Easter 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

We had a wonderful Easter weekend filled with family, fun, and of course, our faith (which is the reason for the celebration)!!
As Catholics, the Easter season is a time for a lot of church, starting on Holy Thursday, then Good Friday, and Easter Mass Sunday morning. It makes for some quick suppertimes and late nights, but also good opportunities to talk within our family about what we believe.
I often find myself struggling with relating or simplifying some of the concepts and explanations of holidays for a three-year old. This year we simply talked about how Jesus died and then he rose from the dead. Morbid? Maybe, but death is real and it's sad and it is what happened. Tyson seemed to get it and was remembering what we talked about. It made us so proud to hear him share what is was we were celebrating!!
The weekend started on Friday at my parents' with cousin-time, church, and wonderful meals together. Oh and dying eggs, of course.
My mom always has a funky new way of trying to dye eggs. This year it was mixing some food coloring with dried beans/lentils/etc. and shaking the egg in a bag with it. It created a fun speckled look and was a good kid-friendly, minimal-mess method.
These little ones were sure spoiled with awesome and thoughtful Easter baskets at every stop.
Happy Easter!!
At nap time, we loaded up and headed back for Easter-fun with Dan's parents. My MIL put confetti eggs in all of our baskets and they. were. so. much. fun!!
My Homegirl
There were snowball fights (because spring in Colorado = snow), more egg-dying, cocktails, and another delicious meal.
It was most definitely a wonderful holiday weekend!!

Spring Cleaning and Organizing: [Best Playroom Storage]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring is in the air and the desire to organize, freshen, and clean up is in full force!!
As I have been planning and (slowly) working on a mini-makeover for our playroom, I knew we needed a new piece of furniture for our space - a sturdy piece with shelves, storage space, and of course, a reasonable price tag.

I was able to find the BEST playroom storage piece, that fit in perfectly with some simple concepts I keep in mind when organizing our play space.
(P.S. hang with me through the post for an awesome giveaway below..!!) 

Looking at storage for kids' spaces, the traditional toy box is certainly a good option, a big space to contain and hide toys of all shapes and sizes. However, playtime seems to often end with all toys being thrown out, in order to find that one particular thing at the very bottom. I've always loved the idea of cubbies, functional and attractive. We had a flimsy-style cubby unit in the space, but 'needed' something larger in order to accommodate our growing kids (and collection) and make better use of the room.

 Ikea came to the rescue with the BEST piece for playroom storage, the Kallax shelving unit.
I showed the Mr., and to my pleasant surprise, he loved it and was totally on board, no questions asked - well, except when I suggested we get the green one (so fun, right?!). We went with the 'birch effect' unit, and also grabbed four of these canvas drawer-like boxes, and ABSOLUTELY love it!!

Why it's so great:
Deep cubbies, great space
Attractive, simple design
Ability to display or hide storage
Thick sides, stout build
Only $64.99
(Do you have a smaller space but still need storage? Go for the 4-cubby, smaller version Kallax, same great style and super affordable at only $34.99.) 

Tips for playroom storage
I'm no pro, but here are a few things I keep in mind to help maintain an organized and clean playroom.

Stay organized, stay functional
I am big on keeping the same types and pieces of toys together, this way it can be played with as it's intended to be. Staying 'organized' cuts down on looking, dumping, and tossing toys aside while trying to find certain pieces, as well as making the most of and 'valuing' toys.
The drawers in our unit include one for all things kitchen/food/dishes toys, one for dinosaurs, and the other two for each kid and their various, more random toys (dolls, trucks, tools, etc.).
Keeping an organized space can help with clean-up also, as everything has a place and (as we've seen in our house) the kids will get to know where things go and have a sense of pride and responsibility as they put all things in its place.

Keep in reach
While I love having 'hidden' storage, keeping some toys on display and in view is also a good thing. Kids are easily drawn in when they can see the toys available to play with, so catch their attention and keep it in their reach. This will allow them to entertain themselves, be independent, and also be able to help with clean-up.
 I especially like to keep books out - not only would a drawer be too heavy, but I always want them to be readily available for little hands to grab and flip through. I also like to display new toys and things that I know are a favorite and can hold particular little ones' attention for a decent amount of time.

Keep it simple 
Feeling overwhelmed or overtaken with toys? It may be for good reason.. Seriously take a look at all you have and decide if some things need tossed, sold/given away, or stored.
Involve your little one when going through a particular pile of toys and talk about the concept of giving to those in need.
Get some plain, large Rubbermaids, fill up with the toys/books that won't fit in your space/shelves, then store in the garage/basement; every few weeks/month trade out what's in your playroom (sort by theme or seasonally) and watch as your kids' faces light up like Christmas morning when they see new toys and books in their playroom!!

Not only does a clean and organized space help my sanity, but it makes for a fun and entertaining space for my kids on their own, and us as a family.

What are you favorite playroom storage pieces and tips?

Don't stop here, check out your other favorite bloggers for more fun in cleaning and organizing!!

As promised, best for last - enter below for a chance to win the perfect gift pack to help you get spring cleanin'!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday Drivin'

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Each weekend, we have Sunday dinner with my in-laws. They graciously host us, cook a delicious meal, entertain the kids, and subsequently do the dishes and provide a lunch of leftovers for Monday. It's a perfect time to relax, hang out, and catch up before a new week begins. With the extra daylight and warmer temps, the ever-so-popular Jeep got revved up for some Sunday drivin'.
 Tyson was such a gentleman and drove his sister up to the park, making sure to pull her door closed each time she pushed it open and reminding her, 'hold on, Harper!' I was particularly impressed with his steering skills!!
If looks could kill, this little sweet-tart would take out a majority of those who cross her path. But as soon as she locks eyes with us, her face lights up, and that smile is equally heart-warming!!
This 'kid' is our VIP ticket to the roller coaster of parenting; now with 3.5 years experience, we're still/continually trying to figure out how to be the best parents we can be. Some days are a breeze, while others I wish I could call in professional help to tell me what. I'm. doing. wrong?! However, we can always count on his good heart, smiles, and giggles (and hugs and snuggles) to make all those insecurities disappear. 
Sunday drivin', and park-in', at it's finest.
Adorable pictures courtesy of the Mr. 

Easter Baskets 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I'm sure I've mentioned, but I just love this time of year. After the solemnity of Lent and dreary, cold winter, Easter is a breath of fresh air!! It's is such a joy-filled and hopeful time in our faith and - well I was going to say something about the beautiful Spring weather and budding flowers, but I'm pretty sure we're going to have a white Easter this year, so forget that. Yes, white as in snow.

My mom always put together sweet Easter baskets for us, nothing extravagant, but always special nonetheless - yummy treats and some kind of unique gift that had me anxious to jump out of bed in the morning to check it out. Those memories are fond for me, so I especially enjoy putting together baskets for our kids in hope of creating those special moments too.
This year's baskets are rather simple, including a few 'need' items.

Homegirl's Basket
Flutter sleeve tee // Floral peplum
Shoes // Bows // Water bottle // Bubbles

Tyson's Basket
Striped polo // Raptor tee // The Good Dinosaur
 Treats // Water bottle // Bubbles
They each needed water bottles for on-the-go. 
Homegirl can never have enough bows (and I'm a little nostalgic that they're a gift we always give her).
The Good Dinosaur was the first movie we took Tyson to in theaters, so we knew we wanted to get that for him when it came out.
I can't wait to watch their faces as they go through their goodies.

It was funny looking back at last year's baskets and seeing very similar items, down to the gray striped polo and bows. What can I say.. I've got good taste. ;)

He is risen!! Happy Easter!!

Linking up with a lovely group of gals.
Hall Around Texas // Hello! Happiness

Weekend Fun: [Vintage Wear]

Monday, March 21, 2016

This weekend Homegirl rocked some vintage hand-me-downs from her auntie. 
My MIL shared a hand-knitted jacket and bonnet with us that my SIL wore as a little girl. I believe it was handmade by a great-aunt; so it has a very special history and, I'm quite sure, was made with love.
The best part, my MIL shared some pictures of Auntie J looking just as sweet in the get-up, herself.
Cute style and good genes!!

Afternoon Brew

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

We're on the verge of Spring here and have had some beautiful days already!! They make for some mild, breezy, and bright afternoons, perfect for brewing. Dan has been homebrewing for almost 5 years now, and makes some award-winning beer, for real. The other afternoon was perfect for brewin' up a batch while the kids had fun getting some fresh air too.

Homegirl loves to hold on to stuff--a piece of paper, Kleenex, plastic bag; whatever she can wad up and squeeze or grip in her little hand, she'll just carry around for as long as she likes (don't dare try and take it from her grip either). This particular afternoon, sidewalk chalk made its way into her little palm and she held on for quite a while as she got up and down the step, checked on her bro, and peeked in on the brewing process.
Tyson likes to eat the grains from the mash and mess around with whatever he can get his hands on (and dress like a little hipster-hobo, apparently). No one is safe once the hose and sprayer come out..
This particular afternoon, Dan brewed an imperial stout.
A hoarder of things she can hold and a little hoodlum - they keep us on our toes, hence the homebrew!!

You, Currently: [Homegirl, 16 months]

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oh, Harper-noodle. I could stare at your sweet face all day.
Those chunky cheeks.. So kissable!!
The way your tears hold on to your lashes or stay put after running down your face after a good cry.. Quite the dramatic effect.

You've got THE BEST stone look/poker face, and the cutest little closed-mouth grin, once you finally soften up. The scrunched up kissy-face you make is so silly-cute and you are so generous with those kisses to me, your dad, and Tyson.You learned to give a REAL hug, and of course, Tyson is the most usual recipient; you reach your arms out and dive into his as you squeeze, pat, and hold on.
You've started to sign consistently and they are the most adorable little gestures, even if they get a little mixed up sometimes - please, thank you, bath, more, milk.
You know some animal noises; the shape of your mouth, the tone of the sounds, the concentration on your face when you make the prompted noise - it's too adorable and it makes us all so proud!!

You're dramatic, strong, and so sweet. You love to be picked up and point and make your signature little noise that means, 'go!' 'what's that?' 'gimmie that!' 'that way!' etc. You reach up to us and say, 'up-puh!', it's pretty hard to resist.

You LOVE your brother, most of the time. You'll reach over, pat, and rest your hand on him while you guys watch a show and/or sit right on him. He's so patient with you. You're also quick to screech at him to scare him off if he's bothering you or trying to take something from you, but you've got quite the grip/pull if you want to fight him for something!!
Your hugs, kisses, and sweet snuggles just melt me. 
There is such a beautiful life ahead for you. Have courage and be kind.
We love you so much!!

You, Currently: [Tyson, 3.5 years old]

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Oh, Tyson. You are so interesting.
You are sweet, smart, and challenging. Some of the things you remember/recall, amaze me!! You love to learn and it's as though wheels are always turning. You can recite prayers, books/stories, read letters/numbers, and you're very athletic. You are creative, energetic, and loving. You are learning to be funny and love to get a laugh.
You make us SO proud.
You like to come into the room and say, 'I have something important to tell you!' I'm always excited to hear what you have to say. Then there's, 'ONE more thing!' as you hold up your pointer finger and explain 'one more thing' to us.

Each night you recite your prayers, the same I prayed with my family as a child; again, you make me so proud. The way you say, 'good night, mom' in a soft and gentle voice as I leave the room after tucking you into bed is the perfect close to the day with you.

You get yourself dressed in the mornings (sometimes I set out clothes for you to pick from, sometimes you get your own outfit together) and make your bed (my favorite part is how you tuck the sheet into the bed frame and it looks so neat and orderly). Your new favorite thing is to change your clothes right away once we get home; you'll ask if you can go 'shhange' and get into some comfy clothes (basketball shorts and a t-shirt) as quick as you can.

You are SUCH a sweet big brother. I've said it since the beginning and it still rings true, you were made to be a big brother. You love to be the FIRST one to check on and get Harper up in the morning. You sing to her when she cries, chase her, give kisses, encourage and cheer for her when she learns new things. You also can't resist telling her to 'spit' (blow raspberries), and/or do other little things that you know better than to tell her to do. You occasionally get rough with her, but are quick to 'shh-shh' her if she starts to whine/cry due to your antics, or ask if she's going to be ok. You love her hugs and kisses.
You bring so much joy to our family!!
You will do great things. Have courage and be kind.
We love you so much.

Weekend Fun: [Mr.'s Birthday Weekend]

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Last weekend we had the pleasure of celebrating one of our favorite dads/husbands, it was the Mr.'s birthday!! In true thirty-something fashion, we partied hard by falling asleep watching SNL, Sunday morning rush to get to Mass, then an hour wait at one of our favorite brunch spots, followed up with treat (and birthday cake) shopping at Trader Joe's. It was actually just right, complete with a pizza/beer party for family Sunday dinner. 
Birthdays with little ones bring out quite the helpers, and comments. After party hats and waking Dan with a beautiful 'happy birthday' serenade, we came downstairs in the morning and Tyson asked, 'where are the decorations?!' Well, momma/wife fail, I guess. Hopefully we made up for the lack of decor in gifts of beer!!
Either way - Dan, I hope you know how much you are appreciated and loved. We are so thankful to have you and look forward to another year full of fun and adventure. Happy birthday, my dear!!
We love you!!