Birthday Wish

Today, on my birthday, I wish for:
  • Health and happiness to all our loved ones
  • A prosperous 2011
  • A subscription to US Weekly (shut it nerds)
  • A date with my husband (preferably to see a movie)
See you all in the new year!


December Hiatus

Days have been flying by and every night I think, 'Oh, I need to post!' But, then, I get sucked into my new Kindle (amazing) or a movie or some other way of wasting time and that's that. If my motivation doesn't kick into overdrive before the New Year, thanks for reading, commenting and supporting my blog. XOXOXO

Left-over Christmas cookies, yum...


Brings a Smile

A few things...

 These busts have been featured A LOT, but I finally saw them in person and we were suckered.

I can only liken this scarf shop to one thing. Remember when you had a dollar as a kid and were let loose in the penny candy section of the supermarket? My calendar swap mate mentioned this site on her blog and I've been a super fan ever since. Buy what you want fast, they run out of colors and sizes within minutes.

A few more: 
  • Spicy chicken burritos
  • On-Demand television
  • Weekend naps
  • Books that you can't stop thinking about after your done
  • The Town
  • Holiday cards
  • Dog paws that smell like Fritos (Seriously. Try it.)
  • Finding a long-lost mitten
  • Baby teeth

Happy Monday!!!


Easy As Pie

Everyone has a person (or two or three!) on their gift list who already has everything and present ideas are needed, STAT! One of my fave blogs found this fantastic seller on Etsy and their desserts-in-a-jar make the PERFECT gift for tough cookies (no pun intended) with a sweet tooth. For a dinner version, check out this post.



The Kindness of Strangers

It's pretty unbelievable that Christmas is less than two weeks away! This is usually when I start to panic. It doesn't matter how many lists I make or how many presents are wrapped, I always forget something and end up running multiple last-minute errands.

This year is different because I'm lugging around a 22-pound munchkin everywhere I go. Last-minute really isn't an option. Last week, we headed to our nearest shopping center completely prepared. We were bundled up, had snacks galore, a fully stocked diaper bag, coupons...I was practically giggling with pride at how well-prepared I was.

After three stores, no tears and multiple items knocked off our list, I decided to make an unplanned stop at Barnes and Noble. I hurriedly ran into the store with P, bought a few things and rushed back to the car. Somehow, in a flurry of unlocking the car, calming a now crying baby and juggling shopping bags, I locked my keys...and diaper bag...and cell phone...and wallet...and gloves...and sippee cup...in the car.

I have made A LOT of stupid mistakes in my life, but I have NEVER locked my keys in the car (well, there was ONE time, but I was, like, ten - not nearly old enough to be counted as a stupid mistake). 30 phone calls, two tow trucks and tons of tears later, we finally got into the car, but only after they had to break my sunroof.

As we were driving home with some newspaper and duct tape protecting us from the elements, I started to feel sorry for myself. It was horrible luck, it was thoughtless, I was a horrible mother. Sitting at a stoplight, I glanced at something on the floor. It was a cellphone charger that the tow truck driver had lent me before we left to charge my (of course) dead phone. I realized that I had no right to think about everything negative that had happened. Throughout the entire ordeal, people had gone out of their way to help us. Countless people offered for P and me to sit in their car while we waited for the tow truck. A store manager let me use his cell phone and even called a friend to come help us. A very nice man lent me his Blackberry to call 411 and went to buy a flashlight so we could see inside the car. The two tow truck drivers each worked over an hour to try and pry the doors open. And it was COLD! No one asked for anything in return, they all just wanted to help.

It's sappy and cheesy, but that's what the real spirit of Christmas SHOULD be. I shouldn't be stressed out about buying presents or planning a meal. I should be thankful for everything we have and try to do kind things for others. I think I actually said this out loud as we proceeded through the signal, hoping that a bit of my new-found wisdom would somehow reach P while she snoozed.

On that note, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and receives - AND GIVES! - kindness. I'll be posting through the 24th and will hopefully have a newly-designed blog by the first of the year. Oh, and here's one of the shots P's extremely talented auntie took during our Fall photo shoot...


For the Ladies

Oooooo! This was SO much fun to put together. Between amazing handmade items to accessories with sparkles, sparkles, sparkles, it was really hard to choose the best of the best. I THINK I narrowed it down to the most swoon-worthy...

Gap 'Always Skinny' Cords - $59 (they are the BEST!)
Bird Sweater - $128
Domino - $21
Terrarium - $139
Bird bowl - $65
Tape - Prices vary
Twig ring - $55
Watch - $48
Calendar - $28


Bitten by the Bug

The organization bug, that is. A few months ago I saw this:

Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This and her craft closet. Image via CasaSugar.

And I was inspired. I mean, that closet is every artsy girl's fantasy! My arts and crafts items have always been stored here and there without any semblence of order, for example:


So, one afternoon I bit the bullet and attempted my own version of a 'craft corner'. I didn't buy anything for this project (which is a miracle if you are familiar with my addiction to T.J. Maxx's decor department) and I REALLY tried to be as organized as possible (so I'm not searching for that particular silver and black ribbon I KNOW I bought but can't find since returning from Michael's). The result: 

 Some of my favorite photos.

 Instead of an inspiration board, I hung rope across the shelf to hang of-the-moment things.

 Empty baby formula tins (covered in contact paper) for storing most-used items.

 My collection of stationery, stamps and post-its.

 All my favorite string and ribbon are stored in a desk-top container so they don't get knotted.

I have an embarrassing large jewelery supply collection (embarrassing because I have very few finished pieces to show for it), so I used a makeup/jewelery storage hanger - the little pockets are PERFECT!

I'm working on the ladies' gift guide - stay tuned!


For the Babies

My baby gift guide features a lot of our personal favorites and also a lot of presents that are on P's list this year. This is our first year playing Santa and there is SO MUCH TO CHOOSE FROM!!! How do you pick? Especially when the kiddo is too young to really ask for anything...I think this year we'll go heavy on the books and sorting toys (a certain someone I know likes to obsessively place animal magnets in all the nooks and crannies of our house).

What are your favorites? Any ideas for a ready-to-walk 14-month-old?

Easel, $60
Bilibo, $30
Drum Set, $52 
Owl Set, $50


Silver Bells & Dog Hair

I'm a bit late in doing my Monday post, but for a good reason. I know you're just DYING to know what I did all day...I vacuumed up about five pounds of black lab dog hair from every corner, crevice and crack (doesn't that sound like an absolutely LOVELY way to spend a Monday?!).

When you have a Labrador Retriever, there is nothing you can do (unless you live attached to a Dustbuster) to keep the hair at bay. Every day, I walk up the stairs and say 'Ugh, there is SO much dog hair on this carpet!' Or, I'll be changing a load of laundry and find myself saying (for the five hundredth time), 'Ew, that hairball is disgusting!' It's sticky and sneaky and shows up EVERYWHERE. So, today was the day that our trusty, heavy-duty Shop-Vac met its match. It was a dirty job, but at least now we'll be somewhat hair free for...well, a little while.

My intention wasn't to write such a gross post - I actually wanted to share some pictures of the holiday decorations we put up this weekend. I love this time of year and all the fun activities seem so much more festive with P around. We listened to Christmas music, set up the tree, decorated the mantel...ah, the holidays.

This is the first year I made my own wreath. It's not perfect, but I love all the different silver textures.

 I hung one of our Christmas cards over the mirror and used it as a starting point for picking our holiday colors.

 This centerpiece will probably change numerous times before Christmas. Fresh cedar smells SOOO good!

I'll be back tomorrow with some fun ideas for gifts for the kiddos. Have a great week!


For the Boys

I'm starting with the hardest gift guide first. I DREAD buying the guys in our family presents. It seems like they already have everything OR what they really want is, like, an insanely expensive flat-screen TV. I try to stay away from gifts that are: decorative, too hipster, a bright color or handmade (guys are real sticks-in-the-mud, eh?).

Actually, I don't think it really matters what presents are under the tree for our guys. As long as everyone is together, there's a fire going, a game is on at some point and there's a ton of homemade food/cookies/snacks, they're all happy. 

Ray-Bans - $179
iPad - from $499
Apple TV - $99
Composter - $129
Head lamp - $34
Husky folding knife - $7 (Home Depot)


Holiday Red & White Fudge

Michelle from Pretty Mommy has organized another fun recipe swap and today's my day! Enjoy! 

I cannot believe it's time to start making holiday cookies - EEK! In the past, I would pick one weekend and do an insane amount of (mediocre) baking and end up with three or four (I'm being generous) finished desserts. This year I have a tad more time to prepare and plan and want to make at least seven (may the Martha Stewart force be with me).

First on the list is a batch of super simple - yet yummy - white chocolate macadamia nut fudge. I love fudge for many reasons...it's easy to make but everyone always thinks you slaved over a hot stove for hours, it's basically all sugar so it's bound to be delish, it's the perfect hostess gift...I could go on and on.

This is one of my favorite recipes for holiday fudge. If you don't like cranberries or macadamia nuts, try swapping them for your fave nut and sprinkles/drizzled dark chocolate/dried cherries.


2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White Chocolate chips or 2 cups chopped white chocolate
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries


A Survival Guide

So. We're going on week four of 24/7 life at home with baby P, the big black dog and a never-ending list of errands (I never thought it was possible to spend an ENTIRE day grocery shopping. But it is. It REALLY is.).

I have talked about staying home with P since the day she was born and now - husband, if you're reading, I'm not saying forever - the wish has come true. I'm trying to enjoy every moment and I want to use this time to tackle some really huge projects. A few things help smooth over the rough days and make us all smile a little wider...

 Target, oh, Target. How is it that you made the most perfect jegging for only $25?!?!
 A good watch is essential to keeping our days on track. This one is adorable and comes with a bunch of different straps to mix-and-match.

 It's no secret. I love Keith Urban. I can't explain why - his music just makes me happy. I also love Oprah. It's pretty much the only time I turn on the tube during the day (other than the lovely videos mentioned below). Keith and Nicole were on the show Monday. HEAVEN!!!

 To be able to walk outside every day is a beautiful thing. We live in a place where conservation land is literally on every corner. Until the bitter cold sets in, we've been trying to walk at least 30 minutes a day.
 There comes a point during every day where both P and I need our alone time. These videos were recommended by a friend and work perfectly for some learning + quiet time. It also gives me at least a half hour to do laundry, prepare dinner or check email.

 Booger season is upon us and these miracle wipes work wonders. 

What would I do without Trader Joe's? It's affordable, offers a ton of organic options and our location has beer and wine (cue the choirs of angels singing).
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