Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What feels like home to you?

I love to make my apt. feel homey.  I know it's just an apartment, but I do my best to make it our little haven- a place where my husband can come home from a hard day at school and relax, a place where friends feel comfortable and company feels at home.  I started thinking today about the things in our apartment that make it feel homey to me. Here are just a few of them:

1. The smell of apple and cinnamon candles burning:
This is BY FAR my very favorite scent probably because it's what my mom loved to burn in our house growing up.

2. Freshly baked cookies:

3. Cozy throws to curl up with on the couch (like this uber-soft one from Pottery Barn):

4. A warm cup of tea, coffee or hot cocoa (depending on the mood):

I could go on and on, but the thing that makes our home the most homey are the people in it- whether they live here or are just visiting.   It's the good conversation, the laughter and the time with family.  And so as much as I love all these above things, I know that the wall art in our dining room sums it up:
Which you can purchase by clicking here
We can make any place home (even if it has wheels) as long as we are together. Yes, I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true!
This was taken at Bellows Beach in Hawaii just a few minutes after I found out I was pregnant (our first picture as parents?)- so technically Thomas was in the picture too...(and if you look carefully, we caught a bird flying by!)
What feels like home to you?

-R

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rebekah's kitchen: freezing cookie dough

Inevitably, in our house if I bake anything, I throw half of it away.  It doesn't matter if it's something we both absolutely love.  We just cannot eat baked goods fast enough and since we both like things soft and moist, once they get crunchy and hard, they find the trash can.  I've tried only making half of a recipe and this seems to help some, but you can't make half of everything...especially when it's not from scratch!  Try adding half an egg? My mom told me about a friend of hers who freezes her cookie dough in a log-like (sounds appetizing, huh?) form, so that you just slice it and bake it when you want it.  I know some people freeze the cookies in actual balls, but this seemed like WAY too much work for me, so I decided to try the other method.  Can I just say it works like a charm? Plus, the other day when we wanted chocolate chip cookies, I didn't have to do a thing except pre-heat the oven and put them on the sheet! YAY!  I know there are break and bake cookies out there that taste pretty good, but in my opinion they don't taste near as delicious as the Betty Crocker bag mixes (which I can often get for FREE with coupons).  And dare I say, I think Betty's are better than homemade!


Anyway, this afternoon I made some delicious oatmeal cookies to share with a friend who was coming over and of course with James tonight.  Since they weren't from scratch I decided to once again freeze half of them!
Thank you, Betty, for such wonderful mixes!
 After baking a dozen cookies (because the size I make them yield about 2 dozen in a batch), I got out a piece of foil and a piece of wax paper.  Then, I took the other half of the dough and shaped it into a log.  I wrapped my dough in wax paper first and then the foil so it doesn't stick to the wrapper.

Then, I just labeled it and threw it in the freezer...voila! 

Now the next time we want cookies I just have to slice and bake! Thanks, mom, for the great idea!


-R

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good morning, blogland...

I say that as if I just got up, but I really have been awake since 6:45!  This semester, I have been getting up before J leaves for school, so that I can squeeze in a few minutes with him in the morning:) He really likes having me up and I really enjoying kissing his sweet face before he leaves!  The things I do for love!  As a result, I have been getting so much done in the mornings.  And thankfully, most days, I have time to squeeze in a little nap in the afternoon and I don't feel one bit guilty about it!  


I just finished week 30 of pregnancy on Saturday!  I know I say this all the time, but it's going so fast.  As time goes on, I am getting a bit more uncomfortable with my huge belly (which people keep telling me is small, but I think is giant).  I've been having to stretch out as much as possible and sit up very straight because I am constantly getting jabbed in the rib or hip and it's actually starting to hurt!  Our little guy is STRONG (just like his Daddy:).  He's also starting to get very long, measuring at about 16 inches, and weighing in at just above 3 lbs.! Geez. No wonder I am getting bombarded, the poor kid has nowhere else to go and it's only going to get worse!  He'll be packing on a few more inches total and about 1/2 lb. a week for the next several weeks. Ridiculous!  Apparently, most people's belly buttons have popped out by now, but mine is still holding on strong as an innie...we'll see what happens! Without further ado, the belly shot:

Yes, I have about 10 more weeks. Where is that baby going to go?  I am already having trouble bending over to get things with this enormous, hard basketball around my waist.  Honestly, I can't complain- after the 15 weeks of all day sickness, I have felt great and haven't had any complications or problems! Praise the Lord:)  Well, off to tackle week 31 and get some things done! Happy Monday.


-R

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spring is here?

This morning at our church, we had 4 baptisms.   The people getting baptized wrote out their testimonies and someone else read them to the church before they were baptized.  It was amazing to hear the stories of change and the ways that God used events and people to bring His children to Himself.  I think it's so easy for us (at least for me!)  to miss how God is working in the moment, but much easier to see in hindsight.  This morning, I honestly could not help but cry tears of joy (yes, I know that I am hormonal and pregnant, but I am pretty sure I would have cried anyway) as I heard how these 4 individuals' lives were turned around by God's grace.  


 Baptism is such a beautiful picture of how God offers life in the mist of our state of death, which made me think of all the ways that God's grace is so evident in my life.  His love is so great even though I can't do anything to earn it and I don't deserve it.


This morning gave me hope. I've been feeling a bit blah lately with the bleakness of winter.  BUT even when the trees are bare, the sun is unseen behind the overcast skies, and snow covers the freezing cold ground so no life can poke through, God is still moving
picture found here

He is planting seeds, changing lives and growing hearts.  He is giving new life even in winter. He is bringing spring...

-R

ps- I'm 30 full weeks pregnant as of yesterday!  Picture to come soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Repairing Cloth Diapers

Have I told you that we are going to cloth diaper?  {Disclaimer: Naysayers, cloth diapers have come a LONG way and if you used them years ago, they look nothing like the ones we are planning on using, which are extremely user friendly! End disclaimer} 


:) With that said, ideally we will not start using cloth until about 6 weeks because we would like some time to get used to having an infant before we add washing diapers to the mix.  We are also planning on using disposables for trips, babysitters, church nursery, etc. so that we don't overwhelm anyone else who is caring for our little guy.  So, we will definitely be buying some disposables occasionally. While I would love to say that the our choice will really help the environment, I am not absolutely certain that that's true.  It's sort of a big debate right now. Yes, we will produce a LOT less trash to fill up the landfills, but we will consume a LOT more water washing these babies.  However, the economic benefits are AMAZING and being that J is full-time in dental school and I will be full-time at home, this is the biggest benefit for us.  Luckily, I have lots of great friends that use them and love them, so I have lots of good advice and teachers:) Oh, and have I mentioned how cute they are?  Here are some of the BumGenius diapers that we have collected.  They are the 4.0 one-size pocket diapers that adjust as the baby grows so that you don't have to constantly buy new sizes.
Adorable, right?  Just imagine those things on a little baby bum. So cute!  They come in all kinds of colors, but we tried to stick to gender neutral so we can use them with the next bambino. They are expensive to buy, but you only have to do it once!

Our stash is not yet complete, but we are slowly adding to it!
 My sweet friend, Shannon, is often my sounding board for cloth diapers because she has been using them for 14 months with her little girl.  She even bought a bunch of used Fuzzibunz (another brand- hers are not the one-size) diapers from a friend for a really good price because the elastic had worn out in them.  Much to my delight, she offered to let me use the diapers (since her little girl can't fit in the smalls), if I could figure out how to fix them.  Here's what they look like:
Same concept as the BumGenius but have NO elasticity left in the back and legs causing LOTS of leaks! YUCK!

Another view of the worn out elastic...
 Naturally, I went to work researching how to fix these babies, since her lending them to me would really help our stash (think: less frequent washing for me-at least while Thomas fits in smalls!). I found a few helpful sites, but not anything comprehensive.  So, I decided to take the plunge, get out the seam ripper and just see what happened! I opened the necessary seams, removed the elastic, sewed in new elastic and re-did the seams! Voila!  Unfortunately, ripping out the original seaming was the most annoying and time consuming part.  But, for free use of the diapers, I persevered!  I have enough elastic to fix 3-4 diapers and then I will have buy a bit more, which I told my friend I would gladly do for her generosity.  I think it will cost me about 30 cents a diaper because you barely need any elastic- they are so small!  So, I do some work and get free use of the diapers and Shannon ends up with having working diapers when I am done with them for her next child- win/win!  Here's how the diaper looked after I fixed the legs.  Nice and stretchy again! Yahoo!

And the back! Good as new!
If you want more info on the step by step of how to fix these, let me know.  I know this is common problem in a lot of cloth diapers after they have gone through a few children, so I am glad I now know how to remedy it.  I've fixed 2 so far...only about 14 more to go! I better get ripping...


-R

Thursday, January 20, 2011

felt rosette wreath

Here is the promised wreath project!  If you want to see a great step by step tutorial that I found click here.  Otherwise, you can see what I did below:

Gathering supplies- I actually used a LOT more felt circles (about 1 1/2 yards of felt) than this to finish the wreath, but you get the idea. For the template, I simply traced a cup.

Then you fold the felt circles into fourths and stick a pin through...

Push the pin into the styrofoam wreath (mine is a 12 inch wreath, but you could go bigger) and start building your wreath- I made my felt circles pretty close together, but you could probably use a little less felt and still make it look really cool! You don't need to cover the back of the wreath since no one will see it.

No, I didn't cut myself.  I learned after my thumb was hurting SO badly from pushing all those pins into the styrofoam to wear a bandaid to protect my skin.  I HIGHLY recommend this if you decide to make one!

In progress...

Done!  I am going to add a short piece of white ribbon to the back to hang it.
So, what do you think?  I love how it turned out and eventually would like to make one for me to keep!  It does take quite a bit of time to cut the circles and push all the pins on, but I just turned on the tv and did it while I watched. Now that I'm done, I really want to make this and this and this.  So many projects....so little money!


Oh, and the snow did come...it's pouring down now, so I guess the meteorologists were right!


-R

wreathing.

Today's forecast: 3 to 5 inches of snow.  Unfortunately, there is less than 1/2 inch right now and no sign of it falling hard until this afternoon, so J still has class. Boo.  I'm always skeptical at these forecasts because I feel like it almost never ends up as bad as they say, but we'll see.  I plan to get out this morning before the "bad weather" ensues and spend some time with my friend and her little girl.  Fun! Then, I'll probably head back here for a little more creating...


I started a project yesterday and am super excited about the results!  Want to know what I'm working on?   Well, I saw a wreath I LOVED on etsy prior to Christmas, but it was $45 plus shipping. Outrageous. I knew that I could make it for less if I could figure out how.  I googled (duh!) it and who knew there were so many tutorials on how to make a felt rosette wreath!?!?!?  Anyway, I ended up making one for my sister for Christmas and when my grandma saw it she wanted one too.  Then, she started advertising to her friend in  her neighborhood who wanted me to make one and pay me for it. SO, I've been wreathing (which is probably NOT a word).  It's funny because "felt rosette wreath" just doesn't sound cool to me, so if you had the same thought, I think you will change your mind when you see it.  It's beautiful and modern and I love it!


Pictures to come this afternoon. Oh, and I'll also post where I found the tutorial in case you want to make one too!


-R

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

new additions

Today, I hibernated from the cold and rain inside our sweet little apt. and got a few things done.  For one, I finished lining all of our kitchen cabinets that I started doing here.  I'm glad that no one was here to see how dirty they were before I cleaned them (yikes!).  I also made some delicious baked ziti (which is in the oven for dinner), did laundry and balanced our budget.  It's not exactly glamorous to spend the day getting things done inside, but it was pretty productive and I didn't have to brave the rain!


Remember how I told you that I got some fun new home things from Ikea?  I thought I would just let you see one of them...since i love it! :)  Sorry the green is a little off- it's a dark and gloomy day, so not too much light coming in and I hate using a flash.



What do you think?  Cute and organized, right?  There are still a few small containers of spices in my spice drawer, but these are the ones that I use the most.  I put little label tabs on the tops right now, but am planning to find some other cheap way to label them. Any good ideas?


-R

Monday, January 17, 2011

Warning: this post contains LOTS of pictures!

Ahh, the weekend.  The only way I can describe it is glorious!  J and I have been so blessed with his light schedule this past week and so we decided to take advantage of every second!  It's not often that you get 4 day weekends in dental school (or even 3 day weekends!:)  


We did so many fun and wonderful things together, but here are the highlights:


My weekend began on Friday with some delicious australian licorice (if you have never had this, get in your car and go to Fresh Market ASAP! It's SO good!) and a surprise bouquet of beautiful orange roses edged in pink and pink gerbera daisies from my wonderful husband!  I think it was an omen for the weekend.  Saturday, we drove north to IKEA (hello, I love this place) and picked up some really awesome things for the house.  I will post pictures of the new additions later this week.  I've been on an organizing spree lately, so the trip just spurred me on even more.  We were also able to eat dinner and hang out with J's mom for a little while which was really fun.  On Sunday afternoon, we headed to the Admiral Bicknell Inn for a little staycation.  We snagged a great deal on Groupon awhile ago and decided we wanted to use it before the baby comes. James and I enjoyed lounging, reading and spending some good quality time together, not to mention a delicious breakfast.  Although the B&B was very charming, we were glad we didn't pay full price and are pretty sure we would check out another one next time.  Regardless, we had a fabulous time! Now on to the pictures:


Our "Cupola Suite" was the only one located on the 3rd floor and was very charming:)



Trying to get a 29 week bump picture in there



Staircase in our room up to the cupola (there was another bed here if you had more guests, as well as another room on the 3rd floor that you could only rent along with the cupola suite that had two more beds)

view of the river from the cupola- unfortunately it was super cloudy!

With my love:)

Another home across the street that J really liked- isn't it pretty?

A creative 29 weeks (and 2 days) picture
We honestly had the best weekend and I am so thankful for the extra time I could spend with my wonderful husband.  


-R

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baby on the brain:)

I know, I probably talk about the excitement of our first son a lot, but I just can't help it!  I find myself wandering through the baby section of every store that I visit (yes, even Kroger!) and smiling spontaneously when I feel his strong kick!  Sometimes I walk into the nursery and just want to look at all the cute baby things.  And I dream about the day we will get to hold and rock our baby boy.  I honestly cannot explain just how thrilled I am to be a mom.  Even when I was a little girl, I always told people when I grew up I wanted to be a mom.  I'm sure they were thinking more of a career outside the home when they asked, but I had seen my mom stay home to be a mom all my life and I knew that was exactly what I wanted to be!  I played with my baby dolls past the age that I'm sure most girls give them up and always pretended I had slew of children to care for.  I loved babysitting my neighbors' younger kids in middle school because it often gave me an excuse to play pretend and not look silly to my "more mature" friends.  


Now, I am a stay at home mom- just what I've always wanted to be! I am so thankful to the Lord for blessing and taking care of us in a way that allows me to do this.  I know that when Thomas makes his appearance this spring that it won't be an easy job, but I am quite sure that it's exactly what God made me to be!  I am positive that even on the toughest days, I wouldn't rather be doing anything else. And so, I am waiting with great anticipation and excitement for the days to come:)


Now on to some fun nursery pictures because I know they make long posts more fun, right? I will post more pictures when the nursery is completely finished.  
My cousin Gillian made this for Thomas- isn't it just beautiful?  We LOVE it! Thanks for being so sweet, Gillian!

The new mobile for Thomas' crib...as much as we loved the red Ikea hot air balloon, it just didn't gel with any of the bedding they had at Babies R Us.  We are keeping it though, so hopefully one day we will be able to use it:)

Some board books I got really, really cheap at a consignment shop :) Oh, and the blanket they are on is a very soft gift from Oma that goes great with the transportation theme we are going with in the nursery! Thanks, Oma!



-R

ps- I'll be 29 weeks tomorrow!  YAY!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Snowy (but not snow) Day!

James had the day off AND not because this is what it looks like outside our windows! (No, I did not go outside to take this- I took it through the window:)


He actually just got lucky that his two classes today both had group activities and neither involved his group! Yay!  I love having him home:)  This morning we slept in and then he cooked up some delicious bacon and I made homemade waffles with REAL maple syrup by the way! YUM!  


We did get a little bit of snow here yesterday (as you can see) which did not cause the dental school to close- the roads were fine after being salted! It was not nearly as much as my family in the south got!  I think they might be stuck inside for a few more days since they have no equipment to salt and plow the roads. Crazy!  For once, I'm glad to live in the north?


The plan for today wasn't too ambitious.  Mostly just relaxing, grocery shopping (can't do without creamer and toilet paper) and enjoying time together! I love days like this and I even got in a little nap:)


Here are a few more fun shots we took playing with the camera today:

No, I did not get new glasses...just stole J's in an attempt to look more intelligent :)


I am really looking forward to James' long weekend!  He has 4 days off and I think we might go to IKEA, as well as use a Groupon we've had for awhile to go here for a night:)  We're both pretty excited!
-R

Monday, January 10, 2011

A new location

It was time for a new blog address...sorry to anyone who was tripped up or had trouble re-finding us!  Hopefully you saw the message on facebook.  Make sure you click the Follow link to the right and update your google reader with the new address:)  


-R

monday's deeper thoughts.

Yesterday our pastor shared this quote and James and I both thought it was really true...so I thought I would share it with you too.


One of the ruling passions of humanity is the search for a righteous government.  The poor and the disadvantaged contend against 'the system' with the conviction that another economic order will make the world livable. Every four years the American people elect a new president with the hope that somehow this will make things better.  Economic downturns, crop failures, moral declines and worsening international conditions are all blamed on presidents- who is most cases have little control over events. In the heart of the people is a groping, inarticulate conviction that if the right ruler would only come along, the world would be healed of all its wounds.  Creation is headless and desperately searching for its head.


-Richard Lovelace, Renewal as a Way of Life


What 'we' are searching for {non-believers and unfortunately many believers alike} has already come and His name is Jesus!


Colossians 2:9-10- "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority."
Luke 4:14-21- "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:




    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, 
   because he has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners 
   and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, 
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them,Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus didn't come like everyone expected, even His own followers. He came as a baby to live the life that you and I could not and die in our place.  Jesus came to bring good news that there is freedom from sin in Him because our pardon was purchased with his death. He came to set the oppressed free. He came to heal the wounds of the world.


Sometimes we wander through life searching for the right ruler. We get upset when our earthly leaders (regardless of the political side you take) can't do what they "promised" and hope that next time we will elect someone who will do better. We wait around hoping that they will do something to change our lives for the better, rather than proclaiming that Jesus is really the only one who can change people's hearts and lives.


I am not saying that we shouldn't care about who we elect to lead our country, but I am reminding you and I that this morning if you know Jesus, you already know the right ruler and one day He is coming back to make everything right and new!


-R

Sunday, January 9, 2011

week 28

We did a short week 28 photo shoot:)  Thomas is over 2.5 lbs. and is moving around a LOT as usual!  We can now watch my belly move up and down significantly every time he kicks or changes positions.  It's pretty amazing and a special and exciting time for us as his parents! 
typical belly pose

trying to take a picture together....using the mirror


working on getting the whole family in the picture...and we lost James' head, but look at that belly! WOW!

LOVE him:) Can you tell?
Here's to a Happy Monday!


-R

a little morning photography...

As we were waking up this morning, James said, "we should get donuts."  Even in my sleepy state, I LOVED the idea(I am pregnant after all:)  So we headed out to pick up some for breakfast to go with our coffee.  On the way out the door, we saw this beauty sitting on a branch about 10 feet up from the ground right outside our apt.!  It was amazing that he was SO close and not even bothered by us watching him! James quickly grabbed the camera.

Isn't my husband a great photographer already? He took several awesome shots, but I thought I would just share one:) The hawk was HUGE and we were both fascinated until my hunger won us over and we headed out.


Now we're back and relaxing until church @5.  Check back later today for my 28 week picture:)


-R

Saturday, January 8, 2011

you'll never guess who's coming!!

In 3 weeks, I having my first baby shower for Thomas hosted by my sweet sister (Jen), awesome sister-in-law (Lauren) and her amazing sister (Sarah)!!  I am already getting so excited about how much fun the day is going to be and seeing my family again:)


Do you know what is going to make it even better? My BFF, Laura, is going to fly in for it!  Can I just tell you how excited I am to see her?  


Laura and I go back a long time...we met during orientation freshmen year of college (summer 2004) and have been fast friends ever since. 
Laura and I at the end of our freshmen year of college- yes, we were young and ridiculous!

 We both got involved with Crusade and were in Bible study together. Later, we got to lead one together with our friend Lindsey(on my back).

We both met our long-distance boyfriends (now husbands!) on summer projects with Crusade and took many road trips together to see them in KY and OH.

We got engaged within a couple of months of each other and both picked out extremely similar green dresses from Ann Taylor for our bridesmaids!

And, of course, we were both in each other's weddings, which took place within a couple of months of each other!


I could tell you a million more things that we have done together {countless retreats, weekends away, taking an awesome spring break trip to Hawaii to see my aunt, uncle and cousin, etc.}, but here comes the sad part....after we both got married, we both moved far away!  Laura and Matt made their home in Orlando, while James and I headed to KY.  Our families don't have the same hometowns, so we don't get to see each other at Christmas. And so I haven't seen her since our mutual friends got married in the fall of 2008!  I'm thankful for telephones and texting, but I am even more excited to SEE my dear friend face to face when I pick her up from the airport in 3 weeks! Thanks, Loa, for making the trip to come be a part of my baby shower! It means SO much to me and I love you!


-R


ps- I am 28 weeks today!  Only 12ish more weeks until we meet little Thomas!!! I will post my picture soon:)