Thursday, November 18, 2010

{eight} things i am THANKful for!

I was just browsing on Shine, an off site of Yahoo when I found this article 15 Unexpected Things We're Grateful For and it got me thinking. I am very blessed and have so much in my life to be thankful for, but I never think about it. I do believe it's the little things in like that make you happy. Sure we never seem to have enough money, things need to be fixed in our home, work can be stressing, but those seem like such little things in comparison to all the things we have. In the spirit of thanksgiving being 8 days away, I am going to share 8 things I am thankful for.
{in no specific order}

  1 } Patrick Michael & Baileigh Patricia
You didn't think I was going to forget about them, did you? Aren't they adorable?
Of course I am thankful for them! I am very, very thankful for my family and friends.

2} Our Home
We were newlyweds when we purchased our first home.  We looked at a few houses, bought a car, and found out we were pregnant...all in the same week! This upcoming Wednesday will mark the two year anniversary of being homeowners! (AND the 3rd anniversary of the night we got engaged!) 
 3} Red Starbucks® Cup Okay, I promise I am not stealing this idea from the original post. I am a coffee-a-holic, and there is something special when Starbucks bring out their red cups. Maybe it's because it means christmas is near, or maybe it's because I love the color red. Either way, like I said before, it's the little things, and the red Starbucks® cup is a little thing I love
{image by...}


 4}  hosting thanksgiving
I love to cook. I love to bake. P & B enjoy my food, but it's not very often that i cook for others than them. This year I am having my parents, sister and possible cousin & aunt up to our home. I'm cooking it all. I'm so excited. Please Real Simple Magazine don't fail me now. Most of my recipes are from you! And thanks to an early gift from my dear mother, I will be cooking in style while wearing this lovely apron from Pier 1. Thanks Mom!

 5} target debit card
I always do my main grocery shopping at hy-vee. Mostly because my hubby works there and of course we want to support his store {which is where over half out income is from!} and because it's convenient and I know where everything is. However, I am thrifty & love a good deal, and Target is better for everyday home items. By using your Target Debit card, you save 5% EVERYDAY on EVERYTHING (few exclusions apply...but not many!) Now I know 5% doesn't seem like much, but since I am at Target at least once {okay, twice!} a week, it starts to add up! what is cool is the card isn't a credit card, the card is linked to your checking account and the money comes right from there. No extra bills to pay! You can get your debit card at any target (make sure to have your checkbook on you, they need a voided check.) Seriously, totally awesome. You can find more info at Target

6}  date nights
date nights with my husband are few & far in between. Of course we love Baileigh, but it's fun to go out for dinner & drinks with Patrick. He works a lot of hours to help provide for us, and he doesn't get the chance to wind down very often. We may even get a date night next week. Here is a photo from our last date night. We had a blast!

7} handmade with love
i love all things homemade. I have fallen in love with etsy and I think handmade/original items are so much more fun & thoughtful.  If you have never visited etsy, do so today. There are two items I am in love with at the moment. I may not have them {yet!} but just the sight of the beauty makes me smile, and I am thankful for that. 

The left is a print from Vol25. I am in love with her work and have already asked for a couple of the prints for Christmas for my kitchen. (mom, do you read this? :) 

The right is a gorgeous afgan blanket from Atelier Afra. As gorgeous as it is, it's still a bit ot of my price range. I'll just log onto Etsy every so often and lust after it until I can afford it :) 

Nonetheless, homemade is beautiful :)

 8} chocolate 
{in all forms, cookies, hot cocoa, cakes, etc.}
I love chocolate. A lot. I don't really think this needs a description. :)

Okay, I stopped at 8 because I cold seriously go all day with big things & little things I am thankful for {and that would be a big list!}

Thank you to everyone who is is my life. You are amazing and why I am so happy & blessed.
Now..the big question is, what are YOU thankful for?


Friday, August 6, 2010

{TASTEday} - Chicken Chilaquiles

Yay, it's Friday! I love Fridays, as I am sure most of you do as well. I promised when I wrote the post time to get {HEALTHY}!! that I would still try lots of new recipes and post recipes on Fridays. Just because I am following WW doesn't mean I am going to eat salads all day everyday.  yuck. I do like a good salad now and then, but I like real food, specifically, Mexican food! Yesterday I was browsing Martha Stewart and found this easy and delicious look recipe for Chicken Chilaquiles. I like recipes that are: 1. easy, 2. don't take FOREVER and a day (especially during the work week!) and 3. minimal ingredients. This recipe was all three. I did make a few adjustments though (based on the reviews I read & ww)

Here is my version of Martha's  Chicken Chilaquiles.

1 tbsp Peanut Oil (I was out of olive oil, but normally that's what I would have used!)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes in puree
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (about 1 heaping tbsp)
1 tbsp of adobe sauce (from can of chipotle chiles)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 1/4 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1/2 c lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped
tortilla chips
light sour cream

** i LOVE chicken thighs. They have so much more flavor. I buy the Just BARE Chicken which is already 1.25 lbs and boneless/skinless **
1. Place chicken thighs in a saucepan and fill with water just over the height of the chicken. Sprinkle in salt & pepper. Cover until boiling. Remove lid and let boil for 12-15 minutes. Remove Chicken from pot. Once cool, shred the chicken. Place aside.

Combine oil and garlic in a large (3-to-4-quart) saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes with their puree (breaking tomatoes up), chipotles and adobo, black beans, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer rapidly until lightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

4.  Add chicken and cook, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.

5. Place a handful (or so) of chips at the bottom of a bowl. Top with the chicken/tomato mixture. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream.
Makes about 6 servings.

It was fantastic! One of my new favorite dishes. It's easy and the chipotle peppers and adobe give it great flavor that I'm not used to cooking with! I did change a couple things from Martha's recipe. She has you use a small rotisserie chicken. That would have actually make the recipe only 4 steps and easier, but I wanted to boil the chicken (healthier) and save a little money. (Rotisserie Chicken - $5.99, Chicken Thighs, $3.99) Also, the original recipe says to add feta cheese as an additional garnish. Because I am trying to be healthier, I cut that out, but I promise, it's SO good without it! Lastly, when I was reading the reviews on the original recipe, people said they added black beans for extra protein. I thought the beans were great!

Friday, July 30, 2010

{TASTEday} - Grilled Steak Tacos w/ Poblano & Mango Salsa

Friday's have OFFICIALLY been assigned as {TASTEday} , aka recipe day! Since this blog is a mixture of life, love & food, I wanted to make new recipes a new weekly tradition!

{TASTEday} recipe | Grilled Steak Tacos w/ Poblano & Mango Salsa

I found this recipe in an unlikely source. I was reading Parenting Magazine and there was an advertisement for Beef. It was titled "A Recipe from My Family to Yours".  It looked good & was something new so we tried it last night! Here is the recipe for you to try as well!

Grilled Steak Tacos with Poblano-Mango Salsa

1 lb top sirloin steak, cut 3/4 -inch thick
2 medium poblano peppers
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-in slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
8 small corn tortillas (6-7 inch diameter)
* Fresh cilantro sprigs, lime wedges (optional garnish)


1. Place peppers and onion slices (over medium heat) on the grill. Grill, covered for 15-20 minutes, or until onion is tender and pepper skin is blackened, turning occasionally. Place peppers on a place and set aside to cool.

2.  Meanwhile, combine garlic and cumin; press evenly onto beef steak. Place steaks on grill (over medium heat). Grill, covered, 13-16 minutes for medium  or 8-13 minutes for medium rare, turning occasionally. Remove, keep warm. (Let set atleast 15 minutes to let juices settle before slicing.)
3. Once cool, remove the skin, stems and seeds from peppers. Dice onions and peppers into small pieces. Combine chopped veggies, diced mango, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt into a bowl. set aside.

4. Place tortillas on grill. Grill, uncovered, 30 seconds on each side, or until heated through and lightly browned.

5. Carve steaks into thin slices. Top tortillas with equal amounts of beef and salsa. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.

They turned out pretty good! I had hoped the peppers would have been a spicier through. I also I also never realized how hard it was to peel the skin off the pepper. Oh well! Next time I think I'll make a creamy avocado sauce to top the tacos with, or maybe add some avocado and jalapenos to the salsa.

Of course, after typing the entire recipe from the magazine ad I found, I thought, "oh, I should google it"...sure enough, I found the recipe online. Figures! Here is the link to the recipe as well...


no. 9 Have a garage sale & get rid of all the crap stored in our house... {a change of plans.}

Back when I created the eleven before 2011 list I had a basement full of crap (boxes, clothes, odds & ends, etc.) that I needed to go through, organize and put in a garage sale. Well, after the ridiculous amounts of rain we got last Thursday and Friday, our basement flooded. I should first clarify that once in a while, after heavy rain storms we get a little water that come through the foundation and other areas. This time though, it was much more. We had puddles in some areas, water leaking in from around a pipe and all of the crap we had on the flood was soaked. We have lived in our house for just short of 2 years, and much of the crap was from when we moved in. If we haven't needed it in 2 years, we should through it away.  I wish I had taken a "before" picture, so the after picture is more effective. Lets just say you couldn't see the floor at all. Seriously, not at all.

 Since we had to get rid of almost everything we don't use from the basement, I kind of feel like no. 9 was accomplished. I know, it didn't get sold in a garage sale, but it's out of out house and the basement is less of a mess, which was the original goal. Hmm.. am I cheating? Heck, who cares, I made the list up! haha!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our little talker...{and walker!}

Oh goodness, it's been over a week since my last post! I've been busier then usual. Well, starting last week, Baileigh took her few few REAL steps! Here is the picture from my phone...(sorry, it's so blurry, my camera wasn't in sight!)

We were so excited a proud! Over the next few days, she started walking more and more. The first night it was 2-4 steps, and only when we would help her us and get her stable. Next she was standing on her own and walked 4-6 steps every so often....

Last night, I took this video! (Sorry it's sideways!)

How cute is she!!
Here is another of her saying "hi!" 

She keeps us busy! Hopefully these videos explain why I have been so busy and not posting enough. I have a couple projects I'm hoping to work on this weekend as well as a couple new recipes I'm going to try.

Monday, July 19, 2010

no 6- success! Beautiful ruffle dress for B!

On Friday, I decided the first item on my eleven before 2011 list I wanted to complete was a ruffle dress that I found on Simply Modern Mom. I searched for a pillowcase Friday after work and found an adorable one from an old duvet set I had in college. It was colorful & busy and reminded me of Fiesta-Ware. Since the duvet cover it was apart of was long gone, I decided to use it for Baileigh's ruffle dress. I should mention that although I took sewing classes for two semesters in high-school (like 9 years ago!) I have only touched the sewing machine ONCE since then, and that was to make curtain panels. ( I don't even count sewing 4 straight lines as making anything!) I took this as a challenge because even though Tiffany at SMM had good directions, there wasn't a true pattern to follow. Nonetheless, I wanted to create something with ruffles for baby B. 

It was a cool pillowcase because it had a different patterns on each side. The size however, was a bit too small. Tiffany's was 20 x 40 in and mine was only 20 x 30in. I made do. I can't say I didn't struggle with it. From start to finish it took 3 1/2 hours, but since it was my first time sewing in quite some time, I say that isn't half bad!

Well, you can see the "before" pillowcase I started with, and now here is the finished product!

As you can see, it turned out ok! Not nearly as good as Tiffany's, but I'm still proud of it! I almost didn't post the bottom picture (close up) because I noticed my v-closure didn't look very good and you can see much more mistake then in the top two, but then again, oh well!

Here are a few things I have learned:

1. Use thread that matches. All I had was white. Not a good idea. If I has used red, or pink or some color that was in the material my mi9stake wouldn't have been as obvious.

2. Invest in a seam ripper. Using a sharp steak knife works, but it less effective.

3. Take my time. I kind of hurried myself on a few parts, and I can tell. Next time I'll take more time.

Here are a couple shots of Baileigh in her new ruffle dress. I think she loved it!

It's a little big on her, but she'll grow into it! I have learned that I like sewing, and I may have to start working on more sewing projects. The best part about this dress? It was free! Look's pretty good for free, especially on the super cute model :)

Have you sewed anything cute for your baby, or yourself? I'd love to see it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

6. Learn to sew ruffles and create something beautiful.

As I looked over my eleven before 2011 list, I decided the first I am going to complete is no. 6. "Learn to sew ruffles and create some beautiful." I found a tutorial over on Simply Modern Mom for a Retro Ruffle Dress and thought it looked kind of easy for the beginner sewer that I am. Tiffany suggests that the dress only works for toddlers in size 18 months or smaller, since the dress is made from a pillowcase, so I though while it's still warm out and dress weather, I would create something beautiful with ruffles for baby B.

Here is the dress Tiffany created for her baby. 
My plan this weekend is to look around the house (or a thrift store) for a cute pillowcase and attempt to make this cute dress for Baileigh. Wish me luck!

{image: Simply Modern Mom }

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baileigh's {first} BIRTHDAY!

My baby girl turned one on June 6th. We had a party with family and friends over Memorial Day weekend. Since I just started to get this blog rollin' again, I'm late putting up a few pictures from the party. It was quite a success! It was a warm day, but that didn't stop everyone from enjoying lots of food such as: pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, vegetable pizza, fruit salad and THREE kinds of cupcakes! (Red Velvet w/ cream cheese frosting, Triple Chocolate and Very Vanilla). Enough with the ramblings, here are a few photos of the wonderful day!

eleven before 2011!

There are a lot of things around the house that I'd like to get done. After reading Nicole's 30 before Thirty list on Making it Lovely, I thought it was a great idea to give myself a little deadline. Being a designer, I do much better with deadlines. I made change this list up, but here is my short list of eleven tasks before 2011.

1. Paint our living room grey {or something other than the current color!}

2. Replace the knobs in out kitchen. 

3. Create a business name & logo for my freelance graphic design.

4. Create some kind of website for said graphic design business.

5. Paint and hang up the mirror in the dining room.

6. Learn to sew ruffles and create something beautiful.

7. Print & burn photo cd's. My computer is full of 1000's of photos.

8. Create a gallery wall in the living room.

9. Have a garage sale & get rid of all the crap stored in our house.

10.Replace the ugly, awful florescent light, in our kitchen.

11. Pull up the carpet in the living room & dining room.

Like Nicole, I'm going to cross items off as they are completed.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

leftovers...& chicken salad!

Last nights dinner was leftovers, like I had said, I had a ton of Layered Enchilada Casserole leftover from Monday night so naturally I ate it for lunch AND dinner on Tuesday. Needless to say, It'll be a couple weeks before I make it again. It was SO yummy, but still! I did make some chicken salad for lunch today and tomorrow though and it's good! It was easy too and so much better than any canned chicken salad!

I don't have a like to a recipe, since I through it together myself from other recipes :)

Chicken Salad (this is enough for 2-3 servings..)

2 chicken breasts
1/2 c. red grapes
2 tbsp lite mayo
1 tbsp pecans
2 tbsp diced white onions
greek seasoning ( mine is from Pampered Chef & I love it!)
salt, pepper & olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Drizzle olive oil in a dish and place chicken breast in. Season with salt & pepper.
2. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked throughly.
3. Once chicken is cooked, let cool.
3. Chop chicken.
4. Quarter the grapes and add to the chicken.
5. Add pecans and onions to chicken and grapes,
6. Stir in mayo and season with greek seasoning to taste.

I made a salad out of spinach and topped it with the chicken salad and a couple pieces of pita bread. yum!
Totally easy & fabulous!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

enchilada {bake}

dinner last night was my first night cooking in a week or two..with the holidays and traveling and everything else, i have been so busy and not in the mood to cook. but with the new year, i cooked an old recipe.

I didn't take a picture, but it didn't look nearly as good as it tasted. It was messy and didn't come out of the pan well...{oops, forgot to spray the baking dish} nonetheless, it was very tasty! This photo is from the Kraft website, but mine pretty much looked the same.

It was super easy. We had Patrick's dad and brother over for dinner.
You saute onion, garlic and ground beef. Add some italian dressing, taco seasoning, black beans & salsa. Then you line the bottom of the pan with tortillas (spray the pan!), top with half the meat mixture, 1/2 c sour cream, & shredded cheese, then repeat. It's like a mexican lasagna! I served it with mexican rice {made with rotel for some kick!} very good & feeds a lot of people! I have some for lunch today & i think Patrick & I are having it for dinner too!

oh, what to say!

oh my, i looked back and realized i last wrote to this on may 15th. MAY 15th! That was last year!! {okay, horrible pun about it being a "new year"...etc..} Well, I'm back at it! I have been very busy since my last post, most exciting, Baileigh was born! My sweetheart was born 3 weeks early on June 6, 2009 at 9:04 a.m. She is my joy and the most amazing and beautiful little girl. I stayed home with her until the first week on August and now she goes to school at the NICC Childcare Development Center and I am just across the campus working at NICC. It's a great situation and she's enjoying herself.

Besides that, not much is new. We have been working on our house a lot, trying to decorate and everything. Maybe when I get some time, I can put up pictures of the house. Of course it's still a work in progress, but fun work none the less. I'll be back soon!