Monday, August 18

Monday Meals...Sweet Onion Salsa

Mexican food is like a love language for me.  It's no surprise if we have Mexican 3-4 times a week.  So enjoy my favorite homemade sweet onion salsa - perfect over eggs, chicken, in tacos, fajitas - or just with a spoon.  :)

Sweet Onion Salsa
(adapted from Infarrantly Creative)

Shopping List
* 1 can diced tomatoes or 1.5 cups fresh
* HUGE handful of cilantro (I always end up adding more too!)
* 1/2 small sweet onion, diced
* 1 T apple cider vinegar
* 1 T honey or other sweetener of choice 
* 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/4 heaping teaspoon cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 jalapeno slice - or more based on taste!

* Measure all ingredients EXCEPT for tomatoes directly in blender.  Blend until chopped.  Next, add tomatoes and pulse a few times.  I like mine chunky, but blend to your liking.  Add more salt, jalapeno, tomatoes, or sweetener to taste!  Put in an airtight container and refrigerate.  
Bets are it will be gone in 2 days flat.  OLE!  

Friday, August 15

Coffee Date Friday

TGIF internet friends!
If we were meeting for coffee today, I would tell you these 5 things.

* One of my summer goals was to read 2 books each month - check!  I almost forgot how much I like to read.  So relaxing.  What new books would you recommend?

* I have been obsessed with watching American Ninja Warrior.  Quite different from The Bachelor, Real Housewives, Teen Mom genre I am used to.  My hands sweat for every competitor though.

*  Dane will be 9 months old at the end of August.  I have started purchasing small things here & there for his first birthday party.  I told Devin to go ahead and throw out the words "low-key, small, or simple."  #sorrynotsorry

*  I joined a Moms Playgroup last month & am having a lot of fun so far!  I am looking forward to apple orchard dates, pumpkin patch trips, & Mom's Night Outs with some new friends!

*  Peapod + Abigail = besties.  I placed my first grocery order today & can't wait for the delivery tomorrow!  What should I do with all of my extra time?  
Oh yeah, American Ninja Warrior.  #kidding #sortof

Have a happy weekend!

Monday, August 11

Monday Meals...Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

Happy Monday!

Need a quick Monday dinner?  Try my Crockpot Buffalo Chicken!  It's simple, fast, & perfect for a busy Monday night.  ENJOY!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken 

Shopping list:
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 packet of Ranch seasoning (or make your own)
2 cans fat-free chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped 
Frank's Hot Sauce (to taste)
pepper to taste 

Combine first 4 ingredients in your crock pot and cook on high for 4 hrs or low for 6-8.  Once chicken is cooked through, take out and shred.  Stir in Frank's & put back in (drain a little liquid if needed).  Serve on whole grain buns, lettuce wraps or on a salad - my fave!  You can also top with Ranch, Bleu Cheese and/or Sharp Cheddar.  I think plain is just as good!

Sunday, June 29

Pure Michigan.

Disclaimer: I know "Pure Michigan" is the most cliche, George Clooney-narrated, overdone title in history.  But, it's true.  Michigan is just that.  Pure.

The hubs & I decided to plan a quick 4-day family getaway this summer.  Disney?  Dane's too young.  Mount Rushmore?  Too far.  Paris?  In your dreams.  Michigan?  That sounded just about right.  My sister & brother-in-law lived in Michigan for several years and told stories of the beautiful beaches, scenery, & quaint towns that made up Michigan's coast.  We traveled to South Haven a few years ago with Devin's family & it was just that.  Quiet, quaint & just pretty.  After a little research and advice from Devin's sister, we found an adorable condo in Holland, Michigan.  Who needs Paris when you have a beach, wooden shoes & cute coffee shops just down the road?  The trip was booked & the packing started.  Anybody with small children can chime in an "Amen" out there.  Packing for even a short family vacation requires more items than the settlers needed for Westward expansion.  I know, didn't think I knew anything about history, right?  Well, it's true.  Just pack everything from the high- chair to baby nail clippers & you're set.  No covered wagon needed.  

The drive wasn't bad, the scenery gorgeous & the next 4 days just plain relaxing.  Just what our little family of 3 needed.  And, Holland?  Well, I would recommend a visit there anytime.  From the adorable shops & restaurants on 8th street, to the biggest farmer's market I have ever seen, to homemade ice cream every night...we saw & did everything.  I kept thinking I would wake up at some point and this all be just a dream - our first family vacation, my 6 month old playing quietly on the floor, Devin & I reading at the pool, taking pictures at the beach.  Just what I imagined.  

Thanks for a great four days, Holland.  We'll be back for sure.  A packed-full covered wagon & all.

Friday, May 30

He has your smile.

This week we have been celebrating my mom's retirement, the end of the school year & the start of summer.  Flowers have been planted, birds are chirping, porches being used again.  Its time to break out the Summer Bucket List.  Always on that list: a drive-in movie, making s'mores, & playing tennis at the park.  I'm looking forward to adding new things to the list as well.

My sweet, sweet baby is 6 months old today.  6 months.  Half a year.  You can find me in the corner crying.  I know every parent says it.  People have told me.  They still tell goes by so fast.  And it does.  The past 6 months have been nothing but pure joy.  It literally feels like yesterday that we were waking up to my phone ringing at 6 am.  Dane's birthmother in labor.  The mad dash to get to the hospital.  I can't even wash the sweats I wore that day.  Immeasurable happiness, yet so much pain wrapped up together in those sweats.  It sounds silly, I know.  I still replay the hospital images in my mind & Devin and I talk about it quite a bit.  Its good to talk about it.

During these past 6 months, I have gotten a lot of comments while out in public.  "Oh how cute!"  "How old is he?"  "What a happy baby!"  And then the ever popular & yet sometimes dreaded - "He looks just like you."  What should I say to this?  He does look like me...the blonde hair does it, I guess.  But he has strikingly blue eyes, that almost can't be described.  Sea foam, mixed with a foggy sky blue.  Actually similar to our daddy's baby blues.  His eyes definitely don't match my dark brown ones, and that's ok.  I get this comment a lot in public.  I have given numerous responses...from the smile & nod, to "well, he was adopted - so...." Which always results in either, 1) a lengthy adoption conversation which could lead to numerous questions or 2) an uncomfortable, awkward response from the person asking.  Which results in more awkwardness and then we just go our separate ways.  Heads down.  Dane still smiling.  He didn't even know what was being asked.  It is tricky to deal with these questions when the baby you adopted does resemble you or your husband.  So I deal with the questions the best that I know how & move on.

But this week's comment was a little different.  A sweet old lady came up to us in the store this week and said softly, "He has your smile."  Hmmmm.  I did the smile & nod, thanked her & we were on our way.  I was telling a friend about this and almost wanting pity for the I-get-these-things all the time, why can't I ever JUST be a mom-type of thing, and she said, "Abigail.  He DOES have your smile.  You smile at him all the time.  He sees your smile and mimics it.  He. has. your. smile.

Pity party cleaned up & put away for another day.

And you know what?  It's true.  He might not have my eyes or my freckles (thank goodness).  He might not have Devin's broad shoulders or dark hair.  He may never share my love for reading (but man  oh man, am I going to try), and he may never inherit Devin's athletic abilities.  But he does have my smile.  And that is undeniable.

And what a smile it is.  

Happy weekend, friends.  Give a compliment to a stranger.  It's fun.  

Monday, May 19

hello, monday.

Hello, Monday.

Hello crib smiles.  The best part of my everyday.

Hello coffee.  And hello a second cup, too.

Hello organized, clean bottles.  A reminder of how wonderful my husband is, and a reminder that a baby still lives here.

Hello Mother's Day gifts.

Hello brother's wedding invitation.  Still proudly displayed on the refrigerator, even though the wedding was over a week ago.

Hello morning top-knots.  Which will be afternoon & evening top-knot as well.

Not pictured: Hello DWTS finale & hello Bachelorette.  I'm more excited about this than I probably should be.

What are you saying hello to today?

Monday, April 21

Hit the road Jack...

It's been over two weeks since we came back from our beach trip - eek!  I'm behind.  I'll blame the 2ft person I take care of everyday.  Just kidding - he is a precious earth angel & the best part of my day is going in his room to see his smiling face.

Devin & I love road trips.  I think its fun to pack up & hit the road loaded down with snacks, a good playlist & some fun conversations.  Last year we took the same trip to Destin, Florida with his parents, sisters & their families.  Tips for a successful road trip according to me are: a fun scavenger hunt, lots of snacks & drinks (both healthy & junk...come on, it's vaca!) & a fun playlist.  For the scavenger hunt....look here.  I made a similar one up last year and just added to it this year.   You can play with any number of people.  Each person takes the same sheet, when you find the item yell it out & at least one other person has to verify.  Then, write your initials in the blank.  The person with the most initials when the hunt is filled up - wins!  Too bad I lost AND Devin drove the whole way.  #soreloser

Lots of snacks, & a fun playlist are next on the road trip essential list.  Last year we each made a list of our top 10 favorite songs and played them for each other.  Not that Devin doesn't love my choice of 90s rap, Britney Spears, or MJ...but I had to get creative for a new list idea this year.  So instead, we took about 10 different genres (rock, rap, country, power ballad, etc) and picked a favorite song for each to play.  This  year's playlist was way more exciting & fun to guess which song belonged to each genre!  Try it!

The week in Destin was great fun that included an amazing house on the beach, buckets of fresh seafood, oodles of family time & tons of "baby firsts" that I will tuck away in the scrapbook pages filling up in my brain.  Below are some of my favorites from the week.  I'm not much for posed pictures, but rather love snapping photos "in the moment."  Burying feet in the sand, reading by the pool, a sunscreen-lathered beach get the idea.

We celebrated our baby's 1st Easter this weekend & what a weekend it was.  A wonderful church service, Easter egg hunt & pastel colors galore.  Into the mental scrapbook it goes.  And this?  I promise I didn't pose him.  He just likes doing the 1990s 5th grade picture day pose.  Just missing - those classy lazer backgrounds.  Happy Spring, friends!