Mason On The Move!

At eight months old, Mason has been exploring his world a little more the past week or so.  He started crawling!  In true Christiansen fashion, it is indeed an army crawl, just like his big bro did.  I’m not sure if he’ll start to incorporate a knee or two into the mix later, but he seems to be quite content letting his arms do most of the work.

I love this stage he’s in. He’s so curious, pleasant to be around and generally a happy baby. Of course, he thinks the world of Parker, even though Parker is going through a “everything is MINE” stage. He also really likes our dog Lizzie. He loves to giggle and coo whenever she gets near him. We also recently found out (by accident) that he really LOVES Elmo. I know right, what kid doesn’t? I thought maybe he was too young, but we caught him giggling up a storm when Parker was watching him while on vacation. It was pretty stinkin’ cute. I love that baby boy. He makes his Mama’s heart happy.


Well, even though Jeannett over at Life Rearranged isn’t posting this week, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted an Insta-Friday, and my iphone pics are dying to be seen, right? RIGHT.

So, here goes nothing.

Something that I failed to mention during my Chattanooga post, is that we got to have a wonderful date night during out trip.  We shared a bottle of Pinot Nior and had a yummy dinner on the Delta Queen overlooking the Tennessee river.  There wasn’t as much pizazz there and we had we thought there’d be (okay, it was just old people there), but it was still nice to catch up without the kiddos and get a little bitsy tipsy.

THE CUTEST little peek-a-boo in the world!

We ran into some neighbors at the mailboxes a week or so ago.  How happy would someone be to get cute little Henry as their package?

This is my husband’s fav gas station drink.  He claims he’s a republican, but from the likes of this drink, it seems that he’s got a little bit of a liberal/granola/peace-loving/boardline-OWS side to him. KIDDING. But perhaps I’ve rubbed off on him a teeny smidgen of a bit.

Parker got his silly side out while playing with his friends at the park on Monday.  Here he is being goofy with Logan, Cole, and Sunny.

Per usual, I made some baby food this week while Parker was in school and Mason was napping.  My sis-in-law Jenna gave us this Tupperware salsa maker a few years back, and although we loved it then, we use it even more now.  Now that Mason is chewing his food more ( guess that would be considered stage 3 or 4), we like to use this to make his food a bit more “chunky”.  I left the skins on the pears, cut them up, and brought to a boil.  Let boil for about 5 mins, and then threw into the salsa maker.  Result: nice chunky pears!

Logan and Parker… being the little goobers that they are… goofin’ around at the playground

My dinner last night… Salmon, brown rice with veggies, and steamed green beans.  Jealous?  Probably not, since it looks like something out of a health magazine.  It was really good though.  Too bad I messed up the “super healthy” part by devouring spoonfuls of dark chocolate almond spread later in the evening.  That stuff should be outlawed!

During Mason’s morning nap, Parker and I hung out back… and we were freeegin COLD.  Yuck!  I hate cold weather!  We’ll make the best of it though.  At least I get to wear boots and scarves.  Alas, I survive in the name of fashion.

How was your week?  Share your quirky iphone pics and blog about them!
life rearranged

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

While we were at Kinsey Farms (pictures in previous post) we picked up a few pumpkins, and we were told that the green pumpkins were great for making pumpkin pies.  They had their own in-house recipe, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Start by washing the pumpkin
  2. Cut in half (a serrated knife works well)
  3. Scoop out the seeds (an icecream scooper works well)
  4. Soften the pumpkin in the microwave.  I choose to cut the pumpkin into fourths and put it in water to soften.  About 8-10 minutes should be enough.  You can test the softness with a fork.
  5. Remove the pumpkin from the water and set aside to cool until you’re able to handle it. Then use the icecream scooper to scoop out  all the “meat”.
  6. Place in a food processor, blender or mixer (I chose to use a blender, and added a little water left over from the steaming) and then follow the instructions for the pie below


3 Cups of fresh puree pumpkin

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

2 Eggs

1tsp of Ground Cinnamon

1/2tsp of Ginger

1/2tsp of Nutmeg

1/2tsp of Salt

1 (9 inch) pie crust (I used the kind you can roll out and shape into your own pan and found it worked great)


  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
  2. In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and eggs.  Season with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Thoroughly mix together with wire whisk. Pour filling into pie crust.

Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

This pumpkin pie turned out to be the best pie my husband and I have ever tasted! It was totally worth the time, and it was a wonderful fall treat for the family.  As an added bonus, we were be able to fill up almost two ice trays with extra pumpkin puree that wasn’t needed for the pies, to freeze for our seven month old. So, even our baby boy got to taste some of the pumpkin goodness.

Let me know if you decide to try it out!

Kinsey Farms

We had a great fall visit to Kinsey Family Farm this year! We found a great half off depot deal for pictures with Elizabeth O Photography, so we decided to have her join us here to capture some family moments. We used some of the photos for our Christmas postcard, like we did last year.  I’m keeping the Christmas card pictures under wraps so I don’t ruin the surprise, but here are some other fun photos that she captured during our visit.

A Rockin’ Halloween

This year we had a wonderful Halloween.  I didn’t celebrate Halloween as a child growing up, but Dan and I have decided to participate as long as we kept it fun and lighthearted (no calling for evil spirits or chants…).  I’ve had a lot of fun living out this holiday through my boys.  Since Parker has shown so much interest in music this year with all of his dancing, guitar playing and drum banging, we thought a rock star costume would suit him well.  With Mason being a cutie “tough” looking baby that he is, I knew he could totally pull off a side kick band member.

We started the day with a playdate picnic in a nearby park.  We had fun enjoying the cool breezy sunny weather.  Parker loved hanging out with his friends and playing per usual.

We’ve become great friends with the Howells‘, and they invited us to go trick or treating with them and their son Logan.  Parker had a great time for his very first trick or treating experience!  Everyone LOVED his costume.  Since it was getting a little cold, and the “tattoo sleeves” weren’t very good at keeping him warm, we threw on a leather Harley Davidson jacket that Sara let us barrow.  It sort-of turned his look into more of a “biker” look, but he still looked super cool in my opinion.  But, I suppose I’m a little bias.  There was a huge turnout in the neighborhood and I have never seen so many awesome costumes all together.  Trying not to sound lame, but it was pretty freegin cool.

For those curious about the costumes, I got Mason’s AC/DC onsie from Target, his bandana from Party City, and his leggings from this etsy seller.  I got Parker’s shirt from this etsy seller, and the jeans were already a consignment find in his normal wardrobe. I used some black hairspray from Party city to help turn his hair into a mohawk, and as I mentioned, we borrowed the jacket from our friend Sarah.

We had the best Halloween ever!  Even though it’s my first time really experiencing Halloween, it was certainly fun and an exciting event.  I can’t wait to see what creative ideas we can come up with next year!

Adventures in Chattanooga

We just got back a few days ago from a beautiful fall trip to Chattanooga.  Dan and I both have been there before, but this was our first family trip.  We loved that it was only a few hours car ride from our home and that it gave us a taste of the mountains, while enjoying some fun family friendly amenities a small city could offer.

We found this awesome vacation home on VRBO right in downtown Chattanooga.  The owners did an amazing job transforming an old Victorian home into a beautiful dual use residence.  The owners reside on the upper level, and rent out the lower level for guests.  Miki, the owner, is an incredible artist, and there is a beautiful gallery displaying her artwork in the front room, as well as some amazing pieces throughout the residence.  It made for a fun eclectic place to stay.  Plus, it was equipped with all the essentials from home that would allow us to cook, eat and sleep comfortably for six nights.  As a bonus, it was close to anything and everything we wanted to do, which is essential when you have two little ones that need to be rushed home for naps.

The first day, Saturday, we headed over to Rock City.  They were having  Rocktoberfest, which basically meant everything was german themed with music, brats and beer.  In addition to taking in some amazing views and strolling along most of the stroller friendly areas, we enjoyed a nice brat lunch as well some fun German entertainment.  Parker was over the moon with excitement!  This may have been his most favorite thing the entire trip.  Who knew?  He was ecstatic watching the little band play.  He thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.  (Clearly being a rock star for Halloween suits him!)

After Rock City, we headed back to the vacation home so Parker and Mason could take their afternoon naps, then we headed back out to downtown Chattanooga and went for a walk on the walking bridge and had dinner on the other side.  It was such a pretty evening, and the weather was in the mid 70s. There was a really nice view from the bridge of the Tennessee river.

Chattanooga has an awesome Aquarium.  It’s pretty crazy that we live in a city with the largest Aquarium in the world, (that we have yet to take our kids to) but we choose to go to the Chattanooga Aquarium for our kids  first aquarium experience.  Parker really enjoyed it, but he definitely needed it in doses.  It was split into two buildings, and fortunately, or vacation home was about five minutes away, so we just hit one building, went home for naps, and then did the second building afterwards.  It worked out pretty nice because Parker can get a little burned out.  There are just so many glass windows that we can point to before Parker starts to look for something that he can climb on or a stretch of clearing to make a run for it.  Other than him taking a plow into a mirror wall (he saw my reflection on a bench in an adjacent wall, and thought he was running to me), he had a wonderful time.  Dan and I enjoyed it too!

We decided we’d try the Incline Railway, which hails itself as being the steepest passenger railway in the world.  I’m not sure why we thought this would be a good idea to do with an infant and a rambunctious toddler… My nerves were a little rattled when we were at the top (the steepest incline).  I was holding onto Mason with a tight grip and fortunately, I didn’t trip over my own two feet trying to leave the train.  So, we live to see another day.  The top view was a tad disappointing to me.  The view from Rock City was much more superior to this.  I was surprised to see that there really wasn’t much at the top.  Fortunately, we packed a lunch and we ate on one of their picnic tables, but other than that and a cheesy souvenir shop, there wasn’t much else to do.  We were told there was a civil war monument 3-4 blocks away, but that just wasn’t happening with the kiddos.  Nevertheless, it was still a fun experience.

Another big favorite of the trip (which came as no surprise) was the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  It was literally a block from where we were staying, which came in quite handy during Mason’s morning nap.  We went as a family too, and Parker loved exploring the trains, taking a trolly tour (at least for the first five or ten minutes) and running through their nicely manicured courtyard gardens.

We decided to hit up the Creative Discovery Museum on Tuesday.  Parker had such a great time exploring and learning everything they had to offer.  They even had quite a bit for Mason’s age, which was surprising to me. We haven’t been to the Children’s museum in Atlanta, but I thought this one was very well done.  We started our tour on the second level, which was fine, but the first level had so much more to offer.  We didn’t get to see the first level as much as we wanted to before the boys started to get tired for their naps.  Good thing we were staying right in town.  Parker didn’t want to leave.  He had a great time there.  The dinosaurs, the play house, the outdoor pullies, and other various play areas were such a big hit.

One of the big perks about staying in a vacation rental as opposed to a standard hotel, is that you can make a home cooked meal.  This comes in pretty handy when you have small kids that aren’t always the most patient ones, when waiting for food in a restaurant.  Last year, I cooked up some yummy spaghetti for the family for a nice fall dinner in Asheville.  So, I thought I’d continue the tradition and serve it this vacation too.

October 2010

October 2011

The last day we decided to take it easy. We walked to breakfast at a local restaurant, and after Mason’s nap, we headed out to have lunch at Good Dog, which has excellent hot dogs and brats made in-house. The owner was super sweet too, and made us feel right at home. After a delicious lunch, we strolled through Coolidge Park. It was such a gorgeous day. It was nice to have an easy relaxing day, taking in the sunshine and the beautiful scenery by the river.

After dinner our last night of vacation, Parker helped me end the vacation with some yummy cookies.  There was a great local mini Whole Foods-ish grocery store nearby where we picked up food for the week, and somehow cookie mix fell into the cart, so I thought, what the heck.. .  Per usual, Parker loved helping me in the kitchen, and being a little cookie monster afterwards.

Not only did we do some pretty awesome activities in Chattanooga, but we got to bond more as a family.  We really enjoyed the lazy unscheduled time we spent just lounging around and taking it easy around the house too.  Mason hit a few milestones during the trip.  He started to get up on his knees and rocking (pictured below in the “childs pose”) and he’ also refined his pincer grasp, and can now pick up food to self feed!  This little smarty pants is growing up way too fast.  His brother, Parker is talking more and more too.  His latest favorite phrase (besides the less than popular “No, Dat’s MINE”) is “Okay, Mommy” or “Okay, Daddy” coupled with an enthusiastic grin.  I just love it!

Overall, another wonderful, memorable fall vacation!