Baby Memory Keepsake and Kitchen Updates

Lets just say I’m a sucker for shadow boxes.  I made this box as a special keepsake reminder of our honeymoon to Jamaica a few years ago.

Do you like our handprints in the sand?

Recently I saw this and had to make one for Malayna!

I put scrapbooking paper in the background.  I then put her announcement, special newborn hat she wore, hospital band, and handprint of her hand.  I love being able to see these special memories in her room.  By the way those handprints are hard to do if you’ve ever done them!

I was struggling with what I would do with this when she gets older, and Lauren recommended keeping it for Malayna and giving it to her one day when she has a baby.

Recently Sam and I have been working on several projects in the kitchen.  And when I say Sam and I, I mostly mean Sam.  🙂  Well I did make several trips to Lowes and helped paint. 😉

For quite some time we had to get a new back door due to the door rotting and leaking water.  This in turn caused the floor to rot which then caused ants to come in and destroy it.  Sweet right?!  Well we kept putting it off until recently when I walked in from outside and almost fell into the basement.  Ok I’m exaggerating some, but we did want to get our floor fixed before Malayna was crawling and before we eventually sell our house in the future.  So here is what we decide to do:

  • New back door
  • New sub floor by the back door
  • Paint kitchen walls (So long blue)
  • Redo kitchen floors
  • New White Trim
  • New kitchen shelves and lights
A special thanks to Matt and Joe for helping install the door and work on the sub floor!!!!  Sam, Matt, and Joe are so hardworking, talented, and pretty much some of the handiest men I know.  They work so hard all week long and then give of their time on the weekends.  Thanks boys!!

I LOVE our new door! We actually went from a double walk door with one being active to a patio sliding door.  We still need to paint it, but here is a picture of it.  Sorry for the poor photo.

We also went from blue to a light grey color in our kitchen.  Originally I wanted a light blue/grey color but the blue turned out way more blue.  We did not want to repaint at the time, so we just kept it.  We decided since our kitchen was already torn apart we might as well repaint.

I love the new color!  In the dining area its a little lighter than I wanted when the sun is out and shining, but in the kitchen area and with lights on at night it is exactly what I wanted.

Ahh much better

Next up hardwood floors….

Top 10 Baby Must Haves

My mom always jokes about how many gadgets and gizmos we have nowadays for babies.  If you haven’t been to BuyBuy Baby try just walking in there sometime and you will feel overwhelmed by bibs, bath-tubs, and diaper bags galore!

I was so grateful when I went to register that Sara was able to come with.  I pretty much handed her the gun and had her scan away.  Until you have a baby it’s so hard to know what you need to get and what is unnecessary.  Therefore, this post is dedicated to mom-to-bes or future moms out there.  I came up with a list of what has been really nice to have the past few months.  Please note I am not including things that are pretty typical like strollers, bouncers, boppy, bumbo, pack and play etc.  Why do they name everything with B’s anyway?

Here is my top 10 baby must haves…

1.  Bright Starts Hop Along Carrier Toy Bar.

This came recommended by my dear from Lora.  This has been one of the BEST toys by far that Malayna has received.  Everytime we are in the car she plays with this toy.  It keeps her entertained and for that I am grateful.  She recently started learning to push the frog eyes and play the music.

2.  Burp Cloths….LOTS OF THEM!

Sara, her mom, and grandmother made these wonderful burp cloths.  We used them a ton the first few months and still use them frequently as Malayna is quite the spitter :).  I love the cute fabric, size, and shape of them.

3.  Nail Filer.

I was told to not cut Malayna’s nails for a few weeks after birth.  However, she was born with Edward-scizzor nails and we had to file them pronto.  We used this wonderful nail filer that allows you to not worry about accidentally cutting her finger.

4.  Ergo Carrier.

I know I said this in a previous post, but I love the Ergo Carrier.  Malayna is so happy and content whenever she goes in this and sleeps very well in it.  Just tonight I had to run errands and with it being close to her bedtime  I knew she might be fussy in the carseat.  I put her in the Ergo carrier and she was so content the entire time!  It is very comfortable to wear, can be warn for kids up to 45 lbs, and can be worn on the back as well.  They also have a wonderful zipper pouch in the front that you can put keys, phone, or a wallet when walking or running errands.

5.  Mirror toy.

Babies prefer looking at faces over toys until they are older so having a mirror around is a great source of entertainment for them.  Malayna happily looks at herself in her play mirror and it helps her get in some tummy time without fussing.

6.  Itzbeen timer.

This timer has four different settings- feeding, diaper change, sleep, and other to record how long “it’s been” since baby ate or slept.  I used the other timer the first few weeks when I took ibuprofen for pain.  I used the feeding timer until about three months to know when I last fed Malayna.  It beats having to write down on paper when I last fed her.  As well as the fact that I often lose track of time.

7.  Sleep sheep

This sound machine is so nice because you can take it anywhere- grandmas house, friends house, wherever! It has four different soothing sounds they can listen to.  The only negative thing is it shuts off in 45 minutes.

8.  Monthly stickers.  

I found these on etsy and have been so nice to take pictures of Malayna each month in them.  It’s a wonderful keepsake to remember how old she is in each picture.

9.  Calendar to record important baby milestone and a keepsake box for special memories such as hospital bands, cards, hospital outfit, etc.

10.  Look up mom-to-mom, school resale events, and garage sales in your area.  You can get such great deals on baby and children stuff at such reasonable deals.  Just this past weekend I got all of these things for  around $15 total!!  I can’t wait for her to wear the two dresses I found!

My best garage sale find was this play mat for $3.  Malayna loves it and normal play mats are around $40-$60 bucks!

Is there anything you have come to love for babies around 6-12 months of age?


Happy Easter!

Three Musketeers

Easter was spent attending a wonderful service at Christ Community and then going over to my Uncle Vito and Aunt Kathy’s house.  We enjoyed quality family time, wonderful food, and my Uncle Vito’s Birthday!  Malayna had a wonderful first Easter!!

Malayna was spoiled by her grandparents, aunt and uncles!

Check out all her adorable outfits!  She is all set for the summer!

We got her two wipeable bibs.  One of which is HUGE to cover her whole body for some messy meals.  She starts solids in two months. Where is the time going?? We also got her this blow-up floatie for swimming this summer that she can sit in and has a little sun shade from the sun.

I am also excited about this gift once she begins playing with toys in the stroller.  No more losing toys as you go on a walk!

For dessert I made peanut butter pretzel bites.  They taste very similar to a Take-5 candy bar.  If you are anything like me and enjoy the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, you must make these!!  I found the recipe on Pinterest here.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

recipe courtesy Foodaphilia

Calorie estimate: 4,000 – 5,000 for complete recipe (depending upon dipping chocolate and pretzels used, etc.)

Yield 60 – 80 pretzel bites


1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp softened butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar (maybe more)

3/4 cup brown sugar (maybe more)


1 bag  semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  At this point if the filling will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands you’re ready to go.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll (I used about 3/4 cup of each sugar).

Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

The Easter Bunny showed up  a little late in the day…

Lactation Cookies

I made these lactation cookies a few weeks ago and greatly enjoyed them!  I got the recipe from here and changed/added a few things.  I had a special helper in the kitchen too!

Before you stop reading this because you are not breastfeeding, please note first that Sam loved these cookies and a lot of these ingredients I include in my diet everyday (even when not breastfeeding).  They are a special treat for anyone looking to get more protein, fiber, omega 3, and antioxidants in their diet in the form of a tasty treat.  If you are breastfeeding all of these ingredients help aid greatly in the lactation process (especially the oats, nutritional yeast, and flaxseed).

Here are some benefits to the following:

Nutritional Yeast: Contains many essential amino acids and B vitamins (Tastes similar to cheese easy to incorporate on salads, pastas, popcorn).

Chai Seeds: High in fiber and protein, containing lots of Omega 3 (Easy to put on anything- yogurt, baked goods, oatmeal, etc.)

Flaxseed: Fiber, antioxidants, and omega 3 (Easy to include in baked goods such a muffins, or in your oatmeal in the morning).

Coconut Oil: Beneficial to heart and skin (Substitute when using other oils).

Lactation Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups toasted rolled oats (toast in 350° oven on a foil lined baking sheet 5 – 10 minutes)
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 Sticks of Butter Softened
1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
2 Tbsp. Chai seeds
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBSP flax seed meal
1/4 cup water
2 TBSP Brewers Yeast
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Combine flax seed with water and set aside, allowing to gel for about 10 minutes.
In large bowl, combine all ingredients including flax seed gel, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 325º
Remove cookie dough from fridge and roll into bite sized balls.
Place on foil lined baking sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes. Then reshape into balls and place on cooling racks in the fridge or freezer.
Once cooled, place on plate, and enjoy!

I finally got to go in and visit Westminster, the school I previously taught at.  It was so good to see all my students and staff again!!  I have missed them a lot.  Malayna enjoyed meeting everyone.  Check them out!

On this Good Friday I want to leave you with a really good quote that convicted me this week from the book Respectable Sins.  

“If I gossip, I both tear down another person and corrupt the mind of the listener.  If I complain about the difficult circumstances of my life, I impugn the sovereignty and goodness of God and tempt my listener to do the sin.  In this way, my sin “metastasizes” into the heart of another person.”

I have always known gossip and complaining were wrong, but I never really thought of the effect it has on the person you are speaking to.  This quote was challenging to me to remember that I am corrupting the mind of my listener when I gossip or complain.  I especially liked how he stated when we complain we are questioning the goodness of God!  Thank you Jesus for dying for me so many years ago to save me from my sinful state.

Happy Easter Everyone! I hope you enjoy a little flashback to when Steve, Lauren, and I were kiddos!

 By the way, Steve and I always sent Lauren to “cutie jail” when we were younger because she was so cute.  I mean look at her!

Do you think I could wear my hair like that again?

Four Months Old!

Happy Four Months Malayna!!

Everyday I feel like Malayna’s personality comes out more and more.  Lately she seems to be talking up a storm, especially when she gets in the car or is about to go to sleep.  I love hearing her babble!

Thanks Stephanie for my adorable M! I love it!

She still has blue eyes and our Doctor thinks they will stay that way.  I know they can change all the way up until 1 year so only time will tell!

Dada always makes her laugh the hardest (how do Dad’s always win in that area?)

Recently she discovered her toes and loves to play with them!

She had her four month check-up and all is well!  She is growing like crazy!  Our only concern is her head flattening in the back left.  Apparently she has favored this side for some time when sleeping.  We are trying to reposition her at this time and if things do not get better she will need to wear a helmet for a short period of time.  We appreciate prayers that her head would round out and she would sleep on her right side to round out the left.  We go back in early May to check on how her head has changed.

Enjoys: Using her voice (perhaps she will be a screamer like I was as a child ;)), eating, being outside, sucking her fingers, walking in the Ergo carrier, and bath time.

I highly recommend the Ergo carrier.  It is very comfortable to wear and made to not strain your back.  The first two months Malayna would always love to be carried around in it.  She instantly would stop crying and often fell asleep right away in it.  She still enjoys going in it.  Until recently, I thought the only thing I would change is that it does not face out.  However, I’ve been hearing more about how the carrier is made to face inward to give your child a sense of security.  She is still able to look around, but knows mama is right there by her side.

Hates:  Long car rides, running errands and sitting in the Costco parking lot while missing a nap and hungry (right mom ;)), and tummy time (getting a little bit better)

I love my precious niece!  I got Cecelia this toybelt onesie when Lauren saw it on Pinterest.  I had to she’s Joe’s daughter!  I love being an aunt and there is nothing quite like sharing motherhood with your sister.

Please note her adorable socks!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Just swinging in the kitchen

Thursday night I had Jerusalem, Eli, Lauren, Joe, and this beauty over for some chicken taco chili.

Tinnny vest

One thing I have greatly enjoyed while staying at home with May May is making meals in the morning.  I find that I have the most energy in the morning and typically by the end of the day begin to get tired and struggle to cook.  Crock pot recipes have recently become my favorite.  This one I will definitely make again!

                                                                   Source: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Adapted from here: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Servings: 10


1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz can black beans
1 16-oz can kidney beans
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
8oz package frozen corn kernels
114.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning (I used 1/2 T.Joes packet)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder (used a bit more as I didn’t have any chilies in my tomatoes)
(4) boneless skinless chicken breasts


1. Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

2. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

3. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Also try it with cheese and sour cream.

For dessert….

A frappacino.  Sam recently got this as a gift (I’ll post the recipe soon!) and we’ve been enjoying it a great deal:

Here is my good friend Jerusalem enjoying her frappe. She has the cutest baby bump ever!!

Eli enjoyed his first sparkling water.  He couldn’t get enough!!!