Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quick and Flavorful Pork Roast

Mondays are always a tough day for dinner because both my husband and I get home between 5:30-6 so many times it is my day for a crock pot meal!  I threw this Pork Roast together quickly in the morning before rushing out the door - a great weeknight go-to meal for the working family (or any family for that matter ;) )!
Pork Roast
1 Pork Roast (whatever cut is your preference and size to feed your family)
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
sea salt
black pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 potatoes, cubed
carrots (2 handfuls of baby carrots or 3-4 chopped carrots)
Slice onion and place in the bottom of the crock pot (I heard this helps with adding flavor).
Place roast on top and rub minced garlic onto the top of the roast (You can make a few shallow cuts in the top of the roast so the garlic gets into the roast for added flavor).
Season with the remaining seasonings to your liking (I add a few shakes of each).
Finish with the 2 Tablespoons of worcestershire sauce on top.
I then added the potatoes and carrots around the outside and seasoned those with garlic powder and Adobo (of course). 
Cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for 5.  Let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.  The onions caramelize at the bottom and are full of flavor to use as a topping on your pork.  Mmmmm :)  Enjoy!
~Erin Leigh

Monday, February 24, 2014

Organization - Week 2

So last week was week 2 of organization projects.  I am tackling/implementing three things a week until...who knows when...and then maintaining!    If you need to catch up you can read about the three things I tackled week 1 here. 
The first project I tackled during week 2 was our coat closet...the one we actually use for coats and not toys!  You can see the before and after below!  Talk about a wreck before...tell me I am not the only one whose closet can quickly get to this status?! I went to Target and bought two large baskets...one is holding winter hats/gloves/scarves and then the other is holding summer stuff.  I also picked up a shoe rack.  I LOVE how organized it is now!  (The things that excite me these days are starting to scare me....who am I?!?!)  Anyways...that was task 1 = complete! :)
Project 2 of the week was implementing another round of "nesting" aka - purge through remaining baby belongings, organize, sell and donate.  I sold items to five people that I am meeting up with this week and added more to my donation collection.  One step closer to basement organization and renovation!!
And lastly, the third project, that is only partially completed because it is a LONG project, and quite frankly, I don't have hours on end to work on it...but, I made some progress! My closet (our closet).  Closet, oh closet. I have such a love/hate relationship with you.  I love clothes and shoes and accessories (maybe too much) but it quickly gets unorganized and I haven't purged my own stuff for some time.  So, I started on Saturday.  You can clearly see that it is a complete disaster!  Well, I organized the shoes, pulled out clothes that I won't wear again, separated the remaining clothes by season/style (aka work clothes, pants, casual, dresses, sweaters etc). 
I'm clearly thrilled. ;)

I will be honest, the left side is still a disaster but I am loving this after shot!  The organized look makes me so happy. Let's see how long the shoes can stay that way! (Probably until my kids find their way into my closet and try on all my shoes)!  The left side of the closet is on my list this week!  One step at a time!
So, those are my three things I did this week to de-clutter/organize!  Did you do anything? On top of that, I made a goal of 5 workouts for the week giving me a little leeway with a minimum of 4 workouts.  Well - 5 workouts it was - 1 of them being a run on Saturday! It was a nice sunny day!  Overall week 2 was a pretty productive week! :)
~Erin Leigh

Sunday, February 23, 2014


My little one found her reflection this weekend and I fortunately had my camera handy to capture the "interaction!"  She has, of course, seen her reflection before, but this time she was interacting with herself.  She had so much fun and it was such a cute moment! Saying "hi," making funny faces, giving herself dirty looks and kisses...it was precious!

It is amazing how such a small event in the life of a child makes my heart want to burst with love as a parent.  Do you experience little moments like these that makes a bigger impact than you would think?  
~Erin Leigh

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Simple and Delish!

As I started to prepare dinner last night with the defrosted ground turkey and looking at what else I had, my thought was...what do I make with ground turkey and cauliflower? What kind of combination is that? I didn't meal plan for the night so I was seriously clueless what to make with this combo! Well, when in doubt lately, I typically make some sort of soup...and believe it or not, I actually came up with one of my favorite recipes to date! I was doubtful the whole time I was making it...but it was definitely delish!  It is a broccoli cheddar soup variation packed with protein and veggies.  It's made with ground turkey and additional vegetables, no cream and light on the cheese to make it lower in calories than the standard broccoli cheddar soup! 

Turkey Broccoli Cheddar Soup 
1 package ground turkey (1.3 lbs)
1 10.5 oz package frozen broccoli 
1 cup chopped cauliflower 
1 cup chopped carrots 
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk 
5 oz grated cheddar cheese 

Cook ground turkey with onion powder and garlic powder.
Drain fat. 
Add chicken broth, basil and vegetables, bring to a boil for about 20 minutes until veggies are soft (by this time most of the liquid has absorbed). 
Add milk and cheese, mix together, remove pot from heat and let cheese melt, stirring a few times. 

That's it!  It was so good! Wish I made a double batch to get through the weekend! :)

Simple and delish...my favorite cooking combination!

~Erin Leigh

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

This week I tried a variation of my Crockpot Chicken Tacos  using seasonings from a local business called The Tasty Tomato I recently heard of.  They make and sell dip mixes, seasoning packages and beer bread mixes with no added sugar or salt.  It was my first recipe trying out their seasonings and it came out great!  I have a few other kinds of seasonings that I can't wait to try out soon too! :) 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos:
3 chicken breasts
1 14.5 oz can of natural diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Simple Salsa Seasoning from The Tasty Tomato  (2 teaspoons for a spicier version)
(How simple is that?!?!)

Throw together in crockpot. Place on high for 5 hours or low for 8. Shred chicken and mix back together.  Serve with taco shells, rice, beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado or whatever floats your boat! :)


Mmmm...so good! Can't wait for leftovers for lunch today...and I am not a leftover person! 

~Erin Leigh

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Save Time by Being Organized

So...to follow my post last week about my nesting and de-clutter plan, I have been trying a few other things to make me feel more organized and overall, save time!  The de-cluttering project made me feel like I should take it a step further.  I don't feel unorganized or think that my home is unorganized, but I know there are things I could do a better job staying on top of which can save me time and energy...which is always a plus!  Does that make sense??   So, this week, I successfully worked on it and here are the few changes I implemented.

Here you will find what my laundry room looked like last weekend.  We are mid-renovation and on top of that, the laundry built up over the week...and it's actually worse than it looks...what you don't see in the picture is that there is a load of laundry in the washer AND in the dryer.  It took about 2 hours total time to fold and put everything away.  Unreal.  Tell me I am not the only one this has happened to?? So HOW to avoid this??  Wait for it....do a load of laundry a day...but not only DO the laundry but also fold and put away.  I had heard this before and finally said, ok I should try it because this is getting out of hand!  In reality, I actually don't need to do one every single day, but if I do one load 4 - 5 days a week it doesn't add up.  I tried it out this week and I stayed on top of it and I felt more organized and didn't have to spend the time doing it all at once!  Now, the laundry room is clear and we are getting around to deciding on cabinets, counter tops and designing our laundry room this weekend.  Can't wait for it to be done! :)

Next - toys...oh the toys.  We have turned our front coat closet into a toy closet to store the toys.  There are too many toys all over the house (I cannot wait until our basement is done so all the toys can go into the playroom)!  Anyways....the toy closet gets cluttered and unorganized VERY easily...so, I organized it, moved things around and was able to fit MORE into the closet than what was in it before.  Simple re-organizing makes me feel like there is so much more room! The kids helped me out so it was a little project we did together!  Worked out perfectly!  We are also working on putting away what we take out before taking the next thing out to play...that is still a work in progress.

The easiest yet most effective thing I did daily this week was made our bed.  Sounds so simple but sometimes (most of the time) it never happens.  First of all, I LOVE getting into a made bed at night.  There is something about crawling into a made bed that ends the day on a great note.  But, you cannot get into a made bed if it never gets made!  Secondly, it makes the room look put together and not disheveled every time you walk in during the day.  Makes me start the day feeling organized.  So, try it...take the extra 30 seconds to make your bed right away in the morning!  Starts the day with an accomplishment within the first few minutes of waking up! 

Those are the three things I committed to this week to be more organized and I feel like it worked.  Do you have any suggestions on things you do to keep your house organized to save time overall?  I want to try to add three new ones to my list this week!

~Erin Leigh

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Friday, February 14, 2014

The Day of Love

I have been teaching the kids that today, Valentine's Day, is the Day of Love...but really, to me it is just another day.  We give lots of hugs and kisses, say lots of daily "I love you's" and do our best to show thoughtfulness year round...which to me, is more important than focusing on one day per year. But, that is just my opinion. We go out to dinner weekly...I would rather go out tomorrow instead of tonight with everyone else (no offense to anyone going out to eat tonight ;) ).  However, the kids and I did decorate some sugar cookies, wear red, made a few homemade Valentine's and did our usual holiday photo shoot. :)
The photo shoot today brought me to do a little thinking about these two characters.  There are few things I love more than the love between my kids.  The constant laughter, dancing, singing, playing, running, protecting, kissing and hugging melts my heart. Yes there are definitely frustrating and overwhelming times as a parent (for example, when they gang up on you for going on vacation, throw simultaneous tantrums or both choose to throw their food or milk on the floor), but it is amazing watching their relationship grow and I can see that those things that can frustrate us as parents are them teaming up (we are probably in for it down the road) and building their little relationship.  They are definitely each other's "other half" right now and I love it.  Here is a look at our little Valentine's Day pictures.  On a side note, a good picture of two toddlers gets harder and harder to capture!
First, this photo proves that they have grown to be simultaneously difficult.  The top is our 2013 Valentine's Day picture which I attempted to repeat - clearly unsuccessful!

And the rest are a few shots I got throughout the morning!

Checking out the driveway being plowed.

Definitely not the greatest hair day! Lol

Always on her toes!

The love! 
And, of course, our Love sugar cookies we made yesterday :)
Hope everyone has a great day!  What are YOUR thoughts about Valentine's Day?  

~Erin Leigh
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Life Happens

I know first hand that when you are in a workout routine you vow you will never break it.  It feels so good to work out the same amount of days per week consistently...it is good for you both physically and mentally...but then life happens, you get sick, kids get sick, you don't sleep, things come up and before you know it you are out of the routine and you need to get back into it! That is the hardest part!  It can be a vicious cycle.  That is why January 1 my Facebook feed blows up with status updates about the amount of people at the gym.  All the New Years resolutions for all the people that "life happened to" during the year and want to get back on track! 
I feel like that is me right now.  I am working out here and there but not as consistent for a million reasons which sound like they are just good excuses, but really are reasons.  I know that I need to make time for myself, but for me the past 6 weeks, life has happened.  I was honestly doing so good UNTIL the first of the year.  Then went on vacation, came back, kids were VERY mad at us for going on vacation and made us miserable for a (very long) few days (I just realized I still haven't documented that experience...that will be a good one),  kids then got sick and started waking up at night = no sleep, work is busy so I'm doing more work from home in my down time...you name it, it has come up over the past 6 weeks, BUT, I am now vowing to get back into it.  Thankfully it wasn't a long break, but I can feel the mental difference.  I am happier and have more patience when I am working out consistently.  Everything they say about the endorphins and how it affects you is true!
So, that is my confession and this is my vow to get back on track!  Putting it in writing helps me hold myself accountable!  Hold yourself accountable too! Make a goal and stick to it. Summer (THANK GOD) is right around the corner and you will be glad you got into a routine now!  And who doesn't need a little endorphin boost in the middle of February and March?? They are the longest two months of the year in my book!  So...here is to fitness commitment, accountability and sticking to it! :)
Has "life" happened to you this winter?  We can help hold each other accountable!
~Erin Leigh

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Almond Baked Green Beans

Last night I made my own tilapia and almond baked green beans recipes.  Both the hubby and I thought it came out great! I actually had a second serving of fish and I usually never go back for seconds! The kids, to be honest, were on the fence.  The picky toddler stage is a tough one...what makes it harder is having more than one in that phase at the same time.  When one complains I can deal, when both complain it is so frustrating!  I now see why MY mom would be frustrated if my brothers and I complained about dinner when we were growing up.  It's funny how you see things in the way of your parents once you are a parent.  They always said I would...and of course I always said I wouldn't.  Anyways, I shouldn't take it personal or use their complaining through dinner as a negative sign of my cooking, since they complained through grilled cheese at lunch...what kid complains about grilled cheese?!

So, here it is! Two super simple recipes for you to try!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
4 pieces Tilapia
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less or eliminate if you don't like spicy flavor)

Preheat oven to 425 and spray large baking dish with non-stick spray.
Put egg in one bowl.
In another bowl combine remaining ingredients.
Dip each piece of fish in the egg and then into the parmesan mixture and place into baking dish.
Bake for 15 -20 minutes until fish flakes with a fork.

Almond Baked Green Beans
Green Beans (Whatever the amount you need for your family. A few handfuls was good for my family of 2 adults and 2 picky toddlers).
Coconut oil (Or the oil that you use for cooking).
Raw almonds
Garlic powder
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400.
Sorry this one is a little vague but it is so easy I never measure, and you probably don't have to either. 
Place about a tablespoon of oil on baking pan and put green beans on top, mix around until green beans have a light coating.
Sprinkle garlic powder and sea salt and mix around.  This is really up to how strong you like flavor.
*My favorite part that makes the whole meal - take about 1/2-3/4 cup of raw almonds and crush (I put in a plastic bag and use the meat tenderizer to crush - doesn't have to be little fine pieces, just small chunks). 
Mix the almonds in. 
Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the green beans once during the time.

That is it!  It was quick and I was able to cook them simultaneously!  I have made the green beans before which have turned into one of my favorite side dishes. It compliments just about anything you make!  Looking for a quick and healthy weeknight dish? Try it out and let me know how you like it! :)

~Erin Leigh

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I feel like I am nesting.  I am on an organization and de-clutter frenzy.  Seriously...recently my husband even asked me what had gotten into me!  It all started with a discussion of moving...(locally if you were wondering)...and as soon as we started really thinking about it...I started really thinking about all the things we would have to move.  My focus became the basement.  The place where we have SO much "stuff."  So, I started with the largest task (why start small??)...baby clothes.  I feel like I have baby clothes coming out of my ears. Just thinking about it is making me want to close down the computer and go work on it some more!  I started going through baby clothes first to organize by size and gender (talk about time consuming), sort, sell and donate.  Would you believe this project is still going on 3 weeks later? Just with baby clothes?! It is amazing how much you accumulate over the life span of two toddlers!  (On a side note, the funny part is boys NB-12 months were all perfectly and neatly folded and organized by size and type of clothing in a bin... that was the point that baby #2 arrived...after that point, all remaining clothes for him and every single article of clothing she ever had were just thrown into bins in unfolded clumps, with no rhyme or reason...Tell me I am not the only one who threw organization like that out the window when child number 2 arrived?? I swore that wouldn't happen...oh it did!) 

Anyways...in this de-clutter project,  I have given some clothes away, saved some sentimental items, taken a trip to Once Upon a Child, sold some online and filled three big trash bags of little tiny clothes to donate...and I am still working on going through the rest!  Unbelievable.  However, this experience has led me to a start a new system (if I ever get through this phase).  Here it is...now once my kids grow out of something, I will sell or donate immediately and not let it build up in the basement.  Go ahead, you can say it, "Wow, Erin, you are a genius!"  I know, I know.  (Now, in my defense, we were unsure if we were going to have more children so of course we were saving everything in case Baby #3 was a possibility...but it is looking like we are ending with sweet Baby #2...hence my de-clutter nesting frenzy).

So, I already started this new system on Sunday.  As I was putting Anya's laundry away (laundry, oh laundry...overcoming that will be saved for another post), there were 4 shirts that no longer fit her and in in great condition... I posted online and they sold.  Those shirts went right from her room to the car...completely bypassing the basement! Amazing. I am liking this system already!  Also, then I can take any money from the clothes I sell, and buy new clothes for the kids for the next season.  Am I being frugal?? Who would have thought?!  Seriously, I am starting to think I am brilliant!

So, that is my de-clutter nesting story and one of the ways I am vowing to be more organized effective immediately!  If you feel unorganized or have a build-up of "stuff" you should give it a try!  Organize, sell and donate items as you stop using them!  It's making me feel more de-cluttered already!  I have a few other things I am working on in order to stay on top of house work and little projects while saving time, but that can be saved for another day, another time, another post! I am still working on meal planning on Sundays which you should try out if your weeks are busy like mine!! Super helpful! 

So, how do you de-clutter and organize?  Or do you?? ;)

~Erin Leigh

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Easy Peasy Chili

I love chili.  It is a combination of two great things...soup and Mexican flavor. What is better than that? Especially during a cold week with lots of snow!  I know I have posted a chili recipe before but here is a new one I came up with last night!

Easy Peasy Chili
1.25 lbs lean hamburg (you can use 1 lb but I like extra meat!)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can black beans
1 can pink kidney beans 
1 can corn 
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz water (I filled the crushed tomato can half way) 
2 tablespoons chili powder 
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1/2 tablespoon cumin 
**This is a mild (kid friendly) chili - if you like it spicier you can add 1 tablespoon cumin instead of 1/2 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

In a large pot, cook hamburg until almost cooked through, then add the chopped onion and pepper.
Cook until onion and pepper until softened and hamburg is cooked through.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
There you have it...easy peasy! (Don't really know exactly where that came from but I thought it sounded good). 

Try it out and let me know how you like it! :)


Friday, February 7, 2014

The Speed of Life

I love my life and everything about it and the fact that I feel like I was gifted with this ability of being a professional multi-tasker.  Sometimes I feel like I live on fast forward and I am unable to slow down.  I wouldn't ever even attempt to live in slow motion because I know I would flat out fail. I multi-task all day long every single day. I feel like I am feeding, bathing, teaching and playing with the kids all while mentally planning the next activity, meal, event or play date all while thinking about the emails I need to respond to and work related tasks that I need to complete and by when all while planning the order of how I am going to clean the house in the most minimal amount of time all while thinking about my next date night and what I am going to wear and who is going to babysit all while figuring out when I am going to fit in my workout...all while...well you get the point. 

In times that I am actually relaxing (which I can't remember the last time that was...even my daily showers are rushed so I can accomplish as many things as possible before my children wake up), my mind still goes 100 miles an hour thinking about many things (in no particular order)...work, moving, investments, renovations, parenting, schools, kids activities, church, fitness, new recipes, new ideas, blogging, being a better wife, being a better mother, being a better person, what I am going to eat today (yes I even plan that out), what new items I "have to have," what I need to remember to look up when I have a chance, what I need to add to the grocery list, what our next vacation will be (I think about vacations frequently) ..and that is just the start!  How do you slow down and focus on one thing at a time? Turn your mind off from going a million miles an hour?  Am I alone in this million miles per hour lifestyle or do you share that same speed with me? 

There aren't enough hours in the day! 

I will sign off with this "relaxing" photo...what you don't see is behind the scenes we had a screaming child that didn't want her life vest on and I was fearful of my children falling off the boat.  It was a beautiful picture though. :) 

What is YOUR life's speed? 

~Erin Leigh

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spring Fever

I will say that I used to hate the winter.  I mean...downright despise winter.  I hate(d) being cold, bundling up, my feet getting wet and my parents forcing us to play outside and enjoy the cold wet stuff...but I have definitely grown to love (ok, somewhat like) it more now that I have two little ones getting to enjoy and experience the snow!  My older wants to shovel and pull his little sister around...and of course, use his lawnmower...my younger isn't quite enjoying it yet but stands there unable to move and looks pretty cute. :)
So, yesterday we spent a little time outside.  Here are a few photos to prove it!

Pulling his little sister around.
Teaching her to "scoop and dump" the snow
She is debating if she wants to attempt to move.
Hanging out on the pile of snow after our driveway was plowed.
So...other that these fun little experiences that happen every now and then...I am pretty much over winter and ready for spring!  This past Sunday, shockingly, was sunny and almost 50 degrees so I took Jaxon and we went for a run...and boy did it feel good to run again! I cannot wait to get back to running and start tackling my 2014 Goals and start the Mom's Running Group.  Yes, I like videos and all but it is much more enjoyable (and time efficient) to run outside with the kids.  I am sure all you mama's know, it is NOT always easy to find time when your kids are ALL sleeping at the same time to fit in a workout...especially if anything else around the house needs to be done, you have any work to do or you have to go somewhere after because you never know if you will have the time to shower too before they wake up!  Little things are no longer as easy with toddlers (or any age children I imagine). So...I am day dreaming about spring and summer and running and playing outside with my two little ones in sunshine...and VERY happy it is right around the corner so I can switch up these workouts too! YAY!
What is YOUR plan for getting fit/staying fit before summer?  Have you made and kept your 2014 fitness goals?
~Erin Leigh
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