Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

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 I am grateful every day for the life that I have, and the people who I share it with. 
Today, I was especially grateful to Avery who took an hour long nap right before the turkey came out of the oven. Brandon and I got to enjoy a blissful, hour-long ADULT dinner. She woke up just in time for a hysterical game of Cards of Humanity and pumpkin pie.
Although Avery didn't try any turkey, she did enjoy mashed potatoes and stuffing :-)
Hope everyone had as wonderful of a day as we did!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crock Pot Potato Cheese Soup

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I've been so annoyed because I cannot find where I originally found this recipe :-( 
I hate not giving credit to the original chef because I certainly cannot do anything more than follow directions. 
I'll keep searching. 
In the meantime, you must enjoy this recipe for 3 reasons. 
1. It's delicious. 2. It's a crock pot meal so it's super easy 3. It's WINTER!

You will need:
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onions
  • 5 cups peeled diced russet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

1. Fry bacon in skillet till crisp, remove from pan and drain. Crumble bacon and refrigerate. In the same skillet saute onions for 3 or 4 minutes. Put onions, celery and potatoes in slow cooker, add chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. 
*I actually bake my bacon. I find that it's easier for me to pop it in the oven and not have to think about it for 20 minutes. Just lay your strips of bacon on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Pop it in the oven while it's cold. Turn it on to 350 for about 20 minutes (maybe less depending on your oven).*

2. 6-7 hours later (about 30 minutes before you are ready to eat) stir together flour and half and half, mix well with wire whisk. 

3. Add mixture to soup, increase slow cooker to high and cook for 30 minutes until thick.

4. Add cheese and stir until melted. 

5. I topped ours with green onions and bacon. I swear the crunchy, salty bacon MAKES the soup. Don't skip the bacon!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blogger Christmas Card Exchange

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Photo c/o Oopsy Daisy Photography
 One of my favorite things in the world is getting mail that is not a bill, or junk! 
I love making/ordering my Christmas cards, addressing envelopes and hanging the cards I receive in our home! 
I've made such great friends through this blogging world, 
and would love to see pictures of your family hanging in my home for the holidays :-) 
Let's exchange!

If you'd like to participate, email me (shadesofgraylove {at} your home address and blog URL before December 1st (or before I run out of Christmas cards - whichever comes first, hehe). If you are interested in exchanging with other bloggers, let me know in your email and I will send out home addresses in small groups (5-8 people). This is a great way to "meet" other bloggers too. 
If you just want to exchange with me, that's fine too!
P.S. That is what I looked like last year. Needless to say, we did not send out photo Christmas cards. It's amazing how much can change in one year.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Sweater Headband

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Could this top-knot, turban-style headband in a Christmas sweater pattern
 from Polish by Laura be any more fun?! 
{That was a mouthful.} 
It just screams of the holidays! It definitely put Avery in the mood for a crackling fire and some Christmas music. 
The fabric was so soft and she could even use it as an ear warmer on super cold nights 
{which is about 65 in Southern California, hehe}.
I'm trying so patiently to wait until after Thanksgiving to start with Christmas decorations but this headband has given me so many ideas for Christmas photos. I could pair it with a sweet little dress, or even her Christmas pjs.  
As a Christmas gift to you, Polish by Laura is offering this headband to one of my readers! 

To Enter:
  • You must follow POLISHBYLAURA on Instagram. 
3 extra entry opportunities:
  • Repost my giveaway photo on Instagram, tag me and use #polishbylaura
  • Comment below with your favorite item from her Etsy shop
  • Pin one of the items from her shop and leave me a comment below letting me know which one. 

too cool for a shirt.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10 Months

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Only two more of these monthly updates before you are a year old. That gives me such a sinking feeling in my stomach. I feel like I'm holding on to the ankles of time...who just keeps marching on.
A look back on your ninth month of living:

Stats: 12 month clothing fits you perfectly in length, but are still a little baggy. You are still wearing size 3 diapers.

Sleep: Another challenging month. Now that you pull yourself up on everything, you stand up in your crib and scream and cry because you can't get back down. One night your Dad and I went in and laid you down 15 times and you popped right back up. Our poor neighbors. You are still a really bad napper. Most of the time I'm lucky if I get 30 minutes, and sometimes it takes longer than that to get you to fall asleep.
New: It was a clingy month. You don't want to leave mama's side for even a minute. Even your signing DVD (which always ensured a solid 30 minutes of peace to make dinner) cannot capture your full attention. You will follow me in your walker and whine at my ankles. If we play in your room, you want to climb all over me instead of playing with your toys. In order to take a shower, I have to put you in the pack n' play outside of the bathroom and sing The Wheels on the Bus, and play "peek a boo," and practically put on a puppet show to keep you entertained. I've skipped more showers than I care to admit. And although there are days where I just want FIVE minutes to myself, I also realize that this stage is so fleeting. In the grand scheme of things, you are only small for a tiny part of your life. And if what you want right now is your mama, and only your mama, then I want to soak that up.
You are into everything now. I can't really take my eyes off of you for a second. You beeline straight for the stairs, or the toilet, or anything else that I don't want you near.
You are dying to walk. Your favorite thing is to take our fingers and go walking all around the house. Sometimes you forget that you have to hold on, and you take off on your own...only to eat it. You will also hold on to the couch and walk the whole thing. You will stand on your own if you're distracted. The minute you realize that you aren't holding on you get nervous and fall over or sit down. You also got your first bruise :-( One on your eyebrow, and then a week later, a bruise under the same eye! You keep bonking your face on things.
Food: What you lack in nap points, you make up for in food points. You LOVE to eat. You are eating about 4 small meals a day, and nursing about 4 times a day. Some new things you've tried are pinto beans, cheese, bits of tortilla. Honestly, you will eat ANYTHING we put on your tray. It's easier to feed you off our our plates now. I'm not sure how much longer you'll eat the purees that I make for you. Blueberries are your favorite! You cannot eat enough to be satisfied. You have also started to eat an entire banana for breakfast.

One of my favorite faces you make is a huge open mouth when you get excited. I had no idea where you really got it until I got a good look at the same expression I always make when I'm trying to get you excited and smiley.

 I love you munchkin!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trendy Baby Moccasins {Giveaway!}

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That is exactly what I did when I opened my package from BecausePink's brand new Etsy shop. I have been lusting after baby mocs since Avery was a newborn. They are such a practical shoe for a baby because they are stretchy enough to go over their fat feet, and they are super comfortable. Most of the shops I've found have been slightly expensive (or at least more than I can justify spending on shoes for a baby whose little feet are growing every day). Because Pink is a brand new shop and her prices are SUPER affordable while her shop gets up and running. Take advantage while you can! She also made the adorable matching gold turban headband Avery loves :-)
I chose the gold because I fell in love with them right away, but she also has 100% genuine leather mocs, 
and gorgeous suede mocs as well. 
Because Pink is giving away a pair of baby mocs in either black leather, or fuchsia leather to one of my readers! See both the fringe or bow option below.

To enter is simple (you can do 1 or all 3):
*Each will count as a separate entry*
1. Follow @becausepink_ on Instagram and leave a comment on my instagram photo letting me know you're following her.
2. Leave a comment below letting me know which item in her Etsy shop is your favorite.
3. Repost the giveaway picture on Instagram and #becausepinkgiveaway

I'll choose a winner on Friday and announce on Instagram.
Good luck!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Charlie Coco's Headbands.

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One of my favorite parts about blogging is finding great shops and adorable accessories to deck Avery out in. 
I LOVE reviewing products.
I love sharing when I find a worthwhile shop.
I stumbled upon Charlie Coco's Etsy shop and DIED when I saw the cuteness. Not only does she offer the trendiest patterns and styles (glitter and polka dots anyone?) but they are SO well made. They weren't flimsy or poorly put together (which is always a risk when you buy online). Avery LOVED them, obviously, and she gets compliments on them wherever we go. It's kind of hard to tell in the pictures of her outside, but the band is SO sparkly.
Peep some of the amazing-ness going on Avery's Christmas List...
Charlie Coco is currently offering 15% off your purchase now through November 15th! 
Just use the promo code:
Aaaaand for one lucky little lady, we'd like to offer a free headband or bow of your choosing. 
1. This is mainly an Instagram giveaway (find me on Instagram: amira143) and follow CharlieCoCos.
 2. As an extra entry, you can repost my Instagram giveaway picture from today and leave a comment on Instagram letting me know you've done so.
Happy shopping :-)
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