life is always about the journey...

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Lil' Bit of Everything!

Quick and Easy Side Dish


I'm always trying to figure out healthy & easy side dishes to serve with dinner that my family will eat.
This dish I make is something my mom used to throw together growing up and I've just tweaked it a bit.  The best thing about it is you can include whatever you want or like!

I call it Veggie Saute and its soooo good.  If you have leftovers of this, the 2nd day is even better after those flavors really marinate together...mmmm!  
This is great if you have a bunch of veggies laying around that you need to use up or only have a few of each...chop them up and add them to the mix.  That way the veggies don't go to waste!

Ingredients that I use:
*Remember you can add whatever veggies you choose
*any amount of veggies that you want, its up to you

-yellow squash
-any peppers you choose
-Olive Oil
-3-4 garlic cloves pressed/diced
-red pepper flakes
-shredded mozzarella

Add your Olive Oil to a saute pan and cook your garlic for a few mins.
Then add all your veggies (chopped) and seasonings...I love a kick so I add a good amount
of red pepper flakes.  

Cook over medium heat until veggies soften up to your liking, stirring well every few minutes.
If you are in a rush put a lid on the pan so the veggies cook down faster.

You can do this with fresh or store bought's the secret though (shhhh ok)?  No matter whether you use fresh or store bought you cannot really tell because you are sauteing it down with flavorful seasonings.  So what's that mean?  
You can make this all year long and its super healthy for you and EASY!!!!

Ta Da!  Yum here is the kicker...listen closely ok??
If you like cheese...sprinkle a bit of shredded mozzarella on the mixture while warm so it melts a bit and then serve.  YUMMO!  Course you don't have to use cheese, but it adds a special sumpin' to the mix!

Easy to make, cooks up quickly and its healthy!  Yum Yum!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fun Fall Ideas

Fall Decor & Yummies!

Fall is coming...I can't say I'm overly thrilled...I like fall but it usually means that a cold winter is directly behind it.  I don't DO the cold...I absolutely hate slows me down and I don't enjoy it at all.  I'm a warm weather girl living in a 4 season state..oy LOL!

However I do enjoy fall football, Halloween, fall decor, yummy fall recipes and fires in the fireplace.
I can't deny that!

I used to go ALL out each Halloween...we did a full spooky house theme with front yard graveyard and music and the whole 9 yards.  However my kids are now teens and not interested in it so much anymore.  They don't trick-or-treat and usually hang out with friends or go to the movies nowadays.  So most of those decorations haven't come out lately (to the disappointment of the neighborhood kids but it was A LOT of work and I've run out of steam for that...shhh I'm getting old I guess) I've switched to a more elegant, fall decor for outside and inside.

So I'm sharing a few pins that I've pinned on Pinterest lately to get me in FALL MODE and give me some ideas of some things I want to do around my house.  These are ideas that aren't over the top, not expensive to make and make your home that much more fall-licious!
Some have links, others were google serach pics that had no links but hope
they get you in FALL mode as well!!  Enjoy!

Everything about this photo screams SPOOKY FUN!
I love each detail but especially BOO spelled out in fun metallic letters with a crooked
broom underneath...too cool!

Love these fall candle holders made with corn husks from 

{photo courtesy of magazine Better Homes & Gardens}
Love this idea, will be trying my hand at this for sure.
I can easily cut vinyl on my Silhouette for Pumpkins for the front porch!
Now to find me a cool vintage wheelbarrow...hmmmmm!

Love this centerpiece idea and not costly either
Spray Paint your pumpkins white and then wrap a faux or real
fall vine around them, add some candles and ta-da...beautiful!

Chocolate Kiss cute!  Kisses, Vanilla Mini Wafers
and caramel chips! (from busymodernfamily)

How cute are these pumpkin rice krispie treats? Easy to make
and perfect for adults kids and parties!  YUMMY!

Think I may make a wreath like this for my front door.
Some faux hydrangea blooms in fall colors, some leaves, a wreath frame and some ribbon.

Fall Decor the Easy Way...add a few fall branches or blooms
to a beautiful urn or pitcher and place around your house.
Fall Delight!

Tailgating Food or Football Viewing Food
Because you know I'm part of a large football watching family
(Go Skins & Ravens)
And we have people over to watch the games outside on the patio, with a blazing fire and some yummy foods.  So I'm always pinning cool recipes that can be eaten with one hand easily!
And next year I think we will be doing some tailgating at U of SC (go Gamecocks) when Alexa is attending college there ;)

Mini flatbread pizzas (google)

What's your favorite way to decorate for Fall?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Update!

 Play Ball!

September starts next week...that means my teens head back to school...and football season begins.  Technically it starts tomorrow night with Riley's first JV game at home and we are all looking forward to that.  And since mid July we've been in football and baseball mode.  Riley has been in football camp 6 days a week since end of July...2 a days, burpees, and lots of stinky sweat.  My truck gets febrezed every weekend...sweaty gear, sweaty boys...ick is all I say.  So that's a big part of my life every day.  Riley is a Defensive Tackle and DN on JV this mom gets to be a worry-wart every game ugh gotta hate love that. <wink>

My 6'3 240 lb son...yup still my

Alexa (on right) and her BFF these 2 gals!

And my daughter will be a senior...sigh..the time goes by fast y'all.  We have already paid for senior pics, cap & gown, and yearbook ads.  Oy?  I think I should just open a direct account to my bank account for the school ;)  But this year will be extra sweet seeing Alexa go thru her last year of high school and prepare for college...bittersweet in so many ways.

 Redskins won btw <wink> domination is the word!

And in other news hubby and I had a date night Saturday at FedEx Field to see the Redskins vs Bills pre-season game.  I won tix on the club level...2 tickets we declared it ADULTS ONLY for this event.  I have been a Redskins fan since age 5...back in the days of Riggins, Theisman, Green, Monk...ya know all the great Redskins players.  Now I'm putting my money on the new team of greatness I feel may be happening and its exciting!

Niles of my faves & he always has time for his fans!
He's a hilarious tweeter too!

 Chief..a Redskins fan/mascot for a LONG time!
He was so kind as I knew he would be...he signed my ball too!

And because we are Redskin and sport crazy in our family we ended the weekend at Redskins Park in Ashburn for a charity car show and an opportunity to meet & see a lot of the players.  I got my football signed by many players including Chief (our mascot that's been at every game since I was a small girl).  So I was a happy girl!

 Redskins alum & sideline reporter Antwaan Randle El was their with his girls...he hung out 
a long time too and chatted, really nice guy.  I love when athletes are down-2-earth and just nice guys..that makes me happy when I cheer them on to know that.  Yeah that's him signing my football and he drew me a pic on it too :)

Darrell nice, he hung around and chatted with me and a few others for about 20 mins he's a great player too!  Love him!

Yeah the Dean Family loves their sports...its something we all can enjoy together, we have season tickets to baseball, hockey and football and its family time.  We sometimes have heated discussions, we smack talk, we yell, we laugh, we love ESPN.  Maybe not all families love that so much but its something that we all really LOVE together...and that makes ME love it that much more!

And Friday and Saturday we will be at our Nats games in DC in between a little Florida Georgia Line fun that is ;)

Have a great week!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

High, Low!

 Their Style...2...My Style
HIGH to Low!

I read a lot of books and magazines, no surprise as I've talked about it before.  I have a lot of magazine subscriptions...don't ask but in my husband's words "its ridiculous" LOL. BUT I read them all and I love Us Weekly, People, Glamour, InStyle and Marie Claire for my fashion fun reads.  I've always been interested in fashion, I like to dress nice but I don't want to spend a ton of money either. So sometimes you have to be creative and shop around.  I have two teens who eat a lot, stick their hands out for money a lot and college tuition coming soon so I try to save wherever I can.  Doesn't mean I don't like quality pieces and if I know I will wear it a lot I will invest more money in it....ex. jeans, boots, dresses.

So when I saw Reese Witherspoon's outfit in a magazine recently it spoke to me....totally my style and I had most of the pieces (jeans, shirt and necklace).  But I need a belt and shoes that color...I love it and red IS my fave color.  I also want a camel/brown purse this fall, its on my want list as I know it will go with everything and is always a classic.

courtesy of Us Weekly magazine



My jeans are from A&F because they fit me well and I like that they don't stretch out
and counts as FREE since I own them already :)

This shirt from NYC Limited Co is $49 but with a coupon you can get it for $30--
I have a navy shirt like Reese's from Express with short sleeves but I like the contrast of the white & navy polka dot shirt as an option too.

my necklace came from Nordstroms for about $50 a few years ago but this one from
Etsy is similar and only $28
This belt from Target is only $12


These shoes from Steven Mikka (at Zappos) on sale for $62


I {heart} this Coach purse which breaks the my bank at $398 BUT it can be used for many seasons.
I still use a classic black Coach satchel from 8 years ago...always elegant and looks great, just gotta take care of them!
Or this satchel which is $155 from Zappos which is a bit cheaper and still nice! 

and can't forget my nails...and I love this Essie color "Glamour Purse" for fall, a nice neutral.
 (I'm partial to Essie & Butter nail polishes...they stay on a long time and I'm brutal to nail polish LOL).

So total of my outfit is $104 for shoes, belt and polka-dot shirt since I own the other items.
But I'm sure you could find shoes cheaper than $60...I know these shoes are made well and if I hate them, Zappos ships them back for free...gotta love Zappos!
Not too bad and something I can wear a lot and switch around with other items in my closet.  The purse is a "want" item...doesn't mean I'll get it but it also means I will ask for it for my anniversary prezzie ;)
Ohhhhhh hubbbbyyyyyyy!!!!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Comfort Me!

Comfort Food:  BBQ Mini Meatloaves

I enjoy comfort food, there's always a time and place for it and it just makes you feel good!  Especially on a bad day, a long day or a cold wintry day!  Nothing like some lovin' from the oven I always say...and when it smells divine...mmmm that's what I'm talking about!

I love meatloaf. But I only love MY meatloaf. I've tried many and never have found any I like better than my own. My kids will ONLY eat my meatloaf, they don't like other kinds either.  It's not a complicated recipe, nothing over the top, just great flavor and texture!  
I don't like a solid brick of hamburger, I like good stuff inside and a nice topping.

I cook my meatloaf in a mini meatloaf pan, it cooks faster and is so much neater...NOT to mention that it pops out perfectly shaped every time.
You can make these ahead of time and cover and store in fridge then cook later.

My pan is similar to this one here, not expensive but works great and I've had it for awhile.

After you make your meat mixture, grease your pan (even if its non-stick, trust me on this) and load each loaf section HALFWAY.  Then add your shredded cheese over it. MMmmmmm!

Then fill up rest of loaf with the remaining meat mixture.  Then top with your BBQ sauce. I use my own Cherry Cola BBQ sauce <recipe here>.
Cook uncovered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Right outta the oven..looks yummy and smells sooooo good!
They cook in 45 minutes...remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.

So, so good...and if you have leftovers you can slice it, heat it and make meatloaf sandwiches the next day...oh my gosh soooo good :)


Printable Recipe HERE!


Linking this to the following fab blog link parties:


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Laundry Essentials!!

Some Laundry Essentials for College

My daughter is off to college next fall and I am collecting and making gifts for her and her two BFFs to take to college <Read more about that HERE>.  I will put them all in the large Thirty-One totes I got each of them.  My daughter has learned (I say that term loosely ahaha) to do laundry but I am still in charge of laundry in this house...I don't mind but I they are responsible for the put-aways of their clothes/towels/linens.  But I know once she's off to college she will be doing it ALL by herself so I wanted her to have a few essentials that she can take to the laundry room easily. 

PS--I forgot to put the small white scrub brush in the photos but that will be included too.  It was $1 from the Target Dollar spot!

The laundry basket in background is is not included ;)

Dish Soap, Vinegar and Honest Co. Stain Remover
are the essentials I've taught her to use for stains and "incidents".
Yes white vinegar and dish soap can pair up to clean some mighty stains my friends.
I created pretty labels for surprise...I am a papercrafter at my core and 
I simply cannot help myself!

A small stack of inexpensive white washcloths to dab and blot at stains are essential
in my laundry room and for Alexa's Kit.  I tied them off with a pretty ribbon to match :)

Then momma made her up some Laundry Tip cards...all laminated for the inevitable spills and splashes!
I will link them below for anyone that would like to use them, they are in pretty colors so if you need them for a boy you will need to change text colors :) or ask me to and email them to you if you'd like. They are formatted for a 4x6 card.

I used my printer to create all these tags and then I stamped the teal swirls on each label, then laminated them.  Because I used thick cardstock I sent them through the laminator 3 times...just to be safe..cuz I'm all for safety and longevity ;)  Then hole punched and hooked together.

**I bought a NEW laminator from Target...a Scotch machine for $24 and it worked beautifully.  I had an older Xyron and it broke as I was beginning this project...arghhh*

Laundry tips that I know Alexa may forget or question what she remembered that she either 
attach to her laundry bag easily or keep in the bucket.
Or in my daughter's case she will probably text me WHILE she's doing laundry LOL!

A tip sheet on how to use white vinegar effectively on stains!

And another Stain Removal Tip Sheet with how to clean off
grease, lipstick, soda, pizza sauce, etc...all those things that may get on
clothes while at college.  And my daughter is the leader in dropping food on I got it all covered.

This is Alexa's new laundry bag that her grandmother got her to take to college.
Its a Vera Bradley bag and its HUGE, will haul a lot of laundry and has a nice thick strap to carry too.
Inside it has an attached pouch for change but at U of SC (where Alexa hopes to attend) they can use their student ID cards like a swipe card in the laundry room to pay for loads of wash...a little easier to do the task.  Why?  Because when her card is empty of $$$ she simply calls the Bank of Mom & Dad to load it up again LOL!

I made a matching tag to attach to her laundry bag as well just in case.
And cuz' its purrrrtyyyyy :)

 I added some pretty paper to the galvanized bucket (bucket was $3 at Michaels) to match the labels I made and another tag that hooks on the bucket saying "Laundry Essentials".  Just in case you forget ya know! <wink>  And everything fits inside nicely (and the scrub brush which I forgot, arghhh)!

Everything in this bucket including the bucket was approx $18 for all supplies

I will make 2 more of these sets for her friends in their fave colors as well...then they will go in the large tote bags.  So by the time they graduate there will be all kinds of goodies for them to use at college and maybe not feel too homesick.

This is a great idea for a brand new home-owner too...maybe a college grad moving into their first apartment or a young person moving into their first home perhaps.


Here are links to print the files for my Laundry Tip Cards if you'd like to use them.  They are formatted to print in a 4x6 size on an 8.5 x11 size paper.  They will also print in pretty colors ;) 

Laundry Tip Card 3

Masculine Versions here:  Card 1, Card 2, Card 3

Linking this to these link parties:

Happy Wash Day to you!

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