke if you've been to Trader Joes recently!).  I mean, even if you don't want to cook with your kids today, I think you need to whip this up and eat it after the kids go to bed.  I won't tell. 
Great Pumpkin Dessert
Source: Taste of Home

1 can solid packed pumpkin (NOT the kind that is seasoned all ready)
1 can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 pkg yellow cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional (we used what was left of a TJ's candied pecans bag)

In a large bowl, beat the first 5 ingredients until smooth.  Pour into a greased 13x9inch pan.   Sprinkle cake mix over the top of pumpkin mixture. Then, pour the melted butter over the top.  Then, toss some nuts on top and pop it into the oven.  Bake at 350 for about an haor.  Serve with ice cream or a big dollup of whipped cream. . . or both (no judgement here!).

See, super easy.  With kids or just by yourself in attempt to regain some peace from your day.  Either way, enjoy this delicious fall treat!

Happy Baking!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Connection Time!

Today is a beautiful overcast day with fall-like temperatures and I am savoring it.  I have a cold that seems to not want to go away.  So, I cleaned for a little bit and then I have been binge watching netflix stuff and working on my computer.  It was a good day for that. 

Here is my Connection Time questions. . . Please take some time and do a couple in the comments.  I would love to hear from you! 

Outside my window The sun is shining through our cloudy day.  It really is beautiful!  The windows have been open and it's been pretty awesome!  I mean, it's October and we aren't having 100 degree weather. . . that's a big deal around here! In fact, I should probably start looking for jeans for the kiddos.  After awhile, shorts and sweatshirts are not going to cut it!

I am thinking a few things.  1. is that I am tired of the sniffles and congestion.  2.  That's its time to invest in essential oils.  and  3. 
From the kitchen it is really messy right now.  But it's messy because I've been experimenting with bread making again! I've made chocolate babka, which was a HUGE hit and last night I made some sourdough.  Ethan and his dad made some Duff cookies from a mix I picked up from Target. . . he's kind of obsessed! 

I am wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Honestly, right now this is comfortable and I've been at home all day.  Plus, when I'm cleaning I really don't want to get my nice clothes messed up. 

I am creating Last week, I made some super cute baby stuff for a friend and this week, I am working on Ethan's thank you cards.  They are gonna be super cute!
Around the House
it's a disaster.  Sometimes I think we need to get a housekeeper, but I should probably just be more organized.  Or just not get distracted! 

One of my favorite things right now is Arrow and tomorrow the last season of Flash will be on Netflix.  I have turned into kind of nerdy kind of gal.  But, I am absolutely loving making (and eating) frozen chocolate covered banana pieces.  My kids keep finding them. . . I must find a new place to hide them!

A few plans for the week find my house, as always, and to work on my office make over project.

What I am listening to right now, is the movie Zootopia (Weston wants to be Nick Wilde) and I haven't been listening to much lately.  I should fix that. . . recommendations???

If you would like to join in the fun, fill out our own in the comments or on my facebook page and let's connect!  

Outside my window
I am thinking
From the kitchen
I am wearing
I am creating
I am going
I am reading
I am hoping
I am hearing
Around the House
One of my favorite things
A few plans for the week
What I am listening to


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