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.


Progress!




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!

L


March 16, 2016

#moreveggiesinmarch Halfway Update!


We're halfway through the #moreveggiesinmarch challenge and giveaway! I've gotta say, this has been way harder than thought it would be!

Major successes so far this month?
1) Adding shredded carrots or zucchini to our muffins in the morning! This is SO SO easy and still passed the Clark test.
2) Ordering something other than pepperoni or Hawaiian pizza! Still delish, because Lilly's Pizza is always delish.
3) Adding spinach to pasta and eggs and other things that it disappears into.

Challenges
1) I still don't particularly "like" vegetables. I guess that's what makes this a challenge right?
2) As a follow up from number 1, above, I'm still struggling to make veggies in a way other than trying to hide them in foods we already like. Obviously adding them to things is better than nothing, but I'd love to have some go-to veggie preparations that we can enjoy.
3) Preparing the vegetables that I buy. I hate that I buy food that goes bad, especially produce! I'm still learning how to best time the purchase + preparation of veggies

I'm currently working on a low-sugar (but still tasty!) zucchini and/or carrot muffin recipe to share. I'm thrilled with how my crockpot tomato sauce turned out because it's chock full of tomatoes and not full of artificial colors or sugar. I'm also planning to make a lemon chicken and asparagus dish with some form of cool cucumber sauce on the side - hopefully an update on that soon!

I hope everyone else's month is off to a great start! If not, it's never too late to jump on board!

Just now stopping by? 
Here's the scoop. My friend Kellie and I are challenging ourselves (and each other!) to eat more veggies this month! We want to encourage each other and anyone else who's interested. We created an official challenge an giveaway to help the process along;
  • Plan  your 2-3 servings (or whatever your goal amount is! I'm shooting for 3-4) of vegetables a day. Raw, cooked, blended, however you like them.
  • Eat them!
  • But, before you eat them, take a pic and post them on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook with the tag #moreveggiesinmarch so that we can be inspired by each other and cheer each other on!
  • Follow me (@almostcasual) and my friend Kellie (@weareblog) on instagram to be entered into an awesome veggie themed giveaway (you don't even have to eat a single sliver of green to be eligible, you just have to follow us)
    • Custom veggie themed watercolor by yours truly!
    • reusable veggie tote to haul around your new love for veggies 
    • $20 giftcard to Whole Foods

Happy Veggie Eating!
(+ obligatory picture of Clark cheesing while enjoying a chocolate zucchini muffin)


L

March 14, 2016

Crock Pot Tomato Sauce


Have you ever started something in the crock pot and then forgotten that it existed? Like all of a sudden you walk through the door and smell something acrid, and think "hmm, those new neighbors kinda smell weird and why is it in my house and OMIGOSH THE CHICKEN IS IN THE CROCK POT!" And you run over and think that maybe if you add some more chicken broth that the disgusting burned-ness will just disappear except it doesn't because it's, well, burned.

Well that wont happen with this recipe. I did forget that it was in the crock pot but was actually greeted with a deliciously pleasant aroma that made me excited to make dinner. So it's got that going for it. It's super simple, it is tomato sauce after all. But I love it because I know exactly what's in it (which is only 6 ingredients by the way) and it's perfect for anyone looking for less sugar, no soy, more veggies, vegetarian, no red dye, etc. etc. etc.



And it's so easy.

3 large cans diced tomatoes
one sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
some gluggs (~1/4c) balsamic vinegar
1Tbs molasses (could use brown sugar instead)
1 stick butter (this is totes optional, but to me it makes a huge difference)

That's it! Stick it all in the pot, cover and turn to low.
Cook about 10 hours
Puree with stick blender (I like my sauce smooth!)
Pour over all the pasta!


This recipe made enough for me to put away two mason jars full (one is for the freezer, one we will use up this week) and then the leftover went on pasta for dinner. So keep that in mind! You can always halve it or even double it if you're feeling ambitious.

I will definitely be coming back to this sauce because it's that freakin easy. And also it makes me feel like I'm actually getting a serving of vegetables when I eat it. All the winning emojis.


Happy Monday!

L

Linking up today!

“Mrs.AOK,

March 4, 2016

Fri-YAY!

Happy Friday! What a lovely start to March that we are having over here! I so enjoy going back through the week and focusing on the faves! So I've chosen some favorites form insta to share today!






***
1.
Taking a lovely sunshine-y walk to start kick off the weekend after work on Friday!

2. 
Getting all dressed up with T for a gala thrown by my alma mater. We had so much fun eating well and dancing the night away!

3.
Prepping my veggies for the #moreveggiesinmarch challenge + giveaway that I'm hosting with my fun friend Kellie!

4.
My son eating my genius carrot filled muffins! Hooray!

5. 
The best veggie packed dinner we've had this week, we call them "power bowls"! I've made sushi bowls (interested? Check them out here!) before, and these are kindof like that but there's not as many rules about certain veggies or ingredients. These were made sweet potato and had a ginger soy sauce. Yum!

***

This week included lot's of veggies, and I hope that the whole month looks the same way! But we also tried to squeeze as much fun in as we could on top of that. Want to follow me in real time? You can find me on instagram, I'm @almostcasual 

Happy Friday!

L
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