fatoosh salad



This weekend was HOT.  Which made adorable rompers a must (see above cuteness).  We brought our A/C window unit into the house and have had the fans going non stop to keep the house a bit cooler.  When it’s super warm like this (mid 80s-90 is hot here in Washington), I really dislike cooking.  The oven and stove act as heater for the house and that the last thing I wanted to do.  Last night I was craving a cool refreshing salad and this fatoosh salad hit the spot.  It was filled with crisp veggies, pita bread (I skipped toasting it to avoid turning the oven on) and feta, but my favorite flavor in it was the chopped parsley and mint.  I need to do that regularly in salads!  The kids were both big fans of the pita and ate that first, of course.


The recipe comes from my secret recipe club pick of the month Sarah’s Kitchen!  Sarah loves to cook and bake, shop, coupon and craft.  Sounds like many things I love as well!  Her recipe list is massive, so I zoned in on the category with salads.  I knew I wanted to make some sort of salad and loved this pick, as did her husband she says.  It’s always a win when the husband is happy with the meal.  Mine at all of his salad, plus we served it with some delicious salmon.  The perfect summertime meal!


Fatoosh Salad

recipe from here


  • 2 pita breads
  • 8 leaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sumac (I omitted, could not find it at my regular grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toast pitas 5 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until crisp and break into bite size pieces (or omit the toasting like I did).
  3. Place the pita, lettuce, green onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint and parsley in a bowl together and toss.
  4. In a blender (I used my magic bullet), combine the garlic, sumac, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad (I always like to start with a small amount then add more), add the feta and toss to combine.

Have you ever had a fatoosh salad?  What is your go-to salad for hot days?  Hope your week starts out wonderfully!


five must haves for a construction themed birthday party


When I was planning Hunter’s construction birthday bash, I kind of went a little pinterest crazy.  And by kind of I mean I pinned the heck out of anything construction themed.  There are so many awesome ideas out there!  I planned, pinned and ultimately decided on what was important to me and would not be overly stressful to prep for Hunter’s party.  Here are my five must haves for a construction themed birthday party.  The key reason they are on the must have list is because they were totally exciting for Hunter.  HE loved them, and that was my goal for the whole party.

Construction work site birthday cake

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construction trucks from amazon (you can also find them at walmart)

candles from the dollar store

cake – chocolate zucchini cake recipe

frosting – two ingredient fudge-like frosting recipe

How to

I made a double batch of the chocolate zucchini cake and baked up two 9″ round cakes.  I followed the instructions HERE (pictures throughout the tutorial) to create the dug out cake.  The cake flavors and frosting together were a hit!  I will definitely make this combo again.  This was without a doubt one of the easier cakes I’ve made.  Looking messy was the goal!

Digging/work zone

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Dirt area (my parents had just prepped a spot for a garden which worked out perfectly!)

Caution tape from amazon (if you need to rope off a section, which we did since half the garden was planted)

Shovels, rakes and construction trucks (used what we already had at home)

Yellow poster paper and black sharpie from the dollar store


How to

Rope off the area you want for the kids to dig around in. Add trucks, shovels, rakes and all digging supplies.  Create your “DIGGING ZONE” sign and attach it to the sawhorse.  Let them go crazy and get uber messy!

First aid station

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Normally most of my creativity comes from pinterest, but this one I came up with completely by myself!  Think of it as a pin the tail on the donkey activity, but less organized and the kids just get to put band aids on the construction worker whenever they’d like.


White and yellow poster board and black sharpie from the dollar store

Easel from ikea

Multiple boxes of band aids from the dollar store


How to

Have your very artistic husband draw a construction kid on the white poster board.  Prep the bandaids so the kids only have to remove the tabs from the sticky part.  Place all band aids in the easel tray.  Tape the white board onto the easel.  Create your “FIRST AID STATION” sign and attach it to the sawhorse.

Hammer station

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Kids table from ikea

Wood mallets from amazon

Wood golf tees from walmart

Foam craft blocks from walmart


Yellow poster paper and black sharpie from the dollar store


How to

Place the golf tees in a bowl on the table, along with the wood mallets and the foam blocks.  Hammer a few tees into a foam block so the kids know what to do.  Create your “HAMMER STATION” sign and attach it to the sawhorse.

Construction worker attire/party favors

IMG_7587 IMG_9764 IMG_4227 IMG_7644Supplies

orange kid aprons from home depot

plastic hard hats from amazon

construction trucks from amazon (you can also find them at walmart)

band aids from the dollar store

How to

Convince local home depot to give you kids aprons they give out at the kid workshops (it may take a lot of pleading but they will eventually conceed).  Have mom embroider the names of the kids on the aprons (or write their names with a sharpie).  Place a mini construction truck and band aids in the apron pockets.  Include a hard hat to complete the look and for safety.

I hope these ideas inspire your next construction themed birthday bash!  They were super fun, and relatively simple to do as well.

What would YOUR kiddos favorite activity be at a construction party?  Hunter’s was definitely the digging zone.  That boy would love to be there every day if he could.


on your third birthday {Hunter}


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At 3….


You love being outside, picking up rocks, sticks, flowers, dirt and whatever else you can get your hands on.

I love that I get to see your adventurous side and that you choose nature over TV any day.


You love your sister and call her your best friend.  You share with her and care about her so much.

I love that I get to witness your sweet loving heart every day with her.


You love reading by yourself and being read to.  You have always loved books.  You also love being naked.  You’ve always loved that too.

I love that you love learning and how into books you get.  Every though you can’t read yet, I can only imagine that there’s a story going on in your head as you flip through the pages in a book.


You love being independent and doing things yourself, even when it is frustrating and tough for you.

I love watching you grow into a little man. You are determined and always want to push yourself.


You love singing and rocking out to music. Air guitar and drum solos are one of your favorites.  You are always ready to sing a song.

I love the creativity in your mind and the song in your heart.


You love taking naps in mom and dad’s bed. It’s become a daily ritual.

I love that you feel comforted knowing that you are in our bed.  I know you won’t always want to, so for now I’ll take it in.  Especially the times I take a little nap with you.


You love to be silly and do things just to make yourself or other people laugh.

I love the joy you bring to our house.  Your smile, laugh and love for life is contagious.


You love giving random hugs and snuggling.

I love that you love so greatly.  You show and share love every day.


You love soccer and look forward to it every Friday.  You have a blast with your team and keep learning new skills.

I love that being active and playing are a couple of your favorites.  You are independent and don’t need me in your class and you understand taking directions from someone else.


You love helping in the kitchen. Measuring ingredients, chopping foods and washing dishes.

I love that I can share this with you, from such a young age, and foster respect for real food and knowledge in the kitchen.  It’s such a special time for me to share with you.


You love your family.  Daddy to wrestle with, mommy to care for you and Zoe to play with. And your new kitty to snuggle.

I love that your world is surrounded by love.  I love that you are such a happy boy. I love that you are my boy and every day I feel so lucky to be your mama.


Happy birthday.

I love you Hunter!


Hunter’s construction themed 3rd birthday party


On Saturday we celebrated Hunter’s 3rd birthday with a construction themed party.  It was a blast!  The kids had so much fun and Hunter was in heaven pretty much from the minute we arrived, which was a couple hours before the party even started.  Here’s a glimpse at our fun day.  I’m going to share more about the decor and activities in a separate post.  For now, a look at the party!

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Food served: beef hot dogs, buns, chop salad with herb yogurt dressing, caesar salad with bacon infused croutons and all the hot dog toppings (rosemary balsamic onions, dill pickles, sour kraut, peach salsa, relish, cilantro poblano sauce, ketchup, mustard and curry mayo).

Snacks at the ‘rock quarry’: blueberries, grape tomatoes, grapes, almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds.

Fuel station: cucumber, lime and mint water + bai 5 drinks.


The party was held at my parent’s house.  They have tons of land and a great set up in the back yard.  Plus my dad let us use lots of tools and construction type items for decor, major score!  I had planned the party for outside and thankfully the rain held off.  Once people arrived even more fun and games began.

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The favorite spot was definitely the digging zone!

IMG_7606 IMG_7608 IMG_7603IMG_9777 IMG_7633 IMG_7632 IMG_7645 IMG_7644Easiest cake decor ever!  Hunter used the excavator to eat his piece and then had another.

I made a chocolate zucchini cake (this recipe but I subbed in coconut oil for the butter) and this simple two ingredient frosting.  Everyone seemed to like it and I thought it was super delicious as well!

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It was a super messy and amazingly fun party.  It was great having the outside set up and play spots for the kids.  The party was totally all about them.  While I bathed my dirt covered kids, the clean up crew got to work. My aunt had fun driving my dads tractor, which he had put out as decor as well.

IMG_7624IMG_4242Pretty sure I’ve set high standards for Hunter’s party now.  It was totally worth it knowing he enjoyed his birthday as much as he did!


crockpot maple chile pork


After our trip to Aruba I eased myself back into cooking.  The first night we picked up a hawaiian pizza from our favorite local pizzeria and I made a simple salad to go along with it.  The next night I brought out my crockpot and let it do the work for me.  Don’t you just love the crockpot?  I sure do.


This recipe comes courtesy of my secret recipe club pick for the month of May.  I was assigned Cookaholic Wife, an adorable blog written by Nichole.  She shares a big variety of recipes and her menu plans as well.  Instead of starting at her recipe index, I skimmed through her posts one by one from most recent to older posts.  Nichole was doing the whole30 challenge a couple months back, so tons of those recipes caught my attention.  I also noticed a paleo focus, which I love since they also mean a real whole food focused to me.  I ended up settled on the crockpot maple chile pork, and I am so glad I picked it.  The maple syrup lends a unique sweetness and flavor when combined with the bit of heat from the red pepper flakes.  Everyone in the house loved this and could not get enough of it!  Thanks so much Nichole!


Crockpot Maple Chili Pork

recipe slightly adapted from here


  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 tbsp all natural maple syrup
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp natural cane sugar
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • sea salt and pepper


  1. Place pork in crockpot.  Combine all other remaining ingredients, then pour over the pork.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Turn pork every 2-3 hours.
  3. Shred and serve.

I served the pork along with a corn bake and roasted asparagus.  The entire meal amazing and I can’t wait to make this pork recipe again!  Nichole served her pork with a sweet potato, which I think would be another awesome side.  Or maybe a roasted acorn squash…. so many possibilities!

What did you last cook in your crockpot?


that moment you find out you are pregnant


As Mother’s Day rolls around tomorrow, I begin to think more about when I became a mother.  I love being able to go back and read through all my pregnancy posts to remember what it was like being pregnant.  So many of the details about how I was feeling and seeing all the changes happening in my body tend to fade away with my ever worsening mommy brain.


There are two areas related to pregnancy that still remain clear in my mind; bringing both of my beautiful babies into the world, and finding out when I was pregnant.  I think they are imprinted into my brain since there was so much emotion involved in each.  If you love birth stories, check them out (Hunter’s birth story and Zoe’s birth story).  I never tire of rereading them.


Today I wanted to share about the moments I found out I was pregnant.  Both times I found out using home pregnancy tests.  Although I’m pretty in tune with my body and both times just felt like I was pregnant (we were trying), the emotions didn’t kick in until I actually knew.  Until I had that proof on a stick.

I found out I was pregnant with Hunter on a Sunday afternoon.  I remember waiting in the bathroom, by myself, for the results to show up.  I wanted it to be a surprise for Jacob, so I hadn’t told him I was taking one.  The time passed in super slow speed, I peeked and could not believe my eyes.  It was positive!  I remember just thinking, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh’ non stop in my mind.  I went out to Jacob, showed him and we hugged like crazy.  Our smiles could not be washed away and I was crying with excitement.  We told our immediate family the next weekend and shared with everyone else a few weeks later.  It was so hard to keep the news in.  It was one of the most exciting moments for us.

Finding out that I was pregnant with Zoe was so special.  I actually found out on a Sunday afternoon again, but it also happened to be father’s day!  I sooooo wanted the home pregnancy test to show that I was pregnant on that day.  Just like with the first, I had this feeling, but when I saw the pregnancy test showing that I was pregnant, those same flooding emotions came over me.  I was shocked because I honestly thought I wouldn’t be as surprising the second time, but no matter if it’s the first or second, knowing you are pregnant is such an amazing feeling.  We were so excited to add another baby into our family.  Just like the first time I found out, I did a second pregnancy test (I like to be sure) and got the + sign from the Clearblue  PLUS pregnancy test.  Simple and awesome.

IMG_5370It’s hard for me to describe the emotions and I really wish I had recorded it one of the times (maybe the next one!).  Check out this video from Clearblue.  Watching their emotions bring back my own, and I’m not going to lie, after watching it a few times I may have felt like eyes warm a bit.  Motherhood makes me so very sappy.

I love that I get to celebrate mother’s day as the mama to these two.  There is no better job in the world. It’s amazing to think back on the journey of finding out I was pregnant, going through pregnancy, having a baby, being blessed to do it all again, and now being here.  Nothing beats it.


Happy Mother’s Day to every single mother out there!

Do you remember the emotions you felt when you found out you were pregnant?  Or how you felt when someone told you they were pregnant?


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

my toddler breakfast experiment


At the beginning of this week I decided to do a little experiment.  Hunter (who turns three this month!) was my research subject.


Typically at breakfast time I’ll decide what the kids and I are going to eat for breakfast.  I’ll usually awake before them, and I like to have breakfast ready when they wake so it has a chance to cool and they are also just used to eating pretty much right after waking.  There are times when Hunter wakes early or I sleep in and he’ll put a request in (which I will make if I can), but it’s not the norm.  On Monday I decided to let Hunter have the say at breakfast.  I wanted to see how much variety he chose throughout the week (I anticipate pancakes every day).  Plus I like to give him the power every once in a while.

His sister was cool with it too.


Here’s how the week has looked.

Monday: whole milk plain yogurt and homemade maple nut granola plus a banana on the side


Tuesday: scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast with mashed avocado x2

Wednesday: pancakes, bacon and blueberries on the side (he was specific about not having them in the pancakes, but on the plate)


Thursday: custard oatmeal with apples, raisins, peanut butter and 2 blueberries on top


I’m honestly shocked we’ve had a different breakfast every day so far. I have loved it!  I’ll be curious to see what he picks for Friday because we’ve eaten all our standard breakfasts, so a repeat will likely happen.  I’ll come back and add it in tomorrow. :)


I’ve made a point to ask him the night before what he wants to eat for breakfast the next morning, because I still wake and cook before the kids are up.  We talk about the different options to have (like when he wanted pancakes I asked him if he wanted bacon or fruit with it, which he then choose both) and settle on the final choice.  I love giving him the control and seeing him make such great varied options.  I know he likes being the decider too, so it’s a win-win situation!

And he was so excited to see the ‘just 2 blueberries’ on his oatmeal this morning.  The boy was heard!

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I’m linking up to munchkin meals today.  Check out Brittany’s post to see what other mama’s are feeding their kids.

What do you think your kids would pick for breakfast every day if they were in charge of it?  Do you usually switch it up for them or roll with a normal routine?


aruba {four words a picture}


PDX red eye flight.


Hyatt hotel pool paradise.


View from our room.


Love for my man.


These sunsets every night.


Birthday dinner.  Tiramisu yum.


You lead.  I’ll follow.


The squirrels of Aruba.


Black swans.  Koi fish.


Catamaran cruise.  All smiles.


DPSG welcome reception dinner.


Turned dance party craze.


I heart Aruba. Truth.


Catamaran for snorkel exploration.


Lighthouse dinner.  Dreamy views.


Didn’t yoga.  Did windsurf.

IMG_6829Spa aloe wraps.  Crispy.


Cleaned up and relaxed.


Winner’s circle farewell dinner.


Three mile beach run.


The roof flower garden.


Our favorite breakfast spot.


Final night beach stroll.


Pier bars and restaurants.


Warm salty clear water.


Sand in toes dinner.


Chocolate him.  Custard hers.


Randomly found dance performance.


Big breakfast.  Travel day.


Until next time Aruba.


Seriously missed.  Happy return.


mother’s day gift guide for the expecting mama


I don’t know about you, but I have such a tough time figuring out gifts for my mom and dad.  Whenever birthdays, Christmas and mother’s/father’s day rolls around I’m usually left scratching my head on what to gift.  I like to give thoughtful gifts… sometimes handmade items or I’ll get the kids involved too.  It’s never an easy task.  With mother’s day rolling around I thought it would be fun to put together a fun little gift guide, but not the kind of gifts I’d give to my mama (you can give me ideas for that one 😉 ).  This guide is geared towards what to gift the expecting mama.  Even if you are still growing that sweet first baby in your belly, celebrate being a mama, because you are one!

Here are some favorite items I loved during my first and second pregnancy.  All items I will gladly accept during the next one too… which is not now.  No baby belly growing here just yet.

For Two Fitness®


Comfortable and cute workout clothes are a must in my opinion.  When you’re pregnant and everything grows and clothes get a little (or a lot) tighter, it’s just so nice to feel cute and super comfortable.  I loved my For Two Fitness® tanks so much during my second pregnancy (wish I would have had them during my first one too!).  I have the Sweating for Two® and Yoga for Two® tops and can’t wait to rock them again.   The quality is great and after tons of use they both still look great.


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As a For Two Fitness® ambassador I am excited to partner with them to share about their amazing clothes for my Mother’s Day gift guide.  As a bonus for you guys now through Mother’s Day, get 25% off your order plus free shipping with code MOMSDAY25, only at www.fortwofitness.com.

Comfy socks

As the belly and body grows, feet get beat up a bit in the process.  They carry you around and get sore, tired and even sometimes swell up.  I loved comfy fuzzy socks.  I usually have cold feet too so the warmth and extra cushion felt so nice.

UGG boots

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If you are pregnant during cold weather (a norm here in Washington) UGG boots are another treat for the feet.  A favorite outfit was a longer shirt, leggings and my UGGs.  My feet were kept warm and they’re so soft and nobody thinks you are wearing slippers at the store, even though it feels like it.



I pretty much live in leggings and long shirts/dresses when I’m pregnant.  Thick leggings are nice when your top isn’t very long, but even the inexpensive ones from Forever 21 work, especially if your top is long enough to cover your backside.


At a certain point in pregnancy women can no longer lay on their stomachs or on their backs flat for long periods of time. That makes massage a bit difficult, but if you can find a pregnancy massage (basically where they have a big pillow you lay face down on with a space for belly and boobs) it’s quite heavenly.  I try and get them as much as I can, especially near the end of my pregnancies.

Lavender scented items

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This one is probably specific to me, but before having babies lavender wasn’t my favorite smell.  Once I became pregnant with Hunter I could not get enough of the scent and it’s continued on ever since.  Ask what smell your pregnant lady likes because pregnancy can change what they like/dislike.

Membership to a pool


I love staying active all pregnancy long, but those last few months everything does get a bit harder.  The body moves a little slower and moving takes a bit more effort.  Being in water is a pregnant ladies best friend.  The water makes you feel light and if you have swelling going on the water helps to make that feel more comfortable too.  Water aerobics classes and swimming laps were my preference when in the pool, but even just floating around is luxurious.

No cooking/dishes/cleaning day

Gifts aren’t always needed.  Just a day when a little bit is taken off of your pregnant ladies plate can be a gift on its own.  That will give her the chance to relax and de-stress.  Also great for non pregnant ladies. :)


If you follow me on social media you probably saw pictures from our Aruba trip.  It was amazing!  I’m planning to share many more pictures and about our adventure soon, but first I’ve got to soak in more time with my kiddos.  I missed them like crazy!

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What item would you add to this list?


Thanks to For Two Fitness® for sponsoring this campaign.  I absolutely love their products and am always excited to share my love for them whenever I can.

what we ate: apr 12-22


Today I’m coming at you with not one week, not two weeks, but a week and a half of meals!  I won’t be cooking dinners for a little bit so I thought I’d share what we’ve been eating recently.  This week was all about using up food so dinners were not the most exciting, but still tasty!  As always, when there is a recipe to link to, you’ll see it.  The asterisk next to a day is to help me remember when Jacob loved a meal or wanted me to write it down.

April 12-18

Sunday * – pork ragu (third time making this, it is AMAZING!) + papardelle + brussel sprouts with bacon


Monday – leftover tomatillo beef on whole wheat toast with feta + mushrooms + clementines

Tuesday * – loaded baked potatoes with spicy beef sauce, cheese, sour cream and avocado + peas

Wednesday – baked halibut rice bowls with cucumber + avocado

Thursday – blueberry whole wheat pancakes + beef bacon

Friday – * pizza night – homemade whole wheat pizza crust topped with leftover ground beef + marinara sauce + cheddar + green bell pepper + mushrooms


Saturday – wood oven sausage pizza + roasted brussel sprouts + salmon crostini {dinner at our favorite restaurant the hearth}

April 19-22

Sunday – herb crusted steak + roasted red and sweet potatoes + kale chips


Monday – salmon + kale salad with avocado, grated carrot and poppyseed dressing + sauted zucchini and onion + pear {dinner at my mamas}

Tuesday – creamy tomato pasta with steak, asparagus and feta {using up leftover items in the fridge}


Wednesday – potato bacon hash + fried eggs + avocado + mango


We celebrated earth day (unintentionally) outside doing a little gardening and pulling weeds.  If it’s not rainy, the kids and I love being outside whenever we can!  Aren’t they just the cutest?

IMG_6786Did you get outside yesterday? 


Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

January 25-31, 2015

February 1-14, 2015

February 15-21, 2015

February 22-28, 2015

March 1-14, 2015

March 15-28, 2015

March 29-April 4, 2015