Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fabric and a Coffee Date

This morning, Paisley and I spent some quality time together cruising up and down the isles of JoAnn Fabrics. Over the course of 1.5 hours, we visited the bathroom twice, loaded up the cart with far too many fabric choices, and texted my sister multiple "Help! I can't decide!" messages. Fabric stores make my head spin in a plaid-polkadot-flannel-cotton sort of way. Around every corner I see something that I like. The problem is that my "likes" don't always match and then the process of elimination needs to happen, and that's just not easy. Honestly, I hardly even know why I bother because once I finally decide on the fabric and bring it home, things don't get any better.

See, sewing sounds like a nice, relaxing thing to do but, when the rubber meets the road....or say, the fabric meets the sewing machine, relaxing is not what happens. Instead of smiling while I happily zip along, my machine jams and I sweat. It makes me want to cry. It's not fun.

Honestly, sewing almost makes me swear, kind of like how my Mom was when she was teaching me to drive. I wish I could blame it on my sewing machine or on the fabric but, it's not them, it's me. I don't measure anything. I've read the owners manual that came with my machine once. I don't know what I'm doing and therefor, sewing is not exactly my thing. Not right now anyway.

Maybe someday I'll get inspired to actually try to sew correctly. In the meantime, I'm planning on sticking with really easy projects. Hey- maybe I'll pin lots of great sewing ideas, that'll bring me one step closer, right? I wish.

After I finally narrowed my fabric down to 5 good choices, Paisley and I headed out on a little coffee date. It's starting to really hit me that soon, she will no longer be my baby. She's been the baby longer than Judah was, because we welcomed her to our family when he was just 21 months old. The realization that soon she'll be our middle child is making me want to savor these last few moments with her and enjoy them in the fullest way possible.
She's almost 2 1/2 and she's a busy as they come. As I sat with her, sipping my Americano, I watched her enjoy her doughnut while constantly squirming in her chair. Sister doesn't sit still. Literally, if she's awake, she's moving. She literally bounces off the walls. She falls off a chair almost everyday. If I had high blood pressure, I'm sure she'd be the cause. But, for every ounce of her that's busy and full of two-year-old sass, there's an ounce of sweetness.

As we get closer to welcoming another baby, I want to sing to her longer, hold her tighter and intentionally create moments just with her. I remember feeling the same way when Judah was our only child. During the month or so before Paisley was born, I took him to the park extra. We played more and we did the things together that I knew would be more difficult with a newborn.

It's all about enjoying the present to the fullest, while preparing for what's ahead. Right now, we go on coffee dates and wander around the fabric store. We sing extra songs, while I dream about rocking the new baby in that same chair. We talk about the new baby lots and prepare ourselves for what's ahead, in the best way that we know how.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Breech at 35 Weeks

Time has been cruising along and the preparations for this new little one are coming together so well. Her tiny clothes are washed, folded and waiting in her dresser. My energy has picked back up and I've been cleaning today like crazy. I've also reached that part of pregnancy where you stand at your closet and just stare, when you're supposed to be getting dressed. You flip through, hanger by hanger and end up wearing a "shirt", that was actually intended to be a dress. Getting dressed is becoming slightly depressing, and the pile of stuff that doesn't fit is just growing. The other day, I Facebooked that I wished it was flip flop season. Within minutes, a few of my MOPS gals encouraged me to just go for it....wear the flip flops! Who cares if it's February and it's 40 degrees outside. Be comfortable. Stop bending over and turning blue. So, I hoisted my leg up on the bathroom counter, clipped my toe nails, slipped on my flip flops and merrily went on my way. That was a good afternoon.

There's a certain skill that's required to clip your toe nails at this point. The belly goes between your legs. You take a deep breath, lift your leg up there and then pat yourself on the back, for actually clipping those nails. 

While I wait and prepare for her, there's become a little big bump in the road. Little Miss is breech. Long before this time, my other babies had flipped and were in optimal position for a natural birth. This baby is doing things a bit different- she's growing my faith. I've been hesitant to write much about it because birth is one of those topics that just gets Moms fired up and like most women, I have pretty strong opinions about it. My entire life, I've been a strong believer in natural birth. Long before I was even married or close to becoming a Mom, I wanted to birth my babies naturally. There are literally about 50 reasons why I believe in natural birth but, I'm not going down that road today. Our country's c-section rate is ridiculously high and it bothers me horribly that so many c-sections are done, when they aren't necessary. 

With that being said, I just have to throw it out there and say that I DO agree that sometimes a c-section is necessary. I have lots of friends who've had c-sections and I think NOTHING less of them. Sometimes, it just has to be done. Sometimes it even saves a baby's life. Having a healthy baby is what's most important. Right? Right. 

For me, I want to avoid having a c-section as much as possible. I'll exhaust all options, before I go that route. My first two birth experiences were far too wonderful to give this up easily. Little baby has to flip. Even as I near 36 weeks, I'm believing that she has time. 

As I've talked this over with my midwife and learned more about breech babies, I've discovered some really interesting stuff. For breech babies, there are options! First of all, there's this amazing website called Spinning Babies, that gives you tons of exercise ideas that encourage your baby to flip. 

Secondly, there's a certain technique that specifically trained Chiropractor's can do, called The Webster Technique. I'm starting the Chiropractor treatments on Friday and I'm super excited. Having her stuck in this breech position has been stressing me out and even making me loose sleep but, I feel like I've come to a place of determination and hope. 

And so, besides doing normal life, I've been doing lots of inversions off the couch, laying on an inverted ironing board and lots of praying. This afternoon I called a place with a pool, to see about coming in and doing handstands in the water. The gal on the phone laughed at me. I'm sure she'll laugh even harder when she sees this big prego in the water, standing on her head.
Now that will deserve a picture.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Taco Pizza- With a Giveaway!

Lately I've been trying to step out of our normal dinner routine and bring in a few new recipes. It's so easy to get into a rut making the same things, isn't it? Well, this Taco Pizza is something we've had a few times recently and every time, it's a huge hit. The thought of using refried beans in place of spaghetti sauce seemed a little strange but, even my husband and kids (who are pickier than I am) love it.

Basically, you start with your favorite Pizza Crust. I used the Pillsbury Artisan Whole Wheat Crust and it was great. Pre-bake the crust until it's about 1/2 way done (about 8 minutes, at 400 degrees F).

After the crust comes out of the oven, spread one can of hot refried beans over the crust.
Sprinkle 1 pound cooked hamburger, seasoned with Taco Meat over the beans.
Add a big handful of chopped olives.
Next, add a sprinkle of chopped onion.
Drizzle your favorite salsa over the pizza and spread with a butter knife to evenly coat the pizza.
Add a generous amount of grated cheese.
Garnish with fresh cilantro. 
Finish baking in a 400 degree F oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
Taco Pizza

1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 pound lean ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup chopped olives
1/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup salsa
1 Pillsbury Artisan Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used colby and monterey jack cheese)
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning to the ground beef according to package directions.

Unroll pizza dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, or pizza pan. Bake pizza dough for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven.

Place refried beans into a microwavable-safe bowl. Microwave  until hot. Stir well and then spread beans evenly over the top of the warm pizza crust. Top with the cooked ground beef mixture, olives, onion, salsa, cheese and cilantro.

Return to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately and enjoy!

And now....because it's Saturday and because everyone loves Pizza, here's the giveaway!

Your gift pack will contain:
• FREE coupon for Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain
• Football cutting board
• Pizza pan
• Pizza cutter

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below, telling me what type of pizza is your absolute favorite.   The winner will be announced next Saturday, March 2nd.

If you don't have a blog, make sure to leave your email address so, I can contact you if you win.

As always, these opinions are entirely mine. The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whole Wheat Banana Bread made with Coconut Oil

With the kitchen being a major construction zone for the past few days, very little cooking has been going on. Now (post construction), extra natural light is pouring through the windows and this morning, I got a major urge to cook. My kids had Banana Bread yesterday that our sweet friend Nathalie made and since then, Judah's been hinting for me to make some.
This Banana Bread is a new variation of my favorite stand-by recipe. Instead of using melted butter- which was totally delicious and unhealthy, I tried using Coconut Oil instead.
Oh boy- super yum.
Secondly, I added an extra Banana. This one loaf has 4 bananas and when you combine lots of banana with Coconut Oil, you create the most moist and addicting bread.
Last, I completely skipped the white flour and used 100% Whole Wheat instead.
And, you know what? You wouldn't even know it's gone! I promise, you won't miss it.
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
4 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, for sprinkling on loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add in coconut oil, whisking until combined. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla until mixed. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour batter in the greased loaf pan and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

I confess...this is what the kids and I had for lunch. Well, we did save a couple pieces for The Husband but, that's all that's left over. After we ate our bread, we all took naps. I laid down with Judah to sing him a couple of songs and within a few minutes, we were both out. 

While I can't promise that this bread will create a peaceful afternoon of naps for you and your kids, I can promise that you'll all love it. 

Have a happy day. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kitchen Progress!

Monday morning I woke up nice and early with high hopes for our big demolition day. After we had breakfast, we cleaned up the house and got ready to head to my sister's. Why do I feel the need to clean up the house for contractors? Oh, I don't know....I just do, even if it totally doesn't make sense. 
We hadn't been gone more than an hour when my phone rang. Unexpected electrical cords. 
Major bummer. 
No one had thought that the electricity would run through the little arch way over the kitchen. Construction Man left, and told me that he'd be back tomorrow with Electrical Man. 
 A little hole in the wall....not what I was expecting for the big "demolition" day.
Tuesday morning, Construction Man came back with Electrical Man. Both are super nice and so easy to work with. Electrical Man gave me good news......the solution was going to be more simple and less expensive than what I had anticipated.
Wednesday (today), the real demolition was able to happen since the electrical issue was all resolved. Tonight while I cooked dinner, I kept on pinching myself. It's SO open. We still have tons of work to do, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how open it is. The kids were in the living room and we kept on teasing each other "Can you see me now? Can you see me?" What an improvement already!
With all of this chaos going down in our house, we've been on the go all week. Tools, saws and all sorts of not-so-kid-friendly stuff have been all over the house so, my main job has been to simply keep the kids occupied and out of the way. Thankfully, it was super nice yesterday. We played outside all morning and then hit the store for some fun picnic snacks and ate lunch at the park.

Today we met some of our favorite friends for a hike and a picnic. All of the fresh air that we've been getting this week has been so good for all of us. Right now, I feel like I have more energy than I did a few weeks ago and that seems kind of ironic since my due date keeps on creeping closer.
The kitchen still needs the new cabinets in the island, the eating bar built on and the new counter tops. So, there's lots to do but, so I'm so thankful for the progress I've seen already.

Oh, and that thin layer of drywall dust that's covering every surface in my home? It's so worth it.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Planting Peas on President's Day

Gardening is one of those things that's super fun, although I really know hardly anything about it. I have so much to learn and with the new baby coming, I doubt our garden will be very extensive this year.

Last year, a mentor in our MOPS group mentioned that the best day to plant your Sweet Peas is on President's Day. She's been gardening for years and so, I went with what she said and planted my Peas on President's Day. Result??? Awesome peas.

 So, today we tromped into the Farm Store, picked up some Pea seeds and our Peas are now in the dirt.
That's basically my one and only gardening tip: Plant your peas on President's Day. Thanks, Ginger L. for the  advice!

I hope you've had a wonderful Monday. Demolition on the kitchen started today and then quickly got a touch more complicated when the contractor found the electricity in an unexpected area. So, now we're waiting to hear the electrician's opinion. Construction- it's never exactly what you expect, right?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Kitchen That's About To Get Hacked

It all started the first time we set foot in this kitchen. Our Realtor stood there with us, while we looked around the tiny space and questioned if we'd ever be able to make it work. Cupboard space? Nearly non-existent. Counters? Ha! Barely. Awesome view? Um, no. Instead of walking out, we decided to go with it, to make it work and honestly, I'm glad we did. We've been blessed with the best neighbors, a quiet street and a feeling of safety that I don't take lightly. And my husband, well that man has transformed from not-so-handy, to a man that has some serious skills. I don't know what it is, but a hard working man, who still spends time with his family, is extremely attractive. Ladies, wouldn't you agree? The smell of chainsaw...they should bottle it, don't you think?


After we closed on this house and I began to unpack, I literally cried from the lack of cupboard space. The tears rolling down my cheeks sent Jeremiah straight to Home Depot and he installed a few more cabinets for us. It's been almost 2 years now and while the kitchen has served it's purpose, it's still tiny and it has this ridiculous wall that blocks it off from the dining room and the living room. While I cook dinner, major chaos goes down because Mama can't see anything besides the stove and the refrigerator   Don't even get me started about hosting parties and holiday's. We love entertaining but, it's funny how everyone ends up in the kitchen, isn't it? My Dad describes our kitchen as the "One Butt Kitchen" and when you're pulling a turkey out of the oven, while your Mom's working on mashed potatoes, Dad's fixing gravy and three little boys are driving trucks under your feet, it's a recipe for disaster. Otherwise known as--- Turkey on the floor, gravy on little boy's heads and me freaking out.

And so......

Our kitchen is getting hacked. That big wall that doesn't belong will be removed and an island, with an eating bar will be installed in it's place. Sorry kids, Mama's view is about to change. No more shenanigans while I'm cooking dinner.
Bye, bye wall!
The last few days have been spent mostly picking out new counter tops, emptying cupboards, turning our coat closet into a pantry and preparing for the contractor to come in and do the demolition. It's been chaotic, tons of work and also, super exciting.

So, as I head full speed into major nesting mode, I'm washing tiny baby clothes, and also getting ready to have our kitchen totally hacked into. Life sure isn't dull, is it? I sat at the table tonight after dinner, just watching my family buzzing around me. Judah was wearing his Superman shirt, with his blanket thrown over this shoulders, "flying" around the house. I warned him that he needs to be careful and he crashed to the floor, exclaiming that "Superman never gets hurt!". Paisley was throwing her blanket over tiny little Rosie (the dog), trying to ride her. Jeremiah was doing some sort of drilling in the coat closet. It's definitely not boring around here.

Tomorrow morning, the demolition will begin. I'm ready.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Wishing you a day filled with homemade...
I hope you've had a wonderful day, friends. Judah had his first preschool Valentine party and totally loved it. Paisley and I stayed home, played the piano together and I cleaned the kitchen. Tonight, we'll be celebrating as a family and later, the husband and I will have an at-home date night. Valentine's Day as a Mom sure is extra sweet. Little things like heart shaped toast and new cups for their smoothies make my little ones smile and my heart gets happy. Yesterday, I made them homemade cards- a Superman one for Judah and a Barney one for Paisley. Super fun, super easy and their amount of excitement sure is precious. It's been a really good day and I hope your day has been wonderful as well. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Online Time: Why Less is More

The amount of time we spend "connected" creeps up on us, doesn't it? I think it was back late in 2008 that I joined Facebook. If I remember it accurately, I think my sister joined first and then she told me that I should too, because tons of people we knew were on there. I checked it out and she was right- it was a great place to be connected. I signed up and logged on maybe every few days, just to see what people were up to. And then the whole Facebook game fad started. For awhile, a group of us (mostly cousins), played Risk online. I logged on every day or so to take my "turn" and that was about it.

Then there was Farmville. Oh, Farmville! My farm rocked. My flowers were in such pretty, colorful and straight rows. I harvested my crops and planted new ones. Literally, I'm laughing and shaking my head as I think about it because it was fun and don't YOU pretend to not know what I'm talking about. Lots of other grown ups were planting and harvesting, lining up trees and buying tractors. Oh buddy, my farm had neighbors.

I'm not sure when I stopped "farming" or whatever, but I did. My farm is out there in Facebook land somewhere, probably with starving cows and wilted corn. All jokes aside though..... over the last few years Facebook has morphed into this GIGANTIC way to stay connected. For various reasons, I've spent a lot less time online lately and this afternoon, I almost decided to completely take a break from it all together.

Many people would say that they aren't a phone person and that they'd rather message or email. I get it. Picking up the phone is hard, it's vulnerable. Sometimes my heart pounds a little "What if my kids fuss or what if I catch her at a bad time?" If you're a Mom, you know how it goes. Everything can be going smoothly but, the second you get on the phone, disaster strikes. On the flip side, when you talk to someone (on the phone or in person), you get a glimpse of their reality and conversations that happen with real words and real voices, have a way of portraying what's really going on in a person's life. Personally, I so miss the days of my phone ringing a greater number of times, than the amount of Facebook messages that I receive.

I think back to a time where a friend of mine, that I've always communicated with online or in person, actually called me for something. She used the phone because her message was urgent and she wasn't sure if I'd receive it online quick enough. When the phone rang and it was her, I was amazed. She never used the phone, but this time she did and it was refreshing.

Even the thought of stepping away from Facebook altogether felt a tad bit exciting. I want to be present for my family and present isn't half listening with my iPhone in my hand. And how much time do we spend being "connected" when we could be doing other things? There are so many books that I'd love to read....I'm so behind on updating my kids baby books....I'd love to send more hand written notes....My list could go on and on. Can you relate?

The reality is that Facebook is BIG and if I quit it all together, I might as well go crawl under a gigantic rock. I'd be so out of the loop. Heck, I'd be missing out on event invitations, baby announcements and groups that are a blessing to be part of.

As I've thought about this, I've decided that it all comes down to having balance. If I log onto Facebook one or two times a day, that should be enough. I don't want to be the Mom that's constantly connected and I don't want my friends to think that they can get a hold of me on there, all throughout the day.

There are so many forms of social media that are SO fun and with balance, they can be GOOD. I love Instagram and I think it's great, if it's not sucking away too much of my time. Same goes for Pinterest....I've heard a few women say that Pinterest makes them feel inferior, like they aren't "enough" but personally, I disagree with that. I think it's a great place to gather and organize ideas. I've pinned 1000+ projects, recipes and style ideas....of course I haven't done them all or and it's highly doubtful that I ever will, but honestly, I don't feel bad about that. And lastly, there's Twitter. It's weird and it's fun and again....with balance, it's a great way to be connected.

I know this post has been long and that I've been rambling on a bit, but I feel like this topic is super important, especially to the Mom with little ones at home. The time we spend staying "connected" can so easily consume us, without us even realizing it. It all starts with good intentions, but then it becomes too much and we get used to the feeling of not being fully present. We become really good at talking with our kids, checking the computer and cooking dinner all at the same time.

What about you, can you relate? How do you balance your online time?
Thank you for hearing me out. I hope your Tuesday has been extra sweet.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Weekend Wedding

Tonight's post is mostly photos, with just a few words. This weekend has been so, so, so busy- filled with many wonderful things but, I'd be fibbing if I said that I'm not exhausted. To be honest, I feel like I need a vacation and so, writing a bunch of words would probably not be a good idea. Instead, I'll share with you one of my biggest joys from this weekend. 

The prep started early on Friday morning. We wanted the wedding to have a very natural, woodsy and rustic feel so, we went with mason jars, wrapped with burlap and lace and then tied with white twine. Sister Sally and I were in charge of decorations and flowers, which was totally fun. 
Sally spray painted wine bottles and wrote LOVE on them. The wine bottles were filled with white sticks, to go with the "rustic woodsy" theme. White candles (not pictured), sat on mini stumps, that my hubby cut for us and white lights were strung across the ceiling.

As I've been going through the {few} pictures that I took, I see how happy my Mom looks and that makes me really happy. I'm wishing for her to have many, many years filled with joy. 
 Little flower girl Paisley. My baby looks big. 

Congratulations Mom and Larry! We love you guys! 


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