Category Archives: Fun

Fight Fire With Slobber

There’s a LOT of heavy, hard things swirling the inter-webs these days. Images, news feeds, fiery op-eds, texting wars on social media. In the spirit of pushing against the tsunami of online yuck, here’s my rescue pup being her sweet, awkward and never socially distanced self. Take that, 2021!

Now to find a towel…

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Filed under Fun, Patience, Photography, World Events

Friday Facts

  • I’m 27 weeks pregnant today.  Little Man Leino has become quite a busy-body.  He is definitely strong, kicking and moving his arms with far more force than my other two kiddos at this stage.  At times it feels like he’s doing somersaults or boxing.  I can’t wait to meet this feisty little guy in June!
  • The warmer weather has allowed Eliana to spend much more time outside and she has loved it!  She wants to be outdoors every chance she gets.  Often her first word in the morning is “outside?”  Such a happy little girl.  Whether she’s flying kites with Daddy, helping Maima in her garden or coloring on the porch in a hula skirt, Eliana has a blast anytime she’s in the sun.

  • Leino Studios had a fabulous first week in its new location.  We are so thankful for the new space God provided for Jordan’s business.  Though we are still putting some final decorating touches on the space, Jordan has already enjoyed the benefits of having much more space for all his musical and business needs.  A step forward in every way, we’re excited to see all that is in store for the Studio in this next season.
  • Our little girl loves to sing!  Any time music is playing, she’s singing and dancing along.  Maima has been teaching Eliana the words and motions for “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”.  It amazes me to watch her pick up phrases and hand motions so quickly.  I found her trying to get one of her baby dolls to do the motions this past week.  Precious!
  • Journey just finished a series on Love.  Boy, has it impacted me!  Over four weeks, our church took an in-depth look into what Scripture says about Love: God’s love, our love for Him, our love for others and our love for ourselves.  I’ve found myself reading through my notes over and again, wanting to listen to the sermons more than once as they have really challenged me to grow and convicted me in areas I certainly need it.  I highly encourage everyone to take the time to listen to the messages.  Since Jesus said that the world will know His disciples by our love, its an area we all could grow in.
  • Well the sunshine and an energetic little lady are calling me outside.  Be sure to check back here on Monday as I’ll be sharing the most amazing carrot cupcake recipe I have ever tasted!  Seriously….BEST EVER!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Eliana, Evan, Family, Fun, Jordan, Journey Church, Leino Studios, Patience, Photography, Random, Weather

Blast from the Past

I have the best siblings in the universe.  Growing up with Ian and Corinne was always a laughter-filled adventure.  How truly thankful I am for them both!


Filed under Family, Fun, Patience, Photography, Random

Potato Chic

Eliana has really improved in learning how to feed herself at mealtimes.  Mostly neat and no longer throwing things on the floor, our little girl is growing up so fast.  Then we had pot roast with mashed potatoes…

No, that’s not water nor styling gel in her hair.  This lovely do comes from a whopping handful of mashed potatoes!  In a blink, Eliana’s hand scooped up a fist full of spuds and wiped it all in her hair.  Needless to say, she went straight from the dinner table to the bathtub.  She is one adorable, messy lady!



Filed under Eliana, Fun, Photography, Random

Meringue Addiction

Confession: I have an addiction.  Meringues!  These light, fluffy, gooey, delectable treats always leave me craving another bite.  The fact that they are primarily egg whites and contain no flour often has me rationalizing just one…or twenty…more.  I now limit myself to making a batch only for the purpose of taking them to someone because let’s be honest – they will all be gone by morning.  It’s for the baby…really!

In honor of this deliciousness, here’s a recipe for chocolate chip meringues for your enjoyment.  You can use any size chip but I prefer mini morsels or Andes mint chips.  (The original recipe bakes the meringues at 300°F but I’ve found 310° works better for our oven.)  Eliana loves to watch the clear egg whites whip up in a frenzy into thick, glossy goodness.

So grab your bakers’ hat, your favorite apron, your sweet tooth and bake away!

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, vinegar and vanilla while whipping to stiff peaks. Mixture should be glossy.  Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are dry.  Yeilds 4 dozen cookies.

Here’s wishing you all a delightfully delicious weekend!


Filed under Cooking, Fun, Recipes

Big Sister In Training – Pt.2

Eliana continues to show more interest in caring for her baby dolls, taking them everywhere she goes.  Her care always begins with the best intentions…

So close!  Try putting the stroller upright, sweet girl.

Much better!  🙂

Yesterday’s sunny and somewhat warm weather allowed us to have a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Of course, Eliana brought her baby doll along.  She was power walking with that doll!

Work it, girl!

Like any big sister in training, she was sure to check how her “baby” was doing once we reached the clubhouse.

No doubt about it – Eliana Faith is going to be one amazing big sister!



Filed under Eliana, Evan, Fun, Photography


Eliana has a new favorite game: Peek-A-Boo.  She loves hiding behind things, giggling all the while, then popping out with a cheery, “Boo!”  Of course, I don’t quite think she has fully grasped the concept of a good hiding place yet.


Filed under Eliana, Fun, Photography, Random

New Obsession

I have a new obsession.  Georgetown Cupcakes is its name.  For years, I have heard of these delectable delights but never made it into their store to try one.  This weekend, everything changed.  One simple bite and all my preconceived skeptical ideas of gourmet cupcakes faded forever.  Perfectly sized with the ideal ratio of moist cupcake to creamy frosting.  I mean really – Strawberry Champagne cupcake with a chocolate ganache core?  Come on!  ‘Tis a lovely bite.  Its now official.  Every time I’m in DC to visit my sister and brother-in-law, Georgetown Cupcakes will be part of the trip.  Yum…..

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Filed under D.C., Food, Fun

Chef In The Making

One of my favorite memories as a child was cooking in the kitchen with my Mom.  Whether cookies or crepes, pasta or peanut butter sandwiches, Mom always allowed me to work beside her.  Yes, those recipes always ended up far messier than if she had done it herself and I’m sure took three times as long.  But she took advantage of every possible teaching moment.  I have her to thank for my love of cooking and adventurous palate today.


To my delight, Eliana loves to hang in the kitchen anytime I’m cooking.  So following the wonderful example from my Mom, she has become my little kitchen helper.  It’s hilarious to see her in my apron.  Her favorite things to do are practice whisking in a bowl and help pour ingredients into the mixing bowl.  She’s adorable!  During breakfast, she gets all giddy to watch us scramble eggs…and of course, eat them.  We made sugar cookies on Christmas Day.  Eliana did a great job pounding the mess out of her dough and cutting out shapes.  I’m so curious to see what type of palate she’ll develop as she grows up.  She certainly is the cutest chef in the making.


Filed under Cooking, Eliana, Family, Fun, Patience

Winter Wonderland

Christmas Night brought a beautiful gift to the Raleigh area…well, most of the east coast for that matter.  SNOW!  We woke to a winter wonderland the next morning as fluffy white covered everything in sight.  By day’s end, over 8 inches had fallen in the Triangle.  Eliana had a blast playing in the snow!  She was fascinated by the little white specks that kept falling on her nose from the sky.  She couldn’t help but laugh.  What a joy to watch our sweet girl fully experience this winter blessing for the first time.

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Filed under Family, Fun, Photography, Weather

Big Sister In Training


Eliana seems to be getting the “big sister bug”.  Over the past few weeks, she has really taken to carrying baby dolls around, rocking them while singing “baby, baby”.  It completely melts my heart when she pushes her doll in a small stroller or feed her a bottle.  So precious!  While she doesn’t fully understand the concept of becoming a big sister or new baby coming, I have a feeling she’ll do just fine.


Filed under Eliana, Fun, Photography

Season’s Eatings

With Christmas a mere five days away, I find myself faced with a simply scrumptious task today: planning dishes for the festivities to come.  We’re spending Christmas Eve & Day at home this year, making our own family dining traditions.  Jordan and I both are blessed with delicious memories of hearty breakfasts & delectable dinners growing up.  This leads to one stark dilemma however: which recipes do we make our own?!

So I’ve taken to the task of exploring new dishes to add to our current stacked arsenal of holiday fare.  To be honest, its all a bit daunting.  Two recipes keep jumping off the pages to my palate:  Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls and Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.  I can’t even look at these recipes without salivating!

What favorite food traditions does your family have for Christmas Eve/Day?

The search continues…


Filed under Food, Fun

Little Miss Personality

I mean really…

could she be any cuter?!!!


Filed under Eliana, Fun, Photography

Green Belts & Cookies

I’m in Chapel Hill for most of this week for Six Sigma Green Belt training.  Full days of learning statistical analysis and other such lovely things, I’m training with my 6 teammates from UNC’s PICU in a project for improving daily communication between families and PICU clinicians.  Its a LOT of work but work that we hope will have a big payoff.

To be honest, this busyness has taken most of my creative energies at the moment.  So I leave you with this – a recipe that I can take absolutely no credit for but one that want to eat RIGHT NOW!  (Call it a preggo craving, but these cookies look friggin’ delicious!)  So pull out your mixers, crank up your ovens, whip out your best apron!

Courtesy of the amazing Tasty Kitchen website, I give you Oreo Cheesecake Cookies.  Let the drooling begin….


Filed under Chapel Hill, Food, Fun, Random, Recipes

Thug Life







Oh yeah….

She’s hard core.


Filed under Eliana, Fun

Day at the Farm

This past weekend, our family ventured up to Hill Ridge Farms for a day of harvest fun.  Eliana had a blast exploring all the sites at the farm  She was fascinated by bunnies and miniature ponies.  She ran laps around the wooden fort and walking through the hay tunnel.  Much to our amusement, Eliana’s  favorite part was standing next to the huge pumpkin “measure me” board.  She saw some older kids standing next to the board to get measured, so every time we walked by, she made a bee-line to stand up next to it.  It was adorable!  The day wrapped with a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where Eliana picked out the perfect pumpkin.  The day was a huge success!  Hill Ridge Farms had definitely become a new fall tradition.

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Filed under Eliana, Family, Fun

Blue Steel


Filed under Eliana, Fun, Photography

Water Baby

Eliana Faith is a water baby!  If she can splash it, she loves it.  She laughs during bath time, jumps like crazy in the pool, and walks straight towards the ocean.  Plus, she looks adorable in her little swimsuit.  Jordan and I both grew up on the water, so it definitely runs in the family.  We Leinos love water-related activities.  I can’t wait for her first swimming lesson, her first ride on a boat, her first spin on a jet ski.

I just love our water baby!


Filed under Eliana, Fun

Coffee Girl

You’d think I’d learn my lesson the first time or perhaps even the second.  But no.  Three times now Eliana has found my coffee (cold each time), poured it out and proceeded to splash around in the spill…and always over white carpet!  Her reach is much farther than I realized.  She was covered head-to-toe in Starbucks 3 Region goodness.  Hopefully this lesson will stick.  That or I need to invest in Oxyclean stock.


Filed under Eliana, Fun

Pucker Up!


Filed under Eliana, Fun, Jordan