Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good bye to a GREAT year and hello to a new year!

2008........This by far was the best year of my life. It was filled with love, laughter, dreams realized, growing bonds, and best of all......a new life. It was such an amazing year that I will forever cherish. I gave birth to my wonderful son, who is my love and my heart. He has brought Andrew and I so much joy and love in our life. Andrew also proposed to me in May. I was so happy and surprised when he popped the question. We are so excited to be married and share our love with our friends and family. We are so happy together as a family. I really feel that whatever comes our way, tough or easy, that we will make it through because we have each other. 2009 has already promised to be another year full of so many more adventures.

Great things that happened in 2008:

  • I gave birth (naturally with no interventions) to my beautiful son
  • The love of my life proposed to me on my first mother's day and 27th birthday
  • Andrew's brother, Daniel, got married
  • We had a fun filled summer with Ayden
  • Mitch Cook (my best friend's brother) got married to Kelly
  • I got to watch Ayden grow
  • I grew closer to some wonderful friends
  • I removed some negative situations out of my life
  • Obama was elected!!!!!
  • Melanie and Mike got engaged!!!!
  • Did I mention Ayden?!

Things I am hopeful for in 2009:

  • The beginning of the end of the war
  • A new president that will change things
  • The economy turning around
  • Weight loss and more YOGA!!!
  • Wedding planning to be easy and stress-free
  • Andrew's photography business to launch
  • More peace in the world and in my life

My New Year Goals:

  • To lose 10 pounds.
  • To stay organized with wedding planning and in life.
  • To start a house buying fund.
  • To practice stress management techniques (more YOGA).
  • To keep our house peaceful and full of love.
  • To spend all the time in the world teaching Ayden all about the beauties of the world.
  • To designate "study" time for me and Andrew.

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you and yours the best of 2009. May 2009 fill your hearts with all sorts of love and peace.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (a little late)

holidaympm-1.jpg's back to normal life again.  Holidays are almost over and school will be starting next week so we need to get back into a routine this week.  We had a great Christmas and enjoyed our family and friends in Tualatin.  Ayden was of course spoiled by his loved ones in Tualatin. He got so many presents.  But that is okay because it was his 1st Christmas and he needed some new toys.  Thank you everyone for all the gifts.  We love ALL of them!  

One of my new year goals is to lose at least 15 pounds for the wedding and to get into better eating habits.  So we are going to start making some healthier dinners.  I love the website and I will be using a lot of recipes from there.  I will also just modify a lot of recipes with less butter, oil, etc.  I hope you enjoy this week's menu.  Have a fun and safe New Years!  If you are interested in more weekly menus go to 

Monday- Shrimp stir fry

Tuesday-  Potato, leek, and broccoli soup with some yummy warm bread

Wednesday-We are having a little New Years Eve fiesta at our house with a few friends.
Appetizers- Taquitos, Chips and Salsa and Queso
   Dinner- Black Bean Burritos with spanish rice
Drinks- Beers and Champagne

Thursday-  Happy New Year!  Spaghetti Squash Casserole and a garden salad (this recipe in this link calls for ground beef, we substitute that with soy fake meat).

Friday-  Vegetable Gumbo

Saturday-  Homemade Pizza

Sunday-  Lots of Leftovers!!!!

“I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which, uh … is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And, uh … and watch TV. And get a bone density test. And, uh ... try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (a day late)

I missed last weeks and I am a day late to this week's menu plan. OPPS! It is such a busy time of year. Last week I had finals and was sick. Ayden then caught my cold. Babies are so sad when they are sick. I basically held and cuddled him for a week till he felt better. We are all better now!!! Then this last weekend we went to stay in a little cabin on the Metolius River with my parents. It was SO relaxing and peaceful. It snowed the whole time we were there! It definitely put me in the holiday spirit. So I am a little behind now that we are back! I am slowly getting back on track! This week will just be full of baking, shopping, and staying warm. Andrew is part Jewish and so that makes Ayden part Jewish. So in celebration of their heritage we decided to make some Hanukkah food on Thursday night. We also have some of our best friends moving to New Mexico on Sunday, so we are having a dinner for them on Saturday. We are also celebrating Winter Solstice that night. We have a lot to celebrate this week and be thankful for. I will be baking some kind of holiday/winter treat each night till Christmas! Oh....this time of year is SO fun!

For more info on menu planning go to


Monday- Dinner at The Swans house!!!

Tuesday- Spinach Lasagna, garden salad, and french bread

Wednesday- Spinach and mushroom quiche

Thursday- Hanukkah celebration- Roasted winter vegetable with cheesy polenta and Potato Latkes with horseradish-dill cream dip

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Winter Solstice Celebration and Good-bye Dinner for the Swans :(
Pizza, Organic winter salad, and warm drinks & treats

Sunday- Salmon, steamed broccoli & cauliflower, and whole grain wild rice

Desserts/Holiday Treats:
(Don't worry we are not eating all these treats.....a lot are going to be gifts)

Tuesday: Chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday: Princess Tea Cakes

Thursday: Sufganoit (Jelly Doughnuts, a Jewish dessert)

Friday: Chocolate fudge (my first time making)

Saturday: Apple Pie

Sunday: Peanut Butter Blossoms

"Good food ends with good talk." -Geoffery Neighor

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

My little baby is growing so fast. He amazes me everyday with new things he is doing and learning. It makes me sad but excited all at the same time. I miss him being so small and making those cute little infant noises. I miss him just laying in my arms and staring up at me like there is no-one or nothing in the world that will ever make him look elsewhere. I am excited that he is becoming his own person and learning new things everyday. I am looking forward to all the fun things we get to do together. I am excited to show him the beauty of the world. Its like I get to see things again for the first time! It is such an amazing feeling watching him grow. It happens so fast though! I wish life was just a little bit slower. Andrew and I are so lucky and grateful to have him.

Here are some updates on our little man:
  • He turned 9-months old yesterday! WOW!!!
  • He started saying "da-da" on Wednesday. He whispers it every time. It's so cute. But don't worry he started saying "ma-ma" about a month or so ago.
  • He started waving.
  • He started clapping on Wednesday.
  • He is army scooting (it's like crawling but not on all fours)
  • He can now push himself up into standing position (holding onto something)
  • He can walk along the couch, chair, or when holding our hands. They are very little wobbly steps BUT they are still steps!
  • He got his first two teeth in!!!
  • He officially has long shaggy hair. Like father, like son!

Brand New


"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."- Elizabeth Stone

Monday, December 1, 2008

101 Reasons Why I Love My Fiance!

3. He works so hard for us. He works all day, then goes to school, comes homes and helps me around the house (like put up Christmas lights on the house at 10 pm in the rain)!! He is amazing and I appreciate everything he does for me and Ayden!

Keep checking in for more reasons!

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe it's already December!! I am so excited to for Ayden's first Christmas! I have so much planned for this month for us! I will be starting to bake cookies and other Christmas treats next week. This week will be to hard for baking because it is the last week of school (YES!!!). I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed all the good food that we are so blessed to have.

Check out for more Menu Plan ideas!

Monday- Burritos with spanish rice

Tuesday- Salmon salad (Andrew will not be home for dinner, so I decided to have something light)

Wednesday- Angel hair pasta with olive oil, parmesan, olives, capers, and tomatoes and a salad

Thursday- Tuna Casserole

Friday- leftovers

Saturday- Mushroom and Spinach Quiche with a green salad

Sunday- Salmon fillets, Broccoli, and Whole-Grain Rice

"In this plate of food, I see the entire universe supporting my existence" - A Zen Blessing

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Mama

Happy Thanksgiving...........Here are some things that I am thankful for....
  • My loving fiance who loves me for me and pushes me to be myself.
  • My amazing son who reminds me everyday what unconditional love is.
  • My entire family who have always been there for me.
  • My friends that stick by me through thick and thin.
  • That my mother is healthier.
  • That my sister has been in Bend the past few months. She has been so helpful.
  • My loving brother who sticks up for me. I do miss him!!
  • My best friend, Mel, who is by my side no matter what and gives me the best advice.
  • My crazy dog, Jackson
  • That my Aunt MJ, Uncle AC, and Grandma Josie moved to Tualatin. I love having them so close to me.
  • That my Grandpa Herb is 89 and still with us.
  • For all types of brings so much joy in my life.
  • For this beautiful earth that we are all so blessed to live on.
  • For what Mother Nature brings
  • For hugs and kisses
  • For Barack Obama and the new hope that he brings our country.
  • For all of Andrew's family for excepting me into their family.
  • For food that we are able to put on our table everynight
  • For getting married next year to my best friend
  • For all the new friends that I have met.
  • The fact that I have a chance to go back to school
  • For everyone that brings peace to this world

Friday, November 21, 2008

101 Reasons Why I Love My Fiance....

2. He has such a wonderful and loving family that has opened there arms to me the second they met me. It's good to know that I am marrying into a family that loves me for me.

More reasons to come!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So, this week will be a little different because we are going to Utah to visit Andrew's family from Wednesday to Tuesday of next week. That means we only have to plan for 2 nights this week and 5 nights next week. It will be a nice break for me. No planning and no cooking! Sounds good to me! We are very excited to go to Utah and see Andrew's family. We have not seen them since May and look forward to spending time with them. Ayden will be meeting his Uncle Pete for the first time since he is coming back from his 2-year mission trip. We are so anxious and excited to see him. I'm sure that I will write about our trip and post tons of pictures.

Here is our short menu! For more menus or information about Menu Plan Mondays go to

Monday- Salmon and veggie fajitas

Tuesday- Quick and easy pizza

Wed-Sun- In Utah

"The belly rules the mind."-Spanish Proverb

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We are getting married at Camp Westwind!

Before I was even engaged I knew that I wanted to be married on a beach facing the Ocean. When I met Andrew he shared the same dream with me. So it was not hard to choose what area we wanted to get married BUT it was hard to find a place that we really liked on the Oregon Coast. We both really wanted a beautiful private beach with a lodge. We looked everywhere and then we found the PERFECT place.....Camp Westwind. Some of you might already know about Camp Westwind because it holds Outdoor School and YWCA summer camps. It had everything that we wanted plus more. It is 6 miles north of Lincoln City where the Salmon River meets the great Pacific Ocean. I was able to get a few pictures of the place but it is just so beautiful in person.

This is the lodge where the reception will be held. Hopefully if the weather cooperates we will be having the music on the deck. Since we have rented the entire camp we don't have to stop playing music at 10pm. We can play music as long as we want! Inside there is a huge room where the dinner will be served. In the picture you can see the upstairs windows. Those are the windows to the "bridal" room, where my bridesmaids and I will be getting ready. You should see the view from that room! The other side of the lodge. This is also the start of the path to the beach where the ceremony will be held. It is about 250 feet from the lodge.
The path to the beach. Where the tree line ends is where the beach begins. I am trying to figure out how I will line the path way. Flowers, candles, or lights???? Sorry ladies, as you can see NO high heels.

Where the ceremony will be held. Totally private!!!

Looking to the right.

The Salmon River and the ferries that we take to get to camp.

Some of the cabins that guests can stay in if they choose.

We are SO excited and happy we found the "perfect" place for us. We will keep everyone informed on details.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Peace Begins With A Smile"

It's late......I'm up doing math homework! But I took a break to read the wise inspirational words of a great woman.....Mother Teresa. I just wanted to share some quotes by her. I think I might print some out and paste them throughout my house for inspiration.

"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."

"Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."

"Peace begins with a smile."

"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."

"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. "

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daybook Entry #1- November 12th

FOR TODAY November 12th........
Outside my window....It is dark and windy. I can hear the leaves being blown back and forth. The gate that is not latched is banging open and shut. Sometimes I hear the spooky whistle that the wind makes. It sounds like a ghost right outside the window.

I am thinking....that I can't wait for Andrew to get home from school. We have such busy lives right now that I really miss him when he is gone.

I am thankful for....the strong and trustworthy relationship I have with Andrew.

From the kitchen....I have food that awaits to be cooked. I will start cooking in 15 mins so that it is ready for Andrew when he gets home.

I am wearing....comfy socks, jeans, and a black shirt

I am blog website. I am trying to figure out how to customize it.

I am Utah in 7 days to see Andrew's family.

I am reading....All of my textbooks.

I am hoping....that my precious little boy grows up to be a caring respectable young man. And that he will be his own person and think for himself.

I am hearing....the wind violently blow the branches of the trees and the gate back and forth outside my window.

Around the house....there is silence. Ayden went to bed early. I think he has teeth coming in and the poor little boy is not feeling so good.

One of my favorite warm socks on a cold day.

A few plans for the rest of the week: catch up on my math homework, help Andrew make phone calls for his Christmas Lighting business, spend all the time in the world with my little man, work on organization throughout the house, get ready for our trip to Utah.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
A fall picture of my cutie pie taken by Andrew

To learn more about The Simple Woman's Daybook go to

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

101 Reasons Why I Love My Fiance

1.  Every-time he comes home from work and walks in the house he always says "It's my family!".  Then he comes over and gives me a big kiss and then gives Ayden hugs and kisses.  He is so wonderful!

So keep posted and every few days I will post reasons why I love my fiance till I reach 101!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

The past month Drew and I have been planning out our dinners weekly. This has truly been a wonderful change for us. I know some of my friends think I am a bit crazy for doing this but it truly helps bring some organization to our house. Planning out our dinners helps me actually cook and cook good food. Otherwise I would cook mac and cheese every night. It also helps with our budget. I try not to spend more than $40 a week at the grocery story. We try our hardest to buy only organic and locally grown foods. This doesn't happen every time but we really make an effort. It's better for our bodies and the environment if we do this.

So every Monday I will post our weekly menu. I got this idea from It's a great organization website that has some really good ideas. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or your own menus please bring them my way! Happy Monday everyone!

Monday- Spaghetti Pie, green beans, and whole wheat bread
Wednesday- Black Bean Burittos and spanish rice
Thursday- Broccoli Chowder (This is our FAVORITE soup....Drew and I made it together
when we first started dating)
Friday- leftovers (Alyson works at the restuarant tonight)
Saturday- Tortellini with pesto sauce and a garden salad
Sunday- Salmon fillets with whole grain rice and steamed broccoli

"There is soul music, soul food, and soul love......" -Dalai Lama

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New beginnings

I have decided that I still don't have enough to do, so I added yet another thing to keep my life busy. This is MY blog. Here I will write about my life as a new mom and a fiance and everything in between. I think that this will be very therapeutic for me. I love writing, especially about what is going on in my life and just my random thoughts. I have a few fun ideas that I am going to do weekly to keep my sanity.

I call it Peaceful Mama because that is what I aspire to be. I consider myself peaceful but I know that I still have a lot of work to do to become completely peaceful in all aspects of my life. I want my household to be a relaxing peaceful place for Ayden and for Drew and I. I think that this will help Drew and I become a healthy married couple and it will help Ayden grow as a compassionate caring boy. I feel that I want more peace in my surroundings throughout the world. I am excited to find my way through this journey of peaceful motherhood and parenting.

Please join me in my journey. I hope that I can inspire or be inspired.

"All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make our world." -Buddha