October

October


Here we are right in the middle of October already. Our first autumn as parents, our first season of baby giggles + pumpkin spice everything. It's hard to believe that our little girl is going to dress up for her first Halloween in just a few short weeks. Each weekend we've marked items off of our Autumn Bucket List and we are simply grateful. Grateful for our little family, for our marriage, and that God blessed us with our Magnolia Caroline.


On Sunday we started our morning with pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls and then we took Magnolia and my mom to the Louisburg Cider Mill. The weather was a perfect sixty degrees with the fresh breeze smelling of cinnamon and apples. We listened to a live bluegrass band and drank hot apple cider and ate warm cider donuts. Magnolia danced on the table and clapped her little hands. And we managed to get home just in time to watch the football game and enjoy Oktoberfest beer.


I love dressing her up in fuzzy sweater tights and tutu dresses and I'm pretty darn happy to throw on a soft cardigan with a comfy pair of mules!



Last weekend we decorated our front porch for autumn with milo, white and pastel pumpkins, and the biggest mums I've ever seen. It feels warm & inviting and I'm so happy we took the time to spruce up our front porch for the coziest season of the year.


The old door & wreath were part of our wedding ceremony and we had saved them in our basement to use someday again. I think a touch of vintage looks good on fall decor.







Magnolia and I go to a weekly music class called Kindermusik and I do believe I enjoy it as much (maybe more) than her. I love to see her interacting with all the other little boys. Her class just happens to be ALL boys and we joke that one special boy is her boyfriend. The first few classes she sat close to me and was unusually quiet. By the third class she had warmed up to her friends and was talking and moving around with excitement and an adorable sense of comfort. When we are at home we are in our comfies, but when we go out I like to get her all dolled up!




I think we can start the countdown to Halloween now and all things SPOOKY. Our favorite book at the moment is Vampirina Ballerina, it's too cute! We just got it a few days ago and we've already read it about ten times.

XO


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Wendy Correen Smith
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Five Things Magnolia Will Grow Up Experiencing At Home

Five Things Magnolia Will Grow Up Experiencing At Home


We had the best October weekend. On Saturday, Ryan and I went on our first date since Magnolia was born. My sister and niece came over to watch our baby girl so that we could go out to lunch for our two year wedding anniversary. We had one cocktail before our food came out, it was called The Bees Knees (I was quite fond of the name), and it had us both feeling pretty good. We don't drink often so it doesn't take much. We held hands, laughed about life, reminisced about all that we've been through in the past three years, and dreamed about our future together.







On Sunday we went to the pumpkin patch and bought all kinds of fall goodies to decorate our front porch. We actually went to the pumpkin patch three times, because we realized we needed more gourds once we got home, and we also went to the grocery store and two nurseries hunting for just the right white and pastel pumpkins. We drank pumpkin spice lattes and salted caramel mochas as we drove around town on a mission. During all this driving and hunting around, we noticed something about Magnolia that brings me to my writing this morning. When Ryan and I are in the front seat talking, when we start laughing, she starts laughing with us. It's the most adorable thing Ryan and I have ever heard. She does it all the time, when others are laughing, she'll wrinkle up her nose, squint her eyes, and then do an inhalation laugh (just like her momma and aunt Hay).









As Ryan and I are celebrating our two year wedding anniversary with our miracle baby girl, I'm reflecting on us and her. I realize that every single thing that we do affects her. She senses our emotions, she hears our conversations, she sees our affection, and on the contrary if there is tension or harsh words or negativity, she'll experience all of that right along with us. Of course Ryan and I are very aware of this and thankfully we don't have bad days often, but we do, just like anyone else. It was when she laughed with us in the car, when she had no idea what she was laughing about, but she heard her parents laugh so she did too, that it did something to me. It moved me to be even more conscious of myself and us. I want more than anything in this world for her to have more days of laughter and happiness than anything else. And it's on us for the most part; it's on Ryan and me to make that happen. It's our responsibility to make sure she experiences all the joy that is in this world. Instead of us focusing on the tragedies and the pain and the fear and the terror that fills our news stories, I want us to be present and show her the love that always surrounds her. All of that love starts at home, even on the simple Sunday mornings when it's just a coffee brewing kind of morning, when all we do is hang around the house in our jammies. I want her to see so much love & gratitude she doesn't know any better.

There are five things that Ryan and I do regularly, that I hope she'll look back on someday with gratitude.

1. Laughter. There is quite a bit of laughter shared between us and I didn't realize how often we laughed until Magnolia started to imitate us. I woke up Sunday morning to the Letter Board on our fireplace quoting a rap song. I sent a photo of it to my sisters who couldn't hold back the crying tears. Ryan is good about making sure his girls are always laughing. I want Magnolia to grow up knowing that moms & dads and husbands & wives spend more time laughing than anything else.

2. Affection. Ryan always opens the car door for me (unless his hands are full 😉 ) and when we are out shopping he'll jump in front of me to open the door for me and everyone else. He's a gentleman in this modern world. We often hold hands in the car and he hugs me all the time. He rubs my back and tickles my neck when we are waiting in line at places. He'll give me sweet kisses out of the clear blue sky. This weekend he was hugging me tight, for one of those extra long types of hugs, and Magnolia was watching us. I could see her taking in the love that we were sharing in that moment and I'm grateful that she'll grow up knowing that moms & dads and husbands & wives show sweet affection to one another.

3. Household chores. Ryan works very hard for us so that I'm able to stay at home with Magnolia. There are no words strong enough to express how grateful I am to be at home with her each day. Our roles within our marriage are very clear. I know that the household duties are my responsibility. I don't ask for help often, although Ryan often tells me to. Magnolia will grow up seeing a very traditional style of man & woman roles. The great part about all of this is that when Ryan comes home from travel he jumps in to help around the house without me even asking. There are mornings that I wake up and the dishwasher is completely emptied and all the towels are folded and ready to be put away. If I make a list of things I want to get done around the house on a particular weekend, it'll happen. He's a hard worker and when the weekend comes around he's here to take some of the weight off my shoulders. Magnolia will grow up seeing that moms & dads and husbands & wives help one another.

4. Dinner. We sit down to eat dinner together (without our cell phones) and we thank the Lord above for all of our blessings. It's a such a simple habit, but one that I believe can easily be taken for granted nowadays. Magnolia will grow up with this tradition engraved into her soul.

5. Communication & Gratitude. Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship, of any kind. Ryan and I have always been good at connecting and talking and just understanding one another, whether it be casual or serious. Being able to talk about the serious stuff from finances to work, morals, expectations, disappointments, goals, and dreams, is so very important. In my anniversary card Ryan listed the profound blessings from above that we've experienced since being together. I find that being grateful brings more happiness into life, than anything else. Being able to talk about and share our gratitude really takes it to the next level. Think about how great it feels when someone gives you a sincere "thank you," it sets the tone for the day. I woke up to Ryan thanking me for baking his mom's birthday cake. I didn't need a thank you, not at all, I loved making it and celebrating her birthday. I feel grateful for his sweet note of appreciation. It's really the most beautiful cycle. Magnolia will grow up in a home that overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving. I'll never tell her to say the words "thank you," but she'll surely witness and feel the love that comes from it. I hope that her heart is always full of gratitude.


This is just a very short list of all that I hope Magnolia witnesses and learns at such a young age. Ryan and I aren't perfect, we have bad days, and we argue and disagree and get frustrated like anyone else. I simply chose to focus on all the good stuff, and we have so much of it going around that I'm forever grateful. We are best friends and that is the first thing we'll teach Magnolia about life & love and husbands & wives.

XO
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Wendy Correen Smith
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Easy Crockpot Dinner | Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chicken Pasta

Easy Crockpot Dinner | Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chicken Pasta


My baby brother is a chef or more like a culinary artist, and I'm more along the lines of a crockpot artist! In my opinion there's nothing better than prepping dinner in the morning, cleaning the kitchen, and then smelling the meal cooking all day long.

My current favorite is a sun dried tomato and chicken pasta dish. It's delicious + easy + and it has a warm feeling perfect for fall.


Ingredients

Jar of sun dried tomatoes
Two large chicken breasts
One yellow onion
Olive oil
Thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
Fresh basil
Seasoning, such as: salt, pepper, lemon pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder

CrockPot

In the crock pot add about two to three tablespoons of olive oil, two frozen chicken breasts, sliced onion, about 2/3 jar of sun dried tomatoes with the oil (save the rest for later), fresh basil and seasoning. Cook on high for 4-6 hours until the chicken can easily be shredded.


When you're ready to eat make the spaghetti in a big pot. Once cooked & drained add olive oil, the remaining sun dried tomatoes, and more seasoning. Lastly add everything from the crockpot, including all the oil and juices.

For a little extra you can add asparagus or mushrooms. Finish with more fresh basil and parmesan cheese. I like to have a big salad with mine and the leftovers are just as delicious.

xo
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Wendy Correen Smith
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Baby Safe All Purpose Cleaner & Young Living's Thieves Concentrate

Baby Safe All Purpose Cleaner & Young Living's Thieves Concentrate


Since having Magnolia I pay attention to every single thing that we bring into our home. One way to eliminate worry from cleaning product toxins and accidents is to simply eliminate them all together. Before trying Thieves, I honestly did not think that was possible, but it is! One bottle of Young Living Thieves Household Cleaner concentrate is $22. You can make about 30 bottles of all purpose cleaner or glass cleaner. You can actually save money and make your home safer - win win!
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Wendy Correen Smith
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Our Day at Shatto Milk Farm

Our Day at Shatto Milk Farm


If you've ever tasted Shatto Milk you know it's the very best milk you've ever had! The Cotton Candy is by far my very favorite. The day after we found out Magnolia was a boy (total mix-up here) Ryan surprised me with a bottle of the blue milk and I've forever been in love with it. I admire the fact that they treat their cows with dignity and respect and never use growth hormones. And the glass bottles are just so much better than plastic!


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Wendy Correen Smith
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