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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DIY Nursing Cover

I'm sure you must have thought I'd given up crafts and DIY projects but I promise I haven't! It's been a little crazy with the house stuff and I had been working on some crafts I couldn't share until they were gifted. This is one of those.

I decided to try my hand at making a nursing cover for a pregnant friend as part of her baby shower gift. It seemed simple enough minus the boning which I had not worked with before and I found 2 great tutorials that I kind of meshed together to take the best of both based on the comments/feedback. I mainly followed the Prudent Baby one but made some changes based on the Made By The MamaMonster one and both tutorials comments. They both have more step by step photos to help you out when you get to certain parts.

- 26″ x 38″ for the cover
- 25″x 3″ for one side of the strap
- 10″ x 3″ for the other side of the strap
- 15 inches of boning
- 2  1-inch D rings

I washed and dried my fabric before starting this project since I knew it was something that might get thrown in the wash frequently and didn't want there to be any shrinking after I made it.

Cut your fabric pieces.

Fold the strap pieces in half lengthwise (hot dog style) right sides together. Pin and sew together with a 1/4 inch seam for the shorter strap.  Do the same for the longer strap but when you get about 3 inches away from the end sew in a curve toward the folded corner (like this photo below from MamaMonster). This is so the d ring won't come loose when it is pulled on.

Trim the curved seam and turn both strap pieces inside out. This will take some patience. Iron flat with the seam in the middle.

Then take one edge of the short strap and fold it over 1/4" and iron. Insert your d rings and fold fabric again over top of the d ring and pin. Sew in place with a strong stitch or a few lines of stitching.

On the bottom edge of your cover fabric piece, fold 1/2" and iron and then another 1/2" and iron. Sew using a straight stitch at 1/4" seam allowance. On the two perpendicular shorter side do the same thing.

Fold the top edge over 1/2" and iron. Then another 1" and iron. Sick of ironing yet?

Find the center of the top edge and measure 6 1/2" in both directions and pin. To make the casing for your boning, sew a straight stitch between your two pins. Feed in the boning with the curve out to the right side of your fabric- it should hang out about an inch on each side.

Pin as best as you can in place and sew a few stitches at the center to secure it from sliding. Any time my needle was going through the boning I walked my presser foot since it was pretty thick and I didn't want to break a needle.

Here is the trickiest part. Insert the straps right side up underneath that one inch of boning that was sticking out on each side of your finished casing. The biggest feedback on the nursing cover was that the boning falls down so to prevent that you have to sew your straps into the boning. Then fold them up over the boning and hem so that you now see the seam side of your straps. If you accidentally do it on the wrong side you will kick yourself for having to rip out a bunch and start this tricky part over! Pin really well and sew with a straight stitch that forms a box for extra strength (like the photo below from Prudent Baby). Again I walked my presser foot using the hand crank when going through the boning.

Lastly, sew the remainder of the top seam in place from where you stopped previously at the 6 1/2" inch marks to the edges.

Oh and if you want you can add a pocket to the back to be used for nursing pads or a burp cloth or whatev. I just guesstimated on where to put it.. its about 1/4 of the way in from the edge and near the bottom and about 5" x 5".


Since I don't have a baby and thought it might be creepy to ask to borrow one for nursing cover photos...

I present.... Baby Tiger. Yep it's a stuffed tiger just in case you thought it was the real deal. What true Clemson fan doesn't have a tiger?

The soon to be mom loved her nursing cover! I have asked for feedback from her after she uses it for awhile for any improvements needed whenever I make another one.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Closing Time

Today's the day! We are closing on our new home! I will definitely do some new house reveal posts and sneak peaks eventually because we aren't moving just yet. We are so excited for the place to be ours... seems like we started the house buying and selling journey a long time ago even though it was just October.

I will leave you with a picture I took in October of our design selections for our kitchen. It's crazy to think that you pick out selections on small swatches/pieces of that item without being able to see it on a large scale or know how all the pieces really look together until it's done. Of course there is a design person to help you if you want but still it is A LOT of decision to make all in one day.

So that phone picture was all I had for what our kitchen design choices would look like until it was all installed recently. And we are just thrilled with how it turned out... apparently we are awesome designers :)  Can't wait to show y'all soon!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Western Caribbean Cruise: Grand Cayman and Sea Day

The last port on our cruise was Grand Cayman on January 4th. This was another tendering port but we didn't have an excursion planned or had any need to rush over to the island so it was a much better experience than the tender in Belize.

Grand Cayman in the distance

Eric booked a scuba diving excursion (more on that later) but it left around noon so he set off for shore before us. This is actually the boat Eric was on (he's near the entrance in the hat and brown shirt).

 We had a nice leisurely lunch and then ventured over to Grand Cayman. After the big rush to get to shore first thing is over, its a piece of cake to hop on the boat whenever and there's not a line.

Right away we found the mascot of Grand Cayman, giant lizardy creature things. As you can tell I have a knack for knowing animal species.

We spent some time walking around and going in the shops. Mom needed a new watch battery and with all the jewelry stores around that was an easy fix.

Then we took a big van taxi over to a beach area 10 minutes away with hotels and restaurants. I had planned on paying for a chair and umbrella but it was way overpriced for the amount of time we would be there so I just put my towel on the sand instead. My parents sat up at the restaurant which was all outdoor open seating to have drinks while I was 20 feet away on the beach.

Then we had a nice stroll on the beach. I haven't edited these pictures - the water was really that clear, sand white, and sky blue.

I spelled Cayman out using my foot. Not the best job but in a pinch it worked. At least I spelled it right.


We then headed back over to the port area to tender back to the ship. I was able to get a few good shots of the ships while we waited for a boat.

Eric was back on board and we got to hear about scuba diving see all the neat underwater pictures he took.

We got ready for dinner. I don't remember what this was... Eric got it. I honestly think it might have been alligator or some other strange thing. They had one "adventurous" appetizer each night.

 Hands down the best lasagna I've ever tasted.

Can't beat apple pie and ice cream.

Later we checked out the comedy club some - quite hilarious especially when they pick on people in the crowd/ask them questions. And Eric and my dad went to the casino to do some gambling. My dad was teaching him all about the game of craps for his guys trip to Vegas in March.


That night we had a monkey in our bed in our room. PS you can see the fun back my dress had in the mirror. Yes I love teal/turquoise.

The last day, Saturday, was a day at sea to head back to Tampa. We just had a great relaxing day and spent some time on the deck reading and playing games.


Here are a few highlights from dinner that night. I really need to take pictures of the menus next time so I have the names of things.

This looks delicious right about now. Mmmm sweets!

I will saw the last towel "animal" was a bit of a let down. It was a heart. Not that that's not sweet and all but we really prefer the animals so I didn't even take a picture of it.

It was great to have a sea day as the last day to relax before having to go back to the real world of work and other things that keep us busy. Thanks for reading along about our Western Caribbean adventure!

I am happy to answer any questions about the cruise anyone has!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pinterest Told Me To told me to: Chambray shirt

If you haven't heard of the blog Pinterest Told Me To, I am telling you to go check it out. I first started reading Sheaffer's blog for the hilarious bachelor show recaps and kept reading for the style advice and sale info she posts.

Well some time ago she convinced me told me to buy a chambray shirt and who was I to argue with her? I began hunting for one with specific criteria.

1. Must be long enough wear with leggings. Meaning covering the crotch and butt because let's be real leggings are not okay to be worn just like pants/jeans.. they are like thicker tights (unless you are wearing them to work out).
2. Light/Medium in color so it could be worn with dark jeans or with my dark jean jacket if desired.
3. Snaps or buttons on the arms so it could be worn at a 3/4 length too (this one was more of nice to have than a must have since I could always just roll up without snaps or buttons to secure it).

After much searching... believe it or not I found THE chambray shirt that met all my criteria at Forever 21. My dad is now cringing remembering all the times he waited in that store with "terrible loud music" when I was in high school. And by "found at Forever 21", I mean I found it there on a mannequin and they refused to let me have that one so I ordered it online.

Chambray shirt: Forever 21
Leggings: Victoria's Secret
Boots: Born
Turquoise Bubble Necklace and earrings: Groopdealz

I am thrilled with my chambray shirt. I think it will be perfect year round I am already thinking of all the items I own it can be paired with! By the way these Victoria's Secret Daily Leggings by Moda are the most comfortable leggings I have ever owned. They come in several colors and lengths. I'm 5'3 and the short length fits perfectly.

Thanks Pinterest Told Me To for a great wardrobe staple!

Also I recently bought some new eye make-up with the help of my lovely sister in law, thanks Megan! Y'all know how much I love turquoise/teal so check out the eye make-up I wore with the outfit above. Taken with my phone so the quality isn't amazing but you get the idea.

I am loving the turquoise eye-liner by Sephora (I have a purple one too that I haven't tried out yet). I have Urban Decay "Sin" Primer as eyeshadow and my Lots of Lashes Maybelline Mascara in Very Black.

Linking up with: What I Wore Wednesday, Pinterest Told Me To

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zucchini Enchiladas

Y'all already know how much I just love Skinnytaste recipes! This has become one of our favorite go-to's when we are craving mexican... which is pretty often. If you don't love mexican I don't even know you. Just kidding. But seriously, who are you and where is your love of cheese?

I made these for the third time when brother Keith was staying with us for work. Brother Keith makes him sound like a monk but he is not... for those regular readers you know he is hubby's twin brother. I can practically taste the enchilada goodness.

Zucchini Enchiladas
From Skinnytaste, serves 4; 259 calories per serving

-Cooking spray
-1 tsp. olive oil
-2 garlic cloves crushed
-2 medium scallions chopped
-1/4 cup cilantro chopped
-2 medium zucchinis grated - you can do this the night prior and store in a tupperware or ziploc
-Salt and ground pepper
-1 1/2 cups reduced fat mexican blend cheese, divided
-4 (or 5) tortillas - original recipe uses 4 La Tortilla Factory Low Carb but I never found those so I just use the La Banderita Soft Tacos and make 5 instead of 4 since they are smaller
-Extra chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish

Enchilada sauce:
-1 garlic clove minced
-1 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (optional)
-1 cup tomato sauce (the small can)
-1/4 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 cup fat free vegetable broth
-Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce - in a medium saucepan, spray oil and saute garlic. Add chile, chili powder, cumin, broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Spray baking dish with nonstick spray (I use my 8x8 pyrex or if doubling I use my 9x13 and another small rectangle one) and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium nonstick skillet saute garlic and scallions in olive oil over medium for 3 minutes. Add the grated zucchini, salt and pepper and cook 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add only 1/2 cup of cheese and mix. Divide mixture between each tortilla, roll and place seam side down in baking dish.

Top with the enchilada sauce. We always like to cover the tortillas completely with the sauce so there are no un-sauced edges that get crispy. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.

When serving add scallions and cilantro garnish if you wish.

I like to serve it with a bed of lettuce, tomato and avocado and a dollop of reduced fat sour cream on the side. Yum yum!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Note: Zucchini is grated using our food processor. I would use some sort of device for this as it would take forever to grate by hand. Make sure to drain out/pat out the excess water since grating zucchini becomes very watery.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Western Caribbean Cruise: Roatan Honduras

And the journey continues...

On January 3rd, the third port on our trip was Mahogany Bay Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands. In case you hadn't guessed Roatan was known for their mahogany wood... furniture, boat building, etc.

There were some awesome views of the island from the ship and a cool partially sunken pirate looking ship for full Caribbean effect. Too bad there was no Jack Sparrow nearby.

Lots of nice shop and restaurant buildings right at the port when you step off the ship. and the port area was very nice and clean. Carnival was a part of building that up and even built out a small section of beach right by the port just for Carnival guests completely with "flying beach chair" aka sky lift chair over to the beach. We did not partake in that.

Roatan was filled with luscious greenery and wildlift (lots of monkeys). It reminded me a lot of St. Kitts. We schedule a private tour for the 4 of us with Victor Bodden Tours which came recommended on cruise critic. It was only $25 per person.

We asked for a 2-3 hour tour leaving at 9am including a scenic and cultural drive through French Harbor and Sandy Bay (with several photo stops), a drive through West End Village with stops at the scenic overlook and to go see the West Bay beach. We got exactly what we asked for just not an awesome informative guide. She (yeah I don't even remember her name) was very nice and answered questions when you asked them but I felt like on a tour they should be providing information/facts/stories throughout without you having to prod. Perhaps we just got spoiled with Allen in Belize.

Regardless it was a steal of a price and we had a very nice time seeing the island and got some great scenic shots. We also did a tiny bit of local shopping during a pit stop and I bought a gorgeous pair of handmade conch earrings and I bought a frog hand-carved out of Mahogany for Abby... she has a thing for frogs and caterpillars and bugs.

The stop by the beach was nice- the sand was a beautiful white and the water was so clear! If we ever were to return we might do a beach day now that we have already seen the island.

Dad and I climbed to the top of this lighthouse for the great view and of course to take some photos.

It was nice that they tour ended around lunch time and we looked around in port for a bit and then went back on the ship to relax and play cards and then get ready for formal night dinner.

Dinner food picture time! I love when parmesan cheese is baked into fancy little garnishes.


Of course when you are surrounded by water, fish naturally comes to mind.

Or perhaps you are in the mood for a delicious steak. Speaking of steak... I hope my Dad gets some steak on his birthday today!

Besides the molten lava cake, I was really hoping for a cheesecake night and I got one! Luckily unlike Royal Caribbean they could do one without the strawberry sauce all over the cheesecake. This is making me hungry for cheesecake! Cheesecake is probably one of my favorite desserts of all time. Especially my mom's chocolate chip cheesecake... if only she could mail that.

Since it was formal night we took a view photos together by the grand staircase. I just love the way my husband looks in a tie and jacket... anyone else love seeing their hubby all dressed up? Of course all lighting inside a cruise ship is terrible but you do what you can.

Towel animal of the night... a cat... I think.  

Next up is our last port of the cruise... Grand Cayman!
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