My Baby Turns 4

Today my first daughter, my first-born turns four. How is that possible? She is my beautiful, smart, funny little muffin. A total mix of her Mommy and her Daddy. A tomboy who loves pink and purple. She makes me smile and laugh every day.

She will be officially 4 at 8:53pm tonight. What an amazing four years…and I’m so excited to see her grow and change over the years to come. Happy birthday to my little love.

Holiday Gift Guide: Part Two

Okay, so I can’t stop shopping…or searching the internet so here are a few more gift ideas for your holiday shopping! Two weeks to go!!!!

FOR LITTLE ONES – STOCKING STUFFERS:

Stacey Peasley MusicA great pic for little ones and Moms too. Personally, I have had a hard time finding kids music that I can tolerate, and I LOVE Stacey’s music. My favorite, “Trouble, trouble, trouble, I don’t look for trouble, but somehow trouble always finds me.” A CD makes a great stocking stuffer, or even better, give the gift of music with a session in the Boston Music for Aardvarks which Stacey teachers.

Yo Gabba Gabba Beanie BabiesHonestly, I hate beanie babies. They were a crazy a long time ago that some people can’t let go of. But Yo Gabba Gabba Beanie Babies are an entirely different animal. My little one would s*#& herself for these. Adorable. Must buy.

FOR MOMS & DAUGHTERS:

Mommy and Me Jewelry by Samantha’s CharmsOmg, I almost died when I saw these. So adorable and beautiful. Such a cute Mommy and Me gift, but also great for big sister, little sister…or even as a special gift for Grandmothers and granddaughters! Love them.

Love the necklaces (but they also have tons of other products)

FOR NEW MOMS:

Create a custom ring Okay, so jewelry is always a good choice, but if you design the jewelry yourself, bonus points. I love Gemvara because you can customize your own jewelry. I want a ring with the birthstones of both my daughters. Peridot and Emerald are not typically paired together, but here, you can design it so they are…and so they look amazing together. Hint hint to my husband…. :)

FOR A HOSTESS GIFT:

Jumbo Coffee Mugs¬†– I love the store Cost Plus World Market. My mother-in-law introduced me to this store out in Seattle, but unfortunately, they don’t have any in New England. Luckily for the internet, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I love these jumbo coffee mugs, available in white or colors. Why? They are just nice and thoughtful and inexpensive…and the best part is they stack. So great for those of us with storage issues.

Homemade Coffee Spoons – To go along with the mugs, why not make some chocolate coffee spoons? It’s easy…even the novice DIY’er can figure this out. Over a double boiler, melt some chocolate (milk, dark, your choice). Get crazy and add in some extract (vanilla, almond, peppermint) or get really crazy and add in some booze (Kahlua, Bailey’s). Dip spoon, and let harden on wax paper. You can make them fancy by drizzling with white chocolate, nuts, crushed candy cane. Simple. Easy. Thoughtful.

FOR TEACHERS:

Cash – I know, it seems boring and impersonal, but I can tell you it’s not. It’s probably a teacher’s favorite gift. If you don’t like giving cash, give a generic gift card. As much as you think you know your child’s teacher….you don’t. You don’t know what they need, or how many mugs or candles they already have at home. Give cash, they will truly appreciate it!

I wish I was getting free product from these companies…but sadly I’m not ūüėČ ¬†Stacey Peasely generously sent me her CD to review…but I already knew I’d love it b/c my daughter loves it so that was easy!

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1

Hi Everyone –

Tis the season for holiday shopping. I LOVE holiday gift guides…I always find them super helpful and interesting, so I figured I’d put together one. This is part one, more to come as I continue shopping! ¬†

xoxo – Kelly (aka TinySophisticate)

FOR TODDLERS:

Cloud B Twilight Ladybug – my aunt gave my girls this as an early gift and my toddler LOVES it. Put the ladybug on the floor in the center of the room and turn it on. The nightlight projects the ¬†moon and stars onto the walls and ceilings and you can change the color from blue to green to red. Also available as the Twilight Turtle. ¬†I’m also obsessed with the Cloud B Sleep Sheep…great gift for a baby shower or newborn.

Tape & CarsI saw this on Pinterest and think it is such a fun idea for boys or girls. And how easy? Hours of entertainment.

Picture taken from Pinterest but not sure original source

FOR NEWBORNS:

College Savings Account – Okay, I know everyone loves to buy baby toys and baby clothes….but come on, how many onesies and rattles does a newborn need? And if they are a second or a third child, chances are they have everything they need and more. Take this opportunity to donate to their college fund. It will go a lot further in the long run than Sophie the Giraffe (no offense Soph, we have two of you!). Print out an application for a 529 account and then write a check or give cash. You can start a 529 account with as little as $50.

FOR SOPHISTICATED FOODIES:

Truffle Oil – I’d take a BJs size vat of this if they make it! Such a great treat for the home chef. Try making of your restaurant favorites in your own kitchen. I’d love to try making Truffled Tater Tots (Union, Newton, MA) or Truffled Mac n Cheese (Stephanie’s, Boston, MA).

 

FOR THE WHISKEY-BOURBON AFFICIONADO

Fancy Ice CubesI know, sounds boring at first but check out these 2″ silicone cube trays. Perfect for a beverage on the rocks!

FOR TINY FOODIES IN TRAINING:

Pop maker – Such a fun idea to 1) let kids make themselves, 2) incorporate fresh fruits, and 3) enjoy a fresh frozen treat! Love these.

FOR THE PROUD MAMMA

Tiffany Initial Pendant I love these simple and elegant initial charms from Tiffany. I actually have one for each of my daughters on a necklace. I love the look of it layered, but one day but transfer to a charm bracelet. My girls each have one of their own as well…too young to wear yet but one day!

 

FOR THE PARENTS TO BE:

High Tech Baby Monitoryou have to admit, this is pretty cool!

FOR THE ECO-FRIENDLY FASHIONISTA:

Alex & Ani Bracelets – These eco-friendly bracelets are made from recycled materials. One just isn’t enough…stack em on! I am hoping Santa brings me one, two, twelve ūüėČ

FOR THE “APPLE” OF YOUR EYE:

Apple Digital AV AdapterThis is a no brainer and if no one buys it for me, I’m buying it for myself. Such a great tool to hook up your iPad to your TV!

Pocket ProjectorThis + iPhone + large white wall + bean bag chairs + popcorn = FUN! This little projector attaches to your iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Apple notebook, so you can display photos, movies from the iTunes store, business presentations and more at sizes up to 66-inches diagonal.

FOR THE BUSINESS MAN/WOMAN IN MARKETING/SALES:

Winning the Customer by Lou Imbriano & Elizabeth KingOkay, had to plug this. My boss wrote it. But a great read and tells sound marketing business principles via stories from his career in sports.

 

****I have not been compensated by any of these products/companies for inclusion in my Gift Guide. In full disclosure, MEFA is a client of mine in my day job, however, they did not pay me or request to be included in this gift guide. I truly believe in their product and feel strongly everyone needs to plan for college very early. And as for the book, well, I guess I technically get paid by the author but he didn’t tell me to include the book in this post. I did get two autographed copies, but I think working for him for 12 years deserves that…at least! :)¬†

Feeling Thankful

It’s that time of year to be thankful. I try to feel thankful 365 days a year, because really, my life is pretty good. But for this one day, I’ll write it all down. I’m thankful for:

  1. My two healthy, happy, beautiful daughters who have completely changed my life.
  2. My husband who keeps me in line, makes me laugh and generally puts up with my s*#&
  3. My mother who has taught me how to be a great mom, and has been unbelievably helpful with my two girls, especially in the past few months since #2 arrived
  4. Someone somewhere who looked out for my aunt and uncle who were in a motorcycle accident this summer. It hasn’t been easy, but glad they are starting to see the light at the end of the recovery tunnel (hopefully)
  5. Great in-laws. Despite the fact they are far away, it feels like they around the corner
  6. Big appetite
  7. Relatively quick metabolism
  8. Great new “mommy and daddy” friends who don’t mind talking about poop at the dinner table
  9. Amazing single girlfriends who NEVER want to talk about poop
  10. The Food Network
  11. HGTV
  12. Trashy shows like the Bachelor, Bachelorette and America’s Next Top Model
  13. My daughter’s laugh…it’s soooo contagious
  14. My other daughter’s smile….it’s soooo big and soooo contagious
  15. My good health and that I had the ability to have two amazing children
  16. Truffled tater-tots at Union in Newton, MA. Truffled mac n cheese at Stephanie’s.
  17. Brunch (any day, any time, any where)
  18. DVR
  19. Nights when my girls sleep through the night
  20. Nights when my toddler wants to cuddle

I could go on and on….but time to make more pumpkin pie :)

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Things My Kids Will Never Know

I just saw a tweet from @bos_sportswoman that said “My son asked me what xeroxing means. I then asked him for a Kleenex to wipe my tears.”

I laughed.

And then I started thinking of all the things I used in my life growing up that my kids will never use or even know about.

  1. Old-school telephone ring. We don’t have a home phone, my husband and I use our cell phones. And we hate ringtones so they just vibrate.
  2. Phone with a rotary dial. That would blow their mind.
  3. A phone connected to the wall by a cord. Blasphemy. Okay, enough phone references.
  4. Typewriter. I remember taking typing class in high school and using 1950’s style typewriters (no I didn’t go to high school in the 50’s…the typewriters were just really old). I’m guessing my girls will never use a typewriter. I find the sound of typewriters oddly soothing and nostalgic. Maybe we should get a vintage one for the house so they understand how “Mommy used to write papers in middle school.”
  5. Airline tickets. Remember the scene in Home Alone where they are getting into the vans on the way to the airport and they check to make sure they have their airline tickets? I love that movie. I remember traveling as a kid and having the card stock printed tickets for our trips. No longer. We just swipe our credit card at the airport and done.
  6. VCRs. Oh the joy of VCRs when you wanted to watch your favorite movie that you taped from HBO, only to find out someone taped a sporting event over it.
  7. Cassette tapes. Remember your favorite mix tape you left in the glove compartment of your car on a hot sunny day, only to find it melted.
  8. Boom boxes. Oh dear. I don’t think I actually walked around holding one on my shoulder. But who knows. Not the same effect if you try putting your iPod on your shoulder.
  9. Encyclopedias. Do they still make encyclopedias? We had a set when I was a kid and that was my #1 source for all my school projects when I was young. I wonder what “reference” requirements my kids will have for their term papers and projects.
What else do you remember from your childhood that your children will never know?

Eleven Eleven Eleven

I’ve been hearing all sorts of news reports about people getting excited about it being 11/11/11. To me, today is just Friday. Oh, and Veteran’s Day. But upon hearing about all the hoopla, I decided to check in with TinySophisticate’s resident Feng Shui expert to see if there is more to this date than I thought.

Christine Conway, Feng Shui expert and life coach, says “Today is a day to open the veil for the new energies of 2012. ¬†It’s a great¬†time to clean out the old and make room for the new energy. ¬†¬†Set new¬†intentions for your desires in your life.”

Oooh…that’s sounds fun! I love getting rid of old and making room for new, especially with clothes :)

Here are some of her Feng Shui recommendations:

  • Clean the front door, or storm door to ensure it’s clear and clean. ¬†This¬†will represent clarity for the coming 2012.
  • Clean your stove and oven. ¬†In Feng Shui your oven/stove is the wealth¬†generator, and with the shift in energy you’ll want that energy as good as¬†possible.
  • Take stock in all the good you have in your life and be grateful! ¬†Offer gratitude to Angels, Archangels, and Buddha!

So, here’s my plan of action for today!

  • I’m cleaning my doors. Why not, it’s quick and easy and I need as much clarity as I can get!!!
  • Omg, she read my mind with the stove. It’s a disaster. I made a pizza the other day and the cheese melted over the side. I don’t really know how to clean a stove (I know, I have issues and a cleaning lady for that). But since my cleaning lady doesn’t come til next week…I better figure it out.
  • I have so much wonderful in my life…I just look at my two girls and know life is amazing, and gets better every day! Thank you to whoever in the universe granted me to be so lucky!

Happy 11/11/11.

Back to the Grind and Back to Business Attire

Okay, I typed that title with a smirk on my face. My first day “back to work” consisted of sitting home drinking a root beer surfing the web.

First day back is always a little slow. But the web surfing was actual research.

I kid…but I work from home and was slowing getting into the groove my first day back, but the rest of the week was a different story.¬†Day two, I had three meetings so it goes from 0 to 60 very quickly. When I woke up that morning, I thought, “Holy (#&$! ¬†I have to actually get dressed for work today!”

I haven’t said that in a while. What does that even mean? I’ve had a three-month maternity leave, and before that, “dressing up” when pregnant took on an entirely different meaning, but likely meant Liz Lange maternity leggings (which if you must know, I’m still wearing). Don’t get me wrong, I obviously get “dressed” every day. Even days during maternity leave when my day consisted of dropping off and picking my toddler from school, I still tried to get dressed and look cute. Skinny jeans and a tank or top…cute shoes and a scarf. For me, my clothes, my hair, the way I present myself is important. It’s part of my personal brand. I know, I know….my “day job” is blurring into my blogging life right now. But seriously. I have a certain “personal brand” and I try hard to maintain that.

So back to what to wear…I think I have a decent sense of style. I don’t think I dress like the stereotypical “mom.”¬†I didn’t wear the traditional, old-school maternity clothes when I was pregnant (see here and here). And I definitely don’t dress like a typical business woman. I mean, I am a business woman, but I work in marketing which gives much more fashion leeway than say accounting or law. I shun dress pants and suits. I despise sensible heels. And don’t get me started on sweater sets and cardigans.

Dress over leggings with blazer, scarf and stiletto booties

So, while all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit me, let’s just say things aren’t all where they should be. My mid-section is a little soft and jiggly…and my boobs, oh lord, they have issues….button downs are not an option right now. So I needed to figure out how to piece together a cute work-appropriate outfit for my long day of meetings.

Since I work from home, I luckily don’t have to dress like a businesswoman every day. The days I do, I’d like to start to change the meaning of what business attire can be.

For my first day of meetings, I opted for a dress over leggings, a blazer with sleeves rolled up and a pair of stiletto booties. I accessorized with a wrist full of bracelets and a trio of rings on each hand. Oh, and my scarf, which looking at the picture looks like it is overwhelming me a bit! The outfit feels like me…but also is acceptable for business meetings! Luckily I only have meetings one or two days each week but stay tuned for more of my work wardrobe posts.

Oh and I survived my first week back…so did my girls. Life is good.

trio of bracelets from Stella & Dot (ring trio from Ross Simon & an old vintage ring)

love these booties! bought from Aldo 2 years ago

What’s your work attire?

 

Halloween a day early

Yeah, so it’s noon on a Sunday, I’m wearing hooker, knee-high black boots, a ton of eyeliner and a pirate costume….AND I’m drinking champagne. What? Actually…sounds like a perfect Sunday to me. Yesterday, we had our first annual (well, hopefully annual) Halloween party at our house. And with two little ones under 2 1/2, an 11:30am start time seemed perfectly normal for a party….normal until I walked outside in my costume and my neighbors looked at me like I was crazy.

Oh well. When we were thinking about what to be/what to do for Halloween, my husband and I decided our 2 year-old probably wouldn’t go trick-or-treating. Honestly, I just can’t imagine her walking up to someone’s house to say trick or treat. She has her shy moments, so I envision us carrying her up to the door, ringing the bell, saying “Trick or treat,” and then her saying “Thank you” as we walk away. And the baby, well she’d be passed out asleep. Even with the thought of free candy, we really don’t think she’d enjoy the process of trick or treating. So we decided to have a little party for a few family and friends yesterday so we could eat fun food and dress up in silly costumes. Costumes were mandatory for the little ones (although my little ones wanted theirs off almost immediately), but I was so excited that many of the other parents decided to dress ups too.

The "Black Eyed Peas" and the Cutest Little Ladybug

Popeye, Olive Oil & Sweet Pea

The Pirate Family with our Baby Parrot

Let’s face it…five years ago, if we had a Halloween party, it would have been at 7pm on a Saturday night, with pizza delivered and jello shots! Things are a little bit different now with two little ones…not to mention my bedtime is 8:30pm. To be honest, it was great…I’m kind of liking these brunch/lunch parties.

I pretty excited the party went off as planned. I was super prepared (some may call me anal) until the night before the party…the snow started falling at 5pm, and by 6pm, our power was out. The kitchen was a disaster….food and supplies everywhere. And the power was out. Luckily I had started making things on Friday…and had cooked all day Saturday. But when the power went out, I called it a day, snuggled with my girls and went to bed! We woke up with the power back on the day of the party and everything went great.

Here are some highlights of the party, including menu, recipes, and decorations. Click each for more info!

Decorations:

I got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and decided to decorate my red kitchen with black and white Halloween decorations. I save the orange and fall colors/decoration for my living room. I spray painted pumpkins with a glossy black paint, and used owls in my decor as well. I also printed out some B&W pics I found online and framed them a part of my display. I cut out some silhouettes of bats and a witch and used those on the wall as well. I also took a cinnamon-scented broomstick and painted that black as well.

Menu:

  • Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Fancy Grilled Cheese
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Ghostly Meringues
  • Halloween Peppermint Patties
  • Creme Soda &¬†Root beer
  • Water, Coffee, Tea
  • Beer & Wine (and some Proseco that a friend brought)

****We did try to dress up our 2 year-old to go out trick-or-treating last night. She wanted NO part of it! She loved having the kids come to our door and give them candy!

 

Halloween Decorations

In my earlier post about our First Annual Halloween party (fingers crossed it will become a tradition), I mentioned our decorations. Here is a little more detail about them.

I got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and decided to decorate my red kitchen with black and white Halloween decorations. I save the orange and fall colors/decoration for my living room. I bought almost all my decorations from Christmas Tree Shop and then doctored them up with spray paint.

I spray painted pumpkins with a glossy black paint, and also gave a skeleton head a coat of white.

I also used owls in my decor as well. Loving owls right now. You know the saying “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”? Well, I love that saying and found some found owls and monkeys at Christmas tree shop that I spray painted.

I also printed out some B&W pics I found online and framed them a part of my display. I cut out some silhouettes of bats and a witch and used those on the wall as well. I also took a cinnamon-scented broomstick and painted that black as well.

Honestly, this was all done on a small budget. It’s amazing what a few cans of spray paint can transform. Enjoy the pics!

Halloween Food

I had so much fun at our first annual Halloween party and wanted to share some menu ideas with you.  Here was the menu:

If you can’t tell, I love Ina Garten from Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa.¬†Her recipes are always amazing. I didn’t have any appetizers, I just had all the food out and ready when guests arrived. I put the soup and meatballs in crock pots to serve, the mac n cheese were in the pans they cooked in and the grilled cheese was served on a three-tiered platter.

roasting butternut squash, apples and onions for soup

soup

For the “fancy” grilled cheese…I just got a little creative. I consulted the bakery department of my local supermarket and bought some “fancy” bread that I sliced myself. The bakery department will slice if for you, and I regret not taking them upon their offer. Then I just filled the sandwiches with all sorts of fun items:

  • Monterey Jack Cheese w/ Bacon
  • Tomato, Mozzarella & Pesto
  • Ham & Cheese
  • Pear, Brie Cheese & Chocolate Chips
  • Tomato & Bacon

The bread slices were large so I was able to cut each sandwich into fourths. 

I took the easy way out with the Swedish meatballs and used a box spice mix, then followed this recipe for the gravy.

Let’s face it though…the desserts are the most important part of any Halloween party!

For drinks, I served creme soda and root beer for a little bit of nostalgia, along with water, coffee and tea. Guests brought some beer and wine, and one even brought some awesome Proseco! I bought some fun Halloween straws as well!

I love striped paper straws

I had a lot of mac n cheese left over, and a good amount of sweets which I packaged up in little bags and brought to my daughters’ teachers at school. Overall, it was a fun party and can’t wait to do it again next year.