Our Weekend…

   What a wonderful, relaxing, low-key weekend we had. I usually always go out of town for Memorial Day weekend, so it was nice to stay home and spend it together as a family. It was especially nice having Landon home for 3 days. We were able to get a lot of stuff done that has been on our “to do” list and I know Brynlee loved having the extra daddy time.

We kicked off the weekend with a BBQ and some pool time over at Landon’s sister’s house on Friday. Brynlee loved the pool and spent most of the time splashing and crawling back and forth along the first step. I spent most of the time sitting on the second step following her with my hands out. But it was a lot of fun to see her experience this new thing and see how excited she got as she splashed about.

Then Saturday we spent the day finally hanging our gallery wall along our staircase. Yes… you read that right, we’ve lived in this house for 4 years and had not yet done our gallery wall. Actually, all of our walls are a little bare. We always comment on it, but never seem to do anything about it. I just finished reading Nesting Place, which is all about making the home you live in your dream home instead of waiting for your actual dream home before you decorate and it really hit home for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home, but when we bought it we called it a starter home (and have continued to do so) and I guess I just kept waiting to do anything until we moved to another. However, with me quitting my job, moving is going to be out of the question for a while so I’m going to put my efforts into making this our dream home. Anyway, to get back on topic, we finally got to the gallery wall, it still isn’t finished, but I wanted to start it so I could see what else it needed. I would like to find some things that are not square, maybe make some sort of stitch art and hang it in its hoop on the wall. I’m not sure, but I figured I would just let it grow organically from this starting point.

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Once we got the frames up on the wall the blank spot at the top of the stairs just seemed to glare at me. It was like hanging those frames highlighted the fact that when you glance up the stairs there what a huge blank wall. So, on a whim, Saturday night once Brynlee went to bed I decided to remedy that. I’ve always admired book page wreaths and wanted to make one, but I  had a hard time settling on the concept that I would have to destroy a book to do so… I love reading and for some reason I just felt like I was doing something wrong if I tore the pages from a book. Well, that was another thing that Nesting Place taught me, to not feel wrong about doing something you like, no matter what anybody else might say. I have a few books that I have multiple copies of just because people had given me theirs, so I thought why not just use one of those. And that is how Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire got turned into a wreath. Landon thought it was funny I was using a Harry Potter book, but I figured no one was going to be looking at my wreath to read the pages so what did it really matter what book I chose. I absolutely love how it turned out and now I frequently stare at the top of my staircase just to look at all of the pretty things we’ve hung instead of turning a blind eye like I have for the past 4 years. Like the gallery wall, this space needs more work. I’ve been looking for a narrow apothecary cabinet or something that won’t take up too much space, but I think I might just have to hang a shelf instead. I also want to recover that glass vase at the top and put some decorative branches or something it in. I had a lot of fun decorating this weekend, especially since all of my projects were free! I will post the details on how I made my book page wreath with just stuff I had around the house later this week.

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The rest of our weekend was spent doing our normal errands and cleaning out a few closets. I couldn’t believe how much stuff we got rid of. I guess when it is hiding in the closet you just seem to forget about it (or I least I did). But it feels a lot better to have lightened our load and I always love making a space more organized.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend. We got in a ton of family time and played a lot with Brynlee. She started walking using her walker and can’t get enough of it! She loves zooming all over the place. She isn’t very good at steering yet and gets mad when she hits a wall or a chair and can’t move forward. She will keep pushing and making grunting noises like she thinks if she keeps trying that wall will magically move and she will be able to continue on. And she has the biggest smile on her face the whole time! It is adorable! I love watching her learn new things! I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend as well!

Brynlee’s 11 Month Update

          What a fun and fast month this has been. I can’t believe that in just a few short weeks we will be celebrating Brynlee’s first birthday! I was looking at pictures of her as a newborn the other day and it’s hard to believe how small she was. I remember her sleeping on my chest and not even taking up the whole space, now her head comes all the way to my neck while her legs hang over my sides. I am still in awe at how much I love this little lady. It is impossible to even put it into words, but I am so thankful she is mine.

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She is getting more and more personality each day and is becoming more independent as she tries to figure things out. She isn’t walking on her own yet, but she goes all over the place holding on to one thing or another. She has found something in almost every room that she can hold as she shuffles around the room. She’s also started dancing anytime she hears music and it is the cutest thing ever!!! Sometimes I will dance around the room while holding her and she thinks it is the greatest thing in the world and will laugh and squeal in delight. It is so fun watching her learn new things and get so excited when she does them. She recently learned how to clap and will do that while she is dancing or anytime we do. She is always so proud of herself when she learns something we’ve been trying to teach her and the smile on her face when she does it makes my heart melt.

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Weight: I am going to guess that she is around 21 maybe 22 pounds. I will find out for sure at her Well Check next month.

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Health: Her health has been great since leaving day care. She hasn’t even had a runny nose. It has been wonderful. She is so much happier when she isn’t sick and Landon and I benefit too because she isn’t passing anything to us anymore. All in all (knock on wood) we have been a fairly healthy household this past month.

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Sleep: We have been having sleep issues all month long. Not only does she fight sleep with everything she’s got, but she also wakes up at least once, if not more, almost every night. It has been a hard adjustment for me since I had gotten so used to sleeping all night. Some nights I feel like I have a newborn again. I’m really hoping that she will grow out of this soon.

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Social: She has gotten a little better since last month with being more social again. When I first started staying home she turned into a complete mama’s girl, but now, as soon as she becomes comfortable with her environment she wants to explore and meet everyone there again. This is a relief for me because I was starting to worry that she was getting to dependent on me since I was with her pretty much all of the time.

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Diet: She is completely off purees and on solid food and formula. Her favorites are eggs (which she used to hate, but now loves), cucumbers, green beans and butternut squash. I found butternut squash ravioli at Sprouts and she absolutely loves it!! She will gobble it up any time I make it for her. One other thing we’ve been working on it teaching her to use sippy cups. Our pediatrician told us to start giving them to her here and there so she can start transitioning from the bottle. I will be glad when we don’t have to wash a million bottles anymore, but I’ll be sad when she moves on from them too. My little baby is growing up so fast, I really wish time would slow down a little.

Clothes: I just recently washed all of her 12 month clothes, so she is wearing those, as well as, her 9 month clothes and some 6-9 month clothes.

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Crying: She has been having some very dramatic crying sessions lately. Basically anytime she doesn’t get what she wants she will go from being perfectly fine to a full blown wail in .5 seconds. She’s also started a very high pitch scream at the top of her lungs scream that isn’t fun for anyone around. Hopefully she will get passed this soon, but we are just trying to not give in to her when she is having her “demand” temper tantrum. We’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering between when it’s a real cry or a fake cry.

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Likes: This girl loves to dance!!! Anytime music starts playing, doesn’t matter what it is, she starts dancing. It is so cute!! Of course she still loves Lola and is always trying to pet her. She also loves bubbles, balls and getting into our kitchen cabinets.

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Milestones: We’ve been trying to teach her things like clapping and high fiving and she picks them up really quickly. The downside is that she picks up bad habits too. Like I said above, she is constantly trying to get into our kitchen cabinets and if she see us doing something she will copy us so we have to be really careful of what we do in front of her. Once she learns it she just wants to do it again and again… She still isn’t walking by herself, but she moves so quickly when she is holding on to something that  I am thinking someday soon she will just surprise us by letting go and continuing on by herself.

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Well, I’m off now to work on some birthday party preparations for the way to soon to be one year old!!

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P.S.- these photo shoots are get harder and harder. She never wants to sit still and always wants to play with the sign.

A little of what I’ve been up to lately…

   A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine who is having a baby asked if I would help her plan out her nursery. Of course I jumped at the chance, I love decorating and decorating for a baby makes it even more fun. When we got together, we brainstormed ideas and finally landed on going with a coral, mint, and grey theme with white and gold mixed in. I love all of these colors together and cannot wait to see it come together. She also asked me if I would make the crib bedding and drapes for the room. Now, I have never done that type of work before, but I was so excited to try something new and learn a new skill. I’ve wanted to get into quilting for a while and making a baby quilt seemed like the perfect place to start.

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I have never made a quilt like this before and I’m not going to lie, there were a few times I thought I was completely ruining it and was worried I’d signed up for more than I bargained for (Ash, if you are reading this, everything went smoothly and perfectly and there were absolutely no worries). Anyway, I pushed through those moments of absolute desperation and am so happy I did. When it was all finished, I loved how it came together.

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To say this project was time consuming is an understatement. It took me a long time to complete, especially when I could only work on it in short bursts while Brynlee was sleeping and I didn’t have a pattern or anything to follow, just and idea in my head. But I learned a lot and think that the next time I make a quilt like this it will go a lot quicker and in the end I think it was so worth the time and effort. I’m so happy with it and think it will perfectly complement the other ideas we have for this room. I hope my friend and her baby will love it as much as I do.

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A Post for the Birds…

  Every evening, as we are talking our daily walk, I can’t help but notice the influx of hummingbirds that is gracing our area. I love this time of the year when I can see them fluttering around in our backyard or in the parks. I learned something about hummingbirds last year that I had never really even thought about before and because I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I thought I would share.

Hummingbirds need to eat half their weight in sugar each day, which amounts to a lot of nectar and because they have such I metabolisms they need to eat many times a day. As a result, they know where there are food sources and often develop a route to these food sources. This is especially important for people who have hummingbird feeders in their yards. If you already have one or plan to start one, it is important to ensure that is always has “nectar” in it. If hummingbirds are not able to get the food that they need, they will go into a hibernation like state and if they are unable to acquire food soon they could die.

This being said, I think it is exceptionally important to have hummingbird feeders in your yard so that hummingbirds have a plethora of food sources to choose from. Especially in areas where flowers produce low sugar nectar. You can always buy “nectar” in the store for your feeders or you can make it at home. The latter option is easy and way more cost effective than purchasing it. To make it at home all you need is sugar and water.

Take 1 part sugar (make sure to use white granulated sugar) to 4 parts water, I used 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water which filled my feeder perfectly.

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In a small saucepan, bring your water to a boil. Once boiling, add your sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool. This helps stop bacteria growth.

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Once cooled, add it to your feeder and enjoy the hummingbirds visiting your backyard.

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*Note- In the picture, I used red food coloring to dye the nectar red to match what is sold in stores, but have since learned that dye could potentially be harmful to the birds and is not in any way needed. I have changed my feeder and suggest leaving it out if you chose to make your own.

My First Mother’s Day

I had so much fun celebrating my first Mother’s Day with my little girl. Landon made my morning by getting up with Brynlee when she woke up earlier than normal and let me sleep it. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sleep in and it was wonderful!!! Best present ever!! Once I finally woke up, we made blueberry waffles (a favorite of mine) and we enjoyed a nice relaxing, unhurried morning.

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*Brynlee got me these gorgeous flowers for Mother’s Day, with Daddy’s help of course

Later we met up with my aunt and uncle who were in town celebrating my cousin’s birthday (Happy Birthday Karen!!), we had lunch with them and did a little shopping and were back home by early afternoon.

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It was such a nice day outside that we decided to spend some time in our backyard playing with Brynlee and Lola. Brynlee has a new found fascination with blowing bubbles and she loves to watch Lola run all over the backyard playing with her ball.

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Brynlee loves Lola so much and I think that Lola is finally warming up to Brynlee too!

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We finished the day up with a nice easy dinner and some wine, can’t go wrong there. My first Mother’s Day was just what I hoped for, nice and relaxing, spending the day with loved ones and enjoying the company of the little one that made me a mommy. I am so thankful to have her in our lives and feel so blessed to call her ours. Her smiling face has me thanking God every day that he trusted us with her sweet spirit. I love you so much Brynlee and I feel so honored to be your mama!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Every time I make this dip people are always asking for the recipe, so this one is for you. If you haven’t had this dip, go out, get the ingredients and make it tonight! There will be no leftovers, it is just that good! Be careful though, this stuff is addicting!!!

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

½ cup of buffalo sauce

½ cup of ranch dressing

8oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup of shredded cheese (you can use any kind you have)

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Preheat your oven to 350*

Mix the first 4 ingredients together and about ½ cup of the shredded cheese in an 8×8 baking dish. I find it’s easiest to mix the cream cheese, ranch and buffalo sauce, then add in the chicken and then the cheese. Once everything is thoroughly mixed sprinkle your remaining cheese on top. Put it in the oven until all the cheese is melted and gooey, about 15-20 minutes.

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Eat with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Home Sweet Home

 I have officially been a stay at home mom for a full month now and what a month it has been. It’s been exhausting, challenging and an absolute whirlwind! But it has also been so wonderful, I love being home with Brynlee, playing with her, cuddling with her and watching her learn has been amazing and I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

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Making the decision to stay home was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. From the moment I had Brynlee, I knew that I wanted to stay home with her and returning to work was really hard for me. While everyone said it would get easier, it never did. Unfortunately, as my maternity leave came to an end, we were not in the place financially for me to be able to stay home.

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Shortly after I did return to work we realized it would be best for our family if we could figure out a way for me to stay home. So, while we had been talking about me staying home for a while, when the things that needed to happen to make that work happened, it ended up happening very fast and our decision was made over the course of one weekend (WOW!  That was a lot of happens…). Making the decision to go from two incomes to one in that short amount of time was very stressful and overwhelming to me. Landon seemed so sure of this decision, which helped me have faith in it, but I was still second guessing that we should do this. I mean yes, I knew that it would be best for our family, but I worried about all of the unknown. Even the morning that I informed our daycare and my work that I would be leaving I was asking Landon again if this was the right thing to do at this time or if we should wait for a little while.

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However, from the moment I started telling people and making it official things started happening that validated our decision and now I can say without a doubt that we did make the best decision for our family. Brynlee hasn’t been sick (knock on wood) since I’ve been home. Things run a lot more smoothly around the house and we are able to spend quality time together as a family instead of always trying to play catch up on the weekends. All and all, our lives have become a lot less stressful and a lot happier.

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 Brynlee and I fell into a pretty good routine in that first week. She loves going places, so we try to get out of the house at least once a day, running errands or meeting up with friends. I still try to wake up at around 5am so I have a little “me” time before Brynlee wakes up, you know, so I can finish my cup of coffee before it gets cold. Lately Brynlee has been going through a phase where she wakes up a couple of times during the night and I will have to go and soothe her to get her back to sleep, so there are mornings where waking up early doesn’t happen. And that is okay. We are taking each day as it comes and learning what works best for us. Some days are hard, really hard, but it’s so rewarding. I feel truly blessed to be able to stay home and take care of my family and each and every cuddle, snuggle and smile I get from Brynlee reaffirms the decision we made.

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