Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday Evan!

Today's is a very special day in our household. Not only is it New Year's Eve, but it's my little (or maybe not so little) guy's sixth birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN! Where have these past six years gone? I remember the day perfectly like it was yesterday, when I held my little guy in my arms for the very first time. I was blessed with a very special little boy who has changed my life forever. I'm a very proud mom as I'm sure you can tell.

Evan's birthday celebration actually started last night with his birthday dinner from YaYa. He wanted to go to Ukai so that's where we went. He loves watching them cook the food right at the table. It was a nice dinner and Ev was super excited to finally get his Lego Fireman Boat. He didn't get it for Christmas and was waiting and waiting for it (A top item on his wish list). You can tell from the picture how excited he was about it.

Today we celebrated Evan's birthday with lunch at Qdoba. This was his choice as it's one of his favorite places lately along with Noodles & Co. Evan's got a buddy when he goes to Qdoba. One of the managers, Carolyn has watched Evan grow up. We've been going to Qdoba for many years and ever since we took Evan in there in the baby car seat Carolyn has loved seeing Evan. She would always tell us how cute he was when she saw us in there. Once he got old enough to start holding a conversation with her, Evan would talk, and talk, and talk to her. That's my boy, Mr. Social Bug! It's continued now over the years and when Em was born the same thing. Carolyn gets a joy out of seeing Evan and she's always talking to the other co-workers about him. Today Greg and Evan were gone this morning for a little bit so Emme and I met them at Qdoba. When we got there Em told Carolyn that it was Evan's birthday. She asked me if it really was and I said yes. Then she said, I'm going to run and get him a balloon before he gets here. She took off out of there and in no time was back with a "Happy Birthday" balloon for Ev. He was so excited. Such a nice gesture it was. Ev really enjoyed his birthday lunch there.

Evan wanted to play with his new birthday present this afternoon with his Daddy. He actually got it last night and he hasn't wanted to stop playing with it. It's a 10-in-1 activity table. He loves playing pool. I think his new birthday present was a good investment and we'll get a lot of use out of it. Here's Ev & Greg playing some pool.

Then tonight we went out for Evan's birthday dinner. He chose Champps and it worked out nicely. They weren't too busy yet when we went, and we got to watch the end of the Spartan basketball game so Ev enjoyed that. Finally the b-ball team pulled off a win. Their season hasn't started off too well so hopefully this is a good sign of things to come in the Big Ten season!

We've had a relaxing evening after dinner. Evan worked on building his new Lego boat, and we've just been hanging out. Evan and Greg played some more pool. Em and I have been playing with some of her new toys, and now the kids are playing nicely together while waiting for the ball to drop. Yes, that's right they're still awake. It's Ev's birthday and it's the one night of the year they both get to stay up late. We had a little mini birthday celebration with some birthday cake. Greg's mom got this cake from Sam's for him last night. We ate some of the cupcakes last night and saved the middle part for tonight.

The big cake is next weekend when Ev has his birthday party. I told Ev to go up and get his pj's on and when he came back down I had lit some candles and we sang happy birthday to him. Emmaline did an awesome job singing and was loving the chance to sing happy birthday to her big brother! Here's Emme singing and Evan getting ready to blow out his candles.

It's been a great day, and I'm pretty sure Evan has had a great birthday! Today is also special in another way. If you remember last year I told you, it's also the day Greg & I got engaged eleven years ago. It's hard to believe that 2010 is about to come to an end. It's been a pretty good year and I wish all of you health and happiness in the New Year! As I head to bed tonight after the ball drops, I'm saying my prayers that the Spartans are ready for their big game tomorrow in the Capital One Bowl. Happy New Year and Let's Go State!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Four Christmases

Another week has passed and we're approaching the end of the year. We've had four Christmases and it looks like our house was hit by a tornado! I can't even keep up with getting this place cleaned. Every time I get one part of the house picked up, I turn around and it's a mess again. I'm fighting a battle that I don't see me winning anytime soon. Ugh. Where to put all the new stuff requires reorganizing and/or getting rid of stuff.

Our Christmas started with celebrating Christmas Eve with Greg's mom. We headed over to her house that morning and she made us homemade cinnamon rolls. Yummy! The kids were of course anxious to open their Christmas presents. They managed to tear through everything in no time. Ev's big surprise was a new bike. He couldn't wait to try it out so boots, helmet, and all he was out in the snow riding his new bike.

Em was so excited that she got her Barbie "Moustache," a.k.a. Barbie Mustang. She's going to have a blast this spring/summer cruising around the neighborhood. We all got a lot of nice things and I ended up getting the most wanted item on my "wish list," a new camera. Woo hoo, I'm back in business snapping away photos of the kiddos! Later on we went to Bravo Cucina for dinner. It's sort of become our place to go for Christmas Eve dinner. Thanks to Greg's mom for all the Christmas goodies and dinner. Before bed on Christmas Eve we let the kids open new pj's. I think it's going to be a new Christmas tradition. I liked that they had new pj's for pictures Christmas morning. I know it's sort of a common tradition among many families, but I think it's a good one. Here's the kids opening their new pj's.

Greg read "The Night Before Christmas to the kids before Em went to bed. Evan and I sprinkled the "magic reindeer food" outside before he went to bed. We forgot to do it before Em went to bed. Evan would not go to sleep for anything Christmas Eve. Santa was ready for bed, but Evan was not. Finally about midnight he fell asleep and Santa quickly got started putting stuff out. Here's hoping next year Santa can get to bed sooner.

Christmas morning Emmaline was up about 7:30am. She had to wake her brother up and tell him it was time to get out of bed and go see what Santa brought. The kids loved all their stuff from "Santa" and us. Em got a dollhouse which she LOVES. It's not the kind I was looking for, but it's similar to one I had as a kid so I'm glad she likes it. We did Santa presents and our Christmas that morning. My wonderful kids and husband got me a KitchenAid mixer. I was very surprised. I also got some new cookie sheets so looks like I can check two more things of my wish list. We had a nice morning, the four of us. Here's a picture I snapped Christmas morning of the kids that I just love.

We headed to my dad's for Christmas there Saturday afternoon. We had a nice lunch before doing presents. Christmas number three was successful and we all got some nice things. Emmaline fell in love with her Hello Kitty pillow from grandpa & grandma. She carried that thing around all night. I didn't think to get a picture, but will have to take one some time. Thanks to my Dad & Step Mom for all the wonderful things for all of us and the tasty Christmas lunch. Evan loves his new Leapster Tag Reading Books and everything else too. Em loves all her Hello Kitty stuff, Trio blocks, and everything else too!

Sunday evening we spent Christmas with my Mom. She came down to my sisters and we had our fourth Christmas. Usually I make chicken tetrazzini for Christmas dinner, but since we did two Christmases on Christmas day it didn't work out to have it. We did appetizers/snacks that night instead. I made a new pizza dip that I ran across the week before and it was delicious. I will definitely be making it again and will be posting the recipe soon. The appetizers worked perfectly since we had a big lunch earlier. The kids opened their stuff from grandma, aunt Jen, and Kaite. They got some really nice stuff once again, as did Greg and I. Thanks to my Mom, sister and Kaite for everything. It was a nice Christmas. The kids also got some great things from Uncle Dick and Aunt Deb that they sent from Arizona. So thoughtful of them to think of the kids. Thanks Aunt Deb and Uncle Dick.

Needless to say after four Christmases and traveling, I was exhausted on Sunday and spent much of the day being lazy before we headed back home. It was nice to just do nothing after being so busy. Once again a big thanks to all our family for everything, and thanks to my wonderful husband and kids for the stuff they got me. I can't wait to use my KitchenAid. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where Does The Time Go?

O.k. so now I'm a week behind on catching up the Shearwater Nest news. Ugh. I don't know where the time goes, but I do know tomorrow is Christmas Eve and it just doesn't seem possible! It's time to put this blog on fast forward and give you the very fast run down of some highlights from the last week. I try to keep this blog up to date, and while this is all old news I feel like it's worthy of sharing because there were some fun happenings.

Last week Thursday was Evan's holiday party at school. I was asked by his teacher this time to be the "party mom" and plan the party. I didn't have to do too much, just call some moms and dads to see if they could help out in the classroom that day or provide some snacks. It all came together nicely and the party was a great success. I took in pretzel buttons and also helped out at the party. Greg took the morning off work and helped out too. Evan was excited that we both were at the party. There was a great turnout of parent volunteers. Evan's teacher, Mrs. Mills had a lot of awesome activities planned for the kids. They got to make candy canes with beads, do a gumdrop graphing sheet, make reindeer hats (girls could also make snow princess crowns), decorate pine cones, make a spice ball potpourri, decorate a stuffed sock snowman, and put together a bag of magic reindeer food. This one was a really cute idea. It's oatmeal & glitter mixed together and the kids just had to fill a baggie and attach the instructions: "Place magic reindeer food on your lawn. The magic glitter sparkling in the moonlight and the smell of the oats will guide Rudolph to your home." The kids were busy all morning and loved all the activities.

Here's Evan decorating his pine cone. Note- the little girl in the picture is Jaidyn (with her mom). Evan has a little crush on Jaidyn. Her mom says to me, "Evan's so cute. He's quite the flirt. I told Jaidyn's dad we have to watch out for that one." LOL.
Here's Evan at the "Sock Snowman table." The kids all did a great job making their snowman. Very cute!

Thursday afternoon the kids went to Greg's mom's and made cookies. Friday was Evan's birthday treat day since his birthday falls over winter break. Greg's mom graciously offered to make cookies with the kids so Evan could take to school since I was so busy and had a million other things to do. They made M&M cookies, one of Evan's favorites!

I really needed to clean Saturday, but shopping and a movie won over cleaning. The kids, Greg's mom, Greg, and I went to see the new Yogi Bear movie. It was a little predictable, but cute and the kids liked it so that's what matters, right? It was better than cleaning that's for sure. Greg and I went out Saturday afternoon to do a little last minute Christmas shopping kid free. While we were gone Evan lost his second tooth. He had told us it was looser Saturday morning, but it's been like that for awhile and we really didn't think it was going to come out already. Needless to say, one week before Christmas the tooth fairy had to show up at the Shearwater Nest. Five dollars it was this time for the second tooth. I finally got my Christmas cards back on Saturday and was able to get them all addressed on Sunday and in the mail by Monday! Definitely the latest I've been sending out cards over the years!

This week started Evan's winter break from school. Monday I slept in until 9am. I can't believe it. I must have been really tired. It was much needed sleep though that's for sure. The week has consisted of running errands, wrapping presents, doing laundry, cleaning the house, etc. It's been a never ending cycle of those things, and we've been gone late every night except tonight so that's why I haven't been blogging. I'm not even going to say when I'll be back on. It's going to be a busy few days here with Christmas, but I'll be sure to catch you up on it all next week sometime. I'm looking forward to watching the kids open presents from Santa this year. They're at a great age right now! So that wraps things up. I know, not as quickly as I wanted. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your families and get a little time to relax in the rush of it all! Merry Christmas! Season's Greetings! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa Cookies

I know I need to get this blog caught up and hopefully over the next couple days I can. In the meantime to update you a little, I made my Santa cookies on Thursday so I'm posting the recipe. Maybe you've got nothing to do this last week before Christmas and will want to make them! It's really not like you need a recipe for these because by looking at them you can pretty much figure out how to make these. However, for the sake of this blog, I'm posting a recipe so you can find it under "cookies" with all the other recipes and you'll know how to make these cute Santa cookies. There's minimal ingredients and just a few steps to complete these Santa cookies. Here's a pic of the Santa cookies. Aren't they adorable?


1 Package of Nutter Butter Cookies
1 Package Vanilla Candiquik
Red sugar sprinkles
White morsels
Mini red M&M's
Mini chocolate chips


1. Melt half package of the Candiquik and dip one end of Nutter Butters (to resemble beard) and set aside until Candiquik hardens.
2. After step one is complete, melt other half of Candiquik and dip other end of Nutter Butters (to resemble Santa hat), sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles leaving a little bit of white showing for hat fur, top with one white morsel.
3. Top with two mini chocolate morsels to resemble eyes, and one mini red M&M to resemble nose (Use a little dab of the melted Candiquik to apply the eyes & nose). Let set until hardened.

Notes: It's helpful to have an extra hand when sprinkling hats and doing the eyes & nose because you have to work quickly before your melted Candiquik hardens. It's doable by yourself, but an extra hand doesn't hurt. By the time you get to the end of doing the eyes and nose you can remelt the Candiquik, but not too much or it will end up burned. Also, I have in the past used cinnamon red hots for the nose and black decorating gel for the eyes. My kids prefer the M&M's so I've switched to using those. Also, you'll see in the picture I made some with green Santa hats. I actually ran out of red sprinkles so had to switch to green. It worked out good though because I called them my Spartan Santa cookies!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cherry 'Mallow Cookies

As promised here's the recipe for the Cherry 'Mallow Cookies I made yesterday. I discovered this recipe in an email I got from Better Homes and Garden. I thought they looked too cute and sounded too yummy to pass up.


  • 16 maraschino cherries with stems
  • 1/3 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 32 vanilla wafer cookies
  • 4 ounces vanilla-flavor candy coating ( I used the Candiquik you can find at Meijer)


1. Place maraschino cherries with stems on paper towels; drain well. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together marshmallow creme and chopped maraschino cherries. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the maraschino cherry mixture on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom side down. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies and maraschino cherry mixture.

2. In a small saucepan, heat and stir candy coating over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. ( I just melted the Candiquik in the microwave)

3. Dip cookies halfway into the melted candy coating. Return to baking sheet. Holding a cherry by the stem, dip bottom of cherry into the melted candy coating. Place cherry on top of candy-coated side of one cookie. Hold for several seconds or just until set. Repeat with remaining cherries and cookies. Let cookies stand until candy coating sets. Makes 16 sandwich cookies.

TO STORE: Place sandwich cookies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Here's the finished product! Don't they look yummy?

I actually doubled the recipe because I was planning to give some of these out to neighbors and 16 cookies didn't seem like enough. However, there's only one problem I discovered. I apparently missed the "TO STORE" section of the recipe and didn't see that they are supposed to be refrigerated for up to two days. When we opened the container tonight the filling got a little runny from not storing in the fridge. They still tasted fine, but just a little messy. Also, I see why the recipe only makes 16 cookies because you're only supposed to refrigerate them for up to two day. All in all though they're a fast and easy cookie to make and taste delicious.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Has Arrived!

Well if you look outside here, winter has definitely arrived. The warning was out on Saturday that the snow was coming, and sure enough it did late Saturday night into Sunday. We didn't get as much as I thought we would, but still any snow on the ground is more than enough in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, a little snow on the trees and ground is pretty, but the cold, ice, and nasty roads that go along with it I can do without. We ended up having a busy weekend once again. Christmas is approaching a little too fast, and I feel like I still have a lot to do. Ugh! It definitely is a busy time of year at the Shearwater Nest!

This past weekend was graduation at MSU. The big speaker for graduation was Magic Johnson. I can't even tell you who spoke at my graduation, but I know it wasn't anyone cool like Magic Johnson. Greg was busy all day Friday doing Graduation stuff and had to go take pics of Magic speaking to some students. I guess Magic ended up giving away like 10 trips to students to L.A. to see a Lakers game with him, all expenses paid. Now I'm not a Lakers fan, but that would be an awesome opportunity to go. Friday night I had to whip up a dish to take to Greg's Christmas work party on Saturday. He signed me up to bring El Az Dip which was fine because it's really easy to make. Greg actually even helped me chop up the stuff for it so I got it made in no time.

Saturday Greg had to work for a little bit to cover the big graduation at the Breslin Center. Magic Johnson was speaking so he didn't mind having to work. Greg doesn't go crazy over most famous people like I do, but I told him he must get his picture with Magic. He did get a pic, and I finally got to see it today. Here it is!

Greg's a little cheesy, but it's still a great picture! I told Greg, either Magic is really tall or he's really short. Haha! I'm thinking we should probably get a print of this and have it in our home!

Saturday afternoon I made a batch or party mix and Greg and Evan made some of the pretzel buttons I made last year. I'm pretty sure those will be an annual thing. They are so stinkin' easy and are yummy! They're a little too yummy because I've already had plenty of them. While the party mix was making (you know how you have to bake it for an hour and stir every 15 min.) I made up some guacamole for the Christmas party too. I haven't told you about my guacamole yet, but I guess this is probably a good time because it's way overdue. I never made guacamole until about a month or so ago. Our friend Brenda brought guacamole one football Saturday and it was really good. I mentioned that I really needed to learn how to make it and she told me how easy it was and how she made hers. I then started making it and am now wondering why I never made it sooner. The batch I whipped up on Saturday I think was my best yet! I'll post my recipe for it soon. Both the El Az Dip and the guacamole were a hit at the party.

Greg's boss, Kent, had the party at his house. We had the option of bringing the kids or not. Evan was all excited about the party once he heard about it and really wanted to go. He went with us and Em stayed at Greg's mom's. Kent had a few games planned and Evan was excited about both of them. One was a box filled with items that we had to reach our hand in and feel the items and write down what we thought it was. The other game everyone was given a sheet of stickers and you had to get rid of all your stickers by placing them on others without them noticing you doing it. The kids really got a kick out of the stickers. Evan, Greg, and I all worked together to guess the box items and we ended up getting the most right. We won a $25 gift certificate for Leo's which is a new restaurant in Okemos. That was a nice surprise. We had a great time and it was a nice evening. Thanks to Kent and Tammy for opening up their house for the party!

Sunday, I already told you the snow storm hit. We had to pick up Em that morning so we met Greg's mom and Em for breakfast. Then Evan was so excited about the snow that he really wanted to get snow pants. No we didn't have any yet. I know, I procrastinated a little bit. I had looked a few times, but couldn't really find any. Greg's mom said she'd buy the kids snow pants so we headed out to Kohl's. We found some for Evan, but none for Em so we then went to Target. We did find some there for her, however I still didn't have boots for Em. Yes, I know... procrastinating again. Well sort of! She's got some little suede boots which are fine, but they're really not for sledding and playing in the snow. I've also looked a few times for boots for her, but haven't been able to find any reasonably priced or in her size. (Ann, you're not alone with not having boots for your kid!) We still didn't find any so the search continues this week. Wish me luck finding some!

With the snow yesterday and super cold temps, came a phone call last night that school was canceled for today. Woo Hoo! I don't know who was more excited, Evan or me. I remember as a kid, wishing for snow days! I really wasn't looking forward to driving to school today in this weather so once we got the call that was a little bit of a relief. I got to stay in bed until 8:30am this morning which was really nice! I made some soup today and then made two more batches of party mix, some more pretzel buttons, and some new cookies I tried. I came across a recipe for Cherry 'Mallow Cookies that sounded really good. Greg even helped me make them so that was another bonus of him helping in the kitchen. I'll post the recipe soon. They were fast and easy to make! Now it's time to get to bed since I'm pretty sure there will be school tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Weekend Rundown

Before I tell you about my weekend which I'm a few days late I know, I'd like to wish my Mom a very Happy Birthday! The kids were so cute on the phone wishing Grandma a happy birthday. Evan asked her how old she was and she said 63. Evan responded, "63?" and Em said, "I'm three!" LOL. I said to the kids it's like putting the two numbers of their ages together, 6 (Evan's almost six) and 3 (Em's three of course). They liked that.

Now onto my weekend rundown, which I was so excited to tell you about my great shopping find that I forgot I hadn't recapped our weekend. Now it's midweek and it's pretty much old news, but I thought I'd give ya the rundown since it was a weekend full of fun things. It didn't start out so great, but thankfully it did end up to be a nice weekend. Saturday morning I made sure to get on the computer at 10am because Kid Rock tickets went on sale for the January concert at Van Andel in Grand Rapids. This is a concert that I've been talking about going to and want to go to very badly. I was expecting it to be hard to get tickets and expecting to get crappy seats. My friends Jessica and Brenda were planning to go with Greg and I so I was really excited. It was to be a fun night out in January. After sitting at the computer for a few minutes waiting and waiting for Ticketmaster to pop up the available seats to my surprise some half way decent seats popped up (section 106) at the cheaper ticket price (there were two different prices). I snatched them up and was so excited that I was going to be going to see Kid Rock! I then went through each step in the checkout process. I entered my credit card info and billing info and clicked the "submit" button and was waiting for my confirmation. Guess what? No confirmation! Instead something popped up that said "billing info error" and then said "your tickets have been released!" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It couldn't be. I was fuming and very mad to say the least. I'm not sure what the problem was, but it didn't even give me a chance to fix it. I immediately quickly tried to pull up some more tickets, but by that time they were in like section 202 which was on the side of the stage and more than likely blocked by speakers and half way behind the stage! These tickets were even the same price as the section 106 tickets. SERIOUSLY? I of course kept trying and tickets were gone. I even called and was on hold forever with Ticketmaster and of course got nowhere with them. What a waste of an hour and a half Saturday morning. I'm still ticked about it! Ugh!

Thankfully the rest of the weekend went well. I then headed off to the MSU Arts & Crafts fair at the Union. I've gone for many years now and this year the gal who I got Em's cute MSU outfit from was going to be there. I got some hats for Em, and our annual family Christmas ornament. If you remember from last year, I posted a pic of all our family ornaments over the years. Each year I get us an ornament.

Here's our 2010 family Christmas ornament.
I chose a tree this year since this is our first year having an artificial tree. I thought it was fitting for our 2010 ornament. Saturday afternoon I ran errands and then that evening was bunco night with the girls! Our last bunco of the year and this time my friend Carmen was the hostess. It was "Slumber Party Bunco" so we got to wear our pj's! Right up my alley since I love hanging out in my pj's! It was a fun night and I walked away with one "baby" bunco prize and won $20 for the most wins! Woo Hoo!

Sunday we had to miss out on "Winter Fest" downtown E.Lansing which is where the kids usually get their pics with Santa, see the reindeer, make a Christmas ornament, and we attend the "Chili Bowl" and get to sample local businesses chili and soup. Instead we had two birthday parties to go to. It was actually two parties in one though because it was for my friend Marie's kids, Kyra and Connor. They're birthdays are only a couple weeks apart so she combines their birthday party. Brilliant if you ask me because it's only one prep, entertaining, and clean up! We all had a great time at the party and had a fun afternoon. That wraps up our weekend and now another weekend is almost upon us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Great Shopping Find

Don't you just hate it when you're looking and looking for something and you just can't find it anywhere? That's the case right now for me when it comes to finding a doll house I like for Em. I've kind of put the idea of getting her one from Santa on the back burner because I feel like I've exhausted all places to find that "perfect doll house." I saw one last year at Home Goods, and I just don't think it exists anymore. With that said, don't you just love it when you're not looking for something and you come across a great find you really can't pass up? It's even greater when you're at Home Goods, Marshall's, or TJ Maxx because those places are really a hit or miss kind of place. It's all about the timing and sometimes you can walk in those stores and find absolutely nothing, or find a ton or things you must have, or find that perfect something you're oh so happy you've stumbled upon.

That was the case with me last Thursday when I stopped into Marshall's looking for a birthday present. After I got the birthday present I went in for, I was going to just go check out and leave but decided I might as well go around the store the other way from the way I came in, and see what they got. It was a good thing because I passed by this table.

I instantly thought this little table would be perfect for Em's room as a nightstand. Once we turned her crib into a full size bed, I've always had in the back of my mind that some day I'd get a table to put next to her bed. She's three though and at this point doesn't really "need" one, but it would be nice to have to sort of "complete" the bedroom set. However, I ended up taking a picture of the table and walked out not buying it. That's considered a "no no" when it comes to a store like Marshall's because more than likely if you go back to get something you saw, it's usually gone. I went home and showed it to Greg and see what he thought. I was a actually a little surprised because usually he just says whatever. He thought it would look fine in her room and said to get it if I wanted to.

Well of course since I got his approval, I figured I was sure to be out of luck going back on Friday to get it. I headed into the store hoping the table would still be there, but thinking if it's not then well, it's not meant to be. Sure enough though it was there, so I guess it was meant to be! I couldn't find anyone to help me so I took everything off the table that was on it and carried it to the front. Em was so excited we were getting a table for her room. I noticed a few small scratches on the table so figured I'd ask if they'd take anything off. They did so it was an added bonus and I got an extra 10% off. It wasn't a huge amount, but it was something. So I walked out with my table and it only cost $36! What a bargain!

Here's Em's dresser. It's black and has like some distressed marks on it (like on the top middle drawer, I added her ladybug knobs).
Once again here's the table. (The flash made the table look a little shiny, but it's really not.)
Here's Em's bed with the table next to it.
It matches perfectly, don't you think? The knob is almost the same as the knobs on her dresser. The slats on the bottom match the slats on her headboard. And the table even has the distressed marks on it. I think it will be a perfect spot to put some bedtime books for her and eventually a lamp to go on top! As you can tell I'm pretty excited about my shopping find! It has sort of replaced my frustration about the doll house issue temporarily.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Casserole

Everyday I get recipes emailed to me from Allrecipes. Often I think, "that sounds good, I should try that for dinner." Then I forget about it. The other day I got this recipe for Chicken Noodle Casserole that sounded really good. I had some turkey left over from Thanksgiving and thought that I could make the recipe with turkey instead of chicken. So that's what I did and it turned out really good. Here's the recipe from Allrecipes.


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream ( I used reduced fat sour cream)
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled buttery round crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter


  1. Boil chicken in a large pot of simmering water. Cook until no longer pink in center, about 12 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. Bring chicken cooking water to a boil and cook pasta in it. Drain. Cut chicken into small pieces, and mix with noodles.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together mushroom soup, chicken soup, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir together cream soup mixture with the chicken mixture. Place in a 2 quart baking dish.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan, and remove from heat. Stir in crumbled crackers. Top casserole with the buttery crackers.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until heated through and browned on top.

I omitted step one since I already had the turkey cooked up and just boiled some egg noodles. However, if I were to make it sometime with chicken I'd probably omit step one again and just use a rotisserie chicken. I also didn't have any crackers and rather than running to the store, I just omitted that part too. It tasted fine with out. The recipe also said wonderful as leftovers topped with melted cheese. So towards the end of the 30 minutes of cooking I mixed in some shredded cheese on half of it to try. The half with cheese was good, as was the half without. I'd say you could make it either way. It was a great recipe to use up that leftover turkey and the kids really liked it so it was a win win meal!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First Snow

Well here we are starting December and we got our first official snow today. Why I live in Michigan is really beyond me because I hate this weather. I don't like to be cold, I don't like to drive on the icy roads, and I hate having to bundle up in heavy winter coats, not to mention bundle up kids in hats, coats, mittens, boots. I'm happy just grabbing my purse, keys, and slipping on my flip flops to head out the door. I probably shouldn't complain too much since we have had a pretty warm fall for the most part. However yesterday it was 50 and today I wake up to 27 degrees and snow on the ground. That's a little too much of a change for me. I know it's only December 1st, but here's to hoping winter moves in and out very quickly!

I'm so proud of myself that I got all the Christmas decorations up before December hit. I don't remember the last time that happened. Evan helped me put the rest of the decorations out Monday night after Em went to bed. Yesterday morning when we came downstairs Em walked into the living room, and says, "Bootiful" (it sounds like boo when she says it), then she walked into the middle of the room, opened her arms up, spun around in a circle while saying, "It's so bootiful in here." She did this a few times. It was just too darn cute. She absolutely loves the Christmas decorations this year! It's so fun to watch her look at everything. I'll try to post a picture soon. I meant to take a picture tonight and forgot, and now it's too dark.

Now onto another recipe. It's actually fitting for this weather because as soon as the cold hits, what do you think of making? If you're like me it's soup! It's the perfect meal on a cold winter day. I usually make my soup up ahead of time so it's already made come dinner time, and then there's always enough for leftovers so that's another added bonus of making soup! Greg made this soup about a month ago for the first time. It was from my soup cookbook (the same one I posted the Italian Chicken Soup recipe from that's on this blog). The first time we had it we both liked it, but it had a little too much garlic we thought. We're not huge garlic fans, but put in what it called for anyway. The next time we made it, we tweaked the recipe a little. I'll post the recipe and then tell you what we changed.

Beef & Bean Soup

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, sliced
14oz. canned black-eyed peas (found in the canned bean aisle)
1 cup fresh ground beef
1 tsp. of each- ground cumin, chili powder, and paprika
1/4 head of cabbage, sliced
8 ounces of tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups of Beef Stock
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes or until softened). Add bell pepper and carrots and cook another 5 minutes (we cooked a little longer).
  2. Meanwhile, drain the peas, reserving the liquid from the can. Put two-thirds of the peas (reserve the rest) in a food processor or blender along with the liquid from the peas. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until well browned (we cooked our burger up in a separate pan before hand and added already cooked).
  4. Add the spices, cabbage, tomatoes, stock, and pureed peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir in the reserved peas, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving!

Lisa's tweaks:
I just use the baby cut carrots (that's what I always have on hand) and chop some of those up. I don't really measure them. The second time we made it, instead of using garlic gloves I just put in some garlic powder (didn't really measure, just tasted along the way). The third time I made it with my sister and we tried this McCormick's Garlic Pepper seasoning I have in place of the garlic cloves and it tasted really good. To save time (or maybe because I'm lazy) I didn't drain the peas and just poured all the liquid and 2/3 of the peas into the food processor, reserving the rest of the peas. I used more than a cup of ground beef (didn't really measure) I wasn't about to peel tomatoes so I just used a can of diced tomatoes (with juice). The first time we used beef stock, the next two times we used beef broth (it's cheaper) and it tasted just as good. Honestly I don't really know the difference between beef stock and broth so I figured it didn't matter much.

Note: We sort of doubled this recipe. Well certain parts- carrots, black-eyed peas, ground beef (probably used about 1 lb.), and beef broth. This is a recipe that I don't think you can really screw up. If you double the beef broth (5 cups) and black-eyed peas (2- 14oz. cans) then add however much of everything else you want to your liking it will be fine. You can kind of make it your own to your preferences. If you like more or less of something then add what you desire. Enjoy!