Monday, August 5, 2013

Fudgy Zucchini Brownies {aka what to do with all that zucchini}

We didn't plant a garden this year [tear] for the first time in quite a few years. It was largely because our house is for sale and we didn't want to do all the work and not get any of the fruits of our labor (see what I did there).

While it's been nice to not worry about weeding and watering, we've missed bringing fresh produce in from the garden. And based on the way Liza likes to weed and water our flowers, we know she'd be a rockstar gardener!

Fortunately we go to the Farmers Market most Fridays and have our CSA on Tuesdays to get our fix + shop local.  So when we stopped by our favorite farmer's booth and saw the plethora of zucchini we snagged a bunch of it - you know so we could pretend we have a bumper crop! This weekend we made two of my favorite zucchini recipes: zucchini lasagna and zucchini brownies. I pretty much just follow this recipe from the Biggest Loser for the lasagna.

For the brownies, I found a recipe last summer and have been tinkering with it since to get a chocolaty fudgy brownie but without all the processed gunk.

So here goes...

Zucchini Brownies

Adapted from All Recipes

Here's what you need:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup agave
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 to 1 cup chocolate chips

[1] Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 x 13 pan.

[2] Mix together sugars, agave, vanilla, and applesauce.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, soda, cocoa powder, and salt; stir with a whisk to evenly distribute.  Add to sugar mixture.

[3] Then, fold in zucchini (before you do this, you're going to think these brownies will taste like bricks because the batter is so thick, but the zucchini adds lots of moisture!!).  Add chocolate chips.

[4] Pour into pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 25-30 minutes.

Now, at this point, you can totally eat it without frosting.  In fact, they were great with a tall glass of cold milk.  However, you can also add cream cheese frosting.  I don't follow any specific recipe for frosting, so here's what I 'sort of' did: 8 oz cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 Tablespoons milk, and powdered sugar till it comes to the consistency and sweetness that you like.  I don't think that cream cheese frosting has to be overly-sweet, I prefer some of the tang from the cream cheese to come through.

Anybody else with a boatload of zucchini lately?  What are you doing with it??

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The New Place {from January - July}

Ever tried selling a house with a 2 year old and a shedding yellow lab?  Oy.  Not easy.  However, things seem to be moving on our new place and that makes it all easier.

Here's our time frame:

January - buy new property. 

January-April - design new house; visit property like every day; JW cuts down two BIG trees with his friend (I silently hope we don't hit our new neighbors - nothing says hello like a tree falling on their house); stake out new house; decide it's not quite big enough; add some feet to each side.

May - builders start!; ginormous hole dug; basement and footings poured; styrofoam blocks 'lego'ed up'; concrete core poured.

June - repeat last two steps times two.

watching the floor trusses get delivered.
July - interior walls built; move two small walls once (I call that success); trusses go up (in 2 hours!); roof and shingles done; buy our appliances at Lowes (hello 4th of July sale!); order fireplace; figure out the whole kitchen game plan and try out this whole cabinet outlet in Ohio; start looking at paint colors; HVAC guys come in and cut vents. 

So that's where we are so far.  Things seem to have moved SO quickly!  But, we're also very aware that these last two months were when progress was very quick and very VISIBLE.  We're excited to call this place a house we will live in for longer than our current record of 3 years!  

In the meantime, we're playing tons and enjoying summer,  re-painting and coating furniture at our current house, packing up totes, and taking lots of various things to our storage unit.  

So, here's the question: while we're still building and still can move things around, what are the things in your house that you can't live without?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 1: Jumping Back on the Bandwagon.

I miss blogging.  And I always say that I'm too busy to do it - full time teaching job (first year teaching the subject), crazy fun 1.5 year old running around, crazy 1.5 year old pup running around, selling our house, building our house, a roundtrip one hour commute to work, yadda yadda yadda...the list goes on.

Then, last night I read a blog about sweet Tiffany and her sweet babes, Ollie and Poppy...and how she lost Ollie far too young.  It broke my heart.  I snuck in last night to give Liza a kiss and a quick squeeze.  It made me think about life and about how we spend our time with our kids.  It made me wish already that I'd spent some of my time with her different and that I was more thankful of this sweet little girl, my amazing husband and this crazy dog Webby.

So starting today, I'm making this resolution.  I want to think about something that I'm thankful for everyday.  And I want to share it here.  To document the sweet things Liza does, the crazy blessed life we live and the universe in general.

So here's today's: Liza telling me she loves me.  I tell her I love her so many times a day.  And now she can say it back.  And it melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Five for 5.

I've been reading Jessica's blog for awhile now.  We're both teachers and I feel like we're on the same page to some extent.  I like the habit of creating 5 goals for the week and trying to stick with a few of them.  So here's my Five for 5 this week:


1) Get three workouts in this week.  My volleyball league starts back up tomorrow {woohoo!} so realistically this means I only have to do two other workouts.

2) Finish my application for Apple's Distinguished Educators.  As an Apple junkie who has recently embraced everything Apple (we own two iPhones, two iPads, and two MacBooks), I really want to share how I use the iPad in my 1:1 classroom but also have a network of amazing educators to collaborate with.  Plus it's due January 15th.

3) Start Liza's ABC Book.  When my nephew Braden was a baby, I made him a photo ABC book using things that were related to our family.  It was pretty cool.  Lately Liza has been obsessed with books {which as a teacher-mom, I couldn't be happier about}, but especially our photo books.  Although I probably won't finish the book, it'd be great to get it started.

4) Create another flipped lecture for school.  Being a teacher in a 1:1 iPad district, I have an awesome opportunity to 'flip' instruction.  Just takes a little extra time to get the lesson prepped.  I think I can...I think I can...

5) Write a few more blog posts this week.  I haven't blogged in months.  I've missed it, but lesson planning and house planning have gotten the best of me.  So I want to hop back on the blogging train.

Alright, let's hope by writing these down I get working on them this week.  It's bound to be another busy week, but such is life.  Just glad I get to spend it with these two :)

Have a lovely, lucky day :)

Hi Friends, I'm Back.

It's been awhile since I've blogged here or over on BWW.  Life has been busy, but blessed for sure.  This winter season has brought us to some big changes.  First of all, we've officially put our house on the market.  Like officially for sale (well on Craig's List for now, but you get the point).  We are currently working on buying some property and have plans to build in the spring.  It's going to be an adventure but we are ecstatic to be able to build a dream house that will suit our needs.  I wanted to get LiL going again so you could follow our journey.  

The other big change?  Our sweet Whitney had a massive seizure and passed over Christmas break.  It brings tears to my eyes just to type this.  She was my best bud and sat beside during some tough, lonely times in my life.  It was pretty unexpected, but she was twelve and we are so grateful we were both home and didn't have to make the decision ourselves.  She literally waited until Jon and I were both home on a Sunday afternoon (throughout the day we were only home for about a half together).  She was an amazing pup who will be greatly missed.  But we know she's out of her pain and is swimming and maybe even snowshoeing across the Rainbow Bridge.  

So life is busy, as always.  But I miss blogging and writing and venting.  So I'm hopeful to get things moving again this year.  I'm back, baby.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I've moved...

Hi all!  I'm back for one last post.  First, thanks for following my blog!  You've probably noticed a lack of posting lately and that's because my bff and I joined up to create a new blog - "Being Wonder Women".  Feel free to check us out HERE.  We'd love it if you became a follower there too.  You'll find some of the same topics I used to blog about before: food, baby stuff, our adventures in life.  But you'll also hear more momma talk, get to see pics of Liza's bf Connor, and get to hear from my girl, Nat. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What I'm loving and Thankful

First, some of my Facebook friends started the trend of "a month of thankfulness"...ok maybe not started but jumped on the bandwagon. Here's mine so far:
November 1: first run in 7 months (and post-baby). It was slowwwww, but it felt great to run again!!
November 2: seeing family. It's my great aunt's funeral today. She put up an amazing 10 year fight against cancer. And though it's not the greatest reason to get to see family, it will be a blessing nonetheless.

Now on to what I'm loving. I haven't linked up for at least a few months, so here goes...

[1] LIZA. Our baby girl is 6.5 weeks old and we fall more and more in love with her everyday. When she smiles, our hearts melt.

[2] IPHONE. It's helping me to stay somewhat connected, keeps track of Liza's feedings (app is called Baby Brain), and helps me snap quick photos of our sweet girl. And we can't wait to use FaceTime with friends further away!

[3] FAMILY. our families have been wonderfully supportive of our new roles of parents. They give Liza tons of love and help give us breaks here and there.

[4] HUSBAND. JW is SUCH a good daddy. He snuggles with Liza, helps with diapers and baths, and gives her tons of kisses. He's also been an amazing husband and support for me as we've learned how to live with less sleep, rushed dinners, and figuring out the whole feeding thing.

Happy Wednesday peeps!! What are you loving??

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One Month!

I'm a little behind here (like 10 days) but I wanted to start the trend of a monthly post for Liza!  

Here are a few updates about our sweet little peanut:
-You give us between 6.5-8 hours of sleep every night -- not even close to continuous though!
-You mostly like baths.
-You love laying on your playmat and listening to music/watching the lights/looking in the mirror.
-You hardly fit in ANY of your clothes -- some are the right size in the body, but far too short for your long legs and some are huge in the body, but long enough for your legs!  What can we say, you're built like your mom and dad.
-You make mom and dad soooooo happy.
-You instantly bring a smile to grandma and grandpa's faces :)
-Whitney is still not sure what she thinks about you...though she seems to be warming up a bit.
-You love to sleep on mom and dad's chest -- curled up with frog legs.  And we love it too!
 Happy Thursday everyone! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Our lives have changed...

Everyone told us that once Liza got here everything would be different.  And they were totally right.  Only, we couldn't understand just how much life would change.  We are constantly amazed at how much we love this little girl we've only known for just under a month.  She makes us laugh and smile.  She makes us tired and cry.  She makes us talk about pooping and peeing like it's no big deal!  We are enamored with her...head over heels in love.

I mentioned in the last post that I'd talk about how she came into the world, so here goes...
I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the day before my due date (9/17).  I was still feeling fine and hadn't really experienced any contractions so I thought (like many with their first pregnancy) that Liza would arrive later than scheduled, but I was ok with that.  During the appointment, the doctor had told me that I wasn't super-dilated yet and so I started thinking about heading to the football game later that night.  That is, until she mentioned that my blood pressure was still high (it had been for a few weeks) and my body and baby were ready and she thought I should be induced. 

Of course this was one of the few appointments that JW didn't come to with me!  So I was a little shocked, but we really trusted our doctor and I felt like it was the thing to do.  After quickly calling my mom and JW to confirm that this is what we would do, I headed home quickly to add a few things to my hospital bag, get the puppy ready to head to my parents and wait for JW to get home from work so we could head to the hospital.  When we got to the hospital we were both a little shaky.  We had just gone from thinking that it would be awhile for Liza to get here to "she'll be here tomorrow". a good way.  Once we got all checked in, they started me on some medicine to see if my body would start to go into labor on its own.  They assured us that nothing would happen that night and so we should just relax.  So, we ordered pizza, listened to the Northmen football game (which they won), and watched some of the Tigers game.  Everyone kept telling me to get a good night's sleep since I'd need all my energy for the next day -- easier said than done.  I woke up every few hours thinking about what was going to happen the next day.

The next morning we met our AMAZING nurse.  We could not have asked for a better nurse than Denise.  She was so thorough and intelligent and made us feel comfortable throughout the entire labor and delivery.  Things went by pretty slowly that morning as we waited to see what would happen with the meds from the night before.  When it wasn't moving too quickly, our doctor stopped in and broke my water.  That started things, but still not quite enough and so I was given some more medicine to get the whole show going!  Throughout the afternoon, my contractions increased in intensity and length.  We had internal monitoring to keep an eye on me and Liza to make sure everything was going ok.  Around 4:00, I started to have more intense contractions and I was given the go-ahead to start pushing.  After about four contractions, Denise (nurse) and our doctor stopped to watch the monitor on Liza when they confirmed that with every push her heart rate was dropping and not rebounding nearly as quickly as what she should have been.  I pushed through one more contraction when they decided that we might not be able to get her out safely and a c-section was necessary.  

Everything happened so quickly after that.  Thank goodness the 'crew' that would perform the c-section was downstairs (it was a Saturday after all) and within 15 minutes of making the decision to have a c-section, JW and I were in the operating room getting ready to meet our baby girl.  Although I really didn't want a c-section, I have to admit that having the epidural after an intense afternoon of contractions and pushing felt pretty amazing.  I was finally able to relax a little.  JW watched much of the c-section (which he still wants to tell me about...I don't wish to know anything about it).  And within a few minutes, our beautiful girl was 'born' (out?).

It was not at all how we imagined having Liza.  But, what they discovered during the c-section was that the cord was pressed against Liza's head/face and so every time I pushed the cord would get compressed.  We are so thankful that we had a beautiful, healthy girl.  As for my recommendations -- go into your labor and delivery with some ideas about what you'd like, but ultimately your game plan should be healthy baby, healthy momma.  That mindset made it so that all the twists and turns in our labor and eventually c-section were much easier to handle.

More updates on our baby girl soon... :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Liza is here :)

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!  i realize i fell off the map for about three weeks, but we have good reason - our sweet girl made her arrival just over two weeks ago - september 17th (her due date -- what can we say, she's punctual like her mom)!

 our little peanut did not come into the world quite as we had planned, but she was healthy and in the end, that's all that mattered to us.  more to come on that story, but i just thought i'd let you all know that she is here.  i'm finally starting to feel like i can get a few things done around the house (when i'm not snuggling and loving on Liza), so hopefully i'll join the blogging world again. till's a few more pictures of our peanut...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Simple Things...

Well hi, guys!  I woke up extra early this morning and finally had a minute to catch up on the blogging world.  Because we've got a lot of good things going on, I thought I'd link up with Jesslyn Amber and appreciate the simple things...

--Liza's due date is 2 days...and we can't wait to meet this baby girl--
--Getting 8 hours of sleep at night (we are fully aware this will change)--
--Setting out for a walk down the street and being joined by my nephews, sister-in-law, and Mocha-dog--
--Whitney loving to cuddle in the mornings--
--Being able to celebrate family birthdays since we live so close--
--Working in a new position that is challenging, but so fun--
--And last, booking spring break flights to Florida last night--

 We'll be sure to keep you all posted on Miss Liza when she decides to make her arrival :)
Happy Thursday - it's almost the weekend!!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Life has been a little crazy this week.  I'm back to school, 39 weeks pregnant, and figuring out my new position.  I made mac and cheese for dinner this week...which may not seem like a big deal, but for a girl who loves to cook, you know I must be dragging.  As far as the baby update goes - she's still happy to hang out with me ;)  I just got home from a doctor's appointment and she thinks little Liza might just make it to her due date and beyond.  Fine with me -- I'm still pretty comfortable, only have a little swelling, and sleeping like a rock.  Those are the big updates, but I'm hopeful to get a blog post or two this weekend (seeing as we have nothing planned...yes)!  
Happy Friday everybody! :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Ok...

It's been a busy busy week.  Life is starting to get crazy.  
And Liza is getting closer and closer to making her arrival like a little more than 2 weeks.
Weeks.  Craziness.
So when I found this link up with Neely and Amber, I decided it fit this week.

So here goes...
IT'S OK...

...that I didn't make it into school today to work on my classroom.
...that I may snooze on the couch this afternoon.
...that I can't always get everything done that I want to at 8.5 months pregnant. spend the morning snuggling with the Whit-bug. be a little nervous about this whole labor and delivery thing :) be overwhelmed with thoughts of what our little girl will be like. look forward to relaxing this weekend.
....that I'm not quite ready to head back to school just yet. remember that I'm a pretty lucky gal with an amazing husband, a baby who will be here soon, and a sweet puppy :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Liza's Room - the big REVEAL :)

Well, baby Liza will be here in less than a month.  The nursery is {almost} done and I've been waiting to share it with you until we got a few photos back from our photographer friend who recently did some maternity pictures for us!  

First, let's remember what this room looked like before {back when it was our guest bedroom}:
We started by painting it blue over spring break.  At that point, we still had NO clue if we'd be having a girl or a boy.  And even though we thought 'it' would be a girl, we still opted for blue.  I'll have to find the paint can, but it is from Sherwin Williams.  
Don't worry we didn't leave their names on the wall :)

Then, we got the crib and the dresser set up.  And then the room stayed like that for quite some time...
Until we finally found some time and energy in late spring/early summer.

Here was our list for her room:
  • Add closet organization and remove closet doors
  • Add shelves to display pictures/"L"/etc.
  • Add shelves for diaper 'bins'
  • Find rug for the floor (DIY perhaps)
  • Find fabric for curtains & crib skirt
  • Hang paper lanterns
  • Make curtains
  • Make crib skirt
  • Wash clothes/burp rags/blankets/etc.
  • Spray paint "L" yellow
  • Hang pictures above crib
  • Get chair delivered and in place
  • Make a bookshelf
Although the list doesn't seem too bad, it wasn't always easy to accomplish when JW works 10.5 hours every day and I can't do too much lifting/moving by myself!  But, we're happy to say it's done!

The first pic is from our maternity pictures...pardon the rest of them.  I was eager to post and didn't edit my own!

The quilt on the back of the chair is JW's baby blanket :)

Liza's "Anywhere Chair" from PBKids, so she can fit in with her older cousins!

We like to call this the 'Twister' rug.  Maybe we've played a game or two on it :)

Diaper bag packed and ready to go to the hospital

We also like that a lot of the colors and design will be great when she wants a 'big girl' room.  And if not, most of the items in there are easy enough to switch out then!
Here's a cost breakdown:
  • Fabric for curtains & crib skirt ($65 from w/ coupon)
  • Crib (Free, hand-me-down from JW's sister)
  • Dresser ($285 from Buy Buy Baby - apparently they take Bed Bath & Beyond coupons...if we'd only known that or if there was one closer than 4 hours away)
  • Chair ($1100 - YIKES, we spent on this bad boy because we plan on using it in the living room for years to come and because my parents have the same model chair in their living room and we LOVE's a Smith Brothers in case you're wondering)
  • Shelves (FREE, leftover lumber & paint from one of our many other projects)
  • Closet Organization (FREE, again leftover paint and lumber and JW used a wire closet insert from a basement closet we never use)
  • Bookshelf ($3 - leftover white paint and lumber and trim, and then a $3 sample of the yellow paint from Lowe's or Home Depot)
  • Frames & Art (Art = $5 to print at Walgreens [rather than killing our ink cartridge]; Frames - Ryba frames from Ikea - I think they cost $10/each)
  • Blue Room Paint ($30 - we had some leftover from a room in our basement and had to buy another gallon from Sherwin Williams to finish it all off)
  • Curtain Panel Rings ($8 - SUPER sale at JoAnn Fabrics plus my teacher discount)
  • Paper Lanterns (Free - leftover from our wedding decor)
  • Rugs (the big one was $40ish from was a great deal and we love the playful colors; the small blue one - FREE - my mom crocheted for us)
  • Mirror ($40 from HomeGoods - one of our first purchases too)
  • Bins (some free from our registry, some $5/bin on sale at Meijer)
    Well, what do you think??? :)