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I have slacked since using the Goodreads app, but here are the books I read in 2014 worth reading.  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a kids book, but I loved it and the message it had to I included it on here as well.  Divergent and Wonder are Young Adult books, but also worth reading.  The rest are actual adult books.  Enjoy!

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Be careful when a newly five year old asks you this question.  Today she told me I was good at napping, spending money and being pregnant.  I truly hope Sky has better female role models than me.  

I must say I am pretty good at napping.  I say it is an experiment to see if napping really does make you live longer.  I will let you know how that pans out.  I am pretty good at spending money, but I am also pretty frugal and creative when spending money.  As far as being pregnant…I have no clue where that one came from since she has never seen me pregnant and never will see me pregnant.

That little one always has some funny things to say.  She is lucky she is so darn cute.

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We had a Mother’s Day breakfast yesterday and I think it may have to be a new tradition.  All the food was super yummy.  We (as in Marty) made baked oatmeal and a cinnamon french toast bake.  Here are the recipes in case anyone else has a breakfast anytime soon (sorry, no pictures)…

Baked Oatmeal

1 cup applesauce

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups oatmeal

2/3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

¼ ground & chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350.  Mix above ingredients.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 9 x 9 ungreased baking dish.  Serve with warmed milk or applesauce or eat just plain.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake (taken from the Oh My Sugar High blog)

1/4 cup melted butter

2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

5 eggs

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup maple syrup

Icing from cinnamon rolls

Powdered sugar

Melt butter and pour on ungreased 13×9 inch glass dish. Separate cans of dough into 16 rolls reserving the icing for later use.  Cut each roll into 8 pieces and add to buttered baking dish.

Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour over cut pieces of cinnamon roll pieces.

Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle 3/4 cup syrup over the top. Bake at 375 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes.

Remove the covers from icing and microwave on medium  or 50% power for 10 to 15 seconds. (Should be thin enough to drizzle.) Drizzle icing over the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with syrup if desired.

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Biking

I am so glad to have my van back for so many reasons but lately my sister and I have been biking the Neuse River Trails and since I don’t have a bike rack this is what my bike looks like in my van.

Who needs a truck when you have a van?!

The Neuse River Trails are awesome!  I particularly like them because they are not super hilly and it makes the bike ride much more enjoyable (unless it is killer windy).  My sister and I can chit chat for our bike ride and before we know it we have done 13 miles.  That is my kind of work out.

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The Name Game

I have been interested in baby names long before I actually had a baby to name.  I think it started with me discovering my Dad’s parents named their boys names starting with D’s and middle names starting with C’s and the girls the opposite.  They named their kids this way because their names started with C’s and D’s.  I thought at the time that it was a neat, different thing to do.  Then my Dad’s sister’s had kids and named them somewhat unusual names, which only made me more interested in the naming process.

I am not opposed to common names.  I actually really like a common name if it has a meaning behind it that means something to the parents, but growing up with a name like Amy, I wanted my kids to have something that would stand out more.

I graduated with three other Amy’s in a class of less than 80.  It makes sense since I was born in 1980 and it was the the 8th most popular name at the time.  It has gradually made its way down the list to 130 in 2009.  I recently met another Amy and then to find out we were both born in the same year with the exact same name…Amy Elizabeth.  It may not be that much of a coincidence since Elizabeth has actually been in the 8-11 spot in popularity rankings for the last 30 years.

So, when naming my girls I wanted to go for something that was different, but not crazy.  When searching for names we threw around names like Ava, Malone, Helena, Kate, Brently.  We finally settled on Malaina Ashlyn for our first born.  We ended up doing the same thing as my Dad’s parents did by naming her with initials from my husband’s and my name.  Malaina has not been on the top 1000 list ever so it fit my unoriginal name category.  While working in membership I stumbled across the last name Malane.  We tweaked it a little bit to make it Malaina.  We chose Ashlyn in case she didn’t like having a different first name so she could be called by that if she wanted to later in life.

When naming our second daughter it was a little more tricky.  We decided against an M or A because we already had a niece and daughter with an M name and it would be tongue tying.  We had our boy name picked out from our first time being pregnant and I loved it…Kyler David.  Kyler we found in a baby name book and David is after my Dad.  No boys for us and since it was our last pregnancy we decided to play around with the Kyler.  At first we thought of naming our daughter Kyler, but then decided against.  Then we were going to name her Kylyn.  We decided against that too and settled on Skylyn Clair.  I liked it because we could shorten it and call her Sky, which I thought was cute.  The Clair is actually my Dad’s middle name and again since Skylyn is different she could go by Clair later in life if she didn’t like having a different name.  Skylyn has also not been on the top 1000 baby name list.  Clair is a more common name, but the spelling is not and spelled without the e it has never been on the top 1000 list either.  We chose spell it without the e because that is the way my Dad’s name is spelled.

My sister has an uncommon name, Timothea.  She has always been called Timmie.  She didn’t like having an unusual name or a name that was not gender specific.  Still to this day she will get an email that says, “Sir.”  Having an uncommon name led her to want to make sure her daughter didn’t have the same issues and went with the common name Madison (which ranked 7th in the most popular names for the year she was born) .

It will be interesting to see how my girls and my niece name their kids.  Whether my girls will like their original names or get sick of spelling them out for people.  Or if my niece will get sick of being one out of 4 Madison’s in her class.  One thing I wouldn’t mind my girls doing is to use their maiden name for their baby’s first name (even if it is currently on the top 100 list for first names).  Using my maiden name was so not an option for us!

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We had our last comforter forever…well, maybe just about 10 years.  I couldn’t find a new one that I loved enough to spend money on because all of them that I found seemed to be so expensive.  I didn’t want to redo our room until we got a new comforter so it was a vicious cycle.  So, here are pictures of our room before…

I had a calligrapher write our wedding vows and we have had them hanging over our bed, but they never seemed big enough.  I will be moving them somewhere else in our house because I do love them.

I had my Dad make these screens to hide our treadmill.  During our mini makeover I attached a faux leather to the back using decorative nails and now you can’t see the shadow of the treadmill anymore.

Time for the new comforter.  I wouldn’t say I am totally in love with it, but the one I loved was $400 and it was from a company in England so shipping would have been insane.  This was a great knock off for $50 at Home Goods.

I got the new quilt, but then the room needed new paint.  I ended up picking out a pretty blue.  The pictures don’t pick up the color very well, but I do love it.

Got the color on the walls and then was trying to figure out a new plan for some artwork for behind our bed.  I found this on etsy (www.thestickerhut.etsy.com) …

I really liked the design, but didn’t want to put stickers on the wall and I wanted white to show through and not the color of our wall.  Michaels had 50% off their canvases so I got three 20 x 24 canvases and paint for less than $25.  I came home and painted each canvas gray then the next day I drew my picture on the canvases using a chalk pencil and then painted the picture.  I love the way it looks above our bed.

No shadows showing that there is actually a treadmill behind the screen anymore…

Complete

The total wasn’t much at all! 

The comforter /  quilt was $50, the paint for the room was $40, the art work ended up being $25.  Most of the stuff I have had for a while the curtains I got at a yard sale for $2 a panel, the lamps were also from a yard sale for $3 each, the art work near the screen was on clearance at Kohls for $5, the vases on the ledge were on clearance from Michaels and were less than $30 for the pair.  The baskets on the ledge were also from Michaels (50% off).  They were originally used as toy bins for the girls, but now I use them to store their old baby stuff that I want to save.

So there is my mini makeover.  I love how it turned out.

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Mini Living Room Makeover

BEFORE

The first part of our makeover was to put wainscoting on the wall.  We hired Landon Custom Building (www.landoncustombuilding.com) to do the job and they did a great job.  It took two days.  We also had the wainscoting put down the hallway.  I love it!

I think the wainscoting anchors the floating shelves around the television.

I wasn’t crazy about the picture placement above the fireplace or behind the couch so that is where the next part of our mini-makeover took place.

AFTER

We have a bunch of amazing family pictures that I wanted to showcase.  I love the look of the collage frames behind out couch.  Thank you Lynette for all the awesome pictures and to my husband for hanging them all up.

Lastly, we moved the pictures that were behind our couch to above the fireplace.  I think they are a much better fit than the picture we had above it before.

I would still love new couches, but that will have to wait until our girls don’t use them as their playground.

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