August 31, 2012

Lauren's Baby Shower

Posted by Laura

Pastel blues, greens and yellows. The colors of our friend Lauren's nursery. Kristin, Jennifer and I had the pleasure of planning her baby shower, and it only seemed appropriate to incorporate these colors into the decor. We split up the duties. In a nut shell Jennifer and Kristin designed and decorated, I created the menu and made the food. Unfortunately, we were running around getting everything set up so we didn't have enough time to snap pictures of all the details. Here are some good ones that Jennifer grabbed on her phone in the midst of guests coming in.

Amazing cake, homemade by Kristin.

Adorable cookies, homemade by Jennifer.

We held the shower in our church, which has white and grey walls. That gave us a great backdrop to build off of. Our entry table had fresh flowers, a "warm wishes for baby" jar in place of a guest book, handmade pom poms and polka dot streamers. Swatches of fabric were layered on the tables to give them texture. This table seconded as the gift table.

Across the room, we had the food table. The idea was to direct the flow of traffic away from the door and towards the other end of the room (which is where the food was). This round table was the starting point (unfortunately we didn't snap any pictures of the rest of the table which was made from 2 long tables - filled with more food, drinks, cake and cookies).

I took on the task of creating the menu and making the food. I had never done anything like this before (my natural bend is towards decorating for parties, not making the food). Therefore, I was a little OCD about the planning process because I had these irrational fears creeping into my head such as "there isn't going to be enough food" or "I'm going to forget obvious items like plates and serving spoons", etc, etc, etc. So, I silenced my fears by making a spreadsheet! Thank you computer.

Here we are with Lauren (note the cute banner that Jennifer made which is now hanging in the nursery).

Jennifer, Laura, Lauren, Kristin

Remember when we all took our picture together back in the beginning of Kristin and mine's pregnancy? Since then, Jennifer has her baby and the rest of us have "expanded" a little. We thought it would be fun to take an updated picture.

Jennifer @ 38 weeks,  Lauren @ 22 weeks, Kristin @ 11 weeks, Laura @ 5 weeks

Jennifer 10 weeks postpartum, Lauren @ 33 weeks, Kristin @ 22 weeks, Laura @ 16 weeks

Now, onto the best part of this post! On August 28th at 2:15am, Lauren and her husband Jim welcomed Lucy into the world. Little Lucy is so sweet and perfect, and is so blessed to have the parents that she does. We love you Jim, Lauren and Lucy!

August 29, 2012

Goodbye Summer

Posted by Kristin

This past weekend, Mike and I decided to go out on a little date night to celebrate the last weekend of summer. He started his new teaching job on Monday so I told him to pick something fun and relaxing to do over the weekend to finish up the summer. Fun and relaxing pretty much always equates to food and a movie for my hubby, so I shouldn't have been surprised when he sent me a link to the menu of a finger-lickin' good BBQ restaurant, Bub's Bar-B-Q, and told me to check it out.  Surprisingly, I'd never been there and soon after checking out the menu it was an emphatic "YES!" on my part. He decided that he wanted to see the new Bourne movie after dinner, so our night was all set. We hopped in the Jeep and were off...

I can never get him to smile when he's knows I'm taking a picture. Gotta be more secretive.

Baby Who at 29 weeks! And my new (used to be my grandfather's I think)
wedding band because my rings are too small right now. Gotta love swelling.

Best gift ever: a diy-ed thank you gift from my friend Lauren for
planning her baby shower. Its perfect for stashing all sorts of
goodies for a movie. And yes, I do do that. So arrest me.

Bub's is located in Sunderland, a nice little town tucked right along the northern border of Amherst. The whole ride up there is filled with gorgeous shots of rolling country side.

Somewhere along Route 116 in Amherst. Lots of pretty fields and views.

Mike was pretty scared I'd drop his phone out the
window while taking this photo. And knowing me I would...

UMass Campus, better known as Zoo Mass, especially this time of year.

Old tobacco barns in North Amherst. Surprisingly, they're still used to
dry tobacco. Guess they didn't get the memo that smoking is bad.

After a 25 minute drive, we rolled into a gravel parking lot and saw this before us:

The first thing we did was hop in line to order our food. Mike went with half a rack of ribs and a pulled pork sandwich. I went with pulled pork but was mostly excited about the endless supply of yummy looking sides, like BBQ ranch beans, dirty rice, orange glazed sweet potatoes, hickory smoked potatoes, cole slaw, black eyed corn, tomato and cucumber salad and lots more. So we placed our order, loaded up our plates with sides, and headed outside to await our BBQ. 

Yes, this is a weird smile and no, that beer is not mine....although typically it would be.

Oh glorious sides, how I love thee.

I had pretty much eaten all of my sides before my pulled pork
even came out. The corn salad was my favorite by far.

Once our bbq arrived, we dove in and didn't look back. This is the kind of place that doesn't have napkins but just has rolls of paper towels on the tables. Very necessary paper towels.

Meat. Yum.

Those are the glazed over happy eyes of a man in the midst of bbq heaven.

My pulled pork sandwich was really good. Not too spicy and just sweet enough.

I guess he'll smile on camera after he's just had really good bbq. That's the ticket.

Happy full belly of bbq and of course a second helping of sides.

See ya next time Bub's. Thanks for the good eats!

Good bye summer and thanks for lots of good times. See you next year!

PS- The Bourne Movie was pretty good. Lots of good action, a little slow to get into, but still a good watch.

August 27, 2012

It's the Small Things

Posted by Laura

A made bed. Lunchtime phone calls from Caleb. Take-out for dinner. Tillie curled up at the end of the bed. Hot coffee in the morning. These are small things with great outcomes that make me smile.

Something else to add to this list is a clean entryway. Our entryway ALWAYS ends up cluttered, whether it be from shoes, mail or reusable shopping bags. Oh yea, don't forget the random clumps of Tillie hair too. It makes a world of different in the kitchen when we clean it up.

Our entryway is right through the opening on the left.

My next brainstorming project is to figure out how to KEEP this area clean. It will entail a system to keep us organized when we walk through the door. I'll keep ya posted.

Do you have a place in your house that you just can't keep organized?

August 24, 2012

Birthday Bench Surprise

Posted by Kristin

A few weeks ago, I arrived home to a nice birthday surprise from my hubby. Little did I know, but Mike had been quite the busy carpenter/freecycle-and-craiglist shopper and created a super custom, creative gift.

To start out, I've always wanted one of these:

snowboard bench

or these:

Snowboard bench!

But the thing is, I never told anyone that. I always had grand dreams of some future mudroom with a snowboard bench, bins and baskets for our family's winter gear, and framed photos of surfing and snowboarding shots.  So when I arrived home to this I was pretty psyched.

And when I get excited, I always jump up and down and clap my hands.  And no, being 6 months pregnant didn't inhibit this reaction one bit. 

Though I don't know the total cost of the project, I do know where Mike got the supplies:

Blue snowboard - Craigslist
Red snowboard- Freecycle
4 x 8's for legs- Local hardware store
2 x 4's for frame- Scrap wood available from my dad

Overall, it was pretty inexpensive and easy to construct (said Mike) with a little help from his father-in-law. It may get painted eventually but I haven't decided on a color yet. Any suggestions?  Thanks hubby for a super sweet place to sit and put my shoes on, something I really appreciate now that I have a basketball sticking out in front of me (that's how everyone says you carry a boy when you're pregnant!).

August 22, 2012

Spotlight: Knock Knock Linen

Posted by Laura

How about a little linen love today? I want to showcase one of my favorite etsy shops, Knock Knock Linen. Not only do they have a great philosophy that includes sentences like "Linen was an important part of our culture, it was passed from generation to generation and we would like to bring that back, we would like to revive our memories", but the styles and textures of their products are gorgeous. I will often find myself getting lost in their etsy page.

The owners are based out of Scotland but the materials come from their home country, Lithuania. "For us, it is such an inspiration to work with linen, it's character is so is almost hard in the beginning but by time it gets softer, more flexible, it adapts to your body and makes you feel really comfortable. It's wrinkled texture gives it a soul and rustic look, it reminds on face of wize, old man whose wrinkles tell his life story." (from Knock Knock's About Us page)

Handmade Apron from eco friendly linen
timeless and elegant design - £34.00

Tea Towel In Stripe From Eco Friendly Linen Rustic 
Country Feeling Wrinkled Texture - £9.00

Handmade Cafe Apron From Eco Friendly Rough Linen - £34.00

Can you picture this dress with high boots? I can. Especially postnatally.

Handmade Striped Linen Short Sleeve Tunic Dress - £75.00

Set of 2 Linen Tea Towels From Eco Friendly Linen Rustic 
Country Feeling Wrinkled Texture - £16.00

Did I mention that Caleb got me a bath towel for my birthday? Here's the new pride and joy of my bathroom:

Rustic Bath Towel from Natural and Soft Linen Fabric

"We hope one day to gather all of this and make a village where one could see all this process from the beginning...growing flax,weaving the linen fabrics, a same way our grandparents did, the place where you could come and witness all the process, sing the same songs our grandmothers did when they sewed their linen, enjoy nature, and relax." (from Knock Knock's About Us page)

August 20, 2012

Leslie's Organized Home Office

Posted by Kristin

Now that our office has become a part of our living room (check out our recent home tour here), I've got office organization on the mind. I recently pinned the photo below on Pinterest which led me to Leslie's sweet home blog, Goodbye House, Hello Home.

Office organization. I seriously want this office! Article full of advice from two professional organizers!

I love the functionality hidden throughout Leslie's office (which she shares with her hubby) combined with a dash of style here and there. Below, serious file organization is stowed in closed drawers while shelves hold personal items and some cute storage boxes.


The cupboard, shown closed in the photo above, stores miscellaneous small items in baskets.

Office organization. I seriously want this office! Article full of advice from two professional organizers!


 Books get a makeover with brown paper and simple labels.


A wire basket hold everyday files while clipboards await home project plans.


 It's always interesting to see how people organize their files. Mine are a work in progress.


Read about her whole approach to office organization here and check out the rest of Goodbye House, Hello Home while you're there.

August 17, 2012

Eggplant Sticks

Posted by Laura

With eggplant season in full swing, we've had to get a little creative with our variations of recipes for these beautiful purple vegetables (or fruits, whatever you want to call them).

This recipe is from my mother-in-law. Her Italian blood thrives when she's in the kitchen. I call these Eggplant Sticks, and they are de-licious.

Eggplant Sticks

-1 Eggplant
-1 Egg
-1/2 cup milk
-3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
-1 cup marinara sauce

1. Peel skin off the eggplant.
2. Cut into strips, approximately 2 inches long.
3. Egg and bread the strips.
4. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes on a baking sheet (preferably with a cooling rack between the strips and the bottom of the baking sheet). If you really want to get frisky, try sprinkling a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top for the last minute. Mmmmm.
5. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.




Thank you Cathy for your creativity in the kitchen!