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Friday, July 25, 2014

10 things Friday

1. For the past 11 months I have been the only one to put Ford to bed at night because we nursed beforehand. Now that we are weaned, Jon has been putting him down and last night was the FIRST time I left before bedtime and enjoyed a night out with friends and Jon handled bedtime! I can't wait to leave Ford with someone so we can do an actual date NIGHT, not our usual 4-7p.

2. They were sampling green smoothies yesterday and my picky baby gulped one right up. I plan on making one today for his lunch since he's been known to eat oyster crackers and bread for a meal (he had a peach for dinner last night, oye). 

3. We are going on vacation next week, hallelujah!

4. Starting next weekend through the middle of September, we have 5 1st birthday parties and 4 baby showers. Yes our group of friends is fertile right now.

5. Ford has been favoring his left hand lately, even trying stuff with his right hand and when he can't do it, switching to his left. I know lots of babies are ambidextrous for a while but I'm wondering when they officially choose a hand to predominantly use. Nothing wrong with being a lefty, I just remember the left handed kids hating scissors because they are made for rightys. 

6. I am reading The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler right now and y'all, it is good. 

7. Moms of boys, this is a must read. A mama writes a letter to her future daughter in law

8. I am making these crockpot quinoa, sweet potato chicken fajitas tonight. Mmm Mmm.

9. I love the song Stay with Me by Sam Smith, turns out it's about a one night stand haha. Regardless, it's a great song

10. I record Jimmy Fallon an Jimmy Kimmel every night and it's the highlight of my mornings to watch them. Makes getting up at the crack of dawn with Ford fun!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spinach and goat cheese turkey burgers

Truth: Jon and I just got our first grill a few months ago and neither of us had ever grilled before. Sure we'd eaten things that friends and family members have grilled but not on our own. Now that we are a few months into this grilling thing, we are obsessed. What took us so dang long to get one?! One of our favorite things to make these days is burgers. I tend to binge Pin yummy burger recipes on Pinterest and this spinach goat cheese turkey burger caught my eye. Burgers are so easy because I can take 5 minutes to patty them up at any time of day and pop them in the fridge. Neither of us is slaving in the kitchen and we always keep frozen sweet potato fries and fresh veggies on hand for a quick dinner. 

The night we made these burgers, Jon could not stop raving about them. Guess who even nibbled on a burger? Mr. I won't eat anything but cheese and carbs Ford Hart! They are delicious, juicy, healthy, and of course, easy. 

Ingredients *makes 5 burgers
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
Spinach (either 6oz frozen, thawed or 1-2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves torn...I prefer fresh and I always have it on hand)
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tsp Tony Chacheres seasoning (or Season All if you can't find this)
Buns and fixings of your choice

1. Mix all ingredients besides fixings until fully combined
2. Form 5 patties making sure you don't make them too thick (harder to cook evenly that way)
3. Grill to your liking and enjoy!

original recipe

Monday, July 21, 2014

IKEA Hack: table makeover with chalk paint

Jon came into our relationship with an IKEA kitchen table and 4 chairs. I love the shape of the table, it is nice and sturdy, and I've always loved the style of the chairs. I am just not crazy about the color or the cheap looking IKEA finish on top. My original plan was to keep this table for a few years and then upgrade to a nice big round table when our family got bigger but I finally got sick of looking at the table. I should also mention, my mom bought Ford the exact same table but miniature size, I am obsessed. I've seen a recent obsession with Annie Sloan chalk paint all over the internet and when a friend posted a picture of the exact same IKEA table I have but restained and painted with AS chalk paint, I knew I found my solution. 

I did lots of research, planning, and talking to friends who were familiar with chalk paint because it is in no way similar to regular paint. I have redone a few pieces of furniture using thick and sticky primer, thin paint, and sealer. Too many steps. With chalk paint, no sanding or priming is required.. I am sold! When it came to a color, I wanted to restain the top of our table to match our dark wood floors but keep the legs light and bright so that it flowed with our new kitchen.

I decided I would paint the legs gray and  was bummed when looking at the color selections Annie Sloan offered. The only 2 gray colors looked purple and blue and if I was going to spend $50 on a quart of paint, I wanted it to be perfect. A friend told me about another brand of chalk paint called Maison Blanche and a cutesy junk/gypsy store in my area carried it! It's basically the same price, $42 for a quart, but there are so many more color and wax options. Now I live in a pretty big town and there is only 1 place in all of Austin and it's suburbs that carry Annie Sloan and only 1 place that carries Maison Blanche. If you live in a small town, you may have to drive a bit to find some, but it is worth it!

I followed directions from a friend of mine but also kind of winged it. I decided against using the tedious and messy wax specifically for chalk paint and improvised with using a water based Polyacrylic seal. I am incredibly pleased with the results of my first chalk paint project and wanted to share with you the easy steps. I refinished our large kitchen table, 4 full sized chairs, Ford's mini table, and 4 mini chairs. It was work....but fun! Considering I can't do much when Ford is awake, I spent almost every naptime and evening working on the table and it was done in 5 days. 

Step 1: Sanding

I chose to restain the top of the table and chairs rather than painting it with chalk paint. I borrowed a power sander and sanded the tops of the tables and chairs using 60 grit to get the varnish off, then 100 grit to smooth down, and finished with 150 grit. This was the most tedious part of the project but it was also the most invigorating for me ha! It took about 1.5 hours all together and I woke up sore the next morning. 

We covered our patio furniture which was key because the deck was caked in dust. 

Step 2: Staining

Next up I used a cheap economy grade paint brush and Minwax wood finish in Dark Walnut (2716)to stain the tops of the tables and chairs. The stain came out darker than I expected but we actually like it better because it ties in our black granite in the kitchen. I didn't worry when I dripped stain on the legs of the chairs because I was able to easily paint over. I did 2 coats of stain (24 hours apart) and let it dry for another 24 hours before starting to paint.

Step 3: Painting

I brought the tables and chairs inside and painted on top of a drop cloth in our kitchen. Again, I used a cheap, economy grade brush (which was recommended by the sales woman who uses chalk paint professionally for a living) and Franciscan Gray Maison Blanche chalk paint. I love using chalk paint because it is so thick and goes on so well (chalk paint is basically paint mixed with dry chalk, not to be confused with chalkboard paint). It also dries really fast which is nice because I was able to do a second coat quickly. 

*One of the draws of chalk paint is it is easy to distress if you want that antique look but I didn't feel like that look would go with the rest of my house. To distress, you can use a 100 grit piece of sandpaper and gently sand down a few areas on each piece, depending on how much distress you want. If you don't like it, you can easily paint over. Just be sure to distress before you wax or seal because once you wax or seal, you are done. 

Step 4: Sealing

Most people use Annie Sloan or Maison Blanche soft wax to seal their furniture projects. I have heard from many people that it is time consuming, tedious, and messy so I did some quick research to find an alternative. I had already purchased some Minwax Water Cased Polyacrylic Protective Finsih to seal the stained portions and decided to use that on the chair legs as well. It's easy and goes on clear with a cheap foam brush. I did 3 coats on the table and chair tops and 2 coats on the chair legs and backs. I let each coat dry for a few hours with the final coat drying for 24 hours before setting stuff on top. Another benefit for using this sealer as opposed to wax is that if I decide I want a different color, I can paint right over it. With wax, you would need to remove it before painting on top. 

The finished products

Ford's mini table in the front playroom

Friday, July 18, 2014

The end

Wednesday July 16th, 2014 was the last day I nursed Ford. It was bittersweet and unexpected yet perfectly timed. If you've followed along my blog, you would know that we struggled and fought for Ford to take a bottle for months and gave up around 6 months. Ford took a bottle like a champ starting at 2 weeks but started refusing around 3 months. I decided that I had made it 6 months of exclusively nursing and could make it another 6 months because looking at the grand scheme of life, it was such a short period of time. In the past 11 months I have not been away from him for more than 5 hours and I have put him to bed every single night by myself. It was hard but absolutely worth it. So worth it.

I knew I wanted to completely wean Ford at a year and I was dreading the process thinking he would want to breastfeed forever. I knew babies self weaned but babies also took bottles easily, mine did not. I stayed awake at night sick to my stomach and praying for a smooth weaning process. We started giving Ford organic whole milk in a straw sippy right before he turned 11 months old and he loved it! I was able to cut our 2 daytime nursing sessions and decided we would continue with morning and before bedtime until 1 year. I had noticed that our nursing time was getting shorter and shorter and Ford would be very distracted. Early on, you can hear the glug glug of a baby nursing and swallowing and I felt like Ford would just suck for 2 minutes and was done. I've never had a supply issue but assumed it was dwindling the less I nursed and the more whole milk he drank. 

Wednesday night I gave him a bath, we read a book, sad our prayers and then I brought him to the rocking chair to nurse. It wasn't more than 1 minute before he bit me so hard that I let out a blood curling scream. Ford had been calm and relaxed, almost drowsy, and it spooked him to the core. I was crying, he was crying, and we both couldn't catch our breath. He had nibbled on me before but it didn't even compare to the pain I had just experienced. I was able to calm us both down and tried again, only to get bit even more painfully. This time he had my clamped nipple in his mouth and didn't let go. The tears were flowing. Jon had just gotten home from a work trip and I shrieked for him to run upstairs. I handed Ford over to him and told him I couldn't nurse. I went down to our room, closed the door, and sat on the bed and prayed. I asked the Lord to reveal to me if this would be our last time nursing. I was emotional thinking about that traumatic experience being our last time nursing. And then I became thankful. My heart shifted from sorrow and sadness to thanksgiving and awe. Most women don't get past the first month of nursing and I made it 11 months! No bottles, no formula, no help. God is sovereign over everything, including my supply, Ford's latch, the blessing of staying home with Ford to be able to exclusively nurse. Tears of joy flowed as I realized this was the end of our nursing relationship. 

Jon was able to calm Ford down and put him to bed without nursing and he slept through the night. Another answered prayer. Jon woke up with Ford Thursday morning and sad he was cuddly and sweet as he offered him his milk cup. I came out of our room a half hour later to my happy little boy who was ready to play. When it was time for bed last night, I kissed Ford, went into our room and closed the door while Jon did bedtime. I continued to pray that God would ordain this process and give Ford the comfort he needed to go to sleep. Y'all. God is so good, so faithful and generous. Ford went to sleep without a peep and 36 hours since my last nursing session I have not felt any pain whatsoever.

I don't want you to apologize for the way our nursing journey ended because I believe it was orchestrated by God for my good. I feel like if I got to choose our last night of nursing I would have tried to make it so perfect and not want to give it up the next day. Please don't be sad for me because I am rejoicing! This is the end of a sweet season with my baby boy who is on the brink of becoming a toddler. I look forward to what comes next for us and I know that will include a lot of nighttime date nights woo hoo! One thing that is sad... organic whole milk is way more expensive than breastmilk, ha! I feel victorious for making it this far. There were many a times I wanted to throw in the towel but I am so glad I stuck it out. Breastfeeding for me has been more than nourishing my son. It has been a wonderful lesson in growth and grace that I pray I get to experience again with future babies.

11 months, 339 days, hours and hours of nursing, so much sweetness. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ford 11 months

This month has been crazy! Ford no longer seems like a baby but is growing into quite a cute toddler. He understands and follows commands, talks, and loves to interact with us. It's hard to believe he could get any more fun! 1st birthday invitations are mailed, pictures have been scheduled, and I sit here baffled that time has flown this fast. Prepare for a long post, Ford is doing so much this month!

A sweet video my sister made 

Weight: 22lb 9oz (home scale)

Height: it is so hard to measure this squirmy boy so I am going to wait until his 1 year appointment

Health: overall Ford has been pretty healthy this month with a few runny noses and 2 days with a slight fever. I've been using Lavender, RC, Thieves, and Peppermint on him and only had to give him Tylenol once. We have his next well check on August 13th and hope not to visit the doctor before then.

Nicknames: Booga, Shmooka Bear, Doodle Bug

Teething: Ford has 4 teeth! He just had the bottom 2 for 2 months and the top 2 finally came in at the end of June. They are getting bigger everyday and it is so weird to see him with front teeth, so cute! No signs of other teeth trying to pop through.

Clothing: 12 and 18 month onesies, 12-18 month shorts, 12-18 month short alls, size 3 shoes

Diapers: cloth during the day, size 4 Huggies Overnights for nighttime. 

Eating (milk): Ford is now only nursing twice a day (right when he wakes up and right before bed) and we are working hard towards weaning at a year. We started giving him whole milk in a straw sippy last week and he loves it! He drinks 6-8oz throughout the day and I can tell he is losing his interest in nursing. We hope to be fully weaned shortly after his 1st birthday. 

Eating (solids): Ford sure doesn't miss a meal but he is getting picky as of late. Breakfast is his biggest meal and usually consists of a whole banana, piece of toast with jelly, and a carton of Greek yogurt. I have to save the yogurt for the end because that is all he wants. His favorites are yogurt, cheese, zucchini, turkey dogs, chicken patties, burgers, watermelon, cottage cheese scrambled eggs, bananas, and anything carb-y (crackers, puffy Cheetos, bread, croutons). 

Sleeping (night): Ford goes to bed at 7:30p and wakes up between 6:15-6:45a. If we try to put him to bed later, he will wake up earlier.

Sleeping (naps): 1-2 hour nap at 8:30am and 1-2 hour nap around 1:30/2pm. He naps a total of 3 hours a day.

Social: Like every other month, Ford is such a social butterfly. He smiles and waves and goes to just about anyone. He is talking a LOT more these days saying "mama" "dada" "uh oh" "ba na" for banana, "muh muh muh" for milk. I swear he went from basically no words to full on babble in a matter of days. 

Likes: petting Ernie, walking with his walker, remotes, cell phones, talking on anything as a phone, the drumsticks from our Rockband set, crawling through his IKEA tunnel, swimming class

Dislikes: long car rides (no more road trips for us), getting his diaper changed (screams and rolls and tries to stand up)

New this month:
  • Using anything as a cell phone... his hand, bread, toys, shoes
  • Dropping something and saying "uh oh"
  • Puts his hands up if you ask "how big is Ford?" SO BIG
  • If you ask him to "be sweet" he puts his head on his shoulder, too funny
  • Blowing kisses
  • Mocking us... if we make noises with our mouths or tongues he laughs and tries to also
  • Claps if you say yay
  • Does calf raises when you ask him to jump
  • Signing milk and all done
  • Cruising around furniture
  • Feeding himself with a spoon... very messy
  • Standing up on cabinets or furniture, letting go, and standing on his own for a few seconds (no interest in walking though)
  • Starting to recognize body parts. "Ford put it on your head" or "Wear it as a hat" and he will point to his head"
  • Pointing to things he wants
  • Twice this week when I dropped him off at the gym nursery he gave me the lip. I slowly tiptoed out and watched for a few minutes and he was fine, he usually loves it!

Being sweet

Fun things we did:
  • Vacationed to South Padre Island
  • Went to a car show
  • Took dad to swimming lessons
  • Took a fun music class at Heartsong 

Mama: I've teamed up with a bunch of other fabulous mamas and helped launch MOMquery this month! I am running social media for MQ and it has been a smashing hit, would love for you to check it out. I go through swings of emotion when I think about weaning but I know it is time. I am excited for the next chapter of our lives which will include being away from Ford for longer than 4-5 hours, ha!

Daddy: we celebrated Jon's first Father's Day this month! Ford sure loves his dad, they spend a lot of time together playing so I can get some me time and I really appreciate that. Ford seems to laugh a lot easier at Jon than me!

What we are looking forward to:
  • Ford modeling for Laura Morsman Photography's Winter Solstice shoot next week
  • Gramma Great and Grampa Great visiting in a couple of days
  • Ford's first birthday photos with Laura Morsman
  • Vacationing to Charleston at the end of the month
  • Finishing touches on Ford's birthday party!
Invites via Poppy Designs


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Thursday, July 10, 2014


After tragedy ensues, many people are left questioning, "why do bad things happen to such good people?". Well the truth is, bad things just happen. Bad things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people because we live in a broken world. A broken world that lost a sweet soul June 29th, 2014. 

A dear family friend of ours, Philip Lutzenkirchen, went to be with Jesus almost 2 weeks ago. If you are a college football fan, you may recognize his name for being the all star tight end at Auburn a few years ago and taking the team to victory at the National Championship. He's also infamous for the endzone dance coined as, "The Lutzie". Philip wasn't only a star on the field but he had a heart of gold. He knew Jesus, praise God for that! A man who loved The Lord strongly and professed His name wherever he could, and a man who loved his family wildly. He was the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be and your daughter to marry (in fact we hoped he and my little sister Tomi would one day get married ha!). His dad and my dad were best friends growing up and best friends to this day. The world is now a little darker without Philip but heaven is a helluva lot brighter. 

Philip's last tweet...

The week of Philip's passing happened to be the week of my Restless book study that covered suffering. God was prepping my heart for intense feelings, mourning, and conversations I would be having over the next few days. To this day not an hour goes by that my heart doesn't break for his family (he has 3 sisters my age who loved him so, so much) and try to bargain with God to bring him back. The tough thing for us to understand is that Philip doesn't want to come back. If he had the chance, or a million chances, to return to earth.... he wouldn't. The book of Revelations tells us that heaven is a place where there is no longer darkness, no pain, no hunger. The Kingdom of heaven is perfect and no one inside would ever leave. People are taken from this earth too soon but they are the lucky ones! One of Jon's best friend's, John, passed away in a tragic hang gliding accident the summer after we met and I found so much peace in believing that John had completed the work God had for him on earth and it was time to come home. Some of our plans are longer than others. I don't think I could even understand the breadth of the impact Philip had on the many people who loved him. What I would do to leave the same impact Philip did in his 23 years on earth!!! 

Losing Philip and watching friends, acquaintances, and bloggers lose their children, husbands and parents makes me long for heaven. I long to be in a place where my soul is full to the brim and I don't live in constant fear of failure, acceptance, and safety. I am not afraid of death because what's on the other side is more than I could ever dream up. 

Jennie Allen did a fabulous job of talking about why God may let us suffer and I wanted to share with you a few points.

1. Jesus is best known through suffering- He went to the cross and endured suffering first and uses our suffering to speak life into us. This is tough because we want to turn away and condemn Him.

2. We get stronger- Just because a heart stops beating and blood stops flowing, doesn't mean this is the end. Earth is not our home and we must have faith to press on til we reach the other side. 

3. We long for heaven- Like I said above, losing people close to me just solidifies my true belief in heaven and I praise God that He already has a room for me there. This world is going to knock us off our feet time and time again and continue to empty us dry. Heaven is real and it is coming. 

4. Our lives could leave a mark- Yes! 'God wrote suffering into our stories and wants to redeem it for His glory'. Have you ever watched someone pass and not be impacted by their story? Each and every one of us has a purpose this side of Heaven. 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. -Genesis 50:20

I believe that Philip's life will bring so many people to Jesus, encourage people to mend broken relationships, and remind us that we have no say in when our time here is over. From the beginning of time The Lord knew every single hair on your head and every single breath you would take and there is no changing His will. In light of such a terrible tragedy that many will mourn forever, there is so much hope. Come Jesus. 

Donate to the Philip Francis Lutzenkirchen Foundatin

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

4 ingredient coconut cream bars

I needed something to make for a summer themed mommy/baby play date and coconut popped into my head. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of coconut. The most I can take is a Caramel Delight Girl Scout cookie but Jon is a coconut fiend! I was thrilled to come across this easy recipe for coconut cream bars and although I did not indulge in them, people kept going on and on about how delicious they were. The recipe is laughable because it is SO easy! Perfect for a summer play date or BBQ!

1 14oz bag shredded sweetened coconut plus extra for sprinkling
14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 package chocolate bark 

1. Mix together bag of shredded coconut, milk, and powdered sugar. Use a mixer to combine, the mixture will be very sticky
2. Spread evenly into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and let harden in refrigerator.
3. Cut into bars and dip into melted chocolate bark. Immediately sprinkle with additional coconut
4. Let chocolate harden and enjoy!
*My sister and I were talking about possibly pouring the melted chocolate over the 9x13 inch dish instead of dipping individually. Would be a lot easier!

original recipe

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that my entire family (plus 23 others) just got back from South Padre Island where we celebrated the 4th! My family used to caravan to Padre every year growing up and we hadn't done it in a few years. It was a blast. We had a few bumps along the road (literally, our tire blew out on our return trip...oh and Ford hates road trips...aye yi yi) but overall it was a such a fun and relaxing trip. Ford wasn't so sure about the beach the first two days but then was a maniac crawling around and squishing sand between his chubby fingers. I mostly kept him in the shade and we took lots of pool and nap breaks so he wouldn't get overtired or sunburned. It is so stinkin' cute to watch him and Embry interact these days. Ford is moving away from babyhood and loving to play and learn like a little toddler.  Our family lost a dear friend who went to be with Jesus too soon last Sunday so there is no where else I would rather be than with my family while during the beautiful mourning (will share more later).

The family that shot-skis together, stays together #Merica


We stayed at the Suntide III for probably the 6th or 7th time and highly recommend it. It is beach front condos (2 and 3 bedroom) with an indoor and outdoor pool. We made most of our meals and went out a few times...perfect for families!

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