Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Cousins.  We are blessed with cousins and I am so grateful.  I didn't grow up with a lot of cousins but my kids sure are.  I love it!  

Here is a recent photo of almost all the cousins (except Hope & Ameena).  Sadly it's a little blurry, but at least everyone is looking!

And while I LOVE all these dear kids let me point out one.  Savannah Grace.  She is a total joy and excellent help.  I tell Allison I could sell her door-to-door.  I'm pretty sure all I need is an 11 year-old to make my life complete. :)  I thank God all these girl cousins have such a great example in her.  Here she is cheesin' it up for the camera.  Love you Savannah!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

.even on gloomy days.

The rain started today just as we were about to leave to run errands which made me THANKFUL for these:

As we drove home this afternoon the sunset was breathtaking.  The sky was painted an abundance of colors.  Sadly I didn't have my camera.  But I got a quick shot in my backyard before the last of the light when down.

And finally I am thankful for online shopping!  Shopping with 3 small kids is no small feat.  So it makes me excited to see these presents being delivered to my door!

Monday, November 22, 2010


My friend, Laura, is taking the week to photograph things she is thankful for.  She invited others to join with her so I thought I would give it a shot.

Today, I am thankful for peek-a-boos.  Even peek-a-boos that color their belly green and are covered in the chocolate chip cookie he stole off the counter.  The peek-a-boo represents the many sweet moments I get to enjoy with my kids everyday.  And this photo helps me to stop and remember to be grateful for those precious times.  It also helps during those times like today when I was scrubbing my white velvet curtains that had been splattered with pomegranate juice.  You take the good, you take the bad! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Life Changing

Want to know two words that have changed my life?

olive oil & sea salt

ok so that may be a little dramatic but they have transformed our dinner time.
Suddenly my kids are devouring their vegetables. All it took was some oil and salt and a hot oven.
Here are our favorite veggie recipes at our house. Sometimes my kids eat the whole pan before we get the rest of the food on the table. I admit our kids have always eaten veggies. But now they actually ask for seconds. Or at least 3 out of 4 but that is still good odds. I hope you enjoy them too. All of these recipes are from my favorite healthy food blogger.
They all call for celtic sea salt. Which I use but I am sure you can use regular salt as celtic sea salt is about 10x the price as regular.

Lemon Kale Chips - The first time I made this my kids thought I said kettle chips and they were mad when I pulled it out of the oven.

1 bunch kale (washed and dry)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Chop kale into ½ inch pieces
  3. Place kale in a large bowl
  4. With hands massage oil, lemon juice and salt into kale
  5. Place kale on parchment lined baking sheet
  6. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes until kale is dark green and crispy
  7. Cool and serve
Oven Roasted Broccoli-- This is my favorite!
1 bunch broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  1. Wash and cut broccoli into smallish pieces with long stems
  2. Toss broccoli in a large bowl with olive oil and salt
  3. Spread broccoli out on a parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes until tender and slightly browned
  5. Serve
Baked Carrot Oven French Fries - these taste like sweet potato fries
6 large carrots- I use baby carrots and cut them even smaller.
2 tablespoons
olive oil
½ teaspoon
celtic sea salt
  1. Cut each carrot into 2-inch long sections
  2. Cut each section into thin sticks
  3. In a large bowl toss carrot sticks with olive oil and salt
  4. Spread out carrot sticks on a parchment paper baking sheet
  5. Bake at 425° for 18-22 minutes until carrots are browned

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall colors + time with my man = B.L.I.S.S.

Every year I am so thankful that we go married in Fall.  There is no prettier time in TN than Fall.  So it's always so fun to celebrate our anniversary this time each year.  This year we spent two nights in Gatlinburg.  We hit up the outlets, ate lots of yummy food, and hiked the 8 miles of Charlies Bunion.  Oh and watch Alabama beat TN but we won't reminisce about that. 

We only had a small point and shoot so these pictures don't do it justice.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Truly breathtaking.

On our way up - 

Reached the top!

Taking a coffee break.

We always get a frasier fir for our Christmas tree.  They were all on the trail so I loved the smell!  It made me excited for the holidays.

I'm so thankful to be married to my best friend for 9 years.  Love you babe!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An impromptu family session.

As we were driving to a family reunion a few weeks ago (in the middle of no-mans-land) we spotted this cool building.  So we stopped for a quick family photo shoot.

My two favorite Hunters. :)

Loving him more than ever.

They look so sweet in these pics, don't they?  Don't be fooled. :)

As much as I LOVE taking pics I rarely get any decent ones of my own family.  So this was a fun surprise.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I don't know what you've been told...

but two little boys turned another year old.

Judd just turned 2 and Jonathan turns 3 next week.  Last year we had them a party together and it worked out so well we did it again.  Allison and I were in Gymboree earlier this summer and saw these shirts.  And just like that a camo party was born!

Unlce Scott showed up with real camo face-paint.

David and Kent set up a little boot-camp course in our backyard.

First up army crawl.

Then a little balance test.

Running to the next event.

Jonathan was so worried about his hat falling off.

Through the ladder.

Grab the rope...

and JUMP!

Next up was target practice.

I got trampled on by the kids while trying to take the cake photos.  So these are the best I got. :)

Bec showed up with these adorable outdoor tents she built for the boys.

Enjoying a ride in the new wagon.

Special thanks to Auntie who drove 3 hours to only be here for 30 minutes.  Thanks Auntie!  

An attempt to get all 12 kiddos.

Thanks to everyone who came.  We are very grateful and undeserving of you all!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heathy Cookies anyone?

So, what is up with all these blog post? I guess I have to attribute it to my addiction to my new Mac. I'm pretty sure Chad regrets buying it for me.

Emilee informed me that healthy cookies are kind of like fat free ice cream. What's the point?
And yes I agree but when you are avoiding gluten and dairy you get excited about the word cookie. And these are really good. I haven't had a real cookie in awhile and they aren't Mrs Cricket's Chocolate chip cookies but they are Heathy! Or at least that is what the title says :)

I made a batch and they were gone that day. I know that is saying much in my house full of big eaters but we all loved them. And if you don't like them then I'll give you Mrs Cricket's recipe. No one can resist those. This recipe came from the blog


Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop up 2/3 of a bar of Scharffen berger 70%. I sort-of shaved half the bar with a knife and then cut the rest into bigger chip-sized chunks. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out GF oats.

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Thing about blogs

I've had a lot of people ask me how I have time to build a playhouse. Well, that is the thing about blogs. They only show half the story. I didn't post pictures of me dragging my kids around town to sell and buy things off craigslist. Or Chad and I getting into a conflict or my laundry pile. I just showed you our smiling kids and a finished playhouse. So here is how I had time to build a playhouse.

1 I didn't do it myself. -If my Dad hadn't come up for that week and work like a dog it would be far from done. Chad and I also spent many Saturdays working on the siding and trim.

2 I like to build things- We make time for what we like to do. Maybe it's sewing, watching football, or taking pictures. There is something that you make time for.

3 It was summer- So we weren't doing school and my kids played outside while we were working on it. We did skip a lot of pool days and park times to stay at home and I felt like we missed out on a lot of summer.

4 My house is messy- and my laundry is overflowing. I'm not saying this is right. It's just the truth.

5 I used nap times- from 2-4 everyday at our house is rest/ nap time. Not everyone naps but everyone stays in their bed. My kids think that is how the world functions everything shuts down for 2 hours. - please don't tell them any different.

So when you read blogs and wonder how they get it all done, know that they don't. They are just posting the good parts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Playhouse

Maybe it was all the Punky Brewster I watched growing up but I've always loved playhouses. I know hers was a treehouse but who has threes like that? There is just something magical about being a kid and having a little house of your own. As a kid my friends and I converted an old smokehouse behind my dad's house to a playhouse. We spent the whole summer out there.

So now that I have kids of my own of course I started dreaming of getting a playhouse for them. I chased a few on craigslist and got a quote from someone for building one but I was either too late or they were too expensive. Then in the spring I fell in love with the blog Literally I fell in love. Making furniture is something I have always wanted to to do but didn't know where to start. I was so excited after discovering the blog that I called Chad right away. And being the sweet husband that he is took me to Home Depot that night to get stuff for my first picnic table. After the first project I was hooked. I made a few picnic tables, a side table and a coffee table . I even got a miter saw for Mothers day.

Then Ana posted a plan for a playhouse. And suddenly my dream started to become a reality. The only problem was her playhouse was designed to be built on a swing set and was a little small for 4 kids and 7 nieces and nephews. Plus I wanted to be able to play in it. I decided to expand it and make it taller. I was constantly thinking and planning it. I wanted to make it as cheap as possible. I bought the siding, windows, shingles and door off craigslist at a fraction of the cost. We rescued a ton of wood from our neighbors deck that they tore up to put in a pool. After a few months I had collected all the materials that I needed to make the playhouse. Now all I needed was some help.
I recruited the hardest working retired man I know, my dad. He came up for a week in the middle of July and worked his but off. Some days for 12 hours. We got a lot done that week. And between the 95 deg weather and putting on shingles we both lost weight. Chad helped when he got home from work and David and Kent came over one evening to help out. Then Chad and I finished the rest over the last 2 months whenever we had time.

When Dad arrived I had already made the base and framed one wall. I was afraid he would talk me out of making it so big. 8x10 with a 2.5 foot porch. Noticed the reused wood.
At the end of day 1. Looking good
End of Day 2
Figuring out the roof was tricky. It ended up being 9' tall inside.
This is what it looked like on Friday when Dad went home.
Notice the windows are taller. I freaked out that I had put them too low and moved them up.
I forgot to take pictures as Chad and I were working on the siding. But here it is almost finished.
I had to put a loft inside it. It's the kids favorite part.
The inside is still bare. But of course I have plans for it too. I just hope Chad doesn't read this. :)
Finally finish. Well almost there is still some touch up to do.
Our whole family spent the night in it on Friday. It is a good thing that I made it so big because it fit a queen size air bed, a pack and play and Rylee and Jake slept on the loft.
I love it and I know we will have many family memories in it. Thanks Dad for all your help!

Oh and go over to Ana's blog and vote for my project. She has a weekly contest and the winner gets a $50 gift card to Lowes! My favorite store. Just scroll down and click the heart next to my project. Thanks