Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year Ahead


This year begins very different from last year. I have a toddler instead of a baby and I am no longer nursing. (Only since last month but still...) And we are living with my parents as we look for a new house.

Every circumstance in life has good and bad points. I am trying to look for the good in everything. For example, our current living situation. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming not to have our own space or alone time but there are so many good things too. We have live-in babysitters. I don't have to make dinner every night. And as we discuss when to try for our second, I am enjoying just having Audrey. I am enjoying her 6pm bedtime and being able to just give her all my attention. I know that if we do have more children, it will only get busier. One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more diligent with my time since I won't have this much time for quite a few years to come. It seems silly but I think I need to schedule out my days. I can see that I waste quite a bit of time just wondering what I should do. I know I also need downtime during the day so that will be written down too but I just know I can get more done if I see my day written out before me. We'll see how well it will work.

Overall I am very thankful for all the blessings of the past year and praise God for all His mercy and patience with me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Wrap Galore





The gifts have been piling up in my little room here at my parent's house and I have turned my thoughts toward gift wrap ideas. I hope to start earlier this year so I am not rushing to get everything wrapped at the last minute. I really enjoy gift wrapping and rushing takes all the fun out of the whole event. My plan is to get everything ready to be wrapped (in boxes with tissue paper) and then get them all wrapped in a couple nights' time.....while Christmas music plays and hot chocolate sits in a large mug next to me.

I've been scouring the internet and found Creature Comforts blog where there are some lovely ideas for gift wrapping.


There's a great video tutorial on how to make these adorable pom poms. They would make any gift look cozy and adorable.





I just bought a big roll of red and white baker's twine that I'm very excited to use for this year's gifts.




Happy Wrapping!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dreaming of a new home....


Much has happened since I last posted. Forgive me for slacking but things have been a bit hectic. We are no longer in our home and have moved in with my parents.

Let me explain. My husband and I had been discussing the idea of moving. Moving to be closer to family and church. We thought about possibly putting our place up for rent to see what would happen knowing we could move in with my parents anytime (they had a couple empty rooms). After discussing for a few months we finally decided to list. Well, it happened very quickly and within a month of us listing, we were moved in with my parents.

Things have been a little chaotic. We were living out of boxes for a few weeks until we could get everything put away and Audrey's room set up. We actually did not come with as much baggage as we anticipated as we were able to rent out our place fully furnished including linens and dishes. We are finally settling in and I've been dreaming of our new house lately. I'm excited about the prospect of getting new things since we left so much. It has really gotten me thinking about all that I own. I have become more ruthless in purging and selective about what I buy. I'm trying to remember the mantra that a few great, quality pieces are better than a house full of so-so pieces. It's hard sometimes to pass up a great deal but I have to ask myself if the quality is great and if I love it. Moving will definitely help you rethink all you own.

In the meantime, I've been gathering images of great spaces to inspire me.







Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy First Birthday Audrey!



It's crazy to think we have already come to a year. My beautiful baby has become an adorable little girl with a growing personality and curiosity about the world around her. She has taken her first steps a few weeks ago and now practices on and off. She is at about 5-6 steps before falling. She has learned to clap and gets so excited because we get so excited with her. She doesn't say any words but babbles a lot. She says "mama" sometimes but I'm not sure she knows it's me. She has not signed back at all but she definitely understands when I say words and sign to her. She now has eight teeth. Last month she was only pushing three but then five came all at the same time, poor girl. (We used Hylands teething tablets quite a bit those couple weeks and they worked wonderfully) She also waves a lot now especially when we greet random objects around the house. (Her favorite: "Hello Mr. Fan!") She plays with toys with greater interest. She puts blocks in boxes, or any other container she can find and then takes then out again. It's fascinating to watch her develop.

This past weekend we had her second Birthday party. The first was all family at my mom's house but since I had more of a hand in the second one, I thought I would share some of those pictures with you.



Daddy blowing bubbles for all the kids.








There she is with her mini cake that I made especially for her to destroy to her heart's content.
Perfect shot of me blowing out the candle and making sure Audrey doesn't get her hand in the flame.

Mmmm, the first bite of cake. I made her frosting little healthier by just mixing cream cheese with a little pure maple syrup. The cake I made the same for everyone. It's called a Harvest Cake and it includes carrots, zucchini and beets so she still gets her veggies in =)


This is the only shot we have of the cake I made for everyone. It was my first attempt at frosting a cake so it's probably better we didn't get a closer shot.



We put together a wall showing how Audrey has grown every month this first year. Sometimes it's hard to remember how small she was.


The theme was alphabet letters so I used some flash cards to spell her name.



I kept the decorations pretty simple, because it was getting overwhelming and I wanted to enjoy the day rather than be stressed about getting everything perfect. I actually saved all the cards I received at my baby shower and used them to cut circles and glue them onto string. It was pretty simple and easy I still have them up because I think they're really cute.


And a simple cardboard letter. The little felt circle is actually a hair pin but Audrey wouldn't keep it in her hair so I put it to better use :)

Overall I have to say that everything went well and of course we had way more food than we could eat as seems to be the norm with my parties. I also had favors for all the kids that I forgot to take pictures of. I kept them simple also and just bought a book for each child, then tied a ribbon around it and hung a flashcard with their initial. I found a whole bunch of cute books at my Target for $1 which really made for a frugal party favor.

But, I probably won't throw another big party for a long time. I need a break.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Greetings from South Carolina!


Just wanted to pop in and say hello. We are on vacation in S.C. The hurricane has not affected the weather too much. We've only had one day of full-on rain. As you can see my little cutie is having a blast despite her teething. See you later!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy 10 .....and 11 Months Audrey!


At 10 Months:








At 11 Months:


My little cutie is getting so big. I can't believe she's almost a year. Not too much has changed between 10 and 11 months except that she is closer to walking. She can stand on her own for brief periods and has almost taken a step a few times. She doesn't talk yet but I can tell she understands more. She looks at me intently and grunts as if to say something. I've been trying some baby sign language but she has not yet signed back so we'll see if all this signing will actually benefit me at all. She has learned how to give kisses. Which she gives by way of opening her mouth wide and licking my face.... I love it.

I hope to post some pictures as I prepare for her two birthday bashes...yes two. We just couldn't fit all our friends and family together so we have to split them. I have many ideas and plans but as the days progress, I find that I may not have as much time as I thought to get everything done. It may end up rather simple. Stay tuned for some creative posts!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baking Day!




So yesterday I told you about my crazy busy day of baking and I thought I'd share with you the results.

First I made some banana bread muffins and added blueberries to half the batch and chocolate chips to the other half. I used the recipe I found here. They were delicious. My husband, who does not like bananas, also said they were very tasty.




Then I made some english muffins. I know, they look a bit deformed because I crowded the pan when I let them rise and so they all stuck together. There was no good way to pull them apart without messing up the shape. Oh well. They still tasted super yummy. The recipe can be found here. I used the method of soaking your grains as I've been trying to incorporate more of that in our food. I didn't add the cinnamon and raisins because I wanted the option of using them for sandwiches too. The recipe says to use half of the bread recipe to make these but I used the entire recipe just for the muffins because we go through them quickly. I keep about a dozen in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer and pull them out when I need them.

That's all for my baking day. It's a lot of work but I'm always so glad when I'm done and I have yummy baked goodness at my fingertips =)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy 9 Months Audrey!




These are some pictures taken lately of my "big girl". I can't believe she's standing already. She's also full on crawling. Cruising has not yet started though it doesn't seem far off as well as walking soon. It's so crazy to believe we're already at this point.

Right now you may also be asking yourself, Hey what happened to 8 months? Well, 8 months came and went and I was not able to get my act together and actually post about it. It didn't seem that there were too many things to talk about except for crawling on her hands and knees... as opposed to army crawling.

She's almost 21 lbs now so she has already tripled her birth weight which usually happens by the first birthday. She's also tall. I think 26 inches at this point but we have a doc appointment tomorrow when we'll know for sure. (UPDATE: She is actually 30 in. tall now. Wow!) She eats solids about twice a day now and nurses as much as before. I don't mind. I really like nursing now and I think I'll be sad when she weans. It's just so convenient. I've been trying to get more green veggies in her, per her doc, and she seems to really like spinach sauteed with some onion...mmm....who wouldn't like that? Broccoli is still not at the top of the list but she'll eat some of it so I'm ok with that. I tried giving her chunks too so she can learn to bite and chew and will eat carrots and asparagus that way but broccoli annoys her if it's not pureed. Oh well, at least she eats some of it.
I've also just gotten our first batch of veggies from our CSA yesterday and am excited to try some new things with her. First off, swiss chard.

Life is definitely getting more manageable, not because it's slowed down in any way, but because I feel more comfortable with my role as mother and wife. Some days are still crazy. Like yesterday when she was really fussy and I was trying to make soaked english muffins and blueberry muffins and handle being a drop off point for the CSA. My mom also came by to help but Audrey just wanted me to hold her. I think she's going through her separation anxiety phase. I've also been trying to leave her in the church nursery and that hasn't been going well either. Then there's trying to keep the house clean and the laundry done and mixing in some creative endeavors here and there. But the saving grace is that I have some down time in the evenings. Audrey goes to bed around 6-6:30pm and usually sleeps til 5-6am. She's been getting up at 5am lately and I suspect it's because of the sun rising so early. I tried to make her room as dark as I could but light still comes through the bottom of the door. It's not terrible though as I can usually put her right back down after nursing and changing and she'll sleep until 7:30-8am. Either way, I love my evenings to just relax. Some nights I still have work to do but I try to keep the nights free to regain some sanity.

Overall, I'm looking forward to all her new firsts. I've been working on having her say "Mama", but nothing yet. Though I have been getting an "mmmm" out of her. Could this be the beginning? It's either that or she wants milk.

I'll post some pictures of all the baking I did yesterday. I know it's not a food blog but it was so much work, I need some recognition =)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nursery Colors


So I've been trying to figure out how to "finish" Audrey's nursery. All the essentials are there but the design is not yet finished. Mostly it's because I haven't been able to finalize the color scheme. The walls are a light sky blue color and the curtains are green and white. Her mobile has some pastel colors in it including the blue, green and white but I was debating on what accent color to bring in. I have a couple things with orange in there that look cute but I also love yellow as an accent and then I thought I should bring in some pink so it somewhat resembles a girls room. (I'm trying to avoid the obvious pink girl's room) I liked the idea of a room that has soothing colors. Enter the picture above. I found it on marthastewart.com and it has all the colors I was thinking of putting into the room but wasn't sure how. Why not add them all?

I love the vintage aspect to this room and though it uses so many colors, the muted tones still make it look simple and soothing and fun. Plus it has the same wall color so I can clearly see how all the colors will work. I also love the polka dots. Maybe I can find a way to bring those in somewhere. Now to find the time to get this done.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy 7 Months Audrey!






My precious little girl is 7 months old! She actually turned 7 months last week but it was such a crazy busy week planning for my sister's baby shower and me feeling sick and Audrey barely sleeping that blogging just was not on the agenda. I was in survival mode. Somehow I did survive but there were many days I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Yet here I am ready to tell you how Audrey has grown. She seems to have made a big leap in the past month in terms of mental and physical maturity. She is very mobile now though not yet crawling. That is not far off I suspect. She has been rolling back and forth all over the place and I can't leave her for very long because she will find her way under the couch or on the other side of the room. She was starting to roll both ways but has only really started consistently a couple weeks ago. We were at my mom's for a few days and she has a big living room area where Audrey was able to practice her new skill. She can sit up now on her own and tries to get on her hands and knees from the sitting position. A couple times she actually stayed on her hands and knees for a bit but usually just plops back on her tummy. Recently she has been finding ways to maneuver herself across the floor to get to a toy. It's very funny to watch.

She is also very alert. She stares at things and people and new places for long periods and I wonder what is going on inside her head. We were at the doctor yesterday and she hadn't grown much in weight since a couple months ago but has grown 2 inches in height. She is going to be tall like her father...and I will feel super short between the two of them but Ovi is excited about her prospective sporting abilities.

She has been eating some solids. So far just carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. I pureed them and am almost done with the batch. She still doesn't like them all that much but she eats them more easily when she sees me eat. Now I understand why her pediatrician told us to put her at the table with us when I feed her. She learns through imitation. When I try to put the spoon in her mouth, she grabs onto it and pulls it into her mouth after she has seen me put something in my mouth. It's so fascinating the way they develop. I'm trying to let her hold the spoon and experiment with putting it in her mouth on her own. I does get messy but I think it's important for her to feel she has some control. I also don't want her to have any bad associations with meal time. I have also been trying to incorporate some baby-led weaning ideas. I gave her a half of a steamed carrot to chew on and she liked it. She didn't really eat any of it but she really liked sucking on it. I sometimes bit off a piece and chewed it a bit and put it in her mouth and she ate some that way. I'm slowly working up to giving her pieces to put in her mouth but it still makes me nervous so I'm taking it slow.

I'm also happy to report that after a gruesome week of waking up multiple times in the night and not going back to sleep, Audrey is sleeping through the night again this week. He bedtime is about 6:30 pm and she sleeps until about 6-7am. Sometimes she wakes up around 5 but that's only been once this week =). It's an early bedtime as everyone keeps telling me but I've had to keep moving it up as she just gets so tired by the end of the day. She just needs more sleep than the average baby. She still takes about 3 naps a day, sometimes a fourth if she's extra tired and has had short naps all day but that's more rare now.

Now the next step is to try and start teaching her sign language so she can communicate before she can talk. It may be a few months before she signs back but I think now is a good time to start.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Organizing Idea: Recover boxes for Storage


Today I thought I'd share with you an organizing idea....on the cheap. (I love those words.) I've been working on organizing the bedroom closet, yes, it is taking quite a bit longer than I thought. Audrey has had some rough nights leaving me with little energy to do anything else besides brush teeth, have coffee and care for Audrey (not necessarily in that order.....coffee first?) So, as I've been working on getting back on track with that I realized I needed some pretty storage boxes to keep in the closet for random small things. I looked around at what I have as I always do anytime I need something new. I realized we had many boxes lying around and I had some old hatboxes that have seen better days. Rather than buy new storage boxes, I thought I would try recovering some of what I have with wrapping paper and see how it goes. I have to say I am happy with the result. Although I am rethinking my choice in paper. But I figured this is a pretty good start and I can always change the paper later...if I get the time.

I thought I'd give you a step by step on covering the hatbox, as that was a challenge at first to make it look nice.

Here are the hatboxes before:




The first thing I did was cover the bottom of the box. I traced it on the back of the paper and cut about an inch outside the line.



I glued the bottom using a strong glue stick and cut the overhang into strips.
Then I glued each strip separately in order to ensure it fit nicely around the bottom.



The next step was to cut a long strip along the side, again leaving some overhang that will be glued just inside the box.




After gluing the long strip around the box I cut the top overhang into strips again and glued each down into the box.

You can use the same method to cover the top of the box. And here they are:
I also covered a regular box we had from some shipment we received.
And I used the flaps that I cut off to make a divider in the middle.

So, that's how you do it. It's really not hard once you get started. I didn't even use a tutorial. I just started covering. This is a great way to reuse any boxes you may have from ordering things online, or if you've moved recently.

Have fun!