{home & garden} I’m still here!


Oh my goodness! It has truly been so long that I think I’ve forgotten how to upload photos and write a blog post. It’s funny, for so long people would look at us wondering how we made it through a day with 3 kids, 2 years old and younger. Heck, I look back at that year in particular and wonder myself how we survived!

But I have got to tell ya, this year…

This. Year.

I’m pretty sure it’s trying to kick my booty to the highest mountain, and it’s doing a darn good job.

That’s not to say that life is horrible or that something terrible has happened to our family. I mean really, what’s so bad about the back of Daddy’s truck being our current Dining Room? No better place for pizza I say!  And everyone is healthy and all reports on dad have been with flying colors. So life is good.

What has been tough though, is our current life and home project. Meaning we sold our house, bought another total fixer upper, knocked it all to pieces, and moved in with my husband’s unbelievably sweet parents “a few miles” away.

Oh and went back to interior design work.

In a nutshell, that all seems like good times. But it’s the little things that you don’t really think about when you’re planning for it all..

That something you think will take 6 months, is more like 8 months…

That what is normally a 20 minute drive to your in-laws, in rush hour is more like an hour…each way.

That you need to pack (and unpack) 3 different (big) bags for the kids and their activities each day…

That you need to have 3 toddlers (and mom), out of bed, fed, dressed, hair done, sunscreen on, teeth brushed, lunches packed, the house picked up, and everyone in the car before 8:00am each day, and dropped off at 3 different places…

That because you are now driving an extra 150 miles a day, and are in a car around 3 more hours a day more than you ever have been, that you’ve suddenly lost about 15 hours a week (you didn’t really have to give) to do everything else you need to do in a day….

That the 3 current design clients you have are on the furthest, opposite ends of a triangle.

I could keep going…

BUT!!!

The plus to everything is that we have a wonderful place to live while we complete this remodel….

And that we have amazing friends and family helping in so many ways…

SOOOOOO. There you have it. I’m so very, very, very far behind in getting things updated on this here blog that I really need to spend some time cleaning out all the “closets” around here, but for now, I’m just going to be happy with posting as much as I can. I miss you all!! The posts might be short and sweet, but they will be posts about exactly what we are going through. I really want to post our way through the project.

For now, here are a few quick shots from the new house. Need to get our sleeves rolled up!!

Welcome to our new front door! Come on in…

Fab bathroom.

Little demo going on in the current Family Room, soon to be new Master Bedroom.

I do love opening everything up and getting to “see” what will be. Soon there will be a kitchen here. Makes me happy!

Addie & Hay have been great about chipping in. Addie even drew a plan for her Daddy to hang on the wall with her specific plans for the house. She expects it to be red and white, and look like a barn with lots of animals in the backyard. But she’s not sure the hippo will want a pool. Then again, maybe he will to keep cool. Gonna get right on that, Sweet Girl!

Piper on the other hand isn’t so sure about all this. Really mom?!?! This is what you want to get us all into???

Stay tuned….

{family fun} being prepared for all the fun!

Who is ready for all the fun to be had with your kiddos this summer?  Whether they are little punks like ours at 2, 3 and 4 years old….or are a bit older, summer is a great time with LOADS of things to do as a family.

The hard part to summer is juggling being prepared for all those activities.  Thankfully, with a little bit of planning, there isn’t much that can catch you off guard!

First off, you need a few cute bags. I like to make sure I have a bag (or two or three…) that I love. I tend to use 3 for my situation, one is a diaper bag, one is their activity bag, and one is anything that mommy needs.  My favorite tote bags to use are the Halsea tote bags. They have loads of visible pockets to keep mom organized. I’ve also seen friends order these totes and had them monogrammed, “Pool”, “Beach”, “Kids”, etc. Fab idea!

Continue reading “{family fun} being prepared for all the fun!”

{home & garden} moving day

Hi.  Yep it’s me.  Been gone a while.

About 3 months I think.

A crazy 3 months.

I’m so sorry to have left you so high and dry. I hope to be back soon.

Hubs thought it would be fun to sell our house. He likes to keep things interesting.

About a week before Hayden’s birthday in February he got a wild hair that we should put our house on the market.

So we did.

The same weekend we had Hayden’s birthday, a Valentine’s Party, and Piper’s Baptism. Then every weekend after that for the next 2 1/2 months we either had an open house, traveled, or hosted a birthday party.  When that wasn’t happening, we were showing the house 2 or 3 times a day. Fun, fun, fun.

At the time, we weren’t exactly sure where we would move to, but thankfully in the process we found another house in need of TLC…..so we’re doing it all over again.

As I type this post, I’ve got our kids on vacation this week, (after hosting swim lessons for 10 days at the house, and moving)….and Hubs is getting the last few things from our house to his parent’s home (where we will live for the next 5-6 months).  The buyers take possession of our home in about 48 hours.

Our new house doesn’t close for another few weeks, and then the remodeling process begins. The hope is that I’ll be able to show you this next house start to finish.

For now, I thought I should at least tell you that we were still here. So many people have sent emails asking what happened and if I had moved the site…nope, still here, just buried as usual.

Hope you are all well! Be back soon I hope!

{home & garden} new favorite dining chairs & table

I sent this photo out on Twitter & Instagram a few weeks ago and was astounded at the number of responses back. I guess I kind of forget that new everyday favorites to me that just seem like a part of life, people want to know about too. Oops. Sorry about that.  I need to get a little better at actually sharing all our daily favorites!!

Anyhoo.  We had some dining chairs that were more traditional. I still love them, and they add a great look to a room. Thinking of painting them an accent color down the road. But there were not serving well as an everyday chair.

These chairs however??  These chairs ROCK our world!!  They do show fingerprints, but that’s OK with me because they are a cinch to clean with a damp rag and a dry rag.  The do not rock forward easily (which I feared) so the kids have never fallen off and split their chins open (something else I feared). The are UBER comfortable for both the grownups and the kids. And they look so much more updated. Also, because of their “ghost like” feature, they don’t seem to take up much “space” in the room allowing your eye to move past them. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them and their versatility and functionality!

I also love that they are from Ikea.  I’ve been eyeing them since last year, but we finally went for it this year. Yea!

I also very much love our table.  It’s Crate & Barrel’s Big Sur Table. A wonderful warm color. Modern and contemporary, yet works great in a traditional setting. We have sanded and refinished it once a year for the past 3 years we’ve owned it (it gets REALLY BEATEN UP with the kids ~ eating, play-doh, art projects, washable pens, crafts, etc.).  And each time we do, it looks like new again.  We may even add the bench to one side one day and leave our “ghost” style chairs on the other 3 sides…

I would buy both the chair and table again in a heart beat!

There you have it.  My FAVORITE Dining Table and Dining Chair.  Would love to know what you have your eye on these days????

{good eats} a few fave chicken dinners

That looks pretty good doesn’t it? And no I didn’t take the photograph (one day I hope I’ll be that skilled with a camera!). But I’m about to let you in on little secret….

Ever heard of the site How Sweet it Is? You need to know about it. Read it. Follow it. Laugh your booty off from it, but most of all, cook from it!

I don’t know Jessica. But I HAVE tried a number of her recipes, OH MY GOODNESS YUM! And the kids love ’em too.

That one in the photograph up there? THAT one is now firmly on our Favorites list. We made it last night. Easy peasy. Super flavorful! Without a doubt it was approved by the little punks, Hubs, and moi. Click here for the recipe ~ Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders. Make it this weekend. I dare you to have leftovers!

Next up, General Tso’s Chicken. This one isn’t actually Jessica’s recipe, but she does share a step by step photo tutorial over on Tasty Kitchen. OH.MY.WOW!

In our house, we make Chinese food at least once a week, if not more.  It always seems to be a winner with all 5 peeps in the family.  My go to for recipes 99.9% of the time is The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. Simple, fast, and packed with flavor…EVERY recipe! (Jaden has an awesome site too!) But when I saw this post for General Tso’s Chicken, I knew we needed to try it. SOLD a million times over. Make this tonight, this weekend, next week. I don’t care when, but make it SOON. You will not be sorry.

I have never made these. Never tried them. Never saw the recipe before yesterday. But I will be making them soon. Maybe this weekend???  I mean really folks, can there actually be ANYTHING wrong with cheese + beer + tacos + a crockpot???  I think not. Cheddar Beer Tacos, you are now on my list!

Be sure to check out How Sweet it Is!!

Happy weekend!

{Photo Credits: Jessica ~ How Sweet it Is}

{me time} sparkle earrings!

A few months after Piper was born, Hubs and I took all 3 girls over to Fashion Island (a local outdoor mall for those not in OC).  I remember it was a Friday, and I just wanted out.of.the.house. The easiest place to go let the girls run around was the Koi fish pound and we could inhale dinner from the food court.  It doesn’t sound glamorous, but when you’ve changed a million diapers in a week, have not showered that day and just want a change of scenery, it sounds perfect.

I threw my hair back in a bun, grabbed a puffer vest, touched on a little lipgloss, and for some reason, grabbed a pair of sparkly fun earrings.  While the kids played around the fish pond, and I stood nearby feeding Piper a bottle, I noticed a few ladies glancing our way.  Finally, 2 of them walked over and asked how old all our girls were….and as most do, dropped their jaws and asked how we had it all together (which we of course laughed at!).

But the clincher was this, one of the ladies said, “And you even have cute earrings on! How do you do it all?!”

I will never forget that moment!  I FAR from had my act together that night, but to this day, when I wear the earrings I had on that night, I have a new found confidence in what I can do.

A silly little story I know, but I had to share in case there were any other moms out there needing a little pick me up. A new pair of sparkly earrings can sometimes do just the trick!  I think these Stella & Dot Soiree Earrings might just be my next pair! Go with everything, little bit of sparkle, not to low for the kids to grab…

Of course while I was searching Stella & Dot, I saw these cute girl pieces that I’m pretty sure little Hay might fall in love with in her current Pinkalicious love affair! The Allie Pearl & Ribbon Necklace and the Kristin Pearl Bracelet. We don’t own, but we just may soon….

Have a great day everyone, and grab yourself a little sparkle!  All moms deserve to feel pretty!

{Nothing to disclose. Just me out shopping. All images  from the Stella & Dot website.}

{home & garden} tomkat studio ~ valentine collection

I have an obsession with The TomKat Studio.

I’ll admit it, but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise, as whatever I deem to be a favorite, I truly am a loyal follower.  The TomKat Studio. first wowed me with their help on the Three Ring Circus Birthday Party last year.  And of course I’m addicted to their free printable calendar. (And just read that there is a weekly calendar now too….)

{image: tomkat studio}

But they have since been beyond incredible at helping me get ready for the girls’ birthdays this year, as well as our Valentine’s Party.  I’ve also used some of the free printables Kim offers for Piper’s Baptism.  You’ll have to stay tuned for all the details, but know that I’m over the top excited about how each party is turning out!!  And I really can’t beleive the creativity, dedication, and customer service of The TomKat Studio team. You will not be sorry if you use their printables for an upcoming event!  I really love that it’s a simple addition that adds that little somethin-somethin to the day.

But I really wanted to give you a heads up that Kim’s Simply Sweet Valentine Printable Collection is darling as well as a bargain!!  You get every possible printable you could dream of using to make your Valentine’s Day special. Whether you use it for the kids lunches throughout the month, for a little Valentine brunch, something for a school party…whatever the “loving” occasion, the collection really is sweet.  Splurge for the $9.50!!

You could also, download the free printable “Love” banner that was featured on HGTV.

{image: tomkat studio}

Just be sure to check em out!  Such a fun party addition!!

{local love} clean baby, CLEAN!!

I could just end this post now with …… I AM IN LOVE WITH CLEAN BEE BABY!!

But you probably want to know why….let’s start at the beginning.

Gross.

Gross to the gazillionth degree!

I really wasn’t kidding when I mentioned how excited I was to see Xpecting’s newsletter a few weeks ago about Clean Bee Baby’s visit to clean the heck out of carseats and strollers.

Truthfully, I was counting down the SECONDS to my appointment.  Not to mention that we had the kids in the car for 20 hours of driving over the holidays…just the basic life of kids in the car had taken it’s toll.  To know there is a company out there that makes regular stops to local baby establishments (Xpecting, Bugaboo, Granola Babies, Milkilicious, Bel-Bambini, Giggle to name a few…) and who will clean your carseats to the most finite degree, without braking the bank is most certainly a favorite in my book. (Psssst ~ little secret, each new customer gets a free upgrade worth $20 from a basic to a standard cleaning on their first item!!)

The pictures really don’t do justice to how YUCK these seats were.

Maybe seeing the mats under the carseats helps make things a little clearer…

The stroller was in need of massive help too. It lives by our front door and makes daily visits to the park, more than often with a variety of snacks which inevitably end up all over the seat (and almost always end up with ants munching the leftover crumbs the following morning….yuck).

But to pull up to Xpecting and see this very happy Clean Bee Baby van and the super sweet girls that arrived in it, was a site for tired eyes!

See?!?  Super sweet girls! And I am not kidding when I say they pay meticulous attention to EVERY part of your stroller & carseat!

Down to the plyers that remove the gunk and yuck that’s collected in the velcro.

My car seats were like brand new!!!  I DID NOT RECOGNIZE THEM! I’ve been enjoying the crazy clean for a week now and they look just as good, and smell just as clean.  Heaven is waiting in my car for me each day.  LOVE!

Spotless! SPOTLESS!!

The clean surpassed anything I could have dreamed or imagined!

Seriously, can you believe this seat? And check out the cup holder??  The car wash doesn’t even get the grownup cup holders that clean!!

And don’t get me started on the stroller…it has a whole new lease on life now!

PRISTINE!

And then for the deal sealer, with a Standard package or higher, Clean Bee Baby will help you with installing all your carseats again.  Frankly, even if you are the Yoda of car seat installation, having it all double checked and a fresh pair of eyes never hurt anyone. They actually asked if I could leave my car manual so they could check where Piper’s seat was anchored…seriously, thank you!

I don’t even think my husband is this thorough when he’s helping me install the girls seats!

Can we just look at that clean cup holder and seat one more time???

I also highly recommend you sign up for their email newsletter to hear about specials and upcoming events in the Southern California area. Whether you become a regular (and you just might with the addiction to the clean!), or end up like me who manages to get her car washed maybe once every 6 months….do yourself a favor and have the car seats done at the same time. You (and your kids) will be so thankful you did!

{Nothing to disclose. I took advantage of the new customer deal and am a new super happy customer! Had to share the favorite!!}

{family fun} super cute sarah & abraham placemats

Since the moment these placemats arrived I’ve been DYING to share them with you. But I was holding firm to the Valentine surprise for the girls. Then it occurred to me that I COULD share them, because my little girls may be proficient on an iPad, but they sure don’t read this blog yet!!!

How amazing are these!?!? I may be biased since they show my own little family, but I just can’t believe how stinking cute they turned out.

Spitting image of Addie.  Strawberry blonde, short curly hair…kills me!  Piper’s photo was a little blurry, but you can see her very blonde pony tails in the first shot….super sweet.

Hay and her pony.  Sigh….

Then I figured that Mommy and Daddy should have them too, and really the images are generic enough that they can be an adult or a child.  Love these….

All of the images are spot on and I know will be such a hit Valentine’s Day morning on the table.  I’ll let you know how it all goes, but just in case you wanted to do the same, or maybe had an upcoming birthday, these are a GREAT idea! Cute details, great colors, thick laminate to wipe clean, looks good on your table….what’s not to love?? I liked ours so much in fact, that I even had a set made as a house warming gift.

Bet you want to know where I got them???  They are from a long standing favorite, Sara & Abraham!  Check them out, you wont be sorry!! This one could be a Favorite Hall of Famer for me…

{Nothing to disclose, just an always and ever happy customer of Sara & Abraham!}

{family fun} photo booth fun!

Normally this post would have fallen under {home & garden} for parties, however, I happen to think this would be fun to do even for a play date or weekend activity, or even a family photo shoot. So I decided to post it in {family fun}.

One of the activities I chose to do at the girls Three Ring Circus Birthday last year was a Photo Booth. I checked into renting one of the machines you see at county fairs and such, but everything I found was a little more than we had in mind.

So instead I enlisted the help of my most favorite Orange County kids photographer, Sandy Heit.  We decided to use the girls playroom as the “booth”.  My sister drew some fun circus artwork on the chalkboard as a backdrop.  Then with a few great props ~ giant glasses, rainbow wig, mustache, clown noses, pink glasses, party hats, colorful balloons, a great red chair, and of course any toy in the playroom….and we were in business! Below are a few of my favorite shots….

{Click on each thumbnail for a larger image}

{Images: Sandy Heit}

It was a fun activity for the kids, and I absolutely love Sandy’s work with kids! Plus I was able to send each family a thank you note along with their photo. (Albeit I sent them over 6 months after the party…KID YOU NOT ~ 6 MONTHS, that’s how off my life and days were this past year!!)

Whether you hire someone, enlist a friend or family member, or just do it for a play date, Photo Booths are definitely a FAVORITE IDEA!