It's a good thing 'Thou shall not covet thy offspring's dresser' isn't a commandment, because I am guilty. I spent a long time trying to find a cool dresser for Sunshine that would grow with her and not look like her sister's, which now feels a little too plain and white. (Maybe it's time for some kind of major Krylon project?)
Enter the Mid-Century 6 Drawer dresser in black from West Elm. Not only did I love the hardware, I loved that it was black and not the ubiquitous chocolate brown finish. It looks great in her room and coordinates nicely with the special knobs from Anthropologie that I put on the crib's drawers back when our first was born.
Every time I go in Sunshine's room, I'm a little jealous of her dresser. The house we're currently in has a major lack of closet space and I'm currently making do with a sad little dresser borrowed from my sister. And when I say sad, I mean it was extremely cheap and duct tape is currently holding the drawer bottoms to the rest of the drawer frame. And barely holding on at that. But soon our housing situation is going to change and our closet situation with it. But I've still been thinking about the dresser. I went to West Elm's site tonight to look at the price and was crestfallen to see that this piece is no longer available.
So, if I end up needing a dresser, do I pilfer this one from my daughter or try to find something else? What would you do?
image via west elm
Now that I've (gulp) registered my first-born for kindergarten, I keep thinking about various things that I've been meaning to do with my girls. One thing I've had in mind for a while is to write them letters about this period in their life, what they are like, what they like to do, and so on. I meant to start when Cupcake was born, but even though I've composed these in my head several times, I haven't gotten anything down on paper.
I think her going off to school and beginning this new phase in her life will be the perfect time to put down exactly how I feel about her and who she is at this point in time (and my youngest daughter, too). My idea, in addition to writing the letter about their baby-, toddler-, and preschool-hood, is to also write them letters for different situations like their first breakup or the first time they accomplish a major achievement as an adult. I'd like to think I'll live a long time and be there for them to share my own experiences in person, but the truth is we never really know what will happen, and I'd love to leave something for them to keep, as a part of me, and as something to encourage them when they need to be reminded that they're not alone.
Once written, I'll need a place to put the letters so they can read them when they're older. I love this chromatic set of assorted envelopes in one of my favorite color palettes. I can slip the letters in each envelope, label them and keep them safe in a box for the future. A future that will be here before we even know it.
image via woonwinkel
I like random silly holidays like Pi day, and I have a sweet tooth, so I like pies, too. For fun, I thought I'd share the recipe for my most favorite pie of all: the grasshopper pie. If you never had it, it basically tastes just like frozen Thin Mints. Read: Amazing. I've been making this recipe since 6th grade and it's delicious and easy to make. Enjoy!
1 1/4 cup fine chocolate wafer crumbs
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 premade Oreo cookie pie crust (I've done this the last few times I've made it)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
20 marshmallows (regular size)
3 tablespoons creme de cacao
3 tablespoons creme de menthe
green food coloring
-If making the crust, combine wafer crumbs and butter. Blend and shape to pie pan, chill in pan till solid.
-Heat milk in double boiler, add marshmallows and stir until melted. Cook thoroughly.
-Combine whipped heavy cream, creme de cacao, creme de menthe and a few drops of green food coloring.
-Fold into cooked marshmallow mixture.
-Pour into chilled crust and chill pie until firm.
I don't usually add anything to the top, but before it's chilled completely, you could add cookie crumbles, or if you want to be fancy, drizzle or shave chocolate on top.
image via simply recipes
I've been thinking for a while about trying to switch us to a shoes-off household. We mostly end up barefoot while we're home anyway, but coming and going we have our shoes on and track in the usual dirt and leaves. We usually let friends leave their shoes on, too. In our last house, we had the perfect entry space to accommodate a bench but my inability to decide what bench I wanted was holding up the process. It was mostly about trying to find a fabric that I loved and that I would continue to love for a long time.
We don't really have the space for a bench now, but we really need something near our garage entry for putting boots on and taking them off. It's going to end up just inside the kitchen so it can't be too large. Since the slush and snow don't seem to be going anywhere and we need a place to take off our boots, we're looking more seriously again at benches. Do we want one with storage, and how do we keep the inside from getting junky? Should I pick something neutral that can go with potential future decor in the next house we live in, or just buy something I like now and find a way to make it work later or reupholster it?
I love this reclaimed wood and powder coated steel bench from ABC, but it doesn't quite fit into my budget right now. Here are a couple options I'm looking at. I have to keep practicality in mind since two little kids will be using it, too.
I'll be honest. In theory, I am super organized, I have an idea of exactly how everything should be organized and I love to buy bins and organization paraphernalia. But, in execution, I stumble. Sometimes I get the system in place, but then get swamped for one reason or another and it falls apart until I have a lull in my commitments and can devote time solely to getting reorganized. Sometimes I get the tools and never quite implement them and sometimes my nascent hoarder tendencies plus my current lack of space (though I can't blame it only on my current living situation) combine to create a stress-induced paralysis where I feel the job is too big and so I don't start.
I feel so much better when others share their moments of disorganization. I can't tell you how happy this picture of Jessica Alba's full sink made me. Cleaning is another thing I struggle with, though most of our issues are paper and toy piles, okay, and the dishes. I think about cleaning and try to come up with a plan, like wash sort Mail on Monday, Dust on WeDnesday, vacUum on TUesday, but inevitably something comes up, or I get tired, or the kids refuse to sleep and I just give up. And as they say, something has to give, and for me, it's the cleaning up. When it comes to spending time with my kids or cleaning/organizing, well, I'm always going to choose my kids. And I don't apologize for that, but I definitely need to come up with some plan that I can actually stick to.
I also have the additional problem of working from home. My husband is great, and he really does pull his own weight, but sometimes, whether he means to or not, I get that sort of "you were home all day, why didn't you clean anything" type of comment. So I started saying, "I was working all day. Did you clean anything while you were at work?" A few times of that and he got where I was coming from, but I think he would really like to come home and find that I've accomplished some household project. I'm sure other freelancers, bloggers, and people who work from home can relate to where I'm coming from. And to be fair, it's mainly my personal life that suffers because I put home stuff aside to make sure my professional deadlines are always met. I recently took on a new part time job on top of my freelancing, and now that both kids are out of the house all day, I'm hoping that I can use some of the time on work-from-home days to clean/organize. January has been a rotating schedule of sickness for our family, so I already feel behind, but I'm trying to not let those feelings overwhelm me.
I originally wanted to make last year my year to get organized but I totally underestimated how exhausted I would be after having my second child. So, I'm hoping that I can regroup and make this the year that I get it under control, at least more than I have been in the past couple years. So with that in mind, I've come across a few organizing resources that I'm going to try:
Do you struggle with any of these areas? What works for you?
P.S. Don't watch a bunch of Friends reruns while trying to blog about getting organized or thinking about time-management. It's really antithetical. Oops.
Happy new year everyone! Well, this year is definitely not starting the way we'd hoped. My youngest daughter is (hopefully) near the tail end of a bug that made her sick for several days, starting on Christmas, and she spiked a fever yesterday morning at 6am. Shortly after the clock struck midnight and 2014 began, my husband got ill and has been sick since. Today I'm trying to help them however I can while my older daughter and I are crossing our fingers that we do not get sick, too.
Needless to say, not what we were hoping to be doing today. Even though 2014 is off to an inauspicious start, I'm holding out hope for this year. 2013 wasn't a bad year, but it was a hard year. While I'm proud of starting my freelance career, working on this blog, and my family, I did not feel like myself for the majority of the year. I was (and still am) a bit homesick for my old house and for New York. I was (and still am) exhausted because my baby, at 14 months still does not sleep through the night. I'm hard on myself and onmy body, still a little heavier than I wanted to be by now. It's funny, I felt much more confident in who I was and how I looked and dressed when I was in high school and college than I do now.
So that's what I'm hoping for this year: to find myself again. To--as much as I can with small children--do the things that make me happy, to make time for myself, to try and push myself out of my comfort zone, to get outside more, to find some energy again and to not always be so tired, to learn something new, to get a little more organized, to dress more like who I feel I am, and to accept that certain things are out of my hands and try to let them go.
I'm not giving myself a deadline for these things, because I don't think the added pressure is necessary. These goals have been on my mind for a while, so I feel committed to them.
And that's what I wish for each of you, too: that you find what fulfills you, whether it's personally or professionally. Happy 2014!
image via santarosaredwhiteandboom.com
We had a great weekend getting in the Christmas spirit, even though I still can't believe Christmas Eve is today. All our snow had melted over the weekend and now, like magic, it's back this morning. And it is still hard to fathom how this year went by so quickly.
The fun part is that we get to stretch out all the celebrations: tonight we'll have dinner with my mother-in-law and her husband, then I'm taking Cupcake (my four year old) to midnight mass with me. It's at 10p and she's normally awake anyway (inherited insomnia from me, oops), so I thought she would really enjoy hearing all the beautiful music and seeing mass in a different way. I've been wanting to bring her for years; when she was first born, mass was actually at midnight, but they've backed it off to 10p.
Then tomorrow morning, my mother-in-law and her husband are coming back for brunch and to open presents. I found some really fun gifts (including the kinetic sand!) so I'm excited for the kids to open them so we can all play with them. And we'll see what Cupcake says when she sees Santa got her the pink dollhouse she's been begging for. My baby (Sunshine) is so much harder to shop for because we have so much already, but we're doing our best to make it special for her. I got her her own version of a dollhouse that I think she'll enjoy. And of course lots of books for both. It's getting exciting because, even though she isn't walking yet, Sunshine is starting to talk and "book" is one of her words. She's a really good communicator and already has opinions about what she likes and doesn't like and isn't afraid to let you know, with firm headshakes and nods and "yeah" or "nah." Love this age!
Later this week, we'll celebrate more when my brother-in-law and his family come into town, and again with my family on Saturday when my sister, aunt and uncle are in town. Lots of fun! Lots of food!
We also made our first family gingerbread house over the weekend. You probably guessed that the gingerbread house above is not ours. But I'm sure we'll tackle that next year now that we have one under our belts.
My husband had never made a gingerbread house before and I realized I haven't made one since home ec class in eighth grade. It was fun to do together and Cupcake really liked decorating it. Though I think, for her sake, next year I might need to get my own because I was a too little anal retentive about the decorating. The decorating ideas were mostly hers, but I made her let me do a lot of the candy placement. I feel a bit guilty, but she said she had a lot of fun, so I guess this won't come up in therapy in a couple decades. (I hope.)
Before we get the kids from daycare, we're going to make buckeyes, a family favorite. Actually a favorite of almost everyone we know (except poor Cupcake, allergic to peanuts). It's actually the best buckeye recipe I've ever tasted, so in the spirit of Christmas, here it is.
As you and your families get ready to celebrate, we hope you are having fun and making lots of memories!
top image via cake central, all others my own
I didn't intend to let a week go by before sharing some pictures from last Friday's party, but last weekend was so hectic (in mostly good ways; we also baptized our youngest), that I guess I took a little mental break from it. Everything came together well, and I was really happy with how the decor ended up, particularly because it actually came out close to how I saw it in my head. I wanted to share what I did because it was relatively inexpensive, easy to do, has a pretty fall palette, and was very personal. I was able to include several elements from our wedding. You know I love when people make things and spaces their own!
Well, it's officially fall now. The boots have been broken out, and I've had my first hot cider and cider donut, so I'm a happy camper. We went apple picking yesterday at Beak & Skiff, one of the many amazing orchards in Central New York, and had a great time even though it was freezing. I felt like a terrible mom for not being prepared with mittens and hats (I did have a thick blanket for the baby), but they both loved the tractor ride to the u-pick section. And Sunshine got to eat some apple herself and Cupcake got a cider donut, so they were both happy.
We picked McIntosh, which are my favorite, and checked out the brand new outdoor kids' area and completely new barn housing a cafe and all their distillery products. If it hadn't been so cold, we might have stayed longer to explore everything, but we still enjoyed ourselves. Some people were picking pumpkins as well, but I like to save that for October. Don't rush me, fall! I do hope the weather warms up again soon and lasts for a few more weeks at least.
I'm not sure what it is about this season in particular, but I feel as though we have so many more family traditions in autumn than we do in any other season, in addition to the girls' birthdays and our wedding/anniversary. I love the fruit picking, but also corn mazes, and soon, everything to do with Halloween, my most favorite of holidays. But again, I don't want to rush it. Yesterday was cold enough; I'm not ready for the S-word most associated with Syracuse.
How about you? Do you go apple picking or have other family traditions during fall? Anything good we should try?
top image via beak & skiff
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