Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ahoy! Pirate Talking Fun

Yo ho landlubbers! We celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday, we did. My salty dog husband and I woke up our little bilge rats with pirate talk, threatening a walk off the plank if they didn't get moving out of bed. I'm pretty sure they just thought we'd lost our minds until we explained the special occasion.

To celebrate the day, I sent them to school with pirate-themed lunches. I found inspiration for the lunches at, along with a few other sites. Here's how my boxes turned out -- yes, go ahead and compare the one on In my head, these things always seem like they will work out perfectly, but the reality never turns out quite as well. The good thing about my boys is that they are really just as excited about my imperfect version. Then again, they don't usually see the inspiration picture or they might be harsher critics.

Talk Like a Pirate Day
I used a sandwich round for their turkey and cheese sandwiches, added a zucchini eye patch, blueberry eye, and strawberry mouth and nose. I even managed to find one of my food markers to draw the strap for the eye patch and add a mustache. The toothpick flags were left over from a pirate birthday party, and of course, there was Pirate's Booty. They loved their lunches and my little guy wanted to make sure I had taken a photo of his lunch before he took it to school. When I picked them up, they were excited to tell me how they had showed their sandwiches to their friends. I love finding little ways to make them happy during the day, even when I'm not there with them.

For bedtime, we read Pirates Don't Take Baths, by John Segal and Let the Good Times Roll with Pirate Pete and Pirate Joe, by A.E. Cannon.

What is this holiday? Check out the Talk Like a Pirate Day website to learn more about this silly celebration, and there's even a page for Junior Pirates.

I love these random celebrations as a way to add a little fun into the week -- like Dr. Seuss's birthday in March and Mickey Mouse day in November -- and I'm always on the look out for new occasions. Do you know any silly holidays? I'd love to hear how you celebrate them.

Lists of Lists: 30 Days of Lists Challenge

As of Monday, I was so smugly proud of myself for being right on schedule with my lists. That lasted all the way till Tuesday, when whatever other things I was doing, I did instead of my lists. Here's a look at what I had been working on right up to Monday:

List #11 - Remembering September 11th
On this day I chose to do my own list topic to recognize the significance of the date. Since there's really no wrong way to participate in the 30 Days of Lists Challenge, I decided to do my own thing for list #11. I'm glad I did, and I know in years to come I will appreciate this list even more.

List #13
List #13
I think this list is on my list of favorites, right up there with my list of fictional places I'd like to live.

List #15
List #15
This list was fun to think about, and what a happy realization to see that I can think of more ways in which I am still young at heart than ways I know I am getting older.

List #17
List #17
That little journaling card is from one of the Smash journaling card pads and it's not really my style. But when I starting thinking about this list, this card seemed like the perfect fit -- a big mouth filled with excuses.

Want to know more about the 30 Days of Lists Challenge?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More Lists: 30 Days of Lists Challenge

Halfway through this month of lists, and I love flipping through my little book. It's amazing that just a little list can tell so much about the kind of person I am and what my life is like right now. This is my first time participating in the 30 Days of Lists challenge, and I am enjoying it as a way to capture little details -- from the practical "goals for this month" list to the completely frivolous "fictional places I'd like to live" list (which is probably my favorite list so far), the lists tell lots about me, but all in a way that is fun and easy to document.

Here's a look at some of my recent lists:

List #8
List #8
This list lent itself to having a photo with it, since I knew I would be waving good-bye to them out my front door as they headed off to a Boston College football game.

List #10
List #10

List #12
List #12

List #14
List #13

Are you a September lister? If you're not a lister yet, it's not too late to join the fun -- click below to learn more:

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Am a Lister: 30 Days of Lists Challenge

I was looking forward to several things about the start of September -- the start of school, the start of my favorite season, and the start of the 30 Days of Lists challenge. I love to make lists. I make lists at work and at home, on paper and on my phone, for big things and little. I had seen the list challenge floating around on the web for a while, and when I saw a new challenge was starting in September, I decided to join the listing fun.

It's been 10 days, and I have been enjoying this little project. Here's a look at some of my first few lists:

List #1
List #1: 30 Days of Lists
(The list: it keeps me organized; I like checking off items done; I would forget too many things; they calm me down when I'm stressed with too many to do's)

List #2
List #2: 30 Days of Lists

(The list: continue cleaning/organizing the house; get yard cleared; keep up with this list book; get together with friends; go apple picking)

List #3
List #3: 30 Days of Lists

(The list: kind, generous, nice, a worrier, loves her kids, talkative, creative, funny, a bookworm, a nerd, bossy, controlling, a perfectionist, friendly but shy)

List #4
List #4: 30 Days of Lists

(The list: go for a drive by myself with the windows down and/or the radio turned loud; take a nap; escape into a book; call my mom; play Tetris, browse Facebook or otherwise procrastinate; fold laundry upstairs; get a drink at Starbucks)

List #7
List #7: 30 Days of Lists

(The list: a spoonful of ice cream, a cookie, Wheat Thins, cheese, a glass of milk)

This is turning out to be a fun way to capture a little bit about me right now. It's something I look forward to working on, and it doesn't take long to complete. I created the 4x6 pages in advance, and then decorate as much or as a little as I'm in the mood for that day. I usually read the prompt in the morning and think about it during the day, then make my list in the evening when the boys go to bed.

It's not too late to join -- click below to learn more:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simple Things Catch-Up

I have a number of projects I want to get caught up on, including my Simple Things photos. For the most part, I've continued taking the photos, but I need to collect all the weeks and write up my notes. I recently found these three Simple Things from the spring.

Simple Things 11
Simple Things 11

The early blooms of Spring. Hyacinths are among my favorite for their lovely fragrance and happy spring colors.

Simple Things 12
Simple 12

A bad photo, given the bedroom lighting and their constant movement in the midst of playing, but I love what this photo captures anyway -- taking it easy on a Sunday morning, with time for silly play together with their fuzzy pals. I loved watching them tumble and tackle on the bed while laughing at everything. A happy start to a Sunday morning.

Simple Things 13
Palm Sunday. Making simple palm crosses the way my Grandpa Joe taught me many years ago. Thinking about the story of Easter, the days of Holy Week ahead. Somehow between the palm crosses and his prediction that it always rains on Good Friday, I think about my Grandpa often during this week.

Participating in "The Simple Things" with Rebecca Cooper at Simple as That.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Simple Things

I've fallen off track in collecting my weekly "Simple Things" photos, but I'm going to pick up and get back on track. I really like the idea of one photo telling a simple story from our week, and I think the collection of 52 photos at the end of the year will be a treasure.

So, here's my latest Simple Thing photo. Well, make that two photos. They are a before and after view, and I can't decide yet which one I want to select.

On Friday afternoon we invited a friend to our house for a play date. The boys were so excited, they had to wait outside to watch for his mom to drive up. Robby even made a welcome sign to hang on the front door.
I think it was a happy play date, judging by the number of toys strewn across the floor in the playroom and living room. 
Simple - 7/27/12 b

Working full time, I don't often get to arrange play dates for the boys, but when we finally do plan one, it makes all of us very happy to spend some time with our friends.

Participating in "The Simple Things" with Rebecca Cooper at Simple as That.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Take Twelve - March

Late last night I finished my third page for the "Take Twelve" challenge series presented by Ella Publishing Co.

For January and February -- one weekday and one weekend day -- I just used the 12 photos to show the progression of our day. For March, I decided to change up the plan a bit. Since my birthday is in March, I made my "Take Twelve" about me, instead of just what we did that day. I took pictures of some of my daily habits and chores, as well as details like what I wore and where I went, and along the way just snapped pictures of things I liked. At the end of the day, as I looked through my photos, I decided to make my March Take Twelve simply about things that are making me happy right now, for any reason. I like that this way still gives a glimpse of our day and our lives right now, but with a little twist from the last two months.
"Take Twelve"  - March

I used papers and elements from assorted packages from Crystal Wilkerson since her colors and patterns always fit with my idea of happy. 

I'm looking forward to April 12th. It'll be nearly spring break time, and I'm curious to see what story my 12 photos will tell then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making Leprechaun Mischief

As a child I was fascinated by the idea of tiny leprechauns living among the clover. Now I find joy in inviting the leprechauns to make mischief in our home on the night before St. Patrick's Day. My kids share my fascination and are thrilled to discover the mischief the leprechauns make. They have even set traps to try to catch a leprechaun and his gold, but alas, the little men are too quick!

Naturally if leprechauns are visiting, our Christmas elf, Sprinkles, would want to join in the fun and get a chance to check in on the boys. Here's a peek at the mischief we enjoyed last year when Sprinkles teamed up with the leprechauns to cause mayhem in our home:
Elf's Visit on St. Patrick's Day
Want to join the leprechaun fun? 
Here are a few ideas for making leprechaun mischief in your home:
  • Use food coloring to turn the milk green.
  • Use food coloring to tint the toilet water.
  • Use a food coloring pen to color the sandwich bread for lunch.
  • Cut shamrock shapes out of the waffles for a breakfast surprise.
  • Sprinkle sparkly "leprechaun magic" (aka confetti) about the house and yard as evidence of their visit.
  • Make a few tiny hand and foot prints with green markers (think tile floors, light switch plates, or the metal door frame for easy clean-up).
  • Color or write notes on the mirrors from the leprechauns with green markers. 
  • Hang green party streamers across doorways or wrap it around chairs, banisters, etc.
  • Hide blocks, tennis balls or coins inside shoes. 
  • Mix things up -- turn over a chair, mismatch the shoes or socks, pull open the dresser drawers, turn jackets inside-out.
If you have leprechauns who visit your home, be sure to share their mischief in the comments.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Simple Things 10

A simple pot of sauce on Sunday.
Simple 10

Whenever I make a pot of tomato sauce, particularly on a Sunday, I feel like my grandmother, my Nanny Gin, is near. She passed away 12 years ago, but when I make a pot of sauce, I feel a connection to her and to her traditions of loving her family and gathering them together for a delicious meal. This connection is made stronger by the fact that the table we gather around is the same table she had in her kitchen.

We enjoyed this sauce last Sunday over pasta, and ate by candlelight, just because. The sauce, the candlelight, the table, the meal -- all simple things made special.

Participating in "The Simple Things" with Rebecca Cooper at Simple as That.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Simple Things 9

A Friday night dinner at the diner. This guy loves his "feast" at the diner -- scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, toast, and home fries. He makes egg sandwiches with the toast, dips his bacon into the syrup, and picks at every last bit of egg on the plate. He lets me share the home fries, and will often give Joey a piece of bacon. A simple meal. A simple joy watching him enjoy it with such concentration.
Simple 9

Participating in "The Simple Things" photographs on Rebecca Cooper's blog, Simple as That. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Simple Things 8

I am still trying to narrow down my one Simple Thing for this week to one photo + story. So for now, I'm going to record both.

On Thursday, I had the day off with the boys and we had a morning playdate with one of their school friends to ride bikes at the beach. Incredibly, it was about 60 degrees in February in Connecticut. The boys were delighted to race around on their bikes again, and I enjoyed catching up with a mom friend.
Simple 8a
On the way home, we got sandwiches from our favorite deli to eat at home. They had some ninja play, then we were off to another playdate at a playground with another school friend. Tired out, we stopped for smoothies, then watched the latest episode of Ninjago the three of us together on my bed. All in all, a pretty perfect day with my little guys.

On Saturday, while my little ninjas/jedis/knights were busy playing downstairs with Daddy, I got to enjoy some creative time upstairs in my craft room (aka my bedroom). Just nice to spend some quiet, crafty time alone.
Simple 8b

Participating in "The Simple Things" photographs on Rebecca Cooper's blog, Simple as That. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Simple Things 7 | A Simple Saturday

We wanted to take advantage of the mild February day with a walk at the beach for the four of us. Our dog must have thought it was a good day for the beach too, since she insisted on getting into the car, much to the boys' delight.
Indy Pup is 10 years old and has diabetes, and in the past, has not always been the most obedient walker. But Saturday she was well-behaved and seemed to take delight in all there was to explore at the beach. So much so that we took her back on Sunday. You could tell she was happy, and as Joey said, she had "her smiley face on."
It was a good trip for all of us with simple things to enjoy -- climbing the rocks, throwing stones into the water, and drawing in the sand. 
Simple Things 7c
Such a simple way to enjoy a Saturday for everyone, even Indy Pup.

Participating in "The Simple Things" photographs on Rebecca Cooper's blog, Simple as That. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

February Take 12

I did it! I finished my second "Take Twelve" layout and did it in less than a week after taking the photos, just in time for Ella Publishing Co.'s deadline for sharing.

February 12, 2012
Papers, tab label and heart are all from "A New Day" by Sweet Shoppe Designs,
offered as a free download from the Ella Publishing Co. blog two years ago.
It was helpful to work on this with a deadline. I may not be 100% sure about this layout, but it's done now, and it makes me happy to see a second set of 12 photos capturing our life in 2012.

(Hmm, just noticed that download was offered on February 17, 2010 -- exactly two years ago. Thank you Ella for the inspiration to "take twelve" and the previous download to make the layout easier!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Notes

In this past week leading up to Valentine's Day, our family has been writing little "I love..." notes. Inspired by this Family Gratitude Project from Becky Higgins, we have been working on our own Family LOVE project.

Each evening when the boys are ready for bed, we have taken turns writing in something that we love. In addition to the LOVE in the middle, the lower left corner has our names and the year. I printed it at home and trimmed it to 8.5x11. I really should have used a larger piece of cardstock, but I did not expect that my little 4-year-old was going to want to write ALL his own notes, even the very long "I love blueberry pancakes."

Some things I loved about this project:
  • My 4-year-old's determination to write his own notes and his pride in knowing how to spell "love."
  • My 6-year-old's look of happiness when I read the notes to him last night. I think it made him feel special to hear the little things my husband and I had written down.
  • That we found a way to add little extra sweetness to a holiday that has little in the way of traditions other than cards and candy.
I can't wait to finish it and hang it, and I definitely plan to do it again next year, though on a bigger piece of paper!

Wishing you a sweet Valentine's Day!

Simple Things :: 6

A coffee at work is always a welcome simple pleasure during the day, but recently I have been enjoying the simple addition of cinnamon to my latte. Somehow a few sprinkles of that spice makes me stop and savor my latte all the more.

Simple Things 6

 Participating in "The Simple Things" weekly photography series on Rebecca Cooper's blog, Simple as That.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Take 12 - Better Late Than Never!

I took 12 photos on January 12, and now I have finally made my layout with the photos! Good thing, since February 12 is right around the corner, and the Ella Publishing Co.'s "2012 Take 12 Project" is one of the projects I have decided I want to stick with this year.


I started out with Cathy Zielske's "InstaLove" free template, which had six square photo spaces, and I doubled the spaces. I like how this "take 12" photo challenge helped me to capture a snapshot of an ordinary day, and doing this challenge 11 more times will add some great layers to my collection of pages this year.

For the February "take 12," I'm planning to focus on 12 Valentine-y things around our house. I'm also going to take one photo of the four of us together every month. I did our family photo every month in 2011, but this year I'd like to get more creative with our group shots -- maybe our shadows or our feet -- just generally more thought-out poses than the many squish-our-heads-together-and-hold-out-the-camera shots we took.

I'm so happy to have my January page completed, and am looking forward to joining Ella for the 2012 Take 12 Project! 

You can learn more about Take 12 here:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Party: Tradition & Creativity

In my family, the Super Bowl is considered a holiday. Not on the par of Christmas or Easter, but certainly up there with New Year's or Fourth of July. Since 1969, my father's family has been gathering on Super Bowl Sunday for a party. It started as a small gathering of aunts, uncles and cousins, and over the years it grew to include grandchildren and great grandchildren, second and third cousins, in-laws and friends. For my brother and I, we have never known a Super Bowl game without a family Super Bowl party.

Now for 2012, my brother and cousins and I have picked up the baton to carry on the tradition. We're officially the third generation to host the party, since our parents had taken over hosting responsibilities from their parents several years ago, so we're calling it "Super Bowl Gen 3.0." In this age of social media and mobile connectivity, we're using a Shutterfly Share site for RSVPs and food sign-ups, and I have been busy roaming Pinterest for ideas. Here are a couple of things we'll be enjoying at our party.

A little banner to greet guests at the door:
Super Bowl - welcome
Thanks to Living Locurto for the free printables. I did a little cut-and-paste to include "2012" and our "3.0" for the middle one.

Garland decorations using the printables again:

Super Bowl Snacks:
These things were all over Pinterest for Christmas as Reindeer Noses or Rudolph Noses (and I see them popping up again for Valentine's Day and Easter), and they were a big hit with my family. So I thought why not change up the colors and re-invent them as a Super Bowl snack? I'm calling them "Coughlin's Crunchies" in honor of the Giants' head coach, who was also the coach for Boston College while my husband and I were students there.

Super Bowl Bingo Cards -- a free printable from Studio DIY:
(Photo from Studio DIY)

Here's to a happy Super Bowl day!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Simple Things :: 5

While I was taking my oldest to school on Tuesday morning, he noticed the clouds were in an unusual striped pattern. I love when my boys happen to observe something different or interesting in their everyday surroundings -- that they too sometimes take a moment to recognize the "simple things."
Simple Things 5

I snapped this photo a little later on my way into my office. While I enjoyed noticing these unusual clouds too, for me, the photo captures the sweet recollection of Robby being the one who pointed them out to me.

Participating in "The Simple Things" photographs on Rebecca Cooper's blog, Simple as That.