Giveaway at The Inspired Room

Hey all! After an eighteen-month journey on the housing market, we are finally reaching the end of this long, dusty road as we pack up the moving van this week and head across town to our new abode. 

There, we will become painting maniacs as we turn the new house into our home and I look forward to sharing those transformations with you!

In the meantime I wanted to let those of you who haven't heard know that Melissa of The Inspired Room is giving away the brand new Reluctant Entertainer book! 

Head over there to leave a comment for your chance to win.  Personally I am dying to get my hands on a copy of this book as I follow the Reluctant Entertainer blog religiously and love the inspirations to actually enjoy entertaining.  Imagine?  Ways to not stress when having company over?

I really think you'd enjoy this book so go enter - why not, right?
Good luck and enjoy this beauty of a day!


How To Coexist With Kids and A Ginormous Dog And Still Have Your Sanity

As I was packing box after box in our kitchen yesterday, my daughter was sitting at the counter chatting with me.  "Mama," she said sweetly, "can our new house be clean?  Like all the time?" 

Hmmmm.  Why yes it could my darling.  If you, your father, your brothers and the family dog all go live in the shed.
The dog of this family is many things, but clean he is not.  First of all, he is a 180 pound furball.  Second, he is a St. Bernard - so you know what that means - he drools.  A lot.  I know - it IS gross!  He also prefers to spend his outdoor time lying in the mulch instead of the 2 1/2 acres of grass on which he could frolick.

I can't tell you how many people have asked me why.  WHY would you get a St. Bernard in the first place, if you value cleanliness in your home?  Why would you choose to have an animal that outweighs your husband live INSIDE your house?

Well, we're nuts.  But you knew that already.

Let me just say that I am not a dog person.  But these loves of my life that I share a home with all have some crazy gene that draws them like a magnet to every furry creature on God's green earth.  And the good Lord made dogs as puppies first so that mothers like me can be seduced into saying YES to an adorable furball...

...that eventually grows into a dog whose body mass takes up 3 cabinets-width of space in your kitchen.

And the funny thing that happens to mothers like me - non-dog-loving mothers, is that the dog loves you best, and follows you around everywhere and insists on making you fall in love with him to the point where you can't imagine your home without him, even if it means having to vacuum more than you have time for, and your daughter dreams of living in a house that is clean all the time.  While our dog makes more work for me he also teaches my kids about responsibility and gives them the invaluable experience of growing up with, caring for and loving a pet. 

My house might not always be clean these days, but the childhoods of these kids are fleeting, and I want to fill it up with all the goodness and joy I can.

Did I tell you I'm not a dog-lover?  In this case I'll make an exception.


Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Cones

If your house looks like this

and your kids are doing a lot of this

then it's time to make something messy and yummy!

Introducing once again......... my lovely blog and photography assistant, Hannah Bear!
 This fine young lass made chocolate dipped ice cream cones for the family after a b.o.r.i.n.g. day of packing up the house.  My kids ask for these kinds of cones when we go out for ice cream and the answer is always no (I'm such a mean mom!) - so they were very excited for the homemade version!

This is so easy, your kids can do it and the only assistance they may need is to guide the wet cones into a standing position.

Melt 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips on 30-second intervals in the microwave until smooth.

Using the back of a spoon, dip 6 sugar cones in the chocolate, and spread into a thin layer.  Remember to leave a couple inches of exposed cone for holding!

Spread the chocolate inside the cone too!

When freshly coated, dip the edge of each cone in sprinkles for extra-crazy fun.

Place the dipped cones in a bowl filled with rice or beans that will hold them in place while they dry.

See that cone in the middle?  It broke, so we saved it and at a later date we'll break it into pieces and use as a garnish on dishes of ice cream.  We're fancy like that.

Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes, until the chocolate is set.
Then fill with your favorite ice cream and serve to your favorite peeps!
This is one of my favorite peeps in his summer baseball uniform.  He is enjoying his chocolate-dipped cone immensely.  It's going to disappear in 1.3 minutes.

Thanks Hannah!  Nice job!
We'll have remember to make these for a special occasion. 
Like getting all the laundry folded.  Or cleaning out the garage. 
Those occasions merit chocolate-dipped ice cream cones, don't you think?

Enjoy this fine day and thanks for stopping by!


Our "Treehouse"

Hi all, I'm sure I have zero readers left after writing about how much I love, love, love Downy Wrinkle Releaser the other day!  But if you're still out there, thank you for visiting me during this crazy time as I pack up and purge as we prepare to move into a house that is 1,400 square feet smaller than the one we're in! 

While we are downsizing considerably, one thing we are gaining in our new house is what I'm grandly referring to as the MUDROOM...
while my husband is raining on my parade by calling it the TREEHOUSE.

I've already heard him whispering to my brother about how the TREEHOUSE will be removed once we take ownership.

Ladies, I'm sure you'll understand when I tell you that this MUDROOM was one of the biggest selling features for this mom. 
Just look at the storage for the kids' jackets, backpacks, shoes, boots, snowpants, hats, mittens....oh my!

While I admit it's not very pretty {yet}
and takes up a bit of space in our garage, we can still fit both cars in the garage (huge for New England winters) and I am daydreaming about all the family gear packed neatly into this room. 
Plus, it has a utility sink (for filling water guns of course) and heat (for drying wet gloves and boots!)
Oddly, it doesn't have a light but I'm sure I can convince the Captain of the Treehouse to put one in for me.

So what do you think - should the MUDROOM stay?
Hope you're off to enjoy this summer day.
Thanks for stopping by!


I'm A Non-Ironing Mama

I admit that while I love a nice crisp shirt or tablecloth, the number one domestic chore I despise is ironing.  Yes - even more than scraping dried toothpaste off the sink.  Even more than cleaning up after my slobbery (and fortunately for him, very lovable) dog.  Even more than toilets, thankyouverymuch.

Have you ever used Downy Wrinkle Releaser?  You spray it on fabric and gently stretch and the wrinkles magically disappear.  Voila! - ironed in 5 seconds.  If something is extraordinarily wrinkled (pretty much everything that I launder - don't judge, I'm a busy lady!) I give it a quick spray and toss it in the dryer for a minute or two. 
An added bonus - it smells lovely.  If you haven't used it give it a try.
This is an unpaid-for advertisement
because I want to share with you tips for making domesticity a little easier!

Oh c'mon I know this is my all-time-most-boring-post
but believe me,
after you try it you'll be back to thank me!  :)


We're Back!

We just returned from a heavenly week on Cape Cod
where we spent our time...

walking down a path from our rental house to the beach
and swimming across this little inlet with the kids,

ogling the hydrangeas in bloom everywhere,

having spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen,

singing "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
all dressed in black, black, black...",

watching the cousins play together,

visiting my beautiful niece's first house (so cute!),

and enjoying casual meals with family and friends!
We also saw a gorgeous sunset and then watched fireworks with friends,
ate yummy ice cream from a shop called Holy Cow,
built sandcastles,
took outdoor showers,
enjoyed lobsters and fresh corn on the cob,
lounged on the deck with coffee in the mornings,
lounged on the deck with cocktails in the afternoon,
tried to read books despite adorable little distractions,
ignored the fact that we are moving in three weeks and haven't packed a thing,
smiled, laughed, and played,
and spent much needed time together as a family.

I hope you enjoyed your Fourth of July
and had the opportunity to relax,
enjoy glorious summer weather
and spend time with those you love!


Happy 234rd Birthday, land that I love!


For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

May you have a happy Fourth of July! 

I'll be back to Shine Your Light after a much anticipated week at the beach with my family - be well and enjoy the sunshine on your face!