Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lazy River Love

Hi Friends--

Just got home from an absolutely fabulous afternoon at the water park.  I've decided that when I win the lottery, the first thing I'm going to do is install a lazy river in my backyard.  I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure life would be just about perfect if I had could just hop on an inner tube and be swept around and around my very own lazy river. 

What would make your life perfect today?



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Strawberry Picking and The Peach Guy!

Hello, Friends!

Mother Nature is putting on quite a show for all of us up here in Wisconsin this week. The weather is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! After a month of rain, we all truly appreciate the sunshine and blue skies. Yesterday was about as perfect as it gets. To celebrate, I packed up the girlie-girls and one of their friends and we went over to pick strawberries. I pass by the pick-your-own strawberry farm at least 4 times a day, and every time I think, "this year we're going to pick some yummy strawberries!"  Well, yesterday was the day!

The strawberries were so pretty and perfect!!

We may have gone a little overboard with our picking. We ended up with two crates full of red, juicy berries to take home.

Before we headed out to the strawberry farm, we got word that "The Peach Guy" was in town. "The Peach Guy" is kind of legendary around these parts.  Each summer he trucks up the world's best peaches from down in Georgia. Each peach is perfectly-perfect!  The Peach Guy is in town for one day only, and if you miss him, you're out of luck.  Oh, the pressure!!  The other thing about The Peach Guy is you have to buy a whole box of them at one time--no half orders allowed!  That's a lot of peaches.
So right now, the kitchen is full of beautiful fruit.  We've already made two batches of strawberry jam today and Emily is currently cutting up the remaining berries.  We're going to make strawberry muffins next!  And peach pie tomorrow!  Yay for summer fruit!

Have a sweet day!



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friendship Journal//Sneak Peek

Hi Friends--

Just thought I'd give you a sneak peak of the cover of a journal  I'm working on as a gift for a special friend.  I've kind of been in a "let's use a whole lotta doilies and other lovely vintage odd and ends" type mood lately.  I'm planning on adding a few quotes to the inside pages, but leaving the majority of the pages blank so she can fill it in herself.  I will post some more pictures once the journal is complete.

What's inspiring you lately?



Monday, June 27, 2011

Kicking Off Wedding Season

Hi Friends!

Those of you who read SoVeryVicki know that my beloved sister, Christy, met her Prince Charming, Michael, and they are planning a wedding in September of 2012.  Yesterday we celebrated their engagement with all of their friends and family.  The day was filled with lovely people who came together to meet and greet and celebrate the fact that these two fabulous people are in love.  I loved meeting all of Michael's loved ones, as well as a bunch of Christy's friends that I knew of, but had never met.  I spent the day going from group to group saying how happy I was for Christy and Michael.  Love is the best, isn't it?  There's nothing like celebrating two people you love.

In honor of the happy occasion, John and I gave them a set of forks.  When I told John I wanted to get them forks to eat their wedding cake with, he gave me one of his famous "John looks."  (Do you get "John looks," too?  You know the ones--the look that kind of says, "Are you kidding me?").  Anyway, I went ahead and ignored the "John Look" and ordered the forks anyway.  Want to see them? Of course you do!

Aren't they lovely?!? I love them!  I found them at Jessica N. Designs on Etsy.  Jessica finds vintage and antique silver and hand stamps them with lovely messages.  Jessica was a dream to work with and I received my forks in days!  She even put their wedding date on the stem.

I love the thought of them using these forks on their wedding day and then again, later on, on some random Tuesday morning or Sunday afternoon.  Hopefully each time they use them they will remember all the lovely details from their special day.

Here's to the start of wedding season, Christy and Michael!  I can't wait to go on this journey with you!

Love you both!



Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Time

Hi Friends--

Do you hear that spinning sound?  Those are the wheels in my head spinning out-of-control at the thought of doing a bathroom re-do (yahoo!)  I've had the same boring master bathroom for the past four years.  It looks pretty much the same as it did when we moved it.  So, I'm thinking it's time.  Time to add some color and texture and fun.  I'm tired of off-white.  I ran the idea past John and he seemed okay with it.  Then I asked about stripes.  And chevrons:

How fun is that wall?!?  I love it.  And I love the sunny yellow color.  I'm pretty sure I would have the happiest bathroom around if John painted a few chevrons painted on the wall.  And it would only have to be on one small wall (how hard could that be?). Plus, it would go perfectly with this print I've had in my favorites on Etsy for months:

I will post some "before" (sad) pictures next week.  Then it's game on!  Yay for redecorating!

Hope your day is filled with sunshine!



Fabulous colorful bathroom found (here).  Chevron wall (love it!!) picture found (here).  You are My Sunshine found (here).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Family Reunion

Hi Friends--

In about t-minus one month, my whole extended family will be meeting up in the Madison area for a fun-filled weekend full of family reunion goodness.  The last time my side of the family all got together, Jack was one.   He turns 10 in a few weeks.  Somehow, I ended up being on the planning committee for this big shindig.  It's been a lot of work, but I've actually had a lot of fun working with my Uncle Ken getting everything all set up.  Finding a weekend and a site that would work for everyone was the toughest part, but once that was done, the whole process got tons more fun.  Now that we're in the home stretch, I am busy planning activities and ice-breakers and corny games.   Activities + ice-breakers + corny games = completely up my alley!  I can't wait!  I keep getting all kinds of cryptic messages from my siblings (and parents) asking what I am planning, but I am keeping my ideas under wraps until the end of the month.  Once the weekend gets closer, I'll be sure to share activities and crafts will all of you, just in case you happen to somehow end up on a big family reunion planning committee, too.  : ) 

One thing I am thinking about creating is some sort of photo booth.  Because really?  How many of those stilted large-group-half-the-people-have-their-eyes-closed-photos actually end up in a frame?  On the other hand, I'd pay good money for a picture of my siblings and I posing with any of the above props. 



Cute photo booth prop collage found (here)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quote Love

(Completely True!!)

Want your own lovely print?  Find it (here).



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Perfect Evening

Hi Friends!

Last night Jack, Maddie and I went on a little bike ride around the neighborhood.  We were having so much fun, we decided to keep going all the way to the gas station and get a little treat.  Along the way, we stopped to pick up one of Jack's friends and asked him to join us.  Soon we were all tooling down the road in a neat little pack.  After stopping for our little treats, we continued on our way to a local park.  Maddie and I sat on a swing and just rocked back and forth together while Jack and Gavin ran around being boys.  As I was sitting there, I had one of those delicious moments when I realized that there was absolutely nothing I'd rather be doing at that moment.  Do you ever have those kinds of moments?  It's in those moments that I recognize how truly blessed I am.

Life is good, friends.  Life is good.

Here's hoping that there are many more magical summer evenings to come.



The beautiful bike picture was taken by the talented Allyson Magda.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three Parties in Nine Days

Hi Friends!

Well, we have officially welcomed in Summer 2011 for each of our kids and their friends! And after 3 parties in 9 days, I'm happy to say that a good time was had by all!

Early on into our parenthood adventure, John and I decided that we wanted to create the kind of home where our kids and all their friends liked to hang out.  Our theory was, the more welcoming and fun our house is, the more time we would be able spend with our kids and their friends.  We have worked hard to make this goal a reality.  We host lots of parties for our kids and try to keep the door open for gatherings as much as possible.  Luckily, I love, love, love hosting parties.  I'm always up for coming up with a theme for their parties and I love planning all the little details.  Even more luckily, our kids love and appreciate the parties we put together for them.  The best part is that we know all of our kids' friends and feel good about who they are hanging out with.  In the past, we hosted lots of big, huge combined parties.  However, with our oldest now a sophomore, and our youngest in 5th grade, the gap seems pretty huge.  Last year's Halloween party will probably be the last group party for a while.  Fourth/fifth grade boys just aren't as fun to hang around with when you're in high school.  : )  We decided to go ahead and plan three over-lapping parties to celebrate the end-of-the-school-year;  one for each child.  Maddie and Emily wanted to take their friends out on the boat, and Jack wanted a sleepover.  No problem, right?  : )

Party #1:  Maddie//June 8th.

Maddie wanted to have her party on the last day of school.  The plan was I would pick up all the girls, bring them to our house for lunch and then they would go out on the boat.  Unfortunately, Maddie's day ended up being freaky-windy and we were under a thunderstorm warning.  Safety man (John), said "No" to boating. : (  I decided to offer up a Plan B--a trip to The Fire.  After an extremely hot lunch on the deck,

we headed to downtown Appleton to paint pottery at The Fire:
The girls each picked out mugs and carefully chose their paint colors:

Then they went to work creating fun summer mugs.  I loved being able to hang around and watch them create.
I think they all had fun painting their mugs and we promised them we would reschedule the boat trip.

Party #2//Jack, June 10th.
Do you know the biggest difference between boys and girls?  The need for fancy party decorations.  : )  Jack and his buddies ate all the same foods and treats as the girls, they just did it out of plastic bowls.  And you know what?  They couldn't have cared less!   Maddie's friends loved the cute table decorations.  Jack's friends just loved all the treats!  : )
You know the other big difference?  Lots of pairs of stinky gymshoes:
Jack and his friends were happy just running around playing night games and watching one of the Harry Potter movies.  Oh, and eating LOTS of sugar!

Party #3//Emily, June 17th.

I pretty much re-created the table from Maddie's party for Emily's party, because she loved it so much.  There were a few changes, though, Emily wanted cupcakes instead of lemon bars and make-your-own-subs instead of hotdogs off the grill. 

Emily and her friends lucked out--they got a perfect day for the boat.  So after lunch, they headed out to enjoy the sunshine and lots of tube rides (thanks John!!)

There it is--three parties in 9 days!  The secret to staying sane was definitely re-using the same decorations and treats for all three parties.  They only thing I made from scratch were the cardboard letters that spelled "summer."  I purposely used colors that matched other decorations I already had. 
Then I just shopped around my house for other things to put on the table (globes, old books, pinwheels, etc).

I filled the candy jars once and let the kids eat the same treats at all three parties.  (Except for the chocolate covered Oreos on a stick--those only lasted for the first two parties--sorry Emily!). 

The menus for all three parties were super-simple, which also helped.  Finally, the kids were each in charge of making the house look good for their own parties, and because they were all so close together, things didn't get too messed up in between.  Hooray!

So far, I'd say Summer 2011 gets two enthusiatic thumbs up.

Yay for summer and making memories with my kiddos!



Linking up with the fabulous Heather over at Life Made Lovely

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Just wanted to send big hugs and kisses to my three very favorite Dads in the whole, wide world--my Dad, my father-in-law, and John.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by three such strong, big-hearted, patient, loving men.  I hope each of you know how much you are loved and appreciated, today and every day.



Subway art found (here).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Scenes From the Farmer's Market

Hi Friends!
It's my favorite time of the year:  Farmer's Market Time!!  I think the whole city was just as excited as I was about opening day--it was packed!  Going to the farmer's market with Amy and the girls has become a Saturday morning summer tradition. 

We love to throw on sundresses, meet at the coffee shop for a chai tea latte, and then check out all the vendors.  The veggie pickins' were a little sparse this early (radishes, spinach, onions and asparagus), but I know before long the tables will be overflowing with all of summer's best fruits and veggies.

 I can't wait until it's garden salsa time--yum! Of course, I had to pick up some beautiful blueberries (I think they import them from Georgia this time of year).  As soon as the Michigan blueberries start coming in, I'll be stocking up (my kids call me a blueberry hoarder)! 

Tonight we grilled up some asparagus to eat with our chicken.  It was delicious (even Maddie liked it!!).

I'm so glad it's summer.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Right Now

Making yummy fun frosted cupcakes for Emily's party tomorrow (complete with cute little flags!).

Running around like crazy trying to get the kiddos to and from all their activities and practices. Trying not to be too late for pick-ups (sorry Maddie!).

Relieved that I can once again wear my favorite Keens when I'm coaching on deck!

Rediscovering how much I love yoga.  I always feel so good afterwards.

Battling the desire to head upstairs and take a nap.

Trying a new recipe with the asparagus that came in our farm share box.

Enjoying being back with all my fabulous swimmers again this summer.  They are such a great group.

Appreciating the fact that Emily is busy cleaning up the kitchen as I type this.

Noticing that it's time to harvest more lettuce from my garden.  And that the sun is trying to peek out from behind the clouds (yay!).

Joining Buster on a little walk around the neighborhood in a little bit.

What's up with you today?



Pretty picture spotted (here)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shower Inspiration

Hi Friends!

I got to sneak in a brief visit with my sister, Christy, on Sunday.  Of course, every time I see her, my excitement over her upcoming wedding just grows and grows.  I have been having the best time scouring Pinterest looking for lovely shower ideas.  Christy wants the theme to be a secret (it's awesome!), so I can't share too many details here on the blog, but I can share some of the beautiful photos that are inspiring me right now.  Aren't those photos gorgeous?  I'm dreaming of flowers and beautiful calligraphy on doilies and cakes with frilly frosting.  Having a wedding to look forward to is the best!

Have a lovely day!



photo credits: purple flowers, chocolate cake, white ruffled cake, cupcakes, place setting, pink ruffled cake, pink flowers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Emily Christine!

Dear Emily,

Happy 15th Birthday to my beautiful, big-hearted, intelligent, organized, responsible, athletic, reliable, talented firstborn.  I look at you, all beautiful 6 feet of you, and can hardly believe how fast the years have flown by.  For a short time you were my one and only.  Now you're more like my right-hand-gal.  I always know I can count on you to take care of things when I'm not around.  And even though Maddie sarcastically calls you "Jr. Mom," I know both Jack and Maddie are beyond lucky to have you for their big sister.  I absolutely love hanging out with you.  We have fun doing pretty much anything together, don't we?  You're such a good sport, even when I tease you about the same things over and over (and over) again (strong like bull!).  You have so many of Dad's best qualities; I love that about you. (I also kind of like the ways you're like me!)

You've got it going on, Ms. Emily, and I couldn't be prouder of the woman you are becoming. I hope this year is filled with an abundance of love, laughter and good memories.  (Six more months until you get your temps!)

I am so proud to be your mom.

I love you big bunches.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Saving My Pennies

Hi Friends!

Welcome to my newest (not so secret) obsession:  porch swings.  I've decided I'm going to start saving my pennies to buy a little slice of heaven like the one pictured above (found on the oh-so-lovely blog, Meadowbrook Farm).  I can't think of anything that looks more inviting than a beautiful swing covered in colorful cushions and fluffy pillows.  Why, I could live on a swing like that.  I would spend my days swinging away with a tall glass of ice tea by my side and a good book in my lap.  And I just know that a swing like that would be the perfect spot for napping. Don't you agree?  I'd just love to sit side-by-side with John each evening and wave to the neighbors as they pass by.  Yup.  I'm convinced that a porch swing would be just about the coolest thing, ever. 

What are you dreaming of lately?

Hope your day is filled with sunshine.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

And We're Off!

Hi Friends!

We're off to Chicagoland to visit my family!  I'm excited to see my mom and dad and all my brothers, and of course, Ms. Christy!  Can't wait!

Hope your weekend is filled with laughter!

See you on Monday!



Friday, June 10, 2011

On Being Deliberate

Hi Friends!

We are officially 3 days into Summer 2011 up here in Wisconsin.  So far I've hosted a party for Maddie's friends, coached three, 3-hour swim practices, done a library run, and prepped for tonight's end-of-the-school-year party for Jack's friends.  It's been kind of a crazy first three days.  : )

I always start each summer with lofty goals about what I want to do with the kids.  But what ends up happening is the weeks speed by and before I know it, it's time to buy new school supplies.  I don't want that to happen this summer.  I want to look back on Summer 2011 and think, "that was the best summer, ever!"  I want the kids to be able to write fun essays in September about what they did over the summer.  I already know this year's essays will be full of boating adventures.  We've been out twice already and we've had a blast tubing and checking out new lakes.  If it were up to me, we'd be out in the lake every day;  we'd live in our swimsuits and the kids skin would permanently smell like suntan lotion. Too bad John has to actually work for a living. It would be so nice to be able to take the boat out during the week.

During the week it's up to me to help the kids make the most out of each day.  So this year, I plan on being deliberate about that.  Starting Monday, we're going to follow the chart above (found here).  All three kids are on-board, and I'm committed to keeping up with this all summer.  I want the kids to take ownership in this adventure, so  I'm thinking about assigning the Friday "somewhere fun today" activities to the kids.  I'm going to have them rotate weeks where they are in charge of coming up with the adventure and whatever they pick, we're all going to do.   Won't that be awesome?!?  I can't wait to see what they come up with.  Is it weird that I'm kind of geeky-excited about this? 

Stay tuned--every now and then I'll blog about how we're doing with our schedule.

Yay for Summer 2011!!

What are you doing this summer?



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sneak Peek

Hi Friends!

I am knee-deep in last day of school party prep today.  Thought you might like a sneak peek at what I've been working on.  I remember loving the last day of school.  It always felt kind of magical, didn't it? 

More party details after the big shin-dig!

Happy Summer!!



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

$3 Frames

Hi Friends--

Last week I hosted a little party for the winners of our PTA's Reflections art program.  Reflections is a national art program designed to inspire and motivate students to be creative.  Students can enter in photography, writing, dancing, music, cinematography or visual arts.  This year we had 5 fabulous kiddos have artwork sent to state for judging.  One student made it into the top 10 and Jack's painting ended up winning at the state level and has been sent on to the national level (Go Jack!!).

I wanted to give the kids something special that had to do with art, so I headed over to the thrift store and picked up some lovely $1 frames:
Then I primed them and John spray painted them fun colors.  I picked up a multipack of canvases and John helped me staple gun them into the frame. 

I wrote a little message on the backside:

The kids were thrilled with their blank canvases (way better than a certificate!).  I hope they create something magical on them this summer!
I loved the way those frames looked grouped together in my office so much that I'm thinking I might need to head back out to the thrift store. : )

I'm off to make Jack's lunch (last school lunch of the year!!).