Consumerism Vs. Minimalism

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

(I could not find the source of this photo; it is not my image)

(I could not find the source of this photo; it is not my image)

I’m in this tug of war state of wanting “stuff” but wanting to get rid of everything.  The advertising leading up to the holidays totally makes me want to vomit–especially corporate black friday advertising and businesses choosing to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.  Is the lure of saving a few dollars really worth waking up at 3am and facing the reality of literally getting trampled over?  News reporters stand by to record grown adults acting like animals…and we watch the evening news to learn of how many people were injured or even killed trying to get into Wal-Mart.

I really feel compelled to scale back. And not to sound cliche, but to focus on what this season is truly about.  It’s about Jesus, contentment, family, serving, and loving one another.  I want to set the tone for my children that the holidays are not about making mile long Christmas lists and accumulating stuff.  I know they aren’t capable of understanding now, but I need to preach this to myself too.  Because, yeah, I want stuff. But I don’t need stuff.  In fact I really need to get rid of stuff.

The struggle is real.

And next week you’re going to see a Holiday gift guide on my blog. BUT, I  was intentional about posting it after Thanksgiving, and my focus was finding businesses that were about more than just profit.  These businesses are doing absolutely amazing things; life changing, impactful things.  So when you shop this holiday season, consider purchasing from businesses small and large that are intentional about using their gifts and talents for something greater than the accumulation of their stuff.  They’re helping change the world, one product and one person at a time. The Purchase with Purpose gift guide goes live on Monday.  I’ll be featuring businesses in the categories of Fashion, Jewelry & Accessories, Children, and Home.

I know this post seems a bit contradictory.  It reflects where I’m at…I want to buy all the things and donate all the things.  I feel like I’m getting to the point in my life where I want quality, meaningful things in my life and I want to purge the piles of cheap crap, and the things sitting unused in my closets.

Anyone feel me?

***I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with their loved ones.  And if you’re a black Friday shopper, I mean no disrespect; these are just my current reflections.***



Toddler Confidence

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f1 presetI’ll be the first to admit that toddlerhood is not my favorite stage.  Andy and I have been really trying to do our best to limit Parker’s sugar intake, and that with her language ability improving by leaps and bounds over the past month has yielded us a fairly delightful child to be around a lot more of the time.  The things coming out of her mouth crack Andy and I up on the daily.  Two year olds have no self esteem issues that’s for sure.  Yesterday while we were walking through Home Depot she was sing/yelling over and over “I so pretty!”  I should mention she was in sweats, wasn’t wearing shoes (she of course took them off in the car and tossed them somewhere), had snot running down her face and her hair was a hot mess.

18-24 months was incredibly challenging….but 26 months is growing on me.  Her excitement, curiosity, hilarity, and sweetness I want to encapsulate and remember forever.



Mini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble Pies :: Recipe

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

You guys I’m so excited to introduce you to my incredibly talented friend, Danielle.  She recently published her very first cookbook, Rustic Joyful Food, and will now be a contributor to my blog–sharing wonderfully delicious and simple recipes.  Be sure to add this one to your Thanksgiving dessert recipes!Mini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble PieMini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble PieMini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble PieMini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble Pie

Hello! I’m Danielle Kartes, a local author and food stylist from Issaquah, Washington. I’ve been real life friends with Ruthy for several years, long before the social media boom! She is so dear to my heart and I am glad she’s in my circle. When she asked me to extend over here on her blog, I was pretty excited. I adore women and helping moms find tips and tricks to live more thoughtful lives, and when this idea came up I was like, yup — I’m in!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for many of us there is the excitement of the holiday mixed with the worry of the work load task list. The longing to impress with a tasty menu clashes with the desire to throw sweats on and watch football with the family. As a busy working mom I feel the same way! I am lucky the get-together is at my sister’s home this year, so I won’t be scrubbing my house for visitors…which gets me thinking I should head over and clean a bathroom or two to help out.

This year, I am determined to build tradition within our home and have my sweet pre-school boy Noah help out with everything. Last year, I really struggled to find time to accomplish everyday things: get ready for work, clean the bathroom, grocery shop, etc. Everything always had bribes attached. “Hey, Noah, I know it’s 8 am, but I’ll give you THIS KING SIZE CANDY BAR to please listen…” I begged and pleaded all the time, and Lord knows those bribe days are still around to some degree, but something changed: me! I changed how I look at mothering. With just one child you become everything for your kiddo: playmate, helper, teacher, encourager, disciplinarian, and best friend. It’s a tall order with very little breaks. I needed to learn how to live and include my son while getting life done. I was praying and seeking, and the scripture came to my heart gently, as God often does. Proverbs 22: “Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

4.3 from 4 reviews
Mini Walnut/Pecan Sour Cream Crumble Pies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 mini pies
 
Ingredients
  • Filling
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • ¼ cup Karo syrup
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Crumble
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix all the filling ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and add the soft butter and sour cream.
  4. Using a fork or pastry cutter, begin to work the butter and sour cream into the flour mixture. It should take about three or four minutes for a crumbly pastry to come together. The beauty about this dough is that it’s fool-proof; I let my three year-old mix and over mix and crumble it, and it stayed tender after baking!
  5. Once you've got both components done, line a muffin tin with 8-10 cupcake wrappers. Press one tbsp. of the crumble into the lined muffin tin.
  6. Top with ¼ cup by dry measure the pecan/walnut filling (I used a dry measuring cup to scoop the filling).
  7. Top with one tbsp. of crumble and use it up until it’s gone. These didn’t overflow or leak, and the crumble browned up and stayed nice and tender. Happy Thanksgiving!

You can purchase Danielle’s book here, and make sure to check her out in Instagram :: RusticJoyfulFood



Top 10 Most Used Baby Items

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

baby must buys

There are a gazillion things out there to choose from when it comes to purchases for your baby; it can be extremely overwhelming and financially stressful when thinking through what you should buy.  After having 2 babies, I found there are items that I bought that get/got a ton of use, and items that really aren’t worth it.  I wanted to share with you my top 10 favorite baby items that get used on a regular basis and I feel are worthwhile investments.

1.  4moms MamaRoo  ::  I love my MamaRoo.  This is a fantastic piece of baby equipment.  There are multiple movements, speeds and sounds to help rock your baby to sleep.  And the biggest bonus in my book is how portable it is and how little space it takes up.  I use my MamaRoo every single day.

2. Rock n Play :: Both my girls slept in the rock n play every single night until they were about 6 weeks old.  I’m not a co-sleeper, but I was able to set it up right next to my bed to make feedings more convenient through the night.  Pippa has extreme separation anxiety so if I’m not holding her or wearing her, she needs to see my face.  I lay her in this every evening at dinner and place her right next to me at the table so I can eat without having to hold her.

3.  Breeze Playard :: I’m actually using the bassinet feature of the the Breeze in lieu of buying a new crib.  So Pippa now sleeps and naps in the bassinet.  Most parents will end up purchasing a playard at some point; I highly recommend spending a few extra dollars and investing in this one because it’s the absolute easiest to set up and put away…I have a more in depth look here.

4. Lily Jade Diaper Bag :: I absolutely LOVE this diaper bag.  Believe me when I say all diaper bags are not created equal.  The designers of Lily Jade have thought through everything a mom needs in a diaper bag and created it.  I have a very detailed look at one of their bags here.

5. DropCam :: Hands down this is the best video monitor out there because you can check it anywhere from your phone!  Which means, if dad is working late he can watch the littles get tucked into bed, and even say goodnight through the monitor!  You can give the username and password to grandma and grandpa too and they can watch their grandbaby sleep or play from 2000 miles away!

6. Lily and Mama Ring Sling :: I use my sling multiple times a day.  This is my favorite way to babywear…I wrote some tips if you’re new to the ring sling here.

7. Ergo :: If I’m not using my ring sling I’m using my Ergo.  I prefer the ergo if I know I’ll be in situations where I’ll be wearing my baby for awhile…like trips to the zoo, hikes, etc.

8. Aden and Anais Swaddles :: These are simply just the best swaddles out there.  I have dozens of other swaddles that were gifted to me and I only use these.

9. Skip Hop Play Mat :: Babies love play mats!  Really any brand will do, as long as there are fun dangling things that babies can reach for and stare at.  They surprisingly keep them occupied for quite awhile.

10.  Ameda Breast Pump :: I have a problem with too much supply, so I needed to pump desperately, especially the first few days my milk came in.  I’m not sure if all breast pumps are created equal, but I’ve used this one after both my girls were born and it’s worked wonderfully.

What are some of your favorite baby items that you use regularly?

**Affiliate links used**



Blue & Yellow Baby Shower

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Blue and Yellow Baby ShowerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerBlue and yellow baby showerI had the opportunity to throw my friend Rachelle a baby shower for her baby boy Isaiah! Rachelle is a dear friend and the reason Parker always looks cute–90% of her wardrobe was hand me downs from her daughter.  Too bad I don’t have any boy hand me downs to send her way.

Initially I was going with a whale themed baby shower, but it turned into just a yellow and blue themed baby shower because I totally forgot to print out the whale printables-whoops.  It still turned out lovely.

I threw it at 10:45am to keep the food items simple.  There was a yogurt bar with berries and granola, cheese and onion puff pastries from Trader Joe’s, skewered donut holes, cupcakes and cookies.  To drink I had lemon water, mimosas and coffee.

I wanted one statement piece of decor, so I ordered a beautiful garland from Northern Cottage. You can choose a variety of sizes and colors and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I borrowed some lace pennant flags from a friend, dipped the skewers in blue paint to add a bit of pizazz, put some washi tape around wooden sticks for the mimosa stirrers, and bought some simple flowers to tie everything in together.  I needed a super simple theme because with a newborn and a toddler my time to be crafty was pretty limited.

So it is possible ladies…you don’t have to be a crafting superstar to throw a pinterest worthy party!



4 Months Old // Pippa Grace

Monday, November 17th, 2014

4 months old 4 months oldPerhaps my lack of posts last week clued you in to the type of week we had in the Taylor household.  We are in the midst of the dreaded 4 month sleep regression and it I’ve been a walking ‘mombie’ for the last 7 days.  I knew it was coming, but I don’t remember it being this bad with Parker.  Coffee has become a round the clock necessity.

There has been an obvious growth spurt.  Both Andy and I were like, “woah,” this girl got huge all of a sudden!  She’s been wearing 6 month clothing for the last month and fully fits the length of them.  Her famous head of hair is starting to get a little too long and lean over.  It’s gonna be a sad day when it lays flat.

Pippa is full of sweet coo’s and laughter and it really does make up at least for half of my exhausted state. She also learned to roll front to back this week!  Another great thing that happened is I started to put her to bed a lot earlier.  She was going to bed around 830 every night…but I was reading through my blog updates on Parker and I wrote down that I was putting her to bed between 530 and 630pm.  What?!?! Why was I keeping Pippa up till 830?  So now Pippa is averaging 6pm every night and those 2 extra hours to hang out with Parker has been awesome.

Compare Parker at 4 months here

 

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The Grind of Motherhood

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The Grind of MotherhoodI’m in the grind of motherhood right now.  The wake up at 6am and pray for strength to get me to 8pm kind of grind.  The sweet scent of infancy has worn off and has been replaced by a 15 week old baby girl who screams bloody murder if anyone but me holds her.  It’s almost like stranger induced colic…but in this situation even my husband is a stranger.  So even if she wasn’t refusing the bottle, she wouldn’t allow anyone to feed it to her anyway.

The past few weeks have been hard.  Between the terrible twos and a baby who is on my hip or boob all day and simply refuses to give me a break, I’ve been flat out overwhelmed.  And then to top it all off Parker and I got a stomach bug last weekend.  Caring for children when they’re ill and you feel like you’re on your deathbed is pretty much a mom’s worst nightmare.  I hired a sitter so I could rest, but it’s impossible to fall asleep when an hour has passed and your 15 week old’s wailing has only gotten more intense.  I kid you not, this child wants her mama something fierce.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not complete misery every day. There are lots of smiles, laughter and sweetness; there is just more crying, whining, tantruming, and disciplining.  I’ve found myself crying along with my girls in the car this week. If one more person tells me to “cherish these moments because they’re only young once,” I might just punch a wall and pretend it’s their face.

It’s catching me off guard.  I’m a pretty confident person and I’ve found my days are being ruled by a two year olds volitilty. I have enough perspective to tell myself at 10:30 at night when both kids are sleeping that this is just a season; that ‘this too shall pass.’  My husband and I will eventually get to go on a date again, my 15 week old will some day eat solids and not be nursing, and my two year old will eventually be three…(Please God don’t let 3 be harder than 2).  But in the mean time I’m in the thick of it.

I signed up for this motherhood gig and I recognize these days come with the territory.  I just needed to vent.  End rant.



Get A Head Start On Your Holiday Cards With Minted

Friday, November 7th, 2014

The holiday season always catches me a bit of guard; it’s especially true now that I’ve got an infant and a toddler ruling my days.  If you’re like me you start scrambling last minute to get your holiday cards out on time.  I was thrilled to partner with Minted to showcase their holiday card selection (which got my butt in gear to schedule family photos).

I honestly spent so much time looking at all of their beautiful designs–there are over 34 pages to look through.  The fact that I narrowed it down to 5 is pretty impressive if I do say so myself.  These were some of my favorites.

 

minted holiday cards

 

Do you get your holiday cards out on time or are you a procrastinator?



100 Days Old // Beak-il

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

100 day celebration Baek-il100 day celebration Baek-ilIn the Korean culture when your child is 100 days old, there is a celebration held called Beak-il.  It’s typically celebrated with rice cakes, wine, and black bean cakes; Korean Americans often celebrate with a party.  Aint nobody got time for that.  I just snapped some cute pics of Pippa and made sure to Skype with my mother to honor her heritage.  

Does your culture have milestone celebrations for babies?



Halloween 2014

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

 

 

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Halloween 2014 Discoverystreet.netHalloween 2014 Discoverystreet.net

 I never want to forget these memories.  I want to remember the moment that first piece of chocolate candy hit Parker’s bucket and the child didn’t miss a beat.  She peeled open that reece’s peanut butter cup and shoved the whole thing in her mouth.  When she finally realized that her bucket was for collecting candy you could see a light bulb go off in her head.  She started chewing tootsie rolls fully wrapped. Within 30 minutes she had consumed more sugar than she probably has in her entire life.  She was on cloud nine.

She wasn’t a regal Queen Elsa, she was a wild child running through the streets of Proctor, hair flying in the wind and laughing with delight. Her lips matched her hand me down dress and she insisted her crown be worn upside down.

And the second she ran into one of her BFF’s, Audrey the bumble bee, they immediately ran off together looking for trouble to get into.

Andy and I talked about how sad we’ll be when our girls are too cool to be out with their parents on Halloween.  It seems s far away but I know the day will come quickly.

It’s hard to believe Halloween has come and gone and we’re on to Thanksgiving and Christmas again.

How was your Halloween?  What did your kids dress up as?



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