Friday, March 30, 2012


You know what's going on this week guys??? One of my most favorite bloggies Bethany is here! She flew in from the midwest for the Always Crafty Workshop this weekend. She came nice and early to soak up the Gabe-ness and help me run around doing last minute craftyness in preparation for the big event. This actually means a lot of the following: eating bad food multiple times a day, nerding out on the computer together, handing Gabe over and taking a shower in peace, taking a maiden voyage to Whole Foods with a hoodlum baby and wandering the magical aisles of Terrain.

Gabe just loooooves this girl. He cries when she runs over to the guest house to get something. She's become part of his nightime bed routine. She reads Thomas the Tank Engine books to him. She fits so effortlessly into our routine. And it's like a little vacation for me when she's here. My slightly boring, routine days are livened up by adult conversation (not that we act like adults) and fun little trips to stores I normally wouldn't frequent. We eat fun lunches and spend naptime checking blog stats and making lists of crafts to make. I've spent the past two days smiling and cracking up laughing. Just so so fun.

And even better? This weekend will bring back some of our Always Bloggy girls Kate, Karen and Lauren. Plus we'll get to see Lizzie Beth again and get to meet Mary, who's driving down from New York. I've even convinced some of my old-school (in-real-life) friends to show up and craft with us, even if they don't have blogs. It's going to be amazing and I can't wait to get to it.

Next week will feature tutorials on all of the crafts we're covering at the Always Crafty Workshop so if you wanted to come and couldn't, you can still get in on the action. Plus, there will be a pretty sweet giveaway. Yep, free shizz. Get on it.

Have a fantastic weekend friends! And if you're coming to my house this weekend, I can't wait to see you! Bring boozes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Help, I'm in a Nutshell

- I'd been waiting patiently for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie to be available on-demand so when I saw Friday that it had arrived, I knew my Friday night plans. John and I settled in with some water ice and watched. It was long but it was good, real good. And dudes, it was graphic. Like most Americans, there's not too much that can shock me anymore but man, some of the scenes are downright scary. I shuddered more than a few times.

- I also met up with my friends last night for some margaritas & tacos, followed by a viewing of a little movie called The Hunger Games. I'm not one to sit around and talk about the differences between the book and the movie mostly because I go to the movies for mindless entertainments. If I wanted to analyze shizz, I'd be my husband. But ther verdict is that it was pretty darn good. My friend Katie remarked that we know we're getting old when you look at the love interests as adorable youngins and notsomuch ohmahgod he's so hot. Like Gale? Adorable, not hot. Peeta? Beady eyes and weird hair. Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman? Made the whole movie. Hilarious.

- I've been running around like a crazy person, getting all my supplies and whatnot together for the Always Crafty Workshop. Plus, trying to clean my house.  Which as we all know is near impossible with a tiny toy hurricane following my every move every day. My favorite Wisconsinite, Bethany is flying in tomorrow night for a week-long stay and I can't have the famous guest house looking like it did when she left (like those emergency late-night champagne bottles, corks and the tumblers we drank it out of still lying around. That'd be gross).

- I've been teaching myself how to make blog ads, because next week you may notice some ads going up on my sidebar for my Always Crafty sponsors. I've had some really generous business owners offer up stuff for our workshop and I'm pretty darn appreciative. Feel free to start clicking up a storm when you see them. Oh and did you notice I added Blogher ads to my blog? I just felt like it was finally time I make a penny or two on ol' Shannanigans. I've treated her good these past couple of years, it's about time she returned the favor.

- Guys, I have a bonified mom friend. I didn't want to jinx it because we all know how I can be when trying to make new friends based on my kid (it doesn't work). We met at the park and we've hung out a bunch of times with her and her daughter, at storytime, the park, one of those kiddie play places and even our houses.  Her daughter calls Gabe "buddy!" in this cute little voice. Meant to be right?

So that's life in a nutshell. What's going on with you birds?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Did I Catch a Niner in There?

Little red cheeks just crack me up. He gets them whenever he starts running around or if he's sick, which he was the week this was taken. His left cheek always gets more color than the other. So weird.

Dear Gabe,

Yep, you've had 19 months of being Gabe, The Gabester, Gabey Baby, Blink, Buddy Bear, Little Bear and many many more. As usual, I'm completely enamored with you, little dude. I know I keep saying it, but you're just so fun! You're understanding more and more each day and well on your way to becoming a fully functioning little human, it's great. My vision of you as my tiny butler is slowly coming to fruition. You went and picked up the remote from the floor for me the other day. Baby steps.  Let's see, this past month you...

- Obsessed over letters still. You love us to read them to you but now you can identify most of them when we ask you to, whether it's in a book, on a sign or your foam bathtub letters. Clearly a genius!

- Can't go anywhere without your hat. You love your little Phillies hat but if that's not available, you'll rock whatever one you can find. Winter hats, your great-grandmother's pink Komen baseball hat, your snack bowl...whatev.

- Same goes with your yellow rain boots. Now you do love all your shoes, but whenever you get home, you take off your shoes and change into your boots. It's ridiculous. And pretty funny.

- Speaking of your great-grandmother (my Nan), you now see her and your Gigi twice a week as mama leaves you with them when she goes to physical therapy. You run and hug her and have completely made her days. She can't stop talking about you. Her and Geeg love you very much.

- Upped the ante on the affection.  All day long, I get smothered in little baby kisses and little bear hugs from you. It's the best thing that ever happens, ever. In my life. I love it. You grab my hand and bring it up to your cheek and hold it there. Heart explodie.

- keep adding words to your vocabulary. It's slow-going and you're not the most chatty kid on the block but I can tell you're soaking it all in. We'll get to the words.

- Show your little temper now and then when you don't get your way, or when you have to get out of the tub or come inside (your two favorite things). You have this high-pitched squeal-squawk that comes out as your face gets red and you clench your fists.  But you know when you're in the wrong because if you get corrected, you start giving out leg hugs and tiny smiles. You're a smart cookie buster, but I'm smarter. For now.

We love you so much Gabriel and are so thankful you are the boy you are.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Oreo Truffles, Where Have You Been All My Life?

What the what? How have I never had these before now? Guys, I'm 31. How, in 31 years, has no one ever made these in my vicinity? Well that changed a few weeks ago (thank God) during one of my get-togethers with my friends. My friend Adrienne brought these Oreo Truffles and seriously, I couldn't stop popping them in my mouth. I know, I know, combine oreos and cream cheese and how could they be anything but ridic, right? Well add some cookie crumbs to the outside and that made em even better.  Also? I normally don't even care for Oreos. Mind blooown.

I ran into Katie's kitchen, grabbed a white plate and immediately started setting them up in front of the window. Luckily my friends know what I'm doing because if it were anyone else, I'd have looked kinda weird, bent down over a plate of truffles, zooming in and out, trying to find the perfect angle. We've all been there, right? Such is the life of a blogger.


1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (15.5 oz.) Oreos, finely crushed, divided
2 pkgs Semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well blended.
Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.    

I also got to hang out with my pint-size friend, Nora. Remember her?

Just look at her now. She's like, the prettiest baby I know.

I had my matching pink shoe-tights on under my jeans. Awkwarrrrd.

Seriously though, you should probably think about making these if you haven't already. You will be the hit of the party. Or the couch. Wherever you are, you'll be a hit.  And if you have made them before, why haven't you shared with me? I thought we were friends!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Playtime at Our Place

Gabe is obsessed with all things water-related, the sink, the tub, he'll play in any of it at any time.

We've been testing out some Pinterest-inspired toddler crafts. We've deemed them Meh so far. We'll let you know when we come up with a winner.

This kid cracks me up. He's obsessed with Mr. Potato Head's glasses and insists that I put them on his face all the time. Also, overalls are the jam.

He trucks around our house in his boots every day, no matter what he's wearing. Oh and his belt? Well that just matched his pj's.
Thug life.

Have a great weekend friends. And Happy St. Paddy's to ya!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crumbly Potato Soup

Whenever I post my monthly meal plans, I get a few questions about the logistics of it. Do I really cook each night? Yes most nights I cook. Don't you have a ton of leftovers? Again, yes I do. But we eat them for lunch. Doesn't your husband ever cook? Does he fully appreciate coming home from work each night to a hot meal on the table? Shouldn't he take you shopping this weekend? No one asked this. But they should have. The answers would have been No, Yes and Obviously.

This here crockpot soup is one of those guaranteed leftovers type it for dinner, then lunch, then dinner again. Because it makes a shit-ton of good soup. I was going to follow this recipe but that recipe would have made more than a shit-ton and frankly, I don't know what to call that unit of measurement. And also, I had a 3 lb bag of potatoes versus a 5 lb bag. Thus a new recipe is born. That's how recipes are born, right? No? Then this recipe is almost exactly like the one I linked up there.

Crumbly Potato Soup

3 lb bag of red potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
16 oz cream cheese, softened
Salt and Pepper
Green Onion & crumbled bacon for topping

1. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and chicken broth in crock pot.
2. Cook on high for 6 hours, or low for 8 hours. 
3. Gently mash potatoes until crumbly
4. Stir in cream cheese and let melt for 30 minutes then stir every 15 minutes until well blended.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Garnish with green onion and bacon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back to School, Back to School

No, I'm not going back to school. Quite frankly, I never want to go to school again. I did my time. Unfortunately, I wish I did my time doing something different. Something a bit more useful, like graphic design and/or web design. I curse myself every time I have to pay someone else to create something amazing. Right now, my mom would tell me that I do a good job on my own. And I would reply, "yeah I know mom, but I want to be able to make something really good". I wish I knew how to use all the Photoshops and Illustrators and Dreamweavers (by the way, does anyone else break into song when they see that program? Dream weaver, I believe you can get me through the niiiight) I don't want to make graphics in Word, using shapes anymore. I just don't. Seriously, I do that.

But like I said, I don't want to go back to school. I don't even have the time, patience or brain space to learn the programs on my own. But now that Picnik will soon be kaput but replaced by the comparable picmonkey,  I might not ever have to open Word, enlarge a text box and fill it with a burlap texture again! In fact, I was pretty proud of myself for creating a little invitation for a birthday party I'm planning this summer using picnik. It's for the Kate Spade-inspired party. What do you think? I think a good font can do wonders.

So while part of me wishes I had the real know-how, the cheap part of me gets super excited when I can make something half-decent and not have to fork over money to anyone else. Funny enough, this train of thought also applies to my lack of sewing talent.

I am always ALWAYS jealous of other bloggers' sewing talent. When they whip up throw pillow covers or outfit their whole house in custom curtains...greeeeeen with envy. So yeah, I wish I knew how to sew. I wish someone had taught me during my formidable years because now? Same thing, no patience, no brain space. So again, I did the next best thing. I became an expert at Stitch Witchery. I can no-sew a tuxedo for you if you need one. No problemo.

I no-sewed some pillow covers for my guest house a few years ago...

then hunched over my ironing board for a few nights making some no-sew curtain panels for my dining room...

So maybe after Gabe and any future hellions grow up and Bottle Pop has become a conglomerate, I'll sit back and take a few classes at Pennsylvania Graphic Design, Sewing & Clown College.
That exists, right?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Really Shan? We're Gonna Blog About the Weather?

So...this weather sure is something eh? Like most of the country, we've had a pretty mild winter. On one hand I love it. We can still get out and about without freezing off our rears. And if you know Gabe (and you all do) then you know that he requires at least 30, preferably 90, minutes of O-U-T side time a day. He just freaking loves it. If you know me (and you all do) you know that I'd rather be inside, fingerpainting. But that's besides the point. The point is that the awesome weather has meant that we are not cooped up inside. Running around outside makes for good naps, which makes for happy moms. The bad part? I rely on the frigid cold to kill the stupid stink bugs that plague this area. So come springtime, those effers will be like, "Oh hey, we're still alive! We made it! Let's be annoying!". So yeah...pros and cons.

One of those warmer days showed up a few weeks ago but it rained like hell all morning. But since it was nice out, that afternoon I knew it was time to introduce Gabe to the art of puddle jumping. I think he liked it.


 So let me get this straight. You're sayin I can get my feet dirty? Doesn't this go against everything you've ever told me?

Oh mama, I thought the day would never come. I love you.

Boom goes the dynamite!

Ok, that was fun, but how about now I put my hands in it?

Ok mama, the whole neighborood heard you with the No Gabe! Dirty! No!

I'll just stomp enough to soak my pantalones. That'll teach ya.

I just look cute here Ma.

Ok so within a few days, this happened. We got a coating of snow. Not even enough to pull out the sled we gave him for Christmas. But definitely enough to dress him up in a snowsuit a la the kid in A Christmas Story. I can't move my arms!

He didn't really care about the snow. He mostly wandered around the yard with a bored look on his face.

So according to Gabe, rain good, snow meh. At the rate we're going, I can assume we'll be out sunbathing next week in our tiny swimming trunks and sunglasses. Most likely adorable. Thanks for reading about our weather.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's About to Get Real

real personal up in this b. I got tagged twice in these 'getting to know you' type things by Lauren  and then by Jesyka. Thanks ladies. It's an honor getting tagged because let's face it, I'm my own favorite subject. I think these are the general rules, all of which I probably won't follow...

1. Post these rules. done
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.

OK but I think the answers are random enough.

3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post. done
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them. really? that's a lot of work.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them.  i tag all of you. you're it.

Lauren asked...

1. Which room in your house is your favorite?
I’d say my kitchen is my favorite.  Besides spending long hours slaving over the hot stove, I spend a lot of time in there. I do most of my craft projects at the counter (which has rendered my craft room pretty much useless). I also help Gabe stand up on the counters to look out the windows to wave & point at things and also to sit on the edge of the sink and play in the water. Good times.

2. What do you think is your best asset?
Physically? I’ve got good hair and my eyes are pretty. Personally? I’m loyal and like to think I’m entertaining.
3. What was your happiest day?
A random Saturday a few months ago.

4. What do you worry about?
My health mostly. I have a pretty bad herniated disk and am in physical therapy but still in pain almost every day. Surgery is an option but a very scary one. I’m thinking I want to have another baby but I won’t get pregnant again until the pain is gone or at least easier to manage.

5. What was your dream job when you were little?
 I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. Or a comic book writer.
fyi, this is my most favorite picture of me ever taken. Including the blue smear over my snear.

6. Which t.v. show(s) do you watch?
I watch Once Upon a Time, HIMYM (which I’m pretty sure jumped the shark this season but I won’t give up until I know who that effing mother is) & Modern Family. I also spent this weekend watching the entire 1st season of Downton Abbey. So if everyone who talked about DA in the past 6 months wouldn't mind having those conversations again, I'm ready. I know what you're talking about now. Thx.

7. What is something you want to work on/change about yourself?
Continue being an awesome wife and mom.

8. What is your "daily uniform"?
Black yoga pants, a t-shirt, cute sneakers and a fleece runner-type jacket. I’ve embraced it. My days consist mostly of sitting on the floor doing puzzles or pulling Gabe around in an empty diaper box. Or we’re checking out every corner of our yard. Or at the playground. This uniform makes the most sense.

9. What is your favorite thing to do during the weekend?
 Sleep in, spend money, be productive and hang out with my fam.

10. Where would you love to travel to?
The motherland…Ireland/England/Scotland

11. What is your hair's natural color and texture?
What you see is what you get.

 Jesyka inquired...
1)What did you want to be when you “grow up” and why?
Like I said above, a dolphin trainer. But only because a trip to Sea World made it look cool. I also spent a TON of time wanting to be a science teacher. I’m not sure what changed that. I think I’d be a really good high school science teacher. Although for some time I would have made an amazing back up dancer. Hey In Living Color! Call me!

2) Where were your parents born?
My mom was born in Philadelphia and my dad was born in the middle of nowhere Illinois.

3) If you could dress however you wanted without regards to practicality, cost, or ridicule, how would you dress?
I’d probably dress like I stepped out of a Lands End canvas catalog. Preppy, polished and pulled together. Ready to go on a sailboat. Button downs tucked into bermuda shorts, that sort of thing.

4) Where was your first kiss?
In my back yard in the house I grew up.

Did you know I used to scrapbook hardcore? This is the rowhouse I grew up in. Tons of amazing memories there.
5) What was your first car?
An ’87 Toyota Camry, sunroof & cd player. I mention these things because at 17 in 1997, they were the most important features any car could have. Sure, it leaked oil everywhere but my friends could climb up in the sunroof and play Jack & Rose with ‘My Heart Will Go On’ blasting while I drove down the street.

6) How did you meet your significant other?
We met at a bar. Surprise, surprise. Love him bunches.
baby John & Shannon
7) Do you have an opinion on what order the Star Wars trilogies should be introduced to your children? If so, what order and why? (Tyler and I need other people’s thoughts on this one. ~.^)
I’d probably say the older ones first. For no reason other than I like to think that the way I did things was the best way to do things.

8) What style(s) do you think best describe you?
Oh man, I don’t know. I’m not sure I have one anymore.

9) What is your favorite comfort food?
Once a month, I call John and tell him that it’s that kind of day and he needs to bring home a double cheeseburger meal. The fact that it coincides with cramps shouldn’t surprise you.

10) When you look at the moon, do you see it as a 3 dimensional object, or a flat disc? (sorry if this is a weird question, but it’s something I like to ask people. :) )
Flat disc.

11) What is something that you have always wanted to do, but haven’t gotten a chance to do yet?
Travel more, which is weird because I’m very much a homebody. Leaving the country would make me nervous. But there’s so many places in this country that I want to see too. Just not for very long.

I look back at our time in Hawaii with so much wistfulness, it hurts. I loved it. We went on our pre-baby bucket list , two months before Gabe came into existence, embryonically speaking. Look at that sunset. And my cheekbones. Oy.

I've got so much more weirdness than these questions can encompass. Do you have any burning questions? If it's not obvious, I love talking about myself. Let me know if you answer the questions, it's good blog fodder, if nothing else :)

btw, I know I'm like weeks behind, but did you see Gabe's room on Apartment Therapy Family? That's validation baby! I was really proud of myself because since the former Ohdeedoh merged with Apartment Therapy, all the design snobs have been letting loose on comments, sorta being mean. And I got a bunch of nice comments! Pretty sweet, eh?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lalaliving Room Update

So you may remember a month or so ago, my lamenting on my boring, color-clashing living room. I planned to update it the best I could without painting or buying new furniture. Why? Because I love the paint color and the furniture is comfy as shizz. So clash its gonna. And like I said, we spend a ton of time in our living room so I hated it being ignored. So I made a few changes. This was my plan.

All sources linked on last month's post

Here's what I've got done so far...

I got all new throw pillows. And you know what? I think they look a lot better in person. The gray couch just really brings it down. If you really want the inside scoop, here it is: I planned my accessories based on a new, un-thought of camel colored couch. So if you want, pretend my couch is camel (should I just go with tan?) instead of gray and this whole scenario might work a lot better.

This is one of those giant arm chairs that no one ever really sits in. And although this pillow is adorable, it's also pretty tiny. Should I add more? How many? What size? Halp.

We also bought this sweet floor lamp from Urban Outfitters. It's nice and heavy so my t to the oddler isn't pulling it down. It does however have a button on/off switch that sits on the floor. Guess who finds it hysterical to press that button off and on? Yep. John. It sure is a pretty lamp though, isn't it? I can't believe I'm liking antique brass. 26 year old Shannon would be dumbfounded at my choices.

I also started a gallery wall. I'm not patient enough to lay things out before hand or actually plan things so I just start nailing into the wall and hoping for the best.  This method has never failed me. I also have a high tolerance for imperfectness, so maybe that helps? I'm determined to keep adding to this wall and maybe incorporating some cute artwork and not just my cute son. We'll see.

We clearly need more pics of Gabe around here. Stat.

I was also tired of the lamps I had previously so I moved them to my dining room buffet, where I had always wanted lamps. You can scroll down and see them in yesterday's post. I pulled a lamp from the guest house and I like it much better. The texture on the lamp shade does wonders.

This is also a new addition to the living room as of Christmas. Isn't it the most adorable thing you've ever seen? Gabe's arm chair is nicer than all of our furniture. Again, it's nice and heavy so even when he stands up on it, there's no danger of it tipping over. Plus it's classy. Gabe keeps it classy.

Now let's keep it real. Those cheerios are always there. There's also a pile underneath the chair. Plus cereal bar strewn across the couch. That's why there's only close-ups. This place is a mess.

So it's not completely done yet but it's tweaked enough to let me relax and not glare at things while I'm trying to watch my ______insert popular PBS show here. Plus, now I can get ideas from my own personal decorator, my friend Michael who is always pinning pretty things for me. You can see them all here. Personal decorator...I'm pretty fancy, eh?

Just a reminder to get your seats to Always Crafty guys! For reals, do it! The deadline is this weekend.

Would you like to sponsor the Always Crafty Workshop? We're on the lookout for donations of cute stuff in exchange for some pretty sweet advertising. Do you make or sell something? Have an etsy shop? Email me and I'll give you the deets!


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