July 31, 2015

Meal Plan - Week 4

Yep. I'm on my game this week. Here's what is on the menu for next week:

Sunday:  Lasagna Rolls

Monday: Country Fried Steak (already prepped, in the freezer from an Omaha Steaks order my MIL insists on sending us....)

Tuesday:  Crockpot French Dip - recipe link below:

Wednesday:  BLT's

Thursday:  Leftovers/sandwiches

July 30, 2015

The Staredown

I won't lie. I'm insanely jealous of all the people who posts pictures of their cat(s) and dog(s) being friends, even cuddling. What the what? Why won't my pets do this?  I've tried so hard to get them to like each other but my wonderful shepherds just want to chase them. Don't get me wrong, the pups aren't mean but they are super curious and the cats are super pissed about it. 

I've basically given up trying so this is what happens instead:

Is is possible to love cats and dogs equally? I really don't know which I'd pick if I had to choose one or the other.

July 29, 2015

Meal Plan - Week 3

I'm late to posting this ... but the meal planning and following is still going strong.

Sunday:  Baked Pork Chops and rice

Monday: Salmon

Tuesday:  Macaroni & Beef

Wednesday:  Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday:  Leftovers/sandwiches


To follow up on the chicken fingers I made during week 2 - they were a big hit.  My picky son asked me to heat up the leftovers 2 hours after we finished eating.  I used this copycat Chick-Fil-A recipe for the breading:

~ 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour ... next time though, 2 cups was plenty. I breaded 2 packages of chicken fingers (approximately 20) and had plenty leftover
~ 1/4 cup powdered sugar
~ 4 tsp salt
~ 3 tsp pepper
~ 1 tsp paprika

Milk wash:  mix 1 egg and 1 cup of milk

Dip chicken in the milk wash and immediately into the flour mixture. Cover well. Then bake or fry the chicken to your liking.

I used my counter top fryer filled with canola oil to cook the chicken. It only took about 4 minutes for each batch of chicken to cook and it was heavenly to eat!  We will be making this again and frequently.

July 28, 2015

Front Door Repainted

I'm not sure what it is about the summer that makes me productive. I have a hard time just sitting around and doing nothing. It's easier to do that during the winter but not so much during the summer.  You'd think with a pool in my backyard I'd be lounging by it every chance I get. But I don't.

I painted the front door about 6 years ago. I cannot believe it's been that long! Our door gets the hot afternoon sun so the paint was a bit faded and had dog slobber spots on it that wouldn't wash off (can anyone explain this?!)

I was also tired of the red door. Everyone has a red door. And since my husband vetoed my plan to replace our (red) shutters, I decided it was time for a change.  Our siding is a very light gray and with red shutters which means there are only so many color options to paint your front door. Good thing I like black!

Much better, right? I can tell you this much: it will be a long time before I paint anything black again. It took roughly 6 coats of paint to get an even look! I used Behr Exterior Satin all-in-one paint in black out.  What I thought was only going to take an hour to complete took an entire afternoon!

If only I could get rid of the brass ...

Next up:  finish the stairway railing repainting project I started much too long ago.  Milk Paint is my new best friend!  Stay tuned!

July 21, 2015

BarkBox Review ~ Box #3

It's been an interesting month in dog ownership, let me tell you. First there was Kimber and her seroma. Then she ate some "shag" from a rug which induced massive amounts of throw up and problems with the other end. And then Gunner. He finally had his Vet appointment on Saturday and was diagnosed with infected anal glands.

I am officially tired of gross dog problems. Both have follow-up appointments in two weeks. At the same time. THAT SHOULD BE FUN.

This ray of sunshine arrived in the mail late last week and for the first time, I got the shipping notification BEFORE the box arrived! Hooray!

The dogs were super happy with the box this month and Kimber quickly took claim of the elephant. In fact, she growled at Gunner when he tried to take it so he just stood there and barked at her. It was really funny. Siblings!

Because of all the bathroom troubles, we haven't been giving out many treats lately but I'm sure these treats will be loved too. They've liked everything that has been sent so far.

One more box left on our mini subscription!

July 17, 2015

Meal Plan - Week 2

Are you getting a load of this? I know. It's crazy. My Week 2 Meal Plan is planned and so is Week 3. I am committed, people.

Here it is:

Sunday: Homemade Chicken Fingers/Mashed Potatoes/Green beans from my garden (recipe to follow for the chicken fingers if everyone likes it!)

Monday: Steak, grilled

Tuesday: Ravioli

Wednesday: Hamburgers/Hot Dog for the picky one

Thursday: Leftover/sandwiches

Are you catching the Thursday trend? I tend to give up as the end of the week nears. Whatever gets a working mom to the weekend, right? 

And as you can see, we are simple people. No elaborate, hard to find ingredients in my "recipe" box. I just don't have time for that and if I decide to try a recipe like that? The Husband rarely likes it so it just isn't worth my time.  Going out to eat is when I scratch that itch and order something I know I would never make at home.  

I don't like eating the same thing all the time though so I think this meal planning thing will help with that and maybe, just maybe, help me find some joy in cooking again.

p.s. My kids have been put on notice too. If they don't want to eat what is being served, they are free to have cereal or PB&J.  This short order cook is out of business!

July 15, 2015

Dinner Boss

I hate dinner. I hate always being the one to have to think about dinner and what we're going to eat. Honestly? I'm perfectly fine with a scrambled egg or a bowl of cereal. Everything else is too time consuming. I realize this isn't realistic and even I would tire of eating eggs all the time (plus, I keep hearing there's an egg shortage. Um, what?)

So I decided to take charge. For the first time in a very long, I made a meal plan for this week.  Shut up!

Sunday:  I made this. REALLY good. I will make it again and it's probably making the meal list for our lake trip. I did alter the recipe though ... I used chicken broth and omitted the mushrooms.

Monday:  I made this. Also really good. I just used a jarred Michael's of Brooklyn sauce we really like instead of adding all the spices & crushed tomatoes.

Tuesday:  BLT's

Wednesday/tonight:  Shrimp Scampi.  No real recipe. I just whip it up.

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday: I don't care.

Next week I will involve the grill since it is summer time.

Now that I have this list started, I saved it as a memo on my phone. I figure once I have 3 weeks of meals planned out, I'll have a decent "pot" of meal ideas to refer back to.  If I actually follow through with this, I will be the Dinner Boss in my house!

Go me!

July 13, 2015

Playtime with the Pups

Friday night we decided to check out a local dog park. It was an effort to get the dogs out of the house and the boys off wifi for a couple of hours. Gunner can sometimes be iffy around dogs (he's protective) so we did keep him leashed when other dogs were nearby.

They loved it and so did we!  It was great to "hike" through the gated and shaded woods!

The boys (well, one of them ... teenagers have better things to do with their time) have requested to back frequently. We will. It was a great place to let the dogs loose

p.s.  Please don't tell my teen I took his photo! 

July 10, 2015

Summer Update

As it turns out, I was the most favorite Aunt/Mom/Daughter/Sister-in-law on the 4th of July thanks to the cotton candy machine!  It shouldn't be a surprise that it was a huge hit will all the kids, even the extra kids my SIL brought with her. Two more cartons of floss sugar arrived in the mail the other day. Hey, I needed my shopping cart to go over $35 to get free shipping on Amazon!  We are all set on floss sugar for a very long time.

The dogs... each are having some health issues at the moment. The puppy has a seroma on her backside, high on her hip. We aren't sure how she got it and the lump is still quite large even though the Vet drained it almost a week ago. She is not phased by it one bit and it does not cause her any pain.  The other one ... he's been having bathroom issues which all started not long after we brought the puppy home.  He does this whole routine when he has to go #2 and Kimber chases him when he does it so his bathroom time has been interrupted. When we realized this was happening, we of course gave him "alone time" to do his business but the damage is done, so to speak. His glands keep backing up and his rear end smells terrible all the time.  I just *love* cleaning my dog's ass every day, sometimes twice a day.

Remember how I said we weren't going on a vacation this summer? Plans have changed!  We will be heading North and staying at a lake house right on the water later this summer.  We've decided to take my FIL and young SIL along on the journey too. My FIL hasn't had the best of times lately and he hasn't been on any sort of vacation in a very long time (I scored major points with my husband by suggesting this too).  So we're excited! I like my FIL a lot so I don't foresee any problems sharing a house for a week.  The boys will spend quality time with their grandfather and the added bonus of associating him with the memories from this trip - a win-win for everyone.

And the other big news (that I may or may not have hinted at) is my husband is now officially a retired police officer.   After 27 years in the pension, it was time to go for personal health and sanity reasons. There are many issues prevalent in his police department that also lead to this decision and when you factor in the state of this country and the way police officers are treated - it was time to say "Enough". July 1st was his official retirement date.

Now, he isn't retiring for good!  Oh hell no ... lol  He is taking the summer to adjust his sleep habits and figure out what is next. Any suggestions?!?

July 1, 2015

A New Toy

A couple of weeks ago when summer break was on the horizon, I decided to be "fun mom" and ordered a bunch of floss sugar to use in our cotton candy machine.  The machine we had was one my son got for Christmas two years ago. I remembered that it didn't work the best but I figured it was because we weren't using authentic cotton candy sugar.

I was wrong.

When the floss sugar arrived, my son was over the moon excited to make cotton candy and had plans to share it with the neighborhood. Can you imagine his disappointment when the damn thing spun for 30 minutes and only produced a tablespoon of cotton candy?!? 

We checked a few stores and no one seems to sell them (usually around $40) and I'm pretty sure I know why - because they don't work! 

Enter Amazon.  It seems as though you have two choices when it comes to cotton candy machines:  $40 shit versions that don't work OR $200+ machines.  After debating it for over a week, I splurged. My rationale? We aren't going on a summer vacation this year ;)

This thing kicks ass! It is worth every single penny.

Yeah, it's big but the bowl detaches so storing it won't be an issue. However, I'm not sure we'll be storing it much. If my 10 year old has his way, it will become a permanent fixture in our kitchen like the refrigerator!

It didn't make as much of a mess as I thought it would so that's a plus. But I would recommend doing it outside or in the garage.  I did not purchase the dome - that was an extra $80. And honestly, after using it twice, the dome would hinder collecting the cotton candy and it's an extra thing you'd have to clean. I also recommend having a second person to help because once your pour the sugar in, cotton candy immediately begins to fly!

It's safe to say I'm going to be the most favorite Aunt ever this 4th of July!