Saturday, February 27, 2010

Researching Cribs and Stroller Systems

My hubby and I are spending a romantic evening researching baby cribs and stroller systems! We've found a few items we like, but we wanted to see what you all found in your research, as well as what you were looking for when you shopped.

For us, we have several things we're looking for in a crib (not in order):
1) white finish (this is just a preference)
2) non-toxic finish (because babies suck on their cribs!)
3) solid wood (not pressed wood, because the glue can off-gas; also, solid wood will last longer through many, many babies)
4) meets or exceeds all safety standards
5) a style we like (we like clean modern lines, as well as the more classic sleigh style)
6) (added bonus) convertible to something else besides just a crib (toddler bed, day bed, etc.)
7) fits a standard sized mattress
8) non-moving parts (so many drop-side cribs have been recalled lately)
9) free shipping!

We found this Baby Mod Lily 4-in1 that we really like. We're still looking around and considering other options too!

Looking at stroller systems is for some reason much more overwhelming to me. Maybe because there are so many options... maybe because it is such a huge safety issue. We learned recently that car seats EXPIRE after 6 years, so we definitely want to get a brand new one so we can get our money out of it before it "goes bad"!

Here's our stroller must-haves list (not in order):
1) meets or exceeds all safety standards
2) gender-neutral color (so that future babies can enjoy it too)
3) 3-in-1 travel system (car seat/baby carrier, stroller, base unit that gets left in car)
4) has good reviews by actual consumers
5) free shipping

We found one we like here (the Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe Travel System). Again, we are still continuing to look and price other strollers. Lots to think and pray about! These are exciting times!

Nursery Project: Cloth Cube

I totally love cloth baby toys, and I found this great tutorial over at Make It and Love It for making a cloth baby cube. I just finished making one, and I didn't think it took very long at all! The next one I make will probably go even faster. I'll explain what I did here, but for the more complete tutorial, visit Make It and Love It.

Cut 6 squares out of fabric. (I used fabrics from my little bird project.) I made mine exactly 5x5 inches, but you can make whatever size you would like.Take your first two squares and sew one seam with the right sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat to connect four squares together in a row.Sew the first square to the fourth square so you have what looks like a box with no top or bottom.

With your remaining two squares, cut 1/4"x1/4" notches out of the corners. Pin the fifth square to your "box" and sew, making sure your corners are square. (This was the trickiest step. It didn't make sense to me until I started doing it.)
Repeat on the other end with the final square, leaving a hole for you to turn it. (Sorry for all these carpet shots... I do my best work on the floor.)Turn your cube right-side-out, poke out the corners, stuff, and sew the hole shut.
Ta-da! Beautiful. Now go make one of your own!Linked to:
Trendy Treehouse Creative Share

Italian Tossed Salad

I've made this salad a few times recently, and while it's nothing earth-shattering, I thought I'd share the recipe I created.

Italian Tossed Salad

1/2 head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 to 2 carrots, washed, peeled, and grated
several thin slices of RED onion (it's actually purple), separated into rings
1/2 cup (?) grated Parmesan cheese (just add this to taste)
croutons (I like garlic)

Toss all ingredients together in a salad bowl using your hands. Add additional onions, croutons, and cheese to the top to make it pretty. Voila! Serve with a great dressing like Kraft Caesar Vinaigrette with Parmesan Cheese. I'd also love to try this homemade variety here.

This salad serves 6. Enjoy!

P.S. Add some olives (eww) and a pepper and it's an Olive Garden copycat!

Friday, February 26, 2010

House Update

Wanted to give you all an update on our house situation: We have officially been fully approved for the loan, and we'll be ordering the inspection next week! We are very thankful to God for His provision for and faithfulness to us.

We enjoyed perusing Lowe's and Home Depot today for home-related goodies. Can't wait to start buying things!

Thanks for your prayers.

Week Seventeen

I feel like I'm really looking chunky in this picture... but in a good, "I'm-kind-of-looking-pregnant" way. :) Compare with last week here.

This week our baby is about the size of an onion and has his or her own individual fingerprints! How cool is that?

I've been feeling pretty well lately, though I have continued to deal with some nausea. Nothing like at the beginning, though! I feel pretty energetic today, and I'm getting VERY excited about (hopefully) soon moving into our house where I can start getting everything settled.

Thanks for your continued prayers for us and for our baby!

(You can vote in our "Is-it-a-boy-or-a-girl" survey on the right until Wednesday. We find out on Thursday! But we might not tell you until Friday or so...)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Creativity Strikes

"My business is to create." - William Blake

Sometimes I just get a creative urge. You know ... the feeling where you haven't done anything creative lately and you feel like if you don't you're going to explode. (I've been told that this may not be entirely normal...haha.)

At any rate, I'm definitely feeling the need to start a new project soon. I'm waiting until next week when we find out if our baby is a boy or a girl to finish the bird mobile and other accessories for the nursery.

In the mean time, I really want to work on something fun and crafty. This blog is really inspiring, listing projects from bloggers all over the world who are willing to share step-by-step tutorials of their creative endeavors.

Maybe tomorrow on hubby's day off we'll head into town and go to Michael's. I'm really wanting this project to involve paint, I think.

Recently (three weeks ago?) I made a little felt case for my sewing needles.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quotations that Inspire

“God doesn’t just give us grace, He gives us Jesus, the Lord of grace.”
- Anne Graham Lotz

"There is no greater recommendation to the truth and power of the Christian faith than a Christian husband and wife, a Christian marriage, and a Christian home."
- Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me, I should have never chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.”
- Charles Spurgeon

"A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God...She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever He pleases. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows His promise that He will be with her and help to strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakeable root of Christian womanhood."
- John Piper

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Youth Valentine Dinner

Yesterday Tad led the youth in putting on a Valentine Dinner Service Project/Fundraiser for our church.

It was a sit-down dinner consisting of three courses: salad (served family style at each table), meat lasagna and garlic bread (served by the youth), and dessert (served by the youth). We also offered tea, water, and coffee.
We were so proud of how hard our youth worked decorating, setting up, cooking, serving, and cleaning up afterwards.

It was an enjoyable evening and we were blessed by the number of church members who came (almost 30!).(Thanks to Tad for taking these pictures.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Week Sixteen

We just got home from a loooong day (youth Valentine dinner at church), so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

Week 16 is here! I've been feeling pretty good as far as the pregnancy is concerned, with minimal sickness. I have had some headaches, but overall I am doing well. Been craving lots of red meat (basically I loooooove pot roast!) and trying to eat healthier than I have been (more fruits and veggies).

Sorry I didn't change into my normal shirt for this picture, but I'm really tired! haha.

Click here to compare with last week's baby bump photo.

Think it's a boy? Think it's a girl? Vote in our poll in the column on the right!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's in a Name?

Tad and I have been talking a lot about baby name ideas lately. It's been slightly difficult to find baby names that meet all of the criteria we are looking for.

Of course, we want a name that we both like (this is harder to find than you would think!).

We want a name that is unique and not super-common.

And, most importantly, we want to give our baby a name that is rich in meaning.

How did you choose your baby's (or babies') name(s)?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Prayers for Our Baby

My sweet sister-in-law, Angela (who, by the way, needs to start her own blog...hehe), recently sent me this beautiful book.

It's called Expecting: Praying for Your Child's Development - Body and Soul.

It goes through each week of your pregnancy and suggests specific things to pray for based on what part of the baby is developing that week.

For example, this week (15) I am praying for our baby's digestive glands and for a healthy lifestyle as he or she gets older.

The book is filled with Scripture and prayers, as well as sweet quotations and places to journal about the pregnancy.

This is a great book, not just for expectant mothers, but for any mother who wants to lift up her child to the Lord and pray for his or her continued growth!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Week Fifteen

Click here to view my week 14 belly photo to compare.

Our baby is about the size of an orange this week! He or she is moving a lot more now that his/her arms and legs have their joints. I think I might have felt the baby move last night when I was lying in bed, but it could have been my imagination (or my stomach digesting, lol!).

I've been experiencing quite a bit of cramping over the last week. I'm not sure if I'm getting Braxton Hicks contractions already (they can start this early) or if it's something else. At any rate, I'm learning to breathe through the cramping/contracting and that definitely helps.

We are very excited to be over a third of the way into the pregnancy. We are thankful to God for keeping our baby safe and healthy so far!

Oh, and in three weeks, we will know if it's a boy or a girl! Any guesses?

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice!

Just in time for Valentine's Day: a new study has revealed "regular consumption of chocolate to be a heart helper."

Read more about it here! Pass the Godiva.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Under the Weather

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately! We had a busy weekend, and then Monday Tad and I crashed! We both got sick, and I'm still recovering (head cold, sore throat, etc.). I'm taking care of myself by resting lots, using saline spray and the NetiPot, and eating chicken soup.

Apologies for neglecting the blog. We are alive!


(Click images to enlarge)

For more enjoyable snowmen strips by Bill Waterson, click here.

Surprise Visit

Last weekend we were very blessed to have a "surprise" (they called first, haha) visit from my mom and brother! They had been staying in Richmond for an event and knew if they stayed they would be snowed in Richmond, and knew if they headed back home they would be driving straight into the snow storm. Sooo... they decided to drive south and come visit us for a few days! We didn't get any snow here, by the way, but parts of VA got buckets of snow... in some places 2+feet!
We had a really nice time with them and were so glad they got to come down for a little bit!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Week Fourteen

We've arrived at week 14! I think this week you can definitely see at least a little bump starting. :) Click here to compare with last week's belly photo.

My doctor's appointment went well yesterday and we got to hear the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. Everything seems to be doing well!

My nausea has almost completely stopped, but I do have to make sure I eat regularly so I don't get hungry (that makes me sick). Sleeping a lot ... but I think it is because the baby is growing so much right now!

Our baby is the size of a lemon and is developing in many ways. I've experienced some cramping lately, which is normal ... my body is making room for baby!

C.J. Mahaney's Thoughts on the Super Bowl

Those of you who know me well know that I am not an athletic person by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I have the vaguest idea what is going on in the world of sports at any given moment. However, being married to a youth pastor has thrust upon me the privilege of assisting him in hosting a Super Bowl party this year. We are excited about the time we will get to spend with the youth during the game Sunday night, but I'll admit I've been a little apprehensive about a few things, such as commercial patrol and keeping the group cohesive when it is split between football and board game fans.

I came across C.J. Mahaney's recent blog post in which he discusses some tips on watching the Super Bowl and glorifying God in the process. I thought some of you might enjoy reading it as well! Click here to read his Thoughts on the Super Bowl (as well as his predictions).

What about you? Are you watching the Super Bowl? Does your family watch the commercials? The half-time show? If you don't watch some of the commercials, who is in on remote-control duty? And, finally... who are you cheering for?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

German Heritage Night

We had a mini "Oktoberfest" at our house tonight, enjoying a variety of German foods. We had bratwurst, hot German potato salad (Tad's mom's special recipe), and German chocolate cake (though I'm not really sure that's an authentic German food)!

Menu Monday

Hope you don't mind that I'm posting this on a Tuesday!

Dinner: chicken, biscuits, gravy, cooked carrots

Lunch: leftovers (lasagna, ribs, etc.)
Dinner: bratwurst, German potato salad, German chocolate cake (German heritage night)

Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: taco salads, corn

Lunch: chicken sandwiches (if home...may still be out), fruit
Dinner: crock pot salsa chicken, mexican rice

Lunch: BLTs, fruit
Dinner: hot dogs, veggies, fruit, mac 'n' cheese

Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: tacos, all the fixin's
Dinner: marinated grilled chicken breasts, lima beans, baked potatoes

Lunch: grilled cheese, fruit, veggies
Dinner: youth Super Bowl party at church

Have you joined the Great Rib Debate? Please don't forget to VOTE in our poll on the right ---> and leave a comment on this post!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Great Rib Debate

In our household recently, there has been a lively debate over the manner in which one is to consume barbecued ribs. We decided to voice our respective opinions on this blog and allow our readers to share their opinions in the form of comments and votes in our poll (on the right).

There is nothing more American than barbecue ribs. They are enjoyed often at picnics, barbecues, restaurants, and even inside cooked in an oven. This great American food can only truly be enjoyed to its fullest in a somewhat messy fashion; they must be picked up with the hands and eaten. Now this is most likely too messy for some, for instance the snobbish French. But in our American culture without divisions between classes, poor and rich alike can enjoy this delicacy the way God intended it to be enjoyed. We are above thinking that such things are barbaric and instead understand the efficiency and the necessity of eating ribs in this fashion. May God Bless the USA and ribs.

For me, the idea of consuming barbecued ribs conjures up images of wild animals picking at the carcasses of other animals. Say, this image, for example.Actually, maybe this one is more accurate...
At any rate, I find the act of picking up barbecued ribs with one's hands and picking the meat off with ones teeth an uncouth practice. I prefer to eat my ribs with a knife and fork, which is less messy and still makes me feel like a human being created in the image of God.

Your turn:
Leave a comment and vote in our poll on the right! (Poll open until 2/8/10.)
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