Dream House Update: Cookin’ with Crisco

Over the past few months we’ve made some serious progress on the dream house and as I like to say we are now Cookin’ with Crisco… even though I physically cringe up when I have to use shortening in a recipe. Anyone feeling me? Ok back to the house. As of New Years day only the foundation and subfloors were in place but now 3 months later the house seems to be near complete, although I know we still have a ton of work left. January seemed to be all about the foundation and framing, February was doors, windows, drywall & mudding, March was full of siding, stone, trim, and painting. And now we have just over a month left until our MOVE IN date. Eeek!


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Although I’m straight up giddy to see the house come together, nothing has made me as excited as finishing the kitchen drawings and seeing them start to come to life. See while drawing the house, the draftsman made recommendations on the kitchen layout but it wasn’t until we met with the cabinetry vendors that we started to really visualize what it would look like. That said, selecting a cabinetry vendor was quite the journey. It literally took me over 3 months to find a vendor that could build what we wanted within our budget. The first meetings with the first two vendors were a dream. We walked through their showrooms oohing and ahhing over their amazing model kitchens. But then the follow up estimate email came and both were $10-15K over my budget. So I stressed out for a while like everyone building a house does… thought about what I could live without in the kitchen… and then decided that the third try is typically my charm. So I met with one more cabinetry company and FINALLY found the one. The one who could build us the kitchen of our dreams and exactly within our budget.

So let me show you around the Kitchen, first with this drawing we used to finalize the design:


On the back wall we’ll have a 36″ gas cooktop with a 36″ hood above. I debated installing a fancier hood but I opted for cabinet space instead. What I love about the more dramatic hoods is the focal point it can give the room, but I thought I could supplement it by increasing the depth of the cabinets to the left, right, and directly above the hood. To the right of the cooktop and hood are the double ovens and then to the right of those is the walk.in.pantry. I can’t even begin to express my love for this pantry. And then finally to the right of the mudroom entry is a kitchen desk, although the actual desk didn’t make the drawings.

Then there’s the island, which we made to do a lot of heavy lifting. It holds the microwave, sink, dishwasher and double trash cans. The microwave at my kid’s eye level may have been a bad move…


BUT it’s too late now, because the cabinets were installed this past week and I’m in LOVE. The cabinets are the Debut series by Legacy Cabinets in Ivory. And although the color is called Ivory, I was for some reason expecting a true white based on the sample I picked out in our vendor’s showroom. I freaked out for 5 minutes but have quickly come to love this warmer white, even though it’s not a perfect match with my trim or pantry door.


























Countertops are coming next week. I decided to go quartz on the parameter and granite on the island and can’t wait to see how it turns out. More to come!



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A New Years Letter

I’ve always thought new years resolutions were silly and superficial since they are typically just statements without real plans associated with them. So instead of an annual weight loss goal that I’m pretty sure I’d ditch in a few weeks anyway, I decided to start a new tradition and write a letter from myself to myself. I wanted this letter to be constant motivation for me throughout the year and filled with reminders for the person I strive to be and pray daily that I’m on my way to become. I’ll be honest, it felt a little crazy writing to myself but taking time to self reflect, prioritize and gear up for year ahead was pretty darn powerful. I’m definitely going outside of my comfort zone here on this blog, but if any of this inspires or motivates you, well then it’s totally worth it. Here were some of the the highlights from my 2016 letter:


Stop stressing and worrying because it’s absolutely, totally, 100% pointless. Instead, pray for guidance and direction from God and trust that He is always directing your steps. Find peace in the fact that you have no permanent burdens because Jesus loves you enough to eternally conquer all of those for you. Hold up. On second thought, do a little more than “find peace” in that gigantic fact that I squeezed into a tiny sentence. Jump up and down, do some cartwheels, praise Him, and for the love of cheese tell as many people as you can about it so they can experience His love, peace and salvation too.

Please spend your time more wisely this year. The fact that you somehow have time at night to keep up with celebrity gossip AND thoroughly check three social networks looking at updates from people you barely know anymore is just no parts good. Remind yourself that this time will quickly add up to days, weeks, months you could’ve spent reading books, growing relationships, helping others, or learning something new. Oh and while we’re on the topic plllllease put that iPhone down when your playing with your kids. Be present wherever you are and soak up every moment God gives you on this earth.

Grow! Grow your skill set and knowledge in your career, grow as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and coworker, grow your love for strangers, and Jamie, it’s finally time to make some bigger leaps in your growth as a Christian. You’ve been a big ol’ “taker” for a while and that’s OK. You needed it. You needed to start learning God’s word and spend some time watching and learning from “the givers”. But now people need you to give. So start asking God to use your skills and talents to help others and be open to the opportunities He puts in front of you.

Remember it’s through trials and hard times that we typically do our best growing. This is a hard one to write because I cringe at the thought of any pain and sadness in life. I pray everyday for all those around you, but if you experience difficult times this year remember what God put in your heart when Jeremy got sick last year: Trust in Me. It’s through the trials that you learn and that you grow into the person I want you to become. Without that experience you wouldn’t have had a reason to pray several times a day for two weeks straight… to call people and ask them to pray… and you wouldn’t had the chance to watch God answer those prayers. You witnessed the power of prayer in that experience and perhaps your first grown-up test of walking in faith.

Find new ways to show Jeremy how much you love and respect him. He is the bread to your butter, the jam on your biscuit, the honey in your hive… and things just got weird. Sorry. I’ll stick to carb metaphors. But you get my point. There is no end to your love for him, so when parenting little babies clouds that sweet butter, jam and honey, remember to focus on what makes him feel loved and respected in your marriage. He is such a good husband and daddy and deserves to hear daily how proud you are of him for all he does for your family.

Lastly and on a bit of a lighter note, learn to embrace the noisy, very colorful, always out of their labeled bin, house of toys. You’ve become a neat freak to the max sister. I’m kind of worried about you.. I mean me. Wait. I’m confused. But seriously, just start embracing the insane amount of plastic superhero’s, dinosaurs and doll babies that currently exist in every square inch of your home. I can barely say this without tears but one day you will live in a house without toys and little people asking you for love and help. Do your best to keep the funk at bay so that the kids don’t get sick from licking the toilet seat but then give yourself a break on the clutter and whatever you do stop.buying.storage.bins. When you look back at this season of life, I highly doubt you will remember the messy rooms and dirty clothes. Ok.. maybe the dirty clothes. Some things you just can’t unsee. But I think you will spend more time swimming around in the memories of their cute giggles and those sweet, sweet gummy grins.




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Building a new nest

Hey guys! I’m nesting again and you know what that means…?! Well, it may not mean what you think it means. Not that kind of nesting anyway. Two kids under four have me pretty tapped in the kiddo department right now.

It actually means that we’re finally building our forever home! After a longggg year on the market, we were finally able to sell our beautiful house that I started all this bloggin’ business about. Although I loved this house dearly it was straight up in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Driving 30 minutes to get to a target is pretty painful…right? But aside from it’s location it was pretty perfect for us and was surrounded by some of the nicest people on this planet.


I decided not to blog about the whole moving process because I had zero time and did it with absolutely no organization. It was survival mode all the way and it was also a big ol’ roller coaster of emotions. This house was the first house Jeremy and I owned as a married couple. It was the very first place both of my babies called home. And this house… well, became my home. But every time I said that and allowed myself to get all sappy, I reminded myself that home is really just wherever your heart is… oh and that driving 30 minutes to get to work and well…anywhere sucked. Badly.

So 9 million boxes later, we blew this popsicle stand and made a great big decision. Over that lovely year of trying to sell our house, we had a chance to stalk the market of the county we’ve always wanted to live in. And for some reason a brand new, 4 bedroom craftsman on 10 acres with tons of built ins and granite countertops didn’t hit the market. Crazy, right?

So we pretty quickly realized that we were just gonna have to build that sucker… and rent a roof over our heads in the mean time. We really had no clue where to start though aside from googling house plans. But after we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted we decided to start chatting with a few builders and found one that we trusted and had experience building the type of house we were after.


Our builder quickly set us up with his draftsman and after about 4 months and 40 emails later, we finally completed her…

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These renderings and especially the interior ones, were so helpful as we discussed layout. Building a custom home means you’ll likely never physically walk through the space before you live in it, so getting as close to the real deal as possible was just crazy helpful for us.

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So now we’re off to make 100+ decisions (seriously!). I’m planning to blog about our selections process because so far it’s just been a doozie. From lighting to cabinetry to paint and flooring.. it’ll be here.

More to come soon!



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Easy Peasy Baby Food

Something crazy happened last week y’all. Somehow I became the mom that makes her own baby food. I desperately wanted to be this lady with Dylan (baby #1) but after an epic fail making green beans and just about every type of fruit, I just didn’t have the confidence to try again. I chalked it up to not having the right kitchen tools nor enough time. I decided I would just cut my full-time working self a break.

But a few weeks ago when Emma was cleared to start solids, I got this crazy itch to give it another go. Emma has been an easier baby on every single level, so maybe… just maybe… she might like my busted baby food.

I decided not to relive my green bean nightmare. I just couldn’t go there again. It was painful. Instead, I attempted Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Pears, Peas and Peaches. And something so totally crazy happened. She LOVED them. She gobbled down every last bite. Even the peas. Well, OK peas mixed with a little apple. But still.. she was a fan of my cooking and I was doing my glorious super mom happy dance.

So without further ado, here’s the super duper simple way I made and stored all this organic goodness:

Homemade baby food

Aside from the Squash and Sweet Potatoes, which I roasted in the oven for ~45 minutes, I simply steamed each fruit or veg in a big ol’ pot. The name of the game during this step is simply to get whatever you are cooking super tender while retaining as much of the nutrients as possible.

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So in this example once my ($1!) bag of frozen peas were tender, I poured them into my mini food processor with some of the cooking liquid and pureed until smooth. I originally thought I needed one of those fancy baby food makers but nope… a food processor, blender or well anything that purees all that goodness up is all you really need. I absolutely love this Cuisinart Mini Food Processor!


Texture is a big big deal here, especially when trying to achieve Stage 1 baby food consistency so I added teaspoons of the water it cooked with until it was smooth.


Once my peas were super smooth, I simply dumped them into an ice cube tray so they would freeze in 1 ounce portions.


And then I popped these in my freezer to freeze overnight….


And when these bad boys were rock solid, I simply put them in a labeled Hefty freezer bag. When I’m ready to feed Emma I just grab 3 cubes/3 ounces and microwave it for <30 seconds in one of these Pampered Chef Prep Bowls. These bowls are so perfect because they are essentially measuring cups with a lid and they are glass. I’m a big weirdo about microwaving plastic. Always have been.


I think my most favorite thing about this system is how easy it is to mix and match the different veggies and fruits. Emma isn’t a huge fan of peas or butternut squash but she gobbles it down when I mix in an ounce of pears or apples. And with this system I don’t have to worry about the rest of those apples or pears spoiling in my fridge. Been there, done that, been nagged by my husband for wasting money.


So if there are any new mamas in the house that are at all thinking about doing this, I encourage you to give it a try… twice. I think you would be surprised how easy it is and how much better it tastes than jarred baby food. And for the love of peas, don’t go out and buy a fancy machine. First give it a go with appliances you already have.

Take it from my Emma girl…. she’s clearly a big fan Smile




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