5/28/11

Chicago Love

Last Sunday Jon and I headed off for our trip to Chicago. This was our first official get away since having Jessica eight months ago. It's always so hard to leave the kids, but getaways are much needed and deserved. And, especially with three little ones and long work hours our marriage needs a little bonding time. It seems like any spare time we get as a couple is spent catching up on household chit chat.

Since we had to be at the airport so early, the kids spent the night at my parents on Saturday night. We managed to get up before the sunrise and get out of the house for our drive to Cleveland to catch the 8:30 flight. As we arrived to the airport in plenty of time I glanced down at the confirmation.....and suddenly I felt the drop in my heart. The tickets were schedule for 8:30 PM not AM! I couldn't believe my eyes. I must say, Jon handled that one pretty well. We raced to the kiosk and managed to immediately grab an assistant to help us. What a relief! We got onto another flight that was...oh...boarding five minutes ago. Now….I KNOW I'm in good shape, but running through an airport with two huge carryons and really cute shoes can be a challenge. Good thing Jon ran ahead and held the plane for me. Did I mention the shoes were really cute?

So the trip continues....with bloody mary's on the plane. Once we landed we checked into the hotel, stored our bags and headed off to the National Restaurant Association Show. I was actually really impressed by the show! It was very well organized and I had no idea it would be that large. We had a great time gathering info for our restaurant and I made a point to hit up the "green" section. So many ideas, I wish I could implement them all.

That evening we had a wonderful experience at Blackbird, and enjoyed the tasting menu that we paired with some fabulous wine. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night I was hit with the stomach "bug" that seems to be going around. But I wasn't going to let that ruin my trip! After sleeping in, taking my time getting out the door, sipping some green tea and eating a bagel I headed off to the show to meet Jon. We decided to take it easy that night and grab some food at the Public House. A couple beers later we were on our way home and got side tracked by the bowling alley! I hadn't bowled in ages and this was bowling with a twist! I loved it...and got a strike on my first try.

On our last day Jon headed back to the show and I bummed around on Michigan Avenue. And.....Jon gave me my birthday present a few days early. A little shopping trip :) I can't tell you the last time I spent an entire day shopping by myself. It was a blast. Of course my first purchase was for the kids, go figure. But don't worry; I did plenty of damage on myself. Probably won't happen for another five years. That night we met up with some friends and enjoyed Ethiopian food and good conversation. Thanks Joe and Cecelia!

To cap off our trip we headed back to the airport way too early on Wednesday morning. And, to our surprise, our flight was cancelled. Not only was our flight cancelled but several flights were cancelled. It was a mess! After waiting in too many lines for WAY too long we found the best solution was to rent a car and drive home. So, we loaded into our economy size car and headed back to Ohio. Seven hours later we arrived in Cleveland, delivered the rental, picked up our car and headed south for another hour. Finally, we were home sweet home to our lovely children. What a trip!

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5/26/11

Small Style No. 7

We dreamt of lazy summer days
where the wind carried our minds
away from these city streets
to open grassy fields
of endless songs and dancing feet.

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Joshua is wearing:
Target sweater, Lands End button down (via garage sale), Target jeans, Gap loafers (via garage sale)
Jonas is wearing:
Converse shoes, Levi jeans, Alligator Pie button down

Head over to my friend Morgan's blog Mama Loves Papa to check out more Small Style posts from great mamas!

5/25/11

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

Now that the warm summer air is slowly walking into our days I can enjoy fresh organic salads with vegetables that are in season! I love this easy peasy pasta salad. It is so simple to make and it's perfect for the whole family.

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Ingredients:
Pasta
corn, black beans, cucumber, broccoli, olives, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, peppers and any other add ins
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt
pepper
fresh basil
sometimes I even add mint

Cook the pasta so it is al dente. Rinse with cold water. Chop the veggies and rinse the beans. Mix these into the pasta. Generously drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in basil and or mint. If you need to add more olive oil or vinegar you can.

Enjoy!

5/24/11

La Belle Avenue { guest blogger }

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Spring has arrived and with it rain. It's been pouring outside, but I pour inside. I pour over canvases, sew machine, children's book and to do lists. Just like spring so many ideas and opportunities are blooming. Life is coming awake and dreams of mine are revived from a cold dormant time. I'm in the moment. I catch myself beaming like the sun and realize we really are never to old to play. We make our way through the days like butterflies and bees. Fluttering, flying and dancing from one thing to the next. My kids are not left but planted right in the middle of it all. When we get breaks from the great clouds above, we steal away. Some days walks in the woods, which usually includes muddy boots. Other days are quiet moments fishing by the pond or a picnic with hula hooping for entertainment. It's as if the cycle of nature is playing out in my very own house. As if the new sun is causing my young children's limbs to grow and stretch. Leaving last years summer clothes just memories. Now tossed in the revamp box or bagged up ready for the thrift store where someone else (someone smaller in size) can now love. New play skirts were much-needed, so on a whim I dug through my scrappy pile.

With a few stitches here and there an old skirt of mine becomes a new pink "little" one. A pocket added, of course, for collecting rocks, flowers, and yes, earth worms.

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Part of a quilt top that was never finished now is transformed and hangs around a sweet little waist.

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quilt skirt

These skirts are play clothes, made to flow and move with climbing, running, and hop -scotching. You know, the really important things when your six years old. I didn't use a pattern on these simple slips, just a bit of imagination. I didn't want to get caught up in making it perfect. Perfection is unattainable so why try. I wanted to play. It's the moment. It's the action. It's intent of your meaning that really matters when it's all said and done. That's where the joys are hidden in life. The moment, the embracing, the creating, the doing whatever you love, the self-respect, the laughter, the playing all stitched in one. Creating something from the heart, whether a skirt, a day learning to do cart wheels with giggly girls, or a simple dinner. As I grow like everything around me, I truly understand how important it is to see these times, eyes wide and heart open. Always.

Now go create a moment no matter how simple...make it special. Make it with a playful smile. Make it you.

 

If you're looking for children's clothing pattens here is a couple I've been itching to get my hands on.

  • Absolutely A-line 1 easy pattern by Wendi Gratz. Who doesn't love cute, simple and quick. That speaks volumes to us moms, doesn't it?

  • Carefree clothing for girls by Junko Okawa. The title alone seems to fit perfect in our everyday life.


You know all this handmade skirt talk has me wanting one myself....I do have enough of the blue and white plaid. Possibly matching skirts in the future...hmmmm

 

 

 

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**** Gina Lewis is the author and artist behind La Belle Avenue.

5/21/11

Lobster Love

This weekend we had our annual Lobster Clam Bake at the restaurant. It's always fun to go down with a group of friends, but I must say, I love going down with the kids. This year they were so excited about the lobsters and all the commotion around this big event. They even split a lobster dinner! Jonas wasn't too crazy about the clams, but Joshua ate almost a dozen himself AND he practically ate an entire lobster! I have to point out Jessica's outfit....Jon picked that out for her when we were in Maine last summer and she was in my tummy. I love that he was so excited for his baby girl to arrive.

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5/20/11

Eco Friendly Friday is here!

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I am so excited to start my new weekly post....Eco Friendly Friday. As you know, eating healthy and organic play a very important part in my life. But taking care of our environment is just as important to me, especially now that I have children who will be the future of this land. For this weekly post I will talk about whatever is on my mind, but it will revolve around being eco friendly. Since I love kids fashion, style for mamas, etsy finds, home decor and more I will try and include these into the eco friendly theme.

I am a proud member of the Team Eco Etsy and will feature many of my fabulous team members and their work during these posts.

Eco Etsy's Mission:
"As a global team of eco-minded etsy sellers, our mission is dedicated to protecting our planet by utilizing methods to reduce carbon footprints in managing our businesses and leading our personal lives in the most eco-friendly manner. We are just as determined to use recycled materials in our creations as we are about recycling packaging materials. We take the safety of the environment in mind in the way that we manage our businesses and create our items. We strive to grow as a team that focuses on promoting eco-living in our personal lives as well as in our businesses, and educating others about the importance of being environmentally responsible."

ECO ETSY BADGE

I'm looking forward to sharing my eco-friendly finds and thoughts with you and hope you enjoy them. Please let me know if you have any suggestions...I would love to hear them!

5/18/11

Small Style No. 6

The night grabbed a hold of our hands
and slowly walked.
The sound of children's laughter
traveled down halls
putting smiles on our faces.
As evening settled
little feet ran and quickly tired.
A mother silently gathered her young.
Home became the end of day
where silence filled the air
and open windows calmed our minds.

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Jonas is wearing:
Button down shirt from Alligator Pie, Levi Jeans, Converse shoes
Joshua is wearing:
Target sweater, Lands End button down (via garage sale), Target jeans, Gap loafers (via garage sale)
Jessica is wearing:
Ralph Lauren sweater (handed down), Target jeans, Alligator Pie bow


Head over to my friend Morgan's blog Mama Loves Papa to check out more Small Style posts from great mamas!

A Healthier Me

My best friend recently lost a family member and my thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. It is so scary to think about losing someone close to you, especially someone who is so young. Watching my friend go through her loss has really made me think about my life and my role as a mother. I have decided to make a personal promise to Jonas, Joshua, Jessica and Jon that I will do whatever I can to keep my family healthy. I know there are some elements of life that we can't control, but I can certainly try to avoid sickness and disease by living a healthy lifestyle.

To be honest, I think we do pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. Jon and I try to work out on a regular basis. Recently we have been doing a little P90X and I try to get in a few runs a week. We avoid processed foods and try to eat mostly organic and local. I don't eat dairy and eat limited amounts of meat (I'll talk about this on another post). I don't buy candy so the kids don't really eat it and they have never had pop. In fact, I still mix their juice with water. Overall, we are a healthy family. BUT, here are some goals I have to become healthier:

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My first half marathon. The Nashville Rock & Roll Half Marathon.


GOALS
1.Make workouts a priority on my list.
Between having three kids, two etsy stores and blog I have no extra time. The little time I do have is spent volunteering in the community and sitting on various boards. Let's face it, I have too much on my plate. I have decided it is time to start saying no and say yes to my priorities. Getting some form of a workout in everyday is very important to me. I like to aim for five days of working out and then one or two with a nice walk. Jen over at Jen Love Kev has inspired me to try Insanity, so we'll be starting that soon. I'll keep you posted! I've also decided it's time to sign up for another half marathon. That always forces me to keep a schedule.

2.Focus on cooking meals for the family.
With Jon's work schedule I tend to get a little overloaded at night and will take the "carry out" short cut. For those of you who don't know, my husband owns a restaurant so he works very long hard hours and mostly nights and weekends. I love baking and cooking. Perhaps I need to seek out easy recipes that aren't very time consuming. If you have any I would love to hear them!

3. Get to bed earlier.
I try to stay up until Jon gets home, and most nights I do. I love those late night chats, but I also know my body needs more rest, especially since I am such a busy bee during the day. I'm thinking about getting to bed earlier so I can wake up and workout. This will be a hard one...I'll let you know how it goes.

4. Get outside with the kids.
One of my summer goals is to hit more parks, have more picnics and take more hikes with the kids.

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The Cleveland Half Marathon.

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With my sister and friend Cathy at the Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon.

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My best friend Julie at the Cleveland Half Marathon.


I also wanted to say Thank you to Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet. She has a great new feature called 8 Weeks to a Better Me that has been inspirational. It is so nice meeting other mamas with similar life goals!

5/17/11

It's time for a....CLOSED

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To thank all of my wonderful readers for their support and encouragement in this blogging adventure I decided it was the perfect time for a giveaway! Three lucky readers will each win one piece of Yellow Finch Designs jewelry. It's super easy to enter....all you have to do is leave a comment.
giveaway
For additional entries you can:
Become a follower of Yellow Finch Designs Blog
Tweet about this giveaway
Like Yellow Finch on Facebook

Make sure to leave a comment for each additional entry. This giveaway will end on Wednesday, June 1st at 9:00 p.m.

Winners will receive one of the items above.

5/16/11

Garage Sale Tips

This past week and weekend were crazy! We have been busy preparing for our annual garage sale. Every year I say the same thing...I will never have one again, yet every year I run around the house, collect odds and ends and have a garage sale. The hubbie made me promise we won't have one next year. Although we always laugh and have fun, they are a lot of work for not a lot of money. And, it's a little harder with three kids and a dog who ran away. Yes, Bailey ran away Saturday morning just as I was setting up and Jon was taking the boys to soccer. Thank goodness for our wonderful mothers who were there to help! They manned the sale for most of Saturday while I attended a funeral and Jon did soccer. Luckily, Jon found Bailey on the way to soccer....swimming in a lake. Seriously, what is wrong with our dog??

Here are some photos from our busy weekend followed by some tips if you decide to have a garage or yard sale.

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TIPS FOR A SALE:
Start your preparation early....don't wait until the week of the sale.
Use this time to go through every closet and drawer in the house.
Rather than price everything have an entire table be priced the same then just make one sign.
Make sure to include the kids. We decided to set up a lemonade and cookie stand. It was a hit!
Check the weather forecast and be prepared. We set up a canopy tent next to the garage to help keep out that rain.
Mark things down on the second day. Our goal was to get rid of items and not bring them back in the house.
Have an idea of where to take the unsold items. I made a trip to Salvation Army, baby items went to the Pregnancy Crisis Center and cloths went to the Woman's Shelter. There are people out there who need your help and this is a great opportunity to give back to the community.
Most important....HAVE FUN! We had a great time playing with the toys and dressing up in the costumes. We ate way too many cookies and drank too much lemonade, but we had a great time AND the kids got to pick out one toy from the toy store with their hard earned money.