Happy Birthday Angel B

Time is a funny thing. Some days it goes slow, some days it flies by. There are moments when time can heal and moments when time can extend and even increase already anxious moments or excruciating pain. Through the years time has been all of those things for me. It has brought healing as it has provided ample experiences that bring happiness to my life.

Yet sometimes those sweet beautiful moments that time provides bring feelings of bittersweetness as I wish I could share them with my angel sister. No matter what happens with time it cannot completely overcome loss and grief. When someone loses someone or even something they love and hold dear there is always a part of them entangled in grief, whether it is an unconscious sliver in their minds or a daily companion.

For me I see grief like I see the waves of the ocean. There are many days when we can wade in the water and bask in the blue sky and sand, but there are many days where the winds blow and the waves crash over us. Over time the storms can lessen, but they still happen and often there is no telling when a wave might knock us down, especially waves that start as small and unsuspecting.

Today my sister would be turning 32 and I have no doubt we would be celebrating in some fashion whether together or worlds apart. She is a forever presence in my life, almost more so now than after she first died. As I get older and my family grows and my dreams and successes and failures and heartbreaks also grow I think of her all the time and the role she would play in my life and what our relationship might be like. Sometimes I laugh and smile when I think of what she might say or do in a situation and sometimes I grieve and wish she was physically here with me.

Today is a hard day and that is okay. Today is a reminder of a beautiful soul and a reminder to love deeply and have the faith to live life to its fullest. It is a day of sadness and a day of celebration of a life lived and love shared, and while today we celebrate worlds apart, I have faith one day we will celebrate together again and what a beautiful happy day that will be!

Today I choose to remember the good, to love better and deeper, to find joy, and to count myself so incredibly lucky to have an amazing angel watching out for me.

Happy Birthday B – xoxo

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Amelia’s Floral Cake Smash

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Happy Thursday everyone! We are one day closer to the weekend and I am so ready for it! I got hit with a nasty cold and just want to snuggle up in bed dreaming of Amelia’s delicious smash cake!

We didn’t do a cake smash for Carter’s 1st birthday, but we had a lot of friends around so we did a fun birthday party for him. I also feel like we have way more pictures of Carter as a little baby than Amelia, poor second child syndrome, so I really wanted to get some fun pictures of her and do a cake smash.

Having a husband who does professional photography really comes in handy when you want to do projects like this! He set up his pop up photography studio in our living room and I did the backdrop, the cake, and Amelia’s outfit and let him go to town on the photos.

I have had a lot of questions/compliments about Amelia’s tutu she has on. I got it on Amazon for $16.00 and then used Rit dye to custom dye it. It took me a little bit as I didn’t realize I had to use a special dye because of the material, but I love how it turned out. It is a polyester nylon mix, so I had to use Rit More dye and it worked like magic. I got it online on their website and I loved it because they had a color chart that gave you recipes for every color shade you could think of (and no this isn’t sponsored).

I got her onesie at Walmart and then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the one for her shirt. I used Cricut Iron on Glitter Vinyl. It is super easy to use and I love how well it holds up. I get mine at Joann’s. Her bow is a sweet lace bow from Little Fern Design and I believe it is still available in her shop!

Her cake is a chocolate butter pecan cake with a simple buttercream frosting. I didn’t want to do anything crazy with the cake and so I stuck with the “naked” frosting idea and used some small fake peonies and a glitter one from Hobby Lobby to decorate it.

The flower wall is made of fake flowers from Hobby Lobby and some clear jewelry thread. I saw the idea on Pinterest and fell in love with it. I took two different tutorials ( here and here) and combined them and it was perfect. I wanted a classy and sweet backdrop, but nothing that would be too distracting. The flowers were surprisingly easy to put together and the end result with her tutu and cake were everything I could have wanted!

As you can see from the pictures Amelia had zero hesitations about diving into her cake and she was very upset when we took it away. To say this girl loves food, especially sweets is a total understatement! I’m so thankful we did this shoot just so I can have these sweet photos to look back on and remember her and her fun personality at this age!

How do you like to celebrate 1st birthdays at your house?

 

Red Velvet Rose Whoopie Pie Cookies

Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a marvelous Monday. Mine started off a little rocky with a malfunctioning fridge, but thankfully we got it fixed with the help of a good friend!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes from I am Baker. They are oh so delicious and everyone I’ve ever given them too loves them. In fact my husband requested these instead of a cake for his birthday a week or so ago!

They are Red Velvet Rose Whoopie Pie (or Sandwich) cookies and they are scrumptious. The cookie is a red velvet cookie and the middle is your choice of frosting, I like using a classic buttercream but you can use whatever you want!

Full credit for these goes to I am Baker! I often tweak recipes to my liking, but I don’t change anything on these cookies.

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Ingredients

2/3 cup shortening

1 3/4 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon red gel food coloring

2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

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Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a stand mixer, cream together shortening and sugar.

Tip: When you are using shortening put a plastic bag inside your measuring cup. It keeps your measuring cup clean and it’s way easier to get the shortening out and into your mixer!

3. Once fully combined, add in eggs, one at a time on medium low speed.

4. Turn mixer to low and add in vanilla, buttermilk and food coloring. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and salt.

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This is the color of my batter. I red and a burgundy gel food coloring.

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5. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

6. You may need to add more buttermilk if your dough is still a bit dry. (You may add up to 1/4 cup more if needed. Do not add more than 1/4 cup.)

7. Using very small amounts, place dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1M (or 2D) tip. Pipe out individual rosettes onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I use a hard piping tube and it works really well for this. The tip I used this time wasn’t as detailed of a tip, so my cookies aren’t as detailed as they could be.  Also, you don’t have to make these very  big because they expand when they cook.

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8. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Dough will still appear to be a bit “wet” looking when the cookies are done, and this is ok. Allow cookie to cool to room temperature.

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9. To make cookie sandwich’s, place about 1 tbsp on marshmallow buttercream (Or whatever frosting you choose!) on bottom of cookie, them place another cookie on top and press gently.

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I am telling you, these are so good and they are perfect for Valentine’s day!

 

What are you favorite Valentine’s Day treats?

Kids Valentine’s Day Fashion// Part III

 

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Amelia’s Outfit: Top – Old Navy // Pants Pants – OshKosh // Bow – Little Fern Design, this bow was custom, but I linked a similar bow // Shoes – Ebay

Carter’s Outfit: Top – Old Navy, Carter’s top is currently out of stock, but they have some other cute options and it may still be in your local store! // Pants – Old Navy

Magnus: Bow Tie – Little Fern Design

While I adore all of the outfits I’ve shared, this one might be my favorite! I love this top from Old Navy that Amelia has on. It is perfect for Valentine’s Day, but the black and white makes it perfect for any other day too. The black and white is so classy and the peter pan collar is the cherry on the top for me.

Her bow and Magnus’s bow tie are matching corduroy and they are so fun. I love the texture the corduroy gives to the bow. It isn’t in Nicole’s shop, but she has some other similar ones that are really cute. Magnus wasn’t too keen on the bow tie at first, he is still getting used to having a collar.

Carter’s shirt is also Old Navy and I am so sad it is out of stock online! It may be in your local store though, so be sure and check it out! I really likes this top because it is festive, but not over the top and can be worn for my then Valentine’s Day (feel a theme here? haha).

Carter’s jeans are also Old Navy. I really love their little boy jeans. They wear really well which is important when your little boy is as active as Carter. When he was 1 and 2 he ruined so many clothes because he just plays so hard! When I find jeans that last I will gladly give my money to whoever sells them and Old Navy has definitely gotten a lot of my money. Haha.

This post (none of these posts) was not sponsored in any way. I just wanted to share some of my favorite Valentine outfits and where I got them. I hope this has given at least a few people some fun outfit ideas! I am always on the hunt for quality kids clothes that are affordable and cute! So please share away in the comments! I would love to hear where you find your favorite kids clothes!

Kids Valentine’s Day Fashion // Part II

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Amelia’s outfit: Top – Old Navy // Jeans – OshKosh // Bow – Little Fern Design // Shoes – Ebay

Happy Friday everyone!! We are still in a sugar coma over here from celebrating Miss Amelia’s birthday yesterday (pictures of her cake smash to come!), but I wanted to stop in and show you guys our second Valentine’s look!

I have always loved Old Navy and their kids clothes are so cute these days! I adore this little sweater shirt. The soft pink is so cute, but not too pink and the subtle pattern is so fun. I also love that it is short sleeved because she can wear it spring-fall! The sleeves are a little chunky to throw a sweater over, but you could pair it with a light jacket. I am definitely wishing they made this in my size!

Her hair bow is from Little Fern Design. If you haven’t noticed on instagram she is one of my favorite bow shops (and not just because she is my husband’s cousin!). Her bows are great quality and stay in Amelia’s hair really well. She helped me coordinate bows to go with these different outfits and she did such a great job!

I wish you could see Amelia’s little tennis shoes! They are so cute. They are cream faux leather slip on’s  with gold polka dots! Please click the link just so you can see how adorable they are. I have been buying shoes from Ebay for a while now and I really like it. They are all knock off shoes, but they’ve lasted Amelia really well and no one knows they aren’t “fancy” shoes. Word of warning though, they ship from China so they do take a month or two to arrive!

Her jeans, or jeggings really, are from OshKosh. They had a big sale in January and I picked up 3 pairs of jeans and I love all of them! They fit awesome and are adorable! Keep your eye open for President’s Day sales coming up because you should definitely snag some of these!

Overall I really loved this look because it is casual but fun and it’s the perfect outfit for any time of year! Also, the sweater top has a 90’s feel to it that I just love!

What is your favorite place to buy baby shoes? And what is your go to baby outfit?

Happy Birthday Amelia

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Happy birthday my beautiful little girl! I can’t believe you are already one. Last year around 3 in the morning my contractions were starting to get really strong, but I wasn’t scheduled to be at the hospital until 6:30 AM for my induction. I quietly climbed out of bed and got a hot bath going and tried to distract myself. When your dad woke up around 5:30 he couldn’t believe I hadn’t woken him up! We got ready and hurried to the hospital.

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When I got all checked in I was at a 4 and doing really  well so they decided they didn’t have to induce me after all, you were on your way! I got my epidural and they broke my water and before I knew it I was getting ready to push. I started pushing around 11 and 45 min later you were born! It was a wonderful and fast labor, especially since you were a vbac. We couldn’t believe how much hair you had and were in complete awe you were finally here!

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This last year has flown by and it has been pretty obvious you were meant for our family! After my miscarriage I was devastated and while all I wanted was another baby I still had feelings of fear and sadness when I first became pregnant with you. It didn’t take long though for those feelings to melt away into excitement for you to join our family. And after you were born it was pretty clear you were exactly what we needed. You filled a gap in our lives we didn’t even know was there.

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This past year has been amazing and it has been so much fun to see you learn and grow. You are the happiest, most patient baby always smiling and going along with whatever chaos is happening! You love your big brother so much and it melts my heart to see the way you look at him. Lately dad has become a favorite too and you grin and giggle whenever you see him on the stand at church or when he comes home from work. You love to explore, but will still snuggle up with me and your bottle and those are moments I treasure so much.

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You are already full of spunk and some sass and I can’t wait to see your personality develop over this next year. I hope you always keep your spunk and sass and grow to be a strong woman. I hope with all of your spunk you also learn to be kind and compassionate and loving and never think twice about stopping to help someone in need. I hope you triumph over heartache and learn that love and hardwork can take you wherever you need to go in life. I hope you get to experience the world and see the beauty it has to offer. I have so many hopes and dreams for you, but above all I hope you always remember how much I love you and that no matter what happens in you life I will always be there cheering you on!

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Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Kids Valentine’s Day Fashion // Part I

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Amelia’s Outfit: Sweater – OshKosh // Corduroy Pants – OshKosh // Bow – Little Fern Design (This was custom, but she has so many other adorable ones!)

Little girl clothes are the most fun to shop for especially during the holidays, but I’ve been trying to be better about buying items that can be worn for more than just a fun holiday. I picked up some really fun pieces for Amelia and Carter that are perfect for Valentine’s day but can be worn any time of the year really which makes them great for a kid’s wardrobe, so I wanted to share with all of you!

Today’s look is a sweet sweater and a closet essential of black corduroy pants paired with a clip in hair bow. I about died and went to heaven when I saw this sweater back in Jan. I just thought it was the sweetest little thing. It is so incredibly soft which makes it the perfect little girl sweater because it is pure comfort!

And is there anything cuter than baby corduroy’s? Amelia is in 9 month pants and jeans and I cannot get over how darling they are. There is something about baby jeans that just melt my heart. These are so soft and stretchy so she can move around to her heart’s content. They are a little more dressy with all the comfort of leggings.

Both her sweater and pants are from OshKosh. OshKosh is part of the Carter’s brand and I have really been loving them lately. Their clothes are adorable, affordable, and durable which are all really important to me when searching for baby clothes. They are a little pricier than Carter’s, but they have great sales and their clothes hold up really well.

Amelia’s bow is a custom bow from Nicole over at Little Fern Design and I am so in love with it. The fuchsia color matches her sweater perfectly and the velvelty suede material is so fun.

I love the mixture of the bold colors in the heart with the soft pink of the sweater. It is fun and playful while not being too much. It’s perfect for a cozy day at home or an early spring day at the park and since it will still be cold in Utah for another couple of months so this outfit will definitely be on repeat way past Valentine’s day!

What are some of your favorite children’s clothing brands?

 

DIY Countertops

Hey everyone!

I am really excited for today’s post! I am going to be walking through my DIY kitchen countertops. When we bought our home almost three years ago the kitchen had 1970’s faded yellow laminate countertops. They weren’t awful, but they weren’t awesome either. We didn’t have the budget to put in new counters so I attempted my first DIY countertop project.

I took a lot of great tips from Pinterest and they turned out pretty good. After wear and tear and a couple of years I decided I was ready for a change. We still didn’t have the budget for new granite or even quartz countertops, but I was comfortable painting them and this time I decided to go for the queen of sealers – Envirotex Lite. This stuff is incredible! It is very heavy duty, think 50 layers of regular sealer, and has magical powers to make your DIY painted counters look as close to granite/marble as you are going to get with a DIY.

When I first did my counters I was scared of the Envirotex Lite. It sounded really intense and scary, but after reading a few good tutorials and seeing the results I knew I had to do it this time around. I mainly took my inspiration from here and here. Please, please read those posts before you attempt doing this. This is definitely a project that takes planning and practice! I used pieces of cardboard to practice my colors and design at least 5 times before I attempted doing this even though I had already done my counters once before!

This is my counters before, after I did them the first time.

Now for the process!

First paint your counters with your base color (okay, really you tape everything up first). I chose a greige for my base color and I used a chalk paint so I would need to sand over my counters.

Second take the color you want to be the main tone of your counters and using a sea sponge, a plastic bag, or a paper towel (whatever works for you, also another reason you need to practice. Figure out what works best for you!) I usually use a mixture of the three. I used a cream color and after it dried I used a mixture of the cream with some glitter and a small dab of gold to give it the shimmer that granite often has.

After that dries then you can take your main accent color and start sponging it around. I used a coffee brown that had a little red in it. I also used a dusty rose/mauve color. After you get your main sponging done, I use a brush to go through and add some veins into the counter. Granite has a lot of natural veins, so this helps it looks little more natural looking.

 

Once that layer dries then you go back over it with your main color to blend things in. This is where it can get tedious because you go back and forth between your main color and your accent colors blending and adding to get the look you want. Once the paint is dry and before I do my final touch ups I go through and sand out some of the accent colors. This helps blend them into your main color and make the counter look like more like a natural stone.

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Trust me, there are going to be moments where you are really unsure and your counter might even look a tad ugly, but if you keep going and follow the process all the way through I promise it will look great! It is very time consuming and does make your kitchen a little unusable, so I suggest doing this before you go out of town so then your sealer can cure while you’re gone. Less temptation to use your counters before they are ready:)

I would suggest letting the counters dry overnight for two reasons. The first being it will be completely dry and the second being it gives you a chance to step away from it and then you can see it with new eyes and decide it’s ready before you seal it.

To seal your counters you need to have the sealer – I used about a gallon and a half the first time. I sealed mine twice to fix some spots, but not everyone will have to do that. I am definitely not an expert, so I highly suggest going back to those blog posts above and reading them thoroughly and going to the Envirotex Lite website and reading their advice and instructions.

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My biggest tips are

  1. Tape everything! This stuff is sticky and dries super hard, so tape and cover everything with plastic. Also wear clothes that you don’t care if they get ruined.
  2. Have someone help you! I definitely could not have done the sealer on my own. Laren poured and I followed behind him smoothing it out with a silicone cake frosting spreader like this. This sealer is self evening, but you do need to spread it out and you want to make sure you don’t make it thinner than 1/8″.
  3. Pull the tape off before the sealer dries completely. I made the mistake of waiting until it was all dry because I was nervous and I have some spots where I still have tape I need to pull off, well really saw off now.
  4. You will need to sand the underside of the counters. This drips and forms little round icicles, you can just use a hand sander to get them off.
  5. Buy a small hand blowtorch! I got mine at Walmart and it was perfect for getting rid of bubbles. After about 20 min you can start to see the bubbles forming and a small blow torch is great for getting rid of them without damaging the counters. You do have to be careful because heat can damage them.
  6. If you do a 2nd coat make sure and use alcohol to clean the counters before you start the 2nd coat. Also I would wait a few days before doing it.
  7. Your counters probably need to cure for a week so they can really withstand everything you will put on them! Hence the suggestion to go out of town right after you do them 🙂
  8. You can clean your counters with normal cleaner. I use Bailey’s cleaner and if I have a really stubborn stain you can use a magic eraser.
  9. Don’t set anything hot directly on the counter. The sealer is a type of epoxy and heat will cause it to discolor, often to a yellow color. So used hot pads or just avoid it all together.
  10. ENJOY!

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Before the sealer

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After the sealer

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It is amazing the difference the sealer makes! And it is so durable. We’ve had it for a couple months now and I absolutely love it. No scratches, no dings, no stains. If you are on a low budget, but want to redo your counters this is definitely the way to go!

My next project is to redo my lovely kitchen cabinets and then maybe add some grey subway tile backsplash and then my kitchen will be finished!

Have you ever tried to DIY your counters? Let me know how it went! 

 

 

 

 

Mommy Style Monday // Winter Activities 

Happy Monday everyone! Can you believe it is already the middle of January? Today we are talking about winter activities for Mommy Style Monday!

Winter has hit hard this year in Utah and we have been dumped on with snow! I have lived in Utah for 7.5 years now and this is the most snow we have had since I have lived here!

We live near the mouth of a canyon, so our neighborhood tends to get more snow than some of the places below us which can make for some pretty intense snow days.

My neighbor measured and since Christmas we have had over 3.5 feet! A lot of it has melted with the winter rain, but the forecast shows snow Friday – Monday for us, so it looks like we will have plenty more to play in soon!

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With a baby and an active 3.5 year old it can be hard to be snowed in for days at a time, but thankfully with our cozy snowsuits we can venture outside and make the most of our winter weather!

Our favorite activity this year has most definitely been sledding! Carter is old enough to be able go by himself and he loves it! He was a little shy at first, but now he would sled everyday!

With all of our crazy snow my husband built a sled run in our backyard and Carter lived on that thing before the snow melted! You can see a video on my Instagram .

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We also ventured out to a sledding spot in our neighborhood and it was so much fun!

Another one of our favorite outside winter activities is simply playing in the snow. From snowball fights to snow angels it is always a blast to play in the snow. Especially Utah’s beautiful powder!

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If you’re a little more adventurous another fun, but slightly dangerous activity (don’t say you weren’t warned) is sledding behind a 4-wheeler. My husband’s family are big 4-wheeler people and every year they go to a frozen lake and pull sleds behind the 4-wheelers. It is a blast! We missed it with the whole family this year, but we were able to do it at his parents house over Christmas. Carter thought it was pretty fun and no worries, he has an awesome ski helmet we picked up at Costco this year!

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Some other fun activities we love to fill the long winter days are

  • Movies and hot chocolate
  • Snow science experiments
  • Snow ice cream
  • Shoveling! Yes, shoveling. Buy your child a small snow shovel, I promise it will be well worth it!
  • Making snow caves
  • Visiting winter sights such as Utah’s amazing ice castles!
  • Going to a local museum. I love visiting museums in the winter, it is a good way to get out of the house without having to go outside and play!
  • Swimming! We have the funnest recreation center with an amazing indoor kids pool. It’s perfect for getting out all that pent up energy!
  • I haven’t done it in a long time, but going to the hot springs is one of my favorite winter activities!
  • The toys that have done the best job entertaining when we can’t go outside are our Magnet tiles (These are the coolest!), Giant wooden blocks, good old play dough!

What are some of your favorite winter activities?

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Be sure and check out all of the other mom’s and their fun winter activies! If you are interested in signing up visit Kiana’s blog for more information!

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts

Madeline at CaseyLand

Shani at Sunshine & Munchkins

Britt at My Little Sunshine

Rachel at Tutus and Heels

Noelia at You Can Call Me Noe

Jen at Jam Tart Boutique

Michelle at The Mumsy Blog

Kahana at A Beautiful Life

Monica at It’s All About

Happy Monday!!