Friday, January 31, 2014

Favorite Things #39

One of my simple joys each and every day is getting in our bed each evening and waking up in my little cocoon of warmth and comfort in the morning!  I love our bed!  One of the best things about our bed are the flannel sheets that we use for just about three seasons.  A highlight of every fall is when we all deem it time to put on the flannel sheets.  We each have a set from Garnet Hill and they are perfection and just keep getting more perfect with every wash.  I highly recommend them and it looks like they are on sale now!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Dresser for Grace

 Looking for a dresser for Grace was rather frustrating for me.  I knew that I didn't want a painted dresser (since her bed was painted) and I thought I wanted a taller rather than longer dresser.  Which, of course, is not at all what we ended up with!  I looked at new furniture as well as old and just couldn't seem to find the right piece that wasn't either really beat up or really too expensive.  Also, we had had issues with her old dresser and the drawers falling out, so I wanted sturdy drawers that had a stop.

On a whim one Friday evening, Grace and I popped over to a furniture consignment shop that we have gotten a few pieces from before.  We didn't spot anything that immediately jumped out at us, but we did see this really long dresser that was in great shape and seemed to be well made.  However, I thought it was too long so we left and continued the search.  But I kept thinking about this dresser and how great it would be for all her clothes and the bulletin board she wanted to put up.  I also really liked the subtle, feminine details on the piece.

So after measuring to make sure it would fit up the stairs ("I'm pretty sure we can get it up there," were Bryce's exact words) and with my brother-in-laws help, we went and picked it up.  It's so perfect in her room that I can't believe I ever questioned it!  Also, as a bonus, it turns out that it's made by a nice furniture company and extremely sturdy and well made.  I love that it now has gotten a second life!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Extra Large Bulletin Board

We found Grace a dresser and we love it!  I'll share the dresser soon, but first I wanted to share the bulletin board that we made to go over it.  This was one of those projects that turned out exactly how we imagined it and was surprisingly quick and easy to make.

Grace had spotted a giant bulletin board in an old Martha Stewart Kids that she loved and that proved to be our inspiration. Having a really large board where she can put up anything she wants (posters, notes, pictures, etc.) is a good compromise for both of us.  She wanted to be able to put up movie posters (Harry Potter) and I didn't want them all over the room.  The bulletin board gives her plenty of room to express her interests but still looks put together and neat.

The board is Homosote that we picked up at Home Depot in the building department.  You have to buy an entire sheet, but they will cut it to your measurements while you are there which saves you work and a mess!  We had enough left over that I think we'll make Harris a board.

We covered the board in white cotton canvas.  They had lots of colors to choose from, but Grace wanted white so that all the color could come from what she chose to put on her board.  We worked together to stretch the fabric taught across the board.  I used the staple gun to attach the fabric and Grace hammered them in for good measure.

Bryce attached hangers on the back side and hung it so that Grace could get busy pinning!

(we finished the project at night, thus the bad lighting!)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Grace Kelly- A Mother/Daughter Date

We had a lovely weekend that included dinner with new friends for Bryce and I and a family dinner with old friends.  It also included a strings concert for Grace where she, along with her class, played so well that I was astonished!

Perhaps the highlight though was taking Grace on a Mother/Daughter date to see a Grace Kelly exhibit. It was such a wonderful thing to spend the day doing together!  I was happy to take Grace to see an example of a "star" who always looked classic, classy and beautiful without seeming to try too hard (I'm sure it takes effort to be that effortless!).  In a day where more skin is shown, hemlines are high and necklines are low it's important to me for Grace to see that that is not the only way to present yourself to the world.

And oh, the clothes!  They were so, so beautiful and lovely!  I wish I could have taken pictures but the exhibit did not allow photography.  Suffice it to say, it reaffirmed my desire to continue to work toward a classic wardrobe.  

P.S.  They had her Kelly bag and not only was it beautiful but also pretty dinged up from so much use!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Two Snowmen + A Lesson Learned

Tuesday we got a lot more snow!  In fact, the children had to leave early from school that day since the snow wasn't going to be letting up and the roads were becoming dangerous.  To celebrate an early snow day, I made the children cauliflower snowmen to accompany their ham and cheese sandwiches. The skis are sticks of celery, the scarf a ribbon of carrot and the hat is a tomato half.  After I steamed the cauliflower I staked the three pieces of cauliflower and stuck a skewer through them so that they wouldn't fall over.  Isn't he cute?

The next morning, I made the children snowman pancakes.  I've seen this idea floating around Pinterest and just think it's so clever.  The bacon scarf is just a perfect touch.

Bryce got stuck during the storm on out of town business and so it was just the children and I.  I will be the first one to admit that when it snows Bryce is the one who takes care of all the clearing and shoveling of the snow while I usually can be found sitting huddled next to the fireplace (or the stove!). Needless to say, I found myself outside staring down my very long driveway and dreading shoveling all that snow away.  In fact, I seriously considered going inside and trying to call a landscape company to come and plow it for us!  In the end, I decided that my children needed to see that I was totally capable of shoveling the snow and further more that they needed to help.  They gladly grabbed shovels and we all worked together to get it done.  It might seem silly to say but I'm proud of the job we did!  I think we all learned a lesson about what we are capable of and how important it is to pitch in and get something done that has to be done.  Also?  I'd like to thank the kind and thoughtful person who cleared our sidewalk for us.  I'm not sure who it was but I sure did appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dinner and a Movie- The Hobbit

Both the children and Bryce* have read, and enjoyed, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  When the first movie came out over a year ago, Bryce had every intention to take Grace to see the movie but it just never happened.  At the time, I didn't think that Harris was old enough to see the movie and when Bryce broached the subject this past weekend of watching the movie together as a family, I was still unsure if Harris was old enough.  However, Bryce felt that by watching it together, having had read the book and taking into account Harris' personality that it would be ok for Harris.  And honestly, it was!

I thought it would be fun to make a few "themed" items for our dinner before watching the movie.  These items are a bit of a stretch but the children don't seem to care and as they get older they think it's funny to have a "One (chicken, broccoli and cheese) Ring" main course.  We also had hobbit door cookies and Seed Cakes that Bilbo Baggins would have served himself.

*I'm reading it now, I couldn't stand being the only one who hadn't read it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day

Today was a holiday from school and we spent it by sleeping in, relaxing at home and then bowling with friends; which then extended into more playtime for one child while another went to ballet.  Afterwards we joined those same friends (plus another family but minus Bryce) for pizza and fun after ballet was over. 

However, I didn't want to forget or skip over the real reason that we were able to have such a wonderful day.  This evening, before bed, we read, "I have a Dream" with paintings by Kadir Nelson.  This book has beautiful and moving artwork and it's a nice, succinct version of Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, but what I love and appreciate the most is the CD that comes with the book.  We listened to the entire speech and it's almost impossible not to be pulled in by Dr. King's powerful voice and amazing delivery of his most famous speech.  I believe that it makes it more meaningful for the children to hear the actual speech instead of just reading about it or being told about Dr. King.  To hear his voice, along with the voices in the background and the cheers of the crowd is more powerful and compelling than any book written on the subject can hope to be.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Over the Bed

You might remember that we are in the (slow) process of updating Grace's room.  For whatever reason it's coming together slowly!  She really needed a new mattress and we decided to go ahead and get a double bed for her.  Which prompted me to prematurely sell her bedroom set and now she doesn't have a dresser!  I didn't realize it would be so difficult to find a dresser for her that we were happy with!

Anyway, she LOVES her new bed and this past weekend we made a gallery wall of sorts for over the bed.  We hung her "An Adventure a Day" poster in the center and then worked around that.  I found it helpful to use Martha's tip of using paper frames to play around with the placement before we put any holes in the wall.  I traced the frame onto kraft paper and taped up the shapes to see where they looked best.

The mermaid print is one that Grace bought herself in Cape Cod.  She loved that the mermaid had red hair.

Her first ballet shoes.

A card we gave her from when she performed in The Nutcracker (again, the dancer has red hair) and her little mice that she loves so.

And just for levity...

I also can't find a nightstand.  Not sure why I thought I had to sell all the furniture together.....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An Adventure in Brooklyn

Months and months ago, Gretchen and I went to a lecture by Martha Stewart to promote her new book, Living The Good Long Life.  She was fascinating and something that stuck with Gretchen was her recommendation to try new things (new routes, new hobbies, new experiences).  It keeps your brain active and engaged and keeps things from getting too "settled" and boring.  

Yesterday, Gretchen was feeling the need for an adventure so we headed to NYC.  At the last moment we decided to explore the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.  It was my first time in Brooklyn and it made for a really fun day.  All of these pictures were taken with my phone and aren't great quality but they get the point across...

We ate lunch at a small restaurant called, Pies-N-Thighs.  It was possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had in my life and the hush puppies literally melted in my mouth.  As a bonus they had Sweet Tea so my experience was complete.  

We browsed at Moon River Chattel where I picked up a bedside water carafe to replace the one that was broken during our bathroom addition.

We taste tested chocolate at the Mast Brothers Chocolate factory.  At the risk of sounding really snooty I must say that I have never tasted chocolate that had so many layers.  Literally from the first bite the tastes just kept unfolding.  I brought home the Brooklyn Blend for everyone to sample.

We stopped by Bakeri for dessert and coffee before we headed home.  I had a hazelnut, chocolate and lavender cookie.

P.S.  We used many of the recommendations from Country Living for where to go in Williamsburg.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Snow. Sleet. Rain. Repeat.

We've had the craziest weather this winter.  Literally, crazy.  It's only January and we've had snow something like 7 times (more than just a dusting).  Unfortunately, that snow seems to often be followed by freezing precipitation and then rain.  I know that many get so tired of the wintertime and the snow, but I love it.  Maybe it's the 12 years of my childhood spent in Florida, but I still embrace winter and all of it's baggage.  Wooly, cozy sweaters?  Check.  Scarves, hats and mittens?  Check.  Hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream?  Check.  Fireplaces and snuggly blankets?  Check and check.  Children spending all day outside playing in the snow?  Double check.

I'm sure that come spring time I'll be ready to embrace all that spring promises but for now I'm still quite happy in this season.  What about you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Three Favorite (Birthday) Things

Today is my birthday and I couldn't be happier to be 41!  It seems that the older I get the more I realize that every day is a gift and should be treated as such!  I'm celebrating tonight with my family but wanted to share three of my favorite things right now.  I love my new pink skirt- I might even wear it to dinner!  Also, champagne is my very favorite drink and I'll carry to the restaurant in my favorite carrier that I got for Christmas.  And, of course, my favorite nude heels.  For some reason they always make me feel like a million bucks and that goes a long way, right?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cookie of The Month Club

I know that everyone is probably done and ready to move on from Christmas posts but I really wanted to share Grace's gift to Bryce.  I think it's such a cute idea (if I do say so myself!) for a gift that children can make for a parent or grandparent.  It would work not only for Christmas but birthdays and Father's or Mother's Day too!

Bryce loves cookies of almost any sort, particularly chocolate chip cookies, which Grace makes for him fairly frequently.  For Christmas this year she gave him The Cookie of the Month Club.  Every month, for one year, she will make a batch of cookies just for him.  She even went ahead and selected cookies for each month loosely based on the seasons!

She made an adorable coupon booklet for him and wrapped it up along with her first batch of cookies, Christmas Coal, that were made with Oreos, a favorite!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Santa's Gifts

I almost forgot about my annual posting of Santa's gifts to the children.  I particularly loved the stocking stuffers this year. 

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that Santa brings the majority of the children's gifts.  Both children got one gift from Bryce and I this year and the rest were from Santa or family.  To say the least, they were thrilled with all of their gifts!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mount Washington Trip

One of my bucket list places to visit has always been The Mount Washington Inn Hotel in New Hampshire.  I remember passing it on our honeymoon and talking about how we would someday come back, so it was really special to go with our children!  I also read in Martha Stewart Living how it was a particularly magical place to stay during their New Years Eve celebrations so we made a special effort to get there at that time.  Gretchen and family also joined us!

In reading lots of reviews I kept hearing how many people preferred to stay at the Bretton Arms Inn, which is still a part of the resort but separate from the main hotel, since it was much smaller and more intimate.  It also had a smaller price tag (bonus!) and had all the same amenities as the big hotel.  I'm so glad we stayed here, for us it was the perfect choice.  It was delightful to not be in the hustle and bustle of the main hotel all the time; we never had to fight for a seat by the fire or jostle amongst the crowds and yet were still able to partake in everything!  Another lovely feature was the complimentary hot cider, champagne and/or sparkling cider that was always out!

The walk from the Bretton Arms to the main hotel was beautiful and short.

I can't stress enough how good the food was during our stay*!  We ate dinner at both the Bretton Arms dining room and the Main Dining room and each meal was special and delicious!  Plus, it was hard not to feel special eating in such a beautiful room!

I particularly loved the main dining room since they had a live band and in between courses the children would go out and dance!  I love the old fashioned feel!

We spent one of our days skiing and were lucky enough to get lots of snow the night before we went. It was my first time skiing in the East and I was nervous to run into ice on the slopes.  However, the runs were great- even if it was rather frigid on the chairlifts.  The children did a half day in ski school and then skied with us the rest of the day.  They did fantastic and it was so fun to ski with them!

We also went halfway up the cog railway on Mt. Washington (in the summer you can go all the way up).  It was a fun ride and interesting to learn the history of the railway as it was only ever built and used purely for entertainment!

We went tubing, played in the snow and swam in the heated pool.  I love this view of the ice skating and tubing area.  Doesn't it look like a Norman Rockwell painting?

It was something like 8 degrees when the children went swimming.  I opted out!

The tubing was especially fun!

Our New Year's Eve started off with spectacular fireworks!

Afterwards, we went to the family feast in The Grand Ballroom.  Here they had a buffet (food was ok) and a DJ playing all sorts of tunes.  We had fun on the dance-floor with the children and at the stroke of 10 they had a balloon drop!  It was a truly memorable evening!

(horrible, horrible quality picture but I love it anyway)

Right before we left, Grace and I checked out the beautiful stables and horses.

 *Dinner and breakfast was included in our stay, three courses for adults and children, with no limitations.
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