Friday, July 27, 2012

Small Moments

This Summer, I'm trying to treasure all those small moments, the ones that seem insignificant at the time but somehow become indelibly marked in our memories. Like a traffic jam on a bridge that just happens to be over a river sparkling with the evening sun.

Soon, I will have a different life. I'll take on a new title, have a new "job," and possibly start to question my entire existence. Perhaps then the small moments will be the most important- a look into my daughter's eyes, a 2 am wake up call, a chat with a friend, a moment spent together as a new family.

I read an article recently about "wasted" time- how so many times we force ourselves to stay busy and productive every moment of the day, and view any down-time as wasted time. I felt challenged to rethink my idea of what constitutes productivity. How often do I look back and remember the moments I was trying too hard, doing too much, multi-tasking? No, instead, it's the times I find myself stuck with nothing to do, wavering on the edge of frustration, realizing instead that there's beauty to be found in that moment.

I hope that you find time to "waste" this Summer- maybe for you it's taking a moment to dip your toes in the lake, to sip an extra cup of coffee and watch the sunrise, to marvel at a newborn's tiny, precious toes. I pray those moments will be abundant, and that the memories made from them will be with you forever.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Eats

To be honest- I haven't been all that creative with our food menu this Summer. It's consisted of a lot of smoothies, salads, grilled chicken, and whatever is easiest to make. But I really do love Summer food best of all. I love the pasta salads, the fresh herbs, the outside dining... Everything about Summer food is just awesome.

So while I don't have any real recipes to share, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the things that are getting in our bellies these warm months. First- caprese salad. Seriously, how wonderful is this stuff? I make it with fresh basil from our garden, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella chunks, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It's just to die for.
Then, Pioneer Woman's iced coffee has been one of the beverages of choice (after lemonade, the pregnant woman's cocktail, of course). I pinned this recipe ages ago and for some reason just never made it. Finally, a few weeks ago I was yearning for some iced coffee and so I whipped up a batch (actually, it has to sit overnight, so it's hard to whip it up) using decaf coffee. Um, incredible! It truly is the best! 

We picked fresh strawberries from my Grandparent's garden a month or so ago and froze them, and we still have a ton left. I've made strawberry rhubarb crisp twice, as well as used them in smoothies on a daily basis. Know what else I put in my smoothies? Fresh spinach. No joke- you can't even tell it's in there (besides a slight green hue), and it's a great way to get a serving of veggies in. 

Finally, we discovered the awesomeness of Aldi pre-made pizza crust. I must admit, I was a sceptic at first, but once we tried it I was converted. I love making my own pizza dough, but right now it's just not top priority. A pre-made crust makes for a really easy and delicious dinner.

So that's a little bit of what's been on our menu this Summer. Do you have any great Summer recipes to share? I'd LOVE to hear about them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Showered {With Love}

I had the privilege of getting not one, but two beautiful baby showers! Let me tell you, it is such a huge blessing for this soon-to-be-Mama. Of course gifts are wonderful and all, but the funnest part for me is just being able to bask in the joy of this coming Baby with friends and family. 

The first one was held at my church, and hosted by some sweet ladies from my Bible Study. My sweet friend Abi was the creative brains behind it all, look at those gorgeous decorations!

 She even made little tiny flower pot favors with seeds in them for the guests to plant. Aw!

 The food was divine... the plates were small but everyone had at least two helpings because it was just that good!

All the details that went into it were so beautiful, even the sweet little cards for the guessing game and favors. 

My second shower was hosted at my Grandma's house by my mom and Aunties. My Grandparent's home is the perfect place to have a party- it's big, bright, comfortable, and just downright gorgeous!

We ended up getting almost an entire wardrobe of clothing for Baby! It was so fun to unwrap all the little outfits and hear the gasps and "oohs" echo around the room. =)

One of my favorites is this beautiful sweater and hat knitted by my mother in law, soon to be Grandma Jody! 

So to sum up, we just feel so blessed. Blessed to have a bunch of the necessities needed for Baby's arrival (plus some non-essential but adorable things!), but most of all blessed to have such a supportive network of friends and family!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Room Progress!

We are SO close to finishing up the baby room! Which is good, since her due date is arriving swiftly. With both baby showers finished (more on that to come), the baby stuff has really piled up and now the final thing is to organize everything! 

So, sadly, I don't have a complete Before and After to share, but here's what we have so far. We started off with a Craigslisted crib that needed a little TLC. It had great bones, but someone had left it out in the elements and it needed a new coat of paint. So we took it from this:

To This: 

Josh did that with the help of a paint sprayer. I love how the finish turned out (way better than painting by hand or spray painting from a can), it's soft and even and the whole crib looks 100% better. Here's Josh modeling the getup used for the paint sprayer:

As far as the rest of the room goes, we have curtains (sewed out of vintage fabric by me), a new chair (from IKEA), a cute coral colored ottoman (Target), a lamp (also Target), and a furry little friend (a splurge I just couldn't resist).

 Currently we are finishing up a dresser redo that I can't wait to share! We took the ugly blue dresser from below and completely transformed it into something much easier on the eye. So stay tuned for a few more baby-room-related makeovers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting Away

Josh and I's anniversary is in August, but with my sister's wedding coming up (and my baby bump getting bigger and more uncomfortable), we decided to do an early anniversary "trip." I say "trip" because even though it felt like a getaway, our destination was only about 1/2 hour away from home! We stayed at the most beautiful B&B in Stillwater, MN. It's called the Anne Bean Mansion; it's an old mansion that the owners have fixed up with every modern convenience you can imagine while still managing to keep all of the charm intact. 

Our room was at the very top floor!

We were greeted by the sweet owner, Erin, who brought us home-brewed beer (for Josh), a decaf iced mocha (for me), and these lovely chocolate truffles to eat. 

We dressed up for dinner that night, and went out to enjoy a wonderful Italian meal. 

In the morning, we had our breakfast delivered right up to our room. It was so delicious! 

After checking out, we wandered down the streets of Stillwater, peeking through antique stores and walking by the river. The water is so high this year, in the photo below you can see how it's completely covered the old walkway! Also, is not my belly ginormous? =) I love it. 

Life has been such a whirlwind of house projects, family events, and baby and wedding showers, and it was so wonderful to escape from it all with my man for even just a short time. It was a reminder to me of how much God has blessed us in our marriage for these 3 wonderful years! It's so wonderful to have a husband that is my best friend as well.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Gypsy-Picnic Tea Party

 A couple weeks ago, we had a bridal-shower for my sister Elsie, who is getting married in August. She and her fiancee Kyle have such a unique style about them, and I thought the shower was perfect to capture some of their spirit!

Elsie's former roomie, Bethany, came up with the idea for a "picnic" shower, and it somehow morphed into a gypsy-picnic-tea-party-bridal-shower. Whew! Bethany and her sisters set up the array of quilts and snacks, and I provided the teacups and cucumber sandwiches (because, really, no tea party is complete without cucumber sandwiches!).

 Here's the bride (above) looking beautiful, dressed in white of course!
 She got a staghorn fern for a gift... Ahh, I want one! They are SO cool looking.
 Another fun gift- a vintage cookbook.

So what do you think, would you like to host a gypsy-picnic-tea-party-bridal-shower of your own? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

If My Life Were Cinematic...

So far, this Summer has been so wonderful. I can't imagine a fuller, happier, more blessing-er time! To start off with, the weather has been such a stark contrast to last year. After a particularly mild Minnesota winter, we have moved in to a sunny, warm Summer that could rival the southern states.

Instead of taking away from the Summer because of discomfort, this pregnancy has only added to the joy. Sure, it's not fun when your favorite sandals don't fit your swollen feet, but it's really not that big of a deal in the long run. Instead, I have a delightfully bright Summer punctuated by the sweet little kicks of my precious baby girl.

We have been SO busy (or should I say, Josh has been so busy...) preparing the baby's room! I can't wait to post the update on that... but in the meantime, here's what our life has consisted of lately:

1. Dates to the Tea Garden for taro tea lattes.
2. Reminders of God's blessing through time spent in His word.
3. Gathering inspiration for my baby sister's wedding. ( I guess that means she's not a baby anymore...)
4. Enjoying the Summer from our sweet little porch.

5. Seeing the most amazing "Double Rainbow All the Wayyy!"
6. Picking fresh strawberries from my Grandparent's house. 
7. Smooching this furry head (and of course getting a mouthful of fur!)
8 and 9. Taking weekly mini trips to "France" via our local French bakery... 

10. Road-tripping with these two cutie-pies.
11. Baking yummy things like rosemary olive oil bread. (I confess, there's not a lot of this going on, due to the whole swollen feet thing...)
12. Dinner on the rooftop with some sweet new friends.
13. A bridal shower for my little sis. 

And that's not all! I'm so glad that we've been able to keep active this Summer and enjoy the weather, who knows what the next year will hold!


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