Oh Hey Friday. Halloween Edition.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I am so ready for tonight. We’re taking Sydney TOTing for the first time and I think she’s going to be super excited about 2 things. The candy (because duh, who wouldn’t) and the pumpkins (because she’s obsessed). So in honor of Halloween I’m dishing out five random Halloween facts you probably know but maybe you don’t.

One.

This is the cutest ladybug ever. Obviously.

IMG_7419

(and please ignore the random patched part of our wall… Buddy chewed our wall. Seriously. It’s also been there for much longer than I’d care to actually admit. Shamefully.)

Two.

Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday. After Christmas of course.

Which makes total sense. That costume? $20 (but thanks to Cartwheel and my RedCard it was only $12). She will wear it once. But I also had to buy a black shirt and pants to go with it because Halloween is a cold weather holiday around here and I want her to be warm. Plus all the candy we buy? Yeah. Halloween is an expensive day. Worth it, but expensive. Just like Christmas.

Three.

“Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes

Four.

Irish legend has it that one day the devil himself came to take the soul of a thieving man named Jack. But Jack managed to trick the devil, making him promise to never take his soul. After eventually living a long life, Jack tried to enter the Pearly Gates, but could not, for he had lived a life of evil. He then attempted to enter Hell, but the devil kept his word, being no big fan of Jack anyway. When Jack complained of having no way to see, the devil laughed at him and threw him a glowing ember, which he fashioned into a lantern using a turnip in his pocket. He became Jack Of The Lantern, doomed to aimlessly walk the Earth with nowhere to go. While the legends may sound incredible, they were based on a real phenomenon. Swamp gasses that interact with decaying matter will sometimes give off a strange light that seems to vanish when you get closer. Before we had a scientific explanation, people believed these were trapped souls who could enter neither heaven nor hell and would lead you astray. Some legends say the Irish would use turnips or beets to create jack-o’-lanterns—for multiple purposes. The lanterns were sometimes used as a means of honoring those souls trapped in purgatory, but their mocking faces were also used to scare away evil spirits.

Five.

A 1951 Peanuts comic strip can be credited with the popular spread of trick or treating as we know it nationwide. So dress up as Snoopy if you want to be historically accurate.

I, for one, love the movie It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and so there was no way I wasn’t including this tiny tid-bit.

I probably spent way too much time researching five random Halloween facts… all the sources for these facts are below because the only one I can take credit for is Number One. She looks too much like me to deny her 😉 If you’re bored visit those sites… some of these things I legitimately didn’t know and some of them I’ve heard in similar versions.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Halloween!

(source for two and three. source for four. source for five.)

Frozen on Ice.

As a Mom one of my greatest joys is watching Sydney experience, and love, something for the first time. Apparently, the greatest joys of being a Nana is what your child and her child experience something for the first time and also spoiling them both while you’re at it. My mom has this Nana thing down pat. She did learn how to be an awesome Nana from the very best Nana (her mom, my Nana) and Sydney is lucky to have her (my mom, Sydney’s Nana… too many Nana’s in one sentence huh?!).

My mom had the opportunity to buy tickets to see Frozen on Ice and we weren’t entirely sure that Sydney would really enjoy it or understand what was happening but the tickets were great and the deal was even better so we figured that we would give it a try. You have to find out one way or another right? Remember these seats?

Frozen on Ice!!

Frozen on Ice!!

This is what the view looked like in real life.

IT WAS AMAZING!!

Our amazing view.

Our amazing view.

And this was Sydney’s reaction at the very beginning. This face. I wish I had been able to capture her actual expression but you can pretty much tell that her face is full of wonder and excitement and I’m really glad I was able to capture this so show Steve since he couldn’t be with us.

The excitement of a child is priceless.

The excitement of a child is priceless.

The show itself, much like the movie, was great. Disney really did a great job putting this ice show together. I’m going to just do a basic photo dump for you…. I took a TON of pictures but I’ll spare you that volume and just show off a few of my favorites.

Before the show.

Before the show.

and after doing a little shopping… because of course!

Selfies.

Selfies.

Where Mom & I are excited and Sydney is all “mmm pretzel!”

My excited little girl.

My excited little girl.

 

Grandpa Troll.

Grandpa Troll.

Frozen on Ice

The Coronation Ceremony

OLAF!!

OLAF!!

 

Let it go!

Let it go!

They're both in awe

They’re both in awe

Elsa's Monster

Elsa’s Monster

Saved by love.

Saved by love.

Man, reliving this show makes me want to see it all over again.

Have you seen this show? Or any other Disney on Ice / Disney Live shows? No lie… I’ve already started looking in to the other shows they have. I have a feeling my Disney obsession is just beginning 😉

 

Tasty Tuesday: White Chicken Chili.

Last weekend the coldness of fall rolled in and I was looking for an easy, warm dish to fill us up and keep us warm. The answer was simple. Chili. But… that’s my husbands dish. And when he makes chili… well my kitchen becomes a disaster zone and there’s a lot of clean up involved which is the complete opposite of easy that I was looking for so instead of raining that peril down on my myself I went with another favorite. White Chicken Chili. It’s delicious and much easier on my kitchen.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced (or 2 tbsp prepared minced garlic)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 can corn (undrained)
  • 1 can Rotel (undrained)
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 8oz package light cream cheese

 

Directions

Directions

Directions

  • In a large skillet heat oil and cook onions until transparent.
  • Add minced garlic to skillet and cook for approximately 1 minute
  • Set crockpot to low and  chicken breasts
  • Add onions and garlic once finished cooking
  • Add black beans, corn, rotel, all spices, and ranch dressing
  • Stir
  • Add cream cheese on top (I cut it up in to small pieces but you don’t have to because it will eventually melt together)
  • Cover and cook for 6 – 8 hours
  • Shred chicken before serving using 2 forks

(as a frame of reference, I put mine in around 11 and it cooked on low until about 4:30 when I shredded the chicken and added it back to the crock pot for about an hour before we ate)

Shred chicken.

Shred chicken.

I think it can be a bit spicy but not too spicy that you can’t actually taste its flavor. Pregnancy really messed up my ability to eat spice though because no one else that eats it thinks it’s really that spicy. If you’re opposed to really spicy chili you could adjust your chili powder/cayenne pepper to your liking.

I hope you enjoy this dish. If you make it let me know how you liked it!

ENJOY!

ENJOY!

(also, as an aside, I found this recipe on the internet somewhere more than a year ago… I can’t remember where because I printed it out on paper and there aren’t any identifying notes as to where the recipe came from on that paper so if you’ve seen this recipe please do let me know where so I can give appropriate credit.)

Carving Pumpkins

Sydney has a mild obsession with pumpkins lately. She loves them. Mostly she loves her little pumpkins and has since we brought them home. I am actually concerned that one day she’s going to pick one up and when she drops it that it’s going to just splatter everywhere and she’s going to be a little upset about it… which would lead you to believe I’d be slightly concerned about carving a pumpkin with her. Nope. Not a chance. I was so looking forward to that because I thought she would be so excited about it. I’m not sure why I would have those very contradictory thoughts, but I do and there’s no logic there at all.

This weekend, just in time for Halloween, we set out to carve Sydney’s first pumpkin.

Sydney loves her pumpkin

Sydney loves her pumpkin

As I got everything ready she sat there with her pumpkin. She actually kissed it a few times but I wasn’t able to capture that.

Digging right in.

Digging right in.

After I finally got the top off the pumpkin we dug right in. She was so excited to help…

YAY helping!

YAY helping!

but she didn’t actually remove any of the pumpkin guts. It definitely looks like she did, but all she kept doing was sticking her little tool in the pumpkin, pulling it out, and saying YAY all very excited for herself.

It was adorable.

Oh look, more helping.

More helping!

She was VERY enthusiastic about this part of the pumpkin carving. She was not as enthusiastic about the actual carving part because she kept trying to help by grabbing at the knife so we had to divert her attention from the pumpkin so we didn’t have any accidents.

In case you were wondering, the attention diverting didn’t go all that wonderfully and we eventually were saved by the bed time fairy (for her) and the wine fairy (for mommy). She was pretty upset to be heading to bed because she really wanted to play with the pumpkin, but she was really excited to see it all done and light up the next night.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

The actual carving of the pumpkin was a little more work than I had anticipated. I figured it would be a fairly quick and easy process.

Ha.

Hahahahaha.

Nope.

That shit was hard. And that wine was my reward for using the craptastic pumpkin carving kit from Walgreens (do yourself a favor and save the $5 and do not buy that kit). I ended using the kitchen knives that the Walgreens kit was supposed to be safer than because the stupid knives in the kit kept bending. They were not quite excellent quality, apparently.

Another reward for my hard work? Delicious roasted pumpkin seeds using this recipe. I actually considered carving our other pumpkin to make another batch. Almost. But not really. They were good though!

Either way though, she really did seem to enjoy herself. I think next year will be much more fun when she can have a little bit more say and actually do some of it on her own. And maybe, just maybe, actually gut the pumpkin.

Pumpkin 2014.

Pumpkin 2014.

Do you carve pumpkins? I’d love to see them & hear about your experiences!

Oh Hey Friday.

Oh Friday you are my favorite day of the week. Lately my weeks have felt very long and our weekends have been very busy so I’m hoping to have a pretty relaxing weekend which means I don’t have five random things to tell you that I’m going to jam pack my weekend full of so instead I’m giving you five random things I’ve recently come to know (and a bonus fact. and a recipe. because I’m feeling generous today).

One.

Apparently, the Pumpkin Spice Latte almost wasn’t created because the test market gave it a lackluster rating. I can’t even believe this and while I know that if it wasn’t created that I wouldn’t be sad because I wouldn’t know any better but knowing that it almost wasn’t created makes me sad about the possibility of living without the delicious PSL.

Two.

Did you know that the term equinox comes from the Latin for “equal night.” I didn’t. It makes sense now that I’ve seen it written out (bonus fact: I took Latin in high school. I was terrible at it but some random stuff stuck with me about words and such).

Three.

Spaghetti squash might be my new favorite fall veggie. Sydney loves spaghetti so I made this in hopes that I could trick her. Too bad I’d never eaten it before so I didn’t know it wasn’t going to be like real spaghetti. It definitely did not trick my toddler in to thinking she was getting spaghetti but it was delicious and I’m ready to make some more.

Spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash.

Also these directions are really not that great. I bought this particular squash because they had directions on them and since I’d never made it I would definitely need directions. I ended up doing some googling because I was trying to convince Steve that I did, in fact, need to take out the middle/seed part like you would on a pumpkin… and that’s when I found different instructions.

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • cut squash in half (lengthwise) and remove stringy/seedy part in middle (like the guts from the pumpkin but don’t remove the flesh because that’s the part you eat)
  • season flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • place face down in pan (I used a pan with sides but you could use a baking sheet)
  • Cook for about 40 minutes until squash is tender
  • Shred squash flesh with a fork in to a bowl
  • Season with salt/pepper/Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Eat and enjoy!

Four.

My mom managed to get us (her & I) tickets to take Sydney to see Frozen on Ice because a coworker of hers had them for his family but recently found out they’d be unable to go.

Frozen on Ice!!

Frozen on Ice!!

I am so excited. SO EXCITED. I loved the movie and I’ve heard really good things about Disney on Ice in general so I think it’ll be a good time. We’re not really sure if Sydney will do well or not… it’s kind of late (7pm…) but it should be full of excitement that we’re hoping it’ll keep her engaged. She tends to do well in later evening situations if she’s got something keeping her attention. Like if we’re sitting at home and she’s bored she’s full on toddler but if we’re busy doing something then she doesn’t seem to notice she’s tired (or that she should be tired). I think no matter how she does it’ll be a fun time for the 3 of us because who doesn’t love spending time with Nana?! No one. That’s who.

Five.

We’ve been eating apples a lot this season. I love apples and thankfully so does Sydney. Right now it seems to be her favorite healthy snack & she’ll ask for them all the time (though sometimes she is asking for the delicious Caramel Apple Oreo and I honestly can’t blame her because I did just refer to them as delicious so we can see where I stand on that one. And I don’t think a sweet treat hurts now and again so there). Anyway… we love apples in our house and my favorite is the Honeycrisp. They’re expensive so I only buy one or two a week and fill up on other kinds (any kinds really, there isn’t really a type of apple out there that I like so since the stores generally put different ones on sale each week we get a pretty good variety of apples in our house). I recently read this article about The Story Behind Honeycrisp Apples and why the prices of them are so expensive (because they’re like designer apples at $2.99 a pound in my stores). It was kind of an interesting read (for me, maybe you think that’s boring) but it was kind of neat to realize that just because you think something should be much cheaper than it is doesn’t mean it can be simply for what it needs to properly grow. And these are delicious apples that I don’t mind paying a little lot extra for if that’s really what it costs to grow them.

Although… I am curious about this SweeTango apple they mention in this article. I’m going to have to check the stores around here to see if I can get my hands on some. Either way – go get yourself some Honeycrisp apples. Because they’re delicious and if I’m not mistaken they have a short growing season so they’re likely going to be gone soon and we’ll be waiting until next year to get our hands on those yummy apples.

 

And with those five random things… I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend.

 

Tasty Tuesday: Apple Spice Pork Chops.

You guys. This dish is AH-MAZING. I’m not kidding when I say it’s like eating apple pie with your pork chops. But not in a weird way like that combo sounds like it would be. In a delicious I want to make this all of the time kind of way. Because that’s how I feel about this dish. I was looking for something easy and something fall. I have been very much in the mood for fall lately and this dish hit the exact spot I had to fill. I found this recipe on Pinterest  and that pin took me to Budget Bytes where I found the actual recipe. I’m going to post the recipe here, but it’s really all thanks to Beth that we all now have this delicious dish in our lives (so if you make it, thank her, because she should be thanked).

Ingredients.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 (I halved Beth’s recipe because we only had 2 pork chops and it was plenty for 2 adults, but then I was sad there were no leftovers so take your chances with the halving).

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 apples
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1 c. water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating, open the pork chops and season one side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Once the oil is hot (it should look wavy or ripply) place the chops in the pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side and let the chops cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes or until the bottoms form a nice brown crust. If your chops are sticking to the pan, that means they have not formed a crust yet. They will “let go” once the crust forms. Flip the chops and cook the second side in the same manner. It should take 5-7 minutes for each side.

(this is when it starts to smell really good in your kitchen, but just know it gets so much better.)

While the chops are searing, thinly slice the onion. Wash, core and slice the apples into thin wedges. Once the chops have seared on both sides, remove them from the pan and add the apples, onion and butter. Stir and cook for about five minutes or until the apples and onions begin to soften.

apples, onion and butter ready to go

apples, onion and butter ready to go

Add the broth, water, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the skillet with the apples and onions. Stir until everything is mixed together then return the chops to the pan. Nestle the chops down in the mixture, making sure some onions and apples are on top of the chops.

(this is when the real delicious smells start to fill your kitchen)

soaking up all the yummy

soaking up all the yummy

Simmer the chops in the apple/onion mixture for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir occasionally, moving the apples and onions around so they all have a chance to simmer and soften. Serve each chop with apples, onions and sauce spooned over top.

get in my belly.

get in my belly.

And then you can enjoy this delicious dish. Sorry this picture looks not so pretty, but I’m not a real food blogger I’m just a real person taking pictures of the food I make.

Stuff I’m Loving.

I do a lot of shopping because what girl doesn’t love shopping? Amiright?!

Unfortunately, I don’t always do a lot of buying. Because this is real life and we’ve got bills to pay and I can’t just go spending all my money on stuff I want no matter how much I want it.

Anyway…. here’s a list of random things I love and want to buy but probably should be a good adult and not buy them. (however, if anyone reading this would like to buy me any of these things I have conveniently included a “source” link directly below the picture for ease of finding these items on the web and purchasing them for me.)

This ring. I love it. I’m not a huge jewelry person but I think this is a simple piece that I would really like to have.

As a born and bread Virginia girl this shirt is definitely calling my name. It’s a bit expensive for a shirt ($30!) but buying this shirt also helps raise money for MS so it’s basically like you kind of have to buy a shirt from The Home T because it’s charity.

I love Pyrex because it’s just great cookware and then I found THIS. And obviously I need some pink Pyrex.

Pink Pyrex!

Pink Pyrex!

I’m in love with these gloves.

And then I would obviously need this hat to go with these really cute gloves

And obviously, a scarf would complete this set (though maybe in a color to add some POP!)

There you go. A few things I’m loving on and looking for these days. Hopefully these inspired you to do a little shopping of your own – window or real – because it’s always fun to do a little shopping!