Friday Five

Hey friends! I hope you’ve had a wonderful Valentine’s week! Having a holiday early in the week always makes the week a little bit chaotic for me. Let’s jump right to it, shall we? I have so many favorite things right now!



How cute is this dress? It screams spring to me!  My friend Morgan has opened up a clothing shop with really stylish pieces.  You can shop the store in person if you’re local, or online.



Check out my baker boy!  His class had such a fun Valentine’s Day party!  One of the super talented moms came up with a baking challenge where teams of students made a dessert from certain items then gave it to judges to be scored.  The categories for scoring were teamwork, using all of the ingredients, creativity, taste and overall appeal.  We only had 30 minutes to “bake” so no ovens were involved, but they made creative dishes with Rice Krispies, Twinkies, whipped cream, chocolate, pretzels, bananas, strawberries and raspberries.  It was so different from the usual parties and so much fun.


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I’ve had so many moms ask me about BG’s watch recently so I thought I’d share it here!  He has an LG GizmoGadget through Verizon.  It’s a touch screen watch that allows him to call and text (pre-recorded texts or voice) 10 numbers.  It also provides location tracking so you can make sure that your kid is safe–for example, BG walks to scouts after school with his friends and I always check his location afterward to make sure he’s where he should be! The watch also tracks activity, so we have a lot of step competitions with BG.  He’s had this watch for a couple of years now and we absolutely love it.  He’s at the age where he wants some freedom and independence, and this allows us to give it to him and communicate, knowing he’s safe, but without giving him a “real” phone that is harder to monitor.  Some of BG’s friends also have the same watch and I anticipate that they’re going to love being able to call each other to play this summer rather than having to go through us moms!


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I want this Dagne Dover tote more than anything!  It looks like the perfect size for a work bag and to make it even better, it has a zipper!!!  Someone please share it with my husband!


I mentioned in my Valentine’s post that I was having a phone case made for DG, and here it is.  This is custom tooled with his brand and is an Otterbox case.  Our friend’s company has partnered with Otterbox to make high end leather Otterboxes.  They release this fall, but it’s possible to get your hands on one early if you call them directly.  They are really good quality and look great.  I may need to get myself one after my glittery Kate Spade case wears out!

I hope you have a great weekend.  Gotta love when there’s a holiday thrown in and you get an extra day off of school and work!

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A Place For Everything

One of my biggest downfalls is that I’m a piler and shover. I’m really good at piling papers on the kitchen counter, then shoving them into a cupboard when company is coming over or even if the pile just gets too big and I’m frustrated. One of my main goals for our new house was to keep it from clutter, piles and shoving. Four months into living here and by no means can I say that I’ve been a total success, but I’ve definitely improved.  A portion of my success has been a result of our Pottery Barn command center system.


In all fairness, this looks super clean and bare because I took the picture in the morning, just after BG had packed his weekly homework in his backpack to return to school, but each of the kids have a cubby on the left side, then the cubbies on the right are for DG and things I need to mail out.  I try to keep the calendar limited to the family things or the kids’ appointments and only list my personal appointments if I’m going to be out of town/gone so that at a quick glance DG knows what’s going on and when.  He doesn’t look at his iPhone calendar every day so I’ve found that this is the easiest route to make sure he’s kept in the loop of activities and where we need to be-and when.  Obviously we also have a place for our spare keys and a spot for DG to put his wallet and glasses when he gets home.  It’s really nice to keep his things in one place so he’s not looking for them. I haven’t used the bulletin board much yet mostly because I’m nervous about thumbtacks and Eleni.  As for the kids’ cubbies, those are the most used on the whole thing.  BG gets weekly homework and reading packets every Monday that have to be completed and turned in the following week.  Before the command center BG’s homework packets lived on our kitchen table…whether they were on top of or underneath other papers that the school sent us.  I’m ashamed to admit that more days than not he’d spend five minutes or so just looking for his homework packet amidst the other papers.  I’m so happy that now he knows right where his packet is every day and as soon as he’s finished working on it, the packet goes back into his cubby.  It’s seriously amazing how this has helped eliminate fights of “where is it?” and just made getting homework out so much smoother.  It’s too bad that it couldn’t miraculously make doing the homework easier, but I know I can’t ask for too much!  Eleni also puts her daily school work into her cubby then at the end of the week we go through it to save the important/better papers and toss the junk.  And I love that my kitchen counter isn’t cluttered!!!

Initially I thought I wanted the command center in our pantry closet, but ultimately decided on the back entrance hall because it’s visible by all four of us every day.  There are some days when we don’t ever go into the pantry so the calendar would never be seen!  You can also make a command center with your own baskets and cubbies if you have an eye for that, and I’m sure it would be a whole lot cheaper than our Pottery Barn version.  I’m not so crafty though and don’t think it would ever get done if I was left to buying individual pieces myself, so the Pottery Barn system worked for us.  What is the ultimate organizing tip in your house?


Valentine’s Loving

I typically am the world’s worst gift giver.  My sister-in-law Page always knocks it out of the park no matter if it’s a gift for her husband, my kids, our in-laws, or anyone, so for Valentine’s Day I’m actually borrowing one of the ideas she gave her husband for Christmas and getting a custom leather Otterbox phone case for DG.  These phone cases were available during the NFR and Sundance in Park City, but I don’t think that they are being sold on the website yet.  Nonetheless, they are super cool and it will have DG’s brand on it.  I’ll post a picture when the final product is finished!  Meanwhile, I’ve been helping my friend come up with ideas for her husband and thought I’d post a few of them here because I really think they are keepers.

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I haven’t met a man who doesn’t love a Yeti.  We gave these out for Christmas gifts to our ranch employees and everyone loved them.  Heck, I even love mine and take it with me to work every day.  These are great for cold or hot drinks.  If you want to spend more, you can give your man a Yeti cooler because I’m sure he’d love you for that too.

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You can give him a shaving kit or a gift certificate to get a shave.  Where we live it’s hard to find a barber who gives a traditional men’s shave, so when we go out of town DG loves to go to the Art of Shaving and get a shave from the guys there.  It’s obviously their equivalent to a facial that us women know and love so much.

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DG is super techy in that he loves to have the newest electronic products out there.  He uses Siri all the time and tries to get the most out of his devices.  All of the reviews that I’ve read for the Amazon Echo have been positive, so I think this would be a really fun gift.  I’m not sure if you have to change out your light switches to make them work with the Echo, but how cool would it be to be lying in bed and have the Echo turn off your light?

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Tickets to a local sporting event and a nice dinner are always a winner in our book.  For us, it would have to be a Jazz game on either the 13th or 15th.  We’re actually planning to go out of town the weekend after Valentine’s Day so I won’t be doing this, but I know that DG would have enjoyed it.



What other gift ideas do you have to add to the man’s Valentine’s list?


Travel Favorites

We’re going to Disneyland tomorrow and I’ve got vacation on my mind! Here are a few of my favorite traveling things!



I love these packing cubes.  I used them for the kids when we went to Vegas in December and they are so great.  I love having organized suitcases and hate when kids are digging through it looking for a certain item and then everything becomes a mess.  Packing cubes were such a problem solver.  I’ve since ordered more for myself.



If you’re constantly using your phone (because let’s be honest, who isn’t), then of course your battery probably dies, so you need a portable phone charger!  I always have mine in my purse, and I just ordered an extra so that I won’t have to miss any photographic moments at Disneyland.  Let’s be honest, I freak out if my phone dies because what would I do if I got lost and stranded too?  I really like this one because it’s thin and light.  I don’t know if the brand necessarily matters, but just make sure you have one that has high mAhs (which is how they measure the power?) because then it gives you more charges before charging the device.


AAEY015_quickinfoThe amount of beauty/skincare products that I take depends on whether I fly or drive, but I always have my eye-cream and moisturizer.  Travel can be so hard on my face.  Usually it involves late nights and recycled indoor air, so these are a huge must have for me.



Both of my kids will be sporting these while we’re in Disneyland.  BG has his phone too, but crowds scare me.  Losing a child is probably one of my biggest fears and the thought makes me sick.  Hopefully if something bad happened, this would help us!

What are your favorite items when you travel?  Anything that I’ve missed and can go buy super last minute?



Eleni is TWO

How is it that I put my baby to bed one night and she wakes up to be such a big girl?  Over the last 3-4 months she has grown so much.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too.  Honestly, Eleni knows when it’s appropriate to laugh or ask “is that funny?” after she does something silly, she can sing her ABCs, count to 10, spell her name (out loud…we’re still working on writing it down), she knows some colors and is opinionated as all get out.  Eleni likes to look pretty and touch her pretty clothes (she’ll tell you if it’s not pretty), she absolutely loves animals and being outside and she likes to copy and do what the rest of us do.

I took this picture of her last night as a 1 year old while she was sleeping last night and it hit me how big she’s gotten.  It’s so crazy to look back at her newborn pictures when she was so little in the crib.


This morning BG and I were so excited to wake Eleni up and tell her happy birthday.  I wasn’t sure that she really understood, but she opened a present at the babysitter’s house and they had balloons and cupcakes and sang to her and now she gets that birthdays are all about that special person!  Tomorrow night DG will be home and we will celebrate Eleni’s special day with a Minnie Mouse party and all of our family!