Thursday, April 27, 2017

Making Our House a Home


Last July, we sold our House Hunters home... it was very bittersweet, but also something that needed to be done with a new baby on the way and not enough space in our little 1,000 sq. ft. duplex. Fortunately, we found our perfect home almost immediately, had our offer accepted the next day, our duplex under contract two days later, and then moved in our new beautiful forever home!


The big moving day was August 1st (which is a story for another time -- our buyer was a nightmare, cleaners never showed, I was 7 months pregnant and just couldn't deal, etc.) and we are still working on making it our own. Things are slowly coming along and we have a few of our rooms completely finished, but there is still so much that needs to be done (especially our master bedroom, which has yet to be touched).


It's a daunting thing, isn't it -- having a family and wanting to create that perfect space for them to grow up in? I have nothing but warm and wonderful memories of my childhood home... it was such a safe and fun place, which is the exact kind of home I want for our boys. 


Over the next few months, I will be sharing the progress of our home with you: the completed rooms (living, play, theatre, and boys rooms) and the complete overhauls. To follow along, click the "House" button on the navigation bar or simply follow me on Facebook or Instagram. We look forward to sharing our home with you, our friends -- and hope that you can even give us tips and pointers along the way!

July 29th, 2016 -- the day we closed on our forever home (a 5 bedroom, 3 bath ranch with a beautiful backyard in the suburbs). 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

As you may have noticed, I have been extra silent lately... sorry about that! I have so many ideas for this blog and can't wait to implement them, but other projects (and life in general) keep taking the driver's seat. I will share all about some of these exciting new life changes soon, but in the meantime I wanted to share the recipe for this light and airy Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake that I whipped up the other day!

Jackson (3) and I share a love of cooking shows and recently stumbled upon Food Network's Spring Baking Championship. All of the spring-themed baked goods got us both hungry and feeling creative (or so I convinced Jax), and inspired us to whip up something fruity and delicious.

Enter this cake.

Last year, my sweet friend Ashley introduced me to Young Living Essential Oils and I have recently had the urge to play around with them more and actually used Lemon Vitality in this cake! It is seriously the easiest thing ever to bake and would be the perfect dessert to serve this Mother's Day.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 drops Young Living Lemon Vitality Oil (If you don't have oil, substitute with 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Powdered sugar (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix until combined. Add flour mixture and lemon oil, and mix on low until combined. Stir in blueberries.
  4. Pour batter into greased bundt pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  5. Let cool and sprinkle with desired amount of powdered sugar. 

(Note: This cake pairs well with coffee and can even be served for breakfast!)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Easter Basket Ideas for Catholics

Easter Sunday is less than two weeks away and all I can think is "where on earth did this Lenten season go?" These peaceful 40 (technically 46) days of Lent always seem to fly by, but I have found that busy days with little ones make the time go by even faster!

If your family is like mine, you not only observe Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (AKA the TRUE meaning of the season), but you also set out little baskets for the kids. Now the Easter Bunny, jelly beans, and stuffed eggs obviously aren't the reason for the season -- and I know a lot of good Christian families who do not observe this more secular tradition -- but my husband and I both think that it is a fun part of childhood that we want to share with our boys.

That being said, I have been on the lookout for basket stuffers that pertain to Jesus and His Catholic Church, and came across some fun gifts that you may also want to consider:

I am pretty much obsessed with these beautiful vinyl dolls from the Shining Light Dolls company! They are so pretty, colorful, and are the perfect way to introduce your littles to important saints. (Pictured is their Our Lady of Guadalupe doll.)

As I have mentioned before, I always carry a religious coloring book and crayons in our diaper bag for mass... if you are looking for something to keep your crafty kids occupied either at home or church, I recommend a coloring book like this Saints one from the Catholic Company!

If your toddler is anything like mine, he/she may enjoy playing mass at home (and crossing themselves after eating mints... or is that my Jackson?), so why not consider surprising them with a detailed mass kit like this one from Amazon

This exact rosary was gifted to my 3-year-old at his baptism and is now a favorite of both him and my 5-month-old! The beads are huge and sturdily fastened (so you don't have to worry about choking), and are an automatic favorite because of their bright colors and smooth texture. 

Talk about a gift that keeps on giving: The Mass Box is a monthly subscription box that is chock-full of crafting goodies pertaining to each Sunday's gospel reading! (You can read my honest and unsolicited review for the box here.)

For the school-aged kids in your life, I recommend checking out Raymond Arroyo's Will Wilder books, which are described by saying that "Fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Peter Lerangis’s Seven Wonders series will embrace this epic adventure in a rollicking new series by a New York Times bestselling author."

7.) Cat Chat CDs ($5.95 each)
My 3-year-old LOVES listening to Cat Chat CDs in the car! Not only do they provide toe-tapping tunes and easy entertainment, some of the audio CDs also tell bible stories and teach important life lessons from a Catholic perspective. (In addition to the CDs, the company also sells DVDs, books, and saint cards!)

These are my suggestions, so now it is your turn to sound off: What will you be putting in your kid's Easter baskets?

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