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Recovering from Spring Break... 20140418-073403.jpg

Super heroes watching Mickey Mouse...


Thinking of excuses why I don't need to unpack #3 out of 4 suitcases.

Getting ready for Easter.  See an easy and FREE Easter decorating idea here!

Working hard in the office...


Yes folks, this is my office.  It also used to be known as a family room.  Now it is a recreation of the beach, according to some toddlers.

What's trending in your nest today?

Decorating For St. Patrick's Day

Top 'O the Mornin!  St. Patrick's Day is highly celebrated and under-decorated.  Growing up in an Irish family, I have always loved March 17 for its tradition, fun, beer, and c'mon, everyone looks great in green! Here are some of my favorite simple decorating ideas for St. Paddy's Day...

Pin up St. Patrick's Day cards, pins, and  kids' artwork!



A few assorted beer glasses with green water and a floating candle make an easy and inexpensive display..





St. Patrick's Day in a ball jar!  Fill a jar with gold coins and cute green hats(available at Michaels)





Festive signs from the $1 section at Target on the front door...



No St. Paddy's Day is complete without some real a cupcake!  This recipe is delicious and leaves some leftover Guinness that just can't be wasted.  I found this on last year and have promised my son that my fingers will not get caught in the mixer again this time.  That was before I drank the Guinness BTW.

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Icing

-For the Cupcakes-

1 bottle Guinness

1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

Baking Temperature:  350 degrees

Baking Time:  17 minutes

Makes 24 Yummy Cupcakes

1.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

2.  Bring Guinness and butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly

4.  Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in a large bowl.

5.  Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined.

6.  Add flour mixture and beat on slow speed.

7.  Fold batter until completely combined.

8.  Fill cupcake liners, 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack before icing.

-For the Frosting-

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

1 tablespoon milk

1.  Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy.

2.  Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well (about 2 minutes) after each cup until a good consistency is reached.

3.  Add Bailey's and milk until just combined.

Ice, decorate with sprinkles or a shamrock, and enjoy!!!!

Erin Go Braugh!!!

Playroom Before and After

Q:  Parents of toddlers, where do you spend the most time?  Besides the kitchen sink. A:  The Playroom!!!

I recently had the opportunity to work with a Carmel family that moved here last year from Chicago.  They asked me to "dress up" their first-floor playroom which is visible from their foyer and family room.  We transformed the room into a fun, neutral, and functional play space!


Playroom Before

The inspiration...


Neutral wall colors with a pop of sage green, and bright orange accents added just enough color to make the room playful.  A custom canvas display surrounded by floating shelves filled the big, empty wall.

PlayrooomCanvasPlayroom Canvas Gallery

Neutral curtains frame the windows while still letting in sunlight!


And, of course, storage, storage, storage!


A combination of creativity, the "Dollar" bins at Target, Ikea, and Jo-Ann Fabrics dressed up this play room while staying budget-focused.  Play on little ones, play on!

Recording The Memories

"Mommy, if you leave pancakes in the microwave too long they will turn into bacon.  I see it happen all the time." -Parker, May 10, 2012, Age 2 3/4

I would never have remembered this funny, poignant little quote from my oldest if it hadn't been for my trusty memory calendar.  You do it all!  Dishes, meals, groceries, work, diapers, bills, and an occasional shower.  And of course, you have time to record all the hilarious, beautiful, and amazing things your kids do each day!  No?  Right, so I didn't either until I tried this easy trick to force myself to write down all the little memories that I will soon forget.  A black and white calendar(available for around $10 at OfficeMax) placed in the space you use the most.  In my case, I hung my calendar on the inside of my dish cabinet right next to my sink.  I must open that cabinet 99 times a day!  Attached is a multi-colored pen to correlate with each family member.  Blue for Johnny, pink for Jane, and so on...


Every time something memorable happens, I do my best to get it recorded.  When things get crazy, I just force myself to sit down for 10 minutes and record the week's milestone events.  There are some great apps for this type of thing, but to me, nothing beats an actual tangible memory that I can hold in my hands.  I look forward to the day that my kids can flip through the calendars together hysterically laughing about the magical pancakes that turn into bacon!