Friday, October 28, 2011

ultimate comfort in a crock pot

So, I only make a few things in my crockpot.

Every time I do, I wonder why I don't choose to make MORE things in there.

This recipe I want to share today is our quintessential recipe for Macaroni & Cheese. It's texture is SUPER rich, very creamy & feeds a TON!

This recipe is NOT vegan for those of you who got excited about finally finding a vegan alternative....sorry 'bout that.

My boys rave & quietly devour this when made. In fact, it's the perfect football-eating food on a rainy day.

Most of the ingredients you probably ALREADY have - even better!

3c macaroni noodles, cooked al dente
3+ cups of cheese (the more, the cheesier obviously)
1 can evaporated milk
garlic (as much as you enjoy) I use 2 cloves minimum.
1 stick of butter, melted
1 egg
salt/pepper to taste

Step 1: Spray down the crock pot with PAM to avoid a messy cleanup

Step 2: Cook your Macaroni and pour into sprayed crock pot
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients, mix well

Step 4: Cook 2.5 to 3 hours on low and DO NOT STIR.

After the time is up, you will have creamy mac'n'cheese in the middle with some texture along the rim that is DELISH!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

i know this is way PREMATURE

But I'm already kinda getting into the Christmas spirit....

It's like we had Lee's party, are back from Ireland, Halloween will be done & over with in a day or two - so I'm just ready.

While I love to decorate my home, I especially get thrilled with gift wrapping ideas & package design. Here is some of my inspiration thus far...stop reading unless you are prepared to get all Christmasy like me....If you are up for it, grab a gingerbread man cookie and lets lust over this packaging!
this lovely ladybug idea is so fun & playful - courtesy of

and sometimes I like to pretend I own my own bakery and all I want to do is wrap up baked goods in polka-dot boxes and tie with a string....

and then the idea of Kraft paper, tulle & a sweet ornament make me melt.

The packaging is one thing but what I really must decide is what my 'handmade' gift to the women in my life shall be....chocolate? delicate baked goods? handmade cards? I guess you will have to wait and see!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

it's getting serious: 1st Grade

I totally remember 1st grade.

My teacher was super pretty. Wore a tad too much mascara but couldn't really blame her.

I remember loving to be in front of the class reading aloud (thinking I was this super duper fast reader) when I was just at a normal level.

I also remember getting into 'real' learning. It set Kindergarten apart in a big way when we started adding large numbers - numbers that were higher than our fingers could count up to.

I am watching this 6 yr old boy's 1st grade experience and I could NOT be happier. His teacher is so friendly yet so 'down to business' when it comes to math & reading. My son is falling in love with books and I just couldn't be happier.

The new thing at school is counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, 100's & so on.

So, with all the leftover candy corn from Leland's birthday party, we are making a game of it.

Everyday after school, Jude is allowed to have a small amount of candy corn if he counts them correctly. If he doesn't count them, Mommy gets them! He hasn't messed up once.

Monday, October 24, 2011

as if we didn't have enough going on...

This week turned into a monster that I feel I completely built myself.

I am the one who said 'Yes' to each item
I am also big on getting it done, even to my own hurt.

Usually, I regret being away & doing too much.

'Cept, it was all really fun stuff.

A video shoot at my hubby's design firm that was just plain old fun & allowed me to meet some really wonderful first training with Bobbi Brown which left me fantastically in love with the products...and then doing tons & tons of makeup SELLING the BB product. Oh and yeah, we threw a little birthday party for my baby! Ok....he's turning 2 so maybe he's a boy. Nope. he's still my baby.

All in all, I have to say that while the pace was not something I could EVER do consistently, I am really glad I did it all. I feel really blessed to be in the place & moment I'm in. It's why I write. It's so I don't forget.

The other little tid bit of this last week was falling in love with Bobbi's new Marrakesh Fall 2011 line of color. I'm a pigment lover and these shadows & lip colors DELIVERED 100%. They're formulated with a wax that makes them perfect for smudging, using on lid/crease or even liners....

Monday, October 17, 2011

first things first

It's one of those rare mornings where I'm up early and Leland isn't yet. I want to go back to sleep yet I know what a week I have coming at me.

There are 4 different worlds that seem to exist: a 'work' world, a 'family' world, a 'makeup artist' world, & a 'marriage world'.

I feel it coming - the craziness of a week where all 4 worlds will spin and I'll feel out of control. Taking the quiet of this Monday morning to organize my thoughts & my mind so that I can just deal with one at a time.

Thankful the husband finished up 2 major projects at work last week and will be my partner again this week. I really do not know where I'd be without his love & care.

Hope you get a moment to organize all the worlds you've got balanced....and still enjoy all the blessings life has to offer.

Meanwhile....check out my little lovely scarf I got last weekend & cannot stop burnt orange, it's just the perfect way to stay cozy and warm.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the 'now'

As with all human kind, we tend to look ahead or we dwell in the past but rarely take time to realize the place we currently stand is so very beautiful.

Not always. I mean the hard stuff becomes beautiful but it's still hard.

I had a moment this morning where I smiled at my little world. We're happy, content, & provided for. We have a safety of friendships that enclose us and help us feel cared for. We have little 'want' for much. Just life and people to share it with.

Amazing when you re-enter life after being away - the way I look at my boys is different. I get up a little bit earlier just so I can lay down with Jude before I wake him up for school. I'm not quite as focused on getting that laundry running first thing but instead I let Leland snuggle for just about as long as he'd like.

Things are undone. The checklist hasn't been nearly half-way checked. That is OK.

I am thrilled for the journey I'm on with these men of mine & a future that is bright and open. Who knows where we'll end up or who we'll meet along the way....

I was inspired when I saw this on etsy today which complimented my current state rather perfectly.

Friday, October 7, 2011

fallon & byrne

I absolutely fell in love with this place in downtown Dublin. It's 'under the radar' location makes it a surprising welcome once you see the size of this market.

We perused the organic meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate & skin care products. If you go upstairs, you can enjoy fine dining & if you go downstairs, you can enjoy tapas & a wall-sized wine cellar. This little gem is a great place to stock up on treats for your hotel room (precisely what WE did).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

our shenanigans in Ireland

There is no way to tell each and every story of this trip.

I'd either bore you silly or neglect my children so I'm boiling it down to a cheesy little top ten. I feel like it will forever help me remember the beautiful trip this was and will adequately describe how we spent our time in this glorious country.

Starting with #10 The beautiful Liffey River
This river cuts the city of Dublin in half and invites joggers, walkers, and shoppers to explore. The bridges that cross over her are so different. Some are lit. Some are architecturally bizarre but I just loved crossing over this river every time.

#9 Jameson Distillery & Guinness Storehouse.
I simply had no idea how much went into making these highly coveted liquids. Joel & I used a rainy Dublin day for this part of our was perfect.

#8 Seeing 'Donka a Letter to Chekov' at the Dublin Theater Festival all dressed up with my love. SO loved the Gaiety Theatre in downtown Dublin.

#7 Shopping the infamous Grafton Street...even in the pouring rain, I could have perused for hours...

#6 Arriving in Dublin on the warmest day of their ENTIRE YEAR and exploring Trinity College & seeing the majestic Book of Kells. Will never forget this day.

#5 St. Patrick's Cathedral. Standing before such history was truly remarkable.

#4 Climbing the Burren mountains with Joel & seeing the countryside I've been imagining for months and months.

#3 Eating at this quaint little scone house - Queen of Tarts. This award winning breakfast & lunch spot stole my heart & made me want to open a CLE branch...

#2 The almighty Cliffs of Moher. There are no words.

#1 - Of course was having an adventure with my best friend & love, Joel. There was SO much more that he and I were able to see, hear, do & experience....I am just so proud to have been at his side. Abroad & always.