Sunday, September 21, 2014

A farm in Bahama

This weekend we went to Bahama (a farm town just outside of Durham) for a department party for Duke Radiology. 

The party was at one of the Attending's houses. He lives on a 35 acre farm! He and his family have cows, chickens, horses, goats, ponds for fishing, beautiful gardens, a basketball court, a volleyball net, a tractor for hay rides, a swimming pool, an adorable little cabin (in addition to their big beautiful home) and much more!

We had a great time exploring the property, feeding the horses, taking a hay ride and eating good old southern barbecue. 

Too bad Fernando's fellowship is only one year because we would love to join in on this annual event next year too. ;) 

My memo to wear blue and white got lost in the mail. 

A little conversation from this moment to show how well she knows her animals and how much we frequent a certain chicken establishment: 

Rachel: Lucia, what are those?
Lucia: Uhh horsies
Rachel: No... Lucia, what are those?
Lucia: Duckies! 
Rachel: No. What are those??
Lucia: Chicken nuggets!

At the end of our hay ride we got to watch them feed the cows! 

When we were checking out the cows on foot (before we took our hayride) we noticed that every time the tractor came by the cows started mooing like crazy. We didn't know why at the time. Then when we saw them feed the cows from the tractor we realized that the cows thought they might be getting fed every time the tractor came by! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fernando completes his 32nd year of life +gets a champagne cake

We went to Firebirds for dinner for Fernando's birthday. We ordered a bottle of wine and when the server brought out the wine glasses for everyone they were all engraved with an FB, Fernando's initials. And since it was his birthday- we all got a kick out of that. 

After dinner we headed back to our house to put the girls to bed and eat dessert... 

I couldn't pick just one picture so you get a bunch! 

I have made very few cakes from scratch in my life and of the ones I have made I didn't decorate them. So pretty much this was my first cake ever and with the help of my (much more experienced) mother-in-law, I don't think it turned out half bad! 

I made THIS champagne cake (minus the raspberry filling since I didn't have the ingredients) with THIS buttercream frosting. Both of the blogs I linked to make my cake look like a 5 year old made it... so don't click on them. 

I didn't have/didn't feel like lighting 32 candles so we did this. It worked and we enjoyed the cake. Massive oversight on my part to not have champagne to drink with the champagne cake. Oh well, next time! 

Fernando's birthday gifts included but were not limited to: this book, a button down plaid shirt, some Sperry Top-siders, and a bottle of wine.

Despite having to work all day, i'd say he had a good birthday! Praise God for another year of life. We are all so blessed to have him in ours! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy Tomato Soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes. It is easy, simple and delicious! I love making it with grilled cheese on the side. Talk about comfort food!
Since this recipe uses canned tomatoes as opposed to fresh tomatoes I guess it's not technically totally homemade. 

Easy Tomato Soup 
(Recipe slightly adapted from Food Doodles)
Serves 4


2 tbsp butter 
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 32oz can tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
black pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup whole milk 


1. In a medium sized pot melt better over medium heat and add onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, baking soda, parsley, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. 

3. Simmer for about 10 minutes. 

4. Remove bay leaves, take the soup off the heat and blend with an immersion blender. (or wait until the soup has cooled a bit and carefully poor it into the blender and blend the soup.)

5. Stir in the honey and fresh basil. Check for seasonings (I usually add extra basil!) and add more salt if necessary. Then add the milk

6. Serve warm with a grilled cheese!

Topping ideas: toasted slivered almonds, toasted pecans, goat cheese, honey goat cheese, parmesan cheese, croutons, fresh mozzarella, and/or basil leaves. My favorite is definitely honey goat cheese with toasted slivered almonds and/or dipping a grilled cheese in it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

our mug tradition

Alternate title for this post: How being locked out of the house for 60 seconds with my babies looking at me through the glass door was the longest 60 seconds of my life. I opted for the shorter one. 

That story real quick: 
I had to step outside to snap the pictures of these mugs which of course could have been done when both girls were napping, but no! I just had to take them rightthen. So I took all the mugs outside and started snapping away quickly. The girls were both watching from the glass door to our back deck. And then I went to come inside and it was locked! 
Before that Lucia had never touched any locks on our doors so I had no reason to think she would now. I honestly didn't even know she could reach it! Well she locked me out and all I had on me was a camera and some mugs. No phone and no keys! 
I stood there trying to explain to Lucia how to unlock the door! She locked it so surely she could unlock it, I thought. However, the first many times she tried, she couldn't get it. She kept saying "mama, you do it!" and "help me mama!" 
After about a minute or two (which seemed like an eternity) she FINALLY unlocked the door! If Regina had been in her exersaucer where she is contained I wouldn't have been as worried. However instead, Regina had the little plastic thing at the end of the string for the blinds in her mouth, which if it came off would be a chocking hazard! I was standing there (basically in tears after thinking Lucia wasn't going to be able to unlock it!) on the other size of the door while my girls were (unsafely) locked inside! 
I don't have any neighbors with a house key and even if I did since I didn't have my phone on me what would I have done?! Left them alone for a few minutes while running over to a neighbors house to see if they were home?? 
It could have been MUCH MUCH worse. Lucia was able to unlock the door fairly quickly and all was well. However, like I said at the time it felt like forever!
I really hope that never happens again, lesson learned! 

Wow! Short story, real long! Sorry about that. 

Moving right along...

So we have this tradition that we started on our honeymoon where we get a mug from the places we travel. We love coffee and figured it would be a fun way to remember the specific trips every time we drink out of each mug. 

We haven't traveled a TON since we've been married but it seems we have acquired a fair number of mugs thus far. We might have to stop this tradition at some point though since we plan to do a lot of traveling in the future and we won't have enough room for all the mugs! We would need a cabinet or two just devoted to mugs to fit them all! 

The only other problem with this tradition is that we can't always find a mug that we like so we have to settle for one that's not that cute/interesting. Also none of them really go with each other as far as style, they are all over the map (pun intended). 

So without further ado, I give you our mugs and links to the trips they came from: 

 This one will have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons, it's from our honeymoon in Hawaii! Post HERE. (just looked back at that post- wow! not sure why I thought those black borders were a good idea?)  
 Three weeks after we got married we took a trip to Guatemala for Fernando's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary! It was a great trip and so nice to meet those family members that couldn't make it to our wedding. Post HERE
 Our first trip road trip together was to New York! Fernando had a week off right around his birthday and I had never been anywhere on the East Coast (besides NC, of course) at the point so road trip to NY it was! Post HERE. It's crazy! Matt that we visited on that trip who was dating Renee at the time has since been engaged, gotten married and had a baby! Time flies!  
 The next month we went to South Carolina and fell in love with Charleston! Post HERE
 December of our first year of marriage we went with Fernando's parents to Ashville, NC to see the town and tour the Biltmore. (a bit about that trip in THIS post.)
 For Lucia's first international trip we went to Costa Rica! This was my first time there and it definitely lived up to the hype!  Post HERE
 In the fall of 2012 we went to Virginia with Fernando's parents for his birthday. Virginia is beautiful in the fall! Post HERE. 
 In the spring of 2013 we made another trip to Virginia, but this time to Colonial Williamsburg. There was a REALLY cool mug I wanted but it was too expensive so we settled for this one. See that trip HERE
 Even though this was our second trip to Greenville we forgot to get a mug on our first trip so we got this one this time. Post HERE
 Another from our road trip- first time in Alabama for all four of us! Post HERE
One last one from our road trip- Rock City! Post HERE

Sunday, September 07, 2014


August was such a great month despite Fernando having his first two week call of Fellowship during the first two weeks of August. The call weeks were both harder and easier than we thought they were going to be. Thankfully that one is over and we "only" have 5 left! 
 At the mall playing in the fountain. I was having a mild heart attack while taking the picture. 
The most adorable little lemonade stand put on by the neighbor boys. Lucia wasn't part of it but she plopped herself down in the chair to sit and drink her lemonade. She loves those boys and they are so sweet with her! 

DATE NIGHT at VESPA in Chapel Hill  
Fernando's parents have been babysitting on a regular basis every thursday night for awhile now. Date nights have been extra special recently since we've been taking FULL advantage of the nice summer nights and some gift cards we had been saving for a rainy day, or a date night as it were.  

This particular date was at Vespa, which is one of our favorite restaurants in the triangle. We love it for many reasons but one of which is the awesome owner. He is so nice and every time he sees us come in he brings over a complimentary appetizer and then after dinner- he brings over dessert and shots of moscato. We've had many different appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks there over the years and we have never been disappointed.

The girls watching their papa mow the lawn
This has always been Lucia's favorite thing to do! Now Regina can stand up and join her. It keeps them entertained for at least an hour. 
Homemade pineapple empanadas made and brought over by Nonna. 
I had to act like she only brought over a few so Fernando didn't realize that I actually ate the majority of them. ;)

Fridays on the Front porch
Live blue grass band, The Carolina Inn hotel front porch/lawn, beer, babies and a summer friday night. It doesn't get much more southern (or better) than that! 
Breakfast on a saturday morning- chick-fil-a! Lucia's favorite. and ours!

Trying on this awesome fur vest at Target! 

It's equal parts ridiculous and adorable. And when it's on sale I'm buying her one, and maybe one for Regina too. 

And because Target just so happens to be in the same shopping center as my favorite specialty donut shop, this sometimes happens... 

Want to see a massive picture of a delicious donut you didn't get to enjoy? I thought so. 
Cake donut with lime glaze and toasted coconut. 

Love her sweet eyes!

Making progress on this room by organizing the bookshelves
I still have a lot of work to do (I've already changed it some since I took this picture) but I'm trying to embrace The Nesting Place's motto- It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!   
The girls both hitting their first piñatas! 
Lucia being silly and getting in her sister's exersaucer when I wasn't looking!
Sharing a snack size mcflurry with this sweet girl. 

August was great! Thank God we still have at least one more month of summer weather here in NC. I'm not quite ready for Fall yet! 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

helpful Lucia // 2

Helpful big sister has turned into just a helpful little girl in general. She wants to help with EVERYTHING. 

The great thing is that she actually IS helpful! For the most part, I don't feel like it takes me longer when she's helping. I actually feel like I can get more done when she's helping! 

When she was younger she would just get into everything and set me back with my work by... for example, unfolding the laundry I had just folded. Now she understands more and can find ways to be helpful. 

If this is how helpful she is at 2, I can't wait to see her in the years to come! ;)

The other day she found dry clothes in the dryer and asked if she could get them out. I put the empty laundry basket by the dryer, and she opened the dryer and went to work! 

 There were a few things she couldn't reach so asked to get IN the dryer and get them!  

 Helping feed Regina
This one might not have actually been that helpful. This was just more fun for her to do. But she insisted on helping until her food was all gone.
Every time Lucia sees something that needs to be done that she can do herself, she does it! It is so cute to watch. She saw that Fernando's shoes were at the bottom of the stairs, so she picked them up (without me asking), carried them up the stairs and put them away in our closet. She even put them in the correct spot. 

One Friday (my bathroom cleaning day!) I decided to clean the bathrooms during Regina's first nap as opposed to waiting until both of the girls nap together in the afternoon. 

This was a game changer! If Regina doesn't go down for her second nap or if she only naps for 30 minutes that doesn't give me enough time to get the bathrooms done. 

When I deep clean all 3 bathrooms (including showers) it usually takes me about an hour. And then I need a shower at the end so that's about an hour and a half total. If I wait until the afternoon to do that, many times I don't have enough time to get it all done. 

This time Lucia and I started cleaning the bathrooms as soon as Regina went down for her morning nap. We were able to clean all 3 bathrooms before she woke up and the timing was perfect. 

Lucia helped with every bathroom. I would spray cleaner on the counter or mirror or floor and she would follow behind me and wipe it up. She also helped me clear things off the counter so we could clean and then put them back. 

It was so cute how she wanted to help! I hope she always finds so much joy in helping.