Thursday, June 28, 2012

- my love -

He's generous
 and hardworking
He loves me unconditionally
and puts up with me every day
He is the best daddy ever to my baby girl
He's passionate
and fun
He's adventurous
He's caring
He just "gets" me

I love him with all of my heart
With everything I have
We've been husband and wife for 9

I love you, Matt. You are truly my dream come true.

9 years ago...
(Image credit Chana & Don)
and today...

We've made some amazing memories, and things just keep getting better and better!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

- why sleep just plain stinks around here -

So, let's just lay it out there...My darling little girl has never been a stellar sleeper...and at age 2.5, she's still not. And it's rough. When Ellie was first born, she had to be held in a carrier and walked to sleep. Once she fell asleep, I literally had to slowly and silently lower myself into bed with her resting on my body. If she even heard the click of the buckle on the carrier as I tried to unbuckle it, she would instantly wake up, and I would have to start the entire process all over again. It was then that I just knew we had an extremely light, and a not so great sleeper, but I tried to chalk it up to the fact that she was dealing with a lot of GI issues as a newborn.

Fast forward a few months...holy cow...she is sleeping through the her own crib! She still wakes up at the drop of a needle, but who cares! She is sleeping through the night! Battle won!

Wrong!! Fast forward a few more months...she is now old enough to realize that we leave her in her crib and walk out of her room. Insert separation anxiety, which turned out to be a lot of howling and screaming...for an hour or more, before she would finally wear herself out and fall asleep out of pure exhaustion. We tried it all...rocking her to sleep, soothing her, rubbing her back. It turned out, she would get more pissed off when we would go in there to try to soothe her, but not pick her up and let her out of the crib, so we quickly realized we would just have to let her "cry it out". Not my favorite thing, but she just couldn't handle it if we went back into her room. From 9-16 months or so, this occurred all the time. Sometimes we would get a week or two reprieve, but the sleep issues always came back, with a vengeance.

She finally started going to sleep easier when we put her down...we breathed a sigh of relief. Then, the night time wakings started. She would routinely get startled out of her sleep and would immediately start howling and crying. Again, we tried everything. Running in to soothe her, ignoring her and letting her cry, playing white noise, leaving a night light on. Nothing worked, nothing helped.

And at 31 months old, this is still where we are now. She will usually go to bed without a fight, although most nights her insomnia will kick in and she will lay in her crib staring at the ceiling for at least 1+ hours before finally falling asleep. And then, she usually wakes up at least once, if not more times, throughout the night, crying, calling out for us, or sometimes just playing in her crib. Some nights she'll only stay awake for 20 minutes or so....but some nights, she will be up for 3+ hours (yeah, you read that right)...which means I'm up too, even if I am laying in bed trying to ignore the fact that she is awake. And through all of this, she is still a super light sleeper. The tiniest noise can wake her up from her deepest sleep and start the viscous cycle.

Sure, we'll get a week or two (sometimes three or four) reprieve every once in awhile. But sleeping has always been rough, for the past 2.5 years and still continues to be. It's exhausting, and I don't know how to solve this problem. I keep hoping she'll grow out of it, but that still hasn't happened.

This, my friends, is one of the big reasons baby #2 is still a figment of our imaginations. I'm still dealing with sleep issues with baby #1...the last thing I need is baby #2 right now! And this is also why Ellie still sleeps in a crib. She has yet to figure out how to climb out (knock on wood), and I am just dreading what "sleep issues + a big girl bed" will do to us. I can just imagine her wandering around the house at all hours of the night every time she wakes up. At least for now, she is still contained. Although, I do have a few friends that said their child slept so much better once they transitioned them into a bed...sounds too good to be true...I won't hold my breath!

Any momma's out there with some fool proof sleep solutions out there? I'd love to hear them!

All I have to say is she is darn lucky she is so cute! Because as exhausted as I am every morning after a rough night of sleep, she makes it all better with her adorable smile and her cute personality. Sleep or no sleep, I love this little girl!

(Picture edited by the fabulous Nina S.)

(Picture edited by the fabulous Nina S.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

- in case you missed it -

In case you missed it on here and play along!

Monday, June 25, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello friends! Welcome to another week, and another quick and yummy recipe! Meet Kelley from, The Grant Life. Kelley is a momma to two blonde haired, blue eyed babies, Ryley and Avery, and she runs a little online store called loveables. (Check it out...super cute stuff!). She loves diet coke, How I Met Your Mother, twitter and anything with sugar! Throw in a rainy day where she can snuggle with her babies and she's a happy lady!

(Image credit Kelley)
Kelley has recently really started to enjoy cooking.. (and by recently she means when Pinterest came out. Ha). Today she's going to share a recipe that she created after a few trips to Pinterest.

Toasted Coconut French Toast w/ Brown Sugar Glaze
4-6 eggs
6 slices of bread
2 tsp vanilla extract
shredded coconut

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Whip eggs in fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Coat bread in egg mixture. Put on skillet or griddle. Sprinkle coconut on side that is face up. Flip and cook until coconut is toasted.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add brown sugar and mix until blended. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and serve over french toast.

(Image credit Kelley)

(Image credit Kelley)
Printable Recipe

Ummmm, yum! Heaven. The glaze turns almost caramel-y and is so delicious over the toasted coconut. Thank you so much Kelley, for sharing this recipe with us! I don't often make a gourmet breakfast (okay, let's be honest...I don't ever make any sort of breakfast, let alone a gourmet breakfast), but this recipe just might make me change my mind!

Please go visit Kelley at her blog, or on Twitter, or on Facebook, and say hello. She loves making new blog friends and I promise you will just adore her! I do, and y'all know I have great taste! ;-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

- getting to know you -

Okay readers...I wanna get to know all of you better! I know a handful of you fairly well, but there's still so much more to learn! Do me this favor...even if you don't normally comment (which I totally understand...but I also know my daily page views and my number of comments don't add I know there are more of you out there!) please take just a few minutes to leave a comment today and answer my "getting to know you" questions. I really want to get to know all of you awesome people better! 

And just in case you want to get to know me better, I'll answer the questions too!

where are you originally from? where do you live now? 
I was born and raised in Lake Tahoe, NV (it was pretty amazing!) I live in lovely Southern California now.

what's your favorite type of music?
I'm a sucker for anything country! (yes, yes, I love country!) But the hubs and I are pretty open minded when it comes to music. There isn't much that I don't like!

how did you find my blog? are you a new reader, or a long time follower?
 hmmm, no answer necesary for me I guess!
But for all of you...if your a new reader, welcome to my blog. If you're a long time follower, thank you, and I love you for that!

 what's your favorite thing to do for fun?
 hmmm, I am so NOT a homebody! I need to always be out and about. I usually love doing anything that includes friends, live music, or food :-) We love being outside and active...hiking, camping, and anything else that includes fun and adventure.

kids or no kids? names? age(s)? fur babies? 

Well, you guys all know the light of my Ellie. She's 2.5 years old (and she's ALL toddler right now, in every sense of the word!) along! I can't wait to get to know all of you better!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

- summer bucket list -

buck·et  list
1. A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".


This is the second year we've created a summer bucket list. Last year's bucket list was a bit ambitious for the first year. It was fun trying to cross things off our list, but looking back on it, we weren't all that successful. This year we vow to get more crossed off the list. We're starting almost a month earlier, so maybe that will help! 

Here's to favorite season of the year! May it be filled with fun and packed with adventure and memories to last a lifetime!

Monday, June 18, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

If you're feeling those Monday blues today, I have just the thing to cheer you up! Today, I am featuring one of the coolest, nicest, funniest bloggers I know! She's awesome in so many ways, that I'm pretty sure I lost count a long time ago. I don't really even know how I stumbled upon Tiffany, who blogs over at blabbering thoughts, but my blogging life has never been the same since! We both decided it was pure meant to be... that we "met" through our blogs, and now I just can't get enough of this girl. I stalk her through FB, Instagram, and her blog, just waiting for a new post, or some new pictures of her latest escapades! Simply put....I ADORE her. We would definitely be absolutely amazing "hang out all the time" friends if we lived near each other!

(Image credit Tiffany)
Tiffany is a momma to two cutie pies, Hadley and Henry, and is engaged to Chris, her partner in crime. This girl and her family know how to enjoy life, let me tell ya! I am constantly telling Matt that we need to live it up a little more like Tiffany and Chris do! (Yes Tiff, that conversation actually occurred in our house! I think it was your fiesta night that sparked the conversation!) Anyway, Tiffany is hi-larious and I promise you will love this girl just as much as I do. She's pretty darn popular among her followers because she's just that cool! I've got some stiff competition among her other followers to stay one of her favorite blogging pals (lol)!

Because this gal is so darn funny, I just had to let her do this post in her own here ya go...

I'm just so stinking excited Kyna asked me to write up a recipe for her. I've been secretly grumbling under my breath "when is she going to ask me because I do occasionally post food on my blog". HEE HEE. She's my friend so I can be stubborn & wait for her to ask.

You see, I don't cook. Okay well I didn't USE to cook but I sorta do now.  But this recipe that I am handing to you I DO MAKE, so stop your judging thoughts .. "who is this lady to give me a recipe if she doesn't even cook." Yeah I know you are thinking that. 

Moving on ....

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham .. Yep it's super simple & super yummy.

I grew up with this recipe, one of my favorite things my mom cooks or maybe my dad :) Yeah they shared the cooking in the household & so do Chris & I .. Thank goodness. The whole domesticated woman in the kitchen thing kills me. I make up in other areas, like working 40 hours a week & being a full time mommy of 2 .. So once again, please stop your judging I'M NOT THAT BAD :)

Again .. Moving on

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
6 medium potatoes
chopped ham - I buy a "half" ham & then chop that in half in little squares
{I bet you didn't know those 2 ingredients were in this recipe huh}
1 chopped onion
 3 TBSP flour
2 1/2 cups of milk
3 TBSP butter
shredded cheese

Preheat over to 350. Wash & peel potatoes, then slice and dice the ham and chop the onion. Arrange & layer items in a casserole dish. Heat milk to almost boil,  and add butter & flour stirring constantly. Pour milk over the potatoes/ham/onions. Top with shredded cheese. Cover & bake for 30 mins. Uncover & finish baking for 60 mins.
(Image credit Tiffany)

(Image credit Tiffany)

(Image credit Tiffany)

Boy, does that look burnt or what? It's not. It's the cheese or something .. This picture made me look like a failure but I assure you, we all ate it .. And ate .. And ate.

Now - all you domestically perfect cookers out there snap to it! 

I am totally kidding, I am not always this sarcastic ... :)

Thanks so much Tiffany! It sounds so yummy! We will definitely be trying this one out! If you haven't met Tiffany yet, run, don't walk, straight over to her blog to say hello. I promise she will dance a little jig for each and every new visitor she gets!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

- man crush -

Just in case you wanted to get to know him better, here's a little known fact about my hubby...he has a big time man crush on this guy...

I totally get it...the man can play a guitar like no one else can!
Good choice for your man crush babe! Your wife approves!

Monday, June 11, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Okay, okay...I know this series is supposed to be about quick and easy dinner recipes, however...

Today I am going to stray from the norm a bit to share with you this yummy recipe for homemade sangria. It's one of my favorite drinks to make in the summer time! So if you were looking for a dinner recipe today...sorry to disappoint. But I promise if you need a refreshing (yes...alcoholic) beverage this summer, you will love this recipe!

Red Wine Sangria
1/4 cup sugar
1 large lemon, cut into slices
1 large orange, cut into slices
1 large lime, cut into slices
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 bottle of dry red Spanish wine
1/2 cup brandy
1 splash of pomegranate juice
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 cup chilled club soda or ginger ale

In a large pot or bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, pomegranate juice, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze half of the slices of orange, lemon, and lime into the mixture. Add the remaining orange, lemon, and lime slices, and the apples (as full slices to soak in the mixture) and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda or ginger ale. Serve in glasses (over ice if desired).

For those of you who are wine lovers, definitely try it out! It's so refreshing and tasty. The alternative to a glass of heavy red wine on a hot summer's day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

- "school" work -

Ellie doesn't go to daycare or preschool of any kind. My mom and my in laws watch her during the week, Monday through Thursday (I know, I know, we are lucky beyond belief! Free, amazing daycare!), and I am off on Fridays with her. Although I eventually want to put her in some sort of part time preschool program to get her ready for kindergarten, she is going to be a "late start" kindergartner because her November birthday misses the September cut off date. This means she won't be starting kindergarten until September, 2015. That's still 3+ years away, so I definitely think it would be a little too many years of preschool if we started her right now. 

However, we decided it was time to start doing some more "learning" things with her, rather than just letting her play all day. So my mom has just recently started doing some preschool workbook pages with her. She's so darn proud of herself every time she finishes a page and tells me every day about the "school work" she did. It's pretty darn adorable, if I do say so myself!

I absolutely love this little girl, and how excited she is about her "school" work!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

- what I've been reading these days -

Here are some highlights of some of my most recent blog a few of my favorite bloggers...I love these gals!

Let's start with Kelly, from Our Footprints on the World
since she's the one I got this lovely idea from. Her little boy was having a rough day...he's still cute, even when he's crying! And I love the way this momma dresses cute little Joshua. I'd love to do some shopping in the UK some day!

(Image credit Kelly)

Courtney from, From Here to Eternity just shared some big news on her blog! Her and her wonderful husband Eric, are expecting a baby! I am elated for Courtney! She will make such an amazing fun mom!

(Image credit Courtney)

Andrea, from kerubo mama has the cutest, 11 month old boy! Happy 11 months Cruz! You've been keeping your gorgeous momma busy these days! Don't lose all of that baby chub too looks so great on you!

(Image credit Andrea)

Christine from, Apartment 46 just graduated from nursing school! Big congratulations to her! I am so proud of her! She managed to complete school and still be an amazing mom to her son, Sam. Please visit her and tell her congrats!

(Image credit Christine)

I seriously adore Tiffany, from blabbering thoughts. This gal is 'da bomb! It's only a matter of time until she comes to my city on vacation and we can hang out in real life (oh, wait...that happened already...everything except the hanging out together! Can you believe it? I'm still kicking myself because I seriously love her). She ALWAYS has these crazy, awesome new things she is trying out, and I love to read about them on her blog. This week, it's her homemade Lemon Cucumber shampoo! Seriously, it made her hair so shiny! Now if I could only find the time to whip up a batch, I'd be a happy gal! (Hey Tiff, can you send some down my way please pretty please!)

(Image credit Tiffany)

Last, but certainly never ever least, my sweet, amazing, generous, caring, awesome, funny (I could go on and on about this girl) friend Melanie, over at, Happy Jax needs a little cheering up. She had a dear friend pass away this week from leukemia, and could use your sweet, cheerful thoughts! Although, this adorable face has been cheering her up every day. Who could resist this smile? I love Jax...he's an amazing little boy!

(Image credit Melanie)

Hope you visit each and every one of these gals and get to know them! I'll be doing a second installment of "what I've been reading these days" very soon...just so you can meet even more lovely ladies that I love following...

Monday, June 4, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Another Monday...I think I have the Monday blues! After spending a few wonderful days away with my hubby,, and then having a great end of the weekend with my mom and Ellie, it's rough getting back into the swing of things. If only I was independently wealthy...then every day would be a weekend! But alas, it's back to work for me and the hubs. I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Today I am so excited to feature Tiffany, from the infamous blog, The Coffeehouse. I've been following Tiffany's blog for awhile now, and there isn't a single thing about it that I don't love! Her and her husband, Dan, are just the cutest pair! Together, they have a fur baby, a lab named Sherman.

(Image credit Tiffany)

Contrary to the name, her blog has absolutely nothing to do with coffee, but instead is a just a fabulous, random blog about their lives ... including a little cooking here and there. However, the chef in their family is not Tiffany, it's Dan! Dan cooks every single night and this may or may not be why Tiffany married him (hee hee).  Even though Tiffany doesn't cook, she does love to eat! And she also loves taking pictures of food with her new camera. And since we all know someone has to take the pictures, I guess Tiffany just won't be able to be the one cooking in their family (ha ha!)

Peach Pork Picante
2 lbs boneless pork chops, cubed
2 Tbs taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 Tbs cooking oil
16 ounces chunky style salsa
2/3 cup peach preserves
Brown or white rice

Season pork with taco seasoning and parsley. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add seasoned pork and saute until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain grease if desired. Add salsa and peach preserves and mix well. Cover skillet and reduce heat. Simmer and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice.

(Image credit Tiffany)

This recipe looks awesome! Totally original and different. I definitely need more unique recipes like this one to throw into my repertoire of weekly recipes to change things up!

If you don't already follow Tiffany's blog, start following her today. It's definitely a must read! She's kind, friendly, and her blog always brings a smile to my face.

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