Friday, January 31, 2014


This was our first full week of school in what seems like forever so I can not tell you how very overjoyed I am that it is finally Friday. Honestly, on Wednesday I woke up and thought it was Thursday. I was crushed when I figured out my mistake. With all of that time off I really had no idea what day of the week it was!

Anyway without further ado, here is what's on my mind...

{1} Regrets

This year I have made it my mission to clean this house out! We simply have more "stuff" than we need. (Hubby's note- AGREED!) So I right after Christmas I gave away all of my super big, super cozy wool sweaters. They served me well in New England but I just was not wearing them in NoVa. Boy do I regret that now!!! Since it would be tacky to ask for them back I guess I will have to do some shopping. And don't be surprised that I am shopping the men's department of LL Bean!

L.L.Bean Heritage Sweater, $139, available at L.L.Bean.
{2} Ikea Hack

I am so happy that I am finally doing this! I knew this was going to be a great project but I had no idea it would take me this long to get around to it. I can't believe I first mentioned it in July. But I am finally doing it!!!

{3} Vino By It's Cover

We all know that we are not suppose to judge a book by its cover but I would be a liar if I said I never read a book simply because its cover appealed to me. Recently I could say the same about a wine I tried for the first time. It had been forever since I was in a wine shop and was able to talk with the owner about what I like and didn't like about red wines. After a bit of chatting he suggested two wines. And I picked one simply because I loved its name. Not to worry it all worked out...I loved it!

{4} Formal Wear

The time of year has come that I must find a formal dress for the Catholic Charities Ball. We always have the best time at the Ball yet I always wait until the last minute to find a dress. This year I am thinking of doing something different. Has anyone had any luck with Rent The Runway? I would love to hear what you think.

{5} Art App

I know that talked about this App yesterday so forgive me but think it bears repeating. When you use the Waterlogue App, you can turn any iPhone picture into a watercolor. It is so pretty! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cool App

Every Thursday L and I spend about an hour at his allergist's office for his weekly allergy shoots. We have been doing this since August and I have to say the little guy is a pretty good sport about the whole thing. I am not sure I would have been as stoic at the tender age of 5!

The fact that he gets to play on my iPhone, uninterrupted, might have something to do with it. Today was not really that different. L played but this week he did not play many games. He was more into the Waterlogue App. Simply put - this App takes your pictures and turns it into a watercolor painting.



This app really helped us pass the time today. Not to mention that the older two thought it was super cool too!

What new apps have you been using to pass the time?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pork Chops With Sauce & Orzo

What is with the weather lately? When we moved down from the North Shore of Boston to NoVa I thought that I had said good-bye to below freezing days. Man was I wrong! It has been just too cold here and cold weather calls for comfort food if you ask me. So a couple of nights ago I got out my dutch oven and whipped up a hearty dinner to keep winter chills away!

Pork Chops with Sauce & Orzo

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 pounds of boneless pork chops
1/2 kosher salt
1/2 fresh ground pepper
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes

Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium heat. When the oil is hot add pork chops in a single layer and cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pork chops from the pan and set aside.

Add crushed garlic to pan and cook for about 2 minutes then add the balsamic vinegar. Bring garlic vinegar mixture to a boil then turn down heat and add the can of crushed tomatoes.

Place pork chops back in the pan with the sauce and simmer until pork chops are cook through and tender.

Serve pork chops and sauce over a bed of orzo*. Enjoy!!!

(Hubby's note- This was another winner. Definitely a great choice for a cold winter night.)

*DeLallo makes a super yummy gluten-free orzo*

You can also find me at: Savvy Southern Style

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"American Hustle"

After way too much time stuck inside, Hubby and I got a sitter for the kiddos this past weekend. Since Hubby and I are both fans of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Copper, we had to see American Hustle. You know I love our children but sometimes a couple needs time away. Even if for just a movie!

According to IMDB - A con man, Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale), along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser (played by Amy Adams), is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (played by Bradley Copper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

It has been over two days since we saw the movie and I have to say I am still not sure what I thought of it. Yes it was an entertaining story and I could see how all of the actors must have loved playing these over the top characters. The costumes, make-up and hair styles were so well done. Yet the story line seemed weak and the pace of the movie was not consistent. I am just not buying that this was the best movie of the year. Anyone else agree?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Back To Reality

After an unexpected week off of school the older two were finally back to school this morning. God willing we will have a normal week of school for everyone. While it was lovely to have a surprise winter vacation, it will be nice to get back to a routine. I really struggled to keep up with my blog with three kiddos stuck in the house. Hopefully things will get back to normal this week.


L was not as happy as I was that the schools were open today. Poor boy didn't know what to do without his adoring fans. Hopefully he will have a better day tomorrow! (Hubby's note- This picture kills me! Makes me laugh every time I see it. L looks a bit like Popeye in it.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Such A Deal!

It is no secret, I love a good deal but I have never been as good as my mother at finding quality brands at rock bottom prices. That was until today!

I took to the kiddos over to Home Goods today simply because I "needed" to get out of the house. (A mom can only take so many days stuck inside a house with three kiddos.) My plan was to just look around. I had no list or real need. But I found a need as soon as we went down the kitchen clearance aisle! 


For whatever reason, the clearance aisle was filled with All-Clad fry pans and sauté pans. I quickly put a 3 quart sauté pan with lid in my cart. I mean really, it was marked down to $45! How could I walk away from that? Yes it had a couple of scratches but nothing else was wrong with it. Winner-winner if you ask me. 

I might have called my mom tonight to tell her about my find. To say that she was impressed would be an understatement! 

What great deal have you found lately?

You can also fond me at Savvy Southern Style

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No School This Week

I can not believe I am typing this but I just got the phone call from our schools and was informed that my kiddos are off for the rest of the week. That means that they will not go to school at all this week! They were off on Monday for MLK Day and the rest of the days are snow days. Four snow days!

Don't get me wrong, I love having my kiddos home for a snow day or two but four does seem like a bit much. This must be a NoVa thing because my mother still will have to go to school tomorrow and they had way more snow that we did. 


So help a gal out, what are your favorite snow day activities? #cabinfever

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tournament Weekend

Did y'all enjoy the long weekend?  Around these parts a long weekend means it's a tournament weekend and this past weekend was no different. Hubby got to take B to her last tournament so it was my turn to take her. Honestly I am not sure who was looking forward to this tournament more, B or me?

I hope you will forgive me but there was no way I could not post a ton of pics of B. She played so well and clearly had fun for the whole tournament!

I just love watching B play field hockey. Win or lose, B left the court with a huge smile after every game which makes it all worthwhile!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Saving Mr Banks"

A little while ago B and I snuck away for a girl's afternoon. As B gets older I fear that she will not want to spend her free time with her boring mother. So how could I say no when she asked if I would take her to the movies!?!

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Per B's request, we went to see "Saving Mr Banks". Both B and I love the movie "Mary Poppins" so I thought it was more than fitting that we see a movie about how it came to be a movie. I had no idea that Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) had tried for over twenty years to obtain the movie right to "Mary Poppins" because of a promise that he had made to his daughters. Nor did I know that P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) never really wanted to give Disney the rights but had to due to money issues. The movie did a wonderful job of telling the story of how Disney came to get the movie rights, all the while giving us some insight into P.L. Travers' childhood.

I do have to say that the movie had more "dark" parts than the previews would have led you to believe. I was very happy that I only took B to see this movie and did not bring the younger two alone. All in all it was a great movie that B and I enjoyed. That must say a lot if the tween and I agreed on it!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IKEA Broke My Back

I have been planning my trip to IKEA for what seems like forever. Truley I had been looking forward to today. And it was wonderful! I got everything on my list and I was all giddy until dinner.

Now I fear my time at IKEA broke my back! Ugh!!! 


I had asked for some help loading my car but was told that it looked like I could "do it myself". Really!!! I never know what to say when someone is just plain rude so I did load my car by myself. And my back hates me for not speaking up. 

I never want to seem like a wimp or helpless but sometime I do need help. Could someone please explain to me what happened to costumer service!?!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tomato, Olives and Caper...Oh My!

Our Sunday dinner was just too good! It was one of those dinners that was not really planned, it just sort of came together. Plus it was as easy. Grilled swordfish with a tomato, olive and caper sauce. Hubby grilled the fish while I whipped up the sauce. Gotta love team work!

Tomato, Olive and Caper Sauce

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted katamala olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers

In a medium sized sauce pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Finally add the olives and capers to the tomato sauce and stir until all ingredients are heated.

We served this sauce over grilled swordfish but I think that the sauce would work well on any firm fish. It would also taste great with sauteed shrimp. Maybe even with just some pasta. Endless uses my friends! Enjoy!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fabulously Boring Saturday

This past weekend it did nothing but rain on Saturday. I mean is was pouring! All day!!! But I should not complain about it too much since it forced me to get a bunch of things done inside our home. Boxes of books that we have no longer have any need for were boxed up for a scheduled donation truck. Christmas decorations were not only put away but they were also reorganized to make decorating for Christmas 2014 even easier. Epic amounts of clothing were washed and folded. And all of this happened before 5pm.

Crazy boring, I know! But it was all stuff that needed to get done. I can't tell you how happy I was to have crossed so many things off my to-do list in one day. With all of the boring stuff done, I was able to get down on the floor with my kiddos and complete a puzzle. Such a sweet and simple activity that I adored!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Thing Leads To Another

With kiddos back to school I was finally able to step out of the house and run some much needed errands. So I headed to a local "town center", read mall just outside. Even though it was still below freezing it felt simply glorious to be walking outside! That's what happens after one has been trapped inside with three bored kiddos.

After I had done my returns and was about to leave I noticed that Anthroplogies was having a sale, so how could I not walk in? While it was fun to look through all of the pretty dresses that they had on sale I was quickly distracted by a display in their "House & Home" section. For whatever reason, maybe because they remind me of the Cape or maybe because they are blue & white with a bit of red, I was really drawn to their "From The Deep" dinner collection. 

And here is where is really got weird; all I could think was that this was just what I needed for our home office make-over. That right, this is my inspiration for the office not the kitchen! Yes they are mostly blue & white like my beloved Royal Copenhagen China, they also remind me of old school encyclopedia pen and ink drawings. Plus they are whimsical and every room needs a little bit of playfulness, if you ask me!

And with that I am off and running! I have a donation truck coming to help me declutter the office, and house for that matter. I know what furniture I want to keep and what I plan to resell or re-propose. I have a plan for new curtains. Don't worry Hubby they will cost next to nothing!

One unplanned stop and I have a mapped out plan for on office make over goal. Not bad if you ask me. Maybe I should go shopping more often!?!

You can also find me at From My Front Porch and Savvy Southern Style

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Should Have Known Better; Part II

When you have been stuck home for awhile you might find that you have some free time to read a good book. That my friends is just what I have been doing! I should have been folding laundry or meal planning but I chose not to. When I picked up Ms Hilderbrand's latest book I knew that I would become the worst house-wife ever but I also knew it would be worth it. And once again Ms Hilderbrand and her novels have "made" me stop doing all the things that I really needed to do. What can I say, her books really are blissful escapes from reality!


 According to Goodreads:  

A summer wedding stirs up trouble on both sides of the family in this new novel from bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand. The Carmichaels and Grahams have gathered on Nantucket for a wedding. Plans are being made according to the wishes of the bride's late mother, who left behind The Notebook: specific instructions for every detail of her youngest daughter's future nuptials. Everything should be falling into place for the beautiful event--but in reality, things are far from perfect.

While the couple-to-be are quite happy, their loved ones find their own lives crumbling. In the days leading up to the wedding, love will be questioned, scandals will arise, and hearts will be broken and healed. Elin Hilderbrand takes readers on a touching journey in BEAUTIFUL DAY--into the heart of marriage, what it means to be faithful, and how we choose to honor our commitments.

Yes this is a total beach read in the middle of winter. But the summer background and the message that family is important works for me no matter what time of year it is!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chops And Sauce

Once again the kids had off yesterday, not really sure why but they did. So after a nice relaxing morning at home, we ventured out to run some errands. Since I had some extra time this morning while I was making my grocery store list I poured over the latest from Cooking Light and found a recipe that looked very promising. If an unexpected snow-day is not the time to try a new recipe then I don't know what is!

On a cold and windy day, Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops sounded just right! The recipe calls for enough citrus that I could pretend I was on the beach in Florida yet had enough sauce to be served with smashed red bliss potatoes. Honestly it was heavenly on such a cold night! (Hubby's note- Thumbs up for this recipe! It was really good.)

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (if you are gluten free read carefully since some whole-grain mustard contain gluten!)
1 tablespoon canola oil  *I used extra virgin olive oil. I always do!*
4 bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick) **I had to go boneless since the store was sold out of bone-in. Less cooking time but is was still yummy**
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt ***I might have added more salt***
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 fresh rosemary springs
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, combine the orange juice, marmalade and mustard; stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until syrupy. About 10 minutes.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet oven medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Salt and pepper pork and add to pan; cook until brown. Turn pork; add rosemary and onions to pan. Pour juice mixture over the pork; bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until thermometer registers 140 degrees. 

Place onions and rosemary on a platter. 

Return pan to medium-high heat; add lime juice. Cook 4 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. 

Add pork to platter; drizzle with sauce. Serve hot!

I chose to serve my chops along side smashed red bliss potatoes and roasted asparagus. There is not a doubt in my mind that I will make this recipe again. And again!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

One Room At A Time

In 2005 we moved from a small town-house into our current single family home. We have painted, arranged and rearranged rooms yet it still does not feel "done" to me yet. I am sure I could over analyze why this is but instead I am just going to start "finishing" rooms this year. One room at a time....

As to not overwhelm myself, I am going to start with the smallest room in the house; our office. This poor room has become a dumping ground that needs some love. So I have challenged myself to clean out the office and make it work for our family in less than two months. Wish me luck friends!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dare To Dream; Part 2

All I can say is thank goodness the weatherman was wrong yesterday! What was suppose to be a little dusting of snow turned into a snow day for the kiddos today. And the best part was that the school board made the phone call last night. All snow days are wonderful but knowing the night before is awesome!

The only bummer about the day was how bitterly cold it was today. I know that my family up North teases me all the time about my Southern children not be able to handle the cold but I don't care where you are from 16 degree is cold. And that was before the wind chill!!!

Despite the cold my tough Southern kiddos suited up and made the most of the snow. All I can say is that we are raising kiddos who make the most of the matter where they live!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dare To Dream

I know this will make me seem totally greedy (since we had a nice long Christmas Break) but I really hope the kids have a snow day tomorrow. I just was not ready to send them back school today. 

So if the weatherman was wrong and we got a snow day I would be over joyed! 
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