Monthly Archives: September 2015

Write 31 Days! Consider yourself warned.

Hey Everyone!  Tomorrow is October – which means a few things.  Fall has officially started, the fair is in town and I’m starting a month long writing challenge.

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I wanted to warn you just in case you receive email notifications every day.  I’m not trying to blow up your inbox.  You can manage your subscription from my actual blog page or at the bottom of the email notification you receive.  That being said, I hope you’ll enjoy the next month.  My goal is to post every single day (even on the weekends – which I never do).  I have a few posts already drafted so that I don’t feel overwhelmed.  Crossing my fingers for a successful writing challenge.

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Biscuit Pot Pie

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This is an old recipe that I have been making since the big kids were little bitties. It’s cheap and easy – the 2 things I like best about recipes! You’ll need:

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  • 2 – 3 chicken breasts (cooked – I slow cooked mine from frozen all day in the slow cooker)
  • a bag of mixed veggies (your choice).  I get mine out when I start this process so they start thawing.
  • can of cream of chicken soup
  • can of cream of potato soup
  • can of biscuits (regular or grand)
  • about a cup of milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
  • butter for your dish (also not required)

First up, preheat your oven to whatever the biscuits require.  Butter your baking dish.

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Add half your biscuits to the bottom.

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Bake until golden brown.  I forgot to take a pic of the dish with the baked biscuits in the bottom.  You’ll have to take my word for it.

While your biscuits are baking.  Heat your 2 soups and a soup can of milk in a saucepan.

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Then stir in your cooked chicken…

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Then add your veggies…

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Then sprinkle in some cheese if you’d like… totally optional…

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Mix it all up and it when it’s thoroughly heated, pour it into your baking dish…

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Top with the remainder of biscuits… (flatten them out a little)

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Bake for allotted time on your biscuit can – I reduce the heat slightly.  You don’t want the biscuits to get too done on the top and raw in the middle.  You may want to check the biscuits when you get the dish out to make sure they aren’t gooey in the middle.  If they are, reduce heat and put them back in for a bit.  Time & temp varies depending on ovens & the type of biscuit you buy.

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Then eat it up!

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An office update that we really weren’t even working on…

This past weekend was relaxing yet productive as well.  It was kinda quiet with most everyone gone all weekend except tiny & me.  Gage was at Disney World for a conference.  Cady had homecoming game Friday night then all sorts of “HoCo” activities Saturday and then the dance that night.

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This was Matt’s weekend to help lead worship at church so he was gone for the most part too.  Milo and I enjoyed the slow rain on Saturday morning and even took the opportunity to play in the puddles and break in his new wellies.

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I also finished up an ongoing project that has lasted nearly a year…framing in the shelves in the office/craft/music room.  I just looked and it is almost EXACTLY a year since this POST about our “office”.  And don’t get me wrong, the space worked pretty well.  The issue was the desk placement.

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You always see beautiful office pics with desks backed up to windows like this. Well, um… I actually work from my desk all day and I’m here to tell you, unless you have some sort of blackout curtains the glare from a window (even with blinds closed) is too much on your computer screen.  So I ended up always working from a different place in the house at certain parts of the day.  Months ago I finally turned the desk around and I used it like this for a while…

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You can also (barely) see that in the above pic I painted my desk white.  I’ve wanted a white desk in here for a while, but I was afraid to take the plunge.  I finally did and I love it.  I wasn’t crazy about the placement of the desk but it worked until I could change things up.  Finally a couple of weeks ago we decided to build in the bookcases.  This consisted of 2 things.  1. applying a wider “facing” to the fronts of the shelves where they meet vertically  2. adding crown to the top.  There are a million tutorials out there on how to “build-in” billy bookcases so I’ll spare you the step by steps, but allow me to share a cute pic of the boys buying the crown moulding at Home Depot…

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Since we had to do some moving around at this point, I decided I wanted to actually nest my desk “in” the shelves.

Here it is today:

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I really like how it turned out.   And that blanket on the chair isn’t “styling” – it’s functional, it’s freezing in this room for some reason.  ha!

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This room really does function as a work room for us.  I work there all day.  The kids play piano, cello, etc in there.  And it’s also our craft room.  So the shelves are full of all our craft supplies.

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I think having the desk against the wall opens up the space more.

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And of course we still have our chalk board craft table (that converts to a much larger table when you fold out the sides) on wheels so it can easily be rolled into the middle of the room if several of us are working on a project.

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There are still a few small things that I need to do to finish out the room.  I want a new light/chandelier.  I would generally never take a ceiling fan down in Texas, but as I mentioned before – this room is so cold!  I’ll probably DIY something cool for the light.  I also ordered a really cool large typographic sign for above the piano from a friend’s etsy shop.

I’m thinking about putting our Christmas tree in there this year as well.  That bay window opens to the front of the house so it would be pretty.  Plus, I love love love looking at the Christmas tree so having it in my “office” where I can stare at it all day seems like an amazing idea.

Recent Reads…

A few reviews – only because I just read 2 really good books!  I’ve got 3 books on my “nightstand” right now.  It just seems that every night when I do finally lay down to read I am either distracted by mindless TV or I seriously fall asleep in like 90 seconds… #old  The three I am currently reading are:  Under the Banner of Heaven, Scorch Trials (seeing the movie tonight with Cady!) and The Martian.  I’ll let ya know how they are!

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes!!! Read this one!!! This was recommended to me by a friend who mentioned it was a gaming book and I never thought of it again. Then when I was looking for something to read I ended up coming across it on a bestsellers list on amazon. I figured what the heck… I LOVED IT! And I’m not a gamer. I am a child of the 80s though and I enjoyed all of the 80s references so much! These characters (though they mostly live in a virtual world) are believable and likeable and you will find yourself rooting for them. I was hooked by the 2nd chapter. I haven’t read a YA book with such a great premise since Hunger Games and that is a big compliment in my world.

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a cute book. You will definitely fall in love with Augie. There are certainly some sad parts and you want to strangle a few 6th graders but overall, you feel pretty good about things at the end of the story. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to go through life with a disfigurement like Augie has…it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be his mom. I would not classify this as a YA book, more like a middle grade book. It may be classified as that already but for some reason I thought it was YA. I had it on my “to read” list and my daughter actually owned it and told me she had read it in junior high. It’s a sweet story and you appreciate the strength people can exhibit when needed.

View all my reviews

Our favorite Asian noodle slaw salad

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This is a super easy dish to make and is great for potlucks…  I love it in the summer, but honestly, I love it in colder months too…  You may think you won’t like this, but you will… trust me.  I think it’s been around for FOREVER so you may have seen a few versions.  This is the way WE like it…

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 2 packs of chicken Ramen Noodles
  • 2 bags of broccoli slaw (around 16 – 20 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • dried cranberries
  • sesame seeds

(Some people like to have green onions in theirs… or peanuts instead of sesame seeds… or NO cranberries – but this is the way we really love it.  You can customize those little things to make it  a dish you love too!)

First crush up the ramen noodles in their bag.  Not TOO hard or they’ll explode.  A few whacks is usually good – you just don’t want the noodles to remain in that big block.  Then add the noodles to a big bowl (just the noodles, put the spice packs aside).

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Next dump in your broccoli slaw.  You can find the broccoli slaw in the salad bag section of the grocery store.  The recipe I was originally given called for 16 oz of slaw (or 2 bags)… I can’t seem to find smaller bags of the broccoli slaw so I just get the 12 oz bags and dump in a bag and a half.  The other half bag I always use for our fish tacos the same week.

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Next, in a SEPARATE bowl, mix the following.

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2/3 sugar, 1/3 apple cider vinegar, 1/4 veggie oil

Also dump in the spice packs and stir well.

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Pour the liquid mixture over the slaw mixture.

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Most of it will settle in the bottom on the noodles.  That’s ok.  I like to leave it like that.

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Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for several hours (preferably over night.)  I general will stir it during it’s stay in the fridge, but if you don’t – it’s ok.

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Once the noodles are soft enough, stir and then add the cranberries and about a cup of sesame seeds before serving.  YUM!  It keeps well and we also like it on the second day!

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Wait, it’s already September? Chopping trees & upcoming laundry room project…

Geez, bye summer… 😦  Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin lattes & sweaters & fall décor and all that good stuff but I don’t like that our summer went by in a flash.  I’ve learned to not wish for the next season but instead to savor the current one but dang…I think that makes it go even faster.

Last weekend I had a VERY SHORT to-do list… It consisted of finishing up our concession stand in our media/game room and going to the library/half price books to get some readers for Milo.  We did neither, because in true Matt & Kimberly fashion we decided on Saturday morning to cut down 3 trees.  Yes, that’s right, cut down three trees.  Initially we were going to trim them.  Then we decided we needed a chainsaw.  Then a trim turned into chop them down to eye level.  Then our neighbor wanted us to trim the branches that hung over in to her yard… so in the end, we cut down most of the three giant bushes (red tips) that resided in our side yard and it took ALL WEEKEND.

I don’t have any before pics from the weekend, but I dug thru a few old ones to give you an idea of where we started.  This was the side yard when we moved in…

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The old owners had used it for a dog run, a place for their storage shed and stacked firewood.  We removed the metal chain link fence, moved the shed, moved all that firewood, seeded the area and it became Milos play yard.  Here is a pic from a few months ago.

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Looks great, right?  Except this was the issue.  We are replacing that fence in the background behind the trees (that’s actually the front of our house) and the trees needed to be cut back.  The shade from the trees was also nice, but unfortunately, the shade was so great the area under the trees couldn’t grow grass and it would also stay constantly wet – causing a breeding ground for mosquitos.  We also keep our rain barrel back there and the extra dampness was causing the mosquitos to hang out there too (even though we use the water tablets).  You can also see from the above pic that the tree on the right hangs way over into our neighbor’s backyard.  So they were having issues growing grass in that area too.  So down they came.  Here is what it looks like now…

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Those trees were so freaking tall.

Those trees were so freaking tall.

Here’s a close-up – it’s so ugly… 😦

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But we do have a plan…  We’ll be working on the new fence over the next couple of weeks.  We are removing the landscape pavers and I’ll be tilling and seeding the area.  And trust me, I’d love to have the trees totally removed and have my garden there next year but since I don’t have an extra $1500 (yep, that’s the correct number) laying around to have the tree guy take them out they’ll be staying.  Next year the trees will come back and provide the right amount of shade and we’ll have to keep them trimmed going forward.  Next summer it will look great but for now.. yuck.  Milo doesn’t seem to mind though and now that it’s dried out and the rain barrel has been treated again the mosquito issue will be mitigated.  And now our neighbors across the street can clearly see into our backyard/pool area from their upstairs.  hahaha  Sorry neighbors!

Next project that we’ll be starting this month is our laundry room.  I’ve been wanting to change it up for a while so a LONG time ago I said, “let’s put that on the list for next fall.”  And here we are… September.  Anyway, it will get done in a few stages.  This is where we are starting:

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It’s not awful – pretty typical actually.  It’s hard to tell, but it’s painted a dark gray.  And  has no windows.  Not sure why someone would paint it dark gray when there is NO natural light in there and it’s a tiny room but anyway.  And here are a few pics of the direction I’d like to go:

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See the bottom right one?  That’s what I’d really like ours to look like.  We are keeping our floor and W/D (they still work great and I just can’t justify getting rid of a perfectly good washer/dryer).  When we do eventually replace them I’d actually like to get stackables.  The stackables have come a long way and aren’t just for tiny apartments anymore.  When we get new ones I’d like our laundry room to look more like one of these:

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But for now, like I said, we are keeping our current ones.  We are also keeping the existing cabinets.  The cabinets will get a makeover.  We’ll also paint and get a new light fixture.  Matt will be building shelves on one side and above the w/d for extra storage.  Should be fun! 🙂  More on that as the month goes on.