Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday: Valentine's Edition

Happy Friday, friends! Valentine's Day is just two weeks away and sadly I'm on schedule to be that mom who is sending G to school sans cute Vday attire and staying up the night before making his Valentines. G is in a class of all boys, so I'm definitely on the lookout for some not so girly love notes for his best buds. Here's hoping these will give me a little inspiration.

All of these darling Valentines can be found on my Valentine's Day Pinterest Board.
So are you going handmade or store bought for your Valentine this year?

Happy to be linking up with these lovely ladies today.
Happy weekend to you all!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

I've mentioned before I'm all about quick and easy recipes these days. Well I have found the absolute quickest and easiest recipe! I mean it. This is hands down foolproof. Oh and did I mention, it just might be the tastiest thing we've ever eaten. Seriously!

I found this gem when Colleen mentioned it and just knew we had to try it. We are all about some quinoa but lately are a little burned out on this guy {I mean we eat it once a week!}.

Mexican Quinoa Bowl
{adapted from Kitchen Simplicity}
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, chopped
Olive oil
1 1/4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 can of corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime juice

Pour a little bit of olive oil into a saucepan and sauté jalapeños and garlic for a minute or two.
Then add broth, quinoa, beans, tomatoes, corn and salt.
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.
Let simmer for 25 minutes.
Then add lime juice and cilantro to taste.

The best part of this dish is the fact it's a one pot recipe.
You literally just dump everything in the pot and let it sit.
Amazing, I tell you!
You can top with anything you like.
Cheese, sour cream, salsa, extra cilantro.
You really can't go wrong.
I even whipped up a batch of super easy guacamole.
Mash up avocados and add lime juice, garlic powder, Nature's Seasons and cilantro to taste.
A Mexican feast that's healthy...
Does it get much better?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Scenes from the weekend...

Hello friends and welcome to a new week! I'm back from Salt Lake City, and my head is still spinning from all the wisdom, inspiration and amazing people I met. Made it back in time Saturday night to kiss on my boys and put them to bed. B is in LA for the Grammys, so we bid farewell to MeMo Sunday morning. I had such high hopes of really digging into all my notes from Alt Sunday afternoon but I just couldn't pass up playing with my boys. We lounged, we snuggled and we hit up the park. A perfect Sunday if you ask me. Well minus B being home! Ready for him to get back today so we can catch up, and then I'm on to tackle all my lists, scribbles and goals from Alt. Cannot wait to share pics and stories soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy friday, friends!
Linking up with these lovelies to share what I'm loving this week.

You guys I cannot even begin to describe this.
I have been here since Wednesday and am just a sponge soaking up all this creativity and fabulousness.
Feeling so inspired and cannot wait to share more!

In the midst of feeling inspired, I'm also feeling pampered.
This hotel is phenomenal.
Amazing service and the most magnificent rooms.
As fabulous as this conference is, I'm also just kind of loving having this huge room, comfy bed and beautiful bathroom all to myself.
Even ordered room service!
It's the little things these days...

3. Cricut Explore
All you DIYers out there, get ready to be blown away!
This bad boy is coming out in March and you will not believe all the possibilities.
It cuts paper, leather, fabric, burlap.
You can even upload your own design!
More to come on this later...
And oh by the way, I got one!
Cannot wait to share all the details.

4. GoPicnic
Have you guys tried this??
I picked it up at Target the other day to pack in my bag in case I needed a little pick me up between sessions.
It just might be the best hummus.

5. This guy
Can I just say how much I love my husband??
He took off work this week to stay home with our boys.
I am so thankful for B.
He is a supportive husband and an incredibly loving father.
Luckily, his mom arrived yesterday, so he's got some reinforcement!

Happy weekend to all!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Milk and Cookies Party

I mentioned my words for 2014 in a previous post, but one word I left off was simple.
I tend to over-think things, over-do things, over-complicate things, so I've been really trying to start this new year off with a more simple approach to everyday life.
What better way to approach a kid's birthday party, huh?
These days parties for the little ones can get out of hand.
I had so much fun planning G's first birthday party but really wanted to keep his second low-key.
A simple theme with a few good friends.
These days our little man is quite the cookie monster {he rarely gets them but when he does he can't get enough!}, and he loves a good glass of milk {especially vanilla almond milk!}.
So I thought what better theme than "milk and cookies?"

I set up a simple milk bar in our dining room.
Strawberry, 2% and chocolate milk for all the kiddos...
And a spiked milk punch for the grown-ups.
{Recipe found here}

These milk bottles from Shop Sweet Lulu are my absolute favorite!
We use them for every party.

For food, we really kept it simple and offered four different kinds of cookies and cupcakes instead of cake.
How adorable are these cookie toppers??
Just use Cookie Crisp cereal for a simple yet fun touch.

I went store bought for the sugar and chocolate chip cookies, but made two batches of semi-homemade cookies that were super easy.
Peanut Butter Cookies

24 unwrapped peanut butter cups

Mix the cookie dough according to the directions on the back of the pouch.
Scoop balls of dough into a greased mini-muffin pan.
Bake ten minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from oven and place one peanut butter cup into each cookie.
Let cool for a few minutes. 
Chocolate Cookies

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 egg
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup of water
powdered sugar

Mix the first four ingredients and scoop into balls on greased cookie sheet.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on each cookie ball.
Bake at 350 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes.
Let cool.
I found all the printables from this darling Etsy shop.
The party was so simple and easy to put together, but the most important part is that this little man loved it.
I mean how could he not?
He ate at least ten cookies!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scenes from the weekend...

It's crazy to think this was our first weekend back home in Nashville since the holidays. 
Wow how we missed all our friends and city we call home
{three weeks away is a long time!}.
Friday enjoyed a fabulous girls night at one of my favorites and said farewell to a sweet friend starting a new adventure.
B enjoyed his boys night with our little men!
Saturday we had no plans {my favorite kind of day}, and we literally just lounged and did not leave the house.
G and I tried a new recipe {stay tuned!} to get him some more veggies.
Let's just say my little chef enjoyed the cooking more than the eating.
Sunday we celebrated our favorite two year old!
After canceling and rescheduling G's birthday party twice {yes, twice!} due to sickness and travel changes, we finally enjoyed milk and cookies with friends.
Thankful B had the day off today so we could rest and relax before beginning this crazy week.
I head out of town Wednesday, and B will have both boys solo for the first time.
Stay tuned to hear how it goes... :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Going Green

Well I mentioned that I'm going to Alt and could not be more giddy/nervous/excited/overwhelmed! I'm crossing off all my Alt to-do's {business cards, schedule planning, etc.}, but what has me the most anxious is my wardrobe! Apparently Alt is unlike any other conference where attendees are dressed to impress day and night. Still working on my day outfits, but fortunately several of the evening events are given themes and dress codes.

I think I'm most excited for the Cricut party. All we know is to wear something green. Emerald. Kelly. Mint. Any shade will do! I've spent the last few months keeping an eye out for my green frock and narrowed it down to a few. Check out my top green picks and stay tuned to see which one I choose!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Taking a risk...

Is it just me or is it easier to be fearless and take risks when you are younger? Growing up very little scared me. I'd try new things, put myself out there, go for whatever I wanted. Even after college, I was not scared to take a risk, move to a new city and meet new people {including my hubs!}. But now fast forward to being married with two kids, I cannot even remember the last time I took a risk or put myself out there. I cannot remember the last time I had butterflies in my stomach over anticipation of something really great {other than childbirth of course!}. But that's all about to change.

I've got butterflies fluttering around like you wouldn't believe! I'm taking a risk, putting myself out there and doing something I've never done before. I'm attending Alt Summit next week. Alt is the place where design and lifestyle bloggers come together to share ideas and connect. And I cannot believe I'm going! I oohed and aahed over all the pictures and posts last year after this gal attended and told her I was absolutely tagging along with her this year. Well we signed up back in August and booked our room together, and truth be told, I was more excited just to go on a girls trip with her, ooh and aah over all the other fabulous creatives and maybe {hopefully} learn a thing or two. I kind of even questioned if I should be going considering I consider myself just a wanna-be blogger. This isn't my livelihood, rather just a fun outlet for me to document our crazy little life {and allow the grandmas to see pics!}. But as the months passed and Alt was nearing I started getting more and more excited about the conference itself and all the incredibly talented people I would meet {and hopefully learn from}. I could not wait to just soak up all their wisdom, creativity and fabulousness. Unfortunately, my friend cannot go now, so I was faced with whether to cancel myself and put it off until next year or put myself out there and do something for me on my own.

Since becoming a mom, I seem to have lost a little piece of myself. I have so many dreams and desires for my children that I forget I used to have dreams and desires for myself. Do not get me wrong. I am living a dream right now being able to stay at home with my boys and raise them, watch them grow, color, throw the ball, wipe spit up, change diapers, laugh and sing all day everyday. But if I'm being honest I do long for a little something for myself, and I am hoping that Alt will help me figure out how this little blog just might be that.

So here's to putting myself out there. Being vulnerable. Taking a risk. Fingers crossed I won't suddenly become a wallflower and just go up to my room each night, order room service and watch Bravo {although that does sound pretty glamorous to this worn out mama!}. Here's hoping I find a new friend or two, learn a whole lot and oh, have a ton a fun. Now to just figure out what I'm wearing...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My new favorite cinnamon rolls

One of my favorite holiday traditions is the cinnamon roll competition my family hosts on Christmas morning.
I mean who doesn't love cinnamon rolls?
My mom's recipe was always our go-to, but then one year my dad shook things up and made a batch.
Thus, the roll competition was born.
My family is extremely competitive {that might be an understatement}.
So each year I try and find a new recipe {because I've never won!} with some sort of twist.
The twist this year?
I found this recipe for Whiskey Cinnamon Rolls and knew this was my winner.
Stayed up late Christmas Eve waiting for my yeast to rise, rolling out my dough and sprinkling with all the cinnamon goodness.
After these bad boys came out of the oven I couldn't wait to slather on the whiskey frosting.
Believe me the whiskey has a kick!
These were even better after the frosting oozed down throughout the rolls.
Be warned, they're strong! 

I was so impressed with all the entries this year!
Everything from classic rolls to bacon cinnamon rolls, hazelnut with mascarpone sweet rolls and "doctored up" honey buns.
I am happy to report though that my whiskey cinnamon rolls received the most votes!
Will definitely be making these again soon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Holiday in Pictures

After being gone for three whole weeks, we are finally back from our holiday travels and so ready to start this new year. Spent the day looking through all the pics I snapped from our time with family and friends and feeling very fortunate for so much time spent with the ones we love. Here are some highlights from our holiday.

Enjoyed lots of time with dear old friends at our annual Christmas happy hour and Christmas Eve lunch.
Ate my weight in Tex-Mex {seriously, just about!}.
Also just about ate my weight in my dad's homemade Christmas cookies.
Went to the theatre with my mom for a Christmas classic set to stage.
Sang "Silent Night" holding our lit candles at the Christmas Eve service.
Donned matching pjs {my favorite tradition} with the fam on Christmas Eve.
Stayed up late per usual wrapping presents and baking cinnamon rolls.
Won the cinnamon roll competition {recipe coming soon}!!!
Watched my little men enjoy the magic of Christmas.
Laughed and loved with my incredible family.
Watched G play with his adorable cousins.
Laughed and loved with my incredible in-laws.
Enjoyed the sights and sounds of Tran Siberian Orchestra.
Had loads of fun ringing in the new year!