Wednesday, April 29, 2015

cuisine at home

Two days ago I received my monthly subscription to one of my favorite cooking magazines, Cuisine at Home,  and I couldn’t wait to try a couple of their recipes. I didn't have all their ingredients so I made my own versions from what I had in my freezer and fridge. We eat pesto a lot at our house or just basil for that matter....We'll find Kensi eating the basil leaves off our plant on our porch all the I knew this would be a winner. 

Yes, the photo I quickly snapped is terrible, but there was no time. We were devouring all the deliciousness that was going on inside that bowl.

Pesto Pinwheels
1/2 pkg. Puff Pastry (allow to thaw at room temperature for about 40 minutes)
3 oz Goat Cheese (or Cream Cheese for a mild flavor)
1/4 cup Pesto
1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees and gently roll out the puff pastry keeping it in a rectangular shape. Spread the goat cheese or cream cheese into an even layer across the entire sheet of pastry. Then spread the pesto on top of the cream cheese. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Starting with the long side, begin rolling tightly like a jelly roll. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve warm.

This recipe made 12 pinwheels and my family of three ate nearly all of them. I told you anything with pesto is a win in our house. The original recipe in the magazine used crescent rolls, pesto and Italian cheese mix. We wanted to add a little bit more flavor so we added the creamed cheese and since we didn’t have any crescent rolls we used one she of puff pastry instead.
We served them as a side with our dinner, but you can also make these as appetizers for a party. Are you wondering what we had for dinner too? Well I’m sharing that recipe as well. This was also from Cuisine at Home and it was SO easy and fast. This was the first time we tried it and we’ll definitely be making this again! The only change we made to this recipe was adding shrimp for protein.

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Spaghetti
with fresh arugula & shrimp
2 pints of Cherry Tomatoes, (1 red and 1 yellow)
1/3 cup fresh Garlic, sliced
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 lb Shrimp, shelled & deveined
4 cups fresh Arugula
8 oz of dry Spaghetti
Parmesan Cheese, sprinkle

Preheat oven to 400 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. I used a jellyroll pan. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
Toss tomatoes and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. At 9 minutes remaining to bake, toss the shrimp on the baking sheet with the tomatoes and garlic and continue baking the remainder of time. 
Toss the arugula with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add cooked spaghetti and tomato mixture and toss together. If it seems a little dry add a couple tablespoons of the pasta water. Finish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and you’re done! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

fabulous finds: a better toddler seat

As many parents go through the lovely journey of potty training, we often find ourselves torn between the lesser of two evils when it comes to potty chairs; the not so charming character splashed portable seat that sits on top of the toilet or the separate chair that lives in the corner of the bathroom. I opted for the 'live in corner' one and I quickly regretted that decision after the first time our daughter pooped in it. Sure we were celebrating because she finally pooped in the potty, but I neglected to think about the cleaning process and trust me, that was not fun. Not at all. If you really think about it, the whole separate potty chair thing is such a scam. Sure you can teach your kid to do their business in something other than a diaper, but now you have to re-train them again to go on the actual toilet. Ugh, it’s just frustrating.

We ended up just putting Kensi on the ‘big’ toilet and she learned from there, but she still has a hard time balancing her body on her know...trying not to fall in. A couple months ago while we were in Raleigh doing some shopping at the mall, Kensi had to use the bathroom and we were so glad to learn they had family bathrooms. The setup was surreal for a bathroom. It had an adult size and kid size for everything a bathroom should have. Of course Kensi loved using the bathroom because it had a ‘baby’ toilet just for her and she wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks. And I mean weeks. She would consistently bring it up during any conversation and be very matter of fact that she indeed needed a baby toilet in her bathroom because she was tiny. Well my dad is a plumber and Kensi made it her mission to let Grandpa know all about the little baby toilets. {We’re really going into depth about toilets today aren’t so sorry!} 

Around Easter my dad called and informed us that we needed to keep an eye out for a package he had sent and that it was something more for Kensi and Finn. Now you know how grandparents can be, they like to spoil grandkids, so Mike and I thought we should be prepared for a baby toilet. Well the package came....and it was small. No way this could be a toilet we thought. Then we opened it. And what do you was a toilet seat. 

But this is the genius has the adult seat, a child seat and then the lid. {You can find a similar one here}. No more characters! No more clean up! No more falling into the bowl! It’s the perfect thing for our family right now and we don’t have to deal with storing it anywhere because you know me and storage around here.  Kensi loves her toilet {seat} and it just works. I’m telling you, I’ve never seen a kid so excited to use the bathroom before. If you’re interested in one for your home, check your home improvement stores or you can find one on Amazon in the link above. Just remember to get the one that will fit your seat at home, whether it be round or elongated.
Happy seat shopping! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

oh joy! strawberry pickin'

I love being able to have family days every week. We typically spend our Friday's doing a fun family activity which we love because usually things aren't nearly as busy as they are on the weekends. Here in coastal North Carolina it’s berry season and the first crop of the year is strawberries. 

Now I'll be completely honest, Kensi didn't want much to do with the strawberries because she was mad the blueberries weren't ready. As you can guess blueberries are the bomb and rule over every other berry. So at the berry farm Little Miss Sassy Pants was just sassy, but I know she still enjoyed it. Once we got into the fields, Kensi was extremely particular {and others around us probably thought we were being berry snobs} about which ones to pick. She made sure they were the reddest of the red, they couldn’t have any spots and no green or white coloring was allowed.

After we filled our bucket we headed over to their ice cream counter. They make delicious homemade ice-cream in seasonal flavors including strawberry, blueberry and blackberry. Kensi is just like her daddy and opted for chocolate. Finn was trying his hardest to snag a taste of my ice cream and as adorable as his reaction to something new would be, he’s still just too little, but I can’t wait for him to try it later.

I was very excited to get fresh berries. We have a few different recipes we're wanting to try and since we pick the berries ourselves it keeps the price low. I was also super excited to use my Oh Joy Solly baby wrap since getting it in the mail this week. When I first saw the print I melted into a million pieces of a pattern love puddle. It's so beautiful and perfect for spring and summer! And shhh I even got one for Kensi's birthday in June so she can carry her baby dolls. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

bath bather + update

Sadly the time has come that Finn is just too big to take his baths in the bathroom sink anymore. Yes I am one very sad mama. But he is so long {length of the average nine month old---and he's only four and half months old!!!} and it's become too challenging especially since he's not at the point where he can sit up on his own. 
We went searching for some sort of bath for him, but knew we really needed something that could be easily stored and not take up a ton of room or be a major eye sore in the bathroom. While on our bi-weekly shopping binge at Target we found the Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather. It has three different incline settings for the head and two for the feet.  It's made with mesh lining which makes it easy to use and comfy for the babe. I probably wouldn’t recommend using this for a newborn because I think the baby would slide down quite a bit, but this works good for us at this point in the large bathtub.

Finn enjoys it because he can totally lounge in the bath without any hard plastics making it uncomfortable or sliding around too much with his little wiggles. But at this point the best part for us is how easily it stores. It folds up flat and hangs on the inside of our linen closet with a simple hook which I love. It's stowed away and doesn't tak up any space which is awesome! 

After using this bather several times, we became really frustrated trying to unfold it  for bath time. It would get stuck and then not stay in place. Also, the more Finn wiggled and became more mobile it would slide in the tub. It stores great and is a space saver, but unfortunately it just didn't work well enough for us to keep it or recommend it to friends. 

Monday, April 20, 2015


This past week we planned a last minute trip up to Maryland to visit friends and stop by my old preschool for their Spring Fling. We had beautiful weather and were able to spend a lot of time outside. We even had the chance to take Kensi to Georgetown Cupcakes, a frequent stop we made when we lived in the DC area a few years ago. We also spent time with one of my former students and his family. Kensi had so much fun and we can’t wait to visit again soon!

Kensi tried cotton candy for the first time, it was a definite win in her book! She was hesitant as first, but once she realized the fun texture and oh yeah the instant sugar part...she was sold!

One of our all time favorite places to eat in Maryland is Beef ’N Buns in Paradise in Frederick. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about it before, but it’s that good. There’s only picnic tables to sit at and when we went it was packed so we opted to chow down in the car. It’s so ridiculously good, we go every time we’re back.

Our friends have the same stroller as we do, Baby Jogger City Select. It’s a dream stroller. Our friends have twin boys and while we have the two kiddos, it’s awesome in the way it converts. I’m always hesitate of being in the way of others with strollers in general, but Tiffany totally owned it. She gave me so much more confidence and I know I can strut our stuff with our stroller now, without any apologies. Mamas gotta get places and get things done! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

three and four months

{Three Month Milestones}
Rolling over
15 lbs
1st ER visit
Eats his hands
Folds feet together
Crosses his legs while eating 
Milk baths

{Four Month Milestones}
Found his toes
16lbs 1oz
Height is the same as an average nine month old
Pushing with legs
Trying to crawl
Holds toys
Found his thumb
Loves high and low
Knows his name
Loves to babble
Loves Tay-Tay {Taylor Swift}
Crazy hair

Sunday, April 5, 2015

tops knots and easter baskets

We happily got ready for Easter by filling the kiddos baskets and coloring eggs Saturday night. I think Finn's basket is my favorite basket we've done yet.  We did run into our first hurdle of sharing with Finn today. Kensington was so happy to see what was in Finn's basket and immediately was smitten when she saw his BlaBla Wolf doll. She's not quite understanding that it is in fact Finnley's and not hers and she's totally giving us the guilt trip by asking, "But what about me?" And of course she uses her sweet sad, poor me voice. Little stinker. 

I was so excited about Kensi's basket too and got really bummed out about it 2 weeks ago when her Secret Garden BabyLit book was sold out and we got put on backorder. So instead we opted for Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman. This book is new this year and very cute. On top of doing a book swap, Kensi's tutu also didn't make it in time. Mama fail nĂºmero dos. So I totally cheated and grabbed one of her other tutus for the sake of filling her basket. She'll be excited in about a week when the real items start arriving. 

This year instead of boiling our eggs I baked them in a cupcake pan at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. It works like a charm and the eggs come out perfectly. {I suggest doing them in batches of 12 at a time, adding more messes with the baking time). When we were ready to dye our eggs tonight Kensi was over the moon excited. Mike set everything up for her and she was able to drop each color tablet into the vinegar. Kensi couldn't believe how the eggs changed color each time she put one into a cup. A little science experiment. I don't know who was more excited about it, Kensi or my nerdy engineer hubby. 

This morning when Kensi woke up all she wanted to do was go downstairs to find her eggs. When I was little my parents always hid the hard boiled eggs throughout the living room and that was my favorite egg hunt. 
It was so much fun to carry on that tradition here and watch Kensi grow with excitement as she found each egg. She enjoyed it so much she kept a dozen eggs out and continued to hide them and find them herself throughout the day. 
We hope all your Easter celebrations were fun and memorable!!! 
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