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Showing posts from 2017

At the Library - Favorite CookBooks of 2017

I love cookbooks.
Ask my husband, and he will tell you he is always laughing at me because I flip through them constantly.  I just love food - the smells, the tastes, the comfort it creates... it all just warms my heart deeply.  I love having people in my home for a meal.  I love being in other people's homes for a meal.  Ambiance around a dinner table cannot be replaced.
While I have acquired quite a few cookbooks over the past few years, these are the three I have used most in 2017.  Bill and I have decided to do meatless meals a few days a week and two of these books are vegetable centric (it also helps us get creative with what is coming out of the garden at any given time).

Heidi really brings it home with this travel inspired book - I feel like I can bring each location into my kitchen.  She does a great job of limiting recipes to not too many ingredients and dang it her food is so naturally pretty.  It just feels simple and elegant and attainable.  
My favorite recipes?  T…

Reagan's First Christmas

Just thought I would share some pictures from our first holiday season with our little lady :)   She is such a sweetheart and we are truly blessed to call her ours.













From Christmas Stress to Holiday Bliss

Despite my best efforts, Christmas has always been a time that brought some stress and anxiety into my life.  I want to get people the perfect presents that cost an amount in my mind that is acceptable (don't be cheap Ryan!), bring only homemade picture perfect food to parties (because everyone is documenting everything these days), make sure my house is always perfectly presentable, host tons of people, be presentable always and never miss a beat.  This year, I gave up the need to be perfect, and found so much freedom.
I did bring some homemade food to parties (because we like to cook), I did try to keep my house clean (for my own sanity), I did buy some gifts for people that they will really love (and I removed the monetary obligations I placed on myself for those gifts), we did host a handful of people (and had really quality time with them) and I embraced wearing sweat pants and cozying up to Christmas movies with my little family instead of running around and even said no to…

In the Kitchen - Pumpkin Chili

It's finally fall in Southern California and one of the first recipes I make every time the weather cools down is this pumpkin chili adapted from a Trader Joe's recipe linked below.  We change up the ingredients to what we consider to be the healthier versions (grass fed beef and coconut sugar are the main two, but also making sure to buy organic veggies is important to us), and the result is always a creamy delicious fall meal.
We top this with some locally produced Greek Yogurt and a handful of fresh cilantro.  
Guys... seriously... try this one!   Its delicious and warming and so. frickin. easy.
Ingredients
3 lbs. grass fed ground beef 1 onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 can organic pumpkin 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1 jar chipotle salsa 1 container tomato & roasted red pepper soup (4 cups) 2 cans pinto beans, drained 1 teaspoon coconut sugar 1 teaspoon cumin
Directions
In a large skillet, sauté onions and bell peppers in oli…

In the Garden - My Life as a Beginner Gardener

As I launch this new platform (Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood!) I want to give you insight into lots of different areas of my life, one of which would be our garden and all that it is.
I think the best way to learn to garden is to learn all you can through experts (books, videos, articles, etc...) then execute.  I had heard through many sources how important it is to trim off dead branches/leaves from plants in order to promote new growth, but I never actually did this.  I figured that the dead stuff would fall off on its own.  My husband had been doing his own research and found that in order to condition our soil in the backyard we needed ground cover, ideally mulch, for water retention and to bring nutrients back to the soil.  He covered our backyard (in a rather comical fashion) with mulch and we began to see it start to break down pretty quickly.  Our yard was so dry previously, but we also know the mulch takes time to condition the soil.  Patience is a virtue we are learning.

Other Neighborhoods - A B&B Night Together as a Family of 3

In between our time in New Jersey and Baltimore; Bill, Reagan and I took a night as a family of three and stayed at a B&B near Lancaster, PA.  Our time there was so sweet.  We bottlefed baby cows, checked out the massive milking operation, went through the chicken coop, got a tour from one of the dozens of kittens, greeted the goats and miniature horse and snuggled in our king sized bed and watched our favorite farming you tube show.












We were the only guests that night and didn't see anyone until we woke up in the morning for breakfast.  We got to enjoy the flurry of excitement that a working dairy farm holds.  Family and staff ate and lingered over coffee.  Cheesy potatoes, peach cobbler, fruit, bread, hot cocoa, super soft scrambled eggs, and so much laughter were being passed around.  People came and went discussing the plan for the day.  Rain softly fell outside.  Reagan happily took it all in.  The food pictured doesn't look like much, but everything was absolutely de…

Other Neighborhoods - Our First Family Vacation

Before maternity leave wrapped up and I headed back to work, Bill and I went on our first family vacation.  We flew into Newark, New Jersey and headed to the Jersey shore where Bill's Aunt and Uncle have an incredible home in Ocean Grove.  I cannot believe this was my first visit to this wonderful little beach town.  A perfect mixture of bohemian and Victorian with a huge flea market to boot!  We spent a few days relaxing and then headed to their home inland soaking up the culture and hitting our favorite little cider stand right down the corner from their home.

After our time with Bill's side of the family we took a drive down to Baltimore for my Uncle Rob's wedding and to introduce Reagan to many more family members who had not yet met her.  The blissful reunion and introductions will be something I will not soon forget.  She met aunts and uncles and cousins, my best friend and her great grandmother.  We went to our favorite ice cream place, got time with precious frien…

Special Newborn Moments Captured

When Bill and I found out we were having a baby back in September 2016, we opted to not find out the gender, and that ended up being a blissful surprise on the day of!  Our sweet baby daughter was born June 26, 2017 @ 5:02am weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long.  To be honest, labor and delivery was the most wild experience of my life.  I did not know what my body was capable of until that day.  I still cannot believe this tiny person grew inside of me and then was pushed out of me... yes, a little graphic, but seriously the most incredible thing I have been a part of.   The process is long, but the reward is the sweetest.
These pictures are my favorite from her first few weeks of life.  What an incredible honor to be able to be at home with her while she discovered the world and learned about life and what it holds.













To my sweet daughter:
Reagan Marie Rogers, you have changed my world forever.  What can I say to encompass my feelings?  I love you to my deepest …

A Penny for Your Thoughts: On Wrapping Up Maternity Leave

I have been on maternity leave for 3 months now, and these have been some of the greatest months of my life.  I truly and without a doubt cannot imagine my life without this little person and that honestly blows my mind.  I love her with every fiber of my being and wish I could just sit and stare at her every day of my life.  I will do a little back tracking and tell you more about life thus far, share lots of pictures and tell my birth story when time permits.  
When I think about the emotional, physical and mental journey the last few months have been, I am overwhelmed.  I am completely changed and feel like it's impossible to really explain becoming a parent.  It's incredible and wonderful and exhausting and exhilarating.  I just feel so fortunate (because blessed somehow is played out in today's culture) to get to call this sweet person my daughter.  I want for nothing and constantly remind myself that this is my life and I really am living it.  I spend so much time j…

Nursery Inspiration and Thoughts From an Almost Parent

As most of you know, Bill and I are expecting a little one at the end of this month, and I wanted to share how our gender neutral nursery turned out, since we don’t find out the gender until the big day!
I read a lot about making the space inspiring for you, since the baby has not developed their own likes and dislikes up front.  Make it somewhere you can stare at the walls and dream for them.  Make it a place you are excited about spending time in and, most importantly, get a very comfortable chair.  We made sure to do all of these things, and the space turned into something we both love.  I go in their daily dreaming about how it will begin to shape our little one into an animal, book and travel lover.  I can’t wait to meet them and see them begin to dream big dreams of seeing the world.


The gallery wall was inspired by many adventures Bill and I have been on together – Thailand, Hawaii, Italy, Seattle and New England all have pieces represented.  In addition, I snuck in some produ…

Words of Affirmation and Parties in the Sunshine

Showers are such a special celebration.  All anticipation and excitement.  Lots of advice and gifts.  I really soaked up our baby showers that happened a few months ago and tried to remember these are the moments you hold dear.  When all your people rally around you in support and encouragement.  When you know life is about to change in ways you cannot even fathom.
We held a large shower at our home on a Saturday in April.  Tons of family and friends came through our house and enjoyed tacos and margaritas and brought so many gifts for baby my eyes welled up with tears multiple times.  Everywhere I turned people were laughing and chatting.  Neighbors mixed with family.  Friends from different circles collided.  It was so amazing to see so much bonding taking place in our home.  People offered to host the shower, but I selfishly wanted the memory where we live, because now when I look into our backyard, I think of our baby shower, and my 30th birthday party, Faith and Joshes 25th birth…