Monday, April 30, 2012

Productive Weekend

I just spent the last few minutes happily checking off a very long to-do list.  I had the most productive weekend I've had in ... well ... forever!  Why was I so productive?  

Because I had three less people to take care of!  On Friday afternoon Kenny packed the car and took the girls camping for the weekend.  Kenny and I grew up camping and it is really important to him that our daughters have the same outdoor experiences that we did growing up.  Since I've become more of a once a year "glamper" instead of a once a month camper Kenny decided to join a group of dads that do fun activities with their daughters once a month.  Most of the time they camp, but they have also done other fun things (horse back riding, ice skating, etc.).  The girls LOVE this special time with their dad.  It seems they have a bit of their father in them and really enjoy camping!  Kenny LOVES that they are spending time in the great outdoors.  And I LOVE that all of this is taking place without me having to sleep in a tent.  :)  Win win win.

 The captain of the ship.   

And his overly excited crew. Ready for another adventure.  
In flower and strawberry sunglasses no less.  
Because the best rule of camping is to come prepared.  
And because they also have a bit of their mother in them too.  :)

So!  Back to me and my most productive weekend!  While the girls were roasting hotdogs and marshmellows over an open fire, Kole and I were having our own little party at home.  We woke up early on Saturday (thanks to my two year old alarm clock who still hasn't learned the beauty of sleeping in) and we headed out on a walk.  It was a beautiful morning.  Sun was shining, birds were chirping, and the ocean breeze felt better than ever.  I just knew it was going to be a productive weekend!  After our walk, we ran a few errands - including a stop at Staples which is always a favorite because of my never ending love for school suplies.   Then we came home and while Kole took a nap, I tackled to-do #1:  organize my magazines in my new magazine holder!  



Ta-da!  Isn't it beautiful!?  Kenny hung it a couple of weeks ago for me and I haven't had two seconds until this weekend to go through my magazines.  I tossed the ones I didn't need and filed the keepers.  Best birthday present ever!  :)

The only spot we had to hang it that made sense was this corner next to the TV.  I wanted it close to my couch (Kenny and I each have our own) so I could access it easily during my down time at night.  My goal after 8:30 PM is to land on my couch and not get off of it.  Unless it's to get some popcorn.  Or to plug in my laptop.  Or now, to grab one of my favorite magazines.  




























I cut out some fun yellow scrapbook paper and labeled each cubby:  Miscellaneous (for magazines like Pottery Barn, Ballards, and In Style that I get in the mail and want to save), Organizing and Decor (some of my favorite magazines ever!), Kitchen and Bath (my largest stack of keepers), and Church (for all of our church magazines).

Isn't it lovely!?  Everything has a home.  I can't wait to move it into my scrapbook room in the new house!  It's a good thing we're moving because I'm running out of space to decorate in my current house.  There isn't a blank wall left!  And that is a true tragedy.  Indeed.  

Below my white beauty sits my little stash of baskets.  Tucked away behind the couch with all of the essentials we need to get through the day.  The girls have their books.  Kole has his diapers, wipes, and toys, I have my treasured magazines in a beautiful organizer, and Kenny has a happy wife.  Once again a win all around!

Aside from organizing my magazine stash, here are a few other to-do's I tackled during Kole's nap time and bedtime:

- mini clean out of the fridge, freezer, and pantry
- cleaned out my purse and balanced my checkbook (I'm not in the negative Kenny - rest easy)
- organized all of the girls' recent school work and Kole's baby stuff for PL albums 
- touched up a few walls with paint (something I've been wanting to do forever)
- watched the movie City Slickers while I cleaned out my in box.  (I love that movie.  Always makes me want a pet cow.)
- took lots of pics for future blog posts
- washed all sheets - including Kole's crib sheet - which aside from cooking is my least favorite chore.
- cleaned the entire house top to bottom
- caught up on ALL laundry

 Just in time for my campers to come home and unload.  Bringing half of the outdoors home with them.
And a whole lot of new laundry to fold.  

:)

Friday, April 27, 2012

two islands and everyday pics

I SO appreciate you all!  Thank you to everyone who shared kitchen tips/opinions/advice.  I seriously read through the comments three times with a notepad in hand!  I think a few of you have talked me into adding a mini fridge in the island (great suggestion!).  Having two dishwashers was mentioned and that little feature has been in the plans since day one.  I'm all over it!  Some of you mentioned that you couldn't picture the two island thing.  I have been doing a lot of research to figure out if I want to do this and I landed on this picture:

This is not at all what my kitchen will look like, but it does give you an idea of the two island concept.  This picture came with an article discussing why two islands like this are better than one large island when designing a big kitchen.  They basically pointed out all of the same things my cabinet guy mentioned.  Our kitchen is similar to this picture in that it is a big square shape with the stove behind the island and the main sink to one side and the fridge on the other.  These two islands are approximately the same size mine would be if I did two.  One would be for food prep with another sink and dishwasher (and maybe a mini fridge!?) while the other island would have bar stools and would be for eating/entertaining.  Picture these two islands connected to make one HUGE island.  That is the other option.  Just thought I'd share this picture in case anyone is a visual person like I am!  In fact, I'm such a visual person that designing this house on paper has been really hard for me.  We had a 3-D rendering done of the outside of the house and I was like "Oh!  Is that what it looks like!?  Kenny said "yeah - you designed it!  Didn't you know what it would look like!?"  But unless I get a clear visual it's hard for me to picture exactly how everything juts in and out.  So different than seeing it flat on paper.  Several of you have asked if I will share my floor plan.  Yes!  Of course!  I will share so much of this process with you that I bet by the time this house is built you will all be so sick of reading about it!  If you stick with me through it all that is!  I just want to wait a bit to post the floor plan because we are still making minor tweaks and changes.  There will be a lot more to share once our plans are final and have been approved by the city and we are breaking ground (hopefully sometime around July).  Right now we are dealing with boring stuff like city codes and the structural engineering (snore).  I can't wait to get to the good stuff!  More kitchen layout meetings please!  :)

I didn't have time this week to pull together a Fashion Friday post, but I bought some really cute stuff at Banana Republic!  Hoping to share it all next week.  For now here are some random recent pics...

A few from our Spring Break in Palm Springs:


We were always the first ones at the pool in the morning...


and the last ones at the pool in the evening.  We took a three hour break mid-day for Kole's nap which worked out perfectly because that was when the pool was hopping with people.  We timed things just right so that we were almost alone in the pool most of the week.  Loved that!

Of course, I spent a great deal of my time not swimming, but chasing.  Kole swam a little, but seemed to prefer running around behind all of the lounge chairs in the dirt.  I was ok with it because I learned a long time ago what to expect when you travel with little ones.  Lower your expectations and you will have a fabulous time!  Remember:  It's not a vacation.  It's a family trip.  Jut viewing it that way makes a difference for me.  I wrote a post all about it a few years ago.  :)

And a few pics of our annual weekend walk.  We always let Kole out of the stroller for a bit....



and then the girls run ahead while one of us wrestles with Kole to get him back in the stroller. 

The girls had a trial run for their upcoming dance recital.  They had to go to dance class this week with full hair/make-up/costumes on.  It was the first time I've ever put make-up on them!  Kind of fun.  :)

Well.  Not so fun for Ellie.  She was SO not impressed.  She likes her dance (hip hop dance to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance") but  the costume was WAY too itchy (shock) and the make-up drove her crazy.  She couldn't wait to come home and take it all off and get back in her pajamas.  

She wouldn't even let me take more pictures.  Just the one above and then a nice "enough mom" pose.  

My little ballerina on the other hand...

was a TOTALLY different story.  What a ham!  She loves her dance.  Loves her costume.  (Who cares about comfort when you are wearing something so sparkly!?)  And especially loved the make-up.  So funny.  She was beyond excited for me to put it on her.  "And can you put some of that stuff on my eyes mom!?  The stuff that makes them colorful?  And can I have some lip gloss?  The sparkly kind!  And that black stuff on my eye lashes?  Do it just like yours mom!"  

Then I couldn't get her away from the mirror.  :)

When we got to class they used her as an example because her bun was in the perfect spot on her head (high - not low).  It was her day to shine and she grinned ear to ear the entire class.  

I'm in trouble with this one.  

:)

Have a great weekend everyone!  


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kitchen ramblings

Some of you have asked if my new kitchen will be white.  Most of you know that the answer is YES!

(Old picture of my current kitchen.  Decor is totally different now but I'm too busy designing my new kitchen to take a more recent picture of my current one!)  :)

I have loved white kitchens all of my life.  I'm proud to say that I loved them even when they weren't the trend!  I insisted on making our current kitchen white when we built our house ten years ago and at the time dark cabinets were all the rage.  I love the clean look of white and I especially love that it is the perfect backdrop for any and all decor.  I don't think I'll ever grow tired of white kitchens!

So speaking of my NEW white kitchen...it is off to a good start!  Today was so fun.  We met with our builder and cabinet guy for a couple of hours.  I had so many pictures to show them - so many ideas of things I'd love to incorporate in my kitchen.  I did change the plans from three ovens to two.  I also made sure the microwave was in a prime location.  :)  I'm thinking of bagging the warmer too.  Will I ever really use it?

(Kids!  Your dino chicken nuggets are ready!  Guess I'll put them in the warmer until you get downstairs!)
;)

I mentioned in our meeting that I don't exactly love to cook.  They laughed and told me that with this kitchen it was time to start.  They were on board with most of my ideas.  But.  They are trying to talk me out of my big island.  And I think they might be right.  When we first sat down with my architect my "house wish list" included a big kitchen and a big master closet.  My architect went above and beyond my wish list and gave me a really big kitchen and a really big closet.  Kitchen and clothes storage will not be a problem in this house!  Because I have a large, square kitchen I was picturing one large island.  My cabinet guy has been trying to convince me that I'd rather have two separate islands (each would still be plenty big) instead of one extremely large one.  A few things he pointed out to me:

1)  Two islands fit better filling up the space in our design.  (It's hard to explain this without sharing the floor plan - but he's right on that one.)
2)  A huge island can become an obstacle that is a pain to walk all the way around.  Traffic doesn't flow as well. 
3)  A huge island can be difficult to clean (hard to reach in the middle!).
4) With two islands specific zones are created (one island for food prep and one island for eating/entertaining).  
5)  Two islands would mean more cabinet space.  

I think that last point is what sold me.  As much as I love the look of one big island, I think they have me convinced!  (Although I still keep going back and forth and probably will until I absolutely HAVE to make a decision since I suffer from DMD - decision making disorder.)

We discussed style for the cabinets in my kitchen and butler's pantry along with different options for my oven/range/hood.  I could NOT wipe the smile off of my face!  Kenny was a good sport.  He sat and nodded and smiled and let me take charge.  He may have looked just a tad quesy whenever my cabinet guy said "that's a great look...we can do that...it will just cost a bit more..." but I'm happy to say that he made it through the entire meeting without breaking into a cold sweat or passing out in his chair.  Success!  

Our next step is to decide on our kitchen appliances so we know exactly how much cabinet space we have.  I've been debating our appliances so much over the last couple of weeks that I had a dream the other night about a Sub Zero fridge and a Wolf oven range.  In my dream we had moved into our new house and the knobs on my oven range were all red and I wanted black.  Then the new fridge wouldn't open and I was stressed because Addison really wanted some string cheese.  HA!  I woke up thinking "black knobs and easy to open fridge door...got it."  I have a feeling that won't be the last dream I have concerning this house.  I can see why so many people say that when you build a house it is a part time job and becomes all consuming!  Which is why I'm blogging about it tonight!  I can't get it out of my mind!

Another thing I think I was talked out of today was a built-in bench for my breakfast nook.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of benches in breakfast nooks....










Aren't they charming!?  But a few good points were brought to my attention:

1)  When one person wants to get out, everyone has to shuffle out...
2)  Not super comfortable - especially for adults...
3)  Locked into this look...
4)  A pain to clean if someone spills something (a regular occurence for my crew).

So I'm thinking that as much as I love the look, function is key and a simple table and chairs will be most likely be filling my breakfast nook.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Does anyone have one large island or two regular sized islands?  What do you like/dislike?  Kitchen warmer - useful or not so much?  What about benches for your dining nook?  Pros/cons?  Any other kitchen thoughts/suggestions?  What would be a must have for you if you were designing a kitchen?  Anyone else ever have a dream turned nightmare about not being able to open your new fridge when your daughter is in desperate need of some string cheese!?  Talk about stress!

:)  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Recipe Round-Up

I knew this week was going to be a busy one so I did something I normally never do.  I sat down Sunday night to make a meal plan.  I may be organized when it comes to my home and time management, but you all know I have never had it together when it comes to cooking.  I wanted to just make a couple of my easy stand-by recipes so I went to my blog to look a few up.  It took me too long to find what I was looking for so I decided I'd make a post with links to all of my recipes.  Hopefully this will help me the next time I'm in the mood to whip up something in the kitchen.  I'll put this post on my sidebar and update it every time I share a recipe.  These recipes are far from gourmet, but if it's a favorite of mine you can count on it being kid friendly and easy to make.  So maybe this post will help one or two of you as well!  Just click on the link to see the full recipe.  

BTW - tomorrow we are meeting with our builder and cabinet guy to start planning the kitchen layout!  I'm so excited about it.  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve!  Our cabinet guy sent over a sketch of my kitchen with what he thinks would work in the space.  He has included three ovens and a warmer.  

Clearly we need to get to know each other a bit better.  :)  



















{TRI-COLOR PASTA} 

BON - APPETIT!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring picture frames (3rd times a charm)


Popping in to share a quick picture frame update! 


Since it is currently Kole's turn for the birthday spotlight, we are seeing plenty of this little guy when you walk in my house.


So I decided I'd use pictures of the girls to update my dining room frames for Spring.  Fun.  :)


In December I replaced the yellow frames with white frames and scrapbook paper for more of a wintery look.  Which I loved because we don't get much of a winter here.  Changing around my home decor is the only way to feel the seasons!  But now for Spring I've gone back to the yellow frames.  
I chose some of my favorite pictures I took a few years ago of the girls...




The yellow/aqua combo is making me so happy and while the winter theme was a fun change, this definitely feels a little more... sunny.  :)

And now.  For your viewing pleasure.  I present.  A look back at the frame switch around.  I call it "tour through the seasons."  Oh yes.  You are THAT lucky.  (And I am that sarcastic.)

{THE "BEFORE"}

{FALL}

{WINTER}

{SPRING/SUMMER}

Sometimes little changes make a big difference.  And sometimes little changes make a little difference.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but either way, change is good.

:)

Enjoy your day!