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Grandparent Weekend

September 8, 2015

Greetings! Hope you had a nice long weekend!

My parents drove over from Louisiana—my sister and I have passed baby stuff back and forth from Sophie to Lila to Dylan and now back to us with Charlie.  Baby swings, boppies, playmats, clothing—it makes it really nice (especially for us) to get so many hand-me-downs.  My parents arrived with a big trunk full of stuff, which we promptly put in Charlie’s room and will probably not touch again until November.  His room has kind of become the dumping ground in the move for any of the boxes we didn’t want to unpack yet…so yeah, we’re going to have to get on that eventually.  Maybe over Thanksgiving break when we’re stuck here by ourselves because I can’t travel. Sad smile 

Anyway, it was a fun weekend with the grandparents—we went to an outdoor concert, hit up the fair, and took advantage of their hotel pool.  Lila loves when family comes to visit (and so do we):

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The fair was an especially big hit.  See those mini pigs for sale?  One day…

Unfortunately, since I’m pregnant, my mom and Ryan had to ride the majority of the rides with her—they wouldn’t even let me in the house of mirrors!  Oh well.  Winking smile

After my parents left on Monday morning, we spent our morning off at the Botanical Gardens.  Every year, local businesses create scarecrows on a scarecrow trail during the fall months.  Lila was very excited to see someone she recognized:


She then spent the rest of the day complaining, “I wish WE could have a big Twilight Sparkle at our house.”  She said that we need one for our front porch…I’m sure the neighbors would love that.

The rest of the day was spent muddy:



And finally, a few catch-up meals from last week:


Mushroom risotto with roasted butternut squash on the side.  We thought this was delicious.  Lila insisted on literally gagging every time I made her take a bite.  Kids are fun.

Slow-cooker chicken parm (sorry, not so pretty):



We’ve been really taking advantage of our slow-cooker, using it for 2-3 meals a week, and I absolutely love it.  I think one of the misconceptions I had about cooking in the slow-cooker was that it would required putting the meal in at 6am, but all of the stuff we’ve made has worked great being cooked on high for 4-5 hours, which isn’t hard to do at all. 

Hope you had a great weekend!  Back to work!

When I Teach…

August 30, 2015

He cooks!  Ryan and I are pretty good about splitting up the household duties over here.  We both do laundry.  We both do school drop-off and pick-up (depending on the day).  And we both cook.  Although, looking back over my i-phone pictures of this week, it would appear that *he* is actually doing most of the cooking these days—mostly because of scheduling stuff.  My afternoons are often busy with either teaching or taking Lila to an activity (ballet…gymnastics…how is it that she has such a busy schedule when she’s only three?  Oh right—because if she hung out at home all afternoon, all she’d do is bitch about wanting to watch My Little Pony.  People wonder why kids have so many activities these days—that’s why.), and on those days, Ryan often has dinner waiting by 6:30.  He makes a pretty good housewife.  Winking smile

Especially now that I’m getting on a little further in my pregnancy, it’s really nice to have meals cooked for me.  This pregnancy has been a little different from the last one, but one thing that has been similar has been my lack of interest in cooking.  Most nights, I just don’t want to be in the kitchen.  This week, Ryan made vegetable lasagna:


…and black bean veggie burritos:


…and (because I complained about him making too many vegetarian meals) pasta with farmer’s market beef and veggies:


But lest you think I’m avoiding our kitchen altogether, Lila and I did do some baking on Friday afternoon. Ryan and I had a department potluck to go to, so we whipped up some easy cookies with the help of some Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix:


…to which we added chopped toasted pecans, some almond extract, and butterscotch chips.  They ended up really tasty:


Other than that, we’ve just been chugging along over here.  I’ve actually gotten some good workouts in.  On MWF, I don’t teach until 11:30 and I drop Lila off at school at 9, so that gives me a good amount of time to go to the Y before I head up to teach.  I’ve been making myself dress in workout clothes:


…which helps provide the motivation to actually go to the gym.  This picture makes it look like I’m still running, but I haven’t been, really.  Just walking and weights.

Yesterday, Lila got to go to a free princess tea party at a local toy store:


The Elsa was a bit less realistic than the one who showed up at her birthday party, haha.  But, she didn’t seem to care or notice—she was too busy guzzling down the free “tea” (apple juice). 

Hope you’ve had a good weekend!


Back to School

August 24, 2015

Other than this:


…we’re getting back into the swing of things over here.  Lila has had a full week of school…Ryan and I have both taught a few classes.  It always takes a while to adjust to a new semester’s schedule, but we’re getting there.

We’ve been having some easy meals, like chili:


…which we ate on the floor since we were still without a table.  Smile

Chicken tacos after class:



…made with chicken that we made in a stove-top smoker that my parents got us for Christmas last year.  We’ve used it a few times over the past month and really love it—I’m glad we decided to keep it when we were paring down our kitchen stuff!

In other news, Lila had her first ballet class of the year, at a new studio that we were able to walk to (!!!)


She’s so much bigger this year!

On Friday night, we put a few more miles on the stroller and walked downtown to a food truck festival for gourmet sandwiches and ice cream:



Finally, out of nowhere, Lila started feeling pretty bad on Saturday afternoon—she had a bit of a fever and a sore throat.  Sad smile  She seems to be doing much better today, but she has no voice at all…which has been kind of nice.  Winking smile  She’s in that phase where everything is a “Why?” so getting a break from that is okay by me.  

Still, I do want her back to 100%…so I made this chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker for dinner tonight:


I guess we’ll see tomorrow if she regains her voice. 

Banana Nut Muffins and First Day of School!

August 13, 2015

First of all, I can’t believe we’ve gone from this:


…to this, in just a year:


Gah!  It’s funny—I feel like I’ve been way more emotional about Lila going to school *this* year than I ever was last year.  I blame the pregnancy hormones.  There’s been a little bit of this from me, these days:

…and a lot of this, on Ryan’s end:

Anyway.  She just seems so much more grown-up to me these days…I guess since I’m spending more time thinking about what it will be like to have a baby in the house again.  It doesn’t help that she has an adorably, ridiculously huge backpack this year:


So.  Grownup.

Other than that, we’ve been packing, packing, packing, and visiting the new house, where painting is afoot:


Eek!  Moving on Saturday, and I really can’t wait.  I’m so ready to get in the house and unpack.  Is it weird that I really like doing that?  I just love the feeling of getting everything settled. 

Meals have been quick and easy…tacos:


…etc.  Anything that we can throw together in fifteen minutes, basically.  But, Lila and I *did* do a little baking this afternoon, in an attempt to use up some bananas that were on their way out.  We used this banana muffin recipe, subbing oil for the butter (all we had) and adding walnuts and almonds (use up the pantry!).  They turned out really tasty!


Even Baxter wanted in on the action. 

Happy Thursday—glad tomorrow is Friday, even though I am spending literally the whole day in meetings. 


Final Weekend of Summer

August 10, 2015

School doesn’t start for me and Ryan for another week or so, but this weekend definitely had an air of finality to it—it just *felt* like the last weekend of summer.  For Lila, it is—she’ll go to school to meet her teachers today, and then will have her first full day tomorrow.  I know it was three months just like every other summer, but for whatever reason, this one feels like it really flew by.  Our trips to California and Block Island seem like a lifetime ago.

In between packing, we tried to soak up some of the last bit of summer over the weekend.  Huntsville offers a TON of really fun summer activities, but I’ll be honest—we often talk ourselves out of them by the time they roll around at 6pm, because A) we’re tired and B) I’m pregnant and it’s hot as balls out there. 

But, this weekend we sucked it up and headed out for a concert at a local downtown park, and I’m so glad we did—it was really nice in the shade, the food (tacos from local food trucks) was great:


…and the music was perfect for a  little dancing:


Channeling Jodi Sawyer. Winking smile

Yesterday, we went to church and then packed up some more.  I had Lila’s preschool orientation, which went from 3:30 to about 5:00.  Then, as I was driving home, Ryan (who was at the park with Lila) called and let me know that we had a house showing at 6—ack! We rushed home, did a super-fast cleaning, and then got out of there around 5:50.  Apparently our dogs were causing quite the distraction for some buyers who came by on Saturday, so we took them with us this time, and all headed downtown for a pizza dinner:

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Alas, pizza was only for the humans.  Sorry, dogs.

Hope you had a great weekend—is your summer wrapping up, or do you still have a few more weeks?  As much as saying goodbye to summer is bittersweet, I will say that I’m excited to get back to school.  Can’t believe another year is upon us.  Time to learn all the new terminology of the youths.

This year will be bae.

Did I use that right?



August 8, 2015


We’re counting down the days until Lila starts school…and then we move…and then we start school.  It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks. Winking smile 

All this craziness, plus trying to clean out the pantry and freezer, means that lately, dinners have been a little…experimental.

But this was actually a really tasty experiment!

I mentioned wanting to use our slow cooker more once school starts, so I got a head start on that yesterday.  We had a half-empty jar of sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge, just waiting to be used up before the move.  So, I combined that jar (about 1/2 cup) with half an onion and 4 garlic cloves, and pulsed all of it in the food processor. 

Then, to that I added 2 pounds of ground meat (I used half beef, half turkey, but you could easily use all beef…or throw some pork in there), plus two eggs and 1 tsp. garlic salt.

I mixed this well and then formed meatballs to put at the bottom of the slow-cooker—this made eight BIG meatballs.  I covered them with another pantry item—butternut squash spaghetti sauce—and cooked on high for 4.5 hours (you could also do on low for 8).



The end result was really tasty!  A little bit of meatball broke down in the sauce, so it thickened up by the time I removed the meatballs and gave it a good stir.  Very yummy—and again, so nice to just need to boil water for the rest of the meal, essentially:


Well, someone is coming to look at our house this morning—our first official showing!! What are the odds that they’ll want to buy it?  High, I hope. Winking smile 

Happy Saturday!

Eat the Pantry

August 4, 2015

I had a friend post on Facebook the other day about how they were doing a pantry and freezer challenge in the month of August—only using a small amount of money to buy fresh goods, and trying to “eat down” the pantry and freezer for the rest.  We’ve been doing the same thing, informally, because of our move—the less we have to move to the new house, the better.

Our pantry isn’t *totally* out of control, but I do have a bad habit of buying slow-cooking items (rice, beans, etc.) in bulk with the thought that I’ll take the time to cook them…and then I end up buying the convenience version of the item (microwave rice, canned beans, etc.) instead when it’s actually time to make dinner.  But anyway, because of this, we have bags of grains especially that I’d like to eat up—quinoa, barley, and TONS of different rice.  I don’t know why a huge bag of arborio rice even sounded like a good idea when I bought it—I mean, we don’t eat that much risotto.


Last night, we also had a lot of chicken leftover from the night before, plus farmer’s market veggies (peppers, zucchini and tomato), so we made a summer sauté of sorts.  I cooked up the rice (so much tastier cooking it in broth…with butter)—it was super easy and only took 45 minutes—why am I so bad about using this stuff?!  The veggies and chicken were also sautéed and seasoned with garlic salt and basil.  Finally, assemblage: rice, veggies and chicken, plus goat cheese on top.  Yum!


Probably not life-changing, but easy and delicious.

We need to clean the house this morning—our realtor’s photographer is coming to take pictures, and then he’s hoping to list it by the end of the week.  Finally!  We’re ready to get this puppy sold.  Just as long as it doesn’t take a year, like our Altoona house….ugh.



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