Apr 19, 2014

As soon as the temps start to rise (which happens much sooner in AZ than in most other parts of the country), I'm itching to make my very favorite Sangria recipe.

Serve it on its own or with your favorite Mexican dish, it's delicious either way.



Adapted from The New York Bartender's Guide by Sally Ann Berk

Dry Red Wine (2 bottles)
4 oz Triple Sec
3 oz brandy
3 oz orange juice
2 oz lemon juice
2 oz lime juice
4 Tbsp Sugar
1 cup water
Lemon Slices
Lime Slices
Orange Slices

Chill all ingredients for at least one hour.  Serve over ice.


Cherry Almond Chicken Salad

Apr 12, 2014

Last summer we spent a few days with our dear friends at their parent's lake home in Iowa.  Not only was our time together food for my soul but my friend, Nealy, made some of the most amazing food for our bellies. It never ceases to amazing me how so many of my favorite memories are made around the table.

One of the recipes she made for lunch is below. It's perfect for a spring/summer lunch or an easy light dinner option.


Cherry Almond Chicken Salad

4 Chicken Breasts
1 cup Rotini Pasta, cooked
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 bunch green onions, finely chopped
Celery, chopped (optional)
Brianna's Poppyseed dressing
1/3 cup mayo

Season chicken with salt & pepper.  Bake (or grill) and dice chicken.  Combine ingredients and serve over leaves of lettuce.  I like to serve it with tortilla chips.


Christmas Soiree 2013

Dec 13, 2013

After having read the book Bread and Wine, my passion and perspective for my time in the kitchen and around my table has been renewed.  I now appreciate, even more, the value that is found when we dedicate our time and energy to the feeding of bodies (and souls).  So many of life's memories are truly made around the table.

The message of this book was brewing in the back of my mind in November when I was contacted by Fresh & Easy and asked to host a sponsored Christmas party. I'd already been thinking about starting a tradition of doing a small intimate Christmas dinner party for friends (as our gift to them) and so this offer was truly an answer to prayer. God knew exactly what this party thrower's "wish" was this Christmas - 1 awesome party!

Now before we get into all of the (fabulous) details, it's important to note that planning this type of party is quite possibly the most amazing thing I might ever do.  I live for a party.  I live to plan a party.  I live for the next party.  I simply love parties.  Correction - I LOVE parties. So hosting a party of this scale scent me to cloud nine and back again.
Once the date was set, I started planning.  I put together a fantastic team of friends to help (delegation is key for large events like this) and we started pin, pin, pinning all of our ideas for the event.  Food. Decor. Beverages. Invitations. Anything and every idea for the party was being thought of.  

We arranged rentals, we created a detailed food budget, we (and by "we" I actually mean my sweet friend Jennifer) poured over a food timeline, we mapped out the backyard and started ordering all of the decor for the event - we were busy little party-planning bees for the weeks leading up to the party. 

By party time, we were as ready as we were going to be.  Keep in mind, we are amateur party planners and were mostly just crossing our fingers (and toes) that everything would turn out ok.

Now I think I'll just let the photos do the talking...
Thanks to all of you who were able to join us for such a fabulous evening.   

Thanks also to the wonderful folks at Fresh and Easy who made this event possible.  

And a huge thank you to the ladies who helped with all of the details for this event - to Ashley & Tim for opening up their home (and hearts), to Jennifer & Carlene for helping with all of the food prep (it was delicious), to Lexa for making the amazing cheesecake, to Lindsey for helping with decor vision and execution, to Laura for the amazing chalkboard art and lastly to Kourtney for her help with the odds and ends.  

Happy Christmas!


All above photos are from our event photographers, Session Nine Photography.

{To see more photos from the event, search #christmassoiree and/or #fandeholidays on Twitter & Instagram}


– Food & Beverages: Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market
– Design & Coordination: Lindsey w/ Junk in the Trunk Markets
– Photography: Session Nine Photography
– Flowers: Costco
– Rentals: A to Z Equipment Rentals
– Linens: Munkeboe Linens


Our Kindness Adventure {#kindnessadventure}

Aug 16, 2013

Why hello there lil' blog!  It's been too long.

If I were to tell you about the past two months (yes... it's been that long), I would tell you about how Alan and I celebrated our 30th birthdays, how I'm in LOVE with our newly painted beverage cart, how we dedicated Audrey at our church and Nora stole the show with her River Dancing moves, how much I love my Better Life Laptop Bag and how Alan is the best daddy in the whole wide world.

I would also tell you about Nora's Mani, Pedis and Sweets 4th Birthday party and about how we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in June.  I would even tell you about how much I'm obsessed with the book, Bread and Wine (this book speaks to my joke) and how I found a meatloaf recipe that I actually like.

I'd also tell you about how part of the City Moms Blog Network team was interviewed for Chris Wiegands documentary, American Blogger (woot woot!) and how I went to Chicago for BlogHer '13 with Sara and Krystal. And I'd for sure tell you about how much fun we had with our family and friends in Iowa.  We'd reminisce about all of the time we spent outdoors (b/c it wasn't wicked hot like it is here in AZ) and about how wonderful it was to be able to actually hug our family members and dear friends in person. really has been a wonderful summer so far!
However, instead of spending the entire blog post talking about what we've been up to lately, I want to end this post by encouraging you with a little God story today.  

Our Kindness Adventure

This morning I was spending some time with God and came across this thought..."Ordinary is often the disguise of the divine...Having your spiritual radar up in consistent anticipation of His presence - even in the midst of the joyful chaos and regular rhythms of your every day life - is paramount to hearing God."  (my current study, Gideon :: by Priscilla Shirer).

We had no plans this morning (mostly due to the fact that we seem to keep passing the dreaded case of pink eye back and forth) and I sensed a serious case of "ME-itis" around our home.  I quickly realized this attitude was more than likely becoming a trend due to my lack of looking to other people's needs above my own. The demands of my business have been very intense these past few months and I know that my family has carried a lot of emotional stress due to my recent time commitments.

Because "ME-itis" is not something we want to encourage in our home, I knew I wanted to teach the girls a practical lesson in kindness (aka considering other people's needs above your own). So I decided it was time for our 1st ever "Kindness Adventure."  
We quickly put together a few hand written cards and gifts and off we went on our very first kindness adventure.  

Our first stop - Starbucks.  Ah... just thinking about bringing someone an unplanned Starbucks drink makes me smile!  We picked up the favorite drinks of some of our friends and headed out with drinks , cake pops and a "Welcome Home" gift in hand.  
We made three total stops.  At each kindness stop we were greeted with warm embraces and huge smiles as we told our friends that we were on a kindness adventure - a mission to bring kindness to some of the people we love the most.  The girls even got a kindness gift from mommy (see above pic of Elsie) because we can be kind to our family too.

It really wasn't anything terribly special to be honest.  It took us all of one hour to make the rounds (and $20ish) but my prayer, as always, is that the truth of the quote "More is caught than taught" rings true for our girls today. I pray that my girls will grow to value the fruit of the spirit of kindness and that one day, they too will be taking their children on kindness adventures.

I truly believe that our intentionality in teaching this next generation the importance of kindness will  influence generations to come.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23

Want to participate in you own Kindness Adventure?!  Plan your own Kindness Adventure and post your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #kindnessadventure.  Let's together let kindness and love win.  



my top 5 deal websites | Scottsdale Moms Blog

Jun 13, 2013

I'm sharing my very favorite deal websites over on Scottsdale Moms Blog today.

You gotta check it out.

It will save your life.  Ok... maybe not your life.  But it will help save you some serious cash.

Read my post HERE and be sure to comment with your favorites. 


Elsie is TWO! (and a Birthday Park Playdate)

May 29, 2013

Elsie Grace,
Why hello there sweet little girl?!  I truly cannot believe that it was TWO YEARS ago that you came into this world and forever changed our lives. 
Elsie, you truly have been adding sweetness to our days since you're birth. Our prayer is that you continue to do this very thing every day of your life. {Because everyone could use a little more sweetness in their life?!}

This past year has been full of kisses, dirty diapers, smiles, cheese (yes... cheese is your favorite food), dress up, tantrums and tears, memories, play dates, time impressing your future boyfriend/hubby, Jackson, wars and hugs with your sister, dance parties and most of all, incredible amounts of JOY and GRACE.
We absolutely love watching you grow and standing on the sidelines as God works His way in you. Your spirit is oh so very sweet and we're convinced that you'll be the one daughter who won't ever move too far away from her mommy.  :) (Can we guarantee that now?!)

For your birthday this year, we spent your actual birthday celebrating with our little family.  You opened your gifts (with lots of help from your big sister) and indulged in a red velvet cupcake.  The following day we spent the morning celebrating with friends at a nearby park where we played and enjoyed a little birthday cake (all while wearing a pink tutu, because every birthday girl gets to wear a tutu to the park on her special day!). 

All in all, it was a great celebration of your life!
Elsie - our prayer this year is that you would "grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).

Just as we know that God delights in you, we too delight in you day in and day out.

mommy and daddy


The Best Kind of Full

May 12, 2013

These days whenever I go out with all three girls it seems almost a foregone conclusion that someone will tell me "It looks like you've got your hands full?!"  In the grocery store. While shopping at Target. During playtime at the park. And even when walking into our church each Sunday.  I'm not over exaggerating when I say that this phrase is uttered at least once a day to our little family.  

Now thankfully I'm not one to take offense when someone says this to me.  I really don't think the people who utter these words to us have ill-intent.  They are just stating a fact.  We do have our hands full.  

The best kind of full.  

Our hands are full of little hands wanting to be held as we cross the street because they know they are safest when they are close to mommy and daddy. 

Our hands are full of groceries waiting to be put into our fridge and thankfully this marks the goodness of God's provision for our family. 

Our hands are full of three little laps wanting to be read to because we value the art of literature and are blessed to be able to read. 

Our hands are full of Apple products because honestly, how would we get through the day without the genius work of Steve Jobs helping teach our littles their letters via the iPad or taking photos with our iPhones.

Our hands are full of a cup of coffee (and sometimes a glass of wine) as it really is one of the secrets to surviving these years with little ones under our wings. 

Our hands are full of little hands joining us as we pray to our Heavenly Father each night before bedtime. 

Our hands are full of little piggie toes wanting to be painted the exact same color as mommy's. 

Our hands are full of "water wrinkles" (we say our hands look like prunes) because bath time serves two purposes - it is an opportunity to clean our little babes and it provides an hour of entertainment during some of the hardest minutes of the day.  

Our hands are full of countless toys needing to be picked up after the kids have gone down for the night and rather than begrudge the task of putting them away, we choose to thank God that we're fortunate to have children to play with them.  

And last (but most importantly), our hands are full of God's Word, because there really is nothing else we can turn to that can guide us in this parenting journey the way that God offers to teach through the Bible.

It's true.  Our hands (and hearts) are very full!  

The Best Kind of Full. 

~Happy Mother's Day~

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