Easter 2014

April 22nd, 2014

This had to be the best Easter yet! We recently found a new church right down the street from our house which we have fallen in love with! We started our morning with breakfast and then headed to the early service. We were walking in the parking lot, when this adorable pregnant woman asked if we wanted our picture taken! Why, YES, considering all of our pictures are of Turner by himself or one of us holding him, but never all three!

Once we got inside, we dropped Turner off at the nursery (which I’m obsessed with) and headed into our service, coffee in tow.

Now, I’m always moved by Easter and what it represents, but this service in particular smacked me right upside the head with the reality of Easter! The music touched me so deeply, and the sermon was even better! I wish every day started like that!

After church, we went home for lunch and Turner’s nap, and then we headed to my mom and step-dad’s house for an early supper. The celebration was nothing short of magnificent. My mom had been cooking all day and made such a feast!

I helped her get some last minute things done before the rest of the family showed up, while Turner did some rearranging. He took all of “Gigi’s” rolling pins out of their bucket and then put them back in, one-by-one. This occupied him for quite a while!

We even had time for another family photo!

After a very indulgent meal, we had cake and then opened our baskets! Turner had so much fun opening his basket! Last year, he was still a little baby, so we opened his for him while he stared off into space. This time, he pulled each gift out and played with it for a few seconds before moving onto the next. It was so cute seeing him make the connection to what each thing was!

What an amazing reminder of the important things in life. I don’t know if it was the whole “beating cancer” thing, or experiencing love in a totally new way with Turner. But my heart has softened this past year. I am overflowing with faith, gratitude, and love! I am beyond excited to share our lives with you! Happy Easter, friends!

Sick Day

April 18th, 2014

Today was one of those icky days. I felt a little queasy last night (no I’m not pregnant) and thought a good night’s sleep would do the trick. But, last night, Turner cried a few times, which woke ME up too. It’s hard to believe, but he’s teething AGAIN. Just a few weeks ago, all four molars came in, and now one of his bottom teeth just popped through. I didn’t actually have to get him last night, because he never woke up. He just whined and cried enough to wake me up. So, I did not feel well at all today. Add to the mix a windy rainy day, and you have momma and baby pajama day!

I had all intentions of getting up and going to the gym, but with the icky feeling, exhaustion, and rain, I decided against it. Instead, Turner and I stayed in our comfy clothes and made a lazy day of it. Much better plan.

We put the couch cushions on the floor so we could build a fort (slash-soft-landing-pad-for-jumping-off-furniture). Turner was so amused with very little effort on my part-SCORE!

When he got bored with that, we moved it into the living room and set up a snuggle nook while we attempted to watch cartoons.

I say attempted because he’s never actually watched cartoons a day in his life. The only TV he’s ever seen is Food Network. So, needless to say, his attention span wasn’t havin’ in. We snuggled for about 7 minutes, and then he was off with his dump-truck racing laps around the house. I, on the other hand, was perfectly content staying right where I was and watching Dr. Mcstuffins help the little jaguar learn that her spots were special and that she was beautiful just the way she was!

Sometimes we just need a sick day. It was the perfect way to recharge my batteries! Even though I didn’t feel great, I still loved spending quality time with my little man! Hopefully tonight I’ll get a better sleep, because we need to be ready for all of our Easter festivities! I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad

April 17th, 2014

I am a salad lover! I feel like salads get a bad rap because they can be boring! But, salads can be a mixture of anything. It doesn’t have to just be lettuce and vegetables! I love salads because I can just throw everything in a bowl, without measuring, and have a flavorful meal ready to go!

This salad is basically a grilled chicken salad, but with a TON of fun additions. This is the chicken recipe I use. I had some leftover quinoa, so I tossed that in. I also had a million strawberries from strawberry picking and some corn from the Farmer’s Market last weekend. I decided to saute the corn for a nice warm bite. I folded in the cooked quinoa and seasoned with salt and pepper.  

Here is the assembly: I line the bowls with some arugula, then layer on a scoop of the corn mixture, strawberries, diced turkey bacon, grilled chicken, and then top it with some sunflower seeds for texture! Here is a link to the vinaigrette I use. 

WOW, delicious.  I even scooped out some of the corn mixture to serve Turner. He can’t exactly do salads yet, but this is a bit of our dinner deconstructed so I don’t have to make him a whole separate meal! I will definitely be making this again! It was a big hit!

Fruity Grilled Chicken Salad
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  1. 2 marinated chicken cutlets, grilled and sliced
  2. 2 cups arugula
  3. 3 ears of corn, cut from cob (or frozen)
  4. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  5. 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
  6. 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and diced
  7. sunflower seeds
  1. Grill the chicken breasts and slice (chicken recipe linked in the blog). Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. Cut the corn away from the cob (or use frozen) and saute over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in quinoa and set aside.
  4. Line two bowls with arugula. Layer the corn and quinoa mixture over the arugula.
  5. Layer strawberries, bacon, and grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Top with your favorite dressing (vinaigrette linked in the blog). Enjoy!

Strawberry Picking

April 14th, 2014

We had the best weekend. It was 80 degrees and sunny all weekend! What could be bad on a day like that!? We packed so much family goodness into one weekend!

We started our Saturday, bright and early, at the Farmer’s Market.

This is one of our favorite things to do every Saturday. This was the first one of the season, so it was extra exciting. There are a ton of tents with local farmers, jewelers, restaurants, etc. They set up their tents surrounding Marion Square (a big park), and people just shop and eat! After we walked through, and got our produce for the week, we practiced Turner’s walking skills in the park.

Once Turner started pooping out, we headed home for lunch and a nap break. THEN, we hit the Strawberry Festival. Stewart and I LOVE going strawberry picking. We’ve done it every year for the past 8 years! This year had to be the most exciting yet!

Turner adores strawberries. He has even started saying it, “Dobee”. I can’t even explain Turner’s urgency to get his lips on those little jewels once we showed up! He was instantly attracted to the little red berries sticking out of the leaves.

It seemed like he was eating more strawberries than were in our buckets! He was covered in strawberry juice by the end of it! Thank goodness for Oxi-Clean!

We went home to pop the strawberries in the fridge, and decided to hit the beach, since we were already covered in dirt and strawberry juice!

I was glad to learn that Turner no longer wanted to EAT the sand, he just wanted to throw it. Which, honestly, was fine by me! I’ll take that over him gagging on mouth-fulls of sand!

What a great weekend. I was sad to see it go! Although, it is just the beginning of our favorite summer things! I am SO excited to experience summer with Turner as a toddler! Happy Monday, everyone!

Breakfast Outing

April 11th, 2014

We haven’t been out to breakfast since two weeks before Turner was born! Stewart gets up and is off to work before Turner and I wake up. And, on weekends, we like to take our time and have our coffee in bed before we go downstairs to make breakfast. 

This past Tuesday, Stewart had to be in Charleston by 6 am to get his port removed (yay). A port is just a little device that’s installed below the skin and is connected to a vein. It’s used so chemo drugs can be infused through that instead of through a needle in the arm. So, he had to leave the house by 5:30 am, which is way to early for me and the munchkin to be out of the house. So, instead of going with him, I decided to pack up Turner and meet him for a nice breakfast downtown! 

The procedure was done by 8:30. It was a super easy process. They just used a local anesthesia, so he was good to go once they sewed him back up! We met him at the hospital and headed to Sweetwater Cafe for breakfast. That was the first time we took Turner out to breakfast!

I know, we’re insane. We’re just not big breakfast diner outers! But, needless to say, we had a great time! It was fun sharing all of our dishes with each other. Turner wanted it all (he’s a mini beast). We had eggs, toast, sausage, pancakes, OJ, and coffee. It was a nice treat for all of us!

We’ve gotten pretty good at turning lemons into lemonade lately. Glad to be closing that cancer chapter. Hopefully we’re done with the scary stuff for a while, and we can focus on sunshine and butterflies. Here’s to happiness and good health!

Nutty Banana Bread Granola

April 7th, 2014

This granola is AMAZING. I am always on the search for great granola recipes that aren’t packed with sugar! I recently found a recipe that sounded yummy. The original can be found here. I made a few changes that added some protein and were “toddler friendly” since Turner loves yogurt parfaits!

I start by combining the oats, pecans, and cinnamon in the standing mixer. I just give that a quick mix to incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, on the stove, I heat the mashed banana, maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut oil, and almond butter, just until they’re well combined.

After that’s combined, I pour it into my mixer and mix until the oats are completely coated with the wet ingredients. I spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

And, there you have it! A delicious granola recipe for everyone in the family!

Nutty Banana Bread Granola
A nutty and protein packed granola recipe for the whole family!
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  1. 3 cups quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)
  2. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 1 cup chopped pecans
  4. 1 ripe banana, mashed
  5. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  6. 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  7. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  8. 2 Tbsp almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the mashed banana, syrup, brown sugar, oil, and almond butter. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar and oil have melted and the mixture is combined.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine oats, cinnamon, and pecans.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined and oats are completely coated.
  5. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (stirring halfway through) until the granola is dry and golden brown.
  1. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Adapted from The Messy Baker
Adapted from The Messy Baker

Spring and New Things

April 5th, 2014

Spring in Charleston means it goes from freezing cold to 80 degrees within days! This week has been one of those beautifully warm weeks that makes me LOVE this city! Hopefully winter is gone for good!

Turner and I have really been enjoying the weather this week! While work keeps me busy, I always try to find pockets of time during the day for me and Turner to spend together. Every week is different. We do things like play dates, library trips, beach picnics, or just play in the yard.

Thursday morning, we went to the library for story time. While we waited for the library to open, I figured we could practice walking in the grass. Turner is 16 months old and STILL NOT WALKING. Needless to say, he’s getting VERY heavy! I know he CAN walk, he just doesn’t have the confidence yet. So we keep encouraging him (by that I mean we clap when he falls). So, yesterday, while I was holding his hand to walk in the grass outside of the library, I let go AND HE KEPT WALKING! He was so proud of himself! Now I know he can do it! Hooray for new victories!

Walking from Emily on Vimeo.

He was SO proud of himself! We walked into story time with a newfound confidence! I was beaming with excitement and he seemed to turn into a little man at that very moment! In the past, Turner would cling to me whenever we’d listen to the stories. But not this day! He hopped right off my lap and sat in the CENTER of the circle to sing our songs and listen to the stories!

Our little baby is turning into a boy right before our eyes. We are shocked by how quickly he learns! It’s amazing to watch him develop. We are definitely excited for the warm weather and all of the new things our future holds!

Cancer Free BBQ

April 4th, 2014

I already posted about our amazing news that Stew is cancer free! But I promised that I’d share some photos. I didn’t take a single picture but, luckily, my mother-in-law was ON IT!

It was a beautiful day for a backyard BBQ. We fired up the grill and made burgers and chicken. Everyone brought something so we had a TON of food and drinks. Here are some photos that captured the day…

We had so many friends and family over to celebrate. But my favorite of them all, was this guy…

Maybe this little guy too…

What a great celebration! We are SO relieved to be past this. But we had so much support along the way, and we feel so grateful for each little bump in the road. It really makes us appreciate all the GOOD we have! Now, with that said, have an amazing weekend!

What a Week!

March 31st, 2014

We just had the BEST week ever! Stew, my husband, had his 12th chemo treatment on February 27th. Here’s a little background on our journey the past 7 months! He had his follow up PET scan this past Tuesday, March 25th. Then, on the 27th, we went to see Dr. Saylors to find out the test results.

I was perfectly fine up until that morning; I slept like a baby. But, right before our visit, I was SO anxious! I was visibly shaking, and my heart was racing. Stew was as cool as a cucumber! Apparently, I had enough nerves for the two of us.

We sat in the room and Joanna, our PA, walked in. She had a big smile on her face and started asking about Turner and our plans for the weekend. I told her she was killing me! Then, she said the words we’ve been waiting to hear… STEW’S CANCER FREE!!! I burst out into tears (I should have learned not to wear makeup to their office by now) and hugged her. Then she walked out to get Dr. Saylors, and I ran over to give Stew a giant hug! We were SOOOO excited!

That afternoon, Stew’s parents got into town from NJ. It was just coincidence that they planned their visit the same weekend we would find out his test results! It was truly a weekend of celebrating! Well, we would have celebrated more if Stew wasn’t fighting a cold and Turner was getting 4 molars at once. But, we still made the best of it, snot and all!

Yesterday, we had a BIG party. We had about 40 people over to the house for a “We Kicked Cancer’s Ass” BBQ. It was so much fun. Everyone was happy and so excited for us! I couldn’t believe everyone who showed up to support us. It was truly humbling! I didn’t take a single picture, because I was too busy talking to everyone. BUT, my mother-in-law did. So hopefully I’ll get to steal some from her to share! But, for now, I’m sending you off with smiles from my little munchkin. Happy Monday!

Children’s Museum Play Date

March 22nd, 2014

We are so lucky to have a place like The Children’s Museum in Charleston! Turner loves it NOW and he’s not even old enough to realize all of the cool stuff there is! We had a play date there yesterday and had so much fun exploring!

Each room is set up differently. There’s an art room, a room with a GIANT pirate ship that kids can run around in, and there’s a “water wise” room that teaches all about water. All he does is splash around, but someday he’ll understand the water cycle!

One of his favorites is the market. He LOVES to push around the shopping carts. He especially likes to throw the plastic fruit on the floor (he thinks they’re balls).

photo taken by Melissa Levesque

Once the big kids came in, we escaped to the toddler area. It’s padded and closed off, so not much can go wrong there! Turner loves to climb the stairs and go down the slide! Much safer than our giant wooden stairs at home!

We always look forward to our play dates! I love to get Turner out and mingling with other kiddos his age. And, I especially like to get together with other mommas! We hope you have a great weekend!