Monday, October 31, 2016

Little Red and Granny Wolf

I was pretty excited when I realized I would have a baby bump during Halloween! I really wanted to utilize the bump in this year's costume, and I think this idea worked pretty well...? Can you tell why? The bump is supposed to be my "belly full of grandma." Not sure if anyone made that correlation at our church party on Saturday, but whatever! My costume was a little hard to place if Gwen wasn't right next to me. A friend thought I was an old cat lady, which would've been pretty clever!  

My husband didn't make it into these photos, because we do things last minute over here. The sun was quickly setting, and he didn't have his (very easy) costume put together. Plus, he's the one who took all these photos! He dressed as the Woodsman who saves Little Red- he was basically dressed as a lumberjack. I'll include an Instagram photo at the end of the post :) 

I was stressing a little over Gwen's costume because I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a red cape (I haven't sewn anything in years, so the thought made me a little nervous), or order one online (I was afraid it wouldn't arrive in time). I tried looking in a couple of thrift stores and Halloween stores for a toddler sized cape but had no such luck. I had given up on this costume and had decided to just dress Gwen in her skeleton PJs for Halloween. Then I went shopping at Target and was surprised to find this red hoodie thing in clearance!! It was a Target miracle. I bought the basket for $1 at Savers. The rest of Gwen's costume are items already from her closet. 

The only thing I had to buy for my costume was the black face paint. Luckily, my sister was a wolf last year for Halloween, so I just asked her to send me her ears! I made the granny glasses from an old pair of sunglasses, gold paint (that I already had), a necklace, and a couple of Gwen's elastic hair ties. 

I'm so excited to see what we'll come up with next year once we're a family of four! I already have a couple of ideas in the works....

Happy Halloween! Have fun trick-or-treating!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Learning the Art of the Sugar Cookie

I remember the first time I saw the steps to decorating sugar cookies with royal icing on Pinterest and I thought, "How time consuming!!" And was immediately turned off. Then last year a friend on Instagram started posting perfect sugar cookies that she decorated and I was pulled into the world of beautiful cookies. And then I heard about Alison's Cookie Party . I wanted to buy the course, but I wasn't sure if it would be worth it. A year later, and I finally justified buying this course! I just want to talk about what to prepare yourself for if you're thinking about making some delicious, pretty cookies, too. 

1. There is a pretty long list of supplies that you will need to buy. Be prepared to spend some moola. 

2. If you're a mom (especially if you have small children that want to touch or eat your cookies) or have a full-time job, prepare 2-3 days to make these! There are a lot of steps for baking them and they need to be completely cool before your start decorating them. And decorating them is, like I've mentioned before, very time consuming! I only worked on these cookies while Gwen was asleep, and she doesn't really nap anymore, so I stayed up pretty late. 

3. Be patient. 

4. The royal icing tastes gross before it dries! I was really worried that the weird taste would overpower the delicious cookies, but it doesn't! It tastes a lot better once it's dried, and the cookie taste shines through. 

 5. Watch all the videos completely through before you start! I watched all the videos soon after I bought it, then read through the recipes and instructions, and then watched the videos again while I was making the cookies. So helpful.

These cookies are fun to make! I'm glad that I made this purchase and I'm excited to get better at decorating with royal icing.

All photos in this post are by the lovely Lydia of Photography Hill. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mommy Style Monday: Bedtime Routine

Alright so writing about this kind of makes me nervous. Let's keep in mind that there are so many right ways to put a baby/toddler/kid to sleep. The way we have chosen to put Gwen to sleep will probably make us sound like "pushovers" or "weak" to some parents (and non-parents). We were never successful at the whole sleep training/"cry it out" method. I just could not stand to hear my baby cry, alone, in a dark room. I think maybe if we didn't live in a townhouse with wall-to-wall neighbors, and maybe if Gwen ever had her own crib (instead of the twin mattress we used to share on her bedroom floor), then maybe I'd feel a little differently about it? But I co-slept with Gwen until she was a little over a year old, or whenever we decided to wean her at night. There were definitely some hurdles to get over that brought her to where she is today, but, from listening to fellow moms' stories about sleep struggles, I've concluded that there are always difficult things us parents must encounter when trying to figure out the best ways to put our kids to bed. 

Here are the things I am so glad that Gwen is not dependent upon anymore when going to sleep:

-My breast milk: Thankfully this was the first crutch to go! Our breastfeeding relationship gradually ended after 19 months, and it's something that I'm rather proud of. 

-Co-sleeping: I think my husband secretly misses co-sleeping because some nights he jokes that he's going to sleep in Gwen's room. It's adorable. Sometimes he does sleep in there.... 

-Milk/a bottle: I feel terrible about this one because we gave Gwen cow's milk before bed for soooo long before we realized it's what caused her eczema to flare up! She loved her bottles and didn't want to sleep without one. 

-A sound machine: Ok, I don't know if she was necessarily dependent on this, but sometimes  it did make putting her to sleep go a little smoother... even if it was only in my head. But we've stopped using it recently and she still sleeps all night, so win! 

Up until a month or so ago Gwen would sneak into our bed in the middle of the night. It was kind of cute, but she hogged the bed! I thought that once the new baby was born we'd buckle down and have to send Gwen back to her room, since I intend to co-sleep with the newborn. After we came home from a couple of summer vacations, she just stopped on her own! And now we sleep all night without interruptions. It's a nice little break before baby boy arrives- then let the sleepless nights commence. 

Alright, let's finally get on with our bedtime routine! Pictured above is Gwen in the bath. In reality, Gwen only gets like 2 baths a week. #conservewater 
We started giving her fewer baths after the doctor suggested that it might help clear up her eczema, and now I buy all natural, expensive baby wash to avoid any flare-ups as well. *eye-roll emoji* 
Does anyone feel like baths only make your kid hyper?? All the internet sleep tips tell you to give your baby a bath at night to help make them become sleepy, but Gwen just gets excited. That's another reason we do fewer baths. Sometimes she'll just have her bath in the middle of the day- because we get bored, so why not? 

After a bath it's time for pajamas and a fresh diaper. This is usually the first step on nights that she doesn't bathe. Then she'll "read" book after book on her own, and nowadays we need to persuade her to let us read to her. She really likes looking at books on her own, lately. We each read her a few books before brushing her teeth. 

To Gwen, brushing your teeth means playing with water.
Then we go back to her room and have a family prayer. She is finally starting to be obedient and reverent when we say prayers! I thought it would take another year before she understood.
My husband and I take turns putting Gwen to sleep- every other night. One of us will sit in our big rocking chair with her as she hugs a stuffed animal, we sing songs, and then rock until she knocks out (it usually takes maybe 10-15 minutes, sometimes less) and then place her in her toddler bed. I try to give her a different stuffed animal each night so she won't become too attached to just one. I'm happy that she relies on us rather than a lovey (lovie?) to fall asleep. And I know there will come a day when she won't need us at all to fall asleep each night.

Some nights are annoying, but I've talked with mom friends about their kids' different sleep habits, and I realized that it's completely normal to have that bad night once in a while. I'm sure I won't sleep properly again until all my future kids are school age... or teenagers? Or out of the house completely? I've only been doing this mom thing for 2 years, so what do I know.

I'm very curious to read these moms' different sleep tactics:

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand

Sue at Sue's News
Juli at Journey of J^3
Erica at Good Job Momma
Monica at It's All About

If you're a blogger and would like to join us for the next Mommy Style Monday, click here or here to sign up. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Favorite Halloween Movies

A lot of people love to watch horror films during the Halloween season. NOT ME. I am a wuss. I hate being scared! I watched The Ring as a preteen and that was enough horror for a lifetime, thanks. If you're like me, then please enjoy this list of not so scary movies to get into the Halloween spirit.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
DUH. If you know me, this movie has been pretty high on my list since I was like, 7. I literally can't shut up when it's on because I sing every word. This is a good one for Halloween or Christmas, two of the best holidays! One of my goals in life is to visit Disneyland in October to finally see the Haunted Mansion converted to all things Halloweentown/Christmas Land.

2. Hocus Pocus
Another given. What is it that we love about this movie? The musical number at the "grown-ups'" dance party? The beautiful location of the film? The hilarity of the sisters? A cute cat that talks? Those two stupid bully kids? The tear jerking ending? 

3. Casper
The 90s really outdid themselves with all these awesome Halloween films. 

4. Harry Potter 
Any of the Harry Potter films are acceptable to watch in October, but the first one may be the only one with the actual holiday portrayed, I think? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

5. Practical Magic
Oh look, another great movie from the 90s. It's got young and gorgeous Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. It's got tragedy and romance and humor. Most importantly, it's got magic and witches! My favorite scene is when they make midnight margaritas. My second favorite scene is the the PTA meeting. This one's on Netflix! Get at it!

6. Coraline
Stop motion animation is so magical! This movie has some spooky and eerie elements, perfect for Halloween. The gloomy weather surrounding the film also helps. 

7. The Addams Family
This movie is just hilarious! So is the second one. We can all learn a thing or two about passion from Gomez and Morticia. This one's also on Netflix! 

8. Edward Scissorhands 
You can argue that this might be more of a Christmas movie- the beginning and end scenes of the movie happen on Christmas/Christmas Eve. But you just can't deny the creepiness. It is a Tim Burton film, after all. 

9. Corpse Bride 
While this movie is no where near as good as The Nightmare Before Christmas, it's still enjoyable to watch. Emily (the corpse bride) is a good mix of cute and creepy. Also on Netflix. 

10. Sweeney Todd 
Okay Okay, I said this list wouldn't contain any scary movies. Sorry! I don't know how scary this is, but it's pretty gory. I don't ever watch movies like this, but years ago when I was on a high school trip to New York, one of my classmates was a huge Johnny Depp fan. This was around the time the DVD came out so we all watched it on her laptop in the hotel room. Another classmate helped to make the movie less scary by making a huge fart noise whenever Sweeney Todd slit someone's throat. It really helped! Haha. Ever since, this movie hasn't been that scary for me. It's on my Netflix list right now and I plan to just fast forward through all the bloody scenes and replay the songs- the music is great! 

So there's my list of Halloweeny movies. Please tell me your faves! Are there any I'm missing out on? 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happies -17-

- Smelling all the scented candles in Hobby Lobby with Gwen. I'd tell her the name of the candle and she'd repeat it before giving a big sniff.

- When Gwen met my friend's newborn and she was being so sweet! I hope she's that nice to her baby brother.

- Both of my sisters are flying in for my baby shower in November! I can't remember the last time we were all together.

- Pumpkin spiced candles. I've already bought two....

- Reading Big Magic. I feel very warm a inspired while reading it. It's kind of a spiritual experience for me, as weird as that sounds.

- All the rain we've had this Sunday. It makes it feel like proper fall around here.

- Finally deciding to buy Alison's Cookie Party when it went on sale last week. I just really want to make awesome Halloween and Christmas cookies that are so beautiful, people are too afraid to eat them. (lol but I'm serious.)

- Thinking of the fun plans this month including brunch with blogger babes, a visit to the pumpkin patch, and a Harry Potter themed party for this month's book club!