Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is this a commitment I'm ready for?

After apartment dwelling for the past 5 years, Hubs and I are more than ready to put our stamp on our own place! The problem...we actually like neutral colors! A LOT! For me, I tend to get sick of things rather quickly so it's probably best to go neutral on the walls and add in my own accent colors with the decor. The house is already beige throughout with the exception of one yellow accent wall in the living area, and another yellow accent wall in the master bedroom. The yellow has got to go, but I can't just paint them beige. It's time to add a little color in our lives. I'm pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and taking a partial risk by adding some color. It wasn't easy finding something we could commit to, but we managed! I'm obsessed with these colors, and I seriously hope I don't tire of them too quickly! 
This is what we decided on:
1. Sherwin Williams "Quietude" accent wall in the main living area - This color is not bold at all, and I wouldn't be opposed to doing an entire room this color. There's no way that would be possible though since the entryway, dining room and living room all run into one another. I love it but don't want my entire house this color.
2. Sherwin Williams "Dishy Coral" accent wall in Ella's room - This was the closest "pinky/coraly" color I could find. I think her white furniture will look SO good against this shade. If it's not too much I may consider painting the other three walls as well, but if not I'm thinking about doing some gold vinyl polka dots instead (this is what I'm leaning toward).
3. Sherwin Williams "Enigma" accent wall in the master bedroom - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't petrified. This could go HORRIBLY wrong, or it could be completely amazing! Even if it scares the "ever-living you know what" out of me, I'm sticking with it until we have curtains and a headboard to break it up a bit. In my head it looks like a sanctuary. Hopefully this isn't an epic fail!

Do you have any horror stories with paint colors?! Tell me about it, maybe then I'll feel better when "enigma" backfires!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pivot!

{via}
You better believe I'll be the first one to shout out "PIVOT" on Friday!

Sooooo, it turns out moving isn't easy. We haven't even gotten to the actual part where we perform the act of moving yet and I'm shot. It's especially not easy preparing for a move when you have a 10 month old underfoot - literally.

How/why do we all accumulate so much stuff?! I don't think of myself as a hoarder at all, but there are certain things I hang onto for "sentimental" reasons and I just don't have the heart to throw away. Surely you've all been there. Half of it really is junk that collects dust and takes up space. I so badly want to simplify our lives, but is now the time to be doing this "life cleanse"? 

It stands to reason that you should re-evaluate each item before you pack it to bring it to the new place. "Do I use this? Do I need this? Have I even touched this in the past few years? Will I miss this?" I'm not only talking about those "sentimental" items. There are also questions like "Do I need 27 chapsticks? Will I ever use this body spray that brings me back to my senior year (and not necessarily in a good way)? Let's be real - will those shorts ever fit again?" These things are stressing me out, taking up too much time....and after all of it I'm hardly throwing much away anyway. 

So, should I ditch this strategy...just throw it all in a box and deal with it when I unpack? OR should I just get settled in the new house and deal with it in my own time? So many questions!!! What did you do? I'm open to any pointers on the entire packing and moving process! We're at the point were I need a serious game plan! Let's do this!
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who can even THINK about cooking this week?

So that may be an exaggeration. Obviously we have to eat, and it's best I plan it now so it's one less thing to worry about later. I can't believe I'm even going to share this pitiful version of a weekly meal plan with you all...
Tonight: Stovetop Turkey Meatloaf with green beans
Monday: Not cooking
Tuesday: Rotisserie chicken and the rest of the green beans
Wednesday: Pizza
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Moving Day!!! If I have to guess, I'd say we are having Subway for dinner!

As if things aren't crazy enough over here with packing for the big move, I go back to work tomorrow. If you're thinking "why didn't they just move before Steph went back to work?" just know I tried....oh, how I tried to time this better. This is life, you can't expect perfect timing. One plus is that I do have Friday off of work, so Ella will go to the sitter and come home to a brand new home! Now THAT is going to be fun!

Speaking of the babes, she obviously knows something is up. She's been so whiney and clingy and well...a hot little mess if I'm honest! I think in addition to our lives being in a total uproar right now, she is also experiencing that yucky low-grade teething fever (everyone tells me that's a thing). She just isn't herself, hasn't been all weekend. After all this chaos it will be so worth it, but it's tough doing work around the apartment when all she wants is our undivided attention. My poor baby! Maybe this nap is just the refresher she needs? If not, I'm pulling out the big guns - Baby Einstein marathon!!! I use it for emergencies only!
Just a recap:
Thursday, we received final word that we were closing on Friday around 1:00. It really got down to the last minute. Friday, we closed on the house! Once those keys were in my hand I didn't want to let go. I also wanted to spend the day just laying on the floor in the family room, but there was WAY too much stuff to do. I'll have to take a raincheck on that! Yesterday, we bought curtains and an area rug. Stephen hung blinds in all of the bedrooms. We also cracked open a bottle of champagne and did some major packing. Today, Hubs just bought all of the paint and we made a day by day "game plan" leading up until Friday. Busy, busy - as you can see! 

In between packing, I'm also somehow going to make a giant batch of baby food for Ella. We are running low on fruit! At this rate she will be eating beef stew for breakfast. I better get on that! I hope you're all having a nice weekend. Ours is anything but relaxing, but I know it's going to pay off real soon! We're almost there! Yesssss!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Win A Custom Business Card Design {Giveaway}

Good news!!! I have a very special giveaway starting today, by a very special sponsor of mine! Meet Cristina from Sombras Blancas Art & Design, be sure to check out her ADORABLE custom designs and of course make sure you enter this giveaway for a fun custom business card design by this sweet lady!!!
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My name is Cristina and I am the owner of Sombras Blancas Art & Design. I specialize in branding for small businesses and startups: logos, websites, stationery... Everything a brand may need to put the word out there in a professional way. The main strengths of my business are customization of the designs and customer service. I work on every client’s project until we find the perfect solution, constantly communicating so he or she can be involved in the process from beginning to end.
Below, you may enter to win a custom business card design!!! It will be a completely customized design for the winner to match his/her business branding or as a personal card! Good luck!
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eight To Ten

Hello Friends! Summer vacation is coming to an end for me and I can't help but feel a little blue. Yesterday, every second of free time was spent compiling all of the videos on my cell phone into this fun little montage. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, I figured the end of summer vacay would be the perfect way to reflect on how much she has changed over the past two months. So my break didn't truly start until about mid-June, but even in the past month being home with her I've noticed such a drastic change. 

It's as though she has gotten taller, her hair has grown and her face has gone from chubby little baby face to the face of a toddler - all before my very eyes!!! In addition to the obvious physical changes, she's been hitting those developmental milestones faster than I could document them all! We are on the brink of walking people....WALKING!  

While I was pregnant, I remember resisting the urge to roll my eyes by the time the 100th person told me "they grow up so fast". Now I find myself speaking those very words...it's so cliché but SO true! Here's the video that I put together yesterday of months 8 through 10. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Green Chicken Stew {For Baby}

This is one of Ella's favorites. Sound familiar? Yes, she has a lot of favorites...the girl loves to eat! What's better than (or just as good as) a crock pot recipe for grown ups? Duh, a crock pot recipe for babies! This is really easy to just throw together, let it cook all day, toss it in the food processor, and then freeze massive quantities!

Ingredients:
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
2-3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup green beans
1 chopped zucchini
1 chopped celery stalk
1/4 onion chopped
1/2 peeled and chopped russet potato

Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients into a crock pot.
2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.
3. Puree in food processor.

*I can not for the life of me remember how much this made...if I had to guesstimate, I'd say about 6 - 8 four ounce containers. Can freeze up to 3 months. 
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's cooking this week?

It's been one of those rough mornings over here in the "Sko" household. I could honestly say we haven't had one of these in a while. Baby Girl developed what I call a "flash-rash". Hubs changed her diaper and there was nothing there (not even pink), loaded her up with vaseline as usual...next diaper change about an hour later - rash. Between the diaper rash and teething, our girl is not a happy camper. Super cranky! Everything is setting her off. I hate seeing her like this, poor kid! I managed to whip up a quick meal plan and list for the week. 
Tonight: Spicy Beef Stir Fry
Monday: Not cooking
Tuesday: Three Cheese White Pizza w/ Spinach
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Fajita Pitas
Thursday: Summer Hot Dogs
Friday: Not cooking

There's been quite a bit of drama with closing on our house. There are too many parties involved in this process if you ask me. From what everyone keeps telling me, it's normal to experience anxiety when it gets close to the end but this is stressing Hubs and I out majorly! Please send good vibes that all goes well and we get to close on the house on Friday!

We're packing bit by bit and trying to keep the disaster zone limited to our room. Ella wants to help out though. Silly girl! At this point....whatever keeps her smiling!!!
Have a great Sunday!
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Savannah 2014

As you probably know (because I haven't stopped talking about it), our little family just came back from a trip to Savannah, Georgia. We stayed in a hundred year old home in the historic district along with my parents, brother, aunt, uncle, and cousins. (Fun Fact: John Cusak stayed there during the filming of Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil.) How could it not be an incredible time?!? The house was facing Washington Square, and was just a short walk to Bay Street, River Street, TONS of shops and restaurants! 
My brother signed up for an open mic at a classy place called "The Wormhole" on our first night there. He was phenomenal (click here for a video) and it was such a perfect way to kick off our trip. On Thursday we set out to explore the city and check out some of the shops on River Street. Friday we spent doing a trolley tour and wandering around Forsyth Park. Hubs and I missed out on the 4th of July fireworks but it was quite alright because our little angel was at the house snoozing so peacefully (I don't know how with all the noise). Saturday we had a delicious lunch at the Olde Pink House, and we went out that night with the crew while my mom stayed home with the babes. We had a little impromptu ghost hunt by using an EMF detector app on my phone. Does anyone know if that thing actually works...if so, my apartment is definitely haunted! Sunday we did some more exploring and shopping...and of course eating. My yummy Bolognese Sauce was a big hit, and by that point it was nice to stay in and have a nice home cooked meal in the house.
That's the house in the back
The city was so charming and full of history, we loved it. We found so many quaint little spots in just the short time we were there. So many wonderful memories were created in such a short span of time. We've all decided to make renting a house somewhere a yearly family tradition...there are a few ideas on the table for next year. Any recommendations? 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ella's Ten Month Update

Double Digits!!! It has been SO difficult to get pictures of my girl these days. She doesn't sit still for a single second (I wonder where she gets that from) so that's why there's only one ten month photo worth sharing. I've been lucky enough to be home with Ella for the past month and really be able to experience her growth. She's been changing right before my eyes. It's been nuts!
Her hair is getting long enough for a little "Pebbles ponytail". No more teeth have come through so we still only have the bottom two. Regardless, she still bites into her food like she has a mouthful. It's pretty funny to watch. 
Ella is a great napper/sleeper (fingers crossed I'm not jinxing things majorly by saying this). She takes two naps a day and goes to bed for the night around 8 and is up by 7. Not one single complaint here in the sleep department. Praying that doesn't change, even though I know at some point her routine will start to evolve. Especially since I've been home with her, I've been able to keep her to this routine real well.   

As you can see from the video, another thing this kid rocks at is eating! She doesn't always feed herself, but on the few occasions I allow her control of the spoon...let's just say it starts off well. Some new foods that she's tried are red lentils, chi-chi beans, cherries, beef, greek yogurt, and cheese (not all together). Using the sippy cup is still a little bit of a challenge but we're getting there. 
How cute is this "Ella-sized" fro-yo cone?!? Don't be fooled by the face, she actually loved the taste but hated the coldness. She kept going back for more, and making this face. Ella's first brain freeze!
Her vocabulary is still mainly "Ma-Ma", "Da-Da", and "cook"...but we've added "uh-oh" into the mix. I also swear I've heard a few "Hi"'s too. She's also been waving, sometimes her hand opens and closes towards her instead of outwards...it's adorable. The second week I was home with her, I taught her how to clap. There's no greater feeling than watching your child do something YOU actually taught them. Coolest ever!
Baby Girl is becoming a pro at standing. I've even been noticing that if she is standing unassisted and starts to crouch down, she's able to stand back up on her own...sort of like a squat. She's been taking some steps, never more than three so I can't officially say she is walking yet. It's coming SOON!
She's been making this surprised face more and more these days, it cracks us up. Most of the time it's accompanied by either "ooooooooh" or "ohhhhhh". Hilarious. So far it seems like next months update will feature A LOT of this expression! 

This month was full of new developments, I'm sure I left a bunch of stuff out. From now on I'm keeping a journal of all of them since things are happening SO fast! TOO fast if you ask me!
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Monday, July 7, 2014

What's cooking this week?

We're already back from Georgia! After all the build up for a trip we booked back in December...it's over. I can't believe it! I remember saying "Ella will almost be ONE by the time we go to Savannah". Well, I'm already planning her first birthday party. Insane. The trip was incredible - I'll be sharing more details about it as soon as I get settled. We just got home not long ago, I'm unpacking, planning meals for the week, and building up a new stash of food for the babes. Back to our usual routine!
Tonight: Subway (easy-peasy)
Tuesday: Bolognese Sauce (I made this for everyone in Savannah and had some left)
Wednesday: Thai Noodle Soup
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad
Friday: Crock-Pot Tomato Basil Soup and steak for Hubs

I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July weekend!
 
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th From Savannah

Happy Fourth of July! I'm in Savannah having a LOVELY time with my family (this is the assumption....I scheduled this post in advance)! My parents and brother drove down, and my Aunt Laura, Uncle John, cousins and us drove up. Here's a glimpse of the insanely gorgeous house we're renting for the week in the historic district... 
That kitchen!!! I scoured Pinterest for festive Fourth of July themed recipes before we left. I may have to try a few out depending on how adventurous I'm feeling. Here's one that is most likely to come to fruition....
The Sparkler
I hope you all have a safe & Happy Fourth!!!
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

La'Shawn @ March to December {Guest Post}

Get a room!! :-)
Hi! I am La'Shawn. I blog over at March to December. I am very excited to be guest blogging here at Never the Same Spice Twice. Stephanie's blog was one of the very first that I sponsored and a blog that I read daily. I really wasn't sure what to blog about today. I am no cook! I promise you that. I then had someone ask me, "What is your and J's secret?"

That got me thinking. We have only been married for nearly 8 years. To some that is a drop in a bucket. To others, that is huge! I am not sure where I stand. However, we are happy! We are not trudging through life just making it. We are happy, and I guess it shows. He and I have been asked this more than once.

Don't get me wrong. We have our ups & downs...what couple doesn't?! I like to think we have more ups than downs though. Believe it or not, it is the little things that make our world go round. These "secrets" are not really secrets. I bet you guys know them! That being said, sometimes we all need a little reminder about the things we know.

Secret #1:  LAUGH! 
Laughing is good medicine! I have seen all kinds of articles out there about what the power of laughing does for individuals (and couples). My husband (and now kid), seem to make it their mission to have us laughing at all times! Be it funny jokes, being silly, or jumping out and scaring one another. There isnt a day that goes by that we are not laughing, most of it! You will find it hard to argue, think negative thoughts, or worse if you are laughing!

Secret #2: Forgive
I know that is easier said than done. I am no way saying, forget. I am only saying that we are human. Your spouse/significant other is just as human as the rest of us. I come from a line of grudge holders. This one is hard for me. It seems my husband comes from a line of forgivers. I will just go ahead and say it. I am the one asking for forgiveness the most. He doesn't think twice. Forgiveness is given. Big things and little things throughout our 7 year marriage and 11 year relationship. I might think twice, but always end up forgiving.

Everyone feels better in the long run. No, waiting for that shoe to drop. No, fighting over it. No, trudging it all back up. Forgive, learn, and move on. Most things, we are not going to forget. We shouldn't. Use them as learning points in your relationship...stepping stones to the next best part of said relationship.

Secret #3: Don't Nag!
I take great pride in the fact that I don't nag. I really didn't realize that I did, until my husband pointed out that it was one of my best qualities. lol. Hi! I am La'Shawn & I don't nag. :-) Yes, our spouses (especially men!) are not always going to jump right up and tackle the Honey Do list. They might drag their behinds on one simple task you asked them to do. I don't know about you....I am not perfect and I drag rear from time to time often as well!

I don't know any person that enjoys being nagged at. There is no real since of accomplishment when said task is done. There is a since of "Now she/he will be quite about it!" That isn't a good feeling on anyone's part. By the way, you likely could do the same thing you are nagging your spouse about. I understand there are some limits to that. I also understand we all work (inside and outside the house) as well. "Could you just do this one thing for me?!" If it is that important, do it yourself. ;-) I say that with all the blogging love I can muster. I promise you. In the long run, your spouse will notice and will thank you for it. Because, let's be honest. Who wants to be that nagging person and who wants to be nagged?

There you go. Those are my secrets to a happy marriage. I hope I didn't offend anyone. That wasn't my intention. Take them to heart. Throw them away. Whatever you like. I just thought I would share. :-) Sometimes all anyone needs, is a little reminder.

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