Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Orange, Strawberry & Banana Juice Popsicles

Since making our first round of homemade popsicles with the popsicle molds we picked up at IKEA, Ryan has been so excited to try out different flavors.

Since our first popsicles were yogurt based, I wanted to make our second flavor from a juice base and see which ones we all liked better.

So while we were doing our weekly shopping at Trader Joe's, I let Ryan pick out the juice we would use for the base of our popsicles. He picked this one:

We made sure we had bananas, strawberries and oranges to add in to the popsicles and got to work when we got home.

It's worth noting that the IKEA popsicle molds do not need cooking spray, like I originally listed in the first recipe I shared. I felt like I could taste a subtle flavor of the spray in our original popsicles we made and did not like it at all, so I tested out two without spray this go around, and they came out just as easily. I love these popsicle molds!

1 cup Trader Joe's Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice
1 large banana
1 orange
4-5 whole strawberries, chopped

(Popsicle molds should be at room temperature before assembling.)

Add banana, strawberries, and orange in the blender. Pour juice over top. Blend until smooth.

Pour juice mixture from blender into each popsicle mold- leaving a little space on the top for the lid/base of the mold.

Insert the base of the mold that has the stick. Place in freezer for at least 8 hours.

When you're ready to eat the popsicles, take the molds out and run them under hot water for a couple of seconds while squeezing the sides gently. The popsicles should pull right out; if they don't, run a little more hot water over the molds and try again.

The yogurt based popsicles have such a different taste, so it's kind of hard to compare, but I think I liked these juice ones even better!

Hope you guys enjoy them too!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Life Updates


Today marks 37 weeks for this 3rd pregnancy- we are SO close to meeting our baby girl!

We spent the long weekend close to home and soaked up all the family-of-four + Tal time we could. We swam, we walked to breakfast, we played in the driveway, we ate on our patio, we went out for pizza and ice cream, we hiked, we spent some time with Mimi & Papa, we organized and cleaned a little and relaxed a lot. It was SUCH a good weekend.

Each day during nap, Matt and I sat down by the pool for a bit, and each night after the kids went down, we sat by the fire on our patio. It really felt like vacation without any of the packing.

We talked about how different these final weeks feel with this pregnancy than they did with Ryan or Natalie's. We have so much anticipation but without any of the nervousness. We're just ready for whatever life with 3 will bring.

In fact we laughed because one of our nights on the patio was spent making a list of 40 places we want to travel, both with our kids and just the two of us- that's how different being within 3 weeks feels this time. I can promise you we weren't having those conversations right before Ryan or Natalie were born!


Well guess who decided she wanted to start walking this weekend?!
This girl!

Saturday morning she stood up from the floor and flashed that wide open smile and took two steps before reaching for the floor and trying again. She worked her way up to 8 steps by Monday and prefers to walk with one of our hands over crawling just about everywhere now. Sweet girl is on her way to being a full-time walker!


I finished Love Lives Here, made two new recipes, and finished setting up Ryan and Baby Girl's new rooms!

You can check out the first recipe here.

The second recipe is a homemade popsicle recipe that I'll post tomorrow.

And I'll also share pictures from the new rooms later this week. I'm so happy with how they both turned out!

This book was a great, light read that made me think about what I want our home life to look like and what kind of family I want our kids to grow up in as the years go by. It sounds obvious, but a family culture is going to exist, and it's either going to be one that Matt and I intentionally set and are diligent to maintain, or it's going to be set by other influences- people, activities, opinions, schedules, school, sports, etc.

I like the way the author and her husband seemed to think about these things on the front end in an effort to protect the type of family atmosphere they wanted to create.

Two passages that really resonated with me were:

"When the kids were young, Bob and I tossed the busyness of outside distractions in order to protect our home life. We took time off from volunteering in youth ministry, cut down on evening events for a period of time to give consistency to our schedule, and we eliminated a couple good things to make room for three great things: Lindsey, Richard, and Adam. Family memories mean more to me than personal accomplishments. Both are good, but on a priority scale, there are seasons when spending time with the family will always mean more to me. It's an investment worth making." -pg. 184

"A stable and abundant home life is what I wanted deep down. A home full of people who practiced love, joy, peace, patience, and understanding, until we got it right, even if it took a lifetime to figure out how. I wanted a place where people felt nurtured, where exploring, adventuring, trying, and failing were supported. I envisioned a home where gathering for meals not only filled our stomachs but also nurtured our souls, and where we'd rally when one of us got sick or suffered or struggled. What I desired most was an environment where laughter and music hung in the air, where the flames of creativity were fanned and the fires lit by fear, judgment, and condemnation were snuffed out swiftly, and where everyone was safe from emotional trip wires and landmines. In short, I wanted my family to live where we could serve God, each other, and be able to say wholeheartedly to everyone entering it, Welcome Home." -pg. 212

So, so good.
If you'd like to read the rest of Maria Goff's book, you can order a copy here.

I'll finish this post with some pictures I snapped throughout the weekend:

Natalie loves sitting on this bottom step, and this time Ryan went to sit by her and asked her something, I'm not sure what, but the way he had his arm around her and was bending down toward her face was too sweet.

I snuck this pic of the two of them at my doctor's appointment on Thursday. They have been so great to come to so many of my appointments with me and have done really well playing with their toys while we wait.

Friday morning we ran into Target to make a return and picked up a couple of things from the dollar spot- Ryan tried on this Mickey hat and decided to go with a wooden painting kit instead. :)
And Natalie picked out a pink ball that she was pretty excited about, sweet love.

From there, we headed to the mall to get Natalie her first pair of walking shoes. We had a gift card to Nordstrom from Aunt KK (Matt's sister), so we went there to have her feet measured and find the right shoe for her. Well little did I know they would pull out all the stops for this Little Lady's first shoe shopping experience! Girlfriend got balloons and a little stuffed animal bunny to go with her new shoes. She was so cute and looked so grown up to me!

Friday afternoon, Matt left work early and met us at the park. He and Ryan we playing on the swings and slides while Natalie and I rocked in the lady bug car and played with my glasses. :)

Friday night and Saturday morning, we painted Ryan's little wooden shark that he got from Target, swam in the pool, and he and Matt ran around the yard with the balloons from Nordstrom (Ryan ran totally naked, of course) while Natalie and I played with the water table and hose. :)

Sunday morning, our church wasn't meeting (they do this every Memorial Day and every Christmas to give staff and volunteers the weekend off), so we went on a hike at the Roswell Mill near our house. It was Natalie's first time in the backpack and she loved it!
Ryan was such a big boy and walked most of the way, and then asked Matt to carry him. Bless Matt. He carried him a pretty long way back after we saw the waterfall!

Monday morning we walked up to a new coffee & waffle shop in downtown Roswell called Crazy Love. It was a fun start to the extra day off for Matt!

After naps, Mimi came over and Papa joined a little later for our Memorial Day dinner. We hoped to swim too but it rained all afternoon, so we just played inside and ate on the screened porch.
Even Tal was tired after our weekend. It really was such a fun and full few days!

And that concludes this super long post. 
Tomorrow's will be a quick & easy (a short) popsicle recipe. ;)

Hope you all had a great weekend!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Shrimp Fettucine

Truth be told, I could eat pasta every single day of the week and be happy. 

But, since I'm married and a mom of almost 3 kids, and since 7 nights of carbs is not in the best interest of my family's overall health (wah wah), I have tried to stick to cooking pasta only one night each week. 

If you know me, you know that this is sacrifice at its highest form.

I will say though that only having pasta one night/week makes that one night pretty exciting for this pasta lover. I suppose self control can be a good thing after all.

This recipe is so super easy and man is it good! It's a combination of two of my favorite sauces that just so happen to come from a jar, which makes this meal prep extra quick and easy. I wouldn't call it a "lite" meal per say, but it's your pasta night, so just enjoy it and don't think about the calories.

2T butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 can Hunt's diced tomatoes, "sweet onion" flavor (looks like this)
1- 25oz jar of your favorite Vodka sauce (I used Trader Joe's Organic Vodka Sauce- looks like this)
1- 16.9oz jar of your favorite Alfredo sauce (I used Trader Joe's- looks like this)
1lb Fettuccine
Pasta water
40-50 large cooked shrimp- peeled, deveined and tale off (I used frozen)

Melt butter in pan. Add onion and saute until clear (about 7 minutes). Add tomatoes and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add Alfredo and Vodka sauce. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to low.

Cook fettuccine in heavily salted water to al dente. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add frozen shrimp to the boiling pasta.

Before draining the pasta, transfer 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce (use more or less depending on desired thickness). Stir until blended.

Drain pasta and shrimp. Then return to sauce pan and combine.

Garnish with fresh parmesan and serve with your favorite vegetable or salad.