I’m Back

I’m Back!
It has been awhile since I last blogged….almost a year! YIKES!  So much has happened in the last year.  I feel like I want to update you all at once but you would be here reading for DAYS and I know y’all have better things to do than listen to me ramble on about my crazy life!  How about a cliff notes version?!  I will pick up where I left off, last May 😱
erica and tiernan
+ Tiernan performed in her very first dance recital and rocked it
+ Summer was spent mostly by the pool
+ T turned 4 in August and we had a fun Star Wars themed birthday party for her
+ McShane joined our crazy family on Labor Day (kid already has a sense of humor)
+ Dallas joined Sammie in heaven in November
+ Turkey Day and Christmas happened
+ Ryan deployed the day after Christmas
+ I’ve been living surviving this single momma life

+ Tiernan and McShane are growing like the weeds in our yard

and this my friends brings you up to speed.  My life may be chaotic but it’s all mine and I love the people in it.  I hope you click the subscribe button to follow my uncensored journey through life!
xoxo
erica
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Macaroons


Macaroons
Ingredients:

1 cup almond meal
1 cup confectioners sugar
5 1/2 Tbsp & 6 Tbsp Egg whites divided
1 cup of granulated sugar plus a pinch
3/4 cup water
Gel Food Coloring (color of your choice)
Buttercream Frosting

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take a sheet of parchment paper and trace a small cup or shot glass with a pencil to make guides for piping the macarons. Turn the parchment paper over (so the pencil marks are on the back) and use it to line a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl whisk together the almond meal and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the 5 1/2 Tbsp of egg whites. Mix together until well blended. The mixture will be sticky and paste-like — set it aside.
In a small saucepan, stir together the water and sugar. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat on medium-high until mixture reaches 200 degrees F. While it’s reaching that temp, go ahead and put the 6 Tbsp of egg whites and a pinch of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once the syrup reaches 200 degrees F, turn the mixer on medium speed and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. If this happens before the syrup is through, turn down the mixer to low speed.
Continue to heat the syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F. By this time, the egg whites should have reached soft peaks. Turn the mixer on medium-high and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the stand mixer bowl. Once it’s been incorporated, increase the speed to high and whip the mixture until glossy stiff peaks form.
Add in the gel food coloring to reach desired color. Remember, when you incorporate the meringue into the almost paste, it will lighten the color a bit.
Fold about 1/3 of the meringue into the almond paste. Add a little bit of meringue at a time to adjust the consistency of the macaroon batter. It should be smooth and run in thick ribbons off the end of a spoon. You will likely have a bit of meringue left over. You don’t want it to be too thin, or it will spread too far when piped. If it’s too thick, flaws in the tops of the cookies will not work themselves out.
Add the batter to a piping bag fitted with a #12 tip and pipe it onto the parchment paper, using the template as a guide. Don’t fill the circles completely with batter — it will spread a bit as it settles.
Allow the piped batter to sit for 5-10 minutes to settle before baking. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the cookies have formed “feet” at the bottom and the tops have set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the parchment paper, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Ingredients:
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup shortening
1 Tbs pure vanilla
2 Tbs meringue powder
¼ cup water (+/-)

Directions: Using stand mixer, cream butter and shortening in mixing bowl.  Once smooth, add vanilla and mix until blended.

Onederland Photoshoot with DT-Photography

A First Birthday party isn’t complete without a photo-shoot!  We had a “One”derful time with Danielle with DT-Photography.  Lucky for us we live in a pretty talented neighborhood!  Danielle lives right in our “hood” and when I approached her with an Alice themed shoot she was more than excited to participate.  With her and my combined enthusiasm the shoot really came to life.  We could not have been happier with the way all of the photos turned out.  Danielle’s patience and talent is really unmatched!  Thank you so very much for making our photo-shoot a special One!

One Year!


Stats: We are still around the 19-20 pound mark.  She hasn’t had her 1 year check-up yet.
Likes
  • Walking
  • Dogs
  • Eating
  • Giving Kisses
  • Playing with her friend Kaitlyn
Dislikes
  • Being told “No”
  • Baby Jail
Features: She has a total of 6 teeth and more on their way!  I think her molars will be next.   Still not enough hair for hair clips or pony tails but it is getting thicker.

Clothes: Tiernan is wearing her 9 month clothes still.  She is so petite!  She does have a few 12 month jams that she wears on occasion but they are just too baggy.
Activity: There is no more crawling in this house.  She is walking everywhere and in to everything!  She loves giving kisses and teasing the pups.  
Social: Sign language is used daily in this house.  All Done and More are her favorites.  We are working on Thank You and Milk.  She is saying more words.  Mama, Dada, Nana, Gog, and Who’s That are said all of the time.  Tiernan has a play-date sometimes three times a week with her girlfriend Kaitlyn.  They drink their water and discuss their little lives.  It is so cute to see them interact.  It is a nice change for T to have someone her own size that doesn’t have 4 legs and fur!
Sleep: Well still not sleeping through the night.  At this point I think that it is just habit for her to get up in the middle of the night.  Neither Sean nor I can stand to let her cry through the night so she gets up for a little snack and then is right back to sleep.  Naps are scattered throughout the day if we aren’t busy playing!
Eating:  Tiernan is back to eating everything and everything, even the dog food!  We tried chicken wings for the first time and she was in heaven!  
We are preparing for this Onederful Day!  Lots and Lots of company will be making their way down for the big weekend!.  Sean has been working out of town quite a bit and we are looking forward to him having some time off for the birthday festivities.  As for me, I wasn’t able to get into school this semester.  Lots of mix-ups with the financial aid office and much frustration!  I do believe however that things do happen for a reason so maybe something else is going to happen!  We look forward to celebrating Tiernan’s very First Birthday with all of our loved ones and will be posting lots and lots of pictures!

11 Months


Stats: Well our bathroom scale says about 20 pounds…Not sure how accurate that is!
Likes
  • Swimming
  • M&Ms
  • Walking
  • Dallas
  • Drinking from her big girl cup
  • Gigglebellies (like is an understatement…obsessed is a better word)
  • Making noises with her tongue 

Dislikes
  • Getting dressed
  • Being told “No” 
  • Falling down
Features: Still only 5 teeth with 3 on the way.  These last 3 have given us the most trouble.  Not really with the pain or crankiness but with the sore bum.  Poor T hasn’t had much luck in the panty department if y’all know what I mean!  Her hair is coming in blonder and thicker.  I can almost put it up in a little pony!

Clothes: T is still rocking the 6-9 months size.  I don’t think she will ever get to wear any of her cute 12 month clothing!  She doesn’t always wear clothes anyways so I don’t know what I’m worried about.  Nana found her a super cute Little Lady shirt from baby gap that she now has in every size!
Activity: We are constantly on the move.  The only time that Tiernan isn’t moving is when she is sleeping…and then even then she moves all around in her bed.  She is very independent and likes to do things on her own.  Which is really no surprise! 
Social: Sean and I have been using some signs to communicate with T for awhile now and just recently she signed back to us.  It was pretty extremely exciting!  She now knows when to say all done using her sign!  Her new favorite word is uh oh.  She says it at all of the appropriate times!  She also knows how to shake her head no and sometimes yes.  Shaking her head no is way more fun!
Sleep: Things have been pretty routine around here!  I can hardly believe it myself!  Usually around 8 pm is when little lady starts to get sleepy.  She will have a bottle and then Daddy-O puts her right to sleep.  She has been sleeping through the night until about 6 am when she gets up, has a little milk and then goes back down until 9:30-10.  Her naps haven’t been so routine.  I’ve been trying to get her to take one long nap in the middle of the afternoon and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  
Eating:  Like with most babies Tiernan has had aversions to some of what used to be her favorite foods.  Bananas were her go to snack but now she could careless.  She thinks feeding her buddy Dallas is more entertaining than eating herself.  He loves meal time!  We eat a lot of english muffins and peanut butter, and granola bars.  She is a fan of Larabars and Monkey Bars.  I know that she will get out of this funk soon!  Tiernan loves drinking out of her big girl cups.  Our cupboards are filling up with sippy cups!
This past month has been a crazy one.  Getting home from an amazing vacation to OBX and then traveling to visit family over the July 4th weekend.  We have also been busy planning this birthday party extravaganza that is about to happen in a month.  All of the invites were sent out and now we just wait for the RSVPs.  By the looks of things all 60 people we have invited are making their way to NC for the big day weekend.  
Sean has been busy traveling with work and we sure do miss him when he is gone.  I don’t know how single moms do it all of the time.  I guess you just do, but it sure is nice to have a partner to tag in just when you need a little time to oh you know shower, paint your nails, maybe just sit alone for a minute!
I have made the decision, 1 month before classes were to begin to switch schools.  Mainly because my new school has a “school” for Tiernan to go to while I am at class.  My upcoming schedule has some classes that I am not able to take at night or online so we needed to find some sort of daycare for little lady while I was in class.  It will be a new experience for the both of us.  When we went to visit what would be her classroom, she was ready to get down and play.  I was a little more hesitant to let that happen.  

Chalkboard DIY

I’ve had a couple of questions about where I bought my chalkboard that I use.  Well I didn’t buy it.  It was actually a mirror that wasn’t being used anymore and was given to me by the previous owner.  I took it home, cleaned it up and made myself a chalkboard!

Over the weekend I was able to snag these two amazing mirrors!  

I have been looking for a mirror like this for about a year now.  I wanted to make T a chalkboard of her own before she was born but I wasn’t able to find one that I liked.  When I saw these two I just had to have both!  To transform these mirrors into chalkboards is a very simple process.

First clean your mirror.  I usually spray them with the hose to get the dust off.  If you are leaving the frame the original color than you are going to want to give it a good clean.  If you plan to paint the frame then a spot clean will do.  Next, pick your color and chalkboard paint!  I love the Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover spray paint and their Chalkboard paint found here for only $3.67!
 
I was so excited about this project that I forgot to take a photo of the way I cover the frame when spraying the chalkboard paint.  But basically you just take newspaper and tape it all the way around just exposing the mirror.  Then go ahead and spray your chalkboard paint.  On the first coat you don’t have to worry about it being even.  Let that dry for about 2 minutes and spray another coat.  After this second coat you should have decent coverage.  Let this dry for about an hour.  After that hour is up go ahead and spray your final coat.  This time you want to make sure your paint is even and smooth.  Let this dry overnight.
If you are keeping your frame the color that it is you can skip to the bottom of this tutorial!
Once your chalkboard has dried overnight, you will want to cover the mirror like in the above photo so that you can start to paint your frame.
The number of coats you apply to your frame will depend on how dark you want it to be.  If you are using the Rustoleum 2x ultra paint then you will only need 2 coats to completely cover the frame.  Like the chalkboard paint, you will want to allow at least an hour of dry time between coats.  Once you have reached your desired color allow to dry for 24 hours.  Drying outside is the best!
And ta-da!  You have a beautiful chalkboard!  Once your chalkboard is completely dried, you can prep the surface for chalkboard art!  All you need to do is to color the entire chalkboard with chalk and wipe away.  You will want to do this maybe 2 or 3 times.  Then your chalkboard is ready to be used!
 
I hope this tutorial was helpful.  If you have any questions you can always ask!  I would love to see photos of your chalkboards that you have created!

Kool-Aid in my Dishwasher…

So as I was stalking Pinterest I came across an interesting way to clean your dishwasher.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  This post was suggesting that I dump a package of $0.20 lemonade kool-aid into my dishwasher and run it as I normally would.  The end result was supposed to be a squeaky clean dishwasher.  Yea…right.

 

Well while Little Lady and I were at the store, there was an endcap with these so called miracle cleaners on it.  I picked up a few and thought well what the heck, might as well try.  If it didn’t clean like I had hoped then at least we would have a refreshing summer drink 🙂
So before I turned in for the night I dumped the lemonade into the soap dispenser and started the dishwasher.
To my surprise the dishwasher not only is squeaky clean but it no longer has that funky smell!  My $0.20 experiment has worked and I wanted to share with y’all! You may wonder if any kool-aid flavor will work.  The answer is NO!  So please put that packet of Grape (because we all know that is the best flavor) back into your pantry.  Only the Lemonade flavor will work because of the citric acid.  Now that I have found that this works so well I am on to find other ways to use this cleaner.