Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Day Project #1

The next two weeks are a blur of events at school, tennis, guitar lessons, the 100th day of school and 3 birthday parties so Mini K and I did her valentine's for her classmates tonight.

We spent a few hours looking at options online, her exact quote was "let's just google it mom", and as soon as she saw the shovel idea her mind was set....with one exception...the shovels HAD to be PINK. Let's just say, the search for 24 pink shovels took its own google time, but in the end I found a store that allows you to pick the colors you want so you don't have to order multi-color packs. Thank goodness I found Giant Party Store or I would have ended up with 100 extra shovels in order to get the pink ones!
While we waited for the shovels to arrive, we picked up some pink and red striped cello bags in the dollar section of Target, more than a few bags of plain Valentine M & M's and raided the ribbon closet for some red ribbon. We added custom tags that say: I dig you! Love, Mini K and we were ready to assemble!

We filled each bag with enough M & M's to "fill" the shovel, tied the cello bag, then tied it to the shovel and attached the hang tag. We will curl the red ribbon the night before. Here's a tip, if you will store the items in a place with dry heat (note our lovely radiator heat), curling ribbon loses its curl.

Our shovels are organized in a plastic bin in the pantry ready and waiting for us to pull them out and take them to school!

I thought I would post this early in case any of you are looking for a fun Valentine's Day project to do with your minnies. Giant Party Store had our order shipped 12 hours after I ordered it and it was on our doorstep 3 days later so you still have time!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Visions of Spring

Last week my friend K and I hosted the summer kate and libby trunk show. It was a great chance to see friends, think of spring and plan for summer portraits.

Tonight, we entered in orders...as always we thought it would take an hour or so, well in reality it took almost 3 hours so I guess the show was better than we thought!

Here are some of my favorites.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

By The Numbers

So it hasn't technically been a full week since I last blogged, but I feel like I have not stopped and no one wants to read working mom gibberish...especially this working mom!

1: The number of AMAZING Pink Swap I received this week.

2: The number of hours I just worked out to purge the stress from this past week

3: The number of social events or lessons Mini K had this weekend (translation: the Mom Car Service logged a lot of miles)

4: The number of hours I spent on 1 conference call last Wednesday...my ear still hurts!

5: The number of boxes I am shipping out tomorrow morning

6: The number of hours I spent on a train (I only spent 23 hours in NYC)

7: The number of times I hope to blog this week. I literally have a notebook with scheduled blog posts. I will also confess I am such an outline/bullet person they are already in bullet form!

I knew this upcoming week was going to be busy so I have broken down my to-do list into 5 things a day. I couldn't look at the long list anymore, so now it is color coded by day and oh so much more bearable.

Now, even when I am busy, I still have time for a good deal so I HAD to share one with you. I hate throwing away Mini K's drawings from school, but we simply do NOT have the space on the shelf or the wall for them all so I channeled my anti-clutter self, well let's be honest, I didn't really have to channel her and came up with a solution that I think works.

I take a photo of EVERY single page and upload it to picasa. I then add a caption that includes the date and anything Mini K said about it and upload it to Snapfish. At the end of each school year I publish it in a photo book. I can then keep all of those papers, sculptures, hats and other materpieces on a shelf, neatly organized in a book. The front page is always our annual first day of school in front of the door photo and the last page is that same photo taken on the last day of school. In the past I have used Snapfish, but I think I am going to try Mixbook this year. The best part is you can get a $50 gift certificate for $18 right HERE. For those of you wondering, I wasn't paid for this post, but I firmly believe in sharing a good deal.

So until tomorrow, I am off to dreamland so I can hit the ground running this week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Party Recap

Mini K turned 6 almost a month ago and her party was before that, so clearly this post is LATE. We had an Eloise themed party, complete with Eloise drama.
I made the mistake of hiring a new lady to make the cake (if you live in the D.C. area email me so I can warn you to stay away from her!) and she decided that no one has a Friday night party so I must have given her the wrong date. When we called her to pick up the cake at 1pm on Friday she admitted that she hadn't even started it and said she would throw something together. SO 5 hours before the party, we were cake-less. Thankfully, a few stressed phone calls later, we found a bakery that specialized in wedding cakes agree to make us a cake, or a 2-tier cake with most of it being styrofoam and a bunch of cupcakes. I think it turned out pretty cute and Mini K never knew it wasn't the cake she originally had picked!
The girls all enjoyed "room service", the Eloise Christmas movie on the big screen, while the famous Ms. Linda painted everyone's nails and the girls all left with their own hotel emergency kit filled with a bow, lipgloss, nail polish and big giant iced cookie!
This was the first time we have had a party on a Friday night and it was so nice to wake up Saturday morning with the party behind us and an entire weekend to relax! Okay who am I kidding, her party was a week before Christmas so I pretty much had the weekend to get everything ready for Christmas!

I am still in denial that Mini K is officially closer to 10 than a baby! It goes by way too fast!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Prep Work

If you thought the title meant for cooking, well you haven't been reading my blog long enough! If you hear screams coming from D.C. it is not because of politics, it is merely working moms reacting to the impending "wintery mix" and delayed opening of the federal government tomorrow. You see wintery mix, while it sounds like a scene out of White Christmas is pure hell...it is essentially a falling Slurpee machine without flavor and mixed with dirt, it ruins your wood floors, sends your children from the high of no school or the agony of enlightenment that ice does not make a snowman, or even a ice queen and quite frankly leaves everyone so stir crazy that we flee to Starbucks only to complain about the line.

Instead of letting the predicted weather ruin my night, I decided to try prepping...but lately, I only seem to prep for:
parties (though not the ones I am throwing!)
No surprise that I tackled my planning with a cup of my favorite caramel tea from Ladurdee in my favorite monogrammed mug. If I have to work, my fuel source should at least be cute right? I have to be in NYC this Thursday and Friday for my day job. I love being able to avoid the airport and hope on the train. Three blissful hours calm, or relative calm. I am one of those dorks that actually plans out what I want to accomplish on the train. This trip is planning Baby C's 2nd birthday party (which will be in MAY!), planing our my spring shopping list and watching Lipstick Jungle now that I finally downloaded it to my ipad. I have back to back meetings on Thursday but am so excited that I will be able to see a couple of friends while I am there for work.

Since I don't get back until Friday evening, I spent this weekend making sure everything is all set for my friend A's sip 'n' see for her new little princess. The wreath has been ordered, photos of the baby should be ready for pick-up on Saturday morning, petit fours will be ready on my way to the party (you didn't think they would survive in my house overnight did you?), and presents for both the sip 'n' see and the birthday party Mini K is attending at the same exact time are wrapped, tagged and ready to go!

I am sure this doesn't sound exciting, but I LOVE watching my long to-do list become a shrinking sea of solid green sharpie lines.

As a reward for actually reading this post, I promise tomorrow I will finally post photos from Mini K's Eloise party! See I do read my email, I am clearly just getting old and slow!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Musings From The Kitchen Island

Our island looks unassuming. It is made of white beadboard with a black granite, but let me tell you it was quite the decision. When we purchased this house our kitchen had a huge open space in the center that we couldn't decide what to do with. Should we just leave it or add an island. We finally decided to custom build an island with a beverage refrigerator and an ice maker. Now I cannot imagine our house without it. It is truly the hub of our house and when it is armed with a tervis full of Arnold Palmer zero, an iPad and a few supplies and it can solve just about any problem you throw at it.

The island turns into a DJ booth after dinner and kids have their very own dance party...all we are missing is a disco ball and some bad nightclub outfits! Tonight was no exception, so while they go their groove on to Dynamite and Zac Brown band, I got a couple of new baby baskets wrapped, picked out our new kitchen refrigerator, approved the new cabinets and design, filled out Mini K's rental form for skiing tomorrow, made a hair appointment and sent some clients ideas for professional stationery.

Mr. G came home and mentioned that this is our nightly "happy hour" in D.C.: trying to get everything done, while spending time with your kids. When I was pregnant with Mini K I thought about how no one I know is actually from D.C. yet I was going to have a baby at a D.C. hospital and now I have 2 D.C. kids. I am not sure what is "normal" for growing up in D.C., it is most certainly NOT good high school football games on a Friday night, huge backyards or drive thru Starbucks, but there is something I like about having two city kids. Mini K knows that we walk, she thinks the Smithsonians are the norm for museums, a presidential motorcade is merely something that makes us late and that Georgetown Cupcakes is where one MUST go for the early dismissal cupcake fix. I couldn't help but think of a certain video (excuse the language!) that has been circulating around D.C. ...it pretty much sums it up.

I am sure every city and town have some things that are just "theirs", just like we each have some things we just do. For me, the baby basket is just something I do. I HAD to know if I was having a boy or a girl both times, but lately it seems people prefer to be surprised. I always tend to give a monogrammed gift once the baby is born, or some Political Playwear if the parents are in politics, but my go to shower gift is the baby basket. I put the same things in it every time. They are items that I loved and used with both kids (except Sophie as she wasn't around when Mini K was a baby!). I always package them in a bucket that the parents (read MOM) can use after the baby is born to store diapers, wipes and burp cloth on the living floor.

I made two of these buckets tonight at the kitchen island. They each have a Sophie in them, a Sophie leash so she doesn't suffer a tragic fall from the stroller or carseat, paci wipes, Boogie Wipes, stain spray, hangers from Buy Buy Baby (there is something about them that makes them better for the 12-24month clothes), and nighttime washclothes that already have the organic baby wash in them. I toss everything in the bucket, add a cello bag, some ribbon and a gift tag and off it goes. I loved getting items that friends thought were useful and hope these new moms feel the same way.

We then tackled homework, tomorrow's lunch, tomorrow's ski trip, the final details of next week's Kate and Libby trunk show, a few phone calls and a ponytail later we are off to tackle bath, story and bedtime!

SO my quesiton is, am I the only one that feels like they live in the kitchen and do the same routine each day?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Put A Stamp On It

We had so many of you email us to see if we could extend our DOUBLE your quantity for FREE on notecards and New Year's Cards that we could only say YES! You can see all of our note card options HERE and our foldover options HERE.

So the special will continue through the end of January. We hope this helps you get your thank you notes in the mail in a personalized fashion!

A lot of you have emailed asking us about notecards for the men in your life so I thought I would share two of our best sellers.

Mr. G has THESE for his personal notes.
These are our second best seller.
I am a big believer in each member of the family having their own stationery as well as family notecards and I have some formal Mr. and Mrs. notecards. Growing up, we could not use apresent until the thank you note was written and while I got some eyes from Mini K this year, the rule is one I passing down to the next generation. She asked if she said no gifts for her next birthday party would she get out of writing thank you notes...I tried this same logic as a child and the answer is NO, you would still need to write each person a note thanking them for coming! I should have realized when I was a kid that someday I would get to pass on those same rules.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Steals

My mom arrived last night. We weren't able to see her over Christmas due to her radiation schedule and Baby C being under 2, so last night was like Christmas part deaux.

This morning I rushed out the door to get a quick run in followed by a very drama filled little boy haircut for Baby C and came home to find an email from Zulily and what a deal.

I have said this many times that when I see a good deal I stock up because you never know when you will need a gift, or a pick me up! Well, they didn't disappoint today and I had to get online and share them with you, because there are a lot to sort through!

Pink glitter shoes for your little princess for $10 HERE!

How cute would this tank be for a little girl in her easter basket or for a birthday gift paired with a pair of sunglasses? You can get it for less than $10 HERE.

Little girls pj's for less than $9 HERE!

When do you see Little Giraffe blankets for half price? You could do this with a script monogram for a girl or a name for boys. You can get it HERE.
A baby boy light blue quilted coat with mittens that sells for $60 for only $16 HERE.
Boys smocked outfits for $16.99 HERE.

And girls smocking HERE.
For Dads
Mr. G LOVED his Diaper Dude vest when Mini K was a baby. It stored diapers, wipes and was NOT a diaper bag! I would have loved to have only paid $35 for it! You can get it HERE.
For Shoe Lovers
I am not a clog wearer, but so many of my friends say Sanita clogs are great. I would say Sanita clogs for less than $30 when they retail for $70 is even better.

You can find the basic black HERE.
Or take a walk on the wild side with these pink ones for Valentine's Day HERE.
Chooka moc croc rainboots in chocolate brown and black for less than $30 HERE!
For My Pregnant Friends
Isabella Oliver maternity clothes are amazing, and zulily has them at over 60% off!

For those of you not due until late spring, buy your white jeans now HERE.
I LOVED these wrap shirts during both of my pregnancies and they look great with black pants, a skirt or jeans. You can find it HERE, but make sure to check out the Isabella Oliver pants too!
They also have some adorable nursing dresses for less than $30! You can find them HERE.

You can save an additional 10% off of your purchase with code: COUPGURU925

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's That Letter?

So it's official...I am getting old...at least in one eye. My visit to the eye doctor yesterday came with a party favor: a prescription for glasses.

Now I know many of you wear glasses or contacts and the does NOT mean you are old. I know my new "condition" means that because his helpful nurse, said "oh hom a lot of people need glasses when they get to be"....wait for it....."YOUR AGE!" If nurses were wait staff she wouldn't have gotten a tip.

I spent last night in front of the computer (which I could see) looking at frames and then decided I would check out ebates! Why, because I am going to continue my ebates obsession this yer and see just how many of the items I would purchase anyway could earn me cash back! Let's just say the deals almost made up for the prescription. I discovered Lens Direct. They will give me 6% CASH BACK through ebates and I can save 20% with a coupon code (CJEYE20), plus they offer free shipping. You can choose if you want them to put your lenses in or just send you the glasses and you can take them to your doctor. I think I am going to have my doctor put the lenses in, and while I do love the Chanel glasses with the pearl on the side, EVERY SINGLE PERSON that I know who has them says it falls out or catches in their hair so I am thinking I might stick to Tory Burch or Kate Spade, but these YSL ones also caught my eye.

Now if only facials and botox were on ebates I would be in heaven! Mr. G is still amazed at how my loyalty to the site has paid off....I am halfway to the splurge bag I have been wanting simply by ordering the things we use anyway from soap.com and diapers.com via ebates! (Okay and maybe a few more stores!)

And if you haven't joined ebates yet, you can join HERE.

So which pair of frames do you like?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sweater Weather

Remember the good old days of the J.Crew rollneck sweater. Heavy cotton, perfect over a button down in the winter and on a chilly beach evening in the summer? Well, the ladies at Oh My Darling Smocked Designs have come out with perfect rollneck sweaters for your little boys or girls. Katie and Jen started this company with the goal of providing moms with quality handsmocked and monogrammed clothing at a reasonable price.

I purchased a few of these sweaters for Mini K and Baby C. We have the hot pink and navy ones that I had monogrammed, Mini K picked out a seahorse one to take to Camp Greystone, Baby C has a classic whale and we have given the Politcal Playwear designs to several friends that have little boys. The best part is that the sweaters can go in the washer and come out just as soft as they went in! They come in sizes to fit babies through 12.

Everytime one of my kids leaves the house with one of their sweaters on we get asked where we got it and it ALWAYS leads to a mom mentioning how much she loved her J.Crew rollnecks.
Jen and Katie wanted to offer all of your a little surprise, or in this case a $50 surprise! From now until this Sunday ALL sweaters purchased through their site are on MAJOR sale with code: grovegals

Shipping is free with purchases over $100 and otherwise it's a flat $6!

If you are wondering how good can this sale be, well let me tell you:

Any 2 sweaters are $60, that's a savings of $50!!!!!

Feel free to share this deal with friends!

Stay warm...and monogrammed of course!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Fairy Is Coming.....

Mini K is on the verge of losing her 3rd tooth. The tooth in question is her top front tooth. She has already lost two on the bottom. She is more motivated to to get this tooth out than a fat girl is to fit in a bridesmaids dress that she ordered too small. Her motivation: the tooth fairy.

SO I started thinking during my journey to nowhere on the eliptical tonight: like naps, fairies are wasted on children, because adults would relish them! Have I lost you? For the moms out there, how often do you battle with your toddler to nap when you yourself would LOVE to nap? The same goes for the tooth fairy...it's exciting to go to sleep and wake up to find something and then by the time they hit the first recess of the school day they have forgotten about her visit and moved on to something else. For those of you wondering, the tooth fairy is now one of the 1% percent of Americans...the Occupy Wall Street movement should be battling her, she doesn't know that the economy is not in its best shape and she certainly is doing much better than the tooth fairy of our generation, or mine at least. She no longer brings coins, unless they are gold and she prefers paper.

I couldn't help but think that we working women and moms need a little visit from the fairy in our lives...don't we deserve it? I mean there are some days when just surviving until bedtime is feat far more daring than pulling a tooth out.

So how about you survive a painful nail break while trying to cook dinner after a long day. This should result in a visit from the ring fairy...I wouldn't forget if this was left under my pillow.
NeilLane.com 5 Carat Sparkler

Or when you look into your handbag and it is full of sippy cups, hair accessories that are NOT yours, extra shoes, hats and mittens? The bag fairy should come right?
Louis Vuitton Siracusa GM

How about the daily winter battle to get them to wear their coats, hats, mittens and NOT flip flops? Shouldn't the supreme scarf fairy come? I would leave her a plate of any and every orange food I could find.
Hermes Box Collection from India Hicks

And last but certainly not least, for all of those hours we spend exercising after childbirth to regain our figures, shouldn't out feet be rewarded with the shoe fairy? She wouldn't even have to wrap them...they come with a bow.
Valentino Bow Pump, Neiman Marcus

While I know writing this post will no doubt attract the Negative Nellies out there, a mom has to keep her sanity while on the elliptical journey that only leads to a post in her daily My Fitness Pal log.

I promise to wake up in reality tomorrow and hopefully get both kiddos out the door, dressed for the season (snow today 58 degrees tomorrow!) and remember what my mother always said, work hard and don't ask permission to follow your dreams, but maybe the Fairy Queen is listening, for she is aging too and will visit if we bribe her with cookies that we don't want to log in our own food diary!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Valentine's Day Wreath

Since it is already 10pm and I still need to take a shower and tackle the battle that is drying my hair straight tonight, I am going to only post about new door decor.

I wouldn't let Mini K touch the hot glue for our Christmas ornament wreath so she insisted on a Valentine's Day wreath she could help make. It had to be pink, pink and poufy....so we settled on a pom pom wreath for our front door.

We printed off a coupon to Michael's and headed off to purchase a styrofoam wreath mold and then headed to Wal-Mart to purchase yarn. After looking at far too many colors, Mini K decided on pale pink, hot pink and white.

The wreath itself is pretty easy to make. You need to make all of the individual pom poms first, then tie them around the wreath form, and then hang with ribbon.

To make each pom pom simply wrap the yarn around your 4 fingers approximately 70 times, the more you wrap the poufier (is that a word) it gets. Then cute the yarn, cut another piece and tie the wrapped yarn in the center. Our wreath has 48 pom poms on it so we did 19 of each color, I think.

Once you have all of your pom pom's, simply cut the loops at each end. (Don't you LOVE all of my technical terms in this post?) Then tie each pouf to the wreath form. Once we finished, we looped a piece of pink and white striped grosgrain ribbon around the wreath and tied another in a bow.
Mini K had so much fun doing this project and our front door is already ready for Valentine's Day, but I refuse to allow any Valentine's Day candy through our front door quite yet!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Home Sweet Home

This week draws to a close tonight and I am so ready for it to be behind me and next week to start. One of my favorite clients at my day job always has a 2 day meeting to kick the year off so off to Florida I went! 28 hours worth of meetings and business dinners later, I was home last night.

Also several of you have emailed, but the DOUBLE your order of notecards and photo cards at our paper store ends on January 15th!

Mini K was a champ and ran some fabulous errands with me this morning, the bank, dry cleaners, the jewelers to pick up som gifts and the craft store and Wal-Mart to pick up our Valentine's Day needs. I promise a complete post on our wreath (which is hanging on our door), our neighborhood Valentine's and our class Valentine's tomorrow, but needless to say it was a busy morning. Mini K was rewarded with a last minute baking playdate at her friend Marnie's house and Baby C and I took advantage of the 64 degree weather to go on a 2 hour walk. I had planned on the gym, but couldn't exercise inside on such a beautiful day or leave him home after being gone for 2 days!
So tonight Mini K and I are tackling the DVR which means Say Yes To The Dress and Wipeout and I am making my January-June gift and project list. I break it up each year and it no longer seems so long. My grandmother always said it's not just what you give, it's how you give it. She didn't mean the amount of money you spend, but rather a gift is something that you know the recipient will enjoy BUT would never buy him or herself. Next project to tackle is my Mommy Time Out party plans. The wine inspired me to plan a party around it...though I confess I have NO CLUE if the wine is even decent.

Speaking of wine, maybe I should go pour myself a glass of champagne and celebrate the end to this hectic week! Pink of course!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Double The Thanks!

I have continued that tradition with Mini K and Baby C. This means while most people are taking advantage of January white sales, January is the month we stock up for the new year on notecards.

So as a way of sharing our family traditions with all of you we are DOUBLING your notecard order for FREE. In case you never got around to sending out that fabulous photo on a holiday card, we are also DOUBLING your New Year's Card order for free! You can see all of your options HERE.

While I love pink, I wanted a change from the hot pink and bright orange cards I have been using so I went with these blue and green ones! I love that the back of the card is printed and the cardstock weight is heavy!

I love these blue and brown notes to have on hand when you need to send notes as a family. They would look great with The Smith Family across the top instead of a name.
This year Mini K started "writing" her own thank you notes so we ordered some of these to make the task a little easier and help her keep her words in a straight line.
Mini K is already counting down the minutes until she goes to Greystone so she insisted on getting some camp notecards to have ready...for her extended 4 night stay!
Since Baby C got his first pair of hockey skates for Christmas we are going with a hockey theme notecard!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Go Green, Save Green

It's no secret that I love bamboo! Throw in a monogram and I am in preppy heaven! This is proably why I am so excited about our new Personalized Bamboo handled trays. For those of you that follow us on twitter (GroveGifts) you have seen a photo!

These trays are 11" x 17" with sides that are 1 3/4" tall and a handle on each side. They wipe clean with a damp cloth and are perfect on an ottoman, in an entry way or at a cocktail party. A lot people have been ordering them as wedding gifts, but I want one for me!

But here is the best part: the trays sell for $98 but we are putting them on SALE! That's right, from now until February 29th, they are $69.95! When we say SALE we mean it! We didn't want to wait until the new website was up so we have posted the designs on our Facebook page and you can place your order by leaving a comment with your personalization details, shipping address and paypal email.

So get out your calendars and knock off all of your wedding, housewarming and shower gifts at the sale price!

Our goal is to have the new site by the end of the month, but we couldn't wait to pass on such a great deal!