Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

March 30, 2013

Three Day Weekends

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We have had a great Easter weekend so far… Yesterday was our only day of “rest” (aka only day not jammed packed with family events) and we took advantage of the downtime to dye some Easter eggs using the Pinterest Kool aid method … They turned out pretty neat and it was rather painless! Definitely recommended if you have little ones. We also watched plenty of princess (sleeping beauty) and I got a good work out in… Successful day!

Today was a egg hunt at Chris’s mom’s church – complete with a petting zoo… Lila was pretty brave and even pet a goat and guinea pig!(and forced me to hold a duck!) Very big steps if you know her (and me!) 🙂 We capped off the day at moms house where she had her 2nd egg hunt and got lots of goodies! Casey and Janelle were in town and it was great to spend time with them last night at the Stars game and then today… Wish Tech wasn’t so far away!

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Tomorrow morning is Church and then lunch with Chris’s clan… Cross your fingers we get sleep tonight… A nasty cold bit Lila on Wednesday and although she has been acting and feeling better during the day she has been sleeping AWFUL. Seriously, its like having a newborn again… May have caused us to reconsidered the whole second child thing. A good nights rest would be much appreciated! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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February 19, 2013

30 by 30

30_before_30

I did not make any resolutions this year. I turned 29 last month. Although the thought of turning the big 3-0 doesn’t really bother me as much as I anticipated it would, I have decided I really want to make my last year in my 20’s a really good one. I have seen a few of these lists floating around the blog world and thought…why not? Now, I cannot promise that my list will be inspiring, creative or exciting – I can actually guarantee that most will see this list as quite boring, BUT I wanted it to be realistic and I wanted it to be achievable. I wanted it to be a list that encompasses all the little things that get pushed to the wayside in the hum-ho of every day life. So without further ado, in no particular order…. my 30 to-dos before I’m 30 🙂

  1. Go on a picnic
  2. Visit the beach
  3. Develop a legit skin care routine and stick to it
  4. Go to the Perot Museum
  5. Master 5 miles (I will most likely never run another 1/2, but I would love to be able to run 5 miles once every week or two without dying)
  6. Read 10 books
  7. Plant daffodil/tulip bulbs to enjoy in the Spring (I’m always jealous of those who do this)
  8. Take a few weekends to visit friends and family (AR and H-town here we come!)
  9. Create a will (seriously ashamed we don’t have this together yet)
  10. Have monthly date nights with the boy
  11. Network in our community and develop some more neighborhood peeps
  12. Plan & Price our kitchen “spruce-up”
  13. See another musical with mom
  14. Increase savings by 50%
  15. Re-do a piece of furniture
  16. Make a gingerbread house
  17. When doing #2 – run on the beach at sunrise
  18. Take at least 10 – 15 pictures a month – capture the fun times!
  19. Update wardrobe (not a total refresh but increase staple pieces that will last)
  20. Girls trip!
  21. Write at least 2 blog posts a month (hopefully this will be at a minimum)
  22. Host a holiday
  23. Go to the Zoo
  24. Call someone who isn’t on my previous call log at least once a week
  25. Carve pumpkins
  26. Spruce the backyard and use it!
  27. Pay for the person’s coffee behind me at Starbucks
  28. Start using my reusable bags for our weekly grocery store runs
  29. Hold hands
  30. Be Present.

So that’s it….I wont promise any regular updates or any special blog posts specifically devoted to this, but I’m sure I’ll update as the year progresses 🙂

Much Love – Christy

February 17, 2013

A Year of Paleo

So Valentine’s Day at the Ratcliff house was not full of romance and Hallmark cards….somewhere along the way Chris convinced me that the day was a made-up holiday over commercialized by Hallmark. This is not to say we don’t still recognize the day and give the greeting card industry their $3.99, we just don’t go out or buy overpriced flowers and strawberries. This year was fun though, Lila had a party at school and we made cookies, home-made valentines cards and gift bags for her friends. We dressed in pink and red and said I love you a million times 🙂 Chris and I are content to celebrate us and our little family in a million ways the rest of the 364 days of the year when everything is about 20% cheaper and a bit less crowded 🙂
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Valentine’s Day marked another big day in our house this year…we officially marked one year of Paleo/Cleaner eating! It’s been quite a year and although there were quite a few challenging times and maybe even some pizza and cake, we seriously wouldn’t change a thing and will probably continue on eating like this for the forseeable future. Over the last year we have dropped some serious lbs (Chris especially) but more than that, we feel so much better and know we are healthier. We truly believe what you put in your body (and how much of it) has a direct impact on your whole body and mind.

When we first started we were SUPER strict and downsized our portions by at least half. We didn’t use condiments, cut out all alcohol sugar and didn’t cheat or eat out for at least the first two months. This time was probably the hardest, but I think in the end it was the most beneficial because it really re-started our taste buds and crushed any habit cravings. After about 2 months, I slowly stopped weighing out and measuring everything on my plate. I knew the amount I was eating and the weight I was at wasnt maintainable long-term and really wanted to see where I naturally landed while sticking to the Paleo principles. I still weigh my protein because I realize my portions were way out of line and its harder for me to gauge. I followed the basic rule of 2/3 of my plate being veggies/fruit and 1/3 protein. I also realized life was too short and added back cream in my coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of wine and feta/goat cheese. Life just really isn’t complete without these things 🙂 Chris also got a bit more flexible although he misses different things and is much better at staying on Paleo than I am at times! He has to have a scotch/bourbon, Chick-Fila and dark chocolate. I seriously am still impressed my beer lovin husband hasn’t had more than 5 beers in the past year!

Today we are much more flexible and sometimes have to fall off the Paleo bandwagon completely before getting back on. The interesting thing is that we always get back on. We seriously have no desire to regularly eat rice, pasta, bread, beans, etc. That isn’t to say we don’t still love a good pizza night or a good piece of pie (if you havent been to the Pie Emporium in Bishop…GO NOW!) but we make sure that when we eat non-Paleo foods they are made from the freshest and best ingredients and worthy of the “cheat”. Paleo has also opened up a whole new world of food and has forced me be more inventive to figure out how to get the “crunch” or “creaminess” I am craving. For example I LOVED toast pre paleo but really couldn’t find a paleo bread that made me say “mmmm”. After lots of experimenting and digging on blogs, I finally found an english muffin recipe that we eat at least once a week that allows us to have bacon,egg, cheese sandwiches & delicious nut butter & jelly toast! We have also found that cauliflower (which made it into our house about 3 times before Paleo) is a regular item on our shopping list…you can rice it, mash it, make pizza crust out of it…its the veggie with a million uses 🙂

So anyways, to sum it up, on our Paleo Anniversary, I’m thankful we made the change and think we are both healthier for it. Although some may scoff at it, it works for us right now and Im sure as we grow and our lives changes so will our eating habits 🙂 Hope everyone is enjoying this BEAUTIFUL February day….it doesnt get much better than this!
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Much Love – Christy

January 29, 2013

Thankful Tuesday

Thankful for the color green, my new iPhone, good hair stylists, mild winters, silly smiles, big hugs, good teachers, and hot coffee! Just a few of my favorite things this Tuesday morning! Regular blogging to resume now!!

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October 7, 2012

Lila’s Play Kitchen

So I can’t even begin this post without doing two things.  First, I need to give credit to Young House Love, if you havent read this blog, it’s an incredibly talented couple who are pros at redo-redesign and create some pretty awesome things.  I was a total copy-cat on this project, but am proud of doing it and think they would be too 🙂  Second, if I could shout it from the roof top I would, but I have to say THANKS to my step dad Jimmy for helping me make this little goal a reality…he was super thoughtful and really enjoyed helping me make this for Lila! So much so in fact that if you are interested in getting one of these little numbers for your own little chef…he has been on the hunt for materials and is ready to mass produce or customize one to someone’s liking!

So let me back up and say that we spend a TON of time in the kitchen and I really wanted  to get Lila her own little kitchen where she could be the boss and cook up some yummy creations.  I knew I wanted something decor friendly and would fit in our kitchen or ion a small space.  I’m all for primary colors and characters but if there is a possibility it would be a permanent fixture in a common area, I wanted it to fit 🙂 More than decor, I wanted it to be well made, sturdy and preferably made of wood for longevity.  Unfortunately, when I started hunting all I could find where giant plastic monstrosities that wouldn’t quite fit in our 1924 space or more appropriately sized crazy expensive wood kitchens (and none that didn’t either scream girl or primary colors).  Now, maybe I was naive, but if you haven’t shopped for a play kitchen lately go ahead and do it and see if you are as shocked as I was.  I don’t know what I expected but I seriously didn’t expect a kitchen for A CHILD to cost $200+.  Some of the wood options were close to $500 for all the necessary kitchen pieces!  Luckily my blog reading paid off and I decided I wasn’t going to settle…I was going tackle making exactly what I wanted and attempt to come in under the budget I had for a purchased one.  This is what the finished product looks like:

 

This which started out as this:

Not the original but close….

  

Yep that’s right, we took an over-the-fridge cabinet and with a few adjustments we made a play kitchen! Complete with towel rack,  oven rack, real working light inside the oven, hooks for utensils and a “working” faucet, sink and oven knobs! We chose to not build in stove burners so Lila could have ample counter space but I made her one using a trivet and a round of wood.  Once we added a toaster pots/pans and some play food, it really came together!   I even used a shimmer finish on the counter and backsplash so it could have some sparkle 🙂 Unfortunately, we forgot to take step-by-step  pictures,so I just included some in progress and in use pictures so show some of the details and of course to show the chef in action!

 

She is making me toast and egg…its her specialty 🙂   All in all, I ended up spending what I would have spent to buy something already constructed, but this is completely sturdy, and completely what I want so I think this is a real bargain…it took about 3 weekends (having to work at nap time to make sure someone didn’t get a sneak peek!) and was worth every hour!

So there it is…..We are cooking up a storm here at the Ratcliff house and now Lila can get in on the action!!

Much Love – Christy

October 6, 2012

The 2nd Birthday Party

Pinterest inspiration – made by Meme!

Last weekend was Lila’s 2nd Birthday party and it was so. much. fun.  I seriously enjoy the whole party planning process and although it can be a bit daunting and stressful (who will come, will it rain, will there be enough food, will she have a meltdown….) when party day actually arrives, none of the things you worry about rarely matter (even if some of those overblown fears become reality).  Case in point, it did rain (a lot) and I wasnt super impressed with my food (a lazy bug hit me and I didn’t make most of it which is typically my favorite part).  BUT, Lila had the best time and it was seriously so awesome to see a house full of friends and family.  The fact that it was a miserable day weather and traffic wise made me even more grateful people battled mother nature to help us celebrate!   When everyone left it looked like a tornado had blown through…number one key that you had a successful party! 

Lila was so different this year…last year she was timid and a bit confused by all the people…this year she ran around the house in charge and let everyone know “this is my turf”! She told everyone hello and goodbye, got to run and play with all her friends and ate her fill of cake and cookies 🙂 A successful day be her standards I’m sure!

I started thinking of what I wanted to do for Lila’s 2nd birthday party about 6 months ago.  My mom had very sweetly requested that IF Lila just happened to be into Sesame Street IF she could make the same Big Bird cake she made both Casey and I for our 2nd Birthdays….Well, I being the sappy individual I am couldn’t say no, so the theme was set.  Lila’s favorite character by far is “melmo” (Elmo) so he made it on the invites and her dress (both Etsy).    For everything else I decided to go super simple and a quick search of pinterest lead me to tons of super cute craft ideas for the party and food set-up.  A quick trip (or two or three) to Hobby Lobby, a few nights of crafting and some help from my mom and I was super happy with the personal touches I was able to incorporate into her party.  I’ve picture dumped some of my favorites (both details and just pics) from her actual birthday and party day for your viewing pleasure! 

 
 
 
 

Be back soon with another post about Lila’s play kitchen 🙂 

Much Love – Christy

September 29, 2012

Lila Kate – 2 years

We had a wonderful party this weekend to celebrate our little girl turning the Big 2! (Ill blog about the party and the best.gift. ever later).  Ill have to admit, saying “little girl” instead of “baby” is a big deal for me.  Some  say that the 1st birthday was the most emotional, but I would have to say the last few months have been the hardest…she is so fun, but each day I feel like a little bit of the baby goes away and is replaced with a little girl…full of sass and sweetness (and just a hint of meanness if she feels like it).

Now, the quiet moments before bed or when she wants to cuddle because she is recovering from the most tragic  boo-boo are so special.  I literally want to stop time and forever feel the weight of her body and the smell of her sweet head.

She keeps us on our toes! From the moment she wakes to the moment we say night-night, she is full of energy and vying for every bit of attention she can get.  She is becoming a little lady!  I am surprised when she uses her manners without prompting (bless you is her favorite!) and it just about melted my heart when I got my first “Love you” without me saying it first.  She has learned the proper (and improper) use of “no” ….it’s probably her favorite word and what was once cute is now insanely aggravating!  Her favorite songs are “ABC”, “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, and the “Wheels on the Bus” (but really only the verse where the mommies go “shush shush shush”.  We have to sing that verse so that every member of our family has “shushed” before moving on).  She still loves a weird variety of music…if it has a good beat, the girl can get down.  I’m hopeful her dance moves are not just mimicking mine….I can’t possibly look that silly…right? 🙂

On the eating and sleeping front, she is doing great.  Food wise, she is probably similar to most toddlers and is pretty picky. She is very particular with textures and unfortunately, because of our schedules, we often still fix her a separate meal from ours (or she will eat our leftovers from previous meals).  I’m hopeful that over the next year we can transition to eating more meals as a family; I think that will help expand her palate. Her favorite foods are spaghetti, cheese in any form, most fruits, and chicken nuggets….she is also weirdly fond of peas but I’m not complaining 🙂  She is taking a 2 hour nap pretty consistently and sleeps from 7:30pm – 7am without a problem.  Of course there is always the occasional hiccup but I hear that’s to be expected until she is 18 and out of the house. 😉

18 months to now have been a lot of fun…watching her vocabulary and communication flourish and seeing her soak up our actions and words (mostly by repeating everything we do)  is pretty amazing.  She is her own person and I am so honored to get to discover (and watch her discover) her own personality, likes and dislikes…I love that she is super ticklish and hearing her sweet giggle when I am getting her neck or little legs is my absolute favorite sound. She “reads” to us now using what I’m sure is the same inflection and cadence we use when we read to her…I love that she tells me to “sit momma sit”  and is so uberly happy when I oblige.  Seeing her run to hug me after a long day with the brightest eyes and smile makes me feel like the most important person in the entire world.  Her happiness is infectious!

It is crazy to believe that 2 years ago today, we hadn’t even been able to hold her yet, and now I can’t remember what life was like without her.  Chris and I are so blessed to be her parents.

So, we are moving on to year 3…potty training, transition to a toddler bed…and I’m sure a lot more of the sass and fun we have had so far.  I can’t wait.

Much Love,

Christy

PS.  Sorry for the lack of pictures…I will make up for later – I promise!

August 25, 2012

August Update

All is well over here at the Ratcliff house! We are gearing up for a trip to Florida and hoping Issac turns out to be a dud 🙂 We are ready to put our toes in the water and our bums in the sand!

August has flown by…I started off the month in London and had the best time! It was an awesome experience and was made even better by the chance to see and catch-up with my friend Kim…nothing beats having a cocktail and good laugh with a girl friend!  Regardless of how much fun I had, I was dying to get home and see LK and Chris.  Monday – Sunday is too long to be away from those two.

The next weekend we took LK to her first Circus.  Chris and I were super hesitant, because guessing what will intrigue LK vs what will scare the begeezus out of her is like trying to crack a Mensa puzzle (at least for me!).  Luckily she was totally into it! She didn’t last the whole time (it was over 2 hours long) but  lasted through intermission which I was happy with! I got to share a clown cup snow cone with her and see her little eyes wide with amazement so I was a happy momma 🙂 We did walk away with a souvenir, but not what I thought…the options for girls were pretty good: pink and purple wands with lights and glitter, elephants with crowns, plush tigers in little purses, cute clown stuffed animals…..none of them interested Lila.  We walked away with a stunt man on a four-wheeler – she is such a boy sometimes! I love that she is obsessed with cars/trucks, it balances out her girly need that I clean her fingers after every.single.bite of sticky/messy food, she is not a fan of dirt!

We also decided it was about time for LK’s first experience with S’mores.  Chris and I have a weakness for these and after buying the stuff in a moment of weakness for a weekend trip we had recently, we decided to let LK experience the pure joy of marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers.  It was clearly confirmed….she is ours….she ate every single last bite!

I am in the midst of planning LK’s 2nd birthday party….She is growing up so fast.  Mimicking everything we do and say, showing me oh so clearly the sass that I know comes from me (and that is clearly pay-back three-fold as my mother and mamaw told always warned me), “reading” her books to and practicing new sounds and moves. She is so much fun right now.

Chris finished his MBA and he wont let me do anything to celebrate such a crazy awesome accomplishment! I am so proud of him and excited to see the opportunities that will open up because of his determination 🙂 I am just trying to get some motivation back in the workout department…..I think I am bored with the same old same old so I am going to utilize pinterest as more than just a time suck and see if I can score some good work-outs to spice things up!   Any recommendations?

Anyways, hope August is treating you well….Much Love!

Christy

July 29, 2012

Random Sunday Post

I’m headed to London tomorrow for work….I could not be more excited! I have never been to London and have heard such wonderful things. A very good friend moved to London last year, so luckily Ill get to stay through the weekend and visit with her and her family.  The icing on the cake is that she scored some Olympic tickets and I am lucky enough to get to go with her!

I feel very lucky and very pumped to get such a great opportunity but as excited as I am,  I’m a teensy bit sad I won’t get to see this beautiful smile for a week!  Well at least in person….thank goodness for Skype 🙂

This pic is from this morning.  Being the early birds in the family, Lila and I camp out on the couch weekend mornings until either dad can pull himself out of bed or my stomach grumbles enough to warrant breakfast.  Lila “makes the coffee” (pushes the start button) and we enjoy our beverage of choice while watching some Mickey (or “icky” if you are LK).  Some may groan at being up before 7 on a weekend, but I love this time; for about 15 minutes, she will cuddle and love on me.

On a side note, she is getting so vocal in the past couple of weeks….she is mimicking everything we say (scary town!) and there are times when she is babbling with such focus and intent that I am positive she thinks I am so ridiculous to not understand her.  I would LOVE to know what she is saying and feel so bad when I have to tell her I don’t! I’m not rushing this though.  Everyday I look at her with astonishment….she is getting SO big and becoming a little lady!  She seriously makes me happy to my core….every little stubborn, smiley, goofy part of her!

Hope everyone has a great week! Happy Sunday!

Much Love,  Christy

June 24, 2012

Paleo Banana/Apple Muffins

I’m back! I would like to say my lack of blogging has been because we have been SO busy that I couldn’t get to the computer, but that would be a lie! Ive just been a bit lazy 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with different paleo muffin recipes lately and although there are lots of good ones out there, none of them have been recipe box worthy….until today!   Chris snagged one of these off the cutting board as they cooled and said he would never have guessed these were paleo….not sure if everyone will think this but for us, that makes this one a keeper.

These were super quick to throw together and if other paleo recipes are any predictor these will probably need to be kept in the fridge after the first day or so.

 

 

Ingredients:

1.5 C Almond Flour/Meal

1 tbsp Coconut Flour

3 eggs beaten

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1 small banana mashed (~3/4 c)

1/4-1/2 c diced apple

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

2 capfuls vanilla extract

cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to taste

Mix all the above until just together and then pour into sprayed muffin cups (I got 10 out of this).  Bake at 350 for 18-23 minutes.  Enjoy!

Since I’ve been a bad blogger I’ll leave you with a picture of LK and me enjoying mom’s pool….this is how we have spent the past few Saturdays. I think we are creating quite a little fish! Isn’t she getting so big!?!  Such a wonderful, frustrating, joyful handful blessing! 😉

Much Love – CR

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