Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Yesterday my husband brought me home tulips for Mother's Day. Isn't it amazing what fresh flowers do for a table and for a room? The whole room came alive with just that simple addition.

My kids, not to be outdone, decided to write messages for me on our driveway. I'm sure they don't realize this but the better gift was those two playing together in peace. My oldest and my youngest, ohhhh the arguments they have, always bugging one another. Thirty minutes of playing with no arguing, no teasing, no shoving......yup, now that's a perfect Mother's Day present right there.

To all my blog readers that are lucky enough to be celebrating this weekend with their precious children, whether they are playing peacefully or not, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cottage Gardening

Ever since we moved into this house 4 years ago, I've been slowly working on curb appeal and landscaping....painting, planting perennials, trimming, and dreaming. It's a slow process due to budget constraints but eventually I know I'll have the cottage garden I dream of.

Last year I had a woman come to my house to pick something up that I listed on craigslist. As we walked to the backyard she looked at the small space by the side of my house and said, "Your garden is so pretty."


It was such a simple compliment but it meant so much to me. She thought I had a pretty garden....not just a random collection of plants thrown together, a garden. To someone like me who has trouble putting plants together, it was a moment of pride.

I'll continue planting in my garden this summer, making our little yard shine just a bit more. And someday....just someday, I'll be staring at a garden like the ones above.


1. Martha Stewart

2. Country Living

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A few months ago I was approached to review product for a website called NOVICA. The website was new to me and I had a great time browsing through the entire site, I'm pretty sure I looked at every category. After much deliberation, I settled on jewelry. My choices were the rose quartz beaded bracelet and the gorgeous necklace you see below called Snow Blossom. It's white, shocking, I know......

I took a little while to do my review because I wanted to wear the items and give an accurate review. After ordering, the package came quickly. The items came in such pretty boxes that, if you were ordering as a gift, would require no wrapping.

After wearing both pieces, I can tell you that I am absolutely thrilled. The quality is wonderful, they are beautiful and I have received a ton of compliments on the necklace. I can wear my Snow Blossom necklace with a dressy outfit or spruce up a basic jeans and t-shirt day.

There are many different sections to browse such as, Home Decor, Furniture, Handbags, Tableware and Corporate Gifts .

If you are looking for handmade items that are created with care, I would recommend this site to my blog readers.

From their mission statement:

"We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow. "

Happy Shopping!!

fair trade corporate gifts
Novica Live
green gifts

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter from our family to yours!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Dreaming

Picture Source

Picture Source

It's cold and snowing here on this April 1st! Welcome to Pennsylvania! This weather has me down so I needed some perking up with pretty pictures that remind me of spring. The real spring, not this white, wet, cold stuff we're doing now.

How's the weather where you live?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Growing Up

This little boy is officially registered for Kindergarten 2011-2012! It's a sad thought that he'll be in school a full day next year. He's the youngest and when the youngest goes to school, there are officially no more babies in the house. No more lazy mornings spent in pajamas, no more lunches out with his mama, no more random trips to Target to get him a toy "just because."

Nope, he'll be with the big kids. I'm going to enjoy every last minute of this school year while he's still home.

I'm going to miss that dimpled face of his when he's in school.

My baby is growing up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Granola Take 2

Okay I'm probably boring you right now with two granola bar posts but I made the new ones yesterday and wanted to post before I forgot. They were a hit with the kids! I did replace the raisins in the recipe with chocolate chips. My kids just will not eat raisins. You could probably starve them for a week and they still wouldn't touch them.

The recipe calls for quite a bit of oil which isn't a big deal for the kids but for us adults that are watching our calories, there are suggestions in the comments for replacing it with peanut butter, applesauce, etc. to cut down. They are more like dessert than granola bars.

You can find the recipe HERE . Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Granola Bars

Lately I've been trying to replace much of the prepackaged food we eat with homeade. It tastes better and cuts down on the amount of preservatives the kids eat. Also, it makes me feel dumb when I eat things with ingredients that I can't pronounce. The kids have stolen enough of my brain cells, I don't have many more to spare.

This week I tried these granola bars and while hubby and I loved them, kids weren't too thrilled. They are more of the Kashi variety than the Quaker type. I found another recipe that I hope will be more kid friendly and I'll post that one too assuming it's not a complete disaster.

I can't remember where I found this recipe, I believe the Food Network:

Granola Bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used less)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8x12 baking dish.

2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

3. Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees.

4. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the chocolate chips, apricots and cranberries and stir well.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool 2-3 hours before cutting.

* I lightly pressed them down again when they came out of the oven.
* Cook longer for a more crispy bar, shorter for a chewy bar.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back To Reality

So last Monday Hubby and I were married 11 years, wow! More than a decade, that sounds like a long time to me. My parents offered to watch the kids for us Saturday night so we could go out and celebrate. They even volunteered to take them overnight and no way were we arguing with that. We went to a delicious Italian dinner and stuffed ourselves silly till we couldn't walk and the garlic smell was radiating all the way to Canada. (For local readers, we went to Mama Nina's, Main St., Bethlehem-excellent food!) After dinner we met my cousins and some friends for a couple drinks and for a few blissful hours managed to forget we had any responsibilities other than letting loose for a bit. We also managed to forget that we are 30 somethings and not 20 somethings anymore....but that is a whole other post.

After I drove us home (I only had one drink people, we are of the don't drink and drive responsible types.) we shuffled in the house completely exhausted because we're not used to being out that late. We were literally thisclose to glorious slumber when the phone rang. Let me tell you, when your phone rings at 2 a.m., it ain't gonna be good. No matter how you cut it, something is terribly wrong. And it was. Poor Ella was sick and my poor parents had been cleaning up vomit and attempting to not bother us for hours. How awesome are my parents? They were dealing with a sick child and were worried about ruining our night. They are all kinds of awesome. But Ella was crying for her own bed so off we went to pick our baby up.

And back to reality.....

With Ginger Ale.

She's feeling much better so far today and so far so good on everyone else.

Completely unrelated, I went to TJ Maxx last week and they had these bird plates. I thought they were sweet so I grabbed just the one for display....

What are your plans for this Monday? Did you remember to turn your clocks ahead? I feel like it takes days to adjust to the time change here!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Blog Got The Memo

That Valentine's Day is really over. I've been wanting to post for spring for a while but just needed a break. I always feel more motivated to blog after stepping back for a bit. Plus, we finally replaced our broken laptop and blogging is a ton easier without trying to edit pictures on a computer that may as well be prehistoric (that's 8 in computer years in case you were wondering).

One thing I love about having a neutral home is how easy it makes it to decorate for holidays. Just a few bits of seasonal color here and there and things start looking festive pretty quickly. Plus having kids makes a huge impact on holiday decor over here. I started off doing very neutral spring and Easter items, white bunnies, neutral colored eggs, vintage know what I mean. But then something crazy happened....the kids started complaining. Yeah, imagine that. They wanted pastels, plastic eggs, spring colors, fun things to look at.

And even though sometimes it makes me cringe, I realized, this is their home too. So now I let them pick out a few things and it isn't much but to see how excited they get when the holidays change around here is worth throwing a few ugly plastic eggs in jar.

White bunnies living in harmony with bright Easter's like a Hallmark card.

*The brown bunny in the top pic came from TJ Maxx, as well as the yellow place mat. White ceramic bunnies from Hobby Lobby (how much do you love that store, seriously?).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Angry Valentine

An Angry Valentine

If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll yell, I'll bite
I'll cry aloud, I'll start to whine
If you won't be my Valentine.

I'll frown and fret, I'll mope and pine, and
It will serve you right---
If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll yell, I'll bite!

~Myra Cohn Livingston
(From the book Valentine Poems)

I started putting up some Valentine's Day decorations. Since I don't use much red for Christmas, I love the pop of red this time of year. A perfect excuse to add color to my normally neutral home.

I'd say I love decorating for Valentine's Day but really, I love decorating for any time of year. I love switching out decor, moving things around and bringing a fresh touch to our home. It just makes me smile. Kind of like that silly poem. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ella's Nest Open for Business!

My mom and I have opened an Etsy shop! Our shop will be combination of vintage finds and crafts. It will be a mix, something for everyone. I've begun to stock it this weekend and instead of doing a big Grand Opening, I'm giving a discount to my lovely blog readers. Enter the code GRANDOPENING and receive 15% off your order before shipping.

I'm excited for this new venture, especially because I'll be sharing it with my mom.

Come check us out! :)

Ella's Nest