June 27, 2012

Life via Instagram

Happy Wednesday friends!

How's your week been? Only a couple more days till the weekend,
and that makes me happy! 

Here's a bit of real life via Instagram.

fell asleep on the way home from a mini staycation.

dinner is served.

lunch time is easily becoming one of my fave times of the day.

decorations for a baby shower I'm throwing with friends.

hubby had a pregnancy craving one night while i was at the store,
i picked this up for him while i was there.

reading one of our favorite books.

yay, for a baby shower with a dear friend!

June 26, 2012

Veggie & Brown Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

I've been on the hunt for a stuffed pepper recipe, Hubby and I are trying a new eating lifestyle that is more plant based. All the recipes I was finding had meat and cheese in them. So I decided to take a few of my faves and combine the ingredients together to make a new one.

Here's what I came up with;


Stir those together, then add:


And then:


Mix all your ingredients together. Hallow out four peppers, I choose green peppers but you could do red or a mixture of both. Add in your mixture to the peppers. I put all four of them in a round cake pan just so the would touch each other and not fall over in the oven.

Once they are all filled put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Watch them to make sure they don't burn or get to crispy. Pull them out when they are done and plate them. I added some fresh avocado for some extra flavor.

Eat & Enjoy!


June 25, 2012

Basically I'm Just Going to brag for a little bit.....

A couple weekends ago was the Miss Minnesota pageant. My dear friend Elizabeth competed this year, she is Miss Saint Paul. You've heard me talk a lot about Elizabeth here on the blog before. She's become such a dear friend to me. I love how our relationship has grown over the years. She's grown so much since I first met her when she was sixteen, to an amazing confident woman.

A woman to puts the needs of others before her own.

A woman who is passionate about serving the Lord.

A woman who knows who she is, and wants to make a difference with her life.

I'm so proud of this girl and the woman of God that she is. Her heart and her compassion for others is one of the most beautiful things about her.


I feel so honored to know her, and have played some small role in the person she's become. But, the truth is that who she is is because of her faith and love for Christ, and her amazingly supportive family. 

Her family is the real deal and I love them dearly. 


The Miss America & Miss Minnesota Scholarship programs are more than just beauty pageants. They are platforms for young woman to take their passions and share them with the world, make a difference for the benefit of others, raise awareness for things that matter, and further their education. 


I'm so incredibly proud of how this organization and helped Elizabeth grow in so many ways. This year at Miss Minnesota Elizabeth placed 3rd runner up to Miss Minnesota Siri Freeh. But, so much more than that she also won the Tracie Joy McBride Quality of Life Award, and the Miss America Community Service Award, both amazing awards that were given because of her true testament to who she is, and her service and dedication to helping the special needs community. 

It's one thing for people to see your beauty, because there's no doubt she's gorgeous. But it's another for people to see your heart and your character. I'm so proud of her that not only does beauty exude from her but poise, grace, humility, and a love for others shines so much brighter. 

To read more about Elizabeth and her platform visit her website. 

all images copyright Tom Scipioni

June 22, 2012

30B430: Eat at a Restaurant Solo


#4: Eat at a restaurant solo.

I remember when I was writing this list and I shared it with my sister, after she read it she asked me;

"Why do you want to do some of these things alone?"

The truth is I've always been a very independent person, and as independent as I am there's a lot of things I haven't done alone out of fear. A lot of them being social things like eating out a lone or going to a movie by myself. 

I've always viewed those things as very "social" things, things that you do with your girlfriends, a group of people or your significant other. Not things you do alone.

The other truth, I was worried if I did these things alone what would people think? What would they say? Would they feel sorry for the girl eating in a restaurant by herself? Would they care? You get the idea.

Some of this list is about overcoming fears. As I've gotten older, and wiser I've learned a lot that I need to be myself and careless about what others think and feel about me. As long as I am pleasing the Lord with my life, the rest doesn't matter. 

A couple weekends ago one afternoon I was on my way to get my hair done, I thought it would take me longer to get there because of traffic but it didn't. I pulled into the parking lot and I still had 30 minutes before my appointment. I sat there for a few minutes not sure what I was going to do to kill time, then I saw a little pizza shop next door realized that I hadn't eaten lunch, I was pregnant and probably shouldn't go 3 more hours without lunch. Logical right?!

I strolled into the restaurant, ordered food and sat outside on the busy patio. Challenging myself to enjoy my lunch and not care what people were thinking. 


The truth is, I don't think people care. Generally I think most people are busy eating their own lunch and visiting with their friends to notice or care. 

It was a good challenge for me. A good way to get over silly insecurities. 

To see the full list, click here. 

June 21, 2012

Everyday Victories in Motherhood

As mothers we all have those every day small victories that get us through the day or week. Maybe you conquered the piles of laundry that were building up, or maybe your child finally mastered potty training, or maybe you spent a morning just you and it made you a better mother. Victories all around. 

I think sometimes as mothers it's the small things that make a big impact, I know for me it does. Sometimes just finding fruits that she loves and will eat are a victory for me! Ava turned two in March and it's been amazing to me a little switch that's happened. It's like she woke up and decided she knew exactly what she wanted and didn't want. 

She's been exerting that will ever since. She's become very particular about what she does and doesn't want. The foods she wants to eat or drink. Lately my biggest challenging has come from getting dressed in the mornings. Ava goes to daycare during the week and they have some rules about things she can or can't wear, one being that all the kids have to wear close toed shoes. 

Ava's become obsessed with sandals, especially her sparkly ones. That's all she wears on the weekends, last week to church she wore sandals that didn't match because she didn't want to wear the shoes I picked for her. For me, as a mom it's become what do I really want to battle with her about and what don't I? Anyone else with me? 

She wants to wear her tutus more than pants. She wears her sunglasses everywhere, and I've been told on many occasions that she takes naps in them at daycare. The last couple weeks I've been letting her pick and choose some portions of her outfits. Choosing to let her express herself in this way, and letting her make some small decisions about clothing. 

The reality for me is that I don't mind her wearing sunglasses around the house, or wearing every last necklace around her neck if it means that she gets to express herself, be a kid, learn and have fun. 

It's a small victory for me as a Mom. 

Tutu, check.

Fairy Wings check.

Happy girl using her imagination, check. 

Letting her choose and telling her when she can't wear sandals to daycare has provided us the oportunity to teach her what she can't and can't do. We've seen her listening abilities through this, and and understanding come through. 

Small victory, and I'll take it. 

Do you have an everyday victory in Motherhood you'd like to share? Tell me in the comments below!

Hurry in to Kroger and Kroger Banner Stores for P&G’s big sale event, June 10–23!
At Kroger and its banner stores, more than 30 of your favorite P&G brands are at HOT sale prices through June 23, including Tide, Charmin, Cascade, Pampers, Crest and Olay. Look for tags with special prices throughout the household needs and health and beauty aisles, and be on the lookout for even bigger offers – like getting serious dollars off when you buy a bundle of products.
Before hitting the store, visit P&G’s event page on Kroger.com: http://bit.ly/KG6dw5
You can play games like basketball, track and gymnastics to win money off your next Kroger trip, download digital coupons, print a shopping list, and learn more about P&G products!
And as part of this event, consider trying one of these fab products from P&G:
Vicks Nature Fusion, Charmin Basic, Downy Unstopables, and Swiffer Duster Extenders!
I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are 100% mine. 

June 20, 2012

Sesame Noodles with Grilled Veggies


This recipe came to me by default, I was trying to make one of Pioneer Woman's recipes when I realized I didn't have all the ingredients on hand that she had in her recipe. I went through my pantry and found things that I did have on hand to improvise and created a new dish that my whole family loves!


2 red bell peppers sliced thin
1 green pepper sliced thin
1 zucchini chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
2 carrots sliced thin

4 green onions sliced and set aside

Sesame seeds for garnish

1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles cooked according to package directions

Chop all your veggies up, I like to grill them in my grill pan. But you could also steam them if you like to cook them. While they are cooking start cooking your pasta according to the package. 

While those are cooking assemble the sauce. 

Sauce Ingredients
2/3 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup KRAFT Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar 
2 Tbs. olive oil
1tsp. hot sauce (use any that you like)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside. 

Once the pasta is done drain and put into a large serving dish. Then add your grilled veggies to the pasta, and pour your sauce over the top. Toss all together. Once completely coated in the sauce add the green onions on top and sprinkle sesame seeds on top for garnish. 

Eat & Enjoy!

I've also made this dish another way without the veggies and just substituted grilled chicken for the veggies. 


June 18, 2012

Date Night In with Cattlemen's Finest Grill It Up Campaign #SummerGrilling

I'm excited to share with you a great date night in idea for you and your spouse! Usually with date nights you think of always going out, but we hardly think that we can have great date nights at home. Don't get me wrong a love a good date night, but sometimes we can't always get out due to lack of childcare. So I like to take these opportunities to make great date nights that we can also do at home.

We headed to Smart & Final to look at their selection of Cattlemen's Finest beef and pick something out to grill up for date night. Also, I think it's awesome that I can show you another way to grill up for the summer! We have a regular gas grill that we use often, but sometimes when we don't want to turn on the grill or when it's cooler out we like to use our grill pan inside on our stove. This is also a great alternative for those who may not have a gas grill of their own.


I was really surprised at the great selection they had to offer. Everything from roasts, sirloin cuts and rib eyes all for really great prices. I also loved the great little tags on most of the cuts that told you what each cut was best for like; roasting, braising, or grilling. Which is handy if you aren't familiar with different cuts of meat and what they are best for. That makes it simple and easy, and that's really great for #SummerGrilling.

We chose a sirloin cut that was big enough for the two of us to split. We also picked up some potatoes for roasting. As well as squash and zucchini for grilling as a side.

When we got home I was able to prep everything and get it ready. Turn on your oven to 400 degrees. I chopped up the potatoes and seasoned them with olive oil and Italian seasoning, garlic salt and pepper. Throw these on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 30 minutes.


I also chopped the veggies and added 1 yellow onion to the mixture, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Set these aside until after you grill your meat.


Next I generously seasoned the steak on both sides with pepper and a little salt. Then I got my grill pan screaming hot, and seared my meat on each side for 3 minutes.


See those awesome grill marks? Yes, that's what you want on each side. Once you're done searing place the meat onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 12 minutes for well done. If you prefer your meat medium or raw you'll want to cook it for less time than this. Adjust accordingly.


While your meat and potatoes are in the oven, wash your grill pan and then start grilling up the veggies. Take out your meat, and let it "rest" for 5-7 minutes before you cut into it.


You can also let your Hubby help and get in on the grilling too! 


Cut up your meat, plate your veggies and serve! 


Enjoy the date night with your love. We put our daughter to bed, and then had dinner alone just the two of us! 
See more of my shopping experience in my Google+ album.

Take some time to visit these great links to find out more about Smart & Final and Cattlemen's Finest:

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions are 100% mine. 

June 13, 2012

Book Review:: Mission Motherhood


I finally finished this book that I started over Christmas. It's not a big book, but reading these days takes me a little longer maybe than most. It's a great book, and I wanted to share with you why I loved it so much. If you're looking for a book to take a Godly perspective about motherhood and its mission this is a great book.

Her book really encourages stay at home motherhood, I know this might turn away some of you from reading this book. There's always much debate about working moms vs. stay at home moms. And here's the only thing I'll say about the subject, is that every family has to choose what works best for their family. And us Moms need to be more supportive and encouraging of one another.

With that said said don't discount reading this book, here's some key thoughts that I took from her book. I really encourage you to read it no matter what kind of mothering situation you are in.

* We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children.

* Accepting the call of motherhood doesn't mean giving up ministry, in fact it is your ministry. 

* Write down goals for your family and how you will accomplish them.

* Making disciples of our children is certainly part of the mission of motherhood.

* Diligent parents do battle for their children's souls. 

* Our vision for our family defines the decisions we make, the priorities we keep.

I would really encourage you too pick up this book, it's a great read and very encouraging for a mother's heart.

You can find it here on Amazon.

Have you read any great books on parenting or motherhood lately? I'd love to hear your recommendations. 

June 12, 2012

30B430: Have Ava's Party Featured on a Party Blog


#16: Have Ava's Second Birthday Party featured on a party blog. 

I'm excited to cross another goal off my list for the year! I worked so hard on this party, and it was such a celebration of Ava and her second year that I wanted to show it off! I met Toni at SNAP! this past year, she runs a popular children's party & decor site called Design Dazzle! 

Design Dazzle

Ava's party has been awesomely featured on her site this week! Go here and check out the full feature. Thank you Toni, for sharing her party with your readers! 

You can view the original 30B430 list here. 

June 11, 2012

Ava's Special Announcement

Ava's has a special announcement to make. 



She's pretty excited about it.


Can't stop smiling.


Coming December 15th, 2012.


Peace out.

Happy Monday Friends.

June 8, 2012

Gramp's Biscuits & Gravy


There's a few smells and tastes that remind me of home, and there's nothing quite like your Grandfather's Biscuits & Gravy to bring you back. They say a lot of our traditions are built around food and the dinner table, and this for sure is one of those meals. 

I grew up listening to my Gramps whistle while he cooked this dish up for breakfast for the masses. It took me a while to get it down, but after years of watching him and with a little help from the man himself I am now happy to make this for my own family. 

This is not a healthy breakfast what so ever. But it's good, oh so good. And that's all that really matters right? You can work it off later.  ;)

Here's what you'll need:
1 lb. pork sausage (I like Jimmy Dean)
2 tablespoons Wondra Flour (found in the baking aisle)
12 inch skillet

Here's what you do:

Cook up your sausage in the 12 inch skillet, make it into crumbles like ground beef. When sausage is cooked through add your milk to the skillet, add enough milk to skim the top of the sausage. You'll fill pretty much the entire skillet at this point with milk. Stir together, and then add your 2 tablespoons of Wondra Flour. Bring to a boil stirring frequently. 

While you sausage mixture is coming to a boil prepare the biscuits using the Bisquick recipe on the box, but instead of using a biscuit cutter drop the batter by table spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for the time it says on the box, usually 10 minutes. 

While biscuits are cooking continue stirring your sausage mixture till it thickens, this process will probably take the longest. I usually hold off on making my biscuits till I see this has started to boil. You can prepare the batter but just don't throw them the oven. 

If you need to thicken your sauce still add more Wondra flour to the mixture till it's thickened to your liking. 

Plate hot, and serve. It's pretty good, you're family will love you for this one! 

June 6, 2012

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sausage & Veggies


I've been cooking a lot lately, trying new things and trying lots of new recipes. Some have been hit and miss with my family, but this one was a hit so I thought I'd share it with you. 

These flavors came together as well on the plate as they did in my mind when I was coming up with this recipe. This was one of those use "what you have already" on hand to make something yummy. Enjoy!

Here's what you'll need:
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Kielbasa Sausage, quartered 
1 package whole wheat spaghetti
1 jar marinara sauce
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Here's what you'll do:
Cook pasta according to package directions.

In another pan cook the sausage till cooked through. Then add the peppers and onion to the same pan and cook together. You'll add the sauce next and the seasoning and stir together. Cook till just bubbly and warm. 

Plate and serve. 


June 4, 2012

Yummy Summer Salad


This has easily become one of my favorite "go to" summer dishes to make. It's super easy to make, really yummy and filling enough to make a whole meal. My husband loves it too. We had it again last week and I thought I'd share it with you. 

It's from a website called Skinny Taste, which I love. Gina has some great recipes on her site. 

I like making the dressing from scratch, but I've also found a great alternative to it that tastes just the same; Annie's Organic Honey Mustard is a good one! I also use chicken breasts instead of tenderloins for this recipe. 

Here's the recipe from Gina: (click here to visit her site and see the recipe.)

Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes 
Servings: 3 • Serving Size: salad with 2 chicken tenders • Points: 8 pts • Points+: 8 pts
Calories: 397.6 • Fat: 11.0 g • Protein: 26.8 g • Carb: 32.5 g • Fiber: 4.4 g • Sugar:10
  • 6 (about 12 oz) chicken tenderloins
  • 6 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp crushed cornflake crumbs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute or egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • olive oil spray
  • 6 cups mixed baby greens
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar (balsamic would work too)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine coconut flakes, panko, cornflake crumbs and salt in a bowl. Put egg whites or egg beaters in another bowl.

Lightly season chicken with salt. Dip the chicken in the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment for easy cleanup. Lightly spray with olive oil spray and bake for 30 minutes turning halfway, or until chicken is cooked through.

Place 2 cups baby greens on each plate. Divide carrots, cucumber, tomato evenly between each plate. When chicken is ready slice on the diagonal and place on top of greens. Heat dressing in the microwave a few seconds and divide equally between each salad; a little over 1 tbsp each.

What summer meals are you cooking up to beat the heat? Tell me in the comments below! 


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