Stacked Sandwich

We’ve been traveling quite a bit this summer which has been great but it’s wrecked havoc on eating well and exercising. Now that we’re back to our regular routine on the surface on the sun – we’re going clean!

This sandwich is stacked high with all sorts of good-for-you veggies!

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Spread 1/2 an avocado over both slices of bread then stack up one side with lettuce, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, pickles, and a few strips of delicious rosemary grilled chicken & you’re set to go!

So that’s lunch with Mr.Layland & Me!

My Adorable Succulent Garden

When I moved to Arizona almost 2 years ago (time flies!) I was amazed by the saguaro cactus. I’d never seen them in real life! Sadly cacti that huge isn’t what you would call adorable and no, I don’t want anything that monstrous and pokey in my yard. Ever.

At the same time when I moved here I fell in love with succulents. They’re the coolest little desert flower cactus plant you’ve ever seen! They’re so funny looking and yes they make me smile πŸ™‚ Once we moved into this apartment I wanted a flowerbed to hang over the ledge on our balcony & finally five months later — I got one!

Aren’t they the cutest plants you’ve ever seen? The one that looks like a bunch of little grapes cracks me up –Β it’s just so funny-looking! I’ve had them for a few days now and they’re still alive and looking great.

I’d had the dirt I used for a while and little aphids and teeny centipedes had found their way in…or grown in there…I don’t know, I don’t want to think about it — they were just there. And I wanted them gone.

So I googled “natural methods to kill aphids”. Everything I read suggested lemon juice, dish soap, or vinegar. I figured I’d try all three at once and poured some of each into a spray bottle and filled it up with water. I sprayed the dirt then eventually just dumped it all in (this was before I planted anything) and let it sit for a few hours.

It worked! No more aphids or centipedes or anything gross. Just adorable succulents!

That’s life with Mr.Layland & Me!

Welcome Wreath

I saw this wreath on Pinterest and fell in love.

Of course, that was probably three months ago and I just haven’t had the time to create one of my own. The heavens shined down on me this week though, because not only did I find the time but it turned out absolutely perfect.

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I honestly thought about flipping it around to hang on the inside of our front door so I can look at it more. That’s obviously unrealistic…but I thought about it πŸ™‚ I got everything at JoAnn’s because what can’tΒ you find there. Seriously. I even came away with a balcony ledge planter I’ll feature later this week.

Like I said, they have everything.

I fed the flower stem and the wire stems of the greenery into the vine wreath and then hot glued the bow in place. The L was originally just a plain wooden letter so I painted it white, let it dry, and then hot glued it in place. So far so good! Everything is staying in place even with the wind we’ve had!

I never knew I could love my front door this much! Now if only I could paint it…

That’s life with Mr.Layland & Me!

Natural Egg Dye

I was being really productive the other day, sifting through Pinterest, when I came across this idea of using natural ingredients to dye easter eggs. I’ve been getting into a more ‘whole foods’ lifestyle (minus the pizza I had the other night) so this really appealed to me. I also hate the smell of vinegar so I figured if I could manage to dye eggs without that smell, why not give it a go?

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Of course instead of vinegar our kitchen smelled like beets, cabbage, and cumin for 30 minutes πŸ™‚ And there I was at the store not wanting to get an onion to make orange because I didn’t want the kitchen to smell bad. Now i know! Go big or go home!

I absolutely LOVE how they turned out! They’re so pretty and natural looking like the chickens were fed beets, cabbage, cumin, and grape juice and then they just came out like this!

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Creating the dye was simple – the grape juice is straight but the others you just boil 1 c of water for every cup of beets or cabbage. As for the cumin I boiled about a cup of water with a tablespoon of cumin. Boil for 30 minutes then strain out the chunks. Pour into cups with a capful of white vinegar, drop in an egg and let it sit!

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Next year I might try doing a greater variety like this post by Your Homebased MomΒ or even letting some dye overnight for a more vibrant natural color. This year I just figured ain’t nobody got time for that!

Happy Easter!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Date Night at the Batting Cages

One night we were driving around Scottsdale running a few errands and Mr. Layland suggested we go to the batting cages sometime. He loves baseball and I love eating food while other people work out, so going to a baseball game together worked out pretty well the first time. I figured the batting cages could be fun!

Just a few days later he texted me “batting cages tonight?” and suddenly this feeling of dread swept over me. Why did I say yes? I’ve never been the batting cages! I’m going to be so embarrassing – the last time I used a bat was more than 10 years ago!!!

So I grew up and we went.

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Isn’t he adorable? He went first so I could see how it’s done and then I hit softballs instead baseballs. Softballs are bigger which meant less embarrassing moments for me!

I had a blast! The best part was that it makes for a super cheap date night — it’s only $1.50 for 18 pitches and about halfway through my second round I was done. We did also ride the go-carts πŸ™‚ It was a night full of firsts for me so we had to! Mr. Layland won and my little go-cart stalled on the last lap so needless to say, I didn’t win.

We had such a great night really just playing together ❀

 

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Brownie Surprise

I’ll tell you right off – the surprise in these brownies is that you make them with black beans. I know what you’re thinking, I thought the same thing when I first heard of these too…#gross. Or something like…

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I promise, from the depths of my brownie-loving heart, that this recipe makes for some of THE best and fudgiest brownies you’ll ever have. We even put frosting on the top but I never got a picture of the final product because we ate them that fast.

Don’t judge.

Beyond the black beans it gets a little weirder – believe it or not – you add oats and honey and all sorts of non-brownie-like ingredients. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

1 1/2 C black beans (1 15-oz can, drained & rinsed!)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 C quick oats

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C agave (honey or maple syrup also work)

1/4 C vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor and blend it up. You might need to pause and scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything. Blend until smooth. Stir in the chips and pour into an 8×8 pan. Bake for 15-18 min.

Once the brownies are out of the oven you have three choices: leave them plain, sprinkle the top with more chocolate chips and let them melt, or make delicious chocolate frosting and load it on!

Like I said before, we went with choice #3 πŸ™‚

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Mexican Lettuce Wraps

One word: Delicious

I know, obviously it’s nothing weird or super healthy – it’s just a taco without the tortilla. I was still surprised at how yummy these were! They’re super easy to make (as easy as tacos) and just a touch healthier!

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MEXICAN LETTUCE WRAPS

{Just base the portions on how many people you’re feeding. We each at two wraps.}

1. Brown the hamburger adding cumin, red pepper & garlic.

2. Toss the taco meat into a romaine lettuce leaf and top with tomatoes, olives, sour cream, cheese & salsa!

See? Easy! It took me all of 10 minutes to have everything ready so it’s a fantastically quick dinner if you’re scrambling for time. You can add avocado or rice or even throw in some quinoa to the meat to bulk it up. It’s all up to you!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Valentine’s Day

Sometimes I think there’s way too much pressure when it comes to Valentine’s Day. That’s why I absolutely LOVED this past Valentine’s Day I shared with Mr. Layland! It was simple and sweet.

He never ceases to impress me – everyday is an adventure full of sweet surprises πŸ™‚ It doesn’t take too much to make me happy and needless to say the flowers and gummy worms pretty much set me up for the next year! I LOVE gummy worms.

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We’ve unintentionally created this tradition where we get our our china (thank you Grandma & Pop!) and eat Chinese food for Valentine’s Day. Get it – china and china? It’s amusing and delicious.

I love that we get our china out even though it’s just the two of us! No special company or a huge family gathering like Thanksgiving – just Valentine’s Day ❀

After dinner I was in heaven eating those gummy worms and smiled every time I looked at my flowers — like all night. While we had our snacks we watched a move and talked and had the best time, just the two of us.

Happy (super belated) Valentine’s Day ❀ ❀ ❀

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Floating Shelves

We’ve been settling into our new apartment for the past month or so and we’re finally wrapping things up! This wall only had the one big picture and looked a little empty so I figured I could add a little pizzaz to our set up.

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I got these floating shelves at Target and I absolutely love them. I was concerned about hanging anything too heavy so these were the perfect solution. I’ve been quite the handy-woman lately, assembling end tables, lamps, and china cabinets (all to come) so this was just one of many hammer & nail projects.

I mentioned in my Mr & Mrs post about how Young House Love suggests hanging pictures but I found a different way that works a little better for me. Painters tape!

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I assembled everything on the floor and measured out the middle of the couch then put a line of tape down the middle to measure from there. I hung the temple picture then put the strips of tape where the floatings shelves were supposed to go.

The great thing about using painters tape is that once you put in your nails or screws you can leave the tape there and you won’t see it! So sneaky!

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I’m not totally convinced about the picture arrangements I have on the shelves but I had other things to do with my life so I decided to leave it like this…and maybe I’ll get some inspiration later πŸ™‚

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Mud Smoothie

It just looks like mud…blueberry flavored mud, doesn’t it?

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While it may look a little weird it’s actually really delicious! The combination of blueberries and banana is super interesting and I ended up loving it.

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Obviously you can add or take out whatever you want for this smoothie – totally up to you – but here is the recipe I made the other morning. If you end up making it and changing something let me know so I can try it too!

MUD SMOOTHIE

1 handful fresh spinach

1/2 c blueberries

1 banana

4 oz vanilla yogurt

1 c milk

Blend it up for 30 seconds and there you have it, your very own mud smoothie πŸ™‚ You could always add protein powder or chia seeds for an extra kick. Enjoy!

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!