11.18.17

Sweater Weather! #OOTD

Outfit Details
Please forgive all the extension cords in the background! It’s decorating season!!!!!

Sweater is an older one from a couple of seasons ago. It’s a chunky V-neck knit. I found a similar one here. Another cute style that’s less expensive.

The boots are Stuart Weitzman Tieland. I’ve only ever seen them AT Stuart Weitzman. They were my surprise push present from Tom after I had Elliot. 

My pants are the first leggings that have truly blown me away! I love them! I ordered 2 pairs at the Nordstrom anniversary sale and I’m glad I did. They are as good as all the reviews claimed. Zella Live-In Leggings

As for jewelry, it was pretty simple. I just wore my diamond studs I received for Christmas a few years ago. But before I got them I wore my Nordstrom CZ studs a ton! They are the best CZ studs around. These are in martini settings like my real ones. I love the martini setting because it really shows of the stone an doesn’t overwhelm my small ear lobes. 

I really wasn’t planning this outfit post which is why it’s super low key. I am very low key most days actually. Simple style is really my calling since I have 2 little ones. I think comfort is key for my lifestyle which is why I LOVE my Stuart Weitzman Tieland boots. They are in between the super popular Highland and Lowland boots. I have the lowlands too and I love them. I wanted something with a heel though and the highlands were just too high for me. I found the Tielands and I fell in love, but they were only for sale at Stuart Weitzman. I was not expecting to buy them but after I had Elliot, Tom surprised me with a very large blue box! I’m very happy with them. They are the perfect heel height because I can dress them up and wear them casually. Just adding the boots to this sweater and leggings made the whole outfit come together. There are many dupes out there now! I must admit that you definitely get what you pay for with the Stuart Weitzman boots. They are the most expensive shoes in my closet, but I definitely see their superior quality. Especially after wearing them so often!

Let’s hope this cool weather lasts because I love wearing boots! What are you’re favorite cool weather items?

11.16.17

Elliot Is ONE!

I had to share the pictures I snapped of my little boy today. He was born at around 10am on this day last year. Can you believe it? I can almost feel the labor pains from last year lol. He was born on my bed just like Audrey was. Home birth is amazing. I never once regret having a home birth and I hope to inspire more woman out there to have them. Birth is a natural process and trust me, not matter how impossible the task seems, we are made for this. There is no one size fits all. Some woman labor for 1 hour and others for 1 week. Sometimes that’s just what the body needs to do in order to get your baby out safely. Trust your body and don’t treat labor like a diagnosis that needs to be clinically treated. Most importantly be confident in your decision. Natural childbirth is not for the faint of heart. If I can do it you can do it! I support home birth because I believe that hospitals work around politics and a lot of scare tactics. They generally are not as natural birthing friendly because unfortunately docs have to practice “defensive medicine”. It’s not the doctors fault. It’s the systems. I hope it improves but I really don’t see too much progress yet.

Ok now that I’m reminded about all that let’s get back to the best part of labor. These miracles we get to hold in our arms. They grow SO SO fast. I am just blown away that he’s already a year. When I was younger my parents used to say “Time goes faster every year” and it’s so true. The older I get the faster time goes. When I was younger time would drag on. I think it’s because you aren’t as busy when you’re younger. As an adult and parent you’re juggling so many things at once. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I tried all day to soak up every last moment with my little Elliot. He will never be as young or little as he is today. I love my babies.

Happy Birthday Elliot! I love you so much. You’ve brought a whole new color to my life!

11.15.17

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe!

Sugar cookies are a Holiday tradition! We love making them but they are time consuming. I am going to share with you my favorite recipes here on the blog today. If you’ve never made Holiday cookies before DON’T WORRY! I hadn’t either when I came across this recipe, but I decided to give it a try. I actually amazed myself after I made these cookies. My first batch came out so perfect. I was shocked!

Let’s start with the sugar cookie. This cookie is so light and soft. It’s not too sweet so its perfect when paired with icing. The best part is they stay soft! I have to give Georgie Bowers credit because she wrote the recipe on All Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.


This time I rolled out half the dough BEFORE I chilled it to see if they came out any different. The dough was a little trickier to roll out, but the baking was pretty much the same. So although the recipe says to “chill for 2 hours”, if you are short on time you can skip that step. If you have the time, the dough is definitely easier to work with cold.


Now for the icing! The sugar cookie by itself is near perfection, but this last step is literally the icing on top! This recipe is my own. Over time I pieced together this recipe for my icing.

4 Cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 – 1/2 Cup milk (Thicker or thinner depends on how much milk)
1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
2 TSP Almond Extract

You’ll need some plastic icing bags. Tips aren’t necessary as you’ll just cut the tip of the plastic. These ones on Amazon are great deal!


Depending on your cookie you’ll want to separate your icing into at least 2 bowls. You’re going to need to outline your cookies with a thicker icing. This takes a little experimenting in order to find out what consistency you like your icing. Then you’ll need to separate your icing even more if you need different colors. I use regular food coloring to color my icing. To change the consistency of your icing just add milk. If its too watery add some confectioners sugar. Wait until your cookies are completely cool before icing!  Fill your piping bag with icing and cut the tip off just a bit to ice your cookies.

Start with your outline. Then take your more watery icing and fill it in. I use a toothpick to brush the icing over the cookie. They sell professional tools for this task but I don’t have any yet. Once you fill in your cookie you can cover them with sprinkles or just leave them with icing. We usually sprinkle them because it’s a good way to involve your kiddos. Audrey loves to do the sprinkling while I do the icing. This batch was super simple because I just used one color. When I make Christmas cookies I juggle several colors. Once they are all decorated leave them out to harden for about a day. Then you can box them, bag them, stack them, toss them, and my personal favorite, EAT THEM!

These cookies never last very long in my house. They are so so SO good. They are a lot of work but I promise they are worth it. It does take some time to get familiar with the icing if you’ve never done it before. I still sometimes have a hard time getting the consistency just right. Sometimes my outline frosting is too watery so it slowly drips over the cookie sides before it starts to harden. That’s ok because the frosting is very forgiving. I promise your mouth won’t be able to tell if the frosting is off just a tad!

Happy Holidays!

 

11.12.17

My Pregnancy With A Boy VS. Girl

There is no limit to the things you’ll hear about the sex of your baby. Everyone is always guessing the sex of your baby before you find out. Everyone was always wrong with me too. With my first everyone was convinced it was a boy. After the ultrasound my family kept telling me stories of when the ultrasound was wrong because they knew I was having a boy. THEN years later I was pregnant again with my son. My sister said she knew it was going to be a girl so she only kept her girl clothes to give to us haha! To tell you the truth I had a feeling what the baby was before we found out each time. With Audrey I wanted a boy so bad, but I kept having girl dreams and I knew she was a girl. After I had a girl I prayed for a boy and I got pregnant with Elliot. It took some time for me to feel like he was a boy though. A few weeks before we found out I had a dream about our gender reveal. In the dream I was sitting at a table and I had a bowl of spaghetti in front of me. I had to start eating the spaghetti in order to see what color the noodles were underneath. I started eating and then I saw the noodles turn BLUE! I had several dreams about Audrey being a girl but with Elliot I only had one dream about his sex and it was right.

My girl pregnancy was easy. I was nauseous from week 6-12, but no vomiting. Once I got to the second trimester it was smooth sailing. I didn’t have any weird cravings. I drank smoothies constantly though. My favorite were the pineapple smoothies from McDonalds. I also craved peach tea. I wasn’t ever uncomfortable and I was able to sleep pretty good. My skin was good and my hair got really thick. Even though my pregnancy with Audrey was so easy I hated it. I just really don’t like being pregnant. I am so fortunate and thankful that I am able to carry my own babies, but it was never an enjoyable job for me. I always heard about other moms having port partum  depression and I didn’t have that at all. I was the opposite. I was ecstatic to be done being pregnant once my kids were born. The sleepless nights were even easier to get through because I was just so happy to be done with pregnancy. The midwives always told me that the real work started once the baby was born. And while that is true, I prefer it because it’s more enjoyable to me than growing the baby.

 

3 Years later I got pregnant with my son. This pregnancy was completely different than my girl. I started feeling nausea at around 6 weeks too. I wasn’t vomiting, just a feeling of being sick to my stomach. I looked forward to week 13 so much because I thought it was going to get better. It didn’t. Week 13 started the long trimester of vomiting. I still remember the first time I threw up. I was so shocked and caught off guard because I had never thrown up from pregnancy before. I was walking to the car with Audrey and as we walked out the door I just vomited a little. No lead up feeling or anything it just came up and out. I was stunned. Audrey looked down at it said “EWWWWW”, then ran inside to get paper towels. She was so stinkin’ cute! She came out and started wiping it up! I had to drive with a bowl in my car because I would randomly throw up through out the day. I never knew when I would vomit because I would be feeling fine and then I would just throw up. It was at least once a day. Eventually the nausea faded as I neared the 3rd trimester. But it didn’t completely go away. I would still have random sick days and vomiting.

My stomach was so picky during this pregnancy. With Audrey I was able to eat almost anything and smells didn’t bother me too much either. With Elliot I was constantly sick because I was hungry but after eating I would be sick from the food. It was miserable. I could not eat sugar or fried food with my son. I lived off of vegetables and chicken breast. If only I could eat that healthy now! It’s funny because Elliot doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth now either. Once in the third trimester I was feeling good so I decided to eat a donut. Well that came back up as fast as it went down haha! I was so frustrated because pregnancy is the one time in my life when I don’t feel guilty for indulging. But I couldn’t with Elliot. He wanted me to eat ceasar salads all day every day.

My skin was also horrible with Elliot. I was breaking out more than I’d ever had in my life. The first trimester and second trimester were really hard on my skin. The old wives tale about glowing during pregnancy with a boy was NOT TRUE! I felt bad and I looked bad. Where was my glow? By the 3rd trimester it did get better thank goodness. My hair was thick with Elliot like it was with Audrey. That was a nice silver lining.

I was also on modified bed rest with Elliot so compound the misery of pregnancy times 10! It made life SO hard just having the underlying stress and not being able to take care of my family. I still mourn feeling like I’d lost time with Audrey. The pregnancy took so much out of me. I couldn’t carry her anymore. We couldn’t go do fun things together anymore. She was my side kick and the pregnancy really got between us. After I had Elliot I looked at Audrey and I saw a little girl. She was a toddler when I first got pregnant! Now I look back at her and how helpful she was. It’s amazing that I could sit her down and explain the situation and she understood. I had to tell her that for 9 months I wouldn’t be able to carry her and she was fine with it. When we would go to the grocery store I would push the cart up to a chair and she would climb into the cart on her own. It’s little things like that when I realize how great my little girl is. A lot of toddlers would have thrown a tantrum in the same situations. She’s the best!

So my boy was the tough pregnancy and my daughter was the easy one. As kids they both have their moments. Audrey was a very tough baby but she was a very independent toddler. Elliot seems to need a little more coddling. He is also more unsure of situations. Audrey knows exactly what she wants and Elliot seems to have a harder time knowing what he needs to make him feel better. They are pretty much opposites. Audrey was a tank! She could eat anything and wear anything. Elliot on the other hand has a lot more sensitivities. He has sensitive skin, tummy, moods, and he’s very sensitive to travel. We took Audrey everywhere and she adapted very quickly. Elliot takes a bit more time to get used to new situations. Audrey HATED being swaddled from birth. It was like she was so happy to have room to stretch and she wasn’t going back into confinement without a fight haha! Elliot on the other hand loved being swaddled. He would be swaddled until now if we didn’t have to stop because he started flipping onto his stomach. From about 5 months on he was definitely a stomach sleeper. He would flip over onto his belly the second we set him down. Audrey would typically sleep on her back. Neither of them took a pacifier though so I guess that’s one similarity.

When Audrey refused something it was a definite “NO”. When Elliot refuses something it’s a “maybe, change the temperature, or try again in 5 minutes” situation. It’s just a miracle bringing these little humans into the world and seeing their pre-formed personalities take root. I still can’t believe how different they are. Audrey is definitely a mini me and Elliot seems to be a mini Tom.