smart phone shopping.

Well, not shopping for a smart phone, but shop with a smart phone, as in shop smartly with a smart phone.

It has been a two months since owning my first smart phone (and two months since I documented said life step with taking a picture of baby barf on my shirt)

I hate to admit it but I don’t really remember what life was like without one.

Just like I don’t remember having to do school reports with encyclopedias or actually having to call stores to find out if they had something in stock (kiss kiss Internet, kiss kiss)

So without further adieu, the three times my Droid Bionic with Verizon 4GLTE service saved my holiday sanity.

1) Cody wanted a really fancy face shaver for Christmas. Buying a really fancy face shaver for a man is like a man buying really fancy beauty products for a woman. He said the one he wanted was $300 and that it had the best reviews. So when I was at Costco I saw what I thought was the one he wanted for $180. I used the Barcode Scanner app to find out that, yes, it is in fact $300 in other stores and yes, it really is all it’s cracked up to be based on reviews on google. Face shaver? Check. (I also gave it to him early, because why keep giving yourself razor burn when there’s a really nice shaver you could be using. One reason I’m horrible with surprises.)

2) Addie asked Santa for a Password Journal. We call this the Santa fake out. She gives us a list of stuff she wants and then she hops up on Santa’s lap and tells him something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. I learned the hard way last year. I googled ‘password journal’ before Addie had even received her candy cane and found that yes, it is really a thing and bonus! IT’S THE HOT TOY OF 2011 GOOD LUCK FINDING ONE. You know it’s bad when they’re $20 more on Amazon than they’re supposed to be. I set out to find the password journal in the store only to get laughed at in the first two stores. It’s as if I had asked for a gold plated pony “Good luck lady.” is all I heard. At the third store I was told that maybe another store had them, I looked up the other store, called them and found out that YES! they have them! Within three minutes I had a beat on a password journal and turn by turn directions to the store that contained it. (I was even able to tweet ‘SUCCESS!’ after I had the thing in possession.)

See also: Addie is not allowed to ask for “The hot toy of 20–” ever again.

3) Amazon had black Friday deals that went live every 15 minutes. I had my eye on several Blu-Ray discs for Cody, normally $30, on sale for $5. Of course I couldn’t tell him “Sorry I can’t go to the store with you, I have to buy you a deeply discounted DVD you’ve wanted forever in 3…2…” That would have really ruined the surprise. So thanks to my phone I was able to buy two DVDs with one click  each while out and about running errands without Cody even KNOWING.

My old phone certainly couldn’t do that.

Disclosure: Thanks to Verizon wireless for providing me with a Motoroloa Droid Bionic with 4GLTE service to facilitate my review experience.

just like THAT.

my girls.
little ladies.
my baby and me.
Does anything go faster?

I think not.

{baby babble} Wait, that is NOT Your Baby.

Several people have admired the pewter tree on my mantle with it’s tiny “leaf” frames. Inside each frame is an adorable photo of an aunt, an uncle, the family dog, grandparents, siblings and parents. I honestly get compliments on it all the time. “What a great family! What a great frame! What a great idea!” I also have three frame ornaments on my tree, one holds a photo of baby’s first Christmas in 2004, baby’s first Halloween and baby’s first Christmas in 2011. Chubby little babies in costumes and holiday trimmings framed in Hallmark glory and hung on pine.

The only problem?

Not a single one of the photos is someone I’m actually related to.

Let alone a child I’ve birthed.

Continue reading my ridiculous confessions on babble…

{big babble} 12 Funky and Fun Birthday Cakes

Addie’s birthday is on December 14th, which in theory doesn’t sound like Christmas at all. In reality December 14th is eleven days before Christmas. From Addie’s very first birthday I have made every effort to keep her birthday and Christmas completely separate. Before December 15th our Christmas tree is a “birthday tree” and houses only presents wrapped in non-holiday paper.

I have made her a cake every year and it is generally the centerpiece of the entire day. I had one very fancy birthday cake when I was little and I remember it very well. I have a treasured picture of me behind my teddy bear cake with a giant toothless grin on my 7th birthday. I keep a lot of things simple but birthday cakes? Not so much. I have made three princess cakes (complete with fondant skirts and Barbies sticking out of them) and this year is no different.

Continue reading on Babble…

Also on big babble…do you post embarrassing photos of your older kids?

worn hands, lovely gifts.

My dad has worked with wood my entire life. (Pretty much his entire life as well.)

my daddy.

His hands are rough and worn from various tools taking their toll on his hardworking fingers for the last 40 years.

I can still remember lying in his lap asking him about each cut, scar, smashed fingernail and bump on each of his hands.

Addie’s room holds a tiny little chair he made for me when I was little.

My clothes are housed in a dresser he made for me when I was Addie’s age.

Some of my most prized treasures are held in a cabinet he made me for my 12th birthday.

My Christmas tree has always been full of ornaments he learned to make in Germany while in the Army.

My laptop is sitting on an adjustable table he made me earlier this year.

Handcrafted by Ken-3662

He just had his first etsy shop sale and he’s pretty excited about it. I helped him out by taking photos that hopefully do his little (and big) treasures justice.

My dad makes stuff with his hands. He always has. He has a gift with wood and an attention to detail that has won him several awards and ribbons.

I don’t really expect you to get all caught up with the sentimentality I have with my daddy, but I do ask that you support handmade whenever and wherever you can. You’ll be buying from real people, people with daughters like me and granddaughters like Addie and Vivi.

my daddy holding my baby.

Grandpas who have dreams of attending the master class in marquetry at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking right here in Indiana. It may cost a little more but it has a story and was made by someone in their garage turned wood shop off the back of their house. There’s a good chance it was produced to the music of the Moody Blues as well.

Handcrafted by Ken-3698

If you have an ornament tradition like we do, my daddy makes some pretty swell ones. Trucks, trains, planes and toboggans holding tiny little presents are all available for purchase in his little etsy shop as well as the laptop table and a lovely mission style mirror that uses mortise and tenon joints. Need something more specific? He can make it for you. Promise. Message him, he’s a super friendly guy.

Handcrafted by Ken-3834

He’s offering all of you a 20% discount on everything in his shop through next week…just use the code ‘MOOSH20’ at checkout.

You can go ahead and tell him I sent you, and that nobody makes popcorn better than him.

Buy stuff from people, not machines.

Ornaments by my Daddy.


cats, pies and paws.

These cats have been around for almost a month now.

Percy walked in from day one and pretty much owned the place. He’s had a few struggles, first there were the worms, then he somehow got a huge laceration on his neck that got infected. He had to have an antibiotic shot, his neck shaved and when it still wasn’t better a week later he had to get a steroid shot. Today’s the first day it really seems better. Ironic that he was the full price cat with all his body parts intact and he’s the one giving us trouble.

dapper cat is tired.

Percy always looks annoyed. It’s part of his charm. He’ll amuse you until he’s done amusing you and he likes to hide under the couch (or anything else he can fit behind) and attack my feet as I walk past. He has a gift for completely disappearing despite two grown ups and a six year old looking for him for over thirty minutes and he spends a majority of his time in his Percy perch. Wink will sit in his perch on occassion and Percy will just stand to the side, staring down Wink with his highly unamused face.

dapper cat is festive.

Percy’s furballs were nipped later in life so he developed these thick jowls that make him a super handsome cat, everyone who knows cats agrees he’s a looker.

dapper cat is posing dapperly.

Wink likes to drape his mitts over things. Maybe they don’t fold up under him compact enough or maybe he knows how important his mitts are, having royal family down at the Hemingway house and all. Or it could just be that he knows his thumbs make some of your very nervous and he likes to see you squirm.

wink rests his mitts.

wink rests his mitts.

wink in his manly bed

Wink sleeps by me most nights, curled up and purring against my back. He likes to be wherever the baby is during the day and will follow her from room to room until she goes to bed. He’s a bit of a beggar cat. When I cook he sits in the kitchen with this forlorn “Clearly I’ve had a very rough life as evidenced by my one eye so drop some of that pie my way sooner rather than later.”

wink and the pie

If they ever made a Godfather movie starring cats? Wink would totally be Vito.

Life is totally better with these two creatures around, I think they like it here too, even though Vivi tries to pull them up by their whiskers and rolls on top of them regularly.

I’m such a cat lady.

wink says "How YOU dooin'?"

{big babble} 10 Ways to Transform Your Kid’s Artwork into Keepsakes

Kids say the darndest things, but they draw the most awesome things. If I were to keep every little bit of artwork that passed through my front door I’d have to own approximately 189 refrigerators to display it all.

Find out about 10 shops that turn kid’s artwork into treasures…


Also on big babble…my kid sneaks out of bed at night to feed her bookish nature.

{baby babble} Baking With Babies. Today? Zebra Cake.

By now almost everyone is familiar with Pinterest. A site full of the most beautiful of whatever you happen to be looking for. I have a board for Vivi, a board for Addie and a board where I have ‘pinned’ things I have tried. My goal is to attempt at least one ‘pin’ a week. So far all but one have been a raging success. I’ve enlisted Addie’s help where I can and when she saw a striped cake? She was all for it. Yesterday we were having several guests over for dinner and I figured it would be the perfect time to try out the infamous Pinterest zebra cake.

Continue reading on babble…

Also on baby babble…ten things I already miss about my baby.