Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

I am pretty sure that I have set a record this week, for how many times one can push the snooze button before getting up for the day... Does that tell you anything about our Memorial Day?  Busy, busy, busy!  


No rest and all play.  And it is completely catching up with me!
But that's okay.  All in the name of some good baking, sunshine (okay...rainstorms), and family time.




My husband in a nutshell
*Side note (Multipurpose baby towel usage)


I guess every holiday is going to be harder this year because, though my Aunt is celebrating in heaven, we have felt an inevitable void at all of our family get-togethers.  I've been meaning to start going through her recipe books and try out some new dishes, and I found this gem:)  Homemade cinnamon rolls.  Now doesn't that sound like the perfect Memorial Day breakfast?  So, I threw my own little cleanish spin on the recipe from "The Pioneer Woman," and here you have it!  And all the while, I kinda got to cook with Aunt Karen Saturday morning (with a little help from my favorite baby baker). ;)


The morning bake date didn't go all this perfect...I ended up having to give Cam his own "recipe" in the floor to finish the c-rolls up!  His recipe called for: one plastic chicken, a plastic spatula, and a durable mixing bowl.   






Karen's Clean-ish Memorial Day Cinnamon Rolls
*Husband that eats like a 12 year old approved


Ingredients
Dough-Organic Whole Milk (1 quart), Unsalted Organic Butter (may try unsweetened organic apple sauce instead next time as substitute for vegetable oil) (1 cup), King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour 9 cups, Trivia Baking Blend (1 cup), 2 pkgs. Active Dry Yeast, 1 heaping tsp Baking Powder, 1 scant tsp Baking Soda, 1 TB Sea Salt.

Filling- 2 cups Organic Unsalted Butter (I used about 1/2 cup per log), 1/4 cup Cinnamon to sprinkle, 2 cups Truvia (I used less than 1.5 cups)

Icing- Blend together 1 container Organic Cream Cheese, 1/2 cup Organic Whole Milk, 1 TB honey
And topped with fresh berries and banana;)

Instructions:
1.  For the dough, heat the milk, butter, and truvia in saucepan over medium heat; do not allow to boil and set aside.
2.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for one minute.  Add 8 cups of flour.  Stir until just combined.  Cover with clean kitchen towel and set aside in relatively warm place for one hour.
3.  Remove towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1 cup flour.  Stir to combine.  (Can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 3 days!  Punch down if rises to top of bowl)
4.  To assemble rolls, remove half dough from pan and roll on floured baking surface.  To make filling pour 1 cup (or less) of melted butter on surface of dough and use fingers to spread evenly.  Add half cinnamon and butter.
5.  Begin rolling dough into log, beginning at the end farthest from you.  When reach the end, pinch seams together.  Cut into 1 1/2 in slices and place onto buttered pie pan.  Repeat process for one more cinnamon log.
6.  Preheat oven to 375, cover the pans with kitchen towel and set aside to rise on countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking.  Remove towel and bake for 13-17 minutes (mine took a little longer...)  Make the icing while the rolls are baking:)  Allow rolls to cool and spruce them up with a little holiday cheer!
*Recipe adapted with cleaner ingredients from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks"

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day:)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Evening Favorites

Happy Friday, everyone!  I'm always so excited when this evening rolls around every week.  Nothing to look forward to but a few low-key days, with no bed time (well, maybe in Camster's case) or alarm clocks!  Now I can handle that:)  What are your plans for this Memorial Day weekend?

I predict a festive brunch with some homemade cinnamon rolls (recipe to follow), some lake time, and making some new memories with our family as we celebrate our veterans, loved ones who have gone on, and the beginning of the lazy days of summer.  I have some very exciting news coming up (*well to me anyway), so stay tuned!


To kick off another holiday...here is a little 
Friday Evening Love<3

I am really thinking these apple pops will make the perfect healthy summer treats.  I am a little obsessed with the pineapple craze for summer this year.  I LOVE this kiddo pineapple print to place on my summer shelf.  Cam's art work to do list is growing...  New mommies: I wish I would have thought of this last summer.  Beats worrying that your baby is burning up and bored!  Lastly, I just strung up this summer garland to kick off decorating for the lazy days...now I need one for the mantle...hmmmmmm;)


Happy Memorial Day!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend:)

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honor.  Romans 13:7

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Big ONE Year Old!

A little behind here, (as Cam will be 14 months Thursday) but here... my favorite topic, my baby.  My baby turned one year old on March 22!  I can't believe it.  I have enjoyed every. single. minute. of it and can't wait for what is ahead.  We love you Camden Tripp:)  God has a very special plan for your life and I can't wait to watch it unfold!

{Tie}
A Few Of My Favorite Things:  Talking on the phone, blowing raspberries when I hear anything that moves (ALL boy), I love my cars and trucks, Snoopy, I love to read-I often take a book with me everywhere I go, I STILL love my food, I love cleaning supplies and mopping the floor for mommy, I love "Fitzy "(really any animal-everytime he sees an animal he yells-"Fitzy!"), I love to throw clothes out of drawers, bang pots and pans on the floors, dig through the pantry for a snack, bananas "aka nana,"  my tent, playing "I'm gonna get cha," anything and everything outside, walking up and down stairs, watching-clapping-and dancing with DWTS.
Not so favorite...vacuum cleaners, blow dryers, hand dryers, washing machines and dryers, Baths (I am so sad about this:(, occasionally nap time is a pain )
Milestones: I'm saying so many new words!  "Bye bye, threeeeeee, Fitzy, kitty, nana (the fruit and the grandparent), puppy, momma, dada" (I know other's will come to me later on when I have posted this!)
My face: He has two huge crooked bottom teeth that are the most perfect teeth I have ever seen.  He also has one coming in on top in a random spot.  We have really had the teething blues lately!  Baby is hurting...come on already stinky ole' teeth!
My eyes: Always scanning the atmosphere for his next adventure.  He absolutely hates to shut them!
My hair: Getting his second haircut this week!  It is growing so fast...I love to play with it:)
My hands:  Opening cabinets, attempting to play in the toliet, attempting to grab anything I am NOT supposed to have!
My feet:  He never stops, he randomly has dancing spasms, he runs until he has to recharge.
Music: Dancing in the Moonlight, He is loving watching CMT...LOL?
Best Part of Month(s):  Playing outside in the warm weather:)  We are loving the outdoors!
Worst Part of Month:  Teething and telling Aunt Karen only goodbye for now.

Honestly, he gets more fun with every month.  I can't pick a favorite age.  I love watching him grow...Makes me wish it would never end!  Baby fever?  Just a little bit.


"For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I have asked of Him.  Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord."
1 Sam 1:27-28

Happy Tuesday ladies!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Dinner Table

Nothing like a fresh homemade pizza on a Friday night!  Who's with me?
It seems like by the end of the week...I am always craving pizza for some reason??  
And though the "homemade" title entails that there will be dishes and effort to be exerted in the kitchen...trust me on this one - it's worth it!;)  

Last summer, my SIL Caitlan added "Feta" cheese to one of our homemade pizzas...the pizza was the most popular one served-practically inhaled by all.  Needless to say, since then, it has been hard to make a pizza without that little guy present!  Try it for yourself.  
Here is our little spin on the creation...


Ingredients: Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Feta, Sausage, Green Peppers, Onions, Pepperoni, Pizza crust, Pasta sauce, Oregano, Italian seasoning, olive oil
(and anything else you prefer)

Instructions:  Brush crush with olive oil.  Evenly spread pizza sauce over crust.  Sprinkle oregano and Italian seasonings onto sauce.  Layer the cheeses.  Brown sausage.  Chop and mix green peppers and onions.  Add remaining toppings to crust, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake in the oven according to your crust instructions!  (For us that was around 8-10 minutes at 450 degrees).  Serve up with a salad and a side of watermelon!  Nom nom.
P.S.  Photo's like this only happen if I am cooking supper 
during Cam's nap time...otherwise, the ingredients would be scattered everywhere!  

*Clean-ish Ingredients:  Rustic whole grain natural crust,  all natural preservative free sausage, and organic pasta sauce.  





And if you are REALLY feeling your inner "M.Stew-ness", here is my go to homemade pizza crust recipe.  What's even more special about it...it is a recipe from my very first cookbook from Aunt Karen<3



And I leave you with a picture of this cutie:)

Well, my boys (EVEN Mr. Fitz) are down for the night...  
I'm gonna wrap up my night with Full House reruns with a side of Pinterest;)
A little "me time" for this mommy.
Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wiser On Wednesday

Are these headings getting cornier by the day or what??  
ANYWAY.  Today I would like to share a new "ibook" I bought last night by Candance Cameron Bure (one of my favorite Christian authors).   I actually read her first book, "Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness", several years ago and absolutely fell in love with her message for moms, fearless (down to earth) example, and love for Christ.


Her second book is titled,"Balancing It All," and it discusses Christ as the ultimate priority of life no matter the "season" of life one might be going through (Ecc. 3:1-8).  Once again, I am only a chapter into this one and I am both hooked and encouraged... so obviously I had to share with you!

How am I "Wiser THIS Wednesday?"
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. 
-Proverbs 22:6

Last night, the chapter "Monkey See, Monkey Do" discussed how it is sooooo important to consider the "practice what you preach message" with the example you are setting for your kids.  Sure we've all heard this a hundred times, but often I think we (I know I) tend to hear the message and not really "meditate on it."  I love that phrase...

Since part of my message in writing this blog is "mommy and faith-related"...I figured this was a good place to discuss this topic!  WOW.  Think about it: "Monkey see, Monkey do" in SO many areas...what we SAY, what we EAT, what our HOBBIES are, what we DO in our FREE TIME- our kids observe this.  Our kids learn from this.  

At one year, Cam is already fighting for mommy's coffee, to type on mommy's computer, paint and color on her pictures, eat what is on her plate, he LOVES animals like his momma (you get the gist).  I am amazed at the influence I have had on my son at one year!  Just think of all the examples his dad and I will have set by the time he is a teenager! #talkaboutpressure #somebodyseyesarewatchin

I know after being reminded of this proverb and instruction from God's word, I am going to be extra careful and considerate of what all my child observes his momma doing and saying.  I want to be the best example I can be for him.  A solid example for him to follow.  God help me!




Back to balancing before I wrap it up...
Given that this book's title is about trying to balance life...I took a little time to figure out what that means to me.  And I came up with this:  Everyday it kinda feels like I have a clean slate as I attempt to balance all of the important (and not so important things) in my life.  Everyday, I try to make sure my life is purposeful and meaningful.   What makes life purposeful?  What makes it meaningful?  And it came to me - JESUS:)

 My prayer is to do at least one thing a day that serves the Lord as that is my ultimate purpose here on earth.  I have recently been trying to use that principle as my priority.  After that...I am trying to trust that God will allow everything else to fall into place:)  

Did you find this helpful?  Anyone interested in more discussion with this book?  Join in:)


Happy Hump Day, ladies!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Target Tuesday

If you have followed me at all you know that I like LOVE Target.  And I know I am NOT alone.  It is a reoccurring joke between the Mr. and I - that anytime we go out of town, we will go to Target.  It doesn't matter the emergency, what the day entails...you bet your bottom dollar we will make a run through.  It's kind of mandatory if you're on a road trip with me...We are small town, y'all!;)

This past Friday's trip sparked a blog idea...as much as I go, and as much as I find while I am there...I am thinking it would be fun to post my favorites every now and then.  I give you: the first Target Tuesday!  

{1. pig baby dining set, not sold online} {2. tea towel{3. wash tape, dollar bins} {4.  aztec bag}
{5. frame}



Any other Target lovers out there?
What have been your favorite Target finds lately?:)
Happy Target Tuesday!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend Tales + Mother's Day

I am sorry for the long post in advance;)  It's always a good thing to start the week off with a praise report, right?  Well, this girl has one!

I have been so blessed, in that I have barely ever had any health scares whatsoever in my life.  And, I'm almost embarrassed to act like this is one in the first place (especially when I know all that my Aunt went through.)  However, I know how rampant skin cancer has been in our little county recently, and have been concerned about a place I had on my chest ever since the beginning of March.

Friday, I visited my doctor in Knoxville and had the place removed.  From observation, he does not think it was cancerous.  Of course, they have to send it off to confirm, but the heaviness of that burden is a lot lighter than it used to be!  #PTL



A nice trip to visit the Lobster, red Target circles, and a green mermaid who serves coffee made for a lovely Friday evening.  And then, there was the tree in the road on our way home... THANK the Lord for a familiar man face that pulled up behind us!  My Nana would have been trying to chuck the wood off the bank herself...you laugh...I do not.  She is for real.  Check her out going to check on it below.


I THINK I could do a month by month picture of Cam in the Target shopping cart...LOL


Anywhoooo!  Twenty-thirty minutes later, the tree was cleared out of the way...and no, Nana was not a part of the moving efforts.  But, we pretty much had to super glue her seatbelt shut to keep her from jumping out to direct the efforts and flag down traffic.

Mother's Day.  Oh, I can hardly stand the emotions that I have on this day and realizing that I am a mom!  Very few greater feelings in the world.  I love my Cambino and am so thankful to be his Mommy!  He makes it easy peasy and continues to allow me to feel like I am living my dream life!



So thankful for my momma!  I don't know where I would be today with out her love, direction, guidance, prayers, and sacrifices.  I also can't forget the other two women who have shaped me into the woman I am today...My Nana, baby sis and Aunt Karen.  It's hard to forget the ladies of our church, my Aunt Kaye, Mamaw Betty, and my adopted momma/family..."BB" and "KK," Joyce, Nana Dot, and Mamaw Muriel.  Many women out there don't have to be momma's to have a mother-like heart.  Okay, Okay, enough personal shout outs;)  Happy Mother's Day to everyone of you sweet ladies today!





My precious stepping stone<3

P.S. I know I am late in seeing this movie...but if you haven't had the pleasure of seeing "What To Expect When You're Expecting," go watch it right now!  Perfect Mother's Day-ish weekend chick-flick;)  Happy Monday everyone!:)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lately

Lately...
My eyeballs are floating in a potentially destructive amount of coffee.  You will often find me sporting a pony tail or a bun.  My nail polish is chipped, I never have time to exercise, and my heart drops down to my toes several times throughout the week due to my Baby Evil Kenevil's newest adventure.  You feel me mom's out there?

Okay...maybe I should go on.  My house is producing endless amounts of laundry, dirt, and dishes.  Cam has tasted more dog food than I care to imagine.  Mr. Fitz is a frizzy fur ball that does nothing but bark, destroy shoes, and oh yea...the vacuum cleaner!  Does the madness ever end?? 

It's times like these when I appreciate my mom the most!  I am sure she had several days that she could sum up with a similar description...and THAT is why Mother's Day is such a special celebration:)  Here are some of my favorite gift ideas to celebrate the special ladies in your life:


{1. plant} {2. cozy} {3. dress up} {4. write} (5.thoughtful } {6. pamper} {7. cherish}

Despite those crazy weeks, that result in a lack of blog posts, being a mom is one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I wouldn't take back my life without Cam for ANYTHING.  He is what motivates me and gives me the push to strive to be better in every aspect of my life.  Being a mom is what I live for:)  So thank you Lord for this most special blessing- the gift of being a mother!
I leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses...

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 Sheseeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants ' ships;she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to herhousehold, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth herarms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 Shelayeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for herhousehold: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings oftapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sittethamong the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh wellto the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up , and call her blessed ; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously,but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth theLORD, she shall be praised . 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


  Happy Mother's Day ladies!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cleaning It Up! Realistically.

Practicality.  It's something I've come to learn to love.  For some time, I have strived for perfection (somewhat OCD here) only to set myself up for defeat and failure when I am unable to meet my unrealistic expectations.  Ever been there?  Yeah, doesn't feel good!

Clean living is something I have failed at.  In fact...you can scroll back through my blog at the various attempts to verify it!  I have intentions of going all in or nothing, and then reality sets in.  Groceries are outrageously expensive.  I don't have the creativity or cooking experience to whip up an edible variety of clean meals for the family.  I like smelly good cleaning supplies and candles!  I have the curse of an evening sweet tooth.  The Mr. eats like a 12 year old- he's going to eat baby spinach leaves, flax seeds, and ezikiel bread???  YEAH right!  (me either, on the flax seeds!) 

I said all of that to say this...Absolute clean living is unrealistic for my family.  But I can make some practical changes to "clean up" portions of our lifestyle on our budget such as:

1.  Buying eco friendly diapers and wipes/cleaning supplies once a month (these items are chemical free.)  I really like the Honest products-and most of the time they offer great discounts)  This past order I got a months supply of diapers for 40ish dollars.  ChaCHING:)
2.  Cooking dinner with minimal processed products and "whole-istic" foods (in which I plan to share here;)  This means eating out ONCE every two weeks, if we can help it! (BIG challenge!) Local+fresh+pure ingredients are what I strive for:)  
3.  Buying good quality **classic** clothing pieces that are sure to last.  Quality over quantity.
4.  Only eating one sweet under 200 calories every evening after dinner (as needed lol).
5.  Buying organic when you can (Pinterest has great resources to direct you to the foods that are best purchased "organic," here are some of my favorites)
6.  I aim to make the next type of paint we buy eco-friendly paint (zero VOC's) 
7.  I have been trying to create meal plans and shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  This helps make mealtime less stressful every evening and the trip to the grocery store less overwhelming and allows you to come home to stock your pantry with cleaner ingredients.
8.  Taking off our shoes!  I am becoming slack in this.  But think about it...the bottom of our shoes can track in lead dust, animal feces, gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals into our homes.  (In my case...any thing on the nursing home floors...)  The least we can do is avoid shoes around our carpeted areas.
9.  If at all possible, I try to minimize our exposure to artificial fats, sweeteners, colorings (any natural alternatives?  I've failed at making any so far...), vegetable oils (I replace with olive oil or apple sauce when I can), hydrogenated starch/oils, margarine, high fructose corn syrup (I know...I know-it's in all the "good stuff"), margarine, MSG, sodium nitrate, sulfites, vegetable shortening (I buy actual Lard instead of Crisco).
10.  Does teaching Cam to pray before his meals count?  It does for me;)



Here are some of my favorite resources and go-to guides for clean living.  These were two of the first books that inspired and educated me on the importance and benefits of "cleaning it up."  
The Perfect 10 Diet by Michael Aziz, M.D.
The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

Disclaimer...I don't claim to be an expert (OBVIOUSLY!).  Clean living has just became a passion of mine.  It's a topic I enjoy sharing with you and learning more about. Do you have any resources that you have found helpful when it comes to clean living?
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Easter 2014

A little late, but here it is:)
Easter 2014 was very low key.  Not exactly what I had planned, but such is
 life as I am coming to learn!



Can you spot what I was trying to capture in the middle?

Saturday morning, we headed to our churches annual Easter Egg Hunt.  The countywide Easter Egg Hunt is complete with scenes from Palm Sunday, the crucifixion, and resurrection to make sure the families in our community not only leave with a good time, but the true meaning of Easter!


Of course, we walked in the gate and learned that my mom, "Lolli," had already purchased Cam a bunny rabbit...Humphrey.  Humphrey will be living with Lolli...as he and Mr. Fitz aren't exactly the ideal companions.  Nonetheless, Cam was in love.  (Unfortunately, he inherited my love of animals.)  Can I just say I am hoping Lolli is ALWAYS this generous to open her home to all of the animals he requests in the future;)





You would think after all of the egg hunt training Cam has been through, he would have inevitably been the A #1 Egg Hunter.  Nope.  Not the case.
Instead of hunting eggs, he sluggishly swayed his baby booty to the gospel music, dumped out every egg we put in his basket, and screamed and squealed until mommy knew it was time to throw in the basket and call it a day.  



He did look cute doing it though...check out his DIY tee.
Just cut out a peep shaped bunny and mustache from fabric (or an old onesie in my case), use fusible interfacing, and iron them onto a tee to create this fun guy!


After the egg hunt, I had big baking plans.  Cam on the other hand, had big napping plans.
My sister tagged along and we baked to our little hearts content as he snoozed the eve away.
We baked lemon cupcakes with homemade buttercream icing and sugar cookies with royal icing.
I even got to try out my new cookie cutters my Nana gave me that belonged to my great grandma.
Nothing cuter than vintage bunnies;)


When Cam woke up from his nap I knew the egg hunt behavior was trying to tell us something.
He had rosy red cheeks, a slimy nose, fiery hot rolls, and a frown not even the sweets could cure.
Yep, he had a fever:(

When we woke up Sunday morning, we relived that moment all over again.
I was devastated as it goes against everything I had planned for Easter.
No Sunrise or church service.  No matching family outfits or pictures.  No family dinners or easter hunts.  We are bound indoors on this beautiful sunny easter day.
But you know what?  It was lovely.
It was just what the good Lord knew we would need before the week ahead.
Since I wasn't unable to attend an easter service I just packed up my Bible and went on the front porch as the Mr. and Cam snoozed and read the Easter story myself.  So thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made on that Easter Day so long ago.  How precious this holiday is!





When the Mr. and Cam woke up we checked out his Easter basket from the Easter Bunny:)
Cam loved everything!  Especially his book "God Gave Us Easter," and his bunny, "Jellybean."
After checking out his basket, we cooked a yummy festive breakfast and read his book to begin the day.




We were lucky enough to have family to come to us since we were cooped indoors for the day!
So thankful that God knows just what we need.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter minus rosy cheeks, fevers, and slimy noses;)
He Is Risen!

 
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