mother’s day

Father’s Day Gift Idea

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I wanted to drop in quickly to share what we did for Father’s Day gifts in case any of you procrastinated and need an idea for tomorrow. Actually, since the mugs have to cure for 8 hours this isn’t the best last minute idea. But it is do-able.

I’m not selling this very well, am I? There’s a reason I only lasted 3 days in retail (true story).

Let me try again.

Hey guys! I have a great Father’s Day gift idea to share with you! It’s totally original too–coffee mugs!

I know, totally not original. But honestly, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day gifts are kind of all the same, aren’t they? As long as it comes from the heart, mom and dad will love whatever you give them. Especially if the kids are invovled in whatever you put together.

Like my awesome and totally unique coffee mugs. I bought plain white mugs at the Dollar Store,


and Deco Art ceramic markers from Hobby Lobby. If you are reading this a year from now and have time, click the link to order them from Amazon to save yourself the hassle of going out to buy them. Anyone who has shopped at Hobby Lobby with kids understands what a blessing online shopping really is. I mean, why do they put all that breakable stuff right at the front of the store at the perfect height for tiny hands to reach? It’s like they want it all to be smashed into smithereens.


I went with the stupid expensive ceramic markers because I’ve tried the Sharpie trick before, and it washed off after a month (hand washing too, not even dishwasher). Mind you, when I say ‘stupid expensive’ I mean $4 a pop. Since I decided to buy every color of the rainbow, it added up quickly. What can I say? I over complicate things sometimes. But obviously you can use them again for other projects, so it’s not a total waste.

In case you’re wondering about the M&M’s cup in the picture, that is my husband’s coffee cup. I bought that for him when we first started dating 8 years ago and he has since drank his coffee in it every single day. I knew that he would never actually use a different cup, so I thought it would be cute to let the girls personalize his cup. Plus this way, his gift is almost free.

To prep the cups, clean the outer surface with a glass cleaner. Then give the markers a good shake, because they will run if you don’t. If they do run a bit while you’re working, you have a small window when you can very easily wipe it off with a paper towel.

Then for the fun part–let the kids doodle all over them!


Bonus points if you have a kid who can write their names.



Then you let them cure for 8 hours (I.E. Sit on the counter without the kids touching them). Last step is to bake them at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. When they’re done, turn the oven off, open the oven door, and let the cups cool inside the oven.

That’s it! Easy, right? Totally adorable, and dishwasher safe.

We did the same thing for Mother’s Day, but I forgot to buy myself a mug when I was shopping. So I took this opportunity to have them do mine too.


I almost told Eowyn that she forgot an ‘m’ in Mommy, but I like it better this way.

If you want fancier mugs, then you can also buy plain white mugs at Target for around $3-$5 a pop. Mine was actually from Target. Not because I’m cheap with other people, but because when I went to buy mine the Dollar Store was out of stock.

Regardless of where you get your mugs, I know the dads and moms in your life will love these homemade lovelies!

I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day celebrating your awesome dads!


My Eggo is Prego: 17 Weeks

17 Weeks

17 Weeks


This week started on Mother’s Day, so I expected to be able to take a nice picture with my hair done and maybe even some makeup (gasp!). However, all plans went SPLAT! on the floor that morning when Baby Ary threw up her water. Poor thing ended up getting the nasty stomach bug that Tyler and I had just recovered from. We had planned to go to a carnival with my in-laws that had set up in a parking lot for the week, and eat an early dinner at a nice restaurant. Eowyn was still healthy, and she had been looking forward to the carnival all week. It had been a tough week for our little 3 year old with Mom and Dad being sick, and we really didn’t want to top it off by canceling our carnival plans. So we sent her off with Afi & Mimi (Tyler’s parents) to have the fun day that we had planned, while Tyler & I stayed home and took care of Baby.

Before I was a mom, I didn’t really get the whole Mother’s Day and Father’s Day thing. It seemed mostly to be just another holiday created by Hallmark and Hershey’s to guilt consumers into buying stuff they otherwise would not. Since becoming a mom, and realizing the level of sacrifice made in raising these tiny humans, I really look forward to Mother’s Day. Motherhood is hands down the hardest job I’ve ever had (or ever will have). So for there to be a day where we all take a break from the hustle and bustle of life to say ‘thank you’ to the people who have sacrificed everything in order to give you everything is a beautiful thing.

It’s easy to build up expectations leading up to Mother’s Day. ‘Queen for a Day’ sounds so lovely; sleeping in because the husband got the kids, breakfast in bed, a shower before midnight, uninterrupted time to do your hair and makeup, and NO COOKING. Sounds too good to be true, really. Probably because it is too good to be true. The fact of the matter is, once you become a parent, the job never ends. I’m sure that even after I die, I will still be praying and petitioning for my children every day from heaven. It would be impossible to payback our mothers and fathers for all that they’ve done in a measly 24 hours; no one day could possibly live up to the unrealistic expectation that we’re sold in commercials.

So when our Mother’s Day plans were ruined for the 3rd year in a row, there was a part of me that wanted to be pissed. Not at Baby, of course; just at life. After I spend day in and day out giving all of me, I deserve one day out of 365 that’s about me, damn it! But there in lies the danger. This entitlement is poison that will put bitterness into your heart. And once bitterness is planted, it festers and grows faster than any garden weed. It will destroy you if you allow it into your life.

So instead of making it about me, I did what we mothers do: I put aside myself and gave my everything to my family. I chose to not be jealous of the fun day that my in-laws got to spend with my oldest daughter, but instead rejoiced that my little girl had an “awesome” day (her words). Instead, I caught vomit and cuddled the sickness out of our youngest all day. Instead of filling my heart with bitterness, I filled it with love and let that love pour over my family.

This weeks picture is what motherhood looks like: never getting around to changing out of your pajamas, hair uncombed, and dark circles. I am not ashamed to show you the truth, because to lay self aside for others is the most beautiful thing one could ever do with their life.

The rest of the week had it’s ups and downs.

The weather’s been warming up, so the girls and I had a picnic on Wednesday:

Baby Ary's trying to pose like her sissy

Baby Ary’s trying to pose like her sissy

Poor Eowyn ended up getting the stomach bug later that night, so Daddy and I were up half the night with her.

I got to pass on a childhood memory with my girls by making strawberry shortcakes with them like how my mom used to do with my sister and I:


We went on a couple walks through our neighborhood, and met one of our neighbors. They have 4 kids and seem like really nice people. I’m very glad that the weather is finally warming up so we can finally start meeting people out here.

The girls exploring in one of the empty lots of our neighborhood during one of our walks

The girls exploring in one of the empty lots of our neighborhood during one of our walks

As far as my pregnancy goes, I’ve had quite a bit of hip pain this week. My hips are stretching out in preparation for New Baby’s inevitable growth spurt, and it is far from comfortable. There have been many days that ended with me limping up the stairs because it’s hard to lift my legs after a long day of chasing the other two. Tis but a phase that shall pass.

My taste bubs continue to be very picky. I suddenly can’t stand the pickle chips that I had been putting in my deli sandwiches, and have also not been that into roast beef this week. I do however like peanut butter again. Peanut butter and honey toast has become a staple this week. I’m also really into avocados. We had a dutch apple pie for dessert after dinner one night, and I may have been responsible for eating most of it. Not in one sitting, mind you. Soooo good!

I’m not sleeping well either, but this happened to me with both of my other pregnancies too. Oh well; I gave up on sleep 2 children ago.

As always, I’ll close with some baby stats:

-Baby is about the size of a palm, at 5 inches long (crown to rump) and weighing in at about 5 ounces

-Baby is beginning to form body fat

-Baby is practicing sucking and swallowing

-Baby’s heart rate is now regulated by the brain (no more spontaneous beats), and is averaging around 140-150 beats per minute (every time the doctor has checked our baby’s heart rate, it’s been in the 150’s)


Also, this is the last week of my 4th month! Thanks to the stomach plague, I’m back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but that won’t last long! Pretty soon I will have quite the bump to show off.

One more thing before I let you go enjoy your Sunday–the girls and I made blueberry french toast roll ups for breakfast this morning.

Blueberry French Toast Roll Ups

Blueberry French Toast Roll Ups


In case you’re wondering–yes, they were as good as they look! Do yourself a favor and click here¬†for the recipe so you can enjoy them too!


Happy Sunday, everyone!


Vanity Fair Photo Shoot

When the beginning of May hit us, I started brainstorming for Mother’s Day gift ideas. There are two different ways to handle Mother’s & Father’s Day: 1. Only worry about celebrating your mother and father 2. Celebrate all the mother and father figures in your life, (I.E. Grandparents and such). Personally, I don’t see a problem with either of these trains of thought. After all, the original intent of the holidays was probably for children of all ages to take a day to say a special ‘thank you’ to the two people who created them and have painstakingly cared for them their entire lives. Personally, I like to give gifts to grandparents and my stepmom as well as my parents.

Since getting married, my family now extends from California to Wisconsin. Getting gifts shipped in time has never been a strong suit of mine. You have to plan so far in advance in order to give enough time to ship it, and I’m not the planning type. I’m a procrastinator. In the 4 years that my husband and I lived in California together, I managed to get gifts over to my in-laws (who live in Wisconsin) in time once. Pretty pathetic. Thankfully, they were always very gracious about it. Now things have flipped around because we live in Wisconsin instead of California, but it’s still the same issue of getting my stuff together well before I normally would. I’m working on it.

Anyways, so I was trying to (quickly) come up with an idea because I had waited too long again (shocking). So I did what any woman does when we need an idea–I turned to Pinterest. I decided that I wanted to do something with pictures of the girls, so I started going through the 279 pins on my ‘Photography’ board for inspiration, because heaven forbid I produce a boring picture of just the adorable kids looking at the camera. I stumbled across this¬†adorable image and knew that was the winner.

The next day, I threw the girls in frilly dresses, gathered up some of their dress up toys, lugged the Cinderella vanity downstairs, and headed to our front lawn with my Nikon Coolpix L120. They love playing dress up and pretending to do their hair and makeup, so I thought this would be a cinch. Eowyn was a total doll and posed for the camera perfectly. Arya, on the other hand, decided that the mulch looked like more fun. It was impossible to get a nice picture of the two of them looking at the camera, and I spent a lot of time redirecting Ary to the part of the yard that I wanted to keep them in and picking mulch off of her butt so it wouldn’t be dangling in any of the pictures. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but you never get exactly what you envisioned when you’re shooting kids. You’ve just got to go with the flow and take whatever they’re giving you. It’s really easy to get frustrated when they won’t do what you want, but the main thing to remember is to let them have fun. Kids don’t know how to fake a smile; if they aren’t having a good time, you will not get a good picture.

We were outside for maybe 30 or 40 minutes, and then it was time for lunch and off to nap. While they napped, I did some basic edits on Picasa and ended up with 12 usable photos out of the 60 that I took. I left the hubby with the monitor and headed to Target to buy frames and print out the pictures on their instant print kiosk. Normally, I don’t like using the instant print things because the prints aren’t as good of quality, but I was in a pinch. And they actually printed out pretty well. I was able to make it back home before the kids woke up, much to the delight of Daddy. Later that night after the kids were in bed, I put together 3 collages, and bubble wrapped them so that I could ship them the next day.

Even though I was able to pull this all off in a day and got them to UPS on the Tuesday before Mother’s Day, it still wasn’t quick enough–they didn’t make it to California until the day after Mother’s Day. But no one can fault me for not trying.

So without further ado, here are the pictures from our Vanity Fair shoot.