Favorite Pot Roast

I love pot roast. I mean, I really love it.  For me, its the definition of comfort food.  And I love it so much, I thought I would share my recipe.  It has taken me a while to tweak it.  I had to learn which cut of meat works best, and how to season it.  Plus, what to serve with it.  So here is my secret.  Or maybe its not a secret and you already know this.  Which if that's the case, why haven't you shared?
  • The Meat Hubby says a chuck roast is the best.  My stomach agrees.
  • Method  Crock pot.  Because I am lazy and love to do stuff other than standing in the kitchen.
  • Seasoning  McCormick Pot Roast Seasoning Packet.  Seriously, its the best.  I like to mix it with a can of beef broth instead of water.  I've tried other seasonings, beef stew, onion soup etc, but this one is the best.  I promise.
  • Add ins  Baby Carrots, potatoes, celery, onion optional
  • Serve with Kings Hawaiian Rolls.  Seriously, they are uh-mazing.

I add all the ingredients (except rolls) in the crock pot and cook on low for about 8 hours.  My house smells delicious and I thank myself for planning ahead. End of story.

Do you have a comfort food?  What's your go-to easy meal?


Rolling in the Grass

A few days ago, the kiddos and I were outside watching the construction going on across the street.  A foundation was being poured and my little man was fascinated with the trucks.  I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.  My goal was to capture some photos on the front porch, but my kiddos had other plans.

Handsome is intently watching the action.

Princess also takes in the scene.

Time to cheese it up!

Picking grass is better than picking Momma's flowers!

Yes, their eyes are still on the trucks.

 Oh, to be two again!  When I roll in the grass I think of all the bug bites I'm about to have.  If only I had the simple joy of a two year old!



Princess started preschool last week.  Yes, it is true.  I also had to be at work early that morning, but I made my hubby promise to take a picture of her.  But I wasn't specific enough. Ten of those pictures were of her inside, in the recliner, with the iPad on her lap.  Fifteen more where of her in the garage, in between the car and the pool toys.  Just a handful were of her outside her school, sitting on the sidewalk.

Doesn't she look thrilled?  Its as if she has been in school for years.  I suppose she will fit right in.  Maybe this week I can retake her picture with a better backdrop.  You know, on the front porch or near the flowers.  Some place a bit more cheery.  Maybe my style is more "second week of school" pictures.


Side Table Switch-up

I bought this table at Target after stalking it for a few months.  I think it was one of my first purchases for the new house.  He went on sale and I knew it was meant to be.  I've seen him on Pinterest recently, masquerading as a upside-down spray painted trash can.  But I know he really hails from Target.

He's lived in the my bedroom as a nightstand, but he was too short.  So I moved him to the living room.  Besides, he's too lovely to be hidden away.  I recently decided his curves needed definition.  The black metal is holding him back from his full potential.  So I did what any girl would do, I found a leftover can of spray paint.  We had a date in the backyard while the kiddos napped.

What do you think?  Totally worth the turquoise fingers, right?  I knew he had potential, but now I can't stop staring at him.  I'm in love.


Master Bedroom Update

I'm proud to say my master bedroom is at a done for now state!  Of course, there are a few things I would like to change, but I am delighted with my progress and love the outcome thus far.  Remember moving day?  It was an empty shell, and we didn't have much to fill it with.

Five months later, here we are.  I wanted something restful and calming.  I love to sleep during thunderstorms and rainy mornings, so I tried to bring that feeling in.

I love the gray walls.  They are soothing and cozy.

My red chair has a home, hidden from grubby hands.

Love these watercolors.  A friend of mine brought them back from Italy.  Not only are they sentimental, but they add a bit of sophistication to the room.

Someday, I'd love to upgrade to a king bed.  I'd also like to make the ceiling fan light pretty, somehow.  Still brainstorming on that one (getting rid of it isn't an option for the hubby).  A floor mirror near the chair would be nice, plus more art or shelves on the walls, specifically above the bed and the dresser.  I love to re-arrange furniture, so I'm hesitant to nail something in the wall that I might have to move in another month or so.  The room still feels short and it needs something tall to draw the eye up, either a larger bed, a tall floor mirror, or huge piece of art.  None of that is necessary, but I can keep that thought in the back of my mind as I shop around for the next few years.  For now, the room works, and I love it.

bed- Pier 1, 10 years ago, dresser,  table lamps, woven baskets- Target, jewelry armoire - handmade gift, nightstands, floor lamp, and curtains- Ikea, red chair- West Elm, bench- Pottery Barn, paintings- gift from Italy, bedding- Anthropologie, Target, and Home Goods


August Birchbox

Its another month and time for another Birchbox!  I still enjoy discovering it in the mailbox and anticipating the lovely contents.  This month's package was wrapped in orange instead of the trademark hot pink.

August is back-to-school for many and Birchbox continued the theme with "Beauty School".

I love opening the box and seeing the pretty packages!

Yet again, I received awesome samples.
  • Shu Uemura: Art of Hair Cleansing Oil shampoo
  • Fusion Beauty: Lash Fusion XL mascara
  • Juicy Couture:  Viva La Juicy La Fleur fragrance
  • Yu-Be: Moisturizing Skin Cream
  • Schick: HydroSilk razor (bonus box extra)
So far, I've tried everything except the razor.  I LOVE the scent of the shampoo, its beautiful.  I'd love a lotion with that smell.  The mascara is great, but I was expecting to be wowed.  It does provide more volume, but doesn't lengthen much.  I guess I like length more.  The fragrance it nice, but a little sweet for me.   The skin cream feels really nice.  Its a glycerin-based cream formulated by a Japanese pharmacist!  I should love it, right?  If only it didn't smell like camphor.  Luckily, the scent doesn't last long.

Learn more about Birchbox here.  See other boxes here and here.

Birchbox doesn't know I have a blog.  I just write what I like and share things that make me happy.  No free stuff here.


sweet dreams

I had a dream.  A dream of white bedding.  Remember this?  Well, I can't get a vision of white bedding out of my head.  Unfortunately, my hubby doesn't share the same thoughts.  In his words, he "doesn't want to sleep under a frilly dress".  In the spirit of compromise, I came up with a solution.  Are you ready?  We each get to pick out a bedspread.  He sleeps under his on his side of the bed, and I sleep under mine on my side of the bed.  Am I nuts?  I actually saw this in a sneak peak of Ikea's new catalog and I find it genius.  Lucky for me, the quilt I've been drooling over has gone on sale.  I promptly placed my order and its here!

Isn't it lovely?  Its the Rosette bedding by Lazybones, carried by Anthropologie.  I've been dreaming about this bedding for over a year!  Originally, it wasn't available in white, only an ivory color.  I'm glad I held out, and got 25% off!  It's still a splurge, but I love it.

Unfortunately, my hubby isn't on the ball and hasn't found a quilt for his side of the bed.  He is still looking for the perfect Transformer bedset. Originally, we were each going to get a twin size.  However, I can't let my husband sleep in the cold, so I ordered a queen size.  He can share with me until he finds his own.  How's that for compromise?


Homemade Laundry Soap

So I realize this post is proof of how un-original I am.  I admit, I am a bit slow when it comes to trends; actually, resistant might be a better word.  Changing my habits simply because everyone else has tried it doesn't sit so well with me.  Perhaps, its because I'd rather watch others fail with the new stuff before I try my hand at it.  Anyway, point being that I've seen, read, and heard of many others making their own laundry soap concoction, so I figured its safe enough for me.

For starters, I started dropping hints to my hubby.  If there is one person that makes me seem like a risk-taker, its him.  In his mind, only green/crunchy/poor/mentally unbalanced, or a combination of the above would even want to attempt to make laundry soap.  I casually mentioned the idea for about a week.  I mentioned things like cheap ingredients and 5 minute prep time and low cost per load, and avoided saying i read on a blog and pinterest.  Finally, I decided it was pre-conditioned enough that I could just buy the stuff and make it.  He had enough warning.

I will add that I first saw the idea on Pinterest.  I never pinned it.  Then, I heard a co-worker rave about how she loves her homemade laundry detergent.  Shortly after, a friend of mine blogged about it.  And tweeted it.  I did a Google search, and a Pinterest search.  The concept became less weird for me.  You know what settled it?  I discovered I could pick my own bar of soap, which meant I could pick my own scent.  That's what nailed the lid in the coffin.  I'm serious, fragrance is that important to me.

I used the recipe from my friend Rachael.  I made a special trip to Walmart to pick up the ingredients.  I normally avoid Walmart like the plague, but I didn't have much of a choice since Target didn't carry the Washing Soda.  Once I got home, it took me 5 minutes to make.  Literally.
  • 1 cup of Borax (3-4 dollars)
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda (3-4 dollars)
  • 1 cup of OxyClean (6 to 8 dollars)
  • 1 bar of soap, grated (1 dollar, and yes, I used my cheese grater)
Mix ingredients and place in container.  Make the container cute, because you can.  I tied pink string on mine.  I also tied pink string on the tablespoon I placed inside for measuring.  I like pink.  In case you are wondering, I used oatmeal and almond scented soap.  I am addicted to almond and amaretto at the moment.  Oh, and this makes about 45 loads if you use a tablespoon per load.  I, errr I mean, my hubby, does a lot of kiddo laundry (which equals small loads) so we only use 1/2 tablespoon for those.

Thus far, I have very little complaints.  We do have a top-loading HE washer, but the soap is low sudsing and we haven't had an issue.

Anyway, this concludes my story of how I joined the cool kids and made my own laundry detergent.  Anyone else out there on the cool side of the laundry club?  Or are you of the school of thought only crazy people grate soap with a cheese grater?  Tell me about it.


Another Week Off, Another List

I'm on vacation again?  Or is it a mental health break?  Either way, its time to take on some more house projects.  We've been busy the last few weeks and I promise to share more soon.  But first, here is my motivation list.
  • add-on to the chalkboard wall.
  • hang up pictures in the bedroom
  • organize my master closet
  • re-style the mantle
  • box up kiddo clothes and re-organize their closets
    • take inventory and list what they need for fall
  • organize the laundry room
  • make it stop raining so we can go to the beach 
  • make something arts-y
Check back in a few days for my progress and pictures!

UPDATE: woo-hoo!  I almost did it all!


27 Activies to do with Your Kiddo(s)

We are always looking for inexpensive ways to entertain our kiddos.  I've compiled a list for the next time I'm at a lost of what to do.

 book picnic

Free Options
  • go to the mall and play on the ride-on toys
  • spend the afternoon at the pool
  • go to the state park
    • play on the playground
    • walk on the pier
    • lay on beach
  • walk around the neighborhood's nature trail
  • ride bikes
  • visit park at Marketcommon
  • visit playground at Broadway
  • Play with Thomas the Train 
    • at Barnes and Noble
    • at AC Moore
    • Toys and Co 
  • walk on the Boardwalk 
  • read books outside
  • visit the pet store to watch fish
  • play in the backyard sprinkler
  • create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk
  • make a tent/fort
Low-cost Options
  • McDonalds lunch and play-place
  • Chik-fil-a lunch and playground
  • Sonic Happy Hour
  • ride the carousel at Broadway
  • get ice cream
Special Occasions
  • go see a movie
  • ride the Sky Wheel
  • go to the Aquarium
  • play mini-golf
  • ride kiddie-rides
    • Family Kingdom
    • Broadway
  • visit the Children's Museum
  • ship them to Grandma
Yes, this is tailored to my town, but I'm sure as you go through this list you will find something similar or even better in your neck of the woods.  And if there is something else you LOVE to do with your kiddos, please let me know!  I am always open to other activities, especially FREE ones.