Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh happy day! It's New Year's Eve, and we are about to embark on another year. Before we do and the holiday season is officially over, I thought I'd share the brunch I hosted at my home on Christmas morning.

I'll be honest, I struggled a little to pull this all together. I had cleaning to do, a little shopping to finish up, presents to wrap, food to make, oh and a brand new baby and a 2 1/2 year old to tend to. As a matter of fact, my own mama was at my house on Christmas Eve morning helping me make the two breakfast casseroles I served on Christmas...thank goodness for that amazing woman! Thankfully, everything came together in the end, and Christmas morning actually ended up being pretty relaxing.

By the way, notice our elf, Jack, anywhere in this pic? Ha! He snuck his way into my lantern centerpiece, and I forgot to take him out for the picture ;-}

I kept my tablescape pretty simple by using my white dishes and the green water glasses I purchased for the last Thanksgiving dinner I served at my home in 2011.

I folded white dinner napkins and then tied each with a red ribbon to resemble a bow. Then I tried to keep it festive by using fresh greens to adorn the top of each napkin. Simple, right?!

I also added dark red chargers with rhinestone embellishments under each plate, but they are a tad hard to see because they are round and my plates are square. Oh well, I tried ;-}

I seriously DO NOT KNOW what I'd do without this buffet table in my dining room. It serves so many purposes in my home, and I use it every time I entertain. I LOVE it, and it has been one of my favorite and most practical purchases ever. Pottery Barn Outlet, I need to spend some more quality time with you very soon.

I set up some drinks and cookies on my buffet and arranged the food on the island in my kitchen. The menu consisted of: french toast casserole, egg and sausage casserole, fresh fruit salad, sausage links, and cinnamon buns. YUMMMM!

Mimosas are a MUST at brunch....

...and a little cranberry spritzer never hurt anyone either ;-}

About two weeks prior to Christmas, my friend, Patty, hosted a ladies cookie exchange. Great idea and ever so helpful as I prepared to host my first ever Christmas brunch. I made chocolate covered peanuts {recipe here}, and froze the assortment of cookies I received at the exchange. I even had plenty left over to take to my mom's house for dinner later that night.

So, that's it! Nothing earth shattering, just a fun-filled morning with family, food, and presents. Speaking of presents...

...this was my favorite Christmas by far because my little mister was absolutely adorable and so much fun opening his gifts. My hubby and I try not to go overboard with gifts for a multitude of reasons, but we couldn't resist purchasing this one, little guy for our number one boy...

...his very own dune buggie to ride around the backyard until his heart's content. And he did just that. Sheer delight when he walked outside to find this.

**I hope you and your family had a WONDERFUL holiday season!
**Happy New Year! Bring on 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

{Giving} Neighborhood "Kisses"

My kiddies and I delivered these little gifts to our neighbors on Friday afternoon. They are just a little token to let them all know how much we appreciate having such wonderful neighbors and friends.

Of course the idea came from Pinterest ;-}

I used the mini mason jars I've been collecting {just old, rinsed out salsa/spaghetti sauce jars} and filled them with "kisses." Then I used parchment paper and red twine to cover the jars.

In addition, I added a sparkly green snowflake ornament and a little "Merry 'Kiss'mas" tag that I made.

**Wishing you and yours a JOYOUS Christmas with your loved ones. So much to be thankful for this Christmas!
**My hubby JUST finished his MBA! DONE with master's degrees and graduate school -- no more papers or exams EVER!
**I'll be featuring Drew's birth announcements early in the New Year and then it's on to Dean's THIRD birthday invitations and planning.

Friday, December 21, 2012

{Invitations} Christmas Cards 2012

This Christmas season has been my busiest yet. I'm sure having a newborn has something to do with that ;-} I finally got my Christmas cards in the mail yesterday. Not the original plan, but I can only do what I can do, right?

Karen Carpenter Photography took Drew's newborn pictures and snapped a few of my babies together. Love this picture of the two of them.

Once again, I kept the design super simple...because I like simple and that's all I have time for anymore ;-}

Wrap labels are a bit time consuming, but I just love them.

Phew, it feels good to cross the Christmas cards off my list :-}

**Dean, Drew and I are delivering our neighborhood gifts and details on Monday!
**We are attempting our first movie night with Dean tonight. The boy finally sits still long enough to watch a little tv or part of a movie. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

{Drew Rebecca} ONE Month Old

My girlfriend is already ONE MONTH old....WHAT?!?!? Time is surely flying, and I'm trying to enjoy each and every moment with this baby girl.

I used a mini chalkboard to quote the date and month time for handmade onesies with baby #2 ;-}

She gave me a little smile in this one!

Just love this little one's sweet face...

We tried a few with Drew's big bro, and he was very cooperative! Unfortunately, she wasn't...ha! The pics also came out a little blurry. No biggie, I just ADORE seeing my babies loving each other!

**Christmas is ALMOST HERE! Yikes...lots to do!
**JUST finished my Christmas cards, which I will feature Friday on my blog. Cuttin' it a little close this year, but I'm just a tad busy these days ;-}
**Newton, CT...tears and prayers and tears and more prayers :-{

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

{Inspiration} Merry Merry!

In the midst of caring for my sweet newborn on little sleep, chasing after my ACTIVE two-year-old, and trying to recover from a c-section, I've had little time for much else. However, I'm starting to get stronger and my mind has been swirling about Christmas. You see, for the last few years, my hubby and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our home, but with my baby girl being born on November 13th this year, it was just too much to even think about hosting a holiday so shortly after. Enter in Christmas brunch...we will be hosting this year, and I'm excited! Here's some of my inspiration...

I just love these dressed up chairs -- gorgeous and simple!

Hot cocoa, anyone? Pretty peppermint sticks...

A Christmas cocktail is a must...and something with cranberry. Mmmm, yes, please!

I've got to start thinking about my tablescape for brunch. We'll be eating in the dining room, so I'll be utilizing my buffet table as well. Hmmm...ideas, ideas! Have I mentioned I'm LOVING reindeer this holiday season? I can't get enough...

Buffet table inspiration. I've already styled my buffet table and will be keeping it pretty simple for the brunch, but this backdrop is so so pretty and definitely gives me some inspiration for the future.

**I'm so glad we are hosting brunch this Christmas. With two babes now, Christmas morning is hectic with gifts, etc and then trying to race out for family fun adds to the chaos. I'm looking forward to not having to leave my house until after our kiddies have napped....then it's just down the road to my parent's home for Christmas dinner :-}
**My baby girl is ONE MONTH this week...where has the time gone?
**Enjoy the holiday season!

Friday, November 23, 2012

{Decorating} Baby Girl Nursery

On November 13, 2012 my husband and I welcomed our second child, Drew Rebecca. A little girl. A daughter of my very own. A healthy and beautiful baby. We are soooo BLESSED!

Her nursery is complete for the most part, and I thought I'd share. We moved Drew into my son's old nursery and basically kept it almost exactly as it was. I chose a soft blue and white for Dean's nursery almost three years ago now, and I figured if I had a girl, I would add in some light and dark pinks and if I had a boy, I would freshen it up by adding in some celery green. I know I will be doing a "big girl" room in a few years and changing it all again, so it just made sense to make minimal changes at this point.

Here are the details...

Let's start with bedding. I kept my son's simple pique white and pale blue bedding from Pottery Barn Kids and changed out the sheet for something with a little pink {also from PBK}. I found the dark pink chevron lumbar pillow at HomeGoods and snatched it up.

Drew just had her newborn pictures taken last weekend by Karen Carpenter Photography, so once I place my order, I will swap out the newborn pics of her brother that are currently there ;-} I hung a super simple mini crystal chandelier over the shelf, and I just love it. I've had this chandelier for a long time and used it in my office/craft room, and even in the bedroom of my first apartment. I knew it would be sweet in a nursery one day if I had a little girl.

I hung a fabric bunting I made from the old windows that serve as a backdrop for the picture frames. And I found a pink fan at HomeGoods that I added to the shelf.

The leaning ladder shelf holds my sprinkle invitation, an owl and the initial "D" which I spray painted pink, and some personalized nursery art. I have to finish up Drew's stats and once complete, it will fill the empty frame.

I also bought Drew's big brother a new navy airplane piggy bank for Christmas, so she could keep the pale blue piggy in her room ;-}

I purchased a new pale pink changing table cover from Target and recovered the four canvases above the changing table/dresser with the same inexpensive fabric I used to make the bunting.

My favorite part of the entire nursery is the butterfly and crystal mobile hanging just beyond the crib. I ordered this from PBK, and it's STUNNING in person. I wanted it to hang over the crib; however, it's quite large and hangs down pretty low. Baby girl would have this ripped to pieces as soon as she could stand if it was over the crib and within her reach ;-}

The entire mobile is made of white and pink butterflies with little crystals -- so girly and pretty! The picture does not do it justice at all. My niece, Maura Kate, will also have one of these hanging in her soon-to-be bedroom. Did I mention my sister and her family moved home from Virginia in August and just bought a house less than five minutes from me?! We are practically neighbors!

That's a wrap! I addeded some pretty pink details into my girl's new room for less than $200, and I am actually loving the pale blue with pinks incorporated. Now I better get saving for a big girl room ;-}

Friday, November 16, 2012

{Home} A Few Updates on the Home Front...

Hello there! It's been quite a while since I've updated my blog, so I thought it might be fun to give ya'll a little peak at some of the projects/home updates we've accomplished in the last few months.

Let's start with the framed chalkboard that now sits on my dining room buffet {not so much a project but more of a purchase ;-}. I spotted this framed chalkboard in PB and had been admiring it for a long time, BUT it was $100 :-( That's a lot more than I wanted to spend, so I started keeping my eyes peeled every time I went to TJ Maxx and/or Home Goods. Thankfully, last week I found one for...$25. SCORE!

Next up...curtains. I contemplated buying all new curtains for my family and dining rooms; however, I wasn't really finding anything that I loved all that much. So, I decided to simply move the curtain rods up above the trim {a major design fopa I made upon installing the rods was they were much too low} and adding curtain rings to give them a little more length and change their overall look just a tad.

Moving the rods up above the trim made a huge difference in our family room especially! I also updated the pillows on the bench by nixing the turquoise and incorporating gray.

Next: simple upstairs gallery wall. I recently added a big, thick stripe on the wall with some of my favorite IKEA frames. I can't wait to fill these with pics of my son and new baby GIRL after Karen Carpenter Photography takes their pictures this weekend!

This summer my hubby added two small frames in our kitchen to display some of our son's artwork. I would love to have more space for a larger "kiddie art gallery" but not in this house ;-}

Lastly, I finished my son's little book nook in his big boy bedroom by adding the word READ to a small space on the wall. Complete! Now it's time to work on my daughter's nursery!

**My baby girl, Drew Rebecca, was born on November 13th. She is PRECIOUS, and we are feeling so blessed! Pics and nursery details soon!

Monday, October 22, 2012

{Decorating} Fall Touches

Good Morning and Happy Monday to you ;-} Although I'm not super excited to be starting yet another work week, I am excited that we are in the midst of a beautiful fall season. A few weeks ago I did some fall decorating {simple of course} and thought I'd share.

First mantle. It's rather small, but I'm happy to have one at all. I threw together a combo of twigs and berries, white pumkins, sparkly black spiders, and some other Halloween odds and ends. My favorite? The black crow my MIL bought for me a few years ago. I also love the framed Halloween art my friend Alyssa of Flourish Designs made for me a few years ago.

The old bookcase in my dining received some of the same treatment as my mantle with the twigs and berries.

I was all about pumpkins for my dining room buffet this fall season. Different colors, sizes, textures, etc. I also hung some sparkly black spiders {hard to see} from the different pumpkins. I purchased a pack of spiders {maybe 12 per pack or so} last fall season from Pottery Barn, and I love them. They give me just a touch of sparkle, which I always love, and are a perfect size and Halloween touch.

I couldn't forget about my front porch ;-} I took the outdoor pillows I had purchased for my bench this summer and covered them with inexpensive fabric from Joann's. I had planned on having my grandmom help me with this, but her sewing machine was on the fritz, so I had to handstitch them both myself. UGH -- much more time than I had wanted to devote to these little guys, but I am pleased with the final product.

What's fall without pumpkins? And mums? I love the hogpodge of shapes and sizes up there.

So, that's what fall looks like at my home. What about yours?

**36 weeks pregnant today AND feeling very ready to be finished work and do a little relaxing. Relaxing? What's that? ;-}

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

{Random} Babymoon to Baltimore

This past weekend my hubby and I escaped for a little getaway. Some call it a babymoon, others call it a mini-vaca. Whatever your preference, it was simply wonderful.

You see, we felt the need for this little break from reality because I'm 34 weeks pregnant with our second baby, and we have a feeling that life as we know it is basically going to end come November...just kidding ;-}

My ever-so-helpful in-laws picked up our little man on Saturday morning for some fall fun, and off his daddy and I went for a much needed date weekend. Baltimore, Maryland was our destination {which also happens to be one of our favorite cities and the place where we were engaged in May 2007}. Upon our arrival, we made a little pitstop in Fells Point for their fall festival.

Thankfully the weather was beautiful on Saturday, and our hotel was within walking distance to the festival. On our walk there, we stopped for lunch at an outside eatery and then proceeded to take in all the beautiful sites along cobble-stoned pathways through quaint little Fells.

Of course I had to snap a few pics of all the old, historic buildings that I just love and adore. Something else I just had to do? A little shopping...ahem.

My hubby sure knows how to treat a lady. He booked me a pre-natal massage at the Four Seasons, which was next door to our hotel. After two hours of pure bliss, I met him back at our room to get ready for dinner. The restaurant was just around the corner, so we walked and then wined and dined over the yummiest authentic Italian eats.

Can I just say that date nights ROCK!?! They are so taken for granted before children {at least they were by me}. It is only after the babes arrive that you realize how very special, important, and needed that time alone with your husband truely is! {Please excuse the awful lighting in this pic...taken with my iPhone and with the flash on...oops}.

The next morning we woke up early {it just sort of happens when your 2 year old has programmed you to rise and shine no later than 7am every day of the week ;-}, showered, packed up, and headed to breakfast at Miss Shirley's in The Inner Harbor. YUMMMMMM is all I can say about this breakfast joint. For breakfast EVER. We shared an order of fried green tomatoes {had to have}. And then it was pumpkin pancakes with apple butter for me and lemon ricotta french toast with fresh raspberries and cream cheese icing for Bo...OMG.

Ahhh, LOVE my hubby and am very thankful for such a wonderful man as my partner in life.

With full bellies, we took off for home. Christiana Mall was on the way, so we stopped for an hour to make a few returns and start a little Christmas shopping. I know, I know...I am usually one that doesn't like to think about Christmas until Thanksgiving is over ***BUT*** I have a new babe arriving very shortly, so I'm feeling the need to get everything I can done before he/she makes an appearance!

**I had the day off yesterday to spend with my baby boy...thank you, Mr. Columbus. What a great weekend!
**Here's hoping you also had a wonderful weekend!
**My hubby had to leave for business in Vegas late Sunday afternoon and won't be arriving home until Thursday. Pretty bummed...Dean, Ginger, and I are all missing that man.
**5 weeks from TODAY, our family will be expanding. Ahhh -- very excited!