Friday, November 14, 2014

five things fridays: drink it up!

This week's Five Things Friday is all about the drinks. I'm not a real wine drinker, but I just love this wine holder. There was a movie, and I am totally drawing a blank on the name, that had these stacked in a fabulous design. If only I had the counter space! I'd love even a few of these set up in a great honeycomb design. 
And again, if it weren't for the lack of counter space, this would have a home in our kitchen. I'm still debating if I can pull it off! I'd love to have our favorite mugs out at a little drink station.
Speaking of drink stations. If you don't have the counter space, but you have room to put a little cart, isn't this a fabulous idea?! I wish I had room for either, but we don't!

My Hubs is a big coffee nerd these days. He's all about the local spots. He has his fave, but he loves to try new places. I heard about a new place in the city and he checked it out. It's brand new so they aren't totally done designing, but isn't it fabulous looking?

pc: The Hubs // insta

He came home and told me all about it. While I'm not a black coffee drinker I definitely want to check this place out! And they carry these cute little cups! I love the clear glass rather than a normal mug that you can't see through. And the cork is pretty neat too. You can customize the cups on their website with all sorts of colors and sizes! Take a look!
Do you have a favorite drink of choice? Or favorite drink accessories? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


One of my worst traits is my inability to meal plan and cook the meals. On Monday I gave myself a fresh start and so far so good! I printed out sheets that show one week at a time; half for meal planning and the other half for groceries. I planned out all the way until December 12th. That is literally like planning a years worth of food for the old Mare cook. *wink* And not only did I plan, but I shopped! I have every grocery item I will need except for things that need to be slightly fresher. I feel like a new woman! Okay, well that may be a bit drastic, but I do feel amazingly proud that I did this. And I cooked three meals in a row from scratch without stressing myself out! If you plan ahead it is so much easier! 

Y'all. This chicken dish above is! And easy! If I can pull this off, ANYONE can! So first of all, get your bottom over to follow Edie @lifeingrace on Instagram and look back to her post on this chicken on November 4th. And then get yourself to the grocery store and make this! *NOTE:* Do NOT put the green veggie of choice in with the rest of the veggies for the full time. Just give it about 30 minutes at the end or you will end up with broccoli that is completely inedible. Yes, unfortunately I am speaking from experience.

You will need the following ingredients:

one whole uncooked roaster chicken
one onion
baby carrots
(and do yourself a favor, follow Edie's tip and buy the squeezable garlic. I thought I was wasting my money, but girl, it is totally worth it.)
two lemons
a few slices of uncooked bacon
green veggie of choice (Edie chose brussel sprouts. I chose broccoli.)
olive oil
salt and pepper

And here are the crazy easy steps:

Preheat your oven to 425. 
Remove the innards from the chicken if yours comes with them (mine did not - but if they did, I would have saved them for my chicken stock). 
Pat the skin dry and rub the skin with butter (slightly melted for easy spreading.)
 Liberally salt the chicken and spread the garlic on top. 
Follow with a good amount of pepper. 
Then cover the chicken with the uncooked bacon. 
Chop up the onions and potatoes and then layer those with the baby carrots around the chicken. Drizzle the whole "shebang" in Edie's cute words, with lots of olive oil. 
Salt and pepper the vegetables and squeeze the lemons all over the chicken.  
You can lay them on top of the chicken for added flavor and to make it an even nicer presentation. 
Cook at 425 for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. 
You can serve right away or turn the oven off and let it rest in there until you’re ready to eat. 

Easy peasy and delicioso!

For night two, I went to Ree of The Pioneer Woman for inspiration. I did make a few adaptions to this recipe though and I will let you know what I did. You can get her original recipe here though.

For this delicious chicken noodle soup you will need:

The gizzards from a chicken I had previously frozen 

1 pre-cooked rotisserie chicken 

3 carrots - I chopped these rather than diced time

3 stalks of celery - I chopped these as well

1 whole onion - I cut this in half and then fourths

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric

1/4 teaspoon of white pepper (you can do more to taste)

3/4 teaspoon of ground thyme

2 1/4 teaspoons of parsley flakes

12 ounce bag of Reames homemade egg noodles (in the freezer section by ravioli)

4 ounces of chicken base (half of a little glass jar of Better Than Bouillon) 

1 small box of chicken stock - I will try to update this with the exact size

I boiled the chicken pieces in 8 cups of water and then put it on a simmer. About 10 minutes later, I added the chicken stock. I would say I let this go for about 30-40 minutes before removing the chicken pieces with a slotted  spoon. 

Next I added in the carrots, celery, and onions, along with all of the herbs and spices. I also added the chicken base here. Stir this all together and let simmer for about 10 minutes so all of the flavors mx well.

While this is going, shred the chicken off of the rotisserie chicken. 

Increase the heat a bit and add the frozen egg noodles as well as the shredded chicken pieces. Now cook this for about another 10 minutes.

*Ree suggests taking 3 tablespoons of flour, mixing it with a little water, stirring until smooth and then pouring it into the soup. Stir so it combines with the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. This will thicken the broth a bit. - I will try this next time… I just completely forgot.*

Tonight we had steak with sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and sautéed onions. 

For the roasted veggies, I cut up baby carrots (cut in half the long way), fresh broccoli, zucchini, and red pepper. I drizzled them well with olive oil, then sprinkled garlic powder, salt and pepper and mixed it up well. I put this on a pan in the oven at 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. 

For the onions, I cut the onion in long slices, sautéed them in olive oil and some ketchup. Yes, sounds gross, but it is tasty! Cook those until tender.

The sweet potatoes were just baked in the oven and the steak just had some steak seasonings.

No picture tonight, but it was tasty and successful! Tomorrow night we are having leftovers just so our fridge stays cleaned out. So, if I can meal plan and cook, anyone can!! You can follow along with my journey of meals on Instagram with the hashtag #ciaomarezymeals. Happy cooking! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

first halloween

My little men celebrated their first Halloween with their sister this year. In years past, we just handed out candy at our house, but didn't dress up. This year, we kept it super simple. I didn't want to pay a ton of money for a costume they would wear for a couple hours max. Two costumes at once adds up. And I knew I didn't have the time to really make much of anything. So this year, they went as Batman and all I had to buy was the Batman shirt, which they can wear other days during the year anyway. It's their Papi's favorite character so it's a good thing to have in their wardrobe... along with their Redskin's clothes and Alabama hat. *wink* I cut capes out of black fabric and just pinned it to their shirts and took yellow strips of fabric and tied it around their waist as a belt. Wallah. They also wore their Batman sunglasses part of the time. They were not fans of masks.
Zelie was part of the fun too. My sweet cousin sent her an adorable black cat onesie that she wore with black tights. Simple and so cute!
We went out with a friend of mine and her daughter and hit about 10 or 12 houses before a huge front of wind and cold air hit. We turned around to make the walk back to our cars and just made it before the heavens opened and poured down rain. That would have been awful with three little ones and two babies! They kids had a ton of fun with the houses we did make it to and definitely got enough candy. The boys had never had candy before so they had absolutely no idea what they were getting. They knew it was called candy, but didn't know what it really was. They still don't. I didn't let them have any of it. Not that I don't let my kids have any sugar, but candy is off limits for them right now. They have cake on special occasions and cookies from time to time. I don't really want to start them on candy. And most of the stuff they got, a two year old couldn't really eat. Momma and Papi didn't mind eating it for them though. *wink*
The boys had such a great time and I was so pleased as their Momma to hear them use their manners. I try hard to raise them well, but my word, it is not easy. Manners came easiest so far. We have please and thank you, yes please, no thank you, excuse me, no sir and yes ma'am going quite well. So when they went up to the door and said "trick treat" it was followed by a sweet please and then thank you. My heart swelled watching their smiles and hearing their kind words.

When we got home, the boys thought they would show and share their sweet treats with their little sister. They are so giving. I am loving their bond already and I know it is only going to be sweeter as they grow.
 Next year I want us all to dress up! I haven't dressed up in years and think it would be kind of fun. We will see. It would be something I'd really have to plan ahead for! Do you go all out for Halloween, not celebrate at all or something in between?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

you always want what you don't have

I have always wanted curly hair and my hair is far from curly. I have thin, limp, straight, blah hair. 
I hate it. The texture, color, everything. I wish I had different hair. But, this is what God gave me and unless I get myself a wig, I've gotta work with it!
Oh, and to make matters worse, my hair doesn't curl well. Like at all. I've gone to the salon to have it done and by the time they get to the end of my head, they have to re-curl it, and even at that, it is basically no curl. Look, I'll show you.
That was an hour after it was curled twice and touched up. Pretty pathetic.

So then a few years back I was walking through the mall and I was stopped by one of the people working at a kiosk. I never stop, but I saw they had a curling iron that was curling hair real well. I let them try it on me and it actually did curl my hair pretty well! And not only well, but it stayed curly!  
partial curls
 full head of curls
It even stayed for days, like in this picture. I just spray some new hairspray and flip my head around some and it fluffs good as new.
So this is a great way for me to curl my hair, but it can also be tough because it takes me a while. Recently I learned of a new product that is quite easy and it is super cheap! I had a few glitches that added to the time, but I think it will become a lot easier and much quicker when I do it a few times. They look pretty funky, but they are easy to use and gave good curl to my hair!

 My goal is to get good enough to be real quick so I can have curly hair multiple times a week! Do you have any good tricks/products to help with curly hair? 

Friday, October 31, 2014

five things friday: momma favorites

Good morning, ladies. And gents? Or ladies and my Hubs? *wink*
Join me for my Five Things Friday featuring current Momma favorites!

I may or may not still be in this same outfit as yesterday...which was the same outfit as the day before...and it is possible the day before's outfit as well. But I can't really remember that far back. I'm just keeping it real here.

For this Friday's edition, I am sharing five of my current faves as a mom.

1. Enfamil to go. If they had these when I had the boys I totally did not know about them! It makes life on the go, especially with my hands full with two toddlers as well, so so much easier. I don't have to worry about lugging along icepacks to keep formula cold, which then also makes for an unhappy baby girl, who prefers warm drinks. I can fill her bottles with pre-warmed water and then just pop in a packet of her formal already measured and ready to go! It's a mini lifesaver!

2. I never go out on my own, without the Hubs or kiddos in tow. That's not a complaint, it's just a fact. I am a homebody and most of my friends don't live nearby so I'm usually enjoying time at home with the fam. But this one particular night I needed to get out and I had errands that had to be run. The Hubs happily offered to watch the three littles for me while I headed out. So, out I went. One of my stops was Home Goods. While I was there I perused through the children's section and I found a little goodie to bring home to my little ones; the book Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You. I had seen this book before, but never opened it. Y'all, I'm in love. It is the sweetest book by Nancy Tillman. I can't wait to get my hands on her other books.

3. I have worn these bracelets for each of my kiddos almost every day since they were each born. I love them. They are thin and simple and each gold disc has their initials on it. I may have to think of using names that start with G, W, or Z again so I don't have an armful of bracelets. ;) I gave my best friend one with a J on it and she is able to use it for both of her little guys, and maybe her third too! She's having baby three and I am oh so excited! When I was pregnant with Zelie, I knew I loved that name, but it wasn't something we decided 100%, but one day while I was walking by the store I bought the G and W at, I thought I'd pop by and see if they just so happened to have a Z. When I went in to check, they didn't, but they offered to check all the other stores in the country and only one store had one Z left. I had them order it via phone for me and it was at that point that I was certain we'd have a Zelie. I love these bracelets because they are constant reminders of my little loves. 

4. These magnetic locking devices are fabulous. I wish I had just invested in them from the get go. I cannot stand those regular cabinet safety locks you put on drawers and cabinets. Whether it be the exterior slide locks on double cabinets or the little hooks that you slightly open doors and drawers and then have to stick your finger in to push down. We have both of those everywhere in our home and they are the death of me. But now the boys learned how to open those so I was desperate for a more toddler proofing option and that is when I discovered these. I am a much happier and frazzled momma knowing my cabinets are still safe and in turn, the little guys are safe. We only have locks on places they can harm themselves, like knives, chemical detergents, etc. Do yourself a favor and just get these from the start! You'll save money and work in the long run by not having to buy two different sets. 

5. When Gus and Will were born we did everything to get them to both sleep and stay asleep. They were swaddled, held a certain way, rocked... you name it. They also slept with a sound machine. It would help when one boy woke up at random so the other baby had a chance of not being disturbed. It has really helped even to this day when they sleep, at nap time and overnight. As it turned out, it has helped their sister very much too. Since the boys use our only sound machine, I decided I'd try out an app on my old iPod so I didn't have to bother buying a new machine and it also is a lot more convenient since it is portable and can go anywhere. I can bring it in the car with me which has been a great lifesaver at times on longer drives or long days of errands. I also have the app on my phone in case I need it while out and I don't have my iPod on hand. This is the one I downloaded, but any sound app would work. Zelie's favorite is Calm Rainfall. 

So, these are some random current faves that revolve around my life as Momma to my two little men and sweet baby girl. What are some current momma musts in your life? Or, if you aren't a momma, what are some of your musts that you love on a daily or regular basis?

And, Happy Halloween everyone! I will be back with a little recap on our little's first Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

thrive moms

Have you connected with the Thrive Moms community? If you are a momma, and you haven't, you should. I'm loving it. I'm loving a lot of little blogs lately that inspire moms and wives. We have a very important role in our family and in society and receiving inspiration and boosts from other women like ourselves is a great encouragement. Something I would really love to do is be a part of a community with other ladies to use my gifts to encourage others. Today I found out about an opportunity to be on the team of photographers at Thrive Moms. I am far from professional in my photography, but I put my heart into it, just like I put my heart into being a momma. I am not a professional at that either, even though I have three littles. I still have a lot to learn, but I hope to always grow in both mothering and photography. Here are a few photos I am sharing with the team at Thrive Moms. And, you can follow me on Instagram @ciaomarezy to see more glimpses at life our little life!