Things I’m Loving

As I predicted, I was unable to find time to post “Things I’m Loving” throughout the holiday season. Sorry, but family time won out (as it should). No worries, it is back in full force again this month!


As much of the nation was hunkered down during the Polar Vortex, I still had to go to work. Snowdays mean that Nannies (and parents for that matter) are working double time. As wind chills neared -30F, schools closed making winter break extended. We all had cabin fever! But what would normally be humidity gathering on the front window actually froze to the window. That’s right, it was so cold that we had ice inside the house. Also, the kids noted that’ “it’s so cold that your boogers freeze inside your nose!” And we used this method to make our own snow!



O turned 2! We didn’t throw an actual party this year like we did last year. Instead we had a birthday brunch with my family, a birthday dinner with Hubby’s family and a good old fashioned Elmo cake with some friends. Wilton makes and Elmo cake mold that works with boxed cake recipes. And yes, we trade candles in for sparklers at our house!



After we thought that darn Polar Vortex was over, we got snow. And then more snow. The kids’ school has run out of calamity days! I was glad to see snow… I feel like if its going to be so frigid out then it should at least snow so the cold is worth it to me.



These are “work in progress” shot of a pair of Donkey and Diddy Kong for a little boy’s room. The finished product was poster here.


Hubby and I enjoyed another fantastic date night. And we’ve resolved to do more of them! This time we saw “Her” and enjoyed dinner and drinks at one of our favorite casual joints. New twist: We’ve started going to the movie first and then dinner afterward. The movies are less crowded, sometimes it is still matinee pricing, dinner is more relaxed and we aren’t hurried out to get to the movie on time.


During the blistering cold we came up with some fun ways to pass the time inside like this pretty cool (if I do say so myself) fort.



O and I spend my “day off” in our PJs for a while. This week she kept running to the couch and climbing up asking, “Daddy coming?” to which I’d tell her, “Not yet” and she asks “Why?” which now is the formula for most of our conversations.



I’ve now been in the world’s tiniest bathroom. Our friends hosted a hilarious Ugly Sweater Party (where we won the best couple “Margot and Todd Chester” prize). They live in an old house with the tiniest powder room ever. Like so tiny it fits under the steps. To get a sense of scale, notice that the sink has a soap pump on it… tiny sink, the toilet is in the angled part of the steps so if you stand up too quickly you will hit your head. Its one of those fun things everyone at the party says, “Have you been in the tiny bathroom yet?” Just more old house character that I can gawk at and miss (our old house was built in 1904 and our current home was built in 1979).

Things I’m loving from around the internet:

Purple your Twitter of Facebook Profile for Cancer! For every profile “purpled” through World Cancer Day on February 4th, Chevrolet will give $1 to The American Cancer Society.

I always wanted a pencil bed when I was a kid. Apparently all I had to do was become Jimmy Fallon. You don’t want to miss this.

We all know the Super Bowl has the best commercials. I’ve linked to a few of my favorites (some are already airing)… I’m such a sap for a good commercial. If you haven’t heard Derrick Coleman’s story, come out from under your rock and bring your tissues. If you don’t like puppies and beer we might need to revaluate our friendship.

I’m craving new yoga pants and a pair of monogrammed rainboots… they even have some for O!

I kind of want to get one of these to add to a current necklace I have to make a little cluster of meaningful letters.

To Via On Her Second Birthday

Our sweet little O turned two last week. As trite as it sounds, the time really does fly. I can remember my pregnancy and her birth as if it were yesterday (but I’ll spare you the details). Although the time flies, I also can’t believe how much can happen and change in another year. I thought I’d write a letter to her and share a few memories and thoughts here on my little corner of the Internet.


Dear Via,

In the last year you have learned to talk and walk. We’ve had the joy of watching you discover the world a little more each day. You got to put her feet in the sand in Hilton Head and enjoy the feeling of salt water wash over your feet to which you exclaimed, “Bubbles!” as loud as you could manage.


We took you to the Magical Kingdom in Disney World this year.  You were so excited to experience Minnie, or “Mimmie” as you call her, and Mickey and all of the princesses. And we loved watching you take it all in. Your favorite character was the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland because he had glasses just like you do! On the 4th of July we took you to see your first fireworks show. We were completely prepared for you to be scared and have to go home in the middle of all of it. But you loved them and were so brave during the finale!


You began mimicking us more and more this year. You started carrying a “pursh” (purse) like me and kicking a soccer ball around like Daddy. You like to brush your hair and put on “make-uk” (make-up) so much that we have given you a few pretend beauty sets and even one of my old compacts! You even laugh when we laugh and have become a parrot who repeats snippets of our conversations. Sometimes we have fun with this and teach you to say silly things like “Hot Mama!” or “What does a fox say?” (like the song). You have quite the sense of humor. In fact, you often throw your head back and laugh before you’re even finished saying or doing something funny. Don’t worry, we think you’re hilarious too. You are full of personality, constantly entertaining everyone you meet with your banter and giggles.

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In a strange twist, you spent the first year and a half of your life only seeing accurately at a distance. For quiet a while you had trouble seeing up close (you’re farsighted in both eyes) and hadn’t even seen your own face in a mirror you were nearly 20 months. We were delighted to watch you rediscover the world through glasses. I’m still flabbergasted at all of the things you weren’t able to see and how well you see now. And I still get teary eyed watching you play in the mirror or look at yourself on Facetime. Additionally, Daddy and I are so grateful that we have access to medical care and the means to get you what you need and help you see as well as possible. And we are constantly amazed at what science can do… I mean, they can look into your eyes and see what the issue is and how to fix it without you being able to tell them anything on your own yet. That’s really cool. And we are so happy to be able to do this for you… and we can tell you’re happy to see.


This year was full of experiments for you as far as food. When we neared your first birthday we began giving you milk… only to find that you had some funky skin issues and insane dryness when you were consuming cow’s milk. Through a series of doctors’ visits, blood tests, allergy tests and consumption challenges we were able to weed through quite a few issues: peanuts, eggs, milk, dogs and cats. You have sensitivities to peanuts (it came up in blood and skin tests) but you passed (meaning little or no reaction) an in-office peanut butter consumption challenge so you are allowed to eat it now! Egg allergies came up in all of those test too. The doctors determined that your “numbers” are low enough that it is not dangerous and you are allowed to eat baked eggs (another consumption challenge) that are diluted with lots of other ingredients and baked well. But you can’t have straight egg in any form (so hard boiled, breakfast eggs, quiche and meringue are out). The same process showed us that you are also allergic to dairy. Again, your “numbers” are low so you after another consumption challenge you were okayed to eat baked dairy and cheese. We’ll be starting yogurt soon but we plan on keeping you off milk for a while since it makes you obviously miserable. Otherwise, you love carrots, green beans, hummus, pastas, applesauce, smoovies (smoothies) chicken, turkey, oreos, m&m’s, grapes, bananas and so much more!

I recently had to write a “bio” for you for another project… it proved to be quite a challenge but it got me thinking about fun facts.

Calls herself “Via” rather thank Olivia or Liv
Stats: 33 inches tall, 27.4 lbs. Blond hair, brown eyes. Gorgeous smile. Thumb sucker.
Loves: Elmo, Minnie Mouse, animals (especially dogs), coloring with crayons, playdoh, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, zoo, walks.
Loves: singing the ABC’s, Happy Birthday and any tons of songs you make up on the spot.
Also likes dress ups and calls anything she thinks is pretty “Oh woo, woo!” She also loves to “bounce” on anything possible including Mommy’s exercise ball, beds and her very own trampoline.
Olivia’s favorite toys include her play kitchen where she whips up toddler culinary masterpieces and her “bikes”… basically any outside toy with wheels.
Frequent hang-outs: the corner (aka time-out), the coffee shop (where she charms regulars and newbies alike), Kroger shopping cart, the park.
This post could go in for infinity. But the point is that you are growing and changing into a more and more interesting little person everyday. And we just love everything about you and can’t wait to see who you become in life.
Love you bigger than the sky,

Pink-tastic Birthday Garland Tutorial

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and is enjoying the new year! I took a couple weeks off to enjoy family, friends and of course some food! After the busyness if the holidays we had the honor of celebrating Baby O’s first birthday. Let me first warn that having a baby RIGHT AFTER Christmas and New Years is brave. So is throwing a birthday party less than a week later. But Hilda doesn’t miss a party so I put on my thinking cap and got to work.


Problem #1: Budget. I’m not spending tons on this party. Let’s be honest its more for us me than it is for her. She won’t remember it and she’ll likely be embarrassed when I display these pictures all over the place on her 16th birthday. Fix: I devised a plan to use paint chips (free!) from Home Depot and a little bit of Pinspiration. I don’t have a fix yet for the 16 year old embarrassment. I’ll get back to you on that.


I grabbed several different colors of paint chips from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot. They are the biggest swatches I saw and had the best selection of pink. I shoved a handful of each shade of pink into my purse (Ok- I didn’t bring my purse in but luckily Molly was on this adventure with me and she carries an equally large purse- Thanks Molls). I know they are free but I felt embarrassed taking so many swatches. Stashing them in the purse was the best idea I had. *Clarification: I spent $60 there that day on air filters and supplies for a little electric project we had going. So I felt like I paid for the swatches anyway… And I buy tons of paint there. I think the Home Depot paint staff might secretly hate all the Pinterest addicts who come in a swipe swatches.

At any rate, this is what I whipped up-



I cut a large triangle out of each of the swatches. I didn’t measure or trace anything. I just cut as big of a triangle as I could get. They varied a little but it doesn’t bother me. I made sure to start the base of the triangle at the end of the swatch that didn’t have any printing or markings.


I pulled out my trusty twine and hot glued each triangle about 6 inches apart from each other. I randomly mixed the colors without pattern and just kept gluing.



I laid the garland out on the floor to keep tabs on spacing and placement. I also wanted to guestimate how long I needed each strand to be.


This was the end result. I hung the garland along the dining room wall. I knew I was going to hang tissue paper poms there and that most birthday pictures would have this wall as the back drop.

Problem #2: Time. I don’t have enough of it as is. Let’s not talk about the last time I shaved my legs. TMI? Sorry.  Fix: Prepackaged decor and a friendly helping hand.

I grabbed a 3 pack of tissue poms at the party store for $3.99 and I knew the $4 was about what I’d spend making them and the prepackaged ones saved me a ton of time. They were still tedious and a pain to puff out. I didn’t perfect my puff and fluff technique until halfway through the last pom but it is what it is.

I enlisted a friend to bake the smash cake and big cake. That alone saved me HOURS. So big shout-out to Sara for some gorgeous and super tasty cakes! Her cakes were also way more delicious and pretty than anything I could have done. Baby O’s cake was pink with white icing. Word to the wise: colored icing can stain and I’ve seen enough of it regurgitated on first birthdays to order white icing. Also, Baby O has been pooping pink for 2 days. I chose the lesser of the two evils.

Here is O anxiously awaiting her cake, enjoying her cake and then crying when we took it away to clean up. And then she pooped pink. She really is all girl!