Moments Mommy Captured: 1/13/2012

Highlights from our week included…

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Cuddle time on the couch after Baylen’s 15 month shots. It was our first time at a new pediatrician, and Baylen did great. He weighed in at 24lbs (75th percentile) and 31 inches (75th percentile).

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A lovely mocktail/cocktail dessert date with my dear friend Christy!

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Another haircut for the little man. His hair grows SO fast…thank goodness he doesn’t mind getting it cut. The stylist at Kids’ Hair was so good with him!

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Another week of consistent workouts at the gym. At 27.5 weeks, I’m feeling grateful that my body is still allowing me to work out. It’s helping me maintain a sense of normalcy throughout this whole twin pregnancy journey.

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Lot’s of family time! We were in Iowa this weekend at my parents’ farm celebrating a late Christmas. Baylen loved playing with Aunt Ali!

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Our failed attempt at a family picture. If you have tips on how to get a 15 month old to look at a camera long enough to capture some good shots, let me know!

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Baylen chatting away with “Pa-pa!” as he calls him. Bay LOVES being held by Papa and looking at the cows and tractors with him. There was lots of mooing going on!

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Grandma helping Baylen open his presents!

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Watch out, there’s a new tractor driver on the loose, folks!

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Giving goodbye hugs to Uncle Joey and Aunt Madison. Soon he won’t have to say goodbye anymore because they’ll be living in MN too!

And that does it! Here’s to another great week!

Amber

 

 

 

 

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Leggings

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, Baylen, I was at my biggest point during the summer and early fall, which meant I got to cop out of a lot of maternity clothes by wearing comfy sun dresses instead. Most any dress with an empire waist worked perfectly!

This time around I’m due in April and live in Minnesota, so the baby bump needs more than a cotton dress to keep it cozy during these frigid months. I can only handle so many days of maternity jeans before I start feeling frumpy, so I’ve been opting for lots of leggings. They’re as comfy as sweatpants but still make me feel like I’m wearing real clothes. I stocked up at Old Navy where they’re super affordable, and just bought them a size bigger than normal. Thankfully they have lots of stretch so I think they should last me through the rest of the pregnancy.

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When it comes to leggings, I’m one that needs to cover my booty in order to be comfortable. I’ve been on the lookout for long tops and sweaters this winter, and have had great luck at H&M, Target, Old Navy, and Motherhood Maternity.

I’m sharing a couple different ways I wear leggings in my photos today. First, a casual look, where I like to pull on a vest and my new high top wedges. They are perfect for running around town with a toddler. Thanks to Jamie at Stylin Mommies for recommending these shoes. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do so. She is incredibly inspiring and super cute!

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Second, if I want to dress up my leggings a little, I add a big sweater cardigan and some booties. I can transform from mommy into a hot date for my hubby in a matter of moments!

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If you haven’t given leggings any love yet, I highly recommend adding some to your wardrobe. Instead of another day in sweatpants, you can feel just as comfy but I bet you’ll feel cuter!

Shirt: Loved by Heidi Klum via Motherhood Maternity
Leggings: Old Navy
High Top Wedges: Target or Steve Madden
Booties: Carson Pirie Scott
Vest: Gap
Sweater: Loved by Heidi Klum via Motherhood Maternity

Question of the Day:

Do you like to wear leggings? If so, what do you ususally pair them with?

Have a great weekend and remember to take a few moments of “me time!”

Amber

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DIY: Ladder Towel Rack

Upon moving into this house, we discovered that none of the bathrooms had towel racks. We installed new ones in our last house and knew that it could turn into an expensive project if you simply go to Home Depot or Menards. Therefore, this time around we tried to be a bit thrifty. After several trips to Home Goods I found enough matching towel racks to cover most of the bathrooms, and they were only a fraction of the price of home improvement stores. With the last bathroom, which is a small water closet on our main floor, I wanted to doing something more creative.

I decided a ladder would make for a perfect towel rack, so we set out to get the supplies. At the home improvement store we purchased wooden dowels, a couple wooden strips for the sides, and wood screws. We had leftover stain from my DIY: Pegboard Jewelry Organizer, so we didn’t have to worry about purchasing more of that.

I put Jake to work and within about 20 minutes he had the ladder assembled. After that he put a couple coats of stain on, and voila! Done and done! All it took was a few measurements, cuts, and drilling, and we had not only a functional towel rack, but a decorative piece for our water closet. Even if you don’t have much handyman experience, this project isn’t too tough to figure out.

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The total price for this little baby came in at around $10! I’m thinking of decorating a couple other places in our house using ladders to perform other functions. I’ll keep you posted if we come up with something that’s worth sharing!

Question of the Day: 

Do you have a functional DIY piece in your home that you’re particularly excited about? I need inspiration! 

Make it a wonderful day today!

Amber

 

 

 

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Arm Workout Using Household Items

Happy Wednesday Everybody! The sun is shining here in Minnesota this morning which always makes for a good start to the day!

Another way to get your day off to a great start is by working your arms a little bit. I have a workout for you today that is simple and can be done using products we all have in our homes.

Just like last week, I have a few videos below for you to watch so you know how to do the moves. Then check out the actual workout series below for the amount of repetitions I suggest for each move. After doing these moves for a week, I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to getting those toned arms we all want!

Arm Workout Using Household Items

You’ll need some weights to perform this workout. If you have free weights, feel free to use them. If not, use milk gallons and canned goods! 

-50 Bicep Curls (25 each arm)

-50 Hammer Curls (25 each arm)

-100 behind-the-back tricep pushes (50 with each arm in front)

-25 tricep dips

-2 minutes door frame resistance pushes (30 second intervals, taking a short break between each set)

-25 forward arm circles with cans

-25 backward arm circles with cans

-25 reverse flies with cans

Get to work, mommies! Just because we’re mommies doesn’t mean we have to give up feeling GREAT about ourselves. Take a few minutes for yourself today!

Amber

 

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Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup

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During the winter months a lot of soup is made in my kitchen. In particular, a lot of this homemade chicken soup. The first time I made this for Jake was back when we were in college. We had been dating a few months and he came down with a terrible cold. Wanting to impress this guy who I had started to fall head over heels for, I decided to pull out all the stops and make my mom’s homemade chicken soup. It had been a favorite growing up, and although I hadn’t made it before, I knew it would be the perfect medicine.

I called my mom to ask her for the recipe, and soon learned it was pretty simple and almost impossible to mess up. You basically add a bunch of ingredients to a stockpot and sample it until it tastes just right for you. Hence, why I call it the “Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup.”

If you’re looking for an easy go-to recipe for soup, this is it.

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Homemade Dump & Taste Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

-1 whole chicken (cut up) or 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts*

-1 can of corn, drained

-2 cups shredded carrots

-2 cups celery, chopped

-1 cup rice

-2 cups egg noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer or have on hand. I used penne in my last batch.)

-chicken bouillon cubes to taste

-salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:

Fill a stockpot or dutch oven about halfway full of water and bring to a boil. Add a little salt to the water and boil the whole chicken or chicken breasts for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Keeping the water in the pot, carefully remove the chicken and set aside to cool. The chicken flavored water in the pan will serve as the broth for the soup. While the chicken is cooling, add the corn, carrots, celery, uncooked rice, and uncooked noodles to the water. Allow them to boil for a bit until tender. While they’re boiling, cut up the chicken into small chunks, removing all bones if you used a whole chicken. Add the chicken to the soup. Turn to low and let simmer until you’re ready to eat. While its simmering, taste the flavor of the soup. If you’d prefer a stronger chicken flavor, add a few chicken bouillion cubes and some salt and pepper to taste. Also feel free to add more rice if you want a thicker consistency. When you’re happy with how it tastes, serve it up!

Recommendations:

I think the soup has better flavor when using a whole chicken, but if you’re looking for a shortcut the chicken breasts work fine too. When buying a whole chicken at the deli, ask them to cut it up for you so all you need to do is dump it in the pan.

As is the case with a lot of soups, this one keeps getting better as the flavors have longer to mix, which means it is great for leftovers. It also works well to freeze it and pull it out on a day when you’re looking for a quick meal. It thickens as it sits, so when you reheat it you may need to add some more water and bouillon cubes. 

If you have your own patient to nurse back to health, or simply want a soup that will leave a lasting impression, I hope you’ll give my mom’s soup a try. It certainly did the trick to win over my honey’s heart!

Make it a great Tuesday, remembering to take a few minutes for yourself today!

Amber

 

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Enjoy God’s Best

We have a choice to make this week! We can either choose to feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, or we can aggressively expect good things.

I don’t know about you, but I can almost always expect moments throughout the week when my patience is tested or when I feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. Those moments have the power to determine how the rest of my week will go. By choosing to look at the obstacles as opportunities, we can focus on how God wants to bless us through those trials.

God most certainly knows this, and reminded me of it again this weekend. Since moving to the area a little over a month ago, we’ve been trying out various churches. This week we went to Eagle Brook and I’m positive it was a divine appointment. They started a new series this week called “Losing Our Buts” which is about learning how to get rid of our excuses because they hold us back from experiencing life as God intends. I can hardly wait to listen to the rest of the series.

If we want to enjoy the best life God has for us, we need to realize that it starts with us. We have to believe what God’s word says about us more than we believe what others say or what our feelings or own minds say. We need to expect God’s best. We need to look ahead with confidence and excitement, knowing that God’s plan for our lives is awesome, even though it may seem a bit overwhelming at times. The truth is, God wants to pour out favor on our lives – kindness we don’t deserve.

My challenge for all of us this week is this:

Resist and refuse to let doubt convince you that good things won’t happen to you and your family. Ask God to give you divine supernatural favor and then expect to see it in your life every day! His blessings are abundant, if we’re just willing to take the time and acknowledge them.

“Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:47

Question of the Day:

Do you ever find yourself being overwhelmed by what’s ahead? How do you flip the switch and get into a different mindset?

Let’s enjoy God’s best for us this week!

Amber

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Moments Mommy Captured: 1/6/2013

Outside of New Year’s being on Tuesday, the rest of our week was pretty low key. It’s been nice to get back into our normal routine, enjoying the ordinary everyday moments with our little family.

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Our week started out with Joey and Madison staying with us. Baylen’s become quite fond of them. It’s so fun for me to see him bond with his aunt and uncle!

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We lucked out and found a babysitter for New Year’s so Jake and I headed out with some friends to Capital Grille. It was fun to get dressed up and go out!

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Baylen continues to becoming more independent everyday. Whenever we’re out and about he insists on walking on his own, which is great except for the fact that he doesn’t exactly understand what it means to stay by Mommy and Daddy. It’s good practice anyway, for when the girls come and we can’t carry him all the time anymore.

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If you would have asked me at the beginning of the week if I let Baylen stand at the top of the stairs with the gate open I would have said no way. But we worked on learning how to go down the stairs this week and he’s quickly becoming a pro. I still don’t quite trust him to go down the whole flight by himself without me spotting him, but I’m excited about a day soon when I don’t have to police the baby gates so closely.

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We’ve also working on eating with utensils this week. I’ve been giving them to him to play with for a while now, but it wasn’t until this week that he took a real interest in using them. I was quite impressed with how he was gobbling down the mac and cheese with his fork. As for the bites that didn’t make it into his mouth? For those I’m thankful we have a yellow lab.

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Our little man is such a busy body and until recently hasn’t been interested in sitting still for longer than about 5 seconds when it comes to reading him books. However, within the last few weeks he’s started to have favorite books and will bring them over. When we stick to his favorites, he’ll let us read them over and over.

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Bay’s movements have become a lot more focused and calculated lately. Whether he’s stacking and opening jewelry boxes, putting his straw in and out of his glass a million times in a row, or pointing to eyes and other body parts we’ve taught him, he loves to figure things out.

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Baylen got his first basketball lesson from Daddy this week. He was so intrigued.

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What started as his signal that he wanted to give an open mouthed kiss has become his signal for anything he wants to put in his mouth. I get to see this cute face when he wants a drink of something, wants his paci, wants a kiss, or wants to eat something from the cookie jar. That little guy knows how to get what he wants!

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Just a couple days ago Baylen started to copy us when we sneeze. Whenever he hears one of us say “Bless you!” he immediately breaks out in a series of fake sneezes, which is what he was doing in the picture above. Yes, at almost 15 months, our little man is a little ham.

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As for those little princesses? They’re growing too. I definitely feel like I’m starting to pop out big time. This was yesterday at 26.5 weeks!

That’s it for this week’s update! Take a few minutes today and think about the precious moments from your week! We are blessed, friends!

Amber

 

 

 

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Take 10 To Paint Your Nails

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Over the past year, I’ve tried to be more intentional about painting my nails from time to time. It takes intentionality because it’s so easy for me to talk myself out of it on account of the fact that the polish remains perfect for only about a half hour tops before I ding it up or chip it. Mommy duties certainly don’t make it easy to keep a good manicure.

However, when I put a fresh coat of polish on, something about it makes me feel dainty and sophisticated. It’s like a magic potion that transforms me from a frumpy housewife to a royal highness. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you get the picture. It’s amazing how spending a quick 10 minutes to pamper my nails can put a little spring in my step, which is exactly what I need some days.

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Today is one of those days. Baylen has been working on a molar and the past few nights have left me feeling quite exhausted. Thank goodness for Essie coming to my rescue for a perfect pick-me-up during Baylen’s nap time this morning.

I picked up this color on a recent Target run, along with this cute clutch! I’ve been looking for one for a while that zips up so I can throw it in the diaper bag when I’m out and about, and found this one on clearance for $7! Cute, huh?

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As far as nail polish goes, I personally think it’s totally worth it to spend a few extra dollars on Essie or OPI as opposed to the cheaper options because it actually stays on my fingers and doesn’t chip off as quickly.

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Treat yourself to a fun new nail color and take a few minutes to give yourself a manicure sometime soon. You may just feel like royalty! 😉

Question of the Day:

If you’ve painted your nails lately, do you have a recommendation for a fun color to try?

Happy Friday!

Amber

 

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DIY: Pegboard Jewelry Organizer

Our little family moved into a different house about a month ago, which means we’ve been busy unpacking and finding places to keep our things. We’ve moved several times since we were married five years ago, and each time my jewelry has been neglected, ending up in a dresser drawer with no organization whatsoever.

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When I saw pegboards on Pinterest being used as jewelry organizers, I immediately knew I wanted some variation for my own closet. Jake and I set out for Home Depot a couple weeks ago and picked up a 2′ by 4′ white wooden pegboard, some trimboard, stain, picture hangers, and peghooks. This project came together for around $25, which is much less than buying a standard jewelry box!

After staining the piece of trimboard, my handy husband made some angled cuts so he could nail it on to create a perfectly sized frame for the border. He also added a wood frame to the back of the board so that it could sit flush against the wall and I’d be able to easily add peg hooks without having to pull it away from the wall.

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Jake of course had his little helper intently watching his every move. That little guy sure loves his daddy.

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I’m really happy with how the finished product turned out! Being able to see all my jewelry displayed as I get dressed has encouraged me to wear it more often which always makes me feel a little more put together. I’m also glad we went with a big pegboard because I can rearrange the pegs as I like and have lots of room to grow into it.

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If you don’t have access to the tools or manpower to cut and make your own frame, or prefer a different size, you could find a frame you like and ask the workers at the home improvement store to cut the pegboard to fit the size of your frame. Then simply frame it like a picture and hang it up!

Even though most of my jewelry is fairly inexpensive and comes from Target or Forever 21, it’s nice to know I’m taking good care of it and don’t have to worry about everything getting tangled in my dresser anymore. Check one organization project off the list!

Question for the Day:

How do you organize your jewelry? 

Have a great Thursday! Take a few minutes to organize something in your life today!

Amber

 

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Kick It Out Workout

The post holiday blues have begun to set in a bit this morning. After two glorious weeks of enjoying Jake’s laid back holiday work schedule, sending him out the door for work today was no fun at all.

Since I’m in a bit of a funk, I need to get my blood flowing and release some endorphins to flip around my attitude a bit. This Kick It Out Workout is sure to do just that. If you need a little pick me up today, take 10 minutes and join me in doing these simple power packed moves that will give you the motivation to confidently kick off the new year! You’ll also get a great burn in your butt and thighs!

Below are a couple videos to walk you through how to do the moves in the workout.

 

Kick It Out Workout

-100 side kicks (50 each leg)

-50 back kicks (25 each leg)

-50 front kicks (25 each leg)

-50 kneeling reverse butt kicks (25 each leg)

-50 kneeling straight legged back kicks (25 each leg)

And with that, you’ve done 300 kicks! Great work! I’d call that a great start to the New Year!

Question for the Day:

Are you experiencing post holiday blues? If so, how do you plan to get out of the funk? 

Make it a great Wednesday as you love on your families! And don’t forget to find a few minutes of “me time!”

Amber

 

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