Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tired of Turkey Leftovers?

I posted a few years ago about a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe that is pretty much heaven.  Our friend Casey blogged about it, and it's actually The Pioneer Woman who originally published this recipe.  Every now and then, I think about it and can't sleep until I've made it and eaten it.  Anyway...  It's fantastic.

But when I don't have time to go all out, I love this recipe I tore out of the Ladies Home Journal a few years ago.  It's relatively hands-off-  25 minutes prep and 30 more minutes of cook time.  And if you plan accordingly, you can even make some killer homemade garlic naan while it's cooking.  I wanted to blog about it so that I can document it for the rest of time.  My beat-up page from the magazine won't last much longer!

Easy Chicken Biryani
Click HERE for recipe

*Don't be intimidated by all of the ingredients.  It's much easier than it looks and the prep is quick and not too messy! Plus, you only need one cutting board and one pot- easy cleanup!  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Where Did the Summer Go?

I didn't get around to blogging very much this summer.  We were just too busy having fun!  The album below is our July trip to MN.  Tons of fun with so many family and friends.  By the time we got home and unpacked and settled in, July was pretty much over!

Click here to view this photo book larger

By the time August came around, we just tried to squeeze in as many fun activities as we could.  Highlights included:

Zadie and Ezra officially "play together" all the time.  (Which sometimes includes wrestling and biting!)
Benton County Fair - checked out tractors and 4-H barns with Zeke's friend Brennon
Ezra held this rabbit for 3 minutes without either one of them moving a centimeter!

Backyard Swimming in the little pool and storage tubs

Overnight getaway to Lake Wedington State Park just outside of Fayetteville (awesome little cabin for about $75 per night!)

Tom's first day of grad school at the U of A-  Graduation May 2013!!!

Also, we did the Downtown Rogers Frisco Festival (Zeke and Tom took a train ride, and Zeke rode the ferris wheel for the first time!),  We completed our Whole 30 Health Challenge  (lost some inches, and maybe some sanity trying to prepare all those sugar-free, wheat-free, dairy-free meals!!!), and generally had a lot of family fun!  

Summer!  Ja Mon!

Friday, August 24, 2012


I know Zadie and Ezra are the real twins, but look at these brothers!
Zeke (left) and Ezra (right)


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 10

It's been awhile since I've blogged-  we've had an awesome summer filled with family fun and vacations.  I'm going to work on a big vacation post over the next couple days, but in the meantime wanted to do a quick update with a little project we're working on.

While in MN, we were talking to our friends, Joe and Brooke about a 30 day food challenge/ lifestyle makeover they did.  They managed to convince us that the Whole 30 challenge was worth a try.  (The extra 5 pounds we each brought back from vacation helped convince us too!)

The Whole 30 is based on the Paleo diet, also known as the caveman, primal, or similar names.  The idea is that our genes date back to cavemen, and our bodies are programmed to consume only the foods we can hunt and gather.  Animals and plants.


Basically, the diet is a 30 day "reset" or cleanse for your body.  Remove all possibly inflammatory foods from your diet, let your body heal and then slowly reintroduce thoughtful healthy choices after the 30 days is over.  The tough rules-  no dairy (goodbye cheese and creamy coffee), no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no processed foods for 30 days.  No cheating or the "reset" doesn't work.   Eeek!

The good news is that we can still eat big meals filled with lean proteins-  steak, hamburger, chicken, pork, eggs and eggs and eggs.  Instead of starchy side dishes, we just pile on a big healthy dose of veggies.  I buy a lot of frozen veggies and we've been loving fresh seasonal veggies too.

We're on day 10 of 30.  The sugar/bread cravings are subsiding, and I'm confident we'll make it until the end!

Things I've discovered so far:
10 days in, we both notice a difference.  No weigh-ins until the end, but we both feel noticeably skinnier!
Black coffee is not nearly as good as coffee with a little milk and sugar, but I might be convinced after 20 more days.
Jicama is not a valid substitute for potatoes.  Not the same.  But rutabaga is pretty awesome!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Baby Product Review: Duo Splash Float

I'm a part of the Northwest Arkansas Moms of Multiples Club.  It's a group that meets monthly to share stories, experiences, and support for other moms of multiples and expecting moms.  Recently, someone shared on our group website that they had heard about this new pool float designed especially for twins.  I checked out the website and was really excited about the prospect.  I contacted the owner and she cheerfully gave me a discount in exchange for a review of this float.

My package arrived quickly after I ordered and I was excited to put it to use!  Here's what we thought of it...

Setup-  The Duo Splash float arrives compactly folded into a small box.  Very easy to throw in the minivan next to giant strollers and pool gear.   It just has one "blower"  and we were able to blow it up by mouth in about 5 minutes.  I was afraid it might take longer because of the size of the float, but really it was quick and easy.

The Maiden Voyage-  My twins are 19 months old, and my older son is 3.  I was so excited to think that we'd be able to manage all 3 kids so much easier.  At first, the babies weren't sure about getting their legs in the holes-  the leg holes are deep and the twins were up to their chests in water while sitting in the float.  Overall they loved it-  I was able to hold on to their float with one hand and push it around the shallow end of the pool.  They giggled and enjoyed zooming around.  A big plus for the float was that it was still very stable even when we only used one side.  Our twins often like to do the same activities, but not always.  The float was sturdy and stable with one or two babies and I had no fears about it flipping over.

 Price- $25 plus shipping.  I think it's a reasonable price, considering 2 single floats would run about the same price or more.  Why not just go for the convenience of keeping the kiddos together?

Overall-  A great product for families with 2 or more small kids.  It makes the impossible (swimming with 3 small kids and 2 adults) seem possible- not to mention fun!

If you want to order this float for yourself or someone you know (great gift for someone expecting twins!) you can order here: http://www.duosplashfloats.com/

Or visit their Facebook page here:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Master Bath Remodel

From the very first time we saw our master bathroom (our real estate shopping walk thru pictured below), we knew the wallpaper would have to go sometime.  Everyone loves burgundy and forest green stripes. The floral border was really the crowning touch.  It's like 1995 had a party in our bathroom.   


3 weeks ago, I convinced Tom that it was time to start our little project.  I figured that Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time.  2 days to do the project and an extra weekend day to enjoy- right?  
Well, it turns out it was a bit more than a 2 day project.  
The process:
1.  Remove wallpaper and border-  remove top "shiny layer" of paper, score, spray, scrape, scrape, pull, repeat.
2.  Use spackle to cover the 4,000 blemishes on drywall.  
3.  Sand with new power sander. 
4.  Discover dust everywhere in house.  
5.  Re-spackle the remaining 300 blemishes.
6.  Sand more.  
7.  Prime
8.  Paint  (Behr brand "Clear Pond")
9.  Paint accent walls red.  Decide it doesn't work.
10.  Re-prime and re-paint accent walls blue
11.  One more coat all over everything.
12.  Clean clean clean!  
13.  Finishing touches-  spray paint fixtures, hang wall art, re-hang fixtures.  


Drumroll.....  AFTER!!!  

All in all, the project was 2 full weekends and 3 other nights.  No easy task, but we're thrilled with the end result!

Eventually, we're planning to paint the cabinets dark and spray paint the doorknobs to match.  For now, we're done with the projects in the bathroom and ready to enjoy it!

Getting Crafty and Spray Paint Love

I've been on a crafty kick, trying to give new life to some old stuff.
I have recently discovered spray paint.  I love it.  It's so fast and fun and transformative!

Take these boring brown bulletin boards I picked up at a garage sale for $2 each.  I sprayed them with some pretty white spray paint, used a staple gun to cover them with some leftover fabric from my craft closet and voila!  Some cute bulletin boards to display kids' artwork in the playroom!

Zadie's walls have been pretty boring. I've seen this decorating idea around Pinterest and a few other DIY blogs, so I figured it would be an inexpensive way to add a little color to her walls.  Right now it's a little sparse, but eventually it would be fun to add even more.

Embroidery hoops from Hobby Lobby $1-$3 each-  fabric scraps from craft closet- free!

One tip I learned awhile ago is that when you want to hang big items (or several items) on a wall, you can use a big piece of paper (I used leftover Christmas wrapping paper) to hang do the layout on a table.
 After things are as you want them, mark the nail hole placement and just tape your paper on the wall.  You can nail right through the paper and tear away, and then everything is just where you want it!

I picked up an ugly floor lamp at a neighbor's garage sale last weekend.  They had a bunch of things that were left over from a hotel liquidation sale-  gold/brass finish and plain white shade.  Similar to these:

I used my new favorite spray paint (Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze - ORB)  to give the base an updated look.

 I figured the shade couldn't get much uglier, so I spray painted it blue to pick up the color in my bulletin board fabric. I'm toying with the idea of adding trim or ribbon to the bottom, but for now, I love it!

Speaking of ORB-  did you know you can spray paint just about anything???  For our master bathroom, we considered new lighting fixtures, but then found that it would require bringing in an electrician and and cutting new holes in the walls-  all too complicated.  I sprayed the brassy gold fixtures with ORB and now the hollywood lights are much more bearable!  (Though having all bulbs on is too hot and bright so we unscrew a few to tame it down.)

I also sprayed the light covers and towel racks to match.  I've got plans to do the door knobs in the bathroom, but realized that would lead me to spray paint all the knobs in adjoining rooms.  24 sets (and hardware) around the whole house.  A project for the fall.

That's what we've been up to!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Easter 2012

This year the twins were old enough to get in on the Easter egg hunt action.  We took them to a big community hunt sponsored by Hershey's the week before Easter.  Tons of kids, tons of eggs, and all eggs were collected within about 10 seconds. 

  It was a little intense.  Parents were instructed not to follow their children into the ring.  About 10 percent of those parents actually listened, and everyone made a mad scramble to find their child before they disappeared into the egg-hungry crowd.  Zeke did manage to fill his little bucket with some melted chocolate candy and even won some Crayola sidewalk chalk.  Fun, but still a bit intense.

Brother Sister Love

On actual Easter Sunday, we enjoyed a great Mass where all 3 kiddos were happy and well-behaved.  (Zeke was well behaved in the church's nursery, and the twins slept and cuddled throughout the service!) We followed that with a delicious lunch and egg hunt over at Nana and Papa's house.  The kids all had fun finding eggs.  Most were filled with those yummy little Gerber yogurt melts, but a few special eggs had Peeps-  a Lewandowski kid first!