Semi-Wordless Screams of Joy!

For our anniversary my husband got me an early gift last week.  We normally don't do gifts, but he knows I have wanted this for a long time, and we finally did it.  I got my Iphone!  My husband got one (through work) last week and I couldn't even make it a week before I needed mine.  I L-O-V-E it!  There are many things I like, but by far my favorite is how much nicer the camera is than what was on my blackberry.  Here are a few pics I have taken in the few short days I have had it. I used Instagram (which I am still learning to use) on all the photos.

A BEAUTIFUL day in Northern Virginia, spent at the Outlets.
 9/11 Exhibit at the Newseum
 View of the Capital from the Newseum Rooftop
Headlines from Newspapers on 9/12/01


Why Time Away From Our Kids is Important.

Do I love my kids?  Of. Course.

Do I enjoy spending time with my kids?  Almost Every Minute.

Do I occasionally need a break from my kids?  Absolutely.

Last week my kids went off to their Grandparents house for four days.  I have never been separated from them for that long.  I missed them like crazy, and I wondered how and what they were doing, but I also got a much needed break.  And now that they are home I feel really good, and so refreshed.

As a stay at home mom with a husband who has a very demanding career, I feel that time to myself is non-existent.  I luckily still get about an hour and a half or naptime each day, an occasional moms night out with my wonderful friends, and grocery shopping twice a month if I am lucky.  When my husband is out of town I am expected to be on 24/7.  Even when he is home week days are hectic and weekends go by too quickly.  At that pace one can get burnt out real quick.

 I take advantage of the time I can find.  When my husband is slow at work I go off to the outlets for an afternoon during the weekend, if we are on a trip to PA, I sneak off for some time to myself while my kids eat up the time with family, and any opportunity to sleep in or take a nap I take without question!

Now that we are back together the snuggles are so loving, and the playtime is no longer feeling mundane.  I am excited to read every book, put together yet another train track, or even pull out the play dough.


Menu Plan Monday and Chicken Recipe

I love cooking for my family, I really do, but it was so nice to have a break from the prepping, making, and cleaning up.  My kiddos were on "vacation" all last week, and Matt and I ate out most of the time.  I was able to plan out the next two weeks in a completely quiet room with no distractions, go shopping with no rush or time limit, and put away/prep foods by myself (although I did miss my little ones taking the bags up to the kitchen).  It was nice, but oddly quiet.  Anyway, we are all back together, so my life is back to revolving around meals!

Here is what things look like this week.

Monday- Chicken Stuffed Shells with Broccoli
Tuesday- Homemade Stromboli with Pasta and Salad
Wednesday- Fajitas with Spanish Rice
Thursday- Chicken Cacciatore with Garlic Bread
Friday- (No Meat for Lent) Parmesan Crusted Talapia with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Saturday- Our 5 Year Anniversary (but we already celebrated while the kids were away) so I am making a Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Green Beans
Sunday- Pork Chops, rice, and Peas

Last week I did manage to make at least 1 meal.....

Stuffing Coated Chicken Breasts

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Cubes 
Provolone Cheese
White Wine (or just water)
Cream of Chicken Soup
3 Tablespoons of Melted Butter

 1. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray then place the chicken breasts in.
 2. Cover each piece of chicken with provolone cheese slices.
 3.  In a separate bowl mix 1 can of cream of chicken soup with 1/3 cup of white wine or water.
 4.  Pour that mixture over the Chicken.
 5.  Then top with the stuffing.  And pour melted butter over that.  Cover and bake 50 minutes in a 350* oven.  Uncover and bake 5-10 additional minutes.


Midweek Confessions

Homemade Chex Mix, I am obsessed with you. That. Is. All.

Oh and I confess that there are currently 34 more days till IPhone Day.  Yes and I am counting down like a kid at Christmas. 

Top 10 Tuesday - A week without Kids.

So this week my kiddos are taking a "vacation" in Pennsylvania.  They are staying with their Grandparents, while my husband and I get some time together, just us.  So what are we going to do you ask?  Well I will tell you in today's Top Ten!

Top 10 Things I Am Looking Forward To Doing Without My Kids

10.  Shopping.  While driving back from dropping my kids off, I am going to stop at the Outlets and do some shopping, just for me, no one else!

9.  Sleeping in.  Enough Said!

8.  Happy Hour with friends.  

7.  A whole day to myself with no kids or husband.  I don't even know what I am going to do, but I am looking forward to it!

6.  Date Night!

5.  Staying up late, and knowing you don't have to get up early the next morning.

4.  I have wanted to go to the Newseum since we moved here, but haven't gone, and won't go with the kids so this is the perfect opportunity.  Then more DC stuff and lunch downtown.

3.  Catching up on cleaning, errands, and housework.

2. Prepping myself for Potty training Lillian, which I have been told (by her) will be starting once she returns.

1.  A. Break.


Project Pinterest - Giving a Valentine

Happily A Housewife

 To read more about my love for Pinterest, and find me to follow go here!

Here is a look at Matthew's Valentine's to his class this year.  They are inspired from a few pins, which are below.

I prefer not to do candy, so this year we decided on bubbles.  Matthew stamped hearts on them.
The caption read "You Blow Me Away Valentine! xoxo Matthew"

Here are the pins that inspired my project:

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Tonight we are meeting some family in DC for dinner, but other than that we are just relaxing.

Where We Play.

I love seeing other peoples play spaces for their kids. I don't know why, I guess it is because I have a hard time finding the right organizational methods for a room the constantly gets messy. Here is the playroom in our home. It is in our basement, which with the way our house is laid out is only 6 steps down from a doorway in our living room. Our kids also have 1 toy box in the living room, and a few toys in their bedrooms. I keep 2 rubbermaid bins, and a set of shelves in our laundry room that holds toys that are rotated in every once in awhile.

I gave the walls to my husband and that is where all some of his sports pictures are.  The door you see goes into the laundry room.  In the brown basket is dress up clothes, behind the pillows is adult board games (they have never messed with it), and a dvd player.  On that stand is normally our tv.  Right now my husband is using it at work, and we don't miss it at all.
Our kitchen area is in this picture, as well as our felt board.  I upcycled it by using an easel my son got almost 4 years ago.  
This is the other side of the room.  The shelves are from Target.  The table is actually a train table, but my son has too much track to fit on there, so we made it a craft table, if you flip the top it is a chalkboard, which is fun.  Inside we keep all the kids board games and puzzles. 
A better look at the shelves.  The top is art supplies, and the bottom is toys. ( I was in the process of organizing, this is normally full but some toys were not yet in their "home")

A new addition, and I love it.  I wanted to make some of the art supplies more accessible, these are from Ikea, and are fantastic.  They are cheap, cute, and functional.  
These bins are a work in progress.  They include lacing materials, boggle Jr., dice, bingo, and other small quiet time games.  I am still working on it, and will post once I figure out what I want to do with them.

It is a great space for my kiddos.  Normally the floor is not this clean (trains are big in our house, and their is almost always a track set up).  I just feel so lucky to have a space to devote completely to play.  I really want to get some furniture for the room, but I don't want to take up any of the space!  Someday. 

Semi-Wordless Valentine's Day

We had a very loved filled day yesterday. Here is a semi-wordless version of our day.
 I did pancakes for breakfast, PB sandwich with apples, animal crackers and cereal for lunch for my son.  Lunch for Lilly was a pizza with hear shaped pepperoni.  Dinner was Chicken Parm for my hubby and I, pasta for the kids with heart shaped garlic bread, strawberries and carrots.  Dessert was an ice cream cake from DQ.

Kids in the morning at breakfast.

The Dining Room ready for our Valentine's Dinner Party

Cards from the kids to Daddy, Flowers from my husband, and goodie bags for the kids.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day full of Love!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

So today we are doing our normal Tuesday thing, library story time, then hanging at home.  I am excited to shower my babies with LOVE all day!  I started writing about my wonderful family, and my love for them.  While that is true, I thought why not change it up.  So my top 10 today is about romance.  Romantic movie quotes and movies I love.  Enjoy!

Top 10 Tuesday - Ten Romantic Movie Quotes (from my favorite lovey movies)

1. The Notebook -
"So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day."

2. You've Got Mail-
“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear 3 little words, "You've got mail." I hear nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart. I have mail...from you.”

3. Serendipity-
  "Maybe we're lying here because you don't wanna be standing somewhere else." 

4. Runaway Bride-
"Look, I guarantee there'll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you're the only one for me."

5. Hope Floats-
 "She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will..."

6. Walk the Line- (quote is from the the song)
"You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

7. Notting Hill-
 "After all... I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." 

8. Sweet Home Alabama-
"The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back." 

9. Fools Rush In- 
"You are everything I never knew I always wanted."

10. A Walk to Remember-
"Maybe God has a bigger plan for me than I had for myself. Like this journey never ends. Like you were sent to me because I'm sick. To help me through all this. You're my angel."

As for me and my family, We're living our love song.


Menu Plan Monday

 Menu Plan Monday is back, for this week anyway.  My husband is finally home from his business trip, and I am looking forward to getting back in the kitchen to make something other than mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza!  Here is what our menu looks like this week, including a recipe for my husbands favorite dinner, Chicken Parmesan.

 Monday - Pot Roast, Potatoes, Veggies, and bread.
Tuesday - For Valentines Day I am doing my husband's favorite meal.  Chicken Parmesan (Recipe Below)
Wednesday - Flank Steak and Roasted Potatoes
Thursday - We have Disney on Ice in the city during the day, so we are doing taco night, easy after a long day!
Friday- We are going out to dinner in DC with some family at one of our favorite Brazilian Restaurants, which means no cooking for me!
Saturday- Shrimp Scampi, baked potatoes, garlic bread
Sunday- Chicken Stuffed Shells, corn, salad

 Chicken Parmesan

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Provolone Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Spaghetti Sauce (Marinara works well)

1.  I pound out my chicken to make it thinner.  I have no fancy way of doing this, I just use parchment paper and then beat it with the back of an ice cream scoop.  Real professional, I know!

2.  Heat Oil in a large skillet (I love my Cast Iron)  I use vegetable oil, but others work as well.
3.  While the oil is heating up, I set up three paper plates.  One has flour (I also add in some salt and pepper to that), the second has scrambled up egg, and the last has breadcrumbs with some Parmesan Cheese mixed in.  Then I coat the chicken.  Flour, Egg, then breadcrumbs.
4.  Let em cook up in the pan.  Till brown on both sides.

5.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake in a 350* oven for about 45 minutes. 
6.  Once Chicken is cooked through, spoon on some sauce, and then a layer of provolone cheese.  Put back in the oven until cheese is melted.
7.  I add more sauce before serving.  I usually serve with a pasta side and garlic bread.