Thursday, June 27, 2013

Recipes, Coupons and DIY Ideas All In One Place!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and All You, but all my opinions are my own. #lifeforless #pmedia 

One of the things that I looked forward to most when B and I were going through the home buying process was the chance to finally have a kitchen of my own. I could paint it the color I wanted, decorate any way I chose and fill the cabinets with all of my goodies just for us.

I always knew that my kitchen would be the 'heart' of my home. I love to cook and entertain, so the kitchen is the room in our house where the most time is spent, the most love is whipped up in the form of meals, and the most elbow grease is applied to keep it looking shiny at the end of most days. Most weeks, when I'm not feeling lazy and grossly pregnant, I plan the week's meals ahead of time. I have found that this makes my grocery shopping, budget planning and the day-to-day preparation for dinnertime that much easier. 

While doing my weekly grocery shopping at Harris Teeter over the weekend, I was in need of some fresh kitchen inspiration, or at least to be reminded of my love for cooking and how much more smoothly things run in my house when I get into a rhythm. So, I picked up a copy of the July Issue All You Magazine and I was instantly blown away. I found pages filled with recipes, fashion tips, health advice, and even coupons! It was exactly the motivation I needed! 

As I browsed through the pages of recipes (we're talking over 12 new ideas here), I came up with some ideas of how to use the food that was already in my fridge to recreate some of our favorite meals. And over the last week, I have was motivated (and hungry) enough to get back into the kitchen and prepare a few hot meals for us to enjoy.

Shrimp Scampi with a Veggie Twist

What You'll Need
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine (I use dry cooking wine)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-4 dashes of Hot Sauce (I went light here)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Parsley (fresh or dry) to taste
1lb. large, raw shrimp
8oz. Pasta (your choice - I used linguine)
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 cups steamed spinach 
Begin by boiling water for pasta. Have pasta ready to add. Then, heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are cooked through. Then, add shrimp, stir and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Next, add lemon juice, wine, salt & pepper and hot sauce. Stir everything together and reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, either sautee spinach in a large pan with olive oil, or add olive oil and spinach to large mixing bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Then, sautee asparagus spears for a few minutes until softened.

Then, toss your pasta into shrimp and sauce mixture. Add parsley and parmesan cheese and mix through. Finish by adding the spinach and asparagus and mix well.

You may start to notice a theme here. Give me a recipe that includes a protein, some pasta and a healthy portion of veggies and I am a happy girl. I love to make the recipes with my own ingredients, because then I can choose organic, fresh and substitute things like butter and oil. 

Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

What You'll Need
4-5 cups rice (prepare via package instructions; I typically use half white, half brown)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut up into small chunks

2 cups prepared mixed veggies (I had frozen mixed peas, corn, carrots)

1 small white onion, chopped small

2-3 gloves minced garlic

2 eggs

4-5 Tbsp sesame oil (I typically flavor ours some more with an additional Tbsp or two)

1/4 cup soy sauce

Sesame seeds

Teriyaki sauce (optional; we used when cooking the chicken) 
  We started by cutting up the chicken into about one inch cubes and then pan frying them in a little EVOO and teriyaki sauce until they were cooked through. I added sesame seeds just because I like them.

While your chicken is cooking, begin preparing the rice.

Then, heat sesame oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add your onion, garlic and mixed veggies.
Allow this mixture to cook until the veggies become tender, Then, add your eggs right into the mixture and scramble. Blend everything well. 

Once this mixture is cooked through and blended well (about 8-10 minutes total), add your cooked rice and chicken and stir. Then, add soy sauce and mix everything together. I allowed everything to simmer for another 4-5 minutes before removing from heat.
Serve piping hot!

All of that cooking got me excited to get back into my groove, and I was even able to save on my grocery budget by redeeming some of the coupons I found right inside my All You magazine.  My husband is eternally grateful for both of these things. Now he can start looking forward to warm, homemade meals again, and I am even making an extra effort to save us a little money by taking advantage of all of the coupons I found in All You this month. Plus, there are so many new recipes to try! I think I'll be giving the Vegetable Calzones and Roasted Shrimp, Avacado and Bean Salad a try to start. 

I can barely wait to find out what next month's issue has in store. I am bound to find more recipes, ideas and lots more savings. And, if you're not a lover of cooking, the magazine has lots more to offer as well. Lots of articles for 'Your Self,' 'Your Health,' 'Your Home,' and even craft ideas like 'How to Freshen Up Your Garden' using old lamps and other items you can find around your home.

To find the nearest store where you can purchase All You Magazine, as well as a money saving coupon to purchase your copy of All You Magazine, click here ( )

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bumpdate :: 36 Weeks!

36 weeks?! I think I can safely say that once we make it to 38 weeks, I am game for whenever G decides he is ready to make his grand entrance into our world! The fact that that day is only 2 weeks away is beyond crazy. 

I am starting to feel ready, both physically and mentally. My body is achey and lethargic at the end of most days and I'm not sleeping great. Besides, I can't WAIT to lay eyes on Gavin, and after our childbirth class, I feel like I am as prepared as I'm going to be.

B and I have been really productive, so there aren't too many things left to do before we can bring G home, but I am still running circles around myself trying to cross all my T's. Call it nesting, or maybe it's just nervous energy at this point, but I am hoping to give myself a week or two where I don't have a ton of commitments and responsibilities so I can take the time to relax, pamper myself a bit, and soak up our last days as a married couple with no kids.

  •  How far along are you? 36 weeks as of 6/25/13 
  • How I'm feeling: Feeling huge. I wake up feeling pretty good, but by the end of each day, my body aches and is tired and sore. But, I really have no reason to complain because, overall, my pregnancy has been a breeze.
  • Total weight gain: 25 lbs. as of 6/20/13 (I overestimated last week, eep!)
  • How big is baby? Gavin could be anywhere from 19 to 22 inches long and close to 6.5 pounds by now! 
  • Maternity clothes: G Baby has definitely started to drop, so most days, I have resorted to cotton shorts or maxi dresses. Comfort is key!
  • Stretch marks? Pass.
  • Sleep: Still waking up at night at least 2-3 times. By 6:30-7Am I am ready to get out of bed most days due to my aching hips.
  • Best moment this week: Our 'Before-baby' to-do lists are getting closer to finished! I am hoping to get a bit more done over the next several days so we can really enjoy our last few days/weeks together once July starts. I need to make myself slow down and relax.
  • Movement: Still active, as always! His movement feels much lower now and sometimes some of his squirming feels more like he is pinching me from the inside, Ouch! I am also getting a fair amount of sharp, stabby pains down low, which I am hoping means that some kind of progress is being made!
  • Food cravings: Desserts. 
  • Food aversions: Not much!
  • Labor signs:  Still getting Braxton Hicks every day. Not painful, and still irregular. The stabby pains definitely catch me off guard and tend to happen more at night. I don't think my doc will do an internal til 38 weeks though. Blast.
  • Belly button in or out:  I don't think this deserves and answer anymore.
  • What I miss: Laying flat on the floor when my back is sore. And being able to find a comfortable position on my couch!
  • What I'm looking forward to: Our 36 week appointment is Thursday, I am having our house deep cleaned this Saturday (hooray!) and taking a breastfeeding class next week!
  • Milestone: We successfully completed our childbirth class on Saturday! B did great, and I left the class feeling more emotionally and mentally prepared. Obviously, there are still nerves for how it will all go down, but I feel like I am educated and ready for the most part.
  • Monday, June 24, 2013

    10 Things I Live For :: A Linkup

    Lately, we have been nothing but 'preparing for baby' business around here, so when I saw Becky's newest linkup for her '52 Weeks of Blogging With A Purpose',' today, I thought it may be the perfect topic to change our course. At least for the day.

    Today's topic is '10 Things I Live For.' I feel like that could go so many places, but I will try and narrow it down to a somewhat cohesive list. What makes me tick, what are my top priorities? Read on to learn a little more about me.

    1. Saturday mornings. These have become a favorite of mine over the last year or so. I have always loved my weekends, but our Saturday mornings are extra special to me. We wake up slowly (even if it's only 7AM), cuddle in bed together, feel Gavin kick and wiggle himself awake, spoil Riley with belly rubs, and then make our way downstairs for coffee and breakfast. 

    2. My morning Cup O' Joe. One of the first things I think about each morning is how excited I am to start my day with a fresh cup of homemade coffee. Completed with a few dashes of one of my favorite creamers, and a sprinkle of Truvia, and my morning is made. I drink my coffee slowly, and typically reheat it about six times per day. So, I'm toting my mug around until close to lunch time most days.

    3. The iPhone Reminders App. OK, this one is sad, but we're being honest here, right? I keep pretty much every daily task, both work and personal, in the Reminders app on my phone. I would truly be lost without it. Checking the items off and seeing how productive my days have been is one of my favorite weekday things to do.

    4. Weekends at the Beach. My in-laws recently finished building their dream beach house. Unfortunately, it is finally ready during the weeks leading up to Gavin's birth, so we won't get to spend as much time there as we had hoped, but once he's here and we are feeling like we are establishing some sort of routine, the trips are back on! Relaxing mornings, afternoons in the sun, happy hours and boat rides; I can hardly wait!

    5. Catch-up Phone Calls with Girlfriends. Everyone is constantly busy, so I stay in touch with my close friends mainly through texting and social media. But, there are days when a phone call is overdue. Whether it is just a five minute chat, or there is so much to catch up on that it keeps us on the phone for an hour, calls like these are good for my soul. There is still something so important about real verbal communication to me.

    6. A Hot Bowl of Mac N Cheese. Though mac n cheese has been a long time vice of mine, it is also one of the simple pleasures that I just won't get rid of. Fattening to the core, but it is a comfort food that warms my soul and I am not ashamed to admit it. B jokes that Gavin will either love or hate it, because Lord knows he's already gotten enough exposure to it these last nine months!

    7. A DVR Full of Trashy TV. OK, this list is feeling a bit more like my 'favorite things,' but I think that's fair. I have admitted before that I watch a good amount of TV. I am that sucker of a person that they over advertise new shows for. I have at least tried out most of the shows on ABC, and I have been known to stock my DVR full of Lifetime movies. When I have a night at home to myself, or even a quiet afternoon while B is at work, I love to cuddle up on the couch for some uninterrupted TV time. It is definitely one of my favorite ways to relax.

    8. The Unconditional Love of My Dog. I have been a dog lover for as long as I can remember. But, until Riley, I had never truly had a dog of my own. While adding a furbaby into our family has definitely been a job, and has not always been easy, I am so thankful that we did it, and I know that God handpicked Riley for us. She has brought us much more joy than frustration, and B and I have bonded in a special way through our shared love for her. Her unconditional love for us (really for him, since he's by far her favorite), has taught me so much about myself, and I can only imagine how much more I am getting ready to learn this summer once Gavin is here.

    9. Date Nights with My Husband. Although I am a lover of routines and checklists, the romantic side of me loves to be spontaneous. Whether it is just a conversation, a drink on our deck, or a planned 'date night' where we actually make it out of the house, I know B and I will never get this time alone back, and I always feel like my 'love tank' is refreshed after our time together. It's about to get harder to make time, but I am hoping that we can do our best to make sure it remains a priority.

    10. Crisp, Fall Days & Football Sundays. Fall is my favorite season. I love the change that begins to happen in the air, and I love pulling my boots and sweaters out of the closet for the first time in months. But, I think the start of football season is my favorite thing about the fall. Once it begins, our Sundays are always full. Changing out of church clothes by 12PM and into our favorite team attire. Party snacks, cold drinks, rivalries and my green and white Jets. Mmm, I can almost taste it!

    11. Motherhood. Because there is always room for one more. I think one of the biggest things I live for is becoming a Mom. It has been a dream of mine since I was about twelve years old, and I cannot believe that the day is almost here, and my dreams are about to come true.

    So, what do you live for? Go ahead and linkup for today's challenge on Becky's blog!

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    Coffee & Girlfriends :: These Are A Few of My Favorite Things!

    It is no secret that I am a coffee lover. Sure, I only drink one cup per day (sometimes two when I'm not preggo), and I typically only drink it in the mornings, but it is one of my favorite parts of every day. 

    Each morning, my day typically starts out the same way. The sound of B's alarm around six, the eye-rubbing slow wake ups, and now, more often then not, the start of my day before 7AM (thank you, insomnia!). Since B is out the door and on his way to work by 7AM, I am usually left to prep a small breakfast and enjoy my morning news and coffee with only Riley's company. And let's face it, that girl is usually back to sleep in the basement by this time anyways. 

    Some mornings, I love the quiet time. I like being able to plan out my day, catch up on current events and sip my hot coffee for a few minutes. Then some mornings, I make special plans to meet a friend for coffee at a favorite breakfast spot. I love having the time to sit and chat over a warm cup of coffee and bagel sandwich. But, I know that these slow mornings are coming to an end very soon. And, I thought it was probably time for me to put my 'big girl' pants on and get used to hosting small breakfast get-togethers at my own home. This way, I won't have to get both myself and Gavin ready and out the door, and my girl friends can come over for treats, some good coffee, and obviously, lots of baby snuggles. 

    Of course, the perfect hostess needs her practice! So, a few weeks ago, I decided to host a small coffee social at my house with a few close girl friends. After all, it may be the last one before we have a little dude there with us. I had so much fun shopping for items for us to munch on, and of course I had to spend time picking out some delicious coffee to brew! 

    I like to offer my guests options, so I went with both the pod and ground options of one of my favorite brands. Have you tasted Gevalia coffee before? It is simply delicious. Rich flavor, but not overwhelming, and Gevalia is now making tons of flavors and roasts to satisfy any coffee drinker! Gevalia began brewing coffee in Gavle, Sweden in 1853, where traditional cast-iron roasting developed its distinctively rich, smooth taste that’s never bitter. Gevalia is expertly made with carefully selected beans and ground extra-fine to produce a rich coffee experience. And, now it comes in single serve cups for your Keurig® K-Cup® Brewer, perfect for a quick Gevalia fix! And the best news? You can find most roasts and options at your local Safeway. This way you can get all of your grocery shopping done, and pick up some of your favorite Gevalia blend, as well as some baked goodies, all in one place! 

    I personally believe that a hot cup of coffee is served best with a few baked goods at breakfast time, so my party would not have been complete without some of my favorites! 

    I whipped up a batch of Cinnamon Streusel muffins and served them alongside Safeway's yummy Vanilla Poundcake straight from the bakery! Of course I tried to throw in a bit of fruit and yogurt so there were healthier options as well, but in my opinion, the baked goods made the coffee taste even better! 

    Between Safeway and Gevalia, I was able to find everything I needed to host a few girlfriends, even down to plates and napkins. This Momma-to-be loves a store that provides competitive price as well as convenience, so this was a home run in my book.

    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    I May Actually Grow Tired of Lifetime Movies.

    Without a doubt, the biggest, most consistent piece of advice that I have received over the last several weeks as we get closer to our due date has been to "rest while you can!" To recharge my batteries, take naps, and sleep as many hours as humanly possible.

    In theory, this is a wonderful idea. And, since I work out of my house and make my own schedule (for the most part), one would think that I would have no trouble accomplishing this task.

    Nothing is further from the truth right now.

    I am learning the hard way that pregnancy insomnia is real, and whether it be natural, my body training itself for lost sleep after G arrives, or just my incessant need to nest and update all the lists and complete all.the.things! before the big day, it has thrown me for a loop. My body has become predictable now. I fall into bed some time between 10-11PM with tired feet and legs, and the desire to just curl up with the ten four pillows I have wedged all around me watching HGTV until I am comfortable enough to doze off. That slumber only lasts an hour or two before my first wakeup, usually between 12-1:30AM. After a quick trip to the bathroom, I am usually able to get right back to sleep. That is, until 3-4AM rolls around and it's time to get up again. At this point, it's a toss up. I either find myself tired enough to nuzzle back under the covers, or I start feeling restless and my brain starts running. If the latter happens, I typically turn to one or both of two things: my trusty iPhone or the TV. 

    Let me be the one to tell you that there is not a whole lot going on on Instagram or Facebook between 3-6AM. It only takes me about five minutes to scroll through the newest updates, and then it's back to the drawing board. If I'm still awake, I sometimes catch a few minutes of TV until I am tired enough to fall back to sleep. Because of this sleep aid, I have watched more HGTV and Lifetime movies than any one person really should. Especially at 4 in the morning. It does help to take my mind off of the sleep deprivation, and I'm sure it will prepare me for the sleepless nights ahead when I somehow find myself zoned out in front of TV infomercials.

    But, I didn't think that I would ever get to the point where I was growing tired of Lifetime movies. They're typically a guilty pleasure for me; five minutes and I get sucked in. I can only imagine the other middle of the night realizations I will come to over the next few months.

    So, tell me, what is the craziest thing you have done or watched in the middle of the night because of sleep deprivation or insomnia? I'd love to hear that I'm not the only one rustling around at all hours of the night!

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Will There Be A Smooth Transition for Our Babies?!

    Almost two and a half years ago, B and I decided we were ready to 'start' our family. At just six months into marriage, we knew we weren't ready for human babies yet, but we had both been wanting a dog of our own for a while, and so we deemed it the perfect time to add a furbaby into our mix. 

    I've talked about exactly how Riley joined our family before. We knew we wanted to rescue a puppy, and knew we were interested in labs and boxers. And then, one cold Wednesday night in February, we traveled about an hour northwest of our house, picked her out of a litter of seven lab mix babies, and she was ours.

    Riley has such a unique and fun personality, and I swear she must be at least part human because it's like she really understands what we say to her. Or maybe that's just me being a crazy dog lady. She is practically all sweetness tied up in a ball full of energy. It is because of these characteristics, and her curled tail and longer hair that we believe she is mixed with Boarder Collie, but we will probably never know for sure. 

    Bringing a furbaby into our home taught me so much more about parenting, and what it will be like with B, than I ever thought it would. Sure, it's different, but there are quite a few similarities. We lost a LOT more sleep than we anticipated. In fact, to this day, Riley is still paving the way for her soon-to-be baby brother by gently waking us most mornings before 7AM.

    I remember the days in the beginning where I would race through a shower because I was home alone with her and knew she may try to pee on the carpet of chew up another sock if I left her for too long. We crate trained, lost sleep, dealt with worms, and even paid a late night visit to the emergency vet all within the first eight months or so. I would be remiss not to mention how much help my husband was. He truly stepped up into the role as 'Daddy' to Riley, and he has been going strong ever since. It is because of this experience that I have no doubt B will be an amazing, involved and hands-on Dad to our children as well.

    And now, we are preparing for our first human baby to enter this world. A child that we longed and prayed for, and have spent the last eight months growing and imagining what life will be like once he's here. With just a little over a month until my due date, people have started asking whether we think Riley knows something is about to change. My honest answer is 'no.' I think she knows something is different with me, after all, she can't snuggle up on my lap like she used to. But, I don't think she knows just how much her life is really getting ready to change. Right now, she is our only 'baby' and practically the center of the universe around here. She gets ample play and snuggle time with each of us, and has pretty much claimed the entire basement level of our townhouse as her personal domain.

    It hurts my heart a little to think that she may feel ignored and neglected in a few short weeks. I am sure she will be the sweetest, most affectionate big sister to Gavin, but the transition period may be tough on all of us. 

    I have no doubt we will learn the ropes in due time, but I know that many of my readers are already great Mommies to both their human and 'fur' babies, so I wanted to see if any of you could offer up advice for how you handled the first few, crazy weeks with your newborn at home, and getting your pup(s) used to the new addition?! Thanks, as always, for your help ladies!!

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    34 Weeks! Into the Homestretch

    I almost have to pinch myself every time I think about the fact that we are already past the 34 week mark. I called B on my way home from the doctor yesterday, and he still thought we were back at 32 weeks. Hello, catch up Dad?! 

    We were super productive last weekend and got a lot of 'before baby' items accomplished. This weekend we are planning to do the same, and knock out packing hospital bags and installing the carseat. I am hopeful that, come Monday morning, I will feel like almost all of the big things are done, and we can gear up for a relaxing last couple of weeks. 

  •  How far along are you? 34 weeks as of 6/11/13 
  • How I'm feeling: This week I'm feeling more tired than anything. Haven't been sleeping well (more on that later), and my heartburn is at an all time high. Phew!
  • Total weight gain: 26 lbs. as of 6/12/13 
  • How big is baby? Gavin could be anywhere from 19 to 22 inches long and close to 5.5 lbs! According to 'What To Expect,' he is about the size/weight of a large cantelope!
  • Maternity clothes: Yes, and seriously considering borrowing my husbands shorts at this point. G feels lower this last week and it's making any waistband feel tight.
  • Stretch marks? Ugh.
  • Sleep: This last week or so, I have been up every other hour, either to run and pee, or because I'm hot and/or uncomfortable. Sleeping on the couch in the basement is looking more and more appealing these days.
  • Best moment this week: Getting the nursery (almost) completed! I love just sitting in there taking it all in. We got a bunch of 'before baby' items checked off of our to-do lists last weekend, and I'm hoping to do the same this weekend.
  • Movement: Still one active little dude! His most active time is still late afternoon through dinner time, but he is active on and off all day. Hasn't started up much in the middle of the night, although last night he was squirming around a lot for 3:30AM. His movements are getting bigger and are sometimes uncomfortable. They are also turning to less kicks and more squirms. 
  • Food cravings: I have a love hate relationship with food right now. Some days, I feel like I could eat anything in my sight; others, I do not feel like eating anything in my house. Stupid hormones.
  • Food aversions: See above.
  • Labor signs:  Still getting Braxton Hicks a few times per day. Not painful, and still irregular. I am also starting to get some sharp pains down 'low' that come unexpectedly from time to time. All of these things combined have caused me to slow down quite a bit this last week.
  • Belly button in or out:  Yea, you know the answer to this one.
  • What I miss: Ice cold beer on a warm night, deli sandwiches and sleeping in.
  • What I'm looking forward to: Our weekly appointments with the doctor have started! We will be going every 6-8 days for at least the next five weeks (hopefully). This is helping me feel like the end really is in sight now. We are also scheduled for a childbirth class next Saturday, 6/22 and I am anxious to get through that.
  • Milestone:Gavin's nursery is really coming together, and we have a Pack N Play and swing in our living room, not to mention the new little crib/bassinet that has taken up residence in our bedroom. The baby stuff is everywhere.
  • Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Using Christmas Lights All Year Round

    If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably already know that Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the music, the lights, the decor and the overall happiness the season brings with it. This year is guaranteed to be our most special Christmas ever, and even though Gavin won't remember it, I have already been coming up with fun ideas and thinking about new traditions that we can start with our little family. 

    The only problem with Christmas time is that, come January 5th(ish), my husband turns into a regular Scrooge and wonders why all of the decorations are not already taken down and boxed up for next year. Truth is, I'd leave some of my decor up all year round if I thought it was 'socially acceptable.' But, since it's not, and I don't want to be one of those people whose homes becomes a creepy shrine or something, I have found a few little ways to pack most of it up, and leave a few things behind that remind me of just how special that time of year can be. 

    Don't worry, I'm not talking about leaving my tree up all year, or hanging stockings all around my house. Instead, I have found a few fun ways to use Christmas lights to dress up my normal decor. This is especially fun during the summer when little white lights can really dress up an outdoor space. Click here for more resources.

    Christmas lights are the perfect way to dress up your deck, a market umbrella, or even the inside of a china cabinet that displays some of your favorite keepsake items inside your home.

    There are tons of varieties and styles, and you can even play around with lighting using spotlights on or around the front of your home. There is nothing I love more than seeing a beautiful home that stays well lit at night. Once we're living in a single family home, I'd love to get the hang of the outdoor spotlighting feature.

    You can find tons of options for lighting throughout the year. I typically check staple stores like Home Depot and/or Michael's when I am in need of a quick fix.

    So, what do you use Christmas lights for throughout the year? I'd love to see some other ideas and projects!

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    G Baby's Nursery Reveal

    Whew, this post has been a long time coming. I finally spent a few hours in the nursery over the weekend organizing, unwrapping and setting up most of G's new things, and with the help of my handy husband, got the room into shape that I deem almost complete and perfect enough to bring our little man home to!

    You may remember back when I wrote about the inspiration board I was using for G's nursery. While some of the items and the overall colors have stayed the same, there are a few things that I changed over the last few months in order to save money, or complete the look that I was going for.

    I started with the furniture, rug, curtains and artwork pictured below. 

    Originally, I had grand plans of purchasing expensive bedding from Carousel Designs, but then changed my mind after I realized the $200 bumpers would likely get things like pee and vomit on them. So, I turned to my favorite store (Target, duh) and found an adorable complete set for under $100! Since I saved some money by opting for the lower priced set, I was able to purchase the bumpers and a few extra sheets and blankets to accent my favorite colors in the palette.

    My in-laws purchased our Best Chairs glider for us and it would be an understatement for me to say that I'm in love with it. It is, without a doubt, the most comfortable piece of furniture that we have in our entire house. I mentioned the rug and curtains in the inspiration post (sources listed below) and the paint color was Behr's 'Gentle Rain.' The striped wall may be one of my favorite accents in our house. I love the way it adds depth and texture to the wall behind the crib. 

    The small items you see around the room were mostly gifts from family and friends, including Gavin's very first piggy bank; a gift that his Daddy is already excited about and proud of. Next to the bank there is also a homemade prayer jar (made by my sister) which holds the names of many of our family and friends and will be used when teaching Gavin to say his goodnight prayers. We will select a stick each night, and say a prayer for those special people in our lives. So sweet! I may have gone a bit overboard on the use of the letter 'G' throughout the room, but I just couldn't help but display each of the handmade letters that were given to us. Both of my sister-in-laws made us a unique 'G' and the hand painted letters you see above his crib were painted specifically for Gavin by my cousin. 

    This may be the smallest room in the house, but it definitely took the most love and time to put together, and we are so excited for the day that we get to see our little man in his crib, or rocking in his glider with Mommy or Daddy for the first time.

     If you need me, I'll probably be rocking away in that pretty glider imagining our sweet boys' face and praying about the day that we finally get to meet him. 

    I have listed most of the sources for the room below, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to comment on this post and let me know!
    Nursery Sources:

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Growing Up Loved Shop :: A Review & Giveaway!

    If you were to take a look at the walls throughout our home, you would find a nice mixture of artwork (mostly purchased at HomeGoods), photos of us, our dog and our family, and some of my favorite printable artwork that I have collected, framed and hung over the last year or so. 

    I don't just print any old printable that I find on the internet. I typically spend time browsing Pinterest or Etsy, and select a few sites or shops that I feel have the style and quality that I'm looking for. After all, I don't want to be printing and hanging something one week, only to take it down three weeks later because I'm tired of it. Who has time for that anyways?

    So, when April from Growing Up Loved reached out to me about putting together a review and giveaway, I spent time browsing her shop and admiring her work before we went any further. Whether you're looking for an inspirational print for your kitchen, or decorating an entire nursery, you will find lots of affordable, great options at Growing Up Loved. April describes her shop with the following sentence: 'Decorate your home with art that encourages hope, positive attitudes and reminds your family daily how loved they are.'

    April's site is easy to use for both browsing and purchasing, and even better, most of the artwork is available for immediate printing right after your purchase is made! You can even get some of the prints personalized with a name, etc. 

    It was hard to narrow down my favorites, but here are a couple of the prints that I ordered for myself.

    These are just a few of my favorite. The shop has so much more to offer!

    April has been kind enough to offer one of my readers a $50 gift card code to use in her shop! Now, instead of just admiring all of the beautiful prints, one lucky winner will actually be able to shop for FREE! Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. This giveaway starts today and will close at 7PM on Thursday, June 13th. A winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday, June 14th!

    I was not compensated for this review, and the opinions expressed here are solely my own. I did receive a code for $25 to spend in the Growing Up Loved shop.  

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Like I Need Another Reason To Redecorate My House.

    If you frequent my blog, you know that lately, we've been all things baby, bump and nesting. I swear I actually do other things, and have other interests. Most of the time

    It's hard to think about much other than organizing your house and preparing a brand new nursery (that your baby may or may not even sleep in before the fall comes), when you're in the middle of the home stretch of your first pregnancy. As if I needed more motivation to purge, clean, organize and DIY, I took up a new love about six weeks ago: any and all things HGTV. 

    More specifically, I have become borderline obsessed with the Property Brothers. 

    I find myself glued to the TV day or night whenever one of their shows is on. And, I've asked B several times how we can get them to come a little closer to Maryland because my kitchen could definitely use an update and some of their staging!

    What is it about everything on HGTV that makes me feel like I need to trash most of what I've done to my house up until now, and just start over? I would never refer to myself as a minimalist, but every time I see a perfectly staged home on any of the network programs, I have the sudden need to repaint everything in whites and greys ad get rid of almost everything I currently use (and store) to decorate with.

    Just last weekend, B was outside working on a project he'd been wanting to finish for weeks. This left me in the house all by myself with my cleaning supplies and a morning full of HGTV. Not more than an hour had gone by, and I already had a new list in my head of all of the fun things we could do to our house before G makes his arrival next month (hopefully). Thoughts of paint colors, mirrors and hidden storage were swirling in my head. 

    And then I was snapped back to reality. My house already looks likes a tornado went through it. There are piles of baby things in every room. There are clothes to wash and fold, and baby gear to assemble. 

    Perhaps my DIY home projects will have to wait until Drew and Jonathan can make them a reality for us. But, a girl can put a pen to paper for some 'rainy weekend' projects, can't she?!

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    So What Wednesday :: Because It's One Of Those Weeks.

    Today is the first day of the week that I have taken the time to sit down and write. Things have been busy here, and I am constantly having the urge to purge and nest, nest, NEST. This has not left me much time (or energy) to sit down and write, but I have been missing it. Since my brain has reached a whole new level of mush lately, I thought it best to kick start the wheels by bringing back one of my favorite linkups: Shannon's So What! Wednesday.

    Every Wednesday, Shannon gives us the time and space to link up some of the things we want to get off of our chests, or just silly things that make you laugh. Today, this is exactly what to doctor ordered.

    This week, I'm saying So What! if ...
    • In my constant state of nesting, I have been unpacking and washing baby items out the wazoo. And, since I don't know exactly where I want to keep everything just yet, I have been making piles of baby goods all over the house. It literally looks like BuyBuy Baby threw up in my dining room.
    • I'd love to plow through my list of 'Before Gavin To-Do's' by the end of this month, and then spend the first few weeks of July sipping cold mocktails and watching Lifetime movies and DVR'd TV shows on my couch with my feet propped up. I mean, it's the last time I'll be able to do it, right?
    • Those over the belly stretchy bands that come on lots of maternity clothing are really starting to get uncomfortable on me now. In fact, most of the time, in the comfort of my own home, I prefer to lay on the couch with my belly exposed. The less fabric touching it, the better at this point. 
    • I have lost all sense of creativity in the kitchen. Most days, we barely have enough meat in the freezer for me to plan a legitimate meal. I would be happy eating pasta five days of the week, but I have a hungry husband to feed who happens to like meat with most of his meals. Please tell me the motivation will come back?! I plan on doing a large grocery and CostCo trip before this weekend so I'll be all stocked up and have little to no excuse not to start meal planning again.
    • I am DYING for a pedicure, but it makes me nervous after reading that massaging your Achilles area in the third tri can lead to pre-term labor? Maybe I'll have to splurge and just get a prenatal massage instead. 
    • I have been trying desperately to figure out what position G is lying in. Two weeks ago, I thought he was head down, but lately, I've been almost certain he is sideways, or maybe even breech. I know he can still move a bunch before 36 weeks, but Momma is so curious!
    • I have my last baby shower this Sunday with some of my best girlfriends. I am so excited to spend the time with each of them, but literally have nothing in my closet that doesn't make me feel like a whale right now. Do you think they'd mind if I came in yoga pants and a tank top?
    • I made brownies last night and plan to eat one three with my lunch today.
    • I started DVRing ABC's new show Mistresses. It totally goes against my moral compass, but I was intrigued and kinda like the cast so far. Blame it on all of my raging hormones.
    • Speaking of ABC shows - are you watching the new Bachelorette? Of course I am, but I'm not sure how thrilled I am with Des so far. She's super cute and bubbly, but I'm waiting to start pulling for her more. I do like a few of the guys already though.

    What are you dealing with this week? Anything you want to say 'So What!' to? Head on over and linkup