Yesterday we kept Stephen home from daycare, since he was ill the day before, so I did what I always yearn to do when I'm home and practically alone: I rearranged furniture!

I've been craving more organization in our kitchen area -- the clutter on the counters has been driving me crazy.  So yesterday I moved a writing desk that had been in the master bedroom and put it along the main wall in our kitchen dining area.  I managed to get the entire table downstairs by myself and my fabulous sis-in-law helped me get it over the baby gate (which I couldn't figure out how to take down).

I think this little center of organization looks very nice, and it has already proven to be super useful.

I know that Bob is not in love with it, but he has been very open and supportive of my desire to do something organizational with that space.  He agreed that the table, when in the bedroom, was not doing much beside gather dust.  He does feel that it is too big for its new space, but I think overall he's okay with it.

I made a pretty organizer for paperwork, and Stephen helped with a bit of the crafting.  You can't see it so well in the picture, but there is a pretty metal box on the table and I used craft paper to make dividers labelled FILE, OUT, and COUPONS.  I also used more paper to create little pockets in my dividers.  I would like add a nice framed family picture there once we finish our picture project.

In other news, I have not gone running for the last two days, and I am craving a run.  I brought my gear and plan to go this afternoon.  I just ate lunch (an English muffin with deli chicken and cheese, portion of Garden Salsa Sun Chips, two cookies, and one caramel chew), so now i need to let everything digest and then try to time my run so that my food is mostly digested but I'm not too hungry again.  The timing can be so tricky.  That's one major plus about morning runs -- my tummy is always virtually empty, save for my pre-run banana.

It is currently 28 degrees and feels like 18, so I am not particularly excited about the cold nature of the run, but at least there's no question as to what I should wear...EVERYTHING!  I will plan to wear tights, sweatpants, t-shirt, long sleeve, hoodie, fleece head/ear band, and running gloves.  I'll probably be a sweaty mess by the time I'm done.  I have to say, I'm really not loving the winter running.  At least in the summer, there's one temp: hot.  You basically go light shorts and tank top every time and try to get out as early as possible.  Winter time is like, cold at the beginning, hot at the end, lots of layers, so much more STUFF.  And I find myself running in the afternoon because it's warmer, but then I'm either digesting food or hungry, and it's just not ideal.

Oh well, at least I get to run!

I'm curious as to whether this really looks as good as it tasted, because it was yummy!

Monday evening was cold and dreary, and Bob and I had yet to do any grocery shopping, so when we ran to the store for essentials, I suggested we make chili for dinner.  We knew it would take longer than usual, but we planned to give the kids leftovers and dove in to the making of the chili.  It did turn out to be a delicious and comforting meal, but we had no idea that it would feature in Tuesday's dinner as well.

As we drove to get the boys on Tuesday we made the snap decision to reheat the chili and serve it with whatever pasta was in the pantry.  The boys would get the plain pasta, and we would have another comforting (and easy) dish: chili mac!  It was a big success for us grownups.  It only took as long as it took to boil the pasta, which turned out to be elbow and spiral noodles.  We all had a little bread with the dinner as well.

Taylor ate it all up.

The only downside to dinner was that Stephen refused a plate full of plain pasta, because, as we were soon to discover, he had a stomach bug.  Yup, dinner came to an abrupt end when Stevie was sick all over the table (and Bob).  We immediately moved into clean-up-everything mode, which was a sad way to end such a delicious meal.

It should be noted, though, that the chili was fabulous, and its ability to be repurposed for lots of other meals is a huge bonus for us.  I also love chili with brown rice (tons of fiber!).  Our pasta boasted to be full of fiber and protein, too.  I would make this again and again.

Basic chili recipe:

1 lb. lean ground beef (I also often use ground turkey)
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet onion (any old size will do), diced
1 packet chili seasoning
1 can hot chili beans (I rinsed these beans since we also had the seasoning)
1 can spicy diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can regular petite diced tomatoes

In a big pot, brown our meat and veg and then add in all the other ingredients.  Let it all simmer as long as you want (or until you can't wait anymore!).

It's a little bit of prep with the chopping/dicing and can opening, but it's totally worth it.

Serve leftovers with pasta or rice.  You could also make some awesome burritos.

Menu for the week:
 -- Monday: Chili & cornbread
 -- Tuesday: Whole wheat ravioli w/zucchini
 -- Wednesday: Baked, seasoned tilapia, risotto, broccoli
 -- Thursday: Chicken marsala, bow tie pasta
 -- Friday: Pizza or Leftovers 
I've done a lot of writing online, and in fact, I love to write.  Here's to hoping this posting becomes the first one of many.  What am I hoping to get out of this blog?  I want to chronicle and reflect on my daily activities, my health and fitness, and my hobbies.  This includes my activities with my family and the development of my children.  I want this blog to sort of include it all!  I don't want to focus only on my kids, nor do I feel like I am so cooking, fitness, or crafting-oriented that I could devote an entire blog to any one of those areas.  So I want to write about everything.

So what do I have to say for today?  The boys slept late (6:45 and 7), so we all got out of the house a little later than usual.  No morning run for me, which after yesterday's shower access and hot water debacle, I wasn't too inclined to do any morning running anyway.  I am planning to go this afternoon, though!