December 18, 2014

Introducing my Little Lady

It's hard to believe I'm a mom. Words can't express how incredible it is. It's amazing how quickly nothing else in the world matters. My little lady was born on November 20th we named her Aspen. She was 6 pounds 10.5 ounces and 19 inches long. Her arrival was only 1 day after reaching full term, she was a big surprise in many ways. We chose not to find out the gender so it was exciting when we finally found out the baby was a girl.
The experience of carrying and delivering her was wonderful. We chose to have her at a birthing center where they also provided all the prenatal care and education. The midwives there are so passionate about what they do and they prepared us really well. I can't imagine having a baby any other way. It was a positive, empowering and memorable experience. I would encourage anyone to really look into all the options available when delivering a baby and not just settle for the traditional hospital route.

My days since having this little lady have been very full. It's astounding how fast she's already changing and growing. I'm trying my best to enjoy every moment because I know she won't be this tiny and needy for long.

When my little lady was just two weeks old we took her to cut down her first Christmas tree. Some people were surprised that we would take our new baby on such an adventure so early, others wondered how we were even up to it. Cutting down our own Christmas tree is a tradition we've had while living in Colorado. It involves driving about an hour and a half through the beautiful Rockies to a National Forest station to get a $10 permit. Then we drive at least 45 more minutes to the National Forest and we hike through the woods to find the perfect tree. The distance we hike depends on the weather and snow. This year there wasn't nearly as much snow and the weather was perfect. We probably hiked in about a mile.

This was the best experience we've ever had, it was so much fun to have my daughter with us. I bundled her up tight and carried her in a wrap. She even decided she was hungry in the middle of the hike. It felt so good to be able to feed her right then and there and take care of her in that way. Being able to feed and nourish your child anywhere is one of the greatest feelings. I should have assumed I would breastfeed in the middle of the woods at some point but it still surprised me.
I know one of the reasons we were able to get out and about so early was because of the entire birthing experience. We went home only 4 hours after delivery which I know to some sounds insane. It allows you and your family to rest that much sooner and in the comfort of your own home. No one is constantly interrupting your rest by checking vitals. You get to immediately bond with your baby with no interference.

Since you go home so early the center requires a 2 day check up for the baby to make sure everything is going well, this is something they would typically do in the hospital. So we were forced to get ourselves put together only 2 days after having our baby and go to an appointment. I think that helped give us a boost of confidence. I'm a new parent so I'm constantly learning new things and trying to figure things out. Things as simple as dressing a newborn and knowing that her high pitched scream doesn't mean that she's in pain but just a little cold and uncomfortable. Everyday I learn something new and getting out the door with a new baby takes a lot more time.

I'm so happy you keep stopping by this space and care to read what I share. Just know that if there are times where I'm not around for a while I'm enjoying my little lady.

November 18, 2014

Linen & Medicine Closet Makeover

They say that nesting can be a pregnancy symptom. I would say that I've definitely got it big time. I've had it since the beginning. I feel like nothing is clean enough or organized enough. I've really had to try to let go of a lot of my expectations, like putting a fresh coat of paint on the entire upstairs. I'm thankful we got most of the downstairs painted and the nursery is just about how I hoped it would be. I honestly feel insane most of the time because I know it doesn't really matter. It's impossible to keep all the dog hair up and I'm sure a newborn really doesn't mind if everything is organized perfectly.

One of the projects I was determined to figure out was our linen closet. It has always had a weird smell to me and it's been a mess since we moved in a year ago. Ideally I would like to replace the shelves and line the walls with cedar but I don't have the time or energy for that kind of project right now. The biggest issue was the fact that the shelves were painted poorly to where the paint dried all drippy and then the previous owners tried to cover it up with rubber liners. They are the kind of shelf liners that feel sticky to the touch because they are made to keep things from sliding around and they stink something terrible. Although my husband says he's never noticed the smell.
This linen closet is where we keep our towels, extra toiletries and medicine. Our medicine has been kept in a variety of places over the years as we've lived in different kinds of houses. We've always kept it in one basket though. My closet project started with me organizing all the medicine so I forgot to take a picture of the disastrous before basket. I figured with a new baby on the way I wanted children's medicine to be separate and easy to find. It's amazing how much I found that was expired. I hadn't gone through that basket in a long time and it was all just thrown in there so we were never really sure what we had.

After I separated out all the medication and figured out how much room it would take up I got some materials to recover the shelves.
I found this particular material on a really good sale, I'm actually not sure what it is exactly, it's almost like a canvas. I think canvas or oil cloth would work wonderfully. I decided to recover the shelves in fabric using a staple gun and then apply trim to the front edge. It was pretty simple and fast.
The shelves feel and look much cleaner covered in fabric.
Once all the shelves were recovered I finished organizing the medicine and labeling all the containers. Then I put everything back in neatly.  
The closet functions so much better and it doesn't smell like rubber. I organized the medication into the following categories:

  • First Aid 
  • Pain & Stomach 
  • Allergy, Mouth & Cold
  • Supplements & Skin 
  • Ears, Nose, Throat & Mouth
  • Pain & Fever 
  • Tummy & Vitamins

There is also a container labeled Travel that has all the small travel size bottles and toiletries in it.
It was hard to decide how to categorize everything. You could certainly do this on a smaller scale and use less categories. The 3 drawers with bike tape are for children's medicine only. So far this system works really well.
When is the last time you went through your family's medication? I HIGHLY recommend it there's no telling what you'll find.

November 14, 2014

When Fall Meets Winter

When the seasons collide spectacular things happen. This year it seemed to happen a little early and a little extreme. Today made up for the last few days of arctic weather. It finally got above freezing and we were able to get out and get some fresh air.
I love the Colorado sun and blue skies. It always amazes me how quickly things can turn around and start to melt.
Although I think this may be happening just in time for another storm to blow in this weekend.
It was so good for us to get outside today and I wanted to test out my new camera lens. Everything always seems to happen at once. My main camera lens recently broke. It was very upsetting considering we have a new baby coming soon and I can't wait to take a million pictures of this sweet little one. Of course it broke right after we learned that we have a 3rd major car repair to take care of. Thankfully I found an awesome local camera shop that has used equipment and I got a new lens for a low price that wasn't actually even used it just came out of a kit. So far I think this lens will work just fine. 
I know most of the country has or is experiencing some unseasonably cold weather. 
I hope all of you are staying warm and take time to enjoy the collision of seasons. 

October 20, 2014

Dogs & a New Baby

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and honestly feel like this baby could come any day. Is that normal? Of course I want it to stay in and continue developing as long as possible but I can't stop thinking that it might come early. So I'm slowing down and trying to rest more. Over the weekend I asked if my husband would get some maternity photos with me and my first babies. I often wonder how this is all going to work. Two active dogs with lots of personality and a new baby. Do you have any advice regarding dogs and a new baby?

My husband may have captured just perfectly what will happen with the baby comes. 
Just like they fight for their momma's attention I have a feeling they will fight over the baby. They will think the baby belongs to them and them only. This could be very interesting.

As the pregnancy gets further along the dogs seem to be more and more attentive. I am checked on regularly through the night with a wet snout which never happened before. When I wake up to go to the bathroom multiple times in the middle of the night I hear a click clack on the hardwood behind me and find a dog right at my feet. When I leave them outside they cry at the door because they want to come in and make sure I'm okay which never used to happen, they would live outside if they could. I can only imagine what kind of zoo our home will be once the baby arrives. I can only hope it calms down after a while. 

October 16, 2014

Book Review Giveaway

In the last post I shared my review of Expectant Parents. The company that gave me the book is now promoting a giveaway. You have a chance to win an iPad Mini or your own copy of the book. Click below for more details on how to enter the giveaway. Good Luck! 

Expectant Parents Focus on the Family Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

October 13, 2014

Expectant Parents book review

Since I've been pregnant with my first baby I've read and soaked up all the information I can get. There are so many different methods and options of doing things it can be overwhelming. Some people even say why bother reading anything at all you'll never be prepared. I read because I do find it fascinating and I suppose it's like a security blanket. When I was given the opportunity by litfuse to review a book called Expectant Parents by: Suzanne Hadley Gosselin I jumped at the opportunity. I was fresh out of reading material, I think I've read or at least skimmed everything on being a new parent from my local library.

The book Expectant Parents is a fast read. It has a lot of similarities to many other parenting books I've already read. Although it does have a few of it's own unique features. One thing that sets this book apart is that it is a Christian book. There is a common theme of being Christ centered and the importance of praying for your new baby and family. One unique feature I enjoyed about this book was the variety of personal stories that were intersperesed throughout. These were stories that the author compiled from different people with their own unique set of circumstnaces.

I could see this book being a great jumping off point for conversation between couples. Each chapter has a section of questions titled "time to talk." Some of these questions really got me thinking and were sometimes things I'd never thought of before. This book offers lots of helpful tips for new parents such as how to use scripture to specifically pray for your baby, what are the important items that you need for your baby and what is essential to pack in your hospital bag.

Expectant Parents is definitely geared toward new parents and would make a great first book to read. The author's positive and encouraging tone is uplifting. I'm sure it's true that nothing can really prepare you for being a parent. Although it doesn't hurt you to educate yourself as much as possible while you have some time.

I received a copy of this book from litfuse to review. If you are interested in getting your own copy click the link below.


October 9, 2014

Birch Bark Wall Art

When we were in the Boundary Waters (check out the last post) we noticed many beautiful Birch trees that had either fallen down or had peeling bark. I never knew how amazing this bark was. We have Aspen trees in Colorado but I'm not sure the Aspen's bark is as versatile as the Birch's. Birch tree bark can be used for all sorts of things and can be harvested without permanently damaging the trees. We found some bark to take with us and I knew that I wanted to incorporate it into our nursery somehow. We have a nature/woodland theme going on and I thought the bark would be perfect.

I decided to cut the bark into strips and weave them to make a piece of wall art. Then I remembered that I had the perfect frame. It actually came from our 1st house and was part of a light fixture. It's a rustic metal piece that I couldn't part with and knew that I would find the right use for it someday.

I love the way this piece of art turned out! If you want to do something similar you just need a few things:
You could use any type and shape of frame for your weaving. It's always fun to hunt for those at the thrift store.

Here's what the back looks like. I basically just put a big blob of hot glue down then attached the bark in a pattern.
It fits in perfectly with the collage of critter pictures we hung above the changing dresser.
Birch tree bark is so much fun to have on hand. Do you have any Birch trees near you? Next time you have the opportunity make sure you collect some of the bark for creative projects.

October 6, 2014

I survived the BWCA 24 Weeks Pregnant

BWCA commonly referred to as the Boundary Waters is a wilderness area between the Canada and United States boarder. We didn't get into Canada on our trip. Instead we drove from the Denver, Colorado area to Wisconsin, to pick up our friends, then through my favorite parts of Minnesota which included Duluth then ended up at Sawbill Outfitters where we began our Boundry Waters Adventure. You might be able to imagine that the over 16 hour car ride alone was a challenge for this pregnant lady.
What's unique about this place is the vast network of waterways, bogs and islands. Which is very different from our experiences camping and backpacking in the mountains of Colorado. We've taken many trips with the same core group of friends. One of the couples from this group is originally from Wisconsin and moved back a few years ago. They grew up going to the Boundary Waters area and we all thought it might be something fun and different to experience together.  There are many challenges that come with a trip like this especially when it's a new experience to you.
For example instead of hiking everywhere you paddle everywhere. Getting started at an Outfitter is the perfect way to go when don't have your own gear for this type of trip. It sounded so luxurious to think of not having to carry weight on my back and to just sit there and paddle. It ended up being a lot of paddling and it definitely gets challenging when your muscles aren't used to working that way. It doesn't help when your husband takes frequent breaks.
Another obvious challenge is that there is Water Water Everywhere. This should be obvious right? You really can't get away from it. This is actually a shock to the system when you're not used to be surrounded by water at all times. It's a very wet area that can get rain for days. When you finally reach a portage, this is where you've got to cross over an island with all your belongings to get to water again, you may experience copious amounts of mud. I can remember one portage in particular where I sunk down in mud up to the top of my thighs. Yes I screamed and no I couldn't get myself out. I needed help big time.
As a result of the very wet environment this area is a heaven for bugs. When I say bugs I mean the biting kind. There are tons of mosquitoes! Which apparently weren't as bad as usual when we were there but I'm super sensitive to their bites. If it's possible to imagine anything worse then tons of mosquitoes think of biting flies. Those flies were really bad at times. They tended to bite our ankles and feet with relentless gusto.
One of the main challenges to being around water at all times and using it as your mode of transportation is keeping what's important dry. We all had dry bags that sealed our packs off from possible rain or capsizing. Using my camera was challenging since I had to keep pulling it out of it's protective dry bag usually while balancing in the canoe and hoping with everything inside me that I didn't drop it in the water.

Food was another challenge of this trip. People make it sound like you can take anything because you just put all the weight in your canoe, it's not like you have to carry it on your back. It was different for my husband and I because we knew that whatever we brought would have to be carried when we got to portages and me being pregnant meant I couldn't carry as much weight. Not to mention I've had absolutely no food aversions and have LOVED to eat during this pregnancy. Especially during this time in pregnancy I was always hungry and I did need a few more calories with the extra activity I was doing. We decided that freeze dried meals for dinners was the way to go since they are so light weight. I briefly read the nutritional ingredients but mainly focused on the protein and was happy to see that it had plenty. For breakfast we ate oatmeal, dried fruit and Bay Bread. For lunch we had peanut butter or tuna wraps. Snacks consisted of cuties, dried fruit and trail mix. I think we had cheese on the first day or so too.

Here's a little warning to pregnant chicks planning to do outdoor activities for days at a time. DON'T eat freeze dried meals for days in a row! When we got home from the trip I started experiencing very severe pain in my foot in particular the big toe. I thought it was the strangest thing. I would just be laying in bed and the pain was unbearable. I went to the doctor, they took blood work and nothing came back. So then I went to a foot specialist where they said I had Gout. They took an x-ray to rule anything else out.  The foot specialist said that because I'm pregnant I process foods at a slower rate and I went from a very healthy balanced diet to suddenly eating high sodium rich foods for 5 days in a row. This caused a rare Gout attack. It was the craziest thing! Do you know those freeze dried meals average around 800 grams of sodium? I wish I had thought about this before the trip.

Even though this trip had it's challenges which I could probably keep going on an on about. It was a great experience! I'm sure many of the challenges were magnified because of lack of experience with canoe camping and the fact that I was 24 weeks pregnant. I will say that if you are in your 2nd trimester that's the best time to do activities like this and I know in my case it makes my body and soul feel so good to be active and outdoors.
Some of the best parts of the trip were the breathtaking sunsets,
the foggy mornings,
enjoying the unique plant life,
hearing the sounds of wolves in the night and the frequent eerie call of the loons,
swimming, relaxing and basking in the sun,
seeing bald eagles so close
and of course spending time with friends.
If you haven't been to the Boundary Waters before you should go. It's such a unique experience!

September 2, 2014


I hope you had a great Labor Day! It's hard to believe Summer is coming to an end and Fall is fast approaching. This year the Unpaper Swap wasn't very popular. Maybe it was that people are so busy this time of year. It's still discouraging though not to have as many participants. Especially when you head over to other blogs and they have hundreds of comments on the silliest little thing like a post where they share an insane picture of their living room and write a few sentences about how messy it is. Maybe when people complain and share their problems it makes them more relateable and therefore they receive more interaction.  I'm not sure if I'll do the swap again next year since it doesn't seem to be taking off. How long are you supposed to give these things anyway?

I would like to say a BIG thank you to our giveaway sponsor this year Fresh Regard. Now what you've been waiting for, the winner of the set of towels is Laura Mueller. Please e-mail me with your information this week or I will have to choose another winner.

Happy September Everyone!

August 21, 2014

Unpaper Swap Inspiration

Time is running out to join the Unpaper Swap. It ends next Friday! If you don't know all the details yet click the tab at the top of the page that says Unpaper Swap. I try to provide plenty of time for people to join in the fun, so far this year there hasn't been as much interest. I'm hoping people will join in this last week. Not to mention everyone who joins is entered in the GIVEAWAY which you can read about HERE.

This week I wanted to share with you an awesome unpaper option made by a company called Skoy.

Have you see these before? One of these cloths saves you 15 rolls of paper towels on average!!!! They are washer/dryer safe and absorb 15 times their own weight. One of the best parts is that they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. It doesn't hurt that they take up very little space and come in cute designs. The ones below are my favorite.
I don't own these yet but I plan to soon. I love the idea of having a very clear way of telling which cloth is for which cleaning task. We've tried the different color sponges before and a variety of other things but it never fails that things get confused and mixed up.

They also make a scrubber which I've actually never seen before but am looking forward to trying.
The idea is that these scrubbers replace traditional scouring pads. I'm curious to see if they work just as well. I'm always looking for new ways to waste less and I'm really digging all the different designs for these scrubbers. 
I hope you'll join in the swap so that you can be gifted with some new cloth to use and resuse. I'm waiting for your e-mail :)

August 12, 2014

Tea Towels with Recipes

In case you haven't heard there's a swap going on around this place. Click HERE for more info and to find out about the giveaway.

I love the idea of having recipes on my kitchen towels so that's the theme for this week. Here are some fun ideas for your swapmate: 
#1 Retro recipes desserts organic tea towel by Art Goodies found at Etsy 
#2 Retro recipes entree organic tea towel by Art Goodies found at Etsy 
#3 Sangria kitchen towel found at World Market 
#4 Watermelon mojito kitchen towel found at World Market
#5 Birthday cake dishtowel found at Anthropologie 
#6 Margarita kitchen towel found at World Market 
#7 Jamjam cookie recipe tea towel by Amanda Bergen Studio found at Etsy 

Check out the Unpaper Swap Pinterest board for the links to all these ideas and more!

August 1, 2014

2nd Annual Unpaper Swap & Giveaway

August is here, which means it's my blogiversary!  So it's time for celebrating this space with a giveaway and a swap. Some of you might not have been around last year and are unclear of what an Unpaper Swap is. Well first of all it's SUPER fun and EVERYONE is invited! 

The idea is that you sign up by sending over your contact information to me ( then I will send you back another person's contact info. You get to know them via their blog, their favorite blog or e-mail and pick out an unpaper product you think they would like and ship it off to them. In return you get gifted with a surprise something too. It's pure awesomeness. People really went above and beyond last year; I heard there were jams and recipes sent out with kitchen towels and someone got some super adorable cloth dish covers.

Still wondering what an unpaper product is?

It's not really that complicated. An unpaper product is something you would use in place of a paper napkin or towel. Some families use both or some just use paper towels for everything. The point is to get a new set of cloth to enjoy. How often do we buy these things for ourselves? Especially with back to school madness happening. By having a little more cloth available hopefully you will reach for it instead of paper.  If you still have questions check out the "Unpaper Swap" tab at the top. Feel free to share this event with your friends, the more the merrier. Starting today each week during the month of August I will be sharing different ideas that you could get for your swap-mate.

Read all about the first idea below and a chance to enter a giveaway.

These towels are brought to you by Kristen at Fresh Regard. I love how colorful they are! Each towel is made of 100% cotton and is machine washable/dryer friendly. They come in a variety of patterns so you're sure to find a combo that your swapmate would like or even find a color combo that you really like. She's even willing to do custom orders.

Head on over to Etsy and check out the Fresh Regard shop and let me know which set is your favorite because Kristen is kindly giving a set away to one of you lucky readers! She's even leaving the choice of pattern up to you!!!!

There are multiple ways that you can enter the giveaway:

#1 Check out the Fresh Regard shop & comment below sharing which design is your favorite
#2 Everyone who joins the Unpaper Swap will be entered
#3 Share the Unpaper Swap on your blog, facebook, instagram... & comment below letting me know how 
#4 If you're a follower you get another chance 

******************************GIVEAWAY CLOSES AUGUST 31St*****************************

I hope you'll join in on the swapping fun. Stay tuned for more ideas to send to your swapmate!

July 31, 2014

You're Invited!


July 28, 2014

Save the Date

August will be here in a few short days so that means there will be a celebration happening around here. My blog will be 4 this year! I will be hosting an Unpaper Swap again, so stay tuned for updates and a SUPER AWESOME giveaway starting on August 1st. 

July 24, 2014

Before & After Furniture Projects

I really enjoy seeing before and after pictures of other's furniture projects. It always amazing to me how a piece can be transformed. I've been working on a couple pieces over the last few weeks. One is a dresser that was sitting out for trash in someones driveway. Can you believe it? It's a solid piece of furniture with cedar lined drawers. Since we have a baby on the way I scooped this up fast. Once I put a changing pad on top it will make the perfect changing table. 
This piece was the very first time I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I can hear the gasps, since most creative types discovered this paint a long time ago. I added a little water to the paint since I wanted to do just a light wash. The color I used is Old White. I have to say this paint really is impressive and I'll admit worth the high price. Since I did a wash I hardly used any paint at all. 
Finding the perfect knobs or redoing the old ones is one of my favorite parts of the transformation. The impact is always huge. I went to Anthropologie first because they had knobs on sale, that's where I found the adorable fox. The yellow knobs I originally got did not work though so I went to the next best place to get hardware, Hobby Lobby. I love that these glass knobs look old. 
I suppose I might be becoming slightly obsessed with collecting furniture at the lowest price or preferably free and fixing it up. I frequently find things on the side of the road. It does my heart good to rescue these pieces.
I got the set above off Craigslist from a sweet older couple. My husband didn't understand why I would get such a thing. But I had a vision like usual and told him to trust me. We just painted our guest room orange. Our inspiration was the rock in Utah which is one of our favorite places. I didn't have a headboard for the guest bed or a side table because I moved it somewhere else in the house. I also wanted something I could use for books and that would break up the orange walls. 

This was my second time using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and this time I didn't want it too look quite as rustic. Although one reason I love this paint is because it's so easy to make it look naturally worn with it's matte finish. The process of painting with this stuff is so fun but doing one dark and light color had it's challenges. 
I chose whimsical fish knobs for the headboard since the guest room is also our gear/travel room where we keep our fishing, hiking and other adventuring things. I decided since the handle on the end table was metal I would keep it. The chalk paint easily adhered to the metal and made an awesome finish with just one coat. 

I used Old White and Aubusson Blue for these pieces. I still have over 1/2 a can of the white left and I used a small tester pot for the blue. This paint goes a long way. I can't wait to get these pieces in the house and see how they look. It will be a while though since we've got everything prepped to get carpet installed. Oh and my next quick project will be to paint those wood chairs you can see a little of in the picture above. They were another side of the road find. 
Have you used this kind of paint before? If you have any good advice I'd love to hear it since I'm still a chalk paint beginner.