Blogmas | December Playlist

Hello!

Can you believe Christmas is on Sunday?! I can’t honestly, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who are feeling the exact same way.

I usually post my monthly playlists at the end, but since I will be taking my mini hiatus directly after Christmas, it just makes sense to release it as part of my Blogmas content. I’ll actually give you the list now and share some of the stuff going on in the past few weeks below.

Here are my Top 20 favorite songs for December 2022! If you want to check out the full playlist, click here.

Skinny Little Missy by Nickelback
Diseased by Icon For Hire
Bye Bye by Gryffin featuring Ivy Adara
Met Him Last Night by Demi Lovato featuring Ariana Grande
Have Mercy by Chloe
It’s Been Awhile by VCTRYS
The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody) by Bebe Rexha featuring Lil Wayne
What A Man Gotta Do by Jonas Brothers
Running For Your Life by UNSECRET featuring Butterfly Boucher
Ghost Town by Layto featuring Neoni
DICE by NMIXX
Revolution by Bishop Briggs
Reinvented by Ad Infinitum
Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz
Dangerous by Aviva
The Assault by ADIEAUX x Justin Starling
Wild by Effsio Cross
Bones by wens
May It Be by Anuna featuring Sara Weeda
O Holy Night by Lindsey Stirling
Medley by Michael W. Smith
Nordlys by Myrkur
Silent Souls by Moya Brennan featuring Cormac De Barra
Carols of the Bells by Jennifer Thomas
Turn Off All The Christmas Songs by Sam Tinnesz


As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, I was really sick throughout the early part of the month, but I will say, I have had a lot of fun hanging out with my family lately. Our dog Rumer has really enjoyed playing again. She didn’t like it not being able to come around me in those few weeks. However, when I did come out, we’d play ball so much that she would literally jump up on the couch and fall asleep. One day she’ll do this when mom and I are watching Jeopardy in the living room. She tends to be active while we’re watching it, and you’d think her craziness would slow me down at all, but I have found I do better when I’m multitasking and playing with her.

Rumer does not know a lot of commands, we had plans to teach her a lot of different things when she was a puppy, but that takes a lot of time that none of us had a lot of patience for it, and now she’s full of energy and whines quite a bit. She does not do well away from my parents, mostly my dad, and she’s fiercely protective over us on top of that. Anyways, I’ve been trying to teach her some simple things, one is sitting (or lie down) before I roll her green ball to her. I don’t know what made me do this, but I point my big toe at her while leaving my right foot shielding the ball at the same time. She is starting to realize when I point downward, it means she needs to sit. She’s been doing great for this but recently, she’s been learning to go all the way down now. It was just bowing, and they’ve turned into fully calm, cooled and on the ground and everytime she succeeds in this task, I reward her with the ball.

For those of you who are asking about our Christmas tree though, she does pretty good with it considering she doesn’t usually care for the plants in the house. My dad was way too excited to bring our big plant we call “Sally” into the master bedroom for the month, because she can’t really mess with her and Sally has really blossomed in there as well.

If anybody has advice on how to help her anxiety being away from us and/or with the cats, we’ll gladly take it now!

Let’s talk about actual Christmas things now.

I wasn’t going to put up my tree this year. We recently switched my bed, have a new bedside light and other furniture around in the room and it’s been sort of a struggle figuring out where everything can go now, so I just figured I wasn’t going to have any space for it. And then we got the advent calendar which consists of mini ornaments, and it would make better sense to use my tree compared to the family tree and being around Rumer who eats anything and everything she’s not supposed to, so we managed to arrange it next to the TV and I have two very beloved musical Santa Clauses and we put them at the sides of my tree, and it really looks so good together.

These were the day one and two of our advent calendar ornaments. My nephew absolutely loves to do it as I mentioned in my post last Wednesday. I feel bad it’ll end on Christmas Eve though because it is literally the first thing he goes for when he comes over. Maybe I can find an activity for us to do at the start of 2023. If anybody has any ideas about this too, let me know in the comments.

One of Nolan’s favorite things to do lately is coloring, he really cherishes coloring with me and using my markers even though he has his own. We did a series of holiday characters, and he claimed all of them but one, the Dasher reindeer as it was for Mimi or my mom; unfortunately for Pawpaw Nolan decided his reindeer is for someone else, which really made him sad about it. At the same time we did this, Nolan introduced me to a movie on Disney+ and it’s called Prep and Landing, it is about the elves helping Santa navigate throughout Christmas night and it is so cute and hilarious! I’ve actually watched the other two and I figured out why the voice of Wayne sounded so familiar is because it’s the same actor who did Flik in A Bug’s Life: Dave Foley! Anyways, if you haven’t seen any of the movies yet, you should as they are perfect for toddlers and kids at heart obviously!

Here are the end results of our pages.

We have already finalized our plans for Christmas morning, and I get to play Santa this year! I’m not going to lie; this is good karma for me in a way. Nolan will be spending the night, so we have cookies and carrots for Rudolph and the gang, as per to Nolan’s instructions. We don’t want to offend any of the other reindeer of course! I am hoping when Nolan is officially asleep, we can put a couple of presents underneath my tree as he’s been such a good boy making my tree all pretty that I feel he needs to see some holiday magic for all of his good work this past month.

Okay, I think that is it for me today. I hope you have enjoyed all of the Christmas-y stuff going on and maybe found some good tunes to round out the rest of 2022.

snowflake

Blogmas | Annual Holiday DIY Project

Hello!

I love being able to do something creative around the holidays.

It’s become a bit of a tradition to do ornaments and now that I have been exploring the dot painting world, it has really opened a bunch of ideas in my mind and it’s fun to share them with my loved ones and of course blog about them. My only regret is that not every person will get one in the mail.

Sidenote: For the past month, I’ve had three bouts of stomach flu or whatever – I no longer believe it was stomach flu, but I’m also terrified to go down that road to find out what is exactly going on with my gut. Anyways, since I was down and out for several weeks, I was even more scared to do anything constructive because it would always come back to bite in the ass–literally! I know, TMI but you gotta laugh, right?


What you will need for this project:

  • Unfinished wooden ornaments – depending on which product you choose, sometimes you will be given string, multicolored beads, paint markers
  • Acrylic paint – I used two different brands of paint: Bunny Barn and DecoArt
  • 3 Paintbrushes – a large, medium and smaller brush
  • Palette container
  • Damp and dry wash cloth
  • Cup of water
  • Dotting tools

Last Christmas, I went back to the brand I used in my 2021 ornaments because they had two different collections, and I swore I had saved the others in one of the folders, but I guess I didn’t, which really bugged me in late October, so when I went looking for these characters days later, I had hoped I didn’t purchase the same designs! The ones I did find though, they had trees, bells, and snowflakes, but I really liked the others in the batch that I choose to overlook them and do my best to make every single ornament unique and I hope you (and their owners!) enjoy what I was able to do this time around.

The first day I only went in with eight characters and their base coats – for at least three of the ornaments were only painted in one color: the stars, snowflakes and hearts. Technically, the silver bells are only color, but they have a layer of glitter on top of them. I’d just like to point out the glitter wasn’t my idea; this was an addition made by my mother! For a woman who has panicked everytime I have paint out, she went all in with the glitter, I was actually very proud of her! Honestly, I didn’t know what I exactly wanted to do for these three and I went back and forth more on the hearts, but I do think keeping them as they are, is just as festive!

Once I had finished painting those guys, I moved onto the next few as i tried to do four at a time, but that really depended on the colors I still had available on my palette, so I did the baubles, snowmen, and angels, as they didn’t require much in the first layer. The snowmen were fairly simple as I just went to paint most of it in white and added the black on the arms, face and top hat. I had the thought of putting a neon orange nose of them but I figured all hell would break loose if I did so they went without their standard carrot nose. I just realized I didn’t even give them a scarf either. Oops!

The baubles were another easy-going ornament for me as I just used a color called “pure blue” and it is beautiful! I was tempted to use it everywhere but that was also part of the problem with it, since the shade was so vibrant, it was somewhat difficult for my mom to remove on the brushes, skin, …floor. It’s the same blue that reminds me of that scene in Harriet the Spy where her classmates “accidentally” pour a jug of blue paint on her. The last scene of her frantically scrubbing it off, is exactly how my mom had to remove it as well! Back to the baubles though, after they had dried, I grabbed my rustic gold and painted the section where you thread the string on top of it and it actually makes it look really good! I was worried I’d regret my decision there because when it dries, it tends to soak into the surface and instead of becoming lighter as acrylic paint normally does, it can look dark, but thankfully, the blue stands out just enough to balance out that dullness it can have at the end of the day.

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This photo was taken before the wings of the angels (and the trees were decorated!) were taken.

The angel. I was somewhat thrilled to have a small stack of heavenly angels as a part of my holiday project. I was conflicted though because I wanted to keep them with a simple design, but also make them to be individuals as well; in the end I went with the latter as it just seemed better to go in this route in case, I got a little overzealous with making sure every angel was different from the other. So, they all received a sky-blue gown, white wings and light-yellow face/halo.

Next, I went to the reindeer, stocking, trees, and despite doing the Christmas trees last year, I was thoroughly excited to be a little more creative–sickness be damned at this point!

Anyways, I started with my trees, and I managed to remember the precise shade I had for my original tree project back in 2020, and it had a bluesy green color and I thought it made the trees more winter-y, which is what I really wanted to showcase a natural look with some decorations here and there. Every tree had the standard blue-green coat, brown trunk and yellow/red on top for the star. When I finished with the basic things, I moved on to create their overall look with yellow, red and blue dots everywhere; some trees had a design I enjoyed creating last Christmas and I definitely went for it on some of them, while the others have a couple or few smaller dots that make them seem cute and meek at the same time.

As for the reindeer, I knew they would appear this year, but since I thought, I was going to have that other collection, I figured I’d only have to focus my attention on the face of the reindeer themselves, whereas with the batch I ended up with, were made with the whole body intact, I was a little nervous on how to make them “believable” if that makes sense. Although I will admit, I did create a little Rudolph face on the bells last Christmas as an added bonus to the mix, and I absolutely loved that idea, but I was concerned on whether I’d feel comfortable making a harness over the chest and front legs like they were all a part and ready to carry Santa’s sleigh through the night sky. I didn’t use a pencil outline for any of my initial designs for when I started on the dot process, I just went with my gut and I’m happy to say it actually worked out in the end of the day.

To round off this cluster of ornaments, we have the innocent stocking. My mindset going into this one was to basically copy what my actual stocking looks like, it’s a ruby red with white topper or ruffle, I don’t really know what that part of the sock/stocking would be, but then again, I’ve never had to care of the correct term. Anywho, when I went into painting, I used this beautiful red shade that definitely captured the same color that of red-hot cinnamon candies, but that damn topper was difficult. My mom had thought of using the silver glitter again, and at one point I had agreed with it, but then I changed my mind when I suddenly found myself with two stockings with bright blue… Honestly, I don’t regret it. It’s really pretty! The other two were never painted actually painted; if I had the confidence to do it, they were going to have a textured fur look in that area but again, I still loved how they turned out too!

Here’s something funny for you, now that I’m officially done with these ornaments and they should be getting to their rightful places soon, I’ve already decided on what I’m doing next year. If I can find a bunch of them, my plain is to do gingerbread men and women. As much as I enjoy the variety packs, only having one character may be easier on me as I can just give my heart to my design process. What do you think about this idea?

Do you have any special Christmas crafts you do for or with your family? For those who do not have anything, but have your own ideas though, what is it? Share with me in the comments!

snowflake

Blogmas | A Little Wrap Up

Hello!

Welcome back to Blogmas everyone!

I wasn’t sure I would actually participate this year, especially what happened those two weeks at the beginning of November… If you’re wondering about that, you can read my little update in the monthly playlist I released on Monday. Anyways, we are here now and for some odd reason I have developed a trend during Blogmas and I tend to do a simple recap of the previous year’s holiday posts. I’m still unsure why I started doing this, but it’s become part of my ritual for the first week of December; kind of like publishing a playlist at the end of each month, I guess.


Why I Decided on 8 Days

For anyone who doesn’t know or understand what Blogmas/Vlogmas is, it is a theme in which a person releases a post or vlog (video log) of everyday up until Christmas or sometimes the day after, it just depends on the person. I have blogged every day once and I will never do it again, because I felt so stressed out, so when I wrote this post, I was explaining my need to shrink the timetable just a bit with only eight days. This year, I am doing seven posts, but it could also change depending on my end-of-the-year posts too.

The Christmas Song Tag

This is another annual thing for me to do for Blogmas, and that is at least one Christmas-y tag. I actually love doing them every year, mainly because I am curious about if my answers will change as much as the year before, and since we’ve added a new member into our family, I’m sure that’ll change it up a bit.

I’ve done this tag multiple times over the years, but I think the oldest is from 2014, and again, I enjoy reading about what I had said in that post and compare it to the others. As much as I like this tag in general, I would love to see if anyone’s created any more Christmas tags; I have been tempted to combine all of the tags I’ve done in the post and come up with an ultimate Christmas tag, but I haven’t made my mind up yet, so we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Festive and Winter-y Baby Names

Last December, I decided to do something different and share some of my favorite holiday theme baby names.

Back in 2020, I spent the entire month creating new and festive name combinations on my second Instagram page, and it was really fun, but extremely chaotic as I was posting six name pairings each day. I will say, my page looked gorgeous, and I did feel proud for committing to both Blogmas and the names. I definitely don’t recommend it, and I will not be doing that again but kudos to anyone who is multitasking like that in 2022.

So, when I go to 2021, I knew I couldn’t do that again, so I thought of a different route and honestly, this was so much better! I was able to add more names and discuss which names represent this time of the year the best.

Holidays Reads & TV

I spend a lot of my time on Instagram and scroll through a lot of bookstagrammers and I always see various holiday-ish books that actually sound interesting, but I am very difficult to please when it comes to stories based around Christmas, I mean, there’s a reason why I have never been a fan of the Hallmark Channel. I actually pick that channel and Lifetime out of my guide once November comes around because they drive me nuts!

However, I finally talked myself into listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins, and I think I may end up making it part of my tradition, kind of like what I do with Halloween; I like to watch the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the final day of October. I’ve done it every year since 2009. This year, I wasn’t able to watch the film but I listened to the actual song before I left for the nursing home, and I’m saying that counts for something!

Anyways, I also shared my favorite short Christmas cartoons. They were not produced by Walt Disney, but they are as old as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1939) and I’m happy to know I can actually watch them without having to use YouTube because that’s what I’ve been using since 2015, but now they’re on Prime Video as a collection, and I’m really enjoying having them so easily again.

Wooden + Dot Ornaments

I love giving and making gifts for people. I’ve done a lot of seasonal crafts over the years but being able to do them for Christmas is different for me as a person. I like being able to make someone else special for a day, and Christmas is the perfect holiday to do that. As I continue to do these wooden ornaments, the list of people increases and unfortunately can knock off others, and honestly, I hate leaving certain people off the list, but I can always add them to my 2023 list. I was literally rereading these paragraphs and realized I sound an awful lot like Santa Claus…

Best Songs of 2021

One of the main reasons why I keep track of all of the songs I’ve enjoyed over the past year, and it actually makes things so much easier in the end. I like to be almost done writing the December post before I bring everything into one playlist. It is also helpful to wait until Spotify’s unleashed their end-of-the-year collections as well. It gives you a better idea of which artists, bands, genres, etc. you were loving the entire year.

The list for 2021 is actually one of my favorites. Despite my best efforts, not all of my yearly playlists end up being favorites in itself, but I’ve had a couple of them before, the first was 2016, the second best is from 2019 and this one. I am excited to see what I can do with the best songs for 2022 later this month.

If you would like to check out my 2021 wrap up playlist, you can click here.

Top 7 Books of 2021

For the final post of Blogmas content, it is usually my top favorite books of the year. In 2021, I decided to write about the Top 7 books, and I find it odd that I completed my original goal of 30 books and managed to shrink my favorites list to only seven. I probably wanted to make things easier for myself, especially doing this post in general, and I can understand my need to do it that way, especially if I wasn’t in the mood to do any more Blogmas stuff after Christmas.


Next Monday, I will officially start my Blogmas content, and my schedule will continue as normally, a new post will publish around 7:30am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am hoping to finish before Christmas arrives and relish in those final two weeks of December before putting my sights on what I want to do in January. So, I truly hope you find something that you enjoy and if you’re a new blogger, looking for advice or ideas to do for Blogmas, I hope you are inspired to spread your own Christmas spirit onto your platform.

How do you feel about Blogmas and/or Vlogmas? Whose content are you most looking forward to this year?

snowflake

The Garden Tour | Side-Yard + Pickle

Hello, and welcome back to the next part of our garden tour!

For today, this post will be about the side yard mini garden, so technically, last month’s post was mainly about the landscaping the front end of our house, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, click here. Honestly, it doesn’t matter which post you read first but if you want to hear my thoughts about these changes, plus the reason why I am even writing these blog posts, you can read them later.


Last fall, we had a miracle happen in our backyard. A single sunflower sprouted up from the ground. The only way it could have flourished was around mid-summer, my mom found me some sunflowers at the store and once they become very droopy and sad, my parents toss them out the back door. Unfortunately, we don’t own a compost contain, so any food leftovers and scarps end up in the back and the cats tend to enjoy most of the food we throw it, however, they don’t eat the dying flowers (thank God!) and it decided to upcycle itself and leave us with a nice present one day!

Everyone seems to know that I am obsessed with sunflowers, and my dad has always wanted to grow a big bunch of them in and around the location of my bedroom window, but I’m very short, even if I am sitting in bed or my wheelchair, so this past spring, we made the decision that we were going to have a wall of sunflowers up against Rumer’s fence. If we didn’t have either of them, I still believe my parents would have planted them in the front anyways. It’s the area where they would have full access to the sun as there are no trees in that whole section, so they have a huge section to grow and spread some joy to the neighborhood.

We actually planted two different kinds of sunflowers, we had the regular yellow and my folks kind of fell in love with the chocolate ones. I was a little hesitant about them because I didn’t exactly know how they would turn out, but they are so beautiful!

In the beginning, we put about five seeds if I remember correctly into five separate pots. They in various sizes but they all seemed to take off around the same time and it was neat to watch them come out of the dirt, and grow little green leaves and stems. Since these were like my babies, everytime I went outside to visit with our cats, I would roll over there to check on their progress. My mom and I were looking at them almost on a daily basis, and since I am a huge namer, I decided to give each pot a name because to name each flower would be too much, especially with the amount we have now.

I became very inspired by the fact that Ukraine’s national flower was actually a sunflower, I thought the pots needed to be named after names used there in a way to honor the people and state. So, with that being said, the first big pot had the largest collection of flowers in it, so I named that one Boris. I don’t know why, but I felt like I needed to use this name. It may not be a well-used name, but I took that as a sign and went with it. The meaning behind Boris is fighter, so I thought it was perfect as the Ukrainians are real fighters, it doesn’t matter whether they are on the front lines or left their homes, schools, life, etc. They are survivors.

The middle pots are similar in size and my mind went, “well they’re fraternal triplets!” so they were all named with my favorite girl names, Oksana (means: welcoming, hospitality), Olesya (means: protector, forest), and Olena (means: torch, shining light). Olena is for the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska! And finally, the last pot was the smaller and I was drawn toward the name Lev, which means lion, so it’s smally but mighty at the same time.

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By June, all of the sprouts were ready to be replanted along the fence line and my parents sent like a whole day and a half getting these guys into place, once there they were given a little bit of water and they began to grow.

Since this was our first time with sunflowers in general, we were a bit puzzled when my mom snapped this picture. We were sort of concerned because it looked like we had planted some very weird Venus Flytraps! We did make a note of the inside of the plant had a small hole in the middle and we realized this was where the seeds were, and the little dark green spikes would become the petals. We were thrilled when they transformed but it was cool to see a part that we never knew happened in their way of becoming regular sunflowers.

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Once they began to climb up the fence, they started to change again–this time it was size! Several of the sunflowers were a little too top heavy and so my dad stuck some dowls into the ground next to them to help give them some stability, and they seemed to relish in the support because they are huge, and I mean, they are so big in the middle part they still have issues lifting up towards the sky. So, these flowers really hide among their leaves and other flowers. They are still pretty but you instantly feel bad for them too.

It’s sort of funny if you really think about it; although we only bought (and planted) two packages of sunflowers, we ended up with three different flowers. We expected all of them being in the same size as the chocolates, but then we have a small section with these bad boys! We are sort of dumbfounded at the mystery, but they’ve been fun to watch as the season changes, and we know going into this we would have a bunch of bees come around to collect pollen, and we were right with that assumption, but we’ve also seen some hummingbirds and yellow birds make their way to them in the last month.

Back in late July, I finally got to go around to see them up close and they were somewhat intimidating as they just towered over my mom, sister, nephew and I. It was sweet to see a couple of the newbies (because we have even more flowers traveling up to the others!) and I’m happy to say, it makes really happy to see cars come around our neighborhood to see them. We had an older man bring his wife around to see them the other day and I thought it was so sweet because I love going to other sunflower gardens too! We also have a lot of bees visiting too. Bees are very important to our ecosystem and even though I am terrified of them, I don’t want them to disappear forever because they are probably the reason why we have baby sunflowers below the veterans.

While I was outside, we made a trip to see the other garden along the left side of the house. Nolan managed to find a baby cucumber and pulled it off its stem. He really loves visiting the gardens and picking the vegetables with Mimi and Papaw. He was very proud of his discovery too! A few days later, my mom went by the same section and found the biggest cucumber we’ve seen so far! We don’t know how we managed to pull these things in the same time span, but it happened.

In this garden, we also have some green pepper plants. As a family, we like to snack of chopped up peppers with dip, use them in stuffed peppers (or stuffed mangos as my dad grew up calling them!) and finally salsa!

As the title says, I’ll be discussing our pickling process as well, but we have also made one batch of marinara sauce, and two large batches of salsa. Now, I will not be going into too much detail about the steps to make each one, but I did have my mom take photos of the packages they used to create them though! I’m hoping that’ll be enough, but I also wanted to leave you with their links as well at the end of the post!

On July 16th, we got our first harvest, and the cucumber was really big. I often wonder why my folks don’t pick them while they are somewhat smaller, but it may have something to do with ripeness like most vegetables. I don’t really know. I was never a fan of cucumbers, unless they transformed into pickles… so I’m not an expert on them. Honestly, I can’t physically grab any of our vegetables out of the gardens, which is why my knowledge is lacking in certain areas.

Anyways, the first time my parents decided to start creating our own pickles, they went all in with it and made four different kinds: bread-and-butter, kosher, garlic kosher and non-kosher dill. I have tried one of the dills and it was WAYYY too strong for any of us! Last month, I finally got to try a bread-and-butter and they were much better, very mild and even though they were sitting on the kitchen table, they were not cold, and it didn’t matter because I got to savor the flavors a lot better compared to them coming out of the fridge and my teeth screaming at me because of the coldness!

My nephew was even part of the pickling process, he really loves to help out, and a way to use this to our advantage was getting him involved with stuffing the wedges inside each mason jar and he really enjoyed being able to do this. What was cute though was my dad had this smaller jar that is like a fraction of the others, and he cut cucumber wedges smaller so Nolan could have his own jar! He seemed to love having his own stash in the fridge but since he went home before the jar itself cooled down, we ended up holding onto it for a couple of weeks!

A couple of weeks after my folks completed their first attempt at the pickles, my mom really wanted to make her own marinara sauce, we eat a lot of pizza and spaghetti in our house! Unfortunately, when my mom tried it, she wasn’t that impressed with it, and hasn’t tried to redeem herself yet. The third venture was salsa, and again we love restaurant style salsa so it wasn’t that big of a surprise they would try it out, but I don’t think they expected us to go through seven jars in a matter of two or three months! One of my dad’s ingredients was adding our baby green peppers into the mix and I can’t taste it in there, but I love the flavor of the whole thing! One day, my dad literally made salsa and the only container he could put it in was our lemonade/tea pitcher!

As we continue to harvest our goods, the room on our kitchen table keeps getting smaller and smaller, so much so that the side I eat on was very chaotic and full of empty jars and rows of cucumbers would feel overwhelming! In order to solve this problem, especially with storing the jars that haven’t been used yet, we have this old pie storage, it has to be extremely old and completely made up of wood, but it is large enough to hold three or four levels of our stuff to last a few in the colder months, but we might want to control our intake of salsa if we truly want to do this though!


Next month I will have the final post of the garden tour and will talk more about the whole setup, because it has been a massive undertaking for my dad, but I think in a secret way, he really enjoys fixing it up! It will include the original plans, more vegetables, and how we were keeping the cats and other animals out of it.

I hope you are enjoying these posts; I’ve been surprising myself on how much fun it is to write them for you. I used to do these types of posts when my sister was in her first year of college, but thankfully, the photos are in a lot better quality! Anyways, be sure to be on the lookout for that sometime at the end of October.

How you ever pickled anything before? Do you know of any other recipes we should try to make with our vegetables? Please leave everything in the comments below.

snowflake

Becoming An Aunt…. Again!

Hello there!

I did not think I would ever write that sentence “becoming an aunt” because my sister was adamant about how she wasn’t going to have any more children after the birth of my nephew four years ago. It’s definitely been a long time since those days, and we need to discuss some things before we get too involved into this post.

Sadly, my sister and brother-in-law separated and eventually divorced in 2020, they just grew apart as some couples do and we wish nothing but the best for them. We still love Brandon and see him from time to time, the most recent was when Nolan was playing T-Ball back in mid-May, as he helped coach his team a little bit, I always felt bad for when he was out on the field with Nolan and his little teammate directing their next movements.

My sister had started dating last fall, and we got to meet her boyfriend Zach (who is now her husband!) on Christmas. They didn’t have the kids that day, so it was a bit awkward to see them hanging outside in like 75 degree weather! I say “kids” because Zach also has a four-year-old son, named Isaiah, and he is literally the splitting image of his daddy. It’s still weird that I have also gained a second nephew through this part. I am happy to say Nolan and Isaiah are the best of friends, Nolan considers him his “brother” which he proclaimed one afternoon sitting at the table with us, and we almost started crying because it was so adorable to say something like that!

SURPRISE!

And then, January came around, and everyone was thrown for a loop when my sister announced to us, she was pregnant. Since her pregnancy with Nolan and everything that happened afterwards went a little topsy-turvey, we just assumed she couldn’t get or even wanted to become pregnant again, so this was a surprise for some of us. I wasn’t too shocked by the news honestly, although I didn’t expect it at all! I had respected her thoughts on not adding a sibling for Nolan in the future. Although this is a totally different pregnancy, it hasn’t been an easy one either. She’s been having contractions since late February I think, which is what happened last time. She’s been put on bed rest, monitoring her heart rate, blood sugar, etc. all throughout the ordeal.

BOY OR GIRL?

Towards the start of spring, we were very anxious to learn the sex of the baby. Despite the similarities between each pregnancy, there has been some odd things happen with this one. She has a better appetite in the beginning, but she’s also had a lot of heartburn too. This was sign number one that we could expect a girl, and it didn’t really settle until she began hearing the heartbeat early on and it was very fast, which is another telling point for when mothers are expecting a little girl, so we all called it around 16 weeks it would be a girl and we were right. They will be welcoming a baby girl in the fall.

Now, let’s discuss what her name will be, but first we have to go back to February and March, because at this time we still didn’t know the gender so there were many name combinations passed back and forth between the early months. I think I might save her actual name until she is finally here and do a whole post about the labor, delivery, and bonding with the boys. However, I will tell you the boy names that were in the running though, because I seriously doubt they will ever be used with them; never say never though!

THE NAMING PROCESS

Anyways, they had a fairly large group of names in the beginning.

After the second or third doctor’s appointment, they started to think of certain names, and they had a boy combination from the start and it didn’t really change that much, the first name never really went away, they still enjoyed the full name but thought using part of it as a good nickname. They were very attached to Jaxon Emery, and honestly, I was thoroughly impressed with this. I mean, I’m the namer in the family and yet I wasn’t asked for assistance!

We were kind of surprised that my sister wouldn’t want to use our papaw’s name: David. She explained they weren’t going to honor anyone because both Nolan and Isaiah have their fathers’ middle names. I understood this but yet it was a bit of a bummer to leave him out of this child’s name. Well, obviously, I wasn’t the only one who agreed with me on this and within a few weeks later they switched everything to Jax Morgan. We actually approved of this! The name Morgan was our papaw’s middle and his mother’s maiden name, it was on the list while she was pregnant with Nolan too, but for a little girl instead.

Speaking of girl names, this was another pairing they had picked out in the early days. They had watched the show Euporia when the second season had begun back in late January, and they were thinking of using Rue, but they had only switched it when they decided it was too close to our dog name’s which is Rumer. Later on, they were talking about Remy Mae, and I was not a huge fan of it. I mainly thought of Remy’s popularity in general, and that’s why I enjoyed Nolan so much because it hadn’t exploded in the naming charts, of course it did surge a bit after he was born, but I hardly ever see it now! For a solid four months they were set with it and I just hated it. I was fine with “Mae” as that is one of my sister’s middle names and another name that is huge on both sides of our families too, so it just seemed likely to come up than any other name, and it’s the only one that had stuck throughout this pregnancy and it does fit well with her first, so I can’t wait to see how much she manages it in the future.

NOW WE WAIT…

As I said in the beginning of the post, Blondie has had contractions all throughout this pregnancy, but we are hoping for little miss sweet pea will keep inside the womb a bit longer. Once my sister makes it to around 32-36 weeks, her doctor will just let her go on with the early labor like she did with Nolan. I was also an early bird, but I was born three months in advance. We still don’t know why I wanted to break out so eagerly–hell, even I don’t know the answer to that question! We just hope she will be content, just a tad bit longer..

I do really want to meet this little babe and teach her the same things I taught her big brother, but I know the longer she keeps in the den the stronger she will be out here. Since she will have a pair of brothers going into preschool this year, she’s going to need all of the good fortune around her and mommy too. The boys are very excited to meet her, Nolan has been really curious of her while in Blondie’s belly. He’s already said he won’t change any dirty diapers though! Apparently, Zach will be in charge of that department! It’s going to be interesting to see how they react when she gets her first poopy diaper too…

I think I will wait until she is finally here to give you another update and tell you her name as well once she’s born and we’ve adjusted to the chaos of having a baby around again. Now if you’re on my Instagram, you might get a little treat as I may announce her welcome to the world on there. If you can, please send my sister and the baby some positive thoughts and prayers starting in early September to help ease the labor and delivery process for everyone involved.

Do you have any guesses as to what her name will be? Also, if you know, please don’t ruin the surprise of others commenting on this post.

snowflake