framing the family pics { i heart The Art of Chic } you get 20% off !

!! ::clicks heels:: !!

upcycled frame collection from The Art of Chic for our family photos...

we're moving soon or I'd hang these, but for now i'm enjoying this messy top-of-dresser install...

So insanely cool, right? And here's the really cool thing...

The Art of Chic is giving TidbitsParenting readers a 20% off discount (before shipping) through May 31! Use the code TIDBITSREADERS20OFF at checkout for your discount.

This shop is vintage decor and upcycling heaven! I am madly in love and already working with them on a custom second order (they are super nice and were really cool about my custom request).

Eye candy! Here are some of my favorite items listed right now, you can commence drooling in 3... 2... 1...

Milk glass, le sigh...
Oh Etsy, what did the world do before you?

Guys, I'd love to hear about it if you go shopping. They have so many frame sets in different color schemes, it's awesome. And I seriously want those butterflies in the bottom pic but am waiting for any non-picture frame purchases until after we're in the new place. That's kind of a pout, haha! Don't judge.

Thank you, The Art of Chic for offering this rad discount!

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a little afternoon project

I meant to post this last night but we were out rocking & rolling with Elmo and Super Grover til way past Otto's bedtime. By the time we got home at 9pm my little child was a puddle of overwhelmed (yet happy) goo. So were his parents. We zonked.

Earlier in the day we did a little project to keep Ot occupied while he impatiently waited for 5pm when we could leave for dinner & muppets. Here is proof that $1 (or one awesome baby penpal who sends your kid cool stuff) can equal a seriously fun afternoon project. Here is also proof that hoarders who save their kiddo's baby food jars have reason to do so - projects! Husbands who call said hoarders "creepy hoarder weirdos", please take note.

Ok, he's obviously got Elmo-on-the-brain. Anticipation = distraction. But for reals, this was a super fun project. Ot would watch each capsule as we poured the water in one by one. Each time I'd say, "what do you think this one will be?" and he would say, "a really big duck!"

every. time. ha.

What fun! Have I mentioned that Tuesdays (my day with Otto each week) are my favorite days? They are my favorite favorite days. Now we just need a project to do with our spongey farm friends. Ideas?

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ebeanstalk.com {Review}

i had a lot of funny looking around ebeanstalk.com for toys for 2 year olds (like that sweet child o mine) for this post. And found so many fun things I'd never seen before. I want to bring home...

that girly organic pink doll is serious cuteness. (And I thought I'd seen every organic toy on the market!)

they categorize their toys by age and gender which made it easy peasy to find toys that would be right up Otto's alley. Both toys for 2 year old boys and toys for 2 year old girls. Ok, i went cross-gender shopping while browsing around. I like Ot to have every color (including pink & yellow, gasp!) represented in his toy box and some baby dolls too.

and you know there is always drooling over classic kids books...

 I've never seen/read "The Carrot Seed" have you guys? It looks so cute.

Much appreciation that the toys featured at this shoppe are all focused on education and learning. And they have a huge variety. (top selling toys for 2 year olds)

My opinions are always my own peeps! In exchange for this honest review I will be receiving a gift card. Yay! I'm thinking it'll go towards adding "The Carrot Seed" to Ot's library.


Vintage Daddy Part 3 - The Easter Leisure Suit

the final installment of the Vintage Daddy posts because Ot's now worn all of the clothes we inherited from rob's childhood closet. Part 1 was the super cute eighties polo tees. Part 2 was that unfortunately tight coach's uniform we poured him into for his preschool parade. Part 3 kind of takes the cake... the cuteness cake...

Ot's wearing a vintage 80's captain's leisure suit that he inherited from his old man. white button up (Gap). and brown tweed sneaks (Converse).

He welcomes you to The Love Boat. Totally, right?

Well, actually, looking at that glum mug. He's more like, "Whatever, you're on The Love Boat, meh." 

We could barely coax a smile out of him because he won't smile for pictures these days! Gah! Do your kids do this? I can't stand it. It's like smiling, gleefully smiling ::camera comes out:: frowning, crabbily frowning.

Well not all frowning...

Courtesy smile! But still, some frowning...

I'm wearing dress (lucca couture resale/thrifted). tights (Target). amazon heels (Jessica Simpson).

I picked this dress out because it reminds me of 16 Candles and just felt like a fun, perfect easter dress to go along with Otto's 80s look.

The rest of our day was a whirlwind of food (yo Easter Bark, yo!), family, and puppy love...

and now I am tired. and Ot crashed on the drive home from Phoenix in that dead-to-the-world way that little kids do.

and i hope you all had really happy weekends, doing easter stuff or passover stuff or earth day stuff. so many occassions this weekend! rob and I were talking about how next easter (when we're living up in Oregon) we might take Otto to the beach for a picnic, egg hunt, mellow kind of easter. I know a few of you did beach days today. I love that idea so much but it also makes me realize how much I'm going to miss being relatively near to family for all of these days. bittersweet.


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Chick Chick Beanbags {A Craft} Ot's Easter Basket

Three little bi-irds. On my doorstep...

Singing a sweet song...

This was my craft project for Ot's easter basket. Bean bag chickens!

Made with big ole beans...

They turned out super cute. Wait, I mean, "don't you think they turned out cute?" I did the pattern myself, super simple cuz I'm no artist, but it worked out just right. Hey, they look like chickens. I'm calling it a win!

Otto's easter basket this year will be humble, but oh so sweet. Three vintage Babar books and a gazillion rubber stamps from Bookman's. Chick chick beanbags. And Portuguese banana cookies from Cost Plus. I love Cost Plus.

Basket cuteness...

So that is our little sweet little easter basket. Yay!

In other exciting (exciting?) events, I went to Buffalo Exchange last night to find an Easter dress (and I did) but I also found this dress and really wanted to share a pic of my most excellent thrift adventure. It's not the best pic ever but I found this mint Laundry by Shelli Segal summer moomoo for $30. $30! These things retail for like $250! So excited. Can't wait to wear it this summer...

It has pockets.

Sooooo.... that's all I got! Easter is going to be hectic. as per usual we'll be trekking on up to Phoenix so we can be with our families that day ♥

Very excited to meet the newest member of our family. Harley - a golden retriever puppy that Ot's Nana just welcomed home Friday morning.

Otto gets to do an easter egg hunt at my aunt's house and that is going to be super fun! He's old enough this year to give the bigger kids a run for their money. My little man is whipsmart! He'll be an easter egg hounddog I'm sure of it!

Also on the agenda: making easter bark. It's gonna be mind blowing. If it turns out I'll post the recipe because dudes.

So happy weekend to you guys! If you're celebrating easter or passover this weekend I sincerely hope you enjoy your holidays! Anyone planning anything fun like a picnic or an egg hunt? I can't wait to see everyone's pics on facebook, blogs, etc.!


Fooooooood. How Velly Velly Pinteresting!

Today I'm joining some lovely lovelies in having a Pinterest themed day. Fooooooood...

source: Another Lunch via Pinterest
Actually "Fooooooood." is the name of my Pinterest album dedicated to, you guessed it, recipes and foods I want to put in my pie hole. The above lunch is probably the best thing I ever pinned. How cute is that? I mean, come on!

Someday I will be this kind of mom.

For reals.

Anyways... In my life right now I have two food challenges I'm dealing with and I thought I'd use Pinterest to help me gather ideas on how to tackle the challenges. The first one: I'm hosting a gluten-free vegan baby shower next weekend. I'm actually excited about this one because I love vegan cooking anyway and have been playing around with gluten free recipes here and there. So look what I came up with. Look! Muffin Triple Threat!
Strawberry rhubarb.
Brown sugar blueberry.
And pretty peach.

All of those recipes/images were originally from the Gluten Free Goddess blog. It's awesome & she takes such amazing pics! I'm using Pinterest to bookmark them so i have easy access next Saturday when it's time to tie the apron on and start bakin ♥

My second food challenge is more of a personal journey (like a casual journey) that I've been on lately. I've been trying to eat 100% raw (and peeps) up until dinnertime on the weekdays. I'm doing this because I work from home and it's super easy to spend the entire day snacking on garbage. I'm trying to get healthier this spring and this is my strategy.

I've been happy to munch on fruits and carrots and salads and expensive raw bars from Whole Foods but it IS getting a little boring already. So I went recipe hunting and found some fun, easy ideas that don't require special machinery or a dehydrator. Look. Holy crap. Yum!
Source: Gone Raw via Pinterest.
All of these recipes sound easy and look so good! That's the thing. If I have fresh fruit and healthy foods around I will eat them. But it's so easy to fall into the pizza and pasta cycle. Hopefully having a few more recipes up my sleeve will help me steer clear of that dirty, p-and-p cycle!

Want more food eye candy? Don't miss out on other Pinterest posts today by Domesticated Delight, >Life on the Mom List, >Mama Heada and >Eisley Rae.

So who's dying over the duck bento? Dead right? Also, if any of you have amazing raw and/or gluten-free vegan recipes that you'd like to share with me I'd seriously love it. And who's on Pinterest? Are you freaking cracked out addicted yet or what? I'm tryyyyying not to be - so I pretty much avoid it at all costs. Until I don't. Then it's like HOURS. But it's awesome, right? If anyone needs an invite lemme know. I have some.



Bruce Willis Dance Party!

Alright guys, file this one under nonsense because I'm just going for it. Bare with me please and the payoff is an awesome? awesome! music video at the bottom that makes all the jibber-jabber worthwhile. I give you my word.

So, in an unexpected but pretty exciting turn of events, I was interviewed by the Tucson Weekly for its 9 Questions segment. That is a link to the interview which ran today!

One of the questions they asked was "What was the first album you owned?" and mine is a doozy. It was a Bruce Willis covers album, doing songs like Secret Agent Man and Under the Boardwalk.

I just happened to dig up this survey I took as a seven-year-old girl which helps explain my frame of mind and awesome music taste way back when -->

Bruce oozes cool. Also, I think he's hot. Still! Disagree? I'll punch yo face!

But I don't wanna put you through the misery of watching a 5 minutes long video from the 80s of Bruce crooning Respect Yourself. Google that on your own time. Instead I wanted to share one of my favorite "ode to Bruce" songs that I discovered a few years ago when we were hosting a Die-Hard-Orama party in honor of Die Hard 4's release. It was a *Come as John McClane* themed all-day-affair and I think I lost all the pics when I deleted my Myspace account 100 years ago :( Which sucks because that was a room full of fully loaded John McClanes. It was kind of amazing.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Or did you love it? I kind of love it.


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Buddies ♥

My best friend's little boy is 3! (I'm gonna hit ya with a recurring theme around here and say for like the zillionth time "where DOES the time go???). It truly seems like just yesterday that Mr. Elliot, at that time known as my squishy little chicken-monkey, was a newborn bundle of sweet-smelling snuggles. I was just barely pregnant with Mr. Otto back then, looking forward to my own little snuggle ball. Three short short short years ago Elliot was brand new. Now he can ride a half pipe at the BMX park with no training wheels (seriously this kid's a phenom).

But did I mention how small and snuggly and cuddly he was? And the sweet smell?

Wooshy goo goo.


Baby fever anyone? Moving on...

We had so much fun at Elliot's birthday party at the Scottsdale Railroad Park this past weekend. Seriously Arizona peeps, if you haven't been, this place is a win! Bonus: lots of shade. Bring a pic-a-nic basket and like $20 for train and merry-go-round rides and you're set for the day.

Buddies ♥ This party was the first time Elliot and Otto have played *together* running around, laughing with each other, showing each other things, playing Red Rover, really interracting like kids. Saying, "cheeeeeese!" into each other's darling little eyes...

Melts my heart to see one of my favorite people (Megan) reflected in that little boy. And to see our children playing together, like US in so many ways, and yet their own amazing selves. Fuggedaboudit. I'm a puddle of goo.

Goo mama signing off,

Update! It's my blog I can update minutes later if I want to. Here is a pic of us all on a train. Call it the Multi-Generational Friendship Train (if you wanna, or don't, but I am).

I drew friendship handcuffs on all of us because I am really good at using Paint. Anyone else mind blown seeing their kids become friends with their friends' kids? It's so awesome and trippy, right? That was rhetorical, of course it is. :)

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The Regal Beagle

My dog ruined my blog post. I'd trade her in for a box of stale peeps but for reals, look at this pathetic face...

If you listen closely you can hear her saying, "I got bit by some ants. Mmmm hmmmm. French fried taters." (that's right, she speaks in a Slingblade voice, whatever).

We were out of town this weekend and about five minutes after we got home smarty pants there decides to go have a dance party on an anthill. The rest of us were inside Ot's room playing "I Can Do That" when we look outside and see Georgia flailing around outside the window.

My dog is a hot mess on a good day. Mmmmm hmmmm. French fried meat head.

Rob and I knew just what to do. So we did it. We freaked the crap out of her. Wrapped her paws in frozen pea bags. Gave her an anti-inflammatory that's for her hips. Slathered baking soda paste on her legs. And locked her in a baby gate in the kitchen for a few hours "for observation". 

I'm sure that was how long it took for the ant bites to subside on their own. But in the mean time we were dedicated to our job of freaking the dog out and expending a LOT of energy maintaining our panic. So all the fun blog post ideas I had about a Twitter meet up at the Phoenix zoo on Saturday and my best friend's little boy's birthday party at a train park today... yeah those ideas are being postponed.

Right now it's time for this mama to call it a night. 

Mmmmm hmmmmm.

ps. She's fine now. Or at least too scared of another baking soda bath to act like she isn't. Oh, question! Does anyone know of a really good non-chemical way to beat ants? The hubs is threatening to do a spray and I am four score against it. Please tell me your secrets!



I Love Boxed Wine. But Today I Got a Stinky...

Can a child fit all of their terrible twos into one day? I seriously hope so because if this whine box comes traipsing around these parts again tomorrow I'm gonna be seriously tempted to trade him in for a box of chillable red or one of those hip little Target wine cubes.

Facts about boxed wine...

1. Boxed wine doesn't whine
2. Boxed wine doesn't ask its dad to make french toast for breakfast and then refuse to try even a single, nommy bite
3. Boxed wine is delicious
4. Boxed wine doesn't throw rocks at babies, twice
5. Boxed wine doesn't snuggle and sing songs at bedtime

Ok, so that's Boxed Wine: 4, Whine Box: 1

Boxed Wine for the win!

Also, is it just me or has this been the longest. week. ever? Ever? EVER!? Could the weekend just get here already? Puhleeeeeez? I'm taking Otto on a tweet-up playdate at the zoo on Saturday (excited, scared, my first tweet up, yay!) and then to my best friend's little boy's 3rd birthday party on Sunday (loved ones, cupcakes, again yay!). What's everone up to? Anyone chilling out with a whine box this weekend? If so, you're probably in good company (because I'm good company, duh).



That's a Crock of {Baked Potato} Soup!

The last 48 hours have been harrowing *wheezes out a tired sigh and takes a nip of el tequila* but this recipe success was the exception! ps. Thank you to everyone for your insights and stories on doing away with the pacifier ♥ Ot ended up with terrible gas last night, he was tossing and turning and just. plain. sick. He finally ended up in our bed and we felt like jerks making such a night be his first night without the soothing pacifier he was used to, so a little after midnight (after mom & dad putting up the good fight for hours) we caved and gave him a pacifier. This morning he woke up feeling better and found that the Pacifier Fairy had left him a Little People 3-ring circus & train set (seriously this thing retails for like $150 and I got it at Lil Traders for $12) and he was happy. Happy! He went to bed tonight with just one paccy mention (not really a request, more like he was reminding himself that the paccies are gone now) and has been sleeping peacefully for hours. Hopefully that's The End of the pacifier drama.

Onto the Soup!
(Note: I'm giving both the vegetarian and non-veg recipe below. I personally think they taste exactly the same. That's all.)

Crock Pot O' Soup. Here's What You Need...

- 3 1/2 lbs potatoes (don't peel them, skins are good for you!) cut into 1" pieces
- 2-3 small sweet red peppers, seeded and chopped up
- 16oz frozen broccoli
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 4 cups "No Chicken Broth" by imagine foods (not sponsored, it's just the only veggie broth I use, amazing!)
      - OR 4 cups chicken broth or really any veggie broth
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 to 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 2-4 veggie bacon strips (I used morningstar) broiled til crispy, then crumbled
      - OR 2-4 strips bacon, crumbled
- shredded cheddar & jack cheese blend (to taste)

Crock Pot O' Soup. Here's What You Do...

- Add potatoes through broth (above) to a slow cooker and cook on high for about 3 hours
- Then use a masher or hand mixer to mash/blend the veggies to a desired consistency, leaving some chunks but making generally smooth
- Add to the pot half-and-half through green onions but set aside just a few onions as garnish, stir (as you add the water do so in 1/2 cup increments til you get your desired consistency)
- Ladle into bowls, top with more onions, bacon crumbles, add'l sour cream, and cheese

This is easy comfort food at its finest and tastes JUST like a yummy baked potato. We made ours with completely organic ingredients which always feels really healthy. I modified this recipe A LOT from a Family Circle recipe.

Let me know if you try this! I seriously love soup. It's almost pornographic how much I love soup. And this version got the husband-who-doesn't-like-food-that-tastes-healthy as well as the picky-toddler seal of approval. Winning!



The Pacifier Fairy - Otto's Getting Served!

Turns out that the best age to kick your kiddo's pacifier habit is before they're two. I read this today. Crap. Ot turned two a few months ago. Plus he's a stubborn ass lil dude. Crap crap crap.

Sooo... Spoke with the hubs. Came up with a plan. Ot's gettin served -->

We're dealing with this in a very official fashion. Not making a huge deal out of it, but just, "look what came in the mail. oh, ok, it's time to turn in your paccies."

We'll replace them with something cool. My job tomorrow while I've got Mr. Ot for the day is to find something worthy of being the replacement. Hmmm. I'm hoping our local kids consignment paradise Lil Traders has something ample.

Who's done this before? Results? Tips! I'm hoping this goes over quick like tearing off a bandaid. Too much wishful thinking?

Wish me luck! Send me wine!