We got to sneak off to the Ozark Mountains over the weekend. It was an early celebration for our seventh anniversary. We stayed in a delightfully "off the grid" type bed and breakfast. It's tucked just off the back highway from Mountain View. The rooms are decidedly stuck in time as they are well versed in antiques. The best part? Our room didn't have a television, phone, etc.
When we first arrived, we took a few minutes to walk the grounds. The landscape is what sold me on the place. They have a beautiful private lake, rolling land, and it's nestled at the base of a mountain. The setting was serene, and it felt like you'd stepped into another world. I desperately needed that time to unplug and recharge.
I had way too much fun setting up photos, and searching for perfect lighting. The grove of trees were beautiful, and we spent some time walking around. I grew up in the Ozarks, and honestly it made me realize how much I missed the area.
We also visited a nearby tourist attraction, Blanchard springs, known for it's waterfalls, and underground caverns. It is the perfect place to find a sliver of adventure. Not to mention, the weather was perfect!
While in the Ozarks, you HAVE to have catfish. I mean, that's just the way it works around there! I've been to Jo Jo's On the River many times as a kid, and I was excited to take Josh. I don't think he has the same enthusiasm I do for green tomatoes or hush puppies, but ya'll they serve the BEST. I'm just sitting her drooling at the memory of them. I'll have to go back soon. ;)
So thankful for a weekend away!
Caption for above photo: "When a toddler plays hide & seek". Haha! ;)
On learning to count: "On, Two, Dee, Twooooo!"
On asking questions: "What are you doing?" "What is this?" What is that?"
On making commands: "Wait a minute!" "No!" "Yes!"
Newest words: "Mmmm" (when you want milk) "Wah wah" (water)
You give the sweetest butterfly kisses & eskimoe kisses.
You are wearing size 4 diapers, and your clothes range from 18 months to 2t. You love music, dancing, and your favorite time of day is when Daddy gets home. You love it when I play on the floor with you be it blocks or puzzles. You've started watching a lot more education videos, and you seem to soak up what you learn. You also want to be one of the big kids. Independent should have been your middle name. I love you, sweet girl.
It's spring. Which means lots and lots of fresh spring colors all over the place...which goes for our food as well! ;) I'm a fan of asparagus, and love trying new recipes with it. I made a lemon balsamic asparagus the other night and really enjoyed it. And the recipe was SUPER simple!
Lemon Balsamic Asparagus
1 cluster of asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper (to taste)
1/2 Lemon (to taste)
In small saucepan, cook asparagus in water over high heat for 2-3 minutes to soften. Drain. In a medium saucepan, add vinegar, onions, and garlic. Add asparagus, and squeeze lemon juice over asparagus. Saute for 5-10 minutes until desired tenderness. Season with sea salt & cracked pepper. I'll be honest...we really like ours a bit on the salty side. Hence the reason, I recommend "to taste". ;)
These girls...they keep my on my toes! Ella has passed the three month mark. She's very alert, and loves to snuggle. I just love it when she cracks a smile. Her hole face lights up, and she has the cutest dimple. Evie is swiftly becoming an older toddler. She loves to play with the older kids when we visit our friends, and is bound and determined to keep up. She LOVES to be outside. It's her jam. Sidewalk chalk and blowing bubbles are her favorite acitivities. She's also starting to interact with Ella a lot more.
If I were being honest, Sunday didn't get off to a great start. We had a rough morning trying to get the girls loaded up and off to church. By the time we were out the door, I realized we were running half an hour late! I don't tend to make excuses, but there are some days you just have to re-group and re-plan the day. And bank on grace.
We later ended up going for a long drive through the backroads in the Ouchita mountains. We took the back road back to our little town, and stopped at Wye Mountain. It's a large field that boasts a daffodil festival every year. It was fun stopping by to see what was left (we had an early bloom season). While most of the flowers were gone, the greenery and landscape was still breathtaking! It's amazing how beautiful the world is around you if you only stop and take the time to enjoy it.
I thought Evie would go crazy over the flowers once we showed her the leftover patch. Nope. The only thing she was excited about was running free with daddy, and collecting rocks. Haha! Kids. They keep you humble. ;-)
I love that we've been given the gift of exploring our world together as a family. Just the way it should be. <3
One of my favorite things about spring is that the weather is often suitable for outdoor dining. Even more so now that we finally have a table on our back patio! Josh's mom graciously offered us one, and we couldn't resist!
I had made pasta primavera last year, and I fell in love with it. It felt like the perfect meal for our dinner last night. So I got out a few different recipes, and combined the ingredients that I knew both Josh and I would love. Then again, my Italian husband loves just about any pasta. *wink*
The thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are healthy! Lots of veggies, herbs, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt! The herbs are really the backbone of this meal which offsets the missing unhealthy ingredients often found in pasta. And since I eat a very limited amount of wheat, I substituted with a Quinoa blend penne shell that worked well.
But, I digress. Here's the yummy recipe!
8 ounces of penne noodles (cooked according to directions)
1 half bell pepper, diced
1 half tomato, diced
1 cup of fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
1/2 cup mixed cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon onion, diced
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, to taste
While cooking your pasta, add 2 T. of olive oil to skillet on meidum heat. Add onions & garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, and spinach. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pepper is tender. Add dry seasonings. Drain pasta, and return to heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Add sheese, salt, and pepper.
Garnish with additional cheese, and enjoy! Sharing at Delicious Dish, today. :)
Last month was a little trickier! I almost forgot to take one of my images. And then I had several to choose from... ;) But, I stuck with it, and compelted another month of weekly images. I am SO happy that I took on the challenge. I've been taking more pictures like I used to do, and it makes me excited for photography again. I need the outlet for creative energy!
We woke up to a thunderstorm this morning. It's rather dark and gloomy looking outside. Perfect day for staying home! The above picture was from last weekend. :)
Right now I am...
Catching up on blogging. I just finished breakfast, and I'm about to make some coffee. Ella is fighting a nap, while Evie watches Winnie The Pooh.
It's a perfect day for a long, long nap. A girl can dream, right?
On my TV...
We have been watching the latest season of Fixer Upper on Netflix! It's giving me one too many ideas on remodeling the house. Or our next house. Ha!
What I'm Reading...
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Home by Julie Andrews
Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner
On the menu for this week...
BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Citrus Chicken, Baked Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes
Breakfast for Dinner
Veggie Pasta & Salad
Baked Cheeseburger Casserole
On my to do list...
Load & Unload Dishwasher
Clean Out Diaper Bag
Looking forward to this week...
Relaxing at home with Josh & the kiddos
Visiting with friends this week
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us..." Ephesians 3:20
Josh called me from work on Thursday, and said he wanted to plan a weekend trip with the girls. So, we started looking at different options, checking the weather, and finally decided a day trip to visit the gardens would be fun. I'm glad we did, because the weather was so perfect! Not too warm, and just enough breeze to make the long walk/hike around the gardnes worth it. Especially, since we were toting Ella in a carrier, and Evie in a stroller.
The gardens are beautiful at this time of year. I also have a speical place in my heart for tulips. They just exude spring with their lovely, dainty blossoms.
I think Evie really enjoyed seeing all the flowers. She would oooh, and aww over the flowers. ;) Of course, I think her favorite part was just having quality time with her dad.
But, man, it's exhausting getting the babies ready, loaded up, and down the road! Haha. ;-) I'm thankful we got to get away for a bit, and enjoy each other. I love my family. And I love the memories.