Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sewing and Menus

One of my goals this year was to get more comfortable with my sewing machine.  Doin' it and lovin' it!  I haven't gotten too fancy with the machine but I feel pretty comfortable with the few projects that I have done.  It feels pretty darn awesome to be able to create my own things even if they aren't perfect.  But I actually love the imperfections in my creations.  In my eyes they are perfect and in my dreams my grandchildren will think they are perfect too.

My latest creation was my Christmas tree skirt.  I found one I loved online but it didn't have any kind of tutorial.  So I asked my aunt if it was doable and she said it would be pretty simple.  I went to her house two days in a row and got it done (with her amazing help of course and two kids in tow)!  My husband was out of town with our camera, so unfortunately I didn't take any pictures except for afterwards!

Since I don't have any fun pictures to go along with this.....I will share a short version of how I made my tree skirt.  It was pretty simple!

-Using two yards of burlap, I cut out a 50 inch circle with a slit and circle in the middle.
-I then cut out some muslin to match the burlap in size.  I then pinned the burlap and the muslin together.
-I wanted a ruffle, so I took some soft scrim style fabric and tea-stained it.  Then I took the fabric and pinned it between the burlap and muslin.
-With all those pins in place, I sewed the edge of the circle, slit, and middle circle together leaving about a 6 inch gap.
-I then turned the fabric inside out through the gap and GASP......a tree skirt.  It was exactly how I wanted it.
-I then added some strips of satin ribbon to the slit for ties and sewed up the gap.

It isn't perfect but it is definitely perfect for me and I love it!  I can't wait to start sewing more things and especially my own children's clothes.  A HUGE goal of mine!  What a better way to be sustainable then to make my own children's clothes!  There is just something about putting your own time and sweat into something you use and wear!  The sewing machine can be a bit intimidating but I will share more of my creations (and difficulties) as I get braver with the machine.

Here are some pictures I took of the skirt after it was all done.

I am posting my menu SUPER late this week.  It is a busy time of year but I still wanted to share some dinner ideas for you all!  My Christmas week menu will be up on Monday!  Even with all the temptations this time of year we are doing our best to eat organically and as healthy as possible.  But we are still enjoying some pretty delicious food!


MON:  Whole wheat spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce and a green salad

TUES:  Garlic Tilapia Pasta (used less butter and less spice)

WED:  Veggie stir fry over brown rice and Egg Drop Soup (We used veggie broth instead)

THURS:  My husband's work Christmas party

FRI:  Snowman Pizza and green salad

SAT:  Baked salmon, baked potatoes, and steamed broccoli

SUN:  Leftovers and a big green salad


Memories are stitched with love.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cows and Menus

This is a short post because I am working on some long ones for this week.  I thought I would share some pictures my husband and I took while driving home a few weeks ago.  One of our goals for the new year is to take a photo a day and to go on more photo excursions.  This is one of those..."wow, look at all those cows, look at the lighting, quick turn around and lets take pictures" moments!  Thought I share these pictures of these fabulous cows!

On to our weekly menu which doesn't include any cow!


MONDAY:  Homemade pizza, kale chips, and a green salad

TUESDAY:  Inside Out Lasagna and a green salad

WEDNESDAY:  Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

THURSDAY:  Leftovers

FRIDAY:  Cilantro Lime Cod and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, & Cumin-Lime

SATURDAY:  Veggie and Tofu Stir-fry with brown rice

SUNDAY:  Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon, Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, and Waldorf Salad

Extras:  Cinnamon Almonds (recipe soon)
             Spicy-Sweet Almonds (recipe soon)
             Homemade Granola (recipe soon)
             White Chocolate topped Gingerbread Cookies

What are you baking this week?


“To eat is a necessity, to eat intelligiently is an art.” La Rochefoucauld          

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

"I've got peace like a river in my soul."- Elizabeth Mitchell

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Conscious Gifting and Menus

One of our goals as a family is to make a difference in this beautiful world and our local community. During the holidays I feel like there are more opportunities to strive for this goal.  One of ways we work towards this goal is the way we buy gifts.  This year we made 4 guidelines on our gift giving.  We must buy gifts that are either......

1. Local
2. Handmade
3. Eco-friendly
4. Educational (books)

In our world at this time I believe that we need to be way more responsible for our consumerism and our footprint on this planet.  By buying locally we are keeping the dollars in our community and during these tough economic times we need this more than ever.  Really there are a few hundred reasons why buying locally or handmade is better for our country, planet, and ourselves.  Some of the reasons why my husband and I have decided to do this are.....supporting our local small businesses and artists,  lessening our carbon footprint by buying things that are NOT shipped from over seas,  staying away from toxic plastic yucky toys and gifts,  and buying/making things that are unique, thoughtful, and with LOVE.  I am also making a few handmade gifts myself which I am having a ton of fun with.

Now, I must say that I did buy a couple clothing items that were not from a local store or locally made.  Which was kind of a bummer but I needed to get these items and the sale was amazing! BUT I do feel like I am doing an awesome job with the rest of the gifts.  I'm making the right steps and maybe in a few years I will be making my own clothes or shopping all local.  Plus, small steps will make it easier to achieve my big goals in the future.  Taking the steps towards my goal of conscious gifting and sustainable living is what feels right to me and I am glad we are doing this.

There are a couple items that my son is wanting for Christmas that we really want to get him and that I am hoping we find locally.  One being a telescope.  There are a couple locally owned toy stores in our area that I will check out first.  The other being books.  Of course I will buy any books I can through our local bookstore. We also look for eco-friendly options instead of plastic yucky toys.  Now a days, you can find lots of toys made out of recycled plastics or non-toxic materials and I hope to find these at a locally owned store as well.  This has been an extremely fun challenge for us, one I hope we do year round when thinking about gifts for people.

Have you thought about conscious gifting this year?

For fun, I posted pictures from Christmas last year!
These last two photos are my favorites.  On the left, Ayden is hugging on my aunt and uncle's doggie!  On the right, he is on the rocking horse that once was my mother's and all her siblings.  It is still being enjoyed in the family!
On to this week's menu.  Which is a little sparse since we will be out of town a few nights.


MONDAY:  Spaghetti bake with mushrooms, olives, and broccoli

TUESDAY:  Veggie Stir fry over brown rice

WEDNESDAY:  Leftover and a big salad

THURSDAY:  Out of town

FRIDAY:  Out of town

SATURDAY:  Out of town

SUNDAY:  Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

For more meal plan inspirations, visit I'm An Organized Junkie every Monday.


"May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!" -Author Unknown

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Crops and Menus

I waited till the last minute to finish but I did it.  I got all of our winter crop in our backyard garden done and in the ground.  Garlic, shallots, kale, spinach, and broccoli are in the ground and ready to grow.   Grow my little green babies...grow so you can nourish our bodies and souls in the spring!   I love that we are able to grow in the winter and I love that we do it!  Every year we do more and more to live that sustainable life that we strive for!  I am excited for our little family!

For fun a picture of two of the three of my amazing boys!
The busy days and magical moments of the holidays are upon us now.  I do believe that they get more magical when you have children.  Watching the pure and true excitement of the holidays through their eyes is pretty much amazing and heart melting.   Such a warm wonderful time when we can gather with our loved ones and celebrate what is important and good!  Thanksgiving is this week and I look forward to all the special quiet family time we have coming up.  Here is our menu for the holiday week!


MONDAY:  Grilled cheese with homemade tomato basil soup

TUESDAY:  Cod with Fennel Butter, Kale & Quinoa Pilaf, and sauteed green beans

WEDNESDAY:  Homemade pizza and a green salad

THURSDAY:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Bringing to my family gathering:  Green Bean Casserole (we use fresh green beans instead of frozen), Autumn Chopped Salad (omit the bacon), and Homemade Apple Pie

FRIDAY:  Leftovers and a big salad

SATURDAY:  Crockpot Potato & Leek Soup (recipe coming soon)

SUNDAY:  Salmon salad and leftover soup

Pumpkin Bread (One last batch before the season ends!)
Apple Cookies
Canning Apple Butter

What are you cooking this week?


"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter  
lies a miracle...a seed waiting to sprout,  
a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.   
And the anticipation nurtures our dream." - Barbara Winkler 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slowing Down and Menus

Before I had kids I was always on the go, working two jobs, rushing to get here and there, and wanting more all the time.  The minute I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I forced myself to slow down.  Knowing there was a lot for me to learn and a lot of changing about to happen...I slowed down to embrace it all.  I wanted to embrace every second of my pregnancies....the amazing times and the uncomfortable times!  So that is what I did!  I knew my little ones would enter this world when he or she was ready so I did not feel rushed to go into labor.  Plus I wanted all the time in the world to prepare my body and mind for childbirth and motherhood.

Everyone I know who had kids before me, warned me of this time warp that was about to occur.  Everything happens at lightening speed!  I kept thinking to myself that everyone was just exaggerating.  Man.....they were SO right!  It's like the minute you bring your precious little one into this world a button gets pushed and everything starts happening fast.  This tiny little one that once was small enough to by in my belly will start growing and it happens in the blink of an eye.  So I kept it slow and I continue to keep it slow with my new little one.   Especially in these first few months of life.  We can never relive these first few moments with our children, so I have to let everything else go and just be a mom.  Being in the moment and soaking in these amazing souls that so blissfully call me their mother is exactly where I want to be.  The fast paced world can wait, I am raising my children here!  I am embracing every stage my new little baby boy is in and not rushing to get to the next stage.  He will get there when he is ready for now we are enjoying the rolie polie, raspberry sounds, grabbing on to toys, and laughing stage.

My first!  Look at how big he is now at 3 1/2 years!
My newest little!  Almost 5 months!  
And all this growing calls for some good healthy whole foods!  On to our menu of the week!

This week's MENU:

MONDAY:  Sauteed Cod with Garlic-Shallot Butter, Colcannon Potatoes, and steamed broccoli

TUESDAY-  Out to sushi

WEDNESDAY-  Veggie stir fry over brown rice

THURSDAY-  Fish tacos and black beans

FRIDAY-  Simple Vegetable Soup and a green salad

SATURDAY-  Memorial for my amazing great aunt who I miss dearly!

SUNDAY-  Healthy Tuna Melt, Spinach & Apple Salad, and Kale Chips (recipe coming soon)

What are you making this week?


Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep.  -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween and Menus

My littles were cute as could be this year (but I think I will say this every year).   My oldest little man was Mario and his baby brother was Toad (toadstool).  My lovely friend's mom was so nice to make both of my boys' hats!  I can't wait to learn how to crochet so I can make hats like crazy! We had a little family/friend Halloween gathering to celebrate Asher's first Halloween and went trick or treating around the neighborhood!  One trick or treater, 10 adults, and 2 little babies!  My son needed a whole entourage of people while trick or treating.  It was fun even if all of us adults went......we are all kids at heart anyways!  My oldest little has been very shy about trick or treating the past couple years but this year he was all for it with no fear involved!  Except the fear of wearing his Mario mustache!  He was very iffy about this fake mustache being pasted on his face but after he realized how cool mustaches really are, he was sporting the thing!  There is something truly magical about watching your children in costume running through the leaves on a crisp fall night!  It brings such a smile to my face and reminds me why being a parent is honestly the biggest blessing of all!

Here are some pictures of our month long preparation for this fun holiday......crafts my children and I made, decorations I made, my favorite wreath that I have ever made, pumpkin hats my aunt made the boys, my favorite white pumpkins, our carved pumpkins, and Halloween night!  One of my favorite holidays ever!

I'm a little late posting my menu this week but that is how it goes as a mama sometimes!

This week's menu:

MONDAY:  Halloween feast:  Vegetarian chili, cornbread, and a green salad

TUESDAY:  Baked salmon, Gratin Potatoes, and a green salad

WEDNESDAY:  Leftovers and salmon salad

THURSDAY:  Out to dinner with the family

FRIDAY:  Zucchini, black bean, and rice skillet (we use fresh tomatoes instead of canned)

SATURDAY:  Broccoli Quiche (we will use mushrooms instead of bacon) using homemade whole wheat pie crust and green salad

SUNDAY:  Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Hearty Kale Salad (omit the bacon), and homemade whole wheat bread

 What are you cooking this week?


"Witch and ghost make merry on this last of dear October’s days."  -Author Unknown

Friday, October 28, 2011

My lil pumpkins.

Yes, I am that mom that puts their baby in a pumpkin!  But look at how precious he is in that pumpkin!  And surprisingly he was very content in there.  He could have sat in there for awhile and been happy!  And of course, big brother had to give it a try!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patches and Menus

We went to three pumpkin patches this fall!  Three!  Yep, three!  Maybe I am a little crazy but we love them.  We love farms (hence my obsession with living on a farm), we love fall time, we love being outdoors, we love fresh vegetables, we love apple cider.  So, of course, we love pumpkin patches!  Plus, it is a great activity to do with my littles that can be free if you want it to be!
Pumpkin Patch #1
Nursing my sweet baby boy at Pumpkin Patch #2
Pumpkin Patch #3

Thank you to my hubby you took most of these photos!  


TUES:  Veggie fajitas with homemade spanish rice

WED:  Shrimp and broccoli in a garlic sauce over whole wheat angel hair pasta

THURS:  Broccoli-Cheese Chowder and a green salad

FRI:  Leftovers

SAT:  Out to dinner with my boys and friends!

SUN:  Baked Dijon Salmon,  Au Gratin Potatoes, and a spinach salad

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll (We use fresh pumpkin instead of canned)
Warm Apple Cider
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Jack O Lantern Cookies (for my son and his friend to help make)

What are you cooking this festive week?


While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cooking With My Littles and Menus

One of my many passions is being in the kitchen cooking or baking for my family!  I love creating something that is delicious and is good fuel for my family's bodies.  Ohhh...but it wasn't always like that for me in the past.  I hated cooking when I was in my early twenties.  I would have rather gone out to eat.  Plus, I never felt like I was a good cook.  I mean I could barely cook grilled cheese!  It wasn't until I met my husband and we started cooking together that it sparked a passion inside of me.  But I still wasn't that great at cooking!  It was when I got pregnant with my first son four years ago when I realized how important it was to know what I was putting in my body.  Then I knew that cooking my own food was the best way to be healthy.  So it began, my mission to cook and to cook good food for my body, my husband's body, and my sweet children's body.

I think being a good cook was always inside of me since I come from a family of amazing cooks.  My mom has always been such a health conscious, wonderful cook and same with most of the woman AND men in my family.  It just took me starting my own little family to really bring that out in me.  And my husband couldn't be happier.

With my passion of cooking comes my passion of teaching my little ones how important it is to grow our own food and to cook it.  So since day one, my children have always been in the kitchen with me....wearing them, sitting on the counters, or standing on stools!.  They are right by my side learning the ways of the kitchen and how to fuel the body that houses our soul.  I hope one day to pass on my love for food and cooking to my amazing children!

MONDAY:  Thai Green Curry Coconut Shrimp with Basil  (We added broccoli and cut the curry by half to make it less spice for our son).

TUESDAY:  Eggplant-Zucchini Lasagna

WEDNESDAY:  Homemade minestrone soup and a green salad

THURSDAY:  Veggie stir-fry over brown rice

FRIDAY-  Baked Salmon,  Zucchini & Yellow Squash Gratin (I will use half the butter and use milk instead of cream),  Fried Green Tomatoes with a Remoulade Sauce (Just using the sauce in this recipe).

SATURDAY-  Leftovers and a green salad

SUNDAY-  Green Pizza and Apple, Walnut, & Endive Salad

Since it is the holiday season is starting I am going to add to my menus the extra baking and cooking I will be doing for the season!

Zucchini bread (some for now, some for freezing)
Canning homemade tomato sauce
Canning homemade applesauce for my baby boo
Homemade pesto for freezing
Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

What are you cooking this week?


"Mother's love grows by giving." - Charles Lamb

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!

There's no other love like the love for a brother. There's no other love like the love from a brother. -Astrid Alauda

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Harvesting and Menus

It is that time of year again....harvesting time!  This is when we are drowning in tomatoes and zucchini and we struggle to keep up with the basil and parsley that grow faster than I can run!  I love every second of it!  Now starts the scramble of preserving of it all....tomato sauce, salsa, zucchini bread, pesto, dried herbs, you name it!  All of this will be canned, frozen, or dried so we can reap the benefits all year long.  I will be sharing pictures and recipes soon of everything we are making and preserving!
We heart tomatoes!  
I love watching my three year old run around helping us harvest and picking fresh veggies off the vine to eat right there.  Our 3- month old just loves to be carried around the garden or laying on a blanket soaking everything around him.  Raising our children to know how to grow their own food and eat healthy has become an important part of our family.  I am feel blessed that my parents taught me these lessons, so I can pass it on to my children.
Stay tuned to some preserving recipes and for what we will be planting for our winter crop!!!! Here is our menu for the week!!!!


MONDAY:  Whole wheat spaghetti with fresh homemade tomato sauce and a green salad

TUESDAY:  Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Casserole with whole wheat tortillas (We use olive oil instead of canola.  And we use fresh tomatoes instead of canned.)

WEDNESDAY:  Homemade Tomato Basil Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich (We use fresh tomatoes instead of canned.)

THURSDAY:  Leftovers and a big green salad

FRIDAY:  Baked Dijon Salmon,  Parmesan Stuffed Tomatoes,  and Balsamic Roasted Potatoes

SATURDAY-  Dinner at a a good friends home.  We are bringing fresh baked bread, a green salad, and Apple Ice Cream with Caramel!!!!!!

SUNDAY-  Fish tacos with black beans

What are you cooking this week?


"As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees." -Valerie Andrews