finding ways to use cooking, crafts, and hospitality to be a blessing for others

Friday, September 28

Babymooning Recipes

My sister just had a beautiful baby boy and I wanted to do something special for her.
Knowing she would be ultra busy in the coming weeks (new baby, 2 other kiddos, moving into a new home) I wanted to do something to help with meal prep.  But since I live 3 hours away, dropping off a meal is not a great option.  So, I put on my thinking cap and came up with another option...
It's a Babymoon Recipe Book- which is a collection of family favorite recipes with a menu and indexed ingedient lists.  I consider it a version of bulk cooking for the freezer, but faster on the front end, and something that can be referred to over the years during another a busy season of life.  It includes super simple recipes (marinate pork chops), Crockpot ideas for once-a-week, more involved meals (Chicken Parmesan), a 6 week planned menu and a list of fun themes for meal with kiddos!
After gathering and typing recipes I grouped them (chicken, beef, pork, Crockpot...) and created a separate spreadsheet for each group. 
In each spreadsheet I entered the names of all the recipes in that category.  Next, I created columns for "pantry, freezer, fridge, and fresh from grocery store".  Next to a recipe name I typed a list of what is needed to make it from each of the above categories.  (I skipped listing common pantry staples or spices and instead made one additional list of things I assumed she'd have in her pantry and therefore not include in the spreadsheet).
With this recipe book <all> sis needs to do is pick out recipes she wants to make, stock her pantry and freezer with listed ingredients (maybe even label the items for each dish) and when the time comes to make a meal she will grab stuff out of the pantry and freezer and then review the fridge and grocery column lists to see what additional things may be needed to make the dish.  So, in the end a couple months worth of menu planning and grocery shopping is mostly done and healthy meals await. 
I've had this idea tumbling around in my brain for a while so it is a great relief and excitement to see it come to fruition. I think its great since every family has different favorite dishes and may not like eating casseroles for months after welcoming a new baby. An added plus is that a book like this is not just a babymoon book, but a collection of family favorite recipes that are ready at a moments notice to shop for/cook during any busy season that comes in a family's life.
After finishing this project I did a couple of happy dances around our house.  David (and G) must have thought I was crazy!  But it was quite an undertaking (there are over 100 recipes!) and such a relief to have done in the nick of time for sis's new baby. I literally printed it out, put it in a binder and wrapped it moments before I got the text message saying little man had been born.  (My sister and I have ironic timing when it comes to baby births and finished baby projects!)
For more on Meals for New Parents, check out this

Sunday, September 23

The Invisible Woman

I came across this video on a friend's blog and wanted to share it here too. 
The speaker, Nicole Johnson, speaks so eloquntly about the daily grind of motherhood and finding a deeper purpose and value in it.

Friday, September 21

Mr. Dreamboat

Mr. Jackson is two weeks old so it's high time I share his baby shower with you!
In July we hosted a baby shower for my sister and her baby boy to be.  I knew Jackson would be super cute so I planned a "Dreamboat" themed baby shower.
 The shower was an outdoor picnic on perhaps the hottest day in July.  In hindsight, I overestimated the shade a tree could provide.  Jackson's sister may have even protested eating in such a sweltering environment... Jenni was right, it was a very hot day outside.
Joshua was a trooper and stuck it out with all of us sweaty party goers :)
Back inside we opened gifts and this little charmer was deliverered the presents to her mom!
Mr. Jackson, we are so excited about you!  We love you little boy!

Sunday, September 16

Serendipity at Walton's

Maybe you saw this post about Gavin and I visiting Walton's for a lunch date a couple weeks ago.  Jokingly I said that Sandra Bullock was not there...
Well folks, David, Gavin and I headed downtown this afternoon for some coffee at Walton's and a walk around the lake.  It was a rainy day here in Austin and coffee and a walk seemed like a fun idea.  I was a super lucky gal that D was game to go downtown.  We almost never go downtown during the weekend.
I'd been raving to D about Walton's... it's a bakery, cafe, flower shop, catering business, and they sell picnic packages complete with a basket and flowers... this place is exactly what my dreams are made of and what I would create if I had the backing.
Anyhow, we had just sat down with our dessert and coffee when none other than Ms Sandra Bullock came in!  David spotted her, I thought he was joking, but we knew it was her by the sound of her voice.  She walked around the store, chatted with the manager, and stayed for a meal with a friend at a table just feet away from us.
I'm not goo goo for celebrities, but having seen someone popular, I'm so excited it was her!  So, here's a shout out to Sandra Bullock - your renovation and remodeling of Walton's is beautiful, and if it matters at all, I think you're a classy gal.
Definitely one of the coolest coffee dates I've had.

Wednesday, September 12

Puppy Paw-ty

Little man's final birthday celebration was at home in Austin with a few friends of ours.  I choose a puppy theme for the party since little man is often called G-Dog around here.  I can't quite remember how or why it started but the name has stuck...
 ::The Invitation::
For the invites, thank you cards, and envelopes I watercolored a dog house and puppies, then copied them onto cardstock.  It was a lot of fun making these!
envelope front and back
 thank you cards

I drew and watercolored a set of 12 dogs.  I then copied the drawings to create a banner and different decor for around the party table.

   I made a photo display on our mantle using old aluminum cans and oatmeal containers wrapped in scrapbook paper.  I hung pictures using mini-sized clothes pins.

 ::Backyard Fun::
The kiddos came over and swam in a baby pool and played with G's water table.  David put G's swing-set up too so it was a fun attraction.  It felt like a housewarming party for our backyard!  I loved seeing so many littles playing in different areas of our backyard.  Man, I want next summer to come fast!
coloring station

::The Bone Hunt::
While planning this party I thought a bone hunt (like an easter egg hunt would be so awesome.  Unfortunately G is a little too young for the concept but a couple of his buddies enjoyed it!

we hid bones around the house while the kiddos were swimming 
I made a "Best of Show" blue ribbon for the winners but forgot to give it to them :(

  ::Cake and Ice Cream::
One of my favorite details... I made cup labels with space for the guest's name and typed a different dog themed joke onto each label.  Corny and fabulous!

 ::G's Birthday Cake::

Here it comes...
 Oh Yeah!

 ::Dog House Pictures::
D constructed a dog house with a large cardboard box we had and I sewed some felt dog masks for the kiddos to wear. 
::Family Picture::
  ::Party Favors::
I made Puppy Chow and decorated some favor bags with cardstock paper
for the kiddies above and for the adults below
the pictures on this post were taken by myself and my friends Danielle and Sarah