Sunday, October 26, 2014

How Family Pictures REALLY Go

It’s fall y’all! Well, actually, it’s been fall for a while now and it just dawned on me that we should probably get our family pictures taken so we have something to slap on a Christmas card in about a month or so. In the back of my mind, I knew I should get a session on the calendar, but I have been dragging my feet. For one, I HATE getting family pictures taken and for two, I have been selfishly wanting to lose the last few pounds of baby weight before I send out pictures to about 100 of our closest friends and family. I am just being honest (and self conscious) here.

I figured we should get this over with, so I called our friend Kari to see if she could take our pictures yesterday. I asked her maybe two days in advance and luckily, she had an opening! Fall for photographers is like tax season for accountants, so I said I would edit them if she spent an hour with us taking them.

Family pictures are kind of funny to me. Like I said, I hate taking them, but I love getting them back. Everyone looks so happy and the kiddos look so sweet. Well, let me tell you, that was NOT what was going on during our family photo sesh. Here is a quick recap of how it really goes – at least for us…

First off, I always fuss way too much trying to color coordinate and figure out what everyone is wearing. It usually consists of a last minute run to Target or Old Navy because we never seem to have anything cute. Then, we strategically plan out when we need to get everyone showered/bathed, dressed, and fed/nursed so we can to get to the session on time. Right before we left, Lennon had a blow out. Logan changed him and put him in a new (unfussed about) outfit. We then got everyone in the car and we were on our way! Half way there Ellis says, “Oh no! Look at Lennon!” from the backseat. I unbuckled my seatbelt and looked back and he had spit up all over his 'plan B' outfit. I swore under my breath, sat back down, buckled up, and hoped it dried by the time we get there. We got to the park and it was beautiful out and actually pretty warm. (Yay! One thing went our way!) We then gathered up the kids and a cute antique quilt that I love and followed Kari to the spot to take our pictures. So far, so good I thought. We were finally all set up and Kari was ready to take our pictures when Ellis decided to grow horns and become a devil child. So, the rest of the hour went pretty much like this – the wind was blowing my hair in my face and Lennon’s hat off his head, Ellis was chewing on her scarf, both kids were sneezing and had boogers everywhere, Logan and I were arguing b/c we both thought the other one should've grabbed the diaper bag from the car, Ellis wouldn't stand still or look at the camera and from time to time decided to sit in the dirt (in her fussed about outfit), throw rocks and take off her shoes. Poor Kari was standing there trying her best to get a good shot while, I assume, secretly wondered if I was going to throw my two year old in the bush next to us.

Can anyone relate? Are we the only completely dysfunctional family when it comes to family pictures?! Is there such thing as a two year old that stands still, smiles and looks cute for the camera?! I asked Kari at what age kids get better with the picture taking and she said about six years old. Well, I guess our next family photo session will be in 2020 when Lennon is six!!! ;)

Anyways, out of the 196 frames, we got about seven good pictures that didn’t require major editing and head swapping. We look so happy, huh? It’s all lies I tell you, lies! Lol






Here is what about 95% of them looked like:


And now on to the fun and EASY part --- picking your family Christmas card design! There are tons if companies to go to for your printed family photo card, but Minted is my absolute favorite! Their designs are very much my style and because I am 100% a paper snob, I love that they print their cards on beautiful, thick paper. I was just looking over their site and found these adorable holiday ornament cards! What a great idea! If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that we are a rather thrifty family – and by thrifty, I mean cheap. I know several families that have done away with the whole holiday card tradition because it actually costs quite a bit of money. There is the cost of the photographer, new clothes if you choose to purchase them, the printing of the cards and then the cost of mailing them out to all of your friends and family. Even though it is pricey to keep up with this tradition, it is one I refuse to let go. I LOVE getting eveyones holiday cards in the mail. The entire month of December, I cannot wait to get our mail! I also always keep one of our own cards every year and it is so fun to look back at them throughout the years. We have been sending them out since we got married in 2008. What I love about the holiday ornament cards is that people will probably hang them on their trees and keep them for years to come, instead of just pitching them once the season is over. I dont know about you, but it makes me feel just a little better about spending all that money. Here are a few of my favorite designs from Minted:


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WELCOME LENNON WHITAKER

Yes, after two and a half months, I am finally getting back to blogging! I have lots to share, including the arrival of our sweet little man, Lennon. He is Benjamin Button, a little old soul. I love him to the moon and back and feel so blessed to have him.

Announcement: Designed by me. Photograph courtesy of Roots to Wings Photography.



Monday, June 30, 2014

BABY BOY BUELL'S NURSERY - FINALLY COMPLETE

Well, it is finally complete. I actually got my brain to think 'BOY' and turned Ellis' old nursery into one suitable for a little man. I think we did pretty ok! :) I will post pictures of Ellis' big girl room soon. It is about 99% complete. (All room links below)













Room Links:
- Allister the Alligator (we named him ;) - Jelly Cat (We bought him at a little boutique downtown - can't remember the name of the place.)
- Crib Sheet - Burt's Bees Organic
- Wooden Crate Shelving - Wal Mart - We stained
- Book Shelves - IKEA picture shelves - no longer sold in natural wood
- Mobile - Amazon - I folded the paper boats out of an old book and map I had laying around
- Green Plastic Bucket - bought at Target for $6 - Can't find on-line for some reason.
- Wicker Basket - Target - Similar
- Hipster Animal prints & Frames - Bought the prints off of Shutterstock and I printed them myself - Frames are from IKEA (no longer sold, but these are similar)
- Bed Skirt & Changing Pad Cover - Both made by me - $20 for fabric for both from Jo-Ann Fabric - used these two tutorials (crib skirt tutorial) (changing pad cover)
- Wooden Spool End Table - Found on the side of the road - stained and got glass cut to fit on top - secured in place with clips.
- Man and Monkey Print & Frame - Bought an old story book on Ebay for $4 - ripped out a page and framed. (I framed one for Ellis' room as well) Frame - IKEA
- Curtains & Pillow - I bought at work at our company store - $5 for each
- All White Furniture Set (crib, armoire, dresser, and changing station) - Bought the entire set for $500 at work at a scratch and dent sale. (Armoire alone retails for $1,300 - SCORE!) We bought these before we were even thinking about having kids. Is that weird? Maybe. I knew we would someday use them and I couldn't pass up the deal. :)
- Pretty much everything else (skateboard ($10), tin, bronze mouse ($6), globe ($15), coca-cola crate ($15) & cars ($1 each), etc.) all Flea Market finds!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

MOTHER'S DAY 2014

Yup, once again I am a bit late on this post. Mother's Day was great! I had brunch at our house to celebrate my Mother and Mother in Law. We had quiche, french toast bake, fresh fruit, muffins, and of course, CAKE!

Cakes are kind of my thing. I like to bake them, but I REALLY like to decorate them. I used to do it for my job at two different places when i was in High School, so I have had a little practice. :)

This time around I made a hummingbird cake. It has been popping up on my Pinterest feed a lot lately and I wanted to try it out. I put buttercream frosting in the center and cream cheese frosting on the outside.

Here is the recipe I followed. Everyone thought it was pretty darn delicious!



Saturday, April 19, 2014

PUMPKIN APPLE MUFFINS

Made these and I LOVE them. Seriously! They are super yummy! Here is the recipe from Eating Bird Food. The only thing I did differently was doubled the cinnamon to 1 tsp and skipped the topping.



Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) Earth Balance Buttery Stick or butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sucanat or dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup pumpkin (roasted or canned)
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup quinoa flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ cups peeled and finely chopped apple pieces (about 2 apples)
  • Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with the 6 Tablespoons of water and let sit while you start preparing the other ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the topping – 2 tablespoons of sucanat with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the quinoa and whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the ¾ cup sucanat with the softened butter until combined. Add the flaxseed/water mixture, pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in yogurt.
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Gently stir in the apple chunks.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar topping. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Store any leftover muffins in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

MATERNITY CLOTHING: WHY I LOVE H&M BASICS

Yes, this will be my one and only maternity fashion post - if you can even call it that. After a recent trip to H&M, I feel the need to share (weird. me? share?) my extreme excitement over how many non-maternity pieces they have that work for my expanding belly. Seriously! It was fabulous. Not only are they not maternity clothes (so I don't have to feel weird about wearing them post baby) but they have great price tags! Most items I just sized up one size and they work like a charm! I would suggest actually going to the store vs. ordering online. Some items I didn't need to size up and some I did. It is obviously hard to tell those things when buying online.

I have a few thoughts when it comes to buying maternity clothes. I personally do not like to spend a lot of money. Wait... who am I kidding? I don't like to spend a lot of money on anything. Hey, call me frugal cheap! ;) Anyways, this might (might not) be my last pregnancy. That being said, I really do not see the need to spend a lot of money on clothing to get me through the next three months. I try to buy as many non-maternity items as possible b/c they work great during that awkward postpartum stage (and possibly even after) and buying basics works great b/c you can dress them up with jewelry, scarves, shoes, etc. You know, the stuff that stays the same size no matter how big your belly gets....

Anyways, I am loving H&M basics. Here are a few things I picked up to get through the home stretch.

Oh, wait one more thing....
I hate maternity jeans with a passion. They slide down in the back constantly and make your butt look saggy. I pretty much wear leggings with EVERYTHING and these ones from Old Navy are my favorite! I wore them all through my last pregnancy and I ordered another set (black and grey) this time around. I love them AND they are 50% off right now - two for $15!

And b/c I wear leggings with everything and firmly believe leggings ARE NOT PANTS, I am always looking for long tank tops, shirts, cardigans, and tunics that are long enough to cover my butt. Thanks H&M for having me covered... literally. ;)

Old Navy Jersey Maternity Leggings
Ok, now on to the H&M basics....

Jersey top - $9.95

Maxi Dress - $17.95

Jersey dress - $12.95
This might seem like an odd one, but after sizing up, the dress is not that tight on me - plus, I wear it with my favorite leggings and a cardigan that covers my butt. :)

LOVE this cardigan. It is plenty long and lightweight, so it will work great into the hot months of summer!

Long tank top - $5.95

These pants!!! These pants!!! I love them! They work great now and will work perfect for the awkward post baby stage! Yay for elastic waists!