anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Stollen Recipes | Baked Apples




Baked Apples
Credit to Jill Vandertoolen for the recipe

Ingredients:

6-8 Golden delicious apples (I have used all kinds of apples and they have all worked)
1 Cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick butter
Walnuts or pecans, and raisins
Half and half (for serving)

1. Preheat oven to 400℉ 
2. Spray a 9x13 pan. 
3. Peel and core apples. Place in the pan and fill the centers with raisins and nuts.
4. Melt butter and mix with cinnamon and brown sugar. Pour over apples (I spoon it over them).
5. Bake, covered, for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm with half and half 😊



This is a Stoll family tradition for General Conference. I had never had this before I started dating Brian and I decided to make this for him so that he would feel like he was at home even though we were thousands of miles from his family. Honestly, I love making these now. I love how cozy they make me feel and I love making something that I know my husband loves. We make them for breakfast but they would make a great dessert. Just remember to get up early if you want to make these for breakfast unless those you love are late sleepers 😉

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear if you have any breakfast traditions or any Conference traditions!


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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Cloth Diapering | One Month In


Before we jump into cloth diapering, I wanted to share my definition of "wholesome living". When I think of wholesome living, I think of living intentionally. I think of eco-friendly and non-toxic. I think of real butter and real cream and whole milk. I think of being content with what I have and using things until the end of their life, rather than when I get tired of them or itching for something new. Wholesome living to me is about being authentic and real and taking the extra time to be present or make a homemade meal. These posts will be about things I've tried to my life more in line with that vision of being wholesome. 

We are officially one month into cloth diapering so I wanted to share our experience. 

I thought I would start off with why we decided to start cloth diapering. Honestly, if you don't have a good "why" you are doing cloth diapering, then it probably isn't going to work for you. I don't care what I've read, or heard people say, having done disposables for over a year and a half, disposables are definitely more convenient. 


For me, the "why" came down to two things:

1. Cost
2. Better for the ecosystem.


Babies go through so many diapers and the thought that my babies' diapers will still be in the landfill after I'm dead after Everly is dead, and after her children have also lived long and healthy lives... it seemed a little too much for me. Since having Everly I have thought a lot about the impact that I am having on her and the world around us. I want to leave the world better for her and so I decided to try cloth diapering.

Like anything that I've tried to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, it has to be better for the environment, but it also has to work. I'm not willing, at this point, to do anything that is wildly inconvenient for me or is less effective. Well, less effective to a point. 

I did a lot of research into cloth diapering before we took the plunge and honestly I wasn't planning on cloth diapering Everly at all. I figured we would start fresh with this new baby, but as my "stash" (of cloth diapers) grew it seemed silly not to try it out now. That way we would have a feel for it before we tried it out when things were crazier with two kids and then we could start saving on diapering Everly now. 

If you're considering cloth diapering I definitely recommend talking to someone who has cloth diapered, check out the websites of a few different brands, and join the Fluff Love & CD Science Facebook group


Here were my main concerns before we started.

  • Cost to build a stash
  • Not knowing how much I would need
  • My husband maybe not being on board with trying it
  • LEAKS
  • Dealing with Poopy diapers
  • Washing them (how would I know if they were clean, what kind of detergent would I need, how long would it take me to wash and fold diapers...)

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of those concerns I want to first say what I love about cloth diapering so far.

1. I feel like I'm living more in line with my principles about doing what is good for the world instead of what is just easiest for me.
2. Everly has very sensitive skin and got a lot of diaper rashes before we switched. It wasn't uncommon for us to be putting Desitin max strength on her every few days for a diaper change or two because she was red or had a rash. We haven't had any issues with rashes so far. I have put cloth safe diaper cream on her twice when she was slightly red but other than that... nothing.
3. Cheaper. Yes, we've spent a lot building our stash, but I'm so excited to not have giant boxes of Costco diapers every month or so. We're in size 4 diapers now, so our stash (detailed below), cost us about 6 months worth of diapers, but our diapers will last us until she's out of diapers and hopefully through all but the newborn stage of our next baby. We'll even say 7-8 months worth of diapers if you factor in detergent and washing. Still SO much cheaper. 
4. They're way cuter than disposables. I love the diapers we've gotten so far and it makes me feel way better about letting her run around without pants on.


Here are the realities of each of my concerns for our family so far.


Cost to build a stash.

This kind of blends into knowing how much I would need. Once I decided what kind of diapers I wanted (we went with Pocket diapers, which are basically adjustable sized diapers that have a pocket you place an absorbent insert into) and found a brand that I liked, their website had recommendations on how many diapers I would need as a minimum to start. They recommended at least 14-24 cloth diapers. I started when we had 14 and continued to use disposables for nighttimes and nap times. Our diapers were from Nora's Nursery. We continued to build our stash to what I considered the bare minimum adding in 4 Grovia O.N.E diapers for overnight and an extra set of 10 inserts from Nora's nursery. All that comes to about $240. We would just buy a pack of diapers or a couple of the overnights per paycheck so it took us a few months to build to that point. 

Husband maybe not on board.

Brian is typically more eco-conscious than I am, so I was surprised when the first time I asked him about cloth diapering he told me he felt that it was more of a hassle than it was worth. 
I'd been considering cloth diapering since Everly was a few months old and we'd even considered biodegradable diapers (which are much more expensive than regular disposables). 
I continued thinking about it and did more research. I listened to a podcast on cloth diapering. I joined the facebook group. The more I learned the more I wanted to try it out. I was really worried about Brian not being willing to. In the end, his main concern was leaking (which is totally valid). We'd had leaks with disposables at times (mainly blowouts or overnight). I told him about everything that I learned and had him come with me to my cousin to talk about cloth diapering (she cloth diapered her twins).
In the end, he was willing to try it. We knew that if we decided it wasn't for us we could always sell our diapers and get some of our money back.

LEAKS.

I'm not going to lie. Leaks happen with cloth diapers. I wouldn't necessarily blame this on the diapers though. When we started, I didn't have any extra inserts, which meant I couldn't double up. With cloth diapers, you need to change them about every 2 hours (which apparently you're supposed to do with disposables, but I never knew that) to avoid leaks. We had leaks mainly when I pushed it past the 2 hours, and occasionally when Everly had just had a lot to drink. For example, since we got the extra liners I can double line most of the time, but I still don't have enough to double line ALL the time. So when we changed Everly for the last time before her bedtime bath yesterday, I didn't use two inserts. I knew that it would be just over 2 hours before we were throwing her in the tub, but she'd had a lot to drink and she soaked through her insert... and her pants. It hasn't really bothered me much to deal with leaks, other than I feel like I have to be more aware of just how long it has been since I last changed her. 
Overnights have actually been amazing with the Grovia O.N.E. diapers. We have had a few times where she leaked through, but after being vigilant all day to change every two hours (she can actually go 3-4 hours if I double line, which I do if I know that I'm not going to be able to change her soon), it's so wonderful to put her down for 12+ hours and know that she's probably NOT going to leak through her diaper. If they weren't so expensive (and didn't give her the biggest fluff butt I have ever seen 😂), I would probably use them all the time instead of pocket diapers. 

Dealing with poopy diapers.

I don't know anyone that likes dealing with poop. I had been emptying Everly's poopy diapers into the toilet anyway when we were using disposables (which it says to do right on the box) so cloth diapering didn't seem like it would add that much to it. Still... I was a little hesitant. I ordered Grovia's bio liners which lay inside the diaper between the diaper and that baby. They aren't very expensive and work pretty well. That said I don't usually use them anymore anyway. I learned that while you can flush them, you probably shouldn't (just like you shouldn't flush anything that isn't toilet paper or human waste. Yes, even your "flushable" adult wipes.), so it just seemed easier to not use them at all. Most of the time I can just dump the diaper and be done with it anyway, and for the diapers that require a little... scraping, I use a diaper cream applicator (basically a small silicone scraper) and wipe it off with a wipe.

Washing.

Once you have your routine down, washing is actually pretty easy. I pull out the inserts when I change Everly so when it's time to wash (I wash every other day or when I'm down to 4 clean pocket diapers), I just dump them into the washer. The hardest part was picking a detergent. When you start looking into cloth diapering you learn that there are all sorts of detergents that you can use, but there are all sorts you should not use. Mainly because a lot of detergents contain things that will stick to your diapers and over time either damage the fabric or build-up and keep them from absorbing like they should. 
We went with All Free and Clear Powder detergent (the liquid is not Cloth diaper safe) because it was the cheapest and we were already using the liquid kind so it was a good place to start. I haven't had any issues with it so far. 
I hang dry the "shells" or the outside parts of the diaper and dry the inserts for an hour in the dryer. They are usually still wet when I pull them out so I hang those after as well. If I'm short on time everything that I have is safe for the dryer. The shells are pretty dry after one cycle in the dryer, but the inserts would definitely need longer. 

Cloth diapering has been different, but I'm so glad that we decided to give it a try. I fully recognize that cloth diapering isn't for everyone and I have no qualms about using disposables from time to time. It just makes me feel better knowing that every time I cloth diaper, it's one less diaper in the landfill. I plan on doing a series on sustainable switches that I try, and I'm sure that not all of them will stick, but the ones that do mean that it's a little better for me and my family and the planet. I love the quote about how it's not about a couple people doing zero waste perfectly, it's about all of us doing it imperfectly. Any step we take to be more sustainable, more toxin-free, and more wholesome is a good one, but I'm definitely never going to be perfect and that's ok. 

I hope this was a helpful look into cloth diapering! If you have any questions about it, please drop them below or send me a message! I'd love to answer them :)
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Poems of Motherhood | May 2019





May 1, 2019

Your "sick" cry always gets me
I hear it
I know
I'm about to watch you be miserable
I always hope it will pass
that I can be your safe place while it rages




May 3, 2019

So many quirks
swinging your arms
to assert dominance over your tiny kingdom
your growls
the way you hold yourself in a seated position
when you don't want to be put down



Some months I feel like I have poetry pouring out of me. I can watch the moments happening and hear the words of the poem I will write about it later in my head. Some months I'm just living my life and I don't feel it like that. In the next few months, I had almost no poetry written about motherhood. It makes me feel a little sad because I know that there must have been so many moments that I would want to remember. Moments that I didn't capture. I tell myself that it is ok. That I still journaled. That I still was present in those moments, but it makes me want to make sure that I don't let more months slip by.

Thank you for reading! I hope that you all read these and relate or that they inspire you to keep little moments that you love written in ink so that you can remember them. 



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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Monthly Moments | September



Hey 😊 I'm writing this on the first day of Fall. I had big plans to make those cookies that I shared a few weeks ago, but ran out of energy yesterday and today I was just waiting for Brian to get home and dreading my dentist appointment. 

Yes, another dentist appointment. My 6th appointment in 2 months between a root canal, a crown for said root canal, a cleaning and two appointments for cavities. If anybody has any encouraging words about dentistry I would love to hear them. I have always hated the dentist due to having a ridiculously small mouth. Literally, I can only open wide enough for them to get the smaller of the child size bite blocks in. I honestly didn't realize that I had such a small mouth until a few years ago and suddenly I realized why I don't like eating apples or corn on the cob or sandwiches... they all require me to open my mouth wider than is comfortable. Also, the jokes that a certain boyfriend made about the tiny bites I would take also make sense now. Anyway, the fillings were literally torture because they didn't have a bite block small enough for me, and apparently even if they did, it would be hard for them to use it on me because then they wouldn't have my mouth open wide enough for them to work on my mouth. 

It has been a rough two months. Especially because dental care is not cheap. I take better care of my mouth than I ever have in my life (brush twice a day for 2 minutes, floss daily, wait 30 minutes after brushing to drink or eat anything... I don't drink soda and I don't eat a lot of candy...) and I have had more dental problems than I ever had in my life. It's pretty discouraging, but I do feel good knowing that I have done all I can.

I also had to take the 3 hour glucose test this past week. Luckily, that was good news! I do not have gestational diabetes. Although, when they called to tell me that my test was perfect, they then told me to be careful about sugar. I have no idea what that means. 

This month has been good overall though. Even with getting a stomach bug toward the beginning of the month. I've gotten to hang out with my best friend, Brian's parents were in town for a week so we got to spend time with them, and transitioning into cloth diapers has been great (I plan to do a whole post about cloth diapering for anyone interested, once we're a month into it 😊). 

Again contemplating chopping off my hair. I don't know why I always feel the need to chop it off when it starts to get to a good length. I decided that I'll wait a year and then see if I still want to chop it. Also, maybe by then I can afford a decent hair dryer, some curling irons, and a new straightener so I could actually style it. 




          25 Weeks & 27 Weeks




I'm looking forward to October. I'm looking forward to more Fall days and more hot chocolate tea parties with Everly. I'm looking forward to writing more. I always seem to forget that writing is not just something that I enjoy, but it's something that my soul needs. I've been feeling really inspired lately to just do and be what makes me happy. It's one of those things that I think I rediscover all the time and remember what things make me happiest. Lately I have been really patient with myself, letting things drop in and out of my life and routines and it has been so nice to just go with the flow of things. Which sounds crazy because I am such a planner and I love routines, but it's nice to set them aside sometimes and know that's ok. 


Books I've been loving this month:

Code Name Verity By Elizabeth Wein
Out of My Mind By Sharon M. Draper
The Testing By Joelle Charbonneau

Podcast Episodes I've loved this month:



I'm getting so excited for Christmas. Part of me is loving these last few months of having just Everly, but I'm getting so excited for our little boy and I can't wait to see what he looks like. I can't wait to stick him in a stocking. I can't wait to put him in the bassinet that has set empty by our bed since July. I'm also looking forward to taking Everly trick or treating for the first time. We got her the cutest red riding hood costume from the DI for $3 (I am actually looking forward to shopping at the DI more... this is what becoming more and more granola has done to me). 

I'm thinking I might have to go through a couple Harry Potter books, just because this time of year always makes me want to. 

Thanks for reading! What are you looking forward to? Do you have any books you like to read around this time of year?
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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Stollen Fashion | Dwell and Slumber Dresses


I've been wearing Dwell and Slumber dresses for over a year now, so I think it's fair to say that I know how well I like them.

I love them.






Honestly, I first wanted one when I saw that it was a trendy thing. (I am all about trends... generally when they are on their way out 😂 ) I did like that they were nursing friendly, and bump friendly. Basically all of my fashion decisions for the last few years have been based around those things. Also, they seemed right up my alley since I am a more casual dresser, but still like to look nice.

These dresses live up to their name. I dwell AND slumber in them. In fact, for quite awhile I forgot what it felt like to wear pants because I just wore these dresses on repeat. I have spilled just about everything you can name on them. Chocolate on my white dress more than once and they have stood the test of time. My only complaint about these dresses is that the fabric is pretty warm, which means that if you are trying to rock them in the summer, it can get a little toasty. That said, I have taken them on trips, and still worn them most days of the summer. It's really nice for traveling because they pack small and you can use them both for an every day outfit as well as for church or temple trips. I've even used them as a swim cover. I love that they have pockets. It has spoiled me. I kind of expect my dresses to have pockets now, and when they don't I have no idea what to do with myself.

I currently have two dresses, and I would say that is just about perfect if you're a minimalist. You can wear one while the other is in the wash. Perfect for me would be just one more dress, but two works really well. I have worn them through my nursing/pumping journey with Everly and through this pregnancy, and you can bet I'll be wearing them pretty much 24/7 once this little man comes along. They're my go to outfit. Now all I need is a Gigipip hat and I can be really trendy 😉

I linked my white stripe dress (and honestly I like it more than my maroon one. It shows less of the everyday things I get on it), but they don't currently have my maroon one!


Where is your favorite dress from and why do you love it?
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Stollen Recipes | Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 5 Dozen

Ingredients:

1 C. Shortening
3 C. Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 (12 oz.) Package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
4 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 C. Canned Pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350℉
2. Cream together Sugar, Shortening, and Vanilla.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. 
4. Scoop into balls using ice cream scoop or spoon and bake for 12-14 minutes.

As stated above, this makes a ton of cookies. While it really is very possible to eat all of them in one sitting, alternatively you can scoop them into balls and place on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Then place the frozen balls into a freezer safe bag and have them ready to pop into the oven whenever you get the craving!


I love Fall and ever since I learned about the solstices and equinoxes I've wanted to celebrate them. Honestly, I don't usually have my life together enough that it actually happens, but it is something that I want to make a tradition with my kids. What a better way to welcome Fall than some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? I'm planning to make some of these this year with Everly. I have no doubt she'll like eating them, but probably not making them so much 😂 Actually, I take that back, she'll love making them, my arms won't though. 

Anyway, how do you welcome Fall? What are some of your favorite Fall recipes?
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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Poems of Motherhood | April 2019







4/3/2019

A new Poppy
Blooming in my belly




4/6/2019

You looked back
to see if I was following you
caught my eye
then quickened your pace
I teased you
caught you up in fits of giggles

4/7/2019

I love watching you and Daddy
the way you choose him
feel safe with him
wave goodbye when he steps into the next room



4/8/2019

Those huffy breaths you take through your nose
I have no idea where your thousands of idiosyncrasies came from
but I love them
my snowflake girl

4/10/2019

I've grown comfortable
with silence
just the sound of you
banging blocks together
yelling "MOM" when something isn't quite right
the silence of motherhood




4/11/2019

"Yes"
"Yesh"
you're trying to speak
you say it for the joy of it
for the way it forms in your mouth
I hope you remember that joy
when you read these poems

4/13/2019

I love that it's me you reach for
when you're sad or hurt
that in these moments
you love me
as fiercely
as I love you




4/20/2019

You didn't really understand the point
eggs
buckets
wandering the grass in a new dress that you'd normally only wear on Sunday
but the wonder was back for me
watching your newness in the grass this morning

4/23/2019

You woke up from your nap
sat in my arms while I stroked your hair away from your face
you leaned your head into my hand
it was such a small moment
but it meant a lot to me

4/27/2019

You cried
for apparently no reason
it broke my Mama heart
I held you
prayed for you
Daddy and I both did
until you felt better

4/28/2019

I started patting your tummy
to distract you from your least favorite part of bedtime
when we change you
you laughed
patted your tummy every time I stopped
until we laid you down to sleep

4/29/2019

You walked around
with a stack of rubber banded business cards to your ear
for half an hour


Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed them :) Motherhood really has been so wonderful for me in so many ways, but these poems are one of the best ways I think. 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Monthly Moments | August



Hey there! Is it just me, or has August both flown by and lasted forever? I was really looking forward to August because it's my birthday month. Since my birthday is at the very beginning of the month I kind of use it as a "New Year" situation and look over my life and what I want to do. This last year has honestly been one of the hardest ones of my life, but also, one of the best ones. We have faced some serious challenges and I was looking forward to being 29 and kind of starting over. 

Life likes to laugh at plans like that 😂

My birthday was pretty good and I threw myself a dinner party the day after that went pretty well (minus the fact that I made way less pasta than I needed and had to make more in the middle). I even got presents at my party, which was a wonderful surprise. Honestly, I have thrown myself birthday parties many a time hoping for presents, but not getting any. I swear, as a child, presents are fun because you get fun things and you don't really have the funds to get anything for yourself yet. As an adult, I wish for presents because if I thought I didn't have the funds before, I really don't now. Anyway, I expected nothing and even got my guests party favors (which I never do) and was pleasantly surprised that they brought me gifts! 

After that, I ended up needing my first root canal and spent more than a week in pain (I would have been in pain a whole week longer than that but went to see a specialist so that I could get it taken care of sooner.)

This month has not gone as I expected, but it has had some good times too. 




We found out not long before my birthday that we are having a baby BOY. I honestly was both very surprised and not surprised at all when the ultrasound technician told us. I was hoping for another girl so that Everly would have a sister close in age and also so that we would already have everything that we needed. I started refering to the baby as "Holly" in my mind (the only name that seemed to ring true in my heart). I thought of what it would be like to put my new baby in Everly's old clothes and put bows in her hair. So when we found out that we were having a boy, I wasn't sure what to do. I have no idea how to be a boy mom and we have very little in the way of clothing that we can reuse for a boy. But now I'm excited about the new adventure that a boy will bring and wonder what my little man will look like. I had fun looking at little boy clothes and bowties and making a registry for this baby. He has been a bright spot this last month, almost as much as Everly has been. 


Sometimes I think that we were blessed with Everly (who is really one of the best babies in the world), because of all the other rough stuff that we've been through. I'm mentally preparing myself for this little guy to be rougher than his sister. While Everly still has her quirks, she is just kind of an angel child, which I attribute mostly to her and in small part to the number of podcasts and books that I've read to try and be a good mom. We'll see how this new little one does. I really can't imagine myself with two babies. Yesterday I was cooking dinner with Everly. She was being especially clingy and crying inconsolably if I had to set her down to do things like drain the pasta or grate the cheese. It all started weighing down on me that in the not too distant future I'd have two babies that want to be held and "SEE" what I'm doing when I'm cooking dinner. That Brian will still be working and hopefully we'll be in our own place. I'll have more to do and less hands to do it with. I almost lost it there while making dinner. I'm sure that I'll find my groove eventually. 

Anyway, this has been a rambling life update. I kind of enjoy doing these from time to time. I hope you're all having a great end of Summer. I'm looking forward to fall and fall clothes, although currently I feel like none of my clothes are designed for my pregnant body type (imagine that, non-maternity clothes not necessarily looking great on a maternity body!). I'm hoping to do something fun to celebrate fall like make apple crisp or spice cake. We'll see :) 


Books I've loved this month:

Furies of Calderon By Jim Butcher
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss


Podcast Episodes I have loved this month:

Optimizing Productivity and Avoiding Procrastination -What We Said Podcast
Kali Gray on body positivity, mindful eating and living counter-culturally -Slow Home Podcast
Modesty -Q More
French Kids Eat Everything (and so can YOURS!) -Find the Magic
Alain De Botton-- The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships -On Being (technically listened to this last month but it has been on my mind ever since)

I've been working on setting a good morning routine, waking up at 5-5:30 AM to exercise and read my scriptures and write in my journal. The only problem is that if I wake up that early I ALWAYS need a nap while Everly is napping. So I lose that break between to sleep. However, if I don't wake up early, I don't usually get a shower in, and I definitely don't exercise. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you all for reading! If you have any comments, book recommendations, or podcasts you love, please leave them below!



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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fawn Design Diaper Bag



So a couple of things to start out. Yes, I still kind of want to be a fashion blogger, but that always wars with my lack of funds to be buying new clothes and also the fact that I'm more and more of a hippie as the days go on... so fast fashion probably shouldn't be something I'm trying to get into. That said, I do think it's fun to share things that you love. 

I have always been a bag girl, from the little burgundy velvet purse I took to church with me as a child and the Pocahontas purse that I vowed to fill with quarters (and was very upset when my mother refused to take my $20 bill to the bank and turn into quarters), to now. I remember almost always spending my $20 allowance on bags as a teenager. I always thought that I would someday find the perfect bag. The one that would go with everything, fit everything that I needed in it, and would magically make me into the "cool Rachael" that I saw in my head. I've come to terms with the fact that I am never going to find a bag that I'm completely satisfied with for the rest of my life, but I have found some pretty great ones. 

This bag is one that I have carried almost exclusively since I had Everly. Which, if you know me, is kind of saying something. I don't stick to bags for very long usually because I'm looking for the next one, the better one, all the time. I stood in line for an hour for this bag because there was a warehouse sale and that was the only way that I was going to be able to afford it. I remember taking it home and leaving it in its packaging, just waiting for the day when I could use it. For me, a bag has to be like the clothing I wear, it has to look good, but it also has to be functional. I am not the kind of person that is willing to make personal comfort sacrifices for fashion. Splurging on this bag felt worth it to me because it was something that I knew that I was going to be using for a long time (although, somehow I really thought that you only carried a diaper bag while the baby was tiny. I don't know how I got that into my head, but here we are 18 months in and I still carry one almost everywhere I go). 



Here are the things I love about this bag:

-Big enough to haul around pretty much everything I need
There have been a few rare occasions where I wanted it just a bit bigger, but for the most part, I'd give it an A in that area.

-Inside is completely wipeable
Having spilled a ton of formula in the bag on one occasion it was so nice to just be able to flip the inside out and shake out most of it and wipe out the rest.

-Interior pockets to stay organized
The inside has one pocket on each side and two pockets in the front, plus a zippered pocket in the back and another pocket behind that. The back pocket is particularly useful for keeping Everly's vaccine records and my wallet and keys.

-Durability.
I have stuffed this thing full so many times and dragged it everywhere with me for a year and a half. Its been on planes, thrown in the car, carried almost every place that I've gone and it still looks basically the same. Honestly, there's like one scuff on it and other than that it is in the same condition as when I bought it. I'm seriously impressed.

-Looks good
As a bag girl, it was important to me that my diaper bag look nice and not just be functional. Plus, I love that even though it IS a diaper bag unless you are a fellow mom, it doesn't LOOK like a diaper bag. 


Things I don't love about this bag:

-It's kind of heavy. 
If you empty the bag completely out and just hold it... there's still some weight to it. Which, when you're hauling around a bunch of supplies for the baby and yourself is not always great.

-There aren't any insulated pockets. 
The number of times I wished that I had an insulated pocket for formula or breastmilk, or even whole milk... so many times. I've put bottles in an insulated pack inside the bag, but it would have been so nice to just have that already built into the bag.

-No grab handle. 
This is basically a non-issue because the newer versions of this bag all have one, but it has made me realize how nice they are to have and to prioritize that in my diaper bags.




Overall I have loved using this bag. I even bought the mini version for myself when it went on sale so that Everly and I could match someday, and use as a smaller diaper bag when we didn't need as many things. I am planning on buying a new bag for this next baby, mainly because I REALLY want some insulated pockets. I'll let you guys know how I like the next bag 😉. I've been trying to be more of a minimalist and so I've debated about whether or not I want to keep my Fawn Design bag when I get a new bag, but I think I'll probably still use it even if I have a new bag. We'll see. 

Anyway, thanks for reading! If you have a favorite diaper bag (or really any bag), let me know what it is and why you love it in the comments! If you also have a Fawn Design bag, what do you think of it?

Have a great week!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Stollen Recipes | Spaghetti Pie



I'm going to do everyone a favor and put the recipe right at the top :)

Spaghetti Pie

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs, well beaten
1 C. cottage cheese
1/2 C. shredded Mozzarella cheese
6 oz. spaghetti
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. oregano
2 C. tomato sauce

Directions:

Cook spaghetti; stir in butter, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Pour into 9x13 inch pan (sprayed with non-stick spray). Spread cottage cheese over noodles. Cook ground beef; drain. Add tomato sauce and oregano to drained meat. Turn the mixture over spaghetti crust. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


This recipe came to me from my Mother in law and is part of a recipe book that I meant to make for last Christmas and haven't finished yet. I often would text her for a recipe from Brian's childhood and finally decided that we should just make our own cookbook for the family of all their favorite go-to recipes. In my opinion, every family should have one of these that they can send out the door with their kids when they move out. And the child should know how to make all the recipes in the book. Since finding out that we're having a boy, I'm more determined than ever that he will know how to cook. I was already planning on that, but my resolve has definitely been renewed. Not that Brian doesn't know how to cook, but he definitely hasn't had as much practice at it as I have and I want my sons to be just as competent, if not more competent, in the kitchen as their female counterparts. 

This is actually one of the meals that were brought to the hospital for us when we were there for Everly in the NICU after she was born. One of the best parts about this recipe is that it freezes really well! I highly recommend just doubling the recipe and freezing half of it for another day (building up my freezer meals is also something that I plan on working into my regular routine because 5/10 days I have no desire or time to make dinner or come up with something to make). 

This recipe is also super easy to make gluten-free, just make sure that your tomato sauce is gluten-free (we sometimes use spaghetti sauce instead, but just know that if you choose that route it can end up a little soupy! Still tastes great though ☺️) and substitute gluten-free spaghetti noodles.

I hope that you love it! Let me know if you try it and how it works out for you!
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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Poems of Motherhood | March




3/1/19

I pucker my lips
you smile
laugh
walk close enough to me so I can kiss you
then tease me and walk away
when daddy tries to film it



3/2/19

the way you reached for me
til daddy handed you over
leaned against me
cheek to lips
while I kissed you over and over
I hope that those kisses soak deep
so you always know you're loved



3/7/19

I saw the picture of Pharoah's daughter
finding Moses
and thought of my empty womb
hers was empty too
but her arms were filled anyway



3/11/19

we went to the dog park
you were wrapped in our duckling sling
the dogs were interested in you
but mostly you leaned against my chest
listened to me breathe
took it all in


3/13/19

I pucker my lips
you get a hint of a smile
open your tiny mouth wide
lean forward
I let you put your whole mouth over my lips
touch the drool left on my chin
because tomorrow
you won't kiss me



3/18/19

you fell in the dry brown grass
a normal fall
but the feeling of the grass sent you toddling to me
afraid of the grass you loved last summer



3/25/19

after your bath
I rubbed you down
went through the usual struggle to get you dressed
I was snapping your snaps
you climbed onto me
held your tiny arms
around my neck



3/27/19

you clamp your mouth tight
scrunch up your nose
breathe in and out
fast
you think it's funny
I hope you never stop



3/29/19

I just want to remember
walking
with you leaned against my chest



3/31/19

14 months
today
I didn't even remember
until now


Thanks for reading! :) 

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