Elise is such a sensitive little girl. She already shows a great concern for others - if you tell her that someone is sick once, she will ask you every time that we see or talk about them if they feel better. Because of the Rev's line of work she hears of illness and hospitals often, its just a part of his calling and we don't hide it from her. It will be a part of her reality, just as late night visits to families who have just lost loved ones and visitations to funeral homes will be. We don't dwell on these things and we don't offer great detail, but we do speak to her in terms that she can understand and encourage her to pray for or offer help to people that need it. And if you tell her that we need to pray for someone she does it right then, "Dear God, help so and so feel better, Amen."
When a friend brought to our attention that the Ronald McDonald House in our neighboring area was trying to fill the house with 5,000 Valentine's cards to brighten the day for the families that will spend the holiday there, I knew that the project would be perfect for Elise. Not only would she get to help others feel better but she would get to use stickers and the coveted markers, which are still reserved for special, supervised occasions. She took her job seriously and even parted with some of her favorite Lisa Frank stickers (where are my 80's friends?).
I hope she always takes such joy in helping others feel better and always remembers to #SendLove. 


DCB Recipe #45: Honey Mustard Chicken

Quick, easy, and full of flavor! It doesn't hurt that it had sauce to dip in - that seems to be a major meal requirement for 2 year olds! Make this one in your deep covered baker in the microwave in minutes (or bake in your oven for 30-40 minutes in a 9x13 baking dish if you don't have a baker), add a few sides and dinner is done!

Honey Mustard Chicken

1lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 c. mustard
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken and set aside. 
In a bowl combine honey, mustard, basil, and paprika. 
Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the baker and top with the chicken. Top with an additional 1/3 of the sauce.
Microwave, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with remaining sauce.


Tipsy Tuesday (#296)

Buy now, for next winter!

Tip #296

Stores are already getting rid of winter items, like coats and boots. Buy now for deep savings.

We were able to score a super cute, warm winter coat for Elise for next winter for just $15 at Target a few weeks ago! It seems crazy to think of clearance on winter when there are still months of winter left for us here, but I'll take the savings anyway!


Blue Ridge Modern Quilt Guild

Sewing has really become something that I want to excel at, so when a Mom of one of Elise's preschool classmates mentioned that she was starting a Modern Quilt Guild, I knew that I wanted to join. She is a talented wedding dress and clothing designer and her mother owns the local sewing shop, so I knew that I would be surrounding myself with knowledge and some great resources. Modern quilting follows traditional quilting technique, but modernizes the aesthetic by using bold, bright colors and print; expansive negative space; high contrast and creative threading. We are meeting once a month to share our projects, learn techniques, and sit and sew a block of the month. This month, I sewed my first block, this cute little fancy fox face. Quilt pattern available here.

I'm planning my first big project, which will be a modern quilt for Elise's vintage modern big girl room. I'm toying with one of the quilt patterns below, in the color palette below left.
Any fellow quilters out there?


Swoon Worthy (and Toddler Approved!)

This month for my Cake Slice Baker's selection I opted for Swoon Pies, a homemade version of Moon Pies. These are only half dipped in chocolate and it is a good thing because I would have had to hose my taste tester off if they had been completely dipped in chocolate....

Elise was a fan and so was everyone else that we shared them with. No crazy ingredients or kitchen tools needed and a relatively quick bake. I would definitely make these again!


Tipsy Tuesday (#295)

Elise has discovered and fallen in love with pomegranates.

Tip #295

You pay twice as much for the pretty seeds already packaged nice and neat in the produce section, so this Mom had to learn how to de-seed a pomegranate in a hurry!

Thanks My Little Gourmet  for making it so easy for me! Here are her instructions:

"What you’ll need is a medium bowl filled with some water, a knife, a strainer, and a big flat spoon like the wooden one above.

1.) To start you’ll want score the fruit horizontally with the knife. Don’t cut all the way through because then you’ll cut the seeds and that could get messy.
2.) Next take the fruit in both hands and twist it open.
3.) Take a half and place it open-side down in your palm and hold the spoon in your other hand. Now, over the bowl of water, whack (pretty hard) the backside of the pomegranate with the spoon. Continue doing this while turning the fruit so you get the seeds out of all of the sides.
4.) Repeat with the other half.
5.) Take a strainer or spoon and skim all of the white pieces off the top of the water.
6.) Dump the seeds out into a strainer and voila, you’ve got yourself some ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds in a matter of minutes."


Tipsy Tuesday (#294)

Confession time - I will drive a car covered in mud....but I have to have a clean interior.

Tip #294

Use silicone muffin liners to help keep your car clean and tidy.

Placing silicone muffin liners in the cup holders of your car will help catch crumbs and contain spills. When they get dirty, take them out, wash, and replace!

Other great travel ideas here. Do you have any to add?


Easy Peasy Yogurt Bark

Elise is a bit of a grazer and is always wanting a snack, so I need healthy options for her. This is not so much a recipe as it is a method that you can customize as you like.

Easy Peasy Yogurt Bark

1 container of Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
toppings of your choice (we used chocolate chips, craisins and granola)

Combine yogurt and honey.

Spread on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with toppings.


Break into bite sized pieces.

Store in freezer.


Influenster VoxBox: Frosty

I received my 3rd box of free goodies from Influenster and wanted to share it with you!

What is Influenster? Straight from their website:

Influenster [in-floo-uhn-ster]
"An exclusive online community where tastemakers and trendsetters come to share the latest and greatest news, places, products, and reviews with each other. 2. The hotspot you just bookmarked on your web browser that turns your social influence into sweet rewards."

"Basically, Influenster is a place for culture junkies to come together and share their unique opinions of products and experiences. Active members of Influenster get exclusive access to deals, promotions, and swag from brands that thrive off the input (the good, the bad, and the ugly -- they just want to know what's up)."
Included in my Frosty box were Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner, NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum, Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea, Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme, Fruit Vines Bites Cherry, and an EcoTools Styler & Smoother brush.
I'm really excited to try some of the beauty items since taking better care of myself and stepping up my beauty routine is on my list for this year. My brush is years old and is super sad, so a replacement is definitely in order there! And in really sad news, my new medication makes my beloved diet soda taste flat (its one of the side effects), so I'm on the hunt for new low or no calorie drinks, so a trip down candy cane lane is in order. I'll let you know how I feel about everything once I have a chance to try the products out!

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.*


Tipsy Tuesday (#293)

Did you make any resolutions?

Tip #293

Take a look at this infographic and see where you fall in.

I'd like to lose weight (yep, still on this year's list), learn to play the piano (still on the list...), and clean out the basement (also STILL on the list...).

What about you? Any goals for the new year?


Happy New You...

We had pizza and wings, an epic Mandisa and MercyMe dance party, and a balloon drop at midnight...well, 8:00pm, which is toddler midnight...wish you could have been here! Happy New Year or as Elise would say "Happy New You," whichever you need...



2014 Review Extravaganza - Q4

I'm linking up with a ton of wonderful gals who want to know what we have been up to this year. If you want to play along, visit any one of them, Karen @ A Peek at Karen's WorldKenzie @ Chasing My ExtraordinaryEmmy @ Emmy MomAmy @ Involuntary Smiles Melissa @ Making MelissaAmanda @ Meet @ the BarreNicole @ Midwestern at HeartAngie @ My So-Called Chaos, and Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings for the details!

This week, we're recapping October, November, and December. 

I shared a grammar pet peeve.

My sweet Elise turned 2...

and we celebrated with a Minnie Mouse party.

We continued our Pumpkin Patch tradition.

I explained my longest blogging absence ever....

and Elise started a Countdown to Christmas!


Tipsy Tuesday (#292)

The walls are closing in and it's time to purge!

Tip #292

Let Home Storage Solutions 101 take the guesswork out of where to begin in the decluttering of your home.

Join the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, print out your monthly calendars of tasks and in just 15 minutes per day, you can restore order at home.

Who's with me? What is your biggest area of clutter?


2014 Review Extravaganza - Q3

I'm linking up with a ton of wonderful gals who want to know what we have been up to this year. If you want to play along, visit any one of them, Karen @ A Peek at Karen's WorldKenzie @ Chasing My ExtraordinaryEmmy @ Emmy MomAmy @ Involuntary Smiles Melissa @ Making MelissaAmanda @ Meet @ the BarreNicole @ Midwestern at HeartAngie @ My So-Called Chaos, and Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings for the details!

This week, we're recapping July, August, and September. 

I shared the perfect 4th of July dessert.

I had the privilege of helping to host a wedding reception.

My new job overwhelmed me.

I dreamed of baking/cooking therapy...

And, I finally found out that my health issues aren't all in my head...