Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Fourth

It's been over a month since I last sat down to work on a blog post. Sheesh!! I could list off a dozen reasons why I haven't blogged in a while (I'm tired at night once the kids are finally in bed, we've been very busy) but I don't want to bore you with excuses! So I'll cut right to it -

We travelled to our cabin at the beginning of July and had a fabulous time! We spent a week up there and I think we could have stayed a few more days, had we planned for it. Matt and I and the kids went up (by "up" I mean to northern Wisconsin) the Sunday prior to the weekend of 4th of July. We had a couple of nights as a family. Then my mom arrived on Tuesday. My brother, niece and her friend, and nephew and his girlfriend, and my other brother & his family of 5 arrived on Thursday. My aunt, two cousins and a boyfriend arrived on Friday. And other relatives, lake friends and neighbors stopped by throughout the holiday as well. 

I will let the photos tell the story:


Richter Lake. A little piece a paradise nestled in the Chequamegon National Forest. On our pier (which is finally above water!!) looking out over the peaceful lake. And the new raft we just got!


Enjoying the lake:
- swimming
- looking for frogs
- playing in the water
- Liam on a boat ride with Matt


Liam 4-wheeling with my mom


My nephew and his girlfriend.


The kids having fun:
- playing cards
- decorating windows with clings
- applying peace sign tattoos
- arts & crafts at the kitchen table


Liam and his cousin Rylan became quite the pals:
- sharing a chair
- eating yogurts
- early morning iPad playing
- lunching together


Smiles all around:
- my mom
- my niece Caroline and Chloe
- my brother Jason
- my sister-in-law Nici and nephew Hudson


Every 4th of July weekend we participate in Richter Lake's Annual Pontoon Boat Parade. Everyone gets drunk decorates their pontoon boats and gets drunk meets afterwards at a cabin. This year's theme was 60s Flashback. My mom made this sign to stick on our pontoon boat:


The pontoon boat parade:
- our 60s themed pontoon boat
- some guys playing music
- gathering afterwards
- the award that WE WON! (each year the winner adds a knick knack to the award)






I love these two so freaking much...


The weather was PER-FECT! Sunny and hot during the day, but cool enough at night that it was pleasant to sit by the campfire.



My mom enjoying some of her grand kids.



And a photo of the group that was at the cabin!


Happy belated 4th of July to you all :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Favorite Time-Sucking Websites

Late in the evening, after the kids are bathed & finally asleep and Matt is settled on the couch watching a movie, I often retreat to our cozy bed with the iPad. I go through a nightly Internet routine: I check my email, peruse Facebook, pin a few things on Pinterest (instant gratification!) and read the newest entries on my favorite blogs (there are like 15 of them).

If I still feel 'awake enough' after my Internet routine, I check out some other websites that are my go-to's. I love, love, love science and like to keep learning all of the time, so all of these sites involve science, weird news or nerdy stuff!

So...if you're really into checking out websites that involve interesting science-type/oddball stuff, then you may want to check some of these out if you have not already! But beware - they are all a bit addictive once you start perusing through them.


Here are my Top 5 Favorite Time-Sucking Science/Oddball Websites:


Site: Messy Nessy Chic

Why I think it's cool: There's always something interesting to learn from this site. There are intriguing photographs from abandoned buildings, cafes around the world and secret swimming pools. Stories about a secret atomic city, a lady with a pet lion and art deco cinemas. And the author's posts called 13 Things I Found On The Internet Today are simply the best!




Site: Daily Overview

Why I think it's cool: Every day, on this site's Feed, you can view a new photo of Earth from up above. Whether it's a photo of farm fields, a cramped city center or a road interchange, the photos are simply stunning, some beautiful and some devastating.



Site: IFLScience
Why I think it's cool: This site keeps me up-to-date on all of the latest science news. Without it I would have no clue how MUCH we're learning about outer space right now! And that scientists are getting closer to understanding what might be causing Alzheimer's, that an ocean-cleaning system will be launched in 2016, and that there's now Google Underwater Street View for the oceans. Who knew!



Twisted Sifter

Why I think it's cool: It's just an interesting site. It's feed is filled with cool videos, photography and interesting stories based on art, science, travel and architecture. Once you start scrolling down it's hard to stop...



Site: Listverse

Why I think it's cool: A lot of the Top 10 lists on this site are flat-out bizarre. I wonder sometimes if all of the information is correct (so I take some of the lists with a grain of salt), but it's still fun to peruse through. This is another one that's hard to stop scrolling once you start. Top 10 Explanations For UFOs anyone?




I hope I gave you some great ideas on how to waste your time!

Are there are any time-sucking sites that you thoroughly enjoy??? Please let me know!



(all opinions above are completely my own)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

For a good time, try a lime

I haven't done one of these posts in a while. 
They're my favorite because it's just random photos of everyday life.

Things that have made me smile lately...


This tiny Lego chair Liam made me.


Sharing hot cocoa (with extra marshmallows) on a cool, Spring day.


Liam in a box with markers = I got some laundry done.


These little legs. Plus velcro tennis shoes. Oh. My. Sweetness!


These two chalkin' it up on the driveway together.


A surprise message in the sand while out for a walk.


A completed piece of art I did for a fundraiser. To see my fork and read more
about June-A-Palooza click here.


A morning at the park. These two giggling at the same time on the swings :)


Liam and Rylan taste-testing slices of lime. Ha ha!


My little peanut enjoying being at the cabin. She's already an 'outdoorsy' kinda gal.


At the cabin over Memorial Day Weekend - 
Liam, Bella and Rylan all getting along together. Amen!


My sweet niece Caroline turned 15. 


The new mirror in our front entry - it only took me 5 years to find one that I loved.


Gnomeo #2 watching over our front flower gardens.


And some new artwork by Liam framed in our kitchen.



Have a nice week!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Breakfast for dinner party

The table settings I made for 'breakfast in bed'  at the dinner table...

If you're looking for ideas for a future dinner party or creating your very own food club/gourmet club with a group of friends, here's an idea for you -- a breakfast-in-bed theme! Most people I know love breakfast food. So I feel like you have a pretty fair shot at causing happiness when you serve breakfast for dinner :)

Matt and I hosted Gourmet Club at our house last month. The group, which consists of six couples, tries to meet 5-6 times a year. The couples take turns hosting at their homes. The host couple plans everything (the theme, menu, drinks and decor) and makes the main dish + provides all of the drinks. The rest of the couples bring the other courses (appetizer, salad, dessert, etc).

It's a huge undertaking, planning everything and pulling it off successfully, but it's lots of fun and totally worth it!

The last time we hosted was way back in October 2013 (I was pregnant with Chloe and couldn't drink the champagne....not that I remember that detail...). The theme we chose then was Julia Child recipes and you can see photos from it here.

The theme we chose this time was "Breakfast In Bed". I especially love breakfast food (french toast, bacon, donuts, cheesy eggs...I could go on and on) and Matt likes making breakfast. So we thought it'd be fun to incorporate breakfast into our gourmet dinner :)

The menu was a bit tough to decide on because we wanted to 1) make breakfast foods but still have it feel like 'dinner' 2) have six courses that melded well with a mixture or savory & sweet (we asked ourselves - what salad do we make for breakfast? do we need a seafood dish for breakfast?) 3) still have it feel 'gourmet' enough (how do we put a gourmet twist on pancakes?) and 4) make the mood/decor/ambience feel like we were eating true breakfast-in-bed style!

After perusing cookbooks and pinning a hundred things on Pinterest, we set the menu and sent the invitation out. We also required people to wear their pajamas, which added a touch of fun to it!

Here's the MENU we planned. I found all of these recipes online:


Course 1 - Appetizer - a twist on jelly donuts 

Course 2 - Soup - a twist on the bloody mary 

Course 3 - Salad - a twist on fruit and granola 

Course 4 - Seafood - a twist on lox, pancakes and eggs


Course 5 - Main Course - a twist on bacon, potatoes and french toast 


Course 6 - Dessert - a twist on cinnamon rolls

I didn't get many photos of the actual food because I was so busy serving drinks, making food and socializing, but I did get a few photos before the party started of the table that I decorated all by myself!

I wanted to give the table a 'breakfast in bed' feeling and also had to set up spots for TWELVE people to sit! Our dining room table only seats 8 comfortable, so we had to borrow tables from friends and create one large square table to accommodate everyone.

That's twelve sets of plates/bowls/dessert plates/etc and twelve settings of wine glasses/water glasses/etc. Twelve cloth napkins to fold, mini flower vases to fill and silverware sets. Luckily I have extra sets of silverware from Matt's grandma, extra glassware from our wedding yet and a mom that graciously let me borrow more plates!

The table-for-twelve squeezed into our dining room.


I bought flowers from the grocery store and collected sticks from our yard and put them in an antique wooden box as the centerpiece.


Tea set ready in case anyone wanted tea.


For namecards I rolled up pages of crossword puzzles and added everyones names.
I thought the crossword puzzle added a 'breakfast in bed' touch.


I also added some fresh flowers to everyone's setting (that's breakfast-in-beddy, right?!)
And I ordered inexpensive paper trays and mini salt&pepper shakers online.


For easy, simple and rustic decor I used old mason jars and tea light candles all over the table.


Glasses ready for gazpacho soup.


Appetizer plates, dessert plates and martini glasses - check!


Cooking a pot of meyer lemon & vanilla bean marmalade to serve alongside our french toast.


And the aftermath of a fun evening...


A sources list, in case you're wondering about anything:

Paper trays -- webstaurantstore.com
Mini salt & pepper shakers -- webstaurantstore.com
Beige table cloth -- I pinned together two huge IKEA curtains
White dinner plates -- Pier 1 Imports or Crate&Barrel
White cotton cloth napkins -- Homegoods
Napkin rings -- Pier 1 Imports
Forks/knives/spoons -- antique, vintage or Target!
Aqua colored french water glasses -- Pottery Barn
Floral & mustard table runner -- World Market
Tea set -- Pier 1 Imports
Tea spoons & plates -- thrifted and handed down from family
Orange tray -- Hobby Lobby
Mason jars -- antique/handed down from family
Gazpacho glasses (actually punch glasses) -- Crate&Barrel
Wine glasses -- WilliamsSonoma, Target or Pier 1 Imports
Martini glasses -- borrowed from people, so I'm not sure!
Doilies -- vintage from my mom or Matt's grandma
Wine corks -- drunk people



I wanted to mention which of these recipes the group seemed to like the most: I think the consensus was that the Avocado & Oat Crouton Salad and the Cinnamon Roll Cake were the evening's faves.

And lastly, a montage of embarrassing photos of us all in our jammies (and the yummy teeny tiny quail eggs we ate)...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Trio

My friend Erin is pregnant and expecting her third baby girl soon. So the Crafty Club ladies and I decided to 'surprise' her with homemade baby/mama gifts at our last Crafty Club night! My friend Sarah who hosted last month's festivities still planned a regular craft for us to do (see the last photo) but then we surprised Erin with pink food & drinks and our homemade gifts :)

There were lots of things I wanted to make for her, but most of them involved sewing. And sewing isn't an option for me right now because a) I lack skills in the sewing department and b) it would have taken me forever just to sew one straight line. So I wanted to make something that was pretty, quite simple and didn't involve sawing or sewing anything!

I perused Pinterest and decided to make some girly headbands for the new baby. There are a ton of DIY headband ideas out there. I looked at hundreds of ideas, went and bought some supplies and then 'winged it' as I went along. I made three of them. Here they are:


Here's a list of supplies I used between the 3 of them:
Scissors, pencil
A hot glue gun + glue sticks
1 pink & 1 green 9x12in sheet of felt
Assortment of buttons
Grey stretchy cotton fabric
Pink ruffle trim


Here's the first one I made. I used felt/ruffle ribbon/button/elastic band:


The underside of these are going to be up against a precious little baby's noggin, 
so I fastened a soft circle of felt on each one.


Here's the second one. 
I used the grey stretchy fabric to make the band/aqua gauzy fabric/both colors of ruffle trim:



And the third one. I used buttons/both colors of felt/elastic band:



I hope Erin and future Baby E enjoy these :)




Here are a few photos of the pink food we all brought along & surprised her with:


And this is the craft we did that evening. Sarah printed photos of our children (which we sent to her via email ahead of time) onto fabric. We then embroidered colorful accents on them (like a bow tie or hair bow or flower). Mine are not finished yet, but I'll share some photos once I'm done.



I'd love to make more of these headbands. I'm planning on making some for Chloe when I find the time. If you're interested in one, two, or all three of these, send me a message & make me an offer :)