Thursday, January 28, 2016

cozy family space

I'm so excited for this spring because we are finally in a place where we can update our furniture in our living room. Any kind of shopping gets me excited, but furniture shopping brings it to a whole new level because it can drastically change a room. 
Our current family room is very drab and sad. I love the color gray, but it's everywhere and we desperately need some contrast. We're slowly painting our walls a lighter shade of gray to bring in more light. The small amount that we've changed has already made a difference of light bouncing off the wall with the sheer change of flat paint finish to an eggshell finish. 
But back to the furniture...I know I'm crazy for wanting a light colored couch with littles, but the truth is if we chose a dark colored fabric we would still see stuff on it. Even our taupe colored couch shows every little spill, drool and crumb. The trick is finding something that can be easily cleaned in my opinion. I can't wait to get this process underway and waiting for our pieces to finally arrive is going to be torture, but until then I'm filling my Pinterest boards with inspiration.

 Although I think I want to choose a light fabric, I'm swooning over the white walls and darker furniture. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

comforting healing hearts

Yesterday was a very testing day as we waited and prayed for a miracle to take place for our dear friends and their unborn baby boy. When your world is shaken by potentially terrible news and you're left waiting for hours on test results, it can not only be terrifying, but also exhausting. 
A miracle did happen and our sweet, sweet friend is safe and healthy along with her baby boy. Days like yesterday always paralyze me in a state of mind where I can't focus on anything except prayer. The house was a mess at the end of the day, no laundry was cleaned, no dishes washed, but our prayers were answered and we are so blessed! 
They get to come home later today and to relieve them of worrying about what to make dinner we took care of it for them. I've said before food is love and it's a great display of sharing your heart and comforting theirs. One of our favorite comfort meals is spaghetti with homemade meatballs. Another recipe from the old Better Homes and Garden cookbook my mom gave me. Funny story about it though, my mom and I thought we had the same cookbook, but we don't. They're different prints and there are missing ingredients!!! So after spending an afternoon on the phone going through each recipe we use, I scribbled in mine and she scribbled in hers. We added ingredients and swapped some out. So the original recipes that were printed in those cookbooks are no longer, they've been recreated by me and mom and I love it.
Homemade Italian Meatballs 
1/2 lb Ground Hamburger
1/2 lb Mild Italian Ground Sausage
4 slices Bread, soaked
2 Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Basil, dried
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Parmesan Cheese, grated 

 Soak bread in water, then squeeze out moisture. Add remaining ingredients, except meat. Mix well and then fold in hamburger and sausage. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop meatball mixture on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Bake 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

teepee fun

This post is later than I wanted, but life here has been busy trying to fit in as much Christmas fun as possible and it wouldn't be Christnas if we weren't scrambling to get a gift done at the last minute, all the while celebrating our own Christmas early so we can make our way back to Nebraska road trip style. 
We've been wanting to get a teepee for the last two years, but didn't want to spend a lot of money so we opted for a DIY version.; one that collapses and isn't just wrapped around a bunch of poles.
If you know how to sew this is an easy project. I purchased organic cotton canvas from Fabricworm and it's so soft compared to an inexpensive drop cloth from the home improvement store. Well worth the extra cash since it's going in our playroom to be played with by our babies. We really wanted something they would love and feel good playing with and we couldn’t have asked for it to turn out better. 

To make it more festive we added some dew drop lights, my favorite decor item right now. We did have to adjust the canvas and realign the poles after I took this picture, see how it's a bit wonky. Once we fixed it, everything was good. We added in a cozy blanket and toss pillows to make it the perfect little space for the babes. 
We thought it would be fun to set it up early by the tree, but we're procrastinators and we only made it one day early. However, once it was up we moved our basket of Christmas books inside and the babes played in it all day long! 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

a late first birthday

I have to admit, with Finn's birthday being in December I was not at all prepared to plan it with all the holiday festivities. It slipped right through my fingers and I hope it's the last time it happens. Fortunately, it was his first birthday and he won't remember my lack of planning. 
To make up for it we planned to celebrate back in Nebraska with family, but there just wasn't a good a day and we had so much going on including his baptism. So we celebrated with our little family once we were back home and settled in. We had a birthday brunch with bagels, chocolate croissants, muffins and of course cake. We kept it simple and fun which was a big difference compared to Kensi's first birthday blowout party. But I loved this small celebration and it was perfect for us. 

The kids loved the breakfast food and Finn very much enjoyed smashing into his whip creamed top caramel chocolate cake! Happy first birthday our sweet Finnley, we love you so much more than we could have ever imagined! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

family breakfast date

Fridays are my favorite day of the week with our little family. We all get the day off and use the day to do grocery shopping and of course plan some family fun. We make Friday our family date day most weeks and a date can be for breakfast, lunch, dinner or sometimes more than more. It's a day we love to spend at the pool during the summer or the park in the spring. We can do several different things much easier because most people are still working and kids are in school. 
Today we spent the morning on a breakfast date. We tried somewhere new, a place full of sweet and savory crepes, so delicious! 
Neither Mike or I have ever had a crepe, I know you would think we were born in a barn! We've had good intentions on going to this particular place, but just haven't taken the time to do so. Kensi was a little hesitate about it in the beginning just like she is with most new places; we each put in our orders and waited for our fun creations to arrive. Kensi seemed bored while waiting and continued to ask questions about the restaurant, like why we couldn't sit in the party room and why were the tables red. After a few short minutes the kind waitress brought out the most beautiful breakfast plates our eyes had laid upon, after all it was nearly 11am and we were all starving. When Kensi's sweet little eyes saw the Nutella and Strawberry stuffed crepe drizzled with chocolate her jaw dropped and eyes grew to the point we thought just maybe they would pop out of her head. I have never seen her this excited over food, not even a cupcake. Halfway through her crepe she leaned over and whispered, 'Mama, I really love this place!' Of course said with a chocolate rimmed grin. To much to our surprise Kensi wasn't the only one excited about breakfast, Finn began making 'mmmmm' noises and hitting the table top! I think it's safe to say both of our kiddos have some major sweet teeth. 
I also went sweet with my crepe like Kensi and ordered the St. Tropez filled with bananas and peaches and drizzled with caramel. Crazy crazy good. Mike went savory with his egg, bacon and cheese filled crepe and it was just as delicious. 
An awesome staff who are all beyond generous with their kindness, mouthwatering food to hit anyone's palate, we definitely found another gem which will become one of our regular spots for breakfast! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

cherry + almonds + younger

After restocking the fridge and pantry earlier this week, I hit up Pinterest for some healthier versions of desserts to satisfy my never-ending sweet tooth. There's no way I can cut out sweets for good, so why not improvise. 
I found so many delicious looking yums I can hardly wait to bake up in the kitchen. I started a couple last Wednesday morning and they've been winners so far. Let's hope they keep up the streak! 

To help with something to grab for breakfast I came up with a Cherry-Almond scones. I love the flavor of almond, but only use real extract. Never imitation, the flavor just doesn't compare. Whole Foods is a great store to find real extracts and they don't necessary break the bank. As for the cherries, I used sweet frozen cherries, but I'm sure any kind will do, just expect a bit of a change in flavor if you choose tart cherries. 

Cherry-Almond Scones
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
6 Tablespoons cold Unsalted Butter, cubed
1 cup Milk, plus 1 Tablespoon divided
1/4 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
1 cup Frozen Sweet Cherries, slightly thawed and chopped

Almond Drizzle
1-1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
4 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
1/4 cup Sliced Almonds for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or a fork.  Add one cup of milk and almond extract and stir until a dough begins to form. Gently fold in cherries. 
Transfer dough to a floured surface, it will be sticky. Use flour to help keep it from sticking to your hands and the countertop. Roll into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the scones into even triangles and place on the lined baking sheet. Brush each scone with the remaining 1 tablespoon of milk.
Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Make the Almond Drizzle. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until it forms a drizzle. Once scones are done baking, allow them to cool. Once cooled drizzle the glaze over each scone and top with sliced almonds.

Another indulgence I can't wait for tonight, Younger!!! I watched the first season when it aired last summer and I have been dying over here for the past six months waiting for season two. I find the shower to be flirty and hilarious and it even sucks my husband in. 
I love eating my desserts while watching my favorite shows with the hubster and we've been itching for brownies. I thought I would give Amazing Flourless Brownies from SkinnyTaste a whirl and surprisingly were pretty good. Kensi ate them because it was chocolate and she's was totally like whatever. Nothing is going to stop that girl from eating her chocolate. Although, if I'm being honest the act of adding beans to my chocolate was a little disturbing, but if they're healthy then I get to eat more than one right? Who am I kidding? Black beans or not, I'm still eating more than one....or four. 
Share your favorite indulgences in a comment below, we would love to hear from our readers! 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

new year

This week is just boring, full of unpacking, laundry, finally taking down Christmas decor and a struggle to get everyone back into our normal schedule. The house is a complete wreck with piles of clothes in every room, some clean and some dirty. We are so happy to be back at home, but we've also had a few meltdowns due to not being at grandmas and grandpas houses anymore. 
With the new year, I say it every time, I can't believe it's January and here we are again starting a new one. Unbelievable.
Our babies are growing so fast I feel like I can't keep up. There are a few things we hope to accomplish this year. Of course a few home projects such as more built in organization will be coming and I'm so excited! But even more so than home projects we are going to focus on our little family. We've never taken a family trip with just our little family. We're always traveling to visit grandparents or other family so this year it's going to be for us. More family fun exploring our city on our Fridays since it's our official day off and Mike and I getting back into the workout routine. We actually started a few days ago and I'm still so sore from yoga! We're also trying to be cleaner eaters and began overhauling our pantry and replaced our pantry goods with healthier alternatives like wheat flour, almond flour and raw sugar. 
To keep the overhaul going, we're planning on having a garage sale this spring to really declutter and simplify our lives and home. We also have new things  to share coming up soon! We can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us  for we know we will make it a great year, Happy New Year!!! 
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