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What my husband did last night when he said he was going to go to bed:

  • Went upstairs
  • Brushed his teeth and flossed
  • Plugged in his phones to charge overnight
  • Got in bed
What I did last night when I said I was going to go to bed:
  • loaded the dishwasher
  • put away some laundry
  • cleaned off the kitchen counter-tops
  • set up the coffeepot for the morning
  • made my son’s lunch
  • started a blog post
  • read about potty training (next big thing for BDog)
  • wrote a check for Kindergarten tuition
  • fed the fish
  • put away stray toys
  • went upstairs
  • brushed my teeth and flossed
  • washed and moisturized my face (sucks to get old . . and live in the high desert)
  • checked on sleeping babies and gave them one more kiss
  • got in bed
Sound familiar, moms??  No wonder I never get to bed before 11:30pm.
What do you do when you say you’re off to bed?

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This is going to be a busy week.  Dentist appointments (first one for my 2 1/2-year-old!), the carpets are getting cleaned (baby is finally crawling, really can’t put it off any longer!), and I’m leaving my husband alone for the weekend (what a treat!), because I’m packing up the kids and taking them to my friend’s house for the weekend.  It should be a crazy, fun, weekend with 6 kids between us.  Ahhh!  

On top of all this, I’m prepping for our upcoming trip to Disneyland!  This will be the boys’ first trip, and the baby is staying with my parents.  My in-laws, and my brother and sister-in-law will be coming, too.  I will never again be spoiled with so much adult supervision for my children.  I simply cannot wait!

Because the week is already going to be busy, I have a very simple menu on deck.  Nothing fancy, but family favorites all around.

Monday:  Tacos (Still have not gotten this on the table, in two weeks!)

Tuesday:  Homemade Pesto Pizza (using pesto and pizza dough recipe from Simple Bites)

Wednesday:  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Soup

Thursday:  Breakfast for Dinner – Scrambled Eggs and Overnight Forgotten Coffeecake  (trying to use up leftover buttermilk in the fridge!)

Friday:  Off to my friend’s house for the weekend, so husband is on his own with leftovers or whatever he can find.  🙂

What’s going to be on your dinner table this week?

For more menu ideas, check out I’m an Organizing Junkie!

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Loving this Menu Plan Monday, and actually holding myself accountable for it.  A whiteboard in the kitchen wasn’t really doing it for me.  🙂  I found the recipe for Thursday from Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife.  She got the recipe from Jules at JustJules.  Thanks to both of these ladies for this awesome recipe!  My recipe for Tuesday was found courtesy of Laura at I’m An Organizing Junkie, it was on her menu last week.  Can’t wait to try it!

Monday:  Tacos (didn’t get to that last week)

Tuesday:  Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage  (Looks like real comfort food!)

Photo from Your Homebased Mom

Wednesday: Homemade pizza

Thursday:  Chicken with Spinach and Mushroom Sauce  

Photo from Musings of a Housewife

Friday: Parents are visiting, so we’ll most likely go out or go pick something up.  🙂

Saturday: Leftover Potluck

Sunday:  Who knows, something simple!

What’s on your menu for this week?

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With three kids, dinner time at our house can be a flurry of activity.

“Sit down!”. “Don’t spill your milk!”. “Do you want broccoli or green beans?”. “Ok, ok, it’s almost ready!” These are often heard, much repeated phrases around the dinner table and kitchen. To make the witching hour a little less chaotic, I rely on this recipe quite a bit, especially in the winter. It is super easy to make, gives my crock pot a rest, and pleases everyone (well, there’s no pleasing my picky eater, CW, but we’re working on that one).

I found the original recipe from Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. She actually adapted her recipe from Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie. And, now I’m giving you my version. It’s totally delish. For real.

First, go grab your ingredients:

Dice your onion and throw it in a large pot with your ground beef (or ground turkey).

Once the meat is browned, drain off any fat and add your garlic. My opinion is a little garlic is never enough. Let that simmer for just a bit, but be careful not to burn the garlic! Next, add your broth, spaghetti sauce, and water. Your pot will look awfully soupy at this point.

Go ahead and bring ‘er to a boil. Then reduce the heat and add your noodles. I typically use a mixture of half regular spaghetti noodles and half whole wheat noodles. No one knows the difference, and I sleep a little better at night.

Cover it and let it thicken on low heat. When you’ve let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, it should be nice and thick, like this:

You might find you need to add more water, and give it an occasional stir. Once it has thickened to your liking, serve it up with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

This is a very hearty, flavorful, comfort food. I know, I know, it doesn’t have any fresh vegetables, and I’m even using jarred spaghetti sauce (audible gasp!). But, it makes it easy, and really delicious. We always serve it up with a fresh vegetable or salad, and some yummy bread.

One Pot Spaghetti

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic (at least!) minced
  • 1 14 oz can chicken broth (or more, to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 10-12 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken into pieces
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large pot with a lid, cook meat and onion together until the meat is browned, and onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Drain any fat off, and add garlic.
  3. Add broth, spaghetti sauce, and water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add noodles and reduce heat.
  5. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally, and add more water as desired.
  6. Serve with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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Let me start by saying I am trying to be a more thoughtful and purposeful picture taker.  I am not a great photographer.  Not even a really good photographer.  I am learning. I am practicing.  I am self-taught.  So far.

By practicing and taking pictures with a little more thought, I am taking pictures of things I never would have thought to focus on before.  Like feet.

I am not a huge fan of feet.  They get us where we need to go.  They aren’t necessarily pretty.  Kids feet are at least cute, especially when in Crocs.  I know that is a controversial statement, so feel free to let the comments fly on that one!  And, you can thank me later, I have spared you photos of my feet.  Bare, with tan lines, and in desperate need of a pedi.  You are welcome.

But here is a little collection of pics I’ve taken this summer, and one that was part of my maternity session when I was pregnant with Bdog, courtesy of Emily Main Photography (I was so lucky to have her do that shoot, she only does weddings and boudoir photography, now).

As I build my photography knowledge, hopefully I’ll be able to present beautiful pictures that will make you drool.  No, not over feet, but maybe over some food.  Take for example Jessica over at How Sweet It Is.  Her pictures make me want to reach into my computer and take a bite!!  They are positively amazing.  Really.  Go take a look!

Happy Friday, everyone.  And, happy snapping!

For more Pity Party Links, check out Thirty Handmade Days!

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There are lots of ways to stock a lunch box full of stuff that is good for your kids, and that they will actually eat.  My heart always sinks when I find uneaten, warm carrot sticks stuffed back in the lunch box, ignored.  Eeewww. . . and . . . bummer.

1.  Start with a cool lunchbox.  

There are lots of ways to go here, depending on your needs, and your kids (or your own!) preferences.  Here are a few to check out:

Goodbyn Lunch Box

I mean, doesn’t that just look pretty?  All the food stays where you put it.  No mixing, sloshing, or spilling into other compartments.  And, it comes with stickers for your little one to decorate.  As Ina would say, How Easy Is That

Crocodile Creek Lunch Box

Let’s face it, this lunchbox is just adorable.  My son would be thrilled to carry this everyday.  They are insulated and even have a zippered compartment for cute little love notes from you.  Lands End ClassMate SmallHaul Lunch Sack

My son used this lunch box for his two years of preschool.  It worked wonderfully.  It had his name monogrammed on the front, and held (keeping cool) all he needed for his 4 hour day.  Enough said!

2.  Choose healthy options your kids will actually eat.

There is nothing worse than filling your child’s lunch box with all kinds of healthy fare, and hoping for the best.  Just because they’re hungry, doesn’t mean they’ll eat anything.  And, even though they behave better (we hope!) for their teacher than they do for you, she is not a miracle worker.  If your daughter doesn’t like cottage cheese at home, don’t try it at lunch.

Pack in the protein where you can, and keep sugar to a minimum.  Kids need the sustained energy, not just carbs.

I fill a thermos with milk everyday.  I do not use juice boxes.  My son doesn’t expect it, and he doesn’t miss it.  I do not include chips or cookies.  I think of lunches as a sum of three parts:  protein, whole grains, and fruit/veggies.  I make sure I’ve got those areas covered, and get ‘er done!

A few of my favorite lunch/snack ideas are:

graham crackers (or banana bread) with cream cheese

string cheese

hard-boiled eggs

turkey and cream cheese roll ups

fruit or veggies, washed and cut up

yogurt or cottage cheese

Applesauce or Applesauce Crushers from Trader Joe‘s (also come in Apple Carrot and Apple Banana variety)

sandwiches (turkey/cheese, peanut butter and jelly)**

Leftover pasta or homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade “lunchables”

Stretch Island Fruit Leathers

Cheese Quesadillas

**My son’s school is peanut free, so we use Sunflower Seed Butter, found at Trader Joe’s.

3.  Add a little “green” and keep it fun!

I have a few different reusable sandwich bags, but I might just have to get some of these this year:

LunchSkins

I mean, seriously?  Who wouldn’t want to rip open one of these to see what’s inside?  They’re totally the new “foil wrapped surprise!”.

I also like to stick a cute note in my son’s lunchbox sometimes.  I know, I know, it’s not like he knows how to read yet.  But a smiley face, heart, and his name totally get the point across.  🙂

Here’s to hoping your school year gets off to a great start.  What do you plan to pack up for your Little Miss or Mr. Man?

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I tweeted a few days ago that I would be sharing this recipe, and here it is, courtesy of my grandmother.

First, the cake ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Topping ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • chopped nuts (optional, I don’t use these)
Here is what you’ll need:
First, blend the butter and sugar well.
Then grab your eggs.  Mine are farm fresh from my best friend’s chickens.  Aren’t I lucky?  🙂
Throw a couple in and mix til your heart’s content:
Pour yourself a cup of rich, thick buttermilk:
Whisk together your dry ingredients.
Then, add your buttermilk alternately with your dry ingredients.
When you’re done, you should have a thick, fluffy batter.  You’ll need a spatula to get all this creamy deliciousness into your baking pan.  No drippiness here, it’s not a cake, it’s coffeecake!  Get all you can out of the bowl, and get it into a 13 x 9 baking pan.  Then, grab your topping ingredients:
Mix well and sprinkle all over your batter:
At this point, you can cover and refrigerate overnight.  It only gets better, as the brown sugar melts into the batter.  Yummmm . . . . .

Whenever you decide to bake it (if you just can’t wait until the morning), set your oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 30-35 minutes.  I use a glass baking pan, so I set my oven to 325.  When I do this, it takes a little longer to bake, possibly 40 minutes.  Totally worth the wait.  Let me tell you.

This is a family favorite, and it is perfect for Christmas mornings, when you just want to pop something in the oven.  It goes fantastically with scrambled eggs, fruit, and of course, coffee!  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you  make some, would you invite me over?  I haven’t eaten coffeecake that I didn’t make in about 20 years.

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