Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To the city that doesn't sleep...

....thank you for 10 hours of sleep each night, the decadent food that reminds me why I can never go on a diet, the unforgettable people watching, and the hours I got to spend with the hunk I call my husband.

Last night Jon and I got home from a glorious 4 days away, sans baby, in New York City. There was no specific occasion to celebrate but we were both craving time away to pour into each other. We decided to go to NYC because it seems like one of the most miserable places to take a baby (in our opinion) and Jon had never been! It's been over 2 months since we've weaned from nursing, Ford is a great sleeper and my parents were more than willing to take in our little man for a few days. There was nothing holding us back! We used Southwest points to fly there and Starwood Points for our fabulous hotel, Sheraton New York City. It was my 4th time in the city but I loved experiencing it for the first time with Jon. We did a boat tour around the island and spent most of our days on the double decker bus tours that looped through uptown, downtown, Brooklyn, and all over Manhattan. The first afternoon we were there we grabbed a street gyro (street food was our favorite) and walked through Hell's Kitchen. I was wondering why it felt so weird and I realized Jon and I were holding hands. It was kind of a smack in the face when I realized we hadn't really held hands much since Ford was born. Sure we go out on lots of dates but rarely are we walking for a long period of time hand in hand. One of us is always pushing a stroller, carrying a diaper bag, or corralling the herd of items we cart around with our baby. Holding hands felt extra special in New York City and I didn't want to let go. I'm normally not mushy when it comes to my marriage but this trip was extra mushy. 4 days not having to cut up someone else's food, changing diapers, wiping noses, and listening to Ford's newly perfected fake cry/whine. 4 days of sleeping without the buzz of a monitor, getting to actually relax, sleep, and read a book on the plane, and 4 days of pouring into my marriage without any distractions.

I had a lot of anxiety leading up to our trip about leaving Ford. The only other time I have left him overnight was when we were sick so this was the longest by far. I wasn't worried that he would miss us because Mimi and Papa's house is so much fun, I was just anxious that something would happen to me and Jon. Silly but honest. He couldn't have been cuter and sweeter the day before we left and I felt like it was God saying, Ruthie it's okay, leave your boy in my hands. I cried a little putting him to bed but felt so much peace (and excitement!) when we left. I was never sad during our trip but actually happy seeing how much fun he was having. We FaceTimed everyday and my family sent us endless pictures and videos (Embry was in town and the two of them had a blast!). I told myself there was no use in me sulking or being sad because that would just ruin my trip. I felt so relieved and grateful that I have people in my life who love ME enough to allow me to getaway and who love my baby enough to take the best care of him. I am still blown away by that!

My Italian Stallion in Little Italy

Gelato at Ferrara, too good!

Manhattan skyline from the Manhattan Bridge

Straight from my phone, what a beautiful city!

3 nights away was perfect. We felt rested, rejuvenated, and ready to jump back into the messes of parenthood. Ford was funny when we got home. My mom was at our house and he had just gotten up from his nap. They walked down the stairs and he was giggling with excitement but when we met him at the bottom of the stairs, he clung to my mom like a spider monkey. He wasn't too happy when she left (he bawled and bawled) but quickly remembered how much fun me and Jon are and we've been back to playing like normal. I love that he had so much fun this weekend that he didn't want it to end! We take a family walk every morning and this morning we talked about how nice it is to be back in Texas where the air is clean and we actually have green grass. NYC was a thrill and we had an incredible time but boy is it always good to be home. We ate peanut butter on tortillas and canned soup for dinner after we found our milk was chunky and our bread was moldy. Life is good, marriage is good, time away from your baby is good. Not gonna lie, Jon and I are already planning our next trip around our anniversary! 

Island boat tour: Circle Line 42
Double decker bus tour: Grayline Sightseeing
Church we visited: Hillsong NYC

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Peanut Butter Cookies

I have a strong sweet tooth but I am picky about my sweets. If it the dessert isn't decadent chocolate or contain lots of peanut butter, I am not interested. I used to think there wasn't anything better than soft, homemade peanut butter cookies...until I added Reese's Peanut Butter cups. I didn't follow a recipe, winged it, and came out with the most delicious cookies you'll ever taste. Make some and send them to Texas!

Ingredients *makes 24 cookies
2 cups creamy peanut butter (not the organic refrigerator kind with the oil)
2 eggs
2 cups of sugar
15-20 snack size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

1. Mix together peanut butter, eggs, and sugar
2. Scoop onto a prepared baking sheet
3. Press as many or as few chopped peanut butter cups as you'd like
4. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DIY diaper wreath

Yesterday I shared an easy tutorial for custom water bottle labels and today I have another DIY for ya! If you know me personally, you'd know I have a thing for themed wreaths. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's, generic spring....yep wreaths are my thing. My mom actually made this diaper wreath for my sister's baby shower a few years ago and I don't know why I had forgotten about it because it is adorable and easy!

Small package of diapers (the bigger the diapers, the less you need, I used approximately 20 size 1 diapers)
Wire wreath (bought at a crafting store)
Embellishments (I made a paper banner and paper pinwheels, you can use a wooden letter with the baby's initial, teddy bear, baby clothes/shoes, etc)
Wreath hanger

1. Depending on which side you want facing out (back of diaper, all white, or front of diaper with characters), open up each diaper, place around the wreath and tie with ribbon. You can use fun colored grosgrain ribbon or simple wrapping ribbon
2. Continue until wreath is overed
3. Add embellishments
4.  Hang on door!

Monday, September 22, 2014

DIY custom water bottle labels

Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for a sweet friend who will be welcoming her little boy into this world next month. I wanted to create lots of personal touches bur because the shower was so large, I knew I needed to put myself on a budget. Water bottles are always a lot easier to serve to a large group rather than filling cups and ended up with a pile of dishes so even though it's not the most "green" route, it is the easiest. I decided to make custom water bottle labels to serve at the shower that would also act as decor. Y'all. They are super easy and not too time intensive! They make any party feel a bit more special and intimate.

Water bottles
8''x2.5" labels (I made mind in Word and printed from my home computer)
Paper cutter or scissors
Clear packing tape

1. Remove the labels from the water bottles
2. Create your custom label in Word or Photoshop using fun fonts, personal photos, or clip art. Be sure the label ends up to be 8"x2.5" or else the packing tape won't fit over it. Cut your labels into stripes.
3. Place the labels face down on a strip of clear packing tape
4. Wrap around the water bottle

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oreo cheesecake cookies

Oreos are America's favorite cookie, right? What about cookies MADE with Oreos. I don't think it could get any better. I found these  5 ingredient Oreo cheesecake cookies and knew they would be a hit in our home. 5 ingredients, it can't get any easier and they are so delicious and almost cake like! You don't want to miss these cookies.

Ingredients- yields 36 cookies
2 stick of butter, softened
1 (8oz) brick of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/4 cup white flour
20 Oreo cookies, broken into pieces

1. Cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar
2. Add flour and mix well
3. Fold in Oreo pieces
4. Scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto a prepared baking sheet (I used my new The Art of Cooking silicone baking mats)
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes. You want the edges to be slightly browned and the middle to be soft
7. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before letting cool on rack/plate

I've never used silicone baking mats before and always resorted to using oil spray or parchment paper. You guys. These The Art of Cooking silicone baking mats are my new favorite baking essential! I baked half of the cookies on the mats and half on parchment paper which resulted in me having to peel each cookie off the parchment paper. The cookies on the silicone mats slid right off and the mat was so incredibly easy to clean and store. I plan on making these baking mats a staple in my kitchen, no more need for greasing pans or using foil and parchment paper.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Bug

The worst kind of bug in the entire world. The stomach bug. The stomach bug swept through our entire house this past week, starting with our little Fordy boy. It sucked. Watching your baby who doesn't even know how to spit out throw up has got to be the saddest thing ever, especially knowing how throwing up wrecks your entire body. With the help of YoungLiving Digize, we were able to combat Ford's bug and it was gone in 24 hours, we thought we were in the clear. Fast forward to 2am the next night and Jon and I were both cleaning out our insides in separate bathrooms and sweating out fevers. I did lots of crying, lots of praying, and lots of sleeping. We even had our first night away from Ford because there was no way either of us could take care of our rambunctious little boy. It was good practice because we are leaving him for a trip for 4 days next week but I hated the circumstances.

One of the worst things was not even seeing a tiny smile crack from my always happy boy. We denied him food, water, and milk, that was hard. He isn't really into TV so was antsy and fussy. Day 2 was better, we got some smiles and he had fun building a fort with daddy and coloring on his new tray (and our white chair).

Thank God for Facetime, Ford had so much fun with his Mimi & Papa and when he came home, cried for them. Good thing I'm tough haha.

I am happy to report we are slowly reentering society but not at full capacity. This bug really wrecked us! I don't know if I would have survived without the help of my mom and dad helping with Ford, seriously, parents don't get sick days! I tend to get REALLY sick once a year and hope I've hit my quota. Stomach bug, you suck! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inside out Pizza Pie with Animeals {giveaway}

As we got closer to Ford's first birthday, he became more and more picky. By his birthday he refused to eat meat, avocados, mac and cheese, and even chocolate cake! Who is this kid?! It's been quite the task to make sure Ford is getting enough nutrients in the foods he WILL eat. I hear this is a normal phase that toddlers go through and let's hope it fizzles out soon! I was thrilled to come across Animeals 4 Kids, an organic sauce company started by a mommy right here in my neighborhood! Animeals currently offers a line of 3 mild tasting, veggie packed sauces created with a child's palette in mind. They are USDA certified organic, gluten free, non GMO verified, and absolutely delicious! The sauces are available in 3 varieties: Organic Marinara, Hidden Veggie, and Tropical Tomato and Salsa.

I chose to test out the Organic Hidden Veggie sauce first because Ford refuses to eat veggies and I am at a loss for how to get him to eat them. I recreated an old recipe I had in my box for inside out pizza pie and I am happy to report Ford nibbled on a little while Jon and I scarfed the rest down. I remember making this pizza pie before and thinking it was good, but this time it was REALLY good! The sauce was a game changer, it had a hint of sweetness and tasted homemade right in my kitchen. There is no way I could ever serve carrots, broccoli, spinach, beets, AND kale all in one meal!

1 lb  ground beef/turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 Animeals Organic Hidden Veggie Sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1  can crescent rolls/rounds
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Brown the meat with the onions, peppers, seasonings, and salt and pepper
2. Stir in 1.5 cups Animeals Organic Hidden Veggie Sauce
3. Mix together sour cream and mozzarella cheese in a small bowl
4. Pour meat mixture into an ungreased deep pie dish or 9x9 baking dish
5. Spoon the sour cream mixture over the meat and spread evenly
6. Unroll the crescent rolls over the sour cream mix in a lattice pie fashion
7. Melt the butter in a small bowl and mix with Parmesan cheese
8. Top unbaked pie with the butter mixture
9. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until crust is golden brown
10. Enjoy!

I plan on using the Tropical Tomato and Salsa sauce with fresh tilapia next week for an end of summer meal eaten alfresco. I love knowing I am feeding my family nutritious, organic, veggie packed meals while not scrimping on flavor and taste. Click here to purchase a 4 pack of Animeals Organic Hidden veggie sauces for $35 and free shipping! Find a store near you that carries Animeals 4 Kids. 

Find Animeals 4 Kids

Today 4 lucky winners will receive an Animeals 4 Kids"Make A Meal" prize packages!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo Signature_zps45ff6a7d.png

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ford 13 months

New this month
  • Walking everywhere, doesn't really crawl anymore
  • Blowing kisses and even making a smacking sound, too cute!
  • Dances all the time
  • Praying hands during prayer time
  • When asked he will point to his head, eyes, nose, teeth, belly, shirt, shoes, feet. He will also point them out on mommy/daddy
  • Clicks his tongue and he thinks it's hilarious
  • Favorite word is "Papa". Also says mama, dada, ball, ni-ni (night night), blue, dog. If we ask him to say words he often echoes
  • Answers "ya" and "na" to questions
  • We've started putting him on his plastic potty and he has yet to pee in it (he's a master at peeing on the floor). I am not trying to potty train him, just get him used to it.
  • Very good problem solver...seeing a toy out of his reach and finding a way to get it it, etc.
  • Climbing on and off the couch/ottoman/high things
  • Climbing up stairs (ours are gated at the bottom and top so I usually carry him but I also let him climb so he knows how to do it safely).
  • Very intrigued with daddy's nipple
  • Loves his Little Tykes slide and climbs up and goes down all by himself
  • Favorite toys are his Cozy Coupe, shopping cart, and play kitchen. 
  • Very clingy to mommy, this has resulted in lots of Ergo piggy back rides
  • Throws fake tantrums, shrieks and fake cries when you take something from him
  • Loves to FaceTime and laughs and smiles when he hears the FT ring. He also gets mad if I am on the phone and he can't see someone. 

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