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Friday, June 27, 2014

Avocado and mozzarella chicken

This meal is a mixture between a chicken parmigiana and 'Ruthie's random concoctions'. Avocado is one of my favorite foods and I love trying it in new recipes, other than guacamole. This chicken dish is easy to put together and absolutely delicious. I love finding things that Jon and I both can't stop raving about. I don't tend to make the same thing twice too often but this chicken will definitely make another appearance soon. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw
2 eggs 
2 cups Italian bread crumbs 
2 small avocados, sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Beat two eggs in a shallow dish and coat each chicken breast in egg wash and bread crumbs
2. Place coated breasts in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (cut into the biggest breast to make sure it is white and cooked through)
3. Remove baking dish from oven and top with avocado slices and marinara sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. 
5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Finish This

I have a quarter to use a pay phone, I call...Apple to find my dang iPhone! I haven't seen a payphone anywhere but an airport in the past 5 years, do they still exist

I found $25 in my pocket, I buy...a maxi skirt from Target and a pair of shoes for Ford... I am obsessed with baby shoes (just bought him some Lacoste tennis shoes for $3 at Salvation Army!)

I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, I watch...a rerun of Modern Family. We have about 90 on our DVR and can watch them over and over. Nothing gets me going like Phil and Cam.

A meal I can prepare, from start to finish, in 25 attempts to eat healthier, we've been using our Slice A Roo to make zucchini pasta, "zoodles", and I can throw a meal together in less than 10 minutes.

At the age of 25, I wish I would have known...well I am 25 now and yesterday in my bible study I was enlightened by this: developing your God give gifts takes time. This is a lifelong journey of discovering and growing in our spiritual gifts. God is not not holding out on you, He is growing and revealing your gifts and abilities, some slower than others. (Taken from Restless by Jennie Allen) I find so much rest in this! I don't need to conquer the world or write a book at 25. There is a time for everything under heaven. 

If I drove 25 miles from my house, I'd be...halfway to my parents lakehouse and anxious and excited to relax, unplug, and eat my body weight in Cape Cod potato chips. 

Leave a comment, finish the sentences above!

Linking up with these ladies (Nicole {Three 31Lisa {The Coastal Chicster}and Becky {The Java Mama} Jen {The Arizona Russums}) for a weekly series called Finish This. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gettin' oily

If you've spent anytime on the internet or Instagram, you'd know the essential oils are "in" right now. I am normally somewhat weary of certain internet trends and wait until they fizzle out quickly but something about essential oils grabbed me. Seeing friends post about their babies sleeping through the night despite cutting 4 teeth thanks to lavender oil or flu symptoms diminishing within hours because of thieves or lemon. Our family seems to always get hit with a slew of sicknesses and they come on pretty strong. Ford struggles with congestion and wheezing and Jon has terrible allergies. Nose Frida, steam showers, Dayquil, Tylenol...nothing was cutting it. That is when I turned to Young Living Essential Oils and I'm kicking myself for not jumping on the wagon sooner!

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are all natural oils derived from mainly plants.  There are hundreds of single oils and blends and they date back to biblical days (think Frankincense and Myrrh) to help heal and cure all sorts of illnesses and ailments.  The oil is taken from the most important part of the plant, its "blood" basically.  It is the part of the plant that, for example, protected it from disease or insects and healed it when the plant was injured.  Without this part of the plant, it would die, and so it is compared to our blood.   It is SUPER concentrated, anywhere from 10,000-100,000 times more concentrated than herbs!  So, one drop can do amazing things.  Some people can put a drop of essential oil on their feet and taste it within 30 seconds.  Pretty impressive stuff!  

Young Living oils are 100% pure, and the the process from seed to seal is so controlled so that there are no chemicals used. Because of this, you can ingest Young Living oils, where other brands they don't recommend it.  So, you can use essential oils diffused, applied topically or by ingestion.  

My favorite oils

To avoid sickness and help get well faster, I use Thieves, which is highly anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial.  It goes on topically (the feet usually) to help boost the immune system and can be diffused to kill 99.96% of airborne bacteria in 20 minutes!  A few drops on Jon's tongue helps clear up his sinuses and cloudiness from everyday allergies.  There is also a cleaning product line made of Thieves oil that is non-toxic {perfect for those babies that want to lick everything} and as effective as Clorox wipes!

You can diffuse oils to improve your mood {think aromatherapy without the chemicals in candles}, even helping people get off anti-depressants just by using essential oils!  Peace & Calming is a great oil for this.  It is awesome at helping kids {and grownups} fall asleep faster and sleep longer.  When Ford wakes up extra cranky or sensitive, I rub P&C on his heels and I can instantly notice a calming come over him. It’s also been shown to help people stop snoring and others with teeth grinding!

One of the most well-known essential oils is Lavender.  If you look in the baby aisle at Target, lots of lotions and baby washes include Lavender to help with sleep and relaxation.  But Lavender is great for so much more.  A friend cancelled her daughter’s tear duct surgery because using Lavender unclogged her tear duct! And it is amazing at knocking out allergies in our great allergy capital of the U.S. city! I've gotten into a habit of rubbing Lavender on Ford's feet before bed and as I am feeding him, I too, become so relaxed!

Peppermint is another great one for kids.  It lowers kids’ temperatures naturally and helps with nausea, headaches and congestion. I plan on arming myself with peppermint for my next pregnancy to ward off morning all day sickness.

Now that I am a mommy, I am willing to try anything natural and homeopathic before I go to the medicine cabinet. My story is small in this because there are so many incredible success stories from people using essential oils. ADHD controlled, cancer scans clear, asthma, diabetes, and other diseases healed. Check out these incredible testimonies here

Free oils webinar
If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, Allena and Jenna from An Oils Adventure will also be hosting a webcast on July 1.  This webinar is what got me so excited to try them out! Click here to register – there is no cost to join, and I promise it will be 1 hour or less!  Joining the webcast will also earn you 5 extra entries into the giveaway!

Buy an oils starter kit
However, there is even a better deal if you sign up now.  For the first 10 people that sign up and buy a premium starter kit, I will send you a free bottle of lime essential oil.  Think margarita, yum.  The smell of lime and lavender in that new diffuser of yours is also heavenly.  Sign up now to get this free oil! Be sure to sign up as a wholesale member to get 24% of retail prices! It is absolutely free!

Today you have the chance to win your choice of 4 essential oil samples from An Oils Adventure! Two lucky people will win.
Thank you to An Oils Adventure for sponsoring this post.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Portillo's Copy Cat Chocolate Cake

If you are from around the Chicago area then you are most likely familiar with Portillo' Hot Dogs. Yummmmmmmm! We make it a point to eat there every time we visit and we are never let down (we celebrated Jon's 31st birthday there!). Not only does Portillo's have delicious Chicago style beef and hot dogs, their chocolate cake is probably the most delicious cake I've ever eaten. Not. Even. Joking. I try not to let this gross me out but their secret ingredient is mayo. If you think about it, mayo is basically eggs whipped up and cakes require eggs. If you're like me and despise the taste of mayo, you are in luck! This cake is 100% moist and chocolatey and the recipe is laughably easy! I was pumped to find this copy cat recipe and it was a crowd pleaser for sure. 

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup ice cold water
1 cup mayo
2 jars chocolate frosting

1. Mix cake mix, eggs, water, and mayo in a large bowl and stir to combine. 
2. Using a hand mixer, beat for 4 minutes until batter is smooth
3. Split the batter into 2 9inch round cake pans
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-32 minutes, depending on your oven
5. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan. Let cool another 30 minutes- 1 hour before icing
6. Ice one of the cakes with 3/4 of one jar of icing. Put other cake on top and frost with remaining frosting (1 1/4 jars).

Monday, June 16, 2014

A celebration of Fathers

This weekend was one for the books. We did so much, yet relaxed just as much. We got stuff done around the house, took naps, saw family, saw friends, went to church. It was a great weekend and the best part was getting to celebrate Jon's first Father's Day! We also got to spend time with my dad who has been such a great example of a parent/father for both me and Jon and it is the coolest thing to watch him love on Ford. If you've met my dad, you've fallen in love with him. He is the best friend you will have, the hardest worker you will hire, and one of the most loving, kind, and generous people I know. Yesterday at community group, the wives went around to talk about what makes their husbands special on Father's Day. I love doting on my husband and it's not done often enough in front of others so I really appreciated this! When I think about Jon as a father, I can't imagine doing parenthood with anyone else or with any less love and support. I talked about how Ford's birth was unexpected and not exactly what we had hoped for but from the second Jon met our baby boy, he stepped into this role that God had created for him. Nothing has been hands off for Jon (although he absolutely gags when Ford is covered in food and prefers that I clean him up, ha). Men don't always dream when they are young of one day bearing children and becoming fathers (unlike most girls who have their baby names picked out by their 16th birthday). Jon was destined to be a father all along and I love watching him grow in this role as Ford grows and changes. He doesn't just help during the good times but he is there in the thick of it... sleep training, breast feeding, wonder weeks leaps. The other day I started crying and told Jon, "I love Ford so much and I just realized you feel the exact same way about him". As the primary caregiver for Ford, it's easy for me to have a one track mind about the way I feel about him, his needs, and his everyday happenings, but Jon is right along side me. I pray that Ford grows up to be as confident, generous, trusting, funny, loving, and awesome has his daddy!

Here are a few snapshots from our weekend. 

How cool is it that Ford's hair looks red in this picture? Ryan is everywhere! #redballoonsforryan

Floating with Mimi and Papa...Ford is a little fish!

Summer days really wear him out...he was dozing off on Mimi in the pool

Family selfie

This is how I will remember summer

We stopped by an awesome car show yesterday before church and Ford is already enjoying daddy's favorite hobby!

Ford's first car in 15 years?

I snapped some pictures last week of Ford in Jon's office and had a big one framed for Father's Day.  I remember every year growing up my mom would take us to Olan Mills in my dad's suits and ties to get our picture taken, I just had to live on the tradition!

To the one who teaches us how to be parents, who loves us unconditionally and without limit, who covers us in grace and mercy every single day, God we love you. Thank you for choosing Jon to be the father of my children and thank you for being my Father! 

"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." -2 Corinthians 6:18

What was the highlight of your Father's Day weekend?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Being brave for your kids

Earlier this week I briefly talked about becoming brave as a boy mom after Ford had no interest in holding cuddly bunnies at the petting zoo and I found myself with a giant, spikey lizard in my hands. I was deep breathing and whispering to myself "It's okay, he won't bite", and watching Ford giggle and poke at the "dragon". 

Since I was young, weather has always been my #1 biggest fear because it is so unpredictable and destructive. I was caught inside a Target in the 90's during the deadly Jerelltornadoes and I've been scarred since. Last night we watched the clouds roll in as we grilled burgers on the deck and had no idea what was ahead of us. Before bed we saw alerts come in on our phones and on the news, encouraging our area of Austin to take shelter because funnel clouds were forming minutes from us. Gulp. I am so thankful Jon was home because like I said above, weather really gets me going. I started crying reading updates on our neighborhood Facebook page of people talking about putting their kids in bike helmets and babies in carseats and tucking them away in closets downstairs. We brought Ford downstairs and he thought he was pretty cool having a midnight field trip with mom and dad. We crouched in the interior powder room with pillows and couch cushions as the freight train sounding storm came through. In that moment, I knew this was the point in parenthood I had been dreading. Being brave for my son. Ford got antsy and wanted to be sleeping but I know it won't be long before his tears are out of fear and worry. And it is my job to comfort him. That is big for me... I am the one who wants to be held and comforted and told everything is okay, but when you're the parent, that's your job. 

\Even though Ford is less than a year old, he understands so much and can really feed off of how people around him are acting. I can only imagine that his sponge like abilities will get stronger as he gets older. This freaks me out. Children are so smart, yet so helpless. The look to their parents for love, support, wisdom, comfort. We prayed for protection from the storm as it rolled in but I also prayed that The Lord would build my confidence and for Him to give me the strength to be brave for my children. Just as Ford presses into me for truth and comfort, I press into Him, my heavenly Father who provides more protection and comfort that I could ever give Ford. 
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. -2Thessalonians 3:3

I know there will come days where I have to put on a brave and confident face when Ford comes home with bloody knees or a broken wrist....or when he's been bullied at school. It is inevitable that Jon will be traveling during bad weather or cranky kid days. The Lord will guard me from the storms and from the fear of the enemy. My rock, my shield, my refuge.
Storm update.... no tornado touchdown in our area, praise God! It's actually the most beautiful morning and we look forward to enjoying the day outside. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ford 10 months

10 months! Double digits! I think every newborn mom can attest to believe they would never get this far but we survived and are loving every bittersweet moment watching this little guy grow up. He is into everything and exploring so much... it is really neat to get to watch your baby learn and grow. He is becoming a little toddler, losing signs of babyhood as the days go by, I just love being his mom. 

Weight: 22lbs (scale at the gym)

Height: 29.5in (measured at home)

Health: Healthy boy this month! We found out last month Ford was anemic so we've been doing iron drops every few days (when I remember) and we don't go back to the doctor til 12 months. 

Nicknames: booga, shmookie, shmooka bear, munchkin, doodle bug

Teething: Ford still only has his 2 bottom teeth, those top ones still haven't come through. The past 5 or so days he is been pouring with drool and the gums are really puffy so maybe they will pop through soon? I've been saying that for 3 months now haha.

Clothing: Ford officially sleeps in just a onesie at bedtime now, our hot natured boy like his daddy. He wears mostly 18 month clothing (onesies, one pieces, shirts, shorts), 12-18 month swim suits, and size 3 shoes. He's getting picky about wearing a hat but I try to distract him while I put it on at the pool and he'll keep it on.

Diapers: Cloth is going great, our diapers finally don't look big and bulky on him. He wears Huggies Overnights size 4 at night.

Eating (milk): Nursing 4 times a day- wake up, morning nap, afternoon nap, nightime. I was able to cut the late afternoon feeding by giving him 4-6oz of formula in a straw sippy cup throughout the afternoon... he loves it! Funny how he refused a bottle (both breastmilk and formula) but now sucks down his formula. We are giving him Enfamil Gentle Ease and plan on switching to vitamin D cow's milk next month (doctor said 11 months). I hope to cut the morning nap feeding soon, and slowly cut the rest so we can be weaned around 1 year old. 

Eating (solids): Ford is such a great eater! I am always shocked by how much he eats, especially in the morning. He will nurse, then eat a whole banana, a whole carton of greek yogurt, a few strawberries and probably a 1/2 cup of cheerios. He has 3 meals a day plus 2-3 snacks and loves cheese sticks, cottage cheese, bananas, yogurt, Ritz crackers, burgers, chicken, zucchini, mac and cheese, turkey dogs, salmon.... I pretty much feed him whatever we are eating. 

Sleeping (night): Ford goes down for the night between 7-730p and sleeps til 6:15-7:15a.  Sometimes he will cry out before 6am but we don't get him before 6:30a. He sleeps in a size large sleepsack in his crib and loves cuddling up with his lovies and bumpers.

Sleeping (naps): Ford naps twice a day, morning for about 1.5 hours and afternoon about 1.5 hours. Now that he is mobile and so active, he is napping really is very tiring being 10 months old! His morning nap is usually a lot longer than his afternoon nap and he surprised us a few times with 2-3 hour naps. 

Social: Ford is such a happy and social boy! He loves everyone which is a blessing for me. He enjoys the nursery workers at church and the gym, and has really started playing with his baby friends. His head is always on a swivel when we go out and about and loves chatting with new friends at the store. He is the easiest person to make smile and quite the little lover boy. 

Likes: swimming, throwing the ball for Ernie, playing peek a boo, bath time, standing on everything, hugging and kissing, being tickled.

Dislikes: being hungry, being told "no" when he throws food or stands in the bath

New this month:
  • Fast crawling! He's been crawling since 8.5 months but is now an animal zooming through the house
  • Letting go when he is standing and staying up on his own for a few seconds
  • Going from standing to sitting really well, he knows he can let go and sit safely on his bottom
  • When a toy goes under the couch or Ernie rolls his ball under something, Ford will crawl over and lean his head to look for it. It's so cute!
  • Feeding mommy and daddy his food 
  • Waving when he hears "bye bye"
  • Saying Ernie all the time "eeee kneeee", trying to say ball "ba", "mu mu mu", "da"
  • Playing peek a boo
  • Throwing a ball really well
  • Intentionally throwing food off his highchair
Fun things we did:
  • Starting swimming lessons yesterday, he loved it! He went under a few times and didn't mind it, he was also trying to drink the water. Videos below!
  • Went to the splash park a few times
  • Got a baby pool and splash pad for our backyard
  • Set up the water table
  • Had cousin Embry in town and had a blast
  • Went to our first petting zoo! Ford didn't care for the bunnies but loved poking the lizards, I am learning to be brave as a boy mom
  • Ford had his second haircut... of course I took a ton of pictures here

Mama: Doing great! This month has been so fun and I am really excited about the rest of the summer with Ford. I love taking him to the pool and splash pad, he is a water baby for sure. I forgot to write last month that I officially stopped wearing nursing bras and nursing pads and no bra at night! I could have done this a lot sooner but didn't want to risk soaking through anything. It was so freeing! I actually had my first period postpartum last week which sucked but it was nice I went so long without it. I got Ford's birthday party invitations designed and printed this week, I am in full on party planning mode!

Daddy: Jon is a gem of a dad and husband and I want to brag on him as much as I can. He helps me so much with Ford and loves playing with our little guy. Jon isn't traveling this week so we've loved taking morning walks, cooking dinner every night, and Jon takes early morning CIO duty if needed. I can't wait to celebrate him this weekend on his first Father's Day!

What we are looking forward to:
  • Going to a winery this weekend with the families from my mom's group
  • More days at the splash pad, pool, and lake.
  • Going to South Padre with family for 4th of July, can't wait! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Reading...Love and Logic Early Childhood- I took a mini session with High Five Parenting and loved the Love and Logic Model. Now that Ford is crawling and getting into everything, he has shown some behaviors that require discipline. I am loving this book! least 1 watermelon and 1 pineapple a week

Cooking... these shrimp enchiladas last night, they were delicious! Jon's not traveling this week so I'm excited for a week full of home cooked meals

Watching...Late Night with Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel Live....seriously these guys make my day.

Playing...lots of peek a boo with Ford and marbles with Jon (I wrote a post yesterday about our love for games)

Appreciating...Jon encouraging me to have quiet time every morning. No phone, no Ford, no distractions.

Planning...Ford's first birthday party! Picking up the invitations this afternoon, I loved working with Emily from Poppy Designs Shop to create them... can't wait to show you all.
Tearing up... at the fact that my baby brother got his driver's license this week! Where does time go.

Praying... for the Restless book study I am doing with 10 other women starting this afternoon.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Shear Joy

Yesterday, at almost 10 months old, Ford got his second haircut. People may think I am crazy for getting it cut twice before his first birthday (first haircut here), but with his mama's straight body-less hair, he was rocking a mullet in the back. We went to the most adorable children's salon in Austin called KAOS, and I remember my 16 year old brother going there growing up. It was important for me to find a place that specializes in kiddos where Ford could be comfortable and entertained. Oh and quick! I am not sure when kids attention spans grow but right now we can do a certain activity for max 5-10 minutes. 

I don't want to be one of those crazy moms that takes pictures of every milestone but for now, I am going to make an exception. Ford was such a ham and there were no tears! Mimi, Aunt Cori, and Embry tagged along for entertainment, snack feeding, and picture taking. I need to take a picture of the back of his head because she used the clippers on him and it is probably the most adorable thing ever. He instantly looked like a little boy and I love it. This may not have been a "first" but boy am I enjoying experiencing things with Ford. I don't think I'll ever get sick of taking pictures of him. This little boy just radiates joy!

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