Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Nursery: Revealed!

It's been two months in the making and our Girl's bedroom is finally complete! So without further ado, allow me to present our Sweet Pea's Nursery!

Most items in our nursery were either refinished by my husband or crafted by me, including the crib skirt, window treatments, fabric banner, nursing pillow cover, hair pretty holder, dresser and side table. It was so worth our time and effort as Baby Girl's room is EXACTLY how I envisioned it!

Of course, there are a few more things we would like to do, but they are certainly not necessities, such as: 

  • Install proper tie backs for the closet curtains {maybe some pretty glass ones that match the dresser pulls?)
  • Cut out and applique fabric letters to the banner so "Sweet Dreams" really pops
  • Build a simple closet organizer to maximize the floor space in that big ole' closet
  • Install crown molding (but we would eventually like to do that in all the bedrooms)

All in all, we are in LOVE! Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Next Up: Master Closet Redo

Now that the nursery is complete (post coming tomorrow!), we can finally refocus our efforts on the project we started back in March-the master bedroom!! While we were able to get a good chunk completed, there is still some work to be done. And our first major task at hand: doing a total overhaul on our closet(s). Because the truth is, we have a ton of closet space, but it's not the most functional and that drives us both insane!

The goal: To maximize our space and avoid the need for a dresser

I suppose I should show you what we are working with first. But be warned, it's not pretty and I am embarrassed to say that this is what we see when we're in bed...romantic, I know. Obviously we would like to change that to create a calm, relaxing atmosphere.

How's that for keepin' it real?! As you can see, we've got our work cut out for us! We've got smashed clothes, bowing brackets, piles of who knows what-basically, in need of some serious TLC. Here's how we're breaking down this project:

1. Sort through our clothes and make a trip to Goodwill (maybe I should also mention that half of the guest room closet is full of Chris' clothes)

2. Draw up a blueprint

3. Build/install closet organizer

4. Fashion pretty closet coverings (since one of the very first things we did upon moving in was rip out the unsightly closet doors). I'm hoping to add drape-like covering that create a flowy and romantic feel to the room.

Since we have plenty of other things going on, we're giving ourselves the entire month to complete this project. I'll do my best to post updates of our progress!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend in Photos + A Nursery Teaser

Well my friends, this was a whirlwind weekend. And that is putting it very mildly! We were busy from Friday evening until the wee hours of Sunday night. But it was all worth is, as our Baby Girl's nursery will be revealed this Wednesday!! It is absolutely perfect! In fact, it is officially my favorite room in our house and I keep finding myself sneaking in there just to admire its loveliness:)

But the weekend wasn't all nursery, as we did find a moment for ourselves to savor a scrumptious stack of berry Belgian waffles and some iced coffee!

Which was a much needed respite from the two final sewing projects that turned out to be more than a little frustrating challenging than anticipated. But thanks to the incredible help of my mother-in-law, it looks like all will be completed tonight (hence the Wednesday reveal:). Trust me though, they will be so worth it when it's all said and done!

And because I've strung you along these past several weeks, I think you deserve a little teaser of what's to come, so here's your sneak peek:

Hopefully that will satisfy your palette until Wednesday! Hope your weekend was fabulous (and involved less pulling of your hair than mine;)!

Friday, August 26, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 27

We've made it to week 27 and according to Fit Pregnancy, our girl is now about the size of a small pot roast, which I fully believe as she has officially taken over my belly! Her kicks are now happening long! I love it and I love knowing that she's growing and healthy, however, this week has been peppered with some interesting pregnancy woes...

Let's just say I am now beginning to feel the discomforts of pregnancy. Mostly when I sleep, try to bend over and generally stay on my feet too long, but I can finally say that I feel pregnant! Sleeping has been okay for the most part, though I am now waking up a few times a night and having trouble getting back to sleep (especially when leg cramps are involved). And then there's the pee breaks every 30-45 minutes (no exaggeration!) which are nothing short of embarrassing when you're with the same people for a few hours. And finally, I experienced for the first time last week, the inability to bend over and buckle my sandals:(  Of course my husband graciously did the job for me (while we both laughed). I continue to be amazed at how rapidly my body is changing and how something I could do yesterday is a faint memory today.

But on the up side, we have much to look forward to this week with my third and final trimester beginning Wednesday, taking our first Bradley birthing class this weekend and getting the nursery ready to reveal next week!!

Hope you have some fun plans this weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Quinoa?

Experimenting with different grains is one of my favorite ways to add a little flare to our meals (a trait I like to thank my college years for!).  One of my personal favorites is quinoa for its versatility and hearty texture. Thankfully, I have a husband who is always willing to try new recipes I come across, like this simple side we had last night!

It was a delightful blend of warm, spicy undertones and that sweet bite for balance. Perfect aside grilled pork chops and a spinach salad!

What's your favorite grain?  Any must-try recipes? Do tell...

Quinoa and Avocado Salad
recipe adapted  from

3 T dried cranberries
2 T dried apricots, diced
3 cups cooked quinoa (learn to cook the perfect quinoa here)
1 lemon
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
3 T almonds, coarsely chopped

Grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Whisk with olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic and salt.
Toss cooked quinoa with cranberries and apricots. Add avocado and almonds and toss with dressing. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Headbands

It recently occurred to me that while Baby Girl has plenty of hair clips (both gifted and made my her mama), she was seriously lacking in the headband department. And by that, I mean she only had five total. And it is a very real possibility that she could be born bald like I was and not be able to wear her clips for a while. What a shame that would be!

So I took the liberty of spicing up her repertoire of hair accessories and made these pretty flower headbands! And no surprise, but I actually love these flowers way more than ones I've seen in stores. Cannot wait to see my precious girl in them!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Welcome Distraction

First I would just like to say thank you for all of your kind words, condolences and understanding about our sweet Max! Somehow knowing that others have been here eases some of the blow. But the feeling that a special piece of our family is missing will likely be there for some time. Even Abby is aware that something just isn't right and has responded with highly increased affection.

Given what a sad note the weekend started on, we welcomed the distractions this weekend provided. Some of which included my monthly preggo massage, attending a friend's wedding, brunch with some dear girlfriends and finally, putting some finishing touches on the nursery. Hoping distractions like these continue, as we're missing our pup big time!

Here's to a better week, friends!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Max

Goodbyes are never easy, especially when they are to a beloved canine member of the family. Last night we made the heart-wrenching decision to put down our one-year-old Border Collie, Max. To say that we were torn up about the decision would be an understatement and many tears were shed as we let him go.

You just don't expect to face this decision when your dogs are young and seemingly healthy and I'm not sure that anything can really prepare you. However, we learned about seven weeks ago that Max had a very rare hereditary blood disorder called hemophilia, which means he had a deficiency in his ability to clot blood. Basically, any bump or bruise could lead to him bleeding out into major organs, which is ultimately what happened to him.

We were told by our vet that while it was incurable, it would be a condition we would need to manage by keeping him fairly inactive anytime he got injured. And because we had only ever seen very minor affects of it, we were hopeful he could live a fairly normal life. But from the week we found out, his health seemed to take a fast decline and these past two weeks have been full of almost daily episodes of brain swelling, seizure-like incidents, chronic nose bleeds and ultimately, bleeding into his stomach and lungs. The final decision came yesterday when Chris and I were woken up in the middle of the night to him gasping for air and finding a pool of blood in his kennel, followed by him throwing up blood.

Couple that with two expensive emergency visits to the vet where we were told there was nothing that could be done and realizing that his quality of life was rapidly deteriorating and we couldn't put off the inevitable any longer. I think what made the decision even harder for us is that even through his obvious discomfort, he was always happy. Even yesterday as he was coughing up clots of blood, all he wanted to do was play fetch!

While my words barely do his precious little life justice, he will live on in our memories for the exceptional dog he was; sweet, loyal, energetic and insanely well-behaved. Our time with him was simply too short and we will miss him terribly.

Friday, August 19, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 26

Baby Girl is twenty-six weeks along and I can hardly believe we are nearly two-thirds of the way through this pregnancy! Honestly, I am still blown away by what a miracle it is that my body is growing our baby! Every single physical change is and has been completely worth the prize in the end! But I must say, she's already a wild child with her crazy acrobatics that completely catch me off guard! The other night I was sitting in bed talking to Chris and we literally saw her start dancing around (or so it looked like!). I adore how her little personality is already coming forth!

This week I must have really popped because suddenly I've experiencing a good ole' case of chivalry from people everywhere. Random strangers are suddenly more conscious to open doors for me, restaurant hostesses are fondly telling me that I look cute while of course looking at my belly and my clients nearly refuse to let me lift more than 30 lbs. without some kind of assistance. I'm slowly learning to embrace it (especially that last one!). And this is in addition to getting those lovely little cliche compliments like, "You are glowing" and "Wow, you're all belly!". People can be so darn sweet!

And you know, it's surprised me how much I truly don't mind that my belly has suddenly become public property. How can I complain when others just want to feel our little pumpkin squirming around? She is loved and I definitely cherish that!

Hang on to your hats because the third and final trimester is just around the corner, which means birthing classes are about to start, the nursery will soon be revealed and things are about to get a little crazy at the Hansen's!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Choosing Cloth

I've been trying to mentally formulate this post for months, but before I shared why we are choosing to use cloth diapers instead of disposables, I wanted to have some pictures for you (obviously!). And now that we have our own set of 30 bumGenius dipes, the time has come to indulge you in our thoughts, findings and excitement over cloth diapering!

Let me start by saying that I completely understand if you're skeptical, as I have received countless stares like I have three eyes when I tell people we are going cloth (including my own mother at first). But the misconception that they are your mother's bulky, safety-pinned contraption is so 20 years ago. People can barely believe that today's cloth diapers are so convenient and practical! Plus, they are adorable (a definite perk!).

Allow me to begin with the top reasons we chose this route: 

I am the first to admit that we've been more conscious of our budget with our family expanding and that alone made this choice a no brainer for us. When I first began my research, I came across a jaw-dropping fact: the average family spends $50+ on diapers a month. And take into consideration that you pay that until baby is potty trained (between 2-3 years). Yikes! And then add a few more kiddos to the mix. That's a serious dent in your wallet! Obviously, we were enticed by the one-time cost of cloth.

Of course, with cloth diapers you are required to shell out the funds up front.  But knowing it was the route we wanted to take, we shopped around and waited until they went on sale, buy 5, get 1 free, which saved us a whopping $90! So while our set of 30 diapers cost $449, they will pay for themselves in about 7 months (a few sets were even given to us as gifts). And did I mention that they can be used for multiple kids? So let's say we have 3 kids. In their lifetime, we will have only spent $149 on their diapering needs!

Baby Friendly
Countless reviews have claimed that after switching from disposables to cloth diapers, their babies no longer experienced diaper rash as the natural cotton fibers allow the skin to breath more easily. And I love knowing that my baby won't have harsh chemicals and dyes against her skin. According to several studies I came across, about 75% of babies who use disposables get diaper rash as compared to about 7% who use cloth. Statistics like those speak for themselves.

This particular brand we choose makes a one-size diaper option, fitting babies 7-35+ lbs. Which means that with a 2 year old still in diapers, your newborn can be wearing the same ones, thanks to this genius design. Basically, the 30 diapers we already have will hopefully see us through all of our kids diapering years. Sweet!

And don't let me forget the glorious fact that they look and go on just like regular diapers, making them that much easier for grandparents, friends and babysitters to use.

And finally, there is the obvious reprieve on the planet to consider when eliminating all that waste of disposables. We have a little more peace of mind knowing that we're not contributing to the insane amount of diapers stuck in our landfills.

So why bumGenius?
From all of my research, I concluded that bumGenius offers the best warranty in the business, making me that much more confident of my purchase. And in addition to the overwhelming positive reviews I read online about these particular diapers, the majority of friends who offered me advice preferred them to all other brands.

So there you have it, a quick summary of why we have decided to go cloth. Who knew you could get so excited about diapers, yet I find myself passionately singing their praises to anyone and everyone who will listen (and I haven't even used them yet!).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh My!

Let me just confess that summer + pregnancy = Popsicle obsession! Though this summer, I've gone through them far too quickly to deal with making them myself, as I have in previous years. But these two intriguing combinations have me reconsidering my diy efforts! Excuse me, but Avocado and Blackberry & Greek yogurt? Are you joking me?? Pardon the drool...these are definitely on my list to make before Summer comes to a close!

And just in case you, too want a healthy dose of Popsicle nirvana, here are the recipes.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Daytriping In Tahoe

Happy Monday, friends! Can you believe the weekend is over so soon?! My cousin and her husband are visiting from the Midwest and we had so much fun with them that we're oh so sad to see the weekend go!

Since they had never been, we took them up to Tahoe on Saturday. Being outdoorsy people like ourselves, the plan was to pack a lunch, see some sights and take a moderate hike. It ended up being a gorgeous, clear day-perfect for said activities!

And yes, I hiked at 25 1/2 weeks pregnant, because that's how I roll. And for the most part it was great, though I definitely became aware of my diminished lung capacity in a whole new way. I can typically spritz up those trails with no problems, but Baby Girl made that a bit tougher this time around. That just means I needed a few extra breaks and that I didn't exactly go as far as I would have liked. But all in all, it was a great day spent with family!

Friday, August 12, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 25

This week has been a whirlwind of sorts with more family in town, Chris changing jobs and all the other craziness that has ensued. And I must admit, I'm finally feeling my energy begin to taper a little. It must be the third trimester just around the corner and the fact that Baby Girl is growing at lightning speed that's causing me to, once again, need the occasional afternoon nap and a suddenly increased food intake! I also attribute her recent growth to the tightness in my lower abdomen and sharp pangs in my ribs-oh, the lovely growing pains.

But even in the midst of a hectic week and minor discomforts, I have no complaints. Especially with a sweet husband who indulges me with long foot rubs, makes up songs to sing for Baby Girl and continues to tell me that I'm beautiful (even when it's the last thing I feel). I am a lucky woman!

Looking forward to the next few days with a day trip to Lake Tahoe, Sunday brunch and relaxing poolside, as they should be just the ticket for a little R&R!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Call Me Irrational...

Even though it's the dead of summer, my favorite splurge these days has been a piping cup of hot cocoa. I just can't help myself, with it's frothy goodness and silky chocolate flavor! And it's funny, because I wouldn't normally consider myself a chocolate fiend. Pregnancy does some strange thing, my friends!

What about you? Any unseasonable cravings you simply cannot deny? 

p.s.- is it too early to be craving pumpkin pancakes, because I've also had a slight hankering for a stack of those babies:)


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Currently Loving: FiveFingers

Chris and I have already started our Christmas list and the first items on it are FiveFingers shoes! I've always been intrigued by their appearance, but I am officially sold after first, doing some research on their benefits and then, trying them out at REI last weekend. To put it simply, they are awesome!

They have come out alongside the theory that it might be better to run barefoot, as it promotes better foot mechanics. And I found this tidbit from the FiveFingers website really fascinating:

"The benefits of running barefoot have long been supported by scientific research. And there is ample evidence that training without shoes allows you to run faster and farther with fewer injuries. No footwear comes closer to recreating this natural sensation than Vibram FiveFingers®. It allows you to land on your forefoot, directly below your center of gravity, resulting in optimum balance, increased stability, less impact and greater propulsion. Running in FiveFingers delivers sensory feedback that improves agility and equilibrium and allows immediate form correction. In addition it stimulates and strengthens muscles in the feet and lower legs."
They are a little strange at first, but just in the few minutes I walked around in them I could already feel different muscles in my feet working! Now the only trouble is deciding which pair to start with!

Anyone else own a pair? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pregnancy Must Haves

Happy Tuesday, Loves! I know I've talked a lot about my pregnancy and I just wanted to say thanks for continuing to let me share this wonderful/crazy/emotional experience with you and for being so encouraging to me! Being able to write down some of the highlights of pregnancy has been a great reflection tool for me and I suspect, will serve as a useful resource for my forgetful self with future kiddos!

So today I wanted to share a few of my favorite finds that have gracefully gotten me through 25 weeks of pregnancy.  Most of which I happened upon by advice from those who have been where I am today and were kind enough to pass on their secrets!

Let's start by getting a little personal, shall we? When I first got pregnant, I was naive. I just assumed undergarments would continue to fit the same. Silly me. Let's just say that as of the past week or two, my sexy little undies are beginning to feel a bit snug. However, I happen to own a few pair of Hanky Pankys, which have been the saving grace for my self-esteem (only exaggerating a little ;). The brand who only carries one-size skivvies has made me a total believer in their product! Aside from being extremely comfortable, they make me feel good about my changing body! Had I know before pregnancy that countless woman rate these the most comfortable during pregnancy, I would have stocked up way earlier!

And p.s.-If you aren't exactly keen on coughing up the $18/pair, try places like Nordstrom Rack, where I recently scored several pair for $6 each!
Twenty-five weeks pregnant and I have successfully avoided maternity jeans, thanks in large part to the belly band! I have two, a white and a black, and am convinced it was the best $25 I have spent this year. It allows me to leave my pants discretely unbuttoned, while simply giving me the layered look. When I tell people my secret, they have a hard time believing me! Instead of the more expensive version, Bella Band, I opted for the Baby Be Mine brand, based on numerous Amazon reviews suggesting these hugged pants better and seemed more durable. So far, they have served me well!

Stretch marks are one of the less desirable effects of pregnancy, and while genetics have a lot to do with whether you get them or not, it is also essential to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!! Your skin is stretching at a rapid pace and stretch marks can be unavoidable. But reducing their appearance, should you get them, is possible. I'm a believer in any good moisturizer with cocoa butter, such as Palmer's or if you're lucky enough, you're mother-in-laws homemade variety! So far, no sign of them, though only time will tell. 

I know that many woman are privy to the old, What to Expect When You're Expecting, but I personally prefer Your Pregnancy Week by Week. This medically current and comprehensive guide has been a fantastic read that I look forward to each week. Complete with detailed illustrations of baby's progress, countless health topics covered and a clear look at your changing body, I would highly recommend this to any expecting mom!

And there you have it, some of my fave pregnancy products!

Anything to add? Please share! I love hearing other tricks of the trade!
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