Thursday, July 31, 2014


Ever since I discovered Pinterest I decorate my entire house through all of the beautiful spaces and stuff I pin. In my imagination. Don't you wish you could pin it to your home?! That would be awesome!

I do, however, get a lot of inspiration for everything from holiday decor, ideas, style & fashion, home decor, recipes, I could go on and on. When I pin I always think about how it would look in my home and if I would actually buy it, wear it, use it, etc. because when I go back to look at what I pinned to find inspiration for a room in our home, I want to see ideas that would be relevant to my style. I truly think that Pinterest was the greatest invention ever to get ideas for every single thing in life. Feel free to check mine out here!

Here is a little collage of my inspiration pins when it comes to colors, textures, patterns, fashion, home decor etc. I find all of these items beautiful and I want them all! Our home is pretty neutral in color so adding bits of it here and there truly makes a difference. I try to mix it up with patterns and fun colors, same goes for fashion right? :)

Happy Thursday!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Weekend.

Jack and I agree that this weekend was one of the best we have had in a while. He actually wasn't feeling good, but that allowed us to truly be able to relax and do absolutely nothing for a couple of days since he had a couple of projects to work on that he had to put off.

Friday night we hung out with Elliot when I got home from work before he went to bed. Jack had fever that night so after Elliot went down for the night movies, and snacks it was.

Saturday he was able to get up and we took a trip to the park for some breakfast and fun. Elliot loves going to the park, he's the happiest when he's outdoors! We blew bubbles, chased birds, went to the playground area with daddy and tried to go after doddies (doggies).

I think Jack had more fun than Elliot. ;) 

Then after a trip to Target and Home Depot, we went back home and got mini heart attacks. Elliot has been loving to stand up on his chair while looking at us. He has his hands on the back in this one but he lets go and just stands there. This kid is crazy!

I posted this on Instagram (@shadiabrown) right before his bath. I love his little legs!!

I think all of that playing and sliding on that bar did Jack no good so another movie night it was. I wasn't complaining! I had picked up some frozen Greek yogurt to take care of my ice cream craving. So good!

Sunday morning we picked up groceries and stayed indoors all day. It almost drove Elliot crazy! I took out some brushes and put some water in a container for him. Who knew this would keep him entertained and no mess to clean up! We "water" colored, put stickers everywhere and colored with crayons. Then he stood up on his chair a million times more.

I threw some chicken and lots of veggies in the crock pot for dinner and while that was cooking we had some Pho for lunch. We have a little place right by our house and it's so so good! It was perfect for Jack too.

We ended the night with a million things to do to prepare for another work week. I hope you all had a great weekend! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eighteen Months.

How, how, HOW is my baby one and a half??? Ha! I guess I will write that every month right? I was just telling Jack yesterday how time goes by so fast!

Here it goes.

Monkey, you are growing up way too fast for your own good! I keep saying this but you amaze us every month more and more! We are loving this stage!

You got sick with Hand, Foot and Mouth. You had a fever and when it finally broke, you got a really ugly rash on your body. We were so worried about you! Thank God you're such a strong little boy and you were acting like nothing. You were your normal self!

Watching you be so independent and knowing exactly what you want and need is awesome to watch. You're learning other signs and you are talking so so much. You repeat everything we say! Not always a good thing but we are minding our language a lot more these days.

Bananas are still your favorite and watermelon is a very close second. You're still a pretty good eater and will occasionally reject something until you try it. It's funny! But you do eat pretty much everything in your path.

Being outdoors is your favorite thing in the world and you could stay out all day. You know you're not supposed to go on the street and when you're near it I tell you not to and you listen! Only thing you listen to ha! You don't like it when we bring you inside because sometimes it is too hot to have you out there. You ask for water right away though, a sign that it really is hot outside and we aren't lying to you. :)

Your favorite words are: cracker "craka", doggy "doddy" (you call every animal doggy), dada, teeth "tee", shoes "doos", cheese "teese", plus all the other ones you already have been saying and all of the talking you do.

You're still so friendly with everyone around you. Sometimes it takes you a bit to warm up to people but after that you're playing and talking with them. A good thing, but we need to teach you that this isn't always the case.

Coloring and reading books is your thing right now. We put some paper on your table and a container with crayons and stickers and you will sit there and color and sticker everything. I find random stickers everywhere! When you want us to read a book, you'll go and get it and give to us to read. When we are done, you want us to read a hundred times more and you grunt if we say no. You get so excited and you recognize the words in the books. One of your favorites right now is Five Little Pumpkins although we are nowhere near Halloween. I think it will be your favorite holiday like daddy's. Once I get to the page where it says "...and out went the light..." you know to cover your eyes. I also tickle you every time there's a spider on the page and you point to it knowing a tickle is coming up! I love it! You do it every single time.

You got your first haircut, well trim, to cut off your little back curl :( I was a little sad but it needed to be done! the back of your little head was getting a little crazy. You did so good! You sat there with me and didn't even flinch. I'm so proud of you!

You're throwing tantrums but nothing we can't deal with. Yeah sometimes we want to pull our hair out but then you do something to make us laugh. You're the biggest clown! You make faces and walk funny when you want us to forget why we got mad at you. You are a very stubborn kid, something you got from both of us! We will call it Strong Minded. ;)

The only thing we need to figure out is your hitting. You will come up to us and hit us for no reason! You'll be perfectly fine and we will ask you for a kiss and we get a slap to the face instead. Well that and throwing food on the floor. We are also working on time-outs and you're hating them but they are necessary, you fight them until you give up and sit there until we come and get you. We have a ways to go with it but we will work this out young man!

We love you more and more everyday!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Hummus!

First and foremost, thank you all so so much for the advice and sweet comments on Instagram on Elliot's rash and Facebook, blog and Instagram comments and encouragement on my Paci Battles post. I'll say it again, this is why I love this community! I love you all!

Elliot's rash is still pretty bad and we do think it is Roseola. We will see the doctor again on Wednesday and hopefully we get our questions answered. We spent the entire weekend indoors since the doc advised to keep Elliot away from other children, family and the outdoors so going out for breakfast, or anything else for that matter, wasn't an option.

Every time I make hummus, Jack and I go back to SATC2 when Samantha's menopause meds are confiscated at the airport when they get to Abu Dhabi and she eats hummus the entire time because she says it's her meds' replacement. So funny! Then Charlotte asks what she's eating when they're having breakfast and she says "It's hummus!" Hence my post title. :)

When my mom makes it, she cooks the garbanzo beans in her pressure cooker from scratch because the taste is just better but we never have time or the patience for that so for this recipe we will use canned. I usually grab a couple of canned garbanzo beans from the Middle Eastern store but we found that Goya's are really good as well as the Middle Eastern store is all the way on the other side of town. ;)

You will need-

1 can of garbanzo beans
2 cloves of garlic
1 lime
2 tbsp Tahini (If you've never had it, it's a paste made from sesame seeds and olive oil)
A pinch of cumin
Salt to taste

This is the easiest hummus recipe and the original! You won't be able to beat the taste with the store bought one. Heat up the garbanzo beans in a pot along with the garlic cloves. When they start boiling, turn it off and put in blender along with all of the liquid (you need it). Add the juice of the lime, the Tahini, cumin and salt. Blend everything until it has a smooth consistency, sometimes it gets thick and the blender stops stirring it. That's when you know you got the perfect consistency! If it's a little too liquid don't worry, once your pour it on a plate it thickens after it cools down.

I add a couple of garbanzos on the top, a little cilantro and olive oil. This is how my dad made it since I was a little girl and I've tried store bought and they don't come close to the taste of this one. You can also add a little more lime if you like it that way or squeeze a little on top after you spread it on the plate. Eat it with pita bread or pita chips! It's the perfect party dip and even more perfect breakfast!

We eat our hummus accompanied with a couple of eggs and lots of fresh veggies!

Enjoy and have a great Monday! :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Paci Battles.

I am one of those mamas that still gives her year and a half old toddler a paci. We get the looks. I know, Jack and I have heard it a million times before, trust me- take away that paci! or he's too old for it!. Well, you see, we already fully understand and know this. We do.

The thing is, and I'll sound like a bad mama for saying this, right now it is our savior. Jack and I joke that sometimes, sadly maybe, it is our sanity. Or it keeps us from losing our shit after a long and stressful day at work. I'm being honest here so don't judge! :) When you become a mama, nobody tells you not to give your baby the pacifier because it will be hard as shit to take it away later on. You know that this might happen but in the back of your mind you think, I'm sure it's not that hard. Well it is friends. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

When Elliot was born, he was in the NICU for a week, you can read that story here. Once released, he was sent home with a couple of those green soothing pacifiers. A couple were brand new and one that was with him in the NICU. We went home and of course started using them. Elliot rarely got fussy and I can thankfully say that I can count the times when he would cry. He was such a good baby and we didn't really need them that much. Entirely different story now. :)

When we lost a couple, I ran to Target to get a couple more thinking there's no way we would lose them. No way.

He basically grew up with it and that was our biggest mistake, BUT, as he got a little older, one thing we did do was that we would only give it to him during nap time and at night. It worked. No paci during the day. After he turned one, all hell broke loose and shit went downhill. If he cried, we gave it to him, outside of nap time or sleep time. I cringe for doing this. Of course he became super attached to it and now we cannot even mention the word paci because he starts giggling and immediately takes our hand and takes us where he knows we put them after we wash them. If we mention it and refuse to give it to him, Toddler Tantrum City erupts. Then he keeps pointing at it, babbles firmly (probably cusses at us) and demands it. Smart kid. So now we spell it. ;)

I sometimes feel that he's not saying enough words or talking as much as he should be because of it, and we are back to trying to not let him have it during the day but it's tough! He begs for it. He cries for it, he can't go to sleep without it and I feel so bad because it was our fault! Then there was a major change in his life, we had to enroll him in a new daycare because his closed unexpectedly. Then, the brilliant mama that I am decided to wean him off of it, or try to, while going through this change. GREAT idea. He was so mad at us for doing that to him! So, naturally, we gave in and we are back to square one. Even when I get him out of the bath to dress him up he's already looking for it.

It's crazy how you learn so much in one year and swear that things will be different with your second child now that you know so many things about motherhood! Ha!

Are you guys going through this? Have you gone through it? How did you do it? I've heard/read that cutting the tip of the paci helps and that might be our next step once he adjusts to his new daycare. I know that kids adjust quicker than we do as adults to mostly everything, but I want to do this without having to "let him cry it out". Never been a fan of that option so hopefully we can find a way to do it so that he gives it up on his own!

We are down to one and we refuse to buy more. You better believe we are holding on to it for dear life!

For now, Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chicken & Couscous Recipe.

Here it is friends! The recipe for the dish I posted on my Instagram (@shadiabrown) a few days ago. This takes about twenty to thirty minutes to make, a complete win in my book.

I don't think Jack was so sure at first when I showed him the recipe and told him that's what we were going to have for dinner one of the week nights. I've mentioned before that we do all of the meal planning and shopping on Sundays to make it easier on ourselves during the week. Sometimes we would forget what we were making and so now after we are done grocery shopping, I stick the meal plan to the fridge for reference. I don't know if it's because we are always so tired but we would end up making a different dish and using ingredients from all meals planned and we would end up with having nothing to make on one of the days. Eating out is so expensive and it just gets so old, besides the fact that there are very few healthy options out there.

I have a few cook books with lots of healthy recipes that I've been collecting over the last couple of years and I go through them to find new meal ideas for the week. This is one of them.

I first eat with my eyes (who doesn't) and flip through the pages until I find something that looks good. Then I look at the ingredients and make sure my grocery store carries that stuff and if it will take me more than thirty minutes to prepare. I usually go for the books that have quick, easy, delicious and healthy meals which is no easy task but I find them!

Here's the recipe for 4 servings, two for dinner, two for lunch. ;)

1-2 saffron strands
1 3/4oz (50g), dry weight, couscous
2 tsp golden raisins
1/2 cup boiling hot chicken or vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock)

For the dressing
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp olive oil

Approximately 2 chicken breasts cut into strips (I used a rotisserie chicken and it saved me an insanely amount of time)
1/4 cup corn kernels
1 tsp pine nuts
about 15 cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths or halves
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish

1. Put the saffron, couscous, and golden raisins in a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot stock. Stir once and let it sit for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
3. Brown the chicken strips on all sides in a preheated nonstick skillet over high heat for about 4 minutes, or if you're doing it my way, pull apart the entire rotisserie chicken into strips and heat up in skillet. :)
4. Reduce heat to medium, add corn and pine nuts and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. A little trick- roast the pine nuts first for a couple of minutes before adding the to the chicken. The recipe tells otherwise but they are so good roasted!
5. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add to the skilled with the tomatoes, dressing and scallions. Heat for 1 minute, or until warmed through, stirring gently.
6. Spoon onto a plate, then top with the chicken and garnish with cilantro.
Don't stir this dish too much, kind of fold it over.

I promise this is so quick and so good!

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Fourth.

Gosh I've been MIA for a while. It's been a very stressful, tough couple of weeks and honestly my desire to write was nowhere to be found between stress and lots of tears. Aside from the fact that our weekends and weekdays have been uneventful as far as anything exciting goes but that's exactly what we needed.

Now all is great and I am feeling good! Today is the first day that stress and anxiety aren't taking over my life. What a horrible feeling!

Our 4th of July was celebrated on Saturday instead of Friday since my mom worked on Friday and we really wanted to have the family together. It's been a while since we all got together and this was the perfect excuse to do so.

Friday morning started with Starbucks breakfast and green tea along with a trip to the park. We needed to do this bright and early to enjoy the nice weather before we were scorched by the heat. Elliot loves looking at the birds, pointing and saying "bed". So cute. Oddly enough, later that day it rained.

I don't think he was fully awake yet. :)

After a long day of fun, this little one was done for the night at seven-thirty. We weren't complaining! As much as we love him, having some alone time is great. We were initially going to attend a party my boss was having but we realized we had so much to do around the house in preparation for Saturday. We needed to clean the front yard, mow the lawn and clean the house so we did that instead. After (and during) we enjoyed a couple of beers and we talked and hung out. I love that quality time with Jack.

Saturday was party day! We were really looking forward to it. I'll admit I raided the dollar section at Target and went all out on red, white and blue and I'm not sorry! We had hot dogs, burgers, pasta salad and the most delicious queso made by my mom. Our drink station was stocked with margaritas, beer and whisky. It was perfect and so relaxing. We were joined by my two cousins who recently moved back to Texas from Georgia and we loved having everyone!

He loved it too! So much that he went to bed at nine-thirty and woke up at seven-thirty!

Sunday was a we-are-not-cooking-eat-whatever-we-want day and it was the best. We didn't mind having the rest of the leftovers at all! So today it's back to running for me and my body that gained a good amount of weight this weekend. 

It also rained really hard and after it slowed down a bit, we all went outside barefoot and walked in the rain. Elliot loved it and didn't want to go back inside. He put his feet in the water puddles and it totally took me back to my kid years when my sister and I used to do that. Such good times!

Holidays are such great excuses for family time and I hope everyone had a great one! It's back to life, back to blogging/reality for me. Have a great Monday!
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