Easter Basket Happies

I had so much fun picking out happies for our boy’s Easter basket this year.

Last year, he was only six months old at Easter so he got a Berenstain Bears Bible, sippy cups, Ella’s Kitchen cookies and a bath toy. He was less than excited about the basket contents and posing for Mama, or maybe he was less than excited about his Easter outfit…a smocked bubble that his Daddy and cousins insisted on calling a dress.


This year’s haul is much more interesting, and I can’t wait to see his sweet little face when he discovers all of his treats!

The Easter Bunny is bringing a Corduroy Lift-the-Flap Easter book, a DVD of  The Chipmunks Big Adventure (my favorite movie as a kid so maybe this is more for me), bubbles, a tiny bubble gun, an Easter Bunny Mr. Potato Head, Easter Play-Doh, and a toddler-sized monogrammed baseball cap.


Happy Easter!


The Easiest Easter Project Ever

DSC_0497Easter is in a few short days, and the only attempts I’ve made to decorate our house this year were to get out our plastic eggs from last year (now strewn all over the train set and mixed in with the dog toys) and to make this sweet little Easter scene in an apothecary jar to grace the buffet in our kitchen.

I’ve seen a hundred (better) versions of the chocolate bunny in a mason jar on Pinterest. This is my version. I gathered up an old apothecary jar from the closet, some multi-colored Easter grass from Target, a bag each of Cadbury Mini Eggs and Easter Whoppers (used approximately 6 of them and ate the rest), and some tiny little chocolate bunnies. Insert grass into jar, and place eggs and bunnies into their happy little Easter grass nest. And there you have it – Easter decor, the minimalist approach.



Book Nerd – Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

51GNCj1Pf3LI just finished this book last night, after a few days of frantically reading a chapter here and there between work and the day-to-day business of keeping my family alive. This was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I love Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, intimate and whole-heartedly Southern way of telling a story. She has a manner of describing painful subjects in a non-awkward and somehow relatable way.

Without giving too much away – this book tells us about the life of Shandi, a young single mother, and a life-changing event that makes her re-evaluate some truths she’s been telling herself that aren’t exactly true. It’s about her search for closure and love. Her story intersects with the story of a man who sees the world a bit differently than most and has experienced a loss that colors the way he thinks about love and life. The book addresses the all-important themes of love, happiness, faith, family, and truth. The characters are sufficiently deep and interesting, and the plot twists enough to keep you guessing about the possibility of a happy ending until the very end.

This line from the book has been stuck in my head since I read it. It’s actually part of a line from an Emily Dickinson poem, and I think it’s beautiful!

“Hope is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Loved it. Read it, and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

Washington DC – A Long Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, my husband had work-related meetings in Washington DC and we made a long weekend of it. We stayed downtown, a stone’s throw from the White House and very close to the Capitol building. I’ve never been to DC, except for a brief Dulles Airport layover ten years ago. Excuse the terrible iPhone pictures – I thought carrying my giant camera while I wandered around alone would be the equivalent of screaming “I’m a tourist, please mug me.”


I think I had more free time that weekend than I’ve had in the last five years. I didn’t know what to do with myself! In the absence of a schedule, I did a little shopping, a little site-seeing and a fair amount of napping. This is stating the obvious, but there are so many things to see in Washington DC. It was amazing to visit the landmarks and historical sites that I’ve only seen in books.

I made a quick visit to Ford’s Theater, the site of President Lincoln’s assassination. It’s still a working theater, so I didn’t get the grand tour because they had matinee performances the day I was there.


My favorite place was Union Station. It was built in 1907, and the architecture is unbelievable. It’s crazy to think about all of the people that passed through there when trains were the way people traveled. I also noticed the inscriptions on the outside of the building’s columns, and (obviously) this is the one that caught my attention.











I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I’d have liked because the icy cold weather forced me inside each day after a few hours of exploring. I’d love to go back when the weather is above 30 degrees and the cherry blossoms are blooming.

Other trip highlights included cocktails at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard, sushi happy hour at the Hamilton…and a pair of Jack Rogers wedge sandals I found on sale.


Simple Toddler Valentines – A Big Hug

DSC_0134I knew I wanted to do something cute and simple for Max Henry’s Valentines this year. Key word being simple, because February has completely gotten away from me between our mini-vacation and going on a work trip with my husband. We have a pretty big age range to accomodate, so our happies needed to be something that would work for either toddlers or big kids.

I found the sweetest printable “Bear Hug” tags on the facebook page for Bloom Designs Online. If you “like” their Facebook page, they have a ton of free, super cute printables for Valentine’s Day and other occasions. I spent the better part of an hour looking at her website – it’s amazing.

I added our boy’s name to the printable tags using Photoshop, and printed the tags on heavy white cardstock. Clear cello bags, red and white baker’s twine from Etsy, plus assorted Teddy Grahams and a 3 lb bag of gummy bears  (not to be confused with the sugar-free version, also known as “hell bears” that are described here), and we are ready for delivery!


The hardest part of the whole process was using a paper clip to poke the hole through the card for the twine. Super Mom couldn’t find a hole punch so we had to improvise.

Easy + cute = project success. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Guest Post today at Chasin’ Mason

I’m over at Elizabeth’s blog,  Chasin’ Mason  today, sharing a little bit about my life as a “boy mom”. Such a fun series!




DIY Centerpieces, or Centerpieces for Dummies


When my best friend from high school announced her pregnancy, I immediately started thinking about baby shower decorations. I knew I wanted to create something simple and classic, but with a fun little twist. I also knew it needed to be easy if I wasn’t going to make a hot mess of it.

I found a few different pictures of wedding centerpieces that used lemons or limes to fill the bottom of a vase of fresh flowers, and decided to make my own version using seasonal spring flowers, greenery, and lemons.


Clear vases and ribbon. Vases with fairly large openings are best so you can arrange the lemons at the bottom without getting your hands stuck.

Assorted bunches of flowers, baby’s breath and greenery
-I bought the flowers at our local supermarket. They usually have a variety of fresh, seasonal flowers that are fairly inexpensive. (Side note – buy the flowers the day you will be putting the arrangements together. I caught a lot of grief from my Mother because some of the flowers were half dead).

Lemons. Many, many lemons. The wider your vases are at the bottom, the more lemons you will need to fill the space. Repeat: Buy extra lemons.


1) Cut all of the lemons in half horizontally.

2) Place the halved lemons around the bottom half of your vase, cut sides facing out.

3) Add water to the vase—enough to cover the lemons, but not so much that the lemons float.

4) Cut your flower stems to the desired lengths for your vases, and arrange them in the vases with the lemons hiding the stems.

5) Add more lemons so that the bottom part of your vase is almost filled and your flower stems are hidden. Next, add enough water to cover all of the lemons. If you will be traveling with the arrangements, don’t add the extra water until you arrive at your destination.

6) Tie ribbons around the base of each vase.

These centerpieces would be perfect for a baby shower, a casual dinner party, or just to brighten up your kitchen table on a boring Tuesday.

Is it spring yet?


Superbowl Sunday, Salsa and Snow!

DSC_0034We had big plans for Superbowl Sunday this year, but Mother Nature killed them with several inches of snow yesterday afternoon. She’s crazy like that. So we spent a cozy day at home in our PJs, watching the snow come down and eating buckets of the black-eyed pea salsa that I’d made to take to the party we didn’t get to attend.

Our boy loved the snow, and finally got chance to play in it…for about five minutes. Our golden retriever tackled him immediately after this picture was taken. We decided that we’d had enough fun for one day and headed inside to warm up.

Black-eyed pea salsa is one of my go-to appetizer recipes. It’s my good friend Valerie’s recipe, and she was gracious enough to let me share it on the blog. It’s full of vegetables, and I always get asked for the recipe when I take it somewhere. So good, and so easy. You can also make it less spicy if spice is not your thing – substitute mild picante sauce and cut out the jalapenos.


Black-Eyed Pea Salsa


3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

jalapenos, chopped (to taste – I use approx. 2 TBSP but we like things spicy!)

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 cans shoepeg corn, drained

1 can black-eyed peas, drained

1 large jar hot picante sauce (I use Pace)

1 package Italian seasoning mix

a few splashes of lemon juice

salt to taste

cilantro to garnish

Gently mix all ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight to let the flavors mingle.  Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips.



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A Long Weekend in Key West

the beach pier

the beach pier

Well, we are back from holiday, as the Brits say.

Since Prince Charming is a farmer, we don’t travel during the warmer months.  We are (and probably always will be) winter vacationers. Winter vacations are the best, in my opinion. There is something magical about leaving home when it’s 4 degrees out and being somewhere warm and sunny a few short hours later.

We haven’t had an actual vacation since January 2011, so this trip was long overdue. We went with two other couples for an extended adults-only weekend…and what a weekend it was!

The temps in Key West were in the mid-70s, which definitely beat the freezing temps we’ve been experiencing at home. We did a few touristy things – took pictures at the Southernmost Point in the US, toured Harry Truman’s Little White House and visited Ernest Hemingway’s home. I had to see those six-toed cats. Other than that, we spent the entire weekend unwinding – wandering around, reading on the beach, eating great food and drinking (many) fun cocktails. Completely unscheduled…nowhere to be, nothing to do.

It was bliss.

If I had to choose a few don’t-miss places to eat in Key West, these three would make up the short list.

Blue Heaven  - Best breakfast ever, in a very cool environment. Bellinis and Bloody Marys in a sunny backyard with random chickens and roosters running around.

A&B Lobster House – Fresh oysters, steamed lobster and a chocolate martini with frozen hot fudge around the rim. Fancy.

Santiago’s - Small plates in a casual, local atmosphere. Really good wine selection, outstanding service, and home to two of the best things I have ever (EVER) eaten:  beef tenderloin with blue cheese butter and flourless chocolate cake topped with wild flower honey and blueberries. It’s worth a trip back to eat the exact same meal again.

Obligatory vacation pictures below!

On the beach!


Breakfast of champions.


This pirate statue stared at us while we enjoyed breakfast of champions mentioned above. Only a little creepy.


A descendant of one of Hemingway’s six-toed cats. 

Birds everywhere! Literally everywhere. Seagulls close to the beach and chickens running in the streets. They were all a little too friendly for my liking