Friday, September 23, 2016
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Hello Friends! Happy First Day of Fall!!
Soon it will look like that outside, so it's time for cozy goodness - especially in the kitchen! So today I thought I'd share this family favorite that has been a staple in my hubby's family since he was really young. Cherie's spaghetti hot dish!
Cherie is my Mom-in-law...the one suffering from Alzheimers disease. I thought this is such a perfect comfort food recipe for this time of year - that I would share it. And also that I could share an update about my MIL.
Those of you whom have become such wonderful Friends to me already have followed a lot of her story. After some glitches that caused her not to be admitted to a facility (long story so I'll spare that)....she is finally going to a facility tomorrow. My FIL has been amazing and has taken such good care of her these past several months. We help with some meals and pop in for some things - but he has really taken on the primary role lately. And he needs the break, so it's definitely time for the move. But it's still so sad and difficult to see the pain in him...even though he puts on a strong brave face. So prayers are welcomed and appreciated! Thank you so much for being so wonderfully supportive throughout this whole process. I could never express enough how much your kind words and prayers have meant to me. So thank you!!
That's why I think things like recipes that are handed down are so special and important. This was a favorite that Cherie made for her family all of the time. It's simple - definitely nothing fancy. But it means "home" to my Hubby and my FIL, especially now. And it's come to mean comforts of home to me too. It kind of reminds me of a goulash... but with more Italian flavors. I never follow an exact recipe and neither did Cherie - but here's the basics:
1 pound hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 green pepper, chopped
2 - 3 cans or more of tomato sauce - or large jar pasta sauce ** (see directions below)
1 tbsp olive oil
about 1 pound elbow macaroni
Boil pasta according directions. While pasta is cooking start sauce in another pan. Saute onion and green pepper for a few minutes in olive oil. I sometimes will add a little garlic if I have on hand too - but careful not to burn. Add ground hamburger and brown and cook through with veggies, adding some Italian seasonings. I use a bottle blend - but you could easily add whatever you have on hand (basil, oregano, garlic powder, parsley). Drain grease. Add a favorite jar of pasta sauce - or my MIL favorite was to add cans of tomato sauce and more Italian seasonings. And then she would add a little bit of brown sugar or ketchup for sweetness. I have done jarred sauce and her way - both equally good. The bottom line is that you want there to be a fair amount of sauce as it needs to coat all of the pasta too. Simmer sauce for at least 15 minutes or so.
When boiled pasta is done - drain and put back in same pan. Add sauce to pasta pan and toss all together. Top with real shredded parmesean. Or sometimes my MIL would add some shredded mozzarella to top of hot dish and put a lid on until it melted all over the top. Do what you like - the fun of a home cooked recipe!! Serve with crusty garlic bread and a salad. Enjoy from Cherie's kitchen to yours. ;)
I'm continuing to enjoy my Fall decorations - especially the cozy glow at night. I take a good cup of creamy chai tea at night, snuggle under my favorite blanket, and dig into fun Autumn magazines. Hope you're ready to embrace the Fall season too!! xo
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
September feels like it's flying by already. The other night we were sitting out at my son's soccer game and I was worried we were going to get rained on. It had rained a little early in the day - but the evening turned out beautiful, and I just needed a light sweatshirt. The clouds sure put on quite a display. They have stone benches built into the hill for watching and behind us was the most beautiful sunset too. We're not seeing a lot of color in my area yet, but seeing lots of moments of it... and I think by later next week it's going to get quite colorful around here! And I shared this vintage farm looking photo on my instagram last night (I had found it on pinterest and loved it). So just wanted to share it here with you too my dear Friends. Aaahhh - lovely September. xo
Monday, September 19, 2016
Hello sweet Friends!
I hope all is well with you and you had a lovely weekend. We had a good one here filled with a walk along our great lake, my son's soccer game, getting out Fall decorations, and the big Packers/Vikings game last night. Unfortunately, the Packers lost (boo!!) - but I'm ready for a busy week ahead!
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:
Beautiful and 60's. Nice and sunny and supposed to hit mid 70's!
ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:
toast and coffee
AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:
Dappled sunlight through the trees out my office window. Ready to jump into a busy day!
RIGHT NOW I AM:
Listening to some Praise and Worship and planning out the week.
AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:
So pretty with all of my Fall decorations around. I love my house in the Fall - the colors go so perfectly with my natural house colors and decor. Loving it!!
ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:
I have an appointment soon - so that's why it's a short post today. I have many things going on this week - between kiddos' sports, appointments, and some fun things too! We are going on a fun vacation in the near future and there's a lot I want to accomplish around here.
ON THE TV TODAY:
Lots of the fun Fall line up is back! WE've been watching Bering Sea Gold, The Profit, Dancing with the Stars, Blindspot and now Survivor is coming back too!
ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
TUESDAY: meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, veggies
WEDNESDAY: either pasta or hashbrown breakfast pizza
FRIDAY: out for dinner
WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:
Scrapbooking things and some other fun things I'll share in the future.
NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:
Not sure yet??
TIP OF THE WEEK:
Love this one because I'm married to mine! We've been besties since we were 16 years old. ;)
FROM THE CAMERA:
Went for a walk along the Big Lake and it was such a beautiful morning. And the coolest thing happened. That bank of clouds in the distance was fog and it rolled right in. These photos weren't doctored in any way. All of a sudden we were all surrounded in fog and I took these photos with my phone. Pretty cool, huh?
And of course I have to give you a sneak peek of a few of my Fall decorations! Loving the glow at night the most. Yay for the best season ever!!!
PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:
Wishing you all a great week ahead!! I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Happy Weekend Friends!!
It's kind of a gray one here today and it rained this AM. The sun is trying to peek through in moments here and there. There is a cool breeze and Fall definitely feels like it's in the air. It's had me thinking about decorating my house for the season and I've been having fun making some seasonal cards as well. Always nice to have around for a Fall birthday or to send to a dear Friend...like you! ;)
I have so many different kinds of crafty things about, so I thought I'd play around and decorate each card differently with things I had on hand. I thought you might like a peek:
The first card I played around with I knew I wanted to make dimensional in some way. So here's what I did:
I had some old jack-o-lantern scrapbook paper - so I ripped a couple jack-o-lanterns out of it (for added texture instead of cutting) and I first adhered some lace and I knew I wanted to add the little Fall leaves branch. But then I found some gears I had and I thought they'd be a neat contrast with the lace (kind of a steam punk thing almost) and glued them on as well. I then adhered the ripped pumpkins on the top. I was going to leave all of the cards blank inside - but for this one I decided to stamp a "boo" on the inside. A more Halloweenish card to send.
I then added a jack-o-lantern cupcake sticker to the envelope. Card #1 down.
For the next card I knew I wanted to use some Fall stamps I had and my watercolor pencils. So here's what I did for that one:
I used a pumpkin and leaf that I stamped in black. Then I colored them in with various colored pencils and blended it all with my paintbrush and a little water. I then added a little bit of ribbon sticker and washi tape. I also stamped "thinking of you" with my copper stamp - but it didn't come out as cleanly as I would have liked. Oh well, that's how a friend knows that I made it homemade...unperfect and full of love (like me). ;)
I then added a little of the same washi tape on the envelope. Voila! Card #2 done.
For the final card I thought I would primarily use stickers. Here's how that one turned out:
For this one I used another strip of washi tape in a brown pattern. I then added the sweet tree stickers and acorn sticker. I had some rounded button kind of stickers and I added those in a strip down the side with the little flower to top it off. Then I added some letter stickers to say "happy fall" to someone special. ;)
The final touch for this card was using more of the same kind of flower sticker in brown - with some leaves on the envelope. And now I have more fun cards on hand to share with friends or family. Just simple, but fun to be creative and make each one so different.
Wishing you a blessed and cozy weekend. I'm linking with Andrea of Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.
Friday, September 16, 2016
I have always loved travel and seeing new places. I have been blessed to have traveled to a majority of the states in the U.S. and I have also been to Canada, Mexico, and some countries in Europe. But there are still so many other places I would love to see. I love learning about new cultures, seeing amazing sights, and eating fun new foods (of course!). Here are a few on my list in no particular order:
Mount Aspiring National Park/ Otago, New Zealand
Hobbiton in New Zealand
I have always been blown away by photos I have seen of some amazing places in New Zealand. And then when I saw all of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies (I had read several of the books in the past too) I fell in love. I would so love to visit Hobbiton too. (nerd alert - Lol!) Seriously though, many different photos I have seen from national parks in New Zealand have completely taken my breath away.
The River Thames London, England
Fairy pool - the Isle of Skye, Scotland
Rhosilli Bay - Swansea, Wales
I would love to see so many parts of Great Britain (if I can still refer to it all together?). I would love to see bustling London and the quiet countrysides of England. The magical beauty of Scotland. The amazing green of Ireland. And the breathtaking beaches of Wales. So much of my heritage and background comes from these places (great grandparents that came from Ireland and another set that came from Wales). The other part of my heritage is Polish and I was blessed to visit there and spend time with family and it was AH-MAZING!! I would highly recommend visiting Poland if you haven't - so much beauty there too.
Sydney Opera House - Sydney, Australia
The red road to Uluru
The Great Barrier Reef
I would love to go to Australia one day. It also looks so amazingly colorful and I have seen photos that take my breath away. Plus, I would LOVE to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef! I have been blessed to snorkel in both Hawaii and Mexico and they were some of the coolest experiences in my life - like EVER! If you've never snorkeled, I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list!!
French River, Prince Edward Island
Cavendish Beach PEI
Green Gables PEI
I want to visit Prince Edward Island for the obvious Anne of Green Gables reasons. I read all of the books - twice. And I have seen several different tv movie versions of them. I want my Annie to read the books and love them as much as I did and we could take a girl trip there one day. ;) But I also would love to see the amazing red sand beaches and lovely coastal areas and countryside there. It looks like somewhere where you would feel like you're going back in time.
I've been to Mackinac Island in Michigan and that has a similar feel. In Mackinac they don't allow cars on the island - you have to ferry over to it and can only walk, ride horses, or take horse and carriages to get around. And the water is an amazing teal green and the houses are so charming. I recommend visiting there if you haven't!
Mount Kilimanjaro Kenya
Giraffe Manor Kenya