Monday, March 31, 2014

Lemon Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker

Tonight's dinner is a whole turkey breast in the slow cooker.  With a side of vegetables this is an easy, healthy dinner. 

Ordered this from fresh direct -- they only had boneless (and sent 3 little ones!) so need to cut down on cooking time

Lemony Turkey Breast
1 bone-in turkey breast (5 to 6 pounds)
1 medium lemon, halved
1 tsp salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
Remove skin from turkey.
Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
Please turkey breast side up in 5-qt slow cooker.
Squeeze half the lemon over the turkey; sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning and garlic salt.
Place lemon halves under turkey.
Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or until met is tender and cooked through.
Remove turkey and keep warm. Discard lemon.
For gravy pour cooking liquid into measuring cup and skim fat.
In saucepan combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. 
Gradually stir in cooking liquid.
Bring to boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with turkey. 
Update: The children approve of this meal!

Get It Done Tip: Slow cookers are available in a range of sizes, from 1 quart to 8 1/2 quarts. Use the size cooker recommended in each recipe. This helps ensure that the slow cooker isn’t overflowing or underfilled, so that your meal can cook properly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Southwest Butternut Squash Soup

Piano this morning and now a quiet afternoon playing with new toys and getting the house in order for the week ahead.

I have simmering on the stove a rare recipe that I have made more than once.  Making this for my Dad for lunch for the week.  If you like spicy you must try this - it is excellent!

Southwest Butternut Squash Soup
4 cups butternut squash, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeds removed
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 t. oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. chicken broth
12-oz can evaporated milk
ground cumin to taste (I left this out)

Mix squash with brown sugar, set aside.
In a soup pot over medium heat, saute jalapeno pepper, celery and onion in oil until tender.
Add salt, pepper, broth and squash mixture.
Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth, or puree in small batches in a blender and return to pot.
Stir in milk and cumin; cover and simmer about 15 minutes.
Cook, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens slightly.
Serves 6.

Looking forward to going out for an early dinner to a local place called The Tap House with my little loves and then relaxing at home. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ninja Party

Had a fun day with the family celebrating my soon to be 7 year old.   We had Chinese food and everyone loved this recipe for Million Dollar Chinese Cabbage Salad that I made.  It may not sound too interesting, but trust me it is delicious!

The kids had fun with a ninja pinata stuffed with all sorts of goodies.  They then hunted around the house for ninja plastic eggs filled with treats and other treats to stuff their goody bags.  It was cute.

Capped off the day with strawberry ice cream cake (since my son gave up chocolate for lent and is sticking to it!), fortune cookies and our traditional birthday sugar cookies.
Wish I could get out of my unwanted tradition of making them close to midnight the night before each party and then they'd be perfect!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Birthday Interviews

To cap off the March birthday celebrations we have my oldest son's family birthday party tomorrow.  Going to leave work early today to pick up my son from school who is having a friend over and to start the party prep.
Here's a Get It Done Tip that I found on pinterest that I love.  I have started to do birthday interviews with my kids.  What a great memory book of their thoughts and favorite things that we can all cherish down the road.  So fun!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Low Carb Chicken Chili

I keep getting requests for what I am making for dinner, so will start posting recipes more regularly again.   Tonight's dinner is Low Carb Chicken Chili. Will report back how it comes out.

Get It Done Tip For even cooking, cut food into uniform-size pieces and place firm, slow-cooking root vegetables at the bottom of your slow cooker and pile the meat on top.  This helps prevent the meat from becoming too dry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

Need a quick and easy meal to feed your hungry army?  This Get It Done Tip is the easiest crockpot meal out there. 

Toss in whatever vegetables you have in the bottom of a crockpot and top with a whole chicken.  I used this recipe.  Here it is before I left for work today. How good does that look??

If there are leftovers I plan to make chicken soup the crockpot, of course. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Paper Notebooks That Become Digital Files

I have to take a moment to talk again about those stuffed peppers from yesterday. I highly recommend them - they were soooo good!  My oldest even asked for another one later on in the evening for a snack.  It's a keeper recipe and couldn't be easier for a weeknight.

Today's Get It Done Tip was sent along by my cousin who found this and thought I would enjoy - she knows me! How cool is this new notebook where you can sketch, design, map out on paper and then all the pages get digitally uploaded.    Love it!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just Do It!

Someone posted this on Facebook and it spoke to me today.  Felt it was worthy of a Get It Done Tip.  Enjoy!

I really have been awful at meal planning as now again it has dawned on me we're having red meat tonight. Oy.  Well, this is low carb so hopefully it wont be so heavy.  Will update with picture and verdict later!
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
8 oz. Thinly Sliced Roast Beef
 8 Slices Provolone Cheese
 2 Large Green Bell Peppers
1 Medium Sweet Onion
6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic  - Minced 
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Found this on pinterest, but no directions so the plan is to saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic then layer then in 1/2 a pepper, top with the roast beef and then provolone and broil.  Will serve with a salad.
My middle one declared he doesn't like peppers, but everyone else liked it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

More Steak!

Had a nice day.  Piano was cancelled, so managed to get the house back in order and even had time to run out to get my nails done.

In the afternoon we stopped by to visit my husband's grandmother.  Afterwards we went to BLT Prime for dinner with the kids and it was awesome.  We were there 3 years ago and I had craving for it, so made reservations.  Poorly planned though since I forgot we had steak on the menu the night before.  I think I am good on red meat for a few months now!

The best part of tonight's dinner was we ordered the porterhouse steak for 2, along with some sides and the lobster salad.  After they brought out the food the manager came out with another porterhouse asking if it was ours.  We said no.  He disappeared for a bit and came back and said it was on the house since they made two in error.  Score!

Came home and watched Frozen with the kids and now off to bed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Poker Night!

We haven't had a poker night in well over a year, so very excited to have my husband's friend's and their family over for dinner and a few rounds!

Making steaks, spinach artichoke casserole, asparagus, homemade bread and salad.  For dessert we have nutella ice cream crunch cake and cinnamon apple crumble pie.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Organize your Handbag

Like most working moms my handbag is a catastrophe.  I have bunny crackers, diapers, ipad, business cards all thrown around with money all over the place.  I am a freaking mess.

I just saw on facebook a Get It Done Tip from All You Magazine about the In.Bag Handbag Organizer.   This is GENIUS!!!!!

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Get it Done Tip  -- great advice for the workplace -- Don't wait to be discovered at work -- get the recognition you deserve.  Women too often feel uncomfortable seeking praise and hope their hard work will get noticed.   Manage your own messaging and don't be afraid to show what you've accomplished.  Get the rewards you deserve!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mini-Portrait Exercise

One exercise from the leadership training I went through is to figure out how your family/past has influenced how you are at work -- and how it may be holding you back. 

One woman talked about how her parents trained her to always take the safe route and this is how she operates at work.  To be successful you HAVE TO TAKE SMART RISKS, so this behavior is holding her back.

Here is an exercise we filled out that you can try.  The goal is to create a visual image "self portrait" about what you are now and then create a new self portrait of what you want to be.  The woman who played it safe used a beaver keeping the damn together as her portrait for her example.

A. Family Influences
What did family say or do that I carry with me to work?
Not so good?
To be shed?

How do siblings affect this?

Overall descriptor of my family:

B. My family and I tend to respond and react in a certain way that affects how I behave at work.
Driving trait?

C. A major and unique quality of characteristic I have as I go about delivering the work (not doing the work) is:

D. Two words or phrases to describe what I emphasize about myself on my resume?

E. My two most valuable skills and/or experiences are:

F. Two words used most often to describe me in evaluations?

Now combine A - F to make a self portrait:

Once you go through exercise it will start to make you self-aware of your negative behavior so you can start to catch it before you act on it.  I am already seeing positive improvements in myself post doing this!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tools of Engagement

I learned so much during yesterday's Women in Leadership Forum and it's impossible to distill it down to little sound bites, but I will try. 

I don't have a ton of time to write today, so went through my notes to find this quick Get It Done Tip from the forum.   A leader communicates with confidence - speaks loudly, clearly and slowly.  When presenting you should always use at least one or two of these tools for engaging you audience:

- wit
- element of surprise
- emotion
- passion
- humor
- wonder
- curiosity

Use storytelling to capture your audience.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Women in Leadership Roles

Had an amazing experience today at a Women in Leadership forum.  Not a ton of time to write details tonight, but wanted to jot down a quick backdrop of the difference between doers, managers, leaders as a teaser for more to come.

Doer: execute and organize.
Manager - create an environment for the best work.
Leader - persuasive disrupter.

The goal of the training is to push high-potential women away from their typical self-depricating - insecure -  need to be liked - nice all the time  - crap and propel them into the leader space where all the action is happening.

It was inspiring!  More tomorrow!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two Special Little Men

I almost went to sleep before posting!  So exhausted, but so happy.

Well, last night was insanity with my niece over.  We couldn't get her and my two big boys to sleep because they wouldn't stop talking all night.  To add to the drama my oldest started throwing up in the evening so we had to keep them all away from each other which wasn't easy.

I kept my phone on all night waiting for baby news and finally around 6 AM checked my texts to find my nephew had arrived 30 minutes prior.  We are all so thrilled!

Since it is my middle guys actual birthday today too we took all the kids out to the diner for breakfast.  We put a candle in pancakes and sang happy birthday then me and my niece took off to go to the hospital to meet her brother.

I then went home and passed the car keys to my husband who then drove up to meet his new nephew.  We capped off the day by taking our birthday boy out to the Yard House for a burger and some more cake.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Price is Right Birthday Party

What a day we had!  My middle guy turns 4 tomorrow so we had a little party at home for him.  He requested the theme of "Price is Right". 
I had each guest come up to contestants row and guess without going over how much a product (boxed cake, gum, toothpaste, etc.) costs.  The one who got the closest won the product and then moved up to their game.
The adult winners went on the play "Plinko" and the number their chip hit was the # of scratch off tickets they won.
For the kids they moved on to a Punch Game where they won a little prize.  Two of the punch holes had a penny each in them.  The two kids who found the penny moved on to the showcase showdown where the grand prize winner won a tremendous bag of chocolate.
My traditional age # sugar cookies for the special boy

The Price is Right wheel cake
It was a fantastic day! 

We have a special visitor tonight.  My brother came down with my niece for the party and wound up dropping her off to sleep over with us since my sister-in-laws water broke.  We are eagerly awaiting news of my new niece of nephew!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day Off

It's my bday so taking the day off from the blog! Working and then prep for my middle man's Price is Right Party tomorrow.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Leave Your Kid Stories at Home

Here's another Get It Done Tip from Real Simple's article "The Ten Secrets of one Unflappable Working Mother". 

She writes "Leave your kids (and the stories about them) at home. While I’m sure your coworkers love hearing about Sophie’s ballet recital or poison ivy, you can keep them begging for more by limiting updates on family life to one per week (unless your kid gets a perfect score on his SAT, in which case, keep the good news to yourself forever). Remember―bragging about your kids is what family parties are for."

Gosh that is such great advice.  If you talk about your kids constantly at work people peg you as a mom versus a professional.  While we all know the kids are more important than work, the point is you don't need to flaunt it at work. 
Your boss may have good intentions when saying "oh, she can't (or wouldn't want) to take that business trip because she has kids".  They think they are doing you favor, but in reality it is taking away career opportunities.  To ensure this doesn't ever happen to me I am blunt with my CEO and remind her every so often I don't want to miss out on opportunities because I am fortunate to have a great support system.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Home Office

Get It Done Tip #3 from Real Simple Magazine:

"Make your home office a command center. Those pesky experts say that to get any work done at home, you have to be cordoned off in a room far away from anyone who can nag you. This makes me wonder how many experts have children. Instead, figure out which location in the center of your house provides some privacy, while reminding everyone you are a presence to be reckoned with. From this spot, you should be able to stir a pot of simmering soup or assist with a history project that involves the use of glitter (by nixing the glitter)."


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Juggling Work & Life Strategically

Building on yesterday, Real Simple Magazine did a great piece about how to juggle home and work. Here's another Get It Done Tip from them that can help you manage it all.

"Juggle strategically. Sure, try to accomplish A and B and C simultaneously, but don’t do it all by yourself. Instead, get A to accomplish B, so you can take credit for C. For instance, I like to sit at the kitchen table and work on a laptop next to a child of mine doing algebra. While A does worksheets (and I write my newspaper column), she is being mothered by me. Also, I can change gears fast to Google the “quadratic equation” if A gets stuck. Child aces her math class, and I meet my deadline. Score two points for the working mom."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blurring the Line Between Work and Life

Happy Monday!

I have always said that I feel like I have work life balance. I think a big piece of it is because I don't draw a line between home and work.  Reading something in Real Simple Magazine reminded me of this and how it is one of my own key Get It Done Tips.  Here's what they wrote:

"Do work at home; do home at work. You need to accomplish a certain number of things during a 24-hour period. Where you complete those tasks is beside the point; you just need to check them off the list in order to free up time for the things you want to do. Pedicures come to mind. And reading. So go ahead: Pay your bills at the office during your lunch hour, and check your work e-mail at home while you’re waiting for the kids to show up at the dinner table."
I couldn't agree more!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Busy Day

Busy morning followed by last day of basketball and dinner with my parents to celebrate my Dad's birthday. 

My parents never went to a hibachi restaurant and they loved it.   It's great for kids too since the chef keeps them entertained so everyone can relax.  We had a great time.

In fact we had so much fun we forgot to take a picture. ;)

We were home early so now we'll relax.  Goodnight!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Repurposing Toys

Today's Get It Done Tip comes from my coworker who shared a great idea with me for getting more mileage out of kids toys. 

My colleauge had a Barbie house that her daughter wasn't playing with anymore that she was going to throw away.  She decided to let her daughter paint the barbie house to look like a home for her favorite Monster High dolls.  
The end result? An old toy turned new for her daughter to play with.  She now loves it and uses it for her monster high dolls. 

What a great idea considering my kids love to paint! 

Have a great weekend all!

PS - My husband loved yesterday's dinner of beefy broccoli rollups.  The kids liked them too.  Forgot to take a photo, but it is a keeper.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Beefy Broccoli Rollups + Lunch Meetings

We have beefy broccoli rollups on tap for dinner tonight. I will report back later with photo and verdict from the children!

Speaking of food I often have lunch meetings for work and always seem to find it difficult to breaking away from the same old places.  Same thing for personal life - I like to try new places so have started a "restaurants" tab in my notes section of my handheld.  Whenever I pass a place or read about a place that looks good I add it to the list.  Then as the need to go out arises there is always something new and fun to try without wasting time researching or asking around.  A time-saving, practical Get It Done Tip!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Organize Your Workday with Arc Notebooks

My work Get It Done Tip today is all the rage in my office these days.  People are loving Arc notebooks

These notebooks have an ultra-flexible design which allows you to add, remove and rearrange your favorite pages and accessories again and again.

I am digging mine!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Returning Voicemails

April 5th is my 15 year work anniversary - crazy how time flies!  When I first started I was one of those people who had post-it notes all over my desk jotting down the dozens of voice mails I receive each day. 

That was until someone introduced me to this Get It Done Tip and I have been organized and following it ever since.

Each year I order one of these weekly planner books where I can jot down the voice messages on the date it came in.  I don't flip the week until I actually call everyone back.  It's been a great way to keep incoming work calls organized so nothing slips through the cracks.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Outings with the Kids

A major snowstorm turned into a dusting at best.  I had a very unhappy 1st grader on my hands this morning who had to be dragged out of bed to get to school!

Transition sentence.

Yesterday when I took the little one to the movies it reminded me of a Get It Done Tip that someone had passed on the me and I have been using since my oldest was a toddler.  Whenever you take your kids out put them in bright colors or something that is eye catching so you can easily spot them.  My kids right now have 2 shirts in rotation that are neon yellow and neon orange.  You also should wear something bright so your kids can recognize you from a distance.  I also tend to dress my kids all in the same shirt in public places so all the neon yellows I see I know are mine. 
Makes taking them out anywhere a tiny bit less frantic! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

First Movie

Had a busy day with my littlest man.  We dropped the other three off at piano and headed off for a 10 AM birthday party for my friend's son.  The party was at an interactive movie and then she took us to lunch at Friendly's. It was cute. 

After Piano my husband took the big two to the park, bakery and they walked home.

After the party my little man and I headed to get some stuff for upcoming birthdays, Christmas Tree Shops and Trader Joes. 

My Dad came down because of the snow so he had dinner with us.  I made a spin on paella that was pretty good.

On a random note - I have been hearing this song on Pandora for some time and never really paid much attention until yesterday it clicked...holy crap this song is A-MA-ZING.  


This newfound love came in the nick of time considering my husband was not amused by my request yesterday to add the Biebs Beauty and a Beat to the rotation. ;)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

50's Dinner Party

Headed out for a much needed trip to my hairdresser this morning.  Afterwards, one of my best friends texted me she was in the area so wanted to stop in to say hi.  She picked up oreo carvel flying saucers for the kids as a treat. 

Getting ready now for our friends to come over.  I decided I wanted to make something I knew the kids would love - Martha Stewart's Corn Flake Crusted Chicken.   My friend asked if we should do a theme for dinner, so I told her the menu is 1950s theme (we are NOT dressing up!) and she's in charge of the salad.  Can't wait to see what she brings.  In addition to the chicken and salad I found two 1950s recipes for "cheesy corn" and broccoli rice casserole". 

Cake mix was perfected in the late 40s/early 50s so I am making something I had when me and 3 other couples used to do "dinner go rounds" as newlyweds -- we'd take turns hosting dinner once a month.  Better Than Sex Cake uses Betty Crocker's Devil's Food cake as the base, so that's the best I can muster up for a 1950s dessert. ;)