Friday Tidbits

Happy Valentine’s Day (weekend)! I have some Love Day randoms for you, if you don’t mind.

I’m kicking off the weekend with a picture of my littlest Valentine and my heart necklace from Britta Ambauen
mom_cade

He is my little lovey and very generous with his kisses, even if most of them he saves for his Baby Bear.

These Too Faced Love Flush blushes would be an adorable Valentine’s Day gift for any ladies in your life that dig makeup.

blushMy minis are from this set and I’m loving both of these colors!

Amelie’s has a Valentine’s Day party today at preschool. I may have bought and assembled her Valentines in January because I am a lunatic. But, hey, that made this week no stress!

valentines

These Valentines are from Target – they are little critters “hugging” a piece of Dove chocolate that I taped in. I also added treat bags filled with chocolate for her teachers. If I were a preschool teacher, I would need to eat a lot of chocolate to cope.

Amelie was not into dresses but recently Katerina Kitty Cat (from Daniel Tiger) has her changed her mind. I asked her if she liked this red one and if she would wear it for Valentine’s Day? Her reply, “Yes! It has a tutu on it!”

amelie

Happy Valentine’s Day! Smooch!

A lovely Monday to you

Hello?

It’s me.

Sorry, we’ve been sick. I’m talking a household full of head colds, a crabby teething baby, lots of skipped naps, one case of croup and one sinus infection with a round of antibiotics. Zack coughed so hard, he burst blood vessels in his ears. Yeah, it has been a seriously rough few weeks. Even worse, we got our friends sick as well and their week included a trip to urgent care. The guilt is heavy.sick

We are slowly on the mend. We’re still up in the night with one of the kids but I’m hoping the nights will get quieter. Just yesterday, Zack noted that our sweet Cade is finally back. He’s been endlessly crabby and it makes our already long days so much more challenging.

I have much to post about and haven’t made time but I hope to remedy that very soon. I miss blabbing to you. Until then, here is a tiny post to start the week because…

it’s officially February!

photo 1

This calendar is from the Target dollar spot, isn’t it sweet? You might not be able to tell, but it’s a pale blush color. The color I’ve been itching to paint a piece of furniture…

And here’s Amelie’s adorable version she made for us at preschool:

photo 2

“A piece of me I give to you. I painted this heart to say I LOVE YOU. This heart is you, the hand is me, for our family is the best that can be. I hope you save it so you can look back on it someday, at the heart I made for you on this special day.”

She calls it “her book” and we like to take it down to look at it often. <3 Oh, I love it so!

Anyway, I thought I’d show you more Valentine’s decor we have up to go along with my festive tray. First, my new mug and plate from Crate and Barrel, thanks to my MIL. It made the Theraflu go down easier.

photo 4

Amelie and I made valentines (which involved A LOT of stickers) when I had to keep her home from preschool last week.

valentines

We also made a banner, which is hung in the living room. Of course, as per usual, I’ve included an atrociously dark picture of it.

banner

Our dining room got some love injected in it too:

photo 5I couldn’t pass up the XO banner and heart wreath because both were only a buck! Speaking of a buck, that stag head is new. I scored it for cheap after the holidays and I’m liking how he fills out that wall. Better than the decor of yore, eh?

I’m still in love with the doors I painted long ago, but I’m dreaming of curtains to soften it all up a bit. Of course I have my eye on these beautiful but ridiculously expensive ones from Minted:

MIN-5W3-CUR-012L_D_PZ

So gorgeous. I’m only dreaming for now. This little space sure has come a long way, hasn’t it?

dining_area_scaledHappy first day of February, everyone. It feels good to be back. <3

 

Organizing Christmas Decor

I finally organized and packed up the Christmas decor. Same as I did for the Christmas wrap, I organized as I went. I lost my fool mind and grabbed more Christmas decor while it was on clearance at Target…which prompted me to buy an extra bin and wreath holder too. So much for “saving” money during the after Christmas sales, huh?

And after much effort, my final Christmas Bin Mountain:

bins

For years, my tree has been generic ornaments and lights…

like this year:

tree

and 2014

xmas_tree

2013 as well

xmas_tree

also 2012

tree_scaledyes, 2011 too

DSC_0033_1

and way back in 2010, when I started this blog!

PICT4761_1

I always thought it was pretty that way. But I know as the kids get older, they will get more involved with decorating the tree. It’s a special part of the holidays, especially when they have homemade treasures of their own to add. It’s one of my fondest memories as a kid. I’m happy to create a mismatched magical tree from here on out. I’m willing to “branch out”. Ha ha.

I needed a way to store these precious pieces (like this and this) as well as ornaments we’ve received as gifts with plenty of space to grow into.

ornaments

I can imagine each kid having a bin of their own eventually but that’s quite a few years out.

We got a few wintery holiday mugs for Christmas and normally I would add them to our current stash but we were running out of room in the cupboard.

mugs

I packed them away as well. I think it’ll be such a fun treat to pull these out to sip from next season, especially the mini mugs for Amelie and Cade.

And that’s it! Underwhelming, I know.

I’ve already been sucked into the next holiday. I’m not sure it’s healthy but I’ve decorated for Valentine’s Day, using a clearance Christmas tree so it kinda relates to this post?

tray

XOXO.

Merry Christmas!

Still posting about holidays past. Sorry. I just want to plop a few photos into a post so I don’t forget. Forgive me. Christmas was sweet and surprisingly, not very chaotic. I started Christmas-ing way in advance this year and that helped temper the stress immensely.

A Christmas Eve Underwear Party (of One)

amelie

Amelie isn’t officially potty trained but doing well in undies. Only one accident so far!

Opening presents with Grandma. <3

gma_amelie

Amelie was overwhelmed and Cade was uninterested so we saved most gifts for Christmas Day and, actually, the days following.

Playing with their new toys with Daddy; he’s very popular:

daddy

While Amelie was getting tucked in to bed, I snuck a pic of my sweet little Elf under the sparkly lights:

cade

And when the kids were asleep, Santa filled their stockings. Oh what fun!

stockings

Christmas Day

I really wanted to get a Christmas pj picture in front of the tree but there was too much going on. Maybe next year!

Opening stockings.

open_stockings

 

Amelie opening hers:

amelie_stocking

Stockings opened. House officially ransacked.

sibs

Unsuccessfully trying to get a picture with my toddler:

mom_amelie

But this guy didn’t mind:

cade_blocks

And then Amelie lost her mind over this little thing:

amelie_bear

bear

The house was a crazy mess and the kids were tired so Hubs and I stepped outside and got a picture together. Flannels are forever, you know.

flannels

That evening, we decorated sugar cookies for dessert.

decorating_cookies

Amelie thought this was a grand way to enjoy dessert!

amelie_cookie

 

Grandma’s a pro.

grandmas_cookiesAnd Amelie too!

amelies_cookies

That’s all for today. Not a well crafted post, I admit, but a post nonetheless.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m breaking the internet by posting about holidays past. Don’t be mad, ok?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I didn’t do much for decor, except for the few random pumpkins leftover from Halloween. But, I did doodle on my chalkboard sign (from Amelie’s birthday party) to remind myself what I’m thankful for.

sign

Earlier in the week, we went to Amelie’s preschool for Pie With The Parents.

piewithparentsIt was totally adorable but a little awkward since we were the ONLY parents that came. Actually that’s not entirely true. Another mom came, super late, toting a brand new baby. I pretended not to notice as she scooted in and apologized to the teachers for being late but I wanted to give her a high five and tell her she was doing an awesome job. <3 I really should have!

Cade thought it was awesome being at preschool, he played and played.

piewithparents2

Anyway, of course, we had to don a turkey barrette for the special occasion.

turkey_barrette

On Thanksgiving, Dad and Grandma took Amelie to the Turkey Trot. It was cold and snowy and magical. Excuse the weird angle, her boots look almost as big as Santa’s!

turkey_trotWhat a gorgeous morning with the fresh falling snow. Here is Bunny, enjoying hot cocoa:

hot_cocoa

It was too cold for Cade, so we stayed home. Next year though, we are coming too!

Zack smoked a turkey in a our grill (yes, you read that right) and it turned out totally delicious. I’m a little grossed out by the turkey prep, to be honest, but I’m glad Zack does all of the work. Zack and my MiL put together such a gorgeous array of dishes: sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pies, brussel sprouts, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. We had leftovers for days! It was lovely.

Thanksgiving but it got me kinda itching to set up a pretty table next year since ours was so bare. The table was actually clean – a win – but stark. I need new dishes first….pretty, pretty white dishes. Someday.

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful. I’m blessed. I’m trying to live more mindfully and gratefully. I’m really working on that.

 

Organizing Christmas Wrap

Whoa, welcome to 2016! Isn’t it the perfect time to talk organization, even if it’s still Christmas related? I think so too.

So, my Christmas wrapping game started out strong.

gmas_package

But it quickly fell into exponential decay as the holidays drew closer. I ran out of steam.

I do love wrapping though. I look forward to spending time alone, listening to Christmas music and playing with pretty paper. I’ve collected lots of adorable tags, ribbon, and do-dads but needed a better system than what I was working with this past season. It was a serious mess.

The day after Christmas, I scooped up a whole bunch of wrapping goodies on clearance at Target, as well as some storage items to better organize myself for next year. I was in a Starbucks fueled craze, kid-free and hysterical. It was awesome!

It seems excessive but here is what I ended up with:

xmaswrap

The tall tupperware is obviously for gift wrap – although I’m annoyed that I have two rolls that are too long for it. Those are stashed in Cade’s closet for now.

Look at all of the pretty pretty paper. I’m in love.

xmas_paper

Much of the gift wrap isn’t necessarily holiday specific so I can use it for other occasions throughout the year. That helps justify my outrageous Target bill…

The big clear bin houses gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and a tin.

xmaswrap3

I picked up a few new gift bags because they always come in handy for those awkward and lumpy gifts. I also pruned out any bags that I’ve been dragging into each holiday and never end up using.

Lastly, the most fun of all. This gold bin:

xmaswrap2

Tags, ribbon, ornaments galore! There was a method to the madness. I tried to coordinate these goodies with the gift wrap so they can all be mixed and matched. I have A TON so I’ll be set for a few years again before I need to restock. I must resist buying anything new next season. I must!

I’m glad I put the effort in now so come next Christmas, all I have to do is pull out these bins and get to work. It’ll be so fun to play with all of these beautiful things that I’ll most likely have forgotten about.

Next up, Christmas decor. I think I need to take it down in stages so I can organize as I go. Wish me luck and simultaneous naps…

 

Get In My Belly: Holiday Haystacks

I know it’s been a hundred million years since I’ve posted a Get In My Belly. The reason for that is because I don’t cook or bake anymore. If it weren’t for my husband, I’d eat tortilla chips for dinner every day and so would the kids.

I whipped up these haystacks for Amelie’s preschool cookie exchange because they are almost the quickest and easiest holiday treat ever. Plus, DELICIOUS.

(For the record, nut clusters are the easiest).

Ingredients:

  • a bag of sweetened coconut
  • a 1/2 bag of melting chocolate (I used Wiltons from Michaels)
  • about 40 mini cupcake liners
  • sprinkles, if you wish

Instructions:

1. I didn’t realize you could toast coconut in a pan. In the past, I’ve tried the oven and it’s tricky to toast it evenly. It’s also messy and awkward stirring coconut in the oven. Instead, toss in a pan over medium heat and stir constantly. In a few minutes…bam, toasted coconut.

toasted

I promise you, the house will smell soooo good.

2. Melt chocolate according to the directions on the package. You don’t want to burn it or get moisture in it. I use the microwave and it takes only a few minutes.

3. Add toasted coconut to the melted chocolate and stir until well coated. Spoon into mini muffin cups liners and add sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.

haystacks

3. Leave the haystack alone for a while because the chocolate takes some time to harden – maybe about 20 minutes.

The sprinkles and little liners are optional but I think it makes it all so festive. Pro-tip: Target dollar section has holiday sprinkles!haystacks2

Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need a quick and easy treat for that surprise school event or holiday get together. These are the best!

You guys, Christmas Eve is tomorrow. Amelie told a lady yesterday that Santa is bringing her a puppy!! Oh my.

 

Christmas Crafts

The Christmas crafts are endless, are they not? It can be kinda overwhelming. Amelie did a few easy ones and I wanted to share. These will not blow your mind.

A while back, a few moms came over and we made salt dough ornaments…just like everyone in the world because it’s an awesome and easy craft. Mostly, it’s the moms doing the work while the toddlers bounce around demanding snacks and spilling things.

salt_dough

I baked a bunch that day but we only got around to painting them this past weekend. It was a great excuse to haul out my craft paints and Amelie loved it!

painting_ornaments

Especially with her favorite guy.

painting_with_dad

Maybe next year, we’ll use a coordinating – instead of competing – color palette…

fox_ornament

In hindsight, I would have made the ornaments thicker because they are pretty fragile but I honestly don’t expect these to survive more than one Christmas anyway. Keeping my expectations low, you know? I should get a sealant for these too but eh, I doubt I will.

Wouldn’t they be cute taped to a hand-delivered holiday card or a present?

salt_dough_painted

Oma bought Amelie this little wooden house from the Target dollar section (at $3). That place is a treasure trove of lovely easy kid crafts. I pulled this out during a crabby day and she was into it. So into it in fact, I had a hard time pulling her away for nap time.

painting_house

It came with red, white and green paints but Amelie mixed them all together in sort of a, uh, Christmas Mauve. Beautiful, right?

christmas_houseI know, short post today. Two days until Christmas Eve, y’all!

Friday Tidbits

I know you are surprised to see me today. I am too!

I thought I’d keep the Christmas train moving since I recently posted about a few decorations in Amelie’s room.

Let’s start with a very dark picture of our dining room. I’m not sure it’s even worth posting, but here we are.

dining room

The lighting in our house is certainly an issue. Let’s focus on the good stuff though? MamaP bought me a new yummy sparkly branch-y wreath:

wreath

On our table, we have an “apricot” poinsettia from my MIL. Isn’t it interesting and cool? Moving on to our grimy counters, I plopped an old Pier1 mini tree and called it good enough.

mini_tree

If you are wondering (unlikely), the little tea light holder is holding a bunch of mini clothespins from Michaels to hang our Christmas cards.

pinsIn the past, I’ve put our Christmas cards on the fridge but I usually run out of space and magnets simultaneously. Plus, I think it looks messy. And now that I have little exploring hands that like to take things off of the fridge and store them in strange places, I needed a new solution. I used a few command hooks and twine and strung them across the “french” doors (warning, another dark picture ahead!):

xmas_cards

Ah, so much better. And if we are *really* popular (also unlikely), I can add another strand if I need to. It’s a much better option that last year’s black hole of effort because they all came tumbling down within 10 minutes!

DSC_0170

Let’s turn our attention to the living room. It’s pretty sparse but hey, I took the time to take crappy pictures so I guess we have to keep going, you know?

As always, a crooked hutch picture:

hutch

I scooped up the “JOY” on Target clearance last year, as well as the mercury glass monogram ornaments. I wanted to put them on the stockings (which you’ll see in a minute) but I feared a curious toddler might drop them, smashing them to a million sharp bits. So hung awkwardly on the hutch they go.

Moving along…

I’m not a huge fan of the side tables themselves, but I love my little “forest”, if you will.

side_table

The small glitter trees are from the Target dollar spot (but they were a whoppin’ $3) and the tall one was a clearance score from last year. The glitter reindeer is new too! Drools.

As for our “entry way” – I added stockings and another reindeer. The reindeer obsession continues!

stockingsThe stockings were an after Christmas score from Pier1 when I was pregnant with Amelie. I had debated on getting a fourth stocking in hopes of having two kids one day, but I didn’t want to jinx myself so I stopped at three. The deer bust was from the Target dollar spot too (at $3 too).

deer

He’s just cardboard but I think he’d be cute white or gold or glittery or all of the above…

Last, but not least, of course, the tree!

I had a little helper…

decorating_tree

Actually. No.

Amelie helped me decorate it for about 20 seconds and three meltdowns so I had to put her down for a nap. I finished decorating with one arm, holding a sad little Cade in the other. He was pant-less because of really horrible diaper rash and my arms were burning by the end. It was worth the effort but in the moment, I was on the fence…

treeA few new tree items this year: a cheap tree topper from Target along with some new silver ball ornaments and birds that I picked up on clearance last year. I’m kinda loving the layered blanket and tree skirt. In the past, I thought it always looked too flat.

Then later, I added a garland (also from Target). It’s so adorable!

garland

There is also pine wreath from the school choir fundraiser adoring our front door but it’s cold outside so I skipped the picture. I’m sure you’re devastated!

Zack is concerned because I need to pick up a few new bins to store my growing collection of holiday decorations. I can’t stop and I won’t stop. I need more! Don’t you agree?

I need to up my outside Christmas decor game though. I’m hoping to grab some lights during the after Christmas sales.

The Tour of Christmas’ past: 2010, 2011, 2012 (we moved on Dec. 20th that year!), 2013 (Amelie’s first), 2014 (Cade’s first; he didn’t care because he was sleeping).

Candace’s Crafty Corner: Fingerprint Ornament

Can you believe it, another post? Better hold on tight, things are about to get Christmas crazy around here.

Remember from yesterday’s post, Amelie’s little fingerprint reindeer ornament?

tree3

We made a handful for family and friends. Here’s how. First, I needed some reindeer inspiration:

reindeer

Second, supplies. You will need clear plastic ornaments, red and brown craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Tartan Red and Vanilla Bean), a Sharpie, and tiny fingers to do the finger printing!

ornament

ADORABLE! Am I right or am I right?

Ok, time to be candid. I stole this idea straight from a friend on Facebook. I attempted to have Cade make his own fingerprints, but he acted as if I was trying to rip his finger off so Amelie did both prints (one with her thumb, one with her pointer finger). She thought it was awesome and I thought it was too until she wiped brown paint on her pants…

Anyway, I wanted to share a seriously quick and easy craft if you were looking for something homemade. My hope is one day I’ll add sparkly red paint to the noses but I know the probability of me getting around to that is solidly in the Unlikely Category.

More Christmas posts coming. Brace yo’self.