Sneak Peek: Modern Southwest Nursery

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I've come to terms with the fact that 99% of my life is keeping a chubby 8 month-old from eating floor debris.
I had some kind of magical thinking that parenting would get easier as he got older.
and it did.
but it didn't.
also, i procrastinate.
he was crawling the day i finally bought outlet covers.

i'm so on my game.

awesome new moms get nurseries ready before the baby is born.
me? I wait till my baby is almost a year old.
i want to be awesome too
new baby + new house + family that lives far away + life = things take a long time here.
and that's okay.
you know what's also okay? not capitalizing or using punctuation.
makes me poetic. like ee cummings.

this post could also be titled: lies we tell ourselves.

what was i saying?
oh right, the nursery.
i had this awesome plan to finish it a long time ago.
but kids ruin plans. in the best way.
also i get worn out.
in my limited down-time i want to watch project runway or bear grylls.
or sleep.
so yea, progress is slow and i'm learning to let go.

good news though:
we aren't that far from completion.
david has a shelf to finish.
there are some other finishing touches but we're really close, guys.
and that's pretty awesome.

this printed crib sheet started it all.
i normally don't do prints. they scare me.
so much commitment. 
but i couldn't get this one out of my mind.

side note: i should iron. 
truth: i won't iron. 

David took this picture during a trip to Ireland a few years back. I edited and had it printed. 
love. even with the terrible glare.

a dear friend made this beautiful cross-stitch for us. 
i still get a little teary thinking about my tiny baby and his tiny feet.

this is another photo we took in Greece.
i edited and added a favorite verse.
bad news is that the baby knocked it off the wall.
the frame broke so now it sits waiting for a new home. see what i mean about things taking longer?

that farm-style lamp with orange accent = swoon.
and the cacti changing pad cover? get out of town. so awesome.
so not me. at least the old me.
but this room is about fun and whimsy and playfulness.
i can do that, right?
i AM doing this.

and okay, can we talk about this pillow just a minute?
um, it's electric yellow.
with my child's name emblazoned upon it's bright, bold chest.
i'm getting so dramatic.
another risk that totally paid off.
(thank you tiny prints)

it comes in multiple colors but i decided to step outside my comfort zone and go with the bright yellow.
i wanted to have fun in my boy's room and that yellow was my first instinct.
okay, actually my first instinct was to pick black or anything "safe" but the yellow needed me.
or i needed it.
either way, i was scared to death until it arrived.
and then i could feel myself slowly letting the winds of change take me wherever they wanted.
this time it was to fun-town.

now if i can only harness such courage when planning our next project - the master bedroom. (hint: a whole room in dark i dare??)

aside from a few other tweaks and some fun accessorizing, we're almost finished with this project.
yes. glory!
i am ready to move on to our bedroom. that poor thing is in need of serious help.
a metaphor could be drawn here between the room and it's owners, but i won't.

anyone else make design decisions they were afraid of recently? how'd they turn out?

biscuit secrets and how to make a perfect strawberry shortcake

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

this post is what happens when you need to write about things that require real photos from a real camera but you don't have time for all that.

so you write about what you ate last night.

with phone pictures.

get excited, y'all.

i used to think dessert wasn't dessert unless it had chocolate in it.
but things change when you turn 30. 
suddenly you can appreciate lemon. or fancy things like flan. or coffee-flavored ice cream. 

classy stuff.

this recipe started because i made biscuits Sunday.
perfect biscuits.
ok, not perfect, but they were close.
so close i had to make them again.
somewhere along the way, these near-perfect biscuits became the base of a strawberry shortcake madness.

but first things first.
buttermilk biscuits to be exact.
glory be.

biscuits scare people. 
they're kinda like little dogs that think they're big. 
the ones who bark and growl a lot so you're scared. but once you pet them, the little mutts turn out to be cuddly pushovers.
all bark, no bite biscuits. that's what we're making here.

i'm about to reveal some biscuit-makin' secrets.
secrets y'all
it's gettin' real. 
and easy. yep. 
believe it.  because you're smart. 
and you trust a non-credentialed internet stranger. 

secret 1: buy the best ingredients
when a recipe only has 3 ingredients it's trying to tell you something. 
"hey girl, i need quality ingredients so i can really shine."
don't buy the cheap stuff. 
don't do it. 
buy the best quality ingredients you can find. three items won't break the bank. 
{In this case i went all-in with Kerrygold Irish butter (salted), quality buttermilk and White Lily self-rising flour. (not a paid ad - just the best stuff I could find).}

secret 2: freeze your butter
biscuit-makin' is delicate business. the ingredients need to be cold. so do anything you can to help it stay that way. put that butter in the freezer for at least an hour before using. i tend to keep my butter in the freezer anyway to help prevent it from spoiling.

secret 3: use a grater to cut your fat
use your cheese grater to grate the frozen butter (use the biggest holes) so you aren't trying to cut up frozen butter with a knife. your fingers will thank you. also, it's the most efficient way of getting that frozen butter quickly and evenly distributed into the flour. tip: be careful not to let the heat from your hands melt the butter. i try to use the paper around the butter to hold it while i grate. and work fast (but carefully)

secret 4: chill your mixing bowl
things need to stay cold. did i mention that was important?
i like to chill mine a few minutes (5-10ish) while i'm getting things ready (setting out my measuring cups, getting the oven pre-heated, lining my jelly roll pan, etc). then i chill it again (see recipe) after i've grated the butter and tossed in the flour. 

secret 5: parchment paper or silpat baking mat
cardinal rule of baking. if you're not doing this already please start now. it helps keep things from sticking (read: no need for cooking sprays or hours of scrubbing cookie bits from your favorite pans.) also, cleanup is a breeze. 'nuff said. 
side note: parchment paper is NOT wax paper. they cannot be used interchangeably. tried that. bad idea. 

secret 6: use sharp round cookie/biscuit cutters. (and do not twist)
i mean it. press that cutter down and back up. NO TWISTING. hear me?

secret 7: follow directions precisely
some recipes are pretty forgiving. you can tweak this or that. improvise. jimmy-rig it. 
NOT biscuits. read the directions through twice before starting. and follow them exactly. 

this strawberry shortcake recipe is about as close to perfect as a recipe can be.

fluffy, flakey, buttery, lightly salty biscuits
sweet, intensely strawberry sauce
delicate, pure, slightly sweet heavenly whipped cream.
all homemade.

so good in fact, david said it was his new favorite dessert. 

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Recipe for: Biscuits from Southern Living Magazine. 
                  Strawberry Sauce and Vanilla Whipped Cream Faith at The Stirring Place

Biscuits - click HERE for their video tutorial. it's awesome. the written recipe can be found HERE
                 it is perfection.
                 PS - use salted butter. it makes a huge difference in flavor. 

Strawberry Sauce 
1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced (divided)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

in a medium saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 of the strawberries. leave for about 5-10 minutes to let the sugar and berries get all juicy. then add 1 cup water and turn heat on to medium-high. bring mixture to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. once at desired temperature (warm but cool enough to handle), use an emersion blender to puree the mixture. add the remaining 1/4 sliced strawberries and serve warm for best flavor. 

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl and using a handheld mixer (stand works fine too just be careful it doesn't curdle) mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. 

to serve: take warm biscuit and top with strawberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. add more strawberry sauce over top of cream, if desired. 

y'all i'm about to go have some of this right now.
it's so stinking good.
the whipped cream won't last long but it's so easy to make more of don't stress about that.
if you have any leftovers that is.

make it and be sure to tell me what you think.
you could fancy it up with some mint leaves or adding in other fruit with the berries (peaches would be good)
make it your own.
but whatever you do, make it.

Simple Blueberry Lemonade

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

i think we can all agree that lemonade is a summer beverage. 
there's just something about the sizzle of hot days that call for it.
Joy the Baker posted THIS recipe last week and i was intrigued. 
problem was, i didn't have beets. i'm also pretty sure i don't like them. 
plus, i didn't want to grate anything. 
but i had blueberries.
problem solved.
sort of. 

see, i'd never made lemonade before. i kinda winged it.
but it turned out good, y'all. so refreshing and perfectly tart/sweet. 
i was totally shocked. my experiments don't usually have such positive results.

the best part?
it's easy to customize to your exact tastes.
don't like blueberries? use strawberries, peaches, pineapple; whatever you have on hand. 
want it tart? use less sugar. 
want it sweeter? use more sugar. 
see. easy.
plus it comes together quickly and couldn't be more simple.
i literally made this while i was unloading the dishwasher which we can all agree is about as mind-numbing a task as things get. 

1. i hand-squeezed the lemons over a mesh sieve to help keep seeds and pulp out of the lemon juice.
2. i added more sugar after it was all combined to suit our tastes. probably about 1/3 - 1/2 cup more (david likes things sweet). 
3. don't add ice to the pitcher. it will water down the lemonade. add ice to the glasses and then pour the lemonade over it. 

 this would make a great recipe for the 4th of July. 
Not only is is simple, but it's gorgeous. 
Seriously the color is stunning (and patriotic) so you'll totally look like a rockstar. 
now you can offer to bring something to that family bbq.
if you want to jazz it up add some frozen blueberries and lemon slices for a little extra pizzazz.

it's so good i'm having my 3rd glass.
seriously, make this.

Happy early 4th of July, friends! 
Hope you all have a safe and fun holiday.

nursery update 2

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

people who don't have kids can sometimes get annoyed by people who do.
i know because i used to be one of them..
i could be kind of judgey. 
not in a mean/i'll-talk-about-you kinda way.
more like, i'll just sit here and think about how you blame your kids for things 
and it's kinda annoying.
and how i'm awesome 
and would never do that.

I was a professional nanny turned children's therapist.
i knew it all.
i'd done it all.
so baby schedules/potty training/homework. whatevs. 
i was ready for parenthood. 
bring it, child.

what i didn't consider, however, was that i'd never interacted with children under extreme circumstances like starvation, sleep deprivation; bodily torture (aka birth/and after - either version. mine was c-section one-point-oh).
yea, there's a bit of a learning curve there.
in my infinite wisdom, you'd think i'd have considered that.

having a kid will do something to a person's sanity.
all babies are different. all new moms are different so there's really no way to plan.
and that's how they get ya.
it's like being in the slowest moving tornado.
all frenzy and action 
days that drag oooooon 
you have to concentrate really hard to remember, well, everything. 
at least at first.

i mean, you think certain things won't happen to you. but then there you are at the pediatricians office with peanut butter crackers and NO diapers.
kids are ruthless that way.
they like to find you in your moment of weakness and take a giant poo right there.

one of my child's super powers is his resiliency 
and much like the energizer bunny he really CAN keep going.
he doesn't fuss much. 
he's not a screamer.
but he is definitely, definitely NOT a sleeper.
i am.

at almost 7 months old and has only slept through the night a handful of times. 
he barely naps. 20-30 minutes a few times a day.
i hear rumors of other children sleeping 10-12 hours at night 
PLUS 2-3 daytime naps of more than an hour.
be gone you  well-rested parents of these fairy children. you spirit crushers.
away with you and your pillow-imprinted foreheads.

life with my happy, mini-napper/night-owl baby is happy but sleep-starved.
every day
every night
for over 6 months.
no sleep.

i don't cook much anymore.
laundry gets done but rarely folded (ok, that's not new.)
i am nowhere near getting back into a workout groove. 
btw - curses on all you mothers who jump right back into your skinny jeans.
i don't mean that. i love all mothers. 
but just can you still wear moo-moos so the rest of us don't feel so bad?

one day i'll sleep more than a few hours at a time and feel like a normal human being again.
or maybe i won't because motherhood is unpredictable.
i like to hold out hope though.
in the meantime, everything takes longer here at casa de bebe. 

i've made progress on the nursery. 
not much. 
it's the only room i've touched thus far.
you'll see more of what i haven't touched this week.
but for now, here's what we have left:

1. david is building me a shelf. it's gonna be awesome. and triangular. and awesome. if he will ever get to finishing it.
2. new changing pad cover. etsy for the win. i went big (for me) on prints
3. i can't decide if that pouf is staying or not. i vetoed those pillows already. they're gone.
accessories are hard.
4. not sure about the baskets either. they're super functional but i'm iffy about the tones/colors. 

5. something over the crib. 
right now i have THIS there. but i think we can all agree it needs some work. 
6. new crib sheets. i gave you a sneak peak at one of the new ones a few pictures up (just got it today). but i'm waiting on the other one. i went more bold on the prints than i'm used to. 
still nervous about it but think it's gonna work.

there are a few more tweaks and things i have in mind. but progress is still progress.

if you have finished reading this you. are. awesome.
i will give you a virtual high-five and then recommend that we all go to bed now, because my kid is gonna wake up soon. 
so...night friends. 

ps - any ideas on what to put above the crib? or any other issue from above?
i'm still taking suggestions.

6 months of awesome

Friday, May 30, 2014

well guys.
it's official.
my baby is 6 months old.

this chunky boy is so much fun.
being a mom is exhausting but totally rad.
does anyone say 'rad' anymore?
whatevs, i do.

david and i are eating up every minute.
and lucas is eating practically every minute.
i mean, look at those cheeks!

david's parents were in town last weekend and we had a blast.
lucas put up with our antics. 
he's cool like that.

here are some fun (for me) facts about our little tank:

weight/height - 19 lbs and 28 inches (hence the 'tank' nickname). he's one healthy boy. 

sleeping - he's still waking up about once at night. usually somewhere between 2:30 and 4:30am. 
he'll eat and then go right back to sleep till around 6am. it's not ideal. i mean, i'd love to have a full night sleep again. but hey, it's better than getting up every 2-3 hours so we'll take it.

our little nugget isn't much of a napper either. 
he has about 4 naps each day averaging at about 30-40 minutes a piece.
just long enough for me to run downstairs, grab a snack and head back up again.
i've given up wishing he'd nap for hours like other babes. 
this is his normal and we're happy he's happy.

eating - pediatrician just cleared us to start trying more solids but he is having none of it. 
no cereal. no bananas. no carrots. sweet potatoes. zucchini. etc.
he just spits them out and/or clenches his jaw shut so you can't get anything in.
whatever's in front of him will be squished to smithereens but he has no interest in putting it in his mouth.

new things - he sprouted his first two teeth (bottom) about 2 weeks ago and we were floored. other than being a bit more clingy and not napping at all he was totally fine. 
he also rolled over from back to front for the first time. he hasn't been interested in rolling over so this was a big deal. 
he is sitting up by himself all the time now and still LOVES his extrasaucer.

likes - being outside
being held
his rattle and teether (we have favs/substitutes will not do)
his bumblebee
being swaddled...still

dislikes - being wet/hungry/tired
being in one spot too long
'normal food'
being hot

nicknames - chubba, chunga munga, honey bunny, chungie; suga' (we need help, haha)

the best 6 months of my life. 
as exhausted and weary as i have felt, being his mom is one of the best things that's ever happened to me.
he's awesome. 


we have major plans to tackle flower beds and stinky dogs this weekend.
follow my ig feed if you're into seeing those happenings up close and personal.

ooh, and next week i hope to share some new furniture purchases 
{and declare my undying love for Joss & Main }

have a great weekend, y'all

nursery update: we have paint

Monday, May 19, 2014

so here's what happens when you live with a boy.
you move into a house and have grand ideas for how things are gonna go.
mostly decorating.
you're not that into yard maintenance and plumbing stuff.

you dream big. all those pins you've stashed away are waiting for just this moment.
inspiration hits and you're totally pumped.
vinyl decals on the ceiling of the nursery.
removable wallpaper.
the cool kind.
white walls everywhere.
popcorn ceiling removal.
pendant fixture in nursery.

and then you run these grand ideas by your man
 and he squishes them all.
no popcorn ceiling removal (at least for now, he says)
no cool triangle decal ceiling treatment.
no more painting (for now).
no wallpaper.
absolutely no pendant in nursery (followed by "are you crazy, we live in texas").
okay, okay. fine.

you feel totally deflated and lost. because your ideas were the JAM. and he is like that mean kid in the lunch room who comes and licks the jam off your sandwich so now you don't have jam... or lunch.
jam ruiner.

you sulk a little and try to think of new inspiration. your man offers ideas but you aren't in the idea-hearing mood yet. but then he's sweet and eventually you forget he ruined your jam.

almost. ;)

with lucas turning six months old tomorrow (gasp) i figured it was time to put my big girl pants on and let it go (cue Frozen joke). it's about time we get him into his own room again.
compromise must be had.
so i got to paint the room white.
david got to keep the popcorn ceiling.

in all fairness, it's not like he thinks popcorn is awesome. he just thinks NOT taking popcorn down is awesome. so there's that. hard to argue really.

here's the nursery before:

it's sat pretty bare for almost 2 months now.
a decent sized window is about it's only feature. otherwise it's pretty bland. 
and oh that beige.
beige begets beige.
actually our entire house is painted in shades of beige. it's so weird how different lighting (and furniture) can make the same color look different in different rooms or at different times of the day. 
wow, that sentence needs some cpr.

i should mention that painting with an infant is impossible.
we bought low fume/no voc paint but i still wasn't chancing it with him around so we painted on weekends and naptimes. for like 2 weeks.
 took forever.

this was how things looked for a while.
i almost gave up hope of ever finishing these walls.

you wouldn't think covering beige would take so long or so many coats.
i think we ended at like 3 or 4. ridiculous.

but in the end we won and beige-land is no more.
at least in this room. 
we still have some work to do but i feel like the hardest part is over.
here's what it looks like today. 
like literally just a few minutes ago.

Sampson photo-bomb.
please excuse the lifted leg.
i didn't realize he was being so indiscreet. 

here's a list of the upcoming projects:
1. make no-sew curtains with this fabric (it's should be here this week).
2. create art - multiple ideas for this. stay tuned.
3. get crib skirt? i'm still debating this
4. make mobile? i've been to hobby lobby like 4 times trying to figure out what i want and how to do it. plus by the time i get around to it he'll probably be starting high school so it might not be needed.
5. find sheets - i'm super picky. i don't want cartoony/pastel stuff. i also don't want to pay $60/sheet...soooo

the only two items we've purchased so far are the rug (thank you Joss and Main) and pouf (ty Target).
otherwise the rocker, changing table and crib were all gifted. which is awesome but also hard because sometimes it's not exactly what you'd pick. but it's still so awesome you figure out how to make it work. 
and that's where we are now. 

much love and happy Monday from sir drools and his minions.

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