Friday, January 31, 2014


We don't get much of the white stuff here in the south, so when the forecast called for snow I certainly didn't believe it.  But, on Tuesday, right before lunch, it started to snow just like predicted.

It kept snowing and pretty soon there were about 2 inches on the ground.

The snow didn't stop and R was let out of school early.

Businesses were closing early all over and it took my husband 4 hours to come home, usually it is a 45 minute trip with traffic.  We were lucky though, some kids were stuck on buses or spent the night at school because their parents couldn't get to them.  There were motorists that spent the night in their cars.  I'm thankful that we were able to enjoy the snow from our cozy home.

 On Wednesday it was chilly but sunny, the kids played out in the snow all day.

Yay for snow!

It's warmer today and the sun in still shining, the snow is melting, but it was fun while it lasted.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Chilly Celebration...Frozen!

Last week Miss B turned 3!  I asked her what  kind of party she wanted and she immediately answered with an enthusiastic "Frozen!"  I was happy to oblige for three reasons: one - we loved the movie so much we've seen it twice, two - glitter is the best and three - blue is my favorite color!  Selfish reasons, I know.

We didn't want a character party (Sorry, Elsa and Anna).  So, we focused on the colors and the sparkly magic of winter.

Decorations: I started with snowflakes, a step up from the coffee filter kind of my childhood, Martha has a great tutorial.  If you had time, these could become pretty intricate with thinner paper, an xacto knife and a cutting mat.  Time is something that I lack, so I opted for the simple route and used scissors and regular paper.  I hot glued several snowflakes to a length of yarn to create a garland and then hung the rest on silver branches.  I added lights along with the snowflake garland for extra sparkle. 

The light blue cones (trees) in the above picture are made from glittery card stock formed into a cone shape.  I thought that would be easier/faster than using styrofoam cones and covering them in glitter.

Of course my Snowflake Pyrex had to make a guest appearance since it fit the theme perfectly.  I didn't have anything to put in it, so it was flipped upside down and used as a stand for extra cupcakes. Yay, Pyrex!

I made three tissue "poofs" to hang from the ceiling alongside the balloons and I liked them so much they are going up as permanent decor in my craft room.

Activities: we painted sparkly pictures with epsom salts and the kids played pin the nose on Olaf.  I didn't get any pictures of the Olaf game, I must have been busy with the baby.

Party favors: I made crowns from glitter foam and used pipe cleaners to form the back of the crown.  I glued some shiny rhinestones to each crown to make them extra fancy.  

Each snow princess got a ribbon wand and a snowflake inspired hair clip.

Snacks: fun and simple, doughnut hole "snowmen" with orange starburst noses.  Christoph's "ice cubes" Blue Raspberry Jello-o.  Marshmallows on sticks dipped in blue sprinkles.  I put them on sticks so they could be dipped in hot cocoa.  We also served star shaped cheese and crackers and kettle corn.

Desserts:  Of course I made cake pops and cupcakes, I found a new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe here.  The butter cream frosting turned out a lovely shade of Tiffany blue, my favorite!

Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law for hosting, cooking the meal and helping with everything else, I think it turned out wonderful and we had a bunch of little girls who didn't want the magic to end!

 "Let it go, let it go..."

Inspiration found here, here and here.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

3, can it be?

Three years ago today I was holding a brand new baby girl in my arms.  In the midst of life with a 7 year old, a 2 year old and finishing my college degree, I took a quick 6 hour break to have a baby.  We had a midwife and were planning a home birth, but decided (thanks to a tiny rental home), about halfway through the pregnancy, to give birth in the free standing birth center.  Bella's birth was my first experience out of a hospital.  It was AMAZING.  Yeah, it hurt, but it was manageable and quick.  The difference in the care I received from a midwife, compared to my previous two hospital births, wow, it was a world of difference.  And, you just can't beat going home three hours after giving birth.  There's nothing like the comfy-ness of your own bed after a life changing event.

Back to the birthday. 

 This sweet little baby was born three years ago. 

A year passed too quickly and then she was one, oh the chub, I love it!  

Last year she was just getting over the ickies when her birthday rolled around and was a little moody.  

This year she is three, I can't believe it.  Three years old.  My sweet Bella Boo.  

Thank you for the joy you bring us, thank you for your hugs and kisses.  I love your spirit, I love your spunk and even when you are a challenge, I love you.  You are a joy, you are so sweet one minute and then completely sassy and grouchy the next.  Your little lisp is the best and those big brown eyes, I get lost in them daily.  Don't ever change.  You will always be my little girl.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

birthday party inspiration.

I hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend!  We have beautiful weather here in GA, but it is so cold!  It makes it hard to wander outside and enjoy the sunshine.  

All this cold weather is making it easy to prep for Miss B's "Frozen" birthday party next weekend.  I can't wait to share it.  I hope everything turns out as glittery and snowy as I have imagined. 

I'm gathering ideas from pinterest, of course.  You can follow my parties board here.  The pictures below are not mine, please follow the link below each picture for their original source.

Here are my favorite ideas so far:

Snowflakes galore.  Original link here.

Delightfully frozen cupcakes.  Found here.

 Jell-o "ice" cubes.  Found here.

Glittery cake pops, just lovely!  Found here.

 Cute cupcakes, with snowflake fondant.  Found here.

This was my favorite sweets table, in all it's glory, it is beautiful!  Found here.

Stay warm, friends!


Friday, January 17, 2014


So, I've found a new foodie blog that I really enjoy and have been following since early summer.  100 Days of Real Food is co-authored by a couple who came from distinctly different "food" backgrounds but now have the same goals of finding "real" food options in a world that is so focused on the quick, the easy, and the processed.  I have to admit that I have been a label reading Nazi for quite some time, so finding a blog that shared my label reading passions was great!

Our world is so full of processed food that it can be cumbersome finding the time and energy to make healthy meals with whole foods.  100 Days provides you with meal plans, recipes, and even pledges for taking processed food out of your diet.  I think best of all, Lisa posts "real" food school lunches for her kids!  How awesome is that?!  For me, it's pretty awesome, since I've got one school-aged kiddo and we are always trying to find creative lunch options that are healthy and that R will actually eat.

As healthy as I would like to be, I've also got a sweet tooth, so when the girls wanted to make cookies the other day of course I obliged.  I found this recipe on 100 Days and OMaGarsh, these cookies are SO good.  I've made them twice since baking them up the first time.  Who knew whole wheat flour could make such a fluffy cookie?

 My little helpers eagerly awaited while I creamed the butter and added an egg.

 Brown sugar first!

 Now the white stuff.

 Isn't it pretty?  Add a few other ingredients, mix it all up, pop them in the oven and then...

 You've got heaven, in cookie form!


 "Mama, can I have another?"

What is your favorite cookie recipe?


Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Goals.

I've come to realize that I love to keep lists, I love crossing items off a list.  It feels so good to see something with a line scratched through it.  Complete.  Sometimes I even write down something that's already done, or almost done, just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it out (i can't believe I just admitted that).

For 2014, I have a list a mile long of crafty goals, things I plan on painting, sewing or creating.  Instead of listing all of those here, I thought it would be better to chose 6 simple overall life goals and stick with those.  If I get everything else accomplished, those will be like bonuses.

1.  Be present with my kids - This has been a hard one for me since I started working.  I would come home from work exhausted with no energy to do anything else but sit on the couch.  After the baby was born and I was able to work from home, I would spend hours in front of my laptop trying to catch up, even after the office was closed.  I feel like I missed so much, I don't want that anymore.  I want to be present in my children's lives.

2.  Plan meals - another thing I wasn't able to do while working was plan meals.  I would work into dinner time, I didn't have time to grocery shop.  Dinner was usually an after thought.  Nuggets and macaroni again?  That is changing this year.  I am going back to my meal plans and organized grocery lists.  They save our family both time and money, plus I just love to cook.  :)

3.  Blog - I've been terrible with blogging these past two years, I haven't had time.  I thought I should give it up all together and I tried to, but I can't completely let it go.  I am giving it another go around this year.  Let's hope for the best!

4.  Date Nights - With four kids, date nights don't happen very often.  I want to make a point to get out with my man at least once a month.  That probably sounds ridiculous to some, but we really don't ever go on dates.  I want that to change this year.  Even if it's just a quick dinner date, it's still out and without kids to distract us.

5.  Keep up on photo albums.  This one is hard.  I had decided to give up on scrapbooking, but then Project Life came along and I now have an easier alternative to the albums I used to create.  I am starting with Miss L's baby album (only 4 years after the fact) and we shall see how this goes.

6.  Be Happy - Sometimes I get caught up in everything I can't do or can't have.  Instead, I need to focus on what I can do and what I do have.  I need to focus on the happy, instead of the sad.  I need to focus on the smiles instead of the tears.  I need to be happy.

This guy is truly happy.  There is nothing better than a happy baby.

A bonus goal, which really shouldn't be a goal, it should just be what we do, is going to church EVERY Sunday.  We were getting pretty good about it before Thanksgiving and then December happened, Christmas happened, After Christmas travel happened and then we all got sick.  I really want to make this a focus of our weekends, no matter what!

As a side note (a very HAPPY one), I am no longer employed, at a desk job, as of yesterday.  I am so thankful for the opportunity my company gave me.  They were so accommodating and really took care of me, they believed in me.  I met wonderful people who I really care about and who really cared about me.  I really thought I would work there for a very long time, but then baby B came along and surprised us.  After he arrived, everything changed and I just couldn't put all of my energy into a career anymore.  It took months to come to this decision, because I really didn't want to disappoint them after everything they did for me.  But we finally decided it was time for me to stay home and be with our kids.  They are only going to be little once, I can always go back to work when they are older.  Right now, they need their mama, more than any job ever could.

What are your goals this year?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


No, no snow here in Atlanta.  But we did see some snow recently, we just had to drive 750 miles to see it.  We made the long trek up to South Western Michigan for my husband's grandma's 90th birthday.  We left the day after Christmas and it is a 12ish hour drive from Atlanta.  We only stayed for a long weekend so it was a whirlwind trip.  We figured the chance that the kids see snow in Atlanta is pretty much zero.  Snow in Michigan, though?  That's pretty much a guarantee!

 Miss L is a snow eating machine.  She would start munching on the dirty stuff thinking no one was looking and I would tell her to stop.  Her response: "but, Mama, it's not yellow so it's ok!"  Ha, very funny.

This was Miss B's first time in the snow that she can remember.  She wandered around taking it all in.  Taking a taste here and there.  She had enough after being blasted in the face with a snow puff by her brother.

Here's the culprit, taking aim at me.  He loves throwing snowballs, but what boy doesn't??

Sunsets over this Great Lake are amazing.  Although, I have to be honest, I like the summer version of this view better than winter.

I rented a 135mm lens to use while we were there and I used it in the top three pictures.  Oh my, the bokeh is so smooth and heavenly.  I love prime lenses and this was the first time I had used a 135L, it definitely deserves its ranking as one of the "holy trinity" of Canon primes.  Someday I'll have one of my own, along with a 50L and a 85L.  :)  What is your favorite lens?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 in review.

I was browsing through my blog last night and I think my favorite posts were the year in review posts!  It's so much fun to look back on each month and see what we were up to.  This year, after baby arrived, the theme was travel.  Not fancy travel, but family travel.  Family and friends travel.  There's nothing better than a good trip to visit those that you miss dearly.  I hope 2014 brings more of the same!

  January had two birthdays, Miss B turned 2 and Riley turned 9!  We celebrated both with small parties, cupcakes and cake pops.

More birthdays in February, this time it was for two cousins, Miss B loves her cake! Work had me so exhausted, I took a total of 4 pictures with my nice camera, only four.  That's sad.

In March we were eager to get out of the house and enjoy some warmer weather!  We also were preparing for our epic Spring Break 2014 trip to Orlando!

April was a busy month for us, we took the kids to Disney World (thanks Grandma V and Grandpa R!) which also included a trip to the beach, oh how we missed the ocean!  After that trip, the Mr. and I even got away without the kids for a weekend.  We went to Tybee Island, hung out at the beach all day and at night, wandered (I waddled) around Savannah.  We ate at Paula Deen's Restaurant Lady and Sons.  It was SO delicious.  I can't wait to go back as a non-pregnant lady and eat a full meal there!  It was so nice to spend some time as a couple before baby #4 arrived.

 May was full of long hours at work, dance recitals, visits from Seattle Grandparents and the best part was this chubby little man who finally decided to arrive a few days after his due date.  This little guy brings a whole new meaning to the term bonus baby and I can't imagine what life would be like without him.  He's such a little blessing!

In June I didn't have to work and I started sewing again - that felt SO good!  We took a trip up to Lake Michigan near the end of June and spent a week at the lake getting sandy and tan.  It was wonderful.

In July I went back to work after a much-too-short maternity leave.  Thankfully, my job was willing to let me work from home for a few months.  Despite having to work, we carved out beach time and went to St. Simons Island.  At the end of the month, I took a trip back to Seattle with the three little kids to pick up my oldest who spent the summer there.  Thankfully, flying with a 4 year old, 2 year old and a 2 month old wasn't that bad!  That's what praying does, y'all.

We spent the first part of August in Seattle enjoying our friends and family.  Oh, how I miss them.  I flew back home with all four kids without any help (yes, I'm brave or completely insane).  School started mid-August and we fell back into our daily routine.  I finally got a full frame camera and said goodbye to my little Rebel that I had for over three years.  Nearly 40,000 clicks later that little camera taught me everything is know about photography, sometimes I even miss that loud, snappy, shutter.

 In September, we enjoyed the warm summer days and I was able to work from home for good!  Both girls started ballet and our schedules were packed!  Above is the first picture taken by my 6D that I've posted on this blog.  Please gawk at the beauty.  :)

This little guy turned 5 months in October!  Work was so busy this month, it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.  Still, I was thankful that I was able to work from home and this sweet baby didn't have to go to daycare.

We took family photos in November (so fun!) and made it back to Seattle for Thanksgiving - so much to be thankful for!  A week after this picture was taken, I hacked 7 inches off of my hair!

December brought a big #5 birthday for Miss L, Christmas parties galore, cookies, hosting my first Christmas gathering and a spur-of-the-moment trip up to Michigan (the day after Christmas) to see some snow and wish my husband's grandma a happy 90th birthday!  Whew, I am still recovering from December.

Here's to a wonderful 2014, friends!