Six Can Tortilla Chicken Soup

18. Try 25 new recipes(25/25) COMPLETE!!! 
This recipe was recommended to me by a friend. This recipe could not be ANY easier! It was so yummy! I did use canned chicken, but I imagine it would be much better with leftover chicken or a rotisserie from the store. I didn't make any changes to the recipe, but a lot of the reviews added cream of soup which sounds good too!


S'more Cookies

18. Try 25 new recipes (24/25) 
I tried this recipe & the result was fantastic!!! The cookies just look delicious, and taste even better. It was a pretty easy recipe. I would definitely make them again!

S'mores Cookies
Yields: approximately 2 dozen cookies
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.

Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight.

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. Press down slightly with fingertips.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.


November Checks!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (9/20)
Caleb & I made a "Christmas Star" for the top of our tree. I cut a star out of foam, he painted it with glue & sprinkled glitter on top. It was super messy! He was REALLY excited about this project & I love seeing his mark on our tree!

11. Watch 5 movies that have won “Best Picture” Academy Awards (2/5)
Over Thanksgiving weekend, we watched "Driving Miss Daisy". Its one of my Dad's favorite movies & somehow I have never seen it. I really enjoyed it. I expected more of a playful drama, but it was a very moving film.

16. Read 50 books (29/50)
I just finished reading "Cinderella Ate My Daughter". I'm not sure what motivated me to read this book, I don't often read non-fiction. It was a very easy read, and a fascinating subject. Obviously this book is targeted towards parents of girls, but I took away a lot of information about how marketing affects our children.

39. Don’t spend any money at BRU
I'm calling this completed for October! I spend quite a few of our dollars at Babies R Us. Its easy to spend money there...I'm always there! I tend to pick up something on clearance, or a new toy or something random for Caleb. (or a soda for myself!) In October I didn't buy a single thing! Go me!

18. Try 25 new recipes(23/25)
I made a Nutella cream pie for Thanksgiving! It was yummy! I don't think I've ever made a cream pie before, and it was rather easy. I'll be making this again for Glen.

Tonight I tried my hand at fried chicken! I used Pioneer Woman's recipe. It came out satisfactory, but I'll definitely be trying this again to perfect my technique.


Mmmm pizza. And spiders. But not together.

21. Enjoy a Mom’s Night Out 4 times (4/4) COMPLETED!
Last month I went out with some of my friends to the new Mellow Mushroom in Cary. It was a delicious meal, and with the exception of some less than awesome service, we had a great time. I love going out with the girls and being able to chat & relax.

43. No texting while driving
I know, I know. Texting while driving is REALLY bad. This month I made it my goal to not read, or send, text messages while driving. It was not that hard, a lot of the messages I send/receive while out are not necessary. I utilized red lights and staying in the parking lot a few extra minutes to get out my messages! This is a habit I plan on maintaining:)

60. Mail out 10 thank you notes (4/10)
I sent out 2 thank you notes for birthday gifts I received. :)

61. Have ten date nights (8/10)
My parents watched Caleb for the evening, while Glen & I ventured out to the NC State Fair. We ate lots of yummy food and enjoyed walking around without a crazy toddler!

Last month we grabbed a pizza, and headed to the park for a picnic. We finished up our evening with some yummy yogurt from The Skinny Dip. It was such a relaxing, chill date!

71. Meet an online friend in real life
My best mommy friends live in my computer. For real. Most of my current friends are those I met online, and they are the most amazing group of women! I have many "crazy internet friends" that I hope to meet someday. Last week we were able to meet one of my friends at the park, along with her two beautiful girls! It's so much fun to put a face to the name I've known for so long.

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (8/20)

Today Caleb & I made a scary spider!! I got the idea from Pinterest. Here is our finished product! I tried to get a photo WITH Caleb but someone was not being agreeable, and it wasn't the spider:)

100. Buy something from Etsy

I ordered a Christmas present off Etsy from this shop, Crochet Hatsy. I can't go into any more detail because its a SURPRISE!! :)


18. Try 25 new recipes(20/25)
I had some Italian Sausage ready to be cooked the other day, and was not in the mood for our usual meal of pasta & sauce. After hitting Google, I made up an Italian stir-fry. It was super easy & a nice change! I added in shredded carrots, and used a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

69. Babysit Autumn so Nancy can have a date night (complete)
My BFF was celebrating her 3rd anniversary this week. Glen & I watched Autumn for a few hours so they could go out and eat some yummy sushi. Three years ago, I was pregnant with Caleb & Autumn was not even a thought yet. We both now realize that a date night is super important. Bring Autumn over anytime - we love her:)


Wake me up when September ends

...for some reason that song is in my head...


1. Visit 4 points of interest in the Wilson area (3/4)
Since we don't live in the Wilson area anymore, this is a little bit harder to complete. Last week we visited the Neuseway Nature Park in Kinston. This place was AWESOME! There was a Nature Center which had animals to view, a touch tank and an underground cave with more animals. We saw a parrot who sings HAPPY BIRTHDAY, a cute little fox and a huge snapping turtle! The next stop was the Health & Science museum. They had a huge replica of a stomach that the kids could climb in, and a tunnel heart. I went into the tunnel and it was scary! Not repeating that experience:) We finished our day playing on the huge, totally awesome playground (in the rain). The Park also has a small campground I would love to stay at someday.

16. Read 50 books (28/50)
I read "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Spouse." It was a really easy read, and I couldn't believe how spot on the concepts were. I think Glen's love language is physical touch, and mine is acts of service. I 100% recommend this book to any couple! Gary Chapman also wrote a love language book for kids, I plan on reading that soon!

18. Try 25 new recipes (20/25)
I made these Cookies & Cream Bars a few weeks ago. Super easy & yummy! I smashed my oreos with a can, I think I'll use a food processor next time for a smoother look.

I saw this recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Puffs the other night, and immediately went to the kitchen to whip up a batch. They are really quick to make and an easy snack/lunch. I think they were too salty, I'll probably play with the seasoning next time I make them.

95. Write to 25 companies & request coupons (10/25)
I emailed 3 companies & requested coupons. I received 2 "no" responses already, but maybe the 3rd will send me some goodies!


Being crafty!

Last week my BFF's toddler started a little preschool program on the days we watch her. Caleb was really, really, really upset that he couldn't go to school. So I decided we would do something special while she was at school.

Our first project was about apples. We stopped at Kroger and bought 2 apples, 1 red & 1 green. At home, I sliced them in half and Caleb used them as apple stamps. He had a great time and couldn't wait to show Daddy his painting. I also let him snack on the apples we didn't paint with:)

Our next project was practicing using a glue stick. I found a template online to turn a toilet paper roll into "Boots the Monkey." If you don't know who Boots is, you obviously don't have a toddler. I cut out all the pieces and Caleb used a glue stick to put them in place. Kind of a silly project - but he enjoyed it!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (7/20)


92. Play outside in the rain

Hurricane Irene came to visit us last week. She was a mighty big storm that severely damaged the outer banks of NC, and up into NJ. Here in Raleigh we only experienced winds & rain. As she was blowing in, Caleb suited up in his rain boots and raincoat for some fun in the rain.

Caleb LOVES his rain boots and is always asking for an excuse to wear them. He had a blast finding the puddles and jumping in them! We came in only slightly wet and very happy!


Where did August go?

I'm not sure where the month of August went, it flew by in a flash! I feel like I didn't accomplish much on my list this month, and what I have done is floating around in my head, not in a post like it should be. Let's see if I can remember everything!

8. Visit the zoo 3 times (2/3)

My sister & I took all 5 kids to the zoo this week. It was an ideal time for the zoo. It wasn't too hot, and most kiddos were in school. It was a really quiet day, no school trips were terrorizing us! We had a great day! All the kids learned something, and I did too! I learned -

  1. Ostriches knees are "backwards." (That is, in comparison to other animals. I'm sure an ostrich thinks his knees are just fine.
  2. Turtles have a backbone that attaches to their shell. Their shell is actually a bone, and grows with their body. (I knew it grew with them, but I would have not thought of it as a bone.)
  3. A male gorilla is approximately 6' tall, weighing 350lbs. This is the same size as my brother in law. Coincidental? I think not. (sorry beth :) )
I also feel that I should mention, I find zoos rather depressing. I love the chance to see and learn about all the animals, but I hate seeing the animals penned up in such un-natural places. For instance, an eagle we saw in a 20 square foot cage flies up to 200 miles a day in the wild. Maybe he likes being lazy and being fed, but I really bet he wishes he could spread his wings and get out a little. Anyway.....

16. Read 50 books (27/50)
I finished the final 2 books in the Hunger Games Series. I really enjoyed the series, but the final book was way political for me. I feel like it lost some of what I loved most about the first 2 books. I would definitely recommend this series!

23. Try 2 new foods from different cultures (2/2)
Glen & I went out for Afghan food for our anniversary! We visited the Unaabi Grill in Cary and had a really great experience. We started with a sampler platter of turnovers, which were all very tasty. Some of the fillings included green onion, pumpkin, potatoes and spiced meat. We liked ALL of them. My meal was seasoned chicken with a red sauce, served with rice. I ate every last drop and it was very, very, very good! Glen had a unique meal of dumplings served with a mint yogurt sauce. It was 100% unique and he really enjoyed it. I'm glad we stepped out of our box and tried something new!

50. Print & hang our wedding pictures
Boo-yah! Finally done! We're been married for a mere 4 years, so I decided its time to print a wedding photo :) I took advantage of a few free photo deals from Walgreens for my prints, and got BOGO free frames from Michael's. I love getting some good deals! I hung a collage of our wedding in the hallway, and an 8x10 in our bedroom. I am super excited to see these pictures up, I love remembering all the details of our wedding day!

84. Take him to a park 50 times (50/50)
Done, done and done! We went to the park a bunch of times this month. We've been to the Airport park for a picnic with friends, the park with Caleb's cousins, a playdate at the lake park and a morning park trip with Daddy!

I think that's it for now! Have a fun Labor Day weekend!!!


Food, books, and more food!

16. Read 50 books (25/50)
I have been getting major use out of my library card lately. I LOVE the library:) Here's what I have been reading!

The Hunger Games - loved it! Even though it is "young adult" the storyline as awesome. I have the 2nd book in the series waiting to be read!
The Help - Hard to put down. The writing style was fascinating, varied and really touched your heart.
Still Alice - Heart wrenching. I loved the perspective that this book was written in.
Groundswell - A perfect beach read! It was a fun chick book :)

23. Try 2 ne
w foods from different cultures (1/2)
Beth took me to "Old Siam" last week. It's a Thai restaurant. The menu was rather intimidating, there was nothing familiar! I ordered the Panang Curry Chicken dish and it was SOOO good! It was made with coconut milk, served with veggies and jasmine rice. I nearly cleaned my plate before my tummy was too full. I always thought all curry dishes would be really spicy, but this had a great balanced flavor.

18. Try 25 new recipes (18/25)

I tried this muffin recipe using some yummy fresh blueberries. The streusel was the best part, but the muffins were pretty good overall.

While visiting my sister last week, she made a yummy dinner, Thai Peanut Pork. I couldn't wait to try it at home! The original recipe is linked, my changes are below. It is super easy and has such great flavor! (and tasted absolutely nothing like a real Thai dish)

Thai Peanut Pork (by Becky)

1 lb boneless pork chops
1 pkg frozen stir fry veggies
1/2 bottle Garlic Marinade (I used the Kroger brand)
3 tbs Peanut Butter

Cut pork chops into small slices. In a medium size bowl, mix marinade & peanut butter. Add pork, and marinade for a few hours.

Heat large skillet on medium high heat, add pork (with marinade) and cook until done. If desired, add in extra marinade & peanut butter. Mix in stir-fry veggies and cook until heated through.

Serve over rice.


Midway through July!

Time is just marching on this summer! We've been making the most of the hot days, still getting out and having some fun! It feels good to check some things off my list.

16. Read 50 books (21/50)
I read 2 books in the "Thirst" series. They were alright. It is a young adult vampire series and at first I found it fascinating. The story got old fast. The first book ended on a cliffhanger, which is the main reason I read the second. My end review - remarkably unremarkable. :)

I read "Girl in Translation" during nap time yesterday. I couldn't put it down. It's about a young girl who immigrated to America from Hong Kong. The book was very well written and I really liked how the story unfolded from her perspective.

18. Try 25 new recipes (16/25)
I finally chose an enchilada recipe to make. It was really good. I plan to try it again using red sauce, I used green. I also want to add beans. Glen liked it but was not super impressed. He prefers his Mama's enchiladas. I'll beat them soon.....haha!

I also tried roasting some fresh summer squash we were given. It was a pretty presentation and I loved the flavor!

54. Organize my recipes into a recipe box
I'm obsessed with Google Reader and Pinterest. These obsessions have led me to "starring" or "pinning" recipe ideas. I have dozens of them. When I'm ready to try one out, I print them and the recipe ends up in a vertical letter tray. This letter tray tends to have a stack of printed recipes, and it just looks messy. I finally went through the stack, threw out the undesired recipes and wrote the rest onto index cards. I was surprised how many recipes are now in my box!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (5/20)
Last week we met our friends at Klaystation for some pottery painting. Caleb painted a trivet for his grandma. I think it turned out pretty cute.

We also practiced gluing with foam shapes. This was our first time using a glue stick and Caleb thought it was pretty cool!

84. Take him to a park 50 times (48/50)
So close to complete! We visited Laurel Hills park over the weekend. We enjoyed swinging on the swings, then took a walk to the little pond. Caleb got to see dragonflies, frogs, fish and turtles. It was a lot of fun.

Yesterday, Caleb & I stopped at Kiwanis Park. The park itself was super
small, but there was a fun surprise there! The fire department was doing a demonstration for a group of school kids. It was awesome! We got to see the ladder truck in action, a firefighter rode the ladder as it went up 100 feet in the air. Really cool!

This morning Caleb & I met our playgroup at the Wake Landfill Park. It was a really hot morning but it was fun to get out!

Also...if you look at my traffic feed on the left - notice I have a regular reader from Russia! Hello! Leave a comment and say hi! :)


18. Try 25 new recipes (14/25)

Stuffed Tomatoes
My garden is giving us lots of fresh tomatoes this year. I wanted to use a few up for a side dish but was lacking inspiration. This recipe was a good side with grilled chicken & potatoes. I omitted the bacon (only because we were out), I think that would have made them have a fuller flavor. Glen thought they were spicy - that's because I added lots of black pepper:)

Bubble Up Enchiladas
This recipe fell flat, but probably because I didn't use the right ingredients! I didn't have enchilada sauce so I used taco sauce/salsa. It was too spicy but I definitely think this dish has potential. I will be trying it again because it's a really quick meal!


Check, check & check!

Over Father's Day weekend we took a trip up to New Jersey! It's been nearly FOUR years since we've visited and it was far too long. While there I got to see ALL my family! It was really fun to see everyone and meet my newest baby cousins.

While we were in South Jersey we visited the Cape May County Zoo. It was an interesting experience, it was a steady rain shower most of the time we were there. But it was a free zoo so we made the most of it! Caleb liked seeing the animals, the giraffe were his favorites!

I also had the chance to catch up with my best friend from high school. We met at a playground and chatted while Caleb played. I had not talked to Sarah since Caleb was born so it was really fun!

On the way home, we listened to the audio book of "How to Train your Dragon." It was an entirely different story than the movie and it was really good! Since we've been back, I finished 2 other books.
- "Dexter is Delicious." (meh, not bad for a series, but I'm not so interested in anymore Dexter.)
- "Room" (Loved it. Such a fascinating story from a child's perspective. I highly recommend it.)

6. Visit our family in New Jersey - COMPLETE
8. Visit the zoo 3 times. (1/3)
16. Read 50 books (18/50)
74. Get in touch with an old friend - COMPLETE


83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb (3/20)

Caleb & I whipped up some Father's Day treats last week for our favorite Daddies. (is Daddies even a word? for me) I saw this adorable craft idea on Pinterest last month and knew I had to try it.

We used acrylic paints, a dollar store mug and a plain canning jar from AC Moore for our project. The paint is not wash proof so they are for decorative purposes only!

Step 1: Attempt to capture toddler fingerprints. Keep baby wipes on hand to wipe off the 10 prints that don't look good, we only strive for perfection:)
Step 2: Take pictures of your adorable toddler before setting them free. Step 3: Use your terrible handwriting skills to add hair, legs and arms. Add an inscription & some candy and voila! Cheap, adorable presents!


The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.....

Awesome title eh? It really captures your interest:) Haha, read on to find out more!

16. Read 50 books (15/50)
I read two awesome books last week. In fact, I read both of them in 1 day.

The first one was "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake." It was about a girl who can taste people's emotions through the food they cook. Really fascinating concept, and the author had a really colorful way of writing. I found it captivating.

The other book I read is titled "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time". This novel is written from the perspective of a 15 year old Autistic boy who is investigating the murder of a dog in his neighborhood. The author did a fantastic job of letting you get to know the boy and its so easy to get wrapped up in his complex world.

84. Take him to a park 50 times (45/50)
Caleb & I have enjoyed visits to : Green Road Park, Kids Together Park, the Airport Observation Park and the Millbrook Pool/Splash Park (twice). I'm sure we'll cross this goal off the list soon! And since this post is severly lacking in pictures - here is one of my cutie at the Splash Park.

29. Bake something once a month for a whole year (12/12)
COMPLETE! I actually started this last April, so either I did a shotty job at keeping track - or I didn't bake for 12 consecutive months. Whatev. It's my blog and I'm calling it complete:) I baked a tray of cake chews for a family party this month. They were a HUGE hit!

95. Write to 25 companies & request coupons (7/25)
This is an update - I haven't written anymore companies yet. But I received $14.50 worth of coupons so far! Woot!


77. Have 10 "at home" date nights (3/10)

Glen & I snagged a brand new Scrabble game at a yard sale a few weeks back. We finally cracked it open to play. Neither of us have fond memories of Scrabble, Glen says he always lost to his big brothers. We figured we would have fun together. With the help of a few beers it was an interesting game!

Here is a super exciting shot of our completed board! Glen & I thought some of our vocabulary left a bit to be desired, but we had fun and that is all that matters:)
Glen finished the game with 3 of the letter U. LOL. He still won!


Finishing up in May

16. Read 50 books (13/50)
I read "Dexter by Design" last week. I finished it in 1 day and didn't want to put it down. It was my favorite of the series so far!

I also read "Breaking Dawn" over Memorial Day Weekend. I've read it before but it was just as good the second time around:)

25. Spend a whole day without turning on the computer
SO proud to complete this! I was (mostly) computer free from Friday afternoon through Monday morning. I checked my email once over the weekend. I mostly kept my phone powered off too. It was really nice to be checked out from the web and enjoy a weekend with my family.

61. Have ten date nights (6/10)
Glen & I went on a double date this month. Glen's coworker and his wife invited us to go kayaking on Lake Wheeler. Glen & I ended up renting a canoe, and our friends were in a kayak. We spent an hour on the lake splashing, laughing and having fun. Afterwords we were really hungry so we enjoyed dinner at a Chinese buffet. It was a nice treat to go out with another couple!

18. Try 25 new recipes (12/25)
I made this stovetop Mac & Cheese recipe the other day. Blah. It was not that great. Oh well.

29. Bake something once a month for a whole year (11/12)
I made a batch of pumpkin chocolate muffins in April & May. Caleb loves these for breakfast!


Picnic, Playground, and Pirates!

Arrrrrrr!!! We've had a fun week and I have quite a few things to check off my list.

21. Enjoy a Mom’s Night Out 4 times (3/4)
I met up with a few of my Mommy friends at La Rancherita for some yummy Mexican food and adult conversation! We talked about pacifiers, potty training and other fun stuff. We all were amazed at how big our toddlers are!

60. Mail out 10 thank you notes (2/10)
Caleb (via Mommy) mailed out 2 thank you notes to our family in NJ for some Easter presents!

61. Have ten date nights (5/10)
Glen & I went out to see "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" last night. We went to North Hills, bought our tickets and walked around for a bit. The movie was really good & it was nice to have a movie night - our last one was 5 months ago!

62. Do something out of the ordinary for Glen 4 times (1/4)
I made Glen a photo collage with lots of our self taken photos. I put a quote at the top from Dr. Seuss - "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." Glen LOVED it and was really surprised at a spontaneous present. Yay!

84. Take Caleb to a park 50 times (40/50)
This week we played at Baileywick Park with Caleb's friends Liam & Autumn. Then we went to Spring Forest Road Park with Daddy.

91. Enjoy a family picnic
On Thursday night we packed a bag with drinks, plates & napkins; grabbed a Little Caesar's Pizza and spent the evening at the park. It was a ton of fun! There was a little league baseball game next to the park & Caleb thought that was fascinating.

95. Write to 25 companies & request coupons (7/25)
This week I wrote to 7 companies and asked for coupons for products. Several of them already responded no, but others are mailing me coupons. I'm excited to see what appears in our mail box!

16. Read 50 books (11/50)
I finished reading "Dearly Devoted Dexter" today. It was a good read, but not a huge page turner. I have the next book in the series and I'm hoping its a better story.

77. Have 10 "at home" date nights (2/10)
Glen & I kicked back one night this week with the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and some rum:)


Chicken Stuffed Shells

18. Try 25 new recipes (11/25)

A few weeks ago my sister mentioned Chicken Stuffed Shells. Chicken? Pasta? Stuffing? Yum. Downside? It created a lot of dirty pots. The most challenging part was stuffing the shells, which is easy peasy.

I would make this again! It made a ton of shells. I filled a 9x13 pan and a small 6x6 pan. We ate dinner, made 3 lunches and froze the small pan.

Original recipe linked above, below is with my changes.

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 (6 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix
1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups chicken broth
pepper to taste
2 cans chicken


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare the stuffing according to package directions.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta shells in the pot, cook 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
In a saucepan, mix the cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth. Season pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, or until heated through.
In a bowl, mix the chicken and prepared stuffing. Fill the cooked pasta shells with the chicken mixture, and arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour the soup mixture over the stuffed shells. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly.


63. Have 3 baby-free weekends (3/3)

Complete! Yea! Glen & I had an epic weekend together. Here is the rundown!

Friday - We headed out of Raleigh after Glen got off work, and drove out to my parents' house. Spent some time playing in the yard with all the kiddos, had a yummy dinner, followed by even yummier ice cream cake and then headed home sans Caleb!

Saturday - slept in, wandered around some yard sales, ate at Biscuitville (yum) and enjoyed an afternoon movie. Then we got all dressed up and went to Chapel Hill for a wedding. Danced and drank the night away.

Sunday - slept in, recovered:), met the parents at the flea market where we reclaimed our baby, enjoyed a late lunch at the local Mexican joint.

Epic. Maybe I left out the epic part. Maybe the "epicness" of our weekend occurred during our drunken stupor in which we enjoyed a lot of fun. LOL. For anyone that really knows us, you know how much we needed this weekend. And it was perfect.


67. Have a baby-free date with Beth!!

Yay! Beth & I had a date night! We've actually gone out a few times in the last few months. A shopping trip to the mall, a coffee at Barnes & Noble, wandering through Trader Joe's, bargain shopping at Target. Each time I'm with my sister is an adventure. She is my best friend, and we both get a little nutty when we don't see each other enough! (Well...we're always a little nutty!)

Last week, her family spent 2 nights at our house while Daniel had some doctor appointments at Duke/UNC. We left all 5 kiddos with our husbands one night, and did a little shopping at Kohl's. Then we splurged on dessert & drinks at the Cheesecake Factory. Actually, I had an appletini, she had water. My big sister is oh so innocent. :)

So, I'm marking this as completed a few times over. Can't wait for the next date with my big sis!

(I also visited the park 2x with Caleb this week! Yay!)


Playing at the Park!

84. Take him to a park 50 times (36/50)
Caleb & I have visited the park a lot lately. Let's see if I can remember them all. We met Andrea & Nathan at Baileywick and played in the sand. We met Daddy for lunch at the airport playground. We went with our playgroup to Brier Creek Tot Park (which I think he's outgrown). We met our friends at Marsh Creek and spent lots of time playing in the warm sun. I took Caleb to Kids Together Park in Cary. So that would be 5 times. :)

When we went to Kids Together, Caleb asked to go to a "tall purple park." I thought this was the perfect answer. Here are some pictures from our time there!

16. Read 50 books (10/50)
I also finished the 2 remaining books from Peter & the Starcatchers Series. Highly recommend those. To keep on my Peter Pan kick, I read the original Peter Pan book. Eh, it was really hard for me to get into. I had to force myself to finish it. I'm glad I read it though.


Camping, Stealing Ham and other fun things :)

3. Go camping 4 times (1/4)
We finally took our first camping trip since August 2009. We were way overdue for it! This was an untradional camping experience, as we actually camped in my parents' yard! My parents own 40ish acres of land so we had our own little piece of it to ourselves. It was Easter weekend and my family from NJ was visiting, so the house was full! We had a blast over the weekend, and I can't wait for another weekend of camping for just our little family! I don't feel like hunting down my camera for pictures, so here is one of Caleb with his cousins on Easter Sunday.

18. Try 25 new recipes (10/25)
Tonight I tried a new recipe! Brooke over at "...and a cookie for dessert" posted this recipe for Ranch Ham & Cheese Pasta last year. Ham is very rare in our house, so I snagged a bag of Easter leftovers from my Mama. :) I made a few changes, my recipe is below. I only had a taste but this dish has great flavor. The whole thing came together in about 20 minutes, great for a weeknight dinner!

Ranch Ham 'N' Peas Rice

80z brown rice, cooked
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1 cup frozen peas
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham, rice & peas; cook and stir until heated through. Remove from the heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.



One year update

It's been one year since I started this blog. Here's how I've done so far:

  • 20 goals are completed
  • 11 goals are in progress
  • 70 goals are untouched
  • I have until January 2013 to complete my list.
Seems manageable, huh? I definitely need to step up my game!


Handprint Easter Sheep!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (2/20)

I snagged this fun craft idea from Paint & Prozac/Heir to Blair. It was easy & I love love the result!
A few things I learned:
  • Its hard to make black paint. LOL. I only had certain colors, so I kept mixing until I got a brown I was happy with.
  • It takes 10 toddler hand prints to get 4 I can actually use.
  • Using a hot glue gun is fun, I forgot how much I enjoy crafts.
  • Caleb hates to be messy. He kept complaining he was dirty. Sigh. He's not 100% boy... :)
  • I used Easter grass on the bottom to make it more of a scene. It was super messy!
Here are a few pictures! I framed one for Grandma & made 3 other sheep. I think I'll keep 1 on the fridge, send one to Glen's office and maybe give my MIL the 3rd.

Also, the shadow box frames are 40% off at Michael's, then you can use this coupon here! I got mine for less than $5!


18. Try 25 new recipes (9/25)

8. I recently tried a new pizza dough recipe. It was a success! The dough was much easier to work with than my previous recipe, and I love that it makes enough for 6 small pizzas. I made 3 one week, and froze the other 3 for the next week. Now I just have to practice making round pizzas...mine are always an odd shape:)

9. I was able to snag 2 free tubs of Philadelphia Cooking Creme during HT's last Super Doubles event. The recipes on the package seemed blah, so I started Googling for other ideas. Someone suggested using the cream cheese in a vodka sauce. I used this recipe as a base, below is what I made. It was REALLY good and super easy!

Becky's Vodka Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Vodka
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (I used Furmano's Chunky Crushed with Basil/Garlic/Oregano)
  • 1 tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Savory Garlic Flavor
In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion in butter until slightly brown and soft. Pour in vodka and let cook for 10 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add in cream cheese and cook until melted. Serve over your favorite pasta.


Lots getting done!

I have been blessed with the chance to spend 6 weeks being a full time SAHM. I have never really done this, I've always worked at least part time. Being a SAHM was always my dream, life just has not worked out that way. When Glen & I first started dating, my dream of the future was a house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a dog. I still look for that, I'm happy with the simple, ordinary life. Anyway...enough of my tangent! I hope to get a lot checked off my list soon, especially focusing on things with Caleb!

In the last week, we have:

Gone to the park twice. Once with Daddy on a perfect spring day. Once with our playgroup. Both times were a blast.

Visited the Durham Museum of Life & Science. TOTAL blast. Caleb loved every second. We played for 5 hours straight.

Got Caleb his first pet. We actually bought him a fishtank for his birthday, but had to do some rearranging to make space. This week we set it up and got him a few little fish! So far they are still alive and no toys have landed in the tank. We'll see how that goes.

I finally got a physical. My last physical was probably when I started college. In 2002. Like 9 years ago. I made the appointment, kept it, and made a few follow up appointments. I was glad to get some answers to my healthy concerns. Go me. :)

And I finished another book in the Peter series by Dave Barry. Awesome read. I seriously could not put it down. I borrowed the next two from the library!!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of my boy at the Science Museum!


Peter & the Starcatchers

16. Read 50 books (6/50)

My 9 year old nephew Alex lent me the book, Peter & The Starcatchers. It is the first in a 5 part series by Dave Barry, and provides a back story to Peter Pan. Have you ever wondered how Peter became Peter Pan? How did the Lost Boys get on that island? Where did old Captain Hook come from? Read this book! It was a great read - I'm already halfway through the sequel.

Side note - this is the 6th book I've read in a year. That is kinda sucky. At this rate, it would take me more than 8 years to read 50 books. I used to read books more than I drank water. :) I miss reading, I honestly hate being glued to a TV or a computer. I want Caleb to develop a love of reading. I really, really want to focus on this goal!


Catching up in March

16. Read 50 books (5/50)
I finally finished reading "Under the Dome" by Stephen King. I started it in November....and I just kept taking breaks from reading it. I really enjoyed this book. Here is the plot in a nutshell - On a perfectly ordinary fall day, an invisible, impregnable barrier surrounds the small town of Chester's Mill, Maine. Nightmare ensues. This is the first Stephen King b
ook I've ever read, I was impressed by the complexity of the characters and their stories. Really fascinating read.

70. Invite the Kruders over to see the house
We had Brenda, Chris & the girls over to the house this month. They have hosted us for dinner & fun countless times, and it was nice to play hostess for once. We enjoyed Chinese food & played some Wii. The evening was cut short due to a sick baby, but we'll definitely do it again soon!

83. Do 20 art projects with Caleb. (1/20)
This is a new goal I added. I recently started following this toddler craft blog and its been inspiring me to get creative with Caleb. My mom stocked us up on tons of craft supplies for Caleb's birthday so I want to be motivated to use them! Last week we cut out a tree trunk out of brown construction paper, glued it on a large piece of paper and finger painted green leaves on top. Caleb had a blast, made a huge mess and I love looking at his tree hanging on the wall. Success!

84. Take him to a park 50 times (29/50)
Caleb & I visited Marsh Creek Park last week. It was a lovely Spring day and it felt great to get out. This was a fun park - can't wait to play there again!


9. Go to a concert

On Friday night Glen & I went to see the Blue Man Group in concert. Glen has always wanted to see them, I was interested but not sure what to expect. The show was AMAZING! Every second was fun and captivating, I didn't want it to end. One of my favorite aspects of the show was how it involved people of all ages. At the end of the show, they had everyone stand up and shake their booty. There were young kids dancing and older men in their 3 piece suits! Hilarious! I would love to see them again next time they are in the area.


Johnny Depp and other delicious things...

29. Bake something once a month for a whole year

Last month I attempted to bake a banana pumpkin chocolate chip bread. :) Try to say that 3 times fast! I had a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread and planned to add bananas to it. I added 2 bananas, and about .5 cup extra pumpkin. Then I threw in some oats to help absorb the extra moisture. This bread smelled SO good while baking, but it was just too much for one pan. The edges cooked up nicely but the center was still ra
w & gooey. Glen (aka, the human garbage disposal) ate it anyway. I would like to attempt this again, but I will probably use a real recipe!

Yesterday, I made Glen a birthday cake! It was a box mix, so of course it was delicious. I made a strawberry cake with vanilla icing, and decorated the top. It was enjoyed by all!

18. Try 25 new recipes (7/25) AND 77. Have 10 "at home" date nights (1/10)
Glen & I have been trying to have more date nights at home. One of my online friends recently blogged about a six week date challenge, and it inspired me!

Anyway, I decided on a movie theme night around "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Our dinner for the evening, was of course MEAT PIES! If you've never seen the movie, the sinfully delicious Johnny Depp plays a barber who slits peoples' throats and then makes them into meat pies. Tasty huh? I followed Pillsbury's recipe for Beef Empanadas and it was awesome! The crusts were perfect, the filling had a nice spice....totally making this again!


61. Have ten date nights (5/10)

In late January I accepted a promotion at work to come back full time. We have mostly settled into our new routine and finally took a night to celebrate. Glen planned the location and wouldn't tell me where we were going! I pestered him all week with questions and he never caved. So last night we headed out for a surprise date night! Glen took me to the Babymoon Cafe in Morrisville. Zomg the food was SOO good! We had eggplant rollatini for appetizer, penne a a vodka for dinner, and cannoli for dessert! It was one of the best meals we've enjoyed in a long time.


Pumpkin & Park!

Glen & I baked Pumpkin Pie Bars together this month. It was kind of a big fat FAIL! I'm used to cooking alone so I was all distracted, and I messed up the recipe. We had to make a few substitutions also. The bars turned out just alright, I guess not great because they are still sitting in the refrigerator almost 2 weeks later... haha!

Last week we enjoyed a day or so of warm weather! Caleb & I took advantage of it with a trip to the park. He was not into the park equipment too much, we swung on the swings then we played in the sand volleyball area. We both enjoyed being out in the sun!!


66. Have a baby-free date with Nancy

Nancy & I enjoyed a girl's night out last night! She took me to Olive Garden, where we enjoyed 3 wonderful hours with no babies and lots of quality conversation. Life after babies has (obviously) changed our friendship, it was much needed to have a night to reconnect over wine instead of sippy cups. Nancy & I have been through so much in our 13ish years of friendship. I love you Kitty, I cannot imagine having a better friend by my side :0)


38. Follow a cleaning routine

My original goal was to follow FlyLady's cleaning routine. I love a lot of her philosophies and her site is full of great ways to keep a house free of CHAOS! (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). But I don't like the idea of rushing through my housework. One of her routines is a weekly home blessing hour, in which you clean glass, floors, change sheets, empty trash, vacuum, declutter etc all in one hour. We are blessed with a huge kitchen floor, and it takes me a while to clean it. I enjoy taking my time on my housework and having a satisfying result.

So anyway, I decided to make my own cleaning schedule. Here is what I did:

Sunday: Change sheets
Monday: Laundry, Vacuum, Cut Coupons/Meal Plan, Bathroom
Tuesday: Empty all trash to the street, Scoop Litter Box
Wednesday: Dust, Bathroom, Sweep/Mop
Thursday: Litter box, laundry, grocery shopping
Friday: Vacuum, Dust, Kitchen
Saturday: Litter box, Bathroom, Sweep

I didn't follow it all 100%, but I love having a calendar to look at. I keep it posted on the side of my fridge and it helps keep me on task. It breaks up the chores to manageable tasks each day around my personal schedule, and keeps the house free of CHAOS! :)

All of this now goes out the window - I started back at work fulltime this week! Its time for me to find a new routine for our new busy lives.

20. Get a pedicure

Caleb stayed with my sister the week after Christmas. I worked most of the week, but had a "free" day on Thursday. I got my hair cut, enjoyed a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (YUMMMM), did some shopping and splurged on a pedicure. One of my best friend's wedding was on New Year's Eve, so it was a good time to get all done up!

I need to get pedicures more often. It was SOO relaxing!!

Here's my new hair cut! I'll save you from seeing a picture of my

ETA: I got BRIGHT purple toes! (And fingernails too!)