15 Months… an update

It’s time for an update on The Bean… because it’s been a while. 3 months to be exact.

I’m not sure why 15 months seems like a significant age worth documenting, but maybe it’s just that 13 and 14 don’t sound all that “big”. 15 months allows me to split up Keelin’s 2nd year into 4 major updates which, to be totally honest, is a great break from the weekly updates that I dedicated myself to in her first year. Let’s get right to it because… well… she’s a growing girl, and this may take a while.

upcloseandpersonal

Vocabulary – aka the road to becoming a talk show host
At 12 months Keelin was sitting pretty with the basics; mama {sometimes} dada {all the time}, giggling, and random babble. Now at 15 we’re still prominent with ‘dada’ seeing as how it tends to be the default for everything that doesn’t have a name yet. It’s still adorable. I’m still jealous. There ya have it. She will say ‘mama’ from time to time, especially when she’s mad at me for not letting her have what she wants. Yes, we’ve entered into tantrum world… more on that later.

But by-far her favorite word would have to be ‘doggie’. I was unaware that ‘doggie’ has a wide variety of pronunciations, but my dear child has gone through just about all of them. Doooogie, dowgeeee, duggie {victory}, etc. Holy crap she loves those dogs and loves even more that she knows what to call them. Again, it’s adorable.

But that’s not the only animal-themed bit of vocab she has in her alphabet soup. She will ‘woof’ like the doggies which generally comes out as a forced ‘f’ sound and is accompanied by the cutest curly lipped pucker you’ve ever seen. Props to Biscuit the dog for assisting in that skill. She’s also mastered the ‘ish’ part of ‘fish’ and knows exactly where they are in the house. She’ll see a photo of a fish in a book, point to it, whisper ‘ish’ and look over at the aquarium. Genius I tell you. We are still working on ‘cat’ but from time to time when I’m being completely foolish recreating animal noises she will let out the sweetest ‘maaa’ in an attempt to meow. Yes, my heart breaks a little each time she does it.

She’s a big-time giggler and will mimic our laughs…which I’m currently trying to utilize to help teach her what monkeys say. She also loves saying ‘hi da’ whenever Z comes home from work or goes into her room after a nap. Add that to her love of singing, which she does just about any time we have music {with vocals} playing and she’s always chatting up a storm. But her most recent discovery is the word ‘bubble’. Z’s dad is a clown with the Big Apple Clown Care Unit that visits sick children in hospitals. A few days ago he came over after work and brought his back of tricks which included bubbles. She loved them, the dogs went ape-shiz, and by the end of the day she was giving us a muffled form of ‘baba’. Since then she’s decided that bubble can ONLY be said with the assistance of her finger so as soon as you ask her to say it she brings her hand to her mouth and strums her lips while she talks. What a cheater.

Let’s Get Physical
People are constantly telling me that Keelin looks exactly like her daddy. To which I generally respond, “Yes, if I didn’t push her out myself I would wonder if she was mine”. But now that she’s become this awesome little person I’m seeing more and more of myself {did I just call myself awesome?} in her actions. Especially the dancing. Watch out SYTYCD Season 29! Keelin loves to flap her arms, twist her torso, and rock her hips back and forth. We were watching SNL on Hulu the other day and she  was busting out some sweet moves to one of Justin Timberlake’s latest tunes. Of course this make’s me oober happy and allows me to daydream about her first dance recital and the perfectly pink tutu she’ll no-doubt spill chocolate milk on during rehearsal week. Le sigh. Here’s a little snippet of her dancing – pardon my shaky camera, I was trying to dance with her!

How else is she rocking her physical fitness? Climbing. Lots of climbing. The stairs have been a breeze for a while now so instead of crawling up them she’s insisting on WALKING up them. She hangs on to the railings and steps up each stair. She hasn’t quite captured the fact that her upper body SHOULD be in line with her feet as she’s going up, but that doesn’t stop her. She gets herself into a stunning diagonal {head hanging down over the lower steps of course, because this mama needs more things to give her a heart attack} and some how releases one of her hands to find the next rung up so she cal recover her balance and do it all again with the next step. Needless to say one of us is ALWAYS a step behind her and it takes a really long time to get upstairs.

She’s also gotten pretty great at butt-scooting down the stairs. She prefers to be holding one of our hands during the journey, which I’m totally fine with, but it also takes forever because our steps are slatted and she likes looking back through them to see who is downstairs.
And we officially have a couch-climber. Apparently her daddy taught her one day when I was out of the house. Of course. I’m surprised she hasn’t really tried to climb up anything else. Maybe subconsciously knows that the couch is nice and soft so it’s safer when she throws her face into the cushion.

But I have to say that one of my favorite new physical quirks is learning how to ‘pound it’. She’s been a high-fiver for a while now and just for fun we tried to get her to fist-bump. She wasn’t really into it at first until one day a few weeks ago when our neighbor came over to babysit while I kicked butt at a consignment sale. Keelin had woken up from her nap and was playing with her new toys when I gave ‘pound it’ one more shot. All of a sudden she formed her hand into a loose fist, made a broken wrist, and held it out for contact. What was even cuter was the way she lifted her shoulder to her ear to help lift her hand up. In case you were at all curious, yes, we make her do it all the time. And she loves it. Here’s proof.

Too Toothy
We are up to 12 teeth and counting. It’s a nice even spread with one molar on each side, top and bottom, and four spread across the front, top and bottom.

Mama’s Little Helper
One of Keelin’s new favorite past-times is to help Z or I empty the dishwasher.  What started out as her grabbing at the dishes and us telling her to put them down, turned into her picking the dishes up and handing them to us. Smart little stinker working around the ‘no’ command so she can keep touching the plates. She can obviously only reach the bottom rack so it’s minimal assistance, but it’s definitely a foreshadow of the future when she is big enough to help out more around the house and even help with future little siblings.

Defiance
For your sake and mine I’ll save this category for another post because, lets face it, toddlers aren’t the best with discipline starting out.

buddy fruit mishap

oh boy

Snuggle Bug
Keelin has gotten super snuggly lately. She’ll reach up like she wants to be held but when we pick her up she’ll grab hold of our necks and press her cheek against ours. If that’s not sweet enough she’ll pat the back of our heads with her tiny hands, as if to mimic us when we are comforting her. She loves pulling us in while she’s up on the changing table too.

Firsts
There have been plenty of firsts in the last 3 months, most of which I’ve already mentioned {climbing down steps, climbing up on the couch, etc.} but Keelin also had her first ride on a swing

swinging

and had her first haircut! I wish I could have waited a little longer but her poor little bangs were hanging down in her eyes. And since she’s really good at pulling every matter of hair accessory out of her hair, it was time. She did pretty well, didn’t really cry but squirmed all over the place. Z and I thought she looked like a little french girl afterwards so we lovingly call her Mon Petite every now and then.

first haircut

To keep you from a full day of reading I’ll cut it here. Those were the major updates from the last 3 months and I can’t wait to see what the next 3 have in store!
Happy 15 months mon petite! You are so loved.

Until next time…

What a model…

Because it seems to be the pattern in my life, we were a bit late getting Keelin’s 1-year pictures taken. But finally, and almost a months AFTER her actual birthday, our schedules matched up enough with our FANTASTIC photographer to get them done.

You all are such sweet and supportive friends that I had to share some of my favorites with you. But I will warn you… this kid is a freaking model.

cheese and rice kid…

Do yourself a favor and check out Jamie Katz Photography. She’s amazing. You will love her. You will LOVE your photos!

And in other news… check out Mish Mosh Posh on Facebook this week! They are hosting a great multi-vendor auction through Thursday 2.28.13 at 10:00 pm. Some great stuff to bid on including SIX of my favorite pieces from theKeenBean! Don’t miss out!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Wow Me Wednesday

link up weekAnother Wednesday link up!
Am I going overboard? Do I care? NO… I’m having too much fun!

This next link up is called Wow Me Wednesday and is coming to you from Ginger Snap Crafts. Here are the rules:

The “rules” are simple.
Please consider sharing this party on facebook, twitter, google+ or pinterest.
Link up to your post, not your main blog.
Must be something made by YOU!
Visit other links, make new friends & most of all have fun!
Check back every Thursday for features from the previous week’s party.
I shared a sneak peek of this project on instagram a while ago and am excited to share it with you now! I’d been wanting to make Keelin a set of alphabet magnets to play with on the frig while I’m cooking. With the help of my weekly JoAnn fabric coupons, I snagged a bag of wooden letters for super cheap! At first I considered painting them but then thought about her habits at this age {i.e. putting everything in her mouth} and decided I wanted to add color while still being safe IN CASE one of the letters happened to find itself between toddler teeth. My answer… food coloring!
After searching high and low for a reasonably priced set of primary colored food coloring {Seriously what’s with all the pastels and neons. What happened to plain old red, yellow, and blue?} I finally grabbed a jumbo pack of Wilton gel colors and got down to business.
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • wooden alphabet letters {or shapes, whatever you are dying}
  • food coloring {I used gel but from what I’ve researched liquid should yield the same results}
  • white wine vinegar
  • boiling water
  • dying bowls/cups {I used solo cups so I wouldn’t risk dying my dishes}
  • disposable gloves {your hands WILL turn all sorts of fun colors if you don’t}
  • toothpick/fork/wooden skewer for mixing
  • adhesive magnets
  • paper towels
  • wax paper/parchment paper
Here’s what to do:

I kept it simple with a repeating rainbow pattern by laying out the alphabet in front of their designated color like so:
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To prep the wood you’ll want to sand all sides – this will allow the color to adhere better.
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As far as mixing the color, I disolved the gel color in boiling water and about a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar – which also helps the color bond to the wood.
*Note – be sure you test each color and whether or not the vinegar has an effect on it BEFORE you drop your letters. I learned that the vinegar turned my red a little too orange and my purple a little too blue. If you notice this happen, simply drop your sanded letters into a water/vinegar bath for a few seconds before dropping in the color. If you want to avoid the possibility of altering your colors all together you can keep the vinegar mix separate for all of your letters. Up to you!
Once your water is the desired color {I also recommend testing some small pieces of wood in each color to see if it’s the shade you want. My pack of letters had a few extras of the vowels so I broke them up and tested them all before dropping the whole letter.} drop your letter and use a fork, skewer, toothpick, etc. to make sure it’s fully coated. Don’t let the letter sit for too long or it may get waterlogged. About 30 seconds for each should be fine.
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Remove the letter and place on a paper towel, on top of wax paper {to keep the color from bleeding onto your table or countertop}
Do this with all of your letters and let dry.
If you find that some of the color isn’t as bold as you’d like it, drop the letters again until you get the color you want!
DSC_0092
I probably could have dropped some of them a few more times but I like the way they all turned out.
Once the letters are completely dry, attach adhesive magnets to the backs of each. I’d try one magnet toward the center of the letter, test it out on the frig to see where it could use more support and add as needed.
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Please ignore my orange fingernail in the photo above. Proof that some kind of hand protection is wise.
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Last but not least, tack them on the frig and watch your toddler swat them immediately on the floor. Hard work pays off, eh?
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Don’t mind my filthy, dented frig.
SO, there you have it. A fun, inexpensive, and easy way to make toddler-safe alphabet magnets. {Obviously don’t let your kid play with them unsupervised because they are still made of wood and magnets which don’t BELONG in slobbery soggy mouths. Just know that if you happen to catch a quick chomp, you don’t need to worry about the hazards of ingesting paint.
Thanks to Ginger for hosting such a fun link up. Please join the party by adding one of your recent projects to the list!
Until next time…

Link UP Week: Sew Cute Tuesday

link up week

What the what? Three posts in one day? Yes, believe it folks… linking up has ignited an uncontrollable fire.  But this is that last link party of the day, I promise. I hadn’t originally intended on doing another but when I found this blog and party I decided it had to be done. Especially since I’d been meaning to share a project that will fit in perfectly with the theme!

Better Off Thread

Welcome to Sew Cute Tuesday hosted by Better Off Thread {hello adorable blog name}. It’s all about sewing or craft projects and it’s about time I shared one that I did back before Christmas. The hubs and I were trying to budget our spending for the holiday and I wanted to make something special for my new nephew, Spencer. I already had the fabric, snagged a few extra rolls of ribbon, and was on my way to making a sweet lovie {tag blanket} for my sweet love!

His nursery has a nautical-lighthouse theme so I wanted to do something along those lines and I decided to use the fishy fabric from Keelin’s 42 week onesie shoot. I had just bought some grey pop-dot fabric for the quilt I have still yet to finish, and decided it was the perfect soft back the blanket needed. I measured and cut the fabric to match and pinned them with the ‘right’ sides facing one another. You should know that I’m a terrible seamstress so my technique is terrible and probably WRONG in the grand scheme of things… but it gets the job done. In the photo below you can also see that I measured out 1/2″ on each edge to help guide me on the sewing machine… yeah, rookie.

tag blanket

I then placed the ribbon tags where I wanted them. I didn’t make any particular symmetry, just wanted enough on each side for him to really grab onto. Remove the pins in the area where you plan on placing a ribbon tag and slide between your pieces of fabric, making sure the end of the ribbon is lined up with the edge of the blanket.

tag blanket

Replace the pins {through the ribbon} and head to the sewing machine.

tag blanket

I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. If not, sew each edge completely, making crisp, 90 degree corners. Leave a hole about 1″ to 1 1/2″ so you can flip the blanket right-side-out. I used the tip of my scissors to lightly press in each corner to make sure they were fully inverted. Close the hole and admire the cuteness.

tag blanket

It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to see in a picture with my nephew!

tag blanket

Hopefully in the next week or so I can link up again to share progress on Keelin’s onesie fabric quilt. It does exist, and there has been progress… but it’s definitely not done. If you have a fun sewing project worth sharing, make sure you join the link party with Better Off Thread!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: One Project At A Time

link up weekYep, I couldn’t leave you with only ONE link up post today! It is link UP week after all!

This next link party comes from A Bowl Full of Lemons. This is all about what’s been going on in or around your casa {i.e. what have you been working on?} New recipes? Redecorating? Being Crafty? Whatever project you’ve been working on, here is where you share it!

Did I mention I LOVE link ups? Because I do.

My recent project is one I’d been meaning to do for a while and finally got the time {and courage} to do it. We have a lovely little space under our steps that is constantly in disarray, so much so that we normally have it quarantined off so Keelin can’t get lost in the mess. At one point I kept my crafts under there but no matter how much I tried it would inevitably turn into a total mess. So when we moved the office downstairs into the living room I was able to take some of the clutter out and was determined to keep it clean and organized.

Fail.

It stayed pretty clean for about a week but after the first time Z cleaned out the fish tank it pulled a Jekyll and Hyde transformation on us and returned to the unsatisfactory disaster zone. SO, when Keelin started to get more active and in need of a little space for her toys {not in the middle of the living room floor} I thought it would make the perfect little playnook for her. And Lord knows if it’s somewhere Keelin is going to be spending a lot of time I’m going to keep it free of dangerous clutter. So one day when Z was at work and The Bean was napping, I busted out the trash bags, vacuum, Swiffer duster, and got down to business. I’ve got to tell you, I gave myself more than one pat on the back for this epic success.

Here is the before, and I have to tell you it pains me looking at it again, to think that I let it sit like that for so long. BAD housewife {smacks back of hand}.

beforeAHHHH. Avert your eyes. Horrible I know.

Once I decided what was staying, what was going to the shed, what was headed to the attic, what was going to our room, and what was going in the trash, I had a lot less to work with. Thank the SWEET LORD.

There was still enough down there that we use on a regular basis {regular enough to not want to go to the attic each time we need it} and decided I would re-organize it all {again} and section off the space directly under the first set of steps. That way we could still utilize it as storage but wouldn’t have overflow into Keelin’s play nook.

playnook

 

playnook

 

Yes, that is a Rock Band drum set. And Yes, I do rock that Rock Band drum set.
So once I got everything cleaned, organized and sectioned off, I began the REAL fun of filling the nook with as much cozy, comfy, and fun stuff as it could stand. And this is the HAPPILY Cleaner After:

playnook after

 

Look at that and tell me you don’t want to spend the whole day snuggled up with that sweet elephant. Yeah, I know, it’s awesome. I’m really proud. And I’m even more proud that I’ve been able to keep it clean for over a month. Yes, it gets messy with her toys… but that’s what it’s for. She loves going into her little nook, looking through the window, snuggling with Phanny {the name I’ve given the elephant}, and playing with all of her toys. So even at the end of the day when some of her junk has trickled into the middle of the living room, I have a nice open area to put it all back in! And for those of you who are mommies worrying about that corner poking out toward the top right of the picture, she’s not nearly tall enough to hit it. And I’m pretty sure Z and I will successfully dull it with our own heads by the time she’s in danger of hurting herself.

The only problem is… now I want my own playnook.

Be sure you check out all the other great projects at A Bowl Full of Lemons and let me know if you joined in!

Until next time…

 

 

 

Link UP Week: Trendy Tot Tuesday

link up week

Welcome to day 3 of link UP week!
Forgive me for only posting ONE link up yesterday… this past weekend was a little nuts and this week is going to be even MORE nuts. On Friday, as we waited for my parents to get here for a long weekend visit, we found out that Z booked a roll on the new NBC series, Revolution. He is currently filming in Wilmington {probably on set as we speak} and I’m playing single mom for the week. I may be looney tunes by the end of it all! But enough about me, on to the next link up!

My college friend and fellow mom-blogger Melanie at Career Desires to Bottles and Diapers gave me the heads up about this awesome NEW link up. I was hoping to find and help promote a brand new link up so I’m so thankful she passed this along! It’s called Trendy Tot Tuesday hosted by Kelly at Mrs. In Training, Megan at Table for Three, and Lindsay at Baby Mama Drama.

Trendy Tot Tuesday

This will be a chance to talk about kid’s style, and pretty much anything goes.  Pictures of your cutie, talking about their style (that you buy and dress them in, ahem!), a Polyvore board, linking to the new kid’s line at the Gap – anything!  All ages welcome, from you sweet pregnant mamas stocking up a closet to the teenagers that probably pick all their own stuff out now.

Sounds like fun! Let’s get to it!

When it comes to Keelin’s wardrobe, I learned early on how AMAZING consignment shopping is. Especially for mommy and daddy’s wallet. Before she was born I had to stop myself from filling my cart with the cutest Gap, Carter’s, and FAO Schwartz fashions. I discovered that I’m not a big “color” specific shopper {aka Keelin’s closet isn’t overrun with pink} but instead I prefer bright and fun colors… hence my love of Carter’s! But like I said before, dressing your kid like a supermodel can be a major strain on the bank account so we rely a lot on seasonal sales and consignment shops. I decided to use this first Trendy Tot Tuesday to put a spotlight on the outfits Keelin wears all the time, and show some of the adorable digs I wish she had.

FAVS:

  • The first is my go-to party outfit. Keelin wore it for her 1st birthday and some of her 1 year photos and I’m so in love with the sweet flowers and matching skirt. They were both a gift from my first baby shower and are both from Arizona.
  • Next is a super sweet Carter’s outfit perfect for chilly weather. The hooded sweater has a fun swirl pattern and silver glitter buttons, and the grey stretch leggins {terrible picture, I apologize} have matching buttons. Adorable.
  • The third is a representation of my FAVORITE article of clothing… overalls. We love OshKosh denim overalls but anything goes. The one in the photo is an adorable romper that Z’s mother knit her. Homemade clothes are ABSOLUTELY the best.

Now onto some adorable “dream” digs.
My guilty pleasure is scoping out Facebook, Gap, and Etsy for adorable outfits. Seriously if I could stock her closet with nothing but Gap and WAHM-made outfits, I would. We probably wouldn’t have a house to put the closet in, but she’d certainly be stylin’!

  • First is an adorable white Scalloped eyelet dress from Gap Kids. I’ll take one in every color please- and do they come in my size?
  • Next is a sweet Love U Dress/Tunic from Bleu Bird Designs. I LOVE all the colors and the rustic patchwork!
  • 3rd  is a dress and ballet slipper set from BabyBlushBoutique. Remember them from the fantastic giveaway they hosted? Love all of her custom designs.
  • 4th is a Green zigzag bishop dress from Marjorie’s Daughter. This company is actually owned my by gal pal’s aunt and her smocked dresses are beyond precious and she’s currently having a sale on Zulily! Check it out!
  • 5th is a Limpopo Bandana Ruffle Tunic from Tea Collection. Bright colors, sweet ruffles, love love love!
  • And last is pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen – Hill farm blue vintage romper from ju ju Creations. Killing me.

Well there you have it! Some of my favorite outfits in Keelin’s arsenal and a list of dresses you are more than welcome to purchase and send her/me. :)

Thanks so much to the gracious hosts for coming up with such a fun link up! I’ll definitely be joining in again!

Until next time… 

Link UP Week: Now Bake This

link up week

Happy Monday ya’ll and welcome to Day 2 of link UP week! Hopefully you caught a glimpse of yesterday’s link ups {Sunday Social and Raising Imperfection} but be sure you check them out if you didn’t! Did anyone participate? Let me know!

To kick the week off right I thought I’d join Heart on Homestead and Peachy Plum for a little baking fun in their lovely {semi-new} link up aptly titled Now Bake This.

Now, since the hubs and I have been consciously trying to eat healthier, and considering Lent started last week, I haven’t been doing a whole lot of baking these days. Lucky for you and the sake of this link up, Keelin is NOT counting calories and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this amazing recipe for the perfect toddler snack. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest {duh… follow me yo!} and thought, why not finally make something I’ve pinned?!? And so I did. Allow me to introduce the brilliant, simple, and delicious mini banana pancake muffins, compliments of Once A Month Mom.  Holy yum, these things are the best. I’ve given you the link to her original recipe, but because I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to what my kid puts in her belly, I did a little tweaking. Not to be confused with twerking. Please do not twerk while you bake… things get messy enough as it is.

Moving on…

The first time I gave this recipe a try, I made a few adjustments just to cut back on the sugar. {i.e. I halved the amount of syrup it called for and replaced it with more water} They turned out great, were slightly less sweet, and Keelin loved them. Win.

The second time I tried a few too many adjustments and while they were still good, and Keelin didn’t complain, they were a little mushy for my taste. Kids are messy enough without having to scrape gooey pancake batter out from between their fingers. Lesson learned: while trying to add natural sweetness by using sugar-free applesauce, make sure you compensate with dry ingredients or it’s mush city for your mini muffins. Mostly win.

This third time I totally {not totally} changed things up and just rolled with the punches. It’s the same basic recipe, with a Sara spin. I decided to document my journey to share with you today. BIG win. Enjoy.

*Disclaimer – while I’ve provided measurements, a big part of the final result was just eyeing things and making sure my mix wasn’t too soggy.

Step 1: ingredients

1 to 1-1/2 cup  “just add water” pancake mix.
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup no sugar added applesauce
a dash of cinnamon {totally optional – unless you live in my house in which case the answer is, ALWAYS add cinnamon}
fruit of choice

GASP – yes, I cut out the syrup all together. This was partially an intentional choice because I wanted the fruit and applesauce to be the source of the sweetness. And it was partially happenstance because I was out of syrup and did not feel like going out in 30 degree weather to get more. In the end, it was a great choice.

Step 2: mix it up
DSC_0017

Combine pancake mix, water, applesauce, and cinnamon. Feel free to add more pancake mix {I did} if it looks too watery. The applesauce is deceptive in it’s ability to really juicy things up. Then add the fruit. I used blueberries and peaches in this batch but used variations of banana, strawberry, raspberry, mango, and pineapple in the past. Whatever floats your fruity boat.

Step 3: pour it out
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Pour into greased mini cupcake pan {Or if you are feeling frisky, you can use mini cupcake liners}. Be sure to wipe off the heinous drip marks if you plan on taking pictures for blogging purposes. {guilty}

Step 4: bake it good {preferably while listening to “WHIP it good…}
Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. I also recommend using the toothpick test to make sure the center is nice and cooked.

Step 5: bask in the glory of your baking excellence
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Totally legitimate step.

Step 6: cool and cooler
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Let cool before removing from muffins and freeze.

Step 7: rock it
Pop out a few mini muffins as a part of breakfast or as a light snack and let your kids’ love for you grow every time. GOSH, what an awesome mom you are.

Let it be known that I realize these things are easy and delicious enough that you can make them for yourself, but since mine are mostly for my little one I’m focusing on the parental perks of the recipe! Have you tried these before or do you have another simple toddler snack recipe worth sharing? Please do. And if it involves baking make sure you link up with Jessica and Maria for Now Bake This, every Monday!

Until next time… 

Think I forgot about a really great link up? Let me know what party I should join in the comments!

Link UP Week: Raising Imperfection

link up week

The 2nd link up of the week is brought to you by the dynamic duo at Raising Reagan and Violet Imperfection. Their weekly link up invites you to share… just about anything! Funny stories, parenting successes, parenting fails {way funnier}, DIY projects, recipes, whatever you’re in the mood to share! They choose their favorite link each week and feature them on their Featured Friday post! Sounds like fun, eh? Let’s begin.

Since I have plenty of parenting FAIL stories to share, and they openly invite them, I figured it’s about time I share one.
This is one of my more recent proud parenting moments. One for the baby books. One of those times where you just have to stop and think, “Well, at least she’s still alive”.

My little one is almost 14 months old {that’s 1 year and 2 months for those of you who hate when parents refer to their toddler’s age in ‘months’} and is constantly on the move. She’s a skinny minny monkey because she’s burning like a million calories a day and the chance that I’ll lose track of her somewhere in our house at least once a day is great. I’d say 100%. It’s not that my house isn’t safe – we have baby-proofed cabinets, put gates on the stairs, and are pretty careful about shutting doors to the rooms we don’t want her in, but she is constantly sneaking around like a little creeper. And lets face it, we’re human, and I have mom brain, so mistakes will me made when it comes to keeping her OUT of the things she’s not supposed to be IN.

One such mistake occurred just a few weeks ago when I was neck deep in laundry. Keelin was roamed around upstairs, pulling all the books off the bookshelf, attacking the dogs during their morning sunbathing session, and talking to herself in the mirror in the guest room. The usual. I’m generally pretty good at remembering to close the door to the guest bathroom when I know I’ll lose sight of miss into-everything, but this particular day, mom brain set in and I forgot. Actually, mom brain was in FULL FORCE because not only did I forget to shut the door, but I forgot to put the toilet seat down after rinsing off her latest diaper.

Pause – this is not a frightening story about her falling in the toilet so don’t call social services on me just yet.
You should also know that my kid is a total weirdo and has some strange fascination with the toilet. She loves to drum on the toilet lid, which I admit is equal parts cute, comical, and totally gross. Don’t worry, I keep things extra clean to counteract her weirdness. So what do you think happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? Ponder that for a minute while I continue with my parenting fail tale.

Like I said, I was doing my wifely/motherly duties and kicking some laundry butt when I noticed it had been about a minute since I heard Keelin blabbering to herself or caught a glimpse of her dashing across the hallway. So I turned on my spidey sense hearing and tried to guess where she was while I finished folding the bathroom towels. What I heard was not her normal toilet lid drumming, but something similar. It was a much more prominent slap, as if her hands were wet. WET? TOILET DRUMMING? Oh crap.
She turned to look at me right as I stepped into the bathroom doorway, hands, toilet bowl, and FACE dripping with water.
Mom WIN.

So the answer to my previous question – What happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? She drums on the toilet SEAT, but not before dipping her hands in the toilet water, and sticking her hands in her mouth.

Gross.

So after having a quick laugh… because you have to when you’re a parent… I proceeded to wipe off the toilet, and my child. I then got some good use out of my pack of sani-wipes, just for good measure, and immediately called the hubs to tell him of the day’s events.
I’m the best mom ever.
At least she’s still alive.

PLEASE join me and Raising Imperfection by sharing a funny story… hopefully your own parenting fail so I cal feel less like a loser mom. K? Thanks.

Until next time…

The mind is a mysterious beast

This is something I’ve wanted to write about for quite some time and I’m finally in a place where I’m OK to at least talk about it. It’s on the heavy-side, so forgive me for starting off your week on such a sullen note. I’m sure some of you can {unfortunately} relate to this experience, so I thought it was time to release the word vomit.

The mind is a mysterious beast.

I’ve been unlucky enough to face the scary and debilitating truth of someone you love “losing” their mind. I’m not talking about going to crazy-town after making a pit-stop in looney-ville. That’s an entirely different story.
I’m talking about losing the parts of your mind that make you who you are.
I’m talking about losing the memories and experiences that have formed your life and your place in it.
I’m talking about walking around the home you’ve lived in for over 50 years, without the ability to recognize that it’s your ‘home’.
Old age, dementia, Alzheimer’s… no matter what you call it or how it’s ‘clinically’ diagnosed… it sucks.

My maternal grandmother was always a fun-loving, active, silly, talented, and sophisticated inspiration. She was a brilliant painter, seamstress, and cook, made the world’s best dinner rolls and cinnamon buns, and always insisted you enjoyed seconds at dinner. But unfortunately, she doesn’t remember all of those wonderful attributes and it’s truly heartbreaking to sit and wonder where that person has gone. The mind is a mysterious beast.

2-3 years ago we started to see signs that something beyond just ‘getting older’ was affecting her memory. Things beyond just forgetting the date or now realizing that you’ve now told your husband the same story three times {heck, I do that}. Now, the same person who loved celebrating {and never forgot} my birthday because she remembered me running around telling everyone it was on “JOON TWELF”, now has to ask “Who is this?” when she looks at my wedding picture. The same person whose beautiful paintings are hanging on the walls of my home, my parent’s home, and my brother’s home {to name a few} now is amazed when she learns that she is the one who painted them. The same person who would smile and talk me through things as I watched in amazement while she made her famous cinnamon buns now can’t remember how to make breakfast.
What happened? Where did she go? Did she disappear completely or is she still in there somewhere wondering why everything is different now?

From time to time we will see glimpses of her humor or specs of remembrance from her childhood that remind us she is still the same Gamma.
When we ask her what flavor of cake she wants, and she responds with “both” as if we are silly for even asking.
When she looks at a side table in the living room and says, “You know who made this? My daddy made this.”
Those are the moment when we see the woman she used to be. Perhaps still is, but she’s unable to get out.

The mind is a mysterious beast.

Because things have progressed {or regressed, in this case} so quickly, it’s been difficult to wrap my head around it all. It’s hard to really understand how someone who was always on the move, whether it was cooking, walking around the neighborhood, or just cleaning up around the house, now sleeps the majority of the day. It’s impossible to understand how the person who was so excited to hear from me when I called her on her birthday last year, probably wouldn’t know who she was talking to if I talked to her today. It’s not fair that the home I remember LOVING to visit during the summer as a child is now just a house, since 1/2 of the duo that made it so bright and joyful can no longer take care of it, or herself.

It’s hard.
It’s impossible.
It’s not fair.
The mind is a mysterious beast.

I probably sound like a broken record to those of you who have dealt with this, or are currently dealing with it, in your family.  My husband’s grandmother has been slowly ‘losing her mind’ for many, many years now and while a part of me wishes I could have known her when she was the happy-go-lucky grandmother he remembers {there are still glimpses of that person too – she has the best sense of humor}, the other part is thankful I didn’t have to watch the disappearance from the start. She never really knew who I was, so I don’t get the same heartache when she shows me the Christmas present that I made her and asks, “Did you see this? Isn’t this nice?” That doesn’t mean the heartache was never there, or isn’t still in some way, but the circumstances have allowed his family to adapt to things more gradually, so the difficulty can be buffered with laughter and a sense that this is now ‘the norm’.

I’m not there yet.

I don’t know if I will ever be there. It’s actually kind of impossible to imagine a time when I’ll be okay with it all. I’ve gotten to a point where I can avoid tears when my mom calls to update me on the latest thing she’s forgotten, but then again I’m currently writing this with giant puddles in my eyes, making it very difficult to see my spelling errors, so what does that say about my level of “being ok”?

The mind is a mysterious beast for sure, and the idea of not having full control over your own is terrifying. This kind of thing is often passed down through the generations by the women of the family, so will my mother and I suffer the same fate? Will Keelin decades from now? Dear God, I hope not.
Is there a way to prevent it from happening all together, or at least get a few more ‘good’ years in before the disappearing act begins? Do ‘brain teasers’ and memory games really make a difference? Should I eat less chocolate, drink less sweat tea, spend less times staring at a computer screen? Who knows.

All I know is that I’m not okay. Not yet. And I miss my grandmother.

Until next time…

Igniting the Fire

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the master minds behind my two favorite blogs: Young House Love and Bower Power. Here’s the tail of how it all went down and how a relaxed and friendly 5 minute ‘howdy-do’ ignited the spark I’ve been needing

The Petersik pair have been on the road and in the air on an EPIC book tour promoting their NEW YORK BEST TIMES selling book and Atlanta was their last stop. As soon as I learned they were coming to a flooring shop new me I registered and marked my calendar!
It was the first book signing I’d ever been to and even though I had read about some of their earlier tour stops, I had no idea what to expect. Part of me was imagining it would be in a huge room with mingling moms and bloggers all eager top hop in line and get their books signed and photos taken. The YHL all-stars would be seated behind a table, possibly up on a small stage, ready to answer questions and rub their jaws from excessive smiling.
My dreamed-up image was only partially true. There were plenty of eager moms and bloggers, even some adorable babes {including my very own bean} and a few four-legged friends. There was a book signing table, and two very sincere smiles coming from the stars of the evening. There was a room – a small one – but a room none the less.  There was also a line – a huge one. A line that not only wrapped out of the small room but down the block, looping around into the hall of a parking deck, then back lining the walls of not one, not two, but three rooms of an empty gallery. It was pretty comical watching new line-joiners walk into the cluttered and dimly lit rooms trying to find the end of the train. I’m sure people thought I was looney tunes walking in with a giant diaper bag and a squirmy bundled toddler who was constantly trying to run laps or find the next little piece of food buried in her bag. Thankfully I was not the only one who was looney tunes and Keelin was actually such a trooper.

Let me just add that I don’t use the term “trooper” lightly in this situation because this “long line” I speak of took us 3 hours to get through, part of which was outside in the cold windy February night. Trooper is the understatement of the lifetime.

So, when we finally got into the small room, the WARM small room, I was ecstatic. The end was near, we were so close to meeting my blogger idols, and the time frame for a possible toddler meltdown was getting smaller and smaller with every swipe of  the Petersik’s red sharpie. That’s not the only reason I was ecstatic, but I should back up a little to fully explain. {geez this post is turning into that never-ending line, isn’t it}
When the line finally brought us to a point where we could see into the shop {Flor in Atlanta} I noticed there wasn’t just a simple single-file stretch of people leading up to the signing table. There was another line leading away from them which I was convinced was where you would pay for your book if you hadn’t brought one you’d already purchased. Then I saw a counter in the back where it was clear people were purchasing books so I was all sorts of confused and submitted to the fact that I’d have to wait and see what the 2nd line was for. So, fast forward once more to when the doors opened, the burst of heat welcomed us, and the ‘end is near’ excitement set in. As soon as I got IN the store I made a point to look around to see what people were waiting for. As I scanned the left side of the store I saw a quaint snack table with sweet treats and beverages, I saw a stand labeled “photobooth” where people were snapping away  making goofy faces {totally wish I’d gotten pictures with Keelin and I – mom fail}, AND THEN I saw the reason for the 2nd line. Chatting it up like the local celebrity she is was the lovely Kate Bower. Not only that, but her sweet hubby Jeremy and their adorable new baby boy Weston were flashing smiles as well! Jackpot. Seriously, my two favorite blogs come to life in one room. So worth the wait…

So, after buying my book, getting back into the line, fixing my feeble attempt at a Katniss-esque side braid, getting out the little gift I made for John and Sherry’s daughter Clara {a custom creation from theKeenBean of course – nothing like a little self-promotion where I can get it!}, and keeping Keelin entertained enough to avoid a last-minute tantrum we finally got up to the table. Holy nicest-people-ever Batman. Seriously, such a sweet and genuine couple. They immediately thanked us for coming  and asked Keelin’s name.  Sherry was stoked about the headband for Clara and we bantered a bit about how fast it normally takes our kids to rip them off their heads. Sherry gave a huge grin when she saw the name of my Etsy shop, “theKeenBean, LOVE the name!” and we jabbed about me being an (804) native. They were attentive and honestly interested in who we were, which was so incredibly comforting. Seriously I want to be best friends with these people. Keelin and I swung around the back of the table for a quick photo-op and ended our meeting by John telling me he’d “Say hello to the 804 for you” and me telling them to let me know how long it took Clara to rip the headband off her head! You know, just chatting it up with famous people like we were besties. No biggie.

Young House Love

Then we waited {and snacked on raspberry shortbread cookies} to see Kate. Yes, it was late and Keelin was getting cranky, but I decided we’d waited all this time we may as well. I’m so glad we stayed because Kate is such a sweetheart. She and her hubby both complimented Keelin on being sooo beautiful {true, true} and I oogled over little Weston and even got a smile from him! What a sweet boy! Kate joked that she nursed him in the car the last time he ate but was considering just feeding him there in the store – to which I encouragingly told her “go ahead, just pop it out girl!” I also got all gooey and told her how I loved reading her birth stories and was in the process of becoming a birthing coach and doula – which she was super encouraging about. After another compliment to the bean, an autograph from Kate {she has a featured project in the YHL book} and shared a few laughs when Kate said she really wanted a girl and might steal mine, we were done.

It was 10:00pm, we were finally headed home, and it was totally worth the wait.

Now it might seem silly for me to be drooling over people who, in the GRAND scheme of celebrities aren’t exactly Ryan Gosling status, but being able to meet them and see how incredibly genuine and thankful they are for the support of a nobody like me, is incredibly encouraging. As you know I’ve recently put my own blog and Etsy shop on a bit of a pedestal and have decided to really ‘go for it’ to make them a success. Here in the last week or so I’ve been really down and unmotivated because I continuously see other bloggers {newer bloggers} who have greater fan-bases and a more solid interaction stream. I’ve made the mistake of comparing myself to those people and, as a result, have totally blown out my own flame. Getting to meet my ‘blog heroes’ helped me to remember that being a ‘blogger’ not about make money or being’popular’. It’s about sharing bits of yourself in a way that makes you happy. It’s about finding people with similar personalities to bounce ideas off of. It’s about forming relationships with some random person across the world because you both had pimento cheese cravings while you were pregnant.

I can’t have an ‘end goal’ when I take on the title of ‘professional blogger’. Yes, getting sponsors and having people pay me to jot down my thoughts would be aces, but if that’s all I’m doing this for… will I ever REALLY find success? Will the happiness that comes from sharing my thoughts and knowing some people out there appreciate them totally disappear when it becomes about money and ‘fame’?

Last night’s book signing really re-lit my fire. Not only did I learn what kind of patience {and muscle} it takes to hold a toddler for nearly three hours while wearing heels, but I learned that doing something because I love it is enough of a reward for me. I love blogging. I love sharing stories to keep friends and family updated on our lives and I love that I have gotten some more friends to share with along the way. I’m excited about moving forward thanks to my new flame and eager to see where it takes me. If you’re willing to come along with me on the journey, I will be happy to have you! And on a final note I’d like to give a huge thank you to the Petersik’s and the Bowers for being such wonderfully kind and inspiring people.

Until next time…