Friday, August 29, 2014

High Five for Friday

Hey guys! I'm so glad to be saying that it's Friday! This week went by pretty fast, but who doesn't look forward to a long weekend?

1. We went to go look at jogging strollers the other day at Once Upon a Child and thought we had found an amazing deal. That is, until we got there and the stroller as as old as me! Needless to say we are still on the market. Anyone have ideas to find a very well priced one? 


2. We celebrated my Dad's birthday this past weekend by going out to eat at First Watch. It was a great time and Juliet was in such a good mood the whole time. I think it really made Grandpa's birthday perfect :) 

3. Juliet got her first tooth! It's not really popped through enough to take a picture of yet, but it's there. I was beginning to think she was never going to get them. 

4. Our backyard chickens have gone crazy. Apparently the first year they can be really loud. Our golden one, named Big Bird by husband, is the biggest loud mouth ever. She carries on until I have gone out there and usually have to let her out. Supposedly she will calm down.

5. Our den is slowly, and I mean slowly, making it's transition into our playroom. We have a built in on one side of the room and this week's project has been going through it. I deep cleaned the whole thing, got rid of a ton of books, and am donating all the formula I've gotten as samples that I've been keeping "just in case." I'm so excited to get our diapers out of our bedroom and finally have it back to ourselves!

How has your week been? I'd love to hear!


Linking up with 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A 12 Week Fitness Challenge

I've posted a few times in the past, but I've really been motivated to get myself back into shape after Juliet. For that matter, I really want to get myself into better shape than I was before I got pregnant.  I'm hoping to be strong and healthy, without trying to focus on my weight as much.

To be perfectly honest, Juliet will be 10 months on September 7 and I've hit a plateau the past month or two. I can tell I'm toning up a bit but my weight hasn't changed and my clothes aren't fitting that much better. It's frustrating when I'm working out 5-6 days a week.
Source

And then I found Maria Kang on Facebook. I remember when her photo went viral and there was all kinds of comments about it but at the time I wasn't pregnant and not super interested in being healthy.

Source


No Excuse Mom is starting a 12 week fitness and health challenge and it's just the thing I need to get jumpstarted off this plateau! The challenge starts on September 1st, costs $20 to enter,  and you can potentially win a large prize. To find out all the details and the rules for the contest, click here.

I'm planning on showing my progress and some of my clean eating meals throughout the whole process. I'd love to connect with others that are interested in doing something of the same nature!

Let me know if this something you are doing yourself, or if you have any tips for me starting a clean eating journey!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Crafting a Shadowbox

Shadow boxes have always been a way to capture a moment for a life time. Instead of special momentos stuffed into a box or in a scrapbook sitting on a shelf, you are able to see and remember those moments all the time.
I knew I wanted to make shadow boxes for both Juliet and for our wedding, but I've had such a hard time finding white shadow boxes that I wasn't going to be paying a lot for. 

I finally found a baby shadow box on sale at Kohls for $13.50 and knew I had to scoop it up! I planning on going back and getting one for our wedding too, since it was such a great deal. 

I used scrapbooking paper to cover the back since I didn't use the mat that came with the box. 

This box also came with little glue squares to help you design without worry about things moving. If you don't have those come with your shadowbox, you can also use glue dots or very carefully glue with hot glue. I'd recommend the glue dots. They are a few dollars and will last you through many projects. 

I love how it turned out! What moments would you want to view every day? 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Upcycling an old Jewelry Holder

I just love putting little bows and headbands on my daughter. The problem is I am constantly misplacing them.

I've looked at multiple different DIYs for headband/bow holders, and was just about set to make one similar to this: 
But then I went through some old bins and voila! I found my old jewelry organizer from college.


I took some spray paint that I already had, then replaced the brown ribbon with pink, and it works perfectly with her bedroom!  

The little shelves work perfectly to place her bows on for now, and I figured I could add a ribbon to clip them on coming from the back if I needed more space. 



What pieces have you upcycled for your home? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

High Five for Friday

So excited to be welcoming another weekend over here!

If you've noticed, I've been a little quieter over here this week because, well, it's been a long week. Jay is working 2nd shift again, so Juliet and I are on our own for the hardest part of our days. My schedule is all off having him home in the morning instead of the evenings, so instead of giving you posts to just fill space, I decided it'd be better to just have a few more posts. 

Anyways, on to my High Fives! 



1. Last Friday I finally got my hair cut! It's a little different than I had planned, but it's been so much fun so far. I'm planning on growing it out a decent but after this, so I'm glad I got it shorter one more time. 

2. We have a wedding this weekend, so I've been pumping since I'm still breastfeeding. It should be interesting because Juliet absolutely refuses to take a bottle, but drinks water out of a sippy cup. Fingers crossed she will do the same with milk. We haven't really left her all day like this since the last wedding we were a part of in March, so I'm a little anxious that everything will go okay for my parents. 

3. I've got all kinds of DIYing going on over here this weekend and I'm so excited to get to share multiple projects with you this next week.

Can't get over this face! 
4. I've started slowly planning Juliet's birthday party. I can't believe her birthday is getting so close, and that in about 2 months it'll be a whole year since I gave birth. Crazy! If you want to see some of my inspiration so far, check out my Pinterest board

5. We decided to re-paint our living so we took a trip to Lowes last weekend. Man, can you get sucked in there. We found so many different projects we'd like to do on top of picking some colors to think over. So much fun to plan all the things you may do someday! 

How has your week been? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baked Oatmeal

I have been in a cooking rut lately, especially since Jay has been working 2nd shift. I'm the only one I'm cooking for at dinner time so eating together means breakfast.

I found this recipe for Baked Oatmeal from Money Saving Mom and it sounded delicious! My husband loves oatmeal and the recipe seemed pretty healthy. And the best thing? You can easily freeze it! 



Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter), melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
3 cups oats 

Mix together coconut oil, eggs, and sugar. When thoroughly mixed, combine with baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. 

Stir in oats and milk. Then place in 9x13 greased pan and allow to sit in fridge overnight.  In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until middle is completely set.  

Serve warm. Pour milk over or eat plain! I enjoyed it both ways.

To freeze, follow directions above but cover container with tin foil and place in a freezer bag. Place in fridge to thaw overnight, and bake as usual. 

This recipe really was wonderful! What are some of your go-to family breakfasts? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dreaming of a Playroom

Has your house been taken over by all things kid/baby? I know ours definitely has. Even though we've really been trying to keep things neat and everything has a place, it's just not relaxing to see all those toys or diapers and changing pad when we want to relax in the evening.

Enter our non-functional den. Jay and I had always thought about doing something in the room, but we just didn't know what. So we've decided to create a playroom!

 We want to be able to go in and play with Juliet but be able to keep all the toys  in one place. Even if we bring it out into the living room sometimes, there would be a place the toys would go and we could have "grown up" space. 

Here's some of the things I've found that I absolutely love for a playroom! 
Source
I just love all the bright colors, the pennants, and the cute little table in this room! 
Sourcc
I am for sure doing an alphabet wall and I love how she did this. 
Source
I love the teepees and the fact that she made a pretty great playroom for such a great price. 

Check out more inspiration on my Pinterest board

Do you have a designated space for toys and for your kids to play? What works for you? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Man, am I glad to see this weekend come! This week has been interesting because my husband is currently working second shift, so our whole schedule has been completely thrown off. It's actually been harder than I thought it would be, so I'm thankful that the week is drawing to a close.


1. I'm finally doing it! I will be heading to get my hair cut in a couple hours, and I'm so excited. I think I know what I want, but I will probably tell the stylist to do what she thinks is best. Make sure to check Instagram later to see the results!

2.I've had a love affair with my old Mr. Coffee espresso machine this past week. I don't know why it took me so long to try it out again, but I'm so glad I did. I even shared my favorite way to make a latte yesterday!

3.  Jay has the day off today, which means that not only do I get to go to the salon, but I will be making my first ever stop at Nordstrom Rack today. I desperately need a dress for a casual wedding next weekend that's nursing friendly, so fingers crossed.

4.  I got to spend some time with my aunt last night, which was so needed. We are very close and it was nice to just have a break and talk. It definitely left me feeling refreshed.

5. My poor pup has seasonal allergies. She is sneezing like crazy. I am getting her a much needed grooming on Monday and I think it may be time to get her an allergy shot too. I'm hoping that will do the trick, she seems miserable.

How has your week been? I'd love to hear!


Today I'm linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth, The Diary of a Real Housewife, Meet @ the Barre, and September Farm.


 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.pngThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Perfect (Homemade) Latte

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, than you know that I recently rediscovered my love for my espresso maker. My mom gave it to me a long time ago, but I had never really gotten the knack for making it so it sat in a cupboard.

 I am currently dairy free, so it's been a struggle to find a great latte when even soy milk causes a reaction in my nursing daughter. I was looking into a frother, which I saw mentioned on Money Saving Mom, when it dawned on me that I should try my espresso machine one more time before I shelled out money for anything else.

 I found the directions and re-read how to steam the milk, and I was instantly thrilled with the results! 


Using my Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine (similar here), I first start by grinding my favorite Starbucks espresso, then pack the grounds into the basket.

 Then, using filtered water, I fill it to the desired amount and allow the machine to make the espresso. While that is taking place, I pour almond milk into a juice glass so it is ready to be steamed.

 I prefer a slight sweetness to my lattes, and I found a bottle of hazelnut syrup at Walmart for a dollar. Talk about a score. I don't measure, so I simply cover the bottom of my mug.

 As soon as the espresso reaches the line of desired cups, MAKE SURE YOU TURN IT OFF. This may sound like common sense, but since I usually use a coffee pot, I'm used to just letting it go. This will cause all your steam to seep out and also ruin your espresso.

 I then pour the espresso into the mug with the syrup so the espresso won't burn.

 Finally, I put the milk with the wand all the way to the bottom of the cup, turn the steam on, and allow it to steam for about 30 seconds. Then, slowly pull the cup down to have the steam wand towards the top of the cup of milk, which creates the wonderful foam.

 Pour the milk over the espresso, holding the foam back. Spoon foam on top, and voila! A delicious latte made at home.

 Don't have an espresso machine or don't want to splurge on it? Consider a frother, like this one, and brew your espresso in a coffee pot.Make sure to double the amount of espresso compared to the amount of coffee you generally use in your coffee pot for the proper strength. Otherwise your latte will be very watered down.

 I'm looking forward to trying all different types of creations with this little wonder! What is your favorite way to take your coffee?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Finding Great, Affordable Clothing

If I could go shopping every weekend and just really expand my wardrobe, I would absolutely be in heaven. But, that is not my life. I stay at home, I have a baby, and we are definitely on a budget. Add into that mix that I'm nursing and not the same size as I was pre-baby (but getting close!), it really makes you dream about hitting the jackpot and going on a shopping spree.

In reality, I'm constantly looking for great deals that I can use for this transitional period in my life, and hopefully even after! One of the best places I've found has got to be The Chic Orchid. At other stores I can only buy things at a pretty good discount, here I can buy pretty much whatever I want without having to only scan the clearance section.

Here's a few things from Chic Orchid that I'm really loving:

Love this skirt! I feel like it could go with so much and could be both dressed up and dressed down. I'm really hoping that she gets the statement necklace in this outfit back in stock, I definitely missed out on a great deal there, and it's adorable.


Nearly this whole outfit is available, and I LOVE it. Skirt, top, and shoes are all available at great prices! 

The stock is changing constantly, so make sure you check back often!  I'm sure she will be stocking back up for the fall very soon, I'm really excited to see what I can get my hands on then.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making over A Front Door

Welcome back to another week and another Pinterest inspired DIY! A few weeks ago I had hinted that I had a big DIY project that I was so excited to share with you, and now it's finally time to show it off!

We are always looking for ways to improve our house and make the place even more ours. One of the things I've been dying to do was paint our front door. It was a hunter green, and really not well done at all. I browsed Pinterest (of course!) for a while, and finally found one that I simply adored!
Website No Longer Available


After convincing my husband, the one who thinks everything should be white, we dived right in! First, Jay gave our door and the side light a good sanding.
As you can see, there were bare spots where the previous owners changed out the hardware.
Plus, the handle was rusting! 

Next, he did multiple (ahem, 6) coats on the door, we now have a lovely bright yellow door!


I love it so much, and I think the oiled bronze handles really make the door pop.  We also painted the frames around the windows a nice bright white to help make the door pop.


I can't wait to continue giving the front porch a makeover! Keep checking for more projects.


Paint : Valspar Duramax  in Field of Daisies
Door Hardware: Kwikset 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Liebster Award


Hey all! Kat over at  Lemonade Linings nominated me for a Liebster Award, and I'm very excited to be participating.  This is an award passed from blogger to blogger so we can get to know each other better, and our readers can learn some more about us!

So, I will tell 11 random facts about myself. Then Kat gave me 11 questions to answer. Finally I'll pick bloggers for the award and give them 11 questions to answer. Notice a pattern, right? Whew. Okay, let's get this started! 

11 THINGS ABOUT ME
1.  I grew up in one of the smallest towns in Ohio. Seriously. I graduated with 36 kids in my class.

2. I'm an only child.

3.  I absolutely hate grocery shopping with a passion. I put it off for as long as possible, and then buy as much as we can so I don't have to go again.

4.  I love to draw, but rarely give away any of my artwork because it seems to take sooo long. My husband is one of the few that has a piece :)

5. I'm in the process of really going green in my personal life. I'm trying to use less chemicals and eat as much organic, real food as possible. It's definitely a journey.

6. I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.

7. One of my favorite things to do is bake. I don't do it too much, though, because of #6.

8. I get so excited when people spell my name correctly! I also tend to buy those little knick knacks that have your name on them if I can find it because it's so so rare.

9. My husband and I watch entirely too many documentaries, usually about the most random topics.

10. I love to hike and do outdoorsy stuff, but I seriously hate bugs.

11. My favorite way to fall asleep is reading a book. 

KAT'S QUESTIONS
1. If you could only eat one food for a whole week, what would it be?
Before, I would have probably said pizza. BUT, eating healthy=no pizza, so definitely watermelon. I went through one a week at least while I was pregnant. 

2. What is your biggest fear?
Well, I'm not really sure what you call it, but I get extremely freaked out after watching Law & Order:SVU or documentaries about serial killers or cults or anything of that nature and every noise I hear I think someone is trying to kill me. I know it's ridiculous but I still have these insane fears of every noise. 

3. If a movie was made about your life, what actress would portray you?
I think probably Zoe Deschanel, ala New Girl. Mostly just because I think she's hilarious in that show. 

4. How do you spend your ideal Saturday?
I love getting to spend time with friends, and going to the farmer's market always makes it an enjoyable Saturday! 

5. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Ahhh so hard! I love The Breakfast Club, The Notebook, and The Star Wars series pretty equally. (I know, total opposites right?) 

6. What is the most important thing you've learned since starting your blog?
I think I've learned just how much time and effort goes into your posts and keeping up with everything else that goes with it. I've also learned sometimes it's okay to take a step back instead of just trying to crank out posts for the sake of posting that day. 

7. What is one item you're dying to have in your closet right now?
I am dying for a pair of the crochet Toms. I have had my eyes on them forever

8. You are given a $100 gift card to Target. What do you buy?
I would buy curtains. Such a boring purchase! But it's definitely something I won't spend my own money  on, but would love to get some up in our bedroom finally. 

9. Where is one place you haven't been that you'd love to visit on a vacation?
I would love to travel to Ireland. It's so beautiful, and people that have been there say it's such a great time. 

10. If you could only be active on one social media account (blog not included), which one would you choose?
Oh, Instagram  hands down. That's the one that I always check when I'm bored, and I think it's the most fun. I'm very visual, even though I feel like I've been slacking on mine a little lately! 

11. Cats or dogs?
I prefer small dogs, otherwise probably cats. I have both! 

IM NOMINATING:

Ashley at Perfectly Scrubbed
Amanda at Kids and Cabernet
Lindsay at The Newlywed Notebook
Carly at Carly Blogs Here
Karly at Miss in the Midwest 


MY QUESTIONS 
1. If you could buy one thing and money wasn't an issue, what would it be? 
2. What is your favorite season of the year? 
3. What is one thing in your closet you couldn't live without? 
4. What made you want to become a blogger? 
5. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? 
6. What blogger(s) do you look up to? 
7. Do you have any obsessions? 
8. What's your favorite guilty pleasure? 
9. Favorite magazine? 
10. What is your biggest fear? 
11. Tea or coffee? 

Until next time! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What a Sleeping Baby Taught Me



At night, Juliet and I head up to her bedroom and rock in the glider while I nurse her. She often falls asleep. The other day I just sat there with my baby laying on my chest, and I realized that this is a moment I wanted to remember; to treasure.  I wanted to breathe in her smell and cuddle her up to me.

These moments too often get overlooked or brushed over until they are gone. And you long for them. You miss them. You want them. 

Days are so very full when you have babies. It's easy to just wish these times away, to when life will be more predictable, when you will get more sleep, when your life won't be tied to a nap schedule.  Precious little moments slip through the cracks of sleep deprivation and the longing of having just a moment to yourself. 

I look at Juliet and just can't believe how fast she's gotten to 9 months. It makes me long for the little newborn that only wanted to be in my arms. It makes me miss my tiny baby that slept in my room. I look at the little girl that is always on the move and I know it's going so fast.

My sleeping baby taught me not to take for granted these moments I'm having now. These every day moments that will pass by all too soon. Soon I won't be able to cuddle my baby to sleep, soon I won't be nursing her, and all too soon I won't be leaning over the crib trying to place my sleeping angel carefully into her crib so as not to disturb her. 

So I will hold my sleeping baby a little longer and etch this feeling, this moment on my heart.  I will memorize those squsihed little cheeks and the little sigh she gives as she relaxes into me. I will remember the feeling of utter exhaustion but complete love for this little human laying against me. And I'll smile, because I know this moment is a moment of a lifetime. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

What to do when your garden is giving gigantic zucchinis? Well you stuff them of course! Honestly, this was one of the few newer recipes I've tried that I was excited about from the get go.



Ingredients:
1 large zucchini
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb sausage (or ground beef/turkey)
Shredded cheese of choice
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the ends off the zucchini, then slice lengthwise.
2. Scoop out the insides of the zucchini, almost like cleaning out a pumpkin.  You want to get all the guts and seeds out and even some of the flesh. You need enough room to be able to stuff the zucchini pretty well.
3. Brown the sausage, onion, and garlic in a sauce pan until browned. Season with salt and pepper as they cook.
4. Lightly coat the inside of zucchini with olive oil and place on a nonstick pan. Put sausage mixture into zucchini. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper on top of zucchini boats.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until you are able to pierce the zucchini with a fork. Turn off oven, sprinkle cheese on top of zucchini, and then allow the heat to melt the cheese. It will only take a few minutes.

Enjoy this delicious new way to get your veggies in!



Linking up this week with Delicious Dish Tuesday.
Eat Drink & Be Mary

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pinterest Mondays: No Sew Knotted Headbands

Happy Monday! I hope your week has started off well and that you are ready for another great DIY project.

I have always had a great love for headbands, both for myself and now for my daughter. I've made a few simple ones for her, but I've been looking for something that was different than just the typical bow or flower on elastic. Enter the knotted headband! 

I have some old tshirts I've kept for crafting projects, so that's what I used for this project.You can really use any fabric you would like. Get creative! Chains of crocheted yarn, rope, really anything could work for this project.


What You Need: 
Tshirt (or material of choice for headband) 
Rotary cutter or scissors 
Hot glue gun

1. Cut just below the armpits of the tshirt, making two strips. I cut mine 1 1/2 inches thick. 
Left- Unstretched
Right- Stretched

2. If using a tshirt or jersey material, stretch the material. 

3. Make a loop with your first strip. Right side should be laying over the left. 


4. With the next strip, lay in a u shape just below the first strip. Then, take the right side and go underneath the right side of the first strip. 

5. Now, the left side of the lower piece will go directly under the looped part of the first piece, with the tail to the right of the loop.


6. This is the tricky part. Take the right side of the bottom piece, and thread under the left side of the bottom piece in the middle of the loop. 

7. Pull on each end gently to tighten the knot evenly. 

8. Measure on your head, or the child's head to see where/if the ends should be trimmed. 

9. Glue the ends together. Then, take a small piece of the fabric and loop around the glued end to make it soft. 


That's it! Such a cute headband can be made fairly quickly and easily. This headband is great for adults too, so it's really a universal tutorial. 



Note: if you use rope or something without stretch, I would recommend attaching some elastic to the ends where it would meet behind your head to make it go on easier. Cover the ends you glued with something decorative and it'll still look great!

Linked up for Monday Funday