Thursday, January 31, 2013


I L.O.V.E. this picture.

This is one of my precious grandmothers (forefront), her brother and his wife.

Both of my grandma's have passed away, but they continue to inspire me.

I love the simplicity of this picture.  

Life was slower back then.  

Distractions weren't so plentiful. 

Hosting family and friends was a true event.

Love that grandma brought out her china to serve dessert and coffee.

I shared dessert with my grandparents all throughout my growing up years in this very kitchen.

I have alot of my her mixing bowls and baking dishes.  Could it be that I serve my family pie in that very same pie-plate?  I think so.

Simplicity simply inspires me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ninja and a Gentleman

If you ask Logan, he will say he is in training to become a Ninja. 

If you ask me, I will say he is in training to become a gentleman.

I love it when I see a boy (or man), show his mom love by treating her like a lady and making her feel special.  


When we enter a building (and Tommy isn't with us) Logan opens the door for me.  I will stand there and wait until he remembers that that is HIS job.

When we cross a street, he holds MY hand to keep ME safe from cars.  

I  hear Tommy say to Logan "Doesn't momma look pretty?"  and now when I come downstairs after getting ready I often hear him say "Momma, you look so pretty."

We have talked at length this winter about speaking only words that encourage others.  How it is ok to NOT say everything that comes into your mind.  Especially if it doesn't build the other person up.


While we were looking through an old photo album, Logan commented:

"Momma, you were so pretty when you were little..."  

{I'm thinking, "How nice!  learning to compliment from his dad"}

then he added ".... and then you got glasses".

{sigh}  :)

Love my little Gentleman.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Haystacks are a SUPER popular meal at our house.  Everyone gets to assemble their own just how THEY like it.  

We layer:

Crushed tortilla chips
Taco meat (beef, black beans and corn with taco seasoning)
Cilantro-lime rice (Chipotle inspired)
Sour Cream
Pico de Gallo (or salsa)
Cheddar cheese

Inexpensive, easy and yummy


Monday, January 28, 2013


I am always trying to improve my meal-planning.  I can CERTAINLY stand to improve in the "plan ahead" area.

So this week, I bought a little over 2 pounds of ground beef and decided to brown it all right when I got home, with 2 bell peppers, 2 onions and a few garlic cloves.  

So I turned this:

Into this:

Now we have a total of four freezer bags of the meat combo, about 2 cups in each bag.   I will add lots of chili beans for the chili mix and lots of black beans for the haystacks, thus stretching the meat and making it more about the healthy beans and less about the meat.  

Whats for dinner at our house this week:

Potato Soup
Frozen Pizza* 
*(ALWAYS on Wednesday which is gymnastics and karate night. Easy and fast, keeps us out of the drive-thru line.)
Egg Sandwiches
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cheddar Ranch Chicken Strips (homemade, KIDS LOVE!)

Happy Dinner Planning!

Our Gymnast and Karate Kid

Olivia's favorite place in the whole world!

Logan training to be come a Ninja (Inspired by Lego Ninjago)

Friday, January 25, 2013

How I had lunch for $3.20 in Downtown Chicago

We have all heard that we shouldn't grocery shop when we are hungry.  I have done this, it is NOT good.  For the pocketbook OR the nutritional benefit of the shopper.

But I am starting to take this one step further.  My new eating out motto:

Don't eat (out) when you are hungry.

Crazy?  Probably.  Here are my reasons.

1.  Nutritional (or rather caloric) benefit
2.  Financial benefit

1.  Portion sizes in America are crazy!  But studies show if it is in front of you, you will most likely eat it.  I am speaking from experience.  

We are all in the car.  No car-snacks planned ahead of time.  (bad momma), everyone is experiencing the low-blood-sugar crankies.  Who is with me?  it is NOT pretty.  So we pull into a fast food restaurant.  (or sit-down, but who wants to wait?)  We order everyone WAY more food than we need, we eat it ALL and end up feeling stuffed, tired and still a little cranky.  

Car-snacks or purse-snacks (for us, pistachios, walnuts, cashews) are a MUST to avoid low blood-sugar.

2.  IT IS SOOOOO easy to spend more than you planned when eating out.

The other day, I took the kids to meet Olivia's friend from gymnastics at Chick-Fil-A.  I had them eat lunch before we left.  They were confused, cut complied.

I knew from experience that they would be busy playing, and we would throw away some of the food we over-ordered.  I ate as well.  

We arrived, the line was CRAZY long, instead of hungry kids whining at me (insert low-blood-sugar-crankies. I might add, whining is my cryptonite, CAN NOT STAND IT) they went off to play and enjoy their friend.  And after all, isn't  that what it is all about?  I want it to be more about the company than the food.  We finally ordered our food. I ordered one meal to split for the 3 of us.  Total bill $7.60.  The kids came to eat, I split up our meal, laid it out nicely in front of each of us.  They ate, and talked.  I might add they ate slowly (who else shovels food in when they are starving?  Ahem, me.)  They got back up to play and guess what?  Food still uneaten.  We all had plenty to eat and still took some chicken home.  


My goal is to make it more about the company than the food.  The food is WONDERFUL and very tasty, but should it be the focus of our fellowship?

So, we spent $7.60 on lunch for 3 people.  REALLY enjoyed our meal with no low-blood-sugar fits (PLEASE tell me other people experience these)  and the fellowship of our friends.  

Good for my caloric budget and DEFINETLY good for our financial budget.

Back to my $3.20 meal in Chicago

Snacked all morning on Walnuts.  
I know it was only Chipotle, but still, its Chicago where BREATHING the AIR seems to cost money.

Ordered 1 taco and a kids chips and water.  

PLENTY of food for me.  

(And I had room to enjoy some Garrett's popcorn on the train-ride home.  {happy sigh})

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Welcome To Our Home Wednesday

First of all, I LOVE this picture of the kids.  Pretty sure it will be up in one of our bathrooms for the rest of our lives.  

Point of these pictures:  Upstairs we have alot of slanted ceilings.  

In every upstairs room in fact.  Wonder if the original builders (1900) did this for added charm?  or necessity (not sure what that would be).   

Either way, I think it adds some coziness, dimension and charm.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Library Goodies

We visit the library ALL. THE. TIME.  Walking out with gobs of books for free is my kind of fun.  At select times throughout the year, our library sells books and magazines (outdated of course).  I recently purchased 10 cooking mags for $1.  Although the magazine itself is outdated, the recipes aren't!  LOTS of new ideas, for a FRACTION of what I would have paid for these at the store. 

Happy Saving Trying New Recipes!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bargain Hunting

Winter outfit for $23.60

Boots from Goodwill: $5
Boot socks made from hand-me-down sweater:  free
Capris from Goodwill:  $4
Shirt from Gap on Michigan Ave. :  $6.60
Coat (Sarah Jessica Parker "Bitten" Brand) from Goodwill $8
Scarf from Christmas gift:  free

I LOVE bargains and I find Goodwill a great place to find them.  That being said, location is everything.  On the north-side of Indy (Carmel-area) I think it is safe to say there is more donating than garage-sales.  Where we live currently there seems to be more garage-sales and perhaps less donating.  JUST my observation.  One day my mom and I took the kids to the nicer suburbs of Chicago and found some good deals.  Worth the drive?  I think so, I spent $70 that trip and clothed the kids for the fall/winter and lots of things for me :)

I am NOT a name-brand-only type of person, however, I have found that when shopping thrift stores the name-brand clothes are typically the clothes that are in almost-new condition.  

I realize that some people SHRIEK at the idea of shopping at Goodwill, but there are many other places to find gently-used clothing.  Buying used is a SERIOUSLY great way to help the environment, not to mention your pocketbook.  

Sidenote:  On my recent girls trip to Chicago I found 2 tops at Gap for a total of $22.  So you can even find bargains on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago :)  

Hugs and Happy Saving!

Paper Rolls

One of my FAVORITE craft items for the kids are paper rolls.  This was a wonderful Christmas gift from Ikea.  Roll of white paper and paints.  I find that when I unroll the paper on the dining room table and leave our markers (sometimes paints) the kids will walk by and pick up a marker and start drawing.  Sometimes its out all day and the entire paper is covered.  Helps beat winter boredom :)

My New Favorite Toy

I have ALWAYS wanted to learn to sew.  I have visions of the things I can create, alter and embellish.  This Christmas gift has awakened my inner-seamstress. 

I am altering like crazy (because I am 5 foot  and I live in a world full of stores who sell clothes for taller people), repairing clothes that have torn (ahem, little people) and starting to create a few fun things.

My first new creation to tackle is cloth napkins.  I know it is SUPER-SIMPLE, but we have wanted to switch to cloth for awhile now.  Much better for the environment and they are super cute and I personally think it feels so homey to sit down to a meal with cloth napkins.  

Happy Creating!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back to School

Today we are back to school.  

My lovies, a cup of coffee and learning = happy momma :)

Olivia's Room

I have ALWAYS LOVED slanted-ceiling bedrooms.  I think they are so cozy and now Olivia thinks so too!  At first this finished attic space was a play room, but now its her room.

She asked to have her bed in the middle so  her princess tent could surround her while she sleeps :)

This wall-sticker is one of our favorite decorations EVER!!!  She spends most of her day upside down in a similar pose, so it was only fitting :)

This spring we may paint her room, pink of course, but for now, its a cozy space for our little girlie.