Summer Mantel a Little too Late!



Hi! Hope everyone in her path made it through Irene safely! We lost power for about 22 hours, but other than that we were lucky. (It has been a crazy few days sister's flight made it in from London on Saturday, but my Dad's from Texas got canceled because of the hurricane. Early Sunday morning my grandmother passed away and Maura's Christening scheduled for that afternoon got postponed due to the storm.)

On a happier note, I finally finished decorating my mantel for summer. What? The day after tomorrow is September? Oh. Hmph. I had such great intentions. I started in early June during one of Maura's naps and then she woke up. And then it was the end of August. And I had never gone back to it. I guess late is better than never. Plus, its not sooo summery that I can't leave it up through the beginning of autumn, since apparently decorating for the seasons is not a top priority when you have a toddler:)

I wanted something light and bright and airy. First I draped these capiz shell garlands from West Elm (waaaay back in the day, I've had them forever, no longer sold) on the mantel. I love how they catch the light and sparkle, but since they're white shells on white wood, its a lovely subtle effect.

Next I added these matted botanical prints, which were pages from a wildflower book that I cut out. (Click here to see how I used them last spring on the mantel with some other stuff.)

This seemed like a good spot for the DIY faux terrariums I made this past spring (they used to be on our coffee table but then Maura got mobile and they need to be up high now), so I put one on each side of the mirror to keep the whole symmetrical vibe going.

Lastly, I love how these old apothecary jars I found this year at the Brimfield Antique Show look together with the white and green. They kind of add to that layered but not a lot of contrast feel that I was after.

I'm so not ready for summer to be over and fall to be here, but if you actually have your mantels ready for the appropriate season as opposed to two months too late, link up your fall one at
Layla's Fall Mantel Party on September 27th at The Lettered Cottage (part of Layla, Rhoda, Kate and Sarah's It's Fall Y'all Autumn Link Parties)!

Maura's 1st Birthday Party: Inspiration



Hi, guys! How's it going with you? Things are a bit more hectic here this week than I anticipated, but I wanted to at least try and post something. Maura's birthday is coming up in two weeks (what?!) so I have birthday party ideas on the brain. Here's some inspiration I've saved out on Pinterest:

{alphabet flash cards}

{balloons on mason jars}

{children's books on the tables}

{Maura's weekly bunny chair pics display}

{photo booth}

{paper chain garlands}

{balloon garland}

{"one" garland decorating her high chair}

More birthday party posts to come:) In the meantime, I'd love to hear about your first (or any kid age) birthday parties! Any advice? Things you wish you had done differently, etc? Do you always have take home goodie bags? Planned activities/games? This rookie needs help, thanks!

Ps. I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and then forgot to tell you. If you want to follow me (I don't have a ton, but its a start), go here. I'd love to follow you back:)

The Next Mood Board Monday and a Guest Post!



Hi! Remember Mood Board Monday? Lol, you might not, since I've only done one so far this year. Bad blogger! I even made one of my personal goals at the beginning of 2011 to do more Mood Board Mondays. Well, that was an epic FAIL. Really sorry, guys. But I'm back on the wagon now. And this one's exciting because its a collaboration:)
Do you guys know my friend Cathy of Room Rx? She's a sweetheart. An interior designer out of Wisconsin, Cathy is a wonderful new addition to this crazy online world we live in. Her blog has great weekly features like "Color of the Moment" on Tuesdays and "Fresh Fabrics" on Fridays. And she loves (and is pretty good at) making mood boards.

I am honored to be guest posting today over at Room Rx while Cathy is on vacation. The topic...the inspiration for the next Mood Board Monday! Cathy chose the category (as well as helped me pick out the specific pieces). And its a fun one. Wallpaper!!! So cool, right? The MBM linky party will be here like usual on Monday, September 26th but you have to head on over to Cathy's today to see the inspiration patterns and get all the details. Hope you'll join us!!

{the above are just eye candy via Pinterest...purely to show the power of wallpaper...they have nothing whatsoever to do with still have to go over to Cathy's!!}

PS. For anyone who has not played along with us before for Mood Board Monday, its should come. It's a blog party all about seeing how different people are inspired differently by the same thing. You get to make a mood board for an imaginary room with an unlimited budget...all based off one of the inspirational starting points:)

11 Months!!!



Sniffle, sniffle...our baby turned 11 months last week! That means this is the last post I'll write like this before she's a year old. I'm excited to have a "toddler" but I'm also really sad that her birthday is rapidly approaching. This year went way too fast. The baby days are over:( In part this is due to the fact that Maura started walking this month!! What a cool thing to witness. She went from taking a few steps back and forth between say Paul and I to walking a few feet away to get something to just completely walking out of the room to where she wants to go in a matter of a week. It is so cute to watch:) I feel like this was a big month developmentally in general. I love spending every day with you watching you grow, Lovie!!

Here's this month's bunny chair pics:

{Just keeping it real! "Get me outta this chair, Mama!"}

{This is the week we were on vacation, so I thought her bathing suit was a good choice!}

Eating Habits: We've added some new table food to the list of things she likes (such as blueberries, strawberries, banana pancakes, cranberry orange muffins, bagels with cream cheese...her favorite meal is definitely breakfast!). We're still working on getting her to like more real food proteins and fruits/veggies. She's getting a lot better with the sippy cup.

Bedtime: around 8 pm

Sleep Habits: Maura's sleep patterns are still thankfully the same as the last few months. We've got a great schedule going. She takes two naps a day - one in the late morning and one in the late afternoon, both usually about 1 hour and 15 minutes long. She goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps through the night until anytime around 6:30 - 7:30am.

Developmental Milestones: Maura is walking! We're so proud of her! (But boy, do you have to keep an eye on her even more now!!) She also learned how to climb the stairs (she's quick!) and almost more importantly, how to come down the stairs on her bum, sit and scootch style. Maura caught on to putting things in places on purpose now...before she was only good at taking toys out of a bucket, or taking shapes out of the shape sorter. But now she has learned how to put stuff back into a container, and how to put the different shapes into their respective holes, etc. I've been so excited for her to learn that skill and I'm glad she's finally getting it. Good job, girl:)

Firsts: first family vacation, first time out of the country, first time on a working farm

Favorite Toys: VTech Sing and Jam Band (we carry this thing with us everywhere we go), Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Say Please Tea Set, Haba Wood Baby Blocks, Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Letters Maibox, Fisher Price Stack and Roll Cups, Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Laughing Kitchen. Now that she's learned how to put things places, Maura is changing the way she plays with some of her old toys and is loving her Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack rings and Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Cookie Surprise again.

Favorite Pastimes: going to the beach, climbing up and down the stairs over and over, walking everywhere, listening to music, opening up cabinets and taking everything out of them, playing outside on a blanket in the grass, Gymboree Play and Learn class, anything involving playing in/with water, watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Jake and the Neverland Pirates", rocking in her rocking chair with her buddy the bear

Thumbs Up!



Here's some things I'm loving from around blogland recently:

  • I really enjoyed reading this post from Lauren at pure style home about her process.
  • If you're looking for some lakeside cottage/camp inspiration, head on over to Layla and Kevin's Wandawega Week....what a great story, with great pics!! Can't wait for the rest:)

PS. Totally not related at all, but have you guys been watching Design Star? What do you think? I haven't watched tonight's episode yet (got it waiting on DVR), so no spoilers! I definitely think the challenges are at least better this year than last year. Do you like the guest judges? Who are your favorite designers?

Beads and Baby Food Jars



Hi! Just a quick post to tell you that we're back from vacation, I'm alive, and to sincerely apologize for being the world's worst blogger lately. Seriously...I posted 3 times in July...that is pathetic!! Somehow the time is getting away from (how is it August already?) and though we're thoroughly enjoying our first summer with Maura, it seems like (read - its obvious) this blog is suffering. I will try and do a better job moving forward, but I will warn you that the next month and a half is looking crazy busy 'round here (we've got Maura's Christening - yes, I know she's about to turn 11 months and you're supposed to be baptized when you're a little baby but this is what happens when the godmother lives out of the country, a set of invitations due, an out of state wedding, a block party for my development of 80 houses that I'm in charge of planning, Maura's first birthday party (!!!!) and a bridal shower for my oldest friend that my mom, sister and I are hosting...aaaahhhhh!). However, there will definitely be another Mood Board Monday linky party coming soon (yay, finally!), so stay tuned.

And now on to the actual point of this post! Usually I buy the Gerber little plastic tubs of solid food for Maura (I know, I did have hopes of making my own puree for her, but that dream died when I realized I would be spending all my free time - uh, what free time, you have a baby?! - with my blender), but sometimes I like some of the flavors that you can only get in the real glass jars. Instead of recycling them, I figured they could be used for something since they're so cute, like mini mason jars. Then I remembered a shoe box full of beads I had stashed in our office closet.

So now I'm keeping all my beads in the baby food jars, organized by color. Aren't they pretty! Gotta love stylish kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

So, is anyone else having trouble keeping up with their blog these days or is it just me? Anybody use their baby food jars for other things?

PS. These are not the first recycled glass jars to make an appearance in our office...I got the big, real mason jars holding stuff too:)

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