May 4, 2016

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Ok. I have to tell you a secret. Before last month, I had never purchased ground chicken. In my whole life. I have no idea why. I bought it on a whim, which wasn't really a whim it was actually a super sale, and thought "oh wow! I bet there are no recipes out there for this!". What the heck?! HELLO did I forget that pinterest existed or something? There were recipes galore! And my eyeballs almost popped out of my head and I'm pretty sure I will be adding ground chicken to my shopping cart from here forward.

I started with some simple ground chicken for tacos and they turned out great. I then moved on up to some chicken parm meatballs and they were even more great! So! I had to annoy everyone and take too many pictures before allowing everyone to eat and it was totally worth it. No regrets. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
1 package of ground chicken (16oz)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1 tsp basil 
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/3c parmesan cheese
1 egg
pinch of salt
tomato sauce (whatever kind you like, about 12-16oz or whatever size jar you normally use)
handful of shredded mozzarella cheese, to top
1) In large, deep, skillet heat about 3 Tbs olive oil
2) In separate bowl, ix together everything but the tomato sauce and mozz. cheese.
3) Wet hands, and gently make balls, placing them into the pan as you make them. These will feel bretty loose and hard to shape. They firm up a lot when cooking. I find that if I make sure my hands are wet it helps a ton.
4) Cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning so that they brown on all sides
5) Pour over the jar of sauce, and cover, cooking another 5 minutes or until cooked through
6) Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top, and pop in the oven under the broiler until cheese is browned
7) Serve with your favorite pasta!

I love these because they aren't as heavy as beef/pork meatballs, and they aren't as time intensive as making traditional chicken parmesan! I can't wait to make these again!


May 2, 2016

Stair Progress

Apparently we are crazy because despite the amount of work that replacing the floors upstairs took, we decided to rip up all the carpet from the stairs so they would be carpet-free, too. And oooooh how they seem to go on and on and on.

Here are the ridiculously terrible before pictures!


 (all the ew.)

First, hubs took the carpet off and removed all the staples and nails (bless him).


Next, I got to painting the fronts of the stairs. What I thought would be a quick, semi-gloss, two coat project, quickly turned into filling hole, vacuuming, more filling, and then three coats and I'm still not happy with it.

(one coat, above, three coats below)

After I decided to save my sanity and move on, I realized that it would be impossible to knock out painting the tops of the stairs all at once because babies don't nap for 5 hours at a time and dogs also have to be let out. Also, I couldn't paint them at night because they needed to be vacuumed immediately before painting and then there's the problem that we have to go up the stairs to go to bed, too. Double oof. So, after some brainstorming, I decided to paint half the stairs at a time.

Hillarious, yet effective. I also went ahead and caulked the painted half of the stairs so that I could at least halfway see what the finished product would almost look like (and so I wouldn't go crazy every time I had to go up or down and see 10239823508 ugly gaps and dark spots).

Finally I was able to finish painting the other half of the stairs, and three bottles of caulk later, fill in all the gaps. (You can see in the picture below how the two bottom stairs need to be done. And OH what a difference the caulk makes!)

What's left, you might be wondering? They are such a big improvement! Yes, yes they are. BUT. (Oooooh the buts). I need a fourth coat of the semi-gloss white. Also, now that the stairs are painted, the trim on the left and the right looks absolutely dingy (even after the "magic eraser" that should be re-named eraser full of lies) so that needs to be repainted as well.
Also, we still have to install the "stair nosing" (the front part of the very top stair so that it matches the floor boards). And finally, the most gratifying part of all, we will install a runner for the final touch! Also, to keep out son and our dog from totally wiping out every time they attempt the stairs!

Shwew! So there is still tons to do, but seeing pictures really helps me feel better about how far we've come! I can't wait to show the final product!


May 1, 2016

Summer Goals

It can be summer now right? I mean, May 1st, that's basically summer.

Regardless, I'm declaring it summer because summer makes all things better. It means you can stay up later and sing with the windows down and have friends over more often. There's always been something so freeing about things that you can get done during the summer that isn't possible during short days and cold nights. I get just as excited for these warm months as I do for the start of a calendar year. So bring on the sun and the fun and the goals!

This summer I hope to;

Exercise 4 times a week
While I'm ditching my planet fitness membership, we just got a bike seat for Clark (yay family bike rides!) and I'm really excited about it! I also am planning to work with my sister to get our butts in shape by running and of course using some good ole Jillian Michaels DVDs.

Be able to run 5 miles, at a ten minute pace (or faster), by the end of August
This goes along with my goal, above, but is specific to running. I used to be able to get in a good 2-3 easy miles, no problem. Obviously it's not so casual anymore. But I wish it was!

Finish all the unfinished craft projects currently collecting dust in my guest room
This is a giant roaring three headed monster project. I need to go pull them all out and actually count them so I can figure out how many a month (or week! yikes!) I will actually need to tackle

Pay off my car!
This is super huge, and is going to take super amounts of effort and planning. I haven't quite ironed out all the details of how I'm going to earn an extra 600/month over the summer (to ideally have four $1000 payments total) but I'm thinking maybe some t-shirt quilting/summer tutoring/free lancing type activities. We shall see!

I could probably easily come up with four MORE goals in addition to these, because that's how crazy optimistic I get about summer! But I'll stick to four, especially since including May (which I know is a stretch) there are only four months of summer to begin with!

I hope I'm not the only one that feels like summer is the perfect time to get extra stuff done! Happy long days to you!


April 27, 2016

Easter Snapshots

I'm convinced that since Easter was early this year, April decided to absolutely zoom by with no regard to anyone's feelings. Thanks, April.

But, I've been wanting to share a some snapshots from our own little family Easter. It was ridiculously hectic, but also fun. I'm starting to realize that this whole "take care of another human" thing makes everything feel more hectic to me than a)it actually feels to anyone else and b)it actually feels to me when I look back on it. I'm working hard to remind myself that no one is as critical as I am on myself and to try and enjoy the moment more because being frazzled stressed out mom is not fun for anyone.

Besides, with a face as adorable as this, what is there to be stressed about?

I love getting Clark all snazzy for special events, especially since he doesn't hate it! Maybe I will be the only mom in history who has a kid who doesn't go through the "I hate dressing up!" stage! HA! Or maybe I'll just take advantage of the fact that he doesn't know the difference for as long as possible.

Clark had a ton of fun hunting for eggs this year. While I don't really think that he "got" it, I know that he was thrilled to randomly find his latest favorite toy all around church!

We are officially in the stage of life where no one will ever be looking at the camera at the same time. Yay!

 After church was a whirlwind of cooking and eating and friends and family. Clark even ended up busting his bottom lip on the kitchen tile because he was running around (more yay!) and it took forever to stop bleeding. Then mom poured herself a glass of wine. But! I did master the four strand braid for my Easter bread this year (I used this recipe, a super favorite show stopper when you pull it out of the oven!).

At the end of the day my son basically looked like a kindergartener, we were happily exhausted, and super pumped for a Spring Break on the horizon!

April 25, 2016

Spring Break Floors

Over Spring Break we totally bit the bullet and decided to replace all of our carpet upstairs with flooring. All three rooms and the hallway were tackled in a week. 

We started the very first night of break, and worked for an entire week to get as much done as possible before school started back up again. We were SO lucky that my friend Kellie (have you met her? She rocks)'s husband was able to help Tim learn the tools of the trade from picking out flooring to how to install it! (For real. I'm not sure if we would've been able to tackle this without some outside help! And tool borrowing!)

Here are pictures from Clark's room before the carpet was removed!

(progress during!)

After we finished Clark's room we worked on the hallway. This picture was actually on our anniversary. You know, super casual, hubs working his butt off on our anniversary. We ended up using a slightly different wood for the hallway than we did for the bedrooms and I love how it turned out. It looks a little more rustic, which the bedrooms are slightly darker and more formal (to me, at least).

The process for the floors was a tad more involved that I had originally anticipated.
You have to;
Rip up the carpet and carpet pad
remove all the staples (WORST PART)
sand down any uneven spots
vacuum vacuum vacuum
Put down underlayment
lay the floors
vacuum vacuum swiffer
replace the trim
finish out the trim with caulk to fix any imperfections
breath deeply and look at your work!

Here you can see Clark's finished room + the finished hallway.

The last room we tackled was our master bedroom! Please excuse the terrible night time photo, we spent a lot of time prepping after Clark went to bed at night. We would put him down, eat dinner, and then get to work pulling carpet and prepping so that the next day we were ready to lay down the floors.


Tada! I'm pretty sure once we were done and I spent a few minutes just laying on the floor basking in the finished product. Now that the floors are done I'm hoping to finally get the upstairs to a point where it feels "finished". Hopefully that will happen by the end of this summer!

Happy Monday!


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