Friday, March 27, 2015

Robert's Favorite Dinner

Robert & I have a pretty standard Sunday morning routine. We get up early, move to the couch with coffee (me) & soda (him), watch old episodes of Law & Order, & discuss what we're going to going to eat for dinner that week. I make a grocery list on my iPhone and later in the day, around 3 PM, we go shopping and then come home and make a nice dinner for Sunday night. 

A few months ago, on a typical Sunday morning, Robert suggested making rice with veggies and sausage for dinner that evening, but I remembered this risotto recipe I'd made in the past and offered to make it. That first night I honestly wasn't convinced that he loved the dish, but a week or so later he asked if we could have it again. And then a couple of weeks later, he asked again. And now? Now we probably eat it every other week. And believe me when I say, I'm not complaining. This stuff is delicious and all you really need to serve alongside it is some crusty bread. And as cheesy and house-wifey as it may sound, I love being able to make something my guy loves. See below for the recipe!


Ingredients:
-1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-3/4 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage w/casings removed
-1 small onion, diced
-1 cup Arborio rice
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1-2 handfuls of spinach, chopped
-1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
-2 tablespoons butter
-salt & pepper

Directions:
-Combine the diced tomatoes (juices and all) with three cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and let bubble away.
-In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the sausage and diced onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the sausage is opaque. You'll need to break-up the sausage as it cooks.
-Add the rice and stir until it's completely incorporated into the oil/onion/sausage mixture. Add the wine and stir until absorbed.
-Ladle two cups of the hot tomato liquid into the rice pot, set your timer for five minutes, and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed. Continue in this manner, now adding one cup at a time, for twenty-five minutes total. At this point the rice will be tender.
-Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the spinach, Parmesan and butter*.

**You could omit or cut-down on the Parmesan and butter.

Best when served with this guy!

Thanks for reading this week! Have a lovely weekend. xo

Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

mid-week schedule change

If you watched our lives from a distance, you probably wouldn't notice much change from week to week.  We recently decided to make a change to our Thursday evenings that has made a huge difference in our weeks.  We decided to sign Sommer up for swimming lessons again because we needed something to get us moving since the weather is still chilly and we were starting to get a little stir crazy being inside all the time.  Instead of registering for lessons during the day which we have done in the past; we signed up for an evening lesson, right in the middle of our usual dinner time and we've been loving it.  
little fishy


Our usual evening looks a little hectic: Matt comes home, I go run at the gym, come home and make dinner, eat dinner, shower, bedtime routine with Sommer, Matt leaves for the gym while I get Sommer to bed...and I usually fall asleep too because I am usually pretty tired from my early morning wake-up.  

I was a little concerned that Thursday's might end up feeling even more hectic than usual but I was so wrong.  We eat an early and easy dinner.  We get our suits on and head out the door with about 20 minutes to spare before our lesson starts.  We try to get to the Y a little early so we can warm up in the pool.  Matt watches about half of Sommer's lesson and then heads upstairs to workout.  Somm and I finish up the lesson and play in the pool for an extra 20 minutes or until Matt meets us back at the pool.  We show him some of our new tricks that we've learned in that evenings class and then we all head to the family locker room to rinse off, get Sommer in her PJ's and head home.  By the time we get home, it's time for books and bed for our little girl and we have all been under the same roof all night long.  Perfection.

 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday things

Sunday is easily my favorite day of the week. We always start our Sunday off at early church, followed by breakfast out (over the last several years I have made it my personal goal to never cook on Sunday mornings...it's my one meal off for the week and I'm sticking with it no matter what), and then heading home to do...Sunday things. Like skipping nap time in favor of playing outside. Or thinning out the woods in front of our house with the giant limb cutter and a hand saw. Or discussing the hilarious and weird dreams our boys had last night (Will - being chased by a grizzly bear; Tommy - visiting Aunt Bear and Uncle Robert's small apartment and opening a bedroom door to find a hidden HUGE ROOM FULL OF MACHINES). Or shooting hoops and throwing a baseball. Or riding bikes to the stop sign and then jumping across the puddles in the ditch by the road. Or making pancakes and bacon for dinner. Or making homemade playdoh. Or declaring it "quiet time" and sending everyone off to do their own thing for an hour. Or having a picnic lunch under our beautiful giant oak trees. Or you know, things like that.

In fact, our day yesterday included all of those things and was followed by colossal melt downs by both tired children during an innocent game of "Go Fish," which then required us to skip our next activity on the list - playing with legos - in favor of a more important and necessary activity - going straight to bed. Although there was much (more) weeping and gnashing of teeth at this sudden change of schedule, they were both asleep approximately 17 seconds after their heads hit their pillows which left me with time for a quick conference call with the younger WeThree's, catching up on some blog reading, eating a bowl of (gluten-free!) honey nut chex with vanilla almond milk, and writing this here blog post for you. I love Sundays!

 A little table hockey at breakfast.


 Picnicking in the sun under the trees.

 Homemade playdoh is the best! And so easy and quick to make, too.

I took this photo about one minute before everyone lost their marbles and we had to end the game and go to bed. The revolt was impressive. I wonder if they planned it all out ahead of time? I did catch them whispering earlier in the day.

Hope you had a nice Sunday doing whatever Sunday things you do! Wishing you a good start to your week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

a little blog post for Friday

I was going to enlist the girls in a regular Photo Friday today, but instead I decided to share just a few photos from the past week or so. It's been a long seven days, and I am pretty excited for the quiet weekend ahead. Here are a few moments that got me through the week...

[Last Saturday I walked down to the gym and it was so nice to see the sun! I know I just blogged about being okay with winter, but now that I've had a taste of warm weather, I am thinking spring.]

[Robert and I bought our wedding bands last Saturday, and I am thrilled with both of our choices and this adorable shirt that I got my nephew, Tommy, to wear. It's all in the details!]

[I was actually planning to write a blog entitled "Robert's Favorite Dinner" this week, detailing his love for tomato and sausage risotto. I didn't quite get around to it (more to come -- hopefully next week!), but I'm still sharing this cute photo of him enjoying his supper.]

[Robert and I now have a tradition of going to the Market Cross Pub on (or near) St. Patty's Day for corned beef and cabbage. We went on Monday night, and it was so delicious and SO filling. I almost didn't eat breakfast the next day.....almost.]

[Just a pretty picture of some daffodils ($5 impulse buy) reflected in our toaster.]

[I found a new product for curly hair a couple of weeks ago (DevaCurl) and it's been nice to be able to be lazy and not straighten it every once in awhile. I snapped this photo on a day that I thought it was looking particularly good, although for some reason I'm not really looking at the camera. I can never tell where to look! Is it just me?]

[Robert brought home cupcakes from work this week from a place called Sublime Bakery and they were ridiculous good. They were too good. I actually took them back to work yesterday so that I would stop eating them. But it was a nice treat during this extra long week.]

Thanks for reading this week. :) Have a great weekend!
xoCarrie

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

strike a pose

I know we don't normally post on Tuesday's anymore, but I took a hilarious string of photos of Annabel yesterday and thought it would be fun to share them here. I loved the outfit she picked out and told her to give me a pose so I could take her picture. This is what she did...








 (Purple tongue from eating a grape popsicle...she's not part giraffe.)


After doing all her poses, she decided to get in a little workout...

Squats

Lunges




Burpees!
Oh this girl. She keeps me on my toes! Love her to pieces.

P.s. Happy St. Patrick's Day! And Happy Birthday, Aunt Jan!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

piano!





Ever since we bought our first house back in 2010, I've wanted to get a piano. As a kid, I took lessons for eight years starting when I was eight years old and had a definite love/hate relationship with the instrument. I loved playing, but, like all kids, I hated to practice. But at my mom's encouragement (and insistence!) I kept at it and got to the point where I could play some more challenging music. I was never very good at sight reading, and I was (and still am) really uncomfortable playing in front of anyone other than my family, but I really enjoyed most of the music my teacher gave me to play and had fun with it. Then I got really into sports and let the lessons go in favor of longer hours on the softball field. But the foundation I received as far as reading and understanding music proved extremely useful as I decided to give more and more instruments a try. 

I played the clarinet from 4th grade all the way through high school but also tried my hand at the french horn, the trombone, the tenor saxophone, the trumpet, and the drums. My inability to focus on any one instrument turned me into a musician that played the clarinet pretty well, the sax ok (just during my senior year when I joined a sax quartet before I even knew how to play one...and then had a difficult solo in a rendition of The Pink Panther that I had to play in front of lots of people more than once. Not my best decision but I made it through!) and just a C scale on everything else. And since my left hand isn't very coordinated, I never did well with the drums. I think it was the thrill of learning something new that kept me instrument hopping, but regardless, I never could have learned even the basics of other instruments as quickly as I did without my start on the piano. (So what I'm really saying is, thanks for making me stick with it Mom and Dad!) :)

Several months ago when we were at our neighbor's house, we heard them asking a music teacher friend of ours if she needed a piano at her school. They had a baby grand all wrapped up from their move almost a year ago and had nobody in the house to play it anymore and were looking to donate it to a good cause. At that point, I leaned over to Will and said to him, "If they don't find a place to donate it, maybe we should buy it!" I never thought we would even talk about it again and knew that really, it was out of the question at the moment as it would take us a few years to save up for a piano anyway.

Just a couple weeks ago, as Will and I were leaving our neighbor's house after dinner, they followed us outside and said the most amazing thing:  "We've been thinking a lot about it, and we want you guys to have the piano." 

I think both of our jaws hit the floor before we rushed to say that that would be wonderful and we'd love to talk about it and of course we'll pay for it! But they insisted on giving it to us, saying that they had overheard my comment to Will that night all those months ago and knew we would give it a good home.  And so, after many many thanks and hugs, we arranged to have it moved to our house. That happened on Monday evening of last week, we had it tuned the following day, and I picked up some beginner books for Tommy and a couple pieces of music for me the day after that. We've been spending time playing it every day since, and I have a feeling that not a day will go by without someone sitting down to play. It's a beautiful instrument and one that we will cherish for many years to come.

The last time I had full-time access to a piano was when I was 18 years old (almost 15 years ago!), and I am loving every second of sitting down to play these days. Without the pressure of having to practice in order to perform at church or at a recital, it's so relaxing to play through a piece of music I played all those years ago. I'm so incredibly thankful for this amazingly beautiful gift and can't wait to give our children the same great musical start that I received as a child.

Wishing you a lovely week, my friends!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Photo Friday!

Last Saturday night Robert & I had a blast hanging out with these three (+ some others!) while celebrating our good friend Justin's 30th birthday! I'm excited for another fun weekend, complete with some delicious Trรถegs beer, buying our wedding bands (!) and finishing up my current read Claire DeWitt & the City of the Dead. Have a lovely weekend! xoCarrie

 We've been loving the warmer days this week.  Unfortunately, it's not warm enough for the beach yet but pretending to be there is almost as great.  Have a great weekend!
xoDana

 We got a piano! It's been almost 15 years since I've had access to a piano right in my own home and I'm so excited to see how much I remember from my 8 years of lessons as a kid. Tommy and Annabel couldn't be more excited and have been writing their own songs daily. Hooray for music and this beautiful old instrument! Happy Weekend!
-chelsey