Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Favorite Holiday Finds

So, I'm gonna go ahead and pretend it hasn't been several months since my last post (and that my sidebar doesn't still say "Loving Spring") and dive right in.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite holdiay finds this year.  I must say, I'm feeling OK about this Christmas season.  Shopping wise, I'm a little ahead of where I usually am at this point (which is traditionally NOWHERE).  And I feel like I have a decent plan for everything else, along with a timeline for execution.  Note Exhibit A:


Now, the plan is not complete, and I've already switched today and tomorrow's plans because I didn't feel like cleaning tonight.  You'll see that I've also had some...uh...input from others in this house.  But that makes me feel even better about it.  Have to plan for fun and relaxation, too! (And somewhere on the list I should add, "touch up the white trim on the chalkboard door!")

OK, back to the favorites.  First up, love these red wire baskets I found at the dollar store.  I'm thinking of using them to assemble some hot cocoa gifts using this recipe and a couple of cute mugs, maybe some marshmallows.  I literally scooped up every last one at my local store.  A lady stopped me to ask where I found them.  I directed her to the back corner of the store with a gentle warning, "I have to tell you, I took a lot of them!"  I didn't have the heart to tell her I took them ALL.  And then I proceeded quickly to the checkout. 


And while we are on the topic of the dollar store, I also couldn't resist these cardboard star decorations.   Picked up three (and had to stop myself from picking up more).


We all know you can't give gifts without ribbon!  Found this red ribbon guessed it....the dollar store (there's a theme here) and then found the black and white ribbon at Costco.  They (Costco) had tons of beautiful fabric ribbon in 50 yard spools for $6.99.  50 Yards! (They also had 400 sheet packs of tissue for less than $6; I picked up a pack of that, too, and am hoping to execute my vision this year of filling the house with these on Christmas morning.)



The dollar store isn't the only place where I can't stop myself.  The $1 Spot at Target elicits a similar bulk-buying response.  Found these take-out boxes I plan to use for goodies...particularly my sister-in-law's mother-in-law's carmels.  I think that perhaps robin's egg blue ribbon embellishment will be in order.


And I picked up some of these, thinking that they could be used for my kindergartner's classmates (but I need ideas for contents...any suggestions?).


Last, but certainly not least, my friend Joe delivers again.  Picked up these goodies tonight....giant gingerbread men to decorate ($3.99 each), sugar cookie kit with mix, cutters, icing and sugars ($3.99), delicious goodies I will bring to the office tomorrow in lieu of baking anything tonight, and a new green tea to try.




I hope you are enjoying your holiday season.  I'd love to hear about some of your favorite finds!  Do tell.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



I've been out of touch....again.  Life has been extra busy - a little one starting kindergarten, new puppy, visitors, work....all good things, but not a lot of extra time!  Hope you are all doing well.  I hope to be back soon!  :-)

{photo: me}

Friday, August 27, 2010

Before you throw those baby clothes away....

A few weeks ago, as we were heading to a restful weekend getaway in Michigan, I was reading the Fall 2010 Real Simple "Family" special edition.

I literally burst into tears after reading this excerpt from the Editors Note:

" A few years ago, I went to the high school graduation party of a girl who lived up the street.  The weather was cooperative, the food terrific, the parents proud and the teenagers appropriately polite.  It was a wonderful night.  But what I remember most was a sentimental gesture from the graduate's mom.  She had saved a selection of outfits from her daughter's childhood and hung them on a clothesline, in chronological order, along the deck.  Looking at the clothes, you could imagine her daughter growing: from the infant just home from the hospital to the college-bound almost-woman she had become.  I stared at the line of clothes and thought, Wow, how organized! And then, How beautiful."

My husband was looking at me like I was crazy.  I could barely even read it to him.  It just struck a nerve.  Maybe because my oldest started kindergarten this week and I know how quickly the years will pass.  Or maybe I was just overly emotional that day.

Whatever the reason, I know I will be taking careful consideration before getting rid of any of the boys' clothes.  :-)  I love the idea of keeping a special outfit from each stage of their life.  And what a beautiful way to use and display them.

Just thought I'd share!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



We are "staycationing" this week.  Ticking things off our summer list, getting stuff done around the house and preparing for the first day of school tomorrow.  Who knows, maybe I'll even get a chance to catch up on some posts.

Hope you are enjoying these last lovely days of summer!

{photo: me}

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Favorite Things: Part 5


You know how much I love lavender, and I fell in love with this scent at Bath & Body several years ago.  I know it says "Sleep," but I use the lotion any time of day, and I use the pillow mist as an air freshener in the house and on my furniture as well.  Seriously never get tired of it - it's such a soothing and pretty scent!

Monday, August 9, 2010

So glad...

...that I decided to plant those gladiolus bulbs this spring.  They are in full bloom and there are so many different colors and varieties.  They are the perfect flower for cutting and bringing inside - long lasting and so pretty!

Linking to: Pure Style Home "Pure Project #12"!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Favorite Things: Part 4


This spring I was on a huge green tea and honey kick.  Not as much lately with the warm weather, but I really love the iced green tea from Panera, so maybe I should just put it over ice?  I think I'll try that. 
So far this is my favorite variety, but I am no tea connoisseur by any means.  There's just something relaxing to me about tea (and coffee).  Really more of a state-of-mind thing most of the time - love curling up (or waking up....or working with...or running errands with...) a nice cup of something.  And if it's tea, it's good for you, right?  Gotta get those antioxidants!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Favorite Things: Part 3


I haven't bought (or received....hint, hint) a nice perfume in quite a few years.  I was looking for something inexpensive and light, and I came across this solid perfume while perusing L'Occitane a few months ago (translation: looking to spend a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket!).

I've always had a thing for rose scents.  I think it dates back to a rose-y Victoria's Secret lotion my Grandma Mickie used to wear ("Her Magesty's Rose" I think?), and then my mom and I found Evelyn Rose at Crabtree and Evelyn which was very similar.

This is also very similar and was only $9.  Plus, it's easy to carry and comes in that sweet little tin!

I'm still in the market for an eau de toilette, though.....any suggestions?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favorite Things: Part 2


This fave was actually a suggestion from the "what's your favorite beauty product" giveaway a while back. Camilla from High Heeled Foot in the Door recommended these minty lip glosses from C.O. Bigleow (via Bath & Body Works).

WARNING: they are a little bit addicting. Not only minty and fresh, but delicious. Ok, that's weird, but they do taste good! Ha! You won't be able to resist licking your lips. :-)

Time to head back to good ol' B&B, these three tubes are now empty and it's time for a refill. I love them all, but I must say that the Cinnamint (in the middle) was my most favorite.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Favorite Things: Part 1

A while back I had a notion to post about a bunch of my favorite things. I even took all the pics and uploaded them, but never quite got aroun to the posts. So, here goes! The first was a gift from a friend who was visiting, and I fell in love immediately. This Tocca candle (Grace scent) smells AMAZING and I love everything about it, including the beautiful box. I keep it on the piano in our foyer and light it whenever we have company. It's not too perfume-y; just a nice light scent. IMG_0554 And the best part? The tiny little matchbook that comes with the candle and fits perfectly in the box. How cute is that?! IMG_0555 Do you have any favorite candles? What a perfect hostess gift. Thank you, Allison!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Always makes me happy

Having fresh-cut flowers in the house always makes me happy. I thought I'd share these pictures from a couple of weeks ago when all my peonies were in bloom. They smelled soooo good, and I was so sad to see them go. I also love this idea from Pure Syle Home - anything green brings a little bit of the oudoors in and feels so refreshing and pretty. (Also LOVE her shed / playhouse idea.) IMG_3223 IMG_3263 IMG_3262 And I was trying to get every last bit out of my annviersary roses. And seeing them in this jar reminds me I need to post about my big flea market adventure with my good friend Jamie. More to come! IMG_3260

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The List

I made some progress on my list weekends ago (holy cow, what did I do last weekend?).  And we finally made our summer list.  Drumroll, please......


It was assembled with input from all four family members, and we actually had a good time putting it together.  And you'll see I had to add at least one item toward the bottom, just so I could check it off (please tell me you do that, too!)

And did I ever mention that I finally did the chalkboard door?  In like January.  And it still needs touch ups around the trim.  Add it to the list! (looking at this picture reminds me I also should have put potty training on the list....and hanging those pictures properly!).

{Inspriation for this list: here.}

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I've had my fair share of paranoia about the foods we eat, how they affect our health, and finding the "right" diet for my family and myself.  It can be a little overwhelming.  I read somewhere that up to 30% of cancers are caused by diet.  Anyway, I'm starting to digress, but this article on CNN yesterday caught my eye. 

It summarizes the findings of the Environmental Working Group (they have some interesting fact on sunscreens as well) where they determined which types of produce contain the highest level of pesticides, mostly due to their soft outer skins.  According to the article, ""You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by up to 80 percent by buying the organic version of the Dirty Dozen,"":

The Dirty Dozen

Domestic blueberries
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
Imported grapes

On the flip side, there are other types of produce that don't have the high levels of pesticides because they have thicker skins:
The Clean 15

Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Kiwi fruit
Sweet potatoes
Sweet onions

As much as I wish I could buy only organic produce all the time, it's not always possible (or affordable), so I think I'll try to consider the lists above and buy organic where there is a significant advantage to do so.
Do any of you worry about these things or have certain philosophies on the way you buy your produce?
I recently found out that an organic farm in Wisconsin (Harvest Moon Farms) will be doing weekly produce drops at my office building from June to October.  I decided to split a full share with my co-worker, so I'm really excited to be able to have a variety farm-fresh fruits and veggies each week from a farm that is all organic (and supports genetic diversity in their plants....that's a whole separate topic!).  After splitting the cost two ways and dividing it by 20 weeks, it was really only about $17 / week.  Plus, it saves me some shopping!  :-)
I know this post was not that exciting, but just thought I'd share.  I'd love to hear your thoughts as well!
P.S.  Can you tell I've watched Food Inc.recently?  :-)

Friday, May 28, 2010


I am SOOO looking forward to this long weekend.  I fully intend to relax and enjoy the absolutely perfect weather we have in Chicago right now.  But, as always, I'm already creating a list in my mind of things I'd like to accomplish as well.  

The first item on my list is....well, as list.  I am inspired by the ever-creative Meg at Whatever.  She recently posted their summer list and I am motivated to do the same this year.  I think it will be fun to try and come up with some creative ideas and tackle them this summer.  We live in Chicago and have seriously underutilized some of the things available to us in the beautiful city.  So, this weekend I'm going to start putting my "list" together.

Other things on the long-weekend list:

  • Finish putting my plants / flowers in the yard.
  • Walk to the farmer's market for fresh donuts (and maybe some fresh veggies, too).  Done!
  • Work on a play area for the boys in the backyard (that is really on my hubby's list).
  • Clean my room and put ALL the clothes away.
  • Some self-pampering, perhaps?  Hair color, bangs trimmed and mani/pedi (all DIY, of course).
  • Maybe switch out the boys clothes and find some shorts (poor children...Gabe went to school in jeans on this beautiful day).
  • Get through a giant pile of mail.
  • Work on thank-you's from my 5-year-old's birthday party (that was TWO months ago...I WILL get them done!).
  • Dinner / cookout with friend(s).
  • Work on an embroidery project my grandma started me on, oh.....7 years ago? MUST finish for her birthday in two weeks (been trying for every Christmas and birthday since she started me on it....shameful!).
  • RELAX.
  • Last, but definitely not least, fill the house with some fresh flowers...particularly a bunch of these:

Hope you all have a perfect long weekend, and good luck with your lists, if you have one.  :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

We had a spur of the moment Cinco de Mayo celebration tonight.  I stopped by the store on my way home and picked up all the essentials for our little fiesta, including the "margaritas" pictured above (non-alcoholic, as the children were drinking as well :-)).  These were sooooo good.  We haven't made them in a while, but it's just limeade concentrate, a can of water and lots of ice.  Wet the rims of the glasses with a lime (or water) and dip them in bowl of kosher salt before you fill them.

Gotta have chips and guac (avocados were on sale in honor of the day!):

All the fixin's for some chicken tacos....onions, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese:

I caught this guy licking the leftover salt from this glass.  He is his mama's boy.  I love me some salt!  :-)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, April 30, 2010


I was browsing at Hancock Fabrics this mornng and came across this fabric in the home decor / upholstery section for $3 / yard!  I LOVE it, so I bought two yards (and want to go back for more), but I'm not sure what to do with it!  It's currently spread out on my dining room table, and I actually like it there as a tablecloth, but was also thinking maybe curtains either in the dining room or foyer.  Or maybe my bedroom.  Or maybe the duvet I've been wanting to!

Any ideas?

I feel like I am drawn to patterns and color, but might have a few too many going on around here.  But I'm determined to find a place for this.  :-)


I also picked this vinyl up for half-price for the kitchen table.  I had been using regular fabric with a clear cover, but this is heavier weight and easier to wipe.


I think I could easily become a fabric addict.  :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

{Super} Simple Muffins


These muffins are so easy it's ridiculous.  I started making them last fall when I had some fresh cranberries on hand and didn't know what else to do with them.  The variety above are blueberry (the last of the ones we picked in Maine a couple years that gross?), but you can add any variety of fruit or mix-in you'd like.

The recipe comes from my all-time-favorite "red and white" cookbook - aka the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  This is the cookbook I always saw (and still see) my mom cooking from.  It has all the basics.  Shameful confession:  I even use this cookbook for things like scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.  :-)


So, just thought I'd share the recipe.  They are easy to whip up for a nice, warm breakfast.   Our boys love them - the batch never lasts a whole day.  You could also maybe try a healthier version with whole wheat flour?

I also add about a teaspoon of turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) to the tops of the uncooked muffins.  It's gives them a sweet, crunchy glaze.  I've done it with regular sugar, too.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teasoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil

Set oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12-muffin tin or line with paper baking cups.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.  Mix just until moistened (batter will be lumpy).

Mix in a cup of fresh cranberries (chopped) or blueberries (or just about anything else....they give variations for cheese, oatmeal, etc.).  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (sprinkle unbaked batter with turbinado sugar if you want) and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.  The muffins are pretty small if you make 12.  I think next time I make them I might either double the batch or just make 6.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

Remember Martha's pom-poms from this post and the Encyclopedia of Crafts?  I tried the mini-version for my mom's birthday last week.  I just layered 4 sheets of tissue, and kept cutting sections in half until I ended up with 12 squares.  Then I accordian folded each one, trimmed the ends to a point, tied a piece of embroidery floss around the center (with enough length to hang them) and then separated the sections.  They took some time, but I love how they look and now I don't want to take them down.  :-) (...though I have lost several to light sabers...hmmmmm....)





Monday, April 19, 2010

Did I mention I love spring?


Couldn't resist posting one more of my favorite pictures from this spring.  Anyone know what type of tree this is?  I really wanted to do a little photo shoot with a magnolia tree this spring (that sounds wierd, I know), but it seems they are all past their prime.  I dream of having a big magnolia in my yard; I love the huge, beautiful blooms.  But then again, I love blooms of all kinds. 

What is your favorite spring bloom?

{photo: me}

Sunday, April 18, 2010



I am really enjoying spring, but I feel like I'm lacking a little bit of direction and I apologize for the absence.  I think I'm just trying to figure out where I need to focus my efforts at the moment.  As always, I have so many ideas rolling around in my head, and so little time to decide what to do with them!  I love blogging; it's a hobby and a great creative outlet.  I have to be careful not to let it become a stressful thing, you know?  I have a habit of doing that - making thing that should be fun stressful.  :-)

So, I will get back to posting at some point soon, once I can find my focus.

{photo: me}

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Lots going on, but we are having a great, low-key Easter weekend so far.  It's my favorite holiday, and I'm looking forward to celebrating with my boys and family tomorrow.

IMG_1383May you have a joyful Easter as you celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Liberty Loot

Would you believe I totally BLANKED going to Target on Sunday for the big debut?  So, I ran out today over lunch to see what I could find.  I started with the scarves / bags / wallets (found shortly after walking in the door) and had one of each in hand.  Then I decided I was being too impulsive and put them all back.  On to the clothes.  I decided this shirt was a must have and pressed on in search of more.


Shoes.  The wellies.  Wellies have been on my list for some time now (recall this post).  Found my size.  Done.  Must....find.....more.....


Housewares.  Wait a minute....where are all the housewares? "Ma'am, do you know where all the Liberty of London housewares might be?"  GONE.  Except something caught my eye....a lamp and shade with an orange sticker (my favorite kind of sticker).......half off for this straggler:

If it's possible to be in love with a lamp, I am in love with this lamp.  I scored both parts for a total of $17!  So, even though I was bummed that everything was pretty much gone, I think it worked to my benefit when it came to them clearancing out what was left! 

And the boots....they are super comfy.  I love them and I have finally checked wellies off my list!

I did call another Target tonight and they said they still had items, but they were full price (most items are sold out online, too).  I couldn't go out tonight but may see what I can catch there tomorrow night!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



I should be prepping for a meeting I have tomorrow, but instead I've been playing around on picnik with this picture.  And now I'm going to go to bed and will get up early to prep, maybe (story of my life :-)).

Good night!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Liberty of London for Target

I have to admit that I wasn't that acquainted with Liberty of London before I was introduced to blogland.  I'm still not very well versed, other than I know I wouldn't mind some of their pretty fabric.  What I will say is this: I am looking forward to a Target line of their products being released on March 14.  I saw the commercial during the Bachelor last night (yes, I watched..even though I only saw two other episodes during the season...sort of wishing that I hadn't...), and I found this preview via decor8 and a corresponding sneak peek via her blog at Real Simple.

I think my faves are the canisters, the pillows and the platters.  And the lamp.  Pretty, pretty!

Oh, and you can check out the intro for Target here, and take your own "patternality" test on Facebook.  I got this result, and then took it again to see what else I'd get .  I like the second one a little better....