Friday, May 31, 2013


Man oh man do I love this picture.  The profile of my sweet boy.  Sometimes he seems not so little anymore and then he screams at a restaurant and I remember that he is in face still 2.

And this kid!  His little personality keeps coming out.  It's lovely.  And today while we were looking at the sharks at the zoo he gave me kisses for the first time.  I want to remember that moment forever.

My parents came of a long anticipated visit and we had way more fun that this picture illustrates.  The boys were cranky that we had to drop Ma & Pa off at the airport.  Although S was happy to go to the airport.  He asks to go there every single day.

Date night before disaster struck.  Our sweet friends offered to take care of the boys so we could have a night to ourselves.  A lovely dinner turned into a hideous stomach bug and that's all the details you want to know.  Both boys and I were stricken and man oh man was it bad!

Ma is always playing fun games with the boys.  I think they were dancing to Jack & Jill went up the hill.

The view from our hotel room on our little mini-vacation to the San Juans.  Perfection!

The start of homemade fruit snacks.  These are Strawberry-Blueberry-Spinach and were fabulous!  Recipe here. 

Could help but include this sweet shot.  Man I love that little smile!

Practicing our climbing.  All the time.

This picture made me really happy too.  The view right now is perfect with the rhododendron blooming and blue skies.  I spend a lot of time thankful God for this house right here.

Baby yoga.  He loved the king sized bed at our hotel.

Love this action shot of S and his little friend.  They had so much fun jumping off this rock.  

That's a little picture into our life!  You can follow us on instagram at storybook_reality

Linking up with Life Rearranged!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Mother's Legacy

I've had some major writers block lately.  I miss blogging even though I don't really have much I can say right now.  God has really been teaching me a lot about being a wife and a mom in particular.  It's hard.  Every day it is hard.  I didn't really feel like that when I first had children but man now that I have two and the oldest is starting to really develop his own attitude and opinions on things it's hard.  Sometimes at the end of the day I feel like the only thing I've done is just made it through.  When you start to think about life before babies that can get a little discouraging.

I bought a book a number of years ago for my parents and grandparents.  It's a legacy book and it has prompts to get you to write about yourself, your childhood, your hopes and your dreams.  It's a great thing to pass down to your children.  I'm filling out mine now because I don't want to forget.  I remember thinking I'd never forget what it felt like to do certain things and all of the sudden I can't remember.  New things replace those and although the memories are still there they are a shadow of what they once were.

So in order to just get writing again and to put some of my answers here (especially the fun ones!) I'm going to work my way through the book every Thursday.  I'd love it if you would join me!

Today I'm going to "Describe Your Grandparents House"

I wanted to do this one in particular because in the last year my Grandma has moved out of her house and my Namaw will be moving from hers soon.  

My Mother's parents live in a small town in Kentucky.  They live in a nice neighborhood and have a one story brick ranch.  They have a large yard and that was always my favorite thing about their house.  There was a clothesline on the right die of the house and a small slope on the left side.  Around the back on the left was a large weeping willow tree.  I remember playing underneath that tree.  Along the back of their property was a wall of sorts and we loved to walk the "balance beam" and jump off of the wall.  My Grandaddy always had a garden that was full of vegetables.  And near the house was their TV antenna.  It was 3 sided and you could climb it although I don't think we were supposed to.  It was covered with clematis and because of that when we have a house someday that is one of the first plants I will plant.

The inside of the house was always clean.  We usually played in Grandaddy's study and my favorite thing about it was the caricature of Grandaddy.  I loved finding him in the large group of people.  He also had a framed picture of one of the UK basketball teams and I thought that was so neat.  I don't remember my Grandparents keeping many toys at the house.  

One of my favorite things about their house was a picture of Grandaddy taken around the time he and my Namaw were married.  It was kept in the back bedroom and until the weekend I always thought that was the bedroom my grandparents slept in!  My Mom and I were discussing the house and she told me that they slept in the front room.  I've been wrong for 30 years!  The back room had furniture in it that was my Mom's as a girl.  I used to love the bed because the headboard has secret compartments in it.   There was also a half bath in this bedroom.

There was a bar in the kitchen and it was always fun to eat there.  We had family meals in the dining room. 

I loved going to my grandparents house.  My favorite thing about going was riding on Grandaddy's knee on his riding lawnmower.  We would drive down to the community park and play.  And then usually we would go for ice cream.  My grandparents were AMAZING grandparents.

I have distinct memories of 2 houses that my Dad's parents lived in.  When I was growing up they lived in a tiny town in Western PA.  Their house was a 1 story ranch.  We visited twice each year for about a week.  I always enjoyed going there especially at Christmas.  There would usually be snow and my Grandma would always have a game of Bingo ready for us.  We would sleep on the floor in my Grandpa's study (he was a pastor) and I loved looking at his extensive collection of red glass.

The last house they lived in is the one that I remember the most.  It was a modular home and was built to accommodate my Grandma's difficulty with walking.  It had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  A large living/dining area, kitchen/laundry and a sun room.  Each of my grandparents had their chair that they would sit in.  My Grandpa particularly liked siting in the sun room with the screen door open.  

One thing in particular I always loved about their house was a picture that was above the piano.  It is a copy of Renoir's On The Terrace.  It reminds me of my Grandparents so much.

Are there any special memories you have of your grandparent's houses?

Next week I'll be answering

Where was your childhood home?
Did you enjoy living there?

I'd love to read about your legacy!!

Berry-Spinach Fruit Bites

I am so super excited to share this recipe with you!  I've been trying to find the balance lately between what I can make healthier homemade and what I can't.  Sometimes it takes so much time and money to recreate something from scratch that I just can't justify doing it.  This is NOT one of those things.  These were so easy  and relatively cheap to make!  Plus they are completely all natural and good for you!  No artificial stuff in there so your kiddos can eat as many as they want.  And so can you!

I modified this recipe that I found online.

Somehow I didn't have enough lemon juice or gelatin but I pressed on and tried it without the perfect measurements.  Thankfully they turned out perfectly! is how you do it!

Scant 1/2 cup of gelatin (5 individual packages of Knox brand)
1/2 cup lemon juice
21/2 cups of fruit of choice
2 Tbsp honey
large handful spinach

I used 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of strawberries and a large handful of spinach.  You can use frozen or fresh fruit however you'll want to make sure to thaw the frozen fruit so you can measure correctly. (If you are using smaller fruit this isn't a big deal but strawberries are so big it's hard to get a cup measure without chopping them up.).

Combine the lemon juice and fruit in a pan on the stove and warm until the fruit gets soft.  Let mixture cool then blend in the blender or if you are really fancy with an immersion blender.

Mix in the honey.

Slowly mix in the gelatin.  I used the blender to add the gelatin and the honey.  Next time I'm going to do it by hand.  Although the fruit bites turned out great i found them to be a little airy and I prefer them to be more dense.  I think I incorporated too much air into the mixture when I was blending.

I lined a jelly roll pan with wax paper and poured the mixture on top.  Then I refrigerated the mixture for about an hour.  I cut it into bite sized squares and got 308 squares.  Considering each pre-packaged fruit snack has usually 8-10 I figured that was 30 packages or 3 boxes.  I usually pay $2.00 a box for the Mott's Tots brand.  I would say I was definitely able to re-create this for less!

You could also use silicone molds or a 9x13 if you wanted thicker snacks.

I can not WAIT to try this again.  There are so many combinations of fruits you can use and you can definitely incorporate veggies too!  I love that I was able to put spinach in and no one can tell!  And the color is so vibrant!  

I'll definitely be buying gelatin in bulk from now on.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  I'd love to hear your ideas of flavor combinations!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIWW--The Spending Freeze Version

Well it seems like now is as good of a time as any to tell you about my spending freeze.  Clothes spending that is.  I've been losing and gaining the same 5 pounds for over six months.  It is incredibly frustrating and I just want to push past this hump so badly!  So I decided I needed a little outside motivation.  After I lost 10 pounds then I can go shopping again.  Until then no cute summer dresses.  It's killing me!  But I'm motivated and already making progress!  And hey the stomach bug over the weekend was pretty helpful too.

Let's talk about this mirror. I finally moved it out into our hallway so my pictures are a tad lighter but still so unprofessional.  You might just have to take my word for it that I looked cute.

I'm loving neon yellow (as we've seen with my lovely yellow flats in the past) and this sweater is just perfect for the Tacoma spring weather.  It's heavy but springy.  I like it.

Sweater and shirt from Loft
Jeans from TJ Maxx
Repeat sparkly shoes--Nine West

What do you think of this cropped style?  I know it is "in" but I'm not sure I like it.  I've been wearing these through the winter with boots and this was the first time I paired them with flats.  I think I'm ok with it?

This is my favorite look lately.  

T-shirt--TJ Maxx (American Eagle Brand)
Pants--TJ Maxx

For 20 bucks I think it' a pretty cute look!  And there are those sparkly shoes again.  Totally worth every penny I spent (which wasn't much!).

So hopefully I'll have an update for you next week on my weight loss.  My parents are coming into town (yay!!!) today and it's always hard to eat well when you have company.

Also...the stomach bug is definitely to blame for the lack of pictures this weekend.  My outfit consisted of a tank top and yoga pants...and although I'm sure you are all dying to see that I forgot to get a snapshot.  Maybe next time!! Ha ha!

May Vegucation-Cauliflower

In case you've been wondering the official definition of Veg-ucation

This month's challenge was to eat a little more cauliflower.  I swear I won't make a soup every single month but I do find it is an easy way to consume more veggies and fill up on things that aren't calorie laden.  It's also a great way to have something that tastes a little richer and fuller without lots of calories.  This soup has a big of heavy cream in it but not enough to break the calorie bank.  In fact it's just over 100 calories a serving!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

1 large head cauliflower cut into florets
I large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl mix the cauliflower and onion with garlic and oil.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

In a large saucepan mix the cauliflower, brother, water, bay leaf and thyme.  Boil and then reduce heat.  simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf.  Process in a blender in batches.  Remember not to do this when the soup is too hot!  It will burst out of the top of your blender.  I promise. 

Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and heat through.  Add the cream and pepper.

I served mine with a bit of pecorino cheese on top.  I like cheese with soup, what can I say?

This was a great way to incorporate cauliflower and I know the other girl's have some incredible recipes to share with you as well!!

Check out the next yummy recipe at Eat Your Beets!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tulips Times Two

When Peter's parents came to visit I knew I wanted to take them to see the tulip up in the Skagit Valley.  I figured that even though the festival ended April 30th that surely there would still be some tulips in bloom on May 1st, one day later.

Ha ha.  I was very, very wrong.  We drove into the valley and all we saw were rows and rows of tulip stems and no flowers.  Thankfully one of the local gardens still had their show garden available for viewing.  It was stunning and we still had a wonderful time with beautiful weather.  

The re-occuring cheese face.

Brotherly love

Still beautiful

Family portrait....with the cheese face

You could see for miles and miles!

Playing with Daddy's glasses

My favorite tulip shot!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mimi & Grandad Visit

As usual we were horrible about taking picture when Peter's parents came.  We got lots and lots of pictures of the thing we went to see and not so many of the people.  must work on that next time.  I did get this absolute gem though.  The two boys are already following in their Grandad's picture taking footsteps.

I just love this photo!!

We already are counting down the day until Mimi & Grandad visit again!!

Miscellany Monday

The madness just seems to continue at our house.  I had one of those "I know I did a lot but what did I do" weeks.  But the sun is shining and no one in our house is currently throwing up so it's a good day.  This weekend...not so much.  So thankful for my sweet SWEET husband who not only took care of me but took care of both boys...washed and remade all 3 bed...did multiple loads of laundry...mowed the lawn.  Oh and woke up early on Saturday morning to get a *short* 20 miles in.  This one is a keeper and thankfully I get to keep him!

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while now and since last week was "I don't feel like taking a nap week" practically everyday I knew it would be a great time filler when the Little Guy woke up from his short rest.  I used a simple recipe and modified it a bit and was very pleased with these homemade "Cheese Crackers in the Shape of Fish".  I'll be sharing the recipe soon!

My little pot garden!!  It's growing!!  I go and check it everyday looking for new signs of growth.  Yesterday I had my first pink strawberry and first bloom on my pea plant.  I guess gardening is kind of like losing weight.  You have to tend to it everyday but you don't see too much progress overnight.  Still I'm excited for the possibilities!!

I'm SO sad I didn't have my big camera with me when we were out on Friday night.  We saw THE most spectacular rainbow I've ever seen.  You could see it from one side to the other and it was a double one!  There are some more pictures on instagram (storybook_reality) but I couldn't chop this one into a square.  

We had GORGEOUS weather last week so I guess it was ok that is was nap-boycott week.  This little guy insisted on wearing hi rainboots down to walk along the water and he was searching for humpback whales the entire time.  Can we say adorable?

This kind.  Always smiling.  Melts my heart.  I want him to stay little forever.

A rare non cheesy grin from this not-so-little guy.  We were on our nightly walk and we was crawling on the "balance beam".  I was so happy to get him making a sweet face!

I'm still trying to put together a giveaway so if you would like to donate a product or ad space so I can highlight your blog please email me at

Also if you are new I'd love to come visit!  Leave me a comment and I'll make sure to stop by during naptime this week!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The BEST Chocolate Cupcakes Ever

One of my favorite things the Little Guy likes to add to a lot of his sentences is "ever".  He is always eating the "biggest apple ever" or sliding down the "tallest slide ever".  For a while it was "eber" but I think he has finally mastered the V.

We had our last MOPS meeting this week and one of the talented girls brought cupcakes.  I have to admit I'm not a huge cake fan in general.  I hate a box mix and I generally find most cakes or cupcakes dry and tasteless.

Not anymore.

These were hands down the best cupcakes I've ever had.  And the fun part?  They are Vegan!! (I hear cheers from all of you egg allergy Mamas already!!)

I have to admit I did not make the cupcakes pictured.  My sweet friend gave me extra to take home and so I snapped up her recipe and a picture of these yummy chocolately goodness.

Make these today.  Trust me.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

1 cup sugar
11/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water

Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.  This recipe makes 13 cupcakes or 1 loaf pan of bread.

I'm going to try these this with applesauce or avocado in place of the vegetable oil and I'll update you on how they turn out!

In the meantime seriously you should go make these.  Now!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sin and the Sea

I decided today that I've gotta pull myself out of this funk I've been in so where better to turn than my Bible and my computer!  That way I get to share with you what I'm learning and I get to spend quality time in the Word.

I've been really missing getting to use my creative gene so I decided today was the perfect day to learn how to use PSE to make printables.  I have a LONG way to go but I'm excited about learning more!  Today I learned how to create a Chevron pattern.  I paired it with a verse about sin and the sea.

I love the water.  I'm not a "nature" person per se but I love beautiful things.  And there is little out there more beautiful to me at least than a gorgeous body of water.  The Lord knew what he was doing when he sent us here to Tacoma and found us a house in the North End.  I can see the water from my bedroom and we are a short walk away from literally walking on the water.  I pass the water to go almost anywhere.  It's gorgeous.  And it's a constant reminder to me about how the Lord cares about the little things in our lives.  I'm not sure how we are ever going to top this location!

Here is my creation for today.

Obviously it is pretty simple and needs some work.  But I'm pleased with my first time attempt!

Please let me know if this doesn't work....I just set this up and not sure how it works!

Be encouraged by this beautiful verse today!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Questions

I stole this idea from my friend Rachel because she has lots of good ideas.  I think she steals most of hers too but she's good at finding all the good ideas.

I asked The Little Guy some questions and here are his answers.  I can't wait to hear how they change from year to year...

What is my name?  I don't know....Mommy

How old is Mommy? five Mommy is five

How much do I weigh? I don't know

What does Mommy like to do?  eat

What does Mommy like to eat?  sandwich

What does Mommy like to drink? milk and water

What is Mommy's favorite color? Red

What is Mommy's favorite toy? a train

What does Mommy like to wear? a yellow shirt

Mommy and Stafford like to do what together?  eat

Mommy's house is....right here

What color is Mommy's car?  black

What makes Mommy smile?  a lemur

What makes Mommy sad?  I don't know

I love Mommy because....I don't know

Mommy loves me because..I don't know

Some of these concepts are obviously still hard for a 2 and 1/2 year old.  My favorite was What makes Mommy smile.  A Lemur?  Hilarious!

Love this little list!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Out From Behind The Camera

I'm trying to be better about making sure we get pictures at special occasions and just in general.  I'm also trying to get myself in pictures because more often than not I am behind the camera.  I am thrilled with these pictures from Mother's Day.  The boys aren't looking at the camera in all of them but they are in focus with good light and happy faces for the most part!  These are framers!!

This kid has finally started clapping.  I think he was giving himself a round here for good behavior.

One for two looking at the camera isn't too bad.  

Clearly the Tiny Guy looked down like this all day.  

FINALLY!  A picture with this guy without the cheese face.  I love love love this shot!!

I will treasure these pictures for years to come!

The Big Fish

If you haven't noticed lately I have some major writers block.  Lots of pictures and fun outfits and recipes going on over here but not much writing.  Lots of thinking.  But not much writing.

The last few months have been really tough for me.  I can't really explain it because they've been good.  And sometimes it's hard when things are good on the outside and not quite right on the inside.  It's like thinking you are getting a chocolate covered caramel when you pick one from a box and you get one of those weird fruit fluff filled ones instead.  It's not that what is on the inside is's just not what you were hoping for.

One of my favorite things to do is to read the Little Guy his story at night.  He loves reading Bible stories and even requests them at naptime as well.  He has specific lines that he will recite and sometimes when we pray he "thanks Jesus" for certain characters.  My favorite story he tells is Jonah.  He tells us how God said "Go to Nineveh and stop doing bad things!" and all about the storm and the sailors and the big fish.  It's fabulous.

I was prompted to read the story of Jonah during my quiet time the other day and was totally struck by the last verse in the first chapter.

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah

I surprised by the word provided. This story is one of those stories that you learn when you are two.  And sometimes I forget what you can learn from just a word in a story.  The Bible is pretty cool like that.  You'll read a verse at a different time in your life and it will stand out to you or minister to you in a way that it never has before.  

Anyway.  Even though Jonah disobeyed God, he provided a fish.  He didn't just send a fish.  A fish just didn't appear.  God provided the fish.

How many times am I frustrated with my circumstances?  How often do I complain about this or that?  Too often to admit.  Instead when things aren't perfect, because hello living the the belly of a whale for 3 days and 3 nights definitely isn't my idea of perfection, I need to be thankful.  I need to realize God has provided this circumstance for me.  Maybe it was to save me.  Maybe it was to teach me a lesson.  I may never know.  But the belly of the whale that God provided isn't that bad of a place to be.

The fish didn't just swallow Jonah by chance.  And we don't go through certain hard times or even easy times in our life by chance.  So the next time my life is starting to smell a little fishy I'm going to remember to be thankful that God provided those circumstances for me and try to be teachable and receptive in that moment.

Whales or "big fish" seem to be a theme at our house lately!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Want to help me?

I'm slowly approaching 500 followers and would love to do a fun giveaway to celebrate?  Would you like to be a part?  I'd love to highlight your blog and help you gain new followers in exchange!  Ad space, gift cards and especially your own handmade products and services are welcome!  Please email me if you are interested in contributing!


This last week has been so special for our little ones! They got to spend some long awaited time with Mimi & Grandad. The Little Guy also got to "drive" a bus and a firetruck. We went to a baseball game and watched the Derby. We enjoyed the sun in the backyard and from the top of the Space Needle.

My sweet neighbor brought over some fresh lilac and I planted my vegetable garden.

The tiny guy has been playing "beep" with any belly button he sees!

Hope your week was special too!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baked Mushrooms

This is one of my favorite recipes.  It's easy and it's super rich and yummy.  If you aren't a mushroom fan this might convert you!

1 pound of mushrooms
1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Melt the butter and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes in a 9x13 pan.  Serve warm.

The original recipe calls for an entire stick of butter but that kind of makes me feel like Paula Deen.  You can experiment with it and see what you think. 

I like to serve these with small toasted bread kind of like a bruschetta.  You could also serve it with steak or chicken as a side.  I also like to top a baked sweet potato with these.  Yum!

I hope you enjoy these mushrooms as much as we do!


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