Sense of Wonder

{Lucky Me}
"The world, seen through the eyes of a child, is a delicious, irresistible place.  And, for the moment, anyway, I am the lucky adult companion of two little boys, my own sense of wonder renewed each time we step out the door and look around us."
-Katrina Kenison, Mitten Strings for God

Just had to share.  And just for the record...we are potty training, which will explain the lack of pants.

Oh, and don't forget to look find your reflection in the window!

Love, Toad

Simple Things Sunday: A Hand of Sand

{A Hand of Sand}
Rocks, dirt, sand, water, & a bunch of running...a young boy's bliss.  Some may hate when their kids get messy and dirty, but I think its wonderful.  So authentic.  My boys crave it. 

Our world bombards our kids with so much all of the time & we can't afford to let them forget how to really play. On their own. No winning or losing, no looking for batteries to the remote.  Remember when the days of summer lasted forever?  We always found our own "fun"...even if it was making slippy slides out of black tarp or trying to build a pool out of 2 X 4's.  Making up games like "Jail Break" filled hours and hours of summer afternoons and evenings.  

So here's to helping our kids (& ourselves) find our own fun this summer!  

This photo was added to Simple Things Sunday...

{CA Beach in May}
Our family doesn't do crowds.  Okay, let me rephrase that...unless you want to see 2 fiesty boys that can't keep their hands off of eachother, a miserable husband, and a sassy wife...we avoid crowds at all costs. :)  That's why you'll find us in Southern CA in May instead of August, get take out instead of taking a number, and at Legoland instead of Disneyland.  (It will be a miracle if I can get the husband to go back to the Magic Kingdom...even if we go in the off season he hates it!  I know, how unAmerican can you get? :))

So May is our time.  Any excuse I have to hit the road, I'll take it.  This time my mission was to head back to the Fashion District in LA for some of those Shabby Flowers to embellish those Camera Coats with!  Fortunately Ethan's 1st grade teachers support "family time" and when we pulled him out of school for the week I didn't feel too guilty.  Besides, I've missed him being at school all day this year.  

I've also realized that one reason I love to travel with the boys is because is SO easy to reconnect with them.  Taking us out of our regular routine is so healthy for us & spending that time together is priceless. 

Here's part 1 of the trip.  I just got some new Actions (its what they use in Photoshop to make photos looks so great) and I love them!  They are from Flora Bella.  What do you think?!

What do you do to reconnect with your family? Let's hear it!

Love, The Toad

Outdoor Gear...Ready for Summer?

If you weren't up at 6:45 AM and watching KSL on Tuesday (wink, wink)...don't worry! Here's the run down & how to get a hold of these little prizes!  

{Little Griddle}

Little Griddle is a line of heavy duty grill-top griddles that shatters all the conventional limits on cooking outside on your grill, allowing virtually anything to be cooked on any grill. There is a Little Griddle to fit any shape or size grill, round or rectangular, large enough to cook meals like a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, bacon and pancakes, a lunch of philly cheesesteaks or a dinner of the day’s catch, stir fry, burgers with sautéed onions, and so forth. Griddle your salmon filets with your favorite seasonings; there is no need to wrap them in foil. You can even bake cookies and pizza on your grill. It cleans up easily right on the grill, no need to wash in kitchen sink. $69.99 - $449.99 depending on size.

{ThermaCELL Patio Lantern}

The ThermaCELL Patio Lantern is the best option for keeping mosquitoes and other insects away. The Patio Lantern is both a powerful insect repellent device and a stylish outdoor lantern, with both functions being usable separately or together. Providing a 15x15 ft mosquito-free zone, it is 98% effective (tested and used by the Department of Defense and the United States Army), making it the most effective insect repellent device on the market. It is also non-toxic, safe and non-intrusive, being DEET-free, silent, portable and odor free. Retails for $29.99

{Rolf Glass}

Rolf Glass is the only line of affordable cut and etched/engraved glass made in North America. Combining state of the art robotics with the traditional craft of glass cutting and engraving, Rolf Glass is able to produce pieces of even higher quality and workmanship than the custom work of glass artisans at the same price as low-quality overseas manufacturers.


PlaceTiles are stylish erasable ceramic accent labels, perfect as table place cards for guests or as a descriptive accessory for each dish being served.  Great for outdoor use to avoid dish or seating labels from blowing over or away in the breeze.  No more cheap paper or plastic tags, PlaceTiles are a nice, personalized finishing touch for a dinner party, reception or any gathering, giving the VIP treatment to guests and highlighting each dish. Retails for $35 - $43 for a set of 6


Drink-N-Plate is a durable reusable, dishwasher-safe combo plate and drink holder that is perfect for all outdoor settings. Held with one hand, the Drink N' Plate is a combination of plate and drink holder, allowing the entire meal to be carried conveniently and easily. $24 per pack of 8. 

And the winner of the Drink N' Plate is Heather! Congrats!

{Ready for Summer?!}

I am!
Love, Toad

Drink N' Plate: Win It

{Together At Last}
Forget the black Sharpe marker on the red plastic cup at your next bbq.  I'm not joking.  Just like peanut butter & jelly, babies & milk, moms & sleep, & 1st graders & recess...your cup and plate belong together.

Its true. And you can have some of your own!  Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite food at a BBQ is & you'll be entered to win!

If you'd like to see more, watch KSL at 6:45 AM tomorrow (yeah, that's early...believe me) and you can see a little Toad on TV! I'll be sharing some other fun items for your next outside gathering too!  Pray that my alarm goes off!

All item details (like where to find the items) will be coming in my next post!  Including that awesome cotton laminate tablecloth!!

A soon to be very tired Toad.

The Marge in Africa

Marge, The Marge, Margie, MargeThai...all refer to one lovely younger sister: Margo.  My sassy, single sister who is always up to something great.  

She is currently teachingat a middle school & I'm sure that her students love her.   She just sent me this picture...they made those fun flowers  (from this post)  in class last week! 

Unfortunately for her students, I think her teaching days may be coming to end sooner than later. Marge is graduation with her MBA his summer! Go Margo!

{Off to Africa}
With a degree in Linguistics, she speaks fluent Thai & you can usually find her in Asia sometime during the year.  (She gives tours if your interested.) But in a few weeks she'll be heading to Africa!  

But she's not just going for the scenery!  She's going to do a little good while she's there.

Heather (pictured below) is a friend who lived over there for 4 years and helped develop a school.  (So awesome.)  Marge will be going with Heather and taking a bunch of stuff to the kids.  They will also be taking them on a field trip if they can raise the funds.

If you're interested in helping them out please go to Margo's blog for all of the details! I know any donations will be much appreciated and put to good use!

Good luck and love you Marge!
Love, Toady

Feelin' Lucky?

{Mega Giveaway}
Feelin' lucky? Camera Coats was invited to be a part of this great giveaway party!  

1. Black Polka Dot Brilla from Evy's Tree  2. Vintage Bow Tie Clutch from Rags to Stitches  3. $50 worth of hair tye product from The Tye 4. Hoop Art Piece from Knitty Bitties 5. Two month of large ad space from Sew Caroline 6. $30 gift certificate from Camera Coats 6. $25 gift certificate from Glitter and Gloss

This totals nearly $300 worth of winnings!

See anything that catches your eye?  Head on over to Ivy's Tree Blog to enter.
{For some weird reason I can't get the rafflecopter to work on my blog...darn it.}

You'll use the rafflecopter on Amy's blog...just make sure to follow each shop on twitter and like each shop on facebook. Don't have twitter or facebook? No problem, just leave a blog comment! :)
Just remember...if you leave a blog comment make sure to tell rafflecopter you did as blog comments alone will not be counted!

Good luck & may the odds be ever in your favor!
Love, Toad

Giveaway ends May 31, 2012.

Simple Things Sunday: Brotherly Love

{Magic of Motherhood}
For 24 weeks I throw up.  (I now know that Zofran is not just for those going through chemotherapy...bless each and every one of them.)  I literally want to die for 37 weeks.  I have bulimics teeth that are sure to fall out one day.  Crying in bed has never been the same.  And to this day I still get nauseous in February or when I smell a Cesar Salad at Chili's.  

And why?

To be a mother. 

Little did I know that it would be so much more than changing diapers, wiping noses, & bedtime stories.  These two little boys have transformed me into more than I ever thought I could be.  And that's simply magical.

My Simple Things Sunday photo is simply my babies who can't keep their hands off of each other.  Happy, healthy, and I love them more than I ever knew was possible.

{Unexpected Sweetness}
On the way to the Farmer's Market yesterday I got the best mother's day gift ever.

Me: "It's such a beautiful day!"
Ethan: "Just like you."

The countdown to summer is officially on...and then I get him back!  And I can't get enough of those sweet freckles on his nose.

{Words of Wisdom}
Living in the moment.  In the world of mothering its called different things..."being present", "in tune", "connected".   Feeling like I'm there for me kids...not just physically, but mentally & spiritually, has always been high on this Toad's priority list, but this book "Mitten Strings For God" has reaffirmed just how vital it is.  

My new friend Amanda Oaks (You'll be hearing more about her in future post for sure! She's one of those women you can't learn enough from!) keeps these on hand to give to people.  (So cool.) Last time I saw her she gave me one & I've devoured it. 

So, if you're hungry for a good read or feel like you're just running around like crazy and want some good motivation to slow down your life for you & your kids...

Oh, and bless all of you women who make such a difference in the lives of so many...and thank-you.
Love, Toady

Free Shabby Dish Drying Towel Tutorial Printable Booklet

{Shabby Dish Towel Tutorial}
Shabby. Gotta love it!  
Not only is it super cute, but makes our lives so much easier.  Well, as least our crafty lives. :)

I threw together this shabby step by step picture tutorial just in time for Mother's Day. I think you might like it. 

I love my dish drying towels.  Every time I pull a wet dish out of the dishwasher and place it on that cute towel on my counter it makes me happy.  I hate drying dishes.  Okay, I hate doing dishes altogether, but we won't get into that now! :)

Grab 3 coordinating prints, some contrasting thread, and go for it!  What dish doer in your life wouldn't want of these sweet things?!

Its a simple tutorial that would be great for those of us that may not have years of experience sitting at a sewing machine (or need to use the manual on a regular me.:)

I don't have time to post the entire tutorial right now, but you can print out this free booklet that will show you how to do it!

Okay, not THIS booklet (you won't be sewing an owl)...but it will look something like this when you print it out and staple it together.:)  I'll get a picture of the booklet for you as soon as I have one!:)

You can download and print the free step by step picture tutorial booklet here!

Have fun!

Creative Gifts {Lady Style}

{Toad's Sweet Gifts}
Looking for great easy gifts?  Here you go!

Meaningful Picture:
Shopping for my mother-in-law can be tricky, so last year I thought I'd do something a little bit different.  She is an avid gardening woman & spends hours in her yard with her plants.  When these tulips came up last year I snapped a snot, stuck it in a little dollar store frame, wrapped it with a ribbon, and gave it to her on Mother's Day. 

She's still talking about it.

If you have a crafty, sewing type mom fabric would be a great gift! Its especially fun if you get coordinating prints like these ones from Riley Blake.  

Of course, my personal fave. The best thing to hit the market for your camera since the lens cap.

Send those kids out to get some stick and make something pretty with them!  Click on the picture for the tutorial.

Made one of these for my gram and she loved it. Click on the picture for the tutorial.

Complete with printable flowers. 

Can't go wrong with a quick & cute apron!  You can see my step by step via the Riley Blake Cutting Corners 101 website. 

Made this for my dad one year, but it would be great for anyone who needs to organize anything!

Hope that helps! 
Love ya!

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