In order to have a succesful family dinner…

To occupy boys set up a train…

IMG_7142And then have a grandparent help make sure everyone is taking turns…

IMG_7143Make sure you have a lot of people supervising one person making the salad…

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And get a picture of your Mom with her Mom…

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And if you are going to take a picture with your son and your nephew make sure it’s crazy…IMG_7148

And know that for a good portion of the men in the family this is their version of “smile”…

IMG_7149I cannot express how thrilled we are to have my grandparents here for Christmas, and more family is on the way! Expect a lot of fun family photos this week!

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Friday Favorites

friday favoritesLounging while waiting his turn to get his haircut.

An amazing bento box perfect for a kid lunchbox or an adult lunchbox alike.

Peppermint chocolate cake…seasonal, yet still chocolate cake. Yum.

The musings of the original celebrity chef.

A fun New Year’s Eve decoration DIY.

The dress I was smitten by at Anthropologie over the weekend.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sick and thought, if only I had a classy humidifier to cheer me up.

A cheery printable place mat (that kids can color!) for Santa’s cookies.

So much style inspiration packed into an affordable book!

The perfect last minute gift for your most treasured acquaintance.

Can an eating utensil be hilarious and slightly creepy?

Thoughts on discovering science through experimentation and failure from the hosts of one of the boys’ favorite shows: Mythbusters.

J has quite an interesting and detailed round-up of what Christmas is all about..it includes baby Jesus, birthday cake, Santa, a reindeer getting a bump on the head, and from two days ago…doughnuts. Do I dare try to make these for Christmas day??

I love the premise of this cookbook. So smart!

I’m not sure you truly understand the role of being the Mom (or aunt, or uncle, or grandparent, or friend) of boys who loves ninja turtles until you step in front of a bewildered person with a shopping cart in the aisle and start tossing boxes muttering “got it, got it, FOUND IT!!” And then you make an excited call to tell one (or all) of those preceding associated people you found Be-Bop at Wal-Mart and they say “SWEET!” because they know exactly what you are talking about.

This make-up set. Makes me want to send B a text with the subject “just in case you need one more idea…”

And lastly, how I feel about going to any store this weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Playing with Daddy’s Lego Bin

B has a bin that he got from his parents’ house that is filled with vintage Legos among other random items. We keep it separated from the other toys because it is the perfect thing to pull out on a rainy day for the boys to sift through. J has recently become quite entranced with the bin and we always know that introducing the bin will turn into at least thirty minutes of quite playtime…and intense concentration.

lego bin lego bin lego binI also wanted to entitle this post: The few minutes of the day where J’s hair is combed. HA!

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Molasses Cookies Reinvented

Molasses CookiesSo now that there are more than a few food allergies in our house, I find myself asking people weird questions like “When you say butter do you mean butter in that recipe?” Because many times when people mean butter they mean margarine, and if they mean margarine it usually means soy. We have adjusted so well at home I don’t typically think about it anymore…until I went to make my molasses cookies. Which are my favorites. Which are some of B’s favorites. Which are requested each year. And they have shortening. The boys and I set out on a mission this week to test them out and see if they would be as good as the originals with unsalted butter. All I did was take the original recipe and substitute softened butter for the shortening. This isn’t an unusual move, but it can change the consistency and softness of the cookie. We also rolled them in sugar, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed helping me with. They also helped me taste test them…

Molasses CookiesMolasses CookiesAnd they were winners! They were slightly darker in color than the originals, and a little bit flatter, but they still maintained their same chewy, nutty flavor. I love these cookies this time of year because the combination of ginger, cloves, and molasses tastes like Christmas. Now that we know they are good to go we will be making a bigger batch for the upcoming week!

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Spicy white chocolate popcorn

Spicy white chocolate popcornOne of B’s co-workers makes this amazing spicy popcorn and occasionally he sends some to our house. It’s one of my favorite treats and so I decided to spice up a classic party treat, white chocolate popcorn. I didn’t make my popcorn from scratch (like he does), but it still turned out really tasty. Go light on the spice…it absorbs in the popcorn and gets spicier as it sits.

White Chocolate Popcorn

Ingredients

1 bag of microwave popcorn (I like Pop Secret’s plain…but you can use whatever you like, just don’t get ones that have extra butter or salt or it will get greasy)

1 16 0z bag of white chocolate chips

Dash of cayenne pepper (use less than an 1/8 of a tsp)

Red or green sanding sugar (optional)

Directions

Pop your popcorn according to the instructions. I go through it after it is popped and try to remove as many unpopped kernels as I can. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper, then stir it. Let the popcorn cool for a few minutes while you melt your chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for thirty second intervals (stirring after each) until smooth, or you can melt it in a double boiler (the method I use), using low to medium heat and making sure the water from the bottom sauce pot doesn’t touch the top. Once the chocolate is melted working quickly pour over the popcorn and mix well. Then top with sanding sugar. Let the mixture sit for about an hour until the chocolate has hardened. Then I usually transfer it to another dish and top with a little more sanding sugar. Breaking up the popcorn before you transfer it is a good idea, so people aren’t standing there trying to break it apart in the bowl (causing popcorn to fly everywhere…not that I would know about this happening). And that’s it! Super easy!

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Friday Favorites

Friday FavoritesFree balloons from Rosie’s = Many hours of fun.

Adorable holiday decorations for a kid’s room + a bonus DIY.

The chorizo and white bean stew I made for dinner Thursday night.

Tips for taking a great food picture.

I’ve heard that dressy sweatpants were a thing for awhile now, but 345 dollars for lounge wear seems a bit extreme.

A sweet little birthday favor craft.

I don’t remember a lot from our family winter trip to Lake Tahoe, but my vague memories include a cabin, the woods, and lots of snow. And it was lovely.

A gallery wall full of awe-inspiring abstract art.

Classic seventies style, updated.

Already thinking about different ways to modify a felt ball garland tutorial, so both boys could participate.

A Christmas tree for A.

But first, coffee. Pretty much my life motto.

My list of art books for A keeps getting longer and longer.

Vibrant and colorful city art prints.

And finally what I think at night when I wake up and cannot go back to sleep.

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My Favorites Gift Guide

Otherwise known as a gift guide for the woman who likes girly things, loves hats, can’t resist an Agatha Christie novel, collects and makes quirky art, pours over cookbooks and is constantly getting her family to try her new recipe ideas. So me. Enjoy!

 Favorites Gift Guide[1.MAC Rebel][2.Sunday Suppers][3.See by Chloe][4.Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case][5.Bowtie Abstract Print][6.Michael Stars Hat][7.Starburst Stud Earrings][8.Boot cuffs][9.Vintage Arrows]

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Transitioning Pieces

I love dual purpose pieces. Ones that you can wear as easily in the summer as you can in the fall. This perforated shell is one of those pieces. I actually got it at the end of spring and wore it with either a maxi skirt or fatigue colored capris during the summer and this fall I transitioned it into work wear by adding a cardigan and swapping in brown pants. The added plus is that it is a thicker material which makes it warmer for colder days.

Transitioning Pieces[J Crew Cardigan] [Anthropologie Shell…Similar concept here] [Target Tank] [Express Pants…Similar here] [Ann Marino heels…the original version is here, but they only have it in black, so here is another option]

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The Three Project: Project 3

Project ThreeFor A’s last project, he contributed a Lego set to his school’s toy drive. For A there is nothing better than giving (or receiving) the gift of Lego’s. When he found out that they were having a toy drive it’s the very first thing he thought of and wanted to donate. It has been fun to see him get excited about helping others. Surprisingly over the past several weeks we have heard less about what he wants for Christmas and seen more of him just enjoying all of the things about the holidays. I hope to carry this out each year for the boys and increase their involvement a bit each year, so they love not only receiving gifts, but also giving them each year.

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This weekend we…

Met with Santa one more time to confirm our list…
weekendChatted up a reindeer…

weekend 2Discovered that climbing a snowman cut-out is twice as fun as just looking through it…

weekend 3Discovered the boys love of blacksmithing….

weekend 4“Drove” a sled…

weekend 5Ate salsa like a boss…

weekend 6Washed the cars in between rain storms (and using a super soaker)…

weekend 7Built some Minecraft themed towers and dungeons using Duplos…

weekend 8Practiced our juggling skills…

weekend 9And finally….ate lemon cookies outside like it wasn’t freezing cold…

weekend 10And that was our weekend! Happy Monday!

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