Birthday & a Giveaway!!!

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Happy 1/2 Birthday to It’s a Bella Life!!!

October marks the 6 month of blogging!

Can you believe it? I can’t! It has definitely flown by so fast. I feel like I have accomplished a lot, but there is so much more that I want to do.

I originally contemplated blogging when I was pregnant with Sophia, but I honestly never got around to doing it. Last year around March (2015) I once again really considered blogging. I knew what I wanted to write about, but I had the most difficult time coming up with name for my blog. It took a year to come up with a blog name? Really? Yea. I was so indecisive.

My blog was mainly going to be a baking and cooking blog, considering I have a Baking & Patisserie degree from Le Cordon Bleu.

As I was writing I slowly found myself wondering off the beaten bath of just cooking and baking, and I wanted to expand. I wanted to incorporate more of my family into my blog and it slowly has become more of a lifestyle blog.

Which I LOVE! I can’t express that anymore. I love the diversity of a lifestyle blog.

I want anyone who visits my blog to feel welcomed and find something that they can relate too.

Soo to celebrate my blogs 6 month birthday I am doing a….

Giveaway! 

You have a chance of winning a $40.00 gift card to either: Target, Sephora, Ulta, Starbucks, Home Depot,  Lowes or a Visa gift card! 

We will be picking one winner on Halloween! And will be announced on November 1st!

How to Enter! (Pick one option)

  1. Leave a comment telling me about yourself! ex: Where you are from..Name..anything interesting!
  2. Maybe tell me something that you want to see as a future blog post!
  3. If you are already a follower to my blog all you have to do is like this post.

** Ps: If you subscribe/follow my blog you will get one extra entry to win**

Ohh and I totally forgot to mention it is Jimmy’s 4th Birthday on Halloween! Good Ole’ Jim Beam!

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Good Luck or Bueno Suerte! 

Pasta with a Twist!

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Every Wednesday I take Sophia to the library for a toddler reading class at our local library. After the reading we always end up hanging around for about an hour. The library has a ton of toys for the kids to play with, plus it give Sophia the opportunity to be around other kids.

And I can usually try to find something to make for dinner….Pinterest is awesome for dinner ideas!

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It seems to be after the library we go to Target. I don’t know how we ended up in this routine, but it’s been happening every Wednesday for the past couple of weeks.

Sophia recognizes Target and will immediately say “eat..eat.” I end up getting her a personal pizza, a banana and a drink to eat while I do some browsing.

Then we end up looking at the kids toy isle for about 45 minutes.

She loves it. As do I.

What I LOVE about Target besides their prices; is their mini grocery section. Last week I had no idea what to make for dinner nothing sounded appealing at all.  So I decided to make a really quick pasta dinner with a twist.

Thankfully Target had all the supplies I needed. If you find yourself in Target and need a dinner idea try this recipe out!

What You Need:

1 lb. of Pasta Noodles (I used Fettuccine)

2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce or Marinara (I used Marinara)

1 bag of Spinach (I used half the bag)

1 block of Cream Cheese

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 tbsp. oil

Fresh Parmesan

Salt & Pepper to Taste

What to Do:

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Bring your heavily salted water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, in a large pan heat your oil. Then add minced garlic cloves. Allow to turn brown.

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Add your noodles to the water. I always add a little oil into the water, I think it helps with the noodles sticking together. Stir noodles quite fluently.

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Add your spinach to the sauce. I normally would add the Spinach to the oil and garlic cloves but I forgot to do that. Add as much or as little of Spinach as you want.

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Once your spinach is incorporated into the sauce about 8 minutes. Add your Cream Cheese to the sauce and stir often and slowly! I never added Cream Cheese to pasta before? Have you? It certainly was a twist to making pasta!

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This sauce turned out so  good! You can always add some mushrooms to the oil and minced garlic if you want or broccoli. Whatever your hearts desire!

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What are you having for dinner ? I need some ideas!

 

 

Past and New Addictions

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Reading books. It feels like such a foreign and distant memory.

Before marriage, kids (well 1), jobs..basically before “adulthood,” I used to read constantly. It was one of my favorite past times besides going to the mall.

How cliche..a teen going to the mall..with a Starbucks in their hand. That was me alright, but if you looked in my purse you would most likely find a book of some sort.

Recently I have been dying to get back into reading. Beyond cookbooks, children books ..so over the past year have I stocked up on my own personal library.

My library: (As of right now)

Paperback/Hardcover:

Little Black Dress – James Patterson

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Grey  – EL James

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling

On my iPhone Nook App:

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

Audio Book in my Car:

Cross Kill- James Patterson

Besides being able to spell any word or sentence back words (very weird talent I have), I have always been able to ready more than one book at a time. So, naturally when I am reading books it’s usually more than one.

I am currently watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I never watched them before until now. I believe I have found a new addiction!

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. If I had watched these shows during my teen years maybe I wouldn’t have ever done anything else.

What books do you like or recommend? If you have read any of the books on my list, what are your thought I would love to know!

Are you addicted to Gilmore Girls on Netflix?

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Custard Cups

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One of my favorite things about baking is sharing my recipes with friends, especially ones that enjoy baking. I have been baking for many years, ever since I was a little girl.

My earliest memories are with my mom baking Christmas cookies. I remember my brother and I sitting at the table just captivated by what our mom was making.

And when she wasn’t looking she would try to sneak cookie dough…thinking she wouldn’t see or notice tiny finger prints on the sides of the bowl.

Like my mom always said and still does I’m sure “I have eyes in the back of my head.”

We didn’t believed her, but as soon as our fingers even motioned to the bowl she would say “Sarah and Pattrick I see what you’re doing..don’t think I don’t.”

I don’t think that deterred us from trying, but we loved it.

I hope one day when Sophia is older she will look back and think of moments like that.

The recipe I am going to be sharing is super easy and really good! If you are a pumpkin lover, then this recipe will be right up your alley.

What You Need:

3 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 – 15oz Can Pumpkin (1 3/4 Cups)

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream or half-and-half

1/2 Cup packed Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger

1/8 Salt

1/4 Cup All- Purpose- Flour

1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp. Ground Cardamom

2 TBSP. Butter

1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans, toasted

What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all 8 ingredients. And mix.
  2. Place 6 to 8 custard cups in a roasting pan. I didn’t have one on had, so I just used a cookie sheet. Fill up cookie sheet with hot water about halfway up. You don’t want the water to overflow.
  3. Place custard mixture in the cups. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl place your flour, brown sugar and cardamom and mix. Using a pastry blender cut in butter. I didn’t have one, so I just used my hands. It reminds me of moldable wet sand.
  5. Stir in Pecans.
  6. When the 25 minutes are up, take the custard cups out of oven. Place Pecan mixture on top of pecans. Then put back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes of until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Remove custard cups from water. Cook on wire racks for 1 hour. Cover loosely and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

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Even though the recipe had a good amount of ingredients I loved how easy it is to put together.

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I did not have toasted Pecans, just regular ones. If you were in the same boat as me what you do is line a cookie sheet with foil, speak with PAM spray. Pop them in the oven for about 5 minutes on 350 degrees. Easy Peasy! You got some toasted Pecans! Watch out: they can burn really quickly.

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About to be baked to perfection!

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I pulled the custard cups out of the oven and placed the Pecan Mixture on top. Check them every so often, once your knife comes out clean. They are done.

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I think these would be awesome to serve as a dessert for Thanksgiving, plus you can make them the day before! Nice and Easy! Or bring them over as a dessert if you are going to a dinner party!

They will be a hit no matter what!

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If you make this dessert I would love to hear your thoughts!

Enjoy!

Ps: Sophia is under the weather. It came out of no where tonight (Sunday night). If I happen to be light on the posts this week that means I taking care of a sick toddler.

Thank You for understanding!

Links & Loves & Thoughts!

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I really love this photo of Sophia and I. We just came back from the Pumpkin Patch that day and was heading to the grocery store for some odds and ends. Our facial expression explain the entire photo. It is very rare these days that Sophia allows me to hold her, especially if we are out in public. She loves to walk around and explore.

If any parents of toddlers out there understand that they would rather explore than be held. I miss that cuddling stage so much, and when Sophia allows me to hold her I take complete advantage of it.

My mom happened to snap this photo of us last week, and if you follow me on Instagram then you might have already recognized this photo.

I read a quote on Facebook a few days back and it said something along the lines “take as many photos of you with your kids no matter what you look like. Because one day those photos is all they will have.” That really made me think, because I honestly do not have a ton of photos of Sophia and I together..I have more photos of her with other people. So my goal is to take a couple of photo of us a week, just so she will have them someday.

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Now onto the links:

I bought this blanket scarf from Target last week. I heard that Pittsburgh’s winter is supposed to be really cold this year so when I was at Target…too.. you know pick up some odds and ends…40 dollars later…I came home with the warmest scarf in the world. I’m obsessed! I’m actually wearing it in the photo above!

I LOVE these Samantha Earrings! I think they can jazz up any outfit!

Have you tried the Bai water? It is so good!

Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

 

 

 

 

Candy Corn Inspired Drinks!

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I love candy corn..wait let me rephrase that. I love the way candy corn looks, but I really dislike the way it tastes. I love the way it looks in a candy dish..maybe even used as a decoration on a cake.

They’re adorable, but I personally don’t eat them.

I thought it would be really fun to do a Candy Corn inspired drink. Non-alcoholic of course, but I am pretty sure we could make it a little more fun! But we are making it kid friendly this time!

What You Need:

1 liter of Crush Orange Pop (or soda for you non Pop speakers)

1- 16 oz Orange Mango Sunny D

1-18 oz Bai Antioxidant Cocofusion- Molokai Coconut

Ice Cubes

How to Make Them:

  1. Fill your glass with ice all the way to the top.
  2. Start with the drink that is containing the most sugar then to the least amount of sugar. The Crush Orange contained the highest amount of sugar. Then the Orange Mango Sunny D…and finally the Bai Antioxidant Cocofusion- Molokai Coconut.
  3. Pour the drinks directly over the ice.
  4. And Enjoy!

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Just a little tip: Make sure that you keep some extra ice cubes around. You may need to add some more in..in between adding your liquids.

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Didn’t they turn out so cute? I think they would make an awesome touch to Halloween party! Or a Halloween themed baby shower!

If you are anything like me, the night of Halloween I plan on making Sophia a mini Halloween dinner, I may have to make these for her, but find an alternative for the Orange Pop!

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I thought the cat would be a perfect touch, considering he is wearing a Candy Corn witches hat!

Jimmy (the dog) LOVES this cat! He does everything he can to get to it. I think to him it represents the black cats down he street that tease him every day!

I hope you make this drink! They are super fun and extremely easy!

If you make them I would LOVE to see photos! Please send them my way at twitter..Instagram @ Sarah_BellaLife!

 

 

 

 

A Mini Play Date

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Meet Emma!

This is Sophia’s youngest girlfriend, that she insists on calling “baby, or ma.” She has not been able to pronounce her name yet, but we are working on that.

I really enjoy scheduling play dates for Sophia to be around other kids, considering she is an only child right now. Plus it gives my friend Paula and I the opportunity to catch up with each other, since we are both stay-at-home moms it works out to be kinda perfect.

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Our girls day started at PF Changs at the Waterfront in Pittsburgh. Have you ever been to PF Changs? It was my first time there. What I found to be really awesome about this restaurant is that they have a special menu for people that have a shellfish allergy, like how I do.

I got their sweet & sour soup and their Sweet & Sour Chicken. I loved it, but I honestly did not care for the soup too much.

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There is a really intense conversation going on between these two!

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Sophia learned how to pick up her Cheddar Bunnies with Chopsticks at PF Changs!

If you have not bought Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies found at Target go get them soon, they are so good. And Organic!

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Right in the center of the Waterfront there is a courtyard that has a Starbucks  right in the center. Which is always convenient, but it is a really nice little area to allow kids to burn off some pent up energy.

Sophia really does not enjoy being in her stroller anymore, and sometimes shopping can be quite challenging because she wants to walk around.

Sophia will turn to me and say “walk mommy peeas,” if I say “no,” she will then stretch her lips out to give me a kiss. Then I normally give into her. Who can resists such a sweet kiss.

After when we were done browsing around at different store, I promised Sophia that she could play in the courtyard, before heading home.

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Sophia enjoyed running through the leaves, especially without her shoes on. Maybe next year Emma will be joining Sophia!!

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I wonder what we are going to do for our next play date! Especially once winter comes around!

I hope you enjoyed our mini play date!