Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Baby #2] Kenley Drew - 10 Month Update

Kenley had an appointment last week to check on her ears and get the vaccine she missed at her 9 month appointment because of the ear infection.  She's up seven ounces, 17lbs 12oz and we didn't check her height. Ears looked good, but she came down with the cold her sister brought home from school.  I was also informed, "Oh, she's teething!"... um, thanks I had no idea.  But yes, she had five teeth and it looks like one of the top front and last bottom incisors is making it's way.  She might not be a vampire baby on Halloween after all!  

Wearing mostly 6-12, though still easily fits in 3-6m pants.  Wearing her size 2 moccs, but will probably go up a size soon.  I'm just hoping to get some baby footprints on the blush before she does. 

We started the month with her ear infection which led to a double ear infection. Which led to high fever at night at little sleep.  We finally got her on the right antibiotic and things improved and sleep too.  Then a week later sister brought home a cold, baby caught it and also started teething again.  Basically sleep is touch and go.  We had gotten all the way to her sleeping from 7pm to 4am before waking.  I tried to let her cry a few times, but then realized if I didn't feed her, she'd probably be up for the day by 5:30 the latest.  Finally seem to be back on track, she's back to sleeping until 3:45am or so and then back down from 4-6:30am.  Trying to wean that feeding and hope she sleeps until at least 6am. 

Naps, still pretty solid all things considered. 

Lots of adventure this month.  Mimi came at the beginning to celebrate her birthday and give extra snuggles during her ear infection.  We ventured out to go apple picking and visited the farm this weekend.  Crawled, cruised, and walked around mats, balance beams, and trampolines at a birthday party.  And loved getting to help make popcorn with the parachute and pop the bubbles.  She got more time with Daddy as I've tried to make some more time for me, and even was babysat for a little by Nany which was a semi-success.  Typically she's not happy with anyone but mom, so these are big steps for her (and me!). 

Finally crushing puffs, seemed like she was still gagging on them here and there which always made me nervous to start introducing foods that don't melt so easily in the mouth.  Slowly adding more finger foods, but she just seems to be picky.  Wasn't into kiwi, blueberries, but love bananas.  Even seemed offended by pancakes.  She hasn't been eating as great this week I think because of her teeth, but we'll keep trying.  Oh, and LOVES yogurt. 

I'm also happy she learned the pony trick of self feeding from a pouch.  Definitely a skill that comes in handy when trying to help two small (hungry) kids at the same time!


It's official we have a walker!

She started taking baby steps in the middle of the month, building confidence lifting her feet.  She still doesn't walk very far, might have six or seven consecutive steps total at this point, but she tries more and more and I know that she'll probably be walking more than crawling in a month or so.  She's also getting really sturdy standing up with little to balance.  She no longer needs to pull up, just hold something - my leg, the dog, a toy- and just stands ups.

She's clapping, and clapping when asked to clap.  The cutest is when she's in the high chair she'll raise her arms and open and close her fists like twinkle twinkle, so Ashlynn and I will sing to her and she gets the biggest smile and then claps when we are done.

She's stacks her green toys stacker blocks and is OBSESSED with Penny.  I'm almost positive she's trying to say "doggie", sounds more like "dahg gahh" high pitched baby babble, but she always says it around her so that might be her first word aside from mama and dada.

She's our little opinionated one.  If she's not happy, it will be known and she will scowl and yell and even tantrum like her older sister.  No joke, this kid will throw herself backwards in frustration and has literally laid on the floor face down kicking her feet.  I'm pretty sure her temper flares when she's in teething pain, but she's also opinionated about food, having dog toys taken away from her, or being told "no".   On the other hand, she's a total sweet heart.  She'll still give me the best open mouth face kisses when asked, and gives the best hugs around the neck I could ever imagine.  I can't wait to see her personality continue to shine through and see her develop as her own little person.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekending, Farm Style

Another weekend that went by in a flash.  It was too hot for late September in my opinion, in the low to mid 80s, but still gorgeous weather with barely a cloud in the sky.  We started Saturday with gymnastics class and then some awesome dual nappage.  I actually had to wake Ashlynn when she approached the three hour mark so we could make a birthday party in the city on time.

A two year old party at a tot gymnastic spot, gymnastics twice in one day, I think A was in toddler energy heaven.  After jumping, cupcake crushing, and bubble popping her heart out we headed back home and got two tired kids to bed.  See, how these days just fly!

Yesterday, we did some chores around the house, I grocery shopped solo, and then snuck out for the buy 1, get 1 fraps at Starbucks at naptime when the husband got caught up on Ryder Cup dvr.  After naps and snack, we headed over to a little local farm that does harvest festival type stuff every weekend through Halloween.  Since it was so stinkin' hot out, we just roamed around checking out the animals.  We go to a different pumpkin patch in October, so we'll save the hayrides, wagons, and official pumpkin picking until then.  We only stayed a little, but it was a nice way to kill some time, make some kitty friends, and enjoy the weather before the Eagles game... even if we had to cool off with popsicles upon our return.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Feeling the Blues

I'm not sure what the Pantone color of 2015 will be, but my guess is some shade of indigo blue.

I've haven't paid too much attention to the runways lately, but home decor seems to be all about the blue and whites.  Literally, within the last two days...

I received an email from the shop, Design Darling, and it featured this great collage from their Blue and White Shop.

The talented Kirsten Krason, just finished and shared a blue and white themed install on a client.

Blue & Gray Living Room by House of Jade Interiors

 And indigo even got it's own article about being the new neutral on Houzz.

I had already been planning on decorating our master bedroom in gray, white, and navy with our existing cherry furniture.  Now I'm definitely starting to get some design direction with all this subliminal messaging coming through.  Expect to see more soon, if not in your blog feed and inbox, then just over here on my little space!

What's your color of the moment?  Is the blue too traditional for you or does it feel modern and fresh? (I'm going with a healthy balance of both!)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Treat for Teachers

When I dropped A off at school on Tuesday, I got a notice in her mailbox from her teacher's aide that said she was sad to announce her departure as she's been hired full time by a school district and that this Friday is her last day.

Even though, A has only been in school 4 weeks - and part time at that, I still wanted to send something in for her before she goes.  This teacher, has helped my child grow, stay safe, and enjoy her time in class.  Ashlynn loves both her teachers and when I tell her it's a school day, the first thing she asks is about seeing Ms. J and Ms. L.

So with basically a day to get something put together, I used the inspiration I gave myself with last week's giveaway (today is the last day to enter!).  Since I didn't have enough time to order a subscription box as a gift, instead I picked up an initial mug from Target and some Teatulia Jasmine Green Tea.  It was funny enough that I had made the printable that morning and when I saw Target carried Teatulia, the same brand I received in my Tea Box Express,  I grabbed it.  It was actually Ashlynn who told me "no, the purple one!" And I realized how it'd coordinate.  Girl, has been paying attention!  (Or she just really likes purple)

I got the printable idea from pinterest, it really just completed this as the perfect (literal) $10 gift.  I wrote it up in keynote, added a clip art apple and printed it out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

This actually fits right into something else I've been thinking about lately.  Two blogs I read, 6th Street Design School and Little Miss Momma, both shared this video earlier this week.  It was produced by their church, but you don't need to be a member of LDS faith to be hit with the message it puts out.  I'm sure most young mother's in today's world feel like this on a daily basis, and it's a feeling I've been having quite frequently.  It was a message I really needed to hear at the right time.

At the same time, it made me realize, I'm not doing enough.  I'm not serving others and 'throwing kindness like confetti' even though I routinely think about doing so.  I'd like to make an effort to do more acts of kindness because I know that while it's something that should be done without a reason, it's something I want my girls to witness and be raised built within their character.  The best lessons aren't taught with words, but with actions.  So this week it was buying a small gift on short notice for a teacher who only helped for a short time.  Maybe next week it'll be baking cookies for our neighbor, collecting donations for the local food pantry, buying someone a coffee, or just telling a struggling new mom that she's doing a great job (thanks Colleen).  I believe in karma and while I'm not going to strive to complete these tasks for my own benefit, but maybe there will be more light let in from the warmth in our hearts and most of all, develop kind and sharing hearts within my daughters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saved Snaps

Every now and then I see something on Instagram that makes me want to save it for later.  Whether it's a recipe, design element, quote, you name it... I just want something about it to stick in my memory, which most likely won't happen, so to the camera roll it goes.

I figured since these images inspire me in some way (enough to screen shot them), that maybe they would for someone else, too.  I have a feeling this might be a monthly post, if not for anything to be get these pictures out of my camera roll and saved for later reference.

@freshlypicked | @theoilmommies | @megawat
@ohmycharley | @melanieburk | @meetthesullivans
@studiomcgee | @mimimcdonald | @hellotosha
@amandarydell | @prettylittleelm | @studiomcgee
@kirstenkrason | @houseofjadeinteriors | @weelicious
@weelicious | @projectnursery | @stitchfix

Does anyone else do this? What are you favorite instagram feeds for inspiration?

Monday, September 22, 2014


No pictures to share, move along if you aren't reading.

> A last minute decision on Friday night, the Husband decided that we should just go with the pro to the do the room.  It would take us far too long on our own and we could handle some of the areas that were driving the cost up, like the two walk in closets.   So freedom from painting, yay, but still stuck with this horrible depressing bedroom, boo.

>Ashlynn's battling a cold.  She came home from school on Thursday with a bit of a runny nose, but not bad.  I was actually surprised it took her to the third week to catch something.  By Friday she was blowing nose and barely napped.  On Saturday she was full out stuffy head and starting to cough.  I broke out my essentials oils and so far everyone else seems to be spared and she seems to be turning a corner, blowing her nose like a beast.  One skill I'm so happy she picked up.  She really hasn't masted blowing out candles, bubbles, or bubbles in water - she uses her teeth, but I guess blowing your nose is a more appreciated skill at two.

> I went the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta on Saturday to finally get my eyebrows done.  I don't consider myself an over-plucker, but I've been trying to grow them in a tad more mainly because they are so light.  Eyebrow shadow is one of my musts they or else they just don't stand out.  So I hid the tweezers for well over a month, something I don't think I ever did, and had them cleaned up with a new shape for me to try to follow while they continue to grow a bit a fuller.

> After the girls woke from their naps, we headed to Babies R Us to use a credit on some more pacis for K because we are down to two and while she's not super dependent on them, I always like having one on me just in case and another in the crib.  We also grabbed another potty seat for the downstairs bathroom since I'm really getting sick of cleaning the tiny one.  So now we have a seat on both floors and I don't need to buy stock in clorox wipes.  After that I (literally) ran into JCPenney to pick up the Rapunzel costume I ordered for Ashlynn incase she decides to not be Elsa for Halloween.  It was marked down to $19.99 and with their headband braid, which I think she'll be more likely to wear than a giant wig, it was just under $30 getting it shipped to the store for pickup (plus 3% in ebates).

> Sunday was spent at home, drawing with markers, watching football, practicing walking, and of course family walks both nights to enjoy the warm fall weather.

> We also worked on the list of home renos we are ready to undertake, on top of the bedroom.  So much needs to be done to the house, but of course without winning the lottery - or sending me back to work, we can't do it all right away.  We did some major repairs when we moved in and some minor things here and there since... if you consider appliances like dishwashers and ranges minor, but still.  It's time to either tackle the master bathroom or kitchen (or mudroom, or yard), and most likely the bathroom will win for fear of mold.  I just hope whatever we choose it's done by Christmas, it always seems reno jobs get so drawn out.

And with that, it's Monday.  Cruddy Monday, but the forecast is gorgeous.  I think we have a Wegman's run and baking some pumpkin muffins on the agenda, and hopefully an afternoon trip to the playground if everyone is looking healthy.  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday - Brought to you by the Letter 'S'

Let's get right to it!

Little Miss K is finally taking steps!  I don't consider this walking, since she's only taking one to two hesitant steps at a time before choosing to sit down or desperately over reaching to grab my arm or shirt.   Either way, she's finally practicing lifting her feet off the ground and her balance improving every day.  I'll be running after her soon enough!

Ashlynn is really loving it.  She's now gone a whopping six days over the last three weeks and she never seems to not want to go.  She gets pouty when I walk her into her classroom, but she willingly walks away from me to her teach, just with her a big lower lip pout and "mommy!" quiver.  No clinging to my legs, crying on the way there, or fighting it.  I just don't think she likes that I leave.  Her teacher says she stops almost immediately and that this past week has really started to get more social with the other children.  She loves jumping during the morning song, duh, and she usually tells me about the red slide and "art" when I pick her up.  She loves helping me pick out what to pack in her lunch and she usually eats it all too.

When we started she would cry when I came to pick her up.  She used to do the same thing at the gym. It's almost like a cry of relief, running immediately to me "mommy!" except  I'll be asking her if she had fun today and she'll be jumping up and down and saying "Fun!" through her tears. This was the first week she didn't cry at pick up, but she still is always excited to see me.  So much, that she usually grabs whatever crackers are left on her plate by the fistful to make sure we bring them home.  Once, she actually picked up her plate and came running over.  This one.

I'm really happy she's adjusting so well, loves her teacher, and hopefully is making friends.

Sun Butter
A's preschool is peanut free, which obviously a lot of schools are these days since it seems nut allergies are more common than ever.  I wasn't sure if they were just peanut free or tree nut free (meaning no almond or cashew butter allowed either), so I grabbed sun butter (sunflower seed butter) a few weeks back before she started.  I had heard one my friend's say how she was less than a fan, so I wasn't sure what it was going to be like, basically expecting it to be gross.  So I opted to buy the one that sounded the tastiest and had the cutest label, Wild Friends.

Oh my goodness, screw peanut butter.  I think this is so good!  I've pretty much have had half the container smeared all over the apples we picked.   The also have a chocolate and maple flavors, I'm obsessed. 

And sneaking in another sunflower seed product, I think it was Veronika who shared these, but Somersaults from Target.  I basically can eat the whole bag in a sitting.  So good.

Dare I say, we are on our way to sleeping through the night?  Kenley has only been waking up once a night and sometimes she's been pretty close to not needing me to come in.  I only do because I fear she'll wake for the day at 5am and I figure if I'm up hearing her cry, I might as well feed her and let her try to sleep past 6am.   Going to try to really wean down and drop this feeding she's clinging to, we've upped her solids during the day and she's getting 4 good feedings otherwise.  I am going to be a whole new woman.

Sponsor Update
I got some sweet notification last night that the Eric Carle for Gymboree collaboration is now carrying adult sizes!  So all you mama and mini matchers can read yourselves into candy colored dreamland together in style.

Actually, they'd probably be a cute Halloween costume too if you wanted to dress up as your little for a party. Or if you are having family stay together for holidays, have a family sized caterpillar slumber party.  Cheesy, probably.  Fun, definitely.

{Thanks to Gymboree for sponsoring this update and choosing to make adult size children's jammies, hehe}

Stonington Gray
After getting a quote we couldn't stomach, we are breaking out our brushes and rollers and attempting to start the great master makeover this weekend.  It's going to be a labor of love.  The room is pretty huge and needs spackling, sanding, major priming, and of course two coats of paint.  I'm just hoping to get it primed, which is a feat itself without a babysitter.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

[Giveaway] Tea Box Express

Tea Box Express is the brainchild of Andrea Reese, a New York City based entrepreneur who chooses caffeine as her drug of choice and tea as her favorite source. She owns a shipping store and edits the website BlackTeaWorld.com. Tea Box Express was born when her love of tea got mixed in with her entrepreneurial spirit. The result is an exciting box of quality tea and fun “tea things” that any fan of tea will be thrilled to open. Andrea enjoys running, cupcakes, and three cups of tea per day.

Each month’s box features a new, unique theme to encourage customers to delight in the tea experience along with superior quality tea and fun accessories. Tea Box Express has partnered with some of the best brands to ensure that each box is full of treats that will excite tea lovers and tea novices alike.

Tea Box Express offered me the chance to sample their October box and host a giveaway for my readers, which I loved since I always get excited passing on great products and promotions to readers.  The premier October 2014 box’s theme is “Bee Happy.” Not only does the box contain a delicious tea, gourmet honey, and bee-inspired accessories, but it also promotes positivity by encouraging customers to reflect on the happy parts of their lives.

Price: $25.50 for month-to-month, $74 for 3 months, and $139 for 6 months. Shipping is $5.99/month.
Availability: Currently available only in the US
Each box includes: 1 high quality tea and 3 or 4 accessories per month
Each box ships: on the 15th of each month

I genuinely love all the items that were included in my sneak peek of the October 2014 box. I'm generally a coffee drinker, but I do love a good cup of tea, usually in the afternoons.  The Teatulia black tea that was included is so tasty and smells so good.  And I learned my lesson of how strong it is by enjoying a cup one night at bed, and then being up past midnight - oops.  Funny too, because I usually can fall right to sleep no problem after drinking coffee!

The Savannah Bee Company raw honey is perfectly sweet and the tea pot honey dipper is the cutest complimenting accessory.  I love how "tea" is scripted within the stainless steel tea pot on the handle.  The yellow tea bag holder is cute and I never met a cookie I didn't eat.  The shortbread cookie was the perfect nap tea time snack. 

I am already planning on ordering one of these for Ashlynn's preschool teacher.  It would make the perfect birthday or holiday gift for a teacher, hostess, hair stylist, babysitter, you name it.  I'm actually convinced it's the perfect gift since it's more personal than a gift card and yet, not as personal as selecting something that a recipient might not enjoy or use which is always my fear!

Tea Box Express is offering to giveaway one of their premier October boxes to a lucky reader and they are also offering readers 20% off their first box with code "STRAWBERRY20".  Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If you give a toddler an apple...

This weekend we finally found a local-ish apple orchard and headed over on Sunday morning before football took over my husband's life.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, morning in the low 60s warming into the 70s by afternoon.  The type of weather where you are comfortable in everything from shorts and tee to long sleeves or light sweaters.

We grabbed a bucket, tied a baby on, and took off into the sea of apple trees.

This was my very first time apple picking.  As silly as this may sound, I was actually surprised how small the trees were, in a good way.  Maybe it was just the Cortland and MacIntosh varieties we were picking, but Ashlynn was able to walk right up and pick (ripe) fruit from the branches... at all 34" of her.  I guess I always thought apple trees as being bigger and figured dear old dad was going to be doing a lot of toddler lifting.

If anything the hike through the tall grasses and unforeseen ditches posed the larger obstacle for the shortcake.

And this is what I get when I ask for smiles now....

Of course, after we grabbed our apples and made our way to the farm stand to check out, we couldn't resist getting some apple cider donuts to go.  I did promise Ashlynn apples and donuts the night before after reading If You Give a Dog a Donut, since I explained we'll be picking apples just like dog when he ran out of juice.   We've been eating apples every day since, but I think she's been enjoying the donuts more.  Typical.

shirt (on sale) | jeans | shoes

I'm now really excited to go pumpkin picking next month.  I'm hoping Kenley is toddling around, although that may be more trouble than it's worth.  Either way, I know the girls will love being pulled around in the wagon, seeing the pigs and goats, and getting to pick their own pumpkins!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[Child's Play] A Busy Box Tutorial

Welcome back friends, today we are following up last week's Busy Box Swap with tutorials on how we made all our busy activities.  Again, criteria included spending as little as possible - preferably <$15 and trying to use items we already had on hand or things easily found at the dollar spot, dollar store, or craft store.   

I decided to use pom poms because I know a lot of kids can be mesmerized by the bright soft fuzzy craft supply, or maybe it's just my own.  The obvious activity was color recognition with matching and sorting, but I wanted to build another skill on top of just grouping piles of yellow, green, and blue. So I added some number flash cards to help with the second skill set of number recognition and counting. 

Pencil Box
Craft Punch, circle (or a quarter to trace!)
Construction Paper
Glue Stick (or glue or glue dots of any kind)
Cardstock or thin cardboard
Scissors or paper cutter

Overall, the project cost me about $5.  I only had to purchase the pom poms (which there were plenty left over to make one for Ashlynn) and the pencil box.  Pencil box was $1 and pom poms $3.79 from Michaels.  Everything else were things I had on hand.

First up, the flash cards.

Simple enough.  I punched a circle with my craft punch, you could easily trace a quarter, and used it to draw out numbers.  I first placed the pom poms in the shape of the number I wanted, then just replaced each pom with the circle, traced, and repeat.  After each number was traced out, I punched coordinating color circles to glue at the bottom for the child to count. Then I layered the cardstock and glued the cards on construction paper for some punch of color and extra durability.  

There are so many different skills that can be worked here.  Of course, fine motor skills of placing the pom poms on the empty circles creating each number, then counting the dots to help with number recognition. Color matching, orange on orange, blue on blue. You could ask the little one what color poms were used to create each number - use words like under, top, bottom, first, next, last  Which color is under the pink pom pom?  Very simple cards, but lots of language skills can be used in addition to the quiet activity of placing the pom poms on top of the cards.

As for the box itself, this was a true MacGyver effort.  I first used the bottom of a small gift box I had laying around since the cardboard was sturdy, but not think.  I flatten it out and used the sides as the 4  strips to create the cubbies.  I made sure two fit lengthwise and two widthwise properly, then cut a notch in each going about 2/3 of the way down.  I fit the notches into each other and had my grid.  I then used the bottom of the box for the bottom of my grid.  I trimmed the corners so it'd fit the rounded edges of the box and notched it where there was bump from the box's closure.  I then used some hot glue to attach the grid to the base and followed with gluing color swatches to bottom of each grid.  

And yes, make sure your colors match the poms you have on hand!

I stored the flash cards under the sorting grid so everything fits nice and neat into the little box.  New numbers, letters, or shapes could always be added to the collection for more fun pom pom building. 

And that is how I made a quick, cheap busy box during a nap time. Nothing super fancy, but hopefully the options for play steals mom a few quiet minutes for herself.  

I'm so excited to see what everyone is linking up with their busy boxes.  Be sure to add your post - past or present - to the link up below so we can all blog hop and pin our hearts out!

And don't forget to check out the other hosts!

Colleen at Meet the Sullivans
Emily at Dear Owen
Michelle at Ten June
Natasha at Schue Love
Erin at Hello Erin