Renaissance Weekend – Families Who Nerd Together, Stay Together


On one of the past weekends, about three weekends now actually. I am fairly late with this posting, the Hubs and I decided to go to our local Maryland Renaissance Festival. This is not a spur of the moment idea, it’s actually something Hubs and I have gone to once a year for the last six years….and a tradition I introduced him to after I had been going for a good 10 years previously.

Every year we save a few extra dollars, wake up bright and early (not very bright actually as we get up probably just as the sun is rising), we dress in our best olde time flair, and take the long hour and forty-five minute drive to the festival.

This year we took Em, for the first time. She went once when she was a teeny tiny infant, but it was fairly difficult trudging around the dirt hills in the crowded woods where the festival grounds are held with a small child. We decided to wait a reasonable amount of years before we took her again after that, not too long, but enough to where she will actually appreciate and understand what’s going on around her next time we delve into ye olde crowds with her.

This is the first year we have gone as a family and not as a group of friends. It was just the three of us and it was rather different. Not different as in a lesser experience, but it was more of a this-is-our-family, this-is-our-life kind of experience. To be honest, we don’t do a lot of “just us” things. Most family outings include at least one set of in-laws, or other friends. It was humbling having a moment like this being just the three of us.

I experienced this years trip in a whole new way. What attraction did I want to show off to our daughter first? Of course, we had to buy her a crown, and get her face painted. She was just the loveliest butterfly princess after that.

I had to show her the knights and the jousting, which she was extremely excited to see them shoot the bow and arrows. We TRIED to get her to enjoy the staple, yet mandatory, roasted turkey leg that we get every year. But alas, the idea of having a turkey leg you had to gnaw at and rip the meat off the bone with your bare teeth did not seem to please the wee princess.


Em saw her first live band that she will repeatedly talk about. That was quite exciting as she loves music, and when she saw the real instruments she immediately stood up on a bench to get a closer look. She had a delightful look of amazement on her face as we visited our favorite armory there, and I had gotten myself yet another dagger to add to my now ever growing geekory collection. She got herself a nice wooden shield to go with her wooden sword we had bought her from the same place a few years back…and then named herself a warrior princess which I was most definitely for.

After a lot of gawking at different attractions, playing games we don’t normally partake in, and reluctantly letting the child play in the only child’s play area, rightfully dubbed the Wee Bairn’s Shipwreck (because it seemed more like a dumping ground for parents who were too tired to chase their kids around any longer that day), we were done.

The crowds started to pile in, they announced it was sold out for the day, the sun was no longer cool and pleasant but hot and overpowering, and Princess Em had proclaimed her legs were just too tired to move anymore. So while we normally wait until closing, we were just as fulfilled to be leaving around 2 as a family.

While this year was definitely a new experience, and not the turkey leg consuming, mead guzzling, late night shenanigans we normally encounter there, it was a respectfully humble experience which I would choose to do again, as our new tradition. By golly I think we’ve grown up.

App and Book Recommendations for Expecting Mamas

From one expecting mama to another expecting mama…


25 weeks pregnant!

I have made it to 25 weeks! So I thought I would do a little recommendation post for any fellow Preggo Moms out there 🙂

This is will be our second child and things are just completely different this time. I’m actually staying up-to-date and keeping track of my progress this time, which is great because I’ve had so many problems and worries, keeping track is wonderful source of info to reassure myself everything is right on schedule. If you are preggo I highly recommend getting development tracker. There are wonderful books to read while you are pregnant, knowledge is power. My favorite books I’ve read so far this pregnancy are

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

https://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Youre-Expecting/dp/0761187480

This is probably the most common and recommended book to read while pregnant, so it’s a no brainer, but it’s wonderful with lots of info. If you are a first time mommy, this is a great way to just feel a little more prepared for the journey to come. It has a month by month layout and summaries very clearly what to expect. If it’s there is something to be concerned about or if it’s something as simple as morning sickness, this book will cover it.

I also REALLY enjoyed a more nonconventional pregnancy book called Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy.

https://www.amazon.com/Belly-Laughs-Naked-Pregnancy-Childbirth/dp/0738210072

It was less of a factual guide as the one mentioned above and more of a realistic view of her experience. This was definitely a great freshness from the constant medical terminology of pregnancy and the never-ending facts about the miracle of pregnancy, because let’s face it, not every moment feels like it is a great miracle! When You are laying naked on a couch trying to get comfy with back pain so bad you feel nauseous and a hot flash so bad you’re radiating heat…miracle might be a stretching word. This book read so well it felt like just chatting up a fellow girlfriend about the struggles you’re going through! Big recommendation!

 

While we are on the subject of keeping track, I’ve also been loving this little app that has a week by week progression. I downloaded The Pregnancy Tracker from What to Expect onto my phone and it’s very handy way to track your progression, check day to day advice, and connect with other moms in the community. It alerts you at the start of each week, shows you your progress from baby size to baby development and even what you and your body will be going through in the week to come. It has fabulous articles about all things parenting and pregnancy and helpful hints. Did I mention how easy it is to use it! Trust me it’s great!


Also, keeping a Pregnancy Journal is a great way to keep on track with everything. You can write down where you are in comparison to where you should be. You can write down what you’re feeling, thinking, great news that week, little reminders of Drs appts, what you’re craving, and even how much the baby is moving. They have plenty fill-in-as-you-go pregnancy journals to choose from, but I personally chose to just use my bullet journal to write down practically everything I want to remember about that week. It’s nice because I also refer to my app to jot down little notes about how big the baby is that week.

 

Isolation of a SAHM

 


I’ve been a stay at home mom for 5 years. Knowing I have started this family, helping my daughter grow, taking care of those I love most in this world is probably the best and most accomplished I’ve ever felt in my life. This life gives me purpose.

It’s also made me feel the most isolated I’ve ever felt.

There are always ups and downs in life, but I’d be lying if the down times were simple to get over. Lately, the mommy blues have really gotten to me in a very hard way. The tiny human isn’t so tiny anymore, meaning she is going to kindergarten this year full time. So from 830AM to 410PM the only companion I’ve had with me, the only other interaction I’ve had for 5 years is suddenly gone during the day.

The hubs also works more than he ever has. Don’t get me wrong, he loves what he does and has gone full force into this job so much that he has basically moved up as far as possible in just under 2 years and constantly gets employee of the month…because of how much he works. I am absolutely supportive of him, and immensely proud of how well he is doing, but my gosh I wish the conversations between us weren’t always about work.

When your hubs is gone all the time, your child is in school, the only married couple in your small circle of friends, and the only mother, the human interaction is incredibly lacking. Lacking so much that I feel awful when Hubs gets home because I feel like I gush all over him as soon as he walks through the door, while he is ready for relaxing after talking and dealing with dozens of people in a day.

And with no means of transportation, lacking of a car of my own, and living in a pretty rural area with basically nothing nearby, I only leave the house once every week or two.

I don’t mean for this to sound like constant complaints. Like I said, this life is probably the best decision I personally feel I’ve ever made for myself. I love the relationship and bond between me and my daughter, I love being the person my Hubs can depend on. I love taking care of my family and giving them a house that feels like a home, giving them good wholesome meals, making sure they feel loved.

However, the lack of adult conversation, lack of human interaction, and just being cooped up all day in the same house day after day does get to me at times.

I also start to lose sight of that feeling of accomplishment. When you’re a SAHM, there isn’t really anything to reassure your achievements during the day. There are no promotions, there is no employee of the month, there are no gold stars… so while I may do 100 tasks in one day, I start to feel like I’ve actually done nothing during the day. Everything is so routine, so similar, it all blurs into one single nothing.

At times, there is no glory in being a SAHM. Yes, two loads of dishes have been done. The counters are cleaned off. Laundry is folded and put away in everyone’s dressers. Living room has been vacuumed. Toys and clutter have been picked up. The child is fed, dressed, homework done and put away, lunches made. The pets are taken care of. Wait have I taken a shower today? No, the bathrooms need to be scrubbed. Let’s tackle that first. Hubs work clothes are washed and set out for the week. Dinner is thawing and prepared for that night.

But where is the glory in all that has been done? There will always be a never-ending to-do list. There will never be a light at the end of the tunnel when you are home all the time. When you start to see it as “what still needs to be done” as opposed to “what have I done today” and you repeat the same things, every day, all day, for five years, everything starts mulling together. Everything is just expected to be done with no appreciation or achievement, because that’s just how real life is.

I do realize at times like these I need to remind myself of the real purpose in everything. The real reason I’m doing these tasks, sacrificing so much of myself, who I’m sacrificing myself for. The typical mundane things I do as a SAHM every day DO have purpose I need to remind myself to just be kinder to myself. Because even when it’s all said and done I do appreciate the life I have, I am thankful for how hard Hubs works to provide for us all, and I am wholesomely glad to provide for him at home in return.

It’s just another battle of the blues.

Pregnancy Announcements

 

As I stated in my last post, we’re pregnant for a second time! I am now 24th week, (6th month for those who don’t speak pregnancy) and am due in early February/end of January. Due date is a little sketchy…but sometime within that week of the last day of January to the beginning of February, there should be a baby! We, of course, are insanely excited. There is a significant amount of courageous excitement this time as opposed to terrifying nervous excitement that happened the first time around. The first time around, were both only 18 when I found out I was pregnant, SO this time I’m feeling a little more prepared for what’s about to happen.

Now, since I’m crazy excited about this pregnancy, so excited we actually started trying before our wedding last December (2015), I started making pregnancy announcements the exact moment I had a positive pregnancy test. We told our parents first, of course the grandparent’s needed to know before all else! For my hubs parent’s we had our daughter announce it to them. We had just explained it to her that day as well, and she was super excited. She was so excited that the moment she saw them we gave her permission to run up to them, her arms flung open, and she just let out the loudest “MY MOMMY IS HAVING A BABY IN HER BELLY!”

For my parents, we waited until we were able to sit down and have dinner with them. I had bought a tiny pair of fuzzy slipper socks, newborn size, stuffed them in a tiny box with a note that read

Bowties or Bows

No one will know!

Coming 2017

 

It did take her a minute to figure it out, which I thought was hilarious. It went from an “aww” to a sudden squeal of realization. Same with my dad… From a “hey..” to a “HEY!” This was so fun I decided to do the same with everyone else online.

I spent a good while going through multiple ideas. PINTEREST, you are a wonder when it comes to baby announcements. There were some pretty good contenders, and some really, REALLY awful ones. I don’t think a picture of a woman hovering over a toilet with a caption reading “It’s not a hangover this time” is exactly cute….

These were some of my favorite ideas…

 

Big Sister being the star

“And then there were four”

Bun in the oven

Poppin Bottles

Brownies because pregnancy hunger…

Most adorable shoe collection

Ornament family of all sorts

But in the end, we decided to go with our daughter and a simple sign…and the best child reaction ever!

October Bucket List

It’s my favorite time of year again. Between now and January is the never ending spur of holidays. My house was already decorated for Fall the second week of September, so of course I’m completely ready for this October Bucket List. As I’m writing about what to do this Fall with the windows open letting the deliciously crisp air blow through, I’m munching on pumpkin spiced chocolate pretzels, drinking hot spiced tea, with a lovely apple spice candle burning away in front of me. I think it’s also safe to assume I’ve adorned myself in the seasonal flare of a bright red flannel. Yes. This is the start of the time of year I shine most. WAIT until you see me around Christmas!


I haven’t announced it here yet, but I am PREGNANT!

Yay, hurray, wowee! Except…I’ve been on bedrest until further notice. So I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like to this Fall so far. But as I’m sitting here today, counting down the exact minutes until little baby #2 pops out and I can move around like a normal human being again, I made a list of all the things I want to (some I wish I could) do this October before Halloween! The best thing about this list is they are all relatively family friendly, so even if I can’t participate myself, I can watch my family have fun for me, and they don’t all apply to Halloween, but could be done between September through November.  I also encourage you to make a list that suits your family best!

October Bucket List

·         Make apple cider

·         Go apple picking

·         Eat candy corn

·         Bake a pie

·         Visit a corn maze

·         Make fall shaped sugar cookies

·         Read a scary book

·         Go to an antique show

·         Make a fall scrapbook

·         Have a caramel coffee

·         Make a “thankful” list

·         Flavored popcorn movie night

·         Go pumpkin picking in a pumpkin patch

·         Create a leaf craft

·         Decorate with dried corn

·         Buy Halloween candy

·         Tell ghost stories with friends

·         Make spider cupcakes

·         Paint mini pumpkins

·         Make a fall bucket list

·         Host a DIY costume contest

·         Go out to a local tea shop

·         Create a new pumpkin recipe

·         Jump in a leaf pile

·         Make a DIY leaf wreath

·         Watch classic monster movies

·         Collect colorful leaves

·         Make and eat caramel apples

·         Go on a hay ride

·         Have a “Thriller” dance party

·         Visit a haunted house or ghost trail

·         Make a Halloween music playlist

·         Decorate the house inside and out

·         Make warm comfort soup from scratch

·         Make a scary scene

·         Host a Halloween party

·         Visit a corn maze

·         Watch a football game

·         Take a cool morning bike ride

·         Roast marshmallows

·         Go hiking in a Fall setting

·         Downsize summer clothes

·         Make popcorn balls

·         Bake with fresh pumpkin

·         Have a bobbing for apples contest

·         Make caramel smoothies

·         Make a kids DIY fleece blanket

·         Make pumpkin dip

·         Go on a fall nature trail

·         Visit a farm

·         Stuff a scarecrow

·         Drive through the countryside

·         Make cinnamon dough

·         Backyard camping

·         Pony rides and horseback riding

·         Make trail mix with candy corn

·         Rake up a leaf pile in the back yard

·         Have a bonfire party

·         Lay under the stars with cozy blankets

·         Watch family Halloween movies

·         Wake up with spiced tea

·         Bake an apple pie

·         Carve pumpkins

·         Have a scary movie marathon

·         Eat Frankenberry and friends cereal

·         Roast different flavored pumpkin seeds

·         Get face painted/paint someones face

·         Make fall centerpieces

·         Wear flannel shirts

·         Go to local festivals and fairs

·         Play Halloween tricks

·         GO TRICK OR TREATING!!

 

Have some spooky fun!

Woman Cave – Office Studio

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I know what you’re thinking, Woman Cave? Like a Man Cave? Yes! Exactly like a man cave, well, no not really, but yes!

I do a lot of hands-on, do-it-yourself crafting, including this blog which I am determined to get going, writing, painting, and I own a small business selling jewelry. However, I don’t have any form of organization or room to do any of it. I have boxes and bags just scattered throughout the house in corners, pulling them out every now and then to work in a crazy environment and then stop for a while, months even maybe. I need a place I can relax and focus and put all my energy into one area that is all mine. A studio where I can do all those things alone.

I need an area that I can “get away” to and not worry about all the house chores or who is yelling at who or constantly hear “Mommy what are you doing? Can I help Mommy? Oh what’s that Mommy?” which is cute and all, but when it gets to the point of interrupting and eventually I give up all together, it’s less than progressive. Like right now for example, I’m sitting in my kitchen, at my kitchen table, two of my cats are staring at me, trying to sit on my laptop, wondering why I’m not feeding them or giving them attention, and my four-year-old is in the living room with a movie on and a gaming system in front of her, just so I can have peace of mind about just THINKING of making a studio, so I can have a few moments to myself and type this post.

Now that we have established the WHY I want [need] this room, let’s get to the WHAT type of room I want.

Pinterest is my best friend. Pinterest is the one I go to and share all my ideas with, gather information from, spend quality time over a glass of wine and ponder DIY ideas for hours with. Naturally I started there, when I realized, I’m not even sure what I want.

So without looking at a thousand fancy pictures, I’m sitting here, and thinking of what I want. (And then I’ll find the pictures!)

 

I need a clean room. Something that matches anything and at any moment I can bring in random miscelanious items and it just be the right touch. White walls, neutral walls, neutral colors.

PicMonkey Collage

I need shelves. Not shelves on the walls but I think I want furniture as my shelves. So I can move them easily if I need to do some feng shui for a muse.

PicMonkey Collage2.jpg

I want furniture. A couch or futon preferably, Neutral colored. Sometimes I get very stressed out and need a nap, or maybe I simply would like to curl up with a cozy blanket and good book that perhaps is sitting on my new shelves. (edit. yes I did find a picture of a hammock indoors! why not?)

PicMonkey Collage3

I need a desk that can both function as a sewing desk and a computer desk. Luckily I just got my new laptop and can carry it around and put it on the desk where ever it need be.

PicMonkey Collage4.jpg

I need a room that is both relaxing and inspiring. My first thoughts that are inspiring are coffee shops. I love sitting in coffee shops and when I watch some other people sitting, diligently working on their laptops, writing in journals, or studying, that’s the type of environment I want to work in. You can almost feel the inspirational vibes flowing through the atmosphere.

So what is going to make my office have that feel? I’m thinking it needs to be cozy. A fuzzy carpet, cool paintings on the wall [possibly painted by me] music system somewhere, cool coasters for my tea/coffee (can’t have a coffee house feel without the hot beverages!), and I’m thinking a mix of miscellaneous eclectic furniture. Furniture that is somewhere between modern and thrift store. Mismatching woods or painted wood and black. I’m definitely going to need a good ambiance, and although I’m already a bit of a candle hoarder, I need more for this room! Maybe even a candle in a lantern or two. Lamps would be good too as I don’t have any overhead lighting in this house….

PicMonkey Collage5.jpg

I think I want an Inspiration wall, like a giant whiteboard or corkboard. I can write out what projects I’m supposed to be working on, post new ideas I want to do, possibly even give myself deadlines to work towards (and so I don’t just give up half way).

PicMonkey Collage6

This sounds good and all, but wait until I actually show you what the room I’m working with currently looks like. It’s a disaster! But the progression on that room will have to wait for another day.

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Homemade Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

11768581_10154060181765031_304847481_oIngredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1egg11774590_10154060181850031_135467640_n
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp potato flakes
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • whole wheat bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Clean  raw chicken breast. place both chicken breast in blender or food processor. Add egg, garlic, salt, pepper, and potato flakes. Pulse until chicken paste is made. If too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time. If too runny, add more potato flakes until thickened. Next, in a medium bowl, add your bread crumbs. Carefully scoop out 1 spoonful of chicken paste onto the bed of breadcrumbs. flatten and shape into nugget, flip and cover bottom half with breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lightly greased baking pan.  Continue for the rest of the paste. Should make 14-16 nuggets. Bake  for 15 minutes. Flip over and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Enjoy this healthier version of your kids favorite meal!11774423_10154060181790031_1428489411_n

35 Calories per nugget.

488 Calories 14 nuggets