Home Tour: Dining Room Reveal

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #ICantEven #BigLots 

Getting this house to be fully organized, decorated, and feeling like a home has been such a long process. We have been here for six months now, and it's just barely starting to feel settled. I think my biggest thing to overcome when decorating a home is finding the pieces I want, without breaking the bank. I also hate the idea of having to spend an entire day going from one store to another to get everything I need, which ultimately leaves most of our house with blank white walls everywhere. 

A few weeks ago I headed into to Big Lots and was amazed at the selection of home decor pieces they had. There were so many things that I felt like fit into the mold of my own personal style, that also flowed nicely with the overall design in the rest of the rooms in our home. I really love muted teal, blue, and green colors, and those are the colors that appear throughout our house. I was amazed at the large selection that Big Lots offered to help meet my personal style, and different styles and tastes for other people too. There is seriously something for everyone there. 

The hardest part about our dining room was finding pieces that fit the narrow walls that we have in there. We have a large sliding glass door that takes up one entire wall of the room, and then a window on the other full wall. This didn't leave much room to actually hang things. I loved how I was able to fill the blank space with small/narrow pieces, and make it feel like a more inviting room to be in. 

My favorite part about the space was that there was just enough room to hang our Family Home Evening sign that we had been gifted last Christmas. It had sat unused in our bedroom for the longest time and I love that we were able to finally get it hung up. I also love that it fit perfectly on the space we had planned for it, and that our three decorative mirrors really helped add a little more interest to what otherwise would have looked a little bare and awkward. 

Overall I'm really happy with how this space turned out. It feels amazing to have the main living area of our house finished and now we can get working on the master bedroom, and Jay's room in the next few months. With our luck we'll get this house just how we want it about a week before we wind up moving in March. That's usually how these things work out right? 

Where do you love to purchase home decor items? I love that Big Lots has a wide variety of window treatments, wall art, throw pillows and more so that you can decorate your entire home while only having to shop at one place! Styles and assortment may vary by store.

TMNT Family Halloween Costume

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I love traditions. We have a ton that we do throughout the year for a bunch of different occasions, but Halloween is basically the start of the holiday season, and that's when I pick up momentum with going crazy and doing every possible tradition I can think of. During the fall we always read tons of fall stories, go apple picking, a trip to the pumpkin patch is always a must, there are lots of pumpkin flavored desserts, and I love me a good family themed Halloween costume.

The first year that we were married Derek and I were storybook characters. We didn't put much effort into our costumes and just made t-shirts at the last minute before heading over to my brother and sister-in-law's place for a movie night, but it totally still counts. When Jay was a newborn we dressed him up as a super hero, and Derek and I were said superhero's parents. Again, Derek and I just opted for t-shirts but it was still pretty cute in my opinion. The following year we fell off the boat and Jay was a skeleton, but at least Derek and I were wearing black so we at least looked like we all belonged together right?

Last year I had epic plans for us to all be crayons for Halloween. After I had cut letters for hours, hot glued them to the felt, and measured everyone's costumes just so, I went to run them all through my sewing machine last minute before we went trick-or-treating and broke my needle. I just scrapped the entire idea and we pretty much did nothing. 

This year though, I'm back for another great round of the family Halloween costume and this year we went with Ninja Turtles! We bought our costumes at Party City because the sewing machine got gifted to a friend last year for Christmas and I never replaced it when we moved. That, and there was no way I could trust myself to actually make our costumes with how busy we've been lately. The great thing about Party City was that they had a lot of accessories to add to your costume to make it your own, Derek and Em's costumes didn't come with turtle shells so we bought some extra ones to add to theirs. We also bought extra face masks for Jay since we knew he would lose his... which may have been a loss cause since he was definitely not interested in wearing it anyways.

We had such a blast picking out our Halloween costumes today at Party City. Most of the displays had already been picked through but I was amazed at how nice and willing the employees were to run in the back three different times for me to help get all the costumes we needed! I made a video of our shopping trip that you can watch at the end of this post! It was so fun!


Em at 13 Months

I had originally planned on ending the monthly Em series when she turned one because I didn't want to be that obnoxious mom who over did the baby posts. But Em is different, and she's had quite the impressive month, so I felt inclined to share.

I'm constantly impressed with how well she is doing. Each night as we're all together as a family I can't help but feel overwhelmingly emotional for how blessed we truly are. I met another Holoprosencephaly mom over the weekend and she was telling me that they had done a study where they were comparing the capabilities of 57 or so other children with Holoprosencephaly and out of the group, only 7-8 of them ever walked. I don't share that to brag that we're on the brink of becoming a member of this elite group of walkers (because we're years from that). I share this because I think people often forget the severity of Em's condition. And it's just another testament of the many miracles we've seen. 

I sometimes feel guilty for thinking we've got it hard when I see the parents whose children suffer from the severity of this illness on a daily basis. They're heroes. I admire them so much, and I look up to them more then they'll ever know. It's through them that I truly feel like I've gained so much love and compassion for not only my family, but the entire world around me. This entire adventure has truly given me a better capacity and understanding to see people as the Lord sees them, and not as the world sees them. 

My friend sent me a quote a few nights ago by one of the Apostles of our church that says, "I bear witness of the day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind." Does anyone else get a lump in their throat and watery eyes reading that? I can't imagine that day. Em is already so beautiful, so perfect, and so amazing to us, that I can't even fathom what an amazingly incredible experience that is going to be. 

This month Em has started to sit unsupported more. Last week we got her to sit independently for an entire minute at two separate occasions. We've been waiting for this milestone for so long, it almost feels unreal that it's actually here. Our physical therapist says she's on track to be sitting independently for five minute intervals by the end of the month. She also says that Em should be able to spin in circles on her belly for the beginning stages of crawling by the end of the month too. 

Em has been sleeping so much better lately! We've only been having to get up with her once in the middle of the night for a feeding, and then she sleeps the rest of the night. We've all been doing a lot better with this extra sleep. We also finally stopped swaddling her. It was this situation where she was a terrible sleeper and swaddling was the only thing that gave me control like I was able to do something about the situation. Once we finally ditched the swaddle though is when things got a million times better with her sleeping habits so I'm assuming we were our own worst enemy in that department. You live and you learn right? 

Another amazing thing is that Em has started waving bye! At her one year check up the nurse told us this was one of the skills she would need to have by 15 months to be considered "on track" (there were a bunch of other ones but they all involve walking so I knew we wouldn't get them), and this last month she's been waving bye like a champ. I'll leave the house at night to go on my run and Derek will say, "wave bye to mommy!". and she does it, and it kills me every time. 

She's also been saying, "yeah", a ton this month and it's the cutest thing ever! "Do you want more food?", "YEAH!" "Do you love me?". "YEAH!" It's the absolute best! She also says "dada", all the time and, "Moooooommmmmmm", in the middle of the night when she wants to eat. She's a keeper this one. 

Her eating has also been really great this month. We finally started introducing more table foods in addition to her purees. She still eats 3-4 containers of pureed baby food, and about 20 ounces of milk, but we've been giving her mandarin oranges, green beans, entire bananas, scrambled eggs, peas, and she's been doing really well! She feeds herself all of these things using her little pincer grasp and it's the cutest thing ever! We only had to perform the Heimlich once last month which has been a great improvement. She is also starting to self feed herself water from a sippy cup while lying down on the floor which is another thing we've been working tirelessly on. 

I know I say this every month, but we seriously love this girl so much. She fills are home with so much joy and love and she has given us all a strength we never knew we had. She's the glue that binds us all together. She keeps us anchored in our testimonies and is a constant reminder that miracles do happen.

The Entire Em Series:
Why We Bought Em A Wheelchair
Em at 11 Months
Em at 12 Months

Halloween Mini Pudding Pies

Monday, October 5, 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #SnackPackMixIns #CollectiveBias

I'm back for round two today of Halloween ideas for your Snack Pack chocolate pudding cups. This one might be my favorite because it's a little nostalgic of when  I had "cemetery cake" for the first time in elementary school. I don't know what it is about chocolate pudding, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms that I find so absolutely thrilling at this time of year, but it's seriously so fun, and I can't get enough of it. 

These are the perfect treat for a little Halloween party or play date. I think most kids will enjoy getting their own little pie, and it would even be more fun to let them construct them on their own. The plus side is that they can't really mess them up too badly because it's Halloween and I think a little destruction is all in the nature of the holiday right? You can make these right in the pudding cups, or transfer the pudding into Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust like I did.

I grabbed everything that I needed for this project at Walmart which made everything super easy. The gravestones are made out of Nutter Butters dipped in black and white candy melts melted and stirred together, the dirt is made from crushed Oreo's and the worms are well, gummy worms. Super simple and easy to make! Also right now at Walmart look for $1 off your purchase of Snack Pack Pudding when you purchase 14.3oz or Oreos!

Snack Pack Pudding
Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust
Oreo Cookies
Nutter Butters
White and Black Candy Melts
Gummy Worms

Spoon Snack Pack Pudding into Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts until they're full. Then crush the Oreo cookies by putting them into a bag and crushing them with a rolling pin. Then sprinkle them on top of the pudding in the pies.

Melt equal parts white nad black candy melts in the microwave in 30 second incraments until smooth. Dip the Nutter Butters into the grey candy melts and then set on a flat plate in the freezer until hardened. Once they're cool and hardened insert them into the middle of each pie. Place gummy worms around the Nutter Butters to finish them off.

How are you celebrating Halloween this year? What are your favorite mix-ins for your Snack Packs?

Halloween Pudding Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #MixInMonsterMash #CollectiveBias

If you want the truth about these pudding cups it goes a little bit like this: Over the weekend we stayed home and watched an eight hour church conference called General Conference. I'm sure you saw friends all over social media using the hashtag #LDSConf, and that's why. If you ever tried watching eight hours of church with a one-year-old and a three-year-old you probably know where this is going.

Saturday afternoon during the first session Jay decided that it was a good time at the age of three and two months to figure out how to climb out of his crib and nap times are officially over in this house. If you have a toddler who doesn't nap anymore, then you know the tantrums and illogical thinking that comes from a small person not getting their nap.

So we dealt with that all day Saturday, and then he slept great Saturday night. Sunday it was the same thing, but his attitude was terrible all the day long. At some point in the afternoon I remembered that I had to make this post for today so I got everything out to do it, and then all heck broke out in our house. The internet went out while Derek was trying to get General Conference to work on our computer, and Jay had hit the cranky wall and was getting into everything for this post. I found great therapy when it was time to crush the sandwich cookies with the rolling pin and really went to town on that because as a mother you never want to hit your children, but when you're tired and cranky and you get to go to town with a rolling pin on a bag of sandwich cookies? Best three minutes ever.

Anyways, onto the pudding cups. since I made similar Snack Pack pudding cups like this for Easter, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at Halloween. My original plan was to make a pumpkin patch and dip sandwich cookies cookies into orange candy melts and then draw the face onto the candy melts for the jack-o-lantern with an edible marker, but then the edible marker wouldn't write on the candy melts... and every marker in our house wouldn't write on the candy melts. Luckily I found these Halloween themed candies last week when I was at Meijer so they were the perfect thing to swap out the sandwich cookie pumpkins for.

Snack Pack comes in a variety of flavors and offers endless mix-in opportunities that the kids can help prepare. Each serving of Snack Pack is fortified with as much calcium as an 8-oz glass of milk, so you can feel good about serving your kids Snack Pack. For mix-in inspiration, visit Snack Pack on Pinterest  and Facebook.

Right now at Meijer through 10/31 when you use your mperks coupon you can save $1 off when you purchase four 4-packs of snack pack pudding. (More details here) We'll be heading to Bowling Green store location in Tennessee this weekend for a family trip we're taking and are excited about the Ready For You demos that will be going on in store from 12-6pm!

Snack Pack Pudding
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Halloween Candies

Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies in a resealable baggie with a rolling pin. Distribute the cookie crumbs into each pudding cup, and then top with desired Halloween candies!

What are your favorite things to mix into your Snack Pack pudding? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
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