Saturday, September 29, 2012

DIY: Fall/Thanksgiving decor for $1 or less

I hate to say this, but Fall is here. Husband just left this morning for 4 days of shananigans up North for opening day. Once the camo comes out, summer's over and cooler weather is just around the corner. So since it's just pup and I for the weekend, we spent today running errands and breaking out the fall decor. I'm here to share with you a few DIY and CHEAP decor solutions!

1. Ornamental Grasses + Vases (large)
(Grass - free; vases - $1)

This is the one DIY project that you have to jump on early enough before people start cutting their grasses down for the year. Depending on where you live, ou may be surprised on the variety of ornamental grasses that may exist even in your own neighborhood! Collect a lot... like way more than you think you'll need. Put your arrangement skills to the test and make a mess! 

When you go to pack up your Fall decor, simple bind your arrangement together with a rubberband and find a storage room or somewhere to hand these upside down where they'll dry. My collection of grasses is on it's 3rd season... drying them gives them longevity and that "dead plant" Autumn vibe. 

2. Dollar Store Knicknacks
($.50 - $1)

Don't underestimate your local Dollar Store or the dollar bins at Target, Walmart, etc.! Try to look past the cheap looking embellishments on some of the items... those can be removed, painted over, hidden, etc. This wicker pumpkin had really corny glittery apples stuck on it... so I snipped those off. Voila! Menards also has a pretty decent collection of holiday items... not a dollar, but not unreasonably priced either.

3. Stones + Wicker Basket
(Baskets - $1; stones - free or $1)

Nothing about stones are particularly Fall-ish, but the colors can accent the rest of the decor. My in-laws bought us this arrangement for our anniversary last year, but it can be easily duplicated to fit in with the rest of your Fall accents.

4. Pine Cones + Baskets
(Baskets - $1; pine cones - free)

This basket came from the dollar bins at Target (who doesn't love Target?!) and the pine cones were free! Yes, you can buy the bags of pine cones at a craft store, but why? Free trumps any price, any day. Unless you're somewhere without pine trees, I guess... but luckily I'm from The Mitten, so there's no shortage of pine trees.

5. Ornamental Grasses + Vases (small)
(Grass - free; vases - $1)

I used to have a large grass arrangement on my dining room table, but my husband hated how enormous it was and it did make quite a bit of mess when you had to move it every day for dinner. I suggest keep the large, messy arrangements in a place where they're going to remain stationery for the season and make a smaller one for your table. Remember, I said collect lots! The vase was my great-grandma's and compliments the dried grasses well.

6. Pine Cones + Polished Stones + Vases
(Vase - $1; pine cones - free; polished stones - $1)

Like the rocks, the right hue of polished stone can be a great Fall accent. Vase and stones came from the Dollar Store and I decided to stick a nice looking pine cone in there.

7. Painted Acorns + Vases
(Vase - $1; acorns - free; paint - had on hand)

This project was completed last year and I just love it. Took a little bit of time, but I think the outcome is well worth it. I purposely painted them the color of my living room walls to tie them in better and add some more yellow-gold accents to the room. For the full tutorial, click here!

Friday, September 28, 2012

September babies!

I just wanted to jot down a quick post to congratulate quite a few first time parents in my life! I've had the pleasure of Facebook stalking four very special couples in the past few weeks as they gave birth to their sons and daughters. Congratulations and good luck to all of you as you being this exciting new adventure... can't wait to join you!

1. Jack Michael Witte
DOB: September 17
Parents: John + Fawn Witte
(2nd cousins of mine)

2. Elise Ashley Maier
DOB: September 17
Parents: Phil + Justine Maier
(former co-worker)

3. Mackenzie Kristine Gee
DOB: September 20
Parents: Andy Gee + Dani Schmitz
(our good friends)

4. Asa Owen Kulchar
DOB: September 26
Parents: Josh + Sarah Kulchar
(fellow co-worker)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blender mush... it's a texture thing.

I have texture issues. Like bad. Especially when it comes to fruit. Pears, peaches, applesauce, mushy berries... may as well be rollin' slime around in my mouth until I gag. So I've basically lived my whole life on a minimal fruit diet. Well, that doesn't fly when you're in charge of growing a tiny human.

I've never been a smoothie person before and until I became pregnant, never touched my blender. I am now, however, a smoothie fanatic! I've learned that you can't have texture issues when everything has just about the same consistency after a swim in the blender. So I figured I'd share with you some of my favorite smoothies I've been downing since becoming pregnant. Enjoy.  :)

Tropical Blend I
1 1/2 C. orange juice
1 T. lime juice
1 C. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 - 1 1/2 bananas

Tropical Blend II
1 1/2 C. orange juice
1 - 2 bananas
1 1/2 C. peaches (fresh or frozen)

Pina Colada
1 C. pineapple chunks (canned or fresh)
1 C. coconut milk
1 banana
1/4 C. ice
2 t. honey, optional

Green Monster
1 frozen sliced banana
1 T. reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 C. vanilla greek yogurt
1 C. unsweetened vanilla almond breeze or skim milk
4 C. baby spinach

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake (Weight Watchers)
1 3/4 C. fat free chocolate milk
1 T. cocoa
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 1/2 T. reduced fat peanut butter
1 1/4 C. ice
2 bananas, optional

*Yields 2 servings - 2 points per serving (excluding bananas)

Lil Arch definitely isn't going without an adequate amount of potassium. I think I buy bananas every 3-4 days. I love the fruit smoothies in the afternoon... especially when it was such a warm summer. The chocolate peanut butter shake is a perfect alternative to my beloved Oreos in the evening when I need a chocolate fix. Plus I feel so much better getting the fruit, protein and dairy intake rather than bingeing on desserts.

A word to the wise... the green monster requires you to immediately rinse out/wash your glass after finishing up. I've left the remnants of the smoothie in a Nalgene bottle for the afternoon and it may as well be the organic version of gorilla glue. We're talking wallpaper paste-like consistency and I don't know about you, but I don't have dainty lil Bambi hands that can fit inside a water bottle for a good cleaning. Just sayin'... 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

30 weeks

Today marks week 30 for Lil Arch! Holy cow. Time is flyyyying by. I still feel like there's a lot of time left... until I look at my to do list. Then I have a small panic attack and try to give my tired body a pep talk to get moving. Baby is the size of a cucumber this week weighing anywhere from 2.5 to 3.8 lbs at 15.2 to 16.7 inches long. The skin is getting smoother, but brain getting wrinklier (making way for all the essential brain tissue). Plus Hercules is now strong enough to grasp a finger!

Total weight gain/loss:
Just a smidge under 30 pounds. I know, total freak out, right?! Doctor assured me though that I'm perfectly on schedule for someone my size. I mean, shoot, I'm growing a 4 foot long baby! ;)

I have gotten sooooo much accomplished over the last few weeks, it's crazy! My to do list is broken down into "right now" and "before baby" projects. I've been organizing the house like mad, getting all the outside stuff done, prepping for baby, etc. I feel super awesome when I get big projects accomplished. Plus, I've gotten 61 things on my Bump Checklist done with only 17 more to go. Is it possible to be in the "nesting stage" all 9 months???

Maternity clothes:
Yes, I splurged and picked out a few more tops. Well, Mama Z picked them up. The weather started turning cold and windy this week, so skirts have been far less convenient. (My apologies to anyone that may have seen my wind vs. skirt disaster heading to my car after work today.)

Stretch marks:
Nope, thank God. Hopefully we can keep it that way.

What's that? Oh, my naps in between nighttime pee breaks? I'm so tired of sleeping on my side, having achy joints, burning feet, jumpy legs and peeing every 45 minutes... I could scream. I just want a good nights sleep... just one night. Is that too much to ask?

Best moment last week:
Passed my second glucose test! Yes, I failed the first. Major bummer. Doc said I passed with flying colors... especially since I was at the absolute minimum score for having to retest in the first place. We also got our pre-admission appointment out of the way. Normally this is done between 35 and 37 weeks, but A.) I wanted to get it done and off my to do list, and B.) those weeks are during hunting season. You're welcome husband.

Sometimes moves like crazy, but has the same skittishness as a dog. As soon as it knows you're watching or put a hand on my belly, it stops moving. Turd. I love watching when I can see a head or limb come protruding out of my side. Such a miracle.

Food cravings:
Ranch dressing. I've gone through 3 bottles in the last few months. I love it on turkey wraps (with some pepperjack cheese and spinach... mmmmm.) Plus I've dipped all my chicken and drown my salad in it.

Ashley's niecephew's gender is still unknown.

Labor signs:
Still too early. Maybe some Braxton Hicks contractions... maybe. Not sure.

Belly button in/out:
Still an innie... but barely. Where I had my belly button piercing, the scar tissue is starting to jet out a bit. Enough to see through my clothes along with the few super moles I have spazzing out on my belly. I feel like an animal with a bunch of nipples traveling down my belly. Eww.

Not being able to finish up my nursery. My chair, that was suppose to be here in 6 to 8 weeks is now pushing 14. Langlois is "hoping" it'll be in by the end of the month. Uhhhh, it better be in addition to a discount or they're going to have an angry pregnant lady to deal with. I also have to re-order the tall dresser for the 3rd time since they keep sending me very yellowed ones. I'm tired of driving to GR to compare furniture colors every few weeks only to have it still be wrong. Damnit Babies R Us, get your shit together. Or else, you too will fear my wrath.

Mood swings:
Um, I think I'm doing ok. Husband might think otherwise, but other than semi-sad things making me start to bawl uncontrollably, I think I'm pretty stable... knock on wood.

What I miss:
Eating raw batter, lifting anything, laying on my belly, sleeping through the night, walking without a waddle, not grunting when I have to lift my feet to put on pants, being able to walk Zora more than just around the block (unless public urination is ok by my neighbors), etc.

What I'm looking forward to:
Getting to spend my favorite time of year at home with my lil one! I looooove Christmas time and the thought of my maternity leave falling right around the holidays brings me much joy. My sister is coming over probably right around Halloween to help me get my Christmas decorations up. Beware trick-or-treaters, my tree will probably be up and lit. Don't be confused. Plus Clay got me a super comfy giraffe robe for our anniversary and I just can't wait to spend my days around the Christmas tree snuggling my babe.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

29 weeks

Not a whole lot to catch up on lately. I'm just here getting rounder and rounder and... yeah. Failed my glucose test a couple weeks ago and had to do the 3 hour retest last Tuesday. How the hell is it legal to prevent a pregnant lady from eating for 16.5 hours?! And what was even more mind boggling was "don't drink anything, but we're going to expect you to pee in a cup 5 times over a 3 hour span." Even my overworked bladder had a hard time performing that miracle. I'll find out Tuesday if I passed or failed glucose phase II. In addition to failing my first glucose test, my OB informed me I was anemic and had to get on iron supplements. Thanks doc, my digestive system thanks you.

Hmmm, what else. Dad came home for the weekend... had a great dinner and game night all 6 of us. Grandpa Z even incorporated baby stuff into his usual garage sale-ing. He's so cute. :)

We had Nut try on one of Lil Arch's new onesies and she was NOT a happy camper. Oops. Mom, Peanut and Dad headed back down to West Virginia today. Mom and Nut will be there for the next 7 weeks coming home right before Thanksgiving... and baby time!

This weekend was productive at home. Got the storage room under control and organized. Figured I'd better get that taken care of before I'm too big to move. Mom had given me a huge box of my toys from my youth, so I did the responsible OCD mom thing and gave 'em the Clorox swim in the sink. Four hours later, I had bleach seeping out all pores, but everything was super clean. I'm not sure who will be more excited to play with the toys... probably me. I remembered about 90% of them... oh memory lane.

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