Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lovely decor

J'adore this island

This floor is gorgeous

Love it all, but especially the painted ceiling.  I'm going to have a painted ceiling in our bedroom.  Someday!

Perfection personified.  Or porchified. 
Pretty, pretty.  Love the blue, love the built-ins, love the storage.  Could you imagine having a bad morning if you got to eat breakfast in this room?  I think not!

Love the bedding, the window and the floors.

Any of these capture your attention?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making baby food

Early on in pregnancy, B and I decided that if possible, we would make Spencer's baby food.  My mom made all my brother's and my food when we were little, and I thought that it would be nice to know that he's getting food without preservatives or additives.  Now that SYT is 9 months old, I'm happy to report we have made pretty much everything that has gone into his cute little mouth!  We bought the baby oatmeal and rice cereal, and when we went to FL for Thanksgiving, we brought a few of the pouches to take on the airplane, but other than that, it's all been homemade.  I thought I'd share a few of my tips, tricks, and favorite combinations in case any of you out there are looking for ways to make it on your own.

I bought a bunch of 4 and 6 oz glass containers with plastic tops that are microwave/freezer/oven safe for storage.  I also have some plastic storage containers from Babies R Us, but I don't really like them- they don't stay closed well but they are perfect for storing smaller portions for daycare, so we use them a lot.

We started with rice cereal and baby oatmeal, just like we were supposed to and we started at 4 months.  Some people chose to wait until closer to 6 months, but Spencer sat well in the bumbo, had good head control, and our pedi thought he was ready, so we started at 4 months.  After he had masterd the baby cereals, we started with veggies.  I've been taught (in my masters program and in numerous everyday experiences with children) that starting with fruit ends up with children not eating their veggies well as they aren't as sweet.  Orange veggies were first for us.  We did carrots, squash (acorn and butternut), and sweet potato (the definite favorite still to this day).  After those we started with green beans and peas. 

In making the foods, I would steam them on our stovetop until they were pretty mushy.  I would then add a small portion of the filtered water that I had steamed them over to the food processor and then added the veggies.  When he was first starting out, I would puree them to a pulp and add quite a bit of water.  This would thin it out a lot and make it very soupy with little consistency.  As he has gotten older, I decrease the amount of water and the amount of time things are pureed to give them more heft and more texture.  When making homemade babyfood, it is virtually impossible to get the veggies down to the consistency that Gerber can so don't expect it to be completely smooth.  That's OKAY!!!  In fact, our day care provider is amazed at how well Spencer eats and she truly believes it's because we did homemade baby food.  The taste is better (in my opinion- but it does taste a lot fresher than the jarred stuff!) and it has a texture from the beginning, so that when you try to introduce other new textures, it's not as shocking to them. 

After we had done all the above veggies, we then started with fruits.  Buying bananas in a jar is so silly.  It's the absolutely easiest baby food to make.  Peel the banana and mush it down with a fork, a potato masher or the back of a spoon and you're good to go.  Avocados are also that easy!  Spence loved bananas, but he really didn't love apples right away.  Pears and peaches both went over well at the beginning. 

At about 6 months I was getting bored with giving him the same foods over and over again and I wanted him to experience different flavor profiles together.  It was at this time that I started making some blends.  Frozen mixed veggies were my first blend.  Easy peasy.  I wasn't really sure what else to do, so I did some google searching and found a few other options like spinach/pear, squash/apples, squash/pear, blueberry/apples and mixed berry/butternut squash.  These all went over really well, and I've tried them all and they are all really good.  Spinach and pears together are awesome!!

It was about 7 months that he really wanted to start picking up everything with his own fingers and really started getting a hang of the pincer grasp.  Cheerios (multi-grain), puffs, and well cooked veggies (diced really small) were a few of his first finger foods.  At 10 months he will now eat pretty much anything you put in front of him (chicken, steel cut oats, pita and hummus, minestrone soup, baked potato, cheese, yogurt etc).  We haven't done eggs, peanut butter or fish yet, but he's had no reactions to any other foods.  He has one little tooth up front, but since you don't chew with your front teeth, it's just his jaw that does all the work!  He still gets a few tubs of thickly pureed baby food daily as well as the finger foods.  I'm so lucky he's been a good eater all along. 

I have really loved doing this and I know it has saved us money this year.  I also have tried jarred baby food, and while it's not bad, fresh food tastes better- just like fresh veggies at the farmer's market taste better.  I tend to make big batches of baby food on Sunday night so that we have plenty to get us through the week.  Do any of you make your own baby food?  Did you do anything differently?  Do you have any questions for me?  I got a lot of my information from Wholesome Baby Food, and if you also think you'll make your baby food, it's a great reference!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

God Pause for Sunday

Jesus says that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to his voice. True listening involves also doing what he tells us to do. Jesus' most repeated topic is the kingdom of God. His next most frequent subject is money and possessions. He tells us we can not serve both God and money. He says, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. It has been said that if you want to know what people really value, look at how they spend their money. What would an analysis of our expenditures reveal about us? Would it say that Christ is the king of our lives? Would it say that we are listening to the voice of Jesus?

O Lord, help us to listen to your voice and empower us to do your will. Give us the courage to put our treasure in those places where we would like our heart to dwell. Guide us and direct us to live as those who follow you as our king. Amen.

Paul L. Larsen
Christ the King Lutheran Church, New Brighton, Minn.
Master of Divinity, 1973

John 18:33-37 (NRSV)
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"
35 Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."
37 Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just 12 more hours and I'm back where I belong.  Heaven will be holding my little buddy and listening to him babble all day long.  I didn't realize it was possible to miss someone this much in just 4 days!!  Get ready, Spencer, because you're going to be loved like crazy tomorrow!!!! 

Discount code for the most darling site!

I was contacted by The Initial Baby to see if I would like to offer my readers a discount code to their site.  The minute I popped over there, I knew that I would definitely love to promote their stuff.  Ladies, this site is dangerous b/c it has SO many cute things!!!  I don't monogram a ton of things because I know Spencer grows so fast and there aren't many Spencer's out there to resell/give to, and SYT isn't going to be a common initial set for many.  But every once in awhile, you want something special, something that you know you are going to love to see hanging in the closet until your child is big enough to fit into, the perfect outfit for pictures, and the outfit you will pull out of the closet weekly because it's just "too cute"!  That's how I feel about the things below! 

Every baby needs a white sweater- for a chilly easter, for cold nights on the beach, to match everything in the closet, etc (this sweater also comes in pink and light blue).

Order this one NOW!!  So cute for easter!!

Perfect outfits for weddings, summer pictures, church, and any other occasion you are bringing your little one to

The above dress with these bloomers couldn't be cuter for next Christmas!

Every baby needs a sun hat to keep the sun off his or her sweet face.  These are the perfect item to monogram- they'll use them a ton, you won't lose it among all the other sun hats and the beach/pool, and it's not too expensive so it's not a crazy splurge item.

Golf shirt for boys are hard to find and they need a ton of them in the summer.  These are darling, and I love that their the onsie style so that the little baby's tummy isn't exposed all summer long!

Spring jacket, darling sweatshirt, comes in 4 colors, soft and sweet= a must buy!

Now I know there are plenty of my readers who don't have kids yet, but there are still things on the site for you too.  Are you good about packing your lunch for work?  Do you have any baby showers coming up? 
Cutest lunch tote I've ever seen!  (Too bad I just got a new one for Christmas this year or else this would be in my shopping cart asap!)
Gorgeous cable knit blanket is perfect for a shower.  Don't know the baby's name yet?  Print out the picture and tell her it'll arrive once the baby does!
Burp clothes are an essential part of the baby wardrobe.  I love using my cute ones- they make me feel like a much more pulled together mommy.

Tons and tons of darling plates that would be a perfect birthday present for that special kiddo in your life.  They also have a preppy platter that is a great gift for yourself or a friend or family member.

So, have I interested you enough?  Do you like what you see above?  Head on over and enter FACEBOOK into the coupon code section, and you'll receive 15% off your order.  Most monogramming sites don't regularly offer sales, so this is great!!  Enjoy and let me know in the comments what you are liking over there!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big boy rooms

I am starting to dream about Spencer's "big boy" room.  Before Spence was born, we knew his nursery would always stay the nursery, and that he would have to move up when any subsequent kids were born.  While we aren't on the path of having to move him up yet, I still find myself daydreaming about where we are going to go with his room.  I figure if I start looking for pieces now, I won't feel so pressured to "have" to buy something just because I "need" it, I can search and wait for the right pieces to come along and fall into place. 

When we did the nursery, I knew exactly what I wanted.  Even though we didn't know if we were having a boy or girl, I wanted the nursery to be blue and white.  I love blue, B was on board, and I knew that we could easily accent with pink in key places to make it "girlier".  I still feel that the room will be perfect for a girl if God blesses us with one- I have the perfect spot for her monogram!

So, what to do when SYT moves into his new room?  I adore navy and white with red accents and I've always wanted to do his room in these colors.  B is fine with this as long as the room doesn't scream "You're a Grand Old Flag, You're a high flying Flag".    Spencer's future room is quite large with a good size closet and a great indented spot that we're hoping to find a great bookshelf for.  We already have two twin beds that will remain in there as well.

 A few of my inspiration rooms are below..... 

(love this, but white coverlets with a toddler boy??  I think that may be a bad decision.)

(this one may be too much like our nursery)

all via Nestegg

via Coastal Living

(Soooooo fabulous!)
Pheobe Howard

(Love the graphic wall, abhor the headboards)

(Currently on the hunt for a used white or red sunfish sail for this look!)
via PBK

via Gramercy

I love the idea of a bold statement wall, whether it is stripes, a sail, or two really cool headboards (we've talked about making them ourselves!).  We definitely are leaning towards a loose version of a nautical theme as well.  Anything above strike your fancy?  Any ideas you want to share with me?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crab Cakes and Conferences

This Tuesday I'm leaving my sweet little angel and heading to Baltimore for 4 days!!!!!  Ugh!  I'm so nervous, worried, and scared to leave him.  What if he forgets about me?  What if he won't take all 5 of his feeds from a bottle?  What if he gets sick?  Will B be able to manage all by himself for 4 days?  Will Spencer sleep okay?  How will I survive without kissing his sweet little cheeks and snuggling with him before bed? 

There is a teeny tiny part of me that is excited to go.  I can't believe I'm going to get to work out 4 days in a row!!!  I will be able to catch up on my google reader and shop for an outfit for our family pics we are getting done in May.  I will be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour and I won't have to do that feeling guilty about the housework that isn't done or the laundry I haven't put away.  I will be able to catch up with friends from school and colleagues from Chicago.  I'll get to eat seafood to my heart's content. 

Is anyone from Baltimore or does anyone know the area well?  I'll be staying near Camden Yards- are there any cute places to grab lunch or dinner?  Any fun shopping in the area?  The conference will keep me pretty busy, but there is one afternoon I know I have free to explore a bit.  And a girl has to eat!!  I'd love any recs you have.  Hopefully I'll be able to get up a post or two later in the week- what with all my free time!! 

If you could all say a little prayer that Spencer does well without his momma and that B survives as a single dad, I know we would really appreciate it!  I'm already looking forward to next Saturday when I'll be home again! 

God Pause for Sunday

A friend who is a camp counselor taught me the phrase "Listen up!" When she uses these words she is not just getting the attention of her campers. She means, "Listen to God." In a world of noise and distraction, of banter and buzz, Isaiah whispers a profound word for those patient enough to take time to listen for God. What we will hear, the prophet promises, is an extraordinary word of God's nearness and God's faithfulness.

God of power and might, help us draw near and listen to your voice amid the shouts and boasting of this world. Where we have been too full of speech, quiet us. When we substitute our own verbosity for your words of promise and grace, help us to listen up. We remember today those who have taught us your ways, and we name them before you now; for Christ's sake. Amen.

Patricia Lull
Former Dean of Students, Luther Seminary

Isaiah 55:3-5 (NRSV)

3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On repeat............

I'm not a huge Pearl Jam fan- I mean, they're fine, but not worth dying over (or $200 concert tickets either).  However, this song?  It makes the edges of my heart melt and the wrinkles on my eyes just a little deeper.  I can't hear it nearly enough, and the other morning when I woke up with it running through my head, I just knew I was going to have a good day. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's almost planting season!

This weekend I bought a bag of dahlia bulbs and ordered my zinnia packets.  Just 8 more weeks until planting season, and I am really starting to think about where each flower will go, where each veggie will flourish, and which old plants need to be replanted or just gotten rid of.  I'm really hoping that the hostas we planted at the end of the season last year will take off this summer, that my tulip bulbs will be bright and sunny additions and that our hydrangea bushes flower! 

Anyone else out there planning their gardens?  Any favorite gardening books or websites I need to be reading right now in preparation?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No chimpmunk cheeks!!

Well, B's surgery on Friday was a successful one!  He is still taking his pain meds pretty regularly, but he's able to eat most things, his cheeks are a normal size, and he's been able to be as helpful around the house and with Spencer as he normally is (which is a lot!).  This was his first experience with anesthesia, and besides the absolutely hysterical conversation we had about 1.5 hours after surgery (that he has zero recollection of), overall, he did so well.  I'm so glad b/c I know a lot of people who have really struggled with getting their wisdome teeth removed. 

In other teeth related news, you can now see Spencer's first tooth pretty well!  I know his top two will be coming through pretty quickly too.  His gums are SO swollen up top.  I don't see any signs that his bottom left one will be coming through soon.  I can't even imagine what he is going to look like on his first birthday with a bunch of teeth!!!  (Speaking of that- can you believe he is going to be one in EIGHT weeks?!?!?)

I hope you guys all had wonderful weekends.  We were able to get a LOT accomplished on our house project, so pictures will be coming in the next week or two.  Thank goodness for that.  And Thank God for a successful surgery weekend! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fun with friends

It was so incredibly wonderful to have the besties over for the weekend.  They arrived Sat around noon.  S with PWK and N with BJS and HMS.  Our good friend M and her sister in law and her son W came over for a playdate as well.  It was chaotic, messy, and oh so much fun! 

Pic above is of Spencer, W, and PWK playing together on the floor.  The Zany Zoo we got Spence for Christmas was a big hit with the babies and with the 3 yr olds.  I'm glad it's something he won't grow out of soon!
PWK- isn't he just darling????  He is the spitting image of his daddy.  It's amazing!!  Don't you just want to eat him up?  I think it's the eyes.  They're soooo expressive.  He is just on the verge of crawling and it was interesting to see him lunge forward onto his hands and then just watch him try to figure out what to do next.  You could tell he was getting frustrated (not that he fussed or anything- just by the thoughtful expression on his face).  He's so ready, and I just know that S will call me in the next week or two saying that he's taken off!!
Trying to get a pic of all the kids on the couch.  This is seriously the best shot I got.  Thank goodness I do not have 5 kids I have to pose for a Christmas Card or for family pictures.  It's impossible!!
The babies on the couch together.  PWK and W are a few days apart in age and Spencer is older than both of them by 10 weeks.  PWK is a little bigger than SYT and W is just a teeny little guy!!  He army crawls and gets whatever/wherever he wants.  It's hysterical!!
N's twins, B and H.  They turned 3 about two months ago and are so busy, so adventurous and so funny.  They loved riding on B's back and I know B can't wait for SYT to be able to play like they do.  It's amazing to me that they were born at 28 weeks (that's 4 months early!) and spent almost 4 months in the NICU at birth.  They are healthy, smart, beautiful kids and so so so lucky!

N, S, and I went out for dinner by ourselves on Sat night.  We put the babies down before we left and B played with the twins and read them stories before they went down.  It was delightful to have a girls night out.  I just wish there was some way they could both live here.  I don't think I'll ever find friendships like the one's I have with them with anyone here, and it would be so nice to have them around to share more of our lives together.  I suppose I just have to be thankful they're in my life at all- I definitely couldn't make it through without either of them!!! 

Once again, girlies, thanks for coming.  I appreciated it so much!!!