What’s in my: Diaper Bag

Hello Beauts! I’ve made it one more day without crying for the smiles of my Sophie! I have been doing all kinds of things that are really hard to do with an 11 month old. Today I’m sans car while it gets detailed, (from our road trip in July!) which I wouldn’t feel safe doing while having Sophie here. We (yes, WE) organized Sophie’s clothes for fall to determine what we needed to stock up on and I bought all her new fall (warm) clothes. I also re-organized her diaper bag which needed it desperately! Which brings me to:

diaper-bag-pinterestI feel a bit ashamed to call myself a Girl Scout with the shape our diaper bag was in. We’re lucky to have not had any craziness happen while the bag has been in such disarray. First step: dump everything from the bag to determine what needs to stay and what needs to be put away.

before-diaper-bagHere’s the non-sense we had going on before I organized the diaper bag. Do we doubt Soph has enough toys? Can you imagine the rest of my home? Sigh. Some of the items in the bag: food with a spoon that she won’t use because it’s too small, a sanitizer holder sans the sanitizer, a belt for the grocery cart cover, a business card to a doctor she hasn’t seen in 10 months, 5 different teethers, 4 bath toys, the sunglasses that I’ve been looking for and an ill equipped changing pad. Not pictured: the lens cap to the DSLR we’ve been missing for weeks.

changing-padI wanted to open up the changing pad so you could see what it looked like. I also laid out the two size 1 diapers that were in the changing pad next to her current size 3 diaper to show how laughable it would have been if she’d needed a diaper change. Oh, but she DID! Jeffrey changed her diaper while we were out and she had to come home with no diaper because we only had a size 1. Luckiest poop-free drive we’ve ever had. To add to it, the changing pad was also without wipes. I highly recommend the Hop Skip changing pad as an easy way to carry in the compact station, other than the wipes case. There is a red wipes case that you can load with a decent amount of wipes and store in the top zippered section, however, the red bled onto my wipes and it doesn’t hold moisture in well enough, drying out the wipes in a couple of weeks. I just removed the red case and now carry the Huggies wipes clutch.

after-diaper-bagOnce I re-loaded the changing pad with new diapers and wipes, I figured out what else we needed in the bag for Soph. I packed it with: ready-made formula as well as on-the-go packets of formula (in case we’re somewhere that has safe water), a bottle (that was not in there before?), a spoon that fits her mouth, cereal bar and food, change of clothes, bib, book, toys, medicine for Mom and Dad, teething medicine, sanitizer, extra diapers and a ziplock for the set of clothes she is sure to ruin.

inside-diaper-bagI love our diaper bag for a lot of reasons, but the major reason is for it’s size and amount of pockets. I didn’t want a massive diaper bag but one that would hold everything we’d need. Our diaper bag easily holds our supplies for Soph with room to spare. All of the pockets have magnets to keep them closed and zippers for the others. The strap is very sturdy and has a comfortable padding for our shoulder. I have the strap long so we can wear it over our chest to make us less lopsided while carrying Soph. I like having her food easily accessible up front and her bib and spoon together in the zipped portion to keep them clean. Her outfit and toys are in the middle section with the medicine securely kept in pockets. The spare diapers are in the top zipper, with the large ziplock held in a large back pocket with no zipper (which I like because I only have one clean had to get it out.) The bottle is in a mesh holder on the side and we hang the sanitizer and changing pad on either side of the straps. The changing pad can be easily taken off if we’re just running into a store quickly and don’t need the excess bulk of the diaper bag.

diaper-bag-doorWe store the bag on a 3M hook on the back of Soph’s door so we can grab it on the way out after getting her ready. While the door is open, you don’t notice it’s even there which I love because I don’t like a ton of stuff on the floor or taking up space with our jackets/purses.

What was essential (besides the not so obvious, correct size diapers and wipes) for your diaper bag? I usually carry a small purse that has my stuff because I don’t like mixing my mess of lip chap, sunglasses (oops), and junk with her bag since Jeffrey uses it as well. Sophie comes back tomorrow! Maybe I’ll have to take her somewhere since her bag is all ready to go!


DiY Terracotta Pots

Hidy ho crafters and green thumbers! Anyone else having beautiful weather today? It’s supposed to be nice here all week and I am extremely excited about that! I am still missing my lil bean but Lexi is getting better every day and today I was confident enough to run errands, which was a big boost to my mood (especially because I bought clothes for Soph!) I have been seeing pots on sale everywhere I go lately, which means it’s a great time to buy pots for next year’s spring lay-out OR to put some new greenery inside your home for the winter. I love how inexpensive terracotta is but never buy it because it cracks if left outside year round here in the midwest. I saw some small pots for $0.50 and couldn’t resist doing a little diy to bring some more green into our home.

pots-outside1Not pictured: me spray painting three coats of white Rustolium on the outsides of my pots. You never want to paint the insides of vases or pots where the dirt or water will get exposed to paint. The bare inside is never exposed once the plant is inside, so there’s no need to worry that it’ll look unfinished.

pot-materialsMaterials Used:

  • Terracotta Pots
  • Terracotta Drip Trays
  • Heidi Swapp Stencil
  • Mailbox Letters
  • Paint Tray (Or Paper Plate)
  • Tape
  • Sponge
  • Acrylic Paint

grow-stencilI have a ton of these mailbox letters that I found at a local hardware store for a painting I’d done. I thought it’d be fitting to stencil the word GROW on the pot to encourage the little bugger to stay alive. I also thought it’d be fitting since I was going to put one pot in Sophie’s room. As you see, I had to overlap the letters to accommodate the taper at the bottom of the pot.

grow-paintI used my sponge brush to dab pink paint onto the stencil. I used a sponge brush because I liked the textured effect it gives when applied thick.

dots-stencilWith the confetti pot I taped a dot stencil onto the pot and did random colors around the pot. I used washi tape to hold the stencil, which was a terrible idea, because it kept coming off as I’d paint. We have at least 5 rolls of painters tape in the garage but I was too lazy to go get them and my project suffered. It turned out pretty cute in the end though. It’s a nod to Sophie’s 1st Birthday theme which will be ‘Confetti & Sprinkles.’ If you don’t have a dot stencil you could easily use the eraser end of a pencil as your dotting stamp.

pots-outsideFor the X (kisses) pot I used a flat paint brush. I also used the same paint brush to paint the rim teal.

pots-outside1I think they turned out super sweet. I don’t use a lot of pastels in my decorating because I like bold colors, but I had Sophie in mind while painting these and wanted them to mimic her sweet personality.

pots-shelfNow to see how long I can keep them alive. ;) They’re supposed to do well in shade so I’m hoping they’ll last longer inside than some of my previous plants. Have you ever made over a pot to have it match your decor? With ceramic pots being the price they are, I’m tempted to just spray paint all terracotta pots from now on! There are so many options of design and color I could implement, especially with Frog Tape having designer tape. Which pattern is your favorite? I think I like the kisses pot the best.



You Just Get Stronger

stronger

This quote could not have come at a more perfect time for me. Lexi (our dog) had surgery last week. If you’ve ever had a dog who has to wear ‘the cone of shame,’ you know how sad it is to watch them be so miserable. Add on top of Lexi’s pain the fact that I had to constantly keep Sophie from playing with her best friend. We decided it’d be best if Sophie went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the week to let Lexi get a full week of restful recovery. I’ve never been more than 20 minutes away from my Soph and it’s really hard. It will be really hard to take her to pre-school, Kindergarten, her driver’s test, and college, but I will get stronger with each one.

Fall Decor Ideas

Hello! I’m staying warm inside today because it’s definitely fall according to the cold dark rainy day outside. Not helping my mood much that my little baby is 2 hours away and my pup is feeling so bad. I am staying very busy with crafts and I have my favorite pink nail polish with pink glitter on to keep me happy. I’ve seen so many roundups of fall decor this year but they’re very country/burlap/twine. I think that style is cute but it isn’t what I’m loving right now. I wanted to do a roundup of a few of my favorite modern/fun/whimsical fall decor ideas. I currently have a few sets of mums and some leaf garland on the craftsman posts on the porch but I’d love to incorporate these into the interior of my home!

felt-leavesThese felt leaves by A Beautiful Mess have been circling the internet for a few years and I always think they are so darling. I love the chunky yarn used to string the leaves together. Felt always reminds me of the weather getting colder so I think it’s the perfect material for a fall garland.

chalk-board-fall

I’m in love with this Fall themed chalk wall Andrea made for her family! She changes the wall according to the fun activities they want to do during that season. I think it’d be a great way to check off and remember some of the fun that you’ve had with your family! Also, if the weather is looking beautiful you can just look at the wall to figure out what to do that day!

painted-pumpkinsI love how Meeha Meeha painted these sleepy pumpkins! They’re such a darling little family. It’d be fun to have each member of your family paint their own. When I was younger we’d hollow out gords, paint them and put a shellac over it so we could use them year after year.

painted-leavesI’d stumbled upon Alisa’s blog and fell in love with her style! I think this painted leaf garland is super crafty/bohemian and could be painted to match your decor. It’d even be fun to have your kids help you collect leaves and paint with you! Keeping this one pinned for when Sophie’s older!

brad-pumpkin-1Since I’m a bit obsessed with all things confetti and sprinkles, I fell head over heels for this push pin confetti pumpkin Victoria made. I love the happy dots on the white pumpkin. I’m a fan of using colors other than red, orange, yellow and brown for decorating during the fall so this pumpkin would be a  happy addition. You could even do gold brads on a white pumpkin to chic it up a bit!

Are you a fall decorator or do you just wait until Halloween and go all out? What about your style? Traditional or do you like to add a bit of whimsy and DiY to your holiday decorating? What should I make first? I’d really like to make one of these while Sophie’s gone this week. Happy Fall!

For more whimsical fall decorating ideas and delicious recipes, check out my board!


Ask Away Friday with Ana || Our Blended Marriage

Happy Friday friends!!! I’m stoked for it to be the weekend! Lexi made it safely through her surgery and is pretty pitiful right now with her cone. The hardest thing isn’t going to be icing her, remembering her medicines or forcing her to eat/drink, it’s going to be keeping Sophie away from her! They’re best friends! I’m excited for this weekend because we’re visiting my family so I get to see my little niece, who I haven’t seen since she was born!! I also love seeing family because I love watching Sophie’s interactions with everyone! Before I get ahead of myself though, it’s time for another week of Ask Away Friday! Oh and side note! Today’s the last day for $10 off my favorite blog course, Content Brew! If you ever have a hard time keeping posts straight or figuring out what to write about, this is an excellent resource!

Ask Away Friday BadgeThis week I’m swapping with Ana who blogs with her husband, Frank, at Our Blended Marriage. Ana and Frank live in Croatia with their two kids and are, seriously, the best people to know in the blogging community! They are extremely knowledgeable on all things blogging/CSS and are extremely sweet at sharing their knowledge with you. They even have a WP blog design course! Ana and Frank blog about life, organization, recipes, time management, and Croatia (plus a slew of other topics.) Be sure to go check out their page and the answers they had for my questions!

ana1. Have you always been organized or did you just recently develop that habit?
I have not always been organized. See my bedroom growing up for proof. My room got a little better in college because people would always be dropping by to study. Once I moved in with Jeffrey it was a must to be organized because merging our two homes into his apartment was very tight! When we moved to this house that we built it was a clean slate so I was excited for everything to have it’s place. I’m still working on everything having a home but it’s pretty good for now. By the way, I still ALWAYS leave drawers open.

room2. What is your favorite area to organize? A particular room, or paperwork, books, recipes?
My favorite type of thing to organize is ‘girly stuff.’ Jewelry, nail polish and make up. I think because it all looks so pretty, so it’s hard for it to not look really great once it’s organized. Whereas organizing a garage never looks pretty. ;) Our books used to be color coordinated but we’ve gotten so many new ones that they’re pretty chaotic right now. I’m in the process of stamping them all and filing them into a program so we know what books we own.

nail polish

3. What is your least favorite area to organize?
I feel like everywhere is my least favorite right now because I feel none of my areas are perfectly organized. I’d have to say the kitchen though. We have too much stuff and some cupboards aren’t utilized well. Sophie’s food is in three different areas right now, if that tells you how chaotic our kitchen is!

4. Is your husband a purger or a hoarder like Frank?
Jeffrey is more on the hoarder side than purger. He’s not near a hoarder though. He just doesn’t like to throw stuff away, especially when it’s expensive. It’s mostly electronics that are broken, but might be salvageable/sellable, that tend to hang around. He is a collector of tools and books though, which all eventually add up to a lot if not thinned out. I couldn’t ever ask him to get rid of books or tools though.

5. I am making a wild assumption here that you like planners too. What does your ideal planner look like?
I’d love to love planners. I am a lot less anxious when I use my life planner but I have a hard time remembering to use it. My ideal planner would be exactly what mine looks like currently.

planner16. When you are in someone else’s house, does it bother you if they seem to be living in chaos? Are you tempted to jump in and start organizing things around?
I don’t know if I’ve ever been to someone’s house that was living in chaos other than the people that I’ve worked for (organizing their home.) All of my friends and family live in an orderly home.

7. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to organizing?
Having enough space is usually my hardest challenge. Also money. I feel the organizational tools/supplies I always think will look best/work best are always so expensive! My biggest pet peve in our home is all of the wire shelving! I’d love to replace it all with white wood shelving.

office-closet8. What does ‘being organized’ mean to you? Does everything have to look ready for the photo-shoot or can you handle a little mess?
Everything does not have to be photo-shoot ready, nor is it, ever! I have to deal with a little mess because I do not live alone (which I’m happy about.) I’ll never be the mom that spends more time cleaning than with her kids. If I start to get like that, I have many people that remind me not to! Also, at any given time, my desk, the island and/or the table is full of some sort of craft/diy project. It’s hard to keep things orderly when you don’t have a secluded room just for projects.

messy-desk9. What are the items you will absolutely refuse to get rid of no matter the whole purge ideology?
I will never purge photos, photo albums or family videos. We have a LOT and they’re way too precious to discard. I would be heartbroken if anything ever happened to them. I have a bad memory so they’re my way of remembering my awesome past.

sistes-disney10. If you’re watched Friends, I am sure you know the story about Monica’s closet. Which area is your ‘Monica’s closet’?
To be honest, I had to look it up! I know, a ton of you are going to think less of me now that I didn’t know a Friends reference! I don’t have an area like Monica’s closet. Not even a junk drawer (only because we don’t have a drawer afford to junk.) I have stuff that doesn’t have a home but they’re randomly throughout the house rather than in one location. Maybe I should empty the coat closet and make it a Monica’s closet!

Great questions Ana! I loved doing a theme of something that I love (although it really sounds like I’m lacking in the organizational department right now. I’m going to have to work on that). Does anyone have the ‘perfect’ planner that they could not be happier with? What about a ‘Monica’s closet’?! Seriously, I need to go pick an area to organize now.

If you like organizational type tips and tricks, check out my Pinterest board!


10 Things I’m Thankful For

Hello lovelies! I’ve been feeling very thankful lately. Sometimes I get wrapped up in ‘not having enough_____ (time, money, friends, space, clothes, chocolate etc.)’ and have to catch myself by thinking about all the awesomeness that I do have. I’m reading Daring Greatly right now which is helping me learn to ‘embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.’ All of these things sound so simple, yet are tough for us to live in our every day lives. To start daring greatly, I’m going to notice the things that I’m thankful for every day. flowers

1. My pup who sits here as I write with her head on my lap. Tomorrow she is having surgery to remove a tooth and I’m worried for her to have anesthetics. I’m thankful that we didn’t have to face the hard choice on if we should go through with the $700 surgery because of money. A lot of people do not have the option to give medical care to their pets and I’m so thankful we do.

2. Sophie’s amazing grandparents. We are so lucky to have both of our parents in her life. They both care for her unconditionally and I can really see the love that they have for her.  I was fortunate enough to have grandparents who loved me so much and I am so happy that Sophie can experience that type of love.

3. Music. I love that intense orchestral music can make me scared during a movie. I’m glad that listening to pop music can keep me motivated to clean. I’m thankful that you can feel a special bond with someone who shares the same love for a band that I do.

4. Pumpkin flavored everything. When I was pregnant with Sophie, I craved pumpkin more than anything. It’s closing in on fall meaning pumpkin goodness is in my future again.

5. Awesome neighbors. Our neighbors are always there to let us borrow a cup of milk, watch Sophie for a few minutes, give us recipes, share books, teach us a new craft, be a workout buddy and hang out with us on the sidewalks while we wait for our families to come home.

6. All four seasons. In Illinois, we can get all four seasons in a matter of two weeks. I’m not a huge fan when that happens but I am thankful that we get to see the grass and flowers grow from the rain in the spring, sunny warm nights in the summer, beautiful colors on the trees in the fall and snow to play in during the winter. I used to love all four seasons when I was young and I know, now that we have Sophie, that I’ll love them again just as much.

7. An easy going partner. I can change moods in one second flat and am so thankful that Jeffrey is extremely level headed to balance me out. He is happy to go along with my ‘fun adventures’ and just stay home to be with our family.

8. All the luck that I’ve stumbled into and opportunities that I’ve been a part of. If I talk about all the fun things that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of, I’d just sound like I was bragging. A few of my favorite lucky things are my wonderful childhood, meeting my love, going to Purdue, being a Disney cast member and having a successful pregnancy.

9. Glitter, jewels and gems. I love sparkly shiny things. I’m thankful to have seen several exhibits on gems and start a collection of them. I think everything and everyone should be accessorized with glitter, jewels and gems!

10. The feeling of safety. Today, 9/11 is a reminder that terrible things can happen at any moment to change our lives. I’m thankful that I do not have daily fear of something terrible happening like so many people have around the world. I’m thankful to be raised where I was and to have the opportunity to live where I do today.

What are you thankful for? How are you living a wholehearted life? It’s hard, but like everything else, one step at a time.

A Trip to the Orchard

Hi guys! I’ve decided, I don’t care what people say about it still being summer, I’m breaking out the fall decor! This time of year is so confusing for me because it’s still really hot out but I’m seeing sweaters and pumpkin lattes. Since October is when I put up Halloween decorations, I think it’s ok to put up fall decorations the second week of September. Just letting you all know what I’m thinking on the whole decorating issue. Back to the fun we had at the orchard this past weekend! It’s too early for pumpkin picking but it’s the perfect time for apple picking!

pregnant-pumpkinHere’s the last time we were at the orchard (six days before lil Soph was born)! We usually go to Curtis Orchard a couple times during the fall season. I was really excited to be able to take Sophie this year, even though she wasn’t a huge fan of the animals.

cornThis is our view on the way to the orchard. This is not a strange view to see where I live. A lot of people who live near corn say they get tired of seeing it but I love living by corn because it reminds me of being back home in Indiana.

ozOur orchard is themed as The Wizard of Oz and this is one of the awesome murals that meets you as you walk down the yellow brick road into the orchard. Warning: do not be alarmed that Soph is not grinning from ear to ear in these photos. She was having a bad teeth day. I think being at the orchard and watching everyone helped keep her mind off it though.

chair1We love the giant rocking chair! I’m excited to look back on photos as our family grows on this rocker!

waveSophie recently learned how to wave and loves waving to every person she sees.I made Jeffrey take a few photos of me since I’m rarely in our photos. Moms, get out from behind the camera! Someday you’ll be glad you did.

blue-eyesCan you guess where she gets her eyes? Sophie loved spinning the wheel of this old tractor.

apple-picking

Don’t let her fool you, she was way more interested in pulling the leaves off the trees than the apples. A lot of the trees were picked over. Thankfully Daddy’s tall enough to reach her to the good apples.

familyUnfortunately, this was the best shot we got as a family selfie. Hopefully when we go back to pick pumpkins the little bean will be feeling better and have more fun (although, she’s still stinking cute with a frown.)

pumpkins

eatSometimes Daddy likes to see if she’ll really take a bite of something. Thankfully, he didn’t let her this time.

pumpkinTo end: my pumpkin with her pumpkin. I’m ready for pumpkin flavored everything. Who’s with me? Have you guys made a trip to your local apple orchard or pumpkin patch yet?

A Letter to Us

Dear Us,

Today is your 4th Anniversary of marriage! Four years has flown by. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together for way longer than four years. At the same time, I still get butterflies thinking about us. We’ve now added a happy baby with a huge personality that lights up our lives. She is perfect. We still like doing things together as a couple but she gives us more entertainment in 15 minutes than anyone else can. We’re past the point of buying trips to Disney for our Anniversary but still make it a point to do fun things. This year we are going to the apple orchard with Sophie on our Anniversary weekend. A few weeks later we’ll go see Mike Birbiglia’s stand up and a few weeks later staying in a hotel with a fun night at Mideival Times. Most of all, we like being at home, together, doing nothing. We like making diy home improvements for our little craftsman home in Champaign.

our-homeWe’re also realizing that we’re outgrowing the home we built. Once we want to have a sister or brother for Sophie, we’ll have to move. This makes us sad and happy at the same time. We love all the personal touches we’ve made to our home and the amazing neighbors we have just a few steps away. We’ll miss the park being just around the corner and the amazing sunsets over our field. Honestly though, none of that matters because we’ll still be together.

kissWe’re looking forward to our adventures ahead called life. Sometimes it’s hard to live in the moment, because I get excited about things to come, but when I do, it’s the best place to be. Happy Anniversary to Us. I’ve never been happier in my life.

coral heart

Baby Quilt for Beginners

Hola mis amigos! I am REALLY craving chips and guac/salsa and a peach marg right now…only 30 more days of my Whole60 (psh! that’s nothing!) For now, I’ll just have to use what little Spanish I remember to get me by, and trust that you’ll partake in the margs for me. Today, I’m proud to say, that I completed one goal that I had set before Sophie turns one: make her a baby quilt. It was easier than I thought but took way longer than I’d planned.

baby-quilt-beginnersI’d never made a quilt before, so this is definitely a baby quilt tutorial for beginners! I didn’t actually even ‘quilt’ because I didn’t sew the layers together, so I guess I just made a blanket. Oh well.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your baby quilt/blanket:

quilt-piecingquilt-pieces-rowsI wanted to be sure none of the squares were duplicates next to each other so I laid out my design and snapped a photo. I then gathered all the squares according to their rows and divided them with a piece of paper. I went through the piles and pieced the squares together (good side facing each other) and ended up with my six rows.

piecing-folds sewing-foldsTo make all of the squares lay flat, I had to pin the seams apart to sew the rows together. This part was tedious and helped me see how terribly I’d sewed my rows together!

thread-loopsAs always, there was a learning curve for this new project. I noticed after sewing for a while that there were tiny loops in my thread. This is a tension problem. My machine was set for a thicker material from my last project and needed to be re-adjusted. See your sewing machine manual on how to adjust your tension if you see these little loops. I didn’t rip out all the seams because there was too much by this point. It is not noticeable from the front and I ran the entire pieced together squares through the wash at this point to make sure it would stay together. It’s also a good idea to wash your fabric at this point to account for any shrinkage that might occur.

ironing-quiltThe next step was, by far, the hardest part of the entire project. Ironing the seams apart. This took forever, made my back sore and caused a few burns. There’s one thing I don’t do: ironing, and it showed! Thankfully it was a baby blanket rather than a full sized blanket! Next time I may have to pay someone to come over and iron. :)

pinning-battingHere’s where things really started to get going and all of my pieces were looking more like a quilt! I pinned the three layers (minky fabric, batting and quilt squares) together at various locations throughout the quilt with the basting pins. Using basting pins ensures that the quilt layers won’t shift around on you while you’re trying to sew things together. I pinned around all the edges to make sure everything was extremely solid. I used embroidery thread to tack the three layers together at the corners where the squares met. I don’t own a quilting machine and I didn’t want to hand quilt this project so I thought embroidery thread would be the next best thing.

sewing-minky-fabricOnce all of the thread was holding the layers together, I cut the excess batting and minky fabric to fit the quilt squares. I then sewed along the the border of the quilt making sure the minky fabric was face up. Minky is a very stretchy material. I’d read so many blogs on how to use a special foot for your machine but it seemed to work perfectly with the foot that came standard on my Brother.

embroidery-heartTADAAAAA! Everything is sewn together! I trimmed all the edges to make a shallow border and added a little heart in the corner with embroidery thread.

bunny-quiltsophie-cribsophie-quiltI’m giving Sophie her quilt for her Birthday next month (OMG NEXT MONTH) but she was sorta playing in her room where I wanted to shoot, so she’s seen her beautiful quilt. Really, she just wanted to throw it around a bit. So, how do you guys think I did for my first quilt? Have you ever made a quilt for a loved one? Although Sophie won’t really care when I give her quilt to her, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it as she gets older.