Friday, March 29, 2013

The Easter bunny came to town

I guess I should start learning how to style little girl's hair because now that she's got so stinking much of it, it always looks like a disaster. Bow and go, that's my motto! Anyway, here are some impromptu Easter shots for your viewing pleasure! Have a great Easter everyone, may your day be filled with great food, wonderful family and friends, and the celebration of our Lord and Savior's resurrection. What a tremendous day that must have been, filled with so much hope, amazement and love. He saved me and hopefully one day this little girl will put her trust and life in His hands as well.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Organization ADD: The kitchen

It might look like a big hot mess with all these up-close photos, but I promise you my kitchen is organized. For the most part. There are drawers that are somehow overflowing with items, when just a year ago they were comfortably full. But I won't show you those... Instead, here are some of the more tidy areas.

Bowl and plate storage, and vintage Pyrex on display:

Stacking storage for cutting boards and muffin tins along with the pots and pans pull-out pantry which also hides the grocery list chalkboard:

The island storage that is constantly changing with the bebe's whims. Currently it's housing all my linens and plastic-ware for bebe-friendly play:

And this is our coffee/tea station, the newly organized spice drawer and my decorative platter storage {using a pot lid rack from IKEA}:

A couple of air-tight containers for the counter, and our family dry-erase meal planning board on the side of the refrigerator:

And here's my ingenious idea of using a magazine holder for roll storage, along with one of our less 'neat' drawers chuck full of silverware and chip clips:

Don't be afraid to use baskets in your kitchen cupboards to keep things concealed that you don't use often. Or use them to keep loose items in drawers from rolling around. We have a couple in a drawer to keep snack bars and bebe snacks at bay. And think outside the box for storage ideas. If you create multiple uses for one thing, than you won't feel bad about your purchase and you can just keep moving it around the house if you get bored like I do. I tend to reorganize everything every few months. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Easter Photoshoot: Cutest Bunny Ever

Seriously. This kid is just the cutest and sweetest and easiest baby to work with. He gives the biggest smiles with the least amount of work and he's almost always happy. Unless he's pooping. And then he's  totally focussed on the task at hand. But aren't we all?

Luckily this handsome little man made it through a whole session {and a few outfit changes} on the back porch. Typically I travel to clients homes, to make it easier on them. This time however, I asked if they would be willing to come my way so I could capture the amazing light from our sunroom in his eyes. I think it was worth it, don't you? Plus, I made them cookies! You can't beat that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cuteness overload: A bebe and a hat

This wee girl is our little comedian. She's constantly doing something and then laughing at herself, just to make sure we pay attention. It's adorable. Especially when she's in the back seat of the car and I keep hearing laugh after laugh because she's putting her sunglasses on upside down.

This is one of my hats, but she looked so sweet in it, that I immediately grabbed my camera. I keep it in a bottom drawer in the dining room so I don't miss those fleeting moments. It would be a shame to miss something as sweet as this:

 Or as cute as this:

Or this, a blanky moment:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Delicious Dishes: Slow cooker split pea soup

I've decided that there is no way to prettify pea soup. It just looks like green mush no matter what you do to it. But trust me on this one, it tastes fantastic. This is my new go-to comfort soup for winter. It's not your mama's pea soup. This one uses chicken sausage. Strange you say? Well, if you have an anti-ham eating husband this is a perfect compromise. You can find the recipe here and, again, if you want info on all those Pinterest recipes I've been trying, you can find my board here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The sleeping saga: A bedtime story

This kid never ceases to amaze me. Being our first bebe, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and absolutely no idea what to do. It's been a learning experience for everyone and each time we hit a milestone or pass through another step, inside my heart jumps up and down and shouts 'I didn't fail, I didn't fail!'. Seriously, this parenting stuff would be less challenging if I didn't care so much.

The sleeping cycle is one of those things, well, who am I kidding, it's THE thing that most scares new parents. It's the one thing EVERYone will ask about: strangers, friends and family alike. 'How's the baby sleeping?' 'Are you getting enough rest?' 'Is she sleeping through the night?' That last one always hit hard. People starting asking me after about 6 months, and I didn't really worry about it until the barrage of questions came at me. Was I a bad mother? Was I completely messing this whole thing up? Why isn't MY baby sleeping through the night?!? Oh my gosh, I was sick over it. I had a few very supportive friends and one very supportive husband who reassured me nothing was wrong and that most children DON'T sleep through the night for at least a year if not more. Reassuring, and NOT at the same time. Ya know? But I tried to tell myself it was fine, I had a happy chubby bebe and the ability to take naps during the day. A friend actually mentioned a great book called 'Spirit-Led Parenting'. Once I started reading {and I still haven't made it through the whole book} I realized I wasn't crazy! Well, at least not entirely. I came to terms with parenting the way I felt at peace with. I learned it was okay to cuddle your baby to sleep every night. It was okay to wake up in the middle of the night and nurse her back to sleep. It was okay to cosleep. It was okay because it worked for us. Maybe something else works for you, but this was our course and we were steering with confidence. Finally.

Well here's the good news, we've rounded a corner. She's now worked her way up to, wait for it, going to bed on her own! This is huge for us. Our old routine included heading up to bed, waiting for her to fall asleep in my arms and trying to put her down in her crib without her waking and crying and wanting back in my arms. This old routine used to take us up to an hour. Every night. It got old, but it was our routine. Well our new routine is FABulous. We head upstairs, turn on the noise machine and put her down in the crib. Where she stays. And falls asleep. All by HERSELF. It's amazing. I don't feel defeated descending the stairs at 9pm, thinking I just lost all my nighttime tea-drinking unwinding me-time. It was worth the wait. She's still waking up once a night, but that doesn't bother me at all because I'm just so happy we've made it here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Delicious Dishes: honey sesame chicken

Here's another wonderful simple crockpot dish. The recipe can be found here. I'm a big fan of smelling amazing food all day long. This only takes a few hours to cook, so it's also one of those meals you can wait to prep and toss in the crockpot while the bebe is napping. This is the second time I've made it, and this time I tweaked the recipe and used a little less honey and soy sauce so it was a little less 'strong'. We prefer it that way but try it according to the recipe first and be prepared for chicken that tastes like candy. Chicken candy. Mmm.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The teething saga: ice ice bebe

Sometimes, on days when her teeth are really bothering her, we combat pain with icy sweets. She's always asking me to open our bottom drawer freeze {mostly so she can find the teething pacifier when I've taken all her normal ones away from her} and today was no exception. Except this time she pointed at the pineapple fruit bar, nodded and signed please. I can't ignore good manners!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Craftilicious: Wood sign tutorial

Are you ready for an easy sign project? It's cheap and quick and extremely easy, I promise.

What you need:
scrapbook rub-on alphabets
wood scrap

Take your wood scrap {I used a primed scrap from my massive useless wood pile in the basement} and lightly draw lines based on what you plan to write on your sign. This may take a little planning on your part.

I started with the far right of my words, basically writing backwards so I could get a right-justified quote. You can center or left-justify, depending on your own preference. Rub each letter on using the lines as your guides. Once you're done, lightly erase your lines, being careful not to remove your letters. If you wanted to protect them, you could just spray a finishing coat on top of the whole board and even a coat of mod podge. 

That's it. Seriously. I'm thinking these would be perfect for swapping out holiday or kids room decor. Or maybe something fun for the kitchen.

Here's one that took a lot more time and planning on my part, so I cut up letters to make it a bit easier:

Monday, March 18, 2013

IKEA hack: LATT table and chairs

SO I bought the 'LATT table and chairs' set for the bebe. I thought it would be nice to have somewhere for her to sit and play, or sit and eat, or sit and color. I reworked the set so now it can do all of that.

First, I had to stain everything {in a gray shade}, but you know IKEA likes to keep everything in pieces, so this made that process a little easier. Then I decided to FINally use a cute fabric I bought a while ago for seat covers. This was a simple mod podge and fabric process, took almost no time at all.

Next was the table top. I painted the original top with chalkboard paint, but it didn't take too well to having dried food wiped off it, and I wasn't exactly sure how safe eating off of a chalkboard is, so I bought a piece of plexiglass from Lowes to cover the paint. Now when she's eating I have a nice easy-to-clean {food-safe} surface and when she's ready to play, I can easily remove the plexiglass.

The table and chairs cost $19.99 for the set, and the plexi cost me around 8$. They cut the plexi for free, and I only had to sand down the corners with my Dremel to make it a perfect fit. The fabric was probably about $6 but I can't remember exactly. It probably took me about an hour - two to finish the entire thing AND she seems to like it. Makes a mama happy.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Delicious Dishes: Baked vegetable penne

There's a recipe I had printed from Pinterest, but alas, it was way too involved for me, and included a massive list of ingredients. I decided to rework it, and it's so different from the original, that I will claim this as my own. I also made half a bag of penne, but it ended up being plenty for my husband and I with leftovers for lunch. In other words, this recipe will serve four, so double it if you're hosting a dinner party or you birthed a small army.

Baked Veggie Penne

1 eggplant
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 container sliced mushrooms
2 cups of penne {whole wheat is our pasta of choice}
5-6 slices of colby jack {can do shredded mozzarella if you prefer}
3/4 can of Newman's Own Sockarooni {this is very important for flavor and is by far the best spaghetti sauce we've tried}
1/4 cup parmesan
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450ยบ. Boil the water and cook your pasta as you normally would. Chop your vegetables into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Toss with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables in a fry pan for about 5-8 minutes. Mix the cooked drained pasta and cooked vegetables in a casserole pan. Cover with the sauce and the slices of cheese. Top with the parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Here's what it looked like going into the oven:

Here's what it looked like coming out:

It's not necessarily pretty or gourmet, but it is delicious!

Friday, March 15, 2013

All that sparkles

Turns out, having a bebe girl is a whole lot of fun when you get to buy tutus and sparkle shoes and completely justify it all. When you're doing every day things like eating lunch and you look down to see shiny shoes, you can't help but smile.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Delicious Sides: parmesan baked tomatoes

I usually spend Mondays meal-planning and grocery shopping. Well, not the entire day, ain't nobody got time for that. But this particular Monday I couldn't make it to the store, probably some bebe-related excuse but I digress. Tuesday I finally made it but I still didn't have anything extravagant planned for the first 'meal-planned' night. Just a simple baked maple/brown sugar salmon. I wanted to keep consistent with my 'fancy' new cookery {?} so I pulled out the recipe book and decided on a couple of new side dishes. One simple and delicious one is this Parmesan Baked Tomato recipe. I actually forgot to do the last olive oil step, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

It was easy and delicious and looked pretty awesome on the plate. The second was these Roasted Sweet Potatoes, which honestly smelled {and tasted} more like dessert. They were amazing. I think I'll keep them in mind for Easter dinner.

The husband came home and was all like 'Mmmm, lookin' fancy!'. Okay maybe not those exact words but he seemed pretty happy and he's been more than eager to try all these new recipes along with me. So far so good, and we've only had a couple of recipes {out of the last few weeks} that we felt were 'meh'.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Craftilicious: Rusty key necklace

While I was making that other key necklace, I decided to finally use some 'junk' I'd been holding on to. The key is from the flea market and I love the little flourish detail {and the rust}. The other piece is seriously from a pair of Rugby Ralph Lauren jeans I bought back in the day when I worked for the man. I thought it would make a nifty accessory. I might have been right:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

And then there was blanky

I guess it's the standard bebe love story. There once was a sleepy bebe. Then one day a soft lovable blanket came along and the two were inseparable. Thus the story goes. This little one decided to love our sofa blanket and since it seemed irrational to carry around a twin size blanket everywhere, I carefully chopped the thing up and sewed a few small 'blankies'.

When it's time for some sleep, or when she's just feeling mellow, it's always the same routine. Grab a 'binky' and a 'blanky' and sit down for a rest. She has a favorite corner and once she finds it, she starts rubbing her face and chin. It's adorable really, and I thought it was high time I captured it. Because I know, in my heart, that these moments are fleeting and that one day my bebe will be a big girl who doesn't need things like blankies anymore. But until then, I have a few back-ups...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Craftilicious: skeleton key necklace

A quick Pinterest project, originally here, is this awesome vintage key necklace.

It was a really quick project, and the next one I do {and there will be more} will probably include more colors and more coverage. This one I wanted to keep simple because I loved the top design so much. I used three colors of polish, and this small clamp which just made it easier to hold and stand the key for painting and drying.

You can find keys at your local flea market, and maybe even new ones at the big box home stores, but I've never looked so I can't confirm that. Mine are from a flea market. I bought several for just a couple of dollars. Score.

 And here's a photog hint. Below are two versions of the same photo. The left one was shot without any 'aids'. The right one was taken with the help of a piece of junk mail. Yes, junk mail. When you have a really dark heavy shadow from directional sunlight, it helps to hold up a white paper or envelope behind the object, so the light bounces off the paper and into the shadow. See, a more professional and bright image, voi la:

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