Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Childhood is magical

I had a really great childhood! Growing up I have such fond memories of summers in the pool, playing manhunt with the neighborhood kids, and stopping the ice cream lady (Mary Ann) for strawberry frozen fruit bars and screw balls. My sister and I both have Birthdays in the winter — hers in January, mine in March — and despite not being able to have an outdoor party, our parties were the best! Extend the dining room  table, stream some colorful ribbon from the ceiling fan and chandelier, order a pizza, buy a Carvel ice cream cake, rent a video camera, play dress up and blow out the candles in the midst of a few friends, a couple cousins, and the best aunts a girl could ask for.

Twenty five years later Birthday parties look a little different. For starters, parents do not drop their kids off anywhere to enjoy a Birthday party. Kid parties include not just the Moms these days, but most Dads come too. Many of our friends with children choose to have their kids' Birthday parties out of the home in a bounce castle place or bowling alley, for example. And rightly so, since the cost of an at-home party could be just as much as having a party in a public place in which you pay per kid and many times includes invitations and goody bags. Once you factor in a variety of food and drink for both parents and children, places to sit and eat, activities and crafts for the children, decor, goody bags, invitations, proper Birthday attire, and desserts in every shape and size, it all adds up. I could write an entire post about the stress and anxiety of creating the perfect goody bag for each child in attendance. It's nuts I tell you!

To celebrate the first year of Molly's life, we hosted a big first Birthday party in our backyard. The party was set to a picnic and watermelon theme. Watermelons everywhere! There was a large tent that we rented along with tables and chairs (decorated with red and white checkered table cloths) for our many guests. A luxury port-a-potty was brought in, also rented, to off set the fact that we live in a one-bathroom home. There was lots of (picnic type) food, dessert, fun and plenty of stress for me. The party was awesome — and cost a small fortune. And you will not see any pictures related to said first Birthday celebration because I forgot to hire a photographer!

For Molly's second Birthday we again had a backyard party, except this time, it rained. No, let me correct myself here, it poured — all day long. We had to cancel half of our guests because we just couldn't fit everyone into our small house. We bought tents, which wound up buckling and breaking due to the weight of the rain. We decorated the inside of the house and kept the kids entertained with indoor activity and music. There were chairs everywhere and we made the best of it, while staying dry inside. It literally did not stop raining the entire day. Our theme that year was farm animals and we rented a goat and a sheep to hang out with our backyard chickens, ducks and rabbits.

Molly trying to stay dry in her adorable rain coat

This year, I've decided to take a year off from throwing a backyard party and booked a party at a little frozen yogurt shop. What kid doesn't love fro-yo? The party will last one and a half hours and include dancing and frozen yogurt with plenty of toppings. And (I'm sure) the Birthday will be a happy one. I've also decided to forgo goody bags because, quite frankly, I just don't feel like doing goody bags this year. I'm not feeling particularly creative or in the mood to come up with some cute idea related to Molly's frozen yogurt party that integrates goody bags in a fun way. (Though a Frozen theme would be cute! Get it, frozen yogurt?)

This post was inspired by a recent article that I really related to.

Childhood is magical. Even without the big expensive party. Sometimes the best memories and the best magic is made when we are not trying so hard to make it...

I say this all the time to my friends and colleagues, but the fact is, we really need to make our own rules. If you are a creative person who enjoys the Birthday party hoopla and having a theme party and related Birthday attire for the entire family then rock on! I'll probably like every photo you post on Facebook and Instagram! If you decide to have a low-key party with peanut butter and jelly and box-made cupcakes, rock on! Write your own rules and live by them. And above all, have fun! I know far too well, as I approach my daughter's third Birthday next month, that time is flying by! I can only hope that we are creating magic in the little silly things we do on the weekends spending time as a family. I can only hope she remembers her childhood with a big smile as I am right now reflecting on my past Birthdays.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Five Things Friday (on a Saturday morning)

I'm so thrilled to welcome the weekend! This week seemed to drag on forever. I do have to work on Sunday, but still excited to see some sun today and spend time at home. 

1. My cousin Nicole (and her hubby John) had a baby girl this morning. Lillian Eileen Gibbons was born at 7:59 a.m. weighing just under seven pounds. We are so excited to welcome her to our Girls Club. We have lots of girls in our family!

2. I am really getting used to my curly hair. Most days I love it! A few days ago I was having a bad hair day and I was ready to cut the curls and chop my hair short. I got over it by the next day, which was a great hair day for me. I still love you sweet perm! So many people ask me if it is easier with curly hair and what I use to style it. Yes, it is so much easier in the morning. Pretty much every working Mom with a toddler that needs to be out of the house before 9 a.m. should have a perm! While my hair is wet (since I've been washing it in the morning) I put Herbal Essences mousse in it and then walk around and finish my morning routine with it wet. Before I leave my house I add some Garnier frizz ease serum and then spritz a little bit of light hold spray, mostly to the front. If I wash it at night, I go to sleep with it wet with no product. When I wake up the curls and super soft and I love that look. I then add some frizz ease and I'm good to go!

3. Have you tried Steaz organic iced green tea? It is my go-to non alcoholic drink of choice these days. It is so yummy and has low calories. I've been getting it at my favorite natural store, Cornucopia.

4. BHG posted some ideas for Easter table settings and centerpieces. I am loving this one:

Seems like a really simple, easy and inexpensive table top for our Easter celebration. And pretty too! We'll be hosting Easter again this year and I am excited to set the table and make it look pretty and spring-y! I love decorating with fresh flowers.

5. Question: Would you ever pay $45 for a top coat that promises to make your manicure last? I'm not convinced. Nor do I intend on spending that kind of money for a nail polish. Anyone have any feedback on this product? I'm dying to know if it truly works.

Hope you are enjoying a sunny Saturday like I am. Have a great weekend! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

And to all a good night

Molly (and her Mommy and Daddy) survived her first night away from home at her first sleep-over at Nanny's house. So many of my friends were shocked by the fact that my daughter (who is almost three years old) had never spent a night away from me before. Saturday night she did. And, she had a great time! She was super excited to spend time with Sissy and Santi (my sis and her boyfriend) too. From what I hear, there was ice cream involved and someone stayed up super late!


The college that I work for sponsored a NY Islanders game night at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday evening and since my husband is a die-hard fan, he came with me to the event. We knew we'd be out late, since the game started at 7, and so we decided now was a good time to let Molly sleep over at Nanny's house. (Never mind the fact that it was such a busy week and I was SO tired and really ached for some sleep.) Nanny had been wanting a sleepover for a while now, and since she is almost three, we gave it a try. We worried if she'd be wake in the middle of the night and cry for us, but she slept like a baby all night — and so did we!

We had a great seats at the game, took a tour of the Coliseum, and enjoyed good company over a buffet dinner. We even visited the owner's executive suite! My husband got to high-five the players on their way out onto the ice going into the second period of the game. (It was part of our sponsorship package.) He said it was awesome and the players were huge!

After the great night, my husband and I slept hard and didn't wake up until 10:05 on Sunday morning. We haven't done that in years! After coffee, we went to church and then picked up heroes from a local deli. When we realized that Molly was napping, we took a short detour and enjoyed a mid afternoon cocktail together at TGI Fridays. We had a great weekend to (re)connect, communicate and spend time together. We really needed it. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and routine, especially when both parents are working and raising a toddler together. I'm grateful we could spend this quality time together. I'm grateful for family living close enough to have sleepovers. I'm grateful my daughter is loved by lots of great people.

Though my husband had more of a tough time with the fact that our little girl was not under our roof, he agreed that the night was a good one. Here's hoping more sleepovers happen every now and again to take time to focus on your first (pre-baby) love — each other.

Have you had any fun nights with your significant other lately?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Around the Home: a new bedroom for Molly

We decided to move Molly's bedroom upstairs next to the master. For a while now we'd all been sleeping on the first floor — Molly in her nursery, and me and my husband in the guest room. Not ideal, but it worked for us for a long time and kept us all near each other, which was what I wanted. (Plus our only bathroom is on the first floor, too.) Our second floor has one large bedroom with lots of space for storage, a small office area and a walk-in closet. I had been wanting to down-size my closet and clear out and simplify my wardrobe, and it seemed like the right time to make the transition. I seriously had clothes and shoes in my closet that I haven't worn in years! It was time.

I decided to forgo my amazing walk-in and create a bedroom for my daughter. Some call it crazy, I think why didn't I do it sooner! Here are the before pics...

Lots of clothes, shoes, some jewelry and accessories, and lots of disorganization! Yes, it was a large space that served the purpose with two dressers, which I'll miss having hidden away, and shelves.

After a few weeks of relocating my closet, sanding, building and painting, here is what we have now...

A lovely little space fit for a lovely little girl. 

Molly's crib eventually can turn into a toddler bed, but being that she doesn't give us a problem or try to climb out, it still works for us. We added molding and a window sill around the two windows, as well as faux wood blinds from Lowe's. This room was already equipped with lighting and electric, plus had a vent for a/c and heat. We painted the walls "Spring Lilac" and the moldings and doors a fresh coat of glossy white. We brought up her rocker chair too, since she still rocks for a few minutes before bed.  Thanks to Michael's Aunt Rae for recovering it in a bright pink polka dot fabric that I purchased at Jo-Ann. We bought the chair from a seller on Craigslist years ago, and while the chair and ottoman are great, the cushions were getting icky. The rug is from Target.

Here is a shot of her dresser, which we purchased right before she was born from Craigslist as well. (I loved the height and the crystal knobs. It also has a mirror that is currently not attached.) We're still playing around with decor, but right now we've got the essential sound machine, monitor and a few framed photos. The lamp and shade were a recent purchase from the Pottery Barn Kids outlet for $9.97!

The side-by-side: 

We love it! And so does Molly! 

Do you have any DIY projects going on?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello 34

I turned 34 last week...

It's not a pretty number, but it is what it is. In general Paige-fashion, I celebrated the entire weekend! On Friday (my Birthday) I enjoyed lunch with a friend at a new restaurant, Del Fuego. I had heard the tacos were great and they were. And the lunch specials were super cheap too! After that we walked across the street and went to Kilwins and enjoyed some chocolate treats. My favorite was the sea salt fudge - yum! 
On Saturday the weather was so nice! Sunny and about 50 degrees. {You know it's been a long cold winter when 50 is a nice day!} We went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Bay Shore, my hometown. We had a great spot in the sun and enjoyed the bagpipers and other festivities. Molly had a great time too! After the parade we enjoyed potato soup and corned beef and cabbage at my Moms. After dinner we busted out the karaoke machine and sang some tunes. Fun! Oh yeah, and there was cake and Irish coffee too! 

How about some hellos for this Monday?

Hello daylight savings.
Hello sunshine after work.
Hello snow {again} this week.
Hello packing lunches and preparing easy meals this week.
Hello organic uncured beef hot dogs.
I'm a big hot dog fan and I hate the fact that they have nitrates {and other ickies} and are so bad for me. We tried these and they actually weren't bad at all. 
Hello working late at an event this week. 
Hello #nomakeupmonday. 
Today I penciled in my brows, curled my lashes and wore chap stick — that's it! I'll admit, halfway through the day I looked tired and could have used a little pink blush pick me up. Have you ever wore no makeup? 

Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Curls, Coffee and Computer

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in my kitchen enjoying the silence for a few moments before I tackle my kitchen. The sun is shining through the kitchen window. It's quite a lovely morning. My husband took my daughter on a little outing to buy food for the chickens at his favorite chicken feed store. I am enjoying some peace and quiet for a little while, while Molly and her Daddy enjoy some quality time together.

I'm bringing back the 80's. I mean the 90's. The 60's...? I permed my hair yesterday. It is not a glamorous procedure by any means. {As evident in the photo below!} But, I love curly hair. I can't wait to be able to style it, put some product in it and blow it a bit to create some pretty, fresh waves in my super straight hair. For now, it's just smelly!

I drink tea. Green tea. With agave nectar. That's my am drink of choice. My pm dink of choice...we'll discuss that later!

I"m sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table doing the normal Facebook-ing, blogging, surfing the Internet and reading a few good articles like this one. I'm an extrovert, how about you? This article really shows the hidden qualities and myths of introverts. I work with an introvert and she is a super fantastic net-worker!

Hope you have a great weekend. We might hit 50 degrees here on Long Island today. Yay!

Friday, February 21, 2014

the small things

Back in August I wrote a post about the things I did not like in my home.  I actually don't know the square footage of my home, but what I do know is that it is not large. With lots of toys taking over all areas of our  home, it is feeling smaller and smaller to us these days. We have a goal of putting a little extension on the back of our home to create a [formal] dining room, since our house lacks a dining room currently. We'd also like to add another bathroom at some point, even if it is a just a half bathroom. We have lots of potential in this house and we plan on staying here for a long time. 

We bought our house in 2005 with the intention of it being our starter home, back when starter home was a frequently used term. We have a great yard. We have a full a basement, albeit not finished and ugly, but it is space. We have a porch and a deck that get use all year long. Our school district is great and our taxes are pretty affordable compared to what lots of our friends pay on Long Island. We really love this house! And while I imagine the endless possibilities of this home being our forever home, I have taken to embracing my small house these days.

photo credit 

Check out three recent posts about living small.

I thought it was so cool to know how creative and fun the people living in these small spaces have made their lives, and in some cases their family life.

Here are some other things I love about my small home...

It's cozy.
We recently put in a wood burning stove to help with heating costs and it is super cozy on those cold nights.

We have storage.
We have an attic with three separate storage areas. We have a basement. We have a shed. (We used to have a one-car detached garage, but it looked like it was going to fall over, so put it out of its misery and knocked her down. We'll rebuild it one day.) Our closets are a pretty decent size as well.

The character and the potential. A 1933 Craftsman bungalow home.
See some other homes similar here. I love the moldings, the flooring, the old windows. So much we can do with our home. And I love changing things up! Paint, curtains, decor. Simple and little changes that make a house a home.

Our fenced in, large yard which allows us to play, relax, raise chickens, garden, BBQ, run through the sprinkler, swing and much more. It's a superb space.

Guest space. While it's not in the other wing of the house [that was a joke!] we welcome family and friends to stay in our home and want them to feel as comfortable and relaxed as we do.

It seems to work for out little family right now. And when the time comes and we add another child to our little family, we'll make it work — our way.

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

hello lazy Monday

We are all home today enjoying an extra day off for President's Day. Yesterday Molly had a fever and was very lethargic, in addition to having a cough, so we are just hanging at home today. I took down the Valentine's decor and the rest of the greenery that was left over from Christmas. It looked so pretty with the foil hearts tucked in on the mantel, so I left it for a while. And now, with everything down the tops of our shelves and cabinet are cleared and free of any decor. It's too early to decorate for spring and St. Patrick's Day, so I'm enjoying nothing right now but a glass vase filled with pine cones, a candle, and a black and white photo of Molly. 

I'm linking up with Lisa Leonard to greet this new week with a fresh perspective....

hello {more} snow. 
We are in for another few inches tonight into tomorrow. Spring, we are all ready for ya!

hello little helper.
Molly loves doing dishes. She feels such a sense of accomplishment and pride. 
She is my little helper and I love it. 
She also loves "making" Daddy coffee, aka filling up the pot with water and dumping it a bunch of times. 

hello sunshine. 
It's super bright here today and we're hoping it will melt some of the ice in our driveway and on the deck.

hello pajamas. 
I'm keeping you on all day!

hello clean bathroom. 
hello laundry.
hello dusting. 
I love days when I can stay home and clean my house. 
I also have a few piles of stuff — old curtains, blankets and clothes —  happily on their way to the donation center.  Um, hello spring cleaning! 

Have a happy Monday.