Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Back to blogging, and time for home improvement projects

My family (and a few friends that followed along), know that years ago I blogged about my budding sweets business. I made cupcakes and other sweet treats that I mainly sold to friends and family.  While I enjoyed baking, I found that it was taking up too much of my free time, and my weekends were spent baking and icing cupcakes, and then delivering to friends/family. Erin’s Sweets came to an abrupt halt once I had Leslie in 2012. I barely bake anymore, and if I do, it’s for Leslie’s birthday or another special occasion! 

March 2013 – my last major baking endeavor, an Elmo cake for Leslie’s 2nd birthday party.

Even though I had great intentions to continue blogging about Lambert Life and share fun stories and pictures of Leslie, I just couldn’t carve out the time, and then my “second job” of Junior League/Holiday Mart took over, and blogging ceased to exist. 

A few of the Holiday Mart 2014 committee ladies during Ladies' Night Out. 

Holiday Mart is now over, and my extra-curricular obligations have greatly decreased. After I get home from work, I can focus my time on Leslie… and then once she’s in bed, watch Nashville or Scandal without feeling guilty!  It’s a great, welcome change of pace. The free time has also allowed me to focus on our new home, which we moved into in October 2014. We moved into a beautiful home that was in great shape, but definitely in need of cosmetic updates. Essentially, it’s a 70’s home that needs to be transported into the 21st century. 

I’m a DIY gal that loves pouring over Pinterest posts, studying paint colors, watching HGTV shows like Fixer Upper, and finding ways to economically transform a house into a home. In the four months we’ve lived in our house, there have been numerous projects and updates made. Throughout the process I’ve repeatedly thought about chronicling our experiences via my blog. Personally, I love DIY/home improvement blogs, and have gotten some great ideas from blogs like Nesting Place, LiveLoveDIY, and The Makerista. These blogs have inspired me to write about and share my efforts and experiences – not just to record the memories for myself, but to help others, and share ideas and best practices! 

So, here I go… I hope you join me on this journey – please share any comments; I welcome any ideas and suggestions you may have! 

First up… a look at the big project I undertook during my four week sabbatical from work - painting the kitchen cabinets! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Festivities

I you know me, you know I absolutely love the fall.  Hands down, it's my favorite season! Today was the perfect fall day filled with fun fall activities. It was a little cold (35 degrees at 9 a.m.), but not unbearable. We started the day by walking in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at the Liberty Memorial. The company I work for is a sponsor, so my department formed a team to walk. We walked for the first time last year, when I was pregnant, so it was fun to do it again this year, and have Leslie there to join us! Since it was a chilly morning, we bundled her up in this adorable pink, fluffy, bear jumpsuit thing that my Grandma got her. It was perfect for a chilly morning. Beneath the bear suit she had two additional layers on - we had to make sure she was nice and toasty! She seemed to love it, and was sung as a bug in her stroller. with an added two pink blankets on her. The walk was three miles, so it was the perfect length of time for Miss Leslie. 

Later in the afternoon we headed to the Louisburg Cider Mill in Louisburg, KS with Brett's parents. We wanted to get some delicious apple cider, as well as homemade apple donuts. We also thought we could get some good pictures of Leslie in the mini pumpkin patch. Leslie enjoyed playing with the pumpkins, and we found one that was just her size!  We got to enjoy some delicious hot apple cider, apple slushes and apple donuts in the warm farm house. 

We topped off the day with a visit to Jack Stack. We thought barbecue sounded delicious, so we headed to one of our favorite BBQ spots. Since it's a bit fancier than Oklahoma Joe's, we knew we were taking a chance with bringing Leslie with us. She's at the point where she won't stay in the carrier during dinner, and if you get her out and hold her, all she wants to do is grab for your food.  So, we decided tonight was the perfect time to try her in the restaurant highchair to see how she would do. I brought a highchair cover to use, and that was nice to have, although all she wanted to do was chew on the straps, which created a wet mess. But, it kept her entertained through most of dinner. She got fussy toward the end, but luckily we were paying and almost out of there.  We realize our going out for dinner days are numbered, and if we do go out, we should probably stick to loud, informal places.

I love fall, and it's been so fun to do fall activities with Leslie. Even though she may not be the best dinner companion, she's at such a fun age since she's starting to take everything in and be more active.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crazy Days

It's been one of those days... crazy morning, followed by a busy day at work, picked up Leslie at daycare, then came home and scrambled to feed Leslie and make something for dinner. Unfortunately, I completed messed up our dinner plans. I went to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon and got stuff for the entire week, and had dinner planned for each night we'll be home. The plan for Monday night was Chicken White Bean Chili, which involved cooking the chicken on Sunday night so that it would be ready when I got home on Monday.  Well, after I got the chicken out of the oven (9:30 pm), I left it out on the counter to cool... and never put it in the fridge. I was so tired last night, I completely forgot. SO, no chicken chili for us tonight! :(  Instead, I ate a combination of leftover pasta, pumpkin chips and my "after the baby goes to bed" treat was half a bagel with pumpkin cream cheese (yes, I love anything pumpkin). The kicker was when I sat down to eat my bagel with cream cheese, I dropped it on myself and the remote control. As if the remote control wasn't dirty enough! Oh well, sometimes you have to laugh at it all rather than cry over spilt milk, or rotten chicken in my case!

Some days I wonder what I did before I had a baby - how did I spend my evenings?! I remember thinking I was busy pre-Leslie, but now my pre-baby life seems like a piece of cake! Evenings used to involve working out, running errands, cleaning and relaxing while watching TV (Real Housewives, anyone?) or reading. Now evenings are all about cleaning bottle parts, getting stuff ready for the next day and doing laundry. Then, it's bedtime. Yes, evenings are completely different, and they're exhausting. But, I LOVE seeing Leslie when I pick her up at daycare, or when I get home from work - I love seeing her bright, smiling face, and how she kicks her legs in excitement when she sees me. I love playing with her on the floor, watching her inspect all her toys and try so hard to move around the living room. I love our evening walks as a family, and my favorite is cuddling with her before bed. I know it sounds cliche, but I wouldn't trade my new evenings for the world. My life may be busier, my house may be messier, and I may be more tired... but life with Leslie is worth it, and parenthood is incredibly satisfying.  And, believe it or not, I think I've become more organized and better at managing my time!

This is a picture of Leslie I took tonight - she's wearing her new fleece jacket with a kitty-cat hood. Adorable! I love baby clothes. We took her outside for a bit while I cleaned our my car and Brett took out the trash. Exciting!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Welcome to Lambert Life!

Welcome to the Lambert family blog, Lambert Life.  I decided to revamp my personal blog, Simply Sweet, and change it to a family blog to document our new life with Leslie, and share pictures. As much as I love baking, and enjoyed making and selling sweet treats, it was hard to keep it up through pregnancy, and now life with a baby. So, if you're a current follower - thanks for sticking around, and if you're a new visitor, welcome! We hope you enjoy our blog, and get some insight into the Lambert Life!

I'm not one to over share, so I'll try to not bore everyone with mundane stories, and endless pictures of Leslie. I want to use this forum as a way to keep track of memorable moments, funny stories, milestones and adorable pictures. When Leslie was first born, Brett and I talked about starting a blog. We kept saying we would get around to creating one, but just never seemed to find the time. Now, Leslie is almost seven months old and I'm finally sitting down and doing it! Realizing that it's already been seven months since Leslie's birth affirms that life flies by - time is precious, and someday I would love to look back on our blog posts and be able to return to these sweet moments in time.

As I just mentioned, Leslie is almost seven months old. SEVEN! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it... although I don't really need to because Leslie will do it for me. In the last few weeks Leslie has decided that it's fun to pinch/grab/scratch Mom and Dad while we're feeding her a bottle, or trying to rock her to sleep. What's amazing is that it hurts! This tiny little human is able to cause us pain with her tiny little hands. Okay, I'm thinking this is a mundane story, which I said I wouldn't do. So, on to something more interesting!

We experienced a milestone today... we lowered Leslie's crib. It had been on the highest setting, which made it super easy for me or Brett to lower her into the crib for bedtime or a nap (although naps rarely happen). We recently realized that since she's able to situp now, it won't be long before she can pull herself up, and then potentially fall out of the crib. Scary! And, yesterday Brett found her grabbing at the mobile, which is also dangerous. So, we decided it was time to play it safe and move the crib down. Of course we decide we need to do this as we're going through her bedtime routine... bad idea. Adjusting a crib is not as easy as it sounds, and when you're doing it in a room that's the size of a twin bed, it's almost impossible! It was quite comical watching Brett try to maneuver in Leslie's tiny room - he managed to trip over the fan/space heater, and knock over the wooden bird that sits on top of the bookshelf.  Once the crib was adjusted, it was my turn to put the bedskirt on (much harder when the crib is at the bottom level), drop the mattress in and then redo the crib bumper. 30 minutes after we started, we were both sweaty, the room was somewhat of a disaster, and we had a baby that was wide awake, completely entertained by mom and dad! I quickly cleaned things up as Brett fed Leslie, and luckily it didn't take long for her to fall asleep.

Moments like these make me stop and smile because I realize that it won't be long before Leslie is in a toddler bed, and then a big girl bed! It's like Darius Rucker's song "It Won't Be Like This For Long." I heard the song on the radio today, and it brought tears to my eyes! The lyrics of the song are so true - "This phase is gonna fly by, so baby just hold on. It won't be like this for long."

I don't have any pictures from this evening, but I will share one from last weekend... Leslie attended her first wedding, for Uncle Nathan and Aunt Kelsey! Leslie wore an adorable new outfit, and was a rockstar at the rehearsal dinner and wedding. It was a fun weekend, and we loved celebrating with the beautiful couple!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

valentine's day tissue paper wreath

I joined Pinterest last fall, but didn't realize it's full potential or how amazing it is until a month or so ago. I started using it to find ideas for Baby L.'s nursery, but also to find fun DIY projects, recipes, hair ideas, etc. It's fabulous! One of the DIY projects that I came across and wanted to try was a Valentine's Day wreath. I figured I could use the wreath on the front door in January/February, and then move it to the door of the nursery come March. A couple of wreaths I found on Pinterest, as well as the wreath on the cover of the current Martha Stewart Living magazine inspired the following:

I wanted it to be in the shape of a heart, but I couldn't find styrofoam in the shape of a heart. After hitting up two JoAnn's and Michael's, I settled for a simple circle.  Here's a list of the supplies I used:
  • Pink tissue paper - two shades (light and dark pink). Unfortunately I didn't keep track of how many sheets I used, but I used four multi-colored packs ($1.98 each from Wal-Mart).
  • Round styrofoam wreath in white (found at JoAnn's)
  • Glue gun (I went through quite a few glue sticks... almost an entire pack)
  • Scissors
  • Ice pick
  • Wreath hanger
  • Pink polka dot ribbon
A few of my supplies
Styrofoam wreath from JoAnn's

I started by folding each sheet of tissue paper four times, so that I could cut tiny squares. I then twisted each piece so it looked like a small flower:

Light and dark pink tissue paper, folded into small squares

Tissue paper buds

After I created numerous small tissue buds, I poked holes in the styrofoam using an ice pick. I then used the glue gun to drop a small amount of glue in the hole. I then stuck the end of the small tissue bud into the hole and held it until it stuck.  I was random about the colors, switching back and forth between the light and dark pink. I also tried to place the holes close together so the tissue paper buds were tight and no styrofoam could be seen.

Lots and lots of tissue paper was used!

A small hole made with an ice pick, then filled with glue

Once the wreath was done, I found an old black wreath hanger and covered it with pink polka dot ribbon. I used the glue gun to secure the start and end of the ribbon.

A black wreath hanger, covered in pink polka dot ribbon

Ta-da! The end result. It looks very festive against our black door, and can easily be seen from the street! Once Valentine's Day has come and gone, I may add a "Welcome" message to it or something so we can use it to celebrate Baby L.'s arrival come March!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

sweet pregnancy

Obviously, I haven't been very good about keeping my blog updated with tales of baking and pictures of delicious treats. Since July I've been occupied with other things, primarily with being pregnant! That's right, I'm expecting my first child... due March 20, 2012! Brett and I are incredibly excited, and can't wait until the arrival of our sweet baby girl! It's hard to believe that I'm already 27 weeks pregnant, almost 7 months! It's just nuts, the past few months have flown by. When we first found out back on July 6th, it felt like March was a million months away - now it's just three short months away! I keep thinking about how this will be our last Christmas as a family of two. Next year will be incredibly different!

I feel incredibly blessed to have had an easy pregnancy thus far. No morning sickness, nausea or food aversions. My sense of smell is definitely heightened, and I have cravings for all things sweet (especially Sour Patch Kids). I had an onslaught of headaches in the first 4 months, which were a pain considering the only medicine I can take is Tylenol. Other that that, no complaints! Now that my belly is getting bigger, my back hurts a lot, most often during the day while I'm sitting at my desk. No matter what I do, I just can't get comfortable. Luckily my sleep hasn't suffered (yet). I'm still the same old Erin with narcoleptic tendencies.

I think being incredibly busy with Holiday Mart helped the first five months fly by. The height of Holiday Mart planning and work was August-October, so I stayed super busy! The Mart was a huge success, and I feel so proud to have been a part of it.

So, with my work, Holiday Mart responsibilities and pregnancy, I haven't done much baking in the last few months.

I did manage to make some yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars for a work event...

They were amazing! I got the recipe from Bake at 350 - I highly recommend them!

Now that we're in the midst of the Christmas season, I've made a few holiday treats... red velvet cake balls, chocolate chip cookies and reindeer crunch. This weekend I plan on making French Toast Casserole for Christmas Eve breakfast, and Hot Beef Dip for the Lambert family Christmas Eve dinner.

I LOVE the holiday's - the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love being with family and friends, the traditions, memories of year's past, the sounds, smells, nonstop Christmas music... everything! Being pregnant during the holiday's has been fun (except for not being able to wear the cute holiday dresses). I've been trying to savor every moment and not rush things. While I can't wait for baby girl L. to arrive, I'm trying to enjoy the moments that Brett and I have together now... being able to have our Christmas date night, going to see the Nutcracker together, Christmas shopping without a little one in tow, etc. We're both ready for the next phase of our lives, but it's nice to enjoy our last Christmas as a family of two.

Here are a few pictures to get you up to speed on my pregnancy...

My first "bump" picture - 5 weeks pregnant!

How we told my Mom and Dad

How we told Brett's parents

Week 8

Week 9

Week 11

Week 19

Week 20 - halfway there!

Week 21 - Photo Shoot for our Christmas Card

Week 23 - Thanksgiving day!

Week 25 - Brett's Work Christmas Party

Week 27 - December 21

On October 20 (week 18), we had our first sonogram and found out Baby L.'s gender! To announce the gender to our families, we had a "Gender Reveal Party." I made a sweet treat to help with the announcement - more on that and pictures in my next post!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, September 12, 2011

birthday treats for brett

Brett's birthday was this past Saturday, Sept. 10. To celebrate I made him a few special treats... a sausage and egg breakfast casserole for brunch, followed by chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes for our KU tailgate.

I had never made a breakfast casserole before, so I found a quick and easy recipe on AllRecipes.com... it was nice because I made it the night before, and then popped it in the oven the next morning. I didn't take a picture until after we had already cut into it (we were hungry!), so it's not very pretty. But, it sure tasted good!

Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but half of the casserole has corn flakes on top. I wanted something crispy, so I added cornflakes when there was about 10 minutes of baking time left.

The chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes were pretty easy also... since I was short on time I doctored up a box mix. In my opinion, doctored up box mixes are just as good as homemade mixes, and they're so much easier... plus, they're practically no fail. I get so frustrated when I spend an hour on a homemade mix and then my cupcakes don't rise, or they're too dense, etc. So, save yourself some time and frustration and try doctoring up a box mix. I typically use four eggs rather than what's called for on the box, and use a cup of buttermilk instead of the amount of water called for on the box. For this recipe I used a cup of oil, 4 eggs, a cup of sour cream and half a cup of water. No buttermilk... also I used the box mix that has a box of pudding in the mix. Makes the cupcakes nice and moist!

I also cheated and used Pillsbury cookie dough. Even though my homemade cookie dough is the BEST, I just didn't have time. I dropped a tsp of cookie dough in the middle of each cupcake and also baked a dozen cookies to cut in half and place on top of the cupcakes for decoration.

I used my staple buttercream icing and added mini chocolate chips to it. Overall, I think the cupcakes turned out great! The birthday boy loved them, and they were a hit at the tailgate.

Cupcakes and Boulevard Wheat - yum! :)