Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

There are lots of "30 Days of Thankfulness" going around. People are posting one thing daily for the whole month of November. To be honest I didn't even try to participate but that doesn't for a minute mean I'm not extremely thankful for the blessings in my life. So here are my 30...

1) The grace of God: My loving Heavenly Father is always there ready to forgive when I fail Him(which is often).

2) My husband: I waited a long time to meet the man I would be able to call my husband(or at least it felt like it). We've known each other for 4 years and have been married for 3 and honestly it has been great. I can't imagine life without him. I say a Winnie The Pooh quote this morning that said "If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, So I never have to live without you!" And that's exactly how I feel!!


3) My baby boy: His birth was far from what I ever imagined it(I'm still a little bitter about it, haha) but he arrived and was/is healthy and that's what I'm most thankful about!! Plus he's a little sweetheart and sooooo CUTE!!! :)

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4) My Mom: She is my lifesaver every morning when she shows up at my house to watch Levi. I feel bad for every Momma out there that has to wake up their baby and back up a days work of food, ect and take them to a sitter before going to work. Plus all the little things she does to help around the house and so much more!!!


5) My Dad: For always being a good Father and for providing for his family. I give him a hard time a lot but it's only because I love him!!  


6) My Grandparents: They are both in their 90's and have been married for almost 65 years. What an amazing legacy!! I know my Grandma must be the most patient person ever because I can't imagine living with my Pap that long!! ;-) Pap was just telling me this morning about how they met and that as of March 2013 they’ve known each other for 70 years. So amazing!! :)


7) Mike's family: It is a big family! If I listed everyone separately it would probably take up the rest of my list! :-) I'm thankful for their loving home where I have always felt welcome from the very first time I walked in the door.



8) My job(and Mike's job): I'm thankful we both have great jobs that allow us to meet our families needs. So many struggle find employment/make end's meet and I'm thankful that right now we don't have to worry about those things.

9) For Breast Pumps: So after the C-section I just wanted to be able to breastfeed. I don’t know why it was so important. Maybe it’s just a Mommy thing. But Levi and breastfeeding just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I could have tried harder but instead I exclusively pumped for 7 months. It may have been the hardest thing I ever dedicated myself to doing. But I did it and I'm thankful for the 7 months that I could provide Levi with the healthy nutrition you get from breast milk.

10) The weekend trip I won(at work) to Williamsburg, VA: We haven't gone yet and although I will be sad to leave Levi behind I'm looking forward to spending time with Mike. And it's only two nights. I'm sure Levi and I will both survive!! :)

11) Our cameras: So many pictures of so many memories! I love to be able to sit down and look at them over and over again. Especially Levi because he's growing so fast!!

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12) My health: So many people are sick and struggle with a variety of health issues. I'm thankful everyday of my life where I am healthy!

13) Online fitness websites: Thankful for the support of other Mommies as I work to lose this baby weight and a little more...

14) The Treadmill in the basement: I have no idea how people have time to make it to the gym. I'm thankful that all I have to do is go down to the basement to get a workout in.

15) Spring/Summer: Sure Fall and Winter is nice but I hate that it gets dark so early. I can't wait to be outside again. And spring will be so fun. Can't wait to take Levi to the park!!

16) The abundance of food we will be eating today: I'm so thankful for food. I love to eat! But there are so many people in the world that don't have the luxury to eat the way we do in the USA and we definitely take it for granted! Oh and I didn’t have to cook anything which was also nice!

17) Missionaries: I'm so thankful for the Men and Women who follow God's calling and go around the world to tell people about Jesus and salvation!

18) Church/Bible: I'm thankful for the freedom we have to go to church and worship God. And for the good Church that we go to and the challenging messages we hear from God's Word! And that we can freely own and read the Bible.

19) Our Home: I'm so thankful for our home. I love it to death(maybe exaggerating a little bit) and yes even though we talk about selling it(and moving out of town) I can't imagine not living here. By the way this picture is badly outdated. The trees by the house and the mailbox are gone and the indoor outdoor carpet is ripped up… :)


20) Our blog: I have trouble keeping up with it but I love being able to go back and look at all the memories on its pages!

21) Carbs & Sugar: Sorry couldn't resist. There are so many diets going around these days that restrict what you are allowed to eat. Sometimes it’s gets old because it seems like NOTHING is good for you. But honestly I love my carbs and sugary foods and don't plan on giving them up. I will however ALWAYS eat them in moderation.


22) Target: Do I really have to say anything here? It's my favorite store(and second home) EVER!

23) Cloth Diapers: These are a huge money saver. And they are so much easier now(compared to when my Mom used them) snaps and no pins and plastic pants. Oh and I’m thankful for Mom stuffing them for me!! :)


24) For Pandora: It’s so nice to be able to stream free music!!

25) That I live in America: Seriously have been blessed to have been born here. I take the freedom I have for granted!!

26) For flip flops!: I’m not sure who invented them but I’m glad they did! I hate shows and flip flops are just one more reason I can’t wait for spring again!!


27) For Coffee Houses: And the many fun dates Mike and I have had at them. Even know it’s always fun to sit down with a latte and play a good game of rummy(even though I always lose).


28) For our dishwasher: Granted Mike does a lot of dishes around here(I’m sure more than I do) but since we both work I’m thankful for the timesaver of using the dish versus washing everything by hand.

29) For Friends: Though I kinda feel that we are somewhat lacking in this department(as far as having friends that we actually hang out with) but I am thankful for the few sets of friends that we get to spend some time with every once in a while. Levi enjoys these visits too!! :)


30) Thanksgiving: I'm thankful for a day that we can dedicate to giving thanks and truly counting our blessings!!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Pap

I recently posted a picture on Veteran’s Day of my Grandfather and how glad I am he has been able to enjoy his Great Grandson.


Well, just this month we were all able to celebrate his 92nd birthday.


And it always brings a smile to my face to see how much he enjoys Levi.


It’s not always easy for him to hold Levi(wiggle worm) so he wanted to have me put him on his lap while the candles were lit on the cake. 

It was all going well until Pap blew them out. I’m not sure if it scared him or he just like them that much. ;)


Levi with both of the Greats!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Levi and His Shoes

I bought Levi a couple pairs of soft soled shoes but since they are sized 6-12 months I’m having trouble keeping them on his feet right now. Hopefully they’ll stop falling off his feet soon!
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Favorite pastime right now is walking back and forth holding onto the couch… :)
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Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chips

I always seem to have a can of pumpkin in my pantry and I never use it because lots of recipes only call for a cup and then I have some left over that I always end up throwing out and I hate to waste food. So when I saw that this recipe used a whole 15 ounce can of pumpkin plus was a little lower in fat I figured I give it a try.

It was instantly a hit with me (and my Mom) and Mike like it also. I never really know how well he likes anything because he always says “Yeah, it’s good” when I ask him if he likes something. At least he’s easy to cook for!

Oh and you know how recipes always say to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl? Well, this recipe is no different but honestly I never do it. I always do my wet ingredients in my Kitchen Aid first and then measure all my dry ingredients in on top. I even forgot to put the pumpkin in when I was mixing the wet ingredients for this recipe so I added it in with the dry and it was fine. What can I say, I’m a bad baker.
  • 2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 9X13-inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer(don’t worry you can also do this by hand) cream the butter, applesauce, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled - that's completely normal!
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before lifting the bars out of the pan, cutting into squares and serving.
*For a homemade pumpkin pie spice mix use the following, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together for the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. (Multiply this by 3 for this recipe – 3 tsp’s equal 1 tablespoon)
Recipe Source: barely adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, originally from Martha Stewart