Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I've Been Cooking

I wanted to post links to a few recipes I've tried lately and enjoyed.

It was a fun experiment to make my own starter using instructions from King Arthur Flour. In the end, I didn't want to use all of my flour to feed it, but it was fun while it lasted.

I tried a recipe for blueberry kuchen from the Penzey's catalog, and it instantly became a favorite. It has been my go-to recipe for visiting people all summer. It is also the reason I froze more blueberries than usual.

Last weekend I had a dinner party and served Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Chopped Salad (minus the chicken), and buttered orzo with fresh basil. IMO, the perfect summer meal.

I also tried a recipe Sandy posted for bathroom magic.  It worked great in my shower! It also is mild enough that I can let my kids use it to clean their bathroom. Thanks Sandy!

What have you been making lately?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Secret of Happy Families

In The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More Bruce Feiler talks a lot about what you need to do to have a happy family vacation. One of his main suggestions was to do some work involve everyone in a project such as a scavenger hunt, or an Amazing Race style game. That sounds nice to me, but wow, too much work for a vacation. But then we dug a hole and now I'm convinced.

There's a picture of me and my brother and my cousin in a big hole on the beach when we were about 4 or 5. This picture is so entrenched in our family archives that we decided we needed to dig a hole and put all of our kids in it to take a picture.

1) The need to go to the beach and dig a hole got us all to the beach together -- we're talking about a group of 20.
2) The digging of the hole got us all involved in a project. Everyone pitched in with digging or ideas.
3) Kids were entertained at beach rather than complaining about sand on their feet. They were also exhausted at the end of the day from the effort of climbing in and out of the hole.
4) We have awesome pics for Christmas cards!

Will I make up an elaborate Amazing Race style game next year? Probably not. We're more Survivor meets Temptation Island style people. But I will look for little opportunities to get everyone involved in a project.

{Note: links to amazon.com are affiliate links.}

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Week's Menu & Goals

Is there anything more satisfying than coming home from the beach and doing your laundry? I just love it. Does that make me weird?

Anyway, as much as we love having other people cook for us for a week, we're enjoying eating our normal foods again. I am missing the 24 access to awesome ice cream stands though.

This is a strange week, because I have two nights out planned. It's just for a library event, and eating pizza by the pool with a friend, but it counts as a busy week for us!

Sat -- Tuscan Lemon Grilled Chicken, chopped salad, orzo with butter and fresh basil
Sun -- Turkey chili, corn bread, carrots
Mon -- Spaghetti, meatballs, salad
Tue -- Minestrone soup, salad
Wed -- Out
Thu -- Sandwich night
Fri -- Pizza & salad out

Breakfasts -- yogurt, banana bread, fresh juice

Lunches -- Salad, rice balls, leftovers

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday

Goals from two weeks ago:

1) Work on Christmas presents one night
2) Finish paperwork for after school care next year {I need to find two documents and scan them and I'll be done}
3) Tackle ironing

This week's goals:

1) Read two books from summer reading list
2) Work on Christmas presents one night
3) Figure out how to take a 300 dpi picture of my cat {don't ask}
4) Tackle ironing and get all other laundry under control
5) Make pesto!

I hope everyone has a happy and productive week!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back To Work

I'm back from our annual big family Cape Cod trip. Why is it that I woke up early every day on vacation but slept late today?

I'll be back to regular posting this weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's a lot easier to change your space than your partner

It's a lot easier to change your space than your partner.
~ The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler

I've been cleaning out closets lately, and this quote from The Secrets of Happy Families reminded me of all the grumbling I did when doing so. Guilty as charged.

{Note: links to amazon.com are affiliate links. Thanks for your support.}

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Easy Minion Birthday Party

My son loves the minions. He even speaks the minion language. It was no surprise that he wanted a minion party this year.

I'm no good at tutorials, but I thought I'd share a few pictures.

Vanilla cupcakes dipped in yellow sugar. Blue liners and eyeballs from Michaels.

Homemade pinata made with paper mache, and painted. A blue party hat covers his flat head.

My Pin The Eye on the Minion game next to the tiny one my Mom bought at the store. We also had blue and yellow water balloons to play with. Giant eyeball and felt from Michaels.

I made blue and yellow popcorn to snack on. We had a veggie tray for the grown ups. The biggest hit was the bowl of orange cheese curls.

Party on!

Linked to: Works for me Wednesday, Talent Show Tuesday, Anti-Procrastination TuesdayHope In Every Season, Wake Up Wednesday, In & Out of the Kitchen

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dress For Success When The Weather Is Warm

I read a thing the other day that said in order to be taken seriously at work a woman must never wear anything sleeveless, always have her nails polished at least clear, and always wear pantyhoes under a skirt.  I once again felt very thankful for my office's casual dress policy.  I always wear sleeveless (tasteful, not spaghetti straps or anything like that) because I move around outside a lot during the day.  In fact between my walks and commute I often walk ten miles in the course of the day, mostly in the sweltering DC humidity.  I never polish my nails because I bake my own bread.  As for pantyhose, I have one pair which is mostly cut to shreds because I've been using it to tie up my tomato plants.

Still, it's summer, and I may be a techie but I'm still a girl and I want to look and feel cute.  Here's a few things that have been saving me this summer:

Travex dresses from Eddie Bauer -- The fit and feel of these dresses are just right for me.  Plus they are wash and wear.

I keep a Luvali Wide Brim Sun Hat in my office for walks in the sun.  It offers tons of protection, but doesn't mess up my hair too much like a baseball cap would.

Sport Body Wipes and baby powder are the two things I keep in my desk for after a walk.  Some bigger offices offer showers for people who like to exercise during the day, but mine is not that evolved.  I'm not running a marathon here, only walking, so I make do with these two things.

Do you exercise at work?  What do you wear to keep you cool?

{Note: Links to amazon.com are affiliate links.  The others are just stuff I like}