Monday, January 23, 2017

Hands to Hold

I've spent most of my time worried about myself as we prepare for our "big move to McCall" - Of course, I encouraged Matt to accept this job because I could never hold him back. Not back then, not now and not ever. I know what unfulfilled potential feels like. It hurts. And sometimes it hurts to put others before yourself. But today, as Matt preps to begin his journey with his new job my mind has been on him. And him only. Congratulations on landing your dream job, honey! Here's to you, our future and our new adventure together

For the past seven and a half years I have happily held this man's hand. First it was innocent & exhilarating. Then it was a symbol of love as he slipped a ring on my finger and I said, "Yes!" Then it was letting go of our old lives and joining together as one at the end the aisle. Then it became a way of comfort during hard times like a job loss, or physical, mental and emotional fatigue. Then it was when we were bringing our little girl into this world. Then it was letting go of his hand so he could hold our baby girl. Then it was as we became a family forever. And the pattern continues. Over the years we have held hands because we like each other, we love each other, we needed each other, we respected each other, the other needed encouragement or an extra push to go after a dream and every night as we prayed. 

Over the last two and a half years I have seen manly, outdoorsy hands turn into soft daddy hands. I have seen him hold our daughters tiny fingers, stroke her hair during rough nights, hold her hands in a slow dance, and again hold my hands when I needed encouragement as a wife and mother. Even as we did the shoot for this post Kess was dancing around as I did my best to angle the camera to keep her out of every shot... then I gave in and captured these day to day moments between Kess and daddy.

When Jord Watches reached out I was so excited to give this gift to Matt. The style fits him perfectly. Handsome, rugged, sleek and constantly working. The craftsmanship of the watch is stunning. I love that you can have them engraved with a personal message. This watch is the perfect gift to give to the hard working man who holds your hand through it all.

Valentine's Day is coming up & if you're wanting a sentimental gift for your love, enter the giveaway below. Every person who enters will receive $25 off & could win $100 off your purchase!
Plus, I think it's worth mentioning that they have a women's line - for all you power couples out there! I have my eye on this one.

Thank you for supporting the companies that support Beautiful Effort. And thank you to Jord Wood Watches for sponsoring this post. 

Watch Gift Ideas

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Year, New Goals

I know we are on the downhill side of January, but I always take a while to think of my new year goals. I thought I would share a few of them with you.

I'm always hesitant to create new goals for the new year. Mostly because a year is a really long time for your goals to play out. They usually fizzle out by February and those that don't are usually out of commission by summer. I decided to set some goals that will help me survive and thrive. Some of them are your typical New Year's Resolutions, but most of them are things I need to make it through this year. 

-Don't be too hard on myself. Sometimes I watch Netflix & don't fold the laundry that's sitting next to me. I've decided that my life will never be this easy again. I have every right to take advantage of it. I don't do this every day or every week, but sometimes momma just needs to rest. I make dinner almost every night, have clothes washed, I keep Kess alive and happy, my house is usually clean... basically I'm killing' it over here. ;)

-Read more books. I always try to read more religious books or books about personal growth. They always wear me out & then I don't read at all. I just productively spend all my time on my phone. ;) So, I decided to read more books for me. I'm a total sucker for a good chick lit book. I love love stories. So I'm going to indulge & also read books to help me grow. Maybe it will be a personal growth book, then a fun book, personal growth book, fun book, etc situation. 

-Pray more. Morning and night. Matt and I always say our night prayers together, but in the morning I flat forget. I need to work on getting up before Kess. I'm not very good at that. I should do it while I'm getting a decent amount of sleep! 

-Do more activities with Kess. You guys know I'm not anti-TV, but I'm a firm believer in playing outside, or doing something other than mindlessly watching TV. Lately I've been thinking of fun activities for her to play. I'm prepping myself for lots of indoor days in McCall or days when I can't leave because I'm taking care of a newborn and she needs to be occupied. We've tried quite a few, but so far nothing has beat play dough & watercolor painting. She loves them! The clean up is pretty easy for me, which I like. I would love to get some more puzzles and things, too. She's old enough to understand those now & it think she would love them!

-Be there for Matt. Sometimes I feel like a champ of a wife. Dinner of the table & an ice cold Pepsi in hand waiting for Matt when he gets home. Sometimes I'm annoyed at him for working late or for wanting to go on a fishing trip after a long week of work. (I know, stop being so lame, Kierra.) But, the other day he said he needed me to cheer him on, to pick him up, to help him through rough weeks at work... I honestly felt like I've always been really good at that. Not lately. We've both been so exhausted with keeping up with Kess, with handling long, lonely hours and dealing with our upcoming move to McCall. Sometimes ya just gotta hug (or kiss) it out, set your phones aside and pillow talk, ya know?

-Eat to fuel my body, but don't deprive myself. This is a constant battle for me. Constant. I go in waves with my healthy eating. Some phases I'm all, "Soda will kill you." And other phases I'm sucking it down like it's my only lifeline. (current phase) I truly believe in balance. Balance in all things - even food. But I did step on my scale the other day... I all but passed out right off of it. I'm gaining weight pretty dang quickly with baby boy. I know this is just a time in my life where the extra weight is a god thing, but nobody likes the feeling of their thighs rubbing together or their pants sliding right off their back fat. So, I can watch what I eat. Eat good nutritious food & still bring in enough calories to help baby boy grow!

About a month ago, Kess and I stopped in to Boise Juice Co. & met with the owner Jes. We got to taste test a bunch of the juices. She even whipped us up a smoothie bowl. Kess loved that! She kept calling it "ice cweam!" The smoothie bowl was so good & I love that you can get it in a to-go cup if you're busy and on the go! She sent me home with some juices. Kess & I totally loved them! A few of our favorites are...
-Nice Melons (Kess' fave)
-Vanity Pear
-Pineapple Chia (my fave)
-Mai Chai 
& there is a chocolate milk one that Kess thought was pretty awesome. 

There are plenty of options. If you head into their store front on State Street tell them Beautiful Effort sent you & you'll get 50% off a small bowl, smoothie or any juice!

I hope this helps you with your 2017 fitness/health goals. I know it's going to help mine! 

*I know the controversy with unpasteurized juices and pregnancy. I cleared everything with my doctor & felt fabulous while drinking juice from Boise Juice Co. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

House Tour

I think I've put this off long enough. I wasn't sure I was even going to do a house tour because by the time that we go settled we had decided to apply for the new job. I figured I wouldn't have time, but as we prepped for the open house, I snapped a few more pictures to show you guys!

I really love this home & I hope someone loves it as much as we do. We have a place to rent in Donnelly for a while while we get settled. Then hopefully we can find place that works for our family more long term. I actually haven't even seen the rental. Only pictures! Yikes! Matt has seen it & said it's great so I'll go ahead and trust him on that! ;)

It seems to crazy to be praying for our home to sell. If someone had told me that 3 months after we moved in I would be praying for it to sell I would have laughed. No way. But here we are. It's actually harder for me to stay in our home now than I think it would be to leave it. I've already tried to separate myself from my love of this home & prepare to make a more permanent home in McCall. So the longer I stay, the harder it is to stay unattached. That probably sounds silly, but it's how it feels. 

Here is our home. We had too much fun planning & designing this home. At the end of the process we wondered if we kept the color schemes and selections too neutral, but in hindsight it makes sense that we did. Hopefully it makes it easier for someone else to move right in & feel at home, like we did. 

Kess' room is one of my favorite rooms. I had some fun plans for her room, but they will have to be achieved in our next house. 

I wanted an open kitchen/living room set up. That way I could clean or work on meals all while having an eye on the kids as they watched TV or played. 

My salon is through the barn door, so it is really easy for me to work while Kess played. Probably one of my favorite layout aspects of the house. 

These built-ins are from my dreams. The fireplace is the perfect focal point of this room and I love the stonework. 

Our Master bedroom turned out bigger than we anticipated, which was really fun because our last master was so tiny that all of our furniture barely fit. We wanted to keep the new furniture and decor simple enough that it would be easy to clean, easy to leave uncluttered and easy to relax in. 

I'll be honest. The master bath is going to be hard to leave. In our old house our master vanity was one of the "Home Depot DIY special" & it was tiny. 1 sink, that was right by the toilet and zero counter space. Matt and I used to joke around all the time that our one & only 'must have' for the next house was a double vanity. ;) Now that we have them - we still stand by that! 

When our builder asked how we wanted our closet set up I hesitantly asked if shoe shelves were doable. He said, "of course!" A happy dance ensued... after he left, of course ;) SHOE SHELVES! That is all. 

Matt's office is his pride and joy. If you couldn't tell. The map was super fun to make. It's a $9 paper map that we attached to stained wood dowels. I kinda really love it (and not just because it was my idea, either) 

Upstairs also has what would have been baby boy's nursery, a guest room, kid's bath, laundry room and a small play room for the too many toys we own. We really love the set up and the room it gave us to grow as a family. Now I'm trying to not be super picky as we search for a home in McCall. I'm kinda failing haha.

Thank you for all who supported us on out home building journey and for those of you who were just as excited as we were. It was one of the funnest experiences! I would totally build again - in a heartbeat. 

Having stellar builders didn't hurt one bit, either! ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Homemade Play Dough

Idaho was hit with a crazy snowstorm these last few weeks. We haven't seen this much snow since the mid 80's. So in all my life - I have never seen this much snow. Our valley isn't equipped to handle it, so we have spent most of the last 8 days cooped up. And until I get my 4WD momma car for McCall... it will probably stay that way. ;) 

I have had to pull out all the stops to keep Kess (and I) from going crazy. Aaaand, I'll be completely honest... I went crazy. Kess is chill. 

Today I decided to make some homemade play dough for her. After my parent's and brother brought over a few grocery essentials like milk & flour. And tortilla chips to go with the taco dip I've been craving. ;) 

We have a few mini-tubs of play dough already, but I thought she would love to help make it (heads up, not easy with a toddler!) It's softer than store bought & it made me feel like super mom. So there's that. 

This was a total hit with Kess. She loves play dough, but this was easier for her to play with. She hasn't reached the point where she liked to "make" things with the play dough, so the softer the better. 

We have some tiny cookie cutters from Amazon that I use to cut Kess' food into little shapes (when I have the motivation.) Kess loves to use them with play dough, too! They wash up super easy in the dishwasher. Bonus!

Pinterest houses a million different play dough recipes. I went with the most basic. Adding glitter or essential oils didn't seem worth the hassle today. Maybe another time! Cuz I do love me some essential oils & glitter! ;) 

Basic Play Dough Recipe

2 Cups of Flour
1/2 Cup of Salt
2T Kitchen Oil (Veggie, Coconut, etc. I used Canola)
2T Cream of Tartar (in the spice aisle)
1 1/2 Cups of Boiling Water
Food Coloring *optional

Combine all dry ingredients. Add Oil & then add boiling water. This, of course makes makes the play dough very hot, so use a mixing spoon or spatula until it cools enough to knead with hands. Then add the color with basic food coloring. Divide the play dough sections. I did 4 sections for 4 colors. I grabbed a pair of gloves and a cookie sheet so my hands and counter didn't stain. Make a little bowl out of the dough and drop the color in. Then mix & mix & mix. 
I used anywhere from 4-6 drops of coloring per section. 

What indoor or quiet activities keep your kids occupied? Spill! I'm going to need all the ideas I can get to McCall winters! #yikes 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Potty Training

I realized I never shared our little potty training journey & a few of you have asked for it. I didn't read an potty training books (so unlike me) but I did read a few Pinterest articles ;) & decided to create my own little potty training course.

Kess is highly motivated by candy. Some parents don't want to give their kids a candy incentive, which is totally fine. It worked for us. I recommend finding something that excites or motivates them. For Kess, we decided on a candy that she doesn't get on a regular basis. We are candy freaks over here. It's so bad. I bought a little bag of Sixlets in bulk at Winco. We got the pearlized rainbow ones, but found that she kept picking out the pink ones, so I bought a bag of pink ones. Another thing she loves is stickers. I found some princess stickers at the dollar store. I decided to use these to track her potty progress. She loved it.

Here's a little break down of what we did.

Bought big girl panties. She loves princesses and Minnie Mouse - so we bought those. I made a big deal out of them & she loved them.

The day before I decide to start potty training I told Kess that we would no longer wear diapers. Big girl panties only. No more diapers. I did grab a package of Pull-Ups for nap time, bedtime & long trips out of the house.

We taught her what to say when she needed to go potty. "Momma I need to go potty!!" We quizzed her quite a bit on that. She picked up on it quickly. Now she just says, "Mom, I go pee?!" ...We've had a few moments when she just says..."Mom I go pee." Yep, that means I'm looking around my house for a pee spot! Hahaha

The day of potty training We ditched the diapers. Panties only. We had about a zillion accidents. Potty training was a little rough because Kess is super independent. So when I asked "Do you need to go potty" every 10 minutes she started to get real annoyed.

Nothing is more discouraging than asking your toddler if they need to go potty, them saying "no" & then having an accident 1 minute later. This happened a lot, but it's to be expected. It just is. No way around it.

Stay positive. This was hard for me after day 3... more accidents than successes was wearing on me. I told myself that I would never get mad at her for an accident. I usually put on a sad face & said, "Oh no! Minnie got wet. Minnie doesn't like that. We gotta keep her dry." She picked up on my frown & would frown, too. After a frustrating afternoon I told her that if she got her panties wet then she was a BIG trouble. I totally regretted it & didn't say it again. Staying positive will keep you sane. I swear.

When Kess went poo or pee in the potty I gave her 2 potty candies, we did high fives, cheers & made big deal out of it. Then she got to put a sticker on the chart. After 6 stickers she got a prize. I bought some cheap things at Wal-Mart. We never did a sticker, candy or prize without reaching her potty goals. I was a stickler on that & it paid off.

If Kess ever fought going potty or didn't even want to try I would tell her that she could have a "potty candy" for trying. I would give her 1 potty candy for trying. She slowly started getting the hang of it, but I was still feeling discouraged. I felt like she wasn't picking up on it fast enough. One thing I tried to remember is that it takes a bit for your child to pick up on their body cues. I don't really think there is a way to teach is quicker - it just comes in time. They are still little and still learning so much.

After 4 days of potty training I went out of town (I swear I didn't plan that - we just decided to go for it on the potty training front and Matt was on board for when I was gone.) Matt took over & I think it helped a ton! I was getting frustrated and he was fresh into the training so he was patient. There were a few accidents while I was way, but nothing that wasn't to be expected. On day 7 of potty training Kess told us that she needed to go potty. We ran her to the bathroom & she totally went! I cried. I wish I was joking, but I'm not! I was so proud of her. After about 1 more week we felt like she was fully potty trained. We have the occasional accident here & there, but that's usually when I've had her out and about running errands too long. She refuses to go potty in public (that's my girl) so we keep our errands short & make her go potty before we leave the house. We do Pull-Ups at bed time and about 95% of the time she stays dry. I don't make a big deal if she goes potty in the night in her Pull-Up because she sleeps all night & that's a long time to not go potty. Heck, right now I go like 4+ times a night. Pregnancy Probs.

Matt sent me a text with this picture saying, 
"In case you're wondering what 
happens when you leave a 
2 year old on the potty too long." Hilarious.

Once Kess finished her first chart. 6 rows of 6. I made a bigger chart. 3-4 rows of 9. That way she didn't get a prize until her 9th potty, sainted of every 6th potty. We eventually told her that we were almost done with prizes. We had a Princess Anna doll as her final prize. Once she got that we told her no more stickers. She would ask for one after she went potty & we just told her "Remember? No more stickers, but you can have a potty candy." She caught on & we eventually stopped giving her candy, too. If she asked for it she got it, if we didn't we just went on with our day. No more candy.

I'm really proud of how our potty training journey played out. Don't get me wrong, she still has the occasional accident. She will be playing & forgets to come get me, or sometimes it's my fault & I forget to check on her. All in all I'm pretty dang impressed with how she did. It wasn't a 3 day potty training deal, but I'm a little skeptical on how those work anyways. I've heard of some regression after doing a 3 day potty training program. We had zero regressions & she stays dry during naps and bed time the majority of the time.

PS - We use this little Munchkin Potty Seat for Kess. Super easy to switch from toilet to toilet & even easy to travel with!

If you have any questions - please feel free to ask. I'm no expert, but this worked for us. I hope it works for you!