Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Deliciously Moist Banana Bread



I LOVE banana bread. 
I can't think of many things more wonderful than a slice of piping hot banana bread, 
with butter melting into it's delicious center.

I can easily eat a whole loaf all on my own. 
It just seems to happen!
Before I know it, I turn around and it's all disappeared. 

I love my banana bread to be as moist and soft as possible. 
As long as I can remember, my mother has always added a cup of yogurt to her banana bread recipe to achieve that perfect soft and oh-so-tasty texture.

Here is my favorite recipe:

Banana Bread

Ingredients:
2 C. Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup softened Butter
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
3 overly ripened Bananas
1 Cup Yogurt, plain, vanilla, lemon, or honey flavor

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl or mixer.
Stir for a few minutes until everything is well mixed.
Grease two loaf sized pans. I usually use olive oil.
Pour half of the batter into each pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour; until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

This bread is also scrumptious with a few blueberries, 
or a handful of chocolate chips added to the batter.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe? 
Or a favorite extra ingredient you like to add?
Leave a comment! I would love to know.

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Preparing For Baby: Stocking the Freezer



As my due date creeps closer, there are a few projects I have been wanting to finish. 
One of which was stocking up on just a few things in the freezer. 

Our church family is wonderful about providing meals for couples with new additions, and my family is also coming for a week soon after my due date; so I am not preparing too many meals in advance. 

I did want to have a few things in the freezer though, some things for Scott to heat up and eat during those first few days before a meal schedule from our church is organized.



I have been pretty low on energy lately, but MOTIVATION is not lacking. 
(I think that maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I think this baby will be more inclined to come early if I am well prepared. Of course, Murphy's law will probably prevail.)

So today I made a list and a grocery trip and set about whipping up a few meals and goodies to stash away. I am especially looking forward to eating this banana bread. It is my absolute favorite.



My list of things to prepare in advance was:
Breakfast Casserole
Lasagna
Double Chocolate Bread
Banana Bread
Primal Fudge

Earlier this week I also made up some good old fashion mac and cheese too.

That is quite the list of comfort foods, isn't it?
I will post all of the recipes for these delicious dishes over the next few days.

I'm thankful to have some things put away. 
I know I will be even more thankful when the time comes to use them.



I would love to have some more good ideas for meals that freeze well. 
Any thoughts?
I can't seem to think of anything but pasta dishes.
Please leave a comment and tell me what has worked well for you!

Have a wonderful day! 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

34 Week Pregnancy Update

The days and weeks have been flying by. 
Here I find myself 34 weeks pregnant and trying to grasp the idea that our daughter will likely make her appearance next month. 

Life is becoming a little more predictable lately. 
We finally received news about Scott's orders, 
and we will be staying here in New Mexico for a while longer.

I'm thankful to be able to plan a little further ahead.
Specifically, to start thinking about a nursery. :)
More on that later......

As far as pregnancy goes, 
the third trimester has been much pleasanter than my second trimester was.
Maybe my body is just getting accustomed to accommodating this little girl, or maybe I'm just getting better at ignoring all the little discomforts that come with pregnancy. 
In the second trimester I was constantly miserable, 
my body was always in pain, and I had a constant headache. 
Over the last several weeks however, 
my only major complaints have been swollen feet, heartburn, and tiredness. 
I am so grateful for this time of reprieve!

Some of my very favorite pregnancy related things recently have been:

This maternity shirt from Target. I'm not sure why, but this one specifically is incredibly comfy. 
It's been my number one go-to since I picked it up a couple of weeks ago.
I have several other maternity t-shirts, but this one is by far my favorite. 

Cereal, yogurt, and fruit are always favorites when I've got the munchies, but this protein powder has been a must to help me get the amount of protein I need.

Loose flowing sweaters and tops have become a real necessity as a few unattractive lumps and bumps have made an appearance on my back. Darn chocolate cravings!

My feet have been pretty consistently swollen which means that when I do have something on my feet, its usually flip flops. :)

Mary is moving constantly. I'm a little worried that she might still wiggle this much after she is born, and if the way my belly jerks around is any indication, we will have a hard time keeping up! 
I love feeling her kicks and wiggles, and I am looking forward to seeing those little toes kicking something other than my rib cage!

I really am enjoying this season of our lives.
It is quickly becoming a reality that we only have a few short days left before our lives are drastically changed forever.  I am looking forward to that change, although I do feel a little reluctant to leave behind the sweet life we have shared together, just Scott and I. 

In closing, here are a few snapshots of this baby belly:



Love, 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Current Favorites

Lately I have hesitated to blog because I don't really have anything new to say.

Life continues on, and Scott and I find ourselves in a season of waiting. 
Waiting for our sweet daughter's arrival, waiting for orders, 
waiting to see what course our lives will take next.

Scott is due for another assignment, 
but he is hoping to separate from the Air Force and join the Air National Guard. 
The application is in, and we have been waiting for a reply for a little over two months. 
I have never liked waiting.
 I am always impatient for answers, but the Lord is ever faithful.
He is always so good to us. 


This morning I thought it might be fun to share a few the products and items that I have been loving lately.  I have always enjoyed seeing other bloggers and vloggers share their favorite items, so I'll give it a try. 


First of all, I have been trying to branch out and find some new recipes to add to our staple meals.
Here are a few recipes that have quickly become favorites:



We typically have pizza every Friday night, and it's always fun to find new ideas to try. 
So I gave this recipe a try a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit. 
So yummy! Scott is definitely a big fan.


This meal has absolutely become one of our go-tos. 
It is so easy, quick, cost effective, and tasty.
Scott always gets excited when I tell him this is on the menu for dinner.
We have also added pineapple, onions, and bell peppers to make it a little different.
I know that this one will continue to be a favorite in our home.


This bean dip is so easy to make in our VitaMix. 
The first time I made it was in the beginning of my pregnancy when I was really having a lot of major food aversions.  I made this to put in Scott's lunchbox, but after tasting it I threatened to keep it home and eat it all myself.  For some reason it tasted amazing to me right then.
We still love this dip, and it is a staple lunchbox item for Scott.


I am a tea addict. 
I'm confessing right here and now. 
I probably drink somewhere between two and four cups of tea every day.


Recently I have been enjoying this Irish Breakfast tea.
Usually my all time favorite is Tazo English Breakfast, but one day my grocery store was out so I picked this up and I have really been enjoying it. 

I'm just going to include this here because it speaks to my heart:


Thank you for indulging me.
 Okay, moving on! 

As far as reading material goes, I cannot keep myself from browsing longingly through this Cottage Gardens magazine over and over. 
How I would love to have a beautiful little English garden behind our little house!
But.... we live in New Mexico, so that dream is impossible. Maybe someday, somewhere else.
But for now, I love to admire the gorgeous gardens of others.




The Diaper Free Baby.
This might be rather controversial, but I have really enjoyed reading this book, and we plan to try it with Mary Joy. 
Elimination Communication (EC) makes a lot of sense to me.
When I first heard of the concept, I was intrigued enough to look into it a little further.
At first I was quite skeptical and resistant.
Potty training an infant who isn't even mobile? 
It sounded like so much work.
But after reading this book, I'm pretty well sold.
I am looking forward to trying this once our little girl is here, and I will update you all then.
In the meantime, I HIGHLY recommend you read at least part of this book
 if you are even slightly curious.


A Being So Gentle.
 I first became interested in the life of Rachel Jackson when we visited the Hermitage in Nashville Tennessee with Scott's mom in September.
When I read what Andrew Jackson wrote on her tombstone, 
I knew immediate that I wanted to know more about this woman.
The Jacksons had a very sweet marriage, and when Rachel died this is what Andrew wrote:

"Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jackson, who died December 22nd 1828, aged 61. Her face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable, and her heart kind. She delighted in relieving the wants of her fellow-creatures,and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods. To the poor she was a benefactress; to the rich she was an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous an ornament. Her pity went hand in hand with her benevolence; and she thanked her Creator for being able to do good. A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor. Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could but transplant her to the bosom of her God."

This epitaph really drew me in, and I have really enjoyed learning about Rachel's life.


These are the two books I a planning to read next:


I am excited to get started!


Next are a few of my favorite products that I have been so thankful for the past few months. 
We live in the desert, and our desert is also coming out of a drought.
It is always dry here, but during winter my skin really suffers more than ever.


The Mary Kay Satin Hands lotion and Satin Lips balm have been the two products I have reached for more than anything else this winter.  I really feel like they have worked better than anything else to heal my cracked hands and lips. And the peach scented hand cream smells sooooooo lovely!


I have also been loving this Burt's Bees lip balm. I have had other Burt's Bees lip balms in the past that I wasn't so in love with, but for some reason this one is my absolute favorite.
I really enjoy the coconut and pear scent.
I usually take this with me everywhere I go, around the house ad out and about.
I love, love, love this lip balm. 
I might even be the first person in the world to ever FINISH a tube of chapstick. 
Honestly, if anyone ever manages that they should get a medal.


Next up. 
I have the nesting/spring cleaning itch.
I have always enjoyed keeping a clean house, but right now the hormones have kicked in and I find myself taking my oven door apart to clean in between the glass windows. 

This book by Real Simple makes me so very happy. Sometimes, I just like to look through the pages. All of those spotlessly clean rooms are so beautiful, and they make my heart sing,
Honestly, pregnancy hormones are a weird thing. 

Norwex. 
It has happened.
I drank the Kool-Aide and I'm never going back.

If you have talked to me recently, there is a good chance that I mentioned Norwex in the course of our conversation.

I was introduced to Norwex in January by my dear friend and kindred spirit Sarah.
I went to a Norwex party in her home and decided to try a couple of these cleaning cloths.


Aren't they so beautiful?

If you have never heard of the brand Norwex, look them up. 
Basically, they are a Norwegian company who makes high-quality microfiber cleaning cloths. 
Most of their cloths are embedded with silver, which has antibacterial products. 

Even if you are skeptical about there antibacterial qualities, they clean really, REALLY well.

I have the two basic cleaning cloths, the Enviro and the Window Cloth. And I also have a set of their kitchen/dish cloths. I really feel like that is all I need. 
I love the simplicity of cleaning my whole house without using any chemical cleaning products.

I have really fallen in love with these cloths, and I absolutely recommend them.


Last on my list are a few of my favorite things for pregnancy.

As I have mentioned before, fruit has been my number one craving.
I have been snacking on lots of fresh fruit, and applesauce pouches have been a favorite too.
The fruit pouches are especially useful to stick in my purse or grab for midnight hunger strikes.


I have also really been enjoying slicing up fruit to put in my water.
Nearly every night I fill a pitcher with water and some kind of sliced fruit, usually lemons or strawberries, or sometimes limes, kiwis, or grapefruit. This helps me to drink enough water every day because it becomes a treat rather than a chore.
So yummy!


Here are a few of my favorite products for pregnancy:

First off, I love these prenatal vitamins.
Like many women, the prenatal vitamins I was given at the hospital always made me feel nauseous and tired.  One day I started reading the ingredients label on the back of the bottle and realized that the pills I was taking were full of food coloring and preservatives. 
I went to our local health food store and asked them what they recommended and they gave me these.
These pills are made from whole foods.
I noticed a difference in how I was feeling right away.
These pills never made me queasy, and I had more energy than before.
These prenatals are on the pricey side, but I really feel like it's worth it. 
Especially in the beginning of my pregnancy when I was having a hard time eating much, I was thankful to know that my vitamins were chock full of good things for my baby,
The only downside is that the capsules are quite large, and you take three of them daily. 
I have never had trouble swallowing pills though, so it hasn't bothered me.


I have been using Earth Mama Angel Baby  body butter for my belly.
I know, that is quite the hippy name.
Although the scent of the product isn't my favorite, I do feel like it's been keeping my skin really well moisturized.  Stretch marks are mostly a genetic thing, but I like to help my skin out all I can to keep them to a minimum.

The very last product I will mention is this Double E Immune Booster tincture.
Everyone knows that your immune system is weakened during pregnancy and you are more susceptible to catching any bugs going around.
I managed to make it through the entire winter without getting sick and I do attribute that partly to this herbal mixture. You can buy it in bulk and use it as a tea or make a glycerin tincture like I did.



That's all folks.
I know this turned out to be a really long post, but thank you for sticking with me.
I would love for you to comment and recommend your favorite products to me.

I hope you all have a really lovely day!
Blessings,




Monday, February 9, 2015

Maternity Style, Outfit of the Day, Sunday


Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day. 
Here in New Mexico it was bright and breezy and in the upper seventies.
It was so refreshing to not need to bundle up for church!

What I Wore:
Blouse: JC Penney
Skirt: Thrifted

This skirt of one of my favorite thrifting finds of all time.
Long skirts are one of the most figure flattering things I can wear. 
No one can tell how short my legs really are! :)

This blouse, like to many in my closet,
 is one that will serve me well during pregnancy because it is so roomy.  
I am finding myself to be more and more thankful that I had a preference towards flowing blouses even before I was pregnant. 
They make it so easy to keep my need to purchase maternity clothes to a minimum.

I hope you all had a lovely Sunday as well!
Blessings,


Friday, February 6, 2015

We Are Having A Little Girl!!


We had our twenty week ultrasound this week, 
and the big news is finally out, we are having a little girl!

Scott and I are both so excited to have a daughter.
And I am thrilled to finally feel like I know our little baby.
I think it is easier to build a relationship with the child still inside your womb if you know the gender and name of your precious little one.

The name we have picked out is Mary Joy.
When we were choosing baby names we wanted to consider three things. First, we wanted to make a habit of naming our children the way people did in the Bible, naming them for the circumstances in our life at the time of their birth. Second, we wanted to consider family names. Third, we wanted to consider biblical characters that we want our children to emulate.


Mary means "Wished For Child" and this sweet little one certainly was wished for. 
Also, Mary the mother of Jesus was a godly woman, blessed among women, 
who found favor with God, and this is what we want for our daughter.

Joy is my mother's middle name, and it is also the name of a lovely woman here in New Mexico who has been a continuous vessel of blessing to our family. 
Both of these ladies are women we want our daughter to imitate as she grows.

I know that s many of you will share our excitement in this announcement, 
thank you for being part of our lives!

Blessings,




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