Spring Break Day 3

Finally time for some fun!  We spent the entire morning at an indoor playplace going crazy with some friends.  Livie started with the slide pictured above and then took to scaring me by going down the big kid slides (and stairs...with or without assistance).  It was perfect though as all three kids had a great time doing their own thing.

After we left, everyone (miraculously) stayed awake in the car, so we picked up EJ & Abbie's cupcake pottery & then headed out for lunch.  Grilled cheese & frozen custard were awesome treats and enough to keep the girls up until we got home for a 2pm naptime start.  The rest of the day was workbook pages (Jack), dress try-on (EJ), a tea party for the people & stuffed animals of the house (Olivia), dinner, baths & dvr'd Electric Company.

I'm not sure if I'll have post for tomorrow.  Jack thinks it would be best "to take the day off and enjoy life."  Apparently all the appointments I've scheduled have really tuckered them out!

Spring Break Day 2

{the girls checking out the books & Jack's picks for the week}

The second day of Spring Break also began with trips to the dentist...for Mom & Dad.  Boo!!!  No sticker from our dentist but the girls did give me a Barney one to wear when I got home.  Yay!  When Matt went to take his turn, we headed to the pediatrician for EJ's 4-year-old check.  Two shots with absolutely no tears (sometimes she can be brave) and a big smile when she got her band-aids too!

After that the fun began...a walk to the library (which is like the candy store for my kids), an afternoon at the museum with Auntie Alice & Uncle D (Jack & EJ), ice cream & Arrested Development (me), more trying on clothes (EJ grew & we've got to sort it out), workbook page struggles (today's were tough in spots), tv dinners (my kids get excited about weird things), Kai-Lan watching, class field trip (Matt), early jammies, and...Livie actually used the potty (just once, but it's a start!).

Spring Break Day 1

The highlight of the first day of Spring Break was a trip to the dentist.  You'd think I'm lying on that, but we have an awesome dentist!  Themed rooms, sunglasses, foam fluoride treatment, and best of all the 2 stickers AND a prize at the end.  The girls both picked these wands that make a terribly annoying sound when you shake them and, as you can see by the fact that they are not in focus, the noise did not stop for some time.

The day also included grocery shopping, workbook pages, wii tennis & bowling (Jack), Jack reading to me, a run (me), laundry, trying on clothes (EJ), dishes/dance party, Candyland, drinking from a big girl cup (Olivia), Electric Company & Top Chef watching (like every other day), and some cuddling.  All in all, it was a good one!

Wishing the rain away...

{print available here}
Because a lot of people I love could really use the rainbow right about now!

Where would you be without Ferris Bueller?

{available here} 

I saw this incredible board game on Design Mom and started a very serious search.  For those of you who know my brother, clearly he needs to own this!  It is the work of Maxim Dalton and it was part of The Road to Shermer: A Tribute to John Hughes at Galleries One Nine Eight Eight.  Can you say awesome?  Amazing originals and prints for sale...I'm going to need to save some pennies!

Especially because I spent some time on their blog and found proof that I need to keep following what they are doing!

{available here}

{available here}

{available here}

Crochet Basket

I love these little baskets (pattern found here)!  I made one for a friend's birthday (Happy Birthday Leslie!) and one for our living room.  They are the perfect yarn baskets (to hold your yarn for current projects), but we're using ours as a catchall basket...for remotes, perler bead animals, rubber ducks, etc.

My version is small (5" high x 8" diameter).  I used a size N hook and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn.  The yarn is thick, but the basket still has a lot of movement to the sizes.  The pattern is nice because you can flip it "inside-out" and the basket looks the same.  I even think the bottom is pretty!


If you need me, I'm currently devouring reading Mamalita.  I highly recommend you do the same!  I recommend it even more if you're an adoptive parent...and even more if your children were born in Guatemala.  Loving this book, love Jessica's blog, and absolutely love how "connected" we all are through our shared experiences.

Rainbow Birthday Fun

We chose not to do kid/friend parties this year, but we did have a few celebrations over the weekend (our family dinner & two parties for family), so I took the opportunity to add a little rainbow theme to the fun.  We had an awesome rainbow party weekend adding just a few simple and inexpensive touches...

1. Dress the part - Obviously Miss EJ wanted a special outfit (she toned it down from last year) and Liv got in on the action too.  Super cute, but easy to play & have fun in too!

2. Use food/snacks as decor - The rainbow theme made it fun and easy to theme the party food.  The glass jar (filled with Jelly Belly candies & Rainbow Twizzlers) was the perfect centerpiece and we placed small bowls of the remaining jelly beans out as snacks.  The rainbow fruit tray worked well with both our evening party and our breakfast party, so I made two!

3. Share the work - This awesome cake (idea from Family Fun) was purchased frosted, but undecorated, from our local market.  We (well mostly Matt, who has much more patience than I) added the Jelly Belly rainbow and the mini marshmallow clouds.  The perfect semi-handmade cake!

4. Keep the decorations simple - Rainbow pinwheels outside, a silver glittered Happy Birthday banner and a balloon number 4 were our main decorations.  We used a simple white tablecloth which really helped the food and rainbow tableware stand out.

5. All girls love manicures! - And what could be easier?  I spent $5 total on rainbow nail polish colors and created this crazy fingernail look for my girls and nieces.  EJ is STILL talking about her special nails (and they are still in perfect shape too)!  I covered our coffee table with Kraft paper to ensure we had a safe area for the manicure station and later the table became a drawing station for the kids.  Definitely an idea I'll use again (with washable crayons only though...just in case)!

6. Fruit Loop Necklaces - Simplest craft ever!  We set out bowls of the rainbow-colored O's and some bright lengths of yarn (wrap one end of the yarn with masking tape to make threading easier).  The kids were eager to make their necklaces (and sneak some Fruit Loops to snack on too).

and last, but not least...

7. Get ready to be the center of attention - For our birthday girl, that isn't a problem!  EJ loved blowing out the candles on cake after cake (after being sung to again and again!).  The two round cakes are Jack's traditional rainbow cake for EJ and the doughnut tower is our version of cake for breakfast.

Old-School Meetup

Many years ago, these three girls were lucky enough to be friends.  High school choir brought us together but we spent a lot of time having fun too!
{our lovely senior photos...I feel that they are okay to post given that I have the biggest hair by far!}

This weekend we were lucky enough to spend some time together again.  Things have changed...we have husbands, we're mothers, new cities, flatter hair...but we still have a lot of fun together for sure.  And we're thankful to social media for bringing us back in touch too.
{See how my Olivia snuck in this pic? Becky's daughter Olivia is just outside the frame on the right.}

Ladies, we need to do this again soon (maybe next time we can go see Tomoka?)!  It was wonderful to catch up with you both.  Have a safe trip home to your boys Tomoka (hope you get a lot of sleep on the plane too) and thank you Rebecca (see, I'm trying) for holding off your return trip a day so we could spend this time together!

Happy Birthday to EJ!

{rainbow balloon 4 by Mom, outfit by EJ}

And just like that, my little girl has gone and turned 4!  She says she feels bigger and that she definitely grew last night too.  Sorry about the horribly dark photos, but it's not exactly bright out yet and we're headed out to celebrate her big day (big brother is even off school today for conferences the occasion)!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You have to love a St. Patrick's Day where everyone heads to school in short-sleeved shirts and Spring jackets!

And the calendar giveaway winner is the lovely Cathy!  The calendar (and maybe a little candy surprise) will be heading your way soon!

Crayon Keeper Roll

Look what I made last night?  Because nothing says "busy birthday week" like adding random projects to the already full to do list at 9pm!  That being said, this crayon keeper was super easy to make up (I made a mini version) and I hope EJ loves it too.

{pattern via ravelry and Sunflowers At Home}

Birthday Number Placemats

Simple family parties are where it's at for us this year, but that doesn't mean I can't add small touches to make the celebration special.  My mom always decorated for our birthdays, including our own hand-drawn sign, and I will never forget how special that made me feel (especially given that my bro & I have birthdays 2 days apart)!  So I'm doing some crafting this week...simple ideas, but bright and fun.

My first project was creating placemats bearing EJ's new special number 4.

I took 12x12 solid-color cardstock and cut the number 4 out of each one.  I added a patterned paper (thank you Rachel for the idea of using gift wrap) behind each one attaching it with a few pieces of tape.  Then I covered both sides with clear contact paper to make them "food safe."  Easy peasy!

I'm sure we'll use these throughout the birthday weekend, but knowing my kids, we'll be testing out the lifespan of contact paper when used by very messy eaters.

Birthday Date Day

EJ had her birthday day out this Saturday (or as we called it "EJ & Abbie Day") and we drove all over town to hit up EJ's picks for fun!  The girls skipped nap but were great the entire day!

We started at a preschool open gym...

Then we headed to lunch...beginning with a grilled cheese "toast"

And then we moved on to the good stuff - ice cream!  I think EJ chose best with strawberry ice cream & chocolate chips, but Abbie enjoyed her vanilla/M&M combo and I thought my cake batter/strawberries was yummy too (although sweet for sure)!

Then the girls burned off their sugar high with a little creative work at the paint your own pottery place.  They each made a cupcake trinket box.  They both worked really hard and I think the boxes will be very cute.  Too bad the finished products won't be ready for a week!

On the way home, both girls said a lot of thanks for a great day!  They are really sweet kiddos and I think this was the perfect way to celebrate my almost 4-year-old!

Birthday Tees on Etsy

I decided (rather last minute) that the girls needed cute birthday t-shirts!  If I'm going to have low-key celebrations, they should at least get to point out to the world that it's their birthday, right?  So, of course, off to the wonders of etsy I went!  There were so many choices, but I have to honest that a LOT of the options looked very similar.  Here are some of the standouts from my search...

A classic option...I think the tutu and the pigtails are really selling it though!
{photo courtesy of and tee available at Funky Monkey Threads}

Simple and perfect for my not-so-girlie girls (well at least when cousins are ready to run & play with them).
{photo courtesy of and tee available at sassafras stitchery}

Another cute t-shirt and tutu combo...
{photo courtesy of and tee available at Smitten and Company}

Love the felt and the running stitch...so cute!
{photo courtesy of and tee available at gorno couture}

A birthday number shirt and rainbow leggings?  This may be the perfect choice for Miss EJ!
{photo courtesy of and tee available at Pear of Lemons}

An ice cream cone for Liv?  Because just the cone (Olivia's preferred dessert) is just not as cute!
{photo courtesy of and tee available at That's Too Cute Boutique}

And now I need to get shopping!  I only have a week until one of my babies turns 4!  Yikes!

Calendar Giveaway

{photo courtesy of Linda & Harriet}

Ever realized that you've completely missed something?  Like for instance, you might be spending a lot of time intentionally out of your office lately and one day you find that you forgot to hang your gorgeous Linda & Harriet 2011 calendar?

 {photo courtesy of Linda & Harriet}

No worries right?  I mean you've only missed two months of the year and each month has a postcard on the back, so you'll still get to use the pretty designs!

 {photo courtesy of Linda & Harriet}

But what if after that you notice a second copy of the calendar that you purchased for a potential Christmas gift?  Ugh!!  Yep, there is only one solution...host a giveaway!!!

Just comment below with either:
1) A story of something you've recently missed
2) Something you love that I might be missing out on
(for instance, I just recently took some advice and started watching Arrested Development...one season in and I'm hooked!)

I will randomly choose a winner next Thursday (3/17) and I promise to send the calendar out right away (that way you'll only miss 3 months)!

Rainbows and Dimes

One of EJ's favorite things is a rainbow (rainbows are right up there with tigers and ballerinas)!  So the other day she completed her third biggie bead creation (she has made a rainbow fish, a butterfly & the rainbow) and she was so proud.  The next day she wore a new shirt and Matt realized that she matched her art...yeah, she made me take a picture.  How can you refuse those dimples?

In other news, this year we talked with the kids about the Lenten season and about making sacrifices during this time.  They were very interested and are all giving things up.  EJ & Olivia are giving up a toy Jack just got (but that they all love very much) and Jack is giving up his DS.  Matt is giving up games on his computer which actually worried EJ a bit..."I have games on your computer too Daddy!"

I'm giving up a lot of dimes.  Yes, clearly I should be giving up my Diet Coke habit, but that's not really going to work for me.  Am I making excuses?  Sure.  Am I being honest?  Yep!  Instead, I am putting a dime in a jar every time I get a Diet Coke from the fridge.  So far the act of going to get my dime each time (yes, it's 9am and I've already done this a few times) is making me mindful of how blessed I am with a home full of food, clean water, and plenty of Diet Coke!  I hope we'll have some good dinnertime talks, as we did in past years with our Habitat project, and I know I'll be thrilled to donate all my dimes at the end of Lent.

St. Patrick's Day Goodies

In this house, we tend to do our St. Patrick's Day celebrating a little early due to EJ's birthday being so close to it.  So this past week, we got started.

I made this shamrock garland for our living room and even added one four-leaf clover in the center.

Our sweet treat was something new.  These lucky charms treats were so easy and really yummy!  I made a batch and a half, and then picked out rainbows and hats from the remaining cereal to place on top of the treats before they cooled.  Big hit with the kids (and the grown-ups too) in this house!

Sending some St. Patrick's Day cheer?  Nellie has a free printable greeting card available on her blog just for you!  Print, cut, fold and send off some Irish cheer.
{photo courtesy of nellie*design}

St. Patrick's Day itself will probably be celebrated quietly in our house, but I usually make sure to add a little green dye to the milk and beer at the dinner table.  So simple, but always brings a smile!