Thursday, October 31, 2013

Allergy Safe Halloween

Happy Halloween!!! My kiddos are so excited about today and the massive sugar coma they hope to be in by later tonight. I on the other hand don't really love Halloween. When you have children with food allergies holidays that revolve around candy can cause some anxiety. 

Luckily the Tootsie Company is looking out for those that cannot have peanuts, tree nuts and/or gluten. For a family that has one child who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and other who has Celiac Disease Tootsie's clearly marked packages are a huge help.

Yesterday I got all of our candy ready to hand out and I also put aside some candy for B and L. When they get home later tonight I will let them "trade" unsafe pieces of candy for safe pieces. Then we will let the sugar rush begin....well for one night!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ORC - Week 5

At the beginning six weeks seemed like a ton of time but now I think eights weeks would have been better for my One Room Challenge. However I do feel like I am making progress on my family room make over. Slow but steady progress!

After finishing my curtains (which I am loving by the way!) something seemed off. At first I was not sure what but then it dawned on me that it was the lamp shades. I still love the base but I was so over the shade!

Such an easy fix. Simply make a trip to Target and pick up two new Threshold Drum Shades. And to make things even better they were on sale. Win-win! If only painting my mirror was this simple!!!!

It might have been a small change but when I step back and look at the room as a whole I feel like it is really coming together. Progress feels great!

Follow my progress:

You can also find me at Calling It Home.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lucky Me

By now I feel as though it is  well established that I love to read. In fact I am not sure how I would fall asleep each night if I did not relax with a good book first. For that reason I try to keep a nice stack of books "ready to go" on my nightstand but every once in a while I get to the bottom of my stack with nothing left. Unfortunately that happened again last weekend.

Thank goodness B came to the rescue! After visiting her school's book fair, B came home with Sheila Turnage's Three Times Lucky. Not only is this Ms Turnage's first book for young adults, it also is a Newbery Honor Book.

Amazon says: 

"A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime 

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known. 

Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee."

truly enjoyed reading this book but I have to say I am not sure I agree with Scholastic stating that this book is for children 10 and older. It is a murder mystery after all! I am so glad that I read this before B did so we can talk about the book and it's subject matter. While I am not a fan of "banning" books, I am a big believe that children should read age appropriate books.

Do you ever read the same books as your tween?

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Spooky 5K

For some reason Hubby loves to run. Like really loves it! He will think nothing of going on an eight mile run and then will call it "just a little run". I mean really who does not think that eight miles is a long run!?! (Hubby's note- Someone who does or used to run marathons)

I guess that I should not be surprised that all three of our kiddos love to run. And they love to run with their Dad! So when I found out that there was a "Spooky" 5k this past weekend, I knew that it was the perfect race for Hubby and M. I knew the fact that the race was run on the grounds of a "haunted house" would be pretty cool to my boys. As you can see below, people were encouraged to run in costumes so though while my boys didn't plenty of other people did.

Hubby and M had been doing training runs through our neighborhood for a while to insure that M was ready for the big day. M was so excited he could not stop chatting on the way to the race. All of his nervous energy was very humorous.

While waiting for Hubby and M to finish B and L spent their time amusing themselves. And singing "What Does the Fox Say?" more times than I cared to hear!

B was pretty tired from her field hockey game but as you can see L had no lack of energy. I think he ran his own personal 5k playing with a bunch of friends he made!

When it was all over M and Hubby had a great time. They had done a 5k together last Thanksgiving and M ran this race over 8 minutes faster than the race last year! Go M!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Late to the Bandwagon

For the past week I have been working non-stop for a PTO event. (I am super excited about the event and I promise to tell you all about it!) While working on this event I have been spending a ton of time on the computerbut I can't work in silence! I always need background noise.

The secret conservative message of the

So what "noise" have I been listening to/watching? Duck Dynasty! How did it take me this long to start watching this show!?! Cheesy yet sweet, plus a family that works and plays together is just perfect in my eyes!!!

What shows do you simply love but don't want anyone to know about?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ORC - Week 4

I tried to plan ahead. Really I did! I have a big event tomorrow at the kiddos' school that I have been working on since last school year. This event has sort of taken over my life this week. So I knew that I really needed to plan a project that was easy but would make a big impact for my One Room Challenge. Sounds easy right?

After I hung up my new curtains from week 2 I just loved them. But I then started really disliking the art-work we had over the mantel. In this case I am using "artwork" as a loose term since all that is hanging over our fireplace is a map of Gettysburg Battlefield. It might not be a piece of art to some but to my history-loving Hubby it is a masterpiece. 

Anyway, it was not so much the subject matter that I had a problem with but the matte around the print did not work with my new curtains. So I needed to find a replacement.

This is where my "easy" project started. I had a mirror in our basement that I had gotten a year ago. The only thing that was "wrong" with the mirror was that the color was nothing like the picture online and it would have cost me more than I paid for the mirror to ship it back. It has been just waiting for a make-over!

I had some paint that I mixed to match the blue of my curtains. I painted the frame and used a rag to rub some of the paint off because I wanted to keep some of the ombre effect that the frame already had. This is where my easy project became big headache! My perfect blue paint started to look more teal than blue. Plus I was out of "free time" and I had to just stop. Ugh!!!

So the paint has dried and it is more teal than canton blue. And my "easy project" has become an ORC fail!

What do you think I should do? Live with it a bit or just keep trying?

Follow my progress:

You can also find me at Calling It Home.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Split Personality Halloween

I am going to be honest with you  - Halloween does nothing for me. I don't like to wear costumes and pretend that I am some thing I am not. But my feelings on this holiday do not seem to matter. My Hubby loves Halloween for some reason which I totally do not get since he too does not like to wear costumes. And our kiddos love Halloween since it involves more candy than I would ever give them. So I caved.....

When B was just a little toddler I started decorating for Halloween. A pumpkin here and a sweet ghost there. No big deal right!?! What a naive mom I was!!!

Our collection of "sweet" Halloween decor grew but then my babies started getting older and they are still totally into Halloween but just not their momma's sweet version of it. 

As you can see the decorations have taken a more traditional scary Halloween turn as the kids have gotten older. I still prefer my sweet Halloween decorations but the kids love the new, scarier stuff I have started to put up. Which version do you prefer?!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Birthday Boy

I am still not sure how it happened but our youngest turned 5! He was just so excited all day long. But then again, L wakes up excited with a smile ready to start the day - everyday. L's enthusiasm for life never ceases to amaze me and Hubby. 

I can't tell you how many people have told me that they would do anything for L's energy. (If anyone was to match his energy I feel like it should be me since I have to keep up with him!) L runs along with a smile all day long!

So while I might be a little sad that my baby is no longer a baby, I have loved watching him grow. I pray that L's fifth year will be filled with his huge love for each day and his wonderful laugh!

Friday, October 18, 2013


It is Friday and it's my baby's 5th baby. I am not sure if I should laugh or cry! I thank God everyday that L still enjoys a good cuddle. I really don't think my heart could take it if he did not love all the hugs I feel the need to give him!!!

{1} Kabobs

L simply loves kabobs! Which is a win-win for us since they are peanut-free and as long as the pita never touches B's plate, it is gluten free too! Oh and did I mention I will be getting a night off from cooking since Hubby will pick them up on the way home from work? Yeah all around!!!

Chicken skewers with dip

{2} Dessert

L has asked that I make him red velvet cupcakes. The only problem is that the last time I made them I used eggs which is a no go for L. But I have a couple of ideas. I will let you know how it goes.

{3} Good vs Bad

Last year for his birthday L was gifted with Imaginext's Eagle Castle which he loves. It is his go-to toy but he feels as if something is missing. He "needs" more knights! So I think that the "Good Knights vs Dark Knights" play set will be perfect.


{4} T-Rex

It also turns out that every 5 year old needs a T-Rex. Who knew!?! (Hubby's note- Let's be honest, who doesn't need a T-Rex? It would make commuting a LOT easier. Especially if it had a laser on its back.)


{5} Epi-Pen Coupon

This might seem totally unrelated to L's 5th birthday but I promise it is not. L is allergic to peanuts and we found out the hard way. Simply put we now carry two Epi-Pens where ever we go. And if you are like us this coupon is awesome!

I hope you have a great weekend friends!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Contact Cool

Both Hubby and I are blind as bats! Really!!! Neither one of us can see without our contacts in. So it came as no surprise to me and Hubby when we were told that B needed glasses in 2012. If you ask me I think B is as cute as can be in glasses. It is as if her face was made for them. The only problem is that she cannot wear a field hockey eye-cage comfortably while wearing her glasses. And unfortunately rec-specs also will not fit under the eye-cage. 

We were really starting to feel like we were out of options but luckily our family eye doctor suggested contacts. He felt that B was mature enough to try contacts as long as she proved that she could put them in and take them out by herself. Plus she had to agree to only wear them for field hockey practices and games.

It took two training sessions at the doctor's office but B finally got the hang of it. And man was she proud of herself! I think she finally got over her fear of touching her eye. And I hope that it will be easier for her tomorrow to put her contacts in before practice.

I also learned today that Hubby made B a promise that when she got contacts she could get a "cool" contact case. (Hubby's note- This was a surprise to me too as I have no recollection of saying it.) Did you know that there was such a thing!?! Not I! I always use the freebies...who knew! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ORC - Week 3

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge! As you may remember, I have six weeks to make over one room in my home, our family-room. My plan for transforming this room involved making a big impact with fabric but not spending a ton! 

Over the summer I made a trip to Calico Corner for some fabric inspiration. As always Calico Corner did not disappoint! I came back with four samples of fabric that I draped over one of our chairs in the family-room so I could "live" with the fabric for a little bit. After a while I decided which fabric would work in the room and how they would be used. The only problem was Calico's prices!

While I do love Calico and the way they group fabrics, I hate their high prices. My mother has always taught me that it is would than A-ok to like high-end products but it is NEVER ok to pay high-end prices. So I did what my mother has always taught me to do - I surfed the web for a better deal! 

First I started looking for the fabric, "Snokel", that I was to use for my curtains. Since I needed over 15 yards of the fabric above I knew I needed to find it for under $8/yard. And I did just that at Fabric They were selling the fabric for just $7.50/yard vs Calico's $15.99/yard. Plus I was able to find a coupon code for free shipping which was a nice bonus. 

Next I started looking for the fabric above, "Wonderland Pearl". This was the easiest fabric of the three fabrics to find online. In July I found the Online Fabric Store had the best price at $22.95/yard. Which was way better than Calico's $42.99!

The last fabric, "Poppy", was impossible to find elsewhere. Night after night I tried search after search for this fabric but I could not find it anywhere much to my chagrin! So I simply waited for Calico to have a sale, because they always do. And the first week in August I got a coupon code for 25% off any fabric so I jumped on the offer. Full price was $49.99 vs the sale price of $37.50. 

Did it take time to locate my fabrics on-line for a better price? Yes. Did it take longer than just buying everything at Calico? Yes. But instead of paying $332.83, I only paid $172.95 so I would say that it was more than worth the time and effort!

Follow my progress:

You can also find me at Calling It Home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Show for the Whole Family

Having three kiddos, ages 11, 8 and soon to be 5, makes it hard to find TV shows that everyone can watch together. B, our 11 year old, loves tween shows on Disney like "Shake It Up" and "Austin & Ally" but L has no interest in shows like that. L, our soon to be 5 year old, would rather watch kiddie cartons like "Team Umizoomi" which M, our 8 year old, thinks are "baby shows". As you can see finding a show for everyone to watch together is a bit of the challenge!

Enter Disney's carton "Gravity Falls"! "Gravity Falls" tells the story of twins, Dipper and Mabel, who are spending their summer at great uncle's place called the "Mystery Shack". Dipper and Mabel think that they are going to have a boring summer but quickly mysterious things start happening to them. GF is the perfect mix of humor, mystery and action with lovable characters that make it perfect for the whole family! (Hubby's note- If you do decide to watch GF, and I STRONGLY recommend you do because it is a great show, use your DVR to record it as you watch. At the end of most, if not all, of the episodes there is a code you can try to decipher. Don't worry if you have a rough time, just Google it and you will see there are a few web sites dedicated to unraveling the codes.)

After a busy day filled with school, homework and sports it is so nice to have a little time on the sofa as a family. I am so happy we found a show we can all watch!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Perfect Combo

Long weekends are the best. It is like you get two Saturdays! And last night my girlfriends and I made the most of our "bonus" Saturday night. Eight of us got together for an early dinner at a local wine-bar/restaurant, The Wine Kitchen.

The Wine Kitchen is a great place for sharing and trying new wines. They have put together tons of different wine flights from all over the world. They really have something for everyone. And I simply love the way they have little "note cards" for all of their wines. Each card gives you a little info about the wine you are enjoying along with a little humor. I love a wine-bar that does not make you feel ignorant for not being a sommelier! 

The food was also perfect for sharing too! We started off with a cheese flight and shared three of their farm-to-table entrees. A long weekend with wine, food and friends is a pretty great combo in my book! 

Friday, October 11, 2013


The weather is not looking too good for this weekend. Plus I already feel like it has been dreary all week long. It is enough to bring on a case of the blues! Thank goodness I have this little guy in my life to remind there is fun to be had no matter what. We might be wet but boy did we have fun splashing in the puddles!!!

No matter what the weather is like near you this weekend, I hope you make the most of it!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Sunshine Award

Thank you to Christine, from one of my favorite blogs Suburban Charm, for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!

Christine was kind enough to prepare ten questions for her nominees to answer, and then I can come up with ten questions of my own to ask the ten bloggers I nominate.

Here are my questions from Christine:

1. Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to decorating?

I would have to say my mother. I am not sure it is nature or nurture, but I have worked hard to fill my home with color. I know that the way I have decorated my home is so not Pinterest worthy but that is ok with me. I know what I like and I stick to it, just like my mother does. I might not be in style but I love walking through my front door!

2. What clothing shop is your favorite?

I have an unreal love for Nordstrom. My love from Nordstrom goes way back....back before I even worked for them. When I was in high-school a Nordstrom opened at the Short Hills Mall. I will never forget how nice all of the sales associates were even though we let them know that we were just looking around. They were nothing like the mean Nieman Marcus and Saks sales people! Their kindness had me sold before I even knew about their generous return policy. 

All I can say is that I am a Nordie girl through and through!!!

3. What is your "comfort food"?

This to me has two categorizes, what I make for myself and what I make for others. For me, as much as it shames me to say this, Knorr's Instant Alfredo. I know that it is not really alfredo and I know that it is not good for me but sometimes it is just what I need!

When I am cooking comfort food for my family I go with cheese grits. Cheese grits are one of the comfort food that work for all of my families food issues. They are free of peanuts, tree nuts, gluten and eggs. Plus they are hot and cream! Big winners for all five of us!!!

4.What is your most cherished possession?

My wedding band. I was raised to believe that it is a true blessing to be married to your best friend. Plain and simple! My wedding band reminds me everyday how blessed I am!!!

5. Current Lipstick color?

I don't really wear lipstick. In fact I could not tell you the last time I put some on. I am a big fan of chapstick and gloss. Does that count? If so I love Stila's "Jack Frost" lip glaze.

6. If your luggage got lost on a week long trip, what three things would you have to purchase
in order to survive the week?

If we are not counting underwear I would need slim fitting jeans, a dress that I could dress up or down and a great top that would versatile. But if we are being honest, I would need more than three things!

7. Favorite tote bag to use?

Unfortunately I have yet to meet a great bag that I did not love. I would have to say that Tory Burch and Kate Spade design some great "must have" handbags year after year. Too bad Hubby does not seem to think that I need a new bag each year.

8. Most recent "splurge" purchase?

I would have to say my Rodan + Fields sales kit. And my skin has never looked better so I would have to say it was worth every penny! (This weekend I will be mailing out some samples. Let me know if you would like me to send some your way!)

9. What charity is most dear to your heart?

There are many charities that we think are worthy causes. All of them are close to my heart but the one that I am spending a lot of time on right now is my children's PTO. As school budgets shrink more and more each year it has falling upon the parents to step up and raise much needed funds. 

While I am more than happy to help raise funds for my kiddos school needs, it sickens me how we as country do not put more importance on education!

10. Best piece of advice from a lesson you have learned in life.

Growing up my brothers and I where told time and time again "keep going". When things did not go our way we were told not to dwell on it but rather to keep moving forward. Sometimes that is easier said than done but I always feel better when I forge ahead rather than wallow in misery.

And now my nominees!!!

These bloggers all have fabulous blogs that make me smile! 

To those I nominate, I realize that you have VERY busy lives and understand if you would rather refrain from participating. Maybe you just want to do the questions and not forward the ten nominations. That is A-OK. This is not a chain letter and no curse will befall you, I promise. Participate as much or as little as you want.

But if you DO want to join in the fun, here are the “rules”:
  1. Include the award logo in a post or on your blog.
  2. Link to the person who nominated you.
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself and write 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
Ready to play? Here are my questions for you:
  1. If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
  2. Do you prefer romantic comedies or suspense thrillers?
  3. What is your favorite sport (to watch or to participate in)?
  4. What is your favorite sound?
  5. Starbucks or Dunkin' Dounuts?
  6. What is your favorite season?
  7. PC or Mac?
  8. What is your favorite vacation spot?
  9. Do you collect anything?
  10. What is your favorite blog post you ever written?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ORC - Week 2

Welcome back to my family-room make over! Once again I am linking up with Linda from Calling It Home for her One Room Challenge. Simply put, I will be making over my family room over a six week period and each week you can see how the room is shaping up.

This week I feel like I have been swimming in fabric! I know that some people have a hard time picking out fabric but I don't feel like I have too hard of a time with that. I tend to know what I like and if it will work for me. What is a hard for me is making the first cut of the fabric. And this time it was even harder since I have 15 yards of fabric that I need to turn into 5 curtain panels. There is very little wiggle room so I measured more than twice before making the first cut!

Everything I have learned about sewing I have learned from my mother. Thanks to my mother I have learned to be mindful for pattern repeats. This helps to insure that each curtain panel starts and ends at the same spot. My mother also taught me to iron before, during and after sewing your curtains. I used to think that this was just busy work but I have to admit that mom was right. (Aren't they always right!?!) All of that ironing really does make it easier to run your fabric through your sewing machine. Plus your curtains will hang so nicely too!

Above is a "before" and below is the "after".


I know that I have a long way to go with my make-over but it feels like I made a lot of progress by starting with the curtains. And it does not really matter that I have totally neglected my family right!?!

If you would like you can see my first week here and I hope that you will stop by next week!

You can also find me at Calling It Home.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rainy Day Baking

Yesterday morning was a wet one here in NoVa. At times it seemed as though the rain was coming down in sheets sideways. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining! We really needed the rain. And it gave me an excuse to stay inside and nest a little bit.

Not sure about you but when I nest, I bake! On a cold rainy day baking is the way to go in my mind. Not only does it warm my kitchen up it also makes the whole house smell wonderful! I decided to whip up some Pumpkin Bread since I had not made it in forever. Easy and yummy!!!

Quick & Easy Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly granted nutmeg*
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 can of 100% solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie in a can)
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 large loaf pans. 

In a large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil and water. Then add one egg at a time, beating the eggs well into the mixture.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the pumpkin mixture. Stir well to combine and get most of the lumps out.

Bake for 75 minutes or until a tooth-pick comes out clean after being inserted into the center of the bread. Cool completely before taking carefully taking pumpkin bread out of the pans.


There are endless reasons why I love this recipe. It is like pumpkin pie just in bread form. My house still smells unreal hours and hours after baking it. I could go on and on but one of the best things about this simple recipe is that it makes two loafs. One for your family to enjoy and one to gift. 

Trust me this recipe will make you very popular!!!

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