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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza Casserole

We are huge fans of cauliflower in our household and are always looking for new ways to prepare it. Our two favorite ways are roasted and they taste like french fries and mashed like homemade mashed potatoes. Yum! It was no surprise that the day after I pinned this recipe and asked Jon what he wanted for dinner this week, this was the front runner. We ate more than half the pan for dinner and the leftovers were gone by lunch the next day. SO GOOD!

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
Olive oil spray
2 cups pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Toppings of your choice: Pepperonis, cooked sausage, sliced olives, sliced mushrooms, chopped peppers....the sky's the limit! And amount is up to you.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Coat cauliflower pieces in olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, turning half way
4. Mix cooked cauliflower with pizza sauce, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, and any toppings.
5. Spread evenly into a 9x13 in baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan, and toppings. Sprinkle with oregano
6. Lower oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ford play

Ever since he turned one, we feel like Ford has totally embodied what it is to be a toddler. Answering questions, talking, problem solving, climbing, whining, fake crying. It is such an exhausting, fun, cute, and sometimes trying stage. We've been very lax about him climbing on his slide and he will crawl over to it and start climbing up the slide part and look over at me and start babbling as if he's saying, "Okay mom I know what I am doing so don't be scared". He is already trying to bargain with me. He has such a funny little personality and has mastered giving people the stink eye when we are out and about (those eyebrows are intense!). He squeals with delight at the mention of Jon, claps and says, "Da da!!!" with so much joy. He says mama and wants me when he is sad, typical huh? He loves dancing and knows he can do certain things to make us laugh. I've been trying to be more intentional with him as he plays and trying to capture these fleeting moments via memory and video. I could sit and watch him play for hours! He loves attempting to put his 3 piece puzzles together and has so much fun stacking his colorful donut toy. He crawls through his tunnel on his own and spends countless hours opening and closing the compartments of his play kitchen. It is really one of the greatest joys I've experienced to watch Ford grow into a little person. The first year of life I spent trying to keep him alive and healthy, and now there is so much I want to teach him! I don't want to forget these simple moments of Ford playing so here's a glimpse into 90 seconds of Ford land.

I wouldn't say we have a walker just yet but Ford has mastered about 10-12 steps, solely on carpet and soft floors. He is so proud of  himself and looks pretty darn cute toddling around!

One last note. Ford had his 12 month shots on August 13th and yesterday woke up with a rash all over his body and face. We ran into the doctor who confirmed it was a reaction to the MMR vaccine which is normal because it contains the live virus. Praise God it is not contagious and Ford seems fine, just looking like a little leper! This is his first reaction to any of his vaccinations (also thankful for that) and it doesn't scare me one bit/change my views on vaccines, just wanted to let you mamas know that this is normal after the 12 month shots! please no anti vax comments please

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Naptime DIY, painting bathroom cabinets

Last month I shared with you my first chalk paint project (IKEA hack table project here) and today I am here to tell you that chalk paint is addicting! A quart of Maison Blanche paint cost me $43 and I had half the can leftover after finishing 2 tables and 8 chairs. I didn't want the paint to go to waste. We recently had our kitchen cabinets painted white and it makes such a huge difference in the feel of our home! I don't mind wood colored cabinets but ours were such a dull color and 3 of our bathrooms have the same cabinets that I've been trying to figure out what to do with. Cabinets I hate, extra chalk paint, a couple hours during naptime. I decided to start with our upstairs guest bathroom since it gets used the most (and it's the one bathroom I have put lots of time and energy in decorating). Ford has a Jack and Jill bathroom attached to a future baby Hart room but he doesn't use it quite yet. This project took 2 hours top, the most time consuming part was taking off the hardware and removing the cabinet doors. Chalk paint is the jam y'all! I will let the pictures do the talking.


Just like my IKEA hack table project, I decided to use a water based Polyacrylic finish vs. the chalk pain wax. A quart is $15 at Home Depot (vs. $50 small can of wax) and it is easy to apply and durable, especially in a room that will be exposed to water/steam. 


I don't think I have enough paint to do Ford's bathroom cabinets which is good because I'd like to try out another color. This project couldn't have been any easier and I am so glad I took the plunge! I think back to my pre-chalk paint furniture projects (desk redo here) and think how much time it took and mess I created sanding, priming, painting, and sealing. No sanding, no priming, thank you Maison Blanche for making my life so much easier! Next up are Ford's bathroom and the master bathroom... I'm sure I can find other pieces to slap some paint on too!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Turkey vegetable meatloaf

Call me old fashion but I love a good meatloaf. I think it gets a bad rep in today's time but it makes a regular appearance in our household. My sister Cori made a double batch of this turkey veggie meatloaf when she stayed with us after Ford was born and I can't even explain how stinkin' good it is. It's not your traditional ketchup covered meatloaf but a leaner version with a touch of veggies. Dare I say Ford even ate some of this! Make a double portion and pop one in the freezer or bring to a new mama. You all will love this meatloaf!

1.25lb ground turkey 
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 chopped onion
10-15 mini carrots, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup parsley
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp Worchestershire
1 tsp pepper

1. Soak bread crumbs in milk
2. Saute olive oil, garlic, onion, and carrot over medium heat for 10-15min
3. Combine ALL ingredients in large bowl and mix well. 
4. Form into a greased loaf pan.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 50-55 min

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Girls night

Last night was the second time that I've been away from Ford at night and someone else has put him to bed. Yep a whole year has passed and I have had only 2 girls night outs! Jon and I have enjoyed many a date night and I get to spend pretty much everyday with my girlfriends but since we exclusively breastfed until July, I have been in charge of bedtime. I took a shower just to go out, wore heels, stayed out late, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! I just kept telling Jon, "that was so much fun, I need to do it more often!" to which he replied "yes!". Thank God for that. 

I mentioned I get to see my girlfriends almost everyday and that is the truth. I am heavily involved in my mom's group and get to spend my days with my best friends and their babies at splash pads, parks, lunch dates, and kids museums. It is a blast! But it is also exhausting. Yesterday I drove 35 minutes to a splash pad meetup only to spend most of the time holding my fussy baby and taking deep breaths (thank you Wonder Weeks leap that has lasted for weeks!!!!!). Conversations are usually about breakfast ideas and nap protesting and cut short but meltdowns and strict schedules. Being out last night reminding me that before I was a mom, I was just me. Just like date nights remind me that I was a wife before I had my son, girls nights out remind me that I was a marketer, an event coordinator, blogger, friend, listener, encourager. Sure we talked about our babies a little and what we will do differently on our second babies but it was such a breath of fresh air to sit in a comfy restaurant chair with a beautiful view of the Texas Hill Country and just be in the moment. No nose wiping, no food cutting, no toy fetching.  For one night I was able to fulfill my own needs first, rather than everyone elses.

Going out with my girlfriends is fun and such a treat but I wouldn't trade my day to day for anything. Ford was up at the crack of dawn and I jumped right back into my role as mommy, chef, maid....servant (joking....kind of). Now excuse me while I go start planning my next girls night!

Moms do you get a chance to go out with your girlfriends once in a while?

(oh and I promise this did happen, despite me not taking a picture!)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday update

Ford suffered his first ear infection this weekend. We managed to make it 12 whole months without one but we kicked off his birthday week with a fever and nasty cold that developed into an infection. We spent the weekend quarantined at home, missing the first birthday party of one of Ford's bffs, a pool party, and our neighborhood concert in the park. Anyone else hate missing weekend days? I always look forward to what we have going on in on the weekends so I am still mourning the fact that we missed so much. Kids. Always unpredictable. Always changing your plans. We did have lots of good family time...breakfast tacos, 2 hour naps, and 3 Redbox movies. We watched Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and it was the best movie I have seen in 5 years (not that I could tell you what the best movie I saw 5 years ago was, but it was that good). A thriller with a little dose of horror but not a slasher movie. It kept me on my toes and was completely unpredictable which Jon loved since he is pretty good at guessing movies. 

Poor Ford has been very sensitive the past few days. The antibiotic is killing the infection but I believe he's still experiencing pain and I hate that I can't take it away. He got a new Little Tykes slide for his birthday and he's gone up and down about 500 times and made us lots of green bean/hot dog sandwiches in his play kitchen. He's also take a few steps the past few days! I don't think we'll have a walker this week but I could tell that something finally clicked inside of his head. He realized he could move on his own without holding onto me, his walker, or furniture. Ford has been fever free since Saturday so we plan on rejoining the world today.  Wish us luck!

Ford, you always keep me on my toes buddy!

oh and I am talking about Ford's bottle strike over at MOMquery today

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tips for throwing a 1st birthday party

Ford's birthday party was a roaring success but almost a week later, I am still recovering. I think it was a lot for Ford to take in and poor Booga had a fever the next day and is wrapping up a cold right now (as am I). I am so happy how everything turned out but took mental notes for what I maybe would have done different and stuff I thought I did well. Because I know so many of you have babies and babies on the way, I thought I'd share my scattered thoughts.

Start planning early

When Ford hit 7 months I realized he was closer to a year than his actual birth day. I knew I wanted to have a big party with family and friends but be budget conscious at the same time. I started thinking of themes and colors, and made a private Pinterest board with ideas for decor, crafts, food, etc. Once I settled on his theme and colors, I was able to pickup random things for the party when I saw them on sale (a lot of the paper products/decor came from the Spirit section at Target. One week the whole line was 30% off and I stocked up on paper straws, napkins, balloons, and hanging honeycombs). I ordered his birthday hat from Dainty Couture on etsy when he was 8 months old because I didn't want to be cutting it close to his party date and risk the chance of it not coming in time. 

Party between naps

Ford's party was from 4-7pm and I kind of just chose it on a whim. My niece was staying with us and I thought it would be hard to have the babies go down for a nap right after the party in case people stayed later. Looking back, I wish we would have had it earlier. About 10pm the night of his party Jon and I were recapping and realized #1 neither of us had fed Ford an actual dinner and #2 we each had given him 2 cookies. Ford never cries out after he goes to bed until morning and he seemed to be having a minor night terror. We think he was over stimulated, over tired, and too sugared up. I think he would have done better if he could have gotten in a nap after the party. 

Utilize babysitting for party prep

I don't know any parents of one year olds who would characterize their baby as being calm. I have a blast with Ford when he is awake but if I leave him alone for 10 seconds to pee, he has removed 15 pairs of shorts and pants from my drawers. I was so grateful that my neighbors offered to watch Ford for a few hours the day before his party so I could get stuff done. The day of his party Ford spent a few hours with his Mimi and Papa and we got last minute party prep done and also just relaxed. Being at your own house without your baby is quite relaxing!


Cakes, food, crafts. Hop on Pinterest and you'll have hours of "1st birthday party" pins to scroll through. Use Hobby Lobby/Michael's coupons, the Target cartwheel app, and wait for sales!

Don't spend a lot on a smash cake

Ford's smash cake was a $3.99 individual bundlet from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Ford stuck one finger into the cake and fed  it to me. I am glad I didn't shell out the money for a big messy cake! Our grocery store bakery sells pretty, individual, bigger cupcakes for $2 that would work too. 

You don't have to spend a lot of money for a fun party

I am all about the details when it comes to party planning but I am also very creative and thrifty. I used patterned wrapping paper as a table runner/place mats, made tissue paper garland, and bought all the paper goods on sale. Instead of buying vintage milk bottles for $2/piece on Etsy, I used Starbucks frap bottles and made Jon drink them. I made all the food, bought beer and sodas from Costco, and did not serve a full meal. Other money saving ideas are: host the party in your home, use an Evite instead of invitations, not serving alcohol, a dessert themed party with sweet treats only, no goody bags, and do a family only party. 

Remember, there is no rule book for 1st birthday parties. No one says you HAVE to throw a party for your munchkin because let's face it, they won't remember it from any other day. For us, I wanted to celebrate a year of parenthood with the family and friends who helped us get through it. Next year I'll take Ford to Chick Fila for his birthday, maybe get a donut.

What are some 1st birthday party planning tips you have?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ford 12 months

12 months. 12 months! We made it! This has been the sweetest, fulfilling, tiring, emotional year of my life and my heart is FULL! I don't think a day goes by that Jon and I talk about how much we love this little boy and how much FUN he is! He's understanding and learning and interacting so much, I don't feel like he's a baby anymore. The baby stage is so fleeting, I still can't believe I made it out on the other side. Ford is an absolute joy to be around, I am so lucky to be his mama.

Weight: 22lb 14oz (74th %)

Height: 29.5in (35th %)

Head: 48.1cm (94th %)

Health: Well up until his birthday eve, Ford has been healthy! He got a 101 fever on the 10th and woke up congested and snotty. He's not 100% clear but a lot better thanks to essential oils! We've spent lots of time at home resting and playing with new toys. His 12 month well check went really well, no pun intended. Our doctor was very impressed by how much he talks, points, and how curious he is (climbing and getting into all the cabinets, curious is just a nice word for crazy). The shots were so sad. It was the first time I could see fear in his eyes and he screamed bloody murder. Luckily he calmed down quickly when the nurse gave him a toy car and I gave him animal cookies. 

Nicknames: Booga, Boogie, Shmooka Bear,Shmookie, Barrington, Bear, Doodle Bug

Teething: Ford has 5 teeth, 2 on top and 3 on the bottom. We've started brushing his teeth (no toothpaste) before bed and he loves it! We sing a song we made up and he dances. 

Clothing: Size 12-18 months in most things, onesies 24 months, moved up to size 4 shoes (still a little big)

Diapers: no change, cloth during the day and Huggies Overnight size 4 at night

Eating (milk): we stopped nursing a few days after Ford turned 11 months old (story here). He loves whole milk and drinks about 20oz a day from a straw sippy cup. Weaning was a LOT easier than I expected!

Eating (solids): Ford is extra picky this month and I have seen a decrease in his appetite which I attribute to him drinking so much milk. I've started offering milk only 3 times a day instead of throughout the day because he sucks it down. Mornings are his best meal time... a whole banana, 2 scrambled eggs, oatmeal or Greek yogurt. Throughout the day he will have fruit, cheese, peanut butter and crackers and then for dinner he loves turkey dogs, chicken patties, cottage cheese, and sweet potatoes. He loves all carbs and dairy. I am hoping this picky stage ends soon! 

Sleeping (night): We've been trying to push Ford's bedtime later and he goes down around 7:45pm and sleeps 11 hours straight. Lately he's slept in til 7am, yay. Sleepsack, lovey, and pillow in his's quite cozy.

Sleeping (naps): Ford naps twice a day and I don't foresee him dropping that anytime soon. He sleeps 8:30-10/10:30a and 1:30-3:30p for a total of 3-4 hours total. I much prefer long naps vs. longer night sleep because I can get stuff done while he's asleep!

Social: Ford has had some separation anxiety this month and will sometimes fuss for 5-10 seconds when we drop him off at the gym or church nursery. He loves waving at people when we are out and is pretty darn easy to make smile! He points at EVERYTHING and I am constantly having to say, "Yes Ford that is a door. That is a light. That is a picture." He is saying "mama", "dada", "ba- ba" for papa, "uh oh", "ba" for ball "mu" for more and "eeeeee" for please. 

Likes: getting in and out of his new Cozy Coupe car, puzzles, balls, board books, his new pop up toy, shopping cart, ringing a small bell at Mimi's, swimming, petting Ernie, snuggling with dad in the mornings, playing pizza party, turning on light switches

Dislikes: getting his diaper changed, when Ernie knocks him over, being hungry, being hot

New this month:
  • "Praying" hands while we pray as a family
  • Shaking his finger "no no" when we tell him (or Ernie) no
  • Dancing when he hears music (basically swaying side to side and smiling)
  • Pointing to body parts (head and eyes)
  • Blowing on food when I tell him it's hot
  • Standing on his own (mostly when he does something and wants to clap haha)
  • Using his left hand all the time
  • Holding his breath for 7 seconds at swim class
  • Blowing on his food when it is "hot"

Fun things we did:
Mama: this has been a big month for me! Weaning was bittersweet but I am loving this season we are in. Jon now puts Ford to bed when he's home and I had a girls night out a few weeks ago and 2 more planned this month! Ford spent the entire day with my mom last week and I was able to spend the day visiting a friend's sweet baby girl in the NICU and set up her nursery at home. I love not having to plan my day around nursing and spend a little bit more time on my own. There is nothing sweeter than the hundreds of kisses I get from my little boy, I still can't believe he is mine!

Daddy: Jon is loving being Ford's daddy more and more. Jon is in charge of bath time when he's in town and I can often year laughing fits from the two of them on the other side of the house. Ford is always so happy when his dad walks through the door, melts my heart! 

What we're looking forward to:
  • Maverick's 1st birthday party and baby two baby showers!
  • Going to the lake for Labor Day 
  • Going to Dallas for the Mecum Auto Auction
  • Fall swim session starting in a few weeks

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ford's First Birthday Party

What a week it has been! We celebrated Ford's birthday with a big party on Saturday August 9th and I think it took a lot out of him because managed to catch a cold and fever the day after. His actual birthday (August 11th) was spent at home cuddling, playing with new toys and resting (homeboy took 5.5 hours worth of naps and I took a good one myself!). All I wanted for Ford's birthday party was for him to have fun. All of his friends and family and the people who love him so much in one place. I feel like ever since he turned 6 months I've been planning my party in his head. My thoughts were, you only turn one once so nothing could be too over the top (side note... next year his party will be at Chick fila...if he even has one ha!). I was a busy bee preparing for 40 adults and 25 kids in our home and all the late nights, kitchen messes, and trips to Target were worth it. 

Emily from Poppy Designs designed Ford's invitations and all the paper goods for his party. I can't praise this woman enough! For $12 she will custom design an invitation, announcement, or card for you and you can print at your local print shop or Kinko's. 

We had guests fill out cards with their hopes and wishes for Ford

I completed 12 monthly photos of Ford and knew I wanted to display them at his party. I got my hands on a free pallet from a neighbor and nailed the photos along the wood. We chose #FordsFirst as the hashtag and had fun looking at what our friends posted!

I laminated his birthday banner so I can use in the future!

I had originally planned on making a mini angel food cake for Ford's smash cake but that was an epic fail. Luckily Nothing Bundt Cakes came to the rescue and a $3.99 bundlet did the job. Ford's birthday hat is from Dainty Couture and I plan on him wearing it on his birthday until he is 100. 

Erica from Inspired By Above make a sweet little chalkboard birthday print for Ford and I am absolutely smitten with it! It was a fun way to share Ford's current stats/tricks/likes with our guests and I plan on hanging it in his room! Erica is offering $10 off any chalkboard print order placed before September 30th and 10% off an invitation order! If you mention my blog, you can get an additional 10% off

I printed the chalkboard print as an "engineer print" at Staples, tacked it to a foam poster board, and set it on a borrowed IKEA easel. Fun, easy, and cheap birthday party decor!

It's my party I can furrow my brows if I want to

Our milk and cookies bar! 

I used Starbucks Frap bottles as vintage milk bottles, Jon enjoyed me making him drink the fraps! In addition to milk and cookies we served corn dogs, individual pasta salads, cupcakes, fruit kabobs, and salty snacks. I made homemade lemonade and had a big galvanized tub of beer, water, and sodas. 

It didn't surprise me that Ford didn't care for his birthday cake because he is so picky right now. I tried giving him chocolate cake at a wedding a few weeks ago and he refused. Who is this kid?! He enjoyed feeding mommy his cake and ended up eating 4 cookies, whoops!

Embry in her festive Milk and Cookies dress!

The party was awesome and was over in the blink of an eye. I forgot to take pictures of most of the decor and wish I would have gotten a picture of all the baby friends we had over. After his cake smash, Ford spent the rest of the party on his splash pad shrieking and having a blast. Party of one! 

My family stayed over after the party to help clean up and we put the babies to bed, ordered pizza, and opened his gifts! Boy do 1st birthday parties take a lot out of you. Thank you to our friends and family who helped make Ford's birthday party a hit! This morning we are off to Ford's 12 month well check and shots. Eeek. 
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