Clean Eating Peanut Butter Blondies

Oh Friday, we meet again!
I’m going to make it short and sweet today because tonight we are cooking steak and scallops, having a drink or two, and celebrating my husband being a BAMF.

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Seriously, this guy blows my mind.
He puts so much of himself into his company and still finds time to be an awesome husband and father.

So here is a quick recipe for you guys!

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CLEAN EATING PEANUT BUTTER BLONDIES

Ingredients:

Dry:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Wet:
1/4 cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup pure maple syrup (no added ingredients)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup peeled, cooked, mashed sweet potato
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (I highly recommend Peanut Butter & Co’s Bees Knees)
2 tbsp pure vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with olive oil and set aside.
2. Combine all of the wet ingredients into a bowl.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix with a mixer until well combined.
4. Top with chopped walnuts if desired (I did)
5. Bake for 25 minutes and that’s that!

I ate four of these the day I made them…
Four.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Happy weekend!

The Road To Napping

Declan has begun the dance.
The snake-in-a-woven-basket dance where he appears boneless as he wiggles his sleepy limbs around.
I try my best snake charming moves but somehow he defeats me.
So I decide to take him to the store, knowing that by the time we get back in the car for the drive home he will knock out.
My plan is successful and I delicately remove his car seat and begin to creep to the front door.
Suddenly, our neighbor pulls his car up next to me and rolls down his window.

I turn the car seat so he can see the baby sleeping and gesture frantically.

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He then shouts,

“He’s asleep, eh?!”

Annnd Declan wakes up.

“Oh look! He’s awake!”

Do you want to sit here and talk to me for ten minutes now?

Once the neighbor leaves I notice that Declan’s eyes are starting to droop closed again.

Yessssssssss.

Put the keys in the door, open slowly, and creeeeeeaaaaakkkk!

He moves but his eyes remain closed.
I’ve got to remember to get some WD40 for that damn thing.

Oh. Shit.
I forgot to put the dogs outside before I left.

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These two lugs come running into the living room screaming at the top of their lungs.
I try to quiet them.

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Try explain to them that the baby is sleepy and they need to calm down and silence themselves.
But in unison they both reply,

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By now Declan’s eyes are wide open and he’s watching the whole thing.
I’ve got to act quick so I pull him out of his car seat to cuddle him and kick the dogs outside.

His head nestles into my shoulder and he starts to doze off again as I rock him back and fourth.

But suddenly, there is a violent knock on the door.

He pops up and I swing the creaky door open in a rage.

The UPS driver is already back in his truck.
My package did not require a signature but he ding-dong ditched anyway.

At this point I know it’s going to take more than some swaying and a lullaby so I plop down on the couch and breastfeed.

After about 10 minutes of eating Declan is back to dreamland.
I prop up my feet, lean my head back, and close my eyes.
Maybe I’ll take one too, Lord knows I need it.

I feel my body relaxing more and more with each breath.
The weight of the day lifts off my eyes and I begin to drift.

American Psycho (2000)

We both jump from the terrifying noise.
I then realize that it’s not a masked murderer in my front yard with a chainsaw but rather the gardeners.

Declan looks me in the eyes and deviously smirks as he decides whether or not we will be going back to sleep.

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Just like that he’s declared that his 10 minute nap gave him the energy of one hundred men and daytime sleep becomes a dream of the past for me.

I cry a little on the inside, make myself an iced coffee, and pull it together.

 

Naps are overrated anyway.
We’ll try again tomorrow.

TGIF

It’s been a long week.

1.

I started P90x3 on Monday and discovered just how out of shape I’ve become after not having consistent work outs for the past two months.
I thought the older Declan got the easier it would be to get a work out in but turns out it’s actually the opposite.
Thankfully P90x3 is only 30 minutes long which is totally doable but wow am I feeling sore this week!

2.

Derek had a quick work trip Tuesday-Wednesday this week.
While it may have flown by for him I was horrifically awoken on Tuesday morning to find a giant spider in our bedroom.
It scaled our crown molding just out of my reach and once I finally mustered up the courage to kill it the damn thing quantum leaped off the ceiling and onto the floor where it then disappeared from me, no doubt waiting to strike until nightfall when I would least expect it.
So yeah, short trip for Derek but longest ever for me dealing with the Godzilla of spiders all by my lonesome.

3.

Little Walker Texas Ranger is on the move and there is no stopping him!
No literally, I can not stop him. He jams around the house all day long and now that he’s officially walking it’s hit a whole new level of crazy.
I’m pretty sure that my child is one of Chuck Norris’s horcruxes because there seems to be nothing he can’t do and he also doesn’t let anyone tell him what to do.

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Like nap, or slow down, or hey! Don’t put that shoe in your mouth.

So excuse me while I throw my hands up in the air and celebrate it being Friday.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Why do you care that it’s Friday? You’re a mom which means you don’t get “weekends”.

And yes, you would be correct.
But on weekends I have morning and daytime help with Declan from my husband which means I get to do things like shower before 4 pm and brush my hair.
It’s awesome.
I’m also cashing in on a massage today!

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But enough about me, let’s talk food.
Today’s recipe is for mini eggplant pizzas.
I’ve always been intimidated by eggplant but I’ve been experimenting with it recently and I actually really like it.
This recipe is so easy to put together and it’s super yummy.
I served it with a Chicken Cesar salad because Derek requires meat in his meals.

MINI EGGPLANT PIZZAS

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Ingredients:

One large eggplant
2 tsp. Olive oil
4 oz. Reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 tbsp. Pizza sauce (I make my own with this simple, clean recipe here)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut eggplant in slices about 1/4″ thick and place on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Use 1 tsp. of olive oil to coat the tops of the slices and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
4. Flip the slices over, coat with remaining tsp. of olive oil and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
5. Top with sauce and cheese, then put them back in the oven and bake until the cheese is golden brown.
6. Remove, serve, and enjoy!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Sharing is Caring

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People used to sit around the fire and tell stories.
They would talk of their lives in great detail and even pen them to preserve their life and legacy.
It was believed that there was something to be learned and gained from hearing about one another’s experiences.
It’s funny that now, in a day where we have such advanced tools to do such, the whole idea is looked down upon.

I am what many would consider to be an “over-sharer”.
After all, I write a blog about my life.
But what is so wrong with that?

I’m not writing about the different stages of my son’s poop, or that one time I had uncontrollable vomiting, or any “TMI” moments like those.

I write about the love I have for my family, the hilariously random things that always seem to happen, and the hardships that mold me into a better person.

Social media gives us the opportunity to display our lives however we want and be whomever we please.
But I want to be me.

And my life is messy.
And joyful.
And I really do still get butterflies when I see my husband every day.
And I have absolutely sat in a puddle of my own tears on the kitchen floor wondering how in the hell I am going to get through the rest of the day.

I post pictures of the food I make, the crafts we do, my adorable son, and the sweet things Derek does.

I talk candidly about my mom’s cancer, losing my daughter, and the trials of parenthood.

I love this little blog of mine and even if only one person in the entire cyber world got something out of it I would be happy.

There is nothing wrong with showing public love for your spouse.
Or posting photos of the things that inspire you.
Or letting people know that you don’t have it together all the time.

Don’t be ashamed of who you are, where you come from, or where you’re going.
Take advantage of technology to tell your stories and share your experiences.
It’s time to stop scrolling through the feeds of weather updates, zimbo quizzes, and tv show spoilers and start actually engaging with one another.

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Clean Eating Coconut Popcorn Shrimp

Hey oh!
I’ve been on a new recipe kick this week but tonight I decided to go with one of my all time favs.
I LOVE coconut shrimp.
If you have it as an appetizer at your wedding you best believe I will be following that waiter around the entire cocktail hour.
But other than weddings I had never really had it anywhere else until I came across this recipe.
This will make both your mouth and feet do a happy dance.
And best of all, it’s clean so you don’t have to feel shameful after you shovel half the batch down your throat the second it gets out of the oven!

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CLEAN EATING COCONUT POPCORN SHRIMP

(recipe from The Gracious Pantry)

Ingredients:

1 lb. Large Peeled, deveined shrimp (tail off)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 egg whites
2 tsp. coconut oil

strong>Directions:

1. You want the shrimp to be pretty dry so that the coating will stick, so pat it down with some paper towels and then set it aside.
2. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 10 sec and then combine it with the egg whites in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients.
4. Put shrimp one by one into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Or you could do foil lightly sprayed with cooking oil).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and enjoy!

Hope everyone has an excellent weekend.
Get your butts outside and do something different!

Month Nine

39 weeks ago to date I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant and in the process of pushing welcoming Declan into this world.

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39 weeks ago I didn’t know how to change a diaper, breastfeed, or live off of 4 hours of sleep every night.

Week by week, month by month, my son challenges me to be a better mother and person.

I am in such awe of his every move and I know this is just the beginning.

This month brought so many firsts.

STEP BY STEP:

Declan took his first steps!
We haven’t been able to get it on video but it is absolutely amazing to watch.
He’s only mastered three steps so far but that’s three more steps then he could take a month ago.

STANDING OVATION:

On a similar note, little man can pull himself up to a standing position without any help.

It took me weeks to get it on video but I finally did!

I LOVE YOU DADA:

He’s been saying “mama” and “dada” for a while now but this past month he has started to say them on cue.
While he does say mama when he’s sad or upset he says dada all other times.
On top of that, he’s started to move away from me at night and snuggle up next to Derek.
We spend all day together so I love seeing how special their bond is despite not being together as much.

TAKE ME OUT:

The weather has been really nice recently so we’ve been taking full advantage of it.

We have been going on family park dates during the week and have been trying to do at least one outdoor activity on the weekends.

We had Declan’s first beach experience the other week and it was awe inspiring.

If you’ve never looked at the world through a baby’s eyes I recommend stealing your friend’s kid for the day and trying it.

Everything has a new sense of excitement and life to it.

The ocean has never been more beautiful to me.

CUDDLE BUG:

As his personality develops he continues to become the sweetest guy.

He will pull you in for a hug.

Turn your face to snag a kiss.

And nestle his face into your chest.

He shares his food and loves to be involved.

It’s just the best feeling seeing how kind and loving his nature is.

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD:

Or I will die from not sleeping….

But seriously, we actually had a good system going until the whole trying to walk thing started.

Ever since, his sleep patterns have been all jacked up again.

I think it’s because he’s just so excited and wants to practice his skills 24/7 because he legitimately never stops moving.

Still, I’m hoping that we can get back into the groove with something soon because I’m one sleepy mama.

OUCH, CHARLIE BIT ME:

If you don’t know what the title is referring to then you live under a rock.

Declan keeps biting my shoulder and with seven teeth, it HURTS.

Sometimes he does it when his mouth hurts which I can understand but other times he does it just to do it.

When I tell him “No, ouch!” he either laughs like it’s a game or cries because I’m telling him no.

Oh the joys of a developing personality.

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It still blows me away that God put me in charge of this little person.

He is such a gift and it is a joy to watch him grow.

Can’t wait to see what happens this month!

Spooks & Haunts

No food post today, guys.
I know.
Please try to control your emotions.
It’s just been one hell of a week and taking pictures of my cooking process was the furthest thing from my mind.

So instead I’m going to tell you a ghost story because those never get boring.
Enjoy the horror that is my life as a haunted soul.

When Derek told me the video I sent him yesterday morning of my computer charger blinking (despite not being plugged in) had a voice talking on it I didn’t bother to review it myself.


Instead, I raced into our room to throw on clothes and get the hell out of our house.
As I walked into Declan’s room to grab his jacket a cold chill ran up my spine and all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.
I could feel someone standing right behind me.
I passed the charger as I left and the blinking had stopped.

My skepticism of the unexplained was put to rest at a young age.
It’s easy to say “my house is haunted” but it’s more difficult to admit that maybe it’s not the house but rather the person inside.
Maybe it’s me.

When I was in high school I saw a woman dressed in all white walking in my room towards my full length closet mirror.
I was sure that I had imagined it so I never told a soul and moved on.
Then I saw her again.
Same outfit, walking to the same place in my room.
Sure that my family would think I was crazy, I kept it to myself.
But then I saw her AGAIN.
Only this time she was wearing all black, which really spooked me.
I reluctantly told my mom and she confessed that she too had seen this ghostly woman in my room.

Skip a few more scary encounters like that one and you’ve got all the stuff I talked about in October of 2012 that happened in our old house.
(Have I really been blogging that long?!)
You can read about it here

So I almost wasn’t surprised when things began happening in our new home a few month ago.

It all started out innocently enough.
We have an motion activated light in our guest bathroom and it would come on randomly.
But it was probably the air, right?
Or maybe we closed another door in the house too hard and it triggered it.

Next was the orbs.
One night Derek and I were sitting on the couch with Declan and I was trying to capture something cute so I had my iphone video camera on.
With my own eyes I saw a ball of light pass over us and go into the wall.
Sure enough, there were not one but two orbs on the video.

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You will see the first one at 10/11 seconds shooting upward and the second one at 32/33 seconds moving slowly up towards Derek’s face.

Notice also how you can see the tv on throughout the whole video reflecting on the wall and Derek’s face, but nothing like that.

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The closet where our heating unit is will frequently be open all of a sudden.

Mind you, Derek and I never open it to begin with and it cannot be opened without real force.
(We’ve tested it out).

We hear unexplained noises, like banging or tapping.

And probably the scariest of all is what happened about a month or so ago with the Xbox.
We had just picked out a documentary to watch on Netflix and Derek pressed play.
He then turned the Xbox controller off.
We were both sitting completely still with Declan asleep on me when all of a sudden the hand icon popped on the screen and motioned to turn off our movie.

If you’re not familiar with the new Xbox let me explain.
You have to raise your arm in order for the hand icon to appear.

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Neither of us had our arms even close to bring raised.
Additionally, it started to move and turn off our movie….
Amazed, I pulled out my phone, pressed record, and the second I did the hand icon went away.

So like I said, when Derek told me there was a voice on the recording I sent him at 6:30 am when it was still dark in my living room I didn’t play it back, I left my house!

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Derek finally responded to my panicked texts about an hour later and told me to come down to his shop.
It wasn’t until I got there that I found out he was just kidding about the voice.

Turns out he never thought I would high tail out of the house before reviewing the video first and he was just trying to momentarily frighten me, not ruin my whole morning and throw me into a panic (which is what happened instead.)

But when you already have enough scary encounters to write a mini book you learn to act now, ask later.

So this one was debunked and I was safe to return home.
But tell me, how do you explain the rest?

Is this house haunted too?
Or is it me that’s been haunted and followed all along?
The mystery continues.

Happy Friday :)