Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TtV - Week 4

I pass by this house all the time when I go down to the Riverwalk to workout. Actually I haven't done that in a while. Something about a screaming baby in a stroller puts a damper on your workout. And sometimes your whole day. But anyways. I love this house. I'm not sure why. After all it did catch on fire some years back so it's not exactly livable. But I still love it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Avery - 5 Months




So much has happened this past month. Avery is turning into such a little person. She has rolled over a total of three times!! Finally. I think they were more accidental than purposeful, but I'll take it. Avery can sit up all on her own and she balances pretty well. We do still put pillows around her in case she does topple over. She is so excited to be up all on her own. Avery also loves to be standing. If she is not sitting playing with her toys she wants to be standing. She gets the biggest kick out of it. She is also grabbing for everything in reach. Anything she can try to get her hands on. And she is determined. If she can't get a hold of something she lets you know. Avery finally enjoys being on the play mat. This is most helpful in allowing me to get some things done. She also talks all the time, chews her tongue, blows raspberries, and is teething A LOT! Avery also got her first cold this past week. It also seems to not be going away. We have some plans to try to move things along. It's heartbreaking seeing your baby sick. She is so much fun and it has me looking forward to the future, but more so just enjoying where she is now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Avery's Room - the Dresser

I haven't done any updates on Avery's Room in a long time. I have just a few things to finish and then it will be complete, for now.


I bought this dresser off of craigslist. It was $30 bucks. I was intending on refinishing it and using it in the entry way. But then we found out that we were pregnant and I thought that if we were to have a girl then I would want to use it in her bedroom. Thankfully we did have a girl and it's now in her bedroom.


I had every intention of redoing it myself. But then my dad volunteered to do it when a nurse friend of the family said that I really shouldn't be refinishing the dresser. I didn't argue.


The main part of the dresser was wood, but the top was a laminate. My dad sanded it down really well, gave it three coats of primer, paint and poly. He still wants to add another coat of poly, but I said he had done enough and it looked great. We also spray painted the handles and lined the drawers. I love how it looks. It adds a touch of girly to the room without being too much.


I think the second photo of the finished dresser is most accurate in color.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Chili


12 oz. lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

In a large saucepan cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender, drain fat. Stir in kidney beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, basil, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TtV - Week 3

I went out to take some photos yesterday when I came across this house. I've driven by it many a times, but this time I noticed the owner had rearranged his animal planters and I just had to take a picture.

I was so afraid I would get caught and the owner would rip me a new one because I was on their property, that when I ran back to my car, I realized I had locked myself out. Keys in the car. And the car was running. (And I didn't even get a good pic) I didn't realize my car will lock itself. Embarrassing. So I had to walk up to that homeowners house and ask for help. He graciously helped me for the next 30 minutes trying to open my car. And he did. And I was forever grateful. But I hope to never do that again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Happy Birthday to my best friend and husband, Jason! I love you babe!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A moment in time

This was the view last Sunday on a way to a birthday Party. Notice Avery holding Cohen's finger, looking at him with adoration. She truly loves her brother and I am looking forward to seeing their relationship grown.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup

This will be forever my go to Tomato Soup Recipe. It is just that good.



  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced
  • Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, optional


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Big Tree Park

One of our goals for the new year is to spend more time as a family doing fun activities outdoors. An idea I came up with was to visit different Parks/Nature Trails/Hiking Trails through out Central Florida. We would do this once a month and see how it goes.

For our first adventure we visited Big Tree Park.

It is home to the largest Cypress Tree in the United States. It stands 118 ft tall, but once stood somewhere around 165 ft tall before a hurricane came and chopped it's head off. It is also 17 ft in diameter.

I remember visiting this a couple times when I was a kid and I think Jay and I may have visited it while we were dating. So, it was a lot of fun to bring the kids to it. I know it won't be the last time we visit it. They have a picnic area and playground for the kids. Plus it's only 10 minutes away from our house.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Harvest Squash Risotto

This recipe has been sitting in my cabinet for years. Well, maybe just two, but still. It is the perfect side for fall/winter.


6-7 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 T. butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cups Arborio Rice
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 T. rubbed sage
Freshly cracked black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the chicken or vegetable stock on low heat. While the stock is warming, melt the butter in another large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and squash to the second saucepan; stir and cook until soft. Add the Arborio Rice and stir until the rice is well coated with butter. Add salt and white pepper. Add the white wine to the rice mixture and stir until absorbed. Star add in the hot broth to the rice, about 2 cup at a time, while stirring. When it's absorbed, add a little more and stir. Repeat. The risotto is ready in about 20 minutes or when the rice is creamy and al dente. Stir in the sage and a half-cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Garnish with the rest of the cheese and the cracked pepper. Enjoy immediately while hot and steamy.

TtV ( Through the Viewfinder) - Week 1

A while back I came across another blog that was talking about TtV, through the viewfinder, and it caught my attention. It's where you take a digital camera, build a blackout device, and take pictures through it through the viewfinder of a twin-lens reflex camera, an older film camera. It acts like a filter. And you don't have buy film, which can get expensive.

So, for the year, one day a week I plan on posting a TtV Photo. I think this will be a fun way to really test my creative side.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Big Plans

This new year I have big plans for this blog. Okay, they may not be that big. But they are some changes. I really want this blog to reflect me. My passions. My family. I have ideas running through my head and I need to get them down. Down on paper. And do them. This past year was a bit rough. My issues with pregnancy. Adjusting to becoming a mother of 2. Trying to find time for myself. And for my husband. But God has been so gracious in giving me another year to live. I want to make the most of it. I want to enjoy his creation. I want to live more for him. I want to be his daughter living life to it's fullest potential.

Jay and I had a talk the other day and we both want to improve ourselves and how we live. We want to make time for our families. Time for each other. We want to see what all God has to offer.

We are still working on everything. But this year may just be the best year yet!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

For New Year's Eve this year we decided to spend more time with family. We headed over to Jason's Aunt and Uncle's Home where we ate lots of food, watched old home videos, danced, talked and welcomed 2011 with endless possibilities!

Cohen surprisingly made it all the way to midnight. He then passed out as soon as he sat in his carseat on the way home. Avery woke only once to feed and when we got her out of bed to take a picture and go home. I'm surprised I didn't pass out either. I guess that nap really helped.

New Year's Resolutions

I typically don't make any kind of New Year's Resolutions. I never seem to actually keep them when I have ever made them. So, I'm just ...... going to list things I would like to do/work on this coming year.

First, build a better relationship with God. Read my bible more. Pray more.

Be a better wife and mother. I've been a little slacking in that department lately. I need a good kick in the butt. I want to be more purposeful with the time I spend with Jason and with my kids. Both together and separate.

Finish what I started.
-That includes Avery's Room. And Cohen's Room. I only have a few things left to do. I just need a couple hours to finish them.
-Work on the garden. Finish the veggie bed and get the plants started. I really want to eat from my own garden this year. As much as we can.

Sharpen my Photography and Photoshop skills. I really want to learn my camera the way I should. I want to shoot near perfect photos that way I have little editing to do. Find my style. Be confident. Build a part time business.

That sums up what's weighing on me right now. Here's to the new year! 2011!