friday’s favorites


My favorite things this week…


a weekend of theatre…A Christmas Carol and The Phantom of the Opera


a fun lunch with a friend…delish salad, soup, and sandwich AND girl talk


the jingle bell roping (purchased from Home Goods) that I hung with the garland and berries to decorate our foyer light


proper tea at Clara J’s with a great group of mom friends…it’s becoming a holiday tradition

Happy weekend!


family pictures + holiday cards


It is that time of year when we actually enjoy receiving mail because it isn’t typical mail…bills and junk mail.  Instead, we love opening the envelopes to see the pretty and festive holiday cards that are sent to our houses!

My whole family (yes, even my hubby) looks forward to seeing the cards that are sent from friends and family, near and far!  It is fun to “catch up” with people we don’t see on a regular basis.  Holiday cards have come so far with the age of digital photography.  As a result, there are so many creative choices for cards these days.

I began thinking about our holiday card back in the summer.  I knew I wanted to have some family pictures taken before Audrey left for college (it had been a few years, maybe more than a few, since we had some taken).  So in between Audrey having her wisdom teeth removed, vacation plans, a business trip for my husband, and packing for college…we were able to schedule a time to have pictures taken!  And then ironically, our orthodontist surprised Grace and removed her braces the following day…you can imagine how she felt about wanting to retake the pictures without her sparkly smile!!

If you are like me, coordinating outfits for family pictures can be stressful!  I have three daughters with three different styles, and getting them to agree on something can be pure torture.  My husband is usually a good sport about this sort of thing, but I knew he didn’t want anything too “girly.”


We (and I say “we” because I had to get everyone on board with the idea) decided to go with shades of blue, white, and pops of coral!


The inspiration started with Claire’s white sundress with the coral tassel sleeves.  I added her metallic gold gladiator sandals and a navy blue bangle bracelet to complete the outfit.


Audrey wore this blue and white striped off-the-shoulder dress…along with cork wedges, a gold necklace with blue tassels, and a coral bracelet.


Grace chose a navy blue dress, coral sandals, and a white statement necklace.


I wore white jeans with a denim tunic shirt.  My accessories included blue gingham espadrille wedges and a coral statement necklace.


And for Phillip…he wore a white button-down shirt with blue lobster-printed shorts.  Happily, NO PINK for him!

So off we went to meet our photographer for some “urban inspired” pictures in downtown Toledo…



Now back to those cards…I’ve used the website, Minted, for our cards the past few years and I’ve always been pleased.  I started looking at all their holiday choices earlier this fall when I received the images from our photo session with Julie Trust, our photographer.  She captured so many great moments on film that I just couldn’t narrow it down to one picture!

So we created a BOOK, or booklette cards, as they are called on their website.  I really liked this option for a card because it allowed space for all those pictures, plus room to share updates on our family happenings in 2016.  So I spent some time “designing” our card using their template…




There were so many options as far as card colors, placement of pictures and text, size of pictures, border colors, envelope linings, etc. It took some time to design them so when I finally hit the submit button, I couldn’t wait to see the finished product!


One more thing I love about this company is that they will print the recipient addresses, as well as the return address, on your envelopes!  It even matches the font used on my cards!  I know the envelopes end up in the trash, but how fun is it to receive that in your mailbox…





I love staying connected with friends and family, so giving and receiving holiday cards is always one of my favorite parts of the season!


If you are in Toledo and looking for a local photographer, I highly recommend Julie Trust.  She made our photo session so easy…we didn’t even realize that an hour of time had passed.  And go check out the Minted website for cards, if you haven’t already!


friday’s favorites


My favorite things this week…


this comfy, cozy throw from Anthropologie…love those pompoms and tassels


an afternoon shopping at my favorite store in Ann Arbor


spotted this at Hobby Lobby…considered purchasing it for my kitchen


loving the trend of tassel necklaces, so I couldn’t pass up this multi-tassel one on Black Friday AND this faux fur vest I found while shopping with Grace for a Christmas dance dress

Happy weekend!

christmas countdown


Tomorrow marks the beginning of the advent season…the countdown to Christmas Day!

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed creating my own version of an advent calendar for my daughters.  Click here to see what I did last year.  I’ve done the same display of items for the past few years, so I decided to change it up a bit.


Remember this vintage white picket fence that I used for a mantle display during Halloween…well, I thought it would make the perfect backdrop for those 24 days of surprises.


I simply wrapped the small surprises (I can’t tell you for sure what’s inside each one…don’t want to give it away, but MAYBE some Starbucks gift cards, hot cocoa packets, bath bombs, hair clips, mini coloring books, etc) in red wrapping paper and brown kraft paper.  Some of the items required a brown paper bag, instead of wrapping paper.



I used solid red and red striped ribbon, as well as natural jute, to tie the packages to the fence.  I added these fun pompoms and the numbered tags to each surprise.


So we start with number one tomorrow…


…and continue counting down until Christmas Day!


This display is on the landing of our stairs, so my girls can find their advent surprise as they go downstairs for breakfast each morning.


And so the anticipation begins…


thanksgiving tablescape


Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Since we will be in town for the holiday this year, I’ve been preparing…I’ve ordered a turkey, looked through my recipes, baked a few pies, visited the market to stock up on ingredients, AND decorated our Thanksgiving table.


I love the way it looks…so simple and natural!  I started with a burlap tablecloth, which I covered with strips of brown kraft paper.  I placed one strip of it down the center of the table as a table runner.  Then I cut three smaller sections to be placed the opposite direction on the table, going from one side to the other.


Then, I used fresh greens from the florist as the base for the centerpiece.  I placed white pumpkins and white candles of various heights along the greenery.  I can’t wait to see how it looks when the candles are lit!




My white dishes are set on chalkboard placemats, along with sack flour towels tied with jute for use as napkins.




And my favorite part of the table is the writing on the side encouraging my family to list the things for which they are thankful.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they write…




Now that the table is ready, it’s time to get cooking…mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, sweet potato casserole, and all the Thanksgiving fixings!


Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving filled with family time and some pumpkin pie!




turkey place cards


Hi, everyone!  I’m Claire, and I’m taking over my mom’s blog today.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays…probably because my birthday is around it.  I was even born on Thanksgiving!!  This year, it’s the day before.  I’ll be 10 years old.


One of my favorite crafts is these turkey place cards for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to tell you how to make them.



First, you need…

  • pinecones
  • red felt
  • candy corn
  • pompoms (I used black, but any color will work)
  • feathers
  • wiggle eyes
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • AND some cold water, in case you burn yourself with the hot glue gun like I did


Take a pinecone and some feathers, and squeeze the glue onto the pinecone and stick a feather in it.  Add about 5 more feathers with the glue.



Next, glue some wiggle eyes onto the pompom.


Add a piece of candy corn to it for the nose.


Cut a gobbler out of the red felt, and glue it on the pompom.


Finally, glue the pompom onto the pinecone.

Be careful…this is when I burned myself!  Ouch!!!


Type the names of your family members, and print them on card stock.  Cut them into strips and put them in the pinecones.




That’s it…all done!

Happy Thanksgiving!