Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday


I haven't been too good at blogging in the past 2 weeks, so here is a snapshot of what we've been up to.....and lucky for me, it happens to be What's Up Wednesday!!

 


What we're eating this week....




What I'm reminiscing about....
College...I know that sounds weird, but every year during graduation time, I think back on when I was graduating college.  I tell my students all the time - enjoy it!  Stay here as long as you can!  The real world isn't that great!!  haha! 
Emma as a baby...I have always relished every stage Emma has been in, and loved watching her grow.  But lately, I am really realizing how grown she is.  And while I love her independence and the ease that that brings me, I am reminded that she will never sleep on my chest again with her little baby booty all scrunched in the air...:(


What I'm loving....
Bright colors, stripes, and colored necklaces - especially this outfit I recently pinned

 

my new Lululemon skirt - on sale:)


My devotional


What we've been up to....
We went car shopping in the rain this past weekend....and while we didn't find what we were looking for, we got an idea of what we wanted...so let the fun begin!


What I'm dreading....
Last week, I had an ultrasound of my pelvis and entire abdomen.  This week, I have to schedule a gastroenterology appointment.  I have had a lot of weird pains, cramps all over my stomach area, and 3 bladder infections this year.  I am nervous that they won't find anything and I will just have to deal with the pain and not know why.  I am also nervous they will find something.  Prayers appreciated please:)


What I'm working on....
Organizing chaos!!  I am slowly trying to downsize our a mount of stuff and get organized.  And also STAY organized.  I think the last part is the hardest. 
We don't have a ton of space in our house (we lack a garage, a linen closet, formal dining room, playroom, and good closet space)  So I need to be really selective with what we have...and get rid of a lot.  I have already taken loads to Goodwill and local consignment shops.  I love this article and wish I had the guts to do it...anyone out there with me???


What I'm excited about....

After giving up the nap after Christmas, this little princess is back at it!  I noticed she would fall asleep around 2-3pm in the afternoon on the couch, so we started doing TV time then.  And then she started napping again at school (what the what???!!!!)  SO far, she has napped everyday, and still slept fine at night. I feel like a new person...and Emma is not nearly as cranky around dinnertime!









What I'm watching/reading....
We watch reruns of the Middle every night on Hallmark.  I am also still reading Seven...and loving it.  we don't have DVR anymore, so we have to be really intentional about watching a show, or just not watch at all.  So far, I am not missing it.  I am just glad to have Nick Jr. for Emma!




What I'm listening to....





What I'm wearing....
a lot of flats, skinny pants, and flowy tops - where is summer???

And today's outfit...


(How do people get amazing outfit selfies???  They must have mad selfie skillz...)



What I'm doing this weekend....
Brent is building a shop in our side yard...so I imagine I will be watching him work on that:)

Currently, our side yard looks like this....




It did look better but the stump grinder guy tore up Brent's retaining wall trying to get to an old stump.  I was the lucky one who got to call Brent and tell him that 5 hours of work had just been pummeled...literally.


What I'm looking forward to next month....
Being off of work!!  I will not work June and July and I CANNOT wait! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First haircut!

I had been threatening for awhile to cut Emma's hair.  It was sooooo long and straggly.  It was constantly tangled, and she hated getting it brushed, fixed, washed, etc..  That being said, it was a daily struggle. 
 
The pictures below depict a good hair day...usually it is in a ponytail because it just doesn't work down and bows don't stay put very well either.  Emma has also been known to get food in her hair even when it is in a ponytail....so whatevs.

 

I finally got the nerve and decided to cut it.  I wasn't sure where to go, and then I thought to myself "How hard can it be? We aren't talking layers and a new style here, just a trim.."
 
So I did it.  I waited until Brent got home, and I guzzled a glass of wine to calm the nerves and I went to cuttin.
 
This is the before...
 
 



And now, the after.  I will spare yall the in between...Brent videoed me and I was stressing just a little:)
 



All her hair!!!!  (Don't worry...I did save it...although it seems a bit creepy to save hair...)
 

 

 

 

I am very happy with how it turned out, but I will say that it was not as easy as you would think.  And it's also sad....very sad.   Those were Emma's baby locks...her precious little curls that were on her head when she was first born:(  I didn't even realize how emotional that part would be.


 




And then there is the paranoia that sets in as the hair dries...is it even? 
Does it look homemade? 
Like homemade it a bad way???
 
 
I still don't know the answers to all the above questions, but Emma loves it (she keeps telling people about her haircut), and I think she is adorable.  I am a little envious...I might need to go get me a bob style to match:)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday - woohoo!  But who am I kidding...I only work 3 days a week, so really yesterday was my Friday:)

Be sure to check out these awesome blogs to see their Friday Favorites as well!


1. Quiche - the world's easiest, cheapest, most versatile meal ever:)

I admit, I make one of these at least 3 times a month.  They are just so dang easy.  And everyone in the family eats it...yes, Emma eats quiche.  I start with a pre-made crust (Trader Joe's is my favorite, but I will also use the Food Lion brand pie crust).  Then add 1 cup heavy cream (or half and half), 3 eggs, 1 cup cheese, and whatever you want inside.  It's a great way to use up lunch meat, bacon, or vegetables when you don't have enough to feed the whole family a serving.  I cook mine at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes - just until the crusts and topping is browning and the quiche jiggles. (yes, jiggles...that's what Ina Garten says, so I'm deeming it a technological term in cooking now).





2. Boho beaded necklaces

I am loving all the wood bead, tassel-ly necklaces this spring.  They are expensive though (ranging from $30-100).  I decided to try my hand at making one...I spent about $15 on supplies (wood beads, thread for the tassels, and glue), but I have enough to make about 20 tassels and string at least 3 more necklaces.


My next projects will be these...


and these......I can't wait!





3. My easy - seasonless make-up routine

I know this seems dumb - who cares about my make-up, right?  But actually I am pretty proud of my routine, because I used to be a Bobbi Brown junkie.  And I mean J.U.N.K.I.E.  I had the trunk case, and every color of every product they made.  I don't know why I did.  Looking back, it's embarrassing really.  And now, I really don't care.  
Nowadays, when I get a makeover at Nordstrom's and they start getting out all the primers, liners, shadows, creams, and sticks....I have to ask them to step back because...


I mean, seriously, who has time for all those steps???  

Truth is, by the time I get to work, my lipstick is already gone because I've been guzzling coffee the whole way there, so I don't have time for touch-ups and such.

Now, I am much less of a brand snob and have branched out.  I've also paired it down to the basics:




1. Bobbi Brown blush in Tawny (here)
2. Clinique Almost Powder Makeup (here)
3. Bobbi Brown Shimmer eye shadow palette (unavailable, but Stone shimmer is my favorite)
4. Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer (here)
5. Maybelline Full 'n Soft mascara (here)
6. Sonia Kashuk brow gel (here)

I normally wear all these items, but if I am just running errands or going to workout, I will just use one of the Clinique products on my face (depending on the season and humidity), and a bit of mascara so I don't look dead.

If I am headed out for something special, I love Stila Convertible Eye Color in Stone, which I am just now realizing is unavailable - ARGH!  If anyone has any suggestions for easy, no-fuss, natural looking eye liner - let me know!


So, there you have it...my Friday Favorites!  Happy weekend, all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Plastic Playhouse Remodel

I came across this idea on Pinterest a few months ago, and sort of forgot about it.  New playhouses range from $200 up.  I had found one style that would be about $150 from Little Tikes, but that was the cheapest I had seen.  











I had also searched Craigslist a few times, only to find nothing.  Then, one night last week, I randomly checked the Durham area to see if any had shown up.  Someone had posted one that night, so I quickly emailed her.  After I didn't hear from her, I decided to text the next morning.  She quickly responded back that she had received a lot of texts about it, and that it would go to the first person who came to get it.  I quickly asked her for her address, and she literally lived in the next neighborhood over.  I grabbed a bra (I do have standards..) and Emma, who was also still in her pajamas.  I raced over in the truck, after quickly stopping at the ATM.  The kind lady was sad to see it go - she said her kids had so many good memories playing in it.  It made me feel good to now it had been loved before, and will be loved again now by Emma:)

So, here it is....I had my neighbor help me unload it.



It sat in our yard for 4 days before we could work on it.  Technically, not our fault...it had stormed every day....but still, embarrassing enough.



Brent pressure washed and scrubbed it.





Then we headed to the hardware store to buy paint.  I agonized over the colors.  I knew it needed to be dark enough to hide dirt, but realistic as well.  We have a darker pink for the door, but haven't sprayed it yet (which is why the doorknob white paint is all around the door)  It may never happen now that Emma is using it and it's on our deck....but maybe!





She absolutely loves it, and I have already picked out some plastic stool chairs from Ikea to put inside.  

Here's what I learned and the breakdown:
As with all Pinterest projects, it was not as easy as it looks.  The playhouse really needs 2-3 coats of Krylon spray paint...and it needs to be the expensive can (I think they were $6 a can), not the cheaper version.  The cheaper version will not adhere well and rubs off.

With the playhouse costing us $30, we still came out better than buying a new one...even with having to buy the expensive Krylon paint.  Plus, it was fun to customize it!  I have future plans for a flag, perhaps a wreath on the front door, an outdoor rug or mat, and maybe some flower boxes on the windows????

Many thanks to the Hubs for spending most of his morning Saturday remodeling it for us - we are grateful!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

1. My church

We have really been blessed with an awesome church.  We have so many friends and neighbors there and I am thrilled to also attend with my parents.  There were times in the past when church felt like an obligation, but it is becoming more and more a time we really look forward to.  We also just voted in a new Senior Pastor, after not having one for almost a year.  We are all really excited for the next months when his family will join us.

This church feels like I belong here...not just go here.  There is a big difference in those words, and I didn't realize it until recently.  I am so thankful the God has provided us with a place that feels like home.

We take awesome selfies with our friends in church!  We so fancy:)


2. Things that are not Time Warner Cable

I loathe our cable company.  They are soooo outrageously overpriced, and their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.  After shelling out almost $200 a month for TV and Internet, Brent and I decided to scale down.  It was definitely going beyond my comfort zone.  I loved being able to DR stuff and watch it when I want.  We scaled down to the BASIC channels (like 20 of them), and bought Apple TV.  We can basically stream anything off our phone and iPad onto the TV screen.  We have had to be a lot more selective about what we watch, and what Emma watches, but that's a good thing.  I had a bad habit of putting the TV on and leaving it for background noise.  This is fine for me, because I know how to regulate myself, but Emma does not.  We were actually able to get over 60 channels with our cable plugged directly into the wall (including NickJR, HGTV, and Hallmark....I may have screamed out loud in delight when I found that out), which is more than what we are supposed to be getting.  But don't worry, TWC is going all digital which means we won't be able to get all these come May when they make us use some converter (yet another remote and box....loathe them!)  We are trying to find away around this....without spending any extra money.  Did I mention I seriously HATE this company?  Feel free to leave me any suggestions for other platforms to try...we are currently using the free trial of Hulu and may look into Netflix.  Did I mention we are saving over $100 a month now too?  Woooohooooo!!



3. Pinterest

I LOVE Pinterest.  I check it every night.  It's kind of like Brent and I's "thing."  We love to look at the recipes, crafts, projects, etc..  We make fun of people who post ridiculous stuff...like low-fat, no calorie desserts (Puuhhhh llllleeease).  I don't have time for all that nonsense:)
I get a lot of good fashion, crafts, jewelry, and organizing tips off there too.

This is my new project this week - plastic playhouse (from Craigslist) makeover!  Emma was super excited when we picked it up!

I love that I can organize all my pins, and easily add ideas or items I want to remember to my boards.  I pin everything from recipes, parenting advice, and even secret board items - like my "Wish List" or gift ideas to buy other people.  Brent even has his own board for woodworking and other manly things:)


(I am also thankful for Brent's truck...which I happened to have on the day I saw this Craigslist ad for the playhouse...at which point the owner texted me back and said she had 7 people text her already that morning and it would go to the first person to get there....Needless to say...I scooped Emma up in our pjs and raced over there as fast as I could.  Emma hasn't stopped talking about since we got it home = success!)



4. Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Plum

This is my go-to lipstick.  I don't have time for lip liner, lipstick, and the gloss.  (Do women who do all that ever eat or drink???)  I like to just swipe it on, without a mirror, and go.  I wear it almost everyday, and it doesn't dry out my lips like other lipsticks do.  Sadly, the other colors don't look that great on me.  I had a hard time with lip colors because I have a lot of pigment in my lips already (or so I've been told by the makeup artists at Nordstrom).  I am also really picky about lipcolor.  I don't like it to be overdone, and I don't like sticky (so glosses are out of the picture).





5. These words.....

"The chances my African children are going to bed hungry are so high I almost don't need to waste a line space speculating.  
And tonight my kids here with me in the land of plenty threw away a pound of food because they didn't have ketchup.  How can we extract our children from this filthy engine where indulgence and ignorance and ungratefulness and waste are standard protocol?  Where they know they can throw perfectly good food away because there is always more in the pantry?  
I wept for all my children tonight, my Ethiopian children orphaned by disease or hunger or poverty who will go to bed with no mother tonight and my biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives. 
I don't know who I feel worse for."

I am loving Jen Hatmaker's, Seven.  It's making me think, convicting my heart, and helping me prioritize where my thoughts, actions, money, and time are going.

Happy Friday, friends!  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Unexpected joy

For the second time in 3 weeks, I have managed to lock myself out of something.  First, it was my house, and my dad graciously came and rescued me.  But, Tuesday, I managed to lock myself out of my car...at Target...with Emma.  There are WAY worse places to be stuck.  But I was tired, Emma was tired, I had not showered all day, and I had a house that desperately needed attention....

No one was able to rescue me for at least an hour....until my sweet husband left work early (not an easy thing to do) to come get us.

I almost cried several times - I was just stressed and the unexpected loss of precious, valuable time really hit me.  Then, Emma took my hand and led me to the toy aisle.  Well, really she just ran over there and I chased her...but nonetheless, I was reminded that sometimes I need a break.  

A break from the plans, the obsessive need to be controlling every moment.

We spent that hour being rock stars...and all of Target enjoyed my sweet daughter's serenading.  

Yes, I had to change my evening plans.  But I got to spend those minutes with Emma and enjoy an early night with Brent (who never gets home before 6:30).



video

video










Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter weekend

I write this post today filled with so much love and thankfulness for the gifts God has given me.  Too often, I get wrapped up in comparison and discontent...I think we all do.  I came away from Easter weekend filled with gratitude for all my family, friends, and even all my "things" that I really don't need or deserve.  One thing I am learning about Grace is that I sorely need it, can't earn it, and will never deserve it...but I am given it anyway.  I am pretty lucky that I have family around me who bestows the same on me.

Wednesday, I had a surprise day off of work due to a bomb threat at work (yes...seriously).  I was very glad to have the day to run some errands, clean my house, and relax a little.

Thursday, Emma and I went with my dad to Roxboro to get some sod.  I love a country drive, and we had a really good time.  It was beautiful up there, and Emma had a blast seeing the farm equipment and running around for a few minutes.











Getting the grass in!!



Friday, we headed to church for the Good Friday service.  It was especially good (it always is), and I am thankful to be able to attend. Emma has been a really good car rider lately, and loves music - especially country or Doc McStuffins on my phone.  She loves to yell, "louder" at me when songs come on.  I think she is either deaf, or has acquired my love of loud music:)



She also had a blast being outside after church.  We are loving this weather lately - there is nothing like being outside as the season warms up!





We were supposed to host Brent's parents for the weekend, but his mom got a nasty cold virus and opted not to come and expose us to it.  We missed them but were grateful that they did not share it with us!  It turned out to be a good weekend at home together - something we need more of.

Saturday morning there was an egg hunt at Emma's school.  It was very cold to start the day, but thankfully warmed up.



Here is Emma with her friend, Madison, whom she talks about non-stop!  They are like two peas in a pod!













I'm not gonna brag, but Emma's egg hunt game was pretty strong.  For someone who hasn't ever really done this before, she was pretty good.  I even had to tell her to stop so that other kids could have some eggs too (amateurs...)

We spent the rest of the afternoon outside.  Brent is building a shed in our backyard, and Emma and I did handprint crafts and painting.  It was beautiful outside, and really fun.  I am loving this age where Emma is gaining more and more independence, but also still wants to be around us.

The grandparents are getting one of these for Easter, and we will keep one for ourselves:)



I put together Emma's basket that night, and we snuck it in before we went to bed:)



Sunday morning, Emma slept in - something she rarely does.  Brent and I were both awake before 7, wanting to see her reaction when she woke up and saw the basket.  But princess decided to sleep late, so we kept trying to make a lot of noise to wake her.  Looking back, it was one of those small moments that I will always smile thinking of...Brent tramping down the stairs, being loud opening up kitchen cabinets...us giggling like teenagers...:)

When she finally did awake, she was super excited (as was Sunflower...whose tail photo-bombed about every picture)







Sadly, I got no pictures at church. I know...worst. parent. ever.

I did snag this family selfie in the car that afternoon.  We went to my parents for another egg hunt and dinner.




I had so much fun watching Emma find eggs all around my parent's house.  I remember doing the same as a child..in the same spots in our yard.  To watch Emma create the same memories I did was priceless.



She would go all around the yard, and every time she found an egg, her face would light up and she was exclaim, "I found it!" like it contained a million dollars or something!  It was too cute, and such a good reminder that it really is the little things that mean so much.  To us, it's a cheap plastic egg with a jellybean in it...but to her, it was pure joy.





We had our classic pomegranate martinis, homemade guacamole, and grilled chicken legs for dinner.  It is our favorite summer meal.  We ate outside and had a blast together.







Emma normally prefers Brent whenever we are both around, so when she wanted to sit with me most of the night, I considered it a small victory and ran with it:)





I'm praying that I never forget how much these two mean to me...how much I don't deserve their love, but they give it to me anyway...just like Jesus' gift on the cross.  Happy Easter, all!