Friday, September 30, 2011

What I'm up to.

Guess what came in the mail yesterday!?  My new diaper bag! 
My new Skip Hop Studio diaper bag, fresh out of the packaging.  I ended up going for black because I feel like it will match the most things and I debated about whether or not a print would "get old."  I haven't started using it yet, but plan to break it in tomorrow when we are out of town.  I had only ever seen this bag online and not in person, and I just have to say this bag is HUGE!  Plenty of room for 2 babies items and Mommy's stuff too for sure.  I can't wait to break it in tomorrow.

In case your curious, we will be heading out of town for the Apple Festival tomorrow and visiting with some of my family that we haven't seen in a while.  Really looking forward to a little road trip with the family-- and will post pictures next week of course.

Lately I haven't been up to much-- just enjoying my time with Leeland and we had a few play dates this week. So nice to meet up with people, let the kids play and have adult conversation.  You all probably think that I have gone yarn crazy from my past few posts, but I have been working on a little crochet project this week. I don't want to spoil it yet, but here's a little sneak peek.

Crocheted hexagons.  Die hard crocheters will also notice the long tail on my hexagon which is would insinuate that I will be attaching it to something.  We shall see.  In the mean time, I am counting stitches and rows and making hexagons which will become an adorable little thing. The yarn color is called "Windsor blue" and it's a really pretty navy with sort of a gray tint to it.  I always find it kind of funny how I only tend to crochet in the Fall and Winter months-- something about the cooler weather and getting cozy on the couch with a ball of yarn.  Hope to finish this project in the next couple weeks.

Have a great weekend all, and safe travels if you will be going places too!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More yarn.

Remember my yarn wreath from yesterday?  I guess I've gone officially yarn crazy-- had another little yarn project today.  First up though, I thought my wreath was a little plain looking so I added some sweet little birds to it.

The next project was yarn wrapping a "K" for Krohs!  I used an Elmer's foam poster board.  I had a terrible razor blade to cut the K out with, but minor cutting errors don't necessarily matter once your letter is covered in yarn.  It's hanging in our dining area in our apartment.  The dining area is essentially a small square of carpet outside our kitchen-- our kitchen is all red, white, and black, so our table is usually set with a red table runner.  We even have red silverware!

Maybe now that I have all that time consuming wrapping yarn out of my system, I'll get back to crocheting.  Leeland needs some new hats for this winter.

Help me choose.

Okay friends, I am INCREDIBLY indecisive.  And the funny part is that most of the things that I am super indecisive about, aren't really major decisions to make.  What I'm struggling with now, what diaper bag to get?  It is a well known fact that I need a larger diaper bag to hold all of the items for 2 kiddos, especially if potty training Leeland doesn't work out before the baby gets here-- that will be 2 bums in cloth.  So I've narrowed it down to 2 bags that I like, and one of the bags, I am struggling on the color.

1. Skip Hop Studio Diaper Bag
Love this bag because it has a zipper closure and a TON of pockets which would be awesome for organizing both kids things and also some of Mommy's stuff too.  This is the one that I am struggling on color though.  A part of me really feels like I should go with black because it's classic, would match everything, would look just like a purse and probably wouldn't "get old."  But I also really like the plum burst pattern.

2. The JJ Cole Technique Bag
This bag has really awesome reviews but it seems to be a bit smaller than the Studio bag and it's a snap closure instead.  It's really cute, and has some organizational pockets on the inside.  I would pick the gray color for this one.

Both bags are super cute and stylish and don't really look like your typical diaper bag which I love.  Also both bags come with nifty stroller clips so that if we are out and about, it doesn't necessarily have to be on my shoulder-- they work for carts too.  

What do you think friends??  Help a sister out! Cast a vote!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Fall-ish yarn wreath.

So this was my 1st week at home full-time with Leeland since going back to work in January when he was 9 months old and I have really felt like I have had SO much time on my hands.  It's been really good quality time with him, and I've been able to get some things done too.  Monday was spent cleaning the house all day long-- it desperately needed it.  And the rest of this week, I have been itching to catch back up on some crafting.  I wanted to make a nice Fall wreath for our front door.  I had visions of pretty fall colors.  Once the decision was made that it was going to be a yarn wreath, Leeland and I set out to Hobby Lobby for supplies.

One of my favorite colors is green and I really liked this olive green yarn.  I had visions of a mustard yellow felt to make flowers with to go with it.... Except when I got over to the felt section, the only yellow available was a hot crayola yellow which didn't mesh well with my green.  So I decided to forget about the yellow and substitute a really gorgeous deep burgundy.  So now my wreath is green and burgundy and a bit Christmasy, but I guess it will do.

Also note, this was my 1st time making felt flowers.  I hate to toot my own horn, but I think they turned out pretty awesome!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

50th birthday cake.

Last weekend the family got together to celebrate my Father-in-Law's 50th birthday.  I made the cake, and really struggled coming up with an idea.  If you ever google 50th birthday slogans, cakes, etc, a lot of jokes about death come up.  The themes are always black, and I even saw a few cakes that just had tombstones on them.  Not the idea, I was after.... If someone threw me a doomsday 50th birthday party, I would probably kick them in the shin.  It's a little rude.  Here's what me and Daniel came up with:

Methuselah is the oldest person in the Bible whose age is mentioned.  Did I mention that my FIL's a pastor?  Biblical joke.  Anyways, it was a hit! Check out those lovely layers of chocolate and white cake with LOADS of chocolate buttercream frosting!  And if I don't do a good enough job of talking it up here, here's a perfect advertisement....

A hit with the baby as well!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The 2nd time around.

So for the most part, after being pregnant once already, when we found out we were expecting again, I felt like I knew what was to come.  However I have to say that there were things that I didn't expect nor calculate going into this 2nd pregnancy. Here's a few things that I have been thinking about over the past couple days:
  • 1st pregnancy, if I was tired, I took a nap.  Can't take a nap this time around with a toddler on my hands.
  • 1st pregnancy, I had typical morning sickness daily as soon as I woke up from about 8 weeks to 15 weeks. 2nd pregnancy, typical morning sickness started around 8 weeks and is still going off and on at 17 weeks, on top of getting sick later in the day and throwing up whole meals.  Where did that come from?
  • You show much sooner the 2nd time around-- 1st pregnancy I brought out the maternity clothes around 20 weeks, this time around I needed them at about 12 weeks. 
  • 1st pregnancy, I had killer Sciatic nerve pain starting around 33 weeks.  I assumed that it would come back this time around, but not this soon-- Sciatic nerve pain began in the 2nd pregnancy around week 15.
One good thing is that I have noticed (knock on wood), my heart burn and indigestion hasn't been as bad this 2nd time around.  1st pregnancy, I chewed Tums after every meal, and often woke up in the night with severe indigestion.  So far, that hasn't really occurred.  Bald baby?  Probably. Leeland did have a TON of hair when he was born.  My Father-In-Law said that he was the only one that the nurses pulled out a brush for and brushed his hair after his bath in the nursery.

Just food for thought. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

You may remember my rant about loving Fall and all things pumpkin in this Fall Fever post. Tonight I shall share with you my recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  There are SO many recipes out there for these, and many people claim that theirs is the best.  I haven't tasted enough to know if my recipe is the best but I know that 24 muffins in our little house of 3 (keep in mind Leeland is only 17 months old) only lasts about 2 days.  Plus, from being married to Daniel for so long, a pickier eater and one who orders the same thing off the menu every time we go to a restaurant, I have learned, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Seriously though, one of the things that I love about this particular recipe is it's simplicity.  I can whip them up in no time and they don't require a ton of ingredients that will break the bank. (This recipe makes 24 muffins) So here it goes:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
3 1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pumpkin spice*
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin**
1 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips***

Super easy recipe-- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  First mix all of your dry ingredients in one bowl, and then in a separate bowl you mix all of your wet ingredients.
*Note about pumpkin spice-- spices are expensive, and times are tight.  A perfectly good substitute that I have used for the pumpkin spice that turns out fabulous is a dash of ginger, a couple dashes of nutmeg, and a few dashes of cinnamon. (That's more like a ratio, just make sure all those dashes add up to 1 teaspoon.)
**Note about the pumpkin-- make sure you are using pure 100% pumpkin. You don't want to use pumpkin pie filling, that is different and has sugar and stuff already added to it.

Once both are mixed, mix them together and add your chocolate chips. You shouldn't even need to bust out the electric mixer.
And your gonna want to mix the chocolate chips in.... :0)
***And a note about the chocolate chips-- the recipe calls for 1 cup. Honestly I use the whole 11 ounce bag of chocolate chips.  There is no shame in a little extra chocolate!  We use milk chocolate chips, I'm sure that others may work just as well. To each his own and to each his own taste.

After that, you just add the mixture to your greased muffin tins (or you could use cute little wrappers).  And you bake them for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Or if your cheap like me, and don't buy toothpicks, bake them until a chop stick comes out clean. Yes that is how I test all of my baked goods are done.
Toothpick? Chop stick? Same thing right!

Happy baking everyone! Enjoy your tasty pumpkin treats!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Melissa's Chicken Pot Pie

One of the best gifts that I received when I had Leeland was meals. It's something that Daniel and I really didn't think about, but when we got home from the hospital with Leeland, we were so sleep deprived and overwhelmed that we had a lot of junk to eat. Jimmy John's one night, Chick-Fil-A another, Papa John's the next. (Not that those things are bad in moderation, but every night is a little excessive.) In hindsight, this was probably something we should have prepared for and had some dishes frozen away.  So back to the best gift-- 2 of my dear friends brought us a few meals!  Those nights we ate like champions!  (For real!) One of those recipes I'm gonna share with you today. My dear friend Melissa's chicken pot pie. It's one that has definitely become a staple around our house--something that I can easily put together the night before, or during nap time and then just bake it off when we're ready to eat.  I've even passed it along to many of my friends who have had children. 

Chicken Pot Pie
  • About 3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of potato soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can Veg-All drained
  • 1 box of 2 roll-out pie crusts
I usually bake my chicken with a little salt and pepper and then shred it with 2 forks in a bowl while it's hot. Then you mix all of the chicken with all of your canned products. As far as the canned products go, I will say that usually buy the healthier choices if there is one-- low fat and low or no sodium. (I haven't noticed a difference in taste with these.)  Roll out one of your pie crusts into your pie dish, then fill with your chicken mixture.  Top with the second crust and tuck in your edges to the best of your ability-- make it look like a pie.  You're going to want to cut a few slits in the top so that your pie can breath.  At this point if I am making it ahead, I throw some foil on it and pop it in the fridge.  
When it's time to bake your pot pie, heat your oven to 425 degrees. If it is has been in the fridge prior, then I usually bake it in the oven WITH the foil on for about 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until your crust is as golden as you like it. If you haven't refrigerated it, you can probably get away with just the latter bake with no foil. 
Also, if you're making it for someone, I usually make it and refrigerate it with foil and then give them the baking instructions, so they can make it when they want it. 

And then you just enjoy your tasty chicken pot pie!!  Thank you to both Melissa and Alisa for making meals for us after Leeland was born, and sharing the recipes with us too! (Do we get more after #2 is here?? Just kidding.)  Happy cooking!!

Family decisions.

This upcoming week will be my last week of work. It feels exciting and also extremely terrifying to say that.  I've always wanted to be at home full-time with Leeland, and now that there's another on the way, it's even more important to me. Daniel recently took on a new job.  Going into it, I think we both thought that with his new job we'd made it big. We'd be rich!  Not exactly.... At this point it looks like we'll be making about the same with his one job as we were making collectively.  We're not losing any, but it will still be tight, and we're adding another child to the mix. 
The big deciding factor was child care. With Daniel's previous job, we could flip-flop our schedules and take care of Leeland. Now, he has a set full-time schedule and so we needed help watching Leeland while I was at work. We have friends and family who are close by who have been willing to help us out, but they have their own jobs and lives-- they can't watch him everyday forever. Not to mention, when #2 comes along, who wants to be responsible for 2 children. Daycare is super expensive, and even paying someone to come to our house and stay with him would be more than what I make. I mean, I work in the ministry.... If we were only bringing home $100 or so dollars after childcare with me working, then was it worth it?  After all, the best, most capable person of taking care of a child is the child's mother.
We've made the decision, but know that it will come with sacrifices.  It's more important now then ever to really count our pennies and pinch where we can. I will continue my couponing, and we have gotten really good about defining our needs versus our wants. We've kept a lot of stuff from when Leeland was little so there won't be many things we'll need for the baby-- a crib, and maybe about 10 more cloth diapers.
I am sad about leaving my job because I have really enjoyed it-- I have told them though that I would LOVE to volunteer some. 

The Lord has always been good to us, and has always taken care of us. Now is a time when we're stepping out in faith, in full trust in Him as we embark on this new adventure as a family.  Yes, it does require good stewardship and sacrifice on our part, but we are so excited about the many blessings as well. We truly feel that this is where He has led us and have had several confirmations along the way.