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Scenes from a Tuesday night

Ok it just happens to be the eve of Thanksgiving break.

And if you haven’t been able to tell from last few posts- I am pretty thankful to be in my house. To unpack my stuff. To feel at home.

Because truthfully I wasn’t sure I would be able to feel at home here. I had been missing my old house big time. Not my big one in Chapel Hill but my smaller one a few streets over.

I looked back at the blog and all the pictures and life that was had in that house. And I missed it.

I looked around this house and just couldn’t see it.

Well the past two weeks, the weeks of workers wrapping it up and boxes being unpacked….I see it.
I fell in love with my house.

Maybe it has something to do with the meals we have been able to cook in the kitchen- or the mess from homework, keys and scattered papers that is our everyday life.

or maybe just the cookie cutters that I just unpacked to make cookies with Eva

Or getting my office pulled together

It could be coming home to see it all lit up

or floors that are finally clean

A warm fire for a boy that was feeling a little under the weather (my fireplace mantle is not done)

A bad dog that likes to sit on this chair and get it all muddy

Or a little puppy that I find asleep all over the house

There are still lots of boxes to unpack and things to put away- I still can’t find half of my clothes or shoes and then there is all the stuff that got ruined from being in storage for so long- I unpacked a box of Christmas stuff yesterday that had to go straight into the trash.

Even so- we are all very thankful to be home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

azjenny - It’s beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving!

Elizabeths - What a great post! I’m so happy for you girl xoxo house looks wonderful and looks like good memories will be made here.

House stuff

I love when we have a short week. I love having my people around me. For the first time ever I had to wake both older boys up for school this morning. Austin was up late studying for a couple tests and I think Blake was just hoping I would let him get his holiday started a little early. We are staying put for Thanksgiving instead of going to the farm because of the puppy. Grandparents are coming to us this time. It feels good to settle in- start some holiday memories in this house.

Have I mentioned that little Huddy Hud has a girlfriend that lives right behind us? My neighbors got a girl Goldie on the same day we got Hudson (actually theirs is a doodle but she looks exactly like Hud). I can’t wait to see how they change as they get bigger. Too bad we don’t have a gate in the back so they can play.

I have been asked a few times lately about our dog shower in the last house. No, we did not put a dog shower in our new mudroom. We have a big farm sink in there that all of the dogs currently fit in that has a sprayer but obviously that is going to change when Hud becomes a 100 lb. dog. As I was cleaning him off I told Andy “man we really should have done another dog shower”. Fortunately there is room- it would just require more plumbing I think. But for now he fits in the big sink and when he doesn’t I will worry about that then. I know we will always have a big dog so if this turns into our long term house then we will eventually have to add one.

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I have to admit that when we were trying to work thru our plans for this house I gave up a lot of my “wants”. It’s hard to work over an existing footprint, we would have been better off tearing the whole house down and if we had not already finished out the basement that’s what we would have done. Although the basement ended up flooding so…

Anyway- working with what we had was a huge challenge and often times I would just throw up my hands and say “I don’t care” when asked to make yet another decision. I just wanted a home. I had already given up the ideas I wanted for my “dream” home. What difference did it make now?

But when I look at my Pinterest board it’s kinda cool to see so many of my saved pins ideas that I used on this house.

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I gave this pic to my contractor and said- laundry room. Make it happen. And he did.

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This is the idea I wanted for my kitchen. We didn’t do this look exactly but same basic idea

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This was the pic I saved for my fireplace and that’s what I got

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I was in love with the idea of a side porch off the driveway- where the kids could come into the mudroom and drop their dirty sports stuff or whatever. Got that too. I LOVE that side porch.

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I had to have these front doors

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I wanted white cabinets but with something different for the island. And our splurge was the “super white” granite. This was my inspiration for the kitchen counter and cabinets. We decided to do gray instead of black.

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This tub

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This light

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And then you need to call it a day. Finish the house and realize that some things will be added later. Like this

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I also didn’t get this – phase two?

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I am off to the gym for one last good workout before the feasting begins- Eva loves to cook. First thing on the list- cookies of course

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Hannah - I have that same dog wash pinned…for my future house that I don’t even know if I want to build {because I love our property so much} We have very similar taste in houses, I’m just sitting here saying yes to every picture :) I think I have that kitchen pinned too, I just love the huge island.

Have a great Thanksgiving! I’m so sore from my trainer that I can’t hardly walk to the table to eat!

Not enough hours in the weekend

I could have used one more day. We started the weekend with a birthday dinner with friends on Friday night.

Because it warmed up I really wanted to get the back porch cleaned up- but it didn’t happen.

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Instead I worked on the mudroom and my office. It felt good to unpack so many boxes. I need to get teacher gifts made so it was nice to pull out more work stuff.

I am thinking something like this.

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or maybe the more colorful version

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Saturday we went out to dinner with different friends and celebrated Andy’s birthday again. I didn’t realize until last night that we never bought a cake. Does chocolate chip banana bread count? Our kids were scattered all weekend and we never had a family birthday dinner. Hmmm maybe we should do that tonight.

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Sunday was so warm- we put more Christmas decorations up outside.

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This little dude is growing SO fast.

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He was loving the warm weather yesterday and spending the day outside.

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Blurry but so cute- and how we often see him when he is about to pounce on you.

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When I talk about the past year being hard on the family- it was also hard on Shiloh. Being in different houses always makes her nervous. Workers coming and going makes her nervous. She went through a weird time when she just wasn’t herself.

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Now that things are settling down, we see the old Shiloh coming back out.

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No doubt the puppy has helped.

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They got a little muddy.

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But they were having so much I let them

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I am so excited for the holidays this year. It feels so good to get back to normal.

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I have missed having a house full of boys, a revolving door of friends coming and going, a front porch littered with skateboards, Cole being able to bike a street over to hang with a friend, endless pizza boxes because boys are always hungry, friends stopping by when they see you outside, 17 year olds taking over your kitchen trying to cook mac and cheese… this weekend felt back to normal.

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Home for the holidays has a whole new meaning this year.
Feeling very thankful.

Oh and first day with no workers!!! Happy Monday!

Lisa - I’m curious – did you build a “dog shower” into the new house like you had at the old one? Sure would come in handy to wash those muddy puppy feet! :-)

Hannah - I love watching dogs play, but the pictures always look like they are trying to eat each other and it cracks me up.

I’m so glad you are feeling at home. I think you are going to have a great Thanksgiving :)

Sarah - Glad you are settling into life at “home” with all the chaos that ensues with teenagers, young kids and puppies {or should I say, Baby Velociraptors}! Hudson is lighter in color than Sadie is… and I can’t get over how quickly they are growing!!

Easy Healthy Soup

I have been making tortellini soup for years (not sure if I have posted the recipe on here- I made it up) but I saw this one and thought I would give it try. It has both basil and spinach in it which I thought was interesting.

I have to admit this one was not as tasty as our usual one (I throw in carrots, zucchini, etc) this one was way more basic.

Still…I thought I would post it due to the fact that it was fast and super easy- I prepped the whole thing while standing at my island with a friend chatting.

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Fresh Spinach Tomato and Garlic Tortellini Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients

1 3/4 lb Roma tomatoes (about 9 medium)
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to taste)
2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 (20 oz) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp granulated sugar
6 – 9 oz fresh spinach, chopped
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

Heat a pot of water to a boil and fill a medium mixing bowl with ice water. Once water in pot boils, carefully drop tomatoes into water and boil until skins burst, about 3 – 4 minutes (if a few of them are having trouble bursting, you can remove them from the water and cut an “X” in the bottom of the tomato then return to water for about another minute until skins slightly pull alway). Remove from boiling water and transfer to ice bath, cool slightly then peel, seed and dice into bite size pieces, set aside.
In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour in chicken broth and water, then increase temp to moderately high heat and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add tortellini, season with salt and pepper to tastes and boil 7 minutes (or longer if directed on tortellini package).
Stir in sugar, tomatoes, spinach and basil and cook until heated through and spinach wilts. Serve warm topped with Parmesan cheese.
*If it’s winter and you’re having a hard time finding good Roma tomatoes, you could sub 2 cans regular/petite diced tomatoes, but during the summer when tomatoes are in their prime I highly highly recommend fresh. They make such a difference.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Today is Andy’s birthday- looking forward to some nice dinners to celebrate.

Have a great weekend!

Creamy Pesto Chicken Penne Pasta

Last night I knew I wanted to have a chicken pasta dish so I hopped on Pinterest and put in those two words and came up with this.

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I didn’t have all the ingredients (no tomatoes or half and half) so I skipped the tomatoes and used milk instead of half and half.

I used the Italian seasoning from Costco for the chicken. I LOVE that stuff.

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I also used pesto from Costco

Super good!

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 15 mins
Total time
30 mins

Tender noodles and juicy Italian-seasoned chicken breast are tossed with an easy 5-minute creamy pesto sauce! A perfectly tasty and comforting dish for those busy weeknights!
Author: Tiffany
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4

Ingredients

12 ounces penne noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions, drained and patted dry
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup of homemade basil pesto OR 1 small jar of store-bought pesto
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups half and half or heavy cream
2 teaspoons minced garlic

optional

2 roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

Spray a large pan or skillet with cooking spray. Season both sides of chicken breasts with Italian seasoning and cook over medium-high heat 4-6 minutes on each side until juices run clear and completely cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and slice into strips or cut into bite size pieces.
In the same pan where you cooked the chicken, melt butter. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add flour and stir until a ball forms. Gradually whisk in half and half (or heavy cream) until mixture is smooth. Whisk in pesto. Continue to stir until mixture thickens.
Pour creamy pesto sauce over noodles and top with chicken and remaining optional ingredients OR add noodles, sauce, chicken and optional ingredients to a large bowl and toss together. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Hannah - Looks yummy. What did we ever do before pintrest? It’s my go to recipe in a pinch finder. I love Costco’s pesto…I keep it frozen in my freezer all the time.