Thursday, January 31, 2013

Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts

My father-in-law loves Brussels sprouts.  We didn't grow up eating them so I thought I should introduce them to the boys.  The Littlest Guy just thought they were fabulous and I liked them too!  This is a great way to get in your greens.  The dressing is so good and caramelizes on the outside of the sprouts and nuts.  The raisins provide just enough sweetness and the walnuts add a nice crunch.  Next time I might add just a tad bit of bacon too!

Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup dried raisins
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Combine the honey, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add the raisins, brussels sprouts and walnuts.  Mix well.  Spread the sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until they are tender and the leaves are starting to brown.

This is a paleo friendly recipe as well! 

If you enjoy it, please pin it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our Little Park

The days are getting longer and longer and we are taking advantage of every minute!  It was close to 50 degrees on Friday and that practically feels like summer here when the sun is shining.  Pete had the afternoon off of work so we walked the 2 short blocks to our park.  I'm totally spoiled by the location of our home.  We can walk anywhere! I really enjoy having the park within walking distance.  It's easy for Peter and the Little Guy to run up there while I am preparing dinner and run off some steam!

Daddy & Littlest Guy getting ready to go down the slide

The Cheese Face again

Pondering his next move...probably thinking about pirates.  He talked about pirates the whole time we were at the park.  He kept yelling into the fake bullhorn about them and then he would turn around and yell, "I'm really loud.  I'm really really loud!!"

The Littlest Guy & some bokeh!

Ready to take off!

He loves the swing!

First time in the swing!!

Reed's 9 Month Update

Dear Reed,

I know I say it every month but I seriously can't believe you are already nine months old!!  The days just seem to go faster and faster and you are growing up so quickly!  I just wish you would slow down a little bit.

You had your nine month appointment today and you were a little over 18 pounds.  You are a little guy. But you are super super busy.  You crawling and walk around on the furniture all day long.  You do not like to be on your back and trying to put your clothes on or change your diaper is like trying to nail jello to the wall.  You are a professional wiggler.

You are finally into 6-9 month clothes and are still wearing size 2 diapers but after we finish our last box we'll move you up to 3's.  I still can not keep socks on you no matter how hard I try.

You still nurse 5 times a day but are sleeping at night.  You usually go to bed around 8 and then get up sometime between 6 and 8 in the morning.  Most mornings you go back to bed after I nurse you and then get up around 9 or sometimes 9:30.  Your naptimes are still sporadic and often are dependent on our schedule for the day.

You are a great eater.  You are eating solids at mealtimes and so far you don't seem to have anything you don't enjoy.  You'll pretty much eat anything we put in front of you.  When we take too long you bang your hand on the tray of your high chair and squeal.

You are in incredibly happy baby.  You laugh and giggle all of the time.  You love to watch your big brother.  My favorite thing you do right now is your excitement about the bath.  As soon as you hear the bathwater running you crawl right in and hang over the edge of the tub.  Then you jump up and down.  We have to let you in the tub anytime your brother is in there because you won't stand to be left out!

Your favorite toys right now are the train tracks, golf clubs and puzzles.  I probably put the puzzles back together 3 or 4 times every day!

You have such a happy heart and you just light up our world.  We pray for you everyday.  That you would come to know Jesus at an early age.  That you would love Him with all of your heart.

We love you!!

Mama & Daddy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cara Box Reveal

When I signed up to do the January Cara Box exchange I wasn't sure what to expect.  It seemed like a fun idea and I was excited to get a little pick-me-up to brighten the dreary January days here in the PNW.

What I didn't realize was that I'd get matched with two awesome girls!!  My matches were Kaylee of All Things Bright & Beautiful and Amy from Carolina In My Mind.  I had fun shopping for Kaylee and we had a lot in common.  Basically I bought here things that I wanted!!

Amy clearly has a gift for gift-giving.  I was so blown away when I opened my box!!  She sent me a list of great questions to get to know me and she really used them!!  Her box was full of things that just brightened my day AND will totally help me keep my resolutions.

One of the fun things about our match is we both lived in South Carolina before moving away.  We clearly both LOVE and MISS that beautiful place so it was fun to bond over that common experience.  Basically Amy was an AWESOME partner and I'm trying to figure out how I can "randomly" get paired with her forever and ever!!

Amy's note was SO encouraging and SO sweet!  It seriously made my day!!

I was SO excited to see that each of the presents were wrapped (something I didn't think of for my box!!).  It was fun to unwrap each of them!

Amy attached little notes to each item explaining why she included them.  This coconut scented candle was to help me "get away" and return my beloved Charleston.  How cute it that?

Another reminder.  You can take the girl out of the south....well, you know how it goes!

Amy caught on very quickly that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  How cute are these brightly colored measuring spoons and spatula?

Magnets for the fridge (how did she know these were on my to buy list?).  These are to hang up the boys artwork!

And my FAVORITE!!  These GORGEOUS personalized and handmade cards!!  Aren't they seriously fabulous?  One of my resolutions is to write each of my Grandmothers a hand written note once a week this year.  So these are perfect!!

She incorporated my favorite color, blue, into almost everything.  So thoughtful!!

I'm so excited to have "met" both girls through this exchange!  It was such a fun way to encourage and support someone and receive the same from someone else!

If you'd like to participate you can head over to the Wifessionals blog and sign up for February!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Strawberry Mini-Cupcakes

Here is a special and easy treat just in time for Valentine's Day!  I find it hard to get into the kitchen to bake.  Especially since I have a new helper.  The Little Guy wants to "help" all the time.  It doesn't matter if I am baking or making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  So I was happy to find a new and seriously delicious recipe that I could mix-up and bake all during naptime!  

This is courtesy of my "I wish we were BFFs" Giada.

Strawberry Mini Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 oz marscapone cheese
1/3 cup frozen strawberries (thawed)
2 to 3 cups confectioners sugar

Mix the marscapone cheese, vegetable oil and eggs white together with a mixer.  Add your cake mix and the cup of water.  Marscapone is usually a desert cheese.  It is similar in texture and taste to cream cheese.  You can find it in the deli section of your grocery store.  I actually used the tiramisu flavoured version because it was on sale!

Fill your mini-muffin papers about 2/3 of the way full.  The batter is very thick so it is difficult to get it into the cups evenly.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

The icing is easy!  Simply puree the strawberries in the food processor.  Then mix the strawberry puree and confectioners sugar.  Drizzle the icing on top!

These are seriously good.  I'm not a huge cake fan and I could not stop eating them!  (Hence the picture above of the ugliest was the only one left!!) The marscapone makes the cakes light and fluffy and moist.  And the strawberry icing is just sweet enough to make these perfect.  You could easily switch out some of the ingredients in these to change the taste.  Try a spice cake mix and a pumpkin-sugar icing.  Or maybe chocolate cake with a cherry-sugar icing.


These are perfect little treats to make for your family or sweetheart for Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Love My Spammers

I recently had to start moderating my comments because I was getting way too much spam.

Spammers make me laugh.  For one, they are almost always anonymous.  It is extremely rare that anyone other than a spammer makes an anonymous comment to that is usually the first way to spot them.

Reading spam comments is just humorous.  They compliment your blog and make it seem like you are the best blogger they've ever come across.  Or they ask you a question about how to make their blog better.  Then they leave you a link to whatever they are trying to spam in hope that you or your readers will click on it.

Here are some of my favorite spammy quotes from the last couple of weeks...

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.--Yes because clearly I am a twitter expert

Hi colleagues, its impressive post about education and fully defined, keep it up all the time--I'll do my best

 if truth be told how you're not actually much more well-appreciated than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. --YES!  I'm so happy you think I'm intelligent!! And much more well-appreciated!

Hello to every body, it's my first go to see of this webpage; this website consists of remarkable and really excellent stuff in favor of readers.--Please continue to enjoy my "remarkable and really excellent stuff"

I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or 
understanding more. Thanks for great information I was looking for this info for my mission--I'm getting my information from Pinterest.  You can check out the link I included in the post.

Excellent blog you have got here.. It's difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!! --That just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling!

An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him. .. lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your website. --So happy to be the source of your free lunch.  It's such a shame your friend couldn't find out how to DRY STRAWBERRIES on his own!

Its like you learn my mind! You seem to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with a few percent to power the message house a bit, however other than that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back--Thanks for the suggestion.  I'll work on the "percent to power the message house" and when you come back you can check it out!

I particularly enjoy the fact that my blog is "remarkable, magnificent and a fantastic read".  Most of these comments were on my post about Dried Strawberries and that makes it even more humorous since my sweet commenters think I "understand so much about this" and appreciate that I "learn their mind".

Next time I'm frustrated about my blog or think I'm struggling to reach my audience I know where to look!!

Hope you got a little chuckle out of my spam mail too!

Broccoli Avocado Soup

I've been trying desperately to stick to my paleo diet and sadly I've been failing miserably.  I'm learning a lot though and that is for another post.

I'm also consuming a lot of veggies.  I am not a veggie fan.  I wish I were.  Life would be healthier and it would definitely be easier to adopt this paleo style of living.  I wish I could just turn on a "crave veggies" switch!  Regardless I keep buying them and looking for ways to make them enjoyable for me to consume without removing all of the health benefits.

I bought cauliflower recently to try roasting it with curry.  I saw the recipe on pinterest and it was ok.  I didn't really love it enough to post it here if that tells you anything.  It left me with 1/2 a head of cauliflower to try something new.  So I started researching veggie soups and came up with this!

Broccoli-Avocado Soup

1 head of broccoli cut into pieces
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into pieces
1 large avocado, pitted and chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 to 4 Tbsps lemon juice
3 Tbsps olive oil
6 scallions, chopped
1 tsp Tabasco
dash of salt
dash of pepper
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft.  Add the broccoli, scallions and cauliflower and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low until veggies are cooked enough to mash with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).  

Transfer the mixture to a blender.  Depending on the size of your veggies you might have to puree it in two batches.  Add the chopped avocado and puree until smooth.  At this point you might have to add a bit more of broth if your mixture is too thick.  

Transfer back to pot once you have pureed the entire mixture.  Add lemon juice, Tabasco and spices until you are satisfied with the taste.  

We grew up eating lemon juice on broccoli so I really like a lemony flavor.  You might prefer less so that is why I suggest adding it at the end.  You could also try adding a little bit of red pepper flakes when you cook the veggies if you like spicier food.

I served this with fresh cilantro and feta cheese on top.  If you are following the paleo diet you'll need to leave off the cheese of course!  But it does add just a little bit of saltiness to the dish that compliments it well.

This is a very hearty soup but it is SO good for you!  You could substitute any veggie you like.  Next time I plan to use all broccoli since I prefer the taste to cauliflower.  I would also suggest maybe some shaved almonds over top to give it a little crunch!

Hope you enjoy!!

**If you like my recipe I'd really appreciate you using the blue "pin it" button to put it on Pinterest!**

Friday, January 25, 2013

Foodie in the Making

The Littlest Guy is a food lover just like his Mama.  He will eat just about anything and he eats it with enthusiasm!  So far his favorites include ham, bananas, peas and sweet potatoes.  He wants to try anything we are eating and since he has been tiny he has wanted to sit at the table with us while we are eating.  When he is sitting in his chair he beats his hand on the tray until you feed him.  He is quite insistent!  He is nine months old this month and still nurses five times a day and eats solids three times a day as well.  I love watching him enjoy food!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Seattle Aquarium Visit

Peter was off on Monday so we took a little day trip to Seattle.  It was our first post-potty training trip and everything went well!  The boys had a great time looking at the fish and seals and we had a great meal at a local burger place.  

Petting the "sea stars"

Watching the seals.  Both boys enjoyed this a lot!

Both boys also liked looking at these beautiful sea anenomes.  

This kid was all over the place.  This was the best picture I could get of him all day.  He has so much energy and is so curious.  I'm glad I had the big guy there to help me out!

Oh my word!  This was his "cheese" face.  Sigh.  Someday we'll get a good family shot right?

Sweet boy!

Loving on Daddy at lunch.  I LOVE this shot!

The aquarium was very nice.  It was small though and for the price we were expecting a lot more exhibits.  We got a deal online and that made it worth the trip.  If you've never been to an aquarium before I would definitely suggest going.  I think we are just spoiled by the one in Chattanooga!

Have you been to Seattle?  What are some of your favorite things to do?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Failure to Launch

So I keep setting photography goals and seem to come up short every time.  I was hoping to try to do a Project 365 this year or even a 52 but I'm just not sure it's going to happen.  I know I can only get better if I practice but it seems almost impossible to find the time and the light!!  My house is seriously so dark and it doesn't leave a lot of options for taking photos on manual.

Regardless, here are a few of my favorites from January so far!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January Sponsors and Swappers

Hi friends!

Just wanted to take a quick moment to introduce you to my sponsors for this month!  I'd love for you to take a moment to visit their great blogs!!


Hi! I'm Mary. I am a stay at home mom of year old twins. I am writing this blog to share the wild ride that is twindom and the adventures we have. From fun trips to rainy days at home, there is never a dull moment!

Mary is excited about the new link-up she's having on her blog each Wednesday.  It's called Little Wonders Wednesday and it's a place for you to tell all about your little wonders!!  We all love to have a space to share our babies!  Make sure you check it out each Wednesday!!

i'm a wifey, mama and sinner saved by grace.
coffee, bold color, hip-hop, paper, books and cupcakes strike my fancy.

Hannah blogs at Happy Days and also has an etsy shop by the same nap.  She sells oh-so fabulous jewelry and lots of her jewelry proceeds benefit missions.  Check it out!!

Also make sure you check out my swappers!

Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

This is quick and yummy side dish that is healthy!  My aunt served this over Christmas and hers was much prettier because she used different kinds of potatoes.  Since I'm not eating white or purple potatoes right now I only used sweet potatoes.  But this is a strikingly beautiful and unique dish if you use all three!

Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

2-3 large sweet potatoes
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 T minced fresh rosemary
salt & pepper

Peel and dice your sweet potatoes.  You can make them are big or as small as you want, just make sure the size is fairly uniform so they cook evenly.  Mince your rosemary and toss the sweet potatoes in the olive oil and rosemary.

Set on a baking sheet.  Make sure none of the potatoes are touching.  This helps them to crisp up better. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

As you can see these sweet potatoes are popular with the younger crowd as well!

These are ALMOST like candy.  The rosemary is a must for this recipe.  It just deepens the sweetness of the potatoes and give more depth of flavor to the dish.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

** HAHA!!  I just realized I linked this up to bunch of parties under the name Rosemary Sweet Potatotoes"  Hope you got a laugh!!**


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