Monday, February 28, 2011



My sister reminded me a while back that when I was younger, I carved my initials into the side of my Dad's car. These were no tiny initials...I seriously carved one foot letters onto his car door. I have no clue why and when questioned, I tried to blame a friend.  ???

 My son has quite the fascination with letters. "B" was the first letter he learned and for quite a while, every letter was "B". Now he knows almost the whole alphabet and loves to point them out when we are out, when he sees them on signs or boxes or whatever might have a letter.  In my true fashion, I had to scour the WWW for fabulous letter images.  Here is my tribute:

C is for C O L O R

large wood letter D

Make your own alphabet crayons!

Make your own alphabet marshmallows!

letter pillows

modern classics alphabet poster

vanilla poppy seed letter soap

And then when I came across this birthday party, I think I squealed:

Mia and Mike's Alphabet Birthday Party

And then I saw this and it sealed it for me:

alphabet/flashcard party

What a perfect theme for my son's second birthday!  Yay!  This stuff excites me a little too much, perhaps.  My head is spinning!!  Eeeeeee!!  Oh well.  Let the party-planning begin!!  [His birthday is in June, in case you had no idea just how crazy I am.  Ha ha!]

His love for letters started last year just before his first birthday.  Photo by the fabulous Adrian of Canyon Photography, taken in June 2010


My husband was in New Orleans this past weekend, participating in the Caesar parade.  I cannot wait to share his pictures next Monday for a special New Orleans/Mardi Gras tribute!

Have a great week!!  I can't even believe March starts tomorrow!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making it work...

Holy Moly!  Since last Monday a lot sure has happened.  The theme of our week was, in the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work!"

1.  It all started with Valentine's Day.  Before becoming parents, we would have gone out to a fancy dinner.  Since getting pregnant and then having our son, we made it a tradition to stay in and make our favorite hors d'oeuvres.  This year for some reason, we couldn't really seem to get it together.  It seemed like Connor was kind of coming down with a cold later in the day on Monday, so I didn't want to take him out.  Using what ingredients we had at home, we scraped together what ended up being a perfect V-day dinner.  We made it work and put together steak bruschetta, using a harvest loaf of wheat bread with roasted flax and pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and steak.  We never really follow recipes, so we just threw it together and it was fantastic!

So easy and delicious!

2.  That night Connor had a pretty rough night's sleep.  At about midnight, I brought him into bed with us and he coughed off and on all night long.  :(  By morning, he just seemed pretty miserable.  I called his doctor to see if we could get in for an appointment because by this point, he was starting to breathe really hard and I was getting worried.  They were all booked up and suggested waiting until the next day.  Umm...not happening.  I called his allergy and asthma doctor and they fit him in right away, gave several breathing treatments, gave an RSV test (results back in 3-5 days?!!), wrote a few prescriptions, and sent us on our way with strict instructions to head to the ER if things were not improving throughout the day.  In the next few hours, things went from bad to worse.  We headed to the ER at the closest children's hospital and after waiting a little over an hour, they tested his vitals and made him a priority.  Seeing panic on a nurse's face is not something I will ever forget.  They immediately started him on oxygen, then breathing treatments, then x-rays, then bloodwork, and an IV for fluids and meds.  This went on for a few hours.  Once a space was available, they got us a room and we continued with testing, breathing treatments, suctioning [by far the worst thing to watch  :( ].  It was determined that he had RSV.  It was quite an emotional roller coaster for all of us...obviously it was the worst for Connor, but seeing my poor baby hooked up to all sorts of things with a look of panic in his eyes is something I would never wish on my worst enemy.  :(  After being in this room for one night, we were moved to a "real room."  This was a much cheerier space.  I think we all felt a little better after being moved to this room:

after finally getting a little rest  :(

My husband and I tried taking turns sleeping in 30-minute increments, but honestly who can sleep when this sort of thing is happening.  We probably got about 4 hours of sleep in 4 days, but we made it work with  mommy/daddy adrenaline and lots of coffee.  After three days in the hospital, Connor was looking and sounding much better and we were happily discharged.  :)

3.  Unfortunately my husband and I both got sick too.  We were all a little slow-moving all weekend.  Luckily the weather was kind of crappy, so a weekend of snuggling, movies, and comfort food was just what we had.  Those days at home gave me lots of time to stare at the yucky color (a weird gold done by the previous owners) on our walls in the family room/kitchen and how I hate it with the color of our kitchen cabinets (honey oak...bleh).  Have I mentioned before that we have lived here for nearly four years??  I have no clue what has taken us so long to make this change!  I think we just got used to it.  Ugh...anyway, it is definitely time for something different.  I mentioned a while back that I wanted to paint the cabinets, but quite honestly I have no interest in doing that.  If we planned to live in this house for a long time, then they would be long gone, but for now, I think we are just going to paint the walls and see what we think.  Anything will be an improvement, so that is what we are leaning toward.  Over the past few weeks, I have come across ads, blog posts, beautiful homes with similar color schemes to what I want now for our space.  The following have something (a shoe, window shades, a door, a floor, etc.), not necessarily a cabinet,  in each photo with the same honey color of our cabinets:  


All of the above images also contain some shade of gray, along with something with a similar color to our cabinets.  They have inspired me.  I want to find a gorgeous shade of gray for the wall that complements the wood color.  I know it can be done and it will and it will be great!  We are going to make it work.  :)
Annnd...I just felt the need to purchase these two pillow covers (the ones on either end) to go in the adjoining family room:

John-Paul Philippe Pillow Covers

Now we just need to get moving on the paint!

4.  Lastly, oh my goodness...I began craving some sort of ice cream sundae or a blizzard or something.  We  did not want to leave the house, so we made it work with what we had at home and let me tell you...YUMMY! 
caramel delight icecream with leftover allergen-free muddy buddies


~Our week definitely started and ended great...the stuff in the middle was awful, but we are over it now.  Honestly, I think when you can just make the most of what you have, you can take anything the world throws at you.  Make it work! ~

Have a wonderful week!...I sure have a lot of catching up to do!!

[Thank you all so much for the sweet words last week.  You all have no idea how much it meant to me to read such lovely comments.]

Monday, February 14, 2011

A heartfelt letter to my readers:

Happy Love Day! 

 I have been thinking about this for a while, but it really hit me this weekend, after having the best time with my boys and then today on this day of love.  :)  I do not have time to be a blogger.  I praise those who can do it, but I just cannot.  I know that probably sounds ridiculous to some (since it's not like I blog for a living), but it is the truth.  I used to write my posts for the following day during my son's second nap each day.  Now that he is only down to one and since that nap can sometimes only last for 45 minutes, this means that I only have 45 minutes during the day to get things done around the house without a "little helper."  This also means that I have to spend time at night working on posts because 45 minutes often doesn't cut it, not to mention the other projects I want to work on.  I just cannot justify spending time away from my husband and son to stress about writing posts.  And yes, I seriously stressed about posts.  I also feel extremely guilty when I don't get to visit other blogs each day.  Serious guilt!  That is just silly. 

Queen of Hearts Valentine Cupcakes

I have gotten several emails from small shops over the past few months, asking if I was accepting sponsors and while that was certainly tempting, I just didn't want the pressure.  I started this blog mainly for a creative outlet for me and I feel like having sponsors gives me a certain responsibility to make it worth their while and that also stressed me out.  This is just a hobby for me and hobbies should not be stressful, right?  I am not going to stop posting altogether, but have decided to only have one post a week on Mondays.  In the next few weeks, we are going to be starting on some major projects in our home (finally!'s only taken 4 years), so I will be documenting those and posting about them, as well as my usual family story-inspired posts, charitable causes, recipes, and fun finds.  Sooo, I am not dropping off the planet, just now only posting once a week and probably only checking in with other blogs a few times a week.  I know this note is unnecessary, since this is just my personal blog and you probably don't care (!!), but I just wanted to let you know how I have been feeling and to again thank you for reading and being so supportive.  I hope you will stick with me!!  So...ummm...see you next Monday? 


Friday, February 11, 2011

One more treat...

When I saw these pretzels mentioned on The Soho back in December, I knew I had to make them.  I have dipped pretzel rods before, but never the small ones.  I ended up making a huge batch for the wonderful ladies who watch our dog when we travel over Christmas.  For Valentine's Day, they are just perfect because they look like little hearts!!

Put 'em in a jar and you have an easy gift!  We took this batch to my husband at work today, even though it's not quite Valentine's Day:

Happy Valentine's Day Eve Eve Eve!  :)

[Free printable shown in the background, available here!]

My little valentine...

my baby monkey

I had a little pity party for myself last week.  I blame PMS, but I was so sad thinking about my sweet little baby not being able to have "normal" treats like all other kids because of his food allergies.  This happens mainly during holiday times when other kids who do not have food allergies get to have cupcakes and cookies and little chocolates.  There are allergen-free alternatives to pretty much everything out there, so I really just needed to chill out and do more research...but I had a little moment and was so sad.  

My sweet husband came home with ice cream made with rice milk and made Connor an ice cream sandwich with his "safe" snickerdoodles:

He didn't devour it like I thought he would, but he had fun trying it.

Once I got myself together, I poured myself a bowl of Rice Chex and noticed the recipe on the back for muddy buddies.  Before checking online for an allergen-free recipe which no doubt exists, I did some playing around myself.  I semi-followed the original recipe and used 9 cups of Rice Chex, 1 cup of Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips. 1/2 cup Sunbutter, a drizzle or two of olive oil, and 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Honestly, I don't even think I needed the olive oil, but since the recipe called for butter and I couldn't use that, I gave it a shot.  I also omitted the vanilla that the original recipe calls for simply because I was out of it at home.  

These things are so good!

My husband didn't believe that it wasn't the real thing.  My son gobbles it up and asks for more...and that makes me a happy momma.

This week we worked on valentines for his friends.  I took advantage of the many free printables out there and chose these adorable elephant valentines by Ana of Live & Enliven and these precious zebras found on Bunny Cakes!  Then we added a little something and...:

Can't wait to fill in the names and hand them out!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!  I hope you have fun plans!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project Artwork, Day 1

I have always adored children's artwork. There is just something so wonderful, so innocent, and so perfect about it. When I taught preschool, the walls of my classroom were covered with the wonderful drawings, paintings, and collages of my little ones and I cannot wait for spaces in my home to be the same.

a masterpiece by my 20-month old son  :)

Last month was the first time my son really started using crayons. He has played with them for a little while, but they usually would go in his mouth or to the dog. Over the past few weeks though, he has gotten interested in coloring on paper and so I decided to start a little something: Project Artwork. For this project I will be keeping a piece of artwork in a file from various stages of his development and plan to display them on a huge gallery wall of sorts.  Obviously I will keep tons of his artwork, but until things start flooding in from school when he is of age, this will keep me organized with projects we work on at home.

Starting from Day 1 (1/26/11):

I think it will be fun to be able to look at a wall years from now and see one of his very first pieces!  I am still not quite sure how I plan to display everything, but these images I have had saved (that have been floating around the blogosphere) sure have my wheels turning:

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the jan eleni collage™ – an exclusive archival art piece of your child’s personal art.

image from Better Homes and Gardens found here

image found here

It all brings me back to the post I did back in September about wanting to create a family wall.  You may remember I wanted to do a mix of family photos and also personal prints/artwork:

you can click here if you want to be directed back to that post for image credits

I'd love to incorporate our son's artwork into that wall.  I know this post is all over the place, but once again, that's how the thoughts are in my head!  I know I am not the only one with a love for their children's artwork.  There was a group of posts last week about favorite artists and I could not agree more with the sentiments of a few who named their children as some of their favorites.  [This link will take you to Torrie's the bottom of her post, there is a list of the other bloggers who participated last week.]

I cannot wait to continue our collection of original artwork...starting with the work of my favorite little artist.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

12 small things by HAND/EYE

Have you heard of 12 small things by HAND/EYE?  If not, take a moment to learn about this amazing organization:

12 Small Things by HAND/EYE offers high quality, handmade, artisan goods from around the globe. Our collections support craftspeople working to improve the lives of their families and communities in some of the most challenging situations on the planet. Their stories are those of strength, hope, and beauty, and each of our products reflects these qualities in their design and craftsmanship. 12 Small Things by HAND/EYE strives to assist these communities and artisans through commerce.

I am likely posting this a little too late for gift purposes, but take a look at just a few of the items from the Valentine's Day collection, which support struggling communities:

hand woven jeweled clutch ~ Pakistan

glass shell necklace ~ Ghana

wood heart bowl ~ Haiti

tagua nut bracelets ~ Colombia

It's crazy how things work... I stumbled upon this organization yesterday, wrote up this post, and then decided to go to West Elm's site to see if they had any new lamps. I got the chills when I saw this:

Hearts for Haiti:  
Have a heart. Our ongoing collaboration with the nonprofit HAND/EYE Fund and HAND/EYE Magazine led us to these beautiful and unique papier-mâché pieces. Handcrafted by the artisans of Caribbean Craft, an artisan’s collaborative in Port au Prince, Haiti, these whimsical ornaments make a bright, festive statement suspended in multiples in a window or displayed in a bowl. Best of all, 10% of the proceeds of each sale goes back to the HAND/EYE Fund to benefit the artisans behind the hearts.

So weird to see this the same day...but amazing!  I hope you are having a great week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Clearing your dresser...

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My Mom denies this, but I could swear that she once got in an argument with my sister and cleared off the top of my sister's dresser with her arm and everything came crashing down to the floor.  I remember thinking it was hilarious, but my sister did not.  I don't know if my sister remembers this ever happening, so hopefully she will chime in because if she doesn't remember it, then I am surely losing my mind...perhaps it was a dream.

Here are a few dressers that sure would make a sad crash if everything came tumbling down to the floor:

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Mom and Kat, I want your thoughts!!  Did I dream this or did it really happen?  I think I remember a Garfield bank on that dresser shattered.