Jun 30, 2014

Nine Months

Growing // 23 pounds, 7 ounces. I thought she was slowing down... but it turns out she's not really. She's also 30.5 inches and her head has outgrown every hat she owns, including the 12-24 month sun hat I just bought her a month ago. She's off the charts in every category and most people think she's about 15 months and a late walker when they first meet her. #toddlerbaby

Eating + sleeping // This past month has been life changing! Zianne is down to four milk feedings a day, takes two consistent naps for 1-2 hours each, and goes to bed between 8-8:30. This is the first time since she was born that I can say we are on a fairly consistent schedule instead of just a cycle or routine. Zianne nurses at roughly 8, 12, 4, and 8 each day and it's glorious! It was getting so hard to cram her fifth feeding and her catnap into the early evening hours, so I'm happy we are past that stage. Z also eats solids for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and can chew and swallow so much better now. She loves sweet potato fries, puffs, applesauce, yogurt, and any meat we've given her {she's clearly a carnivore like her parents}.

Wearing // I am now learning what other parents feel like when a child's clothes start to get worn out and shabby and you debate if you should buy a few new ones before they move onto the next size. Z has been holding steady in mostly 18  month clothes for quite awhile now and her onesies have seen better days. In all her other sizes I only needed one of those coordinating six packs of onesies because she flew through every size so quickly, but her 18 month onesies are looking rough. We lost one to a prune-induced blowout, another one is starting to break around the snaps, and all the others are gathering stains and looking old. I might bust out some of her 24 month onesies this week to see if we can start transitioning out of her raggedy ones without buying any more 18 month clothes.

Doing // Zianne is still not a crawler and shows no real interest in learning. Now that she's hit 9 months, we are trying to train her a bit by putting her down on her hands and knees, moving toys just out of her reach, and even teaching her to rock her weight back and forth. However, she's not really into it, and would much rather sit and play or roll around. In all other areas though, she is developing rapidly. I can tell her brain is processing so much more and she's making so many connections. She'll watch our hands, mouths, and our actions so intently and start to imitate us. She now claps, high fives, points, says "so big" by reaching her hands over her head, and I think she's starting to sign "all done."  She has also learned to turn the pages of her books as I read to her.

Loving // People, dogs, animal sounds, swimming, drinking out of a straw, watching other babies and toddlers in Instagram videos {so keep 'em coming moms!}

Loathing // Same old things.... hot car seats and getting her face wiped. Z is also fine with us leaving her with other caretakers {gym childcare, church nursery, etc.} but now when we come back to pick her up, she starts crying as soon as she sees us as if her past hour was horrible, even if she was playing happily before she made eye contact with us. It's like reverse separation anxiety.

Daddy's girl // Zianne and Dad have been spending more and more time together. He's taken her to almost all her swim lessons for the past month, as I've been busy with baby showers and school work. Micah has also started putting her up on his shoulders when they walk around together, which she obviously loves!

Mishaps and milestones // This whole month has felt like one beautiful milestone with the whole dropping-a-feeding-and-the-third-nap! I welcome a more consistent schedule!

See Zianne's other monthly updates here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

Jun 29, 2014

Fourth of July Flag Cake

I make this little gem of a cake almost every Independence Day and it's always a hit! I know these flag cakes are all over the Internet, but let me tell you why this one is better. Instead of doing an actual white cake, the bottom of this one is a delicious sugar cookie/shortbread concoction. And the frosting is not too sweet and not too cream cheese-y. You will LOVE it!

What you need {for the cake}:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

What you do:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.
5. Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
6. Cool and frost {see directions below}.

What you need {for the frosting}:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
A drop of milk for consistency {if needed}
*You can add a full bar (8oz.) of cream cheese if you like a more cheesy taste. I do not, so I only use half a package.

What you do:
1. Beat butter and cream cheese until well blended
2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.
3. Add a tiny bit of milk or a little more powdered sugar if needed for consistency.
4. Spread frosting over cake {once the it has cooled!}
5. Add blueberries, strawberries, or any other red or blue fruit to create a flag design.


Jun 28, 2014

Saturday Snippets

Zianne's gender-neutral nursery was featured on Parent's Magazine! See how I girl-ified her room after she was born here.

I know this parody video went semi-viral a week or two ago, but I never got around to watching it until this past weekend. So well done and accurate!

My friend Heather just built a beautiful new home and shared some home building tips on her blog. I told her not to worry about a guest room for me if I come visit. I'll just sleep in her gorgeous butler's pantry.

Love this post about battling entitlement over summer break...

Excited to read this FREE eBook on iPhone photography...

One of the best things I've read about daughters and dating...

Stop cutting your cake wrong...

This list of typos is stop-laughing-out-loud-while-nursing-your-daughter-to-sleep funny....

An interesting read on the differences between American and French parenting styles...

This list has great ideas for keeping kids busy at home during summer break...

Although Arizona houses rarely have fireplaces, I thought this was a fun read on how to decorate your mantel...

I want this backyard, especially the covered hammock...

Oh, and breaking news... I'm selling half my closet {seriously!} over on my Insta account @thecuratedcloset. The sale is auction style and bidding ends tomorrow {Sunday, 6/29} at 3pm PST. Happy shopping!

Jun 26, 2014

Make Your Own Cold Brew Coffee...

Iced coffee. Toddy. Cold brew.

Whatever you want to call it, it's simply amazing. I'm talking about coffee that brews in cold water {rather than coffee made with hot water that is later iced down... blech!} Toddy is the perfect afternoon pick me up. You just pour some over ice, add a little sweetened condensed milk, stir, and sip. All of a sudden you are wide awake at 3pm and the late afternoon lull has nothing on you.

Iced toddies have been popular for a few years now, but you don't have to pay $2.00 in a coffee shop for a hipster to serve one to you. Oh no. You can make it at home, so easily, and have a jug in your fridge at all times.

This is all you do...

Grab a large Tupperware bowl with a lid. Like the biggest one you can find. The size you would use to take a salad to a party or that you would store leftover pasta in or something. {This is not an exact science people. If you con't have Tupperware that big, just choose a baking bowl and cover it with plastic wrap when it's in the fridge.}

Fill your container with filtered water. Whatever water you  usually drink around your home. 

Dump half a 12 oz. bag of ground coffee into the water. I'm talking about the normal size coffee bags you can buy at the store. I usually use a medium to dark roast, because toddy is supposed to be dark and rich, but you can use whatever type of bean you want.

Cover the container with a lid and put in the fridge, where you will let it sit for at least 12 hours, although I think a 24-48 hour brewing period is best. You don't even need to stir it. Just cover and plop in fridge. Go away. Come back the next day.

The trickiest part of this whole endeavor is filtering your coffee when it's fully brewed. It will take about ten minutes of your life and I can't promise you won't spill a little. Again, this isn't a science. Be creative with the tools you have in your kitchen. There are probably a million ways to strain your coffee, but this is the method I use. I fold a paper towel so it's double-thick. {I've found that a paper towel works much better than a coffee filter by the way. Coffee filters not porous enough.} I place the paper towel over a large four cup measuring cup with a pour spout. I slowly pour the coffee water on top of the paper towel and wait until it pools in the center and begins dripping through the towel into the cup. Once the cup is mostly full, I discard the paper towel, pour the filtered coffee into a pitcher or bottle, and then repeat the process again with a fresh paper towel. Cheesecloth also works as a filter if you want to get fancy. I usually find that filling the cup twice and switching the paper towel once in the middle of the process works best. {*I have also learned since taking these photos that setting the measuring cup on a plate or baking pan catches any spillage during the filtering process.} Once the coffee has been transferred to a bottle or pitcher, I place it in the fridge. It's not the prettiest method, but when it's done you have about eight cups of perfectly filtered iced coffee sitting in your fridge waiting to be consumed throughout the week, and the whole process takes about 15 minutes, not counting the 24 hours of brewing time.

Try it! And seriously, add some sweetened condensed milk when you drink it. You won't be mad about it.

Jun 25, 2014

Finish This #25... {and a giveaway!}


This week is our 25th weekly "Finish This" link-up, which falls perfectly on the 25th of June. Notice that all our prompts revolve around the number 25 this week. As a thank you for participating in our "Finish This" link-up, the co-hosts are offering $25 gift cards. To be eligible to win a gift card, you must participate in this week's link-up by answering the prompts in a post on your blog and adding it to the official collection list using the link below. Four (4) winners will be selected using a random number generator. Giveaway ends June 30. Feel free to visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

I have a quarter (25 cents) to use a pay phone, so I call... Micah? Because I'm assuming this is an emergency situation. I'm always craving a 30 minute girlfriend or sister chat, but a pay phone seems uncomfortable for that scenario. Especially in Phoenix in the summer.

I found $25 in my pocket, so I buy... a new cotton dress or tank top. I'm realizing my summer wardrobe is seriously lacking right now, since I was pregnant last summer and didn't buy anything new that was non-maternity.

I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, so I turn on... Gilmore Girls on DVD. I don't have any shows I currently watch. Parenthood is ending next season {insert crying emoji} and Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife are on pause until next year, so GG it is!

A meal I can prepare, from start to finish, in 25 minutes or less is... grilled salmon and asparagus or pesto sausage pizza come to mind. Those are two easy meals we eat often around here.

At the age of 25, I wish I had known... that God was working all things together for my good. I knew that in my mind, but my heart didn't trust that promise like it does now.

If I drove 25 miles from my house, I'd be in... {to the north} riding a quad or boating in Cave Creek; {to the east} hiking in the Superstition Mountains; {to the south} passing through Maricopa on a road trip to San Diego; {to the west} at a Mariner's spring training game in Peoria.

Prompts for next week (July 2) are...
It's never too late...
I compare myself to others...
My personality is...
I can...
I embrace change...

An InLinkz Link-up

Jun 24, 2014


For some reason I've become the queen of baby showers. I have no idea why, but I seem to host them all the time. It was not the same with wedding showers. I think I've helped with three of those ever... but for some reason, when it comes to babies, I'm all about celebrating.

Now that I've hosted so many, I have quite the arsenal of ideas and decor, whether the baby is a boy or a girl. This time around was a shower for Emily and baby girl Lizzie who should be born any day now. Lizzie has an older brother, so Emily wasn't in need of much baby gear. Rather, we spent the afternoon showering her with adorable baby girl clothes and celebrating a new life!

We decided to stick with girly colors and florals instead of doing an actual theme. The night before the party I made a new pennant banner with pretty floral fabric. We asked the guests to sign a Jesus Storybook Bible as a gift to Lizzie. And my darling community group girls help me host... they put together the flowers and brought almost all the food too! Thank you ladies!


Jun 23, 2014


The obligatory all-the-cute-pics-of-Z collection...

Father's Day with my dad and Zianne's dada...

Uncle Josh and Aunt Britt came to visit. Zianne loved having them!

Fun with dada all the time...

Anne came to visit for approximately 12 hours! Most of these hours included talking on the couch until 2am
and then pumping ourselves full of caffeine the next morning.

||To see more of our life lately follow @jenrussum on Instagram||
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