Growing Out On A Limb

Leave a comment

Oliver’s First Soccer Practice

I am feeling like one proud mama.

Last night was Oliver’s first practice with his new soccer team!  He has been really excited for it but we were still preparing for last-minute hesitation and standing on the sidelines; we thought he would get there and see the crowd of kids and parents and refuse to take part.

But he surprised me … first by immediately taking to the slides with a little boy he didn’t know.  Then by diving right in, taking a ball, and not looking back.  He sat with the team, listened to the coach, did everything she said … and then cried a little when it was time to go.  He loved it.

On one hand, I feel like I didn’t give him enough credit by assuming I had to prepare him so carefully and that he wouldn’t participate for a week or two.  On the other hand, that has been his tendency for the last year or so, so I felt like I was just preparing him for the situation and helping him have fun.  Either way, it seems he has taken a growth spurt lately – in maturity, not size – and soccer was just another indication of that.

And I of course was terribly proud to watch him jump right in and have so much fun!


Trying a high kick!IMG_4468

Practicing passing with his teammate.  IMG_4474

I think I’ll take the fact that he asked to sleep in his jersey and is already talking about next week as signs of success!



Monsters University


Oliver and I love going to the movies together so I’ve been anxious for the new Pixar Monsters movie to be released.  

This was the first time for Emery, though.  The previews were playing as we made our way up the walkway and Emery was transfixed immediately.  Imagine how big that screen looks when you’re three feet tall!  

I think he would have stood there for most of the movie.  But I got us settled into our seats and our snacks ready and Emery sat like this for probably 45 minutes.  


Yes, I’m the lame mom that brings dishes and shares the popcorn.  Water, too.  (But I’m not the mom cleaning up puke because my kid ate too much junk… and that works for me.)

Emery got a little fidgety about 15 minutes from the end but he still stayed in his seat and waited.  

And here’s Oliver, the old pro.  

IMG_4464The movie was so cute, another great job by Pixar, and it definitely made a mark on the boys:  They wanted to see it again as soon as we hit the parking lot and are still talking about their “favorite parts”.  

We’re already looking forward to the next one!  


Leave a comment

Our Father’s Day

We had a busy wedding weekend so Father’s day was planned to be a relaxing day at the camp for all of us.  

Hubby and I took the kids out earlier in the day for a little fishing and playing around.  Oliver got a fishing rod from Papa for his birthday and was anxious to try it out.  The fish were biting (the little ones at least) but we only snagged a couple over the whole day.  It’s still fun to try and nice to see Oliver excited to try.  Daddy even got to sneak off by himself a couple of times… proper thing for Father’s day.  

IMG_1879It wasn’t terribly warm for water guns but Oliver ran around shooting butterflies (he’s such a boy!) and “cleaning” Papa’s four wheeler.  

Mmm… BBQ lunch on the picnic table.  Sausages and sauerkraut make this daddy happy.  IMG_1889


Do you see yellow under your chin?  IMG_1902Lovely pic of the boys at Nana and Papa’s waterfalls.  I feel really lucky to have my boys and to have a man that is a strong male role model for them and loves spending time with them.  He is a really good dad and I appreciate the hands-on role he takes (even though I might not always show it).  
IMG_1906 Papa had to try the fishing when he arrived but he didn’t have much luck either.  I’m really thankful for my dad too.  He was always the hands-on type too so I always felt cared for and like a big part of his life.  I don’t know how many times he talked me down after I got upset about a friend or a boy.  And I love watching him with my kids.  Some day they will realize just how lucky they are to have not one but two men who are so happy to be around them and love them so much.  IMG_1910 Oliver snuck off for half a minute and came back looking like this.  Oh my.  “I think my feet are dirty!”IMG_1918 We made a nice campfire to warm up, to keep the flies away, and, most importantly, to make smores!  IMG_1919

Mmm… sticky!  

IMG_1923We had a really fun time and it was the perfect Father’s day.  The boys always talk for days about going back to “the blue house” so I know they enjoy running around.  


Leave a comment

Quinoa l’Orange Salad

I first saw this in an Oxygen magazine but never snapped a pic and put it in my recipe collection here.  I seem to crave it so I’ve made it several times since.

It’s really simple to make, really clean, and fresh-tasting… it tastes like summer to me for some reason.  And of course quinoa is super healthy.  The picture doesn’t make it look like much but it’s definitely worth a try!


The original recipe is here (and below).  I usually just zest and juice an orange to get the juice and the rind called for in the recipe.


2 cups water

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 Tsp fresh grated orange rind

1/4 tsp sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add quinoa.  Return to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed, approximately 15 mins.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add tomatoes , celery, and parley to a bowl.  Mix together with quinoa.

Whisk together remaining ingredients to make the dressing.  Pour over salad and toss well to combine.


Leave a comment

Spiced Lentil, Tomato, & Kale Soup

One of my favorites (and Brian too), I just had to get it into my recipe collection here.  It’s so easy to make, so healthy, and so tasty … I could eat the broth alone and be satisfied.


The original recipe is here and printed below as is.  The first time I made it, it was a touch on the hot side, but other than adjusting the spices and using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil, I don’t change anything.


1 tsp oil (coconut or otherwise)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 sweet onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 bay leaf

1 1/4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4-1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika, to taste

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

14-oz can diced tomatoes

5-6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

sea salt and pepper, to taste

2 handfuls torn kale leaves


Saute the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes over medium heat.  Add in the celery and saute for a few more minutes

Stir in the bay leaf and the spices (add some now and some later if not sure about the heat level).

Stir in the tomatoes (including juice), broth, and lentils.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

Stir in kale and spinach.  Season to taste.


1 Comment

Touch a Truck!

Last weekend we went to the ‘Touch a Truck’ event in a nearby town.  I had SO much fun and I wasn’t even the one climbing in and out of the machines!  (Okay, so I did get in a couple).  

The event was a fundraiser where they parked a bunch of ‘mighty machines’ in the college parking lot and let the kids climb in them, on them, honk the horn… they had free reign.  A loader, firetruck, skidsteer, police car, excavator, cement truck, garbage truck… even a zamboni!  

The kids’ personalities came out that day … Oliver was timid at first, while Emery was the first one to climb in and start playing with the handles.   

IMG_4364 But Oliver warmed up after a while.  IMG_4386


The bucket truck went so high!  IMG_4376

Now those are big tires!  IMG_4393 They even had a huge metal crusher there and had a demo where a loader loaded in old cars and crushed them… what could be cooler!  They were hauling out the crushed cars while we were eating lunch.  IMG_4398

Speaking of lunch, mmm… hotdog!  IMG_4395

It was a fun few hours for all of us and definitely worth it to see them running from machine to machine with those huge smiles on their faces!  

Leave a comment

A Bridal Shower for Ali

On the weekend I had the pleasure of throwing a bridal shower for my sister, Ali.  I love planning these types of parties… games, party foods, just the right touch of decorations.

I didn’t get a lot of good pictures of the girls because of camera issues.  And unfortunately this is the only one I got of the bride.


I think everyone would agree that Aaliyah was the cutest party guest!



One of the games was a mad libs game that gave Ali some bridal advice.




We also played ‘Who Has the Groom’, which is more of a door prize than an actual game.  I cut out tuxedos and various celebrity heads (one was the groom’s head) and tucked them into envelopes.  Whoever got the groom won the prize!  It was pretty funny to see who opened what celebrity.  I got Bob Barker and, I have to admit, I wasn’t totally disappointed!


The last game was Staches and Tiaras.  I asked the bride and groom the same 20 questions each, then read the questions out loud to the party guests and picked one of the answers.  If they thought it was the bride’s answer, they put the tiara to their head.  If they thought it was the groom’s answer, they put up the stache.  This was a fun one too!


The drinks table.  IMG_1693





I love these striped paper straws.  I made a lemon iced tea and this pomegranate soda, which was so good.


Food!  We did a crostini bar with hummus, mango chutney, bruschetta, gruyere, and baked goat cheese, skewers with mango, bocconcini, and prosciutto, a yummy fruit and cookie tray with a lime cream cheese ball, and a lemon and berry trifle that I will most definitely make again.  IMG_1700These vases were hung on the deck outside… I bought it when I saw it at Marden’s!

IMG_1715Tissue paper flowers were hung outside and inside, in pink, orange, white, and yellow.
IMG_1716Insert picture of pretty hanging flower basket here (for no good reason other than I think it’s pretty).  IMG_1718And another shot of the tissue paper flowers hung around the food inside.
IMG_1758I was honored to host this party for my sweet sister and had so much fun getting ready for it and hosting it.