Holiday Cheer 2014 {3} - Santa sightings!

I was really excited for Owen to meet Santa for the first time this year. Last year, when he was super duper tiny, cuddly and only three weeks old, he was asleep the entire time!

This year, Owen got to visit Mr. and Mrs. Clause twice and as it turns out, I was way more excited about it than he. Owen very rarely makes scared or is afraid to be held by someone. Apparently, Santa is one of those people that simply freaks him out.

The first visit was at the Strawberry Point Library and he was all like "Grandma! What are you trying to do to me? Don't make me do it!"

He then seemed to tolerate Santa for a hot second while Santa gave him his free book.

I was able to snap one decent, only slightly blurry photo. I count that as a win!

The second visit was a little more traumatic and involved some tears. Santa had a planned visit to daycare last Thursday but I knew once Owen woke up, the visit likely wouldn't go well. He doesn't often wake up super fussy, but this was one of those days. It was really nice to join Owen during his first half hour at daycare. I got to see how well he eats and plays with all his buddies.

When it came time to visit Santa, Owen did well watching all the other babies sit on Santa's lap. Though when it came time for Owen's turn and we walked up, his grip definitely tightened and the freak out began. I tried setting him down but he was NOT having it. I was able to sit next to Owen while the daycare director snapped a photo for me.


Holiday Cheer 2014 {2} - Tasty Treats!

Part two of spreading holiday cheer MUST include some tasty treats! Christmas is simply not Christmas without some goodies!

There has been a recipe I've been meaning to share for OVER A YEAR. Gspice always has a potluck at work near the holidays so I decided to make something super festive. If you are in need of a quick, simple and adorable holiday treat, this is a MUST!

Santa Hat Pretzels

*Mini Twist Pretzels
*White Chocolate Almond Bark
*Red Sanding Sugar (I sent Gspice to grab the ingredients for me and this really confused him. It's the colored sugar with the rest of the sprinkles!)
*Mini Marshmallows

Melt the white chocolate almond bark according to the directions on the package.

Dip each mini twist pretzel halfway into the melted white chocolate almond bark.

Dip each almond bark covered pretzel into the red sanding sugar until only a small amount of the almond bark is showing. Place on waxed paper.

Cut the mini marshmallows in half. Use additional melted almond bark to adhere a mini marshmallow half onto the side of each pretzel. Allow time for the almond bark to set.


This year included lots of cookies! I thought it might be fun to have a cookie swap with my family in early December. I got really excited and made a fun invitation for it as well. Suffice it to say we had our fair share of cookies for awhile :)

I'd share the recipe I used for the sugar cookies I made but really, they were nothing special and don't look even remotely close to what sugar cookies should look like!

I then attempted another cookie swap the very next day with some Decorah gals. Unfortunately, both my boys were feeling a bit under the weather so it became a very weird and wonky day to try and finish baking off six dozen cookies. I ended up getting them all made but only after the swap had already taken place! Oops! I'm a little bummed out because the cookies I made were so darn delicious. I don't make cookies or bake often so this was a huge win for me :) Also a bummer, I forgot to take a picture of them!

Chocolate Crinkles

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c powdered sugar for coating

via All Recipes
In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in powdered sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.


Holiday Cheer 2014 {1} - My favorite holiday tunes!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I don't have anything out for Christmas. The only thing you could remotely call "holiday decor" is the adorable penguin throw I personally use when I sleep.

To prove that I'm not a total Grinch, I decided to spread a little  holiday cheer on the blog. You'll see a few different posts over the next few days that I hope will spread some joy during such a lovely time of year!

My latest Christmas song obsession is most definitely Pentatonix. When no one else is around, I play this song OVER and OVER (and over again)!

Here are some others I've been listening to a lot these days :)


The Bump II {6} - Recap: 24-28 weeks

Energy & Motivation
I have no idea where the time has gone. I have a groggy memory of the past four (now officially five) weeks, due to pregnancy for sure but also lots of activity. Owen turned O-N-E, lots of sickness between the three of us, doctor visits, Thanksgiving, one successful cookie swap, another cookie swap attempted, meeting Santa.....you name it. I blinked and am now at 29 weeks! I am entering the uncomfortable stage a tad sooner this time around so let's hope I can keep blinking the time away (but only when I am severely uncomfortable!) It seems as soon as I posted that I had finally come back to life and was excited to get a lot accomplished, my energy and motivation disappeared. But let's be real, life with a busy busy one-year-old, a full-time job and all that activity during this time zapped it all up. I'm hoping that after the holidays I feel some nesting tendencies because there really is a lot I'd like to do before baby #2 arrives!

Ramen Noodles. That's all that really needs to be said. Sure, I still like sweets but I certainly don't crave it like I did with Owen. Chocolate has always been a weak spot for me so that's what I've been having tons of lately too.

Pregnancy Symptoms
I have low iron levels but I have (until past 28 weeks) been weary of taking any iron supplements. I'm not a huge fan of the potential side affects so I simply didn't take one often. I traded the possibility of those side affects with feeling miserable. Nice trade-off, huh? I'm not talking super uncomfortable miserable, but a serious lack of energy, exhaustion, rapid heartbeats, shortness of breath and a lack of concentration. My advice, just take the supplement! I also began having slight heartburn but definitely not like I did with Owen. It is pretty subtle and I've only had to take Tums a couple times. However, I seem to feel it more when I'm not lying down. Weird.

I don't recall if Owen was this active but my goodness, baby #2 is a mover! I feel him at all hours of the day. He seems to react or wake up most when I eat or move (or flop around all night long!) but also at random times too. What's interesting is after reading my 24-28 week update with Owen, I think babe #2 is positioned the exact same way! I think his head is down on my left side as I feel more hiccup-like movements there and his hands near my belly button. I don't have the rib pain like I did with Owen but I'm sure now that I said it, rib pain will commence. I see most powerful jabs or kicks near the upper right side. During times that I'm feeling like I have trouble concentrating, this is one thing I love feeling. I'll zone right in and just wait for another kick or punch.

Bump Update
I have definitely POPPED. I thought I was huge with Owen but no, no, no. This is definitely bigger! I'm still getting a lot of sympathy giggles and looks of surprise and up until now that was okay. I may just be feeling super grumpy but be kind to your short pregnant friends (or that random short pregnant person you see on the street or in a store). We already know what we look and feel like! And no touching! I'm growing more and more protective as the bump grows so keep the hands off for your own protection. I might bite :) I've packed on a few more pounds but I'm still about 11 pounds under my final weight with Owen. My goal has been to not exceed that amount (though I will not be upset if I do) and it seems like that is attainable!


The Bump II {5} - Must Haves for Baby #2!

I thought it might be nice to share a few items we plan to buy for our next baby boy. There are a lot of things we'll be able to reuse but also a lot we won't because they will be too close in age (only 15.5 months apart!) or because we'll have babe #2 in our room for a few months. That means we'll need to buy double of some items, but really, it's not as bad as I thought it might be. After baby #2 moves in with Owen, we'll be able to sell most of them. And after doing some thinking and searching, I've come up with a few items I'd like to replace too.


Fisher-Price Piano Gym, Kick and Play - we have an activity gym that Owen loved but I would like to replace it with the piano gym. It will provide more developmental joy as our next baby boy kicks and wears himself out :)

Stork Craft Convertible Crib - we have one of these for Owen and really like it! Because it's a convertible crib, the one Owen uses now is the one he'll use when he graduates to a big boy bed too. Of course, we'll also need another mattress, waterproof crib pad, crib sheet and crib liner. We put Owen in his crib from the very beginning and we plan to do that with our next babe too.

Trash Can - out with the diaper genie and in with a more practical purchase. This just makes so much more sense for the future use of the trash can. When our babes are out of diapers, we'll no longer use the genie we have and because it only kinda works (the lid is a struggle to fully close and latch), it may be a hard sell.

Video Monitor - we actually bought this for use with Owen but never set it up. I knew that when we added another to the nursery and when Owen goes to a big boy bed, I'd like to be able to see what's going on so that's why we never returned it. I just need to find a good spot for it!

TwoGiggles 5-year Baby Album - this is one of my absolute favorite baby items I have for Owen so I most definitely ordered one for baby #2. (View Owen's baby book!) His has lime green stripes and baby #2 will look like the image above.

Munchkin Bottle and Nipple Brush - we have a bottle brush now but it needs to be replaced. I've seen good things about this one and I feel like the sponge on top will provide a better way to clean the inside of the bottle more efficiently.

Fisher-Price Booster Seat - we have a perfectly good high chair now but I'd like something more mobile. The one we currently have takes up a lot of room in our small space and with two babies needing to be fed, the booster seats (one for each boy) will be more practical.

Waterproof bibs - After going through one messy baby, I've determined that these waterproof bibs are fantastic. I don't like to do laundry often if I can help it so being able to rinse them off is super nice. I'd like to get rid of most of my other bibs so we'll be buying a few sets of new waterproof bibs.

Graco DuoGlidder Classic Connect Stroller - We decided on this stroller after seriously considering buying a much more expensive side-by-side option, the Baby Jogger 2012 City Mini Double Stroller. I was pretty sold on the side-by-side aspect and that pretty much took over. But with the Baby Jogger, you have to buy all the accessories separately so it came out to be reaaaalllllly expensive. So in came the more economical but still very good Graco tandem option, of which Gary is a fan. We'll need to buy the coordinating car seat as well. (I'll admit, I'm sad we'll be saying goodbye to our Chicco Keyfit 30, so if you know of anyone who needs one [in a different style but still blue], we'll be selling it soon! It expires in 2017, in great condition and has never been in an accident. Comes with the stroller and car seat/accessories)


I Love You Night Light - this is just too cute not to want. I always felt Owen's room was too dark in the middle of the night so this will be nice to use if we decide to actually buy it.

Personalized Double-Sided Blanket - oh how adorable! I'd love for each of our boys to have their own blanket in gray with their names spelled in lowercase cursive. They are a bit on the expensive side so not sure if we'll splurge for this wish list item!


Owen's Baby Book

TwoGiggles and OddPrints = best sites to work with for Owen's baby book!

I worked really hard this past month to update Owen's baby book that I ordered from TwoGiggles on Etsy. It might seem expensive at $90 but it includes pregnancy through the fifth birthday and is super adorable. With Owen's first birthday approaching, I felt compelled to at least work on it a little in early November because I was a bit behind. I was keeping up well with the blogging side of the updates but definitely not his baby book. I had to go back to about five months so I'm soooo glad the blogs were there because it was a huge help in adding notes and little tidbits from the past seven months!

That was the easy part - then came deciding on photos. I have too many and like way too many of them to put just one or two on the photo pages. So, here comes my plug for Oddprints.com. I LOVE this site. OddPrints allows you to create custom-sized prints and either have them print it out (for a price) and send it to you or download them (for free) to your computer so you can print them yourself. Once I determined how many photos I wanted to use for each month, I went to work saving each photo to the correct sizes. I opted to download them and print from Walmart. You better believe I ordered them online to utilize Ebates :) They print out in whatever size makes sense. This is a 4x6 (yes, I needed teeny tiny photos - like 1.4" x 1.4":

The guide marks make it so simple to cut out. Then walaaah. You've got yourself the room to add in a ton of photos! I was able to make a max of 15 work on a page. I'm definitely free-forming these so it's not perfect but I don't mind!

Here are a few of the pages so you can get a feel for the style. There are a lot of photos - you can see them bigger by clicking on them. Enjoy :)

As you can tell, I still have a little to catch up on but that'll come soon enough. I'm working on gathering photos from family and phones so it's a process. My goal is to have his book up-to-date by the end of January. My other goal is to have his baby brother's up-to-date before he arrives too! Yep - we've picked a name and I already have his in hand :)