Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year

Just a quick note to wish all my friends and family a very happy new year! May all your dreams for 2009 come true. Stay safe and have fun tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

party time

In honor of Kimba's Holiday Open House, I'm posting some pictures of my new craft table/gift wrapping station. It was such an easy project (easy because Gregg did all the work)! I had seen many versions around the internet and took some of the best parts from each.

All it took was a some peg board, left over paint, dowel rods and peg board accessories. The original plan was to frame it out, but in the cutting process the extra trim we had snapped. We haven't gone out to buy more. I'm debating on whether I should still frame it or not. It's simple to swap out wrapping paper rolls. Once Christmas is over, the birthday wrap goes up. I'm really loving this, I just wish there was a tv in the craft room!

And now since it is a Holiday Open House, here is our tree. I really need to learn how to photograph a tree with lights. I also need a better camera, but you get the idea, right?

Happy Holidays!

Now go over to Kimba's blog to see what great pictures everyone else is posting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

dear santa

I am enjoying Jackson's enthusiasm for Christmas so much. Everyday he tells us how much he loves the Christmas Tree and how sad he'll be if we take it down. We have two advent calendars going, he's a big fan of countdowns! The other night we decided it was time to write our first letter to Santa. We sat down and with heads together came up with this letter to Santa.

In case you can't read my chicken scratch, the letter says (please excuse the spelling errors I was tired and it's supposed to be from a kid right?!):
Dear Santa,

Thank you for the truck you brought us last year, my little brother and I love it! We've been very good this year and would love it if you would bring me a new Chick Hicks car (I lost mine and miss it). I would also like a piggy bank so I can save money for Disney World. My brother Nate would like a tiny big wheel so he can learn how to pedal.

Thank you Santa, we love you!

Your friend Jackson XXXXX.

After writing the note, Jackson wanted to draw a picture for Santa. Below is the picture he drew. I had to label the drawing so no one would think... well... let's just say the placement of the reindeer is a little questionable!

The letter was sealed in an envelope with a promise to mail. Now here's my dilemma. Do I send it, or save it so one day he can read it and all the other letters to come in the years ahead? Gregg says to save them, so I guess I need to find a lock box for these so one day as they snoop through my closet they don't accidentally find them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

a merry wreath makeover

Christmas is going to be great this year! Our 4 year old is soooo excited about it and kept begging us to get our tree up. I gave in about 3 days before Thanksgiving.

As I started going through our boxes, bins and bags of decorations, I found some items I just didn't love anymore. One of them was this wreath. Very simple, with an old bow attahced. Yeah I can admit it, it was U.G.L.Y. Time for a wreath makeover. With trying to save money this year, and a mental promise to myself to not buy more decorations, the trick was only using things I already had. Here is the ugly duckling:

After scavenging in my bins, I came across this sign I got on clearance last year after Christmas.

The colors were fun and added to my more whimsical decorating look I had started last year. Now I took the hanging wire off and attached the sign to my wreath using twist ties. Then I scavenged some more and found little glass ornaments that were the same fun colors as the sign. I attached these to the wreath and viola, the ugly duckling is a swan, or at least not ugly anymore!

It needed some fluffing, and could probably use some more ornaments, but I'm happy with it so I called it done, hung it on my door and moved on.
Gotta love a free wreath makeover!

Monday, November 24, 2008

gift wrap lesson learned

As I was flipping through one of my Christmas issue magazines for decorating or gift ideas, I saw a gift wrap idea that’s an oldie but a goodie. Now for the life of me I can’t remember what magazine it was in. Luckily the same idea can be found on Martha’s site (Christmas-Tree Silhouette). I always referred to this in my head as the peek-a-boo wrapping technique.

photo credit:

I was surprised to see this idea in the magazine because this is something I did about 10 years ago. I was a single girl living in the city, with no husband and no kids of my own to spoil, I prided myself on buying the best gifts for my nephews. One year I even got one of my nephews a kitten (with my sister’s blessing). What a cool Aunt I was.

Anyways, one year I couldn’t stop at just buying the cool gifts, they had to be wrapped cool too. After seeking the peek-a-boo technique somewhere, I knew this was going to be my statement for the year. I imagined how impressed everyone would be with my nicely wrapped gifts. I was gonna be so cool.

Here’s what I did. I wrapped the gift as normal. Then I took a sheet of colored tissue paper. I folded it in half lengthwise and drew the silhouette of a tree (just like on Martha’s site). I then used an exacto knife to cut just one side of the tree’s outline. I then wrapped the present again with the tissue paper making sure the tree was on the front side of the package. Once wrapped I simply folded the cut side over to reveal the pattern of the other paper underneath. I think I even added glitter ornaments to the tree. I spent so much time on these beautifully packages. I was so proud.

Here my friends is the fatal flaw in my plan. I failed to think about who would be receiving these beautiful works of art. Yep that’s right my 5, 7, 9 and 10 year old nephews couldn’t care less about my special wrapping technique. They simply tore into the gifts just like everyone else’s simply, but smartly wrapped gifts. All that time I spent wrapping was never even noticed by those snot nosed boys (ok, they weren’t snot nosed, they were just kids). After that I just stuck to buying cool gifts and forgot about the wrapping.

Now fast forward 10 years and I see this idea again. It’s not a bad idea; in fact it’s still a great idea. Plus it’s really easy to do, give it a try, just always remember to keep your recipient in mind!

Friday, November 14, 2008

oh how I wish I could sew...

For years I’ve subscribed to a great newsletter from a site called Photojojo. The newsletter provides great tips and tutorials on photography and sometimes Photoshop. They also feature some pretty cool products.

About two years ago, they featured these cool magnetic photo ropes. It’s this wire that has a loop at one end to hang (mine hangs in my cube from a thumbtack) and a weight at the other end so it hangs straight. It comes with these super strong magnets (don’t you love the technical terms I use) that hold your pictures in place.

I loved these and bought a bunch for friends and coworkers. They are still for sale on their website.

Anyways, back to why I wish I could sew. The latest newsletter featured a site called Check this out, you can upload images and they will print it on fabric! That’s right, you can make your own custom fabrics to then (and here’s where the sewing comes in) sew it into something fabulous!

One person created a “quilted love letter” to her brand new niece. She used block letters and created the layout in photoshop, then Spoonflower printed it on fabric that she then created a baby quilt out of. How cool is that?

That’s it. Some day I am going to have to learn how to sew. Someday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a great furniture rehab idea

Its official I’m truly becoming my mother. I am the brand new recipient of a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. My mom has received this magazine for years and I always thought it was a ahem, "mature ladies" magazine. Well I guess I’m now a "mature lady" because I like this mag. I like the recipes (although I’m a horrible cook, one can always dream of making those fabulous dishes), but I really like the decorating articles. Not only do I read the mag, but I also check out ideas on their website from time to time. Recently on, they featured 9 ideas for renovating an old bookcase. While I liked them all, this one really caught my eye:

photo credit:

How many of us had almost that exact same entertainment center in their home at some time? You see these all the time at resale shops. I always think why would someone buy that? Here’s why:

photo credit:

Look at what they did with this outdated bookcase! It’s now a cool laundry station. By simply removing the doors, painting a bright color and adding some hanging rods it becomes suddenly cool and useful. Did you notice the ironing board attached to the side? Having this in your laundry room would definitely make doing laundry more pleasant.

Ok so what if your laundry room is too small for something like this? Well couldn’t you see this in a kids room or playroom. Add bins for toys, you could even still put in a hanging rod and hang dress up clothes on there. I think with different paint choices the possibilities are endless.

I know I'll never look at these MDF monstrosities the same again!

Monday, November 3, 2008

halloween goodness

I love Halloween. I love picking out costumes and decorating the house. I strive to find just the right treats to hand out, making sure I have things for the little kids as well as the bigger ones. This Halloween was great. Jackson couldn't wait to go to school and show off his costume. I think he really "got" it this year. It was the first year he had an opinion on his costume. He choose Spiderman so the very day costumes were put on the shelves at Target we were there picking out the perfect Spidey costume. Poor kid had to then wait nearly 5 weeks to wear it.
Through the kindness of friends, we had two options for "Don't mess with me" Nate . I knew it'd be a struggle to get a costume on the kid. He hates getting dressed let alone dressed up. So the night before I couldn't put off trying on costumes for him any longer. First up was the cutest Tom Arma Crocodile costume on loan from my college roommate. He would NOT let us put the head/hat part on so it was a no go. Out other option was an adorable Old Navy costume our dear neighbor lent us. He actually allowed me to put it on him, but he wasn't happy about it, and let us all know it.
Halloween morning the boy were dress in matching halloween shirts. Can you belive this is the first time I've ever put matching clothes on them.
Anyway, off to school they went costumes and treats in tow. When I picked them up, Nate's teachers informed me he wore his costume only for a few minutes. Not surprising.

Once home it was time for Trick-or-Treating. My mom came with and Gregg stayed home to hand out candy, pencils and fruit snacks.

Jackson couldn't wait to get started. From the second we stepped foot on the sidewalk Jackson was on the go. He literally skipped from house to house.
He Trick-or-Treated like a pro.

Nate was just happy hanging out in the stroller, at least for about 10 houses, then he went home and Jackson, Grandma and I finished up the neighborhood.

I was lucky enough to capture Jackson's excitement on video. It's sure to go down as one of my fondest memories!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

how quickly they grow

Nate had his 15 month check-up yesterday (only about 1 month late, oops!). My little man is growing so fast. I wish I could slow time down. He's my second and last baby boy and he's not a baby anymore, he's fast on the road to being a "kid". Gone are the snuggle days. Gone are the sweet newborn cooing noises. Gone is the soft, never bruised, never scraped skin. Gone is the new baby smell. How did that happen so fast? Did I blink and miss it? Perhaps I should have started this blog a year ago, or even 4 years ago when my first was new. Maybe I'd have a vast collection of memories forever saved in sappy posts I could read back on years later. Perhaps. But even if I had, these special days of babyhood would still be gone. At least this mom's biggest consolation prize are the millions of new memories and experiences yet to be had. Even while I miss those baby days, I so love the little man he's becoming and can wait to see what a great kid, teenager, man, husband and father he'll grow to be.

Appt. stats: 24 lbs 1 oz - 32"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a quick trip to vote

Gregg and I decided to beat the rush of Election Day and go early vote during our lunch hour. I thought going in that our town would only have one voting machine, but given our town isn’t that big, I didn’t think the process would take too long. Boy was I wrong.

There were three people ahead of us in the waiting room at our village hall. No numbers were handed out, we were on the honor system. We took our seats. After nearly 10 minutes of no activity I was getting annoyed and wondered to myself if the “Person in Charge” had gone to lunch or something. Another couple walked in and took the last two remaining lobby seats. The wait continued. It was one of those awkward experiences where everyone tries not to look at each other, like in an elevator. I casually checked out each person waiting, and made up names for them. What else was I supposed to do?

There was “Madge the older lady”, she sat and read a book while waiting. She didn’t notice me checking out her footwear. I guess fall is officially here, she had on leather sandals with thick forest green wool socks. Oh to be old and not care what anyone thinks of you. Next was “Carefree Suzanne”. She also was prepared for the wait with a book (why didn’t I bring something to read?!). She was fashionably dressed and seemed like she had all the time in the world (at least until 3 when the kids get home from school). Next to me was “Retired Joe”. He looked about as annoyed as I was, probably because he too was sick (the smell of Halls mentho-lyptus hung in the air around him) and was probably mentally cussing out his wife for nagging him to go vote early, oh wait that was probably what Gregg was thinking about me. The new comers settled in for a long sit. He broke out the reader’s digest (why didn’t anyone tell me reading material was needed?) she ate the Halloween candy she couldn’t resist opening earlier that day, they could wait, they had no time constraints, they’re retired. Then out of nowhere “Carefree Suzanne” got up and left, she’ll probably be back later or tomorrow, she’s got time. Bye Suzanne, alright, one less person in front of us.

Finally an older gentleman emerged from an office. So it wasn’t a lunch break after all, but a very slow old voter. Come on gramps, didn’t you know there were people waiting. The woman in charge called the next person. I thought ok, now were moving. Nope, it took almost 10 minutes for each person to vote. What was going on here? Maybe the computerized machines were confusing the old folks?

After sitting for what seemed like a week, it was finally my turn. I go into the voting office and what’s this, no computerized machine? Nope first there’s a paperwork the “Lady in Charge” needs to fill out, then she hands you a ballot to hand fill out (flash backs of scan-tron tests of the past flash through my head). Once you complete filling in little circles on the ballot, you have to seal it in an envelope. The LIC comes back in and time stamps it, and watches you put your sealed ballot in a metal ballot box that she informs you gets hand delivered to the county voting board each evening by a police officer.

As I walk out, after my nearly 8 minutes, I said a silent apologies to the Senior Citizen set I had so rudely criticized during my wait. Paper work? Really? It is 2008 right?

Moral of this long drawn out story, don’t early vote unless you’ve got loads of time to kills and for goodness sakes if you do go, bring a book!

Monday, October 20, 2008, a favorite site

One of my favorite sites, especially for the holidays is We always have family asking what the boys would like for Christmas or Birthdays. I'm terrible about remembering what I've already told someone, so duplicates have been an issue in the past, but that's not a problem since we stated using It's so easy to use, you simply create as many wishlists and you want, you can add items by searching through their site, using their special bookmark tool to add from other sites, manually enter the info, or go to a wishlist retailer and use the add to wishlist button on their site. Once you add items you can rank thier importance. It will show visitors which items have not been purchased yet. One of my favorite featurs is that is you buy something from a brick & mortar store, you can go on the wishlist and mark that it's already purchased, that's right you don't have to buy online if you don't want to! Oh and did I mention it's FREE to use?! Go check it out.

We've already added some items for the boys, just go to, click on find a wishlist, and search by our last name.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

happy 75th pops!

Today my dad turned 75! Wow 75. I still picture him as about 47. I would have been around 8 years old then. He'd come home from a hard day of work. Eat dinner and retire to his comfy recliner. Each night I'd crawl up ino his lap, we'd touch heads and sit and watch some tv. I was a daddy's girl and I still am. Happy Birthday Pops, hope its a good one!

Friday, October 3, 2008

dippin' my toes in the water

My first post and already I have a confession. I am a serial blog lurker, some may even say blog stalker. I prefer blog observer. After all I was just trying to find out what blogging is all about.

Up until a few months ago I didn't really know that the blog world even existed. How is that possible you ask? Oh I'd heard of blogs, but I never realized there was such a blog community out there. I discovered it blogs weren't just people posting links and talking about mindless stuff. Oh no, blogging had evolved. How I've missed out on this is beyond me.

During my lurking stalking observing period, I've read some amazing posts written by even more amazing woman. I never realized how sharing bits and pieces of your life could be so fun. I've picked up some great recipes I hope to make (someday I'll be bitten by the cooking bug). I've been encouraged to rethink my decorating (who knew you do do so much with spray paint?). I've mostly been inspired by how open the blogging community is. I've read numerous stories of bloggers hardships or illnesses being shared and bloggers around world pull together to do anything to help out. I really could go on and on about everything I've observed.

I guess the ultimate inspiration is that all my observations have prompted me to start my own blog. I can't promise to be as witty as others, I'm no 5 star cook or decorator, but who knows maybe one day some little bit I share here will inspire someone else. Until then, I'll probably just ramble on about my delicious children, husband and out everyday lives.

So make room blogging world, I'm diving in!

(In case you're curious, I used some form of the work blog 14 times. Yikes sorry about that, I'll get better)