3:28 PM

 Merry Christmas!

We are in Oregon and had a sweet Christmas with our boy, surrounded by family, though slightly sleep deprived. Holland decided to make it a memorable Christmas by sleeping maybe two hours Christmas Eve night, and that is if you add up all the ten and twenty minute dozes he took. ;) His first official all-nighter. We may be in for it folks!

Last night, however was day three of our little holiday vacation and his sleep schedule was back to that of at home (well…close enough). Praise the Lord for that!

Sleepless or not, we had a very merry Christmas. We are lucky to be surrounded by many loved ones. For that I give thanks.


Meals! Week 9 and the Christmas spirit

1:19 PM

No recipes to share with you this week but I'll give you a post anyway. We are scrounging this week. I went to the grocery store only picking up a couple essentials, like bread, and maybe a little chocolate...but that's it. We are out of town for the holidays and I hate knowing food is sitting in the fridge spoiling, so we are using the bits and pieces we have. Our fridge was due for a good clean anyhow. ;) And what better time to do it?

This weeks (not so grand) meals…

Monday: Thai honey peanut chicken (left-overs!)
Tuesday: Fish sticks and tots, yep, I found a few left in the freezer, and wa-la! Dinner at its finest ;)
Wednesday: Roasted squash and quinoa
Thursday: Fried rice
Friday: Fried egg sandos
Saturday: Pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes (maybe, if I scrounge enough basil in our garden)
Sunday: Pasta left-overs or eggs and rice

And well, there you have it. Not the most healthful, but there are a few veggies in there right? Carrots and peas in the rice, and uh...we will count the squash so I feel a little better. :)

Which brings us to Christmas. First of all, can you believe Christmas is just about here?

And secondly, have you noticed the Christmas spirit? 

The past few days, I have ran into quite a few very nice strangers. It is like everyone is in the Christmas spirit. People have insisted on getting and taking back our shopping carts, opening doors, and kindly greeting us, even in the hustle and bustle. Everyone seems to be doing just a little bit more. Buying drinks for the person behind them..using manners. The Christmas spirit is surely out there. And what a difference it makes. After all, it is the little things that can make the biggest difference. Right? If only we didn't reserve this type of "behavior" for one time a year.

I'm not a big New Years resolution maker, but perhaps this year I will make it my personal goal to do the "extra" things all year, not just in December. Life gets busy, I totally understand that, but is a little more effort that hard? I guess we will see!

Merry (almost) Christmas my friends.


Meals! Week 8

10:00 PM

Better late than never, right?

Here is what we have eaten thus far and will eat the rest of the week...

The pumpkin chowder is a winner thus far. We topped ours with goat cheese, and subbed the fresh marjoram with fresh thyme. Oh, it is so good. Don't skimp yourself. ;)

I'll say now, there will be no menu come Christmas through New Years. We will be doing impromptu meals visiting family so you guys are on your own. I am sure you will survive. 

Monday: Shrimp and pesto toasts, steak and cole slaw (Yes, we feasted. We joined our meal with my parents this week) Great visit, great food.
Tuesday: Pasta, pesto and mushrooms
Wednesday: Pumpkin chowder with goat cheese
Thursday: Left-overs
Friday: Eggs over rye, greens
Saturday: Thai honey peanut chicken (I told you this one was a winner. See Meals! Week 6)
Sunday: TBD -gift exchange

Does anyone have any recipes to pass along to me this week? I will gladly accept them!


A teething child...

9:11 PM

and just like that, all routine is out the window.

Bedtime? What's that? Naps? Huh?
But hey, Holland's first tooth cut Sunday morning.

1 down 2 down...how many to go?

So long gummy smile. I'm not quite sure I am quite ready for that sweet little grin to be filled with teeth, but I guess you are!

Oh, and happy 5 months sweet boy!

How'd that happen?


Meals! Week 7

10:24 PM

Another meal post already. Whew, the weeks are really flying by. Speaking of which, Holland is 21 weeks old already! I can't even believe it. And Christmas is almost here (sort of). With time flying as fast as it has been, I know it will be here and gone before we know it. This month is an exciting one. Baby's first Christmas. And…after the 19th, my husband will be free of classes, at least for a few weeks. I cannot wait for some family time!

Ok, onto meals…

Monday: Kale & quinoa pilaf
Tuesday: Yesterday's left-overs
Wednesday: Beet, arugula & goat cheese grilled cheese (Yes! Cheese!! Goat's cheese doesn't seem to bother Holland. We made this lovely discovery last week.)
Thursday: Salmon, lentils & greens
Friday: Holiday potluck at our church. We will contribute a winter squash casserole.
Saturday: Winter vegetable soup and sausages
Sunday: Left-overs

As you may have noticed, I don't hardly ever make the same dishes over and over again. I LOVE to try new recipes. We are beginning to build a pretty decent list of favorites, however. Perhaps I will have to compile those. On a side note, you know what is sort of funny? Whether you are reading this or not, I now find myself checking back at my own blog several times a week as a quick, easy way to grab the recipes I need to in order to get dinner going. So…this post is actually one that is helpful for myself and hopefully you as well.  I always love a good tried and true recipe. :)

Where do you get your recipes from?


This week {and last weeks} lived and learned

8:57 PM

This weeks lived and learned:

-My one and only black friday purchase consisted of 3 rolls of 59 cent christmas ribbon.

-i *might* have started decorating for Christmas. :)

-I also finished decorating for Christmas. 

-i dropped my first pie on the sidewalk this year. Talk about bummer.

-Holland sits on his own! My baby is growing up WAY too fast.

-i started oil pulling this week. I'm addicted. Will is with me on this one. Seriously, try it. Your mouth will thank you. Make daily your goal. It's easily attainable. I do it in the shower. :)

-I had my first tofurkey this Thanksgiving and it wasn't half bad. Ok, I actually loved it. 14 some odd years of not eating meat and I am just discovering this!?

- i've  been converted to coconut oil. it is delicious and healthy! Thank you father-in-law!

…And last but not least, my baby eats solids!! and he LOVES it. Ok, well he loves sweet potatoes thus far. That's all we've given him. We are taking it slow. I keep hearing of benefits of waiting to start solids..so now I am sort of torn. Moms, dads, friends…input? He has also decided his bedtime is 7pm. Our evenings end early these days, but hey, I'm not complaining. Now if only I could get myself to bed early…

Oh yeah, and Holland swings these days too. Watch out parks, here we come!


Meals! Week 6

7:13 PM

You may have noticed there was no post last week. With family in town and the Thanksgiving holiday we didn't have a whole lot of at-home meals, though we did manage to make a couple. It always seems to go that way with family in town, lots of restaurants, lots of impromptu meals...not that I really mind. I really enjoy eating out, but there is something about home cooked meals. One of the dishes we did get to last week was this Thai Honey Peanut Chicken and Tofu and oh my goodness, it was AMAZING. Yes, it was that good that it deserves all caps.

Here is what we've been eating and will eat this week:

Monday: Shrimp and chive dumplings with mixed greens and cantaloupe
Tuesday: Salmon, lentils and greens
Wednesday: Beef & broccoli
Thursday: Eggs and brown rice 
Friday:Vegetable soup {straight from the freezer! it pays to make big batches} :)
Saturday: Fried rice
Sunday: Tuna and white bean salad

No recipes to share this week, all things I have made before.

Have you had anything tasty as of late?


Photo share: a few holiday favorites and a humbling experience

10:14 PM

On Thanksgiving morning we were humbled by a family from Italy, three young girls, a father, and a mother with one more baby on the way. We were on a tight schedule and our morning was going as so. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen my husband so regimented about the time. We were off to breakfast, then a town over to visit a friend, then back home again, only to scurry off to my mother's for the rest of the day. Well...the breakfast place we intended to go was closed, we were 30 minutes behind, tension was rising, and then my husband missed the turn at our alternative destination, forcing us to go into a parking lot we would have never gone into, and well…our God works in mysterious ways, or maybe they aren't so mysterious. Here was a beautiful family, all together, standing on the side of the curb, asking for help. Immigrants from Italy, the father out of work, the mother expecting, and three young daughters. My heart broke for this family. Though late, it didn't matter anymore. People are what matter, not the places we are "suppose" to be. We did what we could to help.  The details of that aren't what matter, but rather the reminder to *really* look at ALL we have, to be thankful not one day of the year, but every day. I am thankful for this family. They were placed in our lives for mere moments, but I know I will not forget them. I only hope I will see them again, though I know it is unlikely. I would love nothing more but to hear more of their story, to share a part of our lives with theirs. I am thankful for family, for friends, for food and provision, but most of all for reminders like this one.

To Patricia and her family, thank you.

Bugs first Thanksgiving.


Hello there.

10:56 PM

Hey guys,

It's been one heck of a holiday this year! The last two days have been, well a bit hectic, but totally enjoyable. Also, a little loud. I'm currently enjoying the sound of…well, nothing. We have lots of family in town, and everyone has been busy, busy. Holland had a great first Thanksgiving. He's been quite the little trooper, though we are all tired tonight. We've been taking lots of pictures. I will share those with you soon. And we have all eaten WAY too much. I am officially sick of food at this point. Though tomorrow, I will wake up hungry. Funny how that works. You'd think we could stockpile. Nope. But seriously, how convenient would that be?

Tomorrow morning we are off to the farmer's market before we say farewell to a few of our guests. And I just might decorate for Christmas. Just maybe…or at least put Fall away ;)


This weeks lived and learned

6:16 PM


Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
Lived and Learned

-If you haven't been to the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Fransisco, it's a must, especially with kiddos. We went early in the week and had a blast! Between the slides, food, waterfall, bowling, skating, and carousel, there is really no reason to go elsewhere.

-Being a parent is such a gift. Life seems as it would be so dull without Holland. I can hardly imagine it anymore, and it's only been 4 months.  By nature, we are SO selfish. I think children reveal just how much so. I am learning to be less self-focused. And it is a really good thing.

-Holland has found his feet! I've been waiting for this day, what entertainment they provide! Still no rolling action going on here though, he is not the slightest bit interested, and that's ok with me. I know my days of finding him exactly where I put him are numbered.

-Honey is such a powerful medicine! I've been reading more about it, and seriously, it is like the cure-all! It kicked my sore throat within hours. The hot peppers may have helped too. ;) Next up, getting rid of this cough.

-I'm starting not to dread winter as much. Seriously, I use to hate it. But so far, I'm ok with it...for the first time. 

-Who has started their Christmas tunes? We are totally guilty, and I feel just fine about it. Are you one of those people with the "no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" rule? 

-Woot woot!! Family comes into town tomorrow and keeps on coming up until Thursday. I am so excited. We tend to travel for the holidays, but this year family is coming to us! It's a treat.

-Lastly, do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? We have been thinking a lot about what traditions we may or may not want to start now that we've got our Holland here with us.


Meals! Week 5

9:44 AM

Not a whole lot of fancy cooking going on here this week, but we do have some fancy new windows! Ok, not fancy, but new. So long single panes! Though the old windows are cute, they are not practical. Monday and Tuesday we weren't in the kitchen at all. In fact, the house was a crazy mess so we just sort of stayed out of the way the best we could. Tuesday we snuck away on an impromptu day trip to San Francisco. It was glorious, and seriously, the weather couldn't have been better.

Ok, so what are we eating the rest of the week?

Beef and broccoli (yep, a repeat meal. See Week 3)
Lentil sheperd's pie

Last night I made sesame veggie noodles with tofu. Another repeat meal from last week with a few alterations. This week I added a little ponzu to the oyster sauce and plopped in some tofu. The result, scrumptious. Left-overs for lunch today!

This week was all about easy. The sheperd's pie will be my one big endeavor.

What did you cook this week?


Lived and learned

7:33 PM

The weeks just keep on flying by. Seriously, I don't even know where the time goes. Do any of you feel like that? Anyhow, this weeks lived and learned (not that I actually posted last week or the week before that). Back to that time thing, where does it go?

-My son has his 4 month appointment tomorrow! I cannot believe it.
-I'm getting pretty excited about Christmas already even though we haven't made it through Thanksgiving yet…is it too early to decorate? ;)
-Why am I so tired? Holland is a great night sleeper. Arrg.
-I'm finally getting use to this whole dairy free thing and I am AMAZED at the amount of dessert I use to eat which I can no longer. My body probably thanks me.
-I love BONES (the tv series). Netflix finally got last season on dvd so we can finally watch it! What shows do you watch?
-These are on my wishlist, or Holland's rather. Best blankets ever. I can't wait to try this thicker version.


Meals! Week 4

6:51 PM

Did anyone try last weeks recipes? The beef and broccoli was definitely a hit. As were the shrimp and chive dumplings I've been talking about. There will be a whole lot more of those! I LOVED them.

Here is this weeks meal plan…all quick, easy stuff. I'm not a fan of being in the kitchen all day for dinner. And, it's really not necessary. Great meals don't have to take forever. :)

Monday: Dinner at my parent's house
Tuesday: Udon noodle soup
Wednesday: Brown rice and veggies
Thursday: Fried egg sandwiches
Friday: Honey sesame chicken {crockpot recipe}, glazed carrots and tofu



3:57 PM

A dark chocolate bar, cup of tea, banana bread in the oven, and my snuggle bear. Hubs is off to work. It's pouring rain. I don't think we will brave it outside this year. Plus, we aren't big Halloween people anyhow. However, we are armed with a big bowl of candy for any littles who do brave the rain this year. And those who do, will be kindly greeted by our little Holland bear and one overly excited puggle.

How are you celebrating? Or are you?

Happy Halloween. 


Caramel Apple Bread

11:12 AM

Looking for a Halloween treat? If only houses gave out slices of this to trick-or-treaters. Yum-o! Or, if you're not into Halloween (we aren't really) this is the perfect fall treat. Or an anytime treat for that matter.

Caramel Apple Bread
Yield: one 8x4 inch loaf

1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 1½ to 2 apples)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/8 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease parchment paper; set pan aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

 In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in the oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well-combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until the flour is just combined. Fold in apples with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

While bread is baking, make your caramel. 

*Note: You will have left-over caramel. Drizzle it on another delicious delectable or enjoy it over vanilla ice cream. ;)

To make the caramel:
Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/8 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat. 
Cook, without stirring, until mixture is dark amber, about 10 minutes. 
Remove from heat, and carefully pour in cream (mixture will spatter); stir until smooth. 
Return to heat, and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes. 
Pour caramel into a medium bowl, stir in 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely.

Ok, now back to the bread...
Cool bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a dull knife around the sides of the loaf and turn it out on a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper and place right-side up. Cool completely before slicing. 
Once sliced, arrange on a platter of your choice. Drizzle with caramel to your hearts desire and thoroughly enjoy. 

Wrap leftover slices in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. 


Meals! Week 3.

11:21 AM

So...how bout those Giants??  Woot woot!!


Remember those shrimp & chive dumplings I was so excited about from last weeks menu? Well, we never got to them, but that's ok, because I am making them tonight and just as excited about it. The rest of the week we will focus on using what we already have. I hate food left unused in the pantry. Plus, our grocery bill will be minimal this week, like fruits and veggies minimal. I always love that!

Hopefully we will get a couple loaves of banana bread made too, with walnuts and chocolate chips of course. :)

Tuesday: Mango curry chicken and rice
Wednesday: Vegetable fried rice
Thursday: Udon noodle soup
Friday: Asian slaw and tofu
Saturday: Beef and broccoli {crockpot meal}
Sunday: Date night

What are you cooking?


Double Duty Decorating: Blanket crib skirt

8:50 PM

I am so pleased with myself right now…maybe a little too pleased. Anyhow, I've been wanting a crib skirt for our little Holland…something to cozy up his crib some, however I am frugal. His crib has been sitting pretty bare since I gave up on his bumper. Twelve ties that ALL have to be untied and then tied again every time I change his crib sheet. Really? Twelve? Is that really necessary? Anyhow, I sat browsing crib skirts online, after an unsuccessful trip to Target, frowning at the prices…and then, it dawned on me! What is cozier than a big plush blanket?? And there you have it. Crib skirt.

I just pulled one out that we had gotten from Ikea a couple years ago, a blanket we loved dearly and well, so did our puggle. So much so in fact that he snagged it multiple times all in the center making it rather unsightly but none-the-less still cozy.

It is now our new crib skirt.

I did no cutting, so sewing, no alterations. I simply laid it down underneath the mattress, adjusted it and there you have it. Since his crib is up against the wall it didn't have to cover all four sides of the crib, just two. If you have a crib where all four sides show, just choose a bigger blanket. :)

Take that other crib skirt tutorials all over the web. ;)

Simple. Easy. Double duty decorating.

I like the non-perfect look of the blanket as the crib skirt, but if you do not, simply choose a blanket or fabric that can be ironed out to smooth over the look and crease the corners!


Meals! Week 2.

9:36 AM

As you will see we have some repeat meals this week. Last week got super busy, like 4 birthday parties in 48 hours busy, so we didn't quite make it through all our meals. But that's ok, I carried them over for this weeks meal plan. Less grocery shopping for me!

Monday: Teryaki chicken bowls
Tuesday: Simple fish with corn and yellow tomatoes
Thursday: Polenta pizza 
Friday: Shrimp & chive dumplings with miso salad (I am really excited about this one)
Saturday: Left-overs
Sunday: Sushi

By the way, last weeks ginger fried rice was most definitely a success. The crispy crunchies on top of the dish, yum! We will be making it again. Quick, easy, delicious. 

So, what's on your menu? Did anyone cook off of last weeks?



10:16 PM

I make them everyday. Ok, just about everyday, and meal plan weekly, so why not share? Perhaps we can bounce ideas off each other? At the end of each week I spend about 15 minutes "meal planning". Deciding what to make on which day, and writing a grocery list. I go to the store about once a week. It saves us time and money. We write out each meal by the day of the week on a chalk board in the kitchen, and there you have it, our dinners for the week at a glance. Breakfast is generally fend for yourself, and lunch quick easy stuff or left-overs.

Do you meal plan?

I love trying new recipes so you will see a few regulars as these posts go on (which I do intend to do) and a whole lot of new stuff too. I like to switch it up.

So here we are this week:

Monday: Steamed salmon with a ginger vegetable broth (it was amazing and surprisingly easy)
Tuesday: Ginger fried rice, mixed green salad with strawberries and cantaloupe 
Wednesday: Simple fish with corn and yellow tomatoes
Thursday: Warm tuna and bean salad
Friday: Fried egg sandos
Saturday: Beef roast, cauliflower mash
Sunday: Take-out

What's on your menu?


A 3 Month Birthday Boy!

7:44 PM

I can't even believe it. Holland is 3 months old today. And HUGE might I add. Our 3 month old is now wearing 6-12 month pants on most days, unless momma squeezes him into something smaller. And I mean squeeze. To celebrate he boycotted nap ALL day long. And somehow managed to stay totally chipper. Way to go little man.

Happy 3 month birthday Holland Cooper. I cannot believe you've already been in our lives for a quarter of a year, but then again I can not imagine life without you little charmer.

Now let your body rest. The celebration is over. ;)


Holland's new clouds

10:07 PM

Super easy paper cloud tutorial.

As some of you might recall...Holland had this very shabby triangle mobile I made in a rush one night in his nursery. 

I say shabby in a not so good way. I wasn't very pleased with my impatient (and free) attempt at a mobile, and well neither was Will. In fact he hated it. So when I stumbled across this tutorial tonight, I was on it!! And best of yet, it cost me nothing. Nadda. Not a penny. You probably have everything you need too. 

Plain white paper. Check. Cardstock. Check. Scissors. Check. Needle and white thread. Check. 

You my friend are ready to go!

We hung ours simply, 3 clouds from smallest, to biggest. Just leave extra thread for this. ;)

Improvement? Yes.

Also, funny looking back at this picture. We moved everything around shortly after this post. Same items, different set-up. 

 Now, back to clouds…give it a try!!

We love our new mobile. Hopefully Holland will too. Come morning diaper change he will have a new something to admire.


*Note: if you live in a place with moisture in the air, consider using thicker paper. Steam from the shower got to our clouds, and one of them is sorta floppy now. :/


Lived and Learned

6:23 PM

It's been a long couple weeks. Nothing in particular has gone on, just the daily grind of motherhood and housewife has been keeping me busy. Hubs has worked a ton, studied a ton, and been school a lot, so our time together has been spent, well...together hence my blog absence. Anyhow here's a bit of this and that...

We (Holland and I) are officially dairy-free. Oh how I miss ice cream and cheese, but it is temporary and so worth it. He is a much happier little booger without it in my diet.

I skyped for my first time this week. Pretty stinkin cool! And about time. ;)

We've been making pesto like crazy along these parts. And serving tomatoes with every meal, as well as pawning them off on whoever we can. They are coming out our ears! But I love it.

On that note, grow a garden, it's worth it, no matter how big or small. We are just about to put our winter garden in the ground. Northern Californian's, you should too!

Back to being dairy free...it's hard, especially since I don't eat meat! Im eating more soy than I'd like :/ Vegans, you amaze me.  I LOVE my eggs. 

Food52 is amazing! More recipes than I could ever look through, and they ALL look fabulous. My new go to site for meal planning.

Fall is here! Can you believe it? I can't, but I'm *trying* to welcome it. I'm sorta partial to summer. To help, I got a few little pumpkins today, and we plan on doing this.  

You've got to try this Buttermilk Chicken. My husband said it was amazing. I left it for the full 48 hour marinade....(actually 72, but shhh). Stick to the 48 just to be safe. ;)

Happy Sunday all.


Do It Yourself {Laundry Soap Edition}

7:35 PM

(Photo Credit:Natural Kids Team, Team Member: Unknown)

Where does your detergent come from? What's in it? How much does it cost? I don't know about you, but I like to know what's in mine. Especially with baby around. No, we aren't some hippy dippy crazy family, but yes, we do make our own detergent. And we do make an effort to go the more natural, less processed route. Ok, back to detergent! It takes 5 minutes to make and saves us money. Our clothes come out of the washer clean and deodorized.

Frugal? Maybe. Simple? Yes. Worth it? 100%

Here is how we make ours.

Will you give it a try?


Family Portrait

10:11 PM

…courtesy of photo booth. Yes, this is our first. Keeping it classy…

Clearly we are having one heck of a Saturday night. Studying, baby time, pandora, and some goof off time. Oh yeah, and photobooth of course. ;) Really though, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Saturday. And goodnight.  ♥


A few favorites.

7:45 PM

We've got a character on our hands. Can you tell?
P.s. I'll post a tutorial for the "my mom is blogging this" onesie. 
I felt it appropriate. 

We are loving our boy! 9 weeks and counting!


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