Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Tree Hunting

We got our Christmas tree last Saturday!

I absolutely ADORE going and getting the family Christmas tree. I remember going up in the mountains in Oregon when I was younger with my dad. We went (almost) every year - traipsing around the mountains, searching out the most perfect tree. I would inevitably find a 12-foot tree that was absolutely perfect. My loving dad would chop it down (about 3 feet off the ground). We'd drag it down the mountainside to his truck, chuck it on top and head home. When we arrived, he'd chop another foot or two off, haul it inside... and then... the Christmas tree decorating tension would begin. :) 

I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...
it's the, "a little more to the right", "no left", "it's still leaning" comments came from my little sister, my mom and myself while poor dad was stuck under the tree trying to tighten the screws. Eventually we'd settle on what we all deemed as perfection and start putting on lights, bulbs, family ornaments - the works.

I miss those days.

Anyway... last Saturday was perfect. We went to Home Depot right before to grab a rope ($10!) and saw a gorgeous 6 foot tall tree for $20! After a bit of debate we decided on going out for the experience of chopping down our own tree and left the gorgeous foliage behind and headed out to the mountains (aka a you-cut Christmas tree farm). 

We posed for pictures before getting really serious:

And then we started hunting:

Then we took a break to throw rocks in to the creek:

Finally we got really serious... and stomped in the dirt a little. :)

And... after much searching... we found our tree!

It was so exciting we threw the little man into the air!

We had a lot of fun!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Window

I feel really blessed that we have a giant window with a view to look out of...

... of course, the view comes with a price - walking up three flights of stairs with a solid 14-month-old - but it's a great work out too. Landon and I get to watch all sorts of things from the third floor: squirrels, the leaf blower man who comes once a week, and (Landon's favorite) the garbage truck. 

Last week, I put some paint in some ziploc bags and taped them up on the window. I put blue and yellow in one bag and red and yellow in the other. We had a lot of fun smooshing around the paint and talking about the colors and discovered that when colors mix, they make new colors! Pretty cool. :)

Here's smurky-faced, Landon. Just up from a nap. :)

I still have them up and he'll go over to them every once in a while, tap them, squish them, smile at them, and then run around like a crazy man. Love him!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Landon's Birthday (... a month ago)

So, apparently, I'm super-duper distracted and can't seem to keep up a blog.


Moving on though...

Landon's 1st birthday party was absolutely amazing! We had it in the cabana room at our condo complex (since our place wasn't going to hold more than 10 people :) and had a cookies and milk theme. The only reason this theme was pulled off was because of my mom and mother-in-law, Debbie. No way I could have done done it without them! They were busy making cookies, taking care of Landon, making a cake, and making sure I didn't go crazy. Amazing moms I have! :)

With Grandma LaPlante

With Momo 

I made the invitations on Picnik after looking at some examples online.
Here they are:

We ended up making 7 different kinds of cookies ('cause we're crazy like that) and have some Oreos and Chewy Chips Ahoy too. Grandma L made her famous Chocolate Chip cookies, Momo made Apple Pennies, Auntie Lauren made Funfetti Cookies (on sticks!) and we all chipped in with the rest.

The little guy decided not to take his second nap that day, despite the fact I had gotten him up extra early so we could fit in 2 naps. So, he was a little bit tired at first and wasn't quite sure what to do with the cake. Then he got eating and really went to town. The sugar helped a bit and he was up and running in no time.

It was so great having our friends and family there to celebrate Landon's birthday with us. I can't believe it's been a year! (And one month!) I can't wait for the next, and the next, and the next...

Happy 13 months, Little Man!
Love, Mommy and Daddy

Ooooh, also, check out this amazing video my sister-in-law, Lauren made of Landon's birthday:

Thursday, August 4, 2011


So, we just got back from Oregon...
... and the trip was AMAZING!
... and I should probably be blogging about how AMAZING the trip was...

... but I'm a little distracted.

You see, my little man's birthday is coming up. :)
(Yes, it's two months away, but this is the very first birthday and you can see that I'm just a tid bit excited!)
And I've started thinking about decorating with streamers or a bunting and what we're going to serve as snacks and drinks and what color scheme I want everything to be and if I'm just crazy enough to have a theme of some sort and what that theme would be...

Just a little excited... :)

Anyway, I jumped onto picnik and started creating an invitation. Justin and I really like the modern look of a friend's Christmas card we got this last year so I thought I'd try to create it using Picnik.

Here it is:

This is just the first final draft.

I'm sure there will be a few more... 
seriously, just a few.

But then I have to go through the horrible process of actually deciding which one...
maybe each person will get a different one...
wouldn't that be fun?


Monday, July 18, 2011

My Love of Two Years

Justin and I celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary today!

I just can't believe it's gone by so quickly...

... I'm sure I'll be saying that in 10 years and 20 years too. :)

I'm so grateful that I got to marry my best friend, that I get to be with him forever. We really compliment (and complement!) each other well. I'm happy to have him in my life.

I love you, Justin.


Friday, July 15, 2011

If They Don't Win It's a Shame...

About a month ago, Landon and I went on a tour of Safeco Field in Seattle.  We got to go with a bunch of 4th grade students from a local elementary school, which made the trip even more fun! All of the kids from school thought Landon was just great and he thought the same of them.

I wanted Landon to look like a Mariner's fan for his first trip to a big baseball stadium. His Aunt Katie and Uncle Ben gave him these super cute Mariner's onsies when he was born (since Uncle Ben is a huge Mariner's fan!), but they don't fit the little guy anymore.
Here he is way back in December! (So small!)

So, instead of going out and buying new baseball-themed onsies or a shirt, I just cut up one of his old ones and added it to a sweatshirt that that fits him now. :)

It was a lot of fun "re-creating" a few of his shirts so he could wear something new...

I cut out some baseballs, mitts, and stars and super glued them (pre-sewing machine) to the blue sweatshirt. Next, I added a few stitches around them to make them stay on a little better. I don't have a good picture of the back of the sweatshirt, but I cut out the Mariner's moose and added it there. Finally, I added some thread on the sleeves near his wrists to give it a little more character.

We had a lot of fun exploring! Next step: Going to a real game!


Friday, June 17, 2011

EKG Cookies

My sister just graduated from nursing school! 

She did an absolutely amazing job over the last few years...
I know this because I tried reading one of her text books once and it took my about 15 minutes to read two sentences. And I had no idea what I had read. Sigh.

For her graduation party, my mom and I made her EKG cookies that we had seen online a while back. We had a bit of trouble with the dough because it was super sticky and didn't want to leave the counter to be baked, but we had a lot of fun and a ton of laughs making them. 

I got the sugar cookie recipe via i am mommy and it was absolutely delicious! (I have to admit, my mom made the cookie while I was trying to get Mr. Motion in bed...) We got the frosting recipe from the i am baker site. The frosting was easy to make and had a shiny look to it - which made me feel like I actually knew what I was doing. :)

Well, here they are:

My mom found the blog Sweet Tooth which shows different heart rhythms HERE. I had no idea what I was drawing but all of the nurses at the part appreciated the 'atrial fibrillation' and 'ventricular tachycardia'. :)

Congratulations, Katie R.N.! 
So proud of your accomplishments! 


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Daughter-in-Law Day!

I am so completely excited about today!
Did you know that it's Daughter-in-Law Day?!?!?!

Well, I didn't either.

Landon had just gone down for his afternoon nap when I heard a loud banging on the door. I went over to see who it was and spied a Fed-Ex hat through the peep hole. Package! I opened the door and the guy was holding an extremely large box. The kind that makes you think either, "Is it my birthday?" or "Bummer. He knocked on the wrong door...". But, it really was for us. And not just us, but for me!!!

I was trying to tell Mr. Fed-Ex Man that it couldn't possibly be for us since we hadn't ordered anything that big. (The last thing I ordered was a free sample of Garnier Fructis shampoo from Target. No joke, check out the Sample Spot - it's awesome.) He said that it could be a gift - a gift, for me?!

I got the big box inside and saw the sewing machine picture on the side and went to start texting a bunch of suspects to see if they had sent this mysterious gift... but saw the "A Gift for You" tag first. I opened it and it read:
Happy Daughter-in-Law Day!
You are a blessing!
Love, Mom and Dad

And that is how I learned that it is Daughter-in-Law Day*!

Isn't it beautiful?!

Off to learn how to thread a bobbin...


* I suppose it's not the official Daughter-in-Law Day, but for the purpose of the story, and because of the sweet little note, we'll make it official. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Busy Tuesday

Yesterday I got to help photograph a wedding...

... it felt so good to be taking pictures again. Of course I've been documenting practically every moment of Landon's life so far, but it was good to get out and take pictures of other people. And weddings are my absolute favorite! I love how every one is happy and all dressed up and how the bride is absolutely radiant.

And my the very bestest thing about being a wedding photographer is that you get to see everything - and I mean everything. You get to be a part of the day in a way that no one else does because you see all of the big moments (the kiss, the cake cutting, the first dance) but you also see the small moments like when the groom whispers in the bride's ear and she smiles, and when the father of the bride sheds a tear because he just gave his little girl away, and the look between the bride and groom right after the ceremony that says, 'we did it!' ... it just makes me so happy!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken Salad Wraps

I'd like to say that we've been eating pretty healthy around here lately... 

Yep, I think it's true. We've been healthy.

Although we had these quite a while ago, they're still notable and going to be in the normal dinner rotation from now on. They seem especially perfect for summer since it's a light meal.

You can get the original recipe HERE... but, as usual, I did a few things to make it a bit different (like omitting the 1/4 cup of mayo and adding a bit of ranch instead).


  1. 1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into cubes or shredded
  2. 4-6 whole romaine lettuce leaves (one for each wrap)
  3. 4-6 tortillas
  4. about a cup of your favorite salsa
  5. one small onion, diced
  6. a squirt or two of ranch dressing to make it more moist
  1. Cook the chicken, then cut it into cubes or shred it.
  2. Add the salsa, diced onion, and ranch to the chicken. Stir.
  3. Place one romaine lettuce leaf in each tortilla and add the chicken mixture on the leaf.
  4. Enjoy!
 And... in 'life news'... 
Landon is saying dada AND mama!!! 

... and pulling up on everything in site. Especially dangerous things...

It just warms my heart to hear him talking. Especially when he's waking up in the morning or when we're on a car ride. He's getting so big!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pop-Tart Tuesday - Blueberry Parfaits

I sense a theme in many of my recipe posts - and that is the quick and easy theme!

These are the most wonderful, most healthy yummy thing that I've made lately. I don't want to even say that I made them, I just put them together - that's how easy it is.

All you need is:
Your favorite yogurt
Some cereal or granola
Frozen fruit of your choice

I layered the ingredients above and added a drizzle of honey to the top - mostly to make it look pretty - but it added a nice sweetness to the whole thing too. We just had these as a snack, but they would be a great breakfast treat, especially wonderful if you made them the night before. That way, you could stumble out of bed, turn on the coffee pot, open the refrigerator, and find this yummy treat all ready for you! Brilliant!


P.S. It's actually sunny here today!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pancakes Every Day

Ahhhh... I just absolutely adore pancakes.

I honestly think that they are one of the best food ever invented. You can add anything you want to them and they will (probably) still taste good. I've been experimenting with different things to add and I have a few favorites so far:
  1. Pumpkin Spice - I just add some pumpkin puree and a bunch of different spices like cinnamon and cloves... and ginger sometimes too.
  2. Apple Cinnamon - Slicing the apples really thin does the trick for me! I don't like apple chunks in them so thin slices end up in these pancakes with a dash or two (or three!) of cinnamon.
  3. Blueberry... yup, that's about it. I just add frozen blueberries. :) This makes me feel super-duper healthy, of course.
I'm feeling a bit too lazy to get up and grab the recipe right now but I will mention that I get it from a fabulous cookbook that we got for our wedding. It's from William-Sanoma... the title escapes me right now but I'll share that later too. 

I will leave you with a picture of our Saturday morning breakfast a few weeks ago though...

It was absolutely delightful!

Makes me wish it were Saturday morning right now...

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, pancakes!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Favorite Time of Day

My favorite time of day tends to be 10 o'clock p.m. This is because I get to see hold my little man while he's very sleepy and very still. During the day Landon is extremely active - he loves to crawl around to his heart's content and get into as many things as possible before I redirect him to another mommy-approved activity. 

He usually falls asleep on my shoulder after his midnight snack. 

It's the best feeling in the whole world. 

I am really looking forward to putting him to bed one day and having him sleep the whole night through, but for right now, I love getting to snuggle while he sleeps and sometimes baby snores right next to me. It makes me realize how quickly he's growing up and how much I need to treasure every moment I get with little Landon before he becomes 'big boy' Landon.

Off to my favorite time of day - 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Salad Saturday - Peanut Butter Banana Bread

 I hate bananas. In general, I really dislike fruit. One of my bestest friends calls me a 'fruit freak' because I really cringe a little when I see an orange, kiwi, or watermelon... I have my annual banana and move on with my life.

For some reason, about a month ago, we had an overabundance of bananas at our house (hubby likes to eat one a day - such a good example). So, I thought I'd bite the bullet and make some banana bread before they all went bad. I normally wouldn't mind wasting a little fruit, but I was in a productive mood (a mood I want to cultivate as much as possible).

While searching around on All Recipes I found a recipe that looked amazing! It includes peanut butter, one of my all time favorites! The recipe is HERE.

Justin decided to play football with it before we ate it.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I only had creamy peanut butter. We've had it with chunky too, but ended up enjoying it more with the creamy.

Anyway, it was super yummy and didn't taste like bananas - the peanut butter taste completely took over the bread! Yippee! :)

Looking forward to making this for Landon later, especially if he inherited my aversion to fruit.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Epic Day

Yesterday was one of those days that only comes around once in a while.

It wasn't a perfect day. Landon didn't take one of his naps, his schedule was off, et cetera - but it was as close to a perfect day as I've had in a long time. We'll call it 'an epic day'. 

To start things off, I put a chunk of corned beef in the crock pot. I always grew up having it only on March 17th so this was a fun little dinner mix-up. The RECIPE came from and was absolutely amazing! I'd never had corned beef and apples before and it definitely didn't disappoint.

I added small chunks of potatoes and apples, that's what you see bobbing around in the crock pot.

In addition, while blog browsing, I read a tutorial on no-sew fabric flowers at Ruffles and Stuff and really wanted to try it out! Here's what came out of that little adventure:

They were really fun and easy to make. 

I even added a little blue flower and a ruffle to a onsie to bring as a gift to a baby shower I'm going to this weekend.

All in all a good day!

(Which made today harder to live up to... but joy-filled all the same!)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pop-Tart Tuesday - Soft Peanut Butter Cookies

A dessert is not dessert unless it has chocolate...

... usually...

However, I recently found this great recipe for peanut butter cookies that are (almost) as good as having a chocolaty dessert. It all began on evening when the smallest of chocolate morsels could not be found and ended up with these:

I was skeptical at first since I tend to burn overcook things a tid-bit. But I've recently started using the timer on our oven (novel idea, don't you think?) and even when the timer is going off for 3 minutes because I'm chasing after Mr. Motion, they still turn out alright! 

Here's the recipe:

  1. 1/2 cup of margarine (I've been using butter and they turn out fine!)
  2. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  7. 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. 1 3/4 cup of flour
  1.    Blend the butter, peanut butter, both sugars, egg and the vanilla together.
  2.    Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together and add to the 'wet' ingredients.
  3.    Chill the dough for 15 minutes (this was in the original directions... I always forget and put it in the   freezer for a few minutes while the oven, which I also forgot to pre-heat, is getting ready!)
  4.    Form the dough into balls, roll them in sugar, and place on cookie sheet.
  5.    Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
The best thing about these cookies is they actually stay soft instead of getting crispy and are sooo easy to make. Yeah for gooey peanut butter!

Happy Baking!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Cheese of the Month Club

Before I got to be a stay-at-home mommy, I was an elementary school teacher. In a short three years in the education field I got to teach Kindergarten, a 4th/5th grade split and two years of a 4th grade spectrum (honors) class. I absolutely adore teaching and really miss it a lot... 

... but this isn't a sob post today, it's a happy one! 

Last year, my class knew that I absolutely love cheese - the previous year's class had written them letters about their 4th grade experience and a handful of students mentioned my love of the best dairy product ever created. So, during teacher's appreciation week I received a 6-month certificate for what a lovingly refer to as, "The Cheese of the Month" club. 

It's not a club really, it was just a certificate for 6 lovely cans of cheese from the Western Washington University Creamery. I got a little distracted (having a baby does that to ya!) and didn't get to turn in my certificate until two months ago. We got our first can in April and it was AMAZING! I ordered the Cougar Gold, which is a basic cheddar. We had lots and lots of macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, quesadillas - basically, whatever I could put cheese on, I did. No complaints here.

This month, we received a can of Sweet Basil. And, just like with the Cougar Gold, we are adding it to everything. The most notable meal would probably be tonight's Sweet Basil Mac & Cheese. 

  1. 4 cups of pasta
  2. 2 1/2 cups of milk
  3. 3 Tbs. flour
  4. about 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese
  5. a tiny bit of Sriracha
  6. some breadcrumbs
    1. Boil the pasta according to package directions
    2. While the pasta is cooking, put the milk on medium/high in a sauce pan, when it's warm whisk in the flour (avoid clumps!). Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. When pasta is finished, drain and put in an oven safe dish.
    4. Add the cheese to the milk/flour mix... add a squirt or two of Sriracha too! 
    5. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta - don't stir it though... and add the breadcrumbs on top.
    6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

      If you want to order your very own, WSU cheese, you can go HERE!

      Many thanks to the 4th graders of Room 18!


      Sunday, May 8, 2011

      Happy Mother's Day

      I was blessed with the most wonderful mother in the entire world!

      She is so encouraging, helpful, and beautiful. She's taught me so much about being a good wife, how to follow Jesus well, and how to be an awesome mom. I love her so much and am truly grateful that she's my mom! <3

      I'm also super grateful that I get to raise this little man:

      Joyful beyond belief and with more energy that I know what to do with.
      I love you, Landon!

      Happy Mother's Day!


      Saturday, May 7, 2011

      Salad Saturday - Sweet Potato & Pear Side

      Here's a quick, yummy side we tried this last week:

      Sweet Potatoes and Bartlett Pears

      Just cut up sweet potatoes and Bartlett pears (or any other kind of pear that you enjoy). Cover them with a bit of olive oil and seasoning of your choice - I used a dash of cloves and a bit of cinnamon, a bit of brown sugar was necessary too. Then bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. 

      This was the perfect side for basic grilled chicken and, BONUS, it's one of the best veggies for you because it has tons of both vitamin a and e and other good things. I usually cut up a few red potatoes and bake them for a bit, but after reading how nutritious sweet potatoes are for you, I think I might make a switch. The pears added a sweet taste to the mix too.

      I think Mr. Motion will like this one in a few months!

      Mmmmmmmmmmmmm... carotene!


      Friday, May 6, 2011


      I have no idea how I didn't know about this photo editing and creating site before now!

      Have you checked out Picnik lately?! 

      It's an absolutely amazing site that let's you do just about everything that you could ever want to do to a picture. You can add words, resize your photo, add stickers, change the color... seriously, whatever you can imagine, you can do on Picnik. (Can you tell I really love this site?)

      And, the very best part is that it's all free!

      Here are a few photographs that I've redesigned using Picnik:

      A mini-collage of my sister's wedding...

      My son eating reading a book...

      Little, baby Landon...
      Ah, the possibilities are endless...

      My sister-in-law did warn me though that this site is a time-sucker. I think she's right.

      Happy editing!