Thursday, September 29, 2011

7 months!

Little Lucy lady is 7 months, I cannot believe's going by so fast!
Currently she is noticing everything, is sitting up, eating lots of rice, oatmeal, fruits and veggies, still loves the exersaucer, is getting a little more wary of other people holding her, is sleeping approximately 7 p.m.-7 a.m. with a 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. nap. We still go on walks and run errands together and Lucy sits in the shopping cart now :) She's my little buddy!
Here are some photos documenting her 7th month :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I made this friday night for our company and they were delicious. Found it in my most recent country living magazine. A must try for the fall!

Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Makes 8 servings

24 jumbo pasta shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
22 ounces ricotta cheese
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 large egg white
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jar (26 ounces) purchased tomato sauce

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer to a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, pumpkin, 3/4 cup Romano and all remaining ingredients except tomato sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread sauce in bottom of 13-by-9-inch pan. Fill each pasta shell with pumpkin-ricotta mixture. Arrange in pan. Cover pan with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle shells with remaining Romano. Bake 15 minutes longer.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friends from Grace

We are so thankful for our church and for the friendships we have through this place and through having a common bond of Christ.
The youth group girls and leaders in particular have been such a blessing to us three and everyone gives Lucy lots and lots of love, which means so much to Joe and I :)

Lucy and Melody

Hillary, me and Izzi

Lucy and her sweet friend Ellie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So I'm not the best blogger out there....understatement of the century...
BUT I was reflecting back on that I've been blogging for over a year now and have over 100 posts. Hey, I thought that was an accomplishment!!
Have a lot to be thankful for in this past year and just wanted to say thanks to anyone out there who has followed me in this journey of pregnancy, birth, having a little baby, transitioning from a marketing career to being a stay at home mom, trying out recipes and trying to learn how to clean and organize...
Life is a journey and I still have a lot to learn, but thankful to stay connected to some of you through this outlet and excited for what God will teach me in this year ahead!

"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." psalm 86:11

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Deals and Steals

I get excited about deals I find - I am not a "couponer" since I haven't yet found the time or energy to tackle that, but here's a few things I have been doing that I think are pretty neat ideas:

Go here for a better explanation - this is the blogpost that got me started on it:
I do the search, daily poll, NOSO, swagtv occasionally and the trusted surveys. There's a lot I'm not utilizing, but that's all I do and not daily. Even so I have already earned a gift card!

Huggies Enjoy the Ride points & Pampers Gifts to Grow - I have been earning points toward gift cards just by buying diapers...easy enough :)

Blue Cross Blue Shield blue points - I was really faithful with tracking what I ate, my activities, doing a wellness plan type of thing and would earn points for it through my insurance. I earned two $200 giftcards through this. I have not done this since having Lucy because I don't have a computer except on the weekends...but plan on getting started again. Also, they no longer give out giftcards from what I've heard but you can earn other prizes based on your points.

Starbucks registered card - free drink on your bday, free syrup shots, free refills on coffee, free drink with coffee bean purchase, free drink at gold level and then every 15 purchases after that
Just this week I got a bag of pike's place roast and a free pumpkin spice latte (Pike's was up to $11.95 but I used to get it for $9.95 which is a great deal when you get a free $3.50-$4.00 drink)
TJ Maxx - my mom has been buying jumbo bags of starbucks coffee from here - $14.99 for 2 lbs or $16.99 for 2.5 lbs and I bought two 12 oz bags of "cup of joe" starbucks coffee for $5.99 each from TJ and you can take the bags in for a free cup of coffee, so that is definitely worth the purchase!

Dominicks/Safeway stores - they do a lot of online coupons, so I log in and add all my coupons and they also do deal match with Jewel, Target and Walmart sometimes, so I add those deals onto my card as well. Feel like that's the easiest way for me to be able to go to one store and still be getting bargains.
Also Walmart matches any sale price on anything, a friend of mine with 3 kids under 3 and another on the way goes to walmart for everything and utilizes the dealmatch for everything and has gotten some great deals.

Email lists - I'm on email lists for Maggianos, Macaroni Grill, Caribou, Starbucks, coldstone, dunkin donuts, etc. And they send out coupons, free bday/anniversary offers, etc. Always nice if we already have a giftcard there or need a date night and love getting something free for my bday :)

Anyone have any great deals or ways they earn points for things worth sharing?? Would love to hear about them!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Swinging & Starbucks

We love going on walks together and we are fortunate to live by a lot of parks, so sometimes we stop and swing for a bit! Lucy still loves walks, being outside, looking at the trees and watching people or cars pass by.
We sat outside Starbucks the other morning and enjoyed a Pumpkin Spice Latte - one of the best parts of the fall season - and a nice police officer stopped to talk to Lucy on his way in and out of starbucks...she's very popular :)

Can't believe Lucy is almost 7 months....time is flying by but just trying to enjoy each day I have with her, I don't want to be constantly rushing or on to the next thing. So hopefully there will be many more morning dates, just her and I - so thankful for those time together.
Happy fall season to you all and pick up a pumpkin spice latte to celebrate the season! )

Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY dessert plates

I have been seeing these interesting pieces everywhere lately! Wheaton French Market, Kane county flea market, Country Living magazine, etc....
And for Ladies' Craft night at my parent's church this year, the ladies will be picking a plate or two and a base and making their own. So I have been helping my mom collect plates and she has been collecting bases (candle sticks, vases, small glasses, tea cups, etc.)
Since it's a pre-Christmas craft night, there will be fun Christmas plates to choose from or just pretty antique ones or different colors or themes. It's so fun because the combinations seem endless.

Have you guys seen these?
I think they would be cute for displaying desserts, candies or just as decor on a shelf. But they would also be a fun Christmas gift wrapped up with candies or chocolates on them. Especially since it's very cheap to make them - $1 plate and $1 candlestick from flea market....done and done.

Here are some photos I took of ones I have seen around:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Halloween Practice :)

I went to TJ Maxx to pick up some coffee and see if a clearance dress I wanted was still there (it was - score!!) and I happened upon several children's costume racks...
So the cow or horse (??) costume fits her perfectly now, so I went back and got the next size up. I loved them both, but we went with the cow/horse look, is so cute and will be warm too :)
Won't she be such a sweet trick-or-treater???

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Fashion Part 2

If you don't already get Real Simple, you should pick up a copy this month. They have a great fashion section on the color teal and show it paired with gray, saffron and violet - fun ideas.
They also have a section on sheath and shift dresses, which I love, and which will never go out of style in my humble opinion! They show which type go best with different body types and shapes. Always helpful to know with a post-baby bod... :)
I like the magazine layouts better than online, but if you don't have a copy go here to browse through the 17 ideas on sheaths and below for 12 takes on teal:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fall Fashion

So Pinterest is a lot of fun, though slightly addicting. I have gotten some awesome ideas from there for the home, organization, recipes, ideas for Lucy and her future room, clothes, style, etc...

Here are some photos I've repinned that have gotten me excited for fall to be here. What's great about the below ideas are they are things I pretty much already have (leggings, boots, denim shirt, gray wrap sweater, belts, solid colored dresses - short and long, jackets, scarves, brown purses & bags, striped shirts, fall colored sweaters, vests, etc...) so all I need to do is put forth some effort and pair things together to make something new and fresh. I don't have to go out and buy a new wardrobe, which makes it even better!
Hope you can get some fun ideas from these photos and think of your own summer, fall, winter or spring clothes and how you can pair them together to create a fun new look!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Better than Chick-fil-a

(photo from Real

Ok, this may or may not be true...
I do love Truett Cathy and his restaurant, but this chicken was dang good.
Only next time I am at Chick-fil-a, I will accidentally take too many chick-fil-a sauce packets and bring them home with me for the next time I make this:

Crispy Popcorn Chicken
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canola oil
4 ears corn, shucked
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the buttermilk in a shallow bowl. Place the flour in a second shallow bowl. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk (shaking off any excess), then in the flour (tapping off any excess).
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the chicken until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Meanwhile, add the corn to the boiling water and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the chicken and barbecue sauce.
(By Charlyne Mattox, August 2011)

Here's how mine looked: not bad...