Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Recipie: Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

A while ago I was on Face time with a friend of mine who was making broccoli cheese soup and it looked delicious and easy.  I'm not usually a cheese based soup type of person, but I wanted to try it out for myself. Her ingredients included milk, a frozen pack of broccoli and cheese and a few other things.  By the time I bought my ingredients I had forgotten how she made hers so I searched around on Pinterest and found a few recipes.  Then I ran into two problems: either didn't have all the ingredients on hand that one called for or I didn't want to have 12 steps to make "easy broccoli cheese soup". I decided to try making my own with by mixing up a few different recipes.  I am excited to say that my soup turned out amazing and I will be making it again for sure!


1/2 white onion
olive oil 
1/2 block Velveeta cheese
1 can cream of broccoli soup
1 can of milk (just use the soup can)
1 frozen package of broccoli and cheese


Brown the onion in a little olive oil, put onion and oil into crock pot.  Cut up Velveeta into small blocks and place into crock pot.  Put the soup, milk and frozen broccoli into the crock.  

Cook on high for at least three hours or until all the cheese is melted.

Side note: this will make a large batch, if you intend to keep it and reheat for later I suggest adding a little water or broth (chicken or vegetable are both great options) before you reheat it because it will be pretty thick after it sits in the refrigerator or freezer. 

That's it!  How easy is that?  It is creamy, warm and cheesy, what more do you need in a soup on these cold winter days? 

Comment below with your favorite soup recipes, I'd love to try more homemade soups!

Linking up to House of Rose

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick and Easy Valentine

Tomorrow is a Hallmark holiday, the day of love, Cupid's day, it's...Valentine's day!!  I don't think we should only use days like this to proclaim our love for others (that should be done but also to show our appreciation for the special people in our lives.  Sometimes we forget that it's the little things that count.

It's saying thank you to that daycare provider who let you have a break by watching your kids.

It's reminding your child's teacher that you admire her strength when dealing with a room full of crazy kids.

It's telling your friend/neighbor/relative that you think of them more often than they know.

It's making someone smile.

It's eating tons of these (I only like the white ones!):

So, while I don't go crazy on this holiday by buying gifts for my husband and kids, I do like to do a little something for those extra special people in my life and in my children's lives.  So, we have simple Valentine's made for Dallas's class at the YMCA tomorrow and we have little treats for Liam's teachers in the "Kids Corner" (the drop in daycare center at the Y too).  I also have little gift bags I put together for our kids, thanks to the dollar spot at Target!

Here is one project we did that was quick, easy, cute, inexpensive and creative!  The kids made these for their Grandparents.  **Ahem, if you are one of those...please stop reading this now or you'll ruin the surprise that may be waiting in your mailbox!!

I'm sure you've seen a craft like this floating around on Facebook, this is how we made ours.

First you fold a piece of paper in half and trace your child's hand print:

Then you cut out the hand print, leaving the folded part with the thumb and pointer finger attached:

Cut out a heart in between those two fingers (no picture of this) and open the hands:

Take some bakers twine (mine was leftover from Christmas, the color is called sweetheart and it's red, white and pink):

Use a glue stick to attach the twine:

Add a message to the front and inside and you're done:

I used a few different messages on the inside.  Here are my ideas: 

~Ten little fingers isn't enough to count the many reasons why I love you.

~You make my heart happy. (Used the cutout heart area for the word "heart")

~Happy Valentine's Day. I love you (again, using the heart shape instead of the word "heart")

Then I had Dallas sign the right hand inside and I signed Liam's name for him on his Valentine's.  This was a fun craft.  I had all the supplies and it took about 15 minutes total.  I hope the Grandparents like them!! 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope you have a day filled with more love than usual and don't forget to make it a great day for someone special! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monthly Meal Plan #1

Well, it's February 11th and I am just getting around to share how our first ever monthly meal planning is going.  As you may (or may not) remember, I mentioned how I wanted to try out monthly meal planning after I tried weekly planning for a bit and see how it goes.  Well, if you consider two weeks long enough to test something out, then you'll know why we are here!  Weekly planning was easy, almost TOO easy, so I'm testing myself and taking up the monthly meal plan process.  So far, so good!  It works out great for my husband and I.  We had a ton of the food needed on hand and we should be staying out of the grocery store for a while.  Here's my process:

While you do this, think of my mantra!!

First, I looked in our freezer and our deep freezer and made a list of all the meat we had on hand and all of the vegetables.  The list I ended up with was amazing, kind of embarrassing, but mostly amazing.  We had enough meat to get through the first three weeks of the month.  To think that we have been going grocery shopping the last couple weeks is a little crazy!  Oops!  I'm vowing to use up most of what we have on hand and by the end of this month I think we will have a lot more room in our freezer...that means I'll be making a BUNCH of frozen meals.  Can't wait for that...

My mom's husband got a few deer last hunting season so we had quite a bit of venison.  Venison is not something I really enjoyed eating at first, but when cooked right, I can't tell the difference.  My husband has found a few great ways to disguise the flavor for me and lets just say that bacon is now my BFF!  I know, eating venison because it's healthy is a great way to go, adding bacon may make it less healthy, but we use it more for flavor, not necessarily to eat WITH the venison.  Make sense?  I hope so.

Anyway, after I finished my list I started by finding a free, cute calendar that I could edit with our meal plan. Here is the one I used.

Here is a copy of my calendar:

Most nights are pretty easy meals.  Some require a recipe, which you can find if you follow me on Pinterest and check out my "let's eat" board.

If you would like a recipe for something and you can't find it, send me a message or comment below and I'll be happy to get it for you.  I am loving this monthly meal plan so far!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are you a pinner?

One word...Pinterest.

It is a crazy, amazing, addictive, pretty, inspirational, user-friendly site.  It's one that makes me say, "why didn't I think of that?"  It's been around for a few (almost four) years and I was very hesitant to use it.  I originally heard about it from a blog I had been following for a while.  At the time I was following blogs and I was on the book of face (aka Facebook for those of you who aren't following me here!)  I didn't really want another site taking up my time.  I knew I would get sucked in for hours upon hours of searching, reading, thinking, pinning and wishing I had a house the size of Georgia and as much money as Donald Trump to complete all these beautiful projects I kept reading about.


Fast forward to now and I can honestly say, I love Pinterest and I have had an easy time keeping it under control for the past year or so. There's is a method to my pinning and I have always kept my Pinterest boards clean and organized.  What more would you expect from me really?!  So today I'm going to share how I do it, the things I think while I'm pinning or looking at pins and what I do with my pins on my boards every once in a while.

First things first.  Here's a great description of Pinterest if you don't already know about it.  

It's best to think about it as a collection of giant bulletin boards.  You know, cork boards, good old fashioned cork, with colorful little push pins holding up pretty pictures.  Does anyone use bulletin boards these days?  I had one when I was younger and  I'm pretty such mine had tons of pictures of Jonathan Taylor Thomas on it.  I hope you know who that is!!  Anyway, teen boy crushes...that's a topic for another day.

So, on to my method.  First, how I organize my boards.  I have 11 public boards.  Here are the categories I have and a brief description of what I keep in each:

Craft, Tips & Ideas - anything helpful for around the house, crafts I want to try, tips to completing crafts
Basement Ideas - we are still in the process of finishing our basement, these are ideas to help get there
Let's Eat - anything that sounds yummy!
Lookin' Good - workouts, clothing, jewelry, etc.
Ideas for L - things I want to try with Liam, gift ideas for him, decorating ideas for his room
Ideas for D - things I want to try with Dallas, gift ideas for him, decorating ideas for his room
Pictures - new and fun picture poses, tips on using our DSLR camera

Pinterest Ideas I've Tried - anything I have completed from Pinterest, comments of what I thought
IKEA - things I NEED from IKEA.  Yes, I need these things!
Master - ideas for our Mini Master Bedroom Redo
Journey with the Jeffers - pins from this little bloggeroo!

*One note.  The "Master" board, once the master bedroom is finished, this board will get deleted and a new one will take it's place regarding the next room I plan to work on/finish/redo.  I don't like to have a board for the kitchen, one for the living room, one for that bathroom, etc.  I get too overwhelmed finding things for all over the house.  It works better for me to focus on one room at a time.  When the next room comes along, I'll search for new ideas for that room.  Chances are there will be 18 million ideas for the next room, there's really never a shortage for ideas on Pinterest :)

Next, how I decide if something is pin-worthy or not.  While I'm scrolling though, I see tons of things I would love to do..someday.  But Pinterest for me is about the now.  What I think I'll do either now, soon, or in the near future.  It's not about what I may want to do in five years.

Let's be real here, there's a good chance Pinterest is not going to be here in five years. There's probably going to be some other new hip site that does just about that same thing, but they will have some cutting edge sort of ideas that will blow Pinterest out of the water.  Maybe we will be able to order samples of cookies to try before we bake them using a recipe we found on this new site.  Maybe we will be able to feel fabric through our computer screens before we buy it for a craft project we found on that site.  Maybe we will even be able to Skype (assuming that's still a "thing" at this time) with someone who actually tried a workout activity we found on the new site and ask them one million questions about their experience.

So, in order to keep things practical and organized I pin things I will try in our current house.  I pin things I want to do with my kids in the next year or so.  I pin things I would actually wear now or eat soon.

Another way I decide if it's worth it is looking to see what the pin all entails.  Is it a recipe with 16 steps and odd food items I can't get locally?  Is it a craft project that requires a product you can only get from New Zealand?  Is it a building project that's going to cost double for my husband to make than it would to buy (probably from IKEA)?  If the answer to any of these questions (or any other question I find myself asking) is yes.  I don't pin it.

Finally, how do I keep my boards organized?  Once in a while I go through my boards and decide if I pinned something I now have decided not to complete or saw someone else tried to complete and said it was not worth the time or effort.  I also look for things I tried and move them to my "Pinterest Ideas I've Tried" board.  At that time I also change the comment of the pin to include my thoughts.  I also take the time to make sure each pin is on the correct board.  Technology is funny sometimes and even though you think you saved something somewhere, it doesn't end up there!  I've found shirts I pinned for myself on my "Ideas for D" board.

I have been able to keep my total number of pins to a manageable amount by completing all these steps and I like it that way!  I  currently have 449 pins and 108 of those are on my "Pinterest Ideas I've Tried" board. I think that's a pretty good record!

Using Pinterest for practical things, that's my tip numero uno!!  What's the point in keeping a bunch of stuff around that you will never really do?  That's the question to ask yourself when you organize your Pinterest Boards, or a room in your house.  Here's an interesting article about what clutter can cost you.  I heard this concept a few years ago and I always thought it was interesting.  Even though this post is about keeping your Pinterest clean and organized, I think this is a great place to share the article with you...

Pinterest.  What do you use it for?  Have you even heard of it?  Do you loose hours of your life daydreaming about Pins you wish you could do?  Share in the comments!  And in closing...

and yes, this has happened a time or two!