Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Planning: I'm BAAACK!

After a very long hiatus from menu planning, I'm back. And ready. Ready to start saving some money and the hassle of trying to decide what we are going to eat every night when I'm tired and hungry and the girls are tired and Paul is starving...less stress and good food, can't beat it!

Today is the unofficial day I become a lacrosse widow again. The team has un-scheduled running for the next two-ish weeks and Paul has coaches meetings out the ying-yang this week...infact, it will be a pretty busy week in general.
Today, Paul has running, and then 2 back to back meetings.
Tuesday: medical appointments in Hershey for me (yearly check-ups for my AVM)
Wednesday: Olympics at school for the girls...have a meeting in the morning and then I'll be helping out in Little wee one's class
Thursday: dentist appointment for me and Paul has another coaches meeting about an hour away from home or so.
Friday: might be the only chill day there is.

Back to the menu planning.
I wrote out my menu and then hit the grocery store yesterday morning. I only spent $90 for the whole two weeks!!! I'm super stoked about that!

Yesterday we had enchiladas and homemade mexican rice
~we devoured good!
Today: with the left over meat from yesterday we are having sloppy joes, french fries and corn
Tuesday: garlic chicken with spinach salad and rice
Wednesday: Potato and Leek easy and so delicious!
Thursday: homemade pizza (the girls love this, just by frozen bread dough, let it rise and go to town)
Friday: fish sticks and mac-n-cheese (it's Lent)
Saturday: nothing planned yet, but I'm sure we'll end up with friends and wing the whole dinner thing
Sunday: I let my mom know yesterday that we'll be having dinner at her house...hehe!
Monday: crockpot chili
Tuesday: Spagetti
Wednesday: meatball with sliced meatballs on top (I bought the frozen pre-made meatballs)
Thursday: sausage & pumpkin lasagna
Friday: fish sticks for the girls and a possible date night for Paul and I

Thanks to the sites linked for the yummy ideas!!

Potato & Leek soup

4-5 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut to whatever size you prefer (I did chunks with skin on)
1 Leek, chopped and then set in a strainer and a bowl of cold water to rinse (I rinsed it 3-4 times to get all the sand and grit off)
2 shallots, finely diced
1 garlic, finely diced
box of chicken stock
Olive Oil

In a large pan over medium high heat, soften the shallots, garlic, potatoes and leek for about 10 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a simmer and continue cooking until potatoes are fork tender. Pour into bowls, top with parmesan cheese and sour cream. SO good and SO easy :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back that azz UP!

I'm in the process of backing up ALL.OF.MY.FILES. It's gonna take awhile. I'm still taking my p365 pictures each day, but it will be awhile before I'll be able to edit them. Probably like a week or so. *sigh* I'll be happy when it's all saved, and then the continuous backups will be easy, but man...what's a girl to do??
Good thing book club is coming up, I can finish my book this week :)
Have a wonderful start to your week!

PS...Lex, you can totally make the apple tart is SO EASY!! Trust me, make it the next time your friends come over and you will totally impress them with this impossibly easy dessert. Promise :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

French Apple Tart

I made this recipe last night out of my autographed (yippeeeee!!) Barefoot Contessa was delicious! Perfect with a cup of coffee :) The only things I did differently: I substituted one cup of whole wheat flour for regular flour and I didn't have any rum or Calvados so I used a little rum extract (about 2 tsp) with the jelly and water...SO GOOD! Go make one, you'll be glad you did :)
And you'll feel kind of fancy too...hehe!
For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water
For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


How sweet is this??!! I was browsing my favorite blogs to read while sipping my morning coffee and my sweet far-away friend was awarded this by one of her friends...and then she awarded ME :) A nice little token from a very nice person!
Now I'm supposed to post 7 things about myself and then pass on the award to 7 of my blog friends :)
  1. Cooking...I love it! I love to try new dishes, I love to watch Food Network, I love to stalk food blogs. I love that my Big wee one loves to cook and I love that my Little wee one loves to eat. I would love to take some cooking classes with my hubs, I think that would be something fun to do together. I also like to come up with my own dishes, and this past summer I did a lot of that since I grew my first garden.
  2. Photography...Pictures are my LIFE. When I was little in the bathtub I would set up mock displays with soap and bubbles and pretend to take pictures of my advertisement. I have always loved taking pictures and in college fell even deeper in love when I took photography and worked in the dark room. OH HEAVENS! My girlfriend and I would spend hours in the dark room together and get lost in images. We had great talks then, took beautiful pictures and since it was dark you had no clue what time it was. If I could have a dark room now, my life would be complete ;-) hehe! I am now thrilled beyond words that I'm taking my love for graphic design and photography and starting my own photography business. Even more thrilled that people have been coming back to me and that I was approached by a company to create stock photos and texture overlays to sell! My dreams are coming true...slowly but surely :)
  3. Scrapbooking...Naturally scrapbooking comes into play with my love of photography! Once digi scrapping took off, I knew the world would be a better place...hehe! No more lugging TONS of paper, elements, tools and everything else you need to crops or friends' houses...just my laptop and my external hardrive.
  4. Friends...My best friend and I have been friends for over 20 years! Insane right! We met in second or third grade and our friendship just bloomed. Through thick and thin, good time and bad, we know that we can call the other in times of need or celebration! She has been my rock this year and I miss being able to see her or to hang out or to have our kids hang out. With that being said, I have made some incredible friends since moving to Chambersburg. There is a pack of us that do a lot together and call on each other when we need an ear or a laugh. We drive each other crazy, our personalities go from one spectrum to another, but that's what makes us, US.
  5. Dancing...I could dance for hours. I just have to dance when I hear a good tune on the radio. On the rare occasion that my friends and I, or the hubs and I can go out I am the first on the dance floor. I love to see my girls dance, it makes my heart smile. Great excercise and energy/stress release!
  6. Phone....I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone and I hate to check messages. I don't know what it is, but it's one of the last things on my "to-do list". Maybe I get it from talk on the phone at work all day and when you get home, that's the last thing you want to do. I've been known not to answer the phone and my friends know this. It's much easier to just email if you call and I don't answer don't be offended, I'll call you back :)
  7. mom is one of my best friends in the whole world. We get into fights, we dance crazy in the car, we dance crazy in her kitchen, she loves and adores her grandaughters and she's a huge support system for my dad and my uncle. She's got good listening ears, she's not quick to judge and she is probably the only person that I'll answer the phone for...hehe. I like to go to her house and just sit. I like to eat there, and I love that she is such a great Mimi. I know she misses her boys a ton and her other two grandaughters, and she stresses out about everything, but she's a great mom!! Growing up everyone called her "Momma Sue" because she was everyone's second mom :)

Now I get to pick 7 blog friends and award no particular order, these are my blog friends that I stalk while drinking my morning joe :)

  • Mama Hall - we met online about 6 years ago and finally got to meet in person this past summer! She's an amazing woman, friend and mother and her blog is always full of good information
  • A Day in the Life - we randomly met in a store one day before she moved to my area, and started following each other's blogs. Now we like to talk photos, scrapping and kids together :)
  • The Meyers Family - she's a funny mom who's married to a cow vet. We love to scrap together and hang out...she's also been an wonderful friend over the years.
  • The Showalter's - talk about adventure! This crazy mom of 5 is an incredible friend, who is so full of energy and ideas! Definitely a one of a kind friend!
  • Their Journey to Rachel - we met many years ago through scrapbooking, became friends and have shared so many laughs! We don't live close anymore, but I love being able to read about their journey to adopting their daughter from China...who is so stinking cute!
  • The Barclay Family - a friend from grade school and now I stalk her blog regularly. I've watched them from a far, date, get married, get pregnant and now watch their little boy grow up. She also started a food blog (did I mention that I stalk food blogs??)
  • The Brown's - we went to hs together, but never really talked. That doesn't stop me from reading her blog and their daily happenings! I started reading her blog when they went through an awful situation and watched them overcome with great joy with the birth of their 3rd daughter! Now she's about to turn one and she's so stinking cute!

Of course there are so many blogs I'd give this too, but a lot of those don't even know I exist :)

Happy reading friends!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It's snowing! The girls were excited to wake up, see LOTS of snow on the ground and "help" Daddy shovel the driveway. I bundled them up and sent them on their way...Big wee one immediately ran into the huge mounds of snow. She didn't get very far, but she tried. She loves the snow and could stay out in it for hours!She managed to get on top of the snow and break free...she was trying to go to the backyard to go sledding.But she didn't make it very far! HA! "No, Mommy, seriously, help me...I'm stuck! MOMMY! HELPME! MOMMY!" All the while I'm laughing at her...hehe, she's trying not to laugh, but she can't help it!Oh look, Little wee one will dig her out! She was singing a very special "digging" song, while she tried to help her sister. It was really stinking cute (but I'm partial to her melodic tunes!)."Diggy, diggy diggy. Diggy, diggy diggy. DIGGY diggy diggy diggy my sistwa out."The infamous snow angel. When doing a proper snow angel, make sure there is a LOT of snow behind your head before plopping down and proceeding with correct arm and leg motions (right Nikkalicious??).It was pretty windy, so I double wrapper the girls. Little wee one decided it was too cold out, and she wanted to go in for hot chocolate, soup, grapes and a nap. Can't blame her.This one though, helped Daddy make an igloo! I remember when my own dad used to make igloos when I was a wee one! Memories...These two were so proud! They look like little bears hibernating...or one big bear and one little bear hibernating, but really they haven't fallen asleep just yet, they were deciding if they should come in for hot chocolate or have their hot chocolate out in the igloo. Round 2 of our winter snowy weather is starting right now. I'm not sure we'll get any pictures in the snow this time, since both girls are pretty sick. I'll keep them warm inside until everyone is feeling top notch. Stay warm wherever you are!

Friday, February 5, 2010

IceFest 2010

It's cold outside and we've been planning for over 6's that time of year again, IceFest time! The time of year when ice shavings fly around and big giant ice trucks park themselves downtown. It's also that time of year for my "once a year best friends" to come and make downtown Chambersburg glisteny and sparkly with chiseled ice and out-going personalities.

Loads of fun and super cold, but well worth all of the hard work that the whole committee has put into making IceFest 2010 bigger and better then ever before! This year the Chambersburg Recreational department sponsored a 40' ice slide and the chili cook off committee (one of my personal favorites) moved the cook-off outside under a huge tent and invited Roy Pitz brewery to serve beer samples.
Everything unofficially started Wednesday morning with the building and carving of the ice slide.When building any of the blocks the guys (4 of them pictured here, the one in the plaid, not sure who he is...he's not part of the " bestie" pack) need to properly smack, er pack the ice into position.
Then they ladel water all over the ice to seal it. It's very scientific and percise...or atleast it looks it.Next is the shaping of the ice. The one holding the chainsaw is Ernie...he runs the whole ice operation and during the event (and months leading up to it) I am his sidekick. His go to gal. His friend in need a friend indeed (did that make any sense?)...either way, we eat breakfast together, sometimes lunch depending on if lunch is eaten that day, dinner together...we are pals. He texts me, I text him family. The rest of the crew, is also like family. We are like birds of a feather flock together.Thursday, was another busy day of unloading ice, building ice walls and the official ribbon cutting ceremony for IceFest. Little wee one was amazed at the technique and skill that goes into creating those monsterous blocks of ice; or just scared of the chainsaw and the flying ice. I'll let you decide.I don't have too many pictures of the wee ones from the event, mostly because they didn't come down for much of the event. Paul and I were both working our rears off (he with the lax team picking up trash and manning the ice slide), so they got to stay with their favorite sitter, Melissa :) She takes super great care of them and they just adore her and her boys, so I knew they were in good hands.
I did bring them down for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which Big wee one thought was, "So boring!"She didn't complain too much after she got a nice giant piece of this cake, and then she got to finish her sisters! Sadly, after cake I had to call Melissa to come pick them up. It was way too cold outside and I still had a lot of work to do...which by the way, if I haven't mentioned...I LOVE! I loved working with the guys from DiMartino and doing tv interviews, and radio spots and checking in with store owners to see how business is going...I love working on the different committees, everyone pulling together to make this HUGE event so much fun!
I posted this picture because I like how the news lady is in the background while he is carving. This ended up being a wishing well :) And we both interviewed with her, he was lucky and got to go pre-taped, mine was live. Talk about nerves! I always sound like such a dork doing those things.
Doesn't that just crack you up?! Look at those buns of steel!Here's Ernie, showing the guys who's boss!Friday was less ice during the day, more chill time for the crew and more catch up time for me. We did meet up for dinner, which was Mexican and shared some good laughs.This awful picture proves I was there...see, there I am! Sporting my IceFest beanie :)Oh look! Tuscarora Mt. Winery's ice block was sculpted to hold bottles of wine! The winery was rocking the whole 4 days of the event (wait...3 days, they were closed on Sunday)! Things are going very well there and I couldn't be more proud of my parents and the hard work they put into making the wine shop such a cool place.Friday, when Paul pulled in for his nightly duties, I made him pose with the muscle man...hehe! I want to pump you up!Some of the lax team doing their thing.One of the highlights of any of the events is the free food...clearly it's obvious what was free this evening! The three young'ens do a lot of the live carving of the giants, the middle guy does all of the one blocks that are carved before coming to Chambersburg. All three of them are hilarious and make trailing their every moves fun :) If you have to hang out with people for 4 days straight, hopefully they are funny.An ice dolphin you can sit on and have your picture taken with.Oh Saturday....Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. BUSY! The chili cook-off with one mild interruption went off beautifully! We were beyond THRILLED with the turnout and everyone seemed to have an awesome time. The hot pepper eating contest was also fun and we are excited to amp it up another notch next year! The ladies on this committee are soooooo fun to work with, and meeting with them is like a little mini social hour :)
We finish with Sunday. I literally forced myself to get out and take the girls downtown to see the ice and take a ride on the ice slide. Big wee one didn't even want to head out, I think she just wanted to be a homebody, since none of us had literally been home in days, but I didn't want the to miss out. Lucky for us, it was the nicest day of the event, sunny and 30 something degrees out...perfect for checking out ice.
Both of the girls went down the slide with Paul, but only Little wee one would go down by herself. Big wee one gets a little anxiety around crowds and there was a big one there! I'm happy they went down and Little wee one said it was a lot of fun! She practically flew out of the slide (shown here), but did a great job at keeping her hands in the slide (hehe).
I'm happy I had a chance to get a few days of downtime, but I'm sad that such a fun event is over. All that hard work for it to fly by with exhaustion, but alas, we have a celebration dinner and a wrap up meeting, so ice is still on the brain for another week or so and then we'll start meeting again in June for planning of IceFest 2011.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fancy Party

She had an awesome time! The girls had a good was a totally rockin' fancy party :) She still has pink in her hair and she is still commenting on how pretty her friends looked at her party. :)