Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Treats to Share

If you're a regular reader here, then you know that this Christmas is our first Christmas with our (not-so) baby girl, Piper.

Piper is 11 months old (tomorrow!) and we are very much looking forward to sharing in her first Christmas, this Friday. Actually, come to think of it, the Christmas celebration starts on Thursday and is going to go on through Saturday this year. It's going to be a great long weekend!

This morning, as I was making my grocery list, I knew that I needed to include ingredients for the snack we would share while visiting family this Christmas. But first, I needed to figure out what snack I would be making this year; so off to Pinterest, I went...

These pumpkin cheesecake bites peeked my interest:


These mac n' cheese muffins made me drool a little:


These brownies cut into Christmas trees are brilliant:


These pistachio cupcakes, though, definitely won my heart:


Instead of topping the cupcakes with pistachios, I will put a cherry on top. 

Christmas can come anytime. I'm ready to try these cupcakes, now!

Do you travel at Christmas or do you host? 
Do you usually make a snack to share at Christmas; if so, what will it be this year?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Instagram Lately

Happy Friday, all! Here's what's new on my Instagram, lately.

Big girl is starting to learn how to do puzzles. She doesn't quite understand why she would ever want to put the puzzle piece back where it belongs. She'd rather chew on the puzzle pieces, instead.

This picture of Piper "riding" around really took me by surprise. Like, when did she get so big and why does she look more like a toddler than a baby? Mind blown.

Sometime recently, we went on a Lowes trip close to Piper's bedtime (hence the PJ's). She had an absolute blast at Lowes; daddy's girl, for sure! She loved to see the large inflatable Christmas decorations and the light isle was pure magic for her. She kept pointing at the lights and saying "Ooooh". It was the cutest thing.

Piper is still working on getting her 8th tooth to break through. She wants to chew on everything! The past couple nights have been rough as far as getting as sleep goes, however, I'm hopeful that we'll get a little break after this 8th one comes in (especially for Piper's sake)!

Piper has been enjoying being my lunch and dinner date a lot, lately. Our favorite place to go with her is to a local restaurant, right down the street from our house. Piper is SUCH A GOOD GIRL at restaurants. Give the girl some food, and she's set. She loves to people watch and wave at anyone who looks her way. I know that it might not always be this easy to take her out to dinner, but we sure are enjoying this time while it is easy. I love going out with my girl!

Tonight, my husband and I are going out on a date night, just the two of us. We'll be going out to dinner and then I think we'll get started on our Christmas shopping!

Readers, what are you doing on this Friday? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Etsy Shop is Closed

Our Etsy shop, "Anything Rustic", is officially closed...

... for the holidays! We will reopen the shop on January 4, 2016.

Nick and I decided to put the shop into "vacation mode" last night. We have one massive order to fill this weekend and then we're officially off the clock until next year. Well, that might not be completely true. I think I'll spend a little time cleaning up my book keeping for tax season (the not-so-fun part of owning a business). The rest of our extra time is going to be spent with my family and friends.

Speaking of family, Piper is going to be 11 months old come Monday! Then, Christmas is only a few days after that... wow! I have a feeling that Piper is going to enjoy ripping open presents and seeing all of our family this Christmas. She's at such a great age to celebrate her first Christmas. We're all really excited about it!

We're one week away from Christmas eve and I have finally made a list of everyone we will be buying presents for this year. It's a list of 17 people, only three of which I have bought presents for, as of today. I think I'll be using some of my extra time Christmas shopping, too. Yeah, that would be a good idea.

Thinking ahead to after Christmas, I am also getting excited about the new year. We have great things planned for our business next year and I am starting to plan great things for myself, too. 

2015 was the year when I had a baby. 2016 is going to be the year when I start losing weight, again. I'm holding myself to it!

Readers, who is done Christmas shopping? Is there anybody else out there who still needs to shop?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dollar Shave Club

Christmas is in less than 10 days. I guess it's time to start getting serious about Christmas shopping.

I feel like I usually would have Christmas shopping done by now, or at least nearly done in past years. I have only bought gifts for 2 people so far, on a list of about... well I'm not quite sure. I need to figure that out, as well. Yikes, this is going to be a busy week.

Nick doesn't usually read my blog daily, so I think I'm safe in sharing a little gift I bought him while online shopping, today. The gift was inexpensive and something I think he'll enjoy!


One of Nick's Christmas gifts this year is a subscription to the "Dollar Shave Club". It seems like a great deal! You can sign up for only $1 per month or you can upgrade to other razors for slightly more.

I actually signed Nick up for the "4x razor", so his subscription will be $6/a month. With that subscription he will get 4 new fresh blades each month, delivered right to our door! The first handle is included with your purchase but I also spent $4 to get an extra handle. So, for only $10 (no shipping, no other fees, no BS) I have an inexpensive, thoughtful and useful gift for my husband! I'm pretty proud of myself. You can get more info. on the Dollar Shave Club here:

I just ordered his first box this morning. The website said any orders placed by 12/17 will arrive by Christmas so, hopefully it gets here in time. If it doesn't come in time for Christmas, I'll switch some gifts around and it will be for his birthday (which is December 30th), instead.

Readers: Has anyone else tried the Dollar Shave Club? What do you think of the subscription? If you don't have a subscription, do you think you'd give it a try?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Piper Grace: Ten Months

Piper is going to be 11 months old next week, so I guess it's finally about time that I share her 10 month update. Now that Piper is mobile, the time sneaks away faster than ever before. We have been having so much fun with her these days!

I wrote a text to my husband this morning during Piper's morning nap. It went something like this: "Most days, I still can't believe she's here and healthy and perfect. It's almost been a whole year and I still feel like she's a miracle, every day". My mind and heart are still having trouble catching up with the times. After many years of uncertainty with infertility, God has truly blessed us! Piper is indeed our little miracle.

Ten months old is so much fun! I feel like I say that every month but it really is the best!

New tricks (or maybe I should call them skills):

- The week of November 18th, Piper mastered waving and managed to fully take every last piece of our hearts with how cute it is to see her wave back to us.

- When I say, "Piper, how big are you?" she raises her hands up in the air and I say "so big!". She loves that game.

- Piper loves to stand; mostly while looking out the window. She could stand at the window all day if I'd let her. Her longest stretch was a half hour, and that's when our neighbors house was getting sided. That was very entertaining.

- She loves to walk (with our help). She barely needs our help anymore, but likes the assurance of holding on to a finger or two of ours as she explores.

-CRAWLING! During Piper's 10th month with us, she officially became mobile! She is a crab crawler and boy is she FAST! Everyone warned us about how hard it was going to be once she started crawling but, it's just been so much fun! I love having her follow me around. We play the "you can't catch me game" probably 4 times a day. She loves to crawl after us!

- Piper cut her 6th tooth at 10 months, giving her two on the top and four on the bottom. The top teeth seem much harder for her to cut than the bottom teeth. It seems like she cuts her top teeth for weeks, whereas the bottom teeth just pop up out of nowhere!

Favorite foods:
Piper still loves homemade pasta and peas! She actually love all vegetables! Piper likes peas, green beans, carrots, black beans and sweet potatoes the most. She tried parsnips this month and thought those were interesting. She likes avocados, mashed potatoes, turkey, cheese, bananas and grilled cheese. Fruits seem to be her least favorite foods. We have been trying to give her some yogurt and fruit, like blueberries. Some days she likes it and other days she gives me a sour face. I'm sure she'll like fruit more with time. I'm so proud of her for being such a good vegetable eater! 

- Piper can say "mama", "dada", "mo" = more, "hi" and just in time for Christmas, "ssssdada" = santa.

At Piper's last pediatric appointment, on November 6th, she weighed 22 lbs and 13 oz, she was 30 3/4 inches tall and her head measured at 47.5 cm. The doctor said she is off the charts! She is in the 95th percentile for weight, she was 99.9 percentile for height and 99.5 percentile for her large head. 

We weren't too surprised at Piper's numbers at her last appointment because Piper has been big ever since the day she was born. We still have a doctor who believes she was due around Christmas instead on the end of January. Aside from being impatient to finally meet my baby, I remember that I physically felt like I could have gone on being pregnant for weeks more even at "40" weeks in January. It's a good thing that we did get induced when we did, though. My girl is big and beautiful, alright! Thank God for my healthy baby.

Here are some pictures of Piper's 10th month with us:

Piper celebrated her first Thanksgiving with us while she was 10 months old. Here's the post: Piper's First Thanksgiving.

At 10 months old, Piper has some very strong opinions, a big personality and understands so much more these days! She loves to mimic us, which is so much fun! Piper clicks her tongue when she's up to no good or when she is trying something new. It's a cute little quirk of hers!

Piper is a fairly good sleeper, she is getting better after a little setback (from teething, I suspect) in months 8 - 9. She is sleeping more through the night, now. Piper loves back and neck rubs! If she is having trouble falling asleep, we just rub her back and she goes right down. She also LOVES to read books. She could be entertained for an hour with us reading book after book to her, she loves books before bedtime!

Piper Grace, I love getting to know you more each day! You are so unique and smart. I am seeing how your mind works more and more. I love who you are and how you think. To my surprise, you are such a wild child! You love to run around the house with "dada"; the faster he goes with you in his arms, the louder you laugh. You love to feel butterflies in your belly when we toss you up and down. You love being wild, and I love watching you be wild and free. I love you spirit, little one. You are simply amazing.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chances are Few and Far Between

I'm going to try something different this week. I have decided to write my blog posts in the evenings again because my other system (of just posting whenever I get the chance to sit down during the day) isn't working much anymore. Now that Piper is getting more and more mobile, my chances of getting a blog post up while she is awake are few and far between.

Right now, Piper is up in her crib, crawling around. She is getting the last of her energy out before she falls asleep for the night. Now that she is a crib rail walker (and sometimes an all-out gymnast in there) she doesn't just go right to sleep like she use to when we'd lay her in the crib. I'm starting to learn that as she grows, some things get easier and some things get harder. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's just how it's always going to be from here on out.

This weekend, we had a little sale at a local Alpaca Farm. We took some of our "Anything Rustic" items to sell at the shop there and we did pretty well. I was going to be happy if we sold one item, and we ended up selling one item in the first 10 minutes of the shop being open. That was exciting!

I've got to say, the best part of my new business is that I can craft all of my items and sell them with the company of my family. Piper joined Nick and I at the sale for a couple hours, and then my mother-in-law came to take her for her nap. Working on this business at home does have it's disadvantages, but the perks are just out of this world!

Today was the first day that my husband was back on first shift (after a week of being on second shift). Boy am I ever thankful that he normally works first shift. Second shift was hard for us all. We didn't like that one bit. We are big on eating dinner together, as a family. Nick and I also missed cuddling on the couch after Piper would go off to sleep. It got a little lonely here last week. I'm not a fan of second shift.

This morning, Piper and I went to the park for a walk, in the middle of December, only 11 days away from Christmas. It was 66 degrees outside. We finished out walk just when it was about to start raining. I could get use to this warm weather all year round. It's been nice this year!

After our walk, Piper and I went grocery shopping. I'm starting to really enjoy our grocery trips together during the day, when it's not busy. We just meander down the isles and take our time. It's so nice to not be in a rush! Piper is such a good girl in the grocery store. I'm hoping this doesn't change, but I won't hold my breath.

I am definitely cherishing this easy age with the grocery shopping trips! She's been a great shopper ever since birth, this little girl. Almost going on a whole year now. Okay, I'm gong to stop right there. I don't want to talk about how she is going to be ONE next month. Moving on...

This evening, my mom came over to watch Piper so I could go get my workout in! We did Interval Fusion at Jazzercise and that was intense! It was my first Interval class and my arms/shoulders/back/everything is already getting sore. I'm going to be feeling this one, tomorrow.

Readers, how was your weekend? What kind of workout has been kicking your butt lately?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Crazy Second Shift Week

This week has been a crazy week.

My husband has been working second shift all week. We have all been a little thrown off with this new schedule. Nick is working at a school so he has to wait for all the classes to let out before he can begin.

I thought I would like Nick being on second shift more (since he is home with us in the morning) but the night time is so quiet and lonely after Piper has gone to sleep. I think I like him being on first shift, more. Piper and I have been trying to keep busy while he is away at night, though.

We have an in-person holiday sale for "Anything Rustic" this weekend, so after Piper has gone to sleep at night I have been making a lot of burlap banners and been going through our inventory to get ready for the sale. It's going to be at an Alpaca farm, which I am excited about! I love animals.

On Wednesday, we took advantage of Nick being home during the day by going out to lunch. Piper was really good at lunch. She ate bread, peas and some pasta. She was a happy girl and we had a great time! I love taking her out to eat with us.

I made it out to Jazzercise a couple nights this week. My nana watched Piper on Monday evening and my mother-in-law came over last night so I could go workout. It was really nice for us all! I love my time out, and Piper loves spending time with all of her family!

This weekend, we're going to be busy with the holiday sale and beginning to plan Piper's first birthday party. I need to order invitations this weekend. I'm ordering them from Etsy, so they may take about a week or two to get in.

Speaking of Piper turning one, I still need to get her 10 month update up before she turns 11 months old! Piper's 10th month with us as been full of amazing progress as far as mobility and personality. She is becoming more like a toddler, every day. (However, I refuse to call her a toddler until she is at least one.) I'm having a hard time letting her grow up, but all the new fun things she does helps a lot with the transition!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Christmas Party, Casino Trip and Uber Rides

This weekend, my husband and I went on a mini vacation. It was more like a staycation in the city.

My husband's work Christmas party was on Saturday and they hosted it at a hotel this year. It was so nice! We had a hotel room for ourselves and a couple of our friends decided to get one, too. My mom watched our daughter at our house overnight, so this getaway was really care-free for us.

The party was set up beautifully, the food was great and the drinks were free. Oh, and there was a photo booth, too. We had so much fun at his work Christmas party, as always. We look forward to it every year!

After the party, our friends took a complimentary shuttle with us from the hotel to the casino! Nick's birthday is in December and so he had $10 of free-play money to use. We played the slot machines with his free-play money for about 10 minutes. We lost it quick and then we were done. We aren't big gamblers. Instead of gambling, we went upstairs and listened to a band play with our friends. We had a lot of fun laughing with each other!

After the band was done, we went to the midnight buffet. It was pretty good, or at least we thought it was after the drinks we had that evening.

Before we left the hotel around 10 p.m. for the casino, we signed up for Uber. We had never taken Uber before but the hotel didn't do pick-ups after a certain time so they gave us a card for a free Uber ride. When we were ready to leave the casino, around 1 a.m., we called for an Uber and the driver arrived within 10 minutes. The driver was really nice and it was a great experience!

If you're in Erie and you want to try Uber before the end of the year, use the code: UBERINERIE and you'll get your first ride free like we did!

Readers, have you or would you ever consider taking an Uber? Do you have any Christmas parties coming up that you are looking forward to this year?