Image Map

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Laura Lately: November Edition

Thank you all so much for all your positive and encouraging well wishes and congratulations last week when we shared our big news.  We were so excited to spill the beans!  So from my big heart to yours, thank you.  I'm glad to have you all along for the journey. 

Well another month has gone by.  Did you all have a good thanksgiving?  I finally got to celebrate thanksgiving with my family today and it was delicious and fun and wonderful.  And we were thankful. 

By now you probably know how these Laura Lately posts work.  It's just a time for us to catch up on life together.  So here's what I've been up to lately... feel free to comment back and catch me up on what you've been up to lately. 

Lately I can't get enough of...

Christmas! You all probably know by now, Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Music, parties, baking, decorating.  What's not to like?! Yes, of course there's the stress... but I'm not about that.  I'm about the joy, the hope, the celebration.  You can find stress in any season, but you can also find the good stuff.  Look for it, I know it's there. 

Lately I've been watching...

For the last week and a half, my life has been filled with coughing, congestion, resting and watching Gilmore Girls.  I came down with the nastiest cold of. my. life. so I spent a lot of time resting... which gave me a lot of opportunities to watch lots of Gilmore Girls.  I'm feeling much better - and good thing too... because I just finished the whole series.  :-)

Lately I've been shopping for...

 Well, it is the season for shopping so my shopping list is fairly long.

But the biggest thing we are shopping for?  A new (to us) vehicle.
My little red Honda Accord (Rosie, as I call her) has been my faithful friend since I was 16 but she just isn't going to cut it when the baby gets here...not with only having two doors! So Michael and I spent a lot of time researching family vehicles and decided on a 2012 Toyota Highlander.

We scored a major deal on one by buying it off Craigslist.  I feel your cringes.  But people, if you know my husband, you should know, he's not a risk taker... especially when it comes to making such a big purchase.  So maybe sometime I can coerce him into making up a tutorial on how we buy vehicles from Craigslist and save lots of $$ doing it.

Lately I've been munching on...

Turtle Cake.

In one week, I have made this cake 3 times.  Once for the belated birthday meal for Michael, once for a work carry-in, and another time for Michael's work carry-in.  It's Michael's favorite dessert and it is always a hit.  I thought I'd share the recipe.

Turtle Cake:

1 Chocolate Cake Mix (make sure there is not pudding in the mix)
14 oz bag Carmel (I can only ever find 11oz bags at the grocery store and I use that instead, no problem)
3/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
1 Cup Chocolate chips
1 Cup Pecans- coarsely chopped (Even though it wouldn't be a turtle cake without the nuts, I say it's optional, I always leave them out because not everyone likes nuts....half with and half without would be a good compromise though)

Mix cake as directed.  Pour half into lightly greased and floured pan.  Bake 15 minutes at 350.  Let cool.  Melt caramel with butter in microwave.  Add evaporated milk stirring until smooth.  Pour over cooled cake.  Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes.  Top with chocolate chips and nuts.  Spread rest of cake mix on top.  Bake 30 - 35 minutes.  I never add frosting but I guess you could.  I usually just sprinkle powdered sugar on top.  Like I said: always a hit!

Lately I've been looking forward to...

January 5th!! It's the day we will get to find out whether BabyB is a girl or a boy! It seems crazy that it's only about 5 weeks from today.  We are playing with the idea of throwing a gender reveal party and so our question was, do we wait and be surprised with everyone else at the party? or do we find out beforehand?  Although there is obviously time to change our minds, I think Michael and I have decided to find out during the ultrasound.   Finding out together during the ultrasound really sounds perfect to me.  Also, then the gender reveal party could be more of a party for our family and friends... not for us. 


Lately I've been thinking about... 

BabyB of course!

Last month during the Laura Lately, you may or may not have noticed, that I took this category away.  I didn't want you to know that I was thinking about this little person growing inside me... not yet anyway.  But now you know and it's wonderful!

I'm thinking about lots of things... trying to imagine how life will be and change.  I'm thinking about ways we can get ready.  I'm thinking about what it means to be a parent and responsible for the safety, health, spiritual life, education (etc.) of another human being  A human being that is growing inside me. That anything I do can, and just may, have a direct effect on these highly important aspects of human development.

Whoah.  Big thoughts.  Good thing I have a big God that really, ultimately, is the One who is directing, caring for, and growing this little life - and my life.  And He is a good God.  A powerful God.  And a God who knows and loves me and my little one fully.  So thankful for these truths.

Now what about you all?  How are you finding peace in the rush of the holidays?  What's on your Christmas shopping list?  If you have kiddos, how did you cope with the heavy weight of parenthood? 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Announcing Our Next Big Project

It's a pretty big day here on the blog.  Who's ready for a big announcement!?

Get your announcement pants on because here it comes...

Many of you have been with us from the beginning of this major renovation of our home.  It has been awesome having your support and enthusiasm to keep us going.  So thank you so much!!

But now it's time for us to let you in on the next big project we have coming down the line.

Surprise! It's true! Baby Blough is due May 28th, 2015.  I am SO excited to finally put our news out there and share it with all of you.

Thanks to my good friend Beth Wilson who was our photographer for the pregnancy reveal pictures.  (She's a super talented photographer out of Lafayette.  Check out her website.  She does travel too, so if you're in need... look her up!) 

We have had the luxury of slowly revealing our news to our close friends and family over the last couple months.  Which has been SOOOO much fun.  And we are so thankful for the outpouring of excitement, support, advice, and overall enthusiasm we have received.  But now it's time for everybody to know!...That means you wonderful people!

When you reveal such news, inevitably the same questions come up, so I thought I would go through and list those FAQs here to answer some of your burning questions...


Pregnancy FAQs


How far along are you?

I'm 13 weeks, just starting the second trimester.

How are you feeling?

I'm always really touched when/how often people ask this question.  Overall, I'm feeling great.  The first trimester was fairly uneventful, thank goodness.  I had several weeks of very mild nausea.  The only difficult symptoms I had to deal with was the fatigue.  I pretty much could nap as soon as I woke up in the morning, and sometimes I did.  :-D It also did not help that I was working nights during that time.   I have since moved to a day shift position and am starting to get some energy back... just in time for the holidays, which is a huge relief!  I would say I haven't noticed too many crazy pregnancy mood swings.  Although. I did just cry during a Coca Cola commercial a little bit ago... and also a Folgers commercial yesterday.... :-)

Will you be finding out what you are having? 

We will be finding out what we are having.  Sometime after Christmas or the New Year.  And we WILL be letting you know! So you guys can look forward to that along with us! 

Do you have names picked out? Are you sharing them?

We have a very good idea of the names for whether it's a boy or a girl.  We have decided to hold off on revealing the name though, until we can introduce our new little one to the world properly. 

Do you have a feeling as to whether it's a boy or a girl?  What do you hope it is?

We don't really have a feeling either way as to what we are having,  nor do I have a hope either way.  Since it's our first, it doesn't really matter.  Of course, really, our main hope is that it's healthy. 

Are you getting excited to plan a nursery?  Do you have lots of ideas?!

Of course!! I wouldn't be me if I didn't!
I really like the idea of an outdoorsy, camping, Boy Scout type nursery for if it's a boy.  Michael was an Eagle Scout, and loves to camp so I think that would be so fun to do.  Or if it's a girl, I got the idea the other day to do an Anne of Green Gables themed nursery.  You know, vintage country with a dash of Victorian girly-ness.  I think it could be really sweet.  But we have also considered doing an "UP" themed room too, since we are such big fans of the movie.  I don't know! We'll see! That will be our winter project once we find out what we are having!


So that's that! Finally you are all in on the news!  Hardest. Secret. Ever. 

We are getting excited and can't believe how quickly things have gone already! Before we know it, I'll have a belly the size of a watermelon and then we'll have a baby! Crazy!

But more on this another day.  Mama's gonna go take a nap! :-)

Don't miss a beat.  
{Follow this blog on Bloglovin'} 


{Follow this blog via Email}

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Couples Shower

I love planning showers.  It is such a fun way to love on people and provide a way for others to love on them too.

So when my sister-in-law got engaged over the summer, I jumped at the opportunity to throw them a shower.

They requested a couple's shower - something I have never done before.  I was surprised at how challenging it was to find a way to make it appealing for both men and women.  Plus it was for both sides of the family - being that Jenelle and Jr were only in town for a short time and won't be back until the wedding.  The shower then became a very efficient way to shower them with gifts and congratulations and for them to catch up with extended family and friends.

To keep the food fun and appealing to everyone, I decided to create a food table full of Jenelle and Jr's favorite foods. 
It then made sense to make it into a fun little game that would be quick and easy.  Plus, although there are many shower games out there, not all of them are good options for a couples shower.  I was worried about finding a game that the men would be willing to participate in, this turned out to be a good one though. 
For a prize that appealed to the masses, and as a nod to the couple's current city of residence - Las Vegas, we gave away a handful of scratch-off lottery tickets to the winner.  

Except, really, everybody wins when you get to indulge in these goodies...

Jenelle had also mentioned that another one of her favorites foods was apples ( I've got a pretty sweet connection to getting my hands on some apples).  So I decided to give away apples as the favors... Something everybody could enjoy.

And for the tables we decorated them with burlap table runners, mason jars, baby's breath, and lace bows.
$$ Saving Tip: Save money on lace by going to Goodwill and purchasing a lace tablecloth or curtain and then cut it into strips.  Super easy way to score lots of lace for a couple dollars.  Also, I bought the burlap at Hobby Lobby and used the weekly 40% off coupon.  I got 12 yards for less than $30. 

One of my favorite parts of the day was having Jenelle and Jr play The Shoe Game.  Have you heard of it?  I think it is gaining popularity and people are even playing it at their receptions.  Here's a bunch of YouTube video clips if you are interested to see how its played. 

It ended up being a really fun game that was entertaining to everybody and kept the focus on the couple.  A perfect game for a couples shower, in my opinion.

So I couldn't have done it without the help of my mother-in-law, Bette, and cousin Ashlee! They were huge helps!  I hope Jenelle and Jr felt loved and encouraged and were able to get all their gifts safely back to Vegas!

So that concludes my three week party marathon! It was fun while it lasted but now I'm glad I have a couple weeks break before the holidays start rolling in. 

Don't miss a beat.  
{Follow this blog on Bloglovin'} 


{Follow this blog via Email}

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Friday, November 14, 2014

Master Bedroom Progress

It seems like forever ago that I talked to you about the ideas I had for our master bedroom

We have lived here for just short of a year with our walls stark white.  So going from this...

to this... quite something. 

I'm loving the blue we decided on.  It was not actually a blue that I had mentioned in the inspiration post but it's one that I have had my eye on for a while.  It's Benjamin Moore's Vandusen Blue.  It certainly is not the darkest navy out there but dark enough to feel cozy and dramatic, with just enough of a gray tint in it to not smack you in the face. 
You'll notice we moved the bed out of the corner of the room.  We liked it in the corner, it just was not very practical.  When Michael found out that he was gaining a proper bedside table, he was ecstatic.  I mean, seriously.  You would have thought I gave this guy a brand new car (on second thought, he's not much of a car guy... how 'bout some brand new fancy shmancy engineering software... or whatever.)  Anyway.  He was excited. 

I'd like to find two matching bedside tables for both sides of the bed.  It would be great if they had drawers all the way down - for the storage and to hide the outlets (the blue doesn't exactly hide them).  Then I need to finds some lamps.
We also got ourselves a new light fixture. It's from Joss & Main.  
I really like how the weathered wood finish pops off of the dark walls.  And I think it elevates the room and makes it feel more sophisticated/master bedroom-y.
And the curtains are made from fabric I had been eyeing forever and got a super fabulous deal on months ago, but it looks like that deal comes up every so often so keep a look out if you are interested! 

Now all the room needs is a rug (probably something light and natural fiber), a small desk, a cozy chair, and some art work.
And an organizational system for my jewelry would be great too.  Not that my rock'n'roll hand doesn't do the trick.  :-)
The color and the curtains are leaps in the right direction but there are a lot of things needing to be done before we can call this baby done! So stay tuned! You know I'll keep you updated!

Don't miss a beat.  
{Follow this blog on Bloglovin'} 


{Follow this blog via Email}

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Coffee With Us 3

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blough-o-Ween 2014

I have always had an active imagination.

In fact when I was growing up, in lieu of learning my address, I just told people that I lived in a castle.  I think things like that, you just never really grow out of.  The active imagination part, not the telling people I live in a castle part.

So I don't think it should be much of a surprise to anybody to learn that I love Halloween.  It may be right up there with Christmas as one of my favorite holidays.  It's a day where even the grown ups get to play dress up and, in my mind, what could be better than that?! 

In college Michael and I really got into our Halloween costumes.
2007 - Mobster & Flapper

2008 - Purdue Grandpa & Grandma

2009 - Biker Couple (Axel & Roxi)

2010 - Russell & Mr. Fredrickson (Characters from PIXAR's "Up")
But the last couple years we haven't had the opportunity to dress up.  So we decided that as soon as it was feasible, we were just going to throw our own Halloween party in order to have an excuse to dress up.  Hence: Blough-o-ween 2014.

And what would a party be without some festive decor?! The decor inspiration all started when I found this guy (or this guy's skull) at Michael's. 
Oddly enough, for me, purchasing him was a no brainer.  I just knew, if the price was right, he was coming home with me.  I told the gal at the register, "My husband is going to hate this!"  A mischievous and defiant grin on my face, I swiftly swiped my credit card and he was mine.  And after a coat of copper spray paint (he was just plain white when I found him), he was ready to party!

And Michael did hate him... at first.  But now I think he's growing on him.   He even said once we had him set out at the party, "Yeah, I guess it does look pretty cool."

I know he does Michael. I know he does.  :-)
I had fun with the decorations but probably had even more fun planning and naming the food.  If you know me, you know I love a theme.  And I love when things play in with the theme, so all the food got to play along.
 "Death by Diabetes." Cauldron of Candy.

 "Tela de AraƱa" (Spanish for: Spider's Web... or at least that's what google said)  
Layered Mexican Dip

 Michael requested pinwheels so I told him he would have to come up with a Halloween-y name.  He came up with  "Haunted Snails."  I told him he was getting all the credit for naming that one.  :-)

"Freshly Dug Grave."  Dirt Pudding.

"Buffalo's Revenge."  Buffalo Chicken Dip.

 "Vampire Eyes."  Cherry Topped Cheesecakes. 

"Black Elixer."  Grape and Orange Kool-aid with Ginger Ale.  
"Cider Tonic."  Apple Cider. 

A note on dry ice: We bought some dry ice at the store for the cool smoky effect.  But in all honesty, it was not really worth the money.  It's quite pricey and it only smokes if you sit there and keep adding water to it.  Also if you buy it ahead of time, a lot of it sublimates (solid to gas) before you even get to use it.  We bought ours the day before the party and by the time the party came around, it was down to about half of what we had payed for.  

Themes make me happy.  So do people in costumes.  Let's take a look at these crazy characters! 

Here's the whole crew! 
Let me introduce you...
Waldo and Carmen Sandiego
Rory Gilmore
A Smurf

A Happy Clown (as opposed to a creepy clown which, in my opinion, most are.  But not this one!)

Pirates and their Parrot

African Woman

The Medical Dream Team

 And what kind of hosts would we be if we didn't bring it!
2014 - Lightning Bolt and Receiver
The best part about our costume is the fact that Michael has actually been struck by lightening! Thankfully, he fared much better than it looks like he did in this costume!

It turned out to be a great party! I loved having our friends in our home all costumed up.... even if they aren't quite as Halloween-enthusiastic as we are.  We handed out a prize for best costume (as hosts, we took ourselves out of the running).  The prize went to the pirates and parrot.  That parrot was too cute to deny, don't you think?

How was your Halloween?  It has been fun seeing all the pictures posted on Facebook! Hope you all have enjoyed this Candy Coma weekend! 

Don't miss a beat.  
{Follow this blog on Bloglovin'} 


{Follow this blog via Email}

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner