Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Maternity & Newborn Photos

I thought it would be fitting to end this year of blogging by (finally) sharing our maternity and newborn photos! Having our son Luke was the major event this year and we are so super pleased with Kandace of Kandace Photography for capturing our excitement! Visit her website & blog here to see more of her special moments and information. 

We met for maternity photos in August and took the timing to also celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary! Kandace made the whole shoot so much fun, it was like having our wedding photos done again. Really tempting to just post all of the pictures, here's the 'small batch'...if you would like to see them all, I will gladly have you over for a slide show on our flat screen TV. Seriously, just so in love with them all!

And then we had her over to our home to photograph our little guy at three weeks old! He was supposed to be sleeping for the shoot, but he was a good little newborn and slept all of the night before!! We tried every trick; warm bottle, rocking, heart beat/uterus swooshing sounds...He was set on showing his big blue eyes the whole time. And having his hands in his face. Kandace had no hesitation changing up the agenda and working with our wide eyed guy. And in the end it totally worked out, this is Luke's personality--awake and ready to live it up!

So there you have it! Thanks for hanging in there and getting alllll the way to the end! One more though, can we just take a moment and enjoy this side by side?!

I have no idea if Kandace did this on purpose, but we're going to say she did. I am completely in love with it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Practical Christmas Gifts

Christmas gifts are hard. I always struggle trying to think of what each loved one will truly use and appreciate. I mean, we all have everything we need! I wish Christmas was more like Thanksgiving. Just a fun time of being with family and not focused on 'whadja get?!' Shifting my shopping to handmade items and making gifts myself definitely helped me feel less, in the words of Charlie Brown, commercialized. This year we gave a blend of handmade and purchased gifts: scarves (also available in my Etsy shop), framed newborn photos of Luke for the grandparents & great-grandparents, marinade sets & cash. 

I used my extra ornaments from the time capsule ornament DIY to make giving cash more festive!

For ideas on other handmade gifts, here's our Christmas gifts from 2010 and 2011. Last year was primarily food gifts, peppermint bark & persimmon goodies. Skin pampering treats have also been received well: body butter, sugar scrubs (plaincoffee).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY Laundry Hamper

I stumbled across this wire basket of sorts at the Goodwill and thought with the proper lining it would make the perfect hamper for Luke's room. The basket set me back $3.50 and then it was just waiting to find the perfect fabric. That happened to be a month or so later at my local HOPE store. And the fabric turned out to be a king sized pillowcases. Talk about an easy project!!

I had red and blue striped ribbon already on hand (thank you Michael's dollar bin). All it took was snipping the pillowcase to make four 'corners', threading the ribbon through and tying off to the wire basket rim. The pillowcase came in a set of three (typical thrift store style!). But this way I can untie the entire lining pocket and throw everything into the wash at once. Just another sucess story to encourage you to keep your eyes open and shop ahead at your local thrift stores. This entire project cost $8. You really never know how perfect a cast off item will turn out to be for your home. Although, I walk a fine line (and often fall off of) between buying smart and straight hoarding. Fortunately thrift store pricing is quite affordable, so if the item turns out to be a dust collector its no big deal to just donate it right back. Now that's some real community service for ya! ;)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Spinach Dip

I recently (finally!) got my first crock pot! How I went without it for these past five years of marriage I do not know. I was seriously missing out! I've been trying lots of recipes in it and this was a super easy one for a crowd-worthy appetizer. 

Ingredients/Instructions: Equal parts cream cheese and sour cream. Big handfuls of shredded mozzarella and parmesan. Dice up artichoke hearts to bite size. Defrost desired spinach quantity and mix it all together in your slow cooker. Sprinkle granulated garlic to taste. Set on low heat for two hours.

I ended up adding more of each ingredient as everything melted down together. Tasting as I went of course! I made the app even easier by serving it with crackers instead of slicing a baguette. I've made this dish equally well as a baked appetizer but the oven is often in use during holiday get-togethers, so this was a great alternative!