Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring... well, not quite.  I've been a busy bee trying to get everything ready for the big day tomorrow.  Luckily my mom is here to help me in the kitchen.  I'm sharing a sneak peek of our Christmas Table.

Hope all you lovelies have a very blessed holiday.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! xoxo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Photo Prop Centerpiece

I put together a dinner activity for the little ones in the form of a Christmas photo prop centerpiece in an effort to keep them occupied while the parents enjoy a holiday dinner.  The kiddos can create their own little memories together and take instant snapshots of each other with these fun props while eating at their very own table.  Here's hoping it will kill at least 20 minutes!  Talk Crafty To Me has these adorable printables available for free download!

Some of my favorite props included are a Santa hat, beard and spectacles, a missletoe with a set of puckered lips, Naughty & Nice signs, Frosty's pipe, Rudolph antlers and his little red nose.

I had them printed up on some nice card stock at FedEx Kinko's and hot glued them onto some wooden sticks.

There's a Polariod Instant Camera somewhere in this house.  If I can't track it down I guess the kids will have to take pictures the "old fashioned" way (wink, wink) and use the digital camera!  How are you planning on keeping the kiddos occupied during your holiday dinner?

Sharing with these fab blogs
Common Ground * Nap Time Crafters * Serenity Now * The Shabby Nest * So Much Better With Age


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Kiddo Table

We're hosting Christmas Day at our house this year!  Yes, very, very exciting.  And yes, as many of you lovelies know, A LOT of work.  Why does my "To Do" list seem to be getting longer and longer?  This week I've been focusing on getting the Kids' Christmas Table ready.  I have a few fun ideas that I'll share once they are checked off the To Do list!  Today, I'm sharing a cute way to display the silverware.  Crate & Barrel sold these adorable little knit stockings a couple years ago.  I SO wish I had picked up more than just four of them.  But they will work perfectly since there will be four kids at the kiddo table this year!

I added my own little touch by giving that Candy Cane some personality.  All you need is some brown pipe cleaner.  Cut them in half and twist one onto the candy cane to make little antlers.

I used some red sticker label paper and a hole punch to make the little Rudolph noses.

And then glued on some mini googly eyes.

Oh Rudolph, you crack me up!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Red Ribbon Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree typically looks the same year after year.   But I'm totally OK with that.  Noble fur is our tree of choice because it has the most amazing & distinctive scent - think Yankee Candle Balsam & Cedar (YUM!) and white twinkle lights (about 900 of them!).  To add a little pop of color, I tie little red grosgrain ribbon bows all over.  It's such a classic look.

But my most favorite part about our tree is the ornaments.  Every single one has a special meaning associated to it.  Unwrapping them from the crinkled tissue paper is like opening a memory from our family's past.  We say things like "Oh, remember this one?! We got this one when we vacationed in Nantucket" or "This was the one your grandmother made when you were a kid."  They ALL warm my heart.

My husband and his mom made this one when he was just a baby - maybe 1 year old.  It's his little finger prints that make up the caterpillar's body.  How adorable, right?!  My mother-in-law handed this down to Andy and I during our first Christmas together.

 Here are my guys hanging their hand print ornaments we made together when they were 1 year old.  

This one always get me.  I forget how big my belly was until I see this ornament.  It was taken about 2 weeks before the boys were born.   Look how peaceful and calm I was... clearly I had NO clue what was to come!!!!

Thanks for coming by to see our tree!

I'll be sharing with Megan at Honey We're Home and Courtney at A Thoughtful Place in their Holiday Cheer Link Party.  Check it out!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Pom Pom Garland

Ok.  So maybe I've gone a little overboard with the Christmas decorations this year.  But Benny and Ty are at the age when they finally understand the concept of this holiday so I feel like I have an excuse to adorn every nook and cranny of this house with red and green.  side note: Benny likes to sing Happy Birthday to the little Baby Jesus in our Nativity scene on a daily basis... it's pretty cute.

Normally, I wouldn't set up a tree in the boy's room but we used a little 3 foot Christmas tree as a prop in this year's family holiday card so I decided what the heck.  There are just a few ornaments hung that the boys and I made together but the star of the show is this DIY pom pom garland.

There are lots of tutorials online about how to make these little cuties.  I followed the Offbeat Bride's step by step process.  It's so easy.  My favorite part was giving the pom a little haircut to shape it into a perfect little fluffy "poof".

For this holiday pom pom garland I used apple red, pine green and warm cream colored yarn.

Then I threaded all the little poms onto a long string of baking twine.  

And draped the garland on the tree.  

The boys are loving it, too. They lie in bed each night and just stare at all the pretty twinkling lights until they fall fast asleep.  It's a freaking CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

Doesn't it look like the tree is getting a big teddy bear hug from a cozy winter sweater?!

Today, I'm linking up to these fun Holiday Link Parties at Hi Sugarplum and Michaela Noelle Designs


Friday, December 6, 2013

Ooooooohhhh Christmas Wreath

Don't you just love the holidays?  There's something about this wonderful time of year that makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.  The music, decorations, christmas movies on TBS, spiced & cedar scented candles, sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire, the christmas tree at night, parties, food, cocktails, presents - you name it... I love it.  In the spirit of keeping my holiday decor new and fresh, I decided to hang some wreaths in the living room.  It's something I've never done before but it seems that everyone's doing it... so why can't I??

These fresh pine and cedar wreaths were sitting in a cardboard bin at Trader Joe's for a mere $5.99.  How adorable are the little pine cones?  And I love that they actually smell Christmas!  All I needed to hang them was a couple of thumb tacks, scissors and some red satin ribbon I already had on hand.

Figure out how high or low you want the wreath to hang.  Whoops, too much slack on the ribbon in the below shot.  Need to raise it up a bit.

One thumb tack was all it took to hold the wreath in place.  Ummm, looks like I need to start dusting up  there!

pssst... pay no attention to my horribly styled cabinets!

I just love fresh greens in the house around the holidays.  They smell SOOOO good.  Next up, the mantel... I'm leaning towards some Paper Whites to keep things fresh and natural.  What do you think?

Sharing with these fab blogs....
So Much Better With Age The Dedicated House * I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lemon Tuna Salad

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving... and Fall season for that matter!  I'm back to share a great recipe that I've been obsessed with for a while.  Eating healthy is always top of mind in our house, especially with the New Year coming... and the guilt has officially set in when I think about the amount of turkey and stuffing I consumed last week!  I've been very good with meal planning healthy dinners for our family each night but to be honest I struggle with what to make for lunch. Not so much for the kids, but for me.  This lemony tuna salad hits the spot!  It's a great lunch option during the week since it's super easy and quick to throw together.  And there's enough leftover for lunch the next day.  It's inspired by a recipe I found on Eat, Live, Run with a few little additions and twists :)

What you'll need

1 5oz can solid white tuna packed in olive oil, drained
5 canned artichokes, drained and chopped
1 roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon reduced fat mayo
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
zest of one lemon
1 cup of baby spinach
1/4 rip avocado, sliced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 teaspoons of good balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

How to...

1) Combine tuna, artichokes, peppers, lemon zest, dill and mayo in a mixing bowl. Season with salt & pepper
2) Serve tuna salad on a bed of spinach and top with avocado
3) For dressing, drizzle lemon juice and balsamic vinegar over the top

Click here to print this recipe

What do you guys usually make yourself for lunch?


Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to School Ready Confetti

Yes, yes, yes I am still alive!  I'm feeling slightly guilty that I've been ignoring my little blog all Summer.  What can I say - we've been very busy.

My parents came to visit from Boston and we went to the Petersen Automotive Museum.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Al Fresco Summer Dinner

I love dining outside in the summer.  This past Sunday I decided to make Andy and I an early Sunday dinner using some of my Farm Fresh to You goodies.  On the menu: Herbed Roasted Fish, Celery Parmesan Salad and a Pluot & Blueberry Crumble.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Farm Fresh to You

Usually an early evening ring of the doorbell means some sort of annoying and way too aggressive solicitor selling something useless that serves no purpose in life (obviously with exception to the adorable cookie selling Girl Scouts... mmmmm Thin Mints).  I'm not quite sure what came over me the other day but I actually answered the door and listened to what the nice, earthy-crunchy type guy had to offer - organic produce from local farms delivered directly to my doorstep!

And since I suck at farming.... Exhibit A

and Exhibit B,  I think it's safe to say that hitting up the local Farmer's Market or even better, having fresh organic produce delivered straight to my front door is a novel idea that will be quite use-FULL in my life.  Enter Farm Fresh To You.

There were no upfront commitments like handing over my credit card # and first born child - just an email address so he could send info on how to sign up for an account.  When I closed the door, I immediately logged on to their website to do some research.  And I liked what I saw!  Each delivery includes the freshest organic produce harvested that week from local farms.  You can choose from a variety of services like delivery frequency, customize which fruits and veggies to exclude from your order and how large or small a delivery you want.  I chose a monthly delivery of their standard fruits and veggie mix.

I kind of feel like I'm on an episode of Chopped!  This is what was delivered right to my doorstep for $31.50.  I think my Whole Foods bill would be at least $50 for all of this good stuff.  A large head of Celery, Cucumber, Romain Lettuce, a bag of Green Beans, a bunch of Grapes, 4 gorgeous Heirloom Tomatoes, 3 Pears, 4 Peppers, 3 Nectarines and 4 of something called a Dapple Dandy Pluot.  I can't wait to make something with those Pluots!

I'll be sure to share the meals and recipes I make using ingredients from this box (this would make a great monthly series for the blog!)

It looks like Farm Fresh To You is offered in Northern and Southern Cali.  I was surprised to see some pretty harsh reviews on Yelp because everything I received was in perfect condition.  Only time will tell if they can deliver the goods (literally).  Do any of you have a similar service like this near you?  Do you think it's worth it?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Come and Knock on our door

We've been waiting for youuuuuuuu....

Slowly but surely (probably more slowly) we keep chipping away at our Summer project list.  Sprucing up the front porch was at the top of the list this season.

I've had my eye on this Pottery Barn envelope mailbox for what seems like foreverrrr and it finally went on sale last month.  And I used a $10 PB gift card they sent because apparently I spend way too much money at their store am such a valued customer.  So my finally tally (including shipping) was $25.  I'm glad I pulled the trigger when I did because this week it's listed back to it's original price.  Strange...

When the new mailbox was delivered, they gave me ANOTHER $10 gift card.  Hey, VP of Marketing, great tactic to drive more sales!  I totally fell for it hook line and sinker and ordered this new welcome mat.

The front door was in some serious need of some lovin'.  Eventually, I'd like to paint it red like the kitchen back door but for now it got a good lemon pledge dusting and a cute boxwood wreath that I hung with some burlap ribbon.

I'm not quite sure what the name of this flowering plant is but I love the pop of red and it's handling the afternoon sun quite well... when I remember to water it!

Linking up with these fab blogs...
The Shabby Creek Cottage * The 36th Avenue * House of Hepworths


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Romans for the Master

Finally, a little privacy!  I'm not quite sure what took so long to install window treatments in the new master bedroom.  Luckily, our backyard is surrounded by tall trees and shrubbery because it literally felt like we were living in a fish bowl for a while.

I'm in love with this neutral linen fabric and the platinum embroidery detail - it's called "Stargaze".

We ordered the shades online through Smith and Noble's DIY service.  According to my handyman (a.k.a. husband), they were relatively easy to install.  All three windows took about an hour.

Some people prefer their bedrooms to be completely dark - I did too when I had the luxury of sleeping in until noon on the weekends pre-kids.  But I opted to forgo the light blocking liner because I like a little light peeking through the pretty linen fabric in the morning.  It's a nice soothing way to wake up.

An inset roman shade was my first choice but unfortunately the window frame is not deep enough.  Blasted!  Who knew that would be something you need to tell your contractor when he's ordering the window.  Ya live and ya learn.

Just keepin' it real... I still need to steam the left panel.  But, come on, who likes to steam anything in 100 degree heat?!

... and I loath making the bed (and apparently combing my son's hair).

So here is the before...

And the after.

What's your preference - blackout shades or a little light peeking in?

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