Monday, November 2, 2015

Fall Family Photoshoot with Kiel Rucker Photographers

Pin It Now!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!  Yeah, I know that's really a Christmas song, but honestly it doesn't get better than Fall.  I absolutely love autumn!!  Southern California has yet to get the memo that the season has changed; it's still up in the 80s every day, so our boots and scarves really haven't seen much action ;)

We recently had the opportunity to team up with Kiel Rucker Photographers for a (long overdue) family photoshoot.  If you've kept up with me for a while, you know that Kiel has been our close friend for years and the only person we trust with our family photos.  When Kiel told us he brought on a family/portrait photographer we were excited to work with her, knowing that Kiel would only work with the best of the best.  The lovely, bubbly Leanna did not disappoint!  Ayden took to her right away and wanted to keep holding her hand.  Lady killah!  She was so easy to work with and immediately had us comfortable in front of the camera.  She has a fabulous eye for a great shot and captures light just beautifully.

Leanna is booking family photo sessions for the holidays, so if you are in/around Santa Barbara and surrounding areas make sure you get in touch with them ASAP to book your session!  The package is a great deal and they even set up a personal gallery for you at so you can create holiday cards in a snap (winning!  Christmas cards are always a stresser, amirite??).

Here's a little peek into our session, as well as their promo with booking info.  Pro family photos are so worth the investment and their package is a killer deal!  Check 'em out! :)


Thursday, August 13, 2015

For this child, I have prayed. {18 months}

Pin It Now!

This sweet, darling boy is 18 months old today!  The saying goes "The days are long, but the years are short."  I actually find the days to be screaming by at warp speed, and the months even more so.

When we found out we were having a baby we were overjoyed.  We, of course, had the new-parent butterflies and worries, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I had a few of those "What have we done?" moments along the way, worried that life as we knew it was forever over (it is, in a good way) and that we'd become washed up old farts the minute our baby was born.  (We probably have, but, hey, we aren't complaining.)

I spent hours and hours daydreaming about our sweet baby, wondering who this tiny person would be, whose nose he/she would have, what personality traits we would pass on to him/her.  We went back and forth on whether or not we should find out the sex or wait and be surprised the day of the birth.  It was such a tough decision.  Part of me was so curious and REALLY tempted to find out so we could register for all the gender-specific stuff, but the more we thought and talked about it we both wanted that big moment at the birth of "It's a _____!!"

I prayed and prayed for a boy.  I've always wanted to have a boy first, you know, the big brother, protector of the tribe, right?   I thought that if I focused enough on having a boy, it would happen.  I convinced myself through and through
that it was a boy.  I dreamed we had a boy - YAY!  It must be a boy!  And then I dreamed we had a girl - oh, wait...  Then Hubby dreamed it was a girl.  Then the grandparents started dreaming it was a girl....  What the??

Toward the end of my pregnancy I had a sudden moment of panic, realizing I didn't know this child at all.  Who was this kid??  I remember telling R "We are going to bring home a complete stranger!" (Now that I think back on it, that's pretty funny.)  I was truly frightened by the prospect of this total unknown being, and felt horrendous guilt at the same time.  I'm Mom!  I have carried this baby for nearly 40 weeks in my body; how do I not know him/her??  I'm a horrible mom already.

And then he was here.  R exclaimed "It's a BOY!!!"  and I burst into tears.  The nurse brought over this purple, wrinkly and very upset baby boy and placed him on my chest.  I looked down at his puffy little face, all smushed up and angry.  We got this.  I don't know you very well yet, but we got this.  

Every day since has been a pure blessing.  I often look at Ayden in complete awe.  We have been blessed with a healthy, happy boy who is growing leaps and bounds, curious about the world around him and fearless in facing it.  He is all boy - fall-in-the-dirt, wrestle-on-the-ground, crash-his-trucks-into-each-other BOY.

He's also a total love muffin.  When he wakes up he greets me with a wide-open-mouthed grin, wraps his chubby little arms around my neck when I pick him up, and gives me a tight squeeze with his head resting on my shoulder.  Throughout the day he loves to stop what he's doing to rush up and bear hug my legs while I'm cooking, or tackle hug from behind while I'm kneeling down picking up his 17 million blocks off the floor, or run full speed at me, arms wide open, when I'm sitting on his playmat.  True love.

Ayden's vocabulary and comprehension have soared in recent weeks.  Seemingly overnight he began understanding everything he hears (eek! Ha!).  He is a little sponge, taking in everything around him.  He imitates sounds with surprising accuracy, bats his eyelashes at me after he throws his food on the ground (stinker!), loves to read books, work on his flash cards, and dance like Axl Rose.  He likes to supervise as I cook.  The other day I gave him a wooden spoon and a saucepan to play with and he walked up to the stove, stood on his tippy toes and reached up with his spoon to "stir".  He will point at whatever I'm cooking and say "Mmmmm!  Please!"  and has recently taken to bringing LaraBars to us to open saying "Please!  Please!  Please!"

I could write a novel about this boy.  Suffice it to say, he's amazing.  We are truly blessed.  Happy 18 months, sweet boy!!  Now, please stop growing up.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Fruit Crisp

Pin It Now!

One of the best things about summer is the fruit.  We have been going through nectarines and peaches like they are going out of style!  My Tiny Human likes to share a nectarine with me for dessert.  Sometimes waiting for his turn doesn't happen.  :)

Making a crisp is pretty much my lazy way of achieving a pie without the pie.  A crisp can easily be put together in just a few simple steps and cooks up quickly.  Like a pie, you can use essentially any fruit you have on hand, and of course serve it up a la mode if that's what suits your fancy.  I would have but we didn't have vanilla ice cream and Trader Joe's was out (wha?!).

Most times a crisp will call for brown sugar; I swapped that out for the low-glycemic coconut sugar so I could feel a bit better about dessert.  Coconut sugar tastes very similar to brown sugar (to be honest, it tastes exactly the same to me) but has trace amounts of some nutrients and vitamins, and more importantly is not going to spike blood sugar levels like refined sugars do.  It does not taste like coconut at all, and it can be swapped for brown or white sugar 1:1.  It can easily be found in most grocery stores these days (I get mine at Trader Joe's.)

This is a great dessert to make for summer parties or barbeques.  Grab your favorite fruit and get to crispin!


Summer Fruit Crisp
| Prep: 10 mins. | Bake: 20-25 mins. | Serves: 6-8 |
3 Peaches, peeled and pitted
1 Nectarine, peeled and pitted
4 oz raspberries
1 c rolled oats
1/3 c coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with coconut oil.  Slice the peaches and nectarine into 1/4" thick slices and place in the baking dish.  Sprinkle raspberries over top.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Add in the coconut oil and mix with your hands (topping will be dry-ish and crumbly.)  Top the fruit with the oat mixture and lightly press down into the fruit.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until oats are lightly golden brown.  Or a little extra golden brown in my case.  :D


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Parmesan Roasted Zucchini

Pin It Now!

Happy July!  The holiday is upon us and I know people everywhere are preparing to beach it, grill it, chill it and of course, drink it!  This used to be the case for us until a certain little someone came along. :)  Now we are home before the fireworks, which is just fine by this momma.  Last year Ayden was just shy of 5 months old on the 4th of July and we tried to watch the fireworks but the poor guy was falling asleep on us.  We packed it up, headed home and beat the crowds.  Winning!

To date, my most popular and most pinned recipe on Pinterest is my White Wine Sangria, pictured above, which is perfect for patriotic holidays like Independence Day!  Today I'm sharing with you an equally delicious and easy recipe that would be great for any gathering or holiday.  Last week while I was making dinner with a hungry toddler clinging to my legs I had the inspiration to make a quick appetizer to hold us over until dinner was ready.  We had some zucchini sitting in the crisper that was just begging to be used up, and after a quick toss with olive oil and parm it was ready to roast.

Toddler approved!

This would be a perfect appetizer or side dish for the summer months.  Chop up any leftovers and toss it into pasta salad - it's delicious cold!  Served with white wine sangria you're sure to please the crowds.  ;)

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!


Parmesan Roasted Zucchini
| Prep: 5 mins. | Bake: 5-7 mins. |
3 small/medium zucchini, ends trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
Grated parmesan
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again.  Toss in olive oil.  Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper and a generous amount of parmesan.  Roast 5-7 minutes, or until desired tenderness.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weekend Recap {Fun on the FarmStead}

Pin It Now!

"I'd rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world."  George Washington

George was definitely on to something.  There's something so honest and pure about being on a farm.  In this day and age we have become so accustomed to everything being easy and convenient that it's easy to forget where our food comes from and how much work goes into it.

This weekend was all about getting back to the roots, so to speak, of good, wholesome food.  Saturday we spent the afternoon in the valley.  We stopped in Los Olivos for a quick mini cupcake (did I say wholesome food? oops.) and then made our way to our favorite U-Pick farm, FarmStead (formerly known as Classic Organic).  This little gem, tucked away on the coast just north of Gaviota, has been a favorite spot of ours for years.

 FarmStead operates on the Honor System, just as it did when the original owners began all those years ago.  (They recently retired and moved out of state, leaving the farm in the capable hands of the new owner.)  Inside the market are loads of fresh picked veggies and fruits from their fields, or if you're in the mood to get hands-on, you can walk outside to the main field, grab a basket and pick your own produce!

The farm is home to several very friendly goats, pigs, chickens and llamas and we spent a good amount of time making friends with them while Ayden pointed and said "Fff!!  Fff!  Fff!"  That boy loves animals.  As soon as his feet touched the ground he marched right up to the fence and stuck his hand in to pet the pigs.  One of the pigs had two tiny baby piggies at her side.  They were absolutely darling!

Alternate caption: Pigs don't eat baby fingers, do they??

There was another family with children visiting as well, and Ayden instantly made friends with them.  Isn't it interesting that children can be complete strangers yet find common ground with their peers in a matter of seconds?  I often wonder what life would be like if adults were the same.

cutie pies!

The most delicious berries in the field: my boys!

Sometimes you need to just get dirty.  Ayden had no qualms about that and was quite comfy sitting in the dirt being a messy little boy.  I love that about him.  We loved our time at the farm and will definitely be spending more time there as the summer goes on.  If you find yourself in the area definitely make a point of visiting this tranquil little spot!



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our Weekend {A Wedding + I Madonnari}

Pin It Now!

Well, hello there, June!!  You sure snuck up on me, just like all the other months.

We've had a lovely couple of weeks/weekends and I've been soaking up every minute with my boys without really taking the time to put a blog together.  Let's chalk it up to Writer's Block ;)

On Saturday we attended a beautiful backyard wedding for some friends, which meant date night for Mommy & Daddy!  Abuelito and Lita came to hang out with ADogg for a few hours so we could sneak away sans diaper bag.  Nick and Kelsey's wedding was absolutely gorgeous!  You know those weddings you see on Pinterest with the spectacular flowers, perfectly strung patio lights, lanterns around the pool, candles in mason jars and hand-lettered chalkboard signs for the drinks?  Yeah, this was that wedding.  Absolute perfection.  I was trying not to be a total weirdo taking photos of everything.

I think this is my favorite detail of the whole wedding!

Husband says, "You look like a Baron."
After an ice cream date on Sunday we stopped by Old Mission Santa Barbara to check out the finished I Madonarri drawings.  For those who are not familiar with it, I Madonarri is an annual street painting festival.  Hundreds of artists spend several days working on their drawings and the end results are astounding.  I can barely draw a stick figure and these artists make their drawings come to life on a large scale on asphalt!  It's incredible.

Eyes on the prize... Nom nom nom

After wandering the art for a while we posted up on the lawn and relaxed in the sun while A ran out his wiggles like the little wild man he is. :)  A guy drove his RC car up to him and A was fascinated and chased that sucker like a lion chasing a gazelle.  He also got to meet two pups who covered him in kisses.  Needless to say he was pooped out when we got back to the car.

Have a great rest of your week! XO