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Monday, January 27, 2014

Love with Food

For Christmas, my BFF and longest childhood friend, Claudia and I gave each other these fun snack box subscriptions.  This one is called"Love with Food", and it comes with a lot of many unique snacks.  The best part is that they donate a portion of the cost to fun one meal to someone in need.  

Soleil wanted to try every snack.  She had so much fun with this, that I felt guilty if I tried a snack without her. When the box was empty, I had to refill it with small snacks I already had in the pantry (goldfish crackers, peanut butter crackers, fruit cups, etc.)   She pulls the box out whenever she is hungry!

My favorite was the Banana Split Baby Mama Drama from Mama's Magic Mix.  It was comprised of these caramel puffs and freeze dried fruit and nuts and was soooo good!

Claudia and I also ordered "Nature Box" for each other, and I haven't received that one yet, but I can't wait!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Traveling Abroad with Kids Part 2

I had other info, and almost forgot to post it!!  For this reason, I serve it up to you list-style....

Buy your train tickets ahead if you can.
Don't forget to buy your Oyster Card (if going to London) at the bigger tube stations.
Eat Fruits and Veg
Drink Lots of Water
Book your hotel the night you return--you WILL be too tired to drive.
Go overseas in Early December--you get the Christmas without the crowd.
Another great time is in November--no crowd at Eurodisney, avoid travel on US Thanksgiving
Bring a collapsable bag for Shopping.
Bring Benedryl, ibruprofen, peptobismol, vicks baby rub (coat inside of nose with this, as you travel.)


Starting my Business

I have been working on a business plan for about 2 years.  Actually, I have been working on it longer than that, if you count the time spent daydreaming about future plans that have bubbling within forever.  I knew I couldn't really do anything until we stopped MOVING. That is finally coming to an end this summer, and I am so excited!!

Planning, planning, planning.

Because I couldn't start my own business, I channeled that energy into helping other small businesses.  I really love helping others make their dreams come true.  Sometimes it was actual work, other times it was a brainstorming session, and other times it was to gather an unofficial panel to give feedback.  As I have traveled, I have left a trail of amazing women, whom I call dear friends, who have inspired me as I start my own business.

I have fears, as one does... about financial commitment, about where, about when, about someone else stealing my idea in the same area.  But I also have A LOT of excitement about having my own shoppe, and collaborating with other creative souls.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Too Early for Valentine's Day?

Earl Grey Tea Latte. (pinterest recipe)
Dollar Store Felt Heart+Glue Dots+Canvas

More Dollar Store Hearts on the window, decorated by Soleil.  (She HAD to have them.) Here is her craft desk with a V Day craft invitation of glitter (yes, I am crazy), glue, and pink and red sticker gems.  It is out for her to do whenever she wants.  Yes, there is glitter all over the floor, in case you were wondering.

 Me on Sunday.  

I attempted to make hearts out of carrots for Soleil's soup (another pinterest idea).  It is harder than it seems!

Another pinterest recipe, and a total hit!! It is the bread that you mix up the day before andpop into a hot Le Creuset type pot the next morning.  It was PERFECT. 

My not-so-shy child denying me a photo.  The heart is made from a felted sweater. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Traveling Abroad with Little Kids Part 1

As many of you know, we used to live in England, and now live in Virginia.  We have traveled back and forth from the UK to the US several times, but I feel like I learn something new with every experience.  We went back to the UK for a  visit this December, and I thought I would share a few tips with you:)

For this trip, we were going straight to Bath from London, with 2 little kids in tow.  We also would be shlepping our own luggage with us from the plane to the tube to the train to the taxi, to finally arrive at our friends' home.  Our luggage configuration was:

  • One 29" bag for most of our clothes for all 4 of us. (We used Space/Travel Bags within the big bag to save space and to keep things easy for everyone to find their things.)
  • One small rolly bag, able to be pulled by 8 year old.  (This brought gifts and returned home with things we bought while we were there.)
  • Two LARGE backpacks, the kind you use for hiking
  • One backpack, the biggest that an 8 year old could handle
  • Pack and play
  • Stroller/Buggy
Paul carried the large bag, the pack and play, and the biggest backpack.
I had Soleil in the stroller and a backpack.
Tate had the smallest backpack and the rolly and a stuffed penguin. (LOL)

As far as WHAT we packed, I have a few tips.  

  • Extra clothes in the bag you bring on the airplane.  ALWAYS BRING THESE. There is a funny story about this, but I don't want to embarrass Tate.  Let's just say he now owns some British Airways First Class PJs, and knows NOT to eat lots of pizza before a flight when you are lactose intolerant.  

  • Snacks.  Lots of them.  Instant Oatmeal weighs nothing and is perfect when you child doesn't like the chicken curry he is served.  All you need in a little hot water, and his belly is full!  PB crackers, nuts & dried fruit, dry cereal, goldfish crackers, fruit, carrots, a little chocolate, pretzels. 

  • A small DVD player or computer and extra kids movies.  We have had 2 different flights in which someone's TV on the airplane was not working, and that TV is ESSENTIAL to making it through 8 hour flights.  Also, many times the movies on the flight are not appropriate for preschool aged kids, so it is nice to bring those movies with you.   

  • About the above list:  The mask is perfect for getting the little one to sleep in the plane.  The natural oil is great for refreshing without disturbing someone who might have allergies to perfume nearby, baby wipes are essential for any travel, as is the hair tie.   
  • Makeup:  The brands I listed above are great.  They flake off instead of rub off, so you can wear makeup and not look like a raccoon when you have rubbed your eyes 7.5 hours later.  The mascara is the "tubes on the lashes" kind, and the eyeliner is the same.  I recommend mineral foundation as well, which you can sleep in.  Yes, I am vain, I wear makeup in every situation.  ....Even at the gym and whilst in labor. 
  • Good instant coffee:  If you aren't at an espresso bar in England, you will get really nasty instant coffee.  I think this starbucks instant is a pretty good, and with the jetlag, you will need coffee!
  • Water Bottles:  Fill after security.  Drink a lot.  This really helps with jetlag, even if you have to pee 5 times during the flight. 
  • Small blanket that rolls tightly to fit in backpack.  It makes your kiddo feel extra snuggly.
  • Many small little inexpensive toys, wrapped in tissue.  When Tate was little, I used to pack 8 of these, one for every hour.  This time, I had a few for each kid, and they came in handy on the train.  
Please message me if you have any questions or want any more tips on traveling with little kids.  catpchin (at) hotmail (dot) com.  

Also, here is a past post about traveling in London with kids
This one is about small travel activities.
And lastly, Funfact: in America it is "traveling" and in the UK it is "travelling". 

Monday, January 06, 2014


I know I am not the only one has been scrapbooking slump.  Over the past few years, I have heard over and over again "I used to scrap all the time, but I just stopped."  I was the same.  However, I have been reinspired.  And funny enough, many of those folks who felt the same way I did, are reinspired as well.

Have you seen PROJECT LIFE?

You slide your pictures into these cool page protectors (all different types), and you also can slide little cards of patterned paper in as well.  You can add stickers (or not!),  add journaling (or not!), and be done with a lot of scrapbooking in a short amount of time, while still using some creativity.  For the 3x4 prints, I used Persnickety Prints.

I started using up my paper stash, which was awesome.  I cut up the different patterns into 3x4 and 4x6, which you can use in the PROJECT LIFE protectors.  I, actually, discovered the SNAP! system, which is basically the same thing, but cheaper quality and some small albums.  I tried am working on a SNAP! album as a trial, but I am already hooked, so I will be moving on to a PROJECT LIFE album soon.

Now the other cool part of the system, is the philsophy of PROJECT LIFE.  It is about scrapbooking the little stuff that happens in your daily routine.  When you look back, you will see what life was like at this time, not just at celebrations and special times, but in the every day.

Organizing the supplies has almost been as fun as scrapbooking itself.  I love all the little stacks of uniform cardstock in all sorts of patterns.  I have seen organizers online for up to $75.  This one was from TJMaxx, and was $9.99.  I love that it is portable!