Category Archives: Uncategorized

Patio Oasis

We’ve now been in our house for a full year, settled in and ready to make some updates to enjoy it to its potential! Items on the list, include updating our laundry room ( which I love already ), bathroom updates and closet organizing. First on the list as soon as Spring hit was a patio update.

lanterns ( similar here and here ) / rug

Our deck gets super hot when the sun beats down ( all morning and into late afternoon ) so I knew I wanted an outdoor rug for under the table. We had string lights around the railings last year and it felt so cozy. I wanted to do something similar with that and spruce up the nighttime lighting a little.

I ordered these Globe Lights  ( similar here ) and we hit up the hardware store for a few supplies, read a few ‘how-to” blogs and made our own oasis. We are so happy with how it turned out and now just need the rain to stop so we can actually enjoy it!

Not pictured, I found some great patio chair cushions at a consignment store. I have been looking for so long and they are all so expensive! They really complete the table and make it comfortable to sit outside and bat watch at night!

Hanging Globe Lights

(2) – 8 foot 2″x2″s
(4) – 4″ wood screws
(4) – eye hooks
Deck Paint

  • we measured the area of the deck where the lights would be hung to get an idea of how long a strand to order. factoring in the “droopage”, we decided on the 50ft strand and it’s perfect. ( the lead on the ends is NOT very long so if you needed to plug in multiple strands it would not be an issue ).
  • next, we painted the 2×2’s with the same color paint as the deck so it would blend in. ( we originally had metal rods but decided wood was a better option ).
  • attached an eye hook to the top of the 2×2 ( we did not cut these at all ). the other two hooks we attached to the underside of the soffit. another option would be to add 2×2’s against the house depending on how your area is laid out.
  • we drilled the 2×2 into the railing with a 4″ screw to secure. you may want to add a wedge to the bottom if there is a gap between the 2×2 and the railing post to keep it sturdy.
  • hang lights!

That last step took us FOREVER. First we had too much overhang on one side, then we had too much on the other, then we decided we want extra on the first side for the extension cord and plug. It was basically an amazing shoulder workout!

2 things to note: (1) test out the lights before you hang them. i screwed in 1 bulb to make sure the strand worked. i recommend not screwing in the bulbs until the strand is completely in place. the bulbs are very delicate and like I said, we moved them about four times and it just makes life easier. (2) wrap the cord around the eye hooks to ensure they are secure and won’t slide out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope everyone has a Happy Memorial Day!

3 Year Update

behind the 8-ball here – but we’ve been enjoying life and nice weather so much that the blog took a back burner! Here’s Brandon’s much anticipated 3-year update.

Age: 3 Years

Stats: Height 40″ (94%), Weight 36lb (85%).

Clothes/Size: 2T/3T – we need 2T for waist size and 3T for length. Is it normal to grow 3+ shoe sizes in a year? Brandon is still outgrowing shoes every 3 or so months.

Favorite Foods: Fruit. Chips. Pickles. Pizza. Dessert. Spicy things. Basically, anything that anyone else is eating – except burgers and chicken.

How much am I eating: Nothing has changed here. Brandon just loves. to. eat. After dinner the other night he had a treat then noticed I was snacking on salt and vinegar chips – before I knew it, he was arm deep in the bag as well. Kid has no off switch.

Words: I would like to remove “why” from the English language. He has no problem talking and everyone seems to understand him for the most part. I especially like when he comes out with random phrases such as, “it was here a minute ago…”.

Activities: Being outside doing any and everything. He constantly wants to go to the playground and the choo-choo station. Ride his Gator in the road. Water all the flowers and rake stones.

Sleep: Brandon has had a solid bedtime of 8/830pm-6am for the last year or so. He was waking up before 6am so we invested in the “OK To Wake” clock which lights up when it’s OK to get out of bed. He did real well with it for the first couple months but now he doesn’t pay much attention to it. He will wake up anytime between 615-645am every morning.

Favorite Things: Baby Penguin (aka Roast Beef, similar here) is our current fav and goes back and forth with all of his other stuffed animals. Brandon got an arts and crafts table and cart for his birthday and just absolutely loves working at it, whether it’s coloring, cutting or painting. I love when he wants to do art because it means he’s not begging to watch a movie or the iPad and is typically occupied for a while.

Signature Moves: Singing. Always singing the Grand Old Duke of York.

Mom’s Proudest Moment: How do I pick just one? I think I would have to go with his love for everything. He’s always up for an adventure and gets excited to do things. He’s been in swimming lessons since September and has gone from being super nervous and clinging to us for dear life, to jumping, touching the bottom and doggy paddling by himself in just about 6 months. He has grasped the concept of swimming and has been an example for the rest of his class. He is ready to move up and we don’t have to be in there with him anymore! Happy and sad moment for us all. We also upgraded Brandon to a big bed and I can’t believe we’re at this point already. He was in a toddler bed ( converted crib ) since he was about 20 months old so it was definitely time for a change. We got him the Tuft & Needle bed and a platform frame.

Dad’s Proudest Moment: Kevin is really proud of how Brandon is doing at swimming lessons! Most recently, Kevin got Brandon his own fishing pole, tackle box and accessories. All he wants to do is fish in the backyard! It’s fun to see that Brandon is at an age now where he can DO things ( with assistance ) and experience new things and activities.

Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

I worked this recipe into our menu a couple weeks ago and it was rather tasty! Spaghetti squash is all over the place when Fall hits and I love eating it but I feel like I run out of ideas sometimes and there it sits on the counter for ump-teen weeks!

I took a simple Pomodoro recipe from the @tasty app and added some ground beef to make it a well-rounded meal for us. Bonus –> it’s toddler approved!

Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 3/4 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes; halved
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • Mozzarella
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lay cut side down in baking pan with water and bake 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. Allow to cool.

  2. While squash is cooling, cook meat fully and drain if greasy.

  3. Scoop the spaghetti squash out and mix in a bowl with meat, sauce, salt and pepper. Split mixture and add back to squash shells. Top with tomatoes, peas and cheese.

  4. Bake 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes uncovered until cheese melts and is bubbling.

Recipe Notes

Spaghetti squash can be cooked and scooped ahead of time. Refrigerate up to five days until ready to cook.

Recipe used in menu in this post.

Weekend Breakfast Tacos

The first thing I think about when I wake up on a weekend is “what the heck are we having for breakfast?”. A couple other things cross through my mind….typically because Brandon woke us up before 6am AND requires three-courses before 630am. Anyway, I have high hopes of creating something really neat and fancy and blah blah blah but in reality, I just want something and I want something quick! That something typically consists eggs, beans and sausage or bacon. These tacos are a new favorite thanks to my Mother-in-law.

Anything breakfast related consists of the same ingredients, used in a different way! For these tacos, I thawed some hash browns (Trader Joe’s has the best) and throw those into an oiled pan with onions and black beans, stirring until heated through. I added corn to this as well because Brandon won’t eat egg unless I put corn in it. ::Insert emoji shrug:: I whisk eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper. Once the veggies are cooked through, add eggs and stir continuously until no longer runny. Warm up a tortilla for a few seconds and fill with egg mixture, cheese, hot sauce and sour cream.

So. So. SO. Yummy!

Bowls large // medium // small
Measuring spoons
Egg crate small // large

Breakfast Enchiladas

I would say these breakfast enchiladas are in our rotation at least once, sometimes twice a month because of how EASY and delicious they are. I don’t think I shared a recipe on them yet and my apologies on that. The funny thing is, sometimes it’s hard to share a recipe because I change how I make meals all the time! It’s based on what’s on sale, what we have/don’t have, what I forgot at the store or how saucy I’m feeling! I made them a little differently this week by adding chick peas and tomatoes…only because I had some leftover from a previous meal.

Breakfast Enchiladas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 8-10 eggs; beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt + pepper
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and liberally spray 8 x 13" pan with cooking spray. I've tried butter and oil and they both leave most of my enchilada attached to the pan.

  2. Cook sausage while breaking up with spatula; drain.

  3. Lay tortillas on a work surface and fill with 1/4c sausage and generous pinch of cheese. Roll up and line in the pan.

  4. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over the tortillas. Top with cheese.

  5. Bake covered for 15 minutes; uncover, cook another 7-8 minutes until egg is set and tortillas begin to rise.

Recipe Notes

This is the base recipe, feel free to add or omit ingredients!

I prefer Jones sausage because it tastes good and is already out of casing, making this recipe even easier.

Meal Prepping Oct 30-Nov 3

Day 1
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Pomodoro Spaghetti Squash with Beef

Day 2
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: One-Pot Cajun Pasta

Day 3
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Butternut Squash Pasta

Day 4
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Yogurt & BearNaked Granola
Lunch: BBQ Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Ground Sausage & Peppers

Day 5
Breakfast: Breakfast Enchiladas
Snack: Yogurt & BearNaked Granola
Lunch: BBQ Chicken Wrap
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Shopping this week was also pretty simple ( besides the fact that I didn’t have to cart the family with me and I could focus on sales and coupons a little better ). My grocery bill came to $100 and after all the sales and coupons I ended up paying $70 –> this is my golden number lately.

Scores:
Apple Juice $0.49
Chicken 50% off
Tomatoes BOGO
Pasta $0.88 + $3 in coupons
Tea $0.50
Half & Half 40% off + $1 off/2
Shower Gel Free
Cracker Barrel Cheese 70% off

Bonus Scores:
Ibotta app // $3.25 savings

10-Minute Olive Oyl Costume

Here’s a character I have been wanting to be for years and years! I am finally sucking up my dislike for all things Halloween and doing it…and it’s beyond simple.

What you probably have: black skirt (H&M $6), red shirt (Kohl’s $7), brown boots (Uggs will work)
What you will need to get: white and yellow electrical tape, white felt (Michael’s $0.39), glue gun

Step 1. I put the skirt on and wrapped myself in two layers of yellow electrical tape. It stretches so don’t worry about it being too tight.

Step 2. Lay shirt flat and wrap tape around each sleeve of the shirt – can use short sleeve too!

Step 3. Put felt under shirt neckline and trace with a pen the outline of the shirt. Then place felt on top of the shirt and begin making the scoops to your preference ( large, small, close together or far apart ). I used a drinking glass and made the middle scallop first and then went out from that point.

Step 4.  Cut out your neck piece.

Step 5. Glue neck piece to shirt and allow to dry!

And there you have the easiest Olive Oyl costume EVER!!!! I wrapped my hair in a low bun and let it fall out a little to kind of ‘stick’ out of my head.

 

Follow me on Instagram ( @livinglarochelife ) or Snapchat ( setme25 ) on Tuesday for the finished look!

Halloween Goodies

It’s official, Halloween is upon us so if you don’t have your goodies yet keep reading!

Brandon’s daycare has a little gift exchange for Halloween and I always try to make it a little extra special. Granted, I cringe at the thought of spending money on anything for the holiday but I did ( run, don’t walk to your nearest Michael’s and scoop up all their Halloween crafts for 70% off ).

I’ve been grabbing things over the last few weeks that I thought would be appropriate for kids about 1-4 years old. Target and Michael’s were the hotpots. I got a little pumpkin doodle pad and spiral notebooks from Target along with fruit snacks and stickers! I had glow sticks and crayons and Michael’s offered the stickers for $0.30! The best part is, all of these things come in packs so the stickers I split for six kids, along with the note pads and glow sticks. These fun trick-or-treats cost me less than $10 for six kids!

I had twine already and also found these cute “to & from” pins at Michael’s too. I made two bags age-appropriate (for children under 1) by adding fruit pouches instead of fruit snacks!

I hope this gives you a fun idea if you’re needing one for the festivities in less than 3 days!!

Shopping trip and Meal Planning

Meals this week brought to you by the @tasty app because 25 second recipe videos are pretty much the best thing ever.

Day 1
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Nutella and Raspberry Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Beef Stroganoff Ravioli

Day 2
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Nutella and Raspberry Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Shrimp Po-boy Sandwich with Fancy Sauce

Day 3
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Crockpot Chicken Meatball Soup
Dinner: Inside out Burger Bake

Day 4
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Beef Stroganoff Ravioli
Dinner: Baked Caprese Chicken

Day 5
Breakfast: Egg Scramble & Cinnamon English Muffin w/ cream cheese
Snack: Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats
Lunch: Inside out Burger Bake
Dinner: Pizza Baked Chicken

Shopping this week was pretty easy. I felt like I went into the store with a better plan than I typically do. Sometimes I don’t have breakfast or lunch ‘planned’ so I wing it. There wasn’t much second guessing at items and I left with a $70 bill which is a win in my book!

Scores:
English Muffins BOG2
Mozzarella BOGO
Shredded Cheese 50% off
Tomatoes BOGO

5 from 1 vote
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Shrimp Po'boy

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb Raw Shrimp; peeled ( medium size about 20 shrimp )
  • 1/2 cup Corn Meal
  • 1 Egg; beaten ( or 2 egg whites )
  • 2 Rolls or a Large Baguette
  • 1/2 cup Lettuce; shredded
  • 1 Tomato; chopped
  • 4 Pickle spears; cut lengthwise
  • Mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Roll shrimp in egg, then corn meal and lay on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once.

  3. While shrimp cooks, shred lettuce, slice and dice tomatoes and pickles.

  4. Spread rolls with mayonnaise and top with shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

  5. Optional sauce: make 'fancy sauce' with 2 parts mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt and 1 part Sriracha.

Recipe Notes

Make Shrimp Po'boy kid friendly, use hot dog bun or omit the roll all together. Serve tomatoes, pickles and shrimp together with sauce on the side.

5 from 1 vote
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Beef Stroganoff Ravioli

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 T Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Onion; chopped
  • 1 cup Mushrooms; sliced
  • 1 package Frozen Beef Ravioli
  • 3/4 cup Beef Broth
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a pan and cook onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes until soft.

  2. Allow ravioli to thaw slightly and simmer with broth for a couple minutes until reduced by half.


  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I couldn't find meat ravioli so I cooked 3/4lb ground beef, strained it and added to the pan at step 2.

5 from 1 vote
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Pizza Baked Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Mushrooms; sliced
  • 1/4 cup Olives; diced
  • 1.5 cup Marinara Sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Heat oil in an oven safe pan and cook chicken. Once chicken is cooked, add mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, sauce and cheese.

  3. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted.

  4. Serve with rice or pasta.

Touch-a-Truck

Seems like all the events we always want to participate in happen when we’re away or if we are around, we somehow miss the memo! Not this weekend! Kevin was away for the weekend so my Mom came to visit for a couple days ( aka keep Brandon entertained ). I saw an ad for Touch-a-Truck a few towns away which was a fundraiser for an Elementary School. We have been wanting to take Brandon to one for months now! I think the pictures explain his joy.

camo gussets

We arrived as soon as the event opened and had first pick of the trucks! Naturally we checked out the Excavator first followed by the Front Loader, Firetruck, Police Cars and Coast Guard Boat. Brandon had so much fun ‘driving’ and pressing all of the buttons he could find. The afternoon was followed up with some carnival games, a bounce house and fresh baked goods. Can we freeze time?