Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Pantry

So . . . I said in an earlier post that I was going to have a reveal of our new and improved pantry.
 
One of my main reasons for choosing to buy the house that we are currently in was the pantry.
 
Our house is under 1700 square feet, so it is definitely not large.
 
It is a great use of the space, so it actually feels bigger than it is to me.
 
When I looked at the house for the first time, I could not believe the size of the pantry.
 
It is enormous, especially in this little house.
 
Anyways, I have always wanted to organize it with pretty baskets.
 
I basically live in it, so it would be nice to look at pretty things while searching for rice or foil or whatever.
 
I enlisted Tim, and we finally tackled it last weekend.
 
Here is what it looked like before.
 





Please don't judge me.

I literally have been piling things in there for almost two years.

It is such a large space behind a closed door, so I just couldn't help myself.

"Oh, you don't know where that goes . . . just throw it in the pantry."

The problem was that I always wanted to show people how big it was.

It was like the crowning glory of my house that I was ashamed to show off.

All that to say . . . after a few trips to the dollar store and a few nights of blood, sweat and tears-

Here is the new and improved Bettelli pantry.




Now, I know it isn't as fancy as others that I have seen, but it is functional.

I really wanted actual baskets and glass containers, but that is not practical financially or in the midst of toddlers.

I love the way it came out, and I can find everything pretty easily which is a big change.

I will probably put labels on the baskets eventually . . . more for other people who will look for things because I know how I grouped everything.

Hope you enjoyed the peek into my wonderful pantry, which I am very grateful for.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Recipe Monday, Friends.
 
I made a new recipe this week and tried to use the forgotten (but still good) food from our pantry.
 
We reorganized our pantry this week (post coming at some point), and I found a bunch of good food that I forgot I had.
 
One of the ingredients I found was wild rice . . . pretty standard, but forgotton in my world.
 
I found a few different recipes for a chicken and wild rice casserole, so I just took what I wanted from each and put together a little something of my own.
 
I thought it came out pretty good . . . Tim said it was good but lacked flavor.  Whatever.
 
The best part about it is that I usually have everything I need already stocked in my house.
That is always a win for this mama.
 
I had frozen shredded chicken in the freezer, so I took that out to defrost.
 
I always try to keep frozen chicken in the freezer.
I always need it, and it is so nice not to have to cook it before making a casserole or quesadillas or the like.

I cooked up the rice and sauteed some chopped onions.


Then I just mixed the rest of the ingredients and put some bradcrumbs/parmesan cheese on top with slivers of butter.


Then I cooked this bad boy on 350 degrees for thirty minutes.

While it cooked, I whipped up some squash as a side.


And dinner was served.


Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
1 6 ounce package long grain and wild rice mix

1 medium onion, chopped

Mushrooms (canned or fresh)

2 tablespoons butter

1 10 3/4 cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup

½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup chicken broth

2 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ cup bread crumbs (or smashed ritz crackers)

Directions:
1. Prepare rice mix according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook onion and mushrooms in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in soup, sour cream, and broth. Stir in cooked rice and chicken.

3. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Place butter on top to brown.

4. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4-6 servings.

Enjoy!
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Insta-Friday, January 27

Another round of pictures courtesy of my iphone.
life rearranged
 
Here is what we have been up to this week.
 
 

Loaded up the kiddos (plus one) and shopped till we dropped.
An older couple felt really sorry for me and asked to walk around with the kids for while.
They seemed nice enough, but . . . I am not quite ready to just let my kids go with any old stranger.
Thanks for the offer, though.


On Sunday Tim took the kids to a birthday party, and I had a meeting at church.
I came home to a quiet house and made myself this delicious lunch.
Nothing like a fried egg with yolk to dip.


Daddy and Ethan were napping, so George and I took advantage of the time and played some football.


Love the after bath, ready for bed look.


Took the babies to the park.
This was the best pic I could get of the two of them.


Brought this snack to Bible study on Tuesday night.
I like to call it "Taco Awesomeness."
You would call it that too if you tasted it.


Ethan likes to help unload the dishwasher.
This is yet another reason why I hardly ever use it.


Funny story time:
I was at the produce market on Wednesday and had Ethan in my arms.
I was trying to carry around him and our fruits and veggies, while he tried (almost successfully) to jump out of my arms.
He was wiggling and screaming, and I was laughing like I wasn't embarrassed.
Finally I was checking out, and all of a sudden he went completely still and silent.
I looked at him, and he had grabbed a strawberry right out of the bucket.
He was chomping down on the unwashed berry, green stem and all.
And you know what . . . I just kept giving them to him until I was done cause that boy became a new baby.
Happy and compliant as can be.
I am not afraid to use some dirty fruit to bribe my children into acting like they are well-behaved.


George drew this in school this week.
I guess it is our family plus one of his friends.
He has been practicing writing his name.
Looks like he won't have the best hand-writing.


I got bangs  . . EEK!

Another great week on the books.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Big Boy

Linking up and Embracing my camera today.

 
 
A picture of my oldest and I
 


He is such a doll.

He is the type of child every parent dreams about.

I know I am his mother, so you think I am biased. 
Ask anyone who knows him.

His teachers have told me.
His Sunday school teachers have told me.
Friends of ours always comment.

He truly is a joy to raise.

But that isn't why I love him.

He is the one who made me a mom.

No one can ever take that place in my heart except him.

He started my journey on the road that is altogether lovely and difficult all the time.

He showed me what it meant to love unconditionally and for all time.

He is my first born, and I can't imagine a better one.

I love you, sweet George.

Keep up the awesomeness that is you.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIWW Week #2

Ok, so this is awkward.
 
I don't know how all the ladies over at What I Wore Wednesday do this every week and make it look so natural.
 
I had no idea how to stand every single time I took these pictures.
(As evidenced by the extremely awkward poses that get worse instead of better each day.)
 
I have four outfits for the week.
 
The other days were even less note-worthy than these, if you can imagine.
 
Here goes nothing:
 
First, I wore this outfit to Bible study last Wednesday.
 

Shirt: Hollister (as if I am 12, I know)
Jacket:  Old Navy
Jeans:  American Eagle jeggings
Boots:  Jessica Simpson, a gift from my husband that he picked out himself.  Impressive, no?

This outfit was from last Thursday.
I wore it to grocery shop, take Tim lunch, and tutor in the afternoon.
Exciting life, I know.

White Shirt:  Mossimo (Target)
Blue Shirt:  Gap (via thrift store)
Jeans:  Belk (in North Carolina, they were 8 bucks)
Shoes:  Toms

Next up . . . Worn to church on Sunday.


Shirt:  Marshall's
Pants:  American Eagle
Shoes:  Marshall's
Necklace:  Ann Taylor Loft

Lastly, I wore this Tuesday to tutor and Bible study that night.
(I go to Bible study on Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings because you can never get too much of the Bible . . . and I have someone else watching my kids for two hours at a time.)

Shirt:  Marshall's
Jeggings:  American Eagle (also seen on day #1)
Shoes:  Ross
Cute munchkin:  c/o his father and I


Now . . . as if those four pictures weren't awkward enough.
Here is an one that takes it to a whole new level.

I don't even know what else to say.

Does it get easier as you go?

I will admit that it made me more conscious of the outfits I put together.

Knowing they were going on the blog made me take a little more time to prepare myself.

I guess that is the whole point of this exercise . . . moms need to step it up.

Frumpy is not in style.
Unfortunately.

Here's hoping my posing will come up a few notches by next week.
That is, if I even have the nerve to do this again.

pleated poppy



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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Decisions

Mothering is all about decisions.
 
Big or small, we (as mothers) feel like every decision is going to make or break our kid's life.
 
Do I send my kid to preschool?
 
Where do I send my child to kindergarten?
 
What time should I put my kid to bed?
 
When should he nap?
 
What should I feed him?
 
Should I pick him up or let him "self-soothe"?
 
How do I teach my child the value of money?
 
When should I potty-train?
 
Should I let my son climb up the slide in his brother's red, too-big for him, rain boots?
 


And the list goes on and on . . .
 
We are constantly trying to be one step ahead, keeping up with each little change in the schedule.
 
Are we ever ahead?
 
Is it ever enough?
 
Will we ever get to the point where we know the right decision all the time?
 
I find myself constantly second guessing the things that I do.
 
Most of the time I feel like I have no idea what I am doing even though I have been "practicing" for almost five years.
 
If only I would have put him down earlier for his nap then he wouldn't be cranky.
 
If only I would have fed him more then he wouldn't be so skinny.
 
If only I would have put him in that school then he would be reading by now.
 
Again, the list goes on.
 
How do we make these monumental decisions on a daily basis and not go crazy?
 
There is only one answer . . .
 
God's grace.
 
I am so thankful that I can make wrong decisions, but my God is still there to work it all out according to His plan.
 
I need to let it go and give it to Him.
 
 
He will be my safety net.
 
He is watching out for me and my children.
 
He loves them more than I ever could, and that is so comforting.
 
In the day to day decision making, I don't have to worry.
 
I don't have to doubt.
 
I don't have to fear.
 
God is there.
 
He knows I only want the best for my kids.
 
He will take care of them.
 
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Pizza, Pizza

Time for a recipe, friends.
 
I don't know if I really consider this a "recipe."  It is more like a "how-to tutorial."
 
I actually made homeade pizza.
 
It somewhat defeats the purpose of Friday pizza nights in the Bettelli house because one of my biggest reasons for instituting pizza night was getting a break from the kitchen.
 
I pretty much cook all three meals every other day, so the Friday night break is well received.
(Well, daddy has breakfast duty, but you get the point)
 
However, I do recognize the un-health that comes with a pizza in a pizza joint.
And I wanteed to see if it would be a money saver.
 
I have also always wanted to make homeade pizza, so I decided this was the week.
 
This is not to say it will be repeated on a regular basis, because not only was I working in the kitchen.
I also got a sweet burn on my arm from my 500 degree pizza stone.
Yes, I have the skills of a five year old when it comes to not touching hot things.
 
Anywho . . . on to your tutorial.
 
I didn't really follow one person's suggestions on how to make the best homeade pizza.
I sort of took bits and pieces here and there to put together what I thought would turn out best.
 
I bought already made, fresh pizza dough in our grocery store deli.
(I had to do something un-homeade to keep things simple)
 
The directions on the bag said to take it out an hour before cooking time to let it rise and all that.
So, that was step one.
 
About ten minutes before the dough was ready I let my oven heat up to 500 degrees.
I also put the pizza stone in the oven, so it could heat as well.
I guess you are supposed to do that with pizza stones. 
Who knew?
 
Once the hour was up, I enlisted a trusty helper to roll out the dough on a floured surface.
 



Once it was all good and flattened, we put a little of our sauce on it.
I used a can of diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic in it.
I like chunky pizza sauce, but you can do whatever you like best.

Then we put that in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes to let the crust get a little crispy.
That was an excellent tip from some good friends of ours.
This helps the dough not be soggy in the end.
Good choice if you don't like soggy pizza, yuck.


Once we took it out, my trusty helper and I added the rest of the sauce and all the toppings.
We like an eclectic pizza in our house.
Ethan takes his with just cheese; George likes pepperoni; Tim gets pepperoni and mushroom; and mommy likes mushroom and onion.


After the toppings are set, drizzle a little olive oil on top.
Then put it back in the 500 degree oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how crispy you like your crust.
Here was our finished product.


I don't like to brag, but it was pretty dang good.

And even though it wasn't labor-free, it wasn't too much work.

I guess it was more of a semi-homeade pizza with the store bought dough and sauce.
Whatever.

We may shoot for an every other week semi-homeade pizza.


 
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Insta-Friday, 1-19 Edition

Linking up at Life Rearranged again for Insta-Friday.


life rearranged
 
This week's theme is "good thing my kids aren't old enough to get mad at me for putting embarrassing pictures up on my blog."
 
I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
 
 

This picture looks like it was taken up north in the Fall.
It was really taken here in Florida in January, but it is cute all the same.


These are the most comfortable, warm slippers in the world.
Too bad I only get to wear them 1.5 days of the year when our temps drop below 70.


Those slippers and these chocolates make for a wonderful naptime activity for mommy.


We need to call the ghostbusters for this guy.


Look at those flowing curls.
I couldn't bear to part with them, so I just cut the front.


This is the finished product.
Why yes, thanks for asking, my baby does now rock a full on mullet.


Ethan had a lunch date this week.
It looks like sparks flying to me.


The. Best. Ever.


George has been begging me for almost two years to stay for "lunch bunch" at his preschool.
The kicker was when he actually cried to his teacher this week because "he was the only one who never gets to stay" (said in an extremely dramatic tone).
I finally gave in, but I did tell him it would not be happening on a regular basis.
I want to have lunch with him for as long as possible.
I know he will be in kindergarten before we can blink, and our afternoons together will be a thing of the past.
I want to hold on as long as I can, ya know?





I have been tutoring these crazy kids for the last twenty weeks.
I loved every minute and will miss thier cute smiles on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


On to the embarrassing . . .
I got this picture from my dad on Sunday when George was at their house.
How sad does this look?
He wanted to help clean the garage, and my mom didn't want him to mess up his church clothes.
Here was the end result.
Sorry, George.  Mommy is very sorry.
But I couldn't stop laughing when I saw it . . . if I am being honest.


Embarrassing picture number 2.
My sister took Ethan to church on Wednesday night, and this is the picture I received.
I have no idea what is going on.
I do know that is shirt is off, and he has a flower headband on his head.
That is all I have to say about that.

Hope your week was as hilarious as mine.



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