5 on Friday!

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Happy Friday! I’m still getting back into the routine of working all week. It’s been hard, so I’m looking forward to a three day weekend with my family! I’m linking up with Darci from The Good Life Blog again for Five on Friday, one of my favorite link-ups!

{1} Now that I’m back at work, I’m trying to find as many easy dinners as I can. I’ve made several different skillet pasta recipes that only use one pan. You cook the pasta and bake it all in the same dish. That’s what I call a quick meal with not much clean up! I made this yummy three cheese skillet lasagna from Iowa Girl Eats a few weeks ago and a skillet dish from Serious Eats this week (pictured below). Another favorite, super easy recipe is a chicken parmesan bake that uses croutons instead of breading the chicken. So, so easy and very yummy! We love chicken fajitas, so I tried an oven baked chicken fajita dish recently. It wasn’t quite as good as fajitas made on the stove, but it was darn close! And so much easier!

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{2} One thing on our summer fun list was to visit our local farmer’s market several times. We hadn’t been since back in July, but we finally went again last weekend. It’s a small but fun market with lots of great fresh vegetables, live music, and kiddos and dogs running around. After purchasing some local produce for the week, we walked up by the train station and across an old bridge that overlooks the city. The kids shared a homemade scone from the farmer’s market, then it was off to our favorite toy store downtown. Good times! We even got to catch a train coming through the station! We hope to visit the farmer’s market a few more times before it ends in November.

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{3} I have three coupons for free 8×8 Shutterfly photo books that need to be used up soon. I plan on creating a summer 2013 photo book of all our fun activities as well as a baby book for Harper and Will. I have created a photo book for each kiddo for each year so far, but those books have simply been a compilation of photos, no journaling. I’m liking the more digital scrapbook feel of the Shutterfly books. I created one the other day (well, it took me several evenings to finish) and I’m excited about seeing the final product!

{4} I checked out a few books on CD the other week from the library but had forgotten about them until yesterday. I started listening to The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which is quite entertaining and interesting. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but it’s good and the drive to and from work passes quickly! I love her recipes! She’s coming out with a holiday cookbook in October, and while I’m not big on buying cookbooks (they tend to sit on my shelf and collect dust-I prefer to pin new recipes on Pinterest), I might reconsider. Speaking of the Pioneer Woman, how cool would it be to have a Pioneer Woman potluck where all the guests bring one of her recipes? Such a cool idea that I found on the blog, The Larson Lingo. Click on the link for the specific blog post. Too bad I don’t know this blogger! Ha!

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{5} This girl loves to play outside and get dirty! Any time we mention the word, “outside,” she goes running for the mudroom and grabs her shoes. She throws a fit when we head inside for the evening. Miss H. loves swinging, digging in the dirt and rocks, running up and down our driveway, blowing bubbles, and riding her little Pooh car outside. Love her! Will loves it outside, too. Lately, our routine has been to go outside to play after dinner while my husband cleans up. He joins us after dishes and we play outside until it’s time for baths and bed.

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