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Monday, December 30, 2013

It's A.....

Well, this was an unintentional blog break.

But, you can blame it on this little guy:

That's right, baby Starr is here and it's a BOY!

We are very excited (although I am VERY nervous about changing boy diapers. Out of my specialty here.)

Baby will be getting his name at his bris (circumcision ceremony) so I'll update with that soon! I'm also looking forward to sharing more about baby's birth story--which was fairly eventful!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baking with Mom

A few months ago, I started having Ellie "help" me in the kitchen.

Now, as a type-A clean as I go, follow the recipe type, I really have to push myself to let her get involved and make a mess. But when I do? Seeing her messy face and shining eyes makes it all worth it:)

I whipped up this layout to remember a sweet pancake baking session on Sunday morning a few weeks ago!

These October Afternoon buttons matched the layout perfectly!

I kept the design pretty simple, using some buttons, washi tape and journaling spots to liven things up. How fun is that colorful chevron paper??

I LOVE mixing large and small letters for a title. Never fails!

Did YOU grow up cooking with your parents? Do you cook with your kids now?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Life....In an Instagram

Life has been a whirlwind lately. I'm now just about 38 weeks, the exact gestational age--to the day--when I had Ellie. So I'm on pins and needles, waiting to meet this baby already!

To save my sanity, I'm trying to stay busy and distracted--so what better activity than sharing some peeks at our life lately, through Instagram? You can follow my feed

There has been crazy crazy traffic almost every day this month. This is my least favorite part of the holiday season right here:)

I received this sweet gift from a person my organization helped at work. My work can involve a lot of interaction with stressed-out people, so getting thoughtful notes like this really makes my day!

My baby snuggling. Life is good:)

This was driving home from Philadelphia last Sunday through some CRAZY snow. Apparently, the theme of my Instagram is "driving through bad weather/traffic conditions." Good times:)

Our family menorahs all lit up on the last night of Chanuka. I feel like Chanuka SPED by this year since it was partly over the crazy busy Thanksgiving holiday. Luckily, this conflict will be avoided for the next 70,000 years or so, so I'm in the clear for a while!

Love this shot of me and my girl, after a normal day of work.

We are currently on snowstorm #2 for THE WEEK.  Let me tell you, being snowed in + 38 weeks pregnant = crazy nesting instincts. I just want to buy truckfuls of canned food and organize them.

This was too funny--I turned my back for a minute and found E climbed up to my vanity, applying some blusher:) I guess you can never start too early!

As you can see, she's very pleased with herself:)

Are YOU on Instagram? If so, linkup?  And is there snow where you live right now?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

7 Things You Might Not Know About Me

A few weeks ago, my friend Holly did a post like this on her blog, and I love the idea! So here's my attempt at carrying on the tradition:)

1. I used to live in Hawaii. For a while--around 8 years! And yes, I know how to hula, and yes, I realize I'm not very tan. I was definitely one of the whitest folks walking around that island.

2. I'm a HUGE history dork. (Although, if you've read this post you may know this already!) I especially love medieval/Elizabethan/Tudor history in England. It just makes me happy:)

3. I love to bake and cook now, but I didn't even know how to boil pasta until I was a sophomore in college.  I wasn't sure if you put in the noodles first, and then the water came later? Luckily those boxes come with directions!

4. Even though I'm outwardly very outgoing and confident, I struggle with insecurity. The struggles come and go but it's probably going to be a lifetime (or at least very long) battle for me.

5. Sometimes, I dream about being a photographer or maybe a realtor. Two random professions that aren't very similar to each other, where I know there are aspects I wouldn't love, but for some reason, those have been my "backups!"

6. I have strong political opinions, but don't like discussing them--I don't like conflict.

7. I struggle with the fact that my house isn't the bastion of cuteness I know it could be. Like this insanely adorable house from the Jersey shore:

And then I think that I can always spend my maternity leave "cutefying" my house. And then I remember how much work newborns actually are:)

So there you have it--7 things about me.

Question--Did you know any of these already?  And tell me something I don't know about YOU!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Mind's Eye Chanuka Projects

Now that my Chanuka projects are up on the My Mind's Eye blog, I figured I'd share them here with you as well! Check out the original post for more details.

First up, my favorite project--a menorah decor piece. Who knew enamel dots worked perfectly as candles?

I just paper pieced this one out of patterned paper and a bit of gold foil. Easy and fun!

Next up, we have a card with a paper pieced dreidel. Again, handdrawn, homemade, simple and charming was the name of the game here:) Loved finding creative ways to use the MME Lost and Found brads!

A gift tag for presents--LOVE layering scallops and circles into flowers for tags!

And another tag, with the cutest little banner stickers!

Finally, my layout. I kept the design simple with a washi tape and patterned paper collage on the left, and plenty of white space on the right.

This layout is especially important to me, so I'll share what I wrote on the MME blog about it:

I have a tradition of creating a layout each year on Hannukkah documenting where we are at in our life.  On Hannukkah in 2010, we were dealing with infertility and having a hard time fully celebrating the holiday. In 2011, we were expecting our first baby in just a few months and full of eager anticipation. Hannukkah of 2012 found us enjoying the day with our nine month old baby girl, who was mostly excited about the wrapping paper! Now, in Hannukkah of 2013, we are enjoying having a twenty-two month old who “gets” the holiday more and more, as well as baby #2 on the way! I love doing these yearly comparisons on Hannukah in particular.

And those are my Chanuka projects! I love how a guest posting project "forces" you to get in your scraproom and whip things up you wouldn't have taken the time to do otherwise.

Sadly, today is the last day of Chanuka so I'm glad I got the fun in while I could!

Tell me, what are YOUR favorite holiday traditions this time of year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Guest blogging!

Hi! I'm guest blogging today over at My Mind's Eye with some Chanuka projects!

Here's a little sneak peek:

Go here to check it out!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013!

Well, apparently, this year marks 'Thanksgivukkah," the one time in a very long while that Thanksgiving and Chanuka coincide. Apparently this won't come around again for another 70,000 years, so that's a good excuse to live it up!

Our Thanksgiving AND Chanuka are pretty busy this year--we'll be seeing my husband's family in Philadelphia, my family in Brooklyn, going out to a nice dinner with more family, and enjoying an "at home" Chanuka dinner with delicious sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and a gift exchange with just us and E. It should be a whirlwind!

5 fun things about Chanuka to share with you:

1. Contrary to public opinion, Chanuka is actually a pretty minor holiday in the Jewish calendar--it mostly gets its airtime from being close to Christmas. But minor or not, it's fun!

2. It's a Chanuka tradition to watch the Maccabeats video of the year!  Here's the new one:

3. Chanuka has about as as many spellings as Jews have opinions. Which is a lot. I spell it "Chanuka" since I pronounce it with a Hebrew "ch" (a guttural sound that doesn't really exist in English).

4, Chanuka has awesome food.

There are latkes (delicious potato pancakes, often eaten with apple sauce):

And the above-mentioned sufganiyot (which are heavenly)

And of course, chocolate gelt, or coins!

5. The meaning of Chanuka has many layers to it. We're celebrating the victory of a small group of Jewish fighters against this massive Greek army. We're also celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple and the vial of oil to light the menorah lasting for eight full days. In my own life, it's always been a time to reflect on my personal miracles--see my previous posts on Chanuka here, here, here and here.

To learn more about the meaning of Chanuka, go here.

So tell me, is there anything YOU really want to know about Chanuka?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Blog Your Heart: November 2013

Today, I'm linking up with Stephanie Howell's blog your heart post.

Here's Stephanie's description of the linkup: 1. blog whatever is authentic. whatever is truly on your mind and in your heart.

I love this because genuine, authentic blog posts are my favorite to read (along with house tours....LOVE house tours:)). Check out Stephanie's linkup here.

1. I'm struggling with "busyness" right now. There's a lot going on in the next few weeks with family events and Thanksgiving/Chanuka, and there are SO. MANY. ITEMS. on my pre-baby to do list. At the same time, though, I know I need to slow down because 9 month pregnant ladies just cannot operate at full speed:) I also want to savor the last few weeks I have of just me and Ellie, and of having my life under control somewhat! I need to get better at this balance.

2. I really need to eat better. I was doing very well for a while, but I'm at the point where cinnamon buns sound a lot better to me than celery sticks with peanut butter. Except that they don't make feel quite as good and energetic!

3. Continuing on the healthy food train, I feel really bad that Ellie doesn't eat more vegetables. She's gotten into that toddler phase where anything that isn't cheese, a noodle, or a slice of bread is highly suspect. (And I guess that phase can last a while--see above.)  I don't want to force food down her throat, but I also want her to grow up with a healthy view of food and eating something besides noodles.

4. There has been horrendous traffic EVERY SINGLE DAY on my way to and from work. I am really, really, officially, 100% certifiably sick of it. This happens every year at this time and generally gets better after the holidays, so I'm trying to keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel!

5. I get really excited whenever I see newborns/tiny babies lately. They are so small and snuggly and I'm really pumped to meet this little baby soon. I still need to pinch myself that I have not only one beautiful baby, but one on the way! After all that time going through infertility, I could never have dreamed of being this blessed.

And thanks for reading! Check out the linkup, and let me know if you participate!

What's on YOUR heart and mind right now?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life through my iPhone

I realized today that I haven't picked up my DSLR in over two weeks--and I have the cutest little toddler to photograph! I have to work on that, but in the meantime, I love getting a glimpse at our daily lives through regular old phone pictures.

Here's what we've been up to lately!

Sunday family outings to Dunkin Donuts! S has been working busy long hours, so this was a much-needed break in the middle of (another) work at home day.

I've spent a lot of time chasing this one around--hard to even catch a photo!

I also caught this sad face after what I deemed "Nutgate."

Basically, here's what happened:

1. I ate some walnuts
2. Ellie wanted walnuts
3. I explained that they're a choking hazard and only for bigger girls
4. Hysteria, weeping and disaster ensued

Toddlers--good times.

Another added "excitement" to our past few weeks is the fact that we got into an accident and our car was totaled. Thank G-d, everyone is ok and we weren't all in the car, but it was scary and stressful.  Although we would have never chosen to have it happen through an accident, we figured this was a good time to move to a minivan.  So here's the new addition to the Starr household:

I'm still getting used to a new and bigger car, but loving it so far!

And finally, we had a family outing to a wedding this weekend, and made a solid attempt at a group photo.

Toddlers--really not that cooperative!

We also got some funny outtakes.

Case in point:)

What types of pictures are on YOUR phone/camera right now?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Waiting for Baby...

I'm currently 33 weeks. The baby, apparently, is about the size of a pineapple (thank you, What to Expect app!) My due date is a mere 6 weeks away. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was 6 weeks pregnant?

I 've been spending the past few weeks trying to get organized for this little one's arrival. Traditionally, we Jews are too superstitious to do much prep before the baby arrives. We don't have baby showers, we don't paint the nursery, and we don't walk around referring to little "Andrew Joseph" or whatever his/her name will be.  In fact, before I had Ellie, I was pretty sure you weren't allowed to buy anything for the baby before it arrives. My rabbi, however, told me that was not the case, and the tradition is more about the "evil eye" than anything in Jewish law.

That being said, though, I like keeping many details of the baby private. I don't share the gender (except for close family), or the name. I don't monogram clothing (which I probably wouldn't do either way--I'm a Northerner after all:)). I love the mystery and excitement of that not-quite-here little human being that no one knows very much about.

On the other hand, though, I need to have some basics around so that I won't be crazy stressed when I get home from the hospital! Hence, a few baby-related items have come to live with us.

First, this beauty arrived today:

After much debate, we settled on the City Mini GT Double (ours is in black/shadow). And by "we," I mean "I." Clearly:)

We already have these items from Ellie, but I have a feeling they'll get a lot of use:

{Snugabunny swing}

{Snugabunny bouncy seat}

And while I haven't bit the bullet on it, I've heard great things about this baby bath!

{blooming bath}

Mostly, though, I'm alternating between excitement and fear. I can't wait to meet this little one, but I'm also anxious about disrupting our comfortable routines, and what that will be like for Ellie. I worry that she'll be lonely or confused in those first few days and weeks, especially when I'm in the hospital. But I also can't wait to see her as a big sister.

So that's life--a big 'ol bundle of contradictions!

And tell me, from personal experience or seeing others go through it, what's YOUR best advice to someone having a baby?

Monday, November 11, 2013

What I've Been Reading

I'm a book junkie.  Always have been, hopefully always will be! I love reading a mix of genres, flitting from biography to mystery to chick lit to classics. Keeps life interesting:)

Lately, I've been digging into these:

Waiting for Birdy is about a woman expecting her second child while taking care of toddler, so basically my life right now. Granted, her parenting style is very different from mine, but the book is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud multiple times reading it. Check it out!

This is an old book I read years ago, but I decided to pick it up again given everything I've been reading about this period lately.

Confession time--I AM A MAJOR DORK. I have always loved British history, especially the Tudor period, and have been getting into the roses more recently thanks to this series by Philippa Gregory:

and this TV show on Starz:

So I decided to re-read To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy and have been really enjoying it!

And to continue the dorkiness, I'm SUPER excited for this book that I've pre-ordered:)

Moving along from British history, I also ventured into new literary territory by reading a Pride & Prejudice sequel. I am a HUGE P&P fan, but up until now I've avoided sequels/alternate tellings lest they destroy the beauty of the original story. But I recently delved into this:

and this:

Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride is a sequel that actually feels very true to the voice of the original story. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. An Arranged Marriage is a very creative retelling, and while the characters didn't seem totally on target, I liked it as a separate book.

So those are some of the books that have been filling up my shelf lately?

Do YOU have a good book you've read recently?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bump update: 32 weeks

It's been a while since I've written about little baby bump, so I figured an update was in order! This child has already gotten a lot less airtime than his/her big sister, poor thing:)

How Far Along Are You?
32 and a half weeks

Well, yes. Feeling LARGE, feeling the effects of carrying around that extra weight in the front, and my old pregnancy standby--nighttime leg cramps. But it's all good. 

Total Weight Gain/Loss

All normal range, thankfully.
Maternity clothes?
Yes! A few favorite items are starting to get too tight, which is a bummer! I love shopping for maternity clothes (weird hobby over here) but at this point in the pregnancy, I'm saving my money for some post baby outfits, when I know I'll need the body image boost.

Stretch Marks?
Not that I can see! Though I may be too tired to notice them:) 

See above! I've been waking up in the middle of the night EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for no apparent reason. And then I have a hard time going back to sleep.  Add to the that the fact that E has been cutting molars and up a lot this week, and  I'm pretty exhausted!

Yes, lots! Although the second the baby ISN'T moving I start to panic.

Food Cravings or Aversions?
I'm *touching* chicken again, but my true love is still red meat. Also wanting more sweet stuff lately.

We know, but we're not telling!

Baby Buys?
I got a double stroller (the City Mini GT double--you can read my debates on the topic here), a carrier (trying this one--hoping I love it!) and a big sister gift, along with a few other items. 

And because my sweet tooth is out of control, tell me what YOUR favorite snack is!

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I Wish For You

This month's theme at Write. Click. Scrapbook. was dreams, so I thought I'd focus on some of my dreams for our little Ellie.

I tried to make this layout pretty and girly, with little banners and scallops and feminine details.

I added a woodgrain banner from Studio Calico.

It was actually very sweet and therapeutic to write out the things I hoped for her.  I want to create a layout like this for myself and S, too!

To see the rest of the gallery, go here!

Have YOU ever documented your dreams for your loved ones?