Thursday, March 31, 2011


Last week we had wonderful weather. We were outdoors pretty much full time - unless we were running errands or sleeping. I snapped this picture of the kiddos exploring. Lately they are combined at the hip, one not leaving the other's side. I hope they always keep such a close bond. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Does Size Matter?

Okay, before you get the wrong idea, I am referring to clothing sizes. I recently purchased a pair of shorts and low and behold they were two sizes smaller than the last pair I purchased (two years ago mind you). Was I SO excited - ahh, yeah! But I am perplexed over something and wondering if you do this too. While those shorts were two sizes smaller, I still seem to be fretting about that little buldge around the middle. So this got me to thinking, does size really matter?

See, I find that regardless of my weight or size, whether I am thin or a little over my desired weight, I am just not happy with this ole body of mine. With bathing suit season fast approaching I seem to find myself fretting over it even more. I started back my core exercise routine - because of this said bulge - and I keep "checking" my appearance in the mirror just to see "how bad it is."

Honestly, ladies (and guys if you are reading, so sorry for this post), what is wrong with this picture? I AM TWO SIZES SMALLER!!! Hello! I should be thrilled, happy, confident that I look pretty darn good for having two babies and seeing a size I haven't seen since college. So, I think it is time to be grateful for what I have now, two sizes smaller, and muffin top and all, and declare that this body is beautiful and not be so darn hard on myself.

There, I said it, and I hope, just hope, that I am not the only one who struggles with this one. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Apple a Day!

I don't know about you, but getting my kids to veer away from "kid food" is quite the challenge. Oh, Doug and I eat up our fruits and veggies - and love them I might add - but the good stuff, well it tends to get waisted on my kids. Until...

I started this. You see, this beautiful display of fruit sits on my kitchen table. I did it once because I was tired of my centerpiece and low and behold, the whole darn thing was gone in about two days - and it wasn't because Doug and I ate it all. The kids did. Yes, no lie, for some reason, when they see the apples, oranges, bananas, and pears on display they tend to want them. And for this momma, that makes me happy. Now, if I can just figure out how to get them to like their veggies just as much - so far displaying them on the kitchen table just hasn't gotten the process rolling.

What do you do to get your kiddos eating healthy?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday's Find

I am not sure why I am so in love with this color. Maybe it is because I simply cannot wear it and so wish I was able - my sweet red head certainly could. Or maybe it is just because it is such a cheery color. Regardless, I LOVE this dress. MQuinn has several things that I love - including this sweet handbag. I hope you enjoy browsing through her things as much as I have.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the quiet

Before I was a mommy I LOVED noise - noise while cleaning, like the t.v. or radio, noise in the background while sewing, noise while getting dressed, talking on the phone, or just to "be there" when I was all by my lonesome at home.

But today, now, as a mommy of two boisterous toddlers, I LOVE the quiet.

Today is a gloriously sunny day, the kind of Spring day that no one can resist. My house is somewhat clean, picked up, and my to do list a little smaller. The kids are napping away and all I can hear is the tap tap of my computer keyboard and the wind moving outside. The quiet beautiful, haunting, relaxing and just simply sublime.

It always amazes me about the simple things that bring a smile to my face and cheer to my soul. Who would have thought five years ago that quiet would be an element that I would so desperately seek. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{cousins by the half dozen}

left to right: Douglass Charles, Charlotte - holding Molly, Adeline - holding Leah Cate, and Flannery.

Last week the kids and I joined my mother, sisters Lauren and Sarah, my sis-in-law, Mary Catherine, and my nieces, Adeline, Flannery, Molly and Leah Cate down at my mom's house in Atmore. It was a fun, quite loud, but relaxed time. The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing together (with a few bumps around sweet Flannery, who is not quite old enough to keep up with three oldest). I thoroughly enjoyed holding all the sweet babies - and giving them back. :) And of course, best of all, visiting with my sisters and sweet mom.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Douglass Charles Airways

February 26th we welcomed aboard several friends to celebrate Douglass Charles' birthday. Our airplane theme was a big hit and I had so much fun putting the whole thing together. My friend, Suzie (Split Second Photography) dropped by to take professional shots and my friend Tally (you may remember her son's Noah's Ark Party a month or so back) helped get my imagination rolling on ideas.

The invitation was adapted from an invite that I created for my sis-in-law months ago. I decided to go with pool, green, and orange - which I loved the pool and orange together. You will notice the wording mirrors that of an actual airline ticket itenerary (Tally's idea).

This wreath welcomed our guests aboard as it hung on the front door. This design wasn't my original plan, but I was pleased with the result.

The dining room table was adorned with even more airplanes flying above the clouds - which was cotton batting (also Tally's idea). I can't even tell you how many airplanes I cut out for all these things, but it was a lot. :)

Each guest's place was set at the table with their silverware wrapped in a napkin and tied off with teal ribbon with a cloud with the guest's name on it. This truly was an afterthought as I had a TON of clouds precut and wanted to use them.

Party favors were sugar cookies with teal icing. The labels read "Thanks for flying with us." The adorable gift favors were a present from my mother - who made them all. They had several fun prizes inside - candy, a bouncy ball, and a spin top. In the coming weeks I hope to show you how she created these fun little gifts in a tutorial - so stay tuned. :)

A party wouldn't be complete around our house without cupcakes - and cupcake toppers at that. I also created a wonderful little mobile that hung from the chandlier. It looked like little planes flying over all those wonderful sugary treats.

We had a small group of little ones and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! The kids played outside, we had a scavenger hunt, did some chalk drawing, and the most favorite activity - a balloon fight!

The menu was simple - Taco soup for all the adults and hot dogs for the kiddos - after all everyone knows that a birthday is about the cake anyway. :)

Honestly, I know that my sweet boy would have been happy with a simple playdate with friends and cupcakes for dessert, but nonetheless, I wanted to make it special and special, I do believe it was. :)

All food and sweet treats - yours truly (yes, I made everything. Next time, I think I will leave the cake to an expert.)
Paper goods, wreath, mobile, tablescape: The English Pea Studio
Photograpny: Split Second Photography
Buckets for favors: Dollar Tree
Gift favors: My mom
cupcake liners: The Bakers Confections

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daddy's Birthday

Two days before Douglass Charles' big day, we celebrated Doug's birthday. Now all you grown ups out there know that when you get to be "grown up" birthdays just aren't the same anymore. We did our best to celebrate daddy's day, but he did have to work, and the budget was tight, so we got creative with a few gifts, went to dinner, and made his fave cake for dessert (a white chocolate chip cake with buttercream chocolate chip icing). Doug passed his 32nd birthday with very little hoopla, but I honestly think it was okay with him. Doug had more fun watching the kids get SO excited about his birthday cake - we couldn't keep from laughing - and "all his presents" that it was hard not to smile (so glad that kids make things like birthdays so much more fun!).

Monday, March 14, 2011

This boy...

February 25th, 2011
When I found out I was expecting with you a little less than three years ago fear struck my soul. You see, your big sister was only six months old and Mommy wasn't quite sure how I was going to do it. I was overwhelmed, scared, and underneath that a little excited.

I pondered over the next few weeks many things, but one of the biggest things was would you be a boy or girl. I would have been thrilled with either, but I wondered if I would be a good mommy for a boy. The jury is still out on that one, but being a girl and growing up with many girls and only one brother, I just wasn't sure.

Your daddy really wanted to have a boy and I knew the day we had your sex confirmed on the ultrasound that he was thrilled. I was excited, but again, fearful.

You were an active little guy. Sometimes I thought you would bounce out of my stomach. I was fearful again of how active you might be. Could I really handle a boy?

The day you were born, on February 25th, you entered this world in a rush. You were a big boy and perfect. You immediately were different from your sister - not wanting to have anything to do with a swaddle - and you wanted to eat ALL THE TIME! But the biggest, and sweetest thing that surprised me, was your attachment to me.

Our first 24 hours together you didn't want to be too far from me. You were the most content snuggled in my arms or lying really closely against me. This did not change for some time and it was only by my really working with you that broke that pattern.

Your attachment, your physical affection, your desire to have me around has been such a thrill (and at times hard to deal with). I never expected it, especially with a boy, but you feel greatly, love deeply, and throw energy into everything you do.

I love being your mother because you are so many things I am not. You are male, passionate, aggressive, and non-people pleasing. You don't just take me at my word, you have to discover for yourself truth. This gets you in trouble most times and can be frustrating for me, but I can appreciate that this is part of your personality.

There are so many things I love about you, your big brown eyes with those long eyelashes (it truly is criminal for a boy to have such nice eyelashes), your affection for your older sister, the way you make everything have a motor, your from the gut giggle (makes me want to laugh), and your sweet, sensitive spirit (which I pray balances your other strong willed attributes). You are my boy! My favorite boy! My joy, my love, and an absolute blessing on my life.

I am priviledged to have you call me "Mom." Happy 2nd birthday! I love you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scrap It Saturdays: Finished Racecar

I must confess, I do not think these pictures do this justice, but this applique turned out really cute. I also have to confess that these were not scraps I had on hand. Yes, I had to venture to Joann's this week to pick up the fabric to complete the racecar, but lets face it a red swirly pattern of red fabric just wouldn't have cut it.

I was thrilled with the whole outfit. I picked up this t-shirt and pair of shorts from the Divine Consign Show here in Atlanta (my absolute fave consignment sale). Both were brand new with tags still on. I love the red on the light blue and the plaid shorts just complete the whole thing.

Did you know that these scraps here were given to me at Joann's? Yes, I was so excited. If you ask for a sample they will give you a strip of fabric an inch wide. This was more than enough for the window and wheels. So... if you have a few finishing details remember Joann's.

For details and the pattern just scroll down.

After printing and cutting the pattern, I ironed on all the self adhesive to the fabric and cut out the shapes.

Then I placed everything - the great thing about the iron on adhesive is you can go ahead and stack your fabrics before you have to sew - ironing the window onto the car/ironing the middle wheels onto the outer wheels.

Finally I sewed a single stitch in a contrasting color outlining the car. On the wheels I used a brown. I mainly did this because circles are pretty hard to do on the sewing machine. They are less than perfect. Notice the inner wheel is a series of stitched lines across the middle of the wheel. I found the smaller the cirle, the harder it was to get a precise circle. The criss cross of lines were my compromise. :)

Patterns are now available for sale - for a very nominal fee - over at my shop. Feel free to stop by there and purchase. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

After the Storm

Doug and I were introduced to Mumford and Sons after watching the Grammys a few weeks back. If you know me, this band is right up my ally. We both immediately took to their catchy, folksy sound - with an alternative jazzy beat - A "new" genre of music and one that I like, because they obviously are true musicians.

Doug downloaded their album for his birthday and this song was on there. I found myself listening to the cd the other afternoon and this song, "After the Storm," specifically caught my ear.

After The Storm
And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

I will die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I'll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and mine so small.
Well I'm scared of what's behind and what's before.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

The chorus got me thinking about what is ahead... heaven. Thankfully, I feel like I have come out of a little personal cloud, but life, in itself, can be hard, tearful, love - of all things - breaking your heart, and oh the fears, they are so many.

With grace in my heart - so thankful for that grace from my Savior - I will one day know no fear, have no tears, and never a broken heart. I pray you, too, know that grace and the life it brings to your soul!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I have a ... girl!

There are so many wonderful things about having a little girl. I have a girly one and for a girly momma, that is just plain fun - the dresses, the bows, and she loves everything pink. But like her ole momma, my girl, well she is emotional. I come from a very emotional and tearful family and it seems that my genes have not been wasted on my girl.

Lately, Charlotte has been on the weepy side. It doesn't really seem to matter what is going on, there always seems to be tears. I struggle with this, because her emotions are just a little too similiar to mine. When I find myself cringing over new hysterics I remind myself that she is just acting like me.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not walking around my house having an emotional tantrum all the time. I have learned to control some of my emotions, but the drama that ensues from my little red-head can be somewhat exhausting.

Like the other day, I am not really sure what happened, but as I approached the back door Charlotte was walking towards me. As I stepped outside she dropped down on her bottom, leaned to her back and started wailing. When I asked her what was wrong, she just got louder. I tried again, no response just more crying. There was nothing around her, her brother wasn't pestering her, she was just walking along, dropped down to the ground, and started crying. Finally, I told her if she didn't calm down and tell me what was wrong I was leaving. Still no response. So, I left her outside, lying on her back, sobbing toward the sky and went about my business.

I went to check on her a few minutes later and the same emotional fit was being thrown. I asked for specifics on what happened and still nothing, just hysterical sobs. I left her again.

Five minutes later she came and found me and stated, "Mommy, I am done now." So I asked her what was wrong. Soft tears rolled down her cheek, "I wanted the dog in Douglass Charles' bucket." Really, that was what all THAT was about. Ironically, Douglass Charles had been with me the whole time - without the bucket and the so desired dog.

I later felt guilty for leaving her outside to wallow in her sorrow - showing no compassion towards her ridiculous fit. You may think my feeling guilty is silly - because we all know you aren't to give into a tantrum. It is attention they seek and this is the wrong kind of attention, right? I felt guilty because I too often fall into one emotional heep and just need a hug, a kind word, or someone telling me everything will be alright.

So, this emotional mommy, with her emotional daughter, struggles with the balance of discipline, love, and that line where tears should be comforted or ignored. Its tough being a girl with all those feelings wanting to bubble up. And sometimes just laying in the floor and crying up to the sky is the only way one can find to cope - even if it is ridiculous. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I have been wanting to post this recipe for a while as it has become a favorite this winter. I have spoken of my love of the Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Gartin) and she has thrilled me again with another easy, but delicious recipe.

I received a butternut squash in my farmers market basket last fall and was unsure what to do with it. So... I pulled out one of Ina's cookbooks and found this recipe. I was a little hesitant, wondering if Doug (or myself for that matter) would enjoy it. We were both thoroughly surprised. The great thing is you can cut up these veggies when you have them, put them in the freezer, and put this whole thing together when you are ready. The veggies also make a great side to a dish and then you can use them next day in a soup.

My favorite thing about this soup is that you get a nice sweetness from the carmelization of roasting the veggies together. It comes through just enough to make the dish both savory and a little sweet. Give this one a try before the weather gets warm. You won't regret it!

Roasted Winter Vegetables:
Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 pound parsnips, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1 to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don't cut them too small.

Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on 2 sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.

Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Yield: 8 servings

Soup Recipe:
3 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 quart Roasted Winter Vegetables, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For serving:
Good olive oil
In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of chicken stock. Coarsely puree the Roasted Winter Vegetables and the chicken stock in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or use a handheld blender). Pour the soup back into the pot and season, to taste. Thin with more chicken stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more chicken stock and/or water until it's the consistency you like.

Serve with Brioche Croutons and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Oh, and just in case you have a little left over, it freezes GREAT! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

{sneak peak}

My friend, Suzie, of Split Second Photography, sent me the images she captured of Douglass Charles party last night. They are SO good (not surprised) and I can't wait to share them with you. You will have to wait, though, as I have a few things to do before I can share. Enjoy this little plane - just to wet your appetite. :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scrap It Saturdays: Racecar

By the time you read this I will have worked over twenty hours between two consignment sales and tagged over 150 of my own items to sale (at two different sales) and driven to Marietta (a 45 minute drive) three different times. So... as you can imagine, the only thing I have had time to work on for my current Scrap It Saturdays project is the concept. Nothing has been cut or the pattern figured out, but I do know what outfit/shirt I will be using (and it is going to be SO cute). So... check back next Saturday and I promise I will have all the goods. In the meantime, this is the graphic I will be using so start thinking about your fabric/outfit/shirt and come on back for my final project and the pattern for your use.