Monday, July 28, 2014

Make Your Monday - July 28th

Em spent the weekend attending appointments, breastfeeding classes (with her doula, Nic of course) and buzzing around getting ready for her upcoming hospital trip.  Despite the nursery still being a work in progress, she mustered the strength to take an afternoon off and join her TH and friends for a little taco night!  Nic's TH had a minor medical procedure done on Friday so she was busy balancing being a Thriving/Hospital Visiting Wife and a Thriving (Single) Mommy.  With her TH coming home this week, she had to find time to clean, shop and even prepare cozy recovery couch bed!

Motivate yourself! When things seem difficult and you aren't sure if you can do it, tell yourself you can.  Trust that your mind is the most powerful tool you have and use it to your advantage.  Once you fully accept that you can do something and believe in yourself, you will be amazed as it all seems to come to fruition. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Recipe Rave Review: Spicy Baked Penne

As my due date quickly approaches, I am always trying to find quick, easy, TH approved recipes to make and freeze before the big day.  When I happened upon this cutie from a random Family Circle magazine I was reading in the nail salon, I snapped a picture and decided to give it a try.  Since I am a complex carb loading machine these days trying to get enough energy to grow two babies and walk down the hall without dying, it seemed perfect. 

While I made some of my own adjustments to meet my dietary preferences, the recipe itself called for:
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 6 cups cooked whole wheat penne
  • 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I went with my favorite spicy SOYsauge sauce for a kick)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup diced ham (I didn't use this obvi, no meat for me)
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
I quickly whipped up some sauce in the morning and let it simmer for a few hours, then sit to let all the flavors blend together.


When it was time to get cooking I first heated the oven to 350 degrees as I whipped through the next steps.

I grabbed a 3 qt CorningWare casserole dish and sprayed that guy with a nonstick cooking spray.  Then, I sprinkled  the breadcrumbs along the bottom and sides of dish.

Next up, in a large bowl, I combined my whole wheat penne, 3 cups of my spicy sauce and the lightly beaten eggs.  If you are going the carnivorous route, now is the time to add that ham.

Once it was all mixed, I spooned my mixture into my casserole dish.

I then sprinkled the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top of that spicy, nood-ley mixture.  When that was done, it was time to throw it in the oven to bake (at 350) for 30 minutes.

With the first layer of cheese baked on, next came a sprinkled a layer of Parmesan.  Back in the oven it went for an additional 15 minutes...I was loving this cheese on cheese topping!

A mere 15 minutes later, it was time to take it out of the oven. 

I let it cool for about 5-10 minutes, then heated up the 1/2 cup of leftover sauce.  I added a little dollop to the bottom of each plate, then cut a portion for my TH and myself.  As the cheese gushed from all over I knew this would be a good one to keep on hand.  We had lots left over not only for his lunch the next day but for the freezer as well which will be needed for those tired baby filled days ahead!

Are you a pasta lover? What are some easy, freezable dishes you enjoy?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homeowner Problems: Getting it Fixed


With my latest homeowner problems assessed, it was time to start fixing things up in an effort to put my house back together pre-babies.  You can imagine my determination to get my clean cozy house back in order and get my nursery done before the arrival of my is really unlike me to not have it all done!  But alas, this is another great life lesson in letting go and realizing not everything is in your control.

With the dining room floor still ripped up and a floating sink, it was finally time to hire the team and get them in the house and working hard!  The cabinet needed to be rebuilt and the ENTIRE HOUSE was getting new floors.  Easy right?! No, not at all.  A team of movers had to come in and move every piece of furniture in order to lay new floors.  Thank G for my Thriving Mommy/Full Service Assistant and TH otherwise I don't know what I would have survived the mental stress my OCD was causing. Growing two babies has been getting more energy consuming by the day so I just can't go all "tornado" for hours like I usually do.  Thankfully, our wonderful homeowners insurance, State Farm, was putting us up in a hotel (again) so I could rest as much as possible while work was done at our home all day long.

The entire house was set to look like this...minus the baseboards of course, those needed to be replaced too!
My TH and I did as much as we could moving things to the garage (I didn't really want anyone touching my vintage dishes but me) before the team arrived.  Once the workers showed up, they didn't waste a moment.  They unloaded their trucks with heavy machinery and boxes of flooring.  They ripped out all the baseboards and existing flooring to start prepping for the new floors to be laid.  I stopped by a couple times a day, but for my sanity, I tried not to stay too long.  My beautiful house was no longer looking all that beautiful and seeing it only made me anxious.

Who knew this 1970's style was so popular? It was under the floors in the entire house!

As the days progressed I was amazed to see how quickly these guys worked.  Since I am a hater of closet doors (unless mirrored for fashion shows of course) I had already had my TH remove them from the other bedrooms and hall closet and store in the attic.  I prefer to hang curtains so I don't lose that hidden space behind where the doors meet and add some character with a pretty pattern.  While we were able to remove the track from the ceiling with the door and patch, I still had to look at the ugly bottom track...well not with the new floors being installed I didn't!  I had my team lay floor straight through to give it a cleaner finished look.  Gotta find those perks where you can!

1970's linoleum mixed with disgusting closet track?! SEE YA!
Hello clean trackless,  floored closet!
They had nearly finished the front of the house when alas...they found more water damage.  Can we EVER catch a break?!  Apparently, when they were taking out the flooring near the kitchen, it became clear that the kitchen tile was lose due to the water damage.  What does that mean you ask? Oh you know, we needed to add to our existing claim and have the tile ripped out of the kitchen.   Was I upset? Not after I learned that I could lose that kitchen tile I hated anyway and have the floors extended into the kitchen.  Since the space itself was so small, it would only take an additional half day and they would be able to knock it out for this impatient mommy.

Goodbye kitchen tile, you will not be missed!
Just when we thought we were on the home stretch, with the baseboards being painted and reinstalled, we hit another bump in our road to recovery (if you watch as much HGTV as I do, you realize that there is always ALWAYS something when fixing a home), the cabinet had to go in before the kitchen floor could be redone.  With this new wrench in our plan, I had my TH call the cabinet man from GMC Cabinetry and Construction immediately and get him out asap, I made sure to sob loudly in the background and have my TH mention my growing belly in an effort to get him to put a rush on it!  Thankfully, he not only understood the importance of getting this done, but came out the same day, got the measurements and was back the next day to install.  LOVE HIM!

First it was ripped up tile and a mess...
Then there was a frame...
Before I knew it, he was done!
With the cabinet in and nearly 1/3 of the kitchen ripped out, all we needed was the rest of those tiles to come out and the new floor to be laid...then, wait for it...we were DONE!!!!  Finally, the day came for them to finish the nearly two month long #homeownerproblem we had been dealing with. The flooring team ripped out the existing tile, moved out the refrigerator and oven and went to town!

Added bonus of the oven coming out? Getting to scrub the sides of that nasty thing! Oh it was amazing!
Each time I went into the kitchen to check the progress, I was amazed at how fast my new buddy was working.  I mean he even put baseboard behind the refrigerator, no shortcuts here!

Soon, he was moving the refrigerator back into place and loading up his supplies.  As I fought back tears of joy, I thanked him profusely.  It was time for me to use all the energy I had been saving all day to clean the heck out of this place so my TH could start moving our stuff back in when he got off of work the next morning.

Loving that floor!
We are so thankful to all the helpful people who worked with us at State Farm and did their best to ensure this experience was as pleasant as possible (thank G one million times over for homeowners insurance). We were quickly relocated when it was necessary to a hotel near our  home that was to our standard of living.  We were reimbursed for all food costs as well as any service that was covered in our plan.  Furthermore, we were given the option to use our own contractors or go with those who work with State Farm. 

Through this process we found the most amazing flooring man that the world has ever known, Ben from Flooring America. There motto is, "Where friends send friends" and I couldn't agree more.  The service experience we had was nothing short of amazing.  I STRONGLY suggest if you are in the need of any flooring, call them and ask for Ben.  He is THE BEST!  Don't think that I wouldn't give a little plug for the fastest cabinet man in town too, GMC Cabinet & Construction, no messing around there.  Just quality work done quickly.  Thank you so much to all of you who helped get our house back to a home as quickly as possible!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Make Your Monday - July 21st

Em spent the week trying to get the finished part of her home back in order with the constant help of her Thriving Mommy aka Full Service Assistant (she is really earning her keep, that one!).  Despite her stamina level being a low ZERO, her TH and TM have really stepped it up to help get things done.  With the final step of her #homeownerproblems being fixed on Tuesday, she will be able to put her house back together...yay!  Saturday, Nic and Em went to a wedding and enjoyed seeing lots of old friends.

You cannot control anyone else, but you can affect them.  Keep yourself in balance, work to find happiness and practice feeling good.  You will soon find that not only do others notice your positive energy, but people are drawn to it.  Only you have the power to send out good vibes and allow opportunities for those around you to receive and be influenced by them.

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