Monday, February 1, 2016

Super Bowl Appetizer Ideas

Happy February! I am so excited that this month is finally here, not because I love the month, but just because we're one month closer to March! This coming weekend T and I are having our supper club group over for a Super Bowl party. We are the assigned hosts for the month of February, so we figured it would be fun (and probably easier) to have the group over for appetizers and beer versus a full sit-down dinner.

I plan on making several different appetizers for guests to munch on while they're here, because, after all that's what this game is all about, right? :) Here's a peek at some of my favorite appetizer recipes, I'm still finalizing the menu, but several of them will be making an appearance that night.

1. Crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam

2. Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot Bombs

3. Cheesy Chicken White Bean Dip

4. Chicken and Waffles Bites

5. Cheesy Hearts of Palm Dip

After putting this list together I've realized that all my favorite appetizers are fully focused on cheese and carbs, or a mixture of the two.  I'll be looking to add a few other apps in that have some vegetables, are lower carb, and may be a little bit more on the healthier side.  Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear what you're making for the big game!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pregnancy Update: 22 weeks

It's been several weeks since my last pregnancy update, so I figured I'd share what's going on at the 22 week mark.  We had a couple of inches of snow this weekend, and I managed to get a few pictures while our backyard was still pretty and white. 

How Far Along?  22 Weeks

Size of Baby:
  A Papaya (10.5-11.8 inches)

  A BOY!

Weight Gain: 
 Around 8 lbs

Maternity Clothes: Pants are a must, but I'm still able to get away with some non-maternity tops.  Once we reach springtime, I will be in full-on maternity wear, but I'm trying to postpone that for as long as I can. My two favorite pairs of pants are these black pants from H&M and these skinny jeans from Loft.  I had a hard time finding pants that were tight enough in the leg to fit down into boots, but these two pairs were perfect.

 We've made some good progress in the nursery so far.  We completed the closet this week (see post here) and we'll be assembling the crib this weekend.  We also bought a rug,  glider, and ottoman which I'm pretty darn excited about.  It's been so fun to see this little space come together, now I just want the room to be finished! 

  Feeling movement from the inside AND outside now, which is the best.  Having T be able to feel little kicks at night has been so special. 

 My back pain has subsided thankfully after a month of weekly chiropractic visits.  Having to tinkle much more frequently now, so I'm becoming very familiar with the locations of bathrooms in all my favorite stores.  All in all though, I'm feeling great. 

Sleep: I've slept great throughout this entire pregnancy.  My dreams can be a little crazy from time to time, after watching an X-Files episode this week, I dreamed that I had the baby early, and that he was an alien.  I guess that means no more Scully and Mulder for me.

Cravings:  Anything and everything sweet.  My first trimester I was all about the savory foods, and now this trimester I cannot get enough sweets.  It's a very odd feeling because I've never been that much of a sweets person.  I keep break and bake cookies in the fridge and make a couple most days after lunch.  

What I Miss: I have had such an easy pregnancy that there's not much that I miss, but I do look forward to being able to do more house projects on my own.  I've needed T's help with completing several projects when they involve paint or fumes that I'm not supposed to be around. 

Best Moment This Week: Hooking up headphones to my stomach and getting to play music for baby Thompson for the first time.  I let T choose the first song he'd hear, and naturally he played our alma mater's fight song, The Tiger Rag.  I felt a lot of movement when we played music, so I think he liked it!   Oh, and we also booked our babymoon this week!  We'll be headed to Sedona, AZ for a long weekend in March at a resort and spa.  The weekend should be a good mix of exploring and pampering, and I am so excited for it.  

Looking Forward To: My doctor appointment next week.  As I approach the 6 month mark, I have so many questions I'd like to get answered.  I've had a little bit of anxiety about having gestational diabetes after my sister's recent diagnosis, and with it being my first baby, there's so many unknowns that I have about the entire process.  

*affiliate links used

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nursery Closet Renovation

It's safe to say that nearly 95% of our house, if not more, was built to contractor grade and never changed before we moved in.  The brass light fixtures, unfinished bathroom mirrors, and bare bones closet configurations were three of the things that stood out to me most.

Earlier this summer when we moved in, we knew that the smaller of our two guest rooms would one day be the nursery, so we decided to leave it as is until we knew what we wanted to do with it.  The great thing about the nursery is it was a complete blank slate.  The walls were even still painted with just the coat of primer that the builders painted over sheetrock...over 20 years ago.

Here's a peek at what the closet looked like before.  Old, dirty, and not the best use of space, especially for teeny tiny baby clothes.

I originally figured we'd hire a good friend who's a contractor to help us rework the closet, not even thinking this was something we could tackle ourselves.  But, after some brief browsing online, I realized it wasn't going to be so difficult after all.   Enter: the Ikea Pax.

First things first, we got the boring part out of the way by removing the existing clothing bar, repairing the holes in the wall, and repainting the closet with a good coat of white paint.  Next step, head to Ikea.

Before this project, I had never purchased anything from Ikea.  T and I went in there once to look around, and wound up getting so overwhelmed by everything that we left 20 minutes later.   This time, we came with a plan.  The closet is modeled after this post, and modified just a bit for the size of our closet.  We were able to get all materials from Ikea and the hardware store.

This is what was on our Ikea shopping list:

Pax Wardrobe Frame  ($50)
4 Small Shelves  ($5 each)
Medium/Large Shelves ($10 each)
4 Drawers-  ($20 each)

Ikea Total: $190

And this is what was on our Lowes list:

1x3 plywood
White latex paint
1 1/4" wooden dowels
4 sets of closet rod holders
3 L-brackets
wood screws
Wood stain (I used Minwax Early American)
Disposable foam brushes

We started by assembling the wardrobe frame as the directions showed and positioning it in the center of the closet.  My main concern about this was that it wouldn't be secure enough to the wall.  They do supply you with materials to mount it to the wall, but it wasn't secure enough for my standards.  Instead, we purchased three brackets and screwed two of them into the baseboards, and one into the stud behind the wardrobe.  The stud wasn't completely centered over the wardrobe,  which meant the bracket on top wouldn't be centered, but you can't see it when you're standing in front of the closet.  I know how babies use anything and everything to pull up on when they're learning to stand and walk, so I wanted this thing to be virtually immovable.

Once the wardrobe was centered and secured into the wall, I then cut 4 pieces of the the 1x3 plywood to fit the depth of the closet.  Once the wood was cut, I painted it white to match the inside of the closet.  We mounted two slats on each side so we could hang two clothing rods on each side, securing each to the stud with long screws.  I mounted the wood at 42" and 72".  These heights are slightly different that what the "standard" closet rod heights are, but they worked for us.

Once those were screwed into the wall, we screwed in the rod holders, and cut the wooden dowels to fit.  I painted the dowels with a coat of stain to give them a little bit of color first.

Next we cut the larger shelves to fit on each side of the middle wardrobe, they needed to be about 20" wide for our closet.  Once cut, they rest on the 1x3 block on the wall side and then we used the pegs that came with the shelf to screw into the wardrobe.  The pegs fit right down into the pre-drilled holes so the shelf won't slide.  

This is what it looked like after all shelves and rods were installed.

And then came the fun part, getting to fill it with all the cute baby clothes I've been collecting, and picking out baskets for storage.  We found exactly what we needed at Target, and picked up 5 small structured baskets, 2 larger totes (similar here), and 3 smaller totes (similar here).  I also purchased these adhesive bookplates to mount to each of the drawers for labeling.  Right now they're labeled 0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc, etc, but as he grows we can switch the labels out to customize the drawers for what we need at that time.

My little nesting self it just head over heels with this neatly organized closet.  The rest of the room is in shambles right now,  but getting to peek in the room and see this tidy closet makes me so, so happy.   I was shocked at how simple this project turned out to be.  I completed about 85% of it completely by myself, with a little help from my mom and T.

Now that the closet is finished, we'll be tackling the rest of the nursery.  You can see a few glimpes of what we've done so far in a few of my pictures.  We've painted the walls, hung curtains, and purchased a rug.  And that's about it.  We'll be getting our crib this weekend, so I hope that may be the catalyst for getting everything else into place.  Even though we have 4 more months until this baby's arrival, I'm just so ready to have the room D-O-N-E.

Please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions about this closet project!  I'd be happy to help.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Our Gender Reveal and Our Baby's Name

When I shared that I'd be leaving my full time job to pursue my jewelry business, I thought I'd have so much more time to spend on my blog.  Well, it's turned out that it's been completely the opposite.  I've finally had time to do everything I've been wanting to do with my jewelry line, and that in turn has left little time for blogging.   I really have missed it, and I hope that eventually I'll have time to prioritize both, but until then my posts will probably be more few and far between. I did want to pop in for a quick update though, because so much has happened since my last post!

On Christmas Eve, my sister-in-law hosted a gender reveal for T and me that was so special.  Leading up to the reveal, T was convinced we were having a girl, and I was completely on the fence about it.  I initially thought girl, but so many of my friends, family members, and even strangers kept on telling me they were getting boy vibes. We kept it small with just immediate family, and we asked our moms to be the ones to open the envelope with our baby's gender written on it.

My Niece, Camille, predicted we'd have a girl. :)

When our moms opened the envelope and shouted "BOY!" in unison, the look on T's face was priceless.   We are so, so excited to have a son.  And now that we know the gender, I've gone a little cray with nursery planning and buying lots of cute boy things for him to wear soon!

One thing that I really wanted to do was to be able to share the name we'd picked out with family as soon as we knew our baby's gender.  After having to refer to our baby as "it" for 18 weeks, it was really important to me to be able to finally have a name for him, and to share it with everyone.  T is a 3rd, so naming a child after him was an easy decision.  We'll call him by his middle name, which is Thompson.  Getting to tell our family this news was just as exciting as finding out our baby's gender.  Telling T's dad that we'd be passing on the family name for another generation was such a special moment that I'll never forget. 

We're already getting started on several projects in the nursery.  We did nothing to this room when we moved in, so it needs quite a bit of work.  We're starting with a closet overhaul, and so far it's turning out great.  I'm still waiting on a few last minute touches to come in the mail, but as soon as I have it completed I'll be sure to share pictures and information on how we did it.  It's going to be quite a before and after! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Life Lately: 17 Weeks Pregnant

Holy moly, did the Holiday shopping season kick my butt.  Last year at this time I don't think I even had an Etsy shop yet, so this Christmas season was very, very new to me and my jewelry business.   I beaded until my fingers hurt and my back was in spasms, but I got it done!!!  Thank you to everyone who purchased something from me for their Holiday gifts, I so appreciate the support for my business, and I can't wait to see how it grows in the next year!

Lots has happened since I last blogged a month and a half ago.  Most importantly, we announced that we're expecting a baby in May!  T and I couldn't be more thrilled to be pregnant with our first child, and it's even more exciting that I'm just 7 weeks behind my sister April who's pregnant with her second baby.

Here's a little peek at my progress so far.

11 Weeks

On Halloween, we broke the news to our close friends using my costume.  A skeleton top with a little baby skeleton waving in my tummy.

12 Weeks

We finally received the great news and confirmation we were waiting to hear from my doctor, that everything was looking great and progressing normally.

13 Weeks

We waited until the 13 week mark to go public on social media.  There were a few family members that we wanted to wait to tell in person, so we held out until Thanksgiving day to announce.

17 Weeks

I had no problem taking weekly pictures and writing a pregnancy journal post for weeks 8-13, but then things got crazy and I got lazy.  So no updates until week 17, which is where I am now!

I am keeping a weekly pregnancy journal, but for now I've decided to keep that just for me.  There are so many things that I want to record, but don't necessarily think I'd want to share for the whole world to read on here.  (I'll spare you my current cup're welcome) I always have loved to read what other pregnant women are going through, especially when I was newly pregnant and wanted to read everything I could about it.   So here's a little rundown of what I've been doing and how I've been feeling.

Loving- All the fruit I can eat.  And pizza, and ice cream, and McDonalds.  Ew, I know.  I eat like a kindergartener these days.  Veggies just don't taste as good as they used to, but I do make myself have as many servings of vegetables as I can.

Loathing- Not being able to imbibe in any Holiday cocktails.   The no drinking thing has really not been that hard, I just haven't wanted it at all which was surprising to me.  But lately I've been pining for a Holiday cocktail of some sort, especially something with champagne.

Workouts- Workouts during my first trimester were non-existent.  Between the nausea,  constant tiredness, and getting winded so easily it just wasn't happening.  Now that I'm in my second trimester I've really been enjoying prenatal yoga, and have found several Youtube videos that I do throughout the week.

Husband- He's been great.  I think it's really started to hit him more now that I'm actually showing a bit.  I've started to feel a few flutters this week, and I can't wait until I get to the point where he can actually feel the baby kick.  The poor man has had to take over litter box duty, his least favorite chore in the whole world.  He's so dramatic every time he does it.  I just laugh to myself and think, oh, just you wait for a baby with a stomach bug.  A litter box has nothing on that.

Gender- We were able to have the gender determined at our 16 week ultrasound, but T and I both looked away as the sonographer did her thing.  She wrote the gender in a sealed envelope and sent it with us.  We'll open it on Christmas Eve with our families, and I cannot wait.  It's going to be the best Christmas gift ever.

Symptoms- Other than a few weeks of nausea early on, I've been feeling great.  I actually haven't even taken a nap since I've been pregnant.  Around week 10 I started developing some back pain, which has been constant ever since.  Prenatal yoga and a few visits to a chiropractor thankfully have helped tremendously.  It's also a great excuse to get prenatal massages on the reg, which I'm not complaining about one bit.

Maternity Clothes- Maternity pants are a must, and have been since midway through my first trimester.  Although I don't have a huge tummy, I can't stand for things to be tight on my stomach.   So I welcomed that full panel with open arms as soon as I could.  I have a couple of maternity tops, but I'm trying to hold out for as long as I can before buying more.  Just wearing tunics and loose tops most days.

And that's it!  The first 17 weeks have flown by, and I can't believe how close I am to being halfway through this pregnancy.  So far it's been an amazing experience, and I think it will only get better and better from here!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 6 Reveal

It's finally time for the reveal week of the One Room Challenge!  If you haven't heard of the One Room Challenge before, it's a six week challenge where bloggers participate in a room renovation, providing weekly updates for the full six weeks.  I've been hard at work on the final touches for this room, and it's finally ready!

If you're just stopping by, here's a little glimpse of what the room looked like six weeks ago.  Covered from top to bottom with blue and white striped wallpaper and a coordinating border.  If you were in there for too long the stripes would start to give you a headache.

I chose to go more of a masculine route with the room.  Every other room in our house is bright, white, and feminine, so with this one I decided to go a little darker and more manly.  After all 50% of our house's inhabitants are male, so I guess it's only fair.  So without further ado, here's a look at our new guest bathroom.


Wall Color- Valspar color match for Ben Moore's Solitude
Hand Towel Bar- Home Depot
Light Fixture- Similar on Amazon
Faucet- Amazon
Vanity Knobs- Amazon
Switch Plate Cover- Amazon
Bath Towel Bar- Amazon
Shower Bar- Amazon
Shower Curtain- Pottery Barn
Monogrammed Towels- Wheaton & Whaley
DIY Shelving Brackets- Home Depot
Wooden Shelves- 2x8 wood cut and stained with Minwax Early American
Mini Topiary- Little Letter Shop
Apothecary Jars (used for flower vase and cotton balls)- Amazon 
Black and White Print- Minted

You can also see my progress along the way through the links below: 

Week 4- No post

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