Friday, August 22, 2014

Elise is 11 Months Old!

Oh goose, you are 11 months old... The last month before your first birthday!  You don't know what that does to your mommy's heart!  Where did the time go?  I'm so glad that I have these monthly updates so that I can look back at them because this time has flown by and I have no clue where it went.

What have we been up to this month? Lots!  You have 3 teeth and are working on your 4th and maybe your 5th. You love brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed (hope this lasts).

You are crawling all over the place!  I have to race you to the dog bowls before you splash and dump water all over the place... Your favorite activity! You follow me wherever I go.  You also love chasing your pups around at times, though you have gotten a bit irritated by playing tug-o-war with Gracie because she always wins. You have also just started to love being chased by daddy and I... you have this adorable look when looking at us over your shoulder, like, "come getttttt me..." I can't get enough of it.  

I cannot believe how adamant you are about what you want. I always knew (since your breechment) that you would be stubborn, but oh my goodness... I had no idea how strong willed you would be!  You have your ways of doing things and ways of being held and you definitely know what you want. And what you want lately is me.  You whine when I'm not holding you or sitting right beside you. Granted, you did have your first fever this last week but you have been out of control clingy for the last few weeks. I will miss this someday.

You absolutely hate being told "No", you absolutely know what it means and you either ignore me or you sit your bum down and start crying.

getting in trouble...
You love making everyone laugh and imitate laughter when we laugh. It is pretty dang adorable!  You also babble all the time.  I think you are trying to say, "dog" but I'm not quite sure. I'm sure you will explode with words in the coming months. You are very expressive! You started making funny faces at us... especially at the grocery store while you are in the cart.  And then I lean in and you give me the biggest hug... melts my heart every time.  

Sleeping is another battle we are battling and I'm really not sure what to do about it. You're on my chest, sleeping as I'm typing this on my phone!

You are not very excited about eating anymore. I have a hard time getting you to eat protein. You still love green things, fruit of all kinda, and sweets (just like Mom and Dad).

We are getting so excited for your birthday!  We have a big surprise for you in the making!  There's so many people that can't wait to watch you dig into your cake and sing you "happy birthday" (I know I'm one of them)!

We love you so much, Goose! I never knew I could feel this kind of love for anyone... you are my everything and I will always, always love you more than you know!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mid Century Dresser turned TV Console

I have been ogling Mid Century dressers for quite some time.  I wanted one to replace our small TV console so that Elise couldn’t pull the TV off.  I also loved the design (which is probably the real reason we replaced our old piece)!  

So the search for a dresser began.  I always had my eyes open at garage and estate sales.  Most of the dressers that I loved were never for sale or already sold.  So one day we decided to go to the Denver Flea Market and low and behold we found a Dixie dresser just the right size and style!

The process of turning the dresser into something that would match our current style was tedious.  We decided to re-stain the wood instead of painting it.  This probably the first and last time I will re-stain anything! 

First we picked up our supplies.  Here is what we needed:

~Lots and Lots of Sand papers (Coarse and Medium grade)
~Electric sander (makes things a lot easier)
~New handles

Mike also built a box to hold our receiver box and DVD player.  Here are the materials for that:

~1/4” thickness 2’ x 4’ wood board
~6’ decorative boarder
~Finishing nails

First, we sanded, sanded, and sanded some more.  This was the most tedious part of the project.  We tried doing this by hand at first but then brought out the big guns (Electric Sander) because we were fatiguing fast!

While I was doing the sanding, Mike built the box.  You just have to measure perfectly to get everything to fit together.  Mike did a great job and made it look like it was always supposed to be there. 

After the old stain was completely sanded off we put Minwaxpre-stain wood conditioner on.  This just helps the wood accept stain easier.

We then applied Rust-Oleum stain in weathered gray.  Which was a lot easier than painting anything. I actually really loved how easy and fast it was!

After the stain was dry we applied Rust-Oleum polyurethane and top coat in Satin.  We applied 3 coats.

We had to wait for the sealer to seal for one week.  After that we brought our new piece of furniture upstairs and painted a line in a crevice for some extra oomph and added new hardware.

Project done!

I love pouring our love into furniture because you value it that much more.  Plus, it's a great conversation piece! 

Thank you, Mike, for making me go to the Flea Market!

Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

I have been slowly making our home greener which means less waste, no harsh chemicals, and less energy use.  This in turns makes a healthier and happier home.  The one thing that has been lacking in the green department is our laundry.  I’ve been using Tide and Downy (softener and dryer sheets) for as long as I can remember.  This just wasn’t cutting it anymore for our lifestyle. 

Browsing around the Internet, I found the concept of Wool Dryer Balls.  They are not a new idea but to me they were.  Wool dryer balls replace those chemical ridden dryer sheets that I have been using for so long.  I pinned a couple of reasons to use them on Pinterest (follow me for more green ideas), and I made a mental note to look around for some.  I found out that these sell for a ridiculous amount on Etsy and the ones that you find at stores are still made with lots of chemicals, synthetic perfumes, and some are even made with plastics that emit toxic chemicals when heated up!  So what was I supposed to do? Make my own of course!

Why use wool dryer balls?

~They reduce drying time by up to 25% - They help circulate the warm air in the dryer and the wool also absorbs moisture (double bang)!

~Commercial fabric softeners and sheets are costly! Wool dryer balls can last for years!

~Commercial softeners emit those toxic chemicals and fumes I talked about above. They coat your clothing in chemicals which eventually end up on your skin… because face it; your clothes are in contact with your skin all day!

~Dryer balls are made with a renewable resource (so green!)

~They soften your clothes naturally and even reduce static and increase fluffiness as they tumble away in the dryer.

~They are great for those mamas that use cloth diapering since commercial softeners cannot be used on cloth diapers.  They help keep them soft and fresh!

How do they work?

It is simple!  The dryer balls basically bounce around your dryer separating your clothes, which allows more heat to circulate.  As they tumble, the wools balls soften, reduce wrinkles, and fluff your clothing basically by pummeling your garments.  Plus, they do so much more than dryer sheets; they pull moisture out of your laundry reducing the amount of time your laundry needs to dry.

Enough reasons? Lets get to it!

Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial

Choosing your yarn:

You must use 100% wool yarn.  It also must not say, “super wash” or “machine washable” because these will not felt.  This is the yarn I used.  You can buy it at any fabric store or online.  Heck, you could even unravel an old wool sweater if you really wanted to be thrifty!

What you’ll need:

1. Wool Yarn
2. Scissors
3. Blunt tip crochet hook
4. Pantyhose
5. Cotton or acrylic yarn to secure in pantyhose

Step by Step

1. Begin wrapping yarn around two or three of your fingers about 10 times.

2. Pinch the middle of your bundle and start wrapping the yarn around the middle.

3. Continue wrapping around the entire bundle until a small ball forms

4. Continue wrapping TIGHTLY until you have your desired wool ball size (I made mine tennis ball sized but you can make them as large as a softball)

5. Use crochet hook to secure the end of the yarn under several layers of yarn and cut the end.

6. Repeat steps to obtain 4-6 balls (I made 4 tennis sized balls out of 2 bundles of wool yarn).

7. Put your wool balls in the nylon stocking or pantyhose.

8. Tying tightly between each one with your cotton or acrylic yarn (don’t use wool yarn or it will felt your pantyhose).  Tie of the end and you should have a wool ball caterpillar. 

9. Throw the entire “caterpillar” in with a load of towels on the hottest water cycle and coldest rinse cycle.  Then dry them with the towels on the highest heat drying cycle.

10. Remove balls and check for felting.  You may need to repeat the last step 3-4 times to obtain the right amount of felting.  (Felting just makes sure the yarn ball won’t unravel in your dryer).

Storing your dryer balls:

You can just leave your dryer balls in your dryer between laundry days or store them in a basket.  Your kids can even play with them (though they may not last as long).

Scenting your dryer balls:

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to each of your dryer balls before each drying cycles.  My favorite is lavender (especially for sheets)!

Tell me what you think!  Do you already use dryer balls or is this a new concept to you?

I am also happy to make you some! You can contact me here.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram for more green ideas!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pinterest Friday

//via Ivory and Olive

Happy Friday!  Wow, this week went by so fast!  We are spending the weekend celebrating Mike’s 28th Birthday!  He started it off by digging up our old, almost dead lilac bush so we can replace the space with some more garden boxes and a playground set for Elise next Spring!  He has a funny way of celebrating.

Here are my favorite Pinterest finds this week!  Follow me on Pinterest for all of my Pins.

How cool are these wind chimes?  A bit expensive but oh so beautiful and unique.  I bet they sound amazing!

//via Refinery 29

 Yummy delicious muffins!  Strawberry shortcakes, muffins, and doughnuts all rolled into one?  Yes, please!

//via Kevin and Amanda

How cute are these little dinosaur tails!  I know Mike would even like these!

//via Running with Scissors

This is almost like dessert for breakfast!

Breakfast Parfait
I love fire pits but a fire pit in the house!  I’m in love!

//via Houzz

Happy Friday everyone!  And Happy, Happy early Birthday to the best husband and daddy around!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wildtree Wednesday plus a Giveaway!

It’s Wednesday. And because it sounds clever, I’m going to start Wildtree Wednesday here on the ol’ blog. I’ll post some Wildtree recipes and my review of them. This week is Wildtree BBQ Chicken using the MemphisDry Rub and Cactus Pete’s Agave BBQSauce.  Use the links to check out all the product details on my Wildtree site and to purchase products. Remember, Wildtree products are a healthier substitute to grocery store products.  They are made with all natural ingredients to help you prepare and cook healthy, simple, and yummy meals for your family.

I LOVE BBQ sauce!  I especially love BBQ Chicken!  That is all I wanted while I was pregnant with Elise.  But, I always had the hardest time finding a BBQ sauce made with healthy and natural ingredients.  I love that Wildtree’s BBQ sauce is made with Agave instead of sugar.  I also love that it is USDA Certified Organic!
The Memphis Dry Rub is a great addition to BBQ Chicken.  I’m sure it goes great with Ribs and Brisket too.  You could even make it veggie style and put it on potatoes or zucchini.  It has a hint of spice with that BBQ flavor that I love!

Will I make this again? 
A BBQ dish that is tasty and healthy? Yes, please! 
Kid Friendly?
Yep!  Of course, Elise eats everything…
The BBQ sauce is sold in a 14.5oz bottle for $9.50
The Memphis Dry Rub is sold in a 4.5oz jar for $8.00 (I only used about a Tablespoon of this!)
Thanks for checking out Wildtree Wednesday! Have you tried these products yet? If so, let me know your feedback.
If you want to check out many of the other great Wildtree products visit my site:
I highly recommend the Scampi Blend, Roasted Garlic Grapeseed oil, and Italian Dressing Mix.
Questions or want to order from a real person (me!) email me at here! I’ll contact you within 24 hours to answer questions or take your order.

Ready for the Giveaway?  Enter using the Link for Rafflecopter below.  All details are in the link!  I will announce the winner next Wednesday! Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 21, 2014

Elise is 10 Months Old!

Dear Elise,

You have officially hit the double digits!  You are 10 months old and you are loving life! 

I never doubted people when they told me that this would go by in a flash, but oh my goodness, it is going faster than I thought it would.  I still remember bouncing you on the yoga ball like it was yesterday.  My knees thank you for making that a short-lived need.

Not much has happened since your last post because I wrote it so late.  Some fun things we have been up to: You met your first goat (and not your last and you love goat cheese and yogurt!), we got our family pictures taken, I am starting to plan your 1st Birthday party (I still cannot believe it), you love going in the backyard to check on our garden (we do this at least twice a day when dad is at work), and you had your first girl date last weekend!

Your first goat encounter!

Your cousin and you at the goat farm.

You are slowly crawling!  You can definitely get from point A to point B but you go at turtle speed.  You can sit up from a laying down position.  Your favorite things to crawl to include: dog toys, dog bowls, and dogs.  You do crawl towards dad and I, too.  In fact, you are crawling to my laptop as I type. 

Your best friend, Chloe!
I walked into your room the other day to get you up from your nap and you were sitting up playing with your toes.  We saw you do it one other time yesterday, so you’re pretty much a pro at it now! 

Big news, your official FIRST word is, “Mama”! You figured out the other day that it gets my attention, so now you say it all day long if I am doing things other than playing with you.  Except it is more like… “moma mom, mam, ma, mama” all day long! I love it!

No new teeth yet.  You’re still working on the two top teeth.  I check them everyday and you hate it.

You’re still eating like a champ and even slowing down a wee bit on breastfeeding, especially if we are out and about.

You can eat all of this!
Sleeping is still a little tough but we are getting through it.  That’s all I have to say about that.

We love, love, love you, goose!  HAPPY 10 MONTHS!!!! You are my angel, my darling, my star!

Happiness at its best!
Photo by Bonnie

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pinterest Friday

//via Your Girls and Boys
Happy Friday, everyone!  We have a big weekend coming up with lots of fun outings!  We are visiting a goat farm on Saturday… I have a thing for baby goats!  We are also finishing up a big project early in the morning… details up next week!  Sunday, we are getting our photos taken for Elise’s “before 1 year old” session!  So exciting! 

In honor of Friday, I am trying something new and posting my favorite pins from this week!  If you don’t do so already, follow me on Pinterest for even more inspiration for all things home, family, baby, and food related

Without further ado… My Five Favorite Pins from this week are:

My Favorite Easy Dinner Pin:
One Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

//via No. 2 Pencil

Have a GREAT weekend!  I know we will!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baby Food: Round 2

...Or should I say Toddler Food: Round 1?

Now that Elise is almost 10 months (whaaat?) and eating a whole multitude of foods, I thought it was time for another post about baby food.

Around 5 or 6 months (mommy brain), we started giving Elise puffs (Happy Puffs).  She loved them, and I loved that they allowed me to do a couple of things around the house while she silently ate her puffs. 

When I was a nanny, the parents would bring me finger foods to feed the kiddos.  So, I followed suit with my own child and low and behold, Elise loved eating independently!  The fancy name for this parenting technique is Baby-Led Weaning and there are a plethora of books on the market. But the main gist of it is, baby eats what you eat but in bite-sized pieces and they feed themselves. The only things that Elise has not eaten are peanuts, milk, honey, really spicy things, beef, and pork (the last two are for my own reasons not medical).  She eats 3 meals a day plus a few snacks here and there. 

Some things that are difficult with this path:

1. Babies choke.  99% of the time they will work it out themselves.  It does make your heart drop when it happens but as long as you are mindful of the size you are cutting the food into; there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.  Of course, start your kiddos off on very soft foods (bananas, avocado etc) and work yourself up from there.  Dads are actually the worrywarts in this department.  Mike would always get mad if she choked and tell me to switch back to purees.  As you can tell, I never listened to him.

2. It’s messy!  Our pups get A LOT of treats.  It is a lot easier if you have dogs that are natural vacuum cleaners.

3. It’s Expensive.  Our household has gone completely organic or at least Non-GMO (for things that are not available in organic).  We shop primarily at Natural Grocers, Sprouts, and farmer’s markets because it makes it that much easier to shop (Natural Grocers is the only store that carries all organic produce and most, if not all, of their other products are organic). Our grocery bill has gone up by 30%; however, I do believe this is completely worth it.  I’m feeding not only Elise, but Mike and I, food that I don’t really have to worry about.  I also believe this is so much healthier in the long run.


1. Elise feeds herself.  No need spending time steaming, pureeing, and feeding her pureed food.  Although, I do think parents should start their kiddos off with homemade purees (it’s short lived and helps them get used to food and texture).

2. Elise eats what we eat.  I don’t have to cook another meal every night.  With the exception from above, she eats and most of the time loves what we are eating

3. It’s less time consuming!  Elise eats while we are eating.  Easy peasy!

Some of Elise’s favorite foods:

1. Blueberries- I cut these in half and she devours them

2. Chicken Marsala- This is her absolute favorite dinner.  She eats for about 30 minutes continuously.  She absolutely loves the mushrooms.

3. Peas- Just steamed frozen peas whole

4. Cheese- cut into bite sized chunks

5. Falafel- This was her first favorite food.  Just cut into bite sized pieces

6. Green smoothies- although these are spoon-fed to her.  She has not yet mastered the straw.

Elise loves, loves, loves to eat. She also love flavor.  Funny, because while I was pregnant with her, I ate a bland, bland diet and hated to eat. 

In case anyone is wondering, Elise still nurses anywhere from 6-10 times in a 24 hour period

So, I am interested: What do you feed your toddlers?  Are they picky eaters?

Want to be a front row observer of my mommy hood adventure? Follow me on Pinterest or on Bloglovin' so you don't miss any new posts!

Monday, July 14, 2014

9 Baby Essentials

1 2 34  /  56 7  / 89

Now that Elise is coming up on a year, I feel like I have somewhat of a grasp on what we used almost everyday in her infant days.  These are in no way “necessities” but they made and still make babyhood a whole lot easier on us.  So here is my list of 9 things that are great for the first year of life!

1.  Johnny Jump:  When Elise was a newborn, I would have to bounce her on a yoga ball to calm her down and put her down for naps (nothing else worked).  I knew when she was old enough she would love jumping and bouncing.  And I was right!  I absolutely loved this thing and so did Elise.  This allowed me to cook dinner, clean up the house, and have a few moments to rest my arms. 

2.  4Moms Baby Bathtub:  This tub makes bathing a baby a breeze!  The temp indicator is a great feature because our faucet likes to change temperatures on us.  She still takes baths in this and will continue until she no longer fits in it.

3.  OXO Tot Sprout chair: I love the look of this chair and it goes with our house d├ęcor.  The other great feature of this is the one-handed tray release.  It is nice and sturdy and wipes up very easily!

4.  Ergo Carrier: The Ergo made shopping a breeze.  At first, I was a little hesitant because it was so darn bulky but as soon as I learned how to put it on, I never left the house without it.  We even had some dog walks with this… I’m sure Chloe and Gracie even apprecialted this carrier.  In fact, when I put it on the dogs still get excited like we are going for a walk.  Lately, I have been putting her on my back and doing yard work and vacuuming (Elise hates, hates the vacuum if no one is holding her.)

5.  California Baby Bath and Lotion:  About a year before Elise was conceived, Mike and I got rid of all parabens, sulfates, dyes, phalates, and animal tested products.  I actually did a lot of research and testing of baby washes and lotions while I was pregnant.  This one wins hands down!  It’s gunk-free and has a perfect baby lavender scent to it. 

6.  Dohm Sound Machine: Hands down, the best sound machine out there.  Mike and I got this before Elise was born and we can’t sleep without it.  As soon as she was born, we invested in another one. 

7.  Little Castle Glider: My mom ordered this for me while I was pregnant.  It was a great gift!  It is a bit pricey but it is so comfy!  And a comfy chair is a necessity when learning how to nurse an infant.  This also will be a good addition to living room furniture once the breastfeeding part of my life is complete.

8.  Hape Galloping Zebras Baby Walker: We just got this walker for Elise and she loves it!  Shes is still a little bit unsturdy and needs one of us behind her but it definetly will help her learn how to walk a lot quicker! I am also a fan of wooden toys.  I read that toys that are not interactive develops a baby’s imagination much quicker and better than interactive and loud toys. Plus, the zebras are just so darn cute!

9.  Summer Video Baby Monitor: Even though Elise does not sleep in her room at night, this is still awesome for her naps.  I love being able to see her and knowing she is ok so I can go about my day.