Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hadley's Birth Annoucement

So I'm way behind on posting a few things...like Christmas, Hadley's room tour, and this--her birth announcement!

Big thank you to TinyPrints who printed these beautiful announcements for us. I really wanted a sleeping baby picture but girlfriend had a mind of her own from the beginning. She refused to sleep during her newborn session for no more than about 10 minutes, which we took a picture as a family. This picture really sums up our girl. Always pondering and soaking up everything around her. I also love the colors in this picture and her sweet headband. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to share her birth announcement with family and friends!

2013: The Best Year Yet!

2013 has by far been the best year of my life. From the first day until the last I have never felt so much joy and love in my life.

We welcomed 2013 with a secret. We were pregnant. We found out just shortly before Christmas and told our families on Christmas day. It was definitely the year of family, like I had hoped.

January started off with a big move for my parents. We said goodbye to my childhood home. They left all of our neighbors who became our family. They moved into the country. Where there are no street lights. No lines on the road. And it's 22 minutes away instead of five. I cried a lot (like up until September). But it's a process and I have grown to love their new home. Not as much as "my home" but in its own way.

On January 10th, we celebrated four years of marriage. We were excited to go into our fourth year with a baby on the way!

I just loved linking up with Rachel in 2013 for Menu Monday. Two of my favorites I shared in February include the Spicy Pasta Sausage and Skinny Enchiladas (which are an overall favorite).

February 14, 2013 was a day that will go down in history for us. It's day day we told all of our friends we were expecting! We were overwhelmed with all of the excitement and joy we were able to finally share with everyone! The blog world was also a baby boom in 2013!

With a new pregnancy comes lots of hormones. I shared about my melt down with Wembley (who is still a sh*t)  and how my hormones were out of control when it came to animals. Glad I'm not as bad about this anymore. I'm pretty sure if I would have started watching Duck Dynasty then, I would have been in trouble. I also started weekly bumpdates in February. I'm so glad I did this because I plan to make my blog into a book. Then Hadley and I can look back and remember all that happened while I was pregnant with her--hormones and all! In February I posted weeks six, seven/eight, nine/ten, eleven/twelve, thirteen and fourteenThe day I told my students about baby G was one of the best days of the year. That class was so special to me (I miss this a lot this year) and I'm so thankful I got to share our joy with them! The end of February ended on a sad note. Our dear sweet George, my cat I grew up with, passed away. We miss him so much. He was such a sweetheart and will always have a special place in our hearts.

March was a fun month! I updated about week fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen. It's so fun to go back and read everything that was happening each week! We shared the gender of our sweet baby on March 18. Before we found out I read a lot of different wives tales trying to figure out what we were having! They were so much fun to read. On the Ramzi test, Josh later on corrected me telling me it was a girl. He knew from the beginning this "test" was going to be correct. We also told our families the gender in cute ways they will (hopefully) never forget. My mom still talks about it to this day! I was so thrilled we were having a girl but a little worried about Josh. I wasn't she he would know what to do with one. His sweet words reassured me everything would be okay. The great month of March ended with sharing Miss Hadley's name to the world!

April was a busy month for me. We had state testing at school and it was nonstop working! I did get to post weeks nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two. I finally reached the half way mark! I also shared some sweet pictures and updates of Oliver and Wembley.

Hadley's 20 week picture

We have a lot of family birthdays in May. It's also the end of the school year--my favorite time. But even though its busy, there were a lot of things to look forward to! In May I shared updates for weeks twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five {when I had my school shower}, and twenty-six. I got my craft on in May and made this adorable spring wreath. I'm not crafty at all, so for me this was a huge deal. I still really like it and excited to put it up again! At the end of the month I was looking forward to ending the school year, even though I was going to miss the crazy things the kids asked me about regarding the baby! I was also excited to celebrate Josh's 30th birthday on the 31st!

June was such a good month. It was the start of summer break and finally a time when I could relax. I was really not looking forward to having a fall baby when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, I cried about it a lot. I was worried about how we would adjust when I went back to work. But having a fall baby has been such a blessing! I loved that I got to spend the last couple months preparing without any stress. I loved being able to sleep whenever I needed to. It was so nice not to worry about dressing my huge baby belly when it was 90* outside. I could just sit in the A/C all day!

I share week twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-ninethirty, and thirty-one! I went through the dreaded glucose test, which turned out to be much easier than I thought. I also admitted I was a complete drama queen about it. It had also been six months since we found out we were expecting. Crazy how time flies!I continued to meal plan throughout the year and in the summer started freezer meals so we would be prepared for when Hadley made her arrival. These were a huge help and plan to continue freezer meals as much as I can!

My baby shower was planned for July and Tiny Prints really helped inspire the theme of the shower. I also had this great game at my shower which I loved reading and saving for Hadley. Speaking of showers, Jenny, Shannon and I were given a surprise shower by some of our Columbus blog friends. It was a wonderful night full of yummy food and great conversations. I'm so thankful to have these girls as my friends!

I just love July. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays! In July I shared updates about weeks thirty-two {where we had our 3D ultrasound!}, thirty-three, thirty-four, and thirty-five.  Since we were getting so close to our due date I decided it was time to prepare our pets for baby Hadley's arrival and make up a to-do list when we had one month to go.

I also attended my hometown shower hosted by my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin. It was beautiful and I'm so thankful for all of the time they spent preparing it. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Josh's aunt hosting a lovely shower in Josh's hometown. I loved that it was held outside in his parent's back yard. His mom has the most beautiful flowers and pots in her back yard. She is a wonderful gardener! I'm so thankful to have had two amazing showers!

August was by far my favorite month because it is the birth month of our sweet girl! I share weeks thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, and thirty-nine. She was born on week forty! We were preparing for Hadley's arrival, thinking of all of the crazy last minute things we needed to do and picking out her birth announcement! I didn't blog a lot at the end of August because I was learning how to juggle wearing all of my new hats! Definitely worth the short break.

In September I posted Hadley's first pictures on the blog. Looking at this picture makes me miss how tiny she was! I shared her crazy twenty-eight hour birth story and how thankful I was to have J by my side during the delivery and when we got home. He was my rock and I'm still so thankful to have him by my side today. Going through labor and delivery for the first time taught me many things. I'm so glad I went in with an open mind because I sure did need it!

My favorite fall month is definitely October. Not only is it my birthday month but I think the foliage is just beautiful during this time of the year. It's amazing how time just flies. I shared about being a new mom and Hadley turning four weeks and a month old {I also learned the difference between these two}!

November was an enjoyable month. I took extra time off for maternity leave and tried to soak up every minute of my last month home with my baby. I'm a huge fan of meal planning {if you didn't already know} and shared how I started meal planning with a baby. It's a whole new ballpark! I also started Tasty Tuesday, where I share recipes and tips. I started out these weekly updates with how to organize your pinterest boards.I'm not sure if I'm going to continue TT into 2014. I really enjoy it and it keeps me organized but I want to make sure I'm sharing enough about our life--because that is why I blog.

We took newborn pictures at the beginning of September and I shared the beautiful pictures KariMe Photography took for us. We made her birth announcement and sent them out to family and close friends. Hadley also got to meet her great-grandparents, on her Gigi's side, for the first time. We are so thankful they came to Ohio for her first Thanksgiving!

Hadley turned three months old on November 26, but I was a little behind posting it. Then on December 26th, she turned four months old. Where does the time go? She's getting so big and definitely becoming more of a baby than a newborn. We celebrated her first Christmas at home on Christmas day. It was wonderful to open her couple presents and enjoy the day as a little family. We spent Christmas Eve with my parents and went to visit Josh's family a few days after Christmas. My favorite thing about this year was definitely not feeling rushed or pushed from one house to the next. We decided a long time ago that once we had a family we would not travel on Christmas day. Our families are always welcome to come see us but it was definitely the best decision for us.

2013 will definitely go down in history. I am so thankful that I posted about our new family. It will always be wonderful memories to go back and read. I'm excited to watch Hadley grow over the next year and hit new and fun milestones. This year will definitely be hard to beat, but now we have a whole new adventure in front of us.

Thank you for sharing 2013 with us! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hadley: 4 months

Oh my Hattie girl...where does the time go?! So much has changed from when you turned 3 months.

You turned the big four months on Thursday, December 26, 2013

You look so grown up here!


You had your four month check up on December 27th. I thought for sure you were going to be 20 pounds, but you were 18 pounds and 27 inches long. Daddy says that if you keep growing like this, you will be around 3 feet when you are 9 months. If everyone grew like that, we would all be giants! You will definitely start evening out even though your in the 95th percentile right now. You still have the tiniest feet though! Your shoes that are 0-3 months are still too big!


You are still in size two diapers and we just love the Pampers Swaddlers! Luvs come in a close second but we are not fans of Huggies.


You just started wearing 6 month clothes. You have long legs, like your daddy, and while the pants are perfect most outfits are still a little big. I'm crossing my fingers you stay in 6 month clothes until February because you have so many adorable outfits! I also want to keep you little!!


You are doing so well! I was worried how you would transition at Ms Jenna's house (your babysitter) but you are eating like a champ! Dr. Barrett said we can start you on rice cereal any time. We might try some this week. Daddy bought some all natural (no HMO) whole grain cereal that we are going to try this week. I'm a little nervous about starting it so soon but it's only once in the evening for now and I'm hoping it helps you sleep a little better.


Sleeping comes and goes. When you go to Ms Jenna's house you are an awesome sleeper! You fall asleep around 6:30pm and sleep until about 5:00am. Thank goodness for your two friends there! They wear you out! But on the weekends, or when mommy is on break, you get up at least once, sometimes twice (like at 1am and 5am). It's been a little rough on me over winter break but I am just so happy to have these two weeks off with you that I will take anything! The rice cereal may help get you through the night a little better.

Other Events

You went to Ms Jenna's house three times when mommy started back to work. You will go full time starting January 6th. You just love it there. You play with her two adorable kids, who you just adore. They are so good to you! We are so thankful you have such an amazing home and person to take care of you while we are at work. I'm excited to see you grow this year with your two new friends. I know they're going to teach you so much!

You are such a happy baby. You are always smiling and talking all the time. 

But on the other side you are a drama queen! You have probably cried tears 5 times since you've been born; two of those times being with shots. You like having your own way and get mad if we don't give you want you want. You're still so little and don't understand but we will definitely have to work on patience as you get older :)

Early last week we were watching Sesame Street and the song That's Cooperation came on. You were obsessed!! I think it's the birds and the colors. The next day you were really upset about something (I think you wanted to walk around and not sit) and we screaming (no tears involved). I turned it on and you completely stopped. KK was here visiting and we just laughed! You were totally fine! We've listened to it about 20 times in the past week!

You are grabbing at everything now! Every once in a while there will be something you can't get a hold of, usually it's because of the size. You get so frustrated and end up screaming. You want to do so many things but your little mind and hands are still learning to work together.

You're laughing a lot more but it takes you a lot to laugh. Usually when we try to make you laugh you look at us like we're crazy!

This will be super embarrassing for you one day, but I had to share. You are the gassiest child and boy can you let them rip. No joke. Sometimes I wonder how such a big noise can come from such a sweet little girl.

In the mornings on the weekends you have learned to cuddle with me. I love it! We sit on the couch with a soft blanket and watch a Disney movie. It makes Saturday and Sunday mornings at 7am SO much better.

You celebrated your first Christmas, which I will post more about this week. Daddy and I decided not to buy each other anything this year (which was hard to do) but our gift was you and also the extra time I took off of work to spend with you. It was the best gift I could have ever received.

We fall more and more in love with you every day, princess! Daddy even told me last night he loves the way your clothes smell...just like you! We are so excited to watch you grow into the sweet little girl we are watching you become.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What Do You Cook For Christmas Dinner?

Christmas dinner is always an important event in any household. Just like Thanksgiving, there are those traditional foods you have every year. Whether it be turkey, ham, prime rib, lasagna, or pork loin, everyone has their favorite dishes they enjoy serving to their family. Today I want to know...

 What is on your dinner table this holiday season?

Here are some of my favorites!

Picture of Butter Lettuce Salad with Gorgonzola and Pear Dressing Recipe

Picture of Old Fashioned Glazed Ham Recipe

Picture of Green Beans with Brown Butter and Pine Nuts Recipe

Picture of Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Picture of Creamy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Don't they all just look delicious?

Monday, December 23, 2013

#jollyvoxbox review

I recently received the Jolly VoxBox from Influenster. I was so excited to receive this book and check out all the goodies inside!

I've always been a fan of Ducktape and I'm just amazed at the different types they have right now. I use the regular sized pink zebra in my classroom. I was super excited to find a "Duckling" mini roll in my box today. How fun! I can wait to use the mini around my home and in the classroom. It's perfect to hang up student work in the hallways with its high performance strength and adhesion characteristics. 
Follow them on twitter @theduckbrand

You can never have too many eye shadows and with NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow, you can buy even more at the amazing price of $2.99! This lightweight eye shadow is perfect for the day or evening look. It's easy to use and looks very professional. 
Follow them on twitter @nycnewyorkcolor

I'll be honest, I don't think I've ever purchased a Rimmel product. It's not that I don't like them but they've never really caught my eye. I love this new Show Off Lip Lacquer. It's perfect to wear just as a gloss or over a colored lipstick. It's smooth, shiny, and available in 14 different shades.
Follow Rimmel London @rimmellondonus

I was so excited to see this Skinny Cow Candy in my Jolly Vox Box! It melts-in-your-mouth and is scrumptious! J even loved them and couldn't believe they are only 130 calories per snack! They are perfect if you have a chocolate craving and the peanut butter creme on the inside is just delightful!
You can find Skinny Cow on twitter @theskinnycow

Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong Facial Tissue Car Pack 12 ct
We always have purchased Puffs tissues because they are the best! They are strong, ultra soft, and help avoid a chapped nose. We always keep a box in our family room and in Hadley's room for her winter runny nose. I also have stacks of them in my classroom. They're perfect for all ages!
Puffs is on twitter too @puffs

These are my own thoughts and opinions about each product. 
I have received these products complimentary for test purposes from Influenster.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's been cookin'?

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes that have I've been brewing up in the kitchen. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup
This soup is so easy and delicious! I'm so glad we had left overs, and I can't wait to make it again!

I'ts not the healthiest breakfast, but it sure is tasty: Make-Ahead Muffin Melts from The Pioneer Woman, found @Edamam.
Ree is a genius once again! These breakfast muffin melts are a great way to get all of your yummy breakfast food in one bite!

Italian Gnocchi Soup by www.whatscookingwithruthie.com
This gnocchi and sausage soup was pretty good. Not my favorite but a good and different from our normal.

Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken Chilli is a new favorite in our house! I made it two weeks ago and making it again this week. So yummy and you can put it in tacos, on a salad, or eat it plain!

Drop Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Comfort food classic.
I made PW biscuts and gravy a few weeks ago for breakfast. I normally am not a fan because it's so heavy but ohmygosh this recipe is delicious! I cannot wait to make it again!

I wanted to try a new kind of chili. I don't have a recipe that we love so I usually try different ones each time. This time I tried the 2 Alarm Chili Kit. It was so easy to use and makes a lot of chili. You literally just pour the ingredients into the chili, simmer, and done! The chili turned out really yummy too! I told my mom she needed to go out and get this pronto (she hasn't mastered cooking chili either).

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Things: Teacher Edition

Since I'm a teacher, I thought it would be fun to do a little gift guide for those wondering what they should get their child's teacher for Christmas. First, let me say that I do not expect to get gifts. It is a wonderful bonus that I am very thankful for, but I would be perfectly happy not receiving anything. There is a reason why I teach and it's not for the extra presents :)

Books: What better way to give a gift to your teacher and to the classroom. Books are a wonderful addition and always welcomed. Find out your teachers favorite author and pick a few from their list!


Clorox Wipes: I'm in constant need these! I would be thrilled if a student brought in a two-pack for Christmas! It's the little things that count :)

Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes

Gift Cards for the classroom: Receiving gift cards to a local teacher store is awesome! I get to purchase some extra things we need for the classroom.


Gift cards for the teacher: If a student wants to get something for me personally, gift cards are always great! I rarely get breakfast or coffee for myself but in the past if I've received a gift card to Tim Hortons or Starbucks, I make sure to bring in my coffee and tell the student I used their gift to buy my coffee that morning. They usually think that is pretty cool.


Hand Sanitizer: Love these personalized hand sanitizers for the classroom!

Great Christmas gift for Teachers! Give them a satin hands set or hand creme!

Homemade Gifts: I love receiving homemade gifts! It amazes me at how crafty and creative some of my parents and students are. Last year I received one of the most unique gifts that I use quite often...rice bag warmers! My student made me a large bag, medium bag, and two small bags for your hands. I thought they were such a wonderful idea!


Pens: I'm obsessed with pens. Any kind really but I'm obsessed with Paper Mate Flair Felt Pens. I buy a new pack every year and get so excited to open the new package! They're kind of pricey but totally worth it! 

But in the end, a hug and a Merry Christmas would be just perfect.

What are some of your favorite gifts to give teachers?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

If you are looking to purchase personalized Christmas ornaments, check out what Sarah is making at Growing, Laughing, and Loving in Life. I purchased ornaments for her for my piano students and love them!! They're so adorable and she even put music note ribbon at the top! Turn around time was very fast and they were wrapped safe and tight! 

Thank you so much for making these beautiful ornaments!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to: Meal Plan

Today's topic: Meal Planning

Two weeks ago, I shared with you how I start the meal planning process which includes how I organize my Pinterest boards. Today I want to share with you exactly how I meal plan. Before I figured this whole meal planning thing out, I was a mess. We would come home every night and waste time trying to figure out what we were eating or we would pick up dinner, which would cost us money we shouldn't have spent on food. But after reading lots of different blogs, I sat down one day and planned out meals for the week. It was so easy! Yes, it took some time but once I started I never looked back. It saved us time and money. Since Josh and I both work full time plus extra we need a schedule, it's the only way it will work for us.

Note: Meal planning is not for everyone and not everyone does it the same way. This is the way I do it because it works best for you. Before I was a terrible cook (I think I cooked ten times the first three years we were married) and hated being in the kitchen. But with meal planning and cooking lots of Pioneer Woman recipes, I have come to love it! Josh is rarely in the kitchen today.

One of the many blogs I read when starting the process was Leslie's at Lamberts Lately. Now, Leslie and I don't see eye-to-eye on the meal planning thing--gasp! Totally okay! Everyone does it their own way. But I do take her advice and add it with my meal planning. She taught me an important lesson--"shop from your pantry". What do you have in your pantry that you can use for the week before you go grocery shopping? Leslie is an amazing at using coupons {something I just can't get the hang of} you can read more of her couponing and shopping from the pantry in her post, How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half.

There are only a few things I need when meal planning:

1. My computer

2. Paper 

3. Pen

Before I begin, I do a quick straightening in the pantry. This allows the pantry to stay organized {we have a large pantry} and for me to see what I have to work with. I try to pick one or two good items to work with throughout the week. That could be pasta, rice, a few sauces, canned food, etc. I usually know what is in the fridge and freezer but I usually check that after I plan. I also freeze a lot of meals over the summer {I did extra this summer since I was pregnant and knew the meals would be helpful} so I always know what is in my deep freeze and try to use something once a week as well.

Next, I head to Pinterest where I usually get distracted for at least 20 minutes and start the process. I love Crockpot meals. I use my Crockpot {that is currently non-existent because I used it so much it burnt out, so I'm borrowing my mom's extra one} one to two days a week. It's my go-to every week and my lifesaver. I also start in on my Crockpot board and pull at least one from there. We always have frozen chicken so usually it will involve that. Pioneer Woman is another go-to board {yes, she has her own board}. She makes the best food and it's so easy! We both eat a lot of chicken but I try to mix in some kind of other meat twice a week. Josh is not a fan of vegetables which is really hard for me because I could be a vegetarian, so I do have to be careful with some of the recipes I find. Gotta hide those veggies!

Finally after I find five recipes I really like and have read them through, to make sure they're not too time consuming or difficult, I plan for the week and write my grocery list. I always keep the tabs up on my computer so I can see what ingredients I have and need to get.

I'm a visual learner and always need examples, so if you're like me, here is an example of this weeks meal planning:

Gasp! No Crockpot meals! I did two last week!
Chili was made Saturday night for Sunday's dinner and lunches for most of the week
Hamburgers were frozen from the cow my parent's got
Potatoes extra from Thanksgiving in pantry
Meat Sauce for Zitti frozen from summer (great PW recipe!)
Brats from local farmer's market this summer

Sorry it's kind of blurry--didn't have time to fix it!

As you can see, I didn't have a lot on our grocery list. I try to stay around $50-$60 a week. Josh usually buys two big bags of cereal and two gallons of milk--the boy loves his cereal! Some weeks we have an extra big list and have to get more on it. We also have our staples that never change: OJ, bananas, milk, cereal, yogurt, and bread.

Once meal planning is done, J does all the grocery shopping. I don't mind doing it but he enjoys having some quiet time in the evening with his iPod. It's definitely great for me! Together we put the groceries away and I prepare for the week.

Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes a while to get into the habit of sitting down and writing it out. But for our little family, it's totally worth it! I can usually meal plan and make a grocery list in 15-20 minutes now and I have a good idea of what we have in stock and what we need to get.

This post may not help you at all, but if you're like I was at all hopefully you can get inspired from it...even just a teeny tiny bit. I can't say it enough, if I can do this, you can do this!

Next week I will share with you how I prepare ahead for the week to come!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hadley's First Thanksgiving

A little late, but better than never!

I can't believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone. It's amazing how quickly the time goes, especially with a baby. Hadley had a wonderful first Thanksgiving. It was spent with a lot of family, including those we don't get to see very often.

Thanksgiving day was spent with my family this year (we alternate). It was our first Thanksgiving at my parent's new home. They have been there almost year but I still feel like they just moved it! It was nice to celebrate our first "big" holiday there. They moved in right after Christmas last year, so we missed that by just a few days. Most of my family was able to make it except for my aunt and three of my cousins, due to the whooping cough! I was sad they couldn't be with us, but thankful they were thoughtful of all of us, especially Hadley.


The food there was delicious! I was so proud of myself and all the cooking I had done. It was no easy take with a three month old, who sleeps 45 minutes max during naps. But it was done and was so good! If you read my Thanksgiving Timeline post, you remember I made Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes, Pioneer Woman Stuffing, and Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin from The Chew. I also made Pioneer Woman Blackberry Cobbler, which is my absolute favorite dessert...and I'm not a big dessert/cobbler fan.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin, which was so rich but so delicious! 
Thank you Clinton Kelly!

Homemade stuffing is the best!

On Saturday, we went to our second Thanksgiving dinner with Josh's family. I'm sad I didn't get any pictures of the food. We were all so hungry and excited to dig in! His mom and dad always make the best food. They're both great cooks. I think my favorite was the balsamic brussel sprouts. I don't eat them very often but love them. It was a nice change from typical Thanksgiving food. The stuffing was also delicious. It had cranberries on top. Yum!

My favorite part of Thanksgiving with Josh's family is that Hadley got to meet her great-grandparents. I shared this post with just a few of the many pictures we took from the day. We feel so blessed she was able to have that time with them, especially since they're in Arizona.

It's amazing how your point-of-view about holidays change when you have a child. While it's been hard for me to get into the Christmas mood this year (mainly with decorating), I'm so excited to share the holiday and traditions with Hadley.