Monday, September 29, 2014

30 WEEKS


I can hardly believe we only have 10 weeks left, eek! We're ready, but so far from ready. 
How Far Along: 30 weeks
Weight Gained: 18 lbs 
Nausea: None 
How Am I Feeling: Pretty good!
Maternity Clothes: It's been cooler and rainy so I have lived in sweats and leggings. My regular shirts are officially too tight. Kensi even told me my shirt was too tight the other day after I got dressed to run errands. 
Sleep: I’ve been sleeping fairly well. 
Cravings: Still lots of fruit and everything in sight that’s sweet. It doesn’t help that I’m a pumpkin freak and have already made a ton of pumpkin cookies and cupcakes.
Food Adversions: Pork
Movement: The little babe is still moving and grooving.
Belly Button In or Out: Out! It popped immediately around 8 weeks. 
Gender: Unknown. 
Names: Undecided
What I'm Looking Forward To: With house somewhat decorated, we really need to start focusing on getting ready for the babe. We still need to find a dresser and we don’t have much time left!
What's Different With This Pregnancy: This little nugget has finally stretched out this week, and it feel so nice to not have a rock hard ball sitting on everything! 
What I'm Missing: I’m still missing the usuals. 
How Are We Preparing: I think I’m denial that this baby is coming. I haven’t started nesting or anything!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

OUR HOME: DECORATIVE FIREPLACE

When we were house hunting, Mike and I both really wanted a fireplace in the living room. We decided not to add it when we built our house because of the cost and the design. For the last several months we've been discussing what to do with our main wall and a fireplace of some sort was a must. Neither one of us really care for gas fireplaces due to safety issues and although we would love to do a wood burning, it's just not in our budget and it would be so much work! More than anything I could love a mantel and a small insert to place candles and that's where our vision for the wall started. 
My big motivator was fall. I told Mike over and over, “It must be done for fall!" Why? I want to be able decorate it for fall and have a place to hang our Christmas stockings. Yep that’s my incredible reasoning and the fact that we really needed a better focal point in the room and we didn't like te idea of a massive entertainment center. 

Mike's parents planned to visit us for a week over Labor Day so we planned to whip this project out with them since they have skill and some tools we didn't have. To be honest I was scared this was going to become a very complicated project because we had to frame everything out and drywall. I loved coming up with the whole design, but the actual part of trying to figure out measurements? Um no thanks...leave that to my engineering Hubster. 
Now when it comes to projects I constantly change my mind. I've been blessed with a very calm and patient man as my husband. He graciously puts up with every little change I make even if I go back and forth. For this project the final debate {like days before my in-laws came into town} was to mount the tv above the fireplace or not. This whole dilemma also came after Mike had finished the measurements and taped everything out on the wall. Awesome timing, I know. In our initial sketch we planned on mounting the tv above, but I really hate looking at a tv directly above the fireplace. Our first solution was just to put some sort of cover over the tv like doors. But of course every time we wanted to use the tv we would have to take everything off the mantle. Grrrrrr. Then we thought...let's raise the tv and do sliding doors, but then it's too high and we would be cranking our necks just to see the picture. So how about putting the tv in a built-in next to the fireplace. Sounds better, but I still wanted doors. I thought for sure Mike was going to throw the whole project out the window, but he didn't :) I really do love him. So we finally came up with a solution....and the tv was going to the side. Whew, so glad that decision was made and problem solved. Only problem we created now was another project with more built-ins that will come as a later project. 
When we bought our materials and actually started the project, like ripping up the carpet, I was a wreck. But in reality it was pretty simple. I'm just thankful we had extra guiding hands to take all our ideas and actually make them real! It's amazing how complicated one can make a design and someone else can come up with a much more simple idea. You have no idea how much work we saved ourselves just by having extra heads thinking throughout this whole process. 

1. First and foremost, know we started with a completely basic, blank, empty outside wall. We had nothing that existed beyond drywall, 2X4's, installation and outlets. We moved our cable and electrical lines so they would still be accessible. We ended up splitting the outlet in order to place an outlet in the mantle for decorating purposes. 


2. Then the framing began. Because we were building on an outside wall we could only build out. We didn't have the option to use any space in the wall because there wasn't any. We used 2x4's and took our structure to the ceiling. We placed 3 supports on the back wall and 5 supports on the new front wall to hold our box/fire insert. 


3. Drywall. We ended up making a few adjustments in our design measurements in order to avoid piecing together smaller sheets of drywall. We wanted to avoid seams and in order to so we had to move our mantle up by 2 inches, but it made the dry walling much easier and placed our one and only seam behind the mantle. 



4. Once the drywall was up, we layed our thin brick. We lined the entire inside of the box and created a border on the outside. Mike, his dad and brother built a hollow mantle to sit on the three 2x4 supports they attached and also cut a hole into the top of the mantle for our outlet. 

5. Now that the structure was pretty much done, we had the cosmetic stuff to finish. Mike ended up taping the entire fireplace off with plastic to sand the drywall mud. This was such a mess and the worst job of it all. Once he was done with sanding, we used a piping bag and piped the mortar into the brick and used a tuck tool to smooth everything out. This part was much harder than I anticipated. It took a little bit to find the right consistency to actually pipe the mortar, but once we got the right consistency it made things so much easier. 



6. It's almost there! Our last major step was putting up our trim and painting. We wanted a little depth for our trim and did so by covering the entire bottom half in 1/2 inch paint grade wood and added 1/2x1/4x2 inch wood trim and created a shaker design. After priming all surfaces we used a semi-gloss white paint for the entire fireplace to match our existing trim, attached our dark walnut stained mantle and reattached the carpet and baseboards.  

 I’m in awe of how it turned out and absolutely love it. Since it was our very first time attempting drywall and mudding there are quite a few character marks {as I like to call them}, but I am very proud of what we were able to do on our own. A faux fireplace that actually feels like it was once a real fireplace and not just a phony, wimpy mantle....ah I just LOVE IT!

Of course as soon as it was done I had decorate! Happy Fall!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

PUMPKIN SPICE CUPCAKES

My mom found this recipe a very very long time ago in the newspaper called Paul’s Pumpkin Bars. We've been making these delicious pumpkin bars for as long as I can remember. We have always followed the recipe as is and always in bar form. But for the baby shower I made them into cupcake form and tweaked the frosting in order for it to make piping easier and to ensure the frosting wouldn't slide off. 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
4 Eggs
1 + 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
1 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Using a mixer, combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Beat until fluffy and smooth. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Blend until smooth. Using a large cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
4 to 4 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar

Using a mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add cream cheese and vanilla. Mix until creamy. Add powder sugar one cup at a time until thoroughly mix in. Be sure to scrape down the sides of bowl. 

Happy Fall! 
XOXO



Saturday, September 20, 2014

PRETTY RUSTIC BABY SHOWER

I was so honored when asked to help with my friend's baby shower a few weeks ago. Since moving to NC I've met quite a few beautiful women from our church and have become close to them in the last year. We gave my friend Hillary a rustic themed baby shower using burlap, mason jars, candles, and lace. All while incorporating her baby girls nursery colors: coral and turquoise. It was elegant, simple and so pretty. 

If this isn't the easiest way to handle thank you cards, I don't know what is. At the door we had each guest fill out a sticky note with what they brought for the mama to be, stuck it inside a card and placed the card inside an envelope which they addressed to themselves. It saves the mama so much time. 



The diaper cake was made of Honest size 1 diapers and wrapped in burlap. 

We welcomed all the guests to write a sweet prayer for the baby girl which will later be given to her on one of her milestone birthdays. 









We kept the menu very simple and sweet serving quiche, caramel dipped grapes, bread bowl dip, pumpkin spice cupcakes, caramel popcorn, sweet tea and hot apple cider. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

BABY MUST HAVES: ROUND 2

It’s amazing that just two and half years or so ago I was compiling my wish list for my first baby and how much of it was based on what other people told me to register for and what I supposedly did and didn’t need. First of all, we all have different needs and prefer different things. I tried getting into the cloth diaper thing, it just isn’t for me. I tried every name brand disposable diaper and hated them all and if you’ve been a reader for some time now you know I’m an Honest diaper snob all the way. I registered for washcloths from Babies’R Us.....I hate hate hate them. They roll, don’t ever stay flat, like ever even after you wash them and iron them. Yes, I said iron. I have tried ironing them to stay flat, it doesn’t work. {BTW my favorite washcloths are Thirsties Fab Wipes, they are pretty awesome}
My point is, you’re not going to learn what you like until you’ve used it. Some things you’ll love and some things you’ll hate. I also had several people tell me that it wasn't necessary to register for some nicer items.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You can get by just fine with the cheaper brand.” It’s cheaper for a reason, and it’s usually based on quality.
So this time around I’m tossing some of my less than loved items like those washcloths and I’m snagging some new and favorited ones.


Velour Footed Leggings - These are some of my favorite leggings for baby from BabyGap and they’re perfect for the colder months. They are super soft and cozy. Kensi loved her footed leggings over the last two years and I had to pick up a couple pairs for the new nugget.

4Moms MamarooOver the past week we pulled out our Fisher Price swing while friends were visiting with their babies. We plugged it in and it wouldn’t turn on. The boys took apart the entire thing and found the motor was completely stripped. Awesome. I didn’t care for the thing to begin with, but that just made wanting a new swing turn into needing a new swing. My choice is the Mamaroo. I like the movement options, the functionality and the fact that it isn’t as bulky.

Satsuma Mittens - We used these with Kensi and LOVED them. They were the only little mittens that actually stayed on her little hands. I ended up giving a pair away to a friend who was in need after Kensi outgrew them. These are definitely a must have and make for a great baby gift.

Solly Wrap - I love using a body wraps when we’re out and about. To me it makes it much easier to get things done when wearing the babe and I can only imagine it will make my life easier as I’m with Kensi. Plus a little added weight when walking will help melt a few more pounds off, right?

Inglesina Table Chair - When Kensi was itty bitty we used a table top chair my parents had and once she grew we were given my mom’s vintage wood high chair she used. It’s an antique with no straps and we know it won’t bode well for the new babe for quite some time. We’re getting the Inglesina Table Chair to place at our bar or our dining table. It takes up less space than a full high chair and can easily collapse for travel.

Aden + Anais Dream Blanket - We love all our swaddle blankets we’ve purchased in the last two years and knew we needed one for the babe. Going with one our favorite brands for their breathable fabric and cute patterns.

Moccasins - Another favorite from our first. I love the fact that they actually stay on, they’re stylish and they keep those little toes covered! I’ve always purchased ours from Freshly Picked but I am loving the cute design and patterns from Mini Mocks Shop right now.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

TOO EARLY

Well hello there 2am, 4am and my beautiful restless baby girl who only stopped rolling once I turned on a movie.  We go through spurts of good and bad sleep at our house. The past two nights....bad. I like to think there's some reason for this each and every time, like right now I like to make the weather change responsible, yep it's gotta be the temp change this week, that's the only explanation. But truthfully, it happens every few weeks. Oh wait I know what it is! It's having a toddler {and the weather} :) 
Part of me wonders when we will all actually sleep well again. I know it's not in our near future with the second nugget on it's way. Remember back before kids what sleeping was like? You could literally fall alseep anywhere, have a good deep sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to go? Maybe sometimes you slept in until mid morning on the weekends. Now it's never a deep sleep, you're constantly waiting for the sound of baby steps to come thumping down the hall, you get an inch and half of the bed because the baby sleeps sideways, and by the time 5am rolls around you're usually thanking God it's finally 'morning' and you want to get up because you slept like crap; you're sore and hey you may as well get in some yoga because you'll get sidetracked by the day's needs. 

I wouldn't trade my snuggles for anything, but oh how I wonder what good deep sleep is like...

Zzzzz Zzzzz Zzzzzz 

Oh wait, she's sleeping now but it's yoga time. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Another win for Pinterest goes into the books today. Yesterday I found canned pumpkin on sale at Target and bought half the shelf. In need of some new pumpkin recipes I went searching on Pinterest. Since we have a serious weakness for cookies {and yes we are dunkers for that matter} I looked for something that combined the two. This recipe was simple and very close to my regular, go to oatmeal chocolate chip recipe my mom and I have been using since I was itty bitty. 
Since my larger cookie scoop broke a few months ago I used my small sized one and made the perfect sized cookies for snacks and Kensi. It totally made her afternoon and gave me my chocolate fix for the day and satisfied my fall craving of pumpkin.




2 cups Flour
1-1/2 cups Oatmeal
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
8 oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature 
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup Pumpkin
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer, beat butter and sugars together. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix together. 
In a separate bowl mix flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Add flour mixture a little a time to the butter/pumpkin mixture. Combine until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop dough into small balls and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

TODAY, WE PLAY

Most days I find myself either hanging on the couch, scrolling through Pinterest while Kensi plays or I'm rushing through the house trying to clean and get things 'done'. I don't want to be the mom that doesn't pay attention to her kids playing or have them constantly hear me say "in a minute". I don't want them to feel that getting chores done are more important than sitting and playing with them. Like really playing. Of course I want my house to be clean and I'm still working on a daily to do list to make running the house easier day to day. But today we played and it was worth every dirty dish, load of laundry and crumb on the floor. 
Today she recognized nearly all her numbers 1-10 and she sorted things by size (a daddy, a mommy, a baby). 
She loves playing Starbucks; making me coffee and tea with sprinkles. 
She enjoys coloring A LOT and often wants the crayon I'm using. 
She struggles with large puzzles, but tries her best to fit the pieces together. 
It may drive me absolutely crazy that there are a million different small pieces of toys all over, but she's uses them to create her soup. And it was delicious. 

Today we played. We really played and it was fun. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

28 WEEKS


How Far Along: 28 weeks
Weight Gained: I don’t really know this week 
Nausea: None 
How Am I Feeling: Pretty good!
Maternity Clothes: I’m wearing a mix of clothes; some maternity and some regular
Sleep: Yes, but my legs and arms tend to cramp and I find myself doing yoga sometimes at 2am.
Cravings: Fruit....Grapes have been my jam this past week.
Food Adversions: Pork and Brussel Sprouts......ugh I haven’t even eaten any BS’s, I just saw a picture and it gave me the heebie geebies.
Movement: Still lots of movement.
Belly Button In or Out: Out! It popped immediately around 8 weeks. 
Gender: Unknown. 
Names: Still working on those boy names.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Making pumpkin bars next week, eekk! I cannot wait!
What's Different With This Pregnancy: I’m getting stretch marks :( I got a few small ones with Kens, but the way this baby just curls into a ball has added a lot of pressure to my belly. They’re all around my bellybutton and I’m trying to embrace them....trying, but it’s hard.
What I'm Missing: Still craving that sushi. That may have to be my first meal once this little nugget pops out.
How Are We Preparing: With roughly 10 weeks left we’re trying to figure out our family plans like last minute trips and who’s going to help us when I go into labor.

Friday, September 5, 2014

27 WEEKS

I'm officially starting the 3rd trimester!

How Far Along: 27 weeks
Weight Gained: 14 lbs 
Nausea: None 
How Am I Feeling: Pretty good!
Maternity Clothes: I’m wearing a mix of clothes; some maternity and some regular
Sleep: I’ve adjusted the pillow mountain in our bed and seem to be sleeping now.
Cravings: Fruit
Food Adversions: Pork
Movement: Yes! I've been feeling more and more movements throughout the day.
Belly Button In or Out: Out! It popped immediately around 8 weeks. 
Gender: Unknown. 
Names: We have a few girl names, but still need to work on the boy names.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Decorating the house for fall, my favorite favorite time of year.
What's Different With This Pregnancy: I’m getting stretch marks :( I got a few small ones with Kens, but the way this baby just curls into a ball has added a lot of pressure to my belly. They’re all around my bellybutton and I’m trying to embrace them....trying, but it’s hard.
What I'm Missing: I could really eat some sushi and pumpkin beer right about now.
How Are We Preparing: After Mike’s parents visit we’ll dive into working on things for the new babe.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FALL FAVORITES: TODDLER FASHION

It's almost my favorite time of year and yes we've already started picking up some new items for Kensi's closet. She's nearly outgrown all her shoes and tops (18 months) and I'm excited to add new pieces. Kensi is obsessed with bats and Halloween so when we saw the cat dress from Brickyard Buffalo and bat tee from Gap we knew they would be great for her. 
I also love muted colors for fall like the mustard shirt and fushia polka dot dress. I love that both these colors can really be worn all through winter and even into spring as long as they still fit. They can also be paired with pretty much any black or brown boot or even sparkly Toms for a bit of a toddler fashion twist. 

I've even started picking up a few gender neutral items for Baby B #2. Lots of creams and gray are going on. I'm gushing over the footed velour pants right now at BabyGap because they'll keep the little nugget's toes warm all winter long and it will be one less day I'll have to worry about socks falling off. 
Sprinkles On Top © . Design by FCD.