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!


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Swirlio

Today I am going to talk about an addiction I have. It's not the best habit but it could be worse. Here's the scoop. I can stuff myself silly at dinner (I am talking about chips and queso, enchiladas, guacamole, rice, beans) and have to unbutton my jeans....yet there is always room for dessert. I HAVE to cleanse my pallet with something sweet and it better be chocolate (why waste your time with fruit and vanilla flavored sweets). Jon and I are the gluttons that pig out at Brazilian steakhouses and order dessert. A mini Reeses cup or a bowl of froyo, it just has to be something.

Because scarfing down sugary treats every night isn't the best for your waistline, I have been trying to find alternatives to feed my addiction. Enter the Swirlio. Turn frozen fruit into delicious and healthy homemade desserts and sorbets. 


I keep a big bag of frozen fruit from Costco for Ford to gnaw on when he is teething and we always have an abundance of bananas in the freezer. I loved thumbing through the recipe book and finding the page that spoke to my inner glutton...



Jon and I experimented with one of our favorite spreads...Nutella (this is organic Nutella but it is the same delicious chocolately goodness)...and frozen bananas and I can't even tell y'all how good it was! Granted I did put a TON of Nutella so it balanced out the healthiness of the bananas but I didn't feel guilty for eating a giant bowl of "ice cream". 


We even took a riveting video!
video



We can't wait to experiment with other fruits and spreads and toppings!

Buy your own Swirlio!

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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!




Since Jon and I are so new to grilling, we rely heavily on a meat thermometer to make sure our meat is cooked. We love our new Cave Tools digital cooking thermometer because it spits out the temp in under 5 seconds, is accurate within 1 degree, and uses a replaceable watch battery. When you buy a Cave Tools digital thermometer, you get a free download of The Grill Master's Essential BBQ Recipe Book and a free 3 month subscription to WiseJack Cooking Recipes for Men. Order your Cave Tools digital coking thermometer here




original recipe


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blush









I know I am not the only one who scrolls through Instagram 3, 4, 5 times a day. And I also know I am not the only one who loves online shopping. Today I am excited to introduce you to Blush Boutique, a pop up Instagram shop started by two sweet girls I went to high school with that offers adorable and trendy clothing and accessories. Instagram? Shopping? Yes. The dress I am wearing above was less than $25 and my earrings (Kendra Scott inspired) are from Blush Boutique too! Head on over to check out their cute selection of skirts, dresses, tops, and jewelry... look at this Texas gold bar necklace!


Use the code RUTHIE10 for 10% off your entire order through the end of August!

Blush Boutique
Instagram.Facebook.Website

Giveaway
Blush Boutique is giving away 3 clove necklaces today! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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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



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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. 



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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Picky baby

I've read that this is totally normal but Ford is getting to be quite the picky eater these days. The other day I tried to feed him some leftover cheesy mashed potatoes I was eating and he turned up his nose. Oh! He also turned his nose up to mac and cheese....who is this kid?! I love that I don't have to worry about purees and baby foods when we are out and about but it's tough to know if he will eat what we eat when we are out. To be safe, I've been packing meals for him when we go out to eat but I am hoping this pickiness is just a temporary phase. I've been stuck in situations where I assumed he would munch on my meal but instead ate 3 fruit pouches, goldfish, and Nilla wafers for lunch because it was all I had in my diaper bag, #GoodMom.

I got this adorable lunchbox from Jane.com because all 11 month olds need monogrammed chevron lunch tote, right? I wanted to be able to keep cold foods separate from stinky diapers in my diaper bag and I wanted to carry something cute. Wah la. 


The Ford essentials

If all else fails, I know Ford always goes nuts when I pull out the Greek Yogurt (I have to do it at the end of the meal because he wouldn't ever stop unless I made him!), cheese sticks, and cottage cheese. Dude loves his dairy, just like his dad. Now that Ford drinks whole milk as opposed to nursing, I have to bring it with me wherever I go and this lunchbox allows me to pop in an ice pack to keep our insulated sippy cups cold. 

I set the lunchbox down next to Ford for a photo and he found the crackers..




Do any of you seasoned toddler mamas have advice for picky eaters? Ford eats a lot and I hate to fill him up with carbs. Help!

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