Wordless Wednesday: It's a Toddler's World


Toys everywhere, stickers stuck onto the carpet, cookie crumbs on her face, crayon in hand.... and yes, she put the headband in by herself.. sweet princess.  There's no way I'd rather have it.

Series: Keeping it Clean with Kleenex (#3)


We had so much fun having a week full of family time.. it was very special! The last day or so, we just kind of lounged around and relaxed - which included some Redbox DVDs (skyfall! my dad is a James Bond fan:) and some half-priced shakes from Sonic. And we made a special breakfast - blueberry waffles! Made with fresh blueberries from the Farmer's Market (and homemade butter, of course). My favorite! Anyone else have a complete love for breakfast food?? Anyone? We try to have it for dinner once a week, too.

Thanks to Kleenex Hand Towels, I had less laundry to do this week... and an easier clean up. The product’s unique, Cottony-Soft™ towel is free of inks, dyes and fragrances and highly absorbent – drying hands effectively, with enough capacity in the brand’s proprietary, absorbent Dry-Touch™ fibers for secondary quick clean-ups around the bathroom sink. But you know what else it's good for? Cleaning lipstick off of your toddler's face. And yes, I've had to do that twice this week. I guess she's just trying to be like her Mama. ;)

We were sad to see my family go, but we're hoping to go up and visit them this fall. I have such a beautiful family, don't I? :)

Kleenex Hand Towels can be found in the paper towel aisle at grocery and mass retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price of $2.99 per box (60-count).

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Series: Keeping it Clean with Kleenex (#2)


As I've said in my previous post, we've been quite busy this summer. One of the best things, is that my parents and little brother were able to come visit for a week! When they arrived at our doorstep, Clara didn't even know what to do with herself. She ran around and spun herself in circles (which is what she does when she's excited, haha) We were all so delighted. Clara always gets so attached to 'Nana and Papa'... she had to have Nana rock her to sleep every night.

One of the things we love to do when we are visiting with family is EAT. We love to cook, grill-out, bake.. you name it. We just really seem to enjoy being in the kitchen and eating good homemade food. We grilled some chicken, made turkey burgers, baby reds with pesto, enchiladas, ribs, fresh fruit salad, peach praline upside-down cake, etc... I'm making myself drool just thinking about all the good food we had.

When there's 6 people in our little house for a week.. going in and out... in the kitchen an awful lot... lots of hands being washed... these Kleenex Hand Towels have saved me from doing a ton of laundry. The last thing you want to do when you have house guests, is think about laundry. They're perfect to set right on the bathroom counter... or if you have a towel rack, their design makes it easy to flip it over and set them right on top of the rack.

In home bathrooms with heavy foot traffic, shared cloth towels are often damp and germy due to overuse. Take control of your towel situation by visiting Kleenex.com, and join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands Campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Bon Voyage


Sitting down this morning, with a cup of coffee, and writing out all my lists for our upcoming VACATION!  I'm a wee bit excited.

Barley Corn Salad & Tomato Vinaigrette {recipe}


Today was one of those lazy days... husband went fishing... Clara and I made pancakes... we watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and did a little coloring... did some cleaning and some napping.  It was just way too hot outside to do anything outdoors, although we did run out quick for some refreshing shaved ice. ;) 

But it was also one of those days where I didn't feel like slaving away in the kitchen, or heating up the house.  So this was a perfect side dish to our dinner.  It didn't take too much effort to throw together.. we served some grilled chicken on top of this and it was perfect!  I think the leftovers would be good tossed into a spinach salad... or in a wrap.  It tastes just as good the next day. 

Barley Corn Salad & Tomato Vinaigrette
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 3/4 medium barley
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 8 slices cooked center cut bacon, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp red onion
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Cook barley according to package directions.  When barley is is finished and tender, drain to get rid of excess liquid.  Place in a large bowl.  Stir in corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and bacon into the cooled barley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the tomato vinaigrette, combine 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, water, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp red onion, and salt and pepper in a blend or food processor and blend until smooth.  Stir into the barley salad sparingly (I pour in just a little at a time, I don't usually use all of it).  Serve salad cold.

Series: Keeping it Clean with Kleenex {#1 & a giveaway}


So summer is half over (I know, I can hardly believe it myself)... how have you been spending it? Despite the sticky and humid weather here, we spend a lot of time outdoors... we have a daughter who gets stir-crazy if she doesn't get a breath of fresh air... playing at the park, enjoying the zoo, grilling up something delicious, strolling around the local Farmer's Market, swimming at the pool, having get-togethers, or just hanging out... plus we have a few more adventures planned before the summer is over.

We obviously keep pretty busy.. and that leaves absolutely no time for getting sick. So I was pretty excited to find out about Kleenex Hand Towels. In the U.S. alone, people dry their hands on cloth bathroom towels approximately 200 billion times per year. Just because a towel looks clean doesn’t mean it is. Even after they’re washed, hands are only as clean as the towel used to dry them. Kleenex has found an ideal way to dry hands at home by delivering a clean, fresh towel each time for proper hand hygiene. And they are especially nice to have when you have house guests - less laundry (anyone else dislike doing laundry?!).

Which would would you choose:

"Even after they’re washed, hands are only as clean as the towel used to dry them." That really makes me think twice about using a towel! With all the guests we have/had this summer, and with all the in-and-out of the house that we do.. the last thing I want to try to remember is when the last time I changed my hand towels are. So I just use Kleenex Hand Towels and keep on keepin' on! Because I have more important thing to think about.. like shaved ice and soakin' up that Vitamin D at the pool!

And what better way to start your weekend than a fun little giveaway?? Just use the form below. Winners will be notified by email next weekend! US residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wordless Wednesday: Fresh & Local


We just love the Farmers Market.  Baby reds, Raw honey, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, oh my!

Little Rock Zoo


We had a wonderful time visiting with my parents for a whole week last week.  It was very bittersweet when they had to leave yesterday.. and now that Clara's older, she remembers more.. and keeps asking for here Nana to rock her to sleep at night and nap time.  We were very blessed by them and the time we were able to spend with them while they were here.

One of the adventures we had, was a little trip to the Zoo!  The last time we were there, Clara was 15 or 16 months... so now that she's 2, she really got a kick out of all the animals!  I really can't wait to take her back again. 

It was really hot out that day (ok, it's hot out pretty much every day here).. like, 100s.  Thank God for the little misters they had throughout the park.  Clara loved them... her and Uncle B decided to cool down a little bit...

In the photo below everyone was really fascinated with the giraffe's.  They are one of my favorites.. and for some reason Clara kept calling everything a baby giraffe after we saw them, haha.

Clara was such a little angel the whole time.. even through the crazy heat (I get mean when I'm overheated sometimes, haha).  She took a great nap that day.  I need to wear her out more often.  ;)

Peach Praline Upside-Down Cake {recipe}


My parents and younger brother are in town for the week, and this was one of the many things on my list of things to make while they're here.  There's always a ton of good food goin' on when family is in town!  We made our way to the Farmer's Market in Little Rock one day, and came home with a whole bunch of goodies.  Fresh peaches being one of them.. I really can't resist fresh, local fruit.  The peaches were so juicy and sweet.  Clara can knock down a whole peach by herself in a matter of minutes.  Impressive for such a slow and picky eater (anyone else have one of those?  hoping this 'phase' ends soon!)

I made this for a dessert after dinner one night with whipped cream.  Would also be delicious with some vanilla bean ice cream.  But I can definitely see this being eaten with a cup of coffee in the morning as well! 

When I made this, I also served it with extra peaches.. you can never have too many.. and a little brown sugar/cinnamon/butter crumble on top.  Because, why not?

Peach Praline Upside-Down Cake
Recipe from Taste of Home

  • 4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 medium peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Extra sliced peaches, toasted pecan halves, and whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Separate eggs.  Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Peel and slice your peaches.  

In a 10-in. ovenproof skillet (I used my cast iron skillet), melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Remove from heat. Arrange peaches in a single layer over brown sugar mixture right away; sprinkle with chopped pecans. 

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in milk, melted butter and vanilla.  Fold in flour mixture.   

With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium until stiff but not dry; gradually fold into batter. Pour batter into skillet over the peaches. Bake 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream, pecan halves, and extra peaches if desired.  Yield: 8 servings.  Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday: Clara's New Sidekick


My parents bought Clara a Sweetpea Beauty doll (her favorite VeggieTales movie.. ever.. at the moment).  I don't think she's let go of it much since she received it.. she was so over-the-moon happy about bringing her home from the store.

I guess she thought that Sweetpea Beauty was due for a diaper change.. as I found her laying in the kitchen like this.  ;)

A Walk in the Park


This whole week, we have the pleasure of spending some time with my parents and my little brother.  They came down to visit us, and we're all thrilled.  Especially Clara.. she is definitely a 'Nana's Girl'.  So I may not be blogging much for a little bit, but I will leave you with these cute images from our play in the park today.  :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!  I look forward to fun times and memory making with my family! 

Independence Day


I hope everyone had a beautiful (and safe) time celebrating Independence Day. Our day was fun and tiring... definitely looking forward to a good nights sleep!

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I had to make some sort of festive dessert.. so sugar cookies it was. I made Clara her cute lil' 4th of July pinwheel skirt. We also went out for shaved ice in the afternoon. It was Clara's first time seeing fireworks! So that was pretty exciting.. she was unsure of them at first. But after I kept saying how pretty they were she would say 'Ohh! So good. Pretty. I like it.' I think it's safe to say that she'll be looking forward to them next year! Also, I broke my pinky toe (yesterday actually.. it's even more bruised today). Sorry to anyone who doesn't like seeing feet.. but.. no shame here. It hurts and Clara keeps wanting to kiss it all better, but every time she touches it (or accidentally steps on it?!), I want to cry. My poor pinky toe looks like a little sausage. (pssst, if you don't follow me on instragram yet.. you should!)

I think I even sneaked in a 5 minute nap on the couch somewhere.. it was nice, just wish it was longer! How did you celebrate Independence Day?

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(shoveling in a sugar cookie as we patiently wait for fireworks;)

Homemade Butter {recipe}


I think I've become slightly obsessed with making butter.  It's so simple to do, and tastes so fresh and delicious... and it's kind of fun, and gratifying.  I always tend to have heavy cream in my fridge, but sometimes I don't use all of it up before it goes bad.  Well now I know what to do with it - butter!  Don't ever let your cream go bad again!  If you find a good deal on heavy cream, it could even be cheaper than actually buying butter.  You could do this in a food processor or blender, but I prefer to use my KitchenAid mixer.

1.  Put whole cream into your mixer (blender or food processor).  Whip on high speed.  First it will become whipped cream (yum!).. but keep going and it will get thicker.  It will look kind of like whipped butter.  But don't stop!

2.  After a few minutes.. 5 or 10.. suddenly the milk solids will separate from the liquids.  I like to put a towel over my KitchenAid.. otherwise it would get very messy.  After a few seconds, when the solids come together, and separate from the liquid (buttermilk!).. stop your mixer.

3.  When it's done, it's super important to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk from the solids.  Squeeze the butter until cold, running water until the liquid runs clear.  If you don't get it all out, your butter will go rancid within just a few days.  Then pack it into an airtight container, or plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze.

Keep the buttermilk and bake something yummy with it, too!  :)  This would be something fun to do with kids, as an 'experiment' in the kitchen.  My 2 year old doesn't care much now, but one day she'll think it's fun, I'm sure.  :)

Start with however much heavy cream you want.

 First it turns to whipped cream!

 Then is separates and looks a little like whipped butter.

 Stop when the solids come together a little more.

 For me, 1 pint made almost 6 ounces of butter.  And after I strained it, I had about 1 cup of buttermilk (don't waste that either!  Use it for pancakes, waffles, or to bake something delicious)!

Enjoy your fresh butter!