Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Fireplace Mantel Facelift

Ever since having little Jessica outside of my body, I've had a lot more energy to do things around the house that I just didn't feel up to doing in the last trimester. And I'm getting so much done! Most of my projects are things I was staring at while lying around the house and taking it easy through all the Braxton-Hicks. This DIY was one of those.

I've never loved our fireplace surround and mantel, but figured that the taupe-colored paint over the stone was better than whatever color the natural stone used to be in our 1970s home (I'm thinking browns and oranges). Michael and I also think that it's way too big for the room, but until we can tear it down and eventually build a smaller wooden surround and mantel, and also put in a nicer gas insert, I thought a new coat of paint would be a good facelift!

I chose a white paint as I really prefer mantels to be white; it goes with whatever color is on the walls. As we want to eventually paint the walls in this room, the taupe-ish color on the stone would greatly limit what color we could put on the walls. We had some leftover white gloss from painting our baseboards. So, along with that and a leftover brush, I went to work. 

It took me about 3 days of baby Jessica's naptimes, a neckache, and a completely obliterated paintbrush later, and what a wonderful end result! It totally changes the feel of the room, and brightens up the space. I pretty much love it. And the price was The best kind of DIY project in my opinion!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2 months

Ya, our girl is adorable. This post is a little late, seeing as she's over 10 weeks now, but I did take these pictures right as she turned 2 months old. It is really amazing to see how much she has changed in just the last month, and especially since being a newborn. Jessica is growing so quickly and beautifully! We love her more and more and are so happy to be her parents.

 2-month stats:
11.5 lbs (65%ile)
22.12 inches (35%ile)

 She had her shots and was in a bit of a funk for about 4 days after, poor thing. But she is such a good baby, that her "fussiness" really wasn't all that bad. I can't tell you how grateful we are to have such a sweet little girl in our lives. We snuggled on her and I let her comfort nurse as much as she needed until she felt better!

 Fun little photo. I love her big bright eyes!

Exciting updates:
Jessica coos and "talks" to me and Michael a lot and curls her little lips when she's really trying hard to makes sounds.
She smiles all day long and it melts my heart each time she smiles when she sees me.
She is starting to use her little hands more, grasping things (it's not quite intentional yet).
Her gas has improved so much, yay!
Mommy can't eat onions, peppers, chocolate, eggs (solid), foods with preservatives.
Jessica has started to smile at me while nursing, which causes her mouth full of milk to dribble all over the place. It's so cute, but messy!
She is such a great little sleeper. During this 2nd month, Jessica has transitioned from 3 hour shifts at night, to 6, to 8-9.
Jessica LOVES diaper changing time. I've never seen a baby so happy when her diaper is being changed. She smiles and coos the entire time.
If Michael is in the room when she's feeding, she will unlatch and watch him until he leaves her eyesight, and only then will she start nursing again. She loves him so much!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Bath Time!!!

 Just some fun pictures from different bath times with Jessica.  I covered up all the places that needed to be covered up. But I do love all her little fat rolls on her legs. There is seriously nothing cuter than a naked baby. We love this girl!

 Oh, and she totally looks like a little elf. Which makes me and Michael excited for Christmas, as we totally need to get her an elf outfit for that time of year :) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Last weekend was Michael's father's 60th birthday party, and it had a dessert theme. All of us kids made different desserts for one yummy spread at the evening party. There were homemade Oreo cookies, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake, German chocolate cake, brownies, other cookies, Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, and some assorted fruit. Needless to say, we were covered in the chocolate area. I figured I would make something fruity and different for the occasion in case people were "chocolate-d out". In came these bars.

I have always wanted to make crumb bars because they are basically cobbler or crumble in a handheld, easy-to-eat form! I was very pleased to find a very simple recipe that yielded great tasting results. Who says yummy things need to be complicated? Everybody must've really liked them because there were only 8 bars left at the end of the party. I'd say that's a success.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
(adapted from smitten kitchen)


For the crust
1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 egg

1/4 tsp. salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries

For the berries
1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp. cornstarch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl or food processor, mix together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Then blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Makes about 30-36 small rectangles

- This could be easily adapted for whatever time of year and whichever fruit is in season (peaches, cranberries, plums, etc.)
- I'd also replace the lemon with orange for some interesting flavor combos.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

1 Month...Already?

Baby Jessica and I had a little photo shoot in her crib, to mark her turning 1 month! This was the perfect opportunity to pull out my nice camera and the new and amazing Nifty 50 mm lens Michael bought for me. I'm loving this lens. It is so responsive and takes amazing quality pictures. Much better than the other lenses which came with the camera. What a perfect little subject on which to practice my photography skills !

A little full body perspective to show how small she is. I want to remember this as I compare month to month.

There's almost a little smile on her sweet sleeping face. Her cute hand up by it, just like mommy!

I LOVE this picture. It think it's my favorite one of her right now. So serene. And it shows off her awesome hair in a fauxhawk!

Captured a smile! Albeit, a milky one. 

 There's my little bird.

This could totally be one of those pictures that becomes viral as a meme with various phrases attached to it (please...nobody do that, I wasn't meaning to give people any ideas). I just think it's cute. One eye half open, fist clenched almost like she's pumping it.

Exciting updates:
Jessica graduated from newborn to size 1 diapers.
She is spending much more time awake now.
Still a champion eater, thus she is growing like a weed.
Jessica loves bath time and calms right down in the warm water.
She has peed, pooped, vomited, and spit up all over her mommy.
Getting some really nice fat rolls on her legs and arms...and a double chin!
Jessica is gassy. Poor thing. Mommy is still trying to figure out which part of her diet is causing it.
She has a death grip and will seriously not let go of things once she grabs them. 
Daddy is her favorite to snuggle in the mornings (especially on Saturdays).
Tummy time is exhausting, but generally fun. Jessica has a VERY strong neck already and is always looking around.

Mommy is a little heartbroken that she's growing so fast, but we love our girl and are excited to see her maturing. We can't wait for what each day and month brings!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Few Firsts

 Baby Jessica has had quite a few "firsts" since being born and home with us. I thought I'd devote a little post to some of those.

 First Bath! I posted this photo on facebook because the fauxhawk and all her awesome hair is so much fun after each bath. Michael always brushes it into this hairstyle. I can't wait until her hair gets a bit longer and I can start clipping bows and tying ponytails in it!

Computer time with daddy. He brought her in to "help" him with putting some new memory into our desktop computer. Michael posted a really cute dialogue of this sequence on his facebook page. It's seriously adorable! I can't believe she was this small, as she's already grown so much since then.

And her very first Valentine's Day. I love this little outfit I bought at Savers for $1.50 before she was born. I knew she was going to be in newborn size clothes for this holiday, so I couldn't help myself. Her little "shoes" and ruffle booty are my favorite! What a sweet little girl.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Meeting Family

Little Baby Jessica has had many visitors since being born. We had a steady stream of people in our home the week following her birth. And, she had some special family visitors in the hospital, including my mom, Michael's parents, and her Aunt Janessa (Michael's sister). We could tell from the very beginning that this was one loved little girl. And she was such a trooper through all the visits, sleeping like a champ. Almost sleeping too much so, that Janessa talked about not seeing her eyes every time she visited. And she didn't get to see her eyes until 2 1/2 weeks after Jessica was born. What can I say, newborns sleep A LOT. And considering she was mostly awake only during feedings those first couple of weeks, not many people were able to see that :)

Her Grandma Marlene. She and Grandpa Randy came to visit the morning after Jessica was born in the hospital.

 Aunt Nessa. Yeah, she's in competition for "coolest" aunt.

 At home visit from Lon and Aunt Jennifer. This was when she was less than 24 hours old. Lon had never seen a baby that "newborn", he told us. 

A visit from Jessica's Aunt Tina and girl cousins, Reagan (7) and Sammy (4). These girls just seem to be enamored of her. I think they're excited to have another girl cousin in the family to level the playing field with the other 3 boys.

We've had many other visitors besides the family ones, but mostly it's been so nice to share our little perfect girl with family. Like I said before, Jessica is VERY loved.