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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 11 of 2011

I stumbled across a few blogs doing a Top 11 {photos of your kids} of 2011 linky party and I figured I might as well too! Considering I have well over 15,000 pictures from this year (and I had to take a day off work to go through my own personal pictures just so I could make a 2012 calendar), it was not an easy task to pick just 11 shots! They may not be the best images photography wise, but they do make my heart stop and think about how lucky I am to have this happy little girl in my life. And it really is just about capturing the moment, no matter how flawed it may be technically. Here are my top 11 of 2011 in chronological order...

1. {Easter at Auntie's house} Love how wonder fills a child's imagination just from looking out the window.

2. {Fun at the park} Mia loved spending every day at the park!

3. {First strawberry shortcake ice cream treat!} Mia loved sitting out on the balcony. And has a sweet tooth like mommy!

4. {Getting ready for swim class} Mia loves checkin' herself out in the mirror just like mommy!

5. {Being silly at Auntie's house} eeeeeeeeeeeeeee smuuuuuuuuuuush faaaaaace...

6. {Picnic at the lake} This sweet moment makes my heart pause and smile.

7. {4th of July tradition} I can see this framed on her dresser when she's all grown up. There's something about gazing out over water that makes time stop while you take it all in.

8. {Silly silly girl} She's got quite the personality!

9. {ommmm corn} So she may have food in her teeth, but she loooooooves corn. And how can that squeezable boxy face, crinkle nose and little squinty eyes not make you smile?

10. {First look at her tutu} My itty bitty ballerina is adoring her first dance outfit.

11. {Baby's first candy cane} "mMmMm sooo yummmmy" She got a big kick out of her fingers sticking to her face.

*sigh* There's SO many more I wanted to include, but I really restrained myself to stay within the guidelines. I hope my baby girl gave you a little smile today J Which one was your favorite?

Click It Up A Notch

Monday, December 26, 2011

Good Night Gorilla

Now that we're almost done recreating Good Night Chicago, we're going to do the same with Good Night Gorilla! Ok not really. But we could if we wanted to, thanks to ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

We tried taking Mia after she saw Goodnight Moon - the Musical, but she fell asleep in the car. We tried again on Christmas Eve's Eve and she fell asleep in the car again! But since it's been a warm December and we found parking, we went anyway.

It was better than I expected! Even though half the zoo is closed off (you don't want to walk around the whole zoo when it's cold anyway), we were able to see some animals sleeping! So silly how the big gorillas had little blankies to sleep on.
Good night, Gorilla.
Even the tiger slept on his back.
Good night, Giraffe. Good night, Tiger.

They also had lights set to music (like Bellagio's dancing fountains).

And the ice sculpting was pretty cool too!

It was a fun FREE family outing for the holidays. We didn't even make it through the other half of the zoo in the one hour we were there, so we'll have to check it out again next year. Lincoln Park's ZooLights are open daily 5-9pm through January 1, so you can still see the sleeping animals for yourself!

linked up here:
Sweet Shot DayLive, Love, TRAVEL

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jingle Bells

Since we send Thanksgiving cards in November and Mia's birthday party invites go out in January, we don't send another set of cards out in December. But, we did make this little holiday video for you!
{You might have to turn up the volume to hear Mia. But don't be alarmed when you hear me and Doug loudly!}
Happy Holidays from our family to yours! JJJ
I still have a lot to do before Christmas, like plan my menu, eeek! Enjoy the time off with friends and family!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best of the Blogosphere - Holiday Craft Edition

eeeeeee! What a pleasant surprise this morning! Remember how I told you I was the 753rd link up to all the holiday linky parties goin' on in the blogosphere? Yeah, just a liiiiiiiittle late. Well it still paid off! Today you can find my custom shaped bokeh tips on Centsational Girl's BOTB hoiday craft edition! Kate always has amazing eye candy to beautifully DIY your home and she even made an appearance on the Nate Berkus Show. Definitely check her out!

Big holiday hugs for Nikki (Thrifty Decorating) and Jaymi (Live, Love Travel) for also featuring Danielle's beautiful kids! Thanks ladies! All my shopping is done and presents wrapped. Now I just have to make all the DIY presents, eek!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goodnight Moon - The Musical

This weekend we took Mia to see her first musical, Goodnight Moon! Mia's never sat down through an entire tv show or movie (she usually tells us to turn the tv off!), so I wasn't sure how sitting through a musical would be. She sat through the circus just fine. But there was a LOT going on to keep anyone's attention.

Since seating for the show at the Biograph Theater is first come, first serve, we had no problem getting very close seats. It's a small stage, so any seat would've been good anyway. A few minutes in, I thought it was going to be really weird or cheesy and how can they possibly turn a five minute book into a one hour musical?!?

But turns out, we all enjoyed it! It was really silly, fun and creative while incorporating all aspects of the book. Mia did say "Let's go home." a few times in the beginning, but I think she was just scared at first of everything happening on stage. Not long after, she understood what was going on and watched intently and clapped along. To my surprise, there weren't many screaming children like I thought there might be. They extended the show through December 31st , so you can still check it out!

Then we ate at Del Seoul (mMmmM) and tried taking Mia to see Zoo Lights, but she fell asleep in the car! Maybe next time!

Monday, December 19, 2011

DIY No Sew Toddler Tutu Tutorial

“More dancing!” is what Mia usually says when we watch So You Think You Can Dance or ABDC or Dancing with the Stars. Or “MOM GET UP! GET UP! Hold hand! Dance with Mia!”
{Tough B-girl? or Sweet ballet dancer? hehe}

When I signed Mia up for ballet class two months ago, I was caught off guard when the lady said, “Ok, do you have this, this, this and this??” Ummm no, I do not have a leotard, ballet shoes, tights and a skirt. You might want to state on your website what is required for class?!! In that moment, my future as a parent funding numerous school activities and uniforms and camps flashed before my eyes.

But not to worry, I already bought two leotards (on clearance at Target, score!) with plans to make my own tutus and already have hand me down tights. I got the idea from Natasha like I mentioned in my original DIY Tutu Tutorial from Two Yards of Tulle for less than Two Dollars post (for a newborn).  But here’s a refresher tutorial on how to easily DIY a no sew tutu for your toddler (which is way cheaper than buying one!) It'd be a great (cheap, easy and cute!) last minute Christmas gift for any little girls on your list!
{Look at those itty bitty dance slippers!}
Time: 15 minutes
Supplies: (for my ~2 year old)
2 rolls of tulle (from the wedding aisle in Michael’s) - $3/each without a coupon
Elastic or Ribbon
Cardboard (width: 6-12 inches; length: desired length of skirt)
Cost: less than $10

  1. Cut elastic to your child’s waist size. I used a pair of pants as a guide. If using ribbon for a tie around/apron style, cut the ribbon long enough where you can tie a bow around your child's waist.
  2. If using ribbon, skip this step. Hand sew elastic ends together. There is no rhyme or reason to my technique. I just use my knowledge from 6th grade Home Ec. Class.
  3. Wrap tulle lengthwise, around and around and around your cardboard until your roll is done. Cut tulle along the width of ONE side of your cardboard. Now you are left with tulle strips that are double the length of your skirt. Right?
  4. Fold strip of tulle in half and tie/loop/knot onto elastic/ribbon. If you want extra fluffiness, take TWO strips and tie on as if they were one. I stretched the elastic using my feet while tying the tulle on. Keep going until desired fluffiness and/or you run out of tulle. If using ribbon instead of elastic, leave room at each end to tie around your child's waist.
  5. Trim edges of tulle to be more even.
  6. Fluff and dance around the house! 
She loves to wear my "dance slippers" (flats) and stretch, tippy toe, plie, do first position and hop around the house like in class. J And talk non-stop about Miss Katie, her teacher.  Oh, and watch videos of herself dancing over and over and over again. Saturday was her last class this session. Good thing we have those videos to hold her over 'til next session!

linked up here:
Home Stories A2Z

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Red and White Christmas Decor

So after Little Tree at night, Little Tree during the day and my mantle, let's move on to the rest of the house...Ralph here is snuggling up with my DIY sweater pillows and the first wrapped gifts of the year. 
{Love simple brown packaging (aka free grocery bags and green!) finished with pretty ribbon/baker's twine.}
 {Catch my silver duct tape gift tag? Ralph Lauren bear was on clearance for under $10 at Macy's last year.}

I showed you these irresistible chubby legs yesterday. Now with a peek at my wrapping paper gallery wall...

mmmk, by now you should get the hint that I like red, right?
Poinsettias look SO much better when not wrapped in shiny green or gold foil! Thanks for the tip Shelley!
Even with tips from Thrifty Decor Chick, I'm not sure how long this plant will survive thrive. L
{Snagged the red tray (40% off) and white tin pot (40% off coupon) from Joann's. Filled it with ornaments and ribbon.}
{Frames are filled with scraps of wrapping paper (FREE!) and a family rules print. Last year had more green.}
{I didn't want my kitchen to be left out and topped the fridge with a gold berry branch, bowl of ornaments and ribbon.}

{Red hydrangeas leftover from this wreath. IKEA vases (from the Winter Onederland Party) topped with silver ribbon.}

{Mr. and Mrs. Santa bring me back to crafting days with my mom when I was little.©}
{Santa and his reindeer were also saved from my parents' collection of 30 year old decorations that we tossed.}
 {Fat Santa makes a good wine bottle topper too.} 

 {Wreaths I made for the cemetary using only things I had on hand. I only bought the wreaths and stands for a total of $10.}

It was pouring rain the other day. SO wrong for winter in Chicago! I should be wearing snow boots not rain boots! But one morning, we did wake up to a light dusting. I hope we have a white Christmas again!
 {2 lighted garlands from Target - $5 each on clearance last year - wrapped with 2 berry garlands from Michael's.}
{I'll display cards from two hanging ribbons and itty bitty clothespins. Much better than piling them on the mantle.}

Aiiiiguyaaah...Isn't my eggi (baby) so ipodah (pretty)?
{Picture of Mia and silver glittered hurricanes from her dol last year.}

And that's it! Well my guest bathroom is dolled up too, but can't get natural lighting for pictures in there! Hopefully I can get my holiday shopping done this weekend. It'll be a scramble since it's Mia's last dance class this session, we're going to a musical and have to shop for a new microwave! Drive safely amongst all the other crazies trying to get their shopping done!

linking up with The Inspired Room, Michaela at:
Holidayand Sweet Shot Day

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Traditional Mantle - Red, Green, White, Silver and Gold!

Now that you've seen Little Tree at night and during the day, let's move on to the mantle...I love dressing up our mantle for the holidays! I get so sad in January when it all comes down and goes back to being bare. The mantle seems more complete this year compared to years past.

{one berry garland from Michael's, a few silver berry picks, a few gold glittered pinecones, extra leaves from other flowers}

{3 pack of jolly jingle bell people (who coordinate with our stockings!) and white snowflake stocking from Target}

{DIY wreath - so cheap and easy! Check out my other DIY holiday wreaths here.}

We get a huge cold draft through our {gas} fireplace during the winter. So I tuck pretty red and gold fabric into the glass doors/frame to stop the draft. It helps A LOT. Tip: To keep the fabric from falling, on each side, I safety pinned a bag of marbles to the top (on the inside) to weigh it down.

{These little guys help too. Snowmen drift stopper from Pier 1 for ~$15 on sale, I think.}

{stockings hung with 3M hooks- love those things!}

{nom nom nom Mia's chubby legs from last winter. Monogram from Anthropologie, also last year.}

{Everyday table setting with vases from IKEA, berry picks from Michael's, placemats from Bed, Bath & Beyond and white/silver runner from Target}

Tomorrow should be the last of my holiday decor posts and I'll be caught up with the rest of the bloggy world!

linked up with: