Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday decor

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I'm not a song everyday girl but I do love the lights and the spirit!

So with that in mind, I present our modest approach.

Advent - I up cycled our old cast iron skillet with an old place mat. Then I took candles via IKEA (three purple and one pink) with a glass vase for our weekly flowers.

Stockings - at some point we will have a unified look but much like my own childhood, it's a rag tag effort.

The monogram was inspired via Pinterest- where else?

The wreath is an updated and fuller version from last year with a bow.

Here we go!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

St. Nick's Day

It's December 6 - Happy Saint Nicholas' Day….

Haven't heard of him?  Sure you have…its this dude

Sorry its not the Coca Cola Trademarked version (didn't know that now did you?)  From Wikipedia:

Saint Nicholas (GreekἍγιος ΝικόλαοςHagios NikólaosLatinSanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343),[3][4] also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christiansaint and Greek[5] Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey)[6] in Lycia. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ ΘαυματουργόςNikolaos ho Thaumaturgos). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the DutchSinterklaas, itself from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of "Saint Nikolaos". His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints.[7]In 1087, part of the relics (about half of the bones) were furtively translated to Bari, in Apulia, Italy; for this reason, he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. The remaining bones were taken toVenice in 1100. His feast day is 6 December.
Growing up, we were encouraged to leave our shoes by our doors and St. Nick would do an early drive by and give us some treats.  Thank you Germany…thank you for this quasi children holiday.

Anyway…I wanted to show off my push present/St. Nick day gift to myself:

What's in the Bag? Coach Legacy Tote Edition

You like.  Its not the bag…its the iPhone 6 Plus!  Love it!  I can read a book, read my calendar without squinting and fighting with my kids.  I was privy to get ios8 a little later than the rest of you as I was too lazy/I didn't get to my home office to plug in my phone to my computer.  I have test drove the new operating specs and yep…I am still in love with you Apple.

Note:  Yes - I said push present.  I get to remind myself annually of the birth of my children plus with the Ladybug's added gauntlet of a party requirement this year, I needed a good mommy gift.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On executing a fifth birthday party

Remember yesterday as I was planning a party?  Well party planning doesn't stop because you have a venue.
  • Two weeks out I purchased gift bags and gift tags - I guestimated 10 maximum with some overage.
  • One week out, I purchased 20 (yeah 20) shirts - 10 in XS and 10 Small.  I did this via Jones Wholesale.  I was a little scared as it is a bare bones site but it was there by Tuesday.  
  • So the Thursday before party day, I got my excel prowess and created a simple worksheet based on party attendee, parent, any special dietary needs, gift tracker.  
  • Saturday, one day before party day, I got to my Target and purchased crape paper, crayons (I made the clerk individual reprice them because I swear I saw one price and it came up another - at 16, yeah 16 boxes and selling out that Target, I get my way).  Also on Saturday, I washed the tees.  I put together the gift bags this - way - two sheets of paper of varying colors, I got LB involved on this with color identification, a box of crayons and some tattoos or stickers.  
  • Sunday, Party Day, a quick run to Walmart for juice boxes and crackers, and the cupcake cake.
We arrived an hour early and set up our scene:

It was fabulous, I even had time to sketch our the Fricker's and Eharm shirts (the latter will have her shipped to her).  I had so much time, I sent Attractive Al to get water for the parents and paper bags for shirts.

It was a hit to say the very least.  I think the parents of our guests were taken aback for a quick second as I had them trace the initial outline of the characters and then had the kids paint to their hearts content.  LB had a blast with friends from church and school.  

Finally, as we wound down the day with pizza and more chores for mommy including taking stock of gifts - I created a special thank you card courtesy of Royal Invitations.  

Again if you friends on FB, you'll see the final product.  I had a blast and now I'm glad its over!  If I didn't cover it - see resources below:

Site:  Michaels 

Invitations:  (See previous party post) Pic Monkey photo editor, Target Photo

Craft:  Olaf, Elsa, Snowflake Tees (see previous party post) - white tees, sharpies (black/silver), fabric paint, paint brushes and sponges, clothes pins, stencils, and paper bags

Giveaways:  Bags (Michaels - assorted colors), Tags (Michaels - assorted colors), crayons (Target), stickers/tattoos (Target)

Snacks:  Goldfish (the saving grace of every parent) and Capri Suns

Cake:  Walmart Frozen Cupcake Cake

Hosting Tools:  Plates/tablecloth/napkins/banner - mix of Frozen and Sophia the First for Target

Whenever this chick graduates high school - then she will get another party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Planning a Fifth Birthday

So Ladybug is five now.

But just over a year ago, after attending numerous birthday parties, she looked at me on the way home from one and said "Mom, can I have a birthday party next year?"  - considering that her classmates' parents rent out moon bounces (that's a no go for November) or community centers (also a no go considering that it is at least $300 for the day), I decided to spend 2014 researching birthday parties for five year olds.

It didn't help that we attended an amazing summer birthday in July that featured a summer version of "Frozen" with Anna and Elsa (no seriously the parents hired actresses to play them and they braided hair).  So I thought Chuck E. Cheese and then I saw the price.  At $15 dollars per kid, this amount doesn't include food.  I'll pass.  And then one day, I was walking through Michaels and saw kids in their craft room for a birthday party and then it hit me.

A Frozen Craft Party!!!

I booked a room which included invites, a smock for the Ladybug, and a staff member to assist with the project and cleaning.  The room rented for two hours - one hour for crafts and one hour for snacks and fun.  PERFECT.

I planned out the Party on Asana (see my rave of the project management site here) and got my materials ready and then I hit a serious snag.  I looked at my calendar and realized that I didn't have invites and it was October 31 and they should have gone out by November 7 - enough time to decide to attend the party or not.  I called Michaels only to find out that they were on "backorder".  What to do?  I want people to know my kid is having a party.  So I went back to my source site - Pintrest and found this:

Yep.  They are awesome.

If you follow her instructions EXACTLY, you will invites by the end of a workday - hell within two hours if you can swing it.  I cut those suckers out while Albert drove into work and had those in LB's classmates' boxes the next morning.  Bam!  How you like dem apples?  If you email me or follow me on FB, you already have seen the result.  

Anyhoo, crisis averted.  Now craft time!  During the party we focused on three designs:

I think I wanted kids to seriously focus on Olaf and used Mom Endeavors' blog post as a guide for the other two designs.  

In terms of food, we choose to go with COSTCO - bulk juice boxes, crackers, and cupcakes.  Can't go wrong.  Right?  

I'll be back tomorrow with pictures and fun.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

November/December Faves

What a weekend!  What a game!  I am tired.  I choose not to do Black Thursday.  After witnessing Fairfax Co. Police standing like prison guards at the local Walmart last year, I am gracefully bowing out.  You can't blame me for that.

This year, we chose to have a quiet dinner and settle into bed early.  Friday, we had an appointment and flu shots for the kids.  We did manage to dart into Best Buy,  Old Navy, and Target but not with the vigor of years past.  We have chose a simple strategy:  each kid gets $40 worth of swag.  Ladybug is getting a Barbie and a Barbie Car and The Fricker is getting Ninja Turtles.  We may, and may being tentative, opt for a bucket for Lego's but we can easily save that for the Grandparents to provide.  All else - clothes, extra toys, other crap can be provided by Grandparents and Godparents.  

Right now and for the next few months we are planning mode at home and at work.  But while I'm in midst of chaos, I leave you with my end of year favorites:

Well I had an interesting year with products so lets give a round of awards:

  • Best Co Wash - As I am CoCo CoWash.  Smells great, feels even better.  For $8 you can beat the value.  
  • Best regular conditioner - Suave.  For $1.50 you also can't beat this for regular weekly washes.
  • Best Hair Serums - Carols Daughter
  • Best Summer Wash and Go Creme - Carol's Daughter Hair Milk
  • Best Fall/Winter Moisturizer - Shea Butter Whip - personal recipe
  • Best Winter/Spring Multitasking product - As I am Double Butter
If you have any suggestions let me know.  But I love that the fact to we each have our own recipe to make our hair healthy and grow.  Okay off my natural high horse.


I have been feeling the following:


I am not traveling these past few months but oh don't worry, I'll be on a plane and in a new city in a few short weeks.  Yeah, I really glad that I didn't have to travel for work September through December.  Although this month, I am booking serious travel for the next four months.  I'm in a new city every three weeks.  To help with mobile project and process planning and comfortable livening away from home,  I got this HOTG Q3 pack from Quarterly.  In Q2, I got this amazing pack that I was able to use right away.

From the dopp kit to the eye mask - I have been using these items in my regular rotation.  When I had to go to a Church retreat with Attractive Al in October, that eye mask brought a serious level of deep sleep (I have issues with strange beds - who wouldn't?).  This quarter, I scored this:

Oh. yeah.

So I leave you with a few more posts in 2014.

***All favorites featured above are based off TFCL personal use and reviews.  This is NOT a sponsored post.***

Thursday, November 27, 2014

For my Auburn Family: If nothing remember this...

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

To make matters more funny -

War Damn Eagle Y'all

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A night out and catching fire from my husband.

So did I mention that Attractive Al loves the Hunger Games?  No.  Not the books…Seriously how long have you read this blog?

I think my husband may have experienced this during his dating life.  Don't look at me.  I know a diamond in the rough when I see one.  Some other chick didn't.  Her loss…MY GAIN.

Anyhoo, we are heading into the Holiday movie season.  When we didn't have kids (circa 2006- late 2009), we could go out every weekend.  There was a time in our marriage when this was the case.  Now, we strategically plan - like tank maneuvers - our date nights.  Who watches the kids, where do we go to see movies…you know average parenting logistics.  

My husband didn't give me a choice….

Romantic Day

I can remember a time that my husband scoffed (he scoffed) at the thought of seeing this movie and didn't know who J.Law was and now he's leaning in during the movies like "why did this chick do this?" all serious and all.  I can already foresee a diatribe