7.23.2015

Veggie Pasta with Goat Cheese Medallions


Fresh summer veggies are a must on my dinner menu right now and this veggie pasta was a perfect hit. I'm a fan of any dinner idea that includes ingredients we regularly have in house and takes less than 30 minutes to make. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 8 oz whole-wheat bow tie pasta
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2 Tbl. EVOO
  • 2 Cups thinly sliced small onions
  • 1 Shallot 
  • 1 Can diced italian tomatoes
  • 2 Tbl. minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 6 Cups baby spinach
  • Olive oil cooking spray
*Recipe modified from Eating Well Magazine.

Directions
  1. Line a small baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to broiler.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  3. Combine dill and panko in small bowl. Divide goat cheese into 4 portions; shape each into a 1-inch-wide disk. Coat the disks in the panko mix making sure the mixture sticks on each side. Transfer to the baking sheet and lightly coat the tops with cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and onions, stirring, until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup water, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in spinach and the pasta; remove from heat.
  5. Broil the goat cheese rounds until light brown and crispy on top; 1-2 minutes. Serve each portion of pasta topped with goat cheese medallion.

7.21.2015

Shades of Summer - Lips

Spring and Summer lip shades are some of the best. The endless options of sweet pinks and bright corals make me swoon. With a baby coming this month my summer clothing options were a bit limited so fun lip colors and pretty nail polishes have been my saving grace. For those of you looking for some new summer lips, here are my favorites.

Shades of Summer- Lips
Nudes: Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Peony; NARS Sheer Lipstick in Falbala, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Pale Neutral Pink
Blush: Tarte Cosmetic Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Golden Pink; Michael Marcus Lipstick in Flirt; Pur Minerals Lipstick in Socialite
Pinks: Butter LONDON Moisture Matte Lipstick in Loved Up; Laura Geller Luscious Lips in Fuchsia Fever ;Too Faced Melted Liquefied Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Fuchsia
Corals: Butter LONDON Brick Lane Collection Tinted Balm in Jaffa; Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Venezia; Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Shocking Coral

Thanks for stopping by!

7.17.2015

Homemade Mixed Berry Ice Cream

Hello friends! How is July going so far? I hope you it's beeb full of the sweet sun, good friends and cool water! In the spirit of sweet summer time, I wanted to share one of my favorite childhood treats.

Growing up in Texas, the Summer was always marked by the arrival of Junebugs, the first sunburn sting, late night slumber parties and the sound of the ice cream maker on the back porch churning a creamy treat. Surprisingly enough, I haven't craved ice cream at all this pregnancy but now that baby boy is about to arrive and the temperatures are getting up there, my taste for homemade ice cream is coming back. I love mixing fruit into my homemade ice cream and wanted to share this easy Mixed Berry Ice Cream with you today. My tool of choice for homemade ice cream is the Cusine Art Ice Cream Maker. It is so easy to use and I LOVE the bright green color; perfect for summer!

Enjoy!

Mixed Berry Homemade Ice Cream
Ingredients 
This makes about 5 cups (ten ½-cup servings)
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Salt
Directions
  1. Put the strawberries and blueberries into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse berries until rough/finely chopped (depending on preference). Reserve in bowl. 
  2. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Stir in reserved berries with all juices. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
  3. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.
Enjoy!

7.14.2015

A Letter to Baby

We are on the way to the hospital this morning to meet our sweet little boy. My mind is all over the place as I try to take mental snap shots of each moment we experience. I've scheduled a few posts for the next few weeks but wanted to share my last letter to baby boy today, on his birthday. I wanted to remember all the thoughts and feelings we experienced the last month before his arrival so I wrote him letters each week.


July 13, 2015

Dear Baby Boy,

We will see your sweet face tomorrow. I will become a mommy and Tanner will become a daddy. My whole being will change and my heart is going to feel things I didn’t know were possible. I’m swimming in so many feelings; excited, nervous, happy, scared. I’m trying to soak up the last day of just being Ashton but I know God is already preparing my heart for tomorrow. Today’s Ashton is going to be a much better version by tomorrow night.

Every time I get nervous about the actual delivery I think about the moment they will lay you on my chest and we will see you for the first time. I think about your daddy right by my side, seeing his face change as he takes you in. I think about how sweet your skin will feel and how much that amazing newborn smell will fill my heart. I think about how much my love for your daddy will grow as he coaches me through your arrival and holds my heart as we make our family of two and family of three. I think about introducing you to your grandparents, aunts, uncles, great grandparents and cousins and seeing the joy and pride in their eyes. I think about feeding you for the first time and all the little noises your going to make as you sleep.

Each one of these thoughts brings a tear and rush of emotions. We will close this chapter of our lives tonight and start the best chapter of our story tomorrow, with you.

We love you sweet baby boy. Thank you for making us parents.

Love, your mama 

7.08.2015

Packing for the Hospital

What do you take to birth a child?! I've never done this before so naturally I took to the internet to find out, and while there were some common themes (pads that look like diapers...oh joy), there were also many items that seemed to be added/modified after baby number one. After a little debate and talking to a few friends who recently delivered at our hospital, I decided on the items below.

Hospital Bag - Mommy
For clothing in the hospital, I opted for a few very soft nursing gowns with matching robes, postpartum leggings and very soft nursing gowns. Many said they loved the gowns for right after delivery and at night, but opted for leggings and tops during the day when visitors would come. I also packed a few nursing tanks, nursing bras, and postpartum undies. Many people swear by the mesh undies and other said they felt so much better once they were in their own; I'll have both either way. Warm socks, slippers and flips for the shower and going home were also at the top of the list. Nursing  pads, nipple cream and heavy duty pads are loaded and ready to go in addition to all your typical toiletries. 
Hospital Bag - For Baby Boy
For baby boy I packed up very soft layettes and gowns in addition to a simple going home outfit. He also has many swaddle blankets (one going home blanket from Nana), socks, hats and burp cloths. I know the hospital will provide diapers and wipes, but I packed a few organic ones in case he has sensitive skin. He also had plenty of ninnies and a little sweet soother, mostly because it was too cute not to take.

Hospital Bag - Other Items
The other items we packed were snacks for daddy to munch on and a plate of cookies for all the sweet nurses. In addition to our phones, we have an iPad (with access to all our movies), the camera with a new SD Card and Video camera. We have everything charged but brought chargers just in case they are needed. We aren't allowed to have candles in our hospital so I bought a small oil defuser with flaming essentials for the L&D room, and we have a labor playlist ready on our phone with a sound dock to help welcome this sweet boy. Final items people swear you needed where your own pillows and towels. I also packed a notepad to write down all his visitors and moments from the birth I want to make sure are not forgotten. Some people brought the big baby book for people to sign, but I didn't want to have to lug it around so I opted for this instead.

What am I missing ladies? Everything fits into one carry-on bag and a weekend bag for mommy and daddy and baby boy's items are in his diaper bag. I want to keep it as compact as possible but would love to hear if I'm missing any "must-have" items!

7.03.2015

Stars and Stripes

Bump Style - Stars and Stripes
1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. | 8. | 9. | 10. | 11

This year's July 4th celebrations have been a little up in the air while we wait for baby boy to make his debut. I was hoping he would be here before the 4th but it looks like he might be staying put for the holiday, which means I will be enjoying the AC and a few mocktails! In the spirit of this big bump, I wanted to share a few looks from my trusty maternity source, Old Navy. I have both of these dresses and they fit amazingly and are so comfortable as I waddle around in this Texas heat. 

However you choose to celebrate this Independence day, I hope you have amazing time with friends and family. Don't forget to remember those who have dedicated their lives to keep our independence and the families that have sacrificed their love ones for this same goal. 

Thanks for stopping by!

7.02.2015

Pregnancy Update: Trimester Two

Hello friends! I'm back to share a few thoughts on trimester two! I realize we are less than three weeks away from meeting baby boy, but I don't want to forget the highlights from weeks 14-28! The last update seemed to hit all the big moments, so I decided to use most of the same questions!
Weeks: 14 - 28

Maternity clothes: Yes! I started wearing maternity jeans and tops around week 17. I pretty much lived in my black leggings and two pairs of Jessica Simpson maternity jeans! Until early April I was able to mix in maternity tops and normal flowy tops, but baby boy started some major growth at the beginning of April and after that it was mostly maternity. Surprisingly enough, Old Navy has been my saving grace for maternity clothes. I’ve had some luck with Loft Maternity and Target, but the award for best price and comfort goes to Old Navy!

Sleep: Sleeping pretty much stayed the same during trimester two. Most nights I could fall asleep fine, but I would wake up and then be awake for hours. I’ve tried a lavender oil, pillows, less water, Unisom (directed by doctor) but nothings seems to break it. It seems I do my best sleeping starting around 4 AM which doesn’t leave much time before my 6:30 wake up call. Everyone tells me this is God's way of preparing me for being up with the little man. While I do feel like I’ve learned to go off of less sleep, it sure would be nice to “stock-up” a little before he gets here.

Miss anything:  Other than sleep, I would say a little seasonal shopping. Spring clothes came out during this trimester and I’m a total sucker for anything pastel. While I did find a few Springy maternity items, I did miss not being able to pick up a few new pretty lace and pastel pieces like I normally would! Other than that, I'm missing a good spring cocktail every now and then. It was nice on the babymoon to have a few mocktails in the pool; I felt like I was being bad:) 

Movement: I started feeling little swooshes around week 16, and then week 18 I felt my first real kick. It was such an amazing and surreal feeling. During those first few weeks of feeling him, I would get so excited for bed time because that was when he was the most active. Each night I would anxiously wait for the little kicks with Tanner’s hand close by and he finally felt one week 20! I cried I was so excited. While we were in Mexico for our babymoon, he really got active; it was so much fun watching him move so much!

Food cravings: I craved sour candy toward the end of trimester one but that pretty much faded into an unhealthy need for crushed ice 24/7. Our poor ice maker and my poor teeth…I just can’t get enough. Other than that, all my cravings have been based on food pics I see on Instagram. I swear everyone I follow posted donut pictures for a week straight, so that weekend we had to have them for Saturday breakfast. These “cravings” pass once I eat said food!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. After week 16 I really started feeling great. My energy came back, my bump wasn’t too big and we just had a blast.

Have you started to show yet: I started showing around week 17 which is when I told my coworkers and when we really started telling all friends! I was so proud of my little bump! I had grand intentions of documenting this growing bump each week with wooden blocks I had ordered, but that lasted for about one photo and then quick mirror selfies in his nursery become my go-to. They are nothing fancy, but I'm happy to have them to watch him grow!
Gender: We are having a BOY!

The Gender Reveal: Tanner and I aren’t too into the grand gender reveals, so we decided on something a little smaller to share the news. Tanner and I decided to have the ultrasound technician put the pictures into an envelope and seal it at the end of our appointment. We had reservations at one of our favorite little places for dinner, Jack Allen’s Kitchen, and decided we would open it there together. When we pulled out the picture, my eyes immediately saw “boy” and I just started yelling boy and laughing. Tanner saw a “G” somewhere on the picture and thought it was a girl until his eyes found the big “boy” text. We were so excited and so happy we saved that special moment just for the two of us. When we got back to our house from dinner, our parents, grandparents, aunt/uncle and siblings were all waiting for us to share the news. We gathered everyone around and popped a balloon full blue confetti. It was so much fun to see their reaction; they all were so excited and we had a blast eating dessert and looking at his sweet sonogram pictures the rest of the night.
Belly button in or out: IN

Wedding rings on or off: ON

Happy or moody most of the time: Still very happy! This was one of the reasons I was sure it was a boy; I really haven’t had any mood swings or big emotionally swings…so far!

Best moments of Trimester Two: 

Finding out the gender!

Setting up the nursery: I looked for months at nursery furniture and decided on finding a set that would work for all the kiddos God give us. I wanted the color and lines to be clean and not overwhelm the room, which is a great size but a little dark with the flooring and wall color we had. I finally decided on a white crib, extra-long dresser and oatmeal color swivel rocker from Pottery Barn Kids. We ordered during a great sale and were so happy with the quality and look once they arrived. I waited on the changing the wall color, curtains, rug, and bedding until after we find out the gender and returned from the babymoon. I was shocked to see how much bedding costs! I wanted something very neutral and cool that would grow with him and not tie us to any theme. After a month of looking, I decided on this set from Pottery Barn Kids. I wasn’t planning on using them for the whole nursery but I loved the colors and it was on sale for a great price so it was hard to say no. I love how it all came together!

Baby Moon
Tanner and I decided to plan a trip to our favorite resort in Mexico for our baby moon. We had free flights we needed to use before April and knew this would be the perfect little getaway. Mexico is our place. The people are so kind and the beaches are just great for being a quick 2 ½ hour flight from home. We spent four days swimming, napping, eating and drinking way too many virgin drinks. It was a perfect last getaway before baby boy arrived.
Maternity Photos

We decided on doing newborn photos instead of maternity photos, but during an event for the African Children’s Choir we won a photo session with a local artist and one of the options was for maternity photos, so we actually got to do both! You can see the full post of our photographer and photos here, but overall the experience was so special and I know we will treasure these photos for the rest of our lives! 

Looking forward to: We can't wait to finish the nursery out after our baby showers and final shopping trips! Speaking of showers, we have two planned for May and I couldn't be more excited to celebrate baby boy with our family and friends! We are also just looking forward to meeting him and snuggling that sweet chunky monkey! 

Thanks for stopping by!
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