Monday, July 21, 2014

Manor Monday {Floral Delight}

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful bridal shower in honor of Hubby's cousin and his lovely fiancé. And guess what, I walked away with this stunning centerpiece.

I never win, but my birthday date was the closest to the upcoming nuptials so the bouquet was mine!!! Aren't the roses scrumptious?

Hope your week is off to a great start. We are celebrating Hubby's birthday today and hopefully putting a tummy bug that has plagued the littles to an end. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Family Friday {May Recap}

I'm beginning to wade through the mounds of photos I took over my blogging break. So over the next few weeks I'll be focusing on recapping our goings & doings from May-July in hopes to be all caught up by the time August rolls around. 

Perhaps I should have titled this post, "Better late than never".

Mother's Day

Peanut's Last Day of Pre-K

Belle's Ballet Performance

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Want It Wednesday {Acrylic Barstools}

Our current kitchen barstools are functional and practical but totally miss the mark when it comes to style. In addition, their chunky white feet cover up the beautiful moldings we added during the kitchen facelift. Thankfully, the solution  is a few keystrokes away in the form of practical yet unobtrusive ghost barstools.


Not only do they look better, but they have a smaller footprint and without a back (unlike our current stools) they can tuck completely out of the way when not in use. And since a visual always helps, what's not to love about this kitchen!?!


I would snatch up a ghost chair for the kitchen desk too, but Finely's crate is currently occupying that space. I have a feeling there will be a vacancy soon enough though, as he prefers to sleep under the kitchen table more than anywhere else. And speaking of kitchen table, I still am at a loss on what to do with the chairs and I don't want to rush the decision so the beastly chairs remain for now. Happy Wednesday everyone! I'm off to pick up the littles from an overnight with YiaYia and Bopi!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Manor Monday {Meet Finley Kipper & Our Puppy Saga}

Before I get to the breaking news, I just want to say it feels great to be back to blogging. As much as I enjoyed the break, I missed chronicling all our home/family endeavors. 

June saw several changes in our house but none bigger than the addition of a new family member. 
Finley Kipper joined our family June 29th (Hubby & my 12th anniversary) and has been a joy ever since. I have to say we are all completely smitten with our fur baby.

Belle has wanted a dog for the past 3 years and took the goal to heart this past year. Peanut followed suit and before we knew it, the two of them were routinely demonstrating responsibility (as best an 8 & 5 year old can). With little M nearly potty trained and more self sufficient, now just seemed like the opportune time.

Our initial thought was to adopt a rescue dog around 1-2 years of age. I had no interest in raising a puppy and felt there were plenty of shelter dogs that could use loving homes. So one day after swim practice, the littles and I dropped in on a local shelter and began our search. We played with all size and breeds of dogs to get a feel for the right fit for our family. A week later, we returned to the shelter to play with a sweet Terrier mix and we feel in love.

Father's day morning we adopted Shep and brought him home believing we were on the path to a long and loving relationship. Sadly, those hopes were dashed 4 days into our adoption when our veterinarian  looked at us from across the exam table and delivered the bad news that the extremely aggressive behavior Shep demonstrated was a risk to our family. News that he had only delivered one other time in all his 30 years of practice. (If you care for the nitty gritty details about what went down at the vet's office, email me). Belle & I sobbed the remainder of the afternoon as Hubby packed up Sheppy's things and returned him to the shelter.

During this whole ordeal with Shep, we did manage to meet our Fairy Dogmother. A wonderful tech from the vets office who sent us numerous emails and helped guide us in our search for the right dog.
I became a neurotic, research machine reading up on every possible breed and kept track of which traits would or would not work for our lifestyle. We decided this time around we were going to go the puppy route as younger dogs generally have fewer socialization problems. In addition, we wanted to meet both the pup's parents as they are one of the best predictors of temperament. We worked to cross all our "T's" and dot all our "I's" this time around & make sure that this puppy did not have aggressive tendencies.

After countless hours of research we settled on a mini golden doodle, which is a cross between a golden retriever and toy poodle. Generally speaking puppies from a breeder often require months of waiting but as luck would have it, the breeder had a large litter of nine and selection spots still available. We didn't tell the littles anything about the pups and instead made an appointment for 5:30 on Saturday evening to meet with the breeder and view the facilities.

As we turned onto the gravel road that lead us to a 5 acre mini golden doodle farm we told Belle & Peanut that we were going to play with some puppies and have a look around their home. This DID NOT mean that any of the puppies would be coming home with us. As the visit went on, it become clearer and clearer that Finley was everything we were looking for in a family pet. He bonded individually to each of the littles and was just the right combination of docile & feisty.

But the deal was sealed after meeting Finley's mother. Lucy is her name and she has to be the world's sweetest, red haired golden retriever. Despite the mounds of hair she shed, I would have taken her home right then & there if she was available. Alas, the breeders were just as much in love with Lucy as we were and assured us that over the years her pups have carried her loyal & lovable nature.  So with that we signed on the dotted line & Finley Kipper joined our family.

I know several readers have requested updates on how our family responds to the demands of a puppy. If you are wondering anything in particular, feel free to leave a comment below & I'll be happy to do a follow up post to answer them. For now I'll leave you with shots from Finley's first week at home.

Finley's first night home. 

Playing chase with the boys

Monday, June 9, 2014

Manor Monday {Summer's Here}

Summer vacation is upon us and the chaos has just begun. Now that the littles are not quite-so-little anymore our summer schedule includes: baseball 2 x week, swim team 5 x week + meets 3 x week, tennis 1 x week, and golf 2 x week. This new routine comes with quite the learning curve and results in a lot less free time for yours truly. So please hang tight & I promise to be back to regularly posting soon as I have tons of family photos & updates to share along with our newly reworked "summer school" room.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Want It Wednesday {I Bought It Edition}

With summer vacation officially starting tomorrow I've been busy replenishing our summer staples. 

I an not wait to pack up our new Vineyard Vines cooler and use it for picnics, poolside & on the boat. After 8 years our old soft cooler was ready for retirement. 

Speaking of water. I could hardly believe my luck when I found these aqua dot beach towels (oh so Garnet Hill) at Costco for $10 a piece. Even though our club has towel service, my littles enjoy a jumbo towel to snuggle in on the drive home. 

Belle & I are both obsessed with the Trippin and Sippin Lilly print. I picked up 3 new tumblers for summer thirst quenching and since they were delivered one hasn't been out of arm's reach.

I usually drink ice coffee or ice tea but when happy hour rolls around I've found this delightful duo is addictively refreshing. 

While shopping at Target I snatched up this beachy sea urchin inspired bowl. We have quite a few summer BBQs on the calendar and this sure to come in handy. 

How about you, what fun summer staples have you shopped for lately? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Manor Monday {Great Expectations: Our New Garden}

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" ~Audrey Hepburn

Like most projects, our simple raised beds turned out to require a lot more time, labor, & money than we initially thought. In the end though, we have a wonderful place to marvel at the working of mother nature and teach responsibility, healthy habits & hard work to the littles.  

The garden plot was a former landscape bed that we cleared of a half dead burning bush, day lillies, hostas & a few other plantings that this still learning gardener can't identify. On Mother's Day weekend I asked Hubby to build two raised beds as my gift (the one weekend a year he must comply with my requests). We lined the bottom of the beds with cardboard and 800 lbs of soil!!! The plants went in and the beds were topped with straw. To cut down on weeds and help prevent mud, we surrounded the perimeter with pea gravel. 

The final step was to instal a garden fence to prohibit visiting vermin and make the garden a magical place to visit. There is just something about a gate to children that makes the place they are about to enter so special. Belle requested the aqua latch & spray painted it herself...not bad for her first painting project.

I painted the boxes, lattice and posts SW Urban Bronze to match our front door & driveway seating. Having the continuity of color throughout our outdoor space helps to unify everything and is easy on the eye.

As for the garden itself, the large bed measures 10'x10' and houses tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, zucchini, pole beans, mini cucumbers, broccoli, lettuce, kale, spinach & a sweet baby watermelon.

The second bed is our berry patch that measures 10'x 3'. Inside we have a Caroline raspberry bush and 3 strawberry plants. I would have to say the kids are most excited about this bed and the deliciousness we hope to be picking over the summer.

I can not end this post without a humongous "thank you" to Hubby who passed up several hours on the course to build this gift for our family. We are lucky to have you! Now the fun begins...fingers crossed I don't kill everything. We've already had 3 fatalities. Any tricks or tips you all have would be greatly appreciated.