Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday baby girl...

Our baby girl turns 1 year old today. Where has the time gone? We did 1st birthday pictures at Emory University and I was pretty happy with how they came out. I wanted to get a few more specific shots that I wasn't able to because it was so hot, Lindsey was getting flushed and overheated so we had to call it quits and went and had a nice lunch at Panera Bread and let everyone cool down for awhile. She had a good time exploring and walking around. I just can't believe it's already been a full year since she was born! Such an amazing year of milestones and moments to treasure and tuck away into my memories. I am so blessed that I can call Lindsey my girl, that I was chosen to be her mommy. She brings me so much joy, and fills my heart with love and laughter. It has been such a different experience having Lindsey so many years after her brother. He has taught me to value each and every precious moment, as I fully realize just how quickly the years pass by. So crying, fussing, smacking, smiles, laughter, and kisses - I soak each moment up and am grateful for them all. It is a joy to watch this little girl become her own person with her own strong will, smart, sassy, independent, but affectionate and so loving and happy too.

12 months old and you are my light little one. I am so thankful for you!

Lindsey's fun facts:
  • Sleeping is going GREAT. Except for the rare exception when teething or sickness interrupts, Lindsey goes to bed around 6:30 pm and gets up between 6 - 6:30 am the next morning.
  • Walking is going wonderfully. Lindsey has been walking well since 11 months and gets steadier and stronger each day. We still call her "drunk baby" when she is very tired (first thing in the morning and before bedtime) when she is much less stable and tends to weeble wobble and fall more often.
  • Strong willed, sassy, and smart. She is very observant and watches how things are done and tries to copy. She likes to let me put food on a spoon and then put it in her mouth (when she's in the right mood - otherwise the spoon is just good for banging on her tray). She has figured out how to put rings off and on the stacker quickly and uses the little wood mallet for her pounding bench well.
  • Eats well most of the time - usually loves most everything we give her to try and she prefers to feed herself. She loves broccoli cheesy rice, and I love that she'll eat her broccoli!
  • She had a blast with her chocolate and banana pudding cupcakes at her birthday party!
  • She is wearing size 18 months, and many of the pants are still a little long on her so I think we should get through the next 3 months in this size (at least - fingers crossed).
  • Her 12 month check up is coming up in a couple weeks, but at the doctor's office a couple days ago for a sick appointment she weighed 22lbs 6oz.
  • She has started to pet the puppies more gently and we are very glad (so are they)!
  • When she gets upset and mad she tends to smack (whacky baby) but then often pets gently or gives a kiss when she knows she shouldn't have done that.
  • We're still using bottles and haven't made the switch to sippy cups yet.
  • We're still using Stage 2 formula and will ask about transitioning to regular milk at her check up.
  • Lindsey's favorite toys usually involve music - her baby Einstein take along tunes is probably number one right now. She loves her new rubber fruits / veggies and little kitchen she just got for her birthday too, and her ball pit!
  • Bedtime involves bath (which she still loves) where she plays with lots of toys (rubber duckies, squirters, and foam numbers and letters), then nighttime diaper, lavender lotion, and pajamas (this usually involves a lot of fussing, because she doesn't want to go to bed!!). Then we sit in her rocking chair and read about 3 books while she drinks her night bottle. Lights go off, noise machine and night light turtle on. We'll keep rocking until she's done with her bottle or she gets squirmy. Then into bed with her glow seahorse and she usually slips off pretty quietly within 5 - 10 minutes listening to her seahorse.
The "ONE" poster I made for Lindsey's birthday party.

Size comparison - Lindsey's newborn onesie she came home from the hospital in, and her 18 month sized onesie she wore at her party!

#10DaysofTailgate - Introducing El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard, ThermoWorks, FireWire, and Mr. Bar-B-Q!

This one is jam packed full of goodies in preparation for the #10DaysofTailgate - coming up September 20th - 30th (make sure you come back on September 19th for the Kick-Off post with all the fantastic giveaway details!)

In the past few days the post office has been busy with deliveries to my house and I am one excited and happy blogger!!

Look at these goodies that I get to work with for #10DaysofTailgate!

El Diablo Hot and Spicy Mustard - visit their website here, or Facebook here. I was excited when this package showed up - the box these were packaged in was incredibly cool; look at it - don't you want to dig in?

I received a 3-pack sampler of mustards, ranging from medium to hot - flavors include:
Smokey Chipotle, Mango, and Habanero (HOT)!

El Diablo's slogan is "The Mustard That Bites Back"! So be prepared for some HOT FLAVOR with these fantastic condiments!

Next, I'm excited to introduce you to FireWire, maker of flexible grilling skewers. Or grilling genius as I like to think of it. See a post Camilla wrote about using these amazing skewers here. Visit FireWire at their website here, or on Facebook here.

The next product I am itching to try out is a grilling skillet from Mr. Bar-B-Q (look at all of the baskets they have available!). Visit them at their website here or on Facebook here. These are amazing tools - they really open up the way you can use your grill to cook meat and vegetables. I already know EXACTLY how I'm going to use this terrific grilling tool and can't wait to share it with you!

And last, but certainly not least, for today I am introducing you to ThermoWorks - they are the makers of thermometers, timers, and more. Check out the ThermoPop that we get to test out. (My hubby was particularly excited about this product - I can see visions of perfectly cooked burgers and steaks dancing in his head already)! Visit ThermoWorks on their website or Facebook!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

These are so YUMMY! They are quick and easy, and a great little treat to store in the fridge or freezer when you just want a little something sweet. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate goes perfectly together, and the flaxseed meal makes these healthy - right?! The original recipe called for AP flour, but I didn't feel comfortable using raw flour in this dough ball recipe so I swapped flaxseed meal and thought it worked really well! I might even give a little taste to my 1 year old and see what she thinks - though I'm pretty sure I already know she'll love it as much as everyone else in the house did!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls slightly adapted from Life on Food

Makes: 8-10 balls

3 tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup quick oats
3 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter and brown and white sugars. Cream on high speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add in the flaxseed meal and quick oats on low speed, mix just until combined. 
  4. With a spatula or large spoon, incorporate the mini chocolate chips by hand.
  5. You can put the dough into the refrigerator and allow to chill slightly to make the balls a little easier to create, or go ahead and shape the cookie dough balls and then refrigerate or freeze.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Man Crates - Summer Cookout Essentials

Check out Man Crates on Facebook, or at their website here.

The Man Crates Manifesto:
We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons.
We ship bragworthy gifts for guys. Gifts that you can't wait to arrive because you know the recipient will love opening them.
Gifts that people gather round at the office, people following the sounds of wood being torn from wood by the included, laser-engraved crowbar.
We are Man Crates, and we deliver awesome gifts for men.

There are several categories across the top to browse through - from Carnivore, Survivalist, Beer Lover, Snack Enthusiast, Gamer, to Athlete! There is a little something for everyone at Man Crates - my son would probably flip for the Zombie Annihilation Crate or The Bacon Crate...! They have a Grill Master Crate featuring a cast-iron smoker box with wood chips, steak thermometers, brass-knuckle meat tenderizer, and Bone Doctor's BBQ sauces. Sounds like a pretty amazing combination!

Now - tell me, if you could pick your top 5 or so FAVORITES for a summer cookout, what would they be? What are the essentials? I had a bunch of thoughts run through my head when I first was asked to pick my top 4 - 5 must haves. A cookout is more than just grilling - it's about the whole package; the food (of course), the atmosphere and mood, the family and friends, the laughter, and the good times.

I came up with the finalists below.

This fantastic camp loveseat chair (we have one from REI that we love!).

Stansport Apex Double Arm Chair
From Staples

A drink tub - or cooler.
From Target: Artland Oasis Copper Oval Party Tub

S'MORES. 'Nuff said.

Love these telescoping grill fork / skewers.

Fantastic Grilling Gadgets.
Flexible Fire Wire - Grilling Genius (made by FireWire)
I think a fire pit is pretty fantastic as well, an "Off" candle to keep the mosquitos away can come in super handy, a fun bottle opener is well loved and appreciated, and some good heavy duty grilling "weapons" (aka grill brush, tongs, and a spatula) are also going to come in very handy for your next Summer Cook Out. Oh yes. Don't forget a big 'ol juicy watermelon. It's a requirement.

Lindsey says - MORE WATERMELON!!

I could go on, and on, and on... as I love entertaining, love grilling, and love summer time!

Friday, September 12, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate - Carrot Karma Hot Sauce by Intensity Academy Gourmet Sauces

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to another #10DaysofTailgate sponsor - Intensity Academy. Find them on Facebook here, or at their website here.

If you take a look through their available products you will find everything from dry spice mixes such as Honey Hype (Product Description: Honey Hype Spice is an all natural dry spice enhanced with crystallized honey, salts, spice & sugars. Mild but packed with flavor! Great for anything on the grill!) to the Chai Chipotle Chup (Product Description: This ketchup has a cult like following! A mild chipotle enhanced ketchup infused with organic chai tea.) or Extreme Lollys (Product Description: Extreme Lolly’s as featured on Yahoo! Blue Ribbon Hunter over Oe Million Scoville of Pure HEAT!)!

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of the Carrot Karma Hot Sauce - the product description says:
A mild/medium hot sauce. A beautiful blend of fresh carrots, habaneros with a touch of lime.


I am so excited to give this beautiful, vibrant orange hot sauce a try! I have two recipes in mind that I know I want to use it in, and am sure there are MANY uses for this tasty hot sauce! Check out the recipes posted on Intensity Gourmet's website here for some sauce-speration.

I did a quick search on AllRecipes for recipes with hot sauce as an ingredient - look at all these beauties you could choose from to use this awesome sauce in:

Get a Husband Brunswick Stew
Detroit Hot Honey Wings
Amazing Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Sweet, Sticky, and Spicy Chicken
Grilled Mongolian Pork Chops
Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Grilled Wild Duck Breast

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Rice for a Toddler

I was trying to find ideas for getting Lindsey to eat broccoli since the first time I gave her a little piece she spit it out and subsequently gagged. Yep. Not the reaction I was going for!

I found these recipes on Wholesome Baby Foods and thought this one in particular sounded perfect - simple, things I had ready to go, and easy to throw together in a small batch to test. Lindsey is 11 months (1 year old in just 1 more week!! Ack!!) and handles small pieces of soft food well, and loves to feed herself. If your little one is younger or can't handle texture, or small pieces this could be mashed or pureed if needed as well.

Lindsey absolutely loved this combination. I made hers fairly cheesy and spoon fed her most of it, and then since there was enough cheese to act as a binder, I rolled some into small balls that she could feed herself. Both ways worked well, and she ate a pretty good sized portion of this meal so I was a happy mama!

Cheesy Broccoli Rice adapted from Wholesome Baby Food
1/4 cup finely diced cooked broccoli (I used frozen / steamed)
 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
 2 - 4 TBS shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Make sure broccoli and rice are warmed to appropriate temperature for your little one and mix with cheese until cheese is mostly melted (microwave for a few seconds if needed to melt cheese enough to mix easily).
  2. Spoon feed, or squish into small balls / bite sized pieces (the cheese should help the mixture hold together enough for baby to be able to pick up mostly in tact).