Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend in Pictures: Summer List Fun

We can cross off 'Spray Park' and 'Learn to Swim' from our 2014 Summer List, thanks to the 100+ degree weather this weekend. There just wasn't much else to do!

I am so proud of Mason. He was determined to learn to swim this summer and after spending only 20 minutes with him in the pool, he had it down! An hour later he could swim the length of the pool on his own. There is lots more practice to be done but we are off to such a great start. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to take all the credit and boast that it was due to years of teaching swim lessons that Mason picked it up so quickly... but the fact is, he was ready. Wearing floaties early on in the swim season and watching his little sister bravely put her face below water without hesitation gave him the confidence he needed to take the next step.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flashback Friday

Left: Marlee, February 2012
Right: Taylor, July 2014

P.S. I do realize Taylor is two weeks old today. Two week photo to come. :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


We're not even out of July and I'm seeing people's back-to-school shopping Instagram posts and school supply sales ads arriving in the mail. I refuse to transition from Summer to Back-to-School until August 1st... then we'll work on some school shopping for Mason and start couponing for school supplies. Even though I'm waiting to get back into school mode, my friends who are teachers are already making plans to get their classrooms in order.

Did you know that on average teachers spend over $1,000 out of their own pockets each year for classroom supplies just to make sure their students have the basic needed to succeed? Great Clips has an awesome campaign running right now that supports teachers and fulfills families' back-to-school shopping lists. Here's how you can participate...

1. Download the Great Clips Check-In App on your smart phone and Great Clips will make a donation to (I downloaded the app-- it gives you wait times for Great Clips locations in your area. Back-to-school hair cuts, anyone?)

2. Visit the #GREATLIST website and upload or enter your back-to-school shopping list for a chance to win everything on your list shipped to your home. Winners are chosen daily. While you're at the site, you can watch the cool makeover video for the classroom pictured above. More contest details can be found at the end of this post.

What's on your back-to-school shopping list? Any tips for this back-to-school first timer???

Many thanks to Great Clips for sponsoring this post, but my love for supporting teachers is all mine!

About the #GREATLIST contest

Contest Start Date: 7/15
Contest End Date: 9/5
Contest Prize : The winners' school supply list 
Prize Value: Up to $100

What counts as an entry? Typing or uploading the list file to the site.

Who is choosing the winner(s)? Great Clips chooses randomly on a daily basis.

Shipping logistics: Great Clips will ship winners' prize to their door for free!

For full contest details and terms and conditions, please visit the #GREATLIST campaign landing page.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam

One of our 2014 Summer List items was berry picking, which we did a couple of weeks ago. We took home our loot and after eating as many as we could, we decided to make strawberry jam out of the rest of them.
I found a low-sugar recipe on Pinterest that didn't require a special kind of pectin. Mason helped with the berry mashing.
We filled half a dozen pint jars with jam and have enjoyed gifting them and eating them. I just ordered Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces from the author of Food in Jars on Amazon and am excited to can the tomatoes our garden is producing-- and to see what else I can can and preserve!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

2014 Summer List Progress

We are half way through summer and we are just about half way through our 2014 Summer List. Here is a recap:

- camp out in the back yard
- learn to swim
- watch a parade
- State Fair
- host a popsicle party
- sleep over with cousins
- watch fireworks
- meet our new baby!
- make s'mores
- go bowling
- spray park
- pick berries
- get frozen yogurt
- go to the movies

Berry picking was a highlight. Marlee got her own scissors this year to cut the berries and Mason remembered doing it last year so he felt like a pro. We made low-sugar strawberry jam out of the berries and have been enjoying them ever since!

Frozen yogurt was a nice treat on a hot Sunday afternoon, and Matt and Mason hit up the $1 movies last week and checked that one off the list. We've got a few weeks left and are trying to soak up every minute, especially since we're on maternity leave now! What have you been up to this summer?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend in Pictures

This weekend was all about pictures-- of this little one and our newly formed family of five. Pictures with my camera, with Mia Hope Photography, and in my head to be stored forever.

We are still processing that number. Our house feels more full and our days seem to move by more quickly.

I need to remember how quickly this time passes and that there will always be a house to clean. I need to remember to enjoy it-- and find the joy in the late nights, early mornings, growing pains, and difficult transitions. I need to remember that our lives will never be like this again. I need to remember that I will sleep... eventually. I need to remember that I will miss this time when it's gone.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Celebrated: Taylor's birth day!

Taylor Mae Knifton arrived Friday, July 11th at 8:15AM and made us a family of five.
Matt and I both decided to take Thursday off work so we could run errands, do some things around the house, and spend the day together. Around 3PM I started noticing some contractions. They were about 15 minutes apart and not extremely consistent.

Heather had sent me a text earlier in the day saying she was coming to town and could she crash on our couch. I joked that we may need her to, in case we needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. Heather made it to our house around 11PM that night and we were packed and ready to go, with contractions that were uncomfortable and 5 minutes apart.
At midnight we were admitted into triage and I was 4cm dilated with contractions 2 minutes apart. Praise God for the epidural an hour later, because it took 6 more hours of those contractions to get to 10cm. Our doctor arrived at 8AM and after one push Miss Taylor made her appearance.
Perfectly healthy 8 pound baby girl. They measured her at 18 inches at the hospital but when I took her for her 3 day check up and she measured (twice) at 20.4 inches.
She has big blue eyes and dark brown hair that seems to get lighter and redder by the day.

Both Mason and Marlee are smitten with their newest sister. There has been an expected amount of acting out but no jealousy. Besides, we are all a little tired.

These are T's tiny feet in the arms of her great grandpa.
And on we go, into life as the five of us.