Sunday, October 15, 2017

Freezer Meals- Baby #2

I'm not entirely sure how many times I've done this but I'm super pregnant again and and therefore fully immersed in the "no chill" phase of my nesting. Like I spent all week last week deep cleaning my house. Like hardcore cleaning: Re-caulking/grout refreshing my shower, deep cleaning the oven/microwave/fridge/etc, wiping my cabinets, shampooing my carpets and rugs, Windexing all of the windows/blinds in my house, etc...Just basically everything that I could possibly think of that I don't typically clean on a weekly basis. BECAUSE MY BABY IS GOING TO CARE IF MY CLOSET HAS BEEN ORGANIZED AND RE-ORGANIZED 80 TIMES BEFORE HE GETS HERE!! It's fine. I'M FINE!! Actually I want to die but I'm fine.

I could go on and on about all of the weird things I've done to prepare for baby #2. Luckily I didn't have to buy hardly anything this time which was nice so I focused all of my energy on doing things like deep cleaning my Keurig (which I rarely use IDK) and having a garage sale at 36 weeks. SO I'm going to spare you all of the ridiculous details of my many to-do lists I created. Like I basically have a list to organize all of my different lists. When I start to talk to people about it I realize how crazy I sound. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF!

So when I was toddler-free this week I seized the opportunity to make some more freezer meals! I made like a million (slight exaggeration) last time I was pregnant, unaware of how awesome our church family is about providing meals for families with new babes. It was so sweet. We had meals for at least 2 months that were provided by them. So I didn't have to start using the meals I made for a while but I was still happy that I did it!

For these I tried something totally different. Before when I've done this I've focused on finding actual freezer meal plans that are laid out for me. Sometimes, though, the recipes didn't look super appealing to us and we weren't that into them. This time I just found recipes on Pinterest that looked good and like they'd freeze well. I sat down and planned it out by figuring out how many each recipe serves (for instance, one serves 12 so I split it into 3 but a few only served like 4 so I had to be sure to make a note to double them) and I also compiled a combined grocery list. 

A good thing about these recipes is that they require common or not many ingredients. I had at least half of the ingredients on hand which greatly saved on costs. I spent exactly $80 (weird) on all 11 meals. They ended up being $7.27 each (note that this doesn't count the ingredients that I already had). I started by doing the bulk of my shopping at Aldi (awesome quality and prices) then going to Kroger for the leftover things that Aldi didn't have. I love Aldi for things like freezer meals but I'm far too addicted to ClickList so there's no way I'd go there every week for my shopping. They have a great selection with most of the necessities but you're probably going to have to go to Kroger or any other large grocery store afterwards to pickup a few leftover items. As a mom of a toddler + infant (ALMOST) there's no way I have the time/energy to plan like this every week then make trips to 2 different stores for my weekly groceries. That's another rabbit trail I could go on and on about. ClickList that is. THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR YOUR SWEET BOUNTIES UPON MOMS OF LITTLE PEOPLE WHO HATE DRAGGING THEM THROUGH THE GROCERY STORE EVERY WEEK!

Moving on to the actual reason you're reading this right now!

The recipies include:

Each recipe and where I found it is linked in the titles above.

Here is the document I made of all of my compiled recipes and my prep work! Click the link below!


Here's the order I made them in:

I started by making the 2 chicken recipes that just require you to dump ingredients in a bag (honey mustard chicken and BBQ chicken). They were super easy, required no cooking, and I just wanted to get them out of the way.

I then boiled the noodles for the tetrazzini then the lasagna noodles just so that would be done.

After the noodles were done I brought my big pot of water back to a boil and boiled my chicken for the tetrazzini. You can cook your chick anyway you'd like for this recipe. I didn't read ahead so I just cooked it the quickest, easiest way I knew how. It'd probably be tastier if you baked it sprinkled with some spices. It would also probably be beneficial to do this first so your oven can be pre-heated and your chick chick can be cooked and cooled by the time you need it.

While the noods were cooking I made the Sloppy Joes. You can use a pot or skillet for this. I tried to minimize clean up so I did most of my cooking in my dutch oven.

After my Joes were done I rinsed out my dutch oven and added the leftover ground beef, sausage and garlic to cook the meat for the lasagna. Then you add some more ingredients and it has to simmer for 45 minutes. For this reason you might want to do this after you get your chicken in the oven. Although a time-consuming step I actually didn't mind doing it at this time because it gave me time to assemble my tetrazzini, clean up and organize myself a bit. 

After that meat was cooked and simmered I assembled my lasagna!

Some notes:

If you split the lasagna into 3 pans be sure they're smaller, maybe square pans. I had 3 large, deep, rectangular pans and I didn't have enough ingredients to spread it out to cover 3 large pans. So I'd either just split the recipe into 2 of the larger pans or use 3 smaller pans so you can make your layers alot thicker than I did.

I wrapped my pans a few times each with plastic wrap and then 2 layers of foil. I want them to be as fresh as possible because I'm not sure when we'll actually be eating them. I also double freezer bagged all of my bagged meals for the same reason. I bought name brand supplies to do this just to ensure their freshness.

We don't like bell peppers over here so I left them out of the sloppy joes. So if you want to add those to your recipe be sure to add them to your shopping list!

Be sure to write the cooking instructions on the bag so you don't have to pull the recipe up when it's time to make them. Most require them to be thawed first so I just make a note to myself to move them from the freezer to the fridge the night before I want to cook them. Also, make a note on the bag with suggestions of what to eat with it. For example, you'll probably want buns for the sloppy joes. You'll need to put those on your grocery list the week you want to eat that. It's easy to forget those things when they're not written on the bag.

Time saving tip: At the beginning you may want to chop your vegis/mince your garlic so you can just grab that when it's time to use it. I did my choppin/minicin as needed when I could've knocked it all out at once. Also be sure to organize your meats at the beginning to make sure you have enough per recipe. I bought my ground beef and chicken in bulk so I separated that out first thing.

And here are some pics!







Chicken Tetrazzini

 Lasagna

I felt so accomplished (and a little bit dead) when I finally finished and got to take this picture of my 11 completed meals!



There you have it! If you decided to do this please comment and let me know how it goes! I think these are going to be the best ones yet!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Another Kitchen Update + New Light Fixtures + Dining Update

Matt, Presley and I are so excited to be welcoming another sweet babe into our family in early November! Everyone knows that with many pregnancies come nesting. So basically for me with pregnancy comes...just more Katie. But like an extreme home makeover version. I'm basically just in a perpetual state of nesting even when not pregnant but now I'm like...well basically I'm just a sick, hungry and tired insane person. 


I liked my kitchen before. I loved it at one point but if you keep up with this blog to any extent you know that my style changes on a weekly basis. So last week I JUST NEEDED TO CHANGE EVERYTHING! LIKE RIGHT THEN! 

Before Before:


Before:


My "theme" before was like a mint green plus a bright floral print. I wasn't entirely sure where I wanted to go with this I just knew I wanted it different. I started with the curtains. I looked online for over a week trying to find the perfect ones that would inspire the rest of the room. I finally found them on Kohls.com (Corona Addison in the color Glacier). They were about $30 a panel. I was worried they'd be super bright but they were very subtle and so perfect for this space. It also complimented the Sherwin Williams's Sea Salt I have painted in the living and dining rooms next door. That's one thing that really bothered me about the mint before. It didn't flow from room to room very well. I got a new brushed nickel curtain rod from Target.com.

My brother gave us a hand-crafted table for Christmas and we love it! It goes with our IKEA chairs ($40 each) perfectly. It's so beautiful and he made it all by himself. If you have an idea for a custom piece in mind hit me up and I'll give you his info (shameless plug). He can deliver in Memphis or Starkville, MS. 


So from there I knew I had to change the color of my coffee bar furniture. I would've painted with enamel paint (it was painted enamel before) because it holds up well, I could've matched the exact color of the curtains, and it would've been way cheaper...but I'm pregnant and those paint fumes are super strong and, like I said, this needed to happen NOW. I've had experience before with chalk paint and my dining room table. I used Cece Caldwell and was not a fan. I had to constantly water it down because it was too thick on its own but then it'd get too thin (the place where I bought it actually recommended I do this). I had to paint 3 coats over 6 chairs and a table which was not ideal and took FOREVER. It looks great now but I swore I'd never use chalk paint again. It's expensive and just didn't live up to its name for me. Well, chalk paint is 100% safe for pregnant people so 3 years later I decided to give it another try. I first went to Farrell Calhoun to buy some but they only had a few colors in stock and none of them were what I wanted. Then I called Sherwin Williams. They don't sell it but told me about this place called Annie's on the Collierville Square. I drove 20 minutes there. Annie's is not a place that does or ever existed on the Collierville Square. So that was just for fun I guess. Then I discovered a place srsly 5 minutes from me in Germantown called Me and Mrs Jones. They sell basically anything Annie Sloan you could possibly need. They had every color and were very helpful. I bought a quart of the color Duck Egg which didn't match my curtains exactly but it was in the same color family and complimented it well. It was $38+tax which was alot more than I wanted to spend on this little furniture update but I had no other options. I actually ended up using just a little then saving up to 1/2 quart in a mason jar for touchups and sold the other 1/2 of the quart on FB resale for $20. So $18 wasn't so bad. SO that's how I ended up with this chalk paint. 

I loved it. Annie Sloan offered me a completely different chalk painting experience. It was so much better. It covered very well and I was just really impressed. I used a clear satin-finish coating I had in my garage already to seal it. I changed out the knobs to these rustic iron ones I got for $4 each also at Me and Mrs Jones. I love the update!


I got the Bible verse print from one of my favorite Etsy shops Printable Wisdom. $5 for the download and you just get it printed at your favorite photo place in any size. For details on anything else you see here go to my previous kitchen post

Another thing we changed was the light fixture. I legit got the previous chandelier at a garage sale for $1. ONE. DOLLAR! I fixed it up with some paint and TLC and I loved it. I was hoping for something a little more modern though. I would describe my typical style as "Southern DIY" (is that a thing?) but I occasionally like to add a modern flair to things. I found this drum fixture on Overstock.com for $100 (with a coupon code I had) and it was just right. I bought it and Matty installed it beautifully and I just love it. 


I already had the sign above the window but the words were darker and 2-toned which, of course, bothered me. Because the weirdest little things drive me crazy. Especially crazy, pregnant Katie. So I took it down and painted over all of the letters in white. I like it alot better now that it's brighter and more crisp. 

I didn't have to change my little speaker/charger/plant station. When I first went to college I bought the iron table at Hobby Lobby. It was a million different colors but I spray painted it brown when we moved into this house. I found the shutters on the side of the road and spray painted them. My MOPS friend Summer painted me the piece of wood I hung above it. It's sweet because she asked what I wanted my "word for the year" to be around Christmas time 2016. We had been trying to get pregnant for a little while at that point and I was starting to get discouraged. I told her I wanted my word to be "trust" because I wanted to fully put my trust in Him who is the creator of life. I knew that He heard my prayers and would give us another baby in His perfect timing. I hung it up in a place where I'd see it all the time and it served as a great reminder through the next few months. I saw it every day and was reminded to pray for my little baby who we so longed for. Now I love to see it as a reminder of God's faithfulness to our family. I'll treasure it forever. THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR THIS SWEET LITTLE BABY OF OURS! And for sweet friends who pray for and encourage us through happy and hard times. 


I got this grassy Safavieh rug on Overstock for just $30. I love the way it looks and WHAT A DEAL but it feels so bad on bare feet. Usually I at least have on socks if I'm walking through the house but sometimes I don't and it feels like I'm walking over a pit of sharp rocks. It's odd but I'd do it again. 

That was basically the main of it since the rest of the kitchen is just cabinets. I covered the cornice above the sink in a new material that matched everything better. I bought it at Joanne's. I also added some of the Duck Egg chalk paint to the church painting hanging on the wall to make it match (it was more minty before) and completely painted and redid the "As for me and my house..." sign above the door. The new sink mat was only $13 from Target.com. A few months ago I came across the adorable bird lamp at Target. Originally $30 but on sale for $8 so I couldn't resist it. It matches my new stuff so well! Plus I sold my lime green canisters on FB resale and got a new clear jar for my sugar on the counter (also Target).





AND check out my beautiful new sink! My in-laws are redoing basically their whole house. Their kitchen is getting a complete overhaul and they gave us their old stainless sink. I HATED that black sink. It was brand new when we moved in but it always looks dirty and scratched easily and one side (the side I used most with the disposal) was really shallow and water constantly splashed everywhere. This new sink is so deep on both sides and is so easy to keep clean. Basically, it's just great. AND (bonus) I love the way it looks and how it matches all of the other stainless around it.


So that's my "new" kitchen! I'd seriously love to paint it Wool Skein like my entry hall. Like I don't know if I'll be able to rest until that's done because the idea is in my head and it won't leave until it happens. But I CAN'T PAINT BECAUSE I'M PREGNANT THIS IS SO HARD! I'd have to convince or pay someone else to do it. We've been in this house 3 years and it would be the 3rd color I've painted my kitchen and everyone thinks I'm crazy. Well 3 is maybe excessive. Hey, only a color a year! OK IT'S EXCESSIVE BUT I CHANGE MY MIND OFTEN OKAY!! I like the Agreeable Gray we have in here but I recently decided that I have too many colors painted downstairs and want them to flow better. I currently have 4 colors between 5 rooms. IT JUST BUGS ME! I have Wool Skein in my entry, stairwell and upstairs hallway and I just keep falling more in love with it. I've never second guessed it like I have with basically everything else. I wish I had thought to do that 2 Christmases ago when I painted the kitchen gray. I love the gray but it also shows fingerprints and like everything that has every touched it. Not super ideal with a toddler and new baby on the way. And I'm fully aware that this is a serious first world problem. I have guilt even writing down my thoughts about it out right now. Moving on.

Another thing that my psycho preggy brain needed to do right away was change out light fixtures. Instead of just splurging on them I actually spent time saving for them. I did lots and lots of research on them beforehand as well. I had a baggie labeled "light fixture fund" in my kitchen and I put all of my FB porch pickup money I made there. Once I had enough for a new fixture I'd buy it! You can make a lot of money on resale sites. I have so much stuff I've been purging. More crazy nesting Katie probs.

The first one we changed was the entry hall. The one before was fine but I really wanted a cage-like fixture. My dad gave us a beautiful new door in January and I really wanted to continue updating this space. I found this one by Allen + Roth for only $70 at Lowes and was in love. With both the fixture and the price. 


The kitchen was second but I already talked about that. Then we did the bar fixture. It's also from Lowes. I found one that looks almost just like this online but it was $200 and I couldn't spend that much on something people won't even really see since in kind of a hidden space. $200 is a lot to me and wanted to spend that kind of money on something more prominent. So I found a mock up of the one I loved at Lowes for $80 which was a much better price. I love the update!



LASTLY, my dining room. The other one was new with the house 3 years ago and I loved it then but I just didn't love it now. It was too....bulky. I wanted something more dainty. I originally thought I wanted a black iron one but then I found on on Joss and Main that was so beautiful. It was like $400 and I just couldn't. After days and hours of searching the internet I found one that was super similar to the Joss and Main one for $200 on Overstock with my coupon code! It's Austin Allen brand. It arrived and I put it together and it just wasn't what I was picturing. I was freaking out a bit because I had already basically destroyed the packaging getting all of the pieces out and assembling it and the price didn't include free return shipping. That would've cost a small fortune because it was in a huge, heavy box. I was so nervous to touch it with paint because I didn't want it to lose its return value but I figured it was worth it to give it a try. 

The thing I didn't like about it was the arms. In the online picture they were really light but in person they were alot darker. Like a dark printed-rustic brown. It didn't look real rustic. It looked fake rustic, if that makes sense. It's a rustic-looking fixture and I loved the look of it on the rest but not the arms. So I did it. I painted it. I had alot of leftover paint from my china cabinet and dining buffet furniture pieces (Big Spender by Farrell Calhoun) so I used that to go over the arms. I didn't think it'd adhere well because I painted on a slick surface but it did good! I did 2 coats and it looks like it was made that way. Now I'm obsessed with it and adding the brown arms made it match the rest of my dining room perfectly. The brown also went with the rest of the fixture beautifully without looking like it was an add on. I'm so happy that I decided to go for it. I got my Joss and Main look on a Katie budget. My dining room looks alot more light and open now without that big, bulky fixture in the middle of it.

I also was over the burlap curtains I made 3 years ago. With my new rug (stay tuned for info) it was just too heavy and (if it's possible in the South) too much burlap. I found the perfect new curtains at Tuesday Morning. They were super long which is hard to find on a budget and guess what!! They were only $20 for both panels!! The room gets so much brighter in the daytime and it's just so much more light.

This room really lacked some color (everything is basically the same) so I painted the flowers to hang by the window.

(Please look closely for my child who has a mouth full of string cheese. She's crazy but I'm obsessed with her)




I also sold the iron candle sconces on the sides of my china cabinet and traded them out for big picture frames ($12 each at Home Goods). I painted the frames Big Spender (the brown color) and now they match great. And you know how my plate wall started out super colorful? Then over Christmas I made it less colorful. Well now it's totally white and I've never been more pleased with it.



I got the big sisal rug from a resale site a few months ago. I had one before this one but it was way too small and bugged me for years. I just didn't feel like returning it so I left it there for a long time. After Christmas I came across a listing for this huge rug right when it was posted and I was lucky enough to have claimed it first. It was $40ish. It had a few issues though that didn't bother me at first...but that's before I was pregnant. It was unraveling in a few places and driving me cray cray all of the sudden so I posted it on a resale site. I had 22 people wanting it within 15 minutes. So now I needed a replacement! I found another one on my new favorite website, Overstock. It was the same big size and just what I needed AND, best of all, it was fully intact. It was $180 which is alot for a spur of the moment purchase but I figured that if I sold the other one for $45 (which I did in 2 seconds) this new one was only like $140 which isn't so bad. Right? RIGHT?? Oh well, it's fine. I love my new rug and I'm finally happy with it and it's here to stay. Until I change my mind in 2 years and tear my house down and start over because I'll be pregnant again or something.


So that's what I've been up to and I'm only 13 weeks along. THERE'S STILL SO MUCH TIME! My house will probably be purple or something by the time this babe actually arrives.

We find out the gender of our baby in only a few weeks so as soon as that happens then DUH NURSERY!!!! I can't wait. Well I guess if it's a girl it won't change much but if it's a boy it's getting an overhaul. Pres will be moving to her big girl bedroom soonish that's already ready for her. I guess we'll do that at the same time I potty train her and take away her paci. All things that need to happen before baby gets here. I JUST DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THOSE THINGS! I just bought a little potty seat and tiny panties and I've never been so intimidated about something so cute. I know it'll be so worth it though. She's growing up too fast. So until next time! Or until I decide to randomly turn another room upside down! Whichever comes first :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Playroom Updates and Things

Like every room in my house, the playroom/Presley's future big girl room is always evolving. I want it to be a fun, whimsical space that's really personal to her. As her interests develop and change it helps me to kind of mold the room into a place she really enjoys. Or maybe it has 8 million toys in it (only a slight exaggeration) so duh she loves being in there. But every time she points at something on the wall and smiles at it because it's something she loves it makes me so happy. We love spending time in here.

It hasn't changed too much from the last update but I've added a few personal touches that I wanted to share!

Here is the before before right when we moved in:



Here's what it looked like when I had Pres:


Here are my first decorative touches that took 32 hours (another slight exaggeration) that I immediately took down because THEY JUST WEREN'T RIGHT OKAY!


So basically I handmade all of those pom pom balls that I strung onto string and hung up. HAND. MADE. I thought they'd be cute but I just didn't like them. It was too much. The curtains were just some I had on hand and were way too dull for this space. With the white walls I needed something more vibrant. Especially for a little girl's room. I love the purple doors. Again, the white wall needed some pizazz. The ceiling is a light pink.

Then there was this:



Then I made this massive "P" that ALSO took 3233234932839 hours (actually not an exaggeration) that I liked for a day then I was like.....things have gotten a little out of hand here, Katie.

It was huge. It lit up and was cool but it was the size of a walrus. Ain't nobody got time for dat.


So I wasn't kidding when I say I've changed this room 8 times (is that the actual number? It actually probably is). And lets be real. This isn't going to be the end. But this is where we stand and I'm happy with it at the moment. It's a fun space with too many toys where we love to play and watch movies and kiss every puzzle piece before we put them together (I literally have no idea why she does this but I've embraced it and I'm all "you do you, girl").

video




The thing that I'm MOST excited about is my new IKEA light fixture. It's so weird...just like me. I felt a deep connection to it the moment I saw it. It's like it stared into my soul and just whispered "yes." And I was all "Here IKEA take all of my money." BTW have you heard that MEMPHIS HAS AN IKEA NOW?? I've been 3 times in a month and a half which I don't think is too bad considering how magical it is. And lets be real. I mainly go for the hot dogs. 2 hot dogs and a drink for $2 *head spins around*. LET ALL OF MY DOLLARS BE TURNED INTO HOT DOGS! I love hot dogs....hot dogs.

It was $60 so it was probably the most expensive thing there (worth 80 IKEA hot dogs) and it was apparently impossible to install (because Sweden) but it happened and I love it (shout out to Matt and my FIL, Jeffrey)! It's just what this room needed. I've been holding out to buy a light fixture for this room (it has had a super cheap brushed nickel flush mount light in it for 3 years) but I thought I eventually wanted to move Presley's chandelier from her nursery over. She's not leaving her nursery any time soon and I just decided that that is too fancy and I wanted something more funky in here. *Enter IKEA*


I got this cute table and chairs on a local FB resale site and painted it. Pres loves it and sits here and "reads" almost every day. Also, she LOVES flowers (fake, real, flowers in books...she doesn't discriminate). She will spot one then start dramatically sniffing and it makes me laugh every time. I'll hear her start to sniff (it's that loud) and I'll look up and she'll be sniffing a page in a book with a flower on it. Makes me LOL every time. You should see her in the silk flower aisles of Hobby Lobby. She could sniff for hours. So I got her a little bouquet of silk daisies (that actually came from my high school bedroom that I saved for some reason). 



video

Santa loves a good deal and stood in a 45 min long line at Walmart on Black Friday to get Pres the cutest Hello Kitty kitchen for Christmas. It was $40 on Black Friday but originally $70 (Amazon). It was so dang packed I..I mean Santa...literally held this huge box above my...I mean his...head to maneuver around the place. Which, let me point out, wasn't easy after my...his...large Thanksgiving feast that was just indulged in. Who needs a new years resolution to exercise or whatever when there's Black Friday? You'll lose like 39 lbs in one day trying to master the vicious crowds. That was a free tip. You're welcome. 

My MIL gave her the adorable apron to go with it. I hung that with a decorative Command hook. Have I mentioned that Pres is obsessed with cats? Hence the kitty cat birthday party she had a few days ago.


She went to grandma's like this a few weeks ago. She's in love she's in love and she doesn't care who knows it. 

video

This cute window was originally blank inside but I added the poster and cat for her bday party and thought it was too purrfect to take apart. So I left it. And I like it. One day when she's actually ready to move in here we'll put her pink dresser (currently in her nursery) under this.


This bulletin board (super cheap from Hobby Lobby that I painted) is still decorated from her 1st birthday party because I'm in denial and can't make myself take it apart and update it.

I painted her this Pooh picture for Christmas. She is OBSESSED with Winnie the Pooh so I wanted to incorporate that in some way. She loves to point at it and giggle and say "Pooh Pooh" which makes my day.


Lastly, my MIL gave Pres the CUTEST kitty cat bedspread for her birthday from Target. As soon as she saw it she gasped, crawled up on the bed and did this:





I'll end this post with yet another picture of my majestic "ALF"


Hope you enjoyed!