Friday, April 26, 2013

Foodie Friday: Homemade Pretzels

If you know my husband you know he has three favorite snack foods: baby carrots, pretzels, and candy. If we are ever out of the those three things, life at our house gets a little more stressful. One weekend our pretzel bag was empty and our soft pretzel stash was gone and I was not going to go to the store one.more.time. Seriously, anyone else feel that way? Inevitably every time I go, somehow I forget one important thing!

So one Saturday I pulled out my trusty recipe for soft pretzels and made a batch. They are so good. I even froze some so that we can enjoy them as the weeks go on in case, somehow, I forget to restock the snack drawer.


I’ve been making pretzels since we first got married, over 6 years ago, and pretzel dough is by far the easiest yeast dough I’ve worked with. These are near impossible to screw up and always taste great.

The recipe for these pretzels can be found here:

Homemade Pretzels

Some other options I’ve made in the past include these:

Ham and Cheese Filled Pretzel Bites & regular Pretzel Bites

Pretzel Rolls

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elizabeth: 10 Months Old

60 more days give or take and our baby has been here, with us, for an entire year. That seems crazy. The years of waiting seemed to take forever and now life is passing us by in seconds. Month 10 was delightful to sum it up in one word.


There she is in all her curious, giggly, and serious moods. She loves that blankie! I never knew what lovie she would end up with and of course, she loves the biggest blanket she owns…figures, just like her momma.

Elizabeth is delightful. That’s my favorite word to describe her. Content most of the time, curious and very in tune with what is going on around her. She is silly and just this month began initiating peek-a-boo. It’s hilarious and she’s also content to play peek-a-boo all by herself. She loves to be near us and as long as we’re in the same room, she’s happy to play on her own. She loves “reading” books especially touch and feel books. It’s so cute to watch her find the fuzzy parts and touch them. She also loves our vent covers on the floor (so much Alex just “glued” them down with caulk) and anything she can get her hands on that is not a toy.

Month 10 ushered in some new abilities. Elizabeth took her first steps a couple of days before turning 10 months. I couldn’t be happier. I was beginning to dread a summer crawling outside on her knees and now maybe by the time summer is in full swing she’ll be more proficient on her feet. She’s clapping toys together but still can’t quite seem to get her hands to do it on their own and waving is a whole arm production that can happen on cue some of the time. But she can play “so big” and raise her hands at the correct time. We do how big is God but she can also do it when asking “how big is Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth doing “so big”

And while she’s babbling up a storm, this month’s favorite’s are “oooooo” and “dadadadada,” she doesn’t have any set words other than “uh-oh” which she now says almost entirely at the correct time.

Elizabeth’s first steps

10 months

Thursday, April 18, 2013

what we’re loving now {april}

Finding joy in the little things is keeping us sane in our house as the snow continues to fall outside. I’m not sure if this is a record for latest spring snowfall or not but either way we’re keeping busy and trying to keep our spirits up.

In the last month or two we have found some new favorites; everything from things for mom to things for baby and I thought I’d share them this snowy afternoon!

west elm zipper pouches








I bought the medium metallic zipper case to use when Elizabeth goes to the nursery. The best part is that they’re super inexpensive (especially when on sale), lined with a vinyl material (think wet bag) and they can be monogrammed and shipped for free. I monogrammed the front of ours with E’s name and it’s perfect for filling with diapers and wipes for nursery when I drop her off.

vicks vaporizor & nosefrida

Elizabeth is on the verge of getting her canine teeth and every time teething comes around so does a runny nose and cold like symptoms. We’re big fans of our nosefrida (I also really like the little noses aspirator) and vaporizer. The vaporizer runs all night long and keeps things nice and humid in her room. We don’t run a humidifier since we have a whole house version on our furnace but this is a great alternative when cold season hits.

world market accessories


I love this store! Walking through there feels like I went on a tropical vacation especially now with all of their spring and summer merchandise out. I bought the shower curtain and placemats a couple of months ago and they have made a world of difference in our house. Our bathroom is now my favorite place to be due to the bright and cheery colors going on in there. The baskets are also great for stowing magazines up off the floor where our paper monster cannot reach them!

island moonlight candle

If you love the volcano candle at Anthropologie, which I of course do, then you will love that this less expensive version located in the aisles of your local Target store offers the very same dreamy fragrance for a fraction of the price. yay!

So there you go…

what have you fun new things have you found this spring?

Monday, April 15, 2013

life on a monday

monday morning at our house after a delightful full night’s sleep


oh happy day

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Spring is on its way. Despite the falling snow and the icy branches, spring is coming. Though the yards are covered in white, we can hear the birds singing their songs and see green tips sprouting from wet soil. It’s coming.

In the words of Aslan,

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

I’m finding this slow start to spring to be the perfect encouragement to get some things done inside. I know if the weather were different, the chores at home would be lost on the sunshine filled days playing outdoors.

Since organization isn’t my first inclination, I’m taking the lead from this great blog I found on Pinterest. Over at ‘A Bowl Full of Lemons’ I found the perfect organizational lists to get my act in gear. I’ve decided to start her 14 week program in an attempt to get things a little more in order and start purging all the things we don’t need. Join me?


Here’s the link to the program:

And alongside organizing my home one room at a time, I’m also reconnecting with a paper planner alongside my iPhone. I just can’t seem to tame the paper trail and back when I used a planner things were far more in control. I’ve decided to use the planner suggestion from the same blog as above as my jumping off point and I love that it’s kind of a home organization/management binder as well as a planner.


Here’s the link to that:

And lastly, I finally got back into the groove of having a cleaning schedule. When we were first married I found a rhythm that worked for me. It takes only 15-20 minutes a day, less if you go really fast, and you only do one task a day. Seriously it keeps me sane, takes the pressure off, and makes tackling our house so much easier.

Here’s the breakdown:

Monday: Laundry (bulk of it; I do laundry throughout the week too), Groceries

Tuesday: Bathrooms (wipe down, clean toilets, mirrors, tub/shower wipe down)

Wednesday: Dusting/mirrors

Thursday: Floors (dust and mop all floors and vacuum carpet and rugs)

Friday: Errands

My breakdown per day is based on what we have going. Bible Study is always on Wednesdays and since I try to tackle the job during morning naps, dusting is a short and easy task for that day since we are gone in the morning. I also try to get all errands done on one day in one fell swoop but sometimes that doesn’t work and we find ourselves at Target other times of the week. Customize it as you see fit.

Everyday the kitchen gets wiped down and cleaned so that is why it’s not on there. Laundry of course gets done at other times as well but if I can get through multiple loads on Monday that makes the rest of the week more manageable. When I first started we lived in a 2b/1bath, 980 square foot house. Our next place was a 1100 square foot apartment with 2b/2b and now we have 4b/3b and 2400 square feet. With every upgrade came more honing of the schedule above and because it’s broken down into days and smaller pieces the upgrade in square footage and bathrooms has not felt overwhelming.

Plus another tip I’ve learned is for bathrooms have a set up in every bath. In every one of our bathrooms there is a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner, Lysol wipes, Windex and a cheap toilet brush from Ikea. That way I’m not hauling cleaning supplies all through the house, just a cloth. This has revolutionized cleaning for me!

So today we’re hunkering down and getting clean and organized.

What are your tips for keeping things in order?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A million little choices

The days are filled with a million little choices. Some are fleeting, while others build foundations. The depths of our souls are made known in everyday actions.

This morning, upon rising, we were met with the beauty of snow covered branches. And our day of a million little choices began. To accept or complain.

As I took Elizabeth to the window she was fixated, staring out at the beauty. I had two choices and my mouth spoke…"Look, Elizabeth. Isn’t the snow beautiful. God made the snow.” Because spring will come in time, but He holds the storehouses in His hands. And He gives His children GOOD things.


Thankfulness flooded my heart that this time I was not prone to complain. That my response did not sound like “Ugh. Snow again. When will spring come.” Because that response only echo's a discontentment with the gifts from the Giver. I’m so far from getting it right, mind you. But my heart overwhelmingly wants her to know of His goodness. Wants her to see beauty in the unexpected. Wants her to welcome good gifts in all their seasons.

As a mother I’m quickly realizing the magnitude these little choices hold. I’m fallen. I’ll never get it right. Never do it perfectly. But as I figure out my role and the influence it holds, I’m ever more cautious with my tongue, with those choices entrusted to me.

It begins with the dawn and ends with the night, ever cyclical, and I can’t shake the reality that day in and day out I’m helping mold a little mind. My little disciple follows me about all the day on hands and knees, already mimicking the sounds and sights she sees. Feasting her eyes on the world, learning what she can expect. Will she expect spring to follow winter or will she expect the falling of snow to cease on March 1st? Because spring will come. Will she expect to have all she wants or will she expect that she will have all she needs? Because He gives us all we need. And the thoughts go on through my mind.

Willing my heart to expect what is spoken in the Book and not the thoughts amongst the world all around. Praying for little expectation regarding the circumstances around me. For expectations are a funny thing. They can bring so much joy and so much sorrow. I’ve been learning a valuable lesson through the years on expectations.

The less I expect from the fallen world around me and the more I trust His sovereignty, the more joy that will fill my heart.

It seems like so long ago that a lesson was taught to my heart full of disappointment. Fewer expectations bring more joy. Seemed backward at the time. Seemed silly to not expect people to do certain things. To not expect the weather to change. To not expect the world to go exactly the way that I anticipated it should.

I can see my pride ever before me. Those respectable sins.

In the beginning, I admit, the letting go came purely out of the thought that if I let go of expectations then I’ll be disappointed less often. This truly is the case. But it was less of a God thing and more of a selfish, I-don’t-want-to-hurt kind of thing.

But as He taught me little by little, a million little choices at a time, to instead look up, to trust Him, to see the joy in the everyday, the reason behind my thinking began to change and joy began to replace the disappointment. And not only did He reveal this through His word, He kept refining the work by walking me through trial after trial. Helping me make peace with the past. Helping me think of things in a way that glorifies.

I won’t expect my dad to be someone and something that he isn’t.

I won’t expect my husband to know what I’m thinking or to read my mind.

I won’t expect Elizabeth to sleep the same way everyday or always obey.

I won’t expect that the weather will change when I’m ready for it to.

And the list goes on.

Because how can I expect perfection from the fallen.

A million little choices face me everyday. Face us all.

And a little one is watching.

So is the world.

What will they see?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Read-Aloud Log

Books bring joy to my heart. I could fill an entire day with my nose fixed between the pages reveling in the story unfolding. The other day Alex and I were reminiscing over our childhoods and I was conveying my inexperience with kid TV, only having seen Duck Tales and others in my later grade school years and only at the houses of friends. He was amazed and wondered what on earth I did after school.

I read. TV was very much a part of our house growing up, but we all loved to read. You’d find us all with the television on but our eyes glued to the book in our hands. Of course, I did other things like play with Barbie's, play outside, watch TV, but I loved to read. I think it was mainly my mother’s influence, although my dad loves to read as well. But it was my mom who took us to the library, climbed into my bed and read to me, even until I was much, much older. There’s something about having a book read to you that is so comforting. Little House, Julie and her wolves, Hatchet, and more unfolded through the voice of my mother.

I’ve loved sharing my love of literature with Elizabeth although it’s taken her some time to be interested. We’ve finally hit the point, 9 months in, where she’ll sit through a story, try to turn pages, and is interested in the artwork.

Jenny, a friend from church (acquaintance?) has started keeping a log of books she reads to her little boys and I loved the idea. I loosely keep track of what I’ve read so I find it natural to do the same with the books Elizabeth and I read through the month.

So in the future if you are interested in finding our read-aloud log just click on “read-aloud log” from the side bar and you’ll find our lists.

Here’s what we are reading in April:


American Museum of Natural History. Spot the Animals: A lift the flap

Campbell, Rod. Dear Zoo (we own)

Crow, Nosy. Noodle Loves the Farm

Degan, Bruce. Jamberry (we own)

Dwell Studio. Good Night, Owl

Siminovich, Lorena. I Like Fruit: touch and feel

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Swing

Stoop, Naoko. All Creatures Great and Small

Thoms, Susan Collins . Noah’s Ark

van Genechten, Guido. Daddies and Their Babies


Definitely All Creatures Great and Small…the illustrations are gorgeous and the hymn, well it’s a classic. Elizabeth has loved Noodle Loves the Farm for the touch and feel aspect and we both love Jamberry.

What great books have you and your kiddos read this month?

Friday, April 5, 2013

End of the week

As you can see, no recipe for this week. Though we have eaten, nothing has been new, interesting or notable and I’m chalking that up to post-holiday-get-life-together mode.

We traveled to Wisconsin to visit my family for Easter and it was great seeing everyone. It was a short and sweet trip but there’s nothing like spending time with family. So this week was filled with catch-up. Laundry, groceries, house planning, etc. so meals were a last minute thought most nights.

Any great recipes from your week?

We’re in the midst of planning an interior renovation to our house so I’m hoping to post some of the thoughts running through our heads. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

Enjoy your weekend…we’re off to settle in for afternoon naps/reading:)