Dear 16-Year Old Self,

This has been going around the blogging world for a bit, and I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon...

Dear 16-Year Old Desiree,

Right now the silliest things will seem oh-so-important. Those Doc Marten's aren't really worth the two paychecks you'll need to buy them. And, in 10 5 two years no one will care about what shoes you wore. In fact, that daily planner you have hidden in your desk that details what you wear each day (just so you don't repeat something) is ridiculous. You should burn that. Stat.

A teacher and coach of yours once said, "Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff." It's funny at 16, and you'll still giggle about it in 13 years. 
You have some of the best friends. Don't take that for granted (and sometimes you will). There will be a handful that will stick around for the long haul. They are awesome.

Your hair is an unruly mess of curls. Stop trying to fix that with a flat iron! One day you'll realize it's not worth it to fight that mop.
You'll go through a bunch of teachers and coaches. A few will really impact your life. Be sure to listen to what they have to tell you. Some day you'll look back on 16 and want to thank those teachers and coaches. Do it, you will be surprised at how grateful they are.
Be proud to be from Iowa. You want to get out in the worst way. One day you'll move really, really far away. The only place you'll want to be is back home. 

Listen to your parents. And talk to them, they will listen if you just talk! Some days It will seem like they're always on your case about something. They love you. A lot. They're doing everything they can to set you up for success. Give them a little slack (which you won't do until you're about 20). Be sure to tell them you love them. A lot. 

Your brother is a stiff pain in the neck. That won't change much. Eventually though, you'll become close with him. I'm serious, you will. He'll end up being the Godfather to your son (you have a kid! You swore you'd never have kids!), and he'll be an amazing uncle.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Try to love you a little more. 
Establish good eating and working out habits. You'll understand your sophomore year in college, and then again when you get your first "big girl" job. You can be wound pretty tight, and you'll come to appreciate the free therapy that comes from running.

Have fun. But, not too much fun. You'll get caught sneaking out of the house, and that won't be much fun at all. 
Those boys in high school are.not.worth all the tears and trouble. Believe me when I tell you this. Sounds like a bunch of lies, I get it. You will find someone who is better than you could have ever imagined, dream, hoped, or prayed for. Just be patient, and I know you have none of that, but seriously, hang in there. What you're going through is just a bunch of high school drama. *insert dramatic high school eye roll*

You'll become a mom. Your friends joke with you now, telling you about the suburbans full of kids you'll one day have. You'll swear off kids. Then, you'll grow up. And, you will have the most beautiful, perfect little boy who will consume your world and take up your whole heart.
It's a total cliché, but the best really is yet to come. High school is great, but there is so much more waiting for you beyond those halls. 

You'll be surprised at how well you come out of this whole high school thing. Life is really good to you, just be sure to enjoy the ride. Don't wish it away too fast. 

Your 29-year old self

Don't forget to enter in the custom knitted sock monkey hat! Just a few more days until the winner is drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



We're on the slippery slope towards a cold. 

I've had it up to my eyeballs with all the grumpiness, and gunk, and SNOT that colds bring. I love my son to pieces, but a runny nose just drives me bonkers.

After a few conversations with my BFF (whose munchkin also battled RSV, and runny noses galore), and recommendations from blogging buddies, I was introduced to Nosefrida.
The contraption.
When Nosefrida finally arrived at my door Marcus was over RSV and his nose had dried up (hallelujah!). But, I kind of secretly couldn't wait to bust the thing out and use it.

So, here we are with a cold, and I finally get to document this ridiculousness.
The red end goes like so...
The blue tubular end goes like so...
Then, the magic. You suck, and suck, and suck!
Marcus finds this process hilarious. Very much a 180 from that blue nasal bulb.
All that snot is OUT!
The whole process is disturbingly satisfying.
Don't freak out. There is no way I'd do this if there was a chance snot would travel too far up the tube. There is a blue stopper at the end of the tube that prevents such a thing from happening. PHEW!

It looks a little weird, a bit bizarre, but it TOTALLY works. If you're dealing with some snotty issues of your own I highly recommend this little goober getter.
Click >>here<< for your own Nosefrida.

The knit sock monkey hat giveaway is still going on. You can enter up to 15 times every day until next Monday!
Head to THIS LINK to enter now.


Fajita-Stuffed Chicken

I've been making a conscious effort to eat a little healthier these days. Not that we don't eat well. We do. You'll always find bananas, oranges, and/or apples in our fruit bowl. We don't eat fast food or red meat. And, don't tell me Chipotle is fast food, or we won't be friends any more. On the rare occasion I'll bake goods (and post about them). But, all in all, we eat pretty well.

Buuuut, we booked a trip for this spring, and I would really like to post pictures when we return. With that said, I've been searching for recipes that are healthified.

One evening we were feeling like Mexican, per the norm. I swear, we always feel like Mexican. I didn't want to make crock pot tacos, I didn't want regular chicken tacos. I needed something different, and I needed it to be easy. 

Then I found this.

Say hello to in-your-face-fajita-awesomeness!

Fajita-Stuffed Chicken
This is a 1/2 recipe, you can easily double it.

1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup sliced green and red bell peppers
2 tsp fajita seasoning mix
2 small chicken breast, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup shredded, reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
1/4 cup salsa (optional)
2 Tbsp fat-free sour cream, or plain non-fat Greek yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray.
Bring a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Cook and stir until softened, about 6 minutes.
Transfer cooked veggies to a medium bowl. 
Sprinkle veggies with 1 tsp fajita seasoning, and stir well.
Season chicken with salt, black pepper, and remaining 1 tsp fajita seasoning. 
Evenly divide cooked veggies between the center of the chicken.
Roll up each chicken over the veggies. If need, secure with toothpicks. 
Place chicken in baking pan.
Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, and sprinkle chicken with cheese. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Serve with salsa and sour cream (optional).

All the goodness of fajitas and you skip all the calories and carbs that tortillas would have presented. 

I cut up and used the entirety of the peppers. Using the whole peppers left me with a lot that I couldn't fit in the chicken. Instead of tossing the extras I just made them a side. Yum-o!
Here's a breakdown on the nutritional content for the 1/2 recipe.
Calories: 242
Fat: 5g
Sodium: 725mg
Carbs: 10g
Fiber: 1.5g
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 38g
I don't follow Weight Watchers, but just in case you do, these arPointsPlus® value 6*


Oh, one more thing before you go, don't forget to enter in the sock monkey knit hat giveaway!!
Source: Slight adaptations from Hungry Girl.


Happy Marcus Monday AND a *Giveaway*!!

It's Monday! I don't think I've ever been so excited for a Monday to roll around. There are a few reasons behind my madness:
1) Marcus' 1st Birthday Party planning is coming along just splendidly. Scott asked me not to go crazy with this. I said I wouldn't. I might have fibbed a teeny, tiny, eency, weency bit... I know, I know. I swore I wouldn't be one of those moms who goes off the deep end planning a 1st birthday party. Then I had a kid. Hey, he'll look back at the pictures and smile. Right?

2) My mother-in-law knitted Marcus the most.adorable.hat.EVER. See photos for confirmation. The hat totally plays into Marcus' party theme. A sock monkey party for my little monkey. So fitting.

3) Thanks to my mother-in-law and her amazing skills, I'm hosting my first ever blog giveaway. I've been ITCHING for Monday to get here so I could get this baby started.

We won't be celebrating the Big Day for another couple of months, but I want the winner to enjoy this adorable hat while it is still chilly out.

Let's take one more look at my monkey before we get to the giveaway:
Cutest monkey I know.
So, here are the deets for the giveaway:
1) Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. You have the possibility of entering up to 15 times a day!

2) The raffle ends next Monday (February 4). Come back to this post each day for additional entries!

3) The hat can be made for all sizes of noggins. No kiddos to call your own? This would make a fab gift for a niece, nephew, Godchild, etc. Don't know any munchkins but kind of want the hat for yourself as an awesome gift to some sock monkey fan? No worries! This hat can be made to fit any dome.

4) The winner will be drawn at random via Rafflecopter. Once a winner has been selected I'll announce it on the Monologues.

5) I will be in contact with the winner to confirm hat sizing, mailing address, and other pertinent information regarding the giveaway.

6) The giveaway is open to US residence.

7) Now, get to entering!! 


Marcus Meals: Quick Chicken Couscous

We've run the gamut of fun mommy-made meals. For the past few days Marcus has been devouring turkey hot dogs, pasta wheels with marinara sauce, and bananas. That has to change. I know I've got to expand his little taste buds now, while he's willing to actually take a bite of something new.
The cookbook where I discovered cheesy pasta has some really unique food and flavor combos. When I came across a chicken couscous dish I immediately knew I needed to try it. Some of the recipes call for things I may not have necessarily ever tried, or thought to try with Marcus. So, some of these meals may be more of an experiment to see if I like them too.

 I did a little taste test and this stuff is good! Don't be surprised if you see a more "grown up" version of this one of these days.

Quick Chicken Couscous
1 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup leeks, white part only, washed and finely chopped (I left these out and substituted 2 Tbsp chopped white onions)
2 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1/4 cup carrots peeled and diced
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup couscous
Warm butter in a pan, add leeks (if you're using them). Saute for 5 minutes or until softened.
Add chicken and saute until cooked through.
If you use onion rather than leeks - with about a minute left to cook chicken add onion in with chicken.
Meanwhile, place carrots in a steamer, or in a saucepan  with enough boiling water to cover them, cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Bring the broth to a boil in a pan.
Stir couscous into broth, remove from heat.
Cover and leave for 5 minutes, or until broth is absorbed.
Fluff couscous with a fork and stir in chicken and vegetables.
Add extra water or broth if necessary.

If you've never had couscous don't back away. It reminded me a lot of rice. Really small rice. The broth gives the couscous a little flavor that I'm sure it would lack if you used water.
Marcus enjoys this stuff. Maybe not as much as the cheesy pasta, but hey, he eats it. That's a win in my book!

Here is fair warning... If your little one is anything like mine and doesn't want your help when eating, you can expect a bit of a mess when this mealtime is done. We may or may not have had couscous everywhere...

Source: Adapted - Karmel, Annabel. First Meals: Fast, Healthy and Fun Foods for Infants and Toddlers. New York: DK Publishing, 1999. Print.


Dive In - Indoor Pond!

One of Marcus' favorite toys is our indoor pond. Marcus can explore the fun of water without the mess of getting wet.
It's not a huge pond, but it does the trick.
Every time Marcus plays with his pond he insists on diving in. I die every time I see him smash his little face into the water.
He always checks out the pond by giving it a good pat with the hand.
Then he dives in. HILARIOUS!
Each time he plays with his pond we all get a good laugh. But, nothing was a gut-busting as the first time we pulled the toy out and let him explore. It was almost as if he couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that there was water to be played with, but he wasn't getting wet.
The below clip is the first time Marcus was introduced to this toy. I still crack up when I watch his persistence in trying to nosedive into the water.

This awesome toy was discovered at Lakeshore Learning. If you've never stepped foot inside one of their stores or perused their website I'm giving you fair warning... It takes so much will power to stop at just a few items when shopping their goods. Their toys and learning supplies carry a bit of a heavy price tag, but I feel it's totally worth it. Their products are of amazing quality, and seem to last forever.

If you have any Lakeshore Learning product suggestions let me know! A certain someone has a birthday coming up, which means I have legitimate reason to go shopping.


10 Months Old!

Little man, how are we thisclose to your first birthday? No other time in my life has 10 months ever flown by so quickly.
Official Stats
Height: 30 1/2 inches
Weight: 25 pounds
Teeth: 8
Top left: Contemplating life's great mysteries.
Top right: Not impressed with yet another photoshoot.
Middle left: "What kind of trouble can I get into with mom so close?"
Middle right: "What's down there??"
Bottom left: A half smile.
Bottom right: A real, sweet smile!
What I've learned in the past month:
  • Waving "hi" and "bye" might be more entertaining for Mom and Dad than for Marcus.
  • It looks like standing unassisted will happen soon. There have been a few occasions where the little man will use a table, couch, whatever, to stand up, and then he'll let go for a second or two and stand alone.
  • Apparently it's easier to stand in a bath tub full of water. That happens all the time. 
  • Marcus is not a fan of crawling in shorts on the grass. He will walk on hands and toes rather than hands and knees... Very similar to a monkey. HA!
  • Favorite foods include hot dogs, cheesy pasta, bananas, yogurt, and pasta wheels with marinara sauce. 
  • Marcus is quite the independent little dude. He refuses to have help eating unless he's eating yogurt. He's 10 months going on 10 years.
  • A game of chase is a sure way to get a giggle or two from my little man.
  • Apparently tossing every toy behind Marcus is a fun game. I don't understand the theory behind this, but it is hilarious to watch him methodically toss every.single.toy behind him. Once all the toys are behind him Marcus turns around to the pile of toys and proceeds to toss them again, behind him.
  • We've gotten so used to sleeping through the night, uninterrupted, that those few nights that were difficult due to teeth made the following day(s) brutal. How did we make it through the first four months on such little sleep?!
  • It's always nice to have a date night, but nothing excites me more than getting back home to see my big guy.
  • Though we still have two full months before celebrate turning 1, I might have most of the birthday party ideas and items all ready to go. 
  • My mind is continually blown by how resilient kids are. From all the stumbles, tumbles, and falls, to an outpatient surgery, the little guy always bounces right back up. 
As usual, Drake got in on the photos.
Top photo: "Drake, please!"
Bottom left: "Really, we have to do this?" *hangs head*
Bottom right: "Aw Drake."
These photos were taken yesterday, shortly after Marcus' surgical procedure. Just proving how quickly little one's can and will bounce back after being down for the count. 
Not even four hours post surgical procedure my happy little monkey was right back to his old tricks.
P.S. We're on Instagram these days. Head on over, search desireemacke, and follow us for more photos of our adventures.


A-B-C, Introducing Me

There's a lot going on in our house right now. Scott is pulling serious hours at work - when I say serious, I mean like 36 hours of non-stop work - and today my little man is having an out-patient procedure that requires anesthesia. So, I'm kind of a big train wreck right now...

With that said, here's a light little post for a day that (for me) feels a bit heavy.

{A} Age: 29... a few more months before I say buh-bye to my 20s.
{B} Bed size: Queen, and nowhere near large enough.
{C} Chore you hate: The cat litter. It was so nice when being pregnant excused me from that chore.
{D} Dogs: 1 chocolate lab who thinks he's a lap dog rather than a small horse.
{E} Essential start to your day: Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
{F} Favorite color: Blue, almost any shade. 
{G} Gold or Silver: Silver... But, right now I'm on a gold kick. 
{H} Height: 5' 7"
{I} Instruments you play: None. Growing up I played piano and trombone (baha!).
{J} Job Title: Full-time mom.
{K} Kids: Marcus - 10 months.
{L} Live: Southern California.
{M} Married: Two years and some change. 
{N} Nicknames: Most of my friends call me Des. There is another nickname that only a handful of people can get away with, and my husband is not included in that handful. As to what that nickname is, if you're one of the few then I guess you know. :)
{O} Overnight hospital stays: Ugh, when I broke my arm (2 night stay), and Marcus' birth (3 night stay).
{P} Pet peeve: I cannot stand the sound of someone chewing food if I'm not chewing also, I kind of go crazy. People who don't use their blinkers while driving. Runners who have the option to run on a sidewalk but choose the road (WTH? Get off the road!)
{Q} QuoteReach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
{R} Righty or Lefty: Righty.
{S} Siblings: One younger brother. 
{T} Time you wake up: Marcus is my alarm... Generally he wakes me between 5:00 and 5:30.
{U} University attended: Iowa State University - CyclONE Nation. Proud to be ONE!
{V} Vegetables you dislike: Lima beans. I gag just thinking about eating them.
{W} What makes you run late: Not having all the baby essentials (bottles, toys, extra clothes, etc.) prepped when we are ready to walk out the door.
{X} X-Rays you've had: Several for my ankle growing up playing sports, my OBVIOUSLY broken arm (I literally had to hold my arm to keep it from flopping all over), one of my knee from a snowmobile accident, one of my neck, several of my teeth.
{Y} Yummy food: Mashed potatoes, ice cream/frozen yogurt.
{Z} Zoo animal favorite: Giraffe!!

Thanks Sarah for sharing this fun idea!

And, just for kicks, my little man at breakfast yesterday. Love those cheeks.
I sure hope my monkey is feeling this well by the end of the day.


Happy Marcus Monday!

We've been soaking up the sun around these parts. Temperatures are FINALLY back to normal! 81 degrees? Yes please.

After we get our afternoon run in we head to the park. Marcus loves to swing and crawl around freely.
Happy Monday!


31 Party Reminder

I keep going through the 31 catalog, looking at all the great new bags and totes from the Spring line.
My party is still going strong. It's open until January 26. Click >>HERE<< for the direct link to order your goodies!

I have this organizing tote in black and white polka dots. But, I think I need another one, with a bright fresh look. This tote is my staple when traveling. All.the.pockets. I know where everything is, and I don't have to dig to the bottom of the bag trying to find my chapstick, or phone, or pack of gum.
The color choices are all amazing. So hard to choose which I like best...
That multi-color chevron is beckoning me.
Then there's this Retro Metro bag that I'm officially in love with. I could slip a bottle in the pockets, a diaper in the center, and still look cute while running my errands.
I did mention you can customize your product, right???
Those polka dots are fun!
Reversable?! Two for the price of one? Yes, please!!
Yes, this chevron is a must.
I need this in my life. Seriously. 
An adorable thermal tote to keep things cool or warm. Perfect for road trips with the little man in tow!
That nude color zebra stipe is fun!
Let's not forget the accessories!
1. Flat iron case - perfect for traveling when you need to throw in your curling iron and go!
2. That scarf! Totally adorable, right?!
3. Rosette clip - add to your purse, your coat, your sweater, your hair. Love it.
4. A coupon organizer. I NEED THIS!
Keep yourself organized at home, too (and look cute while doing it)!
1.  About Town Blanket - it folds up so it doesn't take a lot of space. I keep one of these in may car. Great to take to the park, or in case the car stalls and a blanket is needed.
2. Hangup Room Organizer - A great way to store so much, and it comes with a dry erase board.
3. Hangup Family Organizer - Magazines, bill, and other documents just found a new home.
4. Small Magazine Basket - This could store so much: kitchen utensils, recipes, make-up. And, the handle can be personalized with laser etching! 
Ok, ok. I'll stop obsessing. There are SO many great products offered by 31, I could go on and on. But, I won't. I'll let you do a little shopping and discovering for yourself. 

If you see something you like love be sure to check out the catalog! Click >>HERE<< for the full catalog. When you find that one (or two, or three, or 8) item(s) that you just can't live without be sure to head to my party, linked >>HERE<<, and order away!

Remember, you have until January 26 to view the catalog and order. Happy Retail Therapy!! 


Easy Artichoke Chicken

A few days ago Sarah posted this, and her timing couldn't have been more spot on. I was scrambling (per the usual) to find something I could throw together after a particularly trying day with a sick baby.
*Update -- adios to the nebulizer; we are officially RSV-free!

I'm always curious to see what other mom's are whipping up in their kitchens. And, this was a welcomed recipe to add to our regular rotation. Thank you Sarah!

This is very similar to a baked Parmesan chicken that appears frequently in our house. After seeing Sarah's twist to the recipe I was kicking myself. How did I not think to add artichokes?!

Scott and I both heartily agreed this is a good one. Aside from being tasty I love how easy it is to throw together. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Easy Artichoke Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (tip: grate your own Parmesan, it tastes 100 times better than the stuff in the canister!!)
3/4 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (you could also use 3/4 cup mayo in place of yogurt)
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, garlic salt, and pepper together.
Place chicken breast in a greased cooking dish.
Smoother chicken breast with artichoke mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Add some veggies (I was craving edamame) and homemade 7-up biscuits and you have yourself one delicious little meal.


Source: Adapted from Sarah at Our Journey