Tuesday, September 24, 2013

After School Apple Picking

After preschool today we headed out for the most quintessential of fall adventures - apple picking! (ok, maybe pumpkin farms and hayrides are number one, but apple picking has to be a close second...) Would you believe I've never been?  There just aren't any orchards in Cincinnati that let you pick your own apples but luckily my girlfriend knew of a u-pick farm that wasn't too far away (maybe 50 minutes outside of the city) so we were game.  It was picture perfect weather.  I was maybe a smidgen too chilly with my bare arms, but in the sun it was gorgeous.  We pretty much had the orchard to ourselves so our little peeps picked and nibbled and picked and nibbled to their hearts content.  We brought home more than 20 pounds of apples between the five of us.  I'd say pies, crisps, and apple sauce are all in our near future!!  (maybe some apple muffins and butter too...)

(yep, bag on head. nice, charlie, really nice.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Autumn Wish List

My favorite season has arrived!  Yay!  Welcome, fall, welcome!! And along with it the desire to bring additional warmth and coziness into our home.  Time to buy fresh candles, bake apple pie, stock up on pumpkin puree and snuggle away the chilly mornings and evenings with my boys (when they let me).

I love earth tones, especially creams, browns and black (not sure black is exactly an earth tone... but...)  The majority of my wardrobe is made up of those colors too. They aren't always the most spring + summery of hues but they are oh so fitting for this for time of year!  Below is a growing wish list of items I'd love to add to our house (and closet) this season...

I saw these Autumn Harvest Plates from Juliska (link) when an Instagram friend posted them on her feed.  I've been staring at them ever since.  I must make them mine.  
I slept on it and still love them just as much this morning.  Wait, no, I love them more.  
That's the test, right?  

and they would be so perfect paired with these pewter plates (also from Juliska)

add these napkins from Everyday Occasions and I'm ready to host a fall dinner party!

This Lisa Fine fabric is on its way to our home to make some new living room pillows.

I keep scouring flea markets and antique malls in the hope to find one of these in good condition.

I'm working on adding a little homework/planning corner to the playroom.  This chair would be perfect in there.  Chair from Ikea, slipcover from Bemz.

Cozy (washable) wool throws found from Mexchic on etsy.  These are a great price too.

And lastly, a pair of light colored boots.  
These Frye boots are too pricey for me but I love the color and style!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Adventures in the City | Oktoberfest

We had a good weekend!  Beautiful fall-ish weather, a night out with fun friends (while the boys were at my parents), a flag football game, and funnel cake!  I can't even remember how many years its been since I ate funnel cake. Why do I deny myself?

Cincinnati proudly hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the US.  Really?? Yes, really.  It's filled with the sounds of oompah music, the smell of sauerkraut and sizzling sausages, plenty of lederhosen clad people, chicken song dancers and of course beer, lots and lots of beer.  While I'm not a beer lover (much to my husband's chagrin) I do happily partake in enjoying all the food! We took the kids down on Sunday when there is a much less rowdy crowd and very few lines at the booths.  They had a blast, won some much needed (groan) plastic and inflatable toys, they danced a bit (Charlie danced, Andrew watched), enjoyed the sun and a couple giant pretzels.  Good times.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to School | Fifth Grade + Last Year Preschool

I'm a little behind with this post.  Andrew started 5th grade at the end of August and Charlie began his last year of preschool a week ago.  I can't really think about that too much, I get a little heavy hearted at the thought of my baby turning 5 in a few weeks.  And the thought of him in elementary school next year?  Forget about it. There is still one last golden preschool year left and I plan to savor it!

Fifth grade started without too much fanfare for big brother.  The biggest excitement is that Andrew joined band and will be playing the trumpet! (should I post some audio?!! :))  Last week at dinner Jimmy and I asked how band was going.  He replied that it is so difficult to hear when everyone plays their instrument so he isn't even sure if sound is coming out of his own.  Sure enough, there wasn't a peep coming out of his trumpet due to an incorrectly placed valve.  Ha!  Sign up for private lessons -- check!

My little guys are getting so big.  Life is moving forward too quickly and with each passing year I'm ever more grateful that I'm the one that gets to go through the daily ups and downs with them.  That I'm the first face they see after school and my ears are the first to hear the stories of their days.  

"My job at preschool today was to be the Maestro!  I got to pick out two songs for the class to sing!  Itsy Bitsy Spider was my favorite!" - C  .... "I have to write a personal narrative and I want to write about go-cart racing and how scared I was but I don't know if I want to share that with the class."  - A ... "Did you know that when we pass around Chester (the class Guinea pig) we have to hold him on a towel so he doesn't poop or pee on us." - C... "I shared the chocolate cake you packed in my lunch with Tony because he didn't like his dessert."  - A... "I love how the new Spanish teacher sings with his guitar and he's not even from Mexico." - A ... "Becca said she was in love me me." - C ...  and on and on and on...

These little snip-its of their days,  these seemingly insignificant details,  I live for them.  Even when they are harder to hear, involving hurt feelings or disappointments, I'm glad it is me they get to lean on and I hope they know that I want to listen to those too and try my best to lift them back up.  I want to hear it all, good, bad, important, funny, you name it!

So, here's to the 2013-14 school year!  May it be shared alongside kind friends and enthusiastic teachers and filled with new discoveries!  (And please God, minimal communicable diseases! Amen.)

payton and andrew - 5th + 6th grade, next to a pic of them in 3rd and 2nd grade. 
i can't believe this is the difference 3 years makes!
i was clearly feeling like the 2013-14 school year needed to kick off in navy and white stripes!

a little first day gangnam style!
"let's race, mama!"
everyday we check on the busy bumble bees before and after school!

henry, charlie, carter

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Home | New Kitchen Counter Stools

I'm prettttty sure that this tiniest of tiny updates does not deserve a blog post of its own, but it's getting one...

A couple weeks ago Andrew and Charlie were eating lunch at the kitchen island when some sort of  battle ensued over who had rightful ownership of the last slice of left over pizza. One thing led to another, there was some grabbing, maybe a shove and eventually a toppled counter stool.   The wooden stool was toast.  Not salvageable.  Or safe, for that matter.  After unleashing the proper Motherly theatrics over the ridiculousness of their behavior I went online and tried to find a replacement.   My first thought was to buy the same Ballard stool that had just broken, but you just know that would be too easy and I wasn't sure I was really in love with those stools anymore.  {shhh, don't tell the boys} I honestly hadn't thought much about them one way or the other till the pizza incident.  They were fine, comfy and sturdy {or so I thought}, but the accident had me contemplating them in a new light.

My first consideration was a pair of these upholstered stools from Restoration Hardware.  I would have had slipcovers made for them, but the thought of dirty slips or the need to wash them on weekly basis was too big of a deterrent. I do think these would have been the most comfy of the options I considered.

I loved these bamboo-esque chairs from World Market!  They were probably my favorite option.  But dang it,  they were the wrong height.  Boo.  Boo. Booooo.  World Market, please make a counter height, please!!

I also liked these X back bistro stools, also from Restoration Hardware.  They didn't seem quite right for our home though and I had visions of boys standing on the cane seats and falling right through.  Your kids don't stand on your chairs?  No?

The more I thought about the farmhouse style of our home and the flow of our kitchen, the more I began leaning to a much simpler option.  These pinterst images helped convince me.

I ended up ordering these simple oak stools from Restoration Hardware.  One of my only RH purchases ever.  Arguably not the most comfy option, but they aren't as uncomfortable as you might think.  I love that I can easily fit three in my small kitchen, something I really missed with the old chairs.  Here's how they look...

(please excuse the pics.  I assure you my counters don't have a purple hue and my floors aren't pink..   not the greatest, I didn't have the right lens (or the right settings, apparently),  I was in a hurry, had 5 minutes (if that) to spare and this blog post has been waiting in draft form for two weeks. blah, blah, blah...)

I think the lesson in all of it, and the reason I even bothered with a post about this change, is to remind myself to scale back, to keep things simple.  Every piece doesn't need to make a statement and sometimes being a bit un-noticable is the best way to shift the focus where it should be {in my kitchen's case, the food or the open shelving.}.  My kitchen just feels lighter and more breathable {if that makes sense} without the bulkiness of the old stools.  And the flow between the dining room and kitchen is nicer too.