Friday, June 28, 2013


So here are my top 5 for the week!

1. On Saturday we decided to ride our bikes over to my mom and step-dad's house for lunch followed by some pool time!
2. Saturday night my mom came over to watch the kiddos so my hubby and I could have a date night! We had dinner at Chili's then headed over to Starbucks for some delicious joe! Date nights used to be something that happened very infrequently…but I love that we are starting to make it happen at least once a month! We are definitely better for it! 
 3. Playdate at the beach with friends!!
 4. Peeked in his room and saw this. I love him :)
 5. Fun day out! Gymnastics, walking around and lunch downtown, then tonight we are off to Sun Splash for Aqua Theater Night!
I just realized this morning that I have 38 more days until Riley starts VPK. Crazy!! I decided I am going to try to make the most of each and every day! I am somewhat looking forward to it for both of us, but that just means that's it…from that point on he will always be in school {unless I do decide that we are going to homeschool. Still tossing that idea around} That makes me a little sad. And I would be lying if I said my eyes weren't filling up with tears right now. 

Okay, I need to stop thinking about that and hope to make the most of the next few weeks! Hope you have a fabulous week as well! :)

{I linked up with Lauren to bring you this H54F!}

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let's Go Outdoors

Yesterday I had the motivation to get outside, strip my patio of everything, and hose it down. That feeling doesn't come around too often so I figured I should jump on it. I love being out back, but when it gets dirty, not so much. So out I went and cleaned it all up nice and pretty! I am so happy with all the improvements we made to the back of our house! Just a little over a year ago I dreaded the thought of going out there. Now, it's one of my favorite places to be! It's amazing what some tile, a concrete slab, and a beautiful privacy fence can do!

We spent most of yesterday outside. All morning and early afternoon we played out back, then after naps went to my Dad's for a pizza and pool party.  Today we started our day at my Dad's again {since our pool party last night was cut short by a thunderstorm}, then after naps the kids played outside while I grilled out some turkey burgers, then after dinner back outside to enjoy the cool summer night.

I thought I would share a few pics...

Enjoying lunch on the patio. 
Love her. 
Afternoon naps. 
Can't even explain how much I love these two. 
Very focused on her chalk drawing.
Love him. 
Bedtime snack and Dragon Tales.

I'm not sure what it is about being outside. But it's wonderful. With two adults, two kids {and all their wonderful toys}, a dog, and a cat our 1248 square foot house can feel very small sometimes. And sometimes I get very crabby when the feeling of claustrophobia kicks in. That is when I am so thankful for our backyard. We go out there and everything is right in the world again. Seriously. If you are ever having one of those days, go outside and let God's beautiful creation refresh your spirit. It helps. Trust me :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Get Physical!

Exercise and I have always had a complicated relationship. Sometimes we liked each other, sometimes we didn't want to be anywhere near each other. Throw some kids into the mix and it gets a little more complicated. I never had the time, it was hard to get out and moving with two kids in tow, DVD's never really worked out for me…I had my list of reasons excuses I couldn't exercise. I had always been an athlete, starting in elementary school all the way through senior year of high school. I was always in shape. But after going to college and getting married my active life slowed down and I put on a few pounds. One of the good things about having kids is they definitely give you some exercise. Between chasing after them, playing outside, bike rides, and carrying them around you are constantly moving. I am blessed to say that even before starting up at the gym I weigh twenty pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with my first. This made me very happy, but I still didn't feel like I was "in shape."

Last July I started a membership at a gym right around the corner from my house {amazing!} It is a great gym with free childcare, which my kids LOVE going to! That right there makes the whole thing perfect! For the first few months I went in and did my own thing. Worked out on the machines then did some cardio on either the elliptical or the treadmill. I started seeing results, which is such a motivation in and of itself! Then, I got a few comments from friends which was the icing on the cake! I read a quote on Pinterest that says "It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world." That really pushed me to keep going. I was getting bored of my workout routine and was constantly trying to motivate myself to try out a class. Then a friend of mine who also goes to my gym asked me to go to a Body Pump class and I agreed. I was nervous, but afterwards knew that I was hooked! This is my workout schedule…I don't always make every class, but I sure do try! My favorites are Dance Fusion, Step, and Zumba!

Monday ~ Step Combo and Muscle Fusion

Tuesday ~ Dance Fusion

Wednesday ~ Body Pump and Core N More

Thursday ~ Zumba

Friday ~ Cardio Kick

Another thing I have gotten into lately is running. I was told before that I don't have a runner's body, so that always held me back a little. However, after starting up at the gym and feeling so good, I want to change that! I am currently training for a 5K. Not even sure when there is one, but I want to get my body capable of running that distance so that if I do have the desire to do one, I CAN! I am 5 weeks into the training, and this morning before my Step class ran 2 miles, easy peasy. I was so proud! So I run 3 times a week. I use the free app C25K and really like it! Sometimes I will run before a class, or my favorite is waking up early on Saturday or Sunday and going before the sun comes up. I used to run around our neighborhood, but I really like running on a treadmill much better. My neighborhood is ugly! Ha! :) I'm sure if I had beautiful scenery to run through my feelings would be different.

So this is what I have waiting for me on Thursday! I am excited. It's such a great feeling to feel like you have control over your body. It is such a mental thing. When I run I have to focus, otherwise I feel out of control. I have a favorite treadmill I run on and most days it's open when I get there. Which makes me very happy! There is a tree right outside the window across the gym that has one set of brown leaves that I focus on when I run. Kinda weird, but it helps. Let's just hope they don't fall off, not sure what I would do :) 

Ohhh, and yay! I almost have our drawer under control!! I showed the before here. I need a few more baskets for the stuff in the back and the makeover is complete! Although, my next project will be figuring out why I have a ridiculous amount of pens. What in the world?!

Well, that is all I have for you today! Hope your week is starting out great!! :) 

Friday, June 21, 2013


I love participating in H54F. It helps me to remember to acknowledge and appreciate the special moments I get to experience all the time. These five things are things that might have just passed me by. But, by documenting them and sharing them with you, I get to live in those moments just a little longer. That is exactly why I started this blog - to remember to live simply and appreciate just how beautiful life is. So without further ado here is my top 5 {in no particular order} ;)

1. Father's Day. So blessed to have such amazing men in my life…an amazing Dad, Step-Dad, and Father-in-Law and of course my amazing hubby. I invited my family over and threw together a little shindig consisting of chicken, steak, and asparagus on the grill, baked potatoes, salad, and homemade wheat yeast rolls. We finished that tasty dinner off with an absolutely amazing dessert that I have had pinned for a long time and never got around to making. This seemed like the perfect ending to such a summery dinner (come on, anything on the grill screams summer!) You can find the recipe here. Seriously, try it. It will make you a better person. {Count this as my "New Recipe Wednesday that I missed! ;)} Of course I didn't snap any pictures with all the family over (I was a little busy in the kitchen,) but did snap a few of Stephen and the kids. Kennedy was still sleeping when I snapped the one of Stephen and Riley, and she was ready for a nap in her picture (thus the red, post-crying face). Why is it so hard to get pictures of your kids together with both cooperating??

2. Riley started VBS this week! The previous week whenever I would mention that VBS was starting soon he instantly said he didn't want to go. Last year took a little bit of coercing each night to get him to stay, but he really did like it. So I was afraid that would be the case this year too. Thankfully, it wasn't. As soon as we walked in his face lit up and he was ready to say good-bye! Praise the Lord! 

3. Since Riley was in VBS every night for a few hours, that gave me and the little miss some quality time together. We hit up the park, the farmers market, did a little shopping…girl time :) 

4. Early Monday morning my love had to pack up and head to the East coast for a few days for work. Never fun when your husband is gone. Thankfully, it was a busy few days which helped make it go by much faster. He wasn't supposed to be home until very late Wednesday night, but surprised me with a phone call saying he would be home by 6:30. That definitely made my day! :) 

{Kennedy was saying "cheese" to the fan. That girl is in her own world.}

5. Riley and I like to play games. However, playing Chutes and Ladders, Curious George Memory Match, and Super Why! has gotten a little monotonous. I was thrilled when I found Candy Land on our local Facebook Garage Sale site for $2! We played our first game and Riley loved it! It definitely brought me back to when I was a kid!! 

Well, that was our week in a nutshell! Hope you had a great one too! 

{As always, I linked up with Lauren for H54F!}

Friday, June 14, 2013

First High Five For Friday!

1. Enjoyed some free donuts at DD thanks to "National Donut Day."

2. Riley got his first T-Ball trophy! He was so proud!

3. Enjoyed some before-bed cuddles with my kiddos. Trying so hard to cherish these sweet moments! 

4. New nail polish! It's called "cute as a button" by Essie. 
Please excuse my nails…fell back into biting them again last week! Ugh! Hoping some pretty nail polish will help! :) 

5. Scored this cute little dress for $7.48. Gotta love Target clearance! 

I hope that in this next week you find a few special moments that make it into your high five! :) Have a wonderful week!! 

{Just so you know I linked up with Lauren for H54F today!}

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{new recipe Wednesday} Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Before I get started, I apologize if I seem a bit distracted. I am currently under attack thanks to the kids new favorite game…diaper wars. The other night just to be silly and make the kids giggle I started tossing diapers {clean, of course!} at them and declared a diaper war. And, we all know how kids work…again, again, again!! So a few times now out of no where I get hit in the face with a diaper followed by adorable giggles. How can I not give in?? So, don't be surprised if you are ever visiting and get pelted by a diaper. My apologies.

Well, it's Wednesday, and I am excited to share another delicious recipe I stumbled upon the other day.  Does anyone else have two delicious words pop into your head when you see two or three perfectly spotted, very ripe bananas sitting in your fruit basket…banana bread!! That is usually my go to…but lately I have been looking for other ways to use these wonderful treasures...just to keep things fresh! After some quality time with google I came across a recipe which had me drooling as soon as I read the title. Peanut Butter. Banana. Chocolate Chip. Muffins. Yes, yes, and yes. I found the recipe at the Noble Pig and changed it just a bit according to what I had on hand. Here is what you will you be able to enjoy just as soon as you get your self into the kitchen and whip up these beauties!!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

In a sifter placed over a large bowl, add the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and sift all together.

Next, mash up the three ripe bananas with a fork until there are no more clumps and add to a small bowl. To that bowl add the milk, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and egg. Use a whisk to get everything combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just a few times to get everything incorporated. You don't want to over mix or you will end up with dense muffins. Not good. Now stir in the chocolate chips. Again, don't over mix. 

Spray your muffin pan with cooking spray and fill each one about 3/4 full. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Let the muffins cool in the pan on a cooling rack for a few minutes then flip over the pan and take them out. Let them cool on your cooling rack. But promise me you will try one as soon as you take them out of the pan. Okay? Your life will be changed. I promise. 

* I subbed 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup white flour. Just to keep things healthy-ier ;) 
* You can use 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter if you prefer.
* Next time I plan on using 3 tablespoons of applesauce instead of the oil. Again, trying to keep things healthy. 

I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, let me know what you think! 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Organization, please!

My goodness. Please someone tell me they can relate! This is our junk drawer. To say it is in need of a little organization is a slight understatement. I know it doesn't look like it, but this drawer does in fact get cleaned every once in a while. Apparently, it doesn't stay that way for long. I see a trip to the Dollar Tree in my near future to get some baskets and such to give this drawer a little makeover. It's not just this drawer though that suffers from my lack of organization. I will spare you a picture of our cabinets under the sink in our bathroom or the piles of outgrown clothes in the garage. 

These may seem like small things and almost a little silly to be making a big deal out of, however, I don't like knowing that there are things in my life that are unorganized. Even though it is just a small part of my house, it makes me feel unorganized as a person. I need want to feel as if I am a put-together person; like I do have a handle on this thing called life. You see, I feel as if my house is a reflection of who I am, and honestly, in some ways I think it really is. When my house is spotless clean and everything is in its place and dishes and laundry are done, I am usually in a really good mood and have things all planned out. Then there are days when I may not feel so on top of things mentally and physically…that's when you will find there are more dirty dishes sprawled out across the counter and piled in the sink than clean ones, the hamper has exploded and there are clothes cascading onto the floor surrounding it, and I can't walk through one room of the house without tripping over a Switch and Go Dino or a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Don't you just love those days. So if I can't keep my house in order, even the small parts, what does that say about my life and who I am as a person? Ha! Let's not hope too much!

It is amazing though how a little organization can make such a difference in all areas of your life! Meal planning, organizing bathroom cabinets, making {and sticking to} a cleaning schedule, or simply planning out your day can make the world of difference in your everyday life! My days are so much more productive when I have a plan. Another plus to having a schedule and sticking to it is the fact that you have more time to do the things that you really love to do. Whether it's playing with the kiddos {Lord knows we all could spend more time playing!}, sipping on some hot coffee and reading a good book, or doing some crafts that have been stuck on your Pinterest "To-Do" board forever; it's so nice to actually have a handle on things and be able to enjoy "me" time. 

So…baby steps! My goal for this week is to get this junk drawer organized! I will {hopefully} have some after pics to share in a few days. Now I want to know…what is an area in your life or house that could use a little organization? Let me know I am not alone! :) 

Now I am off to finish a tasty treat which I am pretty sure is going to be served in Heaven! Fresh out of the oven amazing deliciousness! Stay tuned…I will post the recipe on Wednesday! 

Have a happy and blessed day! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

{new recipe wednesday} Hawaiian Chicken Skewers over Coconut Rice = YUM!

I love food. The end. If life consisted of eating one amazing meal after another I would be as happy as a clam. I think growing up my father's daughter spoiled me like nothing else. That man can cook! Sadly, I grew up only seeing him every 3rd weekend, so I wasn't privileged to eat his food all the time, but I took what I could get! I loved being by his side in the kitchen as his "sous chef" learning, helping, watching, and my favorite, taste testing. Chinese, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Spanish…it doesn't matter what type of cuisine it is, he can not only cook it, but make it taste authentic and amazing. I like to think that his love of food and cooking got passed down through the blood line. I really do love to cook even though I know sometimes I complain about it and make it seem like a chore. But I have to say…this really sums it up!

Ha! That really makes me laugh, but it is so, so true! If I had an unlimited budget and all the time in the world cooking would definitely be more of a passion. However, that is not the season of my life right now that I am in, and I will try to embrace and appreciate the wonderful opportunity I have night after night to cook a delicious meal for my family :) 

Each week I am going to share with you a new recipe that I have tried! That is one thing about me…I have a few recipes that I love to make over and over, but there is something I love about finding and trying new recipes…another thing I get from my dad. Besides the tried and true, he is always trying out new recipes.  Pinterest is great for this! I am always on the hunt for new yummy finds! And that is exactly what I found when I pinned the recipe for Hawaiian Chicken Skewers! 

The recipe called for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but I must admit I am just not a fan.  I have eaten them and liked them okay, but when it comes down to it I would much prefer boneless, skinless breast. I made a few other small changes such as adding green peppers to the skewer.  To me green peppers and pineapples just go together. The original recipe can be found here.

Hawaiian Chicken Skewers over Coconut Rice

Makes about 8 skewers
  • 1 1/2 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pineapple chunks in 100% juice, drained (reserve 1 cup of juice)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 green peppers cut into 2 inch pieces
  • bamboo skewers (submerged in water for at least an hour)
1. Trim the chicken of fat and cut into 2-inch pieces. In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except the pineapple chunks and green pepper. Add the chicken and marinate overnight or at least 4 hours. 

2.  Assemble your skewers using the chicken, pineapple, and green peppers. Grill (medium-low heat) or broil your skewers for about 5-7 minutes, then turn, and grill/broil another 5-7 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Serve over coconut rice and garnish with green onions. 

*Coconut rice can be made by simply replacing half of the water in your rice recipe with coconut milk. To really kick it up a notch add 1-3 Tbs of unsweetened, shredded coconut. 

We all gave this recipe an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Hope you try it out and love it as much as we did! And I promise I will work on my food picture-taking skills :)  Hope you are having a Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sophia Rae

I have a new love in my life…and her name is Sophia Rae.  She came into this world on Wednesday, May 29th at 6:07pm. After spending the day (which started very early…3:30am to be exact) with my mom and sister at the hospital, I was more than thrilled when Sophia decided to make her debut. Fashionably late, of course! I couldn't wait to get her in my arms!

Look at that little beauty!

In honor of this little one's arrival I want to share some pictures from the shower I was so excited to host for my sister! It was the first shower I ever threw, and I have to say I loved every part of it! From coming up with a theme, which derived from my sister's love for owls, to the colors, to all things DIY, and my favorite, the food! It was a blast! And, after the many compliments I received, I have to say everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves! Success! Thought I would share a few photos from the day…

My beautiful sister and me.

The sign in table. I had guests write their addresses on the thank-you envelope which entered them into a drawing for a Target gift card. There was also a game to guess the amount of M&M's in the jar. 

The yummy spread

The beautiful mommy-to-be!

My first attempt at a "ruffle" cake. I have to say I was happy with the end result! It was a white cake with a swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Delish! I was inspired by this cake topper {} Definitely wasn't in my budget so I made my own :)

Another first…cake pops! Oh so delicious!

It's not a party unless there are mason jars with paper straws!

Playdough babies. Such a fun game!

Favors for the guests.

I was so happy with how everything turned out! I can't think of anyone else I would rather throw my first shower for! My sister is amazing…and now a mommy of three!! Let me tell you, with two big brothers, Sophia is going to be one lucky little girl! Watch out boys! :)