wonderfully made: July 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

budget friendly, easy meals | cowboy lasagna

Hey y'all! 

I'm mixing it up - literally and figuratively - and sharing a recipe today!

Look, I'll be the first one to admit that we aren't the most healthy household. I can eat a pan of these in one sitting. We don't shop at Whole Foods or go on juice cleanses, but we do like to create easy and budget friendly meals. 

That being said, I think this recipe is the best of both worlds! It's easy, cheap, and a good recipe for a weeknight; but I think it has a TON of possibilities to be personalized and made a bit healthier. I'll share my tips on how I think you can do that as I go.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, where I find a ton of good recipes (and lots of other great things too!) and ended up pinning it to my 'tried and true' board where I save all of the recipes we've tried and LOVED so they are within easy reach to make again. So here it is:

Cowboy Lasagna

to make the recipe as originally shown here:

-1 lb of ground beef
-Minced onions - 4 tbsp
-Worcestershire sauce - generous sprinkling
-Parsley - roughly 3 tbsp, divided
-One can of tomato soup - 10 3/4 ozs
-One can of corn - 15.25 ozs
-Dried ground mustard - 3 tsp
-One package of tater tots - 32 ozs
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-Mozzarella cheese - roughly 4 cups

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

First, you brown your meat and add in the minced onions, worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, 2 tbsp parsley, and salt and pepper. I also added in some onion and garlic powder for extra taste. 

While that's cooking, take out your baking pans and grease them. Then, place your tater tots in the bottom, spread out. I divided this recipe into two pans: one to eat now and one to freeze. Gotta prepare for baby! If you do it in one pan, use a 9x13. One even layer of tater tots is preferred. 

Sprinkle cheese over the frozen tater tots (here's a good place to cut down on or eliminate the cheese for a healthier option!)

After the meat is cooked through, add in your tomato sauce and drained can of corn. I think this is the best opportunity to play around with the ingredients - use diced tomatoes, rotel, peppers, black beans, more corn, anything! You could totally customize it for your health needs! Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.

Next, spoon out the meat mixture over your tater tots. Evenly spread. 

Add more cheese on top (again, to your liking!) and the remaining 1 tbsp of parsley (we didn't have parsley so I skipped that step). 

Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes and cook uncovered until bubbly and cheese is slightly toasted. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Then, dig in!

Mark and I both really like this meal and it's SO easy and especially hearty. The leftovers are great too! If you're planning on freezing this, go ahead and cook the dish and freeze it fully cooked. Then just heat it up in the oven when you're ready to eat!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

35 week bumpdate

I can't believe we're already at the halfway point from where we hit the single digit week countdown. 5 weeks to go now. After this week, we'll be in the ONE MONTH countdown and I have a feeling it's all going to go SO quickly. I've thrown some things in a bag but I think I should really finish packing it. I'm going to another JBF consignment sale tomorrow and I'll be focusing on really getting what's missing as well as filling in the gaps as far as clothing goes. It's SO CRAZY to me that we're already at this point. SO CRAZY!!! I feel like these next few weeks are the calm before the storm and then before we know it, we'll have a little boy and it will be a whirlwind of emotion and activity. It's unreal!

How far along:  thirty-five weeks!

Size of babe: a coconut! Mama lovessss coconut!

Gender: Mr. Man! His full initials were revealed here!

Husband: Helped me/us out SOOOOO much this weekend! He never complained one bit even after he saw my page-long list of to-do's on Saturday and I feel so much better about the impending arrival of this little one after getting all of that done. 

Maternity Clothes: I'm at the point where I'm wearing a lot of the same things on repeat. If I'm buying anything, it's something that I can hopefully wear post partum and in those first few weeks of mommyhood - so it needs to be comfy! I love coral/orange/red AND I love yoga pants so I recently picked these up and I'm loving wearing the pop of color around the house! 

Umm also when I just looked up the link for those, I found these annnddd they may have snuck into my cart. SO comfy looking! 

Loving: Watermelon slushes (still), lots of water, lots of sweets, french fries (still) hot baths, putting my feet up at night, & feeling this little man squirm

Loathing: Still a slight amount of indigestion making me feel icky, being unable to bend, squat, get comfortable, etc., the multiple comments I hear from strangers AND people I know, like "you're looking really pregnant today" or my favorite: "you got big!"

Movement: He's slowing down a little but I think that's because he is running out of room. He is still doing his 'womb yoga' but when he does give me a swift kick, it HURTS. 

Symptoms: 100% waddling now, backaches, indigestion, swelling mostly around my cankles and sort of in my feet, the slightest amount of insomnia if I don't wear myself out or go to bed late, not really ever feeling like eating.

Best Part of the Week: Saturday was a good day just in general! Mark and I got TONS accomplished and we also got to celebrate my niece's birthday along with lots of other family birthdays on my sister's in-law's side. It's always a fun time with that crew!

Worst Part of the Week: Worrying about my blog friend Katie and her new sweet baby Charlotte. She was born last weekend and unfortunately inhaled meconium so she's been in NICU ever since. I've gotten to know Katie while we've both been pregnant and I was so anxious to see when little C arrived, only to be upset by the issues she is facing. Praying hard for Katie and her husband and family, plus miss Charlotte!  

Missing Most: Sleeping comfortably and being able to get off the bed/couch/chair without feeling like I'll pull a muscle. I've told Mark I need some handles/ropes tied to the ceiling so I can use them to pull myself up!

Can't wait for: Sunday marks the ONE MONTH countdown and I can barely even believe it. I've been looking forward to this milestone for 8 months!


       week 16                                week 17                                        week 18

    week 19                                week 20                                   week 21


                      week 22                                                      week 23

week 24                                 week 25                               week 26

   week 27                                   week 28                                 week 29 


                  week 30                                      week 31                                    week 32


week 33                          week 34
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the state of our home : 2015

I promised an update on where our house stands in 2015, two years after purchasing - and here it is! For last year's post (and a few more pictures), go here. I didn't capture the entry, bathrooms, office, or backyard this year because they aren't in the best shape right now (I have added an Etsy shop and the clutter that comes with it since last year's post) or nothing had really changed. As I make updates to those rooms I'll be sure to share them with you! 

Here we go!

Kitchen and eating area

Master Bedroom

As you can see, a lot has changed in two years! Some rooms look about the same but once you pay attention to the details, you can see that we've moved things around. I haven't blogged about some of the most recent changes so I'll be doing that soon (so be sure to come back to read about that!) Two years down, many more to go!
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Monday, July 27, 2015

weekend snaps & haps

Here we are again, face to face with another Monday! That just means we're due for another weekend in 5 days. Can you even believe that next weekend it will be August?! Where has this year gone?!

Mark was  the best sport EVER and happily helped me get a TON done around the house this weekend, as I mentioned was my wish here. I think we both wore ourselves out but it was a really great and productive weekend. I just hope we can keep it looking nice and pretty!

When we weren't cleaning, organizing, moving things, spraying for ants, going to Home Depot for the sixth time for toilet parts, or spraying for ants (again), here's what we were up to:

We got a BOGO free entree coupon at Abuelo's (my favorite restaurant!) over Father's Day weekend so we decided to redeem it on Friday night. We obviously also got queso and we have SO much food leftover. It was a great deal!

Apparently I'm the only one that wakes up happy and ready to go at 6am on a Saturday...

One of Mark's tasks on the 'list' this weekend was to follow one of my hair-brained ideas and change out the light fixture above the kitchen table. More on that tomorrow, it's the post I promised you last week!

Saturday night, my sister's in-laws hosted a joint birthday party for 4 people in the family including my niece who turned 3. She's a hoot and it was funny watching her interact and get attention from 30+ family members!

She loves her Uncle Jimmy!

This Victorian dollhouse was her gift from Mark and me. I found it on a Facebook 'garage sale' site a couple months ago and couldn't pass up the deal! I would have DIED for that as a little girl! I think she liked it!

One of her great-grandmas gave her her very own Iron Man (she has a 7 year old brother) and he got to join in on the dollhouse fun.

More cleaning, more organizing, and a little shopping had me sitting here on the couch last night, working on baby's quilt and enjoying our new floor lamp. More on that tomorrow, too!

And of course, I had to end the weekend on the best note possible. :)

So that was our ordinary but fun and productive weekend! Linking up here:

Happy Monday!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

five on Friday | two years and my thoughts

Today's the day! It's our two year anniversary of owning our home. I honestly can't believe it's ONLY been two years. It seems like so much longer! dmariebuchanan@gmail.com Image Map

At first I was just going to link to last year's post with the before and after photos of the house because I didn't think much had changed. But then I remembered that SO much has changed! Maybe not in every room, but we've made lots of upgrades over the last year. My goal this weekend is to get the house in tip top shape and take some photographs in the good daylight to share the before and after photos with you next week. So make sure you come back for that!

I started this blog a little before we closed on the house and it was originally a home-based blog. Since then, I've branched out into blogging about travel, lifestyle, shopping, budgeting, and just about my life in general! Today, I thought I'd get back to my home blogging roots and share five things about house hunting, home renovation, home decor, DIY....at least, my thoughts on the subjects!

I like homes that have character. The nice, new clean homes are alright, but they don't really appeal to me. I love anything built before 1970. Our house was built in 1960 and while it isn't bursting with character, it has some little quirks (like our built-in linen closets and scalloped exterior trim) that I really like. 

I LOVE flowers, candles, and little things that bring life into our home. Don't get me wrong, I don't love trinkets or dust collectors - nope. But some fresh flowers or a flickering candle makes SUCH a big difference around the house and it's hard to stop myself from buying them frequently! If only I could keep a houseplant alive, then all of my money wouldn't go to waste on cut flowers!

I'm not a neat freak and I'm the furthest thing from a perfectionist, but things around the house bug me. For example: I hate when the seam on a lampshade gets turned around where I can see it. I also hate when our entry rug gets moved to the side (Mark always does this to open the closet door and never puts it back). I hate when the curtains are out of whack and look goofy. There can be clothes on the floor, dog hair everywhere, and dishes in the sink, but those things bug the crap out of me!

I don't believe our home will ever be done. I really don't think I'll ever reach that point in my life. I'm constantly changing things, constantly browsing the sale aisle at Home Goods, and constantly lusting after a new throw pillow. I like change!

I love a good looking yard. I think it's your first impression of a home and I think it adds a great deal to your resale value and what someone is willing to pay for a property. That being said, I HATE doing yard work. It is so tiring and so expensive. I want so badly for our yard to look better and I know that it can, but I can't physically put in the work, the budget is tight, and I kill 60% of the plants that I put out there. I'm really contemplating hiring someone to do some work on it next summer and maybe just chip away at it each year...

That's it. I promise I'll be back with some updated pictures for y'all next week! Happy Friday!!!