a little {video} glimpse

Aug 28, 2011

I love to take video of the girls for no reason at all but to capture these precious moments of their lives. It doesn't have to be anything extremely noteworthy that I'm planning on documenting... just their sweet little faces (dirt/spit up and all in most cases) is reason enough to pull out the camera on a consistent basis.

Of course it's fun to take video of Nora when she's being my little barista or when she's eating a Popsicle. But I also love videos like the two below that show the good, the bad and the ugly (all in less than 2 minutes in Nora's video).

Consider these video's a little glimpse into what our days look like (minus the donuts of course - that was a treat).

First, here's Nora...

And then Elsie...


Steph's Pick | Loving the Little Years

Aug 26, 2011

Very rarely do I post a book review on this blog. It's not that I don't read (I actually read a lot) but more that I don't know of too many books that I feel are worthy of one entire post.

Well - things are a-changing today ladies (and gents for those of you men who read our blog).

A couple months back a college friend of mine (hey sweet Lynette) suggested that I read Loving the Little Years. I'll be honest - initially I just assumed this was another parenting book. Don't get me wrong - I love me a good parenting book (heck, I even work for a parenting ministry so of course I love parenting resources). But there are times when I just feel overwhelmed with all of the books I should be reading... and all of the things I should be doing with the girls. When I start feeling like that I often just take a little break from reading non-fiction and switch over to my much loved fiction books.

Well this time around I'm so glad I took Lynette's advice. I purchased Loving the Little Years and within a couple days found 6 other young moms who were willing to read through it "with" me. I say "with" because let's be honest - long gone are the days of book clubs for me (tear). Instead we meet up for play dates and between "we don't hit our friends" lessons and sips of our triple shot vanilla lattes we talk briefly about the book.

Within a couple of days I received the book in the mail and was especially pleased to read the back cover:
"I didn't write this book because mothering little ones is easy for me. I wrote it because it isn't. I know that this is a hard job, because I am right here in the middle of it. I know you need encouragement because I do too.

This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. At the time of writing this, I have three children in diapers, and I can recognize the sound of hundreds of toothpicks being dumped out in the hall.

This is a small collection of thoughts on mothering young children for when you are motivated, for when you are discouraged, for the times when discipline seems fruitless, and for when you are just plain old tired.

The opportunities for growth abound here but you have to be willing. You have to open your heart to the tumble. As you deal with your children, deal with yourself always and first. This is what it looks like, and feels like, to walk as a mother with God."
Phew. It sounded like exactly what I needed.

You see, as I sit down to write this I am anticipating the wake-up call of 2 little girls. There are toys sprawled out across the entire living room floor AND kitchen (no - I didn't clean them up during nap time). And yes, I probably could recite the Going to Bed Book. I know what motherhood in the trenches looks like.

With wisdom and humor, and in 20 very short chapters (think 3-5 pages each) Rachel Jankovic reminds us that sometimes when the attitudes are bad and everyone is crying the first person who needs to repent is Mommy. God is using these mischievous little angels to make us more like Him. Yes I did just use "mischievous" and "angels" in the same sentence. :)

While reading this book I literally laughed and cried. I will be reading it again soon, chapter by chapter, taking notes and absorbing ideas. In fact, I will probably read it every year. It's just that good!

So if you're a mom of little one's I would STRONGLY encourage you order this book today. It really has been food for my soul over the past few months.

Read more from Rachel Jankovic:


Elsie {August} Happenings

Aug 20, 2011

So I certainly can't do a Nora {August} Happenings post without following it up with an Elsie {August} Happenings post, right?! ;)

Despite being a bit bug-eyed in the above pic, she's pretty cute, huh?!

Here's a little about Ms. Elsie...
  • 3 months old!!!
  • Learning to smile and coo = precious.
  • Rolling a lot! She rolled for the first time at 3 weeks old (for those of you who are not familiar with baby milestones this is VERY early for a baby) and she's been rolling ever since. Essentially if you leave her on the ground you can be assured she will not be in the same position when you come to check on her.
  • Has taken up residency in our master bedroom closet. You see we live in a small 2 bedroom condo. We've always wanted to keep Elsie in our room until she starts sleeping through the night (we've had no such luck - yet!)). She was getting too loud in the bassinet right next to my side of the bed so I had to get creative. Luckily the bassinet fits really nicely in the closet. I actually figure she probably likes it as it's quite cozy and my necklaces hang on the wall right next to her - it's like a make-shift mobile.
  • Her tummy issues are finally getting better. Thank you Jesus! This of course makes her so much happier.
And finally - because so many people ask - here's a pic of Nora and Elsie at 3 months old. It's always so fun to compare pictures of the girls.

What do you think? Do they look like sisters?


Steph's Pick | City Moms Blog Network

Aug 19, 2011

Yes... I know...this isn't my usual "Steph's Pick" recipe or product pick but please stick with me because this is something I'm SUPER excited about (which of course is why it is labeled a "Steph's Pick").

Some of you may remember my Start your own Local Moms Blog post back in May. Well I'm pleased to report that as a result of our SMB Media Group Webinar in June we now have THREE Sister Sites up and running...and more importantly - reaching the moms in their communities!

Dallas Moms Blog, Peach State Moms Blog and the Quad City Moms Blog are run by local moms that love their cities and all their cities have to offer families! If you live in any of those areas OR know anyone who live in them please be sure to direct them to these awesome resources.

We're so thrilled with how things are going that we're wanting to invite YOU (mamas and mamas-to-be) to be a part of the action!

If you're interested in the possibility of joining the City Moms Blog Network - visit our Start a Sister Site” link. We're currently taking registrations for our next City Moms Blog Network Webinar on September 17th. During this Webinar Joy and I will cover the logistics of setting up a SMB Sister Site, Content Management, Working with Local Businesses and Event Planning basics. At the end of the webinar attendee’s will have the opportunity to move forward with partnering with us as a Sister Site.

Email me at steph@scottsdalemomsblog.com for more details! We'd love to have you join us!


Nora's {August} Happenings

Aug 17, 2011

It's been a busy month for Ms. Nora (and Elsie of course but we'll wait to do a different post for her)...and we still have a couple weeks left!

Here's a little Nora happenings update...

Just last weekend Nora and Alan went on a daddy-daughter date to Barney LIVE in Concert. Yes - you read that right. Our little Barney lovin' Nora got to see the big purple guy LIVE :) I think it may have been the highlight of her life thus far ;)

Not only did she get to go with her daddy BUT she also was joined by two of her dearest little girlfriends - Reagan & Colette (and their daddy's too of course).

Let's just say these little girls had the time of their lives... dancing...clapping...singing... all sorts of things. And I'm pretty sure the dads enjoyed themselves too, right?!

And as with life, all good things must come to an end...

Just two days after her roof-top Barney experience Nora had quite the scare.

At the end of Nora's nap-time I heard a very loud bang coming from her bedroom. I of course ran to her door to see what had happened and found the door locked! (Nora just recently learned to lock herself in her room - this was the 2nd - and last- time she's done it. We've since changed the door handle).

I spent the next 5 minutes trying to open the door with anything I could get my hands on. Luckily Alan returned home from work just in time to kick open the door (that's my hubby) and found Nora's dresser on the ground and our sweet little Nora scared to death in her crib.

We're still not sure exactly what happened, but we're certain that God had his guardian angels protecting our little girl as somehow she escaped the incident with only a bruise on her cheek.

Here are a couple pics to document her battle wound. The first was taken about an hour after everything had happened and then second before bedtime that night.

Needless to say we're telling everyone that has children to 1)flip your door handles around so the locks are on the outside (it will save you a heart attack) and 2)bolt your furniture to the wall. We of course learned these two lessons the hard way... as with much of life...but we're making our mission to encourage others not to make the same mistakes.

Nora is recovering quite well.

And lastly... I've recently trained our new Keurig Barista... and I LOVE it!!!

Here's a (fairly lengthy) video of one of her earlier coffee making endeavors.

Stay tuned for an Elsie update soon!


Steph's Pick | Top Kids Snacks

Aug 12, 2011

Ever since Nora started eating solid foods it seems as if my diaper bag has become more of a snack bag. And I'm not saying that I just stick a large container of puffs in the diaper bag and call it good. I'm talking lots of different kinds of snacks!

You see one thing I've learned is that it is especially important with spirited/strong-willed children to give them options. For example: Do you want to wear your pink or yellow bib? Do you want to climb into the car by yourself or have mommy help you? Would you like to color or play with your ice cream set? Would you like apples or grapes? Or peas or corn? The list is endless. I probably give my sweet little Nora 50 different decisions to make any given day. I'm still choosing the two options but she is then making the final decision.

The reason I mention this is because this is the exact reason why if you took a peak into my diaper bag you'd find 5+ snack options. :)

Recently I posted a "Mama Question of the Night" on Facebook (I've been doing this ever since Elsie was born simply to encourage moms to share their experiences on various topics). The question was : What are some healthy snacks you give your kids on the go?

Below is a Top 10 List of Healthy Kids Snacks. Some are idea's submitted via Facebook and others are one's taken from my bag of tricks (or bag of snacks...hehe).

Top 10 Healthy Kids Snacks
  • Nuts - pistachios, pecans, etc. Note: be sure to take special note of the child's age and allergy recommendations for this snack. We buy the large bag of de-shelled pistachios from Costco and it's great.
  • Fruit Leathers/ Cliff Fruit Twists
  • Frozen Fruit - I love this - especially for the summer. Stick grapes, berries and melon in the freezer in little baggies. Grab one before heading out the door to be used later for a cool refreshing snack.
  • Cheese - string cheese, sticks of cheddar cheese, etc.
  • Apple Slices - My new favorite thing is the pre-sliced apples from Costco. They last forever and require no prep work. Very easy for an on the go snack.
  • Frozen Go-Gurt - Freeze gogurt like a Popsicle.
  • Dried Fruit - raisins, cranberries, cherries...you name a fruit and I'm sure you can get it dried (or DIY if you're super motivated).
  • Veggies Sticks - Alright... I'll admit. These aren't the most healthy things in the world but Nora just loves them. You can buy them in a uber-large bag at Costco.
  • Mini Peppers - Nikki says they sell them at Costco (totally going to have to try this).
  • Puffs/Cheerios - a staple for lots of moms.
Do you have any healthy snack ideas to add to this list? Comment below.


Steph's Pick | Bacon Wrapped Dates

Aug 6, 2011

Eh??? I'm sure that's what you were thinking when you read that I was blogging about Bacon Wrapped Dates! Although I'm a self professed lover of anything wrapped in bacon, the minute I heard the word "date" I wasn't (initially) interested.

However, I was introduced to these little sweet and savory bites at last month's Scottsdale Cooking Club (thanks Claire) and because I've decided I'd try EVERYTHING at our SCC meetings, I grabbed one for my plate.

Let me tell you folks.... these are DELICIOUS! And so easy to make. So easy that I've already made them and have plans to make them again really soon.

Thanks again Claire for introducing me to this super easy appetizer!


1 16-ounce package of Applewood Smoked bacon (regular thickness-not thick cut), cut into thirds
1 8-ounce package of pitted dates
  1. Wrap each individual date in a strip of bacon until each date is fully wrapped then place toothpick in the center to hold the bacon and date together.
  2. Place tin foil on a cookie sheet pan and then a cookie cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet pan. Place your bacon wrapped dates on top of the cookie rack and broil until bacon is fully cooked. (Keep a close eye on them so they don't burn)
  3. Once they are cooked take out and cool for 5-10 minutes.
Makes 25-30 bacon wrapped dates.


what's in a name? | elsie

Aug 2, 2011

~above pillow designed and created by a dear friend, Amy J.~

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
- Proverbs 22:1

After Elsie was born a number of you asked how we came up with her name. Well wait no longer...Here's how...

There were a number of things we took into consideration when deciding on her name:

- Does it "go" with Nora?
- Is it popular?
- Does the meaning align with something we believe in?
- Do we like it?

We started looking for names on the Social Security Administration Baby Names Website. First we searched the Top 200 names of the 1880s. Obviously Nora is a bit "older" name (although it is making a come-back) so we went as far back as the SS Website would take us. And that's where we "met" the name Elsie (#55).

Although I liked it a bit more than Alan (he had some coming around to do), neither of us had ever
a) heard of the name (no - we hadn't ever heard of Elsie the Cow) or
b) know anyone with the name Elsie.

So it met a number of our qualifications right from the start... it "went" with Nora, wasn't too popular and we liked it.

Now for the meaning....

Elsie - my God is a vow or God's promise


Our prayer is that Ms. Elsie Grace will grow up to fully understand the many promises that our great God has given to those who trust in His Son Jesus! And that she would come to know the incredible grace given to us in Christ Jesus. May these things be the aroma of our homes and our hearts. Amen!

And a sweet little video of the little peanut...


a baby shower {for michelle}

Aug 1, 2011

No two words get me much more excited than the words BABY SHOWER!

Honestly... what can be better than the new mom-to-be glow mixed with a good party to honor that special lady?

Upon hearing that my sweet friend, Michelle, was expecting, I immediately started thinking "What kind of baby shower would she like?!" You see one of my very favorite parts of planning a shower is considering what the mom-to-be might like and not like.

Here were the things I knew about Michelle after having known her for going on 8 years...

Dislikes: Cheesy Games, anything that puts a lot of attention on her, anything boring/dull (because she's as far from those two words as anyone I can think of)

Likes: Delicious and well displayed food, tasteful decor

So... we browsed the web and came up with a Dessert & Drinks party idea with a Teal, Black and White theme.

The "event" started off with this invitation...

Here are a few pics of the food {and decor}...

Here's the menu:
Mini Cappuccino Mousse cups
Mini Chocolate Mousse cups with raspberry garnish
Chocolate Peanut Butter cups
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Strawberry Marscapone tartlets with balsamic reduction
Key lime tartlets
Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate shavings
Brie with orange fig spread
Creamy Roquefort w/ Bordeaux Cherries

And this is the best picture of the drinks that I got. We served White Wine Sangria, Blue Hurricanes and Jones Soda Co. Sodas (raspberry lemonade and cream soda flavors).

And it just wouldn't be a party without a group pic:

Shout out to Jennifer R for the AWESOME food, Brittany for the great decorations, Lindsay for hosting and Denise for working out the logistics of the game. Working with a "team" of ladies is the best!

We couldn't be more happy for Mike and Michelle and can't wait to meet Baby Boy B. in a little over a month.

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