Friday, March 28, 2014

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren and Jennie to share some of my favorite stuff from the past week.

1) I got branded! A good friend got me a new sticker for my car. Husband spent all of Saturday morning cleaning out my car and he put the sticker on too.

2) Lots of playtime last weekend! I finally bought a bike so Grant and I took a bike ride together (with Husband tagging along for a walk) and then we played baseball and soccer. We enjoyed some popsicles outside before nap time too. It was such a great weekend to be outside and we took full advantage!
Sunday before the rain came
3) Saturday night we tried to have a Family Movie Night to watch Frozen (torture for Husband since he hates musicals with every fiber of his being). We rented it from "on demand" and it was messing up so bad we ended up giving up halfway through the movie. But Sunday morning it was fine so we got to watch the whole movie. It was very cute! 

4) I'm loving the signs of spring! I have said on several occasions that I love winter...and I do but it's almost April...can we please have spring now??

5) My sister did a "TBT" (which I found out only last week means Throw Back Thursday) and put this old family picture on Facebook. It's actually a picture I sent her a while back and sort of forgot about. I love it!
The good ol' days...back when my sister couldn't talk! :)

Happy Friday!
Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cowboy Wannabe

I've been wanting cowboy boots for-eh-ver. Last year when my sister-in-law got married on a farm I thought it was the perfect excuse. And it was! Except I couldn't find a dress that I wanted to wear with boots. But now that my brother-in-law is getting married on the same farm and they've asked me to do their pictures which may mean I need to wear jeans...didn't that just beg for me to buy boots? So, with some help from a fashion-forward friend, I did just that. And I'm not the only one who loves them.

Grant loves our shoes. Mostly Husband's huge flip-flops (my dad used to say they look like mini surf boards) and my boots. The other night he gave my cowboy boots a test run telling us "I look like Woody!"

Then he decided to really break them in by seeing
how far he could jump in them...
He doesn't like pants.
He started to get a little rough with them and my heart couldn't take it since I haven't actually stepped one foot out the door in them yet, so I took them after the jumping. That's what I get for leaving my longed-for new boots outside of the closet!

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Recipe: Bacon Cheese Burger Casserole

I actually tried this recipe a while back but am only now getting around to posting about it. I had been combing through my old issues of Kraft Food & Family and stumbled across this recipe for Bacon Cheese Burger Casserole. It's a bit outside the box for me as far as casseroles. Almost all the casseroles I make have chicken in them. I just don't cook with beef with that much. I guess that's what made me want to try this. Well, that and I live with two burger lovers who I thought might enjoy something like this (and they did).

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 4 cups (1/2 of a 32 oz. pkg) frozen tater tots
  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brown the meat with onions in a skillet and drain. Stir in ketchup and mustard; spoon into 9-inch square casserole dish (that you've sprayed with cooking spray).
  3. Top with cheese, bacon, and tater tots.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until casserole is heated through and the tater tots are golden brown.
Recipe Source: Kraft Recipes

  • I'm not a fan of chunky onions in my food so when I can help it - such as in this recipe - I use onion powder.
  • Shocker: I used more than one cup of cheese. I also used a few extra slices of bacon. Sue me.
  • I was initially put off by mixing the ketchup & mustard into the meat. I have no idea why since that's pretty normal on a burger but it weirded me out. But you know what? It was good. And not an overwhelming ketchup/mustard flavor either.
  • The recipe says to use frozen tater tots and that worked out fine. I didn't come across any uncooked potatoes (a turn-off for sure) but in the future I think I'll thaw them. I like my tater tots crispy and I would have overcooked the casserole to get them up to my crispy standards.
  • Dishes like this make me think "What do we have with it?!" because I don't feel like its enough all by itself. So I served it with salad but some veggies would be good too.
  • Easy weeknight or any night meal. It could even be made the night before so you can just pop it in the oven when you get home. Good stuff.

Friday, March 14, 2014

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren and Jennie to share some fun stuff from the past week.

1) Friday night Grant went to my in-laws house for the night while Husband and I enjoyed our Christmas present from my sister. Hockey tickets! They were really great seats and it was, for the most part, a great game...until they lost. Can't win 'em all, right? (Or even most, as this season is turning out).

2) After we picked up Grant Saturday evening, we went out for dinner with my in-laws. And since we were in the neighborhood-ish, we finally took Grant to the new Bass Pro Shop that opened. Husband's thought was that Grant would love their huge fish tank...and he really did...but we ended up spending over an hour in the store because it's actually kind of a fun place. 
3) I was feeling crafty on Sunday and made a necklace for my sister out one of my Dad's old ties. One of Dad's favorite things was dressing up so when my sister found his old ties for me, I knew I had to make us both something from them. 
Sister's pick of the ties. I think it turned out pretty well!
4) Tuesday evening was gorgeous and I had no plans for dinner. So right after we all got home we went right back out, swung through a drive-thru for a quick dinner and headed to the park. We ate dinner at a picnic table and then turned Grant loose on the playground until it got dark. So much fun! We'll definitely be doing that more.

5) I rarely make dessert to go with our meals. Desserts are typically a special occasion thing but I want to start making a treat to go with dinner every once in a while. It's difficult to do given Grant's dislike for cookies, brownies, cake, ice cream, etc. But the boy loves popsicles and snow cones. I found this on Pinterest ages ago for Jello Shaved Ice and whipped it up for a treat this week. Not only did it turn out as easy as the recipe sounded, it was good too! I say that as someone who absolutely despises Jello with every fiber of my being!
I made this using cherry lemonade flavor Jello. It was
easy that I made a grape one too.

I hope you all have a great weekend :)

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

3 1/2 Years Old

Last week Grant "turned" 3 1/2. I like to do half year updates and use it as an excuse to take pictures - which, by the way, is getting increasingly harder to do with this guy.
  • 41 3/4" tall (grown almost 2 inches since his 3 year check-up)
  • I didn't weigh him but he's still a string bean!
  • Wearing mostly 4T size clothes, especially pants. 3T is just way too short on those long, skinny legs!
  • Shoe are 10.5! Little kid shoes now, no more toddler shoes.

"Are we gonna take more than five pictures??"
  • Learning letters & numbers. He can identify quite a few of each. We do flash cards together and also like to use board games for number recognition.
  • Learning to write! When his drawing became more specific and he was curious about what words look like (asking me to write Mama or Daddy, etc) I decided it was time for some work books. And he practices on his leap pad. So far for words he recognizes his own name, Mama, and Daddy.
  • New favorite food: tacos. Sometimes for a break, I'll do a "taco night" at home because all I really have to cook is the meat. Grant finds something so fun about a taco buffet laid out on the dinner table and gets so excited about making his own tacos. Sometimes he'll sit in his seat at the table and just wait while I cook. One night while tucking him into bed he turned to me and said "I love tacos!"
  • Favorite things to watch: still loves Cars but found a serious love of all things Toy Story. Also really loving Transformers. Still a big Avengers fan too. Disney is pretty much all we watch for cartoons since they have Jake, Chugginton, Octonauts, Sophia, and Doc McStuffins (and one Disney channel has Avengers). We find Transformers stuff on The Hub.
  • Big fan of board games and puzzles!
  • Very into sports. Hockey is his obvious favorite but we haven't had great weather for going outside to play baseball. Grant loves to pretend he's Jordan Staal when he's playing in the living room and has us "announce" his goals on a toy microphone like they do at the hockey games ("Carolina Hurricanes goal scored by number 11, JORDAN STAAAAAAAAAAAAL" -  he loves it). Now that the weather looks like it may stay nice, we're going to make more use of his new bike too.
  • Loves to pretend. We dress up (yes, we) in his Avengers stuff to fight bad guys. His toys do bad things and he puts them in time out. There are team treasure hunts to find doubloons or some such pirate treasure. Frequent plane or car crashes in our living room (which are leaving marks in my coffee table). All kinds of stuff. And I love to hear some of the outrageous stories he comes up with.

It's hard to believe 6 months have gone by since Grant turned 3. Its so fun to watch him grow into his own little person...even if that person no longer wants to sit still for longer than 5 seconds for pictures. We've got some fun stuff coming up that I'm so looking forward to. We're planning another day at Three Bears Acres (thanks to a groupon deal). Monster Jam is coming back to Raleigh the weekend before my brother-in-law gets married. Thomas the Train is going to be at Tweetsie Railroad in June so we're really hoping to get to that too. It's going to be a busy but fun spring and start of summer. I'm hoping we get to throw in some picnics and trips to the beach too :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sparky & Natasha

Last weekend when we went to the farm, I also had the bride-to-be show me some of the places where she wants her wedding pictures taken. We decided to do some pictures just because. Also to help me get over some of my awkwardness...I like taking pictures and playing around with my camera but I am not a photographer. And usually my subject is a semi-bribable 3 year old (although I'm told that on wedding day, if I bring beef jerky I could possibly get Sparky to do what ever Natasha and I want him to). But anyway, a few pictures from our "see if I can look like I know what I'm doing and lets hope the pictures don't suck" trial :)

My brother-in-law likes to make "awww" noises
mocking what we're doing.
With their dirty dog Mack

Pretty ring!

One of my favorites! I wish I knew could
remember what got that smile out of him!

Friday, March 7, 2014

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren to share some fun stuff from my week.

1) We packed up Saturday for a quick weekend road trip for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law's bridal shower and some family time on my in-law's farm. 
Noting quite like a road trip nap.
In our driving around we found this pretty spot to walk around for a bit.
2) Not only did we get to spend some good time with my in-laws but we got to watch Grant have so much fun on their farm. He was very much wanting to stay.
Playing some serious fetch with one of the four dogs.
Clinging to uncle Sparky's leg so he doesn't have to leave.
3) One of the foods I miss from back home is french fries with cheese and gravy. I had to get Grant early from school on Monday and get I calorie splurged on my craving for fries with cheese & gravy. So good!
I ate it all.
4) Speaking of back home, I got a ring in the mail that I ordered! I got a NY one for me and an NC one for my sister. I love it!
I got it from THIS Etsy seller, if you're interested.
She was very accommodating and quick!
5) I didn't make coffee yesterday morning like I usually do so I had to make do with some instant stuff I keep on reserve in my desk drawer. It was actually so good, I made two cups. What made it even better was getting to use my mug that my co-worker gave me for my birthday a couple years ago :)

Happy Friday!
Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun on the Farm

Remember our little Christmas visitor? Over the weekend we got to take a trip to the place where he came from. 

In April, my brother-in-law is getting married on their family farm and his bride-to-be asked me to do their wedding pictures. She's a brave girl. So we did a weekend trip out their way to go to the wedding shower and spent Sunday on the farm talking about pictures and letting Grant have some of the best fun ever. 

Grant asked us on the way over what animals he'd see. "Will I see cows?" Yes. "Will I see horses?" Yes. "Will I see eagles?" No. "Will I see pigs?" You get the idea. There are LOTS of animals there and he was just so damn excited from the minute we got out of the car. 

There were four dogs to play with, two of them would have let Husband throw sticks for them until his arms fell off. And some cats that Grant sort of chased down.

We rode out the the ceremony site in a cow pasture on what I call their "golf cart on steroids". Grant was SO excited about riding in it and seeing all the cows up close.

Then it was down to the pond - which is also the intended reception site unless it rains (lets hope it doesn't rain, ok?) - for some more fun with the dogs and some general "boys will be boys" dirtiness for Grant.

Digging in the dirt...of course.
And we got to watch big, sweet, pretty Mack turn into the dirtiest dog I think I have ever seen.

So now back towards the barn we was time to see more animals!

Fennec foxes, aren't they cute!
Sasha the lemur was hungry for grapes!
One of two huge turtles (tortoises?)
Donkeys! Look at that lil' baby. (And check out the one
in the background that is clearly sleeping something off.)
All boy!
Grant even got to help Aunt Hollie feed some of the animals.

He tasked himself with filling the wheel barrow with hay.
Farming is tough work :)
Nothing better than a wheel barrow ride!
" eat all 'a' this and I give you more"
Now that was a fun day! There are so many more animals than I took pictures of and so much more fun was had than I took pictures of.It's always great when we get to spend time with Husband's brother & sister and Grant has so much fun with them. But getting to explore the farm with them and have so much made for such an awesome day! And we get to go back next month for the wedding :)
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