Monday, December 31, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy New Year's Eve to everyone!! I hope everyone has some exciting plans tonight and everyone stays safe! We have spent every New Year's Eve since Ellie was born in the comfort of our own home. It's the one night of the entire year, that we really don't have a babysitter available to us, and actually, it's not really such a bad thing. Gone are the days of clubbing, ringing in the new year at fancy restaurants, and staying out till 2 a.m. Nowadays, we get into comfortable clothes, sometimes invite friends over to join us, and just hunker down at home to watch the count down on tv. We haven't ever kept Ellie up till midnight, and don't plan to this year. That little girl already has enough sleeping issues...I don't want to create another one by allowing her to stay up that late...even if it's a special occasion!

I do plan to get back to more regular blog posts once the craziness of the holidays end. Until then, here's a super simple easy New Year's drink recipe for you! Enjoy!

Cotton Candy Champagne
cotton candy
champagne (or sprite/sparkling water)

Fill the glass with a handful of cotton candy. Pour champagne over the cotton candy. Serve immediately and enjoy!

(Image credit Smarty had a Party)

Have a safe and Happy New Year's Eve! Here's to 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

- our christmas in pictures -

This will be a {mostly} wordless post (because I am too lazy to write up a blog post today...ha ha) are some of my favorite pictures of our Christmas this was, as always, a wonderful day!

 Christmas eve...mommy fail! We had no chocolate chip cookies or carrots! We made do with thin wafer cookies and wilted lettuce! (and yes...she wears a skirt over her pajamas EVERY NIGHT....silly little girl!)

 The baby doll was a hit! And she named it after herself! Yup, she named her "Baby Ellie"! lol!

 She LOVES arts and crafts! My dad and stepmom bought this for her, and she loved it!

Monday, December 24, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Merry Christmas Eve to you all! This post is going to be short and sweet today...I'm sending you over to Tiffany's amazing blog for today's quick recipe of the week!

Enjoy (and thanks Tiff, for letting me take an easy way out today! Love ya hon!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

- in the end...does it really matter -

in the end, does it really matter?

does it matter that your child wants to wear the same pajamas four nights in a row or is the pickiest eater ever?

does it matter that you just can't do you skip that workout, or you order take out for dinner?

does it really matter that things didn't go perfectly as you had planned...that you were late to that football game...or that you have to plan your life around nap schedules still, so you just have to miss out on some things?

does it really matter that you let your child come into your room and sleep next to you just because she wants to be close to you and that's the reason she just can't sleep through the night...are you really creating a "non breakable" habit...or are you just being there for you child when they are young, and need you the most?

does it really matter if your house just isn't laden with Christmas decorations because you just haven't had the time to create that "perfect" Christmas look...does it mean that it's cold and un-festive, or is it actually the people in a house that create the love and warmth, rather than the decorations?

does it really matter if your car is dirty, the laundry is piling up, gifts need to be wrapped, and yet you choose to bring your child to see Santa instead of staying home to do the housework?

in light of the horrific tragedy that happened in Connecticut last Friday, the answer to all of these questions is a big, resounding no! these are not the important things in life...these are not the things that should be causing you stress or anger. yet, these are all things we have been battling with in our house over the past couple of weeks. these are the things that we have thought were important. these are the trivial things that we have bickered about under our roof, or raised our voices about. we are not a perfect family, and we never will be. but I can tell you, Friday opened my eyes and made me see so much more clearly...and made me realize that we need to work on becoming a family that tries to live every day to the fullest.

what if this was your last day with your loved ones...before you fight, raise your voices, or stress out over something, ask yourself...what if this was your last day with your loved the end, does it really matter?

Monday, December 17, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Wow, what a heart wrenching past couple of days we have had, huh? I'll leave my thoughts and feelings for another post, but my heart is breaking for everyone touched by the horrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Every time I so much even think about it, the tears start flowing. It's so, so devastating and horrific...

Whew...(pause while I collect myself once again)...

Okay, today I am recycling an old recipe I have posted before...because it is an absolute must for the holidays, and it's also something fun the kids can help you make. Quality time with their kids should be everyone's number one priority after what happened on Friday, and this is definitely something that is very toddler friendly!

Puppy Chow
9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or baking chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a pot over the stove, or in the microwave. Add the vanilla to the mixture. Pour Chex cereal into a large mixing bowl and pour the chocolate mixture over the Chex. Mix gently until cereal is fully coated with chocolate. Pour powdered sugar into a large ziploc bag. Spoon the Chex in to the bag and shake until coated with powdered sugar. Cool and enjoy!

(Image credit

*Hint, the part that is so much fun for the kids to help out with is the "shaking in the bag" step...although, you might want to double bag your mixture if your kid is an especially strong "shaker"...ha ha!

You'll love to have bowls of this around your house this holiday season...but be's addicting!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

- i'm still alive! -

Yeah, so, it looks like I missed Monday's Quick Recipe of the Week post huh?...I am still alive and kicking... but you know how it goes this time of year...the holidays are quickly approaching and I have not done ONE thing as far as Christmas preparation goes. No, seriously, I'm not kidding...not one gift wrapped, the holiday dinner we are hosting at our house on Christmas eve with a bunch of our friends has not even been planned yet, the majority of our Christmas gifts have not been purchased even yet...sigh.

And, as usual, the little one has not been all. The melatonin seems to be a fail after a 2 week trial. So, I have a grouchy, tired toddler, and I can barely keep my eyes open some alas, Monday's post was skipped (were those good enough excuses?? Hope so! ha ha!)

On a positive note...we got a little help with the yard work...thanks Ellie! Keep up the good work...such a useful child we have! :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

- vacation post, part 1 -

So I brought home a little head cold from Mexico that is kicking my butt right now, so when I sat down to download and edit our vacation pictures, it all got a little overwhelming! Hopefully I'll have some more to post once I am feeling this is just a little teaser!

Our trip was absolutely amazing! We stayed in a private villa in Puerto Vallarta, complete with a private infinity swimming pool, rooftop deck, outdoor living room and bar, and (drum roll please...this was the best part) a personal cook/housekeeper that cooked our meals, cleaned the villa, and even went shopping for us so that the place was stocked with our favorite foods before we got there. It was pure heaven! We've been to Mexico many times before, but we've always stayed at a resort (not a bad thing either). This was such a neat experience though because everything was personalized for us. Home cooked, authentic Mexican meals were cooked and served to us wherever we preferred to eat, homemade guacamole and margaritas were always in the fridge, and our awesome cook/housekeeper even went out to buy special food for Ellie since she is so darn particular about what she eats. It was amazing!

Here are some pictures of the villa, courtesy of the owner's website...

The living room had huge floor to ceiling glass doors that could be opened completely to create an open air living room

Rooftop deck

Outdoor bar and outdoor living area...we had most of our meals out here

The huge master bedroom

 As much as we were planning to go into the main town, and explore, we actually only ended up leaving the villa once. It was just too tempting to relax and lay by the pool every day! Without my laptop, and with very spotty wifi in the villa, I found myself forced to do other things besides play around on my take naps, and read! (I never seem to have time to read when I am at home!). We all got a lot of sleep, and a lot of relaxation in! And of course, Ellie absolutely loved every minute of it. She is such a dream to travel with. She is always so good on the plane, and does so well in hotels or other houses when we are on vacation. All in all, it was a wonderful, much needed trip! We are already planning a trip back for next year!

Here are just a few pictures from the 300+ that I downloaded...I'll share some more with you once I am feeling better and have more energy to sort through them and edit them!

Ellie was in awe of the view from our villa. She kept telling us how beautiful the city down below was!

One happy toddler...(don't worry, the edge was much wider than it looks in the pictures. She was perfectly safe in the pool and was never in there alone). 

Even when she wasn't swimming she was so content and happy up on the rooftop deck. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

We had an amazing and very relaxing time on vacation! A post will follow soon with pictures, and details...after I finish unpacking, settling back in to reality...oh, and kicking this cold I seem to have picked up some where between Puerto Vallarta and home. Ugh!

Today's recipe will be a hit at your next holiday party or potluck! Enjoy!

Pizza Dip
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded/grated
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
2 ounces pepperoni, sliced
2 tablespoons green pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and spread it across the bottom of a pie plate. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and olives. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. Dip or use as a spread on slices of baguettes or other breads/crackers.

(Image and recipe credit

Looks good, doesn't it? It's definitely as good as it looks, I promise. Maybe not very low fat, but that's why you can just save it for your holiday get togethers when everyone is supposed to indulge!

Now I'm off to download the millions of vacation pictures I have sitting on my camera...I'll be back soon with my vacation post!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

- a little sleep update -

So, yes, you all know...we have some sleep issues going on in our house. It's nothing new...little Miss Ellie has not been sleeping well for over 6 months now. Yes, it's just about every night...yes, it stresses our entire house out, every.single.night. Some nights she cries and screams, some nights she persistently calls out for me and some nights, she just lays in bed singing and playing, or staring at the ceiling. Those are the "good" nights...the ones where Matt and I can actually roll over and fall back asleep while our 3 year old stays awake for hours. She wakes up at least 2-3 times a night...on a bad night, it's more like 4 times. And yes, she can stay awake for hours. A couple nights ago she woke up at 2:30 a.m...finally fell back asleep at 6:15 a.m....yup, that's right...hours!

She does at least stay in her bed. She is really good about that. So we don't have to worry about her wandering around the house in the dark, and we don't have to deal with locking her door, or putting up a gate to keep her in her room. And she doesn't ever come into our room and try to climb into our bed. She never has liked co-sleeping with us. She just wants us her room keeping her company. She doesn't really want to sleep right next to us in the same bed.

About a month ago I was at my wit's end. Lack of sleep was finally getting to me and I was so stressed and tired. I decided the best solution was to just put a mattress in our room and let her sleep on the floor of our room. That way we could get some sleep, and she would know that she was close to us, and not alone. Of course, I figured that would take a couple of days to facilitate (turns out we don't have any spare mattress laying around our house!), and within those couple of days before I even got around to setting anything up in our room, she magically started sleeping perfectly fine. Whew, problem solved right?

Wrong! That only lasted 3 or 4 nights, and then she slowly started back into her normal waking routine. I decided instead of actually purchasing a mattress and opening up our room to her, I would call her pediatrician one more time about the issue to get some more advice. I have talked to her many times about this and she has given me many useful suggestions and advice, all which have failed to help us, unfortunately. However, after my latest conversation with her, she agreed that over 6 months of only getting 6-7 hours of sleep per night for a child her age is not healthy at all. She suggested melatonin, which I had already looked into, and was really hesitant about giving her. I know A LOT of people use it with success for their kids, and there is nothing wrong with that. I just have a hard time knowing that my child needs a sleep supplement at her young age. Plus, I don't ever want her to get dependent on anything, no matter how natural it is. Her Dr. knows my hesitations about giving her supplements, no matter how natural they are, and agreed that we shouldn't leave her on it long term. She told me to give her the lowest dose possible (an adult normally takes 3-5mg, we are giving her .25mg) and to only try it for 2 weeks, in hopes that it will just help her body "reset" it's sleep cycles. We are currently on day 3 of the difference in her sleep yet...sigh. I'll keep at it for the full 2 weeks, and will stop immediately after if it hasn't helped. I still don't love that I am giving her a sleep supplement, but I also know that a 3 year old should not be getting only 6 hours of sleep per night. That can't be good for her mind, her body, or her development. So as torn up as I am over the melatonin, I'm still hoping that if I keep at it just temporarily, it can help her get a good night's sleep.

I do have to say, I've had some amazing people reach out to me and offer advice, support, or just words of encouragement through out all this. And I am so grateful for that! It's amazing how stressed and upset you can get due to lack of sleep, and there have been a lot of people that have been so supportive over the past 6 months.

I will also say though, that I have had a handful of people criticize my decisions, or question the methods I am trying. I know it kind of comes with the territory of being a parent, and there is always someone out there that will judge you as a parent, but it certainly doesn't help an already frustrating situation. When I told some people I was going to try letting her sleep in our room, some people were aghast. "Why in the world would you start her on that "habit" at 3 years old. She's so good at staying in her own bed, why would you mess with that?" And when I mentioned melatonin to some people, I definitely got raised eyebrows from some people..."Melatonin, for a kid that young? That can't be good for her." Here's the thing...until they've spent one night in our house, most people just don't get it. I can tell people until I am blue in the face what happens around our house at night, but no one really gets it unless they've been to our house overnight, or, unless they also have a toddler/kid with sleep issues. It's not fun, people! I'm not doing some of these things just for the heck of it! I'm doing them because we are desperate to get her a good night's sleep, every night, because that's what a toddler needs!

As much as I have complained, and cried over this issue in the past 6 months, I am so grateful that we aren't having to deal with more serious health issues. We are so blessed that Ellie is healthy, and happy (even with her lack of sleep). And I've survived lack of sleep before when Ellie was younger (oh, have I mentioned that Ellie has always been a crappy sleeper...yeah, sleep issues are not a new thing around our house), and I know I will survive again. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. We will make our way through this and soon, we won't even remember that it was ever such a big deal in our house. That's one thing I have learned back when I had a refluxy, colicky, high needs, difficult baby. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! This too shall pass and God will never gives us more than we can handle. It might just take a little more time for us to realize that!

Monday, November 26, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Sooooo, turns out I took an unintentional break from my blog this week. With the Thanksgiving holiday, and get togethers with friends and family, and Matt and I off of work for 5 days straight, I just found us so busy, and blogging was put on the back burner. We did have a wonderful break from work, and a wonderful Thanksgiving with both friends and family. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of either of our Thanksgiving dinners (yes, we had two). I took a break from my camera to really enjoy the festivities, so alas, you guys will just have to imagine how our Thanksgiving looked.

We actually leave later this week on a little vacation, and I am so.darn.excited! I won't be blogging (leaving my laptop at home!), but you can definitely find me on Instagram (user name, kynad) to follow us on our adventure!

Today I am sharing with you a super easy, kid friendly recipe that I found on Pinterest (well, adults like it too, but it's super kid friendly!) I don't know many kids who don't like it, except of course, my kiddo, who won't touch anything with sauce on it. She says sauce makes her food "dirty"...and she will only eat her food if it's "clean" (sans sauce). Yup, that's Ellie for you! Lol!

Crockpot Ravioli Casserole
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt/pepper to taste
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, or fresh spinach, washed
16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

Brown ground beef/turkey with onion and garlic. Put in crock-pot and add sauce, tomatoes and seasonings. Cook for 6-7 hours on low. Add the last 4 ingredients during the last 30 minutes of cooking and turn crock-pot to high.

(Image credit and recipe credit

It's seriously an easy week night dinner that will be a hit with both kids and adults alike! I hope everyone has a great week, and please come follow me on Instagram (user name, kynad) for pictures of our exciting upcoming vacation (have I mentioned how darn excited I am?) Now, I should probably get to packing! Have a wonderful week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello and happy turkey week to you! Hooray to short work weeks! We had a fairly uneventful weekend, but sometimes that's okay!

Today I am featuring an amazing and awesome blogger that I have known for quite some time now. Christine from, Apartment 46. I adore Christine! She's such a sweetheart, and such wonderful mom to her adorable boy named, Sam (that I promise you will just fall in love with). Christine is a wife-mama-nurse, residing in the soggy land of Portland, Oregon. She loves garage sales, sweaters large enough to double as throw blankets, and she likes my coffee off-white. Anything with sugar is her favorite food. And while she may be many things, she claims that ‘chef’ is not one of them. So today she is sharing a super easy, no bake recipe with us. Christine promises that if you whip this up, you will probably be nominated for the title of Best-Chef-Woman-in-the-Whole-Western-Hemisphere {or something of the like} when you serve it at your next dinner party.

(Image credit Christine)

No Bake Oreo & Cream Cheese Dessert
1 package regular Oreos
½ cup butter, melted
1 large box of instant chocolate pudding
16 oz cool whip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Crush the whole package of Oreos—I did this with a bag and a rolling pin, but you could also do this with a food processor. Set aside ½ cup of the cookie crumbs to sprinkle on top when you are done. Spread the remaining crumbs in the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Pour melted butter on top of
the cookie crumbs. Mix butter and cookie crumbs well, then press firmly into bottom of the pan,
forming your crust. Make the chocolate pudding as instructed on the package and allow it to set in the fridge. In a separate bowl, blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Then fold in 8
ounces of cool whip. Top the Oreo crust with the cream cheese mixture, then add the layer of pudding. On top of that, spread your last 8 ounces of cool whip and lastly sprinkle the top with the cup of Oreo crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Image credit Christine)

This would be the perfect dessert to serve this week at your Thanksgiving dinner if you are looking for a yummy alternative to pumpkin pie! (or, even better, serve it in addition to your pies! No one counts calories on Thanksgiving do they?)

Now, run over to Christine's blog and thank her for this delectable recipe! And while you're there, get to know her! I promise you will love her as much as I do! She's simply the best!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

- a letter to my three year old -

Dearest Ellie-

Today, my baby girl, you are three years old. You are growing up so fast, but we are enjoying every minute of it. 

Ellie, you bring so much sunshine and light into our lives, I can't even put it into words. Your smile absolutely lights up a room. Your laugh is like music to our ears. Your cries when you are sad or upset tear at our hearts. We love every single part of you. 

You are so smart, and quick witted. It's so much fun to watch you learn. You're shy and sensitive like your momma. Passionate, but dramatic like your daddy. You love music and dancing and anything and everything girly. You are absolutely perfect and I want you to always, always remember that.

You love your daddy so much, but right now you are a such a momma's girl. You're my little sidekick. You tell me all the time that I'm your best friend. I know this will change as you get older, and you realize all the cool things that your daddy can do. But for now, I am loving how much you want to be with me.  

 Happy birthday my sweet baby girl. You are the light of my life, the joy in my heart. I love you to the moon and back again. You are my sunshine, my snuggily buggily, my perfect little girl. I love you so much!

(All image credits... the always amazing Nina S.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

- the third birthday party -

So this year, I promised my darling hubby I would keep Ellie's party small. We scaled down the guest list quite a bit compared to her first two parties, and it turned out it was a good thing we did. The forecast said rain all day, and while it didn't actually rain, it was very chilly, and most of the guests ended up inside our house instead of in our backyard. I can only imagine how chaotic it would have been if our guest list was doubled!

I also didn't hire my dear friend/photographer, Nina, to come take pictures during the party like I have done the past two years...I figured with a small party, I could handle the pictures myself. Big fail! I think I only got a total of four or five pictures with Ellie actually in them! Lesson learned...hire Nina for every party from here on out!

The extent of my craftiness this year pretty much was just a few decorations on the dessert table and few more things hanging around the backyard. Like I said, we kept it small this year, and that included the decorations! And of course, like every year, my wonderful and amazing mom helped me pull off all of the decorating. There's no way I could ever do all this crafting myself!

Cupcakes, cake pops, and an ice cream sundae bar...yummmm!

Love, love, love my girl!

This might be my favorite picture of the entire night...all the kids! The three older siblings holding their baby sisters/brother are hilarious! Please note that Ellie has ZERO friends her age that are girls...all of her friends are boys! And yes, most of the people we know with kids her age already have baby #2....(the little boy in the blue t-shirt is the only other only-child we know). But, hey, we are okay with that! We are doing this "adding to the family" thing at our own pace...(but that's another blog post for another time :-)

Monday, November 12, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! We had an amazing birthday party for an almost three year old (T minus 4 days). It's crazy how much older Ellie seems already. She acted so grown up this was fun to watch, but also sad for this momma.

Today I am sharing a super, super yummy and easy recipe. Say hello to these babies...

Taco Stuffed Shells
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 package taco seasoning
1 four ounce package cream cheese
12 large pasta shells
1 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1 ½ cups tortilla chips (crushed)
3 green onions (chopped)
1 cup sour cream

Cook the ground beef/turkey and add taco seasoning. Prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and allow to fully cool. While burger is cooking cook the pasta shells, drain and toss well with butter. Pour salsa in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish and cover the tops of the shells with taco sauce. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, uncover, and sprinkle crushed chips and shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses on top. Cook for about 15 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, additional salsa, black olives or whatever you think goes good with tacos!

(Image credit

Thursday, November 8, 2012

- busy planning for three -

We will have a three year old in exactly one week! One week! She'll be three! Wow, where does time go? She's growing up before our eyes, and I just want to soak her in...every single moment with her.

We're having her party this weekend, and even thought I promised my hubby I wouldn't go overboard this's almost impossible. I love, love, love planning parties, and I just can't go small, no matter how hard I try.

So, I'll busy for the rest of this week...planning a party, for an almost three year old. I'll be back next week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone!

We had a great weekend...but can I tell you how not excited I am about daylight savings?? Ugh! Let's face it...we really don't get an extra hour of sleep with a toddler in the house, and I hate how dark it gets so early. As much as I love all the holidays that winter brings, I'm not going to lie...I don't love the darkness, the cold weather, and everything else that comes along with this season. 

Today, I am super excited to introduce you to Leah, from Beautifully Molded. Leah has a pretty amazing blog...the thing I like best about her?...she's so real on her blog. I absolutely love reading blogs that are about real, every day life! Leah loves to cook, (although she may not ALWAYS have the energy to). It's where she can be creative to her heart's content. She really would love for her family to enjoy more healthy options, so she tries to sneak in veggies whenever she can. She has three children and a husband that keep her hands full, and are the loves of her life!

(Image credit Leah)
Lemon & Spinach Spaghetti Squash
1 medium spaghetti squash (a large one and will make about 4-6 servings)
2 handfuls of spinach
3 tbsps of lemon zest
olive oil
salt & pepper
Italian herbs seasoning
Parmesan cheese
chopped red bell pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash lenght wise. Scoop up threads and seeds and set aside. Drizzle olive oil on spaghetti squash and season with paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste and rub into squash.Place halves face down on cookie sheet and heat for 55 minutes or until completely tender. Take out of oven and with a fork, fluff out the 'noodles' onto a large bowl.Chop spinach and toss with spaghetti squash. Zest lemon over spaghetti to your liking. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve with red bell peppers.

(Image credit Leah)

If you've never tried spaghetti squash before, you should know that's it's pretty darn tasty, so don't be scared of it just because it's squash. But you should also know, that as much as it looks just like pasta (it's uncanny really), don't expect it to taste just like pasta. After all, it is squash...(even though it has "spaghetti" in it's name).

Thank you so much Leah! This is definitely a great way to get our veggies in! Please go say hello to Leah and check out her blog. And try this recipe looks so good!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

- we conquered halloween -

We came, we saw, we conquered...with a lot of little Cinderella princess...

She got a lot of loot...most of which we recycled and passed back out later that night...because Lord knows we do not need a bucketful of candy sitting around our house...tempting us...taunting us...

She had a blast...she smiled all night. It was a good Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

- this says it all -

Yup...this just about says it all!

And that's all I have to say about that!
Ha ha!

Monday, October 29, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Pumpkins were carved, football was watched, smiles were seen, fun was had, and tantrums were thrown, time outs were given...just a typical weekend in our house!

Today I am featuring such a beautiful blogger, both inside and out. I just recently got to know her through her blog, and she inspired me in so many ways. Meet Heather, from Live.Love.Laugh. Heather is an amazing wife of 3 years to her husband, Derek, and a stay at home mom to Brayden, her special needs toddler. Their son has Cerebral Palsy and is the light of their life. Normal looks a bit different in their house but they still have the same ups and downs as any parent. Heather loves to cook and shop! She is turning 30 at the end of the year and is fully embracing this upcoming new chapter in her life!

(Image credit Heather)

If you want to get to know Heather, and her adorable son better, a good place to start is right here. I promise their story will inspire and awe you in so many ways. Heather and Derek are amazing parents!

Honey Lime Shrimp
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs honey
juice of one small lime, or half a large lime (2-3 T)
zest of one small lime, or half a large lime
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large ziploc bag, combine all the marinade ingredients. When everything is well-combined, add the shrimp, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, and close it up. Place it in the fridge. Let the shrimp marinate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag around once or twice during that time, so that all the shrimp stay evenly covered in the marinade. When you’re ready to cook, take the shrimp out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; there is no need to add any oil or butter to the pan, as the marinade has enough oil in it to keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan. (If you would prefer to use the grill for these, you can thread them onto skewers and toss them on the grill at this point.) Add your shrimp to the pan in a single layer, making sure they are not too crowded; you can always cook them in more than one batch. Let them cook on one side for about a minute, until they curl up and start to turn pink. Flip them over, and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until the shrimp are opaque. Remove from the pan, and serve immediately!

(Image credit Heather)

Yummy! I LOVE shrimp, but I so rarely cook it. This sounds amazing though, and it's an easy recipe too! Thank you so much Heather, for sharing this today! And thank you for sharing your blog! I hope everyone has a great week, and please, go say hi to Heather!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

- pumpkin picking -

Our annual trip to the pumpkin patch this year did not disappoint. We tried a new place this year...and it was adorable! Smaller than the massive place we have gone in the past, but so quaint and "country-ish", and perfect. And Ellie picked out the most perfect pumpkins! Four of them to be exact. Because she had to have a white one, and a yellow one, and a funny colored one, and a plain orange one...and her daddy is a sucker for his little girl! :-)

Okay, I guess I can see why he is such a sucker for her...look at her cute little hand resting on his leg. So sweet!

 Picking her pumpkins carefully...

This just might be one of my favorite pictures of me and Ellie...her smile...her little hand holding my hand...

I think the carving festivities just might be happening this weekend! Let the Halloween fun begin!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

- god bless the moon -

Back on January 25, I started my "Picture a Day" (of Ellie) project on my other blog, God Bless the Moon (yes, I missed the first 24 days of I can't really call it a 366 photography project). My goal was to simply pull out my camera more and I knew that if I posted at least one picture a day, I would definitely be pulling out my camera more, and practicing my skills.

I am so proud of the fact that it's October, and I have been able to post a picture This project has definitely forced me to use my camera more and it's also forced me to edit quicker and more efficiently and not be such a perfectionist about every single shot. Has it been easy? Absolutely not! One of the downsides of being a working momma, is that I don't get to be with Ellie all day, so I miss a lot of photo opportunities. Getting home at 6:15 every night often forces me to just take hurried pictures, sometimes inside, after dark, in horrible lighting. And although I only post one picture a day, it definitely takes some time out of my evening to download the pictures from my camera, choose one to edit, and then post. But, am I still glad I took on this challenge? Absolutely! The benefits have far outweighed the downsides. More important than forcing me to practice my photography, I have created such a special blog documenting Ellie's daily life. Nothing makes me happier than scrolling back and looking at all the pictures, remembering each and every day.

I have such a passion for photography and I am so glad a project like this can help me in so many ways. And I only hope my little one looks back at all these pictures one day and realizes how special she is to me!

I'm seriously obsessed with this little cutie!...and, I totally rock a mustache, right?

Monday, October 22, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! We finally got a chilly weekend (I got to bust out my boots!)...and I would like to think that meant fall was finally here in our part of the country.  But alas, a peek at this week's upcoming weather shows temperatures back up in the 80's by Thursday. I know I shouldn't complain, but sometimes the grass is just always greener on the other side, right? I'll be sure to remind myself how much I love our warmer climate though, when fall has past and other people are experiencing freezing cold temperatures, and I'm barely having to wear a jacket, let alone a heavy winter coat!

Even though we don't have any cold weather to escape, my hubby made my weekend by mentioning the possibility of a little vacation coming up in November to a warm, tropical place. Fingers crossed we can make that happen! Even though we'll have Ellie with us, she is an awesome traveler and I know we will all have a great time relaxing in the sun.

So, today I am sharing another super easy recipe that I found on none other than Pinterest (seriously, what did we do before Pinterest?)

Mexican Chicken
1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 Tbs taco seasoning
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup enchilada sauce
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
3 green onions, chopped

Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with taco seasoning; grill or saute. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a greased 8x8" baking dish; season with salt to taste. Add the enchilada sauce and toss to coat the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken and bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle the green onions on top and serve.

(Image credit

I'm also sponsoring a blog hop today! Come join me over here, and meet some new blogging friends!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

- a grateful heart -

Today I learned that an old friend from high school was getting a divorce. She just found out her husband had been cheating on her. They have a 5 year old boy. Now, we all know, this is not anything new. Unfortunately, a story like this is all too common these days. And I wasn't even that close to this girl. We just found each other through mutual Facebook friends, and caught up with each other mostly through reading each others posts and looking at pictures. The thing about this girl, was that her life looked so perfect through Facebook. Her and her husband were both good looking. Like "model" good looking. Perfect bodies, in amazing shape. He was a firefighter, she stayed at home, and they lived in a huge house right by the beach. She was constantly posting pictures of their vacations, all to tropical places of course....lounging by the pool with drinks with little umbrellas in them. It's funny how "perfect" life can look through social media. Turns out they have been in couples counseling for quite a long time, and she just found out through a recent session that he had been cheating on her...with another married woman.

As I was reflecting on her story, I felt sadness for her, but I also felt so, so grateful for my husband, and the life we have made together. I have never professed to having a perfect marriage, or a perfect life. Matt and I have had our problems. We get stressed, we bicker, we fight. We can annoy the crap out of each other and often times we don't see eye to eye. But we also love each other so much, and when sometimes romantic love just isn't enough (let's just be honest, there are times when this is true), we are always the most loyal friends to each other...a team that at the end of the day, has each others best interest at heart. We may not be the young lovers we once were. We may not be traveling all over the world like we used to, with a lot less responsibilities, but we have an amazing, amazing life together, and I am so, so grateful. I am grateful for us...right now.

What are you grateful for today? Look around, because there are so many reasons to have a grateful heart.

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