FAMILY: Summer Learning

Summer is about fun and relaxing, but we all know that if we don’t keep our little one’s brains active they can experience learning loss.  I’ve put together a bunch of things so that our Big Boy gets off to a good start when school is back in session.

Kids Travel Journal

1) Travel Journal

We will be traveling around Europe visiting relatives this summer.  A travel journal serves two purposes; a) it will help him record and remember the things he saw and did, b) it will encourage him to write.

Reading Bingo


2) Reading

There are different ways to get kids to read over the summer.  Our local library has a bunch of prizes kids can win depending on the number of days kids have read.  But my favorite is the Reading Bingo from Playful Learning. It encourages kids to read different types of books, different media and play word games.  Plus, it’s a game of Bingo, so you can win with all kinds of different combinations.

3) Activity Books

Summer Bridge books feel too much like homework to me, so I picked up a bunch of activity books that are more playful, like solving puzzles and finding clues.  It keeps the mind humming, but it’s more fun.

Eiffel Tower


4) Sightseeing

In no small part thanks to Minecraft and Lego, Big Boy has developed an interest in architecture.  He put up a poster in his room that features many famous buildings from around the world.  Since we are fortunate enough to be visiting a few of the cities where some of these buildings reside it will be really cool for him to experience these buildings in person.  His interest is in archicture, but it could just as easily be animals, or pastries.  The learning comes from experiencing new things in person.

What are your favorite ways to keep their little brains active?  Would love to know.

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Celebrate: Simple 4th of July

Last year we hosted a potluck BBQ with friends for 4th of July, but this year hubby and I are sneaking out of town for a few days and wont be around for this patriotic celebration.  My mother will be taking care of the boys, so I thought to myself what would be a nice simple way for her to acknowledge and celebrate the occasion with the boys, without getting into complicated party planning?

Step 1 would be to attend the local parade.  Nothing simpler than just showing up and getting into the spirit of things.  But once you get home, how do you keep the spirit alive?  I’ve narrowed it down to 3 simple things.

Simple July 4 , bunting banner, strawberry shortcake and sparklers.

1 | 2 | 3

My top picks: 1) a fun item to eat full of patriotic colors like this delicious cherry + blueberry shortcake; 2) nice simple and graphic decorations like this great free printable banner; 3) because the kids wont be staying up to watch the fireworks why not enjoy simple sparklers, every kid loves them.


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Vintage Finds: June 2015

Vintage lamp shades, hexagon mirrors, brass horse

Didn’t go to the flea market this month, but did just enough thrifting to keep this girl happy. What is it about the thrill of looking through junk to find an overlooked treasure that gets me each time?  This month my items are more decorative than useful.  I’ve mentioned before that I have a love for all things hex, so of course I couldn’t pass up this pair of vintage hex mirrors, though technically they are octagons.  I have no use for them, but at a mere $15 for the pair, I just couldn’t say no.  The brass horse was just $7 at a local rummage sale.  The rusted lamp shades were $7 each, not the greatest bargain, but I loved their ghost like appearance and worn patina; I think they could be cool like this.  $43 damage, I can live with that.

Again,  all these items would be perfect in my imaginary country house.  I think that if I buy enough stuff, somehow this imaginary country house will just materialize.  Mind over matter, or the power of visualization, something along those lines.

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Retail Therapy: Cozy Modern Fire Pit Roundup

When you think of California it is often accompanied by visions of sunshine.  So when you think of the Bay Area, most people think of it looking like this:



But in reality summers can often look like this:



So Hubby and I have been fantasizing about creating a cozy place to chillax around a fire pit.

firepit exterior


We often hang out in our backyard, but our front yard doesn’t see much action.  So, we’ve decided that the front yard, or more specifically the front porch, will be the ideal place to create a cozy and warm spot by the fire.

ReLocated_Living_Exterior_06 copy

I’ve been on the look out for clean lined, modern fire pits and thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

Modern Fire Pit Roundup


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Our final choice will be driven by a few factors: 1) Price – we are budget conscious and don’t want to spend too much, 2) Practicality – we are leaning towards propane, easy to shut off and safer around our kids, and 3) Design – of course design is important, but it is not the most important part of the mix.  We need it to comfortably fit our rectangular space, while allowing for a good amount of seating, plus we want it to serve as a table when not in use.  That’s a lot of requirements, I think all of these meet two of the three requirements, but none meet all three.

So, the search continues.  Which one is your favorite?

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Interior: Restful Traditional Colonial Bedroom

Traditional Indigo Bedroom Design

For this project I used a few existing elements in the homeowner’s bedroom to serve as my jumping off point, namely: indigo and carved wood.  With that as my starting point, I created the inspiration board above, featuring these two elements and kept the style more traditional/transitional to fit in with the rest of the home.  Once the design direction was established, I pulled together the pieces in a design board so that we could turn the vision into a reality.

Restful Traditional Transitional Colonial Bedroom Design Mood Board, Indigo, carved wood

What I love about this room is that while it is more traditional, the introduction of the dark carved wood and hammered metal lend the space a traveled look.  Here are the sources for this Restful Colonial Bedroom:

White drum semi-flushmount ceiling light, Bamboo Shades; Floral Curtain Panel; Ikat Slipper Chair; Carved Bench; Blue and Grey Rug; Nightstand rubbed Black; Table Lamp; Indigo Pillow; Lumbar Indigo Pillow; Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead detail;  Pierced Metal Stool used as a side table.

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