Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Supermom Pizza! Beer Caramelized Onion & Brussels Sprouts Pizza

I posted a picture of this pizza we had for dinner on Instagram and the response I got was hilarious! 


No way!!!!!  I’m not even close……like sooooo far away from that!

This took me less than 30 minutes to make and less than 30 seconds to stuff my face lol

Try this pizza & be supermom for the night :-)Beer Caramelized Onion & Brussels Sprouts PizzaFrom the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
1 tbs butter or bacon fat
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup dark beer, I use Real Ale Brewhouse Brown
1 cup Brussels sprout, shredded
1 tsp EVOO
sea salt
ground pepper
1 large pizza dough, I use a generic store bought thin crust
1 tbs EVOO
1 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

  1. Melt butter/fat in a cast iron skillet on medium heat and add the red onion.  Cook and stir for about 5-7 minutes, and then slowly add the beer.  Cook until the beer has evaporated & the onions are soft.
  2. In a bowl mix the brussels sprouts, EVOO, sea salt & pepper in a bowl.  You might want to mix it with your fingers so that all of the shreds are covered.
  3. Spread 1 tbs of EVOO on the pizza dough, and then start topping with the onions, brussels sprouts mixture, feta, & mozzarella.
  4. Bake in a preheated 415 degree oven on a baking sheet (or directly on the rack or pizza stone if you like crispy, like me) for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top before serving.
  6. Enjoy!DSC_1013DSC_1011-2
xoxo Darby

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Last Bath?

Some one….some mean mean mama (I kid……sort of), suggested that I get and read the children’s book: Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury.  The book has good intentions, it really does, but gosh it is tough!  The book very poetically suggests not just focusing on your child’s firsts but also their lasts.

The last time your child asks you to pick them up.
The last time you play catch with your child.
The last time you have to fight your kid to eat their greens.
The last time you nurse and rock your baby to sleep.
The last time you have to help your child get dressed.
The last time that you have to help your child get shampoo out of their eyes.

You get where I’m going with this.  (Let the water works flow! You have my permission).  You see the thing is, is that you never know when it’s going to be the last time.  It’s just going to happen and one day you will think to yourself:

 “Gee I don’t remember the last time that I picked up my baby.  
He just got so heavy, and I couldn’t lift him. Hmmmm, when was that?”  

We focus so much on the firsts that we forget to focus on the lasts.  Maybe it’s better that way and the way God designed our brains: we get to be excited the first time they achieve something, but don’t have to mourn the lasts because we don’t know that at the time it is the last time.  Maybe it’s better for our mental health?  I don’t know.  When I think about it though it makes me so sad.  I have a terrible time with…. well time.  I hate it.  I never loathed it so much since I had children.  I cry over how fast things change and move on; it’s something I am continually upset about.  Of course I’m joyful about new chapters, and so glad that we get the new chapter (duh!), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that what was will never be again.  I don’t know if I’m the only one that over analyzes children’s books, but seriously this is where this book sent me thinking.  If I wasn’t a mamarazzi before I certainly am now.  A take a bazillion pictures because I’m trying to get the first AND the last of every thing now so that I can always look back with fondness once my babies have left the nest.  Uggggghhhh it’s exhausting sometimes lol  Bath time is so much fun right now and one day I took pictures of bath time because I want to remember it as always this sweet and fun.  I imagine when the teenage years come bath time will be like the next world war, but for now I want to remember just how much fun baths are now with a toddler.
Yep, I’m going to miss these days.
No doubt about it.
xoxo Darby

Friday, June 24, 2016

“We Help!” Fire Station

So that Dutch wouldn’t be scared I taught him that the siren of police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances says “We help! We help! We help!” So whenever we see one that is what he says and he knows that they are going to do good work to help someone.  Aunt Nana, my sister, is dating a beau who is a firefighter, and when they came to Houston we got to go visit a station.  But not just any station, the station that would probably be the one responding to us if we had any emergencies at home.  It was obviously nice to thank those that sacrifice their lives to serve others all the time, but also it was great for Dutch to see the trucks and meet the firefighters.  Of course I could say that he loved it and learned all about the engine.  That would be a lie.  Maybe when he’s older he will take an greater interest into the profession.  To be honest Dutch has never met a stranger so I thought this would be a fun trip.  Silly mama!!!!  He was scared of the loud noise from the garage opening and clung to me with a death grip.  Not to say that I loved potentially scaring my kid, no not at all, but I’m SOOOOOOOO glad that we went.  I’m so glad that he saw the truck and that he got to meet those serving at the station, so that if, heaven forbid, one day we need emergency assistance it wont be as scary as it potentially could be.  With time he did warm up and even got into the truck so it wasn’t a traumatizing experience at all (thank goodness).  In fact, I’m so glad that Aunt Nana’s beau took us so that, yes we had a fun field trip, but also because Dutch had a real lesson on learning to trust emergency first-responders.  I highly recommend you take your kiddos to the fire station in your area so that they get to know those that serve.DSC_0203DSC_0187DSC_0194DSC_0210DSC_0184DSC_0213DSC_0222DSC_0223DSC_0228DSC_0230DSC_0233DSC_0237
Thank you Mr. Beau for taking us to the fire station!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Beignets With Aunt Nana

Y’all probably saw on Instagram earlier this summer that my sister and her beau came to visit us for a week.  Clearly I am super behind on reporting their trip to you.  My posts have been stacking up lately keeping me behind.  I’m working on it folks, I promise!!  Okay, okay, okay, okay, back to today.  So not only were they able to be with us for Dutch’s 2nd birthday but we got to spend the entire week with them.  It was so much fun, I just wish it could have been longer……like 3 months+ longer!  One morning Aunt Nana and Dutch made us beignets……these are his favorite (obvious from the powdered sugar mess hehe).  I think Aunt Nana liked them, she just didn’t wear the beignets for the rest of the day. Ha!DSC_0014DSC_0016DSC_0018DSC_0020DSC_0026
I wish I could start every morning with a sugar rush and family.
Doesn’t that sound awesome??????
xoxo Darby

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Little Confession Time

It’s been a while since my last confessional, and lately several things have just popped into my brain so I’ve got a few things I gotta spill: 

1. Kiddie Spoon Saves The Day- The other day it had been so long since I did the dishes (which was only like 2 days, but with 4 people going through the dishes 2 day seems like a really long time) that I had to stir my reheated first cup of coffee (at 4pm) with one of Dutch’s spoons. 

2. Encouragement- One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of encouragement. Before I go any further, I have to say that I LOVE this gift.  I adore being able to listen to others and then respond in a way that brings others peace, perspective, direction, or prayer.  However, being an encourager can sometimes be draining for me.  Even the encouragers need to be encouraged.  So if you have an encourager in your life that is always there for you, or you are always asking them questions, or always venting to them, make sure that you turn around and feed encouragement to them. 

3. Lazy Cooking- Maybe this follows-up #1 pretty well, but lately I have been picking things to cook based on how many dishes it will take to dirty.  The fewer the better because I clearly don’t have time to do the dishes. I need to be able to stir my coffee. Priorities people! lol 

4. The Grass is Greener- I have noticed lately that several of the physical features my children inherited from me, I loath about myself, but when I see them on my kids my heart swells up and I think they are so cute.  For example, I have some seriously chubby chipmunk cheeks and I just do not like those cheeks of mine.  I always want to look away from my cheeks, but when I see those plump cheeks on my kiddos I can’t stop staring and kissing them. 

5. My Favorite Alarm Clock- At night before bed I try to make sure everything is ready to go in the morning: clothes are laid out, schedule for the next day is set, lunch is packed if Dutch is going to school, you get the drill.  My favorite thing to get ready, like my favorite so much so that I smile while I do the chore, is setting the coffee pot.  Knowing that I will wake up to the kitchen smelling like warm and toasty coffee almost, almost, makes me excited to hurry up and go to bed so that I can get up in the morning. 

6. Please Be Food Poisoning- On Saturday I started having a really weird feeling in my stomach. You know the feeling.  It's just an off feeling.  It could clear up or it could be really ugly.  I skipped dinner and fell asleep on the couch.  When I moved to bed around 11pm I knew something was off but I still couldn't pin point it.  I fell back to sleep in bed as I was running the day through in my brain of what could be making me feel weird.  By 1 am I knew, I KNEW, that I was sick.  For the rest of the night and early morning I was reminded that I was sick.  The entire time I was hugging the comforting cold bathroom floor I was praying "Please Lord let this be food poisoning!"  If you have little kids maybe you pray for food poisoning too?  I just knew that if this was a bug that everyone would get it and I just would rather me be violently ill for a couple days (and on the weekend rather than the week when I'd have to deal with it on my own) than for it to circulate through the entire family.  The Mr. got up on fathers day and took the kids by himself to church, lunch, and to the park while I recovered.  Some father's day I gave him, but he is truly an awesome dad and hubby! I'm feeling better today but still waiting to see if anyone else comes down with the nasties.  Pray that it was food poisoning with me!!!

7. Postpartum Comparison- They say that every pregnancy, labor, kid is different.  And WOAH that has definitely been true for me.  My experiences from Dutch to Ellis have been so different.  Four years to conceive Dutch, 1 day to conceive Ellis.  Labor with Dutch 23 hours.  Labor with Ellis 36 hours.  I thought, and still think, that Dutch was a happy baby, but Ellis is WAY happier.  Dutch’s cry was so teeny, but Ellis, while she rarely cries, sounds like a pterodactyl about to land in your ear.  I imagined there would be differences between kids, but what I didn’t count on was the difference in myself with my postpartum body.  After Dutch I rebounded pretty quickly; I was under my pre-pregnancy weight by 10 weeks postpartum.  This time I was down to my prepreggo weight by 4 weeks after birth, but have gained about 8 lbs since then.  I watch what I eat so that I’m healthy but I don’t diet while I nurse.  My body is very sensitive to calorie intake so I have to make sure that I get enough for lactation.  So of course my body doesn’t look the same after 2 babies really close together but I’m okay with that and will deal with it later.  Something else though is my body temperature.  Even though Dutch was born in the summer my body temperature regulated pretty quickly after his birth.  This is not the case this time.  I am STILL just as hot as I was before Ellis was born.  I am a walking furnace still while I wait for my hormones to regulate.  And speaking of hormones regulating, I can tell that they’re still trying to return to baseline.  After Dutch my postpartum hair loss started at about 4 months but only lasted maybe 3 weeks, and it really wasn’t that much hair loss.  This, what I’m going through right now, is so so so so gross lol As my hormones regulate my hair loss started at about 3.5 months and it still going.  The fact that it is lasting this long isn’t really that terrible.  Annoying? Yes, but that isn’t my real issue.  What totally grosses me out (I gross myself out?!?!?!) is the amount of hair I’m losing.  I certainly hope these hormones get it together soon before I go bald!  Something else that is different is my sense of taste.  After I had Dutch everything about food went back to normal and I could taste everything the same again.  Not this time!  This time it’s as if my taste buds are dulled or numb.  I can’t taste anything; everything is bland.  I need LOTS of spice and flavor to taste anything.  Hopefully things will get back to normal with my postpartum body soon.  Goodness when they say a baby changes everything they sure were right!

Woah that number 7 was a doozy.  That’s probably enough for today lol
What do you need to confess today?  You’ve used more dry shampoo than actual shampoo lately?
I know I’m in good company, so come on spill it y’all! 
xoxo Darby

Friday, June 17, 2016

Creamy Dijon Chicken

Y’all, I’ve cooked this dish so much lately that I can make it in my sleep.  No seriously, I DREAM about this dinner.  This chicken is the perfect balance of light and comfort.  Try it out!!!!
1-2 tbs bacon fat
1 lb chicken- I use tenders, but you can also use thighs
sea salt
ground black pepper
1 onion sliced thinly
3/4 cup white wine- I use sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
3/4 cup chicken stock- If I don’t have stock I use 1 cup water and 1 chicken bouillon
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup cream
2-3 tbs Dijon mustard

1. Melt bacon fat in a skillet (I use cast iron).  Add seasoned (with sea salt & pepper) chicken to the skillet and cook on medium until browned on both sides.  Then transfer chicken to a roasting dish.
2. Add onions, wine, and broth to the same skillet. Scrap down any leftover chicken chunks into the sauce. Simmer and reduce about a half.
3. Add mushrooms & cream and bring to a boil.  When you get a nice sauciness, stir in the Dijon mustard.  Pour the sauce over the chicken in the roasting pan.
4. Put into a preheated oven at 450 degrees and cook for 20 minutes.  Serve with my favorite kale salad
5. Enjoy! :-)
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Ultimate Baby Prep Checklist

The Ultimate Baby Prep ChecklistNope nope nope, I am not expecting right now.  You know that I just had to get that out of the way first.  I’m still enjoying the newborn stage with Ellis & I’m lovin’ every minute!  But I have had a TON of new mamas and mamas-to-be contact me with questions. 
What do I really need?
What do I pack for the hospital for the baby? for me? What does the hospital provide?
How do I get my pets ready?
What goes in my diaper bag?
How do I get my son or daughter ready to meet the new baby?

All of these are legit questions, and questions that crossed my mind as I was getting ready for my baby peeps.  When I was just days before delivering Ellis, I posted how I was getting ready for Baby #2, and I honestly tried to put it all out there and cover everything not just for y’all but for myself too.  As I was talking to a new mama-to-be about the list she said that it was helpful, but overwhelming.  Yes, getting ready for a new baby is definitely overwhelming, so how do I make this even easier?  

How do I get ready to bring babies home? EXACTLY like I get ready for everything else…. LISTS!!!!  I am a list maker and in my other baby prep posts I have listed items with explanations, reasoning, descriptions, etc.  and that might be too much for ya.  So I have simplified and compiled all of my previous posts into a single checklist in the hopes that it is less anxiety provoking for new mamas.  I have put this in a checklist form so that you can literally check the box when it’s done and you can have that instant gratification (read: stress reduction hehe) as you get ready to bring your precious babe home.  My original posts are still posted on the blog (all baby related stuff is here), but this checklist that I’m sharing today is just a quick list…. no explanations and no pictures……. just a list (but I’ve included links in case you want to click over for more of my reasoning and direct links for purchasing).Getting Ready For Baby #2-3
I know that there are a lot of check lists out there for you to use as you prepare.  But this is the one that I made from all of my research and used for both kiddos.  I didn’t feel like I missed out or forgot a single thing and I felt very prepared.  Some may say I packed or prepared too much, and honestly for some I probably did, but for me when I feel prepared then I feel like I have more control and that decreases my anxiety.  So it is my hope that this is a special list you can use as you get ready to bring your beautiful bundle home.  You can print it off and physically put a check next to everything as you get ready :-)
This checklist includes:
What you need for labor
What you need for delivery
What to put in your hospital bags (and how many bags you need)
What to put in your diaper bag
What you need for emergencies in the car
How to prep your pets
What you need for the baby once you get home
What you need for mama postpartum
How to prep big sibling to be a big siblingGetting Ready for Baby #2-2
If after using this checklist you find something awesome that I need to add to the list please tell me!!!
Us mamas have to stick together and help each other out :-) Congratulations mama!!!
xoxo Darby

Monday, June 13, 2016

Toys to Learn

Blame it on my background, but since Dutch was about 8 months old we have had school everyday in the Hawley house from about 10am-11:30am.  It’s not too long but it’s long enough to do some learning.  If we miss our school hour for some reason then we make it up another time during the day (usually after nap time).  The past couple weeks I have shared our favorite books & favorite toys so today I’m sharing our favorite tools toys we use for learning.Toys to Learn For Toddlers

1. Wooden Number Puzzle and Wooden Alphabet Puzzle- There are tons of number & alphabet puzzles out there, but the reason I like these two is because under each letter there is an object that starts with that letter or a number of objects that matches the correct number.  What makes these puzzles extra challenging is that neither of these puzzles use colors to match the number/letter to the correct location.  I like this because I know it’s so easy just to be conditioned to match the colors, and I want Dutch to learn the actual application of both numbers and letters.

2. Wooden Color Caterpillar- We’ve had this cute little caterpillar for a while and we are still having fun with it.  It’s great for learning color identification and matching, but also really helpful for motor skills and coordination.

3. Abacus- I honestly didn’t get this for learning so much as a piece for decoration (hahahahahahaha).  But it has turned out to be a really fun tool for counting the beads and identifying colors.  Also as we dive more into math problems this will come in handy.

4. Wooden Bead Sequencing Set- This is new to our home school hour, so Dutch is really loving this a lot right now and asking to play with it a lot.  In this set there are several wooden cards of patterns that the child has to select the correct bead and stack.  Why we love this one, is because there is color and shape identification, matching, and motor skill building.  I also like that the card gives rules and Dutch has to follow the rules to get it correctly; this is a great character building tool.

5. Wooden Animal Tiles- There are 2 tiles of each animal with the name of each animal written at the bottom.  The wording is helping with letter identification and reading.  What I normally do is put one of each animal tile on a cookie sheet and give the rest to Dutch in a bag.  He draws out a tile from the bag and has to match it on top of the correct animal on my cookie sheet.  When he correctly identifies the animal we talk about what the animal looks like and the sounds it makes.  This is a very fun game with him right now.

6. Jumbo Shape Wooden Puzzle- We are not using this puzzle as much anymore because Dutch has mastered his shapes, but this puzzle was a big deal for a while.  It’s a great puzzle with larger pieces for kiddos who are still developing basic motor skills and learning shapes.  The bold colors are also great for learning colors.

7. Wooden Geometric Stacker- I originally purchased this when I was teaching because it’s a great cognitive psychology analogy for problem solving (Google Tower of Hanoi for more details), but now I use it mostly for teaching Dutch.  We have to match up similar shapes, stack in the correct order from small to big or big to small, put all of the colors together (e.g. all of the yellows or all of the blues, etc.).  I figure that later we can introduce the great Tower of Hanoi to him.

8. Wooden Counting Kit- At first this one seems a bit advanced for Dutch, and some parts of it is (e.g. math equations), but some of it we are using already.  We can easily identify colors, match different colored sticks together, and identify numbers.  What we’re doing for math right now is having piles of different amounts of sticks and counting them.  For example, “We counted 3 green sticks and 4 red sticks, so that means we have 7 sticks”.  You get the idea; basic math and laying a foundation for bigger math problems later.

These are our favorite home school tools :-)
  I recently ordered several different batches of flash cards for Dutch so we’re using those right now.  But what other things are you using that you think we could use and have fun learning with?????
xoxo Darby

Friday, June 10, 2016

Big Brother & Little Sister

A matching outfit?
A personalized matching outfit??
Sweet babies in personalized matching outfits???
MY sweet babies in personalized matching outfits????
Oh gosh I’m in trouble.
Yep, biiiiiiig trouble lol
I am soooooo smitten!DSC_0284
xoxo Darby
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