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Barefoot in the Park



Interior designer by day, wannabe foodie by night. I'm a wife, boy-mom, and lover of the simple pleasures and everyday inspiration daily life brings.



Updated: 2017-07-23T04:13:28.956-04:00

 



my perfect cup of coffee.

2015-05-25T16:46:09.936-04:00

I'm A few months back my husband & I decided we needed an upgrade to our morning cup of joe. The bargain brand we'd been drinking since we got married just wasn't cutting it any longer. Lets be honest, we're parents of two kids two & under ... we definitely need a coffee boost to fuel our mornings these days. Off we went to the coffee aisle at Whole Foods and stood there puzzled for what seemed like an eternity. (An eternity is relative when you have a toddler who doesn't want to sit still in the cart.) The choices were endless. Origin, roast, fair trade, organic, blends ... what exactly does all of that mean? I was clueless as to where to begin.{Mac was so overwhelmed with coffee choices (& vegetables) he promptly fell asleep.} I read the bags but it still didn't compute. Ford's patience wore out & I grabbed a bag that had a pretty picture on the label and off we went. What I grabbed was a definite upgrade from our former standby, but it just wasn't the one. I was excited when the makers of the SmartCoffee app reached out to me, just in my time of need! SmartCoffee is a super handy tool that teaches you to truly understand what goes into crafting the perfect cup of coffee. The app is full of beautiful photos, interesting facts, & is the perfect place to look up all those buzz words that were Greek to me. My favorite part? The quiz. After answering a few simple questions about mouthfeel, acidity, & flavor profiles that fit your particular tastes, the app prepares the information into blend suggestions & tells you what to look for when purchasing coffee. There even is a handy "buy now tool" too that suggests custom blends from Thanksgiving Coffee Company. My results suggested I try a light roast blend, with a little vienna & french roasts for balance. The Gorilla Fund coffee from Rwanda was my perfect fit, from cup one. Want to find your perfect cup too? Download the app or visit the web version at Thanksgiving Coffee Company, then leave me a comment telling me about your favorite mug from which you drink your morning coffee. I'll pick one lucky commenter to win a bag of beans tailor made to their taste buds! Winner will be announced Friday May 29th. ---Full disclosure, I was sent a coupon code for one bag of coffee in exchange for reviewing & posting about the Smart Coffee app. All opinions are my own.[...]



It's 4 o'clock somewhere.

2015-05-22T11:23:40.057-04:00

Here I sit on my front stoop supervising "the fruit goblin" strategically emptying his little tikes truck of an afternoon worth of rain water in a "mommy time out." It's been one of those afternoons where a few minutes to myself are non existent & the two year old 'tude has been in full force. Even the dog ganged up on me by counter surfing for some oatmeal muffins* I made for the neighbor with a new baby.

Today called for a a recipe that required a beer & a half, & clearly the other half is in my hand on my front porch while the short ribs braise. They were quite yummy & fresh ... Thumbs up Braised Beef Tacos, with beer

 ( * I pretty much love how you can have oatmeal based anything after having a baby & entitle them "lactation cookies" & claim they are to boost your supply for the baby. At least, that's my story & I'm sticking to it.) 



Baby Mac.

2015-04-29T14:53:47.190-04:00

When your water breaks you aren't having contractions, your bag is packed, and the house is cleaned your mind tends to think of important things like, "man I really want a cheeseburger" on your way to the hospital. This was my experience when my first born, Ford was born. I should have known something was up when, at 9:30 pm, while watching your favorite basketball team play you crave greek yogurt chicken salad with almonds and grapes.(Sidebar: I cleaned up my eating habits immensely between pregnancies, can you tell?)Seeing as I had no progress at my appointment earlier that day and I was 37 weeks 4 days along, I didn't think anything but, "weird pregnancy craving for protein," made my snack, enjoyed it, then off to bed I went. Somewhere around 2AM my stomach was in fits & my brain was saying "DARN YOU STOMACH FOR CRAVING CHICKEN SALAD AT 9:30 AT NIGHT." I was so uncomfortable that I got up, went into the den to watch some garbage TV & pinned spring & summer clothes for Ford. It took me a little while to realize these stomach cramps were coming at regular intervals. You see as I mentioned before, no natural contractions with Ford so even though I was a more seasoned pregnancy veteran this go round, it took me a little while to realize the discomfort I was feeling was real deal labor. They kept coming & when I had the ah-ha moment to time the suckers, they were under 5 minutes apart, after of course the OB had told me mere hours before with my second baby to give them a call when contractions are 6-7 minutes apart. Oops. So I awoke the husband around 5AM & said I thought it was go time, I was going to take a shower & pack my bag. (sidebar: don't wait until your contractions are under 5 minutes apart to pack your bag. that was painful, "real real painful" said in my best rap voice.)At six I called the doctor & he said I could head to the hospital or wait until the office opened at 8 to get checked, just go with my gut since it was my second go round. So in true bird fashion I waffled. I called Grandma CC & asked her to please go ahead & come I thought it was go time, but I still left the asterisk that "it's still pretty early, I bet these will go away." (sidebar: ha. labor brain is way worse than pregnancy brain.)So she arrived, I struggled with if I should wake Ford or not since he wasn't up for the day yet, & then it hurt so bad I could tell the tears were going to start flowing any minute now. We gathered our gear & headed for the husbands ride that needed gas. Seriously. (sidebar: my last labor the back glass was taken off his car to repair, this time no gas. I should have seen this coming.)As soon as we hit the highway for the 10 minute (anticipated to be excruciating) trip to the hospital the contractions slowed down. So we went in search of gas which was in itself a comedy of errors. Gas does not seem to exist near my hospital before seven am. But folks who clearly haven't been to bed yet do. If those contractions hadn't come raging back with a vengeance I would have found this all hysterical.(sidebar: i didn't. it hurt.)So we get to the hospital & check in, stopping every 2-3 minutes for said doubling over pain, and I still believed they are going to send me home. (dummy.)It was the real deal & I got admitted to a L&D room pretty quickly. I labored a while longer before asking for the good stuff & then came the real big stick (that was nothing compared to those contractions.) Well the epidural didn't work. Some mambo jumbo about about a void from last time & nerve endings yada yada... I really don't remember this part because it hurt. Screaming cursing hurt. So the anesthesiologist came back, gave me a bolus to see if that work work and guess what, it didn't. There were more tears & more technical descriptions or what was going on of which I could care less. He finally decided to replace my epidural much higher in my back & within minutes sweet relief. It was a good thing to[...]



a fresh start.

2015-04-27T01:52:28.353-04:00

I have a secret. 

I (kinda) like Mondays.


These days I LOVE Friday afternoons (and Saturdays & Sundays,) but Mondays  are a fresh clean start. The "I CAN DO ANYTHING" day before the to-do list gets longer & more overwhelming towards the end of the week. 

Today is Monday for BitP. I've been struggling with blogging & how much it's changed since I started, but my husband reminded me this weekend that this is the beautify of the Internet, it can be exactly what you want it to be, without any expectations. Just be you & write what you want. It's my space, my outlet. 

An outlet I have missed. So for now, I'm throwing my hat back into the ring. I can't promise daily posts, or even weekly sometimes. But I can promise there will be love, laughter, & life adventures surrounded by my boys. 






 



{menu monday} with a side of flexibility & grace.

2015-01-12T20:32:08.466-05:00

"Ford love, let's not pour mommy's fancy granola into Pete's bowl." There is never a dull moment in our house with a tall toddler & his spotted sidekick. {Pete is never very far behind his brother}I honestly believe that flexibility is 100% key when mapping out your weekly meal plan. Maybe you've had a crazy day & you need to switch to something super easy. Or "the baby" is craving both lasagna & a philly cheese steak sandwich simultaneously. Give yourself some grace & don't afraid to be creative & adapt recipes as a guideline for what you may have on hand. You might just surprise yourself!Monday:Pasta Primavera w/ BaconI planned on making this fabulous Bacon, Leek, & Butternut Squash pasta last weekend but the aforementioned craving struck hard. So I adapted the recipe to what leftover veggies from last week I had on hand (red pepper, carrots, leeks, & zucchini) ... & voila ... a tasty meal without waste. Tuesday:Peppery Shrimp w/Grits & Greens{Cooking Light -- January 2014}Wednesday:Black Bean, Butternut, & Collard QuesadillasThursday:Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup~~~~~~~ Hit-o-Last-Week:Hands down the Kung Pao Zoodles. I know I know you've been hearing all about vegetti & zoodles and everyones spiralizer since Santa came down the chimney. But it's the truth. This was a hit with everyone & for a noodle loving lady, the zoodles really did make a nice healthy alternative.{The Prepped Goods}{The Finished Goods. Nom Nom Nom}Happy Cooking![...]



Five Favorites for Friday

2015-01-09T15:05:57.770-05:00

1. Balela Salad from Costco. Let me start by saying I am not a "Costco person." Honestly sometimes I drive by and see how full the parking lot is & it give me hives. I re-joined about 6 months ago for two main reasons: my child loves GoGo Squeeze Pouches & Veggie Straws. It is so much easier to have bulk quantities on hand than multiple grocery runs with an active toddler & growing belly. Since joining the dark side I've discovered several products that cater to my moonbeam tendencies & are actually way more affordable in larger quantities (hello Kerrygold butter.) Usually I stick to the list on my bi-monthly trips but I picked up this salad on a whim & I'm glad I did. It's protein packed & easy to grab for lunch or a snack (add 1/2 an avocado & some feta cheese on a pita for lunch ... mmm.) Cheers to you, dark side! You've got me hooked on one more thing.{That's my big beauty on the easel in the middle! | www.instagram.com/jnkarampelas}2. Contemporary Art by Jennifer Flannigan.We decided to commission a contemporary piece of art for our family room & kicked off 2015 with it atop our mantle. Jennifer's pieces are creative, colorful, & just plain beautiful. I can't wait to get it hung this weekend to complete our family room!{30 week belly + a good book}3. The Library ListIt's the netflix que for books. I have been a total slacker in terms of reading lately & wanted to make books a priority in 2015. I've been so beat by the end of the day with this pregnancy that all I could do was crawl into bed with netflix & mindlessly soak in the tube. I placed a few suggested/more popular books on my library request list late last fall & honestly had totally forgotten about it. Enter a little email telling me "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes was ready for pickup, & just like that, I'm hooked on the books again. My brain thanks me. 4. Clean Mama.Overwhelmed. That's the best way to describe how I felt about keeping my house clean & tidy. Every time I felt like I accomplished anything, it got undone almost immediately. Additionally the idea of waking up Saturday mornings, a day that should be family focused, & cleaning for hours put me in a bad mood. I came across the clean mama weekly plan & it's revolutionized my routine. It suggests manageable daily tasks so you never have to have a day long cleaning marathon. Is my house always neat, clean, & tidy now? Heck no. But every week theres a fresh start & ideas to handle tasks quickly.  {www.instagram.com/flora.forager}5. Flora.Forager on InstagramSimple, Elegant, & Inspired florals that will make you smile. I promise.[...]



{Menu Monday} Zoodles, Grapefruit, & Collards (oh my)

2015-01-05T14:05:45.175-05:00

That would be a super gross combination, yes?Over the past year or so I've found that if I sit down & plan our meals for the week, & get all the shopping done everything runs much more smoothly. The budget is adhered to, food doesn't go bad in the fridge, & home cooked meals are good for the soul (& waistline.) I had a trusty planner I'd been using to template out the weeks but thought 2015 needed a fresh face taped to my fridge and I came across this little cutie, thanks to the super creative folks at elephantshoe.  Let's pretend that I'm not out of printer ink (again) & you have a pretty picture of my week of meals laid out neatly for this first full week of January 2015. Monday:Kung Pao Chicken ZoodlesTuesday:Hambone SoupWednesday:Grapefruit, Avocado, Shrimp SaladThursday:Pork Chops + Collard GreensFriday: Butternut Squash + Bacon Pastaw/green saladYou can find links to most recipes on my Pinterest board "What's for Dinner?"~~~~~~~~~~And might the nearly 30 week pregnant lady suggest for a snack...No Bake Energy BitesAdapted from Gimmie Some Oven-I left out the coconut & upped the oatmeal content. Big hit in my house![...]



Le Grand Vacation.

2014-09-09T16:15:59.599-04:00

Putting a little french twist on things makes it seem more exciting, yes? 

Hmm, didn't fool you? Smart readers. My last post coincided with the last week of Mom's Morning Out. My first post back comes after visit #3 to Mom's Morning Out. Coincidence? I think not. 

I wish I could say we led a glamorous life galavanting about this summer but I cannot. While there were some wonderful jaunts to the coast & the high country we've spent the last 2 months in the trenches.  The morning sickness trenches. 

The why-do-they-call-it-morning-sickness-anyway trenches. Don't get me wrong, while it hasn't been fun I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I know it will be worth it come March (or July when we're in a routine again) when I have a 2 year old little boy & a newborn. 

In a nutshell we've had a pretty quiet July & August laying low. My adventures dragging myself to the park or grocery store are less than blogworthy. But as I strike a match & light my pumpkin candle for the first time, I'm looking forward to fall. To leaving the sickies behind & celebrating my favorite season. 

Cheers!

{Last summer hiking adventure before the sickies hit!}



Honey Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

2014-05-13T21:04:42.916-04:00

2014 has been a year in which I've really focused on what goes into my mouth & the mouths of my family. I've been steadily working to cut out un-necessarily processed ingredients & trying to clean up eating habits in general. I'm not gung-ho on any one food fad or another, just more aware of real food. One of the small changes I started with was butter. I replaced my go to grocery store sticks with grass fed (sometimes organic) butter. (These cookies were made with Kerrygold brand.) Y'all, the real stuff is SO MUCH BETTER and more satisfying than the other. Now I'm not saying I eat a ton if it, but a tiny bit goes a long way in terms of the yum factor.

I decided to bake a sweet treat for my uncle-in-law, but wanted to keep my new eating focus in mind. Out went the white & brown sugar (I can honestly say I've never baked without these pantry staples before.) In came the raw honey I picked up last weekend on a trip to Asheville. With a little creativity & lots of honey-substitution research my trusty shiny red KitchenAid mixer made fluffy, chewy, deliciously satisfying cookies. Are they a health food? No. Am I pretending they are? Nope. They fulfilled a sweet tooth craving and didn't make me feel guilty about it. The recipe is for a smaller batch, yielding 1-2 dozen, depending on how big your drops are. Enjoy!






a little off the top, a little off the bottom, & definitely a pop ofcolor.

2014-04-28T06:00:03.337-04:00

You thought I was talking about a new hairdoo didn't you? Nope. I'm talking about shutters in the first installment of posts chronicling "before & after" projects on our 1960's ranch-style home we've been renovating since January.  {Before}I am a big advocate for proper scale & proportion. Just like Golidlocks, I needed to find the right fit when starting to spruce up the exterior. I felt like the shutters were just too long for the overall height of the house & size of the windows. And while I'm at it, so was the light fixture. Generally I feel like the solid wood building materials on older homes are of much better quality than those you get today, so I didn't want to go the replacement shutter route. I asked my very handy Dad if shortening the shutters would be an option. Since they were louvered, he thought it wouldn't be too difficult to do.  So my wacky idea was added to our long to-do list, & waited for a warmer spring weekend to tackle it.{1st Update: New Doors!}I am lucky & quite thankful to have a handy & knowledgeable husband and family. While the hubs tackled spreading new topsoil and grass seed, my dad, "Daddy J" in grandparent speak, hung the newly shortened shutters. "Cece" (my mom in grandparent speak), Ford, & I headed to my favorite garden center to pick out flowers and a couple new coconut liners for my window boxes. It can be overwhelming trying to decide which plants to fill your window boxes with for spring & summer. You have to take into account maintenance, water, & light. Being my first summer in this house I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. All winter the front of my house got a great amount of sun, but that was without the canopy of leaves the big old oak tree provides in the summer. The first step was to select a color palette. I knew I wanted bright pops of warm colors to go with my aqua door. Coral was my first choice but wasn't easy to find in the window box appropriate flowers for my varied light levels. We played with color & texture combinations as long as a pouchy kept Ford happy in his stroller, and ended up with a nice grouping that follows the "golden rule" of container gardening:THRILL, SPILL, & FILLRecipe for The Perfect Windowbox {at least at my house!}++ Thrillers ++Dracena Spike{dark green & grass-like}++ Spillers ++Dwarf Marguerite Sweet Potato Vine {lime green}++ Fillers ++Madness Rose Petunia{flowers hot pink}Dusty Miller{grey/green interesting leaves}Easter Bonnet Violet Alyssum{small purple flowers}Quartz White Verbena{fluffy white flowers}Bandito Orange Sunrise Lantana{orange & yellow cluster flowers}Orange Gerbera Daisys{shorter shutters, Pete peeking out the window, colorful window boxes, & a new light fixture...hooray!}Sidenote:Have you checked out your local habitat restore? I picked up that light fixture for $15! I liked the aqua patina & size. When mom helped me clean it up (not nearly as pretty on the shelf) she discovered its solid copper. I looked up a new similar sized one and it sold for $400! [...]



Body After Baby.

2014-04-22T13:47:06.018-04:00

Im a rather realistic person generally speaking. I didn't expect to push out a tiny human & then magically go back to my old self again. It took 10 months get this way, so I gave myself 10 months to get back. {Mothers Day, 2013}Turns out I wasn't a magic breast feeding weight dropper. I wasn't a magic post-breast feeding weight dropper either. I knew I was going to have to work for it. I started Stroller Strides when the little man was about 10 weeks old. You wouldn't believe what impact a positive group of moms & some outdoor activity had on my (now admitted) baby blues. I achieved my goal in terms of number between the little mans 9th & 10th month. While the number made me happy, I still didn't feel as strong as I wanted and clothes just didn't fit the same way. A baby really does change everything.{Before & After: 8 week long session 1} I started a twice a week high intensity interval training program in January & began focusing on clean eating. I ate pretty healthy to begin with, so I didn't have too hard a time with the adjustment. I simply put more thought into what went in my mouth. Between the workouts & thoughtful food plan, today, on my little guys 13 month birthday, I am 15 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm wearing clothes from years ago. I feel so much stronger & have more stamina to keep up with a very active little man. And frankly I look forward to my weekly workouts & the incredible group of women I've gotten to know sweating alongside me.{Farm Days with the little man in COLLEGE JEANS, April 2014}I write this to you dear readers not to toot my own horn, but to share that a little bit of change can bring big impact. You don't have to pump yourself full of chemical drink concoctions, only eat bars, or even eat like a rabbit to reach your goal. Just like with all aspects of life, it's all about balance. {Easter Afternoon, April 2014 -- 12 weeks total of Body Back }[...]



Big Weekend Plans? HA.

2014-04-07T11:41:51.348-04:00

I count my blessings every Saturday that I am not a golf or hunting widow. I feel incredibly lucky this super rainy (yay wash away pollen) Monday morning that a solo weekend away isn't a regular occurrence for my husband. Twas the weekend with all sorts of fun mom & little guy adventures that wasn't. It started on a major high note. Thursday afternoon, prior to T's departure, I had a haircut & color appointment scheduled. You see, this is a REAL TREAT for me as when I sat down to schedule said appointment, I realized this hadn't happened since last June. Holy long hair batman. I was feeling a little sore & kinda off, but chalked it up to allergy season (and I had a killer high intensity work out the night before.) I walked into the salon and my husband (of the year) had a surprise in store for me; he arranged a mani-pedi along with my hair. I had a Coke Classic over pellet ice & a little pampering for the first time in 10 months. Holy moly did I feel like a million bucks.  {hot pink nails make everything better}{pre-dad leaving dinner. baby's first queso. i'd say he's a fan.}I started feeling a little off again once the sheer glee of feeling like a celeb wore off but still thought nothing of it. I awoke middle of the night with a low-grade fever, just enough of one to make you feel like gum on the bottom of your shoe. I send husband off to Savannah for the weekend thinking it will be 24 hours and I'll be fine. HA said the virus. {snuggles all around whilst breaking "no tv until your 2" with daniel tiger.}{mom, come on. get out of bed.}{no rest for mom. we have a climber & a dare devil on our hands.}Instead of parks trips & fun outings we had mom on the couch. And mom on the floor. And mom attempting to rally and failing. Luckily Advil & early bedtime became my BFF and we made it through our solo weekend. I even started to rally Sunday afternoon enough for a trip to the garden center & subsequent herb garden planting. I fought the funk & the funk one. But luckily only for a few days. After all, moms aren't allowed to get sick right?{big time digging}{wine box garden 2.0 ... with herbs!}[...]



The Park.

2014-03-31T15:38:23.392-04:00


What seems like both a lifetime ago & only just yesterday, I found my happy spot. The park where I fell in love. The place I spent many joyful hours playing with Pete. The spot where I took a teeny tiny baby on his first outing. The place that inspired the title of my (neglected) blog. The place where the little man now crawls & toddles around, with me chasing behind. I love how the path always seems to bring you back to your happy place.  










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The unfortunate odor.

2014-02-06T21:21:41.745-05:00

I have oh so much to be thankful for in general but today I am thankful for a home warranty. I noticed a slight back-up issue in my basement laundry sink last week but thought nothing of it at the time. I bounded down the stairs yesterday morning pre-exercise class with a basket full of dirties to be washed while I was out. One of the things I was jazz-hands excited for in our new house was a basement (still needing finishing but that's neither here nor there) laundry room. Complete with a deep laundry sink. I even got a fancy new HE high capacity washer/dryer duo I thought I could conquer the boy-mom laundry load with in a snap. Theoretical laundry nirvana for a cloth diapering mom. (Geeking out over laundry? WHO-AM-I?)

Anywhoover, I was greeted at the bottom of my stairs with a terrible smell. I was TERROR-STRICKEN (YES! I DID IT! I USED MY VERY FAVORITE 3RD GRADE SPELLING WORD IN A SENTENCE!) There was some sort of creature-from-the-black-lagoon like gunk hanging out in my laundry sink. I really have no words to describe it. I tried all my best un-trained plumber techniques including plunging while burying my nose in a sweatshirt & gagging. I skipped exercise class, and fought the sludge during an entire morning nap time. My efforts were fruitless. The sludge won. 

Thankfully I had 2 cards up my sleeve: 1. home warranty is sending out a real (hopefully non-gagging variety) plumber this morning. AND 2. I popped in my very favorite florist/gift shop on the way to check my PO box and picked up this lovely. 

It smells amazingly fresh & light. Very un-sludge like. I am one picky person when it comes to scented anything and this gets two thumbs up. So for now, we wait for that super annoying time-window for my own personal super-hero to arrive with his bag of tricks to conquer the monster living in my laundry sink.  And we leave my fancy-schmancy DIY dutch basement door in the closed & locked position until all sludge beasts are slain. 









New Year, New Home.

2014-02-06T08:18:49.434-05:00


For some (crazy) reason, I thought I was super-woman and could do it all in a few days & be back to "normal" within the week. Boy was I wrong. 





Moving isn't fun. Neither is renovating. Especially with a crawling baby. I think all those times I told clients in the middle of construction projects "I know it seems terrible now, but it will be worth it in the end" came back to bite me. Even though it's true, sometimes it's hard to see the light through the dust.





We'll friends, I've seen the light. We're in and starting to feel settled, at least in some rooms.  There is still lots to do & find, but it's a marathon to the finished product, not a sprint, that makes a house a home. 





So far we've replaced decorative moldings, doors, scraped a whole mess of popcorn ceilings, repainted, built bookcases, installed some new lighting, & hung a couple of (fabulous) wallpaper patterns.  There is still a laundry list of projects to be conquered, but all in due time (and due budget.) 





So for now, a few sneak peeks! Cheers to a new year & a new home full of DIY projects! 









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My State Rocks: a tale of TV & delishous-ness

2013-11-11T20:30:09.219-05:00

Have you checked out A Chef's Life yet on PBS? NO? Sit yourself in front of your tv or your Roku or iPad loaded with the PBS App now (or your next free moment, err, well several hours really.)

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Tune in, sit back, and enjoy. WELCOME TO MY STATE, and all the flavors it has to offer. The catchy Avett Brother intro signals the shows start immediately transports you to North Carolina. Chef Vivian & her soothing cadence & wonderful descriptions make the ingredients & dishes jump off the screen into your home. I love, appreciate, & celebrate her use of local & regional ingredients, sometimes in a unique & push-your-boundaries way. I have yet to travel "down east," as locals like to say, to try Chef & The Farmer, but it's high on my list (& the list of my grandmother-in-law who lives nearby.)

It's no secret our household is food centric. My husband & I love to cook all sorts of things, and there is rarely a dish we won't attempt (hey, there is always Chinese takeout if it fails!) I honestly believe that what makes the difference between a good meal & a great meal is what goes into it. We are so lucky to live where we have access to farm fresh & have found some local favorite sources we stock our pantry fridge, & deep freeze with.

I've decided this week on BitP shall celebrate my favorite local sources for ingredients, a la chef Vivian. I look forward to sharing my favorite seafood, meat, goat cheese, & tomato sauce sources with you this week!



Rockin My {Mom} World.

2013-10-15T20:49:36.802-04:00

 A Target trip. Sans stroller. Sans babywearing. 

Epic moment: solo cart sitting.
A moment that may or may not have brought a bittersweet tear to my eye. {How did 6 months pass so fast?} A moment that may or may not have led me to walk directly to the kidlet section & purchase a {questionably ugly} cart cover. {Eek, cart germs!}



Spotted on my latest drop in grocery shop:
 {which may or may not have led to the purchase of only wine & coffee creamer to which the bagger packed all in a handy wine carrier thankyouverymuch.}
Snowman lantern with pumpkins on his hat. How crazy is our retail world these days? 



Holy Hatch Batman! {Green Chile, Black Bean, & Chicken Enchiladas}

2013-10-11T20:06:08.388-04:00

Some of my favorite "imaginary internet friends," as my husband likes to call them, are lucky to live in Hatch Country. Every August their blogs come alive with pictures of Hatch Chile festivals & dishes. Not living anywhere near the mecca that is Hatch, NM I had to live with the canned imitators. When I learned that my brother in law would be making the drive back from NM this August I gave him explicit orders to procure & transport these magical green chiles across state lines. Best thing I've made with them thus far?Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas{adapted into a lighter version from my newly found blog-girl-crush Mel's Kitchen Cafe}Filing:3 Cups Cooked Chopped Chicken (I used a grocery grab-and-go rotisserie chicken)8 oz Canned Green Chile's, lightly drained8 oz Neufchatel Cheese Block, cubed (subbed in for true Cream Cheese as a lighter option)1 Can black beans, rinsed & drainedSauce:2 Tablespoons of butter1/2 Medium Vidella Onion, ChoppedGenerous handfull of Chopped Fresh Baby Spinach (optional, yet welcomed addition in our house.)2 Tablespoons of flour1/3 Cup Chicken Broth1/4 Cup Skim Milk1 14 oz Can of Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce1/2 Cup Light Sour CreamBlack Pepper to TasteYou'll also need:2 Cups of Monterey Jack Cheese (I was out & subbed in a little provolone/mozzarella blend, probably 3/4 a cup total. I love cheese as much as the next gal, but I really didn't miss the extra cheese it was so yummy. So, basically I'm saying: Cheese as you wish.)8 Medium Flour TortillasChopped Cilantro, if that's your thing (It's not mine. But the green would have looked pretty for sure.)The Method:1. Preheat your oven to 375.2. Combine the cream cheese & chiles in a medium bowl. If the cream cheese is room temperature, this process is much easier. Then add the chicken & black beans, stir to combine. Set aside.3. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. (Don't burn your onions!) (Sauté spinach with the onions halfway through the translucency process, if that's your thing.) Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Cook for about a minute while constantly stirring, until the onions & flour are really gummy. Slowly mix in the chicken broth & milk (I put them in one measuring cup for ease.) The mixture should start to get smooth & creamy in appearance. Cook over medium heat until smooth & bubbling.4. Remove skillet from heat, & stir in the enchilada sauce & sour cream. 5. Grease a 9x13 baking dish & place a thin layer of the creamy sauce on the bottom. Fill each tortilla with about a 1/2 cup of filling in the center, roll & place seam side down in your dish. Cover the top with creamy sauce. 6. Top with as much or as little cheese as your heart desires. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown & bubbly. [...]



the skinny on our stash {Cloth Diapers: 6 weeks - 6 months} {Part 1}

2013-10-10T16:39:02.381-04:00

When I decided to give cloth diapers a whirl & started adding to my stash last fall I got all the typical skeptical questions from family & friends. They all thought the money I spent ordering the colorful fluff would be a fleeting thought once the baby actually arrived. After defending my decision in the beginning I had a fire lit under me, thanks to my stubborn "prove-'em-wrong" streak. First Cloth DiaperGuess what? I did prove them wrong & it wasn't even painful in doing so. (My college self is cringing at the next sentence.) We love our cloth diapers. They're easy. They're in-expensive compared to disposable diapers when you look at it in a long term picture. They're good for the environment. AND, drumroll please, seem to make our son's fanny happy! No diaper rash incidents here while wearing cloth. (Only once have we had a tiny rash & it was this summer at the beach while wearing disposables.) The whole family loves them, even the dog. (Yes, he had a few run ins with disposables and boy that was an image I'd rather never revisit. Dogs are gross sometimes. And the innards of a used 'sposie are pretty darn gross too. Especially on carpet. You get the picture.) Getting bigger every day."Normal" families use Cloth Diapers now a days. Not just the uber crunchy-shop-exclusively-at-Whole-Foods-and-drive-Subarus- type of families. Wait a minute, I now drive a Subaru Outback. Throw this stereotype out the window! (See also: who am I?){grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long one. no interest in CD's? go ahead & wait for the next installment of BitP. I found some of my favorite bloggers posts on their adventures in CDs so incredibly helpful, you should check them out too: Elefantitas Alegres & Oh! Apostrophe & In No Simple Language }Upon lots of research, I decided on the following for our starter stash. I purchased most everything on special deals last Black Friday & End-Of-Year sales right after Christmas. - 8 Fuzzi Bunz Elite- 1 Bum Genius 4.0- 4 Bum Genius Freetime- 6 Charlie Bananas- 1 Rump-a-Rooz- 1 Kawaii (Freebie)All of our diapes are the one size pocket style, aside from the Freetimes, which are all-in-ones. I really like both kinds for different reasons. Pockets are nice because as our little guy has gotten bigger, I've been able to double the inserts for added absorbency. The all-in-ones are super easy, Dad loves them & always grabs first. I send these to Mom's Morning Out & they are our go-to nighttime diaper. Ford was just a little guy when he was born with pretty skinny legs so we opted to use newborn 'sposies until he gained a few lbs. I started with the Fuzzi Bunz when he was about 6 weeks old. The easy button adjusted elastic feature on both the back & legs was clutch. All my other diapers, despite saying were acceptable for his weight, were just too big for my long skinny guy. 2nd runner up for the super skinny stage was the Rump-a-Rooz. It adjusted pretty small & worked great.As he grew & filled out a bit, my favorites to grab changed too. I'm now a huge fan of the Bum Genius options (FB's are still #2), and hope to add a few more to our stash soon. The only diaper that I have yet to really like is the Charlie Bananas. I thought these were going to be a favorite to grab but they just never have been. Any blow outs we've had (only had a couple and they all seem to be in the car seat or Target ironically) have been while he's wearing CBs. These are usually reserved for laundry day (which I do about every other day. But that is for a [...]



What does The Fox say? {#Think/Able}

2013-09-26T09:03:35.387-04:00



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{inspiring reminder hangs on the fridge holding up our meal plan}



Our challenges don't define us. Our actions do.





I'll be watching Michael J. Fox's return to TV tonight, will you watch with me?





I'm inspired by his can-do attitude. His optimism is infectious. His determination is incredible.





My hope is that his return to TV shines a light & aids in the fight of a Parkinsons Disease.  A disease that means so much to my family.
I am bursting with pride at my little sister & her college friends. They are traveling for fall break to walk in "Stamp out Parkinson's 2013." They are walking in honor of our Dad. They are walking in honor of 2 other Dads fighting the disease too. Would you consider watching with me tonight & donating to her team, "because dad said so" ? {Enter that clever team name in the box to donate!}


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Ford is going to rock this super cute fox shirt today to support the cause.
Click here to learn more about the #think/able campaign & The Michael J Fox Foundation.






















It's the great pumpkin, little Ford.

2013-09-24T07:00:00.856-04:00

I love the fall. The weather. The food. The festivals. The decor. The coffee. The (pumpkin) beer. The clothes. The football. Everything.
One of my favorite things to do in this season of crunchy colorful leaves & cool crisp nights is pumpkin picking. There is just something about finding the perfect shape & stem. This activity is EXPONENTIALLY MORE FUN with a wee-one.
Little baby, little pumpkin.
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Little baby needed BIG PUMPKIN.
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Favorite family of pumpkins yet.
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Don't you think my frog needs a tiny witches hat? (I'll get right on that.)
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I fought the blog, & the blog won.

2013-09-23T20:49:06.267-04:00

I've been struggling with my blogging identity for a while and the result has been lack of posting. To me, what makes a great blog isn't how many followers of comments you get, it's having your own authentic corner of the interwebs.  Blogs get categorized into neat little blocks where you can be a design blogger, a lifestyle blogger, a foodie blogger, or a mommy blogger. My life & interests are just not that cut and dry. When I started writing BITP it was mainly my exciting adventures as a early 20 something with a sprinkling of DIY, decor, & food adventures. My life has evolved so much since the early days, I wasn't sure how to make that translate. I don't need to be categorized into any little box. This is my space to write & share my authentic self, and I'm excited to share again.


{Hey look, there's a photo of my baby that hasn't been posted on IG yet. BAM.}



Friday Five.

2013-08-09T11:41:54.527-04:00

{Linking up with A. Liz Adventures for a Friday Five!}1. Coupon + Store Sale usually means I'll give a product a shot if it sounds interesting & is nearly free. I'm a marketers dream, yes? Latest freebie find: Pom Hula. Tasty juice + a cute curvy bottle sporting a hula skirt? Win-Win.Image Credit: Pom2. We have real housewives style drama going on in my backyard. There are a handful of hummingbirds that tend to argue over their spot at the feeder. It's rather entertaining to watch them perch, survey the airspace, feed, & chase each other around. 3. If you could have dinner party with a special guest, who would it be? This week my answer is Ina Garten. Ford & I have become big fans of the barefoot contessa. She comes on TV during witching hour & I don't know if its her voice or the background music but it calms him right down, and makes me quite hungry!Future chef? Hanging in the bumbo on the kitchen floor (we follow directions.)4. Have you checked out "Drunk History" on Comedy Central (or hulu in our case?) Hilarity. PSA: Don't watch while chopping watermelon & cucumbers like I did. Giggles + knives don't mix.5. Speaking of cukes, I am digging an easy-peasy side dish BIG TIME this summer. Image Credit: Southern Bite4 Cucumbers, peeledMedium Vidella OnionEqual Parts Sugar & White Vinegar (I use 1/2 Cup of each)1/2 teaspoon of salt & pepper to tasteCombine, chill, & serve.[...]



August Accountability

2013-08-01T20:44:11.033-04:00


Here it is, the 8th month of 2013 and yet I've got a very January 1st plan. Fresh starts aren't just for the beginning of each year I say! In an attempt to regain control over what, at some points, has seemed like a year spinning faster & faster (& slightly out of control.) I figure if I put it out into the universe (or blogoverse) it will hold me accountable. Ready to set some August goals? 
In no particular order, here we go!

  1. Catch up on thank you notes. A task I like to pride myself on being typically on top of that has gotten buried. Lots of gratitude to be expressed from outpourings of baby joy, birthday love, & sympathy.
  2. Read one book for me, just for fun. I love to be consumed in a good story & just haven't let myself in a while. Time to turn off the Ruku & go cover to cover!
  3. Have 2 date nights out.
  4. Read the barefoot baby a Bible story each night before bed.
  5. Increase my focus & speed up my turn around time for clients. It's been harder than I expected to get back into the groove & I'm ready for big things. 
  6. Get my sweat on, fit momma style, 4 times a week.
  7. Get back to blogging, 2 times a week.
  8. Menu plan weekly. Everyone is happier when there is a plan in place & the fridge is stocked.
  9. Photo-a-day challenge.
  10. Try something new, recipe style. 
Do you set monthly goals for yourself to keep yourself on track? 




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2013-07-31T00:27:24.923-04:00

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