Sunday, February 7, 2016

Be Our Guest!

First of all, who is super excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie with Emma Watson? With the title of this post, that just had to be said. Anyway, over the last few months I've gotten to see some people that I love a lot, but don't get to see as often as I'd like. I loved having these friends come visit my home...

Allison + Silas
My dear friend Allison now lives in North Carolina and has a little guy just a month older than Aiden. Despite the distance we have remained close and always connect when she is in town. It has been so fun to see the progression of our bumps to babies to now little boys! And since I love a good then and now picture I had to include one. The top picture was in June 2015 and the bottom picture was in late December! Where did our baby boys go?!
My college friend Betsy lives in Indy and is so good about visiting me regularly. Whenever we are together we always cook at least one (this time TWO) Pioneer Woman recipes. We went out to dinner just the two of us the first night she was here and she became our first basement guest since our basement renovations started! We also managed to get in a trip to Jungle Jim's aka the coolest grocery store ever and ate at a local dine and drive restaurant called Hydes. I also finally got to watch the movie Inside Out. Let's just say I cried and laughed a lot. Betsy is so easy to have around and she loves both Drew and Aiden too so she fits right in.
PW's Chow Mein and Beef with Snow Peas from her new cookbook. Yum and yum!
The Edgrens
Another dear college friend, Katie and her husband and kiddos also stopped by for a visit. She got to meet Aiden for the first time and I hadn't seen her youngest, Jane since she was a few months old! It was good to catch up and get a glimpse of her cute girls.
The older I get, the more I truly value the time people give to me and my family. I know these girls are busy and we don't see each other as much as we would like, but I just love the time I got to spend with them!

Who wants to be my next visitor? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mama Moment #1

Motherhood is a beautiful journey.

The storyteller in me wants to capture every moment with my son on camera, but sometimes it's good to put your phone down and just allow moments to happen. Everyday Aiden does something or says something and I think to myself, I don't ever want to forget this moment. 

So this is my attempt to freeze a few moments in time on my journey as Aiden's Mama.

Mama Moment #1:
Aiden has the best little laugh. He laughs with his whole entire body and he wants you to laugh right along with him. We start these "laughing fits" where he will start laughing at a goofy  noise I make and then his contagious little laugh will get me laughing and then that will egg him on. This continues until we are  both belly laughing and trying to find something else to do to keep the laughter going. He absolutely loves to laugh and he gets that from me. And that makes me so happy.

So I started singing the Mary Poppins song "I love to laugh" to him and now he laughs on cue with me during the song. Watching that movie growing up, I always wished that laughing could cause me to float up on the ceiling too. It just looked like so much fun. Well, laughing with my son is the closest I've ever felt to actually floating up on the ceiling and having a laughing party. Best feeling ever.

Do you have any recent Mama Moments that you wish you could bottle up and never forget? 
Please share below!

Monday, February 1, 2016

{Baby Approved Meals} Healthy Carrot Spaghetti

Baby Spaghetti
I've made this dish many times especially when Aiden was smaller and couldn't quite yet eat what we were eating. He always slurped it down. This spaghetti "recipe" is a little healthier and easier on the bellies of a little one than regular spaghetti because no tomatoes are involved. And since I was always looking for new recipes for Aiden I thought I'd share it with you.

1 cup pasta
1/2 cup pureed carrots
Shredded cheddar cheese
1.) Boil water and cook pasta as directed on box
2.) Drain pasta and cut up into small pieces
3.) Cut up and steam carrots
4.) Puree carrots
5.) Add pureed carrots to the top of the cooked pasta
6.) Sprinkle with cheese
Other Baby Approved Meals:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Books Worth Reading in 2016

I fell in love with quite a few fictional characters in 2015. They kept me up at night, made me laugh and made me cry. These are a few books you should definitely read this year! (* indicates my favorites)

If you like your books with a hint of history, read these...

*The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

*Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

*11/22/63 by Stephen King

If you like books with a quirky leading male protagonist, read these...

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

If you like your books with a dash of whimsy, read these...

*Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

*Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

If you like books that cause you to stay up way past your bedtime, read these...

*What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Confess by Colleen Hoover

If you like books that speak to your heart & soul, read this...

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

Next up on my to-read list for 2016...
The Lake House by Kate Morton
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Are you on Goodreads?
Find me here!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Messy {Thoughts on handing over control}

Lately Aiden wants to do everything by himself. Part of me loves this and is so proud and the other (bigger) part of me is having a hard time handing over control to my toddler, especially when it means that meal time is always messy.

I was all about my 14 month old picking up his food with his hands and feeding himself. I oohed and ahhhed and clapped for him. All of the sudden though, he wanted to take control of the spoon. I knew handing over the spoon meant a huge mess for me, but he wouldn't give up. So I reluctantly handed over the spoon, found a plate to shield myself from the mashed potatoes that would surely be flung my direction and peeked over to see what he would do.

I watched his little tiny fingers grasp the spoon with delight and plunge it in to the mashed potatoes. The spoon was his, he now had "control." And then I had a revelation.

This must be how God feels.

God graciously allows us to take the spoon from Him even when we have no idea what we are doing with it. Then we do things OUR way and make a mess of things. But He doesn't leave us in our mess.

He loves us despite our mess.

So when Aiden wants to feed himself, I will do my best to guide his hand and to teach him how he should do it. I will be patient when my floor is covered in bananas and sweet potatoes and when bath time is required because he has syrup in his hair. When he makes a mess, I will be there to clean it up.

And as time goes on and he has watched me and practiced, he will eventually learn how to make a little less of a mess. This is what we should be doing too. Reading the Bible and learning from God's example how to live so that the messes we are bound to make can be a little easier to clean up.

I know that no matter how much of a mess Aiden makes with his food (or his life) I will still love him and want the best for him. And that my friends, is only a tiny smidgen of what God feels about us, His kids. Your mess is never too big for Him.

Monday, January 18, 2016

{Baby Approved} Healthy Smash Cake

healthy smash cake
As Aiden's first birthday approached I decided to look into making my own smash cake for him. Since he hadn't had a lot of sugar I didn't want him to be on sugar overload so I found a recipe for a somewhat "healthy" smash cake and it was surprisingly delicious! We ate the leftovers for breakfast for oh 3 days after his party so I promise, it's yummy. The recipe for the cake and icing are below...

Banana Smash Cake
5 ripe bananas
1/2 cup homemade applesauce
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (melted)
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cups Oat Flour (grind rolled oats in blender)
1 Tsp. Cinnamon

1.) Mash the bananas in in a medium bowl
2.) In a separate large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and cinnamon together
3.) Add the mashed bananas, applesauce, coconut oil and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
4.) Coat your pans with oil (I used two 8 inch round cake pans)
5.) Spread the batter into the bottom of the pans
6.) Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center)
7.) Cool the cakes before frosting

Cream cheese icing
1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz.) no sugar added apple juice concentrate
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1.) Soften the cream cheese
2.) Whisk the cream cheese with the apple juice concentrate and vanilla extract until creamy. (It will take a little while for the cream cheese to get creamy, don't give up when it looks super runny, I promise it will thicken up. Just keep whisking, just keep whisking...

Once the cake is cooled, frost it and refrigerate until it is ready to be devoured! I made this cake the night before Aiden's party and it set up well and tasted great the next day!
first birthday cake
Inspirational Number Tee from The Blue Envelope

Friday, January 15, 2016

That time my baby rode a horse

Christmas day we went out to my Aunt & Uncle's farm for lunch and Aiden got a surprise. He got to ride a horse and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen, which is why the next bazillion pictures are all of my baby on a horse...Giddy up.
Aren't his boots just the cutest little things?
And as if riding a horse wasn't enough fun for one day, then Aiden got his own "hay ride." This kid is living the dream I tell ya. And I just love that he is wearing his Christmas suspenders in these pictures.
An abundance of cats, a real horsey ride and his own hayride? Well, I think Aiden now wants to live on the farm! I love that he will grow up being able to visit a family farm just like his mama did!