Friday Finds, Favorites and Fotos!!

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you had a great week!  We finished up swimming lessons this week, M went strawberry picking for the very first time and we took a little family field trip to the Science Center!  I’m looking forward to this coming week as we gear up for the 4th of July – one of my FAVORITE holidays!!!

Finds

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Seriously, how cute is this!?  I’ve seen kid’s kitchen centers made from entertainment centers floating around on the internet, but this is the first time I’ve seen this idea.  The grill is made from a side table purchased at a thrift store!  What a great idea!

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M is at that age where she wants to do everything “self!!!” aka by herself!  In sticking with her independent self, she more and more wants to make her own choices about things, including what she eats.  I love this idea of making a little “go to” box of snack items in the fridge!  That way I can fill it with semi-healthy things and yet she is still able to make the decision as to what she wants to eat for her snack.

Favorites

M’s quotes/actions from the week:

-When driving the cars in front of us were coming to a stop so she starting yelling “watch out, watch out!” while pointing!  Later while at a stop light the car in front of us wasn’t going so she started saying “beep, beep”… I fear that we have a little backseat driver on our hands! 🙂

-After having been woken up from her nap she proceeded to lay back down and say “M tired”, refusing to get out of bed… and it starts…

-For a little while now she will randomly say “love you” while giving hugs/kisses, but lately when she gives a hug she rubs/pats our backs.  So cute!

-She is newly in love with airplanes and motorcycles (insert proud Papa) and is the first to announce/point out “aplane” and “cycle” as soon as she sees or hears one!

Fotos

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Swimming at Gamma & Papa’s house!       Her very first bike!! Aka “cycle” as she calls it 🙂

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Cherry picking!  She had so much fun!         A little ice cream cone, anyone?!

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  We’re looking forward to some family time, a grill-out/game night with our neighbors and going to the art festival.  Enjoy whatever it is that YOU have planned! 🙂

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Berry/Cherry Picking & Strawberry Jam

So last Monday M and I went to the strawberry patch to pick strawberries with our neighbors!  I haven’t been strawberry picking since I was a little girl and it was M’s first time so it was a lot of fun!  Because of the weather here this year the strawberries were a little smaller than normal and kinda hit or miss on super yummy flavor, but let me tell you, fresh picked strawberries are SO MUCH BETTER than store bought!!!!  It was a little difficult for M to find them hidden under the leaves and weeds, but after a little while she got the hang of it and contributed her very own harvest to our basket (I should mention that several weren’t quite ripe or were too small to have picked… oh well, she tried, right?!)

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After we picked our fair share of strawberries, we discovered that the cherry trees were at the perfect time for picking as well… When in Rome…

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These particular cherries were really tart and perfect for baking with.  Now I’m not a huge fan of cherry pie, well actually any pie for that matter, but I do like cobblers and crisps.  My neighbor used the cherries that she picked in an awesome fresh cherry cobbler recipe so my plan is to do the same!  I’m going to make it for our 4th of July BBQ next week so I decided to freeze my cherries so they wouldn’t go bad.  (Are you wondering how to freeze fresh cherries???  It’s super duper easy!  All you do is pit them and then put them in a freezer bag and pop ’em in the freezer!  Now you can have fresh cherries all year round!)  Stay tuned for my cherry cobbler recipe next week!!

So, back to the strawberries… here’s what we ended up with:

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What does one do with all those strawberries???  Why you make homemade strawberry jam of course!  Are you ready for the recipe?

What you’ll need:

  • Twice as much strawberries as sugar (I used 2 cups of mashed strawberries)
  • Half as much sugar as strawberries (Therefore I used 1 cup of sugar)
  • The juice from 1 lemon

What to do:

  • Cut the stems/leaves off the berries and heat them in a large saucepan over medium high heat
  • When the start to get mushy, smash them with a fork to break them down/mash them

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  • Do this with as many strawberries as it takes to get 2 cups of mashed berries
  • Add juice lemon juice and bring to a boil

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  • After strawberries come to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in 1 cup of sugar

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  • Simmer for at least 45 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.  You can test the consistency by putting a little bit on a cold plate (right out of the freezer) and checking to see if it sets up like jam.
  • Allow to cool before pouring into a jar.  Store in the refrigerator or process in a water bath to store in the pantry.  Enjoy!

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It’s Been Awhile…Here’s What We’ve Been Up To!

Hi friends!!  So, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here!  We’ve been BUSY!!  Here’s a little update on what we’ve been up to!

Baby Shower – my sister is having a baby!  She’s due next month so a couple weekends ago my mom, cousin and I threw a baby shower for her.  The theme was pink and gray chevron, a little shabby chic girly.  It turned out super duper cute!!  We had a great time with all the girls: family and friends, and my sister got tons of awesome gear!

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VBS – last week at church we had VBS, or Vacation Bible School.  I volunteered in the nursery because M won’t go in there during church and I thought it might help her to get familiar with the room and kids her age.  Most nights we had around 7 or 8 little toddlers in there.  M had a blast!  She was so comfortable to run around and play the whole time (as long as I stayed in the room of course!).  It was great!

Swimming Lessons – So this week M started swimming lessons.  This technically isn’t her first experience with them.  Last spring, we enrolled her in a baby swim class through the local YMCA but she was pretty little and more or less we just held her while she splashed around.  This time is different.  The lessons are through the city swimming pool and she is actually able to attempt some of the tasks (ie. blow bubbles, use arms to make swimming motion, throw and retrieve diving sticks, etc.).  However, so far she hasn’t been a big fan.  😦  She loves to go swimming normally so I’m not really sure why she isn’t impressed with her swimming lessons.. maybe because they’re in the morning before it warms up and the water is freezing or maybe it’s because there are all kinds of kids all crowded around in the same area.  Whatever the reason, I’m hoping that over the next 2 weeks she warms up to the idea of them.  In the mean time, here are a couple of pictures that perfectly capture her feelings towards her swimming lessons!

 

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Parade – Last Saturday we went to a local town’s summer festival.  M attended a couple parades last year, but this year she understood what was going on a little more (aka the whole candy thing…).  Although it took her a little bit to come out of her shell, by the end she was having a great time waving to the parade participants and retrieving her candy!  Afterwards we went to the carnival where she played a couple games and won herself a beach ball!

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Father’s Day – Lastly, this past Sunday we had a great day honoring the special dads in our lives!!  We started the day going out for Brunch just the three of us to celebrate my hubby.  Now there’s a dad who’s so in love with his little girl and is literally wrapped around her teeny tiny pinky.  What a lucky little girl!  After stopping by to visit my husband’s dad, we spent the rest of the day with my family, enjoying the weather, playing games and having a barbecue.  The boys even did a little off roading on the mini bike and my husband rode one for the very first time!!  I know that everyone thinks this, but I really do have the best dad ever.  Okay so he’s at least the best dad ever for me! 🙂  We are so blessed to have him in our lives and I thank God every day that I get to be he and my mom’s daughter.  And side note… he really is the BEST papa ever!

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Well, there you have it!  My little update on our lives and what we’ve been up to!  In between getting ready for the shower, a killer ear infection that I had last week and VBS/swim lessons, I haven’t been able to make the time to write on here!  Hopefully I’ll be able to do better going forward…we’ve got some pregnancy related issues to discuss! 😉

Have a great rest of your week!

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Wait… You Mean My Due Date is Just an Estimate?!

Everywhere you look in our society, whether it be on social media sites among our circles of friends or celebrities in the tabloids, women (and men for that matter) appear to be under some sort of screwed up notion that your due date is this magical day on the calendar when poof! your baby is ready to be born.  What they apparently fail to realize is that in fact this isn’t the case at all!

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M was born a week late.  I was teaching at the time and therefore only had 12 weeks of maternity leave to be at home with her.  Consequently I worked up until the day that she was born.  This meant 2 weeks (because people started asking/commenting a week BEFORE my due date..SERIOUSLY!?) of getting comments like: “What? Here again?” “No baby yet?” “How are you feeling, any signs yet?” “When are you going to get induced/how far past your due date will they let you go?” or my favorite, “You’re still here/still no baby?!”… YES I’M HERE, IF I WASN’T YOU WOULDN’T BE TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW AND DO I STILL LOOK PREGNANT TO YOU, THAT MEANS NO, NO BABY!!  I hated it!  I mean I know that all of my coworkers at the time meant well, but it was seriously so annoying.  Just because I was nearing my “due date” didn’t mean that the baby would be born by that day!

So let’s set the story straight, due dates are simply an estimate.  In fact, most research states that a due date is typically within a 2-4 week window of when the baby will actually be ready to be born. According to the American Pregnancy Association, only 5% of babies are born on their actual due dates.  However, 80% of babies are born between weeks 37-42.  Due dates are typically determined based on the 1st day of the mama’s last menstrual cycle.  Providers assume that she has a typical 28 day cycle and ovulates half-way through on approximately day 14.  The problem with this method of determining one’s due date is that not all women are the same.  For me, for example, my due date with M was August 31st.  However, I got pregnant using an ovulation kit and therefore knew the exact date of conception (which was on day 21 by the way…).  When I calculated my due date on my own using the date of conception, I came up with September 4th… not so far off from her September 6th birthday.  Given this and the fact that she was born supposedly a week late weighing just a little over 7 lbs, I’m incline to believe the estimate of my due date was just a little off.

My mom has a similar story with me.  I was due August 1st and was born August 17th (over 2 weeks late supposedly) and yet I only weighed slightly over 7 lbs as well.  Kinda small for a baby 2 weeks late, huh?!  Then again since due dates are only an estimate made based on a generic formula that’s supposed to fit all women, maybe I wasn’t actually late after all!

Some people think that their ultrasounds have all the answers and can give them a more accurate due date.  Well I’m sorry to break it to you, but that thinking is wrong as well!  Prior to 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasounds have a margin of error of roughly a week and a half of predicting accurate due dates.  Between 18-28 weeks, this margin of error jumps to slightly over 2 weeks and by 28 weeks of pregnancy, ultrasound due dates can be off by over 3 weeks!!!  Apparently ultrasounds only give you an estimate as well!  Are you noticing a trend here… let me spell it out for you, your due date is a ESTIMATE!  (Let’s face it, there’s only 1 person who really knows when your baby is going to be born and it would do you good to remember it should be all on His time!)

So, why do I get so fired up about people’s over-reaction to their impending and heaven forbid passing of their due dates?!  First off because I was one of those women.  The one who had her baby past her due date and therefore had to be subject to all the annoying, unending questions.  And second (and more importantly) because of the number of women having elective inductions based on an “overdue” baby.  What happens when that 40+ week baby is actually only 38 or even 37 weeks along and isn’t ready to be born yet….. ahhh… now we’re getting somewhere.  But, that’s a post for another day… stay tuned! 😉

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