Saturday, August 2, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Me!

We celebrated our 9th anniversary July 28th!  It's amazing to think how time has flown by.  I often still feel like it's the year 2000.  Recently we were watching The Next Great Baker on Netflix and one contestant I kept viewing as the "old lady" contestant.

You know how they try to keep age diversity within these reality shows, so there's always an old man and an old lady?  I watched about 5 episodes before I realized they were actually showing ages under the names during the interviews.

Yeah, the "old lady" was 32.  32!!!  Guess who will be 32 next month?  That's right, yours truly.  That was a pretty sad day for me, as you could imagine.

So...... here we are, nine years later.

Finally Hubs is working a job where he has weekends off, so we were able to get a babysitter much easier than we could in the past.  We were actually able to go on a date for our anniversary!

Where did we go, you ask?  Why, the local thrift store, of course!  Along with the art store, but that was for Hubs, not me so we're not even going to talk about that.  BORING!

Anyway, are you ready to see my present?  Are you sitting on the edge of your seat?

Here it is!  (Nope, not the cute little monkey in the chair.  We've had her for years.)

Thrift store chair...... $15.  Monkey sitting in it...... priceless.

Gorgeous, right?  I love refinishing furniture!  I've done our kitchen table, as well as various dressers in the house.  

My next adventure is upholstery!  My mom gave me an antique chair that has been in the family forever that desperately needs repairs and new upholstery, but it's a very special item and I didn't want that to be my first try.  I'd hate to ruin it.  

So we have checked the thrift store regularly, for quite some time, for a chair I was willing to work experiment on and we finally found it!  

Not bad for $15.  It's in perfect condition structurally.  Now if I can just find a great deal on some upholstery fabric we will be in business!

Happy Anniversary to me!  

I mean us.  Happy Anniversary to us!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Homemade Manwich Sloppy Joes

That title could be a bit misleading.  5 years ago "Manwich style" would have meant, "Hey, grab me that can, would you?"  Then in May 2013 M was diagnosed with ADHD which included a side of an impulsive disorder.  He was flooding the school bathrooms just because he literally couldn't help it.  We've also wondered, pretty much his whole life, if maybe he's got a little Asperger's going on as well.  It's a diagnosis we might start looking into depending on how this next school year goes.

When your child is diagnosed with ADHD the first thing that comes to mind is, "Are we going to medicate?" 
This is not an easy decision to make.  We often joke, "If only there was a magic pill....."  Then you have a doctor saying that there IS a magic pill.  After some trial and error that is.

Please understand that I'm not against medications for anything.  I'm not gonna go all Tom Cruise on anyone.  It's just a really hard situation to be in as a parent.  We tried one medication that turned M into a little zombie.  He would just lay there.  It took away all of his energy, and I really didn't like it.  It was the only medication we could afford.  The good medication I would like to try is $260 a month, $200 of that out of pocket.  Which just doesn't work when you live paycheck to paycheck as it is.
I decided that it was time to start cutting out a lot of the additives we consume on a daily basis, and see if that helps.  I want to stray from store bought items as much as possible.  (Something I've thought a lot about anyway.  When I can peaches I add peaches, water, and sugar.  Look at a can of peaches at the store and you'll have several added ingredients you know nothing about.  It just doesn't sit well with me.)

Anyway, I've tried a few different Sloppy Joe recipes over the past year, but none have come close to Manwich. 
Every now and then a girl just needs a good Manwich Sloppy Joe. 
After months of trial and error I think I've found the perfect recipe.  It's obviously a bit more work than opening a can, but honestly, this is easily made while you're browning the hamburger, and so much better for you, and as Big Sis said as I passed her plate over, "Mmmmm, homemade is always yummy!"  She usually hates Sloppy Joes.  We had this two nights in a row without complaint!  Pretty impressive in this family!  This recipe gets 5 stars.  All 5 family members approve.


Copy Cat Manwich

1 lb. ground beef
1 tbsp. chopped green onion  (any onion would work, but g/o are perfect for amount called for here)
1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic
1 tbsp. finely diced bell pepper (I use red)
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Pinch of allspice
1 cup of water

Brown ground beef.  In separate pan sauté onion, garlic and bell pepper in a little butter.  After veggies have softened, add tomato paste.  Continue to add ingredients one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Drain browned hamburger and add to Sloppy Joe sauce.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Move Over Coco Chanel!

Love this outfit!  She's totally rockin' it!

Seriously love this girl and her style!

killer boots man gif Imgur Jim Carrey Dumb and Dumber

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Please, no! Not the Ice Cream Man again!

Is the Ice Cream Man ruining your life already, too?  Oh, good!  It's not just me then.  We've heard him once already and it sent my kids into full convulsions.  Don't get me wrong, I really have nothing against the Ice Cream Man.  He's a great symbol of vintage Americana.  I love the thought of a 1950's suburban street with kids lined up for their double scoops.  That's just not the image of the Ice Cream Man anymore.  Now you've got all of those character pops with the gumball eyes.  And before someone freaks out about me complaining about their Ninja Turtle popsicle they enjoyed as a child let me explain a bit.  I loved getting those too!  I really did.  I just don't see the point in paying $3 for one.  Not EVERY time he comes around, anyway.

I guess a lot of my frustration comes from my neighbor (yeah, don't get me started on my neighbors!).  She would buy my kids those popsicles after I told them no, and then expected me to return the favor.  So, now, much like Pavlov's dogs, when that bell, or in this case music, rings through the streets, my kids go running.  Last night, or maybe the night before (yeah, that's how bad my memory is) we heard the Ice Cream Man streets away Big Sis immediately started begging.  I told her no, and although she didn't cry she definitely made her disappointment known.  Over.  And over.  And over again!

So!  In keeping with my attempt to make our home a more happy home I went straight to pinterest and started looking up fun popsicle recipes.  I came across this one, but for some reason didn't pin it.  It turned out fantastic!  I really wish I could post a link and give credit to the blog I found it on.  The great thing about this recipe is the versatility it has.  So many possible flavor combos!

Jello Popsicles
1 3oz pkg Jello (we went with strawberry)
1 packet of koolaid (we went with lemonade)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

In a bowl, mix Jello, Kool-Aid, and sugar together.  Add boiling water, stirring until dissolved.  Stir in cold water, and pour into popsicle mold.  Freeze for 4 - 6 hours.  My molds couldn't hold all the liquid, so I poured the remainder into a plastic container and ate as a slushy before it fully froze.  It was really good!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Vanilla Memorial Day Cupcakes

I'm pretty much obsessed with cupcakes right now.  I bake some every chance I get, and try a different recipe every time.  For Memorial Day I decided to go with a basic vanilla cupcake with red, white, and blue vanilla buttercream.  Both recipes come from The Baker Upstairs.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. 
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Mix until smooth.  
Scoop into paper liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

This batter came out so delicious, thick, and creamy.  However, Scot felt the cupcakes themselves turned out a little dry.  I think I'll try them again with a bit more milk and see if that moistens them up enough for him.  If so, this recipe will likely become my go to vanilla recipe. 
Vanilla Buttercream

 1 cup butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar, and beat well to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add additional milk if too thick.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What's in a Name?

I don't know what it is about chicken names, but I just love them!  Naming chickens can be so much fun.  Some people get really creative and go with names like Attila the Hen (one of my favorites!).  Other's go with food names like Nugget or well known characters such as Foghorn Leghorn and Henny Penny.  My personal preference is farm-ish names and famous duos (Scot likes to buy chickens in pairs). 

Here are the names of all the pullets in my newest flock.  I love taking pictures of my birds, so get used to seeing a lot of posts of them. :D

CC - Easter Egger

Ginger - Easter Egger

Goldie - Golden Laced Wyandotte

Lulu - G's Easter Egger

Petunia - Easter Egger

Daffodil and Buttercup - Little M's Buff Orpingtons.
She calls them Yeyo Chickie, and if you call them anything else
she gets pretty mad at you.
Lavern and Shirley - Our working girls.  Rhode Island Reds are little egg machines.
Ouiser and Clairee - Cuckoo Marans
Lucy and Ethel - Black Sex Link. 
They're always getting their noses up in everyone's business
and are serious attention hogs.

Roadrunner - M's Silver Laced Wyandotte (she's hard to catch)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Officially a 1st Grader!

Little Miss is officially a 1st grader!  Seems like not too long ago she was watching her brother head off to Kindergarten and begging to go with him.  That little three year old sure grew up fast!

She had a fun last day of Kindergarten.  Full of bubbles, friends, and ice cream.  You'd think there would be no tears, but......
Nope!  She was given purple bubbles instead of pink.  Heaven help us all!
She hid under the playground until her "boy" friend talked her into coming out.

In the end it was ice cream that got her out. 
This girl had a blast hanging out with the big kids!