Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bear Lake Weekend Getaway

Sam and I spent a relaxing weekend in a cabin at Bear Lake with some friends. The lake is several hours from where we live, and it made for a fun little road trip and a much needed getaway; however, it was the first time I've spent time away from Klair (Sam travels for work so he's used to being away from her). This was both a good thing, and a hard thing. Apart from one time that she spent the night at her grandparents, I've never slept apart from her. Leaving her for  three days was something I looked forward to, and dreaded. It's funny how a person can experience such polar opposite emotions simultaneously. I knew that if we brought her, it wouldn't feel like much of a vacation. I would have been doing the same thing I always do, but in a place that wasn't baby proofed. Giving her to Sam's parents for the weekend was the only thing that made sense, but sound logic didn't make it any easier.

Luckily, Baby Girl has amazing grandparents who love her dearly, so I knew she was in good hands. This helped ease my reluctance at leaving her, but the separation was still a strange experience. Yet, despite my anxiousness at being apart, I did fairly well. I'll admit that there were a few times that I would have jumped in the car and driven home on a whim if Sam was game, but all-in-all I enjoyed the baby-free time. I also found solace knowing that she was being spoiled while I was away. And, let's face it. Sam and I needed some distraction-free time together.
it. was. nice.   
Our cabin was a big, awesome place fully equipped with a gourmet kitchen, pool table, movie theater room, and a spectacular view of the lake.
Sam was the one who found it, and he did a great job planning everything and putting it all together. I had expressed interest in doing a trip like this, and he immediately started planning and went above and beyond. I suppose it's just one of the perks of being married to a man who spends a lot of time doing event marketing. I really am spoiled.

We arrived Friday and got settled just before a blizzard set in. Perfect timing. 
The weather was ideal for sitting around the fire, playing games, watching movies, and enjoying good conversation--which is precisely what we did. We also found some time to take some scenic drives, hikes, and a few pictures along the way. Our photographer friend Jesse Wride brought his camera and was kind enough to take lots of photographic evidence of our adventures.

All of the photos in this post (with the exception of a few from Sam's phone) are his handiwork. 
It was windy, yet somehow my hair was the only one affected. Apparently I need to ask these girls what kind of hairspray they use. 
The group celebrated Brittney's birthday at this awesome local restaurant we found. She's the cute blonde in the corner, and you can follow her blog here. 
The trip was a huge success. I was able to relax, spend some quality time with Sam, and strengthened some friendships. I also spent just enough time away from Klair to mix things up and make me excited...no, ecstatic to get back to her. And, of course, the lake was beautiful.  Apparently it has a minerals in it that aren't found anywhere else in the world that turn it a unique blue.
It didn't look real. 

I had never been to Bear Lake before, but now I definitely want to go back.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Easy No Sew Tutu Tutorial

If there is a little girl in your life, chances are at some point she will want a tutu--
for dress up, special occasions...or to simply wear around the house on a daily basis.
 And, if you're anything like me, making something from scratch for your child 
kind of really makes you feel like a rock star. 

If you feel like these two statements ring true then you, my friend, are in luck! 
Making a tutu is ridiculously easy and (wait for it) ... 
It doesn't require any sewing
This is one that even the most craft-inept can pull off. 
My husband helped me make one. Case and point. (haha, love you Honey!)
For baby girl's birthday I decided to make her a bright pink tutu.  

I looked around online and found inspiration here and here, and this is my resultant process in 
6 Easy Steps: 

1. Take Measurements: Use a soft measuring tape to find the measurement around the intended wearer's waist or hips (depending on wear you want it to sit). Then, measure the desired hemline length of the tutu.

2. Gather Materials: You will only need two materials for this tutu--ribbon and tulle in the color(s) of your choice. For the tulle, you can either stick with one color, or you can mix a variety of colors. I think tutus tend to look best with just 2 or 3 colors, but you can get as creative as you want. Depending on the size of the intended wearer and your desired length, you'll likely need anywhere from 2 to 7 yards of tulle. For the ribbon, you will need the wearer's waist measurement + 20 inches of ribbon.

3. Create the Waistband: Take the measurement from around the waist and apply it to the ribbon. Add an additional 20 inches (10 inches for each tail end) of length to the ribbon. This will allow it to be tied together in a bow in the back. Tie the ribbon in a knot with the two 10 inch tails hanging out; this will make it easier to add the tulle and help you know when to stop adding the fabric.
4. Prepare the Tulle: You will need to cut your tulle into strips that are twice as long as the desired length of your hemline. For example, if you wanted a skirt to be 10 inches long, you should cut your strips of tulle to be 20 inches long. The width that you should cut each piece of tulle depends on the type of skirt that you want.
  • As a rule, if you want a fuller, fluffier skirt then you should cut thinner, shorter pieces. If you want a skirt that lies flat and isn't very fluffy, then cut wider, longer pieces. For Klair's skirt I went with the fluffier option and cut my strips about an inch wide.
5. Tie the Tulle on the Waistband: Take a strip of tulle, fold it in half (so you'll have a loop on one end and two loose tails on the other). Press the tulle strip against the waistband with a few inches of the loop end above the ribbon. Then, wrap the two tails around the ribbon and pull them through the loop--this creates a knot. Slide this tulle loop knot to the edge of the waistband (at the knot you made in the ribbon) and pull your tulle knot tight. Repeat the process with each piece of tulle.
  • If you want the skirt to look fuller and fluffier, then push the tulle strips closer together. If you want the tutu to be flatter, then don't push them as close together. 
  • Once you've reached the end of your waistband (the knot) and your skirt is the desired fluffiness, stop adding tulle.
6. Try it on! Untie the two knots you made in the ribbon, wrap the tutu around the wearer's waist, and use the 10 inches of ribbon on either side to tie a pretty little bow in the back.

Note: I also tied in several pieces of thin, yellow, polka-dotted ribbon to add a little variety to this tutu.

And there you have it!
 Without any sewing and with just two simple materials, 
you created something that will make her smile
I'm in it for the smiles. 
Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Weekend

Valentine's Day turned into a long weekend around here. Sam had Monday off (thanks, presidents!) and we spent the much-needed time together celebrating our love for each other and our baby girl. 
Earlier that week we went shopping. I picked out a purse, Sam found some Toms, and we agreed that those would be our Valentine's presents to each other. We have this habit of going overboard on holidays and spoiling each other, so this was our mutual attempt to dial it back. 

Well, Friday rolled around and I just couldn't help myself. I had to do something. Klair and I surprised Sam at work with a candy bar bouquet and a balloon that Klair picked out for him. Sam loved it, but I think Klair loved it more.
"Balloon? Candy bar bouquet? Don't mind if I do!" 
She was obviously enjoying herself. 

After he got off work we decided to forgo the hype of fancy restaurants (after all, who is going to babysit on Valentine's?) and we took Klair to Red Robin instead. She had her first hamburger and kept us entertained by retelling the story "5 little monkeys." 

That night we came home for a nice night in and I discovered that Sam couldn't help but surprise me either. Earlier that day he hijacked my blog and wrote this post. #spoiled

On Saturday we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and ventured to the park. It was just what the doctor ordered for the cabin-fever which has plagued us as of late. Now that walking has replaced scooting as Klair's main mode of transportation, parks and playgrounds are much easier for her to navigate--just in time for spring!
I have to say, I am thrilled by the prospect of playing outside with her in the coming warm months. No, not thrilled. Giddy. I adore watching Klair come to life as she learns and explores.  I've never seen anyone appreciate their surroundings the way that she does, and I am grateful for even the slightest glimpse of the world through her eyes. 

To her everything is new, exciting, and wonderful. 

Einstein said, 

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed." 

Klair's eyes are definitely open. 
Wide-eyed and grinning, she takes it all in. 
After playing on the slide she stopped to offer commentary. She loves to tell me about things lately. She'll go off on these long, often dramatic monologues chock-full of inflection and gestures that suggest she knows exactly what she's telling me. Furthermore, she fully expects me to understand and reciprocate. It's times like these I really wish I could speak Klairinese... regardless, I enjoy these exchanges immensely.
My little toddler. Literally, she toddles around! I can't believe it. 
Also, on an unrelated note she tends to hold her right arm out while she walks. I love it.
She adores the swings, and incessantly squeals with delight. I dare anyone to try and watch this girl swing without feeling happy afterward. 
In other news, we have a dog with a ridiculously strong (and stubborn) bite.
 It is nearly impossible to get her to let go of a stick. Case and point:
I'm really glad we brought Rosie with us, she desperately needed the time at the park. 
She was grinning from ear to ear. 
And these. Consider my heart melted. 
Klair walked across an entire baseball field to get to me.
 I suppose we can officially check bipedalism off of her list of things to do. 
Milestone conquered. 
Sunday we had church and spent some time with my family. On Monday we ended up taking Klair to the doctor. She hardly slept at all the night before, and she kept holding her face and crying. We thought maybe she had an ear infection, but it turns out it was just those pesky molars again. I swear she has been cutting molars for over a month now. How long is this going to last for? I'm not sure how much more sickness and pain I can watch her endure. Poor baby. I'm just grateful we were able to get out and have some fun over the weekend. Here's to hoping she'll feel better soon and we can spend some more time outside in the days to come. 

I guess in the mean time we will continue to snuggle her close until it passes. I'd be lying if I said I didn't find some enjoyment in how much she wants to cuddle lately. Silver lining, right? Plus, there is nothing sweeter than watching Sam soothe our daughter. I'm convinced I have the best husband ever. 

AND, he's a pretty good hairstylist too. Who knew? #manofmanytalents

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'm taking over your blog for one post because...

Dear Wife,

I'm taking over your blog for one post because...

I love your face.

I love your hair.

I love your kisses.

I love your heart and its incredible ability to love beyond any ability to measure.

I love your Nintendo talents. (Autumn took 3rd in a Mario Kart competition)

I love your sense of humor. You make me laugh. You make me think about things differently and I love that.

I love your parenting style. Klair will realize one day how blessed she is to have you as her mother.

I love you because you make me better, you make me stronger, you make me smarter, and you make me happier!

I love that you gave me our AMAZING daughter, Klair!

I love your strength.

I love your style.

I love your sarcasm.

I love how I feel when I am with you.

I love the way you look at me.

I love that even though you know everything about me you still look at me the way you do.

I love that you are my best friend in the whole world and always will be.

I love your thoughtfulness.

I love that you respect me.

I love how we like the same music.

I love that we communicate so well, verbally and nonverbally.

I love knowing you'll always be there when I need you to be.

I love your laugh.

I love your intelligence.

I love our life together.

I love your body.

I love your insight.

I love your sureness.

I love your loyalty.

I love that you're not afraid to speak your mind.

I love that I can tell you anything.

I love that you ask me for advice.

To sum it all up, I'm totally and completely in love with you. Happy love day to you sweetheart.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flourless/Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies | Whole Foods Copycat Recipe

It's been a long week. 

My husband was working out of town for most of it, my baby has been sick and teething, 
I've been sick with a cold that has overstayed the welcome it never had. 
It's been one of those weeks. 
Like having a bad hair day... Groundhog Day style. 

So, tonight I needed something good--some kind of comfort food. 
I needed a pick me up. 
Baking is therapy for me. And chocolate is medicine. 
Thus, I visited my trusty Pinterest board and scanned the recipes for something to speak to me.
And, this copycat of the Whole Foods favorite... 
Well, they practically shouted my name from the rooftops

They were exactly what my tired soul longed for. 

And, I'll tell you now, it was LOVE at first "bite." 

Oh, and the best part? They're ridiculously easy. 
I had all of the ingredients in my pantry already.

Heeeey! Does that make them eco-friendly? Since I didn't have to drive to the store? #greencookies #thatmaybeastretch ....

Regardless, they're oh so yummy.
Nice and crisp on the outside, and decadently, perfectly gooey in the middle.

So here is how it's done:

Flourless Chewy Chocolate Cookies
3 C powdered sugar
1/2 C plus 3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 TB vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (apparently they stick like crazy without it, so if you don't have parchment paper use lots of cooking spray)

Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla and beat on high for 2 minutes, until a light stiffness forms.

Drop batter by the tablespoonful in evenly spaced mounds. Bake until glossy, about 15-20 minutes. Immediately move cookies onto cooling racks (I like to air on the side of caution because I prefer gooey cookies to crunchy ones, so I went with 15 and they turned out beautifully)

This recipe yielded about 2 dozen cookies. According to Brittany Rose White that's about 60-75 calories a piece. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Photos from Our Little Backyard Photo Shoot

Once again these photos are compliments of our good friend, Jesse Wride. He did such a great job! It was a cold, windy day and my hair was everywhere. Plus, Klair was squirmy (as 1 year olds naturally are) so I'm impressed we got this many good shots. I love this first one. It seems like we're always taking pictures of each other with Klair, so it's been awhile since Sam and I had a nice photo taken of the two of us. 

It's been almost 5 years since we had our engagements done... 
good timing for some lovey couple photos, right? 

And some family shots. Klair of course steals the show :)

Sweet, happy baby.