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a frozen halloween

For the love of your kids, and only your kids will a parent watch the same movie (frozen in my household) over 100 times in the course of 3 months (slight exaggeration). What’s not an exaggeration is that I can recite every.single.line of that movie and my husband and I bust into song exactly like all of the other youtube videos of parents’ car debutes of “Love is an Open Door”. So there should have been no surprise when it comes to Halloween costumes as well as 2 year old birthday party themes: FROZEN is the only option. For now, I’ll focus on Halloween’s rendition of the Weinstock’s take on Frozen.

{{First off, thank you pinterest.}}

Evelyn will be collecting candy this year as none other than the Queen herself, Elsa. Don’t you worry, her side-kick Nora won’t be far behind in her first Halloween appearance as Olaf. While Target supplied Evelyn’s beautiful ballgown, pinterest and my craft closet inspired my crafting abilities take on Olaf. While my friends may claim me as crafty – this costume took little to no skill. If you look closely at the “stitching” it will be a miracle if one of the felt “buttons” doesn’t dangle off within the first block of trick-or-treating.

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In case Nora falls asleep on her side-kick responsibilities, Evelyn’s candy basket is Olaf’s head so that take’s some of the pressure off Nora for her first year — we know it can be extremely overwhelming collecting extreme amounts of candy fo’ free 🙂I have a feeling Halloween’s from here on out are going to be so much fun!

mary-poppins-and-bertThis year, Sam and I are even dressing up for a friend’s party! It’s been three years since we’ve dressed up as Juno & Bleeker & while Sam still has his knee high socks & all too high gym shorts on reserve, I’m feeling a bit outgrown for that costume so we are attempting to pull off Mary Poppins & Bert  (the chimney sweep guy). Other options we considered/were suggested to us were: Patty & Doug Funny, Guess Who Game Pieces, Princess Laya & Luke Skywalker; Victoria & David Beckham, Bacon & Eggs, Wonder-Woman & Superman; Piglet & Pooh… just to name a few. If you’re still considering what to be – here’s a cute link to couples costumes. The cutest family costume I saw when hosting a Fall Fest at a Community Center was the characters of Scooby do! The family was adorable and the costumes were simple and appropriate.
I’m excited to post photos of the girls out trick-or-treating. Our neighborhood does it big so it will be fun to see how excited Evelyn gets! Halloween is just over two weeks away so if you havn’t thought about your costume yet – Target has had deals on costumes (buy one get one half off), goodwill is a great place to browse for inspiration & for your candy deals, check out this app and get $1 back for your purchase of a bag of candy from anywhere you purchase it from. I’ll probably post more about this app later on because — FREE money? Why miss out?
Happy Halloween-ing everyone! Isn’t fall the best?!

 

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the green wedding

The last weekend in September, Sam and I flew to Minnesota to celebrate my good friend Mikka’s wedding to her love, Adam.  This was the first trip that Sam and I took without Evelyn.   Sam’s mom, who Evelyn will know as Neena, watched her and our pup for the weekend which gave them some much needed bonding time without us hovering over every move Evy makes.  It gave Sam and I some much needed bonding and reconnecting time as well.  It was pure magic, for all involved.

Our first trip away!

Our first trip away!

The weekend consisted of ugly crying (all by me).  It started when we were dropped off at the airport.  Ugly crying all the way to the check in desk… and then to the TSA security guard who told me to suck it up and enjoy time away from the baby because it will be a long time til the next time we get the chance. Great advice – followed by the lady in front of us who was also near ugly crying about leaving her chuahaha for the weekend as well.  That helped me get over it as did the bloody mary’s we enjoyed pre-flight.  This also stepped in as a night cap for the flight.

When we landed in MSP, we had one stop before our five hour drive north to Grand Marais, MN (yes, it was truly right next to Canada).  Our stop was to pick up the wedding cake (!) & the grooms cake (holy pressure batman!)  The baker assured me that the beautiful three tiered wedding cake would be fine as long as we didn’t slam on the breaks and kept the air conditioning on.

The view from Devil Track Resort

The view from Devil Track Resort

The drive was beautiful.  The radio was choppy so Sam and I sang/rapped to each other (will smith was the fave), chatted about anything and everything and snapped lots of blurry side of the road scenery photos trying to catch the fall colors.  When we finally arrived to the resort around 9:30 p.m. – Mikka was there to tackle me with a huge bear hug & happy tears.  She went to the back to take out the cake and IT HAD TOPPLED OVER!  We never slammed on the breaks & we froze our tushes off the entire way FOR THAT CAKE!  Mikka’s response? ‘No biggie – Adam didn’t even know we were having a wedding cake’ – BEST BRIDE EVER!  The groom’s cake was in perfect condition which was her real concern.  The cake came back to our cabin with us (ya know, to hide it from the groom).

Friday, Sam and I headed into town to have breakfast, see the town and enjoy each other.  It all sounds so cheesy but it was so necessary.  We noted that it felt weird not to have Evelyn with us, but it was easy to go back to how it was when it was just us.  {{We’ve still got it.}}  We were even able to get a bit of a hike in before the rehearsal.  Picture perfect day on the beautiful north shore.  Friday night concluded with memorable quotes from Sam including when I tried to tell him there’d be no more wine, he chanted “WINE NOT? WINE NOT?” & “BABY FREE WEEKEND! WINE NOT!?”  He’s adorable.

Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail

superior hiking trail

Saturday was the wedding day & the grey clouds inched their way closer and closer from 9 a.m. – 12.  An outdoor wedding was the goal for the bride & groom and I have to give them credit, the clouds did not falter their determination in any way.  Another goal was to not see one another before the wedding, so when decorations outside began to blow over and the rain turned into what we so enduringly named, Hurricane Green, communications on the game plan were tunneled through a chain of messengers running back and forth with the same message, “whatever Adam wants….” Or “ whatever Mikka wants..”   Adorable.

Hurricane Green

Hurricane Green

The beautiful bride

The beautiful bride

A compromise was made for having the wedding in the reception tent.  I mean it when I say, THIS WEDDING WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEDDING I’VE EVER WITNESSED.  The love in this tent.  While there were tables blowing over and rolling towards the tent, Mikka & Adam recited their vows to one another in perfect fashion.  Mikka referenced Adam’s love of cars and Adam promised to stand by her no matter what.  Here is where I began to ugly cry:  Mikka’s niece, Louise, had vows to exchange as well.  Mikka & Adam have taken on parental responsibilities of this little angel who adores them.  Mikka vowed, Adam vowed and then Louise recited hers which were filled with requests such as, “all I ask is that you continually encourage me and that we do awesome things together…”  ALL THE UGLY CRYING HAPPENED OVER HERE.  One hand holding the wall of the tent and the other hand wishing I had thought to grab tissue as I blotted my eyes with my shawl.  BEAUTIFUL.

The bride with Jes & I

The bride with Jes & I

Everything from start to finish was so well thought out:

  • Welcome baskets in each cabin filled with snacks, games, activity books, scavenger hunt, sports drinks
  • Pre-wedding appetizers of pickled herring, cheese, crackers & spiked hot cocoa
  • After wedding green drinks (thin mint)
  • The bridesmaids each had a different color which just so happened to be each of our favorite color (mine was teal) – black dresses that we could style multiple ways, paired with shawls, jewelry, ankle ties, make up and nail polish of our color
  • A caricature artist
  • Bloody Mary bar
  • Late night snacks of nachos & wings
  • Candy bar with a chocolate fondue fountain
bridesmaid cup

bridesmaid cup

It was just all so perfect.  Mikka & I need to go into the wedding planning business (right, mikka?) Sam and I had a great weekend and were so happy we could be there to witness such a magical marriage take place.  AND MY PARENTS EVEN DROVE 2 HOURS TO GIVE US A HUG ON SUNDAY (because we needed it). Oh, & Evelyn had a great weekend with her Neena as well (big thanks to Neena – maybe we’ll do this more often?). Such sweet family & friends.

mr. & mrs. green

mr. & mrs. green

Cheers to the newlyweds on the beginning of something truly beautiful.

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thoughtful celebrations

This year, for all (or most) gift-giving holidays, Sam and I will need to get creative with showing love in ways other than through monetary gifts. For his birthday, I enlisted the help of most of his closest friends & family members to write him a little note. To assist in the flow, I wrote a few prompt sentences such as:

• I’ve never laughed so hard as when….
• The first time I met Sammy, I thought…
• Something I’d like to do with Sam in the future would be…
• Remember when…

Some stuck to those prompts while others chose song lyrics, personal messages, or single phrases with the “he’ll know what this means” tag to it.

I gave everyone a deadline which most met – way to go, team!- and then accumulated all of the little notes, printed them, pasted them to colorful paper and inserted them into fun little envelopes that were mis-shaped, patterned and obviously hand-made.

sams bday
Before leaving for work on his birthday, I tapped the envelopes to our dining room wall in the shape of his birthday year – 28. (thank you, oh happy day for this great idea!)  There was no prompt for him other than the birthday banner hanging around the display. He was free to open them all at once or periodically throughout the day (being that there were close to 60 notes!) Of course, he decided to open them all at once like a little kid tearing open his Christmas presents in a mad dash. He absolutely loved this. He said he wish he could feel this special and this loved every day – looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me!

I also loved reading all of the little notes as I put this little gift together. It’s pretty incredible to be married to someone who is so highly regarded by so many people. Everyone had multiple stories to share or things they’d love to do with Sammy in the future. The overall theme of the future plans focused on traveling and sports so looks like we’ll have to get something in the works – renting a beach house with as many of our friends we can fit & reserving a section (we’d need it) at a red sox or O’s game are both in the near future.

The beauty of this gift is it only took thought, love and time, yet Sam appreciated this gift way more than he would’ve gotten out of anything material. Sure, a speaker set would’ve been exciting for the first couple of months, maybe – but then the next newer set would come out and these would be old news. This gift made him feel special & loved, and celebrated him. I know that whenever he thinks back to walking down the stairs and feeling excitement in seeing the ‘28’ envelope tribute, to feeling special to the numerous notes from his closest friends & family to feeling loved from the content of those notes – he’ll never forget those feelings.

I’m on the search for ideas to replicate moments like these for future gift-giving moments. How do you celebrate your loved ones?

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‘lil e’s room

evy's name

Since our close date of May 9th – we’ve been busy busy piecing together each room.  We are far from finished but focused on Evy’s room due to the fact that when she naps, we work on the rest of the house so having her room done and checked off the list first, seemed to make the most sense.  I have to admit, while I love it – I wish I would’ve slowed myself down a bit and incorporated the stripes from her room in Portland.

Regardless, her room has a calming feel which is great for the early mornings snuggling her.  My camera = my phone, hence the quality.  Her wall color is Benjamin Moore, Soft Iris.

window wallHer room gets the perfect amount of natural light during the day and luckily, there’s a window directly on the other side of the house from hers so the cross breeze during the day is nice.  We’re debating putting up a shade as well so that she’ll hopefully sleep a bit longer without being interrupted by sunrise but for now, we’re enjoying the natural light.  The light fixture that currently exists gives off a very yellow light so we rely on the natural light with the little lamp on the table. It makes for a cozy, natural, calming atmosphere.

While the space is small, it fits together fairly well.  When we’re ready to upgrade her to a big girl bed, taking out the chairchanging table and the changing table will give her more space.  On the wall, the canvas reads a quote from one of my favorite childhood books, I’ll love you forever by Robert Munsch so it reads, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.”

We’re pleased with the look and feel of miss e’s room.  We hope she enjoys it once she’s old enough to have a little bit of style all her own.  For now, all she cares about is the music flowing, the breeze, bright colors of her moving mobile and something she can put in her mouth and she’s a happy baby.

chairMore pictures of the rest of the house to come soon.  It’s sloooowwwwllyyy coming together.

For info on any of the room décor, feel free to shoot me a message.  Happy to replicate any of the décor pieces for your child’s room as well!

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Healthy Caesar Salad Recipe

Healthy Caesar Salad Recipe

Sam and I love salad but having olive oil & vinegar with every rendition is getting kind of boring so when we came across this recipe for a healthy version of Caesar salad dressing, we had to try it out. Now this is a staple of our weekly dinners.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 clove crushed garlic
1/4 tsp salt/pepper
juice of half lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
5 tbls olive oil

In a blender, mix ingredients together. The consistency is a bit thick so if you’d like to thin it out, add a touch more olive oil.

Pour over romaine and top with a bit of parmesan cheese and fresh croutons.

Enjoy!

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Oh, Happy Day!

Our wedding was just that, the perfect depiction of Sam and I as a couple.  From the planning to the re-planning to the long distance to little last minute decisions, our wedding fit us to a T.  Sam and I have felt married from the very beginning. We moved into our relationship full force with traveling over-sea’s together at only 4 months into our relationship.  We opened a joint checking account at 7 months as well as moved to Portland, OR together at 8 months.  We waste no time.  So when we started talking about a wedding in August of 2013 – we thought, why wait?  This conversation happened in the end of November, 2012.  We were married beginning of March, 2013 – no time wasted (oh, and remember to throw in all of our other life events during those three short months as well but that’s neither here no there).

Luckily, we have amazing family and friends to help us pull our dream wedding together. Here’s how it all happened….

Invitations – our lovely friend, Yosh designed our wedding invitations in literally 3 days.  They were beautiful! We printed 200 invitations with formal invite, reception information and reply cards at Office Max and had them within 2 days.  I hand addressed them and they were out within a week of asking Yosh to design them!

Our venue- My mother found the venue and was so fearful that we wouldn’t like it.  Sam and I wanted a vintage feel but the pictures on their website were not all that inviting.  It was kind of a risk because we didn’t actually see the venue until the day before the wedding – thank god we LOVED it.  The Grand Hotel Ballroom was in the perfect location and sat right on top of The Pearl Ice cream parlor.  It was adorable.  The exposed brick walls and the archways in between the rooms provided the perfect amount of character.

Flowers & Table Settings – My lovely new mother in law took care of all of our table settings with the candles, flowers, etc. provided by The Cottage Garden –

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Every table was different with varying sizes of vases, flowers, height and layouts. We added little photos of Sam and I at each table as well as to name each table with places that Sam and I shared memories in.  My very talented and generous from Megan, graciously wrote out all of our table names.  Not only that but she hand wrote all of our guest place settings as well.  At my bachelorette party, the rest of my bridesmaids helped out by cutting slits in wine corks to finish off the look of the place settings.  I loved the look and I also really appreciated the personal feel that was provided by my closest friends.  I love them and they helped to make our day absolutely perfect.

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Other sweet touches included a handmade wooden display for our cupcakes which will also make an appearance at one of 07770811my bridesmaids, Mikka’s wedding come September so I’m happy for it to get more use.  It was rustic and beautiful.  The cupcakes were a last minute order as my mother knows me best.  I wanted to make the cupcakes before the wedding and she insisted we order them.  After some resistance, I caved and I’m so happy I did – they turned out wonderfully.  Our flavors were vanilla, chocolate, carrot and red velvet, providing something for everyone.  They were delicious and made up my breakfast the next morning.

Our thank you gift to our guests were cd’s of some of Sam and my favorite songs.  Yosh also designed the cd label which turned out great!  If you missed getting yours, our playlist included (to name a few): Marry Song -Band of Horses, A Little Tenderness – Otis Redding, Do You Remember- Jack Johnson, Say Goodbye – DMB, Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Among other faves!  We hand stamped the envelopes with a custom Etsy order and they turned out just as we had hoped.

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For our guest book, we wanted something we could showcase so thanks again to Etsy for this great thumb printed tree!  We plan to display it in the entry way of our new home!

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There are so many other things that went into making our wedding ideal for the two of us and I will continue to share photos in future blog posts.  For any direct links to any of our custom wedding decorations, feel free to message me and I’ll get them to you.  Huge thanks to family and friends for helping to pull all of this together and to my husband who spent his days with a baby strapped to him while he chose my hair piece, to grooms gifts to finalizing hotel rooms while I was busy working.  I wouldn’t change anything about our day.

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All photos in this post were taken by Tiffany Brubaker Photography.  We highly recommend her for your wedding taking place in the La Crosse, WI area.  Visit her online at: www.tiffanybrubaker.com

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Practicing Gratitude

Sam and I are very fortunate to be surrounded by such loving and supportive friends and most importantly, family.  Our decision to move across the country was a very fast, impulse move.  We hadn’t given too much thought to what our living situation would be.  We assumed we’d find a rental within the first few weeks and that’d be that.  Upon arriving in Baltimore, we were shocked to see how high rental prices were (largely due to proximity to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, APG).  We decided our money would be best spent on purchasing a home, building equity and committing to our move whole heartedly.  With that, we moved in with Sam’s uncle and aunt and their three energetic and adorable kids while we began our house hunt – very thankful.

thankful

Not only are my new relatives housing us – but they are feeding us, helping out with our dog, helping out with Evy and ultimately, saving our sanity – very thankful.  I have to keep reflecting on where we’d be without their help & generosity.  If we hadn’t been offered their basement suite, we would most likely have rushed into a rental, been stuck in a contract for months which wouldn’t allow us the freedom to look at the housing market and it could have been a rude awakening for Sam’s first week as a stay at home dad.  I think just knowing that his aunt was there was a huge relief and still is.  Needless to say, Sam’s got the whole parenting thing down to a science and is loving it- but breaks are always helpful during trying days.  His family always jumps in to help in any of these situations – very thankful.

Reflecting on this makes me motivated to two things : 1) Pay it forward.  Who else can I share this extreme generosity with and in what capacity?  Yesterday, I gave my co-worker an egg of his favorite jellybeans but rightfully so, that doesn’t even make it on the radar of this amount of awesome generosity bestowed to us.  This will be something I will need to really think about but for an immediate duty, I’ll continue with small acts of thoughtfulness/kindness whenever I can.  2) It motivates me to chill out.  Every day since we’ve been in Maryland, I have been frantic about something.  Whether it was wedding planning, finalizing moving expenses, traveling, and now house hunting – there’s always something on my mind that seems pressing.  Being with Sam’s aunt and uncle provides a reassuring feeling that, “it’ll all be okay.”  While I’d like to move soon for a few reasons (give them their “new” home back!, start our married life off right, provide Evelyn stability and her own space/routine, really start our life here), at least they make us feel welcomed and wanted – very thankful.

My family has also been reminding me to be patient and reassuring our parenting skills are sound as we doubt them with every interrupted nap time for a house showing, or new place for her to take her nap/go to bed, or new face, place, scent we introduce her to – NOTHING has been consistent for her besides Sam and I.  They remind us that life happens, stay strong, have faith, be patient: it’ll all work out.

I need this reminder more than ever today.  My plan is to practice many of the things from Tuesday’s post – focusing on: drinking tea (Bungalow; Steven Smith), listening to tunes (today’s pick is Love Today by Mika), practice gratitude (very thankful for all mentioned above + my sweet Evelyn’s smile + loving husbands patience with me), our semi-routine family walk/run after work (come on spring, warm it up!) and to hopefully limit media consumption today by being in our moment rather than someone else’s.

What are you grateful for and how do you show it??

xo,

Cort