09 February 2018

Fogo de Chao Review

I was lucky enough to be treated to dinner at Fogo de Chao in Troy last weekend. YUMMO!! I love meat, and this is the place to go.

Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian steakhouse offering fabulous cuts (and cooks) of meat brought right to your table. Once we were seated at our table, our server brought us the card pictured at right (explaining the meats available) and pointed out our coasters - green on one side for 'more meat,' and red on the other for 'WAIT - I need to catch up before getting more meat.' We were to simply show the side of the coaster that indicated our current wishes throughout our meal.

I started off with a Berry Mint Caipirinha (their signature drink, available in six flavors). It was refreshing and delicious, while not being too sweet to go with all the meat and, well, meat. Hahaha...

I did visit the Marketplace (included with the meal) before we started receiving meat at our table. Having been to Fogo once before, I knew not to fill up on all the fresh and unique sides and salads. Speaking of meat (yes, I do like meat the best), the brown sugar and black pepper bacon is absolutely my favorite item at the Marketplace. I not only had some before we started the rest of dinner, I also wrapped up the end of my evening with more bacon and some pineapple. Writing about the bacon again now makes my mouth water. Yes, it's at least that good.

During this visit, we were seated near the room where the servers get the skewers of meat. So fun! I tried to get a good picture of the meat all lined up and kept hot, but I only ended up with some bad pictures of my reflection in the glass. The ambiance throughout the restaurant was great for a relaxing or romantic evening, but not very conducive to pictures of all the wonderful-ness.

Onto the meat! Some of my favorites this time included the sirloin, the bacon-wrapped steak (sensing a theme?), the lamb, and the parmesan-crusted pork (which I don't remember having last time). We were also asked by several servers what temp/cook we wanted on our meat. I always went with a medium rare, and it was without fail juicy and delicious.

The full dinner is $48.95 for adults, but I just found out on this visit that it's also available at half-price for kids age 7 - 12, and free for those 6 and younger. I've suggested it as a great daddy/daughter night out since hubby and our daughter have both been jealous of my visits, and I think they'd love it. I believe it can also cost less for a limited selection of meats, or for lunch.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

In exchange for this post and social media shares, I enjoyed a free meal at Fogo de Chao, but these are truly my thoughts and opinions about my visit.

07 February 2018

Jack's Kidbox Box - February 2018

Jack has been missing out! He watches mom get boxes of clothes, and Maggie get boxes of clothes, and he wanted his own box of clothes....enter Kidbox! I ordered a box of clothes from Kidbox for Jack about two weeks ago, and they shipped super fast. The original follow-up said to expect a box within two weeks, and within a few days I received a shipping confirmation. Yay!

The Kidbox subscription service is very similar to the two we use for Maggie and me. You get a box of clothes (in this case, there is no styling fee in advance) and pick what you want to keep, then send the rest back in a postage paid envelope that's included in your box. There's a discount for keeping everything in your box, and with Kidbox, if you keep the whole box, they also make a new clothes donation to a family in need. How great is that?!

Jack received seven total items in his box,  plus a pack of thank-you postcards that he can use to send cute thank-yous to friends and family who gift him thing through the year. His clothing items in this winter box were three pairs of joggers (he had requested not to receive any denim), one zip-front hoodie, and three long-sleeve shirts.

The first outfit he eagerly tried on was the Eland boys long sleeve tee (retail price $22, Kidbox special price $18) with the Adidas boys' jogger (retail price $34, Kidbox special price $26). I would love to explain their pricing, but I really don't get it.  I just saw that the whole box is a good deal and didn't worry about the details. LOL The fit on the joggers (size 7) and the shirt (size 6) was just right for Jack, and he says he wants to keep this outfit and wear it (it's been a week, and he hasn't worn it yet...).

The next outfit in our fashion show was the LRG boys raglan henley in red (retail price $18, Kidbox special price $14) with the Puma boys joggers in black (retail price $36, Kidbox special price $27). Both items were again comfy, fit well, and stylish. In retrospect, I should have had him try this shirt on with the next joggers, but what's done is done, and the pictures are already taken. LOL I'm also kind of shocked at the idea of paying $36 regular retail for a pair of kids' sweat pants, but my end price made much more sense. Not sure if my sticker shock was because this is 'name brand' stuff, or just because we get so many hand-me-downs I don't have to actually buy too many clothes usually.

The final outfit to try on was actually three pieces, and as I already admitted, probably would have gone better with the red shirt (I think it would have popped better with the gray of the pants, and coordinated nicely with the hood lining of the jacket). Here he's wearing the Silver Jeans boys long sleeve henley in green (retail price $26, Kidbox special price $19) with the Paper Denim & Cloth boys knit joggers in black (retail price $46, Kidbox special price $35), shown here with and without the  DKNY boys zip front hoodie in grey (retail price $46, Kidbox special price $37). In the semi-dark family room the evening we opened the box, I thought the pants and jacket matched, but on further review, they're actually different brands. I never claimed to be a fashionista. Jack actually left these pants and shirt on as we headed to swim class the same evening.

Overall, Jack and I enjoyed our first Kidbox. The pricing as I said looks somewhat confusing, but I kept everything in the box for $88.20. You can also get a discount by using my referral link: http://refer.kidbox.com/hL7nn (I would also get another discount. Discount not applicable on baby boxes.) Also worth noting, I've edited our preferences to allow denim in the next box. While Jack does where mostly non-denim pants, I like some of the stylish stuff we've seen both in our own box, and in ads I've seen for Kidbox. I'm excited to check out a little different box next time.

02 February 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. What a long Friday! I worked my regular breakfast shift, then stayed through lunch to cross-train and help out. Then we had less than two hours of the school day left, so I stuck around. We went from there to a Battle of the Books meeting before making it home just shy of 12 hours after I left in the morning...
  2. And now I'm staying up long enough to wash and dry my favorite PJs so I can curl up cozy with my book until I wake up without an alarm tomorrow morning.
  3. Still stuck in today - I can't decide if I'm proud of myself for redirecting Jack to watch a movie at home, or disappointed in myself for not pulling it together one more time to take him swimming like we originally planned. I think the fact that I'm too tired to figure it out is good enough.
  4. Maggie and I have less than two weeks til we leave for Twirlmania in Florida! She needs to get some more practice in to make sure she's got the parade routine she needs, and to keep improving her solo, strut, march, and model. Luckily she enjoys it.
  5. I'm so tired of the cold, but I'm so grateful that we haven't been buried in snow lately. That's supposed to change a bit this weekend, unfortunately.
  6. Why don't I do five for Friday like other bloggers? LOL
  7. Coming soon to this spot: Fogo De Chao review from last week, pictures and what I thought of my son's first Kidbox box, and impressions and decisions from my StitchFix box arriving Monday. 
  8. I'm thankful for a not-too-scheduled weekend. We're going to see The Greatest Showman tomorrow, and then have a neighbor's birthday party on Sunday. Pretty low-key - I love it!
  9. Still in the mood to watch Groundhog Day after seeing some images and jokes to coincide with today's big holiday ;)
  10. Hope you have a great weekend, and a healthy and productive week to follow :)

31 January 2018

Books - January 2018

I'm changing it up this year. Instead of following something like the PopSugar Reading Challenge that I've done in years past, I am simply going to summarize a bit about what books I've read each month (or more, if necessary). Right now, for instance, I'm working my way through our 5th grade Battle of the Books reading list, and reading a few books for a friend's blog for reviews. Having to cram them into categories just sounds annoying.

Here are the books I finished in January, 2018.

The first book I completed may have been started in December, but I couldn't say much about it before I finished it, right? It's an amusing narrative by Sharon Creech called Moo. Moo tells the story of Reena and her little brother Luke moving from the city to the country, and getting to know an old lady and her animal menagerie. I was instantly enamored with Reena's innocent and matter-of-fact view of things that were so unfamiliar to her at first sight.

According to Amazon:
When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.
This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.
This is one of the Battle of the Books selections that our local 5th graders are studying up on for the battle in March.

The second book I finished in January was Ready for Wild by Liora Blake. You can find out my thoughts about the second book in the Grand Valley novel series at Books I Think You Should Read (there's a giveaway too - ending February ).

My third book finished this month was another Battle of the Books selection - Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. I admittedly thought this one was sort of dragging on toward the middle, but the ending really tied it all together nicely. There was a bit of info about Omakayas (the narrator, a young Ojibwa girl) that we knew from the beginning that added a degree of insight to her telling of the story. I kept waiting for her to find out, but it took the full year of narration before this happened. It did give a nicely tied up ending by that point. I just noticed that this book is the first of a series. While I'm a little curious about what happens in the next three books, I don't think that curiosity is enough to take me out of order on my existing reading list.

The New York Times Book review says:
"[In this] story of a young Ojibwa girl, Omakayas, living on an island in Lake Superior around 1847, Louise Erdrich is reversing the narrative perspective used in most children's stories about nineteenth-century Native Americans. Instead of looking out at 'them' as dangers or curiosities, Erdrich, drawing on her family's history, wants to tell about 'us', from the inside. The Birchbark House establishes its own ground, in the vicinity of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' books." 

 That's all I finished up in January (although I'm headed to my recliner and cozy afghan to read a bit more now). What have you read lately? Anything worth adding to my list? I'd love to hear about it!

30 January 2018

Menu Plan...Tuesday?

I haven't menu-planned in quite a while. And since I've been offering the same dinner for a week or so and hubby doesn't like it, I'll try a little harder to have more meals on hand after this week's shopping expedition. This means planning ahead, right?

Tuesday (yes, today): Off to a strong start! Hubby is working his fun job tonight, so he doesn't come home til late. No cooking for me! The kids and I will eat. I'm having a Stouffers French Bread Pizza (does anyone else remember when they used to have pepperoni and mushroom? I swear they did, but I can't find them anymore).Maggie will most likely have buttered noodles, and Jack will opt for a peanut butter sandwich (if we have any peanut butter?) or pizza rolls.

Wednesday: Well, hubby will not be pleased with this, but I'm not sure if he's leaving me time to shop between other tasks tomorrow or not. So based on my current available ingredients, it'll be meatballs and gravy, with mashed potatoes, and corn.

Thursday: Hahahaha... with as seldom as I have to cook, you'd think this would be easier for me. Hubby works on Thursdays too, so the kids and I may get drive-thru of choice after swimming lessons.

Friday/Saturday: Well, this might be getting a little embarrassing. I think hubby may be heading out of town Friday afternoon to take Maggie skiing up north. Huh. So yeah, not cooking Friday or Saturday again.

Sunday: We have a neighbor's birthday party from 2 - 4, which will certainly include pizza. So really, do you think I'm gonna cook another meal between getting home and going to bed? Nope. Have some chips or something if you're hungry...

Monday: I already have half the stuff to make Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Rice again. Let's do it!

Tuesday: Yeah. Tuesday. You know the drill. Hubby's gone, and the kids and I don't eat enough for me to cook a real meal...

Wednesday: Since Maggie is at baton late on Wednesdays, I like to have something ready once we're all home. Crock pot, here I come! I can't find where I originally got this recipe, but my whole family enjoys chicken and dumplings! I put one can of chicken broth, two cans of cream of chicken, and about three chicken breasts (aren't they monstorously sized lately??) in the crock pot in the morning on low, then the last hour I shred the chicken, add four or so refrigerated biscuit dough (cut in quarters), and crank it up to high. I might try adding some VegAll  or frozen peas/carrots this time...

Thursday: I think Thursday we'll be heading out to a coney island or something as a family. We have the fifth grade musical performance at 7pm.

Friday: February 9 is one of our community's much-anticipated daddy/daughter dances. So while they dance the night away, I bet Jack and I can go out for his favorite. Unless I can talk him into somewhere besides McDonalds.

That leaves Saturday, Sunday and Monday open before Maggie and I leave for the Twirlmania competition on Tuesday, but goodness! I feel like I've written a novel! No wonder I don't like cooking, if this much work goes in weeks in advance! LOL

What are your favorite, easy, go-to menu fillers? Since I obviously cook so much, I might be better off with keeping some ingredients around for easy meals. I don't 'Instapot,' (saw a scary anecdote about one exploding...I'm happy with my crock pot and don't watch This is Us...), but I do enjoy casseroles (more than hubby does), skillet meals (although I could use a bigger skillet!), and regular old stove-top and baking.

22 January 2018

Smoked Sausage & Cheesy Rice

I realized almost too late. I tried a new recipe last week that my family enjoyed, and I didn't save it or share it anywhere. Oh noes!!!

Apologies to whoever shared it on their Facebook timeline since I've forgotten who that was..and can't give credit to them. But I did recognize the blog it was from when I did an internet search for 'smoked sausage rice broccoli.' YUM, and thank you, Midnight Baker.

Here's the recipe from her site. For me and my family, we skipped the onion, red peppers, and pepper. And all I could find was sharp cheddar (but I'd love to try the extra sharp if I can find it next time). We had company over for dinner the night I served it, so I can't tell you how the leftovers reheat - we didn't have any! Do make sure you're using the darn biggest skillet you've got to make it easier. I've got a 10" and had to be extra careful if I didn't want to end up washing the stove the next day.


Serves: 4
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 lb smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1½ cups cooked rice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil till butter sizzles.
  2. Add the slice smoked sausage and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion is tender and sausage begins to brown.
  3. Add the red bell pepper and broccoli. Cover, reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked rice, garlic powder and onion salt. Combine well, cover and heat until rice is hot.
  5. Add the shredded cheese and remove from heat. Stir in cheese until it’s melted.

19 January 2018

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. The thing about Friday sparkling? Is a reminder for me today. It's been a crazy week with not enough down time. Looking forward to resting on Sunday...
  2. Why not resting on Saturday? Baton competition. If you haven't experienced it, it's a long day of hurry up and wait, that includes having hair done and make-up on the kiddo so we can arrive at the venue by 7:45am. Luckily this venue is just a half hour or so drive away.
  3. Apparently I'm feeling a bit more verbose than usual. I do like the word verbose.
  4. Still loving the new job, but missing the extra sleep during weeks like this one.
  5. Watch for an upcoming post about my microblading on my eyebrows, and semi-permanent eyeliner. Yet another reason for my eyes to want to be closed today. LOL
  6. If you're around SE Michigan, this is the kind of winter I can tolerate. Nothing actually falling from the sky, so the roads have been cleared and are easy driving. And cold, but not bitingly, painfully bitter. The sun is even shining :)
  7. What's your favorite thing to buy from Ikea? We've got a few gift cards saved up, but I'm not sure what to spend them on. The store is like an hour away, so meatballs are not reasonable for the whole amount.
  8. Oh! And what's your favorite eye shadow - both brand/whatever to wear, and tip for applying. I should brush up on my skills and products now that I have new brows and eyeliner.
  9. Have you checked out the new catalog from PoshBecki.com? Let me know if you'd rather have a paper copy ;)
  10. Hope your Friday, and your whole weekend, sparkles!