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holiday giving 2014 part 2

November 22, 2014

acumatI am receiving some great gift ideas for the holidays! Thank you!

From Christine-

What a fun idea! I personally just found out about 3D fiber lashes and love them!

I’m also excited for Brig to see this Plui bath toy he is getting this year (I haven’t seen this- looks fun!)

Claire loves this inexpensive gift of Tapeffiti

Everyone LOVES this game Zingo. A great game for the little ones to join in on the fun (I agree! We played this week)

And for me? Norwex has been my latest obsession-this basic package makes cleaning so much quicker!

From Jill-

I have some ideas for adults-

The Trellie – wireless purse bluetooth thingie that lets you answer your phone (love your description!)

And this really cool, but a bit freaky acupressure mat, very relaxing!

Have a great weekend!

wrapping the gifts

November 21, 2014

uglysweaterWrapping presents is always fun for me. Paper Source is offering 20% off everything today and their wrapping is always unique and great quality. Check out the ugly sweater wrap or holiday bears which my boys always like.

You can also personalize wrapping paper with a favorite family recipe or sweet faces of your family at Minted.

For wrapping that’s truly original, check out Gray Malin’s new wrap.

I will always have a crush on Snow & Graham as I remember when they first started in Chicago. They have too many good ones to choose from- Nutcracker! Elf Hats! you can see all of them here.

Of course, The Container Store is a slam dunk too.

And kraft paper is always a great way to simplify and then dress up with fun extras.

And check out these easy gift tags! I am doing this!

holiday giving 2014 part 1

November 17, 2014

PIEBOX_WEB_FINAL003I’m shopping. Are you?  Over the next month, I will be featuring all your awesome gift ideas. Please email me what you are giving!

Gifts that are catching my eye-

Eberjey pj’s – let’s face it. They are the best.

Oh Deer socks- sold locally at Sole Mates

Buddha Board- My mom gave this to my son for his birthday- I admit to painting on it this week as well!

Remember how my sister-in-law gave this camper to her kids and you all loved it so much!! It was sold out by December. I recently bought this Yellow Cottage for our daughter. If you subscribe to their list, often they have sales. I got it at 20% off.

Smiled at J. Crew’s new band aids- something for the older set so you aren’t out and about with Dora around your finger.

Nordstrom Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing – could not find a link!! Nordy’s?? My husband and I had this dressing yesterday at Nordstrom (Flatirons) and LOVED it. On the way out, I saw they sold bottles of it. I figured I would pop one in his stocking (to be honest, I would like it in mine!) so I did not buy it in front of him. If you have a Nordstrom cafe nearby, ask for it!

Know any kids who are into ninjas? My friend Diana sent me this link on DIY Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornaments

Everyone in Chicago loves Loris- plus they have the best designer knock-off jewelry anywhere-  here is one of my favorites – Armitage Avenue Ivy Earring – so easy to clip in and frankly, everyone thinks they are real.

Are you a baker? Want to have the cutest Pie carrier in the world? I love good design. Check out this Pie Box- I audibly sighed when I saw the carrier straps. If Pie’s not your thing like me, check out the Cake Box. It holds CUPCAKES as well – a baking world of possibilities.

Looking forward to all your ideas!

three perfect days with kids in san francisco

November 4, 2014

IMG_3337Maybe that title isn’t exactly accurate, but I recently did have an awesome trip over a long weekend with my kids and my mom!

Every fall we have a Thursday and Friday off for teacher conferences. That adds up to a great 4 day weekend!  I decided to hire a Virtuoso advisor and chose Courtney Regan who had strong reviews and was located in SF.  She was awesome to work with and gave me three good hotel options to consider. We moved ahead with a 2 bedroom apartment at the Fairmont Heritage Place in Ghiradelli Square. It was a dream set up with my mom having her own room and full bathroom, my daughter and I in another room and my boys in the large family room on the sleeper sofa and blow up bed.  The location was awesome too- walkability to so much, but not in a crowded or loud spot.

Since we did so much, I will give you the highlights. I also left many reviews on Trip Advisor if you want even my mediocre reviews.

Day ONE

Being that we were in Ghiradelli Square, we went and had sundaes right away! A must. Then, we went to a hole in the wall in Chinatown – Golden Gate Fortune Cookies – where they make fortune cookies. This is less than a 5 minute visit but I think my kids will remember how a fortune cookie is made forever. From there, we walked up to Nob Hill Café- which is an old favorite place I went when I worked out there.  The food was still awesome and the pizzas are yummy for takeout!  Our hotel offered an awesome amenity of using a hotel car within 2 miles of the Fairmont. Lucky for us, the driver was willing to drive us down Lombard Street on the way back- which is the best way to experience it if you can! My kids liked it a lot.

Day TWO

Our hotel arranged for Enterprise to drop off a car for us to use that day. We got an early start and crossed the bridge to stop at Vista Point for pictures.  Then onto Muir Woods which I really wished I had remembered my travel stroller!  We were trying to meet one of my high school friends there with her kids and NOTE- there is no cell service anywhere close to Muir Woods! So, keep that in mind if you try to meet up with someone- arrange everything ahead of time. Also, they are not kidding when they say the lot fills early. We got there when it opened and got a spot easily. When we left, there were cars parked over a mile away! It was totally worth seeing and I loved our visit there. We grabbed lunch in Sausalito and then drove back to SF to get on the Fire Engine Tour- I am not a tour person but decided since it was only an hour, we should do it! My kids made me laugh about this as I picked this tour for them- I thought they would love it and reviews were strong. Well, my 7 year old feel asleep on the bench as soon as we were 10 minutes away and my 9 year old cracked me and my mom up with the looks on his face when our tour guide could not.stop.talking. I still gave this a good review as crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in an open air truck is something I will remember forever. We carried in Chinese food that night on our hotel terrace which overlooked the bay. Another reason to book that hotel!

Day THREE

Early Saturday morning, we hopped on the cable car from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to market Street where it ends. The kids loved it. Then, my mom and I went to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market which was listed as the #1 thing to do in SF! Talk about beautiful food and amazing vendors, etc. We LOVED it. We were fortunate my sitter from Colorado just moved to San Francisco so she watched the kids during this time. It would have been harder to navigate with them in tow.  In the afternoon, our sitter took my boys to the San Francisco Magic Show – which my kids LOVED and even my sitter said she could not figure out how this guy did his tricks. I bought my tix half price from Gold Star. Later that night, my mom and I ate at Coqueta- a delicious tapas restaurant on the water. I booked these reservations 2 months ahead of time on Opentable.

With our hotel offering a private car, we did not need public transportation often. When we did, we used Uber which was very good.  There are still things I had on our list that we didn’t get to- like the Exploratorium and exploring the city more- but we will be back!  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

everyday heroes

October 29, 2014

My husband lost his wedding ring on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and he was playing football with our boys and friends at our school park. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that he realized he did not have his ring on.  I quickly sent out a note on our neighborhood Facebook page asking if anyone had a metal detector we could borrow. No one did, but we were lucky to have amazing friends and even neighbors we hadn’t met- come to the park and walk barefoot on the cold ground trying to help us find the ring that night. When it became dark, we headed back home feeling unsure that we would find it again.

Doing what he does so well, Tom started researching how to find a missing ring- there were many helpful sites- and a couple of them pointed us in the direction of contacting local hobbyists with metal detectors. Tom wrote to three people/clubs late Sunday night. On Monday, we offered a $100 reward at the school in hopes the kids would look at recess. By Monday afternoon, we still hadn’t found it.

Later in the afternoon, a man from Denver contacted my husband. He said he would happy to drive up (an hour drive) this weekend if he hadn’t found it. He has had a lot of success finding rings for people and even blogs about it. We checked out his blog and were totally impressed. What a nice guy!

The second call came from a man in Loveland who is retired and told Tom that if his ring was out in a field, he would find it for him. He had won all sorts of awards for his recoveries and couldn’t have been nicer. Tom told him he would gladly pay him a reward and he said “I don’t want a reward. I just want to get your ring back.” He met Tom at the field 30 minutes later. Over an hour later, I watched this man with his metal detector leaning down to the ground and Tom walking towards him. From a distance I saw them hug and I quickly told the kids “He found it!” We all ran to this man and hugged him. He couldn’t have been more humble. Tom knew he didn’t want a reward so we asked him if we could donate to a charity he cares about- and again, he said “I could tell how much this ring means to you so I wanted to come up tonight to help.” With that, he headed home.

Life Lessons. Everyday Heroes. People are Good.

I am purposely not sharing his name or his picture in this post as we feel that he didn’t want any recognition. If he does see this post, we want him to know this story has touched not only our family, but my neighborhood and friends. Thank you.

surprise! icemaker turned candy dispenser

October 27, 2014

candy-from-ice-makerLove this idea for an Icemaker turned candy dispenser- my kids would not believe their luck! May have to do this on a birthday morning soon!

october reader favorites

October 22, 2014

turkeyOne of the perks of having a blog is that I get emails from readers with their favorite things! My inbox has been piling up- so it’s time to share-

From my sister-in-law Katie- kids capes!

From Bakerella- (okay, I don’t think she’s a reader, but I thought these were so cute!) Mini Mummies

From Jill- We are loving this Carmel Apple Dip- super easy and yummy!  And this one pan meal- Tuscan Chicken Skillet

From Kristy- A woman in my bookclub made these Beef Skewers last night and they were really good!

From Diana- My friend said this is the best cake she has ever had! Love that turkey cake you can ship! Nothing Bundt Cakes

From Holly- I saw this film on Netflix and it was one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. You should both check it out! :) Blood Brother

From Kristen- White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles- made these while a friend was in town last weekend–they were yummy and perfect for the season.

From Carrie- great product for diaper rash! Inventor is from Ft Collins! MoonMaker

Keep your suggestions coming! Love to get them!

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