Monday, December 20, 2010

Candy Cane Hearts

Here we are again, a few short days shy of another Christmas. Every year I think just about all of us comment on how fast the year flies by and how quickly Christmas comes each year. It really is true though isn't it?

I can remember being in college and aching to get out into the working world and to not have constant homework and papers to write. My mother would always say time would go by very quickly once I got out of college. I remember thinking she was crazy, but once again, Mom is right!

Are you familiar with Saucy? She is always posting wonderful baking ideas. This was the second year that I spotted her candy cane hearts and I knew I had to make some. These are super super easy and make such a nice gift all on their own or as an add on. I'm giving these out with cookie tins and homemade hot cocoa kits. I gave a few out to co-workers this morning and they were a big hit!

Simply take some miniature candy canes, pose them in hearts atop of some parchment paper, melt some white chocolate (or milk or dark chocolate), spoon a bit into the center (I used a baby spoon and found that was just the right amount) and then use a skewer or toothpick to manipulate the chocolate all around the center, top with some sprinkles and let set and there you have it! I packaged these in Christmas themed cello bags, punched some holes in the top and tied with satin ribbon. They make a very festive presentation!

I'll be finishing up Christmas preparations the rest of this week and will be enjoying a week off afterwards. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Christmas Mantle

Each Christmas (and truthfully each season) the fireplace mantle proves a challenge to me. I can never seem to get it quite the way I envision it. This year was no different and at the end of the Christmas decorating blitz we were faced with a somewhat empty mantle. The candlesticks, small nativity, and owl were perched in their full glory but there was a lot of empty space. I set the concern aside (as part of my "I'm not going to stress over the little things this holiday season" mantra) and went on with my days. As I was going through some favorite blogs during nap time yesterday I came across this post. It is a treasure trove of links to free Christmas/holiday printables. I selected two of my favorites, printed them off and popped them into some frames that I already had and viola....a much more festive and put together Christmas mantle in under 5 minutes and for free. The best part (other than being free) is that hubby really likes this too. He and I differ greatly on home decor.

Another score for us, this past weekend we selected our Christmas tree and strung up the lights and ornaments without any kind of argument! This is the first time in seven years. Perhaps I should keep my mantra going all year long...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Sweet Painting and a Fond Farewell

I recently received a wonderful gift from Holly. She is such a talented artist. She made this beautiful watercolor with Chelsea's name. In a full circle moment, I had some vintage wallpaper I had purchased from Holly a while back and thought it would make the perfect mat for her darling painting. I got the frame on sale and spray painted it with some paint I had on hand.

It is now hanging in Chelsea's room and she loves to look at it. I do too!

Photo by Sue
On a more somber note, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to Kipper. He was the best friend of one of our own, Ms. Susie Q of Rabbit Run Cottage. Kipper crossed the Rainbow Bridge earlier this week. Sue's Kipper posts always brought a smile to my face. There are some great ones here, here and here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I was checking out my Facebook newsfeed when I came across Monica's status stating she was making chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. Immediately I was intrigued and went straight to the link she provided. There I found a new to me blog that immediately captured my attention. Amanda is full of good ideas and I knew I wanted to make these cupcakes asap! Amanda's photos are much better but here is my process starting with the cookie dough balls. These go into the freezer overnight so that they don't bake inside the cupcake. Genius! The dough also does not contain egg so no worries about raw egg contamination.

I took the easy way out and used a chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes. You simply fill the papers and plop a frozen cookie dough ball on top.

I think I put a bit too much batter in my cups as they runeth over but the frosting will fix all that.

Topped with yummy cookie dough frosting - these things are so darn good!

A cross shot of the yummy cookie dough goodness lurking within. For Amanda's full recipe and post - click here.
P.S. My blog is in the process of being spruced up by Lindsey at Sweet Simplicity Designs. What do you think? I'm going to be changing the sidebar content over the next few weeks. I'm really liking the more streamlined look and the non-squished appearance my blog had before.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I Am...And What I'm Not

Yikes, it has been a while since the last post. This has prompted me to think about my blog and the direction it should take and what I am, and what I am not.

What I am not...
...a gramatically correct writer
...a frequent poster
...a mini Martha Stewart (or anywhere close to her for that matter!)
...a person that always has interesting things to share
...a good photograher
...someone who downloads their photos as often as she should
...someone who edits their photos as much as she should

What I am...
...a mother to a growing toddler
...a wife
...a daugther
...a friend
...a full-time employee of a university
...a person who gets infinite joy and ideas from blogging
...a person who is constantly (nearly daily) reading/perusing blogs even if I'm not updating mine
...a person who simply cannot keep up with frequent blog posting at this stage of my life
...a person who so enjoys connecting with you via my infrequent posts and via your posts

Phew, now that I've gotten that off my chest I do want to let you all know that this blog will be underoing a makeover over the next several months. I'm looking to create a more visually appealing page and a place that gives me joy and motivates me to sit down and download those photos! (Trust me, I want to, but the Babes has been waking every night due to a persistent cough and as a result I'm going to bed right after she does!). I have several half written posts and things I want to share. It may be infrequent and not accompanied by the best photography but that is me and I've accepted that my blog can't be as beautiful as some and it wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of my life right now anyway! My house isn't picture perfect (I'm in a constant struggle to better organize the toy area that is a part of my living room since we don't have a family/play room). I don't have the time that I used to to create jewelry and crafty things but that is okay because that time is now spent on my little girl and slowly but surely those creative things sneak in here and there.

All of this is my very round about way of asking - what do you like about my blog? What would you like to see me include more of? Is there anything that really turns you off? Would you like me to post more photos? Are there things you'd like to see me talk about (My travails as a new mommy? My crafty adventures when I do get to them? More info about CT?)

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Little Clip

It has been one of those months! Going through a particularly stressful/busy period at work and trying to keep my head above water. Chelsea is also starting a new stage - tantrums! Oh the fun. I completely understand she is throwing tantrums because she can't fully communicate her wants/needs and because she is testing her boundaries but it is still quite draining. The biggest obstacles have become diaper changing and getting into the car. She loves to walk to the car whenever we are going somewhere or when it is time to go home. Once we reach the point where I need to pick her up and put her in the car - happy time is over. She starts screaming, crying, stiffens so I can't strap her into her seat. The works. I've been ignoring the behavior (as I do with all tantrums) until she relaxes enough to get her strapped in. There are times this is taking 5 minutes or more and then she is still likely crying and carrying on for the first portion of the car ride. Ugh. I'm posting this not to moan and groan but because I'm hoping some of the more experienced moms out there may have some suggestions on how to make the transition into the car less stressful for us both. I've tried keeping it light, singing, making funny faces, even giving her a snack once she gets in the car. So far nothing is working.

This brings me to this lighthearted clip. I was sitting at work when an e-mail popped up with this clip. It is so sweet, innocent, and adorable and brings us back to a fun time in movies/entertainment before the rise of all this reality nonsense (I like reality shows but the fame some of these people gain is beyond me - can you say the Kardashians?). I'm only 32 but already turning into a sour puss!

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Time Goes By

Last year I posted the 3 month silhouette I did of Chelsea. I plan to make one a year as a fun way to track her growth. I just completed the second one and can't believe how much she has changed in a year! (That is our engagement photo.)

She is such a little girl now. No more baby.

She went from squishy baby with no neck... sweet little girl with loads of curls. I'm liking the way they look grouped with our engagement photo. Jeff hates putting nails in the wall and the resulting holes when I inevitably change my mind about placements. For the silhouettes I used Command Adhesive Strips. I love these things! (Not getting anything to say that - just want to share my new found best friend). They are easy to install and come off cleanly. I have started keeping them on hand.

Also - I recently had a comment from someone who offered to share photos of their yellow living room and how they decorated but they didn't leave their comment info and it doesn't look like they have a blog - if it was you please comment again and leave your contact info. Looks like we are going to paint (it is all I want for my birthday next month!) but I've been saying that for quite a while now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yea or Nea?

So I'm a little late to the party with this one. The new redecorated Oval Office was unveiled recently and I've seen several blog posts about it. Most seem to be giving it a big thumbs down. Too boring. Too beige. Too blah.

At first I agreed but then I started to consider what this office is used for. Official United States business. While that doesn't necessarily mean blah, boring, bland - I don't think it means life of the party, lots of patterns, prints, colors either.

It seems to be a comfortable space and maybe a bit more informal than past presidents have chosen. But for the impromptu staff meeting or chat, it seems like it would work.

What do you think about the new space? Do you give it a yea or a nea?
P.S. This link has some great back story on the new digs as well as photos of past Oval Offices.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nut Free Pesto

I mentioned that we had an abudance of basil and that I wanted to make some pesto. I've been seeing pesto recipes and pesto references all over blogland (here, here, and here to name a few). I also recently babysat my sister's basil plant while she was on vacation. This led to even more basil! So some pesto was definitely in order. A few people have asked me to document my pesto adventure so here we go!

I started with gathering and washing some lovely fresh basil leaves (approximately 3 cups).

I got out my old workhorse food processor (my grandmother's - as an aside does anyone else have a "vintage" small appliance that they just adore?).

Pesto of course, calls for pine nuts or walnuts. Well silly me forgot to buy them when at the grocery store. Then I thought about it and realized Chelsea wouldn't be able to try my dish if I used nuts anyway (we haven't introduced her to nuts as of yet). So to get some of the nutiness flavor I used a whole head of roasted garlic (Preheat oven to 400, cut the top off a head of garlic, rub exposed cloves with olive oil, wrap in foil, roast in oven for 30 minutes - yum!). To that I added olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Pureed it all up in the food processor and it was good to go! Can you believe I forgot to take a photo. Bad, bad me. Let me tell you though that it was excellent! We couldn't even tell there weren't any nuts in it. The best part was that Chelsea adored it! She couldn't get enough and neither could we. My hubby even requested that I go ahead and not use pine nuts in future pesto endeavors.

Mmm, wishing I had some pesto right about now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Boden Love

I received the fall Boden catalog in the mail the other day and I was instantly smitten. I think I dog eared just about every page. These are some of my very favorites. The materials and cuts are perfect for us moving target gals.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Before and After - Estate Sale Tray

I was able to get some crafty goodness in recently. I was combing through a neighborhood estate sale and found this tray long ago abandoned in the corner of the home's basement. It was dusty and dirty but had good bones. I snatched it up for $3.00 and knew it had the potential to shine.

Here it is after. I spray painted it glossy white with some paint I already had on hand, removed the old embroidery and replaced it with some fabric from Joann's. I really love it now. It might be one of my favorite thrifty remakes.

I often wonder what the previous owner of this tray would think. Would she (or he) be appalled at the fact that I discarded the embroidery and painted it the complete opposite color? Or that it has more of a modern feel as opposed to country rustic? Or would she be happy that a long forgotten part of her home had found new life in another's home and was being well taken care of? Estate sales in particular always have me pondering these questions. Do you think the same way?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Playing with the New Camera

We finally took a leap and got an SLR camera! We went with the Canon XSi. This seems to be a perfect entry level SLR for two people that have no clue. So far we have been having lots of fun. I have read parts of the manual and it definitely does help. I think the manual will become my new bedtime book. A few of you also suggested I check out the Pinoeer Woman's photography section which I have also been finding very helpful, especially her tutorials on PS Elements.

We were on vacation last week, just did a staycation and daytrips. Got some fun photos that I need to download. These are just a few very basic photos Jeff and I took while fooling around with the settings. Jeff took the one above. This was a bouquet of flowers he gave me for our anniversary. They were a bit sad and wilty at this point but I still love the detail that he captured while standing across the room. Gotta love SLR! The camera is certainly more challenging to carry around and figure out but the results are so worth it.

This was a quick photo I snapped of a section of our front walkway with the neighborhood park in the background. Since I took this photo the poor flowers in the pot have pretty much bitten the dust :).
I received a lovely comment on my slipcover post from last year. It was from Carla Johnson and she offered to send me photos of her yellow living room (I still haven't had a chance to change our living room color). The only problem is that she did not leave any contact info! Does anyone out there know Carla? Does she have a blog?
Wishing you all a lovely day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The garden is beginning to bloom! We have been able to enjoy several heads of Romaine lettuce as well as a jalepeno pepper and LOTS of basil. We've used it for yummy Caprese Salad, pasta dishes, watermelon/tomato skewers, and anything else I can think of. I think I need to try to make some pesto. This basil just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I don't want to waste any of it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

At My Side This Morning...

A view of my desk at work this Monday morning. Had an early morning wake-up call (3:30 a.m.) from a certain little miss who was having trouble sleeping. I need all the help I can get!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Wonder of It All

It has been almost a month since my last post! It is a wonder I still have any followers. Thank you so much for sticking with me!
Speaking of wonders, have you heard of the Wonderbar? It is a facial bar that detoxifies and pulls out all the toxins and junk lying under our skin (sometimes for years) and helps to bring our skin back to its original pH balance. I have acne prone skin and have tried everything under the sun. Scrubs, masks, oil washes, etc. etc. When I read about the Wonderbar I was skepticall especially when I read about the healing crisis that can take place when you first use the product. Basically, you can break out and dry out as the bar works to remove all the nasties from your skin. I decided to try it though as I really had nothing to lose and my skin was already breaking out anyway!

I am currently in week 5 and I am very pleased with the results. From the first time I used it I felt a difference in my skin. This little bar (and it is little - the size of a hotel bar of soap though it does last 6 - 8 weeks) is truly different then anything I have tried before. It has made my skin a lot clearer though I am still breaking out in my most prone spots. The breakouts are not half as bad as they were and go away very quickly. I am curious and anxious to see if they will disappear completely or at least mostly with continued use. All in all, I highly recommend trying this if you have problem skin or if you want to restore a youthful glow. And who doesn't want that?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

True Happiness Is...Not Organizing My Closets

Well it sure has been a while since I last posted. I'm still hanging around. I just haven't done much blog worthy lately. My weekdays consist of getting up, walking the dog, getting myself ready, getting Chelsea ready, going to work, picking up Chelsea, feeding Chelsea, making dinner, bathtime, bedtime - lather, rinse and repeat. Not very exciting huh? I still go to bed within an hour or so of Chelsea. I'm the type of person that needs a good 7 -8 hours of sleep to function properly.

Hoping to have a bit of extra time here and there now that the supposedly lazy days of summer are upon us. I have a list of projects and things I want to clean and organize. The other day I had the aha moment of realizing it just doesn't matter if I clean and organize the linen closet right now. If I get some precious me time I need to focus on me and things that will recharge my soul. Not clean and organize. I'm realizing that this time of my life is not meant to be clean and organized but to be enjoyed. Enjoying watching Chelsea grow, enjoying helping her become all that she can be, enjoying finding the new "me." And if that means there is a closet busting with sheets for a bed we no longer own, and another closet filled to the brim with shopping bags I plan to reuse in some fashion, and another cabinet stuffed with cookbooks, then so be it. There will be time to organize someday...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stroller Bag

I've been a very bad blogger lately and taking lots of photos with my iphone. It is so easy to snap a photo and e-mail to myself and easily upload to my post. So much easier than using my regular camera. Of course the picture quality isn't nearly the same but I'm not anywhere near a decent amateur photographer anyway!

I've been getting a bit more friendly with my sewing machine. Most of the time she is pretty good to me except when she decides to spit out chunks of thread or tangle the bobbin. Of course, this is probably more user error on my part but I'd like to blame the machine. I saw this pattern on Made by Rae quite some time ago and instantly fell in love with it. I knew I wanted one for Chelsea's stroller. Recently I decided to go ahead and give it a try. It was as easy as Rae said it would be and I actually finished it in under 2 hours! I think I will make at least one more for myself as a catch all kind of bag (not that I don't already own a million tote cute tote bags - of course a girl could always use one more). It would also make a great quick diaper bag when we don't need to bring the whole sha-bang. When the handles are tied together it is long enough to fit across my body which is great for lugging things to more active settings like parks, grocery shopping, parades (hometown Memorial Day parade coming up!). This bag comes in handy when just a bit more room is needed and is great for walks. I can throw some toys in there, a lightweight sweater, camera, etc. I got the fabric at Joann's. Didn't want to go too crazy until I knew I could actually make the bag. I didn't take a photo of the interior but it is a coordinating green print. You can see it at the top of the photo on the handles. The bag is reversible which is another fun feature. The pattern has instructions for two side pockets as well but I decided to keep it real simple. Next up is a simple jumper dress for Chelsea...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Punchin' Up the Wardrobe

I have a NYC work event coming up next month. It is a luncheon that we (the university I work for) hosts every year and every year I'm at a loss as to what to wear. There are lots of movers and shakers and people dressed to the nines. I don't think I could afford one sleeve of some of the outfits I see! I was browsing around for some inspiration and I came up with the above outfit. What do you think? I can't afford this outfit either but it was still fun to put together! Now I have to see if I can knock it off via Target or some other such bargain store. The shoes especially make me smile!

Dress Source
Cardigan Source
Shoe Source

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lovely Lulu

I'm very proud to announce that my sister, Shelley (aka Lulu) has started her own blog Lulu's Sweet Feet! Way to go Sis! Her blog covers her passion for running as well as her passion for healthy living and cooking.

Her latest post highlights a recipe for vegan peanut butter cups. I must admit, when she first told me about them I turned up my nose. Bring on the real sugar and the real milk! But I was quite surprised to find they are actually quite yummy and they look so darn pretty too. Some of the ingredients seem a bit hard to find but most if not all are available at your local health food market.

I invite you to take a moment to stop by and say hi to Shelley. Tell her Big Sis Sugar Bear sent ya!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I never cared for carnations. Whenever they showed up in the mixed supermarket bouquets or in corsages and boutinneires I'd always think that a nicer flower could be used. I guess I considered them too common. More recently I realized carnations are a treasure! They last quite a long time, are inexpensive, and come in a variety of colors. They are perfect for home decor. I've been purchasing a few bouquets to use around the house the last couple months (I've only purchased 3 bouquets in the last several months - they last that long!). I keep some on the kitchen table as in the above photo. I like to group them together by color and trim them short so they just peek over the top of the container.

I've also been using them on my fireplace mantle. The green bottles are plain old Pellegrino bottles (Jeff really can't stand that I'm using them as decor but I'm quite happy with them). I think the pink carnation resting on top gives it a perfect pop of color.

This is a full view of the fireplace. I've given it a face lift of sorts. The icky brick still remains as Jeff is quite opposed to painting it. I don't think I'm going to win this battle and I've toyed with the idea of painting it while he is out of the house and then SURPRISE! when he gets home but I think he would freak out. He has floated some ideas for changing the mantle and adding trim along the sides and perhaps tiling over the brick. I'm open to all of these ideas. Now just finding some time to do it is another thing...

I decided to simplify a lot of the accessories in the house. With all the baby stuff and toys I'm feeling the need to clean up the accessories to have less visual clutter. I've noticed my decorating mood changing to more of a modern clean look. The two white candle sticks were originally brass, just gave them a good coat of glossy white spray paint. On the other side are my remade birds. I'd like to change out the fireplace tools, perhaps when the rest of the fireplace gets a makeover. We had a log holder that I really didn't like and wanted to replace years ago with a basket from Crate and Barrel. I was overruled on that one too but when I saw this basket at Target a few weeks ago I jumped on it. Luckily Jeff likes it too. Score!

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is a photo of a few of my new best friends. These past few months I've really started to realize the power of the body to heal itself with help from natural goodness. I think there is so much that our traditional doctors do not know or do not want to tell us. This isn't to say that I turn my back on traditional medicine - not at all. But I do think there needs to be a balance between Western and Eastern styles of medicine. This has been proven to me these last several months. I have been battling a stubborn skin ailment. I've been to the doctor several times. Because I am still a nursing mama I can't take certain medications. The antibiotic I was originally prescribed did seem to work but a week or so later, I was back at square one. I went back to the doctor and I wasn't satisfied with the course of treatment so I took to the Internet and began to research.

Now, I tend to be a bit OCD and research the heck out of everything but I'm also a person that doesn't take something at face value and I always look at alternates, most especially when I don't like the original answer. So I carefully began some research, bought a few books, found a few web sites and put together my plan of attack: probiotics, garlic, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, pomegranate concentrate, coconut oil, Vitamin C (via Emergen-C - a product I've loved for years) and a new one one me: manuka honey. I also drastically reduced my intake of white sugar. It has been a week and my skin issues are almost a thing of the past! I had faith in these items but even I am surprised by all they are doing for me. The good thing is that these are all natural items that have many health benefits and I will continue to use these to strengthen my overall being. For example, the coconut oil has helped clear breakouts as well as heal my overwashed hands and the pomegranate concentrate and probiotics have helped with years long stomach concerns.

This blog is not about preaching or all kinds of alternative medicines but I did want to share my experiences with going a more natural route. Allowing our body to heal itself and treating the route cause and not just the symptoms is an amazing and healthy lifestyle change that I'm happy to be making.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Have you all heard about Lonny? It is a fabulous online design magazine. It is such a great concept. You read and flip through it right on your computer screen and when you see something fabulous that you want more info on - you just click and are taken directly to additional info. Best of all - a subscription is free!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chelsea's Bow Holder

As a little girl with A LOT of hair Chelsea has a daily need for a hair bow or clip. I originally had them housed in a cute little vintage china sugar bowl but there are now too many of them and it was getting hard to see the selection in the bowl. I decided to make a bow holder. I was able to put this together in less than an hour with scraps and bits and bobs I already had on hand. The best kind of project!

I took a small unfinished wood piece (found at Michael's or any craft type store) and glued on some vintage wallpaper. I added a satin flower and some vintage velvet leaves I had purchased a while back at Tinsel Trading. I had quite a bit of the gray gross grain ribbon - interestingly enough I took it from work! An award we order on a yearly basis comes tied up with this ribbon but we do not give the ribbon to the awardee - just the storage box so into my ribbon stash it went and I'm quite glad that it did. I cut a small piece and glued a loop on the back of the wood and then cut three lengths and glued each on the bottom of the wood and viola! Instant bow holder.

Most of these clips came from McClippies, a really great Etsy shop run by two sisters. I also adore this Etsy shop for hair clips. Chelsea will be sporting her chocolate bunny clip on Easter!

McClippies clips have great attention to detail and they each include a non slip surface perfect for soft baby hair.

Here is the full length view of the bow holder. I might have to make another one soon! I don't like to have a lot of visual clutter around so this actually hangs inside her closet where I can easily pluck the daily hair bow to match each outfit.

This is the cute clip that was designed for Chelsea's first birthday. Love the bling!

Monday, March 29, 2010

On My Feet This Morning...

Rain rain go away. We are in the midst of several days of rain. Weather people are saying we are going to get the equivalent of a two month supply of the stuff over two days. Looks like these will be my footwear for a bit!

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