Health, Love & Fire: August 2016

NW Natural Street of Dreams 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

One of my favorite summer traditions is attending the Street of Dreams. Last year we visited just days before Harper was born, like literally maybe 5 days. Since it's less than stroller friendly, and far more relaxing without a little one in tow, we made it a day date.
This year's street of dreams showcased five different homes, each with a different feel, decorating style and design. It's located in West Linn, Oregon and the drive out there is absolutely gorgeous! Not only are the homes beautiful, but they come with views of the vineyard, Mt Hood and some gorgeous older pines. Needless to say, I'd take one if they wanted to give it to me. Each house had different elements that I loved, and as we walked through each space we discussed which aspects were our favorites. But I'm going to let the photos do the talking.

Favorite Kitchen and Eating Spaces:
Favorite Living Rooms:
Favorite Bedrooms:
My Favorite Outdoor Spaces:
Each year as I walk through the show I find myself gathering ideas and day dreaming about how I can incorporate little details or decor elements that I love into my own home. In the past, each time we visit ends with us at some sort of home decor store on our way home. And while you may never have as large a home as some of the houses from this year's show, there are always way to add touches of these into your own spaces.

The show runs until the end of the month, so there's still a couple more days to get a peak into these gorgeous spaces! Which of these spaces is your favorite? Have you ever been to a similar home show before?

One In A Melon - Harper's Watermelon 1st Birthday

Thursday, August 18, 2016

This past weekend we celebrated Harper's first birthday with friends and family. I may still be in a little bit of denial, but her party was so fun, and over before I knew it!
I decided on a watermelon theme, after scouring Pinterest and changing my mind a few times, but since I ate two watermelons a week the entire summer I was pregnant and it's one of Harper's favorite foods, it just seemed too perfect to pass up.
Her invitations were from Oh Be Joyful 

Since we had little ones attending the party, we decided on a late afternoon start time with dinner and cake. I set up the kiddie pool and water table out back for the kids to play in since it was going to be so hot and guests roamed between the back yard and the living room the whole party.
LOVED these letters from PaperLane Design
I kept it simple in terms of food and drink, and of course took pictures of the important stuff like the Watermelon Sangria, but forgot to photograph the yummy pulled pork my husband made, but it was there. For drinks we had Sangria and Lemonade with some strawberry puree if people wanted it added. And for food we kept it simple with pulled pork, hot dogs for the kids, a veggie tray, bean dip and chips, pesto potato salad (as recipe we got in our Hello Fresh box) and of course watermelon.
And no party at my house is complete without drinks in a mason jar, and they obviously needed coordinating watermelon straws and watermelon name tags. I love that these jars and lids get used at every party - and no matter how often I use them, someone always comments on how great they are. 
My favorite detail of the day had to be the amazing deserts from Sewell Sweets, a local baker I found through one of our favorite local shops. I had emailed Cat back in June with ideas for the party, and she totally brought my ideas to life! I knew I wanted cookies as favors and cupcakes for our guests to eat, and of course Harper need a smash cake. 
Unfortunately, Harper wasn't as excited about the smash cake as I was. Meaning, when I put it in front of her after everyone finished singing Happy Birthday, she almost immediately started crying.
But, since I am one of those moms who really wanted some cute pictures, we decided to try again the next day, hoping that she'd like it more if there wasn't a crowd of people standing around her. Turns out, she just isn't a huge fan of cake. But I still got some sweet photos out of it, so Mom's happy.
It's truly been so much fun to watch our child grow up and spend time with our best friend's children. We had all of our close friends and family there and it made the entire day and celebration complete! I can't believe the week has already passed and she's already a 1 year old. I can't wait for all the fun we get to experience over this next year!

What fun themes do you have for little ones birthday parties?

Meal Box Subscriptions - Which One Is Best?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

As a busy and working Mom, going grocery shopping always gets pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. Between the crowds at the store on weekends, my busy schedule and trying to work around the ever changing schedule of an infant, I always found myself stressed trying to find the time to meal plan and grocery shop for the week, plus have the time to actually cook the food before it went bad. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

When I went back to work after having Harper, I decided to try out one of the meal services I had seen other's post about. I wasn't really sure which one was best or which I would like more, so over the course of the last six months we have tried two of the larger companies out. And since I wasn't sure which to choose when looking for one to sign up for, I figured maybe some of you are in the same boat.
Hello Fresh -
We have gotten at least a dozen Hello Fresh boxes and out of those approximately 36 meals, only found a couple that we wouldn't make again. We haven't eaten one that we didn't enjoy and have saved several of the recipe cards to remake meals in the future. I love that each meal comes in it's own specific box so all the ingredients except for the protein stay together and are easy to find when you're ready to cook.
They have three options for boxes, the classic, the family and the veggie. Within each box selection you can choose how many people the meals should feed and how many meals a week you'd like delivered. Each week, all you have to do is log on to their website or app and choose which meals you'd like and they show up on your doorstep a few days later. We typically choose the classic box and get three meals delivered each week for 2 people. That box ends up being $69.

Not only has every meal been a hit with the two of us, we've remade recipes and always had guests rave about the food as well! I love that each meal is relatively healthy and doesn't take long to make.

We've only had an issue with one box and it was just because the app didn't connect with my online profile so the meals I had chosen for the week didn't save. I called customer service and they were extremely helpful, offered me tips on how to make sure that doesn't happen in the future and credited me for my box to use for next week's payment.

If you'd like to try out Hello Fresh, go to their website and type in promo code Y8KEPD for $40 off of your next box!

Blue Apron -
With Blue Apron they have two different plans to choose from, a 2 person and a family or 4 person plan. The two person is $59.99 for three meals and the family is $69.92 for two meals and $139.84 for four meals. Their menu cards are big and easy to read and have photos as step by step instructions so that it's nearly impossible to mess anything up!
Blue Apron also has a wine pairing feature where they recommend certain wines to pair with your meals. You can even purchase that wine right through their site. The site also features a market place where you can purchase other cooking items such as prep tools, cookware and spices.

We've found that these meals seem a little higher in calories than the Hello Fresh meals, but still have all been great.

Overall, both companies have easy to use websites where you can easily pick your meals for the week. I love that once a week, the box arrives on our doorstep and I have everything I need to make three meals for our family. Since Dan is working at least two nights each week and is at the first station for 24 hours on those days, three meals has been the perfect number for us. Having three meals a week that I don't have to spend extra time planning for or grocery shopping for has been such a stress relief and a huge help when tackling a busy week!

Have you tried one of the subscription meal boxes? Which has been your favorite?

Looking Back - A Year of Harper

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's officially Harper's birthday! I'm still completely in denial that she's one year old. This has been the most amazing year of my life, and I truly can't believe she's one year old! Not only does she complete our family, but she brings more joy and happiness to our lives than I ever could have imagined possible! Happy Birthday Harpie! Here's a look back at the last year!

Month One:
We brought her home from the hospital and got adjusted to life as a family of three.

Month Two:
Our first out of town family visitors came so we got to enjoy time with them and introduce Harper to some of our favorite people.

Month Three:
We celebrated her first Halloween with a trip to the pumpkin patch, a halloween party and some new fall traditions. I also went back to work this month, so we started to get used to our new routine.

Month Four: 
We celebrated her first Thanksgiving. She also officially started sleeping in her own room.

Month Five:
Celebrated her first Christmas, New Years and my birthday! Last year we found out we were expecting on December 18th, so it was fun to experience the holidays and my birthday this year with her here since last year we had just found out about her!

Month Six: 
This month she started rolling all over the place and using her ability to move to get her places! She celebrated Dad's birthday with him and

Month Seven: 
She officially started sleeping in her crib this month. It was a tough transition, probably harder on me than on her, but she is finally in her own room and crib each night. She also celebrated her first Valentine's Day, her bestie's first birthday, her first Easter and had out of town visitors from my Birth Mom and her husband.

Month Eight:
With the nicer weather we were able to be outdoors lots this month and she loved it. From walks to a trip to the Tulip Festival and even a trip to one of mom and dad's favorite wineries, we got out and enjoyed the sunshine! She was trying so hard to crawl, got her first tooth and officially could sit up on her own this month.

Month Nine: 
This month so much change happened -  she learned to crawl, started using high chairs at restaurants, learned to wave, pull herself up and crawl. She also took her second trip to the Oregon Coast.

Month Ten: 
She's on the move! Crawling, walking using a walker, and constantly wanting to be on the go! She celebrated her first mother's day and during the last couple days of the month, took her first airplane ride. And of course my favorite thing, she said her first word this month. . . Mama.

Month Eleven: 
Now that we've learned to talk, she's talking non stop. She celebrated her first 4th of July, her friend's second birthday and enjoyed her last month before her birthday!