Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Does the World Need Silk Flowers?

Yes, I was nervous and anxious about the 7 hour drive from Portland to Boise. I had these visions of the trek going from 7 hours to 15. I worried our U-haul would be stranded somewhere along the interstate, and I imagined Cole screaming non-stop for the entire endeavor.  But low and behold we made it in about 8 hours including several breaks to let the munchkin eat and crawl around.  Cole was a trooper, he slept exactly when I would normally put him down for a nap.  The only time he made any sort of a whine was when he was either getting hungry or needed some mama entertainment.  Something that usually consisted of me making super flattering faces and noises that I'm sure made my hubby super proud.

We are getting settled in to our new home. It's a beautiful place with much much more room than we know what to do with.  God was so generous when He gave us this rental mostly furnished which made the move quite a bit easier. However, I was a bit surprised to be welcomed with a cloud of potpourri and glade air-freshener extravaganza. Apparently they have a love of all things smelly.....and I don't. You can thank my last pregnancy for that.  No sooner had the owners handed us the keys and left the driveway then did I have a pile of glade plug-ins ready to be sealed and stowed far far away from my super sensitive smeller.  After feeling somewhat productive in my glade round up I realized I had another task at bay.  Two words: Silk. Flowers. Everywhere. (ok, so 3 words).   There were bouquets, overflowing vases, wall mountings, window was a jungle of a lot of pink, purple and leafy things.  Thankfully my mother-in-law picked up on my subtle distaste and found a great big storage closet that will be the silks new home for now.  Besides I have a curious little boy who would love to get his chubby mitts all over the overflowing flowers...and probably stuff them in his mouth by the handfuls.....yep, they needed to go.

Whew. Now I could truly start settling in. Although the decor is not my style it is nice and will be more than sufficient for our year here.  The master bath and walk-in closet will also help ease my way into Boise living. The walk-in itself could house a horse....and we even debated whether or not to let that be Cole's room. No, seriously....we actually tossed around the idea.  Something tells me, I will lose grasp of what a "normal" sized closet should look like when our time is up here. But we have a beautiful backyard with lots of trees and 2 patios....I foresee some coffee breaks in the future while I soak in the glorious outdoors and Cole splashes in his kiddy  pool.  That's the if only I could uproot my whole family and have them close by....then it would be about perfect.

I promise to take pictures, but I want to wait until everything has found its place and is a bit more settled.  Besides loving the house I have also been loving the weather! So far we have been in the upper 90's with several triple digit days.  I think I was born with some weird gene that is drawn to the heat like a fly to a zapper.  I just love it.  Do you know what else I love about the heat? It makes me eat extra healthy...something about eating a big heavy pasta dinner just doesn't sound appetizing when it's nice a toasty outside.  I crave things such as cool and refreshing, quirky-combo salads that leave your taste buds tantalized and begging for more.  Such as my Nectarine Raspberry Chicken Salad.

This recipe was inspired after a trip to the mall left me tired and slightly cranky....I say slightly, because the mall is therapeutic for me and it is very hard to be cranky when surrounded by oodles of shoes. But I have realized that while I am breastfeeding I cannot go longer than a few hours without eating energy plummets hardcore. So my wonderful hubby noticed my feet dragging a bit and threw out the idea of stopping by the Nordstroms Cafe for a quick bite ( He is a keeper!) as I walked in I knew immediately what I was going to get. They had this awesome special Apricot Chicken Salad.  It was so good I was craving it for the following week.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and come up with my own rendition...and this is what I had on hand.

Nectarine Raspberry Chicken Salad:

  • 2 ripe nectarines
  • 1/2 C raspberries
  • 3-4 C torn romaine (or your choice of greens)
  • 1/4 C goat cheese
  • 1/4 C sliced almonds (or candied pecans)
  • 1/2 C sliced celery
  • 6 chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 Honey Mustard marinade

For the chicken, place in dish and pour enough of the honey mustard marinade over the chicken to cover and let marinate for at least an hour. Then put in pan and cook until no longer pink; I added more of the marinade in the last couple of minutes to keep the chicken nice and moist while infusing it with more flavor. Once done, remove from heat and save for topping the salad.

For the nectarines, peel and slice.  Spray medium frying pan with non stick spray and place sliced nectarines in pad.  Let cook over medium heat until warmed through and they become slightly caramelized in texture. Remove from heat.

For the Salad mix romaine, almonds, goat cheese, celery and raspberries in a bowl.  Place on plates and then top with the warm chicken and nectarines.  Top with your choice of dressing.

This is the perfect dish to keep you cool on a hot summer day! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tripping Over Boxes

Just a little update on our lives thus far.....everywhere I look there are boxes, piles, papers, things that need to be packed, things that need to be tossed.  If you don't get the picture to say our world is a little chaotic would be an understatement. Moving just is plain not fun nor is the packing that goes along with it.

Ok, fine, I will admit....I'm a horrible packer! I'm sure my husband is off somewhere ferociously nodding his head in agreement.

I start packing...I get overwhelmed, and I stop. Or I start packing....get distracted, and I stop.  Moving has always been hard for me, it makes me want to just get rid of everything rather than pack it all up.  My husband on the other hand is an excellent packer( he gets it from his dad I hear) he likes to get each box filled just perfectly.... all the games have to fit together like a puzzle with no empty space left unaccounted for.  Give me a box and I will most likely dump a wad of clothes in it and call it good.  I guess either way.... right or wrong the job is bound to get done.

It's crazy to think that in exactly one week we will be loading up our Uhaul and making the trek over to Idaho.  I am excited to see what this year has in store for us, but I am also a ball of mixed emotions as I think of leaving our families behind. It has been pretty clear that this is definitely the next step for us as we have already seen God work throughout the preparation stage.  He pretty much handed us over the most perfect place to call home for this next year. It has way more space than we had imagined, a great neighborhood, and a big backyard for my growing boy! And better yet, it will come mostly furnished....which means we don't have to pack up every single thing in our home *sigh of relief*. Granted it may have some sunflower curtains and a whole room decked out in ducks...but who am I to be picky?

This will probably be my last post before we move as I need to focus on filling more boxes while the little pip-squeak is sleeping.  Here's to a new adventure and learning how to lean not only on God but also on each other as we step into the unknown.  I'm praying God will use us and teach us many new things as a family of 3.

And even as we are tripping over boxes and piles I can't help but think how lucky we are to have this opportunity and to have each other.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cleaning out the Cupboards

2 weeks from today we begin a new journey.  We are packing up our home, our little boy and moving across the border to Idaho.  We will kiss our Oregonian heritage good-bye for one year.  I'm actually in a bit of a state of shock as I am typing these words. We have been planning this for several months now....but it's hard to believe that it will be our reality in just a few short sleeps.  Don't get me wrong, I AM excited for a new adventure, and to see how God will work through us and in us during our time there.  However, I can't stop thinking about how the timing seems just a bit little sister will be getting married in September, my older sister just found out she was pregnant after 6 years of waiting (I can't bare the thought of not being able to rub that baby belly!), and our little boy will be turning 1 in October! Such big monumental changes and I will be a state away....I would be lying if I didn't admit my heart hurts a little. 

I think Cole is bummed out as well, and in protest he only took about an hour and a half to go down for his morning nap.  The morning nap is usually the easiest.....kind of scared to see what his afternoon nap will bring. In all honesty, I think he wanted to continue helping me pack......or unpack.
Yes, those are countless seasons of Gilmore Girls, don't judge. Besides, I keep them around for Kyle. Ha ha.

I love how guilty he looks, as if he knows he just made a big mess. But apparently he kind of liked it.
Love that kid. And love what I did next.

In an attempt to take my mind off of the upcoming move and to drown out the whining and complaining of my darling boy.....I decided to clear some cupboard space.

I made rice krispy treats.

Yep, I'm being a responsible and loving wife and using up ingredients so we won't have to pack them.....too bad there are only 4 ingredients involved, and they really didn't take up much space....but let's face it, this girl needed them. I needed them so badly, that I have been talking about them for the past oh....say 2-3 weeks.  And to make it even better I kicked them up a notch, I made the most heavenly treat even heavenlier.

You take your basic rice krispy ingredients...
And instead of about 4 Tablespoons of butter, increase it to one whole stick! See? We are talking about the good stuff here. 

Don't just melt it....brown it, but please don't mistake this with burning the butter, you will definitely not be singing the high notes if you do that.

Then just for good measure throw in 1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt. 

Oh. My. Word.  

Have I ever said how much I LOVE a sweet and salty combo? Prepare to get your sock knocked off.  You will want to eat it straight out of the bowl. I did.
For a bite in time I was in la-la land.  Come join me, la la land is a great place to hang out. Besides, they only take about 5 extra minutes from the original and they will blow your mind.

Salted Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats:
From Smitten Kitchen

1 stick butter
40 regular marshmallows
heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups crispy rice cereal

1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Butter will froth, then turn a nutty brown color. Watch your butter and stir frequently until browned – it will go from brown to burnt in about 5 seconds!
2. Take butter off the heat, add marshmallows and salt, then stir until smooth.
3. Stir in crispy rice cereal and mix until combined. Pour and press firmly in a non-stick sprayed 8×8 glass pan. ( I used a slightly larger pan, just because I think it's cuter than my 8x8 one.)

See how cute it is?  Mmmm, I think I need another one.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On your mark, get set, GO!

My life has definitely been busy, and it just got busier.  My little man is a crawling machine! He has actually been crawling for a little over a week now, and I just now realized I never once mentioned it. Shame on me. 

Here is some proof!
This picture always makes me laugh as it looks like he is getting his motor going....
And he's off!
I just love watching him crawl around, I feel like I waited FOREVER for this stage! However, I am often reminded how easy I had it for 9 months....I could just plop him in the middle of the room with a toy and he would just sit there and play, always a happy little camper. And then came transition time.....

And with that transition came more night time wakings, nap time battling because some little turkey wanted to practice his crawling moves in his crib! I would often find him wedged up in the corner or scurrying around trying to get the whole arm and leg movement figured out.  Then one morning as if everything just "clicked" he looked at me from across the room and made a beeline towards me. It was the cutest thing ever! He was on a mission to mama, and I gladly gave him a congratulatory  happy dance.

Oh, and did I mention he also got his first tooth? 
AND he learned how to go from crawling to sitting to crawling!
 AND he now waves.....

So this also meant that we had a lot of sleep interruptions, as I tried to soothe those sore little gums, reassure him that he wasn't "stuck" in the sitting position (yes, he would sit himself up in the middle of the night and then ball his little eyes out until I either picked him up or helped lie back down again).  It's like his body all of a sudden kicked everything into high gear.  

And I couldn't be any more proud and any more in love.
And yes, he has learned a new trick, he sticks his chubby little fingers out and gives me dainty little princess wave whenever I say "hi".  He's all boy except for that wave!  We will work on a more manly wave next month, but for now I will take it because it's just so gosh darn cute!

It's official, I'm completely smitten..... princess wave and all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bridal Shower = Sweet Success

I am happy to say that our baby sister's Bridal Shower was a success, thanks to the planning and help of my sister and sister-in-law.  We wanted something dainty, fun, girlie and tasty.  I think we achieved all aspects right on point.  I'm so excited for my little sis, she is truly an inspiration in her steadfast love for the Lord and of course..... her husband-to-be. 

Here is a recap of the fun day!

Our inspiration was "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Except we didn't serve breakfast, but we did include beautiful pieces of china and the blue and pink throughout.

This was where are ideas stemmed from....

And this was our take on the theme.....

We wanted the shower to reflect the sweet relationship between the Bride and Groom, so we had CUPCAKES!
And Marshmallow Pops!

A dessert buffet was a must....I just loved the idea of everyone being able to pick several different bite sized options to create their dream plate.

See, just like this.....

For those of you who know me, you know I am not only obsessed with cupcakes but also with bunting banners. So including one as cute as this was an absolute must! Thanks to Ruffled, my sister-in-law put together this beauty.

We had a beautiful croissant and sandwich bar that included egg salad, chicken salad,salami, cheeses, fruit and potato salad.  This allowed the guests to build and create their own sandwich to their liking.

The girls chatted, laughed, and caught up on all of life's happenings while they ate. Quite a number of  years ago I had the opportunity to be many of these girls 6th grade youth group leader.  It brought me so much joy to see how they have all grown up and remained steadfast in their walk with the Lord. I think it really added a whole dimension to the beauty of the shower.

The party was just getting started, after their tummy's were happy and full we decided to throw in a few of these....
We broke into teams of 3 designers and one bride.  The challenge was to create a wedding dress with only toilet paper that Shannon could proudly walk down the aisle in....
The sassy brides....
Kisses for the true bride....
Yay for getting married!!!!!

All in all we had a fantastic time....I only had a moment of a melt-down when my strawberry swiss meringue frosting decided to separate and squirt strawberry juice everywhere.  I went into panic mode as all I could envision were sad little cupcakes with no frosting.  After several minutes of frantically beating the frosting, it all came together and the party could go on! 
The day couldn't have been more perfect, the weather was great, the food was yummy, the girls were sweet as ever, and of course the bride was beaming and beautiful as usual! I can hardly wait to watch her walk down the aisle to man she has patiently "courted" for 8+ years!!! It will be a day of celebration for sure!

To that I think I will go have myself another cake pop.....
I made too many....I suppose it could be worse.