Tuesday, November 17, 2015

{Food} Potato Sausage Kale Soup


Have I got a great recipe for you today! But first, some back story. Last year (and even the year before too), Doug would occasionally have the afternoon off and he'd bring me and my coworkers lunch from Olive Garden. This was a treat because we work about 25 minutes away and we never go, but since Doug was coming back, he'd bring us a nice treat. And this is where we fell in love with this soup. And then I needed to find the recipe, pronto. 

The original recipe, which I normally follow, is found on Organize Yourself Skinny. Go check it out if you want. 

I doubled the recipe this time so we had extra for lunches. As I cooked the sausage, I added baby portabella mushrooms and let them soften. I then added the rest of the ingredients like she says, changing for taste. I did add extra potatoes and kale, because I'd rather have a chunkier soup than runny. But feel free to change it up - her original recipe is pretty good too, I just wanted to try it with mushrooms! I use regular pork sausage too because that's what we buy. 

And now I know what I want for dinner again! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

{Upstairs} Mini Gallery Wall


I finally got around to taking photos of a little gallery wall I've been working on upstairs. It needs something else to finish it off to the top left between the wooden frame and the circle art but I haven't found it yet. But, I think it looks better than an empty wall, right?!?!

I already had the framed photo of the mountain from a trip we went on years ago to Colorado. You can see it on the table, below. The frame with the kids' pictures was bought at TJ Maxx and I had it laying around, waiting for the right photos. The canvas was blank and I painted it with blues, greens and white to give it an ocean type feel. It may have some work done on it but it's a nice bit of color for now. The round flower art is a trivet my grandmother had from a trip to Europe. It's beautiful in person and I never knew how to display it. I simply put some command strips on the back and put it up there. 

What do you think? Better? It needs some more color but I'm still adding in blues and greens. The other side of the window needs help too but this room is the last room on our list, even though its all a part of our master suite. You can see this wall as soon as you come up the stairs, which is our entire master bedroom area. This little area is our TV area but has been boring until now. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

{Lily's Garden} October Update

Hello Monday!

Yesterday was Nate's second birthday and we had a bunch of family and friends over. It was a great way to celebrate our baby boy, who is growing up way too fast. Today was his wellness check and he's a solid 30 pounds and almost 3 feet tall. But with that check up, I decided to take the day off work. Once we got home from running errands, I decided to put Nate down for his nap and take some pictures on this very beautiful fall day! And since I've been seriously lacking in garden updates (I know, I know, the bathroom needs it too!), I thought I'd take advantage of some down time. 

We'll start the tour through the trellis that is overgrown with moon vine and morning glory. 

To the right of the trellis is our butterfly bush. It's a miniature variety because I can cut it back every year and it'll grow to a nice 5-6' across but only 2-3 feet tall every year. 

My Gerber Daisies. I just have to have them in my garden.

Looking towards our small, cute garage that needs some TLC. The lantana went crazy this year and I'm pretty sure this is all just one plant. 

I know for sure that this moon vine was just one plant and it took over. It and the lantana are a great place for the local bunnies to hide under. 

I will always have coneflowers and daisies. They are perfect color all season long. 

Looking back towards that lantana from a slightly different view point. This was our mini evergreen that is over 3 feet tall now. There's another one, maybe 8-10 inches tall behind the coneflower. 

The moon vine has gone crazy. It's gone from our trellis, through the hydrangeas and towards our dining room window almost. It just keeps growing! 

An oak leaf hydrangea now covers most of this corner. There's a climbing hydrangea behind it that'll cover the trellis. It's reached the trellis and has grown maybe 1 more foot since the beginning of summer, so it's about 7 feet tall now. The oak leaf also hides two other smaller hydrangeas. 

Two of the hydrangeas that I planted two years ago, while pregnant with Nate. There's the mop head, to the left, and the lace type variety (cannot think of the name!) to the right. 

And because it is fall… here are our pumpkins! I just love the green variety and the orange one will be a jack-o-lantern soon. The little white ones are the kids' and they always have to have small ones. 

We bought the bi-color mum at a local festival. It's in one giant pot and is just beautiful in person! 

How's your garden? We're about to have to cut back things here seeing as it's almost November and frost has been knocking on our door lately. We've been lucky so far but I know it's about time! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

{Bathroom} Cabinets

Happy Wednesday!

On Monday night, my parents came over for dinner (my mom made it AND then brought it over for us!) and my dad hung up our two new cabinets. I posted the image on Instagram and am absolutely in love. My dad built them from scratch after the two we ordered from Home Depot came in broken. These are so much more special and better because they are REAL wood and made with love from my dad. I think if/when we ever move, these babies are coming with us! 

And then there's this hardware. My dad's brother and his wife have some of the best collections of all time and they are always keeping odds and ends that they find or buy. We were given these two old cabinet catches and look at how pretty they are! They are super old, as in maybe over 100 years old, and look great with the bright white cabinets. We did buy new hinges online and then specialty screws from our local hardware store so they were the right size and color. To refresh your memory, check out what our old bathroom looked like before we tore out everything

I promise to take better photos soon (as in not at night because that's the only time I'm home lately). There's two more things to add to our bathroom and then it'll be ready to actually decorate and have fun with. I'm hoping we get it finished soon because Nate's birthday is Sunday and we're having everyone over. 

I'm now into figuring out what to do with the one "big" (as in blank) wall in our bathroom. Maybe some art or photographs. I may live with it empty for now just to see what comes up some day. Suggestions? 

Friday, October 16, 2015

{Friday Five} Life Lately

Happy Friday to you!!!

It's been one busy week and a busy weekend ahead. Lily is in her last soccer game and she's so excited because she's going to get a medal. Yes, they give medals to everyone. I don't like this but we've already talked about medals for winning vs medals for participation. After soccer, we may go to a chestnut festival - we'll see how that is! 

What are you up to? 

This has been my life lately: 

I love being an art teacher but some days, that bottom right is all that I seem to do. Or behavior management. I teach middle school people. Middle. School. 'Nough Said.

But then there are moments like the below photo, that makes me so happy even if it's just a brief moment in a crazy day. Lily's Garden is blooming like crazy lately. The sunflowers have come and gone, as have many flowers, but these coneflowers are going strong. If you need a good, long lasting flower, coneflowers are it. I love them. I add them to my gardens every year and just can't get enough. 

And then my girl brings home these colorful birds and I just adore them. I've seen the project and find every version of it adorable. Hubby does want to know what's up with the blue bird though... 

And then, speaking of my kids, Nate has found out about the show DinoTrux. It's on Netflix and you can see that the trucks are made from dinosaurs. He loves it. He also loves Chuggington and Thomas. He's definitely a typical (almost) 2 year old boy. 

And because the play tonight, go Royals!!!!! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

{At the Farm} Early Fall Hikes

Missouri in the fall can be beautiful and full of color. This isn't going to show that as we went a few weeks early. However, we explored a part of my parents' property we hadn't gone to in a long time (or at least I hadn't been in awhile). My dad has a tractor so we rode on the back in a little mini trailer. I'll have to take a photo of what it really is at some point.

Down the gravel road first to visit neighbors. Artie, my parents black and white dog, came with us. We left their hound mix at home. She's a short, little thing that just can't keep up with us. Or come back when called.

It was a little chilly that day, unlike a few other days since, but just enough to actually feel the chill of what's to come. Nate got to try out his new hat. 

Into the trees we go! Give it a couple more weeks, if that, and it'll be bright orange and yellow! 

Poor Miss Lily, sporting a bruise from school. But the girl loves her wildflowers and would grab them as we drove by. Luckily she didn't reach for the poison ivy! By the way, did you know poison ivy turns a very pretty red in the fall? It's like a little reminder of "stop, don't touch!" (as if we needed a reason!).

Nate's almost 2. Which means he's into everything that goes - cars, trucks, buses, trains, and tractors. This is his happy face for two reasons - he's on a tractor ride, his first really, and he's with his grandparents (my parents). This sums up his feeling on most everything we did that day! 

And since it's in the woods, there are mysterious growths and things all around. Doug spotted this weird fungus under a fallen tree. 

My parents have a couple small creeks that run through their property. I love going to look at them and how nature has taken its toll over the years. This little circle cave, above, was big enough for a small animal to bury into.  

And we actually found an area that held water! I had never seen this area before so it was so cool to see. There were actually small fish, lots of frogs, and some craw dads (crayfish) in it. We haven't had a big rain awhile, we were wondering how long the fish had been in there. Some were close to 3-4" long. Next time I'm bringing a net! 

The side of the cliff, all full of layered rocky goodness. And moss too. 

The downside of early fall in Missouri? Ask poor Artie, and my mom who had to help him with the burrs. My dad has since gone and mowed a lot of the weeds down so when we go back, it won't be so crazy. But poor Artie was the worst of all of us. He also went farther than any of us, always checking on random farm smells. He was one happy dog though! 

Do you get to go outside and enjoy nature? Where do you live? 

We went to a local pumpkin patch this past weekend and look forward to more outdoor adventures at the farm in weeks to come. We still need to get some more rocks for our backyard herb spiral (it's a work in progress from our spring collection of rocks) so we'll be out soon. Hopefully once it cools down more to kill off bugs. 

I'll be back soon for a bathroom update. Hint: it involves our medicine cabinets! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

{Food} S'Mores Brownies

I don't know about you but I've been crazy about S'mores this year. I see them everywhere too, so they seem to be popular. 

Last week I decided we needed some brownies. And it was one of those needs that needed to happen right now! Or 10 minutes ago. So I got my supplies ready, tasted the batter and though "hmm… more chocolate!" so I added cocoa powder. And lots of it. 

That blue reflection? It's from my mixing bowl. I love cobalt blue! 

I cooked the brownies like normal, added chocolate chips and marshmallows while it was still warm and then baked again for a few minutes. 

But that didn't get the toasted brown perfection I was after, so I turned on the broiler. And let me tell you, our new stove does it quick! As in don't take your eyes off the oven quick! 

After this photo was taken, the s'mores weren't around very long. Well, they were, but they aren't as good once they're cold. Don't get me wrong, they didn't exactly go to waste. (Unfortunately they did go to my waist.)

Have you made s'mores brownies? I tried it once with graham crackers on the bottom but they didn't add anything to it so I prefer it just the chocolate fudge-y goodness of a great brownie recipe, extra chocolate, and marshmallows. Mmmm...


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