Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Josh and I are celebrating 4 years of marriage today. What a wonderful blessing we have in each other.

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. 
Your people will be my people and your God my God. 
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
(from Ruth 1:16, 17)

I love you, Joshua! I am so excited for what is in store for our family!

favorite brownie recipe

My favorite brownies right now...
I am not a food photographer...
This recipe doesn't take any longer to mix up than a box of premixed brownies and I think it is so much tastier. I use half whole wheat flour and half white flour and I really like the texture that results. This last batch I added some chocolate chips before I baked them and they were great! I think they would also be good with a rich chocolate buttercream frosting. Because you can never have too much chocolate in my book. I mix them by hand too, no mixer is necessary and would probably be too much.

Here's the recipe:

Annie's Brownies
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together melted butter and cocoa powder. Add in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir well and then add flours on top. Stir in flours and try not to over mix. Pour batter in a prepared* 9x13 pan  and top with chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 25-28 minutes.
*butter your pan by wiping the pan with the butter wrapper or line with parchment paper


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

baby got a new pair of shoes

A few weeks ago we noticed it was getting increasingly harder to get Avalyn's shoes on her feet when we were getting ready to leave. We started searching for shoes and soon found out how expensive even tiny shoes can be! We happened to receive a coupon in the mail for Kohl's and thought we would go see what they had. We found these sneakers (60% off!) and Avalyn loves them. She puts them on and says she can run and jump. Seriously though, what is cuter than little kid legs in sneakers!
Getting ready to test them out at the zoo. And her funny face...

Monday, August 29, 2011


Did you know we have chickens? We currently have 11 chickens. They will be laying eggs in just a few months. It is has been a [mostly] fun process to watch them grow up and see their personalities emerge. We have held off on assigning any names because we may end up having to see them on our dinner plate eventually and that would just be weird. However there is one bird that has earned a name...we call her Big Mama. She is a real peach to deal with.
Big Mama and her Leghorn self.
I'll share more in the future about our chickens and some of the things we have learned since having them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Show Us Your Life - Baby Shower Ideas

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner Blog for Show Us Your Life - Baby Shower Ideas.

When I was pregnant with Avalyn my sister and a good friend threw me a shower that was pretty big. Most of my friends, family that lived close and even a surprise friend from out of town were there. I also had a smaller shower at work thrown by some of my close coworkers. We had each person write out a prayer/note to Avalyn and also asked people to bring their favorite children's book so we were able to get a great start on our kid's library!
I did not have any showers for Harper because we already had way more girl stuff than we would ever need and I would feel so bad about asking for more stuff when we already had so much!
Some of my favorite things from both showers I had are shown in the pictures here...
My mom made this baby wreath, it had prefold diapers, onesies, hair bows, travel size baby care supplies, and teething toys all attached to a wreath with ribbons and flowers. Such a sweet idea!

Cake balls, made by my sister. Need I say more?

Part of the spread, LOVED the tulips!

My great friend, Sarah surprised me by coming from Chicago!

I had pictures taken with everyone who attended the shower and hung them in Avalyn's room. This is my mom, me, and my mom-in-law.

My work shower, they made me sit in this fancy chair and eat in front of everybody!

This was a great idea, a friend from work made this smaller scrapbook with pages all set and all I needed to do was put a 4x6 in each page.

Opening gifts at work, it was great because a few departments went together and bought us some of the remaining things on our baby registry that were a little pricey.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Thought

1 John 4:9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God,  but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Thank you, God for sending your Son to save us! Your love surely is enough for us!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Harper is 6 Months Old!

Harper, you are now 6 months old!
You are such a sweet baby. You are very social and love sharing your smile with people, except for me and the camera! You have really found your voice in the past few weeks and love making noise. You are trying some of the foods we are eating (bell peppers slices, avocado slices, spaghetti, garlic bread, nectarine slices, oatmeal, cucumbers, green beans, and pesto rotini). You have 1 tooth on the bottom that has broken through and a corner of the tooth next to it has popped out too!
You are rolling everywhere and sometimes even scoot on your belly. Nothing is out of your reach now! You love to sit up on your own and are starting to move from sitting to your belly on your own so that you can roll around the room!
You are taking 2-3 naps each day and sleeping about 11 hours at night with just one wake up in the middle.
You are wearing 6-9 month clothes and have already grown out of 2 stages of cloth diapers! You love your daddy and you light up when he enters the room.
Bath time might be your favorite time of day. You giggle and squeal and practically jump out of our arms into the tub!
We love you sweet Harper girl and we are so thankful that God blessed us with you!
Avalyn showing Harper a new book

Trying to get Harper to smile

Love those rings

And if the rings get taken away you use your fingers

Monday, August 22, 2011

books I'm reading

I recently joined a group of ladies from church for a small group. We all wanted some kind of group and it kind of just fell together and is working out very well so far. We are going through some books together and learning a lot. It is great to process things with other people and we are really challenging each other and holding each other accountable. It has been great to have a desire to read again because I really do love to read and lately it seems like I only read children's books (to the girls)!

The first book we went through was Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. I really learned a lot about some of the lies that satan puts in my path and learned some tips to believe God's truths in those times instead of letting satan get that area of my life in his grip. The biggest takeaway I found in this book is that God has created me to do exactly what I am doing and I am the only person that can do this job. That has helped me to find much more joy in what I do each day and also to be sure I am doing things that are pleasing to God.

The second book we went through was The Bondage Breaker also by Neil T. Anderson. This book is about "overcoming negative thoughts, irrational feelings and habitual sins." From the back cover, it "reveals the whys and hows of spiritual warfare and exposes satan's battle for your mind...shares the powerful truth that will break even the most stubborn habits or private sins." I enjoyed reading this book as well and it helped to understand some of the ways that we fall prey to satan's tricks and about how to be set free of those things.

We are just starting Crazy Love by Francis Chan and I am really looking forward to reading this book and processing it with my group.
I am also reading Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury and so far I am loving it. I will share more thoughts when I finish it or get past the second chapter!
I have been reading the book of 1 John every day just to have a small section of Truth to focus on throughout the day.

Have a wonderful day!

1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fun Tutorial

I saw this tutorial the other day on Dana Made It and I had to share. If you have a kid who is a fish lover like mine is and a stack of paper plates that you wonder how in the world you are ever going to use them all, this one is definitely for you!

I made a few out of some orange plates we had in the cupboard and Avalyn was flying them around the house in no time. She loves her some goldfish!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I thought it might be nice to share some photographs of us while babywearing. I realized I don't take as many pictures of Josh as he does of me. I need to work on that because I have many sweet memories of him wearing our girls and he still does wear them.
Avalyn, me, and Harper in the Moby, at home...I am guessing H was about 2 or 3 weeks here.

Avalyn at Story Hour, Harper in the Ergo with infant insert at 4 weeks

Avalyn in a pouch sling at a wedding, 8 weeks

Avalyn in the Moby at 3.5 months at the Colorado Balloon Classic

Avalyn in the pouch sling at 4 months in Chicago

Avalyn in the Moby at 4 months in Chicago

Josh wearing Avalyn at 5 months in his pouch sling at an apple orchard

Avalyn at 13 months in the Ergo, fishing at Rampart Reservoir

Avalyn sleeping in the Ergo at 10 months while hiking

Avalyn at 15 months, hiking and camping in the Kelty with Dad

Avalyn is hiding back there behind Josh in the Kelty, same trip as above.

Avalyn at 18 months in the Kelty, picking some corn with Josh

St. Patrick's Day parade and Harper is in the Moby but Avalyn is blocking the shot! Harper was 4 weeks.

Harper at 5 months in the Ergo at the zoo

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My (current) favorite recipe

I have made this recipe 2 times in the past 3 weeks and doubled it so that we would have lots... I figured I better share this recipe with you!

Oat Waffles
Yield: 8 servings
Prep and Cook Time: 5-15 minutes (it depends on how many kids you are keeping track of)

1 cup flour ( I usually split this between white, whole wheat, and wheat bran)
1 cup oat flour (grind up oats in your food processor)
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir into the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour batter into preheated waffle iron and bake according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.

When I double the recipe it makes enough for us to eat that day and then I keep the extras in the refrigerator. They last us about 4-5 days and if we don't eat them all by then I throw them in the freezer. When we want to eat them leftover we just pop them in the toaster and they are great. Much healthier, I assume, than Eggo's! Sometimes we just top them with honey or peanut butter but they are also great with syrup, eggs, and bacon on the side!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

more pictures

Both girls were being extra sweet this morning while we were playing so I thought I would take some pictures. Of course as soon as I got out the camera Avalyn did not want to get her picture taken but I think I was able to catch a few sweet snaps. Harper is getting really good at sitting on her own and she seems to enjoy sitting more than laying down now, it is a fun development.

Have you ever tried to photograph 2 babies by yourself? There was not a toy in the house that would capture their attention and get them to smile at the same time!

Our little surfer girl

 Have a great day!

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Big Girls!

Last week I had my first real day out since Harper was born. I have had short jaunts out by myself but have never taken off for a whole day so I was well overdue for this! My sister is moving to China in a few days so we went out for brunch and then went to IKEA and shopped around for a bit. We also went to see The Help the next day. We had a great time together and it will be a very special memory to hold on to through the next year while she is living away from us!
While we were out having fun Josh took the girls to the zoo and they had a great time!

Here is Harper looking so big in the stroller at the zoo.

Avalyn got a big girl bed last week and she is sleeping so much better at night! Josh did a great job building the bed too. He is such a talented guy, I am surely blessed to have him as my husband and dad to our sweet girls.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby-Led Weaning

I recently read the book, Baby-Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I enjoyed reading their ideas on getting your baby to eat solid food. With Avalyn, our first kiddo, I made all her purees and we were pretty cautious on what we gave her to eat. We did the typical starting on rice cereal and then moved on to bland foods and gradually added more flavor and sweet fruits too. We didn't really know there was another way  nor did we really do a whole lot of research. With Harper, our second kiddo, who is almost 6 months now I happened to read a blog post about letting your baby eat more of what you are eating and I was quite intrigued. I started doing a little bit of research and was led to this book.
The basic idea is that purees really teach your baby how to swallow, not how to eat. Letting your baby eat whole foods that are cut into finger sized pieces if necessary will help teach your baby how to chew and feed themselves from the beginning of their solid food experience. I think this is such a great idea. We were still in the habit of cutting all of Avalyn's food into tiny bite-sized pieces at every meal and it never fails, she stuffs a whole handful of tiny bite-sized pieces into her mouth at once and many times starts gagging or has to spit it out (lots of fun at mealtime at our house).
After reading this book we started giving her more strips of food instead of the little pieces and after a few days of trying this she is getting much better at handling a large piece of food and taking bites on her own. We feel much more comfortable with letting her manage her food by herself now. She didn't really understand the concept of taking one bite at a time before and now we feel like she is starting to understand that.
I understand why the authors chose the title but I think the book may miss some of its target audience because it has weaning in the title, perhaps a more appropriate title would have been Baby-Led Solids.
We will be starting Harper on solids in the next few weeks and are really looking forward to letting her experience food the same way that we do and not steamed, bland, mushy purees.
I highly recommend this book if you are looking at starting your baby on solids soon or just care about what you feed your kids.
You can also check out their website if you like and they have a forum too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Shower

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner Blog for Show Us Your Life - Wedding Showers!
When I had my wedding showers I was given a personal shower and also a couple's shower. The personal shower was just girls and I received all sorts of gifts for my honeymoon from flip flops to dresses to swimsuit coverups to lingerie. For the couple's shower we had a few of our couple friends get together and we had dinner and then opened gifts. They were both very fun and a great way to get excited for our wedding! Unfortunately I don't think we took any pictures at the couple's shower so here are a few from the personal shower.
Mom-in-law, me, my mom at my personal shower

Gift table and guest book at personal shower

The cakes at the personal shower

My mom, me, and my sister at the personal shower