Thursday, September 13, 2012

Molly got married!

Molly got married! Yay! Molly is one of my closest friends and Baileigh's godmother. We went to Loras together, but for most of college we were just "class friends" we were both IVA majors and since the major only has 8 people or so in our class, we shared most of our major classes together.  We never spent much time outside of class hanging out except for the quick trips to Wendy's between classes and the occasional run in out at parties and the bars. After college we both still lived in Dubuque and we started to hang out a lot more. Molls has been there for me through a lot of crazy things. She helped me do all the busy projects for our wedding, helped remove wallpaper and paint our house and even helped a lot while I was pregnant with Baileigh. I asked her to be Baileigh's god mother as well because I think she's awesome!

Molly started dating Matt summer of 2010. They got engaged a year later and they got married on September 1st! Matt is an awesome guy and treats Molly wonderfully! I am so happy for them! Both Baileigh and I were in the wedding. Baileigh even debuted her first wedding as the flower girl! The wedding was a success and one of the most fun nights I can think of. Here are a few pictures! Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy!!!

A few of Molly's bridesmaids & the beautiful bride! Rachel & Tara

action photo!

Molly & her little flower girl!

Baileigh and Logan walking down the aisle. They were adorable and did a great job!

The adorable couple!

Yay, they're married!

Molly with her little attendants-- Baileigh & Logan

She looked beautiful and was such a good girl all day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Spirited Child

My daughter, Baileigh, is the joy of my life. She is so full of life and energy. Sometimes, however, too much energy. From the moment she was born and Patrick exclaimed, "She has red hair!" I knew I was in for trouble. Trouble she is!

The day she was born the nurse came up to us and said "Boy, that little girl was not too happy about her shots! You are going to have your hands full with her! She has quite the temper!" 

Baileigh, ANGRY at one of her first baths.

Of course I was thinking:
1) What baby enjoys getting shots? Of course she's not happy!
2) Can a nurse REALLY tell the temperament of my newborn?

Well, she was right! Baileigh is very strong-willed and sticks to her guns. I have no idea where she got those characteristics She's just like me. That is why I think we butt heads so much. She wants me to carry her down the stairs, I know she can walk so I refuse. She's angry and I get annoyed. Sometimes I need to just give in, and do something little, like carry her down the stairs, if I know it will prevent the infamous toddler meltdown.

This past weekend truly was a test in parenting for Patrick and I. Saturday afternoon was great. We attended the first birthday party of our friend's daughter. Baileigh just loved her. Spent a lot of the party helping her walk and playing with her. Saturday evening, however, was not as delightful. Let's just say the breaking point was when was found Baileigh eating sugar out of the sugar bowl BY THE HANDFUL! She freaked out when we put her in timeout and refused to eat dinner that night complaining that "her belly hurt" (from the sugar I assume!) and that all she wanted to eat was a cupcake. Bedtime is always a disaster right now. She stalls and stalls and stalls. You name it. She has made an excuse about it. The author of Go the F* to Sleep OBVIOUSLY had a toddler JUST LIKE MINE.  She wears us out and I'm only 27 and Pat is only 29 but I swear she sucks the energy out of us!

Sunday was another rough day. Is rained almost all day, so we couldn't go outside and play. I decide to clean but as usual our curious little one was making messes just after we cleaned other messes up. She refuses to nap during the weekends at home, so we can't even get a moment to down several glasses of wine breath. By Sunday night I was exhausted. I posted this status on facebook: 

I had 13 friends/family comment that yes, 3's and 4's are tough years but we will get through it. I couldn't help but wonder, Will we get through it? I know, I know, I'm being a bit melodramatic, but still! I decided to look online for some advice, maybe a book that has some insight into my strong-willed daughter. I'm not usually the "self help book" kinda gal, but I can't be the only person who's toddler is this stubborn.

Cue the "Evil eye"...

Thanks to Amazon I found a book, Raising Your Spirited Child byMary Sheeda Kurchinka. I liked it initially because of the phrase "spirited", which isn't as negative as other books mentioning "difficult" children. Baileigh is very much spirited. Like I said, she's SO full of life and so happy (when she's NOT having a temper tantrum at Hobby Lobby and I'm having to carry her football style out of the store!) I read the preface of the book online and realized it is very much my daughter. The book has 4 1/2 stars online w/ 72 reviews. Here is some basic info:

The spirited child—often called "difficult" or "strong-willed"—possesses traits we value in adults yet find challenging in children. Research shows that spirited kids are wired to be "more"—by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. In this revised edition of the award-winning classic, voted one of the top twenty books for parents, Kurcinka provides vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you:
  • understand your child's­—and your own—temperamental traits
  • discover the power of positive—rather than negative—labels
  • cope with the tantrums and power struggles when they do occur
  • plan for success with a simple four-step program
  • develop strategies for handling mealtimes, sibling rivalry, bedtimes, holidays, and school, among other situations

I downloaded the kindle book and have been reading it on our ipad. Which, by the way, is so easy and convenient! I downloaded it, and a minute later I was reading Part one! I have only made it through Part one, but I do think the author is brilliant. She raised two "spirited" children and understands them to a T. I feel like already I am beginning to understand my daughter better and why she is the way she is. She is such a loving, nurturing, smart sweet little girl and I'm glad to have found this book to help me learn to appreciate her just as she is. Maybe there is hope that she will get a sibling someday! haha!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Project 24 {UPDATE}

Back in February, I created a list called Project 24. 24 projects I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. I am behind, that is for sure, but I have successfully fulfilled a few of them. Below is the list with annotated updates.

Project 24
1. Replace the awful light in our kitchen.
2. Hang curtains in Baileigh's room. I decided against this. She already have blinds and with the furniture by the windows it doesn't seem to make sense.
3. Make or find cheap (& adorable) chevron curtains for our dining room. {Note: I already made curtains for our dining room, a couple years ago, with less than great results. This time I plan to use Kristin's "no-sew" method!} I completed this, sorta. I replaced the curtains, but I went with a simple linen looking curtain, instead of chevron. I've decide to keep my walls/curtains neutral and use color/pattern on the table and furniture.
4. Either paint or stain the old dresser in our dining room & add new hardware.  Complete! Painted it "Oxford Blue"
5. Fix our dining room ceiling
5. Create a mixed-media gallery wall in Baileigh's room. Not done. I have all the frames/pieces, just haven't put them up yet!
6. Add ceiling fans to our room, the front screened porch & possibly Baileigh's. Not yet, soon I hope!
7. Potty train our 2 1/2 year old. {Okay, not technically a project, but anyone who has a toddler knows this is a big undertaking!} Complete! (Well, not at night, she's in pull ups, but for the most part, done!)
8. Re-paint my eames chair. Grey isn't working for me. Hmm... trying to decide what color!
9. Paint the built in shelving in my closet something other than the lime green it currently it. Not too worried about this. No one sees the closet but me! Focusing on the rooms in our house that people DO see.
10. Get the awesome "Dubuque" print I got from the Dubuque Museum of Art matted, frame and hung.  I should do this... I have the perfect place for it!
11.Make a cute monogrammed wreath to hang on our front door. Not yet...maybe for our "Pinterest Challenge" with Kristin and Stephanie!
12. Power wash the outside of our home. White siding is such a pain!  Not yet...oops!
13. Landscape the retaining wall by our garage. (I think this will be Pat's summer project) This didn't happen and summer is almost over. Maybe next summer?
14. Make or find simple shades for our screened in porch. Not yet!
15 Organize all the cabinets and drawers in our kitchen. Complete! I did this back in the spring when we rented the large dumpster...however, things are getting a bit messy again!
16. Make homemade laundry soap, glass cleaner and all purpose cleaner. Hopefully this weekend!
17. Try a new recipe a week- for all 52 weeks. (This won't be able to get checked off until the last week of December!)
18. Create a jewelry holder for our room.
19. Create silhouettes of all three of our profiles.
20.  Create a chalkboard wall, or area in B's room for her to color on.
21. Organize all my craft supplies. (I have a ton!) Complete! They are located nicely in drawers in my newly painted "oxford blue" dresser!
22. Add an outside railing to our new front steps.  Not done.
23. Replace the make-shift railing for our back steps. Not done.
24. Paint our bathroom a new color. Not done.

There you have it! 9 out of 24 are complete! I'm behind on 7 of them, and there are a few that I don't think will happen before 2013, but I'm okay with it. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent?

Lately we had a laundry issue. No, not the usual issue of having too much laundry laying on the basement floor BEGGING to be washed. And no, not the issue of my husband seeing the aforementioned piles of laundry, and then only washing one shirt and one pair of pants for work the next day. That really annoys me, however, that is not the issue at hand. The issue is that because we use free & clear laundry detergent, I don't feel like it smells good once cleaned. For example, Pat and I have been running a combined 6 days a week. That means 6 pairs of shorts, 6 tops and 3 sports bras (obviously only I wear those) that are being laundered each week. Anyone that works out knows that running makes you sweat (especially in 100 degree weather like we were having) and sweat makes things stink. Because the free & clear detergent is unscented, I don't feel like the stink truly gets out of the clothes.  Pat likes to use fabric softener, but I don't really and I know it's full of crazy chemicals that are really hard on the dry and the clothes. We have been using it lately though because it is scented helps with the smell issue.

We haven't always used free & clear detergents. Back when i was pregnant we used something else, Tide, maybe, but I had sensitive skin and it used to make my skin itch. When you're pregnant and having so many changes you can't control, having itchy skin from your detergent isn't cool. We switched then and haven't looked back. We never used dreft when Baileigh was a baby because the free & clear worked well on her sensitive baby skin. Detergent isn't cheap, and between laundry, towels and your daughter wetting the bed twice in 3 nights (fantastic...) we do a lot of laundry. I'm looking for a new detergent option that will provide the following:

1) Clean our clothes (obviously!)
2) Make them smell good
3) Not make my skin itchy
4) Easy on the wallet (chaaaa-ching! I'd like to have more money, you know, for craft supplies!)

My friend Michelle made her own detergent a few months ago and even blogged about it at her blog Makin' and Bakin' Memories She mentioned that it cost about $20 for all the ingredients and she estimates it will last for 9 months or so since you only use 1-2 tablespoons a load! She washes a lot of laundry too with a two- year-old and an 8 month old!

This weekend I don't have any plans so I think I am going to go out and get the ingredients! Pat is a bit skeptical, but he doesn't like his workout clothes smelling either, so hopefully he just lets me "do my thing"

Hopefully I love it! Then maybe I'll move onto creating my own cleaning supplies...something I have been planning to do since Earth day- 2010! (Kristin, do you remember me printing out the Homemade Cleaning Supplies handout and distributing it around NICC on earth day?)

Anyways, I'll eventually post back and let you know if it was successful! Don't expect a nice tutorial like Michelle did though. Why must I reinvent the wheel? :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ready to Run-- Training for my first half-marathon

A few months ago I started running again. I decided on a whim that I wanted to run the Grandview Gallop, which at the time was about a month away. When I decided this, I had not ran more than a mile in the last year. Some say that "muscles have memory" and because I was a runner in high school, I was able to get back into it fairly quick. 

To be honest, it's funny that I ever started to run. In junior high, I hated running. I was a bit chatty in gym class and my gym teacher would make me run laps if I wouldn't quit talking. We also had to run a timed mile in gym class once a year. I hated it and would whine and complain the entire 15 minutes. (Yes, back then running a mile took me 15 minutes, and no, I didn't walk it...) It wasn't until a high school crush (awww....) got me to join cross country. Okay, to be honest, he didn't ask me to run, I pretty much did it so I could stalk him spend time with him. Turns out, after I quit complaining, I wasn't too bad of a runner. I managed to run varsity cross country sophomore and junior year, and most of senior year. I did develop "senioritis" that year and didn't really care much for running.  I was "recruited" to run at Loras College after I attended XC camp there for two years. Take "recruited" with a grain of salt. They pretty much recruit anyone with an interest in the sport, especially if they have contact info from XC camp. I almost ran college XC but last minute, about a month before I was to move into the dorms at Loras, I decided against it. I didn't really love to run, and I knew it would take a lot of time away from partying meeting new people and partying my studies. I would go through running spurts during my 4 years of college, but nothing regular. Incase you are't aware, Dubuque is HILLY and running up hills isn't my cup of tea.

Fast forward to now. After 2 1/2 months of consistant running (averaging 25-35 miles/month) i decided to be crazy and train for a half marathon. In May, a  few of our friends mentioned on facebook they were training for the Quad Cities Marathon and I never really thought much of it. At that point, I had run only run a few times and only a couple miles each time. I finally made it up to 4 miles a couple weeks before the Grandview Gallop. I ended up doing really well in that race, finishing the 4-miles in 33:43, and placing 11th in my age group! That gave me the confidence to keep running and see how I would do! After I was able to run about 6 1/2 miles, I decided that I was going to train for the half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles. I'm on week 2 of my official training schedule and it is going really well! My husband, who has NEVER been a runner (he was a swimmer in high school) started training for the 5k race at the QC Marathon. I am super proud of him for going out and training for the race. because of his new training, he has also started eating healthier. It feels good getting back into running and into shape!

If you follow my on facebook, you will probably see my runs several times a week. I enjoy the app and keeps the motivation going so I keep running!

Is there anything new you are trying to achieve?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm not a good blogger

Oh hello again. Forgive me father readers, for I have sinned been a slacker, it has been 4 months since my last confession blog post. (Can you tell I went to Catholic school for 13 years... 17 years if you count college?)

I've been busy. Very busy, indeed. I think part of the reason I hasn't blogged is because I don't have much to say. I think part of me got so wrapped up trying to create pretty blog posts, full of cute, edited pictures; recipe tutorials and crafts I have made, that I quit blogging when I wasn't being successful at that. I'm not sure how some of the amazing bloggers that I follow do it. Some are stay-at-home moms, but that is not easy task either. I'm a pretty busy lady. I work full time as a graphic designer where I spend my days designing, managing freelance designers and attempting to hit all my deadlines so textbooks are published on time. Evenings are spent cooking dinner, trying to get a run in (i'm training for a half marathon in September), working on freelance design projects (designing two wedding invites now... programs, tables numbers, ect. to come soon), attempting to keep a tidy home and most of all, trying to be a good wife and mom. Boy, i'm exhausted just reading that! In addition to all that, I'm obsessed with crafting and making out house a home. 

Summer has been busy too. We are attending 5 wedding this summer. I'm in two of them. Plus, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorettes and bbqs! I love summer because I love all of these kind of things, but having something every weekend makes it hard to get things done for the week. Last summer, we went to Florida for a week vacation. That was amazing. This summer, no such vacation. However, we are going up to Minneapolis in a few weeks with some friends and I am VERY much looking forward to that.

I'm not making excuses for why I haven't blogged, but saying more that things more important to be came up. To be honest, I have a tendency to jump into thing really fast. For example, my etsy shop, hello little whimsy. I go through spurts of exploring etsy for hours on end. I would see all these adorable hair accessories and think, "hey, I can do that!" and so I did. I spent several evenings hot gluing felt, making bows and creating hair accessories. I photographed everything, edited them in photoshop and then set up a shop. All this from conception, to reality, in about a week. Another thing I do is get bored with This is what happened to my shop. I sold a few items, and then, I wasn't really in the mood to keep up with it. I started a facebook page, but I never posted on it. After 3 months the items I had posted on my page expired, and I never posted them again. I make rash decisions. I guess I kind of get wrapped up in what others are doing, and want to do that too, like the etsy shop.

Oh well! Most of the time my sporadic obsessions aren't a big deal, so I'm okay with that.

Well  to wrap it up. I may try to post more often, but don't expect much out of the posts in regards to design. I'm not a professional blogger and I'm, okay with that. I just want to have this blog to write about things going on in my life. Even if I only post once in 4 months!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Beautiful weather, river walk & gelato!

Now that the weather is starting to get nice and warmer I enjoy being able to get out for walks at night. Tonite for dinner we marinated and grilled out chicken, sautéed peppers and made fajitas. They were delicious and so easy! After dinner we decided to head down to the port of Dubuque for a walk. It was a beautiful nights. The river walk was busy with lts of people and Baileigh was having a lot of fun running around, looking at the art on display and saying "hi" to all the puppies. We had fun.

B asked to stand by the art and have me take her picture. Such a little ham!

B's silly face!
Baileigh and daddy with the MIssissippi in the background.

After walking a while, she got tired and asked for me to carry her on my shoulders for a bit..

After the river walk, Pat suggested we get gelato at Chocolaterie Stam. Oh my gosh, they have the best gelato! Pat got Espresso Biscotti, Baileigh got Blackberry Raspberry (only because the color of it was pink) and I got Chocolate Hazelnut, which was pretty much chilled nutella. It was fantastic! Its a little pricer than regular ice cream, but the taste makes it so worth it! They are located on Main Street by Crust. Check them out! Chocolaterie Stam

Well, tomorrow is Friday! It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend! Enjoy! xo

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What foods do you buy organic?

Lately I've been hearing a lot about the pros of buying organic foods. It's not a new concept, but the news if full of health concerns about the pesticides and antibiotics used in foods. I have read some articles that have really made me consider trying to buy more organic foods. Of course there a pros and cons. Organic foods don't have all those yucky pesticides and chemicals in them. The meat comes from farm raise, grass fed animals and the milk is from animals not treated with rBST. The biggest con though is the higher cost. Being a family on a budget ( who am i kidding, aren't we all on a budget?) I try to get the most "bang for my buck" and with come organic foods costing twice the amount as non organic, who can afford to only ea organic? Plus, organic foods don't always stay fresh as long because they aren't preserved with chemicals. Another issue is there aren't a lot or restaurants in town that only use organic products meaning we can eat as healthy as we want at home, but if we eat out, we won't be eating organic. This makes everything confusing, that is for sure! Places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's(my favorite!) have a lot of organic options, and TJ's is pretty reasonable, but unfortunately the closest ones to Dubuque are in Madison.

I can across this graphic though that gives you a good place to start : Produce.

This chart is nice because it shows what produce has the mst pesticides hat you should buy organic, and which ones are okay not. This article is always nice too. I explains what you should buy organic and why:

Today Baileigh went to the store and. Was determined to try to buys organic meat, produce (from the dirty dozen list) and dairy. Out try was a success, but I'll admit I spent more than usual. Usually I plan out 4-5 meals for the week and get those items, milk, fruit, yogurt and snacks and spend about $50-$75 for the week. I am a thrifty shopper! This week I planned 3 nights of meals but the other ransoms things we needed. Today I spent $68 and got everything I needed but I didn't get nearly as much for my money! A gallon of organic milk was over double the cost of non, $6.89! I bought two red peppers for $6.99, which was $3 more than non-organic. I also bought yogurt for Baileigh and I that was only a little more expensive. For meat I bought 1 lb of grass fed ground beef for $6.15, about $2 more than usual. Those were just a few of the items. It sure is interesting to see the different in cost. I'm looking forward to the meals this week and to see if there is a taste difference or anything.

Do you buy organic items? If so, what ones? Are starting slowly adding items to your cart or diving right in? I'd love to hear feedback!

P.s. I wrote this post on our iPad for the first time and had to code the HTML my self, so try to look past those errors :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Back when I wrote the post Pancake Saturday I mentioned that I use a boxed pancake mix, mostly out of convenience. My neighbor Stephanie commented about a buttermilk pancake recipe she makes with her family and that the extra work is totally worth it. That got me thinking I should try a homemade recipe. I had extra buttermilk in the fridge from the German Chocolate Cake recipe, so I decided to look online, aka Pinterest, for a recipe since I didn't have Stephanie's. (In hindsight, I should have just stopped over and borrowed her cookbook!)

I found a Martha Stewart recipe titled, "Best Buttermilk Pancakes." I know a lot of recipes claim to be the best, but I read the reviews and most said this recipe really was the best. Last Monday was President's day, and I didn't work so I made the pancakes. I have to admit, they were the best! I did make a small adaption to the original recipe, I chopped up some Hershey's milk chocolate and added it to the pancakes, because I love chocolate, especially in pancakes, while drinking my morning coffee.

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Slightly adapted from Best Buttermilk Pancakes by Martha Stewart
Yields 12- 4 inch pancakes (2 Points Pluseach)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1oz chopped milk chocolate
Mmm the best (secret) ingredient!

1. Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & sugar in a medium bowl.

2. Add egg, buttermilk and butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
3. Spray griddle with cooking spray. Using a 1/4 cup, pour the batter onto the griddle. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate.

The best wedding gift I never thought I'd use! Turns out I do, all the time!
4. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about one minute.

Mmm, and when you are all done, you'll have the most delicious pancakes!

Just top with maple syrup and they are ready to eat!

They turned out awesome! Stephanie was right, homemade pancakes are worth the extra steps! They are easy and way delicious!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bye, Bye Binky

Baileigh 2 weeks old!

Yes, you read the title correctly. We did it! We got rid of the binky! Baileigh is two and 1/2. Actually, she's almost 33 months old.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate the darn thing and have been planning to get rid of it for quite some time. Easier said than done. When she was little, I really didn't mind her using a binky.  It was cute and had a purpose, but once she was old enough to take it out to talk, I was over it.
Baileigh, 4 days old!

In the hospital they asked if we cared if they gave her one, and we didn't. "They" (doctors and such) said that the pacifier is good for babies who have extra need to suck, but that by 3 months or so, that extra need is gone, and they don't need it anymore. Around 6 months or so I worked with B's daycare to start to process of getting rid of it. Well, from 6 months to about 14 months she was sick at least once a month with ear infections. I felt horrible getting rid of it when she was sick, so it kept getting put off. Originally she wasn't that attached, mostly liked it when she slept. She slept well, so we didn't care. One day daycare sent home her binky and said she doesn't use it anymore. That day we should have gotten rid of it at home too...but I'm sure I came up with some excuse for her to keep it. 

Fast Forward: All of a sudden she is over two years old and addicted. She needed to have multiple binkies on her at all times, she had one in her mouth, one in her had, one in a bag and so on. We didn't dare to run errands or go for a car ride without one. In the course of a year she went from "enjoying its company" to "needing" it.  I never liked seeing kids that were old enough to talk have one in their mouth. I don't know why but it drove me crazy. We got better about not letting her have it as often. We quit letting her take it in the care (except long trips to/from Davenport), and we even got to the point she didn't take it away from home, except maybe to grandparents house. At her age, she doesn't need it anymore and it's not good for teeth and speech. To be honest, she's quite a good talker and has a nice vocabulary, so that wasn't as much of a concern, but still, I wanted her to get rid of it.
Multiple binkies at the same time!

About a month ago Baileigh was resisting to take an afternoon nap. She kept getting out of bed and playing. I went up to her room several times, and finally told her that if I have to come up one more time, I am cutting the binky. ot even a minute later I hear her get out of bed, and start playing again. I was beyond annoyed. I walked upstairs with scissors, grabbed the binky out of her mouth and snipped off the end. A major meltdown followed with big tears and sobbing. I gave her another one and told her to go to bed...and she did. I walked downstairs feeling awful. You never want to make your child cry. Her big blues eyes full of tears was heartbreaking but I had gotten fed up with her shenanigans and gave up.

Threatening to "cut the binky" worked for a while whenever she played games at night. She would immediately try to go to sleep, that is, until yesterday afternoon. Patrick was off work so Baileigh and him had a daddy/daughter day. He said the day went will, until nap time. Baileigh was up to her old tricks at naptime, refusing to stay in bed, taking everything off her bed, etc. Pat said he tried to get to to go to bed, without success for almost 3 hours. Finally, frustrated and fed up, he cut the last binky! I walked in the door from work and saw both cut binkies, the one I cut, and her only other binky, cut and sitting on kitchen island.  Lets just say I was nervous to walk in and ask what happened. I ask Baileigh and she goes, "Daddy cut my blue one. " I ask her why and she says, "Because I was being bad and not listening!" I laughed. I knew she gets it too. We have been telling her "binkies are for babies" and "no more binky for Baileigh" for a while now, and she gets it. We decide right then and there, no more binkies.

We decide the best way is to talk about how proud we are of her and how she is such a big girl. We take her to target to buy her a new doll to cuddle with at night since she doesn't need a binky anymore. We really talked it up all night.
Our big girl! Binky free and proud with her two new dolls!
I remember when we were "sleep training" Baileigh as a baby, I read it takes 3 nights to make it a habit. Those 3 nights may be rough, but babies, and toddlers love routine, and after 3 nights, thy should have it. Here's to three nights!

Night one: We did the usual to get B ready for bed. She did her usual stalling techniques as well. About an hour later she was asleep. She only woke up twice in the night, but both times I think it was because she was coughing some. She did start crying and seemed sad, but never mentioned she was sad because of the binky. We just rubbed her back, tucked her in and gave her the new dolls to cuddle with. She did come in our bed for a little bit, but shortly later was back in her own bed again. All in all, the first night was a success!!

Night two: Night two was about the same. She woke up a few times, and ended up in our bed (which rarely happens, let alone two nights in a row!)

Night three: Fantastic! She went to bed well, woke once, no big deal and then slept the rest of the night...till 6:30 a.m., that is! I'm not complaining though. One night of almost uninterrupted sleep is great, even if I wake up before the sun has fully risen.

Three days later I can officially say, it's gone! I have such a big girl, that's for sure!

Next up: Potty Training....ahhhhhh!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crazy Busy Times

Our family is crazy. Life with a two-year old makes things even crazier. We planned a trip up to Minneapolis to visit our good friends Grant & Kelly this weekend. I am so excited! Before kids (aka BK) we could pack out bags the night before, or even last minute and jump in the car to head out of town. Now things aren't that simple. The amount of things We did last night actually amazes me. Especially after each of us working 8/9 hours.  This was my crazy Thursday. I got off work at 4:30. Ran to get my eyebrows waxed (embarrassingly overdue!) and got home in time for Pat to run and get his ice skates sharpened. Grant and him may play hockey this weekend. While he was out, I made taco salads for dinner and quesadillas for Baileigh. After dinner we cleaned out entire house. Entire as in kitchen, living & dining rooms, our room, bathroom and Baileigh's room. We also did 3-4 loads of laundry and put all of that away. Now that is an accomplishment all on its own! Oh did I mention that I made brownies for my moms birthday and Baileigh made a birthday card? Oh right. That was while making dinner! We kept Baileigh up late hoping she'd sleep in (ha, didn't work!) so she finally went to bed at 9. Time to relax, right? Baileigh's school valentines day party is Monday. Since we won't be home from Minneapolis until Sunday afternoon, I knew I needed to make her valentine's ahead of time.

Now I could have bought the cute printed valentines and quickly added the "to" and "from" names to them. But you know me, that would have been too easy. I had to make her valentines. So at 9:15 p.m. last night, I started making her valentines. B's class has 23 kids, including her. I bought some cute foam hearts and 3-d sparkly and puffy stickers at the $1 section at target. I ended up Creating little valentines for each kid and tying a little 100 cal bag of cookies to it. Okay, I know giving a class of 2-year olds cookies isn't a fantastic idea, but I figured they were better than pixi stix! (Plus, one of her classmates dad is a dentist and I bet he'll give out toothbrushes!) Here are B's valentines:

In hindsight, I should have printed out cute labels and stuck them onto the foam heart instead of trying to write out the kid's name. The markers didn't work as well ad I would have liked with the foam texture. Still, I thought they turned out cute.

Finally, at 11:30, or 16 hours after I woke up, I finally went to bed. Yikes. what a busy night!

Now it is Friday morning! I took 1/2 day of vacation, and since I am now off at 11 a.m. on Fridays, the 1/2 day equals a full day off work. Nice, eh? This morning we have relaxed. Ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast and are finishing up some last minute things. My parents are coming up at 11. We are taking them out for lunch as a "happy birthday" and "thank you" for watching B all weekend, then we are heading out of town!

We are super excited to visit Grant & Kelly! We haven't been up there since fall of 2008. I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time, and sick with morning sickness. Needless to say, it wasn't the best trip. Now, over 3 years later we are FINALLY getting back up to see them! They bought a house in 2010 and we are finally getting the change to see it! We wanted to bring a little housewarming gift but were having troubles deciding what to bring. We thought about a cute picture frame collage, but I know Kelly would already have those. She loves pictures. After much thinking we created a little basket with whiskey, glasses, gold fish crackers, and starburst. Random, I know but it works. Grant drinks whiskey, so we thought we could "cheer" to their new home. Kelly loves candy & Grant loves goldfish crackers. Randomness, but it looks cute all packed up!

Well, I better finish packing! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Project 24

 As I explore Pinterest, I find all these projects that I'd like to do for our home. Being a visual person, I almost get overwhelmed about the possibilities and projects I can do. Back in July 2010 I created a list of Eleven before 2011 I had hoped having my "to-do" list out here on the blog would help me accomplish all my projects. Although I only finished a couple of the items before 2011, I did finish all of them within 2011. That is progress, right?  I didn't finish 3 of the original 11. 

#1 from the previous list was to repaint our living room. I have since decided I am okay with the yellow we have now, so I'm not going to worry about that one. #7 was to print & burn photo cd's. I haven't done this, but I did backup a lot of photos using a free service, Dropbox. #10 was to replace the ugly florescent light in the kitchen. I still haven't done that, so it will be moved to my new list. I've decided to attempt to accomplish 2 projects a month for 2012. Some may be bigger ones, some small, but the goal is to finish every item on my to-do list.

Project 24
1. Replace the awful light in our kitchen.
2. Hang curtains in Baileigh's room.
3. Make or find cheap (& adorable) chevron curtains for our dining room. {Note: I already made curtains for our dining room, a couple years ago, with less than great results. This time I plan to use Kristin's "no-sew" method!}
4. Either paint or stain the old dresser in our dining room & add new hardware.
5. Fix our dining room ceiling
5. Create a mixed-media gallery wall in Baileigh's room.
6. Add ceiling fans to our room, the front screened porch & possibly Baileigh's.
7. Potty train our 2 1/2 year old. {Okay, not technically a project, but anyone who has a toddler knows this is a big undertaking!}
8. Re-paint my eames chair. Grey isn't working for me.
9. Paint the built in shelving in my closet something other than the lime green it currently it.
10. Get the awesome "Dubuque" print I got from the Dubuque Museum of Art matted, frame and hung.
11.Make a cute monogrammed wreath to hang on our front door.
12. Power wash the outside of our home. White siding is such a pain!
13. Landscape the retaining wall by our garage. (I think this will be Pat's summer project)
14. Make or find simple shades for our screened in porch.
15 Organize all the cabinets and drawers in our kitchen.
16. Make homemade laundry soap, glass cleaner and all purpose cleaner.
17. Try a new recipe a week- for all 52 weeks. (This won't be able to get checked off until the last week of December!)
18. Create a jewelry holder for our room.
19. Create silhouettes of all three of our profiles.
20.  Create a chalkboard wall, or area in B's room for her to color on.
21. Organize all my craft supplies. (I have a ton!)
22. Add an outside railing to our new front steps,
23. Replace the make-shift railing for our back steps.
24. Paint our bathroom a new color.

Yikes, this is a lot of projects! I hope trying to complete two a month isn't too ambitious! Some of these cost a decent amount, so I will keep that in mind, but for the most part, I hope to accomplish all these projects!

In January I accomplished two, so I'm well on my way! I created a Jewelry holder for our room and we fixed the ceiling from the water damage.  The ceiling fix isn't exciting, but it got done! Here is a picture of the jewelry holder I made.

Well, this may be one of the longest posts ever! Monthly I will have a post dedicated to the two projects I completed that month!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Don't judge a book by its cover (or a cake by its frosting!)

The saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" always made me laugh. I am a very visual person, and even remember saying "yes, I do judge a book by its cover." Ironically, in my new job, I will actually be designing book covers! Kind of funny. As a designer, the goal was to make pretty things. Actually, this print by Yellow Heart Art always makes me smile.

Well, I have learned that when baking, you can't always end up with "pretty things." For example? German Chocolate Cake.

My father in-law's birthday was last weekend. We are celebrating it tonight and I offered to bake a cake for the event. A little birdie told me his favorite cake is German Chocolate (Thanks Linds!) I have never made one from scratch, so naturally I turned to my new obsession, Pinterest, to find some inspiration. I found a recipe via Cookie Madness for German Chocolate cake. She had a lot of different recipes for it. 

German Chocolate Cake recipe via Cookie Madness 

My verdict? Wow, I haven't been able to taste it yet, besides a small piece that broke off, but I have a pretty good feeling it will taste amazing, despite its look! The frosting is pretty runny, and because of the added chocolate, it is kind of a blah color. I learned that traditional German Chocolate cakes are only frosted between layers and on top because the frosting is too delicate to frost the sides. I totally agree. The coconut/pecan frosting makes it look not so pretty, but they also make it taste delicious.

I guess all cakes can't be beautifully decorated! Taste is more important! Once I taste it, I'll update this post!

P.S. Did you know that contrary to the name, German Chocolate cake isn't from Germany? Until I was researching recipe, I had no idea! Heres the history of this delicious dessert! History of German Chocolate Cake 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Chili!

Well, the inevitable has happened. We finally got a huge snowstorm. Something like 6-8 inches. I can't say I'm shocked. I do live in Iowa and it's winter. It is part of the climate. However, every time we get a snow storm people seem surprised! I like snow. I think it's pretty. My husband, not so much. I think that is because he is the person who shovels everything. I kind of understand his distaste for snow because of that reason. That is why I made a huge pot of chili while he shoveled.

My father in law, Dan, makes excellent chili. Until Pat and I started dating, I had never made it before.  My first time actually was for a Chili Cook Off back when I worked at NICC. I winged Dan's recipe and was surprised how good it turned fact, I won the cook off! {This is where Queen sings, "we are the champions"} Just Kidding! 

Every time I make chili I wing it. I never come with a list to the store. There are some main ingredients I always remember, and others that I think might work well. The chili we make now is kind of a mix of Dan's and kind of our own. It is one of the few recipes I am proud to say we "created" and isn't from a recipe book.

Our Chili Recipe

1 lb ground beef
1 1 lb stew meat (the *secret ingredient*)
32 oz can of tomato sauce
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chili beans, in sauce
1 can Mexican corn
1 can diced tomatoes
green pepper, chopped
red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
3-4 tbs of chili powder seasoning
salt & pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Brown the ground beef & steak w/ the peppers, onions and garlic. Season with salt & pepper. Drain grease.
2. Add remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer on medium until the juices start to bubble up a bit and simmer on low for at least 2 hours.
4. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and green onions. Enjoy!