Friday, January 30, 2015

A Pink Pancake Morning!

This seems like such a silly thing to post about, but I'm still going to share anyway.
 
 
We had one of those nights where Cece was not staying in bed and kept coming out into the living room to tell us things like "My stuffed animals are being too loud!" So we straight-up bribed her and told her that if she stayed in bed and went to sleep that Joe would make her pink pancakes in the morning. "With sprinkles and whipped cream???" she asked. It worked like magic.
 
 
Joe stayed true to his word and made a gigantic batch of pancakes for us in the morning which we girls all loved. Rosie had a mini pancake in each of her tiny fists and devoured them. And Cece did, in fact, eat hers with whipped cream. It was like dessert for breakfast and the perfect way to start a Thursday.
 


I'm so thankful that Joe's work has calmed down a bit this month so he doesn't have to rush out the door super early all the time and he can be with his little ladies just a little more. It's the best. 
 
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Dominic at Three Months








Recently I took a few photos of my three-month-old nephew Dominic. I didn't shoot for very long, so I felt lucky to catch his adorable smile a few different ways. Looking forward to seeing this little guy grow up! After a slow January, it felt great to be taking some photos with my big girl camera again. Thanks so much for the opportunity!
 
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January

Typically January is a tough month. As a stay-at-home parent, I usually bundle up, hunker down, resort to indoor activities, inhale large portions of hearty comfort, and wish that I lived some place where the air doesn't hurt my face.
 
 
 
I am going on record to say that this January has not been bad. Frightfully cold for a few days, sure. However,  it's actually been enjoyable for various reasons, especially last week.
 
 
To start off the week, we scheduled a couple of play dates. We went to open skate with Cece's homegirl Michaela and then invited ourselves over to the Olsons for hours of fun, food, and even face painting. It was such a fun day and it is awesomely documented here. I actually talked so much that I lost my voice for a few days. Whoops.
 
 
( Cece used my phone as a mirror as she turned her face into art.)
 
 
 
(Had to include a picture of Rosie proudly standing on her own. Can you believe it???)
 
 
We also had Penny over, yay! Cece and I were just living it up with our best gal pals and loving it.
 
 
Three weeks into January and I'm very happy with how active we have been as a family. Joe and I have been consistently going to the gym and I've even been back to Zumba. But what's really worth mentioning is that in addition to taking Cece skating, we've been able to take her rock climbing. She has been anxious to grow taller and try it for herself. So we purchased a tiny harness for Cece and now she's a girl on fire.
 
Joe and I were practically bursting with pride when she climbed her first wall with no fear. (Although she did announce to me her concern that her hands were dirty once she was almost at the top.) We've been able to take her climbing at REI with us and also to Vertical Endeavors in St. Paul. She keeps asking when she can go again and I'm thrilled that she likes it so much so far. It's just a great way for her to learn that in addition to being a princess, she is strong and very capable of doing challenging things.
 

(Cece is the munchkin on the right. Apparently these little ladies had a captive audience!)
 
 
 
Lastly, this January I became a sales consultant for Jamberry Nails because I love my stylin' manis and pedis so much. I enjoy these for many reasons, but mainly because I can easily apply these at home while drinking wine.  My Facebook launch party is currently going on right now, so let me know if you'd like an invite! My site is here if you want to check them out. They're just fun. And that concludes my sales pitch for today ; )

 
So there you go! January in a blog post for you from Mrs. Brightside. Hope 2015 is treating you real nice thus far!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Make it Grand!


Last weekend happened to be absurdly fun. I got to model a couple bridal gowns and be part of a runway show for The Grand Landmark Wedding Fair in St. Paul! Flutter Boutique used "real brides" to model their gowns for the event. (I say this with quotes because in reality, I am a 5'3 mom of two who was a real bride almost five years ago.) I can't tell you how much fun it was to play dress-up on a grown-up scale.
 
 
 
 
It literally took a team (a TEAM!) of hair and makeup artists to make me look rested and runway-ready. I love being a mom, but holy moly, my puffy eyes!
 


When not swishing around in my dresses (which were totally different from my own wedding dress which made it that much more fun), I got to peruse the wedding fair, check out vendors, and eat a macaroon or two. And maybe sample some bacon-wrapped appetizers.
 
 
 
Anyways, I can't thank Flutter Boutique enough for inviting me to be part of this event. It was also a good reminder of how fun it is just to take some time for myself to primp and pamper. I'm not saying that I'm going to wear ball gowns as I serve up pancakes for breakfast to my family. But I'm definitely not waiting for a "special occasion" to wear fake eye lashes again. Life is a special occasion!
 
 
 
 
By the way, if I am slightly taller in my next life, I would love to do runway modeling as a side job. For someone who has never really had much shyness about being in front of an audience, this was seriously my jam.
 
(Images via Tracey Jean Photography and Laura Bredice.)
 
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ten Months

 
Rosie Posie's life is just zooming by. I swear it was just yesterday that she was a gender-less flutter in my belly. Now she is closer to toddler-hood than infancy which is sad and exciting all at the same time. She is also the kind of girl who steals pancakes off my plate, gives a sly, yet adorable grin, and then applauds herself for her food acquisition. She will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
 
 
 
At ten months, Rosie
 
... loves playing peekaboo.
 
... has mastered the slow clap. And the regular clap.
 
... stands unassisted when she feels like it.
 
... spins on her bottom in circles (why is this no where on the developmental charts? It should be because it's hilarious.)
 
... shakes her head if you say "no, no, no."
 
...seriously loves other babies.
 
...chatters all day long, but we are undecided as to what her first word actually is. Probably "mom." Yes, that's what it is.
 
Rosie, you are excellent. Keep it up, girlie!
 
 
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Monday, January 12, 2015

3 New Recipes for the New Year

 
Happy Monday! Know what hasn't been on here in forever? Tasty food! Tasty food needs a greater presence on this blog. New year's resolution made. Here are three new and simple recipes we made this past fall/winter that I never got around to posting.


Pork and Apple Meatballs

These my second-ever attempt at homemade meatballs. (My first was turkey meatballs. And not to hate on turkey, but these were way better in my opinion...) The best part is that you really don't need many ingredients or much skill to make these happen.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (peeled and grated)
  • 1/2 white onion (grated)
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

1. Combine pork, apple, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, and egg in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. Once combined, portion into golf ball-sized meatballs on a lined baking sheet.

3. Transfer to an oven on low broil and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they start turning golden brown on top.

4. Serve over buttered egg noodles tossed with grated parmesan cheese and a little chopped parsley.

 
Honey Sesame Chicken
 
This dish requires even less skill because it involves a slow cooker! I also loved this dish because I'm always nuts about sauces that are sweet and savory.
 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 6 tbsp water
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cooked rice or noodles
  • Steamed veggies (the frozen kind in the bag will do just fine!)
 
Directions
 
1. Season both sides of chicken with salt & pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion powder, ketchup, oil, garlic, and pepper flakes.

2. Pour sauce over chicken.

3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. If you threw them in frozen, it may take closer to 4 hours on low.

4. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve cornstarch in the water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce.

5. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 minutes or til slightly thickened.

6. Cut chicken (or shred) into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

 
 
Panko-Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon
 
Saving the tastiest dish (and the photo with the worst lighting) for last! The good thing about Joe having to work in grocery on Black Friday was that he took advantage of some of the deals on food. This meant that we got to stock up on GOOD salmon and I got to cook it a variety of ways. This was my favorite way of doing it. And again, easy peasy.
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper   
Directions:
 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
 
2.  Whisk together mustard, honey and garlic. In a shallow dish toss together Panko bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest. Drizzle olive oil over mixture then toss to evenly coat.
 
3. Working with one piece of salmon at a time, brush top with honey mustard mixture and season with salt and pepper. Then rotate and transfer to bread crumb mixture (the honey mustard should be facing down to get the bread crumb mixture to stick to salmon).Transfer to baking dish and repeat with remaining salmon fillets.
 
4. Bake in preheated oven 13 - 15 minutes until salmon has cooked through. Serve warm with your favorite veggies and lemon wedges (if desired).
 
Happy eating!
 
Gotta give credit where credit is due! Here are the blogs where I found each of the recipes: Meatballs, chicken, and salmon.
 
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Vertical Endeavor



 
Not even an entire week into the new year and Joe and I have managed to go on a legitimate date! (High-fives all around.) Last fall we started going rock climbing fairly regularly at REI. Everyone there always talks about Vertical Endeavors, and over this weekend, we finally made it out there to see what all the fuss is about. Since we went on the weekend, the place was filled to capacity with people climbing walls like spiders. Lots of these climbers had seriously impressive skills.
 
 We took the tour, learned some more etiquette and safety, and learned how the self-belay systems work. We got to do several climbs and attempted bouldering (climbing without a harness or equipment, but not too high!) for the first time.
 
 
All of this fitness was, of course, followed by all-you-can-eat sushi with some of our friends. Life is about balance, right? Am hoping we can continue to make it out there and also go on more dates in general this year so we can become American Ninja Warriors continue to be adequately fit people and happy parents.
 
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