The chicks are here!

10257899_10103185879314197_1009073408586544460_o-1On Saturday, we drove to CaroKen Farm about an hour away and picked up our little ladies! We each picked out our own chicks & named them. It was a package deal, and they came with a brooder, food, heat lamp, feeders, and bedding. They’re fluffy and adorable, and McKenzie is SO happy! She loves them. Their names are—clockwise from top-left—Flora, Hera, and Penny.

Flora is a Welsummer, picked out and named by McKenzie. Hera is a Gold-Laced Wyandotte, picked out and named by Jon. And Penny is a Cuckoo Maran, picked out and named by me.

Now I’ve gotta start planning their coop! We’ve been trying to handle them a lot so they’ll get used to us. =)

P.S. Still no word on the house, hopefully we’ll hear soon!

Lots of New & Exciting Happenings

Lots of new & exciting stuff going on here the past week!

  1. Jon and I celebrated 12 years of together-ness. Awwwwww. ♥ We went out for a nice, romantic, delicious dinner. We’ve finally found a couple awesome restaurants around here, but “Circa 1800” is definitely my fave. I had crab cakes served over parmesan orzo…ahhh-mazing. And they have the most delicious caramel pecan brownie a la mode. (That just made my mouth water a little bit.) Anyway, we had an awesome time and we’re looking forward to our NINE year wedding anniversary next month.
  2. We officially made an offer on the house down the street! After formally withdrawing our initial offer and making some changes, we feel a lot better. We made sure to add Due Diligence (inspections, appraisals, etc) after the bank accepts the offer, not before, so we aren’t out any money if the bank doesn’t accept and we don’t want to counter. We also lowered our offer. The house does need a lot of work, and although it’s mainly cosmetic, the costs do add up. Even though this is our second home purchase, I’ve still learned a lot! ALWAYS have your own realtor, NEVER call the number on the sign.
  3. I got a big-girl job! Woo! It is SO perfect for me: a work-from-home position I can do at my own convenience (ie: during nap time). I wasn’t even looking for a job, but my step-dad (Jeff) told the company he works for that I’d be a good fit for a position they were looking to fill. I’ll be a phone coordinator—mainly making calls to schedule and confirm interviews. It’s very exciting, and we’ll be able to save a lot more $$, which is always good.
  4. We’re going to get baby chicks! I’ve been researching the heck out of Backyard Chickens…I even made a board on Pinterest. Here in Fayetteville, you can legally have up to 10 backyard hens (no roosters). I found a “Backyard Chicken Class + Package,” which includes a farm tour, 1.5 hour class on backyard chickens, three newly-hatched chicks, and a brooder set-up for the first 60 days. I’m excited, McKenzie is over-the-moon, and Jon is a little indifferent—but he’ll come around. And hey, if Backyard Chickens aren’t for us, we can take them back to the farm. Apparently it takes about 6 months to get the first eggs, but eventually we’ll be able to have some organic, fresh eggs for breakfast!
  5. McKenzie has a trial class for gymnastics tonight. We’ll see how that goes! I can’t believe how big they’re getting. And school is almost out for the summer!10295277_10103176706910767_2023488647262719133_o
Dana P. - May 29, 2014 - 9:38 am

Congrats on all the good news!! I’m really excited to hear about your chicks – that’s so cool! Happy for you. :)

Angie - May 30, 2014 - 8:28 am

Your anniversary meal sounds incredible! My mouth watered as well when you shared the dessert. Mmmm :)

Tutorial: DIY Anniversary Gift for Less than $10

Sample 1We said we weren’t doing gifts for our anniversary this year, but I still wanted to do something inexpensive, simple, yet meaningful. After looking around on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to do something with our “Importand Dates.” I stumbled upon this tutorial, which walked me through most of the process—BUT it seems that the website has changed a bit, so I’m going to detail how I did mine as well. It turned out so cute!

  1. Go to picmonkey.com
  2. Click “Collage” and upload a photo (can be anything, it just gets you to the template…you won’t use it).
  3. Delete the two smaller boxes on the right by hitting “x” in the upper-right hand corner of each.
  4. Go to “Swatches” in the left-hand column…it is the 3rd one down and resembles 3 tickets.
  5. Pick a background. Drag & drop your desired background into the large square. Make sure you don’t choose a pattern that’s too busy! (The chevron pattern I used is under the “Winterland” tab at the top).
  6. Save the background as a jpeg to your desktop, and exit the program by hitting “x” in the upper right hand corner. You will be back at the main screen.
  7. Now click the “Edit” tab, and upload the background you just completed.
  8. On the bottom left, hit “Resize” and change dimensions to “1440 x 1800” for a portrait orientation (uncheck both boxes beneath the dimensions). This will allow you to print up to an 8×10.
  9. Next, click the “Tt” button on the left to add text. For my text, I used one text box per date & event. You can still change the size and font for each line by highlighting. ((I used the fonts “Special Elite” for dates, and “Amatic Small Caps” for the events and/or names. Sizes 150/140 respectively.))  I chose a dark gray for font color (color code 504A4B), and spaced as evenly as I could.
  10. To add hearts, click the Butterfly Icon at the left, they can be found under “General>Hearts.” I used the fade tool to 82%, but you can have it as visible or transparent as you choose. Some other ideas might be to add a banner, which can be found under “Scrapbooky>Banner” tab of the same Butterfly icon.
  11. Save and you’re done! Just have fun with it and be creative!

I’m no expert, but feel free to ask any questions. It got a lot easier the more I played around! =) I printed it at Walgreens (one 5×7 for less than $2!), bought a simple frame, and it turned out awesome! For less than $10 you can’t go wrong. The possibilities are endless!

P.S. I obviously changed our kid’s names/dates. Don’t want any weirdos stealing their identities! Those were our back-up kid names. ;)

May, oh my.

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Well, looks like we’ll be having Daddy around a bit more. He’s been nursing a serious hip injury (torn labrum) since February, but he’ll be needing a few more months to recover until it’s fully healed. It involves intense physical therapy and slowly easing back into more rigorous activity.  It is really important that he’s fully recovered so he doesn’t re-injure anything. On the plus side, of course we enjoy having him around. I’ve even been able to sneak in a few lunch dates with my dudes while McKenzie’s at school.

Last weekend was Mother’s Day and my lovelies surprised me by letting me sleep in, making me homemade strawberry crepes and homemade strawberry syrup, and presenting me with an orchid and a Heather plant. McKenzie decorated an entire coloring book and wrapped it herself. ♥ In the afternoon, we went mini-golfing and out to a late lunch.

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Bennett and I have been going on walks lately while Kenzie is at school. He still loves being outside and observing everything, and it’s nice for me to get out of the house. He is doing lots of new things every week. He’s started dancing and bouncing around to music, walking along furniture, and he can finally lower himself to the ground from standing. Bennett is also doing really well after his surgery in March. He had his post-op appointment last week, and the specialist said his incisions have healed really well.IMAG2732

He’s also obsessed with solid foods. He needs to eat at least 3 times per day, or he gets crabby—and he really gets jealous if other people are eating! His breakfast faves are eggs, toast, and a fruit. Lunch is usually a fruit, avocado, and pasta. And dinner is usually is a meat, fruit, and veggie. He tried spaghetti for the first time this week, and he was covered! He will pretty much eat whatever we put in front of him, so that’s a welcomed change from McKenzie’s current eating habits!

Speaking of McKenzie, she has less than a month to go until summer vacation! She’s doing great in school now, her teacher said she’s all caught up academically and she does not recommend holding her back a year. When I asked about it, she said McKenzie would be “bored” and it would be “unfair” to her. She said she’s even surpassed many of the students who’ve been there since the beginning of the year, and she’s “very bright.” So I guess we’ll have a first grader next year! We wanted her to be the oldest, but ultimately her well-being is our primary concern and we want her to be challenged in school.

Since we’ll be here in North Carolina a little longer than expected (due to the break in Jon’s training), we’re actually looking at buying one of the houses for sale in our cul-de-sac…it’s a short sale, so the process might be long, but we’ve got plenty of time. We’d actually be saving about $300 a month and McKenzie wouldn’t need to move away from her new friends! It’ll be a win-win if it goes through. If not, we’re perfectly content to continue renting.

And in other news, our TWELVE year anniversary of togetherness is coming up this week, so we’ll be having a date night. Can’t wait. ♥

Angie - May 18, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Love the picture of Bennett with spaghetti everywhere! Has McKenzie always been picky? Hopefully it’s just a stage.
We’ve been walking a lot more too. It’s SO nice not to be couped up inside all the time.
That’s great that you buy a house and insane that you’d be saving money. Keep us updated!

Nicole | Life So Lovely - May 18, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Gracias! I think McKenzie grew into being picky, I’m not really sure how it happened. She has strange tastes…one of her favorite snacks are carrots and hummus! But she definitely has a typical “American Kid” palate. I know the key is just exposing her to more, but I’m a lazy cook so it’s probably my fault. ;) I’m glad you guys are getting out more! I hate feeling cooped up. It’s actually starting to almost get too hot here, so I have a feeling the summer will be the opposite problem. I’ll definitely keep everyone updated on the house, it’s very exciting. =)

Bennett is 9 Months Old. And some Kenzie too.

Bennett was 9 months-old yesterday—how is that possible? Seriously? Slooooooow down world. Anyhow, he had his 9-month check-up. He was 16lbs 3oz, 27inches. He’s pretty small (even accounting for his preemie status), but he’s starting to make larger weight gains now that he’s eating solids.  I had a phone consult yesterday with a Nutrition Specialist at Duke University. She said he should have more carbohydrates but is doing well with his food intake, so that’s good news. She was impressed that he’s eating so many finger foods without teeth (still no teeth yet!). That’s my boy!

Right now he loves standing, solid food, any toy with wheels, and being outside. He’s been sleeping in his crib for a couple weeks now, and it’s heavenly! I just lie down on the floor in his room when he wakes up to nurse during the night, and put him back in his crib right away. It’s great to have our bedroom back.

I took these 9-month pictures yesterday. I just love this little face of his. He makes this expression ALL. THE. TIME. It’s sorta his signature old-man look. I also love this one of he & McKenzie. She is such an amazing big sister. She adores him, and he adores her. And doesn’t he look a lot chunkier than last month’s pics?!B9monthsKenz&B9months

This amazing big sister had “Field Day” at her school today, which is basically a fun day of outdoor activities. The weather was 85° and sunny—she was slathered in sunscreen from head to toe. I went for 2 hours before lunch time and watched festivities, while wearing Bennett in the Ergo. She was so happy to have us there, and kept coming to give Bennett & me kisses. She was really proud to show off her little bro, and it was pretty freakin cute! She’s the one in all blue. Most of the events were relays, so it was really fun to cheer her on! ♥
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Angie - May 8, 2014 - 2:15 pm

Love the pictures! It’s great to hear both kids are doing so well!