Jokkmokk table and 4 chairs

Fun to say AND functional!

As I was wiping the yogurt smears and residue off our kitchen table yesterday it occurred to me that we’ve had this little gem for about 9 years.  And it’s still available at IKEA.  Currently on sale for $129, but I believe it was $99 when we bought it.

IKEA JOKKMOKK Table and 4 Chairs

We purchased it shortly after moving into our first apartment together.  At that time it was the perfect fit for our little place and has followed us to each home since.  In our Washington condo it fit really well in our breakfast nook and was always the perfect place to sit on a Friday morning to drink coffee and blog.  After we had Oscar it quickly became the local feeding spot.  We hooked up his high chair to one of the tables chairs and away we went with baby food adventures.    In our tiny Colorado apartment its been a bit of a catch-all table.  It started out as a kitchen table, then a sewing table, and now its back to Oscar’s daily yogurt eating station.  He’s not in a high chair anymore so its rather prone to getting foodie fingerprints all over it.

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Always been a napping spot for the kittens.

sewing ironing board cover above

My original sewing spot in our condo

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Pumpking carving workshop

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“Kiddie” table for Christmas dinner 2012

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Tucked in the Denver apartment, freshly cleaned of yogi-ness.

But its held up wonderfully.  Its still sturdy as the day we bought it and is super easy to wipe down.  It is natural pine and we’ve never added a finish to it.  My go to cleaner is Sprayway window cleaner and every once in a while I’ll follow up with Pledge.

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While “researching” for this post, I came across some beautiful IKEA hacks for this table. We are getting ready to move, so it’s possible in the new place I may consider doing something like this. Although, we may need to wait until Oscar is more in control with his eating. Right now the table works great as is, but I certainly have some new ideas.

A Mommy’s Life with a Touch of Yellow- Jokkmokk table makeover

Simple stain and paint seems to give this table a whole new look!  I love the stain color above and the color she is able to use throughout the rest of the dining area.

Courtesy of Ikeahackers.net

IKEA furniture has an old reputation of being disposable furniture, but this piece has really surprised us.  For a basic kitchen table it has been amazing for our little family.  I can see us keeping this table for many more years- using it as an art table, an office desk, crafting table, or continuing to use it as our breakfast nook spot.

What pieces have you had forever?

I can make a designer handbag, right?

As long as I’ve worked I’ve always wanted to buy a designer handbag for myself.   I could’ve pulled the trigger many times with holiday bonuses or Nordstrom gift cards but, for some reason, never have.  Most likely it’s Chris’ frugality wearing off on me. Since we’ve been together I’ve become increasingly frugal. My how things change.  

I inspect other women’s handbags and drool, or criticize those wearing CLEAR AS DAY knockoffs.  I am not handbagless.  No, no.  I have two satchels that I absolutely love- one being a Coach Poppy that was a gift from my adoring mother, and the other being a yellow leather Steve Madden with gold hardware- a gift from my husband (see my Anniversary gifts post here).

But there’s something about simple, classic, black leather goodness. A handbag that gets great use but also looks really good on.  One that will last for years.  Decades even. Something that makes you smile every time you look at it.  A bag that begs you to fill it up with lipsticks, bronzers, cell phones, headphones, diet coke, and maybe a pull-up or two.

Try pulling the trigger on these lovelys.  Damn expensive (who needs retirement anyway?), moderately expensive (I promise to sell more Green Rock items), and expensive (crap, that’s still really expensive).

Valentino Rockstud Pagoda Shopper Tote Bag, $2995.00

MARC by Marc Jacobs “Too Hot to Handle Mini” shopper, $448.00

COACH Nolita Satchel in quilted croc leather, $395

Aren’t they gorgeous?

This is more reasonable affordable (but won’t I look like one of those absurd knockoff carrying imposters?)

Ok, I’ll get to my point.  In the middle of the night months ago I started obsessing over making my own bag.  I’ve made a simple canvas tote in a sewing class.  And a zippered weekender for my sewing machine using a pattern from Sew Sweetness on Etsy.  But could I make a handbag?  I’d be determined to make this one different.  I’m going to take my time with this one.  Yes.  Make sure it has the design elements I want and the little touches that will make it mine, all mine.  Chris thinks this is a stupid idea.  He sees me buying up fabric and digital patterns and thinks, why not just buy the $45 Macy’s handbag. I think his actual words were, “Is it worth buying $100 in materials for a $40 bag?”.  Where’s the flipping emoji for that?

BECAUSE damn it all I want a handbag that makes me smile and drool, but haven’t been able to find anything I like in the $45 range.

In walks the next Sew Sweetness pattern I may attempt.    Here is my mood board of sorts.

Overall Bag

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Doesn’t exactly scream designer handbag- but I believe with custom hardware and a lux feeling outer fabric I could make this into something that would feel beautiful.

Outer Fabric

I had two croc fabrics left over from my cake box making days and recently purchased faux leather in pebbled and smoother finishes.  Right now I’m thinking I’ll go with the faux leather, possibly using one finish for the straps and one for the body. I’d love to use actual leather but not sure my Brother machine would be able to handle it and I’d have to look into the price.

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Green or black croc vs. black pebbled leather

Lining Fabric

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Elk wearing sunglasses vs turquoise chantung silk

I love the little elk wearing sunglasses.  I found this fabric at my local sewing expo but didn’t quite scoop it up.  I told the vendor what I was making, she was familiar with the pattern, but she scoffed at my choice as this for a lining.  She suggested I buy something “cheaper”.  Obviously, she doesn’t understand the point of this whole extravagant project.  What do you think- happy little Elk dude or dressy silk? 

Hardware

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Removable strap hardware, Antique brass owl zipper pull, metal zipper, flat and round rivets, and antique brass purse feet.

The removable strap hardware is really unique and I love the idea of purse feet to elevate the feel of the bag.  The flat rivets will be placed where the handles attach and possible in other areas, like the flap pocket on the front.   A fun little owl zipper pull will give it a fun element.

Final Touch

For my final touch I’d really like to put a gold or brass insignia on the inside or outside of the bag?  Sort of my designer logo for my very own purse.  Two ideas, both without the chains:

1.Have a designer on Etsy make a stamped initial nameplate like in one of these necklaces, maybe 3″ x 1.4″.

2. Purchase a Monogram necklace in gold or antique brass and secure it to the front of the bag somewhere.

monogram option

What do you think??  Waste of time? Will I look like ridiculous?  Give me your ideas! 

 

 

I’m Back! Complete with my Little Sewing Nook

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Man, it’s been a long time.  11 months since I’ve done a post.  I’m sure I wasn’t missed, as I have approx 3 followers.  A lot has changed since I was away.  My husband got a new job so we up and moved to Denver.  Our gorgeous condo I was working so hard to spiff up?  Yeah, we sold it. Downsized too! Went from a 1,756 square foot condo to a not-so-luxurious 950 square foot apartment.

I’d say we are a wee bit cramped.  This has meant getting creative with storage solutions.  The last time that Chris and I lived in that small of a space was before we were married and with no children.  A very busy two year old cooped up in a tiny apartment has us sometimes wanting to pull our hair out.  Luckily, Colorado has some pretty fabulous open spaces, loads of parks, and plentiful sunshine.

The other thing I’ve been up to is creating for my sister-in-laws Etsy Shop Green Rock Creations.  She makes handmade burp cloths from cloth diapers and I’ve been making pacifier clips (and anything else I can come up with).  Because I no longer have the loft as my sewing space I’ve been setting up shop in the dining room/kitchen.  There have been many nights that my poor husband and son have had no place to eat because I was in the middle of a project.

This is why I’m so very grateful that they bought me a sewing desk for my birthday. You can imagine that when I asked for it, including that we’d also have to move other furniture around, Chris was more than happy to run out to IKEA that very day. We created the nook for about $120.

IKEA Micke Desk $89.99

Pegboard $5.78

Spray Paint $3.98

Various hooks, baskets, and dowels $20

My little sewing nook!

My little sewing nook! Pictures of my favorite family, my thread catcher, and sewing mat.

This part of the apartment can be rather dark, so I use one of our extra lamps to give me a little extra task lighting if I’m working at night time.  This nook is right next to Oscar’s bedroom but so far it hasn’t been a problem to work while he’s sleeping.

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In our old apartment we were very anti drilling anything into the wall, however with this place we pretty much said “Screw it” as I’ve got to remain sane. If screwing things into the wall means saving our sanity then by all means HANG IT ALL!!

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My TO-DO list clip board and some cheery artwork to keep me smiling!

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Pegboard with my ribbon, notions, cutting tools, and quilt rulers. I plan on adding a thread rack in the space.

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Quick access to sewing machine tools, pacifier clips, and Jamberry album sheets.

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Everything in its place- and labeled!

I tried to have everything in a little container, organized so its easy to find.  I used leftover labels that I got on sale at the container store.  Find them here

I still have to find a solution to put away my hoard of fabric, and finished products.  Those are currently in giant rubbermaids and I’ve tried to squeeze them next to the desk.

So….what do you think?

I’M BACK!!! =)

From formula container to glam vase! A Mommy craft day…

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When Oscar was using formula we’d go through a canister a week.  We bought ours from Costco so they were a large round container.  I kept thinking it was such a waste to just toss them in the recycle bin.  I sifted through some Pins and found that a few others had the same idea.  One that struck me as neat was the DIY gem covered formula container, made into a vase.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original source, only the picture.

Kirkland Formula upcycled into vase

I have a wonderful mommy group that I’m apart of so I created a Mommy Craft Day for us to try out some of our glue gun skills.  When they got here we ended up letting the kiddos play and we chatted for a while.  Eventually, and too late, we got to crafting.  Turns out 16-18 month olds don’t really have the patience past their nap time to wait for momma, despite us calling out, “We’re almost done baby”.   I chose a small pattern and then on the next row moved the start of it over 6 gems.  Another mommy placed all her gems vertically and another just started gluing them on however they came to her.  Creative randomness? Is that even a thing? Doesn’t matter, because each one turned out really great!

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I went to Jo Jo’s and picked out some flower bunches for 50-70% off.  I wanted to do fresh flowers, but I wasn’t sure how the inside of the container would hold up with water.  Good news is that artificial flowers are looking pretty dang good these days. I tried water and fresh flowers on a smaller Similac container and it ended up rusting a bit.  Though the outside of the canister looks metal it is just a metallic covered stiff cardboard.  I also tried painting Mod Podge on the inside to seal it, but it beaded up before drying.  Maybe some of you will have a suggestion on waterproofing the inside of a container like this??

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One of the mamas used hers as a fancy sparkly bookend and monitor stand.  The gems give it the weight and the canister gives the height, making it perfect for that use.

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I put mine with the flowers on our new hutch.  The pattern turned out totally random.

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Any upcycled DIY projects on your mind?

 

Modern Vintage Hutch!

I’ve been looking for something to store our china, bar ware, and serving ware.  For the longest time all our fancy wedding gifts were in boxes in Oscar’s room, then the guest bedroom in under-the-bed storage boxes.

We don’t entertain very often, however when we were engaged I had high hopes of hosting cocktail parties and holiday dinners.  Growing up, my moms side of the family would always have formal holiday dinners and happy hours.  I remember dressing up in my fancy dress, delivering refilled beverages (hey, don’t judge), and putting out the appetizers. I’d stay up, listening to the grown ups laugh and chat, until I could barely keep my eyes open.    Fast forward to today… not so much entertaining happening in our neck of the woods.  You might remember two Christmases ago when we hosted Christmas dinner and got to use all my fine china and beautiful tableware.  You can check out the fanciness here.

In the town next door to ours there is a cheeky vintage home store called Persnickety’s Awesomeness Emporium.  The store owner, along with other local artisans, revamp vintage furniture using a modern flair.  I’ve been stalking her Facebook page for a while now, waiting for something to catch my eye.  So when this lovely lady got posted Oscar and I took a little stroll through the town.

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Persnickety’s Awesomeness Emporium

Isn’t she gorg? Mandi, the owner said it was a very sturdy piece that should be able to accommodate what I needed. (Mandi, if you’re reading this, I’ve already forgotten what kind of wood it is. =\) I brought a couple of my dinner plates with me so that I could see if they would fit in the drawer.  This piece is only about 21″ wide and 25″ tall.  It’s small but still fits two dinner plates side by side, with room to spare. The price was right, so I called Chris to help me come pick her up.

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Olive hard at work…

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Raffle tickets for price tags and “old fashioned” triple copy receipts. Love local business!

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Three drawers completely with pulls, flashy knobs and a pull out drawer on top.

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When I checked out the inside of the drawers there was a random name written inside and a ink stamp that said, “Have Fun”.

I had no idea there was a gold finish on it until I got it home and into the natural light.  It brings a little bit of glam into the dining room. Oh gawd, now I’ll have to change the light fixtures…

Rustic red with gold wash

Rustic red with gold wash

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My mother-in-laws silverware chest and my DIY crystal vase with flowers!

The drawers were a bit musty, so I kept them open for a day or so and then used this tutorial for a DIY drawer freshener; using witch hazel, baking soda and essential oil, made into cakes.  The drawers were good as new in a couple of days.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly transferring things from upstairs to downstairs.  

 The top drawer is for our tablecloths, placemats, cloth napkins, and napkin rings.

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The middle is for our servingware. 

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And the bottom drawer holds the heavier china.  Not all the pieces fit, but at least the main pieces got crammed in there.
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 I used my drawer liner tutorial that you saw for Oscar’s dresser drawers.  Paper Source came through again for the beautiful paper.  I couldn’t decide between two of them, so I chose to alternate between the three drawers.  It was more textured, so the contact paper didn’t stick as well. I love how the paper is bold yet feminine.  I’ll be the main person rooting around in the drawers, and this paper will give me a little pitter patter when I see it.  

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The Paper Source

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All three drawers jazzed up!

All three drawers jazzed up!

The next order of business is to hang ledges above the hutch and dress them up with barware and some artwork.  I still need a place for all of our wine glasses and formal bar glasses, but that may have to come in the form of a different piece of furniture. 

I’ll post when I make the project all complete.   Hope you love the hutch as much as I do.  I’ve never purchased something that is truly vintage because I didn’t think it went with my decorating style.  This little gem fits in nicely, and the ledges should add a little bit of modernness that’ll connect it to the rest of the house.  

Ever bought a vintage piece? Tell me (or better yet, show me) about it!

Good Morning Coffee! Good Morning Diet Coke!

Good Morning Beverage Bar shining on the birds and the butterflies!

Who here, needs their coffee in the morning? A Diet Coke?  I thought so.  Whether you have kids, a stressful job, or just love the warmth that a hot beverage provides during the first few moments of a morning, a coffee bar is a great thing to have set up in your kitchen.

Our kitchen is lovely, but doesn’t have a ton of counter space. A few years ago, when the two of us really started drinking coffee every morning, we bought a Keurig at Costco.  We don’t have to brew an entire pot of coffee so it works really well for us.  Unfortunately, it has been moved to a few different spots over the years.  It didn’t really like sharing it’s space with the Boon drying racks,  so then I moved it to the top of our bookshelf.  Not exactly a smart idea considering it was hanging off the edge. It was my attempt at using what we had to make a coffee bar.    The bookshelf was becoming my catch all for cookbooks, formal silverware, bibs, mail, and our heavy pans.   I’ve started to learn that sometimes spending some dollars to create what you really want is worth it.

before coffee bar

HELP!!!!!

Here’s my PINspiration for home coffee bars:

Pinterest Coffee Bars

Favorite Coffee Bar Pin

My main goals were to:

-find a sturdy place for the Keurig and all it’s accessories- sweeteners, coffee pods, spoons, cups,

-An extra place to put items for tea,

-Drawers for pens, shopping lists, and other small items,

-Shelf for some cookbooks and heavy pans,

-and for O’s bibs and wipes since his high chair is right next to the bar. 

Here’s what we ended up with:

IKEA Forhoja kitchen cart- unfinished wood cart with two sliding drawers and two wheels

IKEA Stenstorp wall shelf with hooks for coffee cups

IKEA Bygel rail and wire basket

IKEA Fintorp caddy for holding K-Cups

IKEA Barbar Tray

IKEA Rajtan  Spice jars for holding loose leaf tea and sweeteners

Since the coffee bar inception Chris got a SodaStream.  He uses it every day to make flavored sparkling waters (and if you follow me on facebook you’ll know I used it to make club soda to get a red wine stain our of our carpet).  Now, I should really call the coffee bar a beverage bar.

Everything in its place

coffee bar final (6)

coffee bar final (5)A sturdy kitchen cart to hold our Keurig, SodaStream, and all the accessories

coffee bar finalA tray complete with Cafe Cup pods, spoons, ground coffee, loose leaf tea tins, and SodaStream mixes.  The Cafe Cup pods are really nice because we can use ground coffee in the Keurig easier than the filter it comes with.  This make it cheaper than buying K-Cups.  They can be found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Amazon.  I used an upcycled Bonne Maman jar wrapped with a little baker’s twine to hold our stirring spoons. For now we use rubbermaid containers to hold our ground coffee, but I’d love to find something glass that is decorative but easy to open.  

 
 

coffee bar jarsA place to hang cups, tea scoop, jars of tea and sweeteners, extra K-Cups, and tea towels. The hooks for the coffee cups allow quick access to your sweet nectar vessel and frees up some space in the cupboard.  I love the little glass spice jars to hold our sweeteners. Keeps them organized.  I use the jars for our loose leaf tea, keeping it air tight and fresh. 

 
 
 

coffee bar (7)This shelf makes me smile.  I finally have a place to displace my pretty water pitchers, and tea pots.  You may recognize the print from O’s room. I relocated it here because looking at it gives me a happy jumpstart to my day.  “Today Is the Day” print by TheBigHarupmh on Etsy. 

 
 

coffee bar lowerAn open spot for a selection of cookbooks, bibs and wipes, and extra whole bean coffee.  The bottom shelf has our cast iron heavy pans

Just like a morning cup o’ joe this new coffee bar makes me say “Aaaahhhh!”.  I’d love to see your kitchen bar ideas.  Share them in the comments below!

Cheers!

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Man and Wife

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AKA: Why I’m still a sucky gift giver!

Another holiday celebrated by spouses has come.  Today is Valentine’s Day.  The one day a year that you have to express your undying love for someone (or ones).  Boyfriends get to surprise their girlfriends with roses and chocolate, as girlfriends secretly hope for a diamond ring.  Kiddos take festive heart-shaped and cartoon-faced paper and candy valentines to their classmates.  And husbands have to get to show their wives just how much they love and appreciate them.  Traditionally, it’s been a major stressor for most men.  In my case, I’m the one who stresses about it.

Actually, I almost completely forgot about it this year. Just like last year when I was in angst because my little guy hadn’t gotten here yet, this year I’ve been worried about putting together the perfect 1st Birthday Party.  My lord…where are my priorities?  Despite my continued obsession with Pinterest, I still didn’t get it together. With 1.3K pins, you’d think I’d have a few ideas to effortlessly put together.  Unfortunately, I remain a sucky gift giver.  I made a decent effort.  What I’m trying to say, is that my version of romance was Beard Wash and a Facial brush for my husband.  Damn, it sounded so good in my mind.

Let’s break down my gift and then I’ll explain why my husband puts me to shame.  Husbands if you’re reading this, you’ll get some great ideas for next year.  Ladies, I suppose my idea for Valentines is great for the metro type of man.

Bluebeards Original Beard Wash

Found on Amazon, this beard wash received excellent reviews.  Using is supposed to help the beared obtain soft facial hair and smooth skin underneath.  Skin can get itchy and dry underneath a beard, so this should help.  It has lime which helps “break down trapped dirt and oil clinging to hair shafts and follicles”, and aloe which “softens and soothes skin and beard“.  Fantastic, right?  Chris has had a beard for years now and I thought a little treat for his facial hair would be nice.  And save his sometimes itchy skin.  I paired the beard wash with a manual facial brush. (Because getting him a Clarisonic might be pushing it)

Bass Facial Brush

So, it’s a nice gift, yeah?  Not over the top, but says I love you AND your facial hair.

On to Chris and Oscar’s gift for me…

Oscar got me a little card and gift cards to Chipotle and Starbucks.  Oh dear, how my son and husband know how much I’m addicted to Chipotle.  (The employees now know myself and my coworkers orders each time we come in)

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Perfect in itself! Food and coffee.  I think I’m complete now.

No, there’s more…

After Chris left for work the UPS man delivered to me a beautiful personalized canvas print from Red Envelope. (A go-to gift place for husbands.  Chris loves it!).  Each gift comes in a richly colored red box with a cream ribbon and those two little words- Red. Envelope.

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I’ve never been one for phrase prints but this has very special meaning and is painted in one of my favorite shades of blue. It’s beautiful my friends. I immediately hung it on the wall.  And as luck mind reading would have it, I hung it on the same wall that Chris was thinking of.  The phrase “I love you to the moon and back” is familiar to some of you and from the book we read to Oscar- Guess How Much I Love You.   Makes my heart pitter patter to know that I have two handsome men that love me so much.

Two of the best gifts EVER.  

So that’s it, right?

Of course not…

Something even better, that I’m already day dreaming of.

From Chris, in my card, a personalized coupon book, like I did for Chris for our anniversary in this post, but only waaayyyy better coupons.

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Can you read those gorgeous little pieces of paper? Let me recite them for you..

2014 Love My Sweetie Coupons good for:

One week free of helping with the dishes

One weekend of sleeping in as late as you want

One week break from cleaning the catbox

One lunch (of your choosing) delivered to you at work (please allow 24 hour notice)

One week of my nightstand, dresser, and side of the bed being clean without exception

One afternoon blogging at Starbucks

One night free of cell phone, laptop, tablet usage by both of us

One 30 minute massage

One run to the town center for a treat of your choosing

One girls night out after work without feeling bad for leaving me home with buns

One $100 shopping spree

And One year of all the love you can handle

I’m giddy.  Over the moon.  Salivating at the prospect of some of these.  I’m already planning what I’ll wear.  Preparing to take camera shots of Chris’s nightstand and dresser spotless.  Excited, ya hear??   I’m a mom and love my son one hundred times over, but I am the first to admit, I’d love some time out to myself, time with my girls, new fashionable outfits, and a clean house.  This is the MOST PERFECT GIFT for a mother and wife, even if it’ll only last a fraction of time.   I’ll need to get my decision making skills in order to make the most of these.

How can I compete?  It must be the Thompson competitive gene in him.  =)

He says I “give what I would want” and that he gives “what you want”.  He’s totally correct.  Any new approaches to gift giving peeps?