September 28, 2012

FF–Nursery Edition


Happy Friday everybody!

Since my maternity outfits haven’t been too too exiting lately, I thought I would stay in the fashion realm, while giving you a sneak peak of our nursery ideas.

We are still waiting to find out the sex (this coming Wednesday!) to officially start painting,  plotting and planning, but here is our jumping off point with lots of Pinterest ideas and Etsy prints (as you know, two of my favorites!).




It is a pretty gender neutral nursery that can be used for baby #1 and hopefully baby #2 (whenever that time comes) without much change.  I love the calming colors and fun prints. 

I created this design board in Microsoft Publisher and loved how it came out.  Of course, our first priority will be using what we have around the house and refurbishing to make it fit in the room, but this gives you the gist of our plan!

What do you think?

September 27, 2012



Good morning everybody and Happy Friday-eve!  I was originally going to post a new Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe this morning for your tasting enjoyment, but I got a surprise call from my dad yesterday afternoon saying he was in Orlando for the day and wanted to get together for dinner.

So, we nixed the Broccoli Cheese, I put on my new pair of maternity jeans (which I love) and headed to The Cheesecake Factory instead.




We feasted on fresh salsa and made-to-order Guacamole (one of the only ways I like to eat avocado) and then I opted for the Baja Chicken Tacos w/ Black Beans and Rice.  Apparently I was craving a bit of Mexican last night!?





My dad got the Shepherd’s Pie (delicious) and Mike chose the Chicken Madeira (also delicious).




Besides catching up with dad, the best thing about last night – the to-go bag with a piece of Carrot Cake Cheesecake for tonight’s dessert…I can’t wait!!!



Have a great day – I know I will dreaming about this gem!

Thanks Dad!

September 26, 2012


Hi guys!  Sorry I have been on a little hiatus - I have been sick (the first time since finding out I was preggo) and have been a bit miserable. 

I can't decide if my sickness was caused by my 23 little darlings at school or the horrendous/ridiculous/awful ending to the Packer game Monday night - ugh.

Either way, I am just starting to feel a bit better.  I'll be back tomorrow with a great soup recipe for you to try.  See you then!!!

September 24, 2012

Menu Monday

 Happy Monday everybody!

We had a very low key, yet eventful weekend of football, painting and more football.  Our original plan was to go to Gainesville this weekend to watch the Gators demolish Kentucky (sorry Jill!), but we opted to stay home and save a little bit of moolah; so we headed to a watching party at Jenny and Jeremy's house - the go-to party house.

After the early games, we were starving and headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for the late night games which included the Auburn/LSU game - only for a fellow SEC friend would I ever wear another shirt (and of course Wisconsin) - but Mike and I decided to be festive and support Jenny (and Auburn).

At least it's still orange and blue!


Lots of wings!


Sunday was spent shopping for maternity clothes - which was very successful this time around (the last time not so much) and then headed to Home Depot for some paint!


In order to start the nursery (so excited!) we had to paint our "new" guest bedroom before we could clear out the furniture in the what-will-become nursery.  I was so excited to start getting thigns checked off of our list!


The "blue" guest room before:


And the after - a nice coat of Southern Breeze.  I can't wait to move the furniture in tonight and see how it all comes together!

Then, all the focus goes into the nursery - whooohoooo!!!

As for the food plan for this week - lots of comfort food!

M:  Turkey and Ham Paninis w/ Pasta Salad
T:  Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs w/ Pad Thai
W:  Pot Roast w/ Carrots and Roasted Potatoes
Th:  Brocolli Cheddar Soup
F:  Creamy Veggie Pasta w/ Black Beans
Sa:  Eggs in Purgatory w/ Crusty Bread
Su:  Pesto Lasagna with Salad

Have a great week!

September 21, 2012



Today’s Fashionable Friday is all about ruffles (and I don’t mean the potato chips)!

A great way to disguise a growing bump (in the transitional phase) or just a bloated morning is…you guessed it…ruffles!





The texture and visual interest ruffles lend to an outfit is priceless, especially around the tummy area.  Darker colors are also key!

My friends at work couldn’t believe it yesterday when I told them this shirt was maternity – they loved it (Thanks Chrissey)!




Ruching near the stomach area is also a great tummy hiding trick, especially when talking bathing suits!


Happy Friday!

September 20, 2012

The Olden Days


I don’t know if any of you remember the restaurant chain Steak and Ale, but I sure do.  It takes me back to my childhood and so many yummy memories.

According to Wikipedia:

Steak and Ale was an American chain of casual dining restaurants, operated by S&A Restaurant Group. Steak and Ale was founded as an independent restaurant chain in Dallas, Texas, on February 26, 1966, by Norman E. Brinker. The remaining 58 locations closed as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding on July 29, 2008.


Steak and Ale was the restaurant that we would visit for nice dinners when we had things to celebrate or when special people came into town. 




We didn’t go often, but when we did I always felt like it was a big deal.  I remember the musty smell, the dark lighting, the cold salad bar plates and the delicious tasting meat.  The flavor was always amazing; mainly because of the marinade they used.



Well…I have no idea how my mom got this – but here it is.  The very yummiest marinade EVER.  It’s going on our steaks tonight so they will be perfectly flavored for grilling tomorrow!



Steak and Ale Marinade

Print this recipe!

1/4 C white sherry or apple cider (apple juice would work too)

5 T soy sauce

2 T wine vinegar (red or white)

4 T sugar

1/3 t. garlic powder

1 3/4 C pineapple juice


Marinate 24-36 hours in refrigerator turning occasionally.  Baste while grilling.

September 19, 2012

Love that!!!

I have another Pinterest find to share with you guys today...and believe me when I say is is the best.idea.ever.

I don't know about you guys, but in the teaching profession I am blessed to recieve many gift cards as teacher gifts (which I love), but I sometimes forget about them, or have them spread out into three or four different places.

Well, I have found a solution.  And I love it!

Simply by punching a hole into the corner of the card (making sure you aren't punching out the black strip or gift card numbers) and putting them all on a binder ring (found at office supply stores or WalMart) you have a gift card holder that can go with you wherever you go - not to mention keeping track of which ones you actually have!

This binder ring idea is also great for organizing store membership reward cards as well.

Another great idea for managing your gift cards is to keep a running balance on the card with a Sharpie. That way you know exactly how much you have left to spend!

Happy organizing!

September 18, 2012



This has always been one of my favorite desserts.  My Aunt Janie is the Chocolate Delight aficionado of our family and makes the best version ever.

When I volunteered to take dessert over to our friends house for the Packers vs. Bears game last Thursday night, this was on my mind.  It is the perfect mix of buttery crust, chocolaty pudding, creamy cream cheese and smooth whipped topping. 

It wasn’t quite as good as Aunt Janie’s, but it did get rave reviews from all of my taste testers!  Here’s how:





Chocolate Delight

Print this recipe!

  • 3/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 8oz. package reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 container fat free Cool Whip
  • 2 small boxes fat free, sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 c. skim milk
  • chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish (optional)


Combine melted butter, flour, and pecans. Press into 13x9 in. pan. Bake @ 375 for 15 min. Remove and cool.

Combine cheese, sugar, and 1 1/2 c. whipped topping.  Blend and spread over crust. Chill.

Combine pudding mixes and milk.  Beat 2 min. at medium speed and spread over cream cheese layer.

Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding layer and garnish with nuts if desired.




So easy.  So good.


--Disclaimer:  I divided my recipe into 2 8x8 pans for two different occasions, which is why my version looks a little “flat”.  If you make it in the recommended 9x13 in pan it will be even thicker and delicious and look a little more like this:



September 17, 2012

Menu Monday


Happy Monday everybody!

After a very productive Saturday (we sold two mattresses and box springs on Craigs List in 3 hours – amazing) of housework and football watching with friends – Go Gators!!! – we spent some of yesterday with this cute little lady.




We met up with our friends Rick, Chrissey and Jayda (you may remember her here) for a Sunday bike ride on the Seminole-Wekiva Trail.

Their house is located just off of the trail and they wanted to try out their new bikes and kid carrier.  Luckily, after pouring at our house as we were leaving, the weather was great!




We even had a wildlife encounter:  TURTLE!



P1020758 P1020759


Jayda wasn’t too sure about her new ride at first, but as we started riding, she loved it and was asleep in no time!




At the halfway point we stopped for some refueling and A/C.









After arriving home, we chillaxed in R & C’s pool to cool down and then headed home to Vtok (like Skype) to this sweet girl (below): our new niece Remy!

It was her first day at home and we couldn’t wait to see her.  She is perfect with the cutest cheeks ever – I can’t wait until Christmas so I can kiss them!!!




As for this week – here is our food plan.  What are you eating???


M:  Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

T:  Pesto, Chicken and Feta Pizza

W:  Flank Steak w/ Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans

Th:  Chili Mac

F:  Southwestern Breakfast Quesadilla w/ Black Beans and Salsa

Sa:  Gator Game in Gainesville!

Su:  Chicken Tetrazzini w/ Roasted Carrots


Have a good week!

September 14, 2012

FF–The Cover Up


Happy Friday everyone!

I will tell you that my “Fashionable Fridays” are becoming a bit harder with a growing bump.  I am still in the transition period from regular clothing to maternity which can be frustrating at times.

Every morning I am trying to be creative with what I have while still maintaining the need for comfort and style.  The outfit below was my latest attempt – using my bathing suit cover up as a tunic! 

I paired it with a black camisole underneath and ended up loving the look.  The cover up is gauzy which is nice and cool and very long which covers a lot of my growing midsection.  While I have found that dressing the bump is all about “smoke and mirrors” - this will definitely be a new staple for the fall (and will look adorable with a comfy pair of leggings,too)!


New use: Tunic



Old Use: Bathing Suit Cover-Up



I have also been using an elastic hair tie to extend the life of my colored denim.  These are obviously not maternity jeans, but still fit everywhere else but the stomach – so I figured I would give this “waistband extender” method a try.



This technique worked great  and will definitely be used a few more times before I head full steam into regular maternity clothing!


T G I F !

September 13, 2012

Full Of It


If you want a fancy twist on a weeknight “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) boy do I have the recipe for you.




Stuffed French Toast always sounds so fancy when I see it on breakfast/brunch menus; but it really couldn’t be easier.  The stuffing possibilities are endless and the combinations are delicious.

Possible stuffing ingredients:

  • dark chocolate chips
  • cream cheese (plain, strawberry, cinnamon sugar, honey-walnut)
  • peanut butter
  • fruit jelly or preserves
  • chopped walnuts
  • Nutella/Biscoff Spread

I guarantee this recipe/method will be a crowd pleaser anytime of day; breakfast, noon or night.  I know my taste tester was pretty happy with the result.




Our SFT last night was full of it – cinnamon cream cheese and peanut butter that is!


Stuffed Cinnamon Cream Cheese and PB French Toast

Print this recipe!

8 slices of cinnamon toast (regular bread would work also)

4 eggs

1/2-3/4 C milk

1 t vanilla extract

2 t cinnamon

4 T peanut butter

4 T cinnamon sugar cream cheese*


*I make my own with reduced fat cream cheese, but you could use premade.



Start by making an assembly line by laying out the bread slices.  Spread peanut butter on four slices of bread (1 T on each slice)  do the same with the cinnamon sugar cream cheese on the other four slices (1 T on each slice) and combine one slice of each to make a sandwich.





In a medium bowl, or shallow dish add 4 eggs, milk (if you like your custard a little more milky, add 3/4 C of milk; if you prefer it a bit more eggy to dip the bread in, add 1/2 C – I never measure, I just eyeball it), cinnamon and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.



Heat griddle or pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray.

Dip each “stuffed sandwich” into the egg/milk mixture and submerge until each side is coated with the liquid.  place on the griddle and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving so the yummy flavorings inside don’t run out.




Top with butter and syrup if desired.  Fresh fruit on top would also be a great choice!






Our version was served with cheesy scrambled eggs for added protein!





September 11, 2012

Tipsy Tuesday


I love having an organized fridge.  When it gets out of whack – so do I.  I found these great refrigerator tips on, and agree with all of them.  Enjoy the article and happy organizing!


By establishing order in your refrigerator and freezer — spaces you access at least three times a day — you’ll enjoy a stress-free meal preparation experience. Plus, you won’t forget (or overlook) ingredients you already have on-hand — a major money-saver. Read on to learn the recipe for successful organization in your most often used kitchen appliance — the refrigerator!




  • The first step in organizing your fridge and freezer is to take inventory and discard out of date items or items you will not likely use.


  • Leftovers and prepared foods should have their own zone on a short shelf at eye level. This way, they are more likely to be seen and eaten.


  • Take advantage of adjustable shelves and drawers, found readily in most new appliances. Since many shoppers like to buy the same brands (with the same packaging) over and over again, taking time to set your shelves and drawers accordingly will save you time in the long run.


  • Organize food items by size. Doing so will create a function for each shelf and make it much easier to locate your small, hard to see items. Store items in jars or bottles in the refrigerator door and bagged items in the freezer door. However, if you have more condiments than space in your doors, keep the most frequently used condiments in the door and store the remaining sauces together towards the back on your shortest shelf.




  • Look for organizers that maximize shelf space — for example, shelves or dispensers that can be added to existing shelves to maximize the vertical space. Use square or rectangular plastic storage containers for the fridge, round bowls create wasted space and do not stack or fit well side-by-side.


  • Keep the most often used items in front for easy access the whole family will appreciate. You may also find that ready-made snacks, or bins of snacks are helpful to curb your cravings — fresh fruit or veggies that are pre-washed and ready to eat will suddenly seem more enticing! 




  • Everybody has a small shelf that never seems quite big enough. Put it to use with leftover storage because containers that stack and are similar in shape will maximize the deep, narrow space. Don’t forget to label your items before storing them!


  • To combat odors keep an open box of baking soda in the back corner. Vanilla extract will also keep your fridge fresh. Soak a cotton ball or paper towel, put it on a paper plate and wait for it to dry before removing.


  • Clean out both your fridge and your freezer once a month. Make it part of your household cleaning routine. Doing so will make it easier to know what you have and what you still need, in addition to keeping the areas clean.




Dollar Tree, The Container Store (I wish we had one in Orlando), Target, Wal Mart, etc. are just a few great places to purchase bins for your fridge or freezer organization.