Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Recipe Round Up: November 2016

I didn't do as much cooking this past month, with my mom visiting and Thanksgiving, but I did try out some new (and delicious!) recipes.  The first two are actually ones I made in October, but forgot to share last month.

Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup by Mix and Match Mama.  I love sausage and potatoes, so when I saw this recipe in Mix and Match Mama's Eats cookbook, I knew I had to try it.  Not to mention it is a slow cooker recipe - always a good idea.  This soup was super good, I did substitute in petite diced tomatoes, because I don't like big chunks of tomatoes, and I really doubt it made too much of a difference.  The parmesan cheese is a must as a garnish.  I didn't have any when I first ate it, but the next time, I added the cheese and it was a game changer.  It makes a ton, so either plan on feeding a bunch of people, or freezing it.  I did freeze some, and then thawed out for lunches, which worked out really well for me.  If you are a fan of soup, sausage and potatoes, then this recipe is for you!

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie by Mix and Match Mama.  I made the recipe as written, and I just didn't quite like the taste of the filling.  It was just a little too cream cheesy for my taste, because I really wanted the peanut butter flavor to come out.  So I added in a bit more peanut butter and whipped cream and made it to my taste.  I also used an Oreo pie crust, because that just sounded delicious.  It ended up tasting like a big Reese's cup - SO GOOD! 

Beef Turkey Enchiladas by Mix and Match Mama.  I love enchiladas.  LOVE them.  I have made various versions, but I think this one is my absolute favorite.  I altered a little bit from the recipe, using ground turkey and wheat tortillas, then adding cheese to the top when baking.  I cannot emphasize how good these were.  They do have a bit of a kick, so I suggest topping with some sour cream to take away some of the heat.  Next time I will use Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream to make them a bit healthier.  Also, a little tip, I made these the night before I cooked them.  I left off the enchilada sauce and cheese, but assembled everything else.  The next night, I took them out of the fridge about a half hour before I wanted to bake them, topped with the sauce and cheese, then baked as instructed.  It was nice to have the bulk of the work done on a night where I had more time.  Regardless if you make ahead or same day, just make this - you won't regret it.
    Chicken Bog
Chicken Bog by Paula Deen - passed along by Chesson at Magnolia & Main.  Chesson introduced me to this Southern goodness, and I can't tell you how happy I am that she did.  It is delicious!  I just used drumsticks, instead of a whole chicken, because I have never made anything with a whole chicken and thought this would be easier.  I think I ended up cooking it just a little bit longer than advised, to get the rice a little more done.  It's so flavorful and yummy.  It also makes A TON, so it's perfect for when you are cooking for lots of people, or are wanting some leftovers.  The smoked sausage was probably my favorite part, and I can see myself adding in more next time I made it. 
Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers by Simply Anchored.  I came across this recipe when looking for 21 Day Fix dinners, and it did not disappoint.  They were super easy to make, and so very delicious.  A few small changes - I used red peppers, because I don't like green.  I also ended up adding some salt and pepper, just because I thought they needed a bit more flavor, and I think next time I will add in more onions - I love the taste of caramelized onions!  I think my onion was a bit on the small size, so it got a little lost in the steak.  I served mine with rice, and it was a super filling meal, while still working with the meal plan.
mexican lasagna

21 Day Fix Mexican Lasagna by Confession of a Fit Foodie.  Another 21 Day Fix compliant recipe, this one had me at Mexican and lasagna.  I also heard good things about it from Kelsey at The Peacock Roost, so it made me want to try it even more.  I really liked this!  I didn't add any of the extra toppings, but I can imagine how good it would be topped with avocado or sour cream!  


What recipes have you tried lately?


Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shopping Small


Hey all!  As I mentioned yesterday, my mom and dad and I partook in Small Business Saturday.  While I love Nordstrom, Loft and all those stores, you can’t beat hitting up a local boutique or store, and supporting those small businesses.  I thought I would share with you some of the places I shop small, and why I love them! 

Our first stop was my favorite boutique, Charmed.  A friend from high school opened this store a 4.5 years ago and it has been going strong ever since.  I pretty much stop in there any time I am back home.  I can pick up basics like tank dresses and leggings to more "fun" pieces, like a chunky sweater I got earlier this fall.  Another huge plus is that she offers clothes that are perfect for any age - both my mom and I are big fans!  It’s the perfect place to buy a gift, and you better believe I got a few this past Saturday.  Right now she has these Emirish bracelets (pictured below), which I am loving.  They come in a million different colors - these are just a few she has in the store.  My mom had me pick out a few for myself for Christmas, I purchased one myself, and also got some to give as a gift!  I have a feeling I will be picking up one or two for the next couple visits, because it was so hard to narrow down which ones to get!

A store in the next town over, The Spotted Owl, had their open house this weekend so we headed there as well.  The owner actually taught with my mom a few years ago, so I know she really enjoyed being able to go there and support.  The store is in an old house, which is really fun, because each room has something new.  I added to my Christmas decorations with a cute little tree, and then my mom got us both ornaments – just very unique pieces.  The place was packed, and I know that little town is so glad to have the store reopened.

There was a Magnolia Pop Up store I really wanted to go to – a small business decided to showcase a larger line of Magnolia products in a recently vacated space next to their store.  It was so neat to see the items in person, and on each piece, there was a photo showing what episode it had been used in and where.  We headed on over to see the shop that held this, Fabulous Affairs, and picked up a few gifts – a new planner for me and little Cubs book for Jack!  It was too funny – we ran into an old family friend whose wife happened to be the sister of the owner.  Who knew?  It really can be such a small world!

If you weren’t able to make it out for Small Business Saturday, make sure to check out your local shops.  Even if you can’t find one in your town or city to your liking, you can still shop small online.  It’s amazing the number of etsy shops that bloggers have, like Plan in Color (Erin) and The Sheep Shack (Jess), side businesses, like the one Chesson started, selling and making fun drink coasters, or other boutiques you can find online!  If you are like me and would love to have your own small business for others to shop small, check out fundera for some loan help to get started!

What's your favorite small business?

Linking up with Whitney.
   

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Week Recap

Instead of just my normal weekend recap, I am recapping the entire week of Thanksgiving.  It was a full week, so below are just the highlights.

Lots and lots of Hallmark Christmas movies.  

Seeing Arrival - such a great movie!  It really causes you to think, but in a good way.  Lots of discussion afterwards, piecing it all together.  Definitely go see!

Dinner at Outback.  I love a good steak, and Outback always delivers.  

The Route 66 exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.  This exhibit was awesome.  I love learning about Route 66, as it goes right through my hometown, and this really was a good one.  The history museum always has great exhibits, and you can't beat the free admission to the majority of them, this one included.  It was one of those exhibits that we wouldn't have minded being a bit longer.  I hope to go again with my parents, because I know my dad would love it!


Lunch at Pappy's.  If you are ever in the St. Louis area and are looking for some good BBQ, Pappy's is the place to go.  Everything is so delicious!

Hanging out with my family Wednesday and Thursday.  It's always so nice when we can all get together.  Jack is at such a fun age, and it's really nice to catch up with my brother and sister in law, not to mention my extended family on actual Thanksgiving. 


Thanksgiving dinner.  ALL THE FOOD.  So, so delicious.  I just dug into my meal, but my brother snapped a picture, so you can see his plate below - ours looked pretty darn similar.  


Playing cards.  We tend to play cards when we are all together and it's definitely a favorite of mine.  Our game of choice was Blitz (or 31), and I am happy to say I was the winner of the second round!

Black Friday.  My mom and I have a tradition of shopping on Black Friday and this year was no exception.  We stayed at my grandma's on Thanksgiving, then headed out bright and early the next morning.  My grandma was super sweet and got up with us to have a quick breakfast before we left.  We hit up Target, the mall, stopped for Portillo's for lunch (our tradition), and then hit a few more places before heading home.  It was a LONG, but pretty darn successful shopping trip.  


Pontiac Light Up Parade.  After dinner on Friday, my dad and I headed downtown for the Pontiac Light Up Parade.  This is something that the town started doing a few years ago, so this was my first time attending.  It was super neat - my dad and I joked it was very Hallmark-esque, with a Christmas parade in a small downtown.  My very favorite part of the parade was when Santa came around - the kids were SO excited.  You could just hear the joy and awe in their voices when they saw him.





Small Business Saturday.  While I love my Black Friday shopping and big name stores, you can't beat supporting local businesses.  We made our way to a few small businesses, and had such a great time looking around.  My dad even joined us for this shopping trip.


Christmas crafting.  My mom and I worked on a fun new DIY ornament and created my gift tags.  

How was your Thanksgiving week / weekend?

Linking up with Biana.   

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image result for thanksgiving
via 

Hope you all have the best Thanksgiving.  I will be busy soaking up all the family time and stuffing myself with all the delicious food!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday - November 2016


I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...this week has been a little bit of everything.  Eating leftovers from this weekend with my mom and eating out a bit for the first part of the week, then Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and my favorite, Portillo's during Black Friday shopping with my mom!


What I'm reminiscing about...nothing really at all - trying to live in the moment!

What I'm loving...having all my Christmas decorations up already.  It has been so lovely having all the lights on and just enjoying the glow of the tree!

What I've been up to...this week has been all about relaxing and enjoying time with my favorite people.

What I'm dreading...going back to work on Monday.  It's always so hard after time off!

What I'm working on...last month I was focused on finding a new work out regiment and I decided to go with the 21 Day Fix.  I am excited and a bit nervous to get going on it.  I am waiting til after Thanksgiving to really go all in with the work outs and meal plan - wish me luck!  

What I'm excited about...same as last month - the holiday season!  I absolutely love this time of year.  

What I'm watching...I have been on a huge Keeping up with the Kardashians kick lately.  I literally had over 20 episodes on my DVR, and I have been working my way through them.  I am also still enjoying the fall line up, with Madame Secretary, Designated Survivor, Modern Family, This is Us, and more recently, Shooter.

What I'm listening to...Christmas music!  

What I'm wearing...it's finally sweater and UGG weather!!!  So happy about this.

What I'm doing this weekend...lots of holiday shopping!

What I'm looking forward to next month...I am just looking forward to the whole month.  Christmas parties, all the festivities, and then of course, the week before Christmas.  That's my favorite time, leading up the Christmas.  Love all the anticipation!

Bonus Question: What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition...I think just being together with family is the best.  My mom and I also always do Black Friday shopping, which I love.  I usually hate crowds, especially at malls, but this is the one day of the year when I thrive on that type of stuff.  Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Tag

I have seen this post floating around on multiple blogs and with it being the week of Thanksgiving, I thought it was the perfect time to do it myself.

Favorite part of the Thanksgiving Day meal - allllll the sides.  And just hanging out with family around the table.

Favorite side(s) - by far my mom's broccoli, cheese and rice casserole.  It's a holiday staple!

Have you hosted before - no, but in the future I would love to!

Favorite decor for Thanksgiving - I think my favorite thing is this turkey print my mom has framed on her mantle.  I don't know that we really decorate for Thanksgiving per say...it's more just fall decorations.



Tree up before or after Thanksgiving - well if you read yesterday or Friday, you know I was decorating beforehand.  I just really like coming home after Thanksgiving to everything all set up and ready to enjoy for the holiday season.

Smooth or chunky cranberry sauce - Smooth, although I don't normally eat them.  And honestly, we always have both on the Thanksgiving table.

Pumpkin Pie or another - I don't really like pie (except for peanut butter!), so my favorite Thanksgiving dessert is usually just ice cream, or if someone makes pumpkin squares - those are my fav!

Biggest thing you are thankful for - by far the people closest to me.  
Linking up with Whitney.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend Recap: Decorating for Christmas

Hey all.  Hope you all had a great weekend - mine was a bit of a doozy!

My mom got in Friday afternoon, and once I got off of work, we unloaded her and headed out for a few drinks and apps to kick off the weekend.  Afterwards, we decided to get right to it and started working on decorations.  I had already moved all my fall stuff into one area, so that was ready to get all packed up.  Then, we decided to tackle the tree.  The idea was that we would get it fluffed and ready to go for the next day.  I purchased a pre-light tree 7-8 years ago on sale after Christmas.  It's been old faithful ever since, always lighting up first try...except for this year.  If you follow me on instagram, you saw the picture where two big sections of the tree were out.  We were really missing my dad at this point, because he always is the one that finds the bad bulbs on my parents' tree.  I made my first trip to Target that night to get replacement bulbs.  Which, for some reason, blew out every time we tried to add a in a new one.  Next step was just to remove all the lights and add in strings ourselves.  Those pre-light trees are no joke!  We spent an hour and a half taking off all those lights!  Once we got all the lights off, the tree was re-fluffed and we finally decided to call it a night.  

Saturday we were up early and ready to get things done!  We had a light of items we needed and headed out.  After multiple stores we were ready to go.  The plan of action was to get everything else done, then tackle the tree at the end of the day.  It seems like we kept having little snafus, like for example the picks of greens we got, my nippers wouldn't cut through, so it was back to the store to buy some better quality ones.  The bag of batteries I had tucked away were all bad, so back to Target it was for those.  We finally got everything though and it really came together.  I think this is my very favorite Christmas decorations yet, and I can't wait to share the pictures with you!  Even though I had to run back to Target (for the 4th time), for more lights, we finally got the tree together and it is twinkling by me as I type this!  

my newest ornament!

My mom and I love taking walks together, both for exercise and for some fresh air, so we headed out for a brisk walk Sunday morning.  I had to run to Target (again - I think I made 6 trips to Target this whole weekend!) to return an extra string of lights, and a few more errands, then I was in for the day, catching up on DVR and Hallmark movies while enjoying my Christmas decorations.  So thankful my mom came to help me.  We really outdid ourselves in my opinion, and I am just so happy I get to enjoy this coziness for the next weeks.  My usual Sunday to do's were put on hold since I have all this week off - seriously just so excited!!!

Hope you all have the best Monday!

Linking up with Biana.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Favorites 11.18.16

Happy Friday!  Always glad to see the weekend.

This favorite is a two-fer.  My mom is coming down this weekend.  That in of itself is a favorite, but what we are doing is another favorite - decorating!  Last year my mom came down to help me decorate for Christmas and she is doing it again this year.  It's always nice to have the help.  She is great to bounce ideas off of and if I am missing something, she is my favorite shopping buddy.  Also, I sometimes get a little overwhelmed when I pull out all my decorations.  My apartment is relatively small, so it seems like a lot of the floor space is just boxes and decorations before it all comes together.  At first look I always kind of think, what did I get myself into, because it always gets worse before it gets better.  Having her help me alleviates that feeling and makes it more enjoyable!

Last year's Christmas tree - you can find last year's Christmas home tour here.

This cover of "Closer" by The Chainsmokers by Boyce Avenue featuring Sarah Hyland.  I saw a snippet of this on Instagram and I have probably listened to it like 20 times since on YouTube.  I just love it!  In turn, I also listened to a bunch of other covers done by Boyce Avenue - lots of good ones.  Definitely check them out!

I got my Ebates check in the mail this week - it's always such a fun mail day when that happens.  If you haven't been using Ebates you can click here for my referral link and sign up.  It's so handy, all you do is sign up, then when you go to order something online, you just type in that shop, click the shop now button and you are rerouted to that website and you proceed per usual.  By going through Ebates you get cash back on you purchase.  It sounds too good to be true, but I have yet to find any catches and I have been using it for over a year now.  It's usually just a little bit here and there, but it can add up over time!   

Starting today at 4:00, I am on "vacation" for the next week.  Both Thursday and Friday are holidays at my company, and I am taking off Monday-Wednesday to use up some PTO days and just enjoy some time off!  I am also hoping to catch up on some blog reading, too!

Hope you all have a great weekend.


Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

I know we haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet so this gift guide may seem premature, but if you are like me, you are trying to get your shopping done early! 

For Christmas, my family has always done stocking stuffers, along with a few bigger presents, too.  My parents do great at the stocking stuffers (and the larger presents!) - they almost never ask for ideas or suggestions.  However, on the off chance they do, I have a few ideas to share.  Even if you don't do stocking stuffers in your family, but are looking for smaller gifts for friends, I think these all would be great choices.



1.  Chapstick.  If you are like me,  you need some type of chapstick with you at all times.  I have one in my purse, on my desk at work, in my nightstand, and in the little basket by the door that holds me keys, just in case I need some before heading out.  While I lean towards just regular, old Chapstick, you can tailor it to personal preferences, whether it be Burt's Bees, Carmex, or this cute little gift set that includes three different Fresh Sugar lip balmsBiana made a great point about gift sets, too, you can always break them apart and give one to different people you are buying for.


2.  Kiehl's Face Masque Gift Set.  My second post ever, was on this Kiehl's face masque - it's so good!  I ran out of mine awhile ago, and have just been lazy about purchasing another one.  I saw this gift set and would love to open it up on Christmas morning.  If you keep it together, it gives you the opportunity to try out all different masques, but again, you could split it up and share the wealth!


3.  Socks.  I am pretty sure that socks are always in our stockings at home.  I rarely buy myself athletic socks, so I actually look forward to getting these on Christmas.  If you don't want to do athletic socks, some fun patterned ones, like these from Loft would be great, too.  This gift idea is perfect, too, because it works for both guys and gals!


4.  An ornament.  I love Christmas ornaments.  When we were younger, my brother and I both had tiny trees in our bedrooms.  Every year, my parents would get us a little ornament to add to our tree.  Since we have moved out of the house, my mom has given us our trees, but the ornament idea is still a great one.  You can never have too many!


5.  Candles.  Lately, I have been obsessed with candles.  These are my three favorites for Christmas and winter (Mistletoe Kisses / The Smell of Christmas (on sale!) / Frasier Fir ).  I have always wanted to check out the Nest candles at Nordstrom, and I know that these Anthropologie candles are a favorite to many.

6.  A cookbook (or regular book - I just love cookbooks!).  Cookbooks are great gifts, and often not too expensive.  You can usually find them at a reasonable price on Amazon, or use a coupon at Barnes and Noble.  Not only would it be a good stocking stuffer, it would be a great stand alone present.  You could add in a dishtowel and some utensils if you want to spice it up!  I really like In the Kitchen with Kris, Cravings, and Eats here of late, and have Skinnytaste Fast and Slow and The Seasoned Life on my Christmas wish list. 

7.  A calendar.  My brother and sister in law gifted us all 'Jack' calendars last year - a calendar make up of pictures of my nephew.  Calendars are so nice because you can customize them like they did, or you can get one specific to a person's tastes and interests.  Whether it be hanging or a desktop calendar, you can't really go wrong.

8.  A magazine subscription.  I mentioned this on Tuesday when I shared my favorite magazines, but it's definitely worth saying again.  It's a gift that keeps on giving, and can be a repeatable gift.  You can keep renewing the same subscription every year, or you can gift a new magazine.

9.  Beer / Wine.  Both are such great and easy gifts.  Especially with the beer, if you aren't sure what they are into, or you know they enjoy trying different beers, you can build your own six pack for a unique take.

10.  Nail polish.  I have been all about the Essie Gel Couture line lately.  While they do run a bit more than other brands of nail polish, the staying power is well worth it to me.

This list really could go on and on, but I thought 10 was a good number to stop at.  

What are your favorite stocking stuffers?

Linking up with Annie.
      

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's Hap-pinning: 21 Day Fix Edition

Last week, I started the 21 Day Fix work out DVDs.  My co-worker's wife was generous enough to let me borrow hers to test and I was instantly hooked.  I love how quick the work outs are and you better believe each and every one of them is a great work out.  I just finished Day 7 and I am still feeling it in certain places!

I ordered the program so I could have it for myself and am starting to look at the meal plan.  I know I am doing it kind of backwards, because as Autumn says in the beginning/end of pretty much every work out, following the nutrition guide is key, but I had just borrowed the DVDs, so the meal plan info was not included.  I am not going to lie, it kind of overwhelms me.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, because it has quick a few meal plans, as well as recipes that are for the 21 Day Fix. 

Brown Rice Lasagna Skillet [21 Day Fix friendly] - Lighten up (BIG time!) your favorite lasagna recipe with this super simple and super healthy brown rice skillet! All the flavors of your favorite cheesy, meaty, gooey lasagna packed into one delicious pan. You’ll love it! #21dayfix #glutenfree:

21 Day Fix Hasselback Chicken — JESS DUKES:

No time? No problem! Prep all your meals for the week in just 90 minutes or less with this meal prep plan. // 21 Day Fix // beachbody // beachbody blog:

easy Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers 21 Day fix recipe thesimplyanchoredblog.com:

#21 DAY FIX BLT WRAP- 3 slices turkey bacon(1red), 1c lettuce and tomato(1 green), 1 oz avacado(1blue), whole wheat small tortilla(1 yellow):

Honestly, with Thanksgiving coming up, being strict with the meal plan is just not going to happen for me.  I am taking off that whole week, so I am sure there are going to be some lunches/dinners out, and of course, a big Thanksgiving meal on Thursday.  However, I plan on starting the program fresh after Thanksgiving, and sticking closely to the meal plan then.  I say closely, because there are a few Christmas parties in that time.

If anyone has some "compliant" recipes or meal plans, please send them my way! 

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My Favorite Magazines

I love a good magazine.  They are perfect to take to the pool, pack one in your purse if you are going to an appointment, or some place you may have to wait, or sometimes I let them pile up and binge read them all at once.  Over the years I have subscribed to many different ones, starting out with American Girl, moving to Cosmo, and then to Country Living...a little bit of everything!


Right now, these are my top three magazines.


Image result for the magnolia journal


The Magnolia Journal.  While this one I don't yet subscribe to, it is going on my Christmas list.  I picked this up at Target when it first came out and I just love it.  One of those magazines you can refer back to and read every single thing.  Chip and Joanna can pretty much do no wrong.


Country Living.  This magazine makes me think of simpler times and I just love all the country homes they show.  While it isn't all 100% my taste, I love reading about those people that have country homes, or have left corporate America for a slower pace of life.  You'll discover some really neat companies and products, too, as well as get some inspiration for farmhouse style!

Good Housekeeping.  I actually started subscribing to this after reading about it on April's blog.  Amazon was offering a subscription for only $5 - can't beat that (it's still under $8 right now!)!  I really enjoy the recipes and everyday tips.  For example, in this last one I read, there were some really good tips on how to utilize every bit of your food as to reduce waste.


I also subscribe to Cosmopolitan, as well as HGTV Magazine.  However, I am cancelling both subscriptions, since these are usually the last magazines I reach for.  


Another magazine on my Christmas list - seriously, subscriptions are such great presents, especially for those hard to buy for people - is Southern Living.  I purchased a magazine this summer and really loved it, but figured I would wait since it would be a nice and easy present for my list.


What magazines are your favorites?


Linking up with Whitney.
 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekend Recap

Hey all!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was really nice, as I made my way back home to visit my parents.

The weekend actually started out Thursday night for me, because I took off Friday.  I actually didn't do much at all on Friday, other than pick up gyros from my favorite place, The Gyro Company.  It was just nice to have a break from work!

I headed home bright and early Saturday morning.  Luckily, the drive there went by relatively quickly.  Shortly after I got to my parents', my mom and I headed out to the 3 French Hens Market.  I had thought we went there the year before, but it was actually two years ago that I went with her.  Whimsy is by far my favorite booth, but there was some other really cute ones, too.  It seemed that it had grown since I last was there, with another tent and more food options.  My mom and I both picked up an ornament,  and then I got another one and a tiny tree to round out my purchases.  It was fun to be with my mom and check everything out, but I think next year I am going to skip.  It just seems that not much has changed since we last were there, and it really is so crowded - one of the buildings had a line to get into it, that sticking to the actual stores of the places we like seems like the better option.  It was also Christmas open house day in Pontiac, so we had to go check out Charmed, where I picked up this super cute top and this yummy smelling Christmas candle.  My mom had a concert that night, so it was just me and my dad (and the cat) for the night.  We ordered pizza from my favorite place, and watched lots of Tiny House Hunters - wild Saturday night!  



Sunday morning we took a walk - it seems like it went straight from summer to winter as we both were bundled up with gloves and ear muffs.  My mom made my favorite, french toast, for breakfast, along with some bacon - so delicious!  I headed back to St. Louis afterwards and unfortunately, the drive was definitely not as quick as on the way there.  Isn't that how it always works?  I had a bit of the Sunday blues, but I think that is expected after a long weekend.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Favorites 11.11.16

Happy Friday!  It seems like the past few weeks have been long ones, with late nights due to the World Series, and then with the election.  Even though, election night I definitely fell asleep early on the couch, but was in and out most of the night getting a results updated.


Image result for friyay image

via
1.  Thursday was my Friday, so as you read this, I am enjoying a much needed day off.  As I write this, the day's plans range from taking a day trip, heading to a winery, or just staying close to home.  Either way, it's going to be a good day!

2.  This weekend my mom and I are going to a holiday market.  I am so excited!  We went last year and had a lot of fun looking at all the different booths.  We picked up some goodies, as well as got some good DIY ideas.  I am feeling the Christmas spirit a little earlier than normal this year, and this just adds to it! 

3.  I recently tried some of the 21 Day Fix work outs.  My co-worker's wife let me borrow her DVDs, just to give it a test before pulling the trigger on buying it myself.  I really enjoyed it.  It's only 30 minutes, with some days of a 10 minute ab work out added in.  I sweat during the work outs and am sore the next day, which to me means a good work out.  Thanks to everyone who gave me work out suggestions - I really appreciate it!  Right now I think this may be the one for me, but I definitely plan on referring back to the comments when I need another change! 

4.  This is kind of silly, but on Monday morning, as I was packing my lunch, I realized that I had left my lunch bag at work on Friday.  It would be no big deal, but they recently started cleaning out all the refrigerators at work on Friday, and stating that everything left in the fridge would be thrown away...everything, including lunch bags.  Lucky for me, the cleaning person must have been feeling generous, because my lunch bag was sitting out on the counter when I got in on Monday, next to a few other unclaimed dishes.  It wouldn't have been a huge deal had I needed to get a new one, but just one of those things I appreciated not having to do.  I am glad it worked out in my favor!

5.  Comedic relief.  Last night I saw Hacksaw Ridge.  Such good movie, but very, very intense and gory.  The story is amazing, though.  The best part is that they actually have an interview with the real Desmond Doss at the end - really cool.  The whole movie just really makes you appreciate veterans even more!  However, it's kind of a lot and leaves you a bit emotionally spent.  Enter Modern Family, which never fails to make me smile.  Sometimes you just need a bit of laughter to offset some of the heavier stuff from the day! 


Hope everyone has a great weekend - see you on Monday!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

If I Won the Lottery...

I missed out on Show & Tell Tuesday: Lottery Edition this week, but really liked the topic so I thought I would join a bit late!  

What would I do if I won the lotto?  I actually don't really play the lottery at all, every once in awhile when it gets really big, some of us at work go in together, but it's not a regular thing.  Let me tell you though, I have thought about this many a times.  Obviously, in my dream world, this is the big winnings, where I would be set for life.

First off, I would take care of the boring stuff, like any debt I may have.  Once that is taken care of, I would make sure my family is comfortably set, as well.  I would make sure to have something set up with savings and investments, that I would have enough to live off of until the end of days without having to work.  After those things are done, then the fun would begin.

I would definitely be purchasing or building my dream home, probably somewhere closer to my family.  This dream home may or may not be out in the country, too.  I would love to live on a farm one day.  I would also get a vacation home on Lake Michigan.  That is where my family vacations have taken place, and I would love for us to have our own house to go to every year.

A new vehicle would also be on the list.  I have always loved Range Rovers, but I have realized that I prefer a smaller car, so I would go towards a small Mercedes SUV.  

I would allow myself to go on a bit of a shopping spree at the beginning, specifically making a few key purse purchases, like a Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Burberry bag.  Purses are my weakness. 

Traveling would be up next.  I'd head overseas and just go all over.  I would finish up traveling stateside, to check out all the places I have always wanted to go inside the U.S.  

I'd settle down after traveling and spend my time volunteering.  I also think I would pursue some other dreams, like having my own home decor / antiques shop.  I'd start small with a little booth somewhere, then see if it takes.  If not, it would be a fun hobby to do with my mom and grandma, and if it does turn into something, then I think I would be happy working, doing something I loved.  Really, the possibilities would be quite endless with copious amounts of money! 

It's so fun to think about - it almost makes me want to start playing the lottery regularly, just in case it pans out one time.  

Linking up with Annie.

    

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Recipe Round Up: October 2016

Cooking is seriously one of my favorite things, I know I have said that many a times here.  I love trying new recipes, and I love sharing those recipes with friends.  I thought I would try something new, where I round up all the new-to-me recipes I have tried from the previous month and share my thoughts on them.



Pumpkin & Sausage Ravioli Bake by Mix and Match Mama.  I was on a major pumpkin kick in October, and this was my very first savory pumpkin dish.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but holy cow, was it delicious!  When I made this, I only used about half the Panko and didn't top with parm cheese.  I thought it was great without and did not miss it.  The sauce isn't too pumpkin-y, just gives it a really nice flavor and pairs so well with the sausage.  It really came together quickly and I already have the ingredients on hand to make again soon!



BLT Pasta by Mix and Match Mama.  I love BLTs, and the idea of having it as a pasta seemed so good!  You can pretty much do no wrong with bacon in my book, and I loved how this was paired with roasted garlic, tomatoes and spinach...and pasta.  I have a weakness for pasta.  This recipe was a definite win.  It's a lighter pasta, which is really nice, but still leaves you plenty full and satisfied.  It didn't take much time at all to make, which is always a plus, and the leftovers were good, too!  I did burn the tomatoes a bit when they were roasting, so I will make sure to keep them in for less time, or lower the temp.  I also think I would add in a bit more spinach, just because I really liked that part of it.  I used regular pasta, because that's what I already had, and I also used regular bacon.  I think no matter how you make this to your tastes, you will not be disappointed.  Just really, really good!


Maple Bacon Pumpkin Pancakes by Mix and Match Mama.  These weren't my favorite.  Maybe it was because I didn't include the bacon, so it didn't have that added flavor, but they were also a little denser than I like, personally.  It is a fun idea to incorporate pumpkin in your pancakes, but I think I would have to do a bit more tweaking to make them suit my tastes.


pumpkin-butterscotch-cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies by Two Peas & Their Pod.  These were delicious.  They make a ton of cookies and are perfect to bring into work or send to friends.  It's the perfect little bite of oatmeal, pumpkin and butterscotch.  I can see these becoming a fall staple.


Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Loaded Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Skinnytaste via Ashley at Turquoise and Teale.  I had never really had a sweet potato before, but with all the toppings, this sounded right up my alley.  It was so, so good.  The flavors of all the "stuffing" is delicious.  I highly suggest making the yogurt / taco seasoning topping to go with it - that was one of my favorite parts, along with an avocado to top it off.  Just really good, very filling, and pretty darn healthy, too!


3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by Six Sisters' Stuff.  I really wasn't sure about these cookies at first.  They sound perfect, because they are only three ingredients, but I wasn't too keen on the cake texture.  I stored them in a Tupperware container and the next day they were super sticky.  I had plans to bring them into work the next day, but since I wasn't sure if I liked them and they were just so darn sticky, they ended up in the trash.    


Two recipes that were passed along to me from my family that I made for the first time this past month include my Grandma's Applesauce and my mom's French Oven Beef Stew.  Both so delicious and yummy! 


What new recipes have you tried lately?


Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.