04.17.2014 / nod favorites


gold lamp | ice cream cone art | classic car art | ice cream cone pillow | acrylic bookcart | dog sheets | toy box | girl pillow | hello pillow |

there’s no hiding that i’m a huge land of nod fan (remember when they came to my house?).  i love their products, i love the brand and i love the people.  i always look forward to nod catalogs, every month, because they read more like design magazines and the styling is just that good.  i also don’t limit their products to children’s rooms or spaces because many of their pieces work great in any room of the home, my living room being a testament to this.  i’ve been spying so many great products, including all of the oh joy for nod goodness, that i just had to share a few of my recent favorites.

p.s. more on my home featured in Nod’s Real Families

02.11.2014 / Ella, Age 11



little big girl – -  that is who you are at this very moment.  caught between the two different worlds that are seemingly connected.  like the north pole grabbing hands with the sandy beach or the ocean washing over the desert.  that business of wanting to grow up, and yet still loving to play.  can i tell you a secret dear daughter and little friend?  not the secret about growing up being over rated, which isn’t much of a secret at all, anyways.  but the one i haven’t mentioned yet, is that it’s ok to still play.  not many will tell you this, or have even figured this out for themesevles, but, the truth is, you will be a better, most creative, and more balanced grown up if you don’t loose the art of play.  don’t let that brilliant and interesting imagination of yours wander off into the seriousness we grownies are now being smothered by.  god gave you that wild imagination of yours, and the gift of play, not just to be used and then tidied and tucked away after 10.  no!  he gave it to you to use each and every day of your life.  the first 10 years are just the beginning.  they are the ones filled with games, and adventures, and far away places. days where you climb trees and eat ice cream covered pizza, for dinner, with a squirrel and a mermaid queen all before breakfast.  these periwinkle days are the ones that will color your tomorrows.   so go ahead and start your coloring.  and, while you’ll want to stay in the lines and make a pretty picture, i urge you to forget all about those pesky bold lines and make a big crazy mess all over that paper.  the more colors the better.

dear want to be big girl… i know you so well.  i know you better than you know yourself.  i wanted my way into big girlness my whole little girl life.  and, i got there faster than i figured.  only i never really got what i thought i wanted.  i never really considered that i might miss all of the good, magical, wonder-filled things that little girls get to do (this is why my bike makes me so happy now, you see).  your big girls days will come, no doubt, but i’m wishing for you that you won’t, just yet, let your little girl days go.  play school.  play store.  play mermaids (just don’t put my jewelry in the pool for your treasure, please) until your properly pruned.

you can still play in makeup and talk about what you want to wear.  yes, that is fun and part of the playing, too.  just pinky promise that you won’t forget to travel in your imagination from here to there.  because, when you are older, as you will certainly be, you’ll want to remember how to get from there to here.   and, i promise you now, that in still engaging in play you are mapping your way.

+ you are my little baker.  apparently all those years of watching giada and nigella have paid off.  although, you seem to be a fan girl of the pioneer woman.
+ you are a jr. mommy.  thank you.  thank you.
+ you’ve started stealing my clothes (and coat) this year.  i’m just happy you think my clothes are cool enough
+ you love to ask really deep and, of course, spiritual questions right before bed.  good timing!
+ you have a new love for volleyball and sports in general.   i never knew my girl would be an athlete and so competitive.
+ you’re favorite way to study is to play school and teach your class
+ instead of, “can we go to mcdonald’s?” it’s more like “can we go to starbucks and get a mocha?”
+   you eat your swedish pancakes with powdered sugar
+ your favorite movie is grace unplugged
+ dork diaries are on your nightstand along with ruby redfort and peter pan
+ making a snack now consists of baking cupcakes, cookies or concocting smoothies
+  you skype with your cousins for hours
+ you still make up songs and i hope you never stop
+ you curl your eyelashes every morning with a pink eyelash curler

02.07.2014 / valentines cards



do you make your own valentines or do you buy them?  while, i would love to share with you some brilliant crafty cards i came up with on a whim, i am one of those that buys kung fu panda and hello kitty cards at my local walgreens.  we are usually traveling during february and just don’t have the time to bother.  i’ve been spying some really cute ideas on the interwebs that don’t look that difficult or time consuming and i think we just might attempt to make our valentines cards this year.

here are a few of my favorites :


lets start by saying that if making cards is too much, how about making envelopes?  this might be the winner idea for me.


glow stick valentines!


i spy valentines printables (shown above).  oh, and another cute printable here.

and, valentines photo puzzle (as shown above).

if you’ve seen some great ones, share the link with us in the comments section.  love day is one week away!


i was hoping to do some crafting around christmas time with my littles.  while i would love to do something elaborate and completely original, the truth is, i’m way more crafty in my mind than i am in real life.  and, bring kids into the mix and things always get a bit tricky.  so i decided easy was the way to go, for them and for me.

i was thinking snow globes or pom poms would be fun and took to the interwebs to narrow it down.  instead of my normal google or pinterest searching, i took the bing challenge and tried Bing Smart Search .    i hopped onto the misters computer and got a little carried away in my searching.  i have to say, i loved the color and visual look in a big way.  you don’t have to leave the app or program you are using or even open a browser.  you just swipe and type.

so, snow globes are certainly more christmasy but they also involved a lot of supplies and supervision…..pom poms clearly were a better fit.

pom poms via la la lovely

i loved the idea of making a pom pom garland to garnish the fireplace with (they are so cute!) :

bing smart search 2 via la la lovely

after ooing and ahhing, i then concluded that perhaps ornaments where the way to go since it is christmas, after all.  and, let’s face it, a few ornaments are a lot easier than an entire garland.

bing smart search 3 via la la lovely

i immediately saw so many great images (without having to click on an “images” link) that gave me a clear idea of what i was going for.  i absolutely love how you scroll from left to right on Smart Search  versus the usual up and down.  you get a glimpse and grouping of images, posts, and videos followed by many links on the subject (see image below).  again, so great visually.

i had seen some pom poms this season that required pom pom makers.  i didn’t really have time to order one and didn’t want to mess with it.  so i kept scrolling (sideways) through the search and came across a post from the lovely lark and guess what?

bing smart search via la la lovely

this is all we needed to make our pom poms  - – yarn + scissors.


while i started with the idea of a pom pom garland and moved on to ornaments, we actually ended up using these as gift tags, which can in turn be used as ornaments by the person who receives the gift.   and, luke has been making these into necklaces to hand out to his friends.  this turned out to be a really great craft for us because my older two can make these on their own and are doing so daily (maybe i’ll we will end up making that garland, after all).

the pom poms are a lot of fun, and, honestly, i had just as much fun searching on Smart Search (what can i say, i’m an an internet nerd – and hey, search a city … i love how they display the results for cities).  i’m curious, have you tried bing’s smart search?

click through for a step by step, pom pom making, photo instructions

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12.06.2013 / liam brave, age 4

liam brave age 4

liam brave age 4   liam brave age 4

liam brave age 4

four.  i’m not sure about four.  four is that year where munchkins turn to (little) men.  somewhere in the year of four, you go to bed one night a baby, and wake up the next morning a boy.  and, the thing is, you never really know which night that might be.  you, though, liam have always been somewhat of a munchkin and a man.  my old soul. words of wisdom, kindness and understanding, only known by those who have lived life, seem to float out with ease in a mini pitch.  while, i know your voice will change with age, i pray your tone never will.

+you’re favorite food is spaghetti and pepperoni pizza, besides chocolate, of course.
+you ask if everything has coconut in it (which you are very against).
+all you seem to talk about these days are four wheelers.
+you say the most hilarious things like”you just got owned like a dog dog on a bun with mustard.”
and you tell me, “i’ll marry you everyday, cause your my wife.” #liambravesays
+you make sure we never miss “best part + and worst part of the day” at dinnertime.  and, everyday your answer is :  “the best part of my day was going to gommy’s house” and if you haven’t been to her house, than the worst part of your day, obviously, is “i didn’t get to go to gommy’s house + ride 4 wheelers.”
+you’ve started growling like a cheetah, which actually sounds more like a snake hiss.  i’m not sure?  but, it is your favorite response when asked a question.
+you ask me if you can pray for me, if i’m having a hard day.
+you’re favorite show at the moment is peter rabbit (i love this)
+you’re very insistent on picking out your own clothes, more particular than most girls, and you always want to wear jeans and your tiger shirt.  or, anything that you think makes you look like a worker (as you say).
+you learned to jump off the diving board + swim without water wings this summer.
+you are slightly obsessed with duck dynasty + have some how picked up some sort of twang accent.  i’m puzzled.
+you love going to chicago.  i think you will be my little traveler.
+you think your the boss (you kind of are) and you have no problem speaking for our entire family (like when the fireman came to our house – burnt food – and you answered the door and proceeded to introduce the entire family to the fire-chief).
+this year you asked santa for shoes + a stuffed animal reindeer.
+you’re favorite book is iggy peck architect.

bravey, although you are sandwiched in the middle, i hope you know how much you stand out.  you are one of a kind.  a kind that oozes kindness and curiosity, which makes for the best personality.  you’re little arms uplift my tired ones and your little prayers help me to have big faith.  i hope you will grow to know that you can always count on my arms and prayers too.  lets always offer this to each other.

happy birthday, liam brave, age 4.

more birthday posts here.


christmas is for kids, yes?  for a couple of years i’ve felt in the middle of it.  i refuse to totally grow up, which basically means i’m dedicated to using my imagination.  yet, i feel like i have grown up a lot these past couple of years, mostly in ways i thought i’d never have to.  in my journey to stay forever young, i sometimes look to christmas as a free pass back to childhood.  anyone else?

well, yesterday, with two toddlers (and a gommy) in tow i went the mall (not sure when i will realize this is not a bright idea).  we hadn’t planned to see santa but we did.  after a long line and being told no photos with your iPhone, i got lost in the moment.  and, that is exactly what it was . . . a moment.  a fleeting piece of time that is gone just as fast as it came.  but, i was in it.  i didn’t capture santa and the boys on instagram, but i did capture rocco’s big blue eyes growing even bigger.  and, i recorded, in my mind, exactly, the way he said, “santa.”  i scribbled on my heart liam’s christmas list, spoken in munchkin, which consisted of shoes and and a stuffed animal reindeer.  just as quickly, i jotted down how rocco immediately followed liam’s lead and requested shoes too (i think the whole shoes thing is hilarious).  it wasn’t all magic.  there was hitting, there was crying and there was full out melt downs (almost including me).  but, it was all mine.  the thing is, somewhere between the crying (over not buying my 4 year old jeans at abercrombie – yes, seriously), and the magical moments with santa, i think i may have dropped my ticket to the north pole.  i’m just along for the ride now.  and i’ll happily accompany my littles.

if you are looking for a few, non- toys r us,  ideas for your littles this christmas here are my favorites :

1.  mizy.me do/ such a sweet little handmade doll.

2.  schleich safari truck / my kids adore schleich animals.  we saw this schleich safari truck at the zoo this past summer and it immediately went on our christmas list.

3.  shrinky dinks charms + trinkets craft kit / did anyone else love shrinky dinks as much as i did (ahem, do)?  fun for all ages and the designs on this set are super rad to boot.

4.  inflatable tiger head / i might be ordering 3 of these.

5.  cottage dollhouse / i’m seriously in love with this dollhouse (see how cool it is here) + the family that lives in it. 

6.  whale puzzle / puzzles are always fun, especially when they form a pretty blue whale.

7.  iggy peck architect / we always do a book for each child.  this is my fave book to recommend.

8.  scottish terrier tic-tac-toe / you’ll never want to use x’s and o’s again.

9.  unicorn slippers / i don’t know what to say except someone buy these!

i’m also a big fan of this joke a day set, camper tent,  magic set,  toy cash register, + a monchhichi, of course.

more of my fave toys for littles here.

11.12.2013 / la la loving / littles

la la loving shared room

a shared room that looks like this.  p.s. it’s also an ikea hack.

tea party in the vents

this little tea party set up by rosie winstead’s daughter for her Borrower friends.  i used to stuff notes in our vents for the Little’s when i was little.   so naturaly, i love this and have a sudden urge to set up house in our vents.

la la loving imagination

these words that every child should live by.

la la loving constellation flashlight

a DIY constellation flashlight.  brilliant.

la la loving plolar bear mittens

these mittens (for me or my littles). and these too.

la la loving colorful donuts

colorful donuts.  while i’m about healthy snacks.  lets be honest.  this is what the kids want.

what are you loving for your littles lately?

11.08.2013 / cupcake garland

cupcake liner garland via la la lovely

how about a simple DIY for your weekend?

do you remember the trophy cupcakes and parties book i blogged about?  i’m still loving it.  the cupcakes, the crafts and all of the cuteness.

this week we made the cupcake liner garlands featured in the book.  i’m kind of excited about all of the crafty things you can do with cupcakes liners.

cupcake liner garland 3 via la la lovely

all you need to make the garland is:

+cupcake liners (the pattern options are endless)
+string / twine
+a needle

cupcake liner garland 2 via la la lovely

the string goes through the needle and the needle (with string) through the liners.  be sure to leave about 12 inches on each end for hanging.  you can hang the garland in a traditional swag but i think i may hang ours from the ceiling straight down.

and while we are chatting cupcakes and crafts and all things sweet . . .

if you are in the chicagoland area, i’m co-hosting a kids baking workshop and book signing with trophy cupcakes at the land of nod on november 16th.

it’s going to be a super fun event for kids + grownies a like.  i’d love meet you!

trophy cupcakes + la la lovely at Land of Nod

for jennifer shea (trophy cupcakes author) 10 top craft essentials keep reading .  . .

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