August 30, 2016

August Favorites

The absolute BEST thing to cross my screen this month is that Emily and Christian now have their very own sweet baby boy. I am so completely happy for them and elated that their prayers (and mine for them) have finally been answered.

+ I completed three baby blankets for friends and family, and I even designed my own pattern for one of them.

+ I perfected the messy bun for my type and length of hair. Let me tell you that it was no easy feat. I have very silky hair (even when it's dirty) and it doesn't tease well either. Plus it's in an in-between medium to long length that's hard to style.

+ I made my very first DIY chalkboard sign for my fall decor set. I have to say that it turned out better than I expected. My handwriting sucks when I try to make it pretty haha! Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter to get a sneak peak of my fall decor DIYs. It goes out tomorrow (Wednesday, 8/31) around 5pm CST.

+ We made the first big step to preparing for our future child (don't get excited, still not preggo) and traded our Mustang in for a Nissan Rogue. Now we will have enough room for a car seat, baby essentials, AND Bear when we go places.

+ I finally got to see my Llama, who I haven't seen in two years. Plus I got to meet Hope in person! I really enjoyed our Blate while I was in Georgia, and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

+ We're All Waiting. (And sometimes the waiting just sucks) - Ember Grey
I am in the waiting boat, and sometimes it really sucks.

+ 10 Funny Signs for Race Spectators - The New Wifestyle
These are great! If I ever go to support someone in a race, I'm using some of these ideas.

+ The Healing Power of the Needle - Amanda Moments
Some people don't understand tattoos. Amanda tells her story about why she needed to get her new tattoo. Which reminds me, I need to post about my newest tattoo.

+ The Best of Maybelline - Jasmine Maria
This is one of my go-to brands of makeup, and this list is the holy grail.

+ 7 Thoughtful Ways to Include Dads in the Newborn Phase - The Nested Nomad
I thought this post was lovely. Dads do often get shafted during those first few months, and these are wonderful ways to make them feel like they are really apart of this special time.

Cassie has been going though some stuff. Some really, really hard stuff. And some of her thoughts and feelings I can so relate to as I am going though my own stuff right now.
+ Finding Hope in Our Miscarriage - Sage
Why Don't We Talk About Trying to Conceive? - Sage
+ Grief Sucks - Sage

+ Marriage is Teaching Me to Wash Feet (and Floors) - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish

+ Answering the Call to Marriage: Jon's Perspective - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish
A sweet and thoughtful response to Casey's post about Marriage from her husband Job. His humble honesty is inspiring.

+ Take Your Seat at the Table - Bourbon, Stilettos, and Lipstick

+ An Open Letter to My Friends Who Support Donald Trump
I totally agree with the author of this article. 100%

+ Looking for a baby shower or toddler birthday gift? Check out this sweet penguin. For each one purchased to company that makes them donates 10 meals to children in need.

+ 10 Things a Woman with PCOS Wants You to Know
All. The. Yes. And it's especially great to share this with you because September is PCOS Awareness Month. So wear teal with pride all throughout the month!

+ 29 '90s Movies You Forgot Were a Thing
Oh. My. Gosh. My whole cinematic childhood in one place.

+ Mayim Bialik: Why I Refuse to Give My Kids Smartphones
Wow. Really opens your eyes to the negative impact being connected on the internet can have on children and teenagers.

+ How to Finally Take Professional Photos with Your Phone - Helene In Between

+ How to Make a Snapchat Geofilter - Dream Big, and Buy the Shoes

+ Free Travel Stock Photos - Helene In Between

+ Currently August
+ Italian Style Baked Spaghetti
+ This is What MY Infertility Looks Like
+ Another Decade Down
+ 14 Things You're Supposed to Stop Doing After 30, But I'm Doing Them Anyway
+ Tiny Diamonds Baby Blanket Pattern
+ My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Shows

Previous Favorites Posts
July  ++  June  ++   May  ++  April  ++  March

Were any of these on your favorites list this month?

August 26, 2016

My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Shows

We all watch Television, right? We love to love The Bachelor/Bachelorette, The Walking Dead, How to Get Away With Murder, Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones. We're proud to discuss the ins and outs of each episode and are so excited and on the edge of our seats for the new season's premiere. But I'm not going to talk about those main-stream shows today. Let's get down and dirty and talk about our guilty pleasure shows that we don't tell anyone we watch. Ladies, let's bond over trashy reality TV!

1. RuPaul's Drag Race

Currently airing - Season premiere 8/25/16 - Thursdays at 8/7 central on Logo
Oh. My. Gosh. This one takes the cake. The ladies on this show are amazing. They can contour like whoa and they have some serious sewing talent. This show does not disappoint in the drama category, and you'll find your favs and be rooting for them after the very first episode.

2. Teen Mom OG

Currently airing - Season Premiere 8/22/16 - Mondays at 10/9 central on MTV (but the next episode is Sun, 8-28-16 at 7pm before the VMA's)
I honestly do not know why I started watching this show really, but now I just can't look away. I HAVE to find out if Amber wises up to whatever Matt is lying about, if Maci and Taylor really do get married, if Farrah can look any more fake, and if Catelynn makes it through her depression. 

3. Married at First Sight

Currently airing - Season Premiere 7/26/16 - Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30 central on FYI
LOVE this show. It's so interesting to see two people matched by "experts" meet for the first time at the alter. The past two seasons have been a bust, no one stayed married. But I have high hopes for the current season.

4. Arranged

Not currently airing - Season Premiere 5/10/16 - Tuesdays at 10/9 central on FYI
Kinda like Married at First sight, BUT these couples get to meet before they tie the knot. Sometimes they are arranged by family and sometimes by friends. They generally know who each other are and are generally allowed to hang out and "date" before they get married. 

5. Catfish the TV Show

Currently airing - Season Premiere 2/24/16 - Wednesdays at 10/9 central on MTV
You guys, people are STILL falling for catfish on the internet, and it's hilarious. I watched an episode the other day where a guy thought he had been talking to Katy Perry for the past 6 years. Whaaaaat? 

Bonus! Finding Prince Charming

A new series is starting Tuesday September 8th at 9/8 central on Logo after RuPaul's Drag Race. It's like the Bachelor for Gays, and the best part? It's hosted by Lance Bass. I'm excited to see how this plays out.

What are you guilty pleasure shows?

August 23, 2016

Tiny Diamonds Baby Blanket Pattern

Pregnancy is going around, in my blogging circles and my family. When contemplating what to get my preggo eggo buddies, it occurred to me that if it were me, I would want something handmade that I could potentially pass down to my children and grandchildren. The start of a family heirloom. Most everyone knows that I knit and crochet, and it only seemed fitting for me to make baby blankets rather than purchase them. So that's exactly what I did.

I started with a blanket for my sister-in-law, and i picked out this lacy diamond pattern. Once that was done, I had at least two other people I wanted to make one for. I didn't want them to all be the same, so I modified the pattern from my sister-in-law's blanket to make this sweet blanket for my dear blogging friend, Hope.

I don't know how many of you, dear readers, do any kind of yarn crafting, but I just had to share it.

U.S. Hook size- G /6 4.00mm

I used Bernat Baby Sport Yarn in white.

Loosely, chain 129.

Row 1: dc in 4th ch from hook, dc in each ch across to end, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 2: dc in next 2 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 9 st* 12 times, ch 1 skip next st, dc in last 3 st, ch 2(or 3) and turn

Row 3: dc in next st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1 skip next st, dc in next 7 st* 12 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1 skip next st, dc in last 2 st, ch 2(or 3) turn

Row 4: dc in next st, dc in ch 1 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in next 8 st, dc in ch 1 st* 12 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in last 2 st, ch 2(or3), turn

Row 5-7: dc in each st across (including ch 1 st from row 4 in row 5) ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 8: dc in first 7 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 9 st* repeat 11 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in last 8 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 9: dc in first 6 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 space, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 7 st* 10 times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch  1 space, ch 1, skip next st, dc in last 7 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 10: dc in first 6 st, *dc in ch 1 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in next 7 st* 10 times, dc in ch 1 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in ch 1 st, dc in last 7 st, ch 2(or 3), turn

Row 11-13: dc in each st across to end (including ch 1 st from row 10 in row 11)

Repeat the row pattern to desired length ending with Row 5. 

Add on the edging pattern of your choice, I chose a simple scalloped edging for this blanket. But I'm currently working on another blanket that I'm putting a Ruffled Edging on, and I really want to try out this pom-pom edging soon. So make it your own!

What do you guys think of my first pattern? 

August 19, 2016

14 Things You're Supposed to Stop Doing After 30, But I'm Doing Them Anyway

Ok. So now that I'm thirty there are lists upon lists out there of things people, more specifically women, are supposed to stop doing once they turn the big three-oh. Yeah, some of those things are a great big basket of "DUH", somethings I've already stopped doing even before this dreaded birthday, but some of the things on these lists... yeah, no. I don't agree, and I'm going to do them anyway.

1. Stop Eating Fast Food (#16 on this list AND #11 on this list)

Seriously? I know it's not the best choice of foods, but sometimes you just NEED a good burger from Burger King or a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, amiright?

2. Stop Wearing "Ugly" Underwear (#5 on this list)

Ok. Their definition of "ugly" in this particular list was "granny panties" and the like. Well, sorry folks. They. Are. Comfy. Plus you just need more coverage during shark week. 

3. Don't Have a full on Birthday Week (#31 on this list)

Ok. So maybe I don't do this myself, but who am I to tell someone how to celebrate the day/week they entered the world? Do you, girl. Do. You.

4. Stop Letting Your Laundry Pile up (#34 on this list)


5. Don't Have a Stuffed Animal on the Bed (#5 on this list AND #16 on this list)

Confession time. I still sleep with a stuffed bear named Scott. I've tried sleeping without him, and it's HARD. But honestly, no one goes in our bedroom to see him sitting there on the bed. Keep that stuffed llama that your granny gave you when you were six, or that giraffe your best friend gave your for your twenty-first birthday as a joke. Stuffed animals hold memories.

6. Stop Crushing on Justin Bieber (#13 on this list)

Nope. Nope. Nope. He may be a bit of a A-hole sometimes, but that boy has talent and a ripped body. 

7. Stop Calling your Father "Daddy"(or Mother "Mommy") (#15 on this list)

I'm sorry. WHAT? My mom will always be Mommy and my dad will always be Daddy. 

8. Stop Wearing Oversized Sunglasses (#18 on this list AND #1 on this list)

These are the only kind that look good on my face, and they provide great coverage and protection from the harmful UV rays. 

9. Stop adding tattoos to your body (#15 on this list)

Dude. No. I love my tattoos and I want more. I am on board with the whole not getting them in dumb places like on your face, but it's MY body and I'll do what I want with it.

10. Stop Wearing Leggings (#17 on this list)

Leggings and Yoga Pants are too damn comfortable to erase them from my wardrobe. I think that as long as they are not too tight and you wear a shirt or cardigan long enough to cover your bum, you're good to go!

11. Don't Own CDs From Your Teenage Years (#26 on this list) 

Really? I still have a CD book full of Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Hanson, Britney Spears, and Mariah Carey. Here's the kicker, I keep it in my car to listen to when I'm feeling nostalgic. 

12. Stop Wearing Screen Printed Tees (#24 on this list AND #7 on this list)

Ok. Most of the time screen printed tees are not appropriate for anyone over 25 anyways, but there are some that you just can't pass up. And, if worn creatively, they can be a great addition to your casual wardrobe. 

13. Stop Wearing Glitter Nail Polish (#31 on this list)

Glitter can be done in a very classy way now, I'm just saying.

14. Don't Own Personal Gaming Systems (#21 on this list)

Ok. Ok. I get not playing them for days at a time, we all have way better things to do, but gaming is how my husband and I met. It's still something we like to do together sometimes, and I'm not giving it up.

What are some things you're not "supposed" to do at your age, but you do anyway?

August 15, 2016

Another Decade Down, Seven More to Go (Hopefully)

I don't feel thirty. Not even close. But that doesn't negate the fact that I turned the big three-oh yesterday. To be honest, the day didn't start out like I had pictured in my head, and I was so disappointed and angry about it too. Until Hubs' lunch time rolled around and he walked through our front door with flowers and cheesecake (I'm not a huge regular cake eater). Then he topped that off with his announcement that we were going to the Ford Dealership sometime this week to trade his baby, our red Mustang, for a more child friendly piece of transport. We ended up making an appointment to see the vehicle in question this afternoon when he gets home from work. Be prepared for tons of new car snaps and Instagrams!

A while back, I was reading Mar's 30th birthday post and I liked that she reviewed an entire decade of her life to bid farewell to her twenties in a positive way. It's a lovely idea and I thought I might do the same.

20: I moved out on my own for the first time and was learning what it's like to take care of myself. I didn't do very well at first, but I managed to figure it out after a month or two. Not long before this birthday I had met my Llama and we became bestest friends.

21: Yeah. I was sick on this birthday, but it was still made very special by someone who is now one of my very best friends even though we haven't seen each other in nearly three years. Nothing very significant happened this year, but I was still making ends meet.

22: This is the year when I got out of the service and retail industries and began to look after the sweetest little boy in the whole wide world. Being a Nanny was so fulfilling and fun, plus I got a lot of training for my own little one in the future. I taught him to walk, we painted, we played, we sleep trained, and I grew to love him so much. I also left the country for the first time and went to England for two weeks. It was amazing and I want to go back so badly!

23: My life got flipped upside down. Everything changed. I was a wreck. I had to move back in with my parents, find a new car, find a new job, re-home my dog, and figure out what my next move would be. This when you figure out who your real friends are, and I had some good ones.

24: My new job was going well, and was able to move back out on my own again. I lost my Llama this year though, and that was a kick in the gut. This is the year that I began playing the online game that led me to my husband, so that's fun!

25: I managed to land my very first big-girl job. You know, one where flip flops are definitely NOT appropriate for the office and you get paid a salary rather than clocking in hours. I moved twice, and my car breathed it's last breath.

26: Armed with my brand new-to-me car, I moved two more times this year. Let's just say people are fickle and they aren't always prepared to have a roommate. I ended up in a place that I really loved, and then I lost my job. The only highlight was that Philip came down to Georgia for the Easter weekend, and this was the very first time we met in person. Then went my rent went up that spring, I had to move again.

27: Still unemployed, but I fell in love with my new house and my sweet roommates. I'm telling you, boys are so much easier to live with than girls. Philip came down again to help me celebrate my birthday, and finally my new job. Only a month later I decided that I needed a fresh start. And off to Missouri I went. In January of 2014 I started this blog, on April 9th he proposed, and on April 21st we eloped. In other big news, I started school again in June.

28: We just enjoyed being married and making our house and home. I was doing well in school, we adopted Bear in the Fall of 2014, and in July of 2015 decided to start trying for a baby.

29: Most of this year has been consumed with school and battling my infertility. Then we went on our very first cruise! It was so much fun and I can't wait to go on another. I received my Associates degree, then we celebrated two years of marriage as we watched my cousin get married.

So here's to the hardest decade of my life so far, and all the things it taught me. Let's hope my thirties will bring nothing but happiness and love.

August 9, 2016

This is What MY Infertility Looks Like

It's taking a small handful of pills at least twice a day or more.
It's taking your temperature each morning and trying to figure out what each rise and fall means.
It's analyzing every single pinch and twinge you think you feel in your pelvic region.
It's peeing on test strips several times a day to determine a possible ovulation date.
It's trying to control your mood swings and emotions that are thrown out of sorts due to medication that is helping you ovulate because you can't on your own.
It's having to take that medication in the first place because you have PCOS.
It's blood tests once a month to make sure the medication is working correctly.
It's worrying about the chance of multiples with the medication you take that makes you ovulate, because you only want (and can truly handle) one child.
It's charting all these symptoms and tests and medications in three different fertility tracking apps and comparing them to each other.
It's timing sex around your fertile window.
It's trying make sex not seem like a chore for yourself or your husband.
It's blaming yourself for all the medical bills that are piling up and stressing out your husband.
It's stressing about the fact that those bills are only going to get bigger even when you do finally get pregnant.
It's knowing that if you do fall pregnant, you'll be considered 'high risk.'
It's having your heart broken over and over again with each negative pregnancy test.
It's explaining PCOS to every person you end up talking to about your infertility.
It's crying to your mom on the phone because your body can't do what it was built to do.
It's dealing with all of the symptoms of PCOS.
It's planning your schedule around what phase of your cycle you are in.
It's making baby blankets for family and friends when you'd rather be making them for yourself.
It's having to pass up really good deals and sales on baby stuff because you don't know if you'll ever get pregnant.
It's wondering if the bubble bath is too hot.
It's obsessing over everything that goes into yours and your husband's mouth.
It's having your nursery planned out in your head already, but you still have an empty room.
It's having an entire list of baby names picked out (and your mom hates almost all of them), and you wonder if you even need the list at all anymore.
It's joining several groups on Facebook to find support and to not feel alone in the process, only to debate leaving these groups when you see so many women posting their positive tests and yours are all negative.
It's feeling guilty for being upset that other women are finally getting their big fat positive test after years of trying, and you've only been trying for 14 months.
It's being happy for others who are pregnant, but sad for yourself because you're womb is still empty.
It's wondering if your husband is getting frustrated with your mood swings, but not saying anything.
It's having to crush the hopes of your mom and mother-in-law each unsuccessful cycle.
It's wondering if God is punishing you for some past transgression.

It's not all negative. There are some good things too. 
Having a prolonged "trying" stage has allowed me time for lots of research on everything involved with pregnancy, my health, and delivery.
It's given us more time to get some of our debt paid off.
It's given us more time to be able to be more comfortable financially when it comes time to trade in the Mustang for an SUV. 
It's brought my husband and I closer together as we work through all the emotions and "what ifs" that we're facing right now.
Going through all of this will make it all the more sweet when it finally does happen. Our child will know for damn sure that it is loved and very much wanted. I've tried to keep a log of sorts of everything we've done so far so that I can share it with our child someday. 

Infertility is different for each woman, each man, each couple. This is mine. This is ours.

August 5, 2016

Italian Style Baked Spaghetti Recipe

Oh hey! I showed up twice this week! Granted, that is my current posting schedule, so I'm doing good. Bonus, this is a food post. Not just any food, like, really really good food. Hubs has been begging me to make this again every day since I made it the first time. It makes A LOT, so it's perfect for large families, a pot luck, or to have leftovers for two days after. It's also a great freezer meal you can put together ahead of time. This is not a low fat or low calorie dish... but it's not terrible if you choose lighter versions of the ingredients.


+ 1 box of pasta - Spaghetti, rotini, penne, bow tie, whatever floats your boat.
+ 1 lb of Ground Italian Spiced Turkey - You can also use regular turkey/beef and add your own Italian spices.
+ 1 Jar of Spaghetti sauce - I use traditional, but other flavors would work too.
+ 2 tbs olive oil
+ 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese - the shaker stuff works well for this
+ 1 cup Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
+ Seasonings to taste

What you need:

+ Large glass baking/casserole dish - preferably with a lid to store for later
+ Aluminum Foil
+ Non-stick cooking spray
+ Large mixing bowl
+ Skillet
+ Medium/Large Pot
+ Cooking utensils

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Spray your baking dish with some nonstick spray and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on the bottom. This makes a nice little crust and keeps the pasta from sticking to the pan so bad.  

Cook your pasta. While that's going, brown your meat with you chosen seasonings and add about 1/3 of the jar of sauce to the pan to simmer for a few minutes. Once the pasta is done, drain it and pour into a large bowl. Put 2 tbs of olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup shredded cheese and mix well. Then spread the coated pasta on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese then add the meat sauce you just made. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce evenly on top of that. And, of course, another lovely thick layer of cheese. 

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins. Remove the foil, and bake for another 5-8 mins until cheese it browned and melted to taste.

Slice and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese, add a slice of garlic bread, and a glass of wine. BOOM! Gourmet dinner! What's great about this dish, is that it's still just as good re-heated the next day.

A nice step up from plain old spaghetti right?

August 2, 2016

Currently August

I'm taking it easy today. I am in the middle of writing a very emotional post, and I thought I'd take a break to write something a bit lighter for today's post. So let's catch up, shall we?

Loving: That Llama is back to blogging! Go see her latest post on The Rambling Llama.

Reading: I'm currently re-reading Fifty Shades Freed, but I'm getting the new Harry Potter book on Thursday. I AM SO EXCITED.

Feeling: Everything. Literally. It's really hard to talk about what I'm feeling these days as there is so much happening for us personally as well as it being an election year, on top of all the bombings and shootings. 

Watching: Dexter. It's on Netflix and I was hooked two episodes in. Also watching How I Met Your Mother with Hubs. On real TV I'm watching The Bachelorette, Married at First Sight, and America's Got Talent.

Writing: Blog posts for later this month. I've got a few lined up already, and I'm hoping to eventually increase my posting schedule back to three days a week instead of two.

Listening: My new playlist on Spotify. It's a kind of sexy one, which helps with the baby making, haha!

Wanting: It to be Friday. I'm making a solo trip to Georgia to visit my Mom and my Llama for about a week. It will be the only time I'll get to see Mom this year, and I haven't seen Llama in a couple years now. I cannot wait!!

Needing: Something to occupy my time until classes start up again at the end of the month. And I mean the literal freaking end. I've just added Media Kits to my list of services offered at Knock on Wood Designs, so if you're needing one or an update on the one you have, fill out the information form on the Media Kit page.

Hoping: This is our cycle. As a rule, though, I try very hard not to get my hope up. 

Avoiding: Eating things with too many carbs or high in sugar. The struggle is real. With PCOS I really should cut them out altogether, but that's not realistic for me, so I'm just cutting them down. Having small individually wrapped chocolate, like a Kiss, helps me curb my sweet tooth with just one or two pieces instead of an entire pint of ice cream.

Wishing: It was Fall already. I just can't with summer. I sound like a broken record about this, but it's so very true.

Trying: Not to think about turning thirty in thirteen days. 

Hating: The feeling that I don't have much, if any, control over my future right now. That I have even less control of the future of the next generations because of stupid decisions the people that hold power in our country, and the world, are making. 

Missing: Caffeine. It's been over a year now. 

Praying: That the next four to eight years will be better than anticipated. That we'll be kept safe from hate and violence as a result of the outcome in November. That we are making the right decisions for our family in spite of everything that is going on.

Making: Baby blankets. Several close friends, as well as my sister-in-law, are pregnant and you can never have too many blankets. I am sharing a pattern with you guys later in the month, so be on the lookout for that.

Thinking: About all the things I have to get done before I leave on Friday. There's a list, and it's long.

What are up to currently?