Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Oh My Goodness! A Cookbook Giveaway!

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

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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Motherhood Poem

Artwork of my angel by Marita, of The Family Life.

In This Stage We Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

“Wake-up-I-wan-nummies!” she shouts in my face,
And I roll out of bed, feeling like a disgrace.
How can it be morning? I can’t help but wonder
“I AM HUN-GY!” she shouts, her voice is like thunder.
I just wiped last night’s messy meal off that smile,
Now it’s time for breakfast, in this two year old style.
I reach for my glasses, but of course they aren’t there
They’re across the room in the baby doll chair.
I scoop up the baby, and stumble downstairs
I glance at the mess, and I try not to glare,
“I wan-oat-mea!” she yells, and pulls it off the shelf
Hot oatmeal it’ll be, I then think to myself.

She then takes what I make, spits it out on the floor
While I clean it all up, races out the front door.
She heads straight for the street; our drive is her highway, 
She’s in my high heels, doing it all “my-way.”
I ask her please stop and she only runs faster;
In this little game, she is my master.

Her inside out jammies, they are nearly threadbare
I hope that the neighbors don’t see her out there.
She giggles to herself, as she gets near the road.
Mother instincts set in, setting off panic mode.
I set down the baby, and then race for the street.
At the end of the drive, the wild toddler I meet.
I grab hold of her wrist, she roars like a monster.
I hurry up the drive, face red as a lobster.
She wiggles and jiggles, she is oh so stubborn.
I wonder- but why? Does she have to relearn
Every day of the week, what’s right and what’s wrong.
My patience is short, and her energy long.

We shuffle inside, where the baby does cry.
“I can’t see my mommy, and I do wonder why!”
We flop down on the couch, to feed baby and then
The reality of this whole Monday sets in.
There are doctors and dentists and teachers to see.
I cry and I wonder, is this really on me?
The circus of baby, toddlers, school children too?
How will I handle this? Just what will I do?
One moment at a time is all I will think on
And I turn round to see my wild two year old gone.

I jump up off the couch, again set down the baby.
Where did the child go to? The fridge, or bath maybe?
“I ‘m texthting.”  she whispers, and holds up my phone.
She’s called Auntie Janette, in an earlier time zone.
I sigh and I pray that Auntie didn’t hear it.
I grab up my cell phone, and vow to stay near it.

Diapers, clean outfits, hairdos, shoes, and brush teeth,
On the surface we’re clean, but don’t look underneath.
For the days in the dirt, and the grass and the dew,
Washing them right spotless is not easy to do.
My gel covered hand scrubs around on his head,
And out to the bus kindergartener is lead.
At least it’s one less to look after today,
I tell him “Have fun!” and I try not to say,
Be careful of bullies, strangers, and all scary stuff,
I worry for him so, will my prayers be enough?
Before I can shed even just one small tear,
I am side-tracked; my toddler I swear was just here!

I race around shouting “now where did you go?”
Her every location I sure wish to know.
“I made you a picture!” she smiles up at me,
Blue crayon on the wall, “Lovely picture I see.”

Everyone is buckled; I back up the car,
I hope that the doctor says we’re all up to par.
“I peed in my undies!” toddler shouts from the back,
Another dirty pair we will add to the stack.                         
I call up the doctor, to tell them I’m late,
“No problem!” they say, “But don’t come in today.”
“We’ll have you reschedule, now when’s a good day?”
A good day, why never! I think to myself,
In fact I’m not worried about any one’s health!

The day speeds on by quickly with no shortage of messes,
There is flour on the floor and food coloring on dresses.
The toothpaste is gone, I hope she doesn’t get ill,
Although that may give me a rest from her still.

As I tuck them all in for the night in their beds,
And place a quick kiss on each of their heads,
“I wub you.” she says and she closes her eyes.
I feel so much guilt, for how could I despise?
All the crazy wild madness and all of those messes,
They make me so tired for to me they are stresses.
But to this little angel they’re all about learning
And growing much bigger, for which she is yearning.

Opportunities are never missed,
I think as that last cheek is kissed.
And if that crazy little one was to be taken,
How boring would be our home- unshaken.
For she is the color, the fun, and the life,
That brightens the days for this busy wife.


Yes, this is based on real life. I'm sure you mothers can relate! 

Marita drew the adorable little cartoon at the top, and I wrote the poem. She draws lots of darling images based on experiences in motherhood. Every mom should check out her siteThe Family Life!

A few of my favorites of hers are this one, this one, and this one. I can totally relate to all of them! 

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. To read some of my other writings on real life, click here, here,or here.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Easy DIY Bike Art Decoration: A Great Gift Idea!

I call this cheater art. You don't have to be any sort of creative or artsy to make this adorable decoration! 
Remember the telephone and flower ones I made?
Well, I followed the same instructions to make this bike art.
These make such a quick, easy, and affordable gift for any person in your life! Just choose an image that they would like, and they are sure to be happy with it! 

Have fun!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mango Coconut Popsicle Recipe: A Dairy Free Gluten Free Vegan No Sugar Added Dessert!

Phew! That may have been my longest title yet! Anyways, you guys! These are soooo good! And they have NO SUGAR ADDED!!
The only sugars are natural fruit sugars. Oh and did I say they only have 3 ingredients!? So. easy. This is our new favorite summertime dessert for sure. My kids love them. 
You've got to try them! You will need:

16 oz unsweetened coconut milk (found in the Asian food section at most grocery stores)
16 oz 100% Mango Juice
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Whisk your ingredients together...
Pour into your Popsicle mold.
For real. That's it.
Put sticks in them,
and shove them in the freezer.
Give your kids the lil bit of leftover goodness.
Try not to take them out and eat them before they freeze! ;)
We've been eating these almost every day. Seriously. Yum.


***UPDATE: We've found that these are even better if you add a banana and throw them in your blender before pouring into the molds! Try it!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weaning and Depression

I didn't know that weaning my baby would effect my brain so much. I had already weaned a few babies from breastfeeding, without any ill effects on me. 
My baby was over a year. I loved nursing her. She loved it too. But she was getting older. She could drink cow's milk now. And I was starting to feel run down, needing a full night's sleep. It was time. I started to wean by stopping the night time feedings. It was so hard. She was so sweet, begging me to nurse. I started to feel a little guilty. 
Then, the guilty feelings were masked by a fog that hit me. My days become very long. My daily tasks became larger than life. I no longer had patience for my little ones... Or for adults in my life either. I felt mostly emotionless, unmotivated, tired, and lazy. I knew that these feelings were not normal for me. I remembered that I normally had much more energy, happiness, and patience with my family. I normally cared if the house was a mess, but now things began to slip. And I didn't care.
Then I remembered reading about Joanna's experience with depression and weaning. I realized that my fog had started when I started to wean my sweet little baby. It was encouraging to me, to realize this wasn't the new me, I would get better. Realizing what was going on, I hurried up the weaning process. It was hard for both of us and some days I wanted to just forget it and nurse her again.
But somehow I didn't give in. And slowly my days got better. After about 3-4 weeks of no nursing at all (and about 2.5 months total), I felt happy again. I felt like I could handle my life again. What a relief! 
Depression and weaning is not something that is well known or talked about much. I am sharing my story here today, because I feel it is something that needs to be known among mothers. If I can help even one mother, I would be so glad! 
If you are experiencing post postpartum depression symptoms while weaning your baby, please know that you are not alone!! Hang in there a little longer until your hormones level out! Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor about it! Sometimes our brains need medicine to help us through rough patches, and that is perfectly ok. 
We must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our babies. 
In my lowest points, I found that grapefruit oil actually worked well! I used it in my diffuser, or I put a couple drops on my shirt. Another thing that helped was to cuddle my baby- a lot. It seemed to help with some of the guilty feelings I was having for not nursing her. It also helped me to talk about my emotions. I have a very large support group of family and friends, and that was so helpful! With all of these things I was able to hang in there through it all with out any medicine; but if it had lasted any longer I would have for sure headed back to my doctor.

If any of you are experiencing this and have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly! 
(I am not a doctor, and I am only speaking from experience. Please consult with your doctor if you are feeling symptoms of depression!)

Thank you for reading!