Monday, November 23, 2015

Bags and tags

I'm proud to say that Crafty Club has been going strong for over two years now! I had the duty of hosting this month's club. This was the 4th time I've hosted.

I must admit, I wasn't super excited or happy about the craft that I picked out this month, but I think the drinks and snacks and great conversation between us ladies made up for the just-okay craft :)

Since the month of December is rapidly approaching, I thought it'd be nice to do a craft that could help us ladies be a teensy bit 'ahead of the game' with something in preparation for Christmas. It was too early to make cutout cookies or gingerbread houses, but it wasn't too early to decorate some crafty little gift bags. 

We decorated three plain brown paper bags each. Ones that you can just throw a gift into quickly, for a teacher or neighbor or friend. And the tag and tissue paper are ready to go too.

Some photos from the evening:

100% true

I made home-made cranberry orange margaritas -- recipe taken from here  -- and they were a big hit!

I also made apple nachos -- recipe adapted from here
Step 1 - slice up 2-3 apples and display them on a tray
Step 2 - drizzle with caramel sauce
Step 3 - drizzle with melted white chocolate candy coating

Step 4 - sprinkle with Heath candy bar bits
Step 5 - sprinkle with mini milk chocolate chips

I set up three bag-decorating stations

We used paint to stamp little deer and attached red fussy noses...

used daubers to apply gold paint dots on these...

and washi tape trees on these.

Snacking and crafting.

Joy's accidental 'fat deer'

And the next morning Liam loved decorating some bags of his own :)

Have a nice week,

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I've been a long time fan of thrift stores. 

When I was younger, like as in grade school, I occasionally went to one with my mom or grandma. We usually looked at clothes and knick knacks. 

In high school my artsy friend Connie and I started taking evening 'trips' to thrift stores in different towns (whoa) in search of retro shirts & dresses. We went through a phase where we thought wearing old patterned polyester men's shirts in art class was super cool!

Then when Matt and I lived in Florida we started going to every thrift store we could find (no kids! tons of free time!) in search of awesome vinyl records and mid century/vintage type furniture. It was a fun pastime for us. We'd go to the beach, stop at a beach bar for a drink, check out a thrift store, and head home to peace and quiet. So rough it was!

When we moved back to Wisconsin I'd say the thrift store trips got put on hold a bit. We worked on our home, had two kids and now we're pretty darn busy. But lately I've been sneaking out to some thrift stores with Chloe, while Liam is at 3K, in search of some long lost treasures.

I truly believe that one person's 'trash' can become another person's 'treasure.'

I thought I'd share with you the few & very inexpensive 'treasures' that Chloe and I found earlier this week at our local St. Vincent de Paul store.

So I saw this little minty deer and fell instantly in love! He had a broken neck at some point (poor little guy) but he's mended and I just love his vintage vibe. He will look great somewhere in  my kitchen.

And he's multi purpose! He can be used as a little planter. He was .99 cents. 

A cute new hat for Chloe. Only .50 cents. And guess what? We already lost the hat while out for a stroller walk today! So it goes to show you that it's worth getting a cheap brand new hat at a thrift store for your kid, because more than likely they'll lose it the next day anyways :)

I'm trying to think ahead this year a bit in terms of shopping for the kiddos for Christmas. The store had an entire book shelf dedicated to kids' holiday books. So I found a few that were basically brand new and they'll probably be getting them from us St. Nicholas. This one was .79 cents (instead of $9.99 brand new).

This one was .39 cents. Chloe will love it.

 This one was .99 cents (instead of $13.99). Liam will love it.

And these were a total of $1.47. These kept Chloe busy in the shopping cart while at the store.

Grand total spent at this thrift store run: $5.13

Not too bad for 6 books, an Erin-fabulous decor item and a hat that's already lost :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Our trip to the pumpkin farm ~
October 2015

Our little pumpkins...

So serious...

Oh my how she loved the little goats...

Liam almost got licked in the face...

He picked out his very own pumpkin...

Chloe did too...

Liam and I searching for a big one...

And the must-have cut-out photo!

Photos of our carved & painted be continued.....

Photos of the Pumpkin Farm 2014
Photos of the Pumpkin Farm 2012

Friday, October 23, 2015

Things I'm Diggin' Part 2

I shared a post a few months ago with some of my favorite things. I got feedback from friends and family that they liked seeing what products other people like, so I thought I'd share another one.

Here are a few totally random products I'm diggin' lately:

I bought one for our master bathroom. Then I bought one for our kitchen. And I'm pretty sure I'll be getting one for our guest bathroom sometime soon.  Cute and easy to use. Win-win.

We've tried numerous floor cleaners on our kitchen's hardwood floors, and this is the only one I've found that smells good (like citrus instead of yucky cleaner), cleans really well AND does not leave a residue on the darn floor! It's also non-toxic and plant based, so that makes me love it even more.

Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. That's it.

Wool Dryer Balls, found on Etsy here
I pretty much despise dryer sheets (I don't like the smell, the chemicals). I haven't used them in years. So these natural dryer balls, which are hand-felted and have no dyes or chemicals added, work AWESOME to help keep our laundry fluffy. The only downfall is that they sometimes get lost amongst the bedsheets. But I'll take lost balls over dryer-sheet-smelly shirts any day :)

Boots Botanics Micellar 3 In 1 Cleansing Solution, bought at Target
I trio this with my Botanics 100% Organic Facial Oil and Botanics Cleansing Foam Wash. When I want to 'freshen' my face during the day I'll apply it to my face quick and let it air dry. Then at night when I'm lazy I use it to remove eye/face makeup, let it air dry and then finish with the facial oil. I love that it's easy, smells good & is fine for my sensitive skin.

Braun Thermoscan Forehead Thermometer
We bought a different thermometer - the Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer - after Liam was born and it has worked great. But Chloe does NOT let us get near her ears to stick it in, so we just invested in the forehead one (at $50) and it's been great so far! It's easy to use, accurate and it keeps Chloe happy(ish).

And last but not least...the sweet treat that keeps me sane going during the month of October...

Russell Stover Caramel & Marshmallow Pumpkins
Also shaped like eggs during Easter and shaped liked Santa during Christmas :) :) :) I pretty much can't sum up anything better than a) milk chocolate b) caramel and c) marshmallow all in one little nugget. I can't leave Walgreen's without handful of these babies. Who else is obsessed with these?

Have a nice weekend!

For more things I like, check out Things I'm Diggin' Part 1

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My dad

Today is an anniversary. Not a happy anniversary. A sad one, actually. It has been twelve years since my dad passed away. Twelve years since I held my dad's hand as he took his final breathe on Earth. How TWELVE years have gone by already is just beyond my comprehension!

Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him and wish he could meet my husband and kids. I miss his laugh, his kindness and his bear hugs.

His death still causes pain in my heart. I still don't 'understand' why he was taken away from this Earth at such a young age, away from his family and friends that loved him SO much. But 'time' itself has helped heal my soul. I know that he is in heaven. He was meant for heaven! And when I die I know he'll be waiting there for me with a huge smile :)

I remember the great times we had. The support he gave. The hard work he did. The kindness he bestowed upon every person he came in contact with.

And now a few photos to share! Some pretty amazing 70s, 80s and 90s ones! I can't look at these and not smile :) Photos are such a wonderful thing to have...which is why I take so many NOW.

I snapped these with my iPhone straight from my mom's photos albums (the kind of albums with the clear film that holds the photos onto the page) and from some photo collages my mom still has from his funeral (which are behind glass) -- so please excuse the glare & grainy quality of some of these.

My dad's Senior photo.
Is it just me, or did people look WAY older than their age back then?

Check out those pork chops lol! (aka sideburns)

My mom and dad on their wedding day in 1973.
They were high school sweet hearts.
They were even homecoming King & Queen :)

"Up north," sometime in the 70s.

My dad LOVED to dance. 

My dad, holding me right after I was born. 
I guess they made the dads wear gowns in the hospital back then too??

Three kids. I wonder why he looks so tired?
Nate - this photo reminds me of you!

A good 'ol family trip to Wisconsin Dells. In the 80s....
Nate's shorts are hilarious.
Jason, are you even wearing shorts?

I wonder what he's thinking in this photo? 
I also wonder why he wore that shirt.

My dad and I up at our cabin. Mid 90's. I just saw this photo yesterday at my mom's house and my immediate thought was "holy cow, that totally looks like my dad is holding Chloe!" But it's really my sweet niece Caroline when she was around 1-year old. Check out the comparison of Caroline/Chloe:

I could add so many more photos! But I have to stop somewhere. So I'll add some more next year :)

I miss you dad!