a goodbye to summer

Although I'm ready for cooler weather it is always bittersweet saying goodbye to summer.  We'll have our last hoorah to summer cookouts this weekend and then before we can blink the media will be pushing Halloween and (gasp!) Christmas down our throats.  Calm down, media.

Before I start thinking about making tea in the afternoon and wearing flannel pajamas it's only appropriate that I wish summer a good farewell.  It was a sweet one full of days in the sun, the sand, and the chlorinated pool.  Now that I know how swimmy diapers work it's a good thing they put so much chlorine in the water.

Anderson got to see the Pacific and the Atlantic this year.  He went from hesitantly crawling to racing up the stars, and soon I think he'll be walking.  I had a summer full of two naps for the babe and I fear with fall those types of days will be ending.  Seems as though this big boy has decided he may just need one nap now.  Sigh.

I had the type of summer where painting my nails like this was as stylish as I got.  Jean shorts and t-shirts were my norm to the point that when I put some of these items away I'll be happy to not see them for awhile.  

I can only imagine what next summer will look like when he's running everywhere, eating us out of the house, and taking many more adventures with his daddy.  As for this summer, I'm thankful it was so kind.  For cool water and the warmth of conversation with friends new and old.  I'm thankful for baby toes in the sand, big hats, and yes, SPF 70.

44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

Anderson took the Olympics seriously by working out.  Athlete one day?  
We can all say it started here.

45 weeks and that outfit doesn't fit him anymore.  He's just hanging at grammy's playing with some toys.  Buddy loves the puppy dog toy but will have to keep reading about dogs and playing with plastic ones until (if) we ever get a yard.

Summer reading

I'm making my way through this thought provoking book. Have you read it? Here's a little taste of the goodness you can find in there.

41. 42. 43.

41 weeks brought forced family photos, 42 brought California sunshine, and 43 was me realizing I'm getting a serious little boy on my hands.  I'll let the pictures do the talking while I catch up on documenting the babe.

weeks 39 and 40

Although this was nearly 10 weeks ago it's time to get back to recording the boy.  I can't believe how much he is growing and has grown.  It truly is amazing how much we develop in just one year.

Although a lot has changed since these pictures were taken some things haven't.  He still loves riding on his daddy's shoulders and only stops smiling while up there if I'm vacuuming.  He is both very afraid and incredibly intrigued by the vacuum cleaner.

Another change is that these clothes now fit him a bit more snuggly and I like to think I've got a husky babe on my hands.  Could be that fact that he's eating and still nursing 5 times a day but oh well.  I keep thinking of a friend who said in her Mom's group all the ladies said, "food just for fun before one."  Well, I do like the idea of him eating meals and snacks, but for now he's not yet one so nurse all you want kiddo.

family photos

After seeing other Mom's on the beach with their cameras I decided to take ours down to the beach and get some shots of my brothers family.  Photography is something I'm enjoying more and more- and hopefully something I'll only get better at with time.

happy birthday benny!

Well Benny you're 30!  3-0.  The BIG 3-0.  How does it feel? 
 I'd say it's looking pretty good on you sir.

Here's to 30 more and to celebrating YOU in a way you'll enjoy.  I know if that were up to you and money weren't a hindrance you'd be going flying, golfing, kayaking, fishing, making beer, and overall spending it with people you love.  

Love you lots.
laura and anderson

lemon rosemary cake with strawberry compote

This cake is unexpectedly good.  Chopping a bunch of rosemary and saying it's going into a sweet cake will have people questioning but only until they eat this.  The cake is crumby and almost like a cornbread.  True to form, it's not too sweet and goes well with the strawberry compote on top.  It can easily be served as a dessert or for a brunch as well.  All around, it's a winner.

beaching with babies

Beach vacations with babies are, as I've been told before, just trips.  Not really vacations.  That said there is nothing like being a walk from the beach and being able to dip my toes in the Atlantic whenever I want.

Because I'm taking way too many pictures I figured I should start posting some now.  Turns out many of you like seeing pictures of our real life- or so I think.

sponsor giveaway! apron by the ruffled bird!

There's something about summer that makes me want to give things away.  There's something about fall around the corner that makes me sense you want to buy things.  I blame this all on "back to school shopping."  I suppose it'll make more sense to me when/if I have a little girl who wants some new clothes to wear.  It'll make more sense though when my little boy has outgrown all the clothes he wore the previous year.

Because it's still summer and it's almost fall The Ruffled Bird Shop is giving away this apron to one lucky reader who comments on this post!

In addition to that, all readers are eligible for 10% off if you enter the code: lbsgoodspoon when you're checking out!


How to Enter : Comment on this post!  Entries open until Sunday

US Residents Only Please!


anderson meets the atlantic

Just when we were getting over the heat and humidity of DC we headed off to the beach- this time near the Atlantic thanks to Grammy and Grandpa.

fancy chicken pot pie

I'm really into chicken pot pie.  The slow cooked tender chicken, the veggies that are soft and flavorful, and the idea of this being yet another meal that everyone in the family can enjoy.  Although I'm a sucker for this recipe with cheddar biscuits on top which is really a wonderful meal to take to a new Mom, this fancy version is great for when company is coming over.  Have some fresh bread on the table, a big green salad, some wine and you're good to go.  In summer have something with berries for dessert and in the winter time I'd go with chocolate.  Actually, I'd always go with chocolate.

The idea of phyllo on top is actually so easy but don't tell your guests that.  They'll probably be thinking to themselves, "oo this is fancy..." and you just go right ahead and let them think that.  Own it.

overnight tomato and ricotta breakfast strata

For awhile now I've been in search of the perfect breakfast casserole.  One that I could make the night before and that would be really tasty the next day.  One of those where you turn on the oven to 350, stick it in, and breakfast is ready in an hour.  Breakfast, or dinner.

This was dinner last night for us which meant it was more nap time cooking for me.  I made it during Anderson's morning nap and took it out to cook it at 5:00 that night.  Dinner was ready at 6:00 and dinner was delicious.

I'm all about the idea of a breakfast casserole but haven't found a real winner until now. The broccoli in there is pretty lovely but the best part to me were the tomatoes.  They roast up and get all sweet and juicy.  Quite the delicious bite paired with the cheesy warm french bread.

happy anniversary benny

Dear Benny,

Since I periodically write letters to Anderson on here, why not write one to you?  I wouldn't want you to ever think that I love our buddy before I love my Benny.  Sounds silly, but it's true.

This year our anniversary snuck up on us.  I even went and planned dinner for tonight and then realized that my Mom would be coming over so that we could go out.  I'm thankful that we'll be eating out at our favorite spot tonight, and that we won't have to worry about Anderson waking up in the middle of dinner- fingers crossed.

Two years, eh?  Looking back at these pictures it seems long ago that you met me with a bouquet of flowers with a wooden spoon in them, long ago that we were driving through Montana, and longer still that we got engaged at Hendry's.  Remember when we both had jobs at ate out often  That was a fun but short lived season for us.  Now we eat at home and spend a lot of nights in.  I love it.  No surprise.

I love that we have grown so much in our friendship, our relationship, our knowledge and trust in God together and our respect and appreciation for one another.  You really are the best dad and I'm so thankful for the time you spend with Anderson, the attention you give him, and the way your mind dreams of going on adventures with him when he's a bit older.  No plane rides yet with him, ok?

I can't wait to add a zero to this 2 year thing and see where we are after 20 years.  How our family will have grown, how you will have pursued what you love and I hope are happy in your career, and how I hope we are still so very much in love.  Thank you for working at our relationship and for always always being committed to us.  Me too.

My heart is full,
your laura

august apple pockets

These little gems of Musselman's apple butter and chunky apple sauce all baked up in phyllo dough are just what I needed after a frustrating morning in the city.  Sure we live outside the actual city of DC but it's close enough that when I went off to run some errands this morning I found myself at three different stores without one helpful person.

Part of me wanted to feel bad for myself.  Don't people understand that when you have a baby attached to you that they should be more helpful?  Clearly you're working against the clock here and need to get home in time to feed the boy and put him down for a nap before it's too late.  I have no problem running around with him but today when no employee could actually take me around the store to help me and one place told me differing information that led me to decide I'll just be printing Anderson's birthday invitations myself, I was a bit annoyed.

I started wishing we lived somewhere else.  Somewhere like where I'm from, where people are helpful and hospitable and caring.  Or somewhere like where we want to go, because surely everyone will be perfect there.

Since that's not the case here, or at least in my experience today, I decided to remind myself that dinner was already made thanks to naptime cooking and that I could call my Mom who could and would run any errands for me that I needed to help ease the stress.

sponsor giveaway! enchanting stamps

I first stumbled upon Jessica's beautifully hand carved Enchanting Stamps Shop when I was in search of the perfect stamp to go on our wedding favors.  I had the idea to send everyone away with our new address and shortly after I mentioned this idea to Mamma T Benjamin's grandpa was busy making unique keychains from antique silverware.

Before I knew it the keychains were complete and I needed to find the perfect stamp to go on a tag opposite our address!  I of course turned to Etsy and was happy to find the perfect stamp.

Today, to one lucky winner, you'll get your pick at either this carrot stamp, nest and eggs, or woodgrain stamp.  Each are hand carved in California and this time, just for you!


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USA entries only please.  The winner will be chosen at random and the giveaway is open until Friday!


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whole wheat banana bread

There's definitely a time and a place for sweet banana bread that tastes like a treat.  The banana bread that I've made in the past that I consider to be a real winner is just that.  This banana bread however is less sweet and is best toasted with some butter on top.  Or, if you're a Mom who is conscious of how much sugar their child takes in, you just give this to them straight up and are thankful there is only whole wheat flour and a little brown sugar in it.  No white flour.  No white sugar.  

I admit that I'm totally that Mom that is worried about Anderson getting too used to sweets and one day figuring out that peas and carrots aren't the sweetest things after all.  Believe me the kid has tasted ice cream and even got some today, but overall I want him to be eating 'normal' food that isn't catered to thinking, "oh he won't like this unless it's sweet."  I could probably get on a soap box and talk about my thoughts on that subject for awhile which would inevitably lead me to talk about kid's menu's and why I think those are silly too.  I don't think the price or portions are silly, but the concept of them needing a hot dog or pizza in order to eat is mainstream thinking that I wish would change.

This recipe is great for all of you out there who share the same opinions I do, or those of you out there who are so healthy conscious that you don't like cooking with white flour and sugar yourself.  I commend you and hope to be more like you someday.  I have a feeling that I'll be making some more health-full snacks for the little man in the days and months to come so if that's your thing, get excited.

Here's the recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Good Housekeeping.

Ingredient's You'll Need
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas- about 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk plus 2 dashes of vinegar to make butternilk, or just use buttermilk
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
1.  If you're making your own buttermilk combine the milk and just a few dashes of vinegar.  If not just go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 and coat a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter and flour it.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour through cinnamon.  In a mixer mix the sugar and eggs for about 2 minutes then add in your bananas, buttermilk, and oil.  

3. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine cooked quickly so you may want to check after 45 minutes of baking.

Enjoy this warm or toasted with butter.  Eat a slice with a cup of coffee and have a nice day!

sundays with the babe.

One of the joys of my life is going to be feeding this boy. Of course that originally meant his liquid diet but now that we've introduced more and more solid food I'm excited to make him dinner and treats and snacks for at least 17 more years.  

He's growing like a weed and I'm sure that I no longer have a baby, I have a little boy.  This thought was confirmed when we brought home a little toy truck and he proceeded to put all of his little toys in it and move it around the room.

He can definitely understand us more and in the last week would go up to his favorite books and when I asked if he wanted me to read it to him he got all excited and made the same expression as when I ask him if he wants nummies (to nurse.)  

Oh, you don't call it nummies?  We sure do.  It's what I called it and what I asked for since I was three when I stopped nursing.  That's right.  Judge if you will but no I don't remember nursing and yes I think it's attributed to why I turned out so great.

Now that Anderson is sleeping through the night I'll just go ahead and admit in this space that I miss seeing him during the night.  I miss those sweet times together, but then again I do enjoy getting much needed sleep!  I guess we'll just have to have another baby someday.  Until then I'll enjoy the sleep and enjoy each moment with the golden boy.

sweet potato shepherd's pie

I wonder if I just start cooking things with sweet potatoes and pumpkin and then light some candles around the house and make a pot of tea it'll become fall more quickly.  I'm ready to use a blanket on the couch, to put Anderson in a cozy sweater, and to go for a brisk walk.

Reality is, it's only August and we have yet to take another trip, this time to the beach in Delaware.  I suppose Summer will have one last hoorah after all.

These days we've given into the air conditioner and instead of running it at 73, then 75, then 77 to save money, we have it going at a consistent 73 around the house. It's just too unbearable to take the heat anymore.  Since it's been more tolerable inside I've become okay with using the oven again.  I'm not ready to have anything in there for long but if it takes under an hour, we're good.

dear summer, is it fall yet?

The summer seems to be flying by and I'm okay with that.  Although we were extremely motivated in the beginning of the summer to get to the pool most every day, the 90 (or 100) and humid temperatures have had me staying indoors.  I'm ready for spring and fall and winter to remember why it's okay that we live here.

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Spread (or Dip)

For awhile there this blog was lacking recipes.  We've been having to be more budget conscious these days and for some silly reason one of the first things we figured we could cut back on was food.  We ate a lot of tuna melts, pasta, and breakfasts for dinner.  Nothing is wrong with these meals and we're still going to frequent them, but the idea of not cooking something new each week became downright depressing to me.  I don't like cooking without it being inspiring (most of the time).

Sure there are nights when a bowl of cereal would work for me, but a few times a week I like, and need, to cook something new.  Trying out recipes is something I love and also a good creative outlet for me.  It's why this blog originated and why I don't see it going away any day soon.

Yesterday I decided I could tackle this recipe while Anderson was awake.  Silly me.  Although he does play well by himself he wants to be where the action is, especially if I'm cooking.  I do love it when he stands up on my legs and I quickly sweep him up to show him the onions I'm cooking, the sauce I'm making, or in this case, the cheesy spinach and artichoke side I was whipping up.

I adapted this recipe from Country Living where they call for a few more steps and a couple more fancy ingredients that I honestly didn't have time for.  What started as fascination grew into hunger for Anders and soon I was putting this dish together while feeding him dinner in the kitchen.  Motherhood is quite the juggling act and although you could reference this recipe if you don't like it as rustic, this worked just fine for us.

Without any protein in mind for dinner last night, or really any that had defrosted from the freezer, I decided we could have this as a spread atop good bread.  It wasn't bad at all and filled us right up.  While it was toasting in the oven we dipped some tortilla chips in it and found it to be a delicious dip, perhaps for the next party we throw?

However you use this, I hope you like it.  Anderson sure did once I realized he really was over bread and peas and wanted to have a take at what I had been making!

{Recipe adapted from Country Living}

{Ingredients You'll Need}

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bag (6 ounce) baby spinach
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1. In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil and butter the saute the garlic and onion until translucent- about 4 minutes.  Add the flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes then gradually add the milk, whisking it in and turning the heat up to medium high.  Bring it to a boil and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes more.

2.  Once the sauce has thickened remove it from the heat and add in the cream cheese the some salt and pepper to taste.  Stir so that the cheese melts into the sauce then throw in your spinach, whole or roughly chopped, and your chopped artichokes.  Continue stirring so that the spinach wilts down into the sauce and enjoy!

Variations:  If you want this to be more like the spread you've ordered in restaurants you can chop your artichokes and spinach or even use frozen thawed spinach and combine those two in a food processor before adding to your sauce.

Eat Your Veggies Mac & Cheese

Now that Anderson is eating much of what we are I'm inspired to be done with the baby food and make meals that are good for us, but also good for him.  I'm conscious of getting veggies in his diet, as any Mom would, and was intrigued when I saw this mac and cheese recipe with loads of spinach and peas in it.

Thanks to Trader Joe's I ended up tweaking the original recipe some and used veggie pasta, white cheddar over American cheese, and a whole 16 ounce bag of frozen spinach as opposed to the 10 ounces it called for.