Thursday, August 30, 2012

{ten things}

1} Late girls nights with my sister while she's living with me...all too soon she will be a few states away, so I'm glad I get to soak up letter writing parties + netflix/hulu nights with her while I can!

2} Watching Nomi become a toddler. I obviously have mixed feelings about this, but he is such a funny kid, possibly the most like me yet (oh boy)...He has so much love to share with all of us, loves loves LOVES water play...and while I'm not crazy about this sudden (and out of the blue!!) punching thing he's might be the funniest self expression any toddler has ever done. The hardest thing I've had to do yet as a parent is tell him not to do it...and not laugh at the same time. I have no excuse for myself...if you saw him you would giggle too, I'm positive. 

3} All of the signs of fall...from twirly yellow leaves if you stand at the window long enough, to new (green!) shoes, to the not as dreadfully hot weather...fall is definitely right around the corner. 

4} When we moved I thought I was going to miss one thing in particular very, very much. The rainbows. Our last house was positioned in such a way that we had *the best* views of the most amazing rainbows. I bet that in the four years we were there I took a hundred pictures of rainbows. We moved over a mountain (almost in a straight line)...and wouldn't you know, the view is even better here? Scientifically I'm not sure how that's possible, but this is the view out the back door right after an afternoon storm. love

 5} Baked goodies! I'm still digging out the kitchen and making it make some sort of sense...down sizing (the theme of life these days), adding a shelf or two, rearranging... despite it not being "done" yet, it feels good to take a few minutes and pretend it is...just long enough to bake. However, on days when we aren't up to baking on top of the mess we are loving Mama Mead's gluten free baked awesomeness (her brownies are to die for!!)...I'm so glad she ships. :)

6} Instagram. Do you have it? If you do, look me up! (I'm mackenzieh87) I'm set to private, but so long as you aren't a sketchy spammer I'll approve you. *wink*

7} My kids spied headlamps at Costco while we were doing our grocery shopping...they wear them constantly...including when they come into my room at night for a's not exactly my favorite way to be woken up but they're quite cute so it's okay. *wink*

8} Bunny slippers. We both have them...I might get them in every size so she will always have them. When she's really getting under my skin I tell her to go put her slippers on...I think it helps both of us to be nicer. (Target fyi)

9} Coffee!! Although I have mostly given up caffeine, I'm not over it completely...hopefully soon! In the mean time I can't get enough of hearing Bobby ask for a sip of "frappuccino" in his sweet four year old voice.

10} New books...I haven't read many, well Jenny was born honestly. However for a small window of my life all three kiddos have bedtimes and I'm not nursing anyone or pregnant and exhausted so I have my very own reading time again! I have a few parenting books going as well...I'll share my thoughts once I've finished them. So far they're absolutely wonderful...

What are some things you're loving right now?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dinner Time

{A note on this cookbook, I love love LOVE it! So many wonderful recipes and ideas, plus tons of information...I have already made two pies and have ingredients for another! Also, if you are someone who could be defined as my mother-in-law, do not buy yourself this book! *wink*}

Next week we start school. This marks a big shift for us as a family, the shift from a family of only very little ones to a family with bigger ones and younger ones. I'm not sure I'm anywhere close to being ready, but they are excited and that's helping me get to where we need to be. With this shift we are working on "cleaning up" several aspects of our family life. The chaos of the actual move is behind us (although there are still seemingly endless boxes and piles to be sorted through, and still a remarkably large amount to be donated), and it's time to find a little lot more rhythm and routine in our days. 

We've gotten back to reading bedtime stories, they're playing outside longer every day, the laundry is actually (mostly) getting put away before it's worn and dirty again...the baby has (mostly) stopped playing in the dog's water...and this week we have added family dinners. It made sense while we were moving to feed the kids something very child friendly quick and then the grownups ate later once we were too tired to do anything else. That's just how that works. However, we aren't there anymore and I was in desperate need (to say nothing of my children) of a better evening routine. No more wondering what I would eat after I had tucked the kids in (and was too tired to cook anything very stellar) and no more coming down in the mornings to a kitchen full of dirty dishes. {I'm the dishwasher here!} 

With that in mind I have begun finding simple ways to make this happen. Certainly our days our still mostly chaotic, with no hint of a weekly rhythm in site (yet!)...but the last two nights have been wonderful and I am determined to keep up with it! Last night we had our first "Meatball Monday", and tonight we tried this new recipe for chicken pot pie. I added salt and pepper, and used a puff pastry we had in the freezer (not very gluten free, but the baby didn't get any so it's all good). Otherwise, it was simple and fairly quick, and very easy to clean up from. Major points in my book!! The kids like the family meal's cozy with my sister and brother-in-law living with us this summer. Certainly most of our conversation consists of whether or not someone has to eat that particular piece of vegetable, but the point is that we are bringing our day to a happy close. And that feels good. 

They tidy up the yard while I finish cooking (I love seeing them out my many kitchen windows), then they wash up while I get everything on the table. Afterwords, they get ready for bed and I do dishes and sing with the baby while he finishes up his meal...every one gets hugged and kissed and sung to and snuggled into their respective beds (although by morning most of them are in mine)....and then this mama gets to curl up with her before-school-starts reading, some knitting, maybe a little wine and chocolate...and just *breathe* 

xoxo ~M~

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Skillet Meal

So I have been making basically the same thing for dinner every night for a month...and since it's still quite popular, and oh-so-easy, I thought I'd share my formula err recipe. It really helps if you have an adorable helper, to keep you entertained with peek-a-boo and babbled versions of the "ABC's and "Happy Birthday"...if he has squishy baby dimples that's totally a bonus. {He was just about to go to bed here, hence the sleepy circles under his eyes.}

So this's very user friendly and requires almost no effort and zero planning. It usually looks something like this...

a few servings of meat (kielbasa is shown, but two chicken breasts, a sliced up steak, chicken sausage, pork sausage, Italian sausage--sweet or spicy, really any meat, will all work beautifully)

Set a large skillet on to heat while you slice up the meat (unless it's of the ground up variety), if it's lean I use a few tablespoons of butter or coconut oil to keep everything moving around and happy.

Add sliced meat + sliced red onion, let this start sizzling away over medium + heat while you chop up the other veggies. These may include any possible combination of peppers, broccoli, green beans, sugar peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc. Once sliced/chopped in a very minimal manner, toss the veggies in with the meat + onion and continue to stir occasionally. At this point a few key choices must be made...if you want to add some diced garlic or s&p, now is the time. I almost never add all three, and honestly tend to skip them all depends mostly on the meat I'm using. If things start to look a little dry, I add a bit of whatever I'm drinking (water/wine/beer)... when the veggies are about half way cooked I like to add in a hand full or two of cherry tomatoes. It's really up to you and the contents of your fridge...I would say you are looking for one part meat, 3-4 parts veggies...the more colors the better! Just keep stirring it occasionally until your veggies are all tender crisp and your meat is cooked the way you like it. Once everything is basically finished, I like to pile a mountain of spinach on top of everything else and poke at it until the spinach has wilted down into it. I seriously add about a full pans worth of fresh spinach and it wilts down to fit quite's just a little tricky to not end up dumping it everywhere. *ahem* Serve and enjoy! We really love this, it's easy to whip up, doesn't take long or much effort and there is a minimal kitchen mess made. I would say that in a large skillet this feeds three-four adults, depending of course on how hungry they are and exactly how much you make. I've been thinking it would be good served over brown rice or quinoa...or if you have leftovers of either you could just stir them into the mix. Let me know if you try it, and what you end up using!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Sweater Tale...

Once upon a time...there was a mama and aspiring blogger who had a plan. She was going to knit a soft and fluffy shirt for her soft and fluffy baby. And so she did...row by row, nap time by nap time, late night by late night, she knit away until at last it was finished. Usually this mama put off blocking her knitting projects, but not this time! She was so determined to get this soft and fluffy shirt on her soft and fluffy baby that she blocked it before the week was finished! It fit!! It was exactly what she had pictured! She squished her squishy baby into the fluffy shirt and {despite loud protests from the fluffy baby's older siblings} she took *only him* outside to take a few pictures. She had visions of a few quick clicks and a content baby combining to make some cute blogable pictures. Oh what a silly mama she was! That baby was so excited by the outdoors...but what is this?? He did *NOT* like walking on grass. Not even one little bit. And so every time the mama set up her camera for a picture, he would toddle to her and try to stand on her feet to get off of the grass. Then the mama realized she hadn't gotten lunch off of his face, in her excitement to take his picture. It was about this time that the mama heard great wailing and gnashing of teeth from her older children...the ones with their tear streaked faces pressed up against the window by the door for the world to see. Their faces had lunch on them too. And so the mama picked up the squishy, fluffy baby and carried him inside and a great scrubbing up party began. Life went on as normal, eventually the mama uploaded the pictures and realized that toddlers are very hard to capture with a camera (or anything else), but that his cuteness would make up for her lack of photography skills. Then chaos took over their life and they moved to an adorable farm house in the mountains and the mama forgot all about the pictures, and the blog and for a while, even the shirt. Until today that is...because she is once more knitting something for that very same squishy baby...something that she will be blocking before the week is out...and she is once again determined to get some blogable pictures... The End *wink*

Ravelry details are Here, and I found the yarn Here!
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