Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let's Swap Prayers!

I gotta start this off with a warning . . .

Please skip to the bottom of this post if you'd like to avoid hearing a silly sob story about my upcoming labor and delivery and some related prayers I'm asking for.

I wouldn't blame ya if you did!

 ---

We're getting so close to the arrival of our newest babe!

38 weeks and + 5 days pregnant as of today.

At this point, I'm just brimming with excitement and joy and a little bit of nervousness but mostly pure eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

If I could humbly ask for prayers, though. It's sorta over something silly, but it's causing me piles of stress, so I'm just gonna throw it out there.

You may recall from John Paul's birth, I'm super pro-natural childbirth for myself. I wrote a ton about it here and here in case you're curious. We ended up having the most amazing, empowering, all-natural birth experience with John Paul and our super pro-natural childbirth doc was a huge part of that. So when we moved to east Tennessee after John Paul was born and found out we were pregnant again, I searched and searched until I found another super pro-natural childbirth doc in the area, to help us on our journey to another awesome natural birth experience.

We love our new doc so much. He's very supportive of my birth preferences and has a low low c-section rate of only 16% (for reference, the national average is 32.2%). We've seen only him through the whole pregnancy and he's totally cool with coming in to deliver our little bean, even if he's not on-call when the main event happens. It doesn't get much better than that.

BUT! (You knew there was a but.) We just found out a few weeks ago that he's going on vacation right after my due date.

*insert sobbing emoji here*

Which means, if I don't deliver by 40 weeks + 2 days, I don't get to deliver with our doc and I'm left at the hands of one of the other random docs in his group (both with a c-section rate of 35%).

These are silly things to worry about, I know. But I already got in a leeeettle bitty disagreement with one of the other docs in his office over something in my birth preferences. Ugh. So this is causing lots of fears and worries at a time when I really need my worries and fears to be nil.

Annnyyyyywayyyyy.

Would you mind praying that I deliver with my doc, some time before 40 weeks + 2 days?

I'm actually doing everything I can to naturally go into labor ASAP.

-- Eating dates. Lots of dates.
-- Drinking red raspberry leaf tea. Lots of red raspberry leaf tea.
-- Borage oil, since my doula recommended it.
-- Stripping membranes next week.
-- Eating all the eggplant. (It totally worked last pregnancy. Or was totally a coincidence.)
-- Walking around our hilly neighborhood.
-- *cover your eyes* . . . doing the deed, if you know what I mean.
-- Getting adjusted at a chiropractor, to get things lined up for labor.
-- Considering acupuncture and moxibustion . . . some sort of therapy which involves burning moxa over certain points on the body. I just learned about it today. Am I hippy enough?
-- Considering drinking huge amounts of castor oil. Eep.

None of these things will put me into labor if baby isn't ready, which is good because the last thing I want is to rush baby along. BUT, if my body is ready and I just need that extra little boost, these'll do it. And if you recall, I had John Paul on my due date, so I'm thinking this babe will be ready right around his/her due date too.

I know I sound like a crazy person. I just love my doc so much, and trust him so so much. So prayers for delivery with him would be much appreciated.And if that's just not God's will, prayers for another amazing, empowering all-natural birth experience with whoever is on-call the night this baby decides to arrive. Many thanks, friends! <3

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Ok, you're officially at the bottom now. We're at the good part . . .

More important than all the above, I'd love to pray for YOU!

During labor, I'll be offering up all my pain and fear and crazy emotions for your intentions. So please leave your intentions in the comments here or shoot me an email at stephschweitz [at] gmail [dot] com. If you have a private intention, just write something like, "prayers for a private intention" and I'll totally cover you too. Please don't be shy! I'll also be praying for the general intentions of all my followers, especially those suffering through infertility, so you're sure to be covered even if you don't comment. But please, comment or email if you're up for it! I'd love to shower you with prayers.

Can't wait to share our newest baby with you! Hopefully soon. ;)


Monday, January 16, 2017

Our Asheville Babymoon

To celebrate the upcoming arrival of the newest little Baby Schweitz, John and I got away for a night for a short babymoon in Asheville, NC. And it was awesome!

When my mother-in-law and father-in-law suggested we do an overnight away so they could practice watching John Paul through the night (since they're gonna be doing it again when we go into labor and baby makes an arrival!), we were completely on board. It was going to be our first night away from John Paul ever, but we figured we needed to try it some time. And thankfully it just so happened to be around the time we were hoping to go on a babymoon. I was 32 weeks pregnant, which seemed like about the latest we should be traveling. So it worked perfectly. Win win!

We decided very easily on Asheville, NC. It's only about an hour from where we live and it's jam packed with fun things to do and good things to eat. So we figured it would maximize our adventure time while keeping our travel time to a minimum. When you only have 24 hours for a trip, that's the way to go!

We said our goodbyes to John Paulie (ugh, my heart) around 10:30am and drove straight into town for a most delicious lunch at a Lebanese place called Gypsy Queen.


I enjoyed their house tea, while John enjoyed his first-ever Lebanese beer. We ate way too much, including their Lebanese fries (fries smothered garlic aioli and tahini dressing, sprinkled with parsley . . . mmmmm), baba ganouj (smoked eggplant dip), and a kibbeh wrap (the national dish of Lebanon!). We were so full, we basically had to be rollllled out of there.

From there, we drove a few quick miles into downtown Asheville for a relaxation appointment at the Asheville Salt Cave. I wanted to do some sort of special-to-Asheville activity while we were in town, and this strange yet intriguing manmade cave of salt exactly fit the bill.

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For $25 a pop, we both got to sit in this salt cave for an hour and breathe in the calming, healing salty air. You can read all about the benefits on their website if you're curious. I just thought it was something neat to do. And it was! Gosh, I feel relaxed again just looking at that picture.

After the salt cave, we wandered around downtown Asheville on foot, popping in and out of shops, and taking in the hippy vibes that make Asheville, well . . . Asheville.


We made sure to stop at a shop called Bathe, just as we had on our Eureka Springs babymoon, pre-John Paul. Just a few days before our Asheville babymoon, we ran out of the lavender bath salts we had purchased on the Eureka Springs babymoon at the Bathe store there. It was totally fate.

At Bathe, you pick the product you want (hand lotion, scrubbing salts, beard scrub . . . ) and then, using approximately 100 different scents, combine to make your own unique scent for the product. It's pretty neat. We created a sandalwood tobacco and vanilla salt hand scrub and lavender bath salts. As we checked out, we mentioned to the cashier that we had enjoyed visiting their shop in Eureka Springs (I believe the only other one) and she said we were the first people she met who'd been to both shops! Woohoo, achievement unlocked!

Following Bathe, we continued adventuring for a while until we stumbled upon a kombucha bar, AKA quintessential Asheville joint. I was thrilled to discover they serve kombucha flights!! When you can't drink booze (because pregnancy), but you find something that sorta mimics the fun things about booze, you do a happy dance.


In case you're not in the know, kombucha is fermented tea. It's a little fizzy, a little vinegary, and a lot of fun. I actually brewed it at home for a few months. And then I got pregnant and it lost its appeal. But I totally intend on picking up the brewing habit again. It's chockfull of so-good-for-you probiotics, so you really can't go wrong.

The flavors I tried, all made by Buchi Kombucha, were . . .

Fire -- cold pressed ginger + cayenne + spices (what?! too spicy)
Water -- elderberry + blueberry + coconut water (my fave!)
Earth -- roasted roots tonic (tasted like rootbeer . . . meh)
Sovereign -- ginger + peach + molasses (second fave!)
Avonlea -- orange + mango + sea buckthorn
Holiday -- cinnamon + cider + vanilla + clove


Belly up to the bar!

;)

We decided we needed a little break following all the downtown adventures, so we headed to our hotel to check in. We didn't stay anywhere fancy. Just a regular ol' Baymont Inn & Suites. We figured it was best to save a little cash on our hotel so we could really go all out on a fancy adventure a little later in the evening.

(Hold your horses, I'll get there!)

After some quick R&R, we headed south south south of Asheville to a Korean restaurant for dinner. We figured heading away from downtown Asheville on a Saturday evening was a smart choice. Good thing this city is so cool that super delicious restaurants can be found still several miles outside of downtown.

We considered tons of different cuisines, but Stonebowl Korean won out, simply because (1) the pics on yelp made me salivate and (2) we don't have any Korean food restaurants near home. Easy choice.


We split dumplings as an appetizer and ordered the beef bi bim bop for dinner. It came with all these fun side dishes. And the bowl arrived at our table snap, crackle, poppin'! The stone bowl was hot hot hot, so the ingredients inside continued cooking while we enjoyed. It was all fantastically delicious AND fun! 5 out of 5 stars! Would recommend! *thumbs up emoji*

And from there, we headed to the main event . . . Christmas at Biltmore! This was our maj splurge during our babymoon, and it did not disappoint.

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The Biltmore is a ridiculously huge mansion set in the beautiful mountain scenery of western NC. This crazy estate, finished in 1895, sits on over 10 square miles, and the house has 250 rooms, including 33 bedrooms for family and guests, 43 bathrooms (what even?!?), 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. It's like Downton Abbey on steroids. Need I say more?

Our admittance time wasn't until 8:45pm because they were already pretty booked by the time I got our in-advance tickets. So we spent some of our extra time wandering through the gift shops and drinking hot chocolate in the cold. It was pretty romantic. 

We were finally allowed into the house and, guhhh, just breathtaking, guys!

I had to take a moment to pose in front of the largest decorated indoor Christmas tree I think I've ever seen. It was in their banquet hall, which has 70-foot-high barrel-vaulted ceilings. Umm, tall much?


We also needed a selfie at the bottom of the massive 4-story spiral grand staircase. 


But seriously, it was gorg. The whole thing. It was all decked out for Christmas and they had professional musicians set throughout the house singing and playing classical Christmas tunes. So many happy feels.

We explored for about an hour, maybe more, then decided it was time to say goodbye to the crazy life of wealth and excess and head back to reality.


Our hotel room randomly had a hot tub in it. Like, attached hot tub room for two. It was a little weird and out of place, but wait . . . why am I complaining? We used our newly purchased lavender Bathe bath salts and relaxed in the tub for a tiny while. But then, like the old farts we are, we got super tired and realized we neeeeeed sleeeeeep. So sleep we did!

We totally failed at using this overnight away from our toddler to sleep in (doy.), but we had to squeeze in breakfast and Mass and a trip to Trader Joe's before getting home in time, so we didn't really have a choice. The good news is, we spent our non-sleeping time on so many adventures that missing out on the extra sleep felt totally worth it. :)

Breakfast was at Biscuit Head, a breakfast joint that specializes in creating crazy delicious biscuit dishes.




John got a brisket biscuit (YAS!) and I played it simple with an egg, cheese, and bacon biscuit, plus a side of their homemade yogurt with granola. I also raided their jam and butter bar, as evidenced by the 8 little containers of jam and butter laid across the table in front of John. That didn't even cover half of the available flavors. That jam bar was my JAM!

We sat around a bit to digest the biscuit bombs in our bellies and to wait out the 1-hour-before-Communion fast, and then headed into downtown Asheville one last time to attend Mass at the Basilica of St. Lawrence!

Mass was just lovely. It was the first weekend of Advent, and the Deacon gave a fantastic homily, reflecting on a much more realistic version of the Nativity than we typically hear or see.

Check out this gorgeous Church . . .



*swooning for Jesus*

And since we can't go to Asheville without a stop at Trader Joe's, we headed straight there after Mass to wander the aisles and aimlessly by all the things we don't need but looked too tasty to leave behind. (TJ's, if you're listening, PLEASE COME TO EAST TENNESSEE! PUH-LEEZ!)

We squeezed in a trip to a neat little coffee shop, sorta en route to the highway, Liberty House Coffee & Cafe, and I tried my first London Fog: earl grey tea with honey and almond milk. Mmmmm. They had these ridiculously huge pumpkins on their front porch, which I obvi needed to pose with.


And from there, we headed straight back to good ol' east TN, refreshed from all our fun and adventuring, but ready to see our little John Paul again. 

'Twas perfect.

Thanks for the memories, Asheville! You're pretty neat.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Lately & How We Do Advent

And just like that, Advent is upon us!

Things have been moving at super-sonic speed here in our household. Is that true of every household this time of year? I'm starting to think so!

We finally announced our little addition to the whole world (AKA facebook + instagram) with this little diddy . . .

 
In real life, it took about 30 pictures to get it just right. But it turned out pretty presh if I do say so myself. John Paul is super excited to be a big brother, not that he gets what that means at all. And if I'm being honest, neither do I. Eek! Two kids under two? We got this! But seriously, what's it gonna be like? 

I'm 32 weeks now and am scratching my head over how we're in the SINGLE DIGITS of weeks left 'til due date. Time, you fly. 

We had an ultrasound today and baby looks great! Well, we couldn't actually see babe's face since he/she had both hands scrunched up there and in the way. But honestly, it was so dang cute to see baby snuggling up like that, how can I be mad? We were just thrilled to see that baby is in head down position and looking healthy as can be, measuring about 4 lb 7 oz at this point. The doc even saw some hair! Could it be?! A not-bald baby Schweitz?!?! The doc called it "peach fuzz," so I won't hold my breath. :P

We're finally starting to buy the few items we need to welcome this sweet babe, all the things we skipped out on last time but regretted, like a bassinet and changing tables and zip-up outfits. We're also making a mental checklist of all the things that need to be done before babe arrives, mostly house related stuff (paint this room, buy a rug for that room, unpack the remaining boxes . . . eek!). And we hired a doula, who's also training to be a midwife, so that's pretty neat! AND I'm starting to read my favorite prepare-for-birth book again: The Birth Partner. ACCOMPLISH ALL THE THINGS!  No big. Only took me 32 weeks to get motivated. 

Let's rewind a little now, and see what's being going on the past few months . . . 

For Halloween, John Paul and John dressed up as Luke and Darth Vader from Star Wars. (But seriously, if you didn't already know they were from Star Wars, we have a problem. Also, you deserve the following spoiler . . . )

"Luke, I am your father." 

Get it? ;)

 

John Paul was a leeeettle freaked out by the Darth mask (and pretty much all the people we saw on Halloween in masks), so we decided Darth should go unmasked for their lightsaber duel.


Oh, fun facts . . .

1.) Our new neighborhood seems to be the type that people drive to and drop their kids in for some quality trick-or-treating. So we were living it up as our first year with actual trick-or-treaters. We started off giving out 4 pieces of candy to every kid, since we figured we wouldn't get many, but by the end of the night, had to rummage through the closet to pull out leftover candy from last year's trick-or-treating and other oddball candies (Lindt and Gharidelli chocolates and such) to be able to last through the night. Lesson learned. But a fun one!

2.) Apparently adults drink adult beverages as they take their kids out trick-or-treating, out of inconspicuous plastic cups or travel mugs. Is this real life? Or perhaps this is another quirk for our neighborhood?? All I know is that my husband was not shy about joining in once he saw the other parents doing it. Ha!

Moving on to Thanksgiving.

John Paul is actually a pro kitchen helper. He was eager to stand on a chair and watch me create our Thanksgiving dessert contribution: Peanut Butter Lasagna. (Don't judge me.) It may have been because he got to sample every last ingredient as I layered it in the baking dish. Or perhaps we have a future little chef on our hands. I'll let you be the judge . . .


And now Advent!

Just like last year, we're still sorta figuring out how we want to do this Advent/Christmas thing. When do we get the tree? What music do we listen to? What feast days do we focus on? How many presents does John Paul get? We try to answer all these questions with the real Reason for the Season in mind, but we're still not exactly sure how it'll play out. And we still feel like we have a bit of time to decide on things since John Paul isn't exactly aware of what's going on. Yet. Prob by next year though.

So our rough sketch currently looks like . . .

1.) Only listening to Advent music (at home and in the car) during the season of Advent. To me, this reeeeally builds the anticipation for Christmas because I love love LOVE Christmas music. So to hold off on it for these 4 extra weeks makes it feel like we truly are waiting for something special. Now, truth be told, the pool of Advent music is rather small. But, I've found some pretty great Advent playlists on Spotify, specifically this one called "Simply Advent." So whenever I'm feeling tempted to get my Christmas music jam on, I listen to one of my Advent playlists instead and I'm reminded of exactly what we're waiting for. Plus, these songs are dang beautiful. So it's all good!

2.) Decorating only for Advent during the season of Advent. That basically means the Nativity (minus Jesus) and the Advent wreath, plus pink and purple decorations (once I find the time to buy some).

This year, I finally got around to making an Advent wreath! I found a picture of one similar to this online and went with it . . .


Apparently each candle of the Advent wreath symbolizes a deeper meaning, which is new to me this year. (Sorry! Clueless Cradle Catholic, party of one!) The sample picture I used to make my wreath had them like you see above. This website tells me otherwise. Oops. It's apparently Hope, Faith, Joy, and Peace, in that order. But anyway, I'm loving that we have one specific virtue to focus on for each week now. And that, with the use of some fancy shmancy purple and pink ribbon, I can get away with never buying the all-too-difficult-to-find 3-purple-and-1-pink candle combo again! John Paul is happy about this too!


3.) Celebrating St. Nick's feast day (Today! December 6th!) by putting out our shoes the night before and getting candy and some other small gifts in St. Nick's honor in the morning. Being honest here, TOTALLY failed to do this this year. But like I said before, I think we have another year before John Paul really gets into all this stuff, so . . . phew!

4.) Celebrating St. Lucy's feast day (December 13) by putting up ALL THE LIGHTS. Her name means "light," so it's basically perfect. We'll put lights in all our windows and set up the tree, but only decorate it with lights. This is another one of those things that's so hard to hold off on. I've wanted to put up a tree since Thanksgiving now. But I'm glad we're holding out. Another reminder of the anticipation we're supposed to feel as we await the birth of Christ!

5.) Really go crazy decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, when we are only one sleep away from welcoming our King! ALL THE DECORATIONS FOR JESUS!

6.) Only giving 3 gifts to John Paul on Christmas day (and all future kiddos). These three gifts will be a nod to the three gifts Jesus received from the Wise Kings. We're also thinking they'll always follow this pattern: one item you need, one book to read, and one gift you really want . . . or something like that. And they'll be presents from us, not Santa Claus. We've chosen to leave Santa Claus (or Santa as our culture knows him) out of our Advent and Christmas seasons, for many reasons. This post from another Catholic blogger really resonates with many of our reasons, in case you're curious. 

7.) LIVE IT UP celebrating the birth of Christ during the true Christmas season, December 25 through January 9 (the Baptism of the Lord). That means all the Christmas music, all the homemade tasty Christmas treats, all the Christmas movies, ALL THE CHRISTMAS!! All the waiting of Advent finally pays off in the biggest celebration we can throw, for the Coolest Guy we know. :)

We'll still go to Christmas parties during Advent (if we're invited) and listen to Christmas music when it's blasted at us in shops and restaurants and eat tasty Christmas treats if they are gifted to us over the next few weeks. We're not going to try to shut down the rest of the world or poo-poo anyone else's celebration. But in our home, we'll do our best to make Advent and Christmas two different seasons, as they truly are. And we're pretty excited about that! 

But also, I'm pretty sure many of our Advent and Christmas traditions will continue to change and grow over time. So don't hold us to it. We're just trying to do our best for our family, trying to create our family culture as we grow. And this is what feels right for now. Can't wait to give it a spin!

Wishing you and yours a hopeful, faithful, joyful, and peaceful Advent!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Picking Paint Colors for Our New Home

Choosing wall colors for our new house has been both exciting and daunting. Exciting because we're finally getting to personalize our space! And colors are fun! Woohoo design! But daunting because paint is permanent . . . or at least that's how it felt when we were making our choices. Sure, sure, you could always repaint if you hate it. But with the number of hours and days we spent painting, plus the cost of the paint, it felt important to get it right the first time.

So, I went a little paint-research-crazy on pinterest in the weeks leading up to closing on our house. I had a general idea of what I wanted in most rooms, but gosh, there are lots of variations for each color. That's where pinterest came in handy. I'd search "green bedroom" or "gray kitchen" and get specific names of paint colors to try in each room. Handy dandy.

When I say I spent hours of my life deciding on paint colors, I mean hourrrrsssssss. And they were mostly fun hours. But also, at some point I was just like, "Let's please just close on this house RIGHT MEOW so we can start trying out some samples, mmmkay?"

We closed on the house (yippee!) and painting started the very next day. We wasted no time getting to painting, as we wanted to get as many rooms done as we could before moving day, two weeks later.

Within those two weeks, my mom and husband (and two guys we hired to do the 2-story walls in the main entrance) worked so hard to paint so many spaces and for that, I'm so grateful! While we haven't painted every wall yet, we're well on our way.

At this point, I'm not quite ready to show the world pictures of our messy, only-half-unpacked space, but I can show you swatches of each color and pictures of other peoples' houses that inspired the colors we chose.

(Psst -- it might help to look at pictures of each room in our home before diving in.)

Here we go.

Main Entrance / Kitchen / Office / Playroom / Sunroom 

For these rooms, which are all connected, I wanted the perfect neutral gray. We've lived in beige-walled apartments for the last 7 years and felt ready for a change, so gray it was!

My friend, Sew, gave me some good advice: If you want your space to seem larger, more open and spacious, paint it all the same color! So that's exactly what we're working on in these 5 rooms. 

Now, finding the perfect neutral gray was not easy. By the time we closed, I had narrowed it down to three grays: a beige gray, a blue-ish gray, and a light gray . . . 


But once we got samples of all three up on the wall, I wasn't convinced. Back to the drawing board. We added two more grays to the wall of samples: 


Can you see how wildly different all of these grays are?! And yet they're each classified as "gray" by the different brands. 

Once they're on the wall, they take on even different personalities:


On the wall, Gray Shimmer looked almost purple, Revere Pewter looked more beige than we wanted, Passive was blue-ish, Gray Owl seemed pretty neutral, and Moonshine was super light. 

(I should note here that we used Behr Premium Plus Ultra brand paint for all of our painting. It comes highly recommended from Consumer Reports. Thankfully, Home Depot can color-match any color from any brand to their Behr paint line. So these are color-matched versions of each color and may be slightly different than if the colors had been purchased from the brand -- Sherwin William and Benjamin Moore -- that created them.)

After seeing all five samples together, we narrowed it down to Passive (John's favorite) and Gray Owl (my favorite) and painted two much larger samples in another room:


Both seemed like the perfect light-medium shade of gray, but Passive was more cool while Gray Owl was more warm. Ultimately, we decided warm was the way too go, since we worried cool would feel a little too sterile. And so the winner was:

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And we've been pleased as punch with it. :) It takes on a slight blue color at random times of the day, and at night it's almost green under our warm, ceiling lights. Overall, it really freshened up the space (which was previously cream in some rooms and dark beige in others) and gave our home a more modern look. 

We've only painted the kitchen and main entrance so far, but hopefully soon, we'll paint the playroom and office and sunroom as well. 


Family Room

The family room, AKA the projector room, is connected to the kitchen, and so we considered also painting it Gray Owl, same as all the other first floor rooms. But we felt it needed its own personality. Plus, the tile floors in the family room are a dark tan color and didn't work as well with the gray. So, we started to look for colors that worked with the tiles and our existing furniture and came up with: 



Which I had originally spied here:

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Our family room is naturally suuuuper dark since it doesn't have many windows, which honestly works in our favor, since the projector looks best in low light. But, the dark dark dark orangey beige the previous owners had on the walls made the room feel so drab and cave-like. We love how Colorado Gray lightens up the room but still gives it a pop of personality when compared to the rest of the first floor. And Colorado Gray also happens to be a perfect complement to Gray Owl. Win!


Laundry Room

For our itty bitty laundry room, I wanted a light, calming, happy color. Since the space is so small, I figured a light color would make it feel more open. I also wanted calming and happy since . . . who wants to be angry and sad in their laundry room? The process of laundry-ing is maddening enough, so I wanted the wall color to naturally make it a more serene space. 

This color seemed to fit the bill:


Guys, I seriously love this color. I told John, "This color basically is my life." If you could summarize Stephanie in one color, this would be it! It's the perfect mix of blue and green. The perfect light teal, I suppose. I love love love it! 

And I also love how it's yet another perfect complement to our Gray Owl. 

Thanks to this room for the inspiration:

Source


Guest Bedroom

Our guest bedroom is brought to you by the color green. Rich, dark, cozy green.



This color was love at first sight. From the moment I laid eyes on it, I knew I had to put it somewhere in the house. Here's the original photo that inspired my obsession:

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Since it's a bit of a bold color, we didn't want to put it in a large space, or an open space. So we decided our first-floor guest bedroom would be exactly the right spot for it. And while the guest bedroom still has a long way to go, decor wise, the color is just swoon-worthy perfection. I imagine once I get some creamy drapes and gold accents and dark wooden furniture in there . . . ugh. I die.




John Paul's Room

I knew I wanted mint in John Paul's room. The trick was finding a mint that wasn't too girly or too saturated, but also wasn't too baby blue-ish either. So after much searching and hemming and hawing, we landed on this perfect shade of minty blue:


Which actually looks entirely different than that in real life. 

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When the sunlight hits it just right, it's this lovely greeny mint shade. But other times, it morphs into more of a powder blue. I can't get enough of it! I hope John Paul likes it too. :) 


Yet To Be Painted

And then there's the rest of the house, which is yet to be painted. And mostly also yet to be decided. Baby Schweitz's room, the guest bathroom, and the master bathroom are the rooms I'm really scratching my head over. We may just wait until after Baby Schweitz is born to choose his/her room color. Right now I'm leaning toward a rich teal green though. The guest bathroom needs to complement Gray Owl and Dragonfly since it joins the kitchen and the guest bedroom. I'm thinking possibly just Gray Owl again. And the master bathroom . . . no idea! Any thoughts?

We do have some ideas for the master bedroom though, mostly inspired by the color navy:

Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore - Source

Stunning by Benjamin Moore - Source

We're not sure if we'd do the whole room navy or just paint the wall behind the bed navy and the rest white. I lean toward the whole room because I like grown-up bedrooms to be bold, dark, and sleepy. But I'm open to debate. 

And the kids' bathroom is going to be Palladian Blue, just like the laundry room. In case you've forgotten how wonderful a color it is:

Source

The Whole House 

In summary, when you put it all together, our house looks a little something like this:


Feels good to be home. :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

We Bought a House!

All praise be to God! Everything fell into place, easy peasy, and now we're homeowners!


We've spent the past week painting like mad. Not a huge fan of the deep beige and light creme colors they left on basically every wall. HUGE fan of the awesome colors we're covering them with -- blues and grays and deep green and mint. AHH! Can't wait to show you. 

There'll be some serious before-and-after shots to be shown once we're all settled, but for now, it's still in mess mode. And I'd rather not put that on the internets for all to see. Plus, we haven't moved anything over from our apartment yet, so it's basically an empty house with a bunch of half painted walls. Boring. But we're having so much fun already!

Thank you for your prayers. :) They worked! 

Now back to painting. And internet furniture purchases . . . 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Recipe Capsule

Oh, summer!

How lovely are you?! And HOT! But lovely. Who doesn't love laid-back, lemonade-sipping, pool-hanging, garden-veggie-eating, happy sunshine-y summer? :)

And with summer comes FRESH, delicious recipes. Oh man, I'm cheerful just thinking about them! So, to keep all my summertime favorites in one place, I'm compiling a list of the recipes that we love to make over and over again throughout the summer. You'll notice lots of tomato-centric recipes, since tomatoes are SO GORG during this time of year. Plus lots of other recipes with fresh fruits and veggies, because . . . summer! I also feel like a good summer recipe involves not turning on the oven, but I snuck a few oven recipes in there, just because their taste outweighs the lameness of turning on the oven on 100 degree days.

And now, with mouth watering, I give you our Summer Recipe Capsule!



This recipe is great for all those extra grape or cherry tomatoes you have laying around. It's simple, but that's what makes it so perfect. The red sauce that's created by the burst tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil is just lovely.




Yum! I'm a huge fan of traditional 7-layer dips. But look at this one! Hummus, greek yogurt, red onion, cucumber, tomato, olives, feta cheese . . . so many great flavors in one place! This one is definitely great for a party, but also great for folks who like snacky lunches, like myself. We serve with pita bread, pita chips, celery, carrots, or really anything great for dipping. A great recipe for using up some of those garden veggies currently hanging out on your kitchen counter.




Who doesn't love the Pioneer Woman?? This is one of our favorite recipes of hers. It's so easy to throw together and so tasty! We seriously eat it on repeat for lunches throughout the summer. We often add different things to this wrap depending on what we have in our fridge/pantry: quinoa, chick peas, tomatoes, mild peperoncini peppers, cucumber . . . this wrap gets better every time we eat it! When we're short on time, we skip the grilled onions and just throw them on raw. When we have extra time, we grill the whole wrap once it's stuffed, which makes the hummus even creamier if you can believe it. Mmmmmm.




You guys. THIS salad. This may be the summer salad to end all salads. I just don't know. It's awesome sauce though. Specifically the green goddess sauce that goes on it. Avocado, lime, cilantro, jalapeƱo, and pistachios are the main stars of the magical sauce. I could seriously put it on anything. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'd just eat it by the spoonful . . . if that was acceptable. You toss a bunch of quinoa, fresh tomatoes, and spinach in it, which just takes it all to the next level. YOU GUYS!! I'm telling ya. You need to make this NOW. We loved adding fresh mozzarella and some roasted Brussels sprouts. But I bet it'd still be stellar without. Bring this salad to your next summer party and you will not be left alone until you share the recipe. 




Yes, it sounds a little weird. But if you like pickles and creamy dips and potato chips, you'll love this dip. It's very simple to throw together and quite the crowd pleaser. Gah! I'm salivating just thinking about it!




Ok, so this salad might give the green goddess salad a run for its money. It's SO SO SO good. I especially love the CRUNCH of the uncooked ramen noodles. The asian honey vinaigrette is on point. And then all those fresh veggies. WOWS. I stole this one from Caitlin at A Joyful Duty last summer and it's been a favorite ever since. You know a good recipe when you taste one, Caitlin! Strong work. 




Another Pioneer Woman favorite! This salsa is probably one of the easiest things you'll ever throw together and it's so flippin' good. I bet there's a way to make this one with fresh tomatoes, but if canned tomatoes don't bother you, you can make this recipe year-round. Which, thank goodness! Because you'll crave it year-round once you get your first taste. It makes a HUGE batch, so be prepared to put salsa on EVERYTHING after it's made. Or you could put it in cute mason jars and share with friends.




Hang with me on this one. I know it sounds a little weird. Especially putting strawberries on a pizza. But, guys, this pizza is probably my favorite pizza ever. The saltiness of the bacon and cheese, the sweetness from the balsamic, strawberry jam, and strawberries, and the pops of flavor from the sriracha, cilantro, and onion. You've just gotta try it to believe it!




I always love a good lettuce wrap. This vegetarian version, which we've tried with both tempeh and tofu, is just perfection. It's jam-packed with fresh veggies and even more jam-packed with flavor. A lovely fresh summer meal!




Once you've had homemade tomato sauce, you really can never go back to the jarred stuff. This recipe does not disappoint. It's very easy to throw together and some of the tastiest sauce I've ever had! It calls for canned San Marzano tomatoes, but I bet you could use your fresh garden tomatoes in this one if you'd rather. Now, if you can get your hands on some fresh pasta, you've got yourself the makings of one tasty meal!




If you're a zucchini grower, you probably have more zucchinis than you know what to do with at this point. (You're probably starting to get sick of zucchini bread, amirite?) This recipe will use them up stat! And deliciously so. I like to double this recipe and get at least two nights out of it. I bet it freezes well, so you could always go that route with the leftovers. That homemade enchilada sauce plus all that cheese PLUS the crunchiness of the fresh zucchini . . . this dish is something special!



I recently made this recipe with okra in one jar and cucumber in another. The pickled okra turned out great, but the pickled cucumber . . . fantastic! This is probably my favorite pickling recipe so far, and that's saying a lot because I'm obsessed with pickles. I'm thinking the secret to this one is the use of rice vinegar. But I'm not a food scientist. Just a pickle connoisseur. :) I didn't actually seal these jars, by the way. I just put them in the fridge as soon as they cooled and started eating them a few days later. Easy and tasty!



This recipe is actually for Asian Turkey Meatballs, but I just make the mixture and turn it into 1/3-lb patties instead of tiny meatballs. Then we cook 'em up on the grill. I also make the dipping sauce, which is great for burger dipping. And if you want to make a stellar meal out of it, make the Crunchy Asian Ramen Salad on the side. Yum!



I couldn't put together a summer recipe capsule without a delectable berry-centric dessert to top it off. I'm a huge fan of summer berries and a huge fan of chocolate. You put the two together in a pie and oh my goodness! Watch out! I've not actually made the pie in the link above before, but I've made a this version and it was always great. The pie I linked to, though, looked even more delicious than the one I've made, so I'm going with it. 


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And there you have it. Our 2016 Summer Recipe Capsule! What do you think?

Now tell me, what would you put in your Summer Recipe Capsule? What have you been whipping up in your kitchen the past few weeks? Bonus points for links to recipes! 


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