can i please tell you how nice it was to be together as a family again?  what a wonderful family i have. we spent the weekend at home, leaving only for a coffee run and to pick up a couple groceries. it was simply lovely.  here's a few snippets from our weekend. 
i'm a lucky girl when it comes to vacuuming.  chris loves, and i mean loves to vacuum.  i've never once vacuumed our house in our entire marriage (crazy, huh?). chris vacuums every time we clean and sometimes multiple times a week.  i'm not sure how i got so lucky, but i'm not going to argue with his obsession.  it's great.  cohen seems to follow in his father's footsteps and loves the vacuum too.  he follows chris around from room to room laughing and studying how the machine works.  it's the sweetest thing.
left. mr. bolt, who i'm convinced is the craziest poodle on earth. right. story time before bed.

left: the cutest little red shoes chris walked in the front door with for cohen.  right. a sore teething boy, who hardly wants to chew.

aren't those shoes the cutest?  they look so adorable on cohen's chubby feet. we rarely put shoes on him, so it took a while for him to catch onto how to walk in them, but now he's got it down.  chris also brought me home the new iphone which i absolutely love.  i'd never had one before, so i'm still learning, but i'm obsessed with instagram ( i'm @madebymonica if you want to follow).  in fact i think i like it better than twitter, since it's all pictures?  what are your thoughts?  in other weekend news, poor cohen spent the weekend cutting two more teeth. he's ten months and now has ten teeth.  i know parents get excited about their kid's teeth, but i really dislike him getting this many teeth this young.  the little guy hardly ate and had super high teething fevers. anyone else have issues with high teething fevers?  cohen's are usually 104-105 and scare me.  my pediatrician doesn't seem alarmed since the fevers break quickly, but this is his third high grade fever in two months (each one with a new tooth). 

also, if you missed yesterday's post, i really need your help with cohen's birthday, so check it out and lend some advice.   happy tuesday! {monica}


attention creative people! I NEED YOUR HELP!

the time has come to start planning a little mister's first birthday party.  the fact that i'm even writing first birthday party really freaks me out a bit (what happened to my baby?), but that's beside the point.  anyways, this is why i need your help.  i really want the theme, and i use the the word theme lightly, to be "anchors and fish". random i know, but i'm kind of obsessed with them both at the moment.  plus, my parent's beach house is one of our favorite places on earth and we wanted to honor our love for the ocean in one way or another.  my problem?  finding non-cheesy, non-gaudy, non-tchotchke anchor things. to give you an idea of what i'm thinking here are a couple of things i'm going to try to recreate (most we're found via pinterest).
i plan on making a few of these as a gift for the birthday boy {via}
i thought it would be fun for everyone at the party to make driftwood fish for themselves and for cohen.  my folks will be flying out from the northwest for the party, and they'll be bringing the driftwood from their beach house.  love them.

{on a side note can i please just take a minute to tell you how much i love the website made by joel.  these first two projects were his creations, and he has tons of other great diy's and projects i'd love to take on in the future.  if you haven't visited his website, you must go there when you have the time!}

i've been collecting lots of nautical fabric since before cohen was born, so i plan on making a pretty fabric garland of some kind.  i really like the drama of this one and hope to recreate something like it for the party.
i've loved these watercolor cups for a while now and have been waiting for the perfect event to try the out myself. cohen's party might just be the time?  i love how the blue ones look like the ocean.
here are the only two things i've purchased for the party so far.  i bought these two nautical numbers for the birthday boy at old navy last month since they were on clearance.  the cardigan has anchors on the side and i really wish it came in my size!

so there you have it.  those are my ideas!  now i need yours. i need help with cake ideas, food, and anything else you can think of really! please send links to my email (homemadebymonica@gmail.com) or leave them in your comments below....any help would be much appreciated!  thanks faithful readers.  happy monday{monica}


weekly links.

here are some of my favorite things this week.

one.  my weekend project: diy patches for well loved shoes. go here for a full tutorial from baby blackbird.

three. this amazing blog about a mother's journey post late-pregnancy miscarriage (or stillbirth).  bethany is the sister-in-law of one of my college roommates, and her words are simply beautiful amidst unimaginable tragedy.  if you are a mother, trying to conceive, or have lost a child yourself, i encourage you to read her words.

have a great weekend everyone!  chris is coming tonight and i can't wait to get my arms around him.  happy friday! {monica}


single mama.

 i've only been a single mama for three days now, and let me tell you it is hard. to all you single parents out there...i salute you.  you are superhuman!  i really don't know how you do it each and every day?  small things like taking a shower, cooking healthful meals, or using the restroom require a well planned strategy. although it's hard, being home alone with cohen is the best.  he says mama all  the time, gives me lots of big smiles and hugs, and is even being more snuggly than usual (he must know i need the cuddle time).  being his mom is pretty darn great. here are a few pictures of what we've been up to.
cohen got a big package from his great grandparents in wyoming. this was the first time he's gotten into ripping the paper off of a gift.   it was pretty cute!  thanks grandpa don and gradma k for the gift.
i've been busy painting wooden toys for cohen after he goes to bed. i'm trying to get a jump start on his birthday gifts while i have the time (more on this later).

after eating wendy's spicy chicken nuggets monday night and a frozen burrito tuesday night, i was ready for a something fresh and heathy.  i made this red curry bowl, and it really hit the spot.  can't wait to eat the leftovers today.

excited to spend another fun evening with my little guy tonight, but even more excited to have chris come home tomorrow night.  although, i'm really enjoying all this special alone time with cohen, life is much better when chris is home too!  happy thursday! {monica}


look of the day. i got my hair did.

{sweater (gift): h &m, shoes: payless, courderouy pants: thrifted, tank: target, lace top: vintage, necklace: f21}
remember this post?  yeah, that one i wrote nearly 2 months ago.  the one where i said i desperately needed my hair cut and colored.  well, guess who finally had some time to follow through with it?  this girl!  that's right.  i got my hair cut.  and i l.o.v.e it! it's really drastic, but exactly what i envisioned. chris loves it, but told me he thinks i look like a russian spy (hence us messing around with charlie's angels-esque photo above).  happy wednesday! {monica}


weekend goodbyes.

our goodbyes were as expected. i cried. chris wiped my tears, hugged me tight and said sweet words. cohen smiled oblivious to the changes ahead. chris signed i love you as we drove away.  it was hard. much harder than expected, but i'm determined to put on my big girl pants and put on a happy face for cohen (while secretly counting the hours until chris is home again).  happy tuesday! {monica}


saying goodbye.

cohen and i will be saying our goodbyes to chris this weekend. he'll be moving, looking for a place we can have a short term lease at and starting his new job, while cohen and i stay behind and get some things finalized here at home.  chris and i have spent nearly a year of our marriage apart, so you'd think i would be used to this short term set up, but this will be the first time living apart since having cohen.  it makes me sad.  for myself, but mostly for cohen and chris who spend most evenings glued at the hip.  it's going to be a big change for them both.  thankfully, chris will only be a two hour drive away so we plan on being together every weekend, but it will still be hard. we don't know how long we'll live this way, but we're hoping to get our plan of action settled within the next thirty days. i'll be back tuesday to let you know how our goodbyes went, but my posts may be sporadic for the next little while as i figure out how to be a semi-single mama.  happy friday! {monica}


weekly links.

here are a few of my favorite finds this week.  if you follow me on pinterest, you've already seen most of these, but not all. so please enjoy.
in starting to dream about cohen's future big boy room.  here are two things that caught my eye. a lovely orange headboard from tabletonic and this oh so adorable mini desk from kenzipoo.
 i love the whimsy of this heart sweater (worn by krystal) and yellow bow tie (worn by indiana).  i think i might attempt to recreate these in a future diy?  we'll see. 
these free printables from i rock so what. i'm pretty sure this bacon one is going up in our house somewhere.

this awesome article on a child's perception of the word no.  what children hear is much different from what we say.

the sewing school turtorials on a beautiful mess last week.  as a novice seamstress, i've been learning a bunch.

what's caught your eye this week? happy thursday! {monica}


a pregnancy wives tale i believe.

when we were pregnant, i read about all sorts of pregnancy wives tales. all of them proved to be incorrect in our case, but the one wives tale i whole heartedly believe to be true now that i'm a mom, is the if you eat a wide variety of foods while you are pregnant, your child won't be a picky eater one.  our birthing class teacher said this over and over through out my pregnancy, and although i wasn't completely sold on this notion then, i did as i was told like the good student i am.

eating a variety of food while pregnant wasn't a difficult thing for me, as i never had pregnancy food aversions and i have never been a picky eater in my entire life. even as a kid, i ate everything my mom fed me. for my entire pregnancy i tried my hardest to eat the widest variety of food possible. i ate sweet/sour/spicy/extra spicy/thai/mexican/american/dairy/bland foods/sushi/seafood/tons of different vegetables and fruits/occasional lattes and anything else i could get my swollen hands on.  even though i wasn't fully on board with this theory at the time, i secretly hoped it was true.   you see, i come from a foodie family.  my parents are both unusually great cooks.  they have always experimented with ingredients and flavors and passed their love of great food onto me, so naturally i wanted to pass this foodie tradition onto our children.

once cohen was born,  i was anxious to see what type of eater he would be. we started of the usual way, with doctor recommended rice cereal, then slowly introduced new foods into his diet.  when we were able to rule out any food allergies (thank you jesus), the real test began.  we decided that whatever chris and i ate for dinner would be thrown into the food processor and fed to cohen for dinner too. the first meal we fed him was roasted brussel sprouts and mustard crusted pork loin. it kind of makes me laugh to think this was his first meal, but hey it's what chris and i were having for dinner and i was sticking to my guns.  as i hesitently fed him his first spoonful, i waited in anticipation for a reaction but nothing happened. cohen was a champ.  without blinking an eye, he gulped down every last bite of that meal, and has continued to gulp down every bite since.  there has not been a single food we've fed cohen that he has yet to eat.  no joke.  we've even gone so far as feeding him capers, lemons, grapefruit, plain yogurt, and green olives, just to test him a bit (and because we are horrible parents and wanted to see if he would make an america's funniest home videos style face) but no. nada. nothing.

he may not look anything like me physically (duh, he is an exact replica of chris), but i know one thing is for sure, cohen inherited my affinity for food.  here's what he eats.
mango. fresh mozzarella. thai ground pork salad (recipe).

spicy beef, barley and vegetable soup.

fresh mozzarella, tomato, raw garlic and basil salad. {and not pictured because he ate it before i snapped the picture...lemon dill salmon burgers (recipe)}
annie's cheddar bunny mix and leftover beef with peppers (recipe)

and this is how i came to believe the if you eat a wide variety of foods while you are pregnant, your child won't be a picky eater wives tale.  happy tuesday! {monica}


look of the day. happy thoughts.

[blazer (thrifted) - old navy, denim button up (thrifted) - ralph lauren, skirt-gap, tote-can't remember, tights-target, heals-payless, black onyx ring (gift from my grandmother) - vintage]

i can't help but find myself happy about the following things:
one. did you notice my hair is finally long enough to fit in a ponytail? that's exciting.
two. our little family.  we spent the entire weekend at home together, mostly in our pajamas. it's was wonderful.
three. the vintage lacoste sweater i scored at salvation army for $1.99. 

what are you happy about today?  happy monday {monica}



ten. months. old.  it's hard to believe.

a brief update on mister cohen... he has eight teeth four on top and four on the bottom. he tips the scales at 24 lbs and is 30 inches tall. he's a real life walker now. not just a ten steps at a time-crash-five steps at a time-crash kind of walker, but an honest to goodness goes from a sit to a stand walker. a hardly even tries to crawl anymore kind of walker. it's just plain crazy. he likes to read, talk (in babbling form), and try new things. he is busy. he doesn't sit still unless he's sleeping or eating, which makes for long, but oh-so fun days. he enjoys getting into everything he shouldn't get into like kitchen cabinets, dog food, trash cans, and other disgusting things.

his big personality is really starting to shine these days.  he's turned into quite the talker.  last month he hardly babbled, this month he's saying "ma ma" "da da" "gogg (which means dog)" and all sorts of other hilarious noises.  in the last couple weeks, he's really gotten into building toys like blocks and tinker toys. he could play with blocks all night long i think.  tinkertoys are still far to advanced for his little hands to figure out, but he loves to watch chris and i build things with them. am i sensing another architect in our house?  of course it's too early to tell.
happy ten months baby bug.  we love you to pieces.  happy thursday! {monica}


deep thoughts continued.

after my last post, i'm starting to think it's not this blog that's making me crazy...it's our life. more specifically where we are in our life at the moment.  there is so much to think about, figure out, and settle out it's making my head spin.  here's an abbreviated list of the hysteria.

one. we've put our little bungalow, that we've really grown to love, on the market.  there was a period of time when we considered renting it out, but came to the realization we aren't ready to be landlords any time soon. so for now we are in operation keep the house clean mode. for all of you who have sold a home you know first hand the joys of trying to keep the house in "showing form".  really, this isn't a huge issue, as chris and i are fairly tidy people, it's just kind of time consuming. dishes can't be left in the sink, clothes can't be left in the hamper, toys need to be picked up nightly, etc. 

two. in addition to selling our home, we've had difficulties finding our temporary home in iowa city.  we've called hotels, who want to charge us $3500 a month (this is iowa people, not new york city), apartments who refuse to let us sign short term leases, and of the two month-to-month places we've found; one doesn't allow dogs, and the other looked like a straight up crack house (no joke).

three. continuing on the housing theme...we found a house we like in a tiny town east of iowa city.  it's really a dream house for chris and i, with one huge exception: it needs A LOT of work.  updated electrical, new drywall on the entire second floor and bonus room,  central air and gobs of cosmetic work.  i'm super excited about all the possibilities, but also nervous about cost to fix everything.  we've been calling every contractor, electrician, and hvac company in central iowa for the past couple days to try and get a feel for what we could be getting ourselves into.

four. applying for jobs, while trying to finish (and train my replacement) at my current position, is a heck of a lot of work.  for nearly my entire professional life, i've taken jobs that aren't exactly what i want to do, just so chris and i will have income/health care/etc while he's been in school. we've bounced around from place to place as he was completing his degree, so i was fine with taking a job i wasn't exactly thrilled with knowing it would be a short term commitment.  but now that we're trying to plant roots somewhere, i'd love to find something that makes me wake up in the morning excited to go to work.  i realize this is a difficult thing to find, but as a working mama, i dream of finding something challenging, but also that sets a good example for our children.  like my working mom did for me.  i remember growing up thinking to myself, "wow. i want to be just like my mom when i grow up." she was, and still is the most incredible woman i know.  she's incredibly successful,  travelled all over the country watching me chase my adolescent dream of being a college athlete, she cooked, cleaned, told quirky stories, is still the most talented person i've ever seen when it comes to conflict resolution (no joke. she can resolve any and every struggle known to man), and she enjoyed life along the way. she's pretty great.

five. deciding to live apart makes me sad! really sad. rather than move to iowa city, and bounce around from place to place, chris and i thought it would be best for cohen and i to stay behind in our house while it's on the market, and while chris tries to secure a place for us.  it was a hard decision to make, but we both know it's the right thing to do. living two hours apart won't be fun for either of us, but we're hoping things will get settled quickly so cohen and i can join chris in our new place as soon as possible.

other things we've got going on before chris moves: a house showing tomorrow, our moving company comes later this week to walk through their plan (thankfully chris' company moves us...one less thing to figure out), interviewing childcare for cohen, my own job interviews, doctor's appointments, moving chris to iowa city, lots trips back and forth to iowa city, and much. much. m.u.c.h more.

uggh. i know this entire post seems like such a buzz kill (for lack of a better analogy), but i promise we are super excited to make this move. i've dreamed of this day for a long time.  for chris to be done with school, take a job he's worked so hard for, and for finding a city we can actually see ourselves living in for longer than two years. i keep reminding myself that the end result is worth this whole process.  i'm sure these next two months (or three, or four...) will be gone before we know it, and we'll be settling in nicely to our future home.  i can't wait.

thanks for reading my picture-less little rant.  you guys are great and i promise to be back (without little rants) soon.  happy wednesday {monica}


deep thoughts.

i've been thinking about this blog a lot lately.  mostly, about the direction i want it to go.  for the past couple years, i've loved sitting down everyday to write a bit about our day to day happenings, what i'm wearing, or my latest creative endeavours.  it's been my little creative escape, a much needed break from nine to five number crunching and a husband in graduate school. that being said, i've begun to feel a bit different about this 'ol blog lately, and i'm not sure why? i'm not as excited or inspired to sit down and write posts as i once was. two weeks ago, i had grand plans of photographing our christmas tree, then posting some garland tutorials when i looked over at our baby boy and thought to myself, i'd much rather be playing with him than doing this; so, i stopped photographing and did just that. we sat on the floor, played with blocks and listened to raffi on pandora for the rest of the afternoon.  it was pure bliss. i find myself doing that a lot lately.  that being, thinking of a million different things i'd rather be and/or need to be doing than writing an uninspired post.  i'm thinking a lot of this has to do with feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment about our move, but i'm not exactly sure that's it either.  so, i'm going to take some time to think about what it is i want to do here.

until then, here are a few recent happenings.
sipping lattes at our new neighborhood spot and enjoying cool winter walks

basketball game with friends.

an ever inquisitive nine month old

cohen's new side kick

happy wednesday! {monica}


diy. faux fur clutch.

i'm slightly obsessed with fur at the moment. a trend in which my husband rolls his eyes at.  he thinks fur is solely for those who live in russia or davy crockett type outdoorsmen who wear coonskin caps.  i beg to differ.  fur is a trend i fully embrace.  in fact, i find myself fur-i-fying everything lately.  like this lovely clutch i threw together while we were in indiana last month.
once again, i kinda cheated and went the store bought route again just like i did on my last diy anthropologie inspired clutch. hobby lobby has the cheapest clutches (this one was only $4.99), you can't make them yourself for the same price, so i save myself the time and buy them from the store.

what you need:
store bought clutch (here's the one i used), faux fur, scissors, heavy duty fabric glue

directions: put a thin layer of heavy duty fabric glue on the exterior surface of the flap. once glue is applied, place faux fur (you can cut the fur to size prior to gluing, or once the glue is dry) on top of the glue, pressing the fur in place. let dry.  once glue is dry, trim off any excess fur around the perimeter of the flap.  it's simple as that.

simple. easy. stylish. my three favorite craft words.   
happy tuesday! {monica}