right now

I have seen a lot of people doing ‘right now’ posts. Basically talking about things they are doing right now. Maybe not all at once. That would be an extreme example of multitasking. So I thought I would share my right nows!

  • Reading: I LOVE to read. Although since we have moved I think I have read one book. All of my books are still in boxes awaiting the built in bookcase to be created for them. However, I am going to be rereading Accidental Hitman that I read last year. I found this book so hilarious and it was such a fun and different read for me. I have not started to read it again though so I guess if I am honest about what I am reading right now it would be Kipper and Roly. Sara’s library book from school. Awesome.
  • Listening: I have a large range in my music tastes. It all depends on my mood really so I can enjoy country music, heavy metal, and dancey pop all in one day. However, one thing I love love love and am always in the mood for is the Joy The Baker Podcast. Joy the Baker runs a blog about, you got it! Food! And her pal Tracy from Shutterbean also has a blog about food. Their podcast is so so funny and it truly is like sitting with your best friends talking about random nothings. I download them and listen while I clean the kitchen or my favourite is to put in my headphones and listen while I do a project. Our hand painted wall in our old flat had quite a few wonkey lines because I was laughing so hard. Seriously, listen. So good.
  • Making: Dinner! On days that Emma has after school activities I like to get the dinner prepped during the day, if I can. We don’t get in until after 4 and then there is homework and blah blah, but we still want to eat around 5. So I just don’t have a lot of time to be cranking out a meal. Tonight we are having a cheesy potato and sausage bake. So I am cutting up potatoes and sausage and making my cheese sauce. Later I can just dump it all in the pan and bake. No effort required.
  • Feeling: Tired. My usual state. No matter how much sleep I get, it doesn’t matter. Sleep is my drug. I can never fall asleep during the day though. I am not a napper at all. Unless I am very ill, like verge of death ill, then I can conk out for a few Z’s.
  • Planning: My next project. No idea what that is yet! I am dying to get started on the living room, but also I am wanting to finish the hall so one area is finished before we start on another, and then I want to do our bedroom so we can have a space to relax and not have a million to do’s slapping us in the face. I am just waiting to wake up one day with an urge to take on one of the above. That’s how I roll.
  • Loving: I am loving quite a few things at the moment, but one thing I am in love with, cannot get enough of, are these dresses from H&M. OMG. They are sooooo comphy. I am wearing mine with leggings at the moment because there is still a chill in the air, but I love that I can dress it up with a nicer blazer and heels, or dress down with one of my denim jackets and flats. I can’t wait until a denim jacket and flip flops are all I need to pair them with. They don’t seem to have the colours I own online but I have one in a black and white stripe (which I am wearing as we speak/type/read) a teal one, and a reddy orange colour. And the price! I know I have already gotten my moneys worth anyway, and I am all for clothes that feel like pyjamas but still look cute. Maybe that is why I am always tired?
  • Eating: Well, as you know we are having the sausage potato bake for dinner.  Me and Sara split some left over spaghetti for our lunch today followed by a dark chocolate digestive biscuit. Yes, just one. As it was the last one. Boo. But I have had nothing since. Think I may have a cup of tea before I go pick up Sara though!
  • Drinking: Mmmmmm a nice cup of tea. Plenty of milk and sugar. Like a mug full of love.

chilled sweet green tea with lemon

I love water. I always have a glass somewhere, usually by the sink. Why by the sink? Because if I leave it anywhere else it disappears  Little people drink it, Alex steals it, and now Lily even drinks it. Thanks. So, I keep it by the sink cause lets be honest, I am always in the kitchen doing laundry, dishes, or feeding someone. Even though I love water sometimes I need something else. I don’t drink any sodas or colas or whatever. I like tea and coffee here and there, but not when it is warm outside.

I also grew up in the south. I say I am from Chicago, and I am. Most of my family lives there, and I spent my formative years there. And by that I mean my brutal hellish teenage ones. Sorry mom! But, I spent a few of my younger years in Tennessee. And anyone who knows the South knows how they like their sweet tea! I make sweet tea from time to time but it is laden with sugar and it makes me jittery because I would drink the entire pitcher in one day.

Enter sweet green tea. It is so good and refreshing. It is good for you too what with all the antioxidants in green tea and no sugar! I always tell Alex it is my detox drink. He laughs at me. With good reason.

Gather up a pitcher, a few green tea bags, a lemon, and some sort of sweetener  I use Truvia. It is so sweet I do not like to use it in coffees or teas. But in this it is perfect as we only use a small amount.

green tea

I start by boiling my kettle. I add about a cup or two of boiling water to my pitcher and 4-5 green tea bags. They then steep and make extra strong green tea within a few minutes. Usually I do the dishes while and wait and by the time I am done so is my tea.

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Sprinkle in 2 teaspoons of sweetener and give it a swirl around. Then drop in some sliced lemons. I like to do it at this stage when it is just hot water as I feel it extracts the most lemon flavor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally top it up with cold water and chill. It really reminds me of sweet tea. It is not strong in flavor and the lemon is refreshing. I will totally drink all of this in one day. And wake up 50 million times in the night to go potty.

I would end this post with a lovely picture of it in a glass with a lemon wedge and some cute napkin and a book near by but lets be honest, I am lucky if I get to even pour it in a glass.

Hope you enjoy this switch up to water 🙂

shredded beef tacos with pico de gallo and guacamole

My two favorite foods are Italian and Mexican  Unfortunately, I live in a place that does not provide me with my required intake of Mexican food. Not edible Mexican food anyway. So I make my own. Luckily Alex is fairly easy going and has grown to love Mexican food even though he had never had any before meeting me. Say what?!? Both of my girls love Mexican food too as I started them young chowing down on avocados and quesadillas. Yummo.

Let’s get started! I prefer fresh Baja style Mexican food to your sauce and cheese laden enchiladas and whatnots. And this is what this is. Fresh and perfect for summer.

I started with some beef casserole and some homemade taco seasoning using this recipe. Make your own seasoning. It takes two minutes and the flavor is amazing. This amount lasts me a few months and there is nothing like it on the market here in Scotland. This is the way to go! However make sure you use good chili powder. I once got the cheap value chili powder substitute sent in my grocery order and it was not a good batch. I always use Schwartz and I use the entire jar as it is 1/4c exactly which is what you need!

shredded beef tacos

Turn your slow cooker on high and add your beef. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the cooker and then sprinkle on your seasoning. I used 1.5 tablespoons. Cover and cook for a few hours. Every slow cooker is different so just check on it every now and then. I cooked mine 5.5 hours. You could use any cut of meat you would like. You could also use steaks, rub taco seasoning and olive oil on, then grill. This would also be great with chicken! Just a few other options. However you do it, use this seasoning and cook your meat.

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While your beef is in the hot tub with his Mexican friend, make your toppings! Gather your ingredients for the salsa, or pico de gallo if you want to tap into your senorita side.

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Not pictured is salt and pepper cause I am a goober. Now chop chop chop. I also take out the seeds and insides from the tomatoes. Nobody wants watery salsa. Nuhuh.

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Tada! Sprinkle in salt and pepper and mix mix mix. And squirt on half that lime and a drizzle of juice from your jalapenos. *put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up* excuse me while I sing. Top prize to who can name the movie that song is in!

*side note about the jalapenos. Usually you would add a chili to your salsa. However, I feed little people who do not appreciate a chunk of chili in their little mouths. Also I never cook with chilies so I always forget to buy one. But! I always have a jar of jalapenos. So what I do for the salsa is add a splash of the juice. This gives a bit of heat without any chunks of peppers or chilies in my mix. I usually chop up some jalapenos to then add to the tacos later if I want more heat. Do what works for you. Chop and add to the salsa if you want heat or add to the tacos if you have picky eaters or kiddies joining your feast.

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Now look at  that beauty. Fresh pico de gallo. You can feel free to eat this like salsa with some tortilla chips or even sprinkled on a salad for a nice twist. Now for Mr. Guacamole to join the party. Start by slicing your avocados open around the stone and twist to open. If they are really ripe you can usually use a spoon to pop the stone out. If not, using the blade of your knife hit the stone and it will pop out on your knife. Scoop out the gorgeous green amazingness then mash it all with a fork.

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Season with salt and pepper then add in some of your salsa you just made! Another squirt of lime and give it a good mix. Make them be friends.

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A tip to keep your guacamole from going brown! Wet a bit of kitchen roll (paper towel) just until damp. Wring it out and cover your guacamole pressing down to seal it up. This prevents air from getting in and your avocados oxidizing and turning brown. We don’t want no funky brown guacamole. No sir.

When you feel your beef is fork tender take it out and shred it up. It should fall apart easily. Then add it back into your slow cooker and mix it in with all the yummy sauce that will have created like magic in the bottom. I usually put the lid back on and turn my cooker off at this point as it would be close to dinner time and the pot is still lava hot. If you have a while to go before chow time then just turn it down to low or warm.

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Taco time! Shred up some cheddar and get out your sour cream if you so desire. Heat up a large frying pan and warm your tortillas one at a time. When they begin to make little bubbles, flip. Take your warm tortilla out and add some beef, cheese, guacamole, salsa, and a drop of sour cream. Oh my.

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Another drizzle of lime and you are good to go!

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Shout out to my momma who taught me how to make this salsa and guacamole when I was about 13. She still makes it the same way. It is a keeper.

Enjoy! 🙂

Pico de Gallo

4 good sized tomatoes (if using salad tomatoes, you will need more)

half of a lime

1/4 red onion

handfull of corriander

salt and pepper to taste

jalapenos/juice *see note above

Chop your tomatoes, taking out the insides and seeds. Chop your onion and coriander and mix all three in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle as much jalapeno juice as you prefer and squeeze in half of a lime. Mix and refrigerate until needed. This makes enough to make guacamole and have left overs for 6 tacos. Adjust the recipe if you are feeding a crowd. Always double if you are serving as salsa with tortilla chips.

Guacamole

4-5 small avocados or 3 large

pico de gallo *above

salt and pepper to taste

lime

Scoop out your avocados and mash with a fork. Add in some pico de gallo to taste. I use about half a cup. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime. Cover with a damp piece of kitchen roll (paper towel) and refrigerate until needed.

monday

Oh me oh my we have had a crazy week! Sara was off school one day last week which completely threw me off, then she had her birthday, then she went on her first all day field trip so I was thrown into a blubbering heap not having my baby all day for the first time. Which again, threw me off and messed with my days. Then it was my birthday (yeah!). And to cap it all off we were all hit with a tummy bug. Apparently someone is telling us we are not allowed to have this much fun and we need to stop and pay some dues. Thanks. 

As a result I have done absolutely nothing around here in like a week. There is a pile of laundry that is developing its own personality and will need to start paying rent soon if I don’t deal with it. The bathroom is so dirty I swear it made a pass at me this morning. Cheeky. And how do my floors get so filthy? I hoovered like, Wednesday…or Friday? I think? And don’t even get me started on the dishes. I still have not figured out how two little girls can create enough dirty dishes that would have served a small army. Do we really need to use 20 cups in one day? 

In other news Lily gets her stitches out on Friday! Hooray! Did I tell you we had her spayed? Poor thing has been walking around with a cone on for 10 days now. Not fun! But after a few vet visits, antibiotics, shots, and what have you she should be all ready to get her stitches and cone off on Friday. Maybe I should make her a turkey cake or something to celebrate. And to win her over again. Before she begins plotting our deaths. 

I have a few things lined up that I would like to do this week. A recipe should be coming tomorrow for something mexican. Food that is. That would be weird. I am not bringing you a mexican. Glad we cleared that up. Apparently Scotland (or at least where I live as I have found awesome obscure stores in the cities) has an issue with Mexican food. It is usually impossible to find, and when you do it is nasty. Your out of the box, guacamole from a tube, nastiness. Bleh. 

I am also planning an awesome art wall for the girls which I hope to complete this week. Finally a place to display all of the amazing stuff crap they bring home Every. Day. that doesn’t involve my fridge or counters or floors. Or bin. Cough cough.

Ha. I just told Sara I would giver her pennies to brush my hair. Parent of the year right here. 

29

Today I turn 29. The last year of my 20 somethings. As I get older (i know i know i am not that old) but still, as I get older I am finding myself not caring about the opinions of others. I admit I used to hold others thoughts and views above my own. But now, I value myself and my thoughts above anyone else. It is kind of a big deal to realise this. I guess I am growing up! Gasp!

This morning I dressed myself in the things I love. Normally I would second guess if it goes, if I look ok, if someone will think I dressed myself blind this morning. But today, today I don’t care. I am going to embrace 29 and be who I am. This time next year I may be a blubbering mess, but I am grabbing 29 by the horns and making it mine.

Summer barfed on me this morning. I love it and it is me.

a dash of colour

As I mentioned Monday, I planted some flowers! Because we are wanting to turf the rest of our garden we knew we had to do some prep work first. I wanted a nice flower bed on the right of the garden and we also want a fire pit that we will be making ourselves in the middle. No point in turfing the whole space and then having to dig it up, so we are making those areas first.

Now I am not going to tell you how to plant flowers. I assume we all know how to dig and shove a plant in the ground, but I thought I would just share what I did as I am so very proud to have flowers of my very own for the first time in my 29 years. Wait, 28. How old am I? I always forget.

I just used a digging spade and started making my edges. I wanted it to be curvy for a nice contrast to the square grid vegetable patch. I just eyeballed it and started going to town.

Please ignore my poncho. Well, it isn’t really a poncho as it is open in the front and I had to tie it together to keep it out of the way, but still. Ignore it. I was cold. It does look nice when worn correctly. As in, not when you are elbow deep in dirt. Ahem.

So I dug.

You can get a real idea of how long our garden is now that I am in there for reference. We are planning on putting the fire pit right behind where I am with benches on the other side. Cannot wait.

There she is all dug up. Once the turf is in there will be a nice clean edge but I still fixed that wonky edge and then started putting my flowers in. I used ranunculus (my new favourite flower), daisies,  sweet allison, a miscellaneous orange plant, and some other one I have no idea what it is yet 🙂 Maybe foxglove? Time will tell. OH! I also popped in some gladiola bulbs along the fence in the back as well. They will hopefully add some nice height to the space. Whoop!

Just a little colour to brighten my day.

 

4

Four years ago I was sitting calmly in my living room knowing that something was about to happen. I wasn’t in pain. I had not even had a contraction yet, but I knew. I knew she would be coming soon. I had made Alex stay home from work being so sure in my feeling that today was the day. Luckily he did. 3pm heralded the first contraction, and 9:45pm brought me my perfectly feisty little girl. She was born in our living room. A planned home birth. After my traumatic labour with Emma it was so very comforting to be in my home. My mom was able to get an update a minute from my amazing friend who was there for it all. The webcam was turned on the moment Sara was brought into the world, and for the first time since living in Scotland I felt my mom there with me, where she should be. By my side as I have babies of my own.

Emma slept soundly through it all not even knowing what the night had brought yet. Within moments of Sara being in this world I was showered and cuddled with her in our bed, feeding, looking, smiling, crying, and overwhelmed by her perfectness. Everyday since then she has made me smile. She has filled my world with laughter and silliness when I needed it most. And now she is 4.

I will never forget the moment Emma and Sara met for the first time the following morning.

Or the way Sara’s hair stood on end no matter what you did to try and tame it.

Her look of sheer joy that she still does, even now.

Her first steps.

 I hope in the future that she continues to deepen the bond between herself and her big sister. That they are always there for each other. To guide, or to lean on when needed.

I hope she always stops to enjoy the moment she is in.

I hope that she is always curious. Always wanting to know more, learn more, experience more.

I hope she is always feisty. Passionate and steadfast. Sure of who she is and never forgets how astounding she is.

And above all I pray that she will always reach out for our hands. To walk with her when needed. To guide her when she doesn’t know the way, to be dragged along in her excitement, and one day to pass her hand to someone else.

Happy Birthday Sara Bear. Always and forever, momma. Xoxo

 

what’s for dinner?

I think I hear this question 8.6 million times a day. And no, I am not exaggerating at all. I do my shopping online. I have a system. I order what we need to make meals out of what we have left. If there are things on sale, I stock up and will use those things in future meals. Once my order arrives I write down expiration dates and base my weekly menu on what needs to be used when. So if the chicken needs to be eaten by Tuesday, then I fit that meal in sometime before Tuesday and so on. I pair it with veggie dates as well to minimize waste as I can always freeze meat if we don’t use it. It sounds like a lot of work but really it isn’t. Sara always ‘helps’ me unpack the bags so that gives me plenty of time to write down the dates I need. I usually have a menu written out a few weeks in advance using this method which is awesome because then I am free. Free of the 5:00 ‘oh no, I need to feed these people!!’ panic moments.

The only fault with my little system is that I shove my menu in a drawer usually (as I hate things just lying around willy nilly) so when I get asked ‘what’s for dinner’ my answer is usually ‘I have no idea’. And not because I have not figured it out, but because I don’t remember what I wrote 2 weeks ago. I usually forget to look until the late afternoon and then realize I needed to take the roast out of the freezer like, yesterday. Or, I should have put that in the slow cooker this morning. So I needed to come up with a way to display a few days of our menu in a cute way while also slapping me in the face so I have no reason to forget any prep I need to do. Also, now that Emma is starting to read this will help her answer the question for herself. One down, one to go. Enter the chalkboard menu.

I ordered this adhesive chalkboard wall decal from Spicy Decor a few weeks ago. I had been sent a Groupon email so I got it for only £10. I purchased it with another project in mind, but I know there will be loads left over so I used some for my menu!

I started by cutting off what I needed, and the graph paper pattern on the back made it easy for me to cut nice and straight. Then I practiced writing on a piece of paper a few times before I wrote on the decal.

Hello sausage fingers and alien foot. The thing I loved about the decal is that if you use a damp cloth, damp paper towel, or baby wipe, it goes back to being perfectly clean with no chalk residue like an actual chalkboard would. Just sayin, cause I had to do my N twice. And when I change the menu below, it will not disturb my OCD tendencies by being all messy. Bleh.

Then I stuck her up right on the side of my cupboard in the kitchen. The one I see the minute I walk in. No excuses now! And yes, it’s a she. One girl helping another girl out by being all ‘Hey! Over here! And you’re welcome!’.

I know those walls back there are super sexy but please, focus on the menu. The other awesome thing about the decal is that you can unstick, and restick if you want to move it. So when we finally paint our cupboards white I can just take her down and pop her back on. Whoop!

Now if you excuse me, I believe I need to go make ravioli now.

Disclaimer: Spicy Decor have no idea who I am and I was not compensated for this post. I just really enjoyed this product and wanted to share 🙂