Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Lately: Cherishing, Applauding, Singing

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe

We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own words.



Happy New Year!  I'm hosting Week #158 of our Sunday Lately linkup, led by our fearless leader Katy.  Here's a glimpse into the first week of 2018 in my life!

Cherishing...  my friends and family.  We had another baby shower this weekend, this time in Tennessee.  We've hardly had to buy a thing for this baby, because we're blessed with friends and family who've been so generous!  This baby is so loved already.



Applauding...  The Pigeon Letters.  I love the botanical line drawing books Peggy has done! I've been drawing in my planner versus using stickers these days, because it's something I can do without carrying around a bunch of planner stuff, just pens.




Singing... to my baby belly.  I'm feeling pretty big at 33 weeks... I can't believe I'm just going to get even bigger!  I know he can hear me, so I've definitely been singing even more than usual, especially in the shower.  I have also been reading a bunch of books (many of them gifts) that just make me feel overall a bit more knowledgeable about topics I never really cared about before.  I've definitely learned a lot about my own body in this process!



And for no good reason except for cuteness, here's a photo of my (fur) babies!



THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA...



An InLinkz Link-up




How was your week?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: Looking Back



For the past couple of years, I've been doing a sort of reflective post/round-up on New Year's Eve for this blog.  (See 2016 and 2015 here!)  Looking back, 2017 was light on blogging compared to past years, mainly because I spent 19 weeks battling pregnancy nausea and didn't have an ounce of energy or spare time to write.  That made me a bit sad, because I really love this space, but sometimes something's gotta give, right?

Here are my personal Top 10 favorite blog posts from this year, in chrono order:




  1. Fire Crackers Recipe:  The only recipe on this year's Top 10 list, it was one I came back to again and again!  I don't know how many batches I've made this year.  Typically I make them in the fall/winter during holiday timing, so we have a snack to munch on.  They're spicy and flavorful and easy to make.  Our favorite combo to date is the White Cheddar Cheez-its and Townhouse Pretzel Flipsides.  These days I mix them in a Ziploc then dump them into a plastic container for sharing and munching.
  2. Big Guide to Meal Kit Delivery Services:  After trying six different meal kit services, I finally compiled a list of my favorites and thoughts.  I feel like they're great for getting you to make something outside your comfort zone, eliminating another night of takeout, and just getting back into using your kitchen.  If I try any new ones, I'll definitely have to update this post!
  3. San Antonio, Revisited:  Travel posts are often my favorite during any given year, because they remind me of the things I saw, did, and ate while away!  In this post, I had an amazing work trip to San Antonio that turned into a foodie extravaganza of sorts, because my coworkers are amazing.
  4. Tucson.  Lucky me, another work trip yielded a travel post!  Tucson isn't easy to get to (not compared to Phoenix, anyways) but I was surprised by what a food city it has become.
  5. Phoenix.  I actually went to Phoenix three times in 2017, but this post from my trip in March was the only one I ended up writing.  Food, shopping, sightseeing, this post is a typical recap but makes me smile because it was quality time with my sister.
  6. National Cornbread Festival.  I love Lodge cast iron, so convincing Dan to take me to South Pittsburg to tour the foundry was a must.  Since it's only open during this festival, we had to check it out!
  7. Pacific Northwest Vacation: Washington and Oregon.  Okay, I'm cheating here a little bit, because I actually wrote a bunch of posts about this vacation this year.  NINE to be exact.  But that's the best part about our annual vacation... there's so much to share and tell!  So check it out if you've ever wanted to visit the area, as we took a pretty cool road trip through some great cities.  This is the vacation that knocked me up LOL.  (TMI?)
  8. Sometimes, trying to get pregnant sucks.   This post was much loved for being honest.  I got a lot of feedback from folks that it made them teary-eyed or that they could relate to it.  I think that every year I have a post that is more confessional than editorial, and this was the one.
  9. Disney World for Adults.  I've lost track of the number of times I've been to Disney World, both as a child and as an adult.  Somehow, I end up there just about every year or every other year, before ever adding a kid to the mix.  Because I know that Disney isn't just for kids, I wanted to capture a trip there aimed solely at adults.  It's a great place to spend time with your friends (yes, there's booze!) and feel forever young.
  10. Pregnancy: Things I've Learned in My First 7 Months.  Written this month, I boiled down my first two trimesters of pregnancy into a single blog post.  I know I haven't posted a ton about pregnancy (two posts and a baby shower post) but it's inevitable I was going to write something.  Hopefully it's fun to read!


My most popular posts this year, according to Google Analytics, have been...
  • Review: LuLaRoe Clothing (also last year's #1)
  • Review: THINX Underwear for Periods (also last year's #2)
  • Grey Gardens Viewing Party: This little post from 2015 popped up a bunch this year in popular posts, probably because the Grey Gardens house went up for sale and interest in the cult film had a resurgence.  I can't take credit for hosting the party, only getting into the spirit by dressing as Little Edie and enjoying myself.
Of course, none of these were written in 2017, but sometimes traffic driving posts lead to readers finding the new stuff.  If you're one of those, yay!  Welcome!

As I think about 2018, I know that this blog is going to transition with me into motherhood.  I'm not saying it's going to be a "Mommy blog" (because goodness knows there are enough of those) but I am hoping to bring a glimpse into that life to this space, as the only common theme and thread I've ever had here is whatever is going on in my life.  I'm hoping that I'll still be able to travel, eat, shop, and do the things I've always loved writing about, but with a new twist... a little dude to make it more complicated, messy, and hopefully sweet.




Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Christmas (Stocking) Story



Back in the 80s, my Mom made stockings for our family from a kit/pattern. My parents had this Papa and Mama Bear stockings, I had a wreath with teddy bears, and my sister had a rocking horse.  (Note: This now makes so much sense, because my sister is definitely unique among the four of us! LOL)

But when Dan and my now brother-in-law joined the family, we weren't sure what to do about stockings.  At first, we added individual mis-matched stockings, but this resulted in Dan's candy melting last year as his was a longer length than the others over the fireplace.  We considered replacing all the stockings, but after 30 years with our old ones, my sister was heartbroken at the thought of retiring them.

After Christmas she texted me, "What if you make us some, Aubrey?  You could find more like these."

Motivated as a big sister could be after a plea from the baby of the family, I scoured the internet using random search terms like “80s stocking fabric rocking horse” and similar ilk.  To my surprise, I found two lots of the original stockings for sale on eBay, in the same prints as my stocking and Sissy's.  I bought them all!  They must have been sitting in someone's fabric stash for all this time, and I never would have found them if not for the power of the internet.

Adding fusible felt interfacing


I found enough to make four stockings in each design, meaning as our families grew, we would all have matching stockings.  I received the fabric, and it sat on my to-do list for a while.  But then I got pregnant, and I realized that it just wasn't moving up the priority list fast enough.  I wanted them to be finished in time for my sister to come home for Christmas from Arizona, her first Christmas as a married woman!

So I called my Mom via FaceTime in November and showed her the fabric.  You should have seen her face when she saw those old prints!  We decided we would make them over Thanksgiving, as I would be home in Indiana this year.  It worked well since we were sort of an assembly line together.

I pinned, Mom sewed


We went to the fabric store together for notions, which was kind of a funny experience.  When she made our stockings in the 80s, she lined them with felt as batting, but that seemed like a lot of work to me.  I suggested a fusible felt interfacing to stabilize the fabric, which we could iron directly onto the pieces and then sew.  She was skeptical, but in the end it was soooo much easier than the old days when she sewed in loose felt!  The new stockings are actually more sturdy than the old ones as a result, and we were more efficient in pinning and sewing them together.  We used bias tape for the top trim and loop for hanging.  It's a little different in color from the originals, but that's just fine.



Now, Mom has all the stockings up by the fireplace, in the order that we each joined the family.  I love that she hangs them up for me and Dan, even when we aren't spending Christmas in Indiana that year.  And she already has one ready to go, with bears just like mine, for my little one's first Christmas in 2018!

The 80's stockings live on!

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