Monday, March 31, 2014

My Sister is Awesome

I have two sisters and they are both very awesome individals but I want to take a moment to brag about my sister Alex for a minute here. See, Alex can sew, like really good (the girl made her wedding dress and it was beautiful) and she recently lauched an etsy shop called Alex and Ally where she is selling adorable baby items she makes herself.

Gender Neutral Bib Set in Indian Summer

I am so proud of her for making these beautiful, quality products in the most adorable fabrics. And she's doing all of this while she's pregnant with her own little bundle of joy. So along with preparing their hearts and home for their future baby she has been hard at work making these beautiful baby items. She has a lot of gender neutral things, which can be hard to find these days.

Along with the bibs she makes pacifier clips and burp cloths.

Gender Neutral Burp Cloth in Black and White

 Pacifier Clip in Purple Triangle
If you know any little babies out there who need some adorable accessories please check out my sisters shop. I can't wait to see this become a huge success for her. You can find her shop at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Read Wednesday: Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

A few weeks ago I finished Happier at Home  by Gretchen Rubin. This is her second book following her bestseller The Happiness Project. In Happier at Home Rubin makes a handful or resolutions each month focusing on a particular home related topic. She cover many topics including belongings, neighborhood and community etc. I listened to this book on audio and I really enjoyed the way ti was read.

There are a couple of things that really struck a cord with me.

One of Rubin's resolutions was to Celebrate Holiday Breakfasts, even on smaller holidays such as Valentines Day or St. Patrick's Day. She did this as a way of making even minor holidays special. This idea is something I want to start incorporating into my own life. We might not celebrate breakfast specifically since that doesn't really work well with our schedule but I want to make each holiday special. I already dropped the ball on St. Patrick's day but if at first your don't succeed, try try again. April Fool's Day is coming up (I'll have to think fast) followed by Easter. I have a collection of ceramic bunnies that my grandmother gave me in my Easter basket every year. I'd like to get them out and have them on display around the house. I'd like to do something special for my husband on Easter Sunday instead of just handing up a bag of jelly beans and calling it a holiday. I'm not sure exactly what yet, but I'd like to make all holidays, major and minor, special in some way.

What I will not be doing is celebrating Easter with candy.

In the month of December Rubin decides it would be less stressful to just give up sweets all together instead of worrying about all of the tempting holiday treats. Some people questioned her decision as too extreme but she responded

"By giving myself limits, I give myself freedom." (page 124)

I have done this before. The first time was near Easter a few years ago. The abundance of Easter candy had me over indulging and it was simpler for me to just say no to everything instead of using up my willpower trying to only head one handful of jellybeans instead of the whole bag. By giving myself the limitation of no sweets, I was able to freely enjoy everything else about the season knowing I wouldn't have any sugar related regrets later.

Another resolution Rubin made that stuck with me was Suffer for Fifteen Minutes. What she means by this is spending fifteen minutes a day on a task you've always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to yet. In the book she focuses on organizing her family's photos and home movies. In my life I'd like to use this idea as a challenge to get some things done around my house. I have a spare room that sort of a catch-all for the stuff I don't know what to do with. The thought of cleaning out the room seems like an overwhelming project but when I spent just fifteen minutes in there last week I was surprised by the amount of cleaning I got done. I hope to keep this up and then move onto other tasks. Maybe spend fifteen minutes a day leaning or polishing a skill, like photography or calligraphy. Over time small steps make a big difference.

Those are just a few of the things from Happier at Home that have really inspired me. I have not read The Happiness Project yet but it is definitely on my list. You can learn more about Gretchen Rubin and her works at her website

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Travel Bug

This week Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks came out on DVD. I didn't get a chance to see them in theaters but I was able to get in line for them at the library. Normally, I am person number five hundred in line (or least it feels that way) but this time I was the second in line for both of them! I'm going to buy these movies anyway because I love them (I still need to buy Tangled also) but none of that is the point. The point is that I watched Disney movies this week and that combined with scrolling through my photos of our Disney trip last fall means... I want to go back.

Cinderella's Fountain
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my favorites. It's such a classic. We rode it twice while we were there but I want to go back and ride is a hundred more times.
Epcot. We only spent a half day here because we wanted to check out Downtown Disney but I'd like to ride Soarin' and Test Track again along with spending a bit more time walking around the World Showcase.
World of Disney is a huge Disney store, I think it might be the largest in the entire world. Sitch spits out water on passers by. Downtown Disney is such a cool place.
This is after I rode the Rockin' Roller-coaster. I am an Aerosmith fan so I was singing the whole time on the ride. Then I immediately sent this picture to my dad :)
 The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom. I loved all the shows we saw here, The Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo Live. I wish I would have rode Expedition Everest, oh well, I definitely will next time :)
The parade at Animal Kingdom had a bunch of these primitive floats. I love the detail and the colors. Whoever designed them is a genius, they could be operated by one person while walking in a parade. I mean come on, that's brilliant.
 Mr. Walt Disney himself. Tom Hank's did a fantastic job of portraying him in Saving Mr. Banks.
Ahh, a Dole Whip. Kevin has mentioned wanting one of these since we've been home. I only had a few bites of it while we were there but those few bites were delightful. I've been on Pinterest checking out copycat recipes that I'll have to experiment with this summer.

Anyone else have the travel bug? I've even started looking up prices for airfare and hotel so I can start saving for our next trip!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I Read Wednesday: Balancing it All

I recently finished Balancing it All  by Candace Cameron Bure (she played D.J. on Full House.) Both Bure and her brother Kirk Cameron are outspoken Christians in the acting business and since I'm a Christian myself, I was curious of what her book was all about. This is actually her second book, but I have not read her first one, Reshaping it All.

I was excepting this to be more of a "how-to" book but it was actually more of a memoir. She shares personal stories as she travels from childhood into motherhood and one of the most important stories woven throughout the book is her Christian journey. She was very honest with her struggles and I definitely feel like I "know" her better.

(FYI it's about to get a little personal)

In the last chapter of the book, called The Power of Prayer she shares that she has learned to make her prayers more specific than vague so that when the answer comes, even if it's a 'no,' she knows it's from God and not just a coincidence. This made me reflect on how I pray and honestly, most of the time my prayers were quite vague. I always thought praying with lots of detail meant I didn't leave room for God's will to work in my life, that I would being too restrictive. Which is silly because God's will is going to happen no matter what my prayers are. Actually being more specific might allow me to see God's will even clearer because I can more easily recognize when His answer is yes, no or not right now.

I'm definitely inspired to do some more reading on prayer. I hadn't really thought about it much before so I'm glad Balancing it All opened my eyes to a new topic to explore.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Teal-Blue New Bedding

Happy St. Patrick's Day! This American girl with Irish roots will definitely be wearing green today!

On a different note, let's talk about bedding :)

I don't think I've ever shared a picture of our master bedroom before but oh well, this is what it looks like now. I was at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago where I found this queen bedding set for $60. It came with a a comforter, two Euro shames, two standard shames, two decorative pillows and a bed skirt. I actually picked up the gray sheets a few weeks earlier just because we needed some and I'm glad the gray works because this is an awkward shade of teal blue. It reminds me of my prom dress from high school.

Throwback Monday? I can't believe this was seven years ago but I still love that dress its between navy and cobalt with a little bit of green mixed in. But back to the bedding. To be honest, I'm not impressed with the quality. It just feels cheap (which is was so I can't complain about that too much.) It gets crazy wrinkled and and I can't iron it because it kind of feels like the texture of a windbreaker, like those "swishy pants" you used to wear as a kid? Anyone remember those?

There are some things about it that I really love. The quilted Euro shames being one of them. We have never had this many pillows on our bed before and I love how luxurious it feels. I'm happy I had two Euro pillows just hanging out in the guest room with mixed matched covers so it's good to see this set together and matching.  

So overall feelings, I'm not going to design the whole room around this set. I'm still going to save for some nicer bedding with less of a windbreak and more of a five-star hotel feel. I'll probably lean towards a navy blue and gray color pallet. But for now it will work for us.

And it looks like it  gets the Ellie stamp of approval. I wish you could pet her through the internet, she may look a serious fur-ball sometimes but she is the softest cat I've ever petted. Super plush stuff animals made of cashmere have nothing on the softness of Ellie. (Do they even make cashmere stuff animals?)