Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples

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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!


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!




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


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


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!

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New Schedule and Life Lately

Randy and I have been so busy. With spring well on its way, we have been more motivated to do things around the house. We have been spring cleaning the house for weeks now – we have cleaned out the garage, our closets, cleaned all the rooms, finished projects, etc, etc. On top of all that we have started a new workout routine.

We have started the T25 workout. For those of you who do not know, it is a high intensity workout that only last 25 minutes (plus a 2-5 minute stretch session). You do one workout everyday, 6 days a week. We have been participating for a week and half now and I am liking it. I like that it is only 25 mintues. We get up every morning at 5 am to do this workout. Getting up at 5 am every morning has been difficult and has thrown off our schedule a bit. It is just something we are not use to yet. I hope to make it a habit, but it is going to take time.

The workout so far has been intense, but not so intense that I can’t keep up. I am tired after every workout, which is good. My muscles are sore for days! Especially my legs. But it is a good feeling, knowing that I am getting a decent workout. I will keep you updated as we continue.

I have also joined the #1800MinuteChallenge. You can read all about it here. I thought this could help me stay more motivated in my workout. Read about it and join in on the fun!


To compliment our new workout, I have found some new healthy dishes that we are loving. One being this salmon dish that I found on pinterest. You can find the recipe here or see below. I like serving it with a side of roasted potatoes.


We also have been drinking protein shakes like crazy. My favorite being peanut butter banana. The shake is simple: banana, vanilla whey protein, peanut butter and ice cubes. Sometimes Randy will added calicum and fiber powder in our shakes.


On top of our new workout routine, we have been busy in our social life as well.

Some of my girlfriends just turned 30 and they had a joint birthday party this past weekend.

The birthday girls. I loved their cake! 29-ish… haha! 🙂


And of course, I am the cool girl at the bar who got excited about seeing a geo survey!


We have had family to visit, church activities, birthday parties and household chores. I am looking forward to just sitting down and relaxing… but I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon! Oh well! That is what spring/summer is all about, right?

Hope everyone is having a great week! Happy Hump Day!


Thanksgiving Part 1

I am going to take a little break from Italy, mostly because we have not converted our Rome pictures yet! We are working on it though!

We started celebrating Thanksgiving the weekend before – Randy’s dad and girlfriend came up to visit us. We had initially planned to go camping, but a cold front came in, bringing 12 degrees wind chill! No thanks!

So instead, we hung out at our house and enjoyed our fire pit. Randy’s dad brought a turkey breast to be cooked in a dutch oven by the fire coals. It was our first time trying anything like this before.


Cooking the turkey this way was a lot of fun. We placed the turkey in the pot, filled it with chicken broth and all kinds of goodies – seasonings, potatoes, onions, celery and an apple. Then we placed hot coals from the fire on the bottom and the top of the dutch oven.


Then we just waited.





Tesla joined us too, away from the fire. She gets too hot around it.


After about 3 hours of cooking, we finally opened the dutch oven and this is what we found:


A beautiful turkey, that smelled amazing! Randy’s dad was so excited on how well it went. He has been wanting to try this for a long time.


I made some sides to have with the turkey. Made-from-scratch green bean casserole, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and anasazi beans.


Everything was delicious! It was a lot more entertaining cooking the turkey this way. I would love to do it again for Thanksgiving! We planned on s’mores for dessert, but by the time we finished dinner, the wind picked up. We could hear tree branches breaking off and trees hitting the ground. So we stayed inside and enjoyed our Thanksgiving inspired fireplace. 😉


I made the “GIVE” banner with my cricut machine, the “M” book came from Altar’d State, the “THANKS” pumpkins came from Wal-mart (I drew the letters on with a sharpie) and the maple leaf garland came from yellowbirdyellowbeard.com.


We had a wonderful weekend with Randy’s family and enjoyed being outdoors for a least a little bit!

Randy and I are so very blessed and have so much to be thankful for. We know all that we have has been given to us by God and I thank Him everyday!

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds.