another year

2011 was a good, but tough year. It was a year where I saw my little kids become bigger people. We started our last little kiddie off in her brothers’ school, we visited wonderful places, and did lots of projects around the house and garden. We threw fun parties and started new traditions, and kept old ones. We worked really hard on our marriage and are better for it today because of it. We planted seeds of new goals that may take much longer to come to fruition, but seeds they are. We started thinking of travel plans for 2012, and 2013. We made even more changes in our diets and groceries and vowed to eat healthier, more organically, and locally grown. We purged and donated and cleaned, and realized that we pretty much have to continually do this or our neighbors will think we are hoarders. We attempted new skills and crafting and have ones that we haven’t even touched the surface for. We set goals of reading as a family and individuals. We are looking forward to the next year with a whole lot of hoping and planning and enjoying of the moments that seem to fly by too quickly.

This little blog here of mine has grown a lot too. It’s grown right with me, and I love this space more now than ever. I feel like this year I was able to enjoy it more, without the pressure of posting X amount of times or X amount of days. I share what I share here so that ultimately it can be in my blog books and the kids and I can look back and read all about the things we experienced and the conversations we had when our memories fail us. Thank you for taking this little ride here with me and my family. Thank you for enjoying the funny moments of my life. I love the comments I get on my blog. I read each and every one of them and they all make me smile. The fact you took the time out of your busy day to stop in here and check in on my little family, and even take the time to write means a whole lot to me.

So how did the blog do? Well, I had 235 posts. And who visits us? Usually I have between 100-150 visitors each day, but August 31st that doubled with 300 visits, thanks to my sweet daughter and her Alice party. My Life at Playtime was discovered by other blogs this year and we received more and more visits from these new sites. Where do these visitors come from? Mostly the United States, but the United Kingdom and India are very close behind. Who knew?! From North America, My Life at Playtime had visits from USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Within Europe we got visits from the UK, Greece, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Within South America, we had visits from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile and Colombia. Within Africa, we reached Namibia, South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, and Kenya. Asia brought us visits from India, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. We also had visits from Australia, New Zealand and Guam. Crazy no?! It kind of blew my mind.

We have 83 WordPress followers that receive emails/updates every time I post something new. And 18 subscribers in Google Reader, where my blog posts are immediately updated to their feed. I’m a huge fan of Google Reader. If you have a gmail account, and you read more than a handful of blogs, it’s the best and easiest way to keep track of blogs you follow. No clicking on their websites checking if something new has been posted. Google Reader is just one place you go for all your blog subscriptions and you can read all the new posts in one place. It’s a huge time saver. For me, I subscribe to over 80 blogs ranging from kids crafting, photography, cooking, home decor, travel, you name it. So if I had to sit and click on 80 different sites just to check if they posted something new, that’s a lot of time. Now I just go to my Reader and see only what’s new.

So there you have how this little space is doing. We can’t wait to start 2012 off with all of you! I promise it will be filled with fun and laughter, a few tears and rants, some awesome vacation trips, some fun crafting and house projects, and a whole lot of pictures of three kids named Gunnar, Sawyer, and Greta.

My Kids in B & W

Here’s the rest of the photos from the Ojai photo shoot they indulged me in back in November. This winter break has been extra fun. This morning Gunnar told me that this has been the best break ever. I kinda have to agree with him. Just the right balance of things to do and not do. Down time and fun time. We have been busy watching movies, so far we’ve seen Chipwrecked, Adventures of Tin Tin and We Bought a Zoo. We’ve been sleeping in and staying up late. We’ve had sleepovers and playdates. We’ve gone Go Kart racing and miniature golfing. We’ve seen our best friends extra. We’ve baked a lot. Entertained our friends with a chili and cornbread night. Played at the park. Visited the library. We’ve had our teeth cleaned. Had a couple days of winter camp at the rec center. Done lots of organizing and crafting. Shopped maybe just a little too much. And still on the agenda? 10 year check up. Ballet. Another playdate. Golf day with Papa. Special mama/Sawyer date. Straight hair for mama (seems long overdue if you ask me). And road trip!

homemade prezzies

Last year I was quite adventurous and made homemade peppermint bark, which was unbelievable but time consuming. But with only 2 days to go before winter break, and 3 kids’ classroom parties to volunteer in, I was crunched for time. So I simplified the bark making process and did only 1 layer, and did two options for toppings. One was classic peppermint, the other was crushed almonds and sea salt. The process was super super simple. We’re talking 30 minutes tops for the whole thing. I was inspired by this easy tutorial(she has such great ideas for gifts and packaging and parties), but since I didn’t have pistachios on hand, I decided to experiment a little. I ended up using some leftover mason jars as containers, and labeled with what I had on hand. I’m telling you this was time crunch people! I used card stock, a hole puncher and some washi tape. This little batch filled 7 mason jars worth. I passed them out to clients I had that day and some staff at the kids’ school. The one thing I would change is use chunkier salt. Probably the rock/Himalayan salt and crush it myself. The salt I used just wasn’t big enough. But everyone loved it, so I say that’s a success.

Instagram week 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. “mama, this is how french girls dress, so I’m going to wear this today” 2. besties day 3. for both of us 4. family dinner, no one wanted to cook 5. chow time 6. dentist office cleanings, for all 3 7. pressies i bought for myself 8. a game involving my 3 kids, a few shields and swords and an unsuspecting squirrel 9. twins 10. new poncho 11. movie time 12. daddy supplied crafting goodness for winter break 13. clients finished product from our photo shoot 14. kids’ annual art books 15. madewell, i could live in the store 16. first goal met, organized art closet 17. more daddy presents  of crafting goodness for the kids 18. finished craft “butterfly tiara” 19. first day of winter camp 20. december 23rd and 1 postal employee?? 21. gathering our mammoth gear together 22. anthropologie finds, thank you 50% off 23. chili supplies 24. friday dinner 25. along with a banana, blueberry and kale smoothie 26. romeo’s blog post 27. second goal met-organized sewing space 28. quite the face to wake up to on a saturday morning at 8am for babysitting 29. beautiful day in the palisades 30. my exercise buddy even if he did last only 10 minutes 31. saturday afternoon nap, he sure loves his uncle 32. dinner party with a red velvet cake 33. the girls partying it up 34. chili cooking begins 35. a sweet present to wake up to on a sunday morning 36. flower table settings for our chili night with friends 37. they’re getting longerrrr 38. chili fixings 39. a little MJ dance wii to complete the week

 

 

Romeo’s 10 Month Photo Shoot

While we were in Ojai we took advantage of the location and shot Romeo’s 10 month photos. Crazy that I was photographing Gunnar for his 10 year, and Romeo for his 10 month! And remember internet, I’m the younger sister! If you’d like to see more from Romeo’s photo shoot, head on over to my photo blog. While I’ve been on a break from this space I’ve been trying to update my photography site and get things current over there so head on over and take a peek of the rest of this boys’ adorableness.

week 2 instagram

I’m going to try to keep up with posting my Instagrams once a week while I take a break from this space. Instagram is like my little secret network. I absolutely love sharing my day with a small percentage compared with Facebook. When I do return to this space I have catching up to do. With things like homemade staff presents for our favorite people at the kids’ school, more Ojai photos, Romeo’s 10 month shoot, and other goodness. For now, my week in review.

1.  1.location for my last photo shoot 2. rainy day activity for a girly with a cold 3. he’s messy 4. dinner 5. new mousepad thanks to a school art fundraiser 6. thighs post pure barre 7. he was mesmerized at his cousin’s winter concert 8. party city line, what was i thinking?? 9. baking for one class party 10. and another 11. legos end up everywhere 12. decided to grow my bangs out 13. kindergarten gingerbread goodness 14. some lunch dates i need nothing else 15. last day of school celebration at yogurtland 16. snowflake crafting with the kids 17. decorating with our snowflakes 18. and some more 19. day one assembly handsomeness 20. modcloth dress ecstasy 21. day two handsomeness 22. family photo

signing off early

Hope you all have  a great weekend and some time off if that’s in the cards for you. Kids had their winter concert yesterday, celebrations today, and last day of school tomorrow. I am signing off to spend some time with them in their classrooms, and nursing Gunnar back to health. Poor kids isn’t feeling so hot, here’s hoping he makes it to his last day of school. Since December started there has only been 2 days where not one of my kids have either been home with me, been picked up early, or gone to school late. I don’t think I have looked forward to winter break so much in my life. I don’t mind kids home or kids at school, I can’t handle some kids here and others there, and figuring out how to get kids to and from school with a sick kid at home. I hate packing lunches for some and still making lunch for others. So I am looking forward to having all my babes home with me all at the same time, with nothing to pack, nowhere to be, and no germs to have to worry about making their way from other kids and classrooms into my home. I am looking forward to not sending out emails to classes and grades, volunteer reminders, and prepping art lessons. I think I am just as excited as the kids for the break from school. We plan on doing some baking, going to lots of movies, enjoying a day here and there (very minimally) of camp so mama can actually see clients, taking our annual ski/snowboard trip, hanging out with our friends, reading, staying warm because Los Angeles is freezing right now, and attempting to sleep in.

See you sometime in the next couple weeks!