Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May your hearts and homes be filled with joy and love!
See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

a to-do list

The past few Mondays I have woken up intending to post a to-do list for the week.

Notice how that has not happened...


A list of things for this week :)

Finish Christmas cards
Complete wrapping
Vacuum whole house
Dust whole house
Rehang the 8 thousand ornaments the children have removed from the trees
Buy Christmas cookies
Pack for trip home (yeah!)

Lately I've found that a weekly list is better for me than a daily list, I have no problem keeping up with the laundry and the kitchen, but I really need a reminder for the other projects/tasks.

Are you an everyday list maker?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

oh, sunday

We had a nice day.

Started by lighting the third candle on our Advent wreath.

Because it is "pink candle week" I might have forced encouraged everyone to wear red to mass...we looked very cohesive in our pew in the cry room.

We managed a family shopping trip to Target after church. I would not suggest this; the store was a zoo. Our outing was successful, because Hubs kept the boys occupied with popcorn (I'm sorry for the mess, Target employees) and then herded them into the car while I braved the checkout alone.

At some point today, #2 grabbed the remote and found...

do you see what i see?!
Gnome TV!!!
If you have U-verse, it's channel 1100, Christmas music and a gnome.
Oh yeah, and a cozy fire, too.

After naps we worked on our gingerbread house!
Okay, #1 and I worked on the house, Hubs had camcorder/camera duty and #2 ate candy...lots of candy.

And then after we put the boys to bed, we enjoyed our Christmas lights.

yep, there is totally a stand out on the big tree...oh well!

I love this time of year :)

Want to guess what this is?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

time for catholic crafts!

Did y'all know I am Catholic?

Yep. I like standing up, sitting down and kneeling at Church.
And I call the service "Mass."
I have a box of different rosary beads.
And I love me some Saints; among other things...

One of the super fun things that I have been wanting to do with my boys is to celebrate their name day, which is the Saint Day for the Saint they are named after (even though I didn't specifically name them after a Saint, we just have lots of Saints, so finding one with your name is not difficult - in fact here is a guide for you).

So I've been meaning to do this...which means every time I see someone else do this I think,
"That is super awesome, I will totally do that."
But then, I forget to do it.

Then one of my new friends (I know! I think I have 4 friends here in WI, it makes me happy!) invited us to a little name day party for her son Andrew.
Yes! Just the kick in the pants I needed to get this tradition started.

So today (St. Andrew's feast day is Nov. 30) we gathered at my friend Katie's house and the boys ate pizza and ran around like crazy men carefully and calmly completed a craft. And while the three year olds were screaming at tops of their lungs praying the rosary, the moms (and some sweet older girls) made a mom craft!

mom craft!
This, my friends, is a chaplet.
A chaplet is basically a bunch of beads that we Catholics use to count our repetitive, rote prayers - it's a prayer tool.

We created it to pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, which is a prayer directed at God, but begun on the feast day of St. Andrew (hence the name).

Hail and blessed be
the hour and moment
in which the Son of God
was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.

In that hour
vouchsafe, O my God! 
To hear my prayer
and grant my desires
through the merits of
Our Saviour Jesus Christ
and of His Blessed Mother Mary
and of Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

Let's look at my chaplet again:

hey - I figured out how to use picnik!
I used two anchor beads, because I needed to wrap the beading wire around something and I liked the beads. Then there are 15 prayer beads, I alternated between two pearls and a polka dot glass bead because it is easier to keep your place with an assortment of beads - your fingers don't get lost as easily. And a cross, because I love Jesus, alternatively a St. Andrew medal would be great on this chaplet (but they don't sell religious medals at Micheal's).

To pray the entire novena you repeat this prayer 15 times a day, every day from now today until Christmas. Then your wildest dreams will come true...errr...your prayers will be answered. We are dealing with God, so if you are praying for something that He doesn't really think you need ( diamond earrings), it might not happen.

I happen to really enjoy repetitive prayers, I find them meditative, and once I've memorized them they are really easy to pull out in stressful situations.

Going to make your own chaplet?
Impressed by my Picnik skills?
Running for the hills because I mentioned religion?

Monday, November 21, 2011

what should i wear?

A few months ago you helped me pick outfits for my BIL's wedding weekend.
It was fun.
Let's do it again, this time for my little brother's engagement party.

Guests have been asked to wear black, white or silver (which totally killed my original plan to wear a fab navy dress with gold accents.).
Safari print Calvin Klein to the rescue!

I need help with the shoes and topper...

White bolero and nude peep toes? (I wore this to my nephew's baptism...feel like it might be a bit churchy)

Black ruffled shrug and blingie red shoes?

Hubs is getting a little better with pic taking...

Last time we did this I never showed you action shots of the outfits...I thought I didn't have any.
I was wrong!
I don't have a clear pic of the wedding outfit (big fat raspberries! i looked hott!)
Here I am moments before driving to the wrong restaurant for the rehearsal dinner (true story).


Excuse the torture device exercise machine, blonde child and play tent in the background. The only full length mirror at my in-laws is in the basement :)

And the sad, sad truth is that every time we move I gain weight...resolution season cannot come quickly enough!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

stuff that doesn't work, getting settled day 11

We made a little trip back to Ohio the other weekend.
I didn't tell you beforehand, because then you might be tempted to break in and steal my precious thrifted and spray painted items.
(I read that somewhere and loved it, I just can't remember where I read it!)

changed the fireplace for Thanksgiving

Anyway...sometimes getting out of the house is just what I need to refocus and get things done.
I see my house with fresh eyes, it's a good thing.

After coming home it was obvious that a few things are just not working for me.

This list is not exhaustive, but it's a good place to start.

1. The laundry room/ entry off of the garage is not working well.
2. This house is dark! I need more lights!
3. The lights that we have are U G L Y. I do not like a single light fixture in this house.
4. Storage. There is a ton, but it is so it's not really working.
5. There's an unnecessary door in the master's driving me nuts.
6. My bed is too large for my bedroom, also driving me nuts.

Hmm...wonder how fast we'll be able to get to these issues?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

new couches, getting settled day 10

They've been here for quite a while.
I'm not sure why I never shared them.

Meet my new couches!

lots of seating, hooray!

We found them at a local furniture store.
The maker is Jonathan Louis, and so far I just love them to bits and pieces.
They were much much cheaper than PB or Arhaus.
I had an almost overwhelming number of fabric choices. After deciding which pieces we wanted, I had to pick an arm profile, cushion style, and base style.

looking into the family room from the kitchen

I chose a dove grey microfiber, with a wedge arm and square cushions. I had a tough time choosing the base style. In the end I picked a skirt, just to keep the room more casual.

My plan worked...I finished the insert for my pillow case.
I like it!

happy pillow!


Mr. Three likes to say grace before dinner.

Sometimes he is funny, and oh-so three.

Sometimes he is the sweetest thing ever.

"Thank you God for a new day.
Thank you God for a special day for our family.
Can we eat?"

I'm not sure what made today so special for him, but his prayer made it very special for me!


Monday, November 07, 2011

getting a move on! in my makeshift craft room, getting settled day 9

I know, I know. I am terribly behind on my 30 Posts about my new house.
I said I would have 30 posts done by Nov. 20, and I'm sticking to that.

So expect a flurry of activity for the next few weeks!

Because my office is currently far from workable, I set up a temporary work space in the front room.
Are you ready for this?
I'm going to blow your mind.

hey, that looks a lot like a folding table and kitchen chair...

What? Not impressed?

this guy loves it!

It's okay, this is not a permanent fixture in my house...but it's going to help me get stuff done.
And that's important.

The first few projects:
* stitch up a quick insert for this pillow case - which came from PB(clearance, natch) and I've had forever but never used.

* sew a slipcover for the piano bench (a holdover project from the last house)
* the giant roman shade! I bought pretty fabric! Now I have to do something with it.

roman shade fabric

* a completely frivolous project that will hopefully be high impact and not take up too much time...or it'll be the Hindenburg. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Good thing Disney aired The Aristocats on Friday!
Nothing keeps the kids' attention like a new movie.

Have any projects brewing?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

yada, yada, yada...stuff and a sort of recipe

It seems like I have eight million blog posts running around in my head...but I can't get them out of my head and onto the screen.
It's getting crowded in my brain.
Life and children take a lot of time...I'm not sure how REAL bloggers do it.
And Hubs has been traveling, so that means I am solely responsible for keeping the Kinder alive.

Mildly stressful, and yet everyday those little boogers do at least one thing to make it all worth it for me.

furby, sort of the best thing ever

Lately the baby has been answering "Me!" to certain questions...
"Who's ready for lunch?"
"Who wants to go for a ride in the stroller?"
Hearing his enthusiastic and adorable answer is the best thing.

Mr. Three had a challenging week, he missed daddy, had a little incident at school and was a total grump yesterday. But when I had a massive stress headache he played nicely and quietly with his brother so I could have a little rest on the couch.
And then he gave me a bunch of kisses and hugs "to get better."
Yep. Totally keeping him.
Also, the only Halloween candy he wants to eat is smarties, tootsie rolls, suckers and starburst. You'll never guess where all of his chocolate bars are... ;)

So by last night I was frazzled, but didn't feel like baking and had already eaten all of the good Halloween candy. I needed some chocolate. Amanda wrote about pumpkin bread with a Nutella cheesecake filling and I was sort of (100%) obsessing about that...

I ended up mixing together a spoonful of cream cheese, a spoonful of Nutella and just a little squeeze of honey. I ate it with Graham crackers and it was perfect.
That's a sort of recipe...not to be confused with a recipe-ish (have you seen this blog? I want Leslie to be my new best internet friend!!)

Tomorrow's Friday!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

halloween recap

We carved.

We dressed up.

Trick or treat!

We ate candy.

And we totally killed a pumpkin pie.

We had a great Halloween!

I bought the baby's costume because my sanity was becoming an issue; Darth Vader is a feat of engineering created out of cardboard boxes and duct tape.

boxes from the recycling bin + black duct tape = happy boy!

And one light saber....cannot forget the light saber!

We invited a family from Hubs office over.
I made a really simple dinner, hot dogs/chili dogs, chips, apple slices, grapes, candy corn. Everything was laid out nicely, but I skipped cutesy labels and didn't embellish the bottles of water (in fact, we don't do bottled water) (I could write a post on all of this...).

Guess what?
Everyone still had fun!
The dads took the kids out (they lasted for about 45 mins) and the we all had some pie...and they left the leftovers at our house.

So, of course I had pie for breakfast (we call this cowboy breakfast).

Now I'm packing away Halloween and lamenting the fact that I really don't have much Thanksgiving decor...
I'm getting bored with my general Fall items.

I feel a pin fest brewing...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

changing seasons

I've been busy!
My mom visited for a week...we miss you, Grammy! Then my besties came out for a long weekend...woohoo!! And then we headed out for a mini vacay in the Upper fun!

And in all of the excitement, the weather changed.
We had a week of fall, then it was hot - so hot I almost sent Mr. Three to preschool in shorts - and now I'm pretty sure the cooler temps are here to stay.

So I feel like I should finally swap from my summer bag to my fall purse.

summer canvas, traveling purse, leather for fall!

I feel like swapping purses is the final change of the season.

How do you mark the passing seasons? 
What bag are you carrying this fall?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

my new favorite chocolate frosting

Because I am *positive* you need more chocolate in your life, I am joining Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading link party at Serenity Now. 

Weekend Bloggy Reading

On Sun. I whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes. And I was planning on making cream cheese frosting, but I keep whole sticks of butter in the freezer.
Do you do that?
It seems like a great idea, but then whenever I need butter for baking I have to either think about the butter ahead of time (what?!) or wait forever for it to thaw on the counter.
Don't try to microwave your frozen butter.
It never ends well.

nom nom nom

So I pulled out the butter and let it thaw while the cupcakes baked.
But that's not enough time...not even close.
So I was becoming more and more impatient, and I totally did eat a naked cupcake and it was just NO GOOD.
And then I looked at the box of cocoa powder.

The clouds parted and angels sang...the simple recipe on the box calls for melted butter.

cuppie cakes

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting
*taken directly from the cheap-o box of Hershey's Cocoa*

1/2 c. butter (ok, it says "or margarine" but promise me you will never make this with anything but real butter)
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract

*Melt butter. Stir in cocoa.
*Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on med. speed to spreading consistency. Add more milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Makes about 2 c.

blurry baby - he doesn't like to hold still, and I think someone touched the lens

My notes:
I made this in a large sauce pot, and I skipped using the mixer (didn't want to destroy the inside of my pot, and didn't want to dirty another bowl). It came together really easily and has an almost fudge-like consistency (which is pretty awesome). I added the vanilla when I added the last bit of milk (I thought it would be sort of hard to evenly mix in the vanilla otherwise). If you did use an electric mixer the frosting would probably be a bit fluffier, but the fudgieness is so yummm...I'm not sure I'll ever make this with a mixer. I also had more than I needed to frost 24 cupcakes - but I didn't pile on the's really rich, you probably wouldn't want to anyway.

he prefers to clean his own face. thankyouverymuch.

Where do you keep your butter?
What's you favorite frosting?

Monday, October 03, 2011

a space for ME, getting settled, day 8

Last week our tv, internet and phones were out for more than 12 hours.
It put a major damper on my normal nap time routine - sit on the couch and eat cookies while watching DVR'd episodes of Teen Mom and Donna Decorates Dallas. And I actually had to do something productive to keep from going crazy while the boys napped.
What?! Work!! EEK!

I decided to dig into my office...or what will be my office.
Here it is on the day we moved in.

Hey! It looks like no one lives here!

It's a little, square room off of the living room.
It (conveniently) has french doors, which are really necesarry because it's become a dumping ground while we've settled in.

Oh, wait. People do live here, hoarders, obviously.

So I got to work.
Removed the major stuff that was going into storage.
The pile of boxes (because all of my friends just had babies! squee!).
And started sorting through stuff.

oohh...sorting baskets...i loves them

About halfway through I almost gave up.

halfway there...just keep going!
Then I realized that if I just stuck everything back into the room, I would have effectively wasted my energy.
Not cool.
Back to work.

This is clean enough.

Clean enough to set up this little corner!

That's the garage sale chair I scored for $25! And a little GW shelf that I plan on painting ($14), complete with my Missoni tote. you see it?

gnomie love <3

Amazing ceramic gnome lamp, courtesy of my MIL, who found him at an estate sale and knew I had to have him :)
Thanks Rita!!! He looks pretty happy here, I think we will keep him :)

I still have work to do in my office.
But for now it works, I can blog in here, pay bills, hide from screaming children.
You know, all of the important stuff.

And I have a gnome.
And really, that's the most important part.

Friday, September 30, 2011

little bits

*first cool-weather hot tub tonight, so nice! We have decided that hot tubs are now on the must-have list for future homes.

*playdate this morning! All I had to do was decorate for fall, I immediately wanted to have someone over to I got brave and emailed one of the preschool moms. It was really nice to talk to another adult! Oh yeah, the kids had fun, too.

*I'm headed to Chicago in the AM for a seminar. I'm excited! It's not something I've blogged about yet, but I think most of my friends know about this little that we are more settled I'm excited to get to work.

*tomorrow we'll have been in our new home for three months. When I say "three months," it feels like a substantial amount of time; in reality I still feel totally displaced here. I can get myself to Starbucks, but I'm still unsure what local restaurants are best. I don't get lost heading to Target, but I'm not friends with any of the grocery cashiers yet. I still feel like the new kid.

*my mom arrives on Mon! She's staying through Fri :)

*next Sat. my girls arrive for our annual girls weekend! Plans are still up in the air, but we might go see Alton Brown. He's doing a book tour and will be in Milwaukee.

*we are planning a U.P. trip! A long weekend in the Keweenaw sounds perfect to me. I want a pasty!!

fall color tour, getting settled, day 7

On Tues. I finally unloaded the tubs of fall decor (there are only two tubs, so nothing too exciting).

Happy owl!
Decorating a new home is tough.
I moved things all over...tried them out in every room, on every table.

3 year old decorating skills
I'm pleased with how it all came together.
Walking downstairs Wed. morning and being greeted by my fall decor made me happy.

The wreath above the fireplace was a quick little project.

I think it needs bunting up top...opinions?

I had the bare grapevine wreath.
I also had a hand-me-down Pottery Barn fall swag (thanks mom!).

Gnomes are never optional
I attached the swag with zip ties.
It wasn't quite long I filled in the space with a few fake leaves (randomly in my fall decor boxes) attached with clothespins. The clothespins are new, and really clean looking, so I colored on them with crayons to make them feel a bit weathered.

I'm really happy with the wreath.

I didn't spend a penny!

And in the entryway...I accepted the fact that we will not be painting before Thanksgiving, and I hung some art to make it more inviting.

Notice the 3 year old in the upper left...he won't stop playing with the decorative sticks!

The decorations make this house feel more like it's ours.

In the dining room

Although some fresh paint and new light fixtures will still help ;)

I'll add the Halloween items next week (I always wait until October!).

I don't think I've decorated with this thrifted crate before. I like it.

Have you decorated for fall?

Linking up to Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now!

 Weekend Bloggy Reading