Friday, October 30, 2015


Dear Olive, 

Last year while chatting with Gabriel about our past costumes, he declared to me that he wanted to be a Spiderman Jellyfish.  

But to avoid confusion, we also made a hat.  

Word has it, that you may also have a little jellyfish request this year, so here is how we did it:  


Cut two same-sized circles and various similar-hued ribbons.

Pile all of the ribbons inside the circle (shiny side in) and pin a small end of each ribbon along the circumference of the circle.

This will be the exterior of your hat.  

Sandwich the circles and sew the outer line of the circle so that you are sewing the ribbons to the circles. 

Leave a small opening and turn the circles inside out, like you would a pillow, and then stuff the hat with Polyfil. 

Add some eyes (I used half circles of ribbon) and sew the pillow to a hat.

Ella decided to be a Mermaid because of your daughter's love of them.


To make the mermaid, we cut this shape out of the left over sparkly fabric.

I folded the top and secured a ribbon inside so that we could make a drawstring waist.

Then I just sewed along the seem, leaving the ribbon freestanding inside the pocket.

I cut scale scallops from sparkly ribbon and sewed them in staggered rows to the front of the tail. 

Finally, I sewed the tail together and stuffed the fins, but left an opening at the side of the tail so that it could be worn like a skirt.  The tip of the tail was tied to the wrist.

To maintain the theme, Jason and I wore crab hats and went as two crabby parents.  Ocean fun for everyone.  Happy swimming.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Dear Olive,

At the end of the summer, we planned a five day trip to Ocean City Maryland.  In our own childhoods, we both frequented North Carolina, but the 15 hour trip felt too daunting for a first try with our littles.  Ocean City was our closest ocean, so we went for it.

Ella's first reaction to seeing the beach was pure rapture.

So we participated in all things Ocean:

Sand castles....



At night, after the kids went down, Jason stayed in to catch up on some sports scores and I walked the beach and meditated.  


About halfway through our trip, the kids discovered an amusement park that they became obsessed with.  So we made a trip across the way.

Sibling battles were put on pause for a roller coaster ride

And a shared lemonade.

The last day there, we hit up the boardwalk at the end of the strip.

The candy stores there made for dangerous parenting stimulus.

But the tourist art was hilarious.

We are already talking about going back.  


In case you are interested, here is where we stayed.  It was a brand new ocean-front condo with two bedrooms, two balconies, and two baths.  

At night, the restaurant next door had live music and we constructed our own cocktail hour.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Dear Olive,

We've been rocking our little behavior schedule for a couple years now.  I first created it when Gabe turned two while I was on maternity leave with Ella.  I needed a way to structure our day so that, at the end, all of the details didn't fall into the black hole of kid-driven angst.

Kids respond so much better to the day if I can get my act together to promote structure.  Gabriel often asked, "who will I see tomorrow," and acted kind of overworked when the day's activities were left entirely to him.

So to make our day more visual, I just created the file in Word, laminated it, drew on icons, and added some magnetic tape to the back.  

Here is how we use it:
In the morning, at breakfast, I talk with the kids about the weather (they select the icon that represents the climate outside), what we did yesterday, and what day of the week it is.  We chat about who we will see for the day and what we want to do.  They select the appropriate icons for each. 

Now that Ella is older, she can better participate and we added some blocks for her.  Each kid is on a star system and we set goals for each.  Typically, three stars equal ice cream for the family (group contingent reinforcer), and if they want to save their stars until they get five, it is worth a small prize (individual reinforcer).  Usually, they earn stars for things like staying in their bed at night or for potty training success.

If you are interested, here are Google Doc templates that you can make your own of:

The Chart

The People Icons

The Activity Icons

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Dear Olive,

I have been dreaming of remodeling our kitchen for years.  We are on the precipice of making this happen.  I loved Lauren from Lovely Lark's take on a budget-friendly version.

Really,  I'd love some resolution to my drop down ceiling embarrassment.  Perhaps, such as this:

I actually have this sink in our basement.  Also, opening up the wall above the sink for windows will be key.  Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

Here is the full on inspiration:

Beamed ceilings, white open cabinets.

And how could I deny black and white tile.