Thursday, February 2, 2017

Monday, Manners, Meatballs and Moderntone

Last Monday I was finishing up some Valentine's Day decorating and finally switched out some of our dishes for our collection of pink Moderntone. 

Since I had them out I decided Monday would be a good time to have a little dinner party with the family.


 
Now, we do this fairly often. I wouldn't say once a month but maybe every 6 weeks or so. I set up our dinner in the dining room with real dishes and flatware (no character cups and crazy straws) we use our real napkins and practice our table manners. 

Every time I am setting it up my kids have this freaked-out moment--

"Are we having company?  "Who's coming for dinner?"   "Why are we using these napkins?"  "Why are we in the dining room?"  

Every single time.
Which is another reason why we do it--to actually USE our dining room, to USE our different dishes, to USE our best manners, to BE together and focus on the meal.


 
So, I set a pretty pink table, served an amazing meal--can you say FRIED CHICKEN MEATBALLS.
They were every bit as amazing as they sound. I found the recipe in a new cookbook I picked up Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less

Y'all. This is a Whole30/Paleo cookbook that's out of this world. All of the meals come together in 45 minutes and so far are awesome. Her method for cooking potatoes in a crock pot and having them ready to quickly add as a side or make into fries is a game changer!!! I have been eating/cooking Whole30 for a year now and this potato trick has given me new life! Buy the book!! $16 well spent!

We are having those meatballs again tonight--even the world's pickiest 4 year old gobbled them up and wanted seconds! Buy the book, make the meatballs, thank me later!

I have to say, I'm thankful for our dining room dinners and I hope the kids remember these nights. I can tell you that I know they remember their manners (at least some of them) after we teach them new things because they can easily tell you where their glasses and flatware should go before and during their meals. Even if they don't do it all the time, they know the rules and it is a little bit of a relief to know that they do remember some things we're teaching them. 


Monday, January 23, 2017

Seasonal Reads for the Family- Valentine's Day Books

Okay with a 1st Grade boy and a Preschool girl we read ALOT at our house. I love Christmastime because we have 20-30 Christmas books to choose from so the stories of the season never get old.

Now that Christmas decorations are all packed away and we are decorating for Valentine's Day I wanted to add to our seasonal library. Here are my picks for Valentine's Day reading for young readers! I'm already loving what we've gotten!






Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts This one comes with a poster and punch out Valentine exchange cards!


Happy Valentine's Day, Charlie Brown! This Reader is under $3!


Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Love Both of my kids love Pete the Cat and I can't wait to read these with them!


Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine I'm sure Alvin and the gang will be a treat for my boy and girl reader.

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink Something tells me Jay is really going to like this one.....

The Berenstain Bears' Valentine Blessings (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) this one is another one with stickers so I am sure it will be a hit with girls!

SO there you have it, fun characters we know well and cute stories to celebrate the season of love, friendship and kindness. Perfect picks for beginner readers and bedtime stories. I especially love that many of them have activities and stickers to make giving these books as gifts even more special! I hope y'all enjoy some of these as much as we are! Let me know what other books are popular with your family--I love getting ideas from friends too!

Valentine's Day Decorations 2017

I've officially put away all of the trees and Christmas decor that had been decking our halls since November and immediately put out Valentine's Day decorations because little Lizzy was so sad. 

Here's a peek of what we have out so far this year!

Flowers for the front door...
 Dishes and dishes...
 These are all from Target years and years ago

 ....and these are Pottery Barn Kids from last year. 


I still need to switch out our dishes and get out my pink Moderntone dishes.....and according to Lizzy we need to add lots more Valentine things because "we don't even have one single tree up or anything!" Haha! Sweet girl loved all of the Christmas stuff and this has made her want more, more, more! 

Happy Valentining and Decorating y'all! 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

I'm linking up here today to show you some of my favorite things this week!
Thanks for stopping by and let me know what you're loving too! 


Its Friday again and we couldn't be happier! I do love linking up and sharing ideas with friends. Its probably my favorite part of the interweb. :) So, here are some of my favorite things this week!

I'm in week 2 of a new bible study--Looking for Lovely at our church. I just loved what Annie Downs said in the video portion of this week's lesson. To paraphrase she was explaining how when we love someone we often see things in our everyday that remind of us of those loved ones. "Karla would love that picture." "Heather would love that shirt." "Lizzy would love that bracelet, it looks like her." Downs goes on to explain that seeing Jesus around us everyday is part of the love relationship we have with him, part of fixing our eyes on Jesus--that we see him everywhere, not just in our mind's eye or on the cross at the front of the sanctuary. I just loved that--it was probably my favorite moment of the study this week. Its my prayer and my desire to see him around this week in little moments and lessons and in the beauty I see in my town and in my people.

Of course these two little people are my very favorites and I loved sharing their fall photos here this week.


I also loved sharing our fun Halloween costumes and characters. These two transformed in front of the camera!


This year for both sides of our family, the adults drew names for Christmas gifts. We used drawnames.com and it was quick and easy. We loved that we could register for what we wanted and knew we would get something we desired instead of "a gift for the person who has everything".

 
I registered for this robot vacuum and its great! It transitions from hardwood floors to tile to slate and area rugs, handles the cleaning under beds and clawfoot tubs, can withstand a bulldog attack or two, and is simple to use.

If you've wanted one but were afraid to get one because of the price, the one I have is under $200 and is worth it! I've been using it for a few weeks and have no problems!

And this was my favorite thing we ate this week

I really loved how easy this was to get on the table for a weeknight meal that didn't destroy my kitchen! Sometimes we just need quick and simple while we're cooking Whole30--am I right? This recipe does the trick!

Buffalo Shrimp


Hey y'all! I needed to pack a lunch today and it was so yummy I wish I had to pack lunch more often!

I made the most delicious Buffalo Shrimp last night and the leftovers are awesome!!

Here's all you need to make this super fast Whole30 Buffalo Shrimp-


Ingredients
 1 and 1/2 pounds Gulf Shrimp (wild caught is best)
1/4 cup Texas Pete or other compliant Hot Sauce
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika 
salt and pepper
1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for pan. 

Method
In a large bowl (preferable with lid) whisk together hot sauce and spices. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil in the microwave and add it to sauce mixture, making sure to whisk constantly. Add shrimp (with shells and tails on, just dump them in the bowl). Put lid on the bowl and shake to coat shrimp. Let stand 15 minutes. 

While shrimp are resting in the sauce preheat oven to 400 degrees, put 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a glass casserole or 9x13 and pop it in the oven to melt the oil. Once the oil has melted add the shrimp to the pan and bake 11-13 minutes, tossing shrimp once during cooking time. 

(When you go to place the shrimp in the pan you'll notice the cold shrimp meeting the melted oil you used in the sauce has caused the coconut oil to become cakey--this is 100% fine. I just don't want you to think something has gone wrong, its just science. ;) )

You could prepare the shrimp earlier in the day and let them sit in the buffalo sauce as long as you like, it will make them a bit spicier, that way all you have to do is pop them in the oven a few minutes before you're ready to eat. 

I serve these with big salads and an empty bowl for shells. They are great as leftovers and can be added to omelettes, eggs, potatoes, slaw--really anything! We used ours again for omelettes--or I should say Joseph did the omelettes, that's why they are so perfect! ;)


 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Photos of The Family- Super Hero Style

In my last post I talked about how great and creative my friend Miriam is, and today you'll see another reason I love her.

We were scheduled to take pictures the 2nd week of October. (I book the same week every single year. Like clockwork.) I got a text a few days before asking if I happened to have the kids Halloween costumes yet. (which made me laugh because, yes. Of course I did. My children pick what they want to be in July. They are earlybirds in virtually every sense of the word.)

So Miriam asked that I bring them along...maybe get a few quick shots. And oh my did my kids have fun with this!





















Jay had the best time running around like he was Flash. Lizzy really got into her tough girl role as Wonder Woman.

I'm so glad we have these pictures! I never would have thought to use our photo time (we're always hoping for the Christmas Card pic!) to document the kids Halloween costumes. Now we've captured these awesome memories of the fun they had that evening really portraying their character for the camera.

 I love the idea of a Halloween photo shoot, but more than that I love how simple this was and how it all came together!

Again the lovely and talented Images by Naomi gets all of the credit for shooting these awesome photos. 

(The photos above are mine, so use them to inspire yourself, not to make money for yourself. You'll need my permission before turning this Wonder Woman or Flash into your spokesmodel.)