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Thoughts on my own adoption

Thoughts on my own adoption

Ruby is almost 6 months. She is SO still, so sweet and even tempered. She doesn’t cry much except when she’s hungry or overtired, things I would expect from a baby! Her eyes captivate a room and her soul feels wise and old. No one can make Ruby laugh like her older sister and she loves being dragged around by her older brothers. She isn’t a thumb sucker but loves her hands to soothe her, and she lives for a warm bath. It’s always a miracle to me what you can know about a person in just a short five months,  especially about a person who doesn’t even speak yet because even in the silence there is so much being said.

And every time my babies are this age I have a moment of deep reflection and even perhaps sorrow as I ponder on the five and a half months I spent in foster care waiting on my eternal family. Who knew the things I loved? Did they know how to comfort me or make me laugh? Did I light up when someone came in the room? I like to think they did and that in this foster home there were angels who truly tried to pour love into a baby they knew they’d soon say goodbye to.

It’s a piece of my life that goes missing, a time I know nothing about and in many ways I mourn for my adopted parents who would have loved to fill those spaces and moments for me. Who yearned desperately to know my fingers and toes and kiss my baby belly. I’m grateful to be where I am and for the spaces in time I don’t remember but can almost sense. These reflections teach me about myself and about people, those still waiting for their babies and the children still waiting for families and those mourning for time lost.

We all have delicate stories don’t we? And this part of mine always serves as a reminder to pause and give thanks to Heavenly Father for the blessing of my children. I have a sacred and deep gratitude to have known Ruby every second of her life and I don’t take a single one of them for granted and recognize not all have the chance. Maybe something feels lost in your life and you mourn for what was or might have been, but my story reminds me continually that there is a plan much bigger than my own, even when I can’t yet see it. Xo -j

Strawberry Valentine’s Popcorn

Strawberry Valentine’s Popcorn

❤️ I got this popcorn recipe from my friend Kerry years ago and I’ve loved it! I just brought it to a party and it was perfectly festive plus I figured out how to pop popcorn in my instant pot and my whole life changed so I gotta share the love!!! You can do this with or without the pot but here’s what I did.

Directions:

  • Set your instant pot to sauté on high.
  • Put 2 T coconut oil in and let melt and cover the entire bottom of the pot, wait a couple minutes for it to get super hot.
  • Put in 1/2c kernels and stir around to cover them in coconut oil.
  • Put the lid on and do not take it off! It will take a couple minutes for the kernels to get poppin but once they do, it will only take a minute or so! Wait until the kernels sound like they’re slowing down and turn off the pot leaving the lid on and letting the rest of the kernels pop!

Once finished put popcorn in a bowl

  • add 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 T PB Fit (peanut butter powder)
  • 1/2c dried strawberries or raspberries!

Mix together well & enjoy!

Grandma May’s Caramel Recipe

Grandma May’s Caramel Recipe

Here by popular demand is my mother-in-law’s caramel recipe, which is actually her grandmother’s recipe. Basically, it’s stood the test of time my friends and you won’t find better!!

Grandma May’s Caramels:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of corn syrup
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Bring to boil on low heat with 1 cup of cream. Add the second cup of cream. Continue boiling on low stirring constantly. Cook until candy reaches 230 degrees. Remove from heat. Add 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour into 9x13 dish. Cut into squares when cool. Wrap pieces in wax paper.

  • **use a glass 9x13 pan and be sure to butter so caramels don’t stick!
  • **stir constantly
  • **use wooden spoon

When we lived in California I got a huge box one day and opened it up to see that Melanie, my sweet mother in law had made me a HUGE batch of caramels. I cried. It was the sweetest labor of love she did because she knows how much I love them 😭❤️ They’re that good! This also happened with her Texas Sheet Cake once too 😂

xo

Jenna

 

Jenna’s Baby Must Haves

Jenna’s Baby Must Haves

Hi friends! Now that Ruby is 7 months old (where has the time gone?!?!) I feel like I can totally share must-haves for the first 6 months of life & most of these things I am still using today. Everyone will swear that you need this or that with all the bells & whistles– but I am giving you true items that I use/used every. single. day. & if I had another baby (and that’s a giant IF) I would make sure I had these things again. (Also, here is the link to these jeans!)

 This is my philosophy on baby gear:  

    • I don’t want to spend more than I need to
    • I want to buy things that I can use for a long time 
    • I want to buy things that are going to make my life easier

With me? Yeah you are. So-  here goes! Jenna Rammell’s ultimate list of baby-must haves after birthing 4 magical little humans in the world! 

#1: Stroller

Okay, this is the Cadillac of strollers, BUT before I lose you– it is worth the hype and the money. It’s beautiful, rides so smooth, is easy to open and close and has attachments that grow with your child. Get this, I can click in my carseat and have the extra seat for Lolly annnd I can have the skateboard on the back for my boys. Yeah, I can be a total circus and accommodate allll of my kids, it’s truly amazing. I would also highly recommend that you buy the matching carseat because it clicks into the travel system. That way when you’re running errands and baby is asleep, you don’t have to transfer them into anything. Just click them in and go.

 

#2: Baby Monitor/Camera

If you are like me at all and would prefer to stare at your baby the entire night because you’re terrified of anything and everything happening to their sweet tiny bodies… this is for you. I am a little paranoid (especially in those early days) of SIDS. Terrified. Who isn’t? So for me, this is all for my peace of mind. The Owlet Smart Sock makes me feel like I am checking my baby back into the nursery at the hospital. Like someone is watching her for me at all times. It’s just that extra assurance that I can fall asleep without thinking the absolute worst is going to happen.

I moved Ruby into her crib at 4 months and that’s when I started using the camera. I was able to check in on her during nap time and see her cute, sleeping face. It links with your smart sock so you can see their vitals and see them! This is something that I wish I had with all my kids!!

 #3: Portable Sleeper

 The Dock-a-tot is the holy grail of baby loungers! I had this down in my living room/office/basement for the beginning of Ruby’s life. When she was tiny and wasn’t napping in her bed yet, it was so nice to have this accessible to just move about my house. I would lay her in it and the raised edges help with moro reflex so she didn’t always have to be swaddled. In the beginning it’s nice to have a portable bed so you aren’t trapped upstairs by the bassinet, adjusting a binky.

Also, this was awesome for travel! Because it’s a baby item, you can check it for free and take it with you. I loved this in hotels and making a pack-n-play a little cozier.  

This is another favorite bed that I found! I loved this when Ruby was teeny, tiny. There is an adjustable piece at the bottom that you can move as they grow– making the bed super cozy and womb like.

#4: Swaddles

If you’re a traditional, swaddler– let me introduce you to the best swaddles around. The colors are pretty, but the fabric is SO soft, they are huuuge and stretchy so you can get your babe snug! They also have some of my favorite muslin swaddle prints right here. Also, if you want to see how I love to swaddle my babes, go here!

I love having lots of these muslin swaddles too! They make a great baby shower gift, but also, they are nice and cozy for the car, awesome to wipe up spit it, use as a burp cloth, use as a changing pad and at the end of the day, I can throw it into the laundry room and have another one clean for the next day. Okay, here are some of my favorites!

 Now that I am not swaddling Ruby anymore, I have moved to sleep sacks. They are so nice for safe sleep because there aren’t any loose blankets! I found this one that is a lighter and doesn’t get twisted when she’s rolling around her crib.

#5: Sound Machine

Every baby needs a good sound machine and this is the best I have found! It’s portable so you can stick it in their carseats when you’re in the car, but also it’s loud enough to be used in the nursery. The charger is a USB so when it’s low battery, I can plug it into the car charger in the car. It also has a “shush” setting… need I say more?  

#6: Paci’s and Clips

These are my favorite pacis and clips! They are soft and pretty and I have found that Ruby is able to hold these really well in her mouth. If you’re buying pacis, you’ve gotta have clips because otherwise they end up on the floor and dirty. These clips are small and soft so when she falls asleep with them, they aren’t pinching or hurting. 

#7: Sleeper

This Fisher Price beauty is one of the best baby finds. (I know this isn’t “safe sleep,” I know, but this is what my babies have slept in.) It’s slightly elevated so it helps with reflux, it also rocks which is SO nice when a baby is used to your rocking body for 9 months. I also found that it was perfect for setting baby in while you were hopping in the shower or brushing your teeth. It will gently rock them so you can buy yourself 5-6 minutes.

#8: Baby Lounger

Here is another Fisher Price find! I loved this baby seat (& the price) before Ruby could sit up and wanted to look around and see us. It’s lightweight and I moved this all around my house when I was working or trying to get something….anything done.

At 6 months, I started putting her in this baby seat. This one is nice because I can feed her food (while she is learning) and just hose her & the seat down and all is clean again! It’s also easy to drag around the house and helps her learn how to sit up.

#9: Health

I really don’t like using medicine on my babies when they are so tiny, but I want to be able to support their immune system, help them with a cough or runny nose and sleep better so these are the oils that I use on my babies and myself. These touch rollers are already diluted so it brings me peace of mind that they are safe on their skin. I talk a lot about oil education, how to use oils and how to purchase oils over on The Daily Essential Co.. Come learn with me 

Okay, let’s talk about baby nails. They have the smallest little fingers and if you have ever cut a babies nails too short– you know how terrible you feel after. I found this little number, that files the nail instead of cutting them. Genius. That way there’s no blood, sweat or tears involved!

Next is this 3-in-1- humidifier and why didn’t I have this for all my babies!? Living in Utah, it’s dryyyy. I had this bad boy going all winter to help Ruby stay healthy. Andrew and I joked and called it her “ecosystem” because this made her room cozy and comfortable. I also will drop a couple of drops of lavender in the diffuser to help support sleep each night.

#10: Baby Bath 

There are so many baths out there to choose from so I bought this one. Ruby will use it from birth until she can sit up on her own in the tub. It’s super clean and easy and goes straight into your tub so there’s no added mess. If you have other kids that you’re bathing, it’s nice to just do it all at once!

#11: Bows

My favorite bows that I have used for both Lolly and Ruby are right here! They are soft and stay on, which is everything you need in a bow. There are tons of colors and cute prints. They are stretchy and grow with your babe so they aren’t a one and done kind of bow. Lilerally, ever picture of Ruby in this post is a Baby Bling bow!

#12: Jammies

Every. Single. One. Of my kids have worn these jammies and still wear these jammies. This is not a drill, they are the softest thing on the planet. I gift a these to all my friends with new babies so they can know of this goodness from the beginning. They also have the little hand covers to keep babies hands warm and to keep away those tiny nails. I love all my new babies in white so click here and get these jammies and you’re welcome! 

 #13: Carriers 

When it comes to baby wearing, these 2 are my absolute favorites! Lolly lived in these wraps. They are the best for when they are tiny and you need to be hands free. This wrap is my favorite once baby gets a little bigger and can hold their head up on their own. Andrew can wear it when we go to the park or on hikes. Which is nice when you have other kids that need you! 

I truly hope this post finds you well! As you’re about to (maybe) welcome a little one into your life, I hope you know that YOU already are everything your baby needs. All your baby needs to be happy in this world is you!

 xo

Jenna

 

Basement Kitchen Reveal!

Basement Kitchen Reveal!

OH FRIENDS.

The basement. It’s kind of a trigger word in our house and we are all still recovering from the 8 month process it’s been! We are grateful to have been able to finish it and now we know moving forward that timelines in renovation and construction are basically imaginary and you can just plan on your project being finished when the universe allows it 🙂

There are still so many little things to do so we will be doing these reveals over time but I am SO FREAKING STOKED to share with you THE KITCHEN!

I got a few comments asking why would I put a kitchen in my basement when I already have a beautiful one?! Good  question! We wanted to have a space where we could keep drinks and snacks for the downstairs theatre and playroom as well as a place where guests could feel like they could come to our home and have a space of their own! You know when your kids wake up at 5am at a friends house and you’re trying to keep them quiet and feed them cereal? It’s tough! So I wanted to have a space that accommodated our friends and family as well as gave me a second kitchen to utilize when we have large gatherings!

I am so totally obsessed with the kitchen and I hope you will be too!

I wanted to take some fun risks in the basement since I had gone so simple and white in the kitchen upstairs! Open shelving didn’t make sense to me in our main kitchen because I cook a lot and need a lot of closed storage for all our appliances so it was fun to do open shelving in the uppers!

The lower cabinets were custom by our friend Tadd Cox – aren’t they gorgeous? He doesn’t have a website but you can DM me if you’re in Utah and I can get you his contact information! The color of the cabinets are Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. I love how this color plays in the light and is sometimes lends to blue or green depending!

The open shelving is quartered oak which we also had custom made by Tadd. My husband Andrew stained them with this stain. We may add some more white in so you can see more grain in the future but for now I’m really loving them!

The backsplash tile is from Contempo Tile and is a simple crayon shape in Bright White. I LOVE it and would do it in other places in the house for sure! It’s fairly inexpensive but more interesting than a subway tile! The faucet is the same we have in our upstairs kitchen and I’m obsessed with it. The Champagne Gold is such a great unique color and somehow it doesn’t get TOO spotty from water and fingerprints which I appreciate!

Let’s talk about the waterfall island. DEFINITELY my favorite part of the kitchen! It makes such a statement without being over the top – it was totally worth the investment! We decided to go with Home Depot for our countertops and it was truly THE BEST experience. Work can be really hard to find in Utah right now. There is SO MUCH new construction that it can be difficult to get people out to finish jobs. Not with Home Depot! I took my dimensions in and worked with the BEST people who just know their job. I didn’t have time or energy to figure out depth or what would look best and they did it all for me. I also love that they sent actual templates and 3d drawings of how the counter tops would look in the space so I could adjust things. This counter is Calatta Gold Quartz.

The grain in it is is so soft but yet SO GORGEOUS. Do you think Andrew would be mad at me if I wanted to replace all the upstairs with this material? YES YES HE WOULD.

Gasp. Love it so much.

The appliances are all Whirlpool! We had done higher end appliances in our upstairs and couldn’t afford to go that route downstairs as well. I love the options we found for well made but budget friendly appliances and these are working great!! I especially love the option of having a double oven, dishwasher and fridge down here for hosting parties. They’ve already been put to good use. We decided not to do a stove top because FIRE and kids and I just didn’t want to not be able to keep an eye on it when they’re downstairs playing!

Fridge // Double Oven // Dishwasher

Baby Got Back.

The floor! Okay this has a lot of questions on it. I could do a whole blog post and maybe I will but I’ll keep talking more about these as we do more reveals. This is Natural Maple Engineered Vinyl Plank from Lumber Liquidators. What I’ve learned is it’s a newer manufactured tile and nicer, stronger and feels better than even Luxury Vinyl Tile. I was hesitant to use anything but wood but after my experience with maintenance with my wood (NIGHTMARE) I wanted to be able to have a breathe easy space in the basement where the kids can have a drink and I don’t have to panic! This stuff is INDESTRUCTIBLE. Andrew installed the entire floor himself. Technically guys it’s SO EASY but just freaking time consuming. It took him almost 4 days to lay the basement flooring we chose to do this in, which was about 1000 square feet. ANYONE can do it but just plan on some time and buying some knee pads 🙂  

Okay I think that’s all I have for you for now! Leave any questions and I can source everything below! I know this is a long post but hopefully helpful to you! Thanks for stopping by and for all the love and kindness!!

xo

Stools // Rug // Cutting Board //

 

 

 

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Redwood Planter DIY

Redwood Planter DIY

HI!! This is my blog. Did you know I had one? 😉 While I’m not the blogger I used to be I’ve been really enjoying popping on here occasionally to document the things I enjoy and the season of life our family is in. I’m so glad you’re here!

We are still settling in to our new home a year later and it seems every weekend is full of projects which we love doing! This project I’ve been promising to post about for a while is our DIY Redwood Garden Planters. When we had the yard landscaped we left the side of the house open for garden space and knew we wanted planter boxes that fit custom against the house so they wouldn’t be raised out of the ground but fit beautifully against the house.

Leave it to Andrew to get.it.done.!

And here’s how!

First he measured the base of the soil to the top of the siding where he wanted the planter to fit, ours are 12 inches high. And then around the entire garden space where he wanted the wood to border. He took his dimensions to Home Depot and purchased the appropriate amount of Redwood for it. He used Redwood because it’s a durable outdoor wood as it will be sitting year round on the ground, it’s a little more expensive so you could achieve this with Pine.       

Andrew did all the cuts himself with his saw but if you have the dimensions you need Home Depot can make the cuts for you making it an even easier project! If you are building them for a space like ours you can put them together before hand but Andrew had to do a little bit of the building in place for ours. You lap joint the corners and screw them together (this is me literally repeating what he says cause heaven knows I have ZERO CLUE), if you want to hide the screws you can use pocket screws.

K then things got crazy. This is completely unnecessary which is the story of our life so here goes.

Andrew decided he wanted to Shou Sugi Ban the wood. SAY WHAT? Basically this is a Japanese method of torching wood both for the appearance and for wood preservation. It helps to protect against harsh eliminates and creates a beautiful look. The torch Andrew used he just snagged at Home Depot and now we have one so yay 😉

Use a blow torch to blacken the wood on all sides, it doesn’t take long but don’t be afraid to burn it! 

After that’s done you’ll wire brush off the excess char and unveil the most GORGEOUS wood!! Isn’t it stunning?! Some people leave all the charred wood there and seal it but we did it this way and love it. After that’s done you’ll seal the wood with this but you can also use a Linseed Oil.

       

We have spent countless hours out herewith the kids taking care of the Garden and eating from it’s beauty!! We have snap peas, beets, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash and so much more growing! I can’t wait to have endless amounts of tomatoes for salsa and just to east with plain kosher salt – MY FAVORITE! What a joy it is to have a garden of our own in a home of our own, I am so grateful for the blessing of it every day.

 

 

 

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