Thursday, January 31, 2013

You Know What's Scarier Than the Dentist?


But that's where I had to take both kids today for their cleanings.

Now, I shouldn't say the Dentist is scary for both my kids. Addie is easy peasy when it comes to the Dentist. Always has been...even for her very first cleaning when she turned 3. 

She hopped right up in that chair and said, "Ahhhhhhh!" I was so proud of her and SO RELIEVED that she wasn't scared of the Dentist like I was as a kid (and adult).

And she still isn't scared. Even today she hopped right up in the chair and asked for her sunglasses. She's a pro.

Now Blake on the other hand...he does NOT share Addie's love of the Dentist.

Not even a little a bit. I took him for his first cleaning at 2 1/2 years old and it was a nightmare. Limbs flailing, bloodcurdling screams and I got kicked in the face at least twice.

It was B.A.D. and I went home that night and got D.R.U.N.K.

So as you can imagine, I was less than excited to take the kids back to their appointment today. SO many parents told me how their child's first experience was horrific but their second experience was a breeze. I PRAYED this would be the case for Blake.

Now, if you saw this picture on Instagram today, you may have been convinced that this boy of mine did awesome.

 I mean...just look at that face. So sweet and fun-loving. He probably gave the Dentist a big old hug and kiss when we walked in, right?


There was no hugging or kissing. In fact, I am pretty sure Blake told the hygienist that he didn't like her. She took it like a champ though and said she's heard much worse. I believe it.

And even though Blake wouldn't kiss the hygienist, I almost did. She was SO PATIENT and SO SWEET the whole time Blake was shouting and kicking me in the boob. I kept apologizing for his behavior and again...she told me she had seen much worse from his age. Not sure I believed that one.

But as soon as she was finished, Blake sat up, wiped his tears, gave me the finger, and then SMILED at the hygienist. He looked at the movie she had playing (it was "The Reef") and he said, "Look at that silly shark! Isn't he so silly?"

The two of them had a 10 minute conversation about sharks, Lightening McQueen and stickers. He THANKED HER for brushing his teeth and gave her a freaking hug when she handed him his new tooth brush. Then I snapped this picture so it's the only thing I will remember from this appointment.

I can't say that Blake will ever learn to love the Dentist like Addie. I know I never did and I am 32-years-old. But if we can at least leave smiling every time and be appreciative of a sticker and new tooth brush, I guess that's all I can ask for. That, and NO CAVITIES!! Woohoo!

So we survived the Dentist today and you know what that's wine time for mama!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Tid-Bits

Happy Tuesday everyone! I have a ton of random tidbits to share today. I hope you don't mind my overuse of bullet points :-)

* First, if you missed my post from yesterday, my friend Ashley is letting me giveaway a $25 credit to use online at Origami Owl. For some reason, I could NOT get my rafflecopter widget to work yesterday so we are doing this giveaway old school with comments. You get 2 chances to win this certificate but in order to do so, you have to leave 2 separate comments: 1. Leaving a comment letting me know you liked Ashley's Facebook page and 2. leaving a comment on my giveaway post sharing your favorite charm. If you have already commented once but forgot to do it a second time, be sure to do so before Saturday when I pick the lucky winner!!

* It's going to be in the 60s today and somehow, someway, I AM going to get out for a run...even if I have to push 80 pounds in my BOB stroller.

* My mom and I launched a new item at ThePolkaDotPosie yesterday. It's our brand new Rosie Posie Tote and I am IN LOVE WITH IT!!!

{Please note the straps are a little longer in this pic than they will be in person. After our test run, we've decided to make them 22". An updated pic will be up soon}

* Because I am getting desperate to lose these 5 holiday pounds I have hanging around my midsection, I've decided to start a little challenge with DietBet. My friend Kodi tweeted about it last week and I thought it was the perfect way to get myself motivated! It was also on the TODAY SHOW and a lot of people have found great success with it! Here is a little video of how it works:

So basically, you bet a certain amount of money that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks (for me that is around 5.5 pounds). Then you invite other friends and family and they bet as well. At the end of the challenge, all of the participants that make their weightless goal split the pot!! If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, follow this link and join the group!! I can't wait to get started.

* Last night I got to sneak away for drinks and dinner with some of my favorite girls and I was reminded, once again, just how important these nights are! I am so lucky to have such a great group of girls in my life :-)

* I have some AWESOME Valentine's Day printables to share with all of you on Monday. I will have Valentine's Day Bingo, Some cupcake toppers/treat bag tags AND some printable classroom Valentine's cards!!! I am so excited to get to work on these projects this weekend.

* And finally, I am SO CLOSE to being finished with my planner pages. They are coming along so beautifully but it's a LOT more work than I realized, especially since the shop has been keeping me busy this week (and that's a great thing). But stay tuned...they will be coming soon and I've managed to incorporate ALL of your requests. Meal planning pages anyone?? :-)

Alright guys...time to run. Addie and I have a date to make some homemade marshmallow fluff today!! One of my dearest friends released her first cookbook earlier this year and I have been DYING to try some of the recipes.

Photo: Addie and I have a date to make marshmallow fluff tomorrow! This, of course, means we will have peanutbutter and fluff sandwiches every day this week :) Oh...and did I mention the author of this fabulous book is one of my dearest friends?!! I heart you Carol Frankie Hilker!

You can find her book mmm...marshmallows here and while you are at it, preorder her newest
cookbook PIE POPS!!!

Pie Pops

I can't wait for this one to come out so Carol and I can have a little baking day :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: Disney on Ice, A Going Away Party and Bouncy House Overload

What. A. Weekend. 

I honestly don't remember the last time I was this tired. But at least it's for good reason. We had a marathon of fun the last 3 days.

It all started on Friday when Nana surprised us with tickets to Disney on Ice!!!

We saw the Rockin' Ever After show and it was AWESOME!!! Both kids were mesmerized the entire show and when it was over, Blake just kept shouting "AGAIN!" And of course...Addie's new career choice is a Disney on Ice skater :-)

Thanks SO MUCH for the awesome treat Nana!!! We had the best time :-) Except now I totally want to book a trip to Disney. Ha!

After our show, Addie got to come home for a little rest and then it was off to Mima's house for a cousins sleepover with Nia! I told you...this girl LIVES for sleepovers :-)

On Saturday, we picked Addie up bright and early and headed off to a bouncy house birthday party for our neighbor Ryan!!! The kids had a blast and Blake may have found himself a new little girlfriend. She was SO CUTE!

After the bouncy party, the kids were pretty beat and for the first time in almost 2 weeks...Blake took an afternoon nap. PRAISE THE LORD!!! The boy needed some sleep, especially since I was hosting a Going Away party for my cousin Jill (or Jilly as the kids call her :-)

My cousin Jill and I have always been close, but over the last few years she has also built a wonderful relationship with Addie and Blake. She has became our one and only babysitter (besides the grandmas and grandpas) and the kids just LOVE her to pieces. 

Well, we found out about a month ago that Jill's longtime boyfriend got a job offer in Colorado and he asked her to come with him. She of course agreed and the two of them are just a week away from starting their new life together in Denver. I am SO SO HAPPY for both of them, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was sad to see her go. The kids and I will miss her so much, but at least we have a fabulous place to visit now :-)

Good luck on your new adventure Jilly Bean!! And make sure you tell Ben I said he better put a ring on it. Ha! xoxo

I was really hoping that the 4 glasses of wine I drank the night of Jill's party would knock me out and give me a good nights sleep and they probably would know...if my kids wouldn't have been up ALL NIGHT! Seriously. They were just too wired from all the fun. And it didn't stop there!

If you can believe it...Addie had ANOTHER bouncy house party today!! Same place, different friend. It was a good thing some of my other mommy friends were there to chat with or I might have passed out in one of the jumpies. It was a great party though and Addie loved being with all her preschool friends :-)

So here I sit a semi-clean house with the fireplace warming the family room. My schoolwork is done, the kids are almost asleep in their beds and I have a big bowl of ice-cream waiting for me. And I better enjoy it because I just bet $25 that I could lose these pesky 5 holiday pounds in the month of February. YIKES!!! But more about that on Fitness Friday.

Well I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I'll be back tomorrow with an exciting giveaway from Origami Owl.

Photo: Valentina's Day is coming up!! Order now to make sure you receive it in time! Ladies...if you want a locket for V-day from your significant other simply create a "wish list" for him, then give him my email address and I'd be happy to help him pick the perfect gift for you!!

Stay tuned!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Confessions

Where the hell did this week go?!!!! It's already time for...

It's weeks like these that I feel embarrassed that I am hosting a health and fitness link-up. Ha! Although I did exercise this week and cooked at home again, I was FAR from the vision of health and fitness that a host should be. So I suppose this is the point where I thank all of you loyal linker-upers for coming back each week, even though I clearly don't practice what I preach all the time. So thank you guys SO MUCH for sticking around :-) order to move on from this crappy week of health, I would like to make a few confessions. I am not proud of ANY of these, but I know I will feel better once I type them out and get them off my chest. This is why I sucked this week:

* On Saturday, after a FABULOUS run, I came home and drank a glass of chocolate milk (which is actually a fantastic recovery drink) but the taste of chocolate left me craving more. So I ate one TWO Little Debbie chocolate Valentine's hearts and cancelled out every calorie I burned on the run. Son of a...

* On Sunday, I put on some workout clothes so that I would be motivated and ready to exercise. Unfortunately, the motivation didn't kick in until Monday.

* I ate half a plate of brownies on Tuesday. My neighbor made them special for us and I just didn't want them to go to waste. I had such intense food guilt all night...but clearly not enough guilt to keep me from doing it again on Wednesday.

* This week I posted on our LGN board that I did an ab workout because I planned on doing an ab workout that night. Suddenly I was in bed, ready to fall asleep when I realized I never did the ab workout! I felt SO GUILTY that I actually hopped out of bed and did it in the dark on our bedroom floor.

Ahhhhh....I feel SO MUCH BETTER NOW!!! It feels good to get all the cheating off my chest. But now that it's all out in the open, I do want to focus on some of the positives this week. 

Let's start with Fitness.

With the Shamrock Shuffle a little over 2 months away, I really need to start logging more miles. I did manage one good run outside and another day of sprints. Here's what my week looked like...

Saturday: 5K run (kept a 9:37 pace. Much better)
Sunday: Rest my workout clothes
Monday: Abs in the dark :-)
Tuesday: Jillian Michael's Kickbox in my peace tee.

Wednesday: 1.5 miles of sprint intervals
Friday: Yoga

So has anyone heard of the Nike Training Club? It's a free app that my friend Jenny has been using and I am such a sucker for any workout that tracks progress. I think I am going to give it a try this week...but I was just curious if anyone else is using it and likes it!

Next up...Health

Dude...I shouldn't even be posting in this category with all the sweets I've had, but I am SUPER proud of us for finishing our THIRD WEEK of eating at home!! We've had a total of 3 dinners out all month, and one of those was this week on the day that Howie had surgery. It was a totally emotional day, I was beat and Eric had been wanting to try this new BBQ take-out place so it was perfect and we didn't feel guilty because we have been so good this month. Here was our menu:

Monday: BBQ take-out
Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup 
Wednesday: Lasagna and Garlic Bread
Thursday: Leftovers
Saturday: Birthday/Going Away Party

My mouth is already watering thinking about Pioneer Woman's pasta this Sunday. YUM!! Now to just control these damn portions!!

And on one final health note, I just finished my last multi-vitamin and was going to buy a new bottle this week. I can't say I have felt any difference on these Women's once-a-days, and I was really hoping to get back some more energy. Before I buy my next bottle...I was just wondering what all of you use? Any supplements that have made a difference for you? I am always low on iron so something with that would help a lot too. I am just so clueless in this department (which I suppose is another confession. Ha!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So What Wednesday


* My So What Wednesday post is coming at ya an hour before it's Thursday. 

* I ate 2 brownies today AND an ice cream sundae. Okay...2 ice cream sundaes.

* I tumbled the same load of laundry 4 times before finally breaking down to fold it.

* I called the AMVETS donation pick-up guy "sweetie" this afternoon.

* I actually cried when I saw the weather forecast for the next 10 days. Chicago can suck it right now.

* I slipped on the ice coming out of Addie's dance class last Wednesday and did it AGAIN today coming out of the grocery store. Both times I had an audience.

* I gave Howie a plate of pot roast even though we aren't supposed to be giving him table scraps. The dog just had surgery for crying out loud!!! He deserves a nice meal.

* I fell asleep on the floor playing cars with Blake. It was only for a second.

* I sometimes think about "accidentally" breaking all of my dishes just so I can finally justify buying a new set. I also think about "accidentally" setting fire to the man-couches in our family room.

* I did an old Pom routine for Addie in my living room today. I still got it. Kinda.

So...what are YOU saying "So What" to today?

So What Wednesday

Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: Olympic Figure Skaters and Howie Lives to Play Another Day

Technically...this post should be called "Our Weekend and Monday in a Nutshell" since I'm coming in so late tonight, but oh well. You get the idea :-)

Thankfully, this was a pretty laid back weekend for us again. On Saturday, Addie had her Ice-skating class and it was Bring-A-Friend day so she brought her 2nd cousin Gracie. These two are so sweet together I can hardly stand it :-)

They love goofing off and laughing :-)

Nia and Nolan are both in ice skating too so Nolan asked Blake to be his friend for class. I asked Blake several times if he wanted to skate and he kept shouting, "YES! Nolan is my buddy!!". But when it came time to put on the skates...

He was like "Um...hell no Dad. Get these things off me."

So no skating for Blakey Boy this weekend. Big shocker. 

But these three chicks had a BLAST together!!! Our three little Olympic figure skaters...can't you just see it now? 

Grace did SO WELL for her first time on skates. She was even offering to help some of the other kids on the ice. What a sweetie.

After class the girls posed for a few pictures...

And then watched the zamboni.

That night, Gracie invited Addie for a sleepover, which you all know is Addie's most favorite thing in the whole world. I swear that girl would have a sleepover every night if she could!!

The next morning, my cousin Kris asked Addie and I to go to church with her and Grace and since I am still in the process of church shopping for our family (as part of my New Years resolution), I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see how Addie likes Sunday school.

Obviously, the girls had a great time in class and I have to admit...getting to sit through a church service and actually listen to a great sermon was just what I needed. I have had SO MUCH on my mind was nice to have a moment to reflect on all that, talk to God, and listen to some amazing words of encouragement. It was a fabulous morning and it really makes me excited to finally start making this our Sunday routine. Thanks so much for the invite Kris and Gracie!!

Even though I felt a little more at peace after church Sunday, I couldn't help but worry about my little Howie. He was having his surgery today and like any worrisome mother...I was up ALL NIGHT tossing and turning. But I am happy to report that Howie's surgery went fantastic today. Thank you all so much for keeping the little guy in your thoughts and prayers.

We've already had some food and water, a successful potty break outside and now he is resting cozy in his bed. And because I didn't sleep a wink last night...I should probably get cozy in my bed too :-)

Thanks again for all your sweet comments friends!!! I am happy today is over. Lots of fun ahead this week!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Team Work

IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!

I am SOOOOOOO happy that it's Friday (if you couldn't tell from the first line of this post). I know I am a SAHM, but a work week still feels like a work week to me and I always look forward to the weekends when Eric can be home with us.

And speaking of Eric being home...I love the weekends because it means I can FINALLY squeeze in some workouts without the kiddies around!!! It means I get to run alone without someone trying to jump on the treadmill with me and possibly do some yoga without a creature on my back while I try to breathe in downward dog. It's nice to sweat and work hard without worrying about anyone or anything else. Ahhh....

So lets talk about FITNESS this week.

I can't say that this was my best week ever. I am still trying hard with this challenge and only rested one day, but most of my workouts were forced or rushed. I did have a fabulous 3 mile run on Saturday when the weather was nice here and I managed to squeeze in some sprints on the treadmill yesterday. I did the Speedplay interval training plan from SHAPE magazine and I was BEAT at the end!! It also made my treadmill time go much faster. I think I am going to start doing at least one day of intervals each week.

My workout week looked like this:

Saturday: 5k Run. Got my time back to 30 minutes.
Sunday: Rest Day
Monday: 300 Abs (LAME)
Wednesday: 2 miles of sprint intervals
Thursday: Yoga

Even though this wasn't my best workout week, I can honestly say I wouldn't have done HALF these workouts if it wasn't for my fitness buddies encouraging and motivating me. Even my girl Kelly tagged me for a morning workout and if it wasn't for that, I may not have gotten on the treadmill at all that day. So thanks to all my fabulous ladies. It's all about TEAM WORK!!!

Next up...let's talk about HEALTH.

Ohhhhh man. I was a bad girl this week guys. I had a lot of unnecessary sweets and snacks and my portions were out of control, even though I claimed last week that I was going to start back up with MyFitnessPal. AHH! I blame in on some of the delicious recipes I tried this week but seriously...I was not a good girl. 

But on the bright side, I had another fabulous week of cooking at home!! We followed our menu to a T and I am hoping to do the same this week. Here's what I'm cookin:

Tuesday: The best Potroast ever with garlic mashed potatoes. 
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Popcorn shrimp, rice and veggies
Friday: Pizza and Salad
Saturday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe from a meal planning book my SIL got me)
Sunday: Smoked Brisket and baked potatoes.

Again...nothing low-cal about our menu, but like I said last week, our overall goal is to eat more meals at home with fresh ingredients. I am so proud of all the cooking I have managed lately and I am super proud of Eric for helping out so much with the food prep and clean-up. He has also been taking over one of our weekend meals which helps me tremendously. We are like a well oiled machine in the kitchen these days. TEAM WORK BABY!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Blues

Is anyone else having a MAJOR case of the winter blues this month? I have always loved living in the midwest and I would never want to live in a place that doesn't get to experience all 4 seasons. Believe it or not, I do love winter...but only for the months of December and January IF WE HAVE SNOW TO PLAY IN!!

But we don't.

We haven't had good snowman-making-snow for almost two years. I also have 4 saucer sleds in my basement that still have the price stickers on them from TWO christmases ago. I also have brand new snow boots for the kids with tags still on them in closet. I mean really Old Man Winter...what gives?

I know many of you would gladly give us the snow you have right now and I am sure that just by typing these words, Chicago will get hit with a blizzard this week. But I would take an awesome blizzard over the freezing cold and ice we have right now. Did I mention that I slipped in the parking lot at Addie's dance studio yesterday? I did a full on superman (with several witnesses) and when I finally regained my balance I shouted:

THAT'S IT! I'm ready for Spring!

I am still feeling that way today, so I decided to spend the better part of my morning searching for Great Lakes Beach Campgrounds. Camping season is still a few months away and we are all really, REALLY missing our home away from home.

I could spend the next 20 minutes listing off ALL the things I miss about Spring, but instead...I want to try and be positive and talk about the things I do love about winter. So here goes:

* Relaxing and playing games by our cozy fireplace.

* Playing in the snow (when we actually have some).

* Celebrating the winter holidays like Christmas and VALENTINE'S DAY!! I just got Addie this little dress from Old Navy (when they had their amazing 40% off coupon) for her Valentine's Day party and it is even cuter in person!

* Organizing the shit out of my house. It really is the one and only thing I love about January. Here is my latest Organizational book purchase :-)

Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed Your Cleaning, and Calm the Chaos

* Cooking and baking. I mean...there is nothing else to do!! And when you are friends with the author of fabulous cookbooks like this...

MMM... Marshmallows

You can't help but try out some new treats!! I have all the ingredients for some of Carol's best recipes and Addie and I will be doing some mad marshmallow making this weekend :-)

And finally...the thing I love MOST about winter is a FRESH START! New goals, new plans, new projects, new adventures :-)

So...what do all of you love about winter?? Anyone..............anyone.............Bueller?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hard at Work: Storytime, Clutches, Planners & School

Happy Tuesday friends!! Sorry for the lack of post today, but it's been a CA-RAZY day!! Crazy in the best possible way because I have been super productive. Not only did I manage to get a delicious pot roast in the oven for dinner, I also played dollhouse and cars, took the kids to their library story time (which they L.O.V.E.)

I also got a BRAND NEW ITEM listed in our main shop!! Ladies and Gentleman (who carry purses), please meet our new

I have a big confession to make. When the whole Chevron craze first started, I kinda hated it. I have ALWAYS been a polka dot girl (and still am...polka dots will always win over chevron in my book).

BUT...chevron has really grown on me over the last year and we get SO MANY requests for it in our shop. So when my mom started designing our new clutch, we thought it was the perfect pattern to choose!! We will end up making this clutch in other prints and colors down the line, but this is where we are starting. What do you think?

I don't know about you, but I like to carry a lot of crap in my purse. Typically, I carry a tote as my purse so when I have to pare down for a night out, shopping with friends, etc., I have a REALLY hard time shoving all my stuff into a clutch. But not this one!!! There is SO much more room than you realize.

I am able to get my full wallet, business card case, phone, lipgloss and a few other essentials.

In fact, if I still carried a diaper bag, I would start using this to throw in it!! It is really the perfect size for any occasion. I am totally obsessed with it and I am tempted to have my mom make me one in every single color we have :-)

********** mom isn't the only one that has been hard at work this week. I have decided to take on a little project of my own. It started as a personal project because I have YET to find the perfect planner after 15 years of trying. So I set out to make my own planner pages and honestly...they are really turning out cute!! I think a lot of other planner junkies like myself will enjoy them so once my whole set is complete, I will be adding them to ThePolkaDotPosiePrintables shop!!

But while I continue to work on these pages, I would like a little input! What are some of your favorite features that you would like to see in a planner? For example, meal planning is a must for me. I also like weekly pages instead of daily. What about all of you? What worksheets or elements would you like to see? If I am going to sell these babies, I want them to appeal to as many planner junkies as possible so share away!!

So like I said...we've been busy around here and the fun doesn't stop yet because I have to teach my first class of the semester tonight. AHHH!!!! Here's hoping I have another great class :-)

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Organize It" Challenge: My Office/Craft Room

Thanks for stopping by today friends!! I am linking up with Mandy over at House of Rose for the Dog Days of Winter "Organize It" challenge!! Today I am featuring my Office/Craft Room that was finished just this last year. I am so proud of this project because it took a lot of planning and budgeting. I needed to make this one space work as my craft room for hobbies, my business command center for our shop ThePolkaDotPosie AND our family home office. Functional organization was KEY so my dad and I spent lots of time planning how it would all come together.

Now, after working and living in this space for the last 8 months, I can honestly say it was one of the best investments ever!!!! I love EVERYTHING about this room and I hope you do to. Enjoy!!

{Original Post from April 2012}

When I made the decision to give up the kid's upstairs playroom for an office/craft was for good reason. ALL of our office supplies, craft supplies, important files, etc. were spread all over the house. In our bedroom, in the kitchen, in the basement, shoved in hall closets, etc. It was a disorganized nightmare.

The whole time I was planning this room, I knew that my mom and I were going to launch The Polka Dot Posie and there was NO WAY I could help run that business successfully if I didn't have a place to store and organize everything.

So I called Daddy-O and we sat down to make some sketches (like we always do). I knew there were certain things this room had to have and I knew that it needed to serve 3 purposes:

1. Be a Home Office where Eric and the kids and I could all work.

2. Be a craft room to organize all of my stuff for personal and business use.

3. Be a guest space when needed.

I realize that's a LOT to cram into one space, but I knew we would be able to make it work. And friends...let me just turned out better than I EVER imagined!!!!

So without further ado, here is my Office/Craft Room...

Every other room in my house (besides the kid's bedrooms) has some variation of red, tan, brown and sage. I love warm earth tones and it's obvious the moment you walk in my front door. So I made one deal with myself. NO RED IN THIS ROOM!

I wanted the space to be light and bright, which is why I went with shades of turquoise, green, gray and cream. I just LOVE IT!!!! I love how everything just comes together from the curtains, to my couch pillow, to my fabulous desk chairs.

But my FAVORITE part of this whole room is my gorgeous desk!!!!! I knew my Dad would make me something beautiful, but this is just such amazing craftsmanship. I wish you could all see it in person.

When we planned the desk, I had an idea in mind of what I needed, and my Dad just made it all come together.

I knew I needed:

1. Lots of file drawers. Some for home files, some for organizing all my craft paper, labels, card stock, etc. I also went and bought fresh hanging files and envelopes to make everything match. O.C.D. much?

2. I also knew I needed a bunch of smaller drawers for office supplies. This picture is just like organization porn to me. Even my drawer liner paper matches my chairs. Ha! I need help.

3. I also knew that I needed shelves above my desk for some books, basket storage, easy-access storage and of course...cute decor or "inspiration". Hence my letters :-)

And these letters were SO EASY to make you guys. I am going to post a tutorial eventually, but here is a little step-by-step picture guide to how I made them.

4. And finally, I knew I needed PLENTY of workspace!!!

This is also why I wanted a two-seater desk. One side for the computer, one side for crafting, homework, etc.

I just can't get over what a BEAUTIFUL job my Dad did on this desk. 

And let's not forget he also built this beautiful bookshelf (that was actually from the playroom :-)

He is so freaking talented and I am SO LUCKY to have him. And if you live in the Chicago area...MY DAD IS FOR HIRE!!!!


So the desk is the new and final addition to the Office/Craft Room. Of course you know my other favorite area that was already complete is the Craft Closet...

This space also had to serve a big purpose in the room. It needed:

1. A shelf to store my millions of scrapbooks, along with the file bins I use for each of us for memorabilia.

2. Drawers and plastic bins for organizing ribbon, paint, sewing supplies, embellishments, etc.

3. Drawers for organizing giftwrap and tissue.

4. And the most important item, a mobile craft cart. This pulls easily in and out of the closet when I am working on projects or crafts, but doesn't clutter up my beautiful office.

Ahh...this is just such a WONDERFUL feeling!! A place for everything, and everything in it's place.

Even Howie has a favorite space in this office...

Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing my room today! And a HUGE THANK YOU to my amazing Dad for creating such a beautiful space for all of us. I love you so much Daddy-O!!!!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: Two Dates, An RV Show and Another Doggie Surgery

So let's start with the sad part of the weekend and get it out of the way, shall we?

See this cute little bugger right here?

Well...this little guy is going to have his 2nd surgery next week :(

About two years ago, Howie started limping out of the blue. He wasn't acting like he was in any pain, but when his groomer told me that he wasn't putting any weight on it at all, I decided I better have it checked just in case. As it turns out, Howie had torn his ACL. Apparently this is a pretty common thing that can happen to dogs, especially ones who insist on jumping on and off beds, couches, chairs, etc. In order to fix his leg, Howie had to have surgery to repair the ACL and then recover for about 6 weeks with no running or jumping. It was a long 6 weeks for us, but Howie recovered beautifully and his leg has been perfect ever since.

BUT...the day of his first surgery, the vet told me that there was a 50/60% chance that Howie's other ACL would rupture because once a dog has one leg fixed, they overcompensate and in turn cause damage to the other leg. Well, two years had gone by and we had taught Howie not to jump up on our bed anymore (we bought him a cozy doggie bed of his own), we tried to watch him getting on and off the couch and of course we are always carful when he plays with the kids (making sure they aren't too rough with him). But sure enough...5 days before Christmas...Howie started limping again on the other leg.

But the funny thing was...the limp would come and go. He would have one really bad day where he limped a ton, and then another two days where I didn't see him limp at all!! I kept thinking (hoping) it was just arthritis or a sprain but deep down I knew. Well, this past Friday I took him back to the vet and sure enough...the ACL on his other leg has torn.

Now, if you are not a dog person (or even if you are) you may think it's crazy to spend money on surgeries for a little pet. After all, he's just a dog, right? Well, he's not "just a dog" to us. Howie is a part of our family and all of us love him with all our hearts. He drives me bat shit crazy some days, but that doesn't make me love him any less. The vet said he is too young and healthy to be put down for a torn ACL, so he told me he could give me the name of some organizations that take injured animals who's owners are not willing or able to give them medical treatment. 

I mean...the THOUGHT of driving my furry little baby to some shelter and dropping him off just breaks my heart to pieces!! If Eric and I simply couldn't afford to fix Howie...that would be a different story. End of discussion. But Eric and I can afford to help him and even though that's going to take some SERIOUS rearranging of our already tight budget this year...we want to do it for the little guy. We love him and we want to see him better.

So guys...if you could..say a little prayer for Howard next Monday. Pray the he comes out of surgery without complications, that his little leg heals quickly and that he will be back to his old self by the time Spring rolls around so that he can run and play with his two best buddies :-)


Now...on to happier subjects!!!

This weekend, Eric and I were blessed with not one, but TWO date nights thanks to my amazing parents. It felt SO WEIRD having plans this weekend that didn't revolve around the kiddies. We missed them a ton both nights, but it was also great to spend some time catching up with friends and eating a meal while it was still warm :-)

On Saturday, Date Night Part 2 took place at the Chicago Boat & RV Show. Eric and I really wanted to go because last year, the RV Show we went to in February had about 40 booths of different State Parks, Resorts and other RV destinations. They had great brochures, coupons and many of them were giving away free night stays. We just thought it would be fun to spend some time looking at that stuff instead of wheeling and dealing for a new camper :-)

We also love going to these shows just to look at all the over-the-top boats and RVs that are on the market. Some of these RVs had kitchens bigger than the one in my house!!!! And of course, Dana and I had to get a picture on a fancy boat just so we could sing "I'm on a Boat." Ha!

The rest of the night we spent peer pressuring Dana and Kevin into buying a camper and before the night was over, Kevin was already grabbing some business cards. Who knows...we may have some new camping buddies this year!!

Eric and I already have our next date night in the books. The next (much bigger) RV show is coming to Chicago over Valentine's Weekend and honestly...nothing screams romance like drinking an overpriced glass of wine at a trade show. Ha!

After our fun-filled date weekend, Eric and I spent today hanging with the kids and doing some much needed chores. I have been an organizing/cleaning fool this week and it feels so good to finally be making progress :-) was everyone else's weekend?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Finding Time and Cooking at Home

Happy Friday guys and welcome back!

So how is everyone doing with their New Years resolutions? We are 11 days in and I am feeling pretty good! I have been getting some runs in, which feels great, but it's obvious that I'm out of practice. Isn't it amazing how long it takes to get IN shape, but how quickly you can fall OUT of shape?

Luckily, our LGN group has been super motivating to me and whenever I don't feel like getting off the couch, I read Facebook and see that Steph just did 80 minutes on the treadmill or my friend Amy just took her second Daily Method class for the day. These ladies are seriously awesome!! There is always room to join the group of any of you out there are interested!!

So while we are on the subject, let's talk about FITNESS

My workouts this week were pretty basic.

Saturday: Squats and the TIU Girls Arm Pyramid ( was better than nothing)
Sunday: Ran a 5K on the treadmill
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Ran a 5K outside
Thursday: Lean Abs Pyramid (seriously guys...the Plank Jacks about killed me)

This week I really struggled to find time to workout. I did most of these home workouts while they kids were either in the room with me, or trashing another room in my house. I so badly wanted to set my alarm for 5:00 and get it in before they were awake...but that just didn't happen...especially since the kids were up around that time anyway!! So this week I want to work on that. I am going to start setting my alarm and see if I can start training my body to wake up earlier and get workouts in before things get to crazy during the day and I start making excuses. Anyone else struggle with this?

Next up...let's talk about HEALTH

For some reason, I was under the delusion that I hadn't gained any weight over the holidays. My clothes were still fitting fine and for the most part...I felt like I looked the same. But then I put on one of my running tanks this week and let me just tell ya middle does NOT look the same. AT ALL!!!

So I hopped on the scale that day and sure enough...I'm 5 pounds up. I KNOW I KNOW...big freaking deal. Some of you want to throat punch me right now for even caring about 5 pounds. And you are all right...5 pounds is not a big deal...but it is a big deal in the way I feel. I know I didn't eat well and I practically gave up working out. What did I except?

So I have to watch it a bit with the calories and portions. My Fitness Pal will be my buddy yet again :-)

But aside from the little weight gain, I am SO PROUD of the fact that I have cooked...

............drumroll please...........


We even had it on our calendar to order out last weekend but we didn't!! I had all the stuff for another meal so I cooked! AGAIN!!!

I can't say that every dish I have made has been super healthy or low-cal, but it has been made with fresh ingredients (some organic) and lots more veggies. My biggest goal with meal planning was to save money and stop buying all that processed crap. And we have been achieving both of those things by cooking at home!!! Here is our menu for this week:

Wednesday: Crockpot Chili (I have my own little recipe)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Dinner Plans with friends
Saturday: Pizza at the RV Show (Seriously)

Because we have been so good about cooking at home, we are going to REALLY enjoy our two dinners out this weekend!!! Now if I can just work on that whole portions thing :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spring Sneak Peek & The Grand Opening of our SECOND Shop!!

Hi everyone!! Because I am lacking the time for two blog posts today, I thought I would just share the post I put on ThePolkaDotPosie blog today! It gives you all the details of some of our new fabrics and spring colors, as well as the grand opening of our SECOND SHOP!! Read below for all the details and be sure to follow ThePolkaDotPosie blog because it's where all of my Free Printables will be offered from now on :-)


Happy New Year friends!! We hope you all had an amazing holiday season!! Ours went by too fast, but we were able to spend lots of time with family and friends so we are very thankful for that.

And of course, we are SO HAPPY to be back in business! In case you haven't noticed, our shop reopened on January 2nd and if you've been wondering where all of our printable invitations and cards have disappeared to...the answer is..


That's right friends...ThePolkaDotPosie 

has opened a second shop called ThePolkaDotPosiePrintables.

After being in business a few months, we noticed our Etsy shop getting a little hard to navigate with the  combination of digital and handmade items. We thought long and hard about how to make the shopping process a little easier and in the end...we decided the addition of a second store was the way to go!!

We will be keeping just ONE blog and ONE Facebook/Twitter account. The only difference will be two different sites for shopping :-)

My mom and I are so excited about this change and we have been working VERY hard to replenish our stock in both stores and prepare for a new season. We both have so many fun, fresh ideas for the Spring. And because we both already have Spring Fever, we wanted to give you a little sneak peek of some of the fun new patters and colors we will be offering :-)

Many of these items are already listed in the shop and there are a LOT more to come in the next few weeks. We've also updated our fabric samples for Book Reader & iPad cases, and you can choose from these same fabrics for a custom Grab & Go Camera Bag or strap!

Many of our most popular Grab & Go Camera Bags have been relisted in the shop and as we complete samples of these new fabrics, we will be listing them as well. But if you simply can't wait for a sample listing, feel free to convo us through Etsy and we can set up a custom order ahead of time :-)

And of course our main shop is the not the only place getting new products. Our printable shop is hoping to expand beyond just birthday and holiday cards/invitations and offer some fun printable art as well. We will be carrying some custom Important Date signs:

As well as custom Subway Art and Birth Stats

We have so many more great items we are working on so please be sure to stop by often.

Also, I will be working overtime on our FREE PRINTABLES tab at the top of our blog. I have been creating so many great free printables that are now circulating all over Pinterest, I want to have one centralized location where everyone can come to download as many freebies as they want. Those are my favorite to make anyway :-) 

Well thanks for stopping by today friends!! We are so happy to have the shops open and we are looking forward to a fabulous 2013!!!!