Five on Friday

Jun 28, 2013

I remember when Pinterest first came out. I was pinning up a storm with everything from home decor to those ooey-gooey-delicious-but-oh-so-bad-for-you recipes. Then, I got a little overwhelmed. I actually think Pinterest gave me some anxiety. It was too much! There were so many things I was supposed to be making or crafting or sewing or painting or baking or.....see what I mean? It got to be exhausting and oh, the pressure!

So I went on a little break. I had to for my sanity and because every time I logged in and browsed around I had the urge to re-paint every wall in the house. The little break did me some good. I now occasionally will browse Pinterest, you know, when I'm laying in bed and can't sleep or I'm the passenger on a long car ride.

I do realize that I can't do every single project I see, and the hubs certainly isn't up for re-painting...but when I do find the time, here are *five* little projects or crafts I'd love to complete!

three | Fancy Dip Bowl or Cake Plate

 four | Tic-Tac-Toe Stump

five | Succulent Wall Art

These don't look too complicated, do they?!
I think if I took one a weekend I'd have a good excuse to put some of my creativity to work.

What about you? Do you pin things you really want to do yourself, but end up putting off? Or are you a Pinterest-inspired DIYer?
 I'm linking up today with the Five on Friday gals - Natasha, Darci, April, and Christina!

Check back next week for a fun giveaway I'm hosting!
Happy Weekend!

Noah: Seven Months

Jun 27, 2013

Dear Noah,
You are seven months old today! You're getting so big! We are so proud of you and love seeing your personality come out more and more with age. So many people comment on just how content you seem, and they're right. You are so easy-going and really don't have a ton of ups and downs if your basic needs are met.

Your smile is one of the most joyful things I've ever experienced. You're really starting to notice when we leave the room and always smile when we walk back in. You've seen Daddy come home enough in the evening to know what I mean when we go to the door and I say "Daddy". Your eyes light up before you even see him and when he turns the corner, your hands start doing that funny "composer" movement and you can't wait to get into his arms.

You're eating great! You started right off with solids as your first foods and have done amazing! You've had avacado, banana, sweet potato, greek yogurt, chicken, steak, squash, lemon (after wanting it from our water glass, and surprisingly no sour face!), cucumber, and solid egg yolk. You've gobbled it all up and have learned how to take little bites with and chew with your gums.

We've been signing to you a bunch, things like "more", "eat", "mommy", "daddy", "finished", and other times I sign sentences to you as I'm talking. Your favorite one is "eat" and if you're anywhere close to me you know exactly where to head! You're doing well breastfeeding and I haven't noticed a change in frequency. You still wake up one to two times during the night and lately you haven't been able to go to sleep unless you're tangled up in my hair. I'm trying to figure out what to do about that!

You've been a great traveler as we've been away from home a lot this month with Daddy's work. We've been able to go to the zoo in Memphis and although you slept most of the time, we had a nice time. You and Daddy went swimming in the hotel pool and we got you your first baby float. You really enjoyed kicking around. We've been to Virginia to visit family and spent time with Daddy in Chattanooga. We got you a little plastic pool for the back yard and you enjoy playing in the water and splashing around.

You're not crawling yet, but we can tell you're on your way there! You can push up onto your hands and knees, but don't really know what to do from there. Most of the time you give up and lay your head on the ground as if you're taking a little break. If you didn't hate being on your stomach so much you might get somewhere! I have a feeling we'll be chasing you around soon enough!

Occasionally I'll pull up Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on my ipad and you love the first few minutes. After that you get bored and want to mess with the screen. I've been trying to get you to say "mama" for the last couple of weeks, but you can only manage "mmmmmm" so far. It's the cutest thing and I can tell you're trying!

We love you so much, Noah! Happy seven months! 

In the Kitchen | Fruit & Yogurt Pops

Jun 26, 2013

   We live in a part of the country where it feels like summer way before it officially arrives. We're huge fans of ice cream around here, especially on hot days, but lately I've just been a little bored with it. When I saw this recipe in Real Simple, I knew I had to try it. These Fruit & Yogurt pops are delicious. I love the texture of frozen greek yogurt and the flavor is so refreshing on these hot summer days!
Fruit & Yogurt Pops
(serves 8)
1 & 3/4 cups Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/3 C. blueberries
1/3 C. Strawberries

>In a bowl, combine the blueberries and strawberries. Mash with a fork until coarsely crushed.
> Layer the yogurt and fruit mixture in the ice-pop molds.
>Drag a toothpick or skewer through the mixture to create a swirl effect.
>Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least three hours. 
>Remove ten minutes prior to serving to soften slightly. 

Isn't that so easy? I'm telling you, these are a healthy and delicious way to cool down on these hot days! But let's be honest, it doesn't have to be hot to crave these! Enjoy!  

Getting Real: On Joy and Pain

Jun 25, 2013

I love these pictures of my sweet boy. We've been dropping Michael off at the mountain biking trail and have gone to the park and waited for him to meet us there. The past couple of times the swing set was full, but this particular day there was only one other kid there. Noah really enjoyed swinging and gave me the cutest faces when he wasn't busy observing the other kids. It was rough trying to get some good shots while he was going back and forth, but I did get a few!

I look at these pictures and ask myself  "Where did the time go?". He is getting so big. 

There are so many things in life that bring joy. Being this boy's mama is pretty high on that list. But with that joy comes the risk of unspeakable pain, too. And I don't think you can have one without the other. You open yourself up to joy, but if you're aware, you understanding that you've opened yourself up to the possibility of pain that is equally as strong as the joy. 

I've married my best friend. I've promised my life and love and everything to this one man. We've built, and are continuing to build, a wonderful life together. I've opened up my heart and have been raw. I've dreamed with this man in mind for as long as I can remember. We've created a family. That is joyful.

Then I see others who have lost their spouse. I see others whose marriages have fallen apart. And in those times, and more recently on a daily basis, I realize that life is so fragile. I put myself in their shoes and shudder at the thought. I sink into those moments so deeply to the point where I feel as if it's happened already. I look at my husband and because I love him so much, I'm forced to see the opposite end of the spectrum. I know one day one of us will have to say goodbye. I'm at the joy end staring the pain end directly in the face and praying I never have to physically walk there. 

I've given birth to the most precious boy. The lens of my life has come into focus even more since he was born. This kind of love is unexplainable. I've heard it described as "scary love" and now I realize what that means. It means that because I love this boy with my whole heart, that I have my whole heart to lose. I see sick children. I see freak accidents. I see loss. I see pain. And again, I'm standing at the joy end and praying with everything I have in me that I never have to walk to the pain end. 

Let me say it again. Because I love with my whole heart, I have my whole heart to lose.

And that's scary. It's the kind of scary that makes me sometimes wonder what I was thinking diving in like this..loving with abandon. Then I think about my life without these two...without family or loved ones. What kind of life would that be? 
I have struggled with mourning things that have not yet happened. I mourn the potential loss of my husband or my son. I mourn the loss of others in my life who are living and breathing. In some twisted way I wonder if I do this to try to prepare myself in case it were to happen. Isn't that some sick way of trying to feel in control? It's miserable when I allow myself to go there.
It takes away from the joyful moments of today. 

The joyful moment as I watch Noah splashing around in the bath and my mind wonders, What if this is the last bath I ever give him? 

The loving moment in which I watch as my husband leaves for work in the morning and my heart aches at the thought, What if he doesn't make it home this evening? 
This is such an unhealthy way to live life. I know it, yet I still allow my mind to go there, especially when I'm feeling weak. A wise woman in my life reminds me that God is faithful to give grace when we need it the most. She reminds me after I say "I just don't know what I would do, I just don't know how I would go on.." that in his love, God gives overwhelming grace in the moment, for the moment.
 That is my comfort. The faith that I have in Him should allow me to combat these thoughts of fear and worry with the confidence that God is bigger than all of it. When my focus is HIS life, instead of mine, his grace is easier to accept. He has given grace in that even in my depravity and despair, He gave me life. He has given grace in that even though I am far from perfect, He has blessed me with the lives of others. It doesn't guarantee that the pain won't come. But because of His love, I have to believe that if or when those moments come...the loss, the pain, the struggle, all of it....that he will give me the same sufficient grace. 
I still have a choice to make daily, though. I can choose to trust that God is who He says He is and enjoy the blessings he's given. Or I can choose to surrender to my thoughts of worry, thus stripping some joy from today. I'm not so great at trusting most days.

Miscellany Monday

Jun 24, 2013

one | Last week was Travel Week here on the blog. If you didn't stop by, you missed out on some great places showcased by some great ladies! Catch up by clicking on the icon below. 

two | In case you missed it, check out my Father's Day Interview last weekend with the hubs!It's super cute!
three | Because we've been traveling so much lately, I haven't made it to the local Farmer's Market like I've been hoping I could. Because we got home on a Friday, I was excited that I would actually be here and be able to get some good veggies and free range eggs! I went Saturday morning while Michael and Noah hung out at home. It was the busiest I have seen it this year! I got a ton of goodies and thankfully snatched up one of the last cartons of eggs before they were gone. Don't you love knowing where your food comes from?
 four | M's parents and brother are coming in later this week and we plan to put up a tile back-splash in our kitchen while they're here. Currently there is just drywall with a small back-splash that extends up from the counter a few inches. After quoting the project at under $100, we decided to give it a go. We've chosen white subway tile and will use a light grey grout to really make the tiles pop and give it an industrial look. So here's hoping to goes from looking like this...
 to this (Backsplash only! The cabinets are staying dark!).....
five | Speaking of house projects, we've got a few updates to share soon! We spent this past  weekend sanding and staining our kitchen table with a much darker finish. We also distressed it some, so I'm hoping I like the final product! I also got some new pillows from Ikea and I love them! After tweaking things a bit and moving some smaller items to the guest room where they fit much better, it feels much more put together and cohesive. These, along with the new guest room layout and tile back splash, will be making their debut in a new post soon!
I'm linking up with Carissa for today's post! Head on over and link up your own randoms!
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New Orleans, Louisiana | The Southern Thing

Jun 21, 2013

Welcome to day five of Travel Week! If you've been sticking around this week, I hope you're enjoying it! I'm glad you're back! if you're new,check out this week's earlier destinations! Thanks to Dara for finishing up this week with a great post on New Orleans! And a big thank you to my guest bloggers!
Floyd, Virginia
Bar Harbor, Maine
Seattle, Washington
Greenville, South Carolina

Hey y'all, I'm Dara and I blog over at The Southern Thing!  Today I'm here to share with all of you Overwhelmed by Grace Readers a little bit about my hometown New Orleans, Louisiana!  I was born and raised in NOLA (what we locals like to call it), but have been living in New England for the past year.  Living in the northeast has quickly taught me that New Orleans is truly a unique city and there is simply nothing else like it. 
Now before we start, let's just make sure we're all on the same page here!  It's pronounced New-Or-Lins, NOT New-Or-Leans like many like to believe.  Nawlins works too :)  Promise me if you visit you will say it like a local :)  K now that that's out the way, we shall begin!
When I think of NOLA, a few main things come to mind:  bourbon street, french quarter, good food, good people, and mardi gras!  And that my friends is the recipe for a great time if you ask me!  
So to wrap up this Travel Week, here are some of the reasons New Orleans is my favorite city.  After all, we save the best for last, am I right!?   And be sure to put your party pants on; there's a reason NOLA is known as the most fun city in the world!  I'll let you take a look and see for yourself!
 Where The Party Starts
Bourbon Street
Where the bars are open all day, everyday.  Seriously.. it never ends!  This is a 13 block street right in the middle of the French Quarter and is home to some of the city's most sought after drinks.  You are more than welcome to walk through the entire French Quarter with your drink of choice in hand!  My recommendation would be a hand grenade from Tropical Isle!  See a cop?  Gladly wave hi and go about your business.  It's totally fine, just don't get crazy!  Now tell me where else can you do such a thing!?
Pat O'Briens
One of the most famous bars in the quarter!  This is personally one of my favorites!  You can sit inside and enjoy the dueling piano players while requesting your favorite song, or soak up the atmosphere in the relaxing courtyard.  Regardless of what you choose, order a hurricane and I promise it will be a good time!
Pat O'Briens Hurricane + Tropical Isle Hand Grenade
The two must have drinks of the city.  Neither one will disappoint.  But take it easy on those hand grenades though or they'll sneak up on ya!  Don't say I didn't warn you ;)
Jackson Square
The historic heart of New Orleans.  It is home of the St. Louis Cathedral.  Surrounded around the square you can find dozens of local street artists selling their unique pieces of art.  This is the most beautiful and personally my favorite spot to relax and take in the quarter.
Cafe Du Monde
Home of the original beignets.  This is the perfect way to start off your morning or grab a mid day snack.  Be sure to try 'em, I promise you won't be able to eat just one!
French Market
While your on the way to Cafe Du Monde, be sure to stop at the French Market!  Lots of goodies can be found here.  This is where you can buy the best pralines if you ask me!
While New Orleans is famous for it's food, crawfish are at the very top of my list.  I'm pretty sure any local would agree!  They may look like dirty mud bugs, partially because they are, but it is seriously the most mouth watering, tasteful food you will ever have.  Ever!  It's all about the seasoning :)
This creole dish has it all in my book.  It's typically served with cajun sausage and seafood (usually shrimp).  You can find this dish on any menu in the quarter and no matter where you go, the recipe is right on spot!  I can honestly say that about all the restaurants there- they're all extremely good.  You won't go hungry!
The Superdome
Home of the New Orleans Saints!  If you happen to be around the city during football season, make sure you get your hands on some Saints tickets.  It will be an experience like no other and the loud, crazy, passionate fans will blow your ears off!  Welcome to the Who Dat Nation my friends!
Mardi Gras
Louisiana's own holiday, aka a season of it's own!  You see, around here we do things differently.  If you haven't gotten the vibe yet, we like to have fun.  That is what this city is all about- a good time.  Although Mardi Gras is technically one day, Fat Tuesday, we stretch it out a bit.  For weeks prior to Mardi Gras day, you can catch parades all over the quarter and surrounding cities.  This is a time you don't want to miss!
Well that about sums it up.  I really could go on for hours about my city, but I think I've overloaded y'all enough with pictures!  Feel free to contact me if you're interested in planning a trip and I will be more than glad to give you some tips!
And if you'd like to see more, head on over to my blog!  I will be going home in a few weeks and will have lots of good stuff to share with all of you!  And those amazing food pictures?  Well my friends, you're in luck because I have some secret creole cajun recipes I can't wait to post!  Happy Travel Week!
Darabloglovin'  //  facebook  //  instagram  //  twitter  //  pinterest 

Greenville, South Carolina | Windy Poplars

Jun 20, 2013

Welcome to day four of Travel Week! If you've been sticking around this week, I hope you're  enjoying it! I'm glad you're back! if you're new, start here, here, & here
Hello Overwhelmed By Grace readers! I'm so happy to be here with you today :-). My name is Kristin, and I blog over Windy Poplars. I think Kelsea's travel theme this week is brilliant - especially with the advent of summer vacationing time - and I'm delighted to be a part of it! 
I thought I would share a little bit of Greenville, SC with you. This southern town (which my sister recently moved to) is new to me, and I have to say: what a fun place! Teeming with life, this city just shines with a fresh, artsy flair...
Besides the never-ending foodie heaven that is main street (mouth-watering restaurants as far as the eye can see!), I especially fell in love with the lushly landscaped park and river area that's built right into the footprint of the downtown district.
A delightful plus for plug-in car owners like us, are the free recharging stations found inside the parking garages - proving that Greenville is, well, truly green! -
You'll find all the shopping essentials close by, (topping my list are Anthropologie and Trader Joe's) yet you'll never really experience that closed-in feeling of a crowded metropolis. This outdoor-loving, dog-friendly town is truly a southern gem.
And now, a few photos to whet your appetite:

Beautiful, right? This city is certainly one to place on your to-visit list!

Thanks so much for reading, and if you'd like to connect further, you can find me around the web at:

Seattle, Washington | itbritt

Jun 19, 2013

Welcome to day three of Travel Week! I am so happy to have five lovely ladies guest posting this week while I am traveling myself!  Each blogger will be here introducing a destination of her choice and describing some of what makes it a unique and treasured place for her. If you stick around you'll get to see some interesting places through the lens of someone else who has been there and done that! And who knows, you might just be inspired to visit one of these lovely destinations that this beautiful country of ours holds. Today, Britt from itbritt is bringing us to the complete opposite side of the States!
In January of this year, my dear husband and I moved up to Seattle as newlyweds. We quickly realized that Seattle is a city full of some of the coolest history and neatest tourist traps in the world. You can take spooky tours, tours in the abandoned underground, duck tours on giant boat/buses. Seriously. There is awesome shopping, better street life, and a totally unique culture up here.
All these things aside, when you are in Seattle - visiting Pike's market is a must. Oh, its just your run-of-the-mill farmers market. Stocked with virtually every vegetable imaginable. Did I mention that its open every. single. day? But, along with every asparagus and head of lettuce you can think of comes the great task of working your way through the largest farmers market in the world! (*that may be a sliiiight exaggeration) But seriously, take hold of your children! ...and when in doubt follow this list.

1. WALK ALONG THE ENTIRE UPSTAIRS MARKET  AND SAMPLE. Don't politely deny yourself a taste sample because you have no intention to purchase. Harness your inner Jim Carrey and say it with me: "yes, yes, HECK YES". So many people wander through Pikes that you can politely accept a sample with as little as a "thank you" as you walk away. No harsh words, hardball salesmen, or bad situations to be heard of. Just try a little of what Seattle has to offer!
Yes, I said see. The one and only Starbucks started here in Seattle. And its here, in Pikes Market. The problem you ask? There is like a 54,409 person line. To get? A drink. The exact drink that you could get, say, a block in any other direction at the next Starbucks. The drinks are all the same, people! So my recommendation: just go in. The line runs to the right of the door, snake in the left. (They will allow you to do this.) Look at their unique products, oogle at the interior and save yourself an hour wait.
3. CHECK OUT THE GUM WALL There used to be an old theatre, and the line to get in would stretch down this alley. Its just down the street from Pikes. As the teens impatiently waited, they began to stick gum to the walls, and coins to the gum. Then bums came around and took the coins - leaving ... duh duh duh duh drumroll ... the gum wall. And to this day it is the biggest, germiest tourist attraction, save the blarney stone (or kissing rock). Mmm take some orbit with you and add a piece, or... steal a piece - up to you.
At this point you're hungry, right? Well if you go downstairs to the bottom floor of the market, you'll find this gem of a restaurant squished beautifully in a little room with a bay view. Eat here. Order the Lemon Deep fried chicken. And the pineapple chicken fried rice. Die happy. Okay, don't die, per say. 

There is a ton more to do underground Pikes - like, browse the best book stores, check out the world's biggest collection of big clown shoes, comic shops, indian shops, and magic shops. The truth of the matter is I could list 50 of my favorite Pike's destinations. But these, are the creme de la creme. 
Have you been to Pike's Market? What did you eat? What did you buy? What did you see? spill. 
xoxo itbritt.

Bar Harbor, Maine | Newlyweds North

Jun 18, 2013

Welcome to day two of Travel Week! I am so happy to have five lovely ladies guest posting this week while I am traveling myself!  Each blogger will be here introducing a destination of her choice and describing some of what makes it a unique and treasured place for her. If you stick around you'll get to see some interesting places through the lens of someone else who has been there and done that! And who knows, you might just be inspired to visit one of these lovely destinations that this beautiful country of ours holds. On the blog today is Stephanie from Newlyweds:North talks about a recent trip to Maine!
Hey Ya'll! I was so excited that Kelsea asked me to drop by while she is off on her adventure - especially when she asked me to write about Travel. That just couldn't be more perfect for me seeing as currently my new Husband is hunkered down in a Ramada Inn in Maine and I am bouncing around the South East.
 And how on Earth did that happen? Well, we found out 4 weeks before our Wedding Day that we were getting a job transfer from sunny, hot and humid South Carolina to cold, foreign and snowy Maine. To top it all off, we were going to need to get a move on - work started the Monday after our Honeymoon!

So for now we are making our home wherever we find ourselves - and at this very moment, I find myself in that aforementioned Ramada Inn after a day of exploring our new home state. I have decided that the best way for me to fall in love with the North is to search out all of the wonderfully unique places just outside of our door. If it weren't for this crazy move, we would have most likely never made a trip to Maine - what can I say? The Pine Tree State just wasn't on the top of our dream destinations list. (And if you knew that Maine was the Pine Tree State, you win a prize.)
With all of that chatter in mind, our destination for today was Bar Harbor!
The Maine Weather Goddess (I assume she is a goddess, because let's be honest, she's testy) was not kind to us but, seeing as we have so little time together these days, we layered on the Northface jackets and headed out - all in the name of Adventure.
After a quick 45 minute ride through the tiny Lobster towns of costal Maine, we found ourselves in Bar Harbor. 
The foggy, rainy weather made for an eerie harbor but we had the place to ourselves! 
Downtown Bar Harbor 
After all that walking in the rain, we needed to warm up in a major way!
Lobster Bisque and warm bread for me, Maine lobster tails for the Husband
And, for the Grand Finale.....
Lobster Ice Cream(!)
Oh yeah, it exists.
Husband isn't so sure. I was positive. It.Was.Gross.
Imagine frozen-ish chunks of seafood in vanilla ice cream. Nope.
One last shot before we headed home
For a Southern Girl, I think I held my own in the frigid Maine Spring. Would I love to head back to Bar Harbor in the "Summer"? Most definitely! Luckily, we are just a short, gorgeous drive away - and I'm sure we'll have tons of Southern visitors to show around in the coming months. Thanks for tagging along on our road trip! If you're ever in our Northern Neighborhood be sure to say Hey!
xoxo S