Snow Day!

Yesterday at my house, it started to do this:

So I decided to make a big pot of this (recipe follows...oh my gosh, YUM!):

I hung out with my most favorite people in the world (who had just come in from a little romp in the snow!):

And watched as this little guy turned on the charm:

I just love snow days!  

Another reason it was so great to be in my house were the yummy smells coming from my kitchen!  I found a recipe for Cincinnati-style chili in Cooking Light magazine, and since I am a displaced person who misses Cincinnati's Skyline Chili greatly, I had to make it.  I am so glad I did!  Even if you have a regular chili recipe that you love, the spices in this one make it a unique addition to your repertoire, something totally different than the traditional chili flavors.  I highly recommend it!

Cincinnati Chili

cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (although I used ground turkey and it was great)
1 1/2 cups diced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons garam masala (an Indian spice I found in my local grocery store spice aisle)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Muir Glen fire roasted)
2 (15.5 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (15.5 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray.  Add ground beef or turkey to pan with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until meat is browned, stirring to crumble.  Transfer beef to a small bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and recoat pan with more cooking spray.  Add onions and cook for 4 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.  Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, canola oil, and the next 4 ingredients (through nutmeg).  Cook one minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add tomato paste and cook one minute.  Add 1 cup water, red wine vinegar, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Then add ground beef and the drained kidney beans.  Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  (We always find that if you can let the dish sit overnight the flavors are even better the next day!)

To serve, top with more chopped onions, drained kidney beans, or shredded cheese.  For this Cincinnati girl, it tasted almost like a Skyline Chili 3-Way, oh yeah!

And because some of us (ah...me!) are battling the post-baby weight, I am going to include some nutritional information, in case anyone else wants to see how this dish stacks up.  Serving size is 1 1/4 cup per person, and each serving is 276 calories, 6 grams of fat and 9.1 grams of fiber.  Not bad!

Have a great weekend!


Area Rug Advice!

Hey girls!  Happy Wednesday!

I am just checking in because I need a little advice from my decorating consultants, i.e., you!

Working on Henry's nursery, I have run into a problem.  The area rug that I really love, pictured below from Pottery Barn Kids, is a whopping $299 for a 5x8 size.  Since I would like to be able to send Henry to college (or heck, buy him a Happy Meal when he gets some teeth!), this option is out.  But let's take a minute and ogle it, shall we?

How cute is that?!  I've been looking for inexpensive alternative rugs, and I have come up with this one, shown below.  It is also a 5x8, and is significantly less expensive than the Pottery Barn Kids model.  Even including shipping costs, this rug is only $69!

The only problem is that, if you look at the colors up close, the stripes are actually black and red, with a light blue border.  Henry's room is comprised of red and navy, not black, so I worry this will clash.

What would you do?  Get the cheaper rug and hope for the best, or keep looking?  Keep in mind I have been searching for something similar since he was born, with no luck, so I am not sure where else to look.

I am still working on a few other projects for Henry's room!  I ran into some glitches and needed to order a few materials from eBay, which has slowed the process down a little bit.  Soon, though...soon I hope to have some stuff to show you! 

Thank you for your advice!


Pee-Pee Teepee, Anyone?

Hi everyone!

I think that JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and Michael's must certainly be hurting financially because of my 6 week absence.  Hopefully you all are picking up my slack out there!

Thankfully, Jamie at Right at Home has tagged me, and I will take it on since my home projects are all half-finished at the moment.  :)  Thanks, Jamie!  

Eight Random Things About Me:

1. The nuances of having two males in my house are abundant!  Who knew that a 6-week-old boy would rival his father in terms of his, ah, nocturnal noises?  Toots, burps, and grunts are the norm in my life these days!  

2. I am a sucker for my DVR.  Since we are house-bound, we have gotten into Friday Night Lights, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, and, of course, Lost.  Can anyone relate?

3. I love being an auntie!  Baby Caroline is such a joy, even in the two short weeks she has been here.  I can't wait for all the girlie-girl times to come!  Here's a recent photo of me, my daughter Nina, and sweet niece Caroline:

4. My latest obsession: Cookies and cream ice cream.  I figure that the baby needs the calories to grow big and strong, right? 

5. My dad and his wife are visiting this week from Ohio to meet the two new grandbabies!  He just celebrated his 60th birthday, and my sister and I are flying them out as a birthday gift.  I can't wait!

6. Just had my six-week checkup at my "lady doctor."  Things are all good...and I got the approval to start working out again.  Oh goodie!  (Sense the sarcasm.)  I wonder what this will do to my ice cream habits?

7. Two words: Pee-Pee Teepee.  Am I the only one who hadn't heard of this?

8. Baby Henry is cuter every day and is now weighing over 8 pounds!  Not bad for a little 5lb. 13 oz. peanut!  Check out his little chubby cheeks!


Finally, Some Nursery Photos!

Like I mentioned last week, I just haven't had the energy to get Henry's nursery completed! Maybe it's because he's still sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom, and we really only go in there to change his diapers.  And why does a 5 week old baby need a fancy nursery just to bare his bum?  :)

Nevertheless, here are a few little things that we have done.  I love this crib bumper, the vintage look of the stars, and the red color with the rich wood of the crib.

My favorite neighbor and friend, Aimee (remember how I showed you her house?), lent me these lamp shades from her daughter, Lulu's, nursery.  Lulu is now four years old and isn't missing them!  This lamp sits on a dresser that used to be in my husband's room as a child, and the mirror frame is made from reclaimed boards from an antique wagon.  It was a fun little shopping purchase from the days before Brent and I were married...you know, when we had time to leisurely wander the antique shops and hold hands!

Below is my next project.  The current curtains in the nursery are a little girly-girl for Master Henry, so we will be changing them out just as soon as I can get my act together.  I love the look of these, but Henry might not appreciate lilies of the valley as he gets older!

So, next I will be tackling the window treatments, and I will tell you for sure that it will involve a serious mistreatment of some fancy-schmancy curtains.  The Nester would be proud.  I'll be showing them to you soon!