Thrift Store Fashion Finds Vol. 1

Who doesn’t love a great deal? I don’t think I have ever bought a piece of clothing full price. I just can’t do it. If it’s not on sale, it’s not going in my closet. Ain’t nobody got time for that! That brings me here to this blog post. The first volume of Thrift Store Fashion Finds. I’m all for reusing and saving the Earth and all. Who’s with me?

This all started with my sister-in-law, Isabel. She lives that college life on a college budget. She and her mom (my mother-in-law) LOVE to go thrifting. Digging up secret treasures in Goodwill or the Thrift Shop is a past time they love to do.   I’m always amazed with her thrift store finds and how she’s able to style them, and she decided to style me too! So we created this blog post series. Want to hear something great? She picked out all of these outfits without me being there, and they all fit perfect! We can call her the Finds and Steals Stylist!

In this segment, all clothing is from Texas Thrift in San Antonio. Take a look at  her thrifty finds and styles! College style and mom style, she can do it all!

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The Hipster.

Black crop top: $2.98.

Top cover shirt tied in a knot: $4.98.

Mom jeans: $12.98

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The Casual Patterns.

Shirt: $4.98 + 50% off

Shorts: $6.98

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The Summer Cut Offs

Shirt: $3.98 (tied in a knot)

Shorts: $4.98

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The Green Short

Top: $4.98 + 50% off

High waisted shorts: $6.98 (still new)

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The Well Traveled

Shirt: $3.98

Shorts: $6.98 (originally jeans that she cut into shorts)

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The Patriotic.

Shirt: $4.98 + 50% off

Shorts: $6.98

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Isn’t she talented and savvy?  No need to buy brand new when you can find amazing styles at your local thrift shop… for cheap.  Stay tuned for her finds, steals and styles next month!

Be sure to donate your unused and unwanted clothes to your local thrift store or Goodwill! Let’s keep up the recycling, y’all!

[Photos by Oscar Salinas aka The Instagram Boyfriend]

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Farm Yoga and Wine

I love yoga. I love the farm.  Farm Yoga? Count me in!

This past Saturday my good friend, Courtney, and I had our first experience with Farm Yoga.  Goats + Yoga + Wine. Yes, please!

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The event was at  Medina River Winery which is just a few minutes away from my house. We laid our yoga mats on a big black tarp in the middle of a field. The weather was beautiful except is was REALLLYYY HOT. It was 6 in the evening so it wasn’t the hottest of the day, but again, we were in a field with no shade. The crop that was growing next to us was some maize, I believe. I knew you were wondering. They call it Farm Yoga for a reason.

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There were several goats running around, and we were able to take a picture with one right before the class started. Then yoga commenced. The goats really didn’t want anything to do with us, and mostly ran around the outskirts of the mat. We were patiently waiting for them to come and kiss us and climb on us as we did our yoga. You know, fulfilling all our expectations of goats trampling us. Nope. They probably thought we were insane doing yoga on a field in the heat. Like these people are crazy, why am I going to go jump on their back?

You could hear them baa’ing as you did your yoga breathing. Most likely talking smack about our poses. One of the mommy goats actually did come on the tarp, just to pee and poop. That made me actually kind of glad they didn’t really come bother us during the class. A happy baby pose in goat poop? No thank you. Towards the end of the class they released a goose and some chickens. The goose was not shy. He had no problem walking on everyone’s mat.

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Once the class was finished (it was about a 30 minute class) we had the opportunity to take as many pictures as we wanted and hang out with the animals. That’s when they put the goats on your back if you wanted a picture.  It looks all cute seeing one of the goats kissing my face, right? Well that was actually her baby that was on my back and she was baa’ing telling him to get down, I’m sure.  Makes for a cute picture though! Ha.

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After the hot, almost bikram yoga was done and we got all the pictures we wanted, we headed inside to the tasting room. We tasted 6 different wines.  It was the perfect end to our little farm yoga and wine experience.

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Although the goats weren’t climbing all over us while we did yoga like I originally thought, we still had a really fun evening.  I’m sure it’s different every time depending on the animals temperaments. I would recommend going when the weather cools down since it is outside. Bring your girlfriends, and it makes for a fun girls night out!

Side Note: the hubby stayed home and watched the kids. They all survived! Yay! Granted, both kids were sleeping the whole time, but still. Kudos to him. Looks like I’ll need to plan some more girls nights!

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Beach Trippin’ with the Duke Man

The littlest of the Mexican Vanilla babes took his first trip to the beach this past Memorial Day weekend to Padre Island. It was a gorgeous day for the beach – breezy and sunny.  Kapri jumped the waves and played in the sand, being her crazy toddler self. Daniel jumped the waves and played in the sand, being his crazy toddler-man self. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to be buried and covered in sand, but Daniel loves it. Our kids will always have a daddy that’s up (or down?) for being buried in the sand. That works for me.

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Ezra chilled, like the tubster he is, under the umbrella for the majority of the time until he was ready to venture out. When he did, it was nothing short of an adorable baby digging his little chubby feet in the sand and looking precious – having no idea what’s happening or going on while his mom acted like a crazy paparazzi person trying to get pictures of him and his sister.  He’s a mama pleaser so he went along with it. Everyone had a great time. First beach trip for the Duke Man – in the books.

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Later that evening we went to our favorite restaurant in Rockport, The Boiling Pot.  It was delicious, as always. Have you been there? If you haven’t, I highly recommend the next time you are down at the Texas coast!

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Ezra Duke | 5 Months

Well, it’s month 5 with you earth-side.

You are the happiest little baby and love being talked to. A total sweetheart. You love to smile and drool.  Give you a little attention, and you are good to go. Except when I get home from work on the weekdays. You have to be carried by your mama. I have mastered the art of cooking with a toddler on the counter and a baby on the hip. I can’t just carry you any old way. It must be on my hip, facing out. That way you can see the world, and know that mama still got yo back. I try to put you down and in the half second that I change positions to put you down, you instantly fuss. Then you instantly stop when I put you back on my hip. You got me wrapped around your finger.

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Firsts. & Milestones.

I gave you your first haircut. And yes, I saved the cut hair. I’m sentimental, ok?  Will you let me always cut your hair? I hope so.

I got to celebrate your first Mother’s Day with you by my side. It was a perfect day.

You found your toes. And eat them like the chubby sausages they are.

You are a master at tummy time. You can scoot pretty well and try so hard to crawl. You will soon!

You came down with Roseola this month. That was not a fun time, but we got through it!

 

Sleeping.

You’re a tummy sleeper. You used to sleep really good and only woke up once a night. You decided you ain’t about that life anymore and wake up every two hours. Good thing you’re adorable.

Let’s pray that improves.

 

Nicknames.

Tubby. Chunky. Tubbs. Chubbs. Tunker. Bubba. Tubster.

 

Eating.

Just mama’s milk. Going to start food soon!

 

Favorites.

Kapri. Your favorite person is, by far, Kapri. You may be a mama’s boy, but Kapri has your heart. I don’t know the  right words to describe y’all’s relationship. She is obsessed with you and you adore her. You can just watch her for hours. Your little legs start to kicking when she’s running around the house. You can’t wait to start running with her. You’ve accepted her craziness and let her do whatever she wants with you. You are HER baby, and you are very proud to be HER baby. I am the proudest mama to see all the love you both have for each other.

Eating your fingers. Those fingers must taste like chocolate because they are ALWAYS in your mouth. Sometimes you gag yourself and then frown at me because you don’t know how that happened.

Talking to daddy. You get real serious when you talk to daddy. I am certain you are tattle telling on your sister.

Having your junk exposed. Is this a man thing? You could be crying and as soon as i open that diaper up, you immediately calm down and put a smile on. You would be happiest completely nakie.   You love that fresh breeze. You lack no confidence, just like your daddy.

Standing. You love to stand and push off your feet. You’ve got some strong chubby thighs.

Looking at yourself in the mirror. You surprise yourself every time with how dapper you are.

Happy 5 months, little man. We love all of your double chinning self.

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Soto Wood Co.

My husband developed a love for woodworking maybe a year or so before we got married. He would spend countless hours at our old house in the garage, he called a ‘shop’,  building little things or trying to get rust off old tools. He went through this phase where he would try to find rusty tools at yard sales and flea markets to refurbish them. The potential! He would be so excited to show me how much rust he got off a hammer or an old saw  – imagine this big guy being all excited. Adorable.

Our love for reclaimed wood quickly grew too. Partly because we didn’t want to spend money on new wood, but mostly because we liked the whole distressed/old look. We would go out when neighborhoods had bulk trash pickups and dig through their “trash”. It sounds crazy, I know, but it was honestly so much fun. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, am I right?  We drove down the roads and I would be the one to roll down the window to scope and inspect the junk pile, and then tell Daniel if it was worth digging through. Yep. We are totally those people. This was the time before the whole Farmhouse decor became super popular. We found a ton of old windows and doors – the stuff people now sell.. All for FREE. We used a lot of it at our wedding.

Fast forward to now and Daniel has built and created some amazing things! He’s able to build pretty much anything. Oh, my hero! <Insert a fainting woman.> Our goal is to eventually have ALL of our furniture in our house built by him. Where did he learn how to do all this? He has a natural talent and then he watches a bunch of YouTube! He loves his YouTube. I would also call him a pallet collector. We have piles and piles of pallets. He picks up pallets at least once a week. He’s a pallet connoisseur and our land is a pallet museum. As I was leaving for work this morning, I kid you not, there were two pallets on the ground he must have picked up on the way home. Nice. We only have 100 other pallets that have taken root into the ground.

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I have a whole list of things I want him to do. Again, a WHOLE list of things I want him to do…. We will be out shopping around and I will want something and he will say “Oh, I can build that.” Ok.  Yea, you can, but I want it right now. I’ll admit, I lack some patience. I guess a full time job and ensuring good craftsmanship is a good excuse.

Our dream would be to open up our own woodworking shop, and call it – Soto Wood Co., or something like that.  We’ve already completed a few custom orders, which is really exciting! His current project is the building of the chicken coop and garden boxes. The next project on the list is a sliding barn door for our closet. I’ll be sure to post the process and plans for that one!

Here are some pictures of just a few things he has built.
bar kitchenThis is the awning over our kitchen window. There was too much space in between the window and the ceiling and it looked awkward. I used my Joanna Gaines juju and designed the awning. It really adds dimension and that Farmhouse look to the kitchen. All reclaimed wood.

 

bar 3wood bar 2wood barThis is the bar that he built for his brother, and now wife as their wedding present. I totally wanted to keep it. All from reclaimed wood and tin. I think the only thing he bought brand new were the screws. So far, this is his most proud piece. He worked so hard on the craftsmanship, I bet it will withstand years and years of use.

 

headboardThe headboard in our bedroom. All from reclaimed wood from an old fence. It looks better with the bed done, but Kapri pulled it all of so..

 

wood tableHere is a tv stand that was built for a client. The ‘X’ design on the sides give it that Farmhouse look.

 

Salsa Chicken Tacos

Salsa Chicken Tacos in the Instant Pot

Easy, fast and minimal ingredient recipes are the way to my heart. The weeknights are always crazy – between wrangling a toddler, and feeding an infant, I don’t have much time.  I want something that will taste great that everyone will love, and doesn’t keep me in the kitchen for hours. Here’s an easy go to recipe for those taco nights!

 

Salsa Chicken Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • Chicken Breasts (2-3lbs)
  • Herdez Salsa 16 oz (or any red salsa of your choice)
  • Fiesta Ranch Dip mix packet

Taco Filling:

  • Crispy taco shells
  • Salsa Chicken
  • Avocado
  • Cheese

Directions:

  • Place uncooked chicken breasts on the bottom of Instant Pot. Pour salsa to cover chicken breasts. Sprinkle Fiesta Ranch Dip on top (I used half a packet).
  • Set Instant Pot on High Pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Let Instant Pot naturally release – (takes around 10 minutes).
  • Remove chicken and shred.
  • Return shredded chicken back to the liquid mixture in the Instant Pot.
  • Use chicken and make your tacos!

I top my tacos with sliced avocado and cheese. Delicioso! You can make with rice and beans or just eat 12 tacos like Daniel does.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can do the EXACT same thing with a Crockpot – just cook on High for 4 hours or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

 

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Kapri’s Birth Story

Kapri was not planned by us, but she was definitely always planned by God.

Where do I start? Let’s go back to the beginning.

The month is February 2015. Daniel and I had just booked a trip to  Antigua in June with all of our friends. It was going to be our first couples trip before everyone started having babies. (oops.) It was nearing the end of the month and I was a day or so late. I didn’t think anything of it to be honest. The next day passed and I still hadn’t “started”. That’s weird. I go and ask my boss at the time how soon she took a pregnancy test and she said the first day she missed. Fast forward a few hours and we are both in a bathroom at work and I’m peeing on a stick. My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty. It felt like forever waiting for the results. I looked at the stick, and it said negative (or so I thought). It had a very, very faint line. At the time I thought it had to be an extremely dark line to be positive.

To be honest, I was disappointed. I mean, we weren’t trying to have a baby or anything, but deep down I wanted the test to say positive. I get home after work and I decided to read the directions for the pregnancy test. Why now would I read the directions? Any-who, I was looking at the pictures of a positive pregnancy test and it said, “Even if the line is very faint, it is positive.” Uh, that looks EXACTLY how mine looked. Am I pregnant? I grabbed the second pregnancy test from my bag and took it. The results came back the same, a very faint line. Holy Moly. I think I’m pregnant.

I couldn’t stop trembling as I waited for Daniel to get home. It was baseball season so of course he had practice and the night was dragggiiinnngg. He got home and while he was eating dinner, I told him, “I think I’m pregnant.”

He looked at me and said, “Well what about the trip?” Seriously? The first thing that came to your mind was the trip? It wasn’t an, OMG I’m going to be a dad, or ahh let’s dance in the kitchen and celebrate type of reaction I was secretly hoping for. It was kinda like he looked at me wondering how it happened. Well we know how it happened – February 8th to be exact. To this day, he will tell you I tricked him. Oh ok, we all know how that works.

A few days later at 2:30 a.m. I decided to take a digital test and it read ‘Pregnant’. Yep. I was pregnant.

 

I was always extremely tired in my first trimester and suffered from this intense pain in my left side, but other than that my pregnancy was fairly easy. We decided to not go on the trip after all, it was bitter sweet.

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At 20 weeks we found out it was a girl. I always thought I would have a boy first – so he could protect his younger siblings and what not.  I felt bad because I kept calling the baby a “he” and she was a “she”. I had no idea at the time that this little girl was perfectly made to be our first.

Daniel kept telling me he felt so stressed already and I’ll always remember him saying, “I wanted to worry about just one penis, and now I have to worry about all these other penises.” He told me it’s different, it’s different having a girl over a boy. My poor husband. The teenage years might cause him some gray hair.

My pregnancy progressed and around 34 weeks I went in for a routine ultrasound. Everything was normal except the baby was breech. The doctor said she still had time to turn and there’s enough fluid for her to do it. Ok. I’m sure she will.

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36 weeks came around. The baby was still breech. We talked about the procedure to flip the baby, but my doctor didn’t recommend it because the risks were high. I decided to opt out. We went ahead and scheduled a c-section for October 21, 2015, a week before my original due date. If she was still breech, then he would have to do a c-section. I still felt like she would flip. It didn’t hit me that I might have to have a c- section.

I always envisioned how my delivery would go – I would deliver my baby “naturally”. Everything would go smooth – I mean, I’ve got the hips for it. I also felt like there was a stigma around c-sections. I didn’t want one. I shouldn’t have to get one.

The night before my scheduled c-section, I couldn’t sleep. I just laid awake holding my belly and praying she would turn. She was moving A LOT – she had to flip, she had to. 6 a.m. rolled around and we were reporting to the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitors and went over all the documents and what not. None of it felt real. It was kinda like an out-of-body experience for me. I felt like she turned, and they were going to tell me to go home.

The nurse came to do one last ultrasound just in case she flipped. My fingers were crossed. Nope. She didn’t. She was still breech. A few minutes later I was walking to the OR.

It was all surreal. Am I really going to have a c-section right now? I’m sitting on the table while the epidural is being injected into my spine thinking, why didn’t she flip? Was something wrong with me and she couldn’t?  I was so scared. The numbness soon took over and I was laying down waiting for them to begin. A few minutes go by and the doctors were pushing and pulling – I felt like I was being jerked around the table. The doctor made a comment that the baby was pretty far ‘up there’ and was struggling to pull her out – stubborn much? (Totally not a depiction of how she is now, ha). They warned us she might have some bruising on her legs from all the pulling.

Finally. She was out. The room was silent. Why isn’t she crying? What’s wrong.  My heart sank. The few seconds turned into a lifetime as I was waiting to hear her cry. Then she did. It was the sweetest music to my ears. The tears rolled down my cheeks. I was a mommy. She was here. She was beautiful. She was perfect. Kapri Maribelle Soto was born on October 21, 2015 at 8:57 a.m., weighing 7 lbs 3.5 oz and 20.5 inches long. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about how I gave birth to her, but that I did give birth to her. I did it. 

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The recovery in the hospital was rough. I wasn’t able to do much. I felt like all she did was nurse and I never slept because I had to watch her and make sure she was still breathing, like all new moms do right? Daniel had to change all of her diapers – I remember him telling me he wouldn’t ever change diapers. Ha. If you’ve had a c-section you know you don’t want to laugh – it’s like your incision will open right back up if you do. {Side note, I’m going to invent a stick that moms can use in the hospital when their husbands fall asleep in a deep sleep, called “You Better Wake Your Ass Up and Take This Baby – Slapping Stick”. Throwing ice chips and shoes did not work.}

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We were in the hospital for two nights and then we were released to go home. I remember Daniel and I thinking, so the nurses are just going to let us go home… alone with this baby? They’ve been helping us this whole time. They trust us with her? Please, please, come home with us.

I’d say we’ve done a pretty great job so far. Adventurous, spirited, loving, gracious, independent, confident, sassy, girly and frilly, tomboy-ish, rambunctious, silly, cute, funny, and big sister are just a few words that describe our little first-born, Tarzan baby.

To the girl that made me a mommy, thank you for giving me my purpose in this world.  I will continue to try to be the very best I can for you, and now your brother too. Your daddy and I are so proud and blessed you are ours. 

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Why the name Kapri? Way back in high school my very best friend, who is now Kapri’s godmother, did a dance solo to the song by Colbie Caillet called ‘Capri’. That’s when I fell in love with the name. When I told Daniel what I wanted to name her, he agreed it was perfect, and it truly is. She’s our angel. I changed the first letter to a K to match mine. 

 

 

 

Oreo Balls

I have decided to share one of my most well-loved recipes. Oreo Balls.  I will warn you now, you can not eat just one.

I have been making Oreo Balls for years now. It has to be the easiest, crowd-pleasing dessert recipe I have. Wherever you take it, or if you keep it for yourself, it will be gone within minutes. This is the first recipe I’m posting on my blog so I’m hoping it translates and makes sense to you!

 

OREO BALLS

Makes approximately 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of Oreos
  • 1 pack of cream cheese (8 oz)
  • Vanilla Coating (16 oz)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

  1. Smash Oreos into crumbs.
  2. Mix cream cheese and Oreo crumbs together.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls (or however big or small you prefer).
  4. Place into refrigerator for 1 hour to cool (this helps when you dip them into the vanilla coating so they don’t fall apart).
  5. Cover with vanilla coating and sprinkles.
  6. Refrigerate (optional).
  7. Enjoy!

 

Here is the recipe in pictures!

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Only three ingredients! Yay!

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I like to put the Oreos in a plastic bag and then use a rolling pin to crush them.

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Mix crumbs and cream cheese together.

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Roll into balls and then refrigerate.

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Make sure to follow the warm-up directions on the vanilla coating package. I use a fork to dip them. It’s not professional looking by any means, but it works for me.

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Let the excess coating drip off.

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Sprinkles are optional, but I like the crunch it gives! Kapri LOVES doing the sprinkles.

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There you go! Oreo balls! Enjoy!

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Try not to drool!

 

 

Fiesta Flambeau Tradition and Baby’s First Hair Cut

Viva Fiesta!

Yesterday Kapri went to her first Fiesta Flambeau Parade, and it did not disappoint. Familia in attendance: Kapri, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Aron and a preggers, Aunt Bre. (Ezra stayed home with Grandma and Pops, and watched the parade on TV.)

We started the evening around 4 p.m. so we had plenty of time to walk around and eat. It was really hard finding some good food. Ha. Just Kidding. There are literally food tents for miles. We hunkered down at the San Fernando Cathedral and drank some aqua frescas, ate some fajita tacos, brisket tacos, chicken on a stick, turkey legs, corn in the cup, funnel cakes… then had some more aqua frescas. Watermelon and mango agua frescas were the choice drinks of the evening. ME GUSTA AQUA FRESCAS!

We then proceeded to our parade seats at Alamo Plaza. The weather was PERFECT. Kapri was enjoying herself jumping around from seat to seat – the sugar from eating an entire funnel cake totally kicked in. She even made a little friend that was sitting near us.

Kapri loved seeing all the floats and listening to the music from the bands. We all had a FIESTA-ful time. First Annual Fiesta Flambeau Parade Family Tradition in the books! Here’s our night in pictures.

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Baby’s First Hair Cut 

Ezra the Duke Man got his first hair cut today…at four months old. Cutting a little baby’s hair was totally nerve wrecking. Considering he was moving like crazy, and I didn’t cut his ear off, I feel like I did a pretty good job. (But I won’t be showing you a picture of the back of his head by his neck… I’m gonna say that part was done by Kapri.)

My little baby is now a big boy baby. #tear

Chicken Coop Update

The Chickens.

The chickens are in the pre-teen/ teenage stage and have been upgraded to the luxury of a dog crate. Their feathers are starting to come in nicely, but they look super awkward.  This is the time where they are really trying to find their identity – no more cute little chicks. Their claws are starting to get bigger and longer – which is totally freaky. I think chicken claws have made my list of things that terrify me. If Daniel were to play a cruel joke on me, it would be touching me with a chicken claw. Eeekk…it’s giving me the chills thinking about it.

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Anyways…they are growing fast and becoming more daring. I’ve noticed that they like to make eye contact – which is a little unsettling. Dang, am I scared of the chickens? Daniel was out of town this past week and I had to feed them. I would say it’s like a Jack in the Box. You never know when one is going to come at you out of nowhere. You can prepare yourself,  but it will still scare the crap out of you. Please tell me I’m not the only one with chicken anxiety.

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The Coop Update.

We made some progress this past weekend on the coop. The floor is done, yay!  I still have no idea what it’s going to look like, but I am excited!

Apparently chickens lay better eggs when they have windows in the coop, so we are going to Habitat for Humanity this weekend to look for some.

Here are some pictures of the progress so far!

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