Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dressed-Up Rice Crispy Treats

I recently made these dressed-up rice crispy treats for a friend's baby shower.  You can either make the rice crispy treats from scratch, or if you have an 11 week old baby *ahem* you can buy them already made =)
I melted down white almond bark, dipped in one end of the treat, and topped it with sprinkles.  I also wanted to make chocolate ones, but had no chocolate chips. I did have Hershey's Kisses, though, so I melted those down and dipped the other treats, topping them with sprinkles as well.
They turned out really cute =)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Incorporating Children's Artwork into Your Home Decor

I have the pleasure of introducing you to Brianna Perkle, who has written a guest post for me while I am frantically trying to get End-of-the-Year school stuff finished!! I love her suggestions, and I can't wait for Parker to start making her own art work! These are some fantastic ideas. So without further ado, I give you Brianna's article..

Incorporating Children’s Artwork into Your Home D├ęcor


There’s no place like home to display your children’s artwork. A child’s painting can brighten any room, and art projects of all kinds help record our children’s growth and development over the years. Ongoing art classes and creative activities can quickly create enough masterpieces to turn your entire home into a children’s art museum. Here are some ideas for corralling the artwork, arranging a children’s gallery wall, and displaying different types of kids’ art in your home.

A children’s gallery wall bridges the gap between two kids’ bedrooms. The wall molding created a perfect lower section to finish with chalkboard paint, where the kids can create additional works of art, practice writing, or keep lists.

Image courtesy of A Soft Place to Land


Geometric wallpaper makes the perfect backdrop for a small collection of framed children’s projects. The eye is naturally drawn the artwork because it adds a splash of color to this neutral breakfast nook.

Image courtesy of Cristin Priest


A reclaimed metal barn door makes the perfect palette for a kids’ art gallery in this kitchen. Sturdy magnets are enough to hold the works in place, and they make it easy to switch out projects as new ones come home.

Image courtesy of Shelley Gardea.


In this entryway, chicken wire was stretched over a wood frame that’s secured to the wall. The space created between with wall and the chicken wire leaves a spot to attach cards and artwork using clothes pins, and the design makes another great idea for rotating artwork on a regular basis.

Image courtesy of Slightly Cosmopolitan.


This children’s art gallery uses shelves to display framed paintings, making them easier to rearrange when new works come into the collection.

Image courtesy of Incorporated



Children’s textile arts can be made into pillows and quilts for display on furniture or a child’s bed. Image courtesy of Pillows by You via Daily Candy


A Basement Remodeling project is a great excuse to paint a brightly colored mural in a children’s play area. Older children can create a mural of their own on a blank wall, or a wall can be painted with chalkboard paint for ongoing mural projects.

Image courtesy of Grace Blu Designs


A kitchen or bathroom remodel is the time to integrate hand-painted tiles into a permanent design in your home. A backsplash, shower wall, or tile countertop can be the perfect place to showcase tiles that were painted by your kids.

Image courtesy of Kerrie L. Kelly


About the author: Brianna Perkle is a freelance writer who blogs about home remodeling, interior design, and home organization, including tips and ideas for decorating spaces in homes with kids. You can follow Brianna for more kids’ artwork ideas on <a href=>Facebook </a> and <a href=>Twitter</a>.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Coming Soon...

As you may remember from this post, my friend Ryan is going to have a baby girl, Lucy Paige, sometime in July.  Her baby shower is tomorrow, and I am so excited to help her celebrate her sweet girl!

The beginning of this month, I went with Ryan and her husband TJ to Morris Avenue in Downtown Birmingham to take some maternity pictures.  These are some of my favorites:

I was also blessed to go with them to their 4D ultrasound to see Lucy's beautiful face!!!! Parker went with us, behaved very well, and got to "meet" her new friend =)

I am so excited for their new addition! Come on July!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mini Chicken Meatloaf Parmesans

At my house, if a recipe calls for ground beef, I almost always substitute ground turkey.  When my local grocery store had ground chicken on sale, I stocked up and that instead. 

I have a list of goals that I recently made for myself, one being to cook dinner (real dinner) at least 3 days a week.  That doesn't mean take out a frozen pizza and pop it in the oven. That means try to make something fresh.

Using one of the pounds of ground chicken I had, I made mini chicken meatloaf parmesans.  They were super simple to make and cooked quickly... about the same as a frozen pizza!

I mixed the ground chicken with about a 1/2 cup Italian style Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.  Then, so the cooking time would be faster, I spooned the mixture into a 12 cup muffin tin. Top with a spoonful of marinara sauce. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 2 more minutes until the cheese is melted. Top with a sprinkling of Italian seasoning.

While the mini meatloafs were cooking, I boiled some spaghetti noodles to serve with the chicken and extra spaghetti sauce.

This was a super simple meal that made enough for me, my husband, and leftovers for lunch today. I'm glad to know that I can make delicious food, quickly and easily to serve my family.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oven Roasted Pork Loin with Cheesy Risotto

Balancing working with taking care of the house and being a new mom has been extremely challenging.  I love my job, I love keeping house, and I love my daughter, but sometimes I feel stretched pretty thin.  One thing that always brings me back is cooking.  At Aldi yesterday, there was a huge meat sale! I stocked up on chicken, beef, and pork.
I decided to actually cook a meal last night for dinner.  Something I haven't been able to do for a while.  We've had a lot of "easy freezer food" or take out. I missed cooking.  I decided to try out the pork loin.  I have never made one before, but it didn't seem too difficult.
I seasoned the meat with seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
Then I browned it on the stove to seal in the juices and give it some color.
I baked the loin at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  It came out perfect and juicy and delicious!

For a side dish, I made a very simple cheese risotto (adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe).
 I brought 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil and added my rice. Let it simmer until it startes to look creamy and bubbly.  I seasoned it with garlic and onion powder.  Add 1 tbs butter, a splash of milk, and a big handful of shredded parmesan cheese.Cook until the liquid is absorbed, and the rice will be cheesy and creamy.

After I finished cooking it, I fixed a plate for my husband to eat while I played with Parker.  It was getting close to her bed time, and she was starting to get a little fussy.  After he ate, we gave her her bath, which we always do as part of her bedtime routine.  I figured I'd just eat afterwards... 

I filled her bathtub and put her in it. She splashed and played... and pooped.  
I drained the water, washed out the tub, refilled the tub, and put her back in. She splashed and played... and pooped.
I drained the water, washed out the tub, and gave up. We cleaned her up with baby wipes and called it good enough.

I finally got to eat this for lunch today =)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

PEP Talk- Month 2

Hello, again! Parker, here.  I'm a day late in getting my two-month post up, but I was in NO MOOD for blogging last night. I went to the doctor for my check up and I was happy and everyone was playing with me. UNTIL, I got THREE shots in my leg! They came with no warning. It was not a good birthday present.  But I was brave and only cried for a minute.  Mom said I did a good job and gave me a bottle. It was better than a lollipop =)

I've done a lot of growing since my last check up.  I am 23.5 inches long and I weigh 11 lbs, 13 oz.  I am in the 65-75% in everything.  My doctor says I'll grow up to be tall like my mom, which is fine with me.  Mom says it's good to be tall.

I have also learned of the joys of sleep.  Why I was so resistant at first is beyond me! Mom and Dad give me my warm bath around 8:30, then I get my night time bottle, and then it's off to sleep. I sleep for about 8 hours every night. We are all very happy =)
I'm so happy, I smile in my sleep!

So since my last post, something amazing happened to me! I was baptized! My family attends the Lutheran Church, which baptizes infants.  Some people question or disagree with infant baptism.  Please allow me to get theological for a moment by quoting Pastor Michael Spencer:

"[The Lutheran view of baptism] understands baptism as God’s act, not a human act. It’s primarily about grace, not faith. It is done to us in God’s name (that is, as an act of God performed by his representative), we do not do it to ourselves. It is not the sign of my response to God, it is the sign and seal of what God has done for me... Since evangelicalism views baptism as a one-time initiatory act that communicates a singular message about conversion, those who practice believer’s baptism don’t bring up the subject again in the course of the Christian life. However, Lutherans (following Luther himself) see baptism as an ongoing object lesson of the Christian life that we must remember and reenact every day. We practice our baptism daily by repenting (dying to the old life) and rising to walk in new life."

Pastor Eddie

My baptism was on April 21st.  I wore my mom's baptism gown that her mom bought in Germany before my mom was even born. 

TJ and Ryan Phelps became my godparents.  That means that they will constantly be praying for me, and if anything was to happen to my parents, they will make sure that I am still brought up in church. It's a very big deal, not one to be taken lightly, and I am so thankful to have them. I know they'll do a great job.
It was so nice to be surrounded by my family on this special day.
Dad's family

Mom's Family

The day after I turned 6 weeks, Mom had to go back to work. She was very sad and cried, but I told her that I was going to have so much fun with Mrs. Scott, my babysitter! I get Mrs. Scott to send her pictures of me during the day so she can watch me play. She's not so sad anymore, but we can't wait for summer so we can stay together all day!
I have lots of fun at Mrs. Scott's house!

If you can't tell, the bottom left picture is a picture of me blowing bubbles.  I have recently discovered my tounge. Mom and Dad poke theirs out at me, and I poke mine out right back.  I can use my tougne to make bubbles (like in the picture), and also to LICK things! If you get close enough to my mouth, I will lick you. You have been warned! I lick the blanket during tummy time; I lick Mom's shoulder when she's carrying me.  It's a little strange, I know, but I just can't help myself.

Well, that's pretty much it for now.  It was a very busy second month of life, and I have been enjoying every minute of it (except for those shots).  Until next time,

Parker =)