‘Mom’s Night Out’ must see movie!

Oh my goodness, last night I was invited to go see the preview for a movie that is coming out Mother’s Day weekend called, Mom’s Night Out. It’s such a great movie! If you have small children, grown children, hope to have children, a mother or father, you need to go see this movie!

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If you do have kids then I am sure you can relate to the moms in this movie! I laughed so hard I cried, and I cried because I felt like so many parts described me!  At the end of the movie, you remember to embrace the chaos and find the joy when it’s hard, because we all know it can be hard!  So, grab your friends, family or whoever and go see it! You’ll be glad you did :)

favorite things party

Have you ever been to a Favorite Things Party??? Oh. My. Goodness, it was the BEST  girls night ever!! If you have never hosted or been to one, you must put that on your list of things to do this year! not next year, this. year!

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Creating a Design Plan from your Pinterest Board

I just wrote a guest post on One Girl One House about how to use your color inspirations on a Pinterest Board to create a design plan. Go check it out!

Chalk Paint (TM) has moved to Linden

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i am super excited to be a part of the cutest european inspired boutique in downtown woodstock named linden. Laurie has graciously opened her doors to me and my chalk paint (TM) business.

plus, i have quaint little places to hold classes…

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which i have them set on the following dates:

saturday, march 22nd from 10:30-1:00

saturday, april 26th from 10:30-1:00

the cost of the class is $95, includes all materials and you get to take your samples home!

please call the shop at 770.928.2222 to reserve your spot!!

my love affair with cleaning products

my hubby and i went to Fresh Market this past weekend to kick off our ‘it’s the first of the year, so let’s eat better, plus swim suit season is on the horizon’ plan. what better way to get you motivated than to peruse the beautiful aisles of Fresh Market or Whole Foods.  Because we both like to look at different things {he loves to spend lots of time looking at the cheeses, while i love looking at the beautiful baked goodies} AND we were kid-less we split ways. about 20 minutes later he hunts me down and finds me doing what i love the most… sniffing cleaning products. to my defense, they are natural, right? oh. my. goodness. have you smelled Mrs. Meyer’s Rosemary?? delicious! i truly enjoy all of Mrs. Meyer’s products, i’ve been hooked on the Radish sent lately. it’s fresh and peppery. it’s just divine. but, when it runs out i am definitely switching it up for the rosemary.

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i jokingly said to my husband “with my addiction to cleaning supplies,  you would think that our house would be immaculate.” which got me thinking. do you feel that when you’re house is clean no one stops over unexpectedly, but the minute your house is in complete disarray everyone and their mother decides to stop by? this happened to me when i graciously invited a neighbor in who was dropping something off. i didn’t worry about cleaning up because she was just handing something over… but when she got here, her pen wouldn’t work and it was 22 degrees outside. i really wanted to tell her that i would be back with a pen, but i couldn’t leave her out there in the cold. so, i invited her into the chaos. the kids had just gotten home from school, so book bags and paper work was scattered all over the counter. baby bottles filled the sink ledge. coats and shoes thrown on the floor. my 2 year old was running around pant-less. it was crazy-town.

after that moment, i decided that i don’t want to feel like that again. i know, you shouldn’t care what people think. but the reality is, i do. even though i try not to let things like that bother me, they do. i wanted to welcome her in and feel proud of our home, not try to hurry her out before she saw the mounds of folded/unfolded laundry on my kitchen table.

i sat down and wrote a list. my daily cleaning plan.

it starts off with my cleaning arsonal.

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i try to do this everyday or at least every other day.

- put Mrs. Meyer’s in the toilets and sinks in the bathroom.

- Master Bedroom: make bed, take water glasses to kitchen, dust, take clothes to laundry room.

-Master Bathroom: wipe counters, spray shower with cleaner, wipe mirror, clean toilet.

Hall Bathroom: clean toilet and sink. empty trash can.

Family Room: pick up toys, dust, fluff cushions.

Breakfast area: clean up breakfast, wipe table, wipe chairs

Entry: dust the entry table, shake rug

Kitchen: unload dishwasher {i usually run the dish washer at night}, load dishwasher, wash bottles, put away things on the counter, wipe counters, wipe barstools.

Start laundry

Sweep and vacuum entire downstairs

Kids room: make their beds and put any clothes/toys away

Kids Bathroom: wipe down counters, clean toilet and spray/rinse tub

all in all it takes me about 35-45 minutes at full speed

want to know what the trick is? taking the time in the beginning to make a home for everything. that way, when you’re cleaning up you already know where things go. invest time to organize so that when you start your daily clean-up routine, it goes fast and everyone in your home knows where things are. i can’t guarantee that you’re never going to hear “mom, where’s my baseball glove?” but maybe it’ll help your household run a bit smoother.

 

cookie exchange… thumbprint snowmen.

one of the things i love about the holidays are all the yummy sweets that we have lying around. every year one of my neighbors hosts this fun cookie exchange… the best part besides trying to be super creative while making a delicious cookie is that you get to take home an assortment of what everyone makes- hence the ‘exchange,’ i guess.

i’m more of a baker than an entree maker, so i enjoy digging through cookbooks and websites trying to find ‘the cookie’ that will graciously be entered among the other cookie exchange contenders. this year we got to vote on whose cookie was the most creative, festive and unique. knowing that a little competition was involved peeked my 6 year olds interest. everything to him is a competition.. the first one up the stairs, the first one to eat all the dinner, the first one all the time. this mama wasn’t going to complain or try to teach a lesson about how sometimes we’re not first, second or even third… i was just smitten to spend quality time with my first baby while the other 2 napped. after lots and lots of martha and pinterest searches, i stumbled upon ‘the cookie.’

the sweet and yummy thumbprint snowmen!

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they were pretty easy, yet time consuming. you make the cookies, then let cool. you then make the white face and wait about 3 hours to dry. once dry, you decorate the eyes, mouth and nose… and let dry for a couple of hours. so this cookie isn’t something to make when you’re in a hurry. they sure were yummy and well worth the wait! not to mention… we won :) the first thing out of my sons mouth on sunday morning was 1) could he eat a cookie for breakfast and then 2) did our cookie win. he was pretty pumped all day.

here’s how to make them…

Thumbprint Snowman Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1    egg
  • 1  tablespoon  milk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • Icing (to fill cookies)

Icing:

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla (optional)
  • Gel paste food coloring (black, orange) for decoration

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
  2. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. For each full snowman cookie, on an ungreased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, place 2 dough balls side by side with one side touching. Press thumbs into each ball to form an indentation in each.  Repeat with remaining dough balls, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.  For heads only, use one dough ball.
  3. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack. Let cookies cool.  Fill each indentation with the icing (I used decorating bags and #2 or #3 tip. Let icing dry for several hours.
  4. Tint some of the royal icing black, and some orange.  Using a small decorating (#1) tip and black icing, apply buttons and eyes.  With the orange, add a carrot nose.
  5. Let cookies dry completely, ENJOY!

NOTES:

To Store: Place filled cookies in a single layer in covered storage containers and store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

-Nicole

how we do christmas & a holiday scavenger hunt

i love, love, love christmas. everything about it. teaching our kids about the birth of the Prince of Peace, giving gifts, watching the magic of the holiday bring such joy and excitement to our kids, and having an excuse to surrender to the over indulgence of sweets.   every year we host christmas. we love having everyone over for the holidays. we always welcome my in-laws on christmas eve. they stay the night and watch our kids open gifts up from santa and then we eat yummy breakfast treats and then we open our family gifts. once my in-laws leave, my side of the family comes over. we eat christmas dinner, open gifts, watch Christmas Vacation and they stay the night, too. sometimes it would be easier if we just joined forces and held one giant christmas party, but we like celebrating separately so that each family gets more one-on-one time. we work so very hard preparing our hearts and homes for this one special day and it makes me so sad for what we’ve built up for for 364 days to be over in just a few short hours. so this year i have vowed to make christmas last not only on the 25th but the 24th, too.

to spice things up for my in-laws, we have come up with what think is awesome. the…

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we will have 10 adults playing, we are going to split them up into 2 teams. i have come up with 5 clue cards and 2 cheer cards for each team. the clue cards have riddles to tell them where to go next. the cheer cards have a riddle that have to be  acted out.

for example… one cheer cards says ‘oh no! you’ve slipped in the christmas potion, now you have to find your next clue walking in slow motion.’  another cheer card says ‘ring the bell and get ready to sing, can you hear those sleigh bells ring?’ they are going to have to go out caroling to some of our neighbors! i have included blank cards for you to print and write in your own riddles if you want to do a scavenger hunt with your family too! you can always use them for other things… gift tags, place cards, or notes.

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click here to print.

hope you enjoy them!

Nicole

holiday home tour {our front porch}

 

one of my most favorite things about our house is our front porch. i’ve had several posts on the way i decorate it throughout the year, like this one. we have lived in 2 other houses, both only had a front stoop… i love that look too, but i really enjoy sitting out front to watch the kids play and socialize with neighbors.

i normally don’t decorate woods-y for the holiday, but this year i seem to be gravitating towards the more rustic look.

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i had these weird swags, so i hooked them together to create the piece above our front door.

i l.o.v.e wreaths, so not having one on my front door sort of makes me sad, but i really like having this unexpected picture. i usually hang this ice skate on our newel post with garland, but i thought it would be cuter to hang it with the picture. it’s all about the layering! plus, i’m not getting the garland out this year. i can just picture boy #2, who is 2, doing some sort of tarzan swinging action hero thing.

i have usually put a full sized tree out there, i ended up giving it away after christmas last year. it was super cheap and i had to fill it with garland to make it look half way normal, so i opted for the small tree and placed it in an urn. i miss how the big tree lights up the front so well. i’ll be thankful when christmas is over and i’m not taking down this huge tree with several strands of lights. i guess i’m going simple-ish this year. the little sign says ‘be cheerful and pass it on.’ it’s a cute little sign, i ordered them wholesale and have 5 of them… so you may see them in other pictures too :)

thanks for checking out our holiday front porch!

-Nicole

holiday home tour {dining room}

i usually have all of our christmas decorating finished before thanksgiving so that i can just sit back and enjoy it all as long as i can. if it were up to me, i would have everything up on november 1st… i do sort of get burnt out on having things out of its place. christmas decorations might come down right after thanksgiving if i did put them up that early!

i start and finish each room. one at a time. every year our home looks completely different… just like every other day in our house, nothing is safe.  i sit and rummage through the bins and boxes, stopping often to admire tiny little christmas memories that we have made. the first room usually done, mainly because the boys tend to leave this room alone except when riding the tricycle around the table  or the daily game of tag, is the dining room.

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i tied these cute glittered name tags on the backs of each chair. ‘s’ is for santa, r for rudolph, d for dasher, b for blitzen. i actually bought one for each family member a couple of years ago when i thought i wanted to do a stocking for everyone. i didn’t end up doing that, so now they serve as place cards.

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the black ticking stripe runner came from a local wholesale florist place. i’m really into black and white right now. i couldn’t fathom only using it for halloween. i’m pretty sure it will become an everyday runner.

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the gold swirly tree was from stein mart. the large glass urn is from outrageous interiors. the snowflake and candle holder are from target.

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this is the only time a year when our china, that i had to register for when we were getting married, gets used. i pair them with ‘fa-la-la-la’ plates from kohl’s.

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we are always having company over. from family and friends to pop in neighbors. the table turned bar cart is the perfect set up for an impromptu cup of cheer. target has a really cute one out right now. i’ve been eyeing that baby for a couple of months. this table from pier one serves the purpose.

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i like to have some sort of baked goods on the buffet piece everyday during the holidays. it’s great for the kids and visitors… not so much for  this baby weight that needs to be leaving.

well, that’s our dining room. hope you enjoyed the tour! when you decorate, do you do room by room, too?

-Nicole

meet our baby girl & let’s get ready for thanksgiving

oh. my. goodness! i can’t believe it has been so long! lots of things have happened since i last posted… my oldest started kindergarten, my second one FINALLY got potty trained and i had this sweet baby girl. i’d love for you to meet our beautiful and  lovely

heidi caroline

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she is now 5 months old and i finally feel like i may be coming out of the crazy newborn/son starting real school/having a half-awesome half-terrible 2 year old thing. i have been thinking about and waiting for this day where i would find time to sit, write and catch-up.

you’re going to think i’m crazy… i know i am, but do you ever talk in your head as if you’re writing a blog post? i’ve been thinking for at least 2 months about writing to catch up and introduce our sweet girl, but i just never could find the time. i thought about it All The Time… driving to preschool- i’m thinking of what to write, cleaning the house – could i write about this?, cooking dinner- is this recipe post worthy? latest heidi outfit- that’s totally worth sharing!  see, i am crazy! well, last night while i was folding laundry, i caught myself and decided that instead of talking to no one… i would actually sit down and write! so friends, here i am. again!

let’s catch up- in case you’re wondering whats been going on with my business…i’ve put a hold on my chairs and my design work. i hope to slowly get back into those things, sooner than later! i’m enjoying things that don’t require me to be away from my family or keep me up all hours of the night. if you know me personally, you know that i can’t sit still for very long. so, i have something fun to share after thanksgiving :)

speaking of thanksgiving. i am so thankful that our family is all within an hour drive. our neighbors left to go out of the country with their 3 small (under 4) kids f   or the week. as thursday approaches, i may be daydreaming of warm sandy beaches with just the 5 of us myself. however, i sure would miss grandmas layer cake, which is only debuted twice a year. i’m not even sure if it’s good, seems like the folks that have married into the family sort of pass by the famous layer cake at dessert time, it may just be that we’ve had it since birth and we’re  just born {or made} to like it. nevertheless, i’m looking forward to it!

at my very old age {early thirties}, i already have my set side dishes that are required for my entry at thanksgiving… well any family holiday celebration.

1} sweet potato casserole- it’s so good that you’ll want to slap yo grandmama. my mom entered it in her work thanksgiving feast competition. it took first place for sides, in a company that has over 200 employees. sure did. oh yea, it’s that good. of course i don’t want to deprive you of the ultimate sweet potato casserole, so i will share!

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2} creamed corn. my dad makes fun of this dish. it’s whole kernels, which he says isn’t creamed corn… it’s not the texture of the corn that gives this recipe its name, it’s the delicious heavy cream and parmesan cheese. it’s lip smacking good.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

2 cups Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup margarine, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup margarine, softened

Marshmallows

Directions:

Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, pierce with fork and place on a baking sheet { i usually buy 4-5 good sized potatoes}. Bake sweet potatoes in oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees.

Mix all ingredients {except the topping} and pour into a casserole dish. Make the topping by mixing ingredients together and crumble topping over mixture. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. After 30-35 minutes, add marshmallows on top and cook until browned.

this is a great recipe to make ahead of time and refrigerate.

now for the Creamed Corn

2 {10 ounce} packages of frozen corn

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tsp. salt

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

in a skillet over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter. whisk together the milk and flour and stir into the corn mixture. cook stirring over medium heat until mixture is thickened and corn is cooked through. Remove from hear and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted. serve hot.

go enjoy your family and tryptophan induced naps :) happy thanksgiving!

nicole

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