Tuesday, December 9, 2014

tweetpotatopie etsy shop is OPEN!!!!!

the tweetpotatopie etsy shop is officially re-open
and stocked to the brimmity-brim with
goodies for you!!!

of course, there's a full supply of my vintage blue
traveling mason jars...
but look closely...
look vewy, vewy closely.
your eyes are not playing tricks on you.
tweetpotatopie traveling mason jars have a new
and very, very improved lid!!!
i'm so excited to announce that i've been able to source my lids through the folks at 
the mason bar company.
these lids are gonna rock.your.socks.
prepare to be impressed.
all one piece, smooth design, dishwasher-safe...
like mary poppins...
practically perfect in every way.

the shop has vintage {not the newer reproductions} blue jars
in both quart and pint sizes...
limited-edition vintage clear traveling mason jars...
glass straws and straw-cleaning brushes...

and one more thing...

i searched high and low for the perfect bags to offer for 
you to gift with your mason jar tumblers...
friends, you're going to love these handy little burlap totes i found.
they're hand-decorated {by yours truly} and theeeeee ideal 
size for a mason jar.

there's still plenty of time to shop for christmas...
or to just plain ole treat yo'self, for that matter!

stop on by!
i'd love to have you there!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

thrifty gifty {a fabulous idea...a coupon code...AND A GIVEAWAY!!!}

a few weeks ago, my friend and i spent a saturday morning at a craft fair not too far from my home.
we usually grab a cup of coffee, browse while sipping and chatting, doing more talking than spending, but having a great time, nonetheless.

i spent rather little that day, but near the end of the "circuit," i happened upon a jewelry booth that caught my attention.  that's unusual, since i rarely buy jewelry, much less at a craft fair.

not only did i walk away from the lillyan lou booth with one necklace, i ended up purchasing two.

i've never seen anything like these antler necklaces before and immediately fell in love with their design.

the short one is simple, lightweight...perfect for wearing with your everyday flannel and jeans.

the long one looks great worn alone...
but i especially enjoy bunching it together with some of my other favorite pendants...

a few days later, after i'd already worn the necklaces several times in the space of less than a week, i contacted karmen and asked if she'd be interested in doing a giveaway to my readers.  i was especially excited when she agreed to do so--this is a product that i hand-picked for myself, and i was so eager to share it with you!

i'm going to be perfectly honest with you, i pinch pennies nearly any place i can.
even during the gift-giving frenzy of the holidays, i try to maximize the mileage i get from every dollar.
i was thoroughly impressed with karmen's price point...i love that i can recommend her shop to you, knowing that you're going to be so pleased with how far you're able to stretch your gift-buying money.  she's got it filled to the brim with goodies--vintage-inspired antique bronze necklaces {see the key necklace i'm wearing above?}, felt hairclips for your little girl...all sorts of accessorizing treasures!

what's even better???
karmen is offering 20% off to tweetpotatopie readers...
get this...
through the end of december!!!
simply use code tweetpotatopie in her etsy shop during your checkout process and you'll save big $$$!

and just in case that wasn't enough, you have the chance to win a lillyan lou long antler necklace for yourself!
it'll be like christmas-come-early!!!

here's how to enter the giveaway:
1. go to karmen's etsy shop, lillyan lou, and pick out your favorite item...she has such great things to choose from!
2.  come back here and leave a comment stating what your favorite piece in her shop is.  please be sure to leave your email address with your comment.  comments without email addresses with be disqualified.
3. for an extra entry, follow @lillyanlou and @tweetpotatopie on instagram and come back and leave a separate comment stating that you did so.  again, please be sure to leave your email address with your comment.  comments without email addresses with be disqualified.  

winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email tuesday morning {12/8}.


giveaway closed!!!
sarah ann, you're the winner!!!
i'll be emailing you later today.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

how to get it all done

maybe you're not like me.

but, i'll tell you, this is the kind of thing that happens to me at this time of year.

i start scrolling through instagram...
or leafing through magazines...
or browsing through blogs...
and i see the crafts that she's doing...
and the meals that she's making...
and the goodies that she's baking...
and the holiday decor that she's already put up...
and the elaborate table settings...
and the intricate centerpieces, complete with coordinating place cards...

and i begin to berate myself
and beat myself up
and ask myself, "how does she do it all?"
implying, of course, that the hypothetical "she" does do it all...
and i, of course, fall short, come up lacking, and do not do it all.

i try to always present an honest and open front, especially on social media.
i don't think i come across as a bright and shining example of how a perfect life looks, but that doesn't really matter, does it?
because when we're out to compare ourselves, anyone and everyone looks more "with it" than we do, right?

how do i do it all?

here's how...
this is what the rug by my back door looks like right now.
it rained this weekend.
and by "it rained this weekend," i mean it rained ALL weekend.
that is mud on the rug {and on the door, i'm noticing now}.  not dirt.
that rug is toast.  gone.  kaput.  garbage.
but i refuse to change it out until thursday morning.
i'll want a nice, clean one there for our thanksgiving company...
i'm not going to drive myself batty putting down a clean one now and trying to keep it clean until thursday.  no way, no how.
if you stop by my house between now and thursday, expect to be greeted at the back door by this sight.
not really.

and this is what it looks like in my living room.
i'm sure the littles are playing incredibly educational games on those electronics, right?
hmmmmm...probably not.
judging from the, "addie!  don't burn my house down!" i just heard, i'd guess that they're "connected" on minecraft.
{not that i really have any clue what that means, mind you.  minecraft is above my pay grade, evidently.  i'm clueless.}

and those bags?
those are filled with supplies for the next batch of christmas tree trucks that i'm making.
i don't have a studio.
hey, i don't even have a dedicated craft table.
so my craft supplies end up here and there and everywhere...
until the project at hand is finished and i gather them up and stow them away.

and if you were standing and staring at that big pile of shopping bags and then turned to your left, this is what you'd see...
that's our fabulous vintage record player...
buried under packaging supplies, boots waiting to be listed on ebay, and an antique printer's drawer ready to be shipped to a friend.

the bathroom?
the bathroom is spotless.
i know that because i had to inspect it three times before it reached "spotless" status.
but still, eleven-year-olds aren't great at remembering to put away the vacuum.  or empty the mop-water bucket, for that matter.
so, while the bathroom is spotless, the vacuum sits in the middle of the hallway.

and since mommy had to work today {work at home, granted, but still work}, the littles occupied themselves for some of the day in their room.
and it shows.
they also spent over an hour outside in the wet, slushy snow.
i won't even show you the mound of laundry that created.
and in the interest of full disclosure, i should probably admit that all these photos were taken as i strolled through my house at 5:12.
in the evening.
in my pajama pants.
yes, i've made it a goal to get dressed daily.
like, ready-to-leave-the-house dressed.
but it didn't happen today.
it just didn't.

and eden...
eden dressed herself.
stripes match stripes, right?
seems like good logic to me.

you see, this is how i get it all done.
i. don't.
and neither does "she." and neither can you.

oh, you may never get to see her muddy back-door mat.
you might not get to see her five-in-the-afternoon pajama ensemble, or her stack of unruly shopping bags.
she may never show you her mis-matched toddler or her mis-placed vacuum, or her messy bedrooms.

but they're there.
they may manifest themselves differently.
but they're there.

we all have to choose what "gives"...

today, my rug and my bedrooms and my clothing choices and my clutter tolerance all had to "give"...
and because they "gave," i was able to ship several hundred dollars worth of merchandise.

i'm all for a pretty instagram feed.
there's enough negative in life...
i like instagram for the fact that it {mostly} showcases the nice, the pretty, the positive in our days.
but just remember, that's what social media is--the highlight reel.
i've heard it said before, and it's so, so true--you cannot take your life, complete with cuts and outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, and compare it with someone else's highlight reel.

you already know most of this, right?
but sometimes it just takes someone saying, "see? my house has dirty spots, too.  and i have clutter piles, too.  and some days, i end up still in my jammies at dinnertime, too."
sometimes it just takes someone else admitting that they don't get it all done.
that's me. both hands in the air.
i'm admitting it.  i don't get it all done.  not even close.  
i'm that someone for you today.

my challenge for you?
go be that someone for somebody else.
you just never know who might breathe a sigh of relief at the thought that you don't actually do.it.all.
be real.
not real perfect.
just real.


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Thursday, November 13, 2014

salted caramel apple salad {NOT paleo :)}

this past weekend, we were invited to yet another friend's house for dinner on saturday night.
i was asked to bring fruit.  you know, like fruit salad...or something similarly healthy.
throughout the morning on saturday, i developed a craving for caramel apple salad.
i dug up a recipe...decided that it simply wasn't decadent enough, and tweaked the formula here and there to make it absolutely sinful...great friend that i am.
in the end, our hostess didn't mind one little bit.

this recipe goes together super-quickly...
and i wanted to share it now, before you plan your holiday menus.
sometimes amidst the heavy--and usually warm--holiday pies and treats, 
it's nice to have a cold dessert salad for a change of pace.
this fits that bill perfectly.
if you have a culinarily-challenged guest attending your holiday feast, this would be the perfect dish to request for them to bring...i think it's virtually impossible to mess up.

without any further ado...

salted caramel apple salad
10 medium-size apples, washed, cored, and cubed {i used honeycrisp and did not peel them}
16oz. tub of cool whip, thawed
3oz. packet instant vanilla pudding 
6oz. can planters salted caramel peanuts
8oz. bag heath english toffee bits
smucker's simple delight salted caramel topping

cut apples into large bowl.

in separate bowl, stir cool whip with pudding mix {mix packet only, not milk} until well-incorporated.

chop peanuts {i dumped them into a ziploc bag and pounded them with a rolling pin until they were in small pieces.  i should note, i did include all the salty-caramely goodness that had settled in the bottom of the peanut can.  i should also note that i found these peanuts in the popcorn/chip aisle at walmart.}

all at once, fold cool whip mixture, chopped peanuts, and half of the bag of toffee bits into the chopped apples.  mix gently.
drizzle with salted caramel topping immediately before serving.

recipe makes one large bowl...approximately 12-15 moderately-sized portions...
or 6-8 very large portions...
it really all depends on how big of a serving spoon you use...
and how much of it you inhale as you stand at the counter taste-testing it.


{p.s. if you're looking for another yummy autumn-inspired apple treat, you may want to try the apple pie smoothie i posted last week!}
{p.p.s. don't forget to enter the giveaway for my favorite sterling silver earrings...today's the last day!}

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

keep calm and carry on...{some helpful suggestions}

our family is part of a regional homeschool group, including ten other families, that meets every other friday.
{read on, this isn't all just about homeschooling, i promise.}
our kiddos are given the opportunity to experience an organized classroom environment, 
participating in four different, age-categorized classes throughout the day.

during the hour-long lunch period, two moms monitor the children at recess {we alternate taking turns each week}, while the other ladies take part in a small-group type of setting.

this past week, the question was presented to us, 
what do you do to keep calm?
what techniques do you employ to maintain a sense of inner peace?
many moms enter the homeschooling scene with visions of children dancing through fields with hand-woven flower crowns...
busy home-pupils, noses studiously buried in a pile of field guides...
neat hand-written book reports, curving, looping script covering bright white notebook paper...
students of all ages, gazing in wonder at charts of the human skeleton, eagerly memorizing the periodic table of elements, and avidly studying the maiden flight of the wright brothers {constructing a scale model of their flyer I out of toothpicks, popsicle sticks, and washi tape, of course}...
and all of this done in a peaceful, quiet, calm, serene setting, worthy of the best hazy-edged photo editing you've ever seen.

those moms are usually pulled down to a much different reality.
homeschooling is fabulous.
and it's terrible.
the students are fabulous.
and they're terrible.
those fields have prickers in them...
and the flower crowns fall apart...
and the students would rather bury their noses in playstations and ipads...
and there are days that the handwriting is illegible...
there are still crude jokes and annoying snickers when studying anatomy...
and the model plane dive-bombed into the two-year-old, sending him into screaming hysterics for the next half hour.

basically, it's your typical day around the house...along with the full-time job of teaching mixed in.
i love homeschooling.
i hate homeschooling.
i'm just keeping it really, really real.

but for right now, and for the past six years, homeschooling is what works for our family.
and as such, we've had to implement some rules procedures for maintaining a bit of calm around here...
i'd imagine it's the same struggle in any household...not only those that homeschool.

i thought maybe you'd be interested in hearing some of the insights and suggestions from the moms in our group.  this isn't a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.
this is more like a colander...or a sifter...
pick through...keep what works for you...toss out the rest.

1. establish boundaries and adhere to them.
when we start the school day, the two littles are at the dining room table with me, and the two olders are in their rooms.  to begin the day, i give each of the littles a bit of seatwork to work on while i do my teaching with the older ones.
the littles are to sit there quietly and work on their pages.  this is not the time to ask questions.  if they come to something they don't understand, they are to skip it and ask me about it later.
to be blunt, this is not their time.
this is my time with the two older students.
yes, i am still at the table right by the two little ones.  
but this is not their time.
i cannot handle four kids throwing questions at me all at the same times.  i think there are some moms that would do just fine under those circumstances.
me?  no.
it makes me craaaaaay-see.
so, i've established this boundary, and i adhere to it.
there are still times when one of the little ones will try to interrupt with a question.  i either ignore them {and they usually catch on very quickly as to why they aren't being answered}, or i look directly at them and tell them to go to the next section.  i do not answer questions.  this is not the time for that.

2. afternoons are quiet times.
this is actually a must that several moms brought up.  we all seem to feel the need for a quiet downtime during the afternoons.
that quiet downtime looks different for each of us.
for me, right now, it's pushing the kids to enjoy every last second outdoors before the weather turns frigid later this month.
for a mom of younger little ones, it means nap time.
for a mom without outdoor play capabilities, it means sending each child to a designated space for alone time...they may read, or craft, or even occasionally be on electronics, but they must be alone and they must be quiet.

3. find bits of solitude for yourself.
...and if possible, make sure your spouse is on board with this.
for me, a day full of teaching four littles, combined with the non-schooling day-in-day-out needs of my children, along with my household duties of laundry, cleaning, budget, healthy cooking {and on the list could go...you get the idea}, is enough to have me worn to a frazzle by dinnertime.
fortunately, my supportive husband realizes this and when he gets home from work, he steps in to divert some of the troubleshooting toward him.
i've been down in our room before and heard a child coming down the stairs, only to hear him ask that child what they needed.  when they said they were going to ask mom something, he told them to wait a while, that mom needs some alone time.
i know some parents may view this as selfishness, and i wish i could erase that image from your mind.  it's actually quite the opposite.  i'm a better me, a better mom, if i carve out alone time for myself...i'm actually doing my kids a favor by being unavailable just for a bit.

4. have a set routine and stick to your routine.
one mom in our group has children that rise particularly early.  she found that without a rather rigid, set routine, her mornings tended to quickly get out of hand.  she now has set times that the children are expected to be downstairs for breakfast, along with specific time slots for brushing teeth, getting dressed, and other morning chores.  her husband works from home and helps monitor the hygiene/dressing time, as those times of crossing paths in the hallway seem to be perfect opportunities for it to all fall apart with little conflicts and arguments.

5. get your rest.
i'm currently in a season of rising early every morning.  another mom in the group is a late-riser.  yet another mom tries to grab a short nap each afternoon.  basically, it doesn't matter how you go about it, just make sure you get enough rest and sleep.
the same could apply to your kiddos.  tired kids are cranky kids and cranky doesn't bode well for calm and peace.

6. figure out what works for you.
...and don't worry about it if it doesn't look like what works for someone else.
as stated above, some of us moms are early risers, some late.
some take naps, some don't.
we do our schooling in the mornings, while one of my dearest friends {also nearest, incidentally} does her schooling in the afternoons.
my children think best in the mornings, while i can feel my blood pressure rising with the slackened pace that comes after lunch each day.  their frustration increases, their comprehension decreases, and general unease prevails.
for my friend, the opposite is true.  her kids aren't morning people and for her to try to push the school routine into the morning box just doesn't work for them.
find what works for you.  don't worry if it doesn't look like what works for someone else.  you'll be happier for it.  your kids will be happier for it.  and happy = calm and peaceful far more than unhappy does.

7. organize your schedule and make optimal use of everyone's time.
there are several larger families in our group, and a couple of those moms suggested the resource managers of their homes.  though i've never personally used this system, i've heard very positive feedback on it from multiple sources.
regardless of whether you use that book or not, it operates on the premise that, in a family, each person has something to offer.  too often as moms, we shoulder the majority of the work, forgetting that we have capable little helpers that can help with some things.  no, they cannot do everything...but they can do some things.  
in this post {tip #8}, i share my experience with realizing that my littles are more capable than i thought.
you have some great helpers living right in the same house as you. use them!  your kiddos will benefit from the responsibility they learn and you will find yourself breathing a bit easier when your workload is divided a bit.

none of these suggestions are earth-shattering.
none of them will make a fuzzy aura glow around your house...you won't automatically hear enya playing in the background.
but if you're able to incorporate one or two of them--adjusting them to meet the individual needs and preferences of your family, of course--you may just find that your frenetic days settle down into a more manageable pace.

{pssssssst! if you missed yesterday's post, there's a fabulous jewelry giveaway going on, and it's incredibly easy to enter!}

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

my favorite jewelry...and a giveaway

i love it when creators/makers contact me, wanting to do a giveaway on my blog or instagram...
it's so fun and is pretty much a win-win all the way around.

the maker gets exposure for their wares--win for them!
i get kicks out of giving gifts--win for me!
and you get free goodies--win for you!
{and to be perfectly transparent, i enjoy the freebies that i usually receive, too.}

on my blog {or my IG}, i only do giveaways for items that i actually "believe in"...
i'm not just trying to fill blog space, pump out another post, and gather free goods for myself...
i want to provide publicity for quality products and introduce you to possibly new ideas.

all that said, i'm thrilled when i get to give away an item that has been a tried and true favorite of mine...
such is the case today.



last year, pamela contacted me to see if she could send me a few pieces of her jewelry.  it was a no-strings-attached sort of offer...all she asked was that if i truly enjoyed them and felt comfortable doing so, i'd show them off on my instagram account.

that was over a year and a half ago...
and i've shown these earrings off countless times.
they are, quite sincerely, my very favorite pair of earrings.
made of ultra-thin, super-lightweight sterling silver, i can't even feel that i have them on...
that's something i love in any jewelry i wear...such comfort that i forget i'm even wearing it.

putting the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, i recently contacted pamela, raving on and on once again about how much i love these earrings, and asked if she'd be interested in giving you a pair!
pamela's jewelry shop on etsy has grown and had multiplied hundreds of sales; and although she didn't need the publicity, she so kindly agreed to give away a pair of these fabulous earrings!

here's what pamela has to say about her creating...

I like to make things. Lots of things. Creating with my fingers and bringing to life the ideas that swirl around in my mind makes me feel alive and happy.  It's as simple as that. Whether it be photography, making soap, knitting, jewelry or just plain ol' rock stacking on the coast of Oregon, they all remind me of the quote, "Stay close to anything that makes you glad you're alive" by Hafez. 
For this I am grateful for the jewelry-making journey that began long ago, at the feet of my artist mother. She planted the seed of creativity in my mind and heart and since that time it has flourished.
As for where I find inspiration for my designs, the colors of the gems themselves are naturally inspiring to me. What can I say? I like vibrant, pretty little things that sparkle. And hammering metal. That's pretty fun, too. 

i am so very excited about this giveaway!
treat yourself to an early {free} christmas gift...
or if earrings aren't your thing, save a few $$$ and set these aside to give!  i promise that no recipient could possibly be disappointed in these.

here's what you have to do to enter:
1. visit pamela's etsy shop and pick out your favorite piece of jewelry.
2. come back here and leave a comment stating what your favorite piece in her shop is.  please be sure to leave your email address with your comment.  comments without email addresses with be disqualified.
3. for an extra entry, follow @pamelalalasusan on instagram and come back and leave a separate comment stating that you did so.  again, please be sure to leave your email address with your comment.  comments without email addresses with be disqualified.

winner will be chosen and notified via email friday morning {11/14}.


giveaway closed!!!
jill, you are the winner!
i'll be in contact with you via email today.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014


i love the beginning of a new month...
new years is one of my very favorite holidays; 
and to me, the beginning of each new month is akin to a mini new years twelve times a year.

fresh starts...
clean calendar pages...
renewed goals...

november always bears a bit more of a new-years "feel" for me than any of the other months, save january, of course.
after the bittersweetness that accompanies each october, november dawns clear-eyed and level-headed...
a late-autumnal breath of fresh air.

so much feels "new" to me this month...

waking up earlier every morning...those precious minutes of solitude, of silence, have become a treasure to me.

drinking tea and smoothies...and still steering clear of coffee.
brainstorming about a new blog series, and
loving writing.

cooking with copious amounts of kale.

reading the cuckoo's calling by robert galbraith {j.k. rowling's penname}.  finding it slow getting into, but the pace is picking up.

smelling yankee's maple and white barn's creamy pumpkin candles, lit nearly every morning {and, of course, i can't find either one online}.

dabbling around a bit with selling on ebay.

finishing up some custom orders of my quilt piece hoops, and
crafting a series of incredible items for a christmasy instagram sale.

scheming about some new product collaborations...fingers crossed they'll be coming soon {and i'm so excited!}

thinking that i need to be getting out for a walk more often.

schooling addison and eden together for nearly all subjects, and totally
enjoying the "classroom feel" of teaching multiple students.

eating a lot of spaghetti squash and goat cheese and all things pumpkin {not necessarily all together}.

baking pumpkin cookies with austyn today, and
sharing that recipe soon.

heading to arkansas next week, on a plane, just like a big girl {even though i'm terrified of flying}.

wearing some new-to-me {mostly thrifted} clothes, and
getting dressed in "real clothes" every day {also new to me}, and
having so much fun doing so.

spending a little extra time connecting with loved ones and friends and neighbors, 
putting a renewed focus into my word for 2014--relationship, and
pondering over possibilities for my word for 2015.

going on a date night tomorrow night, and 
looking so forward to it.

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