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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A long line of lovely ladies

Four Generations
I am so blessed...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do you know where your food comes from?

With planting season and Earth day fast approaching, I thought I'd share our seed starting adventures this year. We've had a garden for as long as I can remember, back when I was a young girl holding tomatoes the size of my head (much like Sweetpea did last year!) and vying with my brother to be "not it" to pick beans on any given day. I was especially excited to pass along the tradition of starting seeds to Sweetpea, and to my delight she was just as enthusiastic. As expected, the hardest part was managing that enthusiasm to ensure the seeds made it safely into the dirt! We figured out a good method by about half way through, and every one of our pots germinated!

This year we planted tomato and pepper seeds in February. We will be planting beans, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, carrots and squash directly outside in the next few days. I've never tried carrots before, but the ones we have claim to be easy to grow, and I'm hoping they are fun. In addition to the general satisfaction of growing much of our own food throughout the summer, a garden can be an ongoing science and problem solving lesson. It is an opportunity for me to demonstrate how important it is for us to take care of the environment, without the lectures. I can't wait to get in there and get our hands dirty!

Our seedlings are anywhere between 4 - 8" tall right now, depending on the variety. We don't have much space or anything fancy - we keep the pots on various windowsills where they can catch the most sunlight. They still have a month to grow before it will be considered safe to plant them here in Ohio.

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Happy Days

Fast approaching eight months old, I managed to catch Sugar Plum in a {rare} still moment. Happy and giggling most of the time, she has two teeth, and has started pulling to a stand and cruising. (Said cruising resulted in that bruise I'm not sure that you can see on her forehead...) So far we are both adjusting very well to cloth diapers - not full time yet because half of our stash hasn't arrived in the mail. She loves playing with toys, and most of the time Sweetpea is happy to share and play with her little sister. They adore each other, trading smiles and turning my heart to mush.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Customized Perfume & Exercise Incentives

How is that for two apparently unrelated subjects? :) I have been threatening to get serious about exercise and my post baby body shape for about a month now. There are a few secrets I use to help get me to the gym, and I thought I'd share one with you today...I have used this little trick for years, but it's even more special now that I have little ones underfoot.

Before babies, I viewed our YMCA shower as a convenience, a means to an end, a way to get to work earlier since I once was a regular 5am attendee. Now that shower is a luxury - an opportunity to pamper myself while the girls are at the Y daycare.

As a treat to myself, I purchase special shower gel and lotion to use post workout. I make sure they are a little better than the options I use daily, and I choose the scents wisely. Not only do I want them to appeal to me, but I want them to be complimentary (not the same scent) and invigorating or perhaps calming. At the moment, I'm using Rosemary Mint body wash (invigorating) and Lavender lotion. Not a common blend, Rosemary, Mint & Lavender, but it smells wonderful together and I smell it for hours after my workout is over. I've had several people ask me what I'm wearing, even! What are your favorite combinations? Do you mix and match?

I can't say this is the only thing that gets me working out, but sometimes it is that little something extra that helps get me in my gym shoes. Do you have motivational secrets to help get you working out? I'd love to hear them!

If you're reading this in a feed reader, my blog got a facelift! I'd love it if you'd come check it out.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Smokin menu plan

We are using the smoker this week, so many of our meals will be planned around the use of delicious smoked meat! We will be smoking pork loin, italian sausages and a turkey. We have smoked whole chickens before but never a turkey, I hope it goes well!

Monday: spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday: smoked pork, roasted potatoes and asparagus
Wednesday:smoked sausage, mac n cheese and green beans
Thursday: smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy
Friday: jambalaya with smoked pork and green salad

One of the things I love about smoking (besides the amazing flavor) is that there is always extra to freeze for later. We buy meat when it goes on sale (for example, the turkey was $0.69/lb and the pork loin $1.49/lb) so it's frugal too!

What's on your menu this week?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Family Favorites - Chicken Tetrazzini

I used to make this weekly before finding out Sugar Plum had a milk protein intolerance. I still make it once in awhile for the rest of the family because they love it so much. I'm working on a few substitutes so that I can indulge, but so far I haven't gotten to the part where I actually try out the ideas I floating around in my head. If they work out, I'll be sure to update for those dairy free families out there!

This recipe is pretty quick and easy, and it goes well with nearly anything. My grandma made this for us after Sugar Plum was born and it became an "instant classic" at our house. EmDee said something like, "where has this been all my life"...so now that I've talked it up, here is the recipe!

Chicken Tetrazzini

3.5 cups cooked, diced chicken
8 oz spaghetti, cooked to barely tender
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour and blend. Add chicken broth and cream, cooking until smooth and thickened. Add 1/4 cup of cheese. Mix spaghetti, chicken, mushrooms and sauce. Pour into a 2 quart buttered baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes.

This recipe freezes well!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

We have some winners!

Congratulations to Grace from Grace Hester Designs, the winner of a $50 gift card from the vintage pearl!

Congratulations also to Momminitup, the winner of the family 4 pack of tickets to see Sesame Street Live! I'll have to see if that would be Emily or Jenny.

Ladies, I will be emailing you for more information. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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