Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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Marked

Last Saturday, Randy and I had a date that we will never forget. It has been a long time since we had a date like that. 😉 It is difficult to make every date rememberable when you have been together for over a decade. But on this date, we decided to commit to our matching tattoos.

Now, if you have asked me ten years ago if I would ever get a tattoo; the answer would have been, “Hell no!” But over the years, my desire to have a tattoo has grown. Ten years ago, the days before Pinterest (say what?), I didn’t care for any of tattoo. Now, tattoos are so cool! I love the simple, minimalist ones and the watercolor ones. I love that it can have so much meaning to you and represent something or someone you love. So for the last few years, Randy and I talked about getting matching tattoos. We toyed around with so many ideas. Wedding bands, infinity & hearts, Always Forever (our wedding song title), etc. But none of them really jumped out at us. Then last week, it came to us and we designed our own tattoo.

When designing our tattoos, we both wanted something that was special to us and something that we wouldn’t mind having permanently on our arms… I mean tattoos are forever, you know? And that is how we came up with our design. As Randy so eloquently put: The mountains represent where our roots are and the constellation of Orion represents where our lives came together.

If you recall our last anniversary, we took photos where Randy and I first met. It is also where Randy propose to me. On the ASU campus there are large, metal cones configured in the constellation Orion. And that is why the constellation Orion is important to us.

And in the mountains is where everything wonderful has occurred. We met in the mountains, we got engaged in the mountains, we got married in the mountains, we bought our first home in the mountains, and we are raising our first child in the mountains. And did I mention, that we love the mountains?

To finish our lovely date, we enjoyed a flight of hard cider at a local cidery, because tattoos hurt. 😉  It was a wonderful time and we really needed some time away. But the best part of our day, was coming home to this little sweetie!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week! Happy Hump Day!


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Life Lately

It has been a while since I have had a moment to blog… this motherhood thing is so time consuming! 😉 But worth it! I really do love being Ada’s mom, but I do miss having a moment to myself. I don’t mind taking care of Ada, I love that part… it is the breastfeeding that is exhausting and so time consuming. I breastfeed Ada every hour or two and at night I have to pump because she is sleeping so long at night. Which I can’t really complain about that… but I have to work so hard to keep my milk supply up. I guess I just didn’t realize how much work it took to breastfeed. It consumes all of my time!

We were able to get out of the house this past weekend. We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary by going out for sushi as a family of 3. And me, being the cheese ball that I am, coordinated our outfits for this special occasion. Unfortunately, I have no lovely family photo because before I could take a picture, Ada had a blow out and messed up her entire outfit. All of this occurred, of course, at the restaurant, right before our food came out. So I went to the ladies’ room to find a changing station and the restaurant did not have one (when did public places stop having these handy contraptions for moms anyways?). I had to change Ada’s diaper and clothes in our cold car. All the while Ada is screaming to eat. So needless to say, we had an eventful anniversary dinner, in a very different way than what we are use to.

But we still had a lovely evening. After cleaning up Ada, we were able to enjoy our dinner. And it takes real talent to feed your child and use chopsticks to fed yourself without dropping any food on her. Win!

After dinner we walked over to my favorite ice cream place, Kilwins and got their amazing apple pie ice-cream. Sorry Ada, it won’t be much longer till you can join me!

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We spent the rest of our weekend at home, enjoying the beautiful fall weather. And Ada had her very first hammock experience. Our little happy camper in the making!

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I hope to be back soon! Hopefully things will slow down and I will have more time! Happy Friday!


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Spaghetti and Meatballs

A few nights ago we had a date night in… life has been so busy that all we have wanted to do is stay home! So I made a spaghetti and meatball casserole. This was actually the first time I have ever made meatballs. Sad, I know!

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I got the recipe from my favorite magazine, Celebrate. This magazine has never lead me a stray! Great ideas and great recipes!

And you can’t go wrong with this recipe! Spaghetti topped with hearty meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and a modest amount of melted mozzarella cheese on top – this one is a keeper!

Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground round
  • 1/2 
pound ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 
cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 
tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 
(8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 
(16-ounce) package spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 
cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 
cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack over pan, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground meats, next 4 ingredients, 
1/2 teaspoon salt, and next 
2 ingredients. Form mixture into 
1 3/4-inch balls. Place on prepared rack, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add marinara sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Add cooked pasta, 
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack, and 1/2 cup mozzarella, stirring to combine. Spoon into prepared dish; top with meatballs and remaining 1/2 cup Monterey Jack and remaining 
1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
http://ourmapletree.com/spaghetti-and-meatballs/

 

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The salad was simple – baby greens, broccoli slaw (a new thing of us), bell peppers and tomatoes all served with ranch dressing.

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Very colorful and the broccoli slaw adds a nice crunch to the salad!

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And dessert was just as simple! I mixed a box of brownies and added toffee and semi-sweet chocolate bits. Baked as instructed on the box, then added carmel, toffee bits and chopped pecans. The carmel is what makes this oh so good! (I used Breyers brand of carmel.)

date night brownie

All washed down with a glass of red wine, of course! As Gino said in Italy, “Wine should never leave the table!”

This meal is great for weeknights, it is quick and easy (just cook the meatballs ahead of time). And it is perfect for a big crowd… I’m pretty sure we ate on this casserole for a good week – lunch and dinner!

Something about spaghetti and meatballs just hits the spot! Enjoy!