Happy birthday to me!  This wraps-up the end of my birthday(week).  That's right, week, not day, in fact, I worked on my actual birthday, so I needed the entire week to celebrate.  I am so lucky to have enjoyed multiple birthday meals and outings.  First up, we started the festivities out right by going to a charity ball with friends.  
Don't we clean up nice?  I haven't gotten all dressed up in a long time and we had such a great night!

This little peanut magically got 1 1/2 teeth this week.  Craziness...I can't even handle it.  Stop growing.
I can't get a picture of the little sneaky teeth though, so you will have to take my word for it.
We celebrated Finn's first Valentine's Day, which means I put her in all of her red heart accessories and paraded her around all day.  She was totally fine with it.  I think she is saying "put the camera down and brush my hair" in sign language here.  And my parents treated me to a home cooked birthday dinner, there were lots of brussels sprouts involved.  Sorry, I'm not sorry.
Birthday date with the hubby was amahzing.  We went to Tired Hands Brewery and tried some delish beers.  And we had candied bacon...consider my life complete now.  I wish I lived next door.  Small pours are right up my alley, this way I can try more things without getting full from having a whole pint.
And to complete the weekend, my MIL and FIL took us to dinner in the city.  We went to Route 6...soooo good.  Amazing seafood and a pretty decent craft beer selection.  The hubby thoroughly enjoyed himself some lobster.  And Finn got to flirt with the servers while I ate a few pounds of seafood and shellfish.

Here's to the big 2-8, let's see what you have in store for me!
 
I am notorious for overbuying produce.  I have been trying to get better, but there still seems to be an extra onion, sweet potato, bag of baby spinach, etc in the fridge every week.  And I hate throwing it out, but eventually it does spoil and I have to.  Until now.  Ha ha ha, soooo dramatic aren't I?

I started making a  Must Go Egg Casserole that has become a must eat in our house.  The hubby loves having it in the fridge to heat up for breakfast.  Basically, all you have to have is a carton of egg beaters or egg whites and then the rest is a hodge podge of whatever things you feel like adding.  Some of our favorites are: broccoli, baby spinach, sweet potato, onions, peppers, ham, and mushrooms.  We haven't put all in one casserole....yet, but those are some of the things that we have used so far.  You have a couple of pieces of bacon that are about to expire?  Throw them in!  Maybe some fresh herbs that are on their last legs?  They would work too!  Whatever flavor combos sound good to you, go for it!  And it's incredibly easy to make:

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Chop up all the ingredients you want to use and put them in a baking dish sprayed with some non-stick olive oil spray. (I don't even cook them beforehand. They cook up perfectly while they are baking with the eggs. The only things that I did cook ahead of time was the sweet potato and the bacon-if you happen to be using them).

Pour the eggbeaters (or egg whites) over all the toppings so that they are covered.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until the egg has set.

Optional: sprinkle with cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

This was last weeks concoction: baby spinach, mushrooms, ham, and onion, topped with a few different types of shredded cheese that I only had the bottoms of the bags left.

I just wanted to share because it's an easy and very versatile way to eat healthy.  It only takes a little bit of planning to have this in the fridge for breakfast during the week.  You can even bake this in a muffin pan and have your portions already divided up!
And of course, no post is complete without this adorable face!
 
Kind of a quiet week over here.  Lots of snow/icy storms + lots of infinity bib sewing = my life this week.  Oh well.  Here are some things that I am currently obsessing over in the online shopping department:
The Photojojo lens set.  Anybody have these?  They attach to your phone and help take some pretty cool pictures.  If they work, I think this is such a fun idea!  Since I take about 127 photos of Finn everyday, this could be real dangerous for me!
I am probably the last person in the world to play this game and I am now in love.  I just bought it for my birthday.  Pretty much no household is complete without one.  Except maybe a convent.  Or any home with children that can read.  But other then that...

Oh and then there's this super crazy amazingly easy Crockpot Mexican Chicken Recipe that we tried this week.
O. M. G.  Insanely simple, and ridiculously delish.  
This photo is from Pinch of Yum's blog, but that is basically what our table looked like plus about 15 cheerios that were thrown at us during dinner.  I followed the recipe except I made my own taco seasoning because I don't like using those packets.  Mmmmm so good!

I finally made some Infinity Bibs for the baby boys in your life.  Here are the fabric options that I currently have:
Hopefully I will be posting them on the Etsy shop soon.  I currently don't have a little guy to model them for me, so I am trying to think of a creative way to showcase them...

And this little love of my life has been wearing hers proudly.  Well, I mean, she has no choice.  But, she doesn't seem to mind.
Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has a fun weekend planned!
 
I eat dark chocolate every day. Usually multiple times a day. I also eat an absurd amount of trail mix. It's my favorite snack. So, I was looking to combine 2 of my favorite things: dark chocolate and trail mix and I came up with this sweet little treat.

Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Bites
I made a little batch in the toaster oven and they came out great.

You need your favorite type of dark chocolate squares (I used Hershey's Bliss because that's what I had), your favorite type of nuts (I used walnuts because they were in the pantry), and whatever other toppings you would like (I went with dried blueberries).

Preheat the toaster oven to 350.

Lay out your dark chocolate pieces. Make sure to leave a good amount of space between them because they spread when they are melting.

Place in the toaster over for about 5 minutes. You want the chocolate soft enough to press the trail mix in, but not completely melted.

Push your additions gently into the slightly melted chocolate. I put a walnut and 3 blueberries in each.

Place in the fridge or freezer to harden.

Enjoy your little dark chocolate trail mix treat!

And Finn says "hi," she is wearing her new infinity bib and bow headband that I made her. You can get one for your little one from my Esty shop if you like it!

 
Current Pinterest find that I can't wait to try...
Edible Paint-I can't wait to try this with Finn! 
In the recipe department I made Skinnytaste's Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage, and Baby Spinach recipe.
This recipe was completely different from anything I had tried before.  The sauce is made of pureed butternut squash.  It was soooo delicious.  I pretty much followed the recipe the way it was written, except I used chicken broth to thin out the sauce instead of pasta water.  The hubby was a huge fan of this recipe too.  If you like butternut squash, I highly recommend trying it.

Someone else is currently a fan of butternut squash as well...
And my big news of the week....drumroll...I opened an Etsy shop that I will slowly be adding to.  Currently I am selling some of my handmade infinity bibs.  I am going to make some out of more masculine fabric patterns too (I just bought adorable mustache and pig fabric).  So, keep an eye out for additions.  Right now I have 10 different fabrics in the infinity bib style (think a stylish infinity scarf that is lined with terry cloth so it is absorbent for your drooling baby).  Finn is modeling a few of hers for you:
You can check out my Etsy shop here and if you have an Etsy account you can add the shop to your favorites so you can see when new products are added.  I am also open to custom orders if there is a special color or pattern that you want!
 
Lately, I could eat brussels sprouts every day of the week.  I don't know what it is, but I have been loving them.  There are so many amazing brussels sprout recipes out there that I have been trying.  This week I took a recipe for a Brussels Sprout Gratin and made a few changes to create a brussels sprout, chicken sausage, and quinoa casserole.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Peace, Love, Quinoa
Ingredients
For the topping:
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the casserole:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 package chicken sausage, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • ½ oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¾ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together all the ingredients and set aside.
  3. Cook quinoa according to the directions on the package.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the casserole, Heat some butter or olive oil in a large skillet and cook the brussels sprouts until just tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add chicken sausage to the pan and cook through, set aside with the brussels sprouts.
  6. To make caramelized onion, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions, salt, and pepper. Cook the onions until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then add 1 tsp sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes, until they’re browned and soft.
  7. In a bowl, stir together the flour, Gruyere, Parminigano-Reggiano, lemon, zest, and 2 tsp salt and pepper.
  8. Stir in the milk, then the brussels sprouts, sausage, quinoa, and caramelized onions.
  9. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and smooth the top.
  10. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top.
  11. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 35 minutes.
  12. Let the dish rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
We were so hungry and it smelled so good, we couldn't even wait to take a picture of the finished product.  So, you get a messy photo with 2 servings missing.  Oh well, take my word for it, what it lacks in attractiveness, it makes up for in flavor.  Also, if possible, it always helps to have a cute sous chef to help prepare the dish.
 
I am getting the itch to make some changes in house.  This of course leads to many hours scouring Pinterest for ideas which is then followed with many more hours of figuring out how to complete these projects on a budget.
If the title of this article didn't win me over, the use of inexpensive Ikea shelving to create amazing floor to ceiling storage did.  I have been searching for ideas for storage in the playroom that still fit with the aesthetic of our home, and this is perfect!   I can't wait to start designing the playroom now!
We recently re-did our downstairs bathroom and now I want to start re-doing the upstairs one too.  I am not ready to fully make it over and spend a lot of money, so I am trying to find little things that I can do myself to give the bathroom a little facelift.  While searching for inspiration I saw these pictures of vanities made out of different materials.  I love this idea!  While I may not be able to complete this particular aspect of the bathroom right now, I definitely pinned it for later.
My Quick & Easy Recipe of the Week:  Clean Eating Southwest Meatball Skillet

This is a go-to recipe in our house.  It takes less then 20 minutes to make and we usually have the ingredients on hand.  We typically serve it over brown rice or quinoa, and I always add a little of the sauce from a can of chiles in adobo sauce to spice it up a bit.
Go buy this.  Well, you can finish reading, but then go buy this.  It's amazingness covered in dark chocolate deliciousness.
And one more pic from Finn's half birthday photo shoot.  I just can't help myself!
 
Just a quick check-in from the birthday girl!
Month 5 was one of her busiest yet!  Finn celebrated her first Christmas.  She started standing up when propped against something.  She now takes big girl baths without me in the tub because she is so strong at sitting up on her own.  She giggles at Grandpa-I try so hard to get her to do it for me, but only Grandpa and occasionally her daddy can elicit the cutest giggles I have ever heard.  And she ate a Cheerio or 2...who knew a Cheerio could be so messy?!
We are so excited to see what you will show us next month Finn!  Happy 6 months!
 
Finn's half birthday is quickly approaching-omg-so I thought I would share some of my fav products so far.  It's crazy how quickly you grow out of things from stage to stage with your little peanut.  I had no idea what to register for and I found the whole experience a little overwhelming.  So, I am not including the obvious things in this list like a swing, bouncy chair, pack & play, etc, but rather the things that I found surprisingly awesome and borderline "can't live without".  
The Puj Tub

I looked at all the options for infant tubs and they were all incredibly big and bulky, mostly free standing tubs that you had to fill with water.  The Puj tub is a soft foam-like material that folds and magnetically shapes into the tub shape pictured above.  It is marketed to people in small spaces because it fits in super tiny sinks and it lays flat for storage.  I love love love this tub.  We hung it on a suction cup hook in our shower when we weren't using it, and it takes up very little space.  I also thought it was very cleverly designed in that it held a little water in the base, but it was constantly flowing out of the holes at the feet, this way, if she peed during her bath, she wasn't sitting in it.
Hands  Free Pumping Bra

If you have to go back to work and are planning on continuing to breastfeed, this gorgeous garment will be your best friend.  I mean, look how comfy that woman looks on her laptop while pumping.  But seriously, pumping takes up a lot of your time, you are going to want to be able to multi-task.  Hence your new BFF.  I have this exact one and it does the job, but I am sure any brand would work just fine.
A Play Mat

This item is on all the registering lists, but there are so many different variations that it's hard to know what to get.  I originally got the type on the right and we love it.  It comes with a lot of great accessories and it can be used with all the sides up, with them halfway up, and as a flat mat.  I like this type because it has sides that go up and stay up.  This is the only way we use this mat.  Before Finn started rolling around, we could put her in there and not feel like we had to hover over her and protect her.  With the sides up, she was safe from Benny's tail and Boo jumping on her.  Now that she is a little more mobile, we have been using the mat on the left all the time.  I chose to share this particular mat because it is only $19.99-that is a STEAL for how much we use this thing.  Thank you Ikea.  Basically, this mat is as simple as it gets and that is why it rocks.  You can add those plastic ring things to the blue arch and put as many toys as your little heart desires on there.  Because, lets face it, it doesn't matter what the toy comes with, you will find a way to attach your babies favorite play things.  And the blue overhead piece is only attached with velcro, so it is easy to take off for tummy time.  Plus it folds in half for storage and doesn't take up much space when put away.  Sold.
Rain, Rain App

This is a free app that has approximately 30 different types of rain for your sleeping baby to listen to.  White noise is your friend when you have an infant, and this app has been a lifesaver.  It's free, which is a huge bonus, but at this point I would pay a pretty penny for it.  I have had many a lunch date where playing this app on my phone helped Finn take an extra long nap, allowing some nice mommy time.
Jogging Stroller

So, I am not saying that everyone should get a jogging stroller.  I just want to point out that strollers with inflatable tires versus plastic wheels are like the SUV's of the sidewalk.  Uneven sidewalks and pot holes don't have anything on a stroller with inflatable tires.  I happen to have this jogging stroller and I love it (I do jog with it), even when I use it on a casual stroll, it is really nice and I am sure Finn enjoys the super smooth ride as well.
Toy Rings/Links

Buy a hundred of these.  No seriously, do it.  Every toy you own will be attached to a few of these bad boys so that they don't constantly fall on the floor.  Even when you are in your own house, it saves you a few trips from having to constantly pick up the toys that are thrown off of the swing, chair, exersaucer, etc.  And wait until you are at the grocery store or restaurant.  You don't want the few precious toys that you brought with you to touch the germ-infested ground.  These rings will keep that from happening.  
Moby Wrap

I have a few different baby carriers and the Moby wrap is my favorite so far.  It is a little bulky to pack, because it is a lot of fabric, but it has come in handy on so many occasions that it's worth it.  Plus it crosses in the back and your baby's weight is evenly distributed on both shoulders, so it's easier on your back then some of the other types of baby carriers.
Play Mirror

The playmat that I mentioned earlier came with a small round mirror that can attach to things with velcro.  If we didn't get a mirror with that then I might not have realized how great a mirror really is to a baby.  We attach it to everything and we prop it up during tummy time so she can look at herself.  Finn was not a huge fan of tummy time, but when she could look at herself she would put up with it a little longer.  Now, she requires 2 ridiculous dogs to keep her company during tummy time and she will stay there for hours. Don't worry, I am not going to add 2 ridiculous dogs to this list.

So, there you have it, just a little list of things that I found extremely helpful these past 6 months.  If you have anything you could not live without, I would love for you to share!
 
Trying a new thing...yet again. I am starting small this year. I am going to try to do a weekly wrap up at the end of each week. In a perfect world it should be posted sometime between Thursday and Sunday. We shall see. I am going to include my current obsessions, any fabulous recipes we have had, and of course some Finnley love, along with whatever else happens to be going on.  And I will try to write more in between as well-likely story right?  Sound good? Ok then.

Currently loving...
Spot On Satin Shorts $17.80



I like the shorts over tights look when getting a little dressed up in colder months. I feel like shorts are more versatile and I can get a lot more wear out of them then a dress.
Tuxedo Jacket $34.95



I am looking for a great menswear jacket to put on over the basic jeans and white t shirt look that I typically wear.
Ballet Flats $12.95

I am really into a pop of red right now. These ballet flats would provide just that.
We tried a few new recipes this week. The goal for the week was finding something quick and easy. We lucked out with the 2 news things we tried.
I made this Smoked Sausage & Polenta recipe, but I used extra red peppers and jalapeño chicken sausage. The highlight was the parsley pesto. I want to make some and keep it in the fridge to sprinkle on everything. Garlicky deliciousness.
Skinny Chicken Parm...so good. And I used the thin sliced chicken breasts so it cooked up super quick.
And just a quick "hello" from Finn! Have a great weekend!