Cozy Coffee Catchups, Life

Cozy Coffee Catchups

Imagine we’re sitting in a cozy, sunlight living room. Comfortably tucked into oversized hug-your-body chairs. Snuggled up to fashionably fuzzy pillows. A stylish coffee table between us. Two jumbo mugs of steaming coffee within arm’s reach.

If we were sipping coffee together I’d tell you . . .

All about my little man’s red-hot fire truck birthday party, and how I still can’t believe that I’m the mom of a TWO year old . . . The weekend went so well! My in-laws flew in Friday evening and we all met up with my SIL’s family for a big family dinner at one of our local Tex-mex restaurants. Let me tell you, my kid can PUT AWAY chips, beans, and rice!! . . . Despite a bit of confusion about Saturday plans and a minor internal stress moment on my end—Let’s face it, a) I get really thrown off when plans are sprung on me last minute AND b) it compounds my anxiety when I already have plans and this happens—the kinks were smoothed out without any hurt feelings. Everyone hung out at our house and enjoyed a casual brunch while the kiddos played, which allowed me to begin baking early in the day (meaning I wouldn’t have to pull a late-nighter) without missing out on hanging with the family . . . And then there was the big day. Little man slept in until 9 am and asked for ‘mustins’ (muffins, which is what he calls cupcakes) right away! The look on his face when he came out to see the house decked out with streamers and fire trucks is one I will hold in my heart for so many years to come. It’s funny how long the day felt, although his party only lasted about two hours! I think it’s safe to say the kids all played themself into good naps . . . And wore the adults out, because everyone in our house took a nap later that afternoon!

And while I’m not one for mindless chatter about the weather, I’d have to mention just how enamored with this spring weather I am. Hello sandals!! While it also means making keeping up with my at-home pedis, I am more than willing to swap boot season for barefoot days! Move over socks, I don’t need ya anymore! Plus, the warmer weather means more outside time with little man. Walks to the park and rides around the block in his ‘big Jeep’ make for a happy mini man and happy mama!

I’d ask if you’re reading anything interesting at the moment, and tell you how I’m not as far into High Performance Habits as I expected to be . . . But in the best of ways. I typically set a pace for myself with each book I crack open. The number of pages divided by the number of days to finish within for a daily-number-of-pages-to-read goal. Super nerdy? Maybe, but hey that’s me . . . With HPH however, I realized early in that it isn’t the kind of book to simply blaze through. At least not for me, considering each section ends with a set of questions that require inner reflection and aspirational thinking. It’s the sort of book to journal along with. I’m not sure how long it will take me to get through it, although my goal is to have it finished before baby is here . . . Because I’m going to be 100% realistic here. I don’t expect to get much self-development in for a while after he’s born.

I’d let you in on my current mental weather . . . Sunny with a cool breeze . . . With just 10 weeks until my due date, the reality still hasn’t quite set in. Mom of TWO. Boy mom. Mother of kids (plural!!) . . . Excited? Yes. But it’s the kind of excitement when you’re anticipating something that feels too far out to be real. Prepared? As much as I can be mentally. Room wise? Not at all. I mean, he has a room. The current decor aesthetic is rocking chair, dresser, and a stack of boxes. I suppose I should start unpacking, doing laundry, and preparing soon . . .

My face when you ask me if the nursery is done.

And since we’re already on the topic of preparing for baby, I’d mention how my hospital bag has been top of mind lately. I guess that means I’m mentally preparing more than I give myself credit. Ironically, I had everything purchased for my hospital bag when I went into spontaneous labor with Little J . . . It just wasn’t washed or packed . . . That could be why I’m feeling lead to get my bag prepared early this pregnancy. I have almost everything I’d like to bring this time. Almost. An Amazon order or two will do the trick. You know, this may have just given me an idea for my next post!

What have you been up to since our last coffee chat?


Family, Parties, Toddler Life

A Fire Fighter Birthday Party!

And just like that, we have a TWO year old . . .

I have to catch my breath a little every time the thought comes to mind. I cannot believe it’s been two years since Jameson came into our lives and forever rocked our world for the absolute best.

As with any celebration, the festivities were tailored specifically to the birthday boy’s current passion . . . fire trucks!! He loves just about anything with wheels (tractors, trucks, cars, garbage trucks, etc…), but fire trucks hold a pretty special place in his little heart right now.

Our party scene was complete with a fire truck garland, colorful streamers, a flaming cupcake tower, a firehouse/town backdrop, and fire chief party hats!

I really tried to channel toddler life when choosing snacks. Simple. Quick. Finger friendly . . . I chose fruit kabobs, veggies and hummus in a cup, lifesaver gummies (the ‘lifesaver’ part seemed fitting), and fire hoses (red vines) . . . And of course cupcakes for dessert!!

I had so much fun planning and crafting for his party. Toddler parties may just be my new calling. Okay, not really, but I did have a ton of fun.

Here’s what I DIY’d . . .

A Flaming Cupcake Tower
My cupcake tower is this simple Wilton 4-tier dessert tower that I bought on Amazon for Jameson’s 1st birthday. The flames were my way of heating things up (pun totally intended) and adding red-hot flair. It took me roughly two nights of crafting while watching shows with the hubs, and one nap time crafting session. Really, it was the cutting out that took time more than anything. I’m all for letting my inner artist shine (imperfections and all), so I drew the flames freehand, cut them out, and glued them in layers (yellow on orange and orange on red) to get that realistic flame look. I then taped them to the cupcakes tower.

– Construction paper (red, orange, yellow)
– Pencil
– Scissors

– Tape

Dutch Chocolate Cupcakes
I phoned in Martha’s help and used this dutch chocolate cupcake recipe . . . OH MY CHOCOLATE HEAVENS . . . Please do yourself a favor and whip up a batch right this very moment!! They don’t even need frosting. These cupcakes are rich, decadent, moist, airy, light, and pure chocolate bliss . . . Note: I altered the recipe because the birthday boy is dairy intolerant. I substituted butter with coconut oil (1:1 ratio) and made my own ‘buttermilk’ using unsweetened plain almond milk and apple cider vinegar. My husband, who’s the owner of very discriminating tastebuds and isn’t one to hold his opinions, could not believe they were dairy free. The man who generally turns his nose up to dairy-free and vegan bakes inhaled a fraction of my test batch sans frosting.

Flaming Frosting
Just for fun, I took my best crack at making tri-colored frosting using this tutorial. My frosting bullets turned out beautifully, but I think I gave the bag a little too much muscle when I began piping because all three bullet bags burst . . . I ended up scrapping the idea altogether (I didn’t have the energy to repeat the entire process). Instead, I spooned the frosting from each bullet bag into a new piping bag and went to work. I did nothing to prevent the colors from blending in the new piping bag, and found the effect, an ombre swirl, even more awesome than my original tri-colored vision. My piping skills need work (like a lot), but I was pretty darn pleased with the result.

It’s really tough to beat real buttercream frosting, so I made two different frosting batches. A dairy free version for little man, and the full-cow version for everyone else. I used this Serious Eats American buttercream frosting recipe. If the cloying sweetness of American buttercream is a turn-off to your tastebuds, I highly recommend this recipe, as it uses a different butter-to-sugar ratio than tradition buttercream recipes . . . Yielding a much more balanced flavor that’s simply lick-the-bowl delicious.

My dairy-free frosting wasn’t memorable, and needs tweaking, so we’ll just leave it at that . . . Plus I found out that like his mom, mini man is more of a cake guy than a frosting guy.

Chalkboard Birthday Sign
My original plan was to make a pennant banner, but spotted this long-forgotten chalkboard in my garage. When pregnant with Jameson, I used it to track his weekly growth and my pregnancy milestones. It felt fitting to use it for this milestone event. Plus, I still had chalkboard markers, making it a no-cost craft. The best kind!

– Chalkboard
– Chalkboard marker
– Ruler & pencil (to sketch out a rough draft if you’re particular like me)
– Q-Tips & rubbing alcohol

Fire Truck Garland
The fire truck garland is something I saw on Etsy and decided to make for myself to save money. It was time consuming, but actually very simple. All it took was a few clicks for craft supplies on Amazon and time. Lots of time. I used one sheet of felt to sketch my templates (firetruck body, windows, ladder, wheels, siren) out in back Sharpie. I then cut them out and used each template to create all the parts needed for 12 fire trucks. I chose 12 because that’s the number I needed to fill the space where I hung the finished garland. Everything is held together with basic fabric glue.

– Felt sheets (red, yellow, white, black, grey, and white)
– Black Sharpie marker
– Fabric glue
– Black paracord (for the coiled hoses)
– Twine (what the fire trucks hang from)
– Sharp crafting scissors

Firehouse/Town Backdrop
Lastly, the town backdrop. I was inspired by a similar themed party I saw on Pinterest. Again, it seemed pointless to pay for a backdrop if I could make one. We still had quite a few cardboard boxes in the garage from our recent move, so that’s what I used as backing. I freehand drew the building silhouettes and cut them out. I recommend not sacrificing your nice crafting scissors on cutting cardboard, as it will dull them. I then used the silhouette I’d created to trace buildings onto different colored construction paper. I cut each building out and glued it onto the cardboard backing. Lastly, I used my son’s Crayola markers to decorate the buildings and give each a distinct personality. This craft was also time consuming, but you could easily save time by using all-black construction paper and creating a nighttime skyline silhouette. I know not everyone is as nutty as me!

– Cardboard box in good condition (I used a medium-sized UHaul box)
– Black Sharpie or pencil
– Scissors
– Construction paper (red, black, yellow, brown, white, green)

– Elmer’s glue
– Pack of markers

I wanted to capture pics on my DSLR camera, but the thought escaped me in the moment, so iPhone pics it is!

More important than pretty pictures were the memories we made. It was truly such a fun day! Little man had a blast playing with his cousins, opening gifts, and eating snacks. I couldn’t have ask for more.

Have you celebrated any fun birthdays lately? How about my crafters out there? What’s your favorite thing or event to craft for?


Family, Holidays, Mom Life, Toddler Life

Valentine’s Recap

February may be long gone, but the memories made during the month are still fresh in my mind.

My husband and I have always kept things pretty low-key for Valentine’s Day. No extravagant gifts or fancy dinners for us. When it was just us, we used to go out for coffee and then on a ‘love day hike.’ Last year, our mini man was 11 months and still not the most willing hiking buddy, so we went out for a simple family coffee date. 2019 was the year of the love note and baked goods. I’m thinking it may just have to become our new tradition . . .

Our love note craft was very spur of the moment and a week or so early. We just so happened to pass an endcap with seasonal stickers while grocery shopping. I thought, toddler + stickers = 5 minutes of delight. There is nothing quite like the joy that a sheet of paper and $2 worth of stickers brings to a toddler’s day. Happy boy makes a happy momma! Not to mention bonus points for making Dad’s day when he came home to an artfully decorated love note.

Valentine’s Day fell on my husband’s Monday this year. Knowing we wouldn’t be able to go out for coffee, little man and I got up and baked homemade pop tarts (aka hand pies) that we sent my husband off to work with (along with a mug full of coffee, of course).

Little J loves watching me in the kitchen, and asks more and more to help out with whatever I’m doing. I simply can’t get enough of that little smile and his endless curiosity. All it took is one little twinkle of his eyes as he said, “Momma! Rrrroooll it!” Of course I couldn’t deny him the opportunity to help out. He had a blast learning to use the rolling pin!

Dad got treats to begin his work day, and you can bet Little J and I had our fair share of home-baked pastry goodness to start our Love Day off right!

Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions?


Cozy Coffee Catchups, Life

Cozy Coffee Catchups

Imagine we’re sitting in a cozy, sunlight living room. Comfortably tucked into oversized hug-your-body chairs. Snuggled up to fashionably fuzzy pillows. A stylish coffee table between us. Two jumbo mugs of steaming coffee within arm’s reach.

If we were sipping coffee together I’d tell you . . .

About my haircut woes. William Shakespeare once said that ‘expectation is the root of all heartache,’ and I agree. The cut pinned to my hair inspiration board, that I showed my stylist, and that I expected to receive was a lightweight, textured bob (think Lucy Hale circa 2015). What I’m now sporting is in the realm and cute in its own way, but falls short of my desired look. A bit too round. Sans edgy chicness. Not textured enough to thin my mass amounts of hair into submission. It is by no means a bad haircut, thank goodness. Just not what I expected . . . Sigh . . .

I’d also tell you that my mini man is just 9 days away from officially being a TWO YEAR OLD. And how this milestone has me feeling unsteady. A mix of pride and heartache. Because watching him grow from a teeny, tiny preemie into a sweet and spicy little man over the past two years has been nothing short of incredible. And I now finally get why mommas cry over stuff like this. Nope, it’s not to be dramatic like I previously thought. Whoops! But because the heart can only hold so much emotion inside before it comes rocketing out like a shaken up bottle of soda. Oh, the sense of pride to see him grow mixed with a heart wrenching sadness over the fact that he’s growing up! . . . More sighing . . .

If you asked what’s bugging me lately, I’d let you in on my literal pain in the booty that keeps cramping my days. Sciatic nerve pain. Pregnant much? And how I’m attempting to combat it with a combination of wearing my super sexy maternity support belt and practicing prenatal yoga.

I’d tell you how much I’m currently loving my new maternity jeans. Thank you Amazon! Not only for having a decent selection of maternity jeans under $50, but for the unearthly convenience of not having to leave my house . . . I imagine you’ve got your own set of adorable rugrats and can totally relate with my bump style talk.

I’d also reveal my latest guilty pleasure TV show. Now, I may not know a thing about the Bachelor, but girl can I tell you all about getting hooked on the Masked Singer! And if you were caught up too, we’d talk about the mind blowing season finale.

Most importantly, if we were sipping coffee together, I’d want to know all about your week. What you’ve been up to and what’s new.  And I’d ask you to catch me up.