Monday, September 23, 2013

Parenting & Potty Words.

You know that you have reached another level in parenting when suddenly your daily conversations with your spouse, parents & friends feel like a spelling bee. 

We have recently had a rude awakening to how clued in Baby N is to adult conversations with her new found love for the phrase "damn it". Oh my, 20 months seems really young to start this sort of thing, but I suppose most kids (if not all) go through this stage of experimenting with strong language. Turns out this isn't the only word of this sort that she knows. During a recent conversation at lunch time we realized that she has been cataloging every bad word she has heard from every adult she knows for the past 3-4 months and has been keeping them in a mental file until she found the right way to use them. 

*Sigh*, it has been a humbling experience to say the least. I have felt like it is my responsibility to warn all my friends with small kids who want to come play about my daughters verbal experiments. In a community of little people, potty words are about as contagious as a case of chicken pox and sometimes equally as excruciating to deal with. 

I can't pretend that "I don't know where she got it from". Her dad and I aren't always super saintly in our expression of humor, frustration, etc. There have been many trips to the time out chair for the past few days... for her and for us too. (A side note of hilarity: Daddy slipped out a bad word & put himself in time out. Baby N saw this, started bawling, and said that she needed a time out too. She went and sat next to her dad the whole time. Sweet thing!)

So through lots of redirection (learning to say "dog gone it"), prayer and patience, we are slowly navigating our way through this experience. The thing that I think is neat is that I am changing with her, rather than standing back and forcing her to conform to my expectations. That is one amazing things about having kids & a family; we have the opportunity to "grow up" and be refined together. We mold each other by our responses to the experiences that we share, and the Spirit of God binds us together as we walk through life in faith. It's amazing that trials like this actually make me realize how much I really love being a mom. It's a precious gift that I wouldn't trade for anything.

The potty words, however, I could do without.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bargain Lovers Weekend

In our tiny community there is a yearly tradition that I wait eagerly for at the end of summer. Bargain Lovers Weekend. 

The weekend after Labor Day our neighboring town of Ferndale throws a city wide yard sale that is known far and wide as the capital of incredible deals with hours of treasure hunting fun. Hundreds of people come to see what they can find out on the lawn, and we decided to join the masses.

I packed in the troops and we headed out to see what little gems we could find.

I can always sell these kinds of things to the kids as an "adventure", and as long as snacks and blankies come as part of the deal, they are usually game.

We spent the morning strolling with a girlfriend of mine & found lots of cool things... for the kiddos we found a pink plastic mower as well as a little camping chair, a pony, a toy microwave, "cooking" utensils, several books, and a baby doll and some gold shoes for Baby N(of course). For mommy we found some books, clothes, a mortar & pestle  a glass domed cheese stand that will become a terrarium, and some funky vintage glasses, to name a few. 

Also, I scored this little cabinet (FOR FREE). It will become a baby kitchen. You should have seen me stuffing this thing into the front seat of my Versa "No no, it'll fit, trust me, I've done this before..."

And the best part? I spent about $16. Yup.
I <3 yard sales.

Check out these vintage beauties that I scored for 10 cents a piece. I was thinking of using them as candle holders, but I'm not completely sold on that idea yet. Anyone have any suggestions?


Thursday, September 5, 2013

I <3 nap time.

Nap time. Time for everyone to get a second wind. 
For the kids, that means listening to Celtic crooning and sucking their blankies into sweet oblivion. For me it means cleaning up every toy & nasty Cheerio I can find, praying that I can get dinner started, and if time allows, sitting on my buns with a cup of hot chocolate (often coffee laced) for 15 or 20 minutes. That little cup of sugar is mommy nirvana as far as I'm concerned. It's days like these that I pay attention to the simple luxuries in life and take a moment to thank God for the small things that keep me going. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Why I Dont Blog... That Much.

Well, obviously I do blog, and I like doing it. But my posts are far & few between, and the reason is this: I'd rather spend time with my family instead of spending time blogging about them. 

It's a simple truth that I have been thinking about a lot lately. My mind wanders to my neglected blog, and then I start to think "Wow, I really need to get on there to post something!"
But every time I think about it I get caught up in some other life matter that needs attending too... kids, dinner, laundry, etc. and so, I have realized, it is better that my blog suffer some neglect rather than my family and home. 

I am committed, however, to keeping my little corner of the web alive. It fills the void of a much needed creative outlet for writing that my post-education/post-professional mind desperately wants. Even if it is just posting about the taco salad I made for dinner, I still love it. So even though you may not find daily, weekly, or even sometimes (Eeek!) monthly posts, hang in there if you by chance are reading what I'm writing. 

This is just the beginning.

*image courtesy of this website.


Friday, July 19, 2013

My Year, So Far.

2013 has been epic, and it is only half through!

So far we have had baby #2 (12 short months after baby #1), I resigned from my job & we became owners of a small business. And those are just the big things! We also started a garden, had family move home from Mexico, and our church is seeking out a new pastor for the first time in over a decade.

Every day is so full of challenges & victories, overcoming my selfish "flesh" nature and learning how to become a mama/wife who gives her family real love. It is really good & really exhausting, but I am growing in character, and that is exciting! The best thing of all is that I know that I can do all things through God who strengthens me. That being said, I can't wait to see what else this year holds for me.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Money Saving Cooking Tips... & Taco Salad

Taco Salad is a favorite in our house (taco anything really...), and as I was making it for dinner tonight I thought about what a inexpensive meal it is to make for how tasty it is. Sure, you can put in some bells and whistles like an avocado or a shell, and that can be more expensive, but mostly it can be made by things you already have in the fridge.
Then I was inspired and I thought, maybe I should share some tips for thrifty cooking with the other bloggies who love this stuff as much as I do; so here's the money saving scoop. Hope you get some ideas.

1. When you buy a cut of meat, plan to use it for 2-3 dinners.

Beef is something that doesn't frequent our house because it can be spendy. However, when I get creative with the meal plan, it actually works out just fine.
Here I bought a $9 tri-tip roast, trimmed off the fat, and then cut the meat 3 ways:
1. I put 1/2 of the roast (unsliced) in a bag of marinade & stuck it in the freezer for future grilling.
2. Asada style for Taco Salad
3.Cubed for Chili con Carne

2 1/2 pounds of meat making 3 dinners for 3 people is a pretty good deal.

2. Save your scraps.

As tempting as it can be to just chuck the little bit of veggies, grains, or whatever else you have leftover from your meals, saving them can be worth your time.

For example, bell peppers are not a hot item in our house, but I do cook with them to add flavor to dishes. This pepper has been used for deep dish pizza, kebabs, spaghetti sauce, and now for our salads tonight. I keep taking thin slices from it and it lasts a long time! You can add flavor & substance to soup, salad & lots of things from scraps.

3. Make a little extra for tomorrow.

We had a rice dish last night, and so I made a little extra for our salad tonight. When you plan ahead making extra can save you time, trouble, and cash. However if you don't plan meals or use leftovers, skip this step because you will waste food & end up with science projects in your fridge.

4. Buy the ready to go stuff.

What?!?! That saves you money?? Yes, BUT ONLY IF you make a pact with yourself to use that pre-shredded cheese for 5 meals. That means using it as a flavor/texture perk, not the main event of the meal. In my personal experience, I always shred way too much off my block of cheese and I find that I use less when sprinkling on some of the pre-done stuff. If you are a non-excessive cheese user, I salute you, and you probably should stick with shredding your own.

5. Have the kids eat what you eat.

This could be a whole post unto itself, but for the sake of staying on topic, I will only say that different meals for everyone means more $ in the cart on grocery day. Sadly, I didn't get a pic of Baby N's plate before she ate it, but she did try almost everything that we had on the salad. She wasn't nuts over the bell pepper, but at least she tried it!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Sometimes, that girl...

I was telling Baby N that a friend of ours might stop at McDonalds for dinner. She turned around & sang "Ee-I-Ee-I-Ooo!"


Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Italian Chicken Dinner

There are many things that amaze me. Things like how fast my kids grow, how laundry breeds when I''m not looking, and how many ways I can cook chicken and still like it.

I found this recipe on this blog (again, thanks to Pinterest... Lord knows I'll probably need rehab from being a pinaholic) with the name "Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes". The title is fairly misleading, I think it would be more accurate as "Pesto Chicken", but since it's not truly a pesto, I will simply rename it "Italian Chicken". Not horribly descriptive, but it gets the point across.

Italian Chicken


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 – 5 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion sliced


Preheat oven at 375 degrees. In a blender place the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, water and pulse until pureed.
Place the  chicken breasts in a glass baking dish and cover with the sauce. Top with mushrooms, tomatoes and onion and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. 
Note: If you'd like to dress it up & add a couple extra calories you could also top with toasted pine nuts and fresh shaved parmesan cheese.

My little chef in training.

Chicken with the sauce. It really does look like runny pesto.

Layer on some veggies & toss in the oven.

Go outside & play for 20 minutes...

... and there you have it! Baked & beautiful.

I decided to serve it with a side of cous cous & sauteed zucchini. 

And of course, a nice glass of red. We are being "Italian", after all.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our Mother's Day Menu

I am very excited for Mother's Day this year!

It isn't my first Mother's Day as a mom, but it is the first one where I really understand how crazy + awesome being a mom can be. That being said, it also means I am just [A LITTLE BIT] thrilled to throw a party for Aaron's mom & my mom at our house this year! 

I have a family who loves to eat, and my sister and I love to cook, so us making dinner is a win for everyone. We decided to do a fresh twist on dishes that our family traditionally eats when we celebrate; comfort food accented by fun, fruity flavor. Here's what we came up with:

Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres
Grapefruit Margaritas
Baked Apricot Brie & Lady Finger Cookies

Main Course
Green Salad with Feta & Grapes
Parmesan Bread Pudding
Ham with Bourbon Glaze and Tangerine Chutney

Lemon Mousse

I am excited to do something nice for our moms.

What are your Mother's Day plans? Do you have any fun traditions you do with your mom?


Friday, May 3, 2013

Homemade Burger Buns

It's very fitting for my first post to be about something that I made for dinner ;)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook and that I am not shy about trying new things in the kitchen. I love cooking because you get to dream, create, problem solve, and occasionally fail; but it's all part of the process. The possibilities are endless.

I will also admit to being an avid cookbook junkie. I get them at bookstores, yard sales, and have a whole wishlist dedicated to them on Amazon. You always know what I would be happy to get for my birthday. I feel like you can learn a lot about life & the world through reading cookbooks, somethings that I don't get as readily through my culinary internet wanderings.

For Christmas this year my mother in law bought me a new favorite... The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (see it here on Amazon).

I love, love, LOVE this book. The way it is written is like having coffee and conversation with a friend. With every recipe there is a story from her own life, and the things she writes about have a pleasant, normalizing quality to them. It's refreshing. Not to mention the recipes are fantastic and have helped me cut out some extra unhealthies from our diet, and have saved my butt a time or two.

A few days ago was one such time when my butt needed saving. Grocery shopping was 2 days away, we had nothing in the fridge besides some ground beef and pickles. When that happens, it can only mean that we are fated to drag out the grill and have some burgers. Unfortunately, no burger is complete without a bun. So what is Little Mother Hubbard with her bare cupboard to do? MAKE SOME!!

You can view the recipe here on Alana's blog if you are so inclined to try them yourself... I am just going to share pictures of my empowering bun making experience.

It's neat to make something that you would normally just throw in the cart for $3 at the store. Plus, sometimes when you have 2 sleeping babies and no time to pop them in the stroller & take a 45 minute walk while your hubby is at work with the car... you just do what you have to do.

The burgers were so good, it made me sad that we only had pickles and lettuce to put on them. I usually like bacon and grilled pineapple rings on mine.

What are some of your favorite burger toppings?