Monthly Favorites #1

Hello! I thought I would try a new feature on the blog, a recap of some of my favorite things from the month. I’ve seen them around and I would love to share with you some of the items that I have loved this past month and some that have made my life a bit easier. Let’s go!

Our Bunn Coffee Maker

First up, coffee. Ryan and I drink coffee everyday and with my multiple nursing sessions at night, I’m a little extra tired when I wake up. Ryan usually wakes up before 6am, I’m usually an hour or two behind that, specially after the first nursing session and taking care of Olivia. Our Bunn let’s me have a hot cup of coffee even a few hours after Ryan made the batch. The secret is that it doesn’t have a hot plate, but it’s the insulating carafe that keeps the coffee hot and fresh. So no burnt or reheated coffee for me! It’s amazing, plus it’s one less thing I have to worry about in the mornings.

BUNN BT Velocity Brew 10-Cup Thermal Carafe Home Coffee Brewer, Black

 

Video Monitor

Now that we’re crib training, the Infant Optics video monitor has been super handy to have. It has perfect picture quality and sound, which let’s me relax when baby is napping and I’m in another room in the house. It also has great signal, I’ve even taken it out to the garden! We have it mounted to the wall, but it’s a cinch to remove and we easily took it over to the in-laws for Easter. Plus, you can move the camera around, which is great! Once Olivia is older, we’ll probably get the extra optional wide angle lens.

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor With Interchangeable Optical Lens, White/Biege

The Boppy Lounger

This lounger had been amazing. I use it everyday when I’m hanging out with Olivia and it’s great for tummy time. She loves being a little raised up, plus it’s easier for her to hold her head up than when she’s flat on the ground. Plus, she looks super comfortable in it. She has even fallen asleep on it a couple of times. (Note: it’s not intended for sleeping, so I do move her to the crib when she does)

lounger OMA

Oatmeal Energy Bites

I’ve made a few batches of these because they are so delicious and such an easy snack. Plus, they say oatmeal helps with milk production, so more power to them! The flavor combination is so good and they’re a cinch to make. Easy snack to just grab and go with a baby on one arm and a snack on the other hand.

Oatmeal Energy Bites

My beloved Kindle

I may have a super old school version, but it does the trick. It has been a lifesaver through all of my nursing sessions helping me pass the time and even read to Olivia. I finished rereading the whole Harry Potter series and I’m now I’m working on Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have time to read an any other moment and the kindle helps me do this with the need of only one hand.

kindle OMA

Yoga Challenges on Instagram

I might not have the time to dedicate a full hour to yoga, but I do have a few minutes a day. During April, I participated in the Follow Your Dreams yoga challenge and it has been great, I even worked on inversions for the first tie ever, which is something I wouldn’t have done on my own… Once I’m back at work, I hope to get a schedule underway so I can add some yoga to my life again.

yoga

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

What are some of your current favorites?

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar Topping

I’m not sure if this happens to you, but I always get a banana craving when I go grocery shopping, only to buy them and have them sit on my countertop until it’s too late. If you ask me, putting them at the front of the store is a great marketing strategy. Since I don’t like food going to waste, I usually end up baking with the overripe bananas. Add a recent chocolate craving I’ve been having and these chocolate chip banana muffins came to life.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin

It all starts with a few ingredients you probably already have lying around the house. At least I do. You never know when the baking bug is going to strike!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins ingredients

First, mix the ingredients in a stand mixer. Then, fold in the chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins batter

Pour batter into a large muffin tin lined with parchment paper or greased. This recipe will make about two batches, or 12 muffins.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins cups  

Combine brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon in a bowl. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins sugar topping

Sprinkle about a tablespoon over each muffin. This step is completely optional. The muffins will still taste great without this topping, but it does give it a nice crusty top.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins topping

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Moist, chocolaty and delicious. Plus, the bananas have been saved! These muffins were also a lifesaver those mornings that Olivia was a little bit more needy than usual aka one-handed eating. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins recipe

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Brown Sugar Topping: 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon butter

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients of the muffins, except chocolate chips, in a stand mixer. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter into large muffin tins lined with parchment paper or greased.
  4. Combine all ingredients of the brown sugar topping.
  5. Sprinkle about a tablespoon over each muffin.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Enjoy!

Wonderful Wednesday Link Party #99

Hello! Welcome to the Wonderful Wednesday linky party hosted by Oh My Heartsie Girl and 13 co-hosts, including me! Feel free to link your creative post at the bottom of the page and/or check out some of the wonderful ideas already shared. Make sure to comment and connect with this great online crafting community. Have fun!

“Oh My Heartsie Girls “Wonderful” Wednesday’s Linky Party #99!Oh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday

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Time to make some pie

Hello again! Hope you had a good weekend! This post is coming a little late today because Miss Olivia has been a bit needy lately. She thinks it’s fun to only nap when being held, which makes for a very unproductive weekend. When she goes past nap time and starts wailing for 20 minutes straight, once she’s down for the count, you bet I’m going to keep her on me so she actually sleeps. She knows how to get what she wants.

Since Ryan was home Saturday morning, I was able to make a more elaborate breakfast than my usual cereal or oatmeal. Bacon for the win!

breakfast 

Then, I devoted all my attention to Olivia while Ryan worked on some landscaping. She hardly napped during the day, so I didn’t get much done.

coffee

At night, we met up with some of Ryan’s college roommates to celebrate the 30th birthday on one of them. It was a quick trip to Ames and Olivia actually behaved pretty well the whole time. It was great meeting up with them once again. All parents now, its funny how our conversations have changed, but it was nice to reminisce as well.

hyland gang

Olivia received an awesome pair of sneakers from her grandpa. Can’t wait to have her wear them! They are too cute.

shoes 

Sunday, Ryan went fishing in the morning and got back to take a nap with Olivia.

naps

And we got a special delivery from our neighbors, rhubarb! Which only means one thing, time to make some pie! Hopefully Olivia will cooperate with me…

barb 

Hope you have a good week!

Canvas Cutouts with Paper Background

It’s Friday! The prospect of the weekend being so close is always exciting for me because I get to spend my time with Ryan and Olivia, plus catch up on chores I’ve neglected or haven’t had a chance to do during the week. On this weekend’s agenda is planting my garden, finally!

On Wednesday, I shared with you a canvas cutout technique to create some gorgeous nautical artwork. Today, I’m sharing how to finish the canvas cutouts in another way. Instead of using paint to add color on the front, you glue colored pieces of paper to add color on the negative space of the canvases.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background

Once again, you start with a blank canvas. Mine are some old ones that I just primed with white paint. 

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background canvases 

Then, create your design. For these ones I stuck with the nautical theme with a fish design and a miscellaneous sea creatures one. Again, taking care to leave plenty of canvas without cutting to keep the piece whole.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background design

Transfer the design to the back of the canvas by rubbing a pencil on the back of the paper and cut the negative spaces out with an Xacto knife and/or small scissors.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background cut

Now, you can leave them as is or add some color to the negative spaces.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background negative space

Play with various colored cardstock to find a color scheme that works for you. I just used some scrap paper I already had stocked.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background papers 

With some spray adhesive, attach the colored pieces to the back. To do this, lay the canvas over some cardboard on a well ventilated space. Then move the canvas over to another clean surface and place the colored paper on the back accordingly. You want to make sure you move the canvas from where you sprayed it so the paper doesn’t get any glue on the front of it.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background glue 

Press firmly and wait for it to dry.

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background back

Hang your work and done!

DIY Canvas Cutout with Paper Background

Bright and fun!

Canvas Cutout with Paper Background fish design

Have a wonderful weekend!