Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our 2013 - video

Here's the Flipagram video I did too. Just have to document this kind of stuff!

My favorite memories from 2013

I love stopping and reflecting on the past year. The ups, the downs and everything in between. And I also love how a new year provides a, sort of, rebirth. And fresh start. You can do whatever you want with your new year, just make it count!

Here's my top memories from 2013.

Jacob was baptized. What a special, magical, important moment in all our lives. I believe that having your child baptized is one of the most important things you can do in their entire lives.

We celebrated our very first Valentine's Day as a family of 3. This little Heart Breaker seriously breaks melts my heart every single day! How did I get so lucky?!

We also celebrated our first Easter as a family! Naturally, Coco spoiled Jacob rotten with a basket full of goodies, and I somehow managed to miss blogging about this holiday. Wah wah.

Josh turned 32. Old man! Not really...he acts younger than me, most days. And he finally got to stay home and watch the first 2 days of March Madness. Too bad he had a toddler to entertain, too.
We took Jacob to the zoo for the first time. And apparently he was teething, because he has his fist in his mouth in every.single.picture. And yes, that's a white tiger. And no, Siegfried & Roy were not there.

I celebrated my very first Mother's Day! What an exciting day, and look how stinkin' CUTE Jacob is in this picture!!! Hahaha!!
Jacob started walking. Holy wowza! What a life-changing event for all of us! I don't think he paused for more than a second before he was literally running and climbing. Lord help us all!

And we took him to the Dallas Aquarium to celebrate.

And we threw him a FIRST birthday party that he'll never forget. Ha.Over the top a bit? I don't think so. It was also a celebration for US, for surviving our first year as parents! I'm still waiting for my trophy...

We celebrated Josh's SECOND Father's Day. He got to build a cool peg-board wall in his garage, we cooled off in the pool and then we grilled out! The perfect day, for the perfect dad! We love you!

I turned 29. We celebrated lakeside with guac and margs. Best.way.to.celebrate. And P.S. I cannot even believe I'll be 30 in a few months. Whaaaat???

We celebrated our FIFTH wedding anniversary! It is an honor to be Josh's wife, and I thank God for choosing him. Can't imagine going through life with anyone else!

We went on our first family vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. We drove 12 grueling hours and Jacob hated the sand. Note to self: initiate your kid with sand before driving 12-hours to the beach. Noted.

Truth be told, we actually DID have an amazing time. And I would definitely go back!

My sister and Joe got married!!! It was such a beautiful ceremony, and I'm still so happy for them!

I spent a weekend away with my very best friends in the Texas wine country. And it was heavenly. And I wish we could go back right now. Waaaaa! (that's me whining)

Jacob dressed up as Payne Stewart. Gahhh he's so cute!!! Thankfully he still doesn't really know what candy is (seeing as we NEVER have it in the house), so that was a win|win for Josh and I!

We had a relaxing Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's, and celebrated all that we're thankful for.

We had a VERY MERRY Christmas. It was hands-down the best Christmas to date. Love my little family.

And here we are. The last day of 2013. I wish you health, happiness and prosperity in 2014 and just remember- the best is yet to come! Cheers, yall! I am so excited to see what 2014 holds.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Recipe - chicken salad lettuce wraps

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 granny smith apple
1/4 cup walnuts (or almonds)
1/4 cup mayo
Handful of raisins
Romaine lettuce leaves

1) Grill/bake your chicken and dice it up. Ideally you want the chicken to be cold, so leftovers work great for this!
2) Dice up a granny smith apple and add it to the chicken.
3) Add the walnuts, mayo and raisins and mix together.
4) Place chicken salad in Romaine leaf and gobble down!

This amount should last 2 meals, so be sure to ration yourself. You should eat 2 Romaine leaves per meal.

Enjoy, y'all!

Recipe - egg white muffins

I'm sure you've seen these all over Pinterest. They're easy and delicious and HEALTHY! And that's the main goal here. This recipe makes 12 muffins.

1 large white onion, diced
1 tub sliced mushrooms (8oz)
baby spinach
egg whites
black pepper

1) dice up the onion and sautée with a small amount of EVOO
2) once the onions are browning nicely, add in the mushrooms and sautée those with the onions
3) while that is cooking, preheat your oven to 350° and grease a 12 muffin tin
4) once the onions and mushrooms are done, spoon them into the greased muffin tin. You should fill them about 1/2-3/4 full. 
5) then grab 5 spinach leaves (I know, so precise- but I've found this is the perfect combo) and rip them up and place them on top of the onions/mushrooms. Each muffin cup should have 5 spinach leaves. ¿Comprende?
6) then pour a 1/4 cup of egg whites in each muffin cup. I actually had to use a little less than 1/4 cup because I used more veggies- totally ok!!!
7) then bake for 20 minutes on 350°
8) once they're done, remove from the tin promptly and let cool on a plate

These can be placed in tupperware or a freezer bag and stored in the fridge for up to a week. Then just microwave them throughout the week. I eat 2 muffins each morning with a tab of salsa. So yummy and so easy!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

It's almost depressing how quickly Christmas comes and go. With all the anticipation and prepping and planning, it's insane how fast it all goes by!

We had the best holiday week ever, and I'm a little sad that's its over. But alas...a Christmas recap for your reading pleasure!

We went to Cleburne on Dec 23 to celebrate Christmas with Josh's mom, sister and her husband. My MIL always prepares the best brunch and party-atmosphere. Especially for 10am! We ate some delicious food, opened gifts, and hit the road so Jacob could nap in the car. Although he only slept for 30 minutes. Ick! Jacob always has so much fun at his Coco's house, chasing the cats and playing in her backyard. Good thing because he'll be spending a few days there in the upcoming weeks, as Josh and I are going on a little vacation (more on that later!).

How stinkin' cute is he?!

My parents arrived on the 23rd as well, so pretty much as soon as we got home- they showed up and we helped move them in (ha) and cook dinner. There's something about having a packed house that makes me a little stressed and anxious, but overall everything went great.

My sister and her husband came over on Christmas Eve and we hung out for awhile while I made enchiladas (a Monroe family tradition). After Jacob woke from his nap, we headed to the Christmas Eve Family Service at our church. It was perfect- 35 minutes, involved the kids, and had a short sermon. After that, we came home and had a delicious Mexican feast complete with queso, enchiladas and tamales. Then we opened presents while watching The Sound of Music (yet another Monroe family tradition- I think we all know all the words to that movie). As soon as Jacob went to bed, we pulled out all the Santa loot and crashed. We were all exhausted!

Christmas morning was so magical. I will never forget Jacob's face when he saw his kitchen and play table. He was kinda cranky when he woke up that morning (at 9:15 I might add- Jacob's Christmas present to all of us!), but as soon as I carried him into the family room and he saw all the goodies...he quickly stopped whining, insisted I put him down, smiled and went to town! I think he played with his kitchen for a good hour before realizing there was more stuff. In the meantime, I tossed a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven and us adults sipped on some coffee.

I don't really care about presents for me, which is pretty hilar because about 3 years ago- I really used to care. I really love presents. But now that I have a kid, presents for ME really aren't all that important. But, with all that said, I am thankful to have a husband that is good at gift-giving (or at least catching the hints I drop- ha!). This year he got me this beautiful monogram necklace and a pair of Hunter boots! Somehow I didn't manage to get a picture of the boots, but they will come in handy on our upcoming vacay to San Francisco! Can't wait!

Josh's dad came over that afternoon, and we had a delicious feast for dinner. I made a turkey, roast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese and rolls. Yummmy!!! We hardly had room for the desserts- cheesecake made by my dad, and bourbon chocolate pecan pie made by my MIL! I bought Josh and his dad Moscow mule mugs, and all the ingredients for the actual drink, and let's just say- they had a FUN Christmas! Ha! The mugs were a big hit, and I will probably be gifting them to my parents for their upcoming birthdays.

Since everyone left on the 26th, we've had a bit of a Christmas hangover. Not really motivated to do much, besides devour all the leftovers and watch movies and football. We did actually take the decorations down today, which felt good.

Now, on to New Years...2014!!! Can you believe it?! I'm starting a 10-day clean eating cleanse tomorrow, to kick off the new year on the right foot. I'll post the first week's meal plan tomorrow, so be sure to stop by for that. Until then- have a lovely evening!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Our December

I just realized I haven't posted AT ALL about all our holiday shenanigans and December happenings! Gah! 

We've been really busy this month- cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, partying and most importantly celebrating the reason for the season!

We put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and Jacob has been working very hard to single-handedly replace every single ornament. I decided to start moving them up the tree, so our tree looks a lot different than this now. Haha!

I am loving this year with Jacob. He has thoroughly enjoyed it all too. He "bakes" with me (although I think he prefers the taste testing role), he has practically bought every present with me, and even tried his hand at gift wrapping (he's not very good- ha!). 

He looooves Christmas lights, we took him around the neighborhood last night and he couldn't stop saying "wwooww...!" I think he was more impressed with the front seat of our car though.

He stops in his tracks everytime he sees a Christmas tree, or inflatable Santa. Then he proceeds to rip all the ornaments off.

He met Santa a few weeks ago and was surprisingly calm. I'd call it indifferent. He was more interested in going back to the toy store. 

I'd say Jacob is definitely on the nice list this year. I just love that little boy SO much!!!

I hope you're all enjoying the holida season, and spending quality time with loved ones. 

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Recipe - homemade play dough

Let me introduce you to my naïve self of...ohhh....2 hours ago....that thought it was a genius idea to make homemade play dough for my 18 month old terror son.

I thought it was brilliant! Santa is bringing him a kitchen, so I thought it would be perfect to introduce him to play dough now, so we can make all sorts of play dough cookies come Christmas.

Welllll...... I'm here to tell you, if your kid is any thing like mine (think crazy), do not do it. Hahahhaha!!

I have friends whose 18-month-olds LOVE play dough and seriously play with it, appropriately. Key word- appropriately.

Jacob, on the other hand, ate it, fed it to the dogs, rubbed it into the couch (after I told him not to), and attempted to mush it in the carpet. That's where I draw the line.

So, here's the recipe. If you are brave enough to try it. It's super easy! Takes about 10 minutes, but you need to pay constant attention to it.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 cup water
1 tbs. vegetable oil
food colorings

1) Put flour, salt and cream of tarter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Mix around.
2) Pour in water and veg oil. Mix thoroughly.
3) Continue mixing until it gets firmer, much like mashed potatoes.
4) You can add your food coloring now. I added 5 drops of green, and it ended up being pretty pastel-ish (see above picture). Just FYI.
5) Mix the food coloring in thoroughly, and continue mixing. You want the dough to start separating from the pan. I was SHOCKED after a few minutes, it really does start doing that!
6) Once its clumping together, remove it from the heat and place in a bowl to cool. I could "play" with it immediately, but I let it cool for a few minutes before giving it to Jacob.

That's it! HAVE FUN!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

DIY tutorial - canvas print

Hi everyone, and HAPPY FRIDAY!

I am so excited about this. So excited I wish I would've done it a long time ago.

I always saw these tutorials on Pinterest, but they looked hard and complicated. And quite honestly, I kinda think some DIYers lie about how easy projects are. But I'm here to tell you that this really is EASY! 
So here you have it DomestiKATE's DIY canvas print tutorial...

DIY canvas print

Step 1: buy a canvas and photo print the same size. I actually made a 12"x12" canvas out of a 12x14 print. I obviously had to trim the print to make it work, but it turned out great! You can do that too. 
Step 2: paint the edges and about 1" from the edge on top of your canvas with black paint. And let it dry. Like so...

Step 3: paint a thin layer of Modge Podge on the face of your canvas. I use this MP in matte and I really like it. 

Step 4: place your photo on top of the wet Modge Podge. You want to move pretty quickly, so the MP doesn't dry. 

Step 5: once you have the photo where you want it, paint another thin layer of Modge Podge over your photo. Keep your paint strokes going in the same direction (vertical or horizontal). And let it dry. 

Step 6: once that layer of Modge Podge has dried, paint another thin layer of MP in the opposite direction. This creates a canvas-like finish. 

That's it!! Make sure all your Modge Podge dries thoroughly. I'd let it dry for a good 24 hours.  

I even did a 24"x36" (the very top picture) and it turned out phenom! Of course, ordering a color print that size is pricey, but it's still wayyy cheaper than ordering a canvas print that size. 

Good luck!!! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Virtual Christmas PJ Party!

Similar to Halloween, we're linking-up with a few lovely ladies for a virtual PJ party, this time its Christmas themed (obviously). How fun!

In all honesty, Jacob has been wearing the same fleece PJs for the last week (the only pair of fleece jams he owns) because its been so dang cold here (overnight lows in the 20s!). Yuck! So I had to put him in these PJs this morning and do a quick photo sesh.

He's been blinking very hard this morning, it's like he just learned that his eyes do that. Either way, the pictures are pretty hilar.

And this is my favorite...Just rocking in front of the Christmas tree... Love him!