Monday, March 30, 2015

Birthday Weekend and This Week's Eats

Saturday was the hub's birthday, so this weekend was all about him! He didn't want to do anything fancy, so it ended up being a low key weekend. Saturday we hung out around the house and I mostly watched Carter so the hubs could get to some vinyl graphics jobs he had. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but he has been designing and making vinyl graphics for a few months now and I think he does a great job! We actually put some on his truck Saturday afternoon:

Nice, right?

I also baked the requested birthday dessert, which was a cheesecake. I haven't made a completely-from-scratch cheesecake in a long time, so I borrowed a spring-form pan and whipped that up. It turned out great! Here's the recipe I used.

My parents offered to watch Carter so we could have a little birthday time without her, so once they picked her up we ordered some Chinese (again, the hub's pick) and finally got around to watching the first few episodes of season 4 of Game of Thrones. I've had it home from the library for a week, but they're just a little longer than normal TV shows so it seems like we never have time for them.

Sunday we did our usual church and work routine, but Zach's afternoon was a little different. His birthday gift was a massage, so he enjoyed that while I was at work. My in-laws came over to watch Carter for us, and they joined us for dinner after we all got home. Spaghetti and meatballs was the requested meal for Sunday night, and we enjoyed that with more cheesecake.

My mother in law, the hubs, and Diesel the dog

We had a lot of good food this weekend, and that means leftovers! Here's our plan for this week:

Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: Greek Yogurt Waffles
Wednesday: Fish and veggies
Thursday: Eat out
Friday: Pizza and wings with my parents
Saturday: Cheesy Tex Mex Chicken

I'll also be doing some baking for Zach to take into work this week. More on that later!

Lastly, a Carter photo from this weekend. She has not been a happy camper lately- we are SO close to her first tooth (teeth?) breaking through, and she has been miserable off and on for the past 2-3 weeks. She skipped a nap entirely on Saturday, and I wore her in the Moby so I could get some things done and she could be calm. She loves that thing!

Linking up with Motivation Monday today!

Friday, March 27, 2015

What I'm Reading 2

It's been about a month since my last reading update, so I thought I would share some of the books I have finished lately! I thought instead of listing the books separately, I would group them by series since most of them are part of a series rather than stand alone books.

Hannah Swensen Mysteries: Peach Cobbler Murder, Cherry Cheesecake Murder, Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This series is still fun, though I am growing a bit tired of the whole 2 man thing Hannah has going on. I think the proposals were a way to try and liven that up, but it just seemed forced and silly to me. I do like that they are broadening the plots to involve more characters, and those characters are better developed than others have been. I'll keep reading these for now!

Reagan Reilly: Burned by Carol Higgins Clark

Even though they can be a little predictable, I like this series. Enough of a mystery to keep me entertained, but not to serious and complex that it discourages me from picking it up for just a few minutes.

Game of Thrones: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

I'm totally invested in this series now! The hubs and I have also started watching the TV series, but we get it from the library so we are behind. I get so invested in certain characters, and my favorites sometimes change from book to book!

Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

So happy to have finally finished the series. I never read these as a kid, but started them a few years ago when I was still in college. For some reason I never read the last one, so I'm glad to have finally finished it. This last book wasn't my favorite, but was still a nice ending to a great series.

Stephanie Plum: Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

Another good one for this series. This one sort of remind me of the Hannah Swensen series in which the leading lady has two guys (and it sort of bugs me that it has gone on this long) but these books are always hilarious, and I will keep reading them as long as Evanovich keeps writing them!

Mystery with Recipes: A Catered St. Patricks Day by Isis Crawford

I still really like this series, and I wish they would have been written in holiday order, because I like to read the book around the corresponding holiday. Sometimes that means waiting a few months until I get to read the next one! The characters are really well written and the story is always entertaining. The next one is a Christmas one, so I guess I have a while!

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

Another series I finally finished! I read the majority of these last year (or the year before?) and started the last one right around the time I had Carter. Since then I've switched to doing most of my reading on my phone, so it took me a few months to just borrow the ebook from the library to finish it. This was a good series and a good ending, though it did seem a bit like there was too much going on.

Kinsey Millhone: N is for Noose by Sue Grafton

This wasn't a favorite of mine. I'm not sure what it is, but the last two books of this series have only been "meh" for me. Maybe I took too much time off between books? Either way I'm going to give the next one a go and see what happens.

Mary Russell: Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

This was one of the only times I think I have read a book within a month of it being published! I have quite the extensive "to read" list on Goodreads, so often books get added to the end and I get to them months or years later. This one started out slow for me, but by the end I couldn't put it down. Waiting impatiently for the next one in the series!

Kane Chronicles: Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

I love all of Rick Riordan's series, and this was no exception. It's not quite as good as the Percy Jackson series, but definitely worth a read. I think this is the last one in this particular series, which is a bummer, but I heard a rumor he has or will have a new series out?

Whew, that was a long post! What are you reading?

Linking up with Tidy Mom today!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Else I'm Knitting

I'm still working away on the Vivid blanket I shared last week, but I haven't done too many more squares since then. I thought I would share what else I have on the needles even though neither project has seen much attention lately. Maybe sharing them today will remind me to give them some love this week?

These are the tube socks I am making for Carter. I'm not sure how long to make them, but I think I'm about done with this one. I grab these whenever I need something easy and small to work on, so they don't get much love.

This is the hat I started for Zach for his birthday, but decided early on that it was silly to give him a hat in March and figure I'll give it to him for Christmas.

This is Madelinetosh Pashmina Optic that he picked out last summer. 

And that's all I've got. I'm hoping once the blanket is done I can move onto other things, including some stuff for Carter :)

This is from our 7 month photo shoot :) She is growing up way too fast!

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sleepy Weekend and Weekly Menu

We're all a bit sleepy over here. Carter, who is an awesome sleeper, has started waking up in the middle of the night. I'm guessing it is due to teething, because nothing really seems to calm her down except cuddles and in a few rare instances, Tylenol. Hoping her first tooth (teeth) break through soon!

Other than a lack of sleep, we didn't do much this weekend. We visited with some family, I worked, and we got some things done around the house. Honestly, we were kinda tired to try to do anything too wild and crazy! But here's our plan for eats this week:

Sunday: Small group
Monday: La Vias pizzeria (assorted sub for me!)
Tuesday: Sausage and shrimp with rice
Wednesday: Left overs/fend for yourself!
Thursday: BBQ pulled chicken in the crock pot with veggies
Friday: Deviled eggs, steak, and asparagus
Saturday: Take out for the hubs birthday!

I will probably bake something for Saturday, but I'm not sure what yet. Part of me wants to surprise the hubs, but in all honesty I should probably just ask him what he wants :)

Lastly, Carter is 7 months today! Her first year is more than half over, and even though I can't believe how fast it's going, she's so much fun now that I don't wish for her to be little again :) Not much anyway!

Linking up with Motivation Monday

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weekend, Menu, and Knitting

This weekend we took our first road trip with Carter! I was apprehensive about it, but thanks to some good planning and a good natured baby it actually went pretty well. We drove about 5 hours to see my brother and soon to be sister-in-law near Albany, NY. Our plan was to mostly drive during Carter's usual nap times since she falls asleep really easily in the car.

The weather was pretty nice on the way out and we made it by dinner time on Friday. Saturday we mostly hung out at my brother's apartment and played cards. We ordered Chinese from the restaurant in the plaza near my brother's apartment and the five of us walked to get it.

(Thanks to Amy for the photo!)

We left early Sunday morning to make the drive back, which due to weather and a crankier baby was not as nice as the ride out, but we made decent time and were glad to have the evening to get ready for the coming week. Speaking of this week, here's what our menu looks like!

Monday: Stuffed chicken breasts and green beans
Tuesday: Alfredo pasta with scallops and broccoli
Wednesday: Tuna melts
Thursday: Salmon and broccoli cheese soup
Friday: Roasted garlic and chicken pizza
Saturday: Eggs in hash brown cups and leftovers for lunch/dinner

I'm not sure if I will bake this weekend. I have some bananas that need to be used up, but I may freeze them instead.

Lastly, I have knitting progress! Thanks to making sure I take some time for myself and car knitting time, I'm slowly gaining ground with the blanket. Here are the finished squares:

I'm making 25 total, and may do an applied i-cord on the edge, so there's still lots to go but I'm feeling more optimistic that I will finish in time.

I'm linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Easy Make Ahead Breakfast

I haven't been doing my usual blog posts, and I'm not really sure why. Part of it is that menu planning has been a little less structured than usual (read: making a list 10 minutes before going to the store) and I still am not doing a ton of knitting. I am reading though, and I hope to share what I've read recently with you soon!

Today though I'm sharing a little project I did during this morning's nap time. Mornings are always a little rushed for me, and even more so now that I have a baby. Trying to get her dressed, me dressed, her diaper bag packed, my bag packed, letting the dog out, feeding the dog, feeding the cat, and getting both of us bundled up and out the door feels like a marathon some days. Breakfast doesn't always happen, and then I'm starving or stopping at Tim Hortons, which isn't great for my wallet. 

Enter make ahead breakfasts! The hubs and I used to make up a batch of breakfast burritos, but I'm not the biggest fan of scrambled eggs. I decided to make my own breakfast sandwiches to keep in the freezer for those rushed mornings. How nice to have a quick, easy and warm breakfast in only a few minutes!

For my batch today, I made sausage and egg sandwiches on english muffins, half with swiss cheese and half with sharp cheddar. Here's what I did!

First I did the eggs, since they took the longest. I preheated my oven to 350 degrees, and cracked eggs into muffin tins I'd sprayed with cooking spray. I baked them for 15 minutes and they were perfect for me, but if you like your eggs really well done I would go another minute or two.

This photo makes me realize that I need to clean my oven!!!

Then I started separating english muffin halves and toasting them. I suppose you could skip this step, but I like my muffins crispy :)

While they were toasting, I microwaved the sausage patties in batches of 3 or 4. I thought about cooking up bacon because I prefer it over sausage, but the sausage was easier and quicker. You could substitute bacon or ham or any other meat you want.

Lastly, when the eggs were done and had cooled for about 10 minutes, I assembled. I found it easiest to use the flatter of the two english muffin halves for the base, as the were wider and accommodated the sausage better. I also broke my cheese in half and criss-crossed it because otherwise it hung over the edges and I didn't want a melty mess.

Then I wrapped them in a paper towel and placed them in individual sandwich bags for the freezer.

I actually had one for breakfast this morning after I finished assembling and it was really good! The true test will be reheating them from the freezer, but I think we may have a winner. 

Carter didn't have a breakfast sandwich, but she did have fun playing with her dog!