Family Photo Shoot

Saturday morning we had our yearly family photos done. Fall is my absolute favorite time for taking outdoor photos. The colors, the atmosphere; it’s just perfection.


We always go to Ambient Light Photography by Mary Baxter. I have known her for fifteen years now, and besides being an absolutely wonderful woman, she is so talented. If you’re local in NH, definitely book with her! I just love her portraits.

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I know I’m her mother so I’m extremely biased, but my daughter is such a beauty. I just every inch of her little face! I can’t believe how big she is this year. Which is so cliche, and also entirely true. She’s gotten so tall, her hair so long; she’s just growing right up!

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Now that our family photos are taken, I can dive into massive Shutterfly projects – another yearly task I do. Putting together a family ‘yearbook’, designing our Christmas card, among other gifts and new prints for the home. It’s quite a task, but I love it. I just love photographs.


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Last Week We. . .

I was a serious blog slacker last week. I did put up two posts, but they were the LAST two post I had done. Usually I do batch posts when I work so I have a bunch on reserve, but last week (*cough cough* and the week before *cough cough*) I completely let it slide. Basically I moved into art land and have yet to move out. It would seem my muse has taken permanent residence on my shoulder because all I’ve wanted to do when I have free time is draw draw draw. Which I am totally loving. As previously stated in a post I can’t share any of the new art here since it is all Christmas gifts and commissions. . .but I am working on a just for fun piece that should be done by the end of the week so that will be up soon!

However, despite my want to do nothing but draw all day, I did manage to get some real life things done as well.

One very spackley wall.

I got my half of my living room walls spackled. I think I went a little overboard with my spackling but I wanted to make sure every. teeny. tiny. hole. was filled in. And by golly, I did. I’m beginning to prime them this week, but it’s going to have to be done in sections so I can try and work around when my daughter is at Mimi’s house. Paint fumes and toddlers probably shouldn’t mix. . .


We got our last carrots this week and only had one mutant! My little miss was so confused when she pulled it up. She stared at it in silence and I could just see her thinking, ‘I know this was supposed to be a carrot. It’s colored like a carrot. But that is NOT a carrot.’ Needless to say, I chopped that one up for my salad and she ate the other two!

One teeny tiny ripened tomato!

This was the only tomato that actually ripened on the plant. The rest I have plucked off and are window ripening because my tomato plants are officially dead. It’s been a downhill battle for awhile now. Bottom line, they needed more room. Now I know for next year; sorry my poor tomato plants! However I have about fifteen viable tomatoes as long as they ripen up!

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And then on Friday we had a sleepover with our besties and took the kiddos to the park. Then after our girls bedtime in classic sleepover tradition we lounged on the couch in pajamas and played video games, FINALLY beating Mario for the WiiU. Seriously you should have seen our victory dance. It’s unrivaled.

The weekend was pretty laid back. Our daughter had her open house for gymnastics on Saturday morning and that was tons of fun. We got to go in and play around on all the equipment (well, for her age group) – low beam, the low uneven bars, the ‘bouncy floor’ as my daughter has dubbed it (for tumbling) and even the trampoline. She is now beyond excited to start class. I’m really hoping I’ll be allowed to take some pictures. . .I still have to check with the parents and the coaches but maybe they’ll be some!

How did you spend your week?

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Weekend Wrap-up

I think I’m still riding the life-high from this weekend. Me and my best friend had a total girls day on Saturday, just the two of us, no children or husbands, for the WHOLE DAY. It was so incredible. The entire day was jam packed with laughter and fun. Let’s dive in.

We got up bright and early and met up with my grandparents for some yard saling. Here are some of my favorite finds from the day:


Littlest Pet Shop house with some accessories: $3.00

My little miss is two and half and just loves dollhouses and the like. She is very into the stage of setting everything up, and having her toys talk to each other and walk/do things in their little house. I knew she’d love this, especially since it has little animals which she also loves. At $3.00, it was a steal. She played with it for forty minutes straight when I gave it to her, only stopping so her Daddy could give her a tubby! Money well spent.

Chalkboard: $2.00
I have been dying to find a chalkboard for my front hallway. Right now the wall is blank when you walk in, and I really wanted a chalkboard so I can spiff it up with some chalkboard art! Much nicer to see when you first come in then a blank white wall. I may paint the border, but haven’t yet decided. This is roughly 16″ x 20″ which is decent sized. I’d be fine with a larger one, but for two bucks I wasn’t going to pass it up.

Wall art sign: $5.00

I shelled out a lot for this (I consider $5 a lot when yard saling, don’t judge!) but I really like it. I’ve wanted something along these lines for awhile, but was never willing to pay the $35 – $40 I’ve seen them priced at in a store. And since we’re finally going to be redoing our living room, I figured this was a perfect time to snag it.

I also got a couple vampire YA novels (which are probably cheesy and riding on the coattails of Twilight’s success), but they were a quarter each so I went for it. I enjoy a good YA novel, and even if these are awful I can laugh it off instead of saying I CAN’T BELIEVE I PAID FIFTEEN BUCKS FOR THIS! Ah, the beauty of yard sales. I also got a new picture frame, and a mini cork board for my daughter’s big girl room redo (of which there will be probably be multiple posts). My best bud snagged some great deals too – a few Stephen King books for her SK collection at a quarter each, and her best find: Wizard of Oz Monopoly. This retails on Amazon for $100 (okay, technically it’s $99.99). She paid $5 for it, and the kicker is it is still in the plastic. As in definitely brand new, with no pieces missing. Loving it! She bought it simply because she collects Wizard of Oz things, but that’s an amazing deal!

From there we were planning on heading down to MA for a concert later that night. But first we got a call from her hubby. He tipped us off to a deal he’d read in the paper – a local car dealership was giving away free tickets to Whale’s Tail (a water park in case you weren’t aware) so we hightailed it over there and scored a pair of tickets for each of us. For free. Could our day get any better??

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Hello Boston, and hello Ikea!

Why, yes it could. We did head down to MA, and planned to spend the day at Ikea before the concert since it was only about fifteen minutes from the venue. Neither of us had ever been to an Ikea and can I just say Good. Gravy. It is seriously the Disneyland of home shopping. The parking lot itself looks like a theme park lot. Walking inside we didn’t even know where to begin! We kinda just took in all in for a minute, then dove into the upstairs showroom. Three hours later I found about 7,000 things I now want, but all in all only walked out with a couple purchases. Budgets are important after all.


I bought this chalkboard/whiteboard combo for my daughter for $15.00! The whiteboard is on the back, and on the bottom there is a dowel to put the large rolls of paper to come up over for drawing. Love it!

This board was for me, in the kitchen and also $15.00. I’ve wanted a chalkboard for awhile now (for the menu, grocery list, etc), and I love the mail slats in this. I had a piece of slate mounted on the wall (using it as a menu) but it ended up falling off and shattering into oblivion, whoops! So this is a great, and prettier, replacement!

I also got a couple new oversize throw pillows for the living room, some deliciously scented tealights and holders, and a big ole package of chalk for the boards! Success!

Bye bye Ikea. . .

From there we headed to the venue for the concert. Since we were super early, we decided to tailgate for a bit. Being the cool kids we are, we ended up busting out my daughter’s new chalkboard and playing hangman like loons for awhile. Then it just devolved into ridiculous chalk drawings and laughter. But that’s how we roll! Finally it was time to head in for the show.

We went to see Gavin Degraw, The Script, and the headliners – TRAIN!! Love me some Train, that’s for sure. I know of Gavin Degraw, but really only know a couple of his tunes. I love his voice, but his songs aren’t always my cup of tea. I’d heard of The Script since they play on one of my Pandora stations often, and they turned out to be AMAZING live. I also had no idea they were all Irish, straight from Dublin. Part of me would have been entirely okay if they just wanted to talk through their whole set so I could listen to their fabulous accents! The lead singer ended up coming up in the crowd for a song and was about three feet from us. Swoon!



And then finally, Train. They put on such an amazing show. Pat Monahan (lead singer) is so incredible with the fans. He started out taking peoples phones from the front row and snapping pics of himself with them, just ’cause he can. He always signs and throws a million t-shirts and beach balls at his shows. I think it’s great that they are still so connected to their fanbase, despite being around for decades. I think some big name bands just get a little jaded, but Train always impresses!



Their stage sets were incredible.

This was their Mermaids of Alcatraz tour, so they invited people to dress up like mermaids and then brought them onstage to dance and sing with him. In case you hadn’t already figured this out, it was a great show.

With all the mermaids on stage.



Sorry the photos are terrible quality. You can’t bring a DSLR camera into the venue, so I had my little Sony Bloggie which takes terrible pics. Good for video, but disaster for pics, especially with lots of movement and far-ish away. But it works in lieu of another option!

Sunday we went to a birthday party for one of my dearest friends. I’ll have another post about that one. That afternoon I went to see The Conjuring with some friends, which was amazing. Actually not as scary as I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it had tons of jump out your skin moments, but it didn’t have the lasting feeling of terror once the movie is over, which I was glad for! I love scary movies, but sometimes the fear just sticks with me and I don’t like not being able to sleep at night. Sinister was one of those. Maybe because it had to do with children but that movie freaked me the heck out. Anyway, we wrapped up the night with a board game (Ascension – I’ll have a post about it at some point) back at my place. I don’t think I could’ve fit more fun in this weekend if I tried!

What did you get up to this weekend?

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Yard Sales and Thrifted Things

Yard sailing. One of my favorite summer activities. Before I get into this post, I’d like to discuss the spelling of yard sailing. This word drives me banana sandwich. I’m a bit of a grammar stickler, and I realize that it probably should be spelled yard saling, but that looks incredibly broken to me. However as my mum pointed out, yard sailing would be riding around in your yard on a sailboat. Which actually sounds like quite a good time, so I will continue to use my wrong (but better looking) spelling. Moving on!

Some of my favorite memories with my grandparents are going yard sailing when I was little. Saturday morning would roll around, me and my mum would pack into my grandparents car with them at the crack of dawn, and we’d truck around different towns hitting up sales.
Now, my Grampa is not your average yard saler (Oh geez, now do I go with saler or sailor??? My grammar OCD is freaking out right now, BAH!) He is what I call a professional yard sailor (saler???). By which I mean on Friday, he gets every newspaper from the surrounding towns, and marks down every yard sale. Then, he organizes that list by what time the yard sales start, and where they are so we can maximize our time by going to them in driving order. Yeah, he’s pro.

As an adult, I still love to yard sale. I still get up to go with my grandparents on Saturday mornings. More often than not, I come home with nothing. But occasionally you’ll find that one perfect thing! Lately, my things have centered around my daughter. I love getting toys at yard sales. She outgrow toys and games so fast that I just find it wasteful to constantly buy her brand new toys all the time. And I’ve never met a little kid who cared whether or not a toy was ‘new’ or not, as long as it’s new to them. Here are some of the sweet finds I’ve found (this year and last) for my little miss.

Storage bin: $4

Second storage system: $2
This was originally marked at $4 but it was missing bins, and I asked her to halve the price, which she happily did! We utilized the missing bins space by taking out the dowels and storing things underneath. FYI, the fullsize version of this storage system retails for $60 on Toys R Us’ website.

Play kitchen (teapot not included, that’s ours): $4
I about died when I saw this fully clean, no pieces missing play kitchen for four bucks! Me and my Gramps had to completely rearrange the back of his SUV for it to fit, and it was totally worth it. My little miss loves it – she loves to make me ‘tea’ on the stove. . .and strangely cooks ALL food in the microwave. Which is odd, because we rarely use our microwave. But the point it she loves it, so it was $4 well spent!

This lovely little rocking chair was $5. My little girl loves to sit in it to read!
However, it did NOT come with all the colored pencil stains you now see – that was my little miss getting a little over zealous in her coloring! But for five bucks, WHO CARES?? 🙂 To me that is also the beauty of yard sales – if it gets wrecked (which often kid things do) you didn’t spend/waste a ton of money. If I were really ambitious I’d sand, stain, and seal it. . .but for now, I’m not. And lastly,

A talking number puzzle: $1

The main things I look for myself are usually craft related. Antique books to use in projects, picture frames to repaint, oh and canvases! That sounds like a weird one, but you can get paintings on canvas at yard sales for anywhere from 25 cents to 2 – 3 dollars. I bring them home, sand them down some, and re-coat them with opaque white gesso – instant new canvas ready to go! Since new canvases cost anywhere from $10 (for small size) and up as you get bigger, I’m happy to save some money that way. I’m sure the quality isn’t as good as a brand spankin’ new canvas, but it works perfectly for my personal use.

Two upcycled canvases, decent size. Left is 14.5″x21″, the right is 16″x20″.
These canvases were FREE. As in sitting in a FREE PILE. I may have done a happy dance in the sellers yard. . .they were half finished paintings which I’m assuming that the owners thought no one would ever want, hence the free pile. Clearly they weren’t thinking of the thrifty/artist/up-cycling crowd.

Antique books (from the 1920s, 40s, and one from the 50s): 50 cents for all four!

The two books on top did originally have covers – I tore them off to use in a photo book project I made for my mom and grandmother this year. I’ve also used some pages from the two larger one to make paper roses for my mom – keep an eye out for a post on that in the future!

SWEET retro camp set: $2
My mum is the one who found this set and snagged it for me. She knew I wanted my own camp set instead of just putting bits and bobs together to use for cooking. Isn’t it marvelous?! There is a set of four plates there, since you can’t really see the full stack. And that teapot – I just love it.

Retro camp cups
My mum also got these for me – I forgot to ask her the price, but I know my mum and she would not have paid more than a quarter for each. They are perfect for me and my husband – he likes a giant cup of cocoa, and I like a nice little cup of tea!

This yard sailing year has been pretty slow for me in terms of going to sales. I broke my ankle (I broke it leaving to go yard sailing actually – oh irony) at the end of May, so there went five weeks of yard sailing out the window! But I’m excited to start going again for the rest of the summer – I’m sure I’ll post more fun finds!

Do any of you yard sale or thrift? What kind of stuff do you look for?

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