five on friday

1.  My parents had a keyboard they weren't using so my mom asked if we wanted to bring it home.  I whisked it out to my car before she could change her mind.  The only people that may not be happy with this development are our nextdoor neighbors.

2.  I always dish up the girls' plates before dinner so their food can cool off.  One night Mattie checked her plate and wasn't happy to see tilapia so she grabbed her plate and threw the whole thing in the trash then came to ask me for noodles.  This girl is giving me a run for my money.

3. A friend stopped by while we were eating dinner the other night and she said, "Oh, are you having a special Valentine's dinner?" And we said, "Oh, no, this is what it's like here all month."

4.  For Book Club we read The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  I kind of let the month get away from me and on Monday night I was on page 270 of the 547 page book.  So I spent every spare second I had this week reading and finished at 4:30 yesterday just to check my email and see that Book Club was canceled that night due to snow.  Welcome to Baltimore where I'm not sure why anyone ever bothers to plan anything in January because everything gets canceled for bad weather!

5.  Yesterday we met Bryan for lunch and ate the hugest sandwiches I've ever seen.  We were still full at dinner time so I put together these pretty little salads with the easiest honey mustard vinaigrette- 1 tablespoon each of oil, vinegar, honey, and dijon mustard, whisk together then heat for about 15 seconds in the microwave.  


a salvaged day

Tuesday morning at our house started bright and early and very, very grouchy.  It was so terribly freezing cold, and we were back home after our fun weekend adventure but not quite ready for real life again.  At 6:30 Bryan headed for work and left me to the wolves.  The only sounds I heard all morning were whining or crying or screaming and usually all three at once.  I really thought this would be the day that did me in.  I figured things couldn't get any worse so I stuffed the girls in boots and coats and headed to Walmart.  For once in its life the store (bless its heart) was fairly empty.  We whizzed through grabbing what we needed then headed to the Valentine's aisles because rumor had it there were Red Velvet M&Ms and that was something I couldn't pass up.  And there we found the most amazing sight- a whole aisle full of every size and species of stuffed animal we could think of.  The girls were in heaven as I let them climb over, kiss, and cuddle every single one.  We stayed for a solid 20 minutes and I took a few pictures then a lady passing by insisted on taking a picture of me with the girls "so you'll always remember this time."

And then we celebrated our improved moods with a trip to Ikea for free kids' lunches and free wifi.  And to hear Jilly say, "Mommy, don't you think I need this bed for Valentine's Day?!"  Nice try girlfriend.  Not even a wipes shortage during a diaper disaster or a chocolate milk fountain all down Jilly's dress (we just took the dress off and she went nakey under her coat) could bring us down.


his & hers

For Christmas we gave Bryan a trip to Utah to snowboard and visit his family there.  He went this past weekend and I realized I could stay at home by myself with the girls for five days or I could drive down to Richmond and visit my family.  No brainer.  While he was away Bryan and I sent lots of pictures across the country to keep each other updated.

His View:


Her View:

^ Mattie approved of Sugar Shack donuts

^ It's not a real trip unless someone gets sick

^ to this one Bryan responded "I'm glad she's making some new friends"

We're happy to be back under the same roof, but it was a fun weekend for all of us!


five fact friday

If I'm being honest, this week has been filled with much more whining, crying, complaining, fighting, and not-long-enough-napping than I would like (I blame January.)  But, here are five things that made me happy this week.

1. Mattie saying "otay momma!" (on the rare occasion she agreed with what I asked her to do)

2. A trip to Costco then having Jilly tell me, "Costco is my favorite store because it has everything I want" and later asking Bryan, "Daddy, do you want to play Costco with me?!"

3. This little snowman we made and Mattie's hand-me-down snowsuit that possibly outdates me.

4. Coming in from the snow to have some hot cocoa and turning my back for a few minutes just to find Mattie in the thick of some tasty trouble-making.

5.  A weekend trip down to Richmond!


homemade holidays

I love homemade gifts for the holidays; it's so fun to think of something special for family and friends and then get to work making it.  This year I had a ball making these Christmas gifts.

I made Picture Coasters for my parents.  A few years ago I made coasters with scrapbook paper and they've held up perfectly so when I saw these on pinterest I was dying to try them out.  They turned out so well that I made a set for myself also!  

To commemorate our trip to Harry Potter World I made golden snitch ornaments.  I got the idea here, but her method was way more complicated than mine.  I was going to just use glittery gold cardstock but in the paper section at Michael's I found this awesome stuff that was kind of like faux leather but it was glittery gold.  I know that makes absolutely no sense, just go to Michael's and look for it.  That paper made it easy peasy- I cut out lots of wings, glued them together so they were double-sided, then hot glued them on to the gold ornament (from the Dollar Store.)

I made a couple of Plaid Scarves for friends using Janssen's tutorial.  These actually took way longer than I expected, but mostly just because the sewing gods were not on my side that night.

My favorite of all- the Mermaid Blanket.  I saw this on Pinterest and knew my girls needed mermaid blankets.  I couldn't find a tutorial so I just figured it out on my own and they actually weren't very difficult at all.  After finishing I found this tutorial which is almost exactly how I did it (except I added some detail on the fins before attaching them to the tail and I didn't do waist fins- but those are so cute!)  I made one for Jilly and one for Mattie, and they make the cutest little mermaid I've ever seen.


9 Valentine's books

One of the things that worried me most about our move was coming from a very mild winter to a not-mild-at-all winter.  I can think of exactly one time in California when I thought it was too cold to go to the park.  And now... we haven't been to the park in weeks.  But, the frigid temperatures outside have allowed for lots and lots and lots of time for our other favorite hobby- curling up with picture books.  Lately we've been reading loads of books in preparation for my very favorite day of the year.

I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt - I discovered this book back in college when I needed a picture book for a class project.  But now it's one of our regular bedtime stories because it's perfectly silly and sweet.  Our favorite page is when the mom makes a bug sandwich for her little monster to take to school.  Jilly loves to squeal "groooooss!"

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman - This book is just beautiful and perfectly describes how all parents feel about their children.

Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie B. Friedman - This is just a bit reminiscent of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but in a much friendlier and love-ier way.  

Fancy Nancy: Heart to Heart by Jane O'Connor & Robin Preiss Glasser - We love all things Fancy Nancy, but I especially love this book because (spoiler alert!) her special valentine is her sister and we're big on sisters in this house.

Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George! - Curious George + a flap-book, we're sold.

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton - I knew I'd love this before we even read it because Julie Andrews can do no wrong in my book, but it really was a very sweet story.  Gerry the Fairy Princess is a little Fancy Nancy-ish and she knows how to make it a perfect Valentine's Day.

How Do You Hug a Porcupine? by Laurie Isop - This one was new to us and Jilly giggled through the whole book.

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - Do you know what happens when you plant a kiss?  It grows and grows til it fills the world with love.  I loved this sweet little story.  Also, the book is full of glitter which is exactly the way we like it.

Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit - We love Queen of Christmas so I knew this would be a winner.  Ann Estelle is an extreme lover and celebrator of holidays, which always makes for a fun story.


five on friday

{one} One morning this week our girls both slept in til 7:15 which was the most glorious thing evvvvver.  Except that Bryan, who never sets an alarm because we can always count on the girls waking up early, is supposed to leave for work at 7:10.  Oops.

{two}  I committed an unpardonable offense and let us run out of hot cocoa.  Jilly made sure that it was on our grocery list and a few days later we were back in business.  And, how amazing is this mug Lisa sent me for Christmas?  She's a gem.

{three} Jilly had to get her four-year-old shots yesterday and it was quite a traumatic experience that could only be smoothed over with Chick-fil-A.  I made sure to time her appointment so we could make it to cfa before breakfast was over because Chick-n-Minis = my favorite food ever.  And when Jilly saw that the prize in her kids meal was a Franklin book she asked me, "Is it okay if I keep it this time instead of getting ice cream?"  I'm not sure how I feel about her priorities.

{four} While at the beach I realized that Mattie's hair is long enough for pigtails which is definitely one of the most exciting developments of her entire life.  Also, these girls played quietly and happily with a paper clip for 15 solid minutes.  I had to pick myself up off the floor after dying of shock.

{five}  Bryan has been especially busy at work lately, and when I told Jilly that he'd be missing dinner (again) she said, "So does he just want lots and lots of money?"  You got it girl.