DIY Rustic Farmhouse Table

Does anyone else fall in love with something ridiculously expensive, put it in your online shopping cart knowing you’ll never spend that much on it, then obsess over it for a while? Just me? It’s OK – you don’t have to raise your hand, I know you ‘serial shopping cart abandoners’ are out there.

I knew I wanted a rustic farmhouse-esque table for our dining room, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the $1500+ they are at Pottery Barn or West Elm. So being the amazing Supervisor/Forewoman that I am – I knew this was the perfect job…for Leep.

It all started with a butcher block counter top we found at our local home goods store. It was about 9 feet long, which was too big for our space so we first cut it to size – about 6 ft.

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Once it was cut to size and the edges sanded, it was time for a couple coats of stain and sealant.

Now, to make this beauty stand! We used 2 – 4x4s cut to the appropriate height for our chairs. This is not the place to use an exact measurement others use, but better to “sit” at it with your chairs and cut the legs to your desired height as some chairs sit taller than others. We also used 2 – 2x4s to create an under-edge and supports. We probably didn’t need so many cross supports since the table isn’t huge – but what can I say, Leep likes a sturdy table.

Once everything was ‘measured twice and cut once‘ to the proper length, it was time to stain the underside pieces to match and put it all together. We used wood screws to attach all the parts together and L brackets to attach the bottom structure to the underside of the table top.

Voila! I say this beauty can stand tall and proud next to those $1500 tables. We were able to make it custom to the size that best fit our room & chairs and choose a stain that matched our decor. Costing about a total of about $220.

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Copy Cat: Japanese Pan Noodles

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Leep and I have recently discovered the wonder that is Noodles & Company. My favorite being the Japanese Pan Noodles with chicken. Leep had the brilliant idea of trying to recreate this with the leftover soba noodles we had from making our spring rolls last week. With Gunnar allotting a maximum of 15 minutes for us to scarf down food before crying, this is a perfect easy, quick fix meal! Now while they didn’t quite compare with Noodles & Company – they’re were still super delish!

pannoodles2.jpg*Note to self – take better pictures!

Serves 2-4
Cook Time: 15 mins

2+ sleeves of soba noodles (~6.5 ounces)
1 cup broccoli (cut into florets)
1/2 carrots (julienne, I just bought shredded carrots – shhhh)
1/2 cup green peppers (cut into bit sized chunks)
2 chicken breasts (cubed)
1/2 T fresh ginger (minced)
1/2 T garlic (minced)
1 1/2 T sesame oil
1 T canola oil
1/2 cup sweet soy sauce
Salt, pepper & chili flakes
Cilantro
Black sesame seeds

  1. Cook noodles in boiling water until al dente, drain & cool in cold water.
  2. Once noodles are drained and cooled toss with 1T sesame oil.
  3. In a large saute pan over high heat add canola oil and saute peppers & broccoli until tender and slightly blistered.
  4. Add chicken, carrots, ginger, garlic, remaining sesame oil and soy sauce to the pan. Cook for about 2 mins then add noodles allowing to caramelize and get crispy and golden in some places.
  5. Salt, pepper and add chili flakes or extra soy sauce to your liking. Finish with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

Newborn to Four Month Must Haves

As a first time mom I was completely clueless when it came to what you needed and didn’t need for a baby. I searched the interwebs up and down, poking through friends registries and asking my mommy friends for advice. Now that Gunnar is four months old and starting to need new stuff to keep him entertained and learning – I can look back on my must have items for newborn to four months.

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Mickey Mouse – Meme’s work friends gifted this to Gunnar when he was born. It is by far his favorite stuffed animal out of them all. I think it has something to do with the contrast in his face, but Mickey has saved us from many meltdowns. So much so we’ve already planned our first family trip to Disney this year.

Enfamil Nutramigen – We tried breastfeeding for a while, but for medical reasons had to switch to formula. We went through so many different types with lots of gas, fussiness, constipation and finally ended on Nutramigen. It’s for colicky babies and those with a cow’s milk allergy. It’s expensive and smells horrible but works like a charm! I buy it in bulk from Amazon.

Dr. Brown’s Bottles & Boon Lawn Drying Rack & Twig – Like with the formula we went through tons of options of bottles. [Note to bottle makers – can you sell a single bottle, why do we have to buy 3 of each to try them!] The Dr. Brown’s are by far the best, they help with preventing baby from sucking in air. The Boon Lawn drying rack is a super cute way to display your bottles and parts to air dry without cluttering your counters.

4Moms Mamaroo – Splurge item, but a lifesaver. Gunnar slept in this instead of a pack’n’play or bassinet when he was a newborn and now keeps him entertained so we can eat dinner or do a load of laundry. We also use the heartbeat sound while he sleeps at night.

Honest Diapers – Their diapers and wipes bundle is a great deal! We love that they’re all natural and eco-friendly. Plus they come in the cutest prints and patterns. If you end up having too many of one size they’ll accept returns for the size you need and have amazing customer service.

Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat – A friend introduced me to this and it’s wonderful when your baby is big enough to practice sitting up but not quiet ready for a bumbo or other seats as it provides support all the way up their back.

Baby K’tan – We’ve used this with Gunnar from the newborn hold to now bear hug and front facing. It’s perfect for when he wants to be held but I also keeps me hands free for when I need to eat or do some chores!

Sophie the Giraffe – Gunnar really loved this [as do most babies] so Sophie gets my vote. You can watch HERE about why everyone loves Sophie so much! 🙂

Finding Nemo Jumper – This is a more recent purchase. Gunnar was unsure at first and would lift his legs up if it would bounce but now he goes crazy and dances and marches away. This one is filled with all sorts of fun characters, noises and things to do!

Rockabye Baby Spotify – My cousin told me about this and it’s been our favorite ever since! Its nursery rhyme versions of Kanye, Nirvana, Taylor Swift, Beatles – you name it. Leep & I also love to test out our karaoke skills to see who knows the songs better.


 

WHEW! Long winded to say the least. I know that I loved reading about baby registries when I was pregnant, so I hope you found this helpful! 🙂 I am not an expert by any means, these are just items that we loved & that worked for us… most of them started out as recommendations from other moms too!

As always, feel free to post your baby must haves in the comments! I love reading about what other moms find most important for a happy & healthy [and stylish] baby! 🙂

Springtime Ready Skin

It’s in the 70’s all this week and I couldn’t be happier that Spring is right around the corner! Spring also means tank tops, dresses and showing more skin. I took great care of my skin while pregnant but after Gunnar arrived and this winter, my skin has been neglected.

Shore Thing Lavender is an amazing local small business who delivers quality, all natural products for your body all over the country. Here are some of my favorite products to help get your skin Springtime ready!  Continue reading

Favorite Food This Week

As stated in my Body After Baby post – eating healthy and exercise have not been in my vocabulary these past 4 months. That all changed this week, Leep and I are back on that healthy wagon. [Still waiting on our damn spin bike though – come on FedEx!] We instituted a “Meatless Monday” and being avid meat lovers – I’ve been on a chicken wing kick lately – I’m not sure how long this will stick. Here are some of my favorite meals and recipes from this week!

[1] For Meatless Monday we kicked it off with a Roasted Veggie Quesadilla. Roast off some of your favorite veggies with a little oil and lots of seasonings – we used squash, zucchini and red bell pepper. If it weren’t for Leep I would have thrown in onions, mushrooms the whole smorgasbord. But he’s slightly picky. I also made this Avocado Lemon Dressing just kept it thicker. Warm your tortillas, fill with dressing, veggies, feta cheese – fold and flip to crisp both sides. Yum!

[2] In the mornings I have very little time with getting myself and Mr. Gunnario ready to walk out the door on-time [meaning 20 mins late] so I opt for an easy grab and go. My go-to is a green smoothie! I fill it with handfuls of baby spinach, half an apple, pineapple chunks, coconut oil, coconut/almond milk, protein powder and ice. Blend and go!

[3] One of my favorite lunches this week was Avocado & Peanut Noodle Spring Rolls. Mix your prepared soba noodles with the peanut sauce. [1/4 cup peanut butter
, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce
, 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar or lime, 
1/2 tsp ginger
, 1/2 tsp Sriracha
, water as necessary] Wrap all your ingredients in spring roll wrappers. We used spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, avocado, cucumber and noodles.

[4] I picked these up on a whim from Kroger and have loved them! They’re perfect to munch on while sitting at my desk all day. I’m going to attempt to make them myself here soon – stay tuned!

Have some great recipes or favorites food finds this week – please share in the comments below!

How to Deal with Toxic People

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Let’s get personal for a moment…

From the very beginning of our relationship my husbands family has not liked me – yet here we are today happily married with a beautiful son. Originally there was no real reason for the hatred: a mother struggling with losing her first son to another woman, jealousy, nicknames, difference of views and opinions. Lots of small moot excuses but no real outright reason for not liking me as a person.

It’s been a roller coaster of good times and bad, as well as times where mine and Leep’s relationship truly suffered. I am sad to say that as of today they are no longer a part of our lives or our sons life. While that wasn’t an easy decision to come to – mentally, emotionally and wholeheartedly we are happier and healthier for it.

Family, friends – it’s hard to say goodbye to anyone. I struggled for a long time [and maybe still do] with accepting that their opinion towards me would never change, no matter how hard I tried. The point I want to share is: It is not wrong for you to show them the way out of your life.

This post is to let you know, you’re not alone. Monster-in-laws is more than just a bad joke or saying to some. You hear others talk about how they dislike their in-laws and you both cringe inside, your spouse out of embarrassment with how their family acts, and you because they don’t know how truly bad it could be. You feel pangs of jealousy towards those that have great relationships with their in-laws and you band together with those in similar situations as you. If you’re like us, you’re blessed to have one side of the family who loves and supports you and more importantly your spouse, unconditionally. Spend your time with these people, they are the meaning of true love, support and family.

Here is a quick list of thoughts that helped us navigate this difficult situation.  Continue reading