Shabby red table

So, it’s been awhile since I completed a furniture flip. I love doing it so much. It’s funny, because restoration projects like that are a lot like keeping a blog. They seem like an unattainable mountain of work, but are so enjoyable and rewarding once you finally get over the hump.

I recently completed a furniture painting project that is easily one of my favorites to date. This piece was unique and special to me because it is one that has been generations in the making. My parents recently moved into a new house, and downsized in the process. Among the countless boxes of my old crap that they gave back to me, was a shabby old drop leaf table that was in my dad’s room when he was in high school! He had been holding on to it for years, and never got around to refinishing it.


Back in his high school days (late 70s), it was red with a distressed finish. I can only imagine what his room looked like back then. And what kind of treasures he stored on the table. I know for sure that he had a black light, because I inherited that too. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!
Well, apparently my grandma tried to strip off the paint and refinish it at some point, (I’m assuming after he moved out) and she gave up half way into it. I chatted with my grandma a few weeks back and told her that I inherited the table and was planning to paint it. She told me that the table was originally salvaged by my great grandpa, her dad. Apparently he rescued it from a dumpster! It’s pretty cool to know that this shabby little table had been  passed down four generations. Now the pressure was on, I had to make it look goooooood!
One of my favorite things about working with chalk paint is that you don’t need to strip or sand before you start. I could paint right over the red paint, and I did.
I chose a vibrant teal color – Annie Sloan’s Provence. The results were of course, stunning:


Yup, I think I’ll keep her! As I mentioned before, there is something so therapeutic and rewarding about these projects. It feels good to lose yourself in your thoughts while you’re painting. And its so fun to watch a piece like this transform. I found the perfect place for this beauty in my basement, and now I can’t wait to decorate her!

Anyway, that’s all for now. This one was just too beautiful not to share.
I’m hoping to post again soon, probably with some more cat pictures and adventures.
Jasper is growing like a weed, and we love him so much. I’m so glad we decided to add him to the family.
Oh, and Jade starts preschool next week! So there will be lots to update on.

Until next time!



I’m back!

Well hello, blogging universe! It’s been a while. A good, solid 6 months, in fact. Woah! How’d I let that happen?

Well, life happens. Things have been busy. Good, but busy!

I have certainly missed blogging. This is my space to share my thoughts, mom adventures, and just what is going on with our little family.

Speaking of family…things are great! Jade turned four a few weeks ago, and we had so much fun at her birthday party. It was pirate/mermaid themed! We had the party at a hotel pool with a huge pirate ship, and she wore a mermaid swimming suit. It was a ton of fun!
But seriously, how is she four? Time just goes way too fast.



AND I can’t forget to tell you what Jade got for her birthday…a kitten! Yup, I had a moment of temporary insanity where I must have blacked out and agreed to get a cat. I’ve never had a cat before, and I swear up and down that I’m a dog person. But guess what? I love this stinking cat. He’s just too cute. His name is Jasper, and he is just a little baby. He was born in my brother-in-law’s backyard in Minneapolis, to a stray/neighborhood cat. We aren’t sure what breed he is, but he’s straight up adorable. And sweet. He’s great with Jade, and loves all of us. And our dog Gunner…well, he’s adjusting. Slowly, but surely these two are becoming friends. Our house is a lot of fun these days!

So you know, between the birthday party and the cat, I’m pretty much mom of the year over here! Well ok maybe not, but Jade still thanks me for Jasper every day. It warms my heart to see her love for animals.

So that’s pretty much what’s new with us. Summer is coming to an end, and we’re trying to soak up as much as we can before it’s over. We’re headed to the lake this weekend, but I’ll try to post more soon!

That’s all for now. It feels good to be back.


For the love of food

Hey all,

For some reason that was the first thing that popped into my head. But please note, I did not say “y’all”, for that word is a bit of a pet peeve.

Well January is almost over, so it’s time for a check in on my resolutions. So far I’d say I’m doing ok. Yup, just ok.

I haven’t blogged since that post, but I’m logging two for this month, so that’s a pretty good start! As for the rest, I’m doing about average. I’ve read one book so far this year… Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s a pretty quick read with a good message. Unfortunately I have such a hard time waking up early in order to put his theory into practice! One of these days! I’ve also joined a monthly book club, so that will hopefully help keep that resolution moving.

The one resolution I’ve been doing pretty well on is eating healthier. I’ve been experimenting with different salads and taking them for lunch almost every day. Who knew salads could be so good! So good, in fact, I’ve declared it “the year of salads”.

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The first one is basically my new obsession. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and put my own twist on it. I started with arugula (my new favorite leafy green) it looks like weeds, but tastes heavenly. Next I added an ancient grain blend that has quinoa and other grains. I topped it with sliced avocado, tomato, and just a little balsamic dressing. So yummy! I believe I ate that salad for lunch every day for a week.

The second salad was a sweeter concoction that I came up with on the fly. I combined arugula, sliced apples, blueberries, pecans, red onion and poppy seed dressing. It was very tasty, but not super filling.

I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with different combinations and flavors. And by packing my breakfasts, lunches and snacks, I’ve been able to control what I eat throughout the day. I still need to work on drinking more water though! I’ve really been slacking on that resolution.

In addition to my new found love of salads, I’ve been trying a few other new recipes at home. My family is a big breakfast family, so I’ve been making muffins a lot lately. Unfortunately for me, there aren’t many overly healthy muffin recipes out there. And the ones that are healthy aren’t very good. At least it’s better than making them from a box or bagged mix!

The blueberry and banana muffins have been my favorites so far, and have quickly become my “go-to” recipes. So yummy.


I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve been on a bit of a vintage kick lately. Binge watching Mad Men brought it on. There’s just something so whimsical about the 60s in particular…I obviously never experienced it, but I wish I had. Some of that nostalgia also reminds me of my grandma Alice. The sights, the smells, it all takes me back.. So the other day I dug out my grandma’s vintage Hamilton Beach mixer. It’s in pretty darn good shape! It’s a long story, but I only have a hand mixer of my own. I got it for my wedding (only 5 years ago), and the thing is terrible. Its lowest speed is still so fast it makes ingredients fly out of the bowl! And to my dismay, I never got a KitchenAid mixer. It is a sore spot between my husband and I, and is a story in and of itself…he doesn’t think they are necessary. Come on! Every little girl dreams of having a KitchenAid, am I right? Some day that man will buy me one. Until then, I’m kind of digging this vintage baby with the glass mixing bowls! I can hardly wait to mix up another batch of muffins, or whatever my little heart desires! Isn’t she beautiful?

Well I think that’s all for now. I’m hoping to keep making progress on my resolutions, and have really enjoyed my little “experiments” in my kitchen. I can’t wait to find and try new recipes, and hopefully my family will enjoy them too!

Have a great night and a productive week!




Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I for one, am so ready for 2016.

I’m ready for a fresh start, new outlook and new adventures. Saynora 2015, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. It may seem silly, but I feel like I always have better luck in even years…call me superstitious, but it’s true!

We spent the final eve of 2015 cozied up in our house, with no plans and nowhere to go. It was fine by me! We played a few games as a family, watched Minions, and had a “champagne toast”, aka sparkling apple juice. Casey told Jade she could stay up as late as she wanted, and she made it until 10:00. We made it until 11:30. 🙂 I felt a little silly going to bed so close to midnight, but we watched the ball drop on East coast time.


As most people have, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the last year, as well as what I’d like to change/accomplish in 2016. I have a lot of good vibes going into the new year. Here are a few of the things I’m hoping to focus on:

  1. Blog more often
  2. Read more books
  3. Eat healthier
  4. Practice yoga
  5. Drink more water

I could make a much longer list, but I’m hoping these are a few goals I can achieve that will make me an all-around happier person. A new year, a fresh start, it feels good!

NY 1



DIY Christmas

Hello again!

Well, I said I wouldn’t wait a month to post, and here I am…almost exactly one month later and finally getting around to it! I promise to get better! Really, I do. Maybe it can be one of my New Year’s resolutions…that, and to finish Mad Men. I’m half way through season 4, and yup, still addicted.

Well, I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas. It’s hard to believe it’s over. There’s always so much build up, and then it’s over before you can bat an eye.

We had a good holiday. We rebounded from last year when Casey’s aunt broke her arm, and our niece and nephew had head lice. It made for a less-than-desirable family get together.

Other than dealing with the mood swings of our resident “threenager” (and her epic tantrum on Christmas Eve), all was well. We ate, drank, and were generally merry.

I even made time for a few crafty holiday projects, which is one of my favorite parts about the holidays. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned dozens of times, I love decorating our home for the holidays, and I enjoy making gifts as well.

Alas, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite DIY Christmas projects.

  1. Pallet Christmas Tree – Ok, so this isn’t made from an actual pallet, rather, an old fence post, but you get the idea. After seeing this project on Pinterest, I couldn’t resist! My husband cut the pieces, and I painted them. It’s hard to tell here, but the silver boards are glittery. This beauty sits in a 5-foot wall “cut out” above the entryway in our home. I love it! IMG_1478
  2. Apple Butter – My grandma Alice used to make apple butter all the time, and it was one of my favorite treats as a kid. I got a wild hair one day, and decided to try my hand at it. Instead of following my grandma’s recipe which involved boiling the apples on the stove top, I decided to make mine in a crock pot, via a Pinterest recipe. It turned out so good! And it made the house smell delicious. I filled mason jars, added labels and some twine, and it made the perfect gift for our guests on Christmas Eve.IMG_1593
  3. Hand Soap Teacher Gifts – I needed a simple gift idea for my daughter’s teachers at daycare. Who doesn’t love Bath & Body Works soap? I found some fun winter themed hand soaps, and added cutesy labels, and voila!
  4. Dress Up Closet – This project was by far my favorite. And the most labor intensive. My husband and I worked together again to make this dress up closet for our daughter. He made it from scratch, and I painted/accessorized. I painted it pink and white to match her bedroom, and added a baroque stencil on the back wall to give it a little French flair. (Her bedroom is Paris themed). We also added a mirror, and hooks for her necklaces and purses. Didn’t it turn out cute? I hope it is a piece that she will use and appreciate for years to come. IMG_1609FullSizeRenderJ in closet

So as you can see, I’ve been a little busy! But it was well worth it. Now I need to find time to take down all of my Christmas decorations! Yes, our tree is still up. But not for long. Hopefully I’ll find time this weekend to take it down.

But first, Mad Men.


It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Woah! I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since my last post. I’m seriously slacking in the blog department. Sorry!

In my defense, a lot has happened in the last month. I started a new job (that I love), my sister visited from Texas, and you know, general business.

I also started watching Mad Men on Netflix. I know, I’m like several years late to the party. But man, am I addicted now. I’m sure you’ll here more about that later, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Anyway, fast forward through Halloween and Thanksgiving, and here we are!

Thanksgiving was great. Time with family, food, wine…lots of good stuff. But I have to be honest and say I’m glad it’s over. Because…bring on Christmas! I just love this time of year. I love the feeling of having my home decorated for the holidays. And I love it even more now that I have a little person to share it with. There’s something so special about decorating a Christmas tree with a child. I’m not going to lie, it can also be downright frustrating…all of the ornaments are literally on like, two branches! But we had such a fun time this weekend. We listened to Michael Buble’s Christmas album, drank hot cocoa, ate candy canes, and decorated to our little heart’s desires. This time of year turns me into a mushy gushy mess, and an absolute pushover with my child. I mean, who can say no when that little voice says, “why can’t we have candy canes?” Or, “can I have some hot cocoa?” Why, yes, yes you can.


After we put up and decorated the tree, we hung stockings and decorated the rest of the house. It was no simple task. And as much as I love finding and buying new Christmas decor, I’m quickly running out of space! I’ll just have to get creative I guess!


I love how my holiday shelf turned out! I originally bought it with the purpose of hanging stockings…one day I’ll get my mantle! I’ve had so much fun decorating it for the different seasons. This looks is by far one of my favorites. I also made the tree decorations in the background. They’re super easy to make  by using a styrofoam cone from a craft store, and whatever else you’d like…paint, glitter, tinsel, you name it! I gave the little ones on the end  a lift by gluing them to dollar store candlesticks. Super easy and fun.

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I kept Jade busy for a while this morning by making coffee filter snow flakes for our front window. Too bad none of her snowflakes made the cut. Get it? Cut? Ha ha.


I also spruced up my restored window for the holiday season. First I sprayed it with fake snowy stuff (you know, the kind that comes in a can). Then I added some garland and lights, and my favorite piece, flannel and fur skates. Would you believe I bought those at Menards? I love Menards…that could be a post in itself. I just love how my window project is adaptable to the different seasons, and is so versatile. (It hangs on my dining room wall if you missed the original post).

Well I think that’s all for now. I’m off to squeak in one episode of Mad Men before bedtime. Don Draper waits for no one!

I still have a few more projects to wrap up before our house is completely decked out for the holidays, so I’ll probably post more later.

And I’m going to try my darndest to post more regularly.

Have a great week!


Help! We have a “Threenager”

Woah! It’s been 9 days since my last post. A lot has happened in the last week and our family has been very busy! I started a new job this week, and as a result am fairly exhausted. I forgot how tiring it is when you are learning new things every day! But it has been great. I am meeting new people and am learning so much already.

That’s not the only reason I’m exhausted.

Have you ever heard the term “threenager”? Yup, it is exactly as it sounds. A three-year-old with the attitude and sass of a teenager. We definitely have a threenager in the house. And man, is it brutal.


Lately Jade’s mood swings are completely out of control. Even the smallest things will set her off. And the tantrums are like a car crash. You can’t anticipate them, can’t avoid them, you just brace yourself and ride them out. And pray that you come out in one piece.
Earlier this week she threw a 40-minute tantrum because her dad poured her cereal. Forty minutes! Now granted, it could have been a lot shorter, but I refused to give in to her. When it comes to threenagers, you definitely need to know when to pick your battles. However, you cannot give in too easily. Giving in to their every demand, especially the crazy ridiculous ones, just rewards the undesired behavior.

My husband and I have tried every tactic in the book. We’ve tried the calm approach. Most parenting articles will tell you to get down on their level, and talk to them in a calm manner. You are supposed to explain why things are the way they are, and give them choices. We’ve tried that. And it works, sometimes.

But what do you do when the tantrum spirals so far out of control that reason just doesn’t work anymore? Believe me, you can rarely reason with a threenager. It can be so hard to remain calm.


We have also tried the “tough love” approach. I have raised my voice on more than one occasion. It has worked sometimes, and not in others. I certainly do not enjoy yelling at my child. For starters, it usually results in her saying “you’re not my best friend.” Who wants to hear that? But honestly, there have been times where a raised voice or a stern talking to were the only things that worked.

Because we were basically at our wits end, we decided to try something different this week. We have implemented a behavior chart. And it is working really well!

Here’s what it looks like:

Each time Jade exhibits good behavior, through listening and completing basic three-year-old tasks, she receives a sticker. If she acts out, throws a tantrum, or exhibits other negative behavior, she loses a sticker. (Believe me, we’ve ripped a few stickers off.) Once she receives 10 stickers and completes a row, she gets a prize. I bought several “prizes” from the dollar store: puzzles, necklaces, small toys, etc., and placed them in a basket in our pantry.

As is anything with a threenager, there are extreme highs and extreme lows involved with the behavior chart. Jade loves when she gets a sticker. And it has made even the simplest tasks (like going potty or brushing teeth) so much easier. On the flip side, she hates losing stickers. However, the thought of losing a sticker has prevented a few tantrums. I believe this exercise is starting to teach her the difference between desirable and undesirable behavior. We just need to remain consistent and constant. Threenagers need consistency.

So far she has completed one row and has gotten to get a “surprise” (her word for prize) from the magical prize bucket. She was so proud, and so were we. Here’s hoping this tactic helps us survive the next 9 months of living with a threenager! If it doesn’t work, we may literally go insane!


Old Window Restoration

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was pretty darn lazy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, except I tend to get a bit stir crazy if I spend too much time around the house. We had a nice date night out on Friday night, and had some friends over for dinner on Saturday. Sunday was a lazy day…lots of couch time and movies.

And cleaning. That’s what happens when I’m “trapped” in my house for too long. I just spend my day cleaning…the mess drives me just a bit batty. I’m definitely a Monica. (That’s a FRIENDS reference in case anyone has been living under a rock since 1992). I’m always amazed when people don’t get or understand FRIENDS references.

Since there isn’t a whole lot to talk about from the weekend,  I thought I’d share one of my latest DIY projects that I am pretty proud of.

A few months ago, I bought an old window off of Craigslist. I had seen so many neat ideas on Pinterest of how to use old windows in home decor. I was dying to try it. Also, my husband and I could not agree on a piece of artwork to put on our blank dining room wall. We needed something large for the space, and nothing we saw seemed to fit both of our tastes.

So after some Craigslist browsing, I came across this beauty:
Now I use the word “beauty” loosely. The window was the perfect size and had some good potential. I wish I had taken a better picture of it when it was in its original state. Or a few pictures during the refurbishing process. (Note to self, I will need to get better at documenting my process now that I’m sharing these projects on my blog.)

I contacted the seller to check out the window in person, and it was love at first sight. With the window, not the seller, of course! I knew that with a little elbow grease and some fresh paint, this would be the perfect addition to our blank wall. And best of all, it would serve as a blank canvas. I could change the decor seasonally, or whenever I wanted to give it a fresh look. I preferred that idea to having a piece of artwork that I would surely be bored with in a few months.

So I offered the guy $35, and away I went. (Never offer full price on a Craigslist deal, people. Always negotiate!)

It is hard to tell by the photo, but the window had quite a bit of old caulking/sealant around the panes. Step one was to remove all of that gunk. It wasn’t an easy task! I’m not sure how old the window was, but that stuff was stuck on there pretty good. I ended up chipping most of it off with a small putty knife. It was a lot of work, but also a pretty good stress reliever!

Once the old sealant had been successfully removed, I placed a new layer of silicone sealant. I wanted to be sure that the glass panes would stay in place permanently, even after I had removed the original adhesive. I opted for an all purpose sealant that goes on white, but dries clear.


My hubby recommended it. I’m not sure which of his various woodworking projects he uses it for, but he had some on hand. I’m pretty sure you can pick it up at Menards for under $5. Just ask for white lightening. I’m kidding! But did you notice it is actually labeled white lightening? Ha! That can’t be the brand…maybe it’s just the color. But the color is clear…how confusing. In any case, I’m pretty sure if you Google “white lightening”, this will not be your first search result. Or even in the top ten, for that matter. So maybe don’t ask for white lightening. I digress…there goes my “Bing brain” again!

Anyway, I applied it quite easily with my fingertip, and touched up smudges with water and a paper towel. (Again, I will start taking more step-by-step pictures now that I know I will be sharing these projects on my blog).

After I applied the new sealant and allowed it to dry overnight, I was ready to tackle the paint job. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the authenticity of the original paint, but that putrid shade of green just wasn’t going to cut it. My dining room wall is dark gray color with blue undertones (Dior Gray by Benjamin Moore), so I needed the window to pop. I opted to paint it white with Pure White Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Since this was a smaller project, I was able to get away with buying a 4 oz. sample can of paint for a mere $15, instead of buying a full quart, which runs about $40.

I applied about two coats of the chalk paint in order to fully cover the original green paint. I still wanted a bit of an antique feel, so I allowed some of the original wood to show through the paint.

Here is the end result!

I found a heavy duty wall hanging bracket at Menards, and bribed my husband to hang it for me. Well, let’s just say I nagged him until he did it. I would have attempted it myself, but I can never hang things level! And this bugger is heavy. I didn’t want to risk screwing it up and putting large holes in the wall.

I made a fun fall wreath with some of the extra floral picks I had in my craft room, and hung it with a scrap piece of burlap I had lying around. I absolutely love how it turned out! The wreath will probably stay up through Thanksgiving, and then I’ll need to find a way to decorate the window for Christmas. The possibilities are endless!

Sorry for the disjointed tutorial. I’ll get better at that. But I just had to share this project because it is one of my favorites!

Happy Monday and happy crafting!


Yoga and Pomegranates

Yup, that was our Thursday night. Yoga and pomegranates.

It’s funny how blogging has made me start to recognize and appreciate the little things in everyday life. They may not seem overly interesting or exciting when they’re happening, but when you stop to think about it, those are the things that make life so special. I highly doubt anyone else had the same night I did. And though it may seem boring to some, to me it was pretty perfect.

Jade had “fitness day” at daycare today. I can only imagine what that looks like. A bunch of three-year-olds wearing track suits, doing jumping jacks and somersaults. Or as Jade calls them “crescent rolls”. Priceless. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at daycare..

Here she is in her fitness day outfit…a pink Puma track suit. How cute is she?

When we got home from daycare, I had a surprise for her…a new leotard. She starts gymnastics on Saturday. (Yet another entertaining toddler activity!) Well, of course she had to try it on immediately. And she had to wear it while we ate supper too.

By the way, I tried this recipe in the crockpot. So good! I would highly recommend it.

When we were done eating, she decided she wanted to do family yoga. She was the instructor, of course. So we laid some blankets on the floor and did some stretches, following her lead. You guys…I can’t make up the stuff she does. I don’t know where she gets it. And I wish I knew when she was about to say something classic, so I could get all of these little moments on video. Her routine went a little something like this. “Stretch in, stretch out. Stretch in, stretch out.” She would monitor and help us move our legs into the poses she wanted. Well, I thought it was pretty funny to watch her help her less-than-nimble father contort his body in ways that are impossible. I got a bad case of the giggles, and apparently that is not allowed in Ms. Jade’s yoga class. Soon her commentary became “stretch in, stretch out. Now shut….up.” I couldn’t believe my ears! All I could do was laugh.



After all the yoga, our little instructor was hungry. She’s always hungry. The problem is, she’s also in a really picky phase right now. It’s hard to get her to eat anything that is good for her. But I try. When it is close to bedtime, I try to limit her options to either fruit or yogurt. Since she was also still bursting with energy, I decided to make her work for her snack: a pomegranate!

I know, pomegranates are like the messiest fruit ever. They can also stain really easily so you must be careful when involving a toddler. Pomegranates are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, so I was thrilled to learn that she loves them! I’m not sure if it was the actual act of plucking the seeds that she likes, or the taste. But either way, she ate a ton of them! In her leotard, of course.


So that was my Thursday night. Delightfully wacky and wonderful. I hope yours was too.



What a glorious weekend!

Who knew we hadn’t seen the last of Summer. It’s nearly mid-October and this weekend the temps hit the 90s! Yeah, she’s an absolutely crazy, fickle lady, that mother nature. Is it bad that I kind of don’t like it? I mean, once I’ve made the switch from shorts, tanks and flip flops to jeans and boots, I don’t like going back. That being said, I just couldn’t resist spending a little time outdoors with my favorite little lady picking pumpkins and taking in the  beautiful autumn weekend.


One of my parents neighbors has a small pumpkin patch and was kind enough to let us take a few pumpkins home. Or as Jade would like to say “we stole them”. I think things are more fun for her when we get to be sneaky. Makes sense, I guess. He he.
She was more than excited to pick out pumpkins, squash…she even found some cherry tomatoes to take home.
Here she is with grandpa Steve. He kept sneaking her tootsie rolls…maybe that’s where she gets the sneakiness from!


After picking our pumpkins we took a little stroll. Someone just had to have a piggy back ride! This photo is one of my favorites from the weekend. Why is it that moms are very rarely in photos? Because we’re always the one behind the camera! But it is important to have some pictures of us with our kids too. Jade and I are pretty much joined at the hip. I think this photo captures that pretty well!



When we got back to grandma and grandpa’s house we thought it would be a good idea to climb a tree…and take some more pictures of course!



On Sunday we spent a little more time outside cleaning up the yard and gardens. Casey even made me help him mow the lawn. Long story short, I’ve never mowed a lawn before, and Casey INSISTED that I have that “life experience.” I’m not sure why it was such a big deal to him, but I did it. Now I can get him off my case!

Jade and I also went to a pumpkin party with her friend Lana from daycare, and her mom, Courtney. The girls had a lot of fun painting pumpkins and doing crafts. It’s so great to live in a community that has fun events for kids!


Anyway, that’s all for now! I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend. Of course it won’t last long!