Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hair Inspiration

So lately I've basically been stalking Pinterest when I have a free moment to try to figure out what I should do with my hair next.

My hair was ah-mazing while I was pregnant. Seriously, the first picture all I did was sleep with my hair in a bun. My hair would do whatever I wanted, and literally stay put for dayyyyyys.

About 3 months after I had Juliet, my hair started falling out like crazy.  I was so disappointed when my long hair started looking stringy and extremely thin. I decided to donate it before it go too straggly for anyone to have use for, and this was the basic idea I had for the cut:

She did a longer version, just above my shoulders, because I had already donated/cut off about 12 inches and I was a little scared to go that short.

Now I'm in a predicament. Every time I cut my hair shorter, it seems like I start to grow my hair out immediately after. I can't decide if I want to go with a medium length cut, or go shorter to the actual style pictured above. Here's some of the hairstyles I really love.

Most of these are about the length my hair is now, just giving it some more style, instead of being all one length.

What do you guys think? Thanks in advance for the feedback :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being a Stay at Home Mom: I Don't "Work"

There's something great about the community you can find online. I'm so blessed to be able to read other blogs by mothers that stay home, or even other women who are able to follow their dreams and work from home. But my reality? Well, it's more than just a little different than the online realm I like to take part in. 

In my "real life," I'm a different breed. None of the women I know stay home, for one reason or another. And you know what? That's okay! I understand that for many different reasons women either can't, or do not want to stay home. Those women are amazing, and they are doing what is right for them and their family. 

In no way is this post meant to belittle the working mom. Those women have responsibilities and hardships that I have not known as a mother, and God willing I won't have to know them.  

But, there are so many articles out there touting that the working mom is such a wonderful thing, that they are better mothers because they work, and so on. I often find myself thinking, well okay, but what about the stay at home mom

It seems like we constantly feel like we have to apologize for being at home. I often see other stay at home bloggers saying things like, I am so blessed to be able to stay at home right now, or things of that nature. Which is totally true! But I feel that we don't need to always be saying that every time we mention staying home with our child or children. Yes, it is a blessing to stay at home, but I also know most of us work very hard and sacrifice a lot to be able to stay at home with our children.

Personally, we have given up a lot for me to be able to stay at home with our daughter. Am I bragging? No. But sometimes I feel like I'm not even able to speak about what we do or how we live our lives because it might offend the moms that don't stay at home with their children. That's not fair, either. 

I feel alone a lot in this world of staying at home because I don't "work" like other mothers. It's funny to say that, isn't it? Because being at home, it seems like the work never stops. Sure, I don't do the 9-5 anymore, but I care for my child from early in the morning until she goes to bed, on top of tending to a house and cooking, among other things. 

Yes, it's monotonous. Yes, I do the same things at the same times every day. Yes, I get tired and I get bored with what I'm doing around the house. But, I love being home with my baby. 

And you know what? Being a stay home mom can be just down right hard sometimes. Being a mom in general is hard. There are days where it just literally just doesn't seem like I can make it through. 

There's those times where the baby has been crying nonstop, your to-do list has reach Mt. Everest height along with your laundry, you've barely slept, and your husband comes home frazzled from work and snaps about how messy the house is. And you just want to break down and cry. 

But then there's no one to talk to. There's no one that quite understands what you're going through, and if you talk to your friends that do work out of the home, it's immediate judgement. You can feel the, "well you stay at home, how bad can it really be?" right in the tone of the conversation. And then you feel guilty about feeling overwhelmed, which just makes you feel completely inadequate. 

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, all you working moms out there, you're great. You do things and juggle things that I have had no experience with. And I commend you for it. But us stay at home moms have a hard job too. A job we hardly, if ever, get any credit for.  That's probably the hardest part of it all. 

And you know what? We're all in the same boat. Us moms need to stick together instead of tearing one another down because of what we do for a living. The one thing that should unite us is the greatest job title of all, Mom. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Balsamic Asparagus Pasta

I'm always looking for new ways to cook healthy meals around here.  Sometimes cooking the same thing all the time just wears on you.

Where else would I look but Pinterest? Recently I've been trying to find meals that are meatless to help also save on the budget. Enter Asparagus pasta! 

Asparagus is so good for you, and it actually helps to detox your body, so I figure that makes up for the pasta dish, right

Yield: 4-6 servings 

1 bunch asparagus
1 lb pasta (I've used both spaghetti and penne with great success)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar 
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put large pot of water on to boil for pasta.

2. Snap the ends off of asparagus, then either cut or snap asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
3. Toss asparagus with olive oil and desired amount of salt and pepper.  Spread asparagus onto baking sheet, making sure asparagus isn't overlapping. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes, or until your desired level of tenderness. When finished, take out of oven and set aside.

4. When water is boiling, place pasta into pot allowing to boil for around 10 minutes, cooling al dente.

5. As the asparagus and pasta is cooking, put vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium heat, reducing to about 3 tablespoons.

6. Add the brown sugar to the balsamic vinegar, then the butter, stirring continuously. When incorporated, take off heat and set aside.

7. Drain pasta, then toss with balsamic sauce and asparagus.  Serve with a healthy topping of Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

I'm linking up for Delicious Dish Tuesday again this week! Check out all the other great recipes shared.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pinterest Mondays: Yarn Covered Initial

Happy Monday everyone! Hope yours started out a little less hectic than ours did. With a baby in the process of teething, a cat that refuses to catch mice, and a little scare from Juliet finding a pill that somehow managed to be dropped, it wasn't exactly the start to my week that I was hoping for. I am happy I get to share with you all today, though!

Welcome back to my series, "Pinterest Mondays," where I have different DIY projects or just show some of my fave things from Pinterest right now. This week, I decided I needed to get some more decorations onto the Mounted TV and Shelves project I did a couple weeks ago.

I found these yarn covered letters for a baby's room on Pinterest, but since I have a Monogram in Juliet's room already, I decided to do our last initial for our shelves instead! This project probably took about an hour, including making the flower that I put on it (tutorial coming soon!).

What you Need:
1 skein of thick yarn
Cardboard letter (I got mine from Joann Fabrics)
Hot Glue Gun
Decoration of some sort

1. Start at one end of the letter, gluing the yarn to the cardboard. Make sure you glue down the entire way around the first couple wraps to get you started.

2. Continue slowly wrapping around the letter, tacking the yarn down at the corners of the letter. This will keep your yarn close to your previous wrap so you won't be able to see the cardboard in between.

3. At the bends of the letters, you will have thicker wrapping because you will have to slightly turn the direction that you are wrapping. This will allow you to cover the entire bend or turn in the letter.

4. At the end of the letter, glue down the last 2 rows completely down so the yarn will not pull off.

5. You have 2 options for the ends of the letters: Paint or glue strips of yarns to the ends.

6. Optional: Put decoration onto the letter. I chose to make a felt flower and add to the letter where I thought my wrapping was a little too thick. Or just pick where you think it looks best!

That's it! It's a pretty easy project, but it's very cheap way to get a little different decoration into your house.

What are some Pinterest projects you've worked on lately? I'd love to hear!

Friday, July 25, 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Wow, has this past week been a complete turn around from last week, and I'm so glad to be able to get together and share it with you all.

1. We started another home project and I'm dying to share with you! I'm hoping we will have it done for this next week, so I can share pictures. Let's just say it involves sand paper, a door, and some very bright paint :)

2. I took Juliet and we went on our first trip to the Farmer's Market yesterday. It went much smoother than I thought it would with just us two, and I scored some great things! My favorite? Homemade sourdough bread with jalapeƱo jelly. Sounds crazy I know, but it's amazing! It's a great mix of sweet and spicy, without too much spice.
Notice Bella waiting for me to drop something :) 

3. I've been loving that it's cooled down again to the low 70s, so I took advantage and went on a long walk around town yesterday morning. There's just something about cool morning air that will get you going.

4. If you follow my Instagram,  you will have seen that I officially have a stander! Juliet is now pulling herself up on anything that she can get her hands on, and is army crawling everywhere. Needless to say, my life has officially changed. She's into everything!

5. I finally made my first green smoothie this week, even though we've been juicing for a while. Man, was I missing out! Seriously, it tastes like a milkshake but is packed with spinach. I'd say that's a win/win!

Linking Up With 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Showing Some Jewelry Love

When it comes to jewelry, I tend to wear the same pieces all. the. time. I get something new, and I wear the crap out of it until I'm bored with it. It's a problem.

I've got a few pieces that are fine jewelry so I seem to wear those more often and because they are more of my newer pieces. I'm always looking at new jewelry but I never pull the trigger, and I don't really know why. Probably because I have a hard time spending money on myself.

If I really am going to spend the money, I'd rather spend it on a handmade business than to big corporate businesses. I'm a huge fan of trying to support local and handmade shops, so why not with my jewelry purchases too?

Here's some of my faves right now:

Check out the Shine Project. Not only do they have beautiful jewelry, but they also use the proceeds to help underprivileged kids go to college. A great way to spend your money. 

Elisabeth Ashlie 

This is a handmade business run by Lauren over at The Lauren Elizabeth. I love the dainty jewelry she makes, and the great thing about these pieces is you can definitely layer a lot of her necklaces! Love versatility in pieces. 

I can't remember how I found Lisa Leonard, but I have loved following her on Instagram, and have been crushing on her jewelry for a long time. I love that most pieces are personalized! Plus, she has great sales on different pieces and special editions ALL the time. 

What are some of your favorite handmade jewelry shops? Any others I'm missing out on? 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy-Peasy Spaghetti Squash

So, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about spaghetti squash when I first saw it at the grocery. But when I found it organic for less than $2, I knew I couldn't pass it up.

This is one of those recipes that I knew I'd have to keep Jay out of the kitchen until it was done. I think he was a little scared with that first bite, but his first comment was, "I can't believe it actually tastes like real spaghetti!" So I think it was a winner :)

It's probably one of the easiest recipes I've made and it could be very versatile, using pretty much any sauce you'd like. I made a plain spaghetti sauce using canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, italian seasoning, a tablespoon of sugar and extra oregano. I'm looking forward to also trying it with some sort of white sauce in the near future!

(Yields 4 servings)
1 large Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil
Sauce of choice

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the ends off, then cut squash in half lengthwise.

2. Scoop out seeds and innards like cleaning out a pumpkin, leaving the sides behind.

5. Coat in olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place both halves with the insides down on a baking sheet.

6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until flesh of squash is soft when poked with a fork.

7. Take fork and lightly pull the flesh from the sides of the squash, which will cause the squash to look string-like aka spaghetti.

8. Place in bowl, top with a delicious sauce, and be amazed by the wonderful taste while knowing you're eating a healthy meal.

Today I am linking up again for Delicious Dish Tuesday. Be sure to check out all the other recipes!

Full Time Mama

Anyone else have any great recipes for spaghetti squash out there?

When You Just Can't

This past week has been hard. Really hard. And I'm not even really sure why. If you follow the blog or any of my social media, you'll notice I took a brief break. It wasn't even on purpose.

Getting up was hard. Staying awake was hard. Taking care of the basic things around the house was hard. Making sure I had enough baby food made was hard.

I was just overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with work around the house, with taking care of my beautiful daughter, and just life in general. I think the craziness of the previous week with losing my grandma caught up with me, and it was just like I couldn't get enough of anything I needed. There wasn't enough sleep, enough time with my husband, or enough coffee to fix how I was feeling.

I think sometimes you just hit a wall.  Even if everything isn't falling apart sometimes just life smacks you in the face. And that was me for the past few days. But I realized I needed to focus on all the good I have in my life right now, and that these feelings will pass.

I am focusing on Juliet, who is getting bigger and bigger by the moment. Who is pulling herself up in the bathtub now, and going to be an absolute handful soon. And I'm loving every moment of it.

I am focusing on my friend, Jacquelyn, that I'm able to share my new hobby of cloth diapering with, and knowing she understands what it's like to be a stay at home mom because she's a great one to her 3 littles.

I am focusing on my husband, who cleaned the kitchen yesterday after I absolutely destroyed it baking and making dinner and who is always here to help when I need him.

I am focusing on God, and how I know no matter what I go through, He will bring me out on the other side. And I'm realizing that this needs to be in the forefront of my thoughts a little bit more.

So, even though I didn't get done what I wanted to this week, including here for the blog, I'm choosing to look forward and know that I can make this week better.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Workout Routine

Lately, I've really been trying to get myself back into shape. Not only for myself, but so I can be healthy for my family.

It seems so hard to find time for it, but I'm doing my best to squeeze in a workout when Juliet is napping, or even when she's up and in a good mood.

When I have the time, I still love to go to the gym or get out and run, but honestly? I mostly do DVD workouts at the house. I try to do high intensity with little/no breaks so I can get the most for my time, without taking hours to get a good workout in.

My absolute favorites for the past couple months have been a few of Jillian Michaels' DVDs. Not only are the reasonably priced, but they are quick butt-kicking workouts that make me feel good about the little bit of time I have to workout.

I started with 30 Day Shred, which I bought in college and finally got through. It's a great one to start out with and all you really need is a set of hand weights.

A few weeks ago I started trying Kickbox Fastfix and it's such high intensity and fast paced that it really flies by. Plus, all you need again is hand weights.

Yesterday I tried Killer Buns and Thighs, and let me tell you, I can barely walk today and I love it. I know I got a great workout in yesterday, and I'm looking forward to another because I know my body is changing.

I've been tempted to try P90x 3 since they are 30 minute workouts, but so far I just can't seem to get myself to spend $140 on workout DVDs when I can get these for maybe $10 a piece. I'm sure I will need some mix up in my routine at some point, so I may end up getting them after all but right now I'm content with the workouts I have.

What kind of workouts to do enjoy? Do you have an ideas for switching up home workouts for me?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

We are really starting to get vegetables from our garden now, which I've been looking forward to since we planted it around Mother's Day. Our zucchini has really taken off! In the past few days, we have gotten 3 very large zucchini, and I've been banking some great recipes that include zucchini for a while now.

The first I was dying to try was chocolate zucchini bread. It is relatively easy, and I had all the ingredients on hand. Plus, it's a great start to my day paired my morning coffee.

And let me tell you, this bread is amazing. I didn't add chocolate chips because right now I am dairy free so it isn't the world's most chocolatey tasting bread, but it sure is good!


3 large eggs 
1 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (1 larger one from my garden worked)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 bag chocolate chips (optional)

Yield: 2 loaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease to 9 in loaf pans and set to the side. 

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and the oil, whisking until smooth. Then add the brown sugar and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly combined. 

Next, mix in the grated zucchini, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. When this is thoroughly combined, set this bowl to the side. 

Take a smaller bowl and whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. Slowly add this mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing as you go. I added it in 4 different batches. When the dry ingredients are mixed in well, fold in chocolate chips. 

Fill pans about half way,  smoothing the top as best as possible. Place both in the oven for about 45 minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaves. 

Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. 

Cut a slice of that delicious bread and enjoy with a piping hot cup of coffee! 

Linking up for Delicious Dish Tuesday! Make sure you also check out my Stuffed Pepper Soup from last week, that was featured on Coping with Frugality today! 
Eat Drink & Be Mary

What are some of your favorite recipes from your garden? I'd love to know.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinterest Mondays: Perfect Baby Shower Gift

I just love going to baby showers. It is so much fun to pick out the little clothes and such, and the mom-to-be always looks so adorable.

When I  go to showers, I like to try to do something crafty for one of my gifts. I'm constantly on Pinterest looking for ideas, and when I saw the onesie cupcakes I knew that's something I would love to try.

So, I went to Meijer and got some great deals on different onesies and a sleeper for all different sizes and 2 pairs of socks. The cupcake holder was also purchased there, but you could get it at any grocery store or craft store.

What You Need:
4 onesies
2 pairs of socks
Cupcake box
Scotch Tape

1. Fold in both sides of the onesie about an inch and half. If it has long sleeves, make sure you fold them down the length of the onesie.

2. Fold the onesie in half after folding the sides in, creating a skinny strip.

3. Put the toe of the sock sticking up at one end of the onesie, and start to roll the onesie as tight as possible around the sock. The sock will turn into the cherry on top of the "cupcake."

4. While holding the rolled onesie, tape with scotch tape to secure the cupcake shape.  Tie with a ribbon for a little flair.

5. Repeat this process for all of the cupcakes.

6. Put in your cupcake box, close, and tie with a pretty ribbon.

If you want all the cupcakes the exact same size, make sure you get the same sized onesies and that they are all either short sleeved or long sleeved. You can also put them into cupcake liners, however since mine were slightly different sizes I decided to tie with a ribbon.

What projects are you working on? I'd love to hear!