Thursday, September 22, 2016

Delicious & Healthy Sweet Italian Vegetable Soup Recipe

Once in a while a kitchen experiment comes out so scrumptious it makes all of the flops worth it. And when the experiment turns out to be healthy too, seriously... you just have to blog about it. 
Y'all have got to try this! It's even kid and husband approved. Except that one kid. But I have enough kids, we're still at pretty good odds here! ;) And plus, that one kid was determined to be grumpy today anyways. Ha! Here you are: super normal ingredients and easy to make. Perfect for these chilly fall evenings.

Sweet Italian Vegetable Soup
1 lb ground pork
1 clove garlic; minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
4 cups water OR chicken broth
2 sweet potatoes; peeled and diced
3 large carrots; diced
1 parsnip; diced (optional)
1 zucchini; diced
1 summer squash; diced
1 handful of baby spinach; torn small
Salt and pepper

Directions: In a large pot, brown ground pork with garlic and salt n pepper (to taste) over medium heat. Once pork is thoroughly cooked, add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, water, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnip. Let boil until carrots and parsnips are softened (about 15 min). Add zucchini and summer squash. Reduce heat a tiny bit and let simmer about 20 min(or more). Add spinach and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve. So. good. Enjoy!

Did you busy mamas notice you only will have to scrub one pot when you are done?! Aw yeah. I think I'll make soup every night!

Thank you for stopping by this little corner of the interwebs!

P.S. For you health nuts like me... this is a Whole30 compliant and Paleo dinner! Yessssss.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Little Peek Into This Busy Life of Mine...

There are some stages of life that are just so busy. 
I want super bad to share so many projects with all of you, but for now all I can manage are some pics of things in my days that make me happy. :) I hope you've had a great summer! 

You can see more of what I've been up to here.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Most Darling Little Baby Romper

I just have to share with you guys this sweetest little baby outfit!
Alexa of Earthen made this darling little romper for my babe.
It is soft, comfy, and perfect.You guys, I sew. I can tell when clothes are made poorly... and this little outfit is seriously perfect. Alexa's work is so nice!
Alexa also made this adorable paci clip that matches the outfit perfectly. (Insert heart-eyes emoji!) I love it.
Totally going to keep wearing this in the fall, with tights and a cardigan. Go check out what else she has here! I literally want one of every thing she sells. You can also see her newest products, and what she is up to on her IG account here.

Thanks for stopping by!

*Disclaimer: I was given this product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Our Experience with Baltic Amber

I suppose many of you have heard of baltic amber. 
If you are like me, you are suspicious of it... 
Baltic amber is a natural product and has been used for hundreds of years as a natural pain relief. It is said to help things from teething to headaches.  The idea is that the amber, when worn against your skin, gives a similar effect to that of a small dose of Tylenol. It is used worldwide, and can even be found for sale in pharmacies across the globe. 
I felt suspicious, but I thought hey, it can't hurt anything! Worth a try! So Jennie sent me a Mommy and Baby set of necklaces a couple months ago. I've tried them, my baby has tried them, my husband, my brother, and my niece have tried them. Here is what we experienced...

Honestly. K, I'm going to be completely honest here.
I do not have any pain, so I did not feel any different. BUT, I did have one day that I had a mild headache all day. I kept trying to drink lots of water to make the headache go away, and it just wouldn't. After dinner, I finally put the necklace on. My headache went away. Hmm. Maybe there is something to this. Conclusion: Maybe it works for mild headaches!

My baby. I have an extremely sweet, very tolerant baby. She doesn't complain about much. So I didn't notice a huge difference in her behavior. Until she got sick. She had a cough/runny nose virus and was complaining for days. Then I put her necklace on her, and she still had her cough and runny nose... but she did not complain about it anymore. Coincidence? Was she just actually feeling better? Conclusion: Honestly, I'm not sure.

My husband gets tension headaches in certain situations. I actually put a necklace on his ankle just for safe keeping, as we were in public when my sister gave it back to me from borrowing it. He hardly paid attention to me putting it there. And he did not get his usual headache. He seemed puzzled. And he decided to wear it again the next time he knew he'd be in that situation. Again, no headache! He did try it on a day that he did not have his regular coffee. He got a headache from needing caffeine, and the necklace didn't seem to make a difference. Conclusion: The amber helps tension headaches, but not withdrawal headaches.

My brother's wisdom teeth are coming in. His jaws are aching something fierce. I asked if he'd be willing to give it a shot. He did. After wearing it for a day, he took it off and said Motrin is helping him much more. Conclusion: Some say you have to wear it longer for it to "build up" in your system. Maybe he didn't wear it long enough, or maybe his pain was just too severe.

My niece is an all around fussy baby. She always has been. My sister borrowed my baby necklace for my niece. She saw a big enough difference in her baby's mood that she bought one for her too! She also noticed it made a huge improvement in her amount of drooling! Conclusion: It totally works for this fussy baby!

So here is the thing guys, I still feel like they can't hurt anything. And I am pleased that they help my fussy little niece. 

Some folks worry about strangulation, but they are made so that they will break if they are pulled on hard. Also, do not wear them on your child while sleeping. Only wear it on them while they are supervised. Or put it around their ankle inside their footy pajamas! 

Some folks worry about choking hazard, but there is a knot between every bead, so in the event that it does break, they only can choke on one bead. And each bead is small enough that it would simply be swallowed. My baby comes across plenty of little things to put in her mouth, having big siblings, and I guess these small beads don't worry me as much as the Lego pieces and Barbie shoes she finds!

I have to warn you though, there are folks out there selling fake amber jewelry! If you are interested in trying them for your family, be sure to buy from a reputable source. The Art of Cure necklaces come with a certificate of authenticity. Plus, they're from Jennie, who is very kind and honest!

P.S. There are many colors you can choose from, and you can choose round or bean shape. Personally, I would choose bean shape for baby, as it lays flatter against the skin and is more comfortable!

If you still aren't sure, check The Art of Cure reviews on Amazon. Guys, she has hundreds and hundreds of good reviews on there!

Thanks for reading, my dears!

*Disclaimer: I was sent this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch Copycat Recipe

I just thought I'd pop in and share this recipe with y'all.
These are quite a production to make, but they're SO worth it!
They are like eating a delicious Cheesy Gordita Crunch From Taco Bell®, but without the miserable belly ache after! Yum.

1 lb ground beef
1 batch taco meat seasoning (recipe below...or just buy a packet)
1 batch of 10 flatbreads (recipe below)
1 batch Baja Sauce (recipe link below)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tomatoes diced
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 diced avocado (optional) 

For the Taco Meat Seasoning
1 T chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix together. Brown and drain 1 lb ground beef. Add seasoning mix and 1/3 cup water. 
For the Baja Sauce 

For the Flatbread
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. water (boiling)
1/4 c. instant potato flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tsp yeast

Place 2 cups flour in a bowl, and stir in 1 1/4 cups boiling water.  Stir until smooth. Throw a towel bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
Combine 1/4 cup potato flakes and the remaining 1 cup of flour with 1 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, and 1 tsp instant yeast.  Whisk until its crumbly.  Add to the cooled flour/water mixture and then stir together.  It’ll seem dry at first, but the dough will pick up the flour mixture after some mixing.

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Put the dough into a greased container.  Let the dough rise, covered; for about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces.  Roll the pieces into balls and let rest, covered, for about 20 min.

Roll each piece out into a circle about 5” across.   Roll them very thin, 1/8” or less.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and place one flatbread into the skillet.  Cook till spotty brown underneath, about 1-2 minutes, and the bread puffs up some.  Turn over, and cook till the other side is spotty as well, about another minute. Poke any big bubbles with a toothpick or end of knife, to keep the bread more flat. (This recipe originally appeared here.)

Alright, Now you've got all your ingredients together! Here is how to assemble your gordita! 

Put some cheese on your flatbread, and zap in the microwave til it melts a little; 20-30 seconds. 

Carefully fold the flatbread around the hard shell, holding for a moment, until the cheese sticks to the shell. Now add other ingredients into your hard shell in this order: first taco meat, then Baja sauce, then lettuce, then tomatoes. Top with shredded cheese. Add on some avocado if you'd like. 


Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Ginger. A Love Story

 He was four years older than me. That made him a preschooler when we met. I don’t remember meeting him. In fact I don’t remember meeting anyone when I was an infant. If I could remember meeting him, I would remember meeting a freckled-faced ginger.
When I was in preschool, there were nights he would stay with me. He and his brother were like the big brothers I never had. They were so small then. I remember looking down at the floor by my bed at the two of them, squished into the same sleeping bag. Theirs heads peeked out the top; one of them blonde… and one of them ginger.
In grade school, he would come over to play with my little brothers and me. We played hide and seek. We once hid together. We built forts, we rode bikes, and we played in the sandbox together. He now stayed the nights in my little brother’s room. We talked and we talked and he was a good friend, that ginger.
My family moved away and I made new friends. We might have gone two years without seeing each other. When I was a pre-teen, his family came to visit. We played catch for a couple hours. We talked and we talked and we talked. He was still my good friend, that ginger.
In my early years as a teenager, he moved to the same town as us, for a summer job. We’d become awkward. We were turning into young adults. That childhood innocence had faded and our gender difference had made itself known. I looked at him from afar, and thought to myself, “Well… he is growing up… And turning into quite a handsome young ginger.”
A couple years later, he moved to our town permanently. By then the awkward in-between stage had passed. We became fast friends and spent so much time together. We caught up on the years we had spent apart. We realized we were best friends, and we began dating. I wanted this young man to forever be my ginger.
After a couple years of dating, we were married in our church surrounded by family and friends. We felt so lucky to be together. We couldn’t imagine any other way. We want to have children together. We want to grow old together.  I couldn’t be happier; he is now my ginger.
Years pass, and life changes. But we are still so happy together. We bought a home to call ours forever. We’ve been through easy times and tough times. We’ve traveled together. We’ve grown together. We’ve never once regretted our vows to each other. We’ve been blessed with many babies (and counting!), and I secretly hope one of them will come out ginger.
The other day, as we sat in the sun together, I looked up at his ginger hair. I see white hair hiding here and there. Right now they are like needles in a haystack, scattered here and there. I imagine them increasing in numbers over the years, until they are all he has. As I look at this little peek into our forever, I smile to myself. Even if he has a head of white hair, he’ll still forever be my ginger.

 Happy Valentines Day Everyone!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Oh My Goodness! A Cookbook Giveaway! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Remember my new new cookbook I was raving about?
Guess what guys?! I've partnered up with the authors to give one away to a lucky reader! I am so excited to be able to share this with one of you!
If you did not read my last post about it, let me tell you now. This is seriously my favoritist cookbook that I own. It is full of real life recipes that you can actually make, and feed your family! It has real life ingredients that you might even have in your kitchen already! Not only that, it also is full of super awesome drawings (similar to this one and these ones), quotes you can cut out and hang in your kitchen, and baking/cooking tips too. Did I mention the authors are super duper witty?! It totally makes the book a fun read too, not just a cookbook.
I've already tried (and totally approved of) their recipes for Spicy Penne Pasta, Beef Tart, Puff the Magical Oven Pancake, Sweet Chili Chicken, White Bean Chili, Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Alfredo, and I can't wait to try their Carmelitas. Yum.
You need this book in your kitchen. I pinky promise.

SO! How to win yourself one of these here books?
Alls you have to do is comment here telling me that you need to get your hands on one too!

For additional entries do any or all of the following:

1. Follow me on Instagram here and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with your IG username.
2. Follow me on Pinterest here, and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with your Pinterest username.
3. Subscribe to The Family Life Newsletter here and comment in a separate comment that you did, along with the email you signed up with.

So, you can each enter up to four times! Giveaway is open until the end of the month- February 29, 2016 at 12am. A winner will be chosen shortly after and announced in this post. Giveaway is only available to U.S. Residents. (I am sorry, international readers!) Please include in your comments, an email I can contact you with if you win.

Good Luck! 
Sylvie, along with Ellen and Marita

*****WINNER IS....****
Congratulations Karen, I will be emailing you shortly!
(Winner was chosen using a random number generator)

To the rest of you, thank you all so much for entering.
Have a great week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Follow Me on Instagram

I've found it is so easy (and quick!) to share inspiration with all of you on Instagram. So fast and easy to share snippets on there. If you would like to hear from me more often, follow me on IG here!

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spicy Penne Pasta Recipe: Our Newest Favorite Dinner

We have a new cookbook in this house... 
Therefore, we have a new favorite dinner in this house too!
First, let me tell you. The cookbook is called "Oh My Goodness" and its written by Ellen Halberg & Marita Levanen. You guys. This. cookbook. is. the. best!! I've never ever ever in my long-legged life read a cookbook from FRONT-TO-BACK! Until I got his one. Literally, every page in this book is fun to read. There are super cool and fun drawings, there are quotes you can cut out and hang in your kitchen, there is heaps of witty humor, tips for cooking/baking, and of course stacks of good recipes. Not the kind recipes you can only dream about making. Actual real life recipes you can find ingredients for at your local Walmart, and then whip up and feed to your kids!
So anyways. About our new favorite recipe. Spicy Penne Pasta. I don't know what we ever did without it! Every single child loves it and Mr. Liv says "Yessssssss" everytime I make it. Even when I make it twice a week. I've even brought the ingredients to my parents and forced it upon kindly made it for them. I even bought the ingredients and gave them to my sis in law, to try at her house. I am super pushy when I find awesome new recipes. I just had to share my excitement!

I've partnered up with the authors, to GIVEAWAY one copy of the lovely book to one of you. We'll be hosting the giveaway here on this little blog, soon! Since I can't give each of you one (though I'd love to), I will share my favorite new recipe with you all...

(Insert my own picture of the yummy dish. Oh wait. It never sticks around long enough to get a proper picture of.)

Spicy Penne Pasta with Sausage
{One-Pot Wonderfulness}
Serves:8 Time:30 minutes

1 lb. italian ground sausage
2-4 garlic cloves (minced)
3 c. chicken broth (about 2 cans)
1 can (10 oz.) Ro*Tel tomatoes (drained)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (drained)
1/2 c. heavy cream
12 oz. penne pasta (or whatever you've got in the cupboard*)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. shredded cheese (whatever you have in the fridge, although pepper jack is really good)
4 green onions (sliced thin)

*Most boxes of pasta are 16 oz. Don't use the whole thing or you'll throw the noodle-to-meat ratio off.

Preheat the oven to broil.

In a large** oven proof skillet, brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through.

Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Dump in the pasta, broth, cream, tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

Bring to boil, then put a lid on and keep it at a simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. Remember to stir it here and there.

When your pasta is tender and you feel special because you didn't have to boil it in a separate pot, stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, then top with remaining cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted. About 3 minutes will do it.

Sprinkle on the green onions, give Marita a jingle. Invite her and her family over for dinner, then serve.

NOTE: Ro*Tel tomatoes are a brand of canned tomatoes with green chiles added. If you can't find them, or if you just prefer a milder flavor, just get plain, canned diced tomatoes. Your pasta just won't be as spicy. But still wonderful! 

**We mean LARGE! Like the largest skillet you got. At the very least, use one that is 12-inches across by 2-inches deep.
Enjoy! Be sure to watch for the giveaway coming soon!

(Note: I received a copy of "Oh My Goodness" in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!) 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Wooden Toy Camera DIY

Aren't they adorable!?
I made these fun little cameras for Christmas gifts.
My little ones all want one of their own now!
 They were super easy, I just followed Melissa's simple tutorial here. I got all the supplies from Micheal's, except I couldn't find the 1" wheels, so Mr. Liv made some for me on his lathe. Your hubby doesn't have a lathe? No prob, you can find them on Amazon!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Shop Is Open!

Hi guys!
Turns out, I am still alive...
Sorry about the unannounced break from this here blog, I had a 
baby this summer! So, I've been rocking my baby. :) It is so 
very lovely. Seriously this baby is my therapy!

I decided to open the shop for a short while this fall. I know 
some of you were waiting, so I thought I'd let y'all know! 
Check out what else we have in the shop here!
(Shop will close November 20, so be sure to grab your 
Christmas gifts before then!)
Thank you for sticking  around and being patient while 
I was hibernating! Hopefully I'll find a moment to post more 
for you guys soon! 

Enjoy your week! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cheesey Chicken Penne with Shrimp aka Chicken Alfredo From Scratch

Yum. This recipe was a HUGE hit in this house. Every single kid ate it up! 
First, I must warn you busy mamas... this meal isn't the quick slap together in half an hour kind. It takes some planning and some work in advance but it is SO worth it. Seriously. Try it.
I made the garlic confit and the super moist chicken ahead of time, so that helped speed things up during meal prep. I could have made the bruschetta earlier in the day too.
Oh, and grate some mozzarella and fresh parmesan in advance too!
If you do all that prep work before hand, you might be able to throw it all together in half an hour... ok maybe 45 min... at dinner time!
Anyways, enough chit chat, here's the recipe(s)...

Cheesy Chicken Penne with Shrimp


1 16oz Box Penne Pasta

1 cup Whipping Cream 
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella
1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan (+ more for topping)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

4 tsp oil from Garlic Confit

1.5 cups Bruschetta (recipe below)

Shrimp; shelled and de-veined (Probably about 1 lb)
1/4 cup butter 


*It is helpful to prepare the chicken beforehand, to shorten your meal prep time!

For the Bruschetta:
Dice two vine ripened tomatoes. Add 2-3 mashed cloves of garlic from your garlic confit. Stir in 3 tsp confit oil, 1 tsp dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste. 
In a pinch, you could use fresh minced garlic, and straight olive oil if you don't have time to make confit. But oh man, if you have time, just make confit! :)

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the shrimp. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer.

Start your pasta boiling according to package instructions while you make your sauce.

For the Alfredo sauce:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together confit oil and cream cheese, over medium heat. Once the cheese has softened into the oil, whisk in the cream, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Add the shredded cheeses, and stir until melted in. (If you do not have time to make garlic confit, you can replace it with plain olive oil and some minced garlic.)

If you prepared your chicken ahead of time, add it to the sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. If your chicken is still hot, you can serve it separately.  

To Serve:
Pile up some pasta on your plate, then add chicken and shrimp, then pour sauce over top, and then sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Girls Princess Wedding Dress Upcycle Redo Recycle From Vintage Dress DIY

Remaking large dresses into little dresses is one of the most rewarding projects ever! Hardly any work for stellar results!
The adult size vintage wedding dress was one that was in my dress up bin when I was young. I used it in my tween years. It was too big for my little girls, and was just sitting there gathering dust in the bottom of the dress up bin. So one night I decided to tackle it and make it work for them right now...
I cut the bodice into a smaller bodice, using a girls shirt as a guide.
I cut chunks of the middle of the sleeves out of the dress, gathered them on one side, and then sewed the gathered side onto the shoulders. Then I serged the ends of the new sleeves and gathered them using elastic.
Lastly, I cut the bottom of the dress off, all the way across (using an existing girls dress as a guide for length), gathered the top of the new skirt, and then sewed it into the bodice waist.  
I may or may not have busted three needles while sewing the skirt on... it was that thick with the gathers! I finally just used a denim needle. Should have put one on right away! :)
The little ladies around here are just thrilled! They wear it constantly- even to bed! 
I have to say I'm pretty thrilled too. I mean whats not to love about a free and quick project!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An End of Summer Pasta... Use Up Those Garden Vegetables!

In the end of summer, there seems to always be an abundance of a few of my favorite things... Cucumbers, tomatoes, and dill from the garden. The counter was heaping; something had to be done! So I browsed around the interwebs, compiled a bunch of recipes that I read, and whatdoyouknow! A new summer favorite!!
We may or may not have eaten this all by itself as a meal.
What can I say!? It's just that good.

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Dill Vinaigrette

1 lb Bowtie Pasta
1 pt cherry tomatoes; halved 
2-3 cucumbers; peeled and diced
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced

For the vinaigrette:
3/4 cup Olive Oil
6 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp White Sugar
1 Lg Clove Garlic; Minced
A few sprigs of Dill Weed; Chopped
1 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and olives. In a separate bowl combine your vinaigrette ingredients. Mix well and pour over salad. Enjoy!