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Clean What?

brown wooden floor

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My favorite quote: cleaning the house while children are around is like shoveling during a snowstorm! SO true! Really how important is having a clean house? And how much time are you going to waste thinking you can keep up?

I used to think I could do it all.  I even put together a cleaning schedule. Tuesday was bathroom day, Wednesday was mopping floors day. BUT, Tuesday quickly turned into clean up after my sick son and Wednesday got spent cleaning chocolate milk that spilled into every crevice of my car.  Let’s be realistic having a clean house just isn’t in the cards when you have young kids.

As much as you plan, prepare, and keep things punctual the day never goes as planned. Floors stay dirty, high chairs stay sticky, cars stay trashed. You have to move heaven and earth to find time to deep clean.  And when you do…you discover that your loving husband reheated spaghetti in the microwave for 4 minutes uncovered.  Guess who gets to clean that up?! So this week treat yourself to a guilt free dirty house and if the budget allows for God sakes higher a cleaning service.

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Believe in Yourself

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Parenting is no small task. There are many times when the days seems insurmountable. Like it might be better to just fall down and let the kids run all over you. Trust me there are many times I’ve let that happen. But I take small steps and try to remember that no matter how big the challenge I want to show my boys that having faith and believing in yourself will always lead them to grandeur things in life.

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KIDS BOOK NOOK: Ambrose Deception

IMG_E2395.JPGNAME OF THE BOOK: The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton

AGE RANGE: 8-14

THIS BOOK WAS ABOUT: Three very different kids that have to compete against each other and solve various clues that take them all over they city of Chicago. The prize is a $10,000 scholarship or so they think. Melissa, Wilf, and Brondi, are not who you would expect to be competing in this contest. At first they work separately but soon realize that things might not be as they seem and they start to uncover a mystery.

I LOVED: How the book had so many twists and turns. Everything would be going good but then there would be a giant twist that changed everything. I also loved how the clues brought you to different places in Chicago.

READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER: What if I competed in a scholarship contest like this!?!  Who would I choose to help me solve the clues?

OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS: This book was fantastic and perfect for middle school kids.

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 stars

This book report was written by a very sweet eleven year old  boy 🙂

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August Menu

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

WEEK 1:

Monday: Greek Yogurt Pesto Chicken Pasta

Creamy pesto chicken pasta made with healthy Greek yogurt, vegetables, and cooked chicken | littlebroken.com @littlebroken

http://www.littlebroken.com/2015/03/03/greek-yogurt-pesto-chicken-pasta/

Tuesday: WOW! Enchilada Casserole

W.O.W. Enchilada Casserole

https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/dinner/wow-enchilada-casserole

Wednesday: One Sheet Pan Salmon with Fresh Green Beans & Cherry Tomatoes

One sheet herb crusted salmon recipe by @waitingonmartha

http://waitingonmartha.com/one-sheet-pan-salmon-fresh-green-beans-heirloom-cherry-tomatoes/

Thursday: Grilled California Steak Salad

California Steak Salad

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/california-steak-salad

Friday: Entree Kitchen Meal Delicious Dinners in a Dash

https://www.entreekitchen.com

NEW — Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Wraps
w/ Candied Bacon Delight Cookies
Freshly baked diced chicken paired with a delicate dressing, cranberries and lightly roasted pecans. Maple it a wrap with the included flour wraps or use it atop your favorite salad greens at home.  Calories: 369
6-Serving:  $39.19 | 3-Serving: $24.49
A la Carte Entrees: 6-Serving: $30.99 | 3-Serving: $16.29

Saturday: Roast Chicken Cobb Salad

Image result for roast chicken cobb salad barefoot contessa

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roast-chicken-cobb-salad-5171768

Sunday: Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Slaw

Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Slaw. Doesn't this just scream "summer" to you? | hostthetoast.com

http://hostthetoast.com/crock-pot-hawaiian-bbq-chicken-tacos-with-pineapple-slaw/

WEEK 2:

Monday: Greek Chicken Kebabs

http://voilawithemily.com/2010/05/17/greek-chicken-kebabs/

Tuesday: Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos

This Baked Chicken Tacos Recipe is PERFECT for a quick weeknight dinner! OVEN BAKED chicken tacos have lots of flavor and none of the stress. This Easy Chicken Tacos Recipe is the most popular recipe on The Cookie Rookie and has been pinned over 2 million times. Have you tried it?

https://www.thecookierookie.com/baked-spicy-chicken-tacos/

WEDNESDAY: 5 Ingredient Baked Rotini

Creamy, Cheesy Italian Pasta Bake in blue casserole dish on wooden table next to tossed salad

https://amindfullmom.com/5-ingredient-baked-rotini/

THURSDAY: Home Style Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

Home Style Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/dinner/home-style-pork-chops-with-pan-sauce

FRIDAY: Entree Kitchen Grab n Go Meal: Pork Lo Mein

Thinly-sliced pork tenderloin, carrot shreds, green onions and ginger are combined with our Asian BBQ sauce and served over your choice of brown or white rice.

https://www.entreekitchen.com

SATURDAY: Heavenly Hummus Wrap

Hummus Wrap

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/heavenly-hummus-wrap/

SUNDAY: Slow Cooker Coconut Lime Chicken

Slow Cooker Coconut Lime Chicken

https://slowcookergourmet.net/slow-cooker-coconut-lime-chicken/

WEEK 3

MONDAY:  Grilled Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple

Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple - Sweet and tangy chicken breasts grilled to absolute perfection with caramelized brown sugar pineapple. Just 10 min prep!

https://damndelicious.net/2015/08/06/hawaiian-chicken-and-pineapple/

TUESDAY: Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup...so much flavor you'll be craving for more! Deliciousness!

https://olgascooking.com/tortilla-soup/

WEDNESDAY: Pasta and Avocado Caesar Salad

You have to try this Pasta Avocado Caesar Salad. Easy and family friendly weeknight meal! | natashaskitchen.com

https://natashaskitchen.com/pasta-and-avocado-caesar-salad-recipe/

THURSDAY: Pan Seared Pork Chops with Citrus Dressing

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https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pan-seared-pork-chops-with-citrus-dressing

FRIDAY: Entree Kitchen Grab n Go Meal Shrimp & Tortellini in Brown Butter Dijon Sauce

Tender shrimp, al dente three-cheese tortellini and peas are tossed with a Brown Butter-Dijon sauce and topped with shredded Parmesan for a quick and flavorful meal that won’t heat up your kitchen.

https://www.entreekitchen.com

SATURDAY: Grilled Pizza with Steak Pear Arugula

Pizza Recipes: Grilled Pizza With Steak, Pear, and Arugula

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-pizza-with-steak-pear-arugula

SUNDAY: Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce Pappardelle Pasta

Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce over Pappardelle Pasta

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce-pappardelle-pasta

WEEK 4

MONDAY: Chipotle Orange Chicken Legs

Chipotle-Orange Chicken Legs

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chipotle-orange-chicken-legs

TUESDAY: Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad with a dressing that doubles as a marinade! A genius way of keeping ALL of the incredible flavours in this salad! | cafedelites.com

https://cafedelites.com/grilled-chilli-lime-chicken-fajita-salad/

WEDNESDAY: Creamy Smoked Salmon Linguine with Capers

Creamy Smoked Salmon Linguine & Capers

https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/dinner/creamy-smoked-salmon-linguine-capers

THURSDAY: Spicy Grilled Pork Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce

Spicy Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Blackberry Sauce

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-grilled-pork-tenderloin-with-blackberry-sauce

FRIDAY: Entree Kitchen Grab n Go Meal Italian Flatbread Pizza

This “Taste of Italy” flatbread is drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, Pecorino Romano and Italian cheeses, perfect for cooking on the grill too!

entreekitchen.com

SATURDAY: Copy Cat Portillos Chopped Salad

Portillo's Chopped Salad in a rectangular serving dish

http://www.gonnawantseconds.com/2015/07/portillos-chopped-salad/

SUNDAY: Speedy Scallopini

Speedy Scallopini

https://www.parents.com/recipe/speedy-scallopini/

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KIDS BOOK NOOK: Framed

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NAME OF THE BOOK: Framed by James Ponti

AGE RANGE: 8-12 years

THE BOOK WAS ABOUT:  Framed is about a twelve year old boy named Florian Bates who ends up helping the FBI solve an art theft. He uses a technique called TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. This helps him solve mysteries and when he teaches his friend Maragret how to use it they discover that Art, crime and thieves are all intertwined.

I LOVED: I loved the fact that Florian is an FBI Special Asset and can solve mysteries with a theory, TOAST.  I now use this in my real life.

READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER:  Has the FBI ever used a kid to solve a case? Has there ever been a kid who has helped with an art theft? Can I use the theory of TOAST?

OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS:  One of my favorite books.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:  4 1/2 Stars!

 

All books have been purchased or are Advanced Readers Copies from The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn. Jack, a 12 year old Glen Ellyn resident reviews books for the Glen Ellyn Living Magazine.

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BrickWorld Chicago 2018

If your kids have a love for LEGOS then make sure to watch for the date announcement for BRICKWORLD Chicago 2019!

Here are some highlights from this year.IMG_5106IMG_5115IMG_5118IMG_5123IMG_5127IMG_5129IMG_5131IMG_5137IMG_5141IMG_5146IMG_5105

Also check out Snapology to learn more about their fun programs.

 

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Suburban Kids in the City

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A trip into the city was just what we needed to kick start the beginning of lazy days and care free summer schedules.  I sometimes forget just how easy it is to hop on the train and spend a few hours exploring the parks and taking advantage of the great people watching. Our plan was simple and the main goal was to walk Madison street all the way to Millennium Park.

Like any well planned trip we had to make multiple pit stops before the real fun could be found. 3 blocks into our arrival someone was hungry = a stop at Pret A Manger. Someone had sore feet = a stop at CVS for Advil. Someone was cold = stopping at 4, yes 4, different stores until we could find sweatpants that fit.

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My kids love the sights and sounds of the city.  We always play happy tourist and take pictures and capture the moments of the day.

The Lyric Opera House has always been a favorite.  It amazes me that it was built just 22 months after it was planned! Start to finish! And I love that every seat has been refurbished to its original 1929 elegance.

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Everyone was excited to head (no pun intended) to Crown Fountain and see the faces. I did a little research and found out there are over 1,000 Chicagoans whose faces appear on the video towers. The School of Art Institute Chicago put out a call and asked for people to come have their pictures taken.  And Voila! They have become the most famous faces of Millennium Park.

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The next stop was The Bean!  This is a family favorite and never gets old. We love watching everyone there WATCH themselves.  You can’t help but love a 110 ton kidney bean structure that gets polished several times a day. It’s a Chicago must see.

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Beyond the Bean was the real destination! Maggie Daley Park was top on our list that day.

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It’s the creme de la creme of playgrounds! Plus the views are spectacular.  Here is a link to FAQs http://maggiedaleypark.com/about/faqs/ IMG_4616IMG_4668IMG_4667

After all the fun was had the kids were starving and we had a train to catch.  Dinner at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta on Madison street was the perfect stop.

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It was a great day and the kids loved living it up in the city for a few hours! So, the next time your kids say they’re bored pack up some snacks, Advil and sweatpants and hop on the train!

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Favorite Family Recipes

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Peonies 101

Who doesn’t love this time of year when the peonies are in full bloom, the temperatures climb and summer is peaking around the corner.  Peonies are a staple for backyard gardeners but from what I’ve learned they’re not so easy to get started.  Here are a few tips to help get these colorful blooms in your garden. IMG_4434

Peonies are hearty plants that do great in our Chicago climate but they do take patience and a little practice.  First, find a full sun area and make sure to plant at the right time, which is fall! They can establish their roots and benefit from being in the ground during the long winter.  Plant no more than 2 inches below the soil. If planted to deep they will not bloom, I’m speaking from experience. OOPS!  Once planted make sure to mulch the area and water thoroughly.

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Space is critical and planting a few feet apart will greatly benefit them. They need room to grow and planting to closely will lead to fungal diseases and limp stems.

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Be patient!  It can take two years before they start blooming.  They require a little more work up front but once in bloom they thrive.   Every house we have lived has had well established peonies that come back year after year.  These pictures are proof of how magical they are but the key is getting them started!

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This fall I will be planting peonies and using this neighbors house as an inspiration. These beauties (not mine) are a Glen Ellyn favorite! Perfectly planted, grown with patience and showing us that peonies are possible! Good luck 🙂

 

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Favorite IG Photos

Instagram is one of our favorite places to share about life in the Chicago suburbs!

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What’s for Dinner!

When menu planning stick to the same theme for each night of the week.

Monday: Chicken

Tuesday: Mexican

Wednesday: Pasta or Salmon

Thursday: Pork or Beef

Friday: Takeout

Saturday: Soup or Salad

Sunday: Crockpot or One Pot

*Most weeks we eat leftovers the following night but it is so helpful to have the ingredients and recipes on hand!

Menu 6

MONDAY:   Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken

http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/04/herb-and-citrus-oven-roasted-chicken.html

TUESDAY:    Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers

http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2015/07/mini-taco-stuffed-peppers.html

WEDNESDAY:   Salmon with Dill Sauce and Roasted Baby Potatoes

https://www.jocooks.com/recipes/salmon-with-dill-sauce-and-roasted-baby-potatoes-sheet-pan-dinner/

THURSDAY:    Pork Loin with Cherry Vinaigrette

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pork-loin-with-cherry-vinaigrette

FRIDAY:   Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/apple-cranberry-walnut-salad

One Pot Pasta

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/one-pot-pasta

Menu 5

Monday:   Chicken in a Hurry

https://www.jocooks.com/recipes/chicken-in-a-hurry/

Tuesday:    Creamy Mexican Corn Chowder

https://www.cookingclassy.com/creamy-mexican-corn-chowder/ 

Wednesday:    Pepperoni Pasta Salad

http://www.mostlyhomemademom.com/2016/06/pepperoni-pizza-pasta-salad.html?m=1

Thursday:   Roasted Herbed Beef Tips

http://www.lordbyronskitchen.com/roasted-herbed-beef-tips/

Friday:    Not cooking tonight!

Saturday:   Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad

https://www.chelseasmessyapron.com/autumn-crunch-pasta-salad/

Sunday:   Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken

https://fitslowcookerqueen.com/slow-cooker-jamaican-jerk-chicken/

Menu 4

Monday:    Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/spinach-feta-stuffed-chicken-breasts

Tuesday:    Skinny Beef Enchiladas

https://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/skinny-beef-enchiladas/

Wednesday:    Lemon and Dill Chicken Pasta

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lemon-and-dill-chicken-pasta

Thursday:    Homeade Shake & Bake Pork Chops (mustard sauce optional)

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-shake-bake-pork-chops-mustard-sauce

Friday:   Takeout

Saturday:    Chipotle Pumpkin Soup with Barley (more time consuming but DELICIOUS!)

http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2012/08/chipotle-pumpkin-soup-with-barley-and-chicken/

Sunday:    Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp

http://damndelicious.net/2017/03/08/sheet-pan-garlic-butter-shrimp/

Menu 3

Monday:    Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/parmesan-chicken-caesar-roasted-romaine

Tuesday:    Beef Taco Salad Pizza

http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a53971/beef-taco-salad-pizza-recipe/

Wednesday:   Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

https://natashaskitchen.com/2017/05/22/creamy-avocado-pasta-salad/

Thursday:   Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/balsamic-marinated-flank-steak

Friday:   Takeout! 

Saturday:   Corn and Cheese Chowder

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/corn-cheese-chowder/

Sunday:    Slow Cooker Honey Pork Roast

http://tiphero.com/slow-cooker-honey-pork-roast/

Menu 2

Monday:    Oven BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222932/oven-bbq-chicken-drumsticks/

Tuesday:   Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers

https://www.cookingclassy.com/chicken-fajita-stuffed-peppers/

Wednesday:    Panko Crusted Salmon 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/panko-crusted-salmon-recipe-2107225?pn=6

Thursday:   Pork “Saltimbocca” with potatoes

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pork-saltimbocca-with-roasted-onions-and-potatoes

Friday:   You choose!

Saturday:   Chili Tortellini

http://picky-palate.com/2013/04/10/chili-tortellini/#_a5y_p=1024310

Sunday:   One Pot Teriyaki Chicken

http://carlsbadcravings.com/one-pot-teriyaki-chicken-and-pineapple-rice/#

Menu 1

Monday:    Sheet Pan Honey Balsamic Chicken

https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/sheet-pan-honey-balsamic-chicken-brussels-sprouts/

Tuesday:    Layered Mexican Chicken

https://www.weightwatchers.com/ca/en/recipe/layered-mexican-chicken-2/5626063162ef001434bd7502

Wednesday:    One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil

http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-wonder-tomato-basil-pasta-recipe/

Thursday:    Roasted Pork Chops and Peaches

https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/roasted-pork-chops-peaches

Friday:   You decide!

Saturday:   Cobb Salad with French Bread

https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/recipe-cobb-salad-with-blue-cheese-dressing/

Sunday:   Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup 

http://littlespicejar.com/creamy-chicken-wild-rice-soup-slow-cooker/

 

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Tiny to Tween

There are some days you just need to pause and figure out what lies ahead.
But the more you wait and contemplate the more life passes you by.
And before you know it your Thomas the Train loving,
sippy cup drinking little man goes from
Batman underwear to boxers.
Instead of letting him take the time to look at nothing you are
worried about him seeing everything.
Then you think back to this day in the street and
realize time really does fly by.
They go from tiny to tween in a blink of an eye.