Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pumpkin Carving

I'm giddy with excitement for tomorrow!  Each year, I enjoy Halloween more & more.  I love the planning & executing of the costumes.  I love babies learning how to say "trick-or-treat" for the first time.  I love the massive amounts of candy every where, for me... not the kids.  I love the crispness of the weather, and the very last few leaves falling off the trees.  So yeah, pumped for tomorrow.  Especially Liam's little Halloween program at school.

As per tradition, tonight we carved pumpkins.  I have always loved doing them the night before Halloween, so that they are still fresh for the actual holiday.  While Liam really wanted to carve his own, he still allowed Conor to have knife duties this year.  But he did attempt to draw his own face on his pumpkin, and it was the cutest set of scribbles I ever did see.

While the boys pulled the "goop" out, I sifted through it all to find the seeds.  I love roasting them just like my mom always did.  Except I add Worcestershire, a necessary ingredient!  Liam didn't want to get overly messy by any means, and Finn was content to just play with the tops of the pumpkins and move them all around.  While the kitty cat was my personal design, I'm pretty sure it was Finn's favorite.  My carving skills are no good, so I handed it off to Conor after a good 10 minute effort.  I'll stick with roasting, that I am amazing at!

Fun was had by all.  The boys are asleep in some festive jammies.  
And I'm sure we'll be eating candy for breakfast!  Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Holiday Art {Minted Giveaway}

'Tis the Season folks!  But before you get all "don't forget about Thanksgiving" on me, just know that I'm very strict about no Christmas decor nor music until after Turkey Day.  However, that does not mean that I do not prepare long beforehand.  I've already been buying Christmas presents & some new decor items.  You seriously have to snatch this stuff when it's available!  Plus, I find the shopping and the decorating and all the preparing to be much more enjoyable when done slowly overtime, instead of a big mad dash towards the end! 

Today is all about holiday art.  I love adding little touches of Christmas all over my house.  And fun prints can seriously be used anywhere.  This little beauty from Minted that I picked out may find its way to my coffee bar, or perhaps it'll get some real nice wall real estate.  I can't decided yet!  And I'll probably move it all around the house multiple times before finding its final resting place.  I love the song Baby, It's Cold Outside, and no one (NO ONE) sings it better than Rod Stewart & Dolly Parton.  So add that jam to your holiday playlist ASAP!

Besides being absolutely adorable, I was super impressed with the quality of this print & frame.  It's hard to capture in a photograph, but that foil writing is beautiful oh how it shines!  I have realized I need far more foil prints in my life, especially some red foil!  Minted has won me over with their paper products once again!  And there are tons more fun holiday options right now.  I am also kinda crushing on their "it's the most wonderful time of the year" as well as their "eat drink and be merry" print.

You don't just have to drool over my pretty print; Minted is giving away THREE $100 credits!  This is seriously the best time of year to win some Minted credit.  How will you ever decide between holiday art, holiday cards, or thoughtful gifts?!

Enter Minted Giveaway Here

A few things to note: You simply need to enter your first name, last name, and email address to enter the contest.  The giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.  It will run until 11:59pm PDT on 11.03.  The winners will be emailed.  Now, may the odds be ever in your favor!

I received product from Minted in return for an honest review.  All wit & opinions are my own.
I really do love this company!  Also, affiliate links are being used.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


I've been far more intentional about dating all the boys in my life lately.  It started when I noticed Liam being more snuggly than usual, with him asking more of me.  While we always utilize Finn's nap time to do more "big kid" things, it's rare that we have outings just the two of us.  I knew we were due for a date!  However, I really have to woo Liam to get him out.  He is always hesitant to leave Conor & Finn behind, not wanting to miss out on fun with them.  But once it's just he & I, we fall right into a nice little rhythm.

I make sure to be completely present when we take these little outings.  I want to soak up every word he has to say.  His little mannerisms that sometimes go unnoticed when I'm wrangling two kids.  I want to slow down and enjoy things more while we don't have a rambunctious toddler that may be altering the mood.  I'm certain Liam's love language is hot chocolate, so I took him to a coffee shop downtown that had been on my list.  It did not disappoint!  The barista flame roasted his marshmallow and put it all in a mug just like mama's coffee.  We both ordered toast and then took our goodies upstairs where we took in the sights & sounds of the bustling shop on a Sunday morning.  The conversation flowed effortlessly as I sat & watched my first born in awe.  He's pretty amazing; I'm so proud of the young boy he is becoming.  Such a tender heart in that one.  The whole outing was good for the soul!  I think I needed that morning so much, possibly even more than Liam.

The one big take away I had from our morning was Liam telling me that he wished I would pick him up more.  Cue the tears (from me)!  He's a very touchy feely guy and loves to be snuggled/picked up all the time.  But often my hands are full, whether with bags or groceries, or with baby brother.  So that morning, I promised to say yes more often.  To say yes whenever he asks to be picked up for a hug, even if it's only for a moment.  One of the best dates I've had in awhile!

After my super successful date with Liam, the mom guilt hit; so of course, I had to take little Finny out later in the week too!  We have lots of us time while big brother is in school, but typically that time is filled with grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry... all the things that are easier to do with only one kid in tow.  And since I just couldn't get my mind off that same coffee shop, I took Finn back with me for more toast!  While Finn doesn't yet get to enjoy hot cocoa, he did nibble toast and enjoy lots of coffee shop snuggles.  Just slowing down & not running all over town was refreshing.  If I remember correctly, Liam started really enjoying special outings around age 2.  So I look forward to the time when Finn will begin to understand the specialness of a day date.

And once you start dating your boys, you just can't get enough.  So again last weekend, I took Liam to a REAL game.  He has been before, but not since he started playing soccer himself!  He was so into it.  I tried to announce the game as best as I could, so he could see all the players doing the same things he gets to do.  This little four year old gets pretty excited about corner kicks & throw ins!  He snacked on sour patch kids (and even saved some to bring home to Finn), I sipped on the biggest lime-a-rita of my life, and once again we chatted about all sorts of things.  This date's takeaway:  (I summarize) "The family sitting in front of us must have a van because they have so many kids.  We may need a van when we have another baby.  Actually we have an open seat for a sister baby, so we won't need a van.  But we can only have one more baby."  Some of our best talks; I love him!  And to remember our little outing, we bought Liam a REAL jersey of his own.  He can't wait to wear it to soccer practice!

And while I have loved all this one-on-one time with my little boys, Conor is not to be forgotten.  Without family close by it's not often that we have date nights, at least in the traditional sense.  But we do still try to find those kid-free moments to connect & catch up.  We often do this on nights when it's obvious the boys will be ready for bed early.  We feed them, bathe them, sleep them and then we pour the wine, order take out, & have a late night coffee table dinner just us.  Sometimes we don't actually eat until after 9pm, but being able to talk without interruption and eat as slow as we please is just blissful.   

With Finn nearly 18 months old, I know we will start leaving him with a sitter more often.  I look forward to dressing up & fancy nights out.  But I'm quite certain that nothing will beat our late night coffee table dinners.  Those nights are so us, and sometimes we'll even bust out the backgammon board and let our competitive sides show.  These evenings remind me of our pre-kid selves, just aged a good 10+ years, ha!

Now off to plan more special dates with my boys.  
I'm hoping they continue to involve lots of toast!

Friday, October 21, 2016


I'm particularly thrilled to see this weekend.  Not much planned other than football, costume making, & I'm hosting my book club.  Plus, a quick visit from the in-laws.  I'm also thinking we'll need to fit in a little movie night to all snuggle up & watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  So perhaps we'll have a busy little weekend after all, ha!  Here's the usual bit of randomness that you all can expect from a Friday post...
So book club... the book is Macgruder's Curiosity Cabinet.  I haven't quite finished it yet (gasp), but I'm not loving it.  If you do need an awesome book though, read A Man Called Ove.  Since I'm hosting, I've been menu planning all week.  I'm going with a Fall/October vibe.  Pumpkin soup & chicken, brie, apple sandwiches.  Along with Dark & Stormies and caramel apples.  I seriously can't wait for the kid-free/girl time!

I've been looking for booties for a good two years now.  It took awhile to find a pair I liked, and finally thanks to Vanessa, I found the perfect pair.  These are perfectly neutral, go with everything, and probably won't leave my feet until the first snowfall.

Another good find this week was thanks to Katie.  She posted about these coasters that I couldn't get into my cart fast enough.  They are so my style!

A little PSA: Hanna Anderson's Christmas jammies are currently 20% off.  So buy them now!  It never gets cheaper than this.  I didn't love the boy options this year and was so torn on what to get, but I ultimately decided on the blue gnomes.  But the girl options are amazing, and I'm particularly crushing on these!

After I wrote this post, I think many people were expecting/waiting for an announcement.  So just to clear the air, I am not currently pregnant.  But we are hoping to grow our family!  No need for a bump watch yet, but any positive thoughts our way would be appreciated!
TGIF friends; enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Hostess

I know I'm bypassing Halloween temporarily, but don't for one moment think that I'm not pumped to celebrate that holiday first!  But in the land of shopping, you have to plan way ahead.  Waaaaay ahead.  As in, we should really be talking Christmas right now (because if you don't snatch up what you want now, it will surely be gone when the actual holiday rolls around), but I'm not quite ready for that.  Instead, today I bring you a little bit of Thanksgiving goodness.  These are all some fun things that I'm eyeing right now.  You better bet, those turkey candle holders are already mine!  And the impulse buys have been out of control every time I step into Crate & Barrel lately.  I imagine I may be adding a few more things to my home to make Thanksgiving dinner extra special.  And can we talk about how copper is taking over the kitchen?!  It's everywhere, and I'm actually really loving it.

So while you all should be a tad selfish and pick up some goodies for yourself, I really put together these items with the thought of hostess gifts in mind.  I am firm believer in manners & old traditions.  If you are having dinner at someone's house, and especially if you have going for a holiday dinner, you best have a hostess gift in hand!  And what host doesn't love getting something festive for that particular holiday or season?

1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6
So... who's coming to my house for dinner?!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Patch 2016

This is one of those evening that I look forward to all year long!  We aren't one of those families that stops at every pumpkin patch they see over the course of the month of October.  We have just that one that we love, and we make one big grand night of it!  I feel that keeps the whole experience that much more special for the boys.  Liam obviously knew exactly what fun was going to be had, but it was brand new to our little Finn.  Reading Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin numerous times a day had everyone ready to get out there and find each of our perfect one!

The thing is...  I was a having a real rough day that morning.  Little things had been getting to me more, throwing me into the dreaded funk.  Nothing had been going to plan.  Naptime was cut short.  I just wasn't feeling like my usual chipper and excited self.  Conor & I talked about rescheduling our pumpkin patch visit, but it was really the only day in the near future that worked with both of our schedules.  I called my mom on the long drive out to vent.  Hoping that letting it all out, would help me let the little things go.  And thank goodness, the moment we pulled up to the farm, I was excited & filled with joy.  It is one of my happy places, and I was finally there with my little family!

We always go on a weeknight, because the place is practically empty.  No lines.  No crazy people to navigate around.  And you all know how much I love going places at Sunset, but even more so in the Fall.  Harvest sunsets are stunning.  The deep rich colors & warm glow don't even seem real.  And this particular night & particular sunset may have been one of my favorites.

Finn was much more timid than I would have expected.  While he loves slides at playgrounds, he was not fond of the big haystack slides or the potato sack one.  Liam practically ran laps doing the slides on repeat, but Finn was content to watch from my lap for the better half of them.  And then he refused to ride the little train, so again he watched from the sidelines.  His reluctance to join in completely surprised me and doesn't seem to fit with the rest of his personality, but I enjoyed the snuggles while we watched big brother have the time of his life.  He did however love the corn box and could have stayed there all night!

So often throughout this night, I found myself just taking in the moment.  Noticing the wild smiles & giggles from my boys.  Watching Conor with them.  Even though it's been a year and a half since Finny as born, I still so often find myself in awe of the fact that I'm surrounded by boys.  My boys.  And at times, I think that I'm just destined for boys.  That it will always be this way, just with parhaps another thrown in the mix (not an announcement).  I watched them play, noticing all the families all around us and remembering special memories from my own childhood.  For our past is the foundation that we use to develop our own traditions & memories.  Apparently, I was feeling all sorts of nostalgic and warm & fuzzy.

As sunset was nearing, we jumped on the tractor for a ride out to the actual pumpkin patch.  Finn was nonstop smiles throughout the entire bumpy ride.  All the boys wanted was more & more bumps!  He could not have been holding onto Conor any tighter, but he loved everything about it!

Pumpking choosing is serious business.  I'm such a sucker for the tall & skinny; yet, every year I plan on mixing it up.  And then I never do.  Liam was adamant that we need two big pumpkins and two small pumpkins, so the search was on.  Picking pumpkins straight from the vine is of extreme importance to me, which is why I love this particular farm.  I love that the boys get to see how exactly how the pumpkins are grown, and that they literally have hundreds to choose from.  I think we picked some rather perfect ones, with Liam being able to barely, just barely, carry his own!

Another night that will not soon be forgotten.  Liam had such a hard time leaving, knowing that we won't be back again 'til next year.  And he will grow impatient as we wait until closer to Halloween to carve them.  But gosh, it was a good night.  And these photos are some of my favorites.  They will help hold our memories to enjoy in all the years to come!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Small Shop Love

I love love love supporting small businesses.  I love the whole idea of shopping small & supporting someone's family directly.  Lately, I have been making more of an effort to collaborate with smaller shops to help share the love, bringing more attention to them.  So today I bring you a few of my favorites.  This post is in no way sponsored; no affiliate links.  I just want to give some shout outs to some small businesses that are killing it on the creative end, as well as offering some amazing quality.  People often ask where I shop for the boys, so all these shops are perfect for little boys & some even offer stuff for the mamas & papas as well.

Childhoods Clothing
Seriously well made.  Seriously cozy.  My favorites are their shorties, beach hoodies, rompers, & slouch beanies.  But I guarantee that if I had a girl, I would be all about their dresses & peplum tops as well!  So really, all their stuff is so so good.  And if you shop out of season, you can often find stuff on sale!

elSage Designs
This is a Seattle company.  I especially love them for the PNW inspired designs as well as unique Seahawks apparel.  Also, this shop has stuff for everyone!

Alpine Baby Co.
I mostly love them for their leggings, but occasionally I love their t-shirt designs too.  The knee patches are my favorite.  This tends to be a shop more for the babies, but they recently added rompers and have pretty dresses for the girls too.  I love the seasonal prints & mountain feel.  They are a Montana company that often does fun collaborations.  Look for their holiday line dropping on Monday.  Also, they typically have an awesome Black Friday sale, and you can always find deals on past season collections.

Modern Burlap
They are mostly known for their swaddles, changing pad covers, & crib sheets.  I'm seriously swooning over some of their new prints... the snowflakes and the mountains!

Made of Mountains
Another Montana company (and can you tell I kinda have a mountain theme going?).  This shop has adult stuff as well.  I love all their designs; perfect for all the adventurous ones in your lives.  I just bought Liam the "ski bum" shirt, and he just cannot believe his shirt says "bum!"  Boys!!!

Please please please share your favorite small shops with me!  Even better if you tag me on one of their posts on Instagram, since that is my favorite way to follow small shops!  And tell me, do you like me sharing these types of favorites?  Because honestly, I could have shared about 20+ more!  Which may be fun with all the holiday shopping coming up.  Yep... I went there!

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