Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Pig and A Muffin

This past weekend was my family's annual Pig Roast. We had an amazing time and it was fun getting to share it with Ethan for the first time (almost second since I was 3 weeks away from delivering him at last year's roast). 

He had an awesome time watching everyone pick the pig (sorry if there are vegetarians reading, this post probably isn't for you). 

He also thoroughly enjoyed some watermelon straight off the rind. In fact he face planted into it and didn't come up until it was almost all gone!

There is always a party the night before and most of the men stay up all night to finish roasting the pig. Ethan and I delivered Pumpkin Spice Muffins to them the next morning to reward them for their efforts. Unfortunately we were a little slow arriving so most of them had already eaten, but the good news is that we got to bring some muffins back home with us. And let me just say....they are scrumptious! 

I have had a few people ask me for the recipe so I thought I'd post it here. I found it through Pinterest and it happens to be a Pioneer Woman recipe. If you want more detailed instructions with fabulous pictures, click here to visit her site. 

Muffin Ingredients:

1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Golden Raisins (optional!)

Topping Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

Frosting Ingredients:

1/4 cup Softened Butter
4 ounces, Cream Cheese
1/2 pound Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.
Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

To make the frosting, mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy! Store in the fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

This recipe is Ethan tested and approved!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Place of His Own

Peek-a-boo is a big thing around here these days. Ethan would play it for hours if I would let him, but ducking your head down and popping up with an excited look on your face is surprisingly exhausting. 

It was after an extended game of peek-a-boo that I decided to transform the dining room table into a fort.

It took a little coercing to get him into it. I'm thinking the dining room table is a bit much for a 10 month old. Have you ever walked into a room you loved as a kid and been surprised at how tiny it looks to you as a grown up? I'm thinking a box might be more cozy and comforting.

In the end he loved it just as much as I did when I was little. He explored all the escape routes and finally nestled in to play with his toys in privacy (minus the annoying mommy in the corner with the camera). 

There's something about having a space of your own. Time to discover and explore without watching eyes. We all need this. Even our little ones.

It's times like these when I get small glimpses of what Ethan might be like a little boy. The "baby" Ethan has seemed to have flown the coupe. It saddens me to think that it passed so quickly, but as I look at him in his two piece jammies and drinking solely out of big boy sippies I feel excitement of what's to come.

Forts, trucks, imagination, and art's all just around the corner, and I can't wait!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Car Organization

Last week my husband and I finally bit the bullet and made a car upgrade. It was time seeing as how I drove a small 4 door and he was still driving his very first car which was a 2-door that was impossible to get a baby seat in comfortably, not to mention that the AC seldom worked. It was time. Beyond time. Now I am driving a very grown up feeling SUV and he has a very economical 4 door with plenty of AC! Yay.

After I drug out all the stuff the I had stashed in my car over the past 6 years, I decided it was time for some organization with the new one. No more messy glove compartment where I had kept almost every single proof of insurance and no more messy console where I could never find Tylenol when I really needed it.

After a little Pinterest inspiration I ended up with the perfect solutions...

A clip board to hold the current proof of insurance and registration.

I also included a checklist to remind me what to do in case of an accident.

Compiled from here and here. Email me for a PDF copy.

I bought a pencil box at Wal-Mart for a dime to hold random items like bandaids, a flashlight, hair ties, bobby pins, lotion and Tylenol. 

My console houses a wallet with cash for emergencies, a larger bottle of lotion, Bath and Body Works Spray, and hand sanitizer.

Things could get seriously lost in this deep hole!

I'm still trying to come up with an idea for trunk organization. I need something to contain my reusable grocery bags, shopping cart cover and emergency baby supplies like wipes, diapers and paper towels. 

How do you keep your car organized?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's OK Thursday

 1. It's ok that I've eaten oreos for breakfast the past 3 days.

2. It's ok that I feel like I haven't sat down all week, but still don't feel like I've really accomplished anything.

3. It's ok that my guest bedroom looks like a birthday party has exploded in there.

4. It's ok that I don't let the Publix people take my groceries to the car because I don't like to chit chat.

5. It's okay that I'm going to return almost every piece of clothing that I bought for myself last week because I feel guilty.

6. It's ok that I'm keeping one plain grey T-shirt from said shopping trip because it makes me feel skinny even if it was $20.

7. It's ok that the life insurance exam lady told me that I'm really 5'6'' instead of 5'7".

8. It's ok that I write things on my planner that I've already completed just because I like the way it looks when it's all filled up.

9. It's ok that I have a teething, no nap baby this week.

10. It's ok that I've hardly been on twitter the past couple of weeks, but have become obsessed with Pinterest.

11. It's ok that I have more projects I want to do than I can afford.

12. It's ok that people might think I'm a "B" because I'm direct and to the point. I just don't like to have my time wasted.

Its Ok Thursdays

What are you ok with this week?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's to Eat? Penne Pasta with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Penne Pasta with Kale, Bacon & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I know some of you are saying "Ewww Kale!". Seriously, it's good. If you can do spinach, you can do kale, especially in this recipe. It's heavily flavored with yumminess. Plus, everyone needs some hearty greens!


8 ounces penne pasta
5 cups bagged pre-washed kale
2 slices of bacon
1/4C oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2t crushed red pepper (might want to decrease this for the kiddies)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped (fresh not jarred, there is a flavor difference)
1/2t freshly ground black pepper
3/8t salt
1oz fresh Parmesan, shaved (I promise it's worth the cost to buy the wedge)
2T lemon juice


Cook the pasta as directed but add in the kale for the last 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2C cooking liquid. While pasta is cooking, cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove, crumble, set aside, keeping bacon grease in pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and garlic to drippings. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add pasta mixture, reserved cooking liquid, salt and pepper to pan; toss to combine. Top with bacon and cheese; drizzle with lemon juice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Camera Monster

While I was uploading pictures yesterday I realized that I had only taken 114 pictures for the month of August. Sounds like a decent number, but normally I take around 3-4 hundred of Ethan each month and half of the ones I uploaded yesterday were of food, craft stuff, and the front of the house update. 

I immediately grabbed my camera to snap some shots of him playing with his cars, but I quickly discovered why I had stopped taking pictures.

Ohhhh, camera!



It's a sad day when this photo is considered the success of the day. 
At least you can see his new teeth.

Maybe it's time to break out the zoom lens and so I can sit far away from my subject. 
Very, very far away.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Little Face Lift

It's been project central around this house lately, but I'm proud to say that I actually FINISHED something. Isn't that great for a change? 

I decided our house needed a little face lift once I noticed our supposedly dark shutters had faded out to almost white. Oops. The front of our house gets full sun for most of the day. In fact,  I swear our front door will melt your skin off if you touch it mid afternoon. It's quite ridiculous.

We started off the project by switching out the rocks in the front beds to mulch a few months ago. We also added some more bushes to fill in some holes. 



A month or so ago I purchased a bench on major sale at World Market. In fact we bought the display because it was the only one left. The cushions they had in the store were still full priced at $50 (which was almost the price of the bench!). I tried to purchase foam to make my own but I was appalled at the price of it! So I purchased a really ugly one for cheap online and decided to recover it in a yellow/grey color scheme.

Last week I stayed up way past my bedtime and even got up with my husband the next morning to paint our shutters back to what I assume was their original blue/grey color. I also changed the front door color to a lighter shade to hopefully help reduce the 3rd degree burn issues.

Paint: Valspar Slate Court

Last night I finally finished my wreath. I'd been eyeing the yarn wreaths on Pinterest (follow my boards here) for some time now and decided to give it a try. 

Door Color: Valspar Blue Twilight

I bought some plumbing covering at Lowes for about $1 to use as a wreath form. I stuffed it with newspaper so it would keep it's shape. I bought the rest of my supplies at a craft store for about $10. It took some time to wrap the tubing with the yarn (I only had to use one spool). I googled the instructions for the felt flowers which were really simple. I glued everything on with Aileen's tacky glue. Only time will tell if it will hold up to the heat! I tied it to the  wreath hanger with some lace trim and that was it!

Now onto the next project! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


When Ethan was born my husband and I put all of our focus into him and being parents. We focused on how to make him happy and put our needs to the side. In the beginning we were in survival mode and focusing on the simple things of nourishment and sleep. 

As he has gotten a little bigger and I've gotten more of this mom thing a little more figured out, I've put focus into running our household. My home organization notebook and life planner have helped me get a better grip on things. Homemade dinners are getting to the table almost every night, laundry is getting folded and the house is pretty clean on a daily basis. 

I feel like now that I have a handle on being a mom and running a house it's time to shift the focus to myself and my relationship with my husband. Having a child has changed so many things, many for the better of course, but my husband and I have let some things go including ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

As time has gone on Michael and I have slowly carved out some time for us as individuals. It's important to retain those little of pieces of you that make you who you are. Sometimes you need to do things for yourself especially after you have given to everyone else all day. Michael has started running in the mornings and I have made sure that there is time in the day for me to do crafty things or blog or whatever it is that I want to do.

Now it's time to make some "us" time. I want my husband and I to talk about more than the day to day tasks or what needs to be done next. Most nights once Ethan is in bed we turn on the TV and zone out. It's when we decompress so to speak, but I think it's time for us to turn off the TV and reconnect. It's time to focus on our relationship.

I feel like things are slowly getting ironed out. It's funny how when you have a newborn everything is thrown into chaos mode and you just let everything go. It takes so much time to get things figured out and get things back "normal". We still aren't to our "normal" (and I put that in quotations because really it's a new normal) but we are definitely headed in that direction. 

I'm sure we will get it figured out about the time we have the next one and it's time to start over again. 

And no, I'm not pregnant.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crafter Vs. Planner

I've discovered lately that when I'm in the mood to do something...I better do it. I use to fight myself and try to "plan" my craftiness out on a calendar in the proper order it should go. The artistic side of me (if we can call it that) doesn't like to be scheduled though.

If I'm in the mood to paint the front door today. I need to do it. If my hands feel like crafting a million little pennant banners today...then today is the day. If I put it off, who knows when that mood may come back around. If I schedule it then I may loath every minute of it.

I've found it's best not to fight my urges when it comes to these types of things. I'm just giving in. And you know what? I'm happier for it. 

The housework might suffer, the blog may be spotty, showers may be missed. But the's getting done today! I'm sure I'll be back to my "planner" self tomorrow. Today, I'm crafty!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ethan's First Case of the Sickies

The little one still has the sickies. Not only does he have the sickies, but he's also got tooth number 4 trying to break through. Needless to say...we aren't having as much fun as usual around here. 

There's never only one issue is there? 

He's got chapped lips from breathing through his mouth. He's started refusing his straw cups that I switched him over to right before he got sick. And sometimes I can't tell if he needs Tylenol for his gums or if he's just fussy because he's over being sick. Oh well. We'll get it figured out and I hope he will back to his happy, perky, baby self soon!

Another fabulous part of this sick thing?

He's learned how to refuse things. At the mere sight of a thermometer, a nasal aspirator, or face wipes he begins to furiously shake his head no. This makes everything a 4 handed task, but alas I have to make do with my two and a few wrestling like moves to get the job done. 

Evil boogies must be eliminated immediately!

Sick babies are pitiful. Something so cute, little, and precious shouldn't have to experience such things. I should count my lucky stars that Ethan has been healthy for a whole 10 months before getting his first sick spell. 

Hopefully this means he will have a good immune system like his mommy! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

My husband and I sat down today to look at our calendar and we suddenly realized that we only have 3 free weekends between now and the end of the year. I love fall and everything that it brings with it. It's been a nice summer, but it's time for the whirlwind of the end of the year to begin. Soon enough I'll be ready for January and the time of renewal. Time flies I swear. 

Before we dive head first into fall, I want to take a moment to commemorate the summer and what a great time we had. 

Ethan, me and a friend took a mini Tour of TN

Wondering why there weren't more trips?
 My girlfriend got pregnant (YAY!) and the 1st trimester yuckiness took it's toll.
Maybe a continuation will happen one day!

Yummy restaurants were discovered...

We visited the ocean...

Someone got mobile...

Margaritas (and wine, and beer) were consumed...

The pacifier was eliminated...

The Amish Country was visited.

Saturday morning breakfasts were enjoyed...

Summer grilling occurred...

Rock City was seen!

Two teeth were grown...

A baby friend was visited...

Purees became a thing of the past...

Farmers Markets were visited...

Our 3rd anniversary was celebrated...

Hot summer days were enjoyed...

Trouble was found...

Stairs were climbed...

Family fun was had...

I hope your summer was as good as ours! Now it's time to gear up for fall and all the fun it brings. Head on over to Things I Can't Say to link up your summer wrap up.

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