Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY “out of the blue” care package

Stephen is the high school youth leader at our tiny church. At the moment, he only has a few girls in the group, and some of those girls left on Sunday for a week of church camp. I thought that it would be nice to surprise them with a care package! We didn’t mail it (it would be $$), so we just sent it in the van with them when they left. Stephen and I were counselors at this camp (where our love story began) and I remember that it was always fun to binge on caloric snacks with all the girls in the cabin :)

: (All bought at Walmart)

1. Pringles “Salt & Vinegar” chips
2. Chex Mix, Original
3. Pringles Stix in “Sugar Cookie”
4. Hostess Ding Dongs
5. NutriGrain Blueberry bars
6. Dove Milk Chocolate
7. Gatorade Cool Blue 12-pack
8. 3 packages of 3 blue kitchen spoons for . . .
9. . . . playing “Spoons” with the deck of Bicycle playing cards
10. Kleenex box
11. Sally Hansen “Hard as Nails” in Blue Flame (or Blue Me Away)
12. Journals—for the girls to write down memories, thoughts, prayers
13. Orbit Wintermint gum
14. Glow-in-the-dark bracelets
15. Jolly Rancher hard candies
16. Oreos

This idea was sparked, in part, from the Box of Sunshine I posted a couple of weeks ago!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

chocolate chip zucchini bread

chocolate chip zucchini bread 
If you’re looking to use up your abundant zucchini crop—this is your recipe! The word “bread” could be argued, as even Nolan calls it “Zucchini Cake.” My in-laws thought I left out the zucchini! It is scary good, especially with a steaming cup of joe :)

The zucchini is the first to be harvested in my garden, they were tiny last week, and in just a matter of days I now have eight large ones on my counter. I think I will be repeating this recipe for the rest of the summer!

2  3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

chocolate zucchini bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into the dry ingredients until just moistened.
Lastly, mix in the shredded zucchini and the chocolate chips. Transfer the mixture into two greased loaf pans.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Trust me, it’s soft and moist and delicious!!

Linking up with Andrea’s recipe club!

See my other recipes on my Pinterest board.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Ephraim at 6 months

Happy half birthday, little one!

How can he be six months already? I teared up last night when I set my 5-month-old down in bed. I will miss all the little baby stages!

6 Month Stats

Weight: 17 pounds, 11 ounces 

Length: Around 26 inches

Eating: Nursing exclusively—still every 3 hours during the day. We are about to start solid foods—rice cereal, vegetables, and fruit! 

I have to say that I’m extremely proud to have a 17 pound baby who has only ever had milk. I had a totally different experience with Nolan. Even though he started off a pound heavier at birth than E, he was a skinny guy for his first half-year of life. I was nervous that he wasn’t getting enough milk, so I started supplementing with formula at three months. He was eating rice cereal at four months, and veggies & fruit at five months. This time, I wanted to see if we could make it six months, breastfeeding exclusively (no bottles)—and we did it!!

Bedtime: He stays up a little bit with Mommy and Daddy after Nolan goes to bed, then he’s down at about 10. He is still waking up at least once. Last night it was way too many times—1 am, 2 am, 3 am—just wanted to socialize with Mommy, I guess!

Awake: Since he is staying up a bit later, I often have to wake him at 9:30 or so. He eats at 6 or 7 and goes right back to sleep. Yesterday, I had to wake him at 10:45 for church!

Naps: Naps vary from day to day. Yesterday he had three. And I still hold him most of the time in the Snugli.

Diapers: We bumped him up to a size 3 this past month. (And we’re switching from Pampers to Luv’s to save $). It seems like we were only buying size 2 for a second!

Clothes: I’m about to pull out the 9 month onesies. His 6 month shorts are still fitting nicely.

Favorites: Chewing on anything, reaching for items that I’m holding, listening to us sing, giggling at Nolan, playing in the Jumperoo. He has discovered the TV. He zoned out in front of an entire episode of Duck Dynasty the other night, then immediately closed his eyes when I laid him down in my arms. :)

Latest Tricks: Squealing, singing, blowing some raspberries. He is starting to squirm around on the floor—rolling and inching around to face the direction that he wants to. I am so not ready for him to crawl!

Happy six months, sweet Ephraim Luke. I can’t wait for the next six!

Friday, July 25, 2014

friday favorites

Here’s another round of Friday Favorites—a summary of things I’ve loved this week. :)

1. Our garden that has completely exploded! 
Our pumpkin flowers are enormous and it’s neat because they only stay open in the morning.

I think the zucchini will be our first harvest—and soon!

Can you spot the tiny cucumber? I’ve never had a garden like this before and I’m just amazed at how big it has gotten in just a month. Growing your own seeds is a surefire way to be in awe of God’s creation. I’m sure I’ll be talking about it every week!  :)

2. Shipping diapers to my door.
With both Ephraim and Nolan in my cart at the store, I don’t have room for big diaper boxes. I always do the math on to get the best deal and have it shipped to my house for free (with the Red Card)!

3. Coconut Cove Soap from Bath & Body Works
Bath & Body Works was having a sale last month when I got this soap online for $2.50. Coconut for me is hit or miss, but I took a chance on this scent, and I absolutely love it! So perfect for summer.

4. Hot Chocolate
Steve and I might be the only crazies who drink hot chocolate every night, even in the summer. What can I say? We’re addicted :)

5. Time with the boys.
I can’t believe my little guy will be half-a year old on Monday!

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci.


Thursday, July 24, 2014


Last week, I got my first smart phone, and though I won’t be trading in my real cameras anytime soon, I can totally see how convenient it is to just whip out the iPhone and snap a few photos of the kids in action :)

We went for a drive to meet my friend Briana and her two sons, Coleson and Decklen for a playdate at the park.

Hammie had to go down the slide first to make sure it was okay :)

We had so much fun hanging out with these guys—wish we lived closer!

And a few photos from yesterday! I love seeing how Ephraim is sleeping when I wake up in the morning :)  Sleeping on his tummy is a new thing.
Waiting for Daddy to get home from painting ceilings all day!

Can’t believe it’s already Thursday!
Check back in tomorrow for my Friday favorites :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

what i wore wednesday

It’s a hot one here this week. I mean, no it’s not the 100s of Texas, but 85 is hot no matter where you go, and we don’t have air conditioning to retreat to :) In fact, we don’t even have ceiling fans in our house (it’s on Steve’s to-do list), and most of the windows do not open! In these days it’s fun to throw on a light cotton dress and call it good. How do you beat the heat?

Dress: Target Mossimo Racerback Maxi
Shoes: Crocs A-Leigh Mini Wedge
Earrings: Nickel & Suede
Sunglasses: Target (old)

This cute feather charm on my necklace came from my friend Kim (our MOPS leader). She gave these to all of us to get excited about next year’s upcoming theme, “Be You Bravely.”

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Linking up with Lindsey, Alison, and Shanna.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

oven pancake


I first had the oven pancake (pannenkoek)at my aunt’s house in Minnesota when we visited my family for Thanksgiving. It was the perfect blend of warm hospitality and a filling breakfast. In the years since, Steve and I have enjoyed making it for any meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

6 Tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat butter in a 13 x 9 glass pan in the oven until melted (I cut it into smaller slices so it melts faster). Mix eggs, milk, flour and salt together in a separate bowl and stir with a fork until blended (it will be lumpy). Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes.

(Makes 8 servings)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup (or your favorite pancake topping). It also goes great with fruit/pie fillings—apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, the sky’s the limit!

oven pancake

Monday, July 21, 2014

Steve’s birthday weekend

Can we rewind and do this weekend over again? We had so much fun as our little family of four, celebrating Steve’s birthday, which always falls perfectly in the middle of summer. It was fun to see Nolan old enough to sing happy birthday to his daddy and genuinely be excited for the cake and candles and presents :) It was a simple day, but I hope we were able to show Steve how much he means to us.

Enjoy some photos from our past week!

I signed Nolan up for the Build and Grow workshop at Lowe’s every other Saturday. Steve got to take Nolan there last Saturday morning to make a wooden “Turbo” snail together!

He loved it!!

My mom made her husband Don cute cupcakes for his 70th birthday!

These were part of Steve’s birthday gift :) The dozen did not survive the weekend.

We took a mini road trip to Target and Olive Garden :)

This picture will warm my heart for years to come :)
The mountains NEVER show up well on my camera. It was a beautiful drive home.

Our parents met us at home for some birthday cake. Steve chose a chocolate chip caramel oatmeal cake.


This was part of Steve’s birthday present from my mom!

I’m new at growing things, so I was pleasantly surprised to find zucchini growing from the flowers on the plant!

How was your weekend?


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