Foodie Friday: Simplified spaghetti pie

One of the blogs I follow is Mennonite Girls Can Cook. I am neither Mennonite or a cook, but their recipes always look delicious. This recipe popped up and I knew I had to make it for dinner, but simplify it in about 10 ways. It was incredible!

Picture courtesy of MGCC. Here is the original recipe.

Simplified Spaghetti Pie
based on MGCC recipe

6 ounces spaghetti (this is less than half a box)
2 TB butter
1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 well beaten eggs
1/2 pound ground beef (I used 93% lean)
1/2 jar of chunky garden style pasta sauce (I used Ragu)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp minced garlic (optional but I LOVE garlic)
1 C cottage cheese
2/3 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Brown the ground beef. Add the minced garlic as it cooks. Add the pasta sauce.
  • Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Stir butter into hot spaghetti. Stir in Parmesan and beaten eggs (make sure the pan is not too hot or it will scramble your eggs!) Add garlic salt and Italian seasonings.
  • Butter a pie pan on the sides and bottom and dump in the spaghetti mixture. Use a spoon to make a "crust" with the noodles, going up the sides and pressing down the middle. 
  • Spread cottage cheese over the spaghetti, then the meatsauce, and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. 
Note: I am not crazy about crunchy noodles, so I don't leave as much of a crust as the pictures above. 

Thursday 13: Best on TV

During nap time, my favorite "hobby" is watching TV.  My favorites are all over the board, and I thought maybe you'd find a new one you haven't tried or you might see one we can discuss. Because my other hobby is analyzing TV apparently.'s my half of DVr (in no order):

1. The Bachelorette: I can't stand The Bachelor but tune in every Monday at 8 for 2 hours of man-drama. They actually cry more than most women I know! My prediction? Sean in the end for Miss Emily & little Ricki.
on ABC
Chris, no freaking way. Stop crying and man up.
2. Grey's Anatomy: I have honestly never missed an episode. I've stayed with them through hospital shootings, ferry crashes, and now a plane crash! Go ahead, ask me anything about that show.
on ABC

3. Jeopardy: Speaking of asking, what is my nerdy pleasure? Nowadays I have to catch it in and out of the bedtime routine, but I LOVE trivia and especially the Teen Tournament, when I feel like a genius (you should know that I just had to spell check genius).
on CBS

4. Teen Mom (I had to put Jeopardy before you read this one so you know I do have intelligent thoughts): I only watch the cast that is on right now (Maci, Amber, Farrah, Catelynn). I adore Catelynn & Tyler and watch the other 3 purely out of my curiosity for what train wreck will happen next. Seriously Amber, pull it together. And Farrah, stop talking to your parents like that!
on MTV

5. Deadliest Catch: Matt got me into this one and I was hooked (ha) when Captain Phil died. I am fascinated by the way these men go straight into the most dangerous job in the world day to day to provide me with crab legs and crab cakes. Thank you.
on Discovery

6. Pregnant in Heels: Hilarious, if you can get over the way Rosie speaks (I can). She is a maternity concierge (hello, dream job) who deals with the most ridiculous clients and their pregnancy "stress". This has included "Find me an entire new wardrobe, but I hate maternity clothes", "We have twins due in one week and have nothing in the nursery", and "Put together a baby name brain trust to pick my son's name".  Really.
on Bravo

7. So you Think you can Dance: The only talent competition I watch (and I have watched it in person twice!) I love it because I myself, do not possess anything resembling dance moves. Ask any sister of Theta Nu. I fast forward through the judges' comments, and watch the beautiful dancing. And the top 20 were announced last are not too late to join the obsession at the beginning! I even have a section on here dedicated to this show.
on Fox

8. Million Dollar Listing: The newest show to be added to my list. Oh, is it sassy!  It takes place in LA and centers around 3 Realtors who list and find the most incredible properties you have ever seen. And then make a commission that is higher than a normal person's yearly salary on a single house. The cast is fabulous and catty, and the scenery is gorgeous.
on Bravo

9. NY Ink: Another one I started watching with Matt. This is a new tattoo shop in Brooklyn with "colorful" artists who are all clawing their way to the top of the industry and who have very love/hate relationships with each other. The clients also usually have good background stories and often include celebrities. The season ended in a cliffhanger, so we hope it returns!
on TLC

10. Bethenny Ever After: I have to include it, even though my beloved Bethenny is now off in talk-show land where I can't watch her anymore (her show is just a test-market showing only in certain areas). Just love the woman and her family. She is the celebrity who I look up to, like it or not.
on Bravo

11. Modern Family: Oh, Cam & Mitchell, how you brighten my week. the writing on this show is clever and is "that show" that I reference probably a bit too much at work. Cam's 40th birthday party this year nearly put me over the edge. Oh, and I'll always remember that I was watching MF while realizing it was time to get ready to go to the hospital to have a baby!
on ABC

12. New Girl: This show is not for everyone. It is sarcastic and hilarious. Schmidt himself could just make the whole show, just like Cam in MF (see I did it again). I like the young, imperfect characters and Jess' quirkiness.
on Fox

13. South Park (surprise!): I had to be honest, and I have watched this show on and off since the very first episode. Nothing like cuddling up at night with your man and watching this heartwarming show.
on Comedy Central

Anyway. Wow, that was the easiest post I have ever written. I have had some writer's block for a while, and talking about TV knocked off some of the cobwebs. What do you think? Are you a fan of any of these...or others?

Wednesday in Pictures

Larkyn's first Comfest. Cousin Braden was playing the bass in his band!
She slept VERY well that afternoon!
Love my new elastic lace headbands from Thread on Grandview.
OMG. Wedge salad and chicken salad from Matt the Miller's. Thanks for babysitting so I could enjoy a meal, mama!
Well, 3 days ago, this picture was funny. Now it makes me sad.
Just got done hanging these up in our area. And don't call my number please. Unless you have our cat.

Foodie Friday: A little help, please

Usually I post with great excitement on Fridays...bringing you something that I have tried and hope that you will like as much as I do. However, this post is a little different. I need your help!  You see, everything I read and hear suggests that children should "eat what the family eats". That is so not happening in this house, and I am starting to feel bad about it.

I do feel good about breakfast. She eats any breakfast food put in front of her (just like her mama). Check. Lunch, great! She eats fruits, crackers, cheese, you know...a normal lunch. Check.

Then comes dinner. First of all, it is a little challenging because Matt gets home after dinner time and closer to her bedtime, so she has to eat separate from us on most nights. Which makes me feel guilty in the first place.

I have tried introducing all of the things I thought one year olds like: grilled cheese, mac and cheese, pasta, ravioli about 4 different ways, and don't even go there with meat. Ha. Tonight was my breaking point with Spagettios. Spagettios! Doesn't everyone love those (don't answer that--I might be the only 30 year old who still eats them). If you were outside our house when I presented the bowl of wonderfulness to Larkyn, you would have thought a snake bit her. I ate it in front of her, making a big deal, I put some on her tray, tried different spoons, and it.would.not.end.

What am I doing wrong? How did you get (or not get) through introducing new foods?  Because, seriously L, people do not eat waffles and applesauce for dinner. Only your mother when you are not looking.

So, I am looking for baby-friendly dinner entrees. Here are the dinner items she does like:
Rice/Mexican rice, refried beans (can you tell where we get carry-out?), mashed potatoes, and pizza. Thank you!!

Happy summer in pictures!

So, it officially begins. I have attempted to take Larkyn someplace stimulating every day. We tryyyy for new places, but that doesn't always happen. We have found some lovely parks around here, gone out to lunch with friends (although THAT has become interesting as of late), but here are some of the more exciting milestones and events we have had so far...

Feeding ourselves! Not all the time, and usually getting more food on our lap than in the mouth, but it is exciting nonetheless.

Mommy and Me Bounce class at Buckeye Bounce Club. She loves jumping on the bed and couch (doesn't everyone?), so I found this place that lets her bounce, wall to wall and in a foam pit. The only time she whined was when she wanted me off her trampoline. Ha! The video below shows that she is not interested in the "class" really, just having the place to herself.

Short trip to Pennsylvania to visit Great Grandma. Larkyn was a celebrity at the retirement village!
Eating dinner beside GG at our special reserved table for Fathers Day.
This was the highlight of our guest room.

We met up with Miss C and her daughter at Ballantrae Spray Park. It is way easier than going to the pool and sassypants got to run around AND have water. It was a million degrees out, but she enjoyed the fountains and the McDonalds ice cream that followed. We will definitely go back!
This one eventually sprayed her in the face, which prompted an immediate whine-laugh.
It was so nice of her to take Lulu in the water so I didn't have to wear a bathing suit. Although, if you examine the picture closely, you'll see that swim attire isn't exactly required.
Note: In the latest Us Weekly, Ellen Pompeo's daughter is wearing the same suit. So, I know where she shops (Target for $12!)

I love Miss C!

Next on the list...
Window shopping at Easton (maybe get a pair of shoes since we are quickly outgrowing them!)
Berry-picking with daddy
Swimming with cousin Jax and hopefully Amber & Hannah

Sentimental Sunday: To my Daddy

It is kind of fun to be celebrating Fathers Day in 2 ways: one celebrating Matt as a dad and one celebrating my own dad/Larkyn's Paw Paw.

Dad, you have put in a lot of years as a father! 60+ years of helping us take our first steps, ride a bike, do well in math (hey, you tried), and letting us make good and not so good decisions. We have learned a lot from you. Mostly:

1. You (should always try to) do what is right. No matter if it is the way that causes way more time and work, shortcuts never work.

2.  Everything will be fine. Stop worrying, because it won't do you any good.

3.  Get out of the house and do something. You didn't let me sit around and watch too much TV, so now I can only take so much of it before I need to get up and be productive. Thanks!

4.  Help others. You are always STILL helping anyone who asks. Laying a hardwood floor? Sure. Watching 2 crazy dogs and a one year old? Sure. Oh, without payment? Wouldn't accept it anyway.

5.  Serve and be proud of your country. I am still trying to figure out how to do this one. But I am so proud of all the years you spent protecting the country you love.

You are a great dad and the best grandfather I could hope for. We love you!

Happy Birthday, other half!

Well, now we are both 30. I know you take pleasure in reminding me that I am older by 2.5 months, but now we are the same age again! 

I know it isn't easy living in this zoo we call home. A yellow and pink bird-filled wonderland has replaced your man-cave, and the sounds of squeals, barks and Sprout TV spread through our once quiet home. But you wear it well. Fatherhood suits you, and I'm glad that Larkyn has you as a daddy. After all, how would she ever try any food if it weren't for you? She certainly wouldn't know the joys of salt & vinegar chips, tuna salad, and popsicles from my plate:o)

Every day, you put in hours of (difficult!) work to support our zoo, and I thank you for that. You deserve every relaxing minute that you can get each night, aI hope you don't always have to work this hard, because we sure miss you around this joint.

Happy, happy birthday, Matt. Here's to another 30 years!

Wednesday in pictures

She reaches up on her tip-toes to get the milk now...and her face is the evidence.
First time to Graeter's. "Mmmmm" is all she said for 15 minutes.
Foot alert! I went to DSW for black non-flip flops. Wish you could see the sparkles!

On the porch of Pink Moon Cupcakes. She knows she is in for a treat!
On a walk by the river...wonder what this used to be?
Big move of the week: the switch to the big girl seat!

Mama Monday: "It's all over"

People love to tell you that once your baby walks, "It's all over". I really don't enjoy negative "advice" like that, but...they were kind of right. Not that the fun is over or life is over, but the life of having a contained baby certainly is out the window.  Exhibit A:
All her ideas of redecorating and entertainment
Now that I am home with Larkyn for the summer, I am seeing so much growth (she says "dog" when she hears a dog bark, points to trees, points to mama, brings me things all the time so I can say thank you and then lay it in the pile of all the presents she has brought to me...).

But, leaving the house?  It is hard, my friends. If we are just going to a place with a shopping cart, we are good. But all of the following have happened in the last week to remind me, "You're not in control anymore, mama."
  • I was excited to try on a few good finds at the Loft! As soon as we closed the door to the dressing room, she was a mess. I got her out (stupid)..and she was immediately gone underneath the door and I am shirtless. Thank goodness grandma was a few rooms down and could run out!
  • Highchairs in restaurants? HA! Ask Matt how that is going.
  • Her preferred play area at the playground? The path. Pushing her own stroller back and forth on the path until I finally I get sick of guiding it.
  • Stairs are her new obsession. We don't have them, so they are new to her. Only, she likes to walk off the edge of them when we visit other houses. Wheee!
What I'm getting at is not "poor me, this is hard". It is just totally different, and I am finding out what my baby is really about. She is not an observer. I watch more Sprout TV than she does...she moves more furniture than I do. She doesn't just watch people walk into a restaurant, she waves and smiles at every single one. I love that about her. She makes everyone feel like the center of universe for just a minute. 

I'd like to collect gross motor ideas for babies, since that is her thing. I'd love your suggestions!

Lattes & Lollipops review

I was looking for something new to do with L on Friday. Something that would let her run and explore without tearing apart a store. I tried an indoor play cafe this past winter, but wasn't a huge fan of the crowd and the idea of her being bulldozed by big kids. This is the ONE time when our odd nap schedule worked to our advantage. We will probably miss every story time and music class out there (I've checked), but the play cafes empty out at noon for us oddballs:)

Anyway, here are the details of my new favorite hang-out:
  • It is located in Powell, on West Olentangy Street (Powell road) right before the railroad tracks. If you are coming from Sawmill road, it is on the right side of the road shortly after you turn from Sawmill.
  • It is open from 9 AM- 3 PM Tuesday-Friday. Saturdays may be closed for private parties (check their page)
  • Admission as of 5/2/15:
Children ages walkers - 7 years old
2 hour play time 
First child: $15
Siblings: $10
1 hour play time
First child: $10
Siblings: $6
QUICK PLAY PASS (30 min play) 

First child: $5
Siblings: $3

Happy Hour
Mon-Fri  2:00pm-3:00pm  $6 per child
  • You'll need to pack socks for the kids and for yourself if you plan to go into the play area. 
Here's the deal. This is not like a playground where you get stuck watching other people's kids while they chat about how much they hate their job. You hand your child off to smiling young ladies who are excited to show them all the cool things inside. Of course, mine only wanted to push 2 baby strollers around (at the same time) for the entirety of our stay, but there were new-looking toys of all kinds in there. I saw everything from wooden magnetic puzzles to dress-up areas and a bouncy house (edited 5/15: the bouncy house is gone, but there is a fabulous wooden play structure now). Everything looks so neat and new!
She's trying to one-up me by pushing 2 at a time, I know it. She is, in fact, wearing bottoms.
I started out sitting at the bar (not that kind) that had a window right into the playroom. I was curious to see what she would enjoy, and after 20 minutes with her stroller gig, I was ready to focus on Mama Time!

Summer salad with walnuts, mandarin oranges, dried cherries and feta. And the world's best vinaigrette

Yes, magazines galore. Not the doctor's office variety of Readers Digest and Cat Fancy. Current issues of things I care about. You know, Jessica Simpson and her new baby.  And delicious food!  I am still thinking about that Summer Salad (4.95)! Their extensive menu has seasonal salads and sandwiches, as well as sweets and a full coffee bar. I haven't been sleeping well lately due to a neighborly-cops-involved-dog issue, so I skipped the coffee drinks. But hello, Buckeye Mocha?  I will be drinking you next time. I opted for the Peach Arnold Palmer and it was just what I needed.

Because of naptime creeping closer, we did not stay the entire 2 hours. Had I brought a friend to chat with (who's coming with me?) or a better book (I wish I could send 50 Shades of Grey back through the Kindle), we would have stayed the whole time.

I can finally see my friends and I catching up over lunch rather than chasing kids and taking away butter knives. In my eyes, money well-spent. Well done, Lattes and Lollipops.
See, she has bloomers on. And this is her papparazzi avoidance pose.

Updates: We have been back many, many times and even had Larkyn's second birthday party at L and L. We love the staff and have never been disappointed in our experience. Now that I have 2 kids, we don't go as often, but if I really want to work on something or have a conversation without interruption, this is my first choice.

Foodie Friday: Cherry No-Bowl Cake

I'm trying to start a revolution to change "dump cake" to "no bowl" cake. Something so delicious deserves a name that is not revolting!  For your next cookout or family event, pick up these 4 extra ingredients at the store and get ready to spout off the recipe over and over at the gathering (you know I live for those moments...)

Cherry No-Bowl Cake
2 cans cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple, well-drained
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter

Preheat the oven to 350.
Dump the pie filling into a 13x9 pan.
Dump in the drained pineapple and mix with the pie filling.
Add the dry cake mix on top and spread (don't mix) to cover the filling mixture.
Slice the stick of butter into appx. 12 pieces and lay them on top of the cake mix.
Bake for 40 minutes.

This recipe is fine the next day but also fantastic served warm with vanilla ice cream!

Thursday 13: Favorite things

I keep thinking of little things here and there that I want to share with you. And have you ever heard of a Favorite Things party? I am tossing around this idea...stay tuned.

1. Clear Shampoo: I have been a salon product junkie for years, but am trying to clamp down on habits like that. I picked up a trial size of this at Target and have never been so happy with a shampoo EVER! It is probably fine for everyone, but especially if your hair tends to build up with product or is fine, I highly recommend it!

2. Bath and Body Works Need a Margarita Body Scrub: I received this last Mother's Day and just used it for the first time last week. I'm not sure why it is called Margarita, but it smells heavenly (citrus) and feels awesome on tired, sore feet!
It is 13.50 for a jar, which is much bigger than this!
3. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes: We bought this for Larkyn several months ago and she kind of ignored it. But in the past two weeks or so, she has carried it around everywhere! It is like her own iPod with low-key music (the sounds are amazingly UN-annoying!) Grab one for 8.99 for your favorite baby.

4. Gerber Onesies: A year ago, I probably would have turned up my nose to these. Now that Larkyn is drinking out of a cup herself, I am thankful for these! I got 2 brightly colored sets (so, 10 total) that she wears for PJs every night and when she has her morning and evening cup of milk. Now I don't have to cringe when her front is covered in milk (and they get softer every time I wash them). I love that the envelope neckline is so easy to get over her wiggly body and the price tag is nice at 7.99 for five.

5. Target note cards: If there is anything I "collect", it would be stationary. If I didn't need money, I would definitely work in a stationary store and it is my favorite gift to give. I received this set that is adorable and only 4.99!

6. Kraft Milkbites: I know, these just sound bizarre. A friend gave me 3 boxes of them at work because her kids didn't end up liking them. I, however, LOVED them. There are several flavors and I have tried three. Chocolate was the bomb, peanut butter was delish, but I would not recommend strawberry. If you like granola bars but are sick of the standard Quaker Chewy bars, try these (and add calcium and protein to your diet!) They are hard to find at the grocery store because they are refrigerated, so ask someone to help you find them.

7. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: I had a crisis a few weeks ago where this turned my brand new beautiful tub GREEN. I don't mean tiny green flecks or a slight yellowish tint. There was a green mirror image of this frog on my fiberglass. I used Soft Scrub, Clorox, Tilex, and when I was close to tears, tried Magic Eraser and water. What magical substance is on that thing? I don't understand how it works, but it does.

8. Minnetonka Cally Slippers: I am not a bare feet kind of person. Ugh. Especially on hardwood floors owned by furry animals and a one year old. Also, our basement is accessed via garage, so that is a fun little trek. Matt got me these slippers from Macy's at Christmas (on sale for $30). I have worn them every day since! They are not too hot, have a sturdy sole to walk outside to get the mail, and they stay on.
9. Turquoise necklace from Fossil: I do not own this. I just want it. If you are out and see something like it, please let me know!

10. Shout Advanced Spray Gel: Growing up (and even now!) my mom will make me take off any article of clothing that gets stained and immediately wash it. I do have to give her credit for being able to get rid of any stain, but I am no laundry queen. This spray lets me treat the clothing and then throw it in the hamper until I am ready to wash a full load. It is formulated to work over the course of a few days on set-in stains. It hasn't failed me yet!

11. Photo Collage HD app for iPhone: Isn't it a pain when you want to share a series of photos and you have to email them one at a time to yourself? Are you listening, Apple? I want to select multiple photos to share. In the meantime, I have been using this FREE app to put multiple pictures into a collage and share them. It could not be easier (drag and drop pictures into the frames and adjust the frame colors).
This was a "Larkyn's weekend" collage I sent to Nana straight from the phone
12. Wendy's breakfast: My coworkers and Matt already know this, but I still have to shout out to Wendy's for their breakfast before they think no one likes it and they discontinue it. I say that because I am consistently the only one in the drive through while everyone else is across the street at Tim Hortons. I digress. Here is what to get: The Number 6 (bacon, egg and cheese biscuit) with a caramel iced coffee and either seasoned potatoes or the baked oatmeal bar). It will take a few minutes because they are actually making your sandwich, but you will not be disappointed. Oh, and the pancake platter is way better than any pancakes you will make at home, so just do yourself a favor and go get some:o) Unless of course you make great pancakes and want to show me how!

13. I had to take a break and go outside (our weather has been very kind to us this spring!) and I found the last item on my list. Well, Larkyn did, actually. I asked her if she wanted to swing and she got a huge smile on her face and squealed. She scrambled out of my arms and into this Fisher Price swing.  If you need the best first birthday gift ever, this is it. It leads to great conversation, eye to eye time with your baby, and a chance to enjoy the outdoors in the shade.

Hope something on this list inspires you today!

Wednesday in Pictures

Julie & Keith's housewarming. Love the new place, guys!
My morning wake-up call. Kitty hunting in the blinds.
Lulu in Holland's little cottage at our staff party.
Step one of our "Summer of Clean"!
Might be my favorite picture of her ever. Can you see the pigtails?
71 South on our way home from the lake

Try it Tuesday: Listen to a kindergartner

At some point last night, I was a little frazzled and digging through my purse for something. I found this.
For those of you who do not read phonetic half-cursive writing, it says "I like you just the way you are"
She gave it to me on the last day of school, with a distinct "I'm trying not to cry" face. I was struck by her word choice. Why did she say that? I receive notes and pictures pretty often, and they almost always say "I love you" with a picture of the student and I holding hands under a rainbow. Not that I don't appreciate them, but love letters are part of my normal week at work;o) 

But to say "I like you just the way you are?"  How did she know I needed to read that at that moment and that I (like many of you) need to hear that more often? She got me. She likes me just the way I am...

The way I am typically one or two papers short and have to run to the copier? The way I am consistently 5 minutes late to work (which is still 45 minutes before kids arrive) because I chat too much with Miss C? Is it the way that my house, no matter how often I pick up everything, is still never going to look clean? Maybe how I can't cook a dinner that anyone wants to eat? Or that I am not going to be tan nor am I going to spend money to make myself tan?  Those are all my most endearing qualities, you know.

Maybe the reason why this note struck a chord is that I think I may have instilled these words in this child. She may not remember how much a dime is worth or that penguins live at the South Pole, but I have done my job if she knows she is good enough and is able to tell other people the same.

You are good enough. Tell someone.

Mama Monday: A day she's been waiting for

Anyone who has had (and lost) grandparents knows that they are rare and special. I lost all 4 grandparents by the time I had Larkyn (I was 30 weeks pregnant when grandma had an accident and passed away:o(

Anyway, for some reason or another, we haven't been able to get together with Matt's Grandma Osborne and everything aligned perfectly for that to happen this weekend. Though she lives in PA, we all made the trip up to lovely Avon Lake (raise your hand if you want to move there!) to get together with more than just "GG". Without rambling, here is the proud grandma, who I have only known through eloquent letter-writing, with her grandbabies...
Matt's cousin Vanessa, GG, Matt, and cousin Harper (birthday girl!) & Larkyn
Ahhh, water.
We were all into those gorgeous flowers. And that cutie in the pink hat:o)
It was a fun day of good food (hello, Vanessa's macaroni salad), beautiful weather and water, and watching a great grandma enjoy her family! It'll be fun for these two to grow up together.

Summer of CLEAN

This kind of mess doesn't bother me too much because it will take 5 minutes to fix it.

But this? Where things don't fit and items are not grouped correctly? 
You will see the pink plastic flying.
I don't have the time for a spotless house, nor do I think it is necessary or really a good use of time, but EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE. It is so rare that something gets lost that when it does happen, I almost need institutionalized. The beauty of a 926 sqf house is that "It couldn't have gone too far", but the flipside is that storage is a huge pain. I try. Matt doesn't have the stuff that baby and I do, but he doesn't like to get rid of things. So, this summer, I am working on both.
GOAL ONE: Get rid of things!!

GOAL TWO: Create storage spaces that are used and kept in place

Here, I will keep track of my progress. You chime in whenever you see a place where you can offer advice!

Kitchen cabinets
  • In rid of all of my "souvenir foods" I thought I'd make. Sorry, Cafe Du Monde.
Bathroom cabinets
Linen closet  
  • Moved all the dangerous stuff to the top and tubbed everything in plastic shoe boxes.
  • Got rid of about 64 samples and travel size toiletries. Found 8 new toothpastes.
Built-in bookshelf
Living room bookshelf
Matt's closet
  • He even donated quite a few clothes too! That is HUGE!
My closet
  • Almost done. I have a shelf on top for jeans and pants. It is a disaster. Ideas?
Bedroom storage (the Achilles heel of the entire house)
Coat closet
  • I made a life-altering decision. I do not need multiple purses. Buh-bye!
  • plastic shoe boxes for hats, gloves, and scarves
Basement (biggest project, but has to be a team project!)
  • I am halfway through. Larkyn's items and my craft items are in tubs. Next is going through OLD stuff to decide what I want to keep, getting MORE tubs, and labeling all the tubs.

The challenge? Now that baby is in that Can't-take-my-eyes-off-or-else phase, I can only do this during naptime. Oh yeah, and not an endless budget for buying new storage. Again, suggestions are welcome.

Foodie Friday: Heath Bar Trifle

The makings of a lovely breakfast...ahem, dessert
I have 3-4 recipes that are like bringin' out the big guns. I bring them out when there is a crowd and I know they could use a good old calorie-fest. This one does it every time and can be your new go-to for summer picnics (I made it at New Years, too, so really any time of year!)

This recipe is adapted from here. I thought I'd make it a little easier to read and simplified a few steps. Since I forgot to snap a photo before I set it out to be demilished, you can see her finished product!

Heath Bar Trifle

Brownie ingredients:
You could use boxed, but the homemade ones are just as easy and are the key ingredient I think!
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
1-1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and blend well.  Add vanilla, salt, cocoa, and flour. Don’t over-beat.  Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.  It will look strange because there is no oil, but it will spread in the pan. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until done.  Cool completely. Once brownies are cooled completely cut into 1 inch squares.

Remaining ingredients:
1 (3.9 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix (NOT chocolate fudge)
1/2 cup water
1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (16 oz) container Cool Whip
4 Heath candy bars (or a bag of crushed Heath)
In a large bowl, mix chocolate pudding mix, water, and sweetened condensed milk.  Fold in half of the container of Cool Whip until there are no streaks remaining. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish layer: 1/2 brownies squares, 1/2 pudding mixture, Heath, 1/2 of the remaining Cool whip (Don't use all of it yet!). Repeat the layers but reserve Heath for the topping. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.
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