Monday, March 31, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Drats, it’s Monday again.  Oh well, at least it’s supposed to be another warm day here!  I cannot wait to open my window at work!

Even though it’s officially springtime, we’re still using the crackpot this week.  Not sure I’m ready to give up the warm, comfy cozy meals just yet!   Enjoy…

Thursday:  Burrito Casserole

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Meal Planning Monday

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

Hey!  Sorry, but this wrap up is going to be quick.  Much of the weekend was spent doing house projects - one of which I've been struggling with for awhile.  It's the playroom, but I think I've finally figured out some storage solutions...excited to share the finished product in a few weeks!

Anyway, I'll start with Saturday.  I woke up early to meet a few friends for a five mile run downtown. I was nervous about doing it, but it was surprisingly easy and the weather was perfect!

Sunglasses were a must... :)

Later that afternoon, Rowen and I headed to a birthday party for my good friend Alisha's daughter, Claire.  How cute is she?  The party was just as adorable as the birthday girl!

Ryan was busy cleaning the garage while we were at the party, and when we came home we found this on our back patio!  Just hoping we didn't jinx spring!

That night we took advantage of the warm weather and invited a few friends over for drinks.

Today, was another gorgeous day.  Most of it was spent doing projects around the house.  Earlier this evening we invited my parents, sister and brother-in-law over for dinner.  Ryan outdid himself with dinner...grilled, teriyaki pork chops, mixed veggies, pasta salad, and even brownies for dessert!

Tonight will be spent relaxing.  Ryan and I have been going non-stop all weekend, so quality time with the couch is in order!

Have a good one!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  Sorry I've been gone the last couple of days.  My crazy schedule has been kicking my butt, but I'm back today and linking up to bring you another Five on Friday!  Here are my five favorite iPhone apps...enjoy!

1. Aviary:  I love this app.  I use it all the time to edit the photos I take on my iPhone.  Avairy allows you to apply filters, touch up blemishes, whiten teeth, and even add fun text and stickers.  You can also upload directly from your phone to Walgreens for printing!

2.  Flipboard:  Your own personalized miniature magazine!  Flipboard is a way of seeing all your favorite content in one place.  Add everything from Facebook, to Pinterest, YouTube, news sites, etc.  So easy!

3.  MapMyRun: I use this every time I go for a run!  This app keeps track of all your runs and provides routes, and statistics including calories burned, distance, pace, etc.  The newer version even has a newsfeed so you can connect with friends and family and see their workouts - a great way to stay motivated!

4.  RetailMeNot:  Just open this app and select the stores you love, and immediately gain access to all of the deals and discounts.  The app will also send you a notification with the most current coupon/promotion when you walk into the store!  Awesome!

5.  Target Cartwheel:  It’s no secret that I love Target, who doesn’t?  With this app, you can potentially save anywhere between 5% and 40% on everything from fresh produce to clothes and toys.  Once you’ve collected all your coupons inside the app you just show the cashier the barcode and she scans it!  You can even use these coupons on top of other discounts, too!

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Prototype Mama

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Favorite Drugstore Makeup Products

Before we started budgeting, it wasn't unheard of for me to frequent the makeup Mecca known as Sephora.  

I wouldn't really classify myself as a product junkie, and I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I do like it!  You see, I have a weakness for product packaging.  If a product is presented on the shelf in an adorably, girly, fun way then I instantly want it – it’s sort of a problem.

Now that we've been following a budget, these trips don’t happen quite as often.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Mac, Benefit, Urban Decay, etc, and there is something to be said about the great quality of these products, but unfortunately higher quality also means higher cost.  Boo.   

So lately I’ve been giving drugstore makeup a try, and have been pleasantly surprised with the results!  Here are 10 products that work great and wont break the bank - products I use almost daily!

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Treasure Tromp

Beauty and the Greek

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Time for another Meal Plan Monday!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I try to stay on a strict budget when it comes to grocery shopping, but can you imagine only spending $40/week?  Seems impossible, right?  Wrong!  I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Janet.  Janet is on a mission to feed her family {of four} nutritious, healthy meals on just $40/week!  Be sure to read all about it on her blog Multi Tasking Mama on a Mission.

Here's our menu for the week:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

Hi there, how was your weekend?  Ours went quickly, per usual.

Friday night was spent watching college basketball.  After work Friday, Ryan and I invited a friend over to watch the Iowa State game.  Instead of cooking that night, we decided to order in.  Jethro's was the restaurant of choice - famous for their unique take on BBQ!

Saturday morning I took myself to the gym for a sweat session with the treadmill while Ryan prepped meals for the week.  So glad Ryan likes to cook because it's the last thing I want to spend my Saturday doing!

Later that afternoon we headed west 25 miles for another little celebration for my grandma's birthday. This one was a surprise party!  Funny story.  My grandma wasn't really wanting to leave the house that day.  So when my aunt picked her up to take her to the party she had to make up a story to get her to go.  My aunt told her something had happened to my dad (her son), which immediately got her out of the house.  My aunt's exact words, "grandma can still run!". HAHA.  Bless her, she walked in the door expecting the worst until we yelled surprise!  So fun!

Lunch was delicious!  Homemade everything!  Meatball subs, sandwiches, baked beans, and pasta salad!  Then there was birthday cake and cheesecake for dessert!  YUM!

Saturday night, Ryan stayed home with Rowen to watch more basketball, while I headed out to a friends house to celebrate her birthday.  We spent the night playing the game Loaded Questions.   It's a hysterical game, well suited for a large group of people.  I honestly can't remember a time where I laughed as hard as I did last night - a great reminder of the wonderful friends I have!

Sunday was spent doing laundry, catching up on some graphic design projects, and watching...yup, basketball.  I'm planning to get a good, cold-weather-run in before dinner and then settle in to watch this...

Have a good night!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five on Friday

1.  OK, seriously, where is this plane?  Anyone else hooked on this news story?  I have sort of become obsessed.  I check the news on my phone at least every hour for updates.  So intriguing...and creepy!  I just feel so bad for the families of those people on that flight.

2. Am I the only person that hasn't seen this movie yet?  Even though I haven't seen the movie, I have heard the song {in fact it might be on my iphone, and I may even have it memorized}. I love it! :)

3.  For the past few months I have been doing Birchbox.  One of my best friends gifted it to me at Christmas {Thanks, Ann}.  In one of my first boxes I got a perfume sample by Harvey Prince called Hello and since then I have been using it everyday!  It's a light, clean smell that is perfect for Spring!

4.  Those of you that know me know I also run a small graphic design business on the side.  I've been crazy busy this spring designing for June weddings.  This is one I just finished for a "Lucky in Love" theme wedding!  So fun!

5.  Anyone else discovered this stuff?  It's amazing!  It's called Kinetic Sand.  It's real sand, but it's magnetic! No mess, but still all the fun! It's one of the items I plan to put it my daughter's Easter basket this year!  

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Q & A with Hubby

Last night we had ourselves a little party for Ryan.  He turned the big 29.  Irish beer was consumed along with an appetizer of beer cheese and crackers, followed by my mother-in-law's delicious corn beef and cabbage!  After dinner Ryan opened his gifts, with the help of a little leprechaun!  It was a fun!

To keep the fun going, I thought I would introduce you to the birthday boy himself through a little questionnaire I drew up!   I literally laughed out loud when I read a few of these!  

Name:  Ryan 

Age: 29

Job: Professional Liability Insurance Underwriter/Broker

Which celebrity annoys you the most? Kim Kardashian...she makes me miss Paris Hilton.

If you could try out any occupation for a year, what would it be?  General Manager of an NFL or MLB team.  Fascinating stuff.

If you could have any super power what would it be and why?  The ability to never need sleep. Think of all the stuff you could get done!

What is your favorite food?  Various types of sushi.

What’s your favorite sport to play?  Football

What’s your favorite pro sports team?  Boston Red Sox

What is your favorite book?  Tough call, but I would have to go with Lord of the Rings.

What is your biggest pet peeve?  Poor grammar and excessive use of superlative adjectives.  "OMG, my trip to Starbucks was the BEST.THING.EVER!!" 

Favorite band/singer?  Big fan of Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl, but I also dig Jonny Cash.

If you could have dinner with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?  Eisenhower.  He’s the only man to drop an atomic bomb, and he did it twice.  I think it would be interesting to hear what lead to that decision.

Favorite movie?  Godfather is the best movie ever made, but my favorite would have to be either The Princess Bride or Gladiator.

If you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one thing, what would it be?  A friend. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

DIY: Family Command Center

Today I am sharing with you a little project that I have been working on for the past couple of weeks!  I’m copying everyone else on Pinterest and calling it a family command center.  It’s a small project that didn’t cost a lot of money and has been a lifesaver in terms of organizing our everyday activities as a family.

Here is the before.  We had a small counter top mail organizer that held everything from mail, to batteries, receipts, bills, stickers, gift cards, photos, etc, but it was hardly organized. 

I knew we were in need of a space that would work as a command center, a space to keep our family organized.

The space I used was a  30" wall right outside of our kitchen.  It seemed like the perfect area to house everything we needed to function throughout the days, weeks, and months.

Since we don’t have a built in desk area in the house I’ve been looking for inexpensive options for a command center.  The area wasn’t suitable for a large piece of furniture, which meant I had to resort to using just the wall.

The first thing I added to the space was a whiteboard.  I wanted one large enough to use as a calendar to record our monthly schedules, and as a place to jot down reminders and notes.  Instead of going out and buying one, I thought I would try to save some money and make my own. 

To do this, I took an old 16x20 picture frame we weren’t using and spray painted it white.  Then, in Excel, I created a simple Sunday through Saturday calendar layout and mounted it onto a piece of scrapbooking paper to give it a pop of color!  So simple!

Next, I needed something that could easily hold our mail, bills and other miscellaneous paper items.  I ventured out to my local office supply store and found these.  They were perfect!  They were big enough to hold multiple things, and didn’t jut out from the wall too far!

I added cute, chalk board labels as a way to easily identify the contents of each pocket.

Next, I needed something that could hold a few of the bulkier items we seemed to use daily.  Things like pens, notepads, car keys, etc. 

I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for in terms of this last piece, but then one day, on a random trip to Michaels, I found it!  A small, $5.00, wooden crate – simple enough!  I immediately bought it and took it home to spray paint!  Since there were slots in the crate I glued a piece of foam board to the bottom so that nothing would slip though.  Worked like a charm!

The last thing I added doesn’t really function in any organizational way, but sums up the purpose of the project. 

There you have it, our family command center in a nutshell.  It’s one of my favorite spots in our house and it’s made such a difference in keeping things simple, organized and stress-free! 

As time goes on, I anticipate needing to make changes to this spot.  I foresee things like a chore chart, homework spot, etc.  

I will be sure to keep you updated!

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Welcome Party Wednesday Link-Up

Treasure Tromp

Happy Kids, Inc.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Top o' the Mornin' to ya!  Happy St. Paddy’s Day!  On Saturday, while grocery shopping for this week’s meals, I found these festive flowers on sale.  They were too fun to pass up! 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, tomorrow is Ryan’s birthday so we’ll be postponing our green celebration until then! 

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Tuesday:  Ryan’s Birthday - Festive Corn Beef and Cabbage (mother-in-law's recipe)

Wednesday:  Turkey Cubano Sandwich

Have a good one!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

Why oh why do the weekends go by so quick?

This weekend was pretty relaxing around our house, not too much going on.  Ryan started off the weekend with a nasty sinus infection so Rowen and I spent some girl time doing a little Friday night shopping!

We hit up Baby Gap for Friends and Family weekend and came away with a few spring must-haves for Rowen, and then set out to find a new pair of running shoes for me!

I'm picky when it comes to running shoes.  I won't just go to a sports store and buy the first, cute pair that fits, no, no.  Instead, we headed to a local, specialty retailer.  If you're training for any sort of race, I recommend getting properly fitted by someone who knows shoes and the sport!

After about 30 minutes of trying on shoes, I came out with these!

Let me tell you, nothing motivates like a shiny, new pair of shoes!


Saturday we pretty much hung around the house.  I went for a chilly three mile run and then worked on a project {to be shown later}.

Saturday night, ISU was playing for the Big XII Championship, so we headed to a watch party at my parent's house.  It's probably important to note here that Ryan is]obsessed with every sport known to man, especially college basketball and the Iowa State Cyclones.

The boys watched upstairs, while the girls "watched" downstairs.  My cousin and her daughter, who happens to be the same age as Rowen, joined us.  It's always so fun to get together and watch them play!

ISU ended up winning, which meant my husband went home in a good mood - thank goodness!


Sunday was spent back at my parent's house for a little family get-together/birthday party!

How cute are these two?

My grandma, who is literally the world's best grandma, turned 84 last week, and Ryan turns 29 on Tuesday!

We celebrated with a little cake eating and present opening...

A fun way to end a great weekend!

That about does it for my weekend wrap up.

Hope you guys had a great weekend, too!