This weeks lived and learned.

11:41 AM

(though hubs and i grew up on two totally different coasts, the beach is a place we both love and hope to share that love with our boy)

this weeks lived and learned:

baby boy smiles now! he showed us his first sweet smile at the end of last week.

babies create a LOT of laundry, or at least ours does. he spits up more and more now. any helpful hints parents? and while we are on the topic, did any of you use gripe water to settle your littles ones tummy? we went to pick some up, but i was amazed when it came with a $20 price tag! for baking soda and herbs? really?? i just couldn't do it, not unless i hear some amazing raves! so bring them on people! ;)

no new recipes this week. we kept it simple. will's been thrilled. he has got chicken for days!

scratch that, i lied, we did try these, maple belgian waffles this week. they were pretty stinkin good, but did come out fairly dense, perhaps that's because i substituted the all-purpose for bread flour, because i had it on hand. :/ any how, i'd say they are a go. but i know now, i definitely prefer a lighter, fluffier waffle.

i cooked spam for my first time, bacon spam at that. my husband loved it and has asked that i keep a drawer (yes, the ones your veggies should be in) of spam fried rice with a spoon in it at all times. i like to please my hubs, but had to say no to this one. he isn't any good to us if he's suffering a heart attack ;) but i will be making it again.

winter gardens...we are contemplating one.  our summer garden did great, and i hear winter gardens are way less upkeep. i'm all about that! what's your thoughts? ...only we have to get our soil tested for lead first before we indulge on any leafy greens..oh the joys of an old house. is it reasonable to ask our landlord to do this?

baby boy experienced the ocean for the first time this week!! we were blessed with a lovely day at the coast. it was 70 with almost no wind! that's a rarity for our coast!

this is on my wishlist. big time. only i haven't found out who makes it yet, or where to buy it. suggestions ladies?

and last but not least, i am so looking forward to making this glorious soup once fall is upon us. with bacon on the side so i can indulge too!

happy friday friends!


Recipe Share: Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

4:32 PM

I made these a couple weeks ago. They were quick, easy, delicious, and gluten free (if that's your thing). Also perfect when there is a new baby in the house. Or if unexpected guests arrive. There isn't as much time for baking anymore. But that's ok, he's totally worth it. ;)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: dependent on size, we got about 18

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
sea salt for the tops

Throw it all in your kitchen aid, one ingredient at a time. Or in a big bowl and hand whisk. That'll work too. ;)

Roll into balls. Flatten slightly. Top with sea salt. Bake on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet at 350 for 9 minutes. Cool and indulge!


This Weeks {Lived & Learned}

10:55 PM

Hi guys,
I am making it an effort to make this a weekly or bi-weekly post. An update post so to speak. So, without further ado, here is this weeks lived & learned:

1-0 vacuum. The vacuum cleaner puts my son out like a rock. Double bonus, clean house for me, rest for him. :)

I hate to admit this one, but I don't read my bible near enough. It's become a bad habit of mine recently to rely on Sunday's studies and a few mid-week encouragements. :/

I am starting this reading plan to help me get back on track, and because I have been stuck in the old testament for ages. Hopefully this should spruce things up a bit.

I made this black bean hummus recipe with a few alterations (i.e. way more garlic and no tahini). It turned out fabulous!! I was inspired by a black bean hummus I had while we were up in Orgeon a few weeks ago. You can read a little about our trip here.

I want to have a breakfast party, for no good reason…with invites, decor, the whole sha-bang! Who's in?

My husband is one hard worker. He is back to school as a full-time student, as well as a full-time employee at the hospital these days, not to mention full-time husband AND dad. A fabulous one might I add. I am one lucky lady!

These are on my wishlist, in tomato! How do you feel about colored denim?

H&M and Gap hands down have the best baby clothes for an affordable price. We may have snuck off to H&M to pick our little man up a few new threads this week. ;) Some of the first we've bought actually! We've been so beyond blessed with hand-me-downs and gifted clothing. And for baby clothes, well, hand-me-downs just plain make sense. At the rate they grow there is no wearing them out.

Last but not least, we are Berkeley bound this weekend to check out a friend's church. If you're in the Bay Area you should too! 


Recipe share: breakfast {or snack} cookies

6:28 PM

I don't know about you, but you don't have to give me a second excuse to eat cookies for breakfast, (or snack, if you prefer) which is why I am sharing this recipe with you. And all you health nuts out there, don't you worry, you can indulge too. These really aren't even that bad for you. Just make sure to get yourself a glass of milk to go with this. 

Breakfast Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
coarse salt

*Note: reserve salt for sprinkling the top of each cookie just before baking

Add each ingredient to kitchen aid stand mixer, one at a time. Mix well. Drop heaping tablespoon-sized balls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Remove cookies to cooling rack. Enjoy! Or store for later indulgence.


Life as of late {according to my cell phone}

5:49 PM

We are settling into parenthood quite well. A little sleepy, but hey, that's to be expected right? All is well in the Cooper household. I really cannot complain. Our lives are filled with good jobs, our sweet little boy, coffee dates, entertainment, time to do things such as craft and bake. We really do have it easy. Here are a few snapshots of the past couple weeks. A day at the fair. A family trip. Good food. Garden. Home projects. Sleep. Play. Count your blessings. We are. It's easy to forget how much we have. We, too, are often guilty of this.


Marinated roasted peppers with capers and mozzarella

8:15 PM

love a meal like this one on a hot summer day. Simple, light, refreshing. And this one should be made a day ahead to allow the flavors to really come together. Talk about an easy day off dinner. Invite your friends, find a cool place in the shade, and enjoy.

And if your garden looks anything like ours this time of year, your peppers are just about ready to be picked. Perfect.

Marinated Roasted Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella
Yield: 4 cups of marinated peppers

6 bell peppers (if you can, get a mix of colors)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
1/2 pound ball of mozzarella, sliced


Roast the peppers. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line peppers on a large baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, using tongs to rotate them 1/4 of the way, every 15 minutes. It is safer to extend the cooking time than shorten it, as the skins will only come off easily if they are fully cooked.

Once fully roasted, cover the pepper tray with a piece of foil and let peppers cool. When cool enough to handle, remove skins. The skins should slip right off. Remove seeds and slice sections of pepper into 1/4-inch wide strips.

Toss peppers with red wine vinegar, garlic and a few pinches of salt. Cover and let marinate for an hour or overnight (and up to 4 days) in the fridge.

To serve, arrange peppers on a platter. Adjust seasonings, adding salt, freshly ground black pepper or additional vinegar, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with capers and parsley and arrange mozzarella over salad.

Eat with a hunk of crusty bread and a glass of chilled wine.


Happy 1 month Holland Cooper!

8:20 PM

Happy 1 month little man!! This first month has been filled with so much joy with you. Boy did it fly by. We know only more is to follow. You steal our hearts Holland Cooper. In this first month we have…

-introduced you to many, many friends and lots of family
-taken you to church with us
-road tripped it to Oregon and back
-gone to the lake
-taken tons and tons of photos, what a good sport you are
-enjoyed a day at your great great aunt's pool
-you met your great great grandparents amongst many other cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents!
-gobbled down lots of all you can eat sushi...ok, maybe I did the gobbling part, but you sat quietly at the table :)
-done our fair share of shopping and other girly things. You were perfectly content both swim suit shopping with me and as my pedicure buddy. I know that won't last. ;)
-and have gone on lots of walks
-snuggled, snuggled, and snuggled some more
-gone through a bajillion diapers
-busted out of your newborn clothes
-discovered your love for sleeping in your car seat, PTL!


we have fallen head over heels for you!

and lots, lots more but as you have not taken a real nap all day, I better make this quick. You are a crabby little munchkin tonight. Where has my baby who takes two 4 hour naps throughout the day gone?

Crabby or not, we love you. Happy 1 month little guy.



10:45 PM

After extending our trip by a couple days, we are home. What a fabulous trip it was and always is. Our Holland was one sweet boy the whole time. I think he stole a few hearts while we were away. ;) He also did a whole lot of growing in just a week. Where did my newborn go? He is in 3-6 month clothes already! Boy did that go by fast.

So one might think, home sweet home, right? Well…sort of. Yes, and no. Yes, in that we do love where we live, the friends we have, the sense of community, our church, our little rental home. The surroundings, but no, in the sense of family. With each trip to Oregon it gets a little harder to come home. We never feel quite ready to leave. Thankfully, it's only a 6 hour trip (driving) to visit again. This trip was no exception. We wanted to stay forever. Once home, it takes a couple days to settle back in to where we are, no matter how long or short the trip. Then, I fall in love with Santa Rosa all over again, but until then my mind wonders. "Where will we end up? Is the Lord preparing us for a move? ….my heart feels open….maybe he is? Should we just take the leap? and on and on...

You see, I have lived within 30 miles of the area we are in all of my life. I've never lived outside of this county. The thought of a move is both exciting and scary. Though mostly scary. Yet after a visit with our extended family, quite tempting. And this is the process I go through this every time. I think. I question. I pray. And then a few days pass, and I go back to routine. I am a creature of habit. I settle in, at least of course until we visit again. Then, I repeat.

How about you? How do you feel about moves? Do you go through this same process? I want to have stories to tell my children one day, and grandchildren. Maybe even great grandchildren Experience. Excitement. Not a life of all comfort and routine. 

And, if/when a time to move comes, I  assume/hope/pray that if the Lord does want to move us, that I will feel a sense of peace in the move, my heart will be open and willing. That I will listen. That I will follow. That I will obey. That I will move where He moves. That I will be rooted in Him not the place or circumstance we are in.

Could this be it? I don't know. Perhaps the beginning of something new for us, perhaps not. There are a lot of variables…as there always is. Wouldn't it just be a whole lot easier if we knew what was to come? But then again, where would the fun in that be?

Anyhow, wherever we are, I am looking forward to the days to come. What will come, only God knows. It's day by day for us.


Welcome to Oregon.

2:44 PM

Hey guys!!

Thanks for bearing with us as we soak up all this time with our boy! He's a big 3 week old today!It's hard to believe. In two weeks alone he gained a pound and a half!! Yup, we have a 10 pounder already. Newborn clothes are long gone. We are Oregon bound for the weekend and so excited about it. Most of my extended family lives there and we are ready to show off our boy.

Plus, we figure it's a good time to travel. He sleeps most of the day and happens to LOVE his carseat. We got lucky there.

Anyhow, after our trip I hope to get back to regular postings. I had a few minutes to bake the other day and have a tasty, and super simple gluten free cookie recipe to share with you as well as a roasted pepper summer dish. And of course, loads of Holland photos to upload if you are up for seeing them. His personality is starting to shine through. It's been great getting to know our boy these passed weeks and him us. I love watching him study our faces and we his. Precious moments I tell you. 

We are getting back in the groove around here. And I must say, being home is really, really nice. A totally different pace from work atmosphere even though my occupation was still childcare. ;)

However, I do miss those little munchkins. I'll be back at it in September though, this time with one added to the bunch, Mr. Holland.

See you after our trip!

P.S. A shoutout to Crynfiction for her lovely guest post on parenting. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should.


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