Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Is it a women thing to feel better when we are productive?  
** Am I alone here or do other feel enjoyment from "getting shit done"?**

Why is it that a woman's work is never done? 
** It doesn't matter where I am or what I am doing, I always see more that needs done - by ME or it won't get done** 

Why is being productive unrecognized & Why is it never good enough?
** Is it just me or does it seem like the more we do, the less it's recognized?  Everyone always wants more - There is someone in my face ALL day long - someone always wanting something!**

Am I alone here?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Family Fun dinner in a flash!!

My family LOVES pizza .... I think Justin and Cloe would eat it every meal of every day if they could.  While it's always yummy .... it's not always as healthy as I would like.  We have family fun nights at least once a month and we made "make your own pizza night" a tradition as well.  The challenge we had with everyone making their own pizza is everyone likes something different, and my oven is only so big!!

While we were on vacation we purchased the Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker from Williams-Sonoma and it is the perfect solution for a quick & fun make your own pizza night.  The pizza oven cooks the pizza at high heat so it only takes 6 - 8 minutes to make each pizza.  The size is perfect too.... Blake & Cloe typically share a pizza then Justin and I make our own (last time I made mine on sandwich thins so my crust was only 2 points)!

As a mom, the thing I like the most is that I can control the toppings and the type of dough.  If you or anyone in your family has food allergies you can make a pizza specifically for them:  gluten free, dairy free, Weight Watchers friendly, etc...  This was one of the best purchases we have made and it was not too expensive.

With the holidays coming, I recommend putting this on your Christmas list.  It's a must have in my book!  The biggest benefit - it's fun family time for the entire family!!

Happy Fall!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Little girl dream to be a "real" mermaid come true!

When we arrived at our condo at the beach, the kids did what they always do ... go straight to the balcony.  This year we heard Cloe yell ... Mama / Daddy come here, come here ... you aren't going to believe this!!  Well ... she was right.  There were two girls swimming in the pool with mermaid tails - you can only imagine Cloe's excitement!  Also as expected, the next phase out of her mouth immediately was "I want one"!!  We told her we would find out where they got them and see what we could do but we needed to unpack and get settled in first.

The next day we went down to the pool and the parents of the girls were there.  I thought maybe they got the fins at the Aquarium because there is a Mermaid show there.   That would have been too easy.  They ordered them on-line.  Cloe was super disappointed when we told her they ordered them and they didn't sell them in the store.  But as parents do ... I figured out a way to surprise her.  

Justin, the little ones and I were at the beach for 2 weeks.  We went on Saturday and Justin's parents and Elijah were coming on Thursday for the 2nd week.  So, I ordered the mermaid tail and had it shipped (2 day and yes paid WAY too much for that) to our house.  Elijah got the package and brought it with them.  When they got there I think I was more excited to have Cloe open it then she would be when she did.  She was SO  surprised and excited - she looked at me and Justin and say "you tricked me", haha!  

We tried to order Blake a shark fin but naturally they were sold out, ugh!  If you have a little girl, know a little girl or just aspire to be a mermaid yourself, check out this site:  http://www.finfunmermaid.com - the joy it brought Cloe while on vacation was worth the money spent!

Always remember:  LIVE ~ LAUGH~ LOVE~

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pantry Purge

How often do you purge your pantry?

Well.... I obviously don't complete this task often enough.  In order to put the items away that we purchased on vacation, I needed to first clean out the cupboards to make room.  I was AMAZED at the amount of stuff that was outdated - and a embarrassed at the same time.   I realized while sorting through everything,  it's not about how often you purge, it's about how often you use what you have.

The first 7 months of 2014 were more than busy here at the Engle house and I didn't stick to many of my cooking goals, or many of my other ones for that matter.  Now that I am 4 weeks into my sabbatical, I realized how disconnected I was from my family (& friends) and didn't realize it.   Being on vacation for the first 2 weeks of sabbatical really allowed me to "detox" from technology and realize how important time is and being in the moment with what really matters.

I have kicked off this week with a more organized plan for each day - and planning dinner each night.  This week is easy with the fair ... yes I am sure we will be there every night!!  It felt really good to make dinner last night and eat as a family at home - all 5 of us.

So ... do you have some purging to do??  Instead of planning meals around what you want to make, plan them around what's in your pantry,  something I often forget to checkout before planning the weekly dinner menu.  Not anymore, the pantry and the freezer will be looked at before planning weekly meals.


Monday, March 24, 2014

QUESTION: Dealing with a toddler on what to wear

How do I deal with my 4 year old daughter only wanting to wear tank tops and t-shirts when we live in shitty Ohio where it's COLD??  

Getting Cloe to wear anything other than a dress or shirt with short sleeves or a tank top is impossible in the mornings.... at least for me.  She doesn't give her dad any problems getting dressed, just me.  She will wear a sweater over her "tank top" shirt for a while, but always ends up taking it off.  

We fight every morning I try to get her to wear a long sleep sweater or sweatshirt - and jeans.  It's not just that it's COLD outside, but she has all these cute clothes that she never wears. 

I get so frustrated and end up blowing up at here.  She's crying, I'm mad and we end up being late... which then ends up in a very rushed, shitty morning.  It's not a good way to start the day.

Anyone have any recommendation to get her to wear weather appropriate clothes and NOT fight with me about it?  Has anyone else experienced this?



Last weekend Justin and I went to Columbus.  In the past we have gone away for our anniversary and this year we decided to get away but stay closer to home. We had a really great time ... I will blog about that another time. 

With all the family drama I have going on right now, I decided to completely unplug and turn both my phones OFF for the entire weekend.  This was a decision that took me way outside my comfort zone.  We use technology in every aspect of our lives and most of it is done on our phones.  I caught myself reached for my phone multiple times for basic everyday reasons:  directions, taking pictures, looking up WW points, even to pay for coffee at Starbucks! 

As difficult as I found it to be at times, I made it through the weekend.  It got easier as the weekend progressed.  At one point I found myself just sitting in the car in silence - a short moment of meditation.  Unplugging is something I think we all need to do once and a while.  We don't take enough time to just breath or take in what's around us.  

This was a very positive experience for me, so I have decided I am going to unplug once a month.  I have set a bigger challenge to make Elijah do the same.  This will be a much BIGGER & HARDER challenge given his nose is in his phone constantly. I don't want Cloe & Blake to grow up with their faces in a computer or a phone all the time.  By the time they are 16, they won't do anything that isn't electronic.  

Technology is so important to our everyday life, but every once and a while it's nice to UNPLUG & JUST BE!!


Friday, March 14, 2014


Something so basic that makes my kids SO happy. 

It continues to amaze me how such little events bring such joy to Cloe & Blake.... I wish Elijah was still this innocent.  

A while back we had a movie night where the kids laid on the floor in their sleeping bags, I made everyone popcorn and we watched The Croods.  The kids LOVED it - we all did.  Ever since then, the little ones ask to have movie night multiple times a week.... As you all know, movie night can't happen every night but we make time for it at least once a night.

I can't wait till next week, Cloe is going to flip out!!  I pre-orded Frozen and it has already shipped.  It releases on DVD on Tuesday the 18th so will be super suprised.  She sings the music from Frozen at night when she goes to bed... it's so sweet.

This simple, easy, inexpensive weekly tradition brings joy to everyone in the family - even us big kids :-)

What weeknight activities does your family enjoy?
Have a fantastic weekend!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This recipe was SUPER easy and REALLY good!!  Even though it is a weight watchers recipe, Justin said it was the BEST pork tenderloin he has ever had!! 

I made red skin smashed potatoes along with it ... it was a perfect fit.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Going LEAN in 2014

I believe I blogged a few months ago about going LEAN ... well I have made a little progress and kicked off 2014 the right way .... yes I know it's only day 3 but I am being optimistic that this is my year to get shit done!!  I started this entry two weeks ago, ha!  I'm just now finishing it and getting it posted.

I am taking the approach of one room per month .... more than that is unrealistic at this point.  If my schedule changes and I am able to do more I will but I am trying to set myself up for success rather than failure .... which is exactly what I did in 2013.

The first project in the kitchen was the closet ... it's not a pantry and has been a place where everything gets thrown.  This is what it looked like most of last year ( I did clean it out one other time but it quickly went right back to this...)


Everytime you would open the door, something would fall out.  There is more to the closet too ... when you open the door and look to the right there are two more shelves with stuff stacked up on them.  I had enough and while I was off work for the holidays I cleaned it out.  Now it looks like this:

We had stuff in there that had never been used ... or at least in the time I have lived in the house.  I took all that stuff downstairs where it will weither go on the shelf or in the dumpster we will get once the weather breaks and start cleaning out the basement.  

I am happy to report that the closet still looks like this and I am on a mission to keep it that way.

I hope everyone is having a great start to 2014!