clouds This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

This weekend was good. Thankful we got to hang out with my best friend and meet their foster child. The girls were so excited and had so much fun playing with her!

Sunday was spent working as the craft stylist for an upcoming issue of Family Fun Magazine. I always love getting to work with the Heather, Jennifer, and Sabrina.

I want to bake this apple bread.

We want to make a Valentine’s Day tree. Who says Christmas is the only times to put a decorative tree out?!

These lace up espadrilles are so cute for spring!

I think you should put this antique square locket on your Valentine wishlist.

How cute is this grocery shop playhouse?! I think you could recreate one with some cardboard or just get that one if you’re not a DIY-er.

Thankful that Glow went in the potty a couple times! Yay!!! She’s totally not a fan, but we think it’s time to get potty trained.

I love how boxes are the most exciting toys to my kids. This week they made an elevator.

I’ve lightened my load a bit from some of the extra things I’ve been involved in, so I’m hoping for more sanity for me, and the girls to have a more “present” mother. Hope your weekend was a good and you’re ready to tackle another week!


christmas part two

christmas in california christmas in california christmas in california christmas in california christmas in california christmas in california christmas in california The years we go to Texas for the holidays, we make sure to do a little Christmas celebration once we get back, and it’s usually the very next day after we arrive home. The girls get their present from “Santa,” smallish stocking stuffers, and they get one more present from us. In total, they received two presents from us, one in Texas and one in California, and three little stocking stuffers. Actually, we got them one more, but that’s going back to the store. Ben and I were exhausted from the long drive we made the previous, but seeing the girls excited is definitely an energy picker-upper. Of course, the highlight was the surprise my parents left them while we were gone; the bikes stole the show!

The sweetest part of the celebration, at least for Ben and me, was this giant stack of presents the girls had for each member of the family. Ben and I had no idea they made all this stuff! They also had little gifts that they “bought” at their piano teacher’s “store” for each other. They earn points for each piano lesson, and during the recital, the teacher has a store, where they can buy things to redeem their points. Well, the recital was early December, so it was perfect timing for students to use their points to “buy” gifts for their family. These girls are so thoughtful when it comes to gift giving. They really take so much joy in making something, wrapping it up, and adding a little note for someone. They even made presents for their each others’ favorite dolls!

We actually even had a Christmas part 3 since we had to celebrate with my family once we were back, but it was a laid back Friday evening at my parents house feasting and hanging out, and no one busted out the camera. This year we will get to be home for Christmas, my baby sister will be back, and we’re hoping Ben’s mom and sister come join us here, so then we’ll have one giant family celebration in our home. Anyway, we have a ways to go until I start any planning for that.



diy: sweater snake softie

sweater snake softie Sweater Snake Softie

Old sweaters (I used the sleeves of 2 sweaters)
Coordinating thread
2 buttons
Small scrap of wool felt
Sewing machine

Seam allowance: 1/2″

sweater snake softie Directions:
1.  Create your snake body from the sweaters. I used the sleeves on both sweaters and cut them open to create my snake body. Cut the head out with a large round shape, and cut other rectangle-ish shapes from the sweaters (work your way down towards the tail), tapering each piece until you get to the end of the snake body. Remember, you’ll want to taper the body down towards the tail to get that snake shape. I alternated between the two different sweaters to give the snake body some variety. Our snake ended up being about 4.5′ long.

sweater snake softie sweater snake softie sweater snake softie 2. If alternating sweaters for the body, pin one section with the coordinating next section, with their right sides together and sew. Continue until you have created one side of the snake and repeat for the other side. Once both sides of the body have been sewn, cut out a small tongue shape from the wool felt. Place the tongue at the top of the snake, between the front and back head section, with the V towards the snake body. Place the right sides of the snake together, pin around the entire snake, and sew. Don’t forget to leave a 4″ opening for turning.

sweater snake softie sweater snake softie sweater snake softie 3. Turn the snake right side out, stuff with poly-fil, and slip stitch the opening closed. It takes bit of time to make the body smooth with the poly-fil, otherwise if it looks too lumpy, it may look like your snake just had lunch. Lastly, sew eyes on the snake head.

sweater snake softie sweater snake softie sweater snake softie Of course, the snake softie is for Glow, our stuffed animal hoarder. She barely has any room on her bed to sleep because it’s filled with stuffed animals! I thought about adding a little jingle inside the end of the tail, but I wanted to throw the snake in the wash, so I just left the jingle out. A rattle would be kind of fun to put in there though, and would make a sweet gift for a baby (not that I’m trying to freak a baby out or anything). I like how cute a snake looks around a changing table in this room.

If you’re looking for sewing projects, my book, Let’s Sew Together, has plenty to choose from!

on glow: gems dress, misha lulu. boots, thrifted.



our yearly date day in austin

our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas We go to Texas once a year, and (almost) every time, Ben and I sneak away for a day trip to Austin. It usually consists of checking out their local vintage clothing shops to find some shirts for Ben, a walk through Uncommon Objects, lunch with one of Ben’s buddies (this time at South Congress Cafe), and then dinner with just the two of us. This time we also visited Austin City Life (we wanted to check out a local church in case we moved), meandered through some local antique malls, and had dinner at Uchiko.

First off, if you’re ever in Austin, get the crab enchiladas at South Congress Cafe. They were absolutely delicious. While we mostly just go to look at the curiosities at Uncommon Objects, I did get a little wooden cheese box for a project. The highlight of the day though, besides getting some one on one time with Ben, was feasting at Uchiko. Ben’s friend had told us about this place a few years ago, but our first thought, “Sushi?! In Texas?! We live in California, I think we’ll pass.” But man oh man, nothing could prepare us for the amazing culinary experience that awaited us at Uchiko.

We weren’t sure if we wanted to go there for dinner, so we didn’t make reservations (reservations are a must at this place). Last minute, we say, “Why not?!” and head there soon after they opened for dinner. There was an hour+ wait, but the bar was open, and we still would be served the full menu there, so that’s what we opted for. Plus, we got a cozy little spot on the corner, so it felt quite intimate.

The bartenders were so attentive, considering we weren’t at a regular table, it still felt like we had their complete attention when we needed. We weren’t sure what we wanted, but we decided to order a few things from their “sake social” menu (happy hour) and then almost everything from their sushi menu (except one or two). We kind of went to town, and each dish they brought out was absolutely delectable. Ben was feeling intoxicated, and we didn’t even have any alcohol! Seriously. He swore they put drugs in the food or something. Each slice of fish was like butter and there was such creativity in each of the dishes. Things you wouldn’t think to pair together, blended so well, and was like a party in your mouth. Ben and I stuffed ourselves silly! And even though I was as full as can be, I still ordered dessert and ate the whole thing by myself because dessert was just that amazing too. If you ever make it there, get their brussels sprouts and try everything on that sushi menu (and get dessert too)!

It’s a really nice place, and while it’s probably not practical to be ordering sushi there every week (at least not for us), it’s definitely worth the splurge. Plus, Ben and I aren’t ones to go out for date nights weekly or even monthly, so we are okay splurging on special dates like this once in awhile. Sometimes our motto is “Go big or go home,” only sometimes though (like once a year). That motto for sure gets applied to our gardening projects. Anyhow, it’s good to be able to have some time to enjoy each other and treat ourselves out! We loved it so much that we left with a Uchi cookbook and I’m definitely going to try to recreate some of the dishes.

See some previous visits to Austin here and here.



family meals: week 95

herb stuffed meatballs herb stuffed meatballs Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Herb Stuffed Meatballs. This is always a winner in our house. My friend, Reese, even jokingly refers to it as the “Bratcher Meatballs.” HA! We usually use the Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, but since it doesn’t use organic tomatoes, I think we are going to try something else. Anyone have an easy marinara recipe you can share?

Week of 1/19 – 1/23
Monday: Garlic Cheese Balls
Tuesday: Steamed Tilapia with Garlic and Ginger
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday:  Mushroom Burgers
Friday: Ceviche

I’ve been craving a Red Robin mushroom burger, and it’s been years since I had one. I just looked up the calories, since I used to eat that burger all the time back in high school and college, and my oh my, it’s a whoppin’ 961 calories! That doesn’t even include the fries and honey mustard I use to guzzle down with it. I’m definitely going to attempt to make my own (much healthier) version of it.





jean jean ms. tips citykid treehousekidandcraft-CAKIES.4.13 lotta sqapothecary entrance10


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