Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Favorites



Hello Friday! Here are my favorites from the week:
1

Last Friday, I made a trip into the big(ger) city to do some shopping with the boys. They did fine in Target and Chick-Fil-A, but Ulta was a little bit of a challenge ;) After the nail polish posts I did, I wanted to try new base and top coats. I have never bought a base coat before, but a friend told me that it helps protect your nails and keep them healthy while providing a smooth canvas for the polish. I also knew that I wanted polish labeled 5-Free (without formaldehyde, etc.) I went with Andrea’s recommendation for Whim! When I got home, I painted one coat of Whim base, two coats of a cheap Sinful turquoise, and the Whim top coat—and it has been my longest lasting manicure EVER! I have washed dishes, I have gardened, and it is just starting to wear away at the end of day 6! I couldn’t get polish to last longer than 48 hours before. I highly recommend it!
2

If you missed it, on Monday, I did a post talking about my favorite accessories—namely jewelry. My best pieces aren’t things I picked out for myself; they’re sentimental gifts from my favorite people. :)


Last week, I mentioned that there’s a sweet robin who made her nest right outside the window next to my computer desk. It was a harrowing climb, but I was able to get up close to the nest to peek inside. I saw four perfect blue eggs! I can’t wait for the baby birds to hatch! I hope I can catch a glimpse of their cute beaks sticking out of the nest.
4

Yesterday, I wrote all about Ephraim and his development at 15 months. Even though we’ve seen these stages before with Nolan, it is still the most miraculous thing to watch your baby grow! It never gets old :)
5


Wednesday, we had the most beautiful weather! Ephraim happened to take an extra long afternoon nap, so Nolan and I headed outside. He played in the sandbox while I got to work on the garden. Steve had made a pile of kitchen-rubble next to my raspberry bushes last fall, and I realized a lot of paint chips had gotten into the soil. I used the Shop-Vac to suck up all of the paint chips in the soil and the driveway, then I put down some new top soil. 

Our raised beds grow weeds like CRAZY, so I did a lot of work clearing out three of them. Then I planted our two new blueberry bushes! I figure that if our raspberries do so well next to the driveway, blueberries should thrive there too!


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My friend Briana texted yesterday morning to say that her new baby was born on Wednesday night! She lives in our old town (about an hour away), and I really wanted to go visit them in the hospital. My wonderful mom took over as babysitter so I could make an afternoon trip out of it!

Steve was teaching yesterday in the same town, so I swung by his office to surprise him :) This is the first time I’ve been on campus all year, and the school year is just about done! This pink tree is outside his building, and I had to get a photo of it!



Steve went to the hospital with me, and we were SO excited to get to meet this brand new little guy! He is the third boy in his family, and he doesn’t have a name yet. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone without a name before ;) He was nine and a half pounds—but to me, he was still so tiny! Isn’t he adorable?!


7


On Tuesday, I shared my new favorite cookie—this cornflake, chocolate chip, marshmallow goodness! It’s a bit of a high-maintenance cookie, but you won’t be disappointed :)

What are your plans this weekend?

I’ll be reading lots of books with these little guys, and hopefully getting some outside time in as well!

Follow along with me on Instagram! @floralandfudge

Linking up for Friday Favorites with Erika, Andrea, & Narci.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A 15-Month-Old and His Pancakes

There are so many things that I don’t want to forget about my babies. And somehow this baby is now 15 months-old! I suppose I have to start calling Ephraim a toddler soon. I want to remember the details about my boys at every stage. What they looked like with their chubby baby cheeks, how they smelled of lavender soap and sunscreen, which toys they were attached to, and what they liked to eat.

These are the posts that are going to be the most meaningful to me when I look back at my blog.

I’m not a great meal planner, so when five ‘o clock rolls around some nights, we resort to pancakes. It’s a win-win though, since everyone in our family is pretty crazy about pancakes, often of the chocolate chip variety.

So here’s a little photo show of Ephraim and his love of pancakes while I talk about some of the things he’s up to at 15 MONTHS :)



+ He has the absolute best blue eyes. Add in his cute little smile, and he can melt any stranger’s heart!

+ He tends to be shy when we are in big groups of people.

+ He had a hard time transitioning to milk. Eventually I realized he would drink skim, since it was closer to water. Gradually, we’ve worked our way up to whole milk, and now he loves it!

+ Ephraim can eat more than Nolan. We’re starting to do things like make two boxes of macaroni and double the pancake recipe. And there aren’t many leftovers on spaghetti and pizza night!

+ When he’s done eating, and I ask him “All done?”, he grabs his shirt or bib and pulls at it.

+ We’ve moved up to size 4 diapers. He’s still pretty short, so he can fit in 12 month pants, but we’ve transitioned to 18 month clothes.



+ E hates diaper changes. He twists and kicks and cries. I found that playing him his favorite song, “My Lighthouse” will quiet him down.

+ Speaking of “My Lighthouse”, he claps all day long to signal to me that he wants to listen to it. Or he’ll get the TV remote to ask me to play him Rend Collective or Tenth Avenue North music videos. He has no interest in TV unless it is a song.

+ Ephraim loves his pacis. He still finds comfort in nursing if he wakes up in the middle of the night. He only nurses in those early morning hours, and at night before he goes to bed.

+ He is the LIGHTEST sleeper. Any creak of the floors when Steve and I are trying to get ready for bed and that boy is wide awake.



+ The dog’s water dish is a huge temptation for him, despite all of the lessons we’ve had about it. He gets so excited when we feed Ivy because he wants to play with her food and help her eat. He likes to give her treats, but he’ll tease her and run away with them.

+ When Ephraim wakes up in the morning and after naps, he’s not a happy little guy. He rolls around in his crib like he isn’t ready to be out of bed yet. (He gets this from me.)

+ He knows what toys are most special to Nolan (hello Hammie), and gets extra excited to find them. If Nolan tries to take the toys away, E sometimes bites him! Nolan was never a biter, so this is new territory.



+ He’s been in his big boy carseat for a month or two now, and even though it’s nice and roomy, I still miss that we can’t carry him inside in it when he falls asleep in the car.

+ Ephraim brings us little board books all day long, specifically “Clifford’s Animal Sounds”, “Clifford’s Peekaboo”, and “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. He seeks them out on the bookshelf and gets so excited to read them!

+ He is babbling a lot as if he thinks he’s telling us something. He hasn’t started using real words yet, though we know he’s said “Daddy”, “Ivy”, “Cookie”, “Cheese” at least once.



+ E throws some pretty terrible fits about food—like if we give him yogurt but don’t let him feed himself. He gets really mad when he wants something that he can’t have.

+ He loves to eat BANANAS, strawberries, pizza, bread, chocolate anything, oatmeal, cheese sticks, saltine crackers, squeezie applesauces.

+ Naptime is typically at 11 am and 3 pm, but he’s starting to transition to taking one extra long nap at 11.

Some days can get really long, but most of the time, this guy is so fun and full of love!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie Recipe

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

One of my traveling dreams has been to visit New York City. As a Chicago girl, I’ve always wanted to compare the two cities. We see New York as the backdrop of so many of our favorite movies and TV shows that I think it would be exciting to see in real life! Steve and I have been all along the east coast—within an hour from NYC, but just haven’t made the plans to go into the city!

So I hear there is a famous dessert shop in New York City called Momofuku Milk Bar. And when I stumbled upon their cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie recipe, the photo was so incredible, I had to try it for it myself!

Lately, I’ve been on a quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipes, and in February, I posted about a cornflake cookie. I still had the box of cereal in my pantry, so I decided to give this cookie a go. There are quite a few differences in the recipes. The Momofuku one is definitely high-maintenance. It calls for very specific mixing times, and it requires chilling the dough before baking. The cornflakes are basically made into a dessert before you even add them to the cookie dough! But man, oh man. . . the cookies end up HUGE, and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. There’s quite an array of flavors and textures—salty, crunchy, buttery, sweet, chocolatey, gooey. It’s an experience!

Ingredients:

For the Cornflake Mix:
5 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup milk powder (I used Carnation brand which came in a small bag)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
9 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the cookie dough:
2 sticks butter, at room temp
1  1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1  1/4 cups mini marshmallows
and 3 cups of the above Cornflake Mix

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

DIRECTIONS:

Cornflake Mix

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, crush up the cornflakes with your hands so they are 1/4 of their original size. Mix in the milk powder, sugar, and salt. Pour in the 9 T of melted butter, and toss to coat.

On a tray lined with parchment paper, spread the cornflakes and bake them for 20 minutes.

Cool them completely before using them in the recipe. Store the extra mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Cream together the two sticks of butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Continue mixing for 7-8 minutes.

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

On low speed, add in the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together (in a little less than a minute).

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Add in the 3 cups of Cornflake Mix, chocolate chips, and marshmallows and mix just until incorporated—30 to 45 seconds.

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With an ice cream scoop, place 1/3 cup of dough at a time onto the cookie sheet. Pat the tops of the dough domes flat. Wrap the pan(s) tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour (or up to 1 week). Room temperature cookies will not hold their shape in the oven.

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange chilled disks 4 inches apart. (I fit 6 per tray.)

Bake 13-18 minutes, until cookies are browned on the edges and beginning to turn brown in the centers. Cookies will puff, crackle, and spread.

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Cool cookies completely on the pan before moving them. Keep in an airtight container for up to five days, or freeze :)

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

The marshmallows seemed to drift out to the sides and get crusty, so the next time I make these, I may reserve the marshmallows for the end, and stuff them in the center of the dough so that they don’t get lost in the cookie.

Momofuku Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

The Momofuku Milk Bar website has many other recipes as well (from their cookbook). I might have to try the “Compost Cookies” soon—which include pretzels, potato chips, coffee grounds, butterscotch, graham, and chocolate chips! I just heard that Target started carrying Momofuku cookie mixes!

When they get to be a little too crunchy, just pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds, and they’ll taste like they’re warm out of the oven again!

Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jewelry



Good Monday morning to you! I’m filling up my largest coffee mug and getting excited about a brand new week! Today, I want to share with you some accessories—my favorite pieces of jewelry. I like picking out my own bracelets and necklaces, but I’ve found that my best pieces are actually gifts that I’ve received. They are meaningful and sentimental because of who spent time choosing them for me :)

Midway through taking photos of the jewelry, my camera (my wonderful Nikon) broke! I had just taken a whirlwind of photos, and I continued to push the shutter button, but then—error message. It was done. I am pretty devastated! I’m not sure what I’m going to do to replace it, but I got enough photos to share today.

First, the above photo is my charm bracelet. A few years ago, I bought my mom a Brighton charm bracelet for Christmas. Two months later, for Valentine’s Day, she surprised me with one. The first charm was a heart with two little blue feet. On the back, it says “Baby Boy” (Nolan was 5 months-old). I loved it! We continued to buy each other charms for holidays until our bracelets filled up. Our husbands contributed a few as well :)



Continuing on with that theme, for Easter this year, my mom bought me this charm bangle! I may have been living under a rock, but I hadn’t heard of “Alex and Ani” before. This particular ice cream cone bangle is called the “Sweet Treats Charm”. The reason my mom bought it for me is that through December, Alex and Ani will donate 20% of the profit from this bracelet to “Give Kids The World”. GKTW is a resort in Orlando that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. We first went to GKTW on my sister Hannah’s Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World when I was seven. I went back with my mom to volunteer for a week in 2009 in Hannah’s memory. Needless to say, it’s an amazing place, and it’s dear to our hearts. :)



This gold and pink bracelet was a TJ Maxx find last year, and it really brightens up any outfit!



These are my two most complimented pieces of jewelry. When Lia Sophia was super popular a few years ago, Stephen would go on eBay and find me pretty rings and necklaces at great prices! The one on the left was called, “Appletini”, and the stone is so similar to Peridot, my birthstone. On the right is “Greek Isle”—Stephen gave it to me on my 24th birthday—which was also my due date for Nolan. Nolan ended up being nine days late, and I had the ring on when he arrived :)



This is my favorite statement necklace. It’s the most beautiful shade of turquoise, and it is so regal! I really wish it matched all of my shirts so I could wear it everyday ;)



After the camera broke, I took a quick shot on my phone of this blue necklace. My mom bought it for me at a craft show, and I think it’s so neat because it weighs nothing and is made of a pretty ribbon material! I should look into how to make these!

I didn’t get a close up of my earrings, but in this photo, I’m wearing the Fossil owl studs that I have in ALL the time. I have a nice collection of big earrings, but having a 15-month-old limits some of my more fun pieces. :)


What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?

Have a great day!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for a “Favorite Accessories” link-up!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Favorites



I am not sure where the time is going, but it’s Friday again! I’ve been busy chasing around the boys all the week, and I am ready for the weekend!!


My favorite moment this week was when this beautiful boy took his nap on my chest on Sunday. Church mornings aren’t always easy for him. On most days, Ephraim’s morning nap starts at 11, which is exactly when our service starts. On Sunday, I had tried to get him to nap earlier, but he just played in his crib. Needless to say, after playing hard in the nursery, he was tired at 12:30 when we were leaving church. We stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches and take them to my in-laws’ house. Ephraim got cozy and fell asleep in the car at the Subway. When he got to my in-laws’, I took him out of his carseat, fully expecting him to wake up, but he didn’t! I sat down on the couch with him, and he stayed asleep for an hour. It. Was. Wonderful. I really miss the days that he took all of his naps on me. There’s just something about holding your baby when they’re calm and peaceful. My boys never stop otherwise! :)



My favorite post this week was sharing how these two cuties got their names! Don’t they look like brothers when they’re split-screened like this? Steve and I think that Nolan has my eye color with Steve’s eyelids and eye shape. And we think Ephraim has Steve’s light eyes and my eye shape!  Aren’t genetics cool? ;)


If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m giving away a copy of Christy Nockels’ brand new worship album, “Let It Be Jesus”!  I’ve really enjoyed listening to it this week, and I know you will too! She has a beautiful voice and an incredible love for Jesus.


Our daffodils and forsythia are in full bloom, and I am loving that I have flowers to fill my vases! Just this week, the green buds showed up on the trees, and we were all a little bit happier!

Until. . . Wednesday. . . and we got SNOW!

I tried to ignore it, but then it snowed all day yesterday too! I sure hope it melts today!



But my very favorite part of spring so far has been this little mama:



Mama Robin decided to make her nest about two feet from my computer desk! I have been watching her come and go for several days now, and I am so excited to watch her in the next couple of weeks as she waits for her eggs to hatch. I’m hoping I’ll get some glimpses of her babies too! She isn’t entirely keen on me watching her through the window from such a close vantage point, but I think she’s pretty set on staying in her nest. I have been studying up on robins, and I think that the older I get, the more I am fascinated with nature and how well God created all living creatures!



My favorite part about Fridays? Friday night pizza! My mouth is watering already.

And then maybe we can follow it up with a little of this:



I’m hoping that you all have an amazing weekend! Catch you on Monday? :)

Follow along with me on Instagram! @floralandfudge

Linking up for Friday Favorites with Erika, Andrea, & Narci.

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