Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Olivia || 18 Month Update

I cannot believe my baby is 18 months old!  It sounds even older saying 1 and 1/2, right?!   She is at such a fun age and she has such a fun, loving personality.

{Being a little ham while Mommy is outside}

18 Month Stats:

Weight: 21.6 lbs {11th percentile}

Height: 31.5 inches {49th percentile}

Favorite foods: 
Raspberries, greek yogurt, olives, cheese, green beans

Favorite books:
Ghosts in the House || Time for Bed || Five Little Monkeys || The Velveteen Rabbit || One,Two, Boo!

Loves to:
- Play outside & collect leaves, rocks, etc
- Help Mommy cook
- Read books
- Play with her baby doll and stuffed animals 
- Clean {She knows exactly where things belong and puts things where they go - especially Daddy's shoes, hats, etc...ahem Daddy}
- Listen to music, especially loving Taylor Swift "Shake it off"
- Brush her teeth {She gets so excited to brush her teeth before bed, then it ends as if I'm brushing some sort of squirming animal with 18 arms and legs}
- Loves to make ghost noises while reading Halloween books
- Loves finding boxes {aka even tissue boxes} to sit in...the smaller the better...she's insistent on sitting in anything resembling a box

- Hair, eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, ears, belly button, hands, feet, legs & butt 
- Can repeat back how to spell dog... learned D-O-G with foam letters in the bathtub
- Says "thank you", "more please", "no way", "good girl", various names, etc

Parades, Broccoli, Getting her diaper changed "no,no,no"

Olivia is such a little love bug!  She is just the sweetest girl and this is definitely a fun age! (Minus the toddler meltdowns over sharing...)  Coming up: 18 Month Favorites.  Do you have products you love for your toddler?  I'd love to hear. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Winner Is...

So excited to announce the winner of the Bows for Logan giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations, Astrid!  Will email you shortly with details!  Thank you so much for everyone who entered.  Check back on Friday for another Shop Feature & Giveaway, featuring GuguBerry!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Shop Feature Friday || Bows for Logan Giveaway

Happy Friday!  I'm so excited to share the Etsy shop Bows for Logan with you!  I "met" Taylor on Instagram and she's just the sweetest!  She has a little girl named Logan and the cutest Etsy shop.  I'll let her introduce herself to you a little more...

Hi!  My name is Taylor Epley and I am from Indiana.  I am engaged to my best friend, Ryan, and we have our amazing daughter together named Logan.  I am currently a stay at home mom and part time student at Indiana University of South Bend, studying nursing.  I was a certified nursing assistant for two years before I had my daughter and loved what I did.  Being a CNA has so much wear and tear on your body and I knew I did not want to do that for the long run.  Once I had my daughter Logan, I knew what I was passionate about - being a labor and delivery nurse.  I loved my labor and delivery nurse because she was so happy and you could tell she loved what she did.  I mean, who wouldn't want to deliver precious babies all day?  My number one dream though, was always to own my new boutique.  I absolutely love what I do and am incredibly happy to be able to have come this far.

I love supporting small business!  Here is some more background into her shop:

My shop opened August 7, 2014 and it has been the best journey since.  When my daughter was born, I realized I loved baby fashion, loved all of the Etsy shops and Instagram shops and thought to myself, "why can't I do this?"  That is where it all began!  My daughter is my number one inspiration.  I am so happy to be able to support my family with something that I love to do.  Even though my daughter comes first, my shop is right up there too.  I take a lot of pride in everything I make and would never ship out anything I wasn't proud of.  

My shop vision is to sell handmade, quality items to moms.  I am expanding with gender neutral items and items moms can use also.  I want to eventually have as many boy items as girls.  My favorite item varies on a day to day basis! Right now, I would have to say it is my new nursing/teething necklace just listed in the shop.  

Taylor has such a great variety of bows, flower crowns, blankets, teething necklaces and more!

Olivia is a big fan of Bows for Logan!  She chose to wear this adorable polka dot bow to go shopping the other day.  The bows are amazing quality and made with sturdy fabric. Our bows were made on a clip and that feature is great for toddlers who have thinner hair or love to pull those headbands off;)

Taylor generously offered to give away a shop credit to one of you lucky readers!! Be sure to check out her shop here on Etsy and on Instagram @bows_for_logan!  

A few hints...

*Welcome to new readers!  You do not have to have a Google account to join this site and become a follower.  For example, when joining with an Optimum email (after clicking "join this site" on right sidebar) click on the Google logo and sign in with your Optimum email.* 

*If you are viewing on a mobile device, simply switch to the web version (option at bottom of your screen) to find the "Join this site" button*

*If you are a current follower, leave your email in a comment below after entering through the last option*

Winner will be chosen and announced on Tuesday, October 28. The lucky winner will have 24 hours to respond to claim their shop credit.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe || Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Happy Sunday!  I whipped up this pasta recipe last night and it is a definite keeper!  My hubby can be picky about pasta, meaning if there is no meat it is not considered dinner.  I couldn't be more different and would pass up meat for veggies or pasta any day.  We come to a happy medium most nights ;)  I do think the words "this is a keeper" came out of his mouth, so you know it's a good one.  It also couldn't be easier.  I love recipes that are quick, easy, and tasty.

3-4 large red bell peppers (1 one jar of roasted red peppers - not marinated)
1/2 large red onion, or 1 small red onion 
1 clove of garlic
1 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of half & half or cream 
Fresh Parsley
Your favorite pasta (I used fettucine)

  • Turn on a large pot of water to a boil.  
  • Slice peppers in half and broil until skin is charred.  Put peppers into a paper bag to steam, then remove skin. (You can skip this step altogether if you use jarred roasted peppers) 
  • Dice up the onion and garlic then saute with a small amount of olive oil until translucent.  
  • Add in the roasted peppers and let cook a few more minutes, until onions and peppers are very soft.  (Like my cooking terms...very soft?! You know what I mean)  
  • Add in the 1 cup of chicken stock (or 1 cup of boiling water with a chicken bouillon cube dissolved) and wine then let reduce slightly. 
  • Drop pasta into boiling water, cook for appropriate time.  
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, use a hand blender or food processor to puree the sauce. 
  • Once pureed, add in the half and half and simmer to warm through.  
  • Toss the drained pasta with the sauce and add fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Fresh parsley is one of the star ingredients so don't skip this! I decided to keep some texture in the sauce so I chose not to puree until smooth, just slightly blended.  It was so easy and so good.  Definitely a nice change to tomato sauce and Olivia loved it as well!  This will be added to the quick dinners list.  What are some of your favorite quick dinners?  Do you have a yummy pasta dish to share?  I'd love to hear! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recipe || Maple Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I like pretty cupcakes and I cannot lie...those other mommas can't deny when a big, pretty cupcake... Ok, ok I'm done (where's my laughing emjoi?) Anyway, it's true.  I love cupcakes and I love pretty cupcakes even more.

These were the easiest cupcakes ever because they start out with a boxed recipe.  Normally, I prefer a more bakery style cupcake, so I doctored these up to make them more homemade tasting.

Here is the recipe for bakery style Maple Brown Sugar cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 Box of Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar cake mix
 -Add 1 more egg than called for
 -Use melted butter instead of oil
 -Use milk instead of water
 -Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla

Mix it all together and fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for suggested time on box.

Preheating the oven to a higher temperature then reducing while cooking causes the cupcakes to rise more.

Now, to make the frosting... Again, I used a container of cream cheese frosting to start and added in about 1/3 block of cream cheese.  I whipped the frosting and cream cheese together to create a fluffier texture and slightly less sweet, more intense cream cheese favor.  If I had more time, I would have used this recipe.  To decorate these, I simply frosted them and then rimmed them with fun fall sprinkles.

I'm definitely going to play around with a homemade recipe for cupcakes similar to this.  Do you have a favorite cupcake recipe?  I'd love for you to share!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

We Painted || Baby Safe Finger Paint

I've been seeing recipes for baby safe finger paints popping up all over Pinterest and I decided to make my own for a day of painting with the munchkin.  Ok, maybe 4 minutes of painting with a toddler...even so, it was fun!  Here's how to make the paint:

1 cup of greek yogurt (I chose to use greek so it's not too runny)
Food coloring
Canvas or large piece of paper

That's it.  Seriously, so easy!  I chose to make pink and purple, but you could easily make tons of other colors, mixing and matching to your little one's bedroom or playroom if you're planning on hanging their masterpiece ;)  You can basically eyeball the 1 cup, using more or less depending on what size canvas you're using.  I highly recommend keeping baby wipes or paper towels close by.  It is definitely a messy project, but oh so yummy for yogurt loving babies.

We painted with her cousin, Brynn, and both babies were excited to start.  First time painter fail:  Painting on the grass.  Why did I think this was a good idea? Next time, I would definitely put down a sheet or paint inside.  Rookie move.  Although, props to myself for putting Olivia in one of my old t-shirts to protect her clothes.  Would recommend:)

She was very proud of hers.  Brynnie was hesitant at first, then sampled some and got into it ;)  *Look past the painting clothes* 

Once the painting was done and interest was lost, both babies continued to sample the paint...

I'd say it was a tasty little project ;)  Once they are finished painting, I went over the thicker areas with my finger, removing excess paint, to make sure it dries evenly.  

This was a fun, tactile activity for little one's. I'd love to know if you try it yourself!  Off to hang this little masterpiece ;) 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apple Picking Fun

Hello friends!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Ours was low key as we're all getting over colds.  Last week, I took Olivia apple picking with my mom, sister, and niece.  Our hubbys were working and we chose to go during the week to avoid the 12536 people thinking it would be a great weekend for apple picking.  As soon as we got out of the car, Olivia was squealing with excitement.  She is for sure a lover of fall activities!  Both babies have mastered saying the word "apple" and couldn't believe their little baby eyes when they saw hundreds of apples they could just eat right from the trees ;)

It was quite an art to walk through the orchard, almost to the point where it was a game of which baby was rolling down the hill again.  It was hilarious... in a "you're fine, let's go get more apples" kind of way ;)

This little girlfriend was double fisting the entire time and generously feeding everyone a bite of her beloved apples. 

After picking all of the apples we could, we went to their country store to grab some cider donuts and pose as little apple heads.  You're welcome for this little gem.  

Our aunt sent us pictures from when we were little, holding apples coincidentally.  Can you tell which ones are me from Olivia?  She's mine, clearly.  
I love being able to do all these fun fall things with her!  Be still our festive little hearts, for it's just the beginning of holiday fun!