Thursday, June 30, 2011

Show It To Me {Fridge}

A few days ago, Sarah posted a picture of her fridge. If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you may know that I LOVE checking out other people's fridges. Back in the day when I used to watch Cribs, the fridge was my favorite part. Less far back in the day, some women's magazine (Self? Shape?) used to show the inside of various celebrities' fridges. I don't know what it is, but I just LOVE seeing what people keep in their fridge!

So, I figured that I should do a fridge post as well. And you should too, if you want, 'cause Lord knows I'd love it if you did!


Top Shelf: Almond Butter, coffee creamer, jam (I cannot WAIT to make my own again!), applesauce, yogurt, strawberries, blueberries.

2nd Shelf: Black Butte Porter (Justin's fave), raspberry lemonade, a couple Pepsi Throwbacks, hummus, two containers of tomatoes, misc cut veggies (carrot, broccoli, celery), way more salsa than we usually keep on hand. Most of the 2nd shelf is a result of Justin's birthday party on Sunday.

3rd Shelf: Parmesan cheese, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, string cheese, three kinds of tortillas (wheat for me, gordita and giant for Justin), leftover banana bread from Sunday.

4th Shelf: Ground Beef, Bulk Chicken, Eggs

1st Drawer: Asparagus, lettuce, green onion, red bell pepper, carrots

2nd Drawer: Apples, and a lone kiwi.

Not Pictured--In Door: Milk (Whole for J and Lizzy, skim for me), a bottle of sparkling wine, some hot fudge sauce, and LOTS of condiments.

What's in your fridge?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Letter to Lizzy- Seventeen Months

Dear Lizzy,

This past month, your language skills have just exploded. All of a sudden, you are saying tons of new words every day. In fact, it's quite common for you to wake up every morning and yell out every word you know rapid-fire style before we start the day. You're also starting to recognize books, and say the correct sounds for the first four or five pages of "Moo, Baa, La La La" and "If You See A Kitten". You still love to read. Yesterday, we went to the used book store--I planned to get you a couple of board books since you keep trying to rip the pages out of normal books when you're mad. However, you came across a picture dictionary, and LOVED it. You spent a good portion of the afternoon yesterday flipping through the pages and saying the words that you know.


You really love to listen to music, and have started to be able to communicate that you'd like to listen to a particular song. Some of your favorite songs right now are "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (you like to sing along saying "Up-a-bof-HIGH!"), "I'm A Little Tea Pot", "The Wheels On the Bus", and "Pop Goes the Weasel".

One of your favorite words to say is "pizza", and I'm pretty sure it's also your favorite food at the moment, second maybe only to bananas. You love to dip your pizza in Ranch just like your dad.


My favorite thing that you say? 'Eye-oooh', which is your version of 'I love you.'

Along with your increase in verbal skills, your gross motor skills have also exploded in the past month...and you especially love to climb (see above picture--your first black eye happened yesterday due to a climbing incident). Twice last week, I bent down to get something out of the dishwasher and stood up to find you standing on our dining room table...which is kind of a scary thing for me baby girl! You haven't yet figured out how to climb out of your crib, but I'm sure that's coming soon.

You LOVE to slide. You know how to climb up the steps at the playground and could literally slide for hours on end. I can't wait until we can find or build you a little playground in our backyard!


All that said, you're also really starting to test limits. Last Saturday, your dad's band was playing music at a local lake. We all got free waterslide passes, and really wanted to take you because we knew you would love it. However, earlier in the day we had told you that you'd need to lay down and take a nap after lunch before we could go on the waterslides. You shook your head no, and literally held your eyes open for the entire day. Despite my best efforts, I could NOT get you to take a nap. It was totally clear that you understood what we said, but were testing limits. So, you didn't get to go on the waterslides--we were really sad about it, but we're trying to be good about sticking to what we tell you.

I have to admit though baby girl, you are just so sweet and cute that sometimes it's hard!

Love you forever,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I'm over at BlogHer book club this evening reviewing A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness! Check it out!

{BlogHer Book Club: Yes It's About Vampires, But You Should Read It Anyway.}

PS- All reviews for A Discovery of Witches can be found {here}.

BQOTD: The BIG Decisions

It seemed like from the moment Lizzy was born, people were constantly asking us when we were going to have another baby. Now that Lizzy is almost one and a half, that question has begun to pop up more and more frequently. Justin and I had a short conversation about this the other night, and the truth is that it just doesn't feel like "time" yet--I haven't really had any baby fever or other desires to have a we're waiting. However, the conversation brought up an interesting question that I'd like to ask--What factors are most important to you in deciding to have (or not have) a baby?

Did you guys start trying as soon as you had an iota of baby fever? Did you decide to start trying at all? Did you want to have a certain amount of money saved up/certain health insurance/ job security before trying? Was it that you wanted kids by a certain age or siblings a certain number of years apart? Did you want to buy a house/move out of an apartment first? Do you have things you'd like to check off your life list before having kids (or having another)? A combination of all of the above?

I'm just curious to hear how you came to the decision to try to have (or try not to have) a baby!

Friday, June 24, 2011


My husband really hasn't ever been good with gifts. I love the man more than anything, but he is not good with holidays. I think I've finally realized that it's just simply due to the fact that gifts don't rank high on any of his love languages, and so sometimes it just doesn't cross his mind. When it comes to birthdays, he would much rather have a bunch of people over for a BBQ than to actually receive a present. I don't mind having people over for a BBQ, and I don't need a big gift, but for me, I feel loved when someone has thought about me even when I'm not there... as much as I wish that I could tell you that gifts or recognition of holidays aren't important to me, they are. So there have been a few arguments in this house over mother's days and birthdays where Justin either did absolutely nothing to acknowledge the day, or got me something that he knew I probably wouldn't like because he had waited until the last minute and just grabbed whatever was left...which is how one year I ended up with a "Happy Valentines Day to My Husband" card.

So, I wasn't expecting much for our anniversary yesterday. Justin's softball team had their second to last game. He had missed the first four games of the season, and I knew he didn't want to miss that game. So, I just asked that he find someone to babysit Lizzy so that I could at least come to the game too, and my sister-in-law Kelsey agreed since she lives just down the road from us. Earlier this week, Justin was told that he'd have to work all day Thursday AND Thursday night. This inevitably happens. Literally, any time we've made plans for a date in the recent past, Justin has had to work late/overnight/go out of town.

Anyway, Justin called me yesterday morning and told me that he did not have to work overnight anymore, and that Kels was coming over a little early so we could also grab a quick bite to eat--he said that while we were only going to someplace fast like Taco Bell, but that he wanted to at least be semi-presentable, and asked me to set out some clothes for him. I was thrilled just to be able to get to do dinner with him, regardless of where we were going.

He got off work, and we headed out. I quickly deduced that we weren't going to Taco Bell. We ended up at Callahan's Lodge.

photo credit

Blown away does not sufficiently describe my reaction.


We were seated, and Justin told me that Stump (our brother in law, who is also named Justin) and Kelsey had given us a gift card to Callahan's for our anniversary, and had helped Justin conspire to get us there. Justin also told me that he had called and said that he wouldn't make it to his softball game that night.

::Swoon:: I about cried right then and there. It just felt nice to be picked first, you know?


I told Justin that this all meant a lot to me, but that if we were done with dinner in time, I had absolutely no problem with going to the softball game. After all, we still have another date night/movie night on the books that was originally our joint anniversary/Justin's birthday fun. I think Justin was pretty thrilled about that...and even after being forgotten about several times at the restaurant (the hostess actually ended up being our waitress because she could not seem to get a waitress over at our table. This happens to us a lot at places like Callahan's--I think they assume that we're young, and won't tip as well as the older couples, which then makes my sweet husband irate and tip ridiculously high percentages because he wants to break that stereotype. I love things like that about him.), we still made it to the game in plenty of time.


Guys, it was a dream. Perfect. Literally just what I, I'm feeling so blessed. Blessed to have the sweet husband that I do. Blessed to have friends and family that are generous beyond measure. Just blessed.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bacon? In A Cookie?

I could have SWORN that I took a picture of these, but alas, now I can't find a photo anywhere. So, I apologize for the lack of photos on this post! Anyway, I made Brown Butter, Bacon, and Chocolate Chip cookies for Justin and our dads on Father's Day.

I already knew that bacon and chocolate pair well together thanks to Lillie Belle Farms (which was apparently on Oprah's Favorite Things a few years ago, but I just know it as a Southern Oregon Staple) and their Chocolate Covered Bacon (they add a bit of cayenne and sea salt, and it is YUMMY in my humble opinion, but I also love their blue cheese truffles too).

We took them to a BBQ for everyone on Justin's side of the family, and most people were pretty suspicious, but I didn't end up with any to take home, so I guess they liked them. They didn't really taste like bacon to me--they just were a little salty/sweet.

You can find the recipe here on Mouth From the South along with awesome step by step photo instructions. The only alteration that I made was to pop the cookie dough in the fridge for 5 minutes or so before baking.

Additionally, I'm kind of a food storage freak, so I researched the heck out of whether or not these cookies need to be refrigerated. The most consistent answer that I found was that they can be kept out on the counter for two days before needing to be refrigerated....but if the thought of keeping bacon out of the fridge creeps you out, then just pop them in the fridge from the get-go!

What about you guys--does bacon and chocolate seem like a good pair, or are you grossed out by it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Books, a Photo, and Queso.

-My review for What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen is live up on BlogHer Book Club this morning. This was my first time reading anything by Sarah Dessen--so click over to find out what I loved about it!

-Last night, I was feeling really frustrated, stressed, and overwhelmed. We got home, and I seriously wanted to eat an entire jar of queso dip that got left at our house. I don't even LIKE jarred queso dip. But had we had tortilla chips in the house, I would have probably cracked open the jar and downed a huge portion of it. And there you have it blog friends--if there was ever any doubt, I'm an emotional eater. And just for the record, I STILL want that queso dip, even though I know it's just a response to feeling stressed....not to mention the fact that I don't even really like it.


-Tomorrow is my and Justin's wedding anniversary! Yay! We will be spending Justin's softball game. Wah wah wah. At least Justin did arrange for his sister to babysit so that I can actually go to the game with him since it doesn't start until 8:15pm and I would have been home with Lizzy otherwise. We're hoping to get to celebrate both our anniversary and Justin's birthday (which is the 27th) the first weekend of July...because we are totally booked until then.

-Speaking of being totally booked, because I can't even remember the last time we actually spent an evening at home, we're sort of in the "drop your junk and run to the next thing" mode. Consequently, I feel like I spend most of every day cleaning and seriously do not even make a dent. Drives. ME. CRAZY.

-The $2 tank sale starts this Friday at Old Navy. It's in-store only, and you need a coupon, which you can find here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Thanks so much for your interest in my first ever giveaway guys! I've been wanting to do a giveaway for some time, but I'm usually really hesitant to give out our home address on my blog, so this felt like a great compromise!

Also, this was in no way part of my plan (and honestly came as a bit of a shock to me since I'm not a graphic designer or anything of the sort), but a couple of people contacted me to ask about purchasing a family manifesto poster if they didn't I've also created a very small etsy shop where you could do just that.  There are also a few other prints (including an 8 x 10 "House Rules" that's similar to the family manifesto) that I think are fun up on the shop. I'm new to this whole etsy thing, so I'm not sure whether or not it will be a temporary or a long term thing...we'll see how it goes. I'd love for you to check it out!

Without further adieu, the winner of the giveaway is Nessa from moments & impressions!

Can I just say that did pretty darn well on this one?! On Father's Day, Nessa and her husband opened their home to a little girl who needed it, and increased their little family from three to four. What a perfect time for a family manifesto, no?  And then that gave me the warm fuzzies, so I pushed the 'generate a random number' button again on and picked a second winner to receive an 8 x 10 version of their own custom family manifesto.

So, there you have it! Congrats to the winners! Nessa and Miss Erin, I'll be in touch soon. Hope you all have a great day!

BQOTD: Bad Habits

Today's BQOTD: Do you have any bad habits? What are they?

As for me? Sometimes I find myself being contrary just to be contrary--not because I actually care about the issue. 

Coffee. I'm totally addicted. I've dramatically cut down on the frequency with which I BUY coffee, but I still do it. 

I hate cleaning bathrooms, and sometimes I just don't do it. 

PS- I'll be back around noon to announce the winner of the giveaway! You still have a few hours to enter if you haven't already!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A La Buena Vida First-- A Giveaway!


Not too shabby for a giant piece of artwork for $8.99, eh? You might notice that the turquoise turned out slightly darker than the online version, which didn't surprise me (even though I told Costco not to auto correct my print) because my monitor is not calibrated.

Anyway, this brings me to my next point--I'm not sure if you guys are as stoked about the idea of a family manifesto as I am, but I had a lot of fun making ours, and I'd like to make one for someone else.  So, I'm hosting a giveaway. This is a first here at La Buena Vida! Here are the details:

The randomly selected winner will receive a high resolution digital copy of their family manifesto (20 x 30, unless another size is requested) to have printed wherever you wish. You'll supply me with 16-18 phrases that you'd like to have included in your family manifesto. You'll also be able to pick your background color and select from several fonts that I provide. Please keep in mind that the final background color may vary slightly from your digital copy depending on the calibration of your monitor and where you have your manifesto printed.

So, if you'd like to enter, simply leave a comment telling me one thing that you'd include in your family manifesto. The giveaway will close Tuesday June 21st at 12pm Pacific Time. One entry per person please!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


- Now that we're back from vacation, I feel like we need another vacation, ha!

-Last night, we decided (well, I decided and Justin played along) to make a family manifesto. My plan is to have it printed as a 20 x 30 photo at Costco ($8.99), and then either frame it or Mod Podge it to some pieces of wood and hang it by our front door. I'm still making a few tweaks, but I love how it came out, and I think it would be a fun family tradition to do every 3-5 years.


- I used to LOVE peanut butter. However, a few months ago Justin was working at an organic peanut butter place, and they gave him a case of Almond Butter. We've been using almond butter in place of peanut butter, 'cause hey it was free. However, sometime last week, I put regular old Skippy peanut butter on something...and I could hardly eat it. It tasted like chemicals. Justin told me that he noticed the same thing--maybe once we're out of the almond butter, I can convince him to buy Adams Peanut Butter, or the stuff that you ground yourself in the bulk section of the store.

-I've totally slacked at taking photos of the 30 in 30 thing, though I have actually stayed on plan really well.

-I re-started Insanity last week, and I'm still sore as all get out. I have a feeling that it's hard no matter how in shape you are or how many times you've done it, 'cause each time you're doing your best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BQOTD: Clean Central

Today, I'd love to hear about how you guys approach cleaning at your house: 

1. Do you have a cleaning schedule where you clean certain things on certain days? Do you clean as you go? 
2. Do you split cleaning duties, or does one person do the majority of the cleaning? 
3. Where does cleaning rank on your list of priorities?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Water For Elephants

One week before his final exams at veterinary school, Jacob Jankowski's parents are both killed in a car crash. He returns home to bury them, and discovers that they've left him nothing, not even his father's veterinary business--his parents had mortgaged everything to pay for his tuition at Cornell. Desperate and unsure what to do next, Jacob walks onto a traveling circus looking for work. During his time at the Benzini Brother's circus, Jacob learns that the circus is a culture in and of itself--a whole new vocabulary and new rules. Soon, Jacob falls in love, and puts himself and others into danger far more extreme than he imagined.


Let me be honest--for awhile, it felt like everyone I knew was reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Yet, I had absolutely NO interest in reading it! I think that I had the plot line of the book confused with another, but I was just convinced that it was a book I wouldn't enjoy. However, a few friends of mine who have similar taste in books just kept recommending it to me, and one offered to loan me her copy. I went ahead and started it, and COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN.

If nothing else, this book is a fascinating look into circus life, which is something that few outsiders ever truly have the opportunity to experience. Gruen obviously researched meticulously, which helps this book to feel real, even when it's outlandish.

Monday, June 13, 2011


So, we're back from CA! What a whirlwind weekend--after all was said, done, and softball game played, we got home about 11pm last night. This was a really interesting weekend for a whole lot of reasons....

When we first got to the festival, we were a little irritated by how unorganized everything seemed. The whole set-up for the battle of the bands, the prize, everything kept changing. We were told that we needed to be there at 8am (which meant leaving around 3am for us), but really it wasn't until 10am, etc. Also, it turned out that Friday wasn't actually a competition, but just a pre-screening. Anyway, by the end of the day Friday, they told us that on Saturday, they'd pick the top 3 bands to play on the main stage Sunday night, and the crowd would pick the winner. There was some AMAZING talent there, but we thought that we might have a chance to be in the top 3 along with two other bands.



Saturday morning rolled around, we went and played our one song for the of whom was a speaker at the event, and the other two of whom appeared to be high school students who they pulled off the street and didn't say a word the entire time. Then suddenly, the speaker announced the winner, who would play a whole set on the main stage Sunday night. Wait, what? We all thought three bands advanced, but nope. An amazing band called Anadel won. Again, there was some major frustration about the organization of it all (let me be really clear--the major frustration was with the organization, not really the fact that we didn't win. Anadel is AMAZING, and you should definitely check them out). Later that afternoon, we were invited to play a set on the Indie Stage on Sunday morning.  Only, as soon as we got our stuff into the staging area, I got a frantic call from Rick that they wouldn't be able to get us in after all. Again, cue the massive frustration.


But then, something happened that turned the whole weekend around for me. It turns out that several of the big name, main stage artists decided that there weren't enough people in attendance this year to make it worth their time, and backed out hours before their show. Because attendance was low and they were consequently totally in the red money wise, the festival director made the decision to break down the mainstage completely and to shuffle all remaining artists to the Indie Stage (which we were slated to play on) and the Worship Stage. Rick, the stage manager who I had been extremely frustrated with only minutes before, had been tasked with doing all the rearranging and reorganizing EVERYTHING just minutes before it was supposed to happen.

Rick called me over again and was super upset and apologetic. He felt terrible because he knew that we would have headed home much earlier in the day had we not had a set scheduled. He was trying to find us a set anywhere, and we even contemplated a straight acoustic set, but decided against it because we basically only had electric instruments. Instead, we asked Rick what we could do to help, and the boys were tasked with helping to break down the main stage.

At some point that morning, I realized that we had the option to grumble and complain about an unforeseen situation, or we had the option to show some grace and help out in whatever way was necessary. I said before that I believe we were there for a reason--maybe it wasn't necessarily playing a set on a stage. Maybe it was the fact that Saturday night, the band was able to help Compassion International with their speech by passing out info about sponsoring a child during the presentation. Maybe it was the fact that we were camped next to a man who had liver cancer and wasn't able to walk in to the main stage as often as he wished, but told us that he was so thrilled to be able to still hear music coming from our camp site. Maybe it was the fact that Justin and Ryan were there to help break down the main stage when they needed some extra muscle. I can only hope that we ultimately ended up responding to Rick and the others at the festival with an extra measure of patience and understanding.



(my sister and I...yes, I know we don't look anything alike)

It's easy to get bogged down on thinking that it was a "waste" of time and money to go down there because we didn't win and because things didn't work out the way that we anticipated. But the truth is that we don't yet know how God was working behind the scenes this weekend...but I know that there was a purpose, and I think it will be so amazing to look back months or years from now and say "I understand now...THAT'S why we went."

Plus, we got to eat at In N Out (twice, actually!). Isn't that reason enough itself?




Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"....what a fitting verse for this weekend, no?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Austen--Love Her or Hate Her?

Today, I'm on the road! I'm also over on reviewing "A Jane Austen Education"--a memoir about a man who says Jane Austen changed his life.

Please go check it out! I wish I could direct link you from my Blackberry, but I can't figure out how!

What do you think about Austen? Did she change your life? Or could you hardly get through her books?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Well, it's 1:56pm on Thursday afternoon. Lizzy's napping, and I just finished Insanity Pure Cardio. I've done this week of Insanity (starting over on week 1 again) by myself, and I'm beat. Consequently, this is going to be a total brain dump.

I'm sitting here thinking about all the things we need to do to get ready for our trip to Illumination Music festival in Red Bluff, CA tomorrow. We have a night jam packed with band practice at 6pm, a softball game for J at 8:30pm (which he will probably be home from at about 10:30pm), we have to pack, and then we're supposed to be on the road by 4am tomorrow morning. I'm stressed...but the funny thing is that by the time most people read this post, we'll be there already and this will all be a moot point!

I hate that we have no idea whether we'll be there for one day or three. See, Justin's band is definitely playing one song at 10am on Friday morning. If they like them, they play another on Saturday, and then again on Sunday. This is apparently some sort of battle of the bands, and the winner plays on the main stage next year.

This whole trip to Illumination is kind of a weird situation for me because I don't really know how to talk to God about it. I want the band to win the whole battle of the bands, but praying for that reminds me of back in my sports days when other teams would pray that they'd win the game...something that I always hated. I know that I probably SHOULD be praying that God's will be done (and I do want that). I SHOULD be praying for safe travel. I SHOULD be praying that we can show God's love. Because I know that there's a purpose for us going to this thing whether or not we win (which is what I'm trying to convince myself to cling to and not feel like it was a "waste" if we don't win it all). But MAN, I want us to win.

Did I mention that we're camping, but campfires and camp stoves are not allowed? Among just being a general PITA, it also means that I'm likely to go three days without coffee...

Also, if we don't make it to In N' Out at least once this weekend, I will have a cow. Heh.

The end.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BQOTD: It's the End of the World As We Know It

Today's burning question of the day was inspired by Leah mentioning her and her husband discussing a potential collapse of the US in their lifetime and where they'd go/what they'd do if that was the case. I've been seeing and hearing lots of people talk about this recently, but Justin and I haven't ever discussed it at all (maybe because we live in a small town where it feels less "dangerous"). So, I thought I'd ask. Today's burning question of the day is:

Do you have any sort of plan worked out for if the US (or whichever country you live in) were to collapse in your lifetime? Do you have any sort of plan for where you'd go and what you'd do if there were a nuclear attack or biochemical attack? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

30 in 30: Week 2

I said this last week, but this weather has really been throwing me for a loop. I'm just not used to needing to wear sweaters and long sleeves in June! Consequently, I added extra items into my wardrobe most days this past week--I was getting tired of the black long sleeve/ black cardigan/ black fleece, which were the only semi-warm clothes that I had included in the wardrobe. I'm simply not willing to add them in to the 30 items because I know (hope) that it's going to finally get hot here any day.

So, I guess I cheated. Or made exceptions. Oh's still been a positive thing because knowing that I have to take a picture of myself has helped motivate me to actually get dressed most days instead of just kicking it around in yoga pants. It's also making me think a little more about my wardrobe--what I love, what I love for other seasons, and what I could probably give away.

Tuesday 5/31
Lizzy and I met Justin for dinner at a local burger joint and then went grocery shopping. This was my attempt to be comfy, but maybe a little cuter than the usual jeans, sweatshirt, and tennis shoes that I normally wear for our big grocery shopping trips. I decided that these jeans would be a temporary placeholder in my 30 items until the weather warmed up and/or I found another pair of shorts that I like.

Wednesday 6/1
Honestly, I was exhausted Wednesday morning. I literally threw a belt and boots over my nothing that I wore was from the plan. I don't usually wear leggings out in public because I don't think they're particularly flattering on me, but oh well.

Thursday 6/2
Headed to Mom's Group. Everything I wore today was from the plan! Also, I debuted my glitter shoes, which I love!

Friday 6/3
Went to my little brother's graduation. Everything other than the cardigan was from the plan. Found some new shoes...I know they're wannabe Tom's, but I thought they were cuter than Tom's, and they were on super clearance for $5, so I bought them in turquoise and yellow.


Saturday 6/4
No picture. This is becoming a trend for Saturdays. I think I wore jeans and a sweatshirt.

Sunday 6/5
Went to church. It was actually sort of warm all morning! I was self-conscious about the jersey material clinging to my stomach, but it looks like I'm actually okay.

Monday 6/6
Spent the day running errands. Found a pair of shorts that will replace the second pair of jeans for the remainder of the time on the plan.

Monday, June 6, 2011


-On Friday, my baby brother graduated from high school.




-On Saturday, my mom offered to babysit while we went to see a movie. It's been a long time since we've seen a movie in the theaters! We went to see X-men, which I actually liked!

-On Sunday, we had our softball game. There had been a three-way tie for first, with two of the teams were ranked 5-0 from byes. We were 4-1 going into last night's game, and beat one of the 5-0 bye teams...which is always pretty exciting. They were NOT happy at all. But I was pleased as punch, because several of the players on the team were cheating, and I HATE it when cheaters win. I was playing first base and called their base coach out on telling the players to run when the pitcher hit the ball--in this league, you have to wait for the crack of the bat to run. The poor girl who was running the bases looked absolutely horrified when she realized that this jerk was teaching her to cheat, not to play the game.

-This week is going to be insanely busy. Over the weekend, the band is going down to play and compete at a three day music festival in California. It's a situation where if they like you on Friday, you play on Saturday. If they like you on Saturday, you play on Sunday. I think if you win the whole competition, you then play on the main stage the following year. So, it's a pretty cool opportunity for the band.

The whole thing is a little stressful for me though--not knowing how long we'll actually be there, camping with Lizzy,  etc. Oye Vey. I hope that the band does well, but no matter what happens, I know it will work out exactly how it is supposed to, even if we don't understand the reasoning.

-Maybe I should have called this "three things" instead of snippets, 'cause I think that's all I've got!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Reluctant Rocker.

Can I be honest?

For the first six months of 2011, my favorite part of the day was the roughly two hours that my daughter spent napping. It was a bit of solace. No screaming. No tantrums. I wasn't yelling, "Lizzy, do NOT lick the cat!" or saying, "It HURTS when you bite me!" I could read. Work out. Feel a bit like something other than a mom.

I feel kind of vulnerable typing that because I know that there are probably many moms who would LOVE to stay at home with their kiddos, and they very well might be giving me a very serious side eye right now at how ungrateful I seem to be doing just that. Please don't misunderstand--I love Lizzy to pieces. I am blessed to be able to stay at home with her. But, that doesn't mean that it's always easy or fun. The last six months have been a blur of tantrums, clinginess (but not in a nice snuggly way--in a 'I want you to hold me, but walk around the room all day and never sit down while I wriggle down and then want to be picked back up' way), and Justin working all kinds of wacky hours that meant I was on my own with Lizzy most days and nights.

While Justin was on the never-ending work trip, I started to notice that if I laid Lizzy down for a nap while she was awake, she never actually went to sleep. Sometimes, she'd play quietly in her crib, sometimes I'd be going in to rub her belly to try and help her calm down and go to sleep every ten to fifteen minutes for the entire two hour duration that she was supposed to be napping. In either case, she didn't sleep...which meant that by about 2:30pm she was even more of a cranky, tantrumy mess.

Few (if any) of the moms that I know practice the full-bore Babywise approach to cry it out, but most subscribe to a more moderate approach including more soothing, but still laying the baby down for naps and bedtime while awake. Justin and I both saw wisdom in the idea of  a gentler approach to kids soothing themselves to sleep (once they have demonstrated that they HAVE the ability to self-soothe), and so we basically followed that approach as well, and it worked wonderfully for us until Lizzy was about 14 months old.

And then, one day in an Act of Desperation, I rocked Lizzy to sleep for her nap. I sat down in the rocker with a book, she snuggled up to me, and actually went to sleep...which in turn made the rest of the day much more bearable than the non-napping tantrum messes. It was easier on both of us and saved our sanity, so I continued to do it while Justin was out of town.

For awhile, I felt guilty about it. I was NOT following the rules. I was NOT letting her soothe herself to sleep. I was NOT teaching her good habits. But I also felt conflicted, because that time spent with her in the rocker, snuggling and humming while I read a book had become one of my favorite parts of the day.

I sing her songs, while she looks up at me with such love...much in a way that I heard other moms talk about that quiet one-on-one time while breastfeeding. I never once experienced it then, but I'm experiencing it now, rocking Lizzy to sleep for her naps. And that time? It's the ONLY time during the day that I get snuggles from my sweet on-the-go baby girl. For us, it's so much better doing it this way, and like many a kind friend has pointed out, they don't know anyone who needed to be rocked to sleep in college.

I've become a reluctant rocker. Though, I don't even think reluctant is the right word...because there's no reluctance left. I love it.

This approach? Certainly won't work for everyone. But aren't you glad that each one of us parents are the experts on our own kiddos? That for the most part, we know what they need--when to go by the book and when to buck the rules?!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DIY Glitter Flats, Cobbler in Mason Jars, & Other Fun

I mentioned awhile ago that I had seen DIY glitter flats on {We Are Not Martha}. Since Justin got paid on Tuesday, I figured it was a perfect time to go get that Mod Podge, glitter, and some flats (which I scored on clearance for $5). While Lizzy was napping, I set up shop.

GlitterShoesAlign Center

Not gonna lie, while I was in the process (i.e. upper right hand corner), I was a bit worried that it might end badly. Also, it took me WAY more than the four coats that most of the tutorials I've read have cited...but I think that may have been due to the fact that I used super-fine glitter and also didn't use enough of it mixed into the Mod Podge until about coat 4. I decided not to use all the available colors to do rainbow style, but to keep in the turquoise/purple/pink family (with a little green, silver, and red mixed in here and there). I probably could have taped off the sole, but oh well. A lot of tutorials also recommended spraying them with some sort of clear coat. I figured that I'd start with just a clear coat of Mod Podge (I hadn't seen that recommended anywhere) and see how that works for starters.


I kind of love them.

Justin spent the day sleeping on the couch.

I made Taco Soup with ground turkey for dinner.

And blackberry cobbler in mason jars for dessert. Justin doesn't love when I do cobbler in mason jars, but I like that they're pre-portioned so I eat less than I would if I was scooping it out of a bigger baking dish.

I use this cobbler recipe from {Pioneer Woman}. I just add about 1 tsp vanilla to the batter. Please note though that the recipe calls for self-rising flour--if you don't keep self-rising flour, you can make it by adding 1.5 tsp baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt.

Ladle the batter into the mason jars, filling 1/2 way to 2/3 full. I usually do 6-7 of the jam size (half-pint?) jars.

Spoon blackberries on the top of the batter. If desired, sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. I baked at 350* for about 50 minutes rather than the full hour, but keep an eye on them after about 40 minutes. Tops should be golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.


Love this idea for summer BBQ's!

And there you have yesterday in photos!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


- My knee is all buggered up. I had been doing Jillian's Ripped in 30 dvd since it's rained too much to run with Lizzy in the jogger, and on one of the levels you do this move where you lunge to the side and then lift your outer leg. I did, and heard a pop in my left knee. Awesome. I took it easy over the weekend, but it still swells occasionally. So, I'm just doing level 3 of the 30 Day Shred again to try and keep rehabbing it...but it's kind of a bummer, 'cause I was ready to start another round of Insanity.

- Justin's work schedule is crazy again right now. Yesterday, he worked from 7:00am-4:30pm. We went grocery shopping, grabbed a burger, and headed home. Then he left again at 8pm, and still isn't back yet. I think he gets to come sleep for a couple hours, and then he'll have to go back in. Not sure whether he'll have to work overnight again or not. Poor guy.

-A friend gave me Water for Elephants to read on Sunday, and I finished it yesterday. A full review is to come, but I LOVED it. I was surprised, but happily.

- We've started Beth Moore's Esther study. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out logistically, but I love that I'm getting back into daily Bible study. It makes such a big difference in my life when I do it!

-Speaking of Bible Study, I've seen this thing floating around Facebook/email called "The Bible in 50 Words". I thought it was pretty great, and decided to photoshop it up to possibly replace something in our gallery wall.


If you'd like it, you're welcome to click through and download the original size from Flickr. Please just don't sell it, 'cause that would be mean.

-Lastly, my brother graduates from high school this Friday, and we have NO IDEA what to get him as a graduation present. We don't want to just give money, but he's also not doing any of the traditional after-high school stuff either. So, I'm kinda at a loss!
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