work in progress

hello there!

I’ve decided to get back into frequent blogging. It’s something I love doing and I genuinely want to grow as a writer and WordPress user.

Please bear with me as the blog undergoes changes (adios, old posts!) and revamps into something new, unique, and of value to myself and to readers.

I’ve chosen “hello there” as the title of the new blog. In many ways, it is simple, clean and straightforward… exactly what I’m looking for!

hellothere

Hope you’ll join me!

-Andrea

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Five (Meals) on Friday | 1.19.18

Happy Friday! It’s sunny, and 53 degrees as I am typing this. Get outta here! That’s like, 50 — maybe even 60 degrees warmer than it was at the beginning of the week.

Seeing sunshine is such a mood-booster for me, especially since I am stuck in the office all day today.

Image result for sunny day quotes

I just finished up my online grocery shopping, and wanted to share what’s on our menu for the next several days. Ideally, I would have purchased enough groceries to get us through the end of the month but I have learned my lesson and have had so much produce spoil that I can only shop for a week or week-and-a-half at a time. Of course I could order the pantry staples and such but I do best when I shop (and think!) in complete meals.

Make sense?

New recipe for us – Italian Vegetable Soup

30 minute Italian Vegetable Soup – This is the BEST version I have tried – my family begs me to make this soup! hearty, comforting chunks of ground beef and veggies in an Italian spiced tomato broth - SO good and easy!

Doesn’t it look so good, and filling? (Click the photo to read the recipe.)

I’ll make a few changes… like using ground Italian sausage instead of beef, omitting the cabbage, and adding more onion. Although I am not using ground beef I will be using beef base and probably organic vegetable broth because I know I have it in my pantry.

Another new recipe to try – taco casserole

Easy Weight Watchers Casserole

In an attempt to jazz up a regular old taco meal, I’m making a taco casserole inspired by the Weight Watchers recipe linked to the photo.

I’ll make my own blend of yumminess with ground chuck, black beans, corn, onion, taco seasoning, and Rotel tomatoes layered between flour tortillas. Of course, I’ll top the casserole with cheese, sour cream, green onions, and diced tomatoes.

Can you tell that we really like onions?

You could totally use chicken in this recipe and I probably will in the future. We’ve had chicken a lot lately, so I’m choosing beef/pork for our next few meals.

Old favorites

For another meal, I’ll pan fry thinly-sliced pork chops seasoned heavily with Cavendar’s (a hubby fave). For sides we will have steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes.

BLTs made the menu this week, and I will probably add avocado slices to mine! The BLTs may accompany leftover soup, too. Otherwise, we’ll have fresh fruit salad as our side dish. Maybe mac & cheese if the little man requests it.

Zoodle love

Have you had Zoodles? If not, you are missing out! My husband found one of these in his stocking this Christmas, and we used it for the first time recently.

As zucchini lovers, I knew there was a high probability that we would be hooked on zoodles. I was right!

Image result for veggetti

We have the traditional “As Seen On TV” Veggetti, which is $9.99 at Walmart or Amazon.

I’ll cook these in olive oil and garlic for 4-5 minutes, using tongs to toss them around a few times. It’s really quick and I’ve learned to not overcook them.

I’ll make my usual spaghetti sauce with ground chuck, and will serve it over zoodles. Such a fun and healthy alternative!


So that’s it for the next several days in our household. I know the soup and casserole will make leftovers, and I bought a few other staples to bring for lunch, etc. My goal is to be healthy (within reason), and to make filling meals that don’t break the bank.

Because let’s face it, we all want the rich, cream cheesy delicious pasta recipes on Pinterest that always call for sun-dried tomatoes + artichokes + bacon + asparagus that would cost about $25 to create that one insanely good looking meal. Oh, I want it, but my pants and wallet don’t!!

Have meal ideas to share? Please do!

Five on Friday | 3.17.17

Image result for happy st. patrick's day image

Happy St. Patty’s Day! If you’re anything like me, you struggled to find anything green in your closet and are just using it as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. Cheers!

I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to blog about lately, but haven’t found the time.

A good old Five on Friday should do the trick…

1. A new favorite crock pot meal

beef stroganoff

If you would have told me, just 6 months ago, that I would be making this meal a couple times a month I would have laughed in your face. Beef Stroganoff has always sounded disgusting to me. First of all, Stroganoff is a weird word. And let’s face it… beef and noodles and sour cream sounds bad. Real bad.

Turns out, I was wrong.

It’s actually really good! I took my mom’s recipe, changed it a little… mostly because I misunderstood her directions. More on that later.

Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • Beef Roast… whatever cut you desire. Aim for 2-3 lb. roast.
  • 2 Packets Beefy Onion Soup Mix. The dry stuff.
  • 1 Packet Au Jus Sauce/Gravy Mix
  • 2 T Worcestershire
  • 3 T Water

Stir together the mixes with the water and Worcestershire and pour it over the roast. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve over your favorite egg noodles and dollop sour cream on top.

Why I love this recipe… When I get home from work I just have to boil noodles, and BOOM, dinner is ready.

2. running on empty

Image result for daylight savings time for moms

The start of DST + Funky weather + Hubby working long hours = MWM… an acronym for Mom with Migraines! Me and my head have had a rough week. I am so looking forward to the weekend, possibly getting a little more sleep, and the weather leveling out a little bit… fingers crossed.

3. hating everything in my closet…

Surely this happens to everyone, but I have a bad case of closet-hate happening right now. I did just buy this long cardi in “brown sugar” from Old Navy for only $19. I think it will cheer me up!

product photo

I also love this super long cardigan that is only $18!! Love this light oatmeal color for Spring!

product photo

4. fake tan recommendations?

With Spring being just around the corner (Monday!), I need to work on getting rid of this embarrassingly pale skin. I haven’t tanned in a tanning bed in years and have seriously considered doing so recently. However, I don’t know when I would go… can’t go after work because I have to pick up little man. I can never count on a time for my husband to be home from work… and the last thing I want to do when he gets home is to leave.

With that being said, I am looking for an affordable and bronze looking fake tan lotion product. Please help!

5. my sweet Sammy

And, what’s a blog post without a picture of my precious boy?! An 18-month update post is coming soon. In the meantime, look at that sweet smile. I have been so proud of Sam this week… he went #2 in his potty! Excited boy & parents!

bathtime

We’re headed down to “the farm” this weekend to play with the horses, mini donkey, goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs, Peppa the Pig, and whatever other animals we can get our hands on. More later!

 

XO

five on friday |1.27.17

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FRI-nally! FRIDAY is HERE!

Surely, I’m not the only one who thought this was the longest. week. ever.

Here’s a random FOF, my first of 2017…

I’m quitting Starbucks in February

Yeah, you read that right. I’m boycotting Starbucks for the month of February. I have decided that they pocket wayyyy too much of my paycheck and it’s time to end that bad habit. Like, so bad that I was going 3 times a week. And, at like $8 a pop it was adding up quickly.

Image result for no starbucks

So Sayonara… to the Caramel Macchiato, Banana Bread, and 700 calories. I’ll pocket that $8.

Easy side dishes

Do you ever get in a cooking rut? You fix the same meals week after week and nothing changes. While I wouldn’t say I’m quite there, I would say that I am in a “side dishes” rut.

Typical sides for us:

  • Sauteed veggies (asparagus, zucchini, some kind of squash)
  • Easy rice mixes (Zatarans, Uncle Ben’s…)
  • Some kind of potato (baked, tater tots, fries)
  • Seasoned canned beans

Is there a dish that is easy, and that your family loves? Please share your recipes!

New Makeup Products

I’ve noticed that my foundation has been creasing in 2 different spots lately: My smile lines, and a frown/expression line between my eyes on the bridge of my nose. I feel like this problem is fairly new and is really frustrating me.

I should preface this whole topic by saying that I am not a “makeup toucher upper” meaning that I put on my makeup in the morning and then I go. No products come with me. No touch ups happening. I don’t even think I carry a mirror in my purse! I reapply gloss/lipstick/balm here and there but not religiously.

One of my great friends Melodie works for Sephora in Nashville (and waited on Reba recently!) and was super helpful when I text her about my creasing complaint.

Here’s what we decided together:

  1. I need to quit cutting corners and use primer, again. She recommended this Too Faced Prime & Poreless primer. At $30 it was more than I expected to buy, but when I saw how this transformed the back of my hand, I knew it was something I needed. It’s smooth and velveting without feeling gloopy (Melodie’s term, ha!).Image result for too faced primer
  2. Next, I need to set my foundation (Born This Way by Too Faced) with a small amount of powder. Melodie recommended Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. At $36 it was more than I wanted to spend on a powder, but I gave in when I felt the amazing texture. It feels nothing like a powder. So silky!
  3. Finally, I need a new super fluffy powder brush. I didn’t purchase the one she recommended because it’s $40 and after dropping some dough on the primer + powder I was done for the day. Eventually I’ll do what she says and buy the damn brush because I know deep down I need it.

I’ll report back next Friday to let you know how this new line up is working for my crease issues.

dime challenge

Image result for dime 2 liter challenge

It’s so easy a monkey could do it!

Seriously though, we are totally doing this in our house. Any and all change we have ends up in Sammy’s fox bank, but we can make an effort to keep dimes for ourselves. We certainly use and carry very little cash. Honestly, I would like for us to budget with cash and ditch cards (except for gas and things like that where it is much more convenient to swipe).

If you or your family has done a challenge like this, let me know how it went!

putting on my drinkin’ boots

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‘Cause we are going out tonight to see Miranda Lambert! I’ve seen her show, maybe 5 years ago, and loved it. My husband bought tickets as a Christmas/birthday gift for me and I can’t wait to have a night out!

Have a great & safe weekend!

XOXO

 

Things I want to remember about this age: 11 months

things to remember

  •  You point at the alphabet hanging above your changing table when you want me to spell your name. We spell your first, middle, and last name by pointing at the letters. You like to point, too!
  • You have a thing for blue blocks, specifically round or oval shaped ones. The paint is wearing off of your wooden blue oval.
  • You like to look outside for “birds!” and grunt when there are birds in the yard.
  • We wash your hands a few times a day and you like to turn the water off before we’re finished.
  • You can eat a whole peach in one sitting!
  • When given a brush or comb, you will attempt to brush your own hair… and daddy’s 🙂
  • You have 2 top teeth, a bottom molar, and just got your 3rd bottom tooth. The only one you struggled with was the molar.
  • You have started to point at your toes and mumble when we count them each night.
  • You like to hide underneath the kitchen table like it’s your fort – and you peak out and roar at us for attention.
  • You play peek-a-boo like a pro! You peek over the arm of the couch, hide your face in the rug, and like to hide under blankets. Sometimes you tear the blanket off immediately, and sometimes you wait and giggle under the blanket.
  • You go nuts when you hear the bath water turn on.  You like putting your bath toys in your fishing net.
  • You give slobbery, perfect kisses and rest your head on my chest when I say “love mommy”. You do the same thing with stuffed animals, too.
  • Books with flaps are your favorite! We have to keep some in hiding and break them out for special reading time with mom and dad because you sometimes tear the flaps.
  • You are so helpful with watering the flowers and plants.
  • You wake up at 2:00 a.m. sharp to nurse, and when you don’t, mommy still wakes up by habit.
  • You practice feeding your dad with your spoon, and accidentally shove it down his throat sometimes.
  • You like to put your feet on us, when you’re being silly, and when you’re asleep. We say it’s “giving us the foot”!
  • You clap your hands on command, smile, shake your head, and point at body parts.

we love you more and more each day – even though it seems impossible!

Five on Friday – 5 things I’m buying this weekend

Happy Friday + A First Look - Saffron Avenue : Saffron Avenue:

I made it. Friday! What an incredibly long week! I am SO excited for this weekend, for no other reason than it’s the weekend.

For today’s post I am talking about 5 things I want to buy/am planning to buy/really hope I buy this weekend. I feel like we have 102 projects going on at once, but I guess that’s what is to be expected when you are new homeowners (less than a year still counts as new, right?) and it’s spring.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Not house-related, but I need this bag.

 

At 14″ tall and 16″ wide (hello, momma!) this is totally a tote and not much of a purse, but I think that’s what I need at this point. Up until now, I’ve been carrying a cross-body purse AND the diaper bag when we are out and about. Sometimes I just throw my wallet into the diaper bag, but I am such a loser and am constantly losing my wallet and/or debit card.

Now that Sam is 8 months old, I’m pretty damned good at getting us out the door in an organized and timely fashion. Not that it isn’t a zoo from time to time, but I have gotten good at the science of leaving the house. I know what we need to take with us and rarely forget an essential. With that being said, with this bag I should be able to grab a couple diapers, small pack of wipes, a couple binkys and a couple toys and get out the door with ONE bag.

I’ll get back to you on how successful I am with this new plan for brief outings.

This baby is in my cart right now and I’m getting ready to pull the trigger. I will not leave this full cart abandoned – like I do like 4 times a week. #onlineshoppingprobs

2. Working on bedroom decor

Slowly, but surely we are making purchases for our bedroom. We had completely neglected it when we moved in. So far we have bought a bed, mattress, quilt (thank you, Barbara!) and night stands. Next up – curtains!

Nate Berkus™ Mini Fringe Curtain Panel: I totally love these Nate Berkus white curtain panels from Target. They have a gray fringe on the edges which will tie in perfectly with the other decor we have going on.

When Target shipped the night stands, one arrived completely broken and needed to be returned. I sent a message to customer service via Target.com and they sent me a $15 gift card for my inconvenience dealing with the return.

That dang gift card has been burning a whole in my pocket all week! This weekend I want to buy these curtain panels and a couple curtain rods and get these up! Don’t worry – we have faux wood white blinds to offer privacy, but adding curtains should make the room look more complete.

There is nothing on the walls, because I am being super selective with the decor. I’m always on the lookout for things that will fit the space.

I’ll probably buy these online because you can’t go wrong with free shipping on orders over $25 and 10% off home items with the code APRIL10. With my gift card I can buy curtains for the room for $35. Sign me up!

3. Starting to landscape!

We are hitting up the area Master Gardener’s society annual sale and hope to purchase a few plants to begin the process of landscaping. The one downfall to buying a new construction home is that there is no landscaping. To look at the positive, we have a blank slate!

This post shares everything you need to know to create a landscape from the ground up, start to finish. Confessionsof a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I am definitely showing this blog post to my husband to reference when we shop and plan how our landscaping will look.

For this weekend’s adventures, I am hoping to buy a couple small hanging baskets or flowers to plant in pots to put near our front door. I bought a couple cheap wooden accent tables on Craigslist a couple months ago that recently got a coat of spray paint. I want them to be a pop of color near our front door and feature some beautiful flowers!

4. more of these genius things

 

We received a munchkin fresh food feeder as a gift and used it for the first time this week. I popped about half a frozen cube of peas into it and gave it to little man in his high chair. He went to town on it!! Within 5 minutes his frozen cube was no more. A perfect way to keep him busy, while learning to feed himself, and soothe his sore gums.

That’s a triple-win in my book. We only have one, and I would like to have a couple more for him to have at his grandparents’.

Pretty sure they have these at Walmart  – if not they are definitely at Target.

 

5. ingredients to make this recipe

Detail sfs tagliatelle prosciutto peas 46

The husband and I enjoying watching America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. He’s a science nerd & I like to cook and watch cooking shows so it’s a good fit for us. I have our DVR set to record all episodes, so we can read the episode description and see if we are interested in watching. A recipe for a pasta dish with cheese, proscuitto and peas aired the other day and we decided that we wanted to give it a go. The thing is that you can’t find all the details to their recipes online. Buuuutttt… Jeremy bought me their cookbooks a couple Christmases ago! And let me tell you, there’s something so refreshing to me about making a recipe straight out of a cookbook versus referencing my phone/getting butter & flour on the iPad screen.

I’ll let ya know how delicious it is!


Have a great weekend! I’m going to attempt to snap photos of our adventures for a Weekend in Photos post.

XO

 

 

snag this freebie – digital washi tape images!

 

digital washi tape faves

Graphic design is my thing. I love it – and get paid to do it here and there. Double bonus! Recently I was working on a design where I needed a file image for something similar to digital washi tape. Who knew there was such a thing?!

While looking for black and white styles for that specific design I came across some ADORABLE & FREE (yes, FREE!) files that I wanted to share. These are perfect for anything girly or spring themed! I’m totally picturing baby girl or wedding shower invites.

I’ve included the images below, which are all in .png format. That means they’ve automatically got a transparent background! Score! Feel free to use them for your own personal use.

Happy designing!

XOXO Andrea

Note: I am not the owner of these images.