Saturday, June 30, 2012

Simple Saturday

Started my morning off with my iced coffee.

Sat down to meal plan and go through some coupons.

Larabars keep me going as I run errands.

Some of my grocery goodies....I'll share my shopping buys in another post soon!

I had so much to do today, but Siamese wanted attention. So she kept rolling around on the floor, meowing until I came over and finally rubbed her belly for like 5 minutes.

Oh, Siamese.

You crazy!

Once groceries were put away, I had a mountain of ironing.

But this Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizza was my delicious reward. YUM

My closet was so disorganized I couldn't stand it! So, I headed in.

1.5 hours later I knew it was going to take all night.

What did you do this Saturday?

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 25, 2012

7 Days 1 Challenge: Twenty-Six

I have to be honest. I was only able to lift weights twice this week. I'm bummed. I really thought I could hit four days. Buuuut Wednesday I got a really good workout at work when I had to take out and put away like a hundred chairs for our Jungle Terry program. (It was packed!) Annnnd juicing 13 lemons by hand yesterday for the lemonade party also gave my arms quite the activity. So I'm technically seeing it as four days. :)

But, anyhoo, it's new challenge-day!

*In case you're new to these challenges, the challenge starts on Monday and ends Sunday night. The following Monday I'll post a new challenge.

This week's challenge:
Make at least one meal a day a SALAD.

Summertime is the most perfect time to eat your fruits and veggies. There are plenty to go around and are very accessible. One of my favorites around this time of year is black bean and sweet corn. I also love adding strawberries and blueberries to a salad with salmon. A-Mazing.

I've got a few salads in mind to tryout this week, one is of the couscous varieties, but today I'm having maple-glazed salmon with some ripe fruit. So good I don't even need dressing.

Who wants to take the weekly challenge? Let me know by sharing your thoughts/struggles and link ups below!

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Sweets

1. I had plain Greek yogurt with peaches, strawberries, flax seed and almond butter for breakfast this morning. With it being sooooo hot lately this has been my morning go-to.

2. I'm completely, ridiculously obsessed with this song. IN.LOVE. TobyMac = Brilliant.

3. Also, I'm semi-obsessed with this new Newsboys song. Check it out here. (Great workout tunes. BONUS.)

4. Preschool story time this week was a total failure. I was prepared, excited to share my fingerplays and jam out to the "Monster Boogie." Unfortunately, the kids were not as they laid in their caregivers' laps. After telling me all about their pool activities earlier that day (because it was like 96 degrees out!), I knew these kids didn't need story time, they needed a nap. I could have used a nap. So we cut story time short and went on to the crafts....which proved to be the perfect revival.

5. House update: Septic didn't pass inspection. We're still negotiating (we haven't given up yet!), so send prayers and positive thoughts this way!

6. I was stoked for Book Club this week. I haven't seen these girls in a month. Definitely not used to this. We must schedule more outings!

7. Fortunately, our Lemonade Party is today. Cheers! (Keep your eyes open for that upcoming post.)

8. We had Jungle Terry at the library this week as part of our Summer Reading Programs. There were over 300 people stuffed into our children's hazard? Yes. Even worse, when he brought out the huge boa, I was envisioning a stampede. But the kids just giggled and screamed for more while I was in the back calming myself down and repeating, Remember the snake's up there and you're back here, over and over again. I love my job.

9. It's so hot all I want is ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream. Mr. B and I actually had ice cream for dinner on Wednesday. Which is a total shock I know because we all know how Mr. B feels about ice cream. After a walk through the park, he enjoyed a vanilla cone and I a cookie dough flurry. Which we then discovered Mr. B actually likes cookie dough long as I get them and he can then eat most of it.

10. Oh, when we got home, he then wanted to know what was for dinner. So I made some quick and tasty open-faced caprese chicken sandwiches. And he was all like "I want pizza bread," and I said "Okay, well try these...if you don't like them I'll put in your pizza bread." He ate all of them. He is such a little boy.

11. To prove my little boy theory, this morning he was upstairs lifting weights and watching cartoons. Bugs Bunny to be exact.

With Love and God Bless,

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Tea Party

So my co-workers and I (well, at the time of our first party they were my co-workers. Now, they're my fabulous and brilliant friends) were sitting around one day and decided (since Cooking Club was no longer going strong) since we all like to get together and chat, we should make our "girl time" more extravagant. We decided to center our "outings" around beverage themes.

A few months ago donned our first glorious party. We came together to chit-chat over TEA.

And to say we had quite the variety is an understatement.

We proudly had 24 tea varieties and 6 teapots.

To say we are tea drinkers is also an understatement.
We're also huuuuge fans of Teavana.

All of these teapots were a beautiful sight.

We had so much fun sharing our favorite brews over tea sandwiches, cookies, nuts, fruit and any other goodies we could find.

OH! And the BEST part.....we all brought our favorite mugs! (This is a rule of our beverage must bring your favorite appropriate beverage mug/glass.)

Below is a snapshot of Emilia and Jenny with their favorite mugs for enjoying tea! (Also pictured are Kellie's and Jessica's mugs. Mine was in my hand.....not sure why I didn't think to set it down for the picture.)
And of course we couldn't have a Tea Party without tea sandwiches. I whipped up a batch, and yes, some crust is on and some is off. (It's a long story, but there was a chance some boys other co-workers were coming and eating crust-less sandwiches was a little too girly for them. But did they show So us girls were stuck eating the crusty tea sandwiches which completely destroyed the point of tea sandwiches.)
These were so good I just have to share this simple recipe!

Cucumber and Goat Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Serves a crowd

your favorite bread, sliced
8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
10.5 oz goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried parsley
5-6 Tbsp almond milk
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cucumber, sliced

Beat cheeses, garlic, thyme parsley, milk, salt and pepper in bowl until well mixed. (Add more or less milk for desired consistency.) Spread cheese mixture on bread slices. Arrange cucumber slices on one slice of bread and top with another slice. Repeat. Press slightly, and trim crusts and cut into triangles.

So, the next time you and your gals are meeting up for some much needed girl time, center it around a beverage and have some fun. Make your next outing a Tea Party!

P.S. Of course, we've decided to make this a monthly recurrence.

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 18, 2012

7 Days 1 Challenge: Twenty-Five

Last week's challenge was super tasty. I went all out and was, of course, overly ambitious and thought about all of the new recipes I was going to try. However, reality set in and my busy schedule stood in the way. But here are a few that I did make: Spicy Black Bean Burgers which were amazing! I actually made a double batch again yesterday to eat on all week....they're also great crumbled up in a salad. This Key West Grilled Chicken was Mr. B's favorite dish this week (and it's super easy). These frozen Greek yogurt dipped strawberries and blueberries were awful, ugly and did not turn out. Yuck. Crescent Pizza Rolls are my new favorite snack for football season. And I made Martina McBride's Zucchini and Mozzarella Tart (as seen on The Chew) for dinner Sunday night. DE-licious! Even though I discovered some great dishes, Mr. B is pretty happy we're getting back to some familiar favorites.

So....Monday = New challenge-day!

*In case you're new to these challenges, the challenge starts on Monday and ends Sunday night. The following Monday I'll post a new challenge.

This week's challenge:
Strength Training Workout Daily

Grab your weights!

I don't care if you have a set of 2-pounders or 20-pounders, grab 'em and go!

Whether you're carrying them on your daily walk, using them as part of your ab routine or busting out the iron for some toned arms, this week's challenge is all about strength training. Good luck and have a blast!

Who wants to take the weekly challenge? Let me know by sharing your thoughts/struggles and link ups below!

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 11, 2012

7 Days 1 Challenge: Twenty-Four

The Chore Challenge was just what Dr. Organization ordered. I was able to get back in my OCD groove and I'm loving it. Because I made time for a least one chore, even when I didn't get home until 9pm and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed instead of folding laundry, I was able to spend my Sunday off relaxing and getting a little much needed Vitamin D. Perfect.

And now it's Monday, Monday, Monday! It's new challenge-day!

*In case you're new to these challenges, the challenge starts on Monday and ends Sunday night. The following Monday I'll post a new challenge.

This week's challenge:
Attempt 1 New Recipe.
Source: Grocery Budget 101
I cannot wait to try this Easy Key West Grilled Chicken. Yum.
I love being in the kitchen and discovering new family favorites. With my new job (and the drive), I haven't been in the kitchen as much. Truthfully, Mr. B and I have been living on turkey sandwiches for our work lunches, and Mr. B has kindly offered to grill up hamburgers and hot dogs. But I can only handle so much.

So, I'm getting out my cookbooks, skimming through my Food Network magazines and drooling over Pinterest for ideas. I'd like to aim for one new meal a day, even if it's breakfast or a snack.

Now, grab your apron and find the kitchen!

Who wants to take the weekly challenge? Let me know by sharing your thoughts/struggles and link ups below!

With Love and God Bless,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Sweets

1. In case you haven't heard yet...... we bought a house!

2. We're still waiting on the inspection....but if it goes well, we will be official homeowners.

3. Anyhoo, check out my kitchen :) That pantry on the left-hand side there is huuuuuge!

4. Needless to say, we're overwhelmed and excited.

5. For work, I brought in these fabulous brownies to share. No one knew my secret. (I'll be reviewing these brownies in a post later on this month.) These are my new go-to brownies. Definitely genius.

6. Dinner tonight, for me at least, consists of tortilla chips and guacamole.

6.1 There are chops marinating in the fridge for Mr. those of you who think I'm failing in my wifely duties, don't you worry. I'm all over it.

7. It's my best friend's 27th birthday today!!! Everyone shout, "Happy Birthday, Jessica!"

8. I've been on a granita ( a similar version of Italian Ice...sort of) kick lately. It's so easy to make and perfect on hot, summer days. I recently made Strawberry-Lemon. Even Mr. B said it wasn't bad.

9. When Mama and Daddy were up visiting yesterday (to see the new house), I turned Daddy into an espresso-drinking man. Daddy, you are so welcome. :P

10. My first preschool story time is this week. The theme is "Dad's Day." I'm a little nervous.....

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Greek Yogurt Sundae

It's that time of year again when everyone's ice cream cravings kick in.

Problem is, my ice cream cravings are year-round, baby. A scoop or two any night and I'm a happy camper. However that bowlful of cold deliciousness isn't the most healthiest snack option...nor is it filling which is why I tend to have two.

Back in February I found my solution. I was craving, and I mean about-to-send-Mr. B-to-the-store-kind-of-craving, some ice cream and found our freezer empty. Which truthfully is not a shocker because I know how I am with ice cream, so unless I make it homemade in the summer (why only in the summer you gasp...because I know how I am with ice cream and my waistline can only afford it for a season or two), we rarely have any in the fridge. [Mr. B doesn't understand. He never craves ice cream. But I still married him anyway : P ]

Back to my solution. Greek Yogurt. Yes.

I take plain Greek Yogurt and toss on a handful of fresh fruit (whatever is in season), add some granola, sprinkle of ground flax seed, a spoonful of almond butter, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. I promise you, you won't know you're not eating ice cream. Lick-the-bottom-of-the-bowl good.

Greek Yogurt Sundae

Serves 1

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c fresh fruit
1 Tbsp granola or nuts
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp ground flax seed
scant drizzle of chocolate syrup

Place ingredients in a bowl and indulge.

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, June 4, 2012

7 Days 1 Challenge: Twenty-Three

How did everyone do with last week's Psalm Challenge? I loved it!

I was challenged to get in an even deeper spiritual state-of-mind and to spend more time with God. I found my stress disappearing, more reassurance and confidence when I tended to doubt....and I just found a greater love and peace. God is so good; we need to take time from our day, every day, to reflect on His goodness.

Now, it's Monday, Monday, Monday! It's new challenge-day!

*In case you're new to these challenges, the challenge starts on Monday and ends Sunday night. The following Monday I'll post a new challenge.

This week's challenge:
Cross off 1 chore per day.
Source: Yahoo! Images

With getting into a new routine, working more hours and house hunting, my first "free" day off in a while consisted of me cleaning and catching up on the laundry. I did not sit down until well after 7 PM. This is completely unacceptable.

I did five (5!) loads of laundry over the weekend. How I got so far behind is beyond me. I'm never behind on laundry...I'm OCD when it comes to all things cleaning and organizing. Mr. B is as well, except he is not allowed to do the laundry. (Long and funny story, but he's not allowed.) So when I found myself knee deep in sheets, towels, socks, wrinkles, dishes, grocery bags and Windex, I new this was going to be my next challenge. I refuse to fall behind again on my drives me nuts!

Therefore, my challenge to all of you this week is to accomplish at least one chore each day (whether it's a load of laundry, dusting, grocery shopping, changing sheets or vacuuming) when we finally have a day off we can spend it with family, watching a ball game, making ice cream, going for an evening walk or discovering a good book.

Who wants to take the weekly challenge? Let me know by sharing your thoughts/struggles and link ups below!

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What I'm Reading

I'm a reading machine, I know. But I hadn't posted about "What I'm Reading" in a while and I'm still playing catch-up. (So, this is part 2.)

Voyager (Diana Gabaldon)
The third book in the Outlander series.

When I finished the second installment, Dragonfly in Amber, I was in a mad rush to grab the third. But then The Hunger Games movie was coming out, and my friends were all like, "You HAVE to read these books!" (Umm, you can read my opinion on that here.) So, I was side-tracked for a while.

But, when I was finally able to pick it up, I could not put it down. I was thrilled to be thrown into Jamie and Claire's story once again, travelling through time and venturing along mid-eighteenth century Scotland. And, like in all of these books, I have my moments where I cry with, scream at and dote on the characters. But who doesn't?

Without giving too much away, I'm eager to get the fourth installment because (to be quite honest) I'm interested in seeing a new view point and how that's going to work.

Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing for Life (Cherie Calbom)
"Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets"

I read this book last year and it made a big impression on me, so I ordered it from Amazon right after Christmas. There are great tips on juicing, and how and when to cleanse certain organs. Your liver, gallbladder and kidneys do so much work, and correlate with things you wouldn't imagine, which is why it's crucial to keep them clean and working at their best. This healing book includes secrets for vibrant health, mental and emotional cleansing, nutrient content, and a plethora of recipes. Ugh, I can't recommend this book enough!

Now, I really, really need a great juicer so I can dive even farther into this book! (Mr. B, are you reading this?!)

Lady Susan (Jane Austen)
Mr. B downloaded this for me on his Kindle Fire.

I love you, Jane, but this was not my cup of tea. I really enjoy novels (or in this case, novellas) written entirely through letters (like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). It's a great way to tell a story. However, Lady Susan is a horrible person! I didn't like her character one bit, and although that seemed to be Austen's point, I still didn't enjoy it. I had happy visions of other characters slugging her.

Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout)
Our new Book Club read for April/May.

This book is made up of short stories, with the main character, Olive Kitteridge, somewhere in each story....whether she's in the background just passing through, or front and center sharing her story. Many of the book club members suggested maybe reading a non-fiction or a short stories collection, and one member recalled this book.

It won the 2009 Pulitzer, was on Oprah's Book list at one point, and is very easy to find at any library. My main library happened to have it as a Book Club To Go (BCTG), a canvas bag supplying 10 copies of the book along with study guides and discussion questions.

Anyhoo, did I like this book? At first it took me a while to get into it. Then I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I disliked it in the end. I'm not sure if it was because it was a short-story collection, if I didn't care for the main character, if there were too many unanswered questions, or if it was just too sad and depressing.....I don't know. I do know that I really enjoyed Strout's writing style and many of the other characters.

However, this was the best book club discussion we've had so far. There were many different opinions and interpretations, many agreements and even more disagreements.  What I learned from our meeting: Apparently, I was a very sheltered child, and I come from a very conservative, small town. Yeah, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm proud and wouldn't change my roots.

Have you read and good books lately? Share your good reads in the comments!

With Love and God Bless,