Monday, February 25, 2013

our travel book. finally.

It's been 2 years, 3 months, and 8 days since returning from our Southeast Asia trip, but the memories of this extraordinary time are as vivid as they were the day we experienced them.

Upon returning, life sped up way faster than we would have liked, and to be honest, we never fully debriefed from not only the 13 months we spent living in Taiwan, but the 48 days we lived out of our backpacks and visited 6 countries in Southeast Asia as well.

I began this project nearly a year ago, and finally finished it a few weeks ago.  The months and months of sifting through thousands of photos was totally worth it.  At 178 pages and including nearly 500 photos from our travels, this project was no small feat, but now that this books adorns our coffee table it allows us to revisit those travels all over again. 

It's incredible to see OUR photos in print.  The day our book arrived, Dan and I sat on the couch looking through our book,  re-living our travels once again.

We both have so much to say about this trip and over time I'd like to add notes right on the pages with a simple black sharpie.  I think these notes from both Dan and I will make this book even more special.

{There are way too many favorite pages to share, you'll just have to stop by for a visit and take a look for yourself!}

We can't wait to share this with family and friends who come to visit as it's the first time in two years we've shared most of these photos!  

For more about our travels check out these posts.

Friday, February 22, 2013

little blessings.

Say hello to baby Amelia!

Born this Tuesday, she is the newest Heironimus!

We were so excited to meet little Amelia and congratulate her little family that we visited just hours after her birth.  

"We have to go visit our future daughter-in-law" -Dan =)

Avery is such a great big sister already. 

"Don't cry baby Amelia, it's okay!" - Avery

If you remember, I've had the opportunity to take their family pictures for the past two years {check them out here and here}.  A few weeks ago Heather asked me to take some maternity photos for her as there was a chance little Amelia would have an earlier than expected arrival, check them out here.

This family has been such a blessing to Dan and I, especially over the past year.  It's such a joy to watching Miss Avery grow and change, and can't wait to watch little Amelia grow up with our little guy!

Last night we went back to the hospital to visit with Heather and Nathan.  Our friendship grows deeper with each interaction and we're so thankful to have friends who are real and open with us about this pregnancy and parenting business!


Thanks friends, for sharing your little ones with us, the love we have for these girls is like none we've ever experienced, what a blessing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

it's the little things.

Our little blue house is full of little treasures, like this great coat rack.

We found it among the things left behind by the previous owners and had intended to paint it white and donate it to the church nursery, however as the living room evolved, I could see that it just might have a home right where it started.  {Don't worry, we're going to make another similar one in white for the church nursery!}

It was a little long, but just the right color and feel to make a nice little entry way for our oddly shaped entry.  This space has always bothered me, because the door must open into the living room, and this nook can't house much of anything because it's also the basement entry...the flow just doesn't make a lot of sense.  But, that's what you get in a little old house - you just have to make it work!

This weekend, after finally checking a number of other "final touches" off our list for the living room, our little coat rack was finally hung.  And we LOVE it!  No more coats thrown on the couch, bed, or anywhere else we could find to put them.

As you can see, we hung it fairly high on the wall.  The reasons for this is two-fold, first of all, I have long winter coats that I didn't want to come close to the ground, or be at a height that the pup might be able to mess with.  Also, we'd like to build some sort of shallow shoe storage unit to put under the coats and didn't want to worry about coats getting in the way or be limited in height by the location of the coat rack.

I'm so happy with the outcome, and the ability to reuse something we found {for free} in our house! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

planning ahead.

A few weeks ago a couple of pregnant friends and I swapped some freezer meals.  We each made 3 batches of 3 different meals, then traded 6 of those for 6 more meals.  It was a great way for us to fill the freezer with a few quick dinners.  We've already used 3 of those meals - one the evening I got home from the swap!!  They've been so convenient on evenings when we're working on the house and don't want to take time away to make a healthy dinner.

I've started being more intentional about meal planning lately - using a combination of our Green Bean Delivery, freezer meat/veggies/fruit, and canned veggies from out garden, it's really cut down on our grocery costs lately.  As I sat down to make our meal plan and grocery list this weekend, I decided to find a few recipes that I could also make freezer meals out of.

Last night I tried Pesto Chicken Alfredo Pasta Casserole, which was delicious!  The best part about recipes like this is that it makes WAY too much for just the two of us, but by splitting the pasta I'm able to make dinner for the evening, as well as put one away for later.  Also, because it's a casserole, I had about 40 minutes to prepare another couple of meals while I waited.  I prepped some Peachy Balsamic Chicken and 4 bags of cut up chicken ready for adding to any meal.

When we lived in PA we fell in love with freezer bread - uncooked loaves that we used for not only fresh baked bread, but also pizza, stromboli, pesto bread, and even cinnamon rolls.  We recently picked it up again at our local grocery and it got me to thinking that it would be really easy to make our this weekend, I gave it a shot.  I tried this recipe, which made 3 loaves that are ready and waiting in the freezer as well.

I'm not sure I'll ever be a once a month mom, I like cooking too much, but the convenience of prepping a number of meals in one afternoon is very appealing - and often money saving!  My hope is to put up an extra meal or two each week in order to use this spring while we finish up projects around the house.

Any awesome freezer meal ideas you like to keep on hand?

Monday, February 18, 2013

around here.

Life around here has been pretty productive.  We have been able to tackle a lot of finishing touches around the house and it feels so good to be moving forward - now if only the weather would move on into Spring everything would be just grand!

We recently finished the trim in the living room and in doing so were able to finally hang the last of the curtains, the coat rack, and even finish off the bookcase.  Once we touch up a few little paint spots around the room, the living room will officially be DONE!  Ahh, just thinking about it makes me excited!!!

The kitchen progress, however, seems to be two steps forward, one step back.  Yesterday Dan had to remove a few of the tiles we installed a year ago, in order to fix some level issues.  This needs to be remedied before we can finish installing the trim in the room.  On the plus side, the process was a lot easier than we anticipated, thanks to a whole host of tools we've accumulated over the past year.  This house is indeed a learning experience and we're finding that with each project we're getting better at getting it right the first time! 

Thanks to a few decent days recently - and by decent I mean mid 30s and sunny - we've been able to take  Miss Maggie for walks in the woods, which she loves!  It's fun to wonder our property and see the changes that come and go with the seasons, there are already so many lovely signs of spring!

Speaking of spring, Dan has been working hard to get some seedlings started for our garden this year.  We are much more prepared than last year and even have a wonderful little growing area set up in our spare bedroom, complete with a growing light and heated mats!  Last night he planted spinach, peas, and's hoping we have better luck than last year! =)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DIY Olliblocks.

How cool are these blocks from Caravan Shoppe?  I fell in love instantly, and knew they would be my first DIY project for baby Ankney.

Caravan Shoppe is filled with incredible artwork at insanely resonable prices - because you do the printing - how smart is that!?  So all you do is download the file and print when and where you like, no rolled up artwork to be damaged in the mail!!

I found their shop through The House of Smith's blog which offered a discount code for 25% off {which expired Feb 1st}, coupled with Caravan Shoppe's "spend $25 and save 20%" code, I was able to get all 3 sets of Olliblocks for just $13.75.  I plan to save the Christmas blocks for Christmas this year and make some Valentines blocks for some friends.  You could even make magnets out of them! 

Like they suggest, I had them printed at Staples on sticker paper for better quality than I would get at home and found blank blocks at Hobby Lobby.  After cutting each square and sticking to the blocks, I trimmed the edges and finished with a coat of Mod Podge to seal them.

I am in love with the look and can't wait to display them in our little man's room!

***Today I found another coupon code and a giveaway for a $30 credit at Caravan Shoppe, head over to My Sister's Suitcase to check it out!***

Monday, February 4, 2013

{19 weeks}

This week we got to see Baby Ankney for the first time, and HE's perfect!  Seeing him move around the screen was so magical, especially watching Dan's face as the miracle of pregnancy became so real for him!

I've been so busy with work these past few weeks I almost forget sometimes that I'm pregnant!  Still loving this whole experience and thankful that I have an abundance of energy and feel wonderful overall.  I'm soaking it up and working on as much as I can around the house in preparation for the baby.  Productivity not only feels good, but helps to relieve some stress about the insanely long to-do list before baby comes.

Dan and I have been able to spend most evenings together lately and that feels WONDERFUL!  We get to eat dinner together nearly every night, though he is tired of my obsession with brussel sprouts {pregnancy craving?}.  We spend our nights working on the house and tossing out baby names as we think of them.  The task of naming your child is quite a feat!  We have a short list of favorites, but plan to keep the little guy's name a secret until he's born.