Thursday, September 21, 2017

Crock Pot Butternut Squash Soup

The weather was getting cold. It was feeling like fall. I started craving comfort foods and soup. What better time to try out a new butternut squash Crock Pot recipe. I put it on our menu, then wonderful Ohio weather decided to take a turn and go back to the 80 degree temperatures. I still made it and enjoyed it. But leftovers went in the freezer. It turned out so delicious, even my kids ate it. The soup was also a lot easier to make then I had anticipated. 

Everything gets tossed into a slow cooker then blend and serve.

A few years ago for Christmas we got a One Second Slicer (now it has so many more attachment options than what ours came with). It makes dicing everything so much quicker and easier. I use to for everything. 

Crock Pot Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 small carrots,  diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon and 
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned (unsweetened) coconut milk

1- Combine vegetable stock, garlic, carrots, apple, butternut squash, onion, and all seasoning. Stir. ( do NOT add coconut milk) 
2- Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork. Stir in coconut milk.
3- Puree with immersion blender until smooth. 
4- Serve.
5- Enjoy!!!!

- Add more salt, pepper, cayenne to suit your taste
- At end add more coconut to bowl if to spicy

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday. Sorry so late. I am out of my routine today and it has been a busy morning. Here is Wordless Wednesday. Post photos on your blog and link up. Feel free to grab the image above, join in the party, invite your friends, and link up at the bottom of the post. 

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday Talk- Bucket List

Hey everyone. Happy Tuesday. Summer has come to an end and fall is in full swing, even if the calendar doesn't say it yet. The weather also cant make up its mind up here in Ohio and we are having gorgeous 80 degree days then the nights are dropped to the 50's. The end of August was in the low 60's during the day. Mother Nature is a little confused this year. This month for Tuesday Talk I am discuss Bucket Lists. I am linkin up with Ashley and Erika.
This past summer Ella and I sat down and came up with Summer Bucket List. Read all about it HERE It actually worked out great for us to come up with some new ideas of fun things to do, and gave us ideas of things to do when we were "bored". We didn't finish everything on our list but that's ok. I plan on making another one next summer. 

Let's review what we got done:
Beach - Beach at our hotel on vacation in Michigan
Pool - Pool at our hotel in Michigan
Park - went to a few local parks, really liked the one in North Olmsted
Zoo - didn't go to our zoo this summer but went before summer and after summer
New Zoo - checked out the Columbus Zoo and loved it
Picnic - did a picnic lunch at the park
Flower Hunting - Ella picked flowers in our backyard and front yard
Watch Fireworks - 4th of July in Lakewood
Go to Baseball Game - didn't happen
Sleep Outside - to many bugs was not going to happen
Camping - put up the tent I got my birthday in the backyard and slept out there
Plant a Garden - planted fruit and veggies, none of them grew
Paint Rocks - didn't happen
Look for bugs - Ella collected potato bugs and worms
Get a Library Card - Ella and I got library cards and went often to get books
Play date @ the park - had play dates at the house but not at the park
Go on Nature Walk - went to Nature Centers for walks
Paint Birdhouse - instead of paint Ella used markers then it washed away
Make Fairy Garden - opted not to do with Austin being so small would destroy it
African Safari - didn't happen
Make Smores - made a fire in the backyard when we went camping
Go to Drive In - never any good movies for the kids
Food Trucks - didn't happen
Make Cookies - made chocolate chip m&m cookies
Water Balloon Fight - Ella had a water balloon fight her Barbies 
Hike - went for a hike at French Creek Nature Center
Go to Movies - saw a few $1 kid movies with Ella
Children's Museum - realized we don't have one near by
Aquarium - Columbus Zoo Aquarium
Memphis Kiddie Park - didn't happen
Painting Party - didn't happen
Cedar Point - went when niece Mariah was in town
Water Park - at hotel in Michigan
Michigan - went on vacation and visited family
Ride Boat - on the way to Mackinaw Island
Lemonade Stand - didn't happen
Go to Fair - Went to Cuyahoga County Fair
Host a BBQ - had a bbq for Austin's birthday
Watch the Sunrise - every morning on vacation
Watch the Sunset - every night on vacation
Pick Fruit - didn't happen. when planned on it when strawberries were ripe Ella was sick
Family Bike Ride - didn't happe
Train Ride - at the zoo
Sleepover - Ella slept over MeMaw's
Go to Concert - Concert on 4th of July
Fly a Kite - Ella flew a kite at her uncles house for grandpa's birthday
Climb Trees - Ella climbed a tree when we did out hike
Watch Parade - rode in Police car in the 4th of July parade
Science Center - didn't happen 

We had a lots of fun and made great memories with our summer bucket . We decided to do a Fall Bucket List. I made it myself without Ella's help and made it more realistic of what we could get done. I then went over it with her to see if she wanted to add anything else. The Summer Bucket List was all things to do as a family. The Fall Bucket List has some more individual stuff for myself, like bake a pie, but everyone else gets to enjoy eating it. 

Here is our Fall Bucket List:
Pick Pumpkins
Carve Pumpkins
Make Pumpkin Seeds
Enjoy a Pumpkin Latte
Drink Apple Cider
Go on a Hay Ride
Make Smores
Have a Fire
Jump in Leaves
Mae a Scare Crow
Go Trick or Treating
Boo at the Zoo
Go through a Corn Maze
Have a Halloween Movie Night
Watch Hocus Pocus
Try New Pumpkin Recipe
Bake a Pie
Host Game Night
Try a New Soup
Host Friendsgiving
Go for a Hike
Make Leaf Art
Go Apple Picking
Go on Halloween Walk
Make Fall Wreath
Take a Fall Drive
Make Apple Crisp

Do you or your family make a seasonal bucket list of fun things to do? We are also going to do a Christmas Bucket List and a Winter Bucket List. It is a great way to remember activities you want to do and include the kids in on the fun. And who doesn't like crossing something off once it is done. 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Monday!!! It has been a crazy, exhausting, but extremely fun weekend. I am glad that it is Monday and things slow down some and we get back into a routine. 
I have to start by warning you, I posted a lot of pictures today. 
Friday night was very quiet and low key for me. Aubriella went to her dad's for the night. Brian took Austin to his parents house to watch the Indians Game while I stayed home and rested, took an uninterrupted shower and read a book. It was wonderful. 

Saturday morning we had a cheer game. The weather was beautiful, 73 degrees, compared to the weekend before when it was the lower 60's. 

Aubriella is doing better at learning the cheers and is having fun at the games. 

Austin went with us this time. He had his own chair, snacks, and garbage trucks to play with. I stood up for 5 seconds and he stole my seat. 

He also sat with me and cuddled for a little bit. Austin did a lot better than I anticipated. He walked around for probably 20 minutes with Brian, but besides that stayed over by us. My little boy is growing up.

After cheer we headed home, Ella changed her clothes and we hit the road again. (Brian was with Austin.) Ella had a snack after cheer. I made my quick super foods shake to drink on the drive. 

Saturday was Girl Scouts day at the Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo. If the girl was pre-registered by a certain date they got a free ticket to the zoo to be used on only Saturday. You could also buy discounted tickets online for the family. Ella and I went and enjoyed some mother daughter time and Girl Scouts activities. 
We got there around 12:30 and had to park in the overflow parking at the top of the zoo. I had only ever parked up here once before and that was for Boo at the Zoo. I was surprised and excited to see it so crazy busy and so many Girl Scouts. 

What zoo trip wouldn't be complete without sitting on the statues around the zoo.

We have been going to the zoo for years, have been members and we honestly never took the time to watch the Elephant Crossing. Ella and I got to the Elephants 10 minutes before the crossing was scheduled to start. We decided to stay and watch. It is pretty cool to see the Elephants up close and see what features makes each Elephant unique. 

One of the Girl Scout craft stations set up was to make butterflies out of coffee filters. Ella had fun making it. We added an extra pipe cleaner and made it into a hairtye.

Another station was a to make "Swap Craft". They had some ideas and gave you some leaves, pipe clears, wiggly eyes, pins, and more. Ella made a pin with a spider on a leaf ad also some sort of ball. She had fun and could have stayed there making crafts all day. 

Ella loved the Putt Putt station. The guy showed her how to properly stand, line up, place her hands, and putt. She actually did very good. Now she wants to go play Putt Putt again.

We had another first. In the animal hospital there is an observation window where you can watch animals get exams, surgery, etc. We got to see a Langur get an exam.

We stood and watched for a good 5 minutes then Ella was done. 

Here is 1 of the tigers in the new Tiger Passage. It was the first time we saw all three tigers active and moving. 

Another photo opp station. Ella wanted me in with her too. 

The Cleveland Zoo may no longer have any polar bears, but they still have the statues. 

Another statue that we never see. It is outside the overflow entrance. 

After the zoo we spent the rest of the evening at home. Playing with trains and cars inside. 

Playing outside on their swing set. Austin likes to be a big boy and wants to swing on the big swing and not his baby swing. Ella was great a pushing him as he goes "WEEEEEEEE"

Our swingset was probably the best investment for our kids this summer. 

Sunday morning is my day to make my weekly menu, grocery list, and grocery shopping. We decided to go as a family to BJ's Wholesale and made a stop at Maria's Field of Hope It is a beautiful sunflower field in memory of Maria who died of glioma brain tumors. All proceeds goes to the finding the cure for kids cancer. 
It has become a tradition that we go every year. Throughout the fields are signs with names, pictures, and years of kids who have died from brain cancer. This year Ella asked lots of questions. 

Austin loved running around the field, ended up taking his shoes off and wanted to take home dead sunflower stalks. 

Pictures didn't go so well with the sun being so bright. 

It also wasn't planned that we all had on Disney shirts. 

After grocery shopping Brian worked on painting more of our deck. (One day it may be done). He had some additional help. Austin ended up painting Ella's leg, foot, and his own stomach. All in good fun, plus memories. 
After painting both kids got baths, then headed to Brian's parents for family dinner. We stayed and the kids played for a little bit. Then it was home to get ready for bed and school. 

Hope you had a great weekend. 

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday. I am so happy it is Friday. It has seemed like such a long week. I am glad the weekend is almost here, but at the same time we have a busy weekend planned. 

Time for another week of linking up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea for some Friday Favorites. I am sharing just some randomness of the past week.

Wednesday night at Ella's school was Pizza Fundraiser. For every order money is given to the school, and there is a contest for for each class. Whichever class had the most orders win a pizza party. Ella was excited when the pizza arrived, I had ordered it as a surprise. 

I have had a very cuddly baby all week. He has turned into a lap baby. 

He is to smart for his own good. Not only did he steal my seat, he also took all four seat cushions and piled them up on the seat and sat on them. This from the boy who refuses to sit in a booster seat. 

Somedays you dress up for someone special, other days you dress up for yourself. Day 3 of the 10 days of Dresstember. I really am enjoying getting out of my normal attire of yoga pants. 

Yesterday was my child free day, well some of the day. I treated myself to #basicwhitegirl Pumpkin Latte from Starbucks, made with almond milk. I have to admit I like the hot ones a lot better than the cold ones from Starbucks. 

After school yesterday Ella and I ran to Target. Who doesn't want to be a unicorn. 

Have a wonderful weekend. 

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pasta Bake

With school back in session and Monday nights kind of hectic with cheerleading practice, it doesn't leave much time for dinner. I have been making something easy that the kids will eat without any hesitation. Pasta is always a good go to. But you can only eat plan pasta with red sauce so many times. I remember an easy pasta bake I use to make years ago, that just sounded delicious. I gave it a try and it was a WIN. My kids and Brian loved it. 

Pasta Bake

1 lb ground turkey 
1 lb pasta of your choice, I used elbow macaroni 
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 cups Mozzarella cheese

1- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with EVOO.
2- Prepare the pasta per direction on box until al dente.
3- While pasta is cooking, cook ground turkey and drain. 
4- Add seasoning and sauce to the meat. 
5- Add drained pasta to baking pan. Pour on meat and sauce mixture. 
6- Top with cheese
7- Bake for 20 minutes.
8- Serve.
9- Enjoy!!!!

Other ideas:
- you could use other ground meat, or shredded chicken
- I have also through in veggies before- peas, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, olives.....
- Bacon on top would also be delicious
- would be great with penne, ziti, and shells
- Can also make ahead, without baking, freeze it and bake it later. Baking from frozen at 400 degrees for 60 minutes. 

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday. The week is half over and I am back for another Wordless Wednesday. Post photos on your blog and link up. Feel free to grab the image above, join in the party, invite your friends, and link up at the bottom of the post. 

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