Friday, April 18, 2014

Fridays BIG Five

What.a.week.

I can only sum up this week (and weekend) with this…

1. This little guy and his momma are finally here visiting us!
2. The four of us *may* have been here the past two days (if you're following on IG you've seen our shenanigans).
3. We may have spent some time (and money) in places like this.
4. THIS guy just might have been the coolest celebrity sighting we've seen since living in Southern California.
5. These faces, and all the fun, magic, and memories we've been creating… PRICELESS!
Look for detailed posts next week.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicken Caesar Pasta (30 Minute Meal!)

There are some days that dinner ideas are lacking, time is of the essence, and I just don't have enough energy to create an elaborate meal. I generally call those days 'Monday'.

When days such as the aforementioned hit I turn to a meal that I picked up at a Pampered Chef party. Even if you don't have all the Pampered Chef materials I list, I'm positive you have something in your kitchen that would work as a great alternative.

So, if you're in need of an easy dinner idea that will likely please even the pickiest of pallets, give this one a go. And, don't be intimated by the fact that everything is done in the microwave. This dish is one of the best (and easiest) chicken meals in my recipe collection!

Chicken Caesar Pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast - thawed
1/2 bottle Caesar salad dressing
1/2 onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 red pepper (optional)
1/2 green pepper (optional)
1 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 cups uncooked pasta - I use whatever pasta I have on hand

Place chicken breast in the bottom of a microwavable safe dish that has a lid that will seal tightly.
Add veggies atop chicken.
Pour dressing over chicken and veggies.
Microwave, on high, for 20-25 minutes.
I use Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker to make this dish. The chicken comes out perfect every single time. I love this thing. 
While the chicken is cooking, cook pasta according to directions on package.
When chicken is done cooking use salad chopping sheers, or two forks, to shred your chicken.
This is the PC Salad Chopping, which I use to shred chicken. They make shredding chicken SO much easier than the two-fork-method!
Stir chicken mixture to combine veggies and shredded chicken.
Top noodles with chicken and veggies.
There you have it. Dinner!
Enjoy!

Source: Pampered Chef

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The 2014 Easter Basket & So Much More! {{Giveaway!!}}

Last year Sarah put together an Easter Basket Blog Hop and I was so glad when I saw she was hosting the hop again this year.


Marcus is still a little too young to fully grasp the idea of the Easter Bunny, and all the goodness that accompanies Easter, but that didn't stop me from putting together a basket for him. 
I've decided to reuse this basket each year. I love the basket, and I honestly don't have enough room or storage to get a new basket each year.
 The goodies:
Like last year's basket, I included a couple of books I knew would captivate the little man - can't beat pop up Mickey Mouse and pop up tractors! I added some spring colored play dough. A festive little sip cup. Don't forget Happy Feet (we haven't tried to watch any movies, but I picked this one up for super cheap, I couldn't resist). Throw in some side walk chalk - because you can never have enough of that stuff. Plop in two carrot rockets - you know those will be fun to chuck around the house for a few minutes. A pinwheel, or two - apparently Marcus loves these things. And, the candy, which may or may not have been purchased based upon what I like… 
Admittedly, most of these items came from Target's One Spot. For a brief moment I had a little Mommy guilt, as I didn't get crazy with his basket. But, then again, the Easter basket isn't really what we're celebrating.

Be sure to join Sarah and link up your Easter baskets, too!

Also, I just wanted to remind you of the fabulous Get Fit Giveaway.
Eighteen inspirational bloggers are teaming up to give away some pretty sweet fitness 'must haves' for this summer. Be sure to enter using the Rafflecopter prompts below!
And, the winner of the Chasing Hope giveaway is  Jill O. I will be contacting you soon!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Alphabet of Me

I saw this idea pop up a little while back and I thought it would be a good one to tuck in my back pocket. Today seemed as good a day as any to do a little 'getting to know me better' number.
Thanks, Courtney, for the great idea!

A - Age: 30.
B - Birthday: September 16.
C - Chore you hate: Unloading the dishwasher. GAH!
D - Drink: Coffee. Wine. Water. Watermelon Spark. In that order. 
E - Eyes: Blue.
F - Favorite color: I'm drawn to almost any shade of blue. Becoming a fan of yellows and grays. 
G - Gent: My husband, Scott.
H - Hobby: Does running count as a hobby? I also love some down time to read, and let's not forget bloggnig. 
I - Indulgence: Hitting up Starbucks in the middle of the week. Generally I'm on a Target run. Even if Marcus is pitching the world's biggest tantrum, I basically just sip away like it's no big deal. 
J - Job: Domestic Engineer. 
K - Kids: Marcus, Drake (the K-9 kid), and Izzy (the feline child).
L - Love: A good thunderstorm, sleeping in, sitting around a fire pit with friends drinking a good beer, being on/in/near water. 
M - Music: I love me some country. Growing up my Dad played all the good oldies. It's not unusual to find my radio set to the Oldies Station. Who doesn't love classic Elton John, Three Dog Night, or The Doors? 
N - Nickname: Des or "D," occasionally someone will throw out D-Ray.  
O - One Wish: I wish traveling home was something that could be done for free. I'd be back all the time!
P - Pet peeve: If I'm in the car, I have about a million pet peeves (use your blinker! right turn on red! go the speed limit!). Out of the car, I cannot stand when people chew with their mouths open. Gross. 
Q - Quote: There are two that I'm particularly fond of: 
"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." - Ralph Waldo Emerson 
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it." Ferris Bueller
R - Residence: California. It will be four years this May. Doesn't seem like four years has already passed.
S - Siblings: One younger brother - hi Tyler!
T - Time you wake up: That depends on Marcus. On *good* days it's anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30.
U - University: Iowa State University - Go Cyclones! Journalism/Mass Communication Major (emphasis in television broadcast), with a minor in Sociology. 
V - Vegetables you dislike: Lima beans. Nasty stuff right there. 
W - Worst Habit: Scott would probably say my fidgeting… 
X - X-rays: Dental visits, a few times on my ankle thanks to softball injuries, and my arm, which was *clearly* broken. 
Y - Yuck: Feet. Feet are the worst. 
Z - Zoo (favorite animal): The giraffes, elephants, and if there is a butterfly pavilion there's no doubt I'll 
be in it.

Also, tomorrow I'm teaming up with Alicia and 16 other amazing bloggers for a sweet fitness giveaway. Be sure to come back to check it out. Trust me when I say you'll want in on this.
Lastly, today is the last day to enter to win a copy of Chasing Hope. I'll announce the winner
tomorrow! 
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

We've finally gotten around to getting Marcus a basketball hoop (which was supposed to be a birthday gift - whoops).
The kid is nothing short of obsessed. If you're looking for us we're outside shooting hoops.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

High Fiving :: Random 3-Day Weekend for the Win

It's Friday, you know the drill.

Time for this week's high fives:

1) After working all last weekend Scott has an alternate day off today. 
Three-day weekend with these two for the win!

2) With Scott home today I'm taking advantage of a little free time. It's been almost 6 months since I've done anything with my crazy mane. 
This afternoon you can find me at the salon getting my hair did. Hallelujah! 

3) Guess who is coming to visit us in a few days? Sally and Mace!!
The last time we got the boys together was almost a year ago (look how little - and uninterested - they were)! Sally is in love with Disney, and I've haven't been to the Happiest Place on Earth in almost four years. Sooooo, we're taking the boys. Can.not.wait! Something tells me those boys minds will be *blown* when they see Mickey. 

4) This little gem was floating around Facebook yesterday. 
You.are.welcome. 

5) Yesterday was National Sibling Day (who knew?!). This was the only picture I could find of Tyler and me. Hilarious.
Circa 1995
Can we take a minute to talk about my outfit… A silk t-shirt (those were totally the *thing* in '94/95, rolled up jean shorts, tube socks, and black Nikes. YIKES!
Then there's my brother… Steel blue gym shorts and a classic touristy Mt. Rushmore t-shirt.

My mother also kindly pointed out how amazing our glasses were.
We were the epitome of style. 
It's by far one of the most ridiculous photos in my possession. BUT, it sparked a phone call, Face Time, and texting conversation between my little bro and me. It was great to catch up. It had been much too long since our last chat.

6) Because, sometimes five just isn't enough.
Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Chasing Hope
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where Our Guests Stay

You've seen our kitchen and taken a peek into our living room. I thought maybe a gander into our guest bedroom might sway some of you to visit SoCal.

I feel the guest room is the perfect place for guests to retire at the end of the day. While the room isn't all that big, I like to think it has a calming feel to it.
The inspiration for the room essentially came from our love of the beach. When we vacation it's typically to places with sand and sun and water. When we visit such lovely places we try to bring back little pieces of art to remind us of our getaways. Let's also not forget to mention that we live on the coast, which also lends a strong influence.

After I loosely decided which direction I wanted to take the room I spotted the wave canvas and knew it would be perfect. The piece is massive. I figured it only right to make it into a headboard of sorts.

The rest of the room kind of fell into place after that.
Bedding :: Kohls 
Sheets :: Kohls 
PremiƤr Canvas :: IKEA
Nesna Nightstand :: IKEA
Lamps :: refurbished (ie. spray painted what I already had using "antique white" paint)
Lamp shades :: Target
Mirror :: refurbished (ie. spray painted what I already had using "antique white" paint) 
Top Middle: The shark drawing spells out Macke. We picked that up in Hawaii on a sail/snorkel cruise.
Bottom Middle: the conch sell I picked up in Jamaica, and the Bahamas driftwood painting came from the Bahamian Straw Market 
Bottom Right: A local artist in St. Thomas painted that while we were there on our honeymoon.

I think Marcus' room is next for a major facelift. His walls are pretty stark, and all of his "baby stuff" has been packed away. But, I'm kind of stuck. So, this wraps up the 'new house tour.' At least for now. Or, you could just visit and see the rest of the place for yourself!

Don't forget to check out Amy's book! And, be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of the book, as well as a Chasing Hope necklace!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chasing Hope

No one knows what the internal mind of a woman who's lost five babies and suffered this many let downs goes through. 

…At 33 weeks pregnant, Amy is certain something bad will soon happen, it has too many times before. Deep down she fears it's only a matter of time before the baby she's carrying will die. Despite the fact that Amy has been repeatedly slapped in the face with multiple miscarriages, she still can't seem to quiet that tiny voice in the back of her head that's screaming at her not to give up hope. 

You guys! That's the BACK COVER of the BOOK my best friend, Amy, is going to release this Memorial Day!

And, THIS is the front cover.
While it's incredible that Amy is PUBLISHING a book, there is a flip side to all of this. The story is Amy's story. Every experience. Every loss. It's true, and it's hers. 
Follow Amy's true story as she stumbles through her journey with humor and warmth all while dealing with the neuroses that come along with getting her hopes shattered time and time again. All she has to do is close her eyes and she's lurched back to the memories of her losses on the floor in her bathroom, in the hospital, and even at her place of work. 

Can Hope every truly survive memories such as these?
If you are familiar with infertility, miscarriage, reoccurring pregnancy loss, or know someone who is, I encourage you to follow Amy's story. This story truly is filled with miracles, faith, and Hope.

As a mother who hasn't experienced any of the trials and tribulations that Amy has, the book opened my eyes in a way I never expected. After finishing Amy's story I rushed to my little man and squeezed him a little longer and a little tighter than usual. The gift of parenthood is an amazing, joyous, wonderful thing, and Amy's words shone a bright light on just how blessed I am to have Marcus.

Currently Amy's book is available for pre-order at http://amydawsauthor.com. And, the book will be available on the Kindle and Nook by May 26.

Amy has so kindly agreed to give away a copy of her book, as well as a gorgeous Chasing Hope necklace.
Entries are easy, just follow the Rafflecopter prompts!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Think I'm Van Gogh

It took one painting class and I was hooked. I mean, my painting wasn't going to win any art gallery awards, but the entire painting process was one I immediately fell in love with.

There is also a good chance I instantly loved the painting class because wine was suggested and encouraged every stroke of the way.

Our resident 2-year old hasn't been sleeping well, and this has created some seriously challenging days. Last week was no exception. By Friday night I was at my wits end.

Thankfully, my good friend (hi, Chrissy!) agreed to join me for a paint and wine class Friday night. It was just what I needed after a hellacious week.

Let's also point out that the demo painting basically screamed for me to recreate it.
This was the demo piece.
I have a thing for butterflies.

At first glance, the picture was kind of intimidating. All those colors. The butterfly. How was I going to turn a blank canvas into *that*?

Thankfully, our skilled instructor masterfully led the way. The glass bottle of wine also seemed to help immensely. With each sip I found myself growing more confident.
From the white canvas to this…
…And then this…
The butterfly was surprisingly easy to draw/paint
…And finally, the master piece…
I mean, that's basically a Van Gogh.

Unlike the peacock painting (which is hidden nestled behind my dresser), I actually think I could get away with displaying this on a wall, and it looking ok.
Cheers to a fun, and very much needed, night out!

Seriously, if you've never done a paint and sip, or paint and pour, or paint and what-ever-you-want-to-call-it, you need to. You'll walk away a little tipsy with a one of a kind piece of art.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

We didn't make it to the beach this weekend.
But, we managed a quick trip to the aquarium. We love that place.
Happy Monday!

Friday, April 4, 2014

High Fiving Friday, Finally!!

We've made it to the end of the week. Raise your hand if you're as grateful to see this week end as I am!

With that said, there is a lot to be thankful for, so let's get to the high fives.

1) These two are hanging out with me allllll day today.
Scott had a ridiculously early morning at work, and was home by 6:00 a.m. So, we're hanging out. Maybe a trip to the beach is in our future this afternoon?

2. This week I baked some classic chocolate chips. After I pulled a fresh batch out of the oven I saw these guys dipping their hands into the cookie jar.
There was just something about this little moment that made my heart smile.

3. Yesterday Marcus and I made a trip to IKEA. I've officially fallen in love with that place, which I still haven't decided if that's good or bad. At any rate, I picked up a few items for the guest bedroom.
Speaking of guest bedroom, this weekend the walls will be painted, a few items hung on the walls, and then the room is officially ready for guests! Be on the lookout for  a peek into that room next week.

4. One of my good friends and I are headed to another Paint and Sip session tomorrow night. It's been a rough week, and this is very much needed.
I'm mildly obsessed with butterflies, so this week's painting is PERFECT. Go ahead and pass me a paint brush, and a big ol' glass of Pinot.

5. The winners for the happy egg. co eggs have been drawn!
Congratulations to Becky at A Lazy Crazy Life and Tayler at Our Fairy Tale! I will be in contact with you today.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Try Not to Wish It Away

It's 7:00 a.m. and we are just peeling ourselves out of bed. Normally, 7:00 a.m. would be sleeping in for us. Except last night we were up, almost the entire night. There wasn't an hour on the clock that I didn't see. I'm pounding coffee like it's my last meal (because, in my world coffee is a meal).

Generally the little man will go down for naps and bedtime, no problem. This week has been so different than what we are used to.  In the last week it seems as if Marcus has hit a patch of sleep regression.

The past few days have been difficult. Really difficult. Marcus hasn't slept well, neither Scott nor I has slept well, Marcus has been really clingy and extra needy, and we've also had some pretty legit "terrible 2's" episodes.

I've found myself wishing we could just plow past this stage.

Then, just a few days ago I was in the rocking chair with Marcus. It was the only place the little guy would sleep during his nap (rocking for longer than 5 minutes is incredibly rare anymore). At first I kept wishing I could put him in his crib. I kept thinking of all the other things I'd rather be doing, as nap time is as crucial for Marcus as it is me.
After the first hour (yes, *hour*) of rocking my little man as he slept it hit me like a ton of bricks… I'd been spending so much time wishing away these moments that I'd forgotten just how amazing these moments really are.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I remember saying I wished days of rocking and snuggling for hours on end would never end. And, how all too quickly those days pass.
So, for the *last two hours* of nap time I peacefully rocked my sweet little boy. He needed me, and though it took a little while, I stopped wishing away the time and enjoyed soaking up our simple little moment.
For now, though our days have been rocky, I'm trying not to wish this time away.