Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Wisconsin's weather has been very bizarre the last few days. It's late January and we're getting rain, thunder, lightning, wind, sleet and snow. One day it's 55 degrees, and the next day it's 9 degrees.

We actually had a small tornado whirl right through our living room this morning!

It took Liam only 15 minutes to accomplish this.

He may have gotten this talent from his mom :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mmmmm bacon

We are HUGE fans of eating soup in the wintertime. It's fairly easy to make, it warms your stomach on a cold night, and it warms your soul.

We made this soup a couple of weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. It's one of those recipes that makes my mouth water a little bit each time I think about it. 

In fact, we enjoyed it so much, I think we're going to make a big ol' pot of this for dinner at Liam's birthday party next month.

It has bacon in it. Need I say more?

I got this recipe off of a blog that I follow, so I need to give this lady props. The blog is The Gourmand Mom. Here's a link to the recipe:

This soup is the perfect balance of salty, earthy, creamy, smoky goodness.

Here's a photo of the soup we made, and a 'Bremser' version of the recipe:

We made it in a dutch oven...

Bean and Bacon Soup
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth (we used veggie broth and it turned out just fine)
  • 1 bag (approximately 4 cups) baby spinach (we added extra spinach to make it healthier)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, over medium/medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce the heat slightly and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, until tender and golden. Carefully drain any leftover bacon grease. Add the beans and chicken broth to the pan, then add the spinach. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture begins to simmer and the spinach has wilted. Return the bacon to the soup. Taste, then season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Things that made me smile last week:

Enjoyed dinner with one of Matt's coworkers

Went shopping/bumming around Naperville, IL

Liam turned 11 months old today!

Devoured a yummy crockpot meal

I started working on a piece of artwork for a friend

Liam giggled as he took a shower with Matt

We pulled Liam around in his sled

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

They're everywhere

I enjoy reading. At any given time I have about 15 magazines and 3 books sitting on a pile, ready to be explored.

But it's hard to find a solid hour to just sit down and immerse myself in a book or magazine.

I suppose I could crawl into bed right after Liam's asleep at night and read. But I choose to spend that quiet time with Matt.

And I could probably get some reading in while Liam takes his afternoon nap. But I choose to do laundry, pick up the house, shower, eat and do whatever else I need to do during that time.

Those books and magazines...they sit. Lonely and calling my name.

But I've devised a plan! A plan to open those pages.

Basically, I've started to place magazines everywhere in the house. On the kitchen table. On my nightstand. In the bathrooms. Near every sitting area. Everywhere. Yes, it looks a little messy and it can be annoying at times, but it works!

When I have reading material close by, it allows me to read little bits and pieces whenever I have time:

Catalogues near Liam's play corner...

Magazines on the coffee table...

A 'Parents' magazine near Liam's high chair...

And there's always some reading material next to the bed...

Mags next to a chair...

Who doesn't have magazines near the toilet? You're lying if the say you don't!

More magazines in a bathroom...

I've found a way to stay happy throughout the day. 

When I read my 'Time' magazine I feel empowered and free. When I read my 'People' magazine I am ridiculously amused. And my newest book "Bossypants' makes me laugh.

I'd like to know...what magazines and books are you loving these days??

Things that made me smile last week:

Cuddled on the couch with Matt

Got fabric swatches for the kitchen curtains I plan to make

Spent quality time with my mother-in-law

Snuggled with Liam on the couch & watched Sesame Street

Enjoyed a movie with a close girlfriend

Watched Liam splash around & giggle in the bathtub

Liam called me "mama"

Have a great rest of the week!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Little pieces

When Christmas rolls around every year I look forward to wrapping and decorating gifts for family and friends. About a month before Christmas I go out and buy new paper, new bows, new ribbons and tags. It gets expensive and I feel guilty for buying paper that's just going to end up in a landfill after the holidays anyways.

For the last few years I've thought to myself "I should really try green wrapping next year."By "green" I mean using household items that are laying around as my wrapping paper, ribbons and tags. I could use newspapers, comic strips and magazines for the paper. Old leftover ribbons, thread and buttons for decoration. And homemade tags using pieces of Christmas cards from the year before. Then I could finish the gifts with spray glitter, paint and stickers that are sitting in my crafting boxes.

The idea sounds fun, economical and green to me, but I highly doubt that I will actually do this next Christmas! You know how it have every intention of baking cookies, putting up more lights than the year before and hand writing Christmas cards...but it's hard to find time to do it all.

So I did something ahead of time to help me with my "green" wrapping next Christmas. Liam and I sorted through our stack of received cards this week. About half would have ended up in our paper recycling bin, and the other half (the photo cards) I save in hopes of looking (laughing) at them in the future. But instead of half of them ending up in the recycling bin, here they are:

I chopped them up into little pieces! Little gift tag sized pieces. And I placed them in a plastic bag and put it with our Christmas decorations.

So next year, even though my gifts may not be wrapped in newspaper and adorned with buttons, they will for SURE have recycled tags on them!

It's a start...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Daily smiles

Okay...I'm having a hard time keeping up with this blog. My plan was to post 1-2 times per week. But I am just so busy with Liam these days! He is crawling all over the place, climbing the stairs, eating like a champ, chattering, making faces, laughing and such. Basically, if there's a choice between snuggling with our little peanut or writing my blog, Liam has the trump card. 

But with a new year comes new goals. And one of my goals is to actually post to this blog 1-2 times per week! As much as I love spending all of my time with Liam, I also need to do some things for myself. And adding to this blog is something I enjoy, even if no one is reading it. It's a release for me. A way to get my thoughts on paper (well...on screen). 

I've decided to start a 'daily smile' journal. I feel so fortunate to live within the life I have. A wonderful husband and son, great families, two loving kitties, a warm and comfortable home, food in our fridge, fresh water to drink and take a bath in, a dependable car. And it's the small things, the things that make me smile every day, that are just as important. 

I want to make sure I acknowledge what makes me happy each day. So, as part of my blogging goal, I'm going to post my list of 'daily smiles' at the end of each week. 

So, here's my first list of 'Daily Smiles':

had pizza and watched the Rose Bowl with Matt's parents, my niece & my nephew

got a pedicure (thank you, mom, for the gift card)

Liam's first airplane ride

dipped Liam's toes in the ocean for the first time

watched the Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings

enjoyed sushi with great friends

Matt supported me through something tough

got home from Florida - our kitties were so happy to see us

went for a nice, cold walk with Liam around our neighborhood

made some new friends at a church meeting

 Liam and I picked out a gift for my nephew for his birthday

 had a fun time at my brother's house

enjoyed Matt's yummy homemade bread

Liam's first trip to Florida