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Thursday, February 26, 2015

FOODIE FRIDAY ~ BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN

Warmer weather is on the way! For me, that means tucking away my soup and stew recipes and busting out the lighter, healthier recipes. In the summer, we love eating Italian bruschetta with a nice salad on the side. It's a perfect light, summertime meal. This version is slightly heartier and served over a grilled chicken breast. If you can't grill outside, check out my method for faux-grilling chicken breasts indoors.

I serve this chicken with a small side of thin spaghetti tossed with Gina Rispoli Tomato-Basil sauce and about a 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.  It's honestly the perfect little "Italian meal." Buon Appetito!

Bruschetta Chicken Recipe

Bruschetta Chicken
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5-6 plum tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

1. To make Bruschetta, toss together tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil (i usually use a few teaspoons). Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or up to overnight to allow flavors to marry.

2. When you are ready to serve, grill chicken breasts on an outdoor grill or using my faux-grilling method. 

3. Toss basil in with the bruschetta. Top chicken breasts with bruschetta mixture and you're ready to eat!!!

Such an easy, light meal! Enjoy!!!

XO ~ Casey

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BUILDING A WARDROBE YOU LOVE PART 1 ~ THE TWO-STEP CLOSET PURGE

Don't worry, you're at the right place...in case you didn't notice, the blog got a much needed facelift! I'm continuing to work on little things, but for the most part, I'm hoping this cleaner format makes it easier to navigate. Although I kept my blogger URL of 7+ years (therooneyfamily.blogspot.com), I did change the overall name of the blog to A Little Bit of Cheer. You can read more about that on the updated About Me page! I hope you enjoy the new format!

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Welcome to Wardrobe Wednesday! I'm so excited to start this 4-part series on Building a Wardrobe You Love. I basically rebuilt my wardrobe after my third (and most likely LAST) kiddo. I realized I had lots of frumpy clothes and just few items that I liked that I wore over and over and over. As I've said before, my goal has always been just to be able to walk out the door looking "put together." Nothing fancy over here! So I worked on putting together a closet of clothes that did just that. Over the next 4 posts, I'll share with you what I learned and hopefully give you some ideas on how you can build a great closet of clothes that you love!

Here's the schedule of posts:


Let's get this party started!!!

Building a Wardrobe You Love Cleaning Your Closet
BUILDING A WARDROBE PART 1: 
THE TWO-STEP CLOSET PURGE

Cleaning out your closet. That might give you goosebumps, but it's an ESSENTIAL step to building a wardrobe you love. You need to know what you have. Below is my two-step method for doing it. PLEASE make sure you have plenty of time to complete this task. It's not a 30 minute job. It will involve piles of clothes everywhere and lots of trying clothes on...so pick a couple of hours on a rainy day, crank up the tunes and go to town! It's actually pretty darn fun (not to mention liberating!!) once you get started!

STEP 1 ~ PILES OF CLOTHES
Building a Wardrobe You Love Cleaning Your Closet
Begin by creating 5 piles:
  • Keep 
  • Donate/give away 
  • Sell/Consign 
  • Tailor 
  • Out of season or "later"
Let's go over what each of these mean:
  • Keep ~ These are items of clothing that you LOVE. They look good on you. They fit. They make you feel good. Hopefully you have a few of these!
  • Donate/give away ~ These are the clothes that no longer fit, they are outdated or maybe just make you feel blah. Find a good charity, church organization or friend and pass them along! One girl's trash can be another's treasure :)
  • Sell/Consign ~ These are clothes that are name brand, still in style, but just don't work for you. Check out the website Twice--they send you a giant bag, you put your stuff in it, mail it back and they send you an offer within a week or so. They don't pay much but it's so easy and a few extra bucks will help you buy some new accessories or a cute scarf or something :) If you don't want to bother with selling, you can donate these items also.
  • Tailor ~ This is huge!! Many people don't think about taking their ill-fitting clothes to get a little nip-tuck from the local dry cleaner lady! You take your ill-fitting items in and a few days later you have a perfectly tailored item. Maybe you have some pants that are too long or that have a gap in the back or sag in the butt--that can be easily taken care of at the tailor for about $12. I have even had sweaters tailored so they fit me perfectly! These are items that you LOVE and are still in good shape, but something about the fit is off. Most of the time, getting items tailored is a lot cheaper than replacing the item.
  • Out of Season or "Later" ~ I store all of my seasonal clothes out of sight. This way, I'm not looking at cable knit sweaters in July and jean shorts in January. "Later" simply means you love the item but maybe you're trying to lose that extra 10 lbs so they'll fit. No worries. Just put them away until the time comes to bring them back out! I really like looking at my closet and just seeing clothes that I can work with. No need for those "skinny girl" jeans to be staring at me when I can't wear them. I store my out of season or "later" clothes in one of those big plastic tubs on my top closet shelf.
STEP 2 ~ HANG EVERYTHING & ORGANIZE

Building a Wardrobe You Love Cleaning Your Closet
Stand back and admire your hard work....Now that you have your pile of clothes that fit and make you feel great ("keep" pile), it's time to hang them all up. I hang pretty much all of my clothes with the exception of shorts and lounge/workout clothes. One of the keys of being able to work with your wardrobe and create outfits, is being able to SEE everything available to you. If you want to invest in those cute "huggable" hangers and be super cute about it, more power to you! I haven't gotten that far yet.

However you want to organize is up to you! I tried organizing by color like some people suggest and that was just straight-up annoying! Now I just pair like items together--long sleeved shirts, tee shirts, pants, outwear, etc. Nothing fancy.

Now, let me go over a few closet-cleaning pitfalls that we all fall into when deciding which items to keep vs. give away/sell/donate...

Building a Wardrobe You Love Cleaning Your Closet
Pitfall #1: "I paid good money for that!" Just because you paid a lot of money for an item of clothing years ago doesn't mean it fits or makes you feel good NOW. Also, just because something is expensive doesn't mean you'll wear it. Some of the least expensive items in my closet, I wear over and over again! Remember The Striped Dress...and The Green Shirt??! Hellllloooo! If the item doesn't fit and make you feel good when you wear it, get rid of it. That's the bottom line. #letitgo

Pitfall #2: "I've had that {insert item here} forever!!" Again, just because you've had something "forever" doesn't mean it looks good on you. Old, ripped denim capri pants come to mind as I think about my old closet! Notice I said RIPPED, not "distressed"--"distressing" is cool, "ripped" just means I wore them so much they are now torn up and gross! Yes, I may have sentimental value for those size 00 capris, but I had to get over it. Again, #letitgo

Pitfall #3: "That was the {insert item here} I wore when we got engaged or {insert other sentimental event here}!" I'm not trying to trash all of your sentimental items and ask you to let go of these special pieces, even if they don't fit. Some people have items from a deceased family member or items they wore at special events that they want to remember. I get it. For items like this, I would put them in the "later" or "out of season" pile or add them to your keepsake collection. They shouldn't be hanging in your closet.

Pitfall #4: Getting rid of too much. I'm a huge proponent of purging items but once in awhile you will have an item that you haven't worn in awhile, but it looks great on you and fits well. Maybe you just don't know how to wear it. KEEP IT! We'll talk about these items next week when you "Get Inspired!" In 6 months, if you still haven't worn the item, you can decide whether or not to toss it.

Guess what?? Once you are done with this massive closet cleaning, the hard part is over. Really. Now comes the FUN!! The most fun is "Getting Inspired!" Stayed tuned next week for that!!!

Will you be purging you closet anytime soon?? What are your tips and tricks for cleaning out your closet??

Linking up with a few of my favorite blogs: Get Your Pretty OnThe Pleated Poppy
 and Because Shanna Said So, Jo-Lynn Shane, A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love Momfessionals & Happiness at Midlife



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Saturday, February 21, 2015

SEVEN ON SUNDAY ~ WEEK 8

Day 1: Sunday ~ The weather was picture-perfect so Jenna, Jen and the kiddos hiked to the top of the "mountain" outside of our house. We've lived here 10 years and I have never done it! I was all ready to, but Sarah spiked a fever and passed out cold, so I stayed home with her :( #momproblems

Awesome view of our 'hood!
Day 2: Monday ~ Last day with Jen and Jenna! We went to Chrissy field in SF for a picnic. We were so sad to see them go!!!! Brooke and Buddy were all tears :(

Day 3: Tuesday ~ Folding laundry and watching Fixer Upper...OBSESSED with that show!! Also enjoying my last glass of "weekday wine" for 40 days :)

Day 4: Wednesday ~ Ash Wednesday! Sarah and I got our ashes....she looks weird because right before this pic she proceeded to stuff 17 pieces of gum into her mouth. #ashtag

Day 5: Thursday ~ Sarah's babysitter always sends me pics throughout the day. She's always having so much fun!!!

Day 6: Friday ~You can say what you want, but these girls and I had a blast at dinner and 50 Shades. Anyone who claims this movie is about "domestic violence" CLEARLY has not watched the movie or done their "homework" about it before spewing their opinion. #wtf #lightenup #hatersgonnahate

Day 7: Saturday ~ Two of my greatest loves right here!! They are ready for the Father-Daughter dance at school. Brookey was rolling her eyes over all the pics and I told her to knock it off because Prom will be SO.MUCH.WORSE!!! Plus then I'll be embarrassing her in front of her date! #momrevenge

Have a great week!! See you back here on Wednesday for Wardrobe Wednesday! I'm starting a 4 week series on Building a Wardrobe starting with cleaning your closet! Spring cleaning, here we come!!!! ~ XO


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Foodie Friday ~ The Lunch Rut

Mid- February....school has been in session for a little over 100 days...winter is dragging (well, for some of us)....nothing happens in March, so we're all just waiting for Spring Break. :) This is also the time when I think we're getting into a school lunch packing rut. I was a gung-ho lunch-packing machine in September, but now...frankly, half of my cute tupperware lids are missing and God knows where that ice-pack thing is!!!

Anyhoooo.....I fell off the wagon on lunch packing duty, but I'm trying to get back on and plow through until the end of the school year! In case you feel the same way, here are some more ideas. Hopefully there are a few things to get you out of your rut!!!

Here are my past posts about lunch packing....I always try to follow the "main course," "fruit/veggie," "side" formula that I posted here:

~ Brown Bag It
~ Five Days of Lunches

 Here are some things I've packed recently:

School Lunchbox Ideas

Main Course: Bagel and Cream Cheese
Fruit/Veggie: Grapes, Applesauce
Side: Mini Oreos

School Lunchbox Ideas

Main Course: "Mini Burrito" ~ Tortilla and Refried Beans/Cheese
Fruit/Veggie: Apples
Side: Fiber One bar

School Lunchbox Ideas

Main Course: Turkey Pepperoni, Cheese, Crackers
Fruit/Veggie: Banana, Applesauce
Side: Kid Z-Bar

School Lunchbox Ideas

Main Course: Bagel with cream cheese, Ham
Fruit/Veggie: Grapes, Cucumbers
Side: Fiber One bar, Chips, Yogurt


School Lunchbox Ideas
Main Course: Canadian Bacon, Crackers, Hummus
Fruit/Veggie: Cantelope, Applesauce
Side: Chips

Happy Lunch Packing!!

XO ~ Casey

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ways to Wear ~ Simple Green Shirt

One of the major shopping pitfalls is buying clothing that can only be worn in a few different outfits. I LOVE when I can find an item that can be a workhorse in my closet that I can pair with multiple items to make a bunch of outfits.

This green shirt from Target is definitely one of those items! {I know last week's post was on an Target item as well....I actually do own clothes NOT from Target--for the record #justsayin } There are plenty of shirts similar to this at other stores (see below), so you can find one that strikes your fancy. Having this exact Target shirt is not essential. Nor is the color of this shirt. Choose any color you like! I'm just showing you ways you can wear a shirt similar to this one--basically a flowy, not tight-fitting style, no collar (so you can dress it down) and preferably longer in the back or "tunic" style so you have the option of wearing it with leggings.

Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt

 There are sooo many ways shirts like this are a wonderful addition to your closet:

1) It can be dressed up or down. You can pair it with jean shorts or a pencil skirt and it never looks out of place (for the record, I don't own a pencil skirt, so you will just have to take my word for it or try it yourself! LOL!)

2) It can span multiple seasons. Here in Northern California, I can wear this shirt all 4 seasons. With shorts in the summer and a blanket scarf and boots in the winter.

3) You can find one for not a lot of money. This one from Target is $20.

Here are the larger versions of the outfits above:


Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
 1. Cozy in the winter: Paired with a blanket scarf and boots.


Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
2. With a Vest: Throw on a vest and boots and it's a great for fall or winter.


Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
3. Summer Fun: The shirt is light and breezy and I love it with shorts and flip flops or wedges.


Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
4. With black pants or leggings: I've worn this outfit to work several times--black pants and ankle boots. Also, the shirt is longer in the back and it totally covers your booty so it's also great with leggings and tall boots!

 5. Converse Love: I can't go a week without my trusty Converse! I throw this shirt on and it's super casual and dressed down.

Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
6. Wear it with your boyfriend: I'll be wearing this outfit a lot during spring--boyfriend jeans and wedges with a sloppy tuck.

Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
7. Fall Florals: I love this outfit for the beginning of fall when you aren't quite ready to say goodbye to summer--Boots and a floral scarf.

Ways to Wear Olive Green Shirt
8. Layered: This shirt is also great layered under a poncho or cardigan!

This exact Target shirt isn't available online (WHEN is someone going to let Target know their website SUCKS??!!), but I have seen it in multiple stores. Now they have cute spring colors like cobalt, hot pink and mint. I can't comment on the lighter colors--I only have it in black and green. The lighter colors may show wrinkles more.

Here are some options for a shirt similar to this one:

1. Pleione Mixed Media Tunic: This top is GORGEOUS in person. I bought the red one and it was to die for. However, it wrinkled so much I had to return it. Literally within an hour of putting it on, it was wrinkled beyond wear. That being said, I have heard wonderful things about the black one, which I don't think shows wrinkles as much. Like my Target one, it's also long in the back so you can wear it with leggings.


2. Old Navy: This one looks light and breezy and I like the pleating detail on the front. It also comes in navy, ivory and "guava."


3. Lush Roll-Tab Shirt: I have this Lush top (in a print) and I LOVE it!! It's great quality for the price, too. I love all of the Lush tops!!


How would you wear a top like this?

And fun news! Next week, I'll be starting a 4-Part Series on Building a Wardrobe You Love. Since Spring is right around the corner, it's perfect timing to start cleaning out your closet and thinking about your Spring wardrobe. Here is the schedule of posts for the upcoming weeks! I hope you'll join me!

Check out some of my other Wardrobe Wednesday posts....

The Striped Dress
Easy Outfit Formulas
Getting Dressed, Mom Style

Linking up again with some of my favorite blogs: A Little Bit of Everything, Momfessionals, Grace and Love Jo Lynn Shane

XO ~ Casey

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Seven on Sunday: Week 7

Day 1: Sunday ~ Strange, last Sunday I ran across a quote that touched me. Now this past Sunday, I ran across another one! I think of my kids when I read this. This is what Scott and I try so hard to instill in them..character, integrity.

Day 2: Monday ~ Last week, we ended up in Urgent Care for an ear infection and it turned out she had pneumonia! But she was all smiles at her follow up visit! Totally cured :)

Scott left to "work" in San Diego for a few days, so the kids and I had a game night. Brookey almost pulled off one of the greatest come-from behind wins in SORRY history. Seriously. It was one for the record books :)

Day 3: Tuesday ~ Soooooo....last summer these two clowns started sleeping in the same bed together. Totally their idea! They would stay up and chit chat late into the night. Well, they're back to sharing a bed again! No clue why, but they are. #howlongwillthislast #siblinglove

Day 4: Wednesday ~ I stopped by the office at the kid's school to snap a pic of Brookey's class bulletin board. Each kid decorated a heart and they are all displayed in the front office. Love this!

Day 5 : Thursday ~ At around 9pm I was beginning to think making 70 bags of Valentine's Day Snack Mix wasn't such a good idea. Notice the wine...


Day 6: Friday ~ Sarah and I made a Costco run to pick up some steak and fixins' for Valentine's Day dinner with Aunties Jenna and Jen! My little Valentine has donut all over her cute face!

Day 7: Saturday ~ Aunties Jenna and Jen arrived!!!!! We went wine tasting at Peju....


Sarah says Happy Valentine's Day!!! Notice the hand on hip :)
The kids had so much fun with their Aunties!!!

 We stopped off at our old stomping grounds, Honig :)
Jenna got Valentined by Sarah!!!
Happy Valentine's Day from the Rooneys!!!
Have a great week!

In case you missed my Foodie Friday post, you can find it here :)

Click here for Wardrobe Wednesday.

Xo ~ Casey



5 Super Simple Meal Prep Tips

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