Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Birthday Adventures....with a Toddler

As a December baby, my birthday usually isn't a big blowout party extravaganza. Maybe if it was the beginning of December, but mine falls two days after Christmas. Instead, my birthday week has become a week of presents and shopping (and who wouldn't want that?). First, I get amazing Christmas presents, then there's after Christmas shopping, birthday gifts and on New Year's day, it's the biggest shopping day of the year (more on this later). To my husband's credit, he has always tried to make my birthday extra special. Unfortunately for him, Murphy wasn't having it this year.

Everything started off really well with breakfast in bed (for me) and some quiet time to read my book. We're reading The Invention of Wings for our January book club book and it didn't take long for me to get wrapped up in the story. Later in the morning, I opened my birthday presents (why wait until dinner? Pssh.) and was truly spoiled this year. And believe it or not, my Stitch Fix box (check out the post here) showed up in time for my birthday!

And then things went south.

One of the gifts Nate got me was a Garmin Vivofit. One of those fitness bands you wear and it tracks your sleep and steps and all kinds of stuff. It connects to the computer so I tried to sync them only to find out my operating system is way out of date. This really shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all Nate. So I dutifully deleted all the crap on my desktop and freed up some space so we could upgrade the system. This led to a series of failures, lots of calls to Apple and eventually a trip to the Apple store in Austin. I thought all of my wedding, baby, and travel photos were gone forever. Of course, just that morning we were talking about copying everything to an external hard drive and putting it in the safe. Oh hello, Murphy. Needless to say I was in tears thinking everything was gone. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stitch Fix Box #7

My seventh Stitch Fix box showed up the day before my birthday (did they know? Or was that just awesome timing?). I have to say, I've been really pleased with my boxes since I started sticking with one stylist. At this point, I'm being extra critical of everything coming in, but even if the fit isn't perfect, it really is more my style. Here's what came in my box.

A trench coat. I love coats, especially the ones with lots of buttons. Think military type jackets. Or Duchess Kate. This one was cute, but didn't do much for my shape. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

DIY: Toddler Friendly Ornaments


Like many parents of toddlers, we struggle with our tree balance. After losing two ornaments at the middle of the tree, we decided to put most of our ornaments at the top of the tree. Unfortunately, this made it look a bit bare on the bottom half. Sure we had candy canes for a couple of hours (E broke those quickly) and there are some soft ornaments (but Layla has already demolished one. She chewed the face off an owl), but for the most part the ornaments are out of reach.

So when we pulled the "make a new ornament" slip out of our advent calendar the other day, we decided to bake some ornaments. I found the recipe online and it made two cookie sheets full of ornaments. We used some rather large cookie cutters so if you used smaller ones, or even regular sized ones, you could probably increase your numbers by at least 25 percent (percentages make my guesstimates sound really official, don't they?).

Most of our cookie cutters were holiday related, except for the lab cookie cutter. Because of course, we had to make dog ornaments. To her credit, Layla doesn't show preference to them though. Nope, she's an equal opportunity chewer. Hearts, bells, snowmen. She likes them all. Which is another reason baking your own ornaments is nice - the contents won't kill your pets or teething children.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quick and Easy Treats: Candied Pecans

The holiday season is in full swing, which means our schedule has been crazy busy. We've just gotten over the work hump (kids party, holiday reception, holiday formal...) and wrapped up a visit with my mom, which was way too short. Last year, Nate took candied pecans to work to share with his coworkers and he wanted to do the same this year. So I spent Sunday afternoon putting together pecans while Nate made jerky. Our house smells like meat and spices. Not sure I'd recommend it as a new candle scent.

Anyway, this recipe is super easy and probably takes about an hour and a half tops, mainly because it needs about an hour in the oven. If you like pecans and sugar, this recipe is for you. (Here's the link to the original recipe - thanks, Cooking Classy!)

First, whisk together your egg white, water and vanilla until it's frothy. *Note* My bowl looks dirty because it is. It didn't occur to me to take a photo until I started the second batch. Oops.

Next, mix in a pound (about 4 cups) of pecans. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Stitch Fix - Box #6

I have to say, I'm glad I chose a stylist. This is our third box together and I feel like she has a pretty good idea of what I like. She actually apologized in her note to me this month because their inventory is low so she didn't a lot of options to choose from. But to her credit, the tops actually fit me (yay!) and I liked the style vibe she put into this box. Was everything perfect? No. But, that's probably a good thing because buying all five pieces would get a bit pricey.

Here's what she sent me:

A long sleeve raglan shirt. This is the one I decided to keep. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

DIY: Handprint Reindeer Shirts


Obviously, my new obsession is the stitch witchery known as Heat N Bond. Who knew you could make such cute clothes without a sewing machine? Plus, I can totally convince people I'm crafty now.

Since E's turkey shirt turned out so well, I decided to try my hand at reindeer shirts. Yep, plural. I made us matching shirts. I know half of you are probably rolling your eyes right now because you think it's super lame, but I'm pretty certain there's only a small window where E will actually wear matching shirts. I'm taking full advantage of it while I can.