Sunday, January 25, 2015

Samuel at 2.

I know I've said this before, but I don't think I ever comprehended how much I could love one little person until Samuel came along. Sometimes it still amazes me. When I look at him or cuddle him or play with him or have a silly conversation with him, I am in total awe of how this little guy has captured my heart so completely and how lucky I am to get to be his mom.

Now, don't get me wrong, he throws his fair share of hardcore 2-year-old tantrums that make me question why I ever had a child in the first place. But 90% of the time it's the mushy-gushy-I-love-him-so-flippin-much stuff.

Anyway, I'm going to try these next few days to record a little taste of Samuel as he's turning 2.

Here's a sample of an "interview" I did with him the other day.

C: How old are you going to be this week?

S: See-yule Yates!

C: No, how old? What number?


C: That's right!! And what's your favorite number?

S: TWO! Sev-uh. hahaha. Nooooo.

C: You're so silly. What's your favorite color, Samuel?

S: Purple! Red! Blue! Reeeeed! Color color! Shapes?

C: Okay, what's your favorite shape?

S: Square! Suh-Cull! Ti-gle!!

C: Those are good shapes! What kind of food do you like to eat?

S: Nuh-nuh.

C: Banana or nuggets? (I'm never sure which he means).

S: Yes! Olaf Book? Nooo! No eat book. Hehehehe. (but he does eat books. Crazy kid).

C: Is Olaf your favorite book?

S: Olaf book! Hop on Pop! George? Baby Moses!

C: And what's your favorite show?

S: Show! Watch show! Peeeeasse!

C: But what's your favorite?

S: Cars! Mater! Thomas? Shapes! Cars! Show show show!

C: One more question. What song do you like to sing?

S: Car song? Eyes! Mmmm. ::sings REALLY loudly:: Tinkle tinkle liwle stahhhh!!!

You get the picture. ;-) He's fun! I'm sure I'll have more to share over his birthday week. I can't believe he's going to be 2!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

10 Years!

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years this month since Eric and I met.

10 years since  my college freshman self noticed the cute high school senior hanging out with my friends that had grown up in town. I thought I'd try to make him feel more welcome since I knew he was planning on coming to school with us next year.

I had no clue that in the next few months I'd come to realize he wasn't just a cute, sweet kid, but funny, smart, thoughtful, caring, and genuine.

That when other girls started chasing him, I would realize I liked him a little more than I wanted to admit, even though he was "too young" for me and I was kind of seeing someone else.

That we would spend way too many nights hanging out, flirting, watching CSI (which I kind of hate, but didn't mind so much with him :-), making up excuses to spend more time together.

That he'd ask me to go to his prom with him, and then ask me to be his girlfriend a few weeks later.

And that one day that cute boy would ask me to be his wife, to move across the country with him, to have his children, to be his person.

10 years since this life began. And I wouldn't change a minute of it. <3 nbsp="">

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I'll keep this brief, but, basically, for the first time ever, I made a fish recipe that we actually enjoyed! In fact, Eric took his fork to the pan afterwards and ate every last bite of what was left over. That happens... well, it pretty much never happens.

So, before I forget, here is the recipe that was very appropriately titled:

"The Very Best Fish Recipe Ever"
3/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 c. butter + more for greasing the dish
1/4 c. mayo
3 tbsp. lemon juice (I just squeezed one lemon)
1/4 c. green onion (I used more like 1/3)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dill, optional (I left it out)
2 dashes tobasco sauce
2 lbs. boneless, skinless fish (I used cod and just a little over a pound. We're poor.)

Pre-heat broiler and grease baking dish with butter. Arrange fish in a single layer in dish and broil for 8-10 minutes. While fish is broiling, make sauce by mixing together cheese, butter, mayo, lemon juice, green onion, salt, pepper, dill and tobasco. When fish is flaky, remove from oven and spread sauce on top (it will be pretty thick before going in the oven). Broil for 4-5 more minutes until sauce is lightly browned. 

Yum. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas 2014

We got to go to Arkansas for Christmas this year for the first time since 2011! We decided this past summer we would probably try to make it work this year since we will have to start paying for a plane ticket for Samuel after he turns 2.

God totally worked everything out for us, though - another guy in Eric's program asked for their days to be switched around, and as a result, Eric got 9 days off instead of 6!

My brother's college graduation also ended up being the same weekend we flew in, so we got to see him, and my grandparents, one of my aunts and two of my cousins, which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.

Getting there was a little wild and crazy. Eric worked until almost 8 pm his last day on and then we picked up Chick Fil A and drove to Charlotte to stay the night in a hotel. Samuel was way too hyped up to sleep, so it was close to midnight before we all knocked out.

And of course we were up at 6 and out the door a little after 7 to catch our 9 am flight. It's a good thing we left when we did too - the airport was crazy. Samuel did way better than I expected in the long long lines. The coveted use of our iPhones probably had something to do with that. ;-) We got to our gate about 3 minutes before they were going to close the doors and were the last ones on the flight. Whew!

Flying with an almost-2-year-old isn't the most fun thing ever... I was definitely glad Eric was with me! We watched a lot of tv shows on the iPad and passed him back and forth and took turns singing silly songs and holding him while he cried about not being able to run around. (To be fair, he had a cold, which didn't make things any better!)

We made it, though!

We met my family in Little Rock to celebrate JJ's graduation. Then we all drove back to DeWitt and had "Christmas" there. We went to church on Sunday and spent Monday just hanging around. Samuel got to watch Frozen about a million times and ride on some tractors, play the piano and drink way too much sweet tea. He had a blast.

Morning music time with Grammy!

On Tuesday we made our way towards Magnolia. Most of the week was rainy and dreary, so we spent a couple of days there just hanging out by the fire and watching too much tv.

We did finally get to have some Backyard BBQ (our absolute favorite restaurant!), but it took some serious effort. We attempted to go on Tuesday night when we got to town, but, upon ordering, found that they were out of, um, MEAT.

I promise you, this is the only place in the whole flippin' world that can run out of meat (it's a BAR B QUE PLACE!), be soooo nonchalant about it, and we would still go back the next day. But we did. Or my MIL did, because they weren't actually open, they were just processing the first to-go orders they got. Until they ran out of meat again.

Seriously, though, this stuff is that good.

We made Christmas cookies for Samuel to "decorate" on Christmas Eve. :-)

He loved playing with Eric's old toys!

Anyway, Christmas rolled around on Thursday and I'm pretty sure I was way more excited than Samuel could have imagined being. He had no clue at all what was going on. I, on the other hand, woke up every hour waiting for him to make a peep so I could get him up to show him his new toys! We just gave him his train set and basketball goal on Christmas morning. That was enough to entertain him for a while!

Reading a new book with Granddaddy.

Just watching some Christmas morning PBS. ;-)

We spent a few hours Christmas afternoon out at Eric's aunt's house. They have a few horses, so Samuel got to ride on one of those and play on one of their tractors. He also got cars from pretty much every family member. He was pretty much in heaven. :-)

There were a few more gift exchanges over the next few days. I got Samuel's cold and was a little on the miserable side, but still enjoyed spending time with our family. Eric got the cold on the last day, fun fun!

Samuel was way more cooperative on the flight home and the lines were practically non-existent (Though I should probably add that he was kind of a terror in the airport, throwing major tantrums on the floor multiple times right before getting on the plane. I was pretty afraid getting onto the flight, as were all the other passengers. The magic iPad fixed all of that though. :-)

We had a lot of re-training to do when we got home. Baby boy took some seriously hardy naps the first few days back after missing them most of the week. He's still adjusting to NOT getting electronic devices whenever he wants and NOT getting to watch PBS all morning long while drinking sweet tea and eating whatever he feels like.

It was a ton of fun though, and I'm so grateful we got to see so much of our family at one time! :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Fitness Goals

I'm always a little hesitant to set many running/fitness goals. After all, there are so many injuries that can occur and other factors that play in (health, weather, when I can afford new shoes).

2015 hasn't started off quite as hardcore as I was hoping it would. But we're only just beginning. I do think having goals helps me push myself a little more. So here are a few goals I think are pretty attainable:

1) Hit the 1000 miles in a year mark again, and stay there as long as possible. (I should be at 1000 by the end of January. Then I just have to keep up with last year me. :-)

2) Get faster in at least one race.

3) Do more weightlifting/cross training.

4) Eat healthier and less.

A few more specific, harder goals:

1) Hit 1100 in the last year.

2) Run a 6:30 mile/23:00 5K.

3) Lose 3-5 pounds. (I'm pretty okay with my weight, but it wouldn't hurt me to lose
 a little. Or to at least turn some fat to muscle. ;-)

4) Get rockin' abs.

So now that's out there. Let's see what 2015 brings. :-) 

Spinach & Onion Strata + Avocado Cookies

I should really write about something else but... well, I love food. (For what it's worth, I have been crafting/working a lot around the house, I just don't feel those types of projects are worth writing about without pictures and I'm terrible about remembering to take pictures!)

Spinach & Onion Strata
I made this for our church group this morning and it was a total hit! I prepared it last night and then just popped in the oven this morning. Easy, no-hassle - a great brunch option!

1/4 c. butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pkg. spinach (I used Fresh Express, 5 oz)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
dash of nutmeg
1 loaf French bread, torn into pieces
6 oz. Gruyere, shredded
2 oz. Parmesan, shredded
7 eggs
1-1/2 c. milk

Melt butter in a pan and add onion. Cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes, then add spinach and cook until wilted. Arrange torn bread around a 2-1/2 quart baking dish and pour spinach mixture on top. Top with half of cheese. Scramble eggs and milk together and add in salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture over bread and vegetables and top with remaining cheese. Let chill overnight. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, or until set.

Avocado Cookies
Okay, these were a little different, but Samuel loved them and I ate a few myself. They've got an extremely rich, creamy chocolaty flavor. Just beware of too much avocado (I won't go into details. ;-) Next time I will only serve one a day!

3/4 c. of avocado, mashed - I used about 3 small ones.
1/2 c. sugar/coconut sugar/honey
1 egg
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
A handful of chocolate chips or chunks

Put the avocado, sugar and egg in a food processor and mix together. Add in cocoa and baking soda. Remove and stir in chocolate. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. All to cool, then store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sweet Potato Chili & (Crockpot!) Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

A new year often brings a new fervor to accomplish things. In my case it's been a fervor for cooking healthier meals. It probably should be keeping my house a little cleaner (though I have been on an organizing spree). One thing at a time though.

This week I've made two yummy veggie-filled dishes that were both fairly quick and painless. They'll both definitely be appearing again soon! I may try to lessen the meat and replace with lentils at some point. I don't know if my husband will stand for that though. Baby steps, right? :-D

Sweet Potato Chili

I combined a couple of recipes for this and didn't measure super well... as always. It was good though! 

1 lb ~ish of hamburger meat, preferably lean and grass-fed (but if you're broke like me - use what you have!)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
3-4 carrots, peeled
1-2 squash/zucchini (I didn't bother to peel that)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp - 1/4 c. chili powder
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. oregano
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (if desired)

Brown hamburger meat. While it's browning, grate or dice sweet potato, carrots and squash (I grated it until my hand hurt, then diced the rest. Because I'm lazy like that).

When the meat is browned, remove from pan. Squirt a tablespoon or two of EVOO into the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until turning translucent, then add in the other veggies. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, then add in tomatoes and spices and return meat to the pan. Let it all simmer together for about 30 minutes. You may need to add an additional 1/2 c. or so of water (or more tomato sauce or V8 or something if you prefer) to keep the consistency.

Serve with grated cheese and crackers. Yum!

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

This was yummy, healthy, and best of all - a crockpot meal! This was by far my favorite spaghetti squash meal yet! 

1 large spaghetti squash
1/2-3/4 lb. ground hamburger meat (depending on how many meatballs you want)
1 egg
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. minced onion
Spaghetti sauce of your choice

Put the spaghetti sauce in the crockpot and turn to low. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then place face down in the sauce. Make your meatballs by mixing hamburger meat, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese and onion in a bowl. Roll into balls and either place in the crockpot, or, if there's not enough room, bake on a cookie sheet in the oven @ 350 for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for later (this is what I did).

Let the squash cook for 5-6 hours, then scoop out and top with sauce and meatballs!