Friday, February 17, 2017

Bringing My Blog Back to Life

I'm trying to bring my blog back to life.  Being a working Mom, who's pregnant, and chasing a four year old.... not sure why I think this is a good idea.  But, here we go!

I want to post some tips and fun things I find along the way. 

First off, I found this website with nursing pillows & pregnancy pillows for next to nothing!  Check it out!!  My code can get you 40% off: 075BB8C92

I ordered the grey minky nursing pillow for our new baby girl, due in May!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spinach Cheese Tortellini Soup

Ever lack the energy or creativity to come up with an amazing dinner?  Try this.  Seriously easiest dinner, ever.  I don't say that lightly.  I can make this while Simone hangs on my leg and it still comes out perfect. 

What you need...

2 fist fulls of fresh spinach.  I just use the regular box (or bag) spinach from the salad section of our Fry's.
2 cans of low sodium chicken broth
1 can of peeled & diced tomatoes 
1 package of cheese tortellini 
Dash of garlic salt & black pepper
1 lb of ground Italian sausage (you can omit this for a meatless meal and it's still amazing)
Get it done...

Toss the first five ingredients in your crock pot on LOW.  
If you are going to add the Italian sausage, brown it in a pan, drain it, and add that to the crock pot.
Allow it to cook on low for 1-4 hours.  You can't really mess it up!!

It's BEYOND EASY, and goes well with sandwiches or garlic bread!  It keeps nicely, too for up to a week in the fridge.  We use this as dinner on nights when we are busy, will be getting home late, or days when I'm completely overwhelmed and want dinner to make itself.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dear 18 Month Old Simone...

Dear Simone,

Hello you wild little monkey, you.  You are certainly learning to voice your opinion these days, and you are quite....opinionated.  Although, if you weren't I would be beyond shocked.  You see, sweet Simone, your Daddy and Mommy are a lot like you... or more you're a lot like your parents.  When the task is frustrating, when we have to leave a friend's house, or when you're angry you get upset and make your voice heard.  I know it's hard to understand why you're not allowed to climb on the kitchen table, but I promise that we just want you safe.  Someday it will all make sense...

What's amazing about a kid like you is that your opinionated side comes out in other ways, beautiful ways.  For instance, there's no wondering who you love, when you love someone we all know it!  You show affection freely giving hugs & kisses to your family & friends.  One of my very favorite things you've been doing is holding my (or Daddy's) face in your tiny hands & looking right into my eyes.  After a good long look at me, you throw your arms around my neck and squeeze me with the best hug I've ever felt.  It makes any of the challenges of our day melt away.  It tells me that you are happy and proud of your Mommy despite mistakes I make along the way.  And, I could never really put into words how it FEELS... but I think it's along the lines of pure sweet bliss.

You are also talking up a storm!  You've mastered many words (Daddy, Mama, cup, keys, cheese, Ozzie, Landon, doggy, kitty, baby, shoes... to name a few) and you're working on many more.  We are always impressed by how much you understand.  Even when you don't want to listen, you show us that you understand what we are saying.  I see you playing pretend with your babies, your cars, and blocks.  Some days I can't believe you're the same tiny baby girl who we first snuggled a year & a half ago.

We love our evening walks out front... and now that you love to hold hands with Daddy & I, it's even better!  Stealing moments with you looking at the trees Daddy planted, snuggling on Saturday mornings as a family, and family kisses & hugs before bed time are some of the most meaningful moments I've ever had in my life.  Daddy & I also love working with you in the garden, and while taking care of the yard.  You have become such a great helper and your love for the outdoors shows.  One of the sweetest things you do is when there is a big gust of wind, you throw your arms out to the sides and toss your head back.  You really feel everything around you and we just feel so lucky to be a part of your life.

We are so proud of how you have excelled at swim.  You were awarded your first level survival medal a few weeks ago.  I was beaming with pride and couldn't believe how far you've come in your lessons.  Right now you can float (airplane) on your back by yourself, reach up for the wall, almost climb out of the pool alone, and go under and find the step.  You're confident and comfortable in the water and each day you show me how independent you are becoming.

Simone, you are smart and beautiful, but more importantly you are determined.  I hope you carry that through your entire life.  Even when the world weighs you down, because it will no matter how hard I wish it wouldn't, keep that determination.  Hold on to it, and no matter where you go in life it will serve you well.

Most of all, Simone, I want to say thank you.  Thank you for being my girl.  Thank you for being a trooper when things aren't easy.  Thank you for every little thing that makes you, YOU!  Even the stuff that challenges me.  I love you more today than I thought I could yesterday and I can't wait to see what adventures are next!

Love always & with all of my heart,

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thirty-One Days of Gratitude

Epp!  I've been staying true to so many goals in my life lately, except taking time to blog!  Saying BLOG makes me feel like a drone though, so can we just call it "fractured, but beautiful thoughts about my life".  That sounds much more real.  

Anyways, tomorrow is the first day of May, and I love this time of year in Arizona.  It's warm and beautiful, and you can be outside almost all day (with some SPF & water in tow).   Best part -- it's not 113, yet.  I wanted to do something special to keep my head in the "game" of life for the month.  Each day in May I would like to reflect on something positive in my life.  I will spend the next 31 days reflecting on 31 different things that make me happy.  

It's all too easy to get caught up in what's not good enough in our lives.  When I have a mind set of focusing on the good, I'm really good at being positive.  But, when something shifts my focus (or more like, I allow it to shift my focus) I spiral quickly into seeing all of the negative.  This is an experiment in how shifting my focus to the positive changes the way I feel in my life.

I'll be sharing my thoughts on Instagram follow me there!  Once May is over I'd like to do a recap post with all of my thirty-one things & how I feel about my list.  Anyone who would like to do this with me, I would love that!  Maybe your posts can inspire me to think of all of the great things in my life, too! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Crafty Name Blocks

 A few months back my friends cousin held a mommy crafting day and taught us all how to make really cute name blocks.  They actually don't have to be a name, per se.  Other ladies there made ones that said "Fall" or "Peace", which turned out adorable!  Before we went to the party we all picked up the paper that we wanted to use on our blocks.  I bought regular designed paper from Michael's (cheating on "the lobby"... but whatever), as well as some plain colored paper.

Before we got to the party her husband had cut 2 x 4's into three different sizes.  She painted the blocks for everyone (so that they could dry) before we arrived.  The blocks need to really dry before you start decorating them.  Obviously, the blank spot on the front is where you will put your colored paper.

This was my set up before I got started.  Luckily, she suggested some pretty sparkly paper for the letters instead of what I had picked out.  The sparkle really makes it stand out against a designed paper.  Thank goodness for an expert being around, or I would have totally GOOFED.  Anyways, you cut the paper to fit just inside the blocks, and use modge podge to apply the paper to the block.  FIRST, do a thin layer on the block and press the paper on, making sure that you flatten out any air bubbles.  Let each block dry after applying the paper.  While that was drying she used her Cricut Machine (these are sooo bad ass... I totally want one... someday... when I have the money!) to cut out the letters for our blocks.  She also has another machine (I think it was Cricut brand as well) that makes the letters into a sticker.

Seriously, without this machine you would need to be an expert with scissors... or have FAR more patience than I've ever experienced.  Anyways, by the time we got those all cut the paper was dry-ish.  Next, we applied the letter stickers to the blocks.  Once you have the letters where you want them, paint a thin layer of modge podge over the ENTIRE block.  This seals the paper on, the letter on, and gives the whole block a nice glossy finish.  NOTE... the modge podge will look a little WHITE (like old school glue) when you apply it.  Don't freak... this is totally normal and it will dry completely clear.  And, another tip, try to smooth out the modge podge the best you can, and big clumps will still dry clear, but will look like a big clear booger.  Yeah, I said it... and, what?!

Decorating the blocks is totally up to you.  I used a few little flower pieces combined to make a flower that fit my colors.  Hot glue those bad boys together, with a rhinestone in the middle, and BOOM... looks like you bought it in one piece.  I also used some sparkly teal & pink tulle as an accent on the smaller blocks.  Watch out for this stuff... I went home looking like I'd been to the glitter factory... and, I'm not talking about where they make glitter!

Here's my finish product at the party!  It was a great craft to do with friends and I love it in Simone's room...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Goodbye Gymboree...

Well, technically it's called Baby Bugs.  Simone has spent the last seven months in a class at Aspire Gymnastics where she's been learning to socialize with other kids, bounce on trampolines, and climb everything!

The class is for kids 0-15 months, and we've reached the end of our time there.  Sad that it's over, but she's had an amazing time.  I highly recommend Aspire, and truly if we could do both swim & gymnastics right now, we would be moving on to the next class.  The best part about Baby Bugs is it is FREE.  They offer paid classes for all ages, as well as open gym.  Simone's teacher, Coach Kat was patient, and helpful with the kids.  The Moms (& Dads) also had a great time chatting and getting to socialize while the kids tear around.

Aspire is the training facility of the ASU Men's Gymnastics team, and there are regularly guys & girls there doing amazing things!  So, if you are in the area, check it out!

Going back through my photos I realized just how much Simone has grown up since starting there. 

Our first time at Baby Bugs...

Other fun moments from our time there...

Our last day, yesterday morning... Doing her favorite thing, the trampoline!

 A little note, there were so many activities that we did there that I could not capture pictures of while wrangling Simone.  They have a great foam pit the kids can get it, super bouncy trampolines, a tumbling track, uneven bars, beams, etc.  I can't say enough about how great of a place it is... but, I will say we will be back someday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Texas Fudge - A Breakfast Casserole

 Texas fudge is a delicious breakfast casserole that my Mom-in-law taught me to make.  It's easy, you can prepare it ahead of time (night before!), and everyone loves it!  Warning, there are copious amounts of cheese in this dish... if that make you nervous, look away!  If you're like me... add a little extra cheese and LAUGH.

What you need...

6 eggs
8 ounces of heavy whipping cream
3-5 tablespoons of milk 
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded Monterrey jack cheese
2 4oz cans of chopped green chillies

Get it done...

Preheat oven to 350
Beat together by hand the first five ingredients (eggs, cream, milk, & cheeses)

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray
Spread chillies evenly across bottom of pan

Pour egg mixture carefully over chillies

If you are preparing ahead of time, you can stop here... or cook it about 1/2 way through.  Put it in the fridge (I don't leave it for more then 24 hours).  

Bake at 350 for 40 mins or until golden on top and a knife comes out clean

We love it, and have this regularly on the weekends, since I can just pop it in the oven when we get up.  This makes it an ideal dish for Christmas or Thanksgiving mornings, too!  It's even really amazing reheated.  I'll make us a big one on Sunday, and Todd eats it for breakfast for the first half of the week.