seven on the second

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02 December 2016

1. This photo was shamelessly stolen from Becca. We took Simon's family out to the beach when they were here - I thought it was going to be freezing but it was actually - really nice. HOWEVER! our kids all had meltdowns at the exact same time on the way back to the car - for alllllll the beach goers to see and hear. They couldn't be blame and that's what I get for deviating from my usual nap nazi routine and thinking we could get away with it, "just this once" lololol 4ever - no.

2. Okay MAYBE it's just me but I thought this email written by a student recovering from getting her wisdom teeth pulled (and on pain meds) to her philosophy professor was hysterical. Even Simon laughed out loud - so maybe it's just me and Simon.

3. ONE month until the Bachelor premieres, are you ready? I am. If you need some good Bachelor franchise fodder in the interim, this IG account is gold. (Thanks to my sister-in-law Mary for sharing it with me!)

4. Alright, I'm sure you've been anxiously biting your nail down to nubs waiting for me to reveal the "train" (more of a play) table I put together for the boys. Here's the before:

(side note - if anyone local wants that bouncy in the background - it's allll yours!)

Anyway, so the legs had been a lot taller but Simon swapped them out with shorter legs from an old side table. I couldn't find my trusty sander so I had to do it by hand - woe is me. But, it was pretty quick and easy. I painted it my favorite Midnight Blue (normally by Behr but I tried Glidden which is fine for furniture but I like the name brand better for walls) and BELIEVE it or not did a lot of measuring and used painter's tape and thought I was being super precise and unGrace like in my careful prep but here's the final product ...

Laugh, laugh.

But! I find the boys playing with it all the time - even Bosco will sneak into the older boys' room and go to town with the trains and trucks. I know Sebastian is going to see one of the real deal train tables at Costco or somewhere and know that the grass is greener on the non-mommade side BUT for now, it works. I think.

5. Oh, and Theo got into that black paint while I was gone one evening and Simon made the mistake of sitting down to watch a few minutes of a Notre Dame game. I still can't believe how well he covered the chair. The best part of that story was the next morning at 6:40 Simon was woken up by the sound of our front door opening and assumed we were being robbed (I would've assumed we were about to be murdered in cold blood but that's just the temperament God gave me) so Simon walked out to the living room and found Theo carrying his newly black chair in from the porch where it was drying because he told Simon, "I missed a few spots" -- touché, Picasso.

6. I'm not sure I've ever done any Christmas shopping before December 1st (I know there are those of you that get it done before Advent even starts - you're amazing and I bow down) but thanks to Amazon's Cyber Monday Deals Week - I actually got a lot of it knocked out (and thank you for all of your toy suggestions, btw - super helpful!). I keep coming back to comb through Oprah's Favorite Things and also wondering if Simon might appreciate a Nespresso for his birthday (December 28th) despite that fact that he drinks coffee about twice a year? It might change his(my) life. It just might.

7. Alright, I skipped a couple days of folding laundry and have the exploding baskets to prove it so off I begrudgingly trot.

Happy Weekend. Linking up with Kelly!

memories living in {quilted} infamy + a giveaway!

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30 November 2016

There are a lot of ways in which Simon and I are really similar (which I sometimes attribute to the fact that we are both the oldest kids in our family? maybe that's a bad theory) but even seven years into our marriage I find myself surprised by ways in which we are most definitely different. Simon is a lot more laid back than I am which is why I found it funny when I realized he is definitely more of a save-everything-always-and-forever person while I'm forever on the purge and donate rampage. He saves extra nuts, bolt, and oddly shaped screws just in case they might come in handy for a project (which, admittedly - they sometimes have) all his old t-shirts from high school and college while most of mine are all long gone. It's become a mostly funny point of contention between us but recently - we found the happiest compromise to finally sort through and use said saved shirts. I'm sure you've heard of the concept of t-shirt quilts as a useful way to make special memories tangible instead of keeping them boxed away for years and years (and years!). Well, Project Repat is the most trusted and popular brand that preserves t-shirt memories with quilts and they recently made a lap quilt out of some of our t-shirts and I can attest to the quick service and impeccable quality.

Exactly, Bosco.

Everything is made in the USA and the fleece on the back of the Project Repat quilts is made from recycled plastic bottles and is incredibly soft. We thought it would be fun to do a mashup of shirts we both hung onto (and then Simon would finally get rid of the rest of his) that held meaning to us as a couple and a few individual memories. I use an old family reunion shirt, the race shirt from my first marathon, and a college shirt while Simon had lots of Notre Dame and KU shirts. Probably my favorites are the shirts Simon had made after we were engaged and I was still living in DC and he was in Kansas City. He had matching shirts made for us commemorating the day I was moving to Kansas City to a shoebox apartment a few blocks away from his palatial attic apartment and we could finally stop talking on our stupid phones for hours on end ...

the front. that graphic though ...

and the back ...

definitely a very happy day!

Anyway, the kids have found many uses for the quilt ...

whether it's taking a call on their landline ...

or crashing an intense game of Uno with their micro mullet ...

... or ruining said game of Uno ...

ahem, Phoebe.

Project Repat was founded in 2012 and Inc. Magazine recently named them one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in the country - for good reason! They also make stroller blankets (maybe a fun one to do out of your toddler's old shirts?).

There's still time to order one for Christmas if you choose rush shipping at check out!

Click HERE to get 25% off any order and use code CAMP and Project Repat is generously giving away a twin size quilt to one lucky reader. Just click here to enter!

Thanks for reading and many thanks to Project Repat for sponsoring this post! 

toys our kids actually play with

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27 November 2016

It's killing me to end that in a preposition but nothing else sounded quite right. Who cares? No one.

Anyway, there are a lot of skills I don't possess and one of them is picking out toys our kids will actually love and use. However! My mom has a knack for giving the kids gifts they love and play with forever and ever. Amen. I've been compiling this list since the beginning of the year so as to make sure I wasn't just grabbing a week's worth of popular toys but toys that have stood the test of time around here.

I'm missing a few BUT here are the ones that stood out. And I'm willing to bet a bunch of them are on sale for Cyber Monday. I know the kitchen is, at the very least!

1. play kitchen - we got this for the kids last year (it's 40% off at the moment - it was NOT 40% off when I bought it, boo) and it gets used every single day. It's the first thing Bosco goes for when he wakes up, the kids all love to make faux meals, and it doubles as a barre for my barre dvds. It's a winner. Might I advise that you NOT wait until 10:30 in the pm on Christmas Eve to assemble it, though? It's time consuming - to put it politely.

2. Wheely Bee - Phoebe got this for her second birthday and it was a HUGE hit among all five kids. I'm tempted to get the bigger size for Christmas as a group gift. It's $20 off at the moment too ...

3. puzzles - I don't think there's anything particularly special about these puzzles but the older three kids LOVE to do these. Over and over AND over again. We've had them for a few years and they have yet to lose their appeal. I love that the box is wooden and Bosco can't tear it to pieces like he does with cardboard.

4. Plasma Car - Another one we've had for years that my mom bought I think before Theo was even born. It's taken a beating but still works really well - maybe a little too well because Sebastian is scarily skilled at whipping around the deck on it VERY quickly. It's $20 off right now, too!

5. Boogie Board Writing Tablet - I have to admit that I thought this was a little gimmicky when my mom gave them to the older two but I was QUICKLY proven wrong. It's great for the car and up until recently we let Julia bring it into church to draw quietly. It's a no-mess way for kids to practice writing or just draw things. If you lose the pen like we did - any old anything will work (Julia gets creative with bobby pins, retractable pens etc). Phoebe has tried to scratch them to death but they are incredibly durable and still going strong after 3+ years.

6. Brio Trains - My aunt saved these from when her three boys were little and got them out when we visited a few years ago and Sebastian was completely obsessed. We've slowly built a collection (mostly thanks to my mom) and it's still a favorite around here. It's odd if there's not a new track built in the boys room. Even Bosco let's his truck-obsessed eye wander over into train territory on occasion.

7. Cleaning Set - I'm no child development expert but it seems like every toddler goes through a cleaning phase of sorts and these are PERFECT for when they want to "help".

8. Inflatable Bouncy Animal - I can't explain why kids love this thing but they DO. I go back and forth about whether or not ours (can't seem to find our exact breed pictured up with our kitchen) is a dog or a bunny on the daily. Maybe a dunny.

9. B is for Bear: My grandma bought this for newborn Julia and all her other books paled in comparison in the interest and excitement department for months on end. All the kids have felt similarly - something about the big pictures, I guess? It would make a great baby gift or gift for expectant parents, I promise!

On my wish list: I'd love to get a doll stroller for Phoebe and Bosco or maybe a shopping cart? Something to push around and bicker over :)

And now for the selfish part of my post - what toys do your kids love? I think we are going more the experience (zoo and museum memberships) route this Christmas but I like to keep a running list of ideas for birthdays and potty training incentives for the younger crowd.

Anything you're excited about for Cyber Monday? It seems like a lot of sites have done a big weekend long sale which is nice and convenient for us fickle folks that are slow to pull the trigger.

A few good ones:

Amazon is having a big sale on electronics (and I think it's running all week? way to be, Amazon), lots of car seats are discounted 25% or more, and there are loads of strollers are on sale too

J.Crew Factory is having a 40% off clearance, 50% off men's suits and Crewcuts styles, and 60% off everything else sale.

ASOS is running a 30% off site wide sale. I haven't shopped for maternity clothes for a couple of years but they always had a fun inventory and lots of great dressy dresses (non-maternity too, of course). I might be a lone lover of these loafers but, I love them - can't help it.

LOFT is doing 50% off EVERYTHING. They have a wide variety of peplum and lots of fun long cardigans too.

I didn't think much of Nordstrom's 20% off clearance sale BUT I finally looked closer and these seemingly perfect ankle boots are deeply discounted, Hunter Boots are on rare sale, and there are lots of winter coats for more than 50% off (maybe the only thing I miss about the cold, maybe!). And this is the only place I've seen the new special edition Fitbit Blaze on sale.

I'm in the market for a new DSLR but haven't found any on great sale - let me know if you've happened to see any!

Hope you all have a great week! We may or may not have put the kids to bed at 6:49 on the dot tonight (they fell right to sleep so - Mom knew best, for once) so hopefully tomorrow morning's school time wakeup is a little less painful than I know it will be. Godspeed to everyone in similar boats.

the day after

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25 November 2016

1. Happy day after Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great day and if you were working or weren't able to celebrate for any reason at all - that you can rectify that at some point this weekend. We have about five leftover pies if you're hungry - just saying. We had a great day with wonderful weather, food, and festivities. Bosco only had eyes for my champagne, Sebastian told me he doesn't like any Thanksgiving food, Phoebe ate enough green bean casserole for all of her siblings combined, Theo smelled all of the pie and asked for just ice cream, and Julia would subsist on turkey alone if we let her. Success all around, I'd say. We had Simon's parents, his two sisters (and their husbands AND our adorable niece), his brother and her wife all come down and we feel so lucky that they made such a valiant effort to be here. The kids are in total heaven.

Our Thanksgiving dress code was very formal and Bosco took it very seriously.

2. I took a few grainy cellular photos (see above and above) and if you're lucky I'll cobble together a dedicated post but maybe it's better left camping in our memory banks forever. We shall SEE. My sister-in-law, Becca, takes incredible photos and I'm hoping to snag a few from her too.

3. So, I finished The Hopefuls late last night and was really enjoying the book but was SO let down by the ending. It's as if the author just sort of reached her word quota and had 100 words left to finish things up. It's not some great work of fiction or anything but a satisfying ending would've been nice. I'm hoping Falling is a little less disappointing but I know the reviews tell me otherwise. I'm a glutton for literary punishment, I guess.

4. Are you hitting up the Black Friday pandemonium in person? (if yes, you're probably not reading this) I'm not (never have - maybe some day!) but am wondering if it's smart to strike while the online deals are hot today OR on Cyber Monday? I don't know. I did see that Amazon has my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e sound machine on sale (I always have a backup in case of company OR in the event that one of ours mysteriously stops working after years of loyal service).

5. You know how much I LOVE my Fitbit and I just noticed that they are all on great sale on Amazon and some of them (including the Blaze, my personal favorite) are as much as $50 off. Woo to the hoo (no sarcasm).

6. Has anyone watched any of the new Gilmore Girls episodes? I haven't but I can't WAIT.

7. Anyway, I'd love to know if you're doing anything for your small business on Small Business Saturday (tomorrow!) or if you've found any killer Black Friday deals - let a lady KNOW. Thanks in advance!

drugstore surprise

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23 November 2016

Please tell me I'm not the only one with kids that love to watch those surprise egg videos on YouTube? I hope not. And if so, I'm sorry that post title makes NO sense.

I've had uncharacteristically good luck with a few drugstore beauty aisle purchases this past month and you know I can't resist telling you allll about them. If you're in stocking stuffer/secret santa/gift exchange mode (welllll you might not want to be gifting concealer but! it's your life) these would definitely be winners. While I'm taking my skin care a lot more seriously and occasionally will try out nicer makeup - it's still fun to find dupes and I've found that sometimes I actually like the cheaper stuff better. Sometimes! Not always. I did come thisclose to buying this cult favorite with an almost expired gift card the other day but I didn't pull the trigger. Yet. (Now I see there's a gift with purchase though SO ... that changes everything!)

Okay, you've got food to prep. I'll make it snappy.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Totemly Yours - I know people love Bubble Bath and Ballet Slippers but I really love a slightly darker nude nail polish to break up my stints with my dark/black nails. This is my very favorite. Phoebe had a field day dumping allllll my polish in our closet the other day and while I was upset about the hourS of inevitable clean up - I was most upset that she had completely emptied my bottle of this. Priorities Patton. I'm still loving the Orly base coat and the Seche Vite top coat combo for no chip/long wear perfection too.

L'Oreal Voluminous Original - Jolie sent me this stuff and I'm surprised I haven't tried it before because I do love a good mascara safari but I love it. I've been using Tarte's Tartiest Lash Paint but keep reaching for the this tube instead. The Tarte stuff is great but for a fraction of the price - this stuff is GOOD and perfect for everyday wear.

NYX Butter Lipstick - Sandy Kiss - I have tried a few pricier lipsticks (MAC and Dior's Lip Glow) and I REALLY love this stuff. As the professionals say - it's pigmented and goes on very nice. Is it all day liquid lipstick? No. But, it's great to keep in your purse if your lips tend to get dry like mine do and you also like a bit of color to boot.

Almay Smart Shade - I'm sure I was the last to notice that I've developed slight (or maybe not so slight but I pretend that they are slight) under eye circles and with the help of a beauty blender - this does the lightest coverage trick. It does come out of the tube looking like a million different colors but it blends really well. This is not heavy coverage so if that's your thing - this is not for you. I use the light/medium shade. I follow up with a light dusting of this mineral peptide powder and adios forever, circles. Or, at least for the duration of the day.

Have you picked up any winners lately? Or have any longtime favorites?

oh! thank you SO much for all of your Thanksgiving recipe help on Monday! I'm off to make a last minute run to the store - I'm hoping it's not a terrible, terrible mistake. Maybe I'll keep scouring this crazy sale for juuuuust a few more minutes. Procrastination has always been a good friend of mine

Have a wonderful day tomorrow!!!


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