Monday, December 8, 2008


The boys and I enjoyed our annual tradition of going to the Nutcracker last night. Their school organized a group to attend together. We had a reception beforehand and we had some special friends from the show visit us. The bear and the Nutcracker himself!
photo courtesy of Boston Ballet

Here we are ready to go. I wish you could see my skirt better! It is a great plaid from Hannah Andersson that I picked up at the outlet.

It was a 5:30 show so we didn't get home until almost 9:00PM! Very late for J and C! They were troopers though. John left to go out of town this morning, and the boys and I talked about having a sleep over in my room tonight, we arrived home to this is my bedroom!John had purchased and put up a Christmas tree in our room! He even got all the ornaments for it too. J, C and I will finish decorating it after school today. I am off to go buy some hooks now. How thoughtful was this???? I am really so lucky. He knows just what will make me smile. :)

Christmas Walk Weekend

My very dear friend, W, and her boyfriend came into town for the weekend. And what a fun filled weekend we had! It was our town's annual Christmas Walk. It started Friday evening with the town tree lighting. Can't say I've ever been to a tree lighting where "Sweet Caroline" was sung!
Saturday morning we got up and went down to the town dock to wait for the big man in red to come in on a lobster are Santa and Mrs. Claus. (The Mrs. looks SO excited!)

Many balloons went up...And the boys enjoyed watching them.
here we are waiting!
We walked around town, did a bit of shopping, had lunch at the Club, went to the Gingerbread House Festival (and got some great ideas for when we decorate houses on Thursday.)
Yesterday we woke up to snow! John took J and C sledding after church (even though there was only about an inch of snow on the ground!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Struggling a bit...

Hello friends,
I am looking for some advice today. I am struggling with my boys. I have been getting attitude from them and they are both being quite fresh. They are truly great boys, but something is definitely off as of late.
I try to keep my blog light and fluffy, but since I get so much inspiration from my fellow bloggers, I thought perhaps some of you may have some words of wisdom for me.
Perhaps it is the excitement of the season...
One of my biggest struggles is our playroom. They play in there a lot and I love that and they enjoy playing independently. They are very imaginative and will construct whole cities using play mobil and legos and whatever else we have around, the problem comes when it is time to clean up!
How do you all handle clean up? Do you do it for your children, have them do it alone or work with them to do it? I try (especially when the room becomes a complete disaster) to help them, but I end up getting extremely frustrated and then get angry. Not really how I want to spend the few hours I have with them each day! (they are in school everyday from 8-3)
Sometimes I feel as though i should just let it go, but I also think it is so important for them to learn good habits. I know in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a great life crisis, but it is really breaking my heart that we are having these struggles.....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

C's Sixth Birthday!

My baby, C, turned six on Tuesday! I can't believe he is 6...
He came down for a birthday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. Certainly not the normal fare around here! I made this placemat for him from pieces of felt I had and some ribbon. I also sprinkled confetti over everthing (but had cleaned up most of it by photo time!)I also tied a big ribbon around his seat...

I had talked to the boys after a crazy birthday party about maybe having smaller parties and they both fully embraced that idea. (phew!)
All C wanted to do for his big day was go to Build @ Bear with his friend T and go to Uno's for dinner. Done. Easy. stress free. Fabulous birthday choice! C had a blast and we were really able to make his day special! (and I didn't have to hire a magic clown...)

C with his new friend before stuffing
And here are the boys making their wishes on the hearts. They all had a great time and it wasn't at all overwhelming. Can't wait to find out what he picks for next year!

Thanksgiving recap

I sure hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great day. It was very relaxed and we had a great time with my family.

The Menu:
Herbed Roasted Turkey (from Cook's Illustrated)
Sweet potato biscuits
green beans with carmelized shallots
roasted sweet potatoes
Mashed potatoes
sausage apple stuffing
John carving the bird...

The centerpiece. This is my grandmother's soup tureen. We didn't serve a soup course this year, so I used it for the flower arrangement.
The table almost all set.
The turkey going into the oven. It was a really big bird (26 lbs!!) and I have a very small oven! At least I have a double oven..

Our wonderful fire that we had after dinner.

We have had a great weekend so far. I am enjoying making meals with all our leftovers. We had turkey croquettes last night and tonight we had this.
Tomorrow we are going to have black bean and turkey burritos.

We also started decorated for Christmas. We put up topiaries on our doorstep and I set up our nutcracker themed tree in the playroom. While trying not to impale my feet on all the legos! (the bain of my existence!) We even got some gift shopping done.

Last holiday season was SO incredibly stressful because I had so many furniture orders to complete. I am having such a wonderful time this year. I am so grateful to be able to take the time off that I have needed to in order to focus on our home more. I feel like last year we just went through the motions and got things on film, but I wasn't present for any of our holiday traditions. This year I am having so much fun planning and participating in everything. I even had the chance to play hide and seek with J and C today! What a luxury :)

Again, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Shop

The Junior Aid Holiday Shop is this week. For those of you in the Boston area, this is a great place to find unique gifts and give back to the community in the process! Money raised from this event, as well as a percentage of the sales, goes directly to women's and children's charities on the North Shore of Boston. Grab some girlfriends and come on up! Happy Shopping!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting back to business...

Well, I am thinking my painting hiatus will be coming to an end after the holidays. I have disabled my website, but am now planning on getting Tickled Pink Designs back out there maybe Jan. 1. I am working on a few stools for repeat customers, but hope to be up and running again soon!an example of a footstool

and the stepstool. I also have table and chair sets, rocking chairs and can really get almost any child's furniture piece. Wish me luck as I (once again) attempt to manage the house and run a small (very small) business!

Outlet Shopping

I totally forgot to post anything about our adventures at the Kittery Outlets....
This is inside the Kittery Trading Post. Real moose and bear! Stuffed of course, but still...
Bob's Clam Hut is a must go for lunch if making a day in Kittery. Yummy clams (duh) and just fun. It was warm enough that we were able to sit outside and eat our fried food. Mmmmm.

photo from hanna andersson
We hit Ralph Lauren, although I have to say, even at outlet prices things were SO expensive. You can take the girl out of Tar.get, but you can't take the tar.get out of the girl! BFF J had success at Calvin Klien, mostly because she was looking for something particular that has been discontinued, and she found it! Yay for J!!!
I have to say, my best finds were at Hanna Andersson and Crate and Barrel. I was able to get my J 2 new pairs of pants for $15/ea and each boy one of the reversible sweaters pictured above. They are on sale on the website, but are only $20 at the store. I also got myself a plaid skirt ($18) and a pair of embellished pants ($16)!! Woohoo. I can't find pictures online though...
I picked up some(much needed)plastic wine glasses for the sailboat at Crate and Barrel as well as a random bread basket ($2.50) and some little hostess gifts in case we get invited to any holiday parties.
All in all, a good time! Oh, I also picked up some super cute rain boots pour moi at the the stride rite/sperry outlet. They are white with a heel and pink plaid on the top. LOVE THEM! Oh, and it is raining here in the Boston area, so I get to wear them today. And I almost forgot all about them....
Have a great weekend Ladies!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

weekend recap

once again, my pictures are posting in the exact opposite order in which I download them. Annoying. Bear with me! Any advice is greatly appreciated! Above is the bathroom at the spa. It was nice, I liked the angled mirror.
our room. These beds were so comfy that we were in bed at 9:00 on Saturday night. Maybe a combo of being SO relaxed and our 6 mile didn't feel lame when we were there, but now maybe a little...
our view of the bay. the fog lifted a bit later in the day, and there are actually buildings on the other side of the trees! It was very peaceful.
The (empty) bottle of champagne that I packed on ice for us to enjoy when we arrived. J's parents gave us each a bottle when we finished the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk in August. John doesn't like champagne at all, and I thought it would be fitting to drink mine with J. Yummy!!!! I need to remember that I DO like champagne...especially Good champagne!

my bag packed and already to go!
I didn't get any pictures of the spa. Didn't want to disturb anyone. It was great though. There was an outside hot tub that we enjoyed, we both got warm stone massages that were fabulous and I am still enjoying the results of my much needed pedicure. I'd go back!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christmas Swap

Clemsongirl is hosting a fun swap and hopefully I will be a tad more organized than I was for the last swap I participated in! It should be fun! I love Christmas decorations, especially if they are preppy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spa Weekend

I am heading North this weekend to go here. My bestest friend J and I started going away for a weekend spa get away eleven years ago (we have been friends since nursery school though), back when we had no money, just needed to get out of town for a weekend. She had just broken up with her boyfriend of 4 years and I had just been laid off from my job at an architectural firm. (hence the no $$) We have been going almost every year and recently missed a couple. We moved, kids, and she recently fought (successfully) breast cancer. Well, this weekend we are off! I am very excited. It has been a long week. (about to get longer because we are hosting the Kindergarten parent dinner tomorrow night) and I am ready to get away! I have started my list for John (epi-pens are accessible, food has been bought...) and I am getting packed (even though it is only Wednesday!) John is even letting us take his Saab! He can cruise around in the minivan! Last time we went on our spa weekend we went here and we drove up in John's grandmothers old car only to find a Porsche convention going on! Not that I am a car snob or anything....much happier to be zipping up in the Saab though! We may even try to hit the outlets in Kittery. There is a Hanna Andersson outlet up there and I will hopefully find some good bargains for the boys. Although after my Talbots purchases from a few weeks ago they are set for the next two years! (thanks again Preppy Sue!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


J and C (decked out in red, white and blue) say Go Vote!!
Those are definitely "v"s for vote, not bunny ears (ha!)

(I love the J picked out his whale pants to wear today)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daylight Savings Party

John and I had our first party since moving into our new home about a year and a half ago. We have been busy bees getting the house (well, the first floor anyway) done. We had a Daylight Saving theme (mostly because we didn't want to have a halloween party and this worked) We went with silver and black decor. Here are some silver and black m&m's that John picked up.

The dining room table. I found the silver topiaries at Marshall's and while I wouldn't necessarily use these normally, I love them for my silver theme! John thought they were quite silly though!

Another picture of the dining room (notice the wallpaper is long gone and has been replaced by paint!!) The sailboat hanging on the wall is actually the top of a weather vane that we purchased and the Brimfield Antique Show last year. Love that we decided to hang it on the wall! I covered the table with a piece of black velvet that I have had up in my studio for awhile (glad to finally find a use for it - must have been left over from a previous Halloween costume)
Polished the silver that we never use and voila! Our theme is complete. The food was awesome (I am not tooting my own horn here, we had it catered) and the company was great. John and I both wish we had been able to visit more with our friends, but maybe it will inspire me to set up more time to see them on a smaller level.

The bar. We later added a bowl of Halloween candy.

And finally, the completed living room! My new chairs came just in time for the party. I really love how they mimic the lines of my grandmother's furniture but are contemporary. So glad to have the first floor finished. I think we'll take a little break before we conquer the second floor!


Here is J's loot that he chose to keep. J and C both could pick 12 pieces of candy to keep and the rest got left hanging on their bedroom door for the Halloween Fairy. Both boys are allergic to peanuts, so most candy is a no no for them. They both love trick-or-treating and we came up with this solution when J was really little. Also a good way to make sure they don't over do it with candy! The Halloween Fairy takes the candy offering and leaves a toy in its place. This year was Indiana Jones Legos. Worked out really well because the boys were off to my parents house for the night on Saturday while John and I hosted our Daylight Savings Party and they brought the toys with them.
here is the loot left for the Halloween Fairy
Luke and Annikan Skywalker. C had a great time informing J that he was J's father! That didn't go over so well with J!! They had glow sticks to carry while trick or treating (that is not a lame attempt at a light saber.- they didn't want to carry them!)
Chase not wanting his picture taken!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Candy corn cookies

Well, for some reason these posted in the reverse order from which I wanted them too, so bear with me as I give directions for candy corn cookies. Obviously we are looking at the finished product first! So, scroll down to the end of the post, and we will start there! :) Very yummy! Happy Halloween!!
cool on a wire rack. Then melt white chocolate in the microwave (I did it for 1 min. 30 sec. on 50% power), did the end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and then dip in orange and yellow sprinkles (the cookies with yellow bottoms got yellow sprinkles and the plain bottoms got orange)
Transfer snakes to floured surface. Cover with parchment paper and roll out until you have a 15" x 4" rectangle. Then cut on an angle back and forth as shown above. Bake at 350 oven for about 10 min.
with 1/4 of each color, make a 12" long snake (do not flour dough at this point, or they colors won't stick in the next step!)
Divide a batch of sugar cookie dough in 3 parts (I used the Martha Stewart Sugar Cookie recipe) Leave one part as is. To 1/3 add 1 tsp lemon zest and yellow food coloring. To the last 1/3 add 1 1/2 tsp orange zest and orange food coloring (I used red and yellow, cause I don't have orange) Divide each 1/3 into two pieces. (I doubled the cookie dough recipe and forgot to divide into 1/4s so my first batch was really big!!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

still here!

just busy getting ready for a party we are hosting on Sat. and making cookies for both boys classes for tomorrow, and "ghosting" friends, and getting halloween treats ready for Jackson and Chase to bring to school tomorrow (vampire teeth, halloween pencils and for some reason stretchy frogs)
I will be back soon pictures of the candy corn cookies I made for Jackson's class and the after pics of our dining room. Nothing like having a party to force you to get the house done!!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Meal Plan Monday and cookie of the week

Menu for the week

Monday - sausage and spinach lasagne
(pasta for C, since he doesn't like lasagne!)

Tuesday - Hamburgers, Oven fries, green beans

Wednesday - Chicken Stuffed With Bacon and Feta
Buttermilk biscuits, broccoli

Thursday - homemade pizza, crudites

Friday -Baked potato bar

Saturday - out at a party! woohoo.

Cookie of the week - Chocolate Chip. Made from the Toll House recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook. I have discovered that it is slightly different than the recipe on the chocolate chip bag. It calls for 2 tsp. vanilla instead of one. That is my little chocolate chip cookie secret!

I spent a good part of the day painting the dining room. Many thanks to everyone who offered wall paper stripping advice :) I will hopefully be able to post some "after" pics later this week.

I finally pulled all the boys shorts from their dressers. We need to pick our battles right? I was all done with the shorts battle in 47 degree weather! (just in the mornings, the afternoons have been warmer- just not warm enough for shorts!)

Oh, the ballet was wonderful! We had second row seats and C loved that he could see who was standing backstage. The costumes were great. It was set in the '20s. Very cool. The ball gowns were more like flapper dresses and they were all black and silver. ( I even got some inspiration for our daylight savings party -I am going with a black and silver theme) The rest of the set was very art deco and quite colorful. So glad we went. I can't wait for the Nutcracker in December!

Friday, October 17, 2008


photo courtesy of Boston Ballet

We are off to see Cinderella this weekend. I am really looking forward to it! I took ballet for years as a girl (although you'd certainly never know it now!) and I am thrilled that J and C both seem to really enjoy the ballet. We have been to the Nutcracker (of course!) and Swam Lake and both of them really wanted to see Cinderella when we mentioned it. And both said they love the ballet! I do think this will be a great show for kids. It is supposed to have a very comic feel to it. And just look at the pumpkin coach! How magical. Maybe we'll have to make some pumpkin coach cookies next week....
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

any helpful hints??

Update: We borrowed a steamer from a contractor friend and all the paper is finally off! We will sand and patch tomorrow, and hopefully I will have an "after" soon!

As I mentioned in my last post, we are moving over to the dining room. Here is the mess we have created to date! Does anyone have any good advice for removing stubborn wallpaper? This just doesn't want to budge!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

and we have the after....

This is still a work in progress...but a great improvement from what it was! I am waiting for two chairs to be delivered for the space across from the sofa. I can't wait for them to arrive!

as you can see, we are starting on the dining room next! I was given most of the furniture from my grandmother when she moved into assisted living. At first, I really didn't like it, but it filled the space. Now, I have embraced it and had fun picking out some pieces that will compliment it. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Long weekend

We headed over to Nantucket for the long weekend (we got Monday off for Columbus Day)
What a beautiful, fun filled weekend we had. We actually left on Friday morning, so we arrived on island at noon. Perfect timing to go to the house, get the car and head into town for a quick lunch before heading to the beach.

here we are on the ferry. We took the fast ferry, since we weren't taking our car. Since we usually take the slow boat, this was quite a treat, and much faster!!
after a great walk on the beach, we made jiffy pop for an afternoon snack. I don't think the boys had ever seen jiffy pop before! They had a great time watching it pop!
sitting waiting to go in to dinner.
beautiful centerpiece on the table at dinner. I love hydrangeas in the fall.
The conservation foundation held its annual cranberry festival. We got to see the flooded cranberry bogs, go on hayrides, pick a couple of cranberries and watch a huge truck being filled with berries. Great time. This used to be the largest cranberry bog in the world!
looking at all the berries!

on the hayride.
we went to our favorite breakfast restaurant (actually, twice since our coffee grinder at the house was broken!)
to the bakery for herb bread to freeze for Thanksgiving stuffing.
more autumn hydrangeas. Love them!

and we walked to Sankaty light. It was open to the public, but we opted not to climb it. There was an hour wait and we needed to pack up and get ready to head home. Also, after our previous lighthouse climb this summer, I was OK with not climbing it! Beautiful day though. We also brought home a great rug for our kitchen. I will post pictures of that soon. I love it!