Simply Liv: January 2015


Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes

Another Friday- another week almost under our belts. What are your fun weekend plans?

I plan on being not nearly as productive as I was last weekend. I've been sick this week and so my motivation levels are a little bit on the low side. I think I'm over the worst of it though, but in all honesty I'll probably just work on my blanket (which is coming along well!) and cuddle with my baby all weekend. Sounds productive enough to me.

Today I want to share a recipe that has quickly become a favorite at our house. I LOVE pancakes, and lately I've been craving breakfast for all three meals of the day. Since making the switch to eating gluten free, however, I've struggled to find a recipe on Pinterest or in cookbooks that actually lives up to the glutenfull-fluffy-melt-in-your-mouth-pancakes that I was used to. Kind of a let down. But I would never let a small road block like that get in the way of my undying pancake love- or my pregnancy cravings for breakfast food.

I started to experiment with recipes and tweak things that I didn't like about them. There were some inedible failures, trust me. But in the end I think I came up with something that we all love and I hope you will too! AJ says he likes them better than my normal, "glutenfull" pancakes we used to make, so that should tell you something ;) My man likes his pancakes too.

Give them a try this weekend!

Ingredients: (makes about 4 servings)

- 2 cups almond flour (or regular wheat flour)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or any kind of milk you prefer- we use coconut so Evie can eat them too)
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar or honey
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
- Fresh berries or chocolate chips

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.
3. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture.
4. Drop about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a hot, greased skillet and add the fillings of your choice. We love blueberries and chocolate chips.
5. Allow to cook for a few minutes- flip- repeat :) You know the drill.

There you have it! Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Happy weekend, friends.


Evie- 14 Month Update

Happy Monday, lovely people. How was everyone's weekend? I at least got started on all the projects I had planned, and I'm about to pull my first gluten-free loaf of bread out of the oven as we speak, so I'd call that a successful three days. What fun projects did you all accomplish/start?

On a completely unrelated note, in honor of Evie's 14 month-hood, I wanted to share the rest of the photos that we had taken of her (semi-)recently. These were for her 1 year photo shoot, but I haven't shared them yet, so why not? Again, these were all taken by Amy at A Moment Photography. She's the greatest, and they definitely capture Evie's silly personality.

- Walking where she wants to go: She has been taking steps on her own for over a month, but she's finally getting to the point where she thinks walking somewhere is more efficient than crawling there. Seeing her walk makes her seem so grown up! 
- Car keys: She definitely chose one of the more dangerous/unsanitary options for her favorite things. 
- Wearing her winter jacket everywhere: Even when we are inside she will say "brrr" and point at her coat. It's probably her Colorado blood ;)
- Wearing bows: If you follow me on Instagram, you read about the time a few weeks ago when she woke up early and was inconsolable, until I realized she was pointing at the container of hair bows we have on her dresser. Girly girl already? We'll see.
- Her belly button: she loves to find her belly button and giggles anytime you touch it. She will also lift up other people's shirts to try and find theirs. Once she does she will kiss your belly. 
I think this one is my favorite :)

- Sleeping in: it's ironic that her mother is opposite of a morning person...

- She can now say more, yes, papa, nana (as in banana), nona (for Grandma Chris), mama, dada, Jess (she just says the J), yuck, poop, tickle tickle, soft and socks.
- She knows where her eyes, nose, knees, hair, head, tummy, toes and belly button are. It is so fun to watch her learn things; some she just picked up on her own.

I can't believe my sweet girl is already 14 months old. I'm trying to treasure every moment with her and write the cute little things down, since I know it won't be just her for much longer. It will be so fun to go back and re-read these posts when she is all grown up and bossing a little brother/sister around. ;)


Three Weekend-y Things

It's Friday! Time for most of you to do a happy dance. Our weeks are a little backwards- since AJ works Saturday-Monday the middle of the week feels more like the weekend to us. I do try to get excited about the weekends by having a little DIY project for myself every weekend while AJ is at work. Sometimes that just means cleaning the bathroom really well...since technically that is a "do it yourself" project, right? Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share a little of what is inspiring me to create lately- hopefully it inspires you too!

This weekend I want to experiment with making gluten-free sandwich bread, since all of the store bought versions we've tried have been not great. I'm planning on starting with the Against All Grain recipe- I'm in LOVE with all of her recipes I've tried so far, so I have high hopes for this one. Do any of you have experience with good gluten-free bread? I'd love to hear tips!

Grain-Free Paleo Bread

I've also been dying for a huge, chunky throw blanket for either our living room or bedroom and since they're generally wayyyyy out of my price range, my mom and I decided to make a few! This crochet pattern for the blanket below looks really do-able and like something you could find in a store, so we are going to give it a shot! Wish us luck- this definitely won't be a one-weekend project.

I also saw this coffee mug DIY on Oh the Lovely Things, a blog I've found a lot of inspiration from, and thought it would be a fun way to spice up one of my plain travel mugs. Also, its hilarious and accurate.

Those are my little projects for myself this weekend- simple and fun. I'm adding cleaning the bathroom to the list too, of course. But I'll probably need a little bit more inspiration first before I tackle that. 

What do you all have planned for the weekend? Any fun projects to add to the list? 

And just for kicks, and because it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, here's a little quote to start off your weekend.


Letter to Baby- 15 Weeks

To my tiniest love,

This week you are 15 weeks old. We've still got a long way to go, but trust me, you will be here before you know it!

You are about the size of an orange this week, which explains why my pants are having a hard time buttoning lately. My tummy is growing everyday and if I sit very, very still, sometimes I can feel you fluttering around in there. It gives me butterflies, not just because it feels literally like a butterfly, but because of how excited it makes me. Keep moving, little one!

You can already suck your thumb, and are practicing your breathing (even though its not oxygen yet). You can even hear things happening around you, so I'll try not to let Evie be TOOOO noisy. You'll probably just have to deal with it though- you are the 2nd child, after all ;)

I can't stop thinking (read: freaking out) about you. Sometimes it seems impossible that we will have another member in our family, but usually, it feels like there is a hole here just waiting for you to fill it. I'm starting to make a list of things I need to get done before you get here. Wow. I'm gonna be a busy momma trying to prepare for you.

We are so excited and wish you were here already. But take your time in there! Keep growing and moving, and giving me excitement butterflies.

I love you.



A Little Facelift + A Few Goals

Surprise! Things look a little bit different around here, don't they?

I've been wanting to redesign my blog for FOREVER, but I thought it would cost a fortune to pay someone to help me- and God knows I don't know the first thing about blog design, as evidenced by my last design. However, a friend referred me to Rita from Coffee Shop Blog Designs, and after I checked out her work, I was sold. She did such a fast, amazing job and at a much more affordable rate than anyone I've ever researched. It's kind of a dream come true for me, not gonna lie.

So here it is, the new and improved Simply Liv! What do you think??? I hope you love it as much as I do.

To go along with my fancy-schmancy new design, I thought I'd write a little bit about my goals for my blog for the year. Making things public has a way of holding me accountable, forcing me to follow through- otherwise I tend to procrastinate a little bit a lot.

1. Stay simple. I want to really stay true to the title and "theme", you could say, of my blog. More than just a lifestyle blog about our little mid-western journey, I want to write about the simple things in life. Whether it be a list of things that have been inspiring me lately, or a simple, healthy recipe I love, or photos of my growing baby belly, I want the focus always to be on life's little gems. As I said in my last post, those are the things that I believe make life the most beautiful and I want my blog to be a constant reminder of that for me and anyone who stops by. (I also wanted my redesign to reflect that theme, hence the classic, simple new site :)
2. Stay positive. There is enough negativity and heartbreak in the news, facebook and where ever else you look; I want this blog to be a breath of fresh air.
3. Get out of my comfort zone. One of my goals is to push myself as a writer, friend, mom, wife and blogger. I want to write about things that I generally wouldn't think of and try new things, sharing them here.
4. Write for myself and not just my audience. This is a little bit of a selfish goal, but as important as crafting beautiful sentences and taking interesting pictures are for a good blog, I don't want to lose one the biggest reasons I'm blogging in the first place. I want to be able to look back in the years to come and smile at the things I wrote here, the little memories I've recorded that I otherwise would have forgotten. This is kind of like my little online time capsule.
5. Post consistently. This is a no brainer, but if I want to grow my blog, I've got to actually post on it. Consistency has been a struggle in the past for me, but I feel like writing it here, for you all to see, will help keep me accountable.
6. Revisit my 2015 "word". I didn't just chose "hopeful journey" as my word to forget about it a month into the new year. I'm trying to brainstorm ways I can focus on that in my posts and therefore, in my life outside my blog as well. 

With that, I'll leave you with an inspiring quote for your weekend and a ginormous picture of my face. Happy Friday, friends!




Simple Things for Simple Days

Lately I've been all about the little things. I mean, that is the title of my blog, so it should be an "in my face" reminder for me, but I think it is really when life gets slowwww and mundane and not exciting that I'm forced into noticing the littlest aspects of everyday that make them beautiful.
Real, true life is made up of teeny, tiny moments- not huge, life altering events (though those seem to be the times we focus on and remember the most) and so I want this blog to be a space where I can record those tiny moments and look back on them in years to come- maybe after a few more life-altering events- to reminisce and refocus. And maybe inspire a few of you to do the same in a space all your own.

My little things:

-My pregnant body is in the awkward phase. I look like I had one too many beers all. the. time. My pants are getting too tights and my tight shirts just make the "beer belly" more prominent. But I can feel the little pea moving around in there- like little butterfly flutters- and I'm so happy to have this pudgy belly.
-Whenever Evie does anything wrong, she will immediately apologize with a kiss. She just kissed the glass shower because I told her not to hit it with a bottle. I just love her tender heart.
-After Evie goes to bed for the night, I get to spend one on one time with my husband. It's kind of a foreign concept during the awake hours, and so I treasure the moments we are alone, even just to sleep next to each other.
- Our tiny kitchen has open shelving on one wall (which I LOVE). One shelf is entirely dedicated to coffee mugs.
- This morning I made the worst pancakes ever. But Evie didn't care and she ate them anyway.
- Skype dates with long distance friends this week made the distance seem much less. I love my friends.
- Also, cherry chocolate bordeaux ice cream.


Hopeful Journey

This post comes with much thought and, at a few moments, stress. As I look forward at this new year and what I imagine it will bring, I am filled with excitement, uneasiness, stress, calm, and wishing someone would invent a pause button already. All this range of emotion, and I have no idea what 2015 will bring.

While I've never been one to stick to my New Year's resolutions to lose weight or eat healthier or get better at staying in touch with friends (I believe most of those require lifestyle changes...more than a "resolve" on a piece of paper), for the past two years I have chosen one word to define my year. Last year my word was "fresh"- I was newly married, newly a mommy and all the world felt fresh. It helped me keep that sense of novelty throughout the entire year, remembering that each day was indeed a fresh start.

The "word" can be a goal you set for yourself, where you see your year heading, or just a simple word of encouragement that you believe will be beneficial to you this year. The "word" should be thought hard about, and prayed about harder. I've found that, when taken seriously, this one word can set the tone for your year and help you better yourself and your outlook. If any of you are choosing a word this year, pleasepleasepleaseplease tell me what it is! I would love to hear how you all apply this challenge in your lives.

My "word" for 2015 is technically a phrase. I couldn't find a single English word that encompassed the entire meaning I pictured in my mind. Hopefully this isn't breaking the rules too much. If you can think of a word that means what I describe, let me know! did nothing for me.

Before I reveal my word/phrase/thing I want to elaborate a little bit on why I chose it. I picked my phrase to be an encouraging reminder to myself throughout all the changes this year will bring. A few of which will be- meeting baby #2 (!!), buying our first home (hopefully), becoming debt free, learning more what it means to be in a sacrificial/loving marriage, and did I mention having two babies under the age of two? Thinking about it raises my stress levels more than I'd like to admit. I honestly have no clue how I'm going to take care of two babies and a big part of me is dreading the no-sleep-living-with-your-eyes-half-open-newborn phase so soon after we outgrew it the first time.

But there is another part of me that is ecstatic. I can't wait to do it all over again, as paradoxical and absurd as it sounds. I want to face this year with all its pain (childbirth.....ugh), joy, tears, goals and dreams with hope- embracing every single moment.

That's why I chose hopeful journey as my phrase this year.

Hopeful. Journey. Separately, the words have their own significant meaning, but paired together, it will be impossible to forget that there is hope, always, and that life isn't a straight line, but a journey.

"to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence."

I want to always look forward to change and embrace it with confidence. 

"a traveling from one place to another, usuallytaking a rather long time; trip:
passage or progress from one stage to another"

Life goes in stages, always moving forward, though it often seems static and uneventful. Remembering life as a journey helps keep my sense of adventure and expectancy- instead of drowning in day to day monotony. 

There you have it! My word for 2015. I will try to post updates on how I'm doing throughout the year, so check back often. And again, please let me know your "words" for the year! 


E's 12 Month Update

Happy 2015! I can't believe 2014 is much happened this past year. I need to sit down and process it all. I'm working on my "word of the year" post to share with you all (here is my word from 2014, if you're interested) and would LOVE to hear about your one word you choose to define your year to come. It has been an awesome tradition for me these past three years, so keep an eye out!

That said, how ever you rang in 2015, I hope it was memorable and spent with wonderful people. 

I want to write a little update on miss E, since it has been a while since my last. I've been doing monthly  updates, but now that she is over 12 months, I'm not sure what to call my posts. I don't want to be one of those moms who say "Oh, she's 17 months"....when "just over one year" works just as well. Its a personal problem...I'll work through it.

But for now, monthly posts will have to do.

Evie is a ball of constant energy and motion. Its getting harder and harder to keep up with her, especially now that she has been taking steps on her own! *applause welcome*

- Being on couches and beds: She LOVES bouncing and diving and rolling on our couch and in bed with us. Not very relaxing and a constant battle to make sure she actually stays on the bed.
- Pulling all of the books and movies off the shelves and then moving on to play with something else: Need I explain more? This happens 5 or 6 times a day.
- Kissing everything: She still loves to kiss all of her toys and/or complete strangers that we walk by in the mall.
- Thinking everything is cold: Since it's been so cold lately, she picked up that "brrrr" means cold and now she says it about everything. She likes to touch everything in the fridge and say "brrr" after each item.
- Coconut milk: Now that she is completely done breastfeeding (bittersweet for me, but it is nice to only be sharing my body with one baby now...) we were giving her cows milk before bed and a few times throughout the day. However, she had a pretty severe diaper rash that just wouldn't go away no matter what we did. About four days ago we switched her over to coconut milk and the rash was gone the next morning! Milk sensitivity is pretty common for babies, but I am hoping she outgrows it at some point. For now though, she's loving coconut milk.

The aforementioned "game" she loves so much

Opening her cookie set on Christmas Eve

Roxy continues to be her best friend
- Teething: Remember that "mommy phase" I mentioned last time? A few days ago I noticed a big molar broken through in the back of her mouth....that couldn't have been fun. I would want my mommy too.
- Sleeping past 5 or 6 am: This has been a rough week for sleeping in. No more nursing in the morning means no more falling back asleep :(

- Walking!: She took her first unassisted steps the other day and has been getting better and better at it since. Look out world, Evie is coming for you.
- Signing "eat", "please", and "all done": For anyone with a little one, I HIGHLY recommend teaching them at least a few basic signs. It makes communication so much easier.
- She has also learned how to say "yes", "no", "cheese" (it sounds like "chee!"), "more" (like "moy!), "brrrr", and "good" (or at least the "G" part).

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