Waylen: 6 Months

How is it even possible that I am a mother of a 6 month old baby?!? I remember thinking it was going to be FOREVER until we got to feed him real food but I blinked and here we are! We are going with baby let weaning so it may get messy. Wish us luck!


This past month Waylen has really made some big leaps. He essentially can sit up on his own (as long as he doesn’t get too excited) and practices chewing on pretty much everything. He LOVES reaching for his toes, his crinkly bear block, holding books during story time, his teeth flash card (literally cracks up at this for some reason,) and is obsessed with any cup but especially Chappy’s water bottle. He will do anything to get a hold of it and honestly knows exactly how to use it.  




Also his giggles have got out of control and I will never get tired of hearing them! They have graduated from Sheldon’s laugh to actual giggles and for the most part he laughs when you mess something up. Dropping a toy, getting hit in the head… etc… all those things are almost guaranteed to get some giggles! 


A few weeks ago we took our first big family trip and Waylen did amazing! We drove 8+ hours down to Florida at night and Waylen slept the entire way except for a quick feeding. Even with a change in schedule he was still our happy baby and was great at taking his naps whenever we were. Next up we will be testing his abilities on a flight to California … Now that I am still worried about. 




Sleep still hasn’t been great but we are getting through it. He now is mostly sleeping in a sleep sac which is easy for us but also allows him to startle awake more. I’ve also been better about nursing him in a quiet room during the day to help with the distractions which has cut down on some of the night feedings but we are still not back to those glorious 7+ hour stretches. Eventually we’ll get there though! We also did have a little hiccup when Waylen came down with his first fever! Nothing a little skin to skin and extra cuddles couldn’t solve though and of course Waylen never stopped being his happy little self throughout the whole thing. I think I was more uncomfortable than he actually was and now that I have mastitis I KNOW I am. Mastitis is NO JOKE! 


The most important change that happened this month though is Waylen saying mom!! Okay so it typically sounds more like “Ma” or “Mum” and he mostly says it when he’ll fussing BUT I’ll take it! 

Well I guess that’s it! We start steamed broccoli shortly so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! I don’t have many other baby friends so if anyone has any advice for BLW I’d love to here from you! 

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Cajun Chicken Pasta

Hi my name is Katie and I am addicted to Pasta. Pasta is one of those things that I could eat every single day and not get tired of. When Hershel from The Walking Dead mentioned Spaghetti Wednesdays I made it a real thing in my household. Ravioli, Spaghetti, Ziti, Penne, Pesto, Marinara, Alfredo, Butter, I love it all. Chappy on the other hand isn’t convinced. He’ll eat it when I make it, but he will never finish his plate which is obviously a telltale sign of his dislike.

Years ago when we were still dating we were looking up cheap and easy dishes to make and came across a Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe. This is by far one of our favorite go-to dishes and I can’t help but be thrilled that it involves Pasta. I can’t even tell you what the recipe was when we started since we have changed it so much over the years. Here is our version.

What you will need:

  • 1lb pasta of your choice (we love penne)
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 stick of Butter 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 bunch of broccoli chopped
  • 1 red pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 orange pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 t Lemon pepper
  • 1/2  t Salt
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t dried basil
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 t garlic salt
  • Cajun seasoning (to taste)

Directions:

  1. First bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. While you are waiting for the pot to boil, cut up chicken into 2 inch squares. Season generously with Cajun Seasoning. (This is where the spice level is up to you! Chappy and I love to completely coat each piece and then usually add a few sprinkles to the sauce after as well. We always know we haven’t put enough if our noses are burning- HA.)  
  3. Season boiling pasta water with salt, add pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. In a large skillet melt butter over medium- high heat. Add chicken and sauté for about 4 minutes.  
  5. Flip chicken, add sliced vegetables and cover for an additional 4 minutes.   
  6. Reduce heat, add spices, and then heavy cream. (This is where Chappy and I will sometimes add more Cajun Seasoning.)   
  7. Bring to temperature and toss in Pasta.
  8. You can garnish with Green Onions and Parmesan but Chappy and I are usually too lazy so we just dig right in!

  
This recipe is made to serve 4 people but I do not recommend halving it if there are only two of you! Cajun Pasta makes the BEST leftovers! Chappy and I usually get two dinners out of this plus a small lunch for me.
Hope you enjoy!

Let the Projects Begin!

You would think that since we bought a new construction townhome we wouldn’t have a ton of projects to do… WRONG. As awkward as this may sound considering I literally just bought one, I am really not in favor of track homes; like I was pretty adamant about never buying one. I’ve always envisioned myself purchasing an older home with exposed brick and a ton of charm. Unfortunately my budget didn’t quite agree so here we are. Also on a little side note, throughout this journey I’ve come to realize I am ruined from future home buying. Being able to pick out all the design features (tile, hardwood, carpet, cabinets, backsplash, etc.) has made me extremely spoiled so it’s hard to imagine buying anything “as is.” I’ve already told Chappy that from now on we either have to build new or completely gut an old home. Ha we’ll see how that goes.

Even though I have changed my opinion about track homes I still want to make this one my own and bring in some rustic charm. We already have a laundry list of projects including a reclaimed wood feature wall, bead boarding the kitchen island, adding crown molding throughout, rehabbing a vintage cabinet into a Bar Cart, and many more. Our first project is a simple one though. BLINDS! Now when you build a home there are a lot of features you can add on. Blinds were one of them but they were completely overpriced. Chappy and I decided to save money and do them ourselves.

First we measured all of our windows to find out what width we needed to buy and see if they had to be cut down. We lucked out and had pretty standard windows so ours didn’t need to be cut. Don’t worry if yours do though, Lowes will cut them down while you shop! Also remember to always measure the width from three different points (top, middle, and bottom) because not all window frames are perfectly straight and you’ll want to buy for the smallest measurement.

Next we headed off to Lowes and picked out a simple white Faux Wood set. We decided to upgrade a little and get the child safe ones since hopefully one day there will be little chicklets running around. We also learned from the sales associate that the blind industry is moving towards cordless and that within the next two years that will actually be the only option there is!

Installation was pretty easy. While my dad and husband were unpacking some of the blinds I make a quick Target run. When I returned the entire downstairs was done! Basically all you need is a screw driver and a ladder and then just follow the directions!

Now one thing we have yet to do is shorten some of the blinds that are too long for our windows. Apparently this is extremely tedious with the new cordless blinds, so much so that even the installation crew from Lowes HATE doing it and advised us against it. They said we would need a lot of patience, time, a level head, determination, the internet (so we could watch a million how-to YouTube videos,) oh and basically a degree in engineering.   I decided we should hold off on shortening them until I have extensively studied every how to video out there. I want to be prepared since if you mess up you can ruin the tension in your blinds forever. Even without shortening them though I still love how it looks. Now onto the next project!
 

Hair Plopping

So recently I have seen a bunch of articles about how to perfectly “plop” your hair. Supposedly this method is used to reduce frizz and boost your natural curl. Honestly, to me to sounds and looks a little ridiculous but let’s be real, I LOVE a good lazy hair do so I thought I’d give it a try and see if it would work on my hair. I used instructions from a buzzfeed article which can be found here.

  
Since my hair is deceptively thick I decided to opt for the overnight dry. My results were ehhh not too impressive. Now my hair is naturally wavy, not curly so I didn’t expect to all of a sudden have spiral curls (which would have been awesome) but honestly my hair looked crazy. It didn’t reduce the frizz, my hair was actually LESS wavy than normal, and it completely eliminated all the body from the top of my hair. ICK. Also my hair was still damp. I literally showered at 7pm and my hair still wasn’t dry by 7am. 

   
  So today at work I am sporting a half top knot to try and hide the madness HA. Since I won’t be trying that again I think I’ll just stick to going to bed with wet hair and hoping for the best!

My Favorite Charlotte Foods

For those of you who know me, you probably know my life pretty much revolves around food. I won’t even be through breakfast yet and I’m already planning what’s on the menu next. Even when I go on vacation I strategically plan the trip around the places I want to eat. Returning home to California is one of the hardest trips to take. There is literally never enough time to get in all my local favorites! Even when I am there for a week I find myself eating out every meal to make sure I get every place in. (And unfortunately I never do.) So far since moving to Charlotte I have established a few favorite go-to dishes from around town. Here are 10 items I love to eat (not in any order):

1. Basil’s PAD SEE EU

Basil took my Thai virginity about two years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Their Pad SEE EU is incredible. Large flat rice noodles, perfectly balance sweet and spicy soy based sauce with chicken and broccoli. OMG I’m drooling over here. I could eat this dish every single day and never get tired of it.

2. Basil’s Fried Wontons

So Basil pretty much has a ton of amazing food. I don’t even eat shrimp but I LOVE these. One time my husband and I even EACH got a separate order for ourselves. Obviously we were feeling extra healthy that day. It’s a mixture of chicken, shrimp and cream cheese all wrapped up and fried served with the perfect sweet and sour dipping sauce. They are the perfect blend of textures and taste!

3. Emzy’s Orange Chicken 

 So when most people think about Orange Chicken you imagine a mall food court. Am I right? This is SO far from that! The chicken is thin breast pieces, battered and flash fried. Sliced long and served with rice and the perfect orange glaze sauce on the side.

4. Cantina 1511’s Guacamole  

I’m from Southern California so I know my guacamole. Cantina 1511 has one of my all-time favorites hands down. Not just in the Carolina’s either. It is made table side and is just so refreshing. I continue to eat it time and time again even though I am slightly allergic to Avocados. It is WELL worth the risk!

 5. RURU Long Long Duk Taco

If you are looking for a unique taco experience RURU’s is the place to be. My favorite is their Korean Style taco. It embodies the perfect balance between flavors and textures with its sweet and spicy skirt steak, crema and crunchy Red Cabbage.

6. Craft’s Verde Flatbread   

I am proud to say Craft’s Verde Flatbread is what introduced me to artichokes. I cannot believe I had never tried them before! The flatbread is a mixture of creamy goat cheese with marinated artichoke hearts, garlic oil and arugula. I can easily eat the entire plate in one sitting. The rest of their menu also looks incredible too but I can never get myself to try anything else!

7. Rooster’s Anson Mill’s Grits   

So I may be from California but I was actually raised on Grits. My dad was born and raised in North Carolina so he brought that tradition with him when he moved west. These Grits are so indulgent. They are buttery, salty, and hello, have BACON.

8. Lebowski’s Mission Bay Salad  
I am all about a corn and black bean salsa. I also love a good BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad any day of the week. This is a perfect “marriage of foods” salad that is a nice change up to my normal routine. Sweet corn, creamy avocado, meaty beans, crispy lettuce with a citrus punch from the cilantro lime dressing. It’s a party in your mouth.

9. Jake’s Good Eat’s Pork Chop  

Okay so this place is a little out there. Jake’s is way down Albemarle Road located in an old western styled gas station. The atmosphere is laid back and welcoming. (They even let you grab your own beer out of a cooler in the front!) Even though the place has a casual feel, the Pork Chop could be on any fine dining menu! First, it’s HUGE. I can never finish the entire thing even when I try! It is served with candied apples and mashed potatoes that really just bring it over the edge. I have forever been ruined to ordering pork chops anywhere else since they just never compare!

10. Rhino Deli’s Chicken Torta  

I am and forever will be a sandwich girl. Besides Pasta, Sandwiches are probably the only other meal I could eat daily and never get tired of. Embarrassingly enough I’ve actually done that once in High School when I ate the same subway sandwich for dinner 15 days straight. Whoops! Anyways The Chicken Torta is a great example of an awesome sandwich. It has perfectly juicy chunks of chicken with creamy avocado, melted provolone, crunchy lettuce and tomato and brings in a great brightness from the jalapenos all on top of a ciabbatta roll layered with mayo. So filling and amazing!

Now these are just first 10 things that popped in my head. There are SO many more amazing places and dishes all around Charlotte that are well worth a trip to. I’m already thinking about all the unforgettable places I left off the list!! Maybe I will have to post a Top 20… or even a Top 50 next time in order to actually get all my favorites.
 
*Most of these photos are my own but a few are pulled from the Restaurant’s homepage 

House Update

With our closing date less than one month away I thought I’d give everyone a house update! Over the past two weeks A LOT has changed. Our house is actually starting to feel livable these days. Our kitchen cabinets went in last week and we finally bought our refrigerator and washer/dryer. (THANK YOU BLACK FRIDAY!) I don’t know if we could have timed our house any better. Shelling out big bucks for appliances isn’t what I would consider a fun shopping spree so it was great to be able to take advantage of Black Friday sales and save some serious cash!   

Our bathroom cabinets were also installed along with all the tile and countertops!

    

 
This week though is where things got real! We went to sneak in our house Thursday morning and the doors were officially locked! That’s how you know things are wrapping up. Yesterday we finally got in and saw that they put in the kitchen countertops, backsplash, appliances, wood flooring, and carpet upstairs! I can’t believe how quick this whole process has gone and I must say I am pretty happy with all of my design choices.

        
Building a house has been such a fun and memorable experience so far. I cannot wait to finally get in to actually decorate the place. I already have a list of all my DIY projects I want to do once we’re moved in. Chappy has even started a serious collection of old pallets for a reclaimed wood wall I want to feature. UGHHH I just can’t wait!
 

Stocking Stuffers

With not having my own place to decorate this year, getting in the Christmas Spirit has been a little harder than usual. Since the Christmas countdown is officially on I thought it would be a great idea to put together a list of my favorite stocking stuffers to help boost my Holiday Cheer. Now my list is mostly geared towards men because besides my husband’s the only other stocking I stuff is for my Chihuahua babies. Correct me if I’m wrong but I figured you guys probably don’t want Christmas list filled with rawhide bones and dental chews. To see the inspiration behind my list you’ll have to get to know my husband just a bit. He’s basically a mountain biking, cocktail enthusiast, who was raised a Panther fan, dresses more like he’s from California than the South, and loves anything spicy. Now that you get the gist here is my Christmas Stocking Stuffers List. Oh and don’t worry my husband never goes on social media so I’m not ruining any surprises.
  

  1. Floral Tie from Target 
  2. Maple Bitters from Mouth
  3. Guitar Strings from Guitar Center
  4. Funky Socks from Urban Outfitters 
  5. Mini Liquor Bottles
  6. Pineapple Habanero Hot Sauce from Mouth
  7. Mountain Biking Gloves from  REI
  8. Desktop Coffee Warmer from Amazon

 

Hopefully this list inspires everyone to go out and get all your shopping done before the big rush! I have to admit I am one of those crazies who buys gifts throughout the year and saves them for later holidays. I literally had my sister’s Christmas gifts purchased before I had even given her a Birthday gift in October. AHH don’t judge me! Anyways, hope everyone is having a fun Thursday and isn’t too sick of Christmas Music yet! Only 22 more days to go!