My sweet littles

My sweet littles

Cy and Lila

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giada's Mac & Cheese

This is another Giada recipe that I recently tried and have since whipped it up for several different occasions. Unlike the previous recipe, it is not healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but is oh, so tasty & has received lots of compliments.

Giada's Macaroni & Cheese

Butter, for greasing dish
12 ounces wide egg noodles
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Busy Momma Recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil & Salmon

This recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis and is quick, super easy, healthy & tastes fantastic! One of our favorite new recipes.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

½ pound whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 4-ounce salmon fillets
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons capers
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan. Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Back To My Favorite Little Monkeys...

Here are a few pictures of my favorite little monkeys as January comes to a close. Lila Grace adds new words to her vocabulary daily. Her newest additions include: "GiGi", "Pop", "ball", & "bath", "mine", "uh-oh", "deer", "milk" & "Mimi"!!! She can sign "eat", "more" & "please". Cy is just the sweetest little boy in the world & keeps Travis and I in stitches with his toddler wit & humor. I'll post about some of his "Cy-isms" soon. Both kiddos are at such a fun age! I am just soaking up every moment, & spending large portions of each day in play, while making wonderful memories with my precious babies- which is what I've always dreamed of!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Get To Live Here :)

After 9 months of living in our new home, I finally have most of the rooms (with the exception of the laundry room & office, where we're having a mud bench, desk & bookshelves built) completely finished & looking the way I envisioned they would the first day I walked through this house. It has been such a fun process, and Travis and I are both thrilled with the final product. We feel so incredibly blessed to live in such a warm & welcoming space, and absolutely ADORE our street & wonderful neighbors. God willing, this will be our home for many years to come. As for the office & laundry room, I'm still waiting patiently to begin those projects. Hoping to be able to post pictures of those completed rooms soon. :)

Since Blogger now makes it near impossible to post captions next to the correct picture (ugggh!), here are some of the new paint colors we used. Our master bedroom, bathroom, laundry room & office are painted Benjamin Moore's "Edgecomb Gray" (quite possibly my very favorite paint color EVER!!!). We chose Sherwin William's "White Dogwood" for Lila's bedroom & bathroom & love it, too. Plan to post pictures of our front yard this Spring. We recently had 3 beautiful trees planted & all of the perennials that I planted last Spring and Summer should be blooming!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Busy Momma Recipe: Wedding Cake Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing...

With Lila's birthday at the end of November, holiday gifts for friends & neighbors, and all the Christmas festivities, I have made WAY too many desserts lately! My efforts did, however, uncover a couple of fabulous cupcake recipes...both courtesy of Pinterest (LOVE!). I made both of these cupcakes for Lila's birthday party and they were each met with rave reviews.

Wedding Cake Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. water
2 T. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar & salt. Add remaining ingredients & beat about 2 minutes or until well blended.
Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Buttercream Icing

3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter, @ room temp
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 T. whipping cream

In large bowl, with electric mixer, cream together sugar & butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium & beat about 3 minutes. Add vanilla & cream & continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream, if needed to obtain desired consistency.

Busy Momma Recipe: Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting...

These Snickerdoodle cupcakes are especially fun for Fall. Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1 c. unsalted butter, @ room temp
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 large eggs, @ room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, @ room temp
1/2 c. unsalted butter, @ room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Cinnamon-Sugar Dusting

1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. sugar

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon.
-With mixer on medium speed, cream nutter & sugar until pale & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of milk & beating until combined after each.
-Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins half way through until cake tester comes out clean- about 20 min.
-Transfer tins to wire racks to coll completely before removing cupcakes.

-Using electric mixer, beat together cream cheese & butter until light & fluffy. Add vanilla & cinnamon & beat just to combine. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating well.
-Using pastry bag fitted with large, plain, round tip, pipe frosting on each cupcake.
-Immediately finish by dusting the frosting with cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our New Photo Gallery Wall!!!

I've wanted to create a large photo collage on a wall in our home for quite some time. So my sweet husband let me buy my favorite O'Brien Schridde frames as part of my Christmas present and here is the result...I LOVE IT!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hello 2012!

I thought I would start 2012 with a post about what Lila Grace is accomplishing at 13 months.

~Her vocabulary is exploding! She can now say "Momma", "Papa", "bye-bye", "Cy", "Lila", "baby", "hi", "whoa", "owl", "out" (outside), "eye" & "shoow".
~Lila can moo, roar, pant like a dog & make a monkey, a horse & an elephant sound.
~She can sign "eat".
~Likes to try to feed herself with a spoon.
~Will point to eyes, nose, ears, mouth & tongue when prompted.
~Loves to play hide & seek and peek-a-boo
~Has started walking very quickly & backing up.
~Lila Grace loves to eat from a snack cup, leaving a trail all the while.
~Turns pages of books & loves flap books. Her favorite reads are "I Know a Rhino", "Playtime Peek-a-boo" & "If I were a Hippo".
~She is transitioning to one nap, but will occasionally need a morning snooze. Her afternoon nap usually starts between 12:30 & 1, and if it's her first nap of the day, lasts 2-2 1/2 hours.
~Our sweet girl gives lots of kisses & thinks Eskimo kisses are so fun.
~Dances to music
~Loves to "brush her teeth"...aka chew on her toothbrush.
~ She eats basically anything. A few of her currents favs are grilled cheese sandwiches, bananas, yogurt, pizza, strawberries, grapes, strawberry Nutrigrain bars & peanut butter granola bars.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Wrap-Up...

Here are a few more pictures of the last week in December as our family wrapped up 2011. Cy Wesley has become quite the helper, as seen here helping Papa fertilize the yard & enjoying a sunny winter day outside organizing our neighbors exta bricks. Santa also made a very belated stop at the Epperson house bringing a few more fun surprises. Happy New Year, Everyone!