Halloween 2014

Halloween this year was so much fun! Henry was totally into it, and I was determined to squeeze in lots of fall fun, especially outside while we could. (Let’s just pause for a sec and recognize that the weather this fall was amazing…ahhh). We hit up various pumpkin patches/place areas – three to be exact, one of them twice, painted pumpkins for the mantel, went to the park district’s Halloween party, carved pumpkins and trick or treated twice (once at downtown businesses the day before Halloween).

Painting pumpkins happened twice, as I had five and I thought I’d split up the “time wasting” activity (more like 10 minutes) – yet I think the clean up took as long as the painting process. At least my little artist loved it, and still points up at the pumpkins he painted proudly.  Henry was able to wear his costume three times this year, which is always nice since a. time/money/thought that went into it b. he looked so darn cute. I decided he was going to be Mickey Mouse, since he’s obsessed with the show at the moment and I could pull it off pretty easily, and he was the cutest Mickey Mouse I ever did see. I think he loved it too.

A couple nights before Halloween we carved pumpkins and Henry couldn’t have been more excited or involved. I was a little surprised how much he helped (albeit slooooow help) scoop the pumpkins out and put the seeds in the bowl. He even wanted to help carve, which was interesting carving with a knife while he held onto my hand. He was so excited to carve Mickey into his pumpkin (he has the best excited face with his mouth open, that he’s been doing for several things lately and I love it, see pic below) and was genuinely scared of Ryan’s “scary face” pumpkin – though he still loved it. I had to carry him up the stairs every night since “scary face” was right outside the front door (I didn’t mind the tight snuggles). Such a character, my Henry.

Of course Halloween was really cold and windy, despite the week leading up to it being super nice, but Henry braved the weather and made it to several houses. Henry had a special treat and was able to trick or treat with both of his grandmas who also braved the weather for him. The neighbor across the street was Minnie Mouse – how perfect! – and they trick or treated together for a bit, cutest pair ever. Henry has LOVED the Halloween candy, and I can’t lie, I like it too since I’m not above bribing him with it (“if you take a nap, you can have a piece of candy when you wake up”. hey, it works. usually.)

With all the fun we had, of course I took tons of photos. Today I’m sharing just a smattering of them (though still a lot), from the pumpkin patch/play place where Henry picked out his “big pumpkin” (that we paid too much for, only to have it rot on the porch before we carved it and I had to go buy a replacement + another to carve without him noticing), carving the pumpkins and Halloween itself.

roping slide with dad slide with mom jump jump 2 horse ride corn maze corn maze 2 picking pumpkin picking up pumpkin with pumpkins cleaning pumpkin cleaning pumpkin 2 IMG_9388 IMG_9393 IMG_9390 IMG_9395 IMG_9398 IMG_9403 IMG_9405 IMG_9411 IMG_9426 IMG_9464 IMG_1760 IMG_1761 IMG_1766 sad mickey mad mickey

(he was a little tired of pictures)

IMG_9440 IMG_9447 IMG_9462 IMG_9463 IMG_9453 IMG_1769 IMG_1771 IMG_1774 IMG_9459


The only fall activity we haven’t done is eat caramel apples, though I’m hoping to still make some at home – pretty much just because I could really go for one 🙂 Leading up to Halloween we watched the Curious George Halloween special one million times, and the day after Halloween we had to switch to Christmas movies (since there’s not much out there for Thanksgiving) – and we’ve subsequently watched the Christmas Curious George and the three Mickey Mouse Christmas movies one million times already and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. We’ve created a monster. I have to admit, it puts me into the Christmas spirit early this year – I’m not sure I can hold out until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate and get the tree.

Hope your Halloween was just as fun and magical!



Baby Bump #2 | 29 Weeks

So I’m 30 weeks tomorrow – last one before there’s only a single digit week countdown! Eeeeeeeeeek.

week 29


Also also – I need a haircut. It’s like Kardashian length up in here with none of the (professional) styling. One is scheduled for Saturday, finally.

Even though there’s still 10 weeks left, I feel like it’s the fastest 10 weeks of the year – Thanksgiving is going to be here in a matter of weeks, and then it’s the quickest four weeks ever until Christmas, then it’s the New Year, and then it’s baby time. Oh baby. 


Hutch Makeover

Finally! Finally it’s done (um, eight months after I bought it?) and finally I’m sharing (six months later after I finished it…sorry!) This hutch was a beast to refinish and at times I wanted to forget it existed, which is probably why it took so long. And winter, there’s that, too. And only having an hour or two at a time to work on it. BUT, it did get done. And I’m so happy.

before and after

I was going to have a reveal post, and a detailed post, but considering it’s taken me six months to take pictures, we’ll just condense it.


The condition of the hutch was not good when I bought it. Well, it was functioning fine, but the paint job was 1. ugly 2. awful. It was peeling, cracking and had drips. So I started by scraping and sanding and scraping and patching and sanding. But there was still paint chipping off, especially by the moldings on the drawers. The last thing I wanted was my new paint job chipping off so I decided to strip it. Let’s just say I wish I hadn’t. It was awful, and I couldn’t get everything off completely, so it was an uneven surface all over. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. I did the best I could then gave up. More sanding didn’t help much either so I decided to coat the uneven parts with spackle (I used MH Ready Patch – and used about 1/2 of the quart, which is quite a lot) and then sanded it down. I did a couple applications (spackle, then sand) – aka spackled the crap out of it – and I was pretty pleased with my solution, it was a pretty even surface! Finally I could prime then paint it. I used Rustoleum’s enamel paint in gloss, which I love because it’s self-leveling and is a hardy finish so I wouldn’t have to put a poly on.

1st backing

To the back of the shelves I added paper since the previous paint job was so drippy and it saved me time sanding/stripping. First I used a gorgeous floral paper from Paper Source, but it just didn’t live up to my vision. You couldn’t really see any of the detail of the paper, and after I already glued it on I discovered that even though the pattern was the same, the sheen of the gold was different – which you can see in the photo above (the upper right four were a shiny gold). Wah wah.


Then I found this bamboo wrapping paper at Home Goods and I loved it, and how it tied into the navy blue of the rug in the family room right next to the hutch. Perhaps the greek key trim on the hutch and the bamboo look clash and are from different time periods, but whatever, I like it. The darker background makes the stuff on the shelves pop more, too.


after_cup pulls

So, the hardware – I’m in love. I searched a good long time before I found cheaply priced cup pulls that also had cheaply priced knobs I liked in the same finish so I could be sure they matched. I did NOT want to add spray painting brand new hardware to my to-do list for this project. I ended up buying the Giagni cup pulls and cone knobs from Build.com in satin brass. I just spray painted all the existing hinges gold, which matched pretty well – and you can’t see much of them.


While the stuff on the shelves is easier to see without the doors on, I love the details on the doors so I put them back on. I replaced three panes of glass as they were super old school and bubbled out around the panes while the 4th had been replaced and flat. Instead of using the old wood trim to hold the panes in – I wasn’t about to hammer a bunch of nails around all the glass I just bought, no thanks – I used a bead of silicone around the edges, and it holds tight. The doors are old and I added another layer of paint to them, so they stick but I don’t use them all the time. And because they stick some of the paint has come off where they rub, but you can’t see it unless they’re open. Ah vell.

after_desk area

One of my favorite features of the hutch is the secret desk area that folds down. It looks like a drawer – but no! It’s a desk! Though to be honest I don’t really use it down much. Ok, fine, I’ve never used it as a desk. Maybe some day. I love the door in there too, though I haven’t figured out what to keep in there – something super secret, but I don’t know what yet. Probably just candy to hoard from the boys. I spray painted it a dusty pink/lilac. Just because.

after_too long screw

Also, a tip/solution: the screws that came with the pulls was too long for the width of all the drawer faces – but a smaller one was too short – so I added a couple small washers that filled the gap perfectly.

And that’s it! It is done, finally. I’m super happy with it, and haven’t even filled the drawers and cabinets yet! Though I try to black out the period of time I spent working on it.

after_from side







I totally had a close up photo of the greek key trim at the top but it’s disappeared – boo. That, along with the already said super spy secret desk area and the panes on the glass doors, are my favorite parts. Also, styling shelves is not easy. They look fine, and I’m pretty lazy so they probably won’t change for a while, but I’m sure they could use some help. I probably also need to put stuff on top of the cabinet as well – though super hard to dust up there? (and therefore will almost never happen?) Maybe my dream of collecting cake plates will catch on. White paint makes everything better, no?


Baby Bump #2 | 27 Weeks

27 weeks


I have grown a basketball, officially. Not that the last couple weeks weren’t basketball-ish, but this week it’s definite, all I feel like is “basketball”. Ryan has remarked how huge my belly is already, several times, says how he can’t believe I still have so long to go. I know he’s not saying it meanly, just stating a fact that still surprises him the second time around, but thaaaaaaanks. We went out the other weekend and let’s not discuss how many outfits I had to try on to find one that not only flattered but fit the basketball. So far the weight gain is about 20 pounds (perhaps 21, but let’s not get too technical), which is gaining about 15 pounds in 11 weeks, which better slow down. Or I should stop eating donuts weekly? And I was doing so good.

One big to-do was checked off the list this past week, painting the nursery. I’m so glad for that to be done, though I do still want to paint the trim (yuck). I used Valspar Signature paint for the first time (almost sprang for their new Reserve line but didn’t), and I have to tell you, I really really enjoyed the paint. It was true one-coat coverage, which has never happened to me before. Though I did prime two walls that were like a “woah, blue”, and so it was painting a light color over a light color, but still. Just FYI. I’m super happy with the color, it’s a very soft mint, and it’s bright and airy and calm and I can’t wait to get it all pulled together.

Baby boy has been moving a lot this week, (as I’ve read this is one of this most active weeks, he’s so by-the-books already — let’s aim for being on-time now, huh?), and to be honest I’m at the point where it’s good that he’s moving (because it means everything is A-OK in there) but yet I don’t want him to move because he’s just getting so big that movements are just so much and are getting quite uncomfortable. Sorry, kid. But I still love you.

But all in all, things are good! Other than my total exhaustion, all the time, but what else is new? Tomorrow I go in for my glucose test – fingers and toes crossed!





Baby Bump #2 | 25 weeks

Yes! All caught up – through all the weekly photos I’ve taken.

week 25

Henry really is the sweetest and I can’t wait to see him as a big brother. Hopefully that continues once the baby is here. Though if the way he is with Beck is any indication, he’ll be super duper sweet with kisses and hugs and make your heart melt, and in the next minute you have to tell him not to sit on the dog…

Here’s the two photo collages showing the belly progress thus far:

first collage

week collage_2-01


Unrelated: I finally took photos of the hutch I made over! Now to edit the photos and write a post…


Baby Bump #2 | Weeks 20 & 23

Well isn’t this pregnancy just cruising along. Still playing catch up with these maternity book pages though – I will be 26 weeks tomorrow, which means it’s time to start kicking it in gear to get things done.

week 20

week 23-01

I’m so excited to decorate another nursery, it’s one of the best parts about having a baby – amiright?! This time I think I’m going with a light mint green, black, white and wood color scheme, and using some geometric shapes around the nursery. It’s not a theme but a direction. I have in fact made up my mind on the color of the walls (I refuse to look at other colors lest I go back into indecision world), but I first need to prime two walls and paint some trim (and actually buy the paint, I’m trying to wait for a sale) before I can actually paint. I need to get started before I get too big. So yea, the trim, ugh. The trim around the door, trim around the closet and the closet doors are totally an off-white, while the baseboards are white. Is it necessary to paint them now? No, but if it’s not done now, I don’t know when it will be, and it’s driving me crazy. But I’m super, super excited for the nursery to come together. I’m in love with the rug and the vintage dresser I found (in such good condition), and am trying to create some art. I’ll have to share something soon.


White Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Pretzel Bark

Perhaps the longest recipe name ever, but it’s descriptive so….ok.

white chocolate bark

Look at those colors! Maybe the prettiest bark I ever did see.

This is one of those non-recipe recipes, but I do provide measurements in case you need a guideline.

White Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Pretzel Bark 
2 bags white chocolate chips
1/3 c. shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1/2 c. pretzels, broken
1/3 c. craisins
Line a cookie sheet with sides with wax paper (I used a 9×12 for thick bark; larger will just produce a thinner chocolate layer). Melt the white chocolate according to package directions, then pour and level in prepped cookie sheet. Sprinkle toppings over chocolate and lightly press down toppings to help secure in chocolate. Let the chocolate set on the counter or in the fridge for a couple hours until completely cooled and hardened; break/cut into pieces.
white chocolate bark 5
white chocolate bark 3
It’s a tasty as it is pretty. Creamy, sweet white chocolate, tart and salty.
This “recipe” is so forgiving, as any bark recipe is. It’s basically: melt chocolate, put yummy things on top, cool, break, eat. I wanted a thick chocolate base so I used two bags of chips and my smallest sheet pan, but either use less chocolate chips or a larger pan for a thinner base. The amount of the toppings is totally dependent on the size of the pan you use and how covered you want your chocolate to be – though too many toppings will not stick into the chocolate, eventually. The measurements I provided are pretty accurate to what I used, and after they were all on I lightly pressed down on the top-most toppings to help secure them in the chocolate. Some still got loose when I was cutting it up, but I’m not ashamed to say I was then able to pour the leftovers into my mouth via the wax paper afterwards. Ok, so I’m maybe a little ashamed – the baby made me do it.
white chocolate bark 4
white chocolate bark 2
Almost too pretty to eat – but not quite. Just take a picture – it will last longer 🙂