Monthly Archives: January 2014

My Secret Weapon

Any time I can fill our plates half full of a green veggie and know it will be happily eaten – WIN.DSC_4616

I never though much about eating our broccoli this way until one of the kids came home from a friends house and said, “We had broccoli. And it was wet.” And they weren’t thrilled.

We can jam through the broccoli like pros at our house, because anything served with broccoli is a meal I feel good about (I’m looking at you, meatball subs)

Roasted Broccoli


Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 450°

Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  You want it fully coated.  Liberally salt and toss again. Spread in a single layer onto the darkest jelly roll pans you have.  Once oven has reached 450°, place in oven to cook.  Remove when bottom of broccoli is nice and golden, and edges are crispy, about 15 minutes.


“Snow” days

Monday the word was out, snow was on its way.  I realize for many places, that is no kind of news at all. But for us, big time.

We even had this gorgeous sunset to bid farewell to the sun as we were planning on being covered with 6 inches of snow.


As Tuesday rolled around, we found out school had been cancelled ALL DAY on account that it should start snowing around lunchtime. (you might need to live here to understand this? and even then, no)

So we played with friends and waited.  And ate Chick Fil A and waited.  And played football in the freezing, but snowless weather, and waited.  And at 4 pm there was 100% chance of snow, but alas, we waited.

We even pulled out the Wii fit which only had two kid Miis, it’s so old.


Finally around 7:00 there was a dusting of snow on the grill, but still no discernible snow falling from the sky. (I did wonder how that happened) Around 8:00 we could see it falling from the sky.  It accumulated to a perfect 1″ (again, only if you live here).  Of course there was no school today.  But there was….  


Click through to see what else we did on Snow Day part II, with snow!

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Vacation Concierge — Carolina Beach Comparisons

Yesterday we had a snow day off from school, ironically with no snow.  Thanks to lovely friends we had a fantastic day.  Not that we wouldn’t have rather been at the beach then peering out the window searching for snow.  

 IMG_6530 We do love a beach vacation.  About four years ago I realized it was the perfect vacation for our stage in life.  No keeping people quiet, no tearing people off their schedules, no trying to synchronize being at somewhere decent to eat at the same time everyone is ready to eat, ETC.  You are surrounded by such beauty, and everyone can do pretty much anything they want. (read, yes! play football yes! lay under an umbrella and rainbow loom, yes! Pretty much fun and relaxation for all.

I thought it would be fun to do an overview of beaches in the Carolinas and look at the pros and cons of each (are there cons at the beach? barely)

From the North, moving our way down.

DSC_1370Duck, NC (northern Outer Banks) 


  • The town is darling
  • Lots of things to that our family enjoys, other than just the beach: bike rides along the sound, crabbing on the public pier (all time favorite activity), shopping, eating at restaurants, nice playground
  • Light House near by you can climb (Currituk)
  • Wright Brothers not too far away
  • Not Crowded at all, ever (there is no public beach parking in the town)
  • Convenient Crabbing (two mentions because it is worth it)


  • Expensive
  • Water is colder — for the east coast
  • The sand is not as fine — perfectly acceptable to play in but not powder soft
  • The waves can be rougher



Click below to see more — see if you can detect our favorite

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Gallery Wall Details


Over time, it seemed we were amassing more and more small art work, with not a lot of places to put it. These smaller pieces really couldn’t stand on own, and many were too big for tabletop frames. Enter, gallery wall.  It was so fun to pull together and I love seeing these memorable things and places every day.IMG_0481

To get the spacing just right,

1.  Traced each frame that was going onto the wall onto a piece of butcher paper and cut out. I gave each frame and its matching paper a number, so I could reunite them later. (I just penciled the number on the back of the frame) If I all ready had something in the frame, I noted on the paper whether it needed to be horizontal or vertical.

2. Taped the paper rectangles on the wall and move them around until I liked how they looked.

3. To hang the frames we measured (with our finger!) how far down the hangar was on the back of the frame, placed the nail that far down from the top edge of the corresponding piece of paper, and then punched the nail into the wall through the paper.

4. Remove paper and hang frame.

IMG_0477So what made it up?  Click below to see what we put on the wall.

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Data Crunch Super Bowl — What Does It Take To Win

IMG_8750The actual trophy that will be awarded in a few days.  It lives at the NFL Hall of Fame where we saw it this summer. It was pretty fun.

It’s almost here and it can’t come soon enough.  Both 1. the suspense is killing me, and 2. I’m ready for some basketball!

Back when we were pontificating over whether or not Peyton can play in the cold (yeah, he can!) We began to wonder if cold weather teams had an advantage GETTING to the Super Bowl.  Since the playoff games are played in January, they are usually the coldest games played all season.  We thought this would benefit teams who are accustomed to cold weather.  If this was true, we would expect once they got to the Super Bowl, the cold weather teams would lose more often, as until this year, Super Bowl games were played at warm weather location, and any leg up they had from having more experience in the cold would be gone?

So did they?  Click through to see, and for more fun stats on who wins at the Super Bowl!

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Desperation Dinners


I found this picture on our computer and I’m pretty sure it’s JLD’s room service.

From time to time, I am swindled into a certain chicken establishment during lunch time.  Especially for the preschool crowd.  And I do think it is delicious (two strip kids meal — perfection).  But fast food for dinner is one thing I avoid.  Possibly because I know if I do it once, every other thing I offer will be viewed though a breaded and fried lens? And I know I can never compete on that varsity playing field.

As much as I enjoy cooking, and more importantly love meal planning, (planning anything – yes!) my batting record is hardly 100. On my very best days, (angels are singing and rainbows are beaming) I have done some/most of my dinner prep while said preschoolers much on lunch. But sometimes I need quick, and I need it now. Here are three things I have turned to that are made with ingredients I almost always have on hand.  Less time than it takes to drive to CFA, wait for your food and get back home.  No rainbows needed.


3-5 cans of beans of your choice, depending on family and appetite size.  I like, pinto, kidney and black beans for this)

1-2 can tomatoes

1 package chili seasoning (if you don’t have this on hand substitute 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder)

1 package ranch (optional but awesome)

2 T cream cheese (optional – weird but awesome)

side salad if you can swing it

Add everything to pot (not the salad, obv) and heat to boil, simmer about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with cheddar cheese with any kind of bread you have on hand.

If you have any salad greens on hand your family will eat with dressing, double down.

I first saw the idea of using ranch and cream cheese in chili here and love it.

Click below for more ideas

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Game On

photo (4)

I am always on the lookout for ways to spend time with the kids where we are doing something we both think is fun. Sounds obvious, but the Venn diagram of our intersecting interests probably does not work in my favor.  (playing pretend, while I do it = torture) Games fit the bill, and we are always on the lookout for games that adults and kids can play together.  My criteria for a recommended game is the following: it is not purely a game of chance (Risk, you kill me), there are finite steps to the end, and it resolves in a reasonable amount of time (I’m looking at you, Sorry), kids can play competitively against adults (so, not chess) the kids are learning something other than how to turn over a card (Uno).  Here are our favorites we find ourselves reaching for time and time again, including our favorite games for grownups.

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