Monday, November 28, 2011

"Who You Gonna Call?"

Saw this when I took the kids out to lunch last month and I couldn't believe what showed up in the parking lot.  (Sorry for the pictures, we were using my phone...)

Can you tell what it is?

Here is a closer shot.  What about now?  Did you guess?

Even closer.  You have to know now...right?

It's "Ecto-1" or at least an Eastern Washington version of it....these people turned a Chevy Blazer into their own version of "Ecto-1", the Ghostbuster mobile.  Isn't that cool?  They must really be fans of the movie.  I can honestly say I've never seen something like that before.  Have you?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not Quite What We'd Planned!

Have you wondered where I've been?  Well, wonder no more!  Even before Thanksgiving, the Nagle5 household was crazy busy.

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the local ski areas in our neck of the woods opened early...way early.   We couldn't believe it...we love to ski!  So, bright and early (but not too early!) Sunday, the kids and I headed up the mountain.  Look how beautiful it was...BEFORE Thanksgiving!!

Charming and Buttercup helped each other get their gear on.  (Look at the trees...aren't they gorgeous?)

Don't they look ready for a fun day on the slopes?

Unfortunately, before I could get a terrific picture of Valiant, I got this picture.  Yes, this is what you think it is. This is what happens when you come down the slopes via Ski Patrol toboggan.

First we were at the First Aid Station...aren't the flamingos a festive touch? (Kate?  Flamingos at the First Aid station?!)  Ski Patrol gave Valiant a hot water bottle to take the chill off while they figured out what the boy did to his knee.

They had to cut open his "actually long enough jeans", which caused his mother a twinge of pain.  Turns out he broke it...sigh.

Next stop, the ER.  Look how kind Charming was to point out where the injury is?  (Okay, he was actually threatening to poke it!)  A few x-rays and a CT scan later, it turned out Valiant had a fracture of the tibial plateau. 

Monday saw us at the orthopedist (holiday week=crazy schedule).  Fortunately, he didn't seem to damage the meniscus or the ACL, so, if he can keep from displacing the fracture until the 5th of December, he'll have a quick and easy recovery (otherwise we're looking at surgery).  We definitely had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  (Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep a 15-year old immobile for another week.)

So, our first ski outing this year was not quite what we'd planned.  Still, the conditions on the mountain were awesome until the mishap and we all had a blast.  Charming and Buttercup are ready to head back up the mountain and I'm right there with them (we'll just have to find something to do with Valiant while we are skiing)!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This picture tells the entire story!  After more than six years (six years!!!), I have again walked through the doors of my home laden down with the bounty one finds at Trader Joe's!  I even picked up my Thanksgiving turkey there.  Woot! 

Yep, they finally opened a Trader Joe's in my neck of the woods!   Life is good...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not everyone has buy in...

You read about the drastic changes we've made to our diets, notably eliminating grains.  We've been eating this way as a family since May, but still, not everyone has buy in.  After one particularly whiny "Mom is mean!" conversation, Superman decided to help the kids out by giving them ammunition to support their view. 

What do you think?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Food for Thought

Today's Food for Thought was sent to me by Superman. He's become a huge fan of The Art of Manliness...if you haven't heard of it, you're missing something fabulous.

This is one of the posters you can buy at The Art of Manliness.

So, what do you stand for?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not a saint, that's for sure!

I am doing a pretty good job of eating primally, but I still have my moments.

Last week I broke down and made myself an 8 x 8 pan of rice krispie bars.  Butter, marshmallows, and plain wrap rice krispies (cheap, aren't I?).  I'd like to tell you about how I shared with the kids, but the truth is that they don't like rice krispie bars.  What is wrong with them?  (It must come from their father's side of the family!!)  So...

I ate the entire thing!

They were so good...

And I comfort myself by rationalizing quite a bit...they didn't have any wheat, right?  Oh, and I didn't make a 9 x 13 pan, either!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quick Trash Bag for the Car

After one too many episodes of cleaning up little bits of trash in my car, I decided to come up with a better system to manage the detritus of my daily to and fro life.

Inspiration struck when I realized the lid to a very old carton of ice cream in the deep recesses of my freezer was actually rimmed but a plastic loop. Perfect!  I headed downstairs and grabbed a remnant of fabric from my stash (you have a stash, right?) and half an hour later, I had a perfect trash bag to hang on the back of a car seat.  Sweet!

Here is a quick overview...

Measure the circumference of the rim and add two inches.  (So, if the rim measures 22", then the number you need to keep in mind is 24".)

Decide how long you'd like your trash bag and cut a rectangle with your two numbers.  Let's say I decided mine should be roughly 12" long, give or take, add 3 for the channel and the bottom seam..  I cut a rectangle that was 24" by 15".   I also cut two 15" x 2 1/2" strips to make the straps.

Iron the channel you'll be using for your rim...make sure when you fold it over, that you're allowing for enough room for the entire width of rim.  My rim was 1", so I allowed 1 1/2".   So, fold over 1/2" on one of the 24" sides and iron it down the length.  Fold it over again, making a crease at the 1 3/4" mark.  (This was to allow some wiggle room when I sewed the channel down.)  Sewing straight across the 24", sew the channel down, being sure to leave enough of an opening to feed your plastic rim.  Fold each strap lengthwise (along the 15" side), iron in place, then sew along the edge.  Turn right side out and close the ends.  Sew your bag closed at the bottom...I chose to center my one "side seam" in what would become the back of my bag.    Sew your straps onto the back of your back, taking care not to sew your channel shut...I sewed my straps along the same seam I created when I sewed the channel.

Sew the two 15" sides together, right sides in, but stop before you get to the channel (this leaves an opening to feed in the rim).

 Flip your bag right side out and feed the rim into the channel.  I failed to flip mine right side out before I fed the rim in and it was a pain to turn after I'd done this..  Sew the channel shut and you're done.

 Ta Da!  A trash bag for you car!

What do you think?

Wood Shop - Finished!

Last spring I had the opportunity to take wood shop via continuing education classes.  I had so much fun (and learned so much), that I decided Valiant should take it when it was next offered. 

Picking straight boards...

Using the router...

to put the finishing touches on the pieces...

 Proud wood worker!

From picking out the wood to discovering that, like his father, he's allergic to wood shavings, Valiant made it through and has this amazing Adirondack chair to show for his labors. Pretty cool, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It is that time of year again!

Last year I told you about the early Christmas prep that goes on in the Nagle5 household as a result of Superman's overseas work.  In order to get the goodies to the troops well in time for the holiday season (not just in time for Christmas day), we start in early November.  To that end, the first batch of goodies was mailed on Tuesday.  With the way the mail has been to the base lately, Superman will be able to share these right about Thanksgiving.

This first package had the pretzel treats and the peppermint bark that were most requested.  (Who knew that these simple treats would be so popular?)  Since they were so popular, I thought I'd give you some quick guidelines and you can whip up a batch yourself, if you're so inclined.  Seriously, everyone seems to love these...the kids were a bit pouty that I mailed this entire batch off!

Pretzel Treats

1 bag Rolled Gold pretzel sticks
1 bag mini marshmallows
Roughly 4 cups of Merckens milk chocolate buttons*
Mini muffin tin liners

Take the time to break all the pretzel sticks into halves or thirds and set them in a bowl.

Using the microwave on roughly 2/3 power, melt the chocolate buttons in a glass measuring cup.  About 5 minutes at 2/3 power...stirring once halfway through.  Just don't scorch the chocolate.  (Yes, you can use a double boiler, but why?)

In a large bowl, use a spatula to combine the pretzels and the melted chocolate.  Add the pretzels a handful at a time.  (Don't just pour the broken pretzels in from the smaller'll get all the salt that collected at the bottom of the bowl in your treats and that won't be good!)  Keep stirring and stirring until the pretzels are well-coated with chocolate and then pour in the bag of mini marshmallows and coat them with the melted chocolate.

Once it is all combined and everything is well-coated, scoop out spoonfuls and allow to cool.  (This year I skipped the waxed paper and just scooped straight onto the was simpler.)  Once they've cooled off, place each goodie in a mini muffin liner and you're done...ready to share them.

Really, you can do this with anything...I'm going to make a batch with dark chocolate, raisins, and unsweetened coconut...not primal, but still, a good compromise, don't you think? 

Tomorrow, I'll share with you just how easy it is to make peppermint bark!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Pot roast has always been one of those meals that intimidated me.  Really.  I'd hear stories of dredging in flour and then browning and blah, blah, blah.  Honestly, I made it one time, seven years ago, and decided it was way too much work.  A friend of mine served it for her family all the time and kept saying how easy it was.  Finally, she told me exactly how she did it and I decided I could handle her method.  I've made it three times now and it has turned out so well each time, I just had to share it with you.  You'll be amazed at how easy this is.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast
(roughly 6 hours)

Frozen Chuck Roast
1 cup of water
1 Tablespoon of Beef Better Than Bouillon
1/2 White Onion Chopped
Salt & Pepper
Vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc.)

Place the frozen roast in your crock pot.  Add one cup (or so) of water and the beef Better Than Bouillon (I don't even stir it in, just "plop" it in and move on).  Salt and pepper the pot roast to taste.  Cover with chopped onions.   Add whatever vegetables you want with your pot roast...we added carrots this time.  Set crock pot to low and come back in approximately six hours.  That's it.  It just can't get any easier than that.

The roast will be tender, the vegetables will be perfect, and the broth will be amazing!  As for me, I'll never think of pot roast as intimidating again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do you ever stop to appreciate the things that bring a smile to your face?

I was thinking about it the other day.  How many things bring a smile to my face each and every day and how I often don't stop to really appreciate them.   Like so many people, I can get so caught up in my day-to-day life that I forget to slow down to experience my blessings in their richness.   I know times are tough...they really is not our imagination, but still, we have so many things, big and small, to smile about each day if we just stop to see them.  So, I thought I'd share a few with you during this season of gratitude nestled in midst of some seriously challenging times.  Maybe it will help you see the smiles in your own day.

I was cleaning up the kitchen and came across this birthday card given to me a few weeks ago by my Buttercup.

She made it herself.  She said she thought the little kitty on the front made the card seem more like it was for me.  She was right.

She decided to carry the kitty theme further and gave me this little guy playing with a rhinestone ball on the inside.  Wasn't that thoughtful?  And wasn't it amazingly kind of my friend to give Buttercup the time and place to make such a wonderful card? 

Thinking of the card got me thinking back to my birthday and the gift Buttercup surprised me with.  She gave me what truly might have been the most amazing gift I've ever received.

Let me back up a minute.  For years, when the kids have asked me what I want to be when I grow up "besides a mommy, Mom!", I've always answered them with "a fairy princess with silver far, I haven't seen any want ads, but as soon as an opening for one of those opens up, I'm outta here!".  That never fails to make them smile.

Well, this year for my birthday, Buttercup decided to help me achieve my dreams...she gave me silver wings (with glitter), a tiara (royalty here, remember?), and a magic wand.  (Fairy princesses need wands, you know.)  Now I get to be a Fairy Princess with Silver Wings and a Mom...all my dreams in one place.

I've got to put the wings away soon, but for now, seeing them makes me smile at her kindness, her cleverness, and her generosity.   A daughter who is trying to make my dreams come true definitely brings a smile to my face.   Come on, admit it, you'd smile, too, wouldn't you?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A quick update...I just had to label something else!

Superman said that telling you about this needs to be considered an update to my labelling gone mad post, but I think it is more like a little bit more Thanksgiving decor.  Either way, he wanted to see how it turned out and doing it was fun and made me smile.  So, file this under OCD or file it under Decorating, whichever works better for you.

Moving right along.

Remember my mantle here?

Notice the row of Ikea tea lights?  I've had them for years and I love, love, love their simplicity.  Still, I thought they were a little blank, so I whipped out my Silhouette machine and added a little seasonal touch to them. 

What do you think?  Still simple, but just a little more festive, don't you think?

Look at this teeny turkey!  Isn't it cool?

I really love how they turned out.  The best part?  I just peel them off on November 25 and have my simple white tea lights again.  How terrific is that?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I order my vinyl from Expressions Vinyl where I can get a 9 x 24" sheet of vinyl for $1.59, so I don't have to have a huge role of a color I won't ever use up.  (This little project took 3" off my 24" length, so I still have quite a bit left for any other madness that my overtake me.)

Dress-Up for Halloween

On Monday I showed you the pictures from last year's Dress-Up for Halloween.  Let me show you what a difference a year makes.  Can you believe how much they changed in one year?

Buttercup looks like a little lady, doesn't she?

Look at how grown-up Valiant is getting.

Oh, and let's not forget Charming.  He headed out after work to join us.

(Oh, and for those of you who are wondering...that is just gorgeous 12-year old girl skin...not a stitch of make-up.  Beautiful!)

Whaaa!  I have no more babies!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Decor...Heading Into Thanksgiving...

Well, Halloween is put to bed for another year and with it are our Halloween decorations.  Yep, I'm one of those who changes out the decor immediately.  The day after Halloween, all of our jack-o-lanterns and black cats and cute witches were put away and out came our turkeys (not too many) and our autumn leaves and some not-jack-o-lantern pumpkins, along with a few scarecrows.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the details of my holiday decorating with you.

This is the view from my kitchen as I look out to the rest of my house.  It makes me smile to when I look up from my kitchen chores.

This is my mantle.  (Recognize the candle sticks?)  I've been wanting fat burnt orange candles for a few years, so I was thrilled when I found these at World Market last month.  My wreath is an old one from Pottery Barn post-holiday clearance.  It has held up really well.  My little turkey was another post-holiday clearance find.  (Notice a trend?)

 How about this subway art from Today's Fabulous Finds (Janet does one in various colors for every occasion and gives them to us for free!!)  The pumpkins were in Target's Dollar Spot and I just stuck leaves from some fake flowers on them to give them a little more oomph.

Here is the kitchen...just a few pumpkins on top of the cabinet.   (They're fake, too.  Bought them a few years ago from Michael's with a coupon...they were something like $3 each.)  Simple, yet festive, I think.

Even the dining room gets in on the act.  I added a pumpkin candle, changed out the flowers on the buffet, some leaves on my centerpiece, and a little turkey on my antique clock.

Oh, and don't forget the Angry Bird under the table.  (Do you see it?  It is there on the rug.)  The cats obviously think the room needed a little something more.

I know I'm more minimalist than a lot of people who decorate for the seasons, but it works for me.  I love the simple additions to acknowledge the flow of the year, but I can't stand to be overwhelmed by them (at least until I get to Christmas!!). 

What about you?  Do you switch it out or do you just leave it be?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This is Primal - Meat Loaf and Mashed "Potatoes"

As the weather has turned colder, comfort foods have been my family's cravings.  I must confess that this has made it quite challenging to stay primal.  There is something about a chill in the air that makes me want to head to the kitchen and start baking:  bread, cakes, pies, cookies...the works.   While I haven't been able to resist the siren's song entirely, I've been more successful than I would have imagined with a view traditional dishes.  This one, "Meat Loaf Muffins and Mashed "Potatoes"" turned out to be an resounding success.  (No, seriously, the kids fought over the leftovers the next day!)  Best of all, this one of those really simple wonder our moms always made meatloaf...notice, however, that there is no ketchup to be found here...I used to hate meatloaf!

So, with no further introduction, here is the recipe I used for my Primal Meat Loaf Muffins and Mashed "Potatoes".

Meat Loaf - makes 12 muffins
(Modified from my previously shared recipe for mini meatloaves.)

One package (roughly a pound) of ground turkey (any ground meat will do)
cupcake liners
cupcake pan

1 egg
1/2 cup of almond flour
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

grated cheese (optional)

1)  Mix together all the ingredients above.  Just use your is gross, but most effective.  Take your scooper or a big spoon and fill the muffin tin.

2)  Bake for 1/2 hour (or until meat is done)

3)  Turn off oven.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top of each muffin and place back in oven to melt.  Once the cheese has melted, serve the muffins.

Mashed "Potatoes"

One head of cauliflower

1/4 cup of sour cream
1/3 stick of butter
salt and pepper

1)  Get a pot of water boiling.

2)  Cut the stem off the cauliflower until you're left with only the florets. 

3)  Boil the cauliflower until it is tender, then drain.  (This is really important.  Drain very, very well or you'll have watery "potatoes".)

4)  Pour into mixing bowl and add in sour cream, butter, salt and pepper.  Using hand mixer, beat the cauliflower until creamy. 

5)  Serve.

There you have it.  A perfectly primal meal for a crisp autumn evening.  Simple, traditional, and, most importantly, really good.  (Oh, and in case you're wondering...I don't have a picture of the plated meal because my kids couldn't wait long enough for me to set it up.  "Mom, we're hungry!")