Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sister Goes to School!

This little nugget went to school for the first time today...

...with a backpack as big as her! Elsa, of course!

I am constantly reminded on how different my children are and today didn't disappoint! Yes, there were tears when she realized I wasn't staying with her but she apparently settled down after 5 minutes. It only took her brother the whole school year!

Other things that have changed since Cooper went to school... My true "I'm not a rookie" mom self has rounded into form. At drop off, there was a sweet gal in front of me dropping off what had to be her one and only. How do I know? She was crying big crocodile tears brought three members of her extended family to the drop off. Let's just say this is the true definition of feeling sympathy and not empathy. Come on lady, you're frightening the children! 

But, I digress...

After a short two hours (they ease them into it over the first few weeks) it was time to pick Sister up. She was a little weepy after seeing some of the other kids get picked up before her but was sure to let me know the highs and lows of her day.

Not two steps out of the classroom, she asked me: "Mommy, you sad or happy?"

Me: I'm happy! Are you sad or happy?

C: Sister sad. Sister crying.

Me: Did you have fun at school?

C: YEP! Play babies.

So there you have it! A first day for the record books with this sweet, crazy girl!

Friday, July 10, 2015

To Sister on her Birthday...

(Posted a day late but such is life!)

My baby girl is 2! Part of me is rejoicing and part of me is crying on the inside. There is nothing like a kid's birthday to make a mama all weepy!

I have loved watching her grow up this year and really turn into a kid. A kid with a ton of sass and a ton of sweet, too. In fact, most aspects of her little personality are quite a conundrum to me. She is the girliest girly girl that there is but she also loves cars, dirt and scooters. She is FEARLESS, as long as she is within my reach. She is super opinionated and really digs in when she knows what she wants but also is very adaptable and has a "go with the flow" attitude. Maybe her personality is best summed up in a picture. This is her 2nd birthday present from us, a pair of sparkly Elsa flip-flops (that her brother picked out) and a blue scooter just like Cooper's:

That's my girl! I have a feeling I'm not going to have to worry about her not standing up for herself. I also have a feeling that she's going to be able to get her pick of the litter, sorry Daddy!

Happy Birthday, sweet Carrington. At two years old you love: baby dolls, shoes and purses; your white dress with pink polka dots (pictured above...and I do mean love as in obsessed and want to wear it's the only outfit we don't fight about!); reading books to yourself; doing everything with Kona; Elsa (the obsession lives on); jumping on and off the furniture; anything your "Bubba" is doing; speaking in some language we do not yet understand (although we have found that if you just pay attention to the last word you say we can pretty much get the gist!); strawberries, eggs, "I CREAM" and eating only the insides out of snap peas; "booky", which is your word for for milk and books alike; and, having us all wrapped around your little finger!

We love you birthday girl!

What a difference a year makes! Who is this baby?!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Interruptions Away!

Do any of you read Joanna Goddard's blog: "A Cup of Jo"? I kind of adore her. Plus, her boys are the same age as my kids. Plus, she just seems so real and authentic that I pretend we are friends. That's totally not weird, right?!

She recently wrote this post: A Genius Way to Teach Your Child Not to Interrupt. The premise is this:

I was chatting with a friend one day when her 3-year-old son wanted to say something. Instead of interrupting though, he simply placed his hand on her wrist and waited. My friend placed her hand over his to acknowledge him and we continued chatting.
After she had finished what she was saying, she turned to him. I was in awe! So simple. So gentle. So respectful of both the child and the adult. Her son only needed to wait a few seconds for my friend to finish her sentence. Then she gave him her complete attention.
I was torn between really wanting to try this in hopes of cutting out some of the "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom, you're not answering meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"s from my life and thinking that this would never work over here at head-strong nation.

A few days later, Joanna got the best of me and we tried this. TOTAL. GAME. CHANGER.
Cooper boy picked this up in less than a day and we all love it. He is so much happier and confident knowing that he can always get my attention if he uses our secret code. He's often so quiet about it that I don't realize what he's doing! I suppose there is a learning curve for the both of us.
Highly recommend!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oh, hi there.

Hi there. It's been awhile.

I've been meaning to check-in and document all of our goings on, as evidenced by the little notes in my iPhone notepad about posts I want to write. Most of these will still make the cut like "Cooper's manner book", "I chetch ya and Atchyou, baby" (will explain later) and "Spaghetti Squash Carbonara". Other things I find make me question my own sanity. For instance, "asthma" (no one in our family has asthma) and "trash gifts" somehow seemed noteworthy at some point. I have no words.

Moving on to things more coherent...

My newest and noteworthy news is that my career pendulum has swung yet again! I went from full-time working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom to now dipping my toes back into the work force as a REALTOR. I'm so happy as it seems like the perfect fit for me and allows me the time I need with my family. I've always loved real estate and with my finance background it just made sense. So, while we're at it, be sure to send referrals my way! I'll be the one talking to an inspector while pushing my kid on a swing at the playground...Mom power!

My sweetest first clients, brother and future sister-in-law, Matt and Katie!
Otherwise, our life has just been a whirlwind of kid activities and prepping for summer. We have a smattering of kid activities and a much needed adult beach vacation for our friends' wedding coming up. Cue the backyard sprinkler parties and start pouring margaritas! Summer is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Taco Night!

Sometimes creativity just goes out the window and you end up with taco night. And you're not even sad about it. Because, it's delicious.

We've had many versions of taco night over the years, all including some sort of store bought packet or spice dumped over ground beef. Ever since the kids started eating "real" food, I've made the push to mostly serve real food around here. So, when my friend Kaylen told me about the cookbook "100 Days of Real Food", I was excited to try it. There are so many great and kid friendly recipes (including Taco Night!) that we have loved and I feel good about serving. I, in turn, recommended it to my friend Chelsea because we are usually on the same page on crunchy mom-isms and both love new cookbooks. Read her review here!

I hope you and yours enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Taco Night! 


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 pound ground pork*
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime

Recommended accompaniments: Corn Tortillas, shredded lettuce, sour cream, avocado, graded cheese, cilantro, salsa

*Recipe calls for pork. Maybe its the Texas girl in me but I strongly prefer ground beef!


1. Heat the oil in a salute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned. 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the ground meat and cook while breaking up the meat with a spatula. Continue to cook until the meat has browned all the way through. Drain off the fat (if desired), then season with chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt.
3. Stir in the lime juice and serve warm with the taco filings of your choice.

I like to make the taco seasoning in bulk in advance. I store it in an airtight container in the pantry and it makes a very easy "go to" when you need a quick dinner!

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use 2 1/2 teaspoons taco seasoning per 1 pound ground meat.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cooper Hits the Slopes

Last week we took Cooper to Steamboat for his first ski trip. Let me tell you, between ski school and only having one kid with us, there was something that happened over that weekend that resembled an ACTUAL VACATION. It was lovely.

Now before you start feeling too bad for Sister, know that she was home with Papa who was filling her days more than I could even dream of. One of the days we were gone, he took her to: Hermann Park to feed the ducks; the Children's Museum; out to lunch (and somehow home in time for a nap); to go see her first movie - Cinderella (although she apparently lasted about 10 minutes); and, out to dinner! Suffice it to say, she did not even greet me when I got home. She clearly had a better time than she would have in ski school day care. She clearly had a better time than she does with regular old mom who does things with her that include the grocery store, gasp!

Back to the ski trip... Traveling with 4 year olds is down right easy. They carry their own bags! They are easily and quietly entertained on the plane! No diapers or extra gear! Sorry Sis, talk to me when you're potty trained and through the threenage years.

After our flight, we were up and running pretty quickly. (FYI, Houston - Steamboat is a direct 2-ish hour flight and we were at our condo within about 30 minutes of landing!) Cooper was anxious to play in the snow which was thankfully still around in the balmy spring weather!

The next morning, we all geared up for a day of skiing and ski school for Cooper. We were a little worried about how he would do. He's not usually so great dealing with new places. Or new people. Or being out of his routine. Or away from home. But other than that, this kid is totally flexible!

As it turns out, all of the angst was for nothing because he totally did great! I'm sure there were more than a few tears but by the time we picked him up he was smiling and yelling at us to "WATCH ME!!!" as he skied down the ski school hill. He got to move up a (half) level on the first day and was able to balance on his skis and stop (using the edgie wedgie). OK, so we are not headed to the Olympics any time soon but he had a blast and was begging us to take him up the mountain. AND, most importantly, he had a lot of fun. I mean, who wouldn't want to learn how to ski from a bunch of 20-somethings who feed you pizza and chocolate cookies and teach you games like "Sheep Butt" and "Who Tooted"? No, I haven't asked to be filled in on the rules for those...

The little ski bum after day 2 on the slopes. Dudealicious.
Apres ski snowman!
First time up the ski lift!
I don't think I realized how amazing ski school was going to be for Kyle and I. Not only did they teach Cooper the basics, they fit him with boots skis and a helmet which he got to keep at the school overnight. No hauling extra gear for us! And, even better, it lasted from 9am to 2:45pm which meant we got to have almost 6 hours of uninterrupted ski time and went on lunch dates.

Win. Win. Win. All around, win.

Also, I've decided that spring skiing is totally my jam. As it turns out, in my 30s I'm definitely more interested in being warm and not going too fast so between the warm weather and the wet snow I was a happy girl! Direct quote from Kyle, "You look like you know what you're doing up there. You also look like you really do not want to fall." Fair.

So maybe I'm not headed for the Olympics anytime either but I too had the best time and it warmed my heart to watch Cooper do this:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Tomato-Zucchini Tart

Every time the first breath of warm air creeps in each spring, you can bet I am making this recipe! It definitely has a lot of summer flavors that just get you in the mood for warmer weather to come.

Truth be told, Kyle doesn't love this recipe. I don't know if its the strangeness of vegetables in a pie crust and his inability to categorize this meal or if its the lack of meat for his oh-so-manly palate. Either way, it's one of my favorites and I just throw it in as a side dish for him and dare him to quibble over a home cooked meal...

I found this recipe in a Southern Living magazine the year we got married and I have been making it ever since. Recipe here and below!

Tomato-Zucchini Tart


  • 1 refrigerated piecrust
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 3/4 lb.) 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • *3 medium plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
(* - per recipe. I use two.)


1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch tart pan according to package directions; trim excess. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust using a fork.
2. Bake piecrust at 450° for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.
3. Sauté zucchini in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until tender. Arrange zucchini in bottom of prepared piecrust. Arrange tomatoes on top of zucchini.
4. Stir together basil, cheese, and mayonnaise. Drop by teaspoonfuls evenly on top of tomatoes, and spread gently. Sprinkle with pepper.
5. Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese mixture is slightly melted.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do these training wheels make me look fat?

I've debated for weeks about writing this post. It is a subject that is very close to my heart that has both consumed me and enraged me for quite some time. Therapy in writing? We shall see.

My son is overweight.

"Trending towards obese," as my pediatrician not so delicately put it at Cooper's 4 year check up. I laughed. Guffawed, maybe. I tried to brush it off. "I'm not really not that concerned about it," I said. "This kid's dinner of choice is baked salmon and lima beans." (Don't ask me about Sister, she'd prefer half of a hot dog and a single strawberry but I'll save that for another post!)

"Well," my pediatrician continued, "even if he is eating the right foods he may be eating too much of them." As we were leaving his office, he handed me a print out on portion control for 4 year olds. PORTION CONTROL. I threw it directly in the trash after I read that he should be eating only 3/4 of an egg for breakfast. Give me a break. Please.

I know BMI can be a good indicator of overall health but I also believe that it should be a starting point. I'm really trying not to be an oversensitive Mom, but look at him!

Showing off his "big muscles" and new cowboy boots, if you couldn't tell.

This is the kid that goes outside every afternoon to "practice running". On the very night he was given this, "diagnosis", he asked for sugar snap peas with a side of green beans for dinner. No joke. (Again, don't ask me about his sister...)

He's never had a Coke in his life, drinks juice on special occasions only and doesn't drink milk. Fast food is limited to about once a week if we are on the go and the majority of his meals are eaten at home and things I've made from scratch. I read food labels. No preservatives! No food coloring! No artificial flavor enhancers! When possible, we go organic, grass fed, non-GMO....blah blah blah.

So get on to me about too much iPad and too little arts and crafts. Talk to me about having patience with my kids and trying not to lose my temper. I get that. I DESERVE that. But not this. He is not fat. Why don't you take your charts and portion control those!

Mic drop. Mommy out!

P.S. Here's an article on this flawed system (invented in 1835) and why it finds the likes of Brad Pitt and Will Smith overweight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Mom's Pork Tenderloin

No, this is not my Mom's recipe but this is a Mom's sweet neighbor across the street! I had this at her house once and it was hands down so much better than the pre-marinated stuff you get at the store. I will never go back!

I've been meaning to post this for some time now but its one of those I always forget to take a picture of before inhaling. I actually took the below plate back from my Dad so I could take a picture before he ate! Ahhhh, finally posted. Now I can stop going into my email every couple of weeks to type "Jessica Pork".

Thanks Jess and Marilyn!

Mom's Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin (1/2 pound per person)
1/3 c. apricot preserves,
1/2 c. light soy sauce,
3 limes (juice),
1/4 c. Honey,
1/2 c. water,
1/2 c olive oil,
2 chopped garlic cloves,
1/2 t. Ginger,
1/2 t. Crushed red pepper.

1. Whisk together all ingredients (except pork and preserves).  Refrigerate about 1/2-3/4 c of marinade for later.
2. Place meat and remaining marinade in ziploc bag for several hours or overnight.

3. Remove from marinade and discard marinade.
4. Cook on lightly greased rack at 400 for about 45 minutes till internal temp of thickest part is 160-165. (I usually do about 35 minutes and give the more well done ends to the kids!)

5. Remove and cover with foil till ready to cut.

6. Combine marinade that you set aside with apricot preserves in saucepan and heat till bubbly. Pour over sliced meat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Tacos

Don't you just love the Pioneer Woman? Whenever I'm in a pinch and need a quick recipe that I KNOW is going to taste good, I'm all over her website. It's not my first "healthy eating" stop but an important one nonetheless!

One of our favorites is her Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork. She uses a dutch oven on the stove but I prefer the crock pot. Same amount of time...less attention needed! The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce give this dish its heat. When I make it for the kids, I will put it in a quesadilla instead of just hitting them with it plain. Also, after shredding the pork, I don't put their portion of meat back into the sauce...its SPICY but oh so good!

Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Tacos


  • 1 whole Large Onion
  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder ("pork Butt") - 5 To 7 Pounds
  •  Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • Tortillas

(Toppings: Cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, sliced avocado, sour cream...)

Preparation Instructions

Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a crock pot.
Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in. 
Cook for at least six hours on low, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it's not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour. 
Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it's cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up. 
Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you'd like.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Whole Roasted Chicken

This recipe has made the blog before but it is so good, I had to repeat and share for "What's For Dinner Wednesday"! I stole the recipe from Kyle, he borrowed it from Thomas Keller. Semantics.  This chicken is so good you will claim it as your own, too!

The secret to a good roast chicken is to let it sit, unwrapped, in the refrigerator overnight before you roast.  That way, the skin dries out a bit and you end up with this really crunchy chicken skin wrapper that holds in all of the juices.  Mmmm boy. Thank you Chef Keller!

Whole Roasted Chicken

1 4-5 pound chicken
10 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
5 sprigs of thyme
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into large pieces
8-10 fingerling potatoes (red potatoes work, too)
1 onion, chopped into large pieces
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature (cut into 4 pieces)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper


  1. Place the chicken, uncovered, in a baking dish in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove and let it come to room temperature before cooking. (About an hour.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  3. Remove the neck and insides of the chicken and season the cavity generously with salt, pepper, 5 sprigs of thyme and 4 smashed garlic cloves.  Truss the chicken.
  4. Massage the outside of the bird with a 1/4 cup oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder.  
  5. Toss carrots, celery, onion and potatoes into a large bowl with 1/4 cup oil, salt, pepper and the remaining smashed garlic cloves.  Place vegetables in a cast iron skillet and make a little hole in the middle to put your chicken.  
  6. Put the chicken in the center of the bed of vegetables and place 2 pats of butter on top of each chicken breast.
  7. Roast at 475 degrees for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 400 degrees and roast for another 45 minutes (or 160 degree internal temperature).  

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Cooper has never loved me coming up to his school. Every time I get there, he insists it's time to leave. We made it through all of 5 minutes of the Halloween party I volunteered to host last fall. When I brought donut holes up to his friends on his birthday, he ran and hid in the corner and then led me by the hand out the door. I alway assumed it was because it wasn't part of his beloved routine. Now, I know better...

Last week I volunteered for Cooper's school Valentine's party. I was tasked with reading the book at story time, among other things. Cooper carefully instructed me on my technique the night before.

C: "Mom, when you're reading the book you have to smile at the friends or they won't like you."

Mmmmkay, got it.

The next day everything seemed ok when I got to his school. I started to read the book to "the friends", remembering to look up every so often to smile. By the time I got to the second page, I realized I was doing something terribly wrong. Cooper was sitting in the circle, literally smacking himself in the head and saying "UGHHHHHHHHHHHH", really loudly. As I read, he continued to do this until his sweet friend leaned over and asked him what was wrong. He replied: "UGHHH, my Mom!" followed by the most dramatic forehead slap you've ever seen.

Yeah, didn't see that one coming. I asked him after the party how I did reading the book.

C: Bad.

Me: Why was it bad?

C: You didn't smile at the friends and you were EM-BARR-ASS-ING me.

Me: What does it mean when you say Mommy is embarrassing you?

C: It means that everything is kind of ruined.

Noted. Although I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pesto and Tomato Baked Chicken

Here's another one for your quick but delicious weeknight file!

I've seen this receipt floating around Pinterest in several different places so I'm not quite sure of my source. Could have been here or here! The first time I tried this, I used chicken breasts instead of chicken breast tenders and I prefer the tenders. Better topping to chicken ratio! Also, for the kids, I used tomato sauce instead of pesto (I happened to have some in the fridge) and nixed the tomatoes.  Coop called it "pizza chicken". Score one, Mom.

Pesto and Tomato Chicken


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
4-6 tablespoons pesto
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Salt & Pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chicken in a baking dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread pesto over the chicken. Top with sliced tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over the chicken.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Just Can't Let it Go

Have you heard about the new Disney movie, Frozen? I hear its sweeping the nation.

We are on round two of Frozen obsession around here. The first round brought Inappropriate Superman into our lives, along with a lot of 'splaining to do. The second round is in full force for the little girl and as of now there is no end in sight.


I'll admit, I'm a show tunes-y kind of girl. I can't wait for Frozen to go to Broadway. (I'll be the one in the front row quoting the entire thing from "aah aah ya, hey ya ya" to "We're never closing them again.") But I'm starting to wonder...what kind of kid-crack subliminal messages this movie has in it because it has now taken over the life of not one but both of my kids.

Yeah, yeah. I know, it's my fault. They did not make the Amazon purchase nor do they know how to work iTunes. I actually thought we were cured until the other day I heard Sister from the backseat of the car:

"Go! Go! Gooooooooooooooooooooooooo baby!"

I thought to myself: "She's singing 'Let it Go', how cute!" The next time I needed a couple minute break (because, I'll admit, I actually like to go to the bathroom alone), I pulled up "Let it Go" on youtube for her on my phone and another Frozen-ite was born. Thank you (and you're welcome?), Disney.

Now the requests are endless. We get "Show? Let it Go? Uh huh!" and "Selsa? Selsa?" all day. And yes, my 19 month old can sing "Let it Go".

I'm not sure whether to be proud of this or not. I mean, Elsa has provided me with many opportunities to do important things for myself such as brush my teeth, put on deodorant and use dry shampoo on clearly "needs to be washed" hair. Ahh, Mom life. Wouldn't let it go for anything!

Sister in her "Selsa" cape.

And one of her brother's socks. Always just the one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pot Roast

I actually made this recipe a couple of weeks ago. Now that the weather has taken a turn towards summer in Houston, this is maybe a little out of season but think cool thoughts and enjoy! Unless you're on the East coast, then I'm sorry for the blizzard!

I love a good crock pot recipe!

Pot Roast


4-5 pound beef roast
2 carrots
1 celery stalk
1 onion
1 bag of fingerling potatoes (or red potatoes)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1 bottle of beer (I like to use a dark beer, bock or brown ale.)
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


1. Chop onion, carrots and celery.
2. Place the onion and the garlic on the bottom of your crock pot.
3. Rub salt and pepper on the roast and place it on top of the onions/garlic.
4. Arrange the carrots, celery and potatoes around the roast. (I generally do not use all of the potatoes in the bag.)
5. Pour beef broth and beer over the roast.
6. Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the roast.
7. Cook on low for 6 hours.
8. Remove and plate your vegetables separately and then shred the roast over the top. Top with some of the pan juices and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Balsamic Chicken Thighs

I recently brought this to a friend after she had a baby. It is so tender and juicy (I will NOT use the "M" word!!!) that she questioned what kind of meat it was. "Chicken?! Chicken in a crock pot?!" Oh yes mam! Love me some chicken thighs!

This one is definitely on our weekly rotation. Garnish with parsley if serving to a friend! (My kids don't care about garnish. Or any condiment except ketchup, for that matter!)

Balsamic Chicken Thighs 

(adapted from Take Them A Meal's recipe)


3 garlic cloves, minced
Half of a medium onion, minced 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  1. Place onion, garlic and olive oil in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano and place on top of the onions and garlic.
  3. Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours.

Enjoy! I like to serve with this orzo pasta salad if I'm feeling festive!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner Spinach Salad

We LOVE breakfast for dinner around here but I'm always feeling like I'm missing out on my greens. Let's be honest, I'm usually playing catch-up on my veggie servings by the time I get to dinner! So I concocted this salad idea and it was a hit with the hubs! The kids had scrambled eggs an green beans and were none the wiser. One day you'll be down with runny yolks my little friends!

This is a great recipe for when you need a quick dinner with things you probably already have in your fridge, plus it has that "breakfast for dinner" comfort food feel!

Breakfast for Dinner Spinach Salad


9oz fresh baby spinach
4oz prosciutto
4 eggs
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (DIY or Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette is my go-to)
Two slices of wheat toast, buttered 
Black pepper


1. Saute prosciutto in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. (About 5 minutes depending on the desired level of crispiness.) Place on a paper towel to drain.
2. Poach eggs: I poach two at a time. Bring about 3 cups of water and 1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar to simmering in a sauté pan. Crack two eggs into a separate bowl or ramekin. Stir the water until you have made a "whirlpool" and then slide your eggs into the center. This will wrap the egg whites around the center and give you a more condensed poached egg. Poach for 3-4 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain the liquid.
3. Place desired amount of spinach on the plate. Top with prosciutto, eggs, freshly cracked black pepper to taste and salad dressing. Serve with buttered toast (because hello runny egg yolks, yum).

(Note: After eating, I thought this might be good with some green onion. Let me know if you try it!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday, Cooper!

I know I say this every year but 4 just seems so much bigger and older than 3! I got Cooper's school registration home in his back-pack the other day and it was labeled "Pre-K Registration". Surely they got his mixed up with somebody else's. Surely my BABY BOY is not going to Pre-K next year! I die.

Yesterday was the boy's 4th birthday and we had all sorts of mini celebrations planned throughout the day as he was going to school. Kyle stayed home from work to eat breakfast with us and we had cinnamon rolls (thanks Auntie T!) and bacon, his faves. After his school lunch I brought up donut holes, as requested, for "the friends". Although he did not want to stay for his own party (too much spotlight for my boy), I'm sure the donut holes were a hit. Then, last night we had an impromptu pizza party and cake with the neighbors. Even all of the attention couldn't shy him away from his chocolate cake with chocolate icing!

Sweet boy…

Happy Birthday to my Cooper Boy! You love: all things boy, scooter races with the neighbors (man, can you get around on that thing!), the Incredibles and Superman, pop music (Rude, Uptown Funk and Animals to name a few), running fast (you practice daily), reading books (we just started "Where the Sidewalk Ends"), Bunny Snacks, terrorizing your sister while pretending not to be terrorizing your sister, helping your dad with anything perceived to be "manly" (especially fixing things), the Orange W store (Whataburger) where you order a "hamburger with extra pickles and just one dip-it, ketchup", and playing "fighting games" with your dad. You take my face in your hands on a daily basis and say "Mom, I have to tell you something. I love you." and there I am, a puddle of mush on the floor. You have your Dad and I eating out of the palm of your hand, and you know it! You are very stubborn and like to make your point but you are also very sweet and loving. KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! (If I may quote your favorite Dr. Suess!)

Just for fun, I can't read this book and specifically this passage without getting weepy:

“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!” 
― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go!

Who's with me?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pancetta, Pea and Pesto Tortellini

Sometimes you have an hour to make dinner and sometimes you have 15 minutes. This recipe is for one of those latter sometimes. And it includes store-bought pasta. Because it is fast. And because it is AWESOME.

So if you're feeling fancy with your 15 minute dinner, this one's for you!

Pancetta, Pea and Pesto Tortellini

1 20oz package of Buitoni Herb Chicken Tortellini (refrigerated)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 7oz. package of pesto
4oz Pancetta, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to directions. (Boil water with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add pasta. Cook 7 minutes.) 
  2. While pasta cooks, cook pancetta in a small frying pan over high heat for about 5 minutes (or until desired level of crispiness).
  3. In a large bowl, combine drained and cooked pasta, pancetta, peas and tomatoes. (The peas can go in frozen because the heat of the just-cooked pasta will warm them.)
  4. Toss with pesto. Top with parmesan cheese.
Make sure to pour yourself a glass of wine!

Pancetta, like bacon, makes everything better.

Yep, right out of the kids' stash.

When I run out of my frozen pesto from Kyle's basil, this brand is my jam.

Finished product before cheese. Pretty, right?!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I do and love doing it. I know it's a little corny and cliche but there is  also something fresh and fun about starting the new year on a new foot. Not everyone agrees, I know, just ask my husband. Also, ask him what it's like to be so perfect! (I kid.)

My brother got me a FitBit for Christmas and it's been fun keeping up with all of that. Dang, it's hard to get to 10,000 steps! Unless I go on a run I definitely don't get there. Chasing kids will get me a good 8,000 in the bag but the rest is a mystery. Can't imagine what it would look like if I still had my desk job! Since "getting fit" is kind of an ongoing thing for me, I'm not really counting this as a resolution. More of just an interesting (I hope) side note.

Here are the two things I am resolving to do in 2015:

  • From now on, my phone is going to ride in the backseat of the car. - Let me just say this for all of the concerned grandparents out there: I do NOT text and drive. My cargo is way too precious! However, it sure is tempting to glance down at my phone when I see an email or text come through and I am certainly guilty of the "red-light read". This year, I've just decided that it's not worth it and I, sadly, am just not that important! Plus, little eyes are always watching and I'm going to need some ammunition for those teenage years.

  • Be more productive before 9am. To be fair, the real motive behind this one is more "me time". I am NOT planning on taking up ironing or anything crazy like that! Basically nothing gets done in this house before Carrington's nap. Sometime between 6am and 7am I make sure to drink coffee. Sometime between 7am and 8am I feed kids. Sometime between 8am and 9am I get us all dressed and get out the door for the day. (Working Mom Casey who used to get everyone dressed, fed and out of the house by 7:30am is shaking her head somewhere. Also, she probably has a headache and needs to go to the grocery store but that's beside the point!) My kids are happiest in the morning and will contently and quietly play for the most part. I'm just thinking that if I could squeeze one of my little afternoon chores in before we leave the house in the morning I could maybe get more done. But never to the detriment of my coffee!
So that's the "new Casey" in 2015. Two little attainable goals. What does the "new you" look like in 2015?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

On Being Carrington's Mom

Cooper's Mom doesn't know exactly what to do with this smiley, friendly, social butterfly of a second child. That sounds really bad for Cooper (ha!) so let me explain. It's not that he's a total curmudgeon, he just really makes you work for it and is not really into making friends for the sake of making friends. Maybe that still sounds bad too but that's just him!

Carrington, on the other hand, approaches total strangers with ease and will not leave them alone until she can get a smile out of them. There is no breezing through the grocery store with her. I have to stop every aisle or two to chat with the person she is smiling at / waving to / blowing kisses to / trying to share her snack with…

The stinky chick fresh from her work-out or the homeless guy asking for change outside will not be spared! Little Sister does not discriminate. She knows the true meaning of the holidays.

But this face though, how can you resist?

I swear she's trying to get herself adopted!