Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sweet Potato Hash

Hello! My name is Amanda and I'm a junkie, I totally love junk food.

That being said, in the continuing, life long effort to break my bad habits, I've fallen in love with some pretty good food that isn't junk at all.

Enter the sweet potato.

My entire life, my only exposure to sweet potatoes was during Thanksgiving. You know, when they're dripping with sugar and topped with fluffier sugar in the form of marshmallows.

I actually was never a fan of them being served that way, so I kept my distance from them. No sweet potatoes for me!

Years ago when I finally decided I could no longer live on pizza and tacos alone, because my young woman metabolism was quickly fading and those tacos were sticking, I discovered the sweet potato.

Good bye starchy white potatoes, hello soft little mountains of... fries.

See? I first began by turning them into FRIES.

Such a junkie.

Now, I get a little credit because I baked them, much like these purple potato fries.

And then somewhere down the road, I discovered my next not guilty pleasure food, HASH.

Diced sweet potatoes seasoned with garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and a little smoked cayenne. Wilted kale and some smoked sausages and I'm DONE.

Simple as that.

And if you're feeling like brinner, top it off with an egg, we generally do.

It's an easy dinner or a hearty breakfast, everyone in my house loves, including my 6 year old, minus the egg for him. Also, as something that needs a little time left undisturbed as it cooks, it pairs well with a needy 10 month old baby.

And maybe a big glass of wine. For your health.

- Amanda

Sweet Potato Hash

  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes, Cubed
  • 1 Head of Kale, cut or torn into generous pieces
  • 1 Smoked Sausage or 4-5 Links of Sausage, sliced
  • 1 Tsp Onion Granules
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Granules
  • 1/4 Tsp Smoked Cayenne Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3-4 Large Eggs [optional]
Heat a medium size non-stick skillet over med/high heat. Add sweet potatoes, season with garlic, onion, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

In a separate pan cook smoked sausage slices until lightly brown or crisp, whichever is to your liking. Add kale and cover, cook until kale is wilted.

Check sweet potatoes to see if they are soft, continue cooking if needed. When potatoes are soft, stir in meat and kale mixture. Allow to cook together 1-2 minutes and serve.

Top with a medium egg if desired.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Floral and Stripe Quilted Blanket

Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby.

I have been making a ton of baby blankets lately, many I didn't even photograph because I made them and immediately sent them out the door.

I don't run a business on blankets yet recently I've been selling blankets and keeping busy. 

It all began when I made my daughter an adorable little minky blanket, but I couldn't stand the normal procedure of sewing it inside out, flipping it out and sewing the edges. I wanted it to be something more, something a little more special. I still adore it so much, which says a lot, I generally judge my own creations harshly and grow tired of them.

Her blanket was immediately followed by a beautiful purple blanket for a friend's baby, also with her little initial on it. Admittedly, Maeve's blanket was the tester, so I could be sure I knew what I was doing with the one I was gifting.

The blankets are wonderful and they've caught several people's eyes, we get compliments on them all the time when we're out and about. I misplaced Maeve's once and thought I left it behind in the cart at Target. I love that blanket so much I was in tears, my husband went to the extent of offering to go back but he called first, no blanket turned up. Thankfully he tore apart the car and searched every bag in the house before locating it in a fresh box of diapers! We use that blanket everyday, I may be more attached to than Maeve will ever be.

I've sold several of these now and made a few more as gifts myself. This one in particular was for one of my husband's co-workers at the time. He was working in the office for awhile and when she found out she was having a baby girl, he asked me if I would mind making a blanket. The only thing I had to go on was "pink and gray" specifically soft pinks, not hot pink.

I immediately knew what fabric I wanted for the blanket! I had been eyeing this cute floral at Hobby Lobby forever. It came in after I made my daughter's blanket, otherwise I would've picked it up for her. The way she grabbed at it while I sewed the binding down tells me she would've loved it as well.

I didn't had a binding picked and the coordinating print they had didn't work well for binding, so knowing I needed gray, I began looking at prints. I first thought of using polka dots until I came across this bold stripe. It had a nice pop on top of the floral and still stayed true to what she said she like [though she had no idea she was having a blanket made].

I put a lot into these little blankets, the cutting and pinning is easy. Then I take the time to quilt them together, make the binding and sew it onto the blanket. The binding usually takes me the most time because I finish it by hand, but the upside is that I can spend that time catching up on my stories [I have a Shonda Rhimes addiction] and sit comfy on the couch.

The Momma to be adored it, she had no idea she was getting a blanket and was really touched by the thoughtfulness. I'm always flattered when people go on about my work, it might make my head a tad inflated but I genuinely appreciate hearing how much someone loves my creations.

I've already made another blanket, this one for special young man in my life that guilted me into it and I'm pinned down to three more orders, hooray.

I find sewing be relaxing, so the time I take out of my day to work on these projects falls under "me time" even if it's technically work.

Do what you love, right?

- Amanda

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Maeve: 9 Months (And Izzy too)

My little baby is growing up, faster than I can even manage to keep up.

With everything that has gone on since she was born, I really feel like she couldn't possibly be this old already.

Nine months!? Really?

Noooo, she's a small infant still, isn't she? ISN'T SHE?

I'm clearly not coping well, someone bring me wine... or a glass of cold water, cold water will do.

Oh Lord, I just scrolled back up and looked at her sweet face again, those cheeks, those eyes and that smile. Sigh, what a little lady she is becoming already.

Coincidentally, I'm actually running on time around here this time. This is it, this is the latest set of photos from her, I have nothing else to catch up on.

Lately it has only been photos of the kids, mostly her, because that is the only thing I'm doing.

She's a different child than her brother was, she needs me more, wants me more and so I give her me, as much as I can. I haven't swept in weeks but the baby is happy, I think that means I'm doing pretty good around here. Save the dust bunnies! Or that's how it looks in the hall...

As for being behind, we ended up missing baby dedications at church the last two rounds, so when this round came up I made sure I blocked the schedule. No hunting! No working! No trips! This baby is getting dedicated this time!

See, my husband is to blame, all that was directed at him. And he made sure he didn't plan anything this time around.

We also had our son dedicated, even though he's 6 years old now. We weren't actively involved in a church at the time he was born, we were going through our own season of change. So I went ahead and had him bundled in with his sister.

Of course, when the day came, he ended up having this HORRIBLE raspy cough. I knew it was his allergies, but no way I could leave him in the class of healthy children sounding like he was going to cough up a lung.

Essentially we had to dedicate and dash. My poor parents got up early and dressed for church just to see us dedicated and walk out.

I was just trying to be a responsible parent.

I recall thinking the whole time, "Please don't cough on stage. Please don't cough on stage." And he didn't. But his sister decided to dive from her father to me and kick her brother in the head a dozen times on the way by. I was prepared for a bad reaction, but he simply brushed his hair back down and kept smiling, what a champ.

Their dedications were wonderful! Over Maeve, he [Our Pastor] declared Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves you. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." And the word he spoke over her was, Delightful, which she is. I honestly couldn't describe her better if I tried.

And over Israel he declared 2 Corinthians 3:12, "Therefore since we have such a hope, we are very bold." And the word he had for Israel was Bold. Again, I can only smile and think, "Yes, that's my son. He's certainly bold."

That boy doesn't know a stranger, he wants to be friends with every kid he meets. And look at the glasses he picked? I tried to suggest some nice, neutral tortoise shell brown ones. You know, a safe color. But he wanted BLUE. He tried on 6 different blue pairs before he settled on that color. I don't tell my kids what they must get when it comes to what they wear, I try to let them pick and let them be themselves (The boy, the baby doesn't get a say until she can speak). He is always drawn to bright colors, I guess he's his mother's son. If he was his father's son, it'd be black, gray, navy and very dark gray.

And man, if I'm shocked that the baby is 9 months, well 10 months now actually, I can hardly believe that he's 6. I see the younger photos of him and oh, my heart aches. Sometimes I feel like the chaos of life has robbed me of moments with my children. There isn't enough time for it all!

These kids don't slow down and frankly, I am honored that I get to experience life with them and their father. I would not have life any other way.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Baby Maeve - Six Months Old

I complained about my lass when she was 4 months old and how much she moved when I took photos.

I take it all back, she was perfect then.

She's still perfect now.

But she's crawling.

Just in time for Christmas.

And a Christmas Tree.

And Christmas presents.

And Christmas decorations.

She's good at timing these things.

What better way to keep your mom on her feet and help her burn those extra calories from all the christmas cookies she's eating than to start crawling!

It started out all cute and innocent, using her arms to drag her body while her legs lazily tagged along, dragging behind.

And then it advanced, the toes began to dig into the ground, trying to find a hold.

Next, the toes found solid ground and the legs began to push.

Even worse, she started to get on her hands and knees and rock!

This is all she achieved by Christmas morning, but it was enough to get her close to that tree. She never got an ornament, but she stole plenty of bows.

On Christmas eve (when we open our presents at home), I found six, SIX bows under the tree that had been ripped from their packages.

And one box with the corner gnawed off.

Look at her! Look at that face! She is so proud of herself.

Yes, Mom, I'm slowly destroying the bows and wrapping paper, but didn't I read somewhere that Christmas is more than packages tied up in string?

Well, you're right little lassy... but I like my packages to look pretty, next year.... oh next year.

Let's not talk about next year just yet.

Just stay a baby forever, okay?

- Amanda

[Less than two weeks later and she's full crawling, everywhere!]

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happy Halloween Back in 2015

Shout out to being way behind in life!

Yes, it's January.

Yes, I'm just getting around to Halloween 2015's photos.

My life has been busy, please be forgiving.

Let me tell you about this Halloween. I was excited! I wasn't able to make my son's costume last year because pregnancy was kicking my booty. I was way too tired and sick to even deal with it.

This year though, this year I was on it. My son wanted to be a Mummy and I had dreams.

Dreams of grimy fingers, a dirty face, ugly teeth and tattered bandages.

If you're thinking you see Mario up above and NOT a mummy, then your eyes don't deceive you, there is no mummy.

He ended up talking his Grandparents into taking him to the costume shop to just look at stuff and came home with a Mario costume.

Because when he found out he could be MARIO, he had to be Mario.

He's on a Nintendo kick lately.

I think tall and skinny is probably more of a Luigi look, but we won't tell him.
That mustache didn't make it beyond this photo. He hated it and I wasn't going to make him wear it.

It's probably for the better than I didn't get to make him a mummy, it would have been dirty and he'd need to wash his hands.


And my little lass?

Well, Mom is on a cute kitty kick, so she's my Purrrrrfect Pretty Little Miss Kitty.

It's like Breakfast at Tiffany's crossed with a kitty. 

Umm yea, she's purrrrfect.

I'm melting all over again and it's been 3 months.

Check this out from the side...

There is probably more skirt than baby there.

BAM! Adorable poofy skirt.

I want to brag and tell you all about how I'm so amazing because I didn't make a tutu like everyone else, I made the world's cutest midi skirt instead.

I want to.

But the truth is, I'm such an amateur.

I tried to get tulle the night before and the fabric store was sold out.

Such an amateur.

But this skirt turned out amazing!

Next time, I'll probably skip the tulle and get whatever this was again.


And I'm distracted by cuteness again.

She aced this photo shoot, I remember it clearly.

She was so excited about how excited her mom was over her little costume.

I slaved over that tail before taking the kids to an event at our church. All that work so she could stay cozy in the stroller and never show it off. I'm pointing it out because I want all of YOU to see it. Someone notice the tail!
And cuteness overload.

She did get to trick or treat one house.

One of my husband's co-workers lives a few streets over, super sweet lady. She insisted Maeve get candy too, so she got a tiny musketeer bar before retiring back home to hand out candy with Mema and Pipa.

And if you were wondering, we took the boy out for a fun evening, walked our feet off and misread a sign warning us that the neighbors had a zombie infestation.

My bad.

Don't worry, I was more terrified than my kid.

- Amanda

Monday, January 11, 2016

Baby Maeve - Four Months

There is it.

The lone and adorable photo of my baby girl at 4 months of age.

Let me tell you about this girl.

She doesn't hold still.

The photos were full of blurs.

The baby dove to the right!

She's flailing her legs!

Her arms won't stop blurring!

She peed!

If there is one good photo, we will just call this a wrap!

And there you have it, one good photo.

One good photo of baby chunk.

One good photo of a well fed belly that deserves every raspberry it gets.

One good photo of those perfect pouty lips.

One good photo of those squishy cheeks.

One good photo of those blue (maybe) eyes that I love to stare into.

It's all I wanted.

It's all I got.

One good photo.

- Amanda

Friday, January 8, 2016

Baby Maeve - Two Months Old

Oh lordy, it hurts.

I'm so far behind on sharing photos and talking about the kids. Now I get to relive months gone by, the time past.

Here she is. My little Maevy Wavy. Only 2 months old.

She couldn't move around, it was so wonderful! <insert crying laughing emoji here>

And the cheeks, oh the little squishy cheeks!

Wait, look at the next one...

Oh my gosh! The squishy cheeks! And she hadn't even crested 15lbs yet, what a wonder.

And those bright eyes, goodness, I love those bright eyes.

Ohhhh and now she's looking out the window, most likely at the robin family that angrily attacks the window since we had to cut down the crepe myrtle they loved.

She just looks so thoughtful, so curious about her world.

Maybe that's why she's such a go-getter, nothing stops this girl. She sees it, she wants to learn about, she'll get herself to it or get her hands on it.

Oh squishy.

Momma so misses this age already.

You're growing too fast.

- Amanda

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Focus: A Little Gratitude

I'm starting 2016 off in a different way, sorry not going the way of resolutions and weight loss. (Not ignoring that weight loss has been a consistent theme, it's just not my focus for the new year, it's been going on and the holidays ruined it!)

Instead I wanted to spend the first part of the new year changing my daily focus and my spiritual focus. I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go with this, I started searching and browsing for something to inspire me.

I found it over at She Reads Truth, the moment I saw their study on Gratitude, I felt it in my heart, this was it.

What better way to start the year, instead of focusing on changing things or what I want out of the year, show thankfulness from everything that's already in place.

I'm not bashing anyone's goals and resolutions, everyone has their own way, their own needs. This is what I needed.

All the rush of the holidays with several birthdays in the mix, it's easy for me to lose sight of everything. My mind is running a constant race trying to keep up with who invited us to what, what we are doing, when the man is unavailable due to hunting, does the baby have a new tooth!? [She got three teeth for Christmas, my goodness!]

So now, with everything but my own birthday said and done, I can finally breathe, take time for peace and schedule myself to do almost nothing.

Shout out to pajama days!

I haven't been the best about devotions my entire life, I remember quiet times always being stressed at church. And I'd start off well, hang in for a few weeks until life started to intervene. I'd miss a day, then two days, then three and before I knew it, I hadn't touched a thing in months.

Maybe it's because I'm stubborn, maybe I have a medical issue that causes my skull to be thick. It's just a little thick.

I honestly think I didn't like someone else telling me how I had to live my life, how I had to live my faith.

But this time just feels completely different for me. I'm drawn in, I want to study, I'm eager for the next day. This is something I wanted to do.

Plus I totally scored on journalling supplies in the target $1 area and that's fueling my fire to read and write! It might be materialistic but it works for me!

I woke up today, day 2 of my study, ready to read. Wondering when the baby might take a nap so I could jump in. I read everything and excitedly opened my book to write my feelings and my thoughts.

It feels amazing to be excited! And I know why.

I think, for the first time in my life, I'm starting a study because I want to.

It's not because someone told me to.

It's not because life has thrown me one more catastrophe and I'm desperately searching God's word for answers.

I just wanted to have a study time, just for myself.

And for that.... I'm thankful.

I'm a Stay-At-Home-Mom with a 7 month old baby fireball and I'm homeschooling my 6 year old.

I seriously don't get much free time. Ever.

The legends of never peeing without an audience are true and frightening. [5 minutes guys, that's all mom asks!]

My study from the other day. Headphones on, one of my favorite worship albums playing and actually wrote two paragraphs before the baby suddenly woke a mere 40 minutes into her nap. That coffee is probably cold too.

But my study time, it is mine, even when chaos continues to ensue around me and it does. It always will.

And you know what, I am so thankful for that chaos.


In my home.

Chaos in my home causing messes behind me as I clean, clinging to me at every turn and begging me to give it my undivided attention.

Chaos just wanting to sit in my lap and bounce or wanting to snuggle in a homemade sheet tent.

I love chaos.

Two days in and I am really starting to look at things in a new light.

Six months ago, I was sitting in my home, most likely in tears with a tight feeling in my chest. Life was giving me the sourest lemons it could dish up, they were still green and under developed. Life was just being nasty.

My husband's job was in question. My home was in question. I had a colicky infant that couldn't sleep, so neither was I. There were money woes. There were none of my clothes fit because I just had a baby woes. And there was that unspoken tension of it all, weighing on my normally happy marriage but we're both so tired and exhausted from worrying about and fighting against all the bad, that we were just existing around each other. Plus, throw in some postpartum depression and you've got yourself a nice witches brew for unhappiness.

And to sit here today, feeling the warmth of happiness inside is really invigorating.

Not everything is fixed. The baby sleeps better, the clothes almost fit, the job is safe, the home is safe and there is much more snuggling at night. Sometimes I still feel a tinge of sadness or longing for I don't even know what. Occasionally my husband gets off work early and I feel the worry, the panic arise because I fear the job is gone, which leads to worrying about the house again.

It's a daily fight.

But instead, I'm digging into the Lord everyday. I'm finding my happiness in Him. I'm searching my heart, His heart, to find myself.

Instead of being in the constant mode of worrying if there is enough, if it will stretch, if we can make it, I turn it around. I see what we have, where we have come from, what we have gained. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm so glad to see the journey we have made so far.

What we did as two.

What we did as three.

What we dream to do as four.

As I pull in closer to God, I feel like my dreams are closer than ever. I feel hopeful, as if around the corner is a solution to all of our troubles.

Like life is about to make a big change.

What better time to focus on gratitude?

- Amanda

Friday, November 20, 2015

Baby Maeve - Newborn Photos

I have a lot of catching up to do! My baby just turned 6 months and I'm just now showcasing her newborn photos.

Let me tell you something about doing photography, it's like having your husband being a plumber. Your plumbing never works! And since I do all my own photos, I always put things off... I'll get them done soon, no big deal and then time is gone.

I managed to get her photos done, but then they set and waited for me to give them proper attention. I will pat myself on the back for printing them and sharing them with one Grandma... and then I completely failed to get them to the rest of the Grandmas. Dang it.

I wanted to do cute, swaddled baby photos, but it's like she sensed her Mother was trying to do something and refused to fall asleep.

These photos are actually my second try on a completely new day.

The first day I tried to do photos I spent 3 hours on them and for the whole 3 hours I breast fed her without a break. She never slept, she just nursed on and off. As soon as I would try to move her away from her food source, she'd go nuts and we'd start again.

I wanted to use her quilt in my photos. I saw this adorable photo online with the quilt folded under the baby and the baby all curled up on top.


Not happening.

She loved to curl up in the fetal position and lay on her tummy, but she refused to do it that day. She loved being swaddled and wouldn't let me swaddle her either.

She just wanted to eat, eat, eat! Again. Clearly we were already hitting a growth spurt. Oh the fun!

My husband came in the assist and captured a few candid photos that I love. This one of her screaming really sums up our first few weeks together. We didn't have any trouble breast feeding but she was colicky. I tried changing my diet, we did gas drops, gripe water but nothing helped. Just lots of holding, bouncing and patting.

My poor baby.

But despite that, I love her so much. I still kiss those cheeks everyday and tell her how much Momma loves her.

And while her photos may have not been what I planned, they still turned out beautiful! I love them and that, of course, is all that matters.

- Amanda

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weight Loss Journey Check In

So I'm changing things up a little on my journey here. It's been hard for me to make the check in every single week.

I have a baby that isn't completely fond of sleep or being put down, so when she finally naps and my arms are free, logging weight is the last thing on my mind. [Typically I'm more focused on messes in the home or making time to spend with just my son.]

I'm going to continue tracking, but my check ins will still be more spread out. I still want to stay accountable and watch myself, but I want to give myself a little grace to live life too.

Current Stats

Current Weight: 145lbs
Goal Weight: 135lbs
Pounds Lost to Date: 3lbs


Nothing changed since my last check in, disappointing but okay. I'll get there, even if it's a slow process! Just when I thought I could get into the groove of exercising a couple of times a week because the baby was napping consistently, she quit on me. She started fighting her naps and started waking in the middle of the night to play. Figures, right?

But there is a reason this is a journey. A journey takes time, it doesn't happen quickly. I'm not racing to a goal, I don't want to crash diet myself down to a size. I know me, I'll eat myself back to where I started even faster. So I have to give myself grace, I have to give myself time.

- Amanda