Friday, December 20, 2013

Grieving

Last friday the world lost a beautiful soul. At just twenty-six years young our dear friend, Stella's Godmama Adrienne passed away after an eight month battle against melanoma. To say we miss her terribly is a understatement. I have a lot of questions and doubt and sadness in my heart and that is ok.

We traveled to Georgia to lend any support we could to her husband, Tim's best friend Jesse. We took Stella to pass out hugs and smiles and goofiness where needed and she rose to the occasion. She also blew me away daily - all the preparing her and anxiety and nerves were put to rest when she handled herself so maturely as if she was processing it all better then me. She rallied from 7am-1am some days and was a champ traveler, I am beyond proud and impressed.

During the service we learned so much about Adrienne that we never knew - Like her commitment to philanthropy and helping others. Up until the day she absolutely couldn't anymore she was writing letters to other cancer patients and making plans to do things like hang Christmas lights for others. Stella and I already have plans to get in touch with The Lydia Project and continue as much of her work that we can. It is Adrienne's job as Stella's Godmama to provide guidance and be an example to live by and I don't think she could have done a better job!

Life is short.

Her boss Kim, who I have come to absolutely adore and admire did the most beautiful job of sharing Adrienne's story. When she was finished she shared with us the most perfect poem, here is part of it:

Swim more rivers, climb more mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more, cry less. Go barefoot oftener, eat more ice-cream. Ride more merry go rounds, watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we tho along.

Life is way too short and cancer sucks. Rest in peace beautiful angel.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Lasagna In The Crock-pot With Barilla!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.
I am not the cook in the family though if you ask my husband he'll tell you my best recipes are always crock-pot recipes. So imagine my enthusiasm when I discovered that a lot of our favorites could be adapted to work in the crock-pot too! As a busy family of six, from 4-6pm things are nuts in our house, forget trying to get dinner started too. With a crock-pot recipe I find that I can throw it all together during nap time and then still have time to sit back and relax before the second heat of our day starts.

Lasagna is kid one and threes favorite so it is almost always on the monthly rotation. I don't even try and get fancy with my recipe - I stick to the same one I have been using for ten years and my mom for four before that. It comes from the trusty marching band booster cookbook that we sold when I was in high school. However, I can secretly admit to you guys that I started mixing some carrot shreds in years ago…

Before I even got started on dinner the kids and I headed to Safeway for supplies! I got talked into a car cart, which I am usually against, but with the kids way way up front it was almost like I was shopping alone with my Starbucks riding shotgun. I even scored and saved $1 off my purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce. This was an in-store promotion that you can use when you visit your local Safeway brand store. That's like a free candy bar!

Then we got down to business…
1 lb. Ground turkey or beef
32 oz Barilla® Sauce
3/4 c Water
1/2 c Shredded carrot
Package of Barilla® Lasagne noodles - I am crazy for the oven ready flat rolled option!
1+ c Cottage cheese
2 c Italian blend shredded cheese

Brown your meat and drain. Turn off heat and add in sauce and water. Spray inside of your crock-pot with oil. Mix together cottage cheese and carrot then set aside.

Cover the bottom of your crock-pot with a helping of your sauce mixture. I like to give my pot a little shake to even it out. Next layer noodles then cottage cheese mixture, topping off with a good layer of cheese blend. Repeat desired amount of layers, finishing with a sauce, noodle, sauce, shredded cheese layer.

Set crock-pot to low for 3-4 hours and get ready for a delicious smelling house! I want to hear if you make this too - What did you think?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Well Crafted Gift-Guide With BRIKA + A Giveaway! (Colsed)

*Congrats to Laura of Bits Of Sweetness!

On the hunt for that perfect one of a kind gift this season? Look no further then BRIKA - A one stop shop that features some of the most fabulous makers and handicrafts on the market today. A unique online shopping destination that offers a curated selection of special pieces that are destined to become heirlooms and celebrates the makers behind them. Shop for everyone on your list!

I think we can all agree that shopping for a baby at Christmas can be a tough, do we buy them a gift? Will they care? Do we get something they need or can grow into later in the year? My advice is to do a little of both - I always have fun selecting things that are useful and then some memory makers too (then I package it in a fun box because that's the only part they really care about). I am also all about budgets and minimizing this year so I came up with three gift guides for you in three great price points! I tried to do a good blend of wants, needs, and fun surprises. These are all Robin and mommy approved .

I had so much curating this gift guide for Robin - I could digitally thumb though BRIKA's stock all day!


  • So in love with this Wooden Moose by Enormous Champion, Robin loves to walk his animals all over the carpet and even gives them voices!
  • I was stunned when I saw this pillow - There are few truer words that I would like my son to live by.
  • This whale mobile by Petit Collage would be the perfect addition to the kids adjacent whale themed bathroom. A whimsical decoration to look at during bath time!
  • I have been a long time lover of Zuzii Footwear and these Olli Cashmere Boots and Camel Suede Mox give me heart eyes for days.
  • What a fun way to discover geography! Robin and the girls would spend hours standing around this gorgeous World Map Decal by Petite Collage.
So, what do you think? Did you see anything to pencil onto your little ones list? I can't wait to do some more shopping with BRIKA. I encourage you to sign up with the BRIKA community and then like BRIKA on Facebook so you can be among the first to know about new makers as they’re announced! You can also follow on twitter, Pinterest and instagram for the latest crafts and happenings.

That's not all! Brika wants to give one of my readers a $25 credit to shop at Brika. What gift from BRIKA would you love to give and who would receive it? Your mother? Your Best friend? Or one of your little ones?

To enter please visit BRIKA and sign up with the BRIKA community. Take a look around and then come back and share the url of something you would like to give (or receive) this holiday season. You won't want to miss this giveaway, I promise!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by BRIKA but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. I did receive compensation for my time and work on these gift guides.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Week Of PJ The Elf

I did it! I caved - I finally talked myself (and sort of my husband) into an Elf On The Shelf. I just couldn't make excuses anymore when I saw it for a steal on Black Friday at Bed Bath and Beyond. I even called Tim for the "ok" and he told me I could if I really wanted and that he trusted I would make the right choice. That meant not to buy it - But I did anyway…

Let's be totally honest here, PJ (that is her name) is way more for me then the kids. I mean Rowan gets really into finding her each morning but I totally get a holiday high over dreaming up her mischief after the kids go to bed. I even vowed not to use him to threaten because I don't need a ploy to scare my kids into always being on their best behavior. That is something that I enforce year round. 

For a milisecond I worried about becoming "that mom" on Facebook that annoys everyone with their elf and while you might be rolling your eyes so hard at me, so far PJ and her antics have been really well received. So, I spam away. It's only seven days in and I am already running out of the real genius ideas. I mean can I really top PJ pooping on Kaepernick? Probably not. Thank God for trusty Facebook groups like Elf on the Shelf Ideas by organizedCHAOSonline. I tell them where to find the perfect props and they tell me how glue dots are the bees knees for posing your elf. Also, Tawsha is just amazing with her elf's tiny sparkly high tops and innovative scenes of mischief.

I'll try and share our elf here and there. Tonight he is going fishing with a tiny pole I found in the miniatures section at Hobby Lobby and tomorrow? Who even knows yet, ha! Are you doing an Elf On The Shelf this year? Leave your link, I would love to check them out!
Hints: I found our fairy door at Hobby Lobby - It stays up year round for any magical creature to use as they please.

Mini marshmallows or sprinkles are much easier to clean up then flour, wink wink.

For the pooping elf, I have seen a million options for this but I just sewed fishing line through her hat and taped to the underside of the cabinet. Then I used glue dots on her feet and hands to make the position more realistic. Rowan has even been up close and still doesn't get how she is staying like that!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Fourth, Where Did You Come From?

It's a little hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it is already four days into December. Twenty-one days until Christmas.

Does anyone else feel like they were robbed of that nice lazy week in between Thanksgiving and the onset of December that we are usually spoiled with? Honey, quick get the lights out, trim the tree, oh my gosh bake all the things. Our tree did go up a couple of weeks ago but didn't get dressed up till last Sunday night due to no one wanting to run to the storage unit. Stella can't stop dancing around it and Robin watches for us to walk away and then snatches the big My Little Pony ornament and runs. It's a nice system those two have down. We're all Christmas as frack around here now. 

Let all the traditions commence!

We don't really get into the whole advent spectacle, other then the Trader Joe's chocolate ones for a dollar, but one of these years I would like to try a Christmas book one.That doesn't stop me from loving on some I have seen around the internets like this, this, or this. Still, in the spirit of it all we have drafted a fun list do day-to-day activities we would like to do to keep the holiday fun alive and kicking.
  • Stuff, stamp, and mail our Christmas cards from Pinhole Press!
  • Make salt dough ornaments
  • Deliver treats to the fire station on our block
  • Holiday movie marathon
  • Visit the Garden D'Lights and Snowflake Lane in Bellevue
  • Torture my husband with a night of wrapping presents Pinterest style
  • A kiddo craft day
  • Make a present for someone else
  • Make crock-pot hot chocolate
  • Drive till we find snow to play in
  • Dream up and create fun gifts for the teachers, school staff, and bus drivers in our life!
  • Purge our toys and donate the ones in good shape
  • See as much family as possible!
I am sure there will be a lot of spontaneous additions to this list but it's a good start!

In other news, we are done shopping for the kids! It happens pretty seamlessly when you nail a minimalist Christmas with just a couple of gifts they'll flip for. It worked out so good for us last year that they are even getting one less this year. Ok, Stella got a little more spoiled because the big girls are at their dad's on Christmas and it is crazy cute when Stella opens presents. I know, shame on me.

Tim and I always play the game of "let's not buy each other gifts and spend the money on the kids…" then I still get him a epic gift and he follows through on our deal. Dun dun duuuun. So this year we took the time to think of an array of meaningful things we would love to receive. I sent my list to him on Facebook so he wouldn't miss it. Things I am especially loving right now that I wouldn't mind showing up under our tree:

This Sweater from Spool72. Oh, Lordy i'm obsessed.
These Sorel winter boots to keep my PNW tootsies warm
This velvety delicious accent chair from Target that's on sale now!
A custom chalkboard sign by kaelah bee - "Rohr Baby Farm EST 2003"
An iPhone 5S, I mean I don't really need one. But, camera.
Anything from Khiel's. The only brand that loves my weird combo skin.
A membership to the Woodland Park Zoo
A custom piece from Paper Whimsy on Etsy

What's on your list this year?

Psssst...
Still need to order your Christmas cards? Pin hole press goes above any beyond with their selection and quality. It doesn't stop there! They have tons of gorgeous photo gifts to choose from - Calanders  memory games, prints, and more. I can hardly contain my excellent to give someone this puzzle as a gift this year.

When ordering our cards and puzzle I experience the most wonderful customer service and was blown away with how fast our items came. Nice and thick and ready for traveling to our family all over the country.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Things We Love: Peekawhoo + A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

I am so excited to share this company with you, quickly climbing to the top of my "baby must haves" list, Peekawhoo! They offer one of a kind keepsakes for your own child or to give as gifts - With so many options and well known brands to customize the possibilities are endless.

Kelley and Heather, the geniuses behind the Peekawhoo brand, sent us an a+a swaddle in jungle print with the perfect pairing of a bright blue "robin". We're huge fans of aden + anais in this house, huge, just ask Mr. Robin who insists on sleeping with no less then three of them. If your looking for a high quality product that will stand up against all of that baby laundry then look no further!

You can monogram anything from bibs to bloomers to bathing suits. Pick from brands like Zutano, Jelley Cat, aden + anais to name a few. Then your item comes adorably packaged ready to be gifted. Not sure what to pick? You can even choose from carefully curated gift packages. Monogramming is always free and everything ships for a flat rate of $6.50!

Use the code WHILEITRAINS to save 10% off on the entire aden + anais line at Peekawhoo!
Peekawhoo and I have teemed up to giveaway a aden+anais blanket to one of my readers! Choose from any of their available options on the blanket and customization. You won't want to miss this one! follow the Rafflecopter prompts below for many ways to enter. Giveaway will run for one week and which time a winner will be chosen. Good luck and have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 2, 2013

Surviving The Holidays With Cottonelle

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cottonelle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CottonelleHoliday http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.
Wait wait! Don't leave just yet - I promise this isn't your average sponsored post, about something you usually don't give any thought to. I'm talking about real life things that happen in my house that make me a raging mad woman during the holidays. Did I tell you about that time that my husband had to leave our sons birthday party for a toilet paper run because we under estimated how long the single roll of toilet paper we had left would last? Because that really happened.

I know you've been there too!

Stella is the biggest offender of all - No matter how many times we remind her that 4-5 squares is plenty, she misinterprets that as 5-10 full rotations before even considering to break off her haul. Needless to say her bathroom goes through rolls faster then any other. Then there is the once a week occurrence where a whole roll unexplainably ends up in the toilet…

This year I am finally worry free! 
Rowan and I stocked up on Cottonelle's Triple Roll 12-packs at Target this week. I know I am saving a ton of money with these (practically) never ending rolls - So even if someone wants to build a fortress, dunk a roll or two, or even build a nice fluffy nest, I know the rolls in the bathroom now will last and last. Hear that Stella? Challenge accepted. 

I can finally relax and enjoy all the holiday fun we have planned without that nagging shopping list in the back of my mind. Toilet paper, check! Now I can focus on making ornaments, hunting down outdoor light displays, and catching snow flakes on my tongue. All the important stuff.

When your roll finally does runs out, and it will take awhile, save those tubes for some fun crafts! Check out these fun handprint reindeer that we whipped up this weekend:
Shop Target and download a coupon to buy Cottonelle Triple Roll 12 pack or larger and get a FREE box of Kleenex. Offer available while supplies last. Download the coupon today while supplies last.