Monday, January 30, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! I'm a year older now, which means I'm a year wiser right? Ha ha, we'll see about that one!

Today I'd like you to meet Jenna from Mommy in Manhattan. Jenna has the most stunning children, and they seriously get to do some of the most awesome family outings ever! One of the benefits of living in a big city, huh?

Jenna, and her husband, Dennis, and three beautiful children, Davis, Gwen, and Chloe (they are seriously stunning!). They live in NYC and absolutely love being spontaneous and fun! Jenna works as an esthetician and enjoys fitness and healthy living. She is even a certified pilates instructor! Her blog is all about their daily life in NYC and all of the fun happenings around them!

(Image credit Jenna)
Steak Salad
cooked lean sirloin steak strips, sliced thin
romaine lettuce
cherry tomatoes
sliced or cubed avocados
slivered almonds
feta cheese crumbles

For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinaigrette
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Once mixed, set aside and combine salad ingredients and drizzle with dressing.

(Image credit Jenna)

Wow! How easy does that sound folks? And super healthy! It's a win win all around! Now go visit Jenna over at her blog and give her a great big thank you for this awesomely healthy, easy recipe!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

- my birthday weekend -

First of all, a great big happy birthday to a couple other gals that had a birthday the last couple of days...Courtney and Carlie, I hope you gals both had amazing days! I also celebrated a birthday this weekend, and had a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't pull my camera out too much, so I don't have very many pictures, but trust me, it was a great weekend!

Yesterday, my in laws took Ellie for the day, so that Matt and I could have some adult only time. We started off the perfectly warm day with a delicious breakfast...

Then we headed north for some wine tasting! It was a great way to relax and just enjoy each others company. A couple of our friend's met up with us later in the afternoon, and we were happy they were able to join us!

Today was my actual birthday, and it was a family day...just the three of us, at my request! I couldn't think of any other way I wanted to spend my birthday. We played all day long and had a great time together!

I felt so loved the whole weekend by all of my family and friends! It was definitely a fabulous way to spend my birthday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

- she's growing up -

She's growing up so fast...I sometimes wish I could just make time stop, maybe just for a little bit...

(Image credit Nina S.)
(Image credit Nina S.)
Oh baby girl, I love you more than I could ever tell you....but please, please, don't grow up so fast.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

- my new project -

I decided at the beginning of the year, that I want to accomplish two things this year with photography. I want to force myself to take more bring out my camera every single day and shoot, even just a few shots. To force myself to practice, and get better.

I also wanted to create some sort of memoir of Ellie, to document the years that go by. Something that I can print out and keep forever.

By tying both of those things in with blogging, I have decided to start a second blog, branching off of the picture a day, Project 365 366 idea that so many other people are doing.

My new blog, God bless the moon, can be found here, and will feature a picture (or two) that I shoot each day. Hopefully I will get much more comfortable with my camera and improve my photography skills by taking pictures every single day. And I'm hoping it will also help me get over the need that I always have for the absolute perfect picture with the perfect edit...the way I figure it, with at least one picture a day, I better get a lot more comfortable with the "not so perfect" pictures...otherwise I will be glued behind my camera and my computer...two things that I am aiming NOT to do with this new project!

I am excited to take on this challenge of taking my camera out daily, and documenting Ellie's day to day life. I would love for everyone to go visit me daily and follow me over there as well! Commenting has been turned off over at that blog, because the purpose is to really just share a picture a day with you. But it would definitely make me smile if I got a visit over there by all of you lovely readers, even if you can't leave your sweet thoughts and words.

*and a side note...sweet story...the name of the blog, God Bless the Moon, is named for Ellie, who loves singing this song every time she sees the hear her sing it in her little toddler voice, it just melts my heart every time...

I see the moon, the moon sees me
The moon sees the one I long to see. 
God bless the moon, and God bless me
And God bless the one, I long to see...
(Image credit

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

- it was pretty amazing -

The Riviera Maya is pretty amazing. Matt and I have actually traveled there a couple times before, and we thought it would be the perfect place to bring Ellie. And it definitely was! The weather was great...we did get one rainy day, but other than that the temperature was warm and the humidity was low. The water was crystal clear, and the sand was so soft...

Ellie was an absolute angel the entire trip, even on the plane. She is seriously a natural born traveler! We could not have asked for a more well behaved toddler. Not a single fit was thrown, not a single tantrum. The only crying she did the entire week was when she fell and got a "boo boo" (and come on, everyone cries when they get "boo boos" right?). She was so excited the entire vacation and it was so much fun to watch her discover everything. 

Every day was spent playing in the water, and soaking up the sun. While we didn't really leave the resort to explore, there was plenty to do at the hotel to keep us busy. Trying to go out on planned excursions was just too tricky by the time she woke up each morning, and with her long afternoon naps (the sun takes it out of a little toddler, let me tell ya!) But no one was complaining...she was super happy with the pool and the beach at the resort.

There was plenty of quality Daddy time in the water. Dads are just so much more fun than moms playing in the water aren't they??

I absolutely LOVE the way she is holding onto her daddy's pinky in this picture...melts my heart.

We had a very nice suite, that had a separate living room for Ellie to sleep in, and a huge patio complete with a huge outdoor bathtub. Ellie got to take a bath outside every evening! The patio area was nice because when Ellie was napping, Matt and I still got to enjoy the fresh air and didn't have to be cooped up in the room waiting for her to wake up (did I mention how LONG she napped every day? Holy cow! 3.5-4 hours every single afternoon!) 

The food was pretty good at the hotel. Definitely not the best we have had at a resort like this, but not horrible either. It certainly wasn't the healthiest food, and all three of us went on a vegetable and fruit binge when we got back home to cleanse ourselves! The mojitos however, were absolutely delicious and were definitely a staple during the day!

Ellie's favorite place was the lagoon. The water was so shallow and calm, and she spent hours sitting in the water playing with the sand.

After five glorious days, it was time to go home and the flight home was a rough one. After loading the entire plane, they realized there was a mechanical issue, so we all had to de-plane and wait for over an hour for a new plane. Then, once we were finally in the air, there was some pretty gnarly turbulence and the plane actually got hit by lightning! I guess it's fairly common, but it sure scared the heck out of me! You could actually feel the plane vibrate pretty hard when the lightning hit, and all of the lights flickered on and off. By the time we finally landed at home, it was almost 11:00 p.m. and we had a very tired toddler. But even with all of that, she was still so well behaved the entire flight.  We seriously could not ask for a better little girl. She makes doing adventurous things like traveling so easy!

It was an absolutely remarkable trip...definitely one of my favorites because of all the awesome memories we made as a family. 

Ahhh Mexico, we hope to see you again real soon!

Monday, January 23, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! Can you believe January is almost over already? Crazy! I've been so busy this month that it has just flown by. Our vacation post is coming this week, I promise! Turns out when you take over 200 pictures in a five day span, it takes quite awhile to sort through them!

Today, I want to introduce you to Jamie from, Handling With Grace. Jamie is a proud wife to a US sailor and a mother to a super cute little girl. She doesn't pretend to be a Martha Stewart or a Paula Dean. Her tastes are actually pretty simple. While she doesn't eat meat, she eats a lot of cottage cheese, ice cream, pizza, and vegetable soup. She would usually prefer to spend her extra calories on a couple glasses of wine than a delectable treat (especially if it means she has to cook it!) She says she is definitely more of a reluctant chef but has a hungry husband with high expectations!

Her husband is a regular ole meat and potatoes kind of guy who is not big on soup (much to her chagrin). This Zuppa Toscana soup is his only exception!

Zuppa Toscana Soup
2 to 3 large russet potatoes cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 large onion sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 package of thickly cut bacon
1 package of Italian sausage
2 cans of chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 handfuls of kale
4 cups of water
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes

Brown the Italian sausage and cook and crumble the bacon.  Combine chicken broth, water, garlic, potatoes, and onion in a large stock pot. Cook on medium high. When the potatoes are soft, add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the sausage, bacon, cream and the kale and let cook an additional five minutes.

(Image credit Jamie)
(Image credit Jamie)

This soup sounds so wonderful on a cold winter day! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us! Be sure to visit Jamie over at her blog and enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

- we're back -

And it was WONDERFUL! 
We enjoyed every single minute of our trip! Of course, I have tons of pictures to share, but first I have to get through the mound of laundry waiting for me, and catch up on a week's worth of work. But I'm
not complaining...the trip was so worth it! 

Here's a little sneak peek of our slice of heaven that we got to enjoy for the past 5 days...

P.S.- hey Instagram lovers, wanna follow me? Click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

- she's seriously fabulous -

Melanie is seriously fabulous! I ♥ this girl! We've already made plans to meet someday so that Ellie and her adorable boy, Jax can finally play together! And so that her and I can have some serious girl time! Cause I really adore this girl! It's as simple as that.

This is...
& this is my,

    I can't tell you how excited I was when my girl Kyna asked me to guest post for her! Then I thought.... holy moly, what to write about? I could write an entire post on how much I ADORE her alone, or I could talk about how I have been bribing my little Jax w/ pop cycles for potty training.
 & then this happened...

Best day as Jaxy's mommy,
     There are those precious moments that we all have w/ are kiddos each day. Either big or small, each one can erase the huge catastrophe  that happened minutes before. Kids are just so smart. They really do absorb everything. When you don't think they're listening, it's probably because they're just that smart! They don't want to do what mama's asking! Lol) Jax has been a little behind (Uggg. Hate using that word.), just a little, on his vocabulary. We were really starting to FREAK OUT. We were assured though in knowing just how genius our little man is. He honestly has been a tad slow (Uggg. Hate that word too!) on some of the milestones. But once he picked each one up, he was a pro by the next day. I think he is just super stubborn like his mama, & everything is on Jax time. He has more than tripled he vocab in the last month alone, but was still not putting words in complete sentences. This Precious PRECIOUS moment happened THIS morning.
We woke up / a little monkey pokes mama in the face....
 "Hieeee mommm. Please gwet... Up...Up. UP!!"
Mama was UP!
That alone was the most words he'd put together!
THEN later this morning.
I was wearing those black leggings, the ones that I need to throw away.
Ya know those comfy pants you only where around the house, & only open the door half way
so that the cute Fed Ex guy won't see your gnarly choice of duds.
 (Never mind my Fed Ex guy isn't cute, but my man is soooo CUTE.
Why do I wear them around him?
Sorry, off subject there. haha!)
Back to my fabulous day as a mama, in my horrid black leggings.
Did, I mention they also have a new little hole on em?
Well they do, a huge one, right on the knee.
We had just gotten done w/ breakfast.
Sticky Jaxy face & hands were all wiped down,
from our yummy french toast.
My little one came & sat on mama's lap.
I was TRYING to now get my original post finished on pop cycles for pee-pee Lol).
He always takes whatever is in his way of sitting on mama's lap,
& pushes it aside.
LOVE that!
He looks down at my holey knee.
Looks back up at me all sweet & concerned.
That one word along w/ the cutest expression I've ever seen.
"Yes, baby...?"
( he thought mommy had a bad owie.)
"Mommm, i kiss? I kiss!"
(insert a sweet N' slobbery kiss)
I got a big smooch & a Jaxy hug!
Best moment as a mom yet!
I know it's not world changing, or truly even a full sentence.
I am raising the most caring, sweet, smart little boy.
(don't get me wrong, Jax has his naughty moments, but this day evened it all out!)
All those days & nights of re-reading his favorite books, flash cards, & practice really did sink in!

He even  makes a day in gnarly holey leggings, 
 the best day yet!
& that is some good lovin there!
I would LOVE for y'all to come over & say hi at  Happy Jax !!

P.S -Thank you so much my sweet friend, Kyna.
I was thinking of  buying our bottle(s) of wine, we will one day share...
Then I  thought~ Haha... nevermind.
 It would never last that long!


Now go show my girl Melanie some love by running over to her blog to say hi!

Monday, January 16, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday!

Since we're on our little vacay right now, today's recipe is an old archived one, but it's a good one! It probably would have been more timely to share this one with you during the holidays as that's when I made it and it was perfect to have around the house during Christmas when everyone indulges, but alas, anytime can be a good time for a quick and easy sweets recipe right?

Okay, so it's not the most original recipe, but there's gotta be some people out there who still haven't heard of it...if so, this one's for you guys!

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

Seriously, this stuff is addicting! I had to send a bunch of it with Matt to work so the guys there could eat it, just so it wasn't in the house. And I'm not even huge on sweets, so that's saying a lot! It's yummy stuff. You gotta make at least one batch...just one, to say you tried it. You'll be in heaven!

Friday, January 13, 2012

- awesome guest post today -

Hi Lindsay! She was so gracious to guest post for me today. I featured one of her recipes before on my "quick recipe of the week" series, and I loved her so much that I just KNEW I had to have her back!
Take it away Lindsay... 

Hi great expectation friends!
I am Lindsay, the girl behind the blog Lee La La.

I am a Momma.
I am a so called writer.
I am an occasional crafter.
I am a fashion lover.
It’s nice to meet you!

Pre baby, I had a "perception" of what being a Mommy meant.
Lots of down time
Laughter and Smiles
Let's just say, I was MISLEAD.
Now, don't get me wrong,
I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world.
I'm just keeping it real and sharing what I've learned,
because let's face it,
momma's are modest and don't always share how challenging this job really is.
Myself included.
So this is for all you Mom's...
Mom's to be.
Future Mom's.
Life of a Mom: Imagined vs Reality
Playing dress up in frilly dresses and bows.
20 outfit changes a day and a "simple" onesie will likely be your staple.
Bows? They will get pulled right off.
Daily shopping trips to the MALL.
Shopping days are far and few between. Time is no longer your own. Your child makes your schedule. Miss L refuses to sit in her fancy stroller that I HAD to have. You find yourself bribing your littles with candy. The back arching temper tantrum is bound to happen 10 mins into any shopping experience.
Play dates will be a daily social gathering for the momma's.
Play dates involve broken conversations with a lot of "what was I saying". Playing referee and catching your kids arm mid air as she goes in for attack. At the end of the play date you feel as though you ran a half marathon.
Perfect hair. Perfect outfit. Matching diaper bag and stroller. Baby in tow will be color coordinated as well. I will be THAT Mom that everyone talks about.
Stained Shirts, food in my hair, boogers on my face. If we make it out the door without an outfit change on either part, it's a good day.
I will be ORGANIZED and CLEAN.
Forget organization. Just when you go to put something somewhere it is removed. My purse is full of rocks and pebbles, my car has pb&j stuck in the crevices, my couch smells like sour milk, and theres a beautiful crayon mural on my dining room table.
Nap time involves cleaning house, picking up toys for the 19th time, laundry, preparing dinner,
Lee La La get my drift. With mommy hood comes pure exhaustion. I rely on coffee in these parts.Imagined:
I will cook a gourmet meal every night.
I never knew one stove could make so much smoke. Let's just say I have learned I have no future in culinary education. Pre made meals are my specialty.Imagined:
Thinking to yourself "That screaming toddler is OUT OF CONTROL". "They must have TERRIBLE parents".
You no longer judge other mom's. Kids are unpredictable and tantrums happen to the best of us.

Sara Driscoll Photography

Thanks for hanging with me today.

I love meeting new friends. Stop by my blog and say hello.

Oh, what Lindsay says is so so true! Motherhood is AMAZING but so different than anyone could ever imagine it would be!

Thank you so much Lindsay!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

- while I'm away -

Here is my first guest blogger while I am away, enjoying the sunshine and relaxation (yay!)...readers, please meet Kate! She's fabulous!
Hey everyone, My name is Kate and i blog over at
In our Sea of Love

I am a 24 year old mother and wife. My husband and i got married on May 14, 2010. Together we created one beautiful little boy named Anthony. I can't imagine my life without either of them! God blessed me with these two boys for a reason and i couldn't be more happy about who he brought into my life. One of my passions in life is photography. Ever since i can remember i've always had a creative eye. So of course my blog posts are usually loaded with tons of photos! My goal is to own my own photography business specializing in maternity, newborn and wedding photography. I also have a new found talent, crocheting. I've been doing it about a year now! I've already grown an incredible amount in that short amount of time. I have my own little shop on etsy, If you'd like to check it out! Eventually, i'd really like to get into teaching crochet on my blog and releasing patterns for those who enjoy it as well! My blog represents happiness, creativity, passion, love, family, motherhood and the
married life.
My blog
My shop

Today i've decided to share a DIY butterfly pattern.
It's simple, fun and it doesn't take long to make!

How to crochet a butterfly
The size of this butterfly will depend on the
size hook you are using.

I used a G hook
If you'd like a smaller butterfly
just use a smaller hook size. The smaller the
hook. The smaller the butterfly.

1. Chain four; sl st into chain one to form a ring.

2. Chain four; 3 tr (triple crochet) into the ring.

3. Chain three; 3 tr (triple crochet) into the ring.

4. Sl st into the ring.
5. 3 dc (double crochet) into the ring.

6. chain three; then turn. Now you'll be doing the other wing.
7. 3 tr (triple crochet) into the second chain from your hook.
8. chain 3; 3 tr (triple crochet) into the same spot.

sl st then fasten off.

To create the body of the butterfly and the antennae
Just cut the yarn according to the size of the butterfly. wrap the piece of
yarn around the middle of the butterfly twice. Tie ends in a knot. Then trim the antennae to your
liking! Ta da! Done. Super easy! It'll only take about 5-10 minutes or less! It only took me 3 mintues tops.
You can put this cute little butterfly on headbands, key chains, clips clothes.
Just about anything you'd like!


Thank you so much for sharing this cute DIY project, Kate. They are adorable!

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