Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is the birthday of a very special woman - my mother!
picture taken by Andrea last July at my baby shower
My mom is one of the most incredible people I have ever known, and I hope to be like her one day!  She exhibits such godliness and strength of character and is a blessing to everyone she meets.

I am blessed to not only call her my mom, but also one of my very best friends.

I love you, Mom!
Happy Birthday!

WINNER of the Kristin's Vintage Garden Giveaway!

With a little help from random.org, I drew the winner of the Kristin's Vintage Garden giveaway!  And the winner is...

#1 - Stephanie, who said, "I love the strawberry shortcake hair petals!"

Congratulations, Stephanie!  I'll pass your info on to Kristin so she can get your prize to you.

Thank you to all who entered this giveaway.  If you didn't win, you can still order something from Kristin's Vintage Garden here.  These sweet earrings are just $6!

On SIMPLE Today

I'm featuring an awesome company called Whisker Graphics... and hosting a sweet giveaway!
Check out the Whisker Graphics review and giveaway here! (Open until 4/6/11.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gratitude

I've been enjoying reading a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Choosing Gratitude.  It's awesome!  It's definitely not a book you want to speed-read; it's more of a "chew-on-it" kind of book.

Here are a few snippets that have stuck out to me lately:

"To put it even more simply: In every situation... prayer + thanksgiving = peace."

"The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices. It is a godly habit and pattern that over time becomes a new muscle in our spiritual makeup. And though like every other sanctified character trait, it does nothing to make us more loved and accepted by God, gratitude does become a reliable measure for where our hearts are with Him."

"Thankful people are refreshing, life-giving springs, while unthankful people pull others down with them into the stagnant pools of their selfish, demanding, unhappy ways."

"A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an unthankful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining."

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1 
just look at this glorious dogwood tree in bloom!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Still Wearing my Baby

Just because I haven't posted lately about babywearing doesn't mean I've stopped!  I still wear Vera quite a bit.  I love using a Peanut Shell pouch sling when we're out and about, and I also really love a mei tai that Andrea loaned me.

I haven't worn Vera much in the Sleepy Wrap since she was little (I thought she stopped liking it), but today she was exceptionally fussy (due to lots of teething pain and gas pain), so I gave it another shot.  As soon as I put her in the Sleepy Wrap she started to calm down!  I wore her in it for about 30 minutes (until her nap), during which time she was very happy and content!  I think being that close to me really helped soothe her.
no makeup - I'm keeping it real!

I want to hear from other babywearers out there... do you/did you wear your babies after 6 months?

Oh, and right now (until 4/1/11) on She {Hearts} It, there is a Sleepy Wrap giveaway going on!

Snapshot

Tad snapped this photo of me & Vera at church last night with Andrea's camera.  Love it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

500th Post!

This post marks my 500th blog post on Feathers in Our Nest!  Tad suggested I celebrate by inserting 500 smiley faces into this post.  You're welcome for not listening to him.

Instead, here are a 5 of my most popular posts!

Mozzarella Chicken - an easy dinner to make, and one of the most popular recipes I've posted
Nursery Reveal - pictures of the nursery we completed for Vera
Chinese Sesame Chicken - a more recent recipe, but quickly rising in popularity!

Coffee Cupboard Chalkboard Menu - this is one of my most popular DIY projects to date

Houndstooth Felt Hair Bow Tutorial - this is another popular project/tutorial

Do you have a favorite recipe or post from Feathers in Our Nest?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ta-Da!


Vera pulled herself up and stood last night for the first time!  Here's a little animated gif to prove it:
Photobucket
And I know it looks like Tad was helping her up, but he wasn't!

Don't you love our green shag carpet?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On Simple

Today on SIMPLE, I am reviewing one of my favorite things EVER... a custom address stamp from Angelique, Ink!  Go check out the review here.  (Psst... there is a coupon code!)

Also, I'm giving away another bloom from Kristin's Vintage Garden, as well as a pair of earrings.  You can enter here or there!

Kristin's Vintage Garden Review and Giveaway!

Today I am excited to introduce you to Kristin's Vintage Garden!  Kristin of Windy Poplars and Living Graciously has recently opened up a sweet little shop filled with lovely designs, such as floral brooches ("blooms") and chrysanthemum earrings.

I had the opportunity to review the Soft Crimini Bloom and a pair of flower earrings.  The brooch is lovely, soft, and feminine, and the earrings are fun and flirty!  The bloom is perfect pinned on a jacket, scarf, or purse, and the earrings are ones I'll grab anytime I need a pop of color!
this bloom looks great on my favorite brown bag!
 


Kristin has recently debuted her spring line, so you'll want to check it out.  In addition to blooms and earrings, she also has hair clips, purses, and stationary.  I love this new turquoise bloom - such a fun color combo for spring!
For a video by Kristin which highlights all of the new spring line products, visit Windy Poplars!

Today I am giving away a bloom to one lucky reader!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me which item in Kristin's Vintage Garden is your favorite.

Winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 30.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nap Protest

Since Vera has been able to sit up on her own, she has started protesting her naps (i.e. sitting up and not sleeping!) on a somewhat regular basis.  Sometimes these are angry protests, with tears and lots of drama...
 

And sometimes these are happy protests, with giggles and smiles!
 

And sometimes she takes naps without any protesting.

Spaghetti

Here's a simple recipe for you today: spaghetti!  Tad has always loved his mom's spaghetti (and let's be honest - who doesn't think their mom's spaghetti is the best?!), so when we were first married she gave her recipe to me.  I basically follow her recipe, but I've tweaked it a little bit.  Also, I highly recommend using good-quality spices for this recipe (i.e. from Penzeys!).  You will notice a difference when you use really good herbs!  (And I love to make this with fresh herbs in the summer.)
Spaghetti

1 yellow onion, minced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey (I have also made this without meat plenty of times)
2 large cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (Italian style or plain), not drained
1 Tbsp. basil
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. marjoram
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
a shake of crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until slightly tender.  Add ground beef and cook until meat is no longer pink.  Drain.  Return to stovetop and add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, marjoram, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the bay leaf.  Simmer on low for at least 3-4 hours (the longer the better!).  Remove the bay leaf at the end of the cooking time.  Serve over pasta.
Serves 6-8 (and freezes well!).

Enjoy!


Like this recipe? Follow me so you never miss a new recipe post!
For more of our family's favorite recipes, click here.

Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Tatertots & Jello

Monday, March 21, 2011

Current Favorite Cookbook

Okay, I'll admit it. I read cookbooks for fun!  I also love browsing awesome recipe blogs like Our Best Bites.  Recently, Sarah and Kate published their first cookbook, also called Our Best Bites. I love that they went from being bloggers to being published authors!  I tried to wait for a gift-giving occasion where I could ask for this cookbook as a present, but I just couldn't wait that long.  I bought it using a gift card to Amazon I earned using Swagbucks

This cookbook is filled with bright pictures and wonderful recipes.  Everything I have made from Our Best Bites (the blog and the book) has been completely delicious!  Some of my favorite recipes in the book are:
  • Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip
  • Black Beans
  • Slow-Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls
  • Chicken Cacciatore 
  • Garlic Bread Seasoning
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
  • Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes
I have an even longer list of recipes I can't wait to try!

There are also some great tutorials in the cookbook, such as "how to cut a mango," "how to make pizza on the grill," and "how to roast garlic cloves."

I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves to eat!

*I was not paid or perked in any way to write this review. I'm just sharing a book I love!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vera's Seven Months Old!

Seven months old!
Here is a small deluge of pictures for you!
Vera kept trying to eat pine needles yesterday
on the porch this afternoon

sweet smile

Some milestones:
-crawls! (started crawling just after she turned 6 months)
-sits up on her own from any position
-has a very ticklish tummy
-enjoys eating solid foods!
-has eaten avocado, banana, sweet potatoes, mango, summer squash, butternut squash, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries, peaches, rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and plain yogurt
-drinks water out of a sippy cup
-bounces up and down when she is excited or wants something (SO cute!!)
-still sucks her thumb
-nurses 8-9 times a day
-takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap
-can pick up small items with her fingers
-got her first tooth (finally!)
-weighs 16.5 pounds
-is loved a LOT by her Mommy & Daddy!
baby toes!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Picnic at the Park

It feels like summer here today!  It's 80+ degrees outside, sunny, and breezy!  We went to the park for lunch and enjoyed soaking up some sun.

Linking to:
Living Graciously

Signing

Since Vera was three months old, I have been teaching her the sign for "milk."  In the last couple of months, I have also introduced "more," "water," "kitty," and "bird."*  (The next sign I plan on introducing is "all done.")  I think the first time Vera signed "milk" was when she was 5 months old, but it wasn't really consistent at that point.

Yesterday we were out shopping and I knew it was getting time to feed Vera.  It had been over three hours since she last nursed, and I was worried she was going to start melting down.  We were nearing the end of the store, and she started signing "milk" to me!  I was so proud of her for telling me what she wanted without crying!  Babies cry to communicate their needs, so if you give them another way to communicate their needs (i.e., signs), they can do that instead of cry.

I have found many helpful resources on baby signing online (like Signing Baby), but here is one blog post that sums things up nicely!  Baby Sign: Benefits and How-to

*I am teaching Vera the real ASL signs, even though some parents choose to teach simplified "baby" signs.  I'm doing this for the same reason I say "water" to Vera instead of "wahwah"!

Have you taught your baby any signs?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Renewed

photo by Andrea, stolen from facebook :)
Last night at our ladies Bible study, I felt so renewed to delve into the Word of God with a group of other women.  As we all shared our struggles and our hearts, there was such a sense of unity and openness.

In our struggles, spiritual and otherwise, we sometimes have a tendency to think we are alone or that we are the only ones struggling in that way.  It is wonderful when we, as Christian sisters, take time to be vulnerable with one another and share deeply from our hearts! 

We discussed lies we believe about God.  Like...

The Lie: God is not really good. 
The Truth: God is good, and everything He does is good. God never makes mistakes. 

The Lie: God doesn’t really love me. 
The Truth: God’s love for me is infinite and unconditional. I don’t have to perform to earn God’s love or favor. God always has my best interests at heart. 

The Lie: God is not really enough. 
The Truth: God is enough. If I have Him, I have all I need. 

The Lie: God should fix my problems. 
The Truth: Life is hard. God is more concerned about glorifying Himself and changing me than about solving all my problems. God has an eternal purpose He is fulfilling in the midst of my problems. God wants to use my problems as part of His sanctifying process in my life. No matter what problem I am facing, God’s grace is sufficient for me. 

(lies/truths excerpted from Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

I feel so blessed to be a part of this study.  I hope everyone else was enriched last night too!

Steven Courtney Giveaway WINNER

I am happy to announce that the winner of the Steven Courtney Million Smiles to Go CD Giveaway is...

- Rachel, who said: "Well, since I don't have kids yet, I'm sure that I would enjoy this quite a bit... Anything the Courtney family does is wonderful! But I am a preschool teacher and am always looking for new music for our class and I know the kids would LOVE listening to and dancing to this CD!"

Congratulations, Rachel!  Please contact me or leave a comment on this post with your email address so we can get your CD sent to you.  If I don't hear from you within a week, a new winner will be drawn.

Thank you all for entering!  If you didn't win, you can purchase Million Smiles to Go here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Playing

When Vera was a newborn, she was very content to sit in her papasan, swing, be held, or lay on her tummy.  Somewhere around three months or so, she started to become discontent with just sitting/laying in one place for too long.  She would look up at me with eyes that seemed to say, "entertain me!" 

Now, she sits up on her own, crawls, scoots, and otherwise gets where she wants to get.  She is quite content to sit and play with toys, though after a few minutes she prefers to explore the rest of the room to see what other things she can find.  We are quickly realizing how not child-proof our house is!

Her current favorite toys are a wooden spoon and a metal lid to a cookie container (she discovered it makes a loud noise when she hits it with the spoon).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Do Something Creative Every Day Printable

Inspired by the chapter entitled "Needle and Thread" in Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

Edit: this post about creativity at Frugal Granola is also really good!


Click to enlarge; right-click to save. For personal, non-commercial use only. A link to Feathers in Our Nest is appreciated if you feature this printable on your blog. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blog News

So... how do you like the new look?

I won a template from Blushink Templates via Tatertots and Jello!  I am so happy with the new design.  Didn't she do a great job?  If you're looking for a great new look for your blog, I definitely recommend Kelly @ Blushink!

Also, I just switched to a custom domain!  From now on, you can find me at:
www.feathersinournest.com
(How exciting is that?) Please update your blog rolls and bookmarks accordingly (but for now, the old address will redirect).

And, in other news, Feathers in Our Nest now has a facebook page.  Do me a favor and "like" it when you have a second!

One final thing... we now have a button, which you can grab on the sidebar.
Feathers in Our Nest

Thanks for being faithful readers of Feathers in Our Nest!

Carytown Trip

Tad planned a special day for us yesterday!  We traveled up to his former stomping ground...RVA (Richmond)!  We had an awesome lunch at Baker's Crust (thank you to those who recommended it), then we hit the town.  Carytown, that is.
Tad's BLT and lobster bisque
Vera enjoyed the day.  Here are a few shots of her at Baker's Crust.
happy face
serious face
Carytown is full of awesome shopping, so we spent the afternoon popping in and out of stores.  Some of my favorites were Penzeys Spices (stocked up on some Italian herbs...okay, all of them...), For the Love of Chocolate (bought a few little fancy chocolates to try), Second Debut by Goodwill (I found a fab Pottery Barn pillow for $9), Ruth & Ollies (inspiring home decor), Clover (gorgeously decorated kid's consignment store), and a kid's store I can't remember the name of (it had cloth diapers, wraps/slings/carriers, and tons of neat things!). 

We, of course, had to get some cupcakes along the way!  We visited Carytown Cupcakes, which was quite the hopping place due to a recent Groupon.
caramel macchiato cupcake
double-shot espresso cupcake
After our shopping spree, we went to Tad's parents' house for an awesome dinner!  They made a great meal in celebration of Tad's recent birthday.  It was SO good!  Vera enjoyed eating a sweet potato (she's her Grammy's girl!).

We just had the best time getting out of town for a little bit and enjoying spending quality time together.
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