Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Depression...Is Pinterest the Remedy?

I'm not sure if it is because of the pregnancy hormones, the stressful work situation, or the lack of preparation for Christmas, but I have been in a major funk for at least a full week now.  I've always been a moody person so losing my temper quickly isn't necessarily a surprise, especially when it gets stressful at the end of the year, but it feels like my mood is never swinging up.  I'm kind of hoping that the next few weeks will mellow me out.  I'm also hoping I'll be able to get some more sleep in the next few weeks as I definitely think my bad mood could be related to lack of sleep.  Not only is Morgan getting up early, but I have difficulty sleeping with the pregnancy anyway, so it's a double whammy. 

Ok, enough whining.  In the words of some random 8-year-old, "if you are feeling blue, tryin painting yourself a different color."  I am going to take that to heart and make an effort to be happier!  Step one to making myself happier is working on my crafts and art projects!  I really enjoyed my week of Pinterest, so I think I am going to try again.  Below are the projects I would like to work on this week.  They may not have all come from Pinterest, but I will give it credit anyway since the website got me in the crafting mood!

Santa Bucket
This was on my Pinterest project list last time, but I didn't have time to get it finished.  I know Christmas is over, but I still want to get this done so it is ready to go for 2012.  I received plenty of Christmas books as presents this year and I can't wait to create a specialy place to store them!
Minky Blanket
One of the most exciting gifts received for Christmas was a sewing machine from my in-laws (my beautiful teal diaper bag from my parents is also a top contender for best gift of 2011).  I realize this blanket may be beyond a beginner skill-level, but I am determined to make a beautiful blanket for Amelia's nursery.  I love the colors of the blanket below, so I am on a mission to find similar fabrics in stores near me.  I know they sell the minky fabric at Hobby Lobby, but I haven't yet found a patterened fabric that I love.  Watch out family and friends...once I get the hang of this sewing machine, everyone will be getting minky blankets!
Pillow Cover
I really do need a beginner project for my sewing machine and what could be easier than a pillow cover for my office?  Yes, I realize there probably are easier things, but I am hoping this is an easy assignment.  I found several tutorials online, so I am hoping I can actually finish this project not only in one night, but without tearfully calling my sister or Kristin (the two people I know who sew) to ask for advice.  If the pillow making is not "super easy" as the name suggests, I am sure I will be relaying the entire saga in detail next week. 
The most fun part will be finding the perfect fabric to compliment the teal walls and black furniture!  Depending on how the pillow cover and minky blanket turn out, I may make a throw for the office as well.  Oh the joys of crafting/sewing! 

Happy Crafting and Pinning to everyone!  I will probably be posting later in the week with my New Year's Resolutions.  Matt and I are working on several together to make us more financially sound in 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pinterest Project Update

As mentioned in last week's blog, I was on a mission to complete several projects found on Pinterest.  Below are the projects I had hoped to complete, new projects that came along, and status' on all of the projects.  Enjoy!

Project: Felt Rosette Trees
Status: FAIL
I really and truly hate felt rosettes and will never attempt a project that includes these little felt torture devices if it requires more than 3 to be completed.  After all of my felt spiral cutting, I still did not have enough to finish an itty bitty styrofoam tree!  Below is a pic of what was completed and as far as I am concerned this is the most that will ever be completed!
Project: Mantel Decoration
I finished most of the mantle.  I decided that my 'J' and 'Y' to spell out JOY was too small for my ornament wreath, so I am going to work on that for next year.  I do still have a plan to get the ornament wreath hung up so that wall above the mantle doesn't look so boring, but I am proud of what we have so far.  The mantle is decorated with art projects I worked on with Morgan.  The far right is a string of lights made with finger prints and the far left are two reindeer made with Morgan's feet prints.  You may also notice another Pinterest project on the mantle that will be discussed later.
Project: Monogram Tree Topper
Status: N/A
After finishing last week's post, Matt found two tree toppers we could use.  After buying and putting up our tree, we found there really isn't room for a tree topper at all, so we are scrapping this project.

Project: Thumbtack Tree
Status: N/A
I have looked everywhere (ok, only three stores) and could not find gold thumbtacks and since I needed the gold to tie in the color scheme at Jamie's place, I decided to skip this project.  After thinking about how long it took me to create the felt rosettes, I am not sure I would have really enjoyed this project anyway.

Project: No-Sew Fabric Scrap Tutu
This project was super easy and I deem it a HUGE success!  Below is a pic of the final product with the black skirt and tights she will wear to highlight the skirt.  I also found some red reindeer slippers, Morgan can wear to complete the outfit and get in the holiday spirit.  She is going to wear this to her daycare holiday party tomorrow, so I will post pics of Morgan in the actual outfit then!  Maybe the picture lighting and quality will be better as well!
Project: Yarn Tree
I did two yarn trees the same height in green and one smaller one in red.  I wish I had three different sizes, but I still think they look good together.  I may experiment with this some more next year!
Project: Santa Bucket
I found a galvanized bucket in the shape I wanted at Michael's, but haven't really gotten started on the other steps.  I have a feeling this will be an after Christmas project, but I'm still super excited to get it finished and to use it to store my holiday books!  Right now I am using the bucket to store my craft supplies as they travel from the kitchen table to my office.
Project: Christmas Card/Picture Display Board
I found this project on Pinterest and thought it looked pretty easy.  I had bought one more piece of fabric than I actually used on the no-sew fabric scrap tutu, so I figured I would give this a try.  The whole project cost me $10-$12, took me 15-20 minutes and is my absolute favorite project to date.  I think it looks awesome hanging in our kitchen and really fits with my design scheme. 
Whew!  It was a busy week and this week isn't shaping up to be any less stressful.  I do have the most amazing husband ever and he has been a HUGE help with cleaning the house and doing the grocery shopping in preparation for hosting Christmas Day with his family.  I am actually pretty nervous about getting all of the cooking done, but really excited about hosting this holiday.  I am sure I will have plenty more pictures next week after all of the festivities!  Have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pinterest Projects for the Week

Anyone who knows me well understands that I am OBSESSED with Pinterest.  It is a serious addiction that is spreading itself all over my house.  You cannot find my kitchen table unless you want to remove all of my current craft supplies and projects.  I am currently scheduled for a day off tomorrow and am very excited.  In addition to cleaning our house (it needs a major overhaul right now), and putting up our Christmas decorations (including my first real live tree), I also plan on getting the supplies to finish up a couple of projects that I found on Pinterest.  Below are the list of projects in priority that I hope to finish by the end of this week!

Felt Rosette Trees
This is a no-sew project I have been working on for my sister.  As discussed in a previous post, I made her some ornaments for her tree.  She had asked for some teal accents, but I didn't really have the supplies to work on that, so I decided I would make a teal rosette tree to use as a centerpiece on her coffee table.  This project has taken considerably longer than expected due to having to cut out all of the felt spirals for the rosettes.  I haven't even started hot gluing the rosettes together!  Hopefully I have enough felt cut and I can start on the hot glue tonight!
Mantel Decoration
Last weekend at a craft party, I made an ornament wreath with green and red ornaments.  It turned out really well, but I need to finish it up with a bow (found an easy tutorial for that online).  I also want to paint a large 'J' and 'Y' so that I can use the wreath as my 'O' and spell out 'JOY' above the fireplace mantel.  I am dying to finish up my fireplace mantel decorations so it can really look like Christmas around here!

Monogram Tree Topper
Since Matt and I did not put up a tree last year (too much work after just having a baby and we weren't around for Xmas anyway), we don't remember what decorations we do and don't have.  The year before last, I used a top hat for a Christmas Tree topper, so I am entirely unsure if we have a tree topper.  I found this really cool project on Pinterest that involves some glitter scrapbook paper and a cardboard letter.  This will be project #2 for tomorrow!

Thumbtack Tree
I don't want to give Jamie just one felt rosette tree and to incorporate the gold theme back into her centerpieces, I found what looks to be a really easy tree made with thumbtacks.  I am hoping I can find some gold thumbtacks and use a small styrofoam cone to finish this off.  I have a feeling this will take much longer than I expect, but at least it should be mindless!
No-Sew Fabric Scrap Tutu
Last year we had tons of Christmas and Holiday-themed outfits for Morgan to wear.  This year...I only have one shirt and two sets of pajamas.  I have decided that I need to rectify this situation ASAP and what is an easier way to do that then make this no-sew fabric scrap tutu in holiday-themed fabrics.  I do realize buying a holiday-themed outfit may be easier, but not as much fun or look quite as cute!  I'm thinking instead of a fabric flower, I will do a little santa or whatever fun embellishment I can find.

Yarn Tree
This past weekend at our craft party, I made one yarn tree (blurry pic below).  My hope is to make two more in two different colors.  I am thinking red and white/cream.  Hopefully I can find the right yarn tomorrow to finish up the project.

Santa Bucket
I'm  not sure if I saw this on Pinterest or one of the blogs I follow, but I LOVE this Santa bucket and think it would be the perfect storage for all of my Christmas books.  Granted, I don't really  have any Christmas books right now, but I know I am getting some from Morgan and my hope is that I will continue to get one or two from the girls every year for Christmas. 

Now the race is on.  Will I get all my projects done by the end of the week (doubtful)?  Will I get some of my projects done by the end of the week (a strong possibility)?  Or will the whole week go to crap and I will be left empty handed (a likely possibility but hopefully this is not the case)?  Stay tuned to find out more!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Couple Time in the Big Easy

I think it's been two weeks since my last blog and I was seriously worried that this blog entry wouldn't make it up due to the craziness of this week, but alas, here it is!  Last weekend, Matt and I headed to New Orleans on our first couple vacation since our honeymoon over 4 1/2 years ago.  American Society of Health Systems Pharmacy (ASHP) was hosting a convention in the Big Easy and this is a must go for pharmacy students who are looking to do a residency after graduation.  Fortunately, it is also a must attend for those pharmacists who are currently in a residency, so we used it as an excuse to meet up with our old friends from Maryland!  We didn't get to see everyone or spend a long time with everyone, but it was still a blast.

Before I get into the pics and weekend rehash, I would just like to say that I had some serious misgivings about this trip.  I don't think we made it three days into our honeymoon before I made Matt leave our hotel room one morning while getting ready because I needed "10 minutes by myself."  With this story in my mind, I was very concerned that we would get sick of each other on a "just the two of us" vacation, but I will admit it...I was wrong!  I loved every minute I got to spend with Matt and I didn't feel the need to get any alone time at all.  It's truly a testament to how long we have been together and how in sync we are that we can not only spend long amounts of time together just the two of us, but we can do everything we plan on doing without getting too stressed!  All in all, the trip made me appreciate my amazing husband even more than I already do!

On to the weekend recap...

Our flight out on Friday was delayed so we ended up getting in to New Orleans at 7pm.  By the time we got to the right hotel, checked in, and cleaned up, it was about 8pm.  Our first stop was the Acme Oyster House for some amazing grilled oysters, red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, and bread pudding.  We both left feeling we could have just ordered mass amounts of grilled oysters and been completely happy.  They were really amazing!  After a delicious dinner we strolled down Bourbon street.  I guess I didn't really know what to expect, but Bourbon street is EXTREMELY seedy.  Lots of strip joints and scantily clad women.  I expected some flashing and bead tossing, but I really didn't expect that sandwiched between every bar would be a strip club.  I realize the fact that I was not intoxicated greatly hindered my appreciation, but I'm not really sure Bourbon Street is my kind of vacation destination.  Needless to say we were back in the hotel room and sound asleep by 10pm.  If you are a parent, you will truly understand how amazing 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep can truly be, so for us, the best part of this vacation may have the sleep we got!

We were up nice and late at 7:30am the next morning!  After a quick shower, we were on a mission to find an authentic N'Awlins breakfast.  We ended up stopping at Cafe Beignet for Cafe Au Laits, Crawfish Omelet, and a breakfast sandwich.  A delicious start to a busy day! 

We headed towards St. Louis Cathedral (pic below) and really enjoyed all of the artists and their work set up around Jackson Square.  Matt and I always try to get a painting or drawing from a local artist as a souvenir on our journeys, so this was the perfect destination for us!  I don't have pics of our new art collection, but once I finish setting up my office you will get to see a lot of the art in its final resting place!

We were able to join a horse drawn carriage tour around the French Quarter and it was perfect!  It allowed us to check out the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, home of the first pharmacist, and the best hurrican in town at Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop!  Below is a pic of Matt outside the Pharmacy Museum (isn't he handsome)!

For lunch we headed to Central Grocery, home of the original Muffaletta, and seriously overestimated our ability to eat this sandwich.  We thought splitting a full sandwich would be fine, but we should have stuck to splitting a half.  The sandwich was HUGE!  I really should have taken a picture because I'm pretty sure the sandwich was bigger than my head. 

After walking through the French Market and picking up some more art, we headed to the famous Cafe Du Monde for Beignets and Cafe Au Laits.  Below is a pic of us before we got our beignets.  If this was an after shot, we would be covered in white and possibly look like we should be charged with cocaine posession! 

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with a good friend before our AMAZING dinner at Emeril's restaurant in the Warehouse District.  This is his flagship restaurant and it offered us an awesome dining experience.  We were lucky enough to get a seat at the kitch bar, which is a bar-height counter overlooking the kitchen.  We got a close-up view of all the kitchen action and it definitely helped us to decide what we wanted.  Not sure if you can tell from the pic below, but Matt's pork chop was HUGE (we stood his fork next to the chop for heigh comparison)!  We stuffed ourselves silly, but enjoyed every minute of it! 

The next morning we headed to the Court of Two Sisters with two friends for their jazz brunch.  My camera died the day before, so I wasn't able to get any pictures of us enjoying brunch, but it wasn't bad.  The eggs benedict was probably my favorite dish they served, but the rest is your regular brunch fare.  When you are at the Court of Two Sisters for Jazz Brunch, you are really paying for the atmosphere!

After a longer than necessary trip on the St. Charles streetcar, we arrived in the Garden District for a walking tour.  I was able to get one good shot from my camera phone of Lafayette Cemetary.  Since it was Sunday, we weren't able to go inside, which was a bummer, but at least I could get one pic.  Call me creepy, but I am a huge fan of cemetaries.  I think they are really beautiful and can tell us so much about history.  We visited the St. Louis Cemetary, which is one of the oldest in New Orleans, but it was so worn down it was not as exciting to see. 

While on our 2 hour walking tour through the Garden District, we were able to see the houses of Sandra Bullock, John Goodman and...The Mannings!!!  I was super excited about seeing the Manning's house, I really wanted Peyton or Eli to be visiting but it was Sunday during football season so I knew I was asking for a miracle.  Normally I love walking tours, but Matt and I had walked everywhere the day before and I am 5 months pregnant, so this was not my favorite experience of the trip.  If we ever went back to New Orleans again, I would definitely do another walking tour, but I would also definitely make sure I wasn't pregnant!

I'm sorry if this recap of the weekend was a little boring, but I did want to make sure to include all of our activities.  Just to cheer you up, below is a picture of Morgan in her new outfit and boots from Grandma!  Grandma wanted to make sure she had plenty of clothes during Grandma and Grandpa's babysitting adventure!  Morgan's daycare always comment on Morgan's stylish clothes.  Someone even told Matt that she would be a natural for Toddlers and Tiaras...I think we may hold off on that one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crafting with the Chadwicks

This past weekend is the first weekend we have had at home in a long time where Matt did not have to work and possibly the last weekend home before the end of the year.  On top of this amazing occurrence, Matt offered to watch Morgan on Saturday while I went out, did some shopping and basically had some "me" time.  I cannot say enough how much I appreciated this "me" time.  I LOVE spending time with Morgan, but the one thing I have missed the most since becoming a parent is the freedom to just leave the house by myself and wander the aisles of a store, even if I don't buy anything. 

I did actually have a purpose for shopping this past Saturday.  As previously mentioned, we planned a night with the Chadwicks.  Dinner would be served and then Matt & Josh would watch all of the girls while Kristin and I got to work on some felt Christmas ornaments.  We were both looking for ways to keep our trees fun, but still kid friendly!  I am a really SLOW sewer and I forgot to pick up fabric glue, so I only got two ornaments completely finished and even then, I need to add some sort of ribbon for hanging on the tree. 

I was able to get all of the pieces cut and laid out for a cute owl ornament.  Only the hard part left...sewing, which includes adding some googly eyes!
While researching easy to make ornaments, I found some really easy instructions for glitter ornaments using the glass or plastic clear ornaments, glitter, and liquid Pledge.  Below are my first 6 ornaments in gold glitter.  These are for my sister's tree and I think they turned out pretty well!

I tried to use modge podge and leopard print tissue paper to make some leopard print ornaments to go with the gold glitter balls, but this did not go as smoothly.  In my first attempt, I tried to just wrap the whole piece of tissue paper around the ball, but it's too bulky and doesn't lay right.  On the second attempt, I used small, ripped up pieces of tissue paper and modge podged those on to the ball individually.  It looked much better but took much longer. 

I really want to finish up the rest of these tonight so I can give them to my sister tomorrow, but I've got a lot on my plate tonight.  Morgan's daycare is having a small Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow.  They didn't ask the parents to bring anything in, but they said we could send stuff if we wanted to and I ALWAYS want to!  I found this fun idea for turkeys made out of oreo cookies and peanut butter cups.  I have a feeling tonight might get a little busy!

If you want the recipe or directions, check out http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/11/oreo-turkeys-and-cookie-pilgrim-hats/
Before I sign off, I do want to share an exciting purchase that finally came in the mail this week!  About 6 months ago I purchased a deal on Heartsy for an Etsy dealer that crocheted hats.  About a month ago, I finally used my deal and purchased 3 hats for under $30!  Below are the first two hats for Morgan, they match her winter jacket (courtesy of Aunt Jamie) perfectly!  The last hat is for our new arrival due in April.  Since it will be a spring baby, I thought the chick hat would be perfect for pictures!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Next week I am sure I will have plenty of pictures to share from our Thanksgiving adventures and hopefully I will be able to share whether we are having a boy or girl!  Keep those fingers crossed that this little baby keeps moving those legs around!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iowa Family Weekend

This past weekend was Family Weekend at the University of Iowa, where my brother is a Junior.  I was able to take this past Friday off of work, so Matt, Morgan and I make the 3.5 - 4 hour drive west.  In order to break up the drive with Morgan, we made a halfway stop in Galesburg, IL for lunch at the Landmark Cafe and brief window shopping.  It was an old town with a very small downtown area, but it worked really well as a halfway point for our journey!

We arrived in Iowa City around 2:30pm, checked in at the Marriott and then headed to campus to meet up with Gregory.  He showed us around the campus and enjoyed some beers with Matt while Morgan and I tested out the playground in the middle of the pedestrian mall.  I must say that the pedestrian mall is a weird mix of stuff.  There are the campus bars and cheap campus eats but also the playground and expensive shops with clothes and home decor items that don't really seem affordable for the college-age crowd.  I get that it might work when the parents are in town, but I'm really unsure how these businesses make it year round. 

After dinner with Gregory, we headed back to his apartment to meet his roommates and their families.  Everyone was really nice and all of Gregory's roommates were really great with Morgan.  She really enjoyed running around between all of the guys and playing peekaboo with her blanket.

Saturday dawned and after some debating, Matt and I decided we could allow Morgan one day in Hawkeye gear for her Uncle Greg.  Below is a picture of Morgan waking up Grandma and Grandpa in the hotel room next door!

The above picture is a family pic that Jamie took.  Even Matt and I got in the Hawkeye spirit, not that it helped.  Both the Hawkeye and the Illini lost their games. 

Watching football isn't really a great activity for Morgan, so Grandma and I took her to the nearby Children's Museum.  It was actually a ton of fun and offered a lot of fun play options for someone Morgan's age.  Of course her favorite part is always watching the other kids.  She loves seeing older kids and really loves when they interact with her.  My favorite part of the afternoon at the Children's Museum was watching her feed the baby doll.  We have a plush baby doll at home that Grandma and Grandpa got for her first birthday, but besides put it in and out of the stroller she really don't do much with it.  The baby dolls at the museum were very lifelike and she really just wanted to keep picking them up.  The below picture is Morgan feeding one of the baby dolls a bottle.  It only took one try to let Morgan know that the bottle was for the doll and not her!

I'm really proud of my baby girl and can't believe how grown up she is getting.  This really makes me think she will be a great big sister!

Below is a picture of Morgan in a toy called the Bilibo.  I really want to get her one of these for Christmas.  They can be used as a variety of things but Morgan liked to get into it like a chair and tip around.  It was pretty funny!

We tried to take some family photos this weekend for my parent's Christmas card, but none of them really turned out that well.  The lighting was a little weird and the shots are a little blurry.  Either way, I figured I would share them with cyberspace and whoever reads this blog!
This weekend is the first weekend in a long time and the last full weekend this year, all three of us will be at home and not working!  We are planning to have some friends over on Saturday to watch football, eat dinner, and make some Christmas crafts!  I can't wait!  I'll definitely be posting pics next week of our felt ornaments and clothespin wreath for holiday cards. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grandpa's Birthday in the City

This past weekend Morgan and I drove up to Chicago to spend some time with my parents and help celebrate their birthdays.  My mom's birthday was a little over a week ago and my sister decided the best way to celebrate would be to purchase a groupon that allowed the three of us to spend some time together: a Chocolate Walking Tour!  After some debate, we also decided on a food walking tour for my dad's birthday present, but this tour explored the different restaurant options in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area.  The plan was to end the busy Saturday at Owen & Engine for dinner. 

Saturday started pretty early with Morgan waking up around 6:30am (pretty normal for her).  We quickly showered and had some breakfast as the rest of the family started waking up and getting ready.  The chocolate walking tour started at 9:45am, so the three ladies headed off around 9:30 while Grandpa stayed home to watch Morgan.  The Chocolate Walking Tour was a lot of fun and definitely introduced us to some great bakeries in the Gold Coast.  Our first stop was More Cupcakes and I must admit that I was incredibly skeptical about the chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Unless it is Portillo's chocolate cake, I find that I usually don't like chocolate cake as it tends to be dry, but this cupcake was fantastic!  We bought 6 small cupcakes to take home and share with the birthday boy. 

The last 4 stops on the chocolate tour was Sarah's Pastries & Candies, Belgian Bakery, Teuscher Swiss Chocolates, and Argo Tea.  All of the places offered great samples, but More Cupcakes was definitely the best with their delicious cupcakes.  Argo tea, a Chicago native company, was also delicious with a chocolate chai tea.  I love chai and chocolate, so it was a great combination for me!
After the chocolate tour, we headed back to the condo, bundled up, and left with Grandpa and Morgan in tow.  We really didn't know what to expect with Food Planet's Wicker Park/Bucktown food tour, but we were pleasantly surprised not only by the food but by the tour guide.  If you decide to try out this tour, please be aware that you will be given a TON of food.  We had a full size hot dog, half a falafel sandwich, hot chocolate, a slice of pizza, and a roasted vegetable salad.  We were so full after our 5th stop, that we skipped the last stop on the tour and headed straight to the nearest bar.   Below is a picture of Mom & Dad at our first stop, which included a true Chicago-style hot dog!

I am amazed that any of us ate anything at Owen & Engine, but it was a testatment to the greatness of their menu.  Not only do they have quite the beer selection, they also have the best fish & chips I have ever had (and that includes any I have tried in the UK).  This is definitely a place to head back to with Matt's family!

Macy's lit up the Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room and unveiled the holiday windows, so we all got in the Christmas spirit and headed over to Macy's to check it all out.  Holidays in Chicago are my favorite time of the year.  Like my mother, I am a big sucker for tradition and a big tradition for my family is to look at the windows and check out the tree.  I really want to ensure my children share this same tradition.  It would be great if we could also eat at the Walnut Room, but with the crowds sometimes this isn't always plausible! 

Below is a picture of Grandpa and Morgan after our meal at Ditka's on Sunday.  It was the perfect ending to a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Siuta Halloween 2011

Yesterday marked not only the end of October and Halloween, but also the beginning of the Holiday season!  I have already purchased the Michael Buble Christmas CD, so I am feeling ready to go for the Holidays.  Before I get too far into my Holiday preparations, I want to recap the Siuta Halloween 2011.

Halloween preparation actually started on Sunday night as I was in charge of bringing a sweet treat for the daycare's Halloween party.  Since my Michael Jackson-inspired sugar cookies turned out so tasty, I decided to go with frosted sugar cookies.  I bought a couple of fun Halloween shaped cookie cutters and got to work after Morgan went to bed.  The pumpkins turned out looking like odd shaped circles, so I just frosted those in orange and added some sprinkles.  The ghosts turned out pretty well, so I frosted those in white and added some mini chocolate chip eyes.  The cats did not turn out well.  I should have taken some pictures so that you could get the full impact, but at the end of the day it was decided that the cats would stay home for Matt while the rest of the cookies went to the daycare party.

Halloween morning dawned, Matt had to work 8-4, so it was a pretty fast paced morning.  We got Morgan up, showered and dressed in her Minnie Mouse costume.  Matt left with Morgan, Minnie Mouse ears, and three plates of cookies.  When he came home with Morgan we were missing a sweater and some shoes, but at least daycare was able to post some a couple of pictures of Morgan enjoying her Halloween celebration.  Below is a pic of Morgan at daycare:
We were having the Chadwicks over for dinner, so once Matt and Morgan got home we did a final clean sweep of the house (mostly vacuuming) and Matt went out to pick up the pizza.  While Matt was picking up the pizza, I finished decorating the front porch in time for the first trick or treaters, who came just a couple minutes after 6.  Below is our spooky front porch including our creepy black cat!

Since I am always worried about Morgan getting cold, I picked up a fleece butterfly costume from Old Navy for $5 for actual trick or treating.  Matt and Morgan only went to 3 houses, but I am very glad she had the extra warmth and she looked extra cute!  Below is one of my favorite pictures in her butterfly costume.  It looks like she is trying to flap her wings!

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!  Now on to Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apples, Corn, and Reindeers?

It has been a VERY LONG time since I last posted, but I don't want to forget to keep this up.  I am even more determined now to keep it going so that I can start sharing all of my craft and sewing projects.  My sister said I am becoming Martha Stewart and asked if this was part of pregnancy.  It's always been my mother's dream to become Marth Stewart, so I guess the craziness runs in the family!

Before I get into the fun fall activities we have done, I will provide an update on our little family for any of those individuals who are not aware.  Morgan turned 1 on October 18 and we celebrated her first year of life with a wild and crazy Michael Jackson party!  This might be where the DIY bug bit me.  I made the invitations for her birthday since I couldn't find exactly what I wanted and anything else was just too expensive.  The invites turned out awesome and it spurred me to keep going.  I also made the tutu you see Morgan wearing in the picture below.  It's REALLY fluffy, but I think it turned out pretty well. 

In addition to now having a 1-year old in our house, we have another little baby on the way!  Baby Siuta #2 is due April 23rd, 2012.  Since I had a c-section with Morgan, I will be having a scheduled c-section with this baby, so as the due date gets close I will have a much more final date of arrival.  Anyone who knows me, understands or at least acknowledges how much I LOVE to plan, so being able to plan out all of the details for baby #2's birth including the date is pretty much a dream come true.  Don't get me wrong, I would much rather have had a vaginal delivery with Morgan and be aiming for that with baby #2, but if I can't get what I want I WILL find the silver lining!
We are scheduled to find out the sex of the baby on Saturday, November 26th at 10am.  This is only 4 weeks and one day away (not that I'm counting) and I am soooo excited!  I cannot wait to see if we are going to have another gorgeous girl that I can dress up to match her big sister or if we will fulfill Matt's dream of sharing his sports obsession with his own son.  I also can't wait to really be able to concentrate on decorating a new nursery!

One last piece of news before I get into the activities of fall.  When I last posted, we had found out that Matt would be working for Walgreens in Central Illinois.  At the beginning of June, we sold our house in Maryland and on July 1st, we bought a house in Mahomet, IL (15 minutes outside of Champaign).  We definitely did not think we would be buying a house, but after looking at the places to rent that were available we realized that we would be better off just putting our money into a place we loved and that could grow with us (good planning)!  The cost of living in central Illinois is MUCH less than the suburbs of DC in Maryland, so we were able to afford a great size house that allows us to grow our family, me to work from home, and entertain to our (ok, my) heart's content!  As of right now, it looks like we will be hosting our first family holiday this Christmas!

Now that I have shared all of our Little Siuta Family updates, I am ready to start talking about our fun fall actitivies!  I LOVE the last 3-4 months of the year!  I love the weather, the activities, the clothes, and the holidays!  My goal is to make sure that my children love this time of year as much as I do, so I like to plan activities celebrating the season.  Our first fall activity was a trip to Curtis Apple Orchard.  This is a really great, family run, and kid-friendly orchard which is located a convenient 15-20 minutes from us.

Above is a picture of Morgan that I would love to duplicate every year.  It would be a great way to watch her grow through the years!  The below picture is my favorite picture and was taken by a friend of ours, who obviously has a much better camera and picture taking skill level.
I tried to plan a trip to the Great Pumpkin Patch in mid-October with some friends, but plans fell through due to a death in the family.  The Great Pumpkin Patch is about an hour away and we really haven't found the time to go since then, so this past weekend we headed to Hardy's Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul (about 15-20 minutes away).  I wasn't sure how this would go since I figured this place would be better for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, but we had a ton of fun.  The first stop at Hardy's Reindeer Ranch was to see the reindeer!  We got to see them pretty close up and Morgan was absolutely amazed.  She loves being close to animals and it's always fun to see her reaction.  Below are some of my favorite pics of her with or looking at the reindeer.

After the reindeer, we headed over to the corn maze.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I definitely think it would be as hard or as much fun as it was!  There were 8 monster points throughout the maze that you were encouraged to find.  Each monster point had a different hold punch so that you could mark on your ticket what monsters you were able to find.  If it weren't for Matt, we definitely would have only found 3 or 4, but Matt kept pushing to find them all and we were able to find all 8.  Below is a picture of Morgan and Matt as we started out in the maze.  We definitey didn't look this happy/excited at the end.

Morgan and I are heading to a Kid's Halloween party at the mall tonight and then Halloween is on Monday.  Hopefully I will have lots more pictures to post next week!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

6 Months Already!

April 18th, 2011 marks Morgan's official 6 month birthday!  I can't believe how fast the time has flown and how big she has already gotten.  She is sitting up like a champ and while I expected her to be crawling already, she is getting really, really close. 

Like we have done for her newborn (9 days old) and 3 month landmarks, we headed to Picture People this past weekend to get some pictures done.  I am sorry that I didn't do more family shots or shots with Matt and I somewhat in the picture for her newborn shots, so I was determined to get some family shots this time.  We did two different outfits for Morgan.  The first was in her Jack & Janie dress from Grandma.  The second was to honor our trip back to Illini country with Morgan in her Illini onesie, jeggings and a white headband.  Below are my favorite pictures of the three of us!

While I absolutely LOVE the Jack & Janie dress, you can sort of see my problem with getting clothes on Morgan.  The dress she has on is actuall a size 3-6 months, but she is practically swimming in it!  But, if you were to see her standing up you would notice that the dress is too short!  She is so long and lean, like her dad, that baby clothes are a tough fit for her.  She will appreciate this body once she is a teenager and older.

The two pictures above are my absolute favorites from the shoot and we got a LOT of great shots.  I think the reason I love these pictures are because I am really able to see a lot of me.  I have a picture from when I was around 6 months looking almost exactly the same.  I am going to try and find the pic, so I can post them side by side and allow everyone to see that my daughter finally looks like me!

In honor of Easter, we decided to take a couple of pictures with the bunny ears.  Unfortunately, the ears were a little big for her head, but I still think they turned our pretty well.  It would have been great to have had an Easter basket next to her, but I really wasn't planning ahead on this one. 

During a recent one year old photo shoot of the daughter of someone I knew in high school by another girl I knew in high school (I'm not trying to be difficult here), the little girl took pictures in a tutu and pearls.  I loved the idea and figured we would try it out with Morgan.  I fully expected her to stick these straight in her mouth, but actually did a pretty good job just playing with them!

This is her "model" pose.  The lighting is a little darker than all of the other pics and she isn't giving her full on smile, but it's still pretty cute!  Of course, I am entirely biased and think all of these pictures are pretty cute!

I really do love these last two pics as they showcase our beautiful girl and nothing else. 

I have been super emotional this past week.  No, I don't think I'm pregnant (Matt asked), but I do think I am getting really sentimental about Morgan growing up.  I've probably said this before in the blog and to a million different people, but I never thought I would love being a mother as much as I do.  You really have no idea how much you can love one single person and what you would be willing to do for them until you have a child.  Every day with Morgan is different and I feel incredibly blessed to have her in our life.  Matthew and I are so lucky that we have such a beautiful, smart, health child.  While I have no desire to be the Duggar family with 19 or whatever kids, but I can completely understand wanting to have a big family.  It is amazing watching this person growing up and exploring the world.  While I am very excited about the possibility of adding on to our family, I cherish every moment I get to spend with Morgan.