Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thrift Style/Throwback Thursday - Ghosts of Halloween Past

I'm doing today's Thrift Style Thursday theme of Halloween costumes in Throwback fashion today.  I snagged a few pictures of Baby Bethie from back in the day and then I have a few of us in more recent years as well to share.  So let's fire up the wayback machine!

When I was young, I was lucky to have a grandmother who sewed and she helped us make my costume just about every year when I was growing up.  I remember being so excited each year to go to the fabric store and pick out a pattern for my costume!

First up here we have my first Halloween - my mom kept it simple and put bunny ears on a hat.  I decided when I was four that I wanted to revisit the bunny concept, so the below picture is me as a bunny again.  
 I think I was pretty dang cute - wonder where Oliver gets it?

Next up my second and third grade years.  In second grade I decided to be a scarecrow and in third grade I was Raggedy Ann.  What was awesome about these costumes is that we were able to recycle them later on and use pieces of them for various costumes needed for our church show each year, I remember we lengthened the Raggedy Ann dress to be a dress for me to sing the Wells Fargo Wagon from the Music Man in the show one year.


I dressed up each year through high school.  I more or less stopped trick or treating around sixth or seventh grade though.  I went out with friends at a party once in high school but that was about it.  Sadly I don't have the greatest pictures to share of my high school costumes.  One year Nate and I dressed up as a magician and his rabbit and I remember going on a wild goose chase the day before Halloween to every thrift store in town trying to find him a magician's hat!  I can't find the only good picture I have of us from that year though!

Believe it or not in college I took a break from dressing up for Halloween.  I'm not even sure why, I know my sorority had events and what not.  I do remember going with my sorority sisters to volunteer at these awesome haunted caves they used to have over in St. Paul.  We got to dress up and be part of the scare crew.  I had the best spot to hide one year and would jump out at people from behind this dark tree and scream at the top of my lungs.  It was fun seeing the reactions.  As someone who's easily startled it is oddly cathartic to startle other people!

Anyway, I didn't really do much dressing up for Halloween again until after Nate and I were married and I'm pretty proud of the costumes I've managed to pull together as an adult.  The year after we got married I decided to dress up as Rainbow Brite.  Other than buying a shirt at Target and a wig at Party City, every item I bought for this costume came from the thrift store and I was super excited by how it turned out.


The following year we kept it extremely simple and did Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros.  Nate was Mario and I was Luigi though I think it should have been the other way around seeing as Luigi is supposed to be taller than Mario!  This was a super simple one to put together, we borrowed overalls from my dad for Nate, I had some from past costume needs as well and then Nate sewed us some very simple hats out of felt.


Finally, the last time we truly dressed up was in 2010.  We went to our local roller derby with some friends and decided to dress up for the occasion.  It was a last minute choice, but we took a suggestion from a Facebook friend and dressed up as garden gnomes.  I thrifted a dress and apron and Nate sewed us hats and a tunic (yes Nate sews and I don't, we're weird I guess!).  I also, um, bulked up the girls if you get my drift, added some flowers and boom.  We kind of modeled ourselves after characters from a show we enjoyed as children called David the Gnome.



And then we kind of took a break from dressing up again for the last several years.  We just hadn't had a chance.  Now that we have Oliver we are going to dress up as a family.  I am going to keep you all in suspense for now though - you'll have to check back here, probably on Saturday, to see just what we do!  I will give you a hint, we will be recycling an element from one of the pictures above!
What was your favorite Halloween costume?  Check out the other Thrift Style Thursday peeps at their blogs below for other Halloween fun!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chow Baby

At long last I thought I'd finally share an overdue post I've been promising about how we do baby food for Oliver.  I've had some questions off and on and I've been meaning to do this, just hadn't had the chance yet!  So, today is the day!

First off, Oliver is still a breastfed baby and will be a breastfed baby until at least age 1.  All babies need breastmilk or formula until at least 12 months and receive the majority of their nutrients from either resource.  There's a phrase that says "food before one is just for fun" and we do fall into that camp a little bit, but we're still working on teaching him to eat all sorts of things.

There are lots of approaches to feeding your baby - and I'm definitely in the "whatever works to feed your baby is what works" wagon.  I'm merely sharing what worked for us - it won't work for everyone and again, whatever you choose to do is best - as long as your baby is happy and fed, then that's all that matters.  Anyway, early on we talked about a couple of different methods to solid food. We considered doing baby led weaning - letting the baby try small bits of food that you're eating whenever they start showing interest.  We also talked about making our own baby food purees.  We were all game to try the baby led weaning approach - but then we realized that due to Ollie's schedule, many times we were eating after he went to bed or while he was napping - so he was never around us when we were eating to even show much interest in what we were having.  We decided to go back to idea of making our own purees.

At our six month pediatrician appointment, Dr. Uncle mentioned that there are a couple of ways to approach introducing food - here in the US the popular thing to do is start with cereals and then move into fruits and then veggies.  The European approach is to go more for veggies with very little grains or fruit at all.  Specifically this is practiced in France.  We talked about it and did some research and decided we wanted to try the French method.  We found a fantastic blog written by a French transplant to the United States about how she fed her baby, complete with recipes and a schedule of what to introduce and when.  It's called French Foodie Baby and it's just great.

We ended up starting a little behind the schedule recommended by the blog, only because we didn't really look into it until after Ollie's six month doctor visit.  In fact, it took us until he was almost seven months old to really dive into it, but it still worked out pretty well.  We started with some very mild flavored veggies - green beans, potato, carrot, etc.  Then we worked into things like broccoli, cauliflower, and even things like endive and leeks.  The idea is to introduce as many flavors and textures as possible with the hope that by the time your child is between 1 and 2 years old they will have a pretty wide pallate and be willing to eat just about anything.

The process to make the food is pretty simple.  Most veggies just require about 20-30 minutes of steaming.  Then you let them cool down and then puree them in a food processor - adding the water you used to steam them for some moisture.  Then we packed into food storage containers and spooned out what we needed at mealtime.  If we had more than one container, we'd freeze one for later.  I know some people use ice cube trays to freeze purees and I could see that working well too, but we found that the containers were fine, we were able to easily scoop out what we needed.  When you start introducing foods you should go on a schedule of four days to one new food to make sure there are no allergies.  We worked our way through the schedule laid out on the blog and it took us about three months or so.  After about two months we added breakfast and after about three months we added dinner.

For breakfast, we tried doing yogurt, but Ollie was most definitely not a fan, so instead we give him oatmeal - actual regular oatmeal, not the baby stuff - with a little fruit mixed in.  For dinners we started making meat purees that were recommended by the blog.  The meat purees are not unlike the veggie purees, we steam a veggie and cook some meat and then blend them both together in the food processor.

It might sound like it's really labor intensive to make our food, but it really isn't that bad.  We usually take one evening and make up our meats and veggies for the week and that's it.  You don't need much special equipment other than a food processor and a steamer basket.  We've been super lucky that a majority of the veggies we wanted to introduce were veggies we were receiving in our CSA share this summer.  And you're probably wondering - how does Ollie like his food?  


He loves it.  It took a few days in the beginning to get him used to it, but he rarely turns his nose up at anything we offer him.  He's not a fan of cucumber or melon types of food, but that's about it.  At his nine month doctor appointment we were given the go ahead to start offering him just about anything we wanted save for cow's milk, nuts, honey or anything that poses a high allergy risk like shellfish.  So, we've slowly started kind of doing the baby led weaning approach in addition to his purees, we offer him little bits of what we're having when he eats with us, which is happening more now that he's older.  He loves when we offer him things off of our plate if we're at a restaurant.  We also give him cut up pieces of tomato, bread and cheese and he loves those.  And homeboy is a carnivore - he sure loves his meat!!




So there you have it!  Kind of a quick summary of how we feed Oliver.  If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them!  But again, I can't stress enough, you need to feed your baby in the way that works best for you, no judgement on how you choose to do it!



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nemours Reading BrightStart!

Thanks to a lovely blogging friend, I was referred to a program offered by Nemours (www.nemours.org) that they are launching called Reading BrightStart!  I had an opportunity to attend a webinar for bloggers introducing the program and brand new website and Nemours provided me with a Reading Readiness swag bag full of goodies for me to test out with Oliver, including several new books.

The Reading BrightStart! initiative is a program designed to help build great reading skills from birth up to age 8.  This new website launched by Nemours is fantastic and has many tools to help parents with activities, book suggestions, preschool screening and development by age.  There is also a section of articles for parents that cover a wide range of topics pertaining to reading development as well.

Nemours says they launched this program to help parents help their children.  In the promotional material I received, they are quoted as saying "parents are crucial in providing the building blocks for early childhood literacy." I could not agree more - both Nate and I were read to as children from a very young age by our parents and we both had above average speaking skills and reading levels by the time we began kindergarten.  

The Reading BrightStart website is extremely easy to navigate and I love that they break things down by age group.  I can go to the site and select a tab for 6-11 months, which is the age group that Oliver currently fits into, and it gives me a list of pre-reading milestones he should be achieving at this age and suggestions on ways to help these milestones along at home - as well as warning signs to be aware of if it were to appear he was not hitting these marks.  Thankfully he is doing well so far and is right on track for his age.  I look forward to using this site more and more as he grows as I feel it's an outstanding resource for reading readiness and development!

We are firm believers in reading in our home.  We have been reading to Oliver since he was born and while a big reason we do it each night and at naptime is to help him settle down for sleep, we also know that it is helping his brain develop and learn as he grows, even if it's just a simple Sandra Boynton book that we're reading to him.  And he loves it.  It makes my heart feel so happy that he does!  

If you are a parent of a child up to age 8, I highly recommend checking out the Reading BrightStart website (www.readingbrightstart.org) and I want to thank Nemours again for the opportunity to learn about this wonderful resource and for the awesome reading readiness swag bag - Ollie's new favorite book is Green Hat, Blue Hat by Sandra Boynton that we received thanks to the swag bag! 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Inspiration Monday - Sort of edgy

Hello everyone and happy Monday!  I've decided no matter what, this week is going to be tons better than last week.  We're all getting healthy at our house and back to normal and it's a fresh start.  And it's Halloween week!  How can that not be a good week?  I know last year I said I was the Halloween Grinch, but I'm pretty excited about it this year.  Anyway, I decided a way to kick off a great new week would be taking part in this week's Inspiration Monday with two birds.  Here we have an edgy look from Paula Patton.


My look isn't quite as edgy as hers, but it was a nice outfit for a Sunday afternoon at any rate!  I didn't do much more with this besides go to the thrift store to look for Halloween costumes, but hey, I want to look good when I go to the thrifts - don't you?

Jacket - Mossimo (Target), Flannel - Ruff Hewn (thrifted)
Jeans - Old Navy, Purse - Coach (Poshmark)
Shoes - from friend 


We had a great weekend.  My meetup on Friday evening with Ally was absolutely delightful, we had a great dinner and conversation and my only regret was needing to cut things short to get Oliver to bed and head off to practice with my music group.  Saturday we let Nate sleep in since he was the last one to go down with the ship on getting this awful headcold.  After he got up though he was willing to go out for some lunch and pick up a birthday gift for his mom, so we enjoyed an outing to do all of that.  Saturday afternoon after Ollie's nap we went and had a family picture done at our church for the church directory and of course we ended up liking the portraits enough that we bought some.  I'm still planning to do some outdoor pictures for Ollie's first birthday though in the next month or so with the fabulous Erin of Babes in Thriftland so I'm hoping this nice weather lasts just a little longer!

Saturday evening we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday with dinner, cake and games.  Sunday we got up and attempted disc golf though it was a bit chilly and we got a later start so Ollie was a little less patient than he usually is, so we only played about half the course and then brought him home for a nap.  Nate made us delicious biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  After Oliver's nap I brought him on adventure with me to the thrift store to get the rest of what we needed for our Halloween costumes - yeah I know, way to be last minute right?  During Oliver's afternoon nap, Nate also made one of the pieces for his costume too and I have to say, he's going to be pretty dang cute.


We capped off a beautiful day with a walk in our favorite park and Oliver got to swing in the swing so that made him super excited.  He went to bed and we had some of our favorite barbecue take out for dinner.  Overall it was a great and very much needed weekend!  How was your weekend?

Visit the two birds over here for more Inspiration Monday outfits!
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Friday, October 24, 2014

TIGF - Accentuate the Positive

Oh my friends.  It's been a week.  Between dealing with Ollie's cold, catching that cold myself, dealing with my own disappointments and just general yuck I can say it just wasn't my favorite week ever.  I could sit here and dwell on all of that but instead I'm choosing to do a Things I'm Grateful For Friday post because I think it's more important to instead find the positives in my world from this week instead.  So here is what I'm grateful for this week.

~Blog friends who have simply become friends.  I had a wonderful time out with Megan and Nora from two birds and Erin from Babes in Thriftland the other night.  We shopped, we had drinks and dinner and laughed a lot about random crazy things. Nora was sweet enough to pass down some hand me downs for Oliver. And, the best nights end with random hashtag jokes in my opinion and we had quite a few of those!  They're just awesome people, end of story.  Tonight I'm excited to have a chance to meet Ally from Shybiker who is coming all the way from New York. This will make the second "non local" blogger I've had the chance to meet in person.  I just love how blogging can make connections all the way around the world.  It's just an awesome thing.  The power of the internet for good or something like that.

~My little guy being on the mend.  Mommy might be suffering the cold now a bit, but thankfully Ollie is back to his chipper self.  And I'm thankful that our clinic was willing to see us so late in the day on Tuesday to put our fears at ease over the high fever.  I'm thankful that my work was understanding about my taking the time to stay home on Tuesday to take care of him.  Most of all I'm just happy that this first illness was short lived!

~Bakery Friday.  Every week my dad goes to our local bakery to pick up treats to bring to his own office, but he always swings back by my parents house to bring goodies for my mom and I.  It's such a nice way to end out the week.  Today he was off of work but still went to the bakery for us and added bonus, also hit up Caribou Coffee, so not only did I get to enjoy a donut, I also got a latte.  You just can't complain about that!

~A husband who knows the right thing to do always.  For the better part of the last 16 plus years he has known me better than I've known myself and has known just the right things to say or the right things to do.  I feel bad for all he's put up with from me this week, but he never complained.  Last night I thought I had lost my wedding ring and had an absolute panic attack.  He just stayed calm and helped me look - and let me tell you, we were going hardcore, digging through laundry and dishes and all the other places I had been after work.  We thankfully found it just on the floor of the hallway. Now, he is starting to get the cold going round our household too and really just wanted to crash, but he knew I was down and he put me above himself and made me a delightful meat and cheese plate for dinner and poured me a glass of wine because he knew it would cheer me up.  I keep saying what an amazing dad he is - but he is truly an amazing husband too and I don't know what I would do without him.

So there you go.  I know things will only go up from here.  Nate and I will get over our colds, the disappointment from earlier this week was just something that wasn't meant to be and there will be other opportunities.  The weekend actually appears to be rather calm and the weather is going to be gorgeous so maybe we'll get to go throw discs.  Maybe we'll work on Halloween costumes.  Or maybe we'll just sit around the house and veg all weekend and you know what?  That's ok with me too!  I hope you all have great weekends no matter what you're doing!  Thanks for sharing in a little bit of my life.

Hosted by Ashley, Nay and Laura

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thrift Style Thursday - Pinspired

It's no secret to my blog readers that I love Pinterest and I love using it for outfit inspiration.  So, when the Thrift Style Thursday group chose "Inspired by Pinterest" for the theme this week I knew I'd have no trouble with it at all.  I have SO many ideas to choose from it was actually tough to narrow down!  I settled on this one because it allowed me to wear my new sweater from Target - no it's not thrifted, but there are other thrifted items in my look.


Photos were a challenge this morning unfortunately, it was dark and rainy outside and then Oliver was kind enough to share his cold with mama, so I was low on drive to make these better, but hopefully you get the idea!

Sweater - Mossimo (Target), Dress - Swap
Tights and boots - Target, Bag -  Vintage Coach (b. resale)
Barrette - Gift



I used to be so afraid to mix black and brown elements together but I'm getting more and more willing to do it.  I love this little black and white striped dress I managed to snag at a clothing swap when I was still pregnant (and actually wore at least once over the belly!) and I really love the brown pieces I added and the mustard sweater.  It makes for a nice cozy fall look!  I'm also pretty jazzed about this bag that I found while shopping with my blog buddies at b. resale in Minneapolis last night - I'm a sucker for vintage Coach and I've been looking for this brown leather style for awhile now!  They price their items very reasonably so I had no qualms about bringing this guy home with me.  I also found the most adorable black booties (thanks to Megan Bird for pointing them out to me!) and some fun pairs of pants.  Retail therapy rules.  Maybe not the most practical thing ever, but hey, it still made me feel good!

Overall I really love my outfit today.  I have some other pinned ideas for this mustard sweater too, so I'm guessing it might be in heavy rotation for awhile!
For other Pinspired Thrifted outfits check out my fellow Thrift Style Thursday gals below or head on over to our Facebook group to join the fun yourself!

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