Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY Halloween Costumes

I just about messed up this year...I just bought Caroline's Halloween costume a couple of days ago, and had we not been passing a Target on our way home from Auburn, Caroline would most likely still not have a costume. I really wanted to DIY one this year, but was sort of afraid that 1. I would suck at it and 2. I wouldn't get it finished in time. So I took the easy out and just bought one, and she looks precious in it :) 
But, I figure there may be some crafty procrastinators out there still looking for a costume for their little ones, so I wanted to post a few of my favorite DIY costumes that I had saved on Pinterest. Maybe if I start now for next year's costume, I'll have it finished in time. Click on the links below each picture and it should take you to the original source with instructions.









And if you want to check out even more adorable Halloween costumes for little ones, check out Buzzfeed's '26 Halloween Costumes for Toddlers that are just too Cute to Believe'



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Plains of Auburn



We have been running around like crazy these last few weeks, so I'm obviously behind on posting here, as well as everything else in life like working out, running, cleaning my house, laundry...you name it! haha. Oh well, we've enjoyed the traveling and events, so I'm finally getting a chance to get caught up now.
 
We spent this past weekend exploring the Plains of Auburn with our Goddaughter and some very dear friends of ours who are from Alabama, so we got the grand experience. We drove straight through once Juston got off work Friday and got to Auburn around 11:30 local time where we stayed with our Lexi, who is a senior at Auburn this year. We really wanted to experience our Auburn football game with her before she graduated so we decided on Auburn vs. South Carolina game. Caroline stayed with my sister since it was a lot of driving plus a lot of tailgating and football. None of which are things she would particularly enjoy.

 
 
 
Saturday morning, we met up with Lexi's parents while she worked an event for her major program at school and our first stop was Momma Goldbergs just up the street from where we stayed. I got a Momma Love and Juston got the Buff BBQ and both were out of this world! I would definitely revisit this place on a return trip.
 
 
I have watched this beauty grow into such an amazing woman from the time she was about six years old when I met this family through church. We are just so proud of her and couldn't love her more. I even hung up my Georgia shirt for the weekend and put on some Auburn colors. It was easier since Georgia had a bye week before Florida ;)
 


 

 
Next stop was the Tiger Walk which was super fun. We got there a little later, so being short, I couldn't see a whole lot, but it was still a really neat experience. Of course, you had that one SC fan bring their flag to wave around at the Tiger Walk. I mean...what for? haha I don't understand some people but to each their own. I was really hoping one of the girls we've met through our Goddaughter who is at UK would be cheering this game (she's a Gamecock cheerleader now) but no such luck.

 
After the Tiger Walk, we went on into Jordan Hare stadium to get our seats so Juston could watch the teams warm up, always one of his favorite things to see.


Our seats were amazing, just four rows up from the field and I'm not exaggerating when I say nearly every huge play happened right in front of us or in our end zone, including the final SC pass which was intercepted by and Auburn player to win the game. We saw ourselves on the ESPN replays after the game.
 
One of my absolute favorite things about college football is the pageantry that surrounds it all. My absolute favorite being when the band takes the field to play the school fight song and the cheerleaders run the team our of their tunnel and onto the field. It gives me goosebumps every. single. time.
The coolest thing in this whole game in my opinion was watching the War Eagle be released right behind us (at the top of the stadium) and seeing it circle high above the stands to finally land on the 50 yard line and the school's emblem. There are no words to describe what a cool experience that was. Later, during breaks in action of the game, they actually walked the eagles around the stadium for the fans to see.
 
 

 
 
And what Auburn experience would be complete without rolling Toomer' Corner! This was such a cool thing to get to do. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't make it to the game before the Toomer's Oaks were taken down. We missed them by a few weeks when we toured the campus back in the spring.
 






We rolled on home early Sunday morning and absolutely could not have had a better time with better people. I can't wait for Caroline to experience these things when she's old enough to enjoy them.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recent Recipes

I'm doing pretty well sticking with my goal of trying two new recipes a week and want to share the good ones. 


Up first is this kale and brussel sprout salad. Recipe can be found here. This is a pretty healthy salad, which I also something I'm looking for in new recipes. Juston and I both have some health and wellness goals we're trying to implement so this was in line with them. Lots of great nutrients in raw kale and brussel sprouts. I used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. 



I was able to harvest a few more green peppers from the garden last week and have been wanting to try a stuffed pepper recipe for some time so I went for it. I couldn't find a specific recipe that I thought sounded good, so I just decided to wing it. It went a little something like this:
Sautee a diced onion and tsp garlic in olive oil. Add ground turkey package and cook thoroughly. I seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne (small amount) as the turkey cooled. Seperately, I cooked a box of herb and butter rice, as turkey was browning. To the turkey pan, I added about 1/3- 1/2 a jar of Tostino's salsa along with a few fresh tomatoes from the garden diced up, then stirred the cooked rice in and added about a tbsp of taco seasoning or chili powder would work as well. 
I topped the peppers and the cut them in half, filled them to the top with the stuffing, added Mexican cheese on top and cooked at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. They really were delicious. A definite recipe keeper.





This recipe is not new to us as I have been making these cookies every fall since Juston and I got married. I've been making pumpkin cookies since before pumpkin everything got trendy ;) I only make them once a year though considering I ate like 5 the first day. Good thing it was a long run day! 
You cream 1.5 sticks of butter with 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 2/3 cup granulated sugar and a splash of vanilla until the mixture is fluffy. Then mix in a can of pumpkin, 2 eggs.  Add 2.5 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt mixing everything thoroughly. Spoon cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. 

Icing is 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp milk and 5 tbsp browned butter whipped together. Spread onto cooled cookies and enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scenes from our Weekend


How beautiful is this double rainbow?! I snapped this picture early last week after some storms moved through the county but they resulted in these gorgeous things. This was the second double rainbow we'd seen that day. Caroline was so excited and kept asking to go back outside and see it. God's promises :)

Friday, I finished sewing my second set of curtains for the front room re-do so it wasn't really an eventful evening haha. Saturday though, Juston and Caroline brought me breakfast in bed early and we spent the rest of the day running! It was Juston's 20th high school reunion. He graduated from Harlan, but so many of his classmates are in our around Lexington that they decided to party it up at Keeneland...my kind of people!


We tailgated for a couple of hours before heading in to bet (and lose) on the afternoon races. Afterwards, there was a dinner at Portofino's in downtown Lex and we spent the next few hours just hanging out and eating. I've met a few of Juston's classmates over the years, but not too many, but I feel like I know a lot of them just from Juston's stories. He always talks about how they were just all such good people and he wasn't kidding. We had such a great time. I think the plan is to make the get together a yearly event now. 




It was pretty chilly and super windy, but a fun day so we didn't really mind. Lexington is hands down one of the most beautiful Southern cities I've ever seen and I've seen my fair share. If you've never been to Lexington or Keeneland, it's definitely worth the trip. Fall is an awesome time to do Lexington because you can do Keeneland dursing the morning and afternoon, head over to Commonwealth Stadium and catch some SEC football (which is very entertaining this year to watch UK) and then do a bourbon distillery tour on Sunday. I'm not a bourbon drinker but the tours are still really interesting in my opinion. If that's not your cup of tea, some of the horse farms do tours as well. It's definitely a city worth visiting.


Sunday morning, Juston went off to black powder hunt but didn't have much luck, then that afternoon, our Goddaughter and her friend came over so I made pumpkin cookies and sweet tea. I almost burned the house down making my tea, a first for me. I forgot I had put the tea on boil and was in the back of the house folding laundry when I smelled it. I ran back to the kitchen to turn the stove down but it had already bubbled over. When I took the pan off the eye, there was an actual flame on our glass cooktop. I didn't even know that was possible. I'm pretty sure all that sugar in my tea literally went up in flames. It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. The flames went out right after they popped up, but it was still scary, especially since I had Caroline in the next room.

Once I got Caroline down for her nap, I left Juston with her at the house and headed out to run. I did 4 miles, which I know isn't all that impressive, but I was really proud. I didn't stop except to tie my shoe once and even though I kept my miles on the slow side (10.5-11 minutes) I didn't feel winded at all and am not sore today so I feel good about this 10K we have coming up in the spring. I'm going to have to start hill training more frequently since the course has a 4 incline for much of the first half. That mileage was a big accomplishment for me so I was really happy and already thinking of how many miles I wanted to run during the week and when I could fit it in with work and everything else we have coming up. It really becomes addicting. I'm working in my weight training four days a week right now, too and feeling great. If you don't have a workout routine, I can't recommend enough to get up and do something. with regularity. Walk, do pushups and squats, play some basketball or tennis, stretch. It's amazing how much better you feel.

That was about it for our weekend. Why do they always go by so quickly?

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Little Pumpkin

  This little chick is seriously so fun these days! She says the funniest things, keeps us laughing all the time and has the sweetest tendencies. We were snuggling in our bed this morning watching cartoons and she just kept squeezing me saying "I love you so good, Mama." 

Later, I asked her where does UGA live and without hesitation, she says "At Georgia!" That's my girl!. I always think to myself that I need to write down the things she says so that I'll remember them, but by the time I think about writing it down, I've forgotten. Irony. 


She really knows how to work the system around here, too. She still has issues sleeping through the night, hopefully just a phase we've hit (that's lasted like two months) that will soon pass. But I'm trying to let her self-sooth so she's figured out that hollering for mama isn't too fruitful. She pulled out all the stops late one night and yelled, "Daddy, my need you. Get me outta my crib." Buddy, he was up and out of the bed on his way to her room before you could say boo. I'm not really sure what to do with her sleeping. I put her to sleep holding her and the second I lay her down, she screams her head off for about five minutes and eventually goes back to sleep. This was never a problem until here lately, but people tell me it's normal. 

I'm thinking of  making the switch to a toddler bed. My sister still has the one her kids used for us, so it's just a matter of getting it together. She's never even offered to get out of her crib and still fits perfectly, but I'm thinking with a toddler bed, I could just lay beside her until she's out and not have to fool with laying her down anymore. We'll see, I guess. 


She looks like she's casting her little spells in that picture and I love it! I love getting shots like this that capture her fun personality.  It's not all sunshine and roses; I'm afraid my child has the whiny gene that seems to be innate in all kids and she can flip the switch pretty quick, especially when she's not had her nap. For the most part, she's pretty even keeled though, she gets that from her Daddy ;)


She found her bottles (that she wouldn't dare touch as a baby) when I was cleaning the basement the other day and insisted on drinking from it the next three days. It's the most she has ever consumed from a bottle in her two years. She was enjoying a nice breakfast in my bed above. Which reminds me of the pork chop I found stuffed in my pillow the other night, compliments of my little rotten girl. It had been at least a week since I'd made pork chops by the way. 


She's so social and doesn't seem to have a shy bone in her body which I love most of the time. Sometimes it can make a Mama a little worrisome to have a little girl that will literally go to whoever asks to hold her. We were walking up for communion at church a couple of weeks ago and the usher reached for her and said he'd hold her for me while I went up (this isn't weird, I promise, we've known him forever and I went to school with his kids ) and she went right to him and stayed while we took communion and came back, never making a peep. She just has a way of making people happy though and I love that. I hope her sweet heart never changes. 


A lot of people talk about the terrible twos and how awful they start to show themselves at this age, but so far I really think it's my favorite. Like I said, she has her moments still, but I'm hopeful that she got most of them out during that trying year one. I just love my sweet, smart beautiful girl. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Canning

You may have read about our raised garden that we planted for the first time this past spring/ summer. Well, I ended up with an unbelievable amount of cucumbers and tomatoes, more than we could possibly eat before they ruined and even after giving many away, we had a ton left over, so I decided it was time to try my hand at canning. I've done a little bit of this in the past with my mom's help, but it was the first time I've ever made homemade pickles.

After doing a batch of bread and butter, I still had a lot of cucumbers left over, so I decided to do some dill pickles as well. I found my recipes on www.food.com and will link to them below. Both were a huge hit with everyone who tried them and out of 10 jars, I only had one that didn't seal properly. I'm already excited about doing this again next summer and trying some more new things.

 I also tried canning my homemade tomato soup from some of our fresh tomatoes but that failed. I neglected to think about the fact that the recipe had fresh whipping cream in it. In my mind, I thought, "Well, I buy tomato soup in a can at the grocery, so I can obviously can my own." Not exactly. After sitting for about a week, it molded. I do think I could have frozen it as opposed to canning and it would have worked out great. Live and learn :)












 I'm looking forward to trying to can some new things next year and maybe try my hand at some homemade jams and jellies. 


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Workout Wednesday

I'm the type of person who likes to set new goals for myself in order to stay motivated, try new things and keep progressing. It's with those things in mind that I decided it was time to get outside of my comfort zone and do something that makes me a little uncomfortable to think about. This weekend, I signed up for my very first 10K in Charleston, SC of course :)
http://www.bridgerun.com/index.php
I'm feeling equal parts excited and ignorant. I though very seriously about signing up for the Publix Women's Half Marathon that is in Savannah, GA that same weekend, but I think for me it's best to start smaller. The idea of the half just sort of overwhelmed me to think about and my husband agreed to do the 10K with me, so that sealed the deal for me. I do still have goals further down the road to do a half, I'm just not sure when it'll be.
I know a 10K is nothing to most serious runners, but if you'd told me this time a year ago that I'd ever even consider doing one, I would have called you crazy. I've sort of started to love running. It's kind of funny, because usually the entire time I'm running, I can't wait to be finished, but then as soon as I'm finished, I can't wait to run again. Does anyone else do this?
The Cooper River Bridge Run seemed like an obvious choice since it's in my favorite place in the world. I'm currently finding a training plan and looking forward to doing this with my husband. It'll be a fun couples race :) A lot of the course will be uphill which I'm currently terrible at, so I imagine a lot of hill training in my near future. I'd like to average around a 10 minute mile time, so that's what I'm shooting for. I'll update my training plan once I've settled on one and can't wait to see how this goes!

Also, wanted to share a quick workout I did yesterday. Just need a pair of dumbbells and about 20-25 minutes.

Squat with Overhead Press X 12
Deadlift to Upright Row X 12
Pushup with leg lift (@ bottom of push-up) X 14
Lying Chest Fly with Bridge Up (lift your hips up when fly opens) X 15
Bent Over Row wtih calf raise (raise to toes when pulling weights up) X 12

Repeat 5 times through for time.

I'm still chugging along with my plank challenge that I posted about last week, but I'm having the hardest time getting past two and a half minutes....only halfway to my goal of 5 minutes. I think the more I step up the rest of my strength training, the better I'll get, but it's bugging me in the mean time! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend Project

A few years ago, when Juston and I decided that instead of moving out of the house we were in that we'd stay until it was completely paid off, I decided that I was going to start putting a few of my own touches around the house, i.e. de-bachelorize the bachelor pad I'd moved into. I started small with just hanging a few pictures and art, hanging curtains and decorating the guest room. Then I moved to our front room and knew exactly what I wanted to do after seeing the inspiration in an issue of Southern Living.
 
 
Pictured above is almost exactly what I'd envisioned. I wanted bright and sunny with some pattern, but nothing too busy. I'd even found a yellow houndstooth arm chair with a coordinating sofa at a local furniture store and I was in LOVE with it! So I found the paint color I liked and Juston painted the room for me one weekend. Step one complete.
 
At the time, we were in the midst of finishing our basement, so I planned to move the giant sectional from the upstairs into the basement and get the new sofas and chairs for upstairs. But then Juston's friends offered him their leather sofa and loveseat free of charge...My husband can't turn down free, so we were stuck with the big sectional upstairs and my dreams of the cheery, yellow living room were down the drain. In an effort to make the room more cohesive since neither of us really wanted to paint it again, I tried some different pillow covers, some new curtains...none of it really looked good with the yellow given the color of it and the couch.
 
Fast forward three years later and I finally decided that since we still weren't moving that albatross of a couch, that I'd work with what I had. I picked a paint color, taped off all the woodwork, ordered some fabric to make new curtains and got to work.
 
 
The paint color is Popular Gray by Sherwin Williams. It mostly covered in just one coat; I did do some touch ups in quite a few places, mostly trim and corners where I could see the yellow still coming through. The fabric is Buffalo Check in Taupe from Ballard Home Designs.
 
 
I painted one wall each night after Caroline went to bed last week and had my mom help me figure out how to use my sewing machine yesterday to sew the curtains and we almost have a finished product now. Now we just need a rug and I already have one picked out. I think I want a couple of new lamps as well, but don't really know what I want for those.
 
 
Excuse the mess, but I was so excited that I'd actually sewn a curtain! Pretty beginning since it was just pinning, ironing and sewing a straight line, but I was proud of myself. I got two curtains done last night, so now I have to order the rest of the fabric to make 4 more. I didn't order it all at once because I wanted to make sure I liked it before I spent a chunk of change on them, and I really love them. I do want to get some grommet hooks to hang them with because I think they'll hang better that way. Each curtain panel took 2.5 yards of fabric. I did an inch hem on the sides, doubled over to hide the raw hem and then a 1.75 inch on the bottom and top, also doubled over to hide the raw edge. I just love them and Juston loves that they aren't colorful haha.
 
 
 
I'm getting this rug to complete the room for now. I would eventually love to get an antique armoire to put where the giant bachelor television sits now, and get a smaller flat screen put in it so that we can close it off when not in use. Juston has his big tv in the man cave now, so as soon as this one bites the dust, it's gone!
 
It was fairly inexpensive as far as re-decorating goes, the most expensive thing being the fabric, but it was cheaper to buy and make my own than it would have been to purchase them already made. We have another small project going on in the kitchen and I'll share more pictures once I have better lighting and a more complete space :)
 


September Reads


September was another slow book month for me, I only got around to reading two, but I liked them both, so I thought I'd share.
 
 
 
This one was a quick read for me. I got into it early on and finished it quickly. There are a few obvious grammatical and editing errors which always kicks me out of the story for a second, but nothing that ruins it by any means. The story follows a wife and mother in Savannah, GA, her letterpress business, her family dynamics and is overall a great read. I try not to ruin anything when I post about books here, but I will say there's a pretty big mystery surrounding the night her sister and husband end up in a car wreck together and it definitely doesn't turn out like I initially suspected.
 
 
 
 
Karen White is one of those authors that I could (and have) read any one of her books over and over again. She just has such a lyrical way of weaving her stories that completely draw you in as a reader. Falling Home was one of her earlier novels that was re-released after she became a bit more popular. This one is a real tear-jerker so be prepared for that. I would definitely recommend picking it up. I have the original published version, so I'm not sure if the re-release is exactly the same, but it's a great, quick read.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Words

Today has been one of those days where I have just been getting things done left and right. Things that have sat on my to-do list, uncrossed for what seems like weeks, so I'm having a great weekend so far. Hope everyone else is feeling the same!
 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Workout Wednesday


Wanted to post a quick but effective body weight resistance workout. You don't need any equipment, just yourself and a space to move.  Repeat the circuit through 5 times for time, meaning you try to finish the workout as quickly as possible with minimal resting between exercises. I've posted a short explanation along with each exercise in case anyone isn't familiar with it and wants to try it. 


Wide Stance Pushups, 15 (Regular pushup with hands further apart)
Plank Hold with alternating leg lifts, 1 minute (assume plank position, raise leg, return to floor)
Superman Hold, 1 minute (lay on belly, lift chest, arms and legs upward and hold)

Downward Dog Shoulder Pushups, 15 (From down dog position lower head to floor and press back to start)
Lunge Hops, 15 each leg (Lunge down, then hop up, return to lunge)
Hollow Body Hold, 30 seconds- 1 minute (lay on back, arms by ears, lift chest head and toes about 6" and hold)

Side Lying Tricep Press, 15 each side (Lay on side, place top arm by chest and press upper body off floor)
Lying Single leg press, 15 each leg (Lay on back with knees bent, heels to glutes, straighten one leg, leave one foot on ground, press through that foot to lift your butt up and return to start)
Side plank, 30 seconds each side 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fashion Friday + Our Week

These are a few of my outfits from the last couple of weeks. I've been slumming it more days than not in my workout clothes since I'm trying to get in two workouts a day when I can. Anyway, here's a few of my favorites from the last two weeks.
 
Shirt by Laroque | Skirt by Annie Griffin Collection | Shoes by Jack Rogers
 
This is what I wore to the Georgia game we went to and it ended up being perfect since it was pretty hot, around 80 degrees. My skirt was on the shorter side, so I wore my Nike compression shorts underneath in case we had to climb stairs or anything. Didn't want to give anyone a show ;)

Dress by Laroque | Shoes by Lilly Pulitzer
 
This one was a church outfit. I just love these Laroque dresses! This one is the Caroline bow dress in yellow. I have this top in a couple of colors as well and I love how feminine  and classic the pieces are.

Shirt, Vest and Shorts by J Crew Factory | Shoes Union Bay from Kohls
 
I love this vest for fall and pairing it with pink is a fun alternative to sticking with a darker fall color palate.   

 
Our weather has stayed in the mid 80's here the last week, which I personally love, so I've still been able to bring out a lot of my summer clothes, like this Tilda blouse. It's a great classic piece and perfect for layering with sweaters once the temperature drops. It's not in stores anymore but you can usually find them on eBay.

Vest, Shirt and Jeans by J Crew Factory | Necklace by Loren Hope | Boots by Hunter
 
 
Today was a rainy day around here so I just recycled part of an outfit from earlier this week and threw on my pink boots with it.
 
 
 
 
 
I'm still slowly working my way toward that 5 minute plank hold and I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made so far. I even have a plank buddy...


Am I the only one impressed with her form?
 
 
 
 
The weather has been cooling down a little bit later this week so I put some of Caroline's new fall duds on her and she looked like such a big girl to me. It must be the jeans ;)
 
 
I brought out some of the fall and Halloween decorations and put them around the house this week as well. Pumpkin Spice Tyler candles will be a mainstay this month in the house. I love that scent for this time of year!
 
 
Caroline's cousins were off the last half of this week on fall break, so she got to spend a lot of time playing with them, which always makes her day. Sometimes it means she will not nap for anything since she doesn't want to miss out on playtime, but her mood was fine, so I didn't mind her skipping it.

 
After all, who wouldn't rather play hide and seek in the trees instead of nap and miss all the fun? I can't blame my girl. Hope everyone had a great week and Happy Friday!