Thursday, February 25, 2016

Making the most of your "season"

We live in a culture where everyone seems to be moving at warp speed. Always on to the next season of life and forgetting to actually take the time to enjoy the season they are in.

When it seems normal to be constantly busy, I find myself wanting to hit pause. I want to slow down and make the most of the season I am in right now, which is a constant battle for this Type A, list making, calendar crossing off gal.

I remember when Drew and I started talking about getting engaged way back when. We had been dating since high school, so for almost 7 years and people were asking me constantly about marriage. I got to a place where I was no longer fully enjoying the dating season because I was anticipating the being engaged season. Honestly it stressed me out and probably stressed Drew out too. I had to let go of that or it would have stolen a lot more joy from our dating season. And if you didn't figure it out already, we did in fact get engaged and then married. Phew.

The same thing happened as our 5 year wedding anniversary approached. People started asking when we were going to have kids. I felt so much pressure and I missed out on part of a season in our marriage. And all because I felt this pressure and sense of urgency to move ahead like everyone else.

Now the same pressures are threatening to creep back in. I'm not exaggerating when I say that almost every single Mama that was pregnant at the same time as me is now pregnant with baby #2. But I am determined to not let this stress me out and instead I am going to choose to enjoy the season I am in as a wife and also as a Mama to one sweet boy.

We miss out on so much when we try to fast forward through seasons of our story.

I think it is so incredibly important to make the most of the season you are in, even if it is a hard one. After I had a miscarriage and then got pregnant with Aiden, I was scared. All I wanted to do was fast forward through my pregnancy and just have a healthy baby in my arms. But if I had wished all that time away during that season I would have missed out on so much joy, so much personal growth, so much of my story.

Don't try to get ahead of God in your season. Whatever season you are in, try to embrace it.

Here are a few things that have been helping me to make the most of the season I am in...

1.) Make a list of things you want to do in this particular season and start doing them! Focus on making your time in this season meaningful and purposeful.

2.) Reflect about the season you are in and spend some time thanking God for the things He is doing in this season of your life. When you seek out reasons you have to be thankful, your attitude and level of contentment go up. It's a fact.

3.) Begin to pray for direction and guidance in your season and the ones to come. Instead of wishing you were in your next season, pray about it and ask God how He can use you in your season of waiting. I read this prayer from Lysa Terkeurst the other day when she was sharing about how oftentimes she views a waiting period in her life to be a dead end, when really it is just a pause. "Heavenly Father, I confess that all to often I confuse pauses with end points. Remind me that my thoughts are not Your thoughts and my ways are not Your ways. Help me to not run ahead of You, but instead fully seek You. I trust that Your plan and timing are perfect. In Jesus' name, amen."

If you are stuck in a season and wishing it would just hurry up and end, try to make the most of this season. It has lessons to offer you and the older I get, the less I want to wish my precious time away.

If you are in a hard season and would like some prayer, I'd be happy to pray for you. 
God has you in this season for a time and will help you navigate through it!{nestfuloflove@gmail.com}

Monday, February 22, 2016

{Baby Approved Meals} Sweet Potato + Lentil Puffs

I have had so much fun planning and pinning meals for Aiden to eat as he grows. Now that he is a big one year old, he pretty much eats what we eat, but I love sharing recipes that I've made along the way in the hopes that some of you can use them for your little ones too. And if you don't have a little one, these are a healthy and delicious snack for anyone!

Aiden loved these when he was first starting to pick up food on his own and they were easy to pack up and take on the go as a snack. They are baby and Mama approved.

Ingredients:
1 Medium Sweet Potato (peeled + chopped)
1/2 cup Lentils
1/4 cup Frozen Peas
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
1 carrot (grated)
1 egg (beaten)
Olive oil

Instructions:
1.) Add lentils and 1 cup of water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer until lentils are soft.
2.) Steam the Sweet Potatoes until soft (I used the steam feature on my BEABA Baby Cook)
3.) Add Drained Lentils and Sweet Potatoes to a large bowl and allow to cool.
4.) Add the grated carrot, cheddar cheese and beaten egg to lentil mixture and mix.
5.) Stir in the Frozen Peas.
6.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees then form mixture into small balls/puffs. Place on greased baking sheet.
7.) Brush the tops of the sweet potato puffs with olive oil
8.) Bake approximately 30 minutes, turning the puffs a few times throughout the cooking time to ensure they cook evenly.


Other Baby Approved Meals:
Original recipe found here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A day in the life {with a 15 month old}

Life with my little guy is just so much fun. I want to able to look back and remember what a day in the life with him looked like at different stages because he is growing and changing so quickly. Here's what a  day in the life with a 15 month old looks like in my house...

7AM Aiden is up. He stands up and starts babbling in his crib. I bring him into bed and we snuggle until one of us decides it's time to get up. Usually it's Aiden. On Saturdays Drew usually makes us pancakes while Aiden and I read books and play in the family room.
8:30 After breakfast it's play time. Aiden loves being read to and he definitely has his favorite books that he wants us to read over and over and over. His current favorites are: Blue Hat, Green Hat, Here We Go, Peek a Who? and any Thomas book. I love that he can choose books on his own now. He picks them out, walks them over, sits in my lap and says "book, book, book!"

He is also very in to every kind of vehicle. Right now the hot ticket items are Hot Wheels cars. You'd think he would be too small to play with these and that he would just stick them in his mouth, but he actually plays with them and interacts with them correctly. We counted the other night and he has a total of 47 Hot Wheels. My husband had to buy him his own car suitcase. We are in big trouble.
10:30 We are slowly transitioning from two naps to one, but right now he still occasionally takes his morning nap around 10:30. I know he's tired when he goes into the kitchen, stands in front of the fridge and requests his "B." We have no idea where that name comes from, but "B" is milk. I think it is just the cutest thing ever. He drinks his "B" in my lap while we watch an episode of Thomas the Train or Praise Baby. When he starts grabbing my hair that means he is ready for a nap. 
11:30 He usually naps about an hour so when he wakes up, it's time to get ready for the day and eat lunch. On weekends we try to get out of the house for lunch and errands. Today we went to Tom & Chee. So good.
Then we hit up IKEA to look for some new furniture for our basement renovation. Aiden loves the car and enjoys singing songs in his car seat that include a combination of the words "Mama, Dada, Bubba and YaYa" (YaYa is what he calls my Mom and he lovingly refers to himself as Bubba.)
Aiden loves to "help" and would rather push the cart than sit in it. We wandered around IKEA for about a half hour in the above position.

4:00 If he takes a second nap, it is around 3:30 or 4 and it is a short one, but he almost always wakes up happy. My new favorite thing he does, is gives kisses on demand. I ask for a kiss, and this is what I get...
4:30 Playtime. I try to change things up to keep Aiden (and myself) entertained. We play upstairs in the morning and then hit up our newly renovated basement in the afternoon/evening. He has a makeshift train table down there and his Thomas Power Wheel. Aiden usually requests to go see his "Choo Choo" after lunch. What a life he lives.
6:00 Family dinner. We try to eat around 6 since Aiden goes to bed at 7. This recipe is my new favorite and Aiden loves it too! You can see some of Aiden's other favorites here.

6:45 Bedtime routine begins. This may be my favorite part of the day. We brush his teeth, get his jammies on and then read books together.
Yes we are still wearing our Christmas jammies in February! 
We have an entire basket devoted just to bedtime books and Aiden definitely has his favorites that we have to read. I love this time of the night because we all three squeeze into one chair and read together for 15-20 minutes. We always end with Goodnight Moon then turn off the lights and I rock him to sleep. I cherish these moments.
7:20 It's ME time! Well actually that starts after I clean up from dinner, do 3 loads of laundry, prep food for the next day, etc. Haha. But it's amazing what you can accomplish baby free for a few hours.

So there you have it, a day in the life with a 15 month old.

See my other "Day in the life" posts below...

Have you ever done a post like this?
What does a day in your life look like?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fancy hot dogs + Drinks with bacon {2 Fun Places to go in Cincy}

Yes I said a drink with bacon in it. The Kevin Bacon that is.

16BIT
Drew and I had been hearing about a bar downtown with "all you can play" old school arcade games and his birthday gave us the perfect excuse to pretend we were gamers for the night. They had Full House playing on one of their TV's and Thriller blaring from the speakers and we were hooked. To top it off they had fun celebrity named drinks like the Kevin Bacon (pictured above), the Hulk Hogan and the Punky Brewster (my personal favorite).
Now let's talk about the fancy hot dogs.

SENATE
If you live anywhere close to Cincinnati and you like hotdogs, then go here. It's tiny, but oh so good. Drew ordered the Lindsay Lohan and I got the Trailpark hot dog. We got a salad (delicious), their truffle fries (I dreamt about them that night) and then (shh don't tell) we got their Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert. Let's just say we waddled out of there. So, so, so delicious.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tacos with a twist {Lime & Honey Sweet Potato Tacos Recipe}

For some reason, Sweet potatoes have been a staple item in almost all the recipes I've been cooking lately. (You can see some of the other ones on my Tried & True recipes Pinterest board.) But of all the recipes I've made so far, this one is my new favorite.

Usually when I think of tacos, this Chipotle loving gal thinks of adding steak or chicken. I am also a huge fan of fish tacos. But I found this meatless taco recipe and had to give it a try and man oh man was it a hit! I will be making these again and again and again.

Ingredients:
For prepping the Sweet Potatoes-
1 and 1/2 pounds peeled and chopped Sweet Potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used 3 large Sweet Potatoes)
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil (divided)
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1/4 tsp. Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Other ingredients to prep while Sweet Potatoes are baking-
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 small yellow onion (chopped) (About 1 cup)
1 14.5 oz. can black beans (rinsed + drained)
1 cup frozen yellow corn (thawed + drained)
3 Tbsp. Honey
3 Tbsp. Fresh Juice (1 lime)
2 Tbsp. Cilantro (chopped)
Corn Tortillas

Toppings-
Feta cheese (this is a MUST!)
Romaine Lettuce
Salsa
Diced Avocados

Instructions:
1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and chop up Sweet Potatoes into 1/2 cubes.
2.) Place Sweet Potato cubes onto a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle evenly with 3 Tbsp. of the Olive Oil. Toss to coat.
3.) Add Cumin, Paprika, Ground Coriander, Cayenne Pepper and Salt and Pepper. Toss.
4.) Place in oven to bake for 20 minutes. Make sure to remove from oven and toss at the 10 minute mark. (Halfway through)
While sweet potatoes are baking...
5.) Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. of Olive oil to a large skillet on Medium Heat
6.) Add the chopped onions and toss. Allow to caramelize (about 5-6 minutes)
7.) Add minced garlic and toss for about 30 seconds then lower heat to medium low
8.) Add black beans, corn, honey and lime juice. Heat until warmed through.
9.) Remove Sweet Potatoes from oven and add to the large skillet.
10.) Add Cilantro and toss all ingredients.
11.) Serve over warm tortillas with your desired toppings. I highly suggest adding the Feta cheese.
So incredibly delicious!

Do you have any other taco recipes with a twist like this one? 
Please share in the comments!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Be Our Guest!

First of all, who is super excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie with Emma Watson? With the title of this post, that just had to be said. Anyway, over the last few months I've gotten to see some people that I love a lot, but don't get to see as often as I'd like. I loved having these friends come visit my home...

Allison + Silas
My dear friend Allison now lives in North Carolina and has a little guy just a month older than Aiden. Despite the distance we have remained close and always connect when she is in town. It has been so fun to see the progression of our bumps to babies to now little boys! And since I love a good then and now picture I had to include one. The top picture was in June 2015 and the bottom picture was in late December! Where did our baby boys go?!
Betsy
My college friend Betsy lives in Indy and is so good about visiting me regularly. Whenever we are together we always cook at least one (this time TWO) Pioneer Woman recipes. We went out to dinner just the two of us the first night she was here and she became our first basement guest since our basement renovations started! We also managed to get in a trip to Jungle Jim's aka the coolest grocery store ever and ate at a local dine and drive restaurant called Hydes. I also finally got to watch the movie Inside Out. Let's just say I cried and laughed a lot. Betsy is so easy to have around and she loves both Drew and Aiden too so she fits right in.
PW's Chow Mein and Beef with Snow Peas from her new cookbook. Yum and yum!
The Edgrens
Another dear college friend, Katie and her husband and kiddos also stopped by for a visit. She got to meet Aiden for the first time and I hadn't seen her youngest, Jane since she was a few months old! It was good to catch up and get a glimpse of her cute girls.
The older I get, the more I truly value the time people give to me and my family. I know these girls are busy and we don't see each other as much as we would like, but I just love the time I got to spend with them!

Who wants to be my next visitor? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mama Moment #1

Motherhood is a beautiful journey.

The storyteller in me wants to capture every moment with my son on camera, but sometimes it's good to put your phone down and just allow moments to happen. Everyday Aiden does something or says something and I think to myself, I don't ever want to forget this moment. 

So this is my attempt to freeze a few moments in time on my journey as Aiden's Mama.

Mama Moment #1:
Aiden has the best little laugh. He laughs with his whole entire body and he wants you to laugh right along with him. We start these "laughing fits" where he will start laughing at a goofy  noise I make and then his contagious little laugh will get me laughing and then that will egg him on. This continues until we are  both belly laughing and trying to find something else to do to keep the laughter going. He absolutely loves to laugh and he gets that from me. And that makes me so happy.

So I started singing the Mary Poppins song "I love to laugh" to him and now he laughs on cue with me during the song. Watching that movie growing up, I always wished that laughing could cause me to float up on the ceiling too. It just looked like so much fun. Well, laughing with my son is the closest I've ever felt to actually floating up on the ceiling and having a laughing party. Best feeling ever.

Do you have any recent Mama Moments that you wish you could bottle up and never forget? 
Please share below!

Monday, February 1, 2016

{Baby Approved Meals} Healthy Carrot Spaghetti

Baby Spaghetti
I've made this dish many times especially when Aiden was smaller and couldn't quite yet eat what we were eating. He always slurped it down. This spaghetti "recipe" is a little healthier and easier on the bellies of a little one than regular spaghetti because no tomatoes are involved. And since I was always looking for new recipes for Aiden I thought I'd share it with you.

Ingredients:
1 cup pasta
1/2 cup pureed carrots
Shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions:
1.) Boil water and cook pasta as directed on box
2.) Drain pasta and cut up into small pieces
3.) Cut up and steam carrots
4.) Puree carrots
5.) Add pureed carrots to the top of the cooked pasta
6.) Sprinkle with cheese
Other Baby Approved Meals: