Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas


MERRY CHRISTMAS! We hope it was great fun.

It certainly was for us. A very fun, busy, wonderful Christmas. We are vegging out in our jammies today, playing with all our new toys and resting!


See you in 2015 (or maybe before)....

xo, KB

Monday, December 22, 2014

'Tis the Season


Christmas Sunday. Don't my babies look so precious in their festive get-up? As you can see, Harry wasn't really feeling it and I threatened Elle with Santa worry to get those smiles......

After weeks of missing church (like not going all of December) yesterday was a great Sunday to return to. What a slap in the face to get you back into the spirit of the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Its not about their red/green outfits. Or getting the perfect picture before church (or getting the perfect picture in front of the huge Christmas tree at church that didn't happen...). It is ONLY about the birth of Jesus. Celebrating HIS birthday by responding to God's graciousness in our lives and giving Him ALL the glory for ALL of our blessings.

I remember Christmas 2009, so pregnant with Elle, and being so emotional during the whole Christmas season. I kept putting myself in Mary's shoes and trying to grasp the depth of her situation. Pregnant with the MESSIAH. The ONE who would save the entire world from their sin. It was/IS unfathomable. MARY. What an incredible woman she was. So trusting. So obedient. I can learn a lot from her. This prayer was read yesterday accompanied by a video of stills of precious newborns and images from The Passion of the Christ. I've never heard this prayer before but it had me breathless.

God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child. Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.

Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so white—clutched tonight in an infant’s fist. They aren’t destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.

You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.

You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.

You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.

O eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit and witness her ugly prince . . . sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lie still, tiny mouth. Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak.

Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.

Rosebud lips—upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you—lie still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.

Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?

Do you feel the cold seawater upon which you will walk?

Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?

Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase into Satan’s domain?

Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart . . . holy heart . . . pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?

You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.

You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.

You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.

And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you’ll rest again this time in the embrace of your Father.

Mary's Letter by Max Lucado

Doesn't it just leave you breathless? Speechless? It does me.

And since I have no words to follow....

 I leave you with this....


M E R R Y  |  C H R I S T M A S


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Looks A Lot Like Christmas

Once Elle started asking about the tree I knew I couldn't put off decorating any longer. I'm such a procrastinator when it comes to most everything holiday decorating. I decided to go pretty minimal again this year. I did last year and the clean up after Christmas was a breeze and I like how my house didn't feel cluttered. So, this year we hung stockings and bought a beautiful live tree, decorated it (I only used about half my ornaments this year too) and called it a day. Can't deny the Christmas spirit I feel once the stockings are hung and the tree is lit. Makes me feel like a kid again!

I found this free printable last year and love it. I usually have a large platter on top of this shelf so swapped it for the print. And not sure if Elle and I have enough Christmas aprons. Ha!

 I love the view from the kitchen window into the living room during Christmas. Its so festive! Gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling.
This tree is absolutely gorgeous and we only paid for $30 for it! Can't beat that. To date, Harry has broken FOUR ornaments. I can't keep him away from the tree. Every year, the night we go see Santa, we each pick out a new ornament. My ornament this year was the cutest gumball machine and Harry broke it last night (insert teary eyed emoji).

...and the stockings were hung.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I wish I could give credit to the person who originally made this chalk art but I randomly saw it on instagram and can't remember where. 

And a sweet moment caught between siblings.

Happy Saturday and Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Salt Dough Ornaments

So last weekend, Elle and I decided to make salt dough ornaments. SO FUN. For real. I'm usually so OCD when it comes to glue and glitter and Elle (so OCD in fact that I've never let her craft with glue and glitter before) but for some reason I was super lax and we had a blast. Elle loved getting to roll out the dough and cut out the shapes with the cutters. I even let her use the glue and glitter all by herself. Definitely still sweeping up glitter, but it is worth it.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt about
1 cup of water

Mix flour with salt and then slowly add water to the mixture while stirring until soft dough forms. Form into a ball, cover with saran wrap and chill for about 30 minutes. Roll out dough onto a floured surface and cut with cookies cutters of choice. Bake at 300° until hard but not browned. I took mine out at 20 minutes. Let cool completely and then have fun decorating!
We strung some with twine and hung on our Christmas tree! They're definitely not perfect, but we had fun together making them. And its all about the memories anyway! (most of these in the above picture are the ones I decorated... a lot of Elle's went into a glass jar that's sitting on the kitchen counter)

Can you see the little salt dough ornament peeking out? Its so cute! As is that little Annalee rat :)

What are some fun crafts you like to do with your little one during the holidays?


Friday, December 5, 2014

Banana Cream Pie

So, the other day I had a couple of extra-ripe bananas and decided to make banana bread. I don't have a favorite banana bread recipe I use over and over so I looked one up on a new app I downloaded called Yummly. Its a great app, has a ton of great recipes from food websites and food bloggers and you can keep your favorites organized. I've only "yummed" 2 recipes and both are desserts. Go figure.

While looking for a banana bread recipe I found a Banana Cream Pie recipe that I had all the ingredients for on hand and decided to make it. And while I was making it, I thought to myself "I don't make pie very often, or ever really and that needs to change...." I have a fear of pie making. Every summer for the past 4-5 summers I've tried to make a strawberry pie with fresh strawberries from my inlaws' garden and it never sets. But the banana pie was a different story.

Banana Cream Pie 
{adapted from skinnytaste}

9 inch graham cracker pie crust
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
8 ounce cool whip
1-2 firm bananas, depending on size (I used one large one)
1 chocolate bar

In a large bowl or mixer, whip (using wire whip attachment) cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and sugar for a few minutes until mixed together. Add cool whip to the mixture and whip until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Put the banana slices on the crust, top with the filling and put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. Right before serving, shave some chocolate and put on top of the pie. ENJOY!

Y'all it was so good. And I was so surprised by how easy it was to make. I whipped it [literally] together during Harry's nap and it was ready to have for dessert that evening. I will definitely be making this dessert more for us and for friends and family.

And now that I've successfully made a pie, I'm more confident in my pie-making skills and will be trying my hand at more recipes. Maybe I'll even try a recipe with meringue next.
Happy weekend, friends! Make this pie :)

xo, KB

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Our New Kitchen

I completely forgot to take pictures before we took our kitchen apart. I looked back through three years worth of pictures to show you what our kitchen looked like but couldn't find a single one. Found lots of cute pictures of Elle as a baby that made me all teary eyed though.

A brief description of what our kitchen before: lime green cabinets, open on the top and black doors on the bottom. It was fun! Green has always been one of my favorite colors so when we first painted them, seven years ago, I was in love with them. And really, I didn't get sick of the green but we decided we are going to sell our house soon, so wanted to neutralize everything.
We have a very small, what I've heard called, a "one-cook" kithcen. Thankfully we didn't have a lot of cabinets to paint. The few cabinets we do have was plenty!

I took all the pictures with the flash turned off and its crazy to me how in some pictures the cabinets look so gray and it others, depending on the way the natural light hits them, they have more of an olive tint.

We used the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit. I think it was somewhere around $75 for the kit and it painted all our cabinets (not the inside...we got a matching latex, primer, base and top coat in one for that) with some left over too. We thought about doing our bathroom cabinets as well, but I think we are going to go a different direction in there. The kit had wonderful, clearly stated instructions with illustrations and it included the primer, base, glaze and the protective coat. We tried the glaze but didn't like how it looked, so we skipped that step and it saved us about a day. We really are so pleased with how they turned out and we would definitely use the Rustoleum kit again. I love the bayleaf color we chose and want the same color cabinets in our next home, but we'll save up and hire someone to do our cabinets next time. I will never take on a project like this again. Ha!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Favorite Printed Pants

top Forever 21 open-knit sweater [similar] |  pants Brandi Printed Crop Pant from Maude | booties Franco Sarto low ankle bootie

I recently styled several outfits to go with some scarves I had made for my etsy shop, Elle + Ollie Handmades, and decided to do an outfit post featuring these wonderful pants. I bought them not too long ago and have already worn them so much. They are so versatile. Let's see.... I've worn them to church a couple of times; once with this sweater and some heeled booties and another time with a chambray tucked in, a big statement necklace and the same heeled booties. I've also worn them out to celebrate a friends' birthday with a cropped tee, an oversized cardigan and some open-toed booties. I've casually worn them with an american apparel tee, a denim unbuttoned and my slip on sneakers. Really, the possibilities are endless with them. They are so incredibly comfortable too, you almost feel like you are wearing pajama pants. And I'm all about comfort as much running and chasing after Harry that I do!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cold Day. Warm Food. {What We Ate}

Hi friends! I have been HORRIBLE at blogging, and my blog has just begun. We are in the process of getting our house sell ready and its taking up all my free time. But I have been keeping up with taking pictures in my kitchen (which we just painted the cabinets and I can't wait for you to see the outcome!) so thought I would share some hot meals we've eaten lately. Seemed fitting since its barely 30º today. Brrrr.


Slow-Cooker Mongolian Beef 
recipe [here]

I served the beef with white rice, steamed broccoli, and frozen spring rolls.

This was delicious! My family loved it. I will definitely be making it again and again and again. Its being added to the rotation. It is so easy to throw together and it cooks really fast. So its something you can throw in the crockpot in the early afternoon.

Next time I make it I will use double the red pepper flakes and use low-sodium soy sauce.


Basic Meat Loaf
[recipe adapted from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible]

1 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes, drain half liquid
1 cup quick-cooking oats (or more to soak up juice)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard

Preheat oven to 375º. Add all loaf ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with hands. Shape into a loaf and put into a small baking dish (I use a 7x11 pyrex).
In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients.
Spread the ketchup mixture on top of the loaf and bake for around 1 hour/browned.

Pan-Seared Fresh Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

fresh green beans
2 tablespoons butter
salt and black pepper to taste
sliced almonds.

Melt butter in pan. Add green beans and salt and pepper and cook until tender.
Put almonds in a 375º oven until browned. Watch carefully, happens fast.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
recipe [here]
*** I used 1/2 heavy cream, 1/2 half and half instead of milk :)


Slow-Cooker White Chili
[recipe from Fix It and Forget It Cookbook]

3 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans, drained
8 ounce cooked and shredded chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 1/2 cups chicken broth

sour cream
shredded cheddar
tortilla chips

Add all soup ingredients to crockpot and cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours.
Top with suggested toppings or toppings of your choice. I also like to serve this soup with Pioneer Woman's Jalapeno Cornbread. This simple chili is delicious and healthy.

Hope y'all are staying warm on this cold day. That is, if its cold where you are. I found frozen Wild Rice and Sausage Soup in my freezer this morning, so we are staying put!! I can put off grocery shopping another day. That is a good Monday in my opinion.