Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Morning Round-Up 11.11.13

Happy Monday, friends!

It is a happy Monday, as I am able to wear shoes and drive for the first time in five days.  You know how your mom told you to always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident?  My addition to that rule: always wear sparkly toenail polish in case you need a foot X-Ray and want to dazzle the radiology department.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Round-Up 10.21.13

Happy Monday, Friends.

It's crazy how many people are talking about listening to Christmas music already, just because we got a little snow!  I'm putting a ban into effect because we still have two holidays that deserve a little hype of their own. We've put up silly, not scary, monster silhouettes in our windows so at night it looks like our house is overrun.  (I stole this idea from a friend, Vicki, who I think got it off Pinterest.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning Round-up 10.14.13

Happy Monday, Friends

I caved and got myself a Happy Light this week.  Here I am, tricking my brain into thinking the sun came up at 6:30.  I'm fake-smiling in this picture, but I'm actually optimistic that light therapy is going to help me cope with winter anxiety this year.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Morning Round-Up: Summer Fun

Happy Monday, friends!  I don't know about you, but I was just starting to get into the swing of this summer thing, and suddenly it's all coming to an end.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Morning Round-Up 8.5.13

Happy Monday.  Let's do this.  

Ooh.  This resonated with me.  Stay Weird: A Letter to My Daughter.  The only thing I would change is to include my son.  Boys should be encouraged to embrace some weirdness, too.

Giant Colin Firth Terrorizes London.  Ha ha ha ha! Not the reaction they were going for.

Unclutterer is one of my most-visited sites because there is unbelievably good advice and inspiration for living an organized life.  Plus, you can't miss the funny Unitasker Wednesday posts, highlighting some of the most ridiculous gadgets ever made.  But I really like Ten Things You Can Do When You Don't Feel Motivated To Get Stuff Done.

I'm a little wary of food allergy advice from sites that usually focus on something else, like design.  But Design Sponge's Modern Etiquette series tackled Navigating Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions and did a good job of getting to the heart of the matter (I think) which is communication between the guest and host.

A little inspiration: How To Learn To Dance In A Year (among other things). "You must be willing to practice and you better be hungry." 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Morning Round-up 7.15.13

This Monday I'm doing something a little different than I normally do.  Like posting this in the evening instead of the morning, because it took me all day to write it.

I love dressing up my kids, and I get a thrill in hunting for high-quality, brand-name clothing at lower (think Old Navy or Target) prices.  I keep my eye out for sales all the time, and even buy a size or two up when I find something too good to pass up.  Therefore, I have no back-to-school shopping to do right now and I'm missing out on all kinds of great sales.   So I thought I'd go through some of my favorite websites for kids clothes, and pick out some of the best deals to share.  

Of course, the best money-saving strategy is to go to garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment stores, and work out swaps with friends.  A lot of better clothing brands should last through several kids, while the $5 Circo tees from Target might be rags after a year of washing and wearing.  And sometimes you want to buy new, knowing once your kid is done with an item, you can hand it down to another or re-sell it.  

In general I wouldn't even consider new clothing over $15 and shoes over $20.  There are exceptions, like if I buy Punky a Tea Collection dress in the next size up and have her wear it two years.  And then consign it.

My other criteria for kids clothing: no ostentatious branding (a small logo is fine), limited licensed characters (this is getting hard with my video game-obsessed son), no words that characterize my child as "trouble" or "princess" or "boy-crazy" or "wild thing", and very limited sequins, studs, mesh, lace, animal prints, skulls, crosses, or anything else Madonna was photographed wearing in the 80s. Also, kids clothes have to be soft, comfortable, and WASHABLE.

Today I scoured a few websites, looking for deals, and found a ton of things on clearance.  I stayed away from the usual Old Navy, Gap, and Target, (even though I like all of them) and tried to think of a few retailers that I aren't always my first place to check for sales.  

Here are some favorites from H&M.  These aren't the highest quality, but the prices are unbeatable and I always find some cute styles I can't find anywhere else.  Unfortunately, you can't order any of the clothes online in the US, but the store keeps expanding into most metro areas.  Note that none of the prices below are even sale prices.  These are the regular prices.  Now you can see why I love this store so much.

H&M Favorite Deals
Dress 4.95//2-pack tops 9.95//Jeggings 9.95//Top 6.03
Sweatpants 9.95//Printed dress 9.95//Twill pants 9.95//3-pack boxer shorts 9.95

I found just a few things I liked on clearance at Carter's.  It's not my favorite store, but the sales can be really good. It's $6 flat-rate shipping if you buy online, but there are a lot of stores and outlets around too.
Knit skort 3.99//Pull on woven skirt (comes with bike shorts) 9.99//Plaid cargo shorts 6.99

Olive Juice is an example of gorgeous, expensive children's clothes with surprisingly affordable sale prices.  These were all found in the Outlet and Warehouse Sale sections of the site.  Shipping is a little steep at 8.95 for flat-rate, but there are sometimes coupon codes available.

Olive Juice
Striped Denise Dress 15//Charcoal Giselle Top 10//Ink/Denim Wonderland Dress 15
Parker Shift Mint/Robin Red 15//Ruby Olive Pant 15

I've never shopped at a brick and mortar Zara store, but I'm hoping we have one someday in Minneapolis.  Lucky for us, standard shipping is free!  Here are a few things I found on sale.  Some sizes are sold out.
Printed t-shirt 9.99//Dress with ruffle bib front 14.99//V-neck sweater 9.99
Short sleeved check dress 7.99//Embroidered jeans 12.99//T-shirt with gathered sleeves 3.99

Uniqlo stores are hard to come by in the US, but it looks like standard shipping is $7.  That's totally worth it when you see some of these sale prices.  Check out the Men's and Women's selections while you're at it.  There have even been some designer collaborations!

Star Wars graphic 5.90//Snoopy graphic 5.90
Light pocketable parka 12.90//Lauderee tunic 5.90//Sweat tunic 5.90

The good thing about American Apparel is that the clothes are made by American workers who get fair wages.  That means the prices are sometimes higher than I want to pay for a basic t-shirt.  But I snooped around and found a few things on sale, in limited sizes and colors.  The shipping starts at $5, but it's free for orders over $50.

American Apparel
Solid Rib Cardigan 6.00//Solid Rib Cardigan 6.00//Baby Rib Cap Sleeve 3.00
Opaque Stirrup Tight 5.00//Helvetica Alphabet Fine Jersey Short Sleeve 4.00//Shawl Cardigan 11.00

I love Boden clothes.  The bad part is that shipping is $10.  I suggest you make it worth your while by getting something special for yourself as well.
Mini Boden
Boat neck dress 12.00//Stripey boat neck 10.80//Arts and crafts t-shirt 12.00
Stripey pocket t-shirt 12.00//Explorer hoody 15.20
Is it me, or was Land's End always kind of boring?  Either I never really looked at the kids' clothes, or they've stepped up their game recently.  The clothes are classic, well-made and durable.  Shipping starts at 5.95.  The following items are all on sale; some in limited sizes.

Land's End
Knit wrap jumper 14.99//Long sleeve knit a-line dress 12.99//Knit applique skort 12.99//Pieced pattern cardigan 12.99
Fleece shawl-collar pullover 9.99//Iron knee boat pants 14.99//Girls 5-pocket pencil jeans 10.99//Raglan t-shirt 4.99
So, somebody, please buy some of these things for your kids.  Because I don't need them, and it pains me to know these deals are just sitting out there, mocking me.  Plus, it took me hours to figure out how to clip images to Polyvore and then get it formatted into my blog.  If I see just one kid I know wearing that Snoopy shirt, I'll know it was not in vain.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Scarf, Skirt, and Necklace (30 Days of Creativity)

Here are my final three projects for my 30 Days of Creativity Challenge.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leftover Frittata (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #24

We had a lot of uneaten veggies leftover after Boo's birthday party, and I was afraid they'd go to waste, so I made them into a frittata.  This is really easy, and there's no recipe needed.  

Rainbow-y Fruits and Veggies (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #23

The day of Boo's birthday party, I set up some colorful fruit and veggie trays in hopes that all the little kids would find them attractive and eat tons of healthy stuff.  

Cut The Rope Birthday Cake (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #22

Boo has been talking non-stop about a Cut The Rope-themed birthday cake for at least six months.  I enjoy decorating cakes, even if it's extremely time-consuming, so I gave it a try.  I didn't get pictures of every step because I was working so hard to get the darned thing done in time.  

Marshmallow Fondant (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #21

Pool Noodle Bar Bumper (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #20

Fire Starters for Camping (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #19: This has got to be the most boring "creative project" I've ever done, but it will be useful later, and it's made entirely from stuff I'd normally throw away.

Garfield Lasagna for Punky (30 Days of Creativity)

I'm finally getting around to updating for an entire week's worth of my 30 Days of Creativity challenge.    I had a birthday party to plan, and we had a power outage over the weekend that threw a major wrench in things.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beanbag Toss Game (30 Days of Creativity)

 Day #17 is a fun one that the whole family helped with.

DIY Gift Bag (30 Days of Creativity)

We have had a ton of kids birthday parties to go to lately.  I usually only have Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags on hand.  One thing I've been doing is embellishing plain bags with foil stars. 

It's not much, but I'm calling it my Day #16.

Hosta Border (30 Days of Creativity)

Day  #15: I don't know if gardening and yard work counts as creativity.  Unless you have no idea what you're doing and you're figuring out how to plant hostas for the first time.  

Cut The Rope Party Favors ( 30 Days of Creativity)

Day #14: I'm prepping for Boo's birthday party next weekend.  He insisted on a Cut The Rope theme even though I begged him to go with Angry Birds.  Angry Birds party supplies are readily available.  Cut The Rope plates, napkins, hats, etc. just don't exist.

Angry Birds Star Wars Coloring Page (30 Days of Creativity)

Boo asked me to draw him a picture of Angry Birds Star Wars characters to color.  So for Day #13 I copied a picture.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Put An Owl On It (30 Days of Creativity)

Day #12.  I'm crazy about these cheap plastic planters at Target.  I bought this one for a bigger fern that I wanted to hang up, after doing my other macrame plant hangers.  

That's No Moon (30 Days of Creativity)

I make so many things for Punky to wear, that I really wanted to give something special to Boo.  So for Day #11, I made a Death Star stenciled tee shirt.  

Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free Cookies (30 Days of Creativity)

My Day #10 project isn't exactly new, but I tweaked a recipe I've used before.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Minnie Mouse Pillowcase (30 Days of Creativity)

Here's my Day #9 project, a pillowcase I made for Punky out of a clearance remnant of Minnie Mouse fabric.  She really loves Minnie Mouse, so I knew she'd love having this.  

Sharpie Plates (30 Days of Creativity)

For Day #8 I drew on dollar store plates with Sharpie markers, a project I've seen on Pinterest and wanted to do for a long time.  

Greens and Quinoa Salad (30 Days of Creativity)

My act of creativity for Day #7 was making this semi-healthy salad.

Soup Cans for the Dollhouse (30 Days of Creativity)

For Day # 6, I made little cans of soup to put in the dollhouse kitchen.

Duplo Banana Stand (30 Days of Creativity)

For Day #5, I made what any Arrested Development fan would make, if they happened to have a Duplo cash register and bananas.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Non-Tangling, Wrapped Earbuds (30 Days of Creativity)

For Day #4 (even though today is technically Day #8) I wrapped my earbuds in candy-colored embroidery floss.  This is an idea I stole straight off Pinterest.  I love the way it looks, but it was difficult to manage twisting threads and wires as I wrapped.  

Funny story: I can't use the little foam pads that go over the earpieces because I have a Siamese cat who pries them off during the night and eats them.  His other favorite snacks are canned pumpkin, shower curtains, and the plastic packaging on paper towels.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Miniature Jars for a Dollhouse (30 Days of Creativity)

For Day #3, I made these tiny lidded jars for Punky's dollhouse.  

Since I've started furnishing our dollhouse, I've been surprised to learn what people use to make miniatures.  You would think it takes a lot of special tools and supplies, but in a lot of cases, you can make things from stuff you already have...

Screen Door Patch (30 Days of Creativity)

For my Day #2 project, I made a patch for our patio screen door.  I don't know how the hole started, but I do know it has gotten bigger with the kids shoving fingers, Legos, and Angry Bird toys into it.  

Easy Macrame Plant Holder and Ninja Laser Fun (30 Days of Creativity)

The other day I came to the earth-shattering realization that this is the month of June, otherwise known as 30 Days of Creativity.  This is the third year I'm participating, and it's something I generally look forward to, so I don't know how I missed the start date, but I did.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 6.3.13

Good morning, friends!

I'm in shock that Boo's year of preschool just ended.  Poof!  There didn't even seem to be much lead-up to it.  One day we were still in the routine of going, and suddenly we were cleaning out his locker and handing gifts to the teachers.  So it's apparently summer now, and I have two kids to entertain at home for the next three months.

I need a little more direction in planning some activities for my kids.  From Apartment Therapy: Tips for Making Your Family's Summer Bucket List

A nice take on finding your priorities in all this free time: Minimalist Parenting During the Summer

Another quick guide for parents: Practical Ideas for a Summer of Learning

I'm not sure a big baseball game is going to be in our summer plans, but this is a goldmine for those who are ready.  Guide to Taking Your Kids to a Major League Baseball Game with specific tips broken down by city!

Don't forget to entertain yourself.  A Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs. Darcy (you have to sign up for an email, and then you get the link to the guide, which is really pretty good.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend and the Laundry Basket of Doom

I have what I think is a pretty good method of uncluttering the house.  I go around scooping up everything I find out of place into a big receptacle, do some vacuuming and dusting, then put everything back in it's place again. 

I did this a few days ago when the clutter in our house got out of control.  Unfortunately, it was Memorial Day Weekend, and we were enjoying being lazy at home for four days in a row.  So I kept thinking I had more time to organize the contents of this laundry basket including bills, other important mail, toys, car keys, craft supplies, receipts, coupons, to do lists, grocery lists, and kids art I have to go through.

But I ran out of time and it's Tuesday morning already, and not only do I need some of the contents of this basket, I need the actual basket because I also let laundry pile up for four days.

I really wish I could shove this basket into a closet like we do when company's coming.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

DIY Painted Patio Rug

Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, and I've been waiting for this opportunity to make our patio into an extension of our living room, where we can hang out and play as a family.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 5.6.13

Happy Monday, Friends.  How are you?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 4.29.13

Happy Monday to you!

Just one of the many sights on my neighborhood jaunt with Miss Punky this morning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 4.22.13

Happy Monday, and congratulations to all of us for surviving a tough week.
(I'm working on changing the design of this blog, and still not finished, so bear with me.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup: 4.15.13

Happy Monday.  

I had already packed these away for the year.  Wah-wah.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 4.8.13

Happy Monday, Friends!

I'm dreaming about spending a lot of time playing outside, starting...NOW!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 3.11.13

Happy Monday to all of you!

I'm doing something different for my Monday Morning Round-Up today because I didn't find a lot of great things to link to this week.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Bro-quet: A Tutorial

Here's how I made an awesome birthday present for The Mister.  
You can call it a "bro"quet, or a man-bouquet, or whatever you want.

Monday Morning Roundup 2.18.13

Happy Monday, Everyone!

My big weekend project consisted of making Angry Birds cupcakes for The Mister's birthday, using only allergy-friendly ingredients.  In my mind, they were a complete flop.  Cutting marshmallows into beak shapes, then "painting" them with food coloring?  Never again.  But the kids thought they were EPIC, and loved every part of the hours-long decorating process.  It was a good experience.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 2.11.13

Happy Monday, friends.

I'm over this winter now.  Could we just have a week of 40 degree weather to melt it all away?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How I finished up the Apartment Therapy January Cure

Here is Part 2 of my month following Apartment Therapy's January Home Cure.  Click here for Part 1.
I suspected I'd start the month off with a lot of motivation then let things slide later, and I was right!  That's okay, though.  I knew going into this that life might get in the way of completing every task and I should be happy to get a little organizing done. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monday/Tuesday Roundup 1.29.13

Happy Tuesday?

I didn't do my usual link round-up yesterday because I literally could not look away from my kids for one minute.  It was really that bad.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finally...A Pancake Recipe That Works

I've been searching for a pancake recipe for Punky for a long time.  We're not really big on pancakes at our house, but when I want to make some, I feel bad if everyone but Punky can eat them.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Morning Roundup 1.21.13

Happy Frickin' Cold Monday, Friends!

It's so cold...
 ...that Punky decided to wear an undershirt under her swimsuit while eating her frozen smoothie this morning.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Apartment Therapy January Cure: I'm at the Half-way Point

My favorite website, hands down, is Apartment Therapy.  I read Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan's Eight-Step Home Cure years ago when it came out years ago, but it seemed like too massive an undertaking to clean out my entire home, even when broken down into small steps.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Afternoon Roundup 1.14.13

Hello friends, and Happy Monday.  I'm getting to this a little later in the day because this is the first time I've been able to sit down.  Craziness.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Punky's Dollhouse

I've been waiting for a long time for Punky to be old enough for a dollhouse, and this Christmas I thought it was finally time for her to have one.

Post-Holidays, Year in Review, and Resolutions

I dropped off the blogging cliff for a little while.  The last part of December was difficult, as it always is, with holiday stress, travelling, illnesses, and the pervasive darkness those of us in the Northern Hemisphere endure this time of the year.