Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving that it's Wednesday (night) and we are over the hump! :) I'm looking forward to a long weekend- even though Derek has to work on Memorial Day! 

I'm loving that there's a chance my sister can come into town this weekend! It has been about a year and a half since she last visited and I looked like this:

Of course she knows what I look like now because I have visited her and my family but she has not gotten a chance to come back here. It will be so fun to have her here with us! 

I'm loving that yesterday was Anna-Kate's last day of school! I can't believe how much she has grown and changed this past year. Actually, I can not get over how much of an adjustment we have all had! I look forward to the next year- hopefully not as much will change. It would be really nice if Anna-Kate didn't grow up either! ha! 

I'm loving that it is officially summer for the kids and we have a wonderful babysitter lined up! Anna-Kate is really excited about her. I know they are all going to have a blast! 

I'm loving these two litte faces... 

I'm loving my hard working husband- who is loving settling into his new job! He is pulling some long hours trying to get his business built up. I miss him, but I'm so proud of him!! Love you honey! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Show Us Your Life- Favorite Dinner Recipe

This week we are sharing our favorite dinner recipes on the Kelly's Korner blog! Click here to share yours!

I have so many favorite meals! I thought I'd share a couple that our whole family loves to eat! 

1) Chicken Spaghetti- I use Pioneer Woman's recipe

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti
You can click on the picture to see her recipe. She has such beautiful pictures with simple, step-by-step instructions! 

Here's what I do differently: 
* I use one can of cream of chicken soup and only one can of cream of mushroom soup
* I use just a little bit more broth
* I saute my onion and bell peppers together that way my kids don't notice them and it makes it taste better if my onion gets chopped a little too big 

We gobble this up- it's SO good! 

2) Bowtie Pasta Alfredo- SUPER EASY! 

This is a go-to recipe when I'm in a hurry! 

You can use any kind of pasta you'd like, but I use bowties, because they are pretty easy to cut up. Cook the pasta while you make your sauce! 

You can add just about anything you'd like into the pasta, but here's what I do:  

First, I chop some ham. I just use sandwich meat, so that I can use what's left for sandwiches the next day. I don't measure the ham, but I usually chop several pieces but not the whole pack. 

I also chop up a red or green bell peper. I like this to be diced fairly small. 

I put a little olive oil in a pan along with some minced garlic. Once the pan has warmed up, I add my ham and bell pepper. Saute until the bell pepper is tender. 

Then I melt a stick of butter and pour in one cup of heavy cream. Stir together and add about a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp of sage. Stir until it thickens up. If it's still too thin for you, add a little bit more parmesan cheese. 

Then I toss this with my cooked pasta and serve! 

I usually have these ingredients in my pantry, so it's an easy recipe to throw together when I'm in a hurry and don't really feel like cooking. 

Fat Off Fridays

Today I'm linking up with Amanda at Money Family Musings

I've put off sharing my weight struggles but now I feel like it's time to share, so that I can have something to hold myself accountable. 

Several weeks ago Derek and I decided we wanted to make a change and lose some weight. We decided to join weight watchers. 

It is very important for me to do something that will be more of a full adjustment. I don't want to try a diet that I will gain weight when I get off of it. I know that I need to add exercise into my routine as well. 

These are my goals for weight loss: 

* Drink the recommended water daily (64 oz) 
* Exercise at least 2-3 times a week
* Scale down my portions
* Plan healthy meals for most of our dinners 

I don't want to put so much pressure on myself that I get easily discouraged, so if I'm off my diet one or two days a week, I'm just not going to stress out about it. 

Probably my biggest weight loss goal is to lose 50 pounds. It's so hard to admit but I'm just that overweight. I promise that I don't have unrealistic expectations of how small I should be. For my stature, that's what is healthy. 

I really want to make excuses about why I'm in this situation, but I am not going to. I'm here and I'm ready to do something about it! 

So, I'm happy to say that so far I have lost 5 pounds! :) I can't wait to share when I've lost 5 more pounds! haha! 

I decided to record my measurements so next week I'll report back with what I've lost in pounds and inches! Well hopefully it will be down. I've had a few weeks where I've not lost any weight but I haven't gained either, so I take those as a success too! 

I think it's really important to be honest about our weight and to build up a network of friends that will hold each other accountable, even thought I'm the worst about doing this. 

Comment on Amanda's post and share your link if you'd like to join in on the support! Feel free to leave me some love too! ;) 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm loving that this is Derek's first week of real work! (He's been training since January). He is working long hours but so far we seem to have a good system and it is going well!

I'm loving that we have a babysitter for Anna-Kate and Thomas this summer. We decided to have someone come to our house this summer and keep them, rather than putting Anna-Kate in daycare for the summer. I'm looking forward to her starting, I think the kids are going to love her! 

I'm loving how many words Thomas is saying! It seems like he adds a new one everyday. He has such a great little personality! 

I'm loving Anna-Kate's age. She is so funny with the things she comes up with and the grown up statements she uses! She is always playing school or house and loves to wear her heels! In fact, Sunday after church we were home for a few minutes before we went to eat and she switched her shoes! She did it last Sunday too, but this time she was wearing the dress up heels and also carrying three babies! 

I'm loving this beautiful weather! It's been a little chilly in the mornings but beautiful in the afternoons! I know it won't be long before the heat is unbearable, so I'm trying to enjoy the nice weather while it's here!! 

I'm loving the new posts that Amanda will be doing on Fridays! It's called "Fat off Fridays" and it's a way for us to support one another while we are trying to lose weight. That's something I keep very quiet about, but it's an issue for me and I think it'll be fun to join in and have a way of keeping myself accountable!

What are you loving today? Link up here and share! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Monday- Week 19

I have to admit that I am not in the mood for casseroles- especially hit-or-miss healthy ones! I'm not really in the mood to cook either. This week I was craving lighter meals, mostly grilled! :) 

Derek seemed to be at the same place, so it was pretty easy to plan our meals! 

Grilled Steak
Squash and Potato Veggie Packs

Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman
Chicken Spaghetti (I LOVE Pioneer Woman's version, only I substitute one can cream of mushroom for cream of chicken and I sauté the bell pepper and onion so that it's not too strong for the kids!)

Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts
Grilled Corn
Sweet Potatoes

Tuna Salad Sandwiches (Not my usual dinner, but with Derek's new schedule I wanted to make sure I planned a few very simple meals so we wouldn't get overwhelmed!) 

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs 
Rustic French Bread

Chicken Fajitas- with whole wheat tortillas

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (Derek and Anna-Kate can't get enough of this!) 

Tonight we had the grilled chicken kabobs and they were so good!! I made a rub for the chicken, sprayed the chicken with olive oil and then rubbed the chicken down before I put it on the grill. While the chicken was grilling, I glazed it with a mixture I made up! This was actually my first time ever grilling- I even had to fire up the charcoal grill on my own! I also used hickory chips to add some nice flavor. We all loved them so much! I'm pretty sure we will be having these a lot this summer! 

Last Friday I got my first taste of Strawberry Pretzel Salad- which is not really a salad, it's a layered dessert. It was so good, I had to make some for Derek to try! :) 

I plan on using my leftover fajita vegetables for an egg white omelet sometime this week too. 

What's on your menu this week? Comment below and leave your link! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Backyard Facelift

I saw Amanda tonight and she informed me that I was a big tease for not sharing the backyard improvements yet! :) 

I have been waiting for the right pictures! I know it's not a major difference, but it really does make a big deal! I can't wait to start adding plants. 

A big thank you to Derek's family for helping us out! They all worked so hard to get our yard in shape for the summer! 

Whole yard before and after! 

We started with this flower bed that runs in front of the shed- aka. Derek's "Man Cave." I want to have monkey grass as a border on all of the beds. I will definitely be planting something that covers the ugly pipes that stick up! I'm also thinking of adding some Crepe Myrtles in this bed, but I'm not sure yet. 

We were just working away when I noticed these familiar looking leaves... Poison Ivy! Derek's dad also pointed out the poison oak that was hanging from the tree that is in the bed in front of our chain link fence! I was SO worried that someone would break out and it would be all my fault! We decided to leave the vines alone that were in that section. We will probably spray them and then pull them down later. 

Poison Ivy and Oak! 

The kids mostly played outside, but the girls were in and out. Thomas took a nice long nap while we were working! This is Derek, right in the middle of all the brush! Yikes! 

When we moved the dog house a bunch of nuts rolled out! I guess we know what the squirrels have been up to! Anna-Kate said "look at all the coconuts!" and then she and Kristen spent an hour collecting them all on the patio, so later we could all trip on them! ha! 

There was some vinca ground cover already growing in our yard. It's not my favorite, but it was there and adds some nice color, so we decided to leave it! 

It's really not a lot but it is the start of some pretty great landscaping! I love planning things like this and seeing what a big difference they make. This is definitely a project that will look better throughout the summer and the next coming years! 

Amanda, I hope you read this and that you and Jackson are ready to play! ;) ha! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

(almost) Perfect Mother's Day!

I have had such a great Mother's Day weekend! 

Derek had to leave at 5:30 (AM) today for his last week of training in St. Louis. So I got a nice early wake up call this morning to shuttle him to the airport! Did I mention it was at 5:30 AM??! ha! I'm not really a morning person! :) I wish Derek could have been here today... that would have made for a perfect Mother's Day! :) 

Since he had to leave today, we celebrated on Saturday. A couple of weeks ago, Derek and I asked his parents if they would help us get our back yard in shape! It has been neglected since we moved here (actually, I'm pretty sure the previous owner's neglected it too!). So I'm sure you can imagine it was bad! Now that Thomas is bigger and Anna-Kate is always asking to play outside, it is really important to me that they have a nice area to play. 

Here's our backyard before we started. It doesn't look terrible, but trust me, it was a mess!

I will go over all the details and the before and afters really soon. The pictures I took just don't do it justice, so I'm going to have to get back out there when I'm not so hot and sweaty and can take my time with it! :) 

Derek's parents came over around 10 and we pretty much worked all the way up to 3:30! I was pooped and finally gave out, but Derek worked for another hour getting everything wrapped up. I am so grateful for all of the help! We got everything done we had wanted to and I know that there is no way we could have done it by ourselves! 

So that was really a gift to me! I bet they didn't even realize it! :) 

Saturday night, we went over to Derek's parent's house and ate dinner and swapped gifts! Anna-Kate picked out a lady bug charm for my pandora bracelet. I got a heart charm from Derek's parent's for it too! 

Family is the most important part of holidays for me. Even when I'm not with mine, I'm thinking of them and missing them terribly! That's why I try to surround myself with as much family as I can where ever we are. I'm grateful for Derek's family here in town and I'm grateful for my friends here that are like family to me! 

I wound up staying up late helping Derek pack and getting things ready. I think I really was just trying to put off the inevitable! I wound up falling asleep around 2 but then I spent most of the night worrying about being alone all week! (That's a little backwards, I know!) 

After Thomas and I dropped Derek off at the airport, we headed home and ate some breakfast before church.

Our class started a series on Song of Solomon which is really good. Today's lesson was great. But it was hard to be there without Derek! 

Y'all- I'm the first to admit that I am terrible! I have SO much respect for women who go months or longer without their husbands. I don't know how you do it! I don't like to be without Derek for one night! So please excuse me for being so mopey! I know I'm a big ol' baby. 

I promise to try to keep most of my whining to myself! :)

After church we ate lunch at a little Italian place here in town. I prefer our other italian place but it is closed on Sundays! Which I really do respect- but it drives me crazy when I want to eat there after church! My food was really good though and boy Anna-Kate ate it up! I got so tickled at her eating Fettuccine Alfredo! 

We made a detour on our way home and made some pictures at Harding. The front lawn is so pretty in the spring! 

Thomas says "cheese" now! 

I am so sad that this picture was so shadow-y!

Anna-Kate and Thomas were worn out! I had to wake them up for church. Poor things! 

It really has been a wonderful Mother's day weekend! :) 

Happy Mother's Day! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Monday- Week 17

Derek and I are still trying to eat healthy, so I posted the weight watchers points beside everything. We were in the mood for some different meals, so we tried a lot of new things! 

Last night we had the Shepherd's Pie and it was very different with lentils instead of ground beef. Anna-Kate and Thomas ate it up. I thought it was pretty good too! 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries- 2 points
Steamed Broccoli

Creamy Cauliflower Puree- 2 points
Sauteed Zucchini

Sauteed Squash

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie- 4 points (this one is a brave choice)

Spinach Pasta Bake- 5 points (we used fresh spinach and mushrooms)
Rustic French Bread- 3 points

What's on your menu today? Comment below and leave your link! :) 
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