DIY Beeswax Ornaments

>> Monday, December 19, 2016

One of my favorite things about the Christmas tree is our wax ornaments we made a few years ago. I wrote about them soon after I made them, but I never quite explained the process. With still a good six days until Santa comes, you surely have enough time to try this out. They make wonderful gift wrapping toppers, too!

Here's some from our collection:

Beeswax Ornaments 

What you'll need . . .

  • Beeswax, of course*
  • Old pot and glass bowl (or double boiler)
  • Molds
  • Spray oil
  • Twine or yarn or ribbon
  • Something sharp to poke holes

* Alright, with the beeswax, you can definitely head to your local craft supply store and get it either by the block or in little pellets. Don't forget to take one of those 40% off coupons with you to save on it. The pellets are easier to work with, but we've used block wax with no issue either. 

If you think ahead next year, consider heading to a local apiary for wax or ordering some online. I've ordered beeswax on Amazon that I use for ornaments, but also for different DIY things, like natural lotion cubes, zero-plastic food wrap, and 5-minute homemade deodorant.

How to:

// 1: Lay out all your supplies. Wax sets rather quickly, so you'll want to have the molds ready when it's time to pour. Clear out some space in your fridge, too. I liked putting mine in there to cool.

// 2: Fill a pot halfway with some water and place the glass bowl inside the pot to create a double boiler of sorts. Toss in some shaved wax an melt it over medium heat. I never got too detailed with how much wax. I just did a bunch (a pound) and if I didn't need it all, it would cool a bit while I waited for everything to set. I could re-melt it or store again for later use.

// 3: For my ornaments, I used simple candy molds made from plastic. Though I don't think this is the best practice, it got the job done. Some people use Brown Bag Cookie Molds, and they are gorgeous, but expensive. I'd love to find some of these on thrift for the future. I think silicone molds would work out wonderfully (and be easy to take ornaments out of).

In the end, you just need anything to mold. I got creative and used a decorative dish. Whatever you use, you'll want to spritz just the slightest bit of oil on it. At least that is what I did. Not too much or it might affect your end result. But just enough to help the wax slide out/off when it is set.

// 4: So, once your wax is all melted, slowly pour it into the mold (that's on a level, flat surface). It should start cooling right away. Very carefully transfer your molds to the refrigerator and wait a good 10 minutes before taking the ornaments out.

Just FYI -- I've even experimented with adding glitter and other texture to my ornaments (see image below). I've used green rice to make a wreath, etc. It's fun. Play around. My favorite ornament is the one I put very large flakes of hexagonal gold glitter inside of.

// 5: Once they are out of the mold and completely set (you may need to shimmy a bit), poke a hole where you'd like to thread some twine, ribbon, or yarn. You can even use a paper clip in a pinch. Just make sure you're not too close to the edge or it might break off.

// 6: Storage. Once you're done using the ornaments for the year, I like to store them in plastic wrap. They can break, so use care that they don't have pressure placed on them. I read once if your ornaments get a bit cloudy looking, you can quickly blast them with a hair dryer to make them a bit shinier. I haven't tried that trick myself.

So, there you go! It's a bit late, I admit. But -- honestly? I think these ornaments would be a fun activity you could do in the week AFTER Christmas to save until next year. Or even to make for other holidays. I have to say, they're one of my favorite DIY projects to date.

Oh! And they also add this nice, natural scent to the room that goes well with your tree's aroma. You could even put a couple drops of essential oils in them for good measure.

The countdown begins! Have you finished your shopping? There's a couple more days. Don't forget to check out my 2016 gift lists!


Eloise Joy // 6 Months

>> Monday, December 12, 2016

It's been a while since I've written about the littlest member of our family. I think part of this has been because we were in a type of survival mode. I mean, the first six months is rough. Though we aren't entirely out of the sleepless nights, the growth spurts, and the many (many!) transitions . . . I do see some light.

And Eloise is surely showing us her unique personality.

(By the way: I'm writing this post as my cat is snoring loudly beside me. It's hilarious.)

I want to start by making a confession. I think in all the years I spent of having another baby, I idealized the experience. I got so fixated on the final result. The fact that getting there was pure hell for us. And I imagined that when that sweet babe was in my arms, nothing else would matter. The crying, the exhaustion, the fluctuating hormones.

The truth is: It still matters. I am so very thankful for our rainbow baby. There are days when I still cannot believe she is here. But -- people -- having an infant is hard. Harder than I remember. There are times when I think I'm tough on her. I keep thinking back and saying "Well ADA wasn't this way!" . . . and then I go and read my notes on Ada at this age. She was EXACTLY this way. Same challenges. Everything. My babies are high needs, spirited children. I think it's something they get from me.


Some things that are going on as we enter six months:

  • We're getting ready for the big crib transition. And stopping the swaddle. At the same time. Oh, goodness. Help me. Right now, Eloise is still sleeping swaddled mostly in her swing (it all started when I read this) and Rock 'n Play. She is getting far too mobile for it all. But with the reflux, it made sense. 
  • We have started solids. Our pediatrician told us to wait until 6 months, but we started a couple weeks early. It's a long story, but Stephen gives Eloise a Doidy cup of formula around dinner time. She started to show an interest in what we were eating, so we delved in with purees. I think we'll mix in some Baby-Led Weaning method soon enough. We did a mix of both with Ada as well.
  • Like I mentioned, Eloise is moving a lot. Rolling a lot. And I looked back through my notes -- Ada started crawling at 6.5 months. Not that the two will be the same, but it could be on the horizon. Soon!
  • Teething seems to also be close to happening. The girl has been munching her fingers for months, but the drool has kicked up a notch. She hasn't reached the miserable stage yet. Poor thing. It's coming, though.
  • We have the 6-month checkup on Friday. I am dreading the shots. Eloise had a pretty bad reaction to her 4-month shots (steady fever and was just plain unhappy). But I'm interested to see if she's gaining weight well. She has been on the tiny side . . . and not sticking with her curve. I'll report back.
  • Eloise has started audibly laughing recently. She's giggled and you could tell she thought things were funny before. But that's something I notice in general with her -- she's kind of quiet. She's taking it all in, and she's got a sweet way of showing it. Sister Ada was just REALLY vocal and loud all the time from the very beginning.

Other stuff:

  • Nickname is firmly established as Ella. Or Ella Bella. Or Booje. Stephen started that last one shortly after she was born.
  • Versus when Ada always seemed very left-dominant, Eloise seems very right-dominant with her hands. I know it's early for that -- but we could tell really early with Ada.
  • Bedtime is around 7:30. We're still doing the "dream-feed" but it's more of a she-wakes-for-it feed around 10:30PM each night. Then she will nurse again between 3-5 in the morning. Then she's up for the day by 8.
  • Naps are generally around 9:30, 1, and 4:30ish. The first two are usually between 1-2 hours long. The last is 30-45 minutes. We sometimes skip it if we're out and about.
  • One formula feed a day is working well for us. Though she won't take a bottle, she does take 3-4 ounces in her cup, and much more readily now that we've been doing it consistently. Thinking of trying a straw cup soon. (Here's more about why I started combination feeding.)
That's all for today. Don't forget to check out my 2016 gift lists!



Delicata Slow Cooker Chili

>> Friday, December 9, 2016

Quick recipe for you today (don't miss the gift guides)! This chili beats the pants off my Pumpkin Chili -- seriously. I was out of pumpkin and had several delicata sitting on my counter. I decided it might taste good with chunks versus puree. I was right.

So, just toss these ingredients into your crock pot, and you'll have dinner all weekend.


What you'll need . . . 

  • 2 delicata squash, peeled + cut into 1/2 inch cubes (3-4 cups)
  • 1 can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained + rinsed
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (vegetarian base)
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper 

Method . . .
  1. Put everything into your slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours on high.
  2. That's all! Serve with cornbread. (And I'll have a NEW recipe for that coming next week!)

FYI: I put in the list exactly what I used, but feel free to use what you have in your kitchen to tweak.

Happy Weekend!


Want, Need, Wear, Read // Her

>> Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hey, guys! I'm planning to hop on and give you guys an awesome recipe for slow cooker chili -- with delicata squash -- tomorrow. Before that, though, I thought I'd share the last gift list with you today. This one is for the ladies, and it's about as close to my own personal gift list as I can get (hint, hint, real life family + friends!).

There might be a dining room table on this list, but I'm sticking to it. I mean, that's basically my ultimate want right now. And you might see just how obsessed I am with both Hamilton and Fixer Upper if you keep reading.

Pedestal Dining Table (REALLY!)  

NutriBullet (I need to write more about my love for this thing!)

Also check out . . . 


Fitness + Stuff

>> Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I posted a photo of myself on Instagram yesterday after I had completed a tough 28-minute workout. You see, I started the BBG program by Kayla Itsines way back in early October. I should be on week 10, but I got through week two, and that's when Eloise's sleep started falling apart. Between that, many kid sicknesses, and my own bronchitis (that's been lingering almost three weeks), I've not been doing much running. Or working out, in general.

(I still need to do a post on our basement gym!)

I feel tired, weak, and my clothes are tighter than I'd like. And I even mean my LuLaRoe leggings. Seriously. Now that my coughing is getting (slightly) better, I'm trying to get back into the groove -- slowly, but surely. I started with week 1, workout 1 of BBG yesterday. It kicked my butt! I ended the day with a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. It was a win for me, fitness-wise.

Today I am hoping to run 3-4 miles. We'll see. The cold air hasn't been agreeing with me. If not, we dusted off the old spinning bike, so I could see myself doing some static cycling while watching an episode of Fixer Upper. Tomorrow, I'll do BBG workout number 2. Many of you asked for my opinions on the program, but I'd like to wait until I've been doing it longer.

In short: I think it's really effective. I love the format, the length, and the overall goal of strength, etc.

Switching gears: We have booked our summer vacation as of this morning!

We'll be staying at this little house in Cape May right near the downtown. It's the same place we stayed in way back in 2015. Instead of being smack in the middle of my two-week wait this time around (ending with two stark negative pregnancy tests taken at the house -- boo), we'll have sweet Eloise with us. She'll be 13 months by then. That's wild to even think about.

We will also be spending time with Stephen's family the following week in nearby Wildwood Crest. It's like the best of both worlds, especially for the girls. Ada absolutely loves the beaches. I merely mentioned Cape May this morning, and she was listing off a long list of things she wants to do. Top of the list? Riding her scooter on the sidewalks straight to the ocean.

Last for today: We are certainly decking the halls! I will be sure to share how we're getting festive over here soon. If you're still in the beginning stages of decorating and cozy-ing up, be sure to check out my post from last year on the matter. You can also see an awful photo of me wearing hair extensions and too much eyebrow pencil. Yikes.

Happy Tuesday, friends! I'll be back this week with my final gift-giving list (for the ladies), a Christmas bucket-list, and maybe even a new crock pot recipe. I also recently went to Aldi and -- whoa -- they have SO MUCH new stuff I want to tell you about. Veggie burgers, in particular. Very good.


Want, Need, Wear, Read // Him

>> Thursday, December 1, 2016

I decided to save the ladies for last. Today I'm giving you my gift list for men. Men like Stephen, I suppose. I consulted him for items on this list (and for ideas because I have to do my own shopping). I am pretty squared away with what I plan to get him now. And, for the record, I want that LEGO Yellow Submarine for myself!


Also check out . . . 


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