Food, family, and fitness... all with a bit of style.

What's Up Wednesday....February Edition

Happy last day of February!!! We have had two straight days of sunshine here and gosh it feels good! Here's to hoping we are turning the corner to an early Spring!
Today I am linking up with ShayMel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday....February Edition. 

 A fun monthly post where we answer these questions....

We had a crazy busy & crazy fun February... here's a little bit of What's Up!

February 2018 Book Review

Oh friends, I am so excited for today's post! It's my monthly book review....and it is such a good one! I had lots of pool and beach time this month and read 6 books! YAY! I could read all day with this view....and I did!

Something New for Your Family Table #7....Pasta with Caramelized Sweet Potatoes & Kale

Hey there friends!! Well we are about 2 months in to making more plant based meals a part of our weekly menu and let me tell you... I am loving it!
I am going to share some of my thoughts and tips about this in a post next month. I am by no means an expert, just sharing what I have found with eating more plant based meals.
 I came across this recipe for Pasta with Caramelized Sweet Potatoes & Kale and it was a hit!!
Now I will tell you I made a few substitutions and I will share why. 
The start of the recipe is getting together the main ingredients. I subbed butternut squash for the sweet potato.  A similar texture, so it worked. My kids are not huge sweet potato fans (and I have tried making them 100 different ways), but they love butternut squash.
I also subbed the kale with spinach for no reason other than I had a bunch of fresh spinach the day I was making this and wanted to use some up.

Friday Favorites....Favorite Target Beach Styles!

Happy Friday friends!!!! We have been enjoying the kids' Winter break with some warmth and sunshine!! 
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So today I am linking up with three of my favorite blogging friends, ErikaNarci & Andrea to share some of my favorite beach styles for kids!

Tuesday Talk....Kids Packing

Hi friends! I am linking up with  Erika &  Ashley for Tuesday Talk. A monthly link up where we can talk about any and everything!
Today I want to talk about packing. And you know what's funny.... a year ago this day I also talked about packing. But that post was about me and how I am an awful packer. 
My name is Genevieve and I am a terrible packer. And I hate packing. I am always the one at the airport that gets the fluorescent orange "HEAVY" sticker slapped on my suitcase, right after I pay another $50 for my bag.
But today we are not talking about that again. Today let's talk about kids & packing. Last week I was talking with a few other moms about an upcoming trip and one of them asked how old kids should be when they start packing themselves. One mom said she lets her 11 year old pack and I said my kids have been packing themselves for a few years and I got a few surprised looks! 
So I thought I would share a little about my kids and packing. 
When Ella was around 6, she started packing herself when she was having an overnight at my parents. It was pretty simple, I would tell her to pack PJ's, an outfit, a book and her toothbrush. 
She handled that like a champ. So for vacation that year, I had her pack for that as well.
I start a week or two before a trip and we write out things she will need to bring. I usually tell her what to bring and she writes the list. One list of clothing and one of things she wants in her carry on or with her in the car if it's a road trip. I have her lay out her outfits and then I take a look to make sure they are ok and in the suitcase they go.
The next year I started Luke on the same program. I will tell him what items he needs to get together (7 outfits, 3 PJs, 7 pair underwear, etc.). He lays everything out, I check it over and in the suitcase it goes. Side note...Luke has always laid out his clothes to look just like he would wear them.... and I think it's the cutest thing!
This works so well for us. Ella loves having a list of things to take and checking it off. I love that it's one less thing for me to do and it teaches them responsibility. They understand what they need to pack and it's their responsibility if they forgot something.
So am I crazy?? Are their other mamas out there that have their younger kids pack???
I would love to hear more on this topic or some other tricks for getting everyone packed and ready!
See you tomorrow...there's always room for one more at our family table. 

Something New for Your Family Table #6....Butternut Squash Ravioli

Happy Monday friends! I have a really simple Meatless Monday meal to share with you today. It's a favorite in our house and a perfect meal to make mid February.
This Butternut Squash Ravioli takes your ordinary ravioli and makes is special with the butternut squash topping.

Friday Favorites...Short & Sweet

Hi friends! How the heck are we more than halfway through February??? This week just flew by... which is awesome, because today my kiddos kick off their Winter Break week and we are in search of warmth & sunshine!
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But before we take off, I am linking up with three of my favorite blogging friends, ErikaNarci & Andrea to share some of my favorites from this week. It's a short & sweet list!

My first favorite this week was watching this girl in her first every play performance. She has been practicing so hard the last 6 weeks and they put on an amazing show!! I could not have been more proud of those kids!!!

A few weeks ago I shared my Trader Joe's favorites. One of the reasons I went to TJs was for this seasoning.... that they were sold out of. I finally got my hands on some and well... I understand why they were sold out.

I could put this on everything!
If you are still celebrating Valentine's this weekend, I shared my Red Velvet cupcake recipe this week. 

And well... they are really pretty delicious. So I think you should make them this weekend😉
That rounds up my favorite things this week... pirates, spices and cupcakes! A random list of things that made me smile this week.
Hope you have the best weekend friends!
See you on Monday with another plant based meal! There's always room for one more at our family table.

A Little of This & That

Oh my goodness this has been a whirlwind of a week! I wasn't sure what I was going to share today, and had a bunch of random pictures in my phone, so I thought I would share a little of this & that!
We are heading somewhere warm very soon and I had Ella try on some of her Summer clothes.... and well I think she has grown 6 inches! Her shorts were so short! But really, the ones out in the store were not much longer. 
We shopped and shopped. It is not easy to find what I will call "appropriate" shorts for a 10 year old girl. But we persevered and hit the jackpot at Target!
They had some really cute stuff , at great Target prices. I will share some of our favorite finds next week. 
This picture popped up as a Facebook memory. Look at how little my Luke is. Paul took him to the auto show to meet Iron Man. He was so excited to bring along his Iron Man action figure and Ill never forget he wore his Iron Man underwear too! 
Last weekend we took Maddie for a run through the farm behind our house. It was a perfect day for a snowball fight and Maddie loves to chase snowballs. 
 I love the barn and property behind our house. It is a great place to explore and the perfect place for pictures!
I think I have done our Christmas cards back there three different times! 
 Paul went skiing on Sunday and the kids and I got a bunch of things checked off our list. We went to church, Target, and Wegmans. The kids love lunch at Wegmans, so we stopped for sushi.
Then we hit up Barnes & Noble for some books for our trip. So happy my crew loves to read!
Ella has been practicing really hard for her school play and put on 4 great performances this week!! 
And last night we had a sweet treat after dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day. 
I don't know where this week went....but it was a fun one!
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites. There's always room for one more at our family table. 

How We Wednesday.......

Hey friends! Gosh somehow it is already Wednesday! This week has been so busy, it is just flying by! Excited for today's post, as this year I am linking up with Shay & Erika for How We Wednesdays. Some fun topics on "how we do" life!
So be sure to check in the second Wednesday of each month for a little peek at "How We....." do life!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and well I thought I would share the most requested flavor this time of year. When we owned our cupcakery, red velvet was "the" flavor this week. It's a really moist cupcake (thanks to lots of butter) and there is no special ingredient that makes it red. Just red food coloring!
This recipe will make 24-28 cupcakes, but you could easily make this into two 9" rounds if you wanted to make a layer cake.

3 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp red food coloring
4 TBSP cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes)
Add the eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula as well. Add the vanilla and blend.

Mix the cocoa powder and food coloring together and add to the the butter mixture. Blend until combined.

Add the buttermilk and blend.

Now add in your flour and mix until smooth (don't overmix).
Mix the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will fizz and expand, so be sure to have a bowl to acocommodate) and add to the flour mixture, blending until just combined.
Scoop into paper lined pans and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking.

For the frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
16 oz cream cheese (room temp)
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well combined
Add the vanilla and blend.
Mix in the powdered sugar while the mixer is running at the lowest speed. Add in half a cup at a time.
Once the sugar has been added & combined, turn the mixer to high and whip the frosting until it is light and fluffy. Be sure to stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple times to avoid any lumps.

Frost the cupcakes using a larger round piping tip, or you can just spread on a thick layer with a knife.
I like to crumble one of the cupcakes over a plate for the topping.
Then just sprinkle some over all the easy fun topping!
A sweet treat to make for your loves!
See you tomorrow, there's always room for one more at our family table. 

Something New for Your Family Table #5...Lentil Tacos

Hey friends! Another Monday, another plant based meal for you to share with your family.
I love the whole Taco Tuesday concept. But then again, I could eat some sort of Mexican inspired dish every day of my life.
I saw this vegetarian version of Taco Tuesday from Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life and they looked so good.'s a slow cooker recipe! Yes friends, you can dump all the ingredients into your slow cooker for 8 hours and dinner is done.

Friday Favorites

Oh Friday I am so, so happy to see you. Not sure about anyone else, but this has been a LONG week. 
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It was a long one, but we made it! So pour a little more coffee in that cup and join me as I link up with three of my favorite blogging friends,  ErikaNarci & Andrea to share some of my favorites from this week.

Well one of my favorites for sure this week was the Superbowl.
My team won, my favorite guy performed and I ate lots of good food. 
I shared some of our Superbowl fun this week.
And speaking of my favorite guy performing, Monday he announced a tour date here in Buffalo. Well that is obviously a favorite part of my week!

I saw him here a few years ago, and you can bet I will be back again😉
Another favorite this week was this great website one of my girlfriends told me about. At  Running Warehouse, you can get some great deals on running sneakers (if you go with last years colors).
I am looking forward to running while we are on vacation and ordered some new sneakers and paid about $100 less than I would if I got the current year's color! Asics Nimbus are my favorite shoe to run in.
 Add in free 2-day shipping and I am sold!
In 7 days we will be in warmer weather. Beach, pool and lots of time to read. I stopped by the library this week to pick up a few books. 
Two from authors I really love and two that were suggested from of my reading friends! 
My February book review is going to be a good one! If you missed January's, you can catch up here.
So Target launched their new line this week, Universal Thread. I have found some really great pieces online and thought I would share a few of my favorites.
I love the look & color of  this denim shirt. A great piece you can wear so many ways!
This  sweater looks perfect for Spring!
And the perfect  little white tee!
I love my dark denim jacket and wear it all the time. I have been on the lookout for one in a lighter wash and I think I have found it with  this one!
And loving  this scarf for Spring!
Ok one more thing.  These shoes?? Love them...and they are less than $35!
On Wednesday I shared a fun post about love. If you missed it you can catch up  here. It got me thinking about Valentine's Day and I thought I would share  my post with some  sweet Valentine ideas
And you will want to check back next Tuesday. I will be sharing my recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes... the perfect Valentines' dessert!
The Olympics! I am so excited to watch!
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 I do love the Summer games a bit more, but Winter is fun to watch too!
I am so, so ready for the weekend. We don't have a lot planned, but have a lot to do! I want to get everybody packed for vacation, because next week is a busy one.
But before we can pack we have to shop....I think Ella grew 6 inches since Summer. Everything she tried on from last Summer was so small! So she and I will be doing some shopping this weekend, which she is pretty excited about.
Have a fun weekend friends! 
See you next week, there's always room for one more at our family table.

A Little Life Lately....

Happy Thursday friends! We have made it through the first week of February and gosh this has been a busy month for us. We have a sunny getaway planned soon, but we have a couple busy days leading up to it! Ella is in her school's play next week and they have had a lot of practices before & after school, so between that and a hectic work schedule, my mornings have been starting out with lots of coffee and my favorite dry shampoo!
Here is a little bit of life lately with my crew.
Last weekend we had plans to hit up the art gallery and then grab dinner. We got home from school & work and it was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G!! I mean the kind of cold that just hurts your face. And the thought of the walk from our car to the art gallery just made me shiver. So we skipped it and just went out to eat! We went to an "new to us" spot....Hertel Avenue Poutine & Cream. They are known for their poutine and some wild milkshakes.
That's Ella with her Cookie Monster Shake. 
 Poutine is a Canadian dish that consists of french fries covered in gravy then cheese curds. #notahealthydish
This spot makes them with a twist, adding pulled pork or making them with nacho toppings.
We just got a couple orders to split. And it was so good!
Luke got the Cake milkshake and yes, that is a cupcake on top of the milkshake! 
I think the kids favorite part was writing on the walls with a dry erase marker. A fun restaurant feature for sure. 
The next morning Paul and I got rid of this beast of a TV.  A little backstory on this. We have had this TV for a long time. It has made the move with us to three different states. It has sat in our basement since our last move 9 years ago and it was time to say goodbye.
I am pretty sure it was the largest and heaviest tube TV ever made. And it is also not something you can easily get rid of, because first of all it weights one million pounds and second you can't just put it out to the curb. So when we saw a local electronic recycling event we were pretty pumped. 
 Apparently everyone else was too! After Paul and I somehow got that beast up the stairs (with Ella standing by ready to call 9-1-1) and then got it in the back of Paul's car, he was in traffic trying to drop it off! Yes, traffic snaked around the block and through the parking lot with folks trying to dump their old electronics. So if you are looking to dump some old electronics, search your area for an electronics recycling event. A great, usually free and safe way to get rid of these items!
Luke and Paul have been having lots of fun in their first basketball season together and we have had fun watching him play. 
I have been busy getting ready for Ella's play too. I volunteered (or maybe I was encouraged😉) to head up the makeup team for the 5th grade play. I did not think it would be too involved, until I realized 127 kids needed makeup for 4 performances! 
So my nights have been spent organizing my makeup teams! 
We had lots of fun watching the  SuperBowl and we all had someone to cheer on.
 And this week we have gotten more snow....but the dog doesn't mind it as she waits for the kids each day.
So that's a little life lately around here.
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites, there's always room for one more at our family table.

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