Monday, April 27, 2015

Graduations & Showers

It's that time again, you know when wedding season starts.  This year we're so far only invited to two but both Jeff and I are in one and both are traveling weddings so we're in for a busy summer.  This weekend was full and went by super fast and I'm pretty sure I did not sleep nearly enough.  Noah of course got sick after his first week at daycare and poor guy has been stuffed up and coughing all weekend.  On Saturday he even had a fever so we ended up having to come home early and let him rest. 

Molly graduated from GVSU - Go Lakers! and we spent most of the day out of the house either brunching or enjoying the graduation.  We were so lucky to have been able to get a suite for our family and Noah was able to run around instead of being seated for the three hours.  No way that kid would of made it. 

So instead of waiting around after graduation, we left quickly and got Noah home to rest.  We were up throughout the night sucking out buggers and changing diapers but by Sunday he was feeling a little better.  We headed out as a family to the east side to celebrate my soon to be sister in law's wedding shower. Jeff worked hard to entertain Noah throughout the day.  He was such good help. With nowhere to nap, he ended up sleeping here and there in the car and we made it work.

We ended our busy weekend with a trip to IKEA which was not nearly as long as it should have been.  Noah slept in the car with Jeff while I started the trip and they met me half way.  We had a couple things that we for sure needed to get, like picture frames and a table for Noah so it was pretty quick.  Of course, with Ikea being so far away it pained me to leave without looking a every single thing in the store.  I told Jeff we'll have to make a trip soon without Noah and do it again. 

I'm so happy to be back at work today though.  After a busy weekend I can't wait to have some peace and quiet in the office and hopefully catch up on some sleep the rest of the week!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mozzarella/Dill Home-Made Cheez-It's

At my house, on average we have between two and ten boxes of cheez-its.  We never run out.  Jeff eats them all the time and now Noah is getting into them as well.  They aren't the worst thing for you, but it's not the healthiest either.  Store bought crackers and chips always have so many ingredients, it's really hard to really know what you're eating sometimes.  I figured as much as the boys are eating these cheez-its I may as well try my hand at making some myself.  This way, I know what's in them and I can feel a little better when they do eat them.

This recipe is actually pretty simple and quick.  You can make the dough ahead of time and have it ready when you need more. The cooking time is minimal so you can whip them up whenever you so desire and they are the best when eaten warm too.

8oz shredded mozzarella
4 T unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 t salt
1 cup flour
3 T ice water
2 T dill (chopped)
1 T garlic powder

1. Mix cheese, salt, dill, garlic powder and butter.  Either with a hand or a stand mixer.  Both would do fine. Add flower and ice water.  Dough should be crumbly and will come together when you touch it with your hands.
2. Divide dough in two and make into balls.  Flatten the balls into disks and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least a half hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take your disks out of fridge and dust your work area and your rolling pin with flour.  Roll out to about an eight of an inch and cut into cheez-it shape and size.  I cut mine with a pasta cutter to look like cheez-its but you could use a pizza cutter as well.  You can use a toothpick to get the dot in the middle.  Put the crackers on a sheet pan.  They can be pretty close as they don't stick to each other much.
4. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown but be sure not to over brown them.  I put mine in for 12 minutes. Once slightly cooled you can move them onto your serving tray or store them in a ziplock bag right in front of the real cheez-its since they wont even want them anymore.  This recipe will make about seven dozen crackers but will only last about 24 hours before they're gone so make sure you sneak some while they're warm and still in your house.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Life With Two Parents

We had such beautiful warm days this weekend and we lived it up as long as we could.  That was, until the pouring rain we got Sunday afternoon which is slated to last for the next zillion days.  Can you even believe Jeff and I had the entire weekend of work together?!  A miracle.  And an amazing one at that.  For you parents that have weekends and weeknights off together... we're super jealous over here.  We were able to get so much accomplished and even had time for alone time, together time, nap time and work out time!  You can fit so much in when there are two adults in the house! (and seriously, I can't believe we both fell asleep together on the couch.  I woke up and he was totally out.  So amazing.) 

We spent some time outside and made the best of our still dirt driveway. We pulled out the beach toys and went to town while Jeff worked out in the garage cleaning and organizing the mess we still have in there. These ones from Target are the best and I always find them on sale for super cheap so I keep snagging them.  I think I need to stop because we're starting to get double of some of them.

For whatever reason, Noah has been obsessed with our cars.  Every time we're outside he points to them, run over and wants to open the door to get in.  Maybe it's the buttons, who knows, but it's just another half hour to keep him occupied while I hang out and catch up on instagram.

Jeff and I were able to get a babysitter for a couple of hours on Saturday and snuck out for some furniture shopping and a lunch date at Five Guys. Which by the way, best burger EVER. And I've had my good share of burgers.  I would definitely recomend going there if you haven't before. In reference to the furniture shopping.... First of, it's expensive!  Like everything I like is expensive.  And everything out there is so traditional.  When you finally find something more modern, it's even more expensive.  Or maybe I just have expensive taste, who knows.  Also, why can't all furniture just be made custom?  Wouldn't that just be so much easier for everyone. Plus who wants the same things everyone else has anyway?  Finally, I know furniture stores make money on commission, but seriously, the number one thing we realized this weekend is salesmen do not need to stalk you throughout the store!  We will find you when we need something or are ready to order, ok? Ok, end rant about furniture shopping.  We did find something we liked.  We didn't order it since we wanted to go home and re-measure... but we'll be back, and when we are, I may stop by Five Guys one more time.  

We ended our weekend with a huge dance party on the deck with our new bluetooth speaker.  Why we haven't gotten one of those before is crazy but it's super amazing to have it out without a phone around that Noah is constantly trying to grab at.  Jeff and I we're able to hang out on our new patio furniture enjoying the lake and the sunset in the awesome warm weather before heading inside for the night.  If this is any indication of summer.... I'm already excited.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Beef & Veggies

My most favorite thing about cooking as opposed to baking is not having to use recipes.  Especially when you're looking to make something out of whatever you happen to have defrosted or available to you at that specific moment.  I try to plan things ahead during the week, but for the most part, I throw a couple of proteins from the freezer into the fridge to defrost at once and then pick them out throughout the week to make dinners.  Our go to with beef chunks are typically fajitas of some sort.  They are easy and fast but I was so not feeling fajitas so we had to come up with something else.  Something a little different, but similar to things our family loves to eat.   It's still super easy and fast so I call that a win.

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4


1.25 lbs of beef chunks (for stew), chopped in half
1/4 cup flour
1/4 T ground red pepper
1/2 T paprika
salt + pepper to taste
 1 T minced garlic
dash of worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup peas
1 1/2 cup carrots, cooked, chopped


1. Start a large pan on the stove on medium high.  Drizzle with olive oil.

2. In a gallon zip lock bag add beef chunks and flour, red pepper, and salt and pepper.  Shut be bag and toss well until all is covered.  When the oil is hot, dump the coated meat into the pan.  Add garlic, sugar and worcestershire sauce and mix well.  Cook until brown and medium rare inside. (You'll want to make sure the meat is not overcooked.  It will make it tough as it's not the fanciest piece of meat)  Add in the breadcrumbs as needed.  I like to soak up the juices and it gives the meat a nice crust and a different texture.

3. Add peas and carrots and cook until warm.  Serve over mashed potatoes and enjoy!

For a quick mash potato recipe I put four potatoes in the microwave and cook on high for about 6-8 minutes until they are fork tender.  I put them in a big bowl with about 1/2 cup of milk and a pat of butter and mash with a masher.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.  No need to go through the mess of boiling and waiting when the microwave can do it faster. I keep the skins on too for a more rustic feel... and you know, because it's easier and I don't have time for all that funny business when Noah's running around hitting things with his broom and constantly asking to get picked up.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Breaking in Our Kitchen

I guess I really forgot to mention, but, we're offcially in the house!  We've actually been "moved in" for a week now and time really just passed us by as we're trying to settle into a new house.  I wont even talk about the basement or the garage as they are full of boxes and anything that we haven't set up on the main floor yet.  They are a complete mess.  Even though we don't have a driway yet and can't park the garage, even if we did, we probably wouldn't be able to make it in for at least another month.  Currently we don't even have furniture in the basement since our old furniture wouldn't fit, so that's still out in the garage.  I don't even know when I'll get down there to start putting things together.

Good news is, the main floor and the upstairs seem to be coming together nicely.  Our kitchen and living room are looking pretty good.  We really just have decorating left to do, but the big pieces are in and things are getting organized and finding their forever home.  My favorite so far are those curtains.  We found them at home goods as we were scouting the store for the first time and they are perfect. Of course, I feel like I'll be putting this house together forever.  Can't you just see a little console table behind the sectional?  Maybe a chair to the left of the fireplace?  We still need a rug and are planning to get a new sectional... but for only being in the house a week, this is pretty good.

So as you can see we spent a lot of time working our the house, especially when Jeff was home to do some heavy lifting and manly things.  After he went to work, Noah and I spent most of the time in the kitchen testing out or new appliances and making yummy food.  First up were cookies.  Noah loves cookies and now knows that he can lick the beaters when I'm all done.  He tries to sneak those hands in the bowl when I'm not looking but you know, I've got mom eyes everywhere. =)

I love to be in the kitchen, especially when Noah is helpful and enjoying cooking with me too.  I am however really excited for the warm weather coming up.  This weekend was a little tease into summer.  We were able to take a nice long walk outside and look at all of our new neighbors.  Noah played in the dirt with his new sand toys and I attempted to put together some patio furniture.  Two pieces down... a million more to go.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Twenty-Two Months

This month flew by so quick for all of us.  This whole house moving things really keeps you busy so between that and working and everyone being gone all the time, it just passed us by.  We're officially moved into the new house and since Noah had been there a lot before the move, I don't really think he thought much of the move.  It's just more room for him to explore and play around.  We decided to not put baby gates up as Noah can pretty much go up and down stairs no problem.  The issue really has been containing him to a specific part of the house where I can keep an eye for him even if I'm doing something else.  To help out we've put a couple of door knob stoppers? I don't even know what you call them, but on the doors, so Noah will stay in areas I'm in.  Like bathroom and bedrooms. Or even out of places, like the pantry or the basement. 

  • Stats: Size 6 Diapers | 2T-3T clothing
  • Size: 33.5 lbs
  • New Abilities: We've tried drinking out of a cup a little.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Can officially jump with both feet.  ...and can we say...kind of talking? See bellow.
  • New Words: My hopes are up a little after the last week.  He seems to be making more of an effort to say words more closely to how they should be instead or the common, "da'un" which he said for everything.  I think he said onion and lettuce the other day.  He's saying, "oh, no!" a lot.... which is specially hilarious when daddy is trying to get the TV set up for three hours while Noah comments. He's still using signs a lot and doesn't have interest in using the words I'm sure since the signs are easier, but for the things he doesn't have signs for, at least he's making an effort.  Still not totally worried since the speech therapist wasn't as she saw some progress from last month.  Hopefully this will take off soon and we wont have to worry much longer.
  • Sleep: We're still pretty normal. 7:30pm-7:30am.  One nap around 1 for about an hour and a half to two. Some shorts here and there.  Some waking up at night, it's hit or miss if we decide to go in and check on him.  His first put down at the new house was a little rough but has been great the rest of the week!
  • Mom Check-In: I am soooo tired.  I need way more sleep.  I've been staying up way past by bedtime cleaning this new house, organizing and trying to unpack.  It's going to take foooorever.  The good part is, Where in the house!  and it's beautiful and I love it so I'm going to try and relax a just take it one box at a time.  I need to try not to get too much done at once and just enjoy being home.  Especially on the days that Jeff and I are together.  Also,  daycare for Noah is starting soon and although I'm a little nervous for him, I know it's going to be great for both Jeff and I for some alone and together time.

On a total side note for Noah; the kid is obsessed with my shoes!  It's the funniest thing ever but I'm so worried he's going to break an ankle.   Also, Noah's pretty cool. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Man was our Easter weekend busy.  We started moving Thursday and Friday and got everything we could into the new house.  Piles and piles of boxes and bins all over the house.  I tried to put things away as well as possible and at least had half the kitchen, closet items and bathroom stuff put away.  On Saturday, I had to work, but the rest of the family was busy lifting all the heavy stuff and trying to clear out the rest of the house as much as possible.  By the time I got back from work the house was full but there was So.MUCH.Stuff!  We have a lot of work to do.  We got most of Noah's room put together before bed and put him down.  Then I got busy trying to set up the rest of our bedroom so we could sleep too!  Honestly, we should have taken pictures of the day, but we were so tired that was the last thing on our minds.

Sunday we celebrated Easter with the family.  Noah did so great at church and we only had to get up a little early before the lost it.  He kid was so tired he fell asleep in the car and then back again on the way home after the festivities.  Grandma made a egg hunt for Noah when we got back from brunch and we opened Easter baskets for a while.  Eventually though, we headed back home to attempt to put things away a little more.

The house is still in shambles and we have a couple more contractors that need to finish things up so I think it'll be a while before this house is put away to my standards... but until then, it is really nice not having to worry about how much sand is on the floor or if there are dirty dishes in the sink.  Happy Easter everyone!