Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday's Letters [1]

Dear Friday:  We meet again.  And I only have one more Friday to go before we leave for the beach which makes me absolutely ecstatic.  Thank you for ever so faithfully rolling around every 7 days.  You are my favorite day.

Dear Beach:  I'm on my way in 8 short days.  I know you miss me, because I miss you.  A year is a long time to wait for a beach trip to roll back around.
[I can't even believe this picture was taken A YEAR ago!]

Dear Husband:  You work so hard and I'm so appreciative of everything you do to take care of our family.  But I don't love waking up to the 296452 Tupperware dishes you leave in the kitchen sink when you get home from work.  Which reminds can put a dishwasher in anytime you would like and I will love you forever.  Wait, I'm already going to love you forever.  But a dishwasher would be Ahh-mazing.  Also, we are closing in on our 5 year anniversary and my heart is so full of love for you I could pop.  Seriously.  I love you to the moon.  I'm a lucky girl.
Dear My Favorite Reality TV Shows:  I miss you.  I just don't have time to watch you anymore.  But I promise I have all of your episodes safe and sound waiting patiently on my DVR for my next free moment.  Which will probably be in November.  No wait, I'll be decorating for Christmas in November, so never mind.

Dear Hair:  You're welcome.  I finally broke down and cut two inches off of you and added a few layers.  Now you are lookin' so fresh.

Dear Kollyns:  You are officially Little Miss Independent.  You like to do everything on your own now and you rarely need my help.  You are beautiful and smart and we are going to have our hands so full when you become a teenager.  You really should stop growing up so fast because I'm getting baby fever.  Also I just want to apologize for passing down my lack of artistic ability.  See below.

[My Play-Doh Dog]
[Kollyns' Play-Doh Chicken]

Dear Daddy:  My heart melts when I watch you play with my little girl.  It reminds me of my Papa Teddy and I miss him so much!

Dear Baby FeverGO AWAY!  Until like 2 years from now.  Then you can come back.  Maybe. ;)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mama + Baby: 4th of July Style

I love holidays and I really love matching my kid.  So matching my kid during a holiday makes me ridiculously happy.  And the truth is it won't be 'cool' for a kid to match mommy forever so I must take advantage of this while I can... before the 'Mama I'm too grown up for this {eye rolling}' stage commences! Back up, I don't even wanna go there. These are my picks for 4th of July! I'm in love with the matching striped dresses and the mama + mini wedge look.  In LOVE
And as always I have to add a little cuteness to these style posts...and it just so happens Miss Kollyns matched the theme!  I love this kid so much.  I am so incredibly blessed that God chose me to be her mama! :)

Caramel Coffee Chocolate Cake

So the sad part about making cakes for other people is that you can't try it before you hand it over, because a slice missing out of a cake would be just plain tacky.  This was my first run with this cake so I was kind of nervous...and come to think about it I probably should've made cupcakes instead because no one notices if a cupcake goes missing.  It turned out so pretty but all I could do was wait and anticipate the phone call from Beth (the birthday girl) giving me the final review of my masterpiece.  The reviews came in and they were fab.  Beth even said it was the best cake she had ever tasted.  And she turned 26, so I mean 26 years worth of cakes and mine was the best?  She even ate TWO pieces, and you don't even understand how big of a health nut this chick is.  Plus, I think I've officially crossed over into grown up territory if I can bake such amazing cakes and hand them over without trial runs or taste tests. Don't you think?  Okay I think I'm done bragging.  But here's the thing:  the cakes that I make are so easy anyone can do it and trick people into thinking you missed your calling of opening up a corner bakery.  They taste homemade, but they are right out of a betty crocker box with some added ingredients that make them over the top delicious.  The original bundt cake recipe can be found over at my all time favorite recipe website Mix & Match Mama.  But you can mix it up all different kinds of ways to get a cake that perfectly suits your taste buds.  Beth is a coffee drinker, so obviously I had to throw that in the cake somewhere...and so the Caramel Coffee Chocolate Cake was born Sunday right in my kitchen.  And I'm thinking it might be one for the books.

You Will Need:

For the Cake
1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup of Freshly Brewed Cooled Coffee
1/4 Cup Coffee Mate International Delight Coffee Creamer (Liquid)
2 Small Boxes of Jello Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
1 Cup of Milk Chocolate Chips

For the Frosting
1 Container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting
2 Cups Toll House White Chocolate Chips (Melted in Microwave 2-30 second intervals)
Caramel Sundae Syrup

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake mix, eggs, veggie oil, coffee, creamer, and both boxes of pudding mix.  Mix well with hand mixer.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Grease bundt pan (I use Pam Baking).  Pour mixture into pan and bake for exactly 40 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes and flip it onto serving platter.  Allow the cake to cool an additional 30 minutes before frosting. 

You can frost your cake however you would like, but I put the chocolate frosting in a large plastic bag, cut the corner and drizzled it over the cake.  I love the way drizzled icing looks.  I did the same with the white chocolate chips and the caramel sundae syrup. 

Enjoy the cake and the compliments.  ;)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Recap

Well I'm officially old.  My little brother celebrated his 16th birthday this weekend.  Hold the freakin' phone!  There is no possible way he is already 16.  Like as in 3 months pre driver's license.  And I'm definitely 9 years and 9 months older than my little bro so that means this girl is closing in on the big 26.  Sheesh, where does the time go?  I swear I was just 16 myself.

This is my not so little brother.  Goodness he has grown up too fast.  But I have to say he is an amazing kid and I'm so incredibly proud of him.  Love you Landon!!!

Landon & Daddy.  A couple of my favorite dudes.

We rode the boat for a few minutes and I held her tight because I'm super duper paranoid when we are close to dark, large, deep bodies of water.  I'm more of a pool girl.

We love our 'Nanny Paps' to the moon & back.  And clearly I still haven't gotten around to a haircut.  Geez it is ridiculously long.
My brother's girlfriend is still just as cute as ever!
And of course Kollyns had to help Uncle Teddy blow out his candles!

After we finished celebrating my sweet brother, we went to dinner with friends of ours and ate on the patio of this lovely restaurant.  I'm so in love with this lighting.  When we finally do build a house I'm stringing it from tree to tree in my back yard and I don't plan on ever leaving my back yard once that happens.

And daddy fed Kollyns her favorite food in the whole wide world, 'sketti'.

Sunday we went to church and came home and baked a yummy cake

for the best friend a girl could ask for!  Happy Birthday Beth!
It was a caramel coffee chocolate cake, and it was magically delicious (or so I've heard).  I didn't actually get to taste it.  Wahhh.  Recipe will be up on the blog tomorrow!
Then we spent some time at the fish pond...
and a little bit of time at the pool with Nanny Tawnee.

And this is one of Kollyns' favorite expressions.  I never want to forget this face because I've been told I had the exact same expression alot when I was younger.

How pretty is this little picture?

Oh and more fish pond time.

And Kollyns and I discovered this new Gatorade with no artificial colors or flavors in Nanny Tawnee's fridge!  ChaChing.  I think I love it.

And this is another face I never want to forget.  "Mommy my have to pottyyy."  She always waits until the last minute to tell me and this is the face that accompanies the squirming while she's trying to get through the bathroom door before it's too late.

And no weekend is complete without watermelon.

Lots and lots of watermelon.

Sorry for the photo overload!  ;)  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Baby Registry Essentials Part Three: Traveling & Gear

Goodness I'm slow.  I've been meaning to get around to this post for the past few days but I just haven't had the time.  It's finally here...and I pinky promise that all of these products are pretty much awesome!  Of course you don't need every single one of these, but I definitely recommend them!  Traveling with a baby is a flipping pain in the butt if you don't have the right gear, and hopefully my little list will help you get on the right track when choosing what will work for you and what you need!
Britax B-Agile B-Safe Travel System-  Britax is amazing. You really can't go wrong with this brand, and they have such adorable prints! 
Britax Boulevard 70-G3- Zebra- You had me at zebra.  Best toddler seat ever, and it is so bulky and well made I feel confident that she is as safe as she can possibly be in this jewel.  By the way this is the only place you will find me saying that 'bulky' is a good thing. :)
An Awesome Diaper Bag - My diaper bag was this amazing Coach baby bag stitched patent tote.  I do realize that at $398, this isn't something you would register for unless you want everyone to think you are crazy.  This was a gift from my parents and let me tell you, I was stylin'...but the number of times this beautiful bag was puked on, pooped on, spilled on etc. would have made me sick if I had paid for it.  My advice is to opt for a cheaper more baby proof option...but who in their right mind would turn down a Coach diaper bag if it was given to them?  Not this girl! :)
Moby Wrap- This my friends, is the only way I ever got anything done when Kollyns was an infant. (Remember THIS post?) From birth to about 8 months I was rocking the Moby just about all the day long.  I totally didn't peg myself as a baby wearing mama, but I quickly became one once I realized how incredibly difficult it was to do my household chores with a baby in one arm.  No belts, buckles or straps is what sold me on this one.  So comfy for both baby and mama!
Aprica Play Yard- If we had needed a play yard for Kollyns we would've went with this one.  Reasonably priced and great reviews!  And it's 1000 times cuter than any pack and play I've ever seen.
Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper-  I recommend this to every mom or mom to be I've ever talked to.  It truly is so wonderful.  It's narrow enough to fit right beside the bed and everywhere else, it's so light and folds up so well that you can carry it up and down stairs, through a narrow doorway, or anywhere else for that matter.  We even took it to the beach in place of a play yard the first year we went because it was just so much easier to pack than a big pack and play.  The incline is great for a gassy baby, or even just for a curious baby because it props them up so that they can see what's going on.  Ahhhmazing.
Bumbo Floor Seat-  I know this has received mixed reviews and many negative critiques because it 'isn't safe'.  But here's my philosophy...there is obviously a reason they call it a 'floor seat'.  If you sit a baby on an elevated surface and they flip out and get hurt it is your fault, not the Bumbo's fault.  We loved our Bumbo.  Especially around the 6 month mark when we started feeding her solids because it was lightweight and SO easy to clean. 
Prince Lionheart Potty Pod or Graco Soft Touch Potty Ring-  I prefer the potty ring because Kollyns likes to use the big potty and mama isn't a fan of dumping and cleaning another toilet on top of the two I already have.  If you prefer a kid size potty, the potty pod won't cramp your style at all because it's super duper cute and modern! 
iGuy iPad Case-  Kollyns isn't like most kids.  TV shows bore her and she would much rather play outside.  The only place she will watch it is in the car.  Well, unless we're talking about Yo Gabba Gabba...she will pretty much watch that anywhere!  From 12-18 months, she would pitch a fit that would make me want to cry with her every single time we tried to go anywhere in the car.  That's until we downloaded a few episodes of Gabba and some awesome apps on the iPad and bought a protective case.  Oh yes, from screaming to was like a dream. 

Baby Registry Essentials Part One:  The Nursery
Baby Registry Essentials Part Two:  Feeding

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Recap: Father's Day Edition

Friday was a watermelon kind of day.  Who am I kidding?  Every day is a watermelon kind of day.  Usually if our Friday is great, the weekend ends up being pretty great too.  And it was!

Saturday we spent the day at the river, and it's so relaxing for all of us...even this little one.

This was the only time she got to spend with daddy on Father's Day weekend because he had to work on Sunday. Wahhh.  I'm so thankful for his awesome job, but it's not fun when he misses things...especially almost every week! :(
Kollyns was still in chill mode as she cuddled in Papa Roger's (Devin's dad) lap.
Sunday after church our first stop was mom's house.   This is her fish pond and I thought it looked so pretty so I had to take a picture.

So picturesque.
And holy long hair!  I need a haircut. Like yesterday.

My little love bug.

Kollyns helped Poppy Terry grill burgers by the pool!

My beautiful mama had her daddy over for lunch too! 
And as always, Kollyns HAD to swim...even if for only 3 minutes.

Then we made our way up to Papa Todd's house to spend time with him!  And eat another burger.  It was burger Sunday.

And Kollyns had some pool fun with Uncle Teddy (Landon).  The story behind his nickname 'Teddy' HERE.

And this morning she insisted that she wear her pajamas to work so she could match her "Bitty Baby."  I totally let her, because I would so rock the jammies at work too if I could.

Happy Monday!