wonderfully made: February 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

making the case for donuts

I didn't really keep track of all of my symptoms of early pregnancy, but I did have the foresight to jot down some things during my 6th week. I'm 13 weeks now and I'm glad to say I'm pretty much over the "I feel like crap" hump. Right at about 7 weeks, I started feeling super bad pretty much every day and even worse at night.

donuts always sound good, though...

I think I'll do weekly bump dates (once I get a bump and once I get around to taking pictures) but for now, here are a little tidbits from about 7 weeks ago!

my 11 week "blump"

my 11 week lime!

My thoughts approaching week six:

-       I have never wanted a sandwich more in my life (I'm trying to cut back on deli meat and soft cheeses)
-       I’ve successfully gone one day without caffeine (in the form of a coke)
-       Laaaaazzzzyyyyyy – I have to take advantage of my one hour of productivity when I can. This week it was Thursday night at 7pm. Dinner made and puzzle from last week put up = success!
-       The excitement is starting to wear off – not in a bad way! Just that I’m not thinking about it constantly and my ‘symptoms’ are pretty non-existent. Trying to focus on other things during these few months before it gets real and I start showing and having to hide it more!
-       I was offered a sonogram with my old doctor this week but I turned it down because I already have one scheduled for January 26th. I feel like most people would jump at the chance for an early sonogram but I am pretty sure I would just be disappointed because there shouldn’t be much to see on a sonogram at 5 weeks. I find it weird that I’m so at peace at having to wait another two weeks for this all to be REALLY ‘real’. I told Mark we would hear the heartbeat at my appointment and he goes “Whoa. It’s all sounding real now.” Haha poor guy…
-       I’m starting to mention all the really not-fun things I’m going to have to go through to grow and then birth this child to Mark. His look of disgust/astonishment each time kind of helps me cope… 

our baby!

lunch time naps in the car were sometimes needed...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde backyard

First, let me just say that our yard has a total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde complex. Even though we are SO far from turning it into what we want it to be, I LOVE it in the summer:

In the winter/spring, though, it's horrendous. I'm not even going to show you a picture of it, it's so bad. 

Here are some previous posts I did on our yard overhaul...

Sometime at the end of last summer, Mark started on this fence to divide up part of our yard.

Behind that fence is a bit more of our yard, but we wanted to fence it off for a few reasons. 

1) we have a barky dog and she loves to run from one side of the house to the other, so barricading this side helps a bit with that
2) this side of the house is a little weird and the grass doesn't quite grow, so keeping the dog off it will help
3) the previous owners have an odd compilation of plants on this side to start with, so we hope to put in some garden boxes and get something growing!

After doing some research, Mark and I settled on this image for our inspiration:

We went with a 4' fence and currently it's stained in some leftover honey stain that we had left over from our kitchen makeover.

Our plan as soon as it gets warm is to do some major flower bed work. We plan to revise the bed we have to the left of our backdoor and use some handed-down pavers (thanks dad!) to snake their way around our A/C unit, Motley's dog house, and then round out the hard corner where the fence hits the other property. Basically we want to give our yard some curves. Here's my super advanced drawing of what I'm thinking:

After going through this winter, I definitely want to plant some low-maintenance perennials that take the Texas heat and that will come back year after year. Here's what I'm thinking:

A crepe myrtle tree will give great height and color for the corner where the two fences meet. It's kind of a Texas classic!

I want to integrate a few pots throughout the flower bed and this lemongrass is a natural mosquito repellent, so I'm hoping it keeps away the bugs while adding more great height!

Nothing says Texas like galvanized metal. We aren't going SUPER rustic with our design but we do use one of these buckets for Motley's water. The one we've been using rusted through the bottom so we will make that a planter and get her a new one for the summer. These are kind of pricey so it's great that we can repurpose them!

I LOVE this Mexican feathergrass so it will serve as our low ground cover near the house. I'll add a few annuals and maybe some lavender in front of it.

We will need to add a few steps in the flower bed leading to the fence gate to get into the garden area, so I'm thinking these limestone pavers will fit the bill perfectly. 

The construction of the garden boxes is still TBD, but I love the brick detail around these!

I can't wait for the weather to turn - which in Texas, usually happens around now! However, we are getting a nasty week of cold weather so we are going to have to hold off awhile before we get started. Anyone else anxious for summer to get here?!

Monday, February 23, 2015

ways we save - groceries

Hey y'all! I've been really open in the past with our money routine and the ways we budget and pay down debt. I used to be horrible at handling money, even just 2 years ago right when we were getting married. I pretty much had no savings and carried a balance on a high-interest credit card when we got married. My ultra-frugal husband, along with some sense that comes with growing up, has turned me into a money-conscious freak! I'm not an extreme couponer, but I've learned so much in just the last two years about managing our money better. I'm excited to keep learning and stacking my savings in the years to come, because I really believe it can get better!

For some odd reason, I really like writing about this topic and I really like sharing it with you guys. I feel like it's our little secret and we can all take over the world with our savings. I started a new post with a ton of different tips and ways that we save money, but I've decided to break it down into a few parts to make it easier for y'all to get through.

Check out my Target post here for tons of ways to save at Target!

Today I'm talking all about groceries. Groceries take up a pretty big chunk of our budget so the more we can save, the better! I've recently found a few new ways to save so be sure to read my tips below!

Here's a bonus tip before we get started: try to avert your eyes when walking into your grocery store February - March or else you'll end up doing this...

...and thus negating most of your couponing. #weakness #iblamethepregnancy

Speaking of pregnancy...the babe is as big as a plum right now! Picky eater confession : I didn't really know how big a plum was so I purposefully sought one out in curiosity. 

Ok, let's get started!

Kroger/Tom Thumb card

We have a Kroger Plus and Tom Thumb Club card and instead of carrying a card (it's always seemed like a pain to get one) we always just type in our phone number at the check out to get our points. This typically saves you a few bucks in store (especially combined with the app) and also takes a certain amount off at the gas pump if you have enough points. I believe Exxon/Mobil uses Tom Thumb points and Shell/Kroger stations honor Kroger points. You can sometimes get $0.20 off at the pump! (I believe these brands fall into the Safeway/Randalls category – for those of you not in Texas!) Back in January I got gas for $1.37 at a Kroger station because I had $0.30 off per gallon! Woot!

Sign up for a Tom Thumb card here!

Kroger App

I typically do all of my shopping at Kroger because it’s cheaper than Tom Thumb, even though we have a Tom Thumb right by our house (I run there to pick up things in small batches or specific items). I have the Kroger app on my phone and I always prep before I go to the store. I just scroll through all of the coupons and add them to my card (which is attached to my phone number, as mentioned above). This way, when I check out in store, the coupons are already attached to my card and I don’t have to clip anything else. Usually items are already on sale in store and the coupon combines with that discount to make the item even cheaper.

I just downloaded this app this month so I'm sure I'll have more to say after I've used it a few times. Basically it's like Ebates for groceries. Instead of getting a percentage back, you get a dollar amount back, usually in the range of $.25-$.50, depending on the item. There are some options like at Nordstrom, Birchbox or Sephora (yes, there are offers for non-groceries as well) where if you spend $50 you get $5 cash back, etc. 

So within the app, it lists off generic grocery items like milk, eggs, bread...the normal things that we buy at least once a month, if not more. There are specific items as well like Chobani yogurt or StoveTop dinners. Each item has an 'unlock' button that takes you to one 'activity', usually a survey question like "what time of day do you drink your milk?" or it will have you watch a short video or something like that. Once you complete the activity, you have unlocked the savings. From there, you go shopping as normal (you don't have to pull out the app in the store-it isn't a coupon for the store, it's a cash back program) and when you get home you scan the bar code of the items that apply and you take a picture of your receipt. After that it works just like Ebates and you accumulate your cash back. After you reach $5 (which happens quickly!) you have the option of transferring it to paypal or your bank. Granted, there are a few extra steps involved but it's really no different than cutting coupons and it's free cash! I also like that it's general items like milk or bread and you don't have to buy certain brands. If you want to try it out, go here and we can be on a team! 

Oh yeah, the teams! By using my link, we are on a team together and if we all use the app, we all benefit. There are individual goals and team goals so the more we have on a team, the better!

Sign up for Ibotta!

Grocery routine

We budget around $300 per month on groceries. I have no idea where this falls in comparison to others, but we could probably do with less and sometimes struggle to stay under $300. Along with my Kroger app, I always make a list of what I need. I semi-meal plan...meaning I look up a recipe (usually on Pinterest), take a picture of it and the ingredients and then add what I need to my list. Then I write what the dish is on the back of my list. I tend to forget these things so keeping track of it that way helps me out. I'm going to start listing out the recipes I've shopped for as well as other options on a slate board in my kitchen, hopefully to spark my memory and keep up with my cooking!

I try to only do one big grocery trip a month. I always take stock of dog food, dish soap, etc and of course ask Mark what he needs. This routine isn't really a money saving effort but I think the more I can fine-tune my routine, the more I can slowly branch out into major couponing and hopefully my efficiency will pay off.

Amazon Subscribe & Save

I took the plunge a few weeks ago and signed up for a few items on Amazon's subscribe and save program. I did toilet paper, paper towels and kitchen trash bags. Basically its a program that automatically ships you an item every 1-6 months (you pick) and offers a slight discount for doing so. Shipping is free! Beware though and do your research - not everything is cheaper than buying in the store. I think they have a long way to go with this program but I'm excited to see how we like it. 

*I noticed last night that Target has this option too and gives you 5% off for their subscription services. I'll do some research on this and get back to you, because you know how much I love Target!!!

So that's how we have been saving recently! Any crazy couponers out there? If you have any extra tips, please leave them in the comments or send me an email! Thanks!

Friday, February 20, 2015

five on friday : 2015, vol. 2

It's five on Friday time! I'm linking up with April here. Read on, my friends!


Be sure to check out my post from yesterday on all of the goodies that Old Navy has right now! I picked up these shoes for a steal and I love them both SOOO much! 


I spent some much needed time cleaning up and organizing on my day off on Monday. I even put away my new shoes!


Do you see my pretty birthday gift in this picture? :) This is one reason my blogging has picked up recently. My awesome parents and sweet husband got me this macbook air and I LOVE it. It's made working on my Etsy stuff so much more fun!


I'm pretty sure our dog has multiple personalities. She can be mean and vicious and has given Mark plenty of battle wounds (all in fun, of course) but then at night she cuddles up and is the sweetest dog ever. She is also quite sweet (while also impatient) whenever we have food. I sent this picture to Mark this week when he was out of town on business. She thought my Jimmy Johns was for her!


I have no shame. I bought this dress to do bump pictures in and I tried it on the other night. I sent my sister and my cousin this picture and said "if I slouch and push my stomach out, I look pregnant! Does this count?" Since they are both seasoned veterans, I believe their response was "LOL NO." Awesome. So yeah, I'm not really showing yet, in case you were wondering!

Happy Weekend!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

spring shopping style

I'm totally a seasonal shopper. I can't predict when the urge will hit, but I'll go months without finding any inspiration in shopping but then BAM! suddenly I find a ton of stuff that I need/want and I go on a shopping spree. 

This happened last weekend at Old Navy. They are usually hit or miss, but they are hitting BIG for me right now. I picked up two pairs of flats (both of which I was recently on the hunt for - specifically colored loafers) and my FIRST maternity top! I had to tear myself away from a lot of other items but I browsed online and found lots of other things that would totally work for me right now. I'm loving pastels, florals, navy, and of course - stripes - right now! See anything you like?

linen blazer - so chic!

Navy striped flats (in yellow in stores - too!)

oh, hi. I'll be living in you this summer. All day, every day!

I bought this top and I can't wait to see a little bump in it!

dot-trim tops (LOVED these in person and had to talk myself out of them...for now)

Happy Shopping!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

an ER, the unknown, and a baby

We shared our happy news on Monday about our sweet bean and I wrote this (long) account of our experience back when I was 5 weeks along. If you're interested, read on!

Mark and I had decided we wanted to get pregnant soon. Around the summer of 2014, we decided we would start actively trying in December. December came and it was time! We tried, and then we waited…

…during the ‘waiting’ time, I started having some pain on my right pelvic side. It was severe for a few seconds but then just felt like I had pulled a muscle. It lasted for 5 days before I decided I needed to go the doctor. I had been reading ALL of google over the weekend and had self-diagnosed it as a corpus luteum cyst. So, off I went to the doctor with hopes of a similar diagnosis and a possible positive pregnancy test.

Once I got checked in, the nurse took my temperature and I was at 100.2. Whoa! That’s weird. Oh well, I felt fine. Back I went to see the doctor who chatted with me and did an exam, including an ultrasound to look for a cyst. He made one passing comment while explaining the ultrasound to me, “you’ve got a nice thick uterine lining…” (sorry if TMI) and then carried on the exam. No sign of a cyst, but my fever concerned him. They came back and did two more temp readings (on my forehead) that were even higher. That’s when I started feeling sweaty. He said that he was concerned of appendicitis, and while I wasn’t showing all the symptoms, I wasn’t showing symptoms of anything else and the best way to rule out a seriously threatening case of appendicitis was in the ER. Yikes.

I had to fight my natural urge to ignore him and go back to work because, hello, I felt fine! After a frantic call with Mark, my mom, and my cousin whose husband is an ER doctor, I decided I should go in, just in case. So I went home, changed, and Mark and I headed to Baylor Plano.

Things were fine and normal while we waited. We laughed, chatted, made jokes, and were our normal selves. I would get a little twinge of pain and think, “really? This is what appendicitis feels like?” and then move on. After a blood draw, IV, contrast solution and a CT scan, we were released four hours later after the CT scan showed fluid around my ovary, the result of a ruptured cyst. Adding to the anti-climactic ending was that I had seen “HCG negative” scribbled on my paperwork, meaning my blood came back as negative for pregnancy.

I told Mark after we left the hospital that it didn’t work and I wasn’t pregnant this time. Oh well, we would try next month. I tried to put it out of my mind and turn my attention to Mark’s birthday the next day and the upcoming holidays. A full day back at work the next day was pretty normal and I came home to an empty house as Mark was out for his birthday with his dad. I think it was part boredom, part stubbornness, and part of the doctor’s whisper about my ‘thick uterine lining’ that made me say ‘what the heck’ and pull out another pregnancy test (I had taken about 4 prior to this). I sat there, calling myself stupid for even trying and already prepared for that blank space I had seen before – when lo and behold, there was a line! What?! My face went flush and I couldn’t believe it…

…My elation only lasted about 2 minutes. In the back of my head, I remembered something about a corpus luteum cyst being able to cause a false positive. Could this be real?! I called the ER feeling foolish but hoping to get some insight into my tests that were run just 24 hours before. The nurse on call immediately said “no, you can’t ever get a false positive” and then said “wait –“ and yelled to someone in the background. After the doctor confirmed that it indeed COULD happen (read your pregnancy test instructions – people –it’s possible) he was just as flabbergasted and confused as I was. I hung up with no answers.

Mark came home and I shyly told him about how some cysts can cause false positive results….and…I had gotten two positive results that night. His face looked like I had told him he just won $1.000,000. I don’t think he heard my explanation, but I’m glad that he was so excited because it allowed me to accept it a little more each morning when I had a darker line and a positive result, one after the other.

Christmas was hard. I had the PERFECT way to tell my family. I had bought my sister a planner months in advance, not knowing about a pregnancy, and was going to write the due date in it and have her flip through it. Christmas was only two days after that first result, though, and I wasn’t confident yet. My doctor was closed for the rest of the week but had scheduled me for blood work on the 26th, which I wouldn’t see the results until Monday the 29th. I just knew, though, if I told my family, the results would come out negative. So I waited…

We saw them twice after that, and after 7 positive results, a darkening line, and a missed period (sorry, y’all), I decided it was real enough and I wanted to tell someone. I wrapped a sweet onesie up with our due date on it and gave it to my mom for her birthday, after she had unwrapped the other presents. I was a nervous WRECK – I don’t know why! I knew it would be much anticipated news! Long story short, my mom was excited and said she was expecting it (who knows why!), my sister was totally shocked (mission accomplished) and my dad and Chris were equally surprised, I think. From then on, we got the positive results from my first HCG, shared the news with Mark’s family (who were equal parts excited) and got great numbers back on my second round of HCG tests, a week after the first confirmation.

Phew! As I type this, I’m 5 weeks and 1 day along. That means I was only 3 weeks and 2 days along when I found out, which is super early! I was so anxious to know but I also think time would move more quickly if I hadn’t found out until 6 weeks or so. Oh well! Mark and I are overjoyed and can’t wait to see where this year takes us. We are praying for a healthy 9 months and delivery and an even healthier and happier lifetime with this little one.

I'm 12 weeks now and luckily things have been much less eventful for the past 7 weeks! We have seen a healthy baby and a healthy heartbeat and we are just nurturing this baby right now. Thanks for all of your kind words!!!