July 28, 2011

Review: Love Finds You in Lancaster County

This book made me smile. Plain and simple. From the down home, good ol' boys to the women who had Southern charm...even though they were in Pennsylvania...I felt like I knew them all personally.

After Caroline DeMarco suffers a serious tragedy that is displayed on every tabloid cover imaginable, she goes look for comfort in the Amish Country of Lancaster Co., PA. But she finds even more than she could have imagined. She went for a quick getaway to clear her head, but she found a new life. She sought solitude, but she found someone to share her life with. She hope to hide identity from the world, but she ended up finding a piece of herself that she thought was gone forever.

She considers the idea of love again with Michael Landis, who never planned to return to his hometown for good. He thought he was meant for bigger and better things than a small town could offer, but little did he know that all his heart wanted was a perfect match.

If you read Love Finds You in Charm, Ohio, you were happy to learn more about quilt shop owner Lydia Ann Raber and her two twin girls who lost their father when they were toddlers. The girls have grown a bit, and Lydia Ann has finally decided to open her mind to the possibility of new beginnings--in the form of a new relationship with her father and a romance with the lovable Simon Zook.

For me, this book had a little bit of everything--romance, scandal, forgiveness and family. Highly recommended, especially if you're looking for something that will put a smile on your face.

July 26, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last night, I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. I made some changes and substitutions to the recipe to make it a healthier alternative to traditional chocolate chip cookies. But this particular attempt still included butter and (of course!) chocolate chips, so it's not healthy, just slightly healthier.

Here's the recipe, and the things I changed are in bold.

Mix the following ingredients and set aside:
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour (I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
In another bowl, beat the following with mixer:
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup of raw honey.)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 cup softened butter (Next time, I'll try applesauce instead!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
Gradually add in flour mixture, then add two cups of chocolate chips. I also added about 1/2 cup of flax seed meal. Bake in preheated oven at 375 for 8 to 9 minutes or until golden brown. All in all, they were pretty yummy! I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of honey, but it's a great alternative to sugar. I've read a good bit about the agave nectar vs. raw honey debate, and so far I'm sticking with raw honey.


Not the most beautiful cookies, but they taste good!

July 25, 2011

A Hand-Me-Down From Big Sister

Today Easton wore his very first hand-me-down from Macey. Here's the kicker...We got this onesie for Macey when we were in Myrtle Beach, SC last summer and she was 13 months old. Easton's only 5 months old! And it fit just fine!


This expression just cracked me up!
Miss Macey last summer. :-)

July 21, 2011

Ready for College!

I did a quick photo shoot with Macey and Easton representing mommy's alma mater, Union University. In case you were wondering, when Macey was done she just hopped off the couch! Luckily I was sitting verrrrry close so I could grab Easton before he fell down right behind her.

Not sure what's causing this laughter, but I'm sure it was hilarious.

Poor Easton doesn't know what to think!


Seriously, Union. You might not take this one. :-)

July 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

We love pizza at our house! Most of the time, I make my own pizza, but I usually just buy the Pillsbury pizza dough because it's quick, easy and yummy. I've been wanting to find a healthier crust option, so I tried this out tonight and it was very good (and pretty easy to put together)!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • I tablespoon of honey or sugar (I used raw honey and let it dissolve in the hot water before pouring it in the bowl.)
  • I also added about a tablespoon of flax seed meal, but that's up to you! 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. Blend in water, oil and honey. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed, about two or three minutes. Cover in plastic wrap and let rise to desired size.

After it's risen, place dough on greased pizza pan and press to cover the bottom of the pan. Add sauce and toppings of your choice, then let it bake for 15 to 20 minutes (or until crust is golden brown and toppings are done)! I let the dough cook for about 5 minutes, then added our toppings before letting it cook the final 10 minutes.

Before going into the oven for the last 10 minutes...
I forgot to take a picture before we started eating dinner!

July 19, 2011

Yummy Stir Fry

I've been trying to find new ways to cook with lentils because they have so many health benefits, but I also have to be honest with myself about the fact that I'm a picky eater. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not the type who gets excited over vegetables. However, the more I cook with them, the more I like the dishes I come up with!

So, I've been looking for recipes where I can toss in lentils and add other veggies for some extra nutrition. Last night, I tried a stir fry that turned out very good! I forgot to take a picture, but that's probably OK, as it didn't look too beautiful.

Ingredients (You could probably throw in whatever you like, but these are just the things I used.)
Chicken breast (I cut up about 3 small ones.)
Brown rice (2 servings)
4 Egg whites
Carrots
Broccoli
Peas
Lentils
Soy sauce
  1. Cook lentils and rice, then set aside.
  2. Scramble egg whites, then set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil (along with sea salt, garlic, pepper, etc.) on the stove, then add in the veggies to sautee for bit.
  4. Add in cut up chicken and sear until cooked all the way through.
  5. Add egg whites and brown rice and mix it all up until it's nice and hot!
  6. Top it off by adding soy sauce--enough for your personal taste.
Voila! We all loved it!

July 17, 2011

Easton is FIVE Months Old!

Today was a busy day! Not only did we have Miss Macey's birthday party, but Easton also turned 5 months old! I can't believe he's getting so big. I think this is flying by quicker than when Macey was a baby. He is a busy boy who loves to kiss, cuddle and play, but most of all he is absolutely crazy about his big sister! They have the best time playing together, and he just laughs and laughs at that crazy girl.

As you can probably tell from the pictures below, Easton cares nothing about the camera and is difficult to focus during this monthly photo shoots! :-)


She was pretty adamant about being in the photo shoot!

Who me?


Perfect example of how different our children are...

July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Macey Girl!

TODAY'S THE DAY! Macey's is two years old!

We didn't quite get the swing set finished yesterday, but it's almost done and Macey didn't mind at all playing on an unfinished swing set! Tomorrow is her birthday party, so I'm sure we'll have lots more pictures soon.
The project begins...
Birthday girl!






After playing on the swing set, we opened presents inside!
A new backpack!
Getting rid of that tissue paper!
Toys for the pool!
Markers!!
Let's play ball!
Jumping off the couch, haha. Wild woman!
She loves to "cully" (color).

Back outside to play with her t-ball set.

Whoa!

July 14, 2011

Easton Kisses!

I know I say this all the time, but it is SO TRUE. Easton is a lovable, cuddly, sweet boy! He loves kisses, and although they're very sloppy, I love his kisses right back.

video

July 8, 2011

I Love You Poem

A friend at work sent me this and said it made her think of me and my sweet babies. It was so adorable that I had to share!

July 6, 2011

Setback...

Ugh! Well, today was week four, day one of the Couch to 5K program. I'm afraid I psyched myself out hours before we even began the run.

I was not excited to start with, then (shockingly) I felt fine--great even--after the first 3-minute jog. I was kind of proud of myself! Then we got into the 5-minute jog, and again I was feeling fine. Again I was shocked. Then IT happened. I found myself staring at a big, daunting hill, and I yelled ahead to Greg, "How much longer?" (Mistake.) He slowed down to say, "I don't know, a minute or two maybe." As he slowed down, I heard Easton crying as I continued to stare at that mean hill.

Hearing him cry and knowing we had about half the run left before heading home upset me, and that coupled with the scary hill and thinking we could have two minutes left (which turned out to be untrue) made me start to tear up. I was about to CRY on a running trail. With people walking, running and biking by! THAT made me embarrassed and even more upset so I could hardly breathe. Long story short, I walked up that hill.

Slowing down to walk made me feel like a failure. Dramatic, I know. I barely made it through the second 3-minute run, and I pretty much walked the rest of the way. I got the energy up to run about 2 minutes during the second 5-minute run, but overall I just felt defeated. Honestly, I'm still beating myself up about it.

The silver lining? I'm already determined to get right back out there Friday, and I REFUSE to psyche myself out. After feeling so good in the beginning, I know I can do it!