Thursday, January 19, 2017

Belated Holiday Luncheon (& Recipes)

Hello my Friends! 

I hope you are having a bright and cheery Thursday! It's been sunny and VERY unseasonably warm in my northwoods. Lots of snow melting today! But I finally wanted to share the lovely belated holiday/New Year's lunch I held for my Mom and my Aunt (one of my Mom's sisters). I wasn't able to see my Aunt over the holidays so it was a fun excuse to give her some gifts and get some quality time together. As well as eat some yummy eats! There will still be a lot of holiday in these photos as we had this gathering the week after New Year's and I kept all of my decorations up at the time. I'll share some recipes along the way with this post.  I hope you enjoy!

Of course the fun part for holding any kind of tea or luncheon is decorating up the table a bit. Since it was just after New Year's I kept things kind of white bright & wintery feeling. I put down this white table cloth that had silvery threads in it. I kept the centerpiece that I had on my table for the winter and added a cute little snowman and lots of "safe" candles for extra glow. I also used this lovely Happy New Year card that my dear blogging friend Patsy sent me. She made it herself and she's very crafty! As well as she's the QUEEN of hosting luncheons. ;) She has such a fun blog you can find here.

Backside view - more candles. ;) 

I still had all of my wintery decorations in my kitchen and candles glowing in there too. 

I made my blogging friend Mari's awesome chicken wild rice soup recipe! It's SO good!! You can find her recipe for it and her blog here. It was excellent and got 2 thumbs up from all three of us!!  Blogging friends are so wonderful aren't they? ;) 

And I picked up some bakery crescent rolls and made some chicken salad croissant sandwiches. As well as a few with just some basic cold cut meats and cheeses. When I make chicken salad I shred up cooked chicken and put it in a bowl with some chopped celery, chopped apple, craisins, and some chopped walnuts or pecans. I don't really measure I just throw things in there until looks fairly balanced. I then add some mayo and a tiny bit of dijon mustard until ingredients appear "wet" enough. I season with a little salt, pepper, and some paprika. Chill until ready to make sandwiches. Yummy!

I then tossed together an easy fruit salad. I used some canned pineapple and some fresh berries and grapes. And I squeezed the juice of an orange over all and sprinkled 1 to 2 Tbsp of instant vanilla pudding powder over all as well. Tossed it together until it was all mixed and covered it and put in the fridge to chill until it was time to eat. Lots of easy make ahead here folks! 

I had some chips and some pickles on the side for them to add to their plates as well. And of course crackers for the soup if they wanted. It was all pretty yummy if I do say so myself. ;)  I sent them both home with leftovers and they were happy campers!! 

For dessert I came up with this concoction based on a frozen layer cake by the Pioneer Woman which you can find here.  I took a store bought pound cake and cut it in 1/2 horizontally. I then put some parchment paper in a bread loaf pan with the sides hanging over a bit. I placed 1/2 the pound cake on the bottom. I took some vanilla ice cream and had softened it and stirred in some M&M's. And I spread that over the cake. I then added the top 1/2 of the pound cake and "frosted" the top with some softened peppermint bon bon ice cream (wanted to have some holiday peppermint flavor in the mix). I covered it and froze it overnight (but you could do it day of as long as it's in there about 4 hours).  Then take out about 20 minutes or so before you want to serve to thaw a bit. Lift out the cake with the parchment paper and slice. 

And then for good measure I drizzled a little warmed hot fudge over the top before serving. Mmmmmmm Too bad I'm still working on my New Year's "goals" or I would be dreaming on making this again soon. 

And I made almond bars - as they're one of my Mom's favorites at the holidays.  I've shared the recipe for these before but you can find them in this former blog post.

And here's my sweet Aunt Susan enjoying the goodies (my Mom didn't want to be photographed that day as she had a cold and hadn't "fixed herself up" - Lol). These are the kinds of memories I enjoying making with my loved ones so much!!  

I'm sharing this with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Cooking Thursday and with Sherry of The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Wonder


The weather was downright CRAZY for my neck of the northwoods today - in the upper 40's! Things were melting and it really felt like Spring. Sounds like more of the same tomorrow. When I was out running around today I couldn't help but dream on flowers and fairies a bit. However, I'm no dummy and I know how far north I live...and that it won't last. In the meantime, though, I'm going to enjoy the temporary melt and just dream a little on photos like these. xo

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday

Hello and happy Monday my Friends!

We actually just got home about an hour ago from my daughter's hockey tourney. We were down in the Wisconsin Dells for it and their team did great - they actually won the championship! And the kids loved that we stayed in a water part hotel (of course) too. So it was a fun and successful weekend on all counts. I'm just thrilled that my teenager (with some popping in by my Mom) kept the house standing and Ruby is good too. Whew! Lol 

I hope that you had a lovely weekend as well! I will make this whole post brief as I need to figure out dinner for my Crew soon and get the kiddos prepared for back to school tomorrow. 


On our trip back we hit some freezing rain, but the roads remained safe thankfully. Back at home here it's in the upper 20's and clear. It was a beautiful sunset on the bay when we rolled in.


We ate at an iHop, but I continue to work to be a good girl and just had whole wheat toast, fruit and coffee.


Listening to my Hubby talk to his Dad on the phone and check in with him now that we're back from the weekend. He hadn't been feeling well last week. Also, it's my MIL's birthday tomorrow so talking to him about checking her out of the facility and taking them out for a fun dinner tomorrow.  


Dark out now. 


Nice and tidy thanks to my sweet Mumsy checking in on things. She made sure the teenager accomplished his chores, as well as did some dishes for me etc.


 Tonight I'm going to go get dinner started and get kiddos ready for back to school tomorrow.  I need to look at my calendar and figure out my plan for the week yet too. I need to schedule some haircuts and orthodontics appointments. Run errands, get groceries etc. I also hope to catch up and come around and visit you, my friends, tomorrow and see what you've been up to in your worlds!



Not reading anything currently. Just doing magazine catch up.


I haven't even looked at what I have taped from the weekend. I know we have some blindspots to catch up on from before and I was really behind on Timeless.


MONDAY: going to look at what's in my freezer and either throw in an easy pizza or thaw something else in the microwave. Cut up some veggies and fruit to munch

TUESDAY: going out for dinner for my MIL's birthday

WEDNESDAY: ham & cheese roll-ups (in pizza dough) & salad bar night

THURSDAY: chili and maple cornbread

FRIDAY: healthier fun night: little baked slider burgers, baked onion rings. fruit smoothies 

*and for the weekend I'm thinking I may make slow cooker honey garlic chicken in the slow cooker to put over brown rice


Finally got my office space cleaned out- yay!! I just have some scrapbooking papers and things I want to organize a bit better, but otherwise went through everything else. I'm SO excited to begin some projects I've had well as really get into some scrapbooking catch up and reorganizing of my kiddos' bins I have for them with their awards, artwork, baby albums etc. They'll have everything in one place and organized in a nice bin to hand them one day when they're out on their own.


I will finally share the fun New Year's luncheon I had with my Mom and my Aunt and recipes from that!



I think this is a great idea! 



Rapid Fire hockey team were WI Dells champs!! (my daughter and her bud posing with the first place trophy)

We did some fun things down in the Dells - like visiting this ice sculpture park. This is my Annie, her buddy and my niece posing pretty.

The Hubster and I (squinting and blinded by the light)

They had ice slides and ice tunnels you could crawl through.

I saw a couple little girls dressed in warm Elsa garb. I'm sure they were loving pretending to be in their own ice palace! ;) 

We also went in the upside down White House. Very weird.

Hubby looking at the oval office....on the ceiling!

It was very discombobulating (look at me using big words -Lol)

But there's no place like home. The sunset on the bay tonight. 


Martin Luther King, Jr., with LBJ, 1965 (Public Domain)

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy MLK Day Friends. I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker MOnday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five on Friday: Healthy Tips & Snacks

Hello Friends! Happy weekend to you! 

I thought that since January tends to bring to mind fresh starts in the form of goals or resolutions, that I would share some healthy tips and snacks for my 5 today. These are things that I have either learned from reading about being healthier, learned from personal experience, and/or things pinned from my pinterest boards. I've set some personally motivating goals for myself so that's also why a lot of this is on my mind (or in my regimen) right now. ;) 


Image result for clip art healthy snack
photo courtesy: clip art

I think an important rule I'm following right now is making sure my kitchen is stocked with healthy snacks. I'm making more effort to prep food right away so it's snack ready and in an easy to grab & go place. I've also made more effort to drink more water. I make water more enjoyable by adding fruit, sometimes even fresh herbs for flavor. Or I use essential oils as flavoring as well. I will also have my workout clothes all ready to go the night before, so I can grab them first thing in the AM.

I like to think of all of these things as setting myself up for success! If I think and plan ahead it often seems to make all the difference in the world to stick to my goals. 

Image result for clip art of exercise with music          Image result for clip art of exercise with music

photo courtesy: clip art

I have also found that music is a huge motivator for me! When I put in my headphones I just want to move around. I use music for cleaning around my house too. Makes any "chore" that much more enjoyable. 

 I read in an exercise study that people that listened to music when they worked out performed 15-20% better. So put on the tunes and go to town!! 


Image result for clip art of writing journal

photo courtesy: clip art

I think it also helps my progress when I hold myself accountable. By using a journal to write things down, and I like to use apps, I'm better about the choices I make. I like the "my fitness pal" app for tracking my calories, water etc. But I like to write in a journal to mentally and spiritually motivate myself. I'll write about my feelings and about what I think is working and what isn't. There's something about spelling it all out for myself that helps me visualize it all more clearly. 

I think it's important to use a lot of positive self talk and build ourselves up when we're starting new goals. Being hyper critical doesn't seem to ever be effective for true success from my life experiences. I also lean on my faith and use a devotional daily to help in this area as well. 


Image result for meal prep clip art

I have found that "beating myself to the punch" - so to speak - also helps me stay on track. For example: when making a nice family dinner, I have sometimes made extra so I could freeze it & it's there waiting for me in the future. By having something already done that I can easily bake on a busy week when I need it, prevents us from grabbing fast food or making other poor choices on busy kiddo sports nights. I have also done things like brush my teeth right after dinner so I'm not tempted to nibble later. Or even something as simple as putting away the food right after everyone dishes up what they want - prevents us from going for second helpings that we don't need.  I try to make good choices right away to beat myself to the punch of making a poor choice later. 


I thought I would share a few fun snacks we've been enjoying lately, as well as some fun ones I'd like to make in the future that I've pinned on my pinterest board.

We love to snack on frozen grapes! I take a big clump of grapes and break it down into little clumps that I wash, dry and put in snack baggies then throw on the freezer. It changes the texture and even the flavor a bit - and they just become this addicting snack (better than chips!)

And today I made a batch of angel food cupcakes. I love to bake and we like our "treats" over here. So what a great way to have healthier version of a treat. Instead of frosting we use a little cool whip on top and add a few berries - all for around 60 calories a cupcake - yay!!

Frozen Yogurt Berry Bites Recipe - quick and easy healthy snack or dessert idea! sponsored - Happiness is Homemade:

I also plan to make these yummy frozen yogurt fruit snacks you can find on pinterest here.

4-Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites - Just freeze the peanut butter banana "sandwiches" then dip in chocolate and freeze to harden!::

And these yummy frozen peanut butter chocolate banana bites you can find here.

4 ingredient baked pears infused with maple and vanilla! Top with crunchy granola and yogurt for a healthy, satisfying dessert! Easy recipe found on

And I have made these maple vanilla baked pears before and they were absolutely delicious!! You can find them here.

25 Fun and Healthy Snacks for Kids - Double the Batch:

And on the savory side what kiddo wouldn't find these snacks fun? 

Baked Zucchini Fries - These fries are amazingly crisp-tender and healthy with just 135.4 calories. And no one would ever believe that these are baked!:

And I think the baked parmesan zucchini fries found here look amazing!

And I live in reality and I know I will always love to cook and bake - and I really love to eat! Lol But I think trying to incorporate a healthier lifestyle is important...especially as I've now somehow wondered into middle age. 

This middle age place is rough -  where I don't lose weight as easily as I used to, and I don't bounce back from things as well as I did when I was younger.  Being smarter means I won't have to pay more of the price later. I want to set a good example for my kiddos and I also want the energy and ability to run around with grandkiddos one day.  

How are you doing with any 2017 goals you've set for yourself? Or any great tips you want to share with me? I find a lot of this focus interesting and fun!  Blessings on your weekend Friends. xo 

I'm linking with Amy of Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.

love made my home