Wednesday, July 09, 2014

POTD 2014 | june 16-30

167.365 | puppy class graduate.
167.365
puppy class graduate.
06.16.14

This cute little puppy graduated from her puppy class. As one of my friends pointed out, I'd better frame and hang up her diploma quick, before she eats it.


168.365 | they love each other.
168.365
puppy love.
06.17.14

The dog was sleeping in front of the back door. David couldn't resist cuddling with his not-so-little puppy. My heart couldn't resist melting into a puddle all over the floor.


169.365 | summer reading bribery.
169.365
summer reading bribery.
06.18.14

Every summer I make a fun reading program to complement those at the local library and Barnes & Noble store. This spring I mentioned to the kids that I didn't think they were interested in doing it again this summer. They FREAKED out on me. Like, what would summer be without our dining room wall covered with construction paper and card stock? So I had to think of something. Something GOOD.

And so I did. When they saw it after school let out last week, they flipped out on me again. But this time it was all good. All good indeed. This is what we call a MOM WIN. Go me.

Every time they finish a book they get a "pixel". My darling children (today) decided to work  together to build something -- but I did offer to let them work individually. This is definitely Mom Win #2.


170.365 | one of those nights.
170.365
one of those nights.
06.19.14

It was one of those nights. Wine. Book. Fresh air. Feet up. Kids occupied. Wine.

I only wish my wine glass were as big as it looks in the picture.


171.365 | red wins.
171.365
red wins. 
06.20.14

After we did the color scavenger hunt, I took the pictures and then we voted on our favorite one. Red wins. Unbeknownst to them, in photographs, red always wins.

Go here to see the original blog post and the rest of the pictures.


172.365 | the bean! the bean!
172.365
the bean! the bean!
06.21.14

We spent the day being happy tourists in Chicago. First we went on a city tour led by the greatest docent ever (Grandpa Bill, you rock!). Then we had lunch at The Berghoff - the oldest bar/restaurant in the city. (Their liquor license number is 1. Really.) Finally we went to Millennium Park. For the bean. Oh, the bean.


173.365 | what a view.
173.365
what a view.
06.22.14

Part B of our Weekend of Tourism: back to Milwaukee and a brunch cruise on the Edelweiss River Cruise Line.

Um. So. It was foggy. There was no view.

For what it's worth, this picture is NOT converted to black and white.


174.365 | sewing class.
174.365
sewing class.
06.23.14

Sam took a sewing class. I was glad, so she can learn to sew using someone else's machine and not (potentially) ruin mine in the process. Which got me thinking.... when it's time for her to learn to drive (omg, not YET!), can she learn on someone else's car?


175.365 | pool snacks.
175.365
pool snacks.
06.24.14

We love going to the pool. It's so fun to play and splash in the water on a hot summer day. And then there's the snacks. Always the snacks.


176.365 | post-run sitting.

176.365
post-run sitting.
06.25.14

Mom stretches after our run. I just sit here. Woof.


177.365 | my furry beauty.
177.365
my furry beauty.
06.25.14

This spot in front of the back door is Shadow's favorite. She watches the birds, the chipmunks, the bunnies and she watches for the neighbor dog. And I watch her. What a beauty.


178.365 | grilling.

178.365
grilling.
06.27.14

The Master Griller shares the knowledge and shares the responsibility. Dinner is gonna be great with double the attention paid on each of those burgers.


179.365 | honey.
179.365
honey.
06.28.14

Another stop at the Tosa Farmer's Market. I am putting an unofficial challenge out there to the vendors -- if you line up your products in precise rows, I will photograph them. Exhibit A, pictured above.


180.365 | i miss my fabric.
180.365
I miss my fabric.
06.29.14

I have been way too busy. You know how I know? I have abandoned my fabric. This quilt is SO close to being finished (well, the front, anyway) yet I put it away over a year ago and... left it. Poor thing. All better now. You will be completed and cuddled by fall.


181.365 | kalimotxo pa'mi.

181.365
kalimotxo pa'mi.
06.30.14

I wanted wine. But I wanted something cold. Ding! It's time for a Kalimotxo (pronounced "collie-mo-cho"). This is a popular drink from the Basque Country in Spain. I haven't had one in ages... but I have a feeling this may be my summer drink this season. Plus, this is a SMART drink in the Pi glass. Increase your IQ while you drink? I'm in.

Ingredients:
Ice
Diet Coke
Red Wine

Combine all ingredients in a glass (duh). 50/50 ratio for the wine/Coke until you figure out your preferred mix. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fun! Summer Boredom Buster

In our first week off for the summer, we already needed to break up the fighting, arguing and quarreling. The kids needed a break from their video games. I needed a break from refereeing. And it was raining. And raining. It was down to calling Noah and his Ark or coming up with something simple for these kids to do. So I dug deep and came up with this. In fact, it was such a hit, I had to share it with you. I know there are plenty of other desperate moms out there, so this one's for you.

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of collage-type photos - like a mess of stuff all thrown together - often in an organized out manner, sometimes all layered and messy - and shot from above. So we did our own version.

I sent the kids to their rooms.

The end.

No, I'm kidding! I sent them to their rooms, the living room, the kitchen, the craft room -- any room they wanted. I asked them to pick one color and then go find ten items with that color. The plan was one color each, but they chose to make it a team effort and then they wanted to do EVERY color. (Ok, twist my arm.) I consider any activity that I come up with, followed by multiple elaborations by my kin, a huge success. #FTW, right? Yes!

So after they found all the items of a single color, I set them up in my studio (although for normal people who don't have a photo studio in their basement, a sidewalk or floor would work just fine!), hit the lights, and shot the subjects.

After I shot each color, I put the items in a basket and the game concluded with them putting everything back. Where they belong. For the most part.

Here are the results of a fun hour with no screens and no fighting. #FTW is absolutely right.



 The cat helped too. Or maybe she was just eyeing the dog's toy.... 




What I liked about this game - I got a very colorful Photo of the Day (red!), we can do it again with different results and kids of any age can do this (even though I'll stick with my kids' ages). It would be a fun activity for little ones learning their colors.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

POTD 2014 | june 1-15

152.365 | rainbow.
152.365
rainbow.
06.01.14

Rainy day on the first of June. But if a rainbow appears, you won't hear us complaining. Sam ran outside every 15 minutes when the sun was shining just to see if there was a rainbow. (Some things never change. And that's ok.)


153.365 | at the ballgame.
153.365
at the ballgame.
06.02.14

Today was TMJ 620 Day at Miller Park. The date was 6/2. Tickets cost $6.20. They changed the game's start time to 6:20 PM. And the score of the game? Unbelievably, it was 6-2.

Before the game David played a little ball... even practicing the Heisman prose. Dream on, kid.


154.365 | lettuce-less salad.
154.365
lettuce-less salad.
06.03.14

I wanted a salad for dinner but I ran out of lettuce.


155.365 | tiny blooms.
155.365
tiny blooms.
06.04.14

It's amazing to me that a flower so tiny can have such a strong and beautiful smell. For about a week every year, two trees in front of our house bloom and the driveway smells soooo nice.


156.365 | i watered the dog.
156.365
i watered the dog.
06.05.14

Today I watered our newly planted garden. And the dog "helped". Or maybe I just watered her, too. Either way, it's safe to say that Shadow likes playing with the hose.


157.365 | what a pair.
157.365
what a pair.
06.06.14

These two neighbor dogs. I'm so glad our Shadow has a playmate, but it's too bad our kids are bored out of their skulls.


158.365 | farmer's market opening day.

158.365
farmer's market opening day.
06.07.14

This asparagus was standing at attention, apparently ready to defend your war against hunger.


159.365 | ribs on the bbq.
159.365
ribs on the bbq.
06.08.14

My husband is smoking today! Should we make it an official Smoking Sunday? He's got the ribs on the BBQ, the coals cooking, my mouth watering. I love it when he grills. Yum.


160.365 | soup, it's what's for dinner.

160.365
soup, it's what's for dinner.
06.09.14

I was walking by the Wisconsin Soup Company booth at the Farmer's Market and THIS literally jumped out at me. Seriously? Gorgonzola. Crab. Bisque. It was as delectable as it sounds. I hope it jumps out at me again sometime soon.


161.365 | you're on a roll.
161.365
you're on a roll.
06.10.14

For the end-of-year prize for all 315 kids at our school, I handed out these Fruit Roll-Ups. They really were on a roll - I'm so excited to see how many more Box Tops we can get next year!


162.365 | mom points.

162.365
mom points.
06.11.14

I am planning our family's summer reading program and this fine specimen is involved. Anyone with any - even partial - knowledge of Minecraft should recognize that lettering. I hope the kids like what I have up my sleeve....


163.365 | farewell fifth grade.
163.365
farewell fifth grade.
06.12.14

The fifth graders had a special farewell breakfast at Cafe Hollander today. It was great to see all the kids sitting around the table, relaxed, eating and talking and laughing. And all I could think is this is only fifth grade and LOOK AT THEM. They are real people. What a great group of kids. Middle school won't know what hit it.


164.365 | last day of school.

164.365
last day of school.
06.13.14

The last day of school is always a bit of a tear-jerker but this year I didn't cry... much.

While Sam is moving on to middle school, like her, I've been so focused on her finishing 5th grade that I can't think about her actually changing schools. And being in 6th grade. It simply hasn't sunk in yet. She has grown so much this year and I'm so incredibly proud of her.

And then there's David. My boy with the kickball. How did this little guy get to be an almost-3rd grader? How did this happen?


165.365 | the flower vendor.
165.365
the flower vendor.
06.14.14

I adore this vendor at the farmer's market. She sells these beautiful flowers at great prices (for which there's always a line!), has great fruits and vegetables and a very loyal and helpful little boy.


166.365 | father's day selfie.
166.365
father's day selfie.
06.15.14

Happy Father's Day to my dear old, er, YOUNG dad.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mama's First Stitch Fix

I finally got my first Stitch Fix! I signed up a few months ago and this weekend was my first available shipment date. I've been waiting very (im)patiently.

What is Stitch Fix? In a nutshell, it's your very own online stylist. You tell them (through a very extensive questionnaire) what you like and don't like, what you normally wear and don't wear. You fill them in on your job, your lifestyle, your general fashion preferences. Then they send you five pieces. You decide which items you want to keep and send the rest back in a postage paid envelope.

Want to try it out? You can set up your account for monthly deliveries or even just one time delivery and decide if you want to continue (like I did... and want to). Use this link so I can get credit (aka "free clothes"): http://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3664726

So here is the story of my first Stitch Fix....

Friday afternoon, this pretty package was waiting for me on my doorstep. After a full day with the kids on their last day of school, I was tired, worn out and beat up. But, darn it, I was going to try on my possible future clothes RIGHT AWAY.


I've decided that Stitch Fix has fantastic packaging and branding. It was not only exciting to open the box to see what they sent me, but it was pretty to open. There were step-by-step directions on how to "check out" your clothes printed right on the flap. And in a note inside this envelope. And on the invoice.

Another little nicety was the note describing my clothes, how to pair them together and the style cards with additional suggestions on how to wear the items.


Before I show you what I got, I thought I'd show you my "BEFORE". Oh, boy. Hair a frizzy mess, no makeup and my glasses were lost somewhere in the house. Oh, and all the laundry baskets in the background. (I'm afraid those are part of the "AFTER" as well.) The outfit is my standard summer uniform: t-shirt and khaki shorts.


Item #1 - Cropped jeans by Kut from the Kloth. My first thought as I pulled them out of the box: "Eh. Cropped jeans." And then I put them on. "Ah. Cropped jeans!." I love them. They fit PERFECTLY. I know I'd wear them all the time. 


Item #2 - Renee C striped and patterned rainbow-y sleeveless bi-level shirt. Did I just get 5 months pregnant? Not good. At all. Too much pattern. Too much looking pregnant. No thank you. (Plus, look what the crazy shirt did to my face! Oh no!)


Here's a closeup look at the shirt's pattern. Nice. Just not for me.


 Items #3 & #4 - C. Luce cream lace-crochet tank and RED! cropped Bermuda capris by Kut from the Kloth. I had no idea what to think of the shirt until I put it on (that's how it usually goes with me  and shirts). It really wasn't bad. I am not a big Wearer of White but when I go on photo shoots I like to wear white so there's no strange color cast on my subjects. This would be a great for that. Or anything else. It was actually pretty flattering for a white sleeveless shirt.

Then there's the RED! pants. RED! PANTS! I've never had RED! pants. Never thought I would. Even as  I pulled them out of the box I questioned the mere possibility of RED! pants. And then. I put them on. WHAT??? They fit great. They looked cute. Darn it. I wanted to hate them. I really kinda love them. They looked nice with the crochet top even though my Personal Stylist Person didn't even include that combination as a suggestion. Look at me, all outside the box!


Here's a closeup of the cream tank. I like that it's feminine but not too frilly. The material has a good thickness to it.


Item #5 - blue print tank by Pomelo. I really like this one. I don't know the brand but I can tell that it's high quality because of the small details. There's a patterned ribbon going up each side (can you see it?) that added a bit of extra special something. I first tried it on with the RED! pants just because I already had them on. I was surprised to see that it was a cute outfit.


Here's a closeup of the ribbon detail. Pretty, right? I love this shirt.


Next I put the cropped jeans back on so I could see the "suggested outfit" together. I also love this. It looks totally different, more casual, a little more everyday for me.


So what do you think? This is the hard part, and I'm really having a thoroughly tough time. 

I know I don't want the crazy rainbow shirt. That one's easy. OUT!

If money were no option (like if I had a Stitch Fix sponsor or something, haha) I would keep four of the five pieces. But clearly that is not a reality. So...

If I keep the jeans, I know I'd wear them the most.

The RED! pants would be a new and different addition to my wardrobe and I have enough simple t's and cardigans that would go with it.

Of the shirts, I would wear the blue the most. I think.

But I still can't keep all three items.

I'm stuck. Help.

I have until Tuesday to send back my returns. Guide me, my friends. I truly cannot decide.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

POTD 2014 | may 21-31

141.365 | i think that's enough.

141.365
i think that's enough.
05.21.14

Still working on that "going for a walk with the human" thing. After 100 yards she decided to rest? Will we ever find out where this path leads? To be continued...


142.365 | dinner al fresco.
142.365
dinner al fresco.
05.22.14

Most employees get a dinner break... so I'm giving myself one. The beautiful outside is beautiful so I took my break on the back patio with a glass of wine, a bowl of pasta salad and a good book. I love this time of year. SO much.


143.365 | goodbye elementary school.
143.365
goodbye elementary school.
05.23.14

At the end of the school year, I take the 5th graders' pictures for the promotion ceremony slideshow. The girls were so adorable - they had IDEAS. In fact, one of them informed me that they had been thinking about this photo shoot since 1st grade.

Here is one of my favorites - the girls are literally walking away from their elementary school. Sniff.

Quick, before they grow up.


144.365 | bowling birthday bash.
144.365
bowling birthday bash.
05.24.14

This year, David wanted to have a bowling birthday party. Oh, and he wanted an actual bowling ball for his birthday, too!

I love watching the kids (or anyone, for that matter) as they head back to the seats from tossing/throwing/pushing their ball down the lane. You can see the most authentic expressions of joy.


145.365 | chrome book.
145.365
chrome book.
05.25.14

The only thing this boy wanted -- really wanted -- for his birthday was a Chrome Book. So we surprised him.

Happy 8th birthday, baby boy. I hope you complete lots of research projects on your new computer. Oh, yeah, and play lots of Minecraft. (duh.)

P.S. This photo was taken FOUR MINUTES after he ripped the paper off the box.


146.365 | birthday pie.
146.365
birthday pie.
05.26.14

This kid. Eight going on eighty. David requested PIE for his birthday. Not cake, fluffy chocolate with lots of sweet buttercream frosting that turns your teeth blue... he wanted PIE.


147.365 | what a gift.
147.365
what a gift.
05.27.14

I was having a tough time thinking of the ways in which our teachers completely hit the ball out of the park. (No, not really. Actually, there are so many ways, I'd need a large ream of paper to list them all.)

Well, here's another reason we love our teachers. They give books to their students on their birthdays. Not just any books. Books that are personally, hand picked for each kid. Signed, dated, loved.

I just can't get over how much we adore our teachers. We are so very fortunate to not only know them, but to have the privilege of learning from them as well.



148.365 | starbucks + scrapbooking.
148.365
starbucks + scrapbooking.
05.28.14

Stopped in for a Macchiato today. This "gift card" (its supposed intended use) was on display. It is THE cutest little coffee embellishment! So of course I had to have it. However, the barista thought it was odd that I didn't put any credit on it.


149.365 | sketchbook.

149.365
sketchbook.
05.29.14

For an entire hour, Samantha sat on the bench at karate and drew in her little sketchbook. She was so focused, I had to nudge her when her brother's class was over.


150.365 | behind the scenes.
150.365
behind the scenes.
05.30.14

Tonight the fifth graders gave presentations to the entire school and their families. Everyone played their part. Sam was the "backstage" tech for her group - she's not comfortable in front of people so she worked behind the scenes instead. Perfect.


151.365 | d is for defense.

151.365
d is for defense.
05.31.14

Today at David's soccer game, only half the team showed up. With only one alternate player to sub in, that meant no stopping, no slacking, everyone had to give 200% effort and go, go, go until the very end of the game when they could collapse into the grass with relief.

And boy, did they.

Team France won 7-2. Oui oui oui!

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