Friday, April 29, 2011

Shoe Love: Chiffon Bow Sandal

Loving these shoes from Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti.

Too bad my legs aren't quite long enough to pull off this look.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Still sick over here. Whatever we caught was some fantastic bug. The kids have been sick for over a week. It's day six for me, and I'm actually feeling worse. Boo. Being sick is no fun.

I thought I'd share my favorite chicken noodle soup recipe. It has wonderful flavor, and I love the taste of homemade chicken stock and the ability to control the amount of salt. The turnip and fresh herbs add a great flavor, too. My house always smells amazing when I make this soup. There is something about chicken noodle soup that is so comforting when you are sick. It is one of the only things that actually sounds good when I don't feel good.

Sometimes I like to throw in extra veggies. I also like to make the stock in the morning or the day before so it can chill and the fat floats to the surface. That makes it easier to skim off. I also prefer to strain it through cheesecloth because it catches all the little things that can get through a strainer.

I know the weather is warming up (or at least it is supposed to where I live), but give this soup a try next time you aren't feeling so great. You will love it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lovely Weekend: Easter and the Sick House

Miss M loved coloring eggs, going on an egg hunt, and her Easter basket.

Mr. T loved finding the eggs Miss M passed over.

Both kids were pretty sick and so pitiful and grumpy. Husband and I were starting to feel the first symptoms of colds coming on. Blah.

We had a big Easter dinner with family and friends. Too bad my table really only seats four instead of nine. I need to get a bigger table. We had a wonderful time.

Dinner turned out well, and the food was all eaten up. That always makes me happy.

I really need to get a camera.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

Celebrating Easter this weekend with family and friends.

Coloring eggs, egg hunts, Easter bunny visits.

Attending church and reflecting on the true reason for Easter.

He lives.

Easter weekend links:

Tips for coloring eggs naturally found here.

Beautiful eggs with crochet lace and bows found here.

Cute little bunny buns here.

Sweet little Spring centerpieces here.

Great idea for gardening in a small space here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fighting Colds Naturally

It happened again. I can't even believe it. This Winter has been a nasty one at my house, and now we are getting in to Spring. My kids have been sick a ton, which never happens! Miss M is sick again. She started with a yucky cough on Monday and woke up this morning with a stuffy nose as well. Blech.

There are many ways to prevent and fight off colds. Here are just a few of my favorite tips.

  1. Wash your hands well and often. Of course! With kids this means about every ten seconds as you go between the two :) Keep a good hand lotion nearby!

  2. Drink lots of fluids. Again, a no brainer, but I still forget to do it. When I'm sick, I don't feel like drinking anything really. It's a bit of a challenge to get Miss M to drink when she's not feeling well either. Water is best to stay hydrated and flush out the cold bugs. We aren't big on juice around here, but sometimes water just sounds blah when you have a cold. Just look for 100% juice with lower sugar. You can also add a little water since most juices are pretty concentrated. Miss M will gobble up juice popsicles, and the cold soothes a sore throat.

  3. doTerra essential oils. My favorite one for fighting off and preventing sickness at my house is called On Guard. It is a blend of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal as well. I like to diffuse it in my home so everyone benefits. You can also dilute a drop in fractionated coconut oil and rub on the bottom of your feet or your little one's feet. Added benefit - it smells wonderful. The second one I love is Breathe. It is a blend of laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, and ravensara. I diluted a drop in some coconut oil and rubbed it on Miss M's throat and chest last night and her coughing stopped so she could sleep. This morning I did the same thing and she has nearly stopped coughing.

  4. Garlic. Garlic has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. I love garlic, but Miss M, won't just eat a clove of garlic or drink a lemon-garlic-honey concoction. I just add a little extra to some dishes she already likes.

  5. Gargle with warm salt water. It does the trick for me when I feel a sore throat coming on, but not for Miss M yet. She's too young to get the whole idea and would probably just drink the salt water or spit it out.

  6. Get plenty of rest. It's hard to rest when there is so much to do, but one day resting is better than a few days feeling crummy while trying to get stuff done. For Miss M, that means some TV time. It's not my fav solution, but the girl won't stay down otherwise. We are currently watching Cars.

Now I'm off to make some chicken soup packed with veggies, garlic, and herbs and some fresh squeezed orange juice.

What are your best cold-fighting tips?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goat cheese, caramelized onion, and spinach quesadilla

I made this last night for dinner. I first tried this recipe a couple years ago. It's a Spring/Summer favorite of mine. During the Fall and Winter, I crave soups and casseroles, but when it finally warms up, I love salads and sandwiches. Less time spent in the kitchen, and more time playing. This quesadilla hits the spot and is simply delicious.


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C. thinly sliced onion
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 9 oz baby spinach
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • 4 oz semisoft goat cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sugar and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is dark golden brown. Remove from pan. Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon water to the skillet; cook 2 minutes, or until spinach is just wilted. Remove from skillet and turn off heat. Spread a quarter of the goat cheese on each tortilla and top with spinach, tomato and onion; fold closed and press lightly. Heat the skillet and place two folded quesadillas in it; cook two minutes per side, or until golden brown and lightly crisp. Repeat.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Lovely Weekend: Just keep swimming

Friday and Saturday were full of cutting shelf liner, organizing, unpacking, organizing, and flattening boxes. It was a full weekend. Of course, the to-do list barely looks dented, but isn't that how it always is?

We had to add a little fun to the mix. On Friday night after Husband got home, we walked to the park and played for a bit. On Saturday, we decided to go out to lunch between errands. We went to a teppanyaki place. Miss M was very concerned about the flames, but she plugged her ears and giggled the remainder of the time. She kept saying stuff to our chef. She was very polite and kept saying, "Thank you." That made me smile. The chef had some shrimp out and kept saying, "Finding Nemo" (imagine with a great accent). Miss M giggled every time.

Oh, and my hair almost caught on fire. The chef struck a match on the grill and the lit tip flew off toward my head. Luckily, it bounced off instead of sending my hair up in flames. That would have made for a very bad day.

I'm feeling a bit like Dory. Still swimming through boxes in two rooms, but love having my own space again. It's the best.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring blossoms

Enjoying the sunny weather and having high hopes Spring is finally here to stay.

It will be a weekend of organizing, organizing, and more organizing.
(My shelf paper should finally arrive tonight.)

With a little playtime.

Wishing you a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Food Revolution Take 2

Last night I watched the Season 2 premiere of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I watched the first season last year and was pretty grossed out by the kinds of things school kids were being fed. The chicken nugget demonstration was nasty. Ick. This year, I think the pink slime demo topped it. Thinking about ammonia in my food and especially children's food is downright disgusting and oh so wrong.

What are we teaching our children by feeding them this junk? How will they ever learn to respect themselves and love their bodies if we teach them it's ok to stuff them with such harmful food?

Our society is in need of a big wake-up call to not just to take care of our own bodies, but to teach our children to do the same.

Like any change you want to see, it starts with you.

You decide what to feed yourself.

You decide what to feed your children.

You decide what to purchase.

You cast your vote daily with your choices.

What are you going to choose?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Toluene, what? What's in your nail polish?

I hesitated when Miss M asked me to paint her nails yesterday. She told me she wanted to show all her new friends at church her beautiful nails. She clutched the red polish tightly in her hand and was ready for the ok.

I'm going through my house replacing products containing harmful chemicals with chemical-free ones, but I can't do it all at once. While in the past I have always had my toenails painted, I stopped painting them several months ago when I heard about the nasty chemicals inside. Lucky for me, it's been winter and my toes have been well hidden.

Nail polish is super stinky stuff. Strong chemical smells always make me think that whatever is causing that smell isn't good for my body. If it's not good to inhale or ingest, chances are pretty good that it isn't good for me to put on my body either. Nail salon workers wear masks when painting nails, but customers don't. Hmmm.

Makers of nail polish are slowly getting away from the worst offenders. Here's a few of the most toxic ingredients and why they are a problem.

  • Toluene - It's a clear liquid also used in paint thinners that has been linked to disrupting the nervous system and may cause developmental problems. Read more here and here.
  • Dibutyl phthalate - It is used in adhesives and is frequently used as a plasticizer (increases flexibility and durability in plastics). It may have negative effects on the immune, endocrine, and reproductive systems as well as human development. Read more here and here.
  • Formaldehyde - Sadly, it is pretty much everywhere. Because of its simple chemical structure, it is a by-product of many chemical processes. It can cause a whole load of problems, including cancer. Read more here and here. (If it's used to preserve a dead body, then it's not good for a live one! Thanks to my human anatomy class.)
There has been a lot of progress made in the last few years, and there are many great non-toxic nail polishes on the market. However, if you tend to hold on to your nail polishes for a long time, please check the ingredients.

I think Miss M may need some new polish in her Easter basket. Blue is her absolute favorite color. I just might need some, too. Spring is calling my name, and my winter toes are begging for some color.

What's your favorite go-to hue?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lovely Weekend: Truly Inspiring

It was a truly lovely weekend. It was full of deep reflection and much inspiration. We saw good friends and made new ones.

On Friday night, we dropped the kids off at my in-laws, and we started our four hour drive. It was snowy and rainy off and on. We finally arrived at Husband's grandparents' house about 10:30 pm. We chatted for a few minutes and then went to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up to dark, rainy skies. We got ready and had breakfast with the grandparents before taking off to the funeral services.

Before the funeral, there was a viewing. The family was lined up before the small casket to greet those in line. I couldn't even think of anything to say. What do you say to someone who has just lost their child? What do you say to children who have just lost their little brother? Words seem too trivial at a time like this. We hugged, and that was about all we could do. They thanked us for coming. We said we wouldn't have missed it. I could barely glance in the casket. My heart was breaking for this family.

The funeral was absolutely beautiful. One of the older teenage sisters gave the eulogy. She did a wonderful job, and I was so impressed with her composure and poise to get through such a difficult task. Then, the father spoke. His talk was incredible. Absolutely incredible. He talked about how he had never experienced such sadness and joy at the same time. Sadness for the great loss and grieving for his little son and immense joy because his son is in paradise and has finished his journey on earth. This family is strong. They will navigate this tragedy courageously and become even stronger and better people as a result.

Next, we went to the cemetery. There was a huge bunch of brightly colored balloons. Everyone had the chance to write a note and attach it to a balloon. The balloons were released into the sky simultaneously. We all watched as they floated away into the cloudy sky. Just as they were almost out of sight, the sun broke through the clouds. It shined brightly the remainder of the day like a sweet smile from heaven.

As Husband and I talked after the services, we discussed how tragic events often have great potential to strengthen individuals and also bring people together. It's horrible when sad things happen, but there is so much good that often comes from them. The funeral on Saturday caused me to reflect on areas I want to improve on. Whether it's being a little more kind, hugging my kids more, or just making more time to really play with them; I want to be better. Because that is what matters most. Trying a little harder to be a better person.

There were other lovely activities this past weekend. Husband's song was beautiful. He did a great job, like he always does. We made some new friends and connected with some we haven't seen for a few years. The drive back was snowy and crazy, but it was sure nice for Husband and me to have four uninterrupted hours to chat. We arrived at my in-laws at 12:30 am and decided to just crash on the couch instead of waking up the kids to go home. I slept like a rock.

Saturday was a beautiful day. I consider myself lucky that I was able to have a truly inspiring day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

No words can describe

It's a cool, rainy day here. It will be like this tomorrow, and it is fitting. Last Friday morning, Husband called. When I answered, his voice was solemn and noticeably shaken. He could hardly talk. After a moment, he quietly told me that our friend's little boy had passed away the night before. It is always heartbreaking to hear about the loss of a child, but now that I have my own children, I can hardly bear to think about it. Our friend sweetly asked Husband if there was any chance that he would be able to make the four hour drive to play the piano at his son's funeral. Of course, there was no question that we would attend. Such a small, insignificant token we could offer to this grieving family. I cannot even imagine.
The messages from this past Conference were a good dose of hope for us last weekend as we thought about our grieving friends. One talk last Saturday was very timely. The speaker mentioned caring for his young son in the middle of the night and how he will always remember that night. His son passed away a few months later. I believe in eternal families. I believe that I will be with my own family forever, and that is a truth that I rely on in times like this. I know our friends are doing the same. I'm spending the day getting things packed, and the house in some sort of semi-order before we take off tonight. We'll be taking the kiddos to my in-laws. It is a relief to not have to bring them on this whirlwind trip.

Wishing you a lovely, reflective weekend. Hug the ones you love and make peace with the ones you don't quite yet. Life is fragile, but the human heart is strong and resilient.

Photos found here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shoe Love: Badgely Mischka Lelah

One word Gorgeous Badgley Mischka Lelah I'm such a sucker for ankle strap shoes (and bows of course). They look so delicate and feminine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lovely Weekend: The Big Move

We made the big move this weekend. It went so smoothly thanks to a few family members and friends who spent their Friday evening and Saturday morning helping us pack the truck. Seriously, so nice. And a huge thanks to five guys from our new neighborhood that showed up to help us unpack the truck. It took less than 30 minutes. Amazing. Conference was wonderful. It was nice to relax and learn in between all the moving and unpacking. A few things that struck me most were talks about service and how we are often the answer to others' prayers. The other focus I enjoyed was the importance of families. I can honestly say that my family members are my best friends. I love them dearly. This whole week will be filled with unpacking and organizing. I'm waiting for a load of shelf liner that should arrive next week. I know, I should have ordered it earlier :) I just couldn't decide what I wanted, but I'll do a little post about it soon. I'll try post pictures as soon as I get a camera. Life without a camera since January has been awful. I'm having a hard time deciding what to get, but for now I'm just going to get a simple point and shoot to get by.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What a week & coming weekend

My house is done. I can't wait to move in. It's been terribly difficult to find time to move things. Husband works late, and we have had something going on every night this week. One of those weeks were everything hits at the same time.

Have you ever tried packing with munchkins running around? They are so helpful! Things get re-arranged or boxes get emptied or they just get plain crazy. I've taken a few loads of things over with the kids. It's been eventful, to say the least.

Today when I told Miss M it was time to leave the house, she started to cry, "I don't want to leave! My house is all done!" She is extremely excited which makes me happy and relieved.

A few days ago, I had this little conversation with Miss M.

Miss M: "Mom, can I sleep in my new playroom?"
Me: "No, you need to sleep in your bed."
Miss M: "Can we put my bed in the playroom?"
Me: "Uh . . ."

My three year old is already starting to out-smart me.

Bottom line, we are all anxiously waiting to move to our new house. What about moving this weekend? Well, we will be watching this and moving what we can in between. I greatly look forward to Conference weekend twice a year. Sure, it takes up a lot of time over the weekend, but it is more than worth it. It's the perfect time for me to re-evaluate my life. A time I can focus my priorities again. I also believe that it helps me get closer to becoming the person I want to be. Participating also brings blessings to me and my family. Who wouldn't want that? We'll just settle with getting moved in a little at a time.

Have a lovely, Spring weekend!
(And get some sleep for me.)
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