Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cheesy Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Last Saturday, as in a week ago, we decided to actually put to use our back patio that we had cleaned up a couple of weeks ago. Even though it was dreadfully hot and a little windy. No biggie, it was still fun to eat in a different atmosphere then our dinning room.

Nick grilled some delicious hamburgers and I threw together a potato casserole and warmed up some frozen veggies. All the food was so good, but we really liked the casserole I made. Which was good, because I just kind of winged it. Isn't it nice when you just make up a recipe on the spot and it works out! I don't usually share recipes on here, but since this is a product completely of my own I thought I'd share. (P.S. The messurments might not be exactly what I used. I just kind of guessed.)

Cheesy Twice Baked Potato Casserole

8 small red potatoes
1/4 c. margarine or butter
1/4-1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
1/2 c. green onion, chopped (About one bunch)
8oz. cheddar cheese, grated
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease a 1.5 qt. baking dish.
2. Clean and scrub your potatoes. Cut larger potatoes in half so that they are all relatively the same size. and place in a pot. Fill the pot with water just until the potatoes are covered. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until they are tender. The time will matter on the size of you potatoes.
3. Drain your potatoes and place in a bowl. Use a potato masher and mash your potatoes with the 1/4 c. margarine or butter. Add the sour cream, bacon, green onion, (I used yellow onion, because it was all I had, but I wanted to use green onions. I just forgot to pick them up at the store.) 1/2 the cheese and your salt and pepper. If you'd like your potatoes creamer just add a little more sour cream. I think I ended up using closer to 1/2 c., because we like creamy potatoes.
4. Spread the potato mixture into your prepared pan. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Basically you just want it heated through.


If you end up making this recipe I'd love to know! Let me know how you like it and if you did anything differently.

Are there any recipes you just love making in the summer? Recipes you love to serve alongside something from the grill? Share them with me, I'm always looking for new recipes.

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! Try to stay cool!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's Letters

This is old, but I was looking through old pics today and I just thought I'd share it. She's just so darn cute.

Dear House,
I know we have neglected you in the last few years. We've held out on fixing things until our income was steadier. Well it is now. But house, why did you have to start falling apart all at once? Please just stay together a little longer so that we can find a decent contractor/plumber.

Dear Blog,
Sorry you have been ignored lately. I don't think you understand the kind of weeks we've been having around here. I have all these posts floating around in my head that I want to write. I promise  I'll get to it soon. Probably not till next week, but soon.

Dear Evelyn,
Well my poor baby, you are finally getting over your silly cold. I'm so sorry you had to go from a weekend of fever and teething to a week of a runny/stuffy nose. At least you're almost over it now.

Dear Thursday,
You were beyond terrible. I'm not going to go into all the details, because honestly I don't want to relive all of your terribleness.

Dear Friday,
You'd better not be anything like Thursday was. That is all.

Dear Nick,
I love you. Thanks for helping out so much this week. Who knew it was so hard to get anything done with a sick kiddo. I appreciate all that you do. Also I can't wait for our date night tomorrow.

Linking up with Ashley@Adventures of Newlyweds.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A "Brief" Catch-Up

I have resurfaced. If you have e-mailed me or commented on previous posts and I haven't responded, so sorry. I'm going to try to catch up on all of that today. Oh and I really try to respond to all comments, but if you have it set so that your e-mail is a no-reply address I can't respond to you via e-mail. If you'd like to change your settings just e-mail me or comment here and I'll respond as soon as I can. I try my hardest to respond to all of you. So if you haven't been getting e-mail responses I've been responding just on that actual blog post. You won't get notified when I do that though, so you just have to check back periodically.

Now back to my post.

So I'm going to give you a little glimpse into my life over the last 5 days. Well starting on Thursday afternoon our internet started acting weird. This was extremely frustrating, because we just got a new cable modem 3 weeks ago. When my hubby got home Thursday night he called our internet provider to try to get some answers out of them. They told us to get a new cable modem. Either they could bring us one or we could go get it at their office. So we decided that Nick would take care of it on Saturday.

Somehow I managed to get out a Friday's Letters post on Friday morning after that the internet completely disappeared. All the while Evelyn was being extremely fussy. I fed her breakfast and tried to keep her happy, but that wasn't happening. Then her fever spiked! She's never had much of a fever before, so this was the first time I could just feel her and know her temperature was high. It ended up being 100.3. Not too high, but still high enough to warrant some baby tylenol.

At least now, with the discovery of a fever, Evelyn's fussiness was a little more explained. I called Nick and we figured it was just her teething. Her upper eye teeth have been periodically giving her grief for the last 2 months. It was seeming as though they were going to finally break through. We talked to the doctor just to make sure and they said as long as her fever stayed below 103 it's probably just teething.

I tried to keep Evelyn happy, but it wasn't going very well. I was at the end of my rope by 10am. Nick decided to come home at lunch to help out and run some errands that desperately needed to be done.

Nick decided to stop by our internet providers office to pick up a new modem while he ran out and ran some errands for me. Upon coming home he tried hooking up that modem thinking that would fix our internet problems. Nope! So upon further investigation Nick discovered that our cable connection was completely disconnected from the utility pole out back. So that meant calling them again and trying to get someone out here to fix it.

Our internet provider is apparently super busy, because they told Nick that they couldn't get someone out here to fix it till Wednesday. As in tomorrow Wednesday. Nick complained and they supposedly pushed up the priority of our job and said someone would call within 24 hours to come fix it.

Saturday morning Evelyn still had a mild fever, so we gave her some more medicine and it went away quickly. Thankfully it never came back either. Her mood seemed to be better too.

Well 24 hours since Nick talked to the internet people came and went. We decided to give them some more time before calling again.

Well Sunday morning came and we slept in too late and decided since Evelyn had a fever the previous morning we shouldn't take her to church just in case she's sick. She was doing much better though and back to her old self.

Nick gave the internet people another call that afternoon. Well the short version they basically lied to us when they said that our job got moved to a higher priority. They tried to tell us again that we just needed a new modem. So Nick explained how our cable line was just hanging off the utility pole. This time they actually raised the priority of our job and said someone would call within 24 hours.

Monday morning Evelyn woke up with a runny nose. By the afternoon her nose was always needing to be wiped and she had a cough to go along with it. So pretty much she went from teething to her first real cold. Not very fun for her or her momma.

Thankfully the internet people called around lunch time to set up a time frame for coming to fix things. They were actually 30 minutes early. Yet they told us they couldn't fit us in till Wednesday originally?! At least now our internet is fixed.

That was a long post, but it's been a long weekend. Now I need to put my little one down for a nap and catch-up on some e-mails.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Internet Provider,I'm soooooooo annoyed with you right now. Annoyed to the point that the hubby and I are talking about finding a new internet provider. Remember how Nick came in and exchanged our old cable modem for a new one, because our old one stopped working. Remember how that happened a mere 3 weeks ago! Well now you will be happy to know that our "new" modem is already broken...If you give us another "new" one that is on it's last leg, sorry we're going to break up!

Dear Hubby,
We haven't had the best of weeks this week. We haven't been getting along very well. Well tomorrow is the start of the weekend! I can't wait to spend some more time with you. Hopefully we make it through today unscathed.

Dear Evelyn,
So I'm getting glimpses into your personality more and more lately. You are one determined little girl. Another word for it stubborn. You know what you want and when you want it. You're only 8 moths old! I'm starting to dread when you're 2.

Linking-up with Ashley again!

Do you have any big plans for this weekend? Whatever you're up to I hope it's a great weekend!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Vol. 2

My weeks hasn't been the best. So I need to check myself with a big dose of thankfulness!

On Tuesday night we headed to Jazz-in-June. It's a free jazz concert in the sculpture garden of the Sheldon Art Museum. They have it every Tuesday through the month of June. We wanted to get there more than once this year, but it hasn't really happened.

We met a few of our friends down there. We've been really blessed with the friends that we have. They are all great with Evelyn and she loves hanging out with them. We don't get to spend much time with friends these days, but I'm so thankful for the time we do get.

We got a surprise too! Our friend Tony decided to come and it had been a long time since we've seen him. He's living the summer at home with his parents before he leaves for graduate school at Purdue this fall. Unfortunately his parents live an hour away so we haven't seen him since he's moved back there.

Tony & Evelyn. She really loves him!
I'm thankful for our wonderful friends. I'm thankful for the great free things we have in our community. And I'm thankful that Evelyn is such a ham for the camera, because it means we get some pretty precious pictures!

a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Date From The Jar #1

Like I said on Monday's post, we did our first date from our date jar Sunday night. If you missed my post about making the date night jar you can find it {here}. I didn't end up getting many pictures from the night, but I at least got a couple of the food. Which that's all that really matters anyways!

Everything started with picking our first date/stick. The whole point was to pull a stick at random based on the color coding to have our date for the night. We decided on one of the light pink sticks, which are in the $15-$40 range with a little planning. Before picking a stick I thought it would be fun if I got the Trader Joe's meal. Low and behold that's the one my fingers found.

The Trader Joe's International Meal was my idea. It mostly stemming from the gluttony I have for all the different foods Trader Joe's has. Nick of course thought it was a great idea, because he loves to eat Trader Joe's food just as much as I do.

Last Wednesday we packed up Evelyn and headed out to Trader Joe's after dinner to pick out our meal. Even though it was right after dinner I was getting hungry just looking at all our opinions. We decided on pork potstickers for our appitizer, Indian food (pretty much super tasty TV dinners) including our favorite garlic naan for our main course and an Italian tiramisu torte for dessert. We topped it off with good old Shock Top Lemon Shandy. (We had to have something american!) Having to wait from Wednesday night to Sunday night knowing all of this was in my freezer was pure torture!

On Sunday night we put Evelyn to bed a little early, which wasn't hard because we had been swimming earlier in the afternoon. We heated up our food and headed downstairs to watch Rango. If you haven't seen that movie you should. It's the first animated movie in a long time I've watched by choice.

All in all it was a good little date. Only one hitch though. Notice how there isn't a picture on the tiramisu torte? Well someone *cough* me *cough* didn't read the directions very well. I didn't realize it was suppose to stay frozen and only thaw for at most 2 hours. I read it as it should thaw for at least 2 hours. Big difference there. It was a soupy mess so we decided forgo on it entirely. Oh well! It didn't ruin our night, even if it did really frustrate me at the time.

Now I'm excited for our next date night. We already have it set up. It's going to be with a couple of our friends. You'll have to wait 2 weeks to hear about it though. Don't let the anticipation kill you!

Have you and your special someone gone on any fun dates lately?


Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

So it's been crazy around here. Friday was a terrible day so I didn't end up getting a Friday's Letters post put together. I feel like I haven't blogged in forever, but here I am back at it.

Playing before church.
Nick had a pretty good Father's Day. (I'm not just saying that either, he told me it was good.) Since he already knew what he was getting I didn't bother wrapping it up. Plus who has enough wrapping paper to wrap up a weed eater! So After Evelyn got up in the morning I had her hand Nick his card.

By the way finding a nice card that isn't cheesy is a hard task!

I made Nick his favorite for breakfast. French Toast! I'm not a huge fan, but he likes it. So we had omelets, french toast and coffee for breakfast. Then we met a good friend of mine at church and listened to a wonderful sermon about Jesus staying behind in the temple when he was 12. We came home and Nick went and got us his favorite Chinese food from Hy-vee for lunch.

Right after lunch we got ready and headed to the pool. This was Evelyn's 2nd time swimming, but her first time swimming outside. She loved it! We didn't stay much longer than and hour, but it was fun.

We gave Evelyn an early dinner and got her to bed a little earlier than usual so that we could have dinner by ourselves. We did one of our at home date from our date night jar. I'll post about that specifically later this week.

Nick "sharing" his sucker that they handed out to the Dads at church.
It was a nice day filled with things Nick wanted to do. He's the best daddy ever and he deserved it!

bits of splendor monday

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thankful Vol. 1

I found this link-up through Kaylee@Life Chasers. This is my first time doing it, but it seems like such a cool idea. So I'm linking-up with Carina@A Punk, A Pumpkin and A Peanut.
a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

Last night I was cooking dinner. I could hear Evelyn playing, but I couldn't see her. So I peaked down the halway to her room and there she was.

She just looked so cute playing all by herself that I couldn't help snap a picture.

I'm so thankful that she is to an age that she can entertain herself. At least for a little while. I'm sad that she's growing up so fast, but I'm also so happy to see her learning new things. I'm so blessed to see her little personality starting to come through.

I thank God for giving Evelyn to us. Being her mommy is more amazing than I could have ever imagined!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Yard Work & Laundry

So we had a wonderful weekend! After not really having a weekend for 2 weeks it was so nice to be at home, hanging-out with my hubby and getting things done.

We spent all of Evelyn's nap times on Saturday doing yard work. We hadn't touched our yard at all this year, besides Nick's occasional mowing. We mulched around our lilac bushes in front, planted some flowers for our deck steps, mulched around the edge of our patio in back and added some lighting back there.

I'll tease you with this picture (more to come later). Not sure what the flower on the left is, but the ones on my stairs are petunias.
We ran out of mulch so it looks like next weekend we'll probably be doing much of the same thing. We also forgot to install the basement window well covers we've had for...2 years now. Sad, I know.When everything is closer to being done I'll post pictures.

Nick's new weed-eater should be here sometime this week. It's his father's day gift. Don't worry, he already knows he's getting it. I'm the worst for keeping secrets, plus I wanted him to know to make sure he'd like it. That will defiantly help in cleaning up the yard.

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then spent the rest of the day doing laundry and picking up the house. Laundry is a never ending torture. Maybe this week I'll get all the clothes put away before it's time to do laundry again!

Well blog friends, how were all of your weekends? I'd love to hear about them! Do anything exciting?

bits of splendor monday
Linking up with Laura again! Go check out all of the other Bits of Splendor post!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Motivation,
Why, oh why, did you abandon me half way through this week?! Without you I have no want to do anything and I do mean anything! Let's not talk about all that I didn't get done yesterday. That list is much longer than the list of what I did accomplish. Please come back motivation! I need you today and this weekend. Nick and I have so much yard work to do tomorrow. We both need a huge boost from you. Don't let us down!

Dear Hubby,
You and I are both worn out. We've been lucky if we have stayed up past 9:30 any night this week. Thankfully our weekend is coming! I just wish it was longer than 2 days. Why can't every weekend be a 3 day weekend? Anyways, I'm so looking forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with you. I love you! Even when you forget to rinse your stinky lunch containers. Oh and thank you for picking up that big gross bug in the basement and taking out the trash last night. I love you! Did I already say that? Oh well it's true, I love you!

Dear Yard Work,
So I know we have neglected you so far this year. Besides Nick periodically mowing we haven't done a single thing outside. Not for long! We plan to spend all day Saturday, at least while Evelyn naps, getting things accomplished. Hopefully it won't be too hot.

Dear Evelyn,
Why are you so cute? Also why do you continue to grow and learn so quickly. You are now pulling yourself up on anything and everything. Also you're crawling through weird tiny spaces that I'm surprised your head fits through let alone the rest of you. I already know by the end of this month you'll probably be walking or at  least coming close. You're not even 8 months yet! I love you, but please think of me and take your time growing up!


Have a happy weekend everyone! See you Monday!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Date Night Jar

I felt like my hubby and I needed to put more effort into doing special date nights. For just the two of us. Either Evelyn would be with a sitter or already in bed for the night. Ever since having a baby we've been on 3 dates just the two of us. (I'm even counting the one time his mom watched Evelyn while we grocery shopped.)

I was kind of at a lose as to how to really getting us to do it though.

Then I found something on pinterest.

I'm not usually one to get all crafty and such. I won't spend a bunch of money on craft supplies. So I don't spend much time pursuing things on pinterest that take any sort of crafting. But then a friend pinned this page {here}.

I thought this idea was too cute. Also relatively simple, which was a must. And I could tweak it and use items I already had lying around the house.

The main idea is to have a jar filled with different date ideas. The ideas are color coded to denote price and the amount of planning entailed. When you want to go on or plan a date night you pick and stick and it takes a lot of the thinking out of it.

Here's what my "date night jar" looks like.

My "jar" is an empty crystal light container. One of the new ones where the 2qt mix comes in a little pouch instead of the old cup things. I just removed the label and put on some scrapbook paper I had left over from making valentine's earlier this year. Don't mind my terrible handwriting. It isn't one of my strengths.

Now the blog I got the idea from used painted tongue depressors. I wanted to do this whole project in an afternoon so I instead just used markers and colored the end of the tongue depressor. (Seen below.) I used 3 different colors and then had a plain one. Red is my expensive and takes lots of planning. Dark Pink (It looks the same as the light pink in my picture.) is my $40-$60 range with moderate planning. Light Pink is the $20-$40 range with little planning. Last but not least the plain sticks have less than $15 date nights with little to no planning, most of which are at home dates.

I made enough sticks that we can do 2 a month for an entire year. That's the plan anyways. Some of the red ones might not all get done in one year.

We already have our two sticks picked out for this month and have the nights planned that we're going to do them. I'm hoping to blog about each night as we do them. Maybe get some pictures, but I wouldn't count on it.

I'm excited!

What are some ways you and your hubby make sure to spend quality time with each other? And who is usually the one to plan it?


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Joy of the Blogging Community

I feel like all of my blog posts are me oohing and awing over all the things Evelyn is doing. Milestones she's meeting or her constant cuteness. This seems to especially be true of my Monday Bits of Splendor posts.

It's because that's where I am at right now. Right this second my life is all about asking for God's guidance and help as I try to be the best mother and wife possible. While also working on my own personal faults that are holding me back. This little life I have at home with my baby and hubby is pretty all consuming.

Sometimes I fear I'm too wrapped up in just what goes on in my little home. That's when I try to check myself and pray for the people around me that I don't see on a daily basis or even those I've never seen or maybe never will.

I think that is a constant struggle for all of us. It's far too easy to get wrapped up in your own life and forget that  other people are going through life too and there life might not be as easy as our own.

That's one of the reasons why I have loved the blogging community so much. It gives me a glimpse into someone else's life. A glimpse into their joys and their sorrows. Their struggles and their victories. It helps me keep my focus in check. It helps to look outside of myself and remember there are others going through this life we have on earth. Our stories aren't always the same or in some cases they aren't at all alike.

It's the small similarities or the huge differences that I feel really bring us together as a community. It those similarities and differences that help us to encourage and come alongside one another.

I started blogging for a creative outlet. Something that was just for me. But I have gotten so much more out of it then I could have ever dreamed.

Blogger friends, thank you for being so awesome! I've loved getting to know each and everyone of you!

Now for my obligatory cute picture of Evelyn. Oh and that little cutey has just started to wave hello, it's the cutest thing ever!

Happy Monday!

bits of splendor monday
Linking up with Laura@Bits of Splendor again!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday's Letters

I missed out on Friday's Letters last week, because we were on vacation in Michigan. I'm glad to be back at it this week!

Dear Evelyn,
Baby girl I love you! You're so big now, I almost can't believe it. You've started to climb up on low things and pulling yourself up to standing on pretty much everything. You are getting better about getting back down too, it's not always just letting go and falling. Lately you have been waking up in the middle of the night, we're not sure why. Don't know if it's because you are teething or just extra hungry right now. It's ok though, because when I look down the hall and see you happily playing in your room I forget about how you were up in the middle of the night. You'd better stop growing though, because even daddy is starting to think you're getting too big!

Dear Nick,
It's drill weekend again. Ugh, I don't like these! I know you don't either. At least after this one you don't have another till the last weekend in July! That will be wonderful. I can't wait. I love you!

Dear National Doughnut Day,
Oh how I wish I would have woken up early to go get some 25 cent donuts at the grocery store this morning. Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to be able to celebrate you. That makes me sad since I love you so much. It's probably better for my waistline this way!

Dear Bloggy Friends,
I have so much appreciated getting to know you all and your wonderful friendship. I never really knew about this aspect of blogging. It's probably my favorite though!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Ashley like usual. Pop over to her blog and check it out, it's pretty amazing!