Steph's Pick | Keurig

Dec 31, 2010

I'm in love.

For those of you who have been following my endless Facebook status updates about my new found love of my Keurig Platinum- I apologize. I really do. It is probably a little annoying - BUT - I just can't get enough of this thing.

I have to be honest - I'm a little sad that I didn't hop on the Keurig bandwagon a bit earlier. Well - this year the Keurig finally made it on my Christmas list - AND even better - on my doorstep thanks to the kind UPS man delivering for my father-in-law and his wife. I couldn't have been more excited to get it up and running (and making the perfect cup of coffee).

Why do I like it so much? I'm sure a number of you are thinking... what really makes a Keurig that much better than a standard coffee maker?! Well here are some of my Keurig thoughts...

- Keurig's generally make a stronger cup of coffee than your average Cup of Joe machine - and I LOVE strong coffee.

- Keurig's brew coffee at a hotter temperature. All of you "I like it black" people are going to hate me - but I have to have a little creamer in my coffee and I'm not super fond of getting a new cup of coffee, adding my creamer and then having a luke warm cup of coffee at the end as a result. Yuck. So the hotter temp is PERFECT!

- I'm the only coffee drinker in this house so making a full pot of coffee just isn't the best idea. So... the single cup Keurig is AWESOME for our home. (Note: I will say for households that consume more than 3 cups/day the Keurig may not be the best economical decision)

- Very little clean up. Love this. There really is no clean up to the Keurig. For this mama - that is a huge plus.

- For you non-coffee people - the Keurig also makes hot chocolate, tea and iced drinks!!!

- And last but not least - I finally pulled the trigger (in terms of putting it on my list) when I found out that you're able to brew your own grinds using the My K Cup filter. I just didn't want to have to buy the K-cups all of the time so I'm super excited about the My K Cup.

So that's it! Thanks again Ray & Ellen!!!


our latest DIY project

Dec 29, 2010

Here's the first pictures of baby #2...

And in case you were wondering...

A GIRL! We're thrilled!


boy or girl? {a poll}

Dec 28, 2010

Will Baby #2 be a boy or girl?

We'll find out tomorrow {Wednesday}.

But we want to know what you think...

Comment below or vote in the poll on the sidebar.

Ready, set, go....


a first | sledding

Dec 27, 2010

There are many more pics to come of our time with our families in Iowa for Christmas but to start everything off here's a couple videos of Nora's first time sledding - both in Ankeny & Mt. Vernon.

As you'll see she couldn't get around very well b/c of the snow gear :) She's not exactly used to wearing it.

Want more? My dad posted another great video of Carly (the reindog) pulling Nora on her sled. You've got to see it - it's hilarious!


Merry Christmas

Dec 21, 2010


Steph's Pick | DIY Vanilla Extract

Dec 17, 2010

Like most of you, every Christmas I'm on the hunt for a fun handmade gift to make. I scour the Internet (and my memory) for any ideas that are unique, easy, cute and fairly inexpensive. Remember last year's Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti? Well - I wasn't thrilled about spending hours in the kitchen- so I threw baking out the window this year. :)

This year I actually stole an idea from a friend (thanks Britt!). Brittany gave me some DIY Vanilla Extract last year for Christmas and I LOVED it! I knew I just had to make it for all of my friends this year. Oh - and I also referenced this blog post on Bethany Actually.

This is what I did.

First I bought 20 4-oz Clear Boston Round Bottles from Specialty Bottles and a 1/2 lb pack of Organic Vanilla Beans from (vanilla beans are WAY cheaper online BTW). 1/2 lb is roughly 45 beans. I also sent the hubby to the store to pick up Svedka Vodka (which supposedly is great for bringing out the vanilla flavor). For 20 bottles we bought 1 - 1.75 liter bottle and 1 - 750 ml bottle.

Then we got started.

First you'll need to cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and then crosswise and divide them among the bottles. I used 2 1/2 beans for each bottle.

Then pull out your funnel and pour roughly 1/2 cup of vodka into each container.

Next - put on the cap and wait!!! Easy-peasy, right?

Here's what they looked like right after completion.

And to show the steeping effect - here are the bottles 4 days later. The vodka had gone from clear to a pretty amber color. Ideally the vanilla should steep for at least a month, till the vanilla is a dark brown. The longer it steeps the stronger the vanilla flavor.

Then I made cute little labels for each Vanilla and noted on the bottom of each label that the vanilla would be best used after January 5th, 2011 (because I made them on the 5th of Dec).

Mailing was actually pretty easy too - just wrap each bottle in bubble wrap nice and tight and place in a box with a decent amount of stuffing.

That's it!!! Merry Christmas!


The Belly Project (Part 2) | 17 weeks

Dec 13, 2010

Alright faithful readers... I'm about to do something that I might regret...but I just have to do it :)

Now like most of you, I had always "heard" that for your second, third, forth...pregnancies your uterus grows a wee bit faster than the first time around. It's as if your body gets too excited and it just pops out weeks before it did with your first.

Well... I'm hear to show you that what I just said is 100% true. Now you can say you've seen it. Not just that you've heard it (wink, wink). Don't you feel so lucky?!

So here I am at 19 & 22 weeks with our little teeny...

And for the I am with Baby #2 at just 17 weeks...

Crazy, huh?

Well other than my tummy growing much faster this time around here are a few additional thoughts...

* Cravings. Pretty much the same as with Nora. The first trimester I couldn't get enough of mashed potatoes & gravy, Jamba Juice & Taco Bell. Yuck... I know.
* Preparation. This is one of the funniest things I think about any pregnancies other than your first. I have not even looked at a pregnancy book or a pregnancy website. And my doctors appointments last no more than 5 minutes b/c I'm more concerned about relieving the babysitter than I am asking the doctor questions. Oh Baby #2 - I apologize in advance but I guess you're destined to come out of the womb not being the center of the universe :) I guess that's probably a good thing. (Although you'll still be pretty cute I'm sure of it....)
* Boy or Girl? We should know within the next couple weeks if we'll have a little Alan or little Steph. We'll see.
* Names. We don't really talk or think about it until we find out the gender. There are just too many options. Have you seen a baby name book? Some of them are as thick as an encyclopedia. Intimidating.

So that's all for now!


Mommy SOS | Painting Toddler Toenails

Dec 8, 2010

So maybe this isn't really an SOS - it's more just a Mommy question :) Hehe.

Painting Nora's Toenails. I've been thinking about doing this for quite some time but just can't figure out how I'd actually be able to do it. Here's the deal - Nora is a very (and I mean VERY) active toddler. She's always running around and falling down. Honestly the only way I can even do her hair is if I stick her in front of the TV AND give her milk. Then I have a good minute to do her hair. And a minute might be stretching it.

Regardless - for those of you mommies with little girls - What age did you start painting your little one's toenails? And how did you go about doing it so it actually looks decent and doesn't smear before it's dry? I'm dying to know... really.

Comment below.

And because this post would be a little boring with no media... here's a video I took the other day of Nora trying to mimic her daddy :)


Steph's Pick | Our Christmas Wish Lists

Dec 3, 2010

Oh there are just so many fun things now, right? Here's a quick rundown of a few things on Nora's list :)

1) Kid's Computer - Yes, Nora is too small for this. HOWEVER, she loves all of the lights and sounds these little computers make. And she does a pretty good mommy computer impression (it's amazing the things kids catch even at 16 months)

2) Celeste BlaBla Doll - Remember this from last year? Yep - it's still on her list. Although I'm pretty sure this might be under a tree in Iowa somewhere (wink, wink).

3) Kids Puffy Vest - 'nough said. So cute.

4) Kids Play Vacuum - I actually saw this play Dyson Vacuum in Real Simple magazine and knew Nora would love it!! Daddy is already hoping Nora will start vacuuming the house.

5) Melissa and Doug Toys - Have you seen these toys? They are awesome! Nora would pretty much love any of them.

And just a few things for me :) Every mom has to dream, right?!

1) Keurig Coffee Maker - I'm pretty much obsessed with this thing whenever I go to someone's home who has one. You see we pretty much only make one cup of coffee every morning so this would be perfect!

2) Jo Totes Camera Bag - Yes - I know. I told ya'll about my little obsession with the Epiphanie Bag . Well the price tag was making both Alan and me a little uneasy. Jo Totes to the rescue! A great alternative to the Epiphanie bag and at $100 less.. I'll take it. Well.... hopefully it will be under the tree.

3) Kitchen Shears - I realize this isn't a very exciting item but we're in desperate need of some new kitchen shears.

4) Le Creuset Dutch Oven - I've pretty much been wishing for this thing for the past 3 years. Don't know if I'll ever get the Le Creuset version but maybe another alternative???

5) Phoenix Zoo Membership - We're always looking for things to do in the mornings and the Phoenix Zoo is surprisingly a great option. We'd love a family membership to keep these girls entertained :)

6) Corn on the Cob Skewers - Hehe... I haven't ever owned these things. Can you believe it? I even grew up in Iowa. I can't wait to get my hands on some! They make eating corn on the cob sooo much easier.

That's it folks....

Happy Christmas Shopping!

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