What We’ve Been Up To

Meet Princess Cheese

Scarlet, Carleton, and I are so excited to see A Dog’s Purpose. This is actually the first non-animated film that Scarlet has put on the calendar as a must-see. She always says she’s a “dog person,” as is my whole family. Jacinda is into cats. Tell me what a cat’s purpose is? That’s right, you… Read more »

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Happy New Year!

We don’t need nothing fancy, just a little yearly video holiday card. We had an amazing year, we hope you did too. You can check out the past 6 years of our video holiday cards here. Have a great holiday and we will see you in 2017! XO Jaime by Jaime

Inspiration, January, Video

Prudent Wishlist 2016: For Dudes!

1. “This color-coded chart traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of Earth’s orbit and successfully complete its mission.” Umm, that’s amazing. Get The Chart of Cosmic Exploration and many other fabulous dude-gifts at popchartlab.com. 2. Sneakers meet duck boots. Perfect for dudes in colder… Read more »

Christmas, December, Entertaining + Food, Gifts, Hot Mess Mommy, Style

Marshmallow Gidget Cookies

We are in cozy holiday mode over here, which involves lots of movie nights. I LOVE IT! Since The Secret Life of Pets comes out today on Blu-ray & DVD (the new release comes with close to an hour of bonus footage PLUS 3 Mini Movies, eeep!) we couldn’t help but set up a fancy… Read more »

Desserts, Desserts, Party Themes, Sugar Arts

Meet Princess Cheese

Princess CheeseScarlet, Carleton, and I are so excited to see A Dog’s Purpose. This is actually the first non-animated film that Scarlet has put on the calendar as a must-see. She always says she’s a “dog person,” as is my whole family. Jacinda is into cats. Tell me what a cat’s purpose is? That’s right, you can’t. Because cats are useless and dogs are better. The end.

Can I tell you about Princess Cheese? I’m going to tell you about her. She’s our mutt. When my dog Puck died, it took us almost a year to come wading out of our grief and decide to get another dog. We went on our 6th wedding anniversary to the LA Animal Shelter and told Scarlet she could pick out any dog she wanted. It took her about 30 seconds to find this little ball of fur and energy, which she then named Princess Cheese. P Cheese had mange, she had pneumonia, and she had mad love for Scarlet instantly. She also had way too much fur. A few months of TLC, some vet visits, and a nice grooming later she settled into our little family quite well. Now she’s been with us for four years, and we couldn’t love her more.

Princess Cheese 2If I had to guess at Princess Cheese’s purpose, I would say it’s to be a sort of sibling to Scarlet, an only child. She snuggles her, runs with her, plays dress up with her. She protects her, runs to her when she’s scared, makes sure no one sneaks up on her, and keeps monsters out of her closet, and sometimes hides under her bed when she hears thunder. I’ve had many dogs in my lifetime. I had dogs as a kid with my parents. I had dogs after my parents got divorced, that I shared with my mom. I had a dog during my single twenties and when I married Carleton and had Scarlet that was my dog, my best friend. This dog is Scarlet’s, and if Princess Cheese lives about as long as she’s supposed too, she will probably leave this world about when Scarlet leaves home to go to college. I’m already sad about it, but when you are a dog person, you know this is how it goes. It is how it is supposed to be.

So I am grateful that Princess Cheese found her way into our home. I don’t know how she ended up at the shelter, or what her life was like before, but I know she has a good life now, and she’s happy, and we’re happy to have her with us while we can.

The ones we rescue, rescue us. Watch the trailer for A Dog’s Purpose, in theaters January 27 (get your tissues ready):

Recreate the #ADogsPurpose movie poster using your dog & share using #MyDogsPurpose. Your furry friend could even be featured in the film’s campaign! Check out our poster of Princess Cheese, then get started making your own now: http://unvrs.al/ADPPoster adogspurpose-poster

About the movie: Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz and Pooch Hall.

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Happy New Year!

We don’t need nothing fancy, just a little yearly video holiday card. We had an amazing year, we hope you did too. You can check out the past 6 years of our video holiday cards here. Have a great holiday and we will see you in 2017!

XO
Jaime

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A Boy’s Bedroom Makeover: The Reveal!

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Hey, it’s December and the busiest time of year for both work and family. Let’s take on a big project like making over a kid’s bedroom! The timing may not have been perfect but Gordon is so thrilled to have his big boy bedroom finished. (See photo below: that is his thrilled face, I swear.) If you missed it, here is the style board that we created with our long-time friends at Lamps Plus. Read on for more pics of Gordon’s new bedroom and all of the sources.
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Prudent Wishlist 2016: For Dudes!

Prudent Wishlist 2016 For Dudes1. “This color-coded chart traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of Earth’s orbit and successfully complete its mission.” Umm, that’s amazing. Get The Chart of Cosmic Exploration and many other fabulous dude-gifts at popchartlab.com.
2. Sneakers meet duck boots. Perfect for dudes in colder climates, from Vans.
3. This little gadget makes cold brew coffee. It doesn’t seem that exciting, but I gave one to Carleton last father’s day on my friend Wendy’s advice, and it is his most-used gift I ever gave him. He makes us a new batch every Sunday, and it’s amazing because it is so concentrated, but without the bitterness. If your dude is into coffee, get him the Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
4. If your dude likes to dress it up a bit, but is also generally down-to-earth, then we see a tweed sport coat from Orvis in his future.
5. So I got Carleton a Stanley Flask many moons ago. He liked that. Then I got him the Stanley thermos. He also liked that. Then Stanley came out with their new travel mugs, so I got him one of those. He promptly threw away every other travel mug we owned and replaced them all with these. They. Are. Good.: Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug. For extra coolness, always choose the Hammertone Green color.
6. I don’t really know what a Google Home does, but Carleton is way into it. Maybe your dude will be, too?
7. So I got one of these and spit into it (so much, like so much spit) and sent it off. I will share my results when I get them in six to eight weeks. It will be especially interesting due to my recently-discovered adopted status, but I think any dude would be fascinated to see their DNA sequenced? Geno 2.0 Next Generation from Helix and National Geographic will be a cool gift that you’ll all be talking about way into summer.
8. You guys know that I get something ridiculous for Carleton every year, right? It’s become a family tradition, we all wait to see what it is and how hard he will laugh. This year, it’s this. Make sure you also grab some helium from Michael’s if you want to see it in action on Christmas day.
9. If your dude likes beer, then he will like this: BottleKeeper.
10. And my final recommendation is a fun stocking stuffer. Like even if you don’t camp, your dude will feel like a prepared man if he has one of these in his glove compartment. It allows you to drink out of any nasty puddle you come across, all filtered and clean: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

So, what are y’all getting for the dudes on your list this year?

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Best Friends Forever

Beloved Friends There are some friends of ours that I’d like you to meet. They are Scarlet’s BFFs. They smell just like her. They sleep with her every night. She makes them little houses and carrying cases out of every cardboard box that arrives, they each have their own voice, and without them she would be unable to sleep a single wink. Please meet Haunny, Buffy, and Fluff. haunnybuffyandfluff Haunny came to us many years ago, along with a book about Hannukah. Scarlet called her Hanukkah Bear, and eventually the name was shortened to Haunny. Haunny once disappeared, it was a TRAVESTY of mythical proportions. There was no sleep, no peace, no comfort while Haunny was gone. But then we came home from school one day and Haunny was sitting on our front porch with a note saying he was sorry he left abruptly, but he had to go take a trip, and was thankful to finally be home. You can imagine how that happened.. and it worked ;).
Buffy is from the annual South Dakota buffalo round up. Of all the trips I have taken all over the world, and all the little treats I have brought home for Scarlet, I never would have imagined that a stuffed buffalo from South Dakota would end up being her very favorite possession. Buffy is the leader of this group, the toy she takes to a slumber party (“Mom, I know lots of kids sleep with stuffed animals, but they usually don’t sleep with three! Can you cuddle Haunny and Fluff while we are gone?”) and the first one she picks up in the morning. Buffy is a snuggly embodiment of Scarlet’s very heart, and also Buffy has never been washed. Fluff is the most recent addition, who came to us via a birthday delivery of balloons from my sister and her wife. One of his arms is always stuck up in the air as though holding a balloon or giving a very meaningful speech. I don’t know how Fluff made it to the highest tier of Scarlet’s stuffed animal friends, but I suspect it is because Fluff is very, very soft. Do not refer to Fluff as “Fluffy,” he does not like that. Photo platesAs you can see, Haunny, Buff, and Fluff have been well loved. I have started enjoying taking portraits of them. For me, they have very real personalities that come through in their photos. I know their voices, their thoughts, and their places in Scarlet’s heart. So when CVS invited us to create a photo gift I knew I had to put their sweet faces on something, and after much deliberation over their photo gift options, I chose plates. We can hang them as decor in her room, and she can also serve her babies from them at her tea parties. cvs-plate-5-6 She loves them. The animals and the plates. Fluff You can order a porcelein photo plate from CVS.com/photo. Where you find the stuffed love of your little one’s life, that’s a something only your child will know. Fluff It’s pretty silly, but pretty cute, right? Anything for a smile like this one. CVS Photo Plates
Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS Pharmacy for the Bring Holidays to Life campaign. I am being sponsored by CVS Pharmacy for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

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Prudent Wishlist 2016: For Kids!

Prudent Wishlist for Kids 2016 Scarlet’s wishlist for this year includes and iPhone and a hoverboard. Sorry, Scarlet. But here are some other fun things she has suggested that might just show up under the tree.

Playing Mexican Train Dominoes has become a holiday tradition for Jacinda, especially now that her youngest has discovered it. I think Scarlet will love it.

Every girl should have a subscription to Kazoo Magazine.

Have you played with one of these yet? It’s SO SATISFYING to push the sequins up and down. Scarlet has been begging for one: Reversible Sequin Pillow Cases.

These are the best pencils for any kid (or adult) who loves to color: Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

This DIY kit is fun to make and seriously so cute: Seedling Design Your Own Enchanted Flower Rose Crown.

All of the Handmade Charlotte Creativity Kits for Kids at Michael’s are awesome. We like this “adopt a cactus” one especially.

Kids can make ice cream in this! And you can eat it: Chef’n Sweet Spot Instant Ice Cream Maker!

Scarlet asked for this, and once I saw it I had to get it for every kid on my list. You tear out the pages and do what they say “float this page” etc.:Wreck This Journal.

These training chopsticks are a great stocking stuffer. Scarlet picked them out for her cousins. Chimpsticks Hinged Chopsticks

I cannot wait to see my little nephew snuggled up in this: Blankie Tails Shark Blanket, Gray and Deep Blue. There’s a mermaid tail version which may have also made it’s way under the tree.

So, what are you getting the littles on your list this year?

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Holiday Traditions and School Pictures

School Picture OrnamentsHoliday traditions and school pictures: two of my favorite things! Also, Scarlet is my most favorite thing. Like any parent, I see her school pictures and I just go SQUEEEEEEEEE. Here she is from Pre-K through to now, in third grade. We’ve been getting the house all decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah (at the same time this year!) so of course I had to order her school picture ornament from CVS.com/photo. I do this every year, and every year it brings me such joy. School Photo Ornaments It also brings Scarlet joy. While she hangs them on the tree she will talk about her Kindergarten teacher or her favorite book from second grade. It’s so cute. Look at that proud face. Happy Scarlet I like the round porcelain ornament, though they also have glass and wood which are nice. I make them on the CVS site, it only takes a couple minutes, then I usually pick them up in store (though I had it delivered this year, and that worked out great). When CVS asked us to share how we use photos for holiday traditions, it just made sense because I already do this! I also order a bunch of gifts for my in-laws and my parents. My mom loved getting photo gifts of Scarlet, when she died we laughed at how many coasters and canvases and magnets she had of her only grandchild all over her house. It’s really the best gift for a loving grandparent, I think.

CVS also did a survey, and asked us to share some statistics: A recent survey from Harris Poll on behalf of CVS Photo found that 3 in 4 adults (75%) indicate thoughtful gifts are the best to receive followed by personalized gifts at 52%. Nearly 2 in 3 adults have also created a photo gift. So, I guess other people like to put photos on stuff too. School Picture OrnamentsIf you love your kid’s school pictures as much as I do, I highly recommend making them into ornaments. It just adds one more layer of nostalgia to the holidays. I look forward to having 14 of these by the time she heads off to college! I might make her pose for a “school photo” every year for the rest of her life. And by “might,” I mean “will.”

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS Pharmacy for the Bring Holidays to Life campaign. I am being sponsored by CVS Pharmacy for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

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Marshmallow Gidget Cookies

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We are in cozy holiday mode over here, which involves lots of movie nights. I LOVE IT! Since The Secret Life of Pets comes out today on Blu-ray & DVD (the new release comes with close to an hour of bonus footage PLUS 3 Mini Movies, eeep!) we couldn’t help but set up a fancy little snack table inspired by our sponsor Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and my favorite character from the movie, Gidget.

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Gidget is a white fluff ball of a pup with a pink bow and a heart as big as New York City. I just love how brave and determined she is to find Max. It warms my soul. It’s so fun to fantasize about what our pets do when we aren’t home. I doubt their adventures are quite this exciting.

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The highlight of our spread was pretty, pretty marshmallow cookies that are simple to put together, darling to look at, and a delight to nosh on. Read on for the simple no-bake instructions plus more ideas for a cute “Pets”-themed party. And yes those are malt milk balls in a kitty bowl. The kids are cracking up. And a little scared.

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From the humans behind Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets is a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. The all-star voice cast includes Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks.

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