Home Decor Update

I’ve been DIYing, and digging through antique stores for more items for the house. We’ve officially been here over a year, and may of the walls are still bare. This is a significantly bigger place than our last house, so what we had previously owned wasn’t enough to full furnish and decorate this house. Little by little we’ve been adding pieces.

Gallery walls are my go-to right now, as the lend themselves to being rearranged and added to. I hope the never go our of style, because I have more than 1 wall with a cluster of different items and images.

We also replaced an old florescent light that used to hum in the kitchen with these gorgeous pendants. Overall I am happy with the look of our home, and I feel like it blends a lot of different styles. We have rustic pieces, industrial, and even modern touches that reflect our interests.


Recovering From California


For those who don’t know, we had an unfortunate repeat of our trip from last year, in that we all contracted the stomach flu while visiting family in CA. Yup, we all had it last year[me, when I was 7 months pregnant with Cora,] and so I thought, Surely we won’t get it 2 years in a row…. The Lord is kind and merciful…. I won’t pack medicine because what are the odds? The odds are pretty high, apparently.


The Lord is still kind and merciful though, as no one ended us seriously suffering [the Christmas we found out my youngest brother had Type 1 Diabetes comes to mind…] and we made it home safe. The past few days have been spent in recovery: catching up on laundry, finishing Christmas shopping, adjusting back to the Eastern Time Zone, etc. In an attempt not to have this Christmas “ruined” by a series of unfortunate events, I am trying to really jumpstart our Christmas spirit with lights, cookie decorating, and religious traditions [like our advent wreath]


We have plans to do more cookie decorating with friends later in the week, and I am looking forward to doing a little more shopping and seeing The Nutcracker Ballet with Sophie for the first time. Funny enough, it will be my mother-in-law’s first time seeing it, too!


Poor Cora was hit the hardest with the illness while we were traveling, but it has been a consolation to all of us to see her slowly returning to her smiley self. The hardest part about being sick on vacation, was all the hype I prepared Sophie for. She kept asking when we were going to see Mickey Mouse and the princesses. Because every one was so sick, we never made it to Disneyland. I felt like I let her down. I know she will eventually forget, but nothing breaks a parent’s heart like letting down their kid .


We’ve also had our first real snow, so it has been wonderful to cuddle up next to the fire as we spend our first winter in this new house! I just think there is some thing so festive about a fireplace!

I hope you all can find time this week to do one of your favorite Christmas activities! And I hope you all avoid the terrible flu we got.

Mommy Make Up


I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted this to be a series up on the blog, but I keep finding new products I like and little time-saving hacks that I think other moms will appreciate. So, without further ado, here is the third installation of Mommy Make Up!


Lazy Mama Contour – This is by far my favorite new hack. I love the idea of contouring…. but what mama has the time to watch YouTube tutorials on how to do it?! And the cost of some of those contour kits? No thanks! So I found a cheat to make it look like you’ve attempted a contour, without actually doing it. BRONZER is your friend! Yes, take a make up brush and smear some bronzer from your ear onto your cheek, stopping the brush stroke at your eye. You don’t want dark bronzer all over your cheek, so try to brush it on a controlled line from you ear to the halfway point on your cheek (for me, it’s my eye)


Lipstick is your friend! So, I was sticking pretty much to lip balm and tinted chapstick, but I have found that I really do like lipstick! If you choose a nude color, it doesn’t look extreme, too formal, or like you’re trying too hard. It gives you just enough color to look “put together.” I didn’t buy anything special, just your typical drug store variety. Since this is the cheaper variety, you can buy a couple neutral shades and keep one in the diaper bag!

Those are the new hacks and cheats I have for you beautiful mamas!


Blessing Bag Update


Some of you may remember me posting this awesome DIY several months ago. Since then, I have made quite a few friends in Pittsburgh, and once a week we all get together downtown to chat. Well, whenever I head home I inevitably have to sit in horrible traffic in order to get in to the Fort Pitt Tunnel. At the merge point, just before the tunnel, there is ALWAYS a needy person begging on top of the center divide.


These Blessing Bags have helped so many of those people! I simply roll down my window and hand the bags off to whoever is sitting there that day. I have gone through 5 blessing bags since I started my weekly hang outs in Pittsburgh! The people are always excited to receive an entire bag. I even ran into the same man 2 weeks in a row and he told me how much his bag had helped him out throughout previous week. It is such an easy way to pay-it-forward. If you don’t want to make bags, just keep some water bottles and trail mix in your car. That way you have a guilt-free blessing to give a person in need.

So that is my update on the blessing bag project, and I’d highly recommend it!

DIY Cold Brew Coffee


I won’t lie, I love Starbucks… and I was watching a new commercial for their cold brew coffee, where they boasted that they steep their coffee in cold water for 20 hours. Then it dawned on me: cold brew coffee only involves steeping the beans in cold water for 20 hours.

In fact, it doesn’t even have to be 20 hours. Most recipes say 11. So, to beat the heat I decided to try making my own cold brew coffee. The only thing I needed was the correct coffee-to-water ratio which I got courtesy of Martha Stewart. Add some almond milk and viola! Cold brew coffee, without the price of a coffee shop.


What you need:
-1/2 pound of ground coffee
-6 cups of cold water
-a strainer
-paper towels or coffee filters
-2 Tupperware containers
-a container to put your delicious coffee into


Fill 1 of the Tupperware containers with 6 cups of cold water. Dump in your coffee grounds and gently stir, so that all the grounds become submerged and steeped into the water. Put it in the fridge for 11+ hours. After time has passed, grab your second Tupperware container and place [or stack] your strainer on top of it. Line the strainer with your paper towels or a coffee strainer, and then slowly pour the other container, containing the coffee, through the strainer. You may not be able to dump the entire contents of your steeped coffee into the strainer all at once, depending on the size of your container and how quickly the coffee drains from the grounds. I started with half, then threw out the grounds and started with a new paper towel [or filter] in the strainer for the second half. After straining, funnel your coffee into an airtight container and store in the fridge! Serve over ice with vanilla almond milk for a tasty summer drink!


Why I Wear My Babies


As I was walking around the craft store the other day, a worker stopped to ask me what the benefit or wearing my baby was. I simply replied by saying, “She likes it!” We continued to chat about how beautiful my wrap was, then went our separate ways. When I got back to the car, I felt bad that I didn’t really communicate the art of baby wearing very well. After all, there is a whole culture that is associated with baby wearing, as the tradition has many tribal roots.


Convenience was the main reason I began wearing. Did you know that when you go through TSA security at the airport, they let you keep your baby in the wrap and just give you a pat down? If you’ve ever traveled with young kids [and all the gear that goes with them,] then you can appreciate how much of a help this is. I think that is actually what compelled me to buy my first wrap. Since then, I used them for easy up’s all the time. Cora was a particularly fussy baby. Instead of killing my arms and shoulders by trying to rock, carry, and console her all day, I simply wrapped her around my body and let my natural movements calm her. This allowed me to help Sophie with whatever she needed throughout the day. Also, this negates the need for a stroller, which in certain circumstances, can be a life saver.


Bonding is another great benefit of wearing a baby. Sophie hated being worn, and bonded better if I was snuggling with her, but still allowing her the option not to be snuggled. Cora enjoys the security of knowing she isn’t going to be away from mama for awhile if I have taken the time to put her in the wrap. If you remember from me previous posts, I had a hard time bonding with Cora at first. The constant closeness of baby wearing has helped strengthen our bond and has also instilled confidence in me that I have a definite way of soothing my baby.


Comfort is another great reason to invest in a wrap. Because the fabric is so wide, the weight of your baby can be evenly distributed across your shoulders, chest, or against your back. You have a lot of freedom when it comes to comfort. I didn’t find the buckles of a traditional carrier to be comfortable and I had a lot of pain in my shoulder and lower back based on the way the weight was being distributed. Ergonomic carriers have resolved a lot of those problems but I usually grab a wrap instead because of….

STYLE… There are simply no other baby carriers as beautiful as these woven wraps!

Those are my reasons for wearing a baby. I don’t think it spoils them, nor do I think it is extra work. It helps to calm my babies while giving me the freedom to do what I need to do!


House Updates

I can’t believe how far we’ve come with this house! Many updates are still underway, but I am in love with every thing we have done thus far, and I just had to give you guys an update on the progress.



The kitchen is pretty much done, with the exception of adding some shelving above my coffee station. We painted the cabinets, removed wallpaper, and painted the walls. That is what I call an easy update! [Well, removing wallpaper isn’t easy, but I mean, we didn’t have to knock down any walls.] The previous owners really took care of what they had, plus they installed some top of the line appliances to begin with, so we had a lot to work with. The cabinets were beautiful, solid wood, but I just HAD to paint them white. They were too rustic for me in their raw form. Plus, the white paint really off-set the dark granite and opened up the space. We still have to paint the island, but it also needs new wheels, so we are trying to figure out the best way to go about replacing them.



Living Room



This is another room that is 90% finished. All that is left to be done is mount the TV over the fireplace [ don’t try to talk me out of it], and add a mantle. I wouldn’t mind a new coffee table, but let’s not get too greedy… We painted the space, had the carpets cleaned, and sort of sectioned off the room into 3 separate spaces: reading nook, entertainment area, and kids’ area. Last weekend I had a fun time whitewashing our fireplace, and while I wasn’t sure I liked it upon completion, it has since grown on me.


Dining Room


The first thing that had to go was that enormous chandelier. It is beautiful, probably antique, and expensive, which are 3 reasons for a mom of toddlers not to have it in her house. Also, it’s just not really my taste. The dining area is complete, all but the dining table. We are having a table custom built for us, but in the mean time we have this old set with some mismatched chairs. I absolutely love the decor in this room. The cross wall was inspired by my mother, who designed one for her house, and the photography is actually my father’s. When I was 10, he and I took a photography excursion to Northern California. We both fell in love with Yosemite, and took lots of snowy pictures of the scenic winter landscapes. The waterfall picture is from that trip, and I have another that he took on his own. I believe my mother had them custom framed at some point, so it was such a treasure to receive them for my new home.


Powder Room

Keeping true to the “buckeye” theme, every house in the Ohio Valley has to have at least one room that is a deliberate nod to OSU. Many people pick the bathroom since scarlet and grey aren’t really the trending colors in interior design right now. Apparently they weren’t in 1954 when this house was built either, because no other room dons the iconic scarlet and grey except this bathroom. I actually like it, as its predominantly grey. I’m also a big fan of the sink mounted on a vintage sewing machine. Justin hates every thing about it s we’ll see what ends up happening, but for now it is in good shape and a fun conversation piece.



That’s it for now, as far as updates go. I’m hoping to update the guest bathroom next, as well as paint the girls’ room. Of course, everything downstairs should be finished before I even touch anything upstairs. I’m committed to finishing the downstairs first because it is the part of the house people see first and where we spend the most amount of our time in.

So far, I love every thing and Sophie has been great about not touching any tools that were forgotten to be put away, or anything else that gets left out after a project. We are so blessed, and thankful to be in this new house every day, and I look forward to sharing more updates with you!

PS Sorry some of these pictures were so dark. Full disclosure: I took them at 5 am, when Cora was having a sleeping strike and the sun hadn’t come up yet.




Honey Garlic Chicken



This is the easiest dinner ever, yintz! I put all the ingredients in a bag ahead of time, before Cora was born, so that I had it on hand for a night when I didn’t know what to cook. The best part of this recipe, is that it actually doesn’t require you to do any cooking. You dump these chicken thighs into a crock pot for 6 hours, and you’re ready to go!


It has been tough trying to narrow down Cora’s allergy, and while I think it’s mostly a sensitivity to dairy that upsets her tummy, I have been eating meals free of: wheat, dairy, eggs, fish, soy , and peanuts. It has really limited my options of meal helpers and other processed foods that I used to be able to quickly throw in the microwave as a side to a meal. Luckily, this meal met all my requirements and was also delicious! I paired it with “fried rice” only I substituted the actual rice with quinoa I had leftover from another meal that was in danger of expiring. This chicken is also fantastic with green beans, and while it can be made in the crock pot, it’s also a fantastic stove top recipe.


So, here’s what you need:

Spray your crock pot with non-stick spray (I used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray) and lay the chicken thighs on the bottom. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the chicken. Put the crock pot on high and cook for 6 hours. SO EASY. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can cook the chicken in a skillet on the stove, and pour the sauce over it once the chicken has cooked thoroughly. This is also a tasty variation!

So tender… ENJOY!


Easter Treats


Some of you, still in the deep throws of Lenten penance, are cursing me for posting a tasty treat recipe ahead of Easter. I’m sorry! But as I said Monday, some preparations need to be done ahead of time, and I plan on bringing these truffles to Easter dinner. If you want to also, they are super easy to make.

I have prepared 2 versions for you lovely readers. Oreo truffles, and cake truffles.


Oreo Truffles:
1 package of oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 package of almond bark [I picked the white chocolate]

Place all the oreo cookies in a large ziplock bag and crush (or if you’re fancy, blend in a food processor). Blend crushed oreos with cream cheese in a medium sized bowl. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll the oreo-cream cheese mixture into walnut sized balls, and set on a baking sheet lined with silicone or parchment paper. If the mixture has softened at all during the rolling process, stick the baking sheet back into the fridge for an additional 20 minutes. Next, melt your almond bark according to the instructions on the package. Roll each truffle around in the chocolate mixture, and transfer back to baking sheet. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, be sure to use them before your chocolate hardens!

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Cake Truffles:
1 prepared cake unfrosted (or 1 dozen cupcakes or muffins)
1 container of chocolate frosting, divided
1 package of almond bark (white or dark chocolate)

Smash the cake in a medium bowl, then add frosting (starting by only adding half of the container). Mix together, occasionally adding frosting, until you have a dough-like consistency. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and roll into walnut sized balls, placing them onto a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or silicone. If the mixture has softened at all during the rolling process, stick the baking sheet back into the fridge for 20 minutes. Next, melt your almond bark according to the instructions on the package. Roll each truffle around in the chocolate mixture, and transfer back to baking sheet. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, be sure to use them before your chocolate hardens!

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The truth is, I had a dozen or so gluten free muffins that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat by myself. Sophie didn’t take a liking to them, and J isn’t crazy about the texture of gfree goods. Mashed together with frosting and dipped in chocolate, no one would know that my cake truffles were actually made with chocolate chip muffins! Always try to use ingredients that you have on hand. This habit has helped me to become less wasteful as well as helping me to learn more about substitutions in my cooking. Get creative! You can even mix it up by doing half a batch in white chocolate and half a batch in milk chocolate. Both are equally delicious! Enjoy!


Egg Muffins

Most mornings, I can hardly roll out of bed. Sophie ends up stealing a few bites of her Dad’s cereal before he leaves for work, and then I come downstairs and hand her whatever is most easily accessible to me. Maybe a nutrigrain bar, maybe more cereal, some times an apple… either way, I’m all about a minimal amount of effort when it comes to my kids’ breakfast in the morning.


A little lightbulb went off in my head a few mornings ago, and I’m so happy it did because I actually have some thing to hand Sophie in the morning that is healthy and quick.

Now I have 2 ways to make these little egg muffins. One is easy and a recipe you [the parent] can eat as well. The other one is geared more specifically toward toddlers as it requires either whole milk or breast milk [need that calcium!].


Version 1:
-6 eggs
-1/2 cup of spinach chopped
-1/4 shredded cheese [I used pepper jack]

Version 2:
-6 eggs
-1/2 cup of spinach chopped
-1/4 shredded cheese
-3 oz. milk [whole or breast]
-1 Tbs. of ground flax or flour

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, and pour into a muffin tin. Bake for 10-14 minutes.


See? SO easy! I made 8, which obviously gives us breakfast for at least a week. I store these in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds in the morning before I give one to Sophie. Easy, healthy, and delicious. You’re welcome.