Thursday, May 8, 2014

So, So Sorry

Dear Blog,

I am so, so sorry that I have been neglecting you this last month. I don't know how it happened. Something about three kids, and new side business, a husband taking business trips, and a full time job have kept me from my passions. But now is not the time for excuses, just apologies. I can't promise that it won't happen again, but know that I am doing my best and I will come back to you!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Okay, so I have a confession to make. We are not Easter people. Yes, the Easter Bunny comes to our house - I don't think I could have come up with a good explanation for why the Easter Bunny skips our house, but goes to everybody else's, including Nana's - but we don't do church, or a big family dinner, or anything else really.  Last year we skied on Easter which was awesome because it was warm, spring skiing and there was NO ONE there. The big bunny did make an appearance, however, and there was an egg hunt. Plus we skied!

That being said, I LOVE finding items to put in my sons' Easter baskets. I don't know why, maybe I am the ultimate consumer. Yup, that is probably it... The good news is that I also LOVE to share. Look what I found!

Shop Chevron Buckets > 
Even cuter... what if you get one with a seaside flair?
  Crab Bucket Bag Lobster Claw Bucket Bag Custom House Gulls Bucket Bag 
I don't know why, but I am in love with these adorable bucket bags from Seabags. They are a little pricey. So, my plan is to DIY some other things.

I found this awesome playground chalk recipe, made using plastic eggs. A Beautiful Mess posted this plantable felt garden recently and I figured I could probably get away with just making some vegetables (carrots for the bunny?) for the boys to use when they set up their grocery store or restaurant. I've also been dying to try these from the Love from the Oven blog (I think it was my first pin on Pinterest).

I usually throw in a book or two, some bubbles, a toothbrush (to get all the sugar bugs) and call it good.

Anyone have any other DIY ideas? I am open to suggestions and inspiration. Really I just love the baskets!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Few Good Books

Today I am sharing a few of my favorite books for kids. This is nowhere close to my complete list, but a few is better than none. I love, love, love books which is probably why I decided to become a teacher and share that love with kids.

 I have included books that are good for a range of ages and reading abilities. I have also tried to include some newer titles with some old favorites.

For the Youngest
Baby Faces
Babies love to look at other babies. This book has it!,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Little Puppy: Finger Puppet Book 
Anything with a puppet and a book? Sold! The boys liked it even better when the puppy barked, sniffed, and interacted with them.,204,203,200_.jpg

Maisy books
My boys loved Maisy! I'm not sure why but when they hit two years old Maisy was the go to book. This one was their favorite. They loved to lift the flaps.,204,203,200_.jpg

Sandra Boynton Books
I have to admit, I really get into these ones. When you read them, you can't help but sing...and maybe rock out just a little. Our favorites are the Belly Button Book and Barnyard Dance.,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_.jpg,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_.jpg

Early Readers
Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems
We have just discovered these. My 6 year old loves, loves, loves to read them and hearing him read them with excitement is his voice warms my heart. I actually love all of Mo Willems' books which also include Knuffle Bunny and the Pigeon books.,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Buzz Boy and Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Another of my 6 year old's favorite books. These two friends are unconventional, but still have some good times.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-65,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
Any time you can get a kid hooked into a series you are golden. If they love it they will read each and every book in the series and cherish them. This one is great because it has history mixed in.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA266_PIkin-av,BottomRight,-51,34_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Elementary Readers (1st - 6th)
DK Publishers Eyewitness Books
These books are all nonfiction, and fascinating. One of my favorites is the Titanic, but they have a ton of information about a ton of topics. With great illustrations, photographs, and information!,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Warriors by Erin Hunter
This is another series that kids fall in love with. This one is about a cat clans who talk. (Think Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nim) You will get sick of hearing about the different clans and who belongs with who, but the kids REALLY get into it.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-63,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Rick Riordan Books
Rick Riordan has a knack for incorporating mythology from Rome, Greece, and Egypt into real world settings. His Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles series are all instant hits. Kids line up to get the newest editions on the day they come out.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgThe Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid

 Older Kids (Middle School - High School)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
This book is about listening to yourself and not worrying about fitting in with the crowd. It teaches kids that everyone has something special and interesting about them. You just need to give them a

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper
The main character, Melody, in this book is unable to speak due to Cerebral palsy. Although her body has failed her, her mind has not. The girl is a genius, only no one knows it. The entire book is from her point of view. A great read for,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-63,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Wonder by RJ Palacio
A boy with a birth defect (a facial deformity) is sent to school for the first time in his life. To make it worse, it is middle school. This is the story of Auggie's journey into the public world. Palacio tells the story from not only Auggie's point of view, but also from the point of view of those around him. Another great read for kids and adults alike.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Cinder by Marisa Meyer
This book blends a futuristic world where cyborgs and humans intermingle with the classic tale of Cinderella. And, somehow, it works! This book is also part of a series.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Want to read the next Hunger Games? This is it! This series will become just as popular and be made into movies, guaranteed. The science fiction is set in a world where people are separated into factions that tell them how to dress, act, and govern how they are treated in their society. Teenagers have one chance in their lives to switch factions. Read this book to see what happens when one does.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

The Angel Expirement (Maximum Ride Series) by James Patterson
Did you know that James Patterson writes books for young adults? Well, he does. This book is about a group of teenagers who have been born with special powers/genetic deformities (it all depends on your perspective) and their struggle to stay free.,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

Monday, March 24, 2014

100 happy days, one day at a time

Okay, so I think I am a little late to the party on this one. Sadly, I find that I am a little behind the eight ball on many social media-type things. Oh well, sometimes having a life is more important. I already spend WAY too much time on the blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, the list goes on and on. Couldn't they just stop making new social media apps? I can't take anymore!

Anyway, in an attempt to extract myself from social media (yeah. right.) I have decided to try the 100 Happy Days project. Have you seen this? Do you know what I am talking about? Please tell me that there is at least one person out there who doesn't know about this yet...

Basically, you take one picture of one thing that makes you happy. And you do it again and again for 100 days. It is an attempt to help all of us unfocused, rushed people stop and notice how wonderful out lives are and, hopefully, appreciate all that we have. I love the premise behind it. I am a little sad that it takes social media to help me take these extra steps but it is what it is. I do have to say that I appreciate and give thanks for my life and my family every day. But it is kind of fun to do it in pictures.

Just in case you want another bloggers point of view on this, check out A Beautiful Mess' post this week here.  Oh, and there is actual scientific results that shows that this project makes people happier and more satisfied. Want to sign up (and to see more information)? Go to and check out the project!

Here are my first few happy days.

What makes you happy? Share your happiness!
Go to #100happydays to see what makes the world happy

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mimosas and Muffins

This past weekend I hosted a mimosas and muffins party.  It was quick and easy as far as set up and planning and it was a great way to spend some time with some of my favorite ladies!

To get ready I baked two dozen muffins (straight out of the box...I am no Martha) and bought fruit for fruit salad, three kinds of juices for a variety of mimosas (OJ, Blueberry Pomegranate,  and Crangrape) and a bottle of champagne for every guest. Overkill? Maybe...but I didn't want to run out.

I then scavenged my house for every bright colored, spring looking thing I could find. And then scavenged my mom's house (thanks Mom) and ended up with a pretty festive color palette. Clearly I am dreaming of spring and completely ignoring the single digit temperatures out there.

Then I searched the internet and found these lovely, free printables from the Handmade Home (thanks Guys!). I added some words using PicMonkey and printed.

Here is everything all set up and just waiting for my guests...

Sorry I didn't get a picture with all the food and mixers out but things got a little hairy in the end. I still had to feed the baby, vacuum the first floor, get the two year old dressed, and pee (TMI?) at about the same time that the guests were due to arrive. Eek!

Once everyone got there it was a help yourself, relaxed get-together. People made their own mimosas, grabbed their own snacks and hung out. My 45 minute party ended up lasting 2 1/2 hours. It was fun and I even have leftover champagne!

I hope all these spring colors bring a smile to your face!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Crazy Making

Why is it that we make ourselves crazy? We have beautiful, full lives. We have family, responsibilities, bills, headaches, jobs, laughter, love, and moments that come out of nowhere and shock us. And yet, we are always trying for perfection. When will we realize that what we have in this moment, right now, is perfection?

Recently, in an attempt to find more time for my family, I agreed to take on one more thing that would "solve all my problems." If I am trying to get more time for my family, why would I agree to doing something that took time away from my family? It makes absolutely NO sense. And yet, here I am stuck in the middle of it.

Every time I think of staying in to "see if it will work," I know in the pit of my stomach that it is the wrong thing to do. That I will not end up with boatloads of money, in fact it is much more likely that I will end up losing money. But then, every time I think of getting out, my stomach (again) goes crazy. I don't know if it is because I am afraid of being seen as a failure or because I may possibly make the wrong decision and lose out on "making it big."

And this brings me back to, why do we make ourselves crazy?

I know this whole post is a little cryptic, but I am kind of in the middle of it right now. Either way,  once I get myself out of the crazy cycle, I am going to have a great new experience to blog about. So, for now, please stick with me. I promise to get back to my "happy place" and share soon!

Photo Credit: muneeb1988 via Compfight cc

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Making Friends Wherever We Go

It is amazing who we encounter in our everyday travels.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to ski alone, which means a lot of trips up the chairlift in the singles line. This can seem a little daunting. You are all by your lonesome, faced with the prospect of sharing approximately five feet of space with three strangers for five minutes or so. I am not going to lie to you, it can be uncomfortable, but sometimes you find yourself on a magical chair and you have an AWESOME conversation with your fellow riders.

The funny thing is that unless I am decked out in my skiing gear ( including helmet and goggles so no one can actually see who I am) I tend to be pretty shy. But put me on a chairlift on a beautiful powdery day and I will talk to anyone and everyone.

 This past Sunday I talked about ski programs, the conditions, my kids, my parents, a weird connection between my fellow rider and a friend I haven't seen since college, my dog, all four seasons, my hometown, a new invention someone was thinking through, the dangers of dodge ball (torn rotator cuff. Ouch!), what we had for dinner and dessert the night before, sports, the Olympics, how to enhance a trucks headlights, sound system, and lift carriage, music, list goes on and on.

After reflecting on this awesome day, I realized that maybe, if it just stepped out of my comfort zone and actually started conversations with the people that I encounter every day, I could meet so many new people and have that many more connections. Imagine the conversations that I could have in the line at the grocery store, the post office, the bank...

This is one area where my kids had the world figured out before me. I often joke that they are little mayors. They know almost everyone they come across (strangely enough) and if they don't, they say "hi" and chat. (Not in a scary, unsafe way). So, today, I am going to make a point of saying "hi" to more strangers that I come across in my travels in hopes and being more friendly, welcoming, and engaging to the people around me.

What is that old saying? Strangers are just friends you haven't made yet.

P.S. More projects on the way. We have a long stretch of at-home time coming up which translates into fun project time. Oh, Project Time, how I have missed you!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Appropriate Footwear

I tend to wear out my things; meaning that I wear them until they literally fall apart. I have, and still wear, a pair of jeans, two sweaters, and some shoes from high school and I am closer to forty at this point than twenty. (Wow! That's scary) Until recently that was true  about my running sneakers too. That is, until one of my running girls told me that I should be getting new sneakers every three months. WHAT?!

My sneakers only get replaced when I can't stand it anymore. I was a die hard New Balance fan until they started giving me blisters, and even then I continued to wear them until they wore out. Then I switched to Asics. A few pairs later, my feet started going numb while I ran (I think the toe box was pinching my feet) but like a trooper I suffered though it until they stretched out. I have had the same pair of sneakers for a year and a half and have consistently racked up 10 to 25 miles a week on them. Do you think it might be a good time to replace them?

We have this awesome company, the Maine Running Company, that looks at your feet and your gait and then gives you suggestions for the best running sneakers for you. I have been wanting to go there for, no joke, six years. Here is the issue, consulting with them takes time and focus, both things that I do not have. I am rarely alone for any chunk of time, and if I decide to go with the boys I will not have time to make a thoughtful decision because I will be so distracted by the boys' behavior. My two year old has been known to pull  shoes off the walls at shoe stores if he is not watched every second. So, what is a girl to do? Every time I get a new pair of shoes I am disappointed and wish that I had gone to the Maine Running Company. On the other hand, I wait so long to get new sneakers that I typically rush into our local sports apparel store, Olympia Sports, and grab the first pair that catch my eye. No trying on. Nothing.

I wish there was a company that would just send you a selection of sneakers to try out and let you keep (and pay for) the pair that you like best. Anyone want to come up with that for us busy moms? Or, has someone already done it and I am just unaware?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Run Down

We were finally, FINALLY able to get some outside exploring done at home this weekend! The polar vortex decided to take a break and the entire family ventured out on BOTH days. It was amazing!!

Day One: Winslow Park

Winslow Park is a town owned park on Casco bay. During the summer it is packed with people camping on the sunny shores of the bay, but in the winter it is quiet. They have a great playground, a small beach area, nice trails where dogs can run free during the winter months... it is a great place to hang out.

Ben's favorite part is the giant pirate ship. There is also a traditional playground and swings.

We spent an hour or two just getting some energy out. I imagine this would be a pretty spectacular place to hang out in during the summer months as well. As locals, we are a little bit spoiled by the lack of people in the winter, so haven't actually ventured there during the busy season.

Day Two: Our little corner of the the woods

On the second day we all strapped on our snowshoes (minus the baby) and ventured into our woods for a little snowshoeing. We have some need little trails and old logging roads out in our woods, once we trek through the uncleared sections on our land.

While we ventured the Hubs and I came up with some big plans for cleaning up some of the dead underbrush and creating a few trails so that the kids can link to the other trails a little easier. We even have a few ideas for a tree house nestled out a little ways in the woods.

Ben is really enjoying snowshoeing these days, and Max got his first pair this Christmas, so I am looking forward to more treks out into the wilderness.

So, that is a quick run down of our outside adventures this weekend. Were you able to get outside this weekend. I have to say, it was so nice to be able to get outside without nine layers of clothing and kids screaming because they are freezing! Has anyone else noticed the lighter afternoons? Spring is coming!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Checking in...

I know, I know. I have been failing at blogging lately. Life has been hectic in my corner of the world; multiple storms, parent teacher conferences, getting ready for a family vacation, three very excited boys with not a lot of outdoor time = sheer craziness.

Fear not, I have not forgotten about you, I will be back later in the week with a new post. Until then, some alpine inspired artwork from a ski condo we stayed at.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wall Art - Scenic Photo Edition

If you haven't realized it yet, I LOVE that I live in Maine. We have the sea, lake, mountains, heck we even have a desert in Freeport. This place is beautiful!

My decor style, if I even have one, tends toward the Maine feeling: Laid back, comfortable, cottages. The art on my walls also embraces the beauty of Maine and all things associated with it. I have quite the collection of photographs from Southern Maine photographer, Rick Abbondanza, on my walls.

Rick's photographs embrace the sensibilities of Maine. They highlight the beauty of the state from the seas to the mountains. I have been collecting them for years, and have been able to put together some nice groupings in my home.
Here are some of my favorites:
*Marshall Point Light, Port Clyde
* Dory 1
* Royall River Dinghies
* Islesford Dinghies
* Exchange Street
* Sugarloaf: Fall Dusting

These are just a few of the many photographs available. If you get a chance, check out the site and let me know what your favorites are!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Entryway Spruce Up.... For now

Currently the area by our front door - let's call it an entryway, even though it really isn't - looks like this:
It's not much to look at. And when people come over it turns into a dumping ground for shoes, coats, and everything else. This annoys me greatly!

Eventually, we would like to build a half wall by the door such as this for the door side:
From SaiFou Images (If you are the original poster of this image, please let me know so I can give you credit!)
And this for the living room side:
Nest Design Co. Tiburon Residence

Unfortunately, we don't have the time, or funds for this right now, and I am a little concerned that the half wall will be an issue for people coming down the stairs which as to the right of the door. So I am going to try to complete a "For now" spruce up to deal with the issue for the time being.

The good news is that this one should be free. Here are my ideas for the space:
It's the expertly drawn picture to the right labeled "Front."

Basically, I am going to use one of my kitchen table chairs and a mirror with hooks that is living in the back hallway right now, to create a space for our guests to hang coats and sit to take off their shoes. We are still finishing up the back hall makeover (Yes, it has taken an entire month. Don't judge, I'm busy) and need to move the mirror and hooks.

During the planning process, this happened to one of the dining room chairs that we still haven't refinished.

So, I think I will use the broken chair as a sign that it wants to be a place to put our butts when we come in the front door.

I should have update on the upcycling of the broken chair in a few days! Stay tuned

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mud Room Closet Make Over... Wrapping it Up

When I started this mini-makeover/organization quest my back hall closet looked like this:

Now my closet looks like this:

In my book this is a success! There are still a few things from my original vision that I need to do such as put a fun stencil on the wall. But, for the most part, it is organized and done! Wahoo!

The cushion on the bench is actually a body pillow cover that I found on clearance from Target. I love the fact that it was a no sew solution.

Also, the wine cork hooks are still holding up great!

You may notice that the doors are still on the closet. That is mainly because I don't completely trust my family to put their stuff in their respective bins. So, until they are trained I am leaving the doors on. I do have a new home in mind for the doors (when we finish our basement) so they won't be there forever, but for now they are staying.

Here is the whole process up to this point:

Project Overload - First Up... Mud Room Closet Makeover 

Mud Room Closet Makeover - Day Two I Built a Bench! 


And my updated "To Do" List
1. Create bench
2. Create shelves for storage
3. Get baskets and bins to hang on side wall and to put on shelves
4. Get hooks for back wall and side wall for backpacks, jackets, and hats.
5. Figure out a fun color for the wall and/or finish (wallpaper? decals? wood planking?) Partially Complete
6. Install everything
7. "Make" cushion for bench
8. Decorate the wall across from the closet with mirror or chalkboard/photos/hooks

That feels pretty good. 
Next up, the wall across from the closet!