Wednesday, December 15, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...mommy style

Of course when you are having a baby everyone has their favorite things that worked for their kids. However no one told me about these three things that I now can't live without.

1. Kiddopotamus Snuzzler - Charlie likes to be snuggled and won't sleep any other way. For a while he would only sleep in our arms. I put this in his carrier and he sleeps like a champ in it! It snuggles him and keeps him snug with the soft sides. Plus it helps keep him warm and cozy when we go out in the cold. They make a warm one (pictured here) and a summer one (the one I have). OK technically my friend Jaime told me about this and let me borrow hers but I forgot about it until our neighbors gave us one after Charlie was born.

Kiddopotamus Snuzzler Complete Head and Body Support

2. The Moby - I saw someone in one of our local boutiques with her 7 week old wrapped and strapped on her front. I thought that Charlie may like it since at that time, he only wanted to be held and snuggled tight. Not very conducive to mommy getting anything done! Once I figured out how to tie it, he LOVES it! I can take both dogs for walks, cook, clean the house, etc all while he's happily strapped to me. There are tons of ways to use this too. Whenever Charlie gets cranky, I strap him in and he settles right down. In fact, when he was younger, it was sometimes the only way I could get him to sleep (strap him in and walk).

Moby Wrap MW-black Moby Original Wrap in Black

3. Wubbanub Pacifier - Charlie only likes the Soothie pacifiers, which is what the hospital gave us and what my pediatrician recommends. However, he constantly lets it drop out of his mouth and he gets frustrated. Usually I just hold it in for him but that can also get tiring in the middle of the night or if you are busy with something else (like making dinner). However, I just found these and he loves it! It gives him something to hold on to but the animal part is big enough to help hold it in his mouth. The first time I gave it to him, he sat and happily sucked on the paci while touching and rubbing on the stuffed animal until he fell asleep (they come in a variety of choices - we have the red dog and the giraffe).

So these are a few of my favorite things. They make great unique gifts if you know anyone having a baby soon!


Happy Momma

Great Cookbook

The title of my blog is food, faith and design. I've posted a few posts on faith and design but not one thing on food! So while I'm sitting on the couch with Charlie snuggled and sleeping on my lap, I thought I'd post a couple of new recipes just in time for the holidays.

Fire Crackers
1 1/3 cup canola oil
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix
2-3 tsp red pepper
hot sauce to taste
3 boxes of mini saltines or 1 large box regular saltines

Mix the first 4 ingredients together and pour over the saltines. Shake well. Let sit for 24 hours, shaking periodically to keep the seasoning from settling. These are DELICIOUS and a great unique snack. Would be wonderful with tomato soup on a cold winter day.

My new favorite cookbook is Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. My mom got it for me when she was here when Charlie was born. It has great recipes that use various veggie purees to help you get more nutrients. The two I've tried so far is the butternut squash tomato soup and balsamic chicken italian sandwiches. The sandwich recipe is below...

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich
2 lbs boneless chicken, cubed
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (or regular flour)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup broccoli puree*
6 ciabatta rolls or 12 slices crusty Italian bread (I use 7 grain Italian bread)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in large bag then add chicken. Toss to coat chicken. Preheat oven to 350. Warm oil in large pan over med-high heat and add the chicken and garlic. Decrease heat to medium and cook until chicken begins to brown and garlic becomes fragrant. Add chicken broth, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add broccoli puree and cook 2-3 minutes more to incorporate flavors. Let cool for a few minutes so it thickens up. Place bread on a baking sheet and top with a slice of tomato on one side. Place chicken on other slice of bread. Top both with mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted and bread is crisp. Make into sandwiches and serve immediately.

*broccoli puree: for 1/2 cup, take 1/2 bag of broccoli florets and steam. Place them in blender or food processor. May need to add a few Tbsp water to get creamy consistency.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Time flies!

As I lay on the couch on a chilly Saturday morning with Charlie sleeping in my arms, I can't believe Charlie is already 2 weeks old. Some days it seems like we just came home from the hospital and other days it seems he's been a part of our lives for years. Time is flying by and it's only been two weeks!

We are slowly settling in to our new routine here in the Schrall house. Charlie is shaping up to be more and more like his daddy - if he's hungry, don't stand in his way. He will be SURE to tell you he is ready to eat by chirping like a little bird. He also eats REALLY fast and over eats sometimes which is why he is spitting up more now. Does that sound like someone we know???? I may have my work cut out for me in teaching both Daddy and Charlie how to enjoy their food and not inhale it. :)

We went for our 2 week check up yesterday and he is perfectly healthy. He managed to gain almost a full pound in 2 weeks, which is great (told you he's not missing any meals!). He's officially above his birth weight now and seems to be right on track. Next visit, shots! :(

He still doesn't like to sleep in his crib or bassinet. Sometimes he will during the day if I can get him very tired and soundly asleep first. At night he seems to prefer the warm arms of mommy to the crib or bassinet. For survival sake, I have let him but know that we need to work on making the transition. I freely admit that I like holding him, which contributes to both of us sleeping on the couch alot. I know he won't want to be held forever and since I never got to really hold Jake, my first son, holding Charlie is very special to me. So for now, we make it work and we will make the transition eventually. Until then, I enjoy every moment I have him in my arms.

While I know parenting is super hard and has all kinds of unique challenges, I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Love you Charlie (and your cute daddy too!)

Monday, October 18, 2010


I seem to have one theme on my heart lately - one that just won't go away - I think about it anytime I get still. I think it's triggered by two major things going on right now: the race planning and the fast approaching birth of Charlie.

Last year, while we were planning the first Palmetto Half Marathon, I was in the midst of going through fertility treatments. Planning an inaugural race is stressful as it is but adding to it that you have such varying strong personalities and high hormones, it makes it that much harder. As I reflect back on it, I regret many of my attitudes and how I approached certain situations. I'm thankful that so many people offered me grace and chose to love me regardless of my behavior. I hope they realize how much that has meant to me.

Then I think about 8 years ago when Jake was born. It was such a tough time and such a long healing process. I remember wondering why God would take something away from me that I wanted so badly. Now, as I look back, I realize He had different plans for me and my life. Now, through His grace and His grace alone, He has given me a second marriage and at being a parent.

Grace is not easy to give. We often use it as something that should be earned and not free. But as I reflect back, I realize even more now how much grace God has given me over the years. If I could only learn to give it as freely as He does.

So the next time you get frustrated with someone - think of how much grace God has given you...and still does.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nursery artwork

So as some of you may know, when I lived in Raleigh I used to paint children's furniture. Through word of mouth, I would do pieces for various people (but mostly for friends or as gifts). I was just starting to gain a little momentum and then life hit and I eventually moved away. It is still something I love to do but just haven't focused on it...until now when I needed my own!

Not long ago I was searching for artwork for the nursery and found some really cute pieces but they were SO expensive! I decided I could paint them just as well so I took a few snap shots for inspiration and went to town. Below are the results...what do you think?

And yes! I'm still painting so if you know of anyone who would like some custom artwork for themselves or as a gift, please let me know. Will ship (but not furniture)! The ones below are all on basic canvases and easy to hang with a ribbon (which I can attach) or by a nail in the back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A new living room...

I don't know if you've ever watched the show "Sarah's House" but Sarah Richardson, from Canada, is my favorite designer on HGTV. I watch and record her show religiously and love to watch them over and over. A few months ago I put up valances in my living room because my husband refused to have curtains. He considers them dust collectors. I lived with them for a while but they never seemed quite right. I've decided I'm not a valance girl unless it's in a kitchen or on a small window. I also decided not to listen to my husband's opinion when it comes to decorating.

Anywhoozle, while watching Sarah's House, I was inspired by an episode where she redesigned a new bedroom in the country house. She mentioned that if you had a fabric you loved but it would be too much to have as panels you could put strips of it on either side of a neutral fabric to lessen the impact. I realized it was the perfect solution to my living room since we have so many windows. I started with a fabric I found on discount (see big pillows on couch) and then matched fabrics from there to devise my color scheme for the room.

So per my friend Melissa's request, I'm posting pictures. I made the curtains (thanks Jenny T for the sewing lessons!), painted the living room a warm khaki, recovered the wooden couch and made some new pillows. I think it is perfect for the room and really helped make everything seem warm and cozy but still allowing plenty of light in the room.

On a side note, this room led to me painting the hallway, redecorating the MBR and guest/man room as well. The nursery is well under way and pics of that will follow soon. I'm currently finding creative ways to make art work for the walls. I've already refurbished almost all the nursery furniture, another inspiration from Sarah.

So be inspired! Find a show, a designer, a cool fabric or fun pictures and let your imagination take over to pull it all together!

Happy decorating!

P.S. you can also play "Where's Stella and Jackson" (like "Where's Waldo") in these pictures :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Preparing for baby...

So yes, I've been a HORRIBLE blogger. When I started this blog I had full intentions of documenting my random thoughts...well apparently that's easier said than done. Time seems to slip away, especially after you spend your first 8hrs of the day on a computer at work so the last thing you want is to come home and get back on it.

Anywhoozle, so a few updates on our end. I'm about 26 weeks along now so very close to 6 months. Belly is definitely growing and I'm just starting to get uncomfortable. Daniel says I need a graveyard of pillows at night to get comfortable, which basically puts him on the edge of the bed hoping he doesn't fall out.

In case you haven't heard, the baby's name is Charles Elijah Schrall AKA "Charlie". I released control and let Daniel name him so he picked Charles, from his dad's name and Elijah since it's his favorite old testament prophet. Our goal is to finish the nursery, or at least most of it, by the end of the month so we have a whopping 2 weekends left! I am using an unusual pattern for the curtains - sort've a funky paisley - floral pattern - so it lends to funky colors in the room but I think I can pull it all together: olive green, lime-ish green, light blue, cream and red. There are some skeptics out there (Jenny) but I'm sticking to my design plan and hope it looks cohesive. I'm not much of a "theme" kind've gal so we'll see how it turns out. Pictures to follow in a few weeks...

We also registered yesterday. PHEW! Who knew there was so much STUFF! Daniel was a trooper and didn't complain one little bit and was very helpful. He even carried my purse around since my back was hurting. Thanks, honey! :) So we are officially registered with Babies R Us and Target. I have a few things to update but otherwise that's one thing off my "to do" list. We have our first shower in September and another being planned as well. Two others have expressed throwing showers but we haven't firmed them up yet. I already feel blessed that so many people are helping provide for Charlie!

Well, those are my updates for now. Time is flying by! More to come as the belly grows...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Month 2...done!

Well, for those of you following that don't know...I'm pregnant! :) We went through some fertility treatments at the end of January and by God's grace it happened the first time for us. Currently I'm a little over 9 weeks. It's still early but so far so good. A few random thoughts:

I am extremely shocked at how fast I out-grew my pants this time. Technically this is my 3rd pregnancy (but our first child together) and my poor pants buttons get further and further apart by the day. Jaime may be right, I may be in maternity clothes shortly after my first trimester! YIKES! But can I just say at how much I love the clothes in Ann Taylor Loft this season? All flowy and long - perfect for a newly prego who doesn't want to go into maternity clothes yet. I have plenty of room in them to last hopefully till at least mid-summer.

While I have been nauseous morning, noon and night...water gives me heartburn along with most everything else...I have the nose of a bloodhound (not good in a public restroom by the way)...I live to sleep on the weekends...and maybe just a LITTLE (and by little I mean alot) moody - it's still an unbelievable blessing. I'm very thankful God chose to bless us on our first try.

Daniel has been so supportive, even though he has no idea why I dry heave at random times or why it's triggered. Glad he wasn't in the Publix parking lot yesterday when everyone was staring as I was doubled over! He even got up at 4:30am the other morning and got me cranberry juice from the grocery store when I got a bladder infection. He's going to be a good daddy.

My friend, Missey, is 2 days behind me so we talk at least once a week comparing our sad little symptoms. We pretty much mirror each other so it's sort've comical.

Well, that's my only update this week. Maybe I can write more when I stop sleeping so much!



Thursday, February 4, 2010


I don't really watch alot of TV...I have a few shows that I really like like The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Grey's Anatomy, CSI NY and Castle. Mostly crime dramas. However, there is one show that I absolutely cannot miss - LOST. Is anyone else obsessed like I am wondering who the "others" are or wondering each episode what the heck is going on? I highly encourage you to start at the beginning of the seasons if you haven't seen them. They are a little cooky but go with's really good!

Paintballs and Stella

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stella...Stella Marie if I'm in trouble, which is fairly frequently even though I try really hard. I want to share with everyone this great new candy I discovered called paint balls. Ever heard of them? I hear my dad uses them in a gun to shoot at people and they go "splat" - such a waste if you ask me. My big brother, Jackson, and I have even chased after them when he shoots them in the backyard at a box - although we never seem to catch them.

Anyways, I have FINALLY found where they hide them! Score! It's almost like when my dad finds the hidden cookies or ice cream in the middle of the night that mom hides. I found them in the "man room" in a bucket. I had to really work hard to reach down in the bucket and pull the bag out. But once I got it, I tore a hole in it lickety-split! These paintballs are like yummy little candies but they have this rubbery shell over them that I have to bite through, then the delicious liquid center squirts through. I got in trouble the other day when I found them and ate several. The liquid center sometimes gets all over the floor because it all won't fit in my I bite them and move to the next one. A little messy but delicious! Blue is my favorite but I'm not picky! Try them!

~Stella, The Pug

P.S. my mom wishes she had taken a picture of me when my face was covered in blue streaks but I escaped her!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Best design tip...

I learned this trick from watching various deisgners on HGTV and specifically Karen McAloon's show. So if you are trying to decorate any room, use these tips.

  1. Pick a main color. This color will be your primary color and usually is your wall color since that is the largest space it will cover. This should be a color you love, not something you think you will love.
  2. Pick an accent color or two. This color will compliment your main color. The best accent colors are those that are either on opposite sides of the color wheel or adjacent to your main color on the color wheel. You may opt for just one accent color or you may opt for two (or three if you absolutely can't narrow it down...but any more and it can look too busy or disjointed)
  3. Pick a metal finish. This metal finish can be brushed nickel, bronze, wrought iron, silver or gold. This will be the finish of any metals you pick for the room.
  4. Pick a wood grain/tone. This will be the shade of all your wood tones for the room. The easiest way to pick this if you don't have samples is to go to your local hardware or home improvement store and look at the stain samples.

Viola! You have everything you need to go shopping and decorate your room! When you are shopping for furniture, accents, rugs, fabrics, pillows, lamps and other items, make sure that they fit in the parameters you have selected. It's helpful if you take samples with you shopping. For example, my living room choices are: pumpkin orange or brick red (similar in shade often times), sage green, dark wood, bronze metal finish and light khaki. My bedroom is blue, green, black/wrought iron and white.

Never buy anything you don't LOVE. If you like it and buy it because it "matches" then you won't love it later and will likely get rid of it if you change your room. I have a variety of fun prints in dark wood stained frames. The dark wood frames match the wood grain I have in the room. All the prints are my tastes and I love them but they still go with the room since I kept the frames similar in shade.

Happy decorating! As always, you know where to find me if you need specific advice.


What a week!

So I finally had a few minutes to sit down and chronicle my past 7 days...boy has it been a doozy! Monday started with a doctor's appt that ran late - not a big deal but it just meant I had to make some time up at work. They had me start on some different meds for my PCOS which has wreaked havoc on my system and stomach, not to mention that it apparently affects my restless legs. I now take tylenol pm every night.

By Thursday morning, after 2 nights of restless legs, poor nutrition and meetings for church, I manage to make it out to my car so I'll actually be to work on time. (a miracle in itself!) I noticed that my glove compartment was open...hmm...odd...then I look around and in my mind think "I think someone went through your car last night" but I couldn't really process it so I kept on with my normal routine. I get a block down the road and my alarm goes off that the back hatch is open. Then it FINALLY registers...someone DID go through my car! Apparently someone broke into my car (well it was unlocked) in my driveway. They took everything out of all the compartments then took a box of race shirts and posters, packed random items from the floor board and put it across the street. The only thing they took was my drivers license, which is probably in the bushes somewhere. Nevertheless, I had to go get a new license and I now lock my car doors in my driveway.

So that was my Thursday...then Friday hit. Friday was payday. Yippee! Until I couldn't log on. I patiently wait for 25 minutes on hold with Wachovia customer service to find out why. Turns out, I was part of a phishing scam. I received an email earlier in the week from Wachovia said that I had been compromised and to click on the link to check my accounts. Looked leggit so I clicked the link. The hacker could then follow my key strokes and get into my accounts. Fortunately, nothing was taken and Wachovia shut my accounts down before they could get in to them. However, I have to open all new accounts, new debit cards, new online access, change all my direct deposits, autodrafts, etc. What a pain!

So, what's the lesson? Lock your car doors always and never click on any links that ask you to verify any accounts (bank, email or otherwise!)

What's the blessing? We didn't hear the burgler so Daniel didn't go chasing after them with me following...who knows what would have happened! Nothing was stolen and no money was taken out of my accounts. It could be worse! All in all, it was just a pain.

Let's hope this week brings better tidings than last! I think I have had my fill for a while!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pics of new additions to living room

Pics of the recently updated living room to "add color" for my husband. I only added a new rug, valances, a few new pictures and a floor lamp - not a total revamp - but it made him happy and I have to admit it does look cozier.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My first blog...

I decided almost 4 months ago to start a blog and true to form, I finally got around to doing it. Maybe it was the desire to write down all my quirky stories about my life or perhaps I was inspired by the movie Julie & Julia - nevertheless, here we are! Of course on the day that I decide to start my blog, I have writer's block. Maybe I'll start by sharing with you about my most recent house project...mandated by my husband, Daniel.

I love to decorate my house for Christmas. What am I saying, I love to decorate period. The house was wonderfully festive for the holiday season but then Christmas came and went and it was time to take it down. Daniel was not happy and made me leave it up until after New Year's (a big no-no in my book!) When I finally took it down, he was horribly distraught because he said our house was way too bland. Nevermind our living room is green with orange accents and our kitchen has pumpkin colored walls (is that not color?) He gave me an ultimatum - either add color or he would. Now for those of you who know Daniel, leaving him on his own would not be good! We'd have every color known to man in our room!

So over the past two weeks I've managed to add a brick colored rug, valances to the living room windows (miraculously found at Lowe's), newly framed water colors of Paris I've had for 5yrs, a new floor lamp and a cool new fern in a pretty pot to spruce up our living room. Pictures will follow soon...