Dafney Harper

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Latte with Leah: #12


Happy Monday, Friends!  It's time for another edition of Latte with Leah!  Grab a drink and let's get started :)

~ A week ago, we finally got Dafney a real "big girl bed"!  She really wanted a bed "with a ladder", so we searched and searched and found one on Craigslist that was PERFECT!  It's a loft bed and has a great play area under the bed.  It came with a bookshelf & dresser, too!  So, we put the bookshelf under the bed and it's now our little reading nook at night :)


~ Since we got Dafney a new bed, we were able to convert the Toddler bed back into a crib for the new baby!  But, a certain little Toddler decided to find a nuk and climb in and make herself comfortable!  Oh boy!


Story of my life!

~ Over the weekend, I took the little one to a daycare friend's birthday party.  She was very excited!  


It didn't take her long to warm up and she was VERY interested in playing all the games, which really surprised me!  She even won one of the games...and of course, she choose a Frozen cup :)


After the games and lunch, we went swimming...she had a blast! She was out on the way home!


~ We are currently just over the 32 week mark with this pregnancy! Wow...time flies!  I've been feeling pretty good, but it's definitely getting a bit harder to move, bend & sleep.  But, I am trying to soak up every second of this pregnancy!  I love feeling all the kicks, jabs & flips...baby is SO active!


These are my new FAVORITE & "go-to" dessert!

~ Seriously in LOVE with this necklace!

~ In love with these two ♥


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bakin' Friends - February 2015


I'm back with another edition of BAKIN' FRIENDS.  After a couple months off, I decided it was time to start back up and boy am I glad I did.  This month, I chose chocolate as the secret ingredient.  No brainer, right?

This month, I was paired with Erin at The Spiffy Cookie.  If you haven't stopped over to her blog, do so.  Now.

She sent me her double dark chocolate cherry cookies!  And, let me tell you, they were so tasty!  Thankfully, the hubby and kiddo aren't big into chocolate, so I was able to hoard them all to myself :)  Hey, leave me alone, I'm pregnant; I'm doing it for the baby, after all!

You can [and should] find the recipe for these amazing cookies here!  Thank you, Erin for the tasty cookies...they certainly were enjoyed!

Interested in joining?  Send me an email [or leave a comment below with your contact info] to: leahmarie.mackenzie@gmail.com
The deadline to sign up for MARCH bakin' friends is 9pm CST, Thursday, March 5th!  All matches will be sent out on Friday, March 6th.

Until next time, Happy Baking [and eating]!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Year's Time

It's hard to believe that a year ago, I heard the words: "Leah, I'm sorry, but I don't see baby's heartbeat".

Those words still haunt me.

It was one of the hardest days of my life; one that I think of often and will probably never forget.  And even though a part of me still wonders what life would have been like had our pregnancy/baby been well, over time, I've started to realize that was not in our plan.  
Do I still wonder why it happened to us, yes, all the time.  Have I learned to accept it, yes {to an extent}.  

As I said, it truly was one of the hardest days in my 33 years on Earth.  I cried.  A lot.  I think I felt every emotion imaginable over a short period of time.  I was: sad, confused, angry, scared, anxious, bitter & guilt-ridden.  I tried to be strong, but inside I was crushed.  My heart was broken into tiny bits and I felt strangely alone.  In recent years, I'd known quite a few friends that had miscarriages, but it was never something we spoke about.  And, after it happened to us, I knew it was something I didn't want to talk about either.  I'm not sure why, but talking about it made me angry and I felt really defensive.  What I felt defensive about...I'm really not sure, it was just something I felt.

I think about "bean" often.  I still find myself wondering what it was that I did wrong.  I know this question will never have an answer, but it's one I think of quite frequently.  

But, what I have learned over this past year is that with most things, time really does heal a broken heart.  On that day, my heart was broken into more pieces than I thought possible, but with time, I've learned how to deal and pick up those pieces.  I've allowed my heart to heal and have definitely become stronger because of what happened.

The silver lining to having miscarried "Bean" was that we were able to spend the summer exclusively with Dafney.  We had SO much fun last summer.  We went to festivals, fairs, parks & splash pads.  We took a ton of bike rides, picnic-ed together, had more dance parties than I ever thought was possible and just enjoyed our time as a family of 3.  

However, had you asked me a year ago if there was any sort of "silver lining" affiliated with our miscarriage, I would have snapped at you and said no.  I was blind to anything positive coming out of our situation.  But I can say with confidence, I'm thankful for the extra time I had with Dafney & wouldn't give it back for anything.

Though I was beyond happy to have the summer to spend with Dafney, we were SO lucky to find out in August that we were expecting.  Talk about perfect timing!  

Naturally, I was extra nervous with this pregnancy, but we've been blessed that things have been going well thus far.  We have less than 9 weeks until our family of 3 turns into a family of FOUR. Eeek!   We're semi-ready.  We have most of what we need for a newborn, but the big thing we need to do is get Dafney a big girl bed so we can put the baby's room together.  

It's crazy how much life can change in a year.  It was a year with drastic ups & downs, but in the end, I know that this was our plan all along.  I may never know why things happened the way they did, but I'm a firm believer that all things happen for a reason.

- In Memory of "bean"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Latte with Leah: #11


Hi Friends,

It’s a cold one out there today, although, I really think Spring is right around the corner [call it wishful thinking].  So, grab a nice, warn drink and let’s get started!

~ I’m almost 30 weeks pregnant.  Say what?  The first trimester was tough, to say the least, but this pregnancy has gone by twice as fast as my first.  I’m trying to soak up these last weeks and enjoy everything about being pregnant! 



This mad me laugh!

~ Luck was on my side and I won 2 tickets to the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND concert in July!  Dave is one of my favorite bands and they put on the BEST show ever!  I am so excited!!!

~ Hard to believe Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  We have no big plans, which will actually be kind of nice.  Dafney will be at my parents house on Sunday night, so I'm thinking of making a nice dinner for the hubby and I.  Possibly this tasty looking meal?!

~ We're thinking about changing daycare.  UGH.  I could literally cry when I think about it, because I LOVE our daycare, but let's face it, I think we got to one of the most expensive places in the area.  Plus, hubby would like to have something closer to our house.  I try to remember that things WILL work out, but it's tough.

~...this face ♥


~ Hubby is not big into chocolate [crazy, I know], but he LOVES peanut butter, so I thought I'd make a peanut butter-y dessert for Valentine's Day.  But, I'm not sure which to make: this one, or maybe thesepossibly this, or these tasty looking morsels!  Such decisions...what's on your Valentine's Day dessert menu?

~ Hope you all have a great end of your week and a wonderful [Valentine's Day] weekend ♥

Friday, February 6, 2015

Creating a HOME!

This post might come out of left field a bit, but I was recently was approached by Urban Compass to see if I’d like to write up a “starter story” for a project they are currently running.  And, since we just recently built a home, I was game.  I’ve definitely posted a few posts on the building of our house, but I’m going to focus this post mostly on life after we moved into the house!

It’s hard for me to believe that we’ve been in our house for a YEAR now.  Time certainly flies when you’re living in a wonderful  “dream” house.  And, though this wasn't our first home together, it certainly brought on a whole new meaning to the phrase, Home Sweet Home.


Way back last January, we moved our possessions into our new house.  It was finally time to start making this gorgeous house a home.  I clearly remember the 1st night we spent in our new house.  Other than Dafney’s furniture, we had nothing other than some blankets and an air mattress for us to sleep on.  And, even though we hardly had anything in the house, it felt like a perfect place to call HOME.  All of the hard work, time & money that went into our house seemed so worth it in that very moment.


It didn’t take us long to get ourselves settled in –though it certainly took a lot of hard work.  I think it certainly helped that we went from an 800 square foot house with zero closet space, to something more than double the square footage…there was more room than we knew what to do with, well not really, but we definitely soaked up the fact that we had TWO coat closets, an actual linen closet AND THREE bathrooms! 

The copious amounts of room we finally had was heavenly!


The best part of building a house was that we didn’t have to do anything to the house other than move in & unpack boxes.  We didn’t have to paint, or fix-up anything [which we were definitely thankful for as neither my Husband nor I are overly "handy"].  

We literally just had to make this house OURS...and we have!


The one thing I've learned about making this ours, is that it doesn't matter if your walls are bare, the furniture doesn't match, your kids toys are sprawled everywhere, but rather the memories you have there.  The memories we've made over the past year in our home mean the world to me and are something I will always cherish. Everything from our first night here together, to spending the Holiday's with extended family in our home, to our simple weekend routines and especially the amazing family traditions that are both new and old!


I absolutely love our new house and love that as a family, we have transformed this house into our home sweet home.  We certainly don't have the biggest house, or the most high end appliances, but we certainly have made the very best memories in our first year in the house!

I'm confident that the many years we have left in our home will be just as amazing!  Even though starting over/new can be scary, it can also be COMPLETELY worth it's weight in gold!  

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 favorites!

Happy New Year's Eve!  Can you believe we're almost sailing into 2015?  Wowza!  Hope everyone has fun plans for the evening!  I'll be spending it with my family and hoping to stay up until 10 :)  In true blogger fashion, I thought I'd list a few of my favorites from 2014!

Favorite Foods from 2014
My favorite dishes that I made from other blogs!

6.  Raspberry Almond Scones: Two Peas and Their Pod
Seriously, these scones were so tasty and really easy to make.  I love, love, LOVE scones, but hate the time it takes to make them from scratch...but I was able to whip these up in no-time!  Plus, the raspberries & almonds tasted so wonderful together!

[source]
5.  Sweet Potato Chicken Curry:  My Recipes
This dish was fantastic and it had the house smelling curry-licous!  It was a little time-intensive, but 100% worth the effort!  Plus, it made plenty for leftovers!  Perfect comfort food and a fan favorite in our house!

[source]
4.  No Bake Energy Bites:  Gimme Some Oven
Love these tasty little bites!  Not only are they HEALTHY, they are no-bake and can be whipped up in minutes [my kind of snack]!  Plus, I'm guessing most of you have every ingredient on hand...and if not, substitutions are pretty easy with this recipe!  These are the perfect on-the-go snack!


3.  Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze:  Pioneer Woman
I love the Pioneer Woman...like, seriously!  And, I could sit in front of the television and watch her show for hours on end [that is, if I didn't have a family to take care of].  So, when I saw her make these Cinnamon Rolls, I KNEW I needed them in my life.  They are about as simple as you can get & are the tastiest rolls EVER!  I cut the recipe in half and still came away with 3 delicious pans of rolls! Next time I plan to make a whole batch so I can share with friends & family :)  I suggest you all make these for New Year's Day brunch!



2.  THE BEST M&M Cookies:  Cookies & Cups
As much as I wanted to keep these cookies all to myself, I knew the right thing to do was to share them with you [that is, if you haven't already tried them yourself]!  These are hands down my FAVORITE cookie ever.  They are puffy, chewy, and unbelievably tasty!  I swear, they are a HIT everywhere I take them.  I usually add dark chocolate chips to mine instead of M&M's, but do whatever makes your taste buds happy!

[source]
1.  Spicy Sausage Pasta:  Kevin and Amanda
I dream about this pasta.  It is by far my favorite pasta [and quite possibly my favorite meal] ever!  First off, it's a one-pot wonder..score!  Second, prep time takes all of 3 minutes and it's on the table in 20 minutes!  Not to mention, it's loaded with flavor!  If you haven't made this dish yet [shame on you], make it.  NOW.

[source]

Favorite Blogs of 2014

5.  Averie Cooks 
Averie's blog is amazing.  Her recipes...amazing.  Her pictures...stunning!  It's a real treat for the eyes & taste buds!  If you haven't checked it out, I highly suggest you do so.  STAT!

4.  Iowa Girl Eats
Let me tell you, Kristin can cook and her step by step pictures & instructions are amazing [and a bit of a lifesaver for a not-so-talented cook like myself]!  Her pictures are beautiful and her kid, well, he's a big ball of cute-ness!  Kristin was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so everything on her blog [from a few months ago] is completely Gluten Free!

3.  Lauren Conrad
Hey, what do you know, I DO read blogs that don't have everything to do with FOOD :)  I have such a soft spot in my heart for the Laguna Beach & The Hills star, Lauren Conrad. I think she's really down to earth and "real".  I love her fashion sense and her sweet personality.  It's just an overall cute blog!

2.  The Idea Room
Seriously, if only I could be half as crafty as Amy from the Idea Room I'd be a happy girl.  Her ideas, creations & projects blow my mind.  Love this blog and it's my go to for cute crafty ideas!

1.  Peas and Crayons
What can I say, this blog has it all!  Amazing recipes, gorgeous photos & constant hilarity!  Though I love Jenn's recipes, I REALLY love her humor.  She constantly makes me laugh and I'm always SO excited when I see that there's a new Peas & Crayons post for me to dive into!  If you ever have some extra time [I'm jealous], start from the beginning and prepare to be amused!  You're welcome :)


Favorite MacKenzie Memories of 2014

5.  Celebrating a good friend's Nuptials
One of my best, lifelong friends got married this past November and I was lucky enough to be a part of their special day!  It was a complete honor and I had SO much fun!  I love her and her hubby...they are an amazing couple and they're blessed to have found each other!


4.  Dates with the Hubby ♥
Post child, it's certainly a challenge to find the time [& energy] to have special date nights with the Hubby.  But, now that Dafney is a bit older, she does great spending the night at Grandma & Grandpa's; not to mention I'm much more at ease spending a night away from her.  So, we had some date night's this year which were much needed and so much fun!




3.  Moving into our NEW house!
Building a house certainly had it's ups & downs, but our builder was awesome and they helped make the process fairly pain free!  For the most part, I will say I LOVED designing, building & watching the constant progress of our new home.  We were blessed to be able to do such an amazing thing and we absolutely LOVE our new home!


2.  Spending time with loved ones!
We are fortunate that so many of our family & friends live relatively close to us.  This past summer was one of the best of my life!  We hosted friends, family [out of town and nearby] and we even met some new neighbors along the way!  We were certainly reminded how lucky we are and how many wonderful people we have in our lives!


1.  Finding out a little surprise!
Finding out we were expecting another little one was awesome & a bit overwhelming.  After what happened to us in February, I was a bit nervous this time around, but we embraced each day and hoped for the best!  Thankfully, we've had a fabulous [okay, minus the dreadful morning sickness] pregnancy thus far and look forward to meeting baby MacKenzie #2 in April!  Though we know this will change our family dynamic a bit, we are confident that Dafney will be the very BEST big sister! To say we're all delighted about the new baby would be a huge understatement!




With that, I hope that everyone has a wonderful [& safe] New Year's eve and a fabulous start to 2015!  Cheers!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014 has come and gone.  It literally flew by at the blink of an eye.  I’m always a little sad when the Christmas Holiday is over.  I love the family-together-ness, the yummy food, the giving of gifts and seeing the pure joy on a certain little 3 year old's face as she sees the gifts that “Santa” brought her!  Seriously, watching the pure delight on Dafney’s face warmed my heart & literally made it grow 3 sizes!  Having a small child around at Christmas time sure brings on a whole new meaning to “Christmas”.  It’s also taught me a thing or two…



#1:  Don’t procrastinate.  No really, I was the Queen of procrastination this Christmas.  Everything from sending out our Holiday cards [hey, at least 90% of them went out on time], to getting the shopping done [which literally took me until the last possible second], to planning the Christmas meals.  I was a straight up mess this year and felt so unorganized.  It sort of took the fun out of the celebrations because I was so stressed about every little thing actually working out properly.  Of course, things went just fine, but I will not procrastinate next year.  In fact, I think it’s time to start my Christmas shopping now J



#2:  Don’t worry about having *enough* gifts for the kiddo.  I stressed and stressed over what we were going to give Dafney for Christmas [perhaps the root cause of my procrastination problem?].  I kept thinking “we’re not giving her enough”.  I wanted to make this Christmas with her extra special since it will be her last one with just the 3 of us.  But I realized that overloading her with gifts is not the answer.  In fact, I think it almost stresses her out…she was overwhelmed and probably doesn’t even remember half the things she received [partly because she just had 2 birthday parties 2 weeks prior…so she’s definitely on present overload].



#3:  Document the moments.  There’s really nothing more important than enjoying special moments.  I was horrible this year and hardly took any pictures.  I like to think that I was just so into watching everything that I’ll remember for years to come, but let’s face it, I won’t.  I definitely regret not taking pictures of EVERYTHING that happened throughout the Christmas celebrations.  In fact, I was so withdrawn from taking pictures this year that I didn't even get a family photo.  I. Could. Cry. 

Dafney left some food in the yard for Santa's reindeer's! 

#4:  See Christmas through the eyes of a child.  Ugh, the importance of this one is HUGE.  I truly believe that the true Christmas spirit lives in the eyes of a child.  Yes, I realize that Christmas is MUCH more than getting/opening presents, but the sheer joy that a child has while opening gifts is amazing.


Even though I don't have many pictures to document this Christmas, it was a wonderful time spent with loved ones, which I know is what really counts.  However, next year you can bet that I'll have my Christmas shopping done by October and I'll definitely be the family paparazzi!  

One thing's for sure...Dafney had SO much fun!  In fact, she had so much fun that she fell asleep eating dinner on Friday :)


Happy Holiday's!