Saturday, March 31, 2012

Party in MY Room!

My day started early. I woke up at 3 A.M. to the sound of Ava playing in her room-- with every single light on.  I told her (through the monitor) to turn off the lights and go to sleep. Well, as soon as I did that, I scared the bejeezus out of her and sent her wailing; she must have thought a friggin' demon was talking from inside the walls. So I crawled into her room, turned out the lights and snuggled into bed with her, silently celebrating the fact we went with the full size bed instead of the twin.

I truly love sleeping in bed with my kids-- LOVE it-- but I also know that overindulging in those sweet moments can create bad habits, something I've been hellbent on avoiding since day one. And snuggling with Ava is the absolute best.

In my sleepy slumber, I would wake to her kissing my forehead, saying "Sweet Deems Mommy"-- the very thing I do and say to her each night. I wanted to open my eyes and maul her! But I knew if I did that, she would think it was party time. So I laid there, pretending to sleep while she sweetly kissed my cheeks, nose and forehead. I must be doing something right, right?! Seriously need to add that to my list of "Top 5 Sweetest Moments".

I eventually dozed off, as did she. At 6:30, Ken nudged me, telling me Jack was up (I guess I will sleep when I'm dead) which alerted Ava that the day has officially begun.

Lucky guy crawled back into bed while I stayed up and took care of the kids. Not long after getting up, I noticed Ava went up to our room. After not hearing from her for a few minutes, I went upstairs to find this:

Looks like today's DIY project is all about childproofing light switches.

Light switch meet duct tape.

That was easy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where do I even begin?!

I know, you're sick of seeing me talk about it today... but I'm still floating on cloud 9! I am thrilled with the segment that Lee Woodruff and "CBS This Morning" did on our party (video available here)!!

And I'm even more thrilled to learn (from a friend who is a regular reader of Huffington Post), that my party is being featured as a top story (read here)-- Only this article has even more personal info about yours truly, with links to my Patch column, as well as my Pinterest boards. Yee-FREAKING-haw!!

And THEN... (yes, there's more!), my Step-Sis Karen informed me there is a feature of our story on Business Insider! Will someone hire me already?!

It's been a super day. In fact, I think I got more love on FB today than I did on my bday which is hard to top. Thank you all for your kind words of support and for being my biggest cheerleaders! You have all made my day one of the brightest!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Look What I Did Today!

This is our "before" pic
A dear friend of mine is an interior designer. I asked her for some ideas on what to do with our overly-large bedroom. I know, having a large bedroom is not REALLY a problem, but it just didn't look finished, no matter how much I put in the room.

When I began contemplating a stripper pole (don't worry Mom, I'm only joking) and tanning booth, I turned to her for help-- and she suggested custom built-ins.

I LOVED the idea--but I didn't love the price tag. She then told me about the mother of all good deals: IKEA; apparently they have GREAT built ins... the only catch is YOU have to assemble them.

If you know me, you know I've been an IKEA groupie for years... buying stuff here and there. For goodness sake, my bedroom outfit (when I lived with my roomies in the city) was IKEA... in fact, I invested in a new set every few years because my taste was always changing.

And don't even get me started on the kid's stuff! Such a great deal-- and more importantly, durable!

Long story short, another friend of mine that was interested in installing built ins bit the bullet on the IKEA Liatorp series. After hearing her thoughts, I immediately followed suit. I bought them yesterday and arranged to have them delivered today (for the record, $99 to have the folks at IKEA deliver the ridiculously heavy furniture is worth EVERY penny!).

They arrived at 10 am... and by 9:30 p.m... I. Am. Done! And so am I, unfortunately.

I'm seriously EXHAUSTED! I built those "son-uva b's" all by my lonesome, except for the hoisting of the middle shelf, to which I referred to my muscular hubby to hold it up.

Needless to say, my manicure is shot. My back is aching. And I'm keeping my eyes open with toothpicks (and wine).

But you know what?! My bedroom is GORGEOUS, now! Here is a little preview of the progress I made throughout the day:

Now I just need to invest in accessories... and apparently a larger TV. :-/

Monday, March 26, 2012

CBS Joins the Pinterest Party!

Set your DVRs, folks! The Pinterest Party I hosted last Saturday will be featured on CBS This Morning on Thursday!

If you're wondering how this came to fruition, allow me to explain: a few weeks back I threw my very first Pinterest Party. Let’s just say it was a success—such a success that a producer from CBS' national morning show contacted me to see if I would be throwing another one anytime soon that they could feature for an upcoming Pinterest segment. Without hesitation, I told her I would absolutely throw one if it meant they would come and film the party. A few emails and phone conversations later, she booked the flights and I sent out the Evite!

“Holy cow! CBS is coming to our house!” I told my hubby.
Then that panic set in. CBS is coming to my house? I have WAY too much to do and not much time to get it done. I had to act fast. I started cleaning, organizing, planting flowers, hired landscapers, etc. You name it, I was on it. I was as cool as a cucumber until the crew arrived ahead of schedule on Saturday morning. I was literally in the middle of preparing and finishing the appetizers, cleaning the kids' messes, and spot cleaning when the car pulled up. Lucky for me, they needed time to set up which gave me a few extra minutes to try and get things in order. I will tell you this, though: my kitchen was no way near as organized, clean or set up the way I had planned it. In fact, when I see it on TV I will likely be mortified. Don’t quit your day job, Martha. I still have a long way to go!

Let me begin by first telling you how amazing, wonderful, down to earth, beautiful and HILARIOUS Lee Woodruff is; Lee is the CBS correspondent that covered the party. (She is married to Bob Woodruff, the well-known reporter that was hit by a roadside bomb in 2006 while covering the Iraq war.) Talk about one incredible (and very loveable) woman. She’s down to earth, kind, fun—I didn’t want her to leave. In fact, I told her that if she ever decides to relocate from the New York area, we’d love to have her here in our neck of the woods. And I wasn’t the only one that thought so; all the girls were gaga over her. She’s remarkable.

The entire crew was amazing, too. They transformed my little home into a TV set within minutes. We started the party with the usual antics: mingling, drinking and snacking. Only this time, there was a famous woman in my kitchen equipped with a cameraman, sound guy and producer. It was hilarious to watch the other girls getting interviewed with a huge camera inches from their faces. It's safe to say the wine was going down VERY easily.

I even added a little spin from the last Pinterest party I threw. This time, I had a DIY craft that the girls could make and take home as a little gift from me. To make them, I spray-painted 12 terracotta pots with black chalkboard paint ahead of time (in order to speed things up while at the party). Also on the table were some herbs for the girls to plant in the pots. (I chose Thyme and Basil.) Most girls wrote the name of the herb on the pot, but clever Lee wrote “Lee’s Pot,” and then she said something funny about having trouble getting it through security at the airport. We all laughed so hard!

During the craft and throughout the party, she was asking us questions about why we love Pinterest. It was so fun and we are without a doubt pumped for Thursday, when we can all sit and overanalyze our every move, love handle, double chin, etc. We are all our own worst critics, right? I for one can't stand seeing myself in videos, so it will be interesting to see!

On a similar note, while prepping the food on Friday night I sliced my index finger, which meant I had to wear a big, ugly band-aid on my newly manicured nails—not nearly the Giada De Laurentis hands I had envisioned. I bribed the cameraman with a peanut butter brownie to delete any footage of the "band-aid finger." Let's hope he holds up his end of the bargain!

We exchanged our gifts white-elephant style, just like last time. It was great seeing the new ideas the girls came up with. I even gave Lee and the producer a little something for spending the day with us.
All of the girls, including our new friend Lee, were given parting gifts of cowgirl cookies (which I gave away at the last party), as well as homemade lemon-sugar hand scrub. Both were a hit. I felt sorry for the girls though. They literally had two mason jars, a planted pot and a huge bag (containing the gift they got from the exchange) to take home. Maybe next time I’ll invest in some wagons so they can get all of the loot to their cars. Hey, that actually might be a cute idea!
It was a blast. And the best part was meeting Lee. What a great woman.

Here is my Pinterest board with the foods we ate, the drinks we drank, and the crafts that were exchanged.

So be sure to watch on Thursday. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to throw your very own Pinterest Party. Or at the very least you can poke fun at the girls you will undoubtedly recognize as your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances!

Giant cupcake for the birthday girl
No Bake Cake Bites
Cowgirl cookies I made for the girls to take home
Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

BLT Bites
Another parting gift I made for the girls: Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub
"Fairies in a Jar"
"Birthday Book"
Centerpieces with sliced limes. It's because of these limes I had to wear that awful, ugly bandaid on my pretty manicured nails. :(
The many hostess gifts from my darling guests!
Never seen a more darling wine bottle!
How's it feel to have the camera on YOU, guys?!
This story was published on 3/26/12 on Follow my column, Goodbye Miniskirt! Hello Minivan!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What have I gotten myself into?!

If you read my blog, then you already know that this Saturday I will be hosting a nationally televised Pinterest Party. The segment is being filmed by "CBS This Morning" and will likely air some time next week (I'll have a better idea when the producer tells me). The crew is flying in from NY on Saturday morning and arriving at our house by 10... party starts at 2:00. They are getting there early to film me prepping, hanging with my little fam, etc.

Anywho, with that said, I've been a friggin' planning machine! I mean, tell me all the stuff you would be doing if you knew your house was going to be shown for all to see...?!  Exactly.

I've been cleaning, shopping, weeding, planting, etc. I've got the have the house in tip-top shape before Saturday... and still find time to get myself cleaned up in the meantime (manicure, hair colored/ cut, etc). There aren't enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything I need to do by Saturday. In fact, I had our sitter come over for a few hours this morning just so I could get out of the house and run a ton of errands; it's insane how fast I move when I'm not chasing a runaway toddler down the frozen foods aisle, while also pushing a stroller that is piled high with groceries. 

I thought I would show you the flowers I planted on the deck today. We will be doing a little DIY craft during the party and it's a messy one, so the deck will be the scene of the crime. I can't even tell you how much better it looks, compared to this morning. It's literally come to life in a few hours!

Chances are, the flowers will all be dead by Sunday, but who cares!?? The party is Saturday... so the little buggers just need to hang in there for a few more days! C'mon Miracle Grow.. grant me a miracle!

Also, I tackled the party favors for my guests: Homemade Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub in mason jars (No peeking, girls of the party!!!)

Here are the ingredients:
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (3/4 cup)
  • Sugar (2 cups)
  • Lemon Juice (4 Tbsp)  
Simply pour in the EVOO and lemon juice. Then add the sugar while stirring, to blend. Last, finish with a spoon (got these spoons at Crate and Barrell for a $1 a piece!) and a cute little ribbon. Voila!

Aren't they cute?!
2.5 more days until the PAR-TAY! Wish me luck... and say a prayer I get everything done in time! Don't forget to "like" CBS This Morning on Facebook so you can catch the segment (in the event you miss it LIVE!)

Happy humpday people! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling low

The time came. It was tonight, after a grueling day of dealing with my 2 1/2 year old daughter, adamant about not listening and defying my every word.

She spent 1/4 of the day in time out because she wouldn't listen to me telling her repeatedly NOT to do something-- and then following up by kicking and hitting me as I carried her to "time out". At one point I sat her down and asked her, "Does Mommy hit you?!" Of course the answer was no. I've never spanked my child. How am I supposed to instill the lesson in her that "hitting kids is wrong", if I turn around and hit her..? Well, the pot is officially calling the kettle black tonight.

It was time for bed and she kept trying to run from me. She then kicked me in the stomach when I had her cornered. So I picked her up and carried her back to her room and put her in her bed. She jumped out, charged at me and demanded I let her out so she could go watch "T.D.". The answer was no. So I picked her up again, put her in bed and I got kicked again. I didn't even flinch, I flipped her over and swatted her on the butt, twice. Her eyes swelled with tears quicker than I've ever seen. She looked at me like, "How could you?!". She was so scared and immediately started crying for her Daddy (who conveniently has a business dinner tonight).

I don't know what came over me. I just snapped. There have been times I've come close but I've always found the patience to breathe, and let it go. But today she was in rare form-- getting up and running from "time out" as soon as I put her there (something that she's never tried before). After 15 times of putting her back in that damn chair, she finally stayed, while screaming at the top of her lungs for the next 5 minutes. I guess the only positive part about that little fiasco is that we were at home and not in public.

After her nap today I even took her to get ice cream, thinking maybe she just had a bad morning and perhaps a little treat might remind her that Mommy is her friend and we should be kind to one another. Even that trip was a struggle, though.

I feel so guilty and awful right now. Part of me wants to go and lay in her bed with her and snuggle her, partly for her to understand how awful I feel about what happened.

Immediately after it happened, I slumped into the kitchen and opened a bottle of wine, where I then sat down to dwell on the incident. Then I started to make myself feel a little better about the fact that she still wears diapers (that shielded some of the blow, right?!), and about the fact that she wasn't "bare ass", getting spanked with a wooden spoon.

It's the look on her face after I did it that haunts me. Those tears. That look of shock and fear.

I feel like the absolute worst right now-- like I totally let her down.

Boy, this wine sure is going down easy tonight. :-/

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My First Pinterest Party

So I've been bombarded with questions as to where I came up with the idea for my Pinterest Party-- and I can't take full credit. You see, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about a party she recently had; the guests came over to her house, created a few crafts and snacked on yummy food and snacks. Given my addiction to Pinterest, I KNEW I had to throw my very own Pinterest Party!

However, I don't have the house that is craft-making friendly for the 40+ guests I wanted to invite (translation= I need a bigger house).

Back to the drawing board.

And then (lucky me) I found another great idea via a different friend on Facebook: A Pinterest craft exchange, white elephant style!

Here's the concept: Each guest bring the necessary ingredients/ materials and directions to make said recipe/ craft. They were asked to have the items in a bag so we could then exchange them, white elephant style. It was a riot. There were a few gifts that were such big hits that they kept getting stolen by the girls, forcing the empty handed guest to go back to the well and pick an orphan gift.

Needless to say, each guest took home an unmade gift, that they may never have had the idea of making. It's sort of like trying on that dress in the window that you never thought would look good... and then BAM, instant purchase.

You get the idea.

As a little thank you to my girls for coming to the party, I made parting gifts! I couldn't making the darling  Cowgirl Cookies (compliments of the cake pop Queen, Bakerella)-- which I discovered on Pinterest. Let me be the first to tell you... making 36 mason jars of dry ingredients for cookies, AND labels, AND ribbon, AND fabric, AND cooking instructions-- well, it's not for the faint of heart. I had to do them in cycles to avoid complete burnout.

I was happy with the end result though. They turned out super cute. Here are a few pics of the process:

This is what I was busy doing during Superbowl Sunday while my hubby watched the game.

Directions to make the cookies... 

I recommend using double stick tape on the two pieces of fabric. Trust me on this. Otherwise, it's virtually impossible to get the ribbon over them.

Slowly getting there!
Cute, right?!
Gotta be mindful of the gals that have kids with nut allergies....
Diaper Changing Table baskets, turned party favor holders!

If you'd like to see some of the crafts the girls brought, you can check out my Pinterest Party Board. Also on the board, are all the foods I made for the day... all of which got RAVE reviews!

Here are a few other pics from the day!

Spiced Oyster Crackers
Chocolate Chip Caramel Pretzel Cookies 
Strawberry Cheescake Bites
Veggies in a baguette with "Comeback Sauce"

Mimosa bar
Yes. I'm fully aware now that I mispelled RasPberry
B.L.T. Bites: Make these before you die. You won't regret it... or the calories.
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites
Glittered champagne flutes
Easter Bark Gift 
Crate, moss and herb garden gift (in baby Jack's swing)
Hope you got a glimpse of some of the details. Now, I'm in the midst of planning for our FAMOUS, nationally aired "CBS This Morning" show! I'll have half the amount of guests, twice the amount of food and 85x the amount of stress. Wish me luck, peeps!