Monday, July 27

What A Trooper!!!

We went on a few road trips this weekend. The first was on Saturday, which was about 300 miles away from home and we returned home that evening. On Sunday, we then traveled about 80 from home (in the opposite direction) and returned home again yesterday evening. Can you say exhausting? I am always so surprised how tired one gets just from sitting in a car all day long.

Just shy of eleven months old, 760 miles and 15 hours of drive time later, our little Peanut was still in the best of spirits. Did I also mention she has been teething? Due to a time crunch on Saturday morning, I had to give her her breakfast on the road as my husband drove. I entertained her by occasionally sitting in the back seat with her handing her toys to her over and over again as they dropped over the side of the car seat. Then she napped and played and then napped some more. I was extremely hesitant to take her with us on Saturday as we knew we would be making it a round trip in one day. But our little girl was SUCH a trooper. I am amazed at what a sweet disposition she has and how blessed we are to be parents of such a little girl!

Menu Plan Monday

Late once again! Our family made a couple of road trips this weekend, so I was a little preoccupied--as well as away from the computer. But it is good to be back, although this HOT! weather is not my favorite. As I said, I am running out of ideas for "not heating up the kitchen dinners," so I stole a few ideas from The Grocery Cart Challenge that sounded good. She has been at this menu planning a lot longer than me. :)

Monday-Black Bean & Couscous Salad, Corn on the Cob

Tuesday-Cheese Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad & Focaccia Bread

Wednesday-Fish Taco's and leftover Black Bean Salad

Thursday-Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Sliced Fruit

Friday-Pizza, Green Salad

For other menu plans, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, July 21

Peanut's Feet

I happened to run across this on another blog I read, The Learning Never Stops. I don't have much photographic talent, however my husband seems to. At I Heart Faces, it is FEET week. DH happened to take this precious picture of Grandma M., holding the Peanut when she was only about a month old:

I think it is a winner, don't you?

Monday, July 20

Easy Entertainment

Our little girl is non stop. DH and I like to joke that there is no "off" button. Indeed there is not. She is constantly on the go. It almost as if prior to her starting to crawl, she had this mental list of "things to do" once she could figure out how to get there or reach that. She likes the bottom drawer in our kitchen. Thank goodness I don't have anything harmful to a ten month old in there. It's only the kitchen towels, wash cloths, and hot pads. Crawling over to it, opening the drawer and pulling out each item, one by one, is just as entertaining the 207th time as it was the 1st time. Sometimes, to mix things up a bit, she even pushes the items around the floor. One of my mom's favorite sayings is "Pick your battles."
I am learning this is oh so true with a little one. There is no harm in the Peanut going through all the kitchen "linens." However, I would like to know that the towels I am using to dry my hands or that I use for cooking are clean. I even like them folded. So I simply left of few of the towels in the drawer and moved the "working" stock of linens in the pantry. Not quite as convenient, but hey, that's okay. The Peanut now has hours more of easy entertainment.

Menu Plan Monday

Whoa...this is a little late, but sometimes life just gets in the way! Last week went really well, however because of some extremely hot weather, we had pizza on Saturday night and I made this really yummy dish with fresh veggies from my parents garden. It was perfect for the hot weather.

We are due for some more hot weather this week, so I am trying to stay away from the oven as much as possible again this week. It's getting hard to stay creative with all these hot temperatures!

Monday-Nachos with black beans, taco meat, cheese, salsa, tomatoes, and sour cream

Tuesday-Asian Noodle Salad (with garden fresh red cabbage, green onions, pepper and cucumber) and Grilled Chicken

Wednesday-Grilled Hamburgers, Bean Salad

Thursday-BLT Chicken Salad, Focaccia Bread

Friday-Homemade Pizza (we've been grilling it and it turns out pretty good!), Green Salad

For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, July 16

Homemade Pizza Sauce

I find it funny that some make pizza at home but buy all pre-made ingredients to prepare the pizza. For example, pre-made dough in the deli or the bread in a tube or pre-made pizza sauce. I always thought the purpose of making pizza at home is because it is less expensive (and I also think it is better), but by the time you buy all the pre-made ingredients, you might as well get take and bake, because the savings just isn't there!

I have been making my own pizza at home for a couple months now and my family loves it! I don't think this recipe for pizza sauce is by any means ground breaking, but it is good and I thought I would share it. :) It's easy and inexpensive and it tastes pretty darn good.

Pizza Sauce

All you need is:

Italian seasoning (I have also used basil and oregano and it is just as yummy), one can tomato paste, one eight ounce can of tomato sauce, and fresh garlic. That's it!
I use approximately one tablespoon of the seasoning and about two cloves or two teaspoons of minced, fresh garlic. Stir it all together and it's done! If I plan ahead, I like to let it sit for about 24 hours to let the flavors meld. Melding is very important. My mom taught me that. :) I can usually get about three pizzas with a generous amount of sauce.

You can also add salt if you wish, but I find with all the other toppings, the pizza has enough salt, so the sauce doesn't need it. Enjoy!
For other great recipes, stop by Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge.

Tuesday, July 14


No, it is not a "blotta." That would be a B-L-T-A. As in Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado. My husband used to work as a server and then in management at a restaurant and he always had to swallow a laugh when the guest ordered the "blotta." Yes, some actually did that. They weren't even trying to be funny. Oops.

The sandwiches were quite yummy and the homemade baked beans from scratch (no canned beans here) were very tasty as well.

I love making easy meals. Especially ones that don't involve heating up my house in the summertime.

Works For Me Wednesday--Cooking Bacon with No Smell

I hate the smell of bacon that lingers in your home after you've cooked it. I love bacon--don't get me wrong, however that lingering smell is absolutely the worst. My mom taught me this tip (you'll see a pattern here--she has taught me a lot in the kitchen as well as outside). Drum roll please...

If you have a gas grill with a side burner, this will definitely work for you! Instead of cooking the bacon on your stove top, simply cook it outside on your gas grill's side burner. It is as easy as that. In addition, it cooks quite a bit faster, but best of all there is NO smell inside your home for days after cooking the bacon.

This works for me! For other helpful tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Sunday, July 12

Menu Plan Monday

Last week went really well. The Honey Dijon Pork Chops were really good, as were the Cobb Salads. I find that I really have to get creative in the summer for menus that don't involve a lot of cooking in order to keep our home as cool as possible. I guess it's good to keep me on my toes.

Monday-BLTA's (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwiches), green salads (I have great tip for these too--check back for Works for Me Wednesday!)

Tuesday-Taco Salad with black beans, taco meat, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream

Wednesday-Grilled Hamburgers, Baked Beans

Thursday-Turkey Sandwiches, Green Salads

Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salads

For other menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, July 7

Cobb Salad with Focaccia Bread

It was a pretty tasty dinner. And farely easy...except getting those rows of ingredients to line up just so. :) In addition, I am really loving this focaccia bread I've been making. It has rosemary in it and fresh Parmesan on top--as my Uncle C would say, "Delicious (with a silent "s" but I am not sure on how to spell that?)" Anywho...I served it with fresh Ranch dressing, but the dressing from this would fabulous as well.

Cobb Salad:

Romaine Lettuce
Crumbled Bacon
Sliced Olives
Cubed Hard Boiled Egg
Diced Tomatoes
Sliced Cheese (whatever your choosing--I used the Costco Mexican blend)
Crumbled Blue Cheese
Diced Avocado (I didn't have any, but a traditional Cobb salad has it)

Use as much of each to your liking on a bed of Romaine and enjoy this tasty, summertime meal!

Sunday, July 5

So Sad It's Over

Can I just share that I heart the Fourth of July? In my book it ranks right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. In addition, here in the northwest we had some absolutely fabulous weather (actually it lasted all week) so it made the weekend that much more enjoyable. We always celebrate at my mom and dad's and it was just wonderful. We were able to swim...even myself, which it just has to be stinkin' hot for me to get in the pool. So you know it was stinkin' hot.

The little Peanut was a teensy bit stubborn and decided that she wasn't in need of her late morning/early afternoon nap. Somehow she senses something awfully exciting is happening and she really shouldn't miss anything so she just won't shut her eyes. Sleep did finally come in the middle of dinner (during the second course which was diced yams) when she just couldn't fight it anymore. Poor thing. :)

She also had fun with her cousin, C, who just loved pushing her in her swing.

Our token family holiday picture...those fingers taste awfully good...

It was just such a good time and even though it was a three day weekend, it went TOO fast. It is so disappointing when it is all over. It's like my dad says, "half of the fun is in the anticipation." So very true.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week didn't go exactly as planned, but that's because we had the opportunity to spend both Thursday and Friday with family, so I can just do those meals some other time. The weather is supposed to be cooler here and we also have some leftovers my mom generously gave us, so those were worked into the menu for this week.
Monday-Leftover chicken and ribs, potato salad, and green beans
Tuesday-Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Hard Boiled Egg, Tomatoes, Cheese, and diced Chicken
Wednesday-Honey Dijon Pork Chops, Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes
Thursday-Grilled Hamburgers, Green Salad
Friday-Homemade Pizza, Green Salad
For other great menus, visit the Organizing Junkie. Have a great week!

Saturday, July 4

Thank You

A special thank you to our founding fathers. Although they were not perfect, they were brilliant. We still abide by the very Constitution they wrote over 230 years ago. I thank God that I am an American and can celebrate freedom not only from an oppressive monarchy but that I can worship freely and still share the good news.

In addition, a special thank you to all of our armed forces and their families. Your sacrifices mean so much. I cannot imagine what you have to do every day, but I thank you for your service to our great country.

Friday, July 3

Birthday Celebration

My DH's cousin had a birthday party that we were happy to attend today. Good company, good food, and good times. We played charades (actually, I watched--I don't participate in games where all eyes on are on me...makes me too entirely nervous...three legged races? absolutely not! Charades? Try again! I am more of a people watcher anyway, so this suited me just fine...) Anywho...the DH played charades and he was in his element. All that said, we had a good time and are ready for of my most favorite holidays of the year. Have a Happy Fourth!

Fun in the Sun

Our little Peanut had her first time in the big pool yesterday. She wasn't so sure of it at first, but she quickly warmed up to the idea as soon as she figured Daddy wasn't going to let go. Grandma also got her a blow up pool turtle/sun shade for the pool which she thought was pretty cool. I am loving every minute of the Peanut growing up!


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