Friday, December 30, 2011

- belated Christmas update -

So, I've been off of work this whole week (hooray!), but I am totally that type of person that gets nothing done when I have time off! You would think with a week off, my house would be sparkling clean, I would have loads of blog posts scheduled to post, and all the other odds and ends that I have been meaning to get to would be done...WRONG! It's been a week filled with a lot of sitting around, playing in our backyard, and pretty much getting absolutely nothing productive accomplished! Not even the work that I brought home that I really do need to get started on...ugh! Budgets and financials and year end makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

So, in spite of my lazy relaxing week, I finally made myself sit down to write a post. I know this is almost a week late, but here is our little Christmas update...

The Friday before Christmas we went over to a friend's house for dinner. Right before we left, Ellie just wasn't looking right. After I asked her if she was okay and I got a quiet, murmured "no", I sort of knew what was coming and attempted to run into the kitchen. But I didn't quite make it. Yup, she threw up all over me, herself, and our friend's floor....A LOT! I, of course, freaked out, but we finally got her cleaned up, and packed her into the car. I don't know how we made it home without another episode, but somehow we did (maybe God figured that me having to clean my leather bag that Ellie covered in throw up was he spared my car and leather seats!). Once we got home, it was non stop. For the first couple of hours, we kept changing her and putting her back in her crib, but after doing that twice, Matt and I realized that changing her sheets all night was not going to be an option. So I hunkered down in the bathroom with her, and held her all night while she would doze off in my arms, only to wake up 20-30 minutes later and start crying, and moments later would throw up again. It broke my heart so much to watch her getting so sick. There is nothing worse than having to watch your child suffer.  Needless to say, it was a long night, and this momma didn't sleep at all. I sat on the bathroom floor with her for almost 8 hours, while she got through it. Her Dr. assured us there was no reason to take her to urgent care since she wasn't showing any signs of dehydration, so we just stuck it out all night long.

After almost 13 hours of throwing up, she finally fell asleep for three straight hours, and when she woke up, her stomach seemed to be feeling better. She, however, was wrecked from the long night, and it took her almost 4 days to get back to her normal happy self. We completely canceled all of our Christmas plans, which was not fun to do. We ALWAYS spend Christmas with Matt's family, and my mom and my sister, but this year we didn't. We knew there was a possibility that Ellie could still be contagious, and I was just holding my breath expecting to get the same bug (considering she threw up on me all night long). There are other young kids on Matt's side of the family, and my sister is pregnant, so we didn't want to risk getting anyone else sick.

So, it was a very, very, very quiet Christmas. Ellie wasn't up for many pictures and I didn't want to force her, so here are just a few that I caught on Christmas morning...(the lighting in my house is horrible, and these pictures are definitely not in focus but I captured my girl opening a few gifts and that's all that matters!)

Overall, while it wasn't exactly what we had planned, it was still a great Christmas with the three of us...

Oh yeah, and this also helped make it a great Christmas...

Yup, my hubby is pretty amazing!!
A-MAZING...and so so good to me! Back off ladies...he's all mine! (I love you babe, so much!)

Ellie is finally back to her normal self and is feeling much better, and I am so relieved!

And of course, once she was feeling better, we had to snap a picture of the gigantic bow on her (since she is really the most amazing gift in our lives!)

 I hope everyone else had a wonderful (and healthy) holiday weekend!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

- i'm being featured -

To make up for my the fact that I lacked a recipe on my blog yesterday, come visit me over here at lovely Vivian's blog, where I am featuring a really good crock pot of my favorites...


Monday, December 26, 2011

- taking a Monday off -

Just letting you all know that I will be taking a week off from my "quick recipe of the week" series...

...because we had a rough Christmas weekend that included one sick little girl! So we are all just laying low and recovering today! I'll post Christmas updates later this week...until then, I sincerely hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

- cans for comments update -

Thank you everyone for making Cans for Comments such a success!
Between my new followers, and all of the amazing comments I received, the grand total of cans that I donated was...(drum roll please)...


I was so excited to bring all of those cans to our food bank. I know it will go a long way, so for everyone that helped me out...

The stack was as big as Ellie! 

We loaded all the cans in my car and donated them to a great cause. I'm sure a lot of hungry people will appreciate the food and it really made my day being able to do something helpful like this!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

- just checking in real quick -

Oh wow, turns out it's the holidays...which means life is getting super busy! I haven't had much time to blog, so here is just a quickie post!

A little update on my Cans for Comments...coming soon...stay tuned!

And here's something to think about this holiday season...

(Image credit

It's hard to complain after you read things like this.

I am so blessed!

Monday, December 19, 2011

- quick recipe of the week -

Okay everyone, it's December 19, which means it's the last day for Cans for Comments. At last count, I was at 59 cans, but I know we can do better than that! Keep the comments coming today please. Come on...let's get some more cans added to that total!

Today I am featuring another real life friend of mine! (see, I do have some real life friends! ha ha). For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you already know my dear friend, Lisa. She is everything a friend should be and more! I am so lucky to have her in my life! And it doesn't hurt that she also has an adorable boy, and a sweet hubby as well. Lisa is a wonderful mom, a great wife, and a fabulous friend!

Unfortunately, Lisa doesn't write a blog (come on Lisa, jump on the blogging bandwagon!), so I don't have a new blog to share with you, but I do have a yummy recipe! She made this dish for for us, and it was the PERFECT football Sunday food!

Crock Pot Lasagna
1 lb fully cooked ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 box uncooked lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
Italian seasoning to taste
Fresh baby spinach

Brown your meat and add the marinara sauce and the water. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg, and Italian seasoning and mix well.

In the crock pot, lay down uncooked noodles (break if necessary to fit in the crock pot). Then add a layer of the cheese mix, a layer of spinach, and then a layer of the meat sauce. Continue with these layers until you have reached the top of the crock pot. Sprinkle some more mozzarella cheese on top. Cook on low 4-5 hours or until the noodles are soft and cooked thoroughly.

(Image credit Lisa)
(This is a picture before it was looks MUCH better once it's been cooked! ha ha!)

This is seriously the easiest way to make lasagna, and it tastes just as good as oven-made lasagna. You could definitely add different veggies to this recipe as well. I made this the other day and it was delicious! We had a lot of left overs too, which is always a good thing.

Thank you so much Lisa! This is definitely a tasty recipe...(and thanks for being such an awesome person in my life!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

- have you missed her face? -

So, other than the Santa photos I posted a couple days ago, it has been 17 days since I have posted any pictures of Ellie...have you missed her cute face? Yes? I thought so!
So here's a little photo dump for ya, since I have a touch of writer's block today. Hey, it's Saturday! My brain is not programmed to function on Saturdays...ha ha!

I have definitely resorted to bribing her with treats to get her to stand still for the camera these days. Hey, it works, so I'll just roll with it!

Our little one's passport came in the mail the other day! Exciting stuff! Her first international trip is just around the corner. I.can.not.wait!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

- the craziness of the holidays...what does it all mean -

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is all around us. Everyone is checking their lists, running to the malls, buying gifts like crazy. But what does it all mean? It is so easy to get caught up in all of this craziness. I was just talking to my friend, Melanie, about how every year I get reeled into the commercial aspect of the holidays. I make my list of gifts, run around buying things like crazy, get all caught up in the wrapping, and shipping, and planning.  And at the end of it all, we only get a couple days off of work to actually celebrate and relax with family and friends, and then it's back to the grind, only to do it all over again the following year. I really think we lose the true meaning of the holidays with all of the stress that comes along with the fuss and flurry.

I would absolutely love to say no to it all. But so many people in our family expect the normal "routine" of Christmas which includes buying and giving gifts, and it's hard to say no to them.

I would, however, like to force myself to slow down this year, and make a conscious effort to remember what this season is really all about. I also need to remind myself how lucky we are, how blessed we are, and how unnecessary the consumer aspect of Christmas really is.

(Image credit

Take a moment to stop and think about it before your next trip to the mall this season.

Take a moment to think about it next time you stress about all the gifts you have left to buy.

I know for many, (myself included), giving gifts makes me happy. Seeing the smile on others faces when they unwrap a heartfelt gift warms my heart.

So, I'm not saying don't do it...I'm just saying, think about the real meaning of the season as you are rushing around the mall, fighting others for the last parking space, buying things unnecessarily.

Take a moment to enjoy the love, the peace, the joy, the blessings. For that is what the holiday season is truly about.

(Only 4 more days left for Cans for Comments....keep those comments coming!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

- what a difference a year makes -

First of all, I want to send a great, big Happy Birthday out to my gorgeous friend, Melanie, from Happy Jax. Melanie and I really click, and I love being able to chat with her, (even if it is always through email or our blogs!) She is such a sweetheart and I really love her. I just wanted to wish her a wonderful day today!

Now, onto the infamous Santa pictures! I'm so glad we started this tradition of bringing Ellie to sit on Santa's lap. It's amazing to see the difference in her pictures!

We started when Ellie was only 5 weeks old, in 2009! How adorable was she? You can barely see her in Santa's beard and santa suit...

 One year later, 2010...Ellie was in her "separation anxiety" phase. Well, I guess that's actually kind of an understatement. Let's just say, she was scared of everyone and everything she didn't know very well. We knew it was going to be a disaster, but hoped for the best....yeah, well, the exact instant we set her on Santa's lap, she started screaming. It was actually kind of funny, the mall photographer didn't know what to do, and finally Santa asked her (in the sweetest Santa voice ever), "Aren't you going to take the picture?" This is what we got...

And what a difference one more year makes...this year she was excited to see Santa. She understands who Santa is and of course knows that he is involved in bringing her presents! And she has been slowly but surely getting over her "shy" thing. So one year later, we got this gem, and I absolutely love it!

While we didn't get a smile (she needs to see something really funny to get her smiling when there is a camera around...ha ha), I really do love this picture. It is amazing to see how much she has grown up in a year. My little girl is growing up...I love it, and hate it all at the same time....other momma's out there, you understand what I'm saying right??

Monday, December 12, 2011

- quick recipe of the week -

First of all, if you missed my Cans for Comments post from Friday, please check it out! It's for a really good cause! (consider linking up too...please pretty please).

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We sure night on Friday night, a very fun Christmas walk on Saturday to look at all the Christmas lights, and then a very successful Santa picture on Sunday (I will definitely post the Santa pictures this week!)

And of course, its today I am happy to introduce you to Allie, from Table for More. She is a stay at home mom to two little boys and another boy due in March!

(Image credit Allie)
(Image credit Allie)
Allie is completely surrounded by boys! Even their dog is a boy! What keeps her grounded and feeling more "girl"ish in her house is cooking and baking. This summer they made a major overhaul on the foods they were putting into their bodies. Allie's husband started doing the Primal diet so it changed the way she cooked dinner...pretty much no more carb fillers or processed stuff and all natural organic fruits, vegetables, and meats. Allie loves, loves, loves pizza. But with carbs being out of the picture, she had to figure out a way to make pizza without the crust. She found a recipe for eggplant pizza and then put her own twist on it!

Eggplant Pizza
1-2 large eggplants
1 lb pork sausage
1/4 cup olive oil
1 white onion
1/2 cup kalamata olives
4-6 tomatoes, diced
minced garlic
whole milk mozzarella (so that it melts nicely)

Throw your diced tomatoes, diced onion, olive oil and olives in pan to make the sauce. Let it simmer. You can add any spices that you want to taste. Turn your oven to broil. Slice eggplant and brush both sides with olive oil. Place under the broiler until light brown. Flip them over and add the tomato sauce, sausage, and cheese. Place them back under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.

(Image credit Allie)

Thank you so much, Allie. This pizza looks amazing! And so much healthier without the super easy to make!
Don't forget to stop by Allie's blog to say hello and let her know how good her eggplant pizza looks!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

- cans for comments -

In a follow up to my post about leaving comments on blogs, I'm jumping on a band wagon...but this wagon has a really good cause...Cans for Comments! I originally heard about it from Amber, here. If you haven't heard of Cans for Comments, it's an awesome cause that bloggers can participate in during the holiday season!

Here's how it works...

From December 9 through December 19, for every comment that is left on my blog, I will donate one can of food to our local food bank. For every new follower I get, I will donate two cans of food.
That's it, easy peasy! And it's a win-win...canned food will go to a great cause, and I will get to read some awesome comments!

And how about linking up with me and promoting this Cans for Comments drive on your blog?
You can even grab the link code here to allow your followers to link up from your blog as well!

Come on, let's get some hungry people fed this season!

-Here is a tip to make it easier for people to leave comments on your blog-

Consider disabling the CAPTCHA option...
The CAPTCHA box is the box of jumbled letters that verifies that you are not an automated spammer while leaving a comment. Spam scares a lot of people, and many people think anything to keep it away from their blogs is a good thing. However, depending on the number of readers you have, you may not ever have to worry about spam comments left on your blog. I didn't get any spam comments for quite a long time. Only recently have I received a few but Blogger always catches them and has never posted them. You can always choose to moderate your comments before they are published as well, if you are worried about spam.
Disabling the CAPTCHA's makes it a lot easier, and less time consuming for someone to leave you a comment.
(directions to disable CAPTCHA can be found here )

- a little comment about blog comments -

To all of my lovely and loyal readers out there...

I know I have been slacking lately on leaving my comments scattered around on your blogs. I have no excuse, other than the fact that I have been so busy lately!

I just want you all to know, that I am still absolutely reading each and every one of your blogs! Sometimes, I may be of couple days behind, but I always catch up by the end of the week. However, if I haven't been commenting on your posts, I apologize. I will get better at it, because I really do have so many things to say about all of your awesome posts!

And for those of you who have still been leaving me comments on all of my posts, even if I have been slacking on my end, thank you, thank you, thank you! Your comments really do make my day!

(Image credit

I truly believe leaving friendly comments are a vital part of the blogging community to keep us all connected together, but sometimes it is can be such a daunting task! What are your thoughts on leaving comments on others blogs? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

- it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... -

...well sadly, not so much in our house. Other than the lights hanging outside, and our fabulous, but fake, Christmas tree, our house is SEVERELY lacking in the Christmas decorations department. I'll be honest, I just really haven't taken the time or effort to make, and/or stock up on any substantial decorations. Now that Ellie is getting older, I really want to go all out and decorate like crazy. But, I think it's going to have to wait one more year, as I have absolutely no time to worry about decorations this year...sigh.

I did, however, take the time to at least "pin" some wonderful decorating ideas! Doesn't that count for something? You gotta love Pinterest, right?

Part of the reason we don't have a houseful of Christmas decorations is because I am so darn picky when it comes to stuff like that. Just ask my hubby...he'll vouch for that! I'm not one to love super bright colors when it comes to decorating (...or anything for that matter. You should see my wardrobe!) I have a very simple, vintage style. Some may call it boring and colorless...I call it sophisticated and timeless! ha ha!

Here are just a few things I would love to see around my house right now!

(Image credit

This looks easy enough to make! I also love the amperstand btw! I've been wanting one for such a long time, I just don't really have any place to put it.

(Image credit
(Image credit creativetryals.blogspot)

I'm so in love with this little tree!

(Image credit

Love, love love these...LOVE them!

What a cute idea to hang wooden letters with your stockings! I think I am going to try this out next year!

(Image credit cottageinstincts.blogspot)

Another idea I definitely want to try...I would totally leave these up all year round! We just need a mantle or some other cool, vintage piece of furniture to put them on...

(Image credit annabooshouse.blogspot)

Okay, drum roll please...last but not least, I absolutely fell in love with this one! I WILL be doing this for our tree next year! If I start now, it might will be done by Christmas 2012! I better hit up a fabric store and get started...
It actually doesn't look that hard...maybe just a little time consuming...
(check out the tutorial here)

(Image credit anwjohnston.blogspot)
P.S - I am making a vow to myself to get going with the Christmas decorations so we WILL have a much more festive house next year! Maybe this year I will have to hit up the stores the day after Christmas to score some awesome 50% off deals!

Monday, December 5, 2011

- quick recipe of the week -

Can you believe it is already December? (I know, I'm 5 days behind on that one, but holy cow, it's December!) Can you also believe that Target has put out their bathing suits already?? Seriously? Um, it's December! And FREEZING! Who can think about bathing suits right now (...although, I do have a tropical vacation coming up in January...hmmm, maybe Target isn't that crazy after all!)

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating my nephew's 2nd birthday...and, I just found out I am going to be an aunt again! My sister is pregnant with #2!

But now, back to the grind...I have an extremely busy week ahead of me at work, so if I am MIA this week, don't worry, I'll be back soon!

Now, let's get onto our normal Monday routine around Becky from Mrs. to Mama. I just recently found Becky's blog, and I instantly fell in love with her great blogging content. I knew I just had to contact her right away to ask her to share a recipe with my readers! I have no idea how Becky has time to keep up with such a great blog with a (super cute) toddler running around, and a full time job! I need to learn some time management skills from her..ha ha! I promised myself I would make a valiant effort to spend more time beefing up my blog after checking hers out! It has definitely become a daily read for me! I just know you'll love her, so definitely stop by her blog to say hello.

(Image credit Becky)

Becky is sharing with us one of her family's favorite go-to salmon recipe. They love salmon in their household, and when she stumbled across this recipe on they were hooked. The best part about it? It's super easy, quick, doesn't require too many ingredients, and a busy momma can whip this up while chasing a busy toddler around the house!

Baked Salmon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 (6 ounce) fillets salmon

In a medium glass bowl, prepare marinade by mixing garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon fillets in a medium glass baking dish and cover with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator about 1 hour, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees C). Place fillets in aluminum foil, cover with marinade, and seal. Place sealed salmon in the glass dish and bake 35-45 minutes, until easily flakes with a fork.

(Image credit Becky)

Thank you so much Becky! We are huge fans of salmon in our house as well, so I will definitely be adding this easy recipe to my repertoire of dinners.

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