Fall Is In The Air!

It hit me today, as I perused Pinterest, that I’m not the ONLY person getting excited for fall!! There are so many pins for fall meals and decorating  scattered throughout the pages. Although it’s still hot and humid here in Charleston, the mornings are cooling off a bit. Turner and I are actually able to sit on the front porch in the mornings without breaking a sweat!

Fall is my favorite time of year. The food is comforting, the bugs start to retreat, and I can pull out all of my boots! Fall also means more crock pot meals. As you know, Stew and I plan our menu on the weekend and do all of our grocery shopping for the week. This makes preparing dinner way less stressful. Stew usually gets home by 6 on week nights, and I have dinner ready so we can eat, go for our walk, and get Turner in the bath by 7. Lately, I’ve been finding that I’m just not in the mood to cook once 5:00 roles around. So, this week, I’m planning things that I can just throw in the crock pot or prep ahead so I don’t have to do much each night. I’ve had a few requests to share my menu and grocery list, so here we go!

Menu
Saturday: Grilled Chicken w/ Winter Slaw
Sunday: Mongolian Beef w/ Barley
Monday: Frozen Fish with Sweet Potato Fries
Tuesday: One of my frozen meals (My friends and I exhange frozen meals once a month at our supper club so we each have 3 homemade meals in the freezer that we can pull out at a moment’s notice. It’s a life saver!)
Wednesday: Turkey and Black Bean Tacos
Thursday: Chipotle Beef Chili
Friday: DATE NIGHT!

**NOTE: I cut the recipes down if they’re for a large group! Also, some items I already have, so I don’t add them to my grocery list.

Baby Food: I make two big batches of veggies and fruit for Turner’s lunch and dinner for the week. In addition to his pureed food, I give him finger foods like local cheddar cheese with his yogurt in the afternoon, whole grain waffles with his oatmeal for breakfast, and even some bites of grilled cheese. This is what his week will look like.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. I peel and cut up an apple into tiny pieces and boil it for the last few minutes. Then, I stir in some cinnamon.
Lunch:  Grilled Cheese bites with Eggplant, Pear, & Plum Puree.
Snack: Local Greek Yogurt (sold at Whole Foods)
Dinner: Pureed butternut squash with apple and cinnamon (peeled, cut up, steamed, and blended).

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Grocery List:
Frozen Tilapia Filets
Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Ground Turkey
Stew Meat
Kale
Riddichio
Brussels Sprouts
Lemons
1 Eggplant
2 pears
2 plums
1 bag organic granny smith apples
1 Butternut squash
1 Green Pepper
1 onion
Yogurt
Cheddar Cheese
Tortillas
Seeduction Bread (Whole Foods)
1 can low sodium black beans
1 can low sodium pinto beans
1 can low sodium red kidney beans
1 28 OZ can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can chili in adobo

Happy eating and enjoy your holiday weekend!

PicShells

 

Magnifilous Toy Emporium

One of our favorite cashiers at Whole Foods told us about this cool toy store that opened in Charleston a few months ago. We’ve been wanting to go since then! But, life gets in the way! This past Saturday, Stew brought it up. I had forgotten all about it! So, we headed downtown to find it! We spotted it on King Street. It’s called Magnifilous Toy Emporium. Boy, was it magnifilous!!

I felt like I stepped back into my childhood! We walked in the front door, and there was nickelodeon on the left and a carousel on the right! HOW COOL!?
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Then, in front of us, was a GIANT ferris wheel made out of K’Nex!
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We walked a few more steps into the store and were surrounded by toys, hanging hot air balloons, and a magical reading nook.
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We Turner had so much fun playing with all of the toys! His favorite was the big ferris wheel.
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What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon! I know Turner will LOVE going there when he’s a little older. He will probably want to spend his allowance there every time we go! All of our big people worries just melted away, for a half hour anyway!

Baby Shower!!!

NOT MINE! Geesh, you scared me! My lovely friend, Cara, is pregnant! Cara, Kelly, and I became very good friends in our Hypnobabies class. Hey, you get close when you talk about giving birth for hours on end! Our due dates were all around the same time, so we bonded instantly. Cara’s baby girl was born last September. Kelly and I had our boys a day apart last November! So, needless to say, we’ve shared a lot of laughs, cries, and poopy diapers.

Since we didn’t know each other until later on in our pregnancies, we never got to share a baby shower together! So, I decided to throw one for Cara. I invited some of her friends over to my house. Her mom was in town too, which worked out perfectly! Actually, because of that, Kelly and I invited our moms too! It helped with baby care, that’s for sure! It was such a fun night filled with food, laughs, more poopy diapers, and even a few tears (babies, not us).

Cara is having a boy and is planning on doing a nautical theme for the nursery. I stayed true to the theme with my decorations! I made a Sail Baby Sail sign and framed it for the table.
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Since it was the afternoon, I wanted a light menu. I made a variety of tea sandwiches:
* BLT Bites
* Opened Face Caprese Sandwiches
* Herbed Cream Cheese & Cucumber Bites
* Veggies & Dip (courtesy of Cara’s mom)
* Fig Tart (courtesy of my mom)
* Lemon Curd Cake (courtesy of my mom)
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For the drinks, I did mason jars with name tags in blue tied around each glass. I also found the cutest blue and white striped paper straws to go with the nautical theme. I kept the drinks simple too:

* Citrus & Cucumber Water (2 oranges, 1 lime, 1 cucumber sliced)
* Passion Fruit Iced Tea (Tazo)
* Peach Iced Tea (Charleston Tea Plantation)
* Mint, Lemons, Simple Syrup to garnish

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Finally, I made a banner because everything I saw was so cheesy. It was super easy:

1. Print block letters for Sawyer’s name.
2. Trace circles to go behind the letters (make sure circle is big enough for EVERY letter) on thick tan paper and cut them out.
3. Use Mod Podge to paint glue on circle. Stick letter on and paint Mod Podge over whole circle (on top of newspaper). Let dry.
4. Trace triangles onto scrapbook paper that will go behind each circle. Paint Mod Podge on the triangle, stick circle on it and paint Mod Podge over entire triangle. Let dry.
5. Punch holes on either end of the triangles.
6. Weave yarn through holes and hang!

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I made sailboat sugar cookies (recipe from Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook) decorated with icing for the favors. I actually made the dough last week and kept it wrapped in saran in the fridge. I baked and decorated them on Friday and put them in their bags on Saturday.
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It was such a low key afternoon. The babies got to have their first play date in a long time! It’s amazing how much they’ve grown! It’s awesome to see all the different stages they’re at each time we get together.
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And we just HAD to get a picture of the three of us and one with our moms!
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It was such a fun shower. I enjoyed every second with great friends and family! Can’t wait to meet Baby Sawyer!

9 Month Must Haves

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ABC Mat-I never thought I’d be that mom with brightly colored toys all over my house, and I probably won’t be. But this is just a necessity! As soon as Turner started crawling, I needed a safe place for him and his toys. So we have this out in the living room. Our rug is a bit rough on the knees, so it’s the perfect cushioned play area! Now that he’s a little older, he likes to pull the letters off and chew them. It keeps him very occupied!

Battery Operated Fan– Poor little guy is a sweaty mess! No wonder I was so hot when I was pregnant! He’s practically an oven! Whenever he rides in his car seat, we pull him out, and his backside is drenched with sweat! I got this cheap fan to help circulate the air in his seat. I have it on the mirror hanging from the headrest. It helps with the heat, and it also gives him something to stare and laugh at!

c Chalkboard Basket– I have this in the living room next to the fireplace. I keep all of Turner’s toys in there. It makes for easy clean up and hides the whole bright toy thing I was talking about earlier!

OXO Sippy Cup– We’re working on having him drinking out of a sippy cup. I fill it with an ounce of water just so we don’t make a mess. So far, he has sucked on it a few times. But, for the most part, he rolls it around on his tray and throws it on the floor. I think it will take a little practice! But at least he’s getting used to having it around at meal time!

Bath Toys– As you know, he absolutely loves bath time! We picked up a sack of toys from Babies R Us for him to play with. He has a rubber ducky, football, soccer ball, and some bath books. He throws them and chews on them. It makes bath time even more exciting!

OXO Drying Rack– I picked this up from my friend’s store Eat Sleep Play. Now that Turner is eating, I needed a second drying rack! Upstairs, in the bathroom, I have my Boon Grass Drying Rack which is for his bottles at night. Downstairs I have the OXO rack which is mostly for his spoons, bowls, and a few bottles here and there. It is so useful to have a rack upstairs and downstairs! That way I always have what I need wherever I am!

 

LivSlow

Let me paint this picture for you…

It was right around rush hour. I just finished food shopping (because we didn’t have time to do it over the weekend) and was driving home from Whole Foods. Turner was in the back doing his happy scream at the top of his lungs and cracking himself up.
Meanwhile, as I munched on my apple cinnamon straws, I was planning the timing of cooking dinner before bath time and bedtime, zig zagging around slow moving traffic, and going through my mental checklist. The cars in front of me started braking…darn, a red light. I glanced at the license plate of the car in front of me, and it said “Livslow”. WOW!
I took a deep breath, watched Turner in my rearview mirror, and thanked God for the little reminders He gives us about what really matters! Dinner will be made, the house will eventually be clean, and my to-do list will always be there. Words can’t describe how thankful I feel! Thanks for the words of wisdom SUV driver!
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M.I.A.

That’s been me lately. I haven’t had time to write a blog post in ages! PHEW. I just took a deep breath. I feel much better now. Nothing is really new in our world. We’ve just been SOOOO busy! Work is finally starting to slow down. Last week was the end of our busy rental season, so I can breathe a little bit now!

Turner has been keeping me busy as well! I can’t even believe he is 9 months old today (9 month favorites to come)! He is moving around like crazy. He crawls all over the place! He’s even started pulling up on everything!
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His favorite things to play with are the wires and desk drawers in Mommy’s office. How typical that of the million toys he has in there, he chooses the two most dangerous things to play with! Needless to say, we had to do some rearranging and wire lifting over the weekend!

Here are some funny shots from the past few days that I just had to share! The first is of our morning snuggle in bed. I can’t believe we’ve been doing the EXACT same thing every morning since he was born! It’s gotten to the point where we only last a few minutes in bed after I feed him because he is on the go! Take a look at those chompers!
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This is a picture if his first haircut! I know I look angry and like I’m hurting him, but I’m very intense when I focus on something! I must say, his haircut came out great!
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The house is quiet, Baby is tucked, our banana nut bread candle is wafting through the living room, and it’s time for ice cream and Homeland with my honey. Life is good. Happy Saturday night!

Cauliflower Pizza

In an effort to do this whole “Paleo” thing, I came up with a cauliflower pizza recipe. We love our pizza, so I didn’t want to deprive us of that! This is definitely the best cauliflower pizza crust we’ve had yet. I tried a few variations, and this is the winner! The thing with this pizza is that it’s delicious, but it’s not the white-flour-pizza-dough pizza. So, we just accepted it for a different type of pizza, and it was perfect! Hey, it’s worth a shot!

I started out by blending the cauliflower until it was course, but not pureed (like couscous). Then, I microwaved the cauliflower for 5 minutes so it softened a bit. Once the cauliflower was ready, I mixed it with the other ingredients and formed the pizzas on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
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I baked the crusts for 30 minutes. I like them as crisp as possible. That seemed to work!
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I chose basic pizza toppings, but you could honestly top with whatever you’d like! I baked the pizzas for another 10 minutes to melt the toppings. Then I broiled the pizzas for 1 minute just to make the cheese crispy. I topped with some fresh basil for a pop of color. I must say, these were delicious! Let me know what you think!
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Cauliflower pizza
Makes 2 pizzas

1/2 large head cauliflower (about 2.5 cups ground)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp Italian herbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Pizza Toppings
1 Tbsp sauce per pizza
1/2 Roma tomato per pizza, sliced
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella per pizza
Sliced red onion
Sliced basil

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut cauliflower into chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until course (like couscous). Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix together until well combined. Add the cauliflower and mix well. Divide dough in half. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place each half of dough onto the baking sheet and press into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake crusts for 30 minutes or until browned and firm. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Broil for 1 minute to crisp up the cheese. Top with fresh basil and enjoy!

 

Busy Weekend

This weekend was super busy, but in a good way! As you already read in my last post, Stew’s parents were visiting. But that wasn’t all, Stew’s brother and wife, who I adore, moved here! So we had a LOT of quality family time packed into a few days. Poor Turner was not feeling well, but we made the best of it anyway! Stew’s mom took some great photos, so I thought I’d share! It’s hard to narrow it down, so I will just put a bunch!

On Saturday, we went to our favorite antique shop. Turner sat in the car with Grampy and Grammy while Stew and I ran in._DSC1435

Then, we headed downtown for the Farmer’s Market. I absolutely LOVE walking through the market. We meandered in and out of the tents and admired the produce and crafts. We even made a pitstop for lunch from the food trucks.
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That afternoon, after nap time for everyone, we headed over to Luke and Suzy’s (brother-in-law & his wifey) new apartment!
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Poor Turner wasn’t feeling so hot, so Stew and I took him home for his bath and bedtime. Grammy and Grampy picked up some pizza for dinner, which was delicious!

On Sunday, we went to our favorite lunch spot on Sullivan’s Island, The Co-Op. We ate our sandwiches at the park, and then walked down the street to Cafe Medley for ice cream.
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That afternoon, Luke and Suzy came over, along with two of Suzy’s best friends who made the trip down with her. We hung out at our house for a little while and then hit Taco Boy for the best Mexican in Charleston!!
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We had such a great weekend packed with food, fun, and family! We hit all of our favorite spots with the folks. Stew and I even got to steal away for a date night! Thanks for everything Grammy and Grampy!!

One of Those Days

Today is one of those days that I will erase off the calendar. I think I’ve mentioned it to you before. Turner had two crap naps, lasting about 20 minutes each. He has been sneezing all day and is a major grump. And guess what the culprit is, TOOTH NUMBER FOUR! The schedule is out the window on days like this! Luckily, Stew’s parents are here to give him the extra cuddles he needs!

I feel like Turner was at a complete standstill for a while. He wasn’t quite crawling, he only said “dada”, and he seemed to be “teething” forever with no teeth in sight! Now, in the past month, he started crawling, saying mama, pulling up, and is about to pop his fourth tooth! It’s crazy how he literally changes overnight!

He is growing so fast and is such a sweet little baby. I hate to see him upset, because it is not like him at all! All I want to do is hold him and make him feel better! Keep your fingers crossed that he wakes up happy and refreshed! We have a big weekend ahead of us!
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