Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, we hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Food For Friday: Taco Soup

After Hudson's birth, my friend Rachel brought us Taco Soup for dinner.  We thought it was delicious, and especially in the winter, I love easy, hearty soups.  When it can go into the crockpot and be ready to eat whenever we are, that is even better!
3-4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 can of crushed tomatoes, 14.5 oz (you could also used diced tomatoes)
1 can of low sodium chicken broth
1 can Rotel
1 can of corn (I used frozen corn and measured it with a can)
1 can of black beans
1 pkg. Taco Bell taco seasoning
1 pkg. dry ranch

Shredded Monterrey Jack & Colby cheese
Tortilla Chips or Fritos

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot.  Simmer on low for 2 hours.  Serve topped with shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips or Fritos. 
You can also cook it in less time on the stovetop, if you'd rather.  Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food For Friday: Chicken Pad Thai

Food for Friday is finally back!  I tried a new recipe this week for the first time since Hudson was born, and it got two thumbs up from both me and Truman.  I had turned on an episode of Ten Dollar Dinners on the Food Network one afternoon earlier this week and she was making a Turkey Pad Thai dish as a suggestion of how to use Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.  The flavor profile of the dish sounded delicious, so I made a mental note that I wanted to look up the recipe.  While I was at the grocery store that night, I spontaneously decided to pick up the ingredients she used in the dish so we could try it.  But that required me recalling the ingredient list from memory.  Surprisingly, despite new mom brain being in full force, I made it home with all of the ingredients I needed that weren't already in my pantry.  I made a few changes to the recipe, and used chicken breast instead of turkey, since we didn't host Thanksgiving and therefore didn't have any leftover turkey!  It isn't a difficult dish, but there is a lot of chopping involved, which makes it a little more time consuming.  But, the end result is worth the effort and we agreed that this dish is going to be in the regular rotation at our house!

Adapted from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian on Ten Dollar Dinners

1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for serving
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (you could also substitute fish sauce, but I used soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken breast
8 ounces whole wheat linguini, broken in half
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions, cut into small pieces
    First, make the sauce.  In a medium mixing bowl, pour the boiling water over the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha and stir. Place the cooked chicken in the pad Thai sauce and let it absorb the flavors while prepping the rest of the dish.
    Next, prepare the pasta.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the linguine according to the time on the box.  Drain, and set aside.
    While the pasta is boiling, work on washing and chopping the vegetables.  
    Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat until very hot, almost smoking. Add the onions and stir fry 1 minute. Add the garlic and stir, cooking until the onions are soft & translucent. Then add the eggs and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until the eggs are cooked through. Add the linguini, chicken with sauce, and grated carrot, and cook for a few minutes, stirring until heated through.  Remove from heat and put into a large serving dish or individual bowls.  Top with the bean sprouts, chopped cilantro, scallions, and peanuts. 

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Christmas Mail

    One of my favorite things is real mail.  Stamped, handwritten, personal notes or cards that arrive in my mailbox.  And one of the many reasons that Christmas is my favorite time of the year is the joy I get from opening the mailbox each day to find Christmas cards from friends and family.  Starting after Thanksgiving, I get excited when I hear our mailbox hinge squeak every afternoon and can't wait to see what cards arrived that day.  I love that photo cards have become popular in recent years and enjoy displaying the festive photos of loved ones during the Christmas season.  I have a project up my sleeve for a fun new way to display all of those cards this year, and I was hoping to have it finished for this post, but that was a little ambitious with a 2 month old at home!  Hopefully it will be coming soon, though!

    We have sent a photo Christmas card every year since we've been married, and for the first few years, I struggled to find a card design that fit the look I envisioned in my head.  So we ended up designing our own cards for several years.  Last year, we received several Christmas cards & birth announcements from a company called Tiny Prints and I immediately fell in love with their designs.  Their modern designs are exactly the style that I would design myself and the quality of their cards is fabulous.  I knew that this year, I would find a favorite design from Tiny Prints for our Christmas card. 

    I have decided on the styling for our Christmas photo, and even purchased a cute new outfit this week for the star of our family photo this year (smile), and we'll be taking our 2011 Christmas photo this coming week.  I haven't made a decision yet on which card we'll pick, but I took a quick look at this season's options from Tiny Prints and here are a few of my favorites:


    Have you designed your Christmas card yet?  You can find hundreds of fun designs and some great sales right now at Tiny Prints!  I enjoy designing our Christmas card for friends & family just as much as I enjoy receiving them, and I am looking forward to getting started on a card to wish our loved ones a very merry Christmas this year!

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tiny Prints.  I am really excited about this new option for photo cards and wanted to share it with you!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    He's Here!

    Hudson KaiYi Lo
    Born September 12, 2011
    12:20 am
    7 lbs 2.5 oz
    20 inches long
    We are in love! 
     More pictures coming soon!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Hudson's Blessing Ring

    I first saw the idea for a Blessing Ring over a year ago on the blog Bless Our Nest.  Shannon made one for her son and I thought it was such a sweet keepsake for saving all of the cards you receive during pregnancy and after the baby is born to celebrate your little one's new life.  I bookmarked the idea to remember it for when we started our own family.  I will add all of the cards that Hudson receives throughout his first year of life. 
    It is a super easy project and only requires a few supplies!  The ring is actually a silver necklace that I bought in the jewelry supply aisle at Hobby Lobby for less than $2.00 on sale.  It comes in a cardboard and cellophane package.  Make sure to get the type of necklace that is sturdy and holds its shape in a circle when it is clasped.  Mine just has a U shaped hook on both ends that hook together to keep it closed, (no clasp) which makes it easier to add the cards.  You also need 3-4 different ribbons in colors and patterns that you like or that match your nursery.  You will simply cut lengths of ribbon as long as you like (I wanted mine to hang out beneath the cards 6-8 inches) and tie them onto the necklace with a simple knot, leaving a 2 inch tail at the top.  Use a hole punch to punch a hole in the top left corner of each of your cards.  Tie a ribbon onto the necklace, add several cards, then add another ribbon, repeating until you've added all of your cards.  An optional step, that I did because I don't want the ends of my ribbons to fray over time where they were cut, is to add a drop of Fray Check to the ends of each ribbon.  You can find Fray Check at any craft store in the sewing supply section.  They even carry it at Walmart.

    I love that just glancing at the Blessing Ring is a reminder to you and your child of how much they are loved and how many people are praying for them!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    PBK Transportation Art: My Version

    When I first saw this artwork in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, it immediately caught my eye, and I found it online to add to my Pinterest nursery idea board.  Their version is $207 for all 3 canvases.  I would never spend that for nursery artwork.  Definitely not in our budget!  When we found out Hudson was a boy, I knew that I wanted to create a version of these canvases for his nursery.
    Truman used Photoshop to create the shapes in files that my Silhouette craft cutter could cut.  I found an assortment of scrapbook paper in the colors I wanted to incorporate into the nursery and patterns that worked with the vintage theme.  The canvases were purchased in a value pack at Michael's with a 40% off coupon.  I used the font Minion Pro to cut the letters out of scrapbook paper as well.  Each canvas was painted with a coat of white acrylic paint, then I used very watered down Burnt Umber acrylic paint and a foam brush to "age" them.  I brushed on the watered down Burnt Umber paint, let it sit for a minute, then used a paper towel to dab and brush the liquid off and blend the edges.  I did a second layer of "aging" with the same process in the areas that I wanted to be darker.  After the canvases were painted, I used Mod Podge just on the back of each letter and shape to affix them to the canvas, being sure to smooth out any bubbles from the scrapbook paper.
    My version came in at just over $10 for all 3 canvases!  I like my price a LOT better!  And I love that I was able to create the pieces in colors that coordinated with our nursery.  Here are the two side by side:
    I am so happy with how they turned out!

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Nursery Progress: Refinished Dresser/Changing Table

    I've gotten a few messages checking in on me since it's been awhile between my posts!  (It's nice to know I've been missed.  Thanks, blog friends!)  I'm here!  And I have lots of updates to catch up on.  I am just one week away from my due date and we have been busy preparing for Hudson's arrival.  In the last few weeks we've made a lot of progress in the nursery and it is almost completely finished.  I have a bunch of photos of nursery projects ready to post, so hopefully I'll be posting lots of updates from the couch in the next week (or maybe 2) while I wait for Hudson to make his appearance!

    I knew the exact style that I wanted for Hudson's dresser/changing table and I wanted to refinish a piece with a painted vintage finish rather than purchase something new.  We scored this dresser for cheap on Craigslist and while it was very worn and beat up with lots of nicks and scratches, it was sturdy, solid wood, had a nice shape, and was the perfect size to fit on the wall where we wanted to put it in the nursery.  Here's the dresser before:
    And after!
    I am thrilled with how it turned out!  Hudson's daddy worked SO hard sanding, filling in the large scratches and nicks with wood filler, and painting....all jobs that I usually do when we refinish a piece of furniture.  They are far from Truman's favorite tasks, but it was a labor of love, and he did an awesome job!  I distressed the paint and added the glaze...wearing a mask, of course!

    We used Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint plus primer in an eggshell finish in the color Eminence to paint the dresser and Ralph Lauren glaze in Tea Stain.  This was my first time using the Ralph Lauren glaze that I've read so much about on different blogs and I completely understood all the buzz!  It is super easy to work with.  I brushed it on with a Purdy brush in small areas, then used a damp rag to wipe it off, allowing it to stay in the cracks and crevices and leaving some aging on the edges and corners as well.  Home Depot no longer carries the Ralph Lauren glaze, but RL does still make it, so I would recommend checking with a specialty local paint shop if you are trying to find it.  In the Denver area, Guiry's carries it.  We kept the original hardware from the dresser and spray painted it with Rustoleum's Heirloom White, then I used the same RL glaze on top of the spray paint to age it and make it less shiny & new.  
    I'm not going to post an actual tutorial because there are awesome ones already out there that do a fabulous job of explaining the techniques that I used.  Check out the e-book "Paint Your Furniture" from Altar'd for lots of great hints & how-to's for painting furniture.  All Things Thrifty has a great explanation of how to use the Ralph Lauren glaze that you can find here.  And feel free to e-mail me with any other specific questions!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Showered with Love in Texas

    During our visit to Texas, we also had our first baby shower!  Hudson was showered with love, and some pretty cute gifts too!  It was a blessing to be able to celebrate his life with friends and family that we don't get to see often enough.

    The mama-to-be on shower day!  25 weeks
    All of the guests who came to celebrate with us!
    Cute onesie decorations...
    The sweet blue & green train themed plates and napkins...
    A delicious cupcake cake!  They had a train track set up around the cake table...
    Fun little baby booty favors filled my favorite, chocolate!
    We played a memory game with a tray full of baby items...
    Everyone decorated onesies for our little guy... (they had some really cute ideas!)
    And I opened some adorable gifts for baby Lo!  It is fun to think that in just over 2 months, he is going to be wearing these cute little outfits...
    He even got a tiny fleece perfect for our Colorado native baby.  His daddy was super excited about his first outdoor "gear!"  I think there will be lots of outdoor adventures, hikes & camping trips in their future...
    With the hostesses, Truman's cousins, Cynthia & Emily, and his mom....
    And two of the students I discipled in Texas with our college ministry at UT, Rachel and Joy.  It was so special to me to get to visit with them.  It was also the first baby shower they've attended!
    We were so thankful to be able to celebrate our little blessing with our friends & family in Texas. We are excited for everyone to meet him!  Thank you for showering us, and baby Hudson, with love!