Tuesday, August 28, 2012

White Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

I found this recipe for dark chocolate banana bread recently, and have been drooling over it. However, since the last time I made banana bread I made it double chocolate, I decided to make this for my non-chocolate loving husband. This was really tasty, and a lot different than normal banana bread, however it's not a cheap bread if you use fresh rasberries like I did. I only bought one container (at $2.50) and cute them into chunks so there would be rasberries throughout, but it really could have used two. I'll definitely try frozen next time around! The best part was that the top got all crunchy and caramlized from the melted white chocolate.

Here's the original recipe from Recipe Boy:

Raspberry- Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 50 min


2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated white sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
*I used white chocolate*
1 cup halved raspberries, tossed in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture; just until moist. Don't over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chunks and then gently stir in the raspberries. If you want, you can sprinkle a few additional chocolate chunks and raspberries on the top to make it look pretty.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
Source: RecipeBoy.com
I always make things in cupcake form. It's just more fun and transportable that way :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

littles update

 My baby started first grade! I guess not a baby anymore. :/ It's funny though when I think about all the angst I went through last year on deciding whether or not to homeschool. Wasn't funny then, but it is now. I briefly thought about homeschooling him again for the first part of the year so he wouldn't have to start and then change a month later, but once again, I'm glad I didn't. Life is busy enough just day to day, but if I added the move and homeschooling, I'd probably go crazy!
 Besides being super busy with packing, we're surviving. One of the most surpsing things that has happened since Owen's birth is that there has been virtually no jealousy from Sam and Allie. I totally thought Annaleigh would have a hard time adjusting, but they both are over the moon in love with him. Once during O's colicky days he had been crying for hours, and Sam just looked at him and said, "he's such a good baby." Hah! Actually, I guess I can't say there's no jealousy...they will get jealous of each other if one of them is spending too much time with Owen. It's a nice suprise.
Another nice suprise? What "they" say about colic is true-at least in our case. Right around 11 weeks Owen started crying less and less. Thank goodness. That was such a rough period of time. Looking back, it was only nine weeks, but they were nine hard weeks. Joel and I have always had a really good relationship, but at one point I was bawling that that was over and from now on we were "just parents." From the point Joel got home from work, until we crashed it was one or both of us trying to get the baby to stop crying. Owen is still a lot more sensitive that the other two ever were, not only to loud noises, but he needs to be cuddled and held much more. I think since he's our last, I am appreciating his babiness maybe more than I did with the others. I'm not in any hurry for him to get bigger. He still wakes up at least once a night, and eventually (after the move) I'll start working on more sleep training with him, but that was something I'd definitely started with the other two by now. Every kid is different though, right?

Oh! I guess there is one other side affect from the last four months. Annaleigh has suddenly lost all ability to communicate with real words. Everything is "naaah! gooo ga!" She says she's a baby, I say it's driving me crazy!

One for each of them

 To round out my kids bedroom ideas, I'm throwing in some neutral rooms I love. I think these would go well with either gender, and they would make for a really cute brother/sister shared space!


blue and red Dr. Suess anyone?


Grey and yellow

yellow and grey

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boys turn

Everybody always talks about how much cuter girls clothes are, and that may  be true, but I actually think boys bedrooms have a lot more potential for cuteness than girls. I did girls rooms last post, so this time it's the boys turn. I really really love the nautical theme for boys rooms, but I also don't really like themes because they outgrow too quickly. Don't even get me started on Disney! :P In Sam's room I'm going for a nautical vibe without going all out.

Anyways, this room from PB  is my favorite.

Here is Sam's actual room. I'll point out a few of my favorite things
Sam's bedset is from Jojo's Bedding, the laundry basket from Hobby Lobby, and I have the curtains at Walmart for $5 total!

This dresser was my first big diy project I ever did. It was an ugly fake orange before. All the boats were Joel's from when he was a kid, so they fit into Sam's room perfectly.

Dollar Tree stickers, can't beat that price!

These sheets? Pure cuteness. I really wish they weren't $89. Quality sheets are something I don't mind splurging on, (although the  the only thing I actually know about these are they're cute) but I can just see my kids leaving a marker uncapped and me freaking out. Even if I got past that, I'm pretty sure the husband would never be convinced.

Since I can't do  $90 sheets, I decided to improvise. A trip to Hobby Lobby for yellow and white fabric, and I came home with this. Half a yard for $4 will make a throw pillow for a bed. (Would have been even cheaper if I remembered my coupon!) I'm *thinking* of adding a monogram or an anchor, but we shall see.

I bought this duvet at Target on sale for $17 (they also have grey stripes and dark pink). I really love it. I think it gives the same general feel as the pottery barn room (navy and white...)  I mostly love that it's so versatile. Paired with white, yellow, or red it has the nautical feel, but some orange or bright green would be equally cute.


This bedroom furniture is on my wish list. If the kids share a room it obviously works, and if they don't, I could always stick a desk under the loft bed.

 Speaking of sharing rooms, since we move around a lot, the kids might be able to have their own rooms and they might have to share. Because of the age differences there will probably be different kids sharing rooms at different times. This is a great boys room. I like the coordinating but different beds.

Joel just happened to get a laser level for father's day. He doesn't know it, but it will be put to good use (so long as base housing lets us paint, that it!).
If I had to pick a favorite, I'd have to say the last one,which is good because it is the simplest, but I like them all.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Favorite Girl Room Ideas

Before pinterest I never really knew what my style taste was, but looking through my boards I definitely see a unity in my preference. I'd say modern farmhouse for the "grown-up" spaces, and ruffly for a little girl...if ruffly was a style that is. Anyways, I'm doing a "if money was no object" post, and starting with girl's room. This is what Annaleigh's actual room looks like. I don't have any plans to change it anytime soon since there's nothing wrong with it, but I do want to start adding blue to it. I feel kind of indifferent towards the pink and green. But blue in a girls room is my favorite.

Like this room from Pottery Barn:

Or this adorable room in a brighter blue:

This capiz shell light is way cute, but at $423, you get the same basic effect from cheap tissue pompoms.

 Poufs are popping up a lot now (or maybe they've been around, and I'm just noticing them?). One day when I'm good at my sewing machine, I would definitely give making one a try.


This bedskirt is definitely on my eventual "to make" list. This particular skirt is $160, which isn't happening, but I think this wouldn't be that hard to replicate from white sheets. One day!

One of my very first pins was another Pottery Barn room. I really love the wall art. Thankfully for me, this print is no longer sold there, so I'll never be tempted to buy it. Hah!

I did find this print over at etsy though. The seller will customize the colors to whatever you want. I can do $8.

If Annaleigh ever gets new bedroom furniture I like this style found at good 'ol Walmart.

This bedspread is $300 on sale at Anthropologie , so it's another not happening, but I love it. Actually I think whatever bedset Allie gets next will be all white, because that is something she'd never outgrow and will go with any style.

Possibly even cuter in color.

Here's two other girls room I really like as well. The dark grey with bright colors is gorgeous!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


There's not a whole lot of TV I like out there, but I love The Colbert Report. You know how people always ask, "who's the one person you'd like to have lunch with?" Well, Stephen Colbert would be my guy. I bought his book I Am America (And So Can You!) a while ago and came across it again while packing. Here is a little piece of his on mothering (the last sentence kills me):

There's something I call "The Maternal Instinct."  It's a natural part of every female from the paramecium all the way up to our female human woman. Females need to nurture constantly, so they hate any time alone where they are left to think, shower, or sleep. For a mom to be happy, every moment away from her children must be filled with the soul-wrenching thought, "Am I a bad mother?" 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

As a Christian, I firmly believe that it is my families responsibility to tithe at least 10% of our income each month. When we make our budget, we always add up all our costs/what we can spend after that amount has been taken out. I've recommended it before, but I urge you to read The Hole In Our Gospel. I'm not a theologian, but I don't think there's a right or wrong way to give. We personally do not give most of our money to the actual church we're attending (too long to get into why right now). I promise, promise, you I'm not saying this for a pat on the back, and we certainly don't deserve one. I just want to share some of our favorite organizations, because it would be really great if you ended up sharing with them too! I would also love to hear what places you donate to!

The past year or two we have been giving most of our money to The Voice of the Martyrs.  Please go over to http://www.persecution.com/ and check them out. They will send out a free monthly magazine if you sign up with them. Honestly, it's heartbreaking and horrifying, but the suffering of those around the world will absolutely put your problems in perspective. These people are the true heroes of Christian faith.

We also sponsor two children-a girl from Brazil, and a little boy in Uganda. I think this is a really awesome thing to do as a family. It's a really tangible way for kids to understand that there is more to life than just them, and for them to gain empathy for those around them without it being overwhelming (like V.O.M. might be). When Sam and John Stephen get a little older, I hope that they will become penpals and write to each other. Eventually, I'd like to sponsor two more children around Annaleigh and Owen's age so they have the same opportunity.

World Vision has a lot of really awesome programs. Joel got a re-enlistment bonus recently, and the kids and I are going on a shopping spree. :) It's actually really fun and exciting deciding what we want to do. You can buy livestock (goats, chickens, pigs, ducks, rabbits, cows. even alpacas!) for families, medicine, food, fund a micro-loan, there are a ton of options...I love this!

While I was looking around, I found a section where you can purchase items from them. I am super excited about this, because now I know where my family is getting their Christmas presents this year (maybe not the kids themselves, but parents/grandparents...). The products are handmade by families around the world, or produced on fair trade farms, and  all the extra proceeds go to World Vision's programs.

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