preparing for baby

Ways to Prepare to Make the First Few Weeks with New Baby a Little Easier

Today’s post is far from my usual – instead of a recipe and pictures, I’m jotting down everything we’re doing/will do before baby Pea #2 arrives that will make life easier when we get home from the hospital. Obviously this is all with the assumption that I don’t go into labor early. If you’re preparing for your first, hopefully these will give you food for thought. Some of these things just seem so basic that you wouldn’t necessarily think of it being a help to have done beforehand, but you’ll come to realize that in those first few weeks the less you have to focus on things other than your new baby (and other kids/husband for seasoned moms) the much less stressed you will be.

Anyone that has already had kids knows just how all-consuming those first few weeks are, and there are several things we could have done to be more prepared for bringing our first home. My goal this go-round is to have as much done and purchased as possible, so that the first few weeks at home I will only need to focus on taking care of the people inside my house (myself included).

I want to be able to hold our new baby all day long if that’s what she needs, and not worry about mess building up in the house.

I want to be able to sleep (or shower) when she sleeps during those first few weeks.

I want to be able to enjoy my maternity leave trips to Target – I want to walk the aisles aimlessly without having to worry about actually remembering to buy something we need like shampoo or toothpaste.

I do not want to be caught up doing tons of dishes and cleaning. Of course I’ll maintain, but having a good deep cleaning done while we’re in the hospital means we’ll come home to a house that I won’t have to clean for at least a week (probably two if we’re being real here…maybe three).

 For baby:

  • Wash bottles/pump parts – even if you plan to EBF, you never know how it may shake out, and having these other feeding methods ready to use will save time if you need it
  • Buy enough bottles that they can just go into the dishwasher rather than washing by hand every day – maybe someday I’ll write about our first breast feeding journey, but long story short I ended up exclusively pumping/bottle-feeding for 10 months (and working, so needing bottles for daycare was a given)
  • Nursery ready with diapers/wipes
  • Have a diaper changing kit ready in rooms other than the nursery where you hang out most – have a small basket or bin in the den, living room, playroom, etc. filled with diapers, wipes and burp cloths so you don’t have to constantly go back and forth to the nursery
  • Buy present from baby to older siblings

diaper station

For older siblings (pets, too):

  • Plan for various “going into labor” scenarios – it won’t matter if I go into labor in the middle of the night, workday or weekend – we have a set plan for Anna Ruth (and Bailey), so I won’t have to spend any time worrying about her
  • Buy present from older siblings to baby
  • Have the dog groomed

For self:

  • Haircut
  • Pedicure
  • Find the best dry shampoo that works for you – buy all of it – and then buy stock in the company
  • Have post-delivery healing products ready – squirt bottle, cooling spray, ibuprofen, Colace
  • Have nonmaternity-in-between-regular-clothes ready to wear – for Target runs, obv
  • Buy good concealer and one other product for everyday wear – when you don’t want to do make-up but have to look presentable at Target
  • Make sure all make-up is stocked

For home:

  • Stock the freezer – I’ve done this, this, this and this (and added chicken breast) so far. Anything you make for a meal that would freeze well, go ahead and double it to freeze half. Once the meals stop coming, you’ll be thankful you did this
  • Put a bottle of white in the fridge on your way out the door to the hospital – SO to Taylor for reminding me of this most important tip. I won’t get in an argument over this piece, but as opposed to some popular belief it is A-okay to have some alcohol while breastfeeding 
  • Subscribe to a year of express lane grocery pick-up – this could almost go in the “For Self” list – for $100, I can order our groceries online and pick them up without having to cart two kids into the store. I figure the cost will be covered by not buying all of those items I just throw in the cart that aren’t on my list (looking at you boxed macaroni and Cheez-its)
  • Cleaning lady on call for hospital stay – our house will be *sparkling* when we come home from the hospital, and this is probably what I’m most excited about
  • Change your bedsheets just before heading to the hospital – does this even need a comment? Fresh sheets are the best
  • Buy back-up toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, hair product, face wash, body wash, bar soap, razors, toothpaste, contact solution, lotion, deodorant
  • Buy back-up cleaning products
    • bathrooms (showers, sinks, floors, toilets)
    • kitchen (counters, floors, appliances, trash bags)
    • dusting spray
    • vacuum cleaner bags
  • Stock up on paper products – napkins, paper towels, toilet paper
  • Buy paper plates and plastic utensils for first 2-3 weeks – I’m generally not one that’s okay with being wasteful, but not having to worry about cleaning most of our dishes will be big
  • All laundry done – for these last weeks leading up to my due date, we’ll be running laundry all week rather than just on laundry day
  • Pick up clutter every day – I wish I could say this was already standard, but maybe one day….
  • Schedule any bills due to be paid on time
  • Clean the cars and make sure gas tanks are always full

back up toiletries

So – wow – that list wound up being quite a bit longer than I originally thought it would. Do some, all or none of these things, but I guarantee whatever you can do on the front end of delivery will make those first days/weeks at home with your new baby easier.

Is there anything you would add to this list? I’d love to hear more!

Freezer Stocking for New Baby

If you’ve followed along for any amount of time, you know one thing I love is to stock my freezer for easy weeknight meals. With baby Pea #2 coming in 7ish weeks, I’m really starting to focus on having meals at the ready.  Here are a few I’ve gotten a head start on.  I’m hoping to post more freezer ideas in the coming weeks, but mama’s getting tired so we’ll see how that goes! These recipes are great for stocking your own freezer, or to take fresh to a family with a new baby!

First up – roast chicken – this was one of my more recent posts, and I went into some detail about how we make and freeze roast chicken. In addition to having pieces frozen for easy summer night meals (think chicken on top of salad), I’m using some of the breast meat to make freezer quesadillas that I can pull out for an easy lunch while I’m on maternity leave. Really – I can’t stress this enough – this chicken is so juicy that once thawed after frozen it is still 99% as good as it is fresh out of the oven. This is the only chicken recipe I can say that about.

roast chicken

Next – Madras Lentils – used this way, this way and this way.

madras lentils

Pulled Pork Shoulder – we use this for sandwiches, burrito bowls, quesadillas and enchiladas.

pulled pork shoulder

Sausage Lasagna Roll-Ups – the easiest weeknight meal. Goes straight from the freezer to oven, and gives us enough leftovers for a lunch or two.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

Freezer Breakfast Burritos – I can’t tell you how many times on my last maternity leave that I would look at the clock in the afternoon and realize I hadn’t eaten all day. <– Not good when trying to establish a supply for breastfeeding.  These can be reheated in the oven or microwave, and are easy to eat one handed.

freezer breakfast burritos

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones – because oatmeal is good for increasing breast milk supply, and because once thawed they just look pretty sitting on the counter in a cake stand.

tea for two birthday party

That’s it for now! As I come up with new ideas in the coming weeks, I’ll be sure to share so stay tuned!

life lately

Life Lately and Valentines

The lack of pictures in this post should be the best indicator of life lately: busy. Too busy, in fact, to remember to pause to take a picture documenting some of the fun things we’ve been up to.

Pregnancy update

As of today, I’m 30 weeks with baby Pea #2. This pregnancy is so different from my last because we’re hardly doing anything to prepare, and that feels weird to me. We basically have everything we need and I’m leaving the nursery as is, so there’s really not much else to do. I guess the only thing we’re doing differently this time is that we’re going in with an actual birth/after birth plan. Yes, we took the class last time, but really we had no idea what we were walking into. There are a lot of things that will be out of our control (which – if you’ve read this blog at all – you know makes my type-A self very uncomfortable), so I’m focusing on the things we can control: care for Anna Ruth and Bailey, pain management after birth, breastfeeding/pumping/supplementing/combo after birth. To put it lightly, we had a rough two days in the hospital last time, and we’re going to be prepared for a much better experience this time.

Duck Donuts in Greensboro(!!)

As you could probably tell from last week’s post, we are savory breakfast people. We might make waffles for a weekend breakfast once every six months, but we just don’t generally do sweets. Well the new Duck Donuts recently opened in Greensboro, and we had a gift card from one of Andy’s students, so we decided to give it a try. You guys. If you’ve never been to a Duck Donuts, now is your time. The experience is unlike any other we’ve had. You go in, select the toppings you want on however many donuts you want, and they create them right in front of you. No “hot now” sign needed for this because they are always served nice and toasty warm. We had three main “stars” of our show: maple glaze/bacon crumbles, peanut butter glaze/oreos/fudge drizzle and just plain cinnamon sugar. The first two were good but just a little too indulgent and over the top for me. Anna Ruth’s and my favorite was the cinnamon sugar. I could easily see myself slipping over to the sweets for breakfast side of the aisle if these were part of the deal. AR and I shared a cinnamon sugar, and we took the leftovers home for our Super Bowl party. It’s sad that I can’t say for sure that AR has had a donut before now – I mean, she’s almost three, she HAS to have had one, right? I just honestly can’t think of a time when she has, but home girl loved it.

life latelylife latelylife lately

Babysit Swapping

We had another first this past weekend. We traded babysitting nights with some of our good friends. Rosie has made several appearances on the blog already, so you’ll recognize her sweet face. The “babysit swap” is exactly what it sounds like: the Logans babysat AR on Friday, and we babysat Rosie on Saturday. It was a win-win. We each got to go on a date, and the girls got to have two play dates in the same weekend (and no $$$ for a babysitter). Also, forgive the messy den. #reallife

life lately

Date Night

Y’all. This was big for us. We’ve had plenty of “dates” over the last three years, but none that didn’t involve grandparents babysitting. I was nervous that AR would be a terror, but she actually did really well. For our date, Andy and I went to a newish restaurant called Don Ishiyaki & Ramen. We both got the ishiyaki bowls, which are basically rice dishes served in hot stone bowls. The stone kind of crisps up the rice, and it is so so good. I got the teriyaki chicken don, which was good, but the teriyaki was a bit sweeter than I prefer. Andy, however, got the bibimbap, which I will definitely get the next time.

After dinner we did something totally new to us. We went to the Cline Observatory on GTCC’s campus, and got a turn on the giant telescope. Apparently this is something they do most weekends. They open up the observatory to the public, fix the telescopes on different planets or constellations and let you have a look. We were only there for about 20 minutes, but it was a really neat (and free!) thing to do. I tried to take a selfie of us with the big ‘scope, but was very quickly told to put my phone away – oops! I would definitely recommend this as an activity for your kids for a special night surprise. I think they have a Facebook page that details what they’ll be looking at each weekend, so you can always check it out to see if they’re focusing on something you’d like to see.

Before getting AR, we finished the evening with a little dessert at Maxie B’s. The night was so simple, yet just what we needed. We will definitely be swapping babysitting services again!

Valentine’s Party

We got together with some friends for a little Valentine’s party over the weekend. You remember these kiddos from the beach, Christmas in July and our birthday party for Jesus. Simon was there, but already asleep, so he missed the picture. Calvin – the oldest boy – met the girls at the door with flowers, and could not have been cuter. The kids played outside and exchanged Valentines, and it was just easy fun.

life latelylife lately

Birthday Party at Tumblebees

I normally wouldn’t include this because we go to too many birthday parties to feature them all on the blog. However, this was for one of AR’s favorite school friends, but also a big step for her. If you’re not familiar with Tumblebees, it’s a gymnastics center that has classes but also does birthday parties. Typically, she has always been very timid – and even a little scared – around this type of equipment/trampolines/etc. She has no problem with the observer role, and would hang out on the balance beam (low to the ground, of course) in these types of situations. Not this time! She did the foam pit and bounce house! For some parents this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was so proud of her. The first time we did something like this, she was not having it, and I decided I wouldn’t push her. When it comes to these types of activities if she doesn’t like something, or something scares her then I won’t force it. The fact that I have no pictures to share from this party should show how much fun she had because I couldn’t get her still.


Can we all just say a collective “thank you, Lord, for Pinterest”?? I am definitely not the mom that will make my kid’s lunches to look like animals (but just know that any of you moms that do that I just think you’re super-moms), but I will come out strong for holidays and events. While I love the thought of doing cute Valentines, I am just not crafty or creative enough to come up with the ideas on my own. So for the last two years I have relied on Pinterest to help me find the perfect thing. Last year, I made cute play doh Valentines for AR’s friends, and this year I went with the cuties theme.  These things look like so much more work went into them than actually went into them. Trust me. If you have time to buy and fill in Valentines, then you have time to download/print Valentines. You can find so many free printables through Pinterest, and you pretty much just have to make sure you remember what you’ve done in the past so you don’t repeat. You can find the printables for this year’s Valentines here.

life lately

I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, and I’m sure I’m missing things, but thank you for reading and sticking it out with me! One of my favorite things about having a blog is that I can document anything I want and will have it to look back on in the future. Thank you for stopping by!

Christmas treats

How to Host a Holiday Cookie Party and Red Velvet Oreos

I can’t believe we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas – how did that happen?? Today is sort of a two-part post: we’re talking about hosting a cookie party and being holiday ready with a stunner of a cake plate display (including the best ever red velvet oreos).

red velvet oreos

First off, I went a little crazy this year and decided it would be a good idea to invite Anna Ruth’s entire play school class (plus siblings) over for a cookie party. I roped in my friends Kristy and Ginny to help me, and we lived to tell about it. We had 18 kids in our living room with icing and sprinkles, and my hardwoods somehow managed to survive (praise hands!).

cookie party

You guys, this party was a hit. We had easy snacks and cookies for decorating – we even had a bounce house for playing outside. I just pre-made the cookies, and we had sprinkles and icing set out down the length of the kid’s tables.

cookie party

I know I’m going on and on about it, but I was just so surprised by how easy this party (and clean-up) was to pull-off. If you ever find yourself in this boat, just make it easy on yourself and plan on covering the floor with painters paper, use disposable tablecloths and all disposable containers for the icing and sprinkles. We literally just dumped everything in the trash and had minimal vacuuming afterwards.

cookie party

As mentioned, we just had easy party food: cheese and crackers, berries, veggies and hummus, bagel bites and my Christmas treat cake stand display. Let’s talk about having a Christmas treat cake stand display for a minute. This has become one of my favorite things to do for the holidays.

christmas cake stand

Generally speaking we don’t have a lot of sweets in our house. We’re not anti-sweets, we just don’t usually go for them. However, during the holidays I feel like they are a must. A week or so after Thanksgiving I’ll make my Christmas treats for my yearly display, and they’ll last through Christmas.

The truth of it is that we don’t even really eat the treats that much, but the whole point of it is to be guest ready with little to no warning. Something about having a knock-out sweets display just makes me feel a little more in control and like maybe I actually CAN EVEN during an otherwise hectic time of year. It says to your drop-in visitors, “it’s no intrusion – I’m ready for you – have a treat.” Plus it just looks pretty sitting on your kitchen counter.

red velvet oreos

I usually change it up a bit, but this year I went with five of my favorites: red velvet oreos (recipe below), homemade peanut butter patties, Oreo truffles, rice krispie treats and chocolate chip peanut butter cups. It seems like a lot, and I generally only do four things, but with the bigger party this year I decided to go for all five. My mom came over after work one night, and we knocked out all of these in around two hours.

red velvet oreos

You may remember the chocolate chip peanut butter cups, and you can find the Oreo truffles recipe here (but I dip mine in white chocolate). For the peanut butter patties, simply spread a little bit of peanut butter between two butter crackers, freeze for 10-15 minutes and then dip in melted milk chocolate. You can either make traditional rice krispie treats, or you can be like me and buy the giant rice krispie treat from Target that they sell during the holidays. This thing is so great because they’re so good, and ready to just cut and go.

red velvet oreos

The recipe for the red velvet oreos comes from one of my life long besties, Danielle. She’s been making these for as long as I can remember, and she generally does them with devil’s food cake mix. Since it’s Christmas, though, I went with red velvet to make them festive. No matter what the occasion, these cake-based cookies are perfect.

Red Velvet Oreos


1 box red velvet cake mix
1 stick unsalted butter – melted
1 egg – slightly beaten
1 tub cream cheese frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the first three ingredients until well mixed.
  3. Form into 1-inch balls* and gently flatten onto the cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for one minute before removing to cool completely.
  6. Once completely cooled, use the frosting to create cookies.
  7. Enjoy!

* I generally make them a little larger, but this is how she gave me the recipe.

Cupcake Gender Reveal

Blue or Pink – What do you think?

Big changes are coming for the Peascoes!  Andy, Anna Ruth and I are thrilled to finally announce we’re expecting baby Pea #2!! Due in late April, and feeling great (praise hands)!

Cupcake Gender Reveal - girl

I’m well out of the first trimester and ready to eat all the things again. My body does a weird thing during first trimesters – it totally rejects the idea of vegetables and anything with any nutritional value. For nearly 12 weeks my diet consisted of anything bready, pasta-y, cheesy, saucy, meaty, or any number of combos from that mix. It’s awesome, but also doesn’t exactly promote my idea of a healthy pregnancy. With Anna Ruth I didn’t have any set fitness goals, but this time I’m trying to be more on top of it. Eat a ton of fruit and veggies, and exercise four times a week minimum. We’ll see how I do!

Okay – I’m done with the pregnancy update, so let’s move onto the real reason you’re here!

Thanks to an awesome private imaging place in town we were able to find out boy or girl just before we were scheduled to have some family pictures taken. We used part of the photo shoot to snap these – enjoy! Images taken by Gain Composure Photography.

Blue or Pink?! What do you think??

Cupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender Reveal

It’s a…………..

Cupcake Gender Reveal


Cupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender Reveal

↑↑↑ Those eyes!!

Cupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender RevealCupcake Gender Reveal

We are so thankful for this incredible blessing, and beyond excited for AR to have a little sister!

Cupcake Gender Reveal

I’ll be back to the normal blog flow next week, with plenty of cool-weather-slash-football-eating foods we’ve been working on lately!

fall baby shower

“Fall” in Love with Baby Shower and Chocolate Caramel Apple Bites

Picture credit goes to Heather Blackwood and Taylor Logan (a million thanks!) because it was too late to take pictures when I decided I wanted to document this on the blog.

Last week a couple girlfriends and I hosted a shower for some of our friends that are expecting their first baby. The expectant parents both work for my organization, and they happen to live in our neighborhood, so we’ve become good friends over the last couple of years. With help from others in our organization we pulled off a shower that I think turned out pretty great. The theme was “Fall in Love with Baby Simon,” and we just had a bunch of Fall food and décor.

fall baby shower

The shower was so fun, and I think they really liked it!

We had the shower in the dining room at work, with the beautiful woods as the backdrop. It was kind of a windy day, so there were plenty of times that we would just see a flurry of leaves falling to the ground. Imagine a Winter themed shower with it snowing outside, but with Fall leaves instead. It was truly, magically Fall.

fall baby shower

The menu was easy, and we had help from other people:

Chili Bar
Traditional Chili
Vegetarian Chili
Corn Bread
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Sliced Jalapenos
Waffle Bar
Pumpkin Whipped Cream
Chocolate Sauce
Caramel Sauce
Fresh Popped Popcorn
Pumpkin Pie Dip
Apple Slices
Graham Crackers
Chocolate Caramel Apple Bites (recipe below)
Apple Cider

fall baby shower

Décor was easy. My friends Sarah and Taylor had a bunch of wooden trays that we used as serving pieces, and we used lanterns and small pumpkins/gourds to round things out. I also ordered some custom onesies for baby Simon, so we made a banner out of those.

fall baby shower

If you find yourself hosting a baby or bridal shower in the Fall, I would highly recommend this theme. It was so easy and had that effortlessly perfect feel. Now we just have to wait for baby Simon to make his intro!

Chocolate Caramel Apple Bites


Large Granny Smith Apples (each apple makes 6-8 balls, so multiply by the number you need)
Melting Chocolate (I use this kind – found in the baking section of the grocery store)
Melting Caramel (I found this kind at Michael’s)
Cake pop sticks (also found at Michael’s)


  1. Using a melon baller, ball out 6-8 bites from each apple. Insert a cake pop stick through the skin side.
  2. Melt the chocolate according to package directions.
  3. Dip the apple bites in the chocolate, making sure it is completely covered, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once you’ve dipped all of the apple bites, set in the freezer for 15-20 minutes for the chocolate to set.
  4. Melt the caramel according to package directions.
  5. Dip each bite into the caramel, covering the bottom half of the bite.
  6. Return to the parchment paper, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to set. Leave in the refrigerator until just a few minutes before serving or the bites will start to sweat.
  7. Enjoy!
butternut squash lasagna with sausage

Fair Fun and Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sausage

Let’s call today Wacky Wednesday, shall we? I have no tie-in between the two things I’m talking about today other than the fact that they’re both basic Fall things and that when we came home from the fair we had leftover butternut squash lasagna with sausage waiting in the fridge. That works right?

This past weekend we went to Raleigh to hang out with my sister’s family and go to the fair. I’ve blogged about it before, but anytime we get together with cousins it’s a great time. Throw in rides and fair food, and you’ve got one happy Anna Ruth. Corn dogs, hot dogs, obnoxious square ice cream cones, funnel cake, blooming onion and (the best ever) bagguetaboutit <– srsly, guys, this food truck makes me want to move to Raleigh. We ate things we never eat, and didn’t feel bad even for a second. The kids were troopers and had a ball, and I’m pretty sure we need to make this an annual thing. Here are just a few pictures, but just know I am crying over not taking food pictures because it was so wrong and so right and I wish I had a visual to get me through the next 364 days until we go back. (I’m mainly sharing these pictures so I can have it documented for myself, but enjoy! If you’re just here for the recipe – no prob, bob – just scroll on past.)

butternut squash lasagna with sausagebutternut squash lasagna with sausagebutternut squash lasagna with sausagebutternut squash lasagna with sausagebutternut squash lasagna with sausage

Okay, since I’ve already established I have no tie-in, let’s just jump right on into the butternut squash lasagna with sausage sitch. You guys, this lasagna is so basic and so Fall I just can’t help but do and wear all the Fall things. The day we made this, I just happened to buy five thousand pumpkins and mums (while sipping on my PSL, obv), and rocked my favorite boots and scarf JUST BECAUSE this lasagna got me in that kind of mood. It’s so basic and so Fall and everything I need in my life on a cool Saturday made for football watching and lazy cooking.

butternut squash lasagna with sausage

This is far from a traditional lasagna (read: butternut squash), but the effort and assembly are about the same. You need a little time for this one, which makes it perfect for a weekend meal. (Bonus: leftovers are a’plenty, and – voila – lunches are ready for the week.)

butternut squash lasagna with sausage

You may remember my love for butternut squash runs deep (read about it here, here and here). It’s just so good and so versatile. Roast it with a little olive oil, Italian seasoning and S&P and it can be used for so many different things. It is also incredibly good with Italian sausage. Fact: I started out making a meatless lasagna, but Italian sausage raised its hand and I just couldn’t say no. You’re welcome.

butternut squash lasagna with sausage


2 lbs mild Italian sausage
2 lbs butternut squash – chopped (I buy the pre-chopped container at the store)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt/pepper/Italian Seasoning – to taste
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 tsp sage
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
12 whole grain lasagna noodles
White Sauce:
-3 tbsp butter
-¼ c flour
-2 ½ c milk
-½ c shredded parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butternut squash and olive oil on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Prepare the sausage: Cook the sausage over medium heat until done, making sure to crumble it as it cooks. Drain in a bowl lined with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Prepare the noodles: Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse with water to keep from sticking, and set aside.
  4. Prepare the filling: Put the cooked butternut squash into a food processor (or blender), and add ricotta, sage, salt and eggs. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined, and then puree until smooth.
  5. Prepare the white sauce: in a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually stir in the milk, and continue stirring over medium heat until the mixture comes just to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan until it is melted.
  6. Assemble the lasagna: spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Spoon about 1/4-1/2 cup of the white sauce in the bottom of the dish
  • Spread four lasagna noodles over the bottom of the dish
  • Spread 1/3 of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles
  • Spread 1/3 of the sausage over the mixture
  • Spread a little of the white sauce over the sausage
  • Repeat: 4 noodles, 1/3 butternut squash mixture, 1/3 sausage, a little white sauce
  • Repeat again: 4 noodles, remaining butternut squash, remaining sausage, remaining white sauce
  • Top with shredded mozzarella
  1. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and turn on the broiler just until the cheese is totally melted and starting to brown.
  2. Enjoy!

Notes: I would definitely go with the mild Italian sausage here. Hot would overpower the other ingredients. Also, regular lasagna noodles will work, but the whole grain gives it a slight nutty flavor that pairs really well with the butternut squash.


Berry Cobbler + Papa’s 88th Birthday

This past weekend was a very special one for our family. Andy and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary (love you, bae) and my family came together to celebrate my grandfather’s 88th birthday. Papa: the man, the myth, the legend…

berry cobbler

I’m sure a lot of people feel this way, but my family really is the best (I mean that for all sides, but this particular party was with my dad’s side). We love getting together and we all genuinely enjoy each other. Here’s what a typical gathering may look like…

It looks like hot dogs and hamburgers and brats and fixins and loaded potato salad.
It looks like cake and pie and cobbler and Yum Yum Ice Cream.
It looks like Cheerwine and Coca-Cola in glass bottles.
It looks like croquet and corn hole and bubbles in the backyard.
It looks like great grandbabies eating ice out of the drink tub while taking a break from chasing each other around the yard.
It looks like my favorite four-year-old helping make berry cobbler.
It looks like Anna Ruth eating all of the leftover blueberries.
It looks like Jack’s shirt coming off because he cannot eat a popsicle without juice going everywhere.
It looks like laughter and fun.

cobblercobblerberry cobbler

It looks like my grandfather seeing his four kids and spouses, and his eight grandkids and three spouses (and two boyfriends that I’m preeeeetty sure are here for the long haul), and his three great grandkids – and hopefully feeling immense joy for the life he and my grandmother created.


We’re all getting busier, but whenever we get together it’s as if no time has passed. We play, pray, eat and laugh, and it’s really the best.

berry cobblercobbler

My contribution to this particular shindig was the berry cobbler. The base of my recipe is from an old episode of the Pioneer Woman, but instead of using blackberries I use raspberries and blueberries. This cobbler is so easy I literally memorized the recipe while watching the show. I just remember her saying “a cup of, a cup of, a cup of,” and that was it. Once you have the base down, you can sub any other berries or even peaches. Since we’re so close to July 4th, I decided to be patriotic and go for the red, white and blue look, so rasp/blue berry cobbler it is!


Cobbler is such a perfect summer dessert, and the red, white and blue makes for a fun 4th treat! This particular cobbler is especially great if you have a little chef that likes to help in the kitchen. Abigail helped mix the batter and added the berries – she was so proud of herself. If you’ve been following for a while, you may remember how I don’t bake very often. It’s because baking is so…precise. This does require measuring, but everything is a cup, so we won’t be dirtying every measuring spoon in the house. Enjoy!



1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1-2 cups berries (I use a 5 oz container of raspberries and 3/4-1 cup blueberries – just eyeball it)
¼ cup sugar (for topping)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a cast iron skillet (or 9×13 pan) with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the milk and then the butter.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cast iron skillet (or baking dish), then add the berries.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of sugar over the top, then bake for an hour until the top is golden and bubbly.

April 4, 2016

Disclaimer: This is a looong post, and I feel a little dramatic about that, but it was really therapeutic to write. I know you all come here for recipes, but I just feel the need to share parts of our story like this in order to feel like we really connect on a more human level than just this internet, no touch, no face-to-actual-face level. I really debated publishing this because my problems seem so small compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world, and I do not want pity. Ultimately, I decided to share in the hopes that if someone else is struggling that they know they’re not alone. 

April 4, 2016. This past Monday slowly crept up, and I’m still not sure I have the right words. Monday would have been my due date for our second baby had I not miscarried at nine weeks. Had it been anything like my last pregnancy, I would have had the baby yesterday and today’s post would be an adorable announcement. I’m not sure why I’ve been so fixated on the “due date,” but just chalk it up that it’s the absolute end date of this chapter. I know that some of you are reading this and thinking about that time within the last six months that you asked us when we would have another baby, and you’re probably feeling bad. PLEASE DON’T. We’ve all seen the blogs of the moms that get all bent out of shape and angry that other people are being nosy. That’s not us – if you’ve felt comfortable to ask us, then we just take it that 1) you care about what’s going on in our lives and 2) you think we’re awesome parents that should definitely have another tot ;). For most of you, I probably just gave an answer like “eventually,” but I spared you the awkwardness of saying “well, actually, we just had a miscarriage, so…” This is probably news to most people, so the rest of the post is about how Andy and I are doing, and is probably relatable to anyone that has been through miscarriage. Per my usual, I’m putting this in list form, so it won’t seem so crazy and all over the place.

  1. We’re still sad. I can honestly say this was the toughest thing we’ve been through. We didn’t intend on getting pregnant when we did, but once we got past the shock we were really excited! This due date was just a few weeks after my due date with Anna Ruth, and I was thrilled at the idea of having a similar pregnancy. AR was easy, and I felt good the whole time. I got pregnant mid-Summer, so the bulk of my pregnancy was in the cooler months —–> hello, no swelling! When I was pregnant with her, I didn’t fully appreciate the sweetness of that time. Sure, I gushed about how much I loved the kicks and the little life inside me, but I didn’t really *get* the feeling until I realized I would not be having it with this one. I didn’t find out the gender in mid-October, and I didn’t have the awesome 6-month baby bump during the holidays. It sounds pretty surface level, but these are some of the things I was looking forward to, and it made me re-appreciate a really special time I had with AR the first go-round. Andy is still sad, too, but it’s not still on his mind like it is mine; he’s sad because I’m sad. He has always been much better than me at taking things as they come, for better or worse, and I love that about him.
  2. We’re still waiting. At first we thought we would immediately try to get pregnant again, which made me think it would be like “okay, if I hadn’t had the miscarriage, then we wouldn’t have this new baby Pea, so THAT’s why it happened.” However, we looked at the calendar and realized that if I had gotten pregnant right away, we would have a due date in early August. August for Andy – aka beginning of a new year of teaching – aka beginning of a new year of grad school. August = bad timing for a new baby. Andy was the perfect new father when we had AR (and still is). He was super present, encouraging and, more than anything, helpful. Having a baby at the beginning of a new school year would be more stressful (for us) than having a baby later in the year. So we waited, and we’re still waiting. I’m not sharing details of our plans for trying again, but, don’t you worry, it will happen.
  3. We’re grateful for the Lord’s timing. Yes, we definitely questioned, “Why did this happen – we weren’t even trying yet?!” BUT we would have started trying soon after, so I have full faith that this was the Lord’s way of saying, “wait.” Honestly, we could make it work to have a second baby right now, but it would be really really hard. I know – people do it every day. If I were a stay at home mom it would be different. Since I work, though, the cost of play school is a major factor. I’m sure we could spend less on childcare by sending AR to a different place, but we LOVE our play school and I absolutely refuse to have my kids anywhere else. If I can’t be with her each day, then this is where she needs to be. Looking at the figures on paper, we are grateful that we’ll have one less year of having two kids in childcare at once. Please don’t take this as we’re grateful for the miscarriage, but financially we’ll be in a much better position for the next one. Other than finances, we’re also grateful for the Lord’s timing because we’re just not ready for Anna Ruth to not be an only child. She would be a great big sister, but I’m not done giving her the majority of my attention mornings, nights and weekends. There’s also this other little venture I took on in the beginning of the year that I can say with near certainty would not have happened if I was pregnant. The Lord had been nudging me to start a blog for a long, looong time, and around Christmas I really had an “it’s now or never” moment and went for it. This little blog has reminded me just how much I enjoy writing and sharing with others, and I honestly don’t think I would have ever taken the leap had I not started well before bringing another baby on board. Lastly, I’m grateful that I didn’t miscarry before taking a positive pregnancy test and confirming it at the doctor’s office. More on that below, but if I hadn’t known for sure that I was pregnant then it could have resulted in repeat miscarriages moving forward.
  4. We’re grateful for the healthy two-year old we do have. For her, and for the fact that I had a healthy, viable first pregnancy. I’m not sure what the medical term for it is, but I have O- blood and Andy has A+, which means that I have to have a rogam shot during and after each pregnancy so that my body does not attack the next developing baby thinking it’s a parasite. I’m sure the doctors would have eventually figured it out, but I sometimes think about what if my first pregnancy was a miscarriage, and then just had several after that because we didn’t know about the blood discrepancy. Modern medicine FTW.
  5. Life moves on. This has been one of the hardest parts about this. At times it seems like anyone that could possibly be pregnant is pregnant. I’m completely happy for every one of those moms and dads, but with every announcement came a twinge of pain reminding me that I was not pregnant, too. Nothing debilitating, but just little reminders that my baby was gone. Going to showers has been hard, but I go because I am genuinely excited for my friends. To be honest I’ve just had to make myself zone out a little. I went to one shower in the *most* amazing farm house I have ever been in in my life, and found myself fixated on all of the old character and charm. Later I was trying to figure out what my deal was (you guys, I fan-girled so hard it’s embarrassing) and realized it’s probably because there were like 10 pregnant women around me. I was there and present for my friend, but had to focus some of my attention elsewhere. I was hesitant to include this section because I know it sounds super selfish, but I decided to leave it because I want other moms going through this to know that it’s normal and okay to be really happy for others while still feeling a little sad for yourself. I will say, however, that if that feeling is so overwhelming that you can’t cope or feel happiness for others then you might need to talk to someone. Then again, I’m not a doctor, but that’s my two cents.
  6. One thing I learned. I will say the biggest thing I learned from this experience is the number one thing not to say to someone going through miscarriage: “it is so common.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m first in the guilty line on this one, and even still have to catch myself from saying it to people now. Yes, we know it happens to 1 in 5 pregnancies, however, for the mom that it’s happening to it is anything but common. It is heartbreaking and scary and lonely. It doesn’t matter that it happens a lot. I know it comes from a very well-meaning place, but just say what she really needs to hear: “I’m so sorry this is happening to you, it really sucks.” Then just let her know you’re there if she needs or wants to talk.

A huge ‘thank you’ if you’ve made it this far in reading. Basically, we’re ok, we’ve coped, we’re still coping. I only had a short time with this baby Pea, but I will never forget him/her. As much as I wish we didn’t have to go through the pain, we can’t discount that there is another little soul in Heaven praising Jesus, and for that we are thankful. We love you, little one.

tea for two birthday party

Tea for Two Birthday Party + Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones

This past weekend we celebrated Anna Ruth’s second birthday with a Tea for Two party. The original plan did not involve a theme, but then I saw the idea on Pinterest and knew I wanted to run with it. Being a small child’s birthday there wasn’t much emphasis on actual tea, but we made up for it with proper tea party food…mainly tea sandwiches and chocolate chip oatmeal scones, but more on the food later.

tea for two birthday partytea for two birthday party

Décor was easy. We started with a few banners and garlands, and decorated the food table with white doilies and flowers in gold tea pots and cups. I found the invitations and other personalized printables on Etsy, and printed them out myself on cardstock. I’m generally not into everything being so matchy matchy, but when spread out throughout the party, it really just made it feel cohesive and not over the top. We had little children’s tables scattered in the living room for eating and coloring, and covered those with white cloth. My favorite part of the décor, however, was a window frame with painted wood letters spelling “Tea for Two.” My mother-in-law made it, and it was exactly what I had in mind. If you ever need anything crafty, call her. She loves doing it and is really good at it.

tea for two birthday partytea for two birthday party

The only “activity” we had was coloring. My friend Katie from The Blissful Willow drew these pages for me, and they were perfect! We went with a tea pot, tea cup and bow tie. Check out her website – I love the custom family illustrations, but really everything she draws is beautiful.

tea for two birthday party

Now onto the best part – the food! Our menu was as follows:


Ham and Swiss on Puff Pastry
Chicken Salad on Croissant
Cucumber with Lemon Dill Spread


Crackers and Cheese (sharp cheddar, Colby jack, pepper jack)
Mini Quiche


Berry Cups (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones
Cupcakes (vanilla, chocolate)
Birthday Cake (chocolate)


Citrus Infused Water
Sweet Iced Tea
Sweet Tea Sangria

tea for two birthday partytea for two birthday partytea for two birthday party

It seems like a lot of food, but it was just a bunch of small bite type things, and it was really easy to pull together. My favorite part, hands down, were the scones. I had never made scones before because I’m really not much of a baker. I always thought they would be really involved, but these were super easy. My friend Catherine came over two nights before the party, and we made three batches in just over an hour. The recipe below is based on an oatmeal raisin scone recipe by Nick Malgieri, but I tweaked it by adding cinnamon, vanilla and heavy cream, and swapping raisins for mini chocolate chips. (I can’t find a link to his recipe because it was from his cookbook, “How to Bake”.) Don’t get used to this. I don’t plan to do much in the way of creating recipes for baked goods. It’s too daunting to think that an extra tablespoon of an ingredient can totally throw the whole thing off. I prefer eyeballing too much for that 😉

I’ve said this about other parts of the party, but another favorite thing was the favors. I originally planned on not having favors, but then saw this cute idea on Pinterest, and I love how they turned out!

tea for two birthday party

I can’t believe my baby is already a two-year-old. The time has truly gone by in the blink of an eye…and now I need to go cry. I’ll leave you with the recipe for my Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Scones, but let me know if you have questions about anything else (food or décor).

tea for two birthday party


1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and set rack to middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse at 1-second intervals until combined (make sure brown sugar isn’t in big clumps).
  3. Cut the stick of butter in half lengthwise, then into smaller chunks (about 16 total). Add to the food processor and pulse 12 times, until the mixture resembles a fine meal.
  4. Combine milk, heavy cream and vanilla in a small bowl. Add mixture to the food processor and pulse 3-4 times to form a soft dough.
  5. Transfer the dough into a bowl and gently stir in the mini chocolate chips, making sure not to overwork the dough.
  6. Generously flour your work surface, turn the dough out onto it and fold over itself 3-4 times until it is less sticky.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts and press each into a disk. Using a pizza cutter, cut each disk into six wedges.
  8. Arrange the scones on the prepared pan. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until just starting to brown on top.
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