cook it: balmasic-garlic crusted pork tenderloin and roasted parmesan green beans

This past weekend I had my family up for Christmas Dinner and Brunch.  I know that you're not supposed to attmept brand new recipes when you have company coming over, but Pinterest really got the better of me.  And what do you know, the recipes were a total success!
Here are two recipes that were a total hit at dinner:
Balsamic-Garlic Pork Tenderloin (recipe and photo from http://kitchenconfidante.com)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1.25 pounds each)
2 tablespoons canola oil

1) Mix garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt pepper and olive oil.  Rub onto pork and let marinate over night.
2) Heat canola oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat.  Working in batches if necessary, add pork, and brown all over, about 4 minutes
3) Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees, about 20 minutes. 
4) Transfer pork to a cutting board, and try to let it rest 10 minutes before slicing. 

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans (recipe and photo fromhttp://www.skinnytaste.com)

2 oz green beans, trimmed (make sure they are dry)
2 tsp olive oil
kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder1 1/2 tbsp shredded parmesan
1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum for easy clean-up. 
2) Lay green beans out on the baking sheet and drizzle oil over them. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to evenly coat.
3) Spread them out on the sheet so that they all lay flat and place on the lower third section of your oven. 
4) Bake 10 minutes, shake the pan to turn; bake 5 additional minutes. 
5) Remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated cheese.


craft it: a merry little banner

I have been seriously M.I.A. lately.  I'd like to take this opportunity to blame said absence on my dear husband.  See, Josh got an iphone about a month ago and since then he's been posting pictures of our fab life all over facebook and instagram.  I feel like everything I'd like to put on the blog has already been scooped by Josh.

I vow to do better about posting  though.  Because really, who wants to live via Instagram or Facebook anyways?  Exactly.

So, here's a little banner craft to get your creative juices flowing this dreary Wednesday.  You can use this craft to decorate a door, mirror, hallway or even use it to tie on top of a gift.  You can follow the tutorial HERE that I posted when I made the "give thanks" banner earlier this fall.

My office at work was in need of some serious holiday cheer.  Here's a few places I tried out the banner (excuse the poor photo quality, left camera at home and had to take pics on my cell!)

who needs curtains when you have a sweet banner?!

reminding me to be merry before going into work

a banner over a painting?  perfection!

And how could this banner making get any easier??  Click HERE and HERE and you can download PDFs of my banner to print out yourself.  I aim to please!


elliot weekly: week 37

elliot helping me wrap presents

what we've been up to this week:

Anticipating Family Time: We're celebrating Christmas with my family this weekend, which means my sisters are coming to town!!  I love having two sisters and I love Elliot getting to spend time with them.  This Christmas celebration is especially exciting because my older sister Lauren (the doctor) is moving out to Portland this summer.  I hope to burn up the skyways with Elliot while she's under two years old (they still fly babies for free, right??) but I still hate the idea of the Rollins Sisters being so spread out.  Boo.

Reach-Scoot-Fall-Roll:  Elliot has been more and more interested in items that are more than an arm's length away.  She'll reach and reach for it (toy, book, bug, etc) and then kind of scoot her bottom, fall over (either head first, sideways or on her back) and then roll over.  She'll them get distracted by her new vantage point and play with whatever toy/book/bug/etc is closest.  It's like watching ADD in action.

Real Baby Food, Almost:  Elliot is about to start real baby food this weekend.  We're going to make her baby food (it's cheap and organic/no preservatives) but I went ahead and picked up some pre-packaged stuff at the grocery store so we'd know how "runny" to make ours.  Dr. Mark (our pediatrician) said to start her out on yellow vegetables first.  Well, the only vegetable I could think of was squash, which isn't exactly in season down here in the Carolinas.  So, Josh and I think that orange is pretty dang close to yellow, so we're starting Elliot out on carrots.  We'll let you know how it goes.  

Dream Feed: We're still giving Elliot a full bottle around 10:30pm.  She's asleep and we're not sure if she totally needs it to sleep through the night.  BUT, Elliot is only weighing in at the 25% mark, so we're going to keep giving her this full bottle until she's up to two baby food meals per day (which is another week or so.)

Stats:  I work right across the street from our Children's Clinic, so I took Elliot over there to get weighed.  She weighed in at 15 pounds 12 ounces.  One more reason I love living in a small town: the clinic's front door is a little less that 75 yards from my desk at work.  Yes, I am spoiled by small-town convenience!       


elliot weekly: week 36

helping with laundry
what we've been up to this week:

Hungry Lady:  Elliot is doing great with her rice cereal!  Last week she was doing 1/2 a serving and wasn't too interested.  This week she's up to a full serving and is practically slurping it down.  

Flapping her wings:  Elliot does this funny arm-flapping-thing when she gets really excited or sees something that she really likes.  She flaps her arms up and down like she's trying to fly away....or conduct an orchestra.  Trust me, it's funny.

Family Time:  This past weekend we were able to drive down to Columbia, SC and visit Grandmother (my grandmother, Elliot's great-grandmother.)  It was a sweet time with the family, lots of playing, giggling and baby-cuddling.
snuggle time with grandmother

four generations.  love :)
Creepy Old Men:  Elliot met Santa today.  We aren't so sure that we're going to do the whole "Santa" thing at our house, but we took Elliot to visit Santa with Merrin (Elliot's bff.)  Merrin was digging the whole experience, Elliot....not so much.


elliot weekly: week 35

what we've been up to:

Wallow:  Elliot isn't crawling, but she sure is into wallowing.  She'll sit in my lap and wiggle and roll all over the place.  She just reaches and grabs for everything in sight, always trusting that we won't let her fall off our laps or off the couch/chair.  She loves looking at things sideways or upside-down, but she likes to that mostly while you're holding her.

Peek-a-Boo: Elliot has finally gotten the hang of peek-a-boo.  We play it mostly with her blanket, because it's small enough for her to grab.  She likes it when we hold it in front of her, completely hiding ourselves, and she smiles hugely when we say "where's the baby? where's elliot?" and then promptly rips the blanket away.  She's even gotten into holding the blanket up herself when she's ready to play (she even did it in the grocery store the other day!)  It is SO cute.

Outdoor Babe: Baby Girl is still loving the outdoors.  Only problem?  Yeah, the fact that it was 34 degrees and Elliot was crying to play outside.  How exactly do I know she wanted to play outside?  Because we were at work and she was so very fussy until I walked her over to the glass door leading to the backyard and she started panting.  Like a dog.  I'm pretty sure she would've wagged her tail if she had one.  So, like any brave mama, I strapped her into the stroller and bundled her up with a hat and blanket and we walked the 1.2 miles to the post office.  Why the post office?  Well, duh, I was at work and needed an excuse to take the babe on a walk.  Multitasking folks, it's what being a working mama is all about!

Xylophone: My friend Sherry gave Elliot a wooden toy set at a baby shower last fall.  The set is meant for babes 18 months and older, but Elliot loves the xylophone!  We've played with it enough now that she knows how to hammer the keys.  Or she just spazes out and the note-playing is just a byproduct of flailing arms.

Not So Yummy:  We started Elliot on rice cereal yesterday.  She took a few spoon fulls and was interested in the whole deal at first.  She wanted to play with the spoon more than anything, but she quickly got the hang of the whole keep-you-arms-down-while-we-feed-you routine.  After a few minutes thought Elliot seemed to lose interest in the whole project and was getting more down her face and on her bib than in her mouth.  My last resort was to let her sip it out of the side.  Turns out she loved that method.  I know we're supposed to be teaching her how to use a spoon, but I just didn't want to waste the breast-milk that we'd mixed in with the cereal.  Yep, I'm cheap, even with breast-milk.

happy 8 months elliot!  we love you baby girl!!


elliot weekly: week 34

at the Washburn General Store
trying to convince us to buy her this little rocking chair

what we've been up to:

To the Park: Elliot went to the park for the first time!  Josh and I both had Wednesday afternoon off and we took Elliot to the park.  She's obviously not old enough to run around yet, but she seemed to enjoy the swings and the carousel.  We are so lucky to have such a gem of a park only minutes from our house...its actually walking distance from my office and uptown so we'll have to keep it in the running destination rotation.  

Winner, Winner: Elliot is a winner!  Elliot and I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving this past week.  Ok, Elliot actually fell asleep around mile 2.  BUT, Elliot won the costume contest!  I'm pretty sure she won by default, but she was the CUTEST little indian ever.  I made her costume out of felt and ribbon and managed to whip it up during her nap on Wednesday afternoon.  Its all sew-free and made by knotting and hot-glue that I learned how to do by watching this video from Joann's.  (You can't really see in this picture, but she had a little papoose on the back of her costume to hold her stuffed animal like a mama!)
Elliot and I post-race waiting for the results 
cutest little baby ever?
and we have the trophy to prove it.
Thankful:  We are so thankful for so many things; the Lord is so very good and so good to us.  It was nice to have a day set aside to remember that this week.  I pray that we keep that mindset as we enter into these next holiday weeks!


elliot weekly: week 33

what we've been up to:

Never Met a Stranger:  Elliot continues to enjoy meeting new people...although, you'd never know they were "new" by the way she coos and smiles at everyone.  When I was pregnant with Elliot I prayed that she would be warm towards others, because I knew how many people the Lord had us in contact with through ministry.  I know she's little and could certainly develop a shy streak later on, but we're just going to enjoy our little social butterfly for now.

Huge Smiles: Elliot has a huge smile, complete with drool and giggles.  Noticeably absent: teeth.  Elliot doesn't have any teeth yet.  And, according to Aunt Joy (dental hygienist extraordinaire) it doesn't look like she has any teeth coming any time soon.  Oh well, we'll just enjoy our little gums-only girl for now :)

Bath Baby:  Elliot is still loving her bath time.  She'd probably play in the bathtub all day if we let her.  And, she loves to tote around her bath toys and play with them around the house.  We get quite the strange looks when we're out and about and Elliot is swinging around a rubber ducky!


elliot weekly: week 32

holding her water bottle at 32 weeks
What we've been up to:

Roll Over: Elliot is a rolling over champ!  She's been great with her tummy time and regularly rolls front to back (she definitely favors rolling to the right.)  She's not showing any interest in crawling yet and prefers to play with what's around her than crawling for a toy farther away.

Sing a Song: Elliot has been really into music lately.  If she's fussy in the car, turning on the radio (or plugging in the iPod) really seems to calm her down.  I don't think she has any real favorites so far, but I'm thinking she'll be a 'top 40s' girl.  Josh and Elliot rock out to the guitar while I'm running in the mornings.  It's fun to sneak into the house and hear them singing Vida la Vida or Mr. Jones (ok, let's be honest, Josh does the singing and Elliot just kind of lays on her back, grabs her feet in the air, smiles and does a sweet little baby scream.)

Elliot and Josh having a little sing-a-long/chew-toy time


elliot weekly: week 31

loving outdoor time at 31 weeks
What we've been up to this week:

Reach For It:  Elliot is getting so much better at reaching for toys (or my cell phone, keys, silverware or anything else she shouldn't be putting in her mouth!)  She will be sitting up, lean to one side to grab a toy, sit back up and pass the toy between her hands.  It's so wild to watch her....I just hear her think "I want what's over there....so I'm going to get it myself."  It is amazing to see her independence grow each day!

Arms Open Wide:  When Elliot is getting fussy/tired/bored and she starts to cry, she doesn't really hold her arms "up", she holds them out (like she's making a giant "T" shape.)  She holds her arms like this often and most of the time isn't trying to communicate "pick me up."  I feel like a bit of a mind-reader these days---trying to decipher what she wants, with one motion/gesture meaning multiple things.

In Its Place: Everything has a place....and Elliot believes that place is in her mouth.  Car keys, make-up, remote controls, towels and tabletops are all fair game for our little girl.  Yes, she did try to chew on the edge of a table at Early Girl in Asheville.  And yes, I did laugh while pulling her away.  What can I say, I guess our daughter is part beaver.


elliot weekly: week 30

loving the outdoors at 30 weeks

What we've been up to:

Bath Time: Elliot is still loving her baths.  She's getting better at sitting up (in general) and it's fun to watch her sit up in the tub.  She doesn't quite get the whole sitting-up-while-not-falling-face-first-thing and still likes to lay down on her bath sling.

Sleeping Champ: Elliot is still sleeping through the night.  We are so thankful to have solid sleep in our lives!  Elliot usually goes down around 7:30pm and it leaves lots of time for me and Josh to spend time together.

Backpack Baby: Josh and I did a little hike at South Mountain and some yard work this week.  Elliot was both great help and great company.  We were given this baby pack by Elizabeth and John and we love it!  We hang a few toys on there and Elliot is set.  She loves the outdoors and this pack is the perfect combination of baby-containment/baby-entertainment center :)

Elliot directing te mulch placement

Josh and Elliot at South Mountain


elliot weekly: week 29

wearing socks at week 29....and kicking them off right away!
what we've been up to this week:

Sleeping Beauty: Elliot has been sleeping great this week.  We've even had a few nights where she slept until 7am!  We know that teething is probably right around the corner, so we are soaking up these good nights while we can.

Banquet:  We had our fundraising banquet for Young Life on Tuesday.  Elliot was a great gift-bag stuffer.  Consider yourself blessed if you got a little baby slobber on your baggie :)  Did you miss the banquet?  Check out a video clip here.

Just Me and Bottles:  Elliot is still nursing exclusively.  Breastfeeding has been such a gift and I'm glad that she's taken so well to it.  It was a huge prayer of mine during my pregnancy and I'm so thankful for the time with her.  Our pediatrician has advised us to start moving her towards baby food at 8 months.  The plan is to start her with rice cereal at 8 months and then transition to baby food after that.  It makes me kind of sad because I really enjoy the time with her and let's be honest here: its free!  Momma loves a deal y'all.


craft it: homemade trellis

I got Josh to craft with me! The key to getting the hubs involved: outdoor crafting. We bought and planted some Carolina Jasmine earlier this year. We used a trellis that we already owned, but knew that it wouldn't be large enough in the end. The Jasmine we bought is trailing; and trailing it was....it was starting to get a bit out of control. 

Here's a shot of the front of out house.
We planted the Jasmine in between the garage windows.
 See how sad it looks on the too-small-trellis?
The plan was to drill into the mortar and created a wire trellis running in-between the windows.  Josh picked up some garden wire at our local hardware store and that was the only cost for this project (about $5.) 

 Here's Josh using a masonry bit to drill into the mortar.  This is manly crafting for sure.

We ran the wire in a giant "X" pattern and then wove the Jasmine through.

Here are a few "after" shots:
And here are some shots at dusk:
Doesn't it look so much better?!


sitting up

I think we'd all be happy if we applauded each other the way we do babies.  Babies do hardly anything and we're cheering them on as if they've finished a marathon in record time.  Josh and I are totally  those parents.  We cheer when Elliot finishes a bottle, sleeps through the night or grins at us.  How different would the world be if you got a high-five or pat on the back for brushing your teeth, going to work or just going to bed?  I think we'd all walk around standing a little taller, feeling a bit more proud and secure....because after all, we'd put on clothes all by ourselves.

But until that day, I'll just keep cheering on my baby girl...because look at her learning how to sit up on her own:
Isn't that totally cheer-worthy?!


craft it: banner/mantle makeover

As the chiller weather has been approaching, I've been wearing more jackets and evening donning my slippers (only around the house, don't worry.)  It has made me think about this winter and warm fires and snuggles with the hubs.  Josh did a wonderful job installing this sliding doors on out over-the-fireplace-tv-nook, but the area is still feeling a little naked.  See what I mean?
 I bought several succulents (because I can't keep real plants alive) from Lowes a couple of glass vases from Anthropologie (not exactly cheap, but perfect for the space!)
But I still felt like the space needing something more.  And this is where Chelsea comes in.

My friend Chelsea is the queen of banners.  I try to copy a lot of what she does, and this is no exception.  Thanks Chelsea for still being my friend even though I copy you all.the.time.

Here's what you need for this little banner session:
1) banner paper (i used an old dictionary, because it was free)
2) sharpie
3) scissors
4) tape
5) remote control. i had to catch up on gossip girl.  yes, there is a 16 year old girl hiding inside this 28 year old mom. yikes.

If you have cute handwriting like Chelsea than you can go ahead and free-hand your letter.  I, on the other hand, printed off letters and then traced them using a lamp:
Josh was reading from 1 Corinthians the other day and it got us talking about we want to give thanks more often.  I thought putting it on the banner would put it front and center in the house:
I didn't know how to separate the words "give" and "thanks", so I just whipped up a coffee-filter and dictionary-page flower.  I just folded about 12 filters and 9 dictionary page circle cut-outs together and stuck a brad through them.  Easy peasy. 
One last look.  
Now doesn't that mantle look fresh?


wedded bliss

Elliot went to her fourth wedding to see our friends Baird and John get married.  We have known Baird for almost 10 years and Josh and I both wept happy tears as we watched her walk down the aisle.  She looked radiant and so very happy.  Here are a few moments from the ceremony and reception:
loved having a little bluegrass band off to the side!
rare thing: photo of just the two of us.    love.him.
young life girls entertaining elliot
cutest ring bearer ever!
happily married.  ready to party!
beautiful reception site!  can you see the barn? amazingness.
loved how they used cotton in their arrangements
how cute are elliot's baby Toms?!  thanks lampley family!
Images by Freepik