Link Up

Link UP Week: One Project At A Time

link up weekYep, I couldn't leave you with only ONE link up post today! It is link UP week after all! This next link party comes from A Bowl Full of Lemons. This is all about what's been going on in or around your casa {i.e. what have you been working on?} New recipes? Redecorating? Being Crafty? Whatever project you've been working on, here is where you share it!

Did I mention I LOVE link ups? Because I do.

My recent project is one I'd been meaning to do for a while and finally got the time {and courage} to do it. We have a lovely little space under our steps that is constantly in disarray, so much so that we normally have it quarantined off so Keelin can't get lost in the mess. At one point I kept my crafts under there but no matter how much I tried it would inevitably turn into a total mess. So when we moved the office downstairs into the living room I was able to take some of the clutter out and was determined to keep it clean and organized.

Fail.

It stayed pretty clean for about a week but after the first time Z cleaned out the fish tank it pulled a Jekyll and Hyde transformation on us and returned to the unsatisfactory disaster zone. SO, when Keelin started to get more active and in need of a little space for her toys {not in the middle of the living room floor} I thought it would make the perfect little playnook for her. And Lord knows if it's somewhere Keelin is going to be spending a lot of time I'm going to keep it free of dangerous clutter. So one day when Z was at work and The Bean was napping, I busted out the trash bags, vacuum, Swiffer duster, and got down to business. I've got to tell you, I gave myself more than one pat on the back for this epic success.

Here is the before, and I have to tell you it pains me looking at it again, to think that I let it sit like that for so long. BAD housewife {smacks back of hand}.

beforeAHHHH. Avert your eyes. Horrible I know.

Once I decided what was staying, what was going to the shed, what was headed to the attic, what was going to our room, and what was going in the trash, I had a lot less to work with. Thank the SWEET LORD.

There was still enough down there that we use on a regular basis {regular enough to not want to go to the attic each time we need it} and decided I would re-organize it all {again} and section off the space directly under the first set of steps. That way we could still utilize it as storage but wouldn't have overflow into Keelin's play nook.

playnook

 

playnook

 

Yes, that is a Rock Band drum set. And Yes, I do rock that Rock Band drum set. So once I got everything cleaned, organized and sectioned off, I began the REAL fun of filling the nook with as much cozy, comfy, and fun stuff as it could stand. And this is the HAPPILY Cleaner After:

playnook after

 

Look at that and tell me you don't want to spend the whole day snuggled up with that sweet elephant. Yeah, I know, it's awesome. I'm really proud. And I'm even more proud that I've been able to keep it clean for over a month. Yes, it gets messy with her toys... but that's what it's for. She loves going into her little nook, looking through the window, snuggling with Phanny {the name I've given the elephant}, and playing with all of her toys. So even at the end of the day when some of her junk has trickled into the middle of the living room, I have a nice open area to put it all back in! And for those of you who are mommies worrying about that corner poking out toward the top right of the picture, she's not nearly tall enough to hit it. And I'm pretty sure Z and I will successfully dull it with our own heads by the time she's in danger of hurting herself.

The only problem is... now I want my own playnook.

Be sure you check out all the other great projects at A Bowl Full of Lemons and let me know if you joined in!

Until next time...

 

 

 

Link UP Week: Trendy Tot Tuesday

link up week Welcome to day 3 of link UP week! Forgive me for only posting ONE link up yesterday... this past weekend was a little nuts and this week is going to be even MORE nuts. On Friday, as we waited for my parents to get here for a long weekend visit, we found out that Z booked a roll on the new NBC series, Revolution. He is currently filming in Wilmington {probably on set as we speak} and I'm playing single mom for the week. I may be looney tunes by the end of it all! But enough about me, on to the next link up!

My college friend and fellow mom-blogger Melanie at Career Desires to Bottles and Diapers gave me the heads up about this awesome NEW link up. I was hoping to find and help promote a brand new link up so I'm so thankful she passed this along! It's called Trendy Tot Tuesday hosted by Kelly at Mrs. In Training, Megan at Table for Three, and Lindsay at Baby Mama Drama.

Trendy Tot Tuesday

This will be a chance to talk about kid's style, and pretty much anything goes.  Pictures of your cutie, talking about their style (that you buy and dress them in, ahem!), a Polyvore board, linking to the new kid's line at the Gap - anything!  All ages welcome, from you sweet pregnant mamas stocking up a closet to the teenagers that probably pick all their own stuff out now.

Sounds like fun! Let's get to it!

When it comes to Keelin's wardrobe, I learned early on how AMAZING consignment shopping is. Especially for mommy and daddy's wallet. Before she was born I had to stop myself from filling my cart with the cutest Gap, Carter's, and FAO Schwartz fashions. I discovered that I'm not a big "color" specific shopper {aka Keelin's closet isn't overrun with pink} but instead I prefer bright and fun colors... hence my love of Carter's! But like I said before, dressing your kid like a supermodel can be a major strain on the bank account so we rely a lot on seasonal sales and consignment shops. I decided to use this first Trendy Tot Tuesday to put a spotlight on the outfits Keelin wears all the time, and show some of the adorable digs I wish she had.

FAVS:

  • The first is my go-to party outfit. Keelin wore it for her 1st birthday and some of her 1 year photos and I'm so in love with the sweet flowers and matching skirt. They were both a gift from my first baby shower and are both from Arizona.
  • Next is a super sweet Carter's outfit perfect for chilly weather. The hooded sweater has a fun swirl pattern and silver glitter buttons, and the grey stretch leggins {terrible picture, I apologize} have matching buttons. Adorable.
  • The third is a representation of my FAVORITE article of clothing... overalls. We love OshKosh denim overalls but anything goes. The one in the photo is an adorable romper that Z's mother knit her. Homemade clothes are ABSOLUTELY the best.

Now onto some adorable "dream" digs. My guilty pleasure is scoping out Facebook, Gap, and Etsy for adorable outfits. Seriously if I could stock her closet with nothing but Gap and WAHM-made outfits, I would. We probably wouldn't have a house to put the closet in, but she'd certainly be stylin'!

  • First is an adorable white Scalloped eyelet dress from Gap Kids. I'll take one in every color please- and do they come in my size?
  • Next is a sweet Love U Dress/Tunic from Bleu Bird Designs. I LOVE all the colors and the rustic patchwork!
  • 3rd  is a dress and ballet slipper set from BabyBlushBoutique. Remember them from the fantastic giveaway they hosted? Love all of her custom designs.
  • 4th is a Green zigzag bishop dress from Marjorie's Daughter. This company is actually owned my by gal pal's aunt and her smocked dresses are beyond precious and she's currently having a sale on Zulily! Check it out!
  • 5th is a Limpopo Bandana Ruffle Tunic from Tea Collection. Bright colors, sweet ruffles, love love love!
  • And last is pretty much the sweetest thing I've ever seen - Hill farm blue vintage romper from ju ju Creations. Killing me.

Well there you have it! Some of my favorite outfits in Keelin's arsenal and a list of dresses you are more than welcome to purchase and send her/me. :)

Thanks so much to the gracious hosts for coming up with such a fun link up! I'll definitely be joining in again!

Until next time... 

Link UP Week: Now Bake This

link up week Happy Monday ya'll and welcome to Day 2 of link UP week! Hopefully you caught a glimpse of yesterday's link ups {Sunday Social and Raising Imperfection} but be sure you check them out if you didn't! Did anyone participate? Let me know!

To kick the week off right I thought I'd join Heart on Homestead and Peachy Plum for a little baking fun in their lovely {semi-new} link up aptly titled Now Bake This.

Now, since the hubs and I have been consciously trying to eat healthier, and considering Lent started last week, I haven't been doing a whole lot of baking these days. Lucky for you and the sake of this link up, Keelin is NOT counting calories and I've been looking forward to sharing this amazing recipe for the perfect toddler snack. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest {duh... follow me yo!} and thought, why not finally make something I've pinned?!? And so I did. Allow me to introduce the brilliant, simple, and delicious mini banana pancake muffins, compliments of Once A Month Mom.  Holy yum, these things are the best. I've given you the link to her original recipe, but because I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to what my kid puts in her belly, I did a little tweaking. Not to be confused with twerking. Please do not twerk while you bake... things get messy enough as it is.

Moving on...

The first time I gave this recipe a try, I made a few adjustments just to cut back on the sugar. {i.e. I halved the amount of syrup it called for and replaced it with more water} They turned out great, were slightly less sweet, and Keelin loved them. Win.

The second time I tried a few too many adjustments and while they were still good, and Keelin didn't complain, they were a little mushy for my taste. Kids are messy enough without having to scrape gooey pancake batter out from between their fingers. Lesson learned: while trying to add natural sweetness by using sugar-free applesauce, make sure you compensate with dry ingredients or it's mush city for your mini muffins. Mostly win.

This third time I totally {not totally} changed things up and just rolled with the punches. It's the same basic recipe, with a Sara spin. I decided to document my journey to share with you today. BIG win. Enjoy.

*Disclaimer - while I've provided measurements, a big part of the final result was just eyeing things and making sure my mix wasn't too soggy.

Step 1: ingredients 1 to 1-1/2 cup  "just add water" pancake mix. 3/4 cup water 1/3 cup no sugar added applesauce a dash of cinnamon {totally optional - unless you live in my house in which case the answer is, ALWAYS add cinnamon} fruit of choice

GASP - yes, I cut out the syrup all together. This was partially an intentional choice because I wanted the fruit and applesauce to be the source of the sweetness. And it was partially happenstance because I was out of syrup and did not feel like going out in 30 degree weather to get more. In the end, it was a great choice.

Step 2: mix it up DSC_0017 Combine pancake mix, water, applesauce, and cinnamon. Feel free to add more pancake mix {I did} if it looks too watery. The applesauce is deceptive in it's ability to really juicy things up. Then add the fruit. I used blueberries and peaches in this batch but used variations of banana, strawberry, raspberry, mango, and pineapple in the past. Whatever floats your fruity boat.

Step 3: pour it out DSC_0018 Pour into greased mini cupcake pan {Or if you are feeling frisky, you can use mini cupcake liners}. Be sure to wipe off the heinous drip marks if you plan on taking pictures for blogging purposes. {guilty}

Step 4: bake it good {preferably while listening to "WHIP it good...} Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. I also recommend using the toothpick test to make sure the center is nice and cooked.

Step 5: bask in the glory of your baking excellence DSC_0019 Totally legitimate step.

Step 6: cool and cooler DSC_0023 Let cool before removing from muffins and freeze.

Step 7: rock it Pop out a few mini muffins as a part of breakfast or as a light snack and let your kids' love for you grow every time. GOSH, what an awesome mom you are.

Let it be known that I realize these things are easy and delicious enough that you can make them for yourself, but since mine are mostly for my little one I'm focusing on the parental perks of the recipe! Have you tried these before or do you have another simple toddler snack recipe worth sharing? Please do. And if it involves baking make sure you link up with Jessica and Maria for Now Bake This, every Monday!

Until next time... 

Think I forgot about a really great link up? Let me know what party I should join in the comments!

Link UP Week: Raising Imperfection

link up week The 2nd link up of the week is brought to you by the dynamic duo at Raising Reagan and Violet Imperfection. Their weekly link up invites you to share... just about anything! Funny stories, parenting successes, parenting fails {way funnier}, DIY projects, recipes, whatever you're in the mood to share! They choose their favorite link each week and feature them on their Featured Friday post! Sounds like fun, eh? Let's begin.

Since I have plenty of parenting FAIL stories to share, and they openly invite them, I figured it's about time I share one. This is one of my more recent proud parenting moments. One for the baby books. One of those times where you just have to stop and think, "Well, at least she's still alive".

My little one is almost 14 months old {that's 1 year and 2 months for those of you who hate when parents refer to their toddler's age in 'months'} and is constantly on the move. She's a skinny minny monkey because she's burning like a million calories a day and the chance that I'll lose track of her somewhere in our house at least once a day is great. I'd say 100%. It's not that my house isn't safe - we have baby-proofed cabinets, put gates on the stairs, and are pretty careful about shutting doors to the rooms we don't want her in, but she is constantly sneaking around like a little creeper. And lets face it, we're human, and I have mom brain, so mistakes will me made when it comes to keeping her OUT of the things she's not supposed to be IN.

One such mistake occurred just a few weeks ago when I was neck deep in laundry. Keelin was roamed around upstairs, pulling all the books off the bookshelf, attacking the dogs during their morning sunbathing session, and talking to herself in the mirror in the guest room. The usual. I'm generally pretty good at remembering to close the door to the guest bathroom when I know I'll lose sight of miss into-everything, but this particular day, mom brain set in and I forgot. Actually, mom brain was in FULL FORCE because not only did I forget to shut the door, but I forgot to put the toilet seat down after rinsing off her latest diaper.

Pause - this is not a frightening story about her falling in the toilet so don't call social services on me just yet. You should also know that my kid is a total weirdo and has some strange fascination with the toilet. She loves to drum on the toilet lid, which I admit is equal parts cute, comical, and totally gross. Don't worry, I keep things extra clean to counteract her weirdness. So what do you think happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? Ponder that for a minute while I continue with my parenting fail tale.

Like I said, I was doing my wifely/motherly duties and kicking some laundry butt when I noticed it had been about a minute since I heard Keelin blabbering to herself or caught a glimpse of her dashing across the hallway. So I turned on my spidey sense hearing and tried to guess where she was while I finished folding the bathroom towels. What I heard was not her normal toilet lid drumming, but something similar. It was a much more prominent slap, as if her hands were wet. WET? TOILET DRUMMING? Oh crap. She turned to look at me right as I stepped into the bathroom doorway, hands, toilet bowl, and FACE dripping with water. Mom WIN.

So the answer to my previous question - What happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? She drums on the toilet SEAT, but not before dipping her hands in the toilet water, and sticking her hands in her mouth.

Gross.

So after having a quick laugh... because you have to when you're a parent... I proceeded to wipe off the toilet, and my child. I then got some good use out of my pack of sani-wipes, just for good measure, and immediately called the hubs to tell him of the day's events. I'm the best mom ever. At least she's still alive.

PLEASE join me and Raising Imperfection by sharing a funny story... hopefully your own parenting fail so I cal feel less like a loser mom. K? Thanks.

Until next time...

Link UP Week: Sunday Social

Welcome to... link up weekLet the link ups begin! As you know this week will be chock-full of fantastic link ups. Some old, some new, all fun! I'd love for you to join me in some, or ALL of these great 'getting to know you' link parties!! Join the hosts {I'll provide links} and let me know if you're joining in so I can check out your post! Why not start the week of with a little Sunday Social?!

Sunday SocialThis link up is brought to you by the lovely ladies at A Complete Waste of Make up and Ashley Lately {formerly known as Ashley's Carnival Ride} Each week they provide you with a few questions to answer so you can share a little bit about yourself and get to know fellow link-ers. In other words... time to get social!

1. Best Valentine's Day you've ever had: I'm going to get a little cheesy here for a minute and flashback to Valentine's Day 2009. Z and I were both still in school, and I had decided to be super sneaky and surprise him by driving from Va to Ga for the weekend. I showed up at his performance of Proof and was waiting for him outside in the lobby. HUGE surprise for him, HUGE success for me! Little did I know, he had a ring already, prepared to propose a month later when I came down for spring break. I guess it's just proof that men are less patient because he couldn't wait and popped the question just after midnight - on Valentine's Day. This time it was me who was surprised. Best. Valentine's. Day. Ever.

2. Worst Valentine's Day you've ever had: I've never been a huge Valentine's Day celebrator, so I never really put a lot of pressure on it to be a 'great day'. I do remember dumping my elementary school boyfriend, on the bus, in front of all of our friends, because he spelled my name wrong on my valentine. Yeah. I don't mess around. Get it right Justin.

3. What did you do for Valentines this year?: The hubs and I are trying to budget the best we can so we didn't want to do anything too big. I gave him a personal gift which shall remain unnamed {gotta keep a few secrets!} and I actually ruined Z's gift to me by getting it for myself over the weekend. OOPS. So, we decided just to do a casual dinner out just the three of us. It started out as an epic failure when the restaurant we chose gave us the worst possible service before we even met a waiter - which took 20 minutes too long. She finally showed up as we were leaving, with a look on her face like we were the rude ones. We ended up reverting back to a family favorite and it turned into a great night.

4. Best Valentines Idea if you’re single: Back in high school my bff and I had a friend of ours give us a fun Valentine's Day scavenger hunt. It was quite an adventure and took the pressure of being a "romantic" holiday completely out of the pictures. So much fun and something great to do with single friends.

5. Favorite Valentines Candy: Crunch Chocolate Hearts. Best. Ever.

6. Favorite Valentines Memory from your childhood: I loved picking out and making Valentine's for friends. I guess it was my future DIY lover coming through that I always wanted my Valentine's to be the best - and unique!

WAHOO! Fun link up ladies... and I love flashing back to Valentine's past! Are you being Sunday Social today? Join the link up and give me a shout out in the comments if you're joining in!

Until next time...