Monday, January 30, 2012

Yummy, Easy Homemade Granola Recipe

Do y'all love granola as much as I do? Man... yogurt, granola and fresh fruit... there is almost nothing that tastes better to me for breakfast, lunch, dinner - heck really anytime these days as I find myself snacking all the time!

This recipe is really simple and great for adjusting based on your own taste preferences.
This photo turned out so terribly that I felt like you might need labels!

These are the ingredients that I used, but I think any combo of nuts, dried fruit or seeds would be terrific!

3 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes (Unsweetened)
3/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Peanut Oil
1/2 Cup Honey (or you could use Agave)

Dump all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Spread out in a thin layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake in your oven @ 250 degrees for 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for a week or so!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mama-to-Be Confessions

My sweet friend Meagan from nursing school has a new blog and it is super cute! {Not quite as cute as her little 7 month old E, but its cute!} I started following her blog and saw a link to a Mid Week Confessions party of another blogger. Let me just tell you it is encouraging and affirming in this world of blogging to realize that others are perfect. Now I think blogs are wonderful and I personally view mine as a "highlight reel" of our lives. With that said I typically blog about the fun events and cute stories and yummy recipes that i want to remember {who wants to keep track of the bad ones!?!} So it probably seems like most blogs are all sunshine and laughter and perfect little families...

As for me, for about every recipe I love and blog about there are usually quite a few I feel like I screwed up or the recipe claimed to be easy and i felt like i didn't do something right or have a bad definition of easy... Anyway, here is my confessions of this Mama-to-Be's anxious heart and its just me being honest!

- Jay and I registered for Baby stuff this weekend and I literally hated every moment of the experience. I have been doing lots of research on baby stuff {safe this, and quality that for weeks and weeks...} but when I walked in the store I was so overwhelmed and it was zero % fun. Also, registering for a baby is basically like registering for a panda bear... I'm obviously exaggerating, but I know about as much of what this unborn baby will like as I know about what an animal native to a foreign country will like. Seriously, she may hate pacifiers or the diapers we picked out make leak on her little hiney, or she may never take a bottle and not breast-feed well like i am praying she does... anyway my list goes on and on and then I get stressed picking out a bunch of stuff for someone I don't know yet... I'm crazy :)

- I made these M&M Cookies and they are AMAZING.... I MAY of may not have consumed 4 of them right out of the oven. Try them... or maybe don't because I am pretty sure it isn't just the crazy pregnancy sugar cravings that make them irresistible!

- Jay and I have been watching old episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" on Netflix and we think they are hilarious.... kind of our guilty pleasure right now.

- I am anxious about the lack of sleep after baby girl hawkins arrives. Really anxious. Just praying God gives me grace and strength because Jay tells me I am quite cranky when I don't sleep and I don't want to be a cranky new mom. I know that not sleeping comes with having a baby but I am stressing. {which is stupid b/c its not like I can do anything about potential sleep deprivation now}

- I stress about stuff I can't control instead of allowing the Lord to handle it {see above}

- We toured the labor and delivery unit where we are having the baby {only 10 +/- weeks from today!} and I teared up a little bit while the nurse was showing us around thinking that this is where my sweet little girl would first enter the world. Hormones? I hope so!

Well... those are my thoughts and honest confessions for today.

Now go make M&M cookies :)

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hashbrown Casserole - RECIPE!

Happy Sunday!

Y'all must make this hashbrown casserole recipe this week... seriously it is so, so yummy, really easy, and a favorite in our house. Its my sweet Mama's recipe :)

Alright lets get right to it! Here is what you need:
1 (32 oz) Package of Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes
1/2 Cup Melted Margarine {or butter! I have used both with success}
1 Tbl Onion Flakes {or 1/2 cup chopped onion - Jay just isn't the biggest fan of tasting the onion and so with the flakes you get the flavor without the texture!}
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 (8 oz) container of Sour Cream {I usually use light or fat free without any problems}
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese 

Thaw the potatoes {either in the fridge over night or last minute in the microwave}. Okay now is were it gets challenging {ha!}... dump the rest of the ingredients in the bowl with your potatoes and stir well to combine. 
Place your mixed potatoes in a 9 x 13 in greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. I cover with aluminum foil for most of the baking and then just allow about 10 - 15 minutes uncovered at the end to get the top slightly crispy. 
This picture is pre-baked because I took two of these babies with us last weekend for our family mountain weekend. They keep well pre-mixed for about 2 days! Haven't tried freezing them after mixed yet...?

Enjoy! Its perfect with BBQ like we did for our Chick-fil-A Christmas Party or with chicken or a roast or even reheated for breakfast! Mmm! 

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

29 Weeks & Counting!

29 weeks and that means only 11 {or less!} weeks left... it makes me say "Ahhhhhh!" and "Yay!" simultaneously... Normal right?

Photos from our impromptu 29 week belly shoot over the weekend:
Baby Girl is getting big in there! 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Husband.... and family pictures of our weekend away to celebrate the birthday boy!

My sweet husband is 28 today! He keeps saying he feels old, but I think he looks great and is seriously only getting wiser and better with every day. I know I am partial, but he is the best guy I know and I am incredibly stinkin' blessed he choose me to be his forever.

Since he is feeling so old, and because I did this last year, and because our little one should be here in 11 weeks and because I hope she looks like her daddy {obviously in girl form} and has lots of red hair, here is my man roughly 27 to 28 years ago...

Isn't he a cutie :)

Over this past weekend Jay and I traveled to Boone, NC for a mountain weekend with Jay's family. We decided to rent a house together for a long weekend instead of exchanging Christmas gifts and I think it was a wonderful idea! {Always love an excuse for a weekend get away or a vacation of any kind}

It was fun to have the whole family together and to get to celebrate my birthday boy a little bit. We also decided that since it is hard to get the whole family together at one time we would take some family photos.
 We tried outside first, but we were too impatient to wait for decent lighting...
 So we moved inside and were able to fit everyone on the stairs {including Jay's Uncle Tim and his kids, and Jay's Mema}
And of course we had to take a few funny ones, and of course jay climbing on the railing involved kicking his poor Mema in the head... poor thing
 Leah & Jason
 Jeremy & Keylan 
Lyndsey & Chris & Baby Gavin
Me and Jay
I really love this picture of Jay and his siblings
and I love, love, love these of them just being silly together :)
Our whole family - {Jay's parents, his siblings, and all the wives/husbands & our kiddos... notice baby girl in my ever growing huge belly}

How cute is 4 month old Baby Gavin? 
Love this little man! 

A rope / vine swing was also discovered in the woods behind the house where we stayed...
 I am really in love with this picture of Jay's cousins Bekah & Eli
28 year old Jay swinging on a vine in the woods... pretty sure he can't classify himself as old just yet...

And for some strange reason no one was in favor of allowing the pregnant lady on the swing.. haha ;)

Happy Birthday Husband! I love celebrating your life with you! 

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Baby Changing Table Project

Back in November Jay and I went with our friends Dave and Alison to an Antique store near by to help them haul their new kitchen table back home. Now, really Jay does know that it is pretty difficult for me to just "visit" a massively huge antique store without finding something {and honestly he isn't much better - he really likes unique furniture and jokingly claims to be a decorator}.... Anyway, I was describing to Alison how I really didn't want Baby Girl's nursery to be super matchy-matchy, and right about that exact moment she spotted an old Dry Sink and we all fell in love. It is perfect for a changing table!

Here is the before pictures of the beauty in our garage:

Are you wondering why in the world i would ever want to change the color? ha!

In case you can't tell it was a hideous shade of teal... it was just screaming out to me to be painted and I loved every minute of fixing it up for the nursery.

After sanding it down, a coat of primer, and 3 coats of paint it looks much more suitable for Baby Girl Hawkins....
My sweet friend Rachel gave us her daughter's old changing table pad and it fit perfectly! Thanks Rachel :)

I also have something different in mind for the shelves. I found these pink tins at Target in the dollar section, but I think they are 1.)too small and 2.) make the whole table seem more like a gardening center or something along those lines. I might use the buckets to organize her closet? I want something more like baskets on these open shelves though... any suggestions? 
I used some left over paint, so the whole project just cost $68! I love that price way more than the options at Babies r' Us and I think it is something we could use later in a playroom as a bookshelf. 

More nursery projects to come as we prepare for little miss thing :) 

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Friday, January 13, 2012

my prayer over you baby girl

"Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your feet from evil."                        Proverbs 4:23 - 27 

Sweet Baby Girl,

I pray this scripture over your life, and desire nothing more than for you to fix your eyes steadfastly on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. I pray that you know what it means to guard your heart and that you experience the unmatchable love of your Father. Baby girl I promise that this love if far greater than anything else you will ever find. As your mama my prayer is that I am able to trust the Lords guidance as you grow and that with his mercy and unending grace I am able to be an example of the kind of life described in proverbs for you. I know too that when I am weak He is strong and when I fail, baby girl He will guide you. Look to Him.

Love, your mama

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Breaking Baby News: Hello 3rd Trimester! {and a few other Baby Updates}

Can't believe I am 28 weeks Pregnant! Reality check for sure. Baby Girl will be here in 12 weeks or less. I keep telling myself I am ready, but then I get nervous... hopefully thats normal! God gave us this sweet baby, and I am so excited, but also a little anxious. Just being honest here. 

So here is a 28 week Belly Shot...
Not sure about the face, but pretty typical face for me to give Jay or so he tells me
Baby Girl better be getting big in there!

Our sweet friends Ian and Rachel sent us this precious baby gift in the mail this week...
 I am in love. Ian was one of Jay's roommates at Clemson, and he and his super talented wife Rachel {a.k.a The Nanny who Knits} live in Oregon. If you ever need a great idea for a baby shower gift or really any gift because she has some cute stuff for adults too then you need to check out her blog. Thanks again Ian and Rachel! 

Also... we hung this chandelier in the nursery. It makes my heart smile. 

And we ordered the crib... So glad to be checking things off the nursery list!
{I have different bedding... the monkeys are cute, but not quite what we had in mind}

One last thing.... Have y'all heard about these Information Blankets? So Neat! Every blanket purchased also sends one to a new Mama in Africa with information in their language about basic baby care. I can't imagine the idea of welcoming our little girl without the help of books or pediatricians or my computer to look up every single question. I think they are an awesome idea and a great reminder to mama's here to pray for other mama's around the world. 

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