Monday, December 29, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: The Last of the Year!

It's the last Monday of 2014.

...and I thought 2013 was crazy!
2014 was about twice as insane and fast-paced.

But, I also got the whole meal planning thing down in 2014, and that's something my family is super grateful for!

This weekend, I fed my OCD and made a list of absolutely everything food-wise I have in my house, and based my meal plan off of that. Here's what I discovered.

I have:

*Entirely too many cans of pinto beans
*Way too many cans of sweet peas
*only one can of diced tomatoes. Wait, that's NO diced tomatoes because I used them today.
*Extreme OCD, but I totally already knew that.

Here's the Meal Plan for the week. Going to try to stick to it because my Meal Plan train derailed bigtime last week!

Monday: Chicken Spaghetti/Chicken and Rice with Veggies (why two meals? because we all had leftovers yesterday!)

Tuesday: Tortilla Roll-ups with Mexican-style ground turkey  (I hope this one turns out)

Wednesday: French Bread Pizzas

Thursday: Chicken Stew

Friday: Mac and Cheese. Maybe Pizza.

Saturday: Pizza Soup

Sunday: One-pot Spaghetti

Oh. And my hyacinth bloomed fully today.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


We are done with the 52 week project!
Never fear, I am starting a new one this coming week. :)
Just for comparison, I am posting her 1/52 pictures alongside the 52/52 pictures for comparison.

Below is 52/52
We went on a walk one evening this week, and decided to check out the lights on the bridge before the town took them down.

And here is 1/52
Making chicken taquitos

52/52, Sunday

And 1/52, Sunday

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lilla Rose: Purple Friday and a Giveaway on top of a Giveaway!

Did you miss Black Friday?

Well, never fear! Lilla Rose is having a Purple Friday sale!!!

Here are the deets:

Most of my customers know that I'm doing a giveaway every month, where the winner gets a free item of their choice. (All you have to do to enter is order something during that month from my website )
This month, I am doing two giveaways. I am already doing my usual monthly giveaway...but this month, I have a goal I want to meet. I would like an additional $300 in orders before the end of the month (I'm in the process of saving up money for a return trip to Chicago for Ella's 9th Birthday and Riley's 10th. It's the only thing Ella has asked for!) 
If my goal is met, I will give a lucky winner the wildly popular and sold out Crimson Joy flexi in a size small!

While you are shopping the Purple Friday Sale, you are automatically entered to win this *sold out* clip and you are helping fulfill my awesome daughter's birthday wish!
Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Hyacinth: words from a grieving Mom

The winter after I lost my first daughter, I was already pregnant with  my second daughter.
It was a rough pregnancy, fraught with hospital visits and sleepless nights.

"Did she kick?"
"How long has it been since she moved?"

One day, while at work, I felt Ella flip over and then nothing.

For one hour, nothing.

Two hours, nothing.

Three hours.

Fearing the worst, I went in to be checked out.

She was fine. I was not. I was a wreck.

That evening, my Dad bought me a hyacinth. A pathetic little reject from the flower shop. I fell in love immediately.

"If you have a plant to take care of, you will have something to focus your nervous energy on. The stress cannot be good for the baby."

I took care of it. Watered it. Played calming music while I sat on the window seat and watched the sunrise, while silently praying for the tiny life inside me.

It bloomed purple. Amazing purple blossoms, even though the pot said "White hyacinth."

That February, I moved to Texas. I went by plane, so taking the hyacinth was out of the question. Dad took care of it for me, while I went to work at a flowershop, and eventually gave birth to a happy, healthy little girl. I returned that August, when Ella was 3 months old.

"It's the strangest thing, " Dad said when I inquired about the hyacinth, "It's STILL blooming."

When Gabe, Ella, and I moved to a neighboring town, I couldn't bear to take that hyacinth from Dad. He took care of it, chilled the bulb every winter, and every spring it would bloom. It never bloomed in the summer again, but it bloomed like clockwork in the spring until Ella turned about 5. It finally gave up the ghost and died.

Today, my husband bought me a purple hyacinth.

So many feelings. I didn't think a little purple flower could stir so many emotions.

Meal Plan Monday

It's Christmas Week!
Yesterday, Ella and I stopped by the Methodist church to look at their amazing Bethlehem display.
Check it out!

I just wanted to share these pictures. The lady who set up the display has spent years collecting the pieces. How wonderful that she chose to share her display with others!

A side note: I've killed my double burner (yep, dead as a doornail) so I had to go buy another one. The days of being stoveless are starting to wear on me.

Here's the Meal Plan for this Week

Monday: Leftover Spaghetti, Garlic bread
Tuesday: Sandwiches, possibly soup from a can (give me a break, I'm on vacation)
Wednesday: *Christmas Eve*  Ham, potatoes, green beans, cookies, soup, everything.
Thursday: *Christmas Day* Leftovers and Pizza ;)
Friday: Chicken and Rice
Saturday:  Beef Veggie Soup
Sunday: Chicken Spaghetti

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Typical Saturday Night....

...involves 10 pounds of bell peppers bought on clearance....

...a kid willing to help....

...using the Grandpa Bruce food preservation method (sucking the air out of the freezer bag with a straw)

...and having dinner prep made infinitely easier!

I'm grateful for a daughter who loves to help!


One week left, ya'll!

51/52: This is Ella pretty much all the time: a little pink blur.

51/52, Sunday. I need to paint those walls. But I love her dress, and usually I'm not one for fur, fake or real. (This is fake!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Desperation in the Kitchen: Shipwreck Casserole

True desperation actually drove me to make this. I'm famously OCD, when it comes to my kitchen. In unpacking boxes at our new house, I found two cans of sliced potatoes (who the heck cans potatoes anyway?) and had no idea what to do with them. Of course, being OCD, it was not acceptable. I googled "what do I do with canned sliced potatoes?" and one of the things that came up was Shipwreck Casserole. And it called for pork and beans and tomato soup. And that kind of made me want to wreck a ship because both of those things are vile. 

So, I improvised. With cheese. Lots of it. 

Without further ado....

Shipwreck Casserole

Here's what you need

*Ground Beef, browned
*Worcestershire Sauce
*Spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
*Cream of mushroom soup
*Canned veggies
*Canned sliced potatoes
*Melted butter (not pictured, because I'm forgetful)
*Cheddar cheese soup
*Splash of milk

Here's what you do

*Preheat oven (or tabletop roaster, I don't have an oven yet!) to 375

*After browning your ground beef, dump your cream soup and veggies into the pan with it

*Throw that mess into a casserole pan.

*Rinse your canned potatoes

*Start layering potatoes on your casserole. Decide the texture of the potatoes creeps you out. Get your daughter to do the rest.

*Top with cheese soup and milk mixture. Then top with additional cheese. Bake until everything is cooked through and cheese is melted. This took about an hour in the roaster...maybe it would work different in a regular oven? P.s. pay no attention to my stove top above. The stove totally doesn't work. 

Long story short: It was "wrecktacular" as my daughter and husband said, and after they were baked, the potatoes didn't creep me out. So, it's a win in my book!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meal Plan Monday.

I've survived my first week (hopefully not too many more!) of being stoveless, and truly, it wasn't too horrible! I've learned the ins and outs of my stovetop oven and I have a double burner, and at least I have those, right?

We're slowly getting used to being in this new place. I took Ella out exploring today and we saw just how beautiful things are here. I cannot wait to see everything blooming in the spring! Meanwhile, there is a huge hill to go sledding on!

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in the idea of not being home and hating it, that I forget how pretty this place is. Oh, and there's a dog now. Rocket. 

All in all, I think things are calming down here and we are falling into a comfortable routine, which is awesome when compared to the insanity of the last two months. 

All I need now is a stove and I'll be golden! Until that moment, there's this....

Monday: Shipwreck Casserole (recipe to follow tomorrow)
Tuesday: Chicken Stroganoff 
Wednesday: French Bread Pizzas 
Thursday: Breakfast Tacos 
Friday: Super Mac and Cheese
Saturday: Zuppa Toscana
Sunday: Stuffed Shells or Lasagna Rolls, depending on which pasta I have laying around :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Surviving the Chaos

Due to some scheduling adjustments, I've found myself dealing with a lot more time-management chaos lately. I'm sure I'm not the only one, so here are some things I've found that help deal with the insanity.

Seriously. Pray, or you will go insane. Been there, done that, probably needed a rubber room at some point.

I cannot talk enough about the importance of coffee. On days where I'm rushing everywhere, it's always good to have some coffee ready.

My best friend, Mr. Red, was a housewarming gift (from the old place) from a sweet friend of mine. He has been most useful lately.

As in the night before. Yep, it's a pain in the butt, but when you rush out your door at stupid o'clock on  a Tuesday morning, it's good to just dump a bunch of stuff in your crockpot. (See above)

JUNKY BREAKFAST FOODS. I'm not a fan of toaster waffles, but everyone else in the family is. Days where you're practically insane by 8 a.m., go for it. Toast the waffles ;)

These are just a few tips for days where it's all flying by so fast you can't even blink...just remember to keep it in perspective. Your mornings won't be busy forever.


50/52: Bwahahahahahah. We put her hair in rag curls one day this week, just to see if it would work. Yep, it works, once you tame it down....otherwise it kind of looks like a poodle. 

50/52, Sunday: Look, it's a new front door! Oh, and her hair returned to its normal lovely semi-straight state. And that dress is a size 14. Time needs to slow the heck down!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Meal Plan Monday and The Stoveless Wonder

Ok. *deep breath*
We are FINALLY moved in.

It has been quite the week.

First of all, moving always bites. I don't care if it's across town or across the country, it bites.
Second, moving with a cat bites double-time.
Thirdly, moving when you're stressed to the gills and facing a health scare bites triple-time.
and LASTLY....

Finding out that the place you're moving into is more of a fixer-upper than you were originally informed because the previous tenant was kind of a slob and never fixed ANYTHING (including replacing light bulbs!!!), really, really, truly, and sincerely BITES.

Ya'll, when we moved in and I felt unwell and discovered that almost every.single.bulb. was not working (I thought the power had been cut!), and then my cat bolted out the door, and I realized I HAD NO STOVE OR OVEN, I cried. It wasn't a pretty cry. In fact, I am pretty sure I scared my poor family.

The last few weeks have definitely been a lesson in trusting God. If they were a test, I failed miserably. But God is gracious and faithful even when I am not.

My new landlady had no idea we were going to have to do so much upon moving in (by the way, the light bulb count is 9 so far.) and brought me a tabletop oven and a convection oven. I bought a double burner and Mrs. Sarah brought me an electric skillet. I also have my myriad of crockpots. So, until this stove issue is fixed, things are going to be very interesting around here!

Here are a few pictures from today:

We made a turkey. Ella gave it a shower. 

Tabletop Roaster

Another shot of the roaster

If you've made it this far, God bless you! I tend to ramble. 
Here's the Meal Plan for the week. 

Monday: Made a turkey in the roaster, had mashed potatoes with it. It was DELICIOUS
Tuesday: Turkey noodle soup (and turkey slider sandwiches for hubby)
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (church night)
Thursday: Tacos, tentatively, but we'll see
Friday: Sandwiches
Saturday: Winter Soup, per Gabe's request
Sunday: Spaghetti Bake

Like I said, things are going to get interesting in my kitchen because I'm stoveless until further notice!


49/52: This kid has ridiculously long lashes. Truth.

49/52: I was aiming for an awesome Sunday picture in the new house, but woke up to the words no Mom wants to hear on a Sunday morning. "Momma, I threw up." Sigh. Poor kiddo missed church, but is doing so much better today!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: Should I even be planning this week? (and announcing the winner of the giveaway!)

Apparently, yes.

Why? Because OCD.

It has been a crazy week, but is mostly getting better. This move is starting to take a toll on me!

But, everyone else seems to be having fun ;)

Before I go any further with the meal planning, the winner of the November Giveaway is: Kristi Gross!

Ok: now for the Meal Plan. 
Monday: Turkey sandwiches and Babybel cheese.
Tuesday: Ramen stir fry
Wednesday: Undecided, but probably something horrifically unhealthy as it's move in day 
Thursday: Taco Soup. In the crockpot. 
Friday: Takeout, probably (this is SO not a good week for meal planning!)
Saturday: I'll be nice and make Pizza Soup (in the crockpot)
Sunday: Spaghetti, because it's tradition

Life is going to be interesting in the new place for the first week or so. They are working on the stove, and so a lot of my meals will be crockpot meals. Suggestions?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Girls and Pearls: The Super Quick November Edition Where We Weren't Alone

Gosh, that's a long title. But it explains things sooo well.
With the whole insanity of our move, I wasn't sure what we would do for this month's edition of Girls and Pearls.
We had the opportunity to attend a Christmas Concert last night with our Pastor and his wife, so we got all gussied up for that :)


This week has been crazy. We're dealing with the tail end of this move, I am dealing with massive anxiety, and am asking you for some prayers. Thank you!

48/52: We went to a Christmas concert last night. Ella got to dress up. On a side note: that eagle totally looks like it's about to swoop down on her ;)

48/52, Sunday: This will be her last week in front of this particular door, and our last full day in this house. Things have been a little hairy, to say the least, but we are happy to be out. Some things just aren't worth the stress. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Desperation in the Kitchen: Autumn Cheesecake Dip

Do ya'll remember on Monday night when I said I would NEVER AGAIN test drive a recipe during a move?

I lied.

Today, this happened.

Autumn Cheesecake Dip, adapted from here

Oh, and it was totally worth it, trying this recipe.

I'm bringing it to church tonight. Having grown up in a church that did ZERO social functions, I'm always at a loss as to what to bring. I came across this recipe today and decided that I.must.make.this

Here's what you need
*One brick of cream cheese, softened
*One container of Cool Whip, thawed (anyone else notice Cool Whip looks like shaving cream?)
*One cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*Graham Crackers or Apple Slices for dipping

Here's What You Do:

*Mix together the cream cheese, cool whip, and brown sugar. The original directions say to use a stand mixer. But hahahahahaha, mine is packed. So suck it up buttercup and use a spoon ;)

Eventually, your arm will feel like it is falling off and the mix will look like this.

*Add in your vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg

*Mix it some more and then put in a lovely container (mine is a candy dish from a friend) and chill for at least an hour. Serve with graham crackers or apple slices :)

It's so good you could eat it with a spoon. Not that I ever would. Nope. Not me.