Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Italian Sausage & Peppers

There is nothing overly fancy happening here. Sometimes you just need to get back to basics. The ONLY thing I do to "doctor" this recipe up is pour in a little white wine right at the end. This is just a tiny extra touch I like to add. I know...I can never leave any recipe completely untouched! You're welcome! Hello simple and yummy weeknight meal! Why don't I plan you more often?

Package of hot Italian sausage (also good to try chicken sausage!)
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic - minced
3 multicolor bell peppers - sliced
1 large onion - sliced
1/2 tsp. of oregano
Salt & Pepper - to taste
1/3 cup of white wine - I usually use Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio...whatever is around
*Italian bread if you would like to make subs

(I like to cook this all in one big pot!)
1. Brown Sausage over medium high heat, slice in half lengthwise, then finish cooking cut side down. Remove from the pot. 
2. Heat the olive oil, add garlic, peppers, onions, oregano, salt and pepper - cook to your liking. I like the peppers to still be a little snappy, but some people like them more on the mushy side (no judgement). 
3. Add the white wine, continue cooking until it cooks down (about 3-4 minutes). Continue stirring and scrape the bottom of the pot to get any burnt bits..mmmm!
4. Add sausage back into the pot with the peppers and onions. Stir and let cook for a few minutes longer to bring all the flavors together. 
4. Serve on toasted Italian bread or just eat it on it's own....DELICIOUS!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's cooking this week?

Finally! I feel SO much better. That stomach bug was awful! My energy is back and I have so many things I want to accomplish today. Now that lists are created and blogs are (almost) posted, I could get the rest of the day going.

On the agenda:
-Baby food making (I'm thinking apples)
-Organizing Ella's clothes & laundry
-Family FaceTiming/Skyping
-Yarn shopping (sale at Jo-Ann's)
-Baby hat crocheting...brushed up on my skills!
-And most importantly - enjoying the day with my two favorite peeps (see picture to the right)

Good thing we are getting an early start! First, I need to change my shirt ASAP because it smells like spit up! On another note...
Tonight: Chicken Avocado Soup (Never had a chance to make it last week)
Monday: Grandpa's Marinara
Tuesday: Tacos!!!!
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Thursday: Sausage and Pepper Subs

Yesterday we took a trip to meet the sweetest new baby girl in our lives, Chloe Parker! Ella's pretty little BFF came into this world on Thursday and we couldn't be more excited for our dear friends Lisa and Bobby! She is an absolute doll!
So far it's been a great weekend -and the fun continues!

Happy Sunday!
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Congrats On Your Face

I'm home sick with a nasty stomach bug for the second day now. All I've been able to keep down is Cheerios and bread (not toast, just plain old bread). Ella is getting her snooze on and I'm waiting for someone to help me unlock the next level of Pet Rescue Saga. That my friends is an open invitation to do a little pinning and blogging. I can't even remember the last time I had a chance to sit down and immerse myself in Pinterest for an extended period of time AND update the blog! This definitely doesn't mean I'm happy about being sick...I'm just trying to look on the brights side. 

Speaking of's National Compliment Day, who knew? Well I knew. I'd like to extend the following compliment to my local news - you rock, thanks for always keeping me so informed! My first two years as a Guidance Counselor (the glory days), I brought Kindness Week to the school! One whole day during that week was dedicated to writing compliments for one another. I took on the task of delivering them all (after screening them for is middle school after all). It was SO. MUCH. FUN! I would love to revive Kindness Week. It's on the to-do list fo' sho'!

A day of compliments is great however I believe in compliments year round! What better way to brighten someones day? Honestly it is something I do often. Some may think of me as an "over-complimenter". It happens to be my "go to" method of breaking an awkward silence. This might be my new favorite, if you get this one from me you know I really care:
Here is another good one from my favorite movie Bridesmaids:
Like most people, I'm guilty of not being able to accept a compliment. Sometimes you should just say "thank you" and go with it. Is it too late for a resolution? This is SO me...guilty!
So I've officially (finally) decided, my resolution is to work on accepting compliments and also to give out more. Would that make me an "over-over-complimenter"? I've already started. I'm surprised neither of them asked me what I wanted...
Okay this has been fun but my little lady is waking up. Taking care of a baby while being sick is not easy! Luckily, Hubs is on his way home.
*Stephen, you are such an incredible husband and father - I couldn't do any of this without you! Oh, and congrats on your face you handsome man! Consider yourself complimented! 

Happy National Compliment Day go make someone smile!
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ella's Favorite Things

Ella thought it would be fun to share some of her favorites today! Okay, some of these are MY favorites but I like to think she enjoys them too. Even though I expected her to take over, I'm amazed by just how much stuff a baby needs! Does she really need it all? That is debatable (but doubtful)! Our home is jam-packed with a "collection" of baby things. Naturally, there are certain items she (and I) gravitate towards more than others. If you have a little one, you might want to add these to your own collection!
Ella's Faves - 4 Months

1. Octivity Time - Lamaze makes some amazing toys! She has a few and loves them all but this octopus is especially entertaining. I feel like she will love him even more when she is able to sit up on her own.
2. Oball - This is one of the first toys she was able to grab herself. 
3. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - The classical music usually stops her in her tracks if she is having a meltdown...I like to keep it close by!
4. Kermit - The newest addition from our Disney trip the other day! His arms and legs are so easy to grab - and she loves chewing on poor Kermie's hands and feet. 
5. Leggings - I'm obsessed, and these fit her SO well! Ordering in every color...
6. Bright Starts Links - Again, super easy to grab. They are EVERYWHERE!
7. Homedics SoundSpa - We use this every night for the white noise. It either plugs in or takes's also small and portable. LoVe! 
8. Taggies Baby - Soft, cuddly and easy to chew on. 
9. Bumbo Floor Seat - Ella loves sitting up and being able to look around. She always seems so proud of herself when she sits in this chair! I like using the tray to put her toys on - although she brushes them off immediately....
10. Carter's Microfleece Jammies - These are super snugly and warm (believe it or not, it does get cold here). All Carter's clothing fit her really well. She has a pair with elephants too - SO stinkin' cute!

There's more where these came from but this is it for now. She promises to share more soon! 
Happy Thursday!
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Monday, January 20, 2014

What's cooking this week?

Three day weekends, my favorite! Extra time home with my family? Yes please! These past few days have been the perfect combination of relaxing, fun, and productive. Saturday we stayed in, watched Turbo and Hubs ran to Panera to pick up some dinner. Yesterday we spent the day at Downtown Disney meeting up with my childhood friend Jaime and her adorable 3 month old son Sawyer. It was extra special because it was Ella's first time on Disney property! Today we are sprucing up the apartment, re-organizing, doing laundry, assembling Ella's high chair and just getting ready for the week ahead. Here is what's on the menu...
Tonight: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas
Tuesday: Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday: Chicken Avocado Soup
Thursday: Sausage Mushroom Pizza

My poor little darling is getting her next round of shots tomorrow morning. I'm dreading it but trying to not let it stop me from enjoying the rest of our day. Hopefully you all had a wonderful weekend. Here are a couple of pics from ours...
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Coconut Banana Clusters

I'm obsessed! If you ever have some ripe bananas laying around and don't know what to do with them, look no further. I discovered THIS recipe on Skinnytaste not long ago. The fact that there are only a few ingredients is what initially drew me in. Then when I realized I just happened to have two ripe bananas, I knew I had to try them. Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and I added a slight twist by throwing some coconut flakes. These chewy clusters are my new favorites I've already made them twice!
2 ripe bananas
1 cup of quick oats (uncooked)
1/4 cup of chocolate chips
1/4 cup of coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mash the banana in a bowl
3. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips, and coconut - mix thoroughly
4. Spoon onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray
5. Bake for 15 minutes

Enjoy these as a yummy morning treat!
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Boys Behind The Blog {Link-up #8}

Is it just me or does it seem like each month goes faster than the last? What's the deal with that? It's a little scary I've got to admit. I'm going to have to completely agree with Hubby's answer for question #5! One of my absolute favorite parts about hosting this link-up every month is that I'm reminded why I fell in love with Stephen all over again. Such a good man, I sure know how to pick em'!

Time to hear from Hubs, check out his answers below and don't forget to join in the fun too! Get your favorite guy in your life involved and link up with us! Happy BBB #8!
 I love this photo of my two favorite cuties from two weeks ago even though Ella doesn't look too thrilled. 
1. What was your favorite movie of 2013?
I can’t say that we saw all that many movies this year, but there were some good ones; not sure I could pick just one. Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion and Pacific Rim topped my personal list.

2. What is your all-time favorite movie quote?
Anything from Office Space, since I now live it. The quote-ability of that entire movie is amazing.

3. What is your favorite type of movie? (Action, scary, comedy, etc)
If I only could pick one, then at the end of the day, fantasy/sci-fi movies take it home for me. If you need me, I’ll be watching “Lord of the Rings.”

4. What is your New Year's Resolution?
I don’t do resolutions. The idea of a New Year’s resolution defies all sense to me. Somehow, with generally little to no inherent or intrinsic reasoning, and only within the pre-defined window of time, you’re supposed to pick up a new skill or stop doing something terrible for you, or start doing something that someone else places value on. Nonsense.

5. Finish the sentence: This year I will....
Be in the moment. They say that you only have so much time that your kids are as small as they are, so don’t blink. Just seeing all the growth and change that I have in 4 months, I absolutely believe it. She is learning and doing new things every day and I simply want to watch her and experience as much of it with her as possible.
Now grab a button, and link up with us!
Never The Same Spice Twice
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ella's Four Month Update

Woah, FOUR whole months (and then some)! She just melts my heart completely! Those lashes are to die for! Unfortunately I can't say she gets them from me. This little Daddy's girl has some of his best features for sure! I still can't tell exactly who she looks like though! Everyone tells us different things. Maybe she is just a complete combination?
This past month has been glorious!!! She is so happy and smiley, I literally have to pinch myself sometimes. There's such an incredible difference from the first three months!

This little chunk weighs somewhere close to 14 pounds according to our estimation. We'll find out for sure at our next visit to the Pediatrician on the 21st. It's been fun watching her cheeks and thighs plump up over the last few weeks. A lot of her three month clothes are too small and she is starting to get into six already!

The previously dreaded bath time has now become one of our favorite times! We were able to take the insert out of her tub so now she can kick her feet.

Now she is really grabbing at toys and starting to "play". Most toys get shoved directly into her mouth obviously. She especially loves her crinkle toys and some of her teething toys. She also likes to bite on her burp cloths. I used to do the same thing when I was little. I had a burp cloth that was my little lovie, and I called it my "nawnie" (weird).

She also sits nice in her bumbo seat for short periods of time, and likes to play in her jumparoo - although there isn't much jumping yet, just slight bouncing.

Ella has definitely found her voice over the past few weeks. Babbling, cooing, screaming, screetching...I could listen to it all day! She is very talkative in the mornings and late at night. Sometimes she screams in such a way she sounds like a pterodactyl! It's cute how she enjoys hearing could tell she is very proud! Stephen and I were laughing this morning because it totally sounded like she was asking questions. We were like "it went up at the end"! Things are sure entertaining around our house (at least we think so). Here is a video of our little chatty girl from about a week ago...
(I can't embed it...YouTube is being weird and I don't feel like battling it)

 No rolling yet but she can hold her self up on her tummy for a pretty long time. This used to  upset her  tremendously and now she doesn't seem to mind a bit.
I also have an AMAZING app on my iPAD called Baby View (the paid version, so worth it) I recommend it highly! Ella LOVES playing the different activities. I can't get over how interactive she is already at four months! Look at me bragging about my child already! How great is technology? Mind blown...

We just started giving her a little oatmeal about once a day. It took around 2 days for her to get acclimated to eating from a spoon, but now she is a pro and opens her mouth wide. Such a mess!
Her sleeping habits are still completely out of wack. For the most part I can't complain because our days of being up all night are extremely rare (although we did have a tough one last night). Most nights we put her down anywhere between 10 and 11. She generally wakes up once around 2 AM, I nurse her for about a half hour and put her back down. We get up really early so I can get her to the sitter by 7, and then she still takes a 3-4 hour nap once she gets there. I bet we could start bumping her bed time to be a little bit earlier, we just haven't gotten there yet.
Even though she is happy most of the time, of course she has her moments - and when she out! Since she has started teething, it's been pretty awful. She goes through these episodes where she is inconsolable and just wants to bite on everything. I feel so terrible for her it's obvious she's in a lot of pain. My poor baby girl is just so miserable and I just feel so helpless. I'm thinking that's what her problem was last night when she was waking up every hour. We are going to try the Hyland's Teething Tablets. If  you have any other suggestions please let me know (she already has a Sophie).

 Basically I'm willing to try anything to keep this little love smiling always! Can you tell she has Daddy and I wrapped around her cute chubby little fingers?  
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Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's cooking this week?

First thing's first...HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEE! My last year in my twenties...whoa!!! This may be my most low-key birthday (thanks for the grammatical help J-Vrag) ever. I'll be staying home and being cozy all day with my little family and that is completely fine with me. Yesterday I had some "Me" time and met up with my friends Jen and Lisa down by Tampa (ish). Lisa is a champ for coming out 39 weeks pregnant. I was seriously a hermit by this point! We did some shopping, had a delicious dinner, and did some MUCH needed catching up. I added to my ever growing legging collection, and splurged on some cuteness for Ella. It was pretty perfect! When I came home Hubs and Ella had yummy birthday brownies waiting for me. Today, the only venturing out I plan to do is to take the new jogging stroller that I borrowed from my friend Rachel for a test run. It looks like another beautiful day here in sunny Florida! Besides, I should probably work off those two birthday breakfast brownies (totally eyeballing a third)! 

Tonight: Cannellini Bean Soup and steak for Hubs (was supposed to make last week)
Monday: Apple Turkey Picadillo 
Tuesday: Huevos Rancheros and potato hash
Wednesday: Oven Fried Beef Taquitos
Thursday: Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Chicken

I'm not typically a breakfast for dinner type of gal but since Rachel hooked me up with some fresh eggs I'm pretty psyched about it! Time to get out of bed and get this day moving. Ella kept us all up last night, we are getting a slow start. Thankfully it is Sunday and we could lay around to rest up for another busy week! Happy Sunday!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Let's Take This Relationship To The Next Level

Are you wondering who I'm referring to by the title? Mal from Mal Smiles of course! Do I have your attention?! Since it is "Woman Crush Wednesday", I thought this post would be appropriate. It's safe to assume that we've reached that turning point and gone from "blog besties" to "real life besties". Don't worry, I'm not getting all mushy on you all...that's so not my style. I've done a little research on how to tell if someone is your best friend and it seems we meet most of the criteria. This goes deeper than a mutual love of blogging, documenting life, taking selfies, cooking, wearing leggings as much as possible, and sharing the same twisted sense of humor (basically we are both hilarious). It just clicks, this chick is on my level and I know now matter what we'll always be there for one another. My theory is that we go WAY back -I wouldn't be surprised if we have churned butter together in a past life! How cool is it that blogging and a retirement community have brought us together?!? It's a total bummer being separated by two time zones, but somehow we stay connected and it works!

It was pretty amazing having her here in town over the break and being able to just get together for simple things like running to the store so my Kohl's 30% off coupon didn't go to waste! New Year's Eve was a blast! We celebrated with our boys and our parents, pigged out on yummy Mexican food, played board games and laughed a ton.

Thanks Mal for always making ME smile....okayyy my #WCW work here is done! Head on over to Mal's page and be sure to follow her if you don't already! Also, don't forget to link up with us next week for the EIGHTH round of The Boys Behind The Blog (had to throw in a shameless BBB plug)!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some "Christmas-y" Things

Looking back at my past few blog posts, it's occurred to me that I haven't shared anything about Christmas! Silly me! This is completely cray considering we celebrated not once, but twice! First I've got to start off with our adorable Tiny Prints Christmas cards!
Even the back is cute! I kept trying to picture what our very first family Christmas card would look like, and they did not disappoint at all! This is one for the scrapbook for sure. 
Christmas part one was down with family in South Florida (on the actual day), and part two was a week after when my parents came to visit. Ella's first Christmas was a memorable one. She may not remember it, but Stephen and I certainly will. I'm SO looking forward to creating our very own family traditions...I'm going all out! I've already got some ideas for next year. Who's counting the days? I AM - only 352 more days! Ok fine, the last thing I want to do is rush this next year. Ella is already growing up way too fast, but it's nice to have something to look forward to! Here are some of my favorite moments from a very special and memorable holiday season...
And of course, none of it would feel complete without baking Grandma's Jelly Buttons! Now my baby girl is a part of the tradition. It doesn't get much better than that!
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Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's cooking this week?

Oh YAY, my first meal plan for 2014! I suppose I better make it a good one and start the new year off right! I just noticed that I'm planning an awful lot of meat-free dishes, so I'm throwing a steak in there for Hubby...
Tonight: Mediterranean Chicken Pizza
Monday: Sweet Butternut Squash Soup, Pecan Pear Salad
Tuesday: Cucumber Avocado Subs
Wednesday: Cannellini Bean Soup and steak for Hubs
Thursday: Veggie Fajitas

This past week has been amazing, we had a great visit with my parents. My Mom's wish was for a picture with Ella by the Christmas tree...wish granted! We had a cozy little Christmas celebration with them on New Years Day. Ella's first Christmas is officially and it was a memorable one for sure. I'm not sure who is happier in this photo!
Grandma and Grandpa spoiled the peanut like it was their job (which I'm pretty sure it is). There was lots of smiles and giggles all week long. We ate a ton of good food, which is all the more reason to kickstart some healthy eating starting NOW! 
We also fit in some serious shopping with gift cards and Christmas cash! I really took advantage of the whole "treat yo self" mentality for both Ella and I! Oh how I LOVE shopping with my girl! Daddy better watch out, we are a dangerous pair! These are some of the goodies we came home with this week!

I'm very pleased with our finds! Ella is going to love her Sophie the Giraffe teether I just know it! Hopefully my new running shoes give me the incentive to get back into the swing of things. Since I've gotten an early start today maybe I should get on that? Honestly, it is WAY more tempting to lay around all day (as much as you possibly can with a 4 month old) to rest up for reality tomorrow! Ella is taking her morning snooze and maybe I will too. Run or nap, hmmmmm...decisions, decisions! We'll see! I hope you are all enjoying your first weekend of 2014!!!
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