Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019 Resolutions Update

I don't have any recipes to post today - interestingly enough the hubby has been taking care of dinners lately (and I am so very ok with that!!).  That's why I haven't posted much, but to stay on top of my resolutions I'll do a quick post now...

2019 Resolutions

Finances

1. Get out of debt - minimum payment of 300/month with additional ideas and ways to increase payments listed below
- this is going well; I've managed to put more than the minimum on so far

2. Do various challenges - spending fast, pantry challenge - money saved goes on to debt
- currently challenging myself to keep groceries below $400 - I succeeded for January with a total for the month of $254.01

3. Buy second hand, no new books all year
- nothing purchased yet!

4. Do all survey receipts, petro points receipts - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $125.15 in petro points (started the year with $121)

5. 20 minutes a day for swagbucks surveys - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $67.30 in points (started the year with $61)

6. Raise money by selling things - extra money goes on to debt OR is used for extras only (a want, not a need)
- returned some stuff to Old Navy for $34 in a gift card, I'll save that for clothes for Brie
- exchanged a purse the hubby bought me for Christmas for one I liked better (and was $40 cheaper) so I have a Winners gift card to use for future purchases

7. Be diligent about price matching, frugal shopping, wasting less (food) and only buying what is needed
- so far so good

8. Reduce monthly groceries gradually & put the extra money on to debt - current budget is $400/month, lets see how low it can go
- total groceries for January was $254.01 - not bad at all!

9. Buy new car and pay down as much as possible (and get on a reasonable repayment plan) - this should be the only debt we are carrying in to 2020

Health & Wellness

1. Exercise 3x per week
- 12 out of 31 days - off to a rough start, but I have not missed a workout since Sunday and plan on keeping up the momentum

2. Minimum of 80oz of water per day
- 11 out of 31 days - also a rough start, but going to keep this up (haven't missed a day since Sunday)

3. Do various food challenges (no carbs, no sugar, no processed foods, meatless Mondays, etc)
- smoothie challenge was a good one, 5 out of 7 days. Still doing smoothies daily
- eliminating junk foods - haven't had any since last Sunday, we will see how long this goes

4. Get serious about diet/food
- I have been doing well this week and plan on keeping it up

5. Reserve drinking for weekends and/or special occasions

- so far so good

6. Read for 20mins per day

- 19 out of 31 days

7. Read one book per month

- January - The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid

8. Live in the moment - worry less (worrying means you can’t possibly be living in the moment)


9. Less nagging, more loving


10. Less judging, more enjoying time with people


And some newly added ones:

12. Blog once a week
- 4 out of 5 weeks

13. Spend more time with positive people
- can't say that I'm exactly around negative people right now so I call that a win

14. Spend more time with family

15. Get my back looked after and be pain free by the end of 2019

16. Go to the dentist regularly


Organization


1. Clean out under the basement stairs


2. Take on a minimalist approach - get rid of “stuff”, clear the clutter

- the hubby has been home from work this week and I don't know what has gotten into him but he has been clearing clutter left, right, and center! Love it!!

3. Stay on top of cleaning by doing something small daily/every other day

- haven't needed to recently, hubby has been doing ALOT of cleaning

And some pics....enjoy!!

She loves her food!

Spent the day with this sweet girl

My 18 year old got her first tattoo last week - it's a pic of her hand holding Brie's hand with a butterfly to represent Hope (Brie's middle name).  I'm honored that she asked I get a matching one, so I'm getting mine on Saturda

We've been using our air fryer almost every day - I'm a lover of chicken again.  It's amazing

Lemon chicken in the air fryer
Have a great week!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Balsamic & Brown Sugar Braised Beef Ribs

Sunday dinners are my favorite.  I usually have time to make something that I wouldn't normally be able to during the week, so I try and take advantage of that.  In addition to making a lavish dinner, I also caught up on some cooking for the family.

For Brielle, I made these spinach pancakes but subbed the bananas for applesauce since I didn't have any.  She actually liked them better this way so I think I'll stick to the change.  I also made these zucchini & tuna fritters which she absolutely adores, so they are a regular staple in the house.

For the man (and me) I made a big batch of this cheesy bacony goodness but I didn't have any corn or celery so I left that out, and I added zucchini and leftover chicken that we had in the fridge from earlier in the week.  This soup is amazing.  I make big batches of different soups as needed and freeze them in single portions.  We reheat them during the week and take them to work in our thermos for a nice warm lunch.

Ok, on to the main event.  The ribs.
These babies took almost 4 hours to make but they were oh so worth it.  I added Boursin shallot & chives to the mashed potatoes for some extra yum factor.  I'm also happy to report that my picture looks almost as good as the one on the website but you can be the judge.

I didn't have any red wine so I increased the beef broth.  And I hate that the recipe calls for just orange rind (what do I do with the rest of the orange??) so I threw the segments in with the sauce.  It cooks for so long in the oven that they just kind of disappear into the amazing gravy anyways. 

Try this recipe out for your next Sunday dinner, you wont be disappointed!!

Balsamic and brown sugar braised beef ribs with Boursin mashed potatoes
2019 Resolutions

Finances

1. Get out of debt - minimum payment of 300/month with additional ideas and ways to increase payments listed below
- this is going well; I've managed to put more than the minimum on so far

2. Do various challenges - spending fast, pantry challenge - money saved goes on to debt
- currently challenging myself to keep groceries below $400, more on that below

3. Buy second hand, no new books all year
- nothing purchased yet!

4. Do all survey receipts, petro points receipts - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $123 in petro points (started the year with $121)

5. 20 minutes a day for swagbucks surveys - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $65.12 in points (started the year with $61)

6. Raise money by selling things - extra money goes on to debt OR is used for extras only (a want, not a need)
- have a few things to return this week

7. Be diligent about price matching, frugal shopping, wasting less (food) and only buying what is needed
- so far so good

8. Reduce monthly groceries gradually & put the extra money on to debt - current budget is $400/month, lets see how low it can go
- total groceries for January so far is $86.28 - spent $16.88 this week on needs for the baby (milk, eggs, etc).

9. Buy new car and pay down as much as possible (and get on a reasonable repayment plan) - this should be the only debt we are carrying in to 2020

Health & Wellness

1. Exercise 3x per week
- 5 out of 13 days so far - not great, needs improvement

2. Minimum of 80oz of water per day
- 3 out of 13 days so far - an embarrassment! In fairness, most days I only fall a few ounces short but I feel like if I counted that it would be cheating

3. Do various food challenges (no carbs, no sugar, no processed foods, meatless Mondays, etc)
- smoothie challenge from last week was a fail (2 out of 7 days). Starting over today, so far so good

4. Get serious about diet/food

5. Reserve drinking for weekends and/or special occasions

- so far so good

6. Read for 20mins per day

- 6 out of 13 days, needs improvement

7. Read one book per month


8. Live in the moment - worry less (worrying means you can’t possibly be living in the moment)


9. Less nagging, more loving


10. Less judging, more enjoying time with people


11. Less judging, more enjoying time with people


And some newly added ones:

12. Blog once a week
- 3 out of 3

13. Spend more time with positive people
- can't say that I'm exactly around negative people right now so I call that a win

14. Spend more time with family
- hung out with my parents on Friday and my brother & family on Sunday

15. Get my back looked after and be pain free by the end of 2019

16. Go to the dentist regularly


Organization


1. Clean out under the basement stairs


2. Take on a minimalist approach - get rid of “stuff”, clear the clutter


3. Stay on top of cleaning by doing something small daily/every other day



And some picture :)

Breakfast of champions - spinach pancakes, grapes & breakfast sausage


She loves her food...whole wheat pasta with chicken & tomato sauce
And some pictures from my daughter's 18th bday celebratory dinner...






Sunday, January 6, 2019

Mini Blueberry Muffins, and Veggie Packed Spaghetti & Resolutions

I've been loving watching Brie eat new things every day.  She finally has a tooth coming through (with more on the way) so we have been having fun experimenting with new foods and textures.  She recently had pasta at Boston Pizza and has been hooked ever since, so I make different sauces for her to ensure she's getting what she needs nutritionally.  Her favorite so far is alfredo (which I made, and mix with white bean puree for added fiber).  This spaghetti was a hit as well, and didn't require much effort.


I used my regular spaghetti sauce, but blended up broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini to add to the sauce.  I also sauteed up some chopped kale.  It was delicious, and packed with veggies, so a win win for us all.

And these muffins, guys, are so good.  For us and for baby.  I know I have talked about this website before but I can't tell you all enough times how amazing it is.  If you're trying to feed a baby or toddler and need some ideas, check out the recipes on the site.  Love love love everything I have made so far (and so does Brie)


These muffins were healthy and packed with goodness for the baby, and delicious enough for us to snack on.  So good!!

On to my resolutions...

2019 Resolutions

Finances

1. Get out of debt - minimum payment of 300/month with additional ideas and ways to increase payments listed below
- this is going well so far considering it's only week one

2. Do various challenges - spending fast, pantry challenge - money saved goes on to debt
- currently challenging myself to keep groceries below $400, more on that below

3. Buy second hand, no new books all year
- nothing purchased yet!

4. Do all survey receipts, petro points receipts - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $123 in petro points

5. 20 minutes a day for swagbucks surveys - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $64.86 in points

6. Raise money by selling things - extra money goes on to debt OR is used for extras only (a want, not a need)
- returned a baby gate to Walmart ($23) and a sweater to Old Navy ($27) and used that money for a Christmas gift for a friend and some additional groceries needed

7. Be diligent about price matching, frugal shopping, wasting less (food) and only buying what is needed
- so far so good

8. Reduce monthly groceries gradually & put the extra money on to debt - current budget is $400/month, lets see how low it can go
- total groceries for January so far is $69.40 - spent $18 on needs for the baby (milk, yogurt, etc) and $53 at Nations on produce including some amazing deals (2 huge bags of spinach for .99 each, pork chops @ 1.99/lb, blueberries @ 2 pints for 4.99, also potatoes, green onions, bok choy, pears, carrots, chilis, sugar snap peas, zucchini, lemons and grapes - all produce will be used in recipes with meat we already have for the upcoming week

9. Buy new car and pay down as much as possible (and get on a reasonable repayment plan) - this should be the only debt we are carrying in to 2020

Health & Wellness

1. Exercise 3x per week
- 3 out of 5 days so far

2. Minimum of 80oz of water per day
- 2 out of 5 days so far - needs improvement

3. Do various food challenges (no carbs, no sugar, no processed foods, meatless Mondays, etc)
- this week will be a smoothie challenge; starting the day off with a green smoothie every day


4. Get serious about diet/food

5. Reserve drinking for weekends and/or special occasions

- so far so good

6. Read for 20mins per day

- 3 out of 5 days, needs improvement

7. Read one book per month


8. Live in the moment - worry less (worrying means you can’t possibly be living in the moment)


9. Less nagging, more loving


10. Less judging, more enjoying time with people


11. Less judging, more enjoying time with people


And some newly added ones:

12. Blog once a week
- 2 out of 2

13. Spend more time with positive people

14. Spend more time with family

15. Get my back looked after and be pain free by the end of 2019

16. Go to the dentist regularly


Organization


1. Clean out under the basement stairs


2. Take on a minimalist approach - get rid of “stuff”, clear the clutter


3. Stay on top of cleaning by doing something small daily/every other day




In other news, my first love, my first baby, turns 18 today. I can't believe it. Time has really flown by and she has somehow turned into a truly beautiful human being inside and out. She actively works in the community performing spoken word and has started applying to universities. It's incredible to watch her grow and morph into an adult, although she will always be my baby. We are taking her to dinner tonight, and for her gift she has requested her first tattoo, and for me to get a matching one. I'm actually honored. More on that when we get them...


Here she is doing what she loves - writing and directing

My first baby applying to universities while my second baby reads and plays with her toys

Such an amazing big sister

Performing spoken word

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hello 2019!

Where do I begin?

Another year has gone by, seemingly in a blink, and here we are again with a fresh start.  There is something so exciting about starting anew ever January 1st.  We realistically know that we can start fresh whenever we want, it doesn't have to be at the beginning of a new year, but there is just something about it, am I right?

So I am jumping on the ever moving bandwagon with a fresh new list of resolutions.  I'm excited at the possibilities of what is to come.  I have high expectations this year, some great goals, and nothing but optimism.  My teenager will be going to University this year, and hopefully we will have another baby by the end of 2019.  Lots to look forward too, and be excited about.  

So here they are, my resolutions for 2019.  I'll keep track of them here, although some are more tangible than others.  Lets get started on a great new year!!


2019 Resolutions

Finances

1. Get out of debt - minimum payment of 300/month with additional ideas and ways to increase payments listed below

2. Do various challenges - spending fast, pantry challenge - money saved goes on to debt

3. Buy second hand, no new books all year

4. Do all survey receipts, petro points receipts - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $112 in petro points

5. 20 minutes a day for swagbucks surveys - use points accumulated for gift cards, extras for us (a want not a need) - currently have $63 in points

6. Raise money by selling things - extra money goes on to debt OR is used for extras only (a want, not a need)

7. Be diligent about price matching, frugal shopping, wasting less (food) and only buying what is needed

8. Reduce monthly groceries gradually & put the extra money on to debt - current budget is $400/month, lets see how low it can go

9. Buy new car and pay down as much as possible (and get on a reasonable repayment plan) - this should be the only debt we are carrying in to 2020

Health & Wellness

1. Exercise 3x per week

2. Minimum of 80oz of water per day

3. Do various food challenges (no carbs, no sugar, no processed foods, meatless Mondays, etc)

4. Get serious about diet/food

5. Reserve drinking for weekends and/or special occasions

6. Read for 20mins per day

7. Read one book per month

8. Live in the moment - worry less (worrying means you can’t possibly be living in the moment)

9. Less nagging, more loving

10. Less judging, more enjoying time with people

11. Less judging, more enjoying time with people

Organization

1. Clean out under the basement stairs

2. Take on a minimalist approach - get rid of “stuff”, clear the clutter

3. Stay on top of cleaning by doing something small daily/every other day

And there you have it. My goals for 2019. Today is day one...


And some pics of course :)

Here is Brie ringing in the New Year (at 7pm) in her new robe.  She has been sick since Boxing Day so it was nice to see her in good spirits

We recently purchased an air fryer (Tfal Actifry) and we absolute love it.  This is chicken scallopine with no oil whatsoever.  It tasted fried...all the goodness without the guilt!  Stay tuned for recipes!

Christmas dinner with the family.  Chris was taking the picture (which is why he isn't in it).  This was our first Christmas without our beloved Uncle Ed who we lost in November (on Brie's birthday).  He was missed, but also honored.

A shameless selfie.  Just because

Chris with one of his many Christmas gifts - Tisania got him 3D glasses that he can use with his phone (or a TV).  Great.  LOL

Opening gifts on Christmas morning



Saturday, December 1, 2018

Zucchini Bread - for Baby and Mom!

I am completely obsessed with this website for baby food ideas.  This woman is seriously brilliant.

I came across a recipe of hers for zucchini bread that was safe for my baby to eat, and delicious for adults too.  It was fantastic, and Brie totally approved, so a winner in our books.

Here is the recipe

I used coconut oil instead of olive oil, and left the walnuts out.  This worked perfectly as a meal for Brielle, as well as snacks, and we ate it as toast in the mornings, or snacks as well.  Amazing with a little cream cheese on it!!


As far as my resolutions go, I'm calling it quits for now.  Its December 1st and I've done very well - I still read every day, exercise at least 5 times per week, and drink my 80oz of water daily.  I've recently gone back to work, so I'm adjusting and working on a new routine.  Maternity leave was amazing, and amazingly short.  I miss my baby girl everyday, but am happy to be a part of the working world again.  It's all about balance I suppose.

We celebrated Brie's birthday on Nov 17th - we had a sesame street themed party at home with family and friends (see pics below).  Her actual birthday was on the 19th, and I stayed home with her and played all day.  On the evening of the 19th I received a call from my dad - one of my favorite people, my Uncle Ed, had passed away that evening.  On Brie's birthday. 

I was devastated, at first.  I learned that he had stage 4 prostate cancer, but didn't want anyone to know.  I had just been out to lunch with him a couple of weeks ago (see pics below) and he seemed great.  He was a force to be reckoned with, a legend in our family, and in the business world.  He retired in the 90's as CEO of McDonalds Eastern Canada.  His funeral was fit for a celebrity, which he clearly was.  He was loved and respected by so many people. 

I say I was devastated at first because after hearing about his final months with us and how they were lived out, and listening to the many people speak about him at his funeral, I realized that his life was being celebrated, not his death mourned.  He truly called all of the shots, right until the very end.  He knew he was dying, and he lived exactly the way he wanted to, passing peacefully in his home on the evening of Nov 19th.  He was not in any pain, and he lived "normally" until his last day.  He had a list of who he wanted to speak at his funeral, and he was at peace with his fate, so we should be too.

I will miss him every day, and so will the rest of my family, but if you've gotta go, which we all eventually do, it would be a blessing to go out like Uncle Ed.  An amazing man, right up until the end. 

These took 3 hours to make...but so worth it after seeing the look on Brie's face


Brie's first taste of birthday cake with Daddy and Grandad





Uncle Ed with my mom & Brie on Oct 22nd

Me and Uncle Ed

My dad & Uncle Ed

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bacon Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin & and an Epic Fail

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin people.  This is where it's at.  It's pork on pork.  Flavor on flavor.  Smoky and sweet, and super simple to put together, this meal was a winner.

Here's the recipe I used

Alongside the pork I served roasted asparagus that I had picked up from the farmers market the same day.  Yum!

On to my epic fail.  We have been craving beef wellington for quite some time.  We used to make it every few months but haven't for years.  I was browsing Pinterest and came across this recipe for Poor Man's Wellington using ground beef.  It sounded pretty brilliant to me.  So off I went, going through the recipe step by step.  This was NOT an easy recipe, and was very time consuming (even more so since a baby was crawling around at my feet and a teenager was complaining she was hungry).  Anyways long story short, this was a whole lot of effort for what ended up tasting like a decent burger wrapped in burnt dough.  Who knows, maybe I got something wrong.  Maybe you'll have better luck.  I won't be trying this recipe again, but good luck to you if you do!





And my resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 204 out of 290 days

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)
May - Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein
June - Bag of Bones by Stephen King
July - The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais
August - The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene
September - T is For Transformation by Shaun T

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 153 out of 290 days

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - My fitbit broke and their customer service sucks ass so I'm no longer counting my steps.  I was doing well over 15,000 per day so I think as long as I keep moving, I'm good here

5. Post on this blog weekly - 23 out of 42 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - Since joining  Beach Body On Demand I have participated in 21 Day Fix and lost 3 pounds and 4 inches - nothing crazy but feeling great.  I am now half way through 21 Day Fix Extreme and am really pushing myself to stay on track with the meal plan, so we will see how that goes.  I am loving the fact that I have definition in my arms and legs again, and I'm full of energy!

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to
13. Gave two huge bags of clothes to Value Village
14. Got rid of a travel bottle warmer and some bottles to someone who needed them on LetGo
15. Got rid of 2 bags of the hubbies clothes (donated)
16. Got rid of a bag of boys baby clothes (gave to my friend)
17. Got rid of all of my bras that will never fit properly again (thanks for that Brielle! lol)
18. Got rid of old hair products and face products that were just creating clutter under the bathroom sink
19. Got rid of jeans that will never fit me
20. Got rid of work pants that will never fit me
21. Got rid of sweaters that I don't like
22. Sold Brie's old excersaucer on Letgo for $20
23. Got rid of 2 garbage bags full of expired food (oops)


8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Cleaned out all of my bra and lingerie drawers (and got rid of a ton of them)
7. Cleaned out and organized the area under my bathroom sink.  Found some cool face products that I didn't know I had too!
8. Cleaned out all of my jeans and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again
9. Went through all of my work pants and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again
10. Organized my sweaters and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again
11, 12, 13, 14. Cleaned out 4 huge pantries in my house, 2 in the kitchen and 2 in the basement, and got rid of food that I know we will never eat (or it's been expired for 2 years lol)

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - I'm finally calling my Grandma with the phone card I purchased.  I love her to pieces!!

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.
5. As a follow up to my visit to the dentist, I returned to get needles (eek!) to freeze my gums and do a one hour cleaning on the right side of my mouth.  Today I go for the left side.  In the past I would have avoided this all together and just not shown up.
6. I signed up for a playdate at a local splash pad through a Mommy/Baby group.  I go next week, we will see how it is
7. I started Brie in swimming lessons.  Just getting into a swimsuit in public is huge for me.
8. I joined Beach Body and I'm absolutely thrilled

13. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 146 out of 192 days


On to pics and fun....On Oct 13th Brie started walking!!  She isn't even 11 months old yet, I am so amazed.  She's the best, we love her so much!!

Me after a great workout :)

It's getting cold here!  Time to bundle up!

Girls day at The Wiggles Concert

Also at The Wiggles

Look who figured out how to climb the stairs!

Our Thanksgiving Spread...Prime Rib, Turkey, Curried Goat (not pictured), Sweet Potato Casserole, Green beans, Mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, Cheese bread, Rice (not pictured), Stuffing (not pictured), Cranberry sauce, Apple pie (not pictured) and vanilla ice cream.  Yum.

Our teenager with her boyfriend

Here's the curried goat from Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Creamy & Cheesy Chicken Alfredo

We were craving something comforting and fatty the other night (and by we I mean me) so I decided to try my hand at a simple yet decadent chicken alfredo.  I don't exactly have a recipe for this but I'll explain what I did.  I had mine over zoodles (pictured below) but the rest of the family was happy with penne.



Here is how I made this -

8-9 boneless skinless chicken thighs
bacon fat
5 cloves of garlic
2 onions
bone broth, or stock, or water
2-3 c of cream
salt, pepper
1 block of Edam shredded (or parmesan, or aged gouda, or whatever you have that isn't too strong of a cheese)

Cut up the chicken thighs into bite size pieces and fry in the bacon fat over medium high heat.  Season with salt & pepper.  Removed them from the pan when they are browned and cooked through. Add the onions and garlic to the same pan and let them cook in the remaining grease.  I added a bit of bone broth when things got too dry - you can use any stock, or even water.  Deglaze the pan with the liquid you choose by scraping up all the delicious brown bits.  Add the cream in and stir continuously.  When warmed through, add the cheese and the chicken and stir until the cheese has melted.  Remove from heat and serve over noodles, or zoodles.  Make sure you are seasoning throughout - so season the chicken, then the onion/garlic mixture, and finally the cream mixture.  A wise person once taught me that if you season your meal at every stage of the cooking process, you'll end up with a well seasoned meal.  If you wait until the end, you'll end up with a salty meal.  Great advice.  Enjoy!!!

And my resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 189 out of 275 days

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
March - Lost Echoes
April - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
Loving What Is by Byron Katie (I highly recommend this book, I'm reading it again to make sure it all sinks in)
May - Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein
June - Bag of Bones by Stephen King
July - The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais
August - The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene
September - T is For Transformation by Shaun T

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 138 out of 275 days

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - My fitbit broke and their customer service sucks ass so I'm no longer counting my steps.  I was doing well over 15,000 per day so I think as long as I keep moving, I'm good here

5. Post on this blog weekly - 22 out of 40 weeks

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - Since joining  Beach Body On Demand I have participated in 21 Day Fix and lost 3 pounds and 4 inches - nothing crazy but feeling great.  Today I started 21 Day Fix Extreme and am really pushing myself to stay on track with the meal plan, so we will see how that goes.

7. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to
13. Gave two huge bags of clothes to Value Village
14. Got rid of a travel bottle warmer and some bottles to someone who needed them on LetGo
15. Got rid of 2 bags of the hubbies clothes (donated)
16. Got rid of a bag of boys baby clothes (gave to my friend)
17. Got rid of all of my bras that will never fit properly again (thanks for that Brielle! lol)
18. Got rid of old hair products and face products that were just creating clutter under the bathroom sink
19. Got rid of jeans that will never fit me
20. Got rid of work pants that will never fit me
21. Got rid of sweaters that I don't like


8. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.
6. Cleaned out all of my bra and lingerie drawers (and got rid of a ton of them)
7. Cleaned out and organized the area under my bathroom sink.  Found some cool face products that I didn't know I had too!
8. Cleaned out all of my jeans and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again
9. Went through all of my work pants and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again
10. Organized my sweaters and got rid of the ones I'll never wear again

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - I'm finally calling my Grandma with the phone card I purchased.  I love her to pieces!!

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge
4.  I went to the dentist.  After 9 years.  Yes you read that right. No cavities, just tartar build up so I have to go back to have them freeze me and do a cleaning that will take an hour.  I'm going back May 1st.  I'm afraid of the dentist (hence the 9 year hiatus) so this qualifies as being outside of my comfort zone.
5. As a follow up to my visit to the dentist, I returned to get needles (eek!) to freeze my gums and do a one hour cleaning on the right side of my mouth.  Today I go for the left side.  In the past I would have avoided this all together and just not shown up.
6. I signed up for a playdate at a local splash pad through a Mommy/Baby group.  I go next week, we will see how it is
7. I started Brie in swimming lessons.  Just getting into a swimsuit in public is huge for me.
8. I joined Beach Body and I'm absolutely thrillled

13. Go on the treadmill for a minimum of 20 minutes daily - 131 out of 177 days

And as always, I'll end with some pics:

I made sweet potato waffles...they were a hit

She always finds something to chew on, whether its edible or not

But avocado seems to be the favorite right now