Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Time for Thanks

Tomorrow is a family day that I look forward to all year, so I will be taking the day off from the blog and I hope that you will be, too! I thought I'd share with you the reasons I have to be thankful this year. My hope is that I will keep my mind on these blessings throughout this next year. 

1. I am thankful for our second Thanksgiving as a family. 
This will be Juliet's second Thanksgiving, so our second as our little family. Last year we spent it together on the couch eating leftovers and it was perfect. I'm excited to see what this year has in store for us. 

2. I am thankful for having a year of being a stay at home mom. 
I am so very aware that this is such a blessing for me and our family. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to make it work this long, and I will cherish all the time I have left getting to spend every moment with my baby girl. 

3.  I am thankful for a husband that works so hard,  comes home, then works even more. 
Jay really is amazing. He works so hard and picks up any extra hours he can so we can make this whole staying home situation work. He comes home and always helps out. Not to mention that he basically redid half of our house recently. He probably will never know just how much I appreciate and love him. 

4. I am thankful for such supportive parents. 
I know no matter what my parents will be there for me. Not everyone has this type of support, and I don't know where I would be without them. 

5. I am thankful for a family that still gets together for holidays. 
My dad is one of 12 siblings and they all still get together for the holidays. This also includes nearly all of my cousins, and now their kids. I feel like I would be missing out on so much if we didn't do this, and I'm very grateful that I get to spend this time with all of my family. 

There's so many other things I know that I have to be thankful for, but these are the big ones that are really pressing on my mind right now. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Lovely New Coffee

I have a new love affair, and it goes by the name of Shuffle Bean Coffee.

I recently received this coffee to try, and let me tell you, there was no disappointment here! The Trader Joe's coffee that I recently purchased, although very good, is a very bold blend. I love bold, but honestly, it's not something I want to drink every single day and sometimes in the mornings it's just too much.

This blend is perfect! It's what I would consider a medium roast, not too bold but not watery tasting like so many breakfast blends seem to be. It has a more acidic flavor because it is from Costa Rica. The soils in Latin and South America tend to make the beans slightly more acidic, which gives it a good almost crisp taste. (Coffee nerd, I know!)

The acidity isn't overpowering, and there isn't a bitter aftertaste like some coffees, so it's really a well rounded flavor.

At $10 a bag, you really won't be able to buy decent coffee for cheaper. And, bonus! They also have k-cups if that's more your thing.

The great thing about this coffee is that it buys from Rainforest Alliance certified farms, which means they practice environmental sustainability and actually help pay their farmers livable wages. That is important to me when picking a new bean. I try to be as sustainable as possible on our budget, so this definitely makes me a happy camper when I see it.

Want to know a little bit more about the Rainforest Alliance? Click here.

Totally sold and want to get some of this yummy coffee? Check out their website here and order some beans for yourself! Let me know how you like them!

*I received these coffee beans for free, however I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions are all my own.*

Monday, November 24, 2014

Collage Wall & Free Thanksgiving Printable

 I have a collage wall that we started before Juliet was born but is still woefully bare. It's kind of pathetic, really.

Oh, I've had excuses. We didn't have enough frames, money for nice frames, I'm going to buy something besides photos for it, etc. But the truth of the matter is, I'm just not positive what exactly I want hung there!

We've now collected and made enough things that there's really only one spot that needs filled to make it look more complete, but yet again I've been putting it off. Well no more!

I created a wonderful little Thanksgiving quote to place in that area until we decide what else we would like to do with it. Honestly? I'll probably also have a New Years one before I make that decision. Am I indecisive? Well, I don't know...

The best part about this adorable little print is that you guys get one too! I've made a free 8x10 printable version available to all my lovely readers.

I hung mine with some pretty thumbtacks but I love the idea of washi tape also!

Don't forget the wonderful mug swap that ends today! Click here for more information and to sign up!

Friday, November 21, 2014

High Five for Friday

Well, this week took a little bit of a turn that I wasn't expecting. I haven't been feeling the greatest, and my throat has felt pretty swollen and almost like there was a lump when I swallowed. I chalked it up to allergies and possibly getting a cold, but yesterday as I was finishing up what was supposed to be yesterday's post, I go extremely lightheaded and dizzy to the point of nearly passing out.

That, coupled with the now very large lump I felt when swallowing sent me to the doctor, then the ER. Thankfully, they found nothing life threatening, but the lump was an extremely swollen lymph node, over an inch in size.

I'm taking it a little easy today, trying to get plenty of rest and hoping whatever my body is fighting will be better in the next few days. I'm also hoping to get up the post that was intended for yesterday that includes a great freebie!

And after a very lengthy intro, here's my wonderful five on Friday!

1. It's been a negative temperature this week with the wind chill, so sadly even though we got a decent amount of snow here in Ohio, I wasn't able to take Juliet out for her first snowy adventure. Probably for the best anyways, she can barely move in her new winter coat, I'm sure the same will be true of the snow pants. Hopefully she'll grow into them before the snow is gone!

2. This is the last weekend to sign up for the 'Tis the Season Mug Swap 2014 that I am hosting with my blogger friend Katie over at Cup of Tea. It'll be so much fun and all you have to do is sign up! We will email out partners next week on November 26. Then you get to chat a little bit with them, pick out a cute little mug and send it to them by December 10. You will also receive a new mug, just in time for the colder weather and warm beverages. Want more information or just dying to sign up? Click here for all the details. And don't forget to check out some of my fave mug choices here.

3.  I've been trying to cut down on my caffeine intake because I was realizing that I was drinking a little too much coffee, not quite enough water. It's been pretty difficult when I found some great coffee at Trader Joe's over the weekend. It's organic, fair trade, and only $6.99 for a large canister of beans. Pretty much coffee heaven. If you're a coffee lover like me and like your coffee strong, you need to check it out!

4. We've started having major temper tantrums with Juliet. It's kind of crazy how much she has changed just from her birthday a few weeks ago. She's walking so well now and doing all kinds of new things, but with that comes the frustration that she isn't able to do everything she wants yet. She can't communicate with me like she wants, so asking her questions has seemed to help diffuse the situation. Fingers crossed that will continue working, because it's pretty exhausting right now.
1st Christmas in Our House

5. I'm officially dragging out all my Christmas decorations starting this weekend! I'm seriously so excited about it, I can't even explain to you. This will be the first year I will be decorating the entire house, since we took it easy with a small baby last year. I know I don't have enough to decorate really how I want to, so keep an eye out for some DIY Christmas decorations and other goodies coming soon.

How has your week been going? Are you ready for Christmas, too?

Linking up with 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some Mug Lovin'

Have you had a chance to check out the 'Tis the Season Mug Swap 2014 that I am hosting with Katie at Cup of Tea? If not, do it! You won't be sorry. And hey, you may even get me as your swap partner.

I am so excited about the swap and have basically been searching high and low to find adorable mug options for my future swap partner. There's so many cute and quirky mugs out there, I seriously don't know how I'm going to be able to decide!

Here are some of the mugs I've been crushing on:

 I absolutely love the holiday mug line at Starbucks! I was there over the weekend and could have literally bought at least 10 different mugs and travelers. Best part? They come with a great box that you wouldn't even need to wrap! Easy and cute, what more could you want?

Got to have some handmade love in there. Etsy seriously is one of my favorite places to find unique and cute products and these definitely deliver! I also love that you would be able to send these straight to your partner. 

Want to see some more mug inspiration? Check out Katie's picks over on Cup of Tea!

Do happy mugs keep you warm during the winter? Where have you found your favorite? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Whole Lot of Emotions

I didn't think this would be so hard. I thought I was ready for this. I thought it would be harder for her than for me. But it's the exact opposite, which almost makes it worse. I could deal with it better if it was her not wanting to let go, but it's not. That thought hits harder than I ever thought it would.

Juliet is completely ready to end our breastfeeding relationship. 

She doesn't need it anymore--she doesn't ask for it. And honestly? I thought I would be more relieved than I am. Although I have been completely happy that breastfeeding is the route we chose and that we were able and willing to nurse until a year, I never really felt like my nursing relationship with her was ever a total bonding experience for us.

Don't get me wrong, there's something very personal and relational about nursing a baby, but we had such a hard time starting our nursing relationship, and then later when she refused to take a bottle or sippy cup when I would leave has just really made it hard and frustrating at times.

So I didn't think I'd have such overwhelming emotions about this process. We started right around her birthday by cutting out one nursing session in the afternoon and it didn't seem to phase her in the slightest.

Then we just recently cut the second and she has been going down so easily for her naps even without it. My mama heart felt a pang of sadness that caught me off guard. It makes me so sad that in a week or two, I won't be nursing my baby before she goes to bed or first thing when she wakes up in the morning.

It makes me ache that that part of our relationship is soon going to be over. It makes me ache even more that she's content and ready for that to be over. She's ready when I thought I would be. Although I didn't want to wean until she was ready, I guess I just expected her to be a little less adapting to this change in our relationship.

So, I've really been relishing this last few weeks of nursing my very first baby, who really isn't such a baby anymore. I let her nurse a little longer, even let her fall asleep sometimes because I know we won't be doing this for very long. I cuddle with her rocking in our glider longer than she probably needs.

Babies don't keep and this transition in our relationship makes me all too aware of that.

How have you dealt with relationship changes with your kids?

*Don't forget our Mug Swap still going on. Click here for more information!

Friday, November 14, 2014

High Five for Friday

I am so glad that it is Friday again. The days were long this week and I'm glad to be seeing an end. Let's get right to it, shall we?

1. Juliet went to her 12 month appointment this week and she is officially in the 10th percentile for weight! This is huge, because until 6 months she wasn't even on the scales. We jumped from 3.3 to 10 in only ten months, and I couldn't be happier about it. She did great with her shots, too. So all in all a great visit.

2.  The blog got a mini makeover! It's not a huge change, but definitely a change for the better. I now have a contact page, a new and improved logo, and a button for any of my lovely blogging friends to post onto their blogs. Feel free to grab one for yours!

<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank" title="Coffee with Caitlin"><img src="" alt="Coffee with Caitlin" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

3. This week I announced that I am doing the 'Tis the Season Mug Swap 2014 with my blogging friend Katie from the Cup of Tea blog. You sign up, get a partner, send an adorable mug and get one in return. Click here to learn more and sign up! 

4. We had our first official snowflakes in central Ohio yesterday. I've got mixed feelings. I love snow and the anticipation it brings for Christmas. However, I am also remembering the Polar Vortex that had me trapped inside with a newborn for 5 months (yes it snowed and remained cold for that long here last year!) and I'm desperately hoping that I won't have a repeat.

5.I'm desperately behind on laundry. Does that count as something going on for the week? It's sad, but that's currently where I am. We ran around so much for Juliet's "You are My Sunshine" birthday party last week and weekend that this week has just been catch up. Maybe next week I will have something a little more exciting to share with you all.

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

Linking up with 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Wear a Graphic Sweatshirt

Graphic Sweatshirt, 3 ways

1. Old Navy Red Pixie PantModcloth: Flat mary jane shoes / H M chain necklace / 
2. Old Navy Plaid Shirt / Abercrombie & Fitch faded jeans /Target: Merona tall black boots / Modcloth Simple Silver Necklace 
3.Modcloth patterned tights / Kohl's Mudd Slouch cowgirl boots /Old Nacy Ponte-Knit Circle Skirts / H&M Antique Blossoms Necklace

Last week I made a last minute trip to Old Navy to try to find something to wear to Juliet's birthday party. I've lost weight and got into shape, so my "After baby" clothes no longer fit, but some of my "Pre-baby" stuff doesn't really fit either. Some is too big (yay!), and some just won't fit the same now that my body has changed. And to be honest? A lot of my wardrobe prior to having Juliet was still from high school and college, not exactly what I'd like to be wearing now.

So, off to Old Navy I went. While I didn't find anything that would work for the party there, I  did find this adorable leopard sweatshirt on sale. It fit great, and was ridiculously comfortable while still looking nice. Basically all the requirements I have now being a stay at home mom.

The best thing about this top? You can really do all kinds of things with it. I love adding some bright color to it, like in the first outfit with the pixie pants, which are so adorable.

Jeans are obviously a staple for me, so a nice pair of flat boots and a button down underneath adds some pattern mixing and a little pizzaz to the outfit.

You can even dress it up by pairing with a little fuller circle skirt, some tights and a cute pair of boots. Throw on a statement necklace, and you could wear this on date night or out with the girls.

The same idea could really go for any graphic shirts. I love mixing it in with dressier pieces so you have so many more options out of your wardrobe. It's all about versatility!

How would you style a graphic sweatshirt?

Linking up for Three-fer Thursday Link-Up

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"You Are my Sunshine" Birthday Recap

Juliet's "You Are My Sunshine" party really couldn't have gone better, and I'm so excited to finally get to share it all with you!

Saturday went by so fast. There was so much build up to this day, and then in the blink of an eye we were done. It was kind of like our wedding day in that aspect.

I will fully admit I probably went a little overboard. I just can't help myself sometimes. I love all the crafting that goes into it! Plus, I justified by making most of the decorations multipurpose. They can be used around the house, or in her play room.

Throughout the baking process and time crunch the few days prior to the party I kept thinking, "I'm never doing this again!" But as everything went so smoothly during setup and when I even had time to get changed into something nicer and get her into her party outfit, I was so happy that I had done all the party prep. I mean they only turn 1 once, right?

Her outfit came together perfectly, too. I spent a few hours slaving away happily creating her boutique tutu. Half way through that project I seriously thought it was going to look awful. I'm so happy with how it turned out.

Her  custom onesie was made by a cousin of mine that does an amazing job with custom shirts. Check them out on Facebook, Tesi Ts and Painting. You won't be sorry!

Her headband was created from pre-made flowers I found at Hobby Lobby and added to some stretchy lace I had left over from newborn headbands I had made. The  leg warmers were also from Hobby Lobby and jazzed up with some yellow buttons and silver bling. Can you believe she left it on all day?! I was preparing myself for her not to even be in her outfit for more than a few minutes, but she loved it! (Fingers crossed that means I get a girly-girl. I can hope, right?)

Juliet was seriously the perfect child for the party. Probably doesn't hurt that she loves people and all the attention she got during the day. We even planned it during her second nap, which I knew could be potentially disastrous, but she seriously took it like a champ. (Sugar buzz, perhaps?)

Recognize that dot bunting? It's seriously such a cost effective and easy decoration to make for parties or holidays. You will see a Christmas-themed one in the near future, I'm sure!

The pennants were made with a basic triangle pattern cut out of scrapbook paper, hole punched, and strung on some yellow yarn I had left over from another project.

Remember when I showed you how to make tissue paper tassels? I think they were the perfect thing to give some life to some really boring cabinets.

We also used them around the centerpieces, which were wine bottles spray painted with a brushed nickel spray paint. Add some baby's breath and little yellow daisies, and voila! The perfect "Sunshine" centerpieces.

The cupcakes were a hit. I made PB&J, snickerdoodle, and pumpkin for a good variety, then topped with homemade cupcake toppers.

Her cake was probably the most time consuming because the icing took a little more of a practiced hand. She wasn't that overly impressed with it, I think because she rarely gets sweets so she doesn't know what to do with it. I was waiting for her to dig on in, but it never happened.

And just like that, I have a one year old! Thanks for sticking through this photo heavy post. Hope you enjoyed and got some great party ideas for yourself!

***Special thanks to my Dad for taking all the photos during the party so I could focus on little girl :)

What are your favorite details to create for parties?

Monday, November 10, 2014

'Tis the Season Mug Swap 2014

'Tis the season for warm beverages of all sorts, so what pairs better than a pretty mug?

Katie of Cup of Tea is a wonderful blogger friend of mine and we thought that our mutual love affair with hot drinks should be shared with the world.

You sign up for the mug swap, we will partner you up. You pick out a lovely mug for your partner and you receive one, too! Sound great? View the nitty-gritty below.

Note: You don't have to be a blogger to participate! Everyone is welcome.


1. Sign up using the link below by November 24.

2. We will send you your partner's information by November 26. Email back and forth and get to know each a little so you can pick out the perfect mug.

3. Mail your mug by December 10. Make sure the mug is packaged securely so there is no chance of breaking during shipping. When you receive your mug, get ahold of your partner so they know you received it and aren't waiting around wondering whether it got lost! If you don't want to deal with sending, packaging, etc. you can always order online and have it shipped to your partner's address.

4. For the swap to go smoothly, it's important that you follow all the rules. It wouldn't be cool if someone sent a mug and didn't receive in return. If for some reason you are unable to swap, please let us know ASAP that way we can reassign your partner. If you are unable to get ahold of your partner, please also let us know so we can fix the situation immediately.

5. When you receive your mug, share the pants off the thing! Tag the picture on all social media with #tistheseasonmug14. Feel free to also tag Katie and I! we are super excited to see all the mugs everyone receives.

Pretty straightforward, and I really think it will be so much fun. Have any additional questions? Feel free to message or email either of us!

Friday, November 7, 2014

High Five for Friday!

I can't believe it's already Friday! This week really flew by. Well, let's get right into it.

1. Juliet is one today.  She's a whole year old. It's been a whole year since we headed to the hospital and got to meet our little peanut. I still can't get over it! We're heading to a play cafe today and her party is tomorrow. Keep an eye out at the beginning of the week for a recap of all the party goodness. And of course, if you follow on Instagram, I am sure there will be overgramming happening like crazy! 

2. Juliet is also cutting another tooth, of course the week that has been the busiest in a very long time.  Isn't that the way it always works?

3. Last week was so busy with our renovations and working on little one's birthday party that I haven't gotten to share our first trick or treating photos. She was such an adorable little owl, and I swear she loved her costume. It was so much fun to have a reason to dress her up! 

4. I'm almost done with the No Excuse Mom 12 week transformation challenge, and I can definitely see results! I'm excited to share with you at the finish the changes that have come.  The clean eating has really been a lifechanger. 

5. I've been on a baking spree! Seriously it's like therapy for me. All the stress melts away, and it's just so much fun. Pb&j cupcakes, snicker doodle cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes, and mini apple pies oh my! I'm looking forward to sharing some recipes very soon! 

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A letter to you on your very first birthday

With Juliet's birthday just two days away, I thought I would share a letter I wrote to her. My plan is to write one every year and give them to her when she is older. I still can't believe my baby is getting so old! 

My beautiful little Juliet,

You, my dear, came into this world with a bang and just have never stopped rocking my world. You are stubborn, you are smart, and you demand my time, attention, not to mention the demand for me to change. You demand for me to change from thinking of myself, my time, my dreams and put all the effort into you. Every moment you are on my mind. 

And my dear, I would do it over and over again because you are so worth every moment of it. 

I can't believe that it's been a whole year since we nervously awaited your arrival. A year since I tearfully saw you wheeled away and heard your little cries as they stuck you with an IV as you breathed through that nasal cannula in the NICU. 

It's been a year since I brought you home, and stayed awake night and day for months pumping and desperately trying to get you to breastfeed. It's been a year since I worried about you not gaining weight, writing down every diaper and feeding trying to figure out what was going on. 

It's been a year since I started 6 months of not sleeping more than a few hours at a time.

And baby girl, I'd do it all again for you. You're the one that made me a mommy. You've taught me that love is unconditional and bigger than I ever thought it could be.  You've taught me that a sleeping baby on your chest is a cure for anything. You've taught me that my heart can live outside of my body, and that sometimes just looking at you makes the place it used to be ache so very much. 

I've learned no matter what you do, that little smile will absolutely melt my heart every single time.  You are my beautiful little angel here on earth and I swear to treasure and cherish every moment I have with you. 

Happy birthday baby girl. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Happy Little Tutu and Some Updates

Phew, this last week really kicked my behind. I spent the majority of it at my parents' house while Jay worked on our living room transformation. Just being gone for that long of a period of time with an 11 month old is time consuming.

The living room looks absolutely wonderful now! Here's a little sneak peek, but keep an eye out for the full transformation in the next week. (We've still got a few loose ends to clean up.)

Since I've been home, I've been working like a mad woman trying to get some of the details for Juliet's birthday party this weekend. Even though I feel like I planned well to get some adorable DIY projects done, it still always seems a little rushed as parties get closer. 

I still can't believe that she will be one this Friday! My baby is just getting too old. 

A big part of what I've been so busy with is her boutique tutu! To be completely honest, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into! But luckily it came out just what I was hoping for and I was able to make it for a fraction of the cost that I would have ordered one. 

If you would like a tutorial for this project check out this one. It's what I used, and I think she does a great job explaining everything.  

Are you interested in a boutique tutu like this one but don't have the time or expertise to make this happen? Shoot me an email at and we can chat about getting one made for you! 

Check back tomorrow and the rest of the week for more party DIYs and birthday festivities. 

What are your favorite DIY projects for birthday parties?