Thursday, June 27, 2013

How is summer camp going?

Remember our plans for Summer Camp?

It was my plan to be deliberate, and not loose control of our summer.

I have officially lost control.

Not of the summer, but mind, body, and soul.

Moving does that to a person’s mind.

I am thankful I made a plan so that I could maintain some sort of order in the midst of all the madness.

I wanted to give you an update of how it has all been working for us. 

It started off great….

and then it was time to get ready to move.

The benefit to the plan has been that I have stopped what I need to do, and do what we had planned to do.

The downfall is that plans change.

Luckily; I told my kids they would.

We have still had a great summer. 

We have crossed many things off our list, and even added a few new plans.

The morning routine works well on the mornings we don’t have to run out of the house.

We have learned to be a little flexible with it, and haven’t been as strict with the time frame.

It has made the kids accountable for themselves which I am thankful for.

I hope that once we settle in that our summer will be even smoother.

We have also been flexible with our days.  If something comes up, we change our plans and work in the original plan when time allows.

What would I change?  (every good plan needs adjusting)

I wouldn’t make them do the morning routine everyday.  We have kind of found that 3 days a week works well for us.

I have found that I hate FRIEND FRIDAY.  My kids are playing with friends all week anyways, and I don’t want the pressure of creating some friend activity.  Honestly, by Friday I am exhausted.  So Friday became FREE FRIDAY instead.

FREE FRIDAY is just that.  The Freedom to do whatever you want, including playing the computer and the Kindle at no charge.  Those are a small token fee at our house; so FREE feels awesome to them.  Our kids love the idea, and can still play with friends during the week.  This is a great day for me to catch up on the things I let go all week, because I have no plans and no one to entertain.  It is my favorite change.

Here is a peak at a few things we have done in the last two weeks:

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Our first make-it Monday craft (firework art)

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A trip to Perry Dell Farm to see how small businesses work in America. 

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I won’t ever forget how beautiful it is in Pennsylvania.  The farms here are amazing.

We were able to change our plans some and make a trip to the Baltimore Aquarium and the Inner Harbor.

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The kids enjoyed seeing all the big boats.

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I enjoyed seeing the jellyfish and octopus.

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Jonathan took a few days off so we enjoyed being with him, and let our other plans go.

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We have had an enjoyable summer so far.

We have made as much time for friends as possible so that we won’t have any regrets. 

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I will admit I have had some really stressful moments; but I am doing my best to survive and get by.  Hopefully my family will forgive the crazy that comes out in me when it’s moving time.  Why is this so stressful?

Now we will prepare to enjoy the rest of our summer in Utah.

I hope y’all are having a enjoyable summer at your house.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A little on the CRAZY side…

The packers are here and the packing has begun. 

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I thought this time around would be so easy because we have movers.

Nope….

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Still stressed.

I think I am certifiably CRAZY.  Lock me in the loony bin.

I can’t wait to be settled in to our new house.  The key word is SETTLE.

We are finally settling down.

Two cheers for life being permanent instead of temporary.

P.S. If I am missing from my blog for a while; you know why.

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Let the moving begin.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Crockpot Enchiladas

I have recently discovered my crockpot as my newest cooking tool.

Who needs an oven?

Not me.

I don’t have time for it, and it just heats up my little house.

So I have converted a whole bunch of my family favorites to be made in the crockpot.

This little recipe is simple and can be made in a skillet on the stove top.  As it is called skillet enchiladas.

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However, I decided to give it a go in my crockpot, and they turned out great.

What you need:

1# ground beef

1/4 C. chopped onion or minced onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can mild or medium enchilada sauce

1/2 cup milk

one can chopped green chilies

18 corn tortillas

pam cooking spray

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese (I used mozzarella and Mexican blend, because that is what I had.  I would also say that I used more then 2 1/2 C.)

Sour cream

The reason for the use of my crockpot is that I like to get things done in the morning so that I have less to do during that crazy afternoon time when kids are getting home from school.  This is also the time we seem to be running to all things kids.  You know everything they are involved in.  Oh, and I do throw a little Zumba in here too.  I guess I do add to the crazy.

I started this recipe in the morning.

I started by browning my hamburger with the chopped onion.  I often keep it simple and just add minced onion.

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When I am finished with my meats, I always rinse them in hot water.  This rinses off all the fat and grease.  Some say it looses it flavor, I say it looses some calories.

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Next up, add that to your crockpot with: soup, enchilada sauce, green chilies, and milk.

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Give it a good stir and put it on low for the day.

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See, I had this all done by 8:51 a.m. (kitchen cleaned and everything)  There is still more steps to this recipe, but to be finished later in the day.

Around 3 in the after noon, I finished this little recipe up.

I started by spraying a cookie sheet with cooking spray and laying down 6 tortillas.  Then I sprayed some more spray and added another layer, and one more layer spraying the top of that layer.

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Then I put them in my oven on 200 for about 6-8 minutes.  Just long enough to soften them.  This allows you to roll up the tortillas without them cracking(corn tortillas like to crack)(oh, and don’t look at my yucky oven.  It is old)

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My original recipe suggests dipping them in hot oil to roll them.  That makes me want to gag.  My tortilla drenched in oil… yeah that sounds good for you.

So this is the method I came up with, and though you are spraying them with a little cooking spray that seemed less crazy then drenching them in oil.

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Next pull the tortillas out and add a layer of cheese in the middle and roll it up.

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Add it to the crockpot,

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and push it down in the meat mixture.

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Continue to do this until you have a layer of enchiladas.

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Cover that with cheese.

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Repeat this process and make another layer.

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  Cover that layer with cheese.

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Once you have all your enchiladas in the mixture, cover them and put it on your keep warm setting. (ok and also embarrassing is my yucky crockpot.  It is getting a lot of use)

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We went to piano lessons this night and didn’t get home until 6:30.  They were perfect when we got home.

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They tasted just as good as they do in a skillet.  The problem for me with the skillet is that we were at piano and I didn’t have time to make them, so my crockpot did it for me. 

Thanks crock pot.

Top with sour cream.

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Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stylish; but on a budget

I get asked all the time where I buy my clothes and our kids clothes.  I thought it might be fun if I answered that question here on JandA&Co.

Watch for more posts about this as I share outfits for me and the kids that I pick up for a bargain.

I think it is such a waste to spend tons of money on clothes.  I have tried to teach this to my children.  I want them to know that you can look great without spending a fortune.

Yes!! I have been known to spend good money for a nice pair of jeans, but jeans are a staple and a good pair really will make you feel great.  Jeans are something that I wear everyday, so I think it is ok to spend a little bit more money on them.

I will also spend more money on pieces that will go with a lot and can be worn over and over with many outfits.

That is about the only thing that I will pay full price for.  Everything else must be on sale or clearance.  I almost always buy clearance for my kids.  They grow way to fast to pay full price for anything.  We have also been blessed with lots of hand me downs from friends.  The key is learning how to take the hand me downs and pair them with other sale items to create your own look.  Hopefully I can share some of that with you here.

Today, I thought I would share an outfit that I recently put together.

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I hit the thrift stores often, looking for a good deal.

You can always find name brand and nice clothing there. 

I don’t sit and rummage through every article of clothing.  I can usually spot the good items just by standing back and looking.  They will jump out at you.

Like this cute pair of cropped pants.

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I picked up these red beauties from New York & Company for just $3.50, and they still had the tags on them.

(ok,  I am not normally a size 2; I don’t want any haters.  Notice they also say stretch.  That is the key, but fitting in a size 2 made me want to buy them even more.)

I brought them home, and gave them a good wash.

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I paired them up with a cute stripped shirt from Old Navy bought on sale last year for just $6.

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Then a nice black Cardi which was $16 at Target.  I hate spending $16 for anything, but a black Cardigan is a staple and I wear it all the time.

Ok, so that really shows you how cheap I am.  What?  Dressing 6 people gets expensive.

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I found the shoes at Forever 21 for just $7.  I love buying shoes in silver and gold because they go with so much.

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The fun red flower pin was made by me out of left over red felt and a little tutorial from the web.  I made it like 3 years ago so I don’t know where the tutorial is.  Sorry Folks!! I am sure Pinterest has something.

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The earrings are from Target, and the cute necklace was a gift from Joella.  Joella happens to be the designer of these cute necklaces.

I bought the earrings for $7, but I got 7 pairs; so I would say they were just $1 a piece.  The necklace was FREE to me.

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The belt also came from Old Navy several years ago for about $8.  It has been such a versatile piece. Which is key when buying clothing. 

Ask yourself if it is good for only one outfit, or if you can wear it with lots of things?

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(taking a picture of yourself is so hard… I just couldn’t get a good one in my mirror)

So this little outfit comes in at just over $40.00.   Which is a steal.

Have you added up how much an entire outfit costs?  You will be amazed at how much money you wear everyday.

Stay tuned for more budget finds; and dressing for less.  I will even be sharing some things that my kids wear.

Don’t forget to check out your local thrift store to see what kind of deals you can find.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baseball Mom

I want a shirt that says Baseball mom; I would wear it proudly.

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I love baseball, and I could just sit at the park all day.

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There is something so relaxing about being at the ball field.

Even though it keeps us all so busy this time of year at 3 nights a week, I actually look forward to those nights.  The kids love to be at the ballpark too; even when it is hot and muggy.

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I look forward to getting out of the house, and having a break from the regular nightly routine.

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I love sitting outside, enjoying the weather and cheering for my baseball player.

It has been fun to watch him grow and learn.

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He is becoming such a good ball player; just like his dad.

It is fun to watch these two play catch together.  What a bonding experience.

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Jonathan has taught Jex to be quite the pitcher.

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Jex gets in the zone, and once he is there he can strike out anyone.

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Way to go Jex!!

Thanks for making me a Baseball Mom!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jewelry; show it off.

I love jewelry.  I have quite a collection.

I have received a lot as gifts, and also ordered some for myself.

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Just recently I hit a huge sale and scored bags of jewelry for $5 a bag.  Some of the jewelry was Anthropology, Express, and New York & Co.  It took some digging and perseverance, but I scored a whole stash.

I thought it would be fun to see how I use my jewelry collection as part of my d├ęcor in my home.

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This is my dresser in my room, and I love how my jewelry looks on it.

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I picked up this white milk glass bowl at a thrift store for a dollar.

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It is filled to the brim with bracelets and cuffs.

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I found 3 these white bowls at Target.  I believe they were two dollars a piece.

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One has my small stud earrings.

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One has some of my necklace charms, and bobby pins.

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…and another my larger stud earrings.

Next to my bed is a vintage desk.  It is also home to some of my jewelry collection.

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I have this fun mirror on the desk.  I thought it would be fun to hang some of my chunky necklaces from it.

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I also filled up one of my glass apothecary jars with some headbands and pins.  This was also a great place to hang some of my thinner chain jewelry.

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My collection isn’t limited to just jewelry; So pins and headbands work great in here.

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This would also look really fun with bracelets in it as well. 

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There are all sorts of jewelry trees out there.  I like the simple lines and colors of this one.

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I added some earrings and then the bottom is perfect for my rings.

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I also bought this really fun bird rack a few years ago at an antique store.  It looks so fun in my bathroom with all my necklaces hanging from it.

See how fun it is to let your jewelry make a statement in your decorating. 

You don’t have to hide it away.  Bring it out and show it off!

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