happy monday!

Ahhhhh.....Monday! I'm actually really glad it's Monday. The week has started over! Which means that the crazy blur that was last week is over. The week where no one's clothes were laid out and lunches weren't packed until right before we walked out the door in the morning. The week where I totally blew my coffee allowance and I didn't get to bed before midnight. The didn't eat well, workout much, drink any water, or take my vitamins kind of week. And obviously, the no-blogging kind of week either!

But it is a new week, full of promise! I'm so excited for this week....it's my birthday week! It's actually going to be pretty busy around here. This afternoon, it is my turn to host a girl scout meeting for Ava's troop. The badge they're earning today is all about Girl Scout traditions. One of the things that Girl Scouts usually make at some point are these things called sit-upons. They're basically cushions that you can use if you're sitting by a campfire (or anywhere else) that are waterproof, so you don't get dirty sitting on the ground. I remember making one 25 years ago! So I went yesterday to the fabric store and got foam, waterproof table cloth material, and yarn. Jay and I worked on them last night. We had to get them started to make it easier (and faster) for the girls. Ava kept called them Cinnabons instead of sit-upons. Jay said last night that he hoped she didn't go in and tell all of the girls they were making Cinnabons at the meeting. Because there were going to be some disappointed faces when they saw the vinyl-covered cushions that they're really making!
I did make s'more pops this morning to bring in for a snack, though.

I made them just like I did for Emerson's woodland fairy except that instead of graham crackers, I rolled the chocolate dipped marshmallows in crushed up gluten-free cinnamon cookies (one of the girls has gluten allergies). They turned out great! I hope the girls like them. Declan was my taste-tester and he approved!

The rest of the week includes a cookie/craft thing with Ava at her school, book club, my actual birthday, a girls' dinner, friends from out of town, Santa's workshop at the girls' school, a birthday party, Christmas shopping, my mom and sister here, and a birthday dinner in my new birthday dress! There's also a bunch of awesome made-for-TV holiday movies and some Michael Buble Christmas special this week! Also, my Christmas cards should be here from Tiny Prints tomorrow (more about the debacle that was taking that photo later!) as should my dress for Jay's work holiday party that I ordered from Piperlime. I actually ordered two. I couldn't decide. Here they are:

The 2nd picture is really blurry, but the dress isn't on Piperlime's website anymore, so I can't find a good picture! Here's a good picture of the back:

Hopefully one of them look good! I had a goal of losing ten pounds by my birthday, but with the non-gym going and all the tschotske gift baskets full of Godiva Jay keeps bringing home from work, I think that ship has sailed.

Also, I would like to announce that I have almost all my Christmas shopping done, which is kind of amazing, since I'm usually such a procrastinator. I've been hunting down this LeapPad Explorer thing for Declan (mostly so he'll give me back my iPad!). I finally found one Saturday morning. The same morning that incidentally, he sneaked downstairs and ate his entire advent calendar in one sitting!

Which reminds me, while writing this, I have left the s'more pops unattended..............


a thanksgiving to remember

Well, I can honestly say, I have never spent the day before Thanksgiving quite like this. Usually I am knee-deep in Thanksgiving dinner prep. Making cranberry sauce, baking pies, assembling trifles, spray painting mini gourds for each place setting (don't ask!). Today I have been in bed. All day. Apart from my morning venture to the doctor's office to confirm that I do indeed have strep throat, I have been in my room. I have watched everything on my DVR. I have watched a Twilight marathon. I have been to every blog, shopping, and social networking website that exists. I am beyond bored. Except for glimpses of the kids through the doorway, I haven't seen them all day. Every once in a while, I will get some mail like this one:

And this one:

I also received a get better bird.

Ava has been quite the little nurse, bringing me snacks and drinks. She even called my cell phone from downstairs to check in. She's been a big help to Jay too. I can hear here mommy-ing the other kids from upstairs.

Aside from the sore throat, I should also mention that I have the lovely side effect of the glands in my face (along my jawline) being really swollen. Well, that's kind of an understatement. It's more like this:

I wish I was joking. I would post a picture of what I look like, but I'm not entirely convinced my face is going to go back to normal, so I'm too scared to show anyone. When I told Emerson that I had to go to the doctor this morning, she said, "Why, because your face keeps getting bigger?". I made Jay go pick up my prescriptions because I was afraid of running into anyone I knew. Jay can't even talk to me and keep a straight face.

I am really hoping that tomorrow I can celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I hope my turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie do not have to be blended into a smoothie. I hope we can sit around the table and say what we're thankful for. I hope one of the things I am thankful for is that my face magically returned to its normal size overnight.

All joking aside, I am thankful for my lively family. I am a lucky lucky mama.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


pom pom love

I've been mildly obsessed with pom poms lately and since I am now into decorating for Christmas, I'm trying to figure out how to combine the two. Luckily for me, someone invented Pinterest where I can now type pom poms into the search bar and come up with lovely images such as these:

Now, I have no idea how to make those felt ball kind of pom poms. I even watched a youtube video and I'm just as lost as before. It seems like a lot of work. I do know how to make pom poms out of yarn though. Here's my quick tutorial:

1. wrap your fingers with yarn

2. take off your fingers and tie a piece of yarn around the middle of the yarn loops

3. cut all of the loops

4. you can cut the ends if you want them to be super round and even looking. (i didn't!)
Then I just tied them all on a strand and made garland out of them. See?

And here it is on our white tree-----

Since are going to have 4 (!) trees this year, I'm all about making cheap tree decorations. I bought 3 spools of yarn from the Joann Fabrics for $2.99 each and after making 4 strands of garland I still have a ton leftover. I will probably use the rest to wrap presents with or maybe I'll start a scarf! Notice I said start, not complete! I'm still working on one for my little sister that I started this time last year!


good karma

I wholeheartedly believe in karma. The other day at the Target the checkout girl tried to give me ten extra dollars when she was counting my change. When I corrected her, she seemed shocked. I left happy that I did the right thing and I'm sure she was happy that her drawer wasn't going to be short $10 that night.

So fast forward to last night. (This post is going somewhere, I promise!). I got an email from Ava and Emerson's school saying that the church affiliated with the school needed children to volunteer to be in the live nativity that they do at Christmas Eve mass. (Now the picture above is making more sense, right?!) They were looking for all different ages to play various roles, including Pre-K and Kindergarten students to play lambs and 1st-3rd graders to play angels. I asked the girls if they would be interested. They were so excited. Ava started immediately describing what she wanted to wear, while Emerson was crawling around on all fours baaaa-ing. So I emailed the lady and said that my girls would love to volunteer.

After the girls were in bed, I got an email from the lady in charge saying that she would be happy to add Ava as an angel, but all the lamb positions had been filled. My heart sank. They were so excited. The thought of telling Emerson that only Ava could be in the Christmas show made me sick. Emerson always gets shafted. Ava gets to go to sleepovers and play-dates and girl scout activities and school field trips on buses. Poor Emerson! I emailed the lady back and said that the girls had been really excited and that if anything opened up, to please keep Emerson in mind.

This morning I got an email from her, saying they would just have an extra lamb this year! She said she wouldn't want any child to be disappointed. I'm so happy I could cry!

I'm telling you...karma!


the fancy room

About a month ago, I was on the phone with my friend Whitney while she was at my favorite antique consignment place. I asked her to keep an eye out for a dresser I could use for the new guest room in the basement. She said they didn't have any dressers, but they did have a pretty cool buffet/sideboard for $40. After she sent me a picture, I immediately called the place and told them I'd be there as soon as I could to pick it up.

Here's what it looked like when I got it home:

I removed all of the hardware and sanded it with Jay's palm sander (which is really fun, by the way!). Then I sprayed it with two good coats of white primer. Then I waited until the next day and applied a very even coat of glossy white spray paint. Over the next few days, I applied three more coats. I replaced the hardware (I didn't do anything to it, it was already so awesome!). We moved it into the living room last week. I filled it with all of the things that haven't been fitting nicely into the dining room hutch. There was a mirror already hung on the wall where the buffet went and I really didn't feel like moving it, so we didn't. To balance everything out I added two plates from Anthropologie that I already had. Jay said he really liked the mirror off-center because it didn't look like it was trying too hard! See?

I am so in love with how it turned out! I mean, for 40 bucks plus the cost of spray paint?! So, the last piece to complete the room came today from West Elm. Jay and I have been hoarding our American Express points for a good cause. So waaaay back in September, we redeemed a bunch for West Elm gift cards and bought the Elton Settee. (No, I cannot say the word Elton without sounding like Cher from Clueless!) It arrived today. The picture isn't the greatest because I took it at night in an already pretty dim room, but at least you can see it!

That ottoman/makeshift coffee table is going to go back in the morning room (plus, it's too close to the color of the couch). So I'm trying to decide now which coffee table I want to ask for for my birthday. Romantic, I know!

Anyway, so there's the big reveal of the fancy room we never sit in. Hope you like it!


guess what time it is?

It's almost that time of year again. No, not Thanksgiving. Not Christmas, either. Nope, it's family Christmas card photo time. Time to get your family all dressed up and looking presentable so that you can send out a Christmas card that shows how perfect, good-looking, and well-behaved your children are. Ha!

I have all these ideas of what I don't want the photo to look like. I don't want to all be wearing the same outfit. I don't want it on a beach. And I don't want it to look like this:

I want it to be sweet and candid. I don't want to look back on it and cringe. Or worse, be included on some website's collection of awkward family photos. Here are a few pictures that I think are Christmas-card worthy:

i love the vintage-y feel of this one!

this one would be easy enough! they're always jumping on the couch anyway.

love the round lights!

just love this family, in general!

ignore the fact that it's the jolie-pitts. love the candid-ness!

love the simplicity! they remind me of a more modern, more fashionable Von Trapp family! can't you see them singing on a mountaintop?
I am in full-on Rachel Zoe mode right now creating looks for each of us. We'll probably take the picture next weekend, so stay tuned for outtakes!

my 5 minute, zero dollar art gallery

In the course of cleaning my office area, I realized that a large source of the mess is all the things the kids bring home from school. All of their completed homework, quizzes, and tests get tossed without a second thought, but I just can't part with the artwork. I've seen awesome collages that people have made from their children's masterpieces, like this one by Jan Eleni (a New York-based designer):

and this one found here:

I swear, sometime, I will get around to doing this. For now, I just really want them to have a home, somewhere other than piled up on my desk. So I decided to make a mini gallery for their artwork to be displayed. I took 3 strands of jute cord and 6 nails (all of which I had in the house....so I spent $0) and I made this:

I had mini clothespins from Paper Source leftover from my Christmas card display last year, so I used those to hang everything. The kids were really cute when I was putting everything up last night. Not only were they so proud of their own work, but the girls were super excited to see that Declan now has artwork coming home from school too.


a challenge in process

I like to give myself self-imposed challenges. So, a couple weeks ago when I saw this on Pinterest (where else?), I was intrigued.

The list goes like this:
  • Day 1: Junk Drawer
  • Day 2: Computer Desk
  • Day 3: Tupperware Cabinet
  • Day 4: Linen Closet
  • Day 5: Under Kitchen Sink
  • Day 6: Dresser Drawers
  • Day 7: Pantry
  • Day 8: Coat Closet
  • Day 9: Toy Organization
  • Day 10: Laundry Room
  • Day 11: Freezer
  • Day 12: Spice Cabinet
  • Day 13: Medicine Cabinet
  • Day 14: Under the Bathroom Sink
  • Day 15: Medicine/Vitamin Storage
  • Day 16: Fridge
  • Day 17: Mail
  • Day 18: Keepsakes
  • Day 19: Master Closet
  • Day 20: Photos
  • Day 21: you pick!

So, I decided to try it. I mean, if anyone needs an organization challenge, it's me. And some people might not have awesome before pictures, but I do! So I have that going for me! I did change my order up a little bit. The fridge and pantry were driving me CRAZY! I decided to share days 1-4 now, because I thought 28 days worth of organization challenge pictures, might be really boring! Unless you're a super-nerd, like me!

Day 1 - junk drawer (before):

Day 1 - junk drawer (after):

Day 2 - pantry (before):

Day 2 - pantry (after):

Day 3 - fridge (before):

Day 3 - fridge (after):

Day 4 - computer desk (before):

Day 4 - computer desk (after):

With the exception of the fridge and pantry, I'm going to try to stick to the order from now on. Even though, that means tomorrow is the Tupperware cabinet. grrrrrrrr!!!!!

a little note...

I got this fortune about a year ago and I held onto it. After a lifetime of fortunes that never spoke to me ("a drop of water shall be returned with a burst of spring") or never came true ("a great fortune awaits you"), finally one that was hand-picked for me. I had forgotten about it until I found it last night while cleaning up for the house cleaner. (I know, the irony!) Anyway, I think I'll find a frame for it and hang it up somewhere. It makes me smile!

A fresh start

I have been blogging over at Plume Dandy for a little over 2 years. It started as little more than an exercise to keep my mind from turning to mush. Most days the only thing I write is a to-do list. So I thought, I would write little posts about whatever was on my mind. It started out more about cute clothes and shoes and evolved into what is really important to me, what I really know about and what I deal with every day, my family. I still like clothes and shoes but there are way more fashion-savvy people already out there blogging about clothes and shoes. And trust me, if you saw me most days you'd know that I have no business blogging about what people should be wearing. They say, "write what you know" and "write what you'd like to read", so I'm going to start doing both. I know the blogs I seek out most are blogs about things I can actually buy, things I might actually be able to make, and things I can really relate to.

So, I decided instead of just continuing Plume Dandy with a new focus, I needed a clean slate, a fresh start. A new look, a new voice.

So, here's what I know. I know I love having a big family, but I'm still learning how to make it work. There are things I think I'm really good at as a mom and also things I'm really failing at. Fortunately, the things I'm doing well at, are the important things like remembering to feed, clothe and bathe them. Kidding! (sort of!) I think I'm really good at making the kids feel loved and secure. I try to make sure I spend time with them individually so they feel special. I try to make a big deal out of holidays and birthdays. I try to give them experiences that they can look back on and treasure. I know the things I'm struggling with aren't as important, like trying to plan out meals in advance and keeping up with the laundry. But, I really want to figure out how to be more efficient, more organized. I know they won't remember if I planned out a weeks worth of dinners and only had to go grocery shopping once, but maybe they will remember that most nights we sat down and ate as a family.

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of person, what kind of wife, and what kind of mother I want to be. At the same time, I'm trying to mold my children into good little people. People with big dreams and big hearts. This blog will be a glimpse into our lives, into me trying to figure it all out. Maybe the kids will look at it one day and get to see what we did, what we were like. It's either this or my status updates on Facebook, because we all know I'm never going to get around to making a scrapbook!

To my loyal followers (all 8 of you!), I hope you will continue to read.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad