Thanksgiving 2015

December 1st, 2015

We stayed home for Thanksgiving again this year, which it fine by me. My kids hardly eat any of the traditional Thanksgiving food so I don’t bother with most of it. I made potato bites and bacon wrapped tater tots instead of mashed potatoes, boxed stuffing and canned cranberry sauce because I love those, and 16 crescent rolls. There were no leftover rolls. I am thankful I only had to cook for my immediate family.

Linc missed the entire meal because he was napping. I would say that was super sad, but I would be lying. Trying to eat at the real dining table with a 1 year old is not the calmest experience, He woke up for pie, so it’s not like he missed the WHOLE holiday. I am thankful I have a baby who naps really well (MOST of the time).

After we ate and relaxed and watched football and ate some more, I ended up a Target in a really long but very pleasant line to get in when they opened at 6 pm. E and I decided we wanted to buy the kids a video game for Christmas and after much debating picked the Disney Infinity system. They were super on sale and I figured it didn’t hurt to try and grab one. While I was there I finished Linc’s Christmas shopping with a Little People set and a GIANT teddy bear. I cannot wait to see his face when he tackles it.  I’m thankful for everyone who worked on Thanksgiving so I could get a good deal (and I’m thankful everyone I saw that evening was in SUCH a good mood).

Also, I am thankful for wine.



Buy tater tots, wrap them in bacon, roll them in brown sugar, bake at 400 for however long it takes for the bacon to cook, eat with joy.



I’ve done bacon-wrapped, fried, Martha’s recipe and traditional. This year I covered it in a butter-soaked cheesecloth. They’re all good, but fried wins.







In case I needed to say it, that’s sparkling cider. The kids didn’t get wine.


My grandmother’s silver, my wedding china, the dining room table E built.


He’s so patient when he thinks he’ll get fed.




Proper feet-up, post-Thanksgiving relaxing




I am thankful for my messy house, because it means it is full of children (repeat, repeat, repeat)





I am thankful Evan didn’t really like pie so I got to eat his piece.

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My Week(265) in iPhone Photos

November 30th, 2015

My photos this week are terrible because I used my actual camera so much I kept forgetting my phone. I promise to post a whole bunch (probably way too many) of those photos as soon as I finish my client editing.



Lincoln really loves Caroline


Pimp my Cozy Coupe


I caught craft herpes from glitter tulle



Outlet shopping in style


Very important iPad work


I wore this baby so much this week



My face is horrible, but Linc is waving goodbye to Target, because Target is our BFF


The pre-Christmas toy purge


Ballet waiting room selfie



15 Month check-up


Poor Brutus misses his kids when they’re at school


Pie maker



Fascinated by the parade, AS THEY SHOULD BE


I escaped my family to photograph a brand new baby


My 8 lb turkey looks so sad on that huge plate



Christmas Tree farm selfie


Dinner selfie


Walking home in the dark selfie



Early Christmas present


The dudes really like the new Star Wars game


You can’t see the mess in the dark

Despite both grown ups in our house being sick at least part of the holiday weekend, we managed to get our tree, decorate, and do a large number of Christmasy-things. I have a bunch of cleaning to catch up on, since that’s always the first thing that goes when you’re not feeling great, but I’m feeling super motivated knowing I have less than 2 weeks until Caroline’s party. Fingers crossed I can get the early prep done so I have time to actually make food. It would help if I started a menu…

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Great Christmas Gift Idea: Personalized Activity Bags

November 26th, 2015

Holiday Gift Idea - Personalized Activity Bags

We’ve finally started winding down, but this fall was the fall I signed the kids up for ALL THE ACTIVITIES. Evan has Judo, Caroline has ballet, both big kids had soccer (two different days, two different games on Saturdays), and all three kids have swim (on two different days). I felt like a big reason we had such a great summer was that we were never home. Busy kids don’t whine about the iPad. Tired kids go right to sleep. It seemed like a good idea to keep us out of the house as much as possible. The problem with a full-time after school schedule on top of both full-time schools kids and a full-time baby is you run out of time to keep track of all the accoutrements that go with four different activities. My car was a disaster of shoes, cleats, tights, hair clips, soccer balls, belts, snack cups, water bottles and goggles. I would go to the store to buy groceries and realize every reusable bag contained wet towels from swim. We would get to ballet and I’d realize we were missing a shoe. I couldn’t tell the kids “grab your stuff, let’s go!” because no one ever remembered where their stuff was.

Then I had a GREAT idea: activity bags specifically for each activity. And even better,  personalized photo activity bags so they wouldn’t get mixed up. Luckily, Walmart Photo has the perfect bag as part of their home decor collection – the canvas tote bag. I decided for the Judo and ballet bags I’d really love new pictures, so I took the kids out for a fun photo shoot. For the swim bag, I used photos from my 365 project, both at swim class and from the beach. It was impossible to pick just one, so I made a template in Photoshop for a 4-square collage. If you want to use it, you can download it here (just click, it should download). It’s a PSD Photoshop file, so you’ll need Photoshop to use it. If you don’t have PS or PSE, Picasa makes a quick and easy 4-square collage – and it’s free!

Here are some of the photos from our photo shoot: canvas activity bags-4
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I didn’t tell them what the photos were for, so when the box came and I told them it had presents in it they were really excited. walmart photo canvas tote bags-2
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Really pleased with himself for putting all his Judo stuff in the bag.

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The bags are a nice sturdy canvas with a wide bottom, so they stand up when I fill them with stuff. I can fit 2 towels and changes of clothes in them.

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All three bags hanging up on the hooks in the hallway, ready to go!

We’ve been carrying these all week and they’re working GREAT. Now when I shout “Caroline! Ballet!” she knows exactly which bag to grab (although the fact that I’m pretty sure we left a ballet shoe at the Christmas tree farm is a problem that can’t be solved with organization). There are 3,500 Walmart Photo locations nationwide or you can order online without leaving your couch. Many of their photo gifts are available for free same day pickup in store, so last minute isn’t a problem (and you know grandparents love photo gifts). Right now is offering free shipping on all holiday cards and gifts through the end of the year (12/30/15) so that makes things like their photo ornaments and mugs even more affordable. A huge thanks to Walmart Photo and BlogHer for making these bags possible!    


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Be sure to visit Walmart Photo’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts.


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My Week(264) in iPhone Photos

November 22nd, 2015

Last week I went to Ulta and spent a bunch of money on makeup. I haven’t bought real makeup in a really, really long time and I don’t think I’ve ever bought all the things the sales girl recommended. Because it’s really expensive. But I’ve been feeling really old (even with blue hair) and I’ve been super unhappy when I look in the mirror, so spending a little (a lot) to feel better seemed reasonable. And you know what? My selfie ratio has gone way, way up and when I walked past a mirror today I was surprised to see someone who looked so happy. I think it was money well spent. Please enjoy a lot of selfies this week.



Beautiful morning in our postcard downtown


Caroline loves church because a) coloring and b) coffee hour


Cotton candy sky



His favorite spot is on my back, even when I’m not wearing him


Totally normal grocery shopping


Sleeping like a posed newborn baby



The sun starts to set before the bus even comes


This coat was an excellent purchase


Waving at the big girl ballerinas



Nursing, sleeping baby in Target


Even the filler paper from Shop Sweet Lulu was fun


Stars in his eyes



So November


They asked me to take this photo


Birthday invites from Jumping Jax Designs come with goodies



Baby sword fights seem like a wise choice


This weather can stay


No nap baby can’t stay awake when he’s wrapped



Raking is the worst


That house is called Greene Gables. They’re not green and it’s pretty abandonded, but I was still pretty excited.


Pile of gravel + waterfall = best day for a 6 year old

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Sofa Fort City {Sponsored by Wayfair}

November 17th, 2015


Our big (ugly) family room couch is one of those sausage-casing monstrosities, where all the cushions are attached, with built-in recliners and cup holders. It’s truly hideous. But while we’re in the “Oh my god where did you get that yogurt?!” stage of children, there’s no point in having NICE furniture, so I settled for comfy and functional in a beige color that hides dirt.

The biggest problem with that kind of couch (besides ugly) is that it’s pretty useless when it comes to couch forts, and couch forts are an essential part of childhood. Luckily, when I was trying to fancy-up our living room last year I found a nice mini-sized couch that a) is also a good dirt-hiding shade of beige and b) has two nice huge cushions that make an excellent fort wall. The kids LOVE that couch – it’s the perfect size for them to spread out and watch iPad, set up all the dolls into elaborate tableaus or just climb all over while they hit each other with lightsabers. Lovingly, obviously. Lovingly hit each other with lightsabers.

I got an email from Wayfair saying they put together some super cute sofa fort plans and asking if my kids would be interested in building one. They even sent a super cozy Lush throw blanket to get us started. Check out their fun ideas:

wayfair blanket fort plans

We chose the Dreadship Blanket and got to work rearranging the furniture, finding supplies and collecting throw blankets and pillows.

Real life talk: This is what passes for “super clean and organized” in our living/play room. It’s half grown-up, finished space (art! mirrored table! fireplace! throw pillows!) and half kid zone (toys! more toys! even more toys!!!). Please ignore the photobombing cat.

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And here’s what happened when we created our own Dreadship Blanket:

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We left the fort up for a week before I wanted my living room back for a grown up event, but pretty much any time they want to rebuild a couch fort I’m on board. It’s the kind of fun, creative, independent play that ends up with about 80% cooperation and only 20% screaming at each other. In case you don’t have multiple kids, those are REALLY good percentages.

Thank you again Wayfair for the fun idea!

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