January 29, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 5

Meal 1: London Broil

Meal 2: Macaroni & Beef  (I know this was just on the meal plan but due to poor grocery list management, I didn't have the stewed tomatoes I use to make it!)

Meal 3:  Baked Chicken - trying new recipe. Will post.

Meal 4:  Grilled cheese/soup

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

January 27, 2016

Vanilla Confetti Ice Cream Bread

I'm late to the game with this recipe that's been floating around the internet for some time. But hey, that's me.  I was very skeptical that this would even work. To my surprise, it did!

It was recommended to use a high quality full-fat ice cream so I chose Haagen Dazs. Bonus - it was on sale!  I used vanilla simply because the idea of mixing in mini chocolate chips and jimmies was highly appealing to me.

You literally just mix the (almost) a pint of softened ice cream and 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour and them mix in any toppings you choose. Spread in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  During that time, an awesome reaction happens in the oven and you're left with ice cream bread cake?!

The cake itself is pretty dense but moist. It's sweet but not sweet at the same time. It's really weird but in a good way.  I did end up frosting my ice cream bread with some (canned) chocolate frosting - made it even better.

I also bought a pint of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. So that will be happening soon! One baked item in my house at a time, please!

January 26, 2016

Slight Detour

Well, that was a fun snow storm.  I guess it's either 50 degrees and raining or 30 degrees and we get 20 inches of snow. Can't we land somewhere in the middle?!

Moving on ...

We've delayed the basement renovation by a week. The new start date is February 4th. My FIL is having some serious health issues and is being admitted into the hospital today and The Husband can't handle both at this time.

So while that's a bummer, it's a blessing too because the snow really messed things up and we weren't able to completely empty our basement this past weekend as planned.  The only "rush" is in my head because I want this project to get underway. It will happen. I just need to be patient.

January 22, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 4

We're bracing for a major dumping of snow so I'm bracing for the reality that I'll be trapped in my house all weekend.  It's not such a bad thing, I guess. It's a convenient thing that last weekend Showtime had a free channel promotion running and I recorded a TON of movies on the DVR! I'm also looking forward to Kimber's first snow. (I know, I'm weird.)   Since she is an all black shepherd, she will photograph brilliantly against the white snow! 

I plan to do some baking this weekend and have the ingredients needed to make Ice Cream Bread in two different flavors. I'm very curious to give this a try.

- - - - - - - - - 

Meal 1:  Homemade meat sauce & pasta

Meal 2:  Copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken fingers & fries

Meal 3:  Salmon ... this meal will finish up the last of our salmon catch from Lake Ontario. I'm a bit sad about this.

Meal 4:  Meatloaf & mashed potatoes

Meal 5:  Leftovers/sandwiches

January 20, 2016

Start Date Scheduled!

The basement renovation process is full steam ahead.  One week from today the framers arrive to get this project started.


Over the weekend we got rid of the last of the toys (except for one small toybox filled with some Hess trucks & Nerf guns), rolled up the last carpet, and jammed whatever was left into what will be the storage area of the basement. The good news is we still have plenty of room in that area!

We do have a nice pile of trash that will be heading to the curb this week.  The only thing left to remove from the basement is a couch, a small-ish entertainment center, a TV and the Xbox.  The TV and Xbox will have a temporary home in the living room. The entertainment center is destined for the trash and we're going to try to sell the couch on Craigslist.

The Bowflex though ... is an issue. We're hoping we can convince them to work around it. We will move it around as necessary. I hope they don't make us take it apart!

January 19, 2016

Scary Snowman

Over the weekend we got a very small amount of snow. You know, the good kind of snow. The snow that only sticks to the grass and requires no shoveling! One family in my neighborhood managed to make a snowman on their front lawn and my puppy lost her shit.

In her defense, it is her first winter and it was dark outside when she encountered the frozen creature. I only wish I had my phone with me to record what happened because it. was. funny.

German Shepherds are smart dogs. Mine notice everything and also notice when things are in certain places that weren't there before.  For Gunner first Christmas, he barked and growled at the Baby Jesus manger scene. All those plastic figured on the lawn were very threatening to him! 

So we're doing a normal nightly walk routine and as we're approaching the frozen not-supposed-to- be-there thing, the creeping-walk and growling starts. Gunner quickly realizes all is okay but not Kimber.  Her hair goes up and she's barking ferociously.  And I'm laughing.  I touched the snowman trying to ensure her it was okay but she kept pulling me in the other direction.  She wanted nothing to do with the frozen guy.

The next day we took the same route and the snowman was still there. She didn't bark this time (probably because it was day time) but she wouldn't go near the snowman either.  We're supposed to be getting a major snow storm this weekend and I'm thinking we need to build a snowman on our front lawn and see what happens!

January 15, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 3

Meal 1: Mac & Beef

Meal 2: Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Meal 3: Hamburgers

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches/fend for yourself ... soup! I'll be making a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup on MLK day since I'm off from work.

Meal 5: Take Out

January 13, 2016

Permit Approved!

The second hurdle in the basement renovation is complete - the permit has been approved without issue! Woo hooo!  I suppose it helps when you let professionals do the job. 

The timing couldn't be better either because yesterday we  had a plumber at the house moving the one pipe over about 2 feet to make the finished ceiling flow better. It was an easy job and took two hours to complete.

So now that is complete and the permit is approved we can schedule a start date!

I'm very excited to get this project underway!

January 8, 2016

Meal Plan - Wk 2

Just a reminder ... my meal plans start on Sunday and I don't necessarily cook the meals in this order.  It's simply a guideline of planned meals for the week. I decide which meal will be best cooked on which night depending on our schedule. 

However, Meal 5 is almost always a Friday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Meal 1: Steak

Meal 2: Stuffed Shells

Meal 3: Breakfast for dinner - might be eggs or pancakes/waffles + bacon

Meal 4: Sandwiches/leftovers/fend for yourself

Meal 5: Take out

January 7, 2016

Renovation Time!

I don't think I mentioned this! Big news!

Not long before Christmas we finally decided to bite the bullet and contact some contractors to get our basement finished. We've had the money for some time but were dragging our feet for no good reason. I was finally able to convince The Husband that a finished basement is the only way our teenager will invite his friends over to the house and since he's currently in 8th grade and high school will come later this year, it's time.

We had grand plans of contacting three contractors but after we met with the first company, we decided we would not do any better price-wise. They are an established company and more or less guarantee the work will be completed in 4-6 weeks from the start date. SOLD!

We've been busy readying the basement for this process and we're still waiting on the township to issue the permits. We hope that work will start later this month and be finished right around our teen's 14th birthday (with any luck).

I am very excited to know that soon all of The Husband's car models will finally live in the basement forevermore. It will most definitely be a man cave and I'm fine with that. Just leave the upper floors to me and the dogs! Ha!

I will of course document the process in pictures. It's so nice to know someone else will be doing all of the hard work!  (We will paint and do the flooring ourselves) 

I've been waiting a very, very long time to have a finished basement and 2016 will finally be the year it gets done!

January 6, 2016

Meal Plan ~ Wk 1 (a little late)

New Year, new numbering lol  Will I make it to #52?!

Meal 1: Salmon / Hamburger Helper for the 11yr old

Meal 2: Pork Chops

Meal 3: Creamy Parm Chicken (skillet sauce)

Meal 4: Leftovers/sandwiches/fend for yourself

Meal 5: Take Out

January 5, 2016

Alive & Well to Start 2016

Never fear, I'm still here.  I enjoyed my time off immensely.  It was the right mix of busy and lazy with extra lazy on the side.  I watched many movies while curled up with my dogs and a blanket on the couch. It was heavenly. However, I think I gained 5lbs during the course of the holiday season so I'll have to do something about that!

We visited NYC for a long day, which included a visit to the 9/11 Museum and Times Square.  The 9/11 Museum is a beautiful tribute (do go whenever you can) and Times Square & surrounding area is just insane. I've never seen so many people before in all of my life and I work in Philadelphia!  We planned on going to the Empire State building too but it was overcast and foggy that day so it wasn't worth spending the money.  Because of that change, we didn't plan our visit so well so we were kind of scrambling (on the city streets) for something else to do/see.  But there were so. many. people. it was overwhelming!  We stumbled upon Guy Fieri's restaurant and the menu looked good (and there was no wait) so we rushed in to get away from all the people and enjoy a meal while sitting down.

That right there is a delicious burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and Macaroni and Cheese .... so, so good!  The garlic-Parmesan fries were really good too.  I may have gained the 5lbs from this burger alone but it was worth every single bite. We walked over 10,000 steps that day. I earned that burger!

Later in the week I also enjoyed leisurely lunches with my mom, a friend from high school, and then my college friend and her family came up from Maryland for the day.  It was fun catching up with all of them.

We spent New Year's Eve at my SIL's house having breakfast for (a late) dinner, drinking chocolate martinis, and playing games until it was time to watch the ball drop. We've been doing this family tradition for about 5 years now. It's a nice way to wrap up all the crazy of Christmas time.

The doggies were thoroughly spoiled while I was home so I'm sure they are missing me today. We did have one unplanned vet trip - I found a pretty deep gash on Gunner's back one night which required 4 staples to close it!  We aren't sure how or even when it happened but our best guess is it happened in the backyard while chasing Kimber. She likes to hide from him and we think he got himself temporarily stuck somehow (probably under a patio steps) and hurt himself on the way out. Never dull moment with pets!

I bought a new camera (don't laugh) during my Christmas shopping outings. I know most use their cell phone for photos these days but in my opinion, a cell phone doesn't always cut it.  So I have lots of pictures to share from Christmas as well as from NYC.  The only downfall to that is finding the cord and uploading them to my computer!  

I hope you enjoyed your holidays in whatever manner you may celebrate them and that 2016 is off to a good start!