Thursday, February 28, 2013

Favorite BABY things

It's so weird how my little girl is only 15 months old and it feels like FOREVER ago when she first entered this world. I am literally sitting here trying to remember all the things I loved for her when she was a newborn. I am drawing mostly blanks. I should have written this stuff down! 


I DO remember a few things that I really, really loved and will never forget about. 
These are things I've used even until now... 
Let me know what some of YOUR favorite baby things are! 

I have LOVED this diaper bag. I used it for an entire year. It may be HUGE, but that's what I love about it. Everything was always easily accessible and I didn't have to worry about shoving things in there or trying to dig around to find something else. Such a great, durable bag! Worth every cent. 

I LOVE this stuff. NO other diaper cream comes close to this stuff.... and this isn't even meant for diaper rashes. But guess what? It HEALS it with in hours. Really. Try it yourself. It's been a huge life savor. It's also great for any other skin treatments even if it's not for your baby. 

My little one has loved books since day one. 
Her absolute favorite book is "Brown Bear" by Eric Carle. She loves the repetition and illustrations! 
I highly suggest getting your baby lots of board books... preferably by Eric Carle or other authors that have rhyme and repetition in their books & colorful illustrations. ( This might be a whole other blog post!) 

Madeline has slept with this for almost a year... and it is AWESOME. 
It's breathable fabric, so I have never been worried if the blanket was covering her face while sleeping or whatever. It's light and soft and so comfortable! She LOVES it and so do I! 

I know every baby is different, but my little girl has really loved these pacifiers. 

We've used this since day one. It smells so heavenly and it's so soothing and she loves it. 
Target also has an up & up brand which is also great and cheaper! 

If you don't have a solly wrap, getchyourself one! 
Seriously. I love mine! There are SO many adorable fabrics to choose from. 
Ellen is awesome and she really puts so much love & care into this business. 
Check out her website ( click link above) to read more about The Wrap and why it's SO awesome! 
It's better and different than other baby wraps. 

My ABSOLUTE favorite swaddling blankets. 
Nothing compares. They're stretchy and light and amazing. 
They are pricy... but WORTH IT. 

I love me some baby gap. 
I LOVE the material they use for their baby clothes... plus the clothes are to-die-for adorable. 

In addition to these favorite things... I urge you to head on over to my friend Michelle's YouTube channel. She has SO many wonderful, amazing ideas and tips for mothers! She has 2 babies herself and it such a cute, stylish mom! We could all learn a lot from her! Seriously.. go to her channel and subscribe! You won't regret it! 

click here to subscribe: 

here's one of her awesome videos!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

These are a few of my (random) Favorite Things

So here in Philly, the girls are SO great about getting together often and socializing! Each month, someone is in charge of what we call "Girls Night." My friend Allyson and I took the month of February & we decided to throw a "Favorite Things" party. It was so much fun!

Each girl brought their favorite snack/treat to share with everyone. ( There was a table full of goodies that everyone brought.) I naturally popped some popcorn & brought a big bowl of that. :)

It was optional to bring your "Favorite Thing" to give away. The rule was it needed to be a non-food item between $5-7. I loved the things the girls came up with! When everyone walked in, they wrote their name on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. After they shared their favorite thing with everyone, they drew a name, and that person got to take that item home!

Seriously, SO fun. I recommend this to everyone! I wish I would have taken pictures! Some examples of some things the girls brought were: their favorite mascara, cleaning supplies, nail polish, lotion, gift card, jewelry, hair pieces, etc...

This made me want to blog about a few of MY favorite things to share with you! These are totally off the top of my head and super random. I hope you'll see a thing or two that peaks your interest and check them out! ( Whoever reads this blog. Thank you for reading, by the way!) { Next post: Favorite BABY items & Favorite FOOD items}

Last night, I brought GLITTER as my favorite thing. Seriously, every girl should have some glitter in their lives. I found lots of metallic colors in little tubes at Target. I also brought decorative twine. THE BEST when wrapping a gift or to use for creative purposes. My favorite glitter brand is Martha Stewart. You can find her stuff at Michaels.

The.BEST.Lotion.... ever. 
It's so moisturizing and it smells divine.
It's a bit pricy. My mom got it for me a while back. It's worth ever penny though. 

If you need a good brow pencil.. THIS is it. 
I have LOVED it. 
I'm so bummed because I ran out! It lasted about 4 months.
It stays on all day long and it's so easy to apply. 

I have really loved this lip gloss. ( I wear the "hot pink"). 
It's very glossy. and stays on a while! 
I got it at Target. 

This mascara has been SO great. 
I makes my lashes full & vibrant. haha. 
Some mascara's irritate my eyes, but this hasn't bothered me at all.
I wear "very black"

I have LOVED this blush! 
I wear the "tender rose" color. 
It has lasted me FOREVER! At least 9 months now. 

I usually go with a "nude" lip... or just plain lip gloss. 
I have absolutely loved this stuff. 
It feels like hardly anything is on your lips, yet makes them feel smooth and fresh at the same time. :) 

Hands down, my all time favorite candle. 
It smells heavenly and lasts forever!

This candle comes in a close second! 
Have you ever wanted to eat a candle before? Well, I want to eat this one. 
MMM. I LOVE it. 

I use it ALL the time & it's SO much better than boiling your veggies. 
They taste way better steamed and you'll have more nutrients this way too. 

I have had this for YEARS and we have loved it! 
Nick especially loves to put sugar on his cereal in the morning.

Especially this nude color. 

Gold Glitter Flats by Soda
Hands down, my favorite flats. 
I've already gone through 2 pairs of them. 
I wear them with everything. 

I have LOVED these jars. I have 4 of them. 
I keep rice, noodles, flour, and sugar in them. 

My all time favorite book... as a child and even now. 
Such a great read! 

from the 70. 
This book is probably one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. 
True stories from a young boy growing up in Germany during WWII.
I introduced it to my dad and family.. they all read it too.. and it's now one of their favorites. 

I have LOVED this thing.
It cuts like a charm. 
(do charms cut?)

Crayola Markers
my best friend since 1989. 

A good supply of ribbon & twine.
You never know when you could use it! 
I LOVE me some good ribbon.
( If you live in Utah, a good place to get ribbon is Thai Pan and Thanksgiving point!) 

Well, folks, my child is screaming at the top of her lungs, so that's my cue to end this... but I hope you enjoyed my list of random favorite things! Stay tuned for a Baby: Favorite things & a Food: Favorite things soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DIY Valentines

My sweet daughter got invited to her first Valentine Party Swap last week. 
Even though she's only 15 months old, she had a lot of fun socializing with the other babies & well, I had fun making her bag and valentines! 

Valentine Bag: 
Her valentine bag was kind of a last minute thing. Luckily, I keep lots of paper and glitter handy just for occasions like this. (1) I grabbed an 'ol brown bag out of our closet ( because that's where I keep our birthday bags.) (2) I then grabbed some pink and sheer ribbon to tie on one side of the handle of the bag. (3) I then cut out a large heart from an old book. ( I got this book at a thrift store for the purpose of ripping out the pages to use for my crafts. Is that bad of me? I love books! I promise. This book seemed dull and boring anyway, so I'm putting it to good use!) (4) Then I cut out a smaller heart out of glitter paper. I then cut out a little rose ( that's also off of a ribbon my sister gave me... I love it.) (5) Then I cut out a little flag and wrote her name. Everything you see below is taped on... just because I needed to use that brown bag for a valentine gift I gave my husband. :) This bag literally took me 5 minutes. Awesome. 

Most of the kiddos at this party were 3 years old and under, so I wanted to be creative with these little valentines. I decided to go to the dollar store and pick up some play dough. Each package came with 4 containers of play dough. I needed 20, so I only spent $5. 

I got on pinterest and found some cute "labels" to put on the top of my play dough containers. You can find these freebie labels HERE
I then got plain white card stock ( or printer paper) and cut out squares for the front of the containers. I covered up the ugly label from the dollar store and drew hearts with Elmer's glue & covered them with gold glitter. 
I wrote: " You make me feel squishy inside" love, Madeline. 


ps- I'm telling you: glitter is a girls best friend. Go getchya some if you don't have any. ( My favorite glitter is the Martha Stewart brand found at Michaels Craft.) 

also, click HERE if you want to see another VALENTINE I made for some girls I visit teach. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Talk on Sunday

I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. My topic was: Love thy neighbor as Thyself. It was a huge blessing to study this topic all week & to feel the perfect love the Savior has for ME even though I mess up daily. He is so merciful. HE is the perfect example of love, forgiveness, and compassion. I want to be MORE like Him. The first and greatest commandment is to "love the Lord they God with all thy heart" and the second is like unto it. " Love thy neighbor as thyself." Through prayer & the help of the Savior... we can develop a deep love for those around us & love them just as our Heavenly Father does. What an absolute blessing. We need MORE love and less hate in this world. Here are a few stories I shared with the congregation on Sunday. ( and I'm sorry to those of you who had to listen to me through my tears.. I was not planning on crying!)

Judge Not.


 We can also develop a deep love for others by serving them:


Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Sauce

So I made this the other night and it was DELICIOUS, guys. Seriously. I can't wait to make it for the girls when they all come visit next week. YUMMM. It was super easy to make too. 

Serves: 2-3
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: Chicken: 10 minutes
Cook time: Sauce: 10 minutes
Cook time: Spaghetti: 10 minutes

6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders, thawed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped (in package, NOT oil packed)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 16 ounce package whole wheat spaghetti, uncooked

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken & grind fresh pepper on each side. Cover & cook until done, about 5 minutes on each side. (When done, chicken will have NO pink on the inside.)  Remove from heat and set aside, keeping covered.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, & shallots, cooking 1-2 minutes, just until soft.  Add sun dried tomatoes; stir. With a whisk in hand,  add flour & stir.  Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking constantly to remove any lumps.  Add cream, still whisking.  Whisk that sucker to death! (just kidding).  Continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.  Take off heat and let sit; it will continue to thicken, feel free to stir every so often as you cook the spaghetti:
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  It is done when it is soft, but still has a bite; al dente please.

Add fresh basil to sun dried tomato sauce and give it a good stir.

Place spaghetti noodles on serving plates, placing chicken directly on top of noodles.  Spoon as much sauce as you would like over chicken & noodles; enjoy!  

Tips: *To keep spaghetti noodles from sticking together after you drain them, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over & toss.
*You could also grill the chicken; that would be super yummy in this dish.  Make slight changes and brush the olive oil over each chicken tender before grilling on foil.  Grill on medium-low heat until done.

Creamy Avocado Dressing for Tacos

Last night I made crock pot chicken tacos. ( I'll post that recipe later). 
I wanted to add something else to the tacos and this seemed perfect. 
and it was. 
( it took 3 minutes to make. super tasty & super easy!) 

1 large avocado
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise ( I DID 1 CUP GREEK YOGURT) 
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate. Toss salad with dressing right before serving.

Healthy & Easy Shrimp Scampi

I am not a huge sea food fan... but I'll eat shrimp sometimes. 
Boy was this meal tasty & healthy! 

( I added a packet of italian seasoning too!) 
  • 4 tsp olive oil 

  • 1 1/4 pounds med raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 1 T minced parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lemon wedges
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Saute the shrimp until just pink, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon transfer the shrimp to a platter and keep them warm.
  2. In the skillet, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the salt and pepper; and bring it to a boil. Boil uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by half.
  3. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Serve garnished with the lemon wedges and sprinkled with the remaining tablespoon of parsley.
  4. Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Milanese with Sage-and-Lemon-Butter Sauce

Ok people. 

Honestly... I feel like a professional chef after making this meal... and I'm no professional chef. 

I will be sharing LOTS of recipes that I try that I think are YUMMY on this blog... so check back often! Or you should even click "FOLLOW" on the right side of this blog just to be sure you don't miss out on anything. :) 

Your family will be in HEAVEN when they taste this delightful meal and they will praise the ground you walk on. Nick LOVED every bite. 

I used chicken tenders ( because they're already so thin... and you want Milanese's to be thin because it's so much more tasty.) I also made mashed potatoes and put them on the plate as well. 

This recipe calls for heavy whipping cream ( but I know there's tons of substitutions for that if you'd rather not use it.) I'm also sure you can use less butter as well if you wanna be more healthy. 

you are WELCOME for this to-die-for recipe: 

It's so hard getting good food pictures! My apartment doesn't have much natural lighting, sadly. It looked way better in person. Just make it and see for yourself! 

Chicken Milanese with Sage-and-Lemon-Butter Sauce
from Food & Wine
by Linda Meyers 

Sometimes I say that a recipe will produce one of the best things you've ever tasted, and you're allowed to treat that as hyperbole.  This is not one of those times.  Get into the kitchen forthwith.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what makes this chicken so awesome - really deconstructing it in my mind - and it comes down to three things:  (1) The chicken is pounded thin.  This means it cooks through evenly, but it also changes the texture of the meat, eliminating any stringiness that chicken might have.  It's almost velvety, if that makes any sense at all.  (2)  It's pan-fried.  Which pretty much explains itself, what with the deliciousness and the sealed-in juices and all.  But also?  Golden Brown.  Like, truly, a dinner the color of Aslan's mane and falling leaves and anything consumed at the state fair.  Perfection.   (3)  This sauce is beyond all human understanding.  Its deliciousness reaches drinkable levels.  Not that I'm encouraging that, but I wouldn't judge you.

Unsalted Butter  [ 6 tablespoons, cold, cut into 6 pieces ]
Shallots  [ 2, minced ]
Heavy Cream  [ 1 cup ]
Dry White Wine  [ 1 cup ]
Chicken Stock  [ 1 cup ]
Fresh Sage  [ chopped, 2 tablespoons ]
Lemon Juice  [ freshly squeezed, 2 teaspoons ]
Cayenne Pepper  [ 1 pinch ]
Salt  [ to taste ]
White Pepper  [ freshly ground, to taste ]

Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs  [ 1 cup ]
Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)  [ 1/2 cup ]
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese  [ freshly grated,  1/4 cup ]
Lemon Zest  [ finely grated, from 1 lemon ]
Dried Thyme  [ 1 1/2 teaspoons ]
Eggs  [ 2 ]
Chicken Breast Cutlets  [ 8, 6 ounces each, pounded 1/4-inch thick ]
Salt  [ to taste ]
Black Pepper  [ freshly ground, to taste ]
Vegetable Oil  [ for frying ]
Fresh Parsley  [ chopped, 1/4 cup ]

Make the Sauce:
1.   In a medium pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the Butter 
2.   Add Shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
3.   Add Cream, Wine, and Stock.  Bring mixture to a boil. 
4.   Simmer until mixture is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups.  [ This will take 20 minutes or more. ]
5.   Remove pot from heat; whisk in remaining Butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well between each addition. 
6.   Add Sage, Lemon, Cayenne, and Salt and Pepper to taste.  Cover and set aside.

Make the Chicken:
1.    Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2.   Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3.   Lay paper towels on a baking rack.
4.   Mix Bread Crumbs, Panko, Cheese, Lemon Zest and Thyme.  Transfer to a plate.
5.   Beat Eggs, and season with Salt and Pepper.  Transfer to a shallow bowl.
6.   Season Chicken Cutlets with Salt and Pepper on both sides.
7.  Dip 1 Cutlet in Egg Mixture and remove, letting excess drip back in the bowl.  Lay cutlet in Crumb Mixtureand, with dry hand, toss crumbs over the top to coat chicken.  Lay breaded cutlet on first prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining cutlets.
8.   Fill 2 large skillets with 1/4 inch of Oil.  Heat over Medium-High Heat until oil shimmers.
9.  Add two Breaded Cutlets to each pan.  Cook 1 minute.
10.  Lower heat to Medium and cook another 4 minutes, turning once.  Cutlets should be brown and crisp.
11.  Lay Cutlets on prepared paper towels to drain.  When drained, lay on second prepared baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
12.   Adjust heat under skillets and repeat process for remaining Cutlets.
13.   Rewarm sauce over Low heat, if necessary, and serve cutlets with sauce and a sprinkling of parsley.

Serves 8.