Lemonade Recipe

Yesterday, I shared that life threw us a few lemons and that I actually did have to make some lemonade as a result. Today I thought I would share the recipe! We planted a Meyer lemon tree in our backyard a few years ago and last year was the first year that it yielded lemons. Since then, I have been trying to find the perfect lemonade recipe and I think I finally accomplished that yesterday! I generally prefer my lemonade more tart as opposed to sweet, but I think this recipe really balances the two.

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Just mix 5 cups of water, 1 ¾ cups of sugar and 2 cups of lemon juice. This lemonade is so refreshing and is best serve cold over ice.

Enjoy!

When Life Gives You Lemons…

This weekend started out fantastic, a trip to the park with Brynlee, since the weather is finally cooling down. Then an afternoon rainstorm, well, actually it looked like a hurricane in my backyard, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. And then Sunday happened and everything went downhill.

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*When I first put Brynlee in her red wagon, she wanted nothing to do with it and started crying to get out. Then we started moving and she was all smiles from then on out. I foresee many wagon rides in our future.

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*Of course she had to pick the flowers.

When we made the decision for me to quit my job to stay home full time with Brynlee, we both knew that sacrifices would have to be made. Going from two incomes to one is not an easy adjustment, we gave up a lot of luxuries we were used to and had to switch our frame of thinking from want-based to need-based. During all of this, I never really felt that I was actually sacrificing, I mean, the outcome was me being able to stay home with my little girl and that outweighed any cost.

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*There was a lot of playing in the sand.

Of course, we haven’t been able to take vacations like we used to, we rarely go out to eat anymore and I’ve had to learn to say no to things, whereas, previously I always answered yes. But those have all been good for us too. We get to spend a lot of time together as a family and it’s forced us to think outside of the box for entertainment. We eat healthier now that we aren’t always going out to eat and it’s fun to spend a little extra time making something special for dinner.

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*She had a lot of fun collecting rocks.

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*And playing in the puddles.

This weekend though, what it means to truly sacrifice really hit me hard! Yes, we’ve given up a lot of things already, but it seemed easier because I hadn’t truly cared/wanted/needed them. Yesterday though, I had to tell a very dear friend, one who has always been there for me, that I wouldn’t be able to make it to her vow renewal in a couple of months because we just couldn’t afford the trip. And wow, did that feel awful!!! Even after I told her, I still kept trying to think of ways that I could save a little here or there to be able to make it and then the hammer dropped. I am not even kidding, a few hours later, Landon opened the freezer to get some ice and it was all melted!!! Along with all the lemon juice I froze from the lemons on our tree last year (hence the title of this post, I had to make lemonade with it), a lot of stuff was already thawed out and some things were even completely ruined. Thankfully the bright side of this story is that we have a chest freezer in our garage that we could move anything salvageable to. We thought that the fridge was still working, but soon realized that was done too. This basically sealed the deal for me not being able to attend my friend’s vow renewal, any last hope I had of finding the money somewhere was shattered by the knowledge that we would now have to dish out the moolah on a new refrigerator.

There are a lot of up sides to this turn of events that I am thankful for. I have never been so grateful that Landon brews his own beer, as a result we have another, smaller chest freezer that we were able to set at a fridge like temperature to house all of our refrigerator items. And we were thankfully around to notice that our fridge stopped working, instead of being out of town or something and losing all of our food. Plus we got some delicious lemonade out of the deal to drink while we were working to save all of our food.

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I guess the point to me sharing all of this is that through all of our experiences this weekend and all of the sacrificing that we will need to make in the near future in order to pay for a new fridge, we still have so much to be thankful for. How easy it is to forget that and to wallow in our own despair of everything that is not going right in our lives right now, or at least not “our” version of right anyway. A few years ago, that would have been me, but having Brynlee has changed my perspective on so many things. She is what I am the most thankful for and at the end of the day, all that matters is that our little family is together and healthy and everything else will work itself out. So, when life gives you lemons, even though sometimes it is really hard, we should all still try to make lemonade!

On a side note, we are currently shopping for a new refrigerator, so if you have any recommendations or know of any great deals going on please share!

 

Favorite Things Friday- Coffee Dates with Good Friends

Since becoming a stay at home mama earlier this year, my adult interaction is severely lacking. I do have a few friends that I get together with here and there, but most days it is just me and Brynlee until Landon gets home. Don’t get me wrong, I love staying at home with Brynlee, but there is definitely something to be said for going in to the office each day, chatting with your coworkers, developing new relationships and maintaining old ones. It satisfies that need for social interaction.

Since becoming a SAHM, people are always asking me “aren’t you so bored?” Ummmm… No, actually I am busier than ever, going non-stop and I usually don’t even know what day of the week it is because they are passing by too quickly for me to keep up (silly me, when I stopped working I thought time would slow down, wrong!). But I do miss that adult interaction, seeing my friends at work and having a conversation that consists of more than describing colors or shapes or making silly noises. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine with Brynlee and spend most days at home, when we don’t have to run errands. Soon it will be cool enough here to go on walks and to the park and I am really looking forward to that! So when a friend of mine invited me to coffee yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity.

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We met at Starbucks and even though Brynlee did not sit still and I was constantly chasing after her, it was so therapeutic to have that couple of hours of catching up with my friend and getting out of the house. Of course, the time passed by way too quickly and before I knew it, I had to leave to get Brynlee down for her nap. Since having a baby I don’t get much “me time” anymore and while Brynlee was at our coffee date, it still felt like I had carved a little bit of time out for me and it was so fulfilling. I guess I need more of those, who wants to meet me for coffee??

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And please share what some of your favorite things are!

Brynlee- 15 Month Update

Since Brynlee turned one, I haven’t been doing her monthly updates. But since she had her 15 month checkup earlier this week, I thought I would do a quick update on all things Brynlee.

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Brynlee weighed in at 21.13 pounds putting her in the 30th percentile, which was a surprise to me, I was expecting her to weigh more based on the amount of food she’s been consuming. But the doctor assured us that this normal once they start walking and let me tell you, Brynlee RUNS everywhere. She is 30.5 inches long, the 50th percentile and her head is 18.25 inches which is the 75th percentile. I know she is 15 months old, but it is still hard for me to believe how big she is getting! And also how small she once was whenever I look at the pictures.

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Like I said, Brynlee loves to eat! Her current favorites are spaghetti, sweet potato, butternut squash anything, watermelon and eggs. She isn’t eating with utensils yet, but she puts forth a good effort. Sometimes she will pick something up, like a pea, with her hand, put it on her spoon and then into her mouth. It is too funny! She tries to scoop up food and then put it in her mouth, but she usually turns her spoon sideways and the food falls off. It’s a work in progress.

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When Brynlee was 12 months old, I was really starting to worry because I could not ever get her to read with me. Once she started crawling, she never wanted to sit down and read a book, I would only get 1 or 2 pages in before she was off and on to something else. Now she loves to read and will frequently bring me books throughout the day. Her current favorites are The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear, this super cute book a friend of mine got her last year around this time called A Pumpkin Prayer and anything Dr. Seuss. We read these all day long and I love it!

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Of course she still loves all things Mickey and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is her favorite show. Whenever I need to get something done, like making dinner, I can just throw on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she will be entertained for a good 20-25 minutes.

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She loves to run everywhere and climb on everything! She climbs all over the couch while I have mini heart attacks worrying that she will roll right off. She has a few times actually, but luckily I’ve been there to catch her. I’ve been trying to teach her that we SIT on the couch, and that works most of the time when I am right there. But more often than not, anytime I look away she will run and climb on the couch and start doing somersaults, yes, she can somersault and she thinks it’s the funniest thing. She also loves to say “uh-oh” right now and will repeat it over and over again. She says mama sometimes, but pretty much never says dada anymore (even though that was her first word), right now it is all about the “uh-oh’s”. And don’t even think about trying to get her to do or say something when you ask her, she has made it very clear that she is not a performer and will only do something if she wants to. I think my little girl may be a little stubborn.

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She loves playing outside and going to the park. It has finally cooled down enough here that if we go early enough in the morning we can get in some good play time before it gets too hot. She loves to swing and carries her bucket and shovel with her all around the playground, stopping here and there to shovel some sand in. The last time we went, I tried to get her to climb up the steps to the playhouse/jungle gym and even though she loves to climb on things at home, we got about 3 steps up before she wanted right back down.

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We have finally made a huge break through on the coloring front, she has finally stopped trying to eat a crayon every time you give her one and will now color on the page… or on the tile because you know, that’s fun too!

She has a whole mouth full of teeth, when we were at her Well-Check, the doctor couldn’t believe how many teeth she had. She still needs a few more, but I cannot wait until teething is done. I hate seeing her uncomfortable.

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While we were at her Well-Check, Brynlee had to get a few shots, she did so good!! She only cried for a minute and then calmed right down. Later that evening though, I could tell that she wasn’t really feeling herself and that night she woke up 3 times! She never wakes up in the night except to move positions and then puts herself right back to sleep (well, when we are at home anyway, away from home is a whole other story). Then that morning all she wanted to do was lay around and cuddle and read, which I loved because she is usually on the go, go, go! But I wish it wasn’t because she was feeling so bad. Hopefully today will be better.

Brynlee is still amazing me on a daily basis with all she is accomplishing and learning. It’s so fun to watch her personality develop and see her make decisions. I often catch myself wondering, now why did she choose that or what made her do that, I would love to know what goes through her head sometimes. She recently started giving loves, laying her head down on you like a hug and it is sweetest thing, although I don’t think Lola appreciates it. She is growing up so fast and is turning into the sweetest little girl. She has such a kind spirit and I am so thankful for that. I am so honored to be her mommy and so grateful to be able to spend all my days with her.

Give Thanks Fall Wreath DIY

        Happy first day of Fall!!! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that up until this weekend, I still had my 4th of July wreath adorning my front door… So even though the cooler weather hasn’t hit us yet (it’s supposed to get to 100* today), it was definitely time for a change!

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After a quick trip to Joann’s decided I wanted to make a grapevine wreath with fall foliage. You can see my method for making this type of wreath here.

This time, however, I wanted to add a little something extra and a little “give thanks” bunting was just what it needed! Luckily, I was able to use things I already had, so another Joann’s trip wasn’t necessary. Here is what I used:

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Kraft Paper

Alphabet Stamps

Clear Stamping Block

Black Ink

Paper Cutter

Twine

I started by cutting out all of my little triangle, I made mine 1 inch width by 1.5 inches tall.

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Then I got to stamping, I tried to get them as centered as possible. Using  the clear stamping block made it pretty easy to just eye ball it.

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Once I had all of my letter stamped on, I decided to add a heart to either side of “give” to make it more symmetrical to the “thanks”.

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Using my measuring tape, I measured ½ inch space between each of my triangles to make sure it would all be even once I attached the twine. Make sure when you flip your triangles over that you also put the word backwards, like a mirror image, so that once you’ve attached the twine your word is facing the correct way. Using a little bit of white glue, I put a small line as close to the top of the triangle as I could and as close to each edge. Then I took my twine and gently pressed it down onto each triangle piece.

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Once it is dry, you will have the perfect little bunting. These would also be great as a cake topper or even to make on a larger scale to be a stand alone décor item.

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I attached it to my wreath by tying the twine around one of the grapevine branches and securing it with hot glue. I made sure to tie it in a place that the knot would not be visible.

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I love how it turned out! It makes me so happy to see it every time I come and go. And even though the temps here don’t feel like fall yet, this gets me excited for all things fall related! Now I just need to do the inside of my house. Pumpkins, here I come!!!

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Have you done any fall decorating or made any wreaths lately? I’d love to see what you’ve been up to!

My Latest Sewing Project

In between sewing as much as I can for the Blissfully Made Shop on Etsy, I also take requests from friends and family. At the beginning of the summer, my mother in law asked me to make a quilt for her bed. She said it didn’t have to be anything fancy, she just couldn’t find one in the colors she needed for her room anywhere. Of course I said yes, I couldn’t wait for her to pick out the fabric that she wanted so I could get started, I was so excited to try something new!

Once she picked out the fabrics she wanted, I went and got them, brought them all home and just stared at the sheer volume of it. Did I mention she needed a California King size quilt?? I’ve lived in the realm of baby quilts for so long that I  didn’t know where to get started. And I was terrified to mess something up on it because buying replacement fabric for a quilt this size would be significantly more than for a baby size quilt.

Well… after sitting on it for a few days and checking, then rechecking the measurements I had calculated, there was nothing left for me to do but to get started. This was not a fast project by any means. I did make my fair share of mistakes, but that forced me to think outside of the box to fix it and I really did learn a lot while making this quilt. And I am so happy to say that it is finally finished and living in its home at my mother in laws!

I love how it ended up coming together! On the front I stitched in the ditch along the inner patterned fabric and along the connecting diagonals.

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*On the back of the quilt it is easier to see where the stitches are.*

Due to the size of the quilt, on the back I had to sew 2 pieces of fabric together to get the width I needed. Don’t you just love this pattern?

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I tried my best to sew it so the pattern was matching, just in case my mother in law wanted to reverse the quilt or have the top turned down.

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These pictures were all taken on my queen size guest bed. I think it makes the quilt look a little off since the center pattern isn’t really centered, but you gotta work with what you have.

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Even though there were times I wanted to quit while making this quilt, or times I was just too scared to continue, I am so glad it is done and I am so happy with how it turned out! It is exactly what I had envisioned before starting this project. So I guess the moral of the story of this quilt is that when things get hard, if you just keep pushing through, you might be amazed at what you are capable of!

So, what’s on your sewing/ crafting table right now? Have you had any projects like this, difficult to do, but so worth it in the end?

Favorite Things Friday {Brynlee Edition}- Mickey Mouse

To say that Brynlee loves Mickey Mouse is a huge understatement, obsession might come close. It started with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney channel, she loves the Hot Dog song and will stop whatever she is doing to dance to it anytime it comes on. As she has gotten older, she does that as soon as she hears Mickey Mouse on the t.v. and the Mickey Mouse show definitely saved us on our road trip to Montana.

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*Yes, Mickey is almost as big as Brynlee, but that doesn’t stop her from bringing him everywhere!*

A few weeks ago, we were walking around at the Mall and spotted the Disney Store. Landon and I were joking about how it wouldn’t be too long before we would probably have to stop there every time we went to the mall. I remember dragging my mom in whenever I saw one when I was little. So we decided to go in just to see what they had there and what the prices were like. We had no intention of buying anything that day. As we were walking around, pushing Brynlee in her stroller, she seemed pretty indifferent to everything in there. We got to the tower of stuffed animals, you know the one, in the middle of the store that is piled high with every Disney character ever!  I picked up a Daisy Duck to show Brynlee, then a Minnie Mouse and a few others, again, she seemed disinterested. Then, I saw a Mickey Mouse and picked it up to show her and immediately her eyes lit up and she just stared, not moving, at this stuffed Mickey for a good 20 seconds or so. Then she very slowly reached out, grabbed him and hugged him to her so tight with the biggest smile on her face! I was just stunned at her reaction, it was like love at first sight, she was so excited. I looked up at Landon and he had the same stunned look on his face that I did and I said, “yeah, we’re buying the Mickey today” and all he said was “yep!” She continued to hug her Mickey as we walked around the store with the biggest smile on her face. She did not notice one other thing in that store, Mickey had her full, undivided attention. This is one of those times that I will always remember, it was priceless to see her reaction.

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Since bringing Mickey home, they have been inseparable. Brynlee has never been a child to have to have a security blanket and even though she has quite a few lovey’s, she never showed any preference for having anything always around. Mickey, however, has to be anywhere Brynlee is, if we go to the store you better believe Mickey is sitting right next to her in the cart. She takes Mickey to bed with her every night and she always hands me Mickey first before I get her out of her crib in the morning.

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Whenever Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on, Brynlee will run and grab Mickey. One time, shortly after we brought Mickey home, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse came on. Mickey was sitting on the floor near Brynlee and she kept looking from her stuffed Mickey to the Mickey on the screen, finally she got down on her tummy and got nose to nose with Mickey, almost like she was examining him to make sure he was the same Mickey. It was so cute!

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Brynlee loves her Mickey so much and it has been a joy watching her interactions with it. I will frequently check the baby monitor at night and see Brynlee with her arm wrapped around Mickey. She still gets excited every time you hand him to her, I hope that never goes away. I can’t wait to take her to Disneyland and have her meet Mickey, I can just imagine her reaction. For some girls its princesses, but Mickey will always be Brynlee’s first love (other than mom and dad of course;)).

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*Mickey is never far away*

I’d love to hear if you have any stories like this with your kids, do they show any toy preferences?