Crispy Chicken Nuggets

It has been so long since I posted a recipe! I have a few that I want to share with you all, but when I made these for dinner last night I knew this was the winner I had to share first.

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Don’t these look yummy?! One of my favorite dinners is breaded chicken cutlets, but when I was cooking last night I decided to make things a little more bite-sized which made them a lot more delicious. Each nugget was so crispy and packed with flavor…oh my goodness I’m practically drooling right now just thinking about them. Naturally, we had no left overs. I should have made more. I want them right now!

What You Need:
Oil, for frying (choose whatever kind you’d like)
2 chicken breasts (or the equivalent amount of chicken breast tenderloins)
2 eggs
A splash of milk
Italian style breadcrumbs
Panko
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

The How To:
1. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a pan over medium to medium high heat. I usually start this after I’ve breaded at least half of the chicken because otherwise it always takes me too long and my oil is crazy hot by the time I start frying. No one likes being splattered by flaming hot oil, you know?
2. Cut your chicken into chunks. I made sure to filet the chicken breasts first just to make the pieces all roughly the same size.
3. Scramble the two eggs and the splash of milk to make an egg wash. If you are allergic to eggs or egg intolerant you can use some oil or some buttermilk to do this step instead. Just be aware the coating may not stick as well.
4. Create your breadcrumb mixture by mixing the breadcrumbs, panko, parmesan, and salt and pepper if you feel so inclined. It really doesn’t need it, but some people love their salt and pepper. Who am I to take that away from you? Go for it, friend.
(Also, notice that I don’t have specific measurements for these things? I have never in my life measured this out. Just eyeball it.)
5. Dredge the chicken chunks in the egg mixture first, and then generously coat them with the breadcrumbs.
6. Drop them piece by piece into the hot oil, and fry them until they are golden brown and oh so crunchy. When finished, let them drain on a paper towel so the excess oil is removed.
7. Enjoy your chicken nuggets! You can pair them with the delicious dipping sauce of your choice, or you can opt for a slightly healthier (but still just as delicious!) option and pair them with applesauce. So yummy!

Chicken Nuggets close up

Dinner plate

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we did. Between two grown ups and a one year old, there wasn’t a crumb left!

Linking up with Delicious Dish TuesdayTuesday’s Table, and Hot Momma’s Kitchen!

High Five for Friday!

Oh man oh man, Friday again already? Where did the week go? Do you guys think I’ll ever get the hang of taking care of everything going on in my life and blogging consistently? Haha, I probably wont. Thanks for sticking with me anyway!

As usual, it’s a busy morning. I have to leave for work in 15 minutes, so…let’s do this!

1. Brinton’s grandparents left this week after a two week vacation. We did SO MUCH stuff while they were here! It was busy, busy, busy. I always love when people come visit because we end up actually getting out of the house every day and doing fun things, but I’m kind of glad to be back to our more relaxed schedule. I need my slow days, y’all.

2. I have been experimenting this week with chocolate avocado mousse. I tried a recipe that I liked, but just wasn’t quite right so I’m not ready to share it yet. When I finally perfect it I’ll be sure to post it here!

3. Evan took steps on Sunday! I have an adorable video which I have not yet uploaded (although as I’m typing this I told my mom I would do it Wednesday night…oops…) and I am so excited for him. It’s adorable, because now when he stands on his own and finds his balance, he laughs so hard because he’s so excited and surprised that he can do it! I love it. He warms my heart.

4. I had a horrible-mom day this week on Wednesday. Evan had woken up at 5am, barely took a morning nap, and then wouldn’t nap all day. I was so frustrated with him all day and I had absolutely no patience and by the end of the day I just felt horrible. I cried for like half the evening because I felt so bad. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is only one year old. Any other moms out there know what I mean?

5. Evan is 13 months today! I decided that over his second year I’ll do my Evan-updates at 15 months, 18 months, 21 months, and two years. It’s just too much work to keep it up every month! Haha, plus he no longer stays still for pictures anymore. Wiggle worm baby!

Okay, I just realized I have no pictures for any of these highlights, so enjoy some pictures of my adorable boy actually cuddling with me, his first train ride, and his first ice cream cone, and I promise next week I’ll be more prepared. Ha!

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Oh, and I know in my last post I said I would post a recipe next. I have one ready! Just didn’t have time to blog. It’s coming!

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, Friday Finds, and Oh Hey Friday!

High Five for Friday!

Hey Friday! It’s been a while! I’ve missed celebrating the weekend with you all. The family and I are actually driving up to the north shore right now, so this will be a reasonably short post because I’m doing it from my phone. I just couldn’t go another week missing high five for Friday though!

Let’s jump in!

(Well, I was writing this from my phone this morning…and then I lost cell reception…so now it’s tonight. Oh well.)

1. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I made the change to a windows phone. I can’t say I’m completely sold on it (I love android a bit too much I think to ever really make a permanent switch to something different), but I can say that I am in love with the camera on this thing. I rarely need to use a filter anymore and it takes amazing pictures. Follow me on Instagram to see all the pictures I post!

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2. I saw these amazingly gorgeous earrings at a gift shop at the Polynesian Cultural Center yesterday, and I fell in love with them. If they hadn’t been so expensive I would have scooped them up immediately, but I can’t just go dropping $25 bucks on earrings right now. I realize $25 probably isn’t that much to some of you fashion bloggers out there, but times are tight! Someday though. I’ve promised myself not to leave the islands without buying them.

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Um, amazing news…I just googled Creations by Keiko to see if she had a website I could link up, and the earrings in her Etsy shop are only $16 instead of $25. Hooray! Now when I’m able to splurge, maybe I can manage two pairs instead of just one!

3. With the grandparents in town we have gotten the chance to play tourist for the past week and a half. It’s always fun being able to do that, because the fact of  the matter is we just don’t take the time to explore the island unless people are here visiting. I wish we could make more time to do that, but sometimes life just gets so busy, you know?

4. Brinton just found out he finally received a promotion to full time working at Microsoft! This has been long awaited and we are both really excited for this opportunity. Unfortunately it also means that I have had to quit my job, which was really hard for me to do. I was only working two short mornings per week anyway, but there was just no way we could balance Brinton going to school and working more hours and then finding childcare on top of that. I am glad though that I’ll be able to be with Evan 100% now. He is at an age where he is learning something new every day, and I don’t want to miss a new word, or those first steps.

5. It is crazy, ridiculously, disgustingly hot and humid here right now. I was going to have another fun weekly highlight for my “number five,” but it feels so miserable out right now that I can’t even think of anything else. Oh my goodness I miss air conditioning. I know, I know…first world problems. But we have lived without AC now for three years in one of the hottest and most humid places in the US…sometimes I’m fine with it, but tonight it’s really killing me.

Okay, that’s all! Life is almost back to “normal” here, which means blogging will be soon too. I haven’t posted a recipe in what seems like forever, so I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going to be posting next!

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethFriday FavoritesConfessional Friday, Friday Blog Hop, Friday Finds, and Oh Hey Friday!

DIY Number Onesie

For Evan’s birthday I really wanted him to have an adorable birthday outfit. I had pinned a dozen or so ideas for a cute little outfit with dark wash jeans, suspenders, and a bow tie, but all that fanciness just didn’t really fit into our casual beach celebration. I was going to just go to the store and try to find a birthday onesie for him, but the only store I was sure I would find one at was Babies ‘R’ Us and I didn’t feel like driving 30 minutes for an overpriced onesie that he would only wear once. So instead, I decided to make him a onesie with a big number one.

Evan Jay  One year  001

This whole project cost me less than $5 and I absolutely loved the way it turned out! I don’t have a sewing machine so I ended up hand sewing the whole thing, but if you have a sewing machine I can’t imagine it would take you very long to make either. Quick, inexpensive, and adorable?! That’s my kind of project.

What You Need:
A onesie (it doesn’t have to be white)
A square of fabric in the pattern of your choice (available at Walmart for about $1)
A number in the font of your choice printed out on regular paper from your computer
Not Pictured- Fray Check (available at Walmart for about $3 if you don’t have some already)
A needle and thread or a sewing machine
A pencil, for tracing

*Baby toes not required*

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The How To:
1. Find a font you like and type the number you want to make for the onesie. Make it as big as you want it to be actually sewn on. Print it out and cut it out exactly.
2. Iron the fabric so that it lays flat. Lay the number down on the “wrong side” of the fabric and trace around the number leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch margin all the way around it. Make sure you are tracing it so that the number is the right way!!! You don’t want to flip the fabric over to the “right side” and realize you traced it backwards.
3. Cut out your number and put fray check over all of the edges. You don’t want it to come apart later! Let that dry for a few minutes.
4. Figure out where you want the number placed. I wanted a big number one right in the middle of the onesie. You can tack down the fabric if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.
5. Hand sew or use a sewing machine to finish it off. I liked the way it looked to leave a margin around the edge, but if you want to you can also sew exactly around the edge for a different look.

You’re done!

Finished onesie

If you decide to make one, let me know how it turns out! Tag me on social media and use the hashtag #mariasmilingdiy.

Linking up!

Moonlight and Mason Jars//Your Whims Wednesday//Wow Me Wednesday//Whip it up Wednesday//Inspire Me Wednesday//Treat Yo’ Self//The Project Stash//Artsy Corner//What You Wish Wednesday//Whatever Goes Wednesday//Worthwhile Wednesdays//Work It Wednesday

Evan’s First Birthday Party

First birthdays are HUGE here in Hawaii. I’m talking hundreds of people, a full on catered affair with entertainment, activities, and the whole nine yards. I wish I could say that we wholeheartedly embraced that tradition while celebrating Evan turning one, but our budget was teeny tiny. Instead, we decided to have a casual, laid-back, fun afternoon at the beach with our friends. It was perfect! Evan loved his party and had such a fun time playing in the ocean with all his friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was amazing, Evan was so excited to play in the sand, and he really enjoyed his smash cake–although he preferred to just rub the frosting into his legs rather than actually smash and eat the cake. Silly boy.

Oh, and everything was monkeys. Evan has always loved monkeys! I decided on a blue, green, and yellow color scheme, and then kept it super simple. Except the cake. I went all out on making the cake. To be honest I was a little disappointed at how it turned out (my ganache layer under the fondant was so lumpy!) but everyone still loved it and it was delicious. My friend Tami made the tassel garland for me (thank you again Tami it was amazing!!!) and her husband Darren helped Brinton shop for all the food and set everything up at the beach. We have great friends. They helped me keep everything together and running smoothly. Anyway, here are pictures!

Evan 1st Bday 001 Evan 1st Bday 003Tassels Evan 1st Bday 007Evan 1st Bday 005 Evan 1st Bday 006 Evan 1st Bday 013Birthday Collage 1Birthday Collage 2Birthday Collage 3Evan 1st Bday 014Evan 1st Bday 019Evan 1st Bday 021Evan 1st Bday 022Birthday Collage 4Evan 1st Bday 023Evan 1st Bday 024Evan 1st Bday 025Evan 1st Bday 026

One year old, monkey man! Happy Birthday!

One Year

It still blows my mind that my sweet baby boy is already one year old. I feel like it was just yesterday that he was a squishy little newborn and would cuddle up on my chest. I miss his milk-coma face! This year has flown by so quickly. Evan has become a whole little person with a big personality. I know it probably seems silly to say this, but I came to the realization a few weeks ago that my baby boy will only ever get bigger. Soon he will be walking and talking, and then he will be making friends and learning how to interact with others, going to school and learning, playing sports or doing theatre…and suddenly graduating and going off to live his life. I just know that if I blink too quickly it will all go by in a flash. He is still a baby of course, for now, but he is quickly becoming a toddler and every day I’m reminded that I am raising an independent and wonderful individual.

Now for some not so sappy stuff: Evan is so close to walking, but is still a bit too apprehensive to give it a go on his own. I can tell it wont be long though! He is already talking up a storm and as of his first birthday could already say six words including mama, dada, ball, quack, bye, and bird (although bird doesn’t really sound like bird yet…) and he has his own special names for a few other things. He has eight teeth, still almost no hair, and if he keeps growing at this rate he will be taller than I am by the time he’s eight. He absolutely loves to throw balls and read books, and bath time might just be his favorite time of day. He specializes in extremely wet kisses, crawling at the speed of light, and pulling every single book off of the bookshelf in less than a minute about twenty times a day. Sometimes he will just sit and giggle to himself, and though it makes me nervous to suddenly hear silence in the other room, nine times out of ten I walk into the room to see him reading. He thinks all cups are microphones and loves talking into them, and recently during meals has really enjoyed pretending to feed me and then eating it himself instead. He is a happy, silly, brilliant, and energetic little boy. I love him so much and I am so proud of him! I am in awe of him each and every day. Happy one year Evan Jay. You are my everything.

One Year Header 1One Year Header 2One Year 8One Year 11One Year Collage 1One Year Collage 2One Year Collage 3PS- This “one” onesie was a super easy DIY. I’ll be sure to post the details for you! When I do, I’ll link it here.

 

And we’re back in 3…2…1…

Oh hello there!

As you can probably tell I decided to take a little break from the blog here. I fell behind on taking Evan’s one year photos, got busy with planning and throwing his birthday party, and then preparing for company coming to visit. Pair that with Brinton starting school while working full time, me still working part time and starting to babysit part time as well, and all the other day to day craziness, and I decided the blog would have to wait a while. Now that I finally feel like I have my head on straight again, I’m back! I still have company in town for the next week and a half so please continue to bear with me if my posts are still a little sporadic, but I appreciate you all still sticking around while I’ve been gone.

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but sometimes with blogging, I wonder if anyone even bothers to read what I’m writing. When I haven’t been blogging for a few weeks sometimes I feel like not even starting it back up at all. But a few of you have left comments over the last week or so that have helped me realize that even though my blog is tiny and still just starting out, something I have written has helped you in some small way. Reading that makes my heart happy, and makes all the difference to me.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in comparisons. “Her blog has this many comments on every post!” or “So-and-so has this many thousand followers on Instagram!” It’s easy to feel small and insignificant. But that’s not what I want my blog to be about. Would it be fantastic to have hundreds of thousands of followers across all of my social media accounts? Sure! Perhaps it would. I don’t know…maybe it wouldn’t! More than anything though, I want my blog to be a place where people can share their experiences and learn and grow with one another. I want to find a love for the blogging community, and you, my friends, have helped me to feel like I have a small little family forming here. So, thank you!

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Now, I promise I will get Evan’s one year post and his birthday post up this week (yes, mom…I know you’ve been dying to see all the pictures…) and I’ll get back to positing some yummy recipes too. Lucky for you all I’m busy playing tourist while Brinton’s grandparents are in town, so by the end of the month I’m planning a “fun things to do in Hawaii for almost free” post. I have lots of ideas for where I want this blog to go, and I’m going to use September as kind of a transition time as I get there.

PS- That graphic above is a little doodle I created tonight. I’m still messing around with how to make it a free printable for you all. As soon as I do, I’ll link it below! In the meantime, feel free to pin it and spread some happiness!

See you all again soon, promise!