Dear Sunshine… A Letter to You on Your 5th Birthday

Isla Rae – my bright and shining one…

I can’t believe that we are celebrating your 5th birthday this morning. Where have these sweet years gone? I know we have so many good times ahead, and I look forward to the beautiful experiences we will share together as you grow and continue to bloom into this amazing person, but as I kissed your head tonight once you drifted off to sleep, I couldn’t help but to feel this pang of regret. I knew I had to write this to you before the sun came up and we became distracted by that glorious heap of chocolate donuts waiting for you on the dining room table.

sunshine

I missed you, Isla. Somewhere in those precious early days, I lost you in a fog of exhaustion and pain. My body wasn’t good to me when you needed me most. I could cry when I think of all of those irreplaceable pictures forever lost on that water-logged hard drive of the Mac in the basement. (Take note: Don’t keep your laptop on a bedside table nestled next to a tall glass of ice water…) I need those more than ever today, as I try so hard to remember you so new and so miraculous. Thank goodness for Facebook in that case. I have bits and pieces to look back on and cherish. So many snapshots of our days together. Some images are forever sealed in my memory. I can close my eyes and see you curled like a snail in my Serena & Lily pouch. The image takes me back to that quiet walk through town. You were just five weeks old. I looked down at you, fast asleep at my belly, and I knew I never wanted to forget what you felt like, in your smallness. If I take the time to remember, I can actually feel your weight, as if I’m holding you right now. How did you grow up so quickly?

Isla NB

I remember how alone I felt during many of our nights. Consoling you in the middle of the night seems like a distant dream. The aches and pains that plagued me robbed us of so much and the stress of life’s circumstances stole my thoughts from you almost constantly. And although I know you don’t remember, I decided to take on babysitting from our home, which definitely took a toll on the time we spent together, as well. I was reminded of all of that tonight, and, even though you couldn’t possibly recall those moments, I knew I had to tell you how sorry I am that our story didn’t start out better.

But before you think that this is the worst letter that a mom could ever write to her daughter on her birthday, I have to tell you something that will make all of that worth it.

Because of the pain…the distractions…the busyness…the trials…

Because of your mysterious, quiet spirit that has been from day one…

I got to fall in love with you, Isla Rae.

Of course I instantly loved you from the moment I knew of you, and that love became even more tangible once you were in my arms, but you were the child that I had to learn. And in that learning, I grew a love for you that has been so unique. It took work. While I sorted through my new self, I had to discover you, too. Your serious expressions, your smirks, and grins – all foreign to this heart-on-the-sleeve mama. I had to learn you, Isla, and it took effort and it took time. Today, as you turned five, I am a puddle. I am a puddle of emotions realizing how absolutely and utterly in love I am with you, precious child. I know you so deeply, and yet you are still such a mystery to me some days. Because I had to work so hard at cracking the code to your heart and spirit from the start, and at such a vulnerable time in our journey, I feel as though it is in you that I am so extra carefully and intentionally rooted. Not a day passes that you don’t completely intrigue and amaze me, and I adore you.

isla2b

 

I love you more than chocolate donuts and Oreo Blizzards.

I love you more than “lippies” and nail polish.

I love you more than pony tails and haircuts.

I love you more than cake and ice cream.

I love you more than dresses and pool days.

I love you more than music and cooking.

I love you more than Red Robin and shopping.

I love you more than Christmas and birthdays.

All those things YOU love…I love you more than that. Forever.

 

I love the way you wake me up every morning and you sound exactly like your daddy, telling me to come downstairs and make you breakfast. lol

I love how I’m one of the few people that you willingly smooch on the lips.

I love that you are strong, yet remarkably tender.

I love that you randomly beg me to slow dance with you, and you let me hold you on my hip while we twirl.

I love that you love only banana yogurt and have the best taste in shoes.

I love that you say the strangest things pretty much all of the time. There’s no one even remotely close to having your humor.

I love that you are my chef-in-training for just about every meal cooked in our little kitchen. Someday, when I’m older, and you are in your own home, I will probably beg to come over just so we can cook together like “when you were little.”

I love that the kitten makes you jumpy. I knew you couldn’t be that cool cucumber ALL of the time. 😉

I love that you love to have your hair curled and remind me to grab the hairspray every time. You’re well beyond your years in the hair department.

I love that you love to shop and I look forward to the days that you’ll help me to look more presentable.

I love that you love your sisters and always put them before yourself. You show such maturity in that way.

I love that you keep us on our toes – your dad and me. Although, I better never see you climbing the windows again. 😉

I love your face. You are adorably stunning or stunningly adorable, probably both.

I love that you’re mine and I’m your’s.

isla1b

 

I may have been a mess off and on these first five years, but I’m better now, and you have my heart, little girl. I’m so proud of who you are, and I’m so blessed to be your mom.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine. I can’t wait to celebrate you today.

 

The Girl Who Saves Me

Isla Rae.

My precious girl just turned four on Monday.

I look at pictures from just one year ago, and I am beside myself.  I can’t believe how the baby face has melted away and a little lady is emerging.

isla4

The gap between her two front teeth that once was so prominent, has closed so gradually, that I feel like I never even noticed it waving goodbye.  Her blonde locks have taken off, cascading down her little back, catching up quickly to her big sister’s.  I can’t believe she’s four.isla95

 

Four.

Four years ago, I endured the most painful delivery of all my four.  She took her sweet time making an arrival, so I decided to speed her along.  I found out the disastrous way that Pitocin and “natural birth” don’t mix.  Alongside wishing I had wisely avoided the incredible added pain, I have always felt as though I hijacked her birthday and have regretted rushing her every day since.

Isla2That’s Isla, though.  Teaching me patience and keeping me in check.  Since before Day 1, she’s been my chisel-child.  The one who is shaping me continuously.  

Be more patient, Mama.  Trust me, Mama.  I’m good, Mama.  I can do this on my own.  

I’ll dress myself, Mama.  I don’t need your help, Mama…

She’s this little, independent, mysterious soul, and I am her constant observer.

She’s been fierce from the start.  I wrote about our challenges when I was pregnant with her – the hemorrhage that loomed over her little body like a rain cloud.  It didn’t bother her, though.  She’s not easily affected by outside circumstances.  She’s steady and stable.  Fetus, infant, toddler, child…it didn’t matter…she’s always been my calm, cool, and collected child.  I admire those attributes in her, and I have this feeling that they will still describe her well as a young woman one day.

isla6

But what sets Isla apart the most for me as her mama, and what I think of everytime I think of her birth, her existence…she saved me.  She saves me.

isla94

After we lost EJ, Isla saved me and my mama-heart.  I fought hard for her.  Fought the darkness that invaded my soul.  Fought the raincloud that loomed over her and the fear that came with it.  Fought the 41st week of pregnancy, the intense summer heat, the ankles that were the size of He-Man’s thighs, and the Pitocin.  Fought and fought and fought and won.  We won.  She saved me and we won.  I won the greatest gift when God gave me Isla. I was already the blessed mother of Ava and EJ, but with Isla came the gift of hope.  She’s my “Sunshine”, my “Bright and Shining One”.

Isla1

All of my babies are so amazing and breath-taking in their own unique ways.  This is Isla’s specialty.  She saves her mama.  On days that I want to yell and throw my own tantrums, she speaks to me in her adult tones, and she may as well be holding up a mirror, because instantly, she saves me from my ridiculousness.

I look at her and I get lost in her dark eyes.  They pierce my soul, reminding me of the depth of God and His goodness, and she saves me yet again from any petty distractions I’m facing.

isla3

She climbs up next to me while I am “working” and adds her two cents to my vlogs and asks me about what I am working on, and she saves me from any loneliness that has crept into my morning as a SAH/WAHM.  In a silly kind of way, she’s like my little co-worker at times.

isla7

She randomly (and frequently) talks about Baby EJ.  It completely confounds us.  It’s as if she somehow knows that she is EJ’s womb-buddy.  They were conceived just three months apart.  Although I’ve written about EJ as a daughter, she is convinced EJ is her brother and she talks about “him” as though he is a very real part of her daily life.  It amazes me.  When she talks about EJ, she saves me from any heartache, because I am instantly reminded of this beautiful family that God is allowing me to build during my time here.

I’m humbled daily – by a four year old.

I’m changed daily – by a four year old.

I’m moved daily – by a four year old.

I’m challenged daily – by a four year old.

I am so thankful for our sweet Isla Rae.  She’s beautiful through and through.  She’s our little painter and chocoholic.  She can house a dozen donuts or chocolate chip pancakes in a single sitting.  She is all muscle, though.  Even when she was a baby, she was a teeny little muscle.  She can stand on the knuckles of her feet in an amazing and totally unnatural way.  lol

isla92

She can sass with the best of them and she loves being in the kitchen.  She’s got the most beautiful hands and nails I have ever seen.  No joke.  She’s a Rockstar and one tough cookie.  Dental work…doctor appointments…ER visits…she doesn’t even whimper.  She loves her sisters so deeply.  I can count on her to always be caring for someone.  All day, every day…she’s taking care of her sisters.

isla8

She will ask me if I like her outfit, hairdo, shoes, because she’s destined to be a fashion blogger. 😉  She loves having her nails painted and is a natural dancer.

isla91

She wants to learn to play the violin and loves to swim.  A cup of hot chocolate, a Hershey Kiss, a cookie… it doesn’t matter if we’re picking Ava up at school or if she’s returning home from a Daddy-daughter date, she is NEVER empty-handed when it comes to her big sister.  Ava is tops in her book and Isla is always thinking of little ways to bless her.

isla5

Her mealtime prayers are especially long and almost always include a wish list of some kind along with a plea for the “people that don’t have any aw-fer-ring”.  Her heart makes mine melt.  Every.single.day.

isla93

Happy Birthday, sweet Isla Rae.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for refining me.  I thank God for you, precious girl.  You bring such strength and beauty to my world. xoxo

isla9

 

 

chocolate muffins in disguise…

Well, it happened…my baby turned 5! 






Nooo! Where is the time going?! I look back at pictures…her chubby cheeks…her bubbly smile…her pudgy little toes…

Now, she’s got ballerina feet, long, blonde locks that touch her tush in the bath, and a chiseled little chin (she has her daddy’s great bone structure).

One thing hasn’t changed in five years though… She still makes my heart flutter. The very sight of her sweet face takes me back to the first day of her life and how completely wrapped up in her I am. I try to do everything I can to show her I care, and when she kindly requests cupcakes for her special school birthday snack…this kind-of-crunchy mama cringes (haha), but the wheels started turning, and I attempted to think of a way to give her what she’s asked for without feeding 4 and 5 year olds a pile of sugar at 10AM.

Enter: a favorite (easy) treat of ours: 
Aldi’s Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
I make them with 1/4 c. of coconut oil, 3/4 c. of water and 2 eggs, and I bake them in the tart pan for 10-11 minutes.  Simple. Better than many alternatives. Done, and my kids love them.

I wanted to find a ‘healthier’ frosting for these muffins in disguise, so I did some searching on Pinterest and found this recipe from ‘Gimme Some Oven’:

I adapted it a bit, so here is our version:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Enough powdered sugar to reach desired sweetness/consistency – I used about 1 1/2 c. The original recipe called for 3-4 cups, but I think that would be a little too sweet for this girl (and twentysomething little ones before noon). Even my version tastes super sweet. For some reason, I have developed a sensitive palate when it comes to sweets. I’d like to think it’s from recent years of trying to cut back on sugar altogether. However, put me in a room with a chocolate bar, and it’s sayonara willpower!

Anyway…

I hope my princess likes her special treat this morning, and I pray that she feels so loved and special at school day. Enjoy your Wednesday, friends. We and our babies will be another day older before we know what hit us. xo

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annual (anthro) giveaway! (it’s my birthday present to YOU!)

Hello, friends!  Ok, I know I said an ‘appropriate’ hour on our Facebook page, but I have been such a flake today!  Well, actually, I spent the day being a good mom (and wife)!  haha  Imagine that!  I made Pioneer Woman’s Chicken and Noodles from scratch, hung out with the kids, did some more laundry, kept the house somewhat together, did the whole preschool thing, stopped at our church to pick up a book for the hubs…  Will I ever be a lady who can function as wifey, mama, and blogger all in the same 24 hours???  Maybe someday…

Anyway, here is the giveaway!  I wanted to get to Anthro today to smell these in person (going to try again tomorrow), but they got great reviews.  The item I have chosen is the Boulangerie Jar Candle by Illume.  

{Description from Anthro of these candles:  With a 20-year legacy, Minnesota-based fragrance label Illume is best known for its luxuriously-scented, clean-burning candles. Each signature scent is crafted by hand from all-natural, food-grade ingredients like coconut wax and essential oils, creating an inviting atmosphere wherever one is lit. The mouthwatering aromas of French desserts arise from vintage Parisian pottery replicas.}

Since it will be shipped directly from www.anthropologie.com, you can have your choice of scents, which include:

  • Pumpkin Souffle
  • Oatmeal Cookie
  • Angel Food
  • Vanilla & Fig
  • Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon
  • Whipped Cream & Pear
I cannot wait to smell these!  Don’t they sound amazing???!  

So, simply follow the Rafflecopter form below and enter for your chance to win!  Imagine this burning in your kitchen.  Lovely stuff!  

Thanks so much for reading the blog.  Thank you for your support of me on this journey, and thanks for entering my annual birthday giveaway (where I chose a favorite thing – usually from Anthro 🙂 – and gift it to you!).  Enjoy your week!  Winner will be announced on the 31st at 11AM!  xo!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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birthday linky party and giveaway!

i don’t know about you, but one of the times i am most on pinterest, is when i am planning a party!  birthday parties these days seem to be all about the ‘theme.’  how am i capturing this stage in my child’s life?  what do they love?  sock monkeys?  princesses?  soccer?  whatever it is…there are a gazillion pieces of inspiration out there for us as parents planning ‘the shin-dig of all shin-digs’ for our tots ‘n taters, right?

i’m one of those moms who would love to go all-out, but alas, reality sets in, and i realize i don’t have an immeasurable amount of time or money to put into these big days.  but i ‘pin’ ideas like nobody’s biz-ness.  you?  😉

in all seriousness, though, i have gotten so much inspiration and motivation from all of the ideas, posts, and products i’ve been exposed to through blogs and shops i’ve found over the years.  i have a ton of creative bones in my body, but not always the ‘superhuman’ package to go with them, so our parties are usually middle-of-the-road as far as cost and effort.  i’ve learned, through some trial and error, that what matters most is that little one you are celebrating, so don’t put an insane amount of pressure on that big day or yourself.  i hope you find some things here that make the whole process even easier for you come party time!

that said…welcome to the birthday linky party, where we’ll be linking up all of our birthday-related posts and pins.  link to a post from your blog, or a pin, or even an entire pinterest board.  i’ll be linking up my posts and boards as well!

i am certain you’ll find something helpful / wonderful / interesting here!  i’ve got a princess party coming in december, so i’ll personally have an eye out for those links!  thanks in advance for sharing!

in honor of my very first party (and quite the learning experience) as a mom…we will be ‘gifting’ some adorable, handcrafted ‘minnie mouse’ inspired items created exclusively for this giveaway by the artisans, rosella bella and la bambina couture!  just see the rafflecopter form below!  one lucky winner takes all!

so here’s where the good times started for klover house

the ‘minnie mouse’ party:
where were you, pinterest???  
that day.  oh, that day.  i’d like a re-do, please.  🙂

the ‘elmo’ party:

the ‘pinkalicious’ party:
the ‘sunshine’ party:
in lieu of cards, guests brought dollar gift items 
to be donated to our local children’s hospital.
the ‘beauty and the beast’ party:

a BIG thank you to rosella bella and la bambina couture for creating these one-of-a-kind pieces for us!
(check out rosella bella’s facebook page for a glimpse at even more adorable products!)
*this is not a paid or sponsored post.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

**giveaway ends august 3rd at 11:59 PM EST. open to residents of the US only.  prizes cannot be shipped to PO boxes.  winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. please note that klover house is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  we have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. the products provided for the giveaway were free of charge from the companies, and each item offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. my opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  facebook and pinterest are in no way associated with this giveaway.

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isla’s ‘beauty and the beast’ birthday party!

i am so excited to share our latest birthday party with you!
our sweet, isla (‘eye-la’) rae (‘ray’) turned the big TWO!
i can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone by!
our little cutie pie absolutely adores her ‘belle and beeee,’
as she calls them.  them being ‘beauty and the beast.’
if you have daughters and speak toodler-ese,
then you know exactly who i’m talking about, right?!
being our summer baby, we never know what we’re going to get weather-wise,
but we always plan for an outdoor party.  for both her first and second birthday,
we picked a quaint, little, local park.  easy to get to, clean, and, with its
mini rock-climbing ‘mountain,’ swings, playground, ballfied, and bike/walking path,
it’s also the perfect place for little ones (and big ones) to be entertained!  🙂
last year, it was so hot, you could cook a hotdog on the pavement.
this year, we had rain, and rain, and rain, and more rain…
so, in case the equipment was too yucky, we had some additional
supplies in-tow:  cornhole, bubbles/bubble wands, and giant rubber balls
*the giant balls were $3/ea. at target & the bubble supplies were from the dollar store.*
here’s a glimpse of the party & all the details:
favors & centerpieces:
i loved this stuff!  the stuff you see below was custom-made by the shop,
‘created to play.’  you can find them on etsy {here}.  and you can also
check out their facebook page {here}.
the incredible pretzel rods were also custom-made by a shop i love called,
chocolate apple orchard.  you can find it on facebook {here}, and you
can visit their website {here}.  they are soooo amazingly delicious and pretty!
she also does custom orders and flavor combos.  these pretzels aren’t to be
taken lightly…they are dipped in caramel before they are drenched and drizzled
in chocolates and toppings!  omgoodness.  ‘tasty’ is like an insult.
they are sooo good, you will consider pretending you forgot to hand them out.
i was a good girl, and i gave them to isla’s guests.
(but if you didn’t come, i ate it.  don’t hate.)
favors consisted of several items:
a large bouncy ball (i purchased these from a giant ‘gum ball’ machine in
old navy, of all places! i mentioned that back in this post.)

items from the dollar store…princess washcloths (the kind that open in water),
bracelets, toothbrushes (for ava and isla)

“smarties” and “dum dums.” okay, that’s funny. 
 i just realized that i gave the kids an oxymoron in treats…
totally not on purpose, but actually kind of funny.

princess tattoos…boys got slim-pickins, b/c i had to cut the ‘friends’ 
away from their princesses, so the boys would have non-girlie options. 
 like, i cut ‘flounder’ away from ariel…the frog away from tiana…
‘pascal,’ the lizard from rapunzel…yeah, i did that.

belle squinkie rings (found in the clearance bin at target!) i super-glued the squinkie
to the ring, so that they would be less of a choking hazard, and i made sure to only
give them to the older children of the group…i tried anyway.
yes.  i did all of this in love.  🙂

chocolate apple orchard also made this custom ‘belle’ apple!  it blew me away!
i think it was one of my favorite aspects of the party details…
party prep / supplies / food:
last year, isla’s party was “sunshine” themed, so i had a lot of yellow items
leftover to use for this one (belle’s dress is yellow).  i keep all of our party goods in a
large tote all year long.  if it’s not perishable, it’s here.  easy storage.  easy transport.  good.
those large, yellow, rubber tubs were found somewhere last year (target maybe?).
i like to use them to carry stuff to the party location, and then, i fill them with ice and drinks.
last year (remember i said it was hot?), the kids also used them as ‘baby pools.’  fun times.  🙂
food for somewhere between 30 and 50 mouths:
hamburgers and hotdogs (50 of each, and we make our own patties to cut costs)
buns (50ish of each – remember most little ones won’t need one anyway)
pasta salad (made by my m-i-l.  so yummy.  she made 2lbs)
lemon bars (my mom makes these – recipe {here}.  these are amazing!)
brownies (i made four boxes…roughly 100 sm. squares.  the 85 that i ate were delicious!)
brownies were on clearance for 92 cents a box!  score!
i use coffee in place of the water.  it’s better that way.  we’re already letting our kids
gorge themselves with sugar at parties… 1/50 of a 1/4 cup of caffeine won’t hurt, right?!
TWO boxes baked together on a cookie sheet for exactly 20 mins yields about 50 squares.
some additional ‘keep it easy’ ideas…
‘beauty and the beast’ themed balloon anchors.
i bought four gold anchors
and four red, silk roses w/wired stems (on clearance), and attached each rose
to a base.  wrapped it w/coordinating ribbon.  done.  
(sorry you can’t see the entire thing in the collage.  
mama messed up, and i’m hanging up my ‘perfectionist’
hat for the day.  maybe even for a week…)
favor box:
i put all of the favor boxes in a cardboard box, and
i made myself a little chart with a sharpie, so that i could grab the appropriate
favor box as quickly as possible.  (each box was catered to each child’s gender & age.)
drinks and labels:
rather than spend a ton of money on cans or bottles of teas / pops / ades…
we purchased four jugs of drinking water, removed the labels
(had i not saved this for the last minute, i would’ve done a better job),
and used clear packing tape to affix our coloring page labels.
hubby thinks i was just looking for an excuse to color…  😉
maybe.  or maybe our printer was packed and out of ink anyway…
then, i just poured the water into a pitcher with each mix and redistributed
the beverages back into their appropriate containers.  this way, you just 
dispose of them when the party’s over.  i vote recycle, btw.  🙂

the cake:
ahhh…the cake.  i adore these cakes.  literally slices of heaven.
thank you so much, adam and joanna for exposing us to this 
incredible italian buttercream!  i ate way too much of this, too,
but it is seriously so good.  i will probably buy their cakes forever.
jury’s still out though on which is better…chocolate or raspberry filling.
i vote raspberry (last year’s choice), and hubs says chocolate (this year’s).
i think we should try raspberry again in october, just to see…  😉
two good things about this year’s cake:
1) a quarter of a sheet is plenty (compared to the whole sheet cake that i ordered
last year.  we were passing out brick-sized pieces and still brought some home!)
2) they spelled her name right this year!  last year, she was “ilsa.”  oops.
the last little tidbits:
the girls’ matching ‘belle’ t-shirts, crown, and the beauty and beast figurines were
all purchased at the disney store.  they were pricey, but still inexpensive
in comparison to the things i was finding on etsy.  plus, t-shirts were
perfect for a rainy-day-at-the-playground party…
the figurines doubled as part of isla’s gift from us.  the two shown
also came with some of the other characters from the movie.
i hope you enjoyed this post!  i know i don’t
get as into it as some, but i try my best to 
keep it relevant, fun, and very low-cost.
splurges for this party came in the form of disney store items, the treats 
and the cake.  everything else was so inexpensive that it all balanced out.
that’s what’s most important.  balance.  and fun.
you’ll remember the budget, but your babies will remember the FUN!  🙂
stay tuned for our ‘birthday party’ themed giveaway
coming NEXT week!!!
i’ll give you a clue…
it starts with a “minnie” and ends with a “mouse!”
xo,
kristi

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soooo…

yep, that’s about it…soooo…

haha

i really haven’t been up to/had the time to write lately. it’s seasons like this i think, “wouldn’t it be nice to have a little scribe following me around or a mental tape recorder of sorts that would translate all of my worthwhile thoughts into the written word?” when i’m 105 maybe that machine will have been invented.

november was so busy. i blinked & it was over. avey’s party was held the weekend after thanksgiving, so that occupied quite a bit of my mental stamina & time. shopping for birthday supplies on black friday of all days was not exactly wise. lesson learned…maybe. her birthday will always be the 1st of december, so i will have to be more on top of things in the years to come. as rushed as it felt though, i don’t think it was a flop…she had a great time with her little friends, & we had a great time visiting with friends & family, so that’s what matters, right?

avey’s “pinkalicious” princess cake. it was a beauty.

our sweet, happy girl

her hunk of a dad & my partner in birthday party throwing madness

her actual birthday was kind of a bust. intentions were that we’d get up, have special, birthday pancakes complete with sprinkles & whipped cream…that part went perfectly well.

btw…these pancakes were made with 3/4 c. milk & 1/4 c. of salted caramel mocha creamer & chocolate chips. yummo! the girls loooved them!

after our relaxed breakfast, we were supposed to have our christmas card pic & ava’s three-year-old pics taken at target at 11:15, so we’d be out in time for a special birthday lunch & rolling home in time for naps…well…we rolled outta target at TWO PM, people. yes, we waited over TWO hours for our pictures to be taken only to be told that so many people were booked on top of one another b/c Target’s policy is to schedule sessions every TEN MINUTES. what?! you can’t get little people to sit down, sit still & smile all in the same ten minutes. crazy talk.

so, lunch consequently turned into “where can we find mac ‘n cheese asap?” answer…texas roadhouse of all places. (it was the closest & there was zero wait time.) i told the waitress it was ava’s birthday in hopes they would sing, which she assured us they would. but…she forgot, and isla slept through the entire meal, so it wasn’t all my hopes had cracked it up to be. mister’s response…”i think the service world was against us today.” i think he was right.

that leads us up to this week. everyone’s sick in one way or another. i feel like i’m swallowing glass. ava hasn’t eaten a meal in two days. she’s living off of fruit snacks, milk & cheese slices, & isla actually smells a little putrid as she sits next to me flipping through ava’s “cinderella” book. daddy jostled her after dinner with several belly tickles, and she threw up her pizza. nice. the kid blatantly smells of vomit.

soooo…that’s what we’ve been up to these days. hopefully in the next couple of days i’ll have some more substantial posts to share. tonight was a catch-up/haven’t you missed us/aren’t you feeling satisfied to have touched-base/you’ll sleep better thinking about birthdays, target & throw up kind of post. 🙂

talk to you soon!!! nighty night! time to go bathe these stinkapotamuses & have a nice, quiet cup of hot tea before i have to clean this house & start all over again.

giveaway days are here again!

whew – it feels like it’s been forever!

well, tomorrow is my birthday…
(channeling a little rapunzel, since we just watched tangled for the 12,000th time this morning…), annnnddd i would like to give someone special one of my favorite things!

that said…

it’s a scentsy giveaway!
happy birthday to you! happy birthday to yoooou!
i hope that makes you smile!

so…the winner will have two plug-ins to choose from & a scentsy bar of your choice from the new fall/winter line found {here}, or the holiday scents found {here}. use this as your opportunity to try something new at no cost to you! i tried to choose for you, but the scents all sound way too enticing – so you get the task of picking! 🙂

the plug-ins to choose from this time around are also both new…

silvervine

silvervine recalls the days of hand-forged
metalwork, featuring an ornate, botanical
motif on a subtle pattern of tiny beads.

pinon

two embossed cones nestle amid a cluster of
pine needles on piñon’s woody brown surface.

okay…b/c i love you & you have exquisite taste…i’m adding two more choices!

scentsy’s warmers of the month for october & november…

tom

a full-feathered tom turkey glows from within when lit, while distressed edges give a lovingly worn look to its classic detailing.


holiday lights

a homey warmer spangled with old-fashioned Christmas bulbs. each light glows from within when the warmer is lit, contrasting with the deep-red finish.


i will ask you for your selections in an e-mail if you are our winner!

you can view these two products close-up, as well as all of the products available by downloading the pdf catalog {here}.

so here’s the dealio…
to enter, kindly leave a comment below meeting these simple requirements…

1 – leave a comment below telling us about your most memorable birthday celebration, along with your favorite scentsy scent – if you have one…

2 – please take a moment to “like” the ava & isla facebook page by clicking on the “facebook” tab in the right side bar, & if you already “like” us, then just say so! 🙂

3 – please, please remember to leave your name. check out the additional comments below regarding e-mail addresses. thank you.

4 – optional: “share” to fb, twitter, pinterest or your own blog…

5 – just for kicks…if you can guess the exact time that i was born (must include AM or PM), you will be the bonus winner of a $10 starbucks card! yes! another one of my favorite things! 🙂 that’s fun, huh?! ps. – no asking family members allowed.

important…

* entrants must be 18 yrs of age or over, have a valid e-mail address
(please include your e-mail in a separate comment. in order to respect your privacy those comments will not be published.)
* entrants must also live within the continental united states for delivery purposes
(sorry, no p.o. boxes).
* giveaway will start at 2:00pm est wednesday, october 24th, 2012 & end at 11:59pm est thursday, october 25th, 2012.
* all comments will require approval prior to being published, so keep it kind.
* only one entry per person.
* winner chosen via a random process (random.org) & announced on friday october 26th.
* winner will be announced on ava-n-isla.blogspot.com, fb & twitter & will have 24hrs to acknowledge the announcement.
* in the event that the winner no longer can or wants to accept the prize, a new winner will be chosen at random & announced at a later date (i’ll keep you in the know!).

** scentsy & starbucks are not the responsible parties for this giveaway & are not promoting their products via {ava&isla}.

avey baby’s artsy tea table

ok, folks, told you i was behind & so here’s my attempt at a quick catch-up session…

let’s start with ava’s big bday gift – her artsy tea table.

i arrived at this idea nearly a year ago while thinking of her 2nd birthday. i knew we were getting her a play kitchen for christmas, so this seemed like the best gift, given our small space available, budget & most importantly, her interests.

all it took was this kid-sized white tabe from ikea (their prices can’t be beat & your table will surely take a beating, so why splurge?) if you have a little boy, they also carry wood tones that would suit any little guy who enjoys, coloring, painting, working with play dough, etc…

i had my mister pick up some chalkboard spray paint from lowes & we had some painters’ tape on hand. the last thing i needed was a stencil or pattern…

had i chosen a table with straight edges, i could’ve easily taped off a border, but since this is a circular table, i needed to get a little creative. have you ever tried to tape in a circle? it’s difficult to say the least…

i found this flower-shaped bowl of ava’s in the cupboard. i lined up the “petals” & easily traced two at a time, simply sliding the bowl around as i went.

when it came time for the tape, i covered the “straight” space entirely with the tape, so basically, i stopped at the rounded edges. to get a clean line with the tape at that point, i covered a section at a time, lined the bowl up again (using the adjacent petals as a guide) & trimmed off the excess tape with a razor blade i had handy. you can also use a pairing, exacto, or pen knife, a box cutter, etc… just be careful not to press down too hard, or you will cut the table.

hubs has a roll of plastic in the garage, so i taped a piece around the perimeter of the table to protect the legs & shelves. then, i sprayed away – probably 6 or 7 even, steady coats.

learn from my mistakes – don’t go too heavy around your border or you will have a little seepage like i did. it still looks pretty good, but me being the weirdo-perfectionist that i am, it drove me nuts for about an hour…

she loves it though & that’s what matters. 🙂

happy birthday, sweet baby girl.