13 December 2012

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney

This past Saturday I was at a women's pampering event held at my mother-in-laws church and there was this really good brie cheese there! They had recipe hand outs that I could take so I of course had to grab one! I am a huge Brie cheese lover especially when it is warm with nuts and berries!! If I make this at home though it will be nut free, as our daughter has a peanut & tree nut allergy!

2/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. cranberries
4 tsp. cider vinegar
1/3 c. dark raisins
1/4 c. chopped pecans
2 tsp. brown sugar
Scant 1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 1/4 lb. wheel of Brie cheese

1 loaf French bread cut in thin slices or party loaf pumpernickel bread- or crackers of choice

To make chutney: In a heavy saucepan combine water and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Add cranberries, vinegar, nuts, sugar, ginger and garlic. Boil slowly, stirring until thick, 5-10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. It will keep in refrigerator up to 1 week or it can be frozen.

To Serve:
Place Brie in an ovenproof shallow dish. Spread chutney over top of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 5-10 minutes watching carefully so as not to melt brie, just to soften it. Serve with slices of bread or crackers.

This is NOT the picture from the recipe above, but it looks very similar, except this wheel of Brie looks smaller! 
Recipe from the kitchen of Cindy VanArtsdalen (family friend).

06 December 2012

Food Allergies & The Holidays


 For those of you who don't know, our 4 year old daughter has a severe life threatening peanut allergy. As the holidays are here we have to have extra precaution at all times, or that one time we turn our back she might intake a peanut butter snack/dessert and will go into Anaphylactic Shock. "The reaction may be fatal if emergency treatment, including epinephrine injections, is not given immediately". Our daughter is only 4 years old and does not fully grasp her allergy, so we have to keep a very close eye on her.

When we have family gatherings, there is no peanut anything around, which we are so thankful that family and friends understand her allergy and that it is air born. Proof of that at a baseball game last year. People behind us were eating peanuts and throwing the shell's on the ground. Halie was breathing in the peanut dust or whatever you want to call it and started getting woozy and falling over. :/ Needless to say, we left right away and she started feeling much better within a matter of minutes.

Our biggest thing is keeping an eye at her at church. We have only been going there for a little over a month now and not a lot of people are aware of allergy, however her Sunday School teacher is very much aware. We keep a snack at church in her classroom for Halie to eat at snack time, and the kids do wash their hands after they eat their snack.  Thankfully the teach doesn't bring peanut/nut products in but some items are still made in the same factory as peanuts/nuts.

Halie does wear a peanut allergy alert bracelet and knows to always ask me or daddy to have something if someone wants to give her food. AND we do practice with her to say that she has a peanut allergy and to ask mom and dad if she can have that snack. Thankfully the only reaction she has ever had was when we first learned of her severe allergy when she was around age 1.


Does your child or someone you know have a food allergy? What precautions do you take? What advice can you give us? Thanks!

26 November 2012

Thanksgiving & A Cider Recipe You Have Got to Try!!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone! It was so nice to have my parents, brother and Sister-in-law and my hubby's sister over! It was our son's first Thanksgiving and he sorta slept through most of it :)

All of the food was amazing, I think pretty much everyone left stuffed and happy! We played games (Balderdash and 31-a card game). We watched football and the newer "Miracle on 34th Street". It was such a relaxing and fun day!

I wrote last week a "Being Thankful" post so I won't go into what I'm thankful for again, however, I have got to say that we are so blessed to have a huge meal like we did and a care free day with family, when there are a lot of people around the world who are lucky if they can get a bowl of rice for the day. Not wanting to bring down the mood or anything, just something to think about and give thanks to God for.

So my brother and his wife brought this amazing Mulled Cider! This is the recipe you have got to try and it will be such a crowd pleaser!
The Mulled Cider recipe from my Sister-in-law! It's really just guide lines, she played with it to get it to where she liked it, and it's really easily tweak-able. Here's what the recipe calls for:

2 quarts apple cider (My Sister-in-law used a little under 1 gallon jug)
2 cinnamon sticks (She used more like three)
2 whole allspice berries (She put in 3)
2 whole cloves (Again, she used 3)
1 orange, thinly sliced (I think this is way too much, she just used 2-3 slices)

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Divide among mugs and serve hot!

And that's it! So easy, but so good. After my SIL made it in a saucepan, she put it all in a crock-pot for easier traveling! This is great non-alcoholic drink for all ages, however if you would like it spiked with Rum, you can add a little splash (to adults ages 21+ of course!).


19 November 2012

Turkey Hand Craft! Not Just Your Standard Turkey :)


Today my daughter and I made 3 of the 4 turkey's shown above for our Thanksgiving guests this Thursday: Standard turkey, rocker and star trek! 

We had a lot of fun tracing my 4 year old daughters' hand and Halie adding her own creativity to the background. She of course wanted pink turkeys, so we traced her hand on pink paper, cut out the turkeys and glued them onto their own colored construction paper of a different color. After she drew and colored what she wanted in the background, we then glued on Indian corn onto the 4 fingered feathers! Last month when visiting the pumpkin patch, I made sure to pick up a few Indian corns! I knew I wanted some for household decorations and then could pluck off the corn kernels when we were done using them for decorations. 
*The process of plucking corn kernels off is super easy btw, if you never tried it before! You can use tweezers or just use your fingers*

I thought I'd share this fun and easy craft with you since Thanksgiving is just a few days away!! Most of you know the standard turkey, but I thought the other 3 turkeys are fun too, and with Indian corn it makes them even more festive! Take a look at Halie's cute turkeys for our family!


 "Star Trek"

 "The Rocker"

Hope you all have a Happy Turkey Day! :)

16 November 2012

Being Thankful

Well it's that time of year when everyone starts talking about what they are thankful for! I wanted to do a 30 day thankful series, but clearly I am too late. So I guess I'll just talk about what I'm thankful for this year!

So let's see, this year our son Graham was born on May 9th! I'm thankful for him and that he was able to deliver him safely. At almost 8 months I was driving with Halie (our daughter who was 3 at the time) and we were hit by a car who "didn't see us". I was nervous wreck b/c one, Halie was terrified, two, my belly was swelling up from the seat belt strap tightening and my belly did hit the steering wheel (I had my belt under my belly and was wearing it properly, but still!) and three, I couldn't feel Graham move and to be exact it was for about 20 mins I didn't feel him move. I had never been in a car accident before so the experience was terrifying. We all walked away and the person who hit me totalled her car, but I'm so very thankful that Me, Halie and Graham were all okay. God protected us and conveniently placed my In-Laws at the scene not even 5 minutes after it happened (they were driving home from dinner). So yes, I'm thankful for a loving God and my healthy, sweet baby boy!

I'm thankful to finally be a Sophomore in college! hahah...only took me how many years! Well that's ok with me! I'm working toward my Psychology: Christian Counseling at Liberty University Online and I take 2 classes each of the three semesters and am slowly getting there! This coming Summer I'll finally be taking my Psychology classes and I cannot wait!!! Woohoo!!

Our daughter turned 4 this year! She is 4 going on 14 and keeps me very entertained- very thankful for her and her passionate self :)

I'm thankful for our home, electric and hot water! We lost power for 3 days when Hurricane Sandy hit so that always gets you thinking of the luxury of the things we have that others don't.

I'm thankful for all my family and friends! Their support and love is so important to me and I'm very thankful for each and everyone of them! My husband has been my rock for the past 6 years and continues to be so! I'm thankful for his love and that he cares deeply for me, even about the small things about me! And I'm thankful that he works so hard, allowing me to be a stay at home mom to our 2 kids! He knows that is very important to me and makes it happen.

The list really goes on! Maybe I really should have done a 30 day series!! Hahah...oops!

09 October 2012

Making Baby Food ~ Green Beans

I did it! This was my first time making my son's own baby food and I have to say it was so easy and quick!

After feeding my son stage 1 baby food for about 2 1/2 weeks and knowing the consistency of the texture, I decided I was ready to make his own food. Wondering how to do it? Here's a step by step tutorial...

21 September 2012

Whole Chicken in Crock Pot~ Falls Off The Bone!!

This way of cooking a chicken is perfect for when you want a whole chicken, but don't want the oven on for a couple hours (in the summer when it's hot) and when you want chicken falling off the bone!

Now, my whole chicken was 4 1/2 pounds. I took out the neck and insides and saved those for my gravy. I cut up a whole onion and placed them on the bottom of the crock pot. Next I put my whole chicken in the crock pot with NO WATER. This may seem weird at first, but your chicken already has retained water and you will still get plenty of broth. I added minced garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. You can add whatever spices/herbs you want.  Here's my chicken...

I had my crock pot timer on for 4 hours, but it ended up only really needing 3 1/2 hours on HIGH. I have read that other people put their crock pot on high for a 3-4 pound chicken and it need 4-5 hours, so I was expecting for my chicken to take longer. I guess my crock pot is strong? You could also put the settings to low and  and cook for around 7-8 hours I'd imagine. Perfect for working moms/wives to turn on right before they leave in the morning for work and then it will be done when you get home. For the first time doing this I would recommend keep a close eye on it after a bit to see how long it actually takes for your own crock pot.

This chicken literally falls off the bone!! It's super moist and perfect to eat just is, or to add to soups or whatever you want! The only thing, is if you like to eat the skin, it is going to be a little rubbery, so you would want to peel off the skin and put it under your broiler in your oven for a little bit for that crunchy texture! Enjoy!

Loves his Peas & Green Beans!

So as I posted before, my little boy loves his cereal, and now peas & green beans!! With our daughter I started her out on Cereal and then bananas which was a HUGE mistake! She hate veggies for such a long time, even carrots!! So this time with my son and I decided veggies were the first to eat and hopefully even after introducing fruits he will still like his veggies. I don't know when I'll introduce fruit yet, but do want to start making his baby food now that I know the consistency of what Stage 1 is.
Does anyone know what's going on with Rice?! Arsenic in rice.....sooo should babies not eat rice cereal right now? Or maybe limit it to once or twice a week? I think I need to make a phone call to my son's doctor. Not sure if having him eat another grain is better for now? Maybe I can see about introducing oatmeal? Although that may be to early for a 4 month old. What are you other mom's doing about rice cereal?

16 September 2012

Mom's Monday Mingle (Blog Hop)

Welcome to Mom's Monday Mingle

Mom’s Monday Mingle

Last week we had 255 moms ready to mingle!

If you could help promote, Mom's Monday Mingle through facebook and twitter that would really help. Thanks for helping promote. It really does help make this hop a success and bring new moms to meet and network with.


1. Please follow each hostess. They are 1-4 in the list!

Naptime Review-Hostess

At Home Take 2- Hostess

Little Becky Homecky-Hostess

Mystery Host

We do FOLLOW back and we really love all the comments! If you are new let us know and leave your blog address so we can return the follow ;)

2. Try to visit at least 4 blogs that interest you. Just don't throw your name into the link up, hoping to gain followers. Participate, make friends, and have fun! I know I have made a lot of great blog friends ;)
best yet!

3. If you are the selected "Mystery Host." Please grab the code at the bottom and host this hop on your blog as well. Also, please return follows!

Thank you and have fun networking and meeting new friends!

11 September 2012

Baby Boy Eats Cereal ~ Success!

I cannot believe my little "big" boy is already 4 months old! I've decided to start him on cereal once a day and see how he takes to it. He is always so hungry and a big boy in general, so I want to see if he's ready to start eating cereal. My biggest concern is gas and constipation since there is iron in his cereal and formula. Anyway, today I mixed 1.5 oz of warm formula and a little less than 1 tsp of cereal. At first he was a little mad and irritated that this was not his bottle and wondering what the heck the spoon was for! The whole time he was fussing, but LOVING the cereal haha, it was actually kinda funny! Only a few times in the beginning did he push his tongue back out, but after that he surprisingly didn't do that!

I'm going to do this once a day from here on out and see how he does and then increase it to twice a day. Once he's mastered cereal and doesn't have any tummy issues I want to start peas. I have my own baby food making kit which I'm really excited about! With my daughter I didn't make her food, but bought it. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want to make my sons food this time. It won't have preservatives and will be cheaper in the long run!

How long did you feed your baby cereal before introducing baby food?

Here's my big boy and his first time eating cereal! Really not that messy!! :) He has some on his forehead though haha

10 September 2012

Mom's Monday Mingle (Blog Hop!)

Last week we had 246 moms ready to mingle!

If you could help promote, Mom's Monday Mingle through facebook and twitter that would really help. Thanks for helping promote. It really does help make this hop a success and bring new moms to meet and network with.

1. Please follow each hostess. They are 1-4 in the list!
Naptime Review-Hostess
At Home Take 2- Hostess
Little Becky Homecky-Hostess
Mystery Host

We do FOLLOW back and we really love all the comments! If you are new let us know and leave your blog address so we can return the follow ;)
2. Try to visit at least 4 blogs that interest you. Just don't throw your name into the link up, hoping to gain followers. Participate, make friends, and have fun! I know I have made a lot of great blog friends ;)
3. If you want to be considered for next week's "Mystery Host," Please tweet, facebook and put the button on a post. Email Julie for consideration! Thank you for making this hop the best yet!
4. If you are the selected "Mystery Host." Please grab the code at the bottom and host this hop on your blog as well. Also, please return follows!

28 August 2012

Fall Classes Have Begun!

Fall is almost here...that means cooler weather, pumpkin spice scents/flavors, and changing of the color of leaves....AND Fall semester classes are here!

Well, I've been back in school for a week now, and so far things are going okay! I was nervous because this is the first semester I'm taking classes with two kids! (I had my son in May and took the Summer off). I have a lot of reading to do and assignments, but since it's all online I can work at my own pace and time. For those of you who don't know, I attend Liberty University Online and working toward my Psychology: Christian Counseling degree. I only go part time taking 2 classes a semester; this semester I'm taking Philosophy 201 and Old Testament Survey. I already took Philosophy 104 and really enjoyed that class, so I am already liking 201. OT Survey is great because I'm learning things I didn't know and going deeper into the history/stories of OT.

So! Since I'm back to taking classes, things have slowed down just a little with my blog. I do have some pretty awesome reviews coming  your way as well as a couple giveaways I think you are going to love! 
What's your favorite thing about Fall?

09 July 2012

03 July 2012

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com and it was a huge hit! I read on there that you need to use fresh blueberries for them to turn out right, which I did, and they are AMAZING! So light and fluffy and the crumb mixture on top makes these muffins irresistible! Hope you enjoy them!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: (perfect amount if doubling recipe): 2/3C brown sugar, 1/4C flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2T butter. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

17 May 2012

Welcome to the World Graham Philip!!

 Graham Philip 5.9.12

Graham entered the world on May 9, 2012 at 7:31AM weighing in at 7lbs 13oz and measuring 20 inches long. Our family is so over joyed he is finally here and we are all so in love with him :)

23 April 2012

Pregnancy update- 38 weeks

Well tomorrow I am 38 weeks pregnant, it is getting so close to the end. I have lots of mixed emotions of course! I'm nervous, anxious, excited, impatient but most of all just really excited to meet my son! When our daughter was born, it was the most beautiful experience ever and I can't wait to share that again with my husband and I really can't wait for our daughter to meet him! I can totally see her being a great big sister with helping and loving on him! She talks and sings to him everyday and hugs him (my belly).
The end of this pregnancy has been a little nerve wrecking because I was in an accident at 35 weeks. I got T-boned and was rushed the emergency room and had to stay over one night since the contractions would not stop. Since I've been home, I've been having contractions everyday so I have also been taking it easy. My daughter was also in the car when we got hit, but I am so thankful and blessed to say she is fine! God really watched over us that day. As of now she is still talking about the accident and thinks that every boo boo one of us gets we have to go to the hospital. It's sad to hear her be so afraid sometimes, but I just keep telling her that Jesus watched over us and the accident is over. Mommy is ok and so are you. Sometimes I don't know what else to say and I really don't want her to be afraid. She's not one to forget easily, but I'm hoping with time she can feel more safe and not think we have to go to the hospital or mention the hospital almost everyday.
So until my little guy decides to make his debut, I'm taking it easy and resting. It feels good knowing we have everything we need and set up so I don't have to worry about "nesting" anymore. Although I still go a little crazy cleaning, but that's not such a bad thing! My husband has been great with helping around the house, and especially us dinner some nights. He is my personal gourmet chef and I love his cooking! He probably thinks I'm going nuts sometimes when I start planning in my head and organizing in my head but he just says "sure honey we can do that". haha

15 March 2012

Mama Drama

As of this past Tuesday I am 32 weeks pregnant. I've had a pretty good pregnancy so far, but now I'm starting to feel the emotional side effects! I ball my eyes out every now and then and the whole time I'm thinking you are acting like an idiot! haha. I definitely get mood swings with anger and sometimes it's just hard to hold in my thoughts. My poor husband gets to hear most of it, ugh I hate that! Nothing is fitting me right (even maternity pants...yeah I need a bigger size)  and I don't want to go shopping for more maternity clothes because I have 8 weeks (or less?) left so I feel there is no point. So going out and getting dressed gets me worked up too! Does anyone else feel this way when they are pregnant...with so many mixed exaggerated emotional feelings? I'm so ready to feel normal again! Maybe I just need to do more relaxing things for myself, I don't know! I just cannot wait to add my little guy to our family and to hold him and love on him! It's all going to be worth it! :)

19 February 2012

Mommy Out of Commission

For the past few days I have not been able to really take care of my daughter, household duties and myself! I feel so sick. My daughter has an ear infection and is coughing. I have nasal issues, clogged ears and a soar throat, but it is affecting my whole body. On top of this I am 28 weeks pregnant so I am constantly worried about my little baby growing inside and if I'm harming him with the "ok" meds to take while pregnant. My husband thankfully has a three day weekend and has been taking care of his sick girls. He brought home soup one night, and makes random trips to the store if we need OJ or anything else we need. It is actually really nice to be taken care of, I'm not use to this and kinda feel pampered! I haven't felt this sick in probably 3-4 years and it is a terrible feeling, but I am so thankful to have a loving and caring husband!

I have a couple review and giveaways coming up this week, but will most likely be up later rather than sooner. Taking time to rest and re-cooperate!

09 January 2012

Peanut Allergy Kills 7 Year Old Girl at School...

(CNN) -- The death of a 7-year-old Virginia girl from a suspected peanut allergy at school has raised questions about how prepared school officials are to handle sudden reactions in children. First-grader Ammaria Johnson died Monday after breaking out in hives and complaining of shortness of breath at recess. School authorities called paramedics after she was taken to the nurse's office, said Lt. Jason Elmore, a spokesman for the Chesterfield County Fire Department in suburban Richmond."From what we understand, she possibly had gotten something outside," Elmore said. The clinic had no medication to give her and called 911, he said. "It's very straightforward. There is no magic to this," said Maria Acebal, the head of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. "It's just proper education, how to recognize it, and how to treat it."Acebal said 8% of American kids -- including one of hers -- have food allergies.
"When consequences can be life-threatening, then you've got to have schools prepared for an allergic reaction," she said.  Shawn Smith, a spokesman for the Chesterfield County school district, said administrators have extensive guidelines for treating students with severe allergies, and details of those guidelines were sent to parents last year. Parents have to provide any prescribed medication to the schools, along with a one-page form authorizing them to administer it in case of an emergency, he said. "When any or all of the resources are not provided, the public health nurse makes contact with the family in an effort to obtain the necessary medication," Smith said in a written statement to CNN.
One common treatment is the use of an epinephrine injector, a penlike device that administers the drug for a severe reaction. Those have to be prescribed by a doctor, and the school had no such device for Ammaria, Elmore said.  The girl's death remains under investigation, Chesterfield County police spokeswoman Elizabeth Caroon told CNN. Caroon said the body has been turned over to state medical examiners for an autopsy, but it was not clear whether that procedure had been performed Wednesday.  "It's absolutely doable to keep kids with food allergies safe at public school, but it requires education and preparedness," Acebal said. Ammarie's death "just underscores the need for all teachers to have the basics of food allergy safety as part of their orientation and continuing education."
After reading this article, it is very heart breaking that a young girl died at her school from a food allergy. I'm not sure if her parents didn't know about her having a peanut allergy?? (I don't know how not) But why didn't the school nurse have an epi-pen? I feel as if the school was not prepared, and if her allergy was known by the parents, they did not prepare their daughter of allergic reactions. This whole story is just so very sad. As a parent to a child with a severe life threatening peanut allergy, we are constantly teaching her what she can and cannot eat. My daughter is 3 years old and is starting to understand that there are certain things she cannot eat b/c they will make her sick and not be able to breathe. Yes, it is very important for parents to educate themselves and their allergy kid(s) everything that is involved with an allergic reaction, how to recognize symptoms, how to read food labels and how to use an epi-pen once they are old enough. In this specific situation, the school was completely unprepared with not having medicine on hand. They called 911, but in a life threatening event when your throat is closing is you do not have time to wait for paramedics, you need an epi-pen right away.

My husband and I have been debating whether or not our daughter will go to a public school because of her peanut allergy, or to home school her. We want her to go to school, but will absolutely be checking out the schools emergency plans in case of a food allergic reaction event. We both need to feel reassured that she will be safe in her learning environment, especially at lunch/snack time.

02 January 2012

It's 2012 folks!

Well it is now officially 2012! This is the year of many exciting things/events for my family! Our son will be born in about 4 months, which I think will be here before we know it! Still have to pick out a name, but it will come to us! My daughter turns 4 this August, and my husband and I will celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary! I start my 2 classes in a few weeks, which are 8 weeks long, and then will have off school until the Fall semester in August. I'm excited to start my classes again. Halie starts back up her gymnastics classes in a couple weeks, she is so excited and can hardly wait! We will hopefully be getting a 3 bedroom place, praying it all works out. I know I know, for those of you who know me and my family, this is the 82934780 time we are moving! hahah it's what we are known for I guess.

What exciting things are happening for you/your family this year?

Do you have any New Year Resolutions?