Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebration of Birth

Sunday was Summer's Celebration of Birth. A day to spend with family and to celebrate the life of our sweet baby girl. We did this for Ellie, too. It's a great way to honor a child in lieu of a baptism since we are non-denominational. Summer wore my grandmother's Christening gown with lace of her mother (my great-grandmother's) wedding veil. A very sentimental piece and I was honored that my daughters could wear this beautiful gown. See below for photos.

Summer's invitation:

I also included these wish cards with each invitation. I did the same for Ellie. I love that each family member can write a "wish" or "blessing" for Summer. I will keep them in her memory box and give them to her when she is older. It's something she can hold onto forever. 

The gown:

Party photos:

My younger sister, Mia
Love this one!
My sister-in-law and Summer's guardian, Katie
This was at the end of the party and the best smile I could get from Ellie!
She is wearing her "celebration of birth" gift from her Aunt Mia: her very own Tiffany necklace with an "e" initial
Summer is one lucky girl to be surrounded by family who love her so much. It was a wonderful morning!

After we cleaned up we decided to take advantage of family time (this is my hubby's busy work season) and head down to the river. We brought a blanket and Ellie's bike even though she really just wanted to run and skip. There is a walking/bike path along the river and it's always crowded. It's a great place to run, too. It goes all the way past Boathouse Row and the Art Museum so the scenery is beautiful. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shopping at West Elm

West Elm is one of my favorite stores to shop at for the home. I love their simple, modern style. I love their affordability. I've been wanting one of their lacquer trays for a while now. I went to the store last week with a gift card and bought these:

purple tray / candle / tumbler

I also was loving these items:
Mirrored jewelry box. This would look even better monogrammed!
Mirrored frames. So luxurious!
Wooden sphere. I was tempted to buy this, too.
Magnetic bamboo board
Storage canisters
My parents just bought this coffee table for their living room. It looks amazing in their space. Have you bought anything from West Elm lately?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Couch Purchase...Finally!

We finally found a sofa for our front room. I wrote about our search for a new couch here (last November!). We already have one in our great room (with another television) so it wasn't like we were without one all these months. I knew I still wanted a light color to keep the room bright since it's the first room you walk into from the front door. Plus, our other couch is dark brown and I wanted something different. We went to all of the large retail stores (Raymour & Flannigan, Mealy's, American Signature, and Ashley Furniture), but were disappointed. I noticed a trend of loose pillows instead of back cushions. It is not a pretty look, especially on pretty couches. We went back to Pier 1. We initially looked at the Abby Sofa, but it did not come in a light beige. This time we looked at ones with a nail head trim (I love this look). We went with the Alton Sofa in the "ecru" color. I love it! Plus, it is so comfortable, which really was our main concern since our last one was not.

(Sample photo)
 We are hoping to get it at the end of the week, which would be perfect because we are having family over on Sunday for Summer's celebration of birth. 
Pier 1

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Recipe: Mexican Quinoa Casserole

I plan our meals for the week on Sundays, as most people do. I check my Pinterest board for one or two new recipes to try, as well as making recipes we like. I thought I'd share my favorite summer recipe. It has been my go-to recipe. My mom made it in the beginning of the summer and I was hooked! Being a busy mommy it's one I can keep in the fridge and eat for a healthy, filling lunch during the week. The fresh avocado on top is a must. It's so easy to make because most of the cooking is done in the oven and there is minimal prep time.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked quinoa (I rinse first)
28 oz diced tomatoes, with liquid (I use half plus diced tomatoes with chilis for additional flavor. It really doesn't make it spicy)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional, I omit)
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup (I use Trader Joe's ketchup)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I omit when making for kids)
salt and freshly ground pepper
19 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
11 oz can corn kenels, with liquid
3 cups baby spinach
Toppings of choice: vegan sour cream, avocado, cilantro, vegan cheese, etc
(I use avocado and organic shredded cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan (or oven-safe casserole dish). Add onion and garlic, and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; and transfer to oven-safe casserole dish if not already using one.
3. Add quinoa, diced tomatoes (with juice), water, nutritional yeast, tomato paste (or ketchup), and spices. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
4. Cover and place in oven and set timer for 30 minutes
5. Carefully remove casserole from oven and stir in drained beans and corn (with liquid). If the liquid looks dry, add a half cup of water. (I use half the liquid of corn and I have never needed to add more water).
6. Return to oven with lid and set timer for another 30 minutes.
7. Carefully remove casserole from oven and stir in spinach. It will wilt from heat.
8. Top with sour cream, diced avocado, cheese, and/or cilantro and serve.
* If freezing: make full recipe, but leave out the spinach and toppings. Let cool and freeze in airtight containers. To serve: defrost fully, lightly reheat (in microwave or on stovetop), stir in spinach and add toppings of choice.


Monday, August 12, 2013

What I've Been Up To

The girls and I have been busy this summer with play dates, trips to the Zoo, family events, and time at the pool. Here are some of those moments captured on camera:
Ellie and I rode a horse at the Zoo for the first time. She loved it!
My best friend (middle) had her bridal shower a couple weeks ago. Her wedding is on the 17th in the South of France. Sadly I won't be able to make it. Avital (left) and Katie (middle) are two of my oldest and best of friends from High School!
Pool fun!
I was able to get out for a manicure/pedicure last week and finally read the new Ikea catalog. So much I am loving!
I can't believe this girl is 3 months already! She is always smiling. Love her!
We've been spending lots of time with Ellie's cousins. These three are the best of friends!

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Bulletin Board

I am loving my new bulletin board I made to replace the current one in our office. I bought the board for $2 at one consignment shop and the linen fabric (a remnant) for only $1 at another consignment shop. I already owned the silver nail heads (Jo Ann Fabrics). I needed 5 boxes and only had 3 so I had to take an extra trip last week to pick up another two boxes (or this would have been finished a week ago). What I love most about my new board are the push pins. I saw these at Anthropologie and was inspired. I was tempted to buy them, but I knew I could re-create them easily and for less money. I bought the pom poms at AC Moore and used white thumb tacks and a hot glue gun.

Project Details:
I first used a staple gun to attach the fabric onto the back of the board:

Next, I used my thumb as an easy way to pinpoint the next silver tack and marked it with a pen.
On the wall:
 Push Pins! I especially love the sparkly silver ones:
This took me only about five minutes to do. Aren't they so pretty?!

Before and After:

I am loving this new updated look!