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Thursday, August 29, 2013

insta summer

Not only because this post features tons of pictures from my personal Instagram account, but because this summer flew by in an actual instant.  I can't believe it's essentially over!

We had such an awesome summer with this sweet boy!
I was so glad that we made our summer to-do list and were able to accomplish so much of it! It made for quite a few really neat "firsts" with Jake.

Looking over these pictures and remembering all of these fantastic moments is a pretty amazing feeling. We've been in the midst of quite a valley with some very scary issues with Jake's health. We've struggled over many many months to remind ourselves that God is in control of our lives. We cling to His promises with every fiber of our beings some days. 

And there are still hard days. More are to come, I'm sure.

People have said that they don't know how we do it. But when I look over these pictures, I can't help but be overwhelmed with the fact that we are the lucky ones. God has entrusted us with this precious, amazing little life that blesses us each and every day. And I have an incredible husband that is my very best friend and partner in everything. Life feels impossibly unfair some days. But when you have such a sweet and genuine little family surrounding you, you have an immeasurable amount of joy.

So here's to the close of a beautiful summer.
 I couldn't have asked for any two better boys to share it with.

Want to see more of my sweet family fun on Instagram? 
Follow me @sarahwilder1

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

when seasons change...

It's getting to be about that time.
School supplies, football, and sweaters. That's right folks, fall upon us. 

I love the beginning of a new season. And one of my favorite things to do is swap out my decorations. So while some of you might still be poolside, I'm breaking out the pine cones, pumpkins, acorns, and faded leaves.

The first room in my house to get a seasonal facelift is always the dining room. And today I thought I'd share my autumn space with you guys.

Last year, I made a pretty leaf centerpiece for the dining room.
I used the same concept to make a simple table fixture this fall. I even used the left over leaves!

Twig wreaths over the windows, pine cones, and other autumn decor are a few of the finishing touches in the room.

Ready for a dinner party and some pumpkin pie!

Friday, August 23, 2013

book week {jake's favorites}

We've reached the most fun day of book week, right? 
Hello, Dr. Seuss anyone??

Jake loooves to read. As if we've given him any choice. With two book dorks for parents and a first grade teacher for a grandmother, he was trapped. 
He has a lot of the classics and seems to favor the tongue twisters of Dr. Seuss the most. It's not at all unusually for him to grab one of his books and come plop down in your lap, demanding to be read to. I read to him a lot during the day this way. He also has a four story a night minimum with J.B. before going to bed. 
 Jake's favorites literally can change on a daily basis, but these seem to be what we go back to the most.

Have you found a new book for yourself, a friend, or even your kiddo?
I hope so! We loved sharing our favorite books with you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

book week {j.b.'s favorites}

It's only fitting that we each get a day to tell you about our favorite books. Today, my hubby {aka the man, the myth, and legend} is up to bat. 

If I'm a reader, J.B. is a super reader. He tears through books like crazy.
He most enjoys the psychological thrillers and mystery crime novels. And his favorite books carry the same character through a series as the person gets more and more complex.
J.B. enjoys books that tell a real story along with the written one. He loves to discover what the author is trying to say through their writing.

And these are a few of his favorites:

 The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. 

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

High school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty. Now, as Coach Rake’s “boys” sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake—or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach—and himself—before he can get on with life, the stakes are especially high.

 Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel.  The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope--a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

{note from Sarah: I absolutely loved this book too! Prepare yourself for an ugly cry}

And there they are - my man's picks!
Come back on Friday to see what my sweet little boy loves!

Monday, August 19, 2013

book week {sarah's favorites}

It's book week! 

Everyone in our house loves to read and we're all excited to share a few of our favorites with you.

My turn today.
I love fiction. When I sit down to read a book, I want to be taken to a far away place and hear an amazing tale. I want to be friends with the characters and I cry after they're gone. Yup, I'm a sap.
And I love love love an climactic ending, especially if there's a twist!

I have a soft spot for tales set during the Holocaust {Sarah's Key and Winter Garden below} and I am a huge huge fan of dystopia novels {Divergent below}.

These are a few of my very favorite books.
{summaries via amazon}

This dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies. It is a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

Jane Eyre is the story of a small, plain-faced, intelligent, and passionate English orphan. Jane is abused by her aunt and cousin and then attends a harsh charity school. Through it all she remains strong and determinedly refuses to allow a cruel world to crush her independence or her strength of will. A masterful story of a woman's quest for freedom and love. Jane Eyre is partly autobiographical, and Charlotte Brontë filled it with social criticism and sinister Gothic elements. A must read for anyone wishing to celebrate the indomitable strength of will or encourage it in their growing children.

When their beloved father falls ill, sisters Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

Granted, these favorites may change over time, but I love love love all of these titles. 
Pick one up!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

strawberry cobbler {recipe}

We're big strawberry fans around here, and this dessert is a great summer dish!

 : :  Ingredients  : :

2 cups of strawberries {diced}
1 cup of sugar {divided}
I cup of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Dice up your strawberries, then mix in 1/2 cup of sugar with the berries.


Mix up the remaining ingredients for the cobbler batter. 
Pour into a greased 8x8 casserole dish and gently sprinkle strawberries on top. Don't push them down, just allow them to sit where they fall.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the crest begins to brown.

Super simple, right?
I think this is best served warm, with ice cream or cool whip!

a giveaway winner!

Thanks to all of you that joined in on the giveaway! 

The winner is Ramona Cramer who said summer meant lazy days and sunshine! I wholeheartedly agree, Ramona! Just send me a note and I'll ship these goodies out to you right away!

I really enjoyed putting this together and I think I'll make it a seasonal thing.
Is there anything you'd like to see in the fall giveaway?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

the nursery now

Jake wasn't even born yet when I first revealed his nursery
It was sweet, but completely unlived in. There were lots of empty shelves and baskets, all waiting for just the right item.

And now that my little man is approaching 17 months, I can say that this room is most definitely lived in. I've been asked several times what his nursery looks like currently, so I thought I'd invite you guys in.

The changing table area has been altered a few times as Jake has gotten older, but it basically houses all of our essentials - diapers, wipes, nail trimmer, q-tips, etc. 

At the prompting of a couple other moms of boys, we did grab a wipe warmer a couple of weeks after Jake was born. And holy cow did it ever help cut down on Jake's "accidents" during diaper changes. I once thought a wipe warmer was the silliest thing to worry about, but now I'm totally a believer.

Also, if you look near the top left bookcase, you'll see that we also splurged for a video monitor. We had no issues with our original Angel Care monitor, but it can't even compare to this great video monitor. Jake is a quiet guy {lucky, I know!} and he can sometimes lay awake for hours. Having a video monitor means we can see if he's passed out or playing and cranky or genuinely upset.  This monitor also has some pretty awesome features like a nightlight, an intercom to talk back to him, and a zoom. It can also do a mobile pan to scan different areas of the room if we choose. Might come in handy when he's able to get out of his bed! 

Now that I've sold you a new video monitor...

Seriously, we love it. And could never go back to anything else. 

Still loving his Eric Carle theme. The Hungry Caterpillar is such a neat children's book and I love how it translates to his room. 

We've officially filled up the baskets on these shelves. Most contain toys. One has hangers. One has extra linens. One is dedicated to lotions and extra bath toys. Jake really doesn't seem to get into these much, but there's nothing there on the bottom two shelves that he really shouldn't touch.

Oh and we quickly added some photos to our once empty frames. 
Newborns pictures of Jake:

I might update these soon. But for now, I still really love looking at that tiny peanut baby in the pictures!

Most of the other side of the room is dedicated to toys and books. 

Yes! My IKEA chair and ottoman are still bright white! Are you amazed?! I am. 

Confession: This is actually my second cover. The original was on there until Jake was almost a year old. But this kiddo had some icky spit up issues early on and inevitably there were some faint stains here. A less picky person probably wouldn't have noticed it, but y'all know me... We grabbed a new cover in January and it still looks great despite my rambunctious toddler. I'm definitely impressed with the IKEA durability on this one.

I do try to keep the toys and books corralled on shelves and in baskets. 
Jake absolutely loves to read and we have so. many. books.
His display book shelves have been wonderful to display  and swap out a lot of his favorites. Most of the others end up in the large basket on the floor.

Still loving the Eric Carle illustrations as well. 
 To see more about the DIY artwork in Jake's room, check out this post.

All in all, I think it's still my favorite room in the house. Everything here is so fun and sweet, just like my little fellow!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

have you entered?

Did you throw your name in the basket to win the summer giveaway?

Last few days are approaching to win the collection goodies!
Click on the icon to check it out and enter!

Giveaway closes August 14th!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

the painted playset

J.B. and I have been thinking about getting a play set for Jake. Something small and simple for now.

So when we happened upon this old play set out on the road, we got super excited. 
Okay, so it was faded and moldy and covered in bird crap... But I had a vision!


And here's how that vision panned out... 

Isn't it the cutest little play set ever?! I'm crazy about it. 

Okay, so the my little plan of attack.
 First I scrubbed this nasty thing down with soap and water. I used a brush to get all the leftover sticker parts and mildew off.  After letting it dry, I started with the spray paint.

This is my arsenal:

The lime green and baby blue are from the Valspar Color Radiance line. They are both paint and primer, and they're also good for plastics. 
The navy blue is from their regular spray paint line. Regular spray paint doesn't always apply well to plastics, so I also grabbed the Valspar plastic primer. 

Then I just... painted. 

I think this sweet fella' loves his new play set!

You'd be amazed at what a little spray paint and imagination can do!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

life in august

The Yard by Alex Grecian   |    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Civil Wars' new self titled album

I'm obsessed with this album. Obsessed. I'm literally listening to it as I write this post. 

I was so bummed to hear about this duet taking a hiatus, but the silver lining is that they recorded this album prior to the split. So while The Civil Wars aren't back together, I still have some amazing new music to listen to.

Halloween costumes. 

Is it too soon? I think not.
Especially when you have awesome past costumes like these to live up to:

My mom!

I've been doing some work from home lately and she has been a huge help with Jake. 
Usually when this happens, I'm pretty overwhelmed. But for once I totally feel on top of things. I wouldn't be this caught up without her and Jake has had a blast spending some extra time with his Gramma while she's out of school for the summer.

born with it by Maybelline

I've really taken to this nail polish line. They have a great assortment of colors and are incredibly affordable {under $3!}. Sometimes the cheaper polishes can tend to chip off quickly, but the quality with this brand is better than those that cost twice as much.

 My very first Stitch Fix box!

For those that are unfamiliar with Stitch Fix, you go to stitchfix.com and create your own very specific style profile. The Stitch Fix stylists hand pick five items for you to try on. They send the clothing pieces directly to your house, you try them on and decide what to keep {if anything}. You can send back what you don't want in the prepaid postage box.

I feel like I have trouble finding just the right pieces for my wardrobe. And with a toddler, running in and out of changing rooms isn't always an option. Basically, clothes shopping is a total pain. 

I've keenly watched several others sign up for the service and they've all been blown away with the quality and fit of the stylists picks. So last week I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for a box. You can do a one time deal {my choice this time} or sign up for a monthly box. Feel free to use the link above - I think I get a little something for referrals.

I can't wait to see what the stylists come up with!


I can't do it all. 

I know. I'm a slow learner. But I'm finally coming to terms with the idea that everything cannot be perfect all the time. And that asking for help is allowed. Whether I'm utilizing a fun service like Stitch Fix or calling on Gramma to come play for the day, finding ways to make a little life easier is totally acceptable. 

For an independent, stubborn, perfectionist momma like me, sometimes this lesson is a tough one.

So that's my August, in a nutshell. Here's to autumn!