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Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Favorites! October 28th

Happy Friday! Boy, I am glad to have this week behind me! 
Thanks to ErikaNarci and Andrea for the linkup opportunity!

Bear with me this week, the favorites are a little unusual.

Favorite #1

Bedtime...for the kids


We have had a rough week this week. So, I am keeping it real, and after the week with nonstop barky coughing, a head injury and two bloody noses, my favorite is bedtime! Mostly for the kids, but mine too! 

Please don't misunderstand. I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids. I just also like to see my husband and have a conversation with him where someone doesn't interrupt. Or need a bandaid. Or juice. Or some other completely fictional problem just for the sake of interrupting and recapturing our attention. 
I might also like to watch a TV show that isn't on Nick Jr. or Disney Junior. Don't get me wrong, those channels save my life/help dinner get on the table/get the laundry folded/get phone calls made on the regular, but I don't want to watch Peppa Pig all by myself. Although, I will say there are some new episodes of Max & Ruby, and I was shocked to see they have added parents to the mix now! Anyone else noticed that? Mind. Blown. It's about time those kids had some supervision. 

Anyway, yay for bedtime!


Favorite #2

My Mom


That lovely woman saves my sanity. She is frequently helping out around here. Just yesterday, my son told me that Granny is better at helping with homework than me. She is really our only babysitter, so when we need/want to go out, it's Granny to the rescue! I really can't say enough about her. She has tons of patience for my kids, when my patience escapes me. She is always at the ready to help whenever I need her. I am so, so grateful to her that she lives close enough to help and loves to do it! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful mom and my kids are even luckier to get to call her Granny!

Favorite #3

You ever have a semi online shopping spree one week, and the next week, you become best friends with your UPS guy or gal? That week was like that for me. So many of you other bloggers have had the cutest clothes! And there have been some good sales! 

I got several packages this week! I think my favorite delivery was from J.Crew Factory. I scored some cute plaid shirts, a scarf and a puffer vest. My very favorite was the puffer vest! I have never had one before, I was always hesitant. They reminded me of the 80's or something. But they have grown on me and I decided to give it a shot in the bleached sand color! Love it!!


Plaid Scarf in Red Gray Trellis

Hope you all have a fantastic Halloween weekend!

-Sara

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday! {10/26}


We are linking up with MelShay and Sheaffer for this month's edition of What's Up Wednesday!


WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK...

S-We are having Frosted Meatloaf -it's meatloaf covered in mashed potatoes!
 Teriyaki Chicken and...well I haven't gotten much further than that! We have relatives coming in from out of town this weekend, so I guess I better get on it!

T-This is another slow cooker week in our house!  I made chili this week.  It is a super easy recipe and my kids and husband love it.
1. Brown turkey meat (or ground beef) on the stove and put it in the slow cooker.
2. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 jar of salsa, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 medium onion (chopped), 2-3 cans of kidney beans, and 1 packet of chili seasoning.
3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT...

S-Around here, we have been discussing our time in our home. If you have been following us, you know we are building our dream home a couple of miles from our current home. The kids have been talking about being nervous to move when the time comes. We have lots of wonderful memories in this home. And Will and Elliot have never lived anywhere else...we have shared a lot of firsts here.

And Halloweens past...

My sweet Gavin who has always tolerated Halloween.

Will, who LOVES Halloween. Always has.
 Princess Elliot, who is a princess every year. This one will be no exception.


T-My husband and I always marvel at how quickly time flies.  The Facebook memories pictures that pop up every now and then bring me joy (and a few tears)!  Here is the latest one:



This is when they were flower girls in my sister in law's wedding 5 years ago.  Where did those little girls go? 

WHAT I'M LOVING...

S-If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen that yesterday I had a great mail day! Actually, it was a good UPS day. Either way, I got 100 Days of Real Food's latest cookbook and a package from J.Crew Factory. I ordered a puffer vest, after seeing so many of you wearing them, I decided to try one! I LOVE IT!! What have I been waiting on to try one?!!? ICYMI...
And if you did miss it, please be sure to follow us on Instagram @momscoffeedate so you don't miss anything else!

Also, I have been loving sneaking into the Halloween candy. I hear those Reese's Cups and Snickers calling my name some evenings after the kids go to bed! Don't worry! I bought replenishments so the trick or treaters aren't missing out!

T-I have been loving Aussie Bites from Costco,  A friend told me about them and I can't stop eating them!  I also recently found a recipe so that you can make them at home.  I plan to try it soon!  
Here is the link to the recipe: http://thestayathomechef.com/homemade-aussie-bites/



WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...

S- Honestly, not too much. Just daily life. Nothing particularly exciting. We take daily trips to our lot to see the progress and that has been exciting. We've been kind of boring.

T-We just got back from a 3 day trip to Massanutten Resort.  We had a great time!  I will do a full blog post soon.  Here is a sneak peak:



These are pictures from a hike that we took.  The views were AMAZING!  I wish that we had had more time to explore the area.


WHAT I'M DREADING...

S-The time change!!! I feel like I struggle to make it through it seems like 2 weeks!! I get so exhausted! And the kids don't love it either. Not to mention it's dark SO early!! Ugh!

T-I am dreading colder temperatures.  I love the fall, but I not a fan of the really cold weather that comes with it.  I love my husband, but he does not believe in turning on the heat until it is BITTERLY cold.  Needless to say we wear a lot of layers in our house these days!

WHAT I'M WORKING ON...

S-Being more organized and trying to prevent the Christmas crazy from settling in and getting a head start for once this year.

Also, I have been wanting to update our site to be more visually appealing. I am researching some themes, but yet to discuss too much with Trina yet! Stay tuned, we hope to be improving it soon!

T-I am also working on organizing.  My husband and I have been working on our garage and attic to try and make it easier to find things.  This is not an easy task because we have a lot of stuff!  I have found that I have enough Christmas decorations to fill at least 2 houses.  I need to get rid of some of it, but I have a hard time parting with decorations that we have had for years.  I plan to make a donation pile this year as we decorate.  Stay tuned...I will let you know how that goes!



WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT...

S-I am excited about lots of things!

First, we are taking a trip to Disney World next month, and I am excited to go AND to get to take Elliot to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!


Second, Thanksgiving! I LOVE Thanksgiving. I think it is my favorite holiday. I love the smell the house takes on roasting the turkey, and all of my loved ones come over, and I get to cook and bake all day, and usually someone else cleans up!!


Third, one of my FAVORITE days of the whole year is Black Friday! But not for the reasons you think. My family has a tradition...every year we get up early, get dressed up and go to the mall. We head straight to see Santa for our family Christmas photo. There is literally NO ONE there. We might have had to wait for 2 families in the years and years we have been doing it.  Here is last year's picture!


After we sit on Santa's lap, we all go get some Starbucks and wander the mall until it starts getting more crowded around noon. We all leave and head home, but on the way, we stop at Chick-Fil-A and pick up lunch to bring home. The rest of the afternoon is spent lounging and bugging my poor husband to put up the Christmas tree. I CANNOT WAIT!

T-I am excited that my husband is almost finished helping with volleyball games at the high school where he works.  He will be home to help with the "dance taxi".  I feel like all that I do is drive up and down the road taking my kids places after school.  I know that many of you reading this can sympathize!  And I have so much respect for the single parents out there who do it without help.  My mom was a single parent and I don't know how she did it!

I am also excited to take my girls trick or treating on Monday.  I know that my Halloween time with them is coming to end in a few years.  I love how excited they get about dressing up and being silly. This year we are keeping a little of the candy and taking the rest to a local orthodontist who pays kids for their Halloween candy by the pound.  My girls are excited to get some spending money, and I am excited that we won't have a ton of candy in the house!

WHAT I'M WATCHING/READING...

S-I am excited to dive into that cookbook I was telling you about. And I am currently on the hunt for a good, light fiction book to read! Any suggestions?


T-I have been watching reruns of Gilmore Girls on Netflix in anticipation for the 4 part return on November 25.  I am SO EXCITED!  They just release a new trailer today.  I can't wait!  Check it out here:




WHAT I'M LISTENING TO...

S-I will probably always be boring in this category! I don't get to listen to much music these days!

T-I have been listening to the Nutcracker sound track over and over in my house.  My youngest daughter's theater class is putting on a mini production of this classic soon and she has been practicing a lot!  I definitely have visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.



WHAT I'M WEARING...
T- I have been wearing a lot of scarves lately.  I love boots and scarves this time of year.  Infinity scarves are my favorite.  I really love this one from Loft:



S- Lots of Plaid! And Boots and Scarves, Oh My! Loft & Nordstrom Rack and J. Crew Factory!
Note: I could not arrange the pictures in any way I wanted! Sorry!







WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND...
S- Spending some family time! I am looking forward to making s'mores by the fire pit, carving pumpkins and attending our future neighborhood's Fall Festival! We will get to meet some new neighbors! Can't wait!

T-Our neighborhood is also having a Fall Festival this weekend.  The kids are excited to wear their costumes more than once.  Am I the only one that thinks that Halloween should always be the last Saturday in October?  Halloween on a Monday night is no fun as a parent and teacher.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH...
T- I am looking forward to Thanksgiving!  It is my absolute favorite holiday.  I love eating all of the delicious food and spending time with my family.  It is not as hectic as Christmas, so I find that I enjoy it more.  This year is the first year that we are staying home for Thanksgiving and I am excited to cook the entire meal myself.  It also means that we can start decorating for Christmas earlier since we will be home.

S- I guess I got ahead of myself earlier!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW...
T-We are starting to make our plans for the Christmas/winter season.  The hustle and bustle of the season can make it hectic at times, but we do a lot of great things as a family.  One of my favorite traditions is going to Arlington National Cemetery and laying wreaths on the graves.  We started this a few years ago and it has become a tradition.  We recently made our hotel reservations, and we have been planning the other activities that we will do while we are there.  I love having fun activities to look forward to during the year.  My girls love to make "count downs" in their rooms so that they can count down the days to the big event.

S- I think I have covered it! We are really looking forward to having our niece and nephew home for Thanksgiving! 



BONUS QUESTION: What is your favorite Halloween memory/picture/tradition?

S-I made my poor mother look for old Halloween photos. These first three are ones she could put her hands on. Apparently, I was Snoopy when I was little.

I actually kind of remember the thin, plastic mask and weird coveralls. Look! Here I am trick or treating at my own house!


My brother and I are posing with our carved pumpkin circa 1980-something. You know because I am rocking some killer knee socks!


Here I am in my Cinderella costume I remember BEGGING my mom for. It was expensive, as I recall and I wanted it so badly even though she used to make awesome costumes for me every year. I talked her into it and wore it multiple times! And I got to eat doughnuts in it, so....


This is me post doughnut, schmoozing. Check out the super cool mock turtleneck and stretch stirrup pants! Sssssuper Stylin'! What am I doing with my hand? I can't help but think every time I see it...Yo! Word to yo mutha! Sorry-too much 90's rap going on in my brain.



T- Wow, Sara!  I can't compete with the photos.  I have no idea where my old Halloween pictures are located. My favorite Halloween memory is winning a costume contest when I was younger.  (I think I was about 7 or 8 years old.) I dressed up as a corn stalk with a pumpkin head.  A picture would truly be worth a thousand words in this case!  Let's just say that I had a burlap sack with Indian corn sewed on it that I wore and we sprayed my hair green and painted my face orange.  It was definitely one of a kind!

Here is one of my favorite Halloween pictures from the not-so-distant past:
I love that sweet Minnie Mouse and tiger!




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Monday, October 24, 2016

Easy Slow Cooker Homemade Chicken Stock!



Are you reading the title and thinking, "What is so easy about making this? I can buy it at the store." I did too the first time I tried to make this. Ever since I made this, I have never looked back.

You can make your own chicken in the crockpot for dinner. I usually do that. I use 100 Days of Real Food's The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe. I like it, but sometimes the chicken turns out dry, and my family complains. Sometimes I made the chicken just so I could make the chicken stock suggested with this recipe.

Yesterday, I bought a rotisserie chicken while grocery shopping in the morning for last night's dinner. I had an idea. I reheated it about a half hour/45 minutes before dinner in the crockpot on high. I put the whole chicken with all of it's juices in there. I have never heard of doing this before, and thought I would try it! If you have, hats off to you! And why didn't you tell me? ;)

Let me tell you, it worked out great! And that spurred the idea that I could make the Chicken Stock from the rotisserie chicken parts. I love having a stash of various sizes of chicken stock in the freezer, and I was running low! After dinner, I picked the remaining meat and skin off of the bones and put the bones in the crockpot. I cut an onion into chunks and threw it in with the chicken bones, and filled it up with water. That's it!! You cook it for 10 hours on low and in the morning, VOILA! You have a crock pot full of chicken stock!

Note: You can add other traditional chicken stocky (is that a word?) things to the crockpot to give it more depth of flavor. Herbs and carrots and celery and whatever makes you happy! I did not. My husband is allergic to carrots (crazy, right?), and I HATE celery!! 

Here is the deliciousness I woke up to this morning. It smells great!


Next, you strain it out, separating the fat and putting it into small jars. I use a ladle and ladle it into this mesh strainer to catch anything that isn't liquid. It strains into one of those fat separating measuring cups (or you could use a spoon to skim the fat off of the top), and pour into the jars. 


When dispensing into containers, I use jars of multiple sizes. Sometimes you need a lot for a soup, but a little for a sauce. It's good to have size options, so you don't waste an entire quart when you only need a cup.

Make sure to date and label your jars! I have gotten lazy in the past and skipped it, and then I can never remember when I made it! I make labels out of masking tape and sharpie and stick them on. They come off easily without leaving a sticky residue. You can buy some dissolvable labels, and I have in the past, but I ran out and masking tape works just as well.


My finished project. This is so you see how much it makes. Quite a bit! And it only took me about 20 minutes this morning from start to finish. With the holidays around the corner, you will be prepared! No last minute runs to the store when you run out of chicken stock for the gravy! Lots of chicken stock to make soups this season! 

You don't even have to remember to defrost it! I forget sometimes, and I just grab it out of the freezer, TAKE THE LID OFF FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE (!!! don't forget and put metal in the microwave!!) pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or more (depending on the size of your container) and you are ready to rock!


I hope you enjoy having these stashed in your freezer as much as I do! I always want to hear how it worked for you in the comments!

-Sara


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favorites! October 21st


Today, we are linking up with the amazing ErikaNarci, and Andrea!

Favorite #1
Another #FallBucketListMCD item can be checked off...fall craft with kids!  I cannot take the credit for this craft, but they turned out so cute!  My sister in law did a pumpkin craft with my kids on Sunday.  They hot glued wine corks together and painted the outside orange.  Then, they added another cork on top that they painted green.  Finally, they added a small leaf.  The result was an adorable pumpkin.  I love them!  It was very easy and my girls had a great time making them.  I will definitely be adding them to my fall decor.

Favorite #2
My family FINALLY got a new car!  This may not sound like a huge deal to some of you, but my family drives cars into the ground.  My last car was 12 years old and we had started to have issues with it, so we decided it was time to look for a new car.  As we looked around, we decided to stick with the car that we had before, the Honda CRV.  We love it!  Interest rates are great now for the 2016 models.  I know that I will probably have this car for the next 12 years, but right now I am excited for the new car smell and the lack of french fries and other random items between the seats!
Favorite #3
My family is going away for the weekend to Massanutten Resort in Massanutten, Virginia.  It is in the northwestern part of Virginia.  It is a beautiful, mountainous area with beautiful views of fall foliage. I can't wait to get away from our busy schedule for 3 days and enjoy a slower pace.  I will do a full blog post about our adventures once we return.


Favorite #1

This.


This week, we received our MagicBands in the mail for our upcoming trip to DisneyWorld! We are so excited because Elliot is finally old enough to go to the Bibbidi Bobbiddi Boutique!

I love that they send them in advance, it helps to build the excitement! We aren't going for a few more weeks, but that sure is a fun package to get in the mail!

Favorite #2

Starbucks!

Ok, aside from the obvious reasons for helping me to stay caffeinated when I am not home, this week their free wifi really helped me out! 

Our wifi was down this week after a scary experience! My husband discovered the power supply to our modem had a short in it when he smelled melting plastic! It should be a favorite that he caught it before the extreme heat damaged anything or worse! He actually burned his fingers trying to unplug it!

Anyway, I appreciated that I could get myself a Tall Mocha and have some access to the internet for a few minutes to get some things done!


Should've grabbed a fun selfie to document my appreciation, but I was so excited about the wifi I forgot! But here is the coffee!

Favorite #3
My Hunter Boots! 

I think they are too nice to be used for what I use them for right now, but I am loving them!

I mentioned in a previous post that we are in the process of building our dream home. It was has been a LOOOOOONNGGG work in progress. We purchased the lot over 4 years ago.


We are finally moving forward, and the lot is super muddy with all the rain we have had.  I wear these every time I visit the site so I don't have to plan my outfit for the day to make a 10 minute stop. I keep these beauties stowed in Target Bags in my car to contain the mud. See how perfectly they fit?



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