Friday, March 31, 2017

five on friday (and a winner!)

{1} The winner of the Baker Creek heirloom seed giveaway is Gabriel G! Gabriel, I sent you an email for your address so I can get that shipped out to you. :) Thank you to everyone who entered!

{2} Tuesday Outtakes link up! Don't forget to come back here on Tuesday to share some outtakes from your life.

golden grain stuffed peppers
{3} Hello Fresh. We finally hopped on the Hello Fresh bandwagon and I gotta be honest: while the meals were something we had never tried before and I LOVED not having to meal plan... I wouldn't order it again. For the price I just didn't see the value. Plus, they post all their recipes on their website so if we ever saw something we wanted to try we'd just get the ingredients ourselves for a fraction of the price.

{4} These balls of energy. It was really nice not needing to commute the 40 minutes each way yesterday because it meant more time with them! 

{5} We found out yesterday our insurance is covering the wind damage to our siding! I am so happy - not only was our insurance provider cheaper than its competitors when we first bought our policy three years ago, but the entire claims process was SO simple. Two of the four sides of our house had damage and our adjuster said that a lot of insurance providers won't cover any side that isn't damaged...which means we would have either had horribly mismatched siding (they don't make our aluminum siding anymore) or we would have had to pay half out of pocket (probably around $7k). They said they would pay to have the entire house fixed! We chose the color antique parchment. Jon and I also made the decision to buy new light fixtures out of pocket for the front of the house because ours are really small and outdated, and we chose these.

Linking up with AmyKatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

thursday happenings (and a new link up!)

I am working from home today because the field assessor from our insurance company is coming to evaluate our siding damage. That means coffee at the dining room table!

One thing I've tried to maintain since I started this blog over 6 years (!!) ago is transparency that my life is far from perfect. There have been many times that I've wondered if I was the only person struggling with different issues (body image, marriage, and parenting to name a few) because everyone's lives are typically portrayed so perfectly on social media. I vowed to myself that I wouldn't be that person. That's why I've tried to be pretty open about struggles Jon and I have had, the way I feel about myself, and how hard parenting can be. Mackensey and I got to chatting about this and we decided that on the first Tuesday of every month, we would host a link up to encourage our blogging community to share the outtakes of their lives. It could be pictures that you took that didn't make the cut for one reason or another, a story about something that didn't go according to plan--whatever you want! I firmly believe that being open with our struggles can not only be a great encouragement to others, but also to ourselves because others can encourage us and offer tips that might help.

For example, I might share this photo:
...and mention the fact that the past few days Edith and Elden have been going at it like little MMA fighters and it has left our patience nonexistent, resulting in more yelling than I'd care to admit.

So come on back on Tuesday, April 4th and share some of your outtakes!


The giveaway for Baker Creek seeds ends at midnight! Make sure to enter here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

what's up wednesday

Linking up with MelSheaffer, and Shay!

What we're eating this week:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: this vegetable pasta primavera gives me life. This week we added caramelized Brussels sprouts to it (did that in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper) and OMG. I can die happy.

I also have plans to try this recipe but to sub asparagus for the roasted tomatoes.

Next week we are trying Hello Fresh for the first time and I am SO excited! I had been avoiding any of the subscription meal services because at $10 per person per meal it just didn't make sense to me (I cook our meals for far less than that). However, using this referral I was able to get the meals for $40 off which came out to $3.33 per person per meal so I figured we'd give it a shot.

Brussels sprouts chips! Whenever we make Brussels sprouts we take the leaves that fall off and turn them into chips. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake at 400 degrees until brown (I burnt them a bit this week). Not only do Jon and I love them, but Edith gobbles them up.

What I'm reminiscing about:

Edith will be 2.5 in April and I'm kind of beside myself about it. I'm not exactly sure where the last 2.5 years have gone.

What I'm loving:

The smiles on this sweet girl.

This fun package of goodies a sweet friend sent me this week.

What we've been up to:

A few weeks ago we had a really intense storm with very high winds. There are two large trees in our backyard and between branches hitting the house and the wind pulling away at our siding we have been doing a LOT of yard cleanup. We also have an insurance adjuster coming to see if they'll cover the damage to the house.

What I'm dreading:

There actually isn't anything that really sticks out in my mind!

What I'm working on:
This was my big project for March. Tutorial for similar sign here.

What I'm excited about:

{image source}
Hopefully in April we will build our raised garden beds. I also have big plans for planters like this.

What I'm watching/reading:

For once we are all caught up on our shows! The only thing I've really been reading is a variety of cooking magazines as I hunt for new recipes.

What I'm listening to:

What I'm wearing:

This lipstick.

What I'm doing:

Starting seedlings (okay, this has mostly been Jon).

What I'm looking forward to next month:

My parents generously purchased tickets for all of us to take Elden and Edith to see Sesame Street Live in April. The kids have never been to a movie theater and certainly not a live show so I'm really excited for this. Edith asked me yesterday morning if she could wear a dress to the show.

What else is new: 

Have you entered to win an heirloom seed package from Baker Creek yet? The giveaway closes first thing Friday morning! Check back for the winner then.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

etta (19 weeks old)

Etta is 19 weeks old, weighs 14 lb. 3 oz (55th percentile) and is 25.79" long (89th percentile). She wears 6-9 month clothing. It seemed as though this week Etta realized sleep was not of the devil and that she would embrace it, though the last two nights might tell you otherwise. She is getting a little better about letting some of our family members hold her but will often cry if Jon or I are not present. Besides this little hiccup she is actually a very happy and smiley girl. Etta has started to giggle and it is everything. You can tell she wants to be mobile - she will kick her legs like crazy when she is on her stomach - but thankfully she has not yet mastered this skill. Etta drools like crazy but has no teeth to show for it yet. She still has clogged tear ducts but is otherwise in perfect health!

Monday, March 27, 2017


What a weekend! Friday was a bit rough for me - Etta had a well visit at her doctor--a good 40 minutes from our house--at 8:40. I told Jon on Thursday night about the 8:40 visit. I stayed home from work to take her (so I can nurse her if the appointment inevitably runs late). I pulled out of our driveway at 7:45 and looked at the reminder on my phone for her 8:00 appointment. As it happens, I had confused her well visit with Elden's ENT visit (which was today) so I totally missed the appointment. In a stressful flurry of phone calls I was able to get her in at 10:30. That meant I had to rush to work (35 minutes each way) to get my laptop and some folders for a few meetings I had in order to work from home. On my way into work a truck kicked up a rock and dinged my windshield. I was none too pleased with Friday. But! Etta is healthy, insurance is paying for my windshield repair and Jon and I ended the night with a backyard fire and wine date.
it was a day, that's for sure.

On Saturday we had Edith's dance class and ran errands in the morning. 
warm temps means i can nurse in the car!
After the kids had nap/quiet time, we headed to Jon's parents to celebrate his mom's birthday. They catered P.F. Changs and it was SO delicious. This isn't my best work, but I made her this sign (and added more photos of the kids) as a gift:
details on how to DIY something similar here
On Sunday, Jon had to lead worship at church but Elden's nose was a faucet so I kept the kids home. Jon's parents came by to drop off some old aquarium lights for our seedlings (speaking of - have you entered my Baker Creek heirloom seed giveaway!?) so we got that set up. Did you know you can use aquarium lights to grow plants!? I had no idea and by reusing spares that Jon's dad had lying around we are saving a ton of money on the initial lamp investment. We got our little greenhouse on special buy from Aldi this week for $20 and for the price I am happy with the quality.

After the kids woke up from naps my parents stopped by for a visit. Our kids love their grandparents (on both sides)! It was a great weekend spent with lots of family.

Friday, March 24, 2017

five on friday: baker creek heirloom seed giveaway!

In honor of the arrival of spring, I have partnered with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for a giveaway valued at $48! Baker Creek is a provider of rare and unique seeds that we have used in the past (last year we yielded our body weight in striata d'Italia zucchini after sowing right in the ground) and continue to use, so I'm very excited about this giveaway. Here are my 5 favorite things about Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds:

Tzimbalo Melon Pears
{1} The seed type and selection. Baker Creek carries non-GMO heirloom and hybrid seeds. What this means is that a lot of their seed varieties are 50+ years old--some as old as 500+ years--and you can harvest your own seeds from the plants you've grown to successfully replant in subsequent years (the heirlooms). None of their plants are genetically modified and any hybrids that they carry have occurred naturally. Then there's the fact that a lot of these seeds are so rare - these aren't plants you can get at your local hardware store (or even nursery). For instance, check out these chocolate pear tomatoes or this mini pink popcorn. You don't grow vegetables? That's fine - there are rare fruit varieties such as this pineapple assortment that can be grown in containers anywhere in the country, herbs such as this Corsican basil, or flowers like this Pink Senorita Zinnia. There are over 2,000 rare seed varieties from all over the world to choose from. It may be the hipster in me, but I can totally get on board with growing something that no one else in my neighborhood does.

Bellvue mixed abutilon
{2} Customer service. I am not exaggerating when I say Baker Creek has some of the best customer service around. If you have poor germination rates of your seeds they have been known to send you new packets, no questions asked. Any issues whatsoever and Baker Creek works diligently to resolve them.

Quadrato D'Asti Rosso peppers
{3} Cheap shipping and bonus seeds! How many times have you gone to order something that you know couldn't cost more than a dollar or two to ship and yet the seller charges $10+ for it? At Baker Creek, you are charged a flat rate of $3.50 regardless of what you order (and they even ship live plants!). If you register during checkout, you will also get 6 months of free shipping on all future orders. Then there's the bonus seeds - each order includes at least one pack of a free seed variety chosen by Baker Creek and the more you spend the more free seeds you get. Jon and I placed an order last month and got 2 free seed varieties!

Pusa Asita Carrot
{4} Philanthropy. Have you ever heard of a seed library? I hadn't either until Jon introduced me to it. A seed library is exactly what it sounds like - a place you can go to borrow or donate seeds. The goal is often to encourage people to get out and plant some of their own food, but it is also beneficial in the event a critical plant species were to somehow go extinct, there to be global crises, etc. An aside / fun fact is that the world's largest seed bank is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault located just 812 miles from the North Pole where seeds are stored in a similar manner as a bank safe deposit box. I digress, but it's really interesting stuff. Baker Creek donates seeds to seed libraries--including one of our more local seed libraries.

ornamental fringed mix kale
{5} Their packaging. This is probably really shallow, but I am a major sucker for a good packaging job. Baker Creek packages their seeds in really fun envelopes that give me warm fuzzies inside. I get really excited when new varieties arrive because I can't wait to see what the envelope looks like.

So now, for the good stuff! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win an heirloom seed collection from Baker Creek valued at $48! The giveaway will close on 3/31 and the winner will be contacted. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Baker Creek offered to give away an heirloom seed collection at no cost to me as part of this blog post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Linking up with AmyKatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

happy hump day

Spring has arrived in Ohio with a balmy high of 30 degrees today! We are excited to start our garden this year; we have plans for new raised beds laid out and already have seedlings growing. Jon and I were discussing which rare tomato seeds we should order...I love my nerdy husband.
On a related note, make sure to check back this Friday for a fun rare seed giveaway valued at $48!

In my Timehop yesterday there were pictures of both older kids around Etta's age. I had to do a side by side...we see a mix of both kids in Etta:

I won this table on a local estate sale auction website for $24. It is solid oak. Our kitchen table is from Big Lots pre-marriage and is in a bad way so we had been talking about upgrading for a while. I have big plans to replace the legs on this table with something like these, refinish the top with a gray stain, and perhaps paint the legs something fun like this (if I can just convince Jon first). 

One of Elden's current obsessions is sea animals, as sparked by this toob. He carts them all over the house so Jon got him some ocean books from the library. Perhaps he's following in his marine biology-loving mom's foot steps...

I made these sandwiches for dinner and I gotta say - they were so easy and delicious. I added a little bacon to mine and Jon said he would definitely eat them again!

Finally, to conclude hump day, I saw this on Facebook and immediately yelled out "YAS":

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

etta (18 weeks old)

As of Saturday, Etta is 18 weeks old. She is still a rolling machine. I have been trying to nurse her less in the middle of the night and she seems to be getting the idea that she does not need to wake up every two hours to eat. Etta is generally a very content baby unless you are ignoring her. She also has a pretty bad case of stranger danger already and cries if anyone other than Jon or I are holding her. Nights have definitely been better this week and we are hoping it isn't a fluke. Etta is wearing 6M and 9M clothing and is growing like a weed. She was dedicated at church this week and even though she gives us a run for our money we are so glad she is ours.

Monday, March 20, 2017

weekend recap

On Friday we went to Jon's parent's house when I got home from work for cabbage and noodles and reubens in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday morning I took this sweet girl to dance class:
 After dance we spent the remainder of the afternoon cleaning and cooking because first thing Sunday...
 ...we dedicated Etta at church. As a side note, earlier this week Elden had been asking what it meant to dedicate her. I explained that it just meant we would raise Etta in a way that she would hopefully come to know Jesus. All week he had been saying he couldn't wait to see us raise Etta. I was confused and explained that we had already been raising her (and him!). At one point he asked me if we were going to raise her "like this" (insert how Rafiki holds baby Simba in Lion King here) and I laughed and said no. But he kept up the excitement about raising her. Then in the car on the way to church he said, "mommy, what does it mean to raise from the dead [like Jesus]?" aaaaand I realized that he had totally the wrong idea about what he was going to witness. #momfail

After the service, we came home and had a little lunch with our families. The kids were partied out after all the excitement for the day. When we went to get Elden from quiet time I found him buried beneath his blanket on his floor:

As part of my push to simplify our lives this year I have been doing a lot of purging. We have huge piles ready to go for our community's annual garage sale in May and I have been going through drawers and throwing out a LOT of stuff (old nailpolish, papers, etc.). I focused on our room yesterday afternoon and felt like I could breathe in there for the first time in forever:
If I'm being honest, this whole project has been somewhat overwhelming. The house has many rooms, closets and drawers and there have been times where I genuinely thought it was futile but I've just been trying to focus on a project at a time. It was a really good weekend and we were so blessed to have our families celebrate Etta with us.

Linking with Biana.

Friday, March 17, 2017

five on friday

{1} Minicons. Elden is beyond obsessed with these little Transformers and I'm pretty sure they're being phased out so Jon and I have stocked up. He earns them through his sleep chart, money he has saved, and we are planning on surprising him with some for the Atlanta trip to help keep him busy on the flights.

{2} It amazes me how much Elden has grown since he started preschool. He went from very rudimentary stick figures to people with little toes! Art is hands down his favorite and I love seeing his imagination at work. I also love how happy all his people look with those giant smiles.

{3} Winter finally arrived in Ohio and while I am less than enthused these two were thrilled to have some snow fun.

{4} One pot vegetarian pasta primavera. We used this recipe and it was SO GOOD. The fact that I only had to dirty a single pot for it? Priceless.

{5} Jon hung up Etta's portrait and we officially have all three of our babies above our mantle. I'm not going to lie, having such a prominent fireplace and mantle is probably my favorite part of our house.

Linking up with AmyKatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!