Friday, October 31, 2014

Prayers for the Woods/Jimenez Family

If you live in Colorado, you might be familiar with the tragic and horrible story of Alex Jimenez and his family. If you aren't, here's what happened (via Gofundme):

On the morning of October 14th, 2014 flames engulfed the mobile home of Jennifer and her two young sons Jayden and Alex. Tragically, Alex (age 2) was unable to make it out of the home and passed away. Jennifer and other neighbors tried their best to fight their way into the burning home, but because the flames were too hot and the smoke too intense, they couldn't get inside to rescue Alex. Jennifer and her son Jayden were taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries. Once fire fighters arrived, the roof had collapsed, making it nearly impossible to enter the home. There are several other family members who resided at this mobile home and were at work when the fire started. Neighbors say that Jennifer and her family were very loving, always playing with the children outside. Leon, Alex's grandpa was always seen around the neighborhood with Alex on his shoulders or cuddled into a stroller. Alex and his family are beloved people of the Boulder Meadows Community.

This family is in need of tremendous love and support while they grieve this unimaginable loss. They will need financial support as well as household items, furniture, food, and clothing. They lost everything in this fire. The goal for funding has been set at $50,000, but any amount will go a long way. Please help in any way you can so this family can start to heal and rebuild.

This GoFundMe account is directly connected to a trust fund set up in Alex's name through Wells Fargo. Any money you donate through this site will be directly deposited into the Alex Jimenez Memorial Fund. If you feel more comfortable donating directly to Wells Fargo, or only have cash or a check, you can walk into any Wells Fargo branch to donate. The family is also working closely with The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church located off of Mapleton in Boulder and have stated that people can drop off gift cards for the family at their church. If you have physical items to donate, their is an advocate working directly with the family who can help coordinate a drop off. I will not be sharing that person's name or phone number on this website, but if you wish to donate a physical item, please send me a message and I can pass the advocate's contact information along to you privately. You are also welcome to donate items to the surrounding neighbors' homes at 4500 19th St. in Boulder, CO 80304. Their lot numbers are 4,10, and 11.

The family does need their space and time to grieve, so if you have any items to donate, it is preferred that the items be dropped off at the neighbors' home or the church they are affiliated with. Thank you so much for your time and generosity.

Brandon works with both Jennifer and her dad and says they couldn't be nicer.

Our hearts are absolutely breaking for their family.

Today, I am asking for you to pray for this family who lost literally everything; their home, their belongings.. but most importantly, their precious two-year-old Alex. If you're also able to, I'd like to ask you to consider making a donation to the family (whether it be food, clothing, or money) to help during this difficult time. If you're interested in helping, the link for the Gofundme page can be found here.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jackson's 10 Month Update

Our (not so) little baby entered into the double digit months on the 22nd and continues to grow, learn, and amaze us every single day!

Words cannot describe just how much I love being this little guy's mom--it truly is the greatest job in the world and I can't remember life before this sweet, happy, smart, and healthy little boy!

Here's what we've been up to this month:
Gone are the days when he'd cooperate for pictures..
Weight: 18 lbs

Length: 29 inches

Nicknames: Jax, Bubbas, Baby, Jacksie, Get Down From There, No No Jax

Wearing: Some 9 month still fit but mostly 12 month; size 3 diapers

Sleep: Still co-sleeping; still sleeping well (9-11 hours per night, 2-3 hour nap every afternoon).. BUT he did nap in his crib for about a half hour the other day! #babysteps

Jax likes: Big boy baths, his new house, flirting with girls (oy), shopping, interacting with others, dancing, jabbering, going for long walks, The Andy Griffith Show, Elmo, Grammy & Papa, eating big boy foods, cuddling with mommy, when daddy comes home from work, animals, pushing buttons, pulling himself up onto things, showing off, other kids, Christmas lights, giving/getting kisses, peek-a-boo

Jax dislikes: Hitting his head on the floor, strangers, being overly tired, having to wake up early

Food: Jackson is an awesome eater and is FINALLY grasping the "chew and swallow" concept a little more--his favorite foods right now are chicken, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, green beans, cookies (or anything with sugar), bread, peanut butter, Snap pea crisps, & bananas.

Mom & Dad's Favorite Things: Those big eyes, all that hair, his funny personality, and how social & curious he is.

Teeth: We have FOUR teeth, people!! As soon as that first one popped up, the others quickly followed--right now, all of his teeth are on the bottom but his Dr. said his top gums are extremely swollen so we should be seeing more very soon (poor baby!!).

Happenings: Several visits with Grammy & Papa; lunch with "Uncle" Kelly; first parade (homecoming parade in mommy's hometown); closed on our first home; several visits with Great Great Aunt Millie; House Hunters; moved from apartment to new house.

~I've started taking Jax out on weekly "Mommy & Me" lunch dates where we share lunch and just "talk" and interact (I make a point not to get my phone out at all.. well, except to take cute pictures)--it's becoming the highlight of my week and I hope it's something we can continue as he gets older!

~Jax's schedule has been all messed up this month with moving and filming but he has been an absolute rock star! On moving day (pictured), he took little naps in the car and hardly made a fuss all day! On filming days, he was really good for my mom too and enjoyed getting to play with and nap on his Grammy.

~This is basically the equivalent of a Sasquatch picture.. this kid does NOT like anyone seeing his teeth so it's a rare sighting! How cute are his perfect little teeth?!

~Jackson is SO smart (says the unbiased mother) and understands several words (Where's Dad, Mommy, Eat, Nose, Stinky, Nap, Yay/Clap, Elmo) and even mimics certain words/sounds.. watch out world; it won't be long before he's talking!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quick Catchup

You guys..

..soooooo much has happened since my post a week and a half ago! AGH!

Unfortunately, I don't have time to catch you all up on it right now but here is a brief recap (lengthier posts coming soon):
We finished shooting House Hunters--what an amazing experience! Brandon and I talked before bed one night about just how blessed we are to have had so many amazing opportunities in our life together. I can't thank God enough for this life--it's one I truly, truly enjoy!
Moving day actually went surprisingly smooth.. it was a long day but was nothing like our move to Colorado.
This little stud muffin turned 10-months-old on Wednesday and we celebrated by getting his booster flu shot and going to VI for pancakes and free chocolate silk pie!
In other news:
  • If you live in the Denver area and are in need of a comfortable sectional, hit me up. 
  • My parent's are amazing and stayed with Jackson the entire time we filmed--thank you Grammy & Papa!! 
  • Brandon's family is coming to visit this weekend and we couldn't be more excited! It's going to be fun watching Jax run (err, crawl) around with his cousins!
  • We now have the inter webs again so I can blog and get caught up on work. 
  • If you are looking for a home along the front range, you would be silly not to contact Kyle Sheldon from Sotheby's International. We had no idea what to expect going into this home search and he walked us through each step and took great care of us. Brandon and I both highly recommend him. We also got to spend some time with him while filming HH and discovered that not only is he a good realtor, he's a cool guy! If you call him, tell him we sent you! 
I have a ton of marketing work to get caught up on so I'm going to be quiet on here again this week (with the exception of Jax's 10-month update which I will hopefully have posted on Wednesday)--but don't worry! I'll be back next week with lots of good stuff!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Love Dare: Day 13

Take the free marriage evaluation here

Day 13: Love Fights Fair

Rules are made to be broken.

Sound familiar?

I've never been a huge rule breaker (except for a few select instances in college that I won't get into right now..); as far as I'm concerned, rules are made for a reason and should be respected and followed.

This is especially true for relationships.

Fighting fair is something we all need to strive for in our marriages--too often, we let our pride get in the way of clear, productive thinking, which is something I had to work on early on in Brandon's & my relationship.

For today's dare..
Talk to your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement. 

This is a conversation that Brandon and I have never had; Brandon is fairly laid back when it comes to our arguments and is usually able to get past things really quickly. 

Me on the other hand? Not so much (this was a problem when we were dating).

Before Brandon and I were married, I set some rules for myself when it came to fighting that I still abide by today. Those rules include:
  1. Think it over for a day--is what you're upset about really that big of a deal? Is it going to matter a week from now? If no, just let it go. If yes..
  2. ..kindly bring it up (never go into it crying/screaming). 
  3. Talk it out and let it go (I always go into these conversations saying "Okay, I need to talk to you about this or that and I'll never bring it up again after this")--I know several people who let their issues fester and build and then continually bring it up for years to come; this is harmful and completely unnecessary. Talk it over, say you're sorry (if need be), and let it go. 
Brandon and I have a pretty healthy relationship and are able to productively talk things over and move on which (I believe) has saved us from lots of grief and sleepless nights in different rooms.

Today, I dare you to talk with your spouse about healthy rules of engagement. If you aren't ready for this, make a list for yourself. See if you notice any changes in your relationship in the coming days, weeks, and months.

I certainly did.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Purple is the New Orange (is the New Black)

This one isn't all purple but has purple in it.
I've never been a huge purple wearer (unless I'm cheering on my beloved Colorado Rockies) but have noticed my recent thrift purchases favoring the feminine and lovely color. These shades don't quite match up with Pantone's fall shades--the closest to purple would be the Radiant Orchard & Sangria--but are perfect in Annie's Book of Fashion

Yes, it's a real (albeit very short) book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Have I ever mentioned how much I love fall?

Oh, I have?

Every three minutes for the last two months, you say?

Oops.. sorry.

Anyway, I do really, really love fall! I love the colors, cooler temperatures, pumpkin everything.. it's such a happy time!

Another reason I adore fall is all of the hearty and yummy fall foods--this recipe I am about to share with you may just be my favorite! These Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings are the simplest thing ever to make, are extremely filling, and taste mighty delicious! Try it tonight.. you won't be sorry!

Recipe adapted from The Dedicated House.

  • 1 ½lb of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 4 large or 6 small)
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cans (10.5oz) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 box (32oz) Chicken Broth
  • 2 dashes of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 Large Flaky Refrigerator Biscuits
  1. Place chicken in crock pot.  Add cream of chicken soup and chicken broth. Cook on High for 4-6 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Cut each uncooked biscuit into 8 small pieces and stir into the chicken mixture.  Continue to cook on High for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from slow-cooker and shred with a fork.  Return to slow-cooker and stir everything together.  Serve hot.
Makes about 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


You guys.

I'm so far behind on blogging.


I got several posts prepped last week while I sipped on my decaf PSL at the 'bucks (8pm=no caffeine) but didn't get a chance to tell you about this awesome series I'm taking part in!

My blogging bud Tausha has organized an awesome, AWESOME series called the Blogger Love Dare, which is based on the Love Dare from the movie "Fireproof" (which I haven't gotten to watch yet but look forward to partaking in after we get all moved into to our new house next week!).

Here's what the Love Dare is all about (via Tausha): The Love Dare is 40 days, 40 dares dedicated to strengthening & encouraging your relationship with your spouse. I encourage you (as does the original book) to keep a journal of your feelings and actions throughout the 40 days. If you have a blog, write about it. Share it. Perspective in relationships is key & if you can share your trails and triumphs with others – we all become better.

Amazing, right?! I encourage you all to follow along with the Love Dare and to record your progress! I know that all of our marriages could use little "pick-me-ups" here and there so I look forward to doing this dare for Brandon!

Here's the dares so far:
Week 1 (Days 1-7)
Week 2 (Days 8-14)

Be sure to come back on Saturday for my Day 13 post (yes, I'm posting on a Saturday.. can you believe it?!)!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Blessed Branch GIVEAWAY ($300 value)!

Happy, Happy Monday!

I can see you guys rolling your eyes at me as you read this (rude) but it is a happy Monday because I have the most amazing giveaway ever for you guys! Can you tell that I'm just a little excited about this?

My super sweet and talented friend Nicole owns the adorable The Blessed Branch, a shop specializing in custom wood signs. This girl does. it. all (in fact, she's made a few Christmas gifts for me and is going to help me with signs for Jax's new room after we move!).

Today she is here to give away not one, not two, not even ten.. but TWELVE (!) signs to one lucky winner!

Are you freaking out yet because I definitely am!
How adorable is Nicole (left)?? She did all of the centerpieces, decor, and even the girls nails at my bestie Turin's (right) wedding last summer!
Nicole is graciously giving away one sign per month for a year (up to $25) to one of YOU and entering couldn't be any easier.. just follow the Rafflecopter below and get yourself entered! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Taking a Breather..

Wow.. what a week!!

We got our dates for House Hunters (next week.. EEK!), close on our house this Thursday, and have a teething baby who demands basically all of our time (not that I'm complaining.. I love my baby cuddles)--we are BUSY! That being said, I'm going to be taking a little break from the blog this week.. but don't worry!! I'll be back next week with recipes, updates, AND an amazing giveaway with my friend Nicole!

Until then, here are a few pictures from homecoming weekend in my hometown:

Have a great week!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Remember the other day when I was talking about having writers block and not having anything to write about? God was definitely listening (as always) and just opened several doors for my family and me.

One of those doors?

It's true; we're going to be on House Hunters!!!!

As many of you know, we've been renting since moving to Denver and are sick and tired of not having our own place. We've been casually looking around at houses since early this summer and finally took the plunge in July and applied for a loan. While all of this was going on, my Aunt Nancy made a comment about how we should apply to be on House Hunters so I thought "what the heck?" and filled out an app. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and we still hadn't heard back so I reached out to my friend (and House Hunters alumna) Ruthie to see if she had any contacts.

She did!

Ruthie put me in touch with an amazing producer who got back to us immediately, had us film an audition video (that the public will never, ever see.. ha), and then submitted it to the production company and to HGTV. We didn't hear back for a couple of weeks so we figured that was that but then got an email giving us the green light on Wednesday.


We are so excited for this amazing opportunity! As many of you know, my major in college was broadcast journalism so one of the things I'm looking forward to most in this experience is watching the crew at work (nerdy, I know). I have no idea when the episode will air but we will be filming later this month! Eek!! 

Stick around, folks.. I'll definitely keep you all posted on our moving adventures, when our episode airs, etc. Thank you all for your support of our family and this little blog.. good things are definitely happening!

In other Sandmeier family news (from Top Left to Bottom Right): 
Rice+9 month old=BAD idea
Teething baby=sleepy baby
Big, new glasses=Hipster Annie
Baby who pulls himself up on everything now=graying mamma

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread


My name is Annie and I am a pumpkin-a-holic.

Whew! That feels good to get off my chest.

I didn't realize I had such a problem until last weekend when my brother pointed it out.. my family was visiting and I offered them my homemade pumpkin muffins, Trader Joe's pumpkin croissants, Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Pumpkin Ale, and Pumpkin Chai Lattes (all while my pumpkin candle is burning on the counter).

"What is it with you and pumpkin? You have a problem." -Joey (my bro-ey)

He's right.. I do have a problem.

Buuuuut, my addiction benefits YOU because I start messing around in the kitchen and adding pumpkin to everything and creating delicious treats!

Case in point: this moist, delicious, and simple to make Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread.

I found this recipe for banana bread and added my beloved pumpkin and chocolate.. and you know what?


Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. To make the batter, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together, and set aside. In the bottom of a medium bowl, mash bananas into a chunky paste. Whisk the melted butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla into the bananas until blended.
  3. Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips
  4. Pour batter bread pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. 
  5. Let bread completely cool before serving.
Serve with hot coffee & a swipe or two of butter and you're set to go! Enjoy

Random side note: Did you know that you can bake peeled bananas in the oven to drastically speed up their ripening?! I found that out on Jilllee's blog and it works like a charm! I will never again have to wait to get my banana bread fix.. yippee!!
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