Thursday, October 23, 2014

42/52- A Photo Challenge

How about THIS for a Halloween house? 
Snapped this on a drive through the mountains.
Whoo whee! 
Could be rad as a flipper.

Tis the season for full-throttle outdoors-ing! Kai is feelin' it. Big time. 

Boop keeps getting caught mud-handed. We're down with dirt these days. 

And drool? This mulch was hangin' off Beast's face for a ridiculously long period of time. Tack on that brow cobweb for added effect. Dude likes to get into gross for Halloween. 

Let's get carving! Tell my kids to hide their chocolate.

Catching up? Check out last week's Photo Challenge post here.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Unconventional Tips for Soon-to-Be Mamas

Baby on the way?

Some of my favorite ladies are about to swan dive into motherhood, and I've been thinking about the bombardment of warnings, wisdom and wackadoo that came at us from every angle during my pregnancies.

Since our daughters brightened our world, people have asked for my best advice on becoming a new mother.
After great consideration, my list is unconventional, short and simple.

1. Celebrate your body…and your boobs.

Take a photo every week. Love your changing body and embrace every moment of the ride. You're totally beautiful while pregnant, without a doubt.
Invest in a great bra, celebrate your boobs and let the girls ride high! It's THEIR time now. Trust me on this.

2. Prepare for meddlers.

It seems that EVERYone has two-cents on pregnancy, birthing and parenthood. There's no way around it. Unless you plan to hide away in an underground fallout shelter for the rest of your life, learn to handle meddling with class.

Polite nods. Gentle smiles. Thanks but no thanks. Devise a plan of action to deflect unwanted advances, but try to stay cool, calm and collected.
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Babies trigger excitement in so many hearts, and it's hard for people to contain their own nostalgia.
Remember that others have been there done that, so although some advice might seem outdated or not right for you, there could be something valuable to gain from those who have been down that road before.

Maybe.

3. Invest in a bad ass camera.

Do it today. Cell phone shots just ain't gonna cut it anymore.

We didn't get our bad boy camera until after our second child was born. Mistake.
Every B.C. photo (before camera) pains us. The difference is unreal. Get some muscle to make your memories more stunning. Worth every penny.

4. Take time for YOU before the baby arrives.

Be in the moment and appreciate your strength.
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Need a vacation? Go.
Feeling achy? Get a prenatal massage and have lunch with your besties.

You (and everyone else) will spend the rest of your lives spoiling your wee one, so take the time to spoil yourself now. You deserve it.

5. Trust yourself.

Know that we all make mistakes, not everything always goes as planned and perfect pregnancies, deliveries or parents are as rare as two-headed unicorns.
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Trust your instinct and be strong in the confidence that you've got this.

Be willing to always be working on yourself—to grow with the changes in your life so you can be an incredible role-model for your child.

You can do this.
Know that you'll be great and prove it every day.
CONGRATULATIONS, sistas!
Welcome to the best ride of your lives…

What's the best advice you have for the soon-to-be-mamas out there?

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

41/52- A Photo Challenge

For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain…
Our hiking stick-flautist, playing the loveliest imaginary music in the forest. 

THIS is my honey, and THAT'S a fact.

This dude, barking in his slumber, has been cranky when roused. Let sleeping beasts lie. 

That eastern soaking knocked tons of colorful leaves outta our trees yesterday. Boo! It's too early to declare Leaf Day, so bring on that autumn sunshine!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Catching up? Check out last week's Photo Challenge post here.
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

40/52- A Photo Challenge

Everywhere I look, my eyes are happy. 
Autumn air is magical here. 
Don't know how city folk do it.

Kaira's Halloween ideas are always unexpected. The princess groove is gone, and she's experimenting with power these days. BIG power. Just wait. 

Layna discovers how important it is to see the world from a different angle sometimes. 
Dee Boopsie, Dee Boopsie—let down your hair!

Kaine's breath is... something short of pumpkin spice. 
Here's to an extra long weekend showing our favorite city girl what fall in Dutch Country is all about. 
We've got a mountain to climb, pumpkins to pick and marshmallows to roast. 
Counting the hours...

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

Catching up? Check out last week's Photo Challenge post here.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to Eliminate Odor from Lunch Boxes

It only took a few days for our kiddo's new lunch box to get a dousing of spilled milk. 
If there's any smell that gives me the heaves, old milk—
:::retch!

HAD to be remedied, STAT. 

The ol' soap and rinse couldn't cut through that lingering stench, so I got to researching and compiled a three-step attack combo that finally did the job.

Step 1- After a thorough soap and water cleaning, I dumped baking soda inside the box and shook it around. To activate the baking soda, I sprayed a 50:50 white vinegar and water mixture on top and let it sit for about 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Step 2- I towel dried the inside of the box, filled it with crumpled newspaper to absorb residual odor and left it overnight. 
After this, the smell was almost gone, but a faint, gag-worthy trace remained.

Step 3- I soaked three cotton balls in vanilla extract and left them inside the lunch box for several hours.

Aaaaaand DONE-ZO!
No lingering stench!

I really thought I might have to toss this brand new lunch box if I couldn't solve this problem. Gagging while packing sandwiches is no good. Can't imagine how kids in the caf would react to chowing down next to a sour milk bag. Buh.

Tackle stink with these three simple steps and keep those appetites kickin'! Don't forget to leave a love letter along with the pack.

Any other tips for eliminating odors? Please add them to the comment list below.
Stink be gone!

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

39/52- A Photo Challenge


Harvesting season is a welcome relief. Those corn stalks were so tall that driving felt crazy claustrophobic of late. We're psyched to resume seein' for miles...

Turned out Kai's window-well hiding spot harbored two trapped toads.
Saved 'em—
a lesson in serendipity.
But then one peed on her, so...

Boops asserts that she doesn't need naps anymore. 

This guy grows on me more each day. 
Never know where he's gonna pop up, and he blends into his surroundings so well.
Cryptic creepy cats. 


What a wonderfully bustling week this has been. 
Methinks it's time fo' PUMPKIN-ING!
Bring on the orange!

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

Catching up? Check out last week's Photo Challenge post here.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preparing Houseplants for Fall & Winter

Winter is coming, but with warm autumn days upon us, it's the perfect time to ready houseplants for the big chill. 

Like everything else in our homes, houseplants get dusty over time. 

Pretty tedious to go over every leaf with a wet paper towel, and dusters just don't do the trick, so NOW is the time to give your greenery a good washing!

Choose a sunny afternoon and haul your pots outside for a seasonal cleaning. 
Remove any dead leaves or branches from the soil and, where appropriate, trim up your plants to promote healthy growth.

Once you've tidied up the scene, give your greenies a shower! Build up of dust and dirt on leaves can inhibit growth, so use a watering wand attachment on your hose to rinse off any accumulation.

If your plants tolerate direct light, let them bask in the sunlight to dry, but be sure to bring them back inside before any risk of frost.

Once your beauties are back indoors, find the perfect placements for fall and winter months. Some plants require more sunlight as seasons change, so consider the needs of each and rearrange to accommodate.
Avoid overwatering during the colder months and hold off on fertilization until the spring, when your plants are ready for new growth. Set 'em up in sunny spots away from any harsh drafts and enjoy your gorgeous greenery while we weather the wilds of winter.

For more tips on fall and winter houseplant care, check out this HGTV article and this resource from the National Gardening Association.

Go green ALL year long, friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

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