Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Orange Leaf

We had heard a lot about Orange Leaf from our Springfield friends and I had been dying to try it. Well, on my way to the gym yesterday I just happened to pass one! I didn't even know they were opening one! So, we went and tried it out tonight. It is self serve frozen yogurt and it was delish! I think we will be back again soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It is summertime and the livin' is easy! Well... actually, I am not sure about that. I don't know about the rest of you SAHM's but in a lot of ways summer is just like the rest of the year... but I do love that we can play outside so much more and all of the fun activities summer offers. I was looking forward to the slower pace of summer but I am yet to actually find that to be true! We have been so busy around here. And somehow, I think there is something on our calendar almost every weekend until the middle of August! (all fun stuff! but still!)

Anyway, I got a new camera lens this week! Woo hoo! In hopes of making my photog skills a {bit} better before launching the new blog this fall. Here are a few shots I took today during a little impromptu practice session!

I think with a little practice I am going to like this lens. But, I am not a professional photographer by ANY means. Lately I have been reading lots of tutorials online and wow... there is a lot to know about photography! Who knew? Ha!

Anyway, is everyone else keeping busy this summer? :) Or is it just me?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sneaky Peaky

Gosh, summer seems to be just flying by! Can you believe it is almost July? 
I have been busy with a few projects around the house. Here is a sneak peak at my latest endeavor... repainting the living room! 

I am excited to give you all the full reveal. But first, I have a coffee table to paint! And I might need to rearrange the room a few hundred more times first :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

But I am a coffee drinker!

What is wrong with me? This has become my new {go to} beverage. Hot tea? Really? I am pretty sure only British people, the elderly, and people trying to pretned they are cooler than they are actually drink tea! Nope! Turns out this stuff is delicious. But... I still can't shake the feeling that I am cheating on someone...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to get your husband to watch The Bachlorette: {Part 3}

I really need to come up with a new name for this series. The plan was to come up with really yummy foods to intice the hubs to watch trashy television with me. But, it turns out... (sorry to throw you under the bus here, Babe) that it doesn't take much inticing to get him to watch this particular show with me. Infact, I think he is a little more into it than I am. But, I digress... I think he was so excited for date night in tonight that he brought these babies home...
To quote my favorite commerical for Laughing Cow Cheese, "The hubs. He's good" True story!

But, I was NOT a slacker this week. I really brought my A game this week. I made my man homemade pizza and served it with beer. Big points for the wife I think!

And in my {humble} opinion it was the BEST pizza I have ever had. Pink Pistachio came through for me again this week (she also did for Part 1). I combined two of her recipes to make this delish homemade pizza... well, almost homemade. Thank you Rohdes dough for the crust!
Delish! So, here is how I made it. I made these marinated tomatoes and I had some of these meatballs leftover. I added some sliced provel cheese to the top and a little fresh grated Parmesan and fresh basil and popped this baby into the oven for about 25 minutes. There was SO much flavor!
 and yep... here is the after...
And if you were wondering how the hubs REALLY felt about it...
I guess that is a "thank you very much"! Hehe. I love date nights in with my man. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fabulous Fathers' Day and {Red Velvet Waffles Recipe}

So, how do you celebrate someone who gives you so much? It is a CHALLENGE let me tell you.  I have to stop and {gush} about how wonderful the hubs is. He is such a wonderful husband and dad. He takes such good care of us. And he is super fun! The perfect combo!

So... when it came to celebrating such an awesome guy I had to do some thinking. At first everything that came to my mind was things that I would like to do. But, I wanted Father's Day to be about {him}! So... I thought, what is one of the hubs favorite things to do that we don't always get to do? And then it hit me! He loves getting to spend the day totally at home, just playing. He also loves home cooked meals. My man does not like eating out (I know! So weird, right?)... I am going to pretend it is because his wife is such a FABULOUS cook! ;) But, I decided to spoil him with home cooked meals all day.

Breakfast was red velvet waffles with cream cheese frosting on top! For lunch we had homemade potato chips and sandwiches on fococia bread. And for dinner I combined the hubs two favorite foods- sausage and black beans! I will post the soup recipe later this week! It was delish and easy and actually super healthy!

But, I couldn't wait to post the recipe for the red velvet waffles! They were so delish and pretty! I think they would be great for Valentine's Day or even Christmas with their deep red color!

Red Velvet Waffles

1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. sugar
2 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbs. melted butter
red gel food coloring

Combine dry ingredients my sifting into a bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add food coloring a little at a time to desired redness. Combine wet ingredients to the dry stirring until just combined. Cook in waffle iron until crispy on the outside!

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 Tbs. softened butter
1/2 bar of cream cheese softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. milk

Put ingredients in mixer and mix until creamy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day I decided to ask the two older kiddos about their Daddy!

I asked the kiddos...

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?
"Put him in the carseat box"- Max
"Jump on him" -Max
"Porcupine" - Sophie (who obviously did not understand the assignment)

What do you like best about Daddy?
"He's funny!" - Max
"I want to share Max's fruit snacks" - Sophie (again... there was a communication problem here)

Well... I tried!

But we DO love our Daddy around here! Just this morning when Sophie came downstairs we had this little conversation...
Sophie: "Where is Daddy?"
Me: "He is in the shower"
Sophie: "Really? I like him. He is my favorite Daddy. He is actually my father!"

Lots of love! :)

A yummy {summer} dinner

My husband loves salads with meat on them and I love steak! So, this recipe was bound to be a hit in our household!

Steak Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinigiarette

Ingredients for flank steak:
flank steak
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 T. worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients (except flank steak) and pour into shallow dish. Add flank steak and marinade in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Broil in the oven about 7 minutes per side or until desired doneness. When done let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice.

Ingredients for salad:
Romaine (or whatever you prefer)
a bell pepper (I had yellow on hand)
provel cheese

Chop veggies according to your preference and top with prepared flank steak.

Ingredients for Lemon Balsamic Vinigiarette:
1/2 C. olive oil
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1/8 C. balsamic vinegar
3 T. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Drizzle desired amount over salad.

And a little serving suggestion...

mmmm Sangria! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Thursday

Man, after my {big announcement} on Tuesday I have just felt kind of funky and not in the mood to blog at all! Ugh! Don't you hate when that happens?

Actually, I am still feeling a little off today but decided that maybe a few minutes doing one of my favorite things would cheer me up again! And there is absolutely no reason to not feel super happy because life has been pretty great lately!

Exhibit A-
I made homemade playdough with the kiddos

Exhibit B-
The hubs took us out to lunch for my absolute fav... GREEK FOOD!

And on top of that I got to go shopping with my grandma last night and the hubs brought me breakfast in bed this moring. Time to get over this funkiness I would say! Life is pretty good!

How I made my homemade playdough...

Combine in a bowl:
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. salt
1 1/2 Tbs. cream of tarter
1 T. vegetable oil

Stir to combine. Seperate into batches depending on how many colors you want. Sperately put each batch in the blender with the food coloring gel of your choice and blend until color is evenly distributed. Then put playdough on the stove on medium low and stir until playdough thickens. Let cool on wax paper and then work with your hands until it feels like playdough. Follow these steps with each batch.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Why

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my life and the "whys" behind the choices I make. I truly believe that where you invest your time and money shows what is important to you. I almost cringe when I hear people say (when concerning their kids) it is not about quantity time it is about quality time. I believe that quality time is born out of quantity time.
Which is why I choose to spend my days and hours with these people. Because, they matter so much to me. Ever since I was little all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom and live in "suburbia". Sometimes I can't help but sit in awe that for some reason God has chosen to let me live out my dream life. But, I will say, in the process, he has changed the dream a bit and made it deeper.
 I now have a vision for my family beyond what I ever thought about as a little girl. And I have a vision for my own life beyond what I ever thought about. I have big dreams for our family... as a family... and as individuals.
 I was journaling this morning and the words I put to it were that I want to raise my children "to be big dreamers and leaders who do it all so that God's glory might be made known." And, I want that for Nick and I as well.
 It is easy to get wrapped up in the moment. Of how precious and little they are. It is easy to spend time worried about them learning to be polite and wait their turn and wash their hands. But, am I spending just as much time investing in their hearts? I sure hope so. Because at the end of the day raising children who are "nice" is just not enough.
I want to raise up children who know who they are in the Lord and are not afraid to tell the world who He says they are. I want them to not be afraid of their big God given dreams, but to live their life in total abandon to the One who put those dreams inside of them.

And, I think to some degree that starts with me (and my husband) leading by example. Of Nick and I not being afraid to follow the dreams that God has given us and to see Nick and I not appologizing for the people God made us to be.

I have spent my entire adult life being what I thought was {humble}. I denied any gifts or talents I had and never shared any dreams for my life. I was in so many ways afraid of failure. If I said I was good at something and then failed at it I was afraid I would look stupid. Or, if I set out to live out a dream and something went wrong I thought I would look foolish.

But, lately I have realized... who am I to deny what God created me to be? Who am I to deny the dreams that He put inside of me. And how on earth will I ever teach my children to be dreamers and leaders if their own mother is a wallflower just watching life go by- afraid to try anything that I might possibly fail at.

So, I am officially announcing that this fall I am launching a new blog!  It is a dream God put in my heart when I was a little girl and I am done ignoring it and pushing it away (okay, he didn't put {blog}on my heart when I was little but He did put writing something on my heart!) I don't really know what it will look like or exactly what it will be about and I don't know if anyone will read it besides me and my Grandma (because she loves me and will read anything I write!) But, I know that I will finally be saying YES to something that God has been asking me to do for awhile now.

And in the process I will hopefully teach my children to not live in fear of failure and to never say "no" to God!

Thank you all in advance! You all who read my blog have been the biggest cheerleaders and such awesome encouragers! I love the comments and e-mails I get and it means more to me than you will ever know. So many of you have spoken truth to me when I doubted my own abilities and it has meant so much to me.

*I feel a little nauseus just pressing "post" on this one! :)

How to get your husband to watch the Bachlorette: {Part 2}

Well... apparently after {Part 1}, little effort is required. I ended up being a major slacker and didn't make anything ahead of time and then we had some friends come over last minute for a little bit. But, the hubs scored HUGE points and brought these home for our date night!
So, we enjoyed these while watching {our} favorite show. Hehe.

And by the way, I am super excited for next week! I think my favorite guy as of right now is J.P.... but it might just be his hair-do...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gettin' away...

The hubs and I got to get out of town... {gasp} ALONE! I know! It was fabulous! We went to Mountain Grove for Nick's 10 year reunion and got to make a little getaway out of it.

We left Friday morning and our first stop was Meramec Vineyards in St. James. We had lunch there and did a wine tasting. It was beyond cute and their wines were delicious! We had a blast and didn't want to leave...ever! If you are ever close to Rolla, I highly reccomend Meramec Vineyards... especially their creme brulee!.... just sayin'!

Then we headed to Mountain Grove where we got to visit Nick's parents and grandparents which was very nice. We hadn't seen them in awhile so it was great to catch up. Then Nick took me on a little driving tour of Mountain Grove. I have never lived in a small town so it was fun to see and hear about his experience.

The reunion was fun and it was neat to meet so many people Nick grew up with. Everyone was so nice!

After the reunion we headed to Springfield. We got checked into our hotel and then made a late night Starbies run... you know... because we could. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on South Glenstone which was super nice and reasonably priced. And the location was perfect for the places we were going.

In the morning we decided to wake up early and go for a run at the Nature Center. Unfortunatly, when we got there we found out it didn't open until 8 :( But, we found a park and super cute neighborhood nearby and ran there instead. Nick and I have never been running together before and it was SO much fun! I LOVED it!

After that we went back to the hotel, got packed up, and met our friends the Jenkins Family at Chick-Fil-A. It was so good to see them and catch up! Their kids have gotten so big and were super cute.

We ended our trip in downtown Springfield and on Commerical Street. I even got to meet one of my favorite bloggers in person! I totally got starstruck and acted like a big dork but she was super sweet. It was so fun!

We didn't really take any pics until the end of our trip but here are a few!

Here I am with Elsie... she is just too cute! And her store, Red Velvet, on Commercial Street was just too cool!

It was so neat to see how much they are revitalizing downtown and Commercial Street. It seriosly made me miss Springfield so much!

It was really neat to explore a town we used to live in as tourists! I think we will have lots of visits back in the future!

And we will end this with a few pics of me in ALL of my {dorkiness}!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Letters

Happy Sunday! Tomorrow I am going to post some pics from our little Mountain Grove/Springfield trip. We had a fabulous time! It was the perfect combination of lots of couple time, lots of seeing new sites, some time with family and time with friends... {perfect}.

But, today is back to the "real world" and we are all about family today so while the kiddos are napping/resting I wanted to post my Sunday letters about my favorite people.

Dear Max,

You are such a joy to our family. I just can't get over how big you are getting. It is totally hitting me lately that you really are a little boy now. I feel like my days are so numbered until you will be in school! You got a big boy bike with training wheels this week and although you love it you haven't quite gotten the hang of it. Your large motor skills are not your strong suit but we are working on it! One thing you have suprised me with lately is how much you really love people. You always want friends and family to be over. I did not expect you to be such a little social butterfly but you really are becoming one! It makes my heart so happy!

Dear Sophie,

You have been showing us what a sweet heart you have lately and it is so amazing. You really do have a softer side underneath that spunky exterior! You love putting your arms around people lately and you are such a little snuggle bug. You have started enjoying playing with baby dolls more which is sweet. I love to watch you play! You also are becoming our little evangelist. This week I was on the phone and you interrupted me and said, "Mommy! I need to tell you about my Jesus" you also told your Grandma while we were out of town that Jesus always takes care of you. It makes my heart so happy that you already love talking about Jesus!

Dear Jack

You are looking SO grown-up with your big boy haircut. I have to do a double take so much of the time because you are looking so big! You actually took a step today and I am so not ready for that! You are going to be walking around in no time I have a feeling!

Dear Nick,

I had the BEST weekend away with you! I LOVED getting to have you all to myself and chat your ear off! I loved talking about everything that has been on my heart lately and sharing our dreams for the future! We really have grown and changed so much over the past few years and I am now so amazed at how much we have in common and I look forward to sharing so many more years with you and seeing where God takes our family! I love you <3.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nothing says summer like potato salad!

I LOVE potato salad. But, I had never made it until recently! Once I realized how easy it was to throw together I am hooked and I love playing around with it and making up different variations. I made this one for a friend that I was taking dinner to! I might have gotten a little excited with the mayo but I took this picture right after making it and after it chilled in the fridge for a few hours I think it seemed less mayo-ish! So... you decide!
Red Potato Salad
1 pound of baby red potatos (quartered)
4 hard boiled eggs (peeled and chopped)
1/2 - 3/4 C. mayo (please do not use Miracle Whip or light mayo and if you do please promise to NEVER tell me about it!)
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs. dijon mustard
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. dried parsley
3 Tbs. dried chives
3 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste (my motto when it comes to s and p is go big or go home!)
Boil quartered potatos until fork tender. Make hard boiled eggs, peel and chop.
Add potatos and eggs to a bowl and let cool (put in the fridge for a little while if you want!)
Mix all other ingredients except s and p.
Mix mayo mixture with potatos and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Throw some extra dried chives or dried parsley to the top for color (or if you are more awesome than me use the fresh stuff).
Let chill in the fridge for a few hours.
*I would double this recipe if you are making it for a crowd :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

oatmeal cookies... with CHOCOLATE!

Okay, as you probably know I have an obesession with chocolate chip cookies. Like... stranded on a dessert island you can only have one food for the rest of your life, mine would be chocolate chip cookies, obsession!

I also really like oatmeal cookies. But, oatmeal cookies usually have raisins and while I like that what I really like is chocolate! So, when I saw the recipe for these on the back of the chocolate chip bag I knew I had to make them and I am very glad I did!

Here is the recipe!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
2 Tbs. milk
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (I used a combo of regular milk chocolate and the minis)
1 C. old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In a seperate bowl beat butter and sugars together. Add egg.
Add flour mixture and milk alternating until both are combined.
Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
Spoon on to cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.

Disclaimer: This is NO subsititute for an amazing chocolate chip cookie! But, these are a tasty treat when you want to mix it up a little! And they go FABULOUSLY with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning!

*Recipe from the bag of Toll House Milk Chocolate Chips

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to get your husband to watch the Bachlorette with you...

Step 1: Make a delicious meal
Step 2: Light some candles
Step 3: Require sweat pants be worn

Worked like a charm and we had a perfect date night in! <3 And the food was delicious! And let's be honest... everything tastes better when you make it look pretty!

I found the recipe for these super yummy Spring Rolls right here, They were well worth the prep time! I actually got my inspiration for this date night from The Pink Pistachio too!

Of course chocolate covered strawberries are always a hit! And that even worked out as a great afternoon activity with the kiddos so double bonus there!

And I even made the raspberry ice tea from scratch... I know it is his fav! I based this recipe off of one I found on It is super easy and super yummy!

Sweet Raspberry Iced Tea
3 bags of raspberry tea
7-8 cups of water (divided)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of raspberries
1 lime

Boil 6-7 cups of water and pour over tea bags and let tea brew for 5 minutes
Combine one cup of sugar and one cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stir until sugar is dissolved to create a simple syrup
Add the simple syrup to tea
Add one cup of raspberries , stir well and let come to room temp
Strain out raspberries
Serve over ice with a wedge of lime juice squeezed in

I think I might have set the bar a little high for next week... better get my creative juices flowin'!

What's for lunch?

Feeding my kids lunch is not exactly my strong point as a mom! When we lived in Nixa I think I grabbed take out or went out for lunch almost everyday!... or at least tried to! Now that I am more focused on actually feeding my kids things that are good for them we almost always have lunch at home, but it is easy to get into a lunch rut!

The visual really helped me to see how I should be feeding my kiddos. And then I remembered this cute idea I saw awhile back... muffin tin lunches! These would make it really easy to make sure my kids are eating the right things and I think they might actually think it is fun!

How cute are those? Obviously, I don't think I will be that creative! But, I love the idea of filling half the cups with fruits and veggies, one with grains, one with proteins, and then there is still one left for dessert!... or I mean, more veggies! ;) I am hoping to try this soon so I will let you know how it works and if I like it!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First haircut and Sunday Letters

My youngest got his first haircut yesterday! It was a tad emotional! His crazy baby hair is the first thing people notice about him and I wasn't eager to make him look any older. But, his hair was starting to be in his eyes most of the time and it was driving his dad crazy so I decided to go for it.

Here are the before pics:

 I had no idea how Jack would do sitting still in a chair but he actually did really well! He is a mover and a shaker kind of kid but he was so distracted by everything he was able to do really well!

 Here is the finished product! (Not the best pic). He does look pretty cute. Although, when his bangs aren't pushed to the side I think he looks a lot like Spock without the pointy ears. I will see if I can get a good Spock picture!

Now time for a little Sunday Letters action! ON a Sunday! Wow! I am pretty impressed with myself!
Dear Max,
I love this picture of you! You are such a handsome boy but you do not really like having your picture taken (unless we are doing silly faces!) so most of your pics are a little awkward! Ha! But you are such a cutie! You have been asking lots and lots of questions lately. You want to know what is going on all the time. Last night you started asking your Dad lots of questions about heaven. You let him know that you were afraid there were going to be soldiers in heaven so you didn't want to go there... you let him know that you didn't want to live in heaven, you wanted to live in St. Louis. It was kind of cute. I talked to you about it a little later and let you know that there wouldn't be scary soldiers in heaven but that we would learn more about heaven and as you get older I think you will be pretty excited to go there! 
Dear Sophie,
Your girliness and sweetness is just too much sometimes! I am so thankful for my little girl. You have been pretty cute this week. Yesterday you weren't very happy about something and I was kind of ignoring you about it and you said, "Mommy! I need you to look at my sad eyes".  I think you have actually been throwing fewer tantrums lately so you have been very pleasant to be around... except for that day you missed your nap!
Dear Jack,
You of course are adorable. We let you guys swim in the little baby pool last night after church and you were by far the BIGGEST fan of it out of your siblings. You played so hard in that little pool. I am really excited to see how you do in the big pool! You might be a little water baby! Aside from the lack of sleep you are causing me (I think you are working hard on getting your first tooth so it is understandable) you are just such a fun boy to be around. 
Dear Nick,
I am enjoying this crazy adventure of raising 3 kids ages 4 and under with you! Some days I am pretty sure we are nuts but we manage to have a lot of fun and find the laughter in most of the craziness! I love this picture because it was from the winery we went to dinner at Friday night with our super fun friends. I really cherish the times when we just get to be Nick and Katie together and with friends when we spend all the rest of our time being Mom and Dad (which is great too of course). I love you, Babe!