Announcement and Taking a Break

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I am currently here…….for the week! Beautiful Duck, NC in September, it really can’t get much better. So with that being said I am taking the week off from blogging to enjoy myself.

I am working on a heartfelt blog I hope you all will read next week since we closed on our house last Wednesday. By the grace of God our house sold in less than 48 hours!

I will be back hopefully by Friday and no later than next Monday. Enjoy your week and Happy first day of fall!

Friday Favorites

How true is that! I always feel so silly when I smile at someone and they don’t smile back but at least I smiled! Maybe it brightened their day. And I leave you with this as my “smile” to you for the weekend….enjoy!

This is not an SNL skit, we have watched it in our house about 10 times now

Completely obsessed with these

If you are a Mara Hoffman fan like me, check out her spring 2015 line, not as much color but I’m loving it!

Too bad they sold….we could have had a tea party

This one had me crying and really questioning myself when I look over these people

My Choice to Stay Home

{via: Hand Written Word}

Ever since I was very young, maybe 12 or 13, I knew I wanted to be a mom. I had so many career goals, they changed almost as much as you change underwear, but I knew, no matter what, come the day a child entered our lives, that would be my main focus. Please also know I am not putting down moms that work, I have a lot of respect for moms that can juggle a job and be amazing mothers, I just realized very quick I couldn’t do both.

I did work part time for awhile after Hoke was born but it was not for me, I longed to be home. I saw this the other day and thought “wow, this is SO true!” Even as a mom, who happens to stay home, I do run a small business and run our household and so many times throughtout the day I hear myself saying to Hoke “Ok, give mama a second to do……” and it’s something that is important to me and to what I am working on when it all comes down to the fact that he is the most important work! And he is work!! Don’t let anyone fool you that parenting is a piece of cake, well it can be, in your face and all over the floor. Parenting is HARD work, very hard! And being a stay at home mom is hard because it’s all day every day never ending work! Hoke is very active and if you turn your head for once second he is poll dancing on the floor lamp, washing the baby monitor in the dog bowl or doing gymnastics off the sofa. But I have to remind myself often that these days are fleeting and there will come a time when I won’t have to watch his every move and he won’t need me as much.

Hoke has recently started eating with a fork and spoon completely on his own. I was talking with my mama about this the other day and she said to me “every day they need you less and less” I realized how true that is and to make every thing we do together count as much as possible because one day it will be the last time and we will long for it!

It is work, no way around it, work with no pay too I might add! But oh the joy and satisfaction that comes out of it is beyond any job and any amount of pay I could dream of! Also, let me say, you still need time to yourself, it isn’t all about your child just like your job isn’t your whole life, but it is a main focus. Hoke is by far the most demanding, honest, predictable boss I have ever had…..he gives the best hugs out of all of them too!

My Favorite Pinterest Pages

 

Are you a Pinterest addict like me? Think there are support groups for this type of obsession? I am seriously crazy about Pinterest, my life changed when Pinterest was created and I believe I am a better person because of Pinterest, yes I have a problem.

I don’t follow a ton of people on Pinterest and more times than not I will quickly unfollow someone if I’m sick of their feed, yes I am also a Pinterest snob.

What constitutes a good Pinterest page might you ask? Well I’ll tell you! First, I don’t like it when I follow a designer I like that ONLY posts their own items, I can go to their web page for that! Next, I really don’t like all the humor posts on Pinterest. A few are cute and I do think they are funny but when a feed is just full of them it’s too much reading for me, I’ve got things to Pin people! Also bad links! I can’t stand to see a recipe that looks amazing only to find it links to something completely different and I don’t have time to search for it!

So…..now that you have my complete list here are my favorites!

1. How Sweet Eats: I also love her blog! Her pins are so much fun and she has so much variety….not to mention her recipes!!

 

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2. California Baby: Do you ever have that person or company you are following and you find yourself re-pinning every single pin?? Yep, thats California Baby for me! And believe me, the baby part is only about 10% of their pins!

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3. Old Try: I love Old Try! Cary has one of their T Shirts and I just love their art but their Pinterest page is so much fun for a fellow southerner.

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4. Design*Sponge: Yet another blog I love, but another I find myself re-pinning quite a lot!

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5. sfgirlbybay: With boards called “Four Eyes” Girl’s Night at the Oscars” and “Light my Fireplace” who wouldn’t love her?!?

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5. Lauren Conrad….because come on it’s Lauren Conrad!

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6. Oh Joy: Yet another blogger I love, her color choices are beautiful on her boards! They light up my feed and I love it!

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7. Mother Earth Living: I follow all of the magazines I have subscriptions to on Pinterest but Mother Earth Living is my favorite because they pin a lot outside of their magazine…..and it feeds my inner hippie

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So those are my favorite pages, how about yours?

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Series

{Recipe and image via: Lemon Tree Dwelling}

This weeks leftover chicken post is adapted from the above recipe and this is also her image, not mine. BBQ chicken pizza is probably one of our favorite meals! It is so quick and filling and just all around delicious! A few differences in my recipe:

1. We make our own pizza dough or buy it fresh from Trader Joes, we don’t use flatbread

2. We omit red onions (for Cary) and cilantro (for me)

3. I use granny smith apples for a little extra tartness

This is perfect for that leftover chicken! Great for movie night too!!

I’m Frugal When it Comes To……

{Image from Green Mom}

I had dinner with my mama friends Saturday night and we started talking about saving money on food each week. One of my girlfriends is a coupon queen, I just can’t get into the whole couponing thing, more power to her!! And let’s face it, I’ve never been what anyone would call frugal but since most of our marriage has been a one income household (either me working or Cary working) I have had to learn the hard way how to be frugal…….at least somewhat. This changed drastically after having a child. It is amazing how much something that only weighs around 10 lbs. can cost!!!

I thought I would compile a list of ways I do try to cut corners and ask for some help from my readers of ways they cut corners as well!

1. Children: I wrote a post¬†earlier this year on saving money with children and one of the main ways we save is cloth diapering. I said in my post how much we save a month especially in those early months when you seem to change diapers every 5 minutes. The up front cost for brand new cloth diapers was around $350 for us. That was a big chunk of our baby budget but the money we have saved not buying disposable diapers each month has totally paid for the up front cost, it really paid for itself in about 4-5 months. True, our water bill and electric went up slightly because we wash them every night but not nearly as much as you would think. Also in my post I talked a little about making all of Hoke’s food, never buying jarred baby food, this saved a ton! Now Hoke only eats what we eat. That brings me to my next “frugal” point…..

2. Food: Cary and I watched Food Inc. about 3 years ago and drastically changed the way we eat. Granted, having a child does leave more room for “convenience foods” that have crept back into our diets but for the most part we try to only eat whole, natural foods. This is much more expensive then the normal Western diet. I love all thing Michael Pollan and if you don’t know who he is please google him and start reading. One thing Michael suggests is shopping the periphery of the store instead of the inner isles. The inner isles are where most of the coupons are used though…..so you have to be very careful in your planning and stick to your list! That is the main way I keep our budget down.

3. Decorating: I can’t say I can do everything in this blog post, but I love her tip on decorating with what you have. She mentions hanging hats by the door that you use regularly but are also fun, instant art! Yes this may sound cheesy but really if you think about it it’s kind of genius! I try to do a lot of decorating with things we already have. We also never buy something to fill up space. Cary and I have very particular tastes, some may think our house looks a bit strange but it’s exactly what we like and we have collected things over the years that we love and want to keep. We have antiques that we looked around for months for, we have higher priced items we saved for but we also have simple items like Hoke’s crib we purchased from IKEA for under $100. Hoke’s nursery post is here. We did his entire nursery for under $500 and It is my favorite room in the house!

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4. Clothes: Oh clothes, dear sweet, beautiful clothes…..do you remember me? We once had such good times together, I would spend unspeakable amounts of money on you and you would in turn make me feel like a million dollars…..yes that was before I realized, peanut butter will destroy silk and sequins don’t hold up at the park! Yep, expensive clothes are no longer important when you stay home with a child so where does 90% (ok let’s be honest 110%) of my wardrobe come from…..Target….and Target sales I might add. Oh and Forever 21. Did you know you can get a tank top at Forever 21 for $1.80??? Come on….Hoke can cover it in peanut butter after I wear it 5 minutes, who cares it was $2!!! Most of our clothing budget is spent on him now and I like to ask for clothes as gifts for the most part since he enjoys boxes more than expensive toys right now anyway. And I still have all those expensive clothes…..we just only hang out about once every 2 months.

So there are 4 small areas I try to save money, as you can see I could use some help and ANY and ALL advise is welcome! How do you stay frugal when you love love LOVE expensive things???

My Super Cool Running Playlist!

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A sweet friend of mine recently posted on Instagram “I drank the kool-aid. I have a running goal.” I loved this! It motivated me! So I called up a close friend who has a jogging stroller and asked if I could borrow it before we shelled out the cash to buy one and my plan is to start running…………..again……………I’ve started this goal many, many times!

To get motivated, I made a playlist. Ok……this is where I need to warn everyone, I have horrible taste in music. I am lucky to be married to, excuse the language, but what I would call a badass…..and he has great taste in music! But darn it I like music that makes me happy and is up beat so here are a few songs I run to, dance to, heck I’m writing this blog to it right now!

1. American Kids-Kenny Chesney

2. People Get Ready…..Jesus is Coming-Crystal Lewis (side note all my NRCA friends……ski trip bus rides HOLLA!!)

3. All Night Long-Lionel Richie

4. Africa-Toto

5. Never Say Never-Justin Beiber

6. Windows Are Rolled Down-Amos Lee

7. Carry Me Through-Dave Barnes

8. We Found Love-Rihanna

9. P.Y.T- The one and only Michael Jackson

10. Human Nature- see a pattern…..MJ!!

11. The Way You Make Me Feel…..MJ So sorry!

12. Princess of China-Coldplay

13. Cosmic Love-Florence + The Machine

14. New Shoes- Paolo Nutini

15. I Smile- Kirk Franklin

16. Super Bass- Nicki Manaj

17. Get Lucky-Daft Punk (I would never know who the heck Daft Punk is without my CR)

18. Happy-Pharrell Williams

So there you have it……are you still laughing at me….you can stop now, I’m proud of my silly little playlist, it gets me moving and that’s all that matters!

Work to Live or Live to Work??

For the first 4 years of our marriage I supported myself and Cary mostly, for him to accomplish his Phd. I don’t regret it for one single second, but it was hard. There were many tears, many days I wanted to throw in the towel as I watched him work towards his passion and I was just pushing paper to pay the bills. Looking back I served a huge purpose in our lives but it did not feel that way day to day. But my day came to enjoy work!

I am very blessed to have had TWO jobs in my life that I truly loved. I have had way more than 2 jobs, but there have been 2 that I actually enjoyed and looked forward to.The first is my current job, staying home with Hoke and growing my blog and jewelry line, the second was working at Willow Boutique.

When I look back at my days at Willow and think on my current “job” they both have one thing in common, I didn’t do either of them for the money. I will say, Willow paid me well and took very good care of me but it was part time and didn’t pay the bills, Cary’s job did that for us as it does now. Of course being a SAHM doesn’t pay NEAR enough haha, and my jewelry business is growing but of course its not really making a ton of money yet.

I thought about these two jobs and what truly made and makes me happy about them and it was that I was doing my passion, or passions I should say. I love fashion, people and constant changing environments and Willow gave me all of that! Not only was it literally paradise to work at

IMG_1783I’m not kidding, this was my view, not to mention the beach just 3 steps away. Willow was what I did for me, it was my release, it was at times my escape from hard times, but most of all it was so much fun! I loved all the girls I worked with, I loved being in the store, learning the process and working with all the customers. After working mostly to put Cary through school, Willow was my first job that I could choose to do, not because we needed the money but because I was good at it and I served a purpose that I enjoyed!

Staying home with Hoke has always been my dream! Sure it has it’s days, just like any job but it is what I have always wanted to do. I am very, very blessed to be married to a man who would support me no matter what I wanted to do and he works extremely hard to support us so I can stay home with Hoke.

So do you work to live or live to work? I know not everyone can live to work or LOVE to work, we need to pay the bills. But Cary and I have sacrificed living the financial “dream” some may have in order to live contently and do what we both love. It is a struggle, not to make as much money, not to take tons of vacations or live in a big house……but we are both home with Hoke far more than most parents. We both have so many hobbies that we love and do often. Our cars aren’t new, good grief these days our clothes aren’t even new but we are content and we both LOVE what we do.

I hope you are able to do both, make a living and support yourself and love what you do!

 

I Had a Plan-I Wanted a Girl

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Writing the words that I named this post makes my stomach turn. The thought of “my plan” what I wanted, what I thought was best………I have been writing this post for weeks over and over in my head. I want to truly convey the sadness I felt at this time, and the great joy I feel now and hope you will join me on this post and take something from my honesty that may help whatever you may be going through right now.

It was May of 2011, Cary had just graduated with his PhD and in typically Katie fashion it was time to implement my plan. Without getting into the nitty gritty, my plan was to make a baby. I had had this planned since Cary told me he wanted to get his PhD while we were engaged, we would get married, live off beans until he finished school and then start a family as soon as that degree was in hand. Little did we know we would move 13 hours away from home in the midst of all of this but that was just a kink in my well thought out path of our lives…..keep in mind, MY PLAN!

I had mentioned to Cary a few times that I was ready and that as soon as school was over I wanted him to really sit down and talk about this with me so May came around, I brought it up and he wasn’t ready. I was devastated! I wanted this! It was what I had been looking forward to all year in fact I even had the time planned out, it would take maybe a month to get pregnant so around June, I would be in the midst of the worst part in the coldest months of the year and have a sweet valentines baby….sounded perfect to me! But he wasn’t ready, how had I not planned for this??? “OK???” I asked, “then when will you be?!?!” we had a lot of family visiting that summer so he said, let’s just wait until the dust settles from all this company and the busy summer and then see where things go.

August rolls around, the last of our company leaves, our next trip isn’t planned until the end of September so I broach the subject again and without too much detail, we start trying. I’m not going to lie, we got pregnant the first try. We were shocked, thrilled, scared, excited and not ready at all! But my plan was in action, I was going to have my little girl. Yes, there was no other option, the baby MUST MUST be a girl! Katie LeWare Humber cannot have a boy…..I don’t have a tomboy bone in my body. I know nothing about sports, hate to get dirty, bugs terrify me and boy clothes?!?! So the decision was made, we would have a girl (ha….seriously, this is how I thought!)

We keep our mouths shut as long as we can, 8 grueling weeks, and we let the cat out of the bag. I went home to visit my parents and go to the beach and told them and my extended family. When I got home we called Cary’s family and then we told all our friends….EVERYONE….at 8 weeks (yet again, another plan gone wrong…keep reading)

The beginning of my first pregnancy was somewhat normal, I was tired, a little sick and started gaining weight. I bought a few outfits (all girl clothes mind you, all girl) I started picking out names (girl names) and designing a nursery (pink of course). We went for the first ultrasound at 8 weeks, the baby was a bit small for how far along I was but the doctor said no concern, strong heart beat, I probably just had my conception date wrong (looking back I should have known something was up, I KNEW my conception date….did I mention the planning part?)

Our next ultrasound wasn’t scheduled until I was 13 weeks. That week I didn’t feel “right” I felt I was losing weight, I wasn’t sick anymore and I had more energy, all things that should not be happening, but it was my first pregnancy, what did I know? The day before my appointment I spotted, not a lot but some. I called the doctor and told them, they said I was coming the next day so unless it got much worse, just to wait. The next morning it was worse, my appointment was at 2:00 but I called Cary at work and asked him to please just meet me for lunch and sit with me so we did.

I really haven’t gotten to the point in my life that I can talk openly, with everyone, about what happened next…….at the doctor at the hospital, on the ride home and back for surgery first thing in the morning. But it was torture, it was, and still is the hardest thing I have every been through. But that isn’t the reason for this post anyway, the reason is to show just how unbelievably stupid I was in thinking I had a plan.

In the blink of an eye, my plan was over, gone, done. There was no baby, no girl…….no pink, no ruffles, no bows…..over. That’s how it can work though, we can plan and decide and map things out but if God doesn’t have that in the cards for us it can all be gone in a second. I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan, that we should just go through life floating along, I am saying it’s not in our hands.

I learned more in the months between the death of our child and having Hoke than I had learned my entire life. I learned to give things to God, just give it all up and let Him take over. This was a freeing time in my life, it took such a huge burden off of my shoulders, to just let God have it all. I no longer wanted that girl, that baby, I wanted a child. I wanted another person to love and nurture and raise into a great person who I would be proud of. When we started trying again I can honestly say it did not matter to me one bit if we had a boy or girl I just wanted to bring a child into this world with Cary and love it with every ounce of my being.

I can’t imagine life without Hoke. I can’t imagine my “girl”, he is the most perfect, wonderful person God has ever placed on this earth. He is amazing! And get this….I’M A BOY MOM! I’m awesome at it if I do say so myself! I play in dirt occasionally, I’ve been peed on more times than I can count and I am learning a great deal about trucks. But MY GOD do I love this child. Of course if Hoke had been a girl I would have loved her, of course, but nothing, NOTHING compares to my sweet precious little boy.

I love this verse:

I read this in my darkest moments…between losing a child and becoming pregnant with my sweet prince….and it is so true! The pain was awful, it was torture like I said, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the joy he brings me.¬†So plan, plan all you want to, map out your life to the day….then burn it because it isn’t about you and what you want. I learned this the hard way believe me! But if you happen to learn this the hard way, use it to show people what you learned and in my case, the beauty that comes after the storm, after your plans (my plans) are swept away and better plans, glorious plans, are in store!

 

 

Tasty Tuesday-Chicken Series

Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass, meat removed, bones only

2 roughly chopped carrots

1 roughly chopped onion

1 sachet (peppercorns, garlic, salt, thyme and rosemary tied in cheese cloth)

water to cover

Place the first 4 ingredients in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring everything to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 4-5 hours. Once the stock has cooked down use immediately or refrigerate and freeze.

 

Today I want to share my recipe for Chicken Stock from a whole chicken. My first post is here and here is the first leftovers we had. When removing the chicken from the bone once you have leftovers, I always save my carcass. Sure it’s gross but it lets you use EVERY single part of the expensive chicken! If you make the Million Dollar chicken, throw the whole thing in, rosemary, lemon, garlic, everything.

One thing to note, a typically mirepoix (the carrots and onions above) has celery as well, I hate celery but please add it if you like it! And also, add any other spices or herbs to your sachet, it’s all about your favorite flavors!

This stock freezes so well and I freeze it in 4-6 cup sections because that is typically what a soup recipe calls for. It is so much richer than box stock! Enjoy!!

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