Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“Dude, get on that already!”

What??  What’s this??  TWO post in the same week??  It’s a MIRACLE!!!  :)

I am really starting to feel like I am getting my “mom” routine down.  It’s been going a little something like this:

8:00 – wake up, feed Jude, hear strange noises coming from the closet, go check it out and realize Miles has been up WAY longer than me, but is entertaining himself by hiding in my closet and playing Temple Run on my iPad (which he very sneakily got off my night stand without waking me).

8:30 – Finish feeding the Judesters and put him back down to sleep, make spinach smoothies for myself and my little sneaker, (or pancakes, or oatmeal, or cheesy eggs if he wants them,) sit up to the table and have our “morning devotional.” This consists of a prayer, working on memorizing the monthly primary scripture, singing the monthly primary song, and quizzing Miles on his addition and subtraction.

9:00 – clear dishes and send Miles to get dressed.  Once he’s presentable for the day he gets free time.  He usually chooses to use this free time by playing Temple Run on the iPad, or Tanks on the Wii.  I clean up breakfast, clean the kitchen and tidy the living room.  If it’s Monday I start my weekly cleaning routine.  If it’s T/W/TH, I go get myself ready, then change and dress Jude.  (If it’s Friday, I’ll probably let us all get back in bed & watch cartoons ‘til lunch)

9:30 – If it’s Monday, I am still cleaning.  :)  T/W/Th – Get ready to leave for Gymnastics/Play group/Primary meeting.  I get Jude in his seat, tell Miles to go get buckled, run back inside when I decide I can’t leave without a diet pepsi, realize that instead of Miles getting in the car, he has chosen to ride his bike, and is now halfway down the block. 

9:45 – Finally get Miles in the car and buckled, and we are off! 

11:30-12 – get home from wherever we went, eat a quick lunch, load back in the car to head to preschool.

12:15 – Drop Miles off at preschool

12:30 – back home, feed Jude, put him down for a nap

1:00 – 3:00 - MOMS FREE TIME!!!  (yeah right)  I try and use this time to get in a workout, grocery shop, finish cleaning, do laundry, plan my weekly menu, plan the Family Home Evening lesson, do Primary assignments, make my grocery list, shower, play with Jude, return phone calls, Blog, read OTHER people’s blogs, work on writing assignments, drink Diet Pepsi (lots and lots of Diet Pepsi), set the table, and start any necessary dinner prep. 

3:00 – Get Jude loaded in the car, leave to pick up Miles from preschool

3:15 – Pick up Miles

3:30 – back home.  We have an afternoon snack and I try to pry any information I can about his day at preschool out of my tight-lipped son.  And then we work on handwriting.

4:00 – Miles gets free time, Mom feeds Jude, then starts dinner.  If it’s a leftovers night, or dinner is in the oven, I play games with Miles, or we read stories.

5-6:30 – Dad gets home (hopefully), we eat, clear the table, Dad plays with the boys while mom finishes dishes and tidying the kitchen

6:30-7:30 – Get boys ready for bed, read stories & scriptures, prayers, lights out, then sing songs and snuggle a little.

8:00 – Miles is asleep, I feed Jude and put him to bed, finish any house work, work on blog posts or writing assignments while watching some sweet TV shows, Dad studies and falls asleep at his desk.

8:30, 9:00, 9:30 – Miles gets out of bed and says he needs to tell me something.  I put him back.  He cries and says I’m mean and that he’s not my “fwiend” anymore.

10:00 – Miles is FINALLY really asleep

12:00 – I feed Jude and go to bed

3:30-4:00  - I wake up to feed Jude and realize that Miles has snuck down and made himself a little bed in my closet.  I leave him there and go back to bed.

Then we wake up 4 hours later and do it all again!

It has been great for us to be getting into a more regular routine.  It is really helping me manage my time more effectively, and allowing me a little more time to do things I WANT to do…not just the things I NEED to do.  It has been awhile since that has happened.  Doing things I WANT to do, that is, and my “to-do” list has been growing exponentially since the Judesters was born.  Which is why I have decided to follow the lead of my Bloggie Idols over on YHL and adopt their “Dude, get on that already!” weekly challenge.  It’s simple enough.  I’ll just pick something I have been wanting to do but haven’t found the time to ACTUALLY do, and just DO IT already.

But where to start…I could:

  • pick my basement organization project that I have been wanting to get to since we moved this past June
  • Or maybe I should catch up on all the posts I have been WANTING to blog, like Christmas, Miles birthday, and oh yeah…the birth of our second baby.  :) 
  • Or should I pick a crafty project, like finally completing the nursery gallery wall, hanging the mobile I made for Jude’s nursery, or making the pennant banner I have been wanting to hang??? 

Decisions, decisions.

In keeping with my “one little word” to prioritize..(what??? I haven’t shared that with you either?  I’ll put it on the list.)  I’m going to HAVE to bump my little blue-eyed cuties to the top of my “to-do”s.  Jude is already 4.5 months old, after all, and he has hardly logged any blog time at all.  Miles’ birthday was 4 months ago, and I still haven’t shared the pictures.  AND, I just love looking at those cute little faces.


So its settled.  “Dude…I am finally going to catch up on my blog posts”. 

I’m giving myself 1 week to get it all wrapped up, and will share links to all my posts next Tuesday.

Anyone else want to play along?  I’d love a little company!  What’s your “Dude, get on that already!” project going to be??

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Monday: Feb 6-Feb 12 2012

Am I the only one who feels like I go to bed Sunday night and wake up on Saturday morning???  My weeks seem to just FLY by these days.  But I scrounged up a bit of time to get my menu together.  (Thank you Super Bowl for giving me permission to sit on my duff and work on my computer for a few hours!)
A little news in the Romer household:  Jude might be allergic to dairy! :(  He has been getting rashes on his forehead and the crown of his head, so the pediatrician suggested I go “dairy free” for a couple weeks to see what happens.  Long story short: After some experimenting, I became convinced it was his baby shampoo causing the rashes.  So I went full-steam ahead eating anything that listed milk as an ingredient and discontinued using the shampoo. And now his rashes are back.  Boo.  Looks like it might be the dairy after all.
So for all you dairy loving foodies…I apologize in advance for my cheese-less menus.  Feel free to add as much cheese as you want.  I’m jealous.  But its for a good cause.  Hopefully only a few “dairy free” weeks will allow us to pinpoint what is really causing the problem.

02 Feb 6 - Feb 12

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Mom Knows… and other announcements

I know, I know…I’ve been promising an announcement.  And probably MOST of you are already aware…but just in case you haven’t heard…
It’s official:

I'm a writer

Menu Monday: Jan 30-Feb 5

I should probably change the title to Menu Tuesday…seeing as that is when I usually get the darn thing posted, but it just doesn’t have quite the same ring.  :) 

Here’s this week’s disclaimer:  My menu is kind of lame.  I normally shy away from having so many of the same “types” of foods in one week, but I have several things in the fridge I need to use up before they expire.  And I’m not at all feeling creative in the culinary department.  And I just plain don’t want to go grocery shopping.
I never got to the Greek Pastitsio last week, so it’s a repeat.  I know.  Lame.
But here it is none the less….

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Menu Monday: Jan 9-Jan 15

Another week, and another menu.  (And another week with ONLY my menu posted on the blog.)  Ha!  I guess we know where my priorities are!  FOOD…always food. I’m trying lots of new recipes this week, and I am super excited.  The only drawback is I can’t vouch for their deliciousness, because I haven’t tried them yet.  But I am entirely confident they will be wonderful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu (and hangin out with the parentals)


Ahhh, menu Monday.  The first of 2012.  I almost went ahead and skipped this week, because my most favorite parents are here in Michigan for a visit.  We have been having a great time hangin around, enjoying each others company, and baking LOTS of yummy treats.  So I thought I would just forgo planning my menu.  And then I realized, we still have to eat!  :)  So this is what I decided on.

Jan 2-8

Yes, I’m doing the Clam Chowder and Italian bread bowls again.  They are just SOO good.  Also, I have worked pretty darn hard lately to improve my cooking/baking. I am excited to show them off a little and impress my mom with my bread bowl making skillzzzzz.

And PUH-LEASE, do yourself a favor and make these Ooey Gooey Marshmallowey Peanut Butter Brownies from Our Best Bites.  Seriously.  Just do it.  (You can thank me later.)


I have green and red peppers left over from my Chicken a la king I made over Christmas, so I decided it would be a perfect chance to whip up these Amazing Chilis Fajitas from The Sisters Cafe. 


Sloppy Joe’s

Sloppy Joe

These Sloppy Joe’s are so yummy.  It might look like a lot of ingredients, but its really not that bad.  And its worth it.  But I admit.  When I am in a pinch, or I just don’t feel like throwing this together…I open a can of “Manwich”.  We’ll see how it plays out.


Cheesy Mostaccioli

Cheesy Mostaccioli

I honestly could not decide what to make for Saturday, until I remembered I had a pan of this tasty pasta in the freezer.  I {heart} a good freezer meal!  Hoorah!!!


Sunday’s meal is going to be pretty simple.  I am just putting a ham in the oven, and preparing the most mouthwatering funeral potatoes ever.  EVER!!!  I haven’t typed up the recipe yet, but I’ll add the link as soon as I do.

I am already stumped for next week’s recipes.  Any suggestions???  Or any foodie websites I HAVE to know about??  I am always eager to expand my list of “go to” sites!  Happy cooking!


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Menu Monday

Holy Smokes!  I can’t believe how fast the last few weeks have FLOWN by!  I have been a busy busy little bee around here.  I took a break from my menus because my schedule was hectic, My sister was in town, and I have been up to my elbows in finishing projects!  Yay!  I am NOTORIOUS for getting something about 80% finished, losing steam, and moving on to something else.  So I have been feeling pretty proud of myself for finally finishing up several things I have had in the works for awhile and even a spontaneous Christmas project (or 3).  Super excited to share.  Here’s just a little sneak peak.

finished projects

But we’ll save those for another post.  Or two.  Or 7.  For now, here’s my weekly menu.


Garlic Orange Shrimp, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

     *I made the Garlic Orange Shrimp for the first time tonight, and it was really yummy!  I cut down the cayenne pepper by half…and it was still pretty spicy.  So, if you are not into spice at all…I would omit the pepper completely.  (Also, I didn’t have “Old Bay” seasoning, so I used my trusty Lawry’s season salt.  It tasted great.)

Chicken Broccoli casseroleChicken Broccoli Casserole


Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Chicken a la king, Atkinson Family homemade vanilla custard and hot fudge sauce

Crockpot breakfast casserole – I have to admit…I haven’t tried this yet, so there are absolutely no guarantees as to how it will turn out.  I figure if it is a bust, I’ll just whip out the bisquick…so no harm done.  :) 


If you want a tried and true make ahead recipe for Christmas morning, I would happily suggest this Baked French Toast from the Pioneer Woman.  Even the hubs commented on how good it was.  And bonus…if you have leftovers, it was even better re-heated the next day!

mashed potatoes, candied walnut salad 

*The pomegranate spinach salad is nothing special.  Just add pomegranate seeds to your favorite salad.  The End.  :)

Has anyone ever tried a crockpot breakfast casserole before?  I’d love to hear how it turned out!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Little Turkey, and Menu Monday

We did it.  We survived Thanksgiving and all the festivities that come a long with it.  It was just my own little family for the big turkey day this year, so we kept things pretty simple.  After all, who wants to spend forever cooking in the kitchen for just 2 people??  (Okay, technically 3 people needed to eat…but I knew my little turkey would take about 2 bites of his dinner, so I didn’t really factor him into the food preparation equation).

So we just had the basics.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, carrots, and we tossed in a glass of sparkling grape juice just for fun.  And pumpkin pie for dessert.  LOTS of pumpkin pie.  We ate at 1:30, were finished by 1:40, had everything cleaned up by 2:00, and were all taking an afternoon nap by 2:30.  It was great!


112111_0912 edited This is my little Turkey at his Preschool “Thanksgiving Feast.”  One adult was invited to join them for their feast (snack time) last Tuesday.  I was the fortunate one to attend, and Miles was soooo excited.

112111_0913 edited 112111_0914 edited

We got to make our own turkeys out of a bagel and cream cheese, veggies, cracker and raisins.  The kids also worked very hard in class preparing a pumpkin pie pudding.  (And I was shocked that it was actually REALLY good!)

112111_0918 edited

The Judesters was there too…but managed to sleep through the entire thing.  As usual.

112111_0916 edited

I had a great weekend eating good food and enjoying time with my little family…but now it’s back to the real world!  (Which means planning weekly menus) 


So here’s mine for this week:

Nov 28-Dec4


Turkey Pot Pie  (it’s my cheater chicken pot pie recipe…only I am using leftover turkey)

cheater chicken pot pie

Breakfast for Dinner – there’s no “official” recipe.  I don’t know for sure what we’ll have, but probably french toast.  Or waffles.  Or bacon and eggs.  Or all of the above.

The_Sisters_Cafe_-BreadBowl_&_Clam_Chowder_-_wmark Bread-Bowls-BLOG-450x305

Clam Chowder & Bread Bowls – My friend Erin (from The Sisters Cafe) invited me to a luncheon last week to celebrate my birthday.  She served this clam chowder…and it was to DIE for.  I mean it.  And my friend Anona made these awesome bread bowls to go with them.  The combination was heavenly…(Thanks again to my amazing friends!!)

Tshirts,_July_'08_009_bestSouthwestern Crockpot Chicken


Cafe Rio Sweet Pork, Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice, & Cafe Rio Beans

     The recipe I use for my Cafe Rio “copycat” dinner is one I have sort of made-up from several different recipes.  I’ll post it soon…but it still needs to be typed up, and since it’s almost 2 am…I’m going to BED!

Happy Monday Everyone!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Paper Monster – kitchen organization project #1

Forgoing my menu this week. It seems I have amassed quite the supply of leftovers!  So we will be eating anything and everything left in the fridge, trying to make space for all the goodies that will need to be stored there come Thursday.  (MMMMM…can’t wait!)

Instead, I’m finally getting around to the “how'-to” of my clutter-free kitchen counters.  Finally!!  For some reason, I deluded myself into thinking that when my oldest little tike started preschool this year I would suddenly have “all this FREE TIME!”  I seriously believed that I would gain an extra 3 hours a day of peace and quiet, in which I could sit and ponder, and write, and craft, and pretty much do anything I wanted! 

Ha!  I laugh about that now.  Boy, was I wrong!!!  I still have to do everything I did when he was home with me.  True, it takes me a little less time to fold the laundry or go grocery shopping than it did with all the typical little boy interruptions, but any precious time I gain gets all used up again doing the “school routine.”  You know, helping the big guy get ready, doing reading and handwriting lessons, books and backpack packed, kids buckled into the car, driving to school, waiting outside classroom until he is allowed in, getting baby buckled back into car, and driving home.  Then doing it all again 3 hours later.  Extra time???  I must have been CRAZY!!

So, yes.  It has taken me much longer than anticipated.  But here is my finished product.


You’re looking at my new Kitchen Command Center.  It was a lot of work to get it that way.  But the great thing about getting a space organized and functioning smoothly is that now, it takes very little time to maintain.  For a mom that already feels short on time, that is a HUGE blessing! 


Remember the “Before”?

Before - edited

YIKES!!! Oh man…that’s bad.  That random rooster popping up there cracks me up.  Want a closer look??

110211_0574 Oh…if only it was actually true!!


Unfortunately for me, I didn’t just have one craptacular, catch-all counter.  It gets worse!!


I had TWO!!!  As well as a completely ineffective (and over utilized) mail sorter, an under utilized and awkwardly positioned magnet board, and bags cluttering up the floor, because there was no place else to put them.  I had good intentions.  But it was COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL! Something HAD to be done!! 

I knew I needed storage.  I needed a place to corral all the clutter, sort the mail, save papers and keep schedules and notes.  AND I knew I needed a SYSTEM to make it all work together and function smoothly.  Before I could brainstorm solutions to get this all cleaned up, I needed to know EXACTLY what was coming in and cluttering up my kitchen in the first place. So I cleaned off all my counters and went to work.

I sorted everything into piles and realized my main problem.  I was battling a paper monster!  I had been inundated with paper, paper, and..you got it.  More paper!  It was coming in from EVERYWHERE!  And I knew corralling it HAD to be my first priority.  So I came up with a filing system to sort it all as it comes in.

111411_0624After sorting through my mounds of paper, I was able to put everything into 7 main categories.

1. “Take Action” - This includes things like permission slips that need to be returned to school, magazine subscriptions that need to be renewed, bills that need to be paid, and Netflix envelopes that need to be returned.  Anything that requires me to DO something, goes in this folder.

2. “To File” – Things I want to store on a more long term basis go in this folder.  Credit card and utility statements, Receipts, product manuals, etc. are all corralled here and stored temporarily, until I get a chance to transfer it to our “long term” filing cabinet upstairs.   (Because lets face it.  We all know I would NEVER trek every little bit of paper upstairs immediately.)  Instead I  empty the folder about once a week.  (Usually every Sunday night when I sit down to plan my next week’s schedule.)

3. Miles Preschool papers – Papers I want to save forever and ever go here!  (That’s a pretty tall order!) Mostly things like his weekly handwriting sheets (I am going to make them all into a book at the end of the year), special awards he has received, and any other extra special projects he comes home with.  These papers are stored here temporarily.  When the folder starts filling up, I transfer them to the school paperwork storage box I created a la Jen from iheartorganizing.  (A super fun project.  More to come on that later.)  :) 

4. Miles Art – Holy Cow!  I had no idea how many “masterpieces” my little man would bring home every week.  Sweet little gems like this one……

111711_1013 edited Seriously???  Hi-Larious. BEST part of having a kid in pre-school, hands down.

BUTTTTT  the question remains.  What in the heck am I supposed to do with this thing???  (Besides of course, snap so many pictures of myself wearing this little dandy the artist himself becomes insanely jealous and is forced to tear it off my head.)  True story.  See that little hand in the corner??

This is where having a “System” in place is important.  No my dear friends, having a file folder labeled “Miles Art” will get you nowhere.  TRUST ME!  (especially if you don’t have a kid named Miles.  Ha!) There are usually 3 or 4 projects coming home from school every day.  That’s about 15 a week, and 60 every month!!!  There is no way storing all those papers in one little file is feasible.  So, here is our system.  First, I snap photos of every single one of his masterpieces while oohing and aahing over them for an appropriate amount of time.  Then we remove the previous days art from the fridge, Miles gets to choose 1 or 2 new pieces to display, and I file the others in his “art” folder.  The REALLY special pieces will get filed in his special school specific filing box to keep forever and ever.  The rest of them get thrown in the garbage at the end of the week when my little man is sleeping.  Sorry Dude.  Flog me if you will, but I have absolutely no remorse, because I took photos of ever piece he created.  And at the end of the year, those photos will be combined into a lovely photo book, displaying the entirety of his preschool creativity.  And that is WAY more awesome than having random triangles and turkey legs floating around my house.

5. Grocery Ads – I like to keep my Meijer, Rite-aid, and Kroger ads to refer to when making my weekly menus, and throughout the week for couponing purposes.

6. Coupons – I like to use coupons.  It’s fun.  But they are messy if you don’t have a way to contain them.  I file all my coupon inserts by date upstairs in my “main” filing cabinet.  But sometimes I clip coupons I don’t use.  Or I print coupons to use later. Or I cut a coupon from a cereal box.  Those kinds of coupons go in my "Coupons – Grocery” folder.  I also get coupons to stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Ulta, Joanns, and restaurants like Arby’s and McDonalds.  All those “other” types of coupons get filed in my Coupons-Store folder. 

7. Recipes– Any recipes I print out for my weekly Menu Plan are stored here.  If they are great, I will transfer them to my recipe binder.  If they are NOT great, they go in the garbage with the leftovers.

I also gave myself and Mike our own folders.  These are for things we want to keep around for awhile.  Things we might want to use or refer to every so often.  For instance, I have been drawing up plans to build Miles a play table and chair set for Christmas.  My drawings and supply lists are in my folder, a long with extra copies of the to-do lists I like to use, my printable calendar pages, blog idea pages, etc.

111411_0623 2 Once everything was sorted, I labeled some folders, filed all the paper away, and put the folders in a cute basket I bought in the Target clearance section.  

Mission Accomplished! 

All my paper has a place to go, and I have a system to make sure it doesn’t get out of control again.

Then, I just added a few extra accessories to turn the space into the Command Central I  had envisioned.

111411_0626A Calendar.  No family command center would be complete without one!  And I love mine.  I just print one off every week to keep track of our comings and goings.  I also have a monthly calendar underneath, to keep  track of all our long-term appointments.



My cup ‘o markers and a cute notepad to write down reminders and add things to the calendar


A simple basket to house our modem/router and hide their cords.  I also stashed my stapler, tape dispenser, and iPad charger in there to minimize the “stuff” on the counter.

I also added a couple small, leather journals to my filing basket, (one for each boy), where I can write down their milestones and funny things Miles says.  And my iPad rests in the basket too.  (That is, when it’s not out and streaming the Polar Express station on Pandora for me.  Listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving is AWESOME!!!)

so that’s it my command center in a nutshell!  (A very large and overly wordy nutshell.)  It is working FANTASTICALLY, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Let’s take a gander at that before and after just one more time, shall we?

Kitchen organization before & after

It DID take a bit of work and a lot of time to get it looking this way, but by having this space so streamlined and organized, I also actually SAVE time.  No more digging through piles and piles of papers to find the one thing I was looking for.  Everything is right at my fingertips and I can find anything I need in a matter of seconds.

My Command Center was by FAR the biggest project of my quest for kitchen organization, but it was just the beginning!  I cleaned up my other catch-all counter, found a solution for my bags, and even DIY’d a simple keychain holder!  Then there was Miles’ schoolwork filing project, and my medicine cabinet redo.  So much to share!  Can’t wait to show you how it all works together to keep me organized, and our family functioning smoothly.

How about you?  Any major organizing projects going on in your neck of the woods?


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