2013 | Being Jane

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Audrey Update + Christmas Photo Dump

Well, I had to start the elimination diet. Just removing dairy, egg, and soy was not enough to ease little Audrey's tummy troubles.

This is her sweet self last night:


So now I am gluten/nut/dairy/egg/soy/chicken-free. It's definitely proving to be a challenge. I am eating fresh, fresh, fresh! Which is wonderful, by the way, but hard to feel full... And not so fun around the holidays! I did manage to make some wonderful fudge though!

Now here for a Christmas photo dump:











Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!






Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Rock and a Hard Place


The past couple of weeks have been really stressful. Our lease is up here at our apartment community on February 13th and the leasing office have us until December 22nd to renew our lease here.

The problem with that is that our rent is being raised for the third time in three years. We can barely afford our 2-bedroom as it is but it's necessary to have a room for our girls to sleep in ;)

We can't afford to move to a cheaper apartment community due to the fact that I still haven't found a job and the leasing offices want proof that you make at least 2.5-3 times the rent amount before they let you move in. With Daniel's income alone we make enough but not enough to meet that requirement. It is so frustrating because we know that if I was working it would be fine and we would get in no problem. My job loss is only temporary but unfortunately the two realities are colliding at an inopportune time. 

Another issue with staying in our current apartment is a noise issue with a neighbor. We have spoken to the manager many times and she has spoken to the tenants each time, with relatively little improvement on their part. This noise has made Emma regress in her ability to go to sleep on her own because now she is scared when she hears the noises. It wakes her up often and it is also not comfortable to live with in the rest of our home. 

We are talking to our manager today about options, such as moving within the complex to a different apartment. The only problem with that is that we would need to take a rent increase because all of the vacant apartments are being upgraded. 

We aren't sure what to do and would really appreciate prayer in our quest to find the best financial situation for our living needs. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Welcome to the New Name and Look!

The look is currently in progress but this is my new blog name!

I firmly believe it takes time to find your blog's niche. I think I'm done experimenting now and I am happy with the results! I hope you like it too.

Jane Kerkovich-Williams, from Happy Endings, is my inspiration for fashion! Obviously I am not a fashion blogger but she does inspire me to dress well as a mom and not settle for mom-jeans!

I hope you'll stick with me on my journey to share my life, loves, and thoughts with you.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Got Milk?

As a vegan, technically I don't consume dairy. But for the last ten months I was letting myself have some cheese on pizza or on pasta.. And of course it's ridiculously hard to avoid dairy in baked goods and chocolate!

As life would have it, Audrey is very allergic to dairy. Emma was sensitive but it just gave her awful gas pains. And she grew out of it by one year.

Audrey's is more severe. She projectile vomits (sorry) any time the tiniest bit of dairy gets into my system.


Can you imagine? At Christmastime no less! What about the fudge?! The puppy chow?! The cookies and treats?!

Well, I did it with Emma and I'll do it again. Emma was born in the same month as Audrey so two years ago I was in the same boat. But Emma couldn't have soy or egg either so it made it so I could only eat super fresh, unprocessed, super-vegan foods. And meat. Now I don't like meat so I'm working harder to make nutritional ends meet!

Thankfully So Delicious makes coconut milk Nog! And I've been living off Decaf Soy Gingerbread Lattes from Starbucks.

What thing would be hard for you to go without during the holidays?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mommyhood Never Stops

When Daniel works nights I can't fall asleep. He worked until 10:30 last night and didn't get home until almost 11pm. After catching up on his work shift and my evening with the girls, it was 11:30pm before I fell asleep.

Audrey woke up at 4am.

At 4:30am I took her out to the living room because she was keeping daddy up.

At 5:30 she passed out while nursing.


At 5:50am I laid on the couch with her to catch some Z's. I decided to stumble to bed at 6, because it sounded warmer and cozier!

At 6:10 Emma came in. Wide awake. I tried to get her to fall asleep but you can't make a two year old sleep when they don't want to.

At 6:30 Emma and I went out to the living room and I set her up with Thomas, so I could doze on the couch. Then Audrey woke up. I fed her. I laid her back down.
Then Emma needed breakfast.
Then I realized that I needed breakfast.

I don't see sleep coming my way today. Especially since Emma doesn't nap anymore. Oh yeah, did I mention that? It's been a month of no naps. I do enjoy the 7pm bedtime though!

And this is what 4.5 hours of sleep looks like:


I may need your prayers today!


Friday, December 6, 2013

You Mean To Say You Don't Like Me?


Do you log on to your JustUnfollow account and see that someone unfollowed you that you really like?

Does it hurt you a little bit? It hurts me. 

Let's be honest here. 

It stings when someone you enjoy talking to and reading about doesn't seem to feel the same way about you. Especially in this blogging community where ALL WE WANT IT TO BE LIKED! (Haha, just messing)

But truly, who doesn't want to be liked? 

I understand that people may not always enjoy me as much as I enjoy them, but sometimes it feels good to talk about the what hurts. Even if it's a little petty.

Love & Joy,

Leanne

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Month Has Gone By...

Can you believe it? 

Little Miss Audrey is already a month old.
She is the happiest, sweetest, smiliest baby! (Isn't it too soon for big, prompted smiles?)

Audrey loves to chat with us and I could listen to those coos all day long. She is a wonderful sleeper, loves to snuggle, and loves to eat! 

She still barely fills out her newborn clothing and just graduated to size 1 diapers. Such a little thing. I like to call her my squishy. Trust me, those cheeks...











Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Break Bucket List! (What's keeping you from yours?)

               
**Photos of my girls have been removed to protect their digital footprint**


I am so looking forward to the end of the semester on December 13th! I will have a month of no deadlines to worry about! Because of that I have made a bucket list for my month off. Daniel and I keep saying "As soon as school ends we will..."

So here it is!

• Actually watch movies

• Play Xbox games (yes, I am one of those ... Fable III is my game!)

• Get my body back in shape!

• Play cards/board games

• Start a new book (I bought "One Day" back in August and it's still next to my bed, front cover un-bent!)

• Bake

• Attend local holiday events (you know... Christmas light drive-alongs, carolers, Santa, tree lighting, sleigh rides, Christmas Boat Parade..)

• Crafts with Emma (I have a little Picasso on my hands!)

• Enroll Emma in ballet/tap combo class (she won't stop walking around on her toes and showing off dance moves to any jingle that comes on the TV or pandora!)

• Walks to nearby stores (now that we are a one-car family I so appreciate how close we live to the main area of our town. There is SO much to do just a block from our home.)

• Blog more (YES!! I will finally get to blog when I want to instead of feeling guilty for putting off schoolwork.. Like right now.. Are you excited?! I know you are.)

What is on YOUR list of things to do? What's keeping you from doing it?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harvest Spice Cake + Sweet Fig Crème




Hello there!  Thank you for allowing me to share a little fall recipe with you today.  It’s a joy to support sweet Leanne as she becomes a mother of two.  We are all sending you love Leanne!

Natural+Lovely is a space full of fresh, clean and allergy-friendly recipes combined with a sprinkle of personal stories and adventures experienced along the way.  I hope you find inspiration and comfort in the seasonal treat I have to share with you today. With the onset of colder mornings and brisk evenings, it is a direct result of this lovely shift in weather we’ve been experiencing.

Recently one of these chillier days I found myself drawn to the spice cabinet with thoughts of cinnamon, clove and vanilla. These warming flavors and aromas embody the atmosphere of fall for me. Inspiration came quickly, as I peered into my various cupboards and pantry. Pulling various bits and pieces onto my counters, I soon had the makings of a spicy fall treat. I needed one more ingredient to make it unique and fresh.... a small bundle of figs caught my eye. Perfect. Soon I found myself in a warm kitchen, measuring, whisking and singing to my heart's content. 




May the result of my fall inspiration bring you much joy this week. Let's celebrate this beautiful season with a little cake, shall we?



{Harvest Spice Cake}

2 tbsp Cloves, dried + whole
1/2 cup Water, filtered

1 1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Coconut Oil, organic,  extra virgin + cold-pressed
1/2 cup Honey, slightly warmed to a liquid, organic + raw
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs, organic, free-range + hormone/antibiotic-free

{Sweet Fig Crème}

6 Figs, fresh + organic
1/2 cup Palm Oil, non-hydrogenated
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, organic,  extra virgin + cold-pressed
1/4 cup Honey, slightly warmed to a liquid, organic + raw
2 tbsp Vanilla

Begin by warming up your oven.  Scoop your cloves into a pot and add the water.  Bring the water to a boil and then allow the cloves to simmer on low.  They will steep and create a lovely spicy clove tea for your batter.  In a large glass bowl combine all the dry ingredients and whisk until fine, then slowly add in the remaining ingredients.  If your coconut oil is hard from the cooler weather, scoop your 1/2 cup into a glass measuring cup, preferably with a spout, and place in the preheating oven until just barely melted, then pour into your mixing bowl. Once your tea is well steeped (it will be a rich earthy tone), add it to your batter. The clove tea water should have reduced to about 1/4 cup. Whisk until smooth.  Lightly oil two cake pans.  I use 6 inch, but if you prefer a slightly thinner cake, 8 inch will do.  Gently pour your batter into the pans and place in your oven for 25 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.  I love checking the readiness of my cakes with the butter knife or tooth pick test. Remove the pans from your oven and allow the cakes to cool as you begin your crème.






Now gather your figs. Set one aside for decor and quarter the rest. You may prefer to remove the skins before quartering. I enjoy the texture and flavor the skin provides.  Combine your figs with the remaining ingredients in your Kitchen Aid or in a tall bowl with a motorized hand mixer. Whip until your desired consistency is reached.  I love mine smooth, sweet and creamy.  This may take up to 25 or so minutes.... hence, my appreciation for the Kitchen Aid.





Once your cakes are cool, place the first layer on your serving dish and spread the crème. Gently set your second layer on top and add your last layer of crème. Slice the extra fig or two you have and dress your cake as you wish; finish with a fancy fig flourish! Serve and thoroughly savor.

Thank you for having me sweet Leanne! May these next few weeks be full of time with your family and confirmation of God's deep love for you.  Blessings on you and your family as you grow a bit more. Happy fall, dear friends.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lonely.



Where are all my friends at?

I keep hearing that line in my head like an intro to a rap song.

But really, it's lonely being cooped up in the house with two kids. Yes, we've gone out more than we did with Emma at this age, but I don't want to overexpose Audrey to the public quite yet.

My husband has been working A LOT the past two weeks and will continue to do so for the time being due to the fact that he works at a popular natural grocery store and this is their busy season. I am really not complaining, we need the income! But I do miss him so.

It has been very nice having my mom here for Audrey's birth and my mother-in-law here this last week. That has been a huge help. 

But truly, I'm lonely. I miss friends. I miss conversation and comradarie. I'm sure this is just a case of cabin fever/just-had-a-baby syndrome, but that doesn't make it feel better.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Do I Know of Holy?


                                       

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

 ("What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road)


What DO we know about God? Not a lot, honestly. We know His promises. We know His stance on disobedience and the 10 Commandments. We have read the parables and the proverbs. But what do we really know? 

The first verse of this song by Addison Road speaks volumes to me. We spend time in prayer and devotion to God but how often do we listen? How often do we allow ourselves to obey and act on what He tells us when we DO hear Him?

I was responding to a fellow blogging friend today and made a point I wanted to share with you.

We all get so busy with life. We all have responsibilities in our home, family, personal life, work, school, etc..... That can make it hard to find time to spend one-on-one with God. We say we don't have time and we feel far from Him. I am so this person. 

But have you considered this:

Without Him, without God, none of these things in our live keeping us busy, would be. We wouldn't "be". Without Him, there is nothing. 

So how can we still say we are too busy to find time (or make time) to talk with Him and listen to what He has to say to us?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YOU get to decide my hairstyle!

Yep, you read that right!

You, my readers, get to decide what I do with my hair. I always get bored around now (post-baby grow out, too long with the same style, impatience, etc)

Take your pick:

**Photos of my girls have been removed to protect their digital footprint**




Ready, vote!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Awesome Apps for Toddlers!

Thank you so much Leanne for letting me post while you're (hopefully) having your little bambina! I wish you well!



My name is Breenah and I blog at By Breenah. My daughter, who is two, knows how to use the iPad. Sometimes this fact embarrasses me (obviously not too much otherwise I wouldn't be sharing), but most of the time I don't worry about it. She's growing up in an age where she's going to absolutely need to know how to use electronics. My sister-in-law just started high school and every student is given a tablet to use. The backaches I got from lugging around English, math, and history books on the same day are terribly jealous.



The best thing about electronics becoming more and more available is that there are plenty of educational apps to go along with them. I appreciate educational apps because, while there are many things I can teach Quinn before she gets to school, I can't teach her everything. I'd say the apps are more of a supplement and sometimes they're fun to play with her.



(Just as an fyi: none of these are affiliate links nor sponsored. We also have the lite version of most because I'm cheap when it comes to paying for apps.)



Giraffe's Matching Zoo (free)

This is a memory card game with animals. When you flip the card the animal sound is made. Some of the sounds are weird and don't quite sound like the animal, but it's fun nonetheless. The game also times you so you can try and beat your old score.





Cute Baby Flash Cards ($1.99) (lite version, free)

The lite version comes with animal flash cards in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Greek. If you purchase the extended version it adds different categories such as things and people. As you go through the flashcards the app says the word aloud and if you click on the animal it makes the sound. It's a cute little app and definitely helps me come up with animals when singing Old MacDonald.

Adding this just now I realized where Special Agent Oso gets his name.
My First Steps Preschool Early Learning Alphabet Animals ($0.99)

This is a great app because it has learning, playing, and quiz modes. It uses real pictures as opposed to cartoons, if you have a preference. I love this especially because Quinn is only two and can't read, but she's started to differentiate letters and I think this app is really helping her out.





My Shape Box (free)

It's a pretty literal app. There's a box, you drag shapes into it. It has letters, numbers, shapes, and some outdoor shapes. It's simple, but effective.





Of course, you also have to have some fun apps. I think that's a rule.



Color Drops (free)

This is a pretty cool coloring app. It plays music as you draw and says the name of each color when you choose it. It also has a rainbow option that changes colors while you draw and I'm obviously more intrigued with this than I should be at 24 years old. This one is free, but you can purchase coloring pages.





Herd Absurd ($2.99, but I got it during a free weekend)

Did you ever make those flip books as a kid where the head, body, and feet were all different? This is the electronic version of that. Plus when you click on different parts of the animals they make silly noises and do silly things. It's adorable.



Pretty sure I'd be terrified to meet a hedgehog/cow/beaver hybrid.
Netflix (free, but you need a subscription to use) and Hulu Plus (free, but you need a subscription to use)

I'm sure you all know the benefits of Hulu and Netflix by now, so I won't go into that. The thing I love the best about Hulu is that there's a child lock so you can keep it in kid mode. The thing I like least is that there's no way to lock out Spongebob (I really don't like him). Netflix has the new profiles and you can keep certain profiles in kid mode too. Granted, there are still some age-inappropriate things in the kid sections, so keep an eye if you're letting your toddler use it.



PBS Kids (free)

This has pretty much all the PBS shows and is a good alternative if you're worried about your kiddo opening up random shows in Netflix or Hulu.



Disney Jr (free)

I prefer Disney shows over Nickelodeon (even Nick Jr shows) by a LOT, so I'm not sure if Nickelodeon or Nick Jr have apps. The Disney Jr app lets you watch a few shows without signing in, but you can get to a whole lot more if you have cable and sign in with your username and password. Quinn's current favorite is Sophia the First, but she also loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (did you know in the Danish version they say yippee instead of hot dog?), and Henry Hugglemonster.





Obviously there's a WHOLE lot more apps available, educational and otherwise, but these are the ones we use a lot and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Announcing... Audrey Elizabeth!

She's here! Audrey Elizabeth was born on Friday, November 1st at 7:36am! 

She weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz, and was 19 inches long! She is so tiny that we had to buy some Preemie clothes, can you believe that?!

And now for a photo dump of our new little girl: