Baby Boy’s Nursery

    Our little man is due in 5 days so I thought it would be fun to post a few pics of the nursery.  I used the same nursery décor for both of my girls so it was fun to mix it up a little bit for a boy.  For the most part, I like to keep things simple and I am pleased with how everything turned out!  Here are a couple of shots looking into the room:

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We ended up going with the Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed Nursery Bedding from Land of Nod.  I liked the mix of prints they incorporated into the pattern and thought I could easily add my own elements where I wanted.  And, how cute is that little bear play mat on the rug?!?!  A good friend picked it up for me at Pottery Barn Kids and I’m obsessed with how soft it is. 

  There are a few elements of the nursery I am especially proud of because they were made for me or have sentimental value of some sort.  The first is this amazing picture collage hanging above the crib:
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  I asked my friend, Rachel, if she would paint something for the nursery because she is ridiculously talented, especially with children’s themed art.  I had something specific in mind, but she asked if she could take some creative license and I could not be more pleased with what she came up with.   I love the bright colors contrasted with the white shadow outlines.  I keep telling her she needs to start an Etsy store (hint, hint). 

  This next item is one of my all time favorite organizational tools for baby.  My mother-in-law actually made me one when I had my first daughter and once we found out we were having a boy, I begged her to make me another one.  Since we don’t have a changing table, this wall hanging is perfect for housing everything from diapers to ointments to medicine.  We have it hanging right above the changing pad so everything is easily accessible.

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  I took on a little project of my own once we found out we were pregnant.  One of my friends introduced me to the Purl Bee blog which is loaded with fun crochet and knitting patterns.  I found this adorable chevron baby blanket and used a soft cotton blend instead of the suggested merino wool.  I also adapted the pattern for crochet since I find crocheting easier.

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  Last, but certainly not least, is this beautiful poem, “If,”  written by Rudyard Kipling and penned by my great grandmother.  It hung in my brother’s room for many years, but my parents passed it along to me to hang in their first grandson’s room. 

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                            “IF”

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
 
We are ready for you anytime, little man!

 

 

Cheesecake Dip, Two Ways

  With Easter just two short weeks away, the Easter brunch/dinner menu planning frenzy is sure to begin for many of us.  I think of Easter as sort of the official launch into spring cooking.  We put the heavy casseroles and hearty stews behind us and welcome in a lighter, more colorful fare.  You may be thinking to yourself that I’ve lost my mind if I’m calling cheesecake dip “light,” but I served it with fresh strawberries, which totally cancels out the calories in the dip, right?  Either way you look at it, I think this would make the perfect addition to your Easter brunch or could even serve as a light dessert for dinner.   I added toasted coconut and coconut extract to mine, but because I knew that many of my readers aren’t huge coconut fans, I threw in a chocolate chip version as well.  This recipe is incredibly flexible so don’t be bound by the ingredients on the page.  In my book, you could almost add whatever you want to cheesecake and it would be delicious.   I paired mine with strawberries, but you could change up the fruits to your liking or serve it with graham crackers.   See, I told you….very flexible, so it can fit into any menu.  Happy Easter menu planning!

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Cheesecake Dip, Two Ways

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup gluten free powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided (for chocolate chip version)

1/2 cup toasted coconut, divided (for toasted coconut version)

1/4 tsp coconut flavor extract (for toasted coconut version)

Directions:

In an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy.  If making the chocolate chip version, carefully stir in all but 2 Tbsp of the chocolate chips.  Place in a small serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.  If making the toasted coconut version, stir in the coconut extract and all but 2 Tbsp of the toasted coconut.  Put in a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining coconut.   Enjoy with fruit or graham crackers. 

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Nutella Chocolate Pudding

I know, I know….it’s been far too long since I put something up on the blog.  I really don’t have a great excuse, but can I make it up to you by giving some chocolate? Doesn’t chocolate always make everything better?   And this is no ordinary chocolate pudding either.   The addition of Nutella […]

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Gluten Free Coconut Walnut Banana Bread

  I was perusing some of my fellow foodie blogs recently, and within a week, two of them posted about one of my favorite quick breads: banana bread.  However, they didn’t just stop with your plain ole’ banana walnut loaf.  They had to go and add coconut, one of my all time favorite foods.  I […]

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Italian Sausage, Noodle and Spinach Soup

Last week, the “real feel” in the Midwest was -40 degrees F.  I had a few appointments so I was forced to leave my house and within minutes my hands felt like I had been outside skiing for an entire day.  It was FREEZING!   And, while the temperatures have warmed up to a balmy […]

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Power Bites

Ok, I never thought I would say this, but I’m actually kind of getting sick of dessert.  You know it’s bad when you ask your kids what they would like for a snack and the only thing they can come up with is “a treat” or “chocolate.”  It’s definitely time to wind down off this […]

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My Holiday Baking List

I kind of procrastinated big time on my holiday baking this year.   Did anyone else feel like December was so short this year?  I kept thinking, “I have plenty of time,” only to realize that Christmas is next week!!!! Consequently, I’ve been in a bit of a baking frenzy this week.  Here are the […]

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My Dry Skin Saviors

                Every year, about this time, I need to start adding skin care products to my usual regimen that cater to dry skin.  Midwestern winters certainly don’t help, leaving my skin and hair in need of extra attention.  I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my […]

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Let’s talk Thanksgiving sides, shall we?  I like to keep my sides traditional (with the occasional slight update) for the Thanksgiving meal because there is something nostalgic about well loved dishes that bring back memories of time with family and friends.  However, I’ve always felt like that old fashioned marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole needed […]

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One Ingredient Wonders

Recently, a friend suggested I start posting more about my secret obsession (not so secret anymore!) with natural skin and body care.  The more I read about the harmful chemicals and preservatives we put in our skincare, the more I obsess about finding natural alternatives.  The good news is that often you don’t have to […]

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