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 January...so 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 every.single.day. 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 http://www.genaw.com)

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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

- oh, the NFL -

I love sports...I really do. I have always been a "tomboy" and have always loved the outdoors and sports. In our house, NFL is king...it's what we follow the most. Matt and I will watch any sports, but we don't follow and watch anything as closely as the NFL. Sundays are footballs days in our house, and I love it. I love the beer drinking, the slightly mostly unhealthy snacking, and the great games.

And of course, we have a home team that we follow....that we love...we bleed their team colors...we're loyal fans. BUT, there is such a big difference between me and my hubby when we  watch our football team. Yes folks, I love my football team. But my husband...oh my husband...he gets so overly emotional about our home team, it's crazy! I just can't relate. I mean, when our team loses, I'm disappointed. But when our team loses, my hubby is devastated....devastated! The NFL brings out emotions in my husband (both happy and upset) that I only see during football season.

I'm not saying it's a female vs. male thing. I know a lot of females out there that are emotionally crazy about their teams. But in general, I think it's more common that it's the men out there that get a little "irrational" about sports.

Does anyone else out there have a husband/boyfriend that is absolutely bonkers when it comes to their sports team?

Monday, October 15, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

It's that day again....Monday...when it all starts over again! We had a good weekend...picked out our pumpkins and spent some quality time with some good friends. All in all, a great weekend!

Today I am sharing another Pinterest recipe I found. It's a great, kid friendly recipe. And they are super easy to make!

Taco Bites
1.5 tsp chili oil (regular olive oil works too)
1/2 lb ground turkey, beef, or chicken
1 Tbs taco seasoning
3/4 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
16 wonton wrappers
5 Tbs of queso dip
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup Mexican shredded cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Lightly mist 8 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. Heat chili oil (or Olive oil) in a saute pan or large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and taco seasoning and brown beef, breaking it with a spoon. Add black beans and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until warm. Push a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the eight sprayed cups in the  muffin tin. Spoon a teaspoon of queso dip into each wonton wrapper and spread across the bottom.Follow by spooning some of the meat/beans mixture into each cup and then spooning a teaspoon or so of salsa on top of that. Sprinkle a pinch of the cheese evenly over the top of each cup. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin. 

(Image credit http://bricelife-gabrielle.blogspot.com/)

Perfect toddler recipe! And quick and easy! What would I do without Pinterest? Ha ha!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

- the little one through my lens -

A little "photo journalistic" look at my little one...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

- getting back in the saddle -

Okay, so after some friendly encouragement from this lovely lady, I decided try my hardest to get back into the saddle and start writing on this blog again! The thing about stopping a regular activity is, it's always so hard to get started again! I have a million things I want to write about, but it's been so hard making myself sit down and type. Part of it is lack of sleep...if you follow me regularly on any type of social media, then you already know we are having big problems with Ellie's sleep. It's nothing new...been going on for at least 3- 4 months consistently, but before that, on and off since she was born. But it's really been taking a toll on us, and our daily lives. The things about lack of sleep in an adult, is that it just keeps building and building until one day you question how you are even functioning. Lack of sleep in a child keeps building until the child is so over hyper, delirious and out of control. After months of lack of sleep in our house, let's just say the perfect storm has been brewing around here. And it's hit...multiple times in the past few weeks...and it hasn't been pretty.

So, all of this is my "excuse" for being absent around here lately, but I realized how much I miss it, and how much I really need this outlet....especially now. I can't guarantee that my posts will be super cheery and rosey right now...but a long time ago, I did promise that this blog would be kept real and transparent. So I know some of my stress will probably be reflected in some of my upcoming blog posts (and I know it already has after re-reading some of my posts from the last couple of weeks). But we all take the good with the bad right? And this is real life, and that's exactly what I promised myself I would blog about.

So, I guess this post really has no point other than to say I'm going to do my best to get back into the saddle and get back to writing here. I'm not going to promise a certain number of posts per week , because I'll just end up not being able to keep up (or worse, I will drive myself crazy forcing myself to keep up). So instead, I'll just say I am going to get back at it as often as I can.

I saw this the other day and had to laugh...hard...because it is so, so, so true! And then, when I saw that it was listed under the "Cry for Help" section on someecards website, I just had to laugh even harder. Again, so , so, so true!

p.s.- back to the "non sleeping" child issue...has anyone used melatonin with their toddler? I am hearing that a lot of people know people that use it for their kids, but no one that has used it directly for their own kids. I have tried some of the other "all natural" products out that like Hylands Calm Forte for Kids with absolutely no success. But I am so hesitant to try melatonin because I have seen some negative things online about using it on toddlers. Of course, my pediatrician is away for 3 weeks, so I can't ask her about it (she never really suggested it to me when I've discussed Ellie's sleep problems before, so my guess is it's something she either doesn't recommend or something that she doesn't have much knowledge about). The interim pediatricians that are filling in for her aren't much help either. But I would love to hear first hand if anyone has tried it with their child in the past, and how it worked, and if there were any negative side effects.

Monday, October 8, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hello folks, how is everyone doing on this lovely Monday? We had a great weekend...complete with a date night Saturday evening! Drinking wine at the top of Matt's office parking garage...sounds romantic, no? Actually, we were watching a spectacular fireworks show from the nearby stadium, and his office was the perfect, (and free), location to camp out with our beach chairs and our bottle of wine! We had a great time!

Today, I'm excited to feature a gluten free recipe from Megan. Megan blogs over at Absolute Mommy. Megan blogs about all things revolving around motherhood, pop culture, and her obsession with Instagram.

(Image credit Megan)
She told me she was shocked (and humbled...awe, thanks Megan) when I asked her to contribute a recipe, because when it comes to cooking, she "fakes it, til she makes it" (lol).  Today she's going to share a great crock pot recipe for fall.  It's simple, easy, and the ingredients may already be in your refrigerator or pantry as we speak.  Can't get easier than that right?  And the big plus... it can be made 100% gluten free which is a big plus for Megan, since she's gluten intolerant. I know I have a couple of readers that are always looking for a good gluten free recipe, so I hope you guys enjoy today's recipe!

 (Gluten Free) Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggie Soup
 6 chicken breast tenders
1 cup frozen sliced or diced carrots
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen cut green beans
3 Tbs Minced Onion or 1/2 chopped raw onion
1 tsp sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 32 oz box chicken broth (gluten free)
1 c. water
2 cups white or brown rice cooked (optional)

Place chicken, veggies, broth and water in slow cooker and stir.  Then add all spices, and stir. Then place the lid on and set for high 4-6 hours. When the chicken starts to float on the surface, sometime after the 4th hour (if cooking on high for 6 hours), check it to see if it's done.  If it's done, shred or cube chicken into pieces. Serve with bread (gluten free or not), or over rice.

(Image credit Megan)

Another perfect fall recipe, right? This sounds delicious! In case you need some gluten free goodies to go with this, you can visit Absolute Mommy for GF Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, GF Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, or Nutella Crispy Rice Treats.  

Thank you so much, Megan, for sharing all of these gluten free recipes with us! I can't wait to try out this soup. It sounds like the perfect comfort food dinner! And comfort food always makes me happy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

- i can do this -

Life's not perfect...parenting is not easy...friendships aren't always peachy...but I can get through this...I see the sun shining in front of me and I'm heading towards it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

- quick recipe of the week -

Hi everyone...another start to another week...hopefully it's a great one for everyone!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Lindsay, from Little Mudpies. Lindsay's blog is a mishmash of her daily adventures of being a wife to an amazing man and Momma of two little boys and a sweet little girl puppy named, Oatmeal. On her blog, you'll find recipes for yummy treats like Caramel Apple Rice Krispie Treats and Chocolate Eclair Cake. DIY tutorials for Halloween Garland with Lights and her most popular Heatless Curls. You'll even get a glimpse inside her world, with her Momma Tales. 

(Image credit Lindsay)
When I asked Lindsay if she would share a dinner recipe with you guys, she immediately said yes! She admits, she hasn't always loved to cook, but since she became a momma, she feels like it's her duty to at least try to feed her kids good, healthy, home cooked meals. (My thoughts exactly Lindsay!)

Today Lindsay is sharing the recipe for Vegetable Tortellini Soup. It's one of her family's favorites and with the cooler weather coming, she figured it would be perfect to share.

Vegetable Tortellini Soup
2 Tablespoons Oliver Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Medium Zucchini, Chopped
1 Medium Yellow Squash, Chopped
1 Medium Carrot, Peeled and chopped
6 Cups chicken stock (can use vegetable also)
2 Teaspoons basil (fresh or dried)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Package of Tortellini (fresh or frozen)
2 - 3 Tablespoons Parsley (fresh)
1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add all the veggies and sauté for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir often. Add the remaining ingredients and increase the heat to a boil. Add the tortellini. Set soup to a low boil cook for about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and parsley. Remove bay leaf before serving.

(Image credit Lindsay)

What a perfect fall recipe! Thank you so very much Lindsay, for sharing this recipe! If you're interested in meeting Lindsay, visit her blog or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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