Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FF: Yummy Yummy in my Tummy

Five Favorites Wednesday! Woohoo!

I'll be sharing some recent Bible Study hosting yummies! Enjoy!

1. Lactose-free Most Delicious Cake Ever EvEr EVER!

It seems that this season of life and kiddos, a lot of our bible study families have one or a few people needing to get on the dairy-free bandwagon. So, because of this, a mama friend did a little substituting on a Better Homes recipe to create this amazing cake! Friends, I kid you not, it is uh-mazing! Honestly, I would have made this my wedding cake had I met it before that bliss-filled day.
Frosting recipe

1 cup shortening
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
0.5 teaspoon almond extract
4.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons vanilla almond milk

In a medium mixing bowl beat shortening, vanilla and almond extracts with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add half the sugar, beating well. Add 2 table spoons of almond milk. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and enough remaining milk to reach spreading consistency. 

Cake recipe

2 eggs
2.25 cups of flour
1.5 cups of sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt
3 mashed bananas
0.75 cup vanilla almond milk
0.5 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients then beat the remaining ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Morgan, my friend, you are a genius!
(Also, sliced/diced strawberries were put in the center and top of cake. I decided this is a must!)

2. Crock-pot Apricot Soy Chicken over Rice

This was served at the most recent bible study we hosted. Crock-pot is beginning to be a close friend of mine ever since Britt introduced me to crock-pot liners that make crock-pot cleaning that much less of a terrible task. So, with that, I was wanting something Asian-y. Really, what I wanted was a reason to buy and eat edamame. I found this recipe on Pinterest and did a few substituting/adding of my own.

Recipe looked like this:
pork roast shoulder chicken breast
1/2 1 cup apricot preserve
2 tsp cumin
1 sliced onion
2 tbsps Soy
2 tsp garlic

Cooked on high for 4 hours or until chicken is tender and shred-able. 

Meanwhile, I made some yummy Texas Best Organic Brown Jasmine Rice to serve it over along with edamame. (Will be buyin this rice again! It's awesome!)
I enjoyed this dish and am excited to make it again soon!

Another Pinterest find that has quickly become a hosting/family favorite.

1 bottle of your choice of BBQ sauce
1/2 coke
1/2 cup brown sugar

Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Shred, put over some of those incredibly delicious Hawaiian rolls, and TADA! Taste-bud par-tay! Thanks to Nikki at Living Life of Riley!

4. Crownies!

They are all things wonderful in the world of dessert and all the more not-so-wonderful for all things health. Regardless of the later, these are a must at least once or twice in your lifetime...year, maybe?...or every few months. No judgement here!

You're probably wondering what the craze is all about. Well let me tell you!

chocolate chip cookie + oreo center + fudge brownie = Crownie

Yes, friends. These are all your happy time desserts all in one! Exciting times we live in here! So, go check out Britt who posted these beauties on her blog. She found them from Kaitlyn at Wifessionals. Thank you, Britt and Kaitlyn!

5. Balsamic Shredded Beef & Crash Hot Potatoes

Okay, last but not least, we have this little combo that I am serving up tonight (haven't served it for Bible Study yet - although I did bring over the potatoes for a bible study birthday, which is where I first found the recipe)! Not sure if you saw this post where I was excited about Crock-pot Balsamic Chicken, but this is what triggered my curiosity of all things balsamic and more things crock-pot.

I have yet to be disappointed! I found this Crock-pot Balsamic Shredded Beef recipe that turned out to be pretty great! We had it on Monday and are having it again tonight! Thank you Aimee at Shugary Sweets!

Now, the next thing is something that I heart! These potatoes are the best ever! Pretty sure we will be having potatoes this way forever and ever. Amen! They are that yummy! It's only natural that they'd be from the genius that is The Pioneer Woman.
I''m telling you, please make these! If you ever have potatoes around, do this! Toddler approved. Husband approved. Friend and family approved! The Pioneer Woman approved! Need I say more?

Alright, these are my Five Favorites! Go check out Hallie for more fun favorites

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Precious little light

Sweet little Linus, you are wonderful. You are full of energy. You are strong and determined. You are filled with love for your big brother. For your Dad. And, for me. I see it in your eyes, little one. I feel it in your snuggles. I know it in your laughter and smiles and it is so very sweet.
You have been eating solids this past month and do so like a champ. You've had: avocado, zucchini (green and yellow), sweet potato, banana, peaches, carrots, apple, pear, peas, green beans, toast, rice crackers, puffs, rice, and oatmeal. You seem to enjoy all the different foods I present you and the ones that you are either A) bored with or B) not interested in, you just toss aside to the floor for Lily to snack on. Honestly, I think you just like feeding Lily. 

Speaking of Lily, you really like her. You will crawl after her from one end of the apartment to the other. She makes you laugh. You think she's pretty funny. You like grabbing her hair and looking at her face. When she barks, you squeal. When you see her come close to you, you smile. Your sweet, sweet smile.

A smile that goes on for days. You have the sweetest dimples that aren't as indented only because you have filled in a little. But, they are still there. The dimples, that when coupled with your mostly gummy smile, is absolutely infectious and can turn a crummy attitude, bright-side up real quick.

A sweet gummy smile that you share every time your brother and I go into get you once you've waken from nap time. You light up when I walk in the room and smile even bigger when your  brother walks in. You smile in the mornings when you wake which makes waking up a little easier on this sleepy-mama. You are napping twice a day for a good 3-4 hours and sleeping (with 2-4 night nursings, which I'm mostly able to now sleep through since we're bed sharing) from 8:30 PM till about 7:30/8:30 AM most nights. The teeth that have presented in your sweet gummy smile mentioned earlier have everything to do with the whole most nights part.

So you are now mostly gummy because you now have your two bottom teeth. Those little pearly bandits that have stolen our sleep. Aside from the discomfort they give you (which I hate when you feel any pain!), they are pretty cute. Parts of me feel like you are still my little 3 or 4 month old baby boy because you only have two teeth right now (and because time seems to disappear when the sleeping is little). I know babies get teeth at different rates, but your big brother had a good 6 teeth (maybe more) by this time. So based on experience, it's hard to remember that you, my little sweet, are not my itty-bitty baby anymore.

Although, when I snuggle you up to nurse, all I see is my itty-bitty baby. Nursing is going so well! We had so many trouble the first 3-4 months (with big brother, nursing troubles subsided around month 3). Our troubles were different. Not only did we deal with thrush in the first two months (like with big brother), but mama's body decided to couple that trouble with an overactive let down which put us a couple months out till we really figured out how it was all going to work for us. All I know now is that those challenging months seem so far away. You nurse beautifully and sweetly and all things your personality. You bat at my hair and gently touch my face while looking into my eyes while my body nourishes your sweet self. You also turn into quite the acrobat and observer wanting to know and see everything going on near and far. I look forward to our time together and am so incredibly blessed by our nursing relationship. Even the acrobatic side that you and your growing self have been keen on as of late.

Yes, you have grown, Linus! And, not only are you longer and heavier, but you are crawling. Not just army-crawling, either. You're the real deal on all fours! You have been crawling all over the place this month. You are fast, quick, and speedy! You like crawling/climbing over things, especially your big brother and Dada. And, not only are you crawling, but you are pulling up to prop yourself on your knees. The last day of your seventh month you decided this would be a good idea. Are you really 8 months already?!

You're a big 8 months who loves to hang out in our maya sling. You do great at Mass sharing smiles and sweet eyes to those around. You also try and sneak in a hair-grab at your brother or Dada. Their heads seem to be much more fun than mine and I am quite alright with that. You also randomly decide that squealing and squawking along with prayer during Mass are how things should be. So, every once in awhile we do the little walk up the aisle and then come right back to enjoy the gift of Mass more up-close. During evening family prayer time you love to sit sweetly with your Dada. This makes my heart happy.

You make my heart happy little one. I can't imagine our little family without you. God was so good to share your precious little light with us. We love you. We love you so much. We love how you love us and are constantly teaching us how to love better and more like Him. You are good, sweet boy. And, we are grateful.

Happy 8 Months, sweet Linus!

i love you with all that i am,

Friday, October 11, 2013

7QT: Comets, Apples, and Dada is a thief

It's been awhile since I joined Jen for some Quick Takes. So, here we go with some Bigfoot moments.

Bigfoot at the table for breakfast looking outside:

Bigfoot: You thee da comet, mama? You thee it?
Mama: Comet? Where sweetheart?
B: (pointing outside) Wight dere! Wight dere! 
M: No, sweetheart, I don't see it. What does it look like?
B: It's wiighhtt dereeeee, mama!

Apparently there are comets outside our home.


Same day he asked for some juice after breakfast. I obliged.

B: (I'm pouring his glass) Good job, Ma-ma! Good job!

Thanks for the appreciation, little one. I've been racking up some Good jobs!, lately. Feelin' good!

Bigfoot while standing with one hand pointing up to the sky and the other on his hip.

B: I'm STHuperMannn!
M: You're superman!!
B: In da hoop, mama! In da hoop! Put it!
M: Haha, You want me to fly you through your basketball hoop?
B: Yethhh!


When he's ready to go somewhere.

B: Put it? Put it, broler? Put it broler in the carpet?
M: You want me to put brother in the carseat?
B: Yeth!

After being told that his friends were coming over to play.

B: (Dancing around in a circle in the living room) I sthoo happy! I stho happy! I happy! I happy!

As of late:

M: Sweetheart, where is your sippy cup?
B: Dada hath it.
M: Sweetheart, where are the keys?
B: Dada hath it!
Seeing the trend here? Apparently, Dada has a stash of all things that I am ever in search of while he's at work and we're at home.

After he has done something mischevious that he knows I would rather him not do:

B: (Walks around the corner): No no nooo. No no nooo. *finger wagging*
M: Bigfoot, what did you just do? 
B: All smiles with an ongoing finger wag.

We normally do fruit for dessert around here, but these moments happen pretty often:

M: Bigfoot, would you like an apple or a pear?
B: mmmm, how abooot...chewy sthnacks?
M: mmm, how about, an apple or a pear? Which would you like?
B: mmmm marthmall-oh?
M: mm pretty sure I didn't offer a marshmallow or chew snacks. But I did ask if you wanted an apple or a pear.
B: chewy sthnacks, mama? Ok, dank you!
M: Apple it is.
B: (excited) APPLE!!! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Theme Thursday: Double

It's always double the fun when we have friends over. Especially since our beloved GeekMan has been working late hours these past weeks! God has been so good to our little family through our amazing friends! These families, whom we love so much, have blessed us time and time again! Knowing GeekMan has been working OT, they have all reached out and offered regular playdates, invited us over to dinner, and called just to keep a mama sane! 

We love them so much and are so very grateful!

So, without further ado, here are a couple Double the Fun pics I actually remembered to take!

You know something good is going on when your two-year old son dances around the living room proclaiming he is happy after being told his friends were coming over to play.

Love y'all!

Head on over to Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday fun!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Five Favorites: Bigfoot

Thought I'd share some favorites of my oldest. He's growing so fast! He's learning so much! As is my love for him. Everyday.

1. Reading Fun
I love when he goes off to a corner to read through some of his current favorites. It's so sweet! Often times how it goes is he will randomly scurry off to his room. I'll leave him to play and then realize that he is unusually quiet. The kind of quiet that means trouble for a toddling two year old. 
So, you can imagine my delight when I find him comfy and cozy with some good reads.
Love it!

2. Big Brother Love
He is such a good big brother! Yes, we do have the occasional attack of the big brother that include but are not limited to: head smacks, eye poking, toy stealing (all. day. long.), or the attempt at wrestling that leads to injury for one, the other, or both. Aside from these not-so-hot moments, I love these boys' interactions and absolutely am so proud of how wonderful Bigfoot is as a big brother.
He's usually pretty good about gently wrestling with his brother. Or letting his brother crawl all over him. Pretty sure he revels in it, which makes it all that much sweeter.

And the times that make my heart smile is when he steals a kiss to his brother's cheeks or forehead.
He's an affectionate one, and I absolutely love this about him!

3. Outside
This little man lives for the outdoors. He lights up when he is running outside, playing with sticks and dirt, following bugs, and kicking or throwing whatever sports ball he can find.
When he sees chalk he sees a stick. He's not one to sit around and draw. He's the one who throws, breaks, stacks, lines up, or whatever else his little boy imagination thinks up to do with sticks.
Lately he's been all about "building". Building for this sweet boy is anywhere from stacking to lining up to grouping things by color. It's fun for him and hard earned. 

Chalks and actual sticks make for an even better time.
I love that he loves being outside. He definitely gets this from his mama. And Texas fall weather is just the perfect friend to let our little family enjoy playing in the sunshine that much more!

4. Prayer, Songs, Dancing, & Joy
Our sweet boy is such a good little prayer warrior. I never could have imagined the sweetness that spills from his little heart.

He prays for our families and friends every night. We sing a Hail Mary before nap time (seriously, the absolute sweetest thing my heart has ever heard. ever. ever. ever.). He can say most of the Our Father with you. And, it's all pretty beautiful.
He also is quite the singer: Old Mcdonald, ABCs, songs from Daniel Tiger, Happy Birthday, LeapFrog songs, and more. It's awesome! And you can be sure when the boy hears music or is singing something up-beat he is dancing his sweet little moves.

All this to share, because the incredible Joy this little one shares with our little family teaches us so much about love, living in the present moment, and choosing the good!

5. Sweetheart
 The boy is a treasure. His heart is so good and love so sweet.
I just pray that more of it rubs off on me! This boy has so much to share!
And I just feel so incredibly blessed our Sweet Lord thought to share this goodness with me!


Hope you enjoyed a few of my favorites about our oldest son, Bigfoot!
Head on over to MoxieWife for more favorites.

Little Pearly Sleep Bandits

A little over a week ago we had a tooth sighting!
Tooth numero dos has made his appearance since then too.

We've been busy...


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

These Little Nothings

The image paired with the quote below make my heart swell. I saw it a few years back and was reminded of it while writing yesterday's post. It's hard to even put into words how beautiful this little moment is. And, I love how perfectly matched it is with the sweet sentiments from St. Therese of the Little Flower. Hope it makes your heart swell as much as it does mine.

I have no other means of proving my love for You than to throw flowers, that is, not to pass up any little sacrifice, any look, any word, to take advantage of all the little things and to do them out of love… I want to suffer out of love and even rejoice out of love, so I will throw flowers before Your throne. […]
Jesus, what purpose will my flowers and my songs serve You? Oh, I know well that this sweet-scented rain, these fragile petals that have no value, these songs of love of the littlest of hearts — these will charm You. Yes, these little nothings will give You pleasure.
St. Therese of Lisieux
I have no other means of proving my love for You than to throw flowers, that is, not to pass up any little sacrifice, any look, any word, to take advantage of all the little things and to do them out of love… I want to suffer out of love and even rejoice out of love, so I will throw flowers before Your throne. […]

Jesus, what purpose will my flowers and my songs serve You? Oh, I know well that this sweet-scented rain, these fragile petals that have no value, these songs of love of the littlest of hearts — these will charm You. Yes, these little nothings will give You pleasure.

-St. Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sweet Little Flower

Happy feast day of Sweet St. Therese of the Little Flower! This sweet saint has been such a blessing to me! Such a blessing to me as a woman, a wife, and now as a mother. Her little ways have taught me so much. From this beautiful young woman I have gained so much perspective on things such as: goodness, kindness, my vocation, letting go, and most especially about love.
I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace [...] Jesus saw fit to enlighten me about this mystery. He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.
It is just the same in the world of souls — which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever He glances down. Holiness consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be.
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
The last line of the above quote means so much to my mama heart. When I first decided I would stay home to be a wife and mother, in my heart I knew this is what I was being asked. I had a beautiful conviction that may  not make sense to the world but made every bit of sense to my soul. For me, my little domestic monastery made sense and was a gift. Sweet Therese affirmed for me that my Lord wants me to love the seeds that the Holy Spirit planted in my heart many years ago. She made my decision to stay home beautiful and good. Because of her, I see a road lined with beautiful flowers of opportunity to love. My road that, God-willingly, will bring me and my family Home with His grace.
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
Living in my domestic monastery with three beautiful souls, it's easy to get caught up in the craziness of the present moment. And even easier to not see the greater good in a huge pile of laundry or the ridiculous number of stinkies you've changed in one day. Sweet Therese reminds me of how beautiful even the smallest of to-do's in our day-to-day truly are if done for love of Him. So many opportunities to love, to serve, to know these sweet little souls and in turn know my God. So many joys. So many smiles. So many laughs. So much love. Her childlike goodness helped me see that - even on my worst days - beauty and blessing overflow.
What a comfort it is, this way of love! You may stumble on it, you may fail to correspond with grace given, but always love knows how to make the best of everything; whatever offends our Lord is burnt up in its fire, and nothing is left but a humble, absorbing peace deep down in the heart.
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
The peace she speaks of is so true! I have been blessed to know it. Not always to remember it, but the times I do, I'm forever thankful. In today's world, where motherhood is a burden and our maternal gifts are optional. Where the self is first and sacrifice is unnecessary and should be avoided. Where life is measured by the standards of our society and what the world deems good and not by the virtues that call us home. Sweet Therese shared with me that in spite of whether I please all or none, if I strive to live the life He has called me to as a wife and mother, there is hope that I too can join her up above. That I too can someday be a little saint.
God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux
And lastly, I am mostly grateful for her little ways of love.
Oh! it is LOVE! To love, to be loved, and to come back to earth to make LOVE loved.
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux

She's beautiful. She's one of my favorite saints. These little morsels of goodness that I've shared don't even scratch the surface of the gifts that she has left us all. The little trail of petals that she laid down for us, gently and beautifully lead us to heaven. Her trail is attractive. It is enticing. Alluring. It is good. And, it draws us closer to each other in love as it also, and more importantly, draws us closer to He who is love.

So, thank you dear St. Therese of the Little Flower, for showing me the beautiful roses that await me every day.

And, in closing, enjoy this beautiful morning prayer from the Little Flower herself:

A Morning Prayer
O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.
O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in heaven for all Eternity.

St. Therese of the Little Flower, pray for us. Amen.


(Head over to The Pitter Patter Diaries to get to know other wonderful saints!)

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