Saturday, August 18, 2012

we've moved!

For design purposes we moved the blog over to a new site. You can now follow along HERE.

Friday, August 17, 2012

No More 'Poo

After reading great reviews, and hearing glowing testimonials from real life friends, I'm giving these all natural, sulfate-free shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley a try. My hair has been so brittle since having Silas, not to mention it's falling out by the handfuls (darn you post partum hormones!)

I'm scared and excited...and scared. I'll let you know how I'm liking them in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August Glam Bag Review

Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, and they come in all sorts of varieties. Paper goods, cosmetics, clothing, accessories.. I think the concept is cool. Getting a mystery box in the mail once a month filled with surprises for $10-$20 sounds ridiculously fun.

For my first try at subscription packages I decided to go with My Glam Bag - a cosmetics site that sends out a makeup bag full of sample sized (and a few full sized) goodies in a cute bag for $10 a month. I had read reviews about their company from a few other bloggers, who all had good things to say about them (everyone seemed to agree that the products included in the monthly bag almost always exceed $10 value.)

The experience was totally fun, from filling out the survey style questionaire on the My Glam site about what my cosmetic preferences were, to seeing the shiny purple package in my mailbox.

1. and 2. eclos Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream and Cellular Activator Facial Serum

I was probably most disappointed by these products, not because they aren't good, but because I don't really use these types of anti-aging creams/moisturizers. Maybe I should? :) The products claim to use plant stem cells to help problematic skin regenerate cells better, improving firmness and dryness.

3. Demeter Roll on Perfume Oil in "Clean Skin" scent

I'm really picky about scents, I always have been. I hate fruity scents and only like certain kinds of florals. This perfume really didn't even smell like a typical perfume, which I kind of like. The smell reminds of me of fresh linen. It's really clean and simple. I liked that it's infused in an oil, rather than alcohol.

4. s.a.l.t.y. Glama-ZOiD Eye Shadow
I wear eye shadow some of the time, mostly in neutral shades that are conservative and easy to wear. (Basically, I love the idea of makeup but have no idea what to do with it or what works for me most of the time, so I stick with easy no-brainers that I know won't make me look like a clown!) This eye shadow appeared white and glittery in the box and I was sure I wouldn't like it, but I was surprised when I applied it that it actually shows up on your eyelid as slightly purple, and is very subtly shimmery and pretty. (Yay for a glittery product that doesn't look trampy!) :)

5. Circus [By Andrea's Choice} Nailpolish in "Spectacle" color

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a full sized nail polish! It's probably ridiculously juvenile for a mother of 2 to be such a nail polish junkie, but guys, I love the stuff. Wearing a pretty nail color just makes me feel pretty and put together, even on my worst days.

The color they sent me is a bit extreme. It's very, very orange. Like, traffic cone orange. I'm not sure I'm cool enough to pull off such a bright color but I'm going to give it a try. It came in such a cute box (I love pretty packaging.)

6. myglam glam gloss [that's a lot of glam.]

This was my favorite product, which is funny because I have never been a lip gloss girl. Not even when I was a teenager did I wear gloss. I never liked the oily feel on my lips, and I never felt comfortable with so much shine. So I was very skeptical of this super bright, Barbie pink gloss that they sent in my bag, but it's actually great. Applied, it's a very soft, subtle pink color and it feels comfortable and moisturizing to wear (not icky and oily.) For a lip gloss, I don't think it's too shiny and attention grabbing, AND it smells amazing. Did I mention this is a full size product? The cost of the lip gloss and nail polish most likely exceed $10 so I think the subscription price was probably a pretty good deal.

You have the option of cancelling your My Glam Bag subscription at any time, but I think I'm going to keep mine going for September. Over all I was impressed with the quality of the items I received and the experience was a whole lot of girly fun. Like I said before, I know so little about cosmetics and am always hesitant to try anything new or out of my comfort zone, so getting these samples is a good way to branch out and try new things without committing to full sized/full priced products.

personal space

this week i was messing around with my camera and started taking pictures really up close of silas. i kept pushing the camera up as close as it could focus on his face, and was captivated by the up-close details caught on the camera.
kind of funny, but seeing pictures of him so up close, he almost seems like a different baby. little details i don't really notice when i'm simply looking at him just pop on such a close-up shot.
the drool bubbles, the wispy hair, the flaking baby skin, those speckles in his enormous blue eyes.. i took some of olive and myself too.

they almost hurt to look at, and i think the reason i have that reaction to them
is because we rarely if ever get so close to other people's faces, or allow
others to get so close to ours.
it just kind of comes naturally to us humans to protect our "personal space"
and only let those we trust most of all be there.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

27 Years Ago

Today my parents celebrate 27 years together. I'm really proud of them, and blessed to be their daughter. I love this picture of the 3 of us. Strange that I'm now about my Mom's age in this picture, with a daughter (and son!) of my own!

Improptu Party

The other night we were at my in-laws' house and my mother in law mentioned she was going to a party. Olive's ears perked up like antennas and immediately started asking questions about this party and whether or not she could go. When we told her she couldn't go, she was quite upset, and for the next day or two kept asking me when she could go to a party.

I've been sick (still - ugh) and we didn't have anywhere to go this weekend, so Matt and I decided to throw Olive an improptu, "just because" party. We ran to Target this morning for party hats, bought a new game that Olive could play with us, ordered out for pizza for dinner and made a fun evening out of it.

Gluten Free Dinner #2 - Fancy Spaghetti

Growing up, Mom's spaghetti was a weekly staple. I seriously think we had it at least once or twice a week the entirety of my childhood.

Mom's spaghetti was simple: hamburger, store bought pasta and store bought sauce. That was it, and we loved it. It was a cheap, filling meal for a big family on a very tight budget.

My family doesn't eat spaghetti every week, as we try to keep pasta dishes more of a special treat rather than weekly standby. But I get a craving every so often for Mom's spaghetti, and this is my twist on her basic recipe.

Gluten free pasta is readily available at regular grocery stores, and makes cooking so much easier! So many good old recipes that used to be off limits with a gluten allergy can now be made safely and just as deliciously  as the originals. Don't be afraid of the gluten free pasta! It cooks exactly the same way as regular pasta, comes in all varieties from angel hair to penne, and your gluten-eating family and friends will never be able to tell it's gluten free. Most gluten free pasta is made of white rice, which is not very good for you, so we usually stick to the quinoa/corn pasta (as seen above) and brown rice pasta.

I am ashamed to say I don't make my own tomato sauce. Part laziness, part time constrictions that come with being a mom to ittie-bitties, part love of the taste of my childhood years of eating Prego every week...I just don't make my own sauce. (Yet. It's on my "when I grow up" list of things to learn.) Most canned tomato sauces are gluten free, and some brands (like Prego) list that on their labels. (Remember to always read your labels!)
Instead of using ground hamburger, I use ground turkey in my spaghetti, and I season it with minced garlic, onion, and basil.

Silas cheered me on as I cut up a couple of green peppers into strips to add into the sauce, to give the spaghetti some vegetable content. We love green peppers. We like them crunchy, so I usually throw mine into the pan once the meat has browned, and let them cook a bit before I add the sauce to the meat.

I love my giant cast iron skillet, and cooking one dish meals in it! Keeps things simple.

I just topped my spaghetti with a light dusting of parmesan and it was ready to eat. If I was having company over and wanted to make the spaghetti a little more fancy, I might have added 3-4oz of cream cheese to make the sauce creamy and rich. It's a fun twist. Another fun variation is to use italian turkey sausage instead of ground turkey. It gives the dish some serious kick.

It's a simple, affordable, filling meal that can be dressed up or kept really simple. Best of all, everyone loves it, even picky kids!

*Disclaimer: This post is not endorsed by Prego or any other brands.*

Monday, August 6, 2012

a little "lately" update

so lately...

1. we are doing a 30 days without sugar challenge. mostly just matt and i, though olive is going to have to tighten up as well. that girl loves her ice cream as much as her mama and that probably isn't the best thing.

2. we have all been so sick. the summer cold from h-e-double-hockeysticks has hit the 4 us with no mercy. i've had a particularly hard time and can't seem to kick the fever.

3. speaking of which, i'm pretty sure i have been infected with lyme again. i got a horrible insect bite a month ago that came with such a bad rash that i had to be put on a steroid to decrease the swelling. i thought it must have been a spider bite but now i'm thinking it may have been a tick bite. i have been having a host of old symptoms that i thought i had beat once and for all. so frustrating. i have a dr. appointment thursday about it.

4. we have been working on getting our house ready to be put on the market. we are so excited to be inching closer and closer to our goal of getting out of our too-small-house!

5. matt and i are addicted to watching "the biggest loser" on netflix. i don't know why i just admitted that. but those contestants are pretty darn inspiring!

6. we are counting down the days until we head down to hilton head in september for a family beach vacation! can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

oh deer

We spent last weekend at Pipestem State Park in WV.

Someone made a new friend, while we were there.

The drive was long, and the kids didn't travel too well.
And our room was tiny and none of us got much sleep.
But the park was beautiful, the weather glorious and we enjoyed seeing some 
family members there that we haven't seen in a while.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Daddy's Boy precious are these two together?

Silas is infatuated with Matt these days.
It was inevitable. It's pretty much impossible not to fall in love with that guy. 

But I get a teenie tiny bit jealous when I see Silas making those eyes at Matt,
and vying for Matt's attention, and completely ignoring ME! His mother! 
(Hey son, I'M the one who carried your heavy rear end in my belly for 9 months! Not that cute guy!)

But it's good for a boy to be in awe of his daddy. 
And those silly jealous feelings aside, I could watch them play together all day.
I adore my boys!

(And yes, that is Olive running around pants-less in the background. We are smack in the middle of potty training, so pants haven't been very popular lately.)

Gluten Free Dinner #1 - Burgers and Fries

Gluten free can still be fun, healthy and even delicious! I find it a really fun challenge to give old, unhealthy, (usually gluten laden) recipes a more nutritious, gluten-free makeover.

My husband loves burgers and fries. (What American husband doesn't?) So this summer, instead of grilling fatty beef burgers, we've been eating lots of turkey burgers. Serve on a piece of gluten free toast, with grilled red peppers, mustard and a little cheese, and you've got an easy, yummy dinner that even your pickiest eaters will love. (Olive is my picky child, and even she likes turkey burgers.)

We have fallen in love with the amazing sweet potato, and it has pretty much taken the place of white potatoes in our house forever. They're so good, and SO much more nutritious than their white, starchy relatives. Making your own sweet potato fries is pretty easy, but if you're in a time crunch (or don't have the energy to peel and bake your own in the midst of cleaning up potty-training accidents behind your 3 year old and comforting your early-teething 4 month old...ahem, I digress...) just pick up a bag of frozen sweet potato fries at the supermarket. Most are gluten free, I've found, but make sure you check the ingredients list to be sure before you buy! (Rule #1 of the gluten-free lifestyle - ALWAYS read ingredient lists!) Most frozen fries are lightly coated with oil and a starch for crispiness. I've found the majority are coated with rice flour, but if the ingredient list reads "wheat" or "modified food starch" I'd beware.
Sweet potato fries are just as good (if not way better!) than regular fries, and again, it's something that young, picky eaters will enjoy. That's something that's important to our young family.

So, don't let a gluten sensitivity rob the joy from your kitchen! It's easier than you think to feed your family fun, healthy, GF meals!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Oodles of Doodles

I am loving these cute books by Sachiko Umoto. I've always loved doodling, and these little tutorials are so inspirational. I've been scratching up my new sketchbook with a pencil all week. (Well, in those rare spare moments when I'm not juggling feeding my infant and potty training my toddler. Let's keep things real.)

Easy Gluten Free Living & Fruit Crumble

I'm slowly easing back into blogging since we welcomed Mr. S into the family, and as I've browsed older posts on here, I realized I haven't said much about being gluten free, which surprises me since living gluten free is so important to my family!

2 years ago I made a decision to forever change my diet by saying goodbye to gluten. It was a decision that should have been made years before, (I had had the bloodwork and endoscopy reports proving I was allergic to gluten in my possession since I was a teen,) but I had been too afraid and too lazy to make the change. But 2 years ago, I hit a breaking point. I was in my early 20s, only 3 years into my marriage, with a one year old daughter and I felt like an old woman. I was overweight, had no energy, struggled with chronic joint pain and muscle fatigue, and had weekly migraines.

About 10 weeks after strictly following a gluten free diet, I started seeing miraculous results. Weight started coming off that hadn't budged in years, my migraines disappeared, I had a surge of new energy and started working out again (and actually enjoyed it for the first time in years, as my joint pain started to disappear,) and my appetite and cravings for junk were greatly diminished as I believe the healing that took place in my gut enabled me to start absorbing my food for the first time in a long time.

Living gluten free has changed my life for the better in so many ways, and I'm always so excited to share my successes with my friends. One thing that drives me crazy, though, is that I run across so many people who would like to benefit from this way of life, but are afraid of giving up good food and having to learn a whole new way of cooking. Maybe I can use this little old blog to be an encouragement to those of you out there who feel this way. It's been 2 years of being gluten free for me, and I am continually surprised how so many of my old favorite foods can very easily be made gluten free (and healthier!) and how learning to cook good gluten free food isn't half as scary or difficult as I once worried it would be.

Which brings me to this wonderfully simple, delicious fruit crumble recipe.

My pastor's wife, who is also gluten free, brought this crumble over for us while I was recovering after just having Silas, and it is SO good. When she shared the recipe with me I was shocked at the simplicity of the ingredients. I love recipes that are simple and versatile. This recipe can adapt to whatever you have in your kitchen (or garden) and turn out fabulously each and every time.

Preheat oven to 375*F.

4 apples or peaches (or a mix of both) peeled, cubed and placed in a lightly greased casserole dish.

1 - 2 cups of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries (whatever tickles your fancy. We have a freezer full of freshly picked blueberries so that's what we used.)

For the crumble topping, just mix 1 cup of gluten free oats (we use Bob's Red Mill brand) with 1 cup dark brown sugar, a half teaspoon of cinnamon and one stick of softened butter. Blend with a fork until very well mixed.

Then you simple pack the oat mix on top of the fruit and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

It can stand up on its own, but is really decadent with whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream on top. A perfect summer dish!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I love this picture of Olive,
floating in air.
glowing with joy.


my kids are ridiculously silly.
and ridiculously cute.
i love them!