Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weekly Faves

So this likely won’t be a weekly column based on the past being a good predictor of my future, but we can sure give it the college try. (Remember when I used to do these all the time?)

Well, here are few faves I have come across this week!

I am obsessed with this map featured on The Atlantic visualizing the most popular baby names since 1965. (Link also includes boy names.) I used to want to be named Jennifer so badly!!! Ha! Guess it was because it was so popular.

As mentioned, I love all things pumpkin AND I happen to love hot chocolate. I am very interested in this combo posted on Kara’s Party Ideas.

Today on the Impulsive Buy they posted two holiday candies spotted on store shelves. Um, brilliant, no?

While I realize Halloween is but a few mere hours away, I thought this monster garland was super cute and could be used for a kid’s party outside of the month of October. And it looked really easy, which, as you know, is imperative for me and a craft. Full tutorial on One Charming Party.

For those of you who are into cake design, Grosgrain Fabulous Blog has some really clever ideas on how to turn a plain grocery store cake into a show stopper.

I hope you all enjoy! I will try to keep collecting my favorites from around the web to share with you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Emmy’s One Year Pics

Sweet Lindsay McDaniel took Emmy’s one year pics and our family Christmas card pics at the beginning of October. Emmy was being a HUGE ham, so we got some really precious shots!



These were our family pics for our card. (Well, we took some together, obviously, but I don’t want to spoil the excitement for those of you who will be receiving it in the mail! – Clearly written with my sarcasm font.)

Now, are these not darling???

Lindsay did a great job and I was so lucky Emmy was so cooperative. She had her 12 month shots earlier that morning and still managed to give us a great photo session! Love that sweet girl!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Food

I am actually not a huge fan of Halloween. I love seeing the kids all dressed up, but as for myself, I could take it or leave it. Except for the candy part. I can take that.

This weekend I made a really delicious potato soup that was beyond easy and would be perfect to serve pre-trick or treating. The recipe is from Worthy of the Prize. She did hers in the crockpot, but I didn't have enough foresight to do that, so it works just as well on the stove top. I followed all of her modifications and also added some garlic for good measure.

I also was super impressed with myself for bringing an adorable (and oh-so-easy) treat to a Halloween party this weekend. I have to thank Pinterest for the cleverness. The hardest part about this dessert was unwrapping the Hershey Kisses.

To recreate, just take some Keebler Fudge Striped cookies, turn them upside down, get premade orange frosting and put a generous amount on the Hershey Kiss and press it onto the cookie and - voila - a perfect treat in under five minutes!

And because no post would be complete without a picture of my precious girl, here is my little Halloween girl!

This was so funny - we were at a party and these skeletons danced and sang "I Got You, Babe." She was trying to back herself in between them while they were singing. I guess she didn't like them so close to each other or decided she wanted to sing with the band, too. You never know what's going on in those toddler brains.

 This silly skeleton loves her some Pirate's Booty.

 The sweetest owl you ever did see!

More Halloween pics coming soon...(well, after Halloween).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Easy Week Night Dinners

I need as much help as I can get with dinners anyway, but with a child, cooking needs to happen in under 10 minutes. Here are a few of my favorite Pinterest dinners that aren’t that time consuming.

I love, love, love this Baked Chicken Caesar Chalupa from Iowa Girl Eats. She has so many great recipes and they are all relatively easy. My only modifications are that I use corn tortillas and rotisserie chicken. Ain’t nobody got time to make a grilled chicken in the evening.

These cornflake chicken tenders from Plain Chicken are so, so easy and really tasty. They have ranch dressing mix and parmesan and are just delicious. Rave reviews all around!

This is another winner. I would say prep time for this is about 3 minutes. It can’t get better than that. I make mine with Greek Yogurt instead of mayo (Yuck!). It is really tasty and moist.

For sides, I do a lot of squash and zucchini baked with parmesan. I just slice them thin, spray them with olive oil and sprinkle parmesan and bake at 350 for 20 or so minutes.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spare Moment Saturday

(Haaaa!! I started typing this yesterday and just now got this completed. So maybe the title should be “Spare Moment Over the Period of Two Days.”)

Think I can get people to link onto this catchy title like 5 on Friday has taken off? (Likely no. Especially because this is probably the only time this will ever happen!)

Thought I would share some stuff with you all. (Remember when I used to do that?)

First, since I spend a lot of my free time when waiting in line or whatnot checking my social media sites, I thought I would share three of my favorites.

1- On Facebook I just started following a site called Conscious Discipline. I love it because it gives great tips on how to respond to your child’s behavior at all ages and stages. Here’s an excerpt:

Age-appropriate ways to use Conscious Discipline: Lots-n-lots of examples!
No matter what age your child is, focus on teaching your child what TO DO in the face of daily conflict and “bad” behavior. No matter what age your child is, step one is to calm yourself. Then approach your child in the following age-appropriate ways:

(2 year old) Tantrum in the store:
Your toddler wants a toy in the She throws herself on the floor screaming. You feel angry, embarrassed, tired and desperate. Focus on what you want to have happen rather than on your feelings of discomfort or her tantrum. Take a deep breath. Say to yourself, “You’re safe, keep breathing, you can handle this.” Once you feel calm, you are ready to teach your child to handle frustration and calm down. Be encouraging. Tell her, "You can handle this. Breathe with me. You're safe." Hold her and breathe deeply with her. When her body begins to relax, tell her that she has a choice. "You can sit in the cart and hold the shopping list or you can sit in the cart and hold your doll." Once your toddler makes her choice, say, "You did it! You calmed yourself down and that's hard to do." Celebrate your success together.

2- My favorite party planning instagram is Mindy Weiss. Her photos and events are all stunning.

3- My other favorite Instagrammer is Sweet and Saucy Shop. She has amazing pictures of cakes, parties and her adorable daughter.

Other random musings:

1- Are you guys watching The Mindy Project on Fox? It’s absolutely hilarious. Mindy Kaling from The Office stars as an OB/GYN looking for love. Love it! Even Tommy will watch with me. I wouldn’t recommend watching with your inlaws, though. That was awkward.

2- If you love all things pumpkin like me (with the exception of pumpkin pie, I am totally not into it at all), you must try these pumpkin pie bars. Gingerbread crust and a sweet pumpkin filling totally hit the spot!

3- I am working on Emmy’s play room. I still have some work on it, but I picked up these cute canvas pictures today at Pier 1 for only $15 each. They look like they are on “chalkboard” and I love their message. (Also, much cuter in person!)

5- This is really silly, but as a working mom I was talking to someone the other day about how I manage to fit everything in (though I really don’t, but the baby and I are still alive). For those of you new moms who read this and are about to go back to work, here are my top three tips:

1- Audiobooks from either the library or Audible. This is the only way I can “read.” My current book is the new Bridget Jones book. I am so excited to read it. I LOVED the other ones.

The next one in my queue is the new Malcolm Gladwell book. (One fun one, then one serious one.)

2- I set all of my clothes out on Sunday for the week. I always set Emmy’s out the night before as well.

3- If you want to work out (and don’t worry, I didn’t until she was about 6 months old), try to go on your lunch break. I take mostly weight/abs classes to minimize the sweating and half the time I am easily swayed by a friend asking me out to lunch, but it’s the thought that counts :).

4- Menu Planning. I basically use Pinterest to plan my meals on Sunday and it works for me! If I can get it together, I will post my favorite easy meals because that’s all I can make work around here!

Okay! That’s all I’ve got for today! Hope to be around here more!

Monday, October 14, 2013

12 Month Update

Well, as you can see, Emmy has hit the 12 month mark. The biggest milestone for this month was walking! It has made things more interesting and much easier and fun.

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Emmy really has one of the most sweetest hearts ever. If she sees a baby doll or a stuffed toy, she will always love on it.  We took her to the toy aisle at Target and it was just beyond precious. As she walked down the aisle, she would hug each animal she saw. It really was darling.

While this baby is 99% sweet, she does have a little sour side to her. She started throwing full-on fits when things didn’t go her way.  I mean like 2-year old fits where she throws herself on the ground screaming and crying. Um, isn’t this a little early?

Since walking around is a favorite thing to do around here, we have started taking her out just to walk. We had a fun day at PetCo looking at the animals. A display was knocked over in the process, but it was a fun day!

Next we took her to Kohl’s where lots of fun was had until it was time to leave and the above mentioned fit ensued. Le sigh. I can see my future already. However, I will give it to her on tenaciousness and being decisive. Baby girl knows what she wants.

Another big milestone was her first hair cut! The front part of her hair had grown super long, while the back was short from when she rubbed it as an infant from sleeping on her back. It is a really cute bob now!

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Emmy also understands so much! When I ask her to hand me things she will, she can sit on her bottom when asked, lay on the floor when I tell her we need to for a diaper change, hand me things I ask for and take them to other people when asked. It amazes me!

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As for talking she says just a few words here and there. We were talking about ducks and she just blurted it out! But doesn’t really say anything consistently.

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Emmy still hates to be constrained in any way from diaper changes to car rides to stroller rides, we don’t last long. I bought her a new car seat yesterday, so I am hoping car rides improve.  (One can only hope.)

Emmy did great with her 12-month shots.  (Not so great when the doctor visited. Before he even touched her she was screaming and thrashing. I am only going to assume she has some kind of super baby memory, rather than think she was just being difficult!)

She is in the 9th percentile for height coming in at 27.5 inches and in the 22nd percentile for weight at 19.4 pounds. She still wears 6-12 month onesies from the Gap, but 12-18 in pants.

We love this sweet baby girl and I especially love to see the world through her eyes. (Cheeseball alert!) It makes you appreciate the little things that she notices – she hears the birds chirping, the wind blowing, even when the sidewalk changes textures. I definitely am learning more to slow down and appreciate the beauty of life that I take for granted.

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Love you, little girl!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Babushka Birthday Party

Surprise, surprise – Emmy’s first birthday party had a nesting doll theme! It was really fun to put together and I tried to make it as easy on myself as possible. I did that by serving super simple food (pizza – Emmy’s favorite and easy, easy appetizers)! 

I also lost my SD card, so these are a collection of pics from my sister, father in law and friend, Megan! (I later found my SD card after I had taken tons of pictures on my camera only to realize that it wasn’t there. UGH.)

The invites set the stage for the party d├ęcor. I bought the babushka files on etsy, turned their hair brown and made the invites myself.

The party started at the front door.

I got this wreath idea from a blog, but made it to match Emmy’s invitations and colors. I just took two wreaths, cut one to “fit” on the bottom and wrapped them with ribbon.  Then I just printed pages for the face and stomach. It was super easy and took about 10 minutes. My kind of project.

The entry table had a book called the Littlest Matryoshka for the guests to sign.

I made this “chalkboard” picture based off some really cute ideas I saw on Etsy.  I just had it printed at QuikPrint and I mounted it to foam core board.

The favors were babushka-shaped pumpkin fudge.  Even if you aren’t doing a babushka party, you should make the fudge. It rocked.

I have a big 4x4 print above my fire place. I wanted to have a huge sign put over it. I decided that I would save $75 and just print it at home using the tile feature in Illustrator. It’s not perfect, but I figured I would regret the cost after the night was over. I was correct. :)

Since I was terrible about taking her picture in a onesie each month with the cute numbers, I improvised and put her face in the babushka. Score one for laziness!

The star of the show (other than the actual star herself!!) were these amazing cakes from Frosten’s! I will tell you, they tasted as good as they looked! They were delicious and every one was raving about them! We had tons, so all of our guests were offered a piece (or three!) before they left.

And now for the real star of the show – serious faced baby!

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And the best family picture we could get at a party full of distractions!

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This is kind of how the cake went.

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Other little details:

Appetizer cards:

party decor

high chair

And next year’s party will be at a place where we rent and they do it all. Just kidding! It was fun to put together and so fun to celebrate my sweet little girl! I kept telling Tommy that she only turns one once ;)!

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