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

Friday, September 23, 2011

missoni: mission accomplished

Last week I shared a little sneak peek at my Missoni for Target you get to see it all :)

And if this bores you or you are insanely jealous, keep reading, because a blog friend of mine is giving away some Missoni for Target goodness...and of course I'll share the info with you!

Just to remind you, I didn't go out of my way to get my hands on this stuff.
My shopping trip was a happy accident based on an insanely early preschool drop off time.
It's stuff...made in China...purchased at Target...soulless stuff.
But it is fun, and I like it.

Hey, look! It's a pillow!

The store had two of these, and I decided that I really only needed one for my new couches (I know! I haven't blogged them yet, but they are here! Consider this your sneak peek.)

I think one works better than two would have, and then I didn't feel like one of the crazies that snatched this stuff up and is selling it on Ebay for a bazillion dollars.

Walking into the store, I didn't really know what I would find.
I wandered around and looked at everything, I tried to be choosey.
I put a few things back. Because that's a good and healthy thing to do, right?

At any rate I decided that I would allow myself two items from each category (home items, clothes, accessories, and office stuff)

melamine...and fun
This tiered piece surprised me.
It's plastic, and sort of exactly what I was looking for without knowing I wanted it (does that make sense?).
I can tell you that it looks pretty fun on my kitchen table right now.
And if I ever make some friends in this new town, I will really enjoy using this to serve canapes.

While I was browsing there were two moms, 12 year old daughters (in their school uniforms, on a school day - during school hours!) in tow, and their carts were heaped with every single article of Missoni clothing they could grab.

I had the joy of listening to them in the fitting rooms. Ugh.
So many things wrong with the whole scenario.

New thought...

cannot think of caption...distracted by pretty colors
Two articles of clothing, I think that's enough to have some fun, but it won't look like I buy all of my clothes at Target (even though I might...) the sweater is really flattering on me, and it has my grey in it.
Happy place :)
The skirt is fun. No other way to describe it.
I need to buy some new leggings. And then, I will be rocking the cuteness.

The shoes are totally me, but they are the most cheaply made pair of shoes I have ever purchased at Target. And I buy a ton of flats at Target.
Mostly on clearance for around $9.
These were $30.
Good job Target marketing team.
The scarf is a scarf, I'll wear it happily :)

I have already scribbled all over that clip board.
I picked these two colorful items for my office.
I am obsessed with clipboards.
The crate was fun and the same price as any other fabric-covered Target crate.

I thought I was done with the Missoni stuff after my one trip.
Especially because everyone on the planet was obsessing about how it was all SOLD OUT...
Except at my Target.
I went back the next day because we needed TP and trash bags.
They had moved all of the Missoni-ish up to the front of the store...

Isn't the shoe box fun? I'm sure I can do something with it...
I spotted the two makeup bags and they magically ended up in my cart.
Actually I needed some new makeup bags, so these will do nicely.

Mr. Three decided that his favorite part of all of this was the price tags.
Did you know they are really the world's thinnest and lightest cell phones?
Shhh...he's on the phone

Giveaway info!!!

Rebekah at A Blissful Nest is giving away three pieces of Mission for Target loveliness!
But you need to enter by tonight (Friday) at get clicking.
Her blog is full of pretties, especially the parties she puts together. Very follow-worthy :)

So...did you grab up any of this goodness?
Any other thoughts on the craziness of it all?

Monday, September 19, 2011

a giant roman shade - getting settled, day 6

First - did you think I forgot about my 30 days of posts about my new house? I never said the series would be rapid fire style, or that it would only take 30 days ;)
Remember, I'm the one who writes the posts...this series could take years.
Or I could give myself a deadline...I'm arbitrarily picking Nov. 20.

You can hold me to this:
By Nov. 20, I will have completed 30 posts about my new house.
Pinky swear.

Back to draperies...ahhh window of my favorite things to obsess about.
I'm trying really hard not to obsess too much.
To say "This will work, let's do it."
And then execute my plan.

It worked in my little granny bath.
And every time I scrub the toilet and disinfect the floor (hello 3 year old boy!), I look up and smile at my sweet little curtain.

Now, the exact opposite emotions consume me every time I glance (and it is always accidentally) at the horror that is the vertical blinds in my kitchen.

And then one day I was reading blogs and saw a roman blind on a window over a kitchen sink.

Thanks for the inspiration Centsational Girl!

My mind started to go into overdrive...can I do this on a huge scale?
I decided that I can, and I will.

I'm calling my project "Giant Roman Shade"
Super original, eh?
I pinned two Roman Shade tutorials (A, B), and I'm working from both.

Because I will need a chunk of fabric 85"x101.5", I decided to use a drop cloth.
I happen to have a few hanging around...

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I have more drop cloths in storage. Almost.

After measuring, I realized not a single drop cloth is large enough.
Sad face.
Then grumpy face.

little helper

I hit up The Home Depot and found a 9'x12' dropcloth.
Happy face!

Except when I unfolded it I found this:


Not one, but two seams! And it is filthy.
Angry face. And maybe some expletives.
And I am totally making hubs return it.

I took a few minutes to regroup and came up with a solution:

I like to fill sketch pads with room and project plans...and then I never share my ideas with anyone.

Use a drop cloth base and  build a frame around it, then add some coordinating ribbon to accentuate the design.
After doing a little math I realized that I won't even need to cut the dropcloth I am using!
Is that kismet, or what?!

Tomorrow I shop for fabric and ribbon...and I'm bringing both boys...

I think I will require an expensive coffee ;)

What's your favorite expensive coffee?
Any bets on how long it'll take me to finish this project?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

thrifty stuffs

Since moving to Milwaukee, I have been thrifting regularly.

My Goodwill has great stuff.
I went antiquing and even explored the local junk shop with my MIL (I had a lot of fun - we need to do it again next time you visit!)
And I hit up the Salvation Army on my last trip to my mom and dad's.
I'm just going to share a few of my spoils...I'm happy to say I have plans for almost everything :)

willow basket - SA - I'm thinking a laundry basket for the guest room
four drapery panels - SA - love that vintage print! planning on using this in my office

red metal box - GW - treasure box for a little boy (not sure which one!)
for rent sign - found this at the junk shop, it still has a Marshall Fields tag on back - 35 cents!, hanging this on the guest room door
white bowl - SA - pretty sure this is unmarked Haeger, right now it's a catchall for dead batteries and soup labels in my kitchen

crock - real plans, but it was a crock, I couldn't pass it up!
book - GW - Eat, Pray, Love...I am the last woman on Earth to read this book, but I got it for less than a buck ;), and I won't get a fine when I drop it in the bathtub
little elephant - junk shop - I collect cream colored, American this little Shawnee piece!
needlepoint - SA - yep, I've got a small collection of these as well...I should hang them up

I didn't thrift these, but I did get them for's a good sized bunch of Red Rose Tea, Wade Figurines. They came from my mom, and were collecting dust in the basement, so I saved them ;) I'm brainstorming what to do with them...I love the colors of the glazes...and I have so many memories of my mom and Grandma collecting these little freebies!

little table - GW - this is solid, American made furniture, and it was $6 - cheaper than flat pack! It's sitting in the garage, I'm in the middle of refinishing it, and then it will be a perfect printer stand in my office.

Have you found any thrifty goodies lately?

Linking up to Rhoda's Thrifty Treasures Party at Southern Hospitality!

Friday, September 16, 2011

best day EVER!

Okay, so maybe today wasn't the best day ever - but it was pretty darn good!

Hubs came home last night and announced that he was taking the day off today.

We decided we would take the kids out for a pancake breakfast and then have a really low key day. Lots of playing with Daddy and I had some time to get a few things done around the house (lots of vacuuming!). Before breakfast I wanted to stop by a garage sale at my favorite house in our subdivision (do you have houses in every square mile of your town picked out as your *favorite*? I absolutely do).

I'm so glad I went garage saleing!

I was pretty sure this house was owned by a decorator, after talking with her today I can confirm my hunch. She had some great furniture for sale. I passed on her floral couch, even though it was excellent...we have enough couches...but I did pick up a great antique chair that is going to be perfect in my office.

Tufting, nailhead trim and a great shape.
Be still my heart. (I'll share pics later!)

I also grabbed a bolt of drapery weight fabric for $25...yep 20 yards of nice fabric for $25, the retail price was $24.99 per yard.

I know it's drapery weight and not upholstery weight, but I am seriously thinking of sewing a new slipcover for Ektorp from this fabric. This couch is in the front room, so it's mostly used for time outs; not a high traffic area.

What do you think?

Hubs comment - "Well, it's yellow."

And then I can hang this print. I'll have a new mat cut, I'm thinking white and a navy inner mat.

My comment - "Almost anything is better than a beige couch on a beige wall!"

Ok, back to my perfect, amazing, fabulous day!

I took Mr. Three to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live!

self portraits are tough, yo.
So fun!
Little kids everywhere breaking it down and waving glow sticks.*
Adults laughing and smiling.

And we were home before 9 kind of concert ;)

Do you have weekend plans?
Think I should dive in and sew up a slipcover? 
Or look for a different fabric?

*BTW...the glow sticks were $10...I should have picked some up at the dollar store and sold them from my seat!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, September 15, 2011

cheater dinner!

I like cooking for my family.
Especially when the boys are quietly playing together and singing Kum By Yah.

Umm. Yeah, that never happens.

Around here, dinner makes it to the table because I have planned a meal in advance, maybe offered up precious nap time moments to prepare it, or stirred a pot while simultaneously holding a screamer and building duplos with the three year old.

Some days, I am way too exhausted to prepare a real meal for my family.
That's where "Cheater Meals" come into play.

I have a handful of general meal items in the pantry/freezer/fridge and I can put a really quick meal together with them.

Last night I had two kids that desperately needed to play in the backyard (and they must be supervised). Good thing I also had these ingredients on hand:

more sodium than we usually eat...but way less than a drive-thru meal!

Box o'rice meal
Package of chicken sausage
Stocked veggie drawer

I quickly diced up my veggies - this time it was carrots, green peppers, zucchini, and onion.

Followed the directions on the box for water (2.5 cups), put it in a big pot to boil and then mixed in the box o'rice and my diced veggies.

Returned the pot to a boil, popped on a lid, lowered the temp to a simmer, set the timer for 25 min. and took the heathens dear sweet boys out for some fresh air.

lots of veggies!

I served it with strawberries on the side and everyone was happy!

 Even this guy, who is currently cutting his four canines at the exact same time. Poor bebes :(

nom nom nom

What's your favorite "go to" meal?

 Joing Family Friendly Food Week at Serenity Now!
Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

random bits

Because preschool drop off is at 8AM, I shopped Missoni for Target right when the store opened.

I got some stuffs :)

Missoni...made in China

8 AM preschool drop off is not my favorite thing. Getting my kids out the door that early is ridiculous.

Baby-man is absolutely obsessed with orange, flower-shaped post it notes. I keep finding crumpled and chewed on wads of orange paper around the house.

On Friday I'm taking Mr. Three to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live. I'm actually putting some effort into my that sad?

I totally killed the pretty plants on my front porch. Time for some fake ones!

I successfully made no-bake cookies. This is the first time they have turned out...and I cannot figure out what I did differently.

I had the windows open this morning. Then, I realized I could smell smoke, I looked outside and I could see a smokey haze; I assumed someone was burning leaves (although there aren't many leaves to burn right now, and I'm sure it's illegal in  my area). I shut the windows and moved on.
Tonight Hubs and I were watching the news and the smoke I could smell and see? It's from forest fires in Northern Minnesota, almost 500 miles away.

A new season of Parenthood started tonight. Yay!

Share some randomness with me :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

i made a wreath!

Sometimes the stars align and I actually make something out of the 8.3 million craft supplies I buy every year.

Last night was one of those rare occasions!

I made this fluffy wreath for our front door.

i like it!

Tutorial coming soon!

Not because you are all dying to know how I made this amazing piece of, highly flammable awesomeness, but because I took pictures.
And made a half-hearted attempt at editting those pictures.
And I can make you look at them!

Woohoo internetz. Woohoo. I'm so proud of my Orange Wreath, I'm linking it up to the CSI Project, Orange Linky Party! Visit

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years

Ten years ago I was a junior in college. Tan and skinny (for me) from my summer job as a Girl Scout camp counselor. Living at the sorority house, pretty sure I was dating the love of my life (I married him almost exactly two years later).

Life was good.
Care free.
Figuring out what I was wearing to the bar was my biggest concern.

On the second Tuesday of school, another student arrived a few minutes late to our 9 AM journalism class. He looked at our professor and and said "A plane just hit the World Trade Center."

There were no iPhones, and the tv in our room was just for videos. So as a class we walked across campus to find a television. We tuned in just as the first tower fell.

We watched.
We cried.
Class was dismissed early, so I walked up the hill to my boyfriend's house.

There were no tears in the Delta Sig house, at least not from the boys. But it was eerily quiet and somber. Everyone was glued to their tvs. No one knew what would happen. We all felt a little secure, we were stuck at the tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, after all.
In God's Country...we were safe there, right?

I wasn't so sure. I remember being so very very worried about my family in Detroit. I was worried about rioting, or another attack.

I remember everything felt really surreal, like the only thing really happening was on CNN. I know I called my mom, I went back to my house and we watched the coverage some more. I can't remember when we turned off the coverage and turned on the Lifetime movies, but I know we did.

We all needed a break.

That evening we headed to church to pray the Rosary.
It was so calming.

Ten years later we were in church again.
This morning's readings were all about forgiveness. Our Priest reminded us that the readings are a set rotation, not picked especially for this anniversary.

How powerful.
And challenging.

May we remember. May we forgive.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

eight glorious years

I know I've been MIA, last week was hectic...things are much better now.

Yesterday we celebrated our eighth anniversary.

Hubs came home with flowers, a card, and five pages of bronze chandeliers...apparently the traditional gift for anniversary number eight is bronze.

And I now have carte blanche to pick out chandies for the entire house...not exactly what he said, but that's how I'm interpreting it!

I'm guessing that, trying to entertain two little monkeys throughout a meal at UNO and then taking a family outing to the Home Depot, might not be everyone's idea of a romantic anniversary.

But it works for us.
And that's what matters, right?

Happy Anniversary to my sweet Hubs!

I wouldn't be happy sharing my life with anyone else!