Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Getting Ready for Baby

We finally got around to shuffling dressers last weekend. That freed up Ryder's little nursery dresser for Baby Little Dipper's room. Which was just the motivation I needed to pull Ryder's newborn clothes out of our storage room. 

This is the chaos we started with.
Ryder was my little helper for the afternoon.

Helping turned into trying on various too-small hats...
...and exclaiming over each find.

 And since I was asked for a baby bump photo, here we are at 35+ weeks.

Ryder was excited to get a new fireman's hat at the base gym open house last night - after very patiently waiting through Mama's workout.
A quick walk with these two before heading off to MOPS rounded out our morning. 
Happy Wednesday to you!

Monday, January 26, 2015

35 Weeks and Counting...

Little Dipper keeps on growing and the big day is fast approaching! There's definitely a lot to get done before his arrival, but his brand new carseat arrived last week and so in a pinch we could get by now. :)

I'll warn you now - this may be picture overload - but we had such a fun-filled weekend, I couldn't decide what to leave out.

Out for a busy day of errands with my little buddy on Friday.

Ryder chose out a special treat at the cafe we visited for lunch, and learned a new word: 

Friday night I picked up our second Bountiful Basket. I wish that I had stopped to take a picture before diving in. I quickly got excited about the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and Saturday morning I got to work on a few different recipes.

Yummy butternut squash muffins to freeze and have on hand for Ryder and myself at home.  More than a few disappeared from the mini muffin tin and were devoured buttered, honeyed and hot by the boys. <3

*If you do look up the recipe to make, I'd recommend adding a little extra sugar. We topped ours with butter and honey, but they taste a little too 'healthy' on their own. :)

And then a super fantastic old-school red velvet layer cake made with two whole beets (thanks Bountiful Basket!) and no red food colouring. This was frosted and accompanied us to our Sunday church potluck - thankfully, there are just a few slices left to enjoy at home still. 

Saturday ended with homemade and grilled burgers on fresh-out-of-the-oven hamburger buns.  I tried a new recipe, which was great!

This bun got a little extra toasty on the grill. Oops!
Followed by a quick trip through the DQ drive-thru to get a 1/2 price Oreo blizzard, which we all shard. Mmmm...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday Already?

I can hardly believe the speed with which this week has flown! I've been busy with playdates, making new friends, and keeping up with old ones.

I tried a new dinner recipe on Tuesday - Stromboli.  Should I be embarrassed that I didn't even know what Stromboli was until I searched Pinterest with the ingredients I had in my fridge?  Thankfully it was a big hit with the boys (I didn't tell them that it was packed with a full 2 cups of fresh spinach ;) and my little bread lover has enjoyed leftovers for lunch these last two days.

I look forward to getting back into teaching piano in the next couple of weeks. I had originally planned to put it off until after the baby, but with a new year there's no time quite like the present to jump right in! This will definitely factor into the fun side of 'work.' I've always enjoyed teaching and so just balancing my schedule with one more activity will be the most challenging aspect, but not impossible!

Since I don't have any new photos to share, here are a few from last week of Ryder and Daddy burning the Christmas tree and a few stray tumbleweeds that somehow managed to hop the fence into our backyard.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Moose - It's What's for Dinner!

That's right, a friend of a friend of ours happened to have Alaskan moose sausage and upon learning that I was Canadian, graciously shared the meat.  A quick cry for help to my Northern Canadian-dwelling sister and a few Pinterest recipe searches later, I felt equipped to make something out of it.

Honey Garlic Moose Meatballs were the result and though I bit in with some skepticism, my desire to want to love this 'au naturel' game won out - in fact, we were all pleasantly surprised with the result.  It didn't hurt that they were served with creamy mashed potatoes and parmesan roasted squash.

Here's the proof that we did it - sent to a very special auntie! <3
Today we were also thankful for a holiday. The sun was out and radiating heat by the time Ryder and I finished breakfast, so we headed out for some yard work and play. Once we finished out there, I became ambitious in the kitchen and decided to make some fresh lemonade as a treat - it certainly didn't feel like winter today!

There's nothing better than being woken up by this cutie! 
Ryder & Dixie
Collecting rocks in my gardening pail.

Fresh Lemonade!
 All the unglamorous chores were completed too - laundry, cleaning bathrooms (showers, toilets, floors, and all), more dishes than 3 people should possibly dirty, etc.  But what a great feeling it is to sit down at the end of the day, truly tired yet grateful, and looking forward to doing it all over again in the morning.

I am blessed!

Here are a few more candids of Ryder playing outside...

Somebody found Daddy's safety glasses in the shop as well as an old too-small hat.
He's our little Mr Dress Up!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sweets, DIYs, and Deals!

Sweets first, because that's just the way it happened here at home. After lunch on Thursday I was ready for a nice warm cup of tea and a cookie, but when I opened the freezer, none of the few remaining Christmas cookies looked very appealing.  So, I scoured my pantry and found that I had all of the necessary ingredients for this decadent treat that my sister used to occasionally make while we were all still living at home.  

Here's the cast of characters...

It could be argued that pecans, unsweetened coconut and organic butter are all packed with important nutrition. I can't say much for the rest though...

The Magic Bars (also known as 7 Layer Bars and Hello Dolly Bars on Pinterest) were everything I was hoping for. Braden tasted them for the first time and gave his approval too. Ryder has yet to know the goodness.

Also in the works here, we're about to give homemade vanilla another go-round. Last year's supply has been hoarded and used only in the most important baking, but it's nearly gone. Braden first gave it a try after receiving some from a friend in AL, when we were dating. We've made two other batches since then. Thanks to a huge organic sale going on at Costco this last month, we got a great deal on this certified organic Vodka to make our next vanilla extract. Now to order vanilla beans and let the steeping begin. Can't wait!

And lastly, I just had to share my most recent deal with you. Back in WA, it was much more common for me to hit up the local thrift stores to search the masses of junk for great deals.  I don't find myself doing that in our small town, but occasionally when I'm in Reno, I'll swing by Goodwill, since it's right next to Whole Foods anyway. Well, yesterday I was in a hurry, but managed to pick through a bunch of baby clothes to find these two name brand treasures for Little Dipper - for $.99 each.  Now to get them washed and ironed and the best part is, I don't have to worry about spit up and diaper leaks ruining them because we can swing $1.98.

To all of my friends out there with limited budgets (as ours is), growing families and more laundry than you will ever get through - don't give up!  There are so many ways you can live within your means without giving in to an entitled mentality and spending money that isn't there.  Some time I'll have to tell you about our (fairly new) budget plan and how we've really been encouraged to stay out of debt and live in a way that is preparing us for our future and also preparing to leave a financially responsible legacy for our kids.  

Ok, now I'll get off my soap box.  :)

And in case you fear that all I do is eat sweets, I will have you know that I'm off to go stir the big batch of homemade granola baking in my oven...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What to do on Thursday?

I've started reading a new book!  Last year at this time I was just about through David Copperfield. While I know better than to start something of that magnitude at this point in my life, a number of books I picked up in college have been waiting neglected on the bookshelf, so I picked up a smaller one to read.

What to do on Thursday? is written by one of my favourite authors when it comes to counseling material - I was a Biblical Counseling major in university. Jay Adams wrote a lot of the textbooks we used in psychology and counseling and he approaches the subject with a great respect for scripture and it's helpfulness in every area of life.

The theme of this book is how to practically use scripture in everyday life, not just on Sundays or when expected issues arise. On Sundays in church, it's common to hear the scripture preached and end with how to apply it to our lives - this is essential.  But here, Adams takes the approach of 'moving from life to law, from problem to passage' just the opposite direction and similarly important when pursuing to counsel others (or yourself) when problems arise.

I've only just begun, but I'm excited to share a little insight with you as I make my way through the book.  Here is today's thought-provoking quote...

And just for fun, here are a few shots of Ryder enjoying MOPS and getting some wiggles out. It's hard to believe how BIG he is getting.  No longer my baby...   <3

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Little of This & A Little of That

Mondays generally contain a little of this and a little of that. But first, because I'm all about keeping it real, here's what Ryder found to do while I was in the shower this morning.

That's just about a whole roll of tp and too many q-tips to count. He can sure be thankful that I didn't find the mess until after he was already having his afternoon nap.  What a little turkey!

Weekends where everyone's home generally leave a bit of a mess around the house and so I always have some tidying to do on Mondays.  Today I also was able to meet my new doctor. My regular OBG for this pregnancy had a baby herself last week, and so today I enjoyed meeting the man who's going to help bring our next little guy into the world in about 6 weeks - give or take. :)

A quick trip to the gym after my doctors appointment was followed up with some time spent sewing an oh-so-soft baby blanket and a few burp cloths together for a friend who is due to have her first little girl soon.

And Ryder was overjoyed to receive a brand new beautiful red firetruck in the mail today.  We're so thankful to Granny for sending such a great Christmas gift! It was fun to watch him drive it around the house all evening.  He even snuck in one last little push when we told him to head to his room for bed tonight. :)

A very happy Monday to you all!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan Happened!

As promised yesterday, Martha Stewart's Baked Eggplant Parmesan happened at our house for lunch today - and it was a HUGE success!  I'll admit, I was a little doubtful trying a new recipe with a new vegetable. But, if you look at the recipe, it's really pretty simple, though time consuming (baking the breaded eggplant) and the finished product is filling and delicious!

Here are my eggplant rounds breaded and baked on both sides.

Next I layered them with chunky pasta sauce, mozzarella, and then repeated that all over again.

And here is the finished product.  You'll have to forgive me for our post-church hunger that prompted me to serve lunch before capturing the complete dish for you. These left-overs won't last long and now I've got a great new healthy recipe to add to my repertoire.

I can't help but show off my two handsome boys in their Sunday best. 

I hope you've had a blessed and restful day, as we have!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Latest Adventure - Bountiful Baskets

I'm so excited to tell you about our latest adventure/experiment. I'm so excited about it - and most things that pertain to the kitchen - that naturally I want to share this with family and friends.

A month of two ago, we had some friends from church over for a play date.  In the course of conversation while our boys played, I learned from this friend that they participated in a Food Co-op called Bountiful Baskets. As a wife and mama always looking for economical ways to nourish my family with wholesome, and if possible, local food - my curiosity was piqued!  

Unfortunately, at the time I found out, we were about to be out of town for the better part of a month and it just wouldn't have been practical to participate then. But, since we've been home, I signed up for our very first basket - they even have an organic option!

Here's what I picked up last night...

The eggplant and one cucumber were gifted from that friend who introduced us to the co-op.  I happened to run into her while picking my box up and she shared what they couldn't use. 

Thus begins even more fun adventures in the kitchen, honing my culinary skills. For lunch today, we tried a new recipe - roasted green beans garnished with fresh tomatoes and bacon, and seasoned with lemon pepper. Here's the recipe, I highly recommend it! Even my non veggie loving husband cleaned his plate. :)  

My plan for tomorrow is to incorporate the eggplant into our lunch. Since I've barely even tasted eggplant and NEVER cooked with it, I sought out Martha's advice. Be sure to ask me how her Baked-Eggplant Parmesan turns out for our Sunday lunch! I think I'll make some crusty fresh bread with melted butter to accompany our experimental dish. 

Here is just another way that I'm learning to love our new duty station...  As a milspouse, you have to actively seek out aspects of a new community to love and places where you can get involved.  For our family, that generally starts with seeking out a church home where we can worship and be a part of a community of Christians. For me personally, I've been blessed to also meet and build relationships with other military wives - whether they be co-workers of my husband, ladies at the gym or moms at MOPS. But you've got to be active, you've got to look for ways to love your surroundings wherever you are - and you'll find them!

Since it's Saturday and we're enjoying some family time at home, here are a few photos of Daddy teaching Ryder to use the air pellet gun. Ryder's first 'shot' knocked the pig right out of the target. I think we have a prodigy on our hands. <3

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy Friday!

Boy, Friday sure does feel good!  With 2 recovering sickies, it felt like not a lot of progress was made during the course of the week. But, it's Friday and all 8 Etsy orders placed over the holidays have been made and shipped, the kitchen table has been tidied of all my crafting supplies, and now the kitchen has been scrubbed and floor washed. Ahhh....  

Now to bake cookies!

Here are a few snapshots from our week:

Ryder loves his Christmas tools.
Please overlook the fact that he's hammering a screw. :)

Never too young to have your very own Starbucks mug.
Ryder loves his new big-boy cup.
If you look closely, there's a sick Daddy resting on the couch behind him. 

Ryder is my cool eskimo walking buddy in his sunglasses and fur hat.
Thankful for chilly but sunny days!

The farm animals in his Alabama Christmas stocking are a new favourite!