Monday, February 28, 2011

Storage Solutions for Babies

Happy Monday all!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.  Ours started off a bit on the crazy side with the foot of snow that fell on Friday here in Cleveland.  Thank goodness it was my day off.  Jillian and I stayed inside and watched the snow fall from the comfort of our couch.  I think I have finally hit my breaking point where I am completely over Winter.  Let's bring on Spring already!!!!

In getting into the spirit of spring cleaning and organizing, I thought I would share with you are few storage and organizational solutions that I are working for me here in our home.   I don't know about you, but picking up after Jillian and organizing all of her stuff has started to become a full time job around here.  I don't know about other Mom's, but Jillian is at the stage where toys and crumbs just seem to follow her all over the house.

Our great room seems to be the epicenter of where Jillian likes to play with her toys.  I love having her play in here.   The great room is the heart of our home and it's where we spend most of our day.    I can also be cleaning up the kitchen or cooking dinner while always keeping a watchful eye on her.  Since Jillian spends most of her playtime in our great room, so are most of her toys kept in this room. 

In order to keep Jillian's toys contained and hidden when she isn't playing with them, I purchased this wicker trunk from Target.  I love how it keeps all of her toys under wraps and tucked away.   The lid is an absolute must in my opinion. 

Now you see all of the toys........

And now you don't!

I went with the same organizational concept in Jillian's bedroom.   We bought this Circo toy box from Target for Jillian's birthday.  I love to rotate toys between the great room and her bedroom to keep things fresh and new.   This toy box is perfect to keep all of Jillian's bedroom toys together and not thrown all over the place which is typically her organizational method of choice. 

Now you see all of the toys.....

And now you don't!

Jillian is one lucky girl with two closets in her bedroom, however, you would be surprised that this has is actually a decorating challenge for me.  Both closets take up an entire wall which left me little room for a bookcase.  Jillian has been blessed with a very large collection of books already in her young life and I really needed to find an easy and convenient place to organize all of them. My storage solution to overcome this challenge was to purchase the Closetmaid Storage Cubes from Target and use it inside one of her closets.  I also purchased several of the canvas cubes in pink and green to go with the colors in her room.

I am currently storing small toys, bibs, and other miscellaneous baby items in the storage cubes and her books are stored at the corners. 

Jillian now loves to crawl up to her organizer and grab a few books to read, or throw on ground.

I was finding it very hard to keep all of Jillian's little socks contained in her large dresser drawers.  I was constantly digging around looking for a matching pair.  My solution to this out of control sock drawer clutter was to purchase drawer organizers from Target.  These cute little organizers are spring loaded so they fit any dresser drawer.  Now Jillian's tights, headbands, andsocks are now organized into their own little sections. 

What storage solutions have you found for baby?  I know we can all share a few of our own!!!  Happy Monday!  Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

I am participating over at Serenity Now for her weekend reading party!!!! Please head on over to Amanda's Blog to see everyone's top posts of the week!!

You can also find me at these linky parties!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Responding to Comments on Blogger

I love all of the sweet comments I receive on my blog and always love to return the favor with a sweet reponse via email.  However, I am not always able to do so!! Why is this? Because not everyone's Blogger profile is public. This is something you have to manually change yourself.

I was also speaking to my bloggy friend Shannon recently about how I wasn't able to respond to her blog comments and how I really wanted to.   She hadn't even realized that this was even an option.  With one quick change to her Blogger profile,  Shannon and I are now able to respond to each other's Blog comments. I would love to be able to do this with my all of my readers. Some of you may already have their emails public on their profile and you have probably recieve a follow up response to your comment.  If you don't, keep reading!  I will share this quick Tip to a Better Blog with you.

First, go to your Blogger dashboard and click "Edit Profile".

Now click on the little box that says "Show My Email Address."

Now click on the "Save" button below.

See how easy that was?  Now I can answer all of your wonderful questions and respond to all of your sweet comments!!!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home Tour Tuesday - Whatcha Watchin

Shannon and Daphne are hosting this weeks Home Tour Tuesday. This week's post is all about what you are watching on TV and where are you watching it!!! Every since Jillian became mobile, I just haven't been able to sit down and watch TV like I used to. I do, however, make time for my absolute favorite show/guilty pleasure, The Bachelor! I have been watching this show literally since the first episode aired ten years ago. Can anyone remember the very first Bachelor ever??? Alex Michael!!

What did you think of last nights episode?  I honestly think that Brad is completely smitten over Emily and the producers are having a hard time hiding it much longer.   I mean, it wouldn't be the most dramatic rose ceremony ever if we knew his choice ahead of time!  I did hear there are a few spoilers floating around the internets so please do not share them!!!!  I want to wait until the very end to find out.   Trust me, it's been tempting to check out Reality Steve's website but I am remaining strong!!!

I am also a major HGTV addict. If I am not able to at least sit down and watch it, it's always running in the background. Do you believe that I actually DVR 'House Hunters', 'Get It Sold' and 'Real Estate Intervention?' It seems like I can never get enough of Sabrina Soto's awesome decorating staging tips.

A few other shows you will find on our DVR are: Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, 90210, Big Bang Theory, The Office, and Desperate Housewives.

And here is where all of the magic takes place.

A view of our snowy backyard. 

My Pottery barn knock off mirror which I love.  I have been debating on hanging sconces on either side of it.  Thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to stop by Shannon and Daphne's blogs to check out more Home Tour Tuesday posts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Show Us Your Life - Alma Maters

I am really excited that Kelly's Korner is a hosting a "Show Us Your Life - Alma Maters" today!  I thought this was such a fun idea!  I am so excited to have an opportunity to share with you where I went to school and where I spent a very special part of my life.

I graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.  Bowling Green is a small farming town twenty minutes south of Toledo, OH right off of I-75.  It is also two hours west of Cleveland, OH and about three hours North of Cincinnati, OH.

Water Tower -  Bowling Green

Bowling Green State University is home to 23,000 students a year and is a member of the Mid American Conference (MAC Conference).  Our school colors are brown and orange with a Falcon representing our  mascot.  Did you know that the Cleveland Browns chose their colors to honor Bowling Green since they used to use their facilities for training camp?

At BGSU, I also began the first steps toward becoming an Accountant. I majored in Business Administration and spent a lot of my time studying in the Business Administration building (which was affectionately called "The BAA") or The Jerome Library.

One of my fondest memories as a student of BGSU was going through Sorority Rush and becoming a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. 

I met so many amazing women during that time and I have remained friends with so many of them over the years.    Can you find me in the picture below???  I am in the front row, the second one from the right with the green shirt.  Gotta love my jean cut off shorts!!! 

One of the main reasons why I love Facebook so much is that it has allows me to reconnect with so many of my sorority sisters again.  I am able to see their lives now as successful career women and mommy's.  It also allows me to keep in touch with them and see their families.  It's wonderful!!

I loved the years that I spent as a student at BGSU.  I am fortunate enough that my company allows me to travel to BGSU every few years to recruit accounting students.  It gives me opportunity to go back and relive my college years and also eat at all of my favorite pizza hang outs!!!! 

I can't wait to hear where where you all went to school!!!  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home Decor Quick Tips

Have you ever wanted to update the look of a room but didn't know where to start, have a lot of time,  or have a big budget to do so?  I know I have!!   In just a few easy steps, you can transform the look and feel of any room.

I had so much fun planning Jillian's first birthday party.  I worked my tail off planning all of the food, decor, cake, and of course, the poms!!!  However, there were a couple of unfinished to-do's that were still nagging at me through out the whole party planning process.  The Kitchen drapes and the Great Room lamps.  What I had was adequate, but I knew what I really wanted was oh, so much better.  So amidst all of the party planning, I really needed to tackle these two items.  I was having a house full of people and I wanted everything to be just right.  I am sure no one would probably have noticed these unfinished projects.  But nevertheless, they were quick updates that needed to be done and what better time to update than at a time when you are going to have a party?

Here are a couple of quick tips that you can do anytime to really give your home an inexpensive and updated look.

{Swap Out Your Window Treatments}

I typically like to buy window treatments that are reasonably priced.  Simply because changing your window treatments are one of the most easiest ways to update a room.   I often get bored easy with what I have so by changing out those $30 Target window treatments from two seasons ago will not give Jeff a heart attack!!!

Coordinating window treatments for both the great room and the kitchen were one of my biggest challenges when it comes to decorating our new home.  We have a very open floor plan and we basically have one big wall of windows in the back of our house.  I wanted to try to create some separation with the two rooms but knew that they had to some how compliment each other too.  I was not completely satisfied with what I had so back to the store I went. 



I originally had the red panels on the kitchen slider windows and solid brown panels on the great room windows.  I didn't like how the red blended too much with the cherry cabinets.  There was just too much red going on!  I decided to buy the same style of window treatments as the red one, however, in a gold and brown color.  Both window treatments are from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and share the same color brown band on the bottom.  I swapped out the red and brown panels for gold and brown panels.  I then moved the red panels to the great room windows and will probably move the brown panels to our den. 

I eventually plan on purchasing three more of the red panels to place in between each of the great room windows.

{Swap Out Your Lamp Shades}

We currently are using Jeff's six year old Target iron lamps in our Great Room.  I would love to buy new lamps right now for The Great Room, however, I have a very active toddler now crawling around that would love to get her hands on them!!  So I decided to buy new lamp shades instead! 

Here is what the lamps looked like before.  See the old, brittle, and yellowing lamp shade?  Not to mention...dated!

Here is what they look like new with new $15 drum lamp shades from Target.

I love the newly updated looks in our home.  It certainly makes a difference and they are quick updates that you can do in your home!!  Thanks for stopping by today!!!  

I am joining some fun parties today with my quick tips post!!! Check out these for more inspiration.

•Metamorphisis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

•Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest

•Inspiration Friday At the Picket Fence

•Show and Share Day at Just a Girl

•Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge

Weekend Bloggy Reading

I am also participating over at Serenity Now for her weekend reading party!!!! Please head on over to Amanda's Blog to see everyone's top posts of the week!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Easy Chili Recipe

Please join me over at Flip Flop and Peals for Daphne's very first Let's Eat Recipe Swap!!!

Last week I hosted bookclub at my house for six girls including myself. I wanted to do something a little different then my usually menu of appetizers and wine so I decided to cook us an actual meal. It was one of the coldest days of the year thus far at a whopping 6 degrees so it made sense for me to make us all some warm and hearty chili!!!!

What You Will Need

1 package of ground turkey meat
1 can of Delmonte canned tomatoes with green peppers and onions
1 can of Kidney beans
1/2 chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons of chopped onion (add more or less based on your preferences)
1 package of chili seasoning
1/2 cup of water

How To Make It

Ground turkey meat on stove top until cooked thoroughly and broken into pieces. In a large pot, combine cooked meat with rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45-60 minutes.

Serve with cheese and saltine crackers.

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at Tidy Mom and Dine & Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter Fun


It was a mild 45 degrees this weekend here in Cleveland and everyone was excited to finally get outside and enjoy some sunshine!!  I know 45 to some people may seem cold, however, to us Clevelanders, we are talking shorts weather.  OK, we are not busting out the shorts just yet, but we did take Jillian out for her first sled ride this weekend. 

At first, Jillian was not amused with the whole sled riding preparation process.  I put so many layers on her, even Ralphie from "The Christmas Story" had nothing on her.  Poor thing, she was so upset with me by the time I got her outside, she was just not having the whole sled riding thing at first.  Do you remember how much fun she had just sledding in our house?   Well, outside she just sat there for the first 15 minutes, completely expressionless.  It also could have been because she couldn't move any major appendages either.  Poor thing!!!

 Jillian eventually relaxed and started having a great time!

It was wonderful to see all of the neighborhood kids playing outside in the snow.  Even though we only kept Jillian outside for a half an hour, it was so nice to get out of the house and talk to a few neighbors.   The winter months just seem to pass us by without saying a peep to any of them.   It was great to catch up, even if it were for only a few minutes. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life...A Big Slice of Crazy

I don't know how life got so crazy and out of control these days, but it has. I feel like I am blogging less and less just because my available time to blog is becoming less and less. I have missed you all and hope to get back in to the swing of things soon!!! I haven't had a lot of time to read or comment on my favorite bloggers either and am looking forward to catching up on everything that has been going on with all of you!!!

First and foremost, work has been crazy. It's just that time of year for us where 2011 budgets need to be finalized and 2010 books need to be closed. Even though I am a Mommy, I have to play an Accountant 3 days of the week and I have been working non stop. I have also been putting in several hours on my supposed "days off" by logging in from home and knocking down a few monthly reports during nap time. Nap time is usually my me time where I can clean the house, workout, shower, read blogs or create a blog post. Well, none of these things have been getting done and I am now living in a dirty house and it's driving me crazy!

Our personal life has been crazy busy too lately which is a good thing. Jeff and I actually traveled to a casino in New York this weekend and spent our first night away from Jillian. This was a huge step for us but we really enjoyed our time together!!! We were celebrating our 10 year dating anniversary and thought what better time than now to get away for a night. When Jeff and I were dating, we used to travel to New York this time of year to celebrate our dating anniversaries. We used to be active skiers and would spend a romantic weekend at either Holiday Valley or Peak and Peek. Both places are ski resorts nestled into small towns in western New York. I can't even tell you the last time that we have skied, however, it was nice to go back visit this area of New York and play a little black jack together!!! We almost didn't make it out there on Saturday, our drive to New York was white knuckle all of the way. Snow continuously came down and covered the road ways, piling up more and more as we drove. There were spin outs all around us. One would think that we were a little nuts driving in such nasty weather but we were determined to get away for the night. 

I took a picture of our drive, we could barely get the snow off the windshield, it just kept coming down!

Jeff and I taking a break from the black jack tables for dinner.

Even though I had plenty to catch up on at home this week, my sister is only going to be on maternity leave for a few more weeks so Jillian and I decided to spend my day off this week visiting my sister. Jillian LOVES playing with her cousin Nicole and actually got to experience coloring in a coloring book for the first time. Jillian has been very interested in writing lately and is always stealing pens out of my hands. I am sure she sees me constantly crunching numbers at home when I am working so she obviously wants to do the same!!!

After being away for the weekend and working on my days off, you can see how we are a bit out of our routine!!!!! Hopefully we will get back into the swing of things again soon. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Feeding A 13 Month Old Baby

I am really excited that Kelly's Korner is a hosting a 'Show Us Your Life - What Do You Feed Your Kids?' Link Up Party.  Feeding Jillian has been one of my biggest challenges recently and it's been on my mind a lot!!  I find myself lately always thinking ahead to her next meal and keep asking myself, what am I going to feed her? I feel like I am always giving her the same thing.  She is so picky and honestly only likes the same things over and over again. I am sure a lot of you can relate! It seems I am always hearing other Mom's talk about their picky eaters and sharing their sucess stories on what they do to get their kids to eat more.

Jillian's eating habits are also one of the most popular topics of discussions lately between Jeff and I.   The first thing we ask each other when we get home from work is "What are we going to feed the baby?" and  "What did Jillian eat today at daycare?"    It's always the first thing we talk about when we get up in the morning, "What is Jillian going to eat for breakfast?" 
Another reason I am so concerned about what Jillian is eating is because she had lost a pound in the time between her one year well check appointment and her nine month well check.  Our doctor wasn't too concerned, however, she did scheduled us for a 'weigh in' in just a few weeks so I have been going crazy trying to get Jillian to eat better..  

Jillian hasn't always been a picky eater.  The first time she had her first table food meal was at Thanksgiving.  We thought what better time for Jillian to try table food than the grand daddy of all meals!  How did she do?  She ate everything!!!  Turkey, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and even brocoli.  I was so proud of her and so relived that we didn't have a picky eater on our hands.  After that, she pretty much enjoyed everything we gave her.  Then it all came to an end.  In the beginning of December, Jillian came down with a pretty bad stomach virus and that's when everything seemed to have changed.  Her favorite food at that point had been Kraft Mac and Cheese but now she won't even touch it.  She hates all pasta.  It's the craziest thing.  Vegetables?  Won't touch them unless they are smothered in applesauce.  When she doesn't like something, she either ends up throwing it on the floor or she fusses and puts her head down.  So we certainly have our challenges, to say the least!  I have learned that when you have a picky eater, it's hard to always serve healthy choices.  You just want them to eat!!!  Jillian is slowly getting much better but we still do have our struggles! I am hoping that she will at least add one or two more foods every few weeks or else this girl is going to have Tyson Chicken Nuggets flowing through her veins!!

{Jillian's Favorite Foods}


Jillian also loves any kind of bread products so she has been starting to also eat Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls lately which is one of our favorite breakfasts.  She also loves to snack on Cherrios while I am getting her breakfast ready. 


Lunch seems to be the area where we struggle with the most.  Jillian refuses to eat any food at daycare, the only success she has had at eating their lunches is when they served pancakes!  Go figure.  She won't eat pizza, pasta, hot dogs or macaroni and cheese.  I have started to pack turkey and cheese sandwichs for her to eat because eating at daycare has become such a problem and it doesn't seem to be getting better.   Chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches are our lunch staples.  Fortunately for me, Jillian will eat Chick Fil A chicken nuggets and fries, however, these are only treats I will give her when Mommy has a lunch date.  I try to give Jillian healthy meals and haven't actually given in yet on making french fries for her at home. 

Dinner's have been going a little better for us lately.  The secret?  Smother everything in applesauce!  Veggies, sweat potatoes, meat loaf.  Everything.  Jillian will typically eat what we are eating within reason as long as it's smothered in applesauce.  It's been quite the miracle worker for us lately!   Applesauce has been saving us from having to feed her chicken nuggets at every dinner.  Our latest success lately is rotisserie chicken.  Jillian tried it for the first time last week and she immediately threw it on the ground and wouldn't try it.  I was so dissappointed because usually she loves chicken.  However, we tried it again this week and it was a hit!!  It's a healthy meal and I don't have to cook on a work night.  I usually end up just cooking a quick side dish and a baked potato and dinner is served!!! 


I have been trying to get away latey from the Gerber Puffs and Yogurt Melts.  Jillian loves them but I feel she needs more grown up snacks.   Our latest thing is to let Jillian eat a Gerber Arrowroot cookie after dinner.  She loves these and gets so excited when she knows it's getting close to "cookie" time.  We are trying to make eating a fun time for her so she is more comfortable to try new things.