Monday, March 12, 2018

Tacos all around

Crockpot Chile Verde

I have never cooked with tomatillos before so I treated them like tomatoes and cut the area of the stem out.  I’m pretty sure that was right.  Then just followed the recipe for the most part.  I added a touch more seasoning to make up for the extra pork I added.  In hindsight, I should have added more tomatillos as well.  Though never having worked with them before I was unsure what that would do.  The kids needed to be able to eat this after all. 

In the crockpot is cubes pork, diced tomatillos, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  There is nothing spicy about this at all though it smelled spicy.  I got a bit nervous so before I added the bell pepper for the last 30minutes of cooking, I tried it.  Since it wasn’t spicy but very flavorful the kids would, in fact, get the meat for dinner.  

For Bear. we drained the pork mixture and added it to a flour tortilla with some cilantro and diced onions.  Wrapped it up real tight and fed him a few bites.  He ate a whole taco himself.  Eve had some pork mixture on a plate with a cut up a flour tortilla and some apple slices.  She was not a huge fan of the pork but we will try again.  

Hubby had his with a bunch of cilantro, diced onions, and jalapeños.  While I had mine with a tiny bit of cilantro, diced onions, and jalapeños but a bunch of diced tomatoes.  Next time we do this we need to pick up or really make a salsa verde to go with it.  I think a hit of spice is what was missing. 

When I perfect it I will post the recipe on here.  I think this being the first time it was pretty good.  The pork mixture was extremely flavorful, but I think it needed some more texture to the tacos.  I knew this in advance so we had the diced onions and jalapeños.  However, I feel like it was missing something.  That could have been salsa so we shall see the next time I make it.  

Have you made Chile Verde or salsa verde?  How did you do it?  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Power washing the fence

The back of our fence has always been this gray weathered color whereas the sides are still the standard untreated wood.  They haven’t been up anywhere near as long as the back fence.  So they clearly haven’t taken on the gray color.  Frankly, it didn’t bother me too much but the two-tone fencing was a bit of an eyesore.  Technically speaking the HOA is in charge of the back fence as it is along the road.  They, however, do very little in the way of maintaining it other than to keep it standing and looks OK.  All the fences along all the streets look this way because they don’t treat or seal the wood. 

Hubby wanted to do a clear coat seal on our fence and on our side of the back fence.  It would help extend the life of the fence and keep it looking better for longer.  We have put time into the yard and the fence around should look just as good.  Before he sprayed it, I suggested it be power washed. We have one and its low cost.  

The goal is to make these two fences look like closer to the same color before sealing it.  The backs of the fences (our neighbors' sides) have already been done.  We just haven’t gotten around to doing our sides.  The plan is to do them in the coming weeks so if the back fence was going to be power washed, the sooner the better.  

He had barely started when you could see an immediate difference!  There was so much crap that came up it was crazy!  It would obviously take time but the results would be something we liked.

Halfway through and it looked like a completely different fence.  I mean talk about before and afters!  

When I came out to snap a few pictures Hubby wrote a little message on the fence.  It would easily come off but it was cute.  Totally unexpected and major useless brownie points.  

I couldn’t get a picture of it but the junk splattering off this fence was gross.  The water close to it was a mucky gray.  Completely grossed me out.  Thankfully Hubby enjoys doing this stuff as I do not.  Power washing is not my cup of tea but I will enjoy the outcome of a cleaned back fence.

This is the results.  We are so very happy with it.  The fences look like they belong next to each other.  When we get a couple of dry days hubby will clear coat our fence.  It will be set for the next few years then before “we” (really he) has to do it again.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Catching Up

I feel like it's been a while since I did one of these posts so here we go...

Eve is 19mo but just had her 18mo appointment with the pediatrics.  She is on target in all areas except speech.  We may be hyper-vigilant about this because of Bear and his history but I still feel like she is behind.  Eve says words, about 15 or so, which is the low end of normal.  However those words I don't have much meaning.  For example, she calls Hubby "dada" but will also call me "dada" sometimes as well.  She will say "Coco" but I don't think she realizes that's our dog.  Or either pup for that matter. 

The pediatrician started the process by sending in the paperwork to an agency.  I got a call from them and because of our insurance, they don't pay out because of the code its listed under.  That means we would have to pay out of pocket.  Right now we don't have that as an option so we are going through the state for early intervention to do her evaluation.  In the meantime, I will continue to work with her to try to help her the best I can.  

Eve has been pushing to copy Bear more and more.  As much as I want to keep her little, this is just part of growing up.  She wants to run with the big dogs but she obviously isn't able to keep up.  We are easing her in slowly.  Bear is super patient with her through all of it.  I have been giving them snacks at the table together while we watch a show after school.  They have always played well together but I have been letting her play in his room and vice versa.  We still keep a close eye on her and keep the small toys away but since she is not a kid that puts things in her mouth it's going really well.  

I also have been able to continue decluttering the house.  My focus has been on our bedroom and getting things together in there.  In the evenings after the kids have gone to sleep, we get to work.  I have been using part of that time to catch up on the Bachelor.  I have not seen the final episodes but I do know what happened.  I still can't believe how horrible Arie is as the bachelor.  Its been one interesting season so far for sure!  I take the time while watching to go through my clothes and downsize.  I have a to still go through two more drawers of my makeup cabinet but there is a light at the end of the tunnel here.  Though I could use some more lively company while I work.  Duke just sits and stared at me, hence the computer with the Bachelor.  There is not much left to go through and this weekend I will be able to finish the master bedroom.  

Another room down but a whole house left to go it feels like.  I know this is a slow process to go through everything but I feel the added pressure to do it all now as we have a community yard sale in about 2 weeks.  It is the best opportunity to make a few bucks for things we don't want anymore.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

“Let's Get the Mail”

This is Bears favorite words to hear every evening.  One of his "jobs" is to help us get the mail.  He will walk or run to the mailboxes with one of us.  Then carry something back to the house.  A little bit of responsibilities is good for him.  He gets some extra exercise and feels like he's doing something that benefits the house.  When he gets old enough this may become his job but we will see how he does until then.

I love the airplane arms

Monday, March 5, 2018

Apple Watch

A few months ago Hubby had picked up and an Apple watch.  He loves it and that made me start doing some research on it.  I decided to get one as well.  Though I planned to get the series 2 that was going out of stock.  I made a bunch of phone calls but found one in the color (silver) and size (38mm) I wanted.  When I arrived it sadly was not the correct one but they did have the series 3.  I didn't want to spend so much on it which is why I went for the series 2 initially.  However, I am happy with my series 3.  It all worked out for the best.  

Do you have an apple watch? 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Shepard’s Pie First Attempt

I have never made Shepard's pie before so this who thing was an experiment.  I used a few different recipes I meshed together.  There were a few ingredients I need to switch out based on what I had on hand.  I'm not going to list the recipe just yet as I am still working on it but here are some pictures of the process. 

I used ground beef instead of lamb as that's just what I had on hand.  The point of this meal was to use up what I had in the house so ground beef it is.  I didn't notice a difference in the end.

I used a small bag of carrots and almost equal amount of celery.  I did not use the leaves but they would have added flavor to it.  There was another recipe I was reserving that part for though.

Also a whole bag of frozen peas along with red and yellow bell peppers.  I didn't want them to get too soft while cooking in the oven.  The whole mix as heated through before adding the liquid.

There was a bit too much filling so I reserved some in a container to use later after it was all cooked.  I think once the potatoes where added the whole thing could have overflowed.  This will but put in the freezer.  When I want to make it again I will thaw it then pick up where I left off.

I added the liquid for after it was all mixed in.  This would meld everything together while adding flavor to the whole dish.  

While I was making the filling the potatoes were boiling away on the side.  The potatoes were a bit loose.  One of the recipes called for using some of the cooking water.  I followed the plan but I think I should have cut back on the cream cheese in the potatoes to make up for the cooking liquid,

I baked it low and slow to cook out the extra liquid from the potatoes.  

It took longer but it did firm up the potatoes and made a nice gravy in the filling.  My Le Creuset braiser is the real rockstar here.  I love love love that I did not have to put this into another dish for baking.  Totally worth the investment.

This is not the prettiest looking dish when plated but I love all the extra vegetables in filling.  There was a decent texture to the filling.  However, I think leaving it in longer to dry out the potatoes cooked the filling more than I wanted.  

It was pretty darn good for a first attempt.  I think there are few more tweaks and it will be perfect.  This was something that both kids willingly ate which me excited to keep going to perfect this recipe.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sell All the Things!

The biggest goal I have this year is to get rid of the stuff we no longer have a need or use for.  Since we bought this new house I have had the urge to get rid of anything that doesn’t have a space to go.  big or little it doesn't matter.  I want it gone!   In March we have a huge community yard sale but I know selling some big items online before may be the way to go.  Time to get rid of the excess!

To start with I sold the cargo carrier we used during this move.  I’m not sure we would have made it here without this but we don’t need it anymore.  We also have no place to store if we did keep it so it goes!  Two days on the sale site and it was gone.  We happily tossed it into the buyers RV, toss the cash in my money box and moved on to the next item for sale.

We bought new couches when we moved in and there is no place for these.  They are taking up space in our garage and I for one am ecstatic to see the sofas toss into the back of a dudes pickup truck.  

When posting them I was completely honest.  They are old, they have seen better days.  There is a rip on each couch from the movers and a wax spot on the back of one.  The buyer didn’t care.  He took one quick look, shoved the money in my face and off they went.  

Be honest when posting items. 
It's not brand new stop pretending it is. 

The biggest items (based on quantity) that need to go are the kids' clothes.  I am dividing them up into those worth $1 (or less) and those worth more on top of size and gender.  I will only sell the $1 or less items at the yard sale and the rest is getting sold online.  I think that may even drop down to 25cents per item just get rid of them.  I would rather focus on the better items and sell those at higher cost online.  Whatever doesn’t sell at the yard sale I will toss online one final time for a single lot.  If that doesn’t move quickly then it’s getting donated.  

The other items I am planning to sell online are in better shape. They are worth 2-3 dollars a piece.  They will hopefully not sit around once if figure out how to do the whole shipping thing online.

These are all getting sold online even though some are for a $1.  I want sets to stay together as it’s harder to sell individual onesies or shorts.  This is easier said than done as we are a bit further out than people care to drive.  The community yard sale will draw the people out here.  I think I can unload most of the baby clothes.  Fingers crossed!

Other things I am giving away to family and friends.  Some kids clothes of course but also things like makeup.  Think about it, when was the last time you went through your makeup.  Anything that smells off or is a few years old is getting tossed out.  However, I am left with all this stuff I know I won't use and haven't.  That is what I am giving away.  I am too old for lip gloss with glitter so let its pass that on to someone half my age. These are all brand new.  I used to get so many samples and PR packages that I didn't know what to do with them all.  Now that I am not doing makeup professionally anymore it needs to go.   As soon as I finish going through it all I will send out the packages. 

I've made a few bucks and hopefully plenty more but also giving away what can't be sold. I am happy that we can get rid of the excesses and old item.  Clear out the things the kids don't play with anymore.  That sort of thing.  This will be a good spring cleaning!   

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Coat Closet Remodel

We did the butler pantry and now we wanted to redo the coat closet.  This post is long overdue but here it is.  I never took a before picture but there were a single small shelf and a bar in the back of this deep closet.  The plan is to have a coat rack area around the corner from this area.  This closet will turn into shelving that we really need. 

Much like with the butler pantry, if we were going to fix it up then it needed to be done right.  The texture needed to come off the wall.  I set out to get it done.

The ceiling was by far the hardest to do.  The overhead angles are just unnatural positions to be scraping and the water mists down on you.  Not fun. Huge mess like before.

Yet, its all done.  This one went so much smoother than the last one.  I learned a lot the first time and even more this time.  The closet took me half the time the last one did. Yes, it is smaller and fewer angles but it did take me less time.  Would have been even faster if I didn't need to stop to answer the door for sales people a couple of times. 

Not the best I could have done but it is not too bad if I say so.  Hubby did a bit of sanding around the door frame and where I gashed the walls a bit.  All in all not bad.

He also skim coated with a thinned out compound just like in the previous closet.  Obviously, the second time around was a bit easier for him as well. 

Painting commenced once it was all dry.  This is the same color, Tinsmith by Behr.  Its a nice pale blue for the closets.  The more I see it the more I love it.  We also figured out height and depth of the shelves.   

The bottom shelf will be the deepest and have the largest gap under it to fit the big grinder in its box.  The rest will be slightly shorter but it is a deep closet and we want to make the most of the space.

Once again just like the other shelves they painted white.  We painted them on the kitchen island as it was too cold out to do so outside.  It was an easy task once the kids went to bed.  They came out perfect but needed an extra coat that we did not expect.  Not a big deal as we had more than enough paint to finish the job.  

The brackets for the shelves here are easier to do.  The shelve will just rest of the brackets as there is no need to fix them in place.  The weight on them will hold them in place.  Hubby angled look to the front of them which I really like as it gives it a more finished look once complete.

With the brackets painted the shelves could go in.  They needed some minor tweaking before they would fit perfectly.  Once in place, I could finally see how it was supposed to be.  

Here is the finished project.  Hubby simply laid the shelves on the wall brackets.    I love how it turned out.  Lots of some much-needed usable storage space. 

The shelves at the bottom are deeper than the ones at the top.  This picture shows it the best.  The bottom shelf is 18inches deep then get shallower with the top few shelves being 14inches deep each.  This is so you can still have room to get items in and out with ease the higher up you go.  And if you really wanted to there is room for a bar to go back into the closet with the shelving in there.  Though we won't be doing that.  I just like that there is an option for it.

This took us significantly less time than it did before.  I think the laundry room might be next but we shall see what we need to do when we have the time to do more.  While I would like that to be the laundry room I am not sure if that will be it or not.  However, right now I need to start putting items into this closet like our fine china and kitchen linens.  YAY for another completed home project!

Tacos all around

Crockpot Chile Verde I have never cooked with tomatillos before so I treated them like tomatoes and cut the area of the stem out.  ...