Friday, October 31, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums...

Yup, I've got Christmas on the brain today. Could be because I just found a great deal in the $1 section at Target. Little red felt bags with tiny green checked bows - perfect for tucking in a little present or two for Grace's MDO teachers and even for holding homemade goodies for our neighbors. There were six left, so I grabbed them all (I think I even caught an ugly look from a fellow shopper, but hey, she was shopping the halloween stuff, so fair is fair!! :)

As I've mentioned, I've been on this baking frenzy here lately and it doesn't show signs of stopping anytime soon. On the plus side, once I've spent lots of time with a baking project, I have no desire to eat it, which is great for the waistline. I just stare at it in amazement for turning out so cute or in despair for being a big flop. Which brings me to this: I. NEED. THIS. APRON. Isn't it gorgeous??? And of course, the little pumpkin needs the matching one for all those Christmas cookies we'll soon be making. Are you listening, Santa? :)

Totally off the subject, but when I was little my mom used to sport that chic haircut the mom in the picture has and it just brought warm memories to my heart. I remember when we were dating, Lance seeing some pics of me when I was little and looking at the one of my mom and I on the first day of preschool (she was wearing a navy blue spaghetti strap dress with a white sailor pocket button and white strappy heels, had tanned skin, that sassy haircut, and the most beautiful, proud smile on her face) and saying, "You had a hot mom growing up!" He scored lots of points with that one because I, of course, think she's beautiful inside and out :) Now, if I could only get my scanner to work I could upload that photo for you to see. Note to self: work on scanner!!

I'm also excited about this: What is that, you ask. Well, I wish I could remember the source of the photo and I would definitely list it if I knew, but a couple of years back I stumbled upon this Christmas photo and fell in love with it right away. So this year, I decided to get all brave and photo-in-hand visit one of our local photographers and pitch my idea to them for Christmas photos. It took a little persuading, but they agreed to bring Santa in early and let me style this photo prop so I could get Grace's photo BAKING COOKIES WITH SANTA!!!! How perfect is that!!!! They even suggested a monogrammed apron for Santa - PERFECT! Now, I only have to convince the little pumpkin that Santa is an okay guy, no need for the major meltdown we had last year upon taking one look at the jolly old man. Man, oh, man am I excited!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Shine

Yesterday we went to the annual Pumpkin Shine to see all the pumpkin masterpieces. It's always fun to see what everyone created. Both kids and adults and even school classrooms can enter their creations. My favorite was the Cat in the Hat pumpkin - I think Grace liked it too, she kept saying, "Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss" and although you're not supposed to touch the pumpkins, she snuck in a little pat, pat of that famous hat :)
I think next year, we'll try some of these decoupaged "glowy pumpkins". Aren't they beautiful? Photo: Country Living - Oct. 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Season of Thanks

With November right around the corner, my mind has been twirling with baking ideas for the family gathering! I love everything about baking...wearing a fun apron (yes, that comes first :), rolling the dough, frosting, sprinkles, the scents...yum! Why I can't seem to translate this love into regular cooking I'm not sure.

I've been trying to come up with some new recipes to try instead of the same old traditional pies (don't get me wrong, I love those too!) when I stumbled upon this fun Acorn Cake from The Celebration Shoppe!! I'm so excited, I can hardly wait! The ingredients are so easy and it calls for Snickers and Twix, my fave candy bars, so what could be better!!! I think I must give it a trial run this weekend just to make sure it goes without a bump for the actual thanksgiving feast (good excuse, right?). AND, Grace has the cutest little acorn smocked dress for Thanksgiving, so I got even more excited when I found this cake (cheesy, I know :)

While I was browsing their blog I also found a recipe for these adorable bite-size Mini Caramel Apples Now this is definitely a Grace and Mama project! These make me think of old county fairs, cute church bake sales, neighborhood yard sales and just simpler days in general!

I'm not sure what it is about caramel apples, but they make me think of peanut butter (PB + banana sandwich = YUM!!!). So I think we'll do a double project and make the caramel apple lollies along with Peanut Butter Play Dough - how fun! My little pumpkin will definitely love that!!! I'm sure PB play dough has been around for a really long time, but I just heard of it recently while watching Jon & Kate Plus 8. And just in case like me, you're one of the few who's never heard of it, here's the super easy recipe:

1 cup PB
1 cup Honey
1 cup Powdered Milk

In a large bowl, mix PB, honey, and powdered milk together.
Knead until smooth (add more powdered milk if you need to, or even a little flour).
Mold dough into any shape you want.
That's it! Now get out those cookie cutters and have some fun!

We're off to the Annual Pumpkin Shine tonight so that's it for now. I'll leave you with Grace's new favorite phrase, "Okay, okay, let's go, let's go!" hmmm...wonder where she's heard that before ;0

Monday, October 27, 2008

Granny B's Clothesline

During one of the many visits to my OB when I was pregnant with Grace, we started chatting fashion. Just one of the many reasons I love my OB. She's a fun person to be around, very knowledgeable and so nice - even missed her brother's big college baseball game (he's their lead pitcher) and came straight from her highlight appt. at the salon to deliver miss Grace when she decided to make her debut one month early.

So as we were talking - she poking fun at the pink polka-dotted gown I had selected for D-day (hey, a girl has the right to look good during L&D...something about look good/feel good...hmm...let me think about that for a minute...maybe it was the four epidural refills :) and me telling her about some girly clothes I had spotted that would be adorable on her little girl - anyhow, she told me about this lady she had found online that made pillowcase dresses. I guess with nothing but baby on the brain, I forgot all about it...until now.

Cleaning out closets this weekend, I found the old appointment card with Granny B's Clothesline info. written on the back I'm a sucker for a good story and love to see people succeed at what they love. Becky Collins, the creator behind Granny B's, has battled and survived cancer and has an adorable granddaugher named Brantley that models her creations. I just ordered this sweet little number from her: With a name like "Grandmother's Tablecloth", it was all I could do to resist that "buy it now" button (yes, I have been good lately). After all, vintage and I have a long-standing love affair. I love that she added the little zebra border to modernize the design. Can't wait to see this sweet little dress on Grace this holiday season. I think I'll pair it up with a long-sleeve red tee and some furry boots.

So if you're in the market for some cute, reasonably-priced pillowcase dresses, pay Granny B a visit and tell her I sent you. And be sure to check out her monthly newsletter with special promos and discounts! ...Now, back to cleaning closets :(

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Carving with Daddy

We finally got around to carving this year's pumpkin! We thought Grace would love it since she's all about painting and getting messy, but no way! She hated the pumpkin guts and begged to get cleaned up as soon as she felt the gooey mess. We opted for a simple jack-o-lantern design since she's been saying that word over and over after reading a book about Halloween. Although she didn't like the guts, she loved the final product and kept asking to go outside to check out her jack-o-lantern friend!

The Pumpkin Carving A-Team (check out the jersey - it was, after all, Game Day) Watching and learning from Daddy Okay, I think I'll give this a try Oooooh...pumpkin seeds (we later toasted these using a Spicy Pumpkin Seed recipe :) Pumpkin Guts!!! Getting as far away from the pumpkin guts as possible You're better at it, Daddy, you go right ahead. I'll just stand right here and supervise, okay? Ready for the big reveal (check out Grace's mini pumpkin - she insisted on setting it out front right by daddy's pumpkin :) Adding a little candle And voila! We waited until it was dark and went back outside to check out our glowing jack-o-lantern friend Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Picture Day at School

Yesterday was Fall Picture Day at Grace's Mother's Day Out. She always wakes up happy, but she was extra happy and looked so cute in her little candy corn dress I couldn't help but snap a few pictures myself :) Here she is playing peek-a-BOO while I finished getting ready. Making me "breakfast" :) Acting silly for the camera Picking out the perfect pumpkin to take for the pumpkin patch pictures at school Pumpkin in hand and off we go!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Aqua + Red = Fun, Fun, Fun!

My favorite little girl's room of all time has to be one I saw pictured in ME's Home Companion magazine a while back. The color scheme incorporates aqua blue, red, off white, and pink, with lots of vintage touches. Some time ago, I played with these colors on some crafts and oh, my, - I. LOVE. IT.
Here's a couple of pics of Hadley's room (cute name by the way) from the magazine: Since I love these colors together so much, I was super excited when I found this sweet little vintage inspired postcard from Belle & Boo on Etsy! And check out their cute "Lost Dress" As if the front wasn't sweet enough, look at the cute pull toy detail on the back Finding the postcard has gotten the wheels turning in my head! Although it's meant to be cut out and used as a little paper doll (love that too!), I plan on framing it for a very special little girl :)

And as if she could read my mind, my friend Michelle and I did our monthly Vintage Swap yesterday and one of the things she found for me was an old pink fuzzy kitty with flirty eyes and an aqua bow (said it reminded her of the Aristocats - he, he, he). This will be perfect perched up on a little shelf, right alongside the framed Belle & Boo postcard. Oh, how I love vintage treasures!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A basket full o' treats!!

My dear friend Segi - who loves Halloween the most of anyone I know :) - brought Grace a little jack-o-lantern full of treats. To say Grace was excited was an understatement. She started feeling not so good after her nap and running a little fever (could it be related to the flu shot she got?) so Aunt Seddie's visit (as Grace tenderly refers to Segi) was just the boost my little pumpkin needed to perk right up. As soon as I told her Segi was coming, she ran to the door chanting, "Aunt Seddie, Aunt Seddie" (but not in a spooky way, okay? :)

Checking out all the goodies Here, sit by me Aunt Seddie! I'm not sure I know what "sweet tarts" are, but I think I like them! Segi: "Grace, check out the mini m&m's."
Grace: "Wow!" New books - yeaaay! As soon as Segi pulled out of the driveway, the tears started - Grace didn't want to see her Aunt Seddie go home.
I heart you, Aunt Seddie!
XOXO, Grace

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mama's Little Helper

I've been in a baking frenzy as of late - you'd think it was Christmas or something at our house! The little pumpkin wants to be a part of everything I do these days, so I've been including her. I love how excited she gets over every little thing. Her favorite new word is "Wow!" so it's been extra fun having her as my little sidekick.

Totally unrelated, but had to share because it made me smile...yesterday when we were making the chocolate ghost cakes, I showed Grace my new shoes and said "what do you think of mama's shoes?",to which she replied, "Wow!" A girl after my own heart, I tell ya! Now, if only I could get a similar reaction from Lance...:)

I'm ready to help. Here, let me do it. Ha, ha, an egg! (thus goes humor for a toddler :) Lending a helping hand Counting out cupcake liners is serious business! Add a few sprinkles to one batch and little jack-o-lanterns to the other batch and voila!

Time for a taste test! I'm all done! That was fun! Let's do it again really soon, okay, mama? I'll take those sugary sweet, ooey gooey kisses any day! You're the best little helper I could ever ask for, Grace!
Love you forever and ever, Mama