Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"My Teacher is Having a Baby" Printable

It's been so incredibly sweet, how excited Daniel's students have been to hear that we are having our first baby. I honestly feel like a local celebrity. Kids really do say the sweetest things, even at the middle school age (11 and 12 yr olds).

One girl got so excited for the news, that she started exclaiming, "I'm going to have a cousin!", meaning our baby. Isn't that precious?

Another girl heard through the grapevine and guessed on her own about the baby, and wanted to be the one to share with the class. Well, alongside doing her classwork, she began to color little bits of torn up paper, pink and blue. This was to be used as confetti when at the end of the class period, she got to announce we were having a baby. I honestly wish I was there to see that. The story makes me laugh every time. I can just picture the confetti falling to the ground. Ha!

Everyone here at Daniel's new school has been so excited for us. Teachers, faculty, students, parents. It's unreal. I feel as much love and support as I think I would have felt from my office of 5+ years, back when we were in Orlando.

In any case, the kids are dying to know if baby is a boy or girl. And they've already come up with a zillion names to name it. Daniel and I put our heads together, and decided, why not make it an official vote?

So, I searched around Pinterest for ideas on how to share baby news with students (aka "my teacher's having a baby" printables). There are TONS of ideas for elementary school teachers! Tons! Super cute ideas, but nothing appropriate for older students. And nothing super dude-friendly for a male teacher. (C'mon, it can be cute, but not over-the-top!) I was bummed. I still want to involve the students, so I created my own printable instructions and tied some ribbon around two glass jars I got at Walmart. Done!

I honestly can't wait to hear the name suggestions. And I'm eager to see which gender gets more votes.

Here's the printable if you'd like to use it yourself. Have fun!
 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dinner's On Us! New Baby Menu Printable

Back in early September, my husband was invited to a baby shower for a fellow male teacher held after school. I was just getting out of morning sickness myself and we had just moved into our new home, so the thought of putting together a baby gift did not blow my skirt up.

I knew I wanted to do something, but was torn because this was a new friendship for Daniel. He didn't know the dad-to-be very well, but could know him better in the future. New relationship that had the potential to grow over time. Hmm.. what's a girl to do? And Lord knows, I'm not having my husband show up to the shower empty handed!

Typically, I like to make a baby gift (diaper cake, baby quilt, etc), but this go round I actually just gave myself permission to do something a tad simpler.

I had remembered from the shower we threw for baby Alice a gift idea that was just genius! On of the guests, Beth, wrote out a nice card and included two vouchers as her gift for the mom-to-be. One for a free house cleaning, and another for a meal of her famous loaded potato soup. Um, genius! Even more so now that I know how much of a struggle meal-time can be during morning sickness, and how I imagine it can be with a newborn.

Done! I did like Beth and bought a nice baby card, and then used a cute little bag to fold up a menu I created for the parents-to-be. They could choose between 3 meal ideas and 3 dessert ideas. It's my version, in a sense, of the popular website, Take Them a Meal (which is awesome by the way!).

I can't wait to see what they choose, and bless them with a night off of cooking and meal planning! Hope this gift idea is helpful to you as well!

Here's the document if you'd like to use for yourself! Or feel free to use this template as a jumping off point to create your own menu ideas. Famous lasagna anyone?

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fall Updates

Hi! It's been about 6 months. I'm sorry! Life went from crazier to craziest in about 2.5 seconds.

Let me fill you in on all that went down this past summer and early fall...

I (tearfully) said goodbye to my office of 5 1/2 years, and began packing our house. Whatever didn't fit into our POD container, had to be donated or sold. We let go of so many things including coffee tables, console tables, that wonderful entertainment center Daniel built, half of our dvd's, countless books, clothing that was 2 sizes too big or not really our style, etc, etc.
May 31st we loaded up the cats, motorcycle, and a million things into our truck and rental car and headed north! We were rushing to clean and get out the door by 8am, before the buyer did their final walk through on our home. Daniel and I really worked as a team, but boy was my heart racing the whole time!

This was a good month, full, but good. We had a lot of paperwork type things to handle (address changes, PO Box, etc.), along with Daniel applying with the county for open teacher positions. He did so well on interviews and was offered a position right away! We spent a lot of days together driving around neighborhoods looking at homes for sale. By mid-month, we found the perfect one and 60 days later, we closed.
We also spent a good amount of June touring our new city. We went on a college tour, walked around parks, got coffees, toured the capitol. It was awesome! My first summer with just him! I had always been jealous of other teacher's wives who got to spend the whole summer together off of work.
This was also a good month, albeit a bit more stressful than June. Paperwork really ramped up with applying for a mortgage and Daniel starting a new job. We celebrated the summer by watching lots of baseball, including the Home Run Derby. We also did a 1 miler fun run in the park downtown on July 4th. Part of the stress this month came from home inspections, decisions, and lots of back-and-forth with our out-of-town seller. Not fun! We also were trying to understand if we'd have to rent again through AirBnb for August (we only booked June and July). Turns out we did, since we closed on our house mid-August.
One absolutely spectacular thing that happened in July was finding out that we were expecting! Say what?! I was shocked. Totally shocked. After trying for 3 1/2 years, it is absolutely a miracle that we are on our way to parenthood. It was special celebrating our anniversary July 30th, knowing we'd meet our little one next year.
Horrible. The end. I had absolute terrible morning sickness. Like could not get up out of bed before noon morning sickness. I was vomiting every other day, sometimes multiple times in the day. It was difficult to have any sort of desire to eat. My poor husband! He had to pick up so much slack, for so long. Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking dinner for himself and cleaning up. On top of multiple new job orientations and starting school, in a brand new school and new city. I honestly don't want to remember anything about August 2017! lol We signed on our house and started work with a contractor in late August.

Things were looking up for us this month! I willed myself to feel better and stop vomiting (I was so sick of being sick!). We moved into the upstairs of our house, while the downstairs was being worked on. Our POD was delivered and we moved things upstairs or in the garage.
Daniel had about a week off of school due to the hurricane. Let me tell you, hurricane prep in a new city and new home is not fun. But, we worked together to prepare as best we could. We even put our heads together to make a family "hurricane preparedness" listing for next time.
Lots of work on the flooring of the house was done during this time. I tried to stay out of it as much as I could, being pregnant, so poor Daniel again had to be the strong one for us. By the end of the month, subfloor was patched, pine flooring was down, and stain and sealer went on. We stayed 2 nights in a local hotel while it dried.

Very early October, we were blessed with help from a long time friend who moved all furniture into the house. After everything we had shouldered already, it was such a gift and morale booster to have someone else over to help out. It really encouraged us to keep going. His sweet wife even stopped by with dinner. We then were able to move out of the upstairs and into our master suite! Praise Jesus!
All of our contractors finished their work on the house, along with plumbers to re-pipe the home. My mom visited for some girl time and baby shopping mid-month, and Daniel started coaching middle school girls basketball. His school had a family fall fun night, so that was special to get to go to.
By the end of the month, we started building our kitchen cabinets, to get going on having a fully running kitchen.

And that's about it so far! There are honestly a million little side stories, jokes, and moments along the way that would take forever to share. But, atleast you get the jist of these past few months. It's been a non-stop ride, but I'm trying to remember to just enjoy each second. Life has never felt fuller, but I'm just so happy to be doing this all with my best friend.

Stay tuned for more posts on house and baby!

I can't wait to share with you some of the projects we've been up to. Baby gender reveal, and how we shared the news with Daniel's school and students, kitchen design, painting, beadboard!, recipes, holiday ideas, nursery decor, and more!

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recent Books That Have Changed the Way I Live

I've been pretty lucky this year to have read some mind-blowing change-the-way-you-live books. I haven't quite done book reviews on them, because honestly, they'd be pages and pages long. I could brag on them all day. However, here's a sneak-peek shortened version, because I just can't keep quiet about them.

The Curated Closet, Anuschka Rees

Great For: finally figuring out your personal style; creating "uniforms" or "signature pieces" which make shopping for new clothes and choosing daily outfits a breeze
Why I Love It In One Sentence: Very detailed book that will help you understand clothes, fashion, and your style better than you ever thought possible.
Good Habits I've Now Started: I'm no longer spending money experimenting with clothing. I know what my staple pieces are (colors, fabrics, cuts, etc.) and know my personal style. It's so easy to spot what is and isn't going to look good on me in the stores.

The Little Book of Skincare, Charlotte Cho

Great For: learning how to take care of your skin and age beautifully; intro to Korean skincare
Why I Love It In One Sentence: Very personable book written to truly help you prioritize and take care of your skin, for your lifetime.
Good Habits I've Now Started: Sunscreen! Lord knows I don't want wrinkles any sooner than I have to, so sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I also take way better care of my skin because I pay attention to what it tells me it needs (moisturizer, Dr. Jart acne mask, exfoliation, etc.). I've also adopted the 10-step Korean skincare routine because of this book.

7: An Experimental Mutinany Against Excess, Jen Hatmaker

Great For: someone who is overwhelmed by all of their "stuff" and wants to get out of the consumer lifestyle
Why I Love It In One Sentence: A great, spiritual book that will help you take a closer look into your own personal habits, see what you can pair down to, and truly understand how richly blessed you already are.
 Good Habits I've Now Started: Truly thinking before I purchase. So many of Jen's personal stories will pop into my mind as I think about shopping or spending. Do I really need this? Don't I already have 10 purses at home?

Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler

Great For: women of all ages and life stages, but even more specifically women who are wanting a family soon
Why I Love It In One Sentence: This book will educate you like never before to really understand and embrace your body and monthly cycle.
Good Habits I've Now Started: Charting my monthly cycle and paying attention to what my body is telling me. I could go on and on about this book, but basically this book feels like the real health-science class you never got, the one with actual, helpful information. Toni is a master at gently giving information we all wish we knew, and demystifying the female cycle.

Each one of these books has changed the way I think and live. Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts? I hope they are as powerful for you!

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Friday, May 19, 2017

We're Moving!

It's a little crazy, but Daniel and I are moving to north Florida at the end of this month. Our home is in boxes and the POD is coming!

This exciting new adventure came after a long time of preparation and waiting, prayer and dreams. We have always loved how beautiful north Florida is, and look forward to having slight seasonal variation.

We've traveled up there a few times before, as we used to have friends who lived there (they've since moved on to Little Rock, AR for medical school). Everything has more of a small-town feel, and a very distinct Southern vibe.

Right after we got back from London, we were able to sell our house, which is both a relief and also sad. As I pack boxes, there are so many memories that come back to me. All the furniture we've built custom for this house, all the parties we've hosted, dinners we've made for friends and family. The list goes on and on. This little home in Orlando will be missed, but it's time to start a new chapter and embrace change.

Stay tuned for all the fun details of us buying our second home together, renovation, design, and diy! It's gonna be a fun summer!

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kensington Palace & Hampton Court Palace in London, England

I want to finish out my London trip series with two very special palaces.. Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.

Us in front of Hampton Court Palace
Touring these royal palaces was an absolute thrill for me. I could totally imagine myself back in time, visiting as a guest of the monarchy. It was surreal to be able to walk the halls where Queen Victoria would have walked, or look over the gardens as Anne Boleyn would have.

We first toured Hampton Court, most famously known as the home of Henry the VIII (the one with 6 wives, remember him?). I totally loved it. It was opulent, glamorous, and absolutely huge!

Great Hall in Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court is a huge palace, with extensive grounds. Beyond the gardens, they have wildlife, so we got to see some deer roaming around. Just stunning!

Hampton Court Palace Gardens
We spent the whole day at Hampton Court, had a wonderful lunch, and then headed back into London for the evening.

On a different day, Daniel and I went to Kensington Palace. It's right in the city of London, and an easy walk with the Tube. My favorite part of this palace was how close it was to the parks- Hyde Park and Kensington Park. It felt like a quiet retreat, right in the heart of the city.

Front gate of Kensington Palace
Rear view of Kensington Palace, and parks beyond
The palace was stunning. It is most famous for being the home of QueenVictoria, as she lived here most of her life. Her statue sits out behind the palace (my photos, above and below). After our self-guided tour, we had a wonderful lunch in the cafe, and I purchased some Royal Palace china in a tea set for myself. Yay!

Overall, I loved our days at the palaces. I would go back in a heartbeat. I could tour them over and over again. Next trip, I'd love to visit Kew Palace and Gardens, and in August (the only month it's open) Buckingham Palace.

I loved every moment of our London trip, and long to go back.

Relive our trip with some of these posts:
City of Bath
City of London

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bath, England

Bath, England. We took a day trip out to Bath during our time spent in the UK. Based on where we were staying (southeast of London), it took us about 3 hours by train to get to Bath. But, it was so worth it! 

We headed straight away to the Roman Baths and did the audio tour guide. It was fascinating to learn the history and see how well preserved the structure was. The Roman baths are fed from underground hot springs, so naturally warm water comes up from the earth. 

Spa water has been used for curative purposes for two thousand years. Originally treatments involved bathing in the hot waters, then in the late 17th Century drinking spa water also came to be a recognized treatment for certain conditions. 

Here's a view of the warm water: 

At the end of the tour, they allow you to taste as sample of the mineral water. It was pretty good! Daniel didn't care for it.

By the time we completed the Roman Bath tour, and made a side trip to the gift store, it was time for lunch. We got lucky and were able to get right into the Pump Room Restaurant (which is on-site of the Roman Baths). We had a delicious "Traditional Pump Room Tea" for two. It was absolute heaven!

It really made me feel like I was in England. The Pump Room had live piano music while we ate, and the wait staff was excellent. It felt really romantic, just Daniel and I.

After lunch, we hit the streets and headed to view the homes on the Royal Crescent and Circus. I had read about this area in books for many years, so it was breathtaking to be there in person. I truly felt like I was back hundreds of years in time.

After traveling and walking around all day, we stopped briefly at the Jane Austen Center on our way back to the train. I wish we could have done their tour, about Jane's time when she lived in Bath, but it just wasn't meant to be. At least Daniel got my picture!

All in all, it was such a great part of our time in the UK. I really enjoyed the city of Bath, and would gladly go again. Until next time!

Check out our parts of this trip:
City of London
Kensington Palace and Hampton Court

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Our Trip to London

Buckingham Palace

London.. there's so much to say about London! I can't believe last week we were in the heart of this lovely city. We traveled over Daniel's spring break, which meant the weather was a bit chilly for us. But it gave us the chance to use our boots and coats! Super cute! Weather was in the 50's and we had a few good days of sunny weather.

We were fortunate enough to be able to stay with long-time friends, and then take the train wherever we wanted to go. During our 9 days overseas, we spent about 3 days in London, and used the other days to visit other towns in southeast England.

Westminster Bridge

Some of my favorite moments in London include...

  • Touring Westminster Abbey The inside is stunning, with it's statues and mausoleums. It really blew me away.
  • Walking along Westminster Bridge (photo above) This connects Big Ben and Parliament to the London Eye. You walk over the river Thames, and feel like you are in the heart of it all. 
  • Seeing Daffodils in the Parks So gorgeous! 
  • Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens The ample green space and parks are just amazing. If I lived in London, I would walk in the park every day. We saw lots of people biking, jogging, and playing with their dogs. 

St. James's Park

We were fortunate enough to have locals come with us into the city and help us navigate all the streets. It was so special to have our first experience in the U.K. be with British friends. We did get one day in London on our own, and we didn't have too much trouble navigating. We did pretty darn good on the subway!

Westminster Abbey

I won't go into great length on all the spots we hit, but we did get to see all the famous and historic sites. The Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, St. James's Park, Charing Cross Station, King's Cross Station, the Underground, etc. 

Overall, I really loved London. It's a very clean and safe city. It was super easy to fly there, as there's a direct flight route from Orlando to London. Both Daniel and I agree that if you're going to do Europe for the first time, London is your best bet, and not just because they speak English. I promise that you'll feel like you already know a bit about this country, thanks to US history classes you took as a kid. 

More posts on our U.K. trip to come!

City of Bath
Kensington Palace and Hampton Court

 photo AEE9CDC010348191FC652CBA68E0D666_zps1c1578b9.png