Sunday, July 29, 2012

A few favorite wedding pics, 5 years later!

A happy anniversary to B. We had a great weekend celebrating with friends at the cottage-- 5 babies under 16 months! More on that later, in a meantime a few pics from that special day 5 years ago....
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Friday, July 27, 2012

CSA Recipe Day: Chicken Nachos with Garden Salsa

Whew....we just got done with Operation Weed the Garden.  It was getting gross in there.  Once we cleared out many of the weeds though, we were excited to see more summer squash and zucchini, plenty of tomatoes, beets, and even a few baby jalapeños!!  Between our CSA and our garden we have had a plethora of awesome veggies the past few weeks.
Super-squash & guard dog, Whitney!

Oh hey Jalapeño!

For this week's recipe, I opted to go for a quick meal using some garden salsa I had already whipped up compliments of PW's recipe (PW = Pioneer Woman who I adore).  We had onions, cilantro, and jalapeños in our CSA and a few tomatoes from our farmer's market.  I zipped it through the food processor for a snack over the weekend and it was still lingering in the fridge.

Then there was the rotisserie chicken.  It's been too hot to cook much, so we picked up a chicken at the store the other night.  We all loved it - Liza included.  Our fridge was also filled with this week's CSA: corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions and more jalapeños (aka toppings).  There's no super-secret recipe to these, but they were delicious and I loved that the salsa/sauce was homemade.

So, here's what we did:

[1] Mix said leftover chicken with salsa and a bit of chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat.  I let it simmer for awhile (maybe 15 minutes) and 'pushed' on the chicken with a spoon to help it breakdown a bit more and absorb some of the flavors from the salsa.  For about the last 5 minutes, I tossed in a can of black beans to help the mixture go a little further (I frequently mix this up during the school year and freeze it).

[2] Line a baking sheet with tin foil and preheat the oven to 350.  Scatter tortilla chips over top of the tin foil.  Then load up with the good stuff - chicken mixture, peppers, tomatoes, jalapeños, corn, olives, and cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

[3] Top with more goodness - we used avocado, salsa, hot sauce, and some plain yogurt (we ran out of sour cream).

Anybody else have some great recipes to use with all the goodness coming from the garden?  We'd love some more ideas!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday loves.

Oh hey, Wednesday!  It's been another beautiful, sunny week so what's not to love?  We're linking up with Jamie to share what we're loving this week.

[1] Our little peanuts.  They are happy.  They love to smile and laugh.  We are blessed.

[2] Cooler weather.  While our temps haven't soared nearly as high as some and we do enjoy some warm swimming weather, we're thankful for the relief of rainy and 65 today.  

[3] Hiking with Liza.  I mentioned before that we had picked up a Kelty backpack.  While it was pricy, we used our Cabelas points to help offset the cost!  Liza loves hiking with Daddy in the pack.  So far, we scoped out a nature preserve nearby and one of our favorite hiking spots near Burt Lake.  It's awesome that we can share one of our favorite outdoor activities with Liza (and Whit)!

[4] We're loving that we're hosting our first giveaway this week!  Subscribe to us by email or become a follower to make sure you don't miss out!

What are you loving??

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Update + Miscellany Monday

I started to type Weekend Wrap-Up, but quite frankly Weekend Update just reminds me of SNL and cracks me up....that's a good thing on a Monday morning.  Linking up with Carissa here.

Here's how our weekend went short sentences (can they even be considered that?) and very few capital letters:

[Friday Night]
shower prep at courtney's:  drink wine.  check out horses (tank and sue).  pick wildflowers.  drink wine.  vent about life.  drink wine.  make egg soufflé.  drink wine.  enjoy 'girl time'.

[Saturday Morning + Afternoon]
more shower prep: bake scones.
operation distract liza while mom bakes.

get ourselves dressed.  get our babies dressed.  pack up a few things.  drive to court's.  do some last minute decorating (aka make poufs).  throw a shower for our dear friend, cathy.
cathy and her sister - they're both preggo with baby girls!

watch our crazy babies play and laugh together (priceless, btw).
i melt.

enjoy more 'girl time'.
court and momma-to-be cathy

e and nat - pardon our sleeeeeepy children who are about to have a meltdown.

clean up  from shower. put crazy, tired babies down for a nap.  put ourselves down for a nap.  clean up around the house.

[Saturday Evening]
E + JW's House: buy JW iPhone.  get takeout from applebees (hello wonton tacos).  play games on iPhones.
Nat + B's House: grocery store marathon (with the rest of town, apparently). roast fresh veggies, grill steak, enjoy a bottle of wine that leads to two on the deck resulting in lots of chatting. guilty pleasure 'american reunion' movie, feel like it's 1999 all over again.

E + JW: liza and momma waffle-making.  liza napping.  grocery shopping.  burt lake bound.  nature preserve hike.  cool off with a swim.  end-of-the-dock afternoon.  snoozing on the pontoon.  awesome dinner.  dq stop on the way home (ice cream is a must on the way home from the lake).  liza sleeping.  house cleaning.  catching up on life-ing.
Nat + B: bottle in bed = 6AM snuggles, family walk along the waterfront, Mama and Connor errands to Lowe's, Subway, new flowerpots, blowing bubbles outside, daddy golfing, dinner at cottage, dissertation writing.

needless to say, it was a great weekend.  time to catch up with friends and with life.  what are you all doing to beat the heat?

p.s. we're planning a giveaway of a beautiful handmade wooden cutting board and some other 'up north' goodies this week?  become a follower so you don't miss any of the action!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Loves.

Holy hotness.  What is up with this 90 degree weather in Northern Michigan?  Good thing we both have family cottages nearby and can escape to the lake on the weekends!

Anyway, we're linking up with Jamie today (a momma-to-be) to share our loves!

[1] The lake.  Like we mentioned earlier there are tons of lakes nearby.  We're lucky enough to have family places within 45 minutes that we really do use as an escape on the weekend.  Cool breezes, campfires, lots of family time, and even some swimming time have made this heat bearable.

[2]  As always during the summer months we're loving fresh, local produce from our CSA and our garden.  Being able to feed our peanuts and hubbies good food always puts a smile on our faces!  Recipe for zucchini brownies coming TOMORROW.  So awesomely delicious and pretty good for you!

[3] A momma-only, baby-free half day of shopping...even though I bought a bunch of clothing for Liza-lou.

[4] Nuk sippy cups.  Liza and Connor both love these guys.  They're great for transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup (especially since L used Nuk bottles).  Check out Liza's new ladybug cup!

[5] Wedding Season. Two weekends, two weddings. Natalie is working hard to perfect her role of bridesmaid this summer. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it! Two words: Dancing machine.

[6] Of course, we're loving our husbands and littles ones, too!
C rocking the sunnies!

Happy L!
Nat & B
Liza and JW

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Monday, July 16, 2012

A Business Trip.... an indoor waterpark?!?! Yes, please! (Check it out: A definite perk of the working mama role, and many thanks to my sister, who drove 3 hours to meet us and volunteered to watch C while I presented.

The hotel was GREAT, and I can't wait to go back for a family vacation in the near future. I called ahead of time to reserve a pack and play, and it was in the room waiting for me when we checked in. Each room has a fridge and microwave, which was so helpful. Not only for leftover pizza, as shown below, but for C's milk, yogurt, fruit, etc. I had packed a little cooler, but the fridge made it so much easier. We were so busy having fun at the pools, we forgot to snap any pictures of the actual waterpark---the sign of a good getaway!
When Auntie M babysits, we eat leftover pizza for breakfast!

C LOVED all of the animals, especially this bear!

Swimming and splashing makes for one tired little guy---snoozing on Mama's bed after a busy day.

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Friday, July 13, 2012


First local raspberries of the season.

Liza's a diaper.


Happy Friday!
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

CSA Recipe Day: Roasted Tomato Sauce

We belong to a CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) through a local farm that's over 100 years old!  We love Coveyou Scenic Farms for a couple reasons: 1) they're local, 2) it's a family operation, 3) they are a very 'natural' farm.  Now I know 'natural' means next to nothing (if not nothing) on many food packages, but what I mean is that they use very organic methods, even though they are not certified organic.  As a momma, I love knowing that my family is eating good food that is grown locally and sustainably.

Anyway, each week we get a box full of goodness.  Lately it's been filled with greens, but after our experience last year, I know that we'll start getting a wealth of tomatoes, onions and peppers as the summer goes on.  This is a recipe that we discovered last year when we didn't know what else to do with all these veggies!  You can use large vine ripe tomatoes, romas, or even cherries.  I also discovered a little bit of basil olive oil from Fustini's a local gourmet oil and vinegar shop, and so I used that too!

Roasted Tomato Sauce
Recipe adapted from here
8 tomatoes, quartered (or halved if using smaller tomatoes)
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1 pepper, cut into chunks
6-8 cloves of garlic
Drizzle olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)
1 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh)
S & P

[1] Heat oven to 400.

[2] On a lightly greased baking sheet or on top of a silpat, place tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil and then toss with your fingers so all ingredients are coated.

[3] Sprinkle with herbs.

[4] Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour.  Cool on the pan.

[5] Once cooled, puree in a blender using olive oil, chicken stock, or water to thin slightly.

This week, we used this with whole wheat penne pasta, sliced kale and grilled chicken.  I simply mixed it all together and threw it in a baking dish with some parmesan cheese on top!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What We're Loving Wednesday...

It's Wednesday already?  Here's what we're loving for our sweet little ones this week...

[1] Summer Time.  It's so nice to be able to play outside with our kiddos, take them swimming and boating, and just enjoy some sunshine with them.  Plus our babies are getting bigger (can we even call them babies anymore???) which means actually romping around in the grass (or putting it in their mouth).
Liza snoozing on Grandpa Patty's lap on the pontoon

[2] Gardening & our CSA.  We are health-conscious mommas so knowing that we're putting good food in our families' bellies is such a good feeling, especially since our kiddos are eating more and more real food (even though Liza has ZERO teeth still!!). Recipe coming tomorrow from some CSA goodness.
Our CSA box from Coveyou Scenic Farms

[3] Floppy sun hats.  Both Connor and Liza have ones from Patagonia that we got at Bear Cub Outfitters, but you can also find them HERE.  We love them because they keep the suns off our little ones, but they're also reversible and have velcro to keep the hat on.  Liza quickly discovered how to untie other hats that I had for her.  Even my peanut of a nephew, Reed has one and the little guy's only 7 weeks old!

What are you loving this week??
Linking up with Jamie!
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Working Momma iPhone Apps

We love our iPhones.  Quite simply, they're handy little buggers when you're busy as all get out...which we just happen to be.  We both work full-time and go to school on the side (Nat's getting her doctorate, teaching courses, and becoming one of the most educated people I know, while I'm completing my second master's).  On top of that we're trying to be great mommas to our little ones, great wives to our handsome husbands, making our houses homes, and making sure our families eat the best food available (and within our budget).  Keeping all of that in mind, here are ten of our favorite iPhone apps.

POSTAGRAM/SINCERELY INK.  These are LIFESAVERS.  Need to send a thank you but run out of stamps?  Need to send a birthday card that you don't have time to pick up?  Postagram and Sincerely Ink (same companies) allow you to do just that.  They actually send the postcard or card directly to your recipient for $0.99 (postcard) or $1.99-$2.99 (cards).  Pure awesomeness.  Oh, and if you have addresses saved in your contact book on your phone, it's a breeze to import that info!

BABY SIGN.  Connor and Liza go to the same daycare where they work on signing with the babies and toddlers.  In an effort to reinforce this at home, we picked up Baby Sign.  I believe we bought the additional pack (which may have been like $4.99) but it's well worth it.

WEE SING.  I'm not a huge fan of giving Liza my phone or having her watch videos, but when she is beyond fussy in the car and we can't get her to settle down, this app works like a charm.  It sings the alphabet song or you can go through the alphabet where they have sentences like "Benny the bear plays the banjo" and little jingles to go with them.

NIKE+.  We try to stay healthy and so when you're trying to squeeze in a quick walk at lunch or a run in the morning before you head to work, it's nice to keep tabs on how far and how long you've gone for.  It's motivation and it works.

FOODUCATE.  This app is great and scary all at the same time.  Trying to choose between different cereal bars?  Fooducate allows you to scan the bar code for a certain grocery.  If the item is in the database (and most name brands are), you'll get a 'grade' for that item and some reasons it was given that grade.  Fooducate also offers better suggestions.  Although we don't use it for every single item, it's a great way to check in on the food you're eating.

DIRTY DOZEN.  You've probably heard of the 'dirty dozen' and 'clean fifteen' in regard to when to buy organic or non-organic produce.  Despite many attempts, I can never seem to keep it all straight.  This app does just that.

DROPBOX.  As a momma on the run, I'm frequently using different computers/devices.  Between iPads and a MacBook at home, an iPhone, and a desktop and MacBook at work, it's SO helpful to use Dropbox to help sync documents, videos, pictures, and presentations so I can access them anywhere.  I can even use Dropbox's website if I'm not on a device I own.  Added bonus?  It's a great way to share pictures with friends and not worry about overloading their email.

BUY ME A PIE.  Despite its name, this is actually a grocery shopping app.  Its layout is simple and easy to navigate.  Items are color-coded based on the section of the store you'd find them in.  Unlike other apps, this one isn't FULL of sponsors which I definitely liked.  Another bonus?  You can sync across multiple phones as long as you have the same account - no more texting my husband a list, we simply create ours as the week goes on and then either of us can go to the store with the complete list.

BABY BRAIN.  This is an awesome app for when you have a newborn baby and are suffering from 'baby brain'.  It allows you to track sleep, diapers, bottles or boobs.  In fact a common phrase around our house during the first few weeks was 'can you add a boob' (meaning add on another nursing session)?  Though I don't use it nearly as much any more, it's great to help you remember 'what side', what time the little peanut ate last and how many wet/soiled diapers they've had.

What are your favorite iPhone apps that you come back to everyday (or almost everyday)?  We're always looking for more to add to our list!
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