Skip to content

gift ideas 2017

November 6, 2017

jblIt’s November! Officially, stores have holiday music playing and I feel it’s more appropriate to post my next set of ideas!

JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker– strong reviews and I’m considering this for my soon-to-be 13 year old. He loves loud music when he showers and this would mean his phone wouldn’t be sitting near the sink in a steamy bathroom!

Of course, it’s always fun to browse Oprah’s Favorite things!

A friend of ours is making the most beautiful walnut cutting boards- @aroughcutwoodworks – check them out! He even can customize to go across a sink or bathtub. I love ours!

Patterned Flannel Sleep pants for my boys- these are great- perfect price point and they love them!

MC2 toys- Brooke told me she must have this! She chose the spy kit but when I searched it, it looks like MC2 is a total collection to go along with a TV show.

Vintage Candy Wrapper Puzzle– I love this! My mom always set out a puzzle over the holidays and we would all work on it a bit in the evenings. It’s a favorite memory of mine around the holidays. Last year I ordered a holiday one that was WAY TOO HARD for our kids and Tom and I had to spend hours completing it alone!!! This year I ordered this one and it has been awesome. If you want kids to do a puzzle, what better way then for it to be candy wrappers! This was 300 pieces, but they also sell it in 500 or 1000.  My kids have completed it 3 times since October. I will order another one in a holiday scene soon.

Just in time for the holidays, a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out this week! Thank you, Jeff Kinney!

Magnatab– kids go crazy for this in my car! I have had to reorder the pen since it is in such demand!

Bicycle Stripper Deck of Cards– I wasn’t sure what Luke meant when he told me he wanted a stripper deck of cards and was relieved to find out what it meant! If your kids love card tricks, this has great ratings.

Criss Angels Magic Kit– We gave this to the kids many years ago and they still love the tricks. It’s a good set.  Another one of Luke’s favorite tricks- Bite Coin.

I can’t give away much more on this since both my parents read my blog, as does my mother-in-law, but I have done my shopping for them too- and happy to share it personally if you want to text or email me!






shopping in october for december

October 18, 2017

fingerling-slothYou all knew this was coming! And don’t pretend some of you didn’t email me asking for it.  I hate to be like a store putting out Christmas trees in October- but I like to look ahead and be organized. Here are some ideas I have for the holidays!

For the little kids-

Fingerlings– I would compare this gift to last years Hatchimals. Get them while you can. Love the sloth above! We are sold out around here and I see it’s a limit of one per customer. I was lucky and bought monkeys on FidgetBoy and they are en route. Let’s hope it’s quality! (My friend Amy used this code for 20 % off at Fidget Boy- R7C3E39M5WFN )

Disney Moana SeaShell necklace. Brooke has this already and I love it because it’s made well and she wears it regularly. Great birthdayday gift or holiday.

Little Live Pets– as parents who have crushed our kids souls with no living animals in the house, I am so grateful to this company! We have the bird but Brooke recently saw a hamster at a party and it’s on the list!

Torchy- My Blazin’ Dragon– don’t laugh! I did not want to buy this thing- but it made Brooke’s top wanted gift list last year and Santa had to bring it! Well, this thing is ADORED by all her friends. It’s gone to show and tell and is always what kids want to play with when they are here! Worth it.

For the middles and teens-  Our boys will be 13 and 10 by Christmas and it’s a big shift in the gift department. The stuff they want is PRICEY! So fewer gifts, and more people going in on them!

Scooter- this ain’t no Razor! Luke wanted one of these BADLY for his birthday- so this was his gift. He chose one by Envy– but Madd Gear makes awesome entry ones too- find your local shop and have them ride it before choosing one. We had many choices in the $150 – $200 range and I wouldn’t have known which one he would have liked best. Of course, black on black seems to always work! This ride is SMOOTH- what a difference from those clanky Razors! Locals- we bought ours at The Bearing in Loveland- cool shop.

Zen Sands– fun for their desk or dresser- also a great price point for birthday gift.

Obsidian Fidget spinner– if can handle one more of these in your house- I love this one- it’s mini- a little bigger than a quarter and the obsidian option makes it heavy. It’s great for any age.

As all our kids are masters of selfies, this Neewer Ring Light is pretty incredible. If you photograph anything, it just makes it look better. My son uses his for all his video recordings- fun gift.

3 Foot Stainless Steel Charging Cable– I can honestly stand behind this cable as Will has it in black and it has lasted over 3 months. That would be a new record. I love mine in rose gold! Not sure where all their colors are but maybe they will restock or search company name and find someone else. You do need to buy a separate wall connection. Love the rainbow one they have on there today!

Hopefully this gets you started – and please start sending me anything awesome. I rely on you guys! Happy shopping. If you want to access old gift lists, go to the right panel and drop down under Category- “Gifts” – they should all be there.




cooking with a friend

October 12, 2017

GrilledCodWhiteBeanTomatoPacketsMy neighbor and friend Sarah and I decided to start cooking two meals a week together. I honestly thought this would happen one week and then we’d get too busy or not organized enough to do it again. Well, we are looking at week 6 now and it’s become a really fun habit! We both like to cook and it gives us a chance to talk while getting two meals prepared.

This is how it goes down- one person shops for all the food for two meals and we split the bill. This is so awesome and cuts costs. Normally I only need half a bag of lettuce or two green onions, etc- but this way we split it all and split the cost. We alternate every week. The person shopping chooses the two recipes and texts them to the other to make sure their family will eat it. We cook around 1 pm the day of the first night. This part is great- we catch up while we divide and conquer! I usually grill while Sarah makes a marinade or chops and mixes. If we can’t do it when kids are in school, we divide the recipe and exchange the food around 6 pm! Luckily we live next door! I think my kids are getting used to opening the door to finding Sarah holding a big bowl of rice!

Here are some of my recent favorites- (this is also awesome because I get new recipes from Sarah!)

Mongolian Beef– this marinade was addicting and my family said it was better than PF Changs.

Garlic Smashed Potatoes– I omitted the cheese but Sarah didn’t for her family. YUM!

Grilled Cod, White Bean & Tomato Packets– this was amazing. Sadly, this is more of a dinner party recipe I think as only one of my children would try it. The others, I just cooked the cod in some butter and olive oil and that worked. My oldest son said it was one of the best things I’ve ever made- like restaurant quality. Unfortunately, Tom was out of town and missed it- but making this again for an adult audience.

Pork Tenderloin in Michelle’s marinade – still a slam dunk! Sarah’s family really liked it!

Flank Steak with Chimichurri sauce over rice- I was literally spooning this sauce on it’s own into my mouth! Definitely making this again.  This was the closest recipe I could find to how Sarah makes her sauce. She also adds shallots and doesn’t add the crushed red pepper.

Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken– WHOA. This recipe came from my friend Juliana and Sarah and I LOVED it! Easy and so tasty! And the noodles– delicious.

Hope you try some of these- I would love new recipes that your family loves!


time flies

September 6, 2017

NewDarlings-Away-03-1024x768The kids are back in school, and I feel like the days still fly by!

Here’s what is on my list as of late:

BOOKS! I am back to reading and loving it. Some recent favorites: The Identicals (light read, funny), The Secret She Keeps (couldn’t put it down) and next up is Watch Me Disappear.

GIFTS: It’s my bday next week and I have already received some awesome gifts! You know this makes me think about CHRISTMAS early so I thought I would share! This heritage hose -in  yellow!!- it’s on my front porch and helps me get to my front pots- it’s so lightweight- like — weighs nothing- and is so cheerful and purposeful. Any gardener you know would love this instead of their clunky, heavy, kinking hose.

Away Luggage– this has been on my wishlist for months and my mom and dad just sent me some – can’t wait! Love the built-in charger and the good looks. further support of their bags...

Mahabis – who has these? Tom just ordered me some – I hear they are awesome! As one who loves to wear slippers, I believe I will be a fan.

That’s all for tonight! Hope all is well and you are all enjoying these first back to school days. XO

4th of july wrap up

July 7, 2017

DSC_5036-We had fun in the mountains last week and I wanted to share some new finds and recipes you all might like-

First- Salmon Sisters– my friend Karen sports a really cute sweater jacket from this line and I have hopped on their site almost every 2 months to see if I can buy one for myself! This is a COOL company supporting women in Alaska. I found this baseball hat and had to have it- all my favorite colors in one hat!

This candle is on repeat in the afternoons right now- Colorado is known for summer afternoon rains- they are quick- but I just love them! For about 30 minutes, the skies darken and you cozy up at home – my kids love them too! It reminds me of growing up in Chicago. Pink Grapefruit/Prosecco is my fav.

We celebrated the fourth in Breckenridge with a big group of old and new friends. The menu was all bbq which is a weakness for me! My friend Jamie made two sides that I loved! Trisha Yearwood’s  Easy Baked Beans and Corn Bread. I will be making both SOON! I brought S’more bars that my friend Margaret introduced me to awhile ago. When we got to the condo, I thought I had packed all the ingredients but I was short some chocolate. Well, we did have a red, white and blue bag of m & m’s and we crushed and melted them for the second batch and it worked out GREAT! I do not care for spicy in my desserts, so I omitted the spices.

Another awesome and QUICK app- cube up ripe avocados and pour about 1/3 cup of Frontera Tomatillo Salsa over it- this would be awesome in a taco too!

Other recipes – my sister Holly loves this recipe –

One Pot Lasagna Soup-
1 lb ground beef (italian sausage if you like)
1/2 cup onion, diced- I use frozen onion
1 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
3 T garlic, minced
3 t Italian Seasoning
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1 box of bowtie pasta
Put Onions in EVOO and saute til translucent.  Add ground beef and cook through.  Add in seasonings to the meat/onion mix.  Add diced tomatoes.  Add jar of sauce and chicken stock.  Simmer together.  You can cook the noodles in a seperate bowl to have them ready to add or add them in and let cook in the broth. (your call- depending on the day, i’ve done it both ways.)
Also works great in crockpot.
Serve with cheese and bread.
Okay- totally unrelated- but for those of you who like interior design like I do- my sister Wendy sent me this link for a great before and after and I have looked at it numerous times as the afters are SO good! Cote de Texas is an awesome design blog.
A site I recently found through Martha Stewart Living mag- Makaua – beautiful handcrafted gifts from Mexico. Love all the colors and woven goods!
That’s all for tonight! – Suzanne


it’s been awhile

June 27, 2017


Mayday! I have written a couple of posts since January but every time I go to publish it, I receive an error notice! Since I am technically challenged, this has been so frustrating so I am trying this on another server today! Will see how it goes.

I have so much to share- let’s see how much I remember of it!

First … food! –

These waffles are on repeat over here- easy and when I have extra, I make them and then reheat in the toaster. Delicious!

Whoa. My friend Holly made this the other night and it was INCREDIBLE! Coconut Tres Leches Cake – a hit with everyone!

House stuff- Studio McGee is a great design firm and on top of it- they sell awesome accessories on their site! This floral vase has quickly become a favorite of mine – it just calls for LOTS of flowers! It is currently sold out but you may enjoy looking at all their other things for sale.

Native deodorant. My old school deodorants aren’t cutting it anymore- so I ventured into the world of more natural ones with lots of advice from friends. I tried a bunch and this is the clear winner for me! Works after an hour run- tennis, etc! I am a fan of it-

My favorite tennis skirt is on sale- Lost in Pace– some friends prefer ordering it in tall for length-

I load my backseats with stuff for kids to do in my car. Always a fan of boogie boards for all ages – and also the Kid O Free Play Magnatab– I can’t get over how many kids want to play this is in my car! Even 10 year olds ask for their turn!

Summer reads-

Living with a Seal– this book is HILARIOUS. I have given about 5 copies to friends in the last 2 months! If you are someone who loves to work out, get it. It motivates!

Present over Perfect– this has been on my bedside table the last month with a pen on top- I find I am reading it in short bursts and underlining and underlining. It’s deep and meaningful. It’s also religious- by Shauna Niequiest

On another note, I have read so many books in the last 3 months. I am a library junkie! I enjoyed these but wouldn’t rave about them – Shelter, Edgar and Lucy, The Couple Next Door, — feel like there are many more but I am blanking!

More another day- but please remember to give me your favorites! I pay attention. And to those of you who have texted or inquired- “are you still writing your blog anymore?”… here it is. Thanks for asking. XO





starting clean in the new year

January 27, 2017

Happy New Year!  Many of my friends have said they like January for the reset option it gives us. I agree! I also like to clear out my closet, my pantry, my freezer, etc! In my quest for all things organized again, here are some of my recent clean favorites.


Clean skin- (and no, this isn’t me! I would never have the guts to share pictures of me like this! But good for this girl Laura who I found when I researched “Before and After with Rodan + Fields”)

Rodan + Fields Reverse – I’m not sure about you all, but Proactiv was my life saver in high school and college. I just saw it at Target the other day and bought my oldest a set of it. It WORKED for me! The creators of Proactiv are now Rodan + Fields and my friend, Christine,  started posting before and after pictures from their products which peaked my interest. I decided to try it this fall and really like some things about it—

1. It tells you exactly what to do every night- this is meaningful to me because I truly have no clue what products I should be using and in what sequence. I have bought all the good stuff but always wonder- Is this right to put on if I already put on — ??? Or, even more- I have like 15 bottles of things and no idea what is good or not. So, I like just sticking to MY regimen.

2. It smells good. This is legit as some of the stuff I have been willing to put on my face… did not.

3. My skin is really clear.  I am not having breakouts and feel like it’s gentle and moisturizing which is key when I live out west!

4. This product lasted a long time! I just had to reorder this month- for the first time since October.

If you want to check out Rodan + Fields, click here. You can take a questionnaire to see what’s the best regimen for your skin. I also am using LASHBOOST– and it’s no joke! My lashes are long! I keep it by my toothbrush so I never forget! (I am not making any money off any orders- I am just passing it along so you all know what I like!)

Clean home-

Dyson v8 cord -free vacuum

Okay- legitimately could sing from my roof about this vacuum. I have never had a Dyson and always felt like I’d be paying up for the name. BUT, I visited my sister in Louisville this month and she had one for her hardwoods and I offered to clean them for her- to which I was introduced to the DYSON. I have hardwoods on my entire first floor and have tried the (totally useless) Dustbuster to the broom and pan, to my huge vacuum and this cord less was a game changer. First off- I now believe cords are so 2016. Second, this vacuum is 6 pounds which means my 5 year old can do the whole first floor on her own! Hallelujah. Personally a V6 would have done the job too, but the V8 has a longer charge and I decided it’s not something I will be buying soon so I paid up. I was encouraged to buy at Costco since they have such a flexible return policy if I needed a replacement so I did. As evidence how much I like this vacuum, I happily allowed two of my kids to play with kinetic sand on our kitchen table as I knew I had the Dyson to suck all of it up! (If you allow your kids to play with kinetic sand, you know what I mean.)

Clean Sink-

Scrigit Scraper– I saw this in Real Simple mag and ordered online. It’s one of those tools everyone needs as we all get gunk around faucets, sinks, etc. This tool addresses that stuff! And it’s cheap, so there’s that.

That’s all for today-  I love hearing from you all about your favorites so please share by email or leave a comment! thanks.