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Thursday, November 7, 2013


Took a little break from blogging to... survive real life for a bit?
And taking a little break from our outdoor transformation to bring you this indoor tidbit.

I folded my clothes the way my mom taught me until I was in college. It was that standard way they fold t-shirts in the store... you know so they stack nicely, or fit nicely in a shirt box? Shirt box folding, that's how I folded my clothes. And it has worked for millions of people for centuries, and if that's your method and it thrills your soul or fits your style, please, carry on. But I got to college and suddenly had less drawer space, as well as less time for folding my laundry.
The beautiful shirt box folding I had been taught was no longer working for me. I didn't have enough room in my drawers for all my clothes, not to mention, pulling out the shirt that you want (inevitably the one at the bottom of the stack) messed up the entire stack, and then you either had to re-fold/re-stack, or take the more traditional college method, and just shove the wadded shirts back in the drawer and slam it closed.
I needed a better method.
So here's how I started folding my shirts:
1. Lay your t-shirt out flat, face up. Smooth wrinkles.
2. fold t-shirt in half lengthwise.
3. Fold sleeves back over to create a long skinny rectangle.
4. Fold in half, the collar down to the hem.
5. Fold in half again, top fold down to collar/hem

And that's it! You have a nice, compact little rectangle t-shirt. Continue with your pile of t-shirts, and stack them all with the fold on the same side.

Now, when you go to put them in your drawer, stack them with that fold side up... (almost like a file cabinet?) like so:
See how nicely they fit in there? And how many shirts you can fit in a drawer? There are twice as many t-shirts as would fit shirt-box fold style. Plus, having the t-shirts in the drawer 'file-drawer style' means you can easily access the ones at the front or back without messing up the rest of the folded shirts. And this is just my husband's white undershirt drawer (yes, he has an unnatural amount of white t-shirts) but when you have other shirts, colors, and designs it's easy to view which shirts are in your drawer with little digging/messing up already folded clothes!

And see how nice this looks? Simple and organized and plenty of room to hold all of them.
But this doesn't just work for t-shirts. I use the same folding and 'file-drawer style' for my shirts, camisoles, night gowns, baby clothes and onesies, and...
Yep, those are my husband's underpants. (A slight variation, rolling instead of folding, but same basic premise... and look how many you can fit in one drawer!) (Yes, my husband also has a CRAZY amount of underpants.) (No my husband doesn't read my blog, so will likely never know I put pictures of his underpants on here-- it's our little secret... shhhhhh...)
You can even fold shorts and pants to fit upright in your drawer in the same file drawer manner. You will be amazed at the amount of space you save, or the amount of clothes you can fit into one drawer now!

Some other thoughts on this method:
*It's very similar to how you may be instructed to pack, rolling clothes to get more things in a suitcase or small space. So if you do start folding your clothes in this manner on a regular basis, hey, you just cut out a step when you pack for a trip! Yay.
*If you smooth your wrinkles as you fold, I find that this method is just as effective as any for eliminating wrinkles in clothing as any other folding method
*This is not a great method for dress dress shirts, those still do best pressed and hung in the closet.

So there you have it! Maybe this is not anything life changing or new for you, but it changed my wardrobe, and eventually my mama caught onto my method as well... and it revolutionized her laundry, folding, and clothing storage methods. And... my mama is an organizational guru, so with her stamp of approval I plow onward. :)

What about you, what kind of laundry, folding, or clothes storage hacks have you adopted that changed your life???

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tan on Tan on Tan (And Baby Ferns)

Guys. I have a tan house. With tan trim. And a tan door. That's a lot of tan.

Especially when you consider that we were working with a dirt lot with little vegetation to be found? Sad, colorless, monochromatic house. I mean, it's really a lovely house, and I still pinch myself as I drive up to it... I live here! This is my home! But all the tan hurt my brain a little bit. I wanted something that looked welcoming and cheerful...
Obviously a bright color door was just the wink that our house needed, don't you think?

So I told my husband I was going to paint our front door something cheerful, and his response was, of course, what? Why? Whats wrong with the color it is?
But I plowed ahead, undeterred. I polled my friends, I gathered swatches, I taped stuff to the door and stared at it for days... And I decided on a really nice plum color that I was quite excited about, then I made the mistake of asking my husband what he thought of my color choice and he just sighed and said, Please don't paint my door purple.
Okay, first of all, it's plum, not purple. And it's a LOVELY color!     ...but I decided to go with something a little less bold, because in the grand scheme of things a door color is not a HUGE life commitment. So I thought I'll ease the hubs into it, and then we'll punch the color up a notch next year if I need more...
So I selected a lovely green called "Baby Fern" that was somewhere between an apple green and a muted ferny color. I put on the first coat... oh man, it looked tinkerbell city. But I remembered advice of some of my fav DIY bloggers, Young House Love, when they say the middle always looks crazy. This was not the end of the vision... this was the start with only one coat of paint. So I didn't panic yet.
It took three even coats for full coverage. I painted slowly and carefully and made sure to allow adequate drying time between each coat because I wanted the door to look smooth and streak/brush stroke free. Once it was done...
(Oh, Hai Charlie!) I was pleased with the result! Much happier.
But remember the crazy in the middle part? This is still the middle. Yes the green door is happy and brighter, but just the green door on the tan house with the dirt yard was honestly not a HUGE improvement. This still the middle... it's coming, it's coming, it's coming! And the more finished the yard became, the more the door makeover made sense-- Even to the husband and my father who weren't believers in the Baby Fern magic.
Oh, but also, while I was in the business of painting doors and distributing magic, I decided the back of the house needed love too...
Because this guy didn't even have any trim to boast! Saaaaaaad. But not to fear, a few hours and a few coats of paint later....
...and he was boasting a brighter outlook on life as well. Actually, ignore the bottom right corner of that pic where there's a sneak peak of beauty to come. (this pic was actually taken a few weeks later, oops.) But I was happy all the way around with what a quart of Baby Fern exterior paint did to perk up my house.
A few weeks later I was chatting with one of our neighbors, and she commented on what a transformation the exterior of our house had been through. She specifically mentioned how much she loved the happy green door, it made her smile!
It makes me smile too!
But this isn't the last you will see of that front door... more magic to come! What about you? Anyone else painting their door this fall???

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fencey McFencerson

Let me put a disclaimer, these next couple posts are going to feel a little incomplete... we were working on quite a few projects that I want to talk about separately, but they were all going on at the same time. So I am going to delay some finished product photos til the end... and also being very involved in all of this stuff myself, I don't have a whole lot of process pictures or tutorials for you (I was busy workin' kid!) so the next few posts might leave you hangin' just a bit. But you'll see it all come together in the end, and it will be worth it. Yay.
There is a lot going on outside our window these days!

So we are putting in a fence.
I know fences aren't for everyone, but we wanted/needed one for a couple of reasons:
    While we have a nice size lot, we are still in a residential area/neighborhood. Our lot backs up to someone else's back yard, we have a neighbor's yard on one side and empty lots on the other, which will eventually have construction. We wanted a little bit of privacy from all that closeness. We like having neighbors, we like our neighbors... we just... needed a bit of back yard privacy.
    We have a dog and kiddos* (*will have plural kiddos in december, and don't know if we will be done with two... who knows???) and wanted a safe contained area for them to play unrestricted. Also we have utility boxes in the back corner of our lot, and didn't really want kiddos playing in that area.
So us, a fence `was the right choice. However, it's not only functional, but we just happen to think a nice cedar fence looks really pretty and raises your property value... and we needed to put in a yard, and so first, we needed to put in the fence.

Before you build a fence there are plenty of paperwork things you have to deal with-- drawing out plans, taking them to the city, getting a building permit, getting utilities marked, etc. Those are important code and safety issues, if you are DIYing your fence, make sure you do all your city requires first. You don't want any surprises or accidents later.

The project started by ripping out the neighbors fence. It was a 4 ft fence that was a little rickety and gross looking. We talked to our neighbor before starting, and actually ended up replacing not just the shared portion of the fence, but his entire fence as well. (He paid the boys for it... so it was a profit that we set aside for another project). They knocked out the panels and pulled the posts, and then we freecycled the fence parts... and it actually was claimed by some friends of our about a block away. Reuse, recycle, and giggle everytime you drive by and see that old fence on someone else's property, guys!

After getting that knocked over they rented a hole digger and started carefully digging around the perimeter. I say carefully because there were quite a few utility lines they were working around.

Oh, there are the utility boxes we were boxing out... heh
Once they had the holes dug, they started putting posts and the frame in place. Carefully, slowly pieceing it together, leveling, digging, leveling again... until it was all setting just so... and then they concreted the posts in and nailed the 2x4 frame to it. For the frame they used pressure treated posts and 2x4s.
Everyone say Hi to my dad!
My Brother in law and our friend James working hard!
Once the frame was solid, the boys got to work putting up the slats. These are cedar slats. They look pretty and smell awesome while you work-- just a nice bonus there. We decided to use a nail gun instead of screws for two reasons, cost and time! Even the the best way would probably be to screw every last slat on, the fencing screws do not come cheap. For the amount we needed, it was going to run us about $400. For screws. Crazy. The nails in the air pressure gun, however were about $50, and we were able to borrow the gun from a friend, and... boy is it fast! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! in each post and you are done, as opposed to four screws, even with a power drill we'd have been there for days.
So the boys threw up the slats... okay not so much threw as carefully placed and leveled, while my dad started assembling gates.
They worked from early early that morning, until late that night. You can see that it's getting dark in these pics... but my boys are hardcore, they were going to get it done!
Hey look, they are still smiling! Actually I think they are smiling because this is the last board in my husbands hands... and look what they let me do!
The golden spike! I got to nail in the very last board in the back corner that hooked the two sides of the fence together! Woot!
And... here's that part that I warned you about at the beginning. I'm going to leave you hanging. There were several projects going on at the same time here, and so I don't have a finished project pic of anything without giving away everything, and thats no fun. But we finished the fence that weekend... and it is really beautiful and there are more beautiful things to come! Are you excited? I'm excited.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vegan Carrot Walnut Muffins

If you follow me on pinterest (what? You don't follow me on pinterest? What the heck is your problem? I pin cool stuff.) you may have noticed recently that I have been pinning a lot of vegan recipes. I invited over some friends for dinner the other night, one of whom had noticed this trend, and was concerned she may be served some kind of crazy hippie vegan meal! I assure you this is not the case.
However, one of my loved ones has recently adopted a low fat vegan diet for health reasons, which has piqued my interest and challenged my cooking chops. I've started experimenting with various vegan recipes, more specifically baked goods, and a lot of muffins!
Because who doesn't love a muffin? Muffins are great. They are like a dessert people don't judge you for eating at breakfast. I've been tinkering with a couple different muffin recipes, banana, blueberry, pumpkin... and today, it happened. This guy here. He's the winner.

This is by far the most delicious muffin I have made. A little bit sweet, a little spicy, good texture (a lot of them tend to be very dense), and plenty of carrot-y goodness. This Carrot Walnut muffin is completely vegan and also low in fat. But it doesn't have any strange ingredients in it. So many times I find a vegan recipe that looks like a winner, and I have to google half the ingredient list just to know what it is and where to get it. No fun. Likely, you already have every ingredient here in your pantry. Or you at least won't be scratching your head reading the list. You're welcome.
And bonus... your kitchen is going to smell awesome while they are baking! You're welcome again.

Vegan Carrot Walnut Muffins
  • 1 cup white flour*
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup carrot puree**
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped walnuts (for topping)
Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Mix wet ingredients (+walnuts and raisins)
Add dry to wet, and stir until combined. Batter will be quite thick.
Scoop 1/3 cup into 12 lined muffin pans. Sprinkle tops with walnuts.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
*I like to go half and half on my flour... whole wheat flour makes them hearty, white flour makes them a lighter pastry.
**I shred my carrots in a food processor. I cooked down about 1/3 cup of shredded carrots then threw them back in the food processor with the blade and a little water to make the puree... it seems like a lot more work, but it's not really, and it makes them very carrot-y and delicious.

Try and wait until they have cooled a smidgeon before digging in... because you can't fully appreciate the yumminess if your mouth is blistered. AHEM I've heard... I wouldn't do something so compulsive as putting a lava hot muffin on my tongue because I'm impatient.
I really hope you enjoy these. My family definitely did, they were a huge hit! Tasty enough you might not even guess they were low-fat and vegan... if you didn't know!
But you do know... and don't you feel good about it. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Yard to Be and the Foxen

So we bought a house. And we moved. And since then we've been busy busy busy trying to make the house look presentable. I mean, the house is lovely, and we moved in and unpacked quickly and actually the inside is nothing to complain about. But the outside could use some... curb appeal?

This is what she looked like the day we bought her... not... awful. But not much of a yard to speak of. A crazy, lumpy, uneven, gravel-y lot full of weeds and chiggers! Oh the chiggers are bad.
See that gorgeous lush lawn? Try not to be jealous.
Even though it was 90% weeds and chiggers, we knew it would be a few weeks (or months) before we could get some real grass in this place, and in the mean time, we couldn't be overrun. Plus we also have a puppy we had to let out to go potty, who is terrified of anything teller than a cricket. (Scratch that-- he's scared of crickets too...) but the tall scary weeds were not doing it for him, and we were not really fans of him pottying in the house, duh.  So Z diligently mowed down the weeds twice a week.
We knew we had plenty of work ahead of us, but on top of our weed infestation and our chigger infestation, we also had these guys that liked to hang out in our yard...
Those are one, two, three little foxes that liked to play in our backyard every morning. Which would maybe be acceptable or expected if our house backed up to some woods, or acreage, but our lot backs up to someone else's fence? And there is an empty lot next door. However our house has been empty for 5 years, and these guys made it clear that this lot was THEIRS.
We actually found them quite entertaining and delightful at first. Every morning about 7:00 am they would be out frolicking, jumping, running, and playing in our yard. Right outside out windows, just a few feet from our back door! Sam especially enjoyed watching them in the mornings. But then I started to get a little nervous, becuase they didn't seem to be willing to give up their space. And when we saw this:
The little dudes jumping over a full size fence! I started to get nervous. I didn't know if they would ever act maliciously or territorially if we or our kiddo or our dog was outside, likely they would probably run and hide, but I wasn't sure. I didn't want to risk it. Especially knowing they could hop fences, I was a little concerned.
So I started researching wildlife rescue organizations around us to see if they could be relocated to a safer location for everyone. I didn't want to call animal control, because I didn't want the little guys to be captured and euthanized. It was unfortunate that our homes overlapped and we couldn't live comfortably together, but even still that wasn't their fault.
I was getting ready to make some phone calls, but we started seeing less and less of them. They didn't play in our yard in the mornings anymore, and we didn't even see them darting through the empty lots next to us anymore.
About a week later we brought in the machinery and graded and tilled our lot to prepare it for grass and landscaping and fencing. Now our house looks more like this:
 And it stayed like that for a couple weeks, and without a speck of vegetation around, I think the foxen (as I lovingly called them) decided to relocate themselves to a nicer neighborhood. We have seen no evidence of them around for more than a month now, so I feel confident they have vacated the premises and I like to believe they found a much nicer home, away from cars, people and other weird stuff that would disrupt their way of life. But they were our little buddies for a couple of weeks and that still makes me smile.
So here's the house in the naked lot just waiting and ready for some love. And if you are perceptive or know anything about fence building, you've noted the load in our driveway and can take a guess at what the first order of business will be...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maybe a Haircut will Help...

Here's a dramatic before and after that gets me every time:

Dirty, shaggy, shapeless mutt...

...into handsomely groomed, bright-eyed puppy.

This is our dog Charlie. Charlie is about a 4 year old mutt, 'rescued' from an overwhelmed family. We got him when he was about a year old-- we think-- and he was kind of a mess. He was a shaggy, crazy, matted, but loveable guy... and we gave him his first haircut before he even belonged to us. Yup. We groom our dogs ourselves. Or I groom our dogs I guess.
I grew up with cocker spaniels, and my parents always cut their hair on the back deck. Before I got my westie, Winston, I had never thought much about dog grroming, or the fact that my parents had always done their own dogs, but I took him to the groomer once or twice and I was all... uhn-uh. That is highway robbery folks.
Simple bath and grooming for a small dog was costing me $40-$50 bucks a pop. And half the time my westie came back to me looking like a Schnauzer, and I was all, really professional groomers? REALLY? So I started doing my dog's grooming myself, and never looked back at those crazy over priced groomers.
I've been doing my own dogs, my parents dogs, and my friend's dogs on occasion for several years now, and while I am FAR from a professional, I have picked up some skills and a few tips a long the way that I thought I'd like to share with you, if you think maybe you'd like to save yourself the cash and try your own hand at it...

1. Invest a little... You will need to make an initial investment in a pair of good quality clippers and grooming supplies. Most pet pet supply stores should have everything you need. Expect to pay $100+ for a good quality pair. But when you start to divide that cost between hair cuts... they will easily pay for themselves within a year. Even faster if you have more than one dog you are regularly grooming. I have these clippers by Wahl and have been very pleased with the quality/durability... and also they have an extra long cord which is a lot more important than you might think.  If your clippers do not come with a set of gaurds, you will want to get those as well. You will also need a good pair of scissors/shears and a comb/brush/matt rake.

2. Do a little research... Before I cut my Westie's hair for the first time I hit the internet and watched several videos on youtube about how to groom a westie. Look up your dog breed, or several dog breeds and get a general idea of what you want it to look like, and how to accomplish that! Sometimes your clippers might come with a book/manual/dvd with instructions on basic cuts, so read through that! You can go to PetsMart and watch them cut dogs through the windows at their grooming salon, witness a few haircuts before you make your maiden voyage.
Have a plan, and even print off some pictures to refer to as you cut.

3. Work Smarter... not harder. Make it easier on yourself. Start with your pooch brushed out and free of matts and tangles. This will make your clippers and/scissors glide right through, and make the whole process easier for both of you.
Any undesirable task is easier in small chunks. If your dog's fur becomes especially matted over time... give him a quick brush out daily, or every couple of days. He will be more comfortable, and it can eliminate hours of painful picking through matts before you every get to the haircut.

4. Chill out... grooming can be strange and stressful for your dog... try to reduce the stressors in the environment for both of you. Play some music that you like. Have some water on hand for both of you. Try to do it in an environment free of distracting or stressful kiddos. Have a spouse or family member the dog likes and trusts on hand to help hold, pet, or comfort and encourage your dog if he starts to get too upset. Try to remain positive in tone, even if the dog is not entirely compliant. You want to make this a positive experience if at all possible-- scolding and frustration will just make them fearful of it.
And treats for everyone when it's done! Some good play time and a rub down, or snacks and a snuggle... whatever you do to enjoy each other, enjoy each other once you are all cut and clean!

5. Suck it up... We cut our dog's hair on the back porch or in the garage in inclement weather, and we keep the shop vac close at hand to suck up the hair as we go. The larger the dog, and the more you are cutting, the crazier and messier that pile of hair gets. take a break every couple of minutes to clean your work space of fallen hair. This will make the process and the cleanup much more manageable and enjoyable!

6. The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut... is about 2 weeks. Or that's what my dad used to always tell us when we were teenagers. (and who didn't have a devastating haircut in their teen years?) You probably won't perfect the craft the very first time, and if you make a few mistakes, or the pup's ears are lopsided, or you forgot to put the guard on and the pooch is looking a little bald on one side... hair grows back. Give your pooch a little extra love, and yourself a little extra grace for the bad haircut, and give it a few weeks to grow out. Odds are your dog won't even notice, and you will find it amusing/endearing over time. :)

I hope that gives you a place to start, or maybe some encouragement to try something new. Pets are a part of your home and a part of your family, so of course you want to keep them looking great just like everything else! Let me know if you have any questions, or if you do decide to try your hand at some grooming, take before and afters and share them! I'd love to see your handiwork and your furbabies! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sam's 1st room-- TOUR!

We moved, and I know you all are anxious to see pics of the new house and all that... but there was something important I needed to do before we left the town home behind. Something I promised you years ago and never followed through on.
Sam's room was my favorite room in that house. I put a ton of effort and thought into making that room special, and before we left it for good, I really want to document it and share it with you-- in it's complete form.
Before I packed a single thing in that room, we gave it a good clean and pick-up and then took pictures so we would always have documentation and something to remember Sam's first room. The room we brought him home from the hospital to. The room where we spent countless hours rocking, feeding, playing, reading, and growing up. It was the only thing about the old house that I had a bittersweet pang leaving. But here it is, for you-- but mostly for me-- to enjoy and for posterity.

This is the view looking in the door. The chair is a rocking overstuffed chair we purchased at Babies 'R' Us. (Talked about our purchase here). The curtains were made by me. Bobble throw on the chair was made and given to us by my good friend Amy Lee. The P pillow a gift from another friend. White shag rug from target. Trunk has been mine for years. And the bureau is part of the furniture I refinished for the room. The awesome bear painting on top of the bureau was a gift painted by my Aunt. (It is SO COOL.) The letters spelling his name came from HomeGoods.
The crib was purchase at Nebraska Furniture Mart. Bed sheet (white with green polka dots) and the crib skirt were made by me. The chevron quilt I made for him is over the side of the crib. The three small canvases above the bed were taken by Kim Joyce Photography, and the canvases purchased from ArtsCow.com. The corner shelves are from Target. We have an AngelCare monitor (on the right) that we LOVE. Blocks that spell Samuel (corner shelf on the left) are from Little Sapling Toys. The leaf mobile above the crib was made by myself and my friend, of etsy inspiration. To the right of the crib is Sam's hamper, and in the top middle of the photo you can see a little 'sweet pea' ornament that my mom gave us, we hung it from the fan pull, and it became part of Sam's goodnight ritual, touching the sweetpea before bed every night.
This dresser was another piece that I refinished for the room. The changing pad was purchased from Babies 'R' Us, and the changing pad cover I made. The elephant lamp on the right was purchased at HomeGoods, and Amy Lee and I recovered the lampshade. Peeking around the corner (on the floor on the left) you can see the bag holder I made, and also the wet bags for Sam's cloth diapers hang there. Above the dresser is the tiled round miror I purchase at HomeGoods, as well as pictures of Z and I, the puppies, sam's sonogram and framed hospital bracelet. Above the changing pad as pinwheels from the Baby P shower my friend Erin threw. Sam loved those hanging pinwheels!
The view from the other side of the room... My favorite part! Sam had a regular old boring closet that was dingy and had broken sliding doors on it. We removed the doors and painted it this happy bright green color. My dad built the shelf going up the middle, and I painted that and all the other shelving (going up the sides of the closet you can't see) a bright shiny white. We installed the wooden clothing rods. The green tubs along the top shelf and the green kids hangers came from Target. We added a ton of storage, and made the room feel more open bright with out closet remodel. I was so happy. The large ruler to the left of the closet I made as a growth chart for Sam's first birthday. (Meant to put that project on the blog, but... oops.)
 And I think that's about it. If you saw anything in there I didn't mention that you are curious about, please ask, I will answer to the best of my ability! I was so proud of this room, and felt so happy in this space.
Goodbye, Happy Room! We will miss you, but we gotta move on to bigger and better things!

It's a little weird to go back through all those older posts as we were preparing this room for Little Sam... especially since we now have a Baby P II we are preparing for. Oh, we have Big plans for his first little room! I can't wait to get started and share with you along the way. :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Popcorn Trail Treats

It's not like there are a million things going on at my house right now. A million things that I am dying to show you, but haven't had the energy to blog about. In the mean time, you can have this recipe. This recipe and a promise that good things are coming!

Sam has recently discovered popcorn. And he is delighted. Who wouldn't be, really? I mean, you show me a person who says they are meh about popcorn, and I will show you a person who is dead on the inside. Popcorn is awesome.
It's awesome because it's tasty. It's awesome because it can go sweet or savory. It's awesome because it's not innately bad for you... but you can definitely take it there if you are feeling sinful. We love popcorn.
We also love granola, dried fruit, trail mix, and rice krispie treats... I was thinking about all those things that we love and all of a sudden went, DUH. This has to come together. And it did. And it was awesome.
Salty and sweet, crunchy and chewy, yummy and not too sinful. All the things we love in a treat, no?
Okay, enough talk... Go make some!

Popcorn Trail Treats

4 cups popped white popcorn (1/4 cup unpopped should do it) (Dude, do this oil free method too. Bet you didn't know you could do that, eh?)
1/3 cup of dried mixed berries chopped (mine had cherries, blueberries and strawberries)
1 cup oats

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (or any nuts you prefer!)
1/2 cup roasted coconut 

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.

In a large saucepan over med-low heat, stir the marshmallows, coconut oil, and honey until melted. Dump the dry stuff into the melted mixture and gently stir until thoroughly coated. Press into a greased 9x9 pan, and pop into the fridge to firm up. Cut into bars, store in an airtight container.  

*This is not an exact science... use whatever dried fruit you like, raisins? Apricots? Craisins? I don't care. I also feel like some dark chocolate chunks could be delicious. Or throw some flax seed or wheat germ in there to beef up some healthiness. I use these big gorgeous roasted coconut flakes that I get at Trader Joes, but you toast up some regular shredded coconut.
*You could likely swap out butter or margarine (gah, but why would you want to?) for the coconut oil. But I had some and coconut oil is good stuff... go with what cha got.
*Add a pinch or two of some good sea salt if you enjoy things on the saltier side. We try to omit salt where we can for health reasons... but I know that sweet/salty contrast is very appealing.

I hope you enjoy! But warning... with little toddler hands around they may not even last long enough to take a few pics for your blog...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Baby P II

(Warning, oversharing about to happen.)

So yesterday I made the big announcement about our bun in the oven, but glossed over the details to share with you about the house. You didn't actually think I wasn't going to come back and over share about baby stuff, though, right?
Right after the first of the year I started talking to Z about Babies! I was getting the baby fever. We said we'd talk about it when Sam was a year old, so I brought it up-- even though I knew what the answer was for both of us. Not now. We had barely started the serious search for a house but it felt hopeless. Z was still working long long hours and his schedule was all over the place-- we both knew this was not great timing. We knew we both wanted more kiddos, but decided we would talk about it again this summer-- hopefully we would have a house or be closer to having a house by then and could make a smart and informed decision about whether the timing was 'right' then.
Plus also... we wanted to avoid getting pregnant in the spring again, if at all possible so as not to have another 'holiday baby'. Not that we don't love Sam and everything about him, but babies and birthdays close to the holidays can be chaotic, especially in my husband's line of work.
(Yes, read this, and laugh at us 'planning' because if you know anything about life and children, which we obviously don't, you know they don't like to conform to our preconceived schedules) (Ew, unintentional bad pun there with the preconceived thing.)
Fast forward a month or two to Easter Sunday. I was just sitting around that evening, and similar to two years earlier, I suddenly just had this feeling-- this knowledge I can't explain why-- I was pregnant and I knew it. But this was practically impossible, because... well it just was. The timing and the logistics didn't make any sense. I said nothing to anyone, but the next morning after Z left for work I took a test.
Oh man-- surely that is a false positive.
So I said nothing to anyone and took three more tests on three consecutive days. Positive, positive, positive. So there you have it.
I kept my mouth shut for an entire week. On Wednesday, I asked my husband out on a date. Dates are kinda a rare occurrence for us, so he excitedly agreed. I got a baby sitter and reservations, and nearly died trying to keep my mouth shut for three more days. If you know me, and how much I love secrets and surprises but how horrible I am at keeping them, you can be impressed!
Date night finally came, and I got dressed up and we went out and I kept my mouth shut all the way until we got to the restaurant. We ordered drinks and I finally said... Well... I actually had a specific reason I asked you on a date tonight, I have a little surprise for you, do you want it now or later?
Of course Z is used to me offering up 'surprises' but he stil doesn't like it. haha
He laughed nervously, and siad I guess now? So I handed him an envelope. Inside was a card with the following picture and caption:
The first picture of the FOUR of us
He knew immediately what it meant-- and got really excited. He even kissed me in public (BIG DEAL!). He was completely surprised, though, just as I had been... and we smiled, and talked baby, and mused at how exciting this was and how silly we are for trying to 'plan' when to have a baby. Those little buggers have a mind of their own, now don't they?
When Sam was born we waited til 9 or 10 weeks to tell our parents... made a big deal of it on mother's day. This time we opted to spill the beans right away, just because we were so darn excited. We were going to see my parents the next day for our weekly family date night, so we decided that was the time. But we were also trying to be creative, and wanted to get Sam in on the fun.
So the next day I ran to the store and grabbed a plain white shirt, then used my silhouette to make a freezer paper stencil out of the 'big brother' logo I designed...
And the next night he wore his new shirt over to Poppy and Meema's house. He ran around for about a half hour before my mom finally noticed, hey what do you have on your shirt, Sam? Then with big eyes at us WHAT DOES HE HAVE ON HIS SHIRT!?!?! And we smiled and she squealed with excitement, and my dad was all, what's going on, and my mom showed him the shirt and he was all-- um, okay? But once we explained it to him-- he was pretty excited too. :)
We also told Z's parents and my sister that night... The shirt was a big hit!
We were just guessing at a due date until we got to the doctor a few weeks later. He confirmed that, yes, there was a baby coming... and this one is due Dec 6.

Here is the very first picture of Baby P (the second!). This was taken at 9 weeks. Baby P is laying on it's back with head on the left here. Already so cute and loveable, don't you think? :)
So we were super surprised but are super excited. Yes, We will find out if it's a boy or a girl (but not for a month or two still) and yes we will tell you when we know. Yes, I will be taking weekly 'bump' pictures again... but not yet, there's not much to see yet. No, we are not going to tell you Baby P's name until he/she is born. Just like last time.
I've been pretty nasty sick the past couple months, but we are entering the second trimester now, and it seems to be letting up some. Thank goodness! We've got a lot to get done this month with a move, and a show-- no time for laying and bed and hugging the toilet, I tell you what!
I can't wait to meet this little peanut. I am so very very excited to be a mama x2! Thanks for all your love and support and interest in our lives...
And if you made it through that long, wordy, oversharing post... well a bonus 10 points for you. You're awesome! <3 br="">