Am I a Funny Girl?

Thursday #395

Max 395

Thursday #395 is brought to you by hot chocolate and brownies. Max and I, along with my sister and her family, went to the opening event of The Little Ice Rink in Alameda. We loved it last year, and had a great time this year as well.

If you’re local, I highly recommend it! Open through mid-January, it’s at the South Shore Center, and there are lots of great food choices at the shopping center as well. Why not go make a day or evening of it? It’s already got me in the winter holiday mood!Max me and Faith Max with Seal

How to organize anything: Tips from a Professional Organizer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PutALabelOnIt #CollectiveBias

How to organize anything #PutaLabelOnIt ad

There are so many sayings about sisters. She’s your best friend and your worst enemy, the original “frenemy” She knows all of your buttons to push, and pushes them constantly, and with glee. This isn’t something that goes away as you grow up, it just takes different forms.

For me, it comes down to housekeeping and home organization. My sister, Katie, happens to be an incredibly skilled professional organizer, a person who people actually hire to help them get their stuff in order. She holds her client’s hands as they get rid of, purge, sort, file, and generally make sense out of the chaos that often rules their lives.

And I happen to be her dream client. When I offered to let her take over my scary pit of a pantry (yes, that’s really my pantry shown above) and the chance to check out the awesome new DYMO LabelWriter® 450 from Staples, she simply couldn’t resist.

Because for someone in Katie’s line of work, there’s nothing quite like the ability to print custom labels quickly and easily for her clients. The 450 is a great little workhorse; you won’t have to deal with partial sheets of labels, because you can print one at a time. The thermal printing means you can never run out of ink, and there are more than 60 options of labels and layouts.

When Katie is working with her clients, she’ll be able to easily create custom labels for them, so it will be a snap to set up the perfect organizational system for their needs. Anything that helps her, as a small business owner, run a more efficient business, AND provide a superior product for her customers, is a huge win.

katie with labels #PutALabelOnIt ad

While she specifically helped me with my kitchen storage, her approach will work for almost anything that needs to be tackled; kid’s rooms, home offices, garages. Katie has shared a list of strategies that will help you reduce the clutter, create a system that works, and reduce stress in your life. (Seriously.)

How to Organize Anything

  1. Gather together everything that needs to be addressed; putting everything together in one place, where you can see everything you’re dealing with, and the space that you have to work with.
  2. As you’re removing things from their current spot, sort it by type. You can use cardboard boxes or plastic bins, but have a container with sides, instead of just making piles. It helps keeps things controlled and organized, even while you’re dealing with it all.
    Over Katies shoulder #PutaLabelOnIt ad
  3. While sorting, decide if it really needs to be kept. As Katie says, “If it wants to be trash, let it be trash.” Buying in bulk at a warehouse store is a great money saving move, but there’s no reason to keep the shrink wrap that surrounds the multi pack. “Not clearing out the trash to start will leave you with a cabinet full of trash.”
    Let it be trash #PutaLabelOnIt ad
  4. When dealing with deep shelves, add bins and then you’ve got drawers instead.
  5. If everything doesn’t fit in a container, you either have the wrong container, or you need to purge. Your containers should leave room for growth, so your system stays relevant, but it also needs to fit into the space you have.
    Baking stuff #PutALabelOnIt ad
  6. If someone other than you will ever remove and replace an item from its spot, it should be labeled. Locations on shelves, what goes into what bin, label everything to reduce the potential for someone not taking advantage of the system you’ve put into place.
    Trailer food in back #PutALabelOnIt ad
  7. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your system once it’s in place. As your needs change, it’s important to keep your organization system updated as well, because a system that doesn’t work for you is useless.
    Snapware lids in bin #PutaLabelOnIt ad

Labels printing #PutALabelOnIt adThe DYMO software is so easy to use, and it only took a few minutes to get the printer set up and running. Along with the variety of sizes available (over 60 different labels and layouts!) you can use any font that’s installed on your computer… and of course, our pantry labels are in the Star Wars font, because what else would we use, right?

Max Snax #PutaLabelOnIt adYou can get a great DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Bundle at Staples online, or you can check and see if it’s available at a store near you. Should you need even more speed and versatility, you should check out the DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Turbo, which takes all of the great features of the 450 and takes them next level. The Turbo is capable up printing up to 71 labels per minute, and can even print USPS-approved postage straight from your computer. The Turbo is available online and at select Staples stores.

Purchasing online #PutALabelOnIt adBe sure to go check back every week for Staples Daily Deals for special deals on your favorite DYMO LabelWriter® products including DYMO LabelWriter® 450 Bundle, LabelWriter® 450 Turbo, and LabelWriter® 4XL Turbo!



#NaBloPoMo 4: My favorite Disney princess

Can we talk about my girl Leia? Because she looks AMAZING in this new poster. AH-MAY-ZING. Also, she looks like an adult woman. A woman who has been through some stuff. You know, stuff like your home planet getting blown up, accidentally making out with your brother, the usual.

But in this new poster? They haven’t airbushed every line from her face, or put her is some low-cut top to force cleavage into the shot. She looks like a bad ass. She always has been, of course, but I can’t wait to see what this new, grown Leia has in store. It’s the details like this that have me so stinking excited for December. Have you seen what Kevin Smith, aka the world’s biggest Star Wars fan, had to say recently?

“I saw a buddy of mine, a filmmaker friend, who is making this movie that is so fucking wonderful,” the director says. “And I saw a chunk of it. And it was… spellbinding. It’s the only way I can describe it. It’s like, I love movies and sometimes I over praise them and shit, but this is the only way I can describe this: it was like – not figuratively, literally – being transported to the fountain of youth. And having the fountain of youth taking me back to 1977. First time I saw a picture called Star Wars. I can’t say much more.”

(Keep scrolling to see the rest of the awesome new character posters that were released today!)

giphy (1)



kylo ren

Luxurious details make camping into glamping

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallGlamping #CollectiveBias

Family Glamping #FallGlamping ADWhen Jamie started planning out the trailer build, all those years ago, we often joked about how we should decorate, and how much ridiculousness we could bring along. We’ve been on the lookout for the perfect accessories ever since, and have incorporated quite a few into our real life camping-gone-glamping life.

Max in trailer #FallGlamping AD

We take the trailer out at least a dozen times a year, whether for long five day trips as a family, weekends at the fairgrounds for the Highland Games, or just a long weekend with friends. No matter where we take it though, it always gets attention, and we always bring along some of the glam to make it extra special.

Tablescape Jamie #FallGlamping ADThe decor isn’t the only way we fancify our camping; when we’re out, we eat WELL. Full breakfasts every morning, lots of grilled steaks and chicken, yummy snacks and desserts abound. We always love planning out our camping meals, and it’s something we look forward to for every trip, because everything just tastes better when it’s cooked outdoors.

One great example of this is frozen pizza! We’ve done pizzas on the grill before, but it never even occurred to me that we could even do frozen pizza. I love having a simple meal option when we’re setting up, because if we leave home after work on Friday night, we want to get set up and eat as quickly as possible. Enter Freschetta Brick Oven® pizzas. I picked ours up at Walmart, along with a few other supplies we needed for our trip.

Freschetta pizzas are different from others; the crust is made like fresh-baked bread, using only natural yeast and no chemical leaveners. The high quality ingredients come together to make a really delicious pizza. They also make a delicious Freschetta® Naturally Rising pizza as well, if you like more crust.

Freschetta in Cooler #FallGlamping AD

Preparing your Freschetta Brick Oven® on the grill is simple; be sure to keep it frozen, it’s done when the cheese is melted and the bottom is golden brown. We use a charcoal grill, so Jamie got the fire going before we put the pizza on, but these instructions are for a gas grill. Your results may vary, and can be impacted by cooler weather, wind, and your specific grill.

  • Preheat grill on high for at least 5 minutes
  • Remove pizza from carton and clear plastic wrap
  • Place 2 layers of aluminum foil on grill, large enough for pizza to fit
  • Place pizza on foil in center of grill
  • Turn grill to low and cook for 13 to 16 minutes with lid closed
  • Let pizza stand 2 minutes before serving

One tip: We found it easier to remove the pizza *and* foil from the grill and put it on the serving tray before removing the foil, as opposed to trying to just get the pizza up off the foil while still on the grill.

Pizza on grill #FallGlamping ADThe pizza is delicious; this California Chicken Club is really good, and didn’t taste like a frozen pizza at all; the flavors are great, and the crust is delicious. I also made a trio of yummy dipping sauces to go with our pizza; I made something for everyone in the family, and they’re all super-versatile and easy to adjust.

Pizza sipping sauce #FallGlamping ADSriracha Ranch for my husband; he likes spicy, and sriracha is his favorite thing in the world. You can adjust the amounts based on your own preferences, but we used about 1/4 c. of ranch dressing and a tablespoon of hot sauce.

Garlic-Parmesan Butter: Melt a stick of butter and spoon off the foam once it’s melted. Add about 1 tablespoon each of garlic and fresh grated parmesan cheese. This one needs to be served warm; I made it ahead of time to let the flavors meld and we reheated it on the fire.

Creamy Pesto is simply premade pesto, mixed with sour cream. Again, about 1/4 c. of sour cream, and about 3 tablespoons of of your favorite pesto. This was my favorite of the three dips.

Sauces with shadow #FallGlamping ADWe continue our glamping details over to our table decorations as well; the glamour is in the details, and it can be so easy to pull off. A real tablecloth, fresh flowers, candles, and monogrammed napkins (even if they’re paper!) all come together to create a lovely table.

Centerpiece Food table #FallGlamping AD

Part food table #FallGlamping ADBecause it’s always more fun with other people, we invited my parents to join our little soiree; who doesn’t love pizza and s’mores on a lovely fall afternoon?

Max and Nana pizza #FallGlamping AD

Table setting #FallGlamping AD

Pizza and sauces #FallGlamping AD

Pizza slice #FallGlamping ADFor a special dessert, we came up with a grill-friendly version of the s’more, so that even without a roaring fire, you can still enjoy the ooey gooey deliciousness. And because it’s over the grill, the recipe will easily translate to home as well.

Smore prep kitchen #FallGlamping ADPrepping them is easy, especially when you have a whole kitchen set up in the trailer. :) I love our little kitchen, and the decorator details that we’ve included to make it especially fun. Basics for camping: Coffee, marshmallows and cute paper straws, what else do you need?

Canisters #FallGlamping ADSo on to the s’mores. I’m calling these ones Black Forest Grilled S’mores and they. are. amazing.

Smores in hand #FallGlamping ADFirst, you’ll want to gather everything you need: Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars, Jet Puffed Marshmallows (I recommend the “StackerMallow” style, because they work better for this method), and a can or jar of your favorite cherry pie topping.

Smores ingredients #FallGlamping ADTear pieces of tin foil to about 6″ square; place a square graham cracker, then chocolate, than the marshallow on top. Carefully spoon some cherry pie filling on top (We did 2 cherries per) and then put the whole thing on the grill. You only need low heat for this, and only leave them on for about 5 minutes. The chocolate will melt, but will look the same, so be careful! It’s much gooey-er than it looks!

Smores on grill #FallGlamping AD

Max with smore #FallGlamping ADPizza + s’mores = a winning combination.

Of course, your family can camp or glamp in any way you choose; you don’t have to include the decorative globe or hang the art, but there are always loads of little details you can incorporate to help bring your trip up another notch.

What’s your favorite way to bring a little glamour into your camping? Does your family enjoy glamping?

Check out the Glamping Social Hub for more great ideas!

Family with trailer #FallGlamping AD

in-store photos



#NoBloPoMo 2: Rainy day edition

It’s raining , it’s pouring, Californians are so freaking excited we can’t even handle it.
For years now, we’ve been all

Because forever, it’s been like

And then today, it’s finally like

Of course, the commuters have all turned into idiots since the last time it rained, so traffic will be terrible and we’ll be all

I am going to walk Max to school this morning and he’ll be all

But I’ll be fine, as long as I don’t forget my

Stay safe out there, friends! We need this!

This post was inspired by Vikki’s Drafts folder. Go read the stuff that gets out of her Drafts folder over at her blog, Up Popped a Fox.

#NaBloPoMo 1: My guys are good sports

As I write this, I’m sitting on the couch, nursing my third cup of coffee. (Happy Daylight Savings, BTW!)
Max is freshly-showered and wearing a “handsome shirt” (button down) and Jamie is ironing one for himself.
In a couple of hours, my parents are going to show up here, and we’re all going to traipse over to a local park for a photo shoot.


Not for holiday cards or anything, but for a sponsored blog post.

My guys are such good sports.

They’re willing to get dressed up on an otherwise lazy Sunday so I can take pictures of them with *product for said blog post*

They patiently smile for the camera, recreate things they’re working on so I can take photos to post.

Max gets excited when I ask him if he wants to make a video with me, and Jamie doesn’t roll his eyes too bad when I start brainstorming ideas.

I’m so thankful for these two dudes, who support me in so many ways.

I’ve signed on for #NaBloPoMo; because I’m insane. If the acronym doesn’t mean anything to you, it means I’ll be attempting to post every day in November. I’ve got some stuff already scheduled, so you’ll see that, but if I put the hashtag in the title, you’ll know it’s just writing for the sake of writing. Flexing these word muscles that I so often let atrophy.

Are you #NaBloPoMo’ing? Or #NoNoWriMo’ing? Drop a link in the comments so I can follow along!

Thursday #394

thursday 1

I have days where I’m pretty OK with how quickly he’s growing up, even as I look at a photo like this one where both his face and his expression are just so dang old looking!

And to add to the “time is a jerk” theme of today’s post, today also marks (finally!) Max’s first loose tooth! Always one to do things differently, it’s one of the big ones up front, not a bottom one. So we’re jumping all in to that gappy smile. Maybe we’ll see it for Thursday #395? Who knows!

thursday 2

Mom Bod: 7 things no one tells you

This post is brought to you in partnership with Acorn Influence; compensation was received, all opinions are my own.

So ladies, let’s talk about stuff our bodies do. I’m not talking about the basic things, like breathing and thinking and those important functions. I’m talking about the newer things that your body does; “skills” if you will, that you develop as you get older, have babies, and generally pass the time that is life.

Some of the skills are helpful, some are useless, and some? Well, you’ll totally see what I’m talking about. (But they’re anything but useful.)

1. Regurgitative Premonitions

throwing-upYou just know, often even before they do. In infancy, this can be remedied with an extra spit-up cloth tucked under the chin. Later in childhood though, the premonitions become stronger and you may be able to supply the needed receptacle even before anything terrible happens (to the upholstery).

2. The Spastic Plastic Reflex

spastic-plasticWhile you hear many tales of stepped-on LEGO pieces, you’d actually be surprised at how many close calls there are, after a few years of parenting into the LEGO age. The Spastic Plastic Reflex is the ability to catch one’s foot before putting all of your weight down on it, preventing the pain of all pains when you actually *do* step down all the way.

3. Nocturnal Spatial Occupancy Reduction

bed-hogYou bought that king size bed so you and your spouse would have space for sleeping. Who knew that you wouldn’t be the one taking up most of the space. When combined with Pediatric Sleep Spatial Expansion, it can make even a California King feel like a tiny cot. Fortunately, a parent’s Nocturnal Spatial Occupancy Reduction allows them to fit their body on approximately 6″ of bed space and still get a moderately restful night’s sleep. I say moderately because…

4. Mombie Eyes

mombie-eyesNot sleeping in large blocks of time, and instead finding yourself up late/up early, there can be a constant zombie-like, bloodshot appearance to the eyes. Often accompanied by continuous yawning and increased coffee consumption.

5. Swaybee by Proxy

swaybee-by-proxyIt was necessary when you were cradling your sweet child in your arms. Rocking them to sleep, trying to keep them from crying, swaying with a baby, also known as “swaybee.” Once your own child has grown past the babe-in-arms stage, however, this will convert to “swaybee by proxy,” which can start during conversation with someone who is currently holding a baby, or in more severe cases, just spotting a baby being swayed can trigger the reaction.

6. Jumpeeing

jumpeeingRemember gleefully jumping on trampolines? Beds? Sofas? The ground? Remember when you could do that joyous thing with not a care in the world? Yeah, that’s probably not happening so much any more with your mombod. Thank goodness for Poise, amirite?

7. Snissing

snissingMaybe the worst of the worst, it’s basically bladder betrayal. There you are, minding your own business, not even HAVING to pee, and then ah-choo! Yup. Snissing. Ugh.

poise linersIt isn’t all bad news though, thankfully Poise is here to help with the last two on our list! They make specialized products to protect you (and your clothes, and your pride) from LBL (light bladder leakage).

I’ve even got a $2 off coupon for you to try them yourself; you can pick them up the next time you’re at Walmart. Instead of just avoiding beverages or situations where you might laugh or leak, you can rely on Poise for backup.

8 Halloweens, 7 DIY costumes…

We’ve managed to make Max’s costumes every year except one; here are all of his Halloweens so far…
Halloween 2008
2008: Max from Where the Wild Things Are
A one piece pajama with a hood, I sewed fun foam clawn onto his toes, a feather boa tail, and a foam
and feather boa crown. He carried his Wild Thing toy, and voila.

Halloween 20092009: Li’l Evel Knievel
Our first foray into serious crafting; Jamie made his paper maché helmet (just a tad too small) and I also made a cape that I don’t, unfortunately, have a picture of. :( He also wore blue rainboots that I stuck red stars onto. This was all inspired by that jacket, which I’m pretty sure was a hand-me-down from someone.

Halloween 20102010: SF Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum
The Giants were kicking butt in the playoffs, and would go on to win the World Series for the first time ever in San Francisco. I made the shirt with an iron on transfer I cut on my Cricut, and the back looked like a jersey with a note “Shown actual size,” as a nod to Timmy’s stature.

halloween 20112011: Pirate
Store bought. Sigh.

Halloween 2012Thomas the Tank Engine
Cardboard boxes and a concrete mold tube, with a paper maché face. Click the name for more info.

Halloween 2013R2D2
One of the crazier undertakings; it’s built from a trash can (that we bought special;
not really a good time to upcycle) Click the name for more info.

Halloween 2014Han Solo
I think we’ll try to encourage more of this style of costume, where it’s an embellished outfit, instead of the whole giant constructed pieces. It just makes more sense, especially as trick or treating becomes more and more important to Max, and he wants to be fast on the move. :)

Halloween 2015 Luke Skywalker
And now we come to this year, possibly the last year we’ll have a character from the original trilogy.
(Hey guess what! Click the name for more info!)
I’m sure we still have a number of Star Wars years ahead of us, but we’ll also have loads of
new characters to choose from as well. :)

That’s it until next year! What are you and your kids doing for Halloween?