Wednesday, April 10, 2013

give. save. spend.

charlie {6} came home from school and asked if he could buy a penny skateboard with his own money, which he has had carefully stashed away in a super mario wallet from six years of birthdays and tooth fairies. knowing that he had enough saved, and had never asked to buy anything before i said sure right away. and then added an 'i'll speak to your dad about it' to cover my bases... {and told myself that there must be some skater boys who pop their collars on their polo shirts, right?}

when i mentioned it to the hubby, he said he'd talk to him, and i promptly forgot all about it. until i came down from putting the girls to bed and found them hunched over some pieces of paper and markers at the counter, learning about money. i shouldn't have been surprised, since the hubby isn't just an intentional and hands on dad, he's also a financial advisor. they explained that the three things you can do with money are give, save and spend and that charlie had written down what he thinks the reasons are that we do each. he then was asked to rank them in order of importance.

next charlie took out his life savings, $71, in ones and fives, and was asked to decide how much money to put in each category - how much he wanted to give, how much he wanted to save and how much money he wanted to spend!

we left it totally up to him and after much deliberation he had $28 on give, $25 on save and $18 on spend.

 charlie was happy with his choices, surprisingly even after he realized with some disappointment that he no longer had enough money to buy his coveted penny skateboard.  we carefully put the money away in envelopes  and talked about how we would continue to follow this procedure whenever charlie earned more money {or lost more teeth!}.

my favorite part of the night was when the end when hubby told charlie to add up the amounts in give and save, and said he would give him that amount, and would continue to double any money he decided to give or save in the future. which means two things - first that i lucked out with a husband who is an exceptional dad who takes the time to really teach important lessons and....


Monday, February 11, 2013

organization love!

my most favorite part of my house is my mama's HQ!

 over the almost 7 years we have lived here, it has evolved into the perfect place to calm the chaos of work, school, sports and the general craziness of life. my rules are that everything has to have its place, and every item has to be beautiful to me in some way...

this weekend i added an early birthday present to myself - a set of four Emily Ley prints. i love not only their messages, but the bright colors and gold foil. they are the perfect daily reminders i need to {try!} to live an intentional life! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

magic & the mouse

we surprised the {big} munchies with a last minute trip to disneyworld this week, thanks to a sweet friend who had a timeshare to spare. while thunder mountain and meeting peter pan were pretty high up there, i'd have to say collecting signatures in their personalized mickey and minnie autograph books was the biggest hit of all!

another terribly sweet friend {thank you jen!} made these for both of the bigs - with laminated covers and coordinating ribbons!

the signatures are all adorable... they each added a special flair!

tinkerbell got the prize for best character interaction..worth the wait!

getting 'Rella's signature for the little cinderella lover we left at home!

stitch pretended to eat the dagger's book. she was not impressed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

how to feed a husband

happy husband's vice in life is food...and like everyone else in january we are trying to eat better and move more. 

i have been spending my afternoons trying to put together dinners that happy husband won't turn his nose up at - which is no easy feat. and let me tell you, after a 900 step Cooks Illustrated recipe that involves obscure ingredients and tons of fresh herbs, ambivalence is not what i am going for! 

but this, this he liked!
'crispy' buttermilk chicken over a wedge of lettuce with plum tomatoes, bacon, avocado, bleu cheese and homemade dressing. tastes like the real thing!

{just don't tell anyone i fed the munchies plates of bacon for dinner!}

Saturday, April 28, 2012

love always wins

 i was chatting with a dear friend recently about how we could keep our darling little ones from growing up too fast and losing the sweet and kind-hearted ways that inevitably seem to disappear as munchies get older and older... i had seen  a 'Wise Choices' jar on pinterest {my obsession} where children receive a marble for good decisions they made, and then can earn a reward once they reach a certain number of marbles, but i wanted to make my version really focus on acts of kindness. it's wonderful to make good decisions {especially when you are 4 & 5}, but my hope is to teach them that love always wins {the monkees motto at momastery} and that sometimes it's better to be kind than to be right.

it occurred to me that the 'children's version' of Proverbs 11:17 is: When you are kind to others, you help yourself" -- the absolute perfect reference for the munchies!

so, i took my vintage glass jar that was my grandmother's {we miss you, gaerta!} and had my fabulously talented friend kelly at 1derfully Made make Proverbs 11:17 out of vinyl for it. when i catch the munchies doing something kind for each other, or a friend or neighbor, i put one of their colored marbles in the jar. when they earn the set amount of marbles, they get to fulfill their dream of  going to 'make a bear, build a bear' and making a stuffed animal. the rules state that either mama or daddy have to 'catch' them being kind - they cannot report their kindnesses in hopes of getting a marble. {we do reward based on input from their teachers and sunday school leaders, however!}

a few days ago dagny reached her goal number of chips - but said she wanted to wait until charlie earned his so they could go together. she truly adores and idolizes her big brother, and i pray that they will share such a special and close relationship for as long as they live.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Courage for Camden

The moment on December 5th when I had to say goodbye to Bryan as they took him down the hallway  at NYP-Columbia to the operating room to have open heart surgery was the absolute lowest point of my entire life – I was terrified to the point that I felt physically ill – sweating, nauseous, dizzy – I was convinced that my own heart was going to stop. But as horrible as that moment was, had it been one of my munchies – Charlie, Dagny or Georgie, I think I literally would have fallen to the floor and broken into a million pieces. It’s not that I love them more, but that Bryan is an adult. He understood. This terrible, no good, mixed up, very bad thing had happened to him, and this was what we had to do to fix it. As I stood there in my neon pink shirt, clutching the handle of my inappropriately large suitcase, sobbing, he smiled at me and gave me the web address of a blog where he had secretly written incredibly special letters to the kids and I. {have I mentioned how amazing my husband is?} Had it been one of them, my munchies would have woken up just like their daddy did - in an overheated lock down ICU unit full of loud machines and people in hazmat suits and masks, hooked up to a ventilator, tubes, monitors, and thankfully not a bypass machine {which is the most awful thing I have ever seen, and I thank God every single day that he didn't need one}. but they would have had no idea what was happening, or how they had gotten there. or what was wrong, and if they were ever going to be more comfortable, or get to go home. and i would be unable to do a single thing about it. Mamas can always, always do something to fix things, except, well, when they just can't. 

charlie, bryan and dagny 2.29.12

 Since we have been home in Florida, I have found myself compulsively following the stories of several "heart babies" on Facebook {thanks Tove!} One in particular has captured my heart - a 6 month old baby boy named Camden  with gorgeous brown eyes who was born with several congenital heart defects. He underwent his first heart procedure at 5 days old. Since then, he has had over a dozen procedures on his heart, including open heart surgery this past December. What was supposed to be a 5 day hospital stay following his surgery turned into a 9 week (and counting) fight for his life. During his hospital stay, he has fought his way through many life-threatening complications, the most tragic to his family being a stroke that caused damage to the entire right hemisphere of his brain. Camden is living in a PICU unit with his parents and twin brother, Nolan, who does not have medical problems. Can you imagine living in a hospital room with twin 6 month olds?

I have never met Camden, or his mother or father, or any of their friends or family. I don't know them, or anything about them. But I have this urge, with every single cell in my body to help them in some small way if I can.  Because I do know what it feels like to stand at the other end of that hallway. I know what the aftermath of open heart surgery really looks like.  To instinctively turn in fear when the heart monitor screen goes from  BEEP BEEP  to BOOP BOOP. To sleep in a brightly lit waiting room with 30 other people with only a  sheet borrowed from a nurse and my cellphone tucked under pillow, praying not to wake up to bad news. To stand in front of a hospital window on a sunny day, and look down at the people happily going about their day, stopping at starbucks, chatting on their phones, and wanting to pound my fists on the window and just scream at them about how unfair life is. Because time has stood still for me, and everyone else is just going about their day, like nothing is wrong up here in this nightmare I am stuck in. 

I don't know what day Camden had his open heart surgery. Maybe it was the same day as Bryan's. It just as easily could have turned into a 9 week (and counting) nightmare for us as it has for Camden. There is an incredibly scary percentage of patients who don't make it out of the OR at all after a total pericardiectomy. But we made it. We made it. And it has changed me forever. The afternoon that we left on the plane for NYP-Columbia, I sat on my kitchen floor and prayed to God to please, please let Bryan come home to Florida, let us all come back home again as a family. And we did. So that is my prayer for your mama,  Camden. That she gets to bring her family home again 

If you are interested in helping Camden too, a Mom's Group that I am a part of {the CMOMs - super fun mamas who raise money for local families in tough situations}, is having a huge yard sale and bake sale on Saturday, March 17th from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the entrance to NewHaven at Abacoa {on University Drive} -and 100% of the proceeds are going to Camden for medical bills. Maybe you have some toys or clothes that your munchies no longer use, or you feel like baking something, or maybe even have an extra $20 to throw in the pot. Or just come and shop  with a friend- we will have a TON of stuff. Whether it's a little or a lot, it will make a big difference to this family. Because believe me, knowing that people are pulling for you, makes all difference in the world. 

xoxo Mary

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nesting Baby Shower

A few years ago I was searching for a theme for a baby shower for my future nephew...I stumbled upon these nest invitations, and I was hooked! {plus it was close to Easter and lots of cadbury mini eggs were around!}

Matching nest stickers for the favor boxes....

bird nest cupcakes individually packaged in clear plastic boxes, wrapped with chocolate brown and blue grosgrain ribbon and finished with personalized nest stickers.

close up of favor boxes

bird nest cupcakes - made by Publix, idea from my idol, Martha Stewart. wrapped in chocolate brown nest cupcake wrappers. 

bird wishing tree - each guest wrote a wish on a 'good wish bird' {a blue scrapbook paper cut-out bird} for the mommy & baby and hung it up in the tree!

instructions for the 'good wish birds' - printed on boatman geller cards

diaper cake - i wanted it to be more elegant than the usual ones... this is set on a white cake plate surrounded by floral moss, tied with blue grosgrain ribbon, with faux birds perched on the different levels and a nest filled with white & blue eggs on top.

place setting - with edible bird nest made from pre-shredded phyllo dough and filled with white and blue cadbury mini eggs

another place setting - each table was set with different blue and white plates.

chandelier wrapped with egg garland from pier 1 imports {thanks to my fabulous friend, lissette}

coconut cake topped with a faux bird

white and blue 'cupcakes' made from 2 baby washcloths, a muffin liner, grosgrain ribbon and faux cherries

another view of baby washcloth cupcakes

bird nest invitation hanging by front door in nest frame

bar set-up: champagne mixed with gingerale and fresh strawberry puree and orange juice

wine glasses garnished with fresh strawberries

egg centerpiece

another egg centerpiece

birdcage filled with faux flowers

birdcage on front steps

even the doormat fit the theme!