Dafney Harper

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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!

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!

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!

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.


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!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Latte with Leah: #10

Hi Friends, it's time for another edition of Latte with Leah.  Grab your favorite drink and lets dive in!

~ We are just over the 22 week mark in this pregnancy!  Seriously, it's flying by and before I know it, a sweet little squish will be snuggling up in my arms!  I'm feeling really great and am LOVING all the tiny kicks & jabs from inside!  Baby is pretty active, which is perfectly fine with me!  I'm still leaning towards the baby being a girl, but as I said before, I'll be happy no matter what!

~ Can you believe that Christmas is less than 48 hours away?  I have slacked beyond belief this year and am still trying to wrap up my Christmas shopping.  Remind me to never wait until the last minute again...EVER.  I honestly don't think I've ever been this unorganized before.  

~...speaking of being unorganized, did I mention we're hosting my Family on Christmas Day and Kyle's family (all 17 of them) the day after Christmas!?  YIKES!  We finally figured out both menus, now I just need to hit up the grocery store and actually make the food.  'Tis the season, right?!

~ I'm planning to make these for breakfast on Christmas Day.  Wish me luck :)  What's on YOUR Christmas menu this year?

~ Thursday night was spent in the ER with Dafney.  We put her to bed like normal, but right before she laid down she told us she wasn't feeling well.  Being the awesome parents we are, we sort of disregarded her comment and laid her down.  I mean, she's 3...her form of gossip is telling us the latest on who "farted" at school that day.  Anyway, she started to have that horrid "bark" type cough. Hubby thought she sounded weird, so he went in to check on her and she had thrown up everywhere.  So, I went in to comfort her while hubby cleaned up and she started to have a hard time breathing.  So I immediately called the Nurse Line and after a few minutes on the phone with her, she advised us to call 9-1-1.  We decided to drive her in ourselves...{seriously, parents of the freakin' year}.  But as we got downstairs she vomited again and her breathing sounded worse, so we called 9-1-1.  Within minutes a Firetruck had arrived, and miraculously, Dafney's breathing had gotten better.  They may have given us the stink-eye and wanted to call shenanigans on us, but I didn't really care.  The Paramedics arrived a couple minutes later and took it from there.  Dafney did start to have that bark like cough again and after listening to her chest, they advised us to take her into the ER.  So, that's what we did.  We spent about 3 hours in the ER all to have about a 5 minute visit with a doctor {don't even get me started on my ER rant}.  They told us she had Croup, gave her a Steroid medicine and sent us on our way.  Dafney was a trooper and she's on the road to recovery!

~ We are sort of in the process of thinking of baby names and I came across this and it made me chuckle:

Dafney is constantly asking us to sing the "Banana-Fana" song with any and every name she can think of :)

Alright, well I should probably get back to that long laundry list of things to do before Christmas is actually here.  Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season!  Safe travels!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Baby #2!

It's hard to believe we're already at twenty one weeks in this pregnancy.  Actually, that first trimester was ROUGH, so I'm happy to be past that and feeling better!  I was SO sick in the beginning that I didn't have any energy to even think about writing a post about #2, so this might be a long one...

We found out on a Friday [way back in August] that we were expecting!  I just had that feeling that I was, so we took a family trip to Target to pick up a "test".  Sure enough...2 VERY bright lines showed up :)  I was happy...and nervous.  I didn't want to get myself to excited and wanted to take things one day at a time.  

From the time we found out until about week 5, I felt pretty good. No weird cravings, no aversions to any foods, pretty normal energy levels...so far so good!  

By about weeks 6-7, I could tell that I was already starting to feel pretty nauseous.  I felt nauseous with Dafney, so I wasn't all that surprised.  I was tired, but it wasn't horrible...YET.  Most foods were alright to eat, but nothing really tasted good.  

Just a few days after the 7 week mark, we went in for an early ultrasound.  To say I was completely nervous would be the understatement of the year.  I was terrified.  I prayed that we'd see baby's heartbeat and that all would like fine.  We met with the Nurse first and she tried to find the heartbeat, but no luck...she figured the baby was just to small yet, so we went in for our Ultrasound.  To our amazement, we immediately say the heartbeat fluttering away!  It was the greatest thing these eyes have seen in a LONG time!

The coming weeks were a challenge.  I was completely nauseous and exhausted.  Seriously.  By about weeks 8-9, I was having a hard time keeping food & liquids down.  So much in fact that I had to go to the Hospital to have an IV of fluids to keep me from getting dehydrated.  I was also given a prescription for some magical pills...otherwise known as anti-nausea medicine!  Those little pills were a LIFESAVER!  I had to take them about every 5 hours and if I didn't it was almost guaranteed that I'd be sick.  So I kept a strict schedule which helped keep that horrible nauseous feeling at bay.  Like I said, the pills were magical!

Just before week 11, we had our first "official" appointment.  And, even better, we finally got to hear baby's heartbeat!  It was amazing!  I was still not feeling the best and was constantly tired, but most importantly, all was well with our babe.  

Just after week 14, we had another appointment and another Ultrasound.  This time...to make sure there weren't TWO little ones in my belly.  The Dr. thought I was measuring rather large [awesome...something every pregnant lady wants to hear], so she had us do an Ultrasound to ensure all was good.  And, thankfully, there was only ONE sweet, baby in there!  Measuring a few days ahead of where we were, but nothing alarming.  It's always fun to be able to see the baby, so the Ultrasound was fun added bonus to our appointment...even if our blood pressure shot through the roof momentarily :)

By about week 15, I was finally feeling "good".  I was still a bit tired, but had hardly any nausea...[queue the confetti and party hats]!  My only concern was that I was 15 weeks along and still hadn't gained an ounce.  I know, probably most pregnant ladies dream, but I was nervous that it meant baby wasn't growing properly, but at the time, my Dr. had no concerns.  So, I rolled with it as best I could...and I took my first baby bump picture :)

..and then I forgot to take another one until week 19.  Definitely got bigger in those 4ish weeks!

At week 20, I was starting to feel human again.  I didn't have the feeling like I needed to nap constantly, no signs of nausea...hip-hip-hooray!

We had our 20 week Ultrasound at 20.5 weeks.  We decided not to find out the gender of the baby, so it will be a fun surprise when he/she decides to greet us with their presence :)  The Ultrasound went really well and everything checked out with baby.  We can already tell that he/she is going to be ADORABLE just like his/her sister!!

...seriously, that little face...squeal!

So, here I am, 21 weeks and I'm finally getting around to posting about the babe!  

How I'm feeling:  Great!  Seriously, anything is an improvement over how I felt 10 weeks ago...I'm finally at the stage where I'm absolutely LOVING this pregnancy!

Cravings:  Nothing really comes to mind.  There are times when I crave sweets and times when I crave salty foods.  There's not one thing that I'm constantly craving.

Aversions:  Nothing!  I can eat pretty much anything I want...although, I haven't been up for much Mexican type food after a little incident with Mexican food around week 14 [I won't gross you out bore you with the details.  

Weight gain:  I think I'm up about 5 pounds.  Although, I've never been one to really scrutinize the numbers on the scale, especially when I'm pregnant.

Favorite moment thus far:  I have 2...the 20 week ultrasound and hearing that everything looks good with the baby and feeling the baby's little kicks & jabs!  Ugh, I LOVE feeling them.

My gender guess:  Alright, I really have no idea and I really don't care as long as he/she is healthy.  But, the 2 dreams I've had about the baby were both that it was a boy.  But the more and more I think about it, I'm certain we're destined to have a house full of girls, so if I had to guess, I'd say girl :)

Alright, I think I've made this post long enough...now that we're up to speed, I hope to write weekly about the baby and our progress, fun weekly moments, etc!  

Oh and one last thing...a BIG birthday shout out to my sweet, funny, lovable HUBBY!  Hope you're reading this you have a wonderful birthday!!  LOVE YOU!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Latte with Leah #9: Special "Addition"

Hi Friends!  I know I've totally slacked on the whole blogging front lately, but I've got a special "addition" of Latte with Leah today! Without further adieu, let's get started!

~ Lately I've been feeling a bit blah.  Just feeling a bit "off".  Hopefully that feeling goes away soon! [side note: I started this post a few weeks ago and I'm happy to report that blah feeling has officially subsided]!

~ Whoa...this looks so tasty!  Perhaps my "go-to" during the Holiday's :)

Squeal....STOP the cuteness!  There's not much cuter than a brand new sleeping baby!!

~ I'll take a plate of these lovely's STAT!  Seriously.  No, really, I'm not kidding!

~ I joined Lindsay's and Elle's Elf4Health again this year, but am having a hard time getting motivated.  My Elf was a dud and never got back to me, so I'm doing the 1st half solo.  I need to dig deep and find my Elf4Health spirit and motivation!  Interested in joining the 2nd half of the session?  Check out Lindsay or Elle's blog for details.

~ I think I might need this dress for the Holiday's this year!  Adorbs!

~ Oh...and one last message from Dafney:

In case you hadn't guessed, we're expecting another little Superhero in April 2015!  We are beyond excited [and a wee bit nervous about having TWO kiddos] and feel totally blessed ♥

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014

It's hard to believe that Halloween has already come and gone and we're well on our way to the craziness that is the Holiday Season. 


But, before we get engulfed in the Holiday madness, I figured I'd share our Halloween happenings.  This was the first year that Dafney sort of understood the whole concept.  And it was SO much fun to see the sheer excitement on her face when we told her she could finally wear her costume!  

Any guesses on what our little girl was?  Well, what else would a 2 going on 3 year old want to be other than THE ELSA?  Yes, just like 45131518648 other little girls in the world, she choose Elsa.  I quickly realized that my years of choosing her costume are long gone :(

Since it Halloween fell on a Friday this year, our daytime routine was the same.  School.  Work.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  But, after school/work, we came home and threw in a Lasagna and [semi] patiently waited for our friends and G & G to get to our house.  We thought it would be fun [and maybe a little less terrifying] if Dafney had her little friend "E" to go trick-or-treating with!

After a filling and quite chaotic dinner, we got the kids bundled up and headed out for some trick-or-treating!  

I thought for sure the girls would walk up to the door and stare blankly at the whomever answered the door.  I couldn't have been more WRONG!

They ran up to the first house and Dafney yelled "trick or treating" [seriously, love her] and held out her bag.  When they realized they got candy I think their excitement level quadrupled! They were both so polite and said "thank-you" to everyone!

We went to 12-15 houses and then headed to the Church for their "trunk-or-treat"!  There were probably 25 cars there and their trunks were all decorated so nicely!  Everyone was so sweet to the girls and the girls had SO much fun!  

After, we took the girls home and called it a night.  I think everyone was starting to get a bit cold and I think the girls' bags were to heavy for them to carry :)

It was such a fun Halloween...I can't wait until next year!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

summer in review

It's so hard for me to believe that summer 2014 has already come & gone!  Even though I feel like we sort of got the short stick on summer-time-weather, the MacKenzie's certainly had a fabulous summer {and the pictures to prove it}!  Here's a look back at how we spent our summer {don't worry, it's condensed...I wouldn't want to bore you with the 1,500+ pictures I took to capture our summer}!

We started out the summer with a trip to Grandma & Papa Mumm's camper for their "Easter weekend":

...then some celebrating the birth of a new baby with good friends:

...a lot of playing with water table and many water fights:

...the hubby and I celebrated our 4th wedding Anniversary with a date to one of our favorite local restaurants:

...spent many hours at local festivals and even had popcorn for dinner {!}:

...had our fair share of ice cream cones for dessert:

...took Dafney to the annual Turtle Derby, where she proceeded to win a cupcake at the cake walk:

...visited quite a few local splash pads:

...put a ton of miles on our bikes:

...rode the train:

...took more family selfies then I care to admit ;)

...went to the MOA and got a picture with Dora:

...took Dafney on her first "real" ride {and she LOVED all of them...she's definitely going to be a rides kind of gal:

...hubby and I enjoyed a lunch date while the All Star Baseball action was in town:

...we had MANY potty training success over the course of the summer:

...we finally got GRASS:

...hit up yet another local festival:

...a certain little girl got her first official haircut {don't let that smile fool you; it did not go well}:

...we went to a birthday party at Choo-Choo Bobs:

...went to a park opening:

...visited Olaf at Barnes & Noble:

...swam at G & G's pool:

...D got her hair colored at a daycare event:

...played with babies constantly:

...and more swimming at G & G's...this time with friends:

...soaked up the sun while playing in the sandbox:

...took Dafney to her first State Fair:

...got excited to cheer on the GOPHERS:

...fixed her bike {okay, not really, but she thought she was fixing it}:

...had a run-in with a Mosquito:

...visited a really cool park in Bloomington:

...and rounded out the summer with a little "back-to-school-shopping":

This is just a taste of what we did over the summer.  To say we had fun is an understatement!  It was one of the best summers of my life!  Seriously!  I hope your summer was as much fun as ours!