Protecting the Tree

When I was pregnant, everyone wanted to give me advice, solicited or (more often) not. The “advice” was thinly veiled warnings that I had to appreciate my life now (hard to do when you’re incubating another person) and that nothing would ever be the same. Maybe because I have an “easy” child, or maybe because I’ve come up with creative solutions, most of the “advice” has been conquered in one way or another. Here’s some examples:

  1. You’ll never sleep again. I do sleep. Quite well. That is, when I go to bed before midnight. That’s not because my daughter is keeping me up, but because I want to squeeze in one more game of Hearthstone or PUBG.
  2. You’ll never eat a hot meal again. This one took some time, but now that we’ve settled into the beginning of toddlerhood, my daughter is quite happy to eat at the same time as me, provided she gets some bites of whatever I’m having. Fine with me!
  3. Your house will never be clean again. Aside from crumbs that come with snack and lunch time, my house is actually pretty clean. I set up designated spaces (out of reach of little hands) for mail, bills to be paid, shoes, etc. and so far, so good! Oh – and get a dog. Dogs make wonderful vacuums. And the toys all over my living room? I don’t consider that mess. I consider that life and creativity and playtime and happiness.

Now I’m not so naive to think that any of these things can change at the drop of the hat because, well, toddlers. They want what they want or they will try to hurl their little bodies down the highest flight of steps until they get it. And then laugh at you as you lunge for them or say “no”. But the one thing no one warned me about was Christmas, and by that I mean the Tree.

IMG_20171212_122245By no means do I have an elaborate, expensive collection of ornaments, but I do have some quite sentimental ones and a plethora of breakable ones. My cats were never Christmas Tree climbers, just ornament stealers and branch chewers, and Abby could care less about it. Last year, Alexandra wasn’t quite crawling so her grubby little hands couldn’t do much damage. This year? TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY.

I searched for cheap dog fences and kid play yards (we don’t use one at the moment.. she is a free range toddler) but found nothing that was going to quite work without spending a lot for something that would be used for a month. I was going to purchase garden fencing and cut off the stakes that are used to put it in the ground, but realized that I didn’t have time for a failed Pinterest attempt, I just needed to create enough of a barrier that she couldn’t get IN the tree. Solution? Fake presents. With weights in them.

I have a lot of empty cardboard boxes, especially this time of year (because Amazon Prime) so I decided to make my barricade as pretty as possible. I only needed a few boxes, so I used some of the cheaper wrapping paper I already own. What to stuff them with, though? I was going to use my free weights, but that defeats the purpose of owning them (hi, exercise). Instead, I wrapped up things that aren’t going to get used until after the holidays. Most notably, I used cans of Sprite that were leftover from her first birthday party. Other boxes were filled with DVDs and random canned goods (like leftover cranberry sauce). A few boxes later and voila!


I left a lot of ornaments off the tree, but our mini barricade is just enough deterrence from grabby little hands (and Luna is quite happy she can still doze on the tree skirt). I can’t wait to wrap our real presents tonight and place them behind the barricade!


easter joy

Spring is truly here! The crocuses are in bloom and my daffodils have started peeking their heads out. I have to say that our Easter weekend was a beautiful one. We started off Good Friday with an amazing meal. I was able to run to the farmer’s market early on Friday morning and picked up a gorgeous piece of King Salmon.


the prep

Fish is always the Man’s job, so he turned on the grill and broke out the cedar planks. He seasoned the salmon with dill, scallions and lemon. It was amazing. On the side, he grilled some portobello mushrooms and we had some herb rice.


the chef in action (who hates it when I take his picture)

Saturday was spent going to the grocery store and stocking up on tons of meat and veggies. I had a big meal planned for Easter Sunday! Abby was excited for Easter.


not sitting still…

But finally agreed to sit like a good girl.


pretty puppy!

After church, we were cleaning up some branches in the yard. Abby loved this, of course.



And then I had an epic failure. While just standing and HOLDING the telescoping tree trimmer, I managed to get myself a nice avulsion, which is just a fancy word for forgetting about gravity and slicing off a chunk of flesh on my thumb.


there will be blood

And of course, my planned meal was something the Man had never cooked before – and neither had I on my own, without my mom – so I was on my own! But by wrapping it up to the size of a carrot, and being very careful, I managed to pull it off!



I made chicken cordon bleu, a mushroom shallot sherry cream sauce, broccoli rice au gratin (thank you Rice A Roni!) and fresh steamed broccoli, all paired with a nice white wine. I have to say, it was absolutely AMAZING!

It’s sad that our families are so far away, but we still had a beautiful holiday. Sometimes having great phone conversations and a nice hot meal can be just as lovely. And even Abby got some chicken for dinner. And she had no complaints.


end of the day exhaustion

I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday weekend! Spring is finally in the air, and I can’t wait to see what the coming months bring our way.

furry friday begins in 2015!

Since our family grew to include another four legged furbaby in 2014, I think it’s only fair to bring in a new era in 2015 and replace feline friday with *drumroll please* furry friday!

I can’t believe how quickly last year went by. Gutting our bathroom, finishing a guest room, and adding our puppy Abigail to our family were just a few of the great things that happened last year (and hopefully the new year will bring a FINISHED bathroom!)

Yesterday we had a lovely party for some of our friends to celebrate the beginning of the new year. And, in honor of the beginning of furry friday, here is a picture of Abigail recovering from all the festivities today.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!

A very Merry Christmas


It was a very Merry Christmas and we are finally recovered from all the cooking and present opening and dishes. Because our living room wall hasn’t been repaired yet from the plumbing work I was hesitant to decorate for Christmas. Then on Saturday the Man and I were like elves on speed and out up a lot of our decorations.


Then we all packed up and headed to my mom’s house to celebrate. We got to see both sides of our families which was lovely. Christmas morning brought lots of fun gifts for all of us, but especially for the youngest member of our family – Abby.


She was spoiled. And we learned she is VERY good at opening her own gifts. I wish we had been ready to record because she was adorable tearing into wrapping paper and tissue alike.


Luna is home being watched and getting a vacation from the puppy so we will just call this “furbaby” Friday. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! I know that we did and were very blessed to spend it with our families.


a day to be thankful

There are so many things to be bitter or sad or resentful about that sometimes it’s hard to be thankful. But today, among all other days, is a time to reflect on what we do have that makes life so beautiful and amazing.

I have a loving and supportive family and friends who I can turn to. I have a roof over my head. I have a goofball dog and cranky cat to keep life interesting. I have a husband who (tries to) keep me sane and loves me. I have so many little things and little encounters in my life that keep me happy and grounded and make me feel blessed.

No turkey is being cooked in this house today. The Man is at work and a Black Friday Feast is planned with friends for tomorrow so we’ll be sitting around the table giving thanks a little late. Even though I’m not with family today, I have everything I need in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Abby dreaming of the turkey to come tomorrow.

Can we go back to the weather from Easter please?

I can’t believe how (comparatively) cold and windy and bleak it has seemed the past two days when it was so gorgeous this past weekend. As this weekend looms I’m just hoping for more blue skies and warm winds to grace us.  I love spring and seeing the flowers and the grass growing and the birds returning to the yard, but cold days like today are such a slap in the face.

Our Easter weekend was very quiet but absolutely lovely.  The Man and I started out the weekend by picking up a dog crate off of Craigslist and meeting some amazing dogs at our local shelter. We even took one special girl out for a walk and LOVED her but she just wasn’t “the one” for us (shout out to June and all the amazing folks at Delco SPCA!) The rest of the day was spent at a wonderful lunch (where I got a sunburn on the back of my neck – forgot I chopped my hair!), mailed my mom’s birthday gift, and then did work in the yard. We ended our evening by having a dear friend over for dinner and broke out the grill for the first meal of the season.

Then came Easter Sunday. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, and the Man and I were getting dressed to walk to church when he stopped me and asked, “What did you do to your leg?” I looked down and lo and behold I had a friend! It was a tick. GAH! Freaking out commenced, along with the discovery that we do not own tweezers.  A set of pliers and band aid later, though, and we were off to church.

Because the weather was so gorgeous, we went home, settled on the patio with coffee, and called our parents. Then the big meal of the day (as the Man had to work) was brunch!


I made the most AMAZING white bread in our machine the day before so we made French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. It was so gorgeous out we decided to just eat outside.


And then I decided we needed a festive Easter picture (and no, they weren’t Mimosas… I just have lapses in judgement sometimes).

IMG_20140420_104653_648Even though the Man had to go to work, it was a gorgeous day. I just can’t wait for this weekend to get back outside and finish seeding our lawn and start stripping the paint off a door (which will be my first project for the season!) and hopefully, this time, no ticks. On the plus side, for those wondering, I have no “bulls eye” and am on preventative meds – yay.

So happy hump day! And I hope all your bunny holidays were happy too!


a snowy St. Patrick’s Day greeting

Unbelievably, it went from mid 50’s over the weekend, to SNOW this morning, and quite a bit of it! Thankfully it was just a delayed opening so I was able to bring a haul into work from my co-workers from my favorite Long Island bakery Riesterer’s, including the most amazing Irish Soda bread and leprechaun cookies.

I decided to wear a very warm, cream colored sweater this morning, but I decked out in a Connemara marble necklace that was my great Aunt’s, along with the Connemara marble Celtic knot bracelet that the Man gave me on our wedding day. And, of course, I had to do my nails.


ignore all the fuzz from my sweater!

I originally was just going to paint my nails green with the gold glitter, but then while the Man was trying to fix my (then) crashed laptop, he made a joke about how I should have done a flag on one of my nails. Lo and behold I happen to own both white and orange nail polish 🙂

Hope everyone had a festive and safe Saint Patrick’s day!