Hill Collection

Friday, May 27, 2016

TFF + The Pick No. 21


Happy, happy Friday, and cheers to a three-day weekend!! An extended weekend takes the cake for me! We've got strawberry picking on the agenda, some baby pool time in the backyard (those baby rolls in a bathing suit = all the heart eyes), and Greer's dedication at church. It's going to be a full and perfect three days!

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T H I N K I N G  > I get so many more bruises now as a mom than I did while playing sports. I don't know how I do it, but my legs and arms are always sporting banana bruises these days. #momlife

P O N D E R I N G > How my bitty girl is growing so fast. Just yesterday she tried solid food (rice cereal) for the first time, and she LOVED it. She has been watching husband and I so intently as we eat, and she was so excited to try it out for herself. You've never seen such a big and elated smile!

N E E D I N G > To learn more about 21 Day Fix. Anyone have thoughts on it or experience with it?

L I S T E N I N G > To a rendition of Simon & Garfunkle's The Sounds of Silence as I watch this dance.

D R E A M I N G > About a fall vacation with my sweet family. Hilton Head keeps calling my name! 

S W O O N I N G > Over the southern charm that I added to my master bedroom with my DIY Magnolia Wreath!



Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends! xo


p.s. here are some stellar deals to kick off your weekend!!
I'm going to need to buy this for myself!
I want these in white.
Hello, cozies, I need you ASAP!
Sunnies in tortoise and rose gold, yes please!
I love me some drusy jewelry!


And, a whole year and a day has gone by since we shared our best news yet!


have we found each other on Instagram??  @astleigh_hill
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Don't forget to link up with me for The Pick by grabbing the URL of your favorite blog post from this week and adding it below. I ask that you comment on some of the other posts linked-up, and that you most definitely comment on the blogger that linked up just before you. Spread the blogging love! Tag me if you like!



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Thursday, May 26, 2016

DIY Magnolia Wreath

Over the years my style has been evolving. I feel like I am truly beginning to narrow down my taste and find my decorating niche. With that being said, I'm always on the lookout for projects or items to decorate my home with that not only make it cozy and beautiful, but that embrace my decorative taste. As a family of three, with husband working a full-time job, me staying at home with our girl, and the added costs of a child, our budget has drastically changed in the last handful of months. That means I have to get creative around the home when it comes to accent pieces. And y'all while it might not always be my first choice to craft up a decorative accent, it can be done, and it can look incredible!


My latest project was making a magnolia wreath. Because this mama doesn't have $100 hanging around to buy a pre-made one. Lucky for me, my grandmother has a large magnolia tree, and with permission I snipped a couple of lower branches and left them in my garage for 2 weeks to dry out. I didn't do anything special with the leaves, just laid them on a table in the dark garage. 

Once I was ready to craft, I gently pulled the magnolia leaves from the branches. You do have to be delicate with them because they have hardened and become brittle at this point. It doesn't take much to touch a leaf wrong and snap off the end. 



I bought a grapevine wreath from Michaels with a 50% off coupon, costing me less than $3 total. That's a win! Using green floral wire (you can also get this at Michaels) that I already had, I put my wreath together, leaf by leaf. 

  • What You'll Need
    • Dried magnolia leaves
    • Grapevine wreath
    • Green floral wire

  • What You'll Do
    • Let the leaves dry out on the branches for 2 weeks.
    • Gently remove the leaves from the branches.
    • Wrap one end of a 3 inch section of floral wire around the stem of the leaf. Find a spot on the wreath, and thread the other end of the wire through, securing it in place. Repeat this step until all the leaves have been added and the wreath is full. 
    • Make sure to layer the leaves on top of each other, all going in the same direction.


Now I've got a beautiful magnolia wreath hanging above my bed. It cost me next to nothing, and it has added a nice pop of color and a bit of southern flair to my bedroom décor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Greer Girl || 5 Months

F I V E    M O N T H S

This past Saturday my joyful girl hit the five month mark! It's crazy to think that she is just a month shy of being half a year old. Someone tell me (even if you have to lie) that time slows down. Wishful thinking, I know. I've said it before, and I'll say it again....truthfully, I'll say it for the rest of my life...Greer growing up is so bittersweet. It is so much fun to watch her take in her surroundings, to learn, and to evolve. But, it's also a indescribable sad that she'll only be as small as she is now just for today. Tomorrow she will grow more and change yet again. When I rock her to sleep at night I stare at her, trying to remember exactly how she looks at this age, how she feels in my arms. I see her newborn photos hanging in her room, and I can't believe how quickly time has gone and just how much she has changed. It makes me savor the moments that might be trying and the times where I'd rather be sleeping in the middle of the night instead of breast feeding. This season will last for so long before it's long gone.

Greer has changed the most in this last month. She is so much more aware of life around her. So much in fact that nursing her is becoming quite the game, as she easily gets distracted by every little noise and movement. She has a contagious joy about her, and a smile that melts you quicker than you can blink. She has a way of making you laugh one moment and a way of making you want to pull your hair out the next. She's the sweetest, though. Seriously, I've never come across a more mild-tempered babe in my life. Every day I thank the Lord for the gift that is her life. For the way that he immeasurably blessed her daddy and I through the gift that she is.


G R E E R   @   5  M O N T H S 

weight: approx. 18 lbs
birth: 7 lbs 3 oz

height: approx. 26 1/4"
birth: 20 1/2"

head: approx. 16 1/4"
birth: need to find that out


***measurments based on our at-home measuring. no doctor's visit this month


E A T

Greer's eating habits haven't changed in the slightest. She is still a fabulous eater, working like clockwork when it comes to meal times. She eats much faster these days, and like I mentioned, can be terribly distracted while doing so. After being distracted she likes to look up at me and smile, like saying, "Sorry mom I couldn't help it."

She continues to eat every 2-2.5 hours unless preoccupied. So basically, if she's busy playing or napping then we can stretch the feedings out to every 3-4 hours. If she's bored, then she wants to eat sooner rather than later. This will be our last month exclusively breastfeeding, and I'm so excited to let her try solid foods for the first time. She loves to watch her daddy and I eat and drink, following every spoonful and glass from the table to our mouths. Greer is definitely interested in eating and seems as though she'll be ready to take on solids next month. Once the solids take, we will cut back on nursing to the mornings and before bed. That's the plan, but I've come to find out with a baby that your plans aren't always her plans :)


S L E E P

Sleep has pretty much stayed the same from last month. She is still experiencing some sleep regression that we are hopeful will pass soon. Her bedtime remains between 7-8 at night. We are trying to stick to a bedtime routine for her, which involves a change into jammies and the sleepsack, followed by reading, nursing, and being sung/rocked to sleep. We are going to try to let her fall asleep by herself in the crib this month, and we'll see how that works out for the three of us. It may stick and it may not. Either way will be okay, whichever she handles best is the route we'll go.

Naps are so important to her day. She's happiest when she naps well. An hour and a half after she wakes in the morning she is ready for her first nap. This nap is most important. We try no to leave the house during this time, and if we must then it's only for a long-distance car ride. This nap last anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours.

Her next nap takes place 2 to 2.5 hours after she wakes from that morning nap. She'll only sleep about 30 minutes to an hour during this nap time. I've mentioned before, but Greer is like clockwork and a schedule is her best friend. She thrives that way, and the days where her schedule is thrown off are not the best. A happy baby is a well-rested and fed baby in our book.

Greer's third nap is about 2.5-3 hours after she has woken from her second nap. This nap lasts as long as her morning nap usually.

The part we're struggling with when it comes to sleep is the hurdle she faces as she falls into deep sleep, at the 30 minute mark. If her daddy or I aren't holding her then she wakes up immediately and cannot be put back to sleep. If we are holding her then we can bounce her and pat her bottom to help her transition into deep sleep without her waking. This is hard because I can't put her down for a nap if I want her to sleep well. At night she is now doing this thing where she falls asleep in our arms and as soon as she is put in her crib she wakes up. We can't get her back to sleep without picking her up, which causes her to close her eyes and fall back to sleep immediately. It's very odd, and we can't figure out how to get her through this. Time will tell, I do suppose.


D E V E L O P M E N T   /   P L A Y

You can see just how much Greer is ready to sit on her own. She is constantly trying to get into an upright sitting position if she is reclined and prefers sitting to laying down. She has really great neck control at this point, and as soon as she can figure out how to hold her trunk up then she'll be a sitting machine.

Standing is her next favorite, and you'll know that she wants to stand when she stiffens like a board on you, pushing her feet hard against you to try to get herself up. To practice her body strength, we got her a bounce-a-roo, which she loves. The ability to move about and play with the toys that sit around her gives her the biggest joy. We watch her closely at this age to make sure she doesn't tire herself out to the point that she can't control her neck. I'd say in this next month she will have mastered jumping.

Greer has discovered her feet. She likes to get a hold of them and once tried to put them in her mouth. I think this month will involve a lot more feet grabbing. She has also mastered grabbing things and switching them between her hands. She reaches for items that look interesting to her, which is everything. We have to be mindful of what is around her and in her reach now.

She has sort of figured out how to suck her thumb, while keeping her other fingers curled up. She will do this on occasion if she can't find her pacifier. Speaking of which, she can now take it out and put it back in. She's very aware that the pacifier helps her fall asleep, so she likes to try to take it out as she is falling asleep. She'll put her tiny hand up to it, pull it half way out while still suck on the little bit that is left in her mouth. With a pop she gets it completely out. She loves to take it out and eye it, then put it back in her mouth.


R A N D O M
  • She loves being tickled and laughs while it's happening.
  • She coos a lot, but mostly when she's tired. It's a tell-tell sign that a nap or bedtime is around the corner.
  • It doesn't take much to make her smile.
  • She finds comfort in both mama and daddy, in very different ways. I love that she is comfortable with both of us for soothing her, and she responds to our methods differently. 
  • Greer has found her feet!
  • She is lazy about rolling over. We work at it, and with my help she rolls. But truly, she's just not interested. 
  • Tummy time is still blah for her. She'd much rather be standing.
  • Her hair has really been lightening up. It's an ash brown/blonde now. She has a strip of newborn hair at the base of her neck that has remained dark brown, though.
  • Drooling is insane these days. We feel sure that she will begin teething sooner rather than later.
  • She has an excellent grip.
  • She is wearing 12 month clothing now, and some 9 month items. 
  • She loves feeling the breeze, especially through her little tuft of hair.
  • Greer loves being sung too. She loves having you do the hand motions to songs like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" with her hands. 
  • She loves seeing herself in the mirror, and reacts with a big smile.
  • She wears her bows and headbands without trying to pull them off. 
  • She started making this snorting noise and crinkling her nose. It lasted for about a week before it phased out.
  • She grunts and strains some when she becomes frustrated and/or tired. 
  • We're working on her understanding "let go" and "gentle" now that she can grab. She responds fairly well.
  • We've had to use "no" with her, and after several rounds of her touching something she shouldn't (like the heavy frames in her room), she seems to understand that "no" means to stop. 
  • She loves being held upright on your hip.
  • She experienced being away from mama for the longest time yet. Upon my arrival home she insisted on giving me sugars all over my face and holding it in-between both of her hands. 
  • She visited The Greenbrier for the first time.
  • She has had a touch of eczema, which has been helped by Eucerin lotion and body wash.
  • I have to cut her nails once a week because they grow so fast.
  • The only way I can cut her fingernails is to turn the TV on and let her watch it. Even that doesn't always do the trick. 
  • She loves to have her mouth softly patted with your fingers while she makes the "ahh" sound.
  • Helped mama celebrate her 1st Mother's Day.


F I V E   M O N T H S   P H O T O   C O L L E C T I O N










For many more photos of my girl and all her grins, check out my Instagram!


In case you missed it >>


Monday, May 23, 2016

Smoked Pork Tacos With A Mango Poblano Relish

I've mentioned the smoker before, and I'm brining it up again. Husband has been crazy about it since he opened it on Christmas morning. He's smoked a handful of pork shoulders to date, for barbecue and my personal favorite, for pork tacos. If you've never had the pleasure of the aroma that drifts from a smoker, my biggest apologies. It's one of my very favorite smells; it's really the best. So although I myself would never agree to do any of the meat smoking, I do enjoy husband taking on the task, about a15 hour task mind you, to put the best tasting pork on the table for dinner. 

You can bet that he'll be smoking all kinds of different meats and fish over the coming months. But for now, he's perfecting the pork shoulder, and if I say so myself, he's got it down. All compliments to the chef!

Like I mentioned, smoked pork tacos have become my new obsession as of late. It's a new way to eat incredibly tasty pork, that provides variety to our weekly meal menu. The combination of flavors from the pork, mango + poblano relish, and homemade guacamole are out of this world. We like to serve up our tacos next to a pile of Mexican rice and sip on piña coladas on the side! Don't believe me? Just try it for yourself! 


  • What You'll Need
    • Meat
      • 8-10 pound pork butt
      • Apple wood chips (for the smoker)
      • Meat thermometer
      • Meat syringe
        • Brine
          • 1 cup apple juice
          • 1/2 cup water
          • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
          • 1 TBSP salt
          • 1 TBSP sugar
          • Chili powder
        • Marinade
          • 1 medium sweet onion
          • 1/4 cup water
          • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
          • 6-8 garlic cloves
          • 2 TBSP soy sauce
        • Dry Rub
          • 1/2 light brown sugar
          • 1/2 cup paprika
          • 1/4 cup kosher salt
          • 1/4 cup chili powder
          • 1/4 cup dry mustard
          • 2 TBSP Old Bay
          • Freshly ground black pepper (several cranks)
          • 1/2 TSP giner
    • Mango + Poblano Relish
      • 1 mango
      • 1 poblano pepper
      • 1/2 a large red onion, sliced
      • Oregano
      • Garlic Salt
    • Guacamole
      • 2 avocados
      • Lemon juice
      • Garlic salt
      • Salt
    • Sour cream
    • Black Beans


  • What You'll Do
    • Meat
      • Separately, combine all ingredients for the brine, marinade, and dry rub.
      • Next put the pork butt in a crockpot lining bag or some other large bag that can be closed. Inject the meat with the brine using a meat syringe, inserting the syringe one to two inches apart over the entire pork butt.
      • Pour the marinade over pork, making sure to cover the meat with it.
      • Now rub the dry rub over the entire pork.
      • Close the bag and store in the fridge for at least 12-24 hours.
      • Once you are ready to smoke the meat, start by soaking the apple wood chips in water for at least 20 mintues. 
      • Put the pork in the smoker. Cook the meat for about an hour and a half per pound, until the internal temperature of the meat is 195°.
      • Once the meat has reached temperature, remove it from the smoker. Wrap it entirely in tin foil, letting it sit for at least an hour.
    • Mango + Poblano Relish
      • Dice the mango up into chunks, and set aside
      • Next dice the poblano pepper into very small chunks. Slice the red onion.
      • Add the poblano pepper and onion to a frying pan drizzled with a little olive oil. 
      • Sprinkle with some oregano and garlic salt to taste.
      • Sauté on medium heat until the onion is translucent. 
      • Add the mango and cook for another 5 minutes.
    • Guacamole
      • Puree the avocados using a fork for smashing. Add just a few squirts of lemon juice. Sprinkle with garlic salt and salt to taste. Start out slowly so that you don't over do it!


***Keep in mind this is a weekend recipe, unless of course you've got 15 hours or so to spare during the week. You will start this process the night before you intend to smoke the meat. 

***Husband uses an electric smoker.



All the pork goes a long way, and you can serve up a whole bunch of meals from just one smoked pork butt!

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