She did it again!

Last September, EJ cut her long hair to a super cute bob.  She loved her new look but immediately decided that she wanted to start growing it out to donate again to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  She made it a year and then this Fall has asked almost daily if her hair was long enough to donate.  She really wanted to donate again, but she really wanted her short hair back too.  So we measured and estimated, and I promised that she could cut her hair again during Christmas break.  She made it!  Her ponytails measured in at just over the minimum 8-inch length and on their way to Ohio

She absolutely loves her new look!
Let's face it though, the glitter spray and jingle bell hair clip certainly sealed the deal!

Gifts We Are Loving

{products & images via One Up Designs and Earmark}
Maybe it's just the office supply geek in me, but I love pencils.  Make those pencils fun (with awesome references) and I'm completely hooked!  I gifted each of the pencil sets above for Christmas and I think they were pretty well-received.  My favorite was Matt's Reservoir Dogs set.

{photos courtesy of Patch Products and Spin Master Games}
We are always on the look out for games we can play as a family.  Usually that means that each of the adults need to pair up with a girl, but we received these games at Christmas and they are the ultimate family games.  Olivia (who is 2 and a half) can play with just a little help from us, but is her own team and does great.  These are simple games, but interesting enough to keep the kids attention and, best of all, really portable (and compact) making them nice travel or "restaurant waiting time" games.  Toss Up reminds me of Farkle, but is color-based so minimal addition is needed (and adults can easily advise).  Left Center Right reminds us of a game we used to play with Matt's Grandma (3 quarters each and dice or cards were involved).  Anyone know of that game?

{First Big Book of Animals, Every Day on Earth, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda}
This house is full of book-lovers and so it goes without saying that the number one gifted item in this house was books...way too many to count or include all of our favorites here.  I thought I would include a couple intriguing titles.  Animal pics and facts, a story of a fortune-telling origami yoda, a gazillion facts about the world around us for Jack to memorize and a book by a very funny lady (one whose name Matt pretended not to recognize when I said she wrote The Office Christmas episode even though he had already purchased her book for me).

{similar case can be purchased here}

But my favorite gift was my new iphone cassette tape cover.  LOVE IT!  I wonder if Matt has been checking out my i love the 80s Pinterest board?

What were your favorite gifts this December?

Christmas Photo Bomb

I didn't take a lot of photos this Christmas, but I still have a bunch I'd like to share.  Most are of present opening as that was my "downtime" of the weekend.  This year was a great one and it was fun to watch Jack receive big kid presents and help his sisters.  It was fun to watch EJ being a big girl so full of love and thanks.  And it was super fun to watch Livie "get" opening presents.  She was the most fun to watch at my Mom's where she repeatedly exclaimed, "Oh my goodness!  I love it!  It's just what I wanted!!!"  One of the rare times that I wished I had been taking video.  While they got some amazing gifts and Santa was good to them, rest assured that their favorite gifts are the ones above...a new blanket & stuffed animal.  We could have saved a lot of shopping time!

Hope your Christmas was as magical as ours!

Christmas Mix

Our Family Christmas Mix
White Christmas The Drifters
Little Drummer Boy Harry Simeone Chorale
Jingle Bells Bing Crosby
Children Go Where I Send Thee Natalie Merchant
The Christmas Song Ella Fitzgerald
Cool Yule Louis Armstrong
Let It Snow Dean Martin
Skating Vince Guaraldi Trio
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm Billie Holiday
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Jackson 5

Our favorite holiday tunes in a little mix to help you get into the spirit of the season.  Do you have any "must listen" songs for this time of year?  Please share (especially newer songs...clearly, we are old-school in our picks)!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!  I'm going to take some time away from the blog to celebrate with my family (and organize our crazy house too)!  Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Work-in-Progress Wednesday 15

Well, my big work-in-progress this week was finishing up Jack's soccer ball and baseball (click links for patterns).  The soccer ball turned out so large that I had to run to the store for another bag of stuffing!  Here is the ball next to EJ's head for scale.

Now, I am working on two super secret birthday gifts.  I realized today I was making both in very similar greens, but different yarns.  Guess I was feeling extra Christmas-ey?  Or wishing for a little Spring perhaps?

Joining up with Yarn Along at Small Things & WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis.

Sending a Rainbow...

to those that could use a bright spot on this tough day! Love you!

Santa Time

The kids visited the man himself...and Liv wasn't even scared this year.
Gift requests:
Jack - Wii game
EJ - doll house
Olivia - a know, a real one!

We wrote and mailed our yearly letters at the Make-A-Wish mailbox.

And we watched The Grinch.  This is EJ comforting Livie (even though she was the one that was scared).

The big day is getting closer and we are trying to make a little magic this week...finally!

Fav Foto Friday, Joy

Holiday Sing was yesterday and I love this event.  Every year we pack into the gym like sardines, we fight with the other parents and their crazy recording devices, and usually we juggle ten tons of winter gear with the puddles all over the floor (not their year though...yay!).  Yet in the end, we love every second of watching these awesome kids perform.  It's always a blast!

And any other week, the sight of my dining room looking like this would not bring me any joy...

However right now, it means I'm one step closer to having cabinets IN my kitchen, so I'm thrilled!  I'm really hoping that by the time you are reading this, my kitchen has been painted and a bunch of guys are installing like crazy people!  Appliances come tomorrow (then the long wait for countertops, tile, and all the other fun details).

Oh, and on top of everything, yesterday was Jack's birthday.  Okay not really, but we definitely celebrated it last night.  Three months ago (when it actually was his birthday), he choose this restaurant for his birthday dinner, but they were closed.  So we promised a make-up dinner and last night was it!  It was kind of nice to add some fun to our crazy week...definitely felt the joy!

Linking up with Nora - see more joy at Fav Foto Friday!

Hey Girl

Last weekend, Matt & I watched Crazy, Stupid, Love and really liked it.  We realized that neither of us had ever seen a Ryan Gosling movie before.  In fact, we had to look up what he had been in before to even make that determination.  But as the movie went on, I put two and two together and realized I had seen him around the internet/pinterest in some fun posts from Feminist Ryan Gosling and Handmade Ryan Gosling.  Enjoy!

Work-in-Progress Wednesday 14

Working away on my Christmas gifts to the kids.  Somehow they all ended up with surprise portions to their gifts anyway, so a lot of naptime and evening work for sure.  Here are some sneak peeks (phone camera quality) from each group.

Back to work for me!
P.S. We have no kitchen and I couldn't be more thrilled!  Well, let's be honest, I'm a little concerned, but if you saw my ripped apart walls you'd scared too.

Joining up with Yarn Along at Small Things & WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis.

Still shopping...

I've got some great shops for you to check out (and some uber-talented friends)!

1) Green D Designs -
Gorgeous necklaces, fun appliqued shirts and lots more to come (grand opening)!

3) Emilee Rose -
Calendars, greeting cards, paper dolls and custom art...all drawn by a fabulous girl!

Art prints and canvases of some incredible photographs (Waterlilies is my fav).

4) Nellie*Design -
Stationery, party invites/decor, announcements, cards, custom design...Nellie makes everything paper much cooler with her fresh designs.  And don't miss her blog where she shares her work and often shares freebies, like these great gift tags!

All photos are courtesy of their respective shops. Do not copy without permission from their owner.

Take three

{our kitchen circa false alarm number 2}

You might be wondering what our kitchen looks like now since I announced two weeks ago that it was set to be demo'ed the next day.  Well, it pretty much looks just like the photo above.  Yep, the cabinets didn't make the truck on week one and then our crew was busy on week two.  So we've spent two weeks getting dishes from the dining room, pots & pans from the basement, and appliances (quesadilla maker anyone) from Jack's room.  Inconvenient, but honestly, okay.  We had water and a sink and a fridge and all our things accessible...not too bad (but very drafty with those cabinet fronts removed). 

So, against my better judgement, I'm going to announce the current plan which hopefully will go off without a hitch!  Tomorrow is demo, Wednesday is drywall, Thursday I paint walls (Jack's holiday sing is early afternoon, so if I'm covered in paint, please don't judge), Friday is cabinet install, and Saturday appliances arrive.  I'm honestly not sure at all about the smaller projects (like tiling and sink installation, etc.), but I'm thrilled that we're looking at only one week without a kitchen!

Our countertops will take awhile though (like 4 weeks or so) as they won't order until the cabinets are in and they can measure accurately.  So we'll we rocking plywood counters for Christmas.  Does anyone know where I can find vinyl tablecloths?  Thought it might make the wood a little safer and easier to clean up. 

Everybody cross your fingers, okay?  I really want a big mess in my kitchen tomorrow!

Fav Foto Friday, Prepare

There has been a lot of preparing going on in our house this week...some Christmas related, some just fun!

Preparing to truly "get it" this year! (she has been a blast to watch so far)

Beginning to celebrate all the wonderful lights and decorations

Getting fancy new specs

Getting ready for dance class

Getting rid of a mullet (this is post-mullet with a sassy face)

Being extra grateful for the little things...her for the Tigress pez dispenser, me for that gorgeous little girl (and her dimples)!

Linking up with Nora - see more preparacion at Fav Foto Friday!