Praise the LORD!

I wish I could make these fireworks bigger and burst out of your computer……friends we got TWELVE, count them 12 full hours of sleep last night!

I had another blog post planned but PRAISE THE LORD IN HEAVEN Hoke Slept!!!!!

I shared a bit of our sleep journey here and I am working on a full post about the woman who saved our lives, our sleep consultant Pam, but it has been and still is a struggle. Our happy, sweet, energetic baby boy just does not like to sleep.

So these nights are few and far between but we thank the good Lord for them, gives us the energy to get up at 4:00 and start the day.

At least he always wakes up happy right??!!!! Even if it is at 3:00, 4:00 or 5:00am.

No matter what though, I wouldn’t trade a single second for anything!

The Printed Button Down

I have to say, I love the printed button down trend. I have always loved bright colored clothes. Of course anything pink is perfect, but I love lime green, bright blue and lilac as well. Now that I have a young child I wear bright colors even more because Hoke seems to like them so much, especially when he was an infant.

I have listed a few of my favorite ones available now in stores, one of which I do own!

{Target}

I recently purchased this top and I love it! I think my favorite part of wearing this top is hearing Hoke say “duck, duck, duck” over and over again when I wear it. I have paired it with my hot pink banana republic shorts that I bought a few years ago.

{Equipment}

{Equipment}

Equipment is a bit more out of my price range these days but I do love both of these prints. I like the silk button downs tucked in to wide leg jeans and the highest heals possible!

{Forever 21}

Really like the chambray and floral option Forever 21 has…….and only $23!! I’d pair this with dark skinnies or white and tall boots in the fall!

What do you think of the printed button down trend?

 

 

Tasty Tuesday-Chicken Series

Please find today’s recipe on Fifteen Spatulas, I follow it as if it was Biblical!

My mother-in-law was here last week, we had a blast! I was determined to make her this chicken dish because, well, it’s one of the best meals Cary and I have ever made! One thing I don’t bend the rules on is the type of meat I buy. It’s only grass fed beef and free range chicken in this house, organic too. But…..we are also on a fixed budget as a one income household so we really have to stretch that meat. I was so excited when I was able to get 15 adult servings out of this chicken! That isn’t even the same meal!!! I made 4 meals out of this one chicken dish AND a pot of broth! So I am making Tasty Tuesdays a series for the next 4 weeks of each recipe. Some I have shared before and some are very simple but I just wanted to show how you can eat healthy, organic and inexpensive!

I paired this chicken with “smashed potatoes” and glazed carrots. Each recipe is below:

Smashed Potatoes

Serves 2-4

1 lb. red bliss potatoes

4 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp. rosemary (or any herb on hand thyme is great too)

1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot until they are cooked through. 2. Pour 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in the bottom of a rectangular pyrex dish, cover the bottom. 3. place cooked potatoes in the baking dish and use the bottom of a glass to “smash” them now. Keep them in tact but flat. 4. Pour the remaining olive oil on top and then top with salt, pepper and your choice of herb. 5. Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until they get a bit crispy. 

Glazed Carrots

Serves 2-4

5-6 carrots 

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and peper

1 tbsp honey

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 2. Slice the carrots in 2 inch pieces at a diagonal. 3. Place the carrots in a large pyrex dish so they are evenly distributed and not touching, drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 4. Bake the carrots for about 20 minutes until they start to brown. 5. Remove the carrots and immediately drizzle with honey, cool a bit and serve. 

What my Son has Taught Me

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It’s amazing to me, in the short 17 months Hoke has entered our lives, how much he has taught me. We all go through life covering up our feelings, talking about things behind each other’s backs, lying and backstabbing….life would be so much easier if we just lived like a 17 month old!

1. If You’re Angry BE ANGRY! Stomp your feet, yell, scream……..talk about your feelings. Tell the person who has wronged you how they made you feel, tell the person who hurt you that you are hurt. You will feel better, you will be respected and you may save a friendship. Don’t cover up your feelings, a 17 month old sure doesn’t! You KNOW when they are mad, they make it well known, the neighbor may know too, or all those other shoppers in Target. But they get it out and they feel better after! So tell people when you are hurt, mad or upset………then show them your bellybutton, works every time!

2. Be Honest, Stop Lying. Just tell it like it is. Don’t necessarily go around giving unsolicited advice like a 17 month old (my son loves to point out moles and say ewwww) but if someone asks your opinion or you need to tell someone something that you feel is important, tell them and be honest about it. What works in our house is to start the conversation “UH OH…..ewwww” try it, it’s a great ice breaker.

3. Let Simple Things Bring You JOY. Hoke loves trucks, when we are out and a truck goes by, it doesn’t matter if it’s an 18 wheeler or a Ford F150, he stops, stares and says “Truck….WOW” It’s a truck! We see 100’s of them a week but he notices each and every one and it makes him so happy. Let little things make you happy. Stop and notice the flowers, the birds. Don’t let the pile of dishes, your stack of papers at work, or your lack of whatever it is in life make you stop enjoying the small things you do have. A 17 month old enjoys everything, to them it is mostly firsts! The first time having ice cream, the first time playing bubbles, the first time swinging in a swing. Live life like that, the big things won’t seem so big anymore……unless it’s an 18 wheeler, they are pretty big.

4. Be Silly and Laugh. STOP COMPLAINING! Sometimes I’m in the trenches and feeling sorry for myself and here comes Hoke and says “Hi” and pounces on me covering me in kisses and hugs and them proceeds to show me where my hair, eyes, nose and mouth all are….you know in case I forgot. He is silly! He doesn’t even mean to be silly but he is and it makes problems melt away. That smile lights up a room. Be that way! When things get you down, be silly. Dance, sing, make funny faces even if it’s while you are alone and you do it in the camera on your phone, just be silly!

One of my very best friends (who I often couldn’t get through a day without) texted me the funniest story of what had just happened in their house that night. It went something like this:

Jen: Did you know that between 18 months and 3 years a child has the biggest developmental growth?

Jen’s husband to their daughter who is 19 months: Abby, what is the only even prime number?

Abby: BUBBLES!

Jen’s husband: Yeah we aren’t there yet.

Jen’s husband just finished the bar, worked his you know what off while they have a 19 month old and are expected a second in October, they could complain all the time but do they??? NO….they are silly and fun and enjoy every moment they have together! Be like that!

5. Sing and Dance. It doesn’t matter if I have Taylor Swift blasting in the car or Hoke has pressed a button on a book that sings, he dances. The song could be 3 minutes long or 3 seconds long…..he dances. We chase Hoke every day down the hall and often he stops simply to take a dance break. Hoke wakes up singing (if he isn’t sick of course) almost every time. Sing and dance, no matter how silly you look (see above)!

6. And Last….LOVE! Love with all your heart. Love with every ounce of your being, with every breath you take and with everything you have….Love. You can be gone for 10 seconds and come back in the house and Hoke is so excited to see you it’s like you have been gone a month. He runs and hugs your legs, he dances, he brings a book to read, he smiles…..love like that! Be happy every time your spouse walks in the door (maybe don’t bring a Sandra Boyton book but if you show them your belly button I can guarantee that may make them happy (see #1)!!) Show your friends love, let them know how much they mean to you. Hoke and his friends chase each other, they laugh, they share, they have screaming competitions…….love like that! Hug your friends and family every chance you get. A big, wrap your arms around them bear hug. Don’t let those you love question how much you love them, tell them and show them every chance you get.

I’m sure Hoke will teach me many more things as he gets older but so far these are some great lessons I have taken away from our precious time together. I hope you will take a few and make them new rules in your life!

The Book that Changed Me

You may read my blog (and believe me, I love you for it) and you may not be spiritual, or a wife, but the book The Power of the Praying Wife changed me. It may have had to do with the stage of life I was in or the deep, deep hole of sadness I had dug myself into but this book made me realize that life is bigger than me and my problems.

It was a hard time in mine and Cary’s life. We had lost our baby. I wrote about this in my 13 random facts blog, but didn’t really touch on how emotionally crushing this time was for me. Cary was not only going through the loss of our first child, but he was also very unhappy with his job at the time. We just did not know where to turn or what to do next. I was at home visiting my mom and dad, which I did a lot during this time, and found this book on a shelf at their house. I asked my mom if she needed it, she had read it years ago, she said no, go ahead and take it. Now I’ve taken numerous books from my parents that I always intended to read and never did and felt this would probably be the same. I came home, got up early the next day and decided to read a chapter. I was hooked! This book spoke to me chapter after chapter like no other book every had. Each and every day it was like God was telling me exactly what prayer Cary needed, and I needed, just to get through.

It was during this time I learned how to hand things over to God. I’m not perfect at this by any means and struggle all the time handing things over, but this book showed me how to have faith that God will guide you and hold your hand the whole time you are in those deep pits that seem like you will never see daylight again.

Like I said before, it could be the time in our life I was reading this that makes it so very special but I will never forget the time I shared with God while reading this book and how drastically our lives changed during that time. I don’t want what I say next to give the impression that I believe God is a magician, or that if you do things exactly right wonderful things will happen because they may not. God has a plan for everyone and everything but when I started this book we were in a bad way, so sad and so hurt. During the time I read this and gave it all to God we got pregnant with Hoke and Cary was hired at William and Mary, that is not a lie!

Life has not been rainbows and unicorns since then, we have had our fair share of struggles, some even bigger than before…..but I had learned so much while reading this book that I knew God would walk with me, guide me, and be there to help me to the other side.

This book may not be for you, you may be a man, a single woman, or someone who does not believe these things and all that is fine. But, I did want to make it known that a great work of fiction does not have to be the only book that can change someone. Something as simple as a daily devotional can change your life forever!

My Favorite Etsy Shops

I love selling on Etsy. I had no idea how rewarding it would be. I really thought I would add a few items on a Saturday afternoon and that I would make a few sales, I could not have been more wrong. Etsy is a wonderful community! Everyone I have met has been so sweet and so helpful, so willing to share what they have learned and what has worked for them. I spend so much time on Etsy, probably more than I should! But I have found some really cool shops that I wanted to tell everyone about!

How cute are these precious peg dolls by 2 Hearts Desire? And she has more than peg dolls, she has the cutest rattles, building blocks and tub toys!

I love Etsy’s vintage shops. I could (and sadly have) sit for hours just searching through the vintage section. Dalena Vintage is probably my favorite vintage clothing store on Etsy. Every single piece is breathtaking! I also follow her on instagram. If I was getting married now I would probably get a gown from her, they are just perfect!

Oh Soo Kim Studio, you get me every time. Her art was meant for me! The bright colors AND Twiggy!!! She has Audrey, Coco, Marilyn and Lucille Ball to name a few!

I L.O.V.E Proper Hunt. Not only does this shop have fabulous vintage jewelry (see what I mean!!!) the prices are unbelievable! I don’t even know how they do it to be honest. These for instance are only $44!!! SOLD!

Let’s go back to this post from the other day and then check out Pencil Shavings Studio, who wouldn’t want to load up a back pack with all these goodies?!?! Don’t you love the washi tape???

 

And I saved the best for last. Now I must say I am a bit partial to this shop since she is family, but Cary’s cousin’s wife Dana has Piece. Her earrings are so cool! These are the two pair I currently have and love and wear ALL THE TIME!!!

What are you favorite shops? I am always looking for fun new shops especially when Christmas gets closer!!

Tasty Tuesday

chicken pot pie

Chicken Pot Pie

1 rotisserie chicken/left over chicken or 3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts

1/5 bag small baby carrots cut into thirds

1 bunch green beans cut in half

5-6 new potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes

salt and pepper

1 tsp. chopped rosemary

1 tsp. thyme (dried or fresh)

6 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. heavy cream

Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Shred the chicken off the bone if it is a rotisserie or with a knife if just breasts. Melt the butter in a dutch oven, add the carrots, beans and potatoes and saute until lightly browned. Add the salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Once this has cooked for about 5 minutes add the flour, stir and cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower to a slow simmer and let thicken for about 10 minutes. Once thickened add the cream and cook an additional 5 minutes. Pour the chicken and vegetable mixture in a rectangular pyrex dish and place the raw biscuits on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes and serve. 

Sunday night we made roast chicken since my mother in law is in town, I wanted a nice Sunday meal and it was delicious but we always have so much leftover. I love chicken pot pie and always have, it’s just a perfect comfort food! I decided we had all the veggies on hand and I would make a big recipe so we could have it all week for lunch. My mother in law makes amazing from scratch biscuits. Sadly, I don’t have that recipe, but any biscuits will do. I do love biscuits on top of chicken pot pie instead of pastry dough, just gives that added southern touch! Enjoy!!!

 

If I Knew I Would Not FAIL!

{Via: Lara Casey Shop}

We all have dreams and most of us are able to attain those dreams. I always wanted to be a mom, my husband Cary has, since college, wanted to get his Phd and since finishing, wanted to teach. We do reach for goals and accomplish them every day….but what about those dreams you have in the way, way back of your mind that you know probably won’t happen but always wonder….what if??? I’d own a restaurant!

According to many sources, 9 out of 10 restaurants fail in the first year. Everywhere you look, especially in this economy, you see restaurants going out of business. But….if someone told me today that I would not fail, I’d open a restaurant yesterday. I wouldn’t do this alone, and wouldn’t want to. It is definitely something I dream about Cary and me doing but know we probably never will.

Owning a restaurant is a huge commitment, I think it’s bigger than any other business but that is just my opinion. Cary worked for a well known restaurant in Wake Forest all through high school and I remember him telling me that the owner was always there, ALWAYS. They never go home, it is their life! Part of me thinks it would be so much fun to raise a family while owning a restaurant, having our kids learn to cook before they can walk and tasting every food imaginable. But then I think of all those long nights and what it really could mean raising a child when you own a restaurant, homework in the back office, carrying them to bed after they fall asleep in the kitchen……I don’t think I want that.

We wouldn’t want anything big or flashy. I’m not thinking of the next Four Seasons, but a small breakfast and lunch spot would be fun! Something cute of course with a small shop attached like Zest Cafe, one of my favorite spots in Raleigh. We would of course want to source all local, sustainable food. Maybe we would have a small catering business on the side or pre-made meals people can pick up during lunch and take home for dinner….the options are endless.

What would you do? If I could look at you right now through this computer and promise you you would not fail (I won’t do this because I have no clue) but if I did somehow know, what would you do? Would you dance, sing, act? Would you quit your job and write the next great novel? Would you open a boutique or buy a chain? Maybe you would travel and see the world. It is fun to think about, and maybe if you are adventurous, do it!

I have a friend, Bethany, that I met through Cary a few years ago (and felt immediately we were soul mates). Bethany and her husband Dan are the first couple that come to mind when I think of two people who truly do what they dream of! I won’t get into their story too much, because I really want you to read her blog, but they are fabulous photographers who travel the country! Please check out her blog linked to her name above and get motivated to live your dream!

So if someone can promise me we would not fail………and can fund this venture, comment below and I’ll get started on a business plan tomorrow!!

Planning? What Planning

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I had a blog planned today. I had a week planned actually but there were other plans in the works known as a child’s ear infection. He is teething. 5 teeth in 3 weeks would make anyone cranky, tired and possibly sick. We have had no sleep, not much food and a lot of tears. I sit here now nursing a sick child (too much information….sorry) and typing this on my phone because that is probably the only free second I’ll have all day.

Life likes to throw curve balls. Not just life as a parent but for anyone, day to day things change and our paths change. So I thought this sweet little picture was only fitting today and this week…….live on coffee and flowers. Flowers, because they always make you happy, and coffee because, well we have to function.

Happy Weekend!

 

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