Monday, April 30, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello friends! Happy Monday to you! Like I said in my last post, I am beyond busy right now, so I'm sorry that I have been lagging with the blog posts on my blog, as well as my lack of comments on your blogs! My Dad and stepmom were in town this past weekend from Florida, and they only get to see Ellie once a year, so we spent the whole weekend with them letting them soak in lots of Ellie time (and we all loved it!). And our move is coming up soon, and although we are only moving down the street, it still is a tremendous undertaking to pack while trying to keep a toddler entertained. Oh, and to top if all off, my assistant at work gave birth to her baby 5 weeks early! Nothing was prepared for her departure yet, so I have been running around like crazy doing her job and my job unexpectedly this past week. She's out for 12 weeks now, so I better get used to the craziness at work (sigh). I've made it through one week without her...only 11 more to go! (And in case you're wondering...her baby is doing okay, although she is in the NICU, and she's very itty bitty.) I do miss everyone dearly around here, though, and I hope life settles down soon so I can get back into the swing of things again.

So, in spite of being crazy busy the past few weeks, we are trudging along. Matt has been awesome, super supportive, and very helpful in spite of all this craziness, which has helped my stress level tremendously! And this little one has been super well behaved lately (knock on wood), which has also made things bearable. The crazy things she says bring a smile to our face every day! And every day that goes by, she turns more and more into such a girly girl! I don't think she has worn pants in close to two months...every day it's a skirt or a dress even when she goes to bed at night (yes, I let her wear skirts to bed...this momma has to choose her battles wisely with a 2 year old)...and the fluffier the better! She was on cloud nine the day I pulled out this tutu for her to wear (I have to hide it from her or she will INSIST on wearing it every darn day!)

 But enough about me , and Ellie, and our busy life...let's move on to what we are here for today! Meet Shauna, from Life Captured. Shauna is a 30 something girl from California trying to survive in Oregon. She uses her blog to capture life and family through pictures (a girl after my own heart!). Shauna is an aspiring photographer, lover of the sunshine, and a happy wife. She is a proud Auntie that attends lots of her nephews' baseball games...because who doesn't love a baseball game on a nice sunny day? Shauna is a sweetheart, and if you don't already know her, you definitely should get to know her!

(Image credit Shauna)

Shauna has been a vegetarian for over 20 years, but she makes this recipe for her husband and the rest of her family, and they all absolutely love it!

Captain Crunch Chicken 
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 eggs
1-2 cups Captain Crunch cereal (ground up in a food processor)

Make an egg dip with the eggs, and dip chicken breasts into the egg dip. Coat chicken with Captain Crunch cereal. Fry each piece of chicken in a frying pan with some cooking oil until golden brown, and cooked through.

(Image credit Shauna)

Thanks so much for the recipe Shauna! It sounds delicious! Be sure to check out Shauna's blog! She just so happens to be having a giveaway right now for an Amazon gift card (who doesn't like Amazon huh?). You can enter here!

Friday, April 27, 2012

- be back soon -

Don't you fret...I'll be back soon...I'm super busy with moving and everything else that goes along with my crazy life right now.

Until then..for your viewing pleasure...
(our family photographer rocks! Love you Nina! :-)

(Image credit Nina S.)
(Image credit Nina S.)
(Image credit Nina S.)
(Image credit Nina S.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Meet Amber from, Life with the Wallaces. Amber is a high school computer teacher who teaches fun stuff like Digital Photography, Digital Video, and Web Design. She's married to Chad who owns a yogurt shop, and they have an adorable daughter, Morgan, who will be 2 on May 28. Amber love to cook but can never seem to find the time to do it, so she always appreciate a great, quick meal!

(Image credit Amber)

Breakfast Bake
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb sausage
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown sausage and drain.  Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Unroll crescent rolls and press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan, pressing seams together to seal.  Sprinkle sausage over crust.  Whisk eggs, milk and pepper until well blended.  Pour over sausage.  Top with cheese.  Bake 25-35 minutes or until center is set.

(Image credit Amber)

I think I would be my hubby's hero if I made a breakfast like this for him every day! Heck, he'd love it if I made this just on the weekends for him! It looks delicious Amber, thank you so much.

Be sure to check out Amber's blog, Life with the Wallaces. She's awesome, and so is her entire family! Tell her I sent ya! :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

- today marks one year -

Happy One Year Anniversary to great expectations!

(Image credit

I was planning on scheduling a big fanfare post for today...complete with maybe a huge giveaway, and a great big thanks to all of my readers...however, turns out life got in the way once again! We are in the middle of trying to pack up our house to move, sell tons of our unwanted crap things, and oh yeah, we are also dealing with a toddler who has decided it's not important to sleep more than 7 hours at night and skip her naps!

Needless to say, this is all I got for you today!

BUT, I did want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has read my blog since day one, and to all of you who have joined me along the way! I never knew blogging would be so rewarding and fun, and I am so glad I made the decision exactly one year ago to pick out a name, create an account, and write up my very first post.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

- amazing post -

This post stopped me in my tracks...

We're all about being honest here, right? Right. Okay, then let me be totally honest with you guys...I am absolutely that mom/wife/friend/person that constantly compares herself to all the other "perfect" women out there and long for what they be as put together, or as creative, or as laid back, or as energetic and as healthy as everyone else I see. It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself that "I am enough"...the inadequate feelings always creep back eventually. And like April mentions in that blog post I mentioned above, social media makes it ten times worse! Sometimes, I hate that I can get a glimpse into so many other people's lives. A lot of times it can inspire me, but more often than not, it just gives me so many more people to compare myself to. But reading this article reminded me that Ellie doesn't care that there are better cooks out there...or more creative, crafty moms. Or better photographers, or faster runners (oh, wait, in order to be considered a runner, I would have to actually start running first...right..I fail right there!) All that Ellie knows is that I am her momma, and I am the best momma she knows. The way she gives me the biggest hugs after I help her get dressed, the way she always wants to be next to me, or to be sitting in my lap, the way she comes up to me and tells me she loves me out the of blue...or when she tells me I am the "best girl ever"'s all proof, that in her eyes, I am enough!

I'm not gonna lie, my feelings of inadequacy have probably tripled since blogging, Pinterest, FB, and all the other crazy social media out there. I need to make the conscious effort to get back to what I am here document our lives, to tell our story, and to connect with those amazing new friends I have found through social media along the way. All the other fluff and nonsense just creates more chaos inside of me, and leaves me constantly doubting myself. And for Ellie's sake, I can't be doubting myself. I need to be the best momma ever for Ellie. I need to just be me. Because Ellie just wants me.

p.s- in keeping with the spirit of this post...stay tuned for a follow up post with a shout out to all of the amazing friends I have found through this blog! I love you all and I can't wait to applaud all of you lovely gals!

Monday, April 16, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Today I have a double dose of recipes for you! Two recipes in one day is simply the best! First, I'd like you to meet Brhea (Bree-uh) from No Place Lyke Home. Brhea's blog documents her life as a newlywed. If you stop over for a visit you can expect to see lots of tried-and-true recipes, some easy to tackle DIY projects, photography tutorials and tons of pictures of her life and family. I just recently found her blog, and I'm obsessed with it! Her pictures are just amazing to look at...she's quite the talented photographer! Definitely check her blog out, you will love her!

(Image credit Brhea)

When I asked her to share a recipe, she said she knew that it had to be her Chicken Piccata. This recipe is easy (takes about 30 minutes), packs a lot of flavor, and is something that can be dressed up for a special dinner.

Chicken Piccata
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts butterflied, cut in half and pounded out until fairly thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Enough flour for dredging
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice - Lemon zest from one lemon
1/2 cup (or a bit more if needed) chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers (rinsed)
1/3 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

It is important to start with very thin chicken breast. To accomplish this, it helps to both butterfly the chicken and pound it out (I usually put mine on a cutting board, stretch plastic wrap to fully cover the chicken and use a rolling pin to pound it a couple of times to become thinner). Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge (coat both sides of) chicken in flour and shake of excess. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 5 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to lightly sizzle (careful not to get the oil to the point of smoking), add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is lightly browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, remaining olive oil and capers (remember to rinse them first!) directly to the pan that the chicken was cooked in (do not wash out or rinse pan in between). This will allow you to deglaze the pan, scraping up bits from the pan for extra flavor. Also, the flour left in the pan from the chicken helps to thicken the sauce. Add the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, whisking regularly - careful not to burn. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

(Image credit Brhea)

I absolutely LOVE chicken piccata and I have never been able to find such an easy recipe! I will definitely be making this one quite a bit! Brhea would love to hear how you liked this recipe if you try it out, so be sure to let her know how it turns out for ya!

Our second recipe comes to you by my dear friend Ashley. Most of you probably remember Ashley from my previous blog posts, here and here. I was really excited when Ashley offered to share a recipe because she always cooks the most amazing and creative things! Ashley blogs over at The Pickled Bean and would love for you to go visit her blog and say hi!

(Image credit Ashley)
one pre-made pie crust (the one that is rolled up)

Wet Ingredients
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk or cream
1 tsp of dry mustard ( this is a must have ingredient)
1 tsp of fresh graded lemon peel. ( this is a must have ingredient)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Filler Ingredients
1 cup swiss cheese
1 package of mushrooms cleaned and sliced
½ red pepper diced
½ cup cubed ham stake
½ cup chopped fresh asparagus
 (if you do not like any of the above "filler ingredients" feel free to use any other meat/vegetable that you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 425. Place the pie crust in a pie plate and bake. (unpricked) for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325. While the oven is heating saute cheese, asparagus, pepper and asparagus until almost cooked.

Whisk together the wet ingredients. In the par-baked pie-shell place the saute mixture and top will all of the cheese. Poor the wet ingredients over the cheese. At this point you can fold over the top of the pie crust to make it look more like a fancy shammy tart. (You do not need to do this!) Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. It will be golden brown and if you jiggle the quiche it will be firm.

(Image credit Ashley)

(Image credit Ashley)

(Image credit Ashley)

Thank you so much Ashley! Just like the Chicken Piccata recipe, I have never been able to find a quick and easy quiche recipe...but this one sounds super easy.

I hope you guys enjoy both of these recipes, and I hope you get to know both Brhea and Ashley better. Have a stupendous Monday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

- focus -

I have a trillion balls in the air right now. I swear, I always take on too much, and then regret it later as I am swimming in millions of "to do" lists...okay, okay, maybe I am exaggerating just a little with the trillions and millions, but I swear that's what it feels like right now. 

My problem? I just have to focus!

(Image credit

Why is this so hard for me to do you ask? Usually, it's because I sit down in front of my laptop and get sucked into hours of browsing instead of doing what I should be focusing on...sigh... seriously! It's the best tool ever, but also my worst enemy. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that anything & everything is available at my finger tips as soon as I open my laptop. So anytime I sit down to quickly check something out on the internet, I get sucked into the world wide web, and I just can't seem to get out! I know there's any easy solution...just shut the lap top...or even better, don't even open it in the first place! Easier said than done, huh?

I'm gonna start right now closing my laptop. I have so many other things to get done! Signing off for now friends! It's time for me to go focus!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

- a little catchin' up -

Busy, busy, busy...that's what I have been lately! I always thought I was really good at managing my time...but I don't know what has happened lately. It seems I just don't have time to get much of anything done! I need more hours in the day...or I need a personal assistant who will do all of my "not so fun" daily tasks for me. Hmmm, that would be nice huh?

Anyway, a little catch up post today...

- Ellie is doing fabulous with potty training...well, at least #1. She has been in big girl panties since the weekend we potty trained, and we rarely have any issues with her making it to the potty, even when we are out of the house. To be honest with you, potty training went a lot quicker than I ever thought it would. High five Ellie! But, before you get too excited about our potty training success...she is still struggling with #2. Okay, maybe struggling is an understatement. It's more like, she just flat out won't do it on the toilet. She waits until her pull-up is on for the night, and then does her business. She's "accidentally" gone a couple times on the toilet, so I thought for sure she would get over her fear, but nope, no such luck. I've tried everything...bribery, getting excited about it, reading her books about it, putting her on the potty every 1/2 hour or so to encourage her to go # 2 (that usually just ends in screaming and crying on her part) and nothing has helped. The kid just holds it and holds it until she has the safety of her pull-ups, and then she finally lets it go. I know this is a very, very common problem with a lot of little ones getting potty trained, but it still is frustrating. Frustrating to know that she is technically only 1/2 potty trained, and still relies on the security of her pull-ups to handle her #2's. For now, I think I will just back off and ignore the issue. Maybe it will just work itself out??

- Today marks the first day of me getting up at an ungodly hour to work out! Ugh! As good as it felt while I was doing it, I am so tired from just that one less hour of sleep. I am not a big fan of working out in the morning....never have been. But with working all day, and having to take care of Ellie, and dinner, and laundry, and all the other fun stuff that occupies my evenings, there was just no way I could fit in an evening workout anymore. So, the morning it is. We'll see how long this lasts...ha ha!

- I think I need a vacation...sigh. Even the little tasks in my day are getting almost impossible to accomplish. I am worn out and could use a good recharge!

- We are moving to a newer, bigger house in just a few short weeks (hooray!) Number of boxes I have packed? Zero! Luckily, we are literally just moving down the street. Like 8 or 9 houses down from where we live now. But, as it turns out, it doesn't matter how close your new house is to your current still have to pack everything up. And I am currently failing at that task...sigh. Hopefully I get some things done this weekend.

- My one year blog-versary is quickly approaching! How should we celebrate my friends? (You can read my very first post here...warning, it is a very riveting post. Be prepared! ha ha ha).

- I'm doing some scouting for anyone who would like to be featured on my Monday "quick recipe of the week" feature. Shoot me an email if you want to be featured! It's lots of fun (I promise!)

- And finally an Easter wrap was fabulous this year! It was really fun to watch Ellie since she was old enough to really "get it". We went to a wonderful Easter service at our church, and then enjoyed the sunshine while having Easter brunch outside on the veranda of a delicious restaurant. Ellie got to give a great big hug to the Easter Bunny at the restaurant. She was so excited! (It's funny....considering she is so timid and shy around other people and kids, she has absolutely no fear when it comes to these characters that are dressed up. She runs straight to them! It's so cute).  Ellie took a quick nap, which gave this procrastinating momma a chance to stuff her plastic eggs with treats and hide them in the backyard. Then it was Easter egg hunt time. She got so excited every time she found an egg. Turns out the sweet treats inside the eggs were a hit, but that was about it. She looked super disappointed every time she opened an egg filled with pretzels or stickers...ha!

Showing us her loot!

 then, she {snapped}

Monday, April 9, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We have been so busy lately, so once again, I have been MIA in blog land...have you missed me, or not so much? (lol) I am determined to catch up on my reading in Google Reader this week...and try to get a few posts up this week...we'll see how successful I am!

Now, onto today's recipe....Mama G, as she calls herself on her blog, Growing up Geeky, is married to M - a mad scientist, and stay-at-home mommy to her 15-month-old daughter Carina. M is an oboe playing organic chemist & Mama G a former Math-lete and self-proclaimed domestic failure. She thinks it's safe to say that their baby girl won't have a prayer at being cool (ha ha ha). Her blog celebrates their quirks and outright geekiness and provides you with a healthy dose of super cute baby pictures. And they are now expecting baby join them for the chaos that is sure to ensue!

(Image credit Mama G)

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Wraps
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (we use Ken's Marinade)
3/4 cup ranch dressing
sprinkle of salt
shredded lettuce
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place chicken in crock pot and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook 5-6 hours on low. The chicken should be tender enough to shred with a fork. After discarding the liquid in the crock pot and shredding the chicken, put it back in the crock pot and add the buffalo sauce and the ranch dressing.

To serve, place an amount to your liking of the chicken mixture, shredded lettuce, and cheese on the tortilla and wrap it up. Enjoy!

(Image credit Mama G)

Thank you so much Mama G for the recipe! These wraps look delicious! Be sure to visit Mama G here!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

- featured -

I was featured on Libby's lovely blog on Monday! Check my post out here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

- meet Ashley & Cooper -

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my sweet friend Ashley and her son Cooper, here. Ashley and her cute family, are friends of ours from a few years back, and even though they have since moved away, I love keeping in touch with her. Ashley is truly one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and it's an honor to be her friend. With her permission, I wanted to share a little bit more about her story, and invite you to follow Cooper, and the rest of their family, on her blog, The Pickled Bean.

(Image credit Ashley)
Dusty and I were beyond thrilled when we found out that Cooper was going to be a boy. How perfect, a little girl and a little boy; our family was complete! During my pregnancy Cooper was measuring small but still within range, nothing to be concerned about since Taylor measured small through her gestation and was born a healthy and happy 7lbs 14 oz. When Cooper was born he came out screaming. Not crying, actually screaming. The nurse even commented that it was a lot of noise coming out of such a small man. Cooper was full term and weighed just over 5 pounds. His little bum was the size of my wrist and was too small for preemie diapers; even the preemie clothing was too small for him. “Not to worry,” the doctors said, “ he can fatten up now that he is out.”

The next few hours, okay days…okay months were a blur. While at the hospital Cooper only slept for 3 hours total over 2 days. Before we left a nurse came into my room and told me that she had never seen a child so inconsolable and that we “were going to have a very difficult few weeks”. That was an understatement. For the first 6 weeks Cooper cried an average of 20 hours a day. Sleeping for only 45 minute spurts (mostly out of pure exhaustion) . At 3 weeks he was categorized as failure to thrive (in my opinion the WORST terminology for a baby, what a terrible branding to give someone!!) At 4 weeks we had our first mention of a heart murmur which took us to the pediatric cardiologist and we received a diagnosis of Pulmonary Stenosis. At about 6 weeks old, he had only gained 1.5 lbs so I was forced to stop breast feeding and get him onto a high calorie formula. What I know now is that his mouth did not have the muscle structure to support sucking. He couldn’t even really take a bottle. It would take an average of 1 hour to get him to drink 2 ounces. Six different types of formula later we settled on a mixture of Nutramigen and a prescription base product. By 3 months old, we were down to about 10 hours of crying which was a glorious success! By 6 months old, about 4 hours and then at 8 months our little man smiled for the first time and he hasn’t stopped since! But the question always lingered. What is going on with Cooper?  Why is he so small?

When Cooper was a year old we settled into our new home in the Bay Area and our new pediatrician started us on a rotation of doctors to figure out if anything was wrong. At this point we could tell that Cooper was not only small but was also developmentally delayed. You name the specialist and we have seen them! Our new pediatric cardiologist suggested that we do a FISH test for Williams Syndrome. We didn’t even know what Williams Syndrome was, we had never even heard of Williams Syndrome. That day I went home and did some Internet research regarding the characteristics and key tendencies for Williams Syndrome children. Cooper had all but one of the signs. I knew that the test would come back positive, but so many of our other doctors were convinced the opposite. 

On October 17th 2012, Cooper’s results came back positive for Williams Syndrome. I was in Philadelphia for work when the pediatrician called with the results.  The news was devastating and hearing the diagnosis when Dusty and I were on opposite sides of the country was beyond heart breaking. Dusty was with the kids and spent the next few nights researching everything he could find on the syndrome. 

Here is a little break down from the Williams Syndrome association.
Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone.  It is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.  These occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.

WS affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States. It is known to occur equally in both males and females and in every culture.
Unlike disorders that can make connecting with your child difficult, children with WS tend to be social, friendly and endearing.  Parents often say the joy and perspective a child with WS brings into their lives had been unimaginable.

We are new to the Williams Syndrome family and are learning as we go along but one thing is certain...Cooper is a blessing and we are incredibly lucky to have family and friends who are supporting us through this journey. Everyone who has had the privilege to meet this young man is changed for the better. He might be small but his personality is gigantic. 

Cooper’s story is just beginning and we are happy to have you along for the journey. Our goal is to help Cooper have a fabulous life and help him use his skills to the maximum.  We are also determined to spread awareness of Williams Syndrome (WS) and share the joys and struggles that face a family is raising a child with disabilities. Please join us on our journey.

This momma has tremendous amounts of strength and courage! Please go visit her blog and get to know her! She would love to get the word out about Cooper and Williams Syndrome, plus she just loves meeting new friends!

You can find Ashley here...

The Pickled Bean

Monday, April 2, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello, hello, and happy Monday! Hope you guys are all still coming by to say hi, even after my lack of blog posts lately! I'm telling you...I'm in a routine funk! I gotta find something to help me break out and feel energized and renewed again!

So, while I'm figuring my funk out, why don't you say hello to a super, super sweet blogger friend of mine! I really, really love her, and you will too. Meet Carlie from Life...Full of Stories. Carlie always has the best posts. Her blog is a mixture of humor, sentiment, and always has tons of pictures. We've been following each others blogs for quite sometime now, and it has been so wonderful getting to know her, and becoming friends with her. We also follow each other on Instagram, and her pictures and comments always bring a smile to my face!
(Image credit Carlie)
 In Carlie's own words..."Hello lovers of quick recipes of the week! Or as the new Texas resident that I am should say, "Howdy Ya'll Foodies!" On my blog I document our married life and our new adventures in Dallas! I love sharing the little stories of our life together with family and friends. I'd love for you to stop by after checking out my recipe. I was so excited when Kyna asked me to share a recipe on her blog because I love reading her posts and trying out the Monday recipes. My husband and I have crazy schedules with his law school/internships and my work so I am all about quick and easy meals".

Today Carlie is sharing a crock pot recipe with us. She's actually new to the crock-potting world, but this is a tried and true family recipe from her mom. Carlie failed at her first attempt at making this meal. (Not because it is difficult to make, but because the outlet decided that it didn't want to cooperate and heat up her crock-pot. You can read all about her experience here.)

Beef Stew
4-5 Russet potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1.5 cups water
1 small (1 lb) bag of baby carrots
1 pound of pre-cut stew meat
1 package Lipton Onion Soup
Garlic Salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon)

Peel and cut the potatoes the night before, leave them in salt water in the crock pot inside the fridge. The next morning, dump out the salt water and add all the other ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients together in the crock-pot. Leave in the crock-pot on low for about 8-9 hours on low. Stir again before serving, scoop into bowls, and enjoy a home-cooked meal!

(Image credit Carlie)

Seriously, how easy is that?? No excuses for not trying this recipe out! What a great meal for the weekday, or even a Sunday family dinner. Thank you so much Carlie! This is a perfect quick and easy recipe!

Now, go visit Carlie's blog, and get to know this super sweet gal!

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