My Holiday To Do List

It really has been one busy fall for our family and for the first time in a while it  looks like it will calm down this holiday season. For one thing we are not traveling, we are having family and then friends coming over for Christmas and then for New Years. This is a first for us, because normally we do make a trip somewhere during this season. I am so looking forward to my kids Christmas break. I am craving some quality time with my family. In the craziness of this past fall I have really felt that I have been distracted and disconnected from them. I was just going through the motions and really not enjoying the moment, because I was anticipating the next thing in our busy agenda. Fun mommy is coming back  for the holidays and I really hope she over stays  her welcome. With all that being said here is a list of what I want to accomplish with my family and friends this holiday season.

gamestack

1) Play with my boys. I really want to keep the electronics at bay this break. I am not crazy we will all be connected, but I want to keep it to a minimum and this includes me as well. I am looking forward to extensive games of Monopoly, Clue, Nerf gun wars and even the possible jog around the neighborhood since both boys have had an increased interest in running. I feel like, it is these activities that make the memories that they will remember when they are older. We are due for some memories like these.

2) Try out some new recipes. Just from a quick search on Pinterest I have found a few new recipes that I do want to try out. Here are some of them:

Lemon Chicken Romano click here for recipe

b3a5a2d801398868fbbb1c19af3320b5

Snowman Pizza click here for recipe

f46be2be2601e5460b265fd3b7e8f5bb

Rudolf Pancakes which are perfect for Christmas Morning!! Click here for recipe.

768f1e2da83496598969ffa39959fdee

Beef Tenderloin, believe it or not I have never roasted a whole beef tenderloin before. I am not sure if I will make it with this port sauce or just make chimichurri sauce. I will be making this along with some shrimp, asparagus and my mom’s special Christmas rice for our Christmas Eve dinner.  Click here for tenderloin recipe.

240690

3) I want to FLY!!! Our dear friends the Barsotti’s are coming to visit us to ring in the new year. They also have 2 kids around the same age as my boys. On one of the days they are here we are going to go to Defy Gravity. Defy Gravity is a trampoline sports arena, it is advertised as fun for the entire family.  I am pretty sure we are all going to have fun!!

4) Craft and Bake: I really want to make this wreath

dcc1eec2a0330b762b95a00f49e73d70

It looks so easy and it’s something my younger son can help me with. Click here for directions. I also want to bake cookies I am by no means a baker, but my youngest enjoys it. So I think this year we will make Santa some sugar cookies. Nothing crazy, but just something that we can do together.

5) Go to see some movies. We haven’t gone to the movies that much this fall, but I for sure would love to go see The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Anchorman 2 and so many others, but those 3 are ones I am willing to pay theatre prices for. My oldest wants to see The Hobbit and I am sure I will take them to see Frozen sooner than later.

Unknown

6) I want to be happy and merry! Most importantly I  just want be and enjoy the moment. School is out next Friday, presents are bought, the bulk of food will be bought next week, so there is no reason to just BE PRESENT and ENJOY!!

keep_calm_and_be_merry

Advertisements

Weekend of Organization

This week we decided to buy our older son a bigger desk and give his old desk to our younger son. For some reason this decision unleashed an organizational beast inside of me. I thought I was only going to go through the boys school and crafts supplies to see what we could reduce. Well, not only did I do that, but I also organized our pantry, kitchen drawers, playroom, our youngest’s closet, and my side of the master closet.  I was proud of myself, because these burst of organization usually result in the purchases of new bins and drawers, etc. I only bought some baskets (that were 50% off at Hobby Lobby) and some of the fabric cubes. I repurposed a lot of our old stuff, putting it in other places.

One long sought-after accomplishment was organizing all the recipes from magazines I had cut out over the years. I got rid of a lot of recipes. I went in with a realistic mindset, and only kept the ones that I thought our family would enjoy and were not too complicated to make.  By the time my organizing rampage was over, I accumulated 10 bags/boxes to consign, 2 bags to give away, and 4 trash bags. I normally do go through things routinely, but this was out of the ordinary. It was almost like an out-of-body experience!

I wish I had taken “before” pictures. I didn’t realize I was going to blog about this, so apologies. Here are the end results of this weekend’s labor:

IMG_2067

I bought all those baskets for under $50. It really helped with making more space and hiding all those loose small items. It’s not shown in the picture, but this freed up half a shelf on the bottom!

IMG_2075

This kitchen drawer was a hot mess. It’s not as organized I was wanted, but it is better.

IMG_2063

IMG_2064IMG_2066

My new recipe binder! The only thing I have left to do is add dividers. I organized them, by drinks, appetizer, sides, pasta, seafood, chicken, pork, beef and desserts.

We have a nice big bonus room upstairs. Until now it has been solely a playroom. WIth the boys getting older and my younger one preferring to play in his room, I decided to make it a den. I consolidated the playroom to one half of the room. I hope this will encourage my younger one to play more upstairs. We got rid of ALOT of unused toys.

IMG_2070

Playroom side

IMG_2071

Den side (our next step is to get posters of our favorite bands).

IMG_2076

This is the guest bedroom closet. I re-used the Ikea book shelve (that we have had for 12 years and 5 moves). I was able to put the inflatable beds on the top shelve and moved the towels there. Also, give guests another place to put personal items. Moving the inflatable beds to the top shelf opened up a lot of space.

IMG_2074

IMG_2073

This our younger son’s closet. I re-used the second Ikea bookshelf here. Before he had plastic drawers that were to the playroom. This looks better because it opens up some space, and I was able to put a lot of space-taking items on the floor. Extra space for books is also good, since we have so many of them.

IMG_2072

IMG_2069

The boys’ new home offices. The first picture is my older son’s. We found this desk at Staples. It works perfect for his needs and for his room. The second picture is my younger son’s desk (that used to be his big brother’s). We put it in the kitchen, because it didn’t fit in his room. Both boys have been enjoying their respective new spaces this weekend.

I can sufficiently say that I will not be organizing for a while. It is just a great feeling though! Do you ever get bitten by the organizational bug? If yes, what area in your home do you usually re-organize the most? I find myself organizing the boy’s room and playroom the most.

Hope you all have a great week! Those on the East Coast stay warm during this cold snap we are going to have. xoxo

 

Happy October!

I love October, and Halloween has a lot to do with it.  It’s not just the actual day, but the whole time leading up to it.  Ever since I was little, I just loved this time of year for it’s cooling temperature, the crispness in the air that, and of course all the fun fall activities (pumpkins patches, apple picking, fall festivals). The spooky atmosphere that also comes with time of year is something I have always loved. I anticipate any new scary movie (not the gore movies that have come to be labeled scary), and love watching classic horror films as they increase in TV broadcasts during this time. Nothing is better than curling up on a chilly night and watching the original Halloween.

This year I brought out the Halloween decoration out a week early. We had a few days of chillier weather and it just put me in the mood. Thought I would share them with you.

Welcome to our home.

The spooky votive tree I got a few years back at Pier 1. The haunted house lantern I got 75% off at Target last year. You can’t pass that up…right?

He is a new addition this year. I found him (on sale) at Kirkland Homes. He sits on our entryway table.

I got the cut-out bats from a craft store. I think they are from the Martha Stewart Home line. I display some Halloween pictures on our mantle every year. I am sure this will cause embarrassment to the boys when they are older. The middle picture features the boys in their costumes from last year, and then I have one of each boy in my favorite costumes. My older son’s picture displays him as a 2 year-old Harry Potter. My younger son’s picture has him as a 1 year-old baby Hulk.

I am a sucker for nutcrackers. You should see my Christmas collection. They sell these at Target. I got Mummy and Frank a few years ago. Bride of Frank and Skeleton were also purchased at the Target 75% sale last year. I think there is room for 2 more!

At 75% off you can’t just buy one! The “Goodies Given Here” sign was given to me by my BFF.

A friend of mine made me this sign. I love it! More importantly it makes me think of her and her lovely family.

I wish you all a hauntingly happy October! Do any of you have fun family traditions you do this time of year? Are there any scary movies you have to see this time of year? Have a great week! xoxo

PS: There is a new monster nutcracker on the block. Thanks to my hubby for picking him up yesterday.

Black and Bluebird Studios is FABULOUS!

About 3 years ago a couple girlfriends and I went on a girls weekend get away to Austin, Texas. As we wandered and explored the city, we came across a bunch of booths selling jewelry, paintings, wood crafts etc.  There was one particular booth that caught our eye. We approached and were greeted by Gretchen who was so sweet and very helpful. Little did I know that this shopping experience would be the beginning of a friendship and obsession for Black and Bluebird Studios.

Black and Bluebird Studios is made of 2 very talented artists Gretchen Grimm and Warren Sawyer. What makes their jewelry so unique and diverse is that they incorporate repurposed and up cycled elements into their pieces. There are really no two pieces that are a like. A lot of their jewelry is one of a kind. Original, Wearable, Artistic Creations is how they like to describe their jewelry.

I probably own about 20 plus of their creations most of them necklaces. Every time I wear one (which is usually daily) I get a compliment. Never fails. What is nice is that Gretchen is so easy to talk to and collaborate with. There have been many occasions when I e-mail her and say,  “Hey! I have to go to this event and was wondering if you could make me something funky and chic.”  A few days later she sends me a picture of their creation and it is exactly what I envisioned! Even though they are based out of Austin, TX  their website makes it easy to purchase your own treasures. It regularly gets updated with new creations. Click here to check it out for yourself.

Here are a few of my favorite creations:

Here are three custom-made necklaces (sorry the picture isn’t that great). The necklace on the right was given to me by my husband on our 10th anniversary. The 10th year traditional anniversary gift is tin. He e-mailed Gretchen and asked if they could make something that had tin in it. They found some tin plates and cut them and made that pretty pendant that resembles a flower. I was so impressed with their creativity. The necklace in the middle was a gift for Valentine’s Day from my two boys. They put two pendants that have their first initial and an antique pendant that has a french quote on it. The last necklace was made for me for a wedding I was in. I asked her for something funky and chic and that had purple in it. I am constantly amazed on how thoughtful, unique and creative their pieces are.

My first Black and Bluebird Studio treasure.

A recent purchase.

I love this necklace. It will probably be a future purchase.

One of my favorite pieces. So versatile.

The above is just a taste of what pieces are available. If you want to get a better picture of what they have created please check out the gallery on their website. There you can truly see how talented they are.

Fall is soon upon us and then before we know it the holiday season will be here. Please consider Black and Bluebird Studios as one of your shopping stops this year. You will not be disappointed. xoxo