12 December 2010

christmas time is nothing short of a whirlwind experience.  
places to go, people to see, presents to buy, charities to support, neighbors to greet, halls to deck, children to decorate....  errrr, i mean cookies to decorate with children, school parties, office parties, family get togethers, gift exchanges, secret santa's, santa pictures, and so on.  while i seem to be able to budget some extra money so my kids have something cute to wear to all the christmas happenings, i tend to be in some sort of a spending coma by the time it occurs to me that,
"i have no.thing to wear!"  sound familiar?

so, this year, instead of heading out to target to see if i can pull together an outfit for $20, i thought it might be fun to experiment with some wardrobe staples.  you game!?  hehe.

anywho, with the help of kendra {my friend, neighbor and the model in these pictures} who also happens to be a stylist, we concocted these blissful digs.

ENJOY....  and let us know what you think!

xoxo . rae . vp + mom

ps - kendra, thank you doll face.  as always, this was fun! 

09 December 2010

christmas mini - day 2

welcome to:

of our mini-magazine.

come back later this week for...
{friday some fashion.  saturday some fun.  sunday some yum.}


My sister (and Rae’s aunt) Meg always says that Christmas day comes whether you are ready or not.  I admit that I have burned the midnight oil many times in order to be ready for the big day.  And the years when I was more on ready side were definitely better.  So I started putting a written schedule together so fewer things slipped through the cracks.  Much to my surprise, it worked!  What follows is a calendar adapted from my schedule.  Keep what works for you and ignore what does not.  Add your own ideas and needs and see if this helps you, too.

Dec 1
Finish decorating/put away regular d├ęcor.
Vacuum/dust living room

Dec 2
Set gift budget + list
Clean frig, empty garbage cans
Sweep/mop kitchen

Dec 3
Decide on Christmas cards + newsletter
Clean master + guest bathrooms
Shop for weekend groceries

Dec 4
Assemble wrap/ribbons/tags/tape/scissors
Dust/vacuum master + change sheets

Dec 5
Shop for teacher gift with child(ren)
Make batch of cookies or fudge

Dec 6
weekly menu plan + shop
Sweep and tidy front porch
Wipe down front door

Dec 7
Buy/wrap gifts to be mailed
Pick up/vacuum/dust dining area

Dec 8
Mail packages/buy stamps + wrapping supplies
Begin addressing cards
Pick up/vacuum/dust living room

Dec 9
Baking + hors d'oeuvres list
Clean out frig, empty garbage cans
Sweep + mop kitchen

Dec 10
30 min toy clean out
Of unused/broken toys
Clean kids + guest baths
Shop for weekend groceries

Dec 11
Kids design their wrapping paper
Dust/vacuum master + change sheets

Dec 12
Kids wrap gifts for others

Dec 13
Weekly menu plan + shop
Buy stocking stuffers
30 min toy clean out
Of unused/broken toys

Dec 14
Final day to mail Christmas cards
Dust/vacuum dining room
Dust/vacuum kids room

Dec 15
Review gift list/last minute shopping
Dust/vacuum living room
Throw out paper clutter including mags and catalogs

Dec 16
Water poinsettias and refresh greenery
Plan Christmas dinner + make list
Clean out frig/empty all garbage cans
wipe down kitchen cabinets

Dec 17
Inventory serving dishes/utensils/centerpiece
Shop for weekend groceries
Master + guest + kids bath

Dec 18
Visit Santa
Sweep front porch
Dust/vacuum master

Dec 19
Kids make place cards
Make centerpiece
Gather friends for caroling

Dec 20
Weekly menu plan + shop
15 minutes kids room
15 minutes kids bath
Last minute wrapping

Dec 21
Set dining table with linens + place settings
Make ahead foods
Dust/vacuum dining room

Dec 22
Dust/vacuum living room
Arrange packages under tree
Put away wrapping supplies
Clothes picked out for Christmas Day

Dec 23
Shop for produce
Clean frig/empty all garbage cans
Sweep/mop kitchen

Dec 24
Food prep
Clean master + guest bath
Read Christmas story with kids

Dec 25
Merry Christmas!

Optional ideas:
Help your children get involved with a charity (see letter from the editors)
Send your kids to the movies one day with an approved adult (dad, uncle, neighbor)
Do your best to keep your workout schedule during the holidays.  Put it in the calendar

want your own calendar to fill in?

happy scheduling!


remember to come back tomorrow for a dose of ARMOMMY fashion.


08 December 2010

christmas mini - day 1

W E ' V E   B E E N   A W A Y   
experimenting with a new venture,
blazing ourselves a trail,
& getting our feet wet.

the end result?

a "mini-mag", or maybe "magamini", or howbout "minazine"?!

well, the name will be changing and so will the format, but without further adieu i would like to introduce you to our first addition:

{today a letter.  tomorrow a calendar.  friday some fashion.  saturday some fun.  sunday some yum.}

E N J O Y  M Y  P E E P S !

D E A R {lovely} R E A D E R S ,

            When Rae and I sat down to create ARMOMMY’S first ever magazine, our minds were swimming with ideas.  When we decided to have it ready for December 1st {obviously didn't happen}, we had some serious editing to do and we knew we would have to be briefer than we originally planned.  What follows is a sneak peak at what we will be doing in the future.

            We decided to introduce our vision in a Christmas version, because it is a jam-packed time of year for families, and not surprisingly, we have much to say about it.  The children are home from school for a fair share of December and here in the Pacific Northwest the weather doesn’t always lend itself to going outside to play.  On top of that is all the baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating…..  I know I am singing to the choir here. 

             Christmas is also the time of year when we want to share our love and joy with those close to us and a time to think of others who may not be as fortunate as we are.  It can be a great time to get your kids involved in doing thing for others.  Here are a few ideas to get the imagination going:

1.     World Vision Catalogue 2010 – This catalog has items from $16 to thousand of dollars.  You can buy rabbits, chickens, soccer balls, school supplies, and so much more for people in need from all around the world.  Just go to www.worldvision.org to shop.

2.     Have your kids pick out t toy they want to Target or somewhere and take it to the Toys for Tots drop off location.  You can local drop off locations at www.toysfortots.com.

3.     The Salvation Army has an angel tree program where you pick a child and provide gifts from a list of requests.  You can get and angel card at any JC Penney store or go to www.angeltree.com to find out where other trees can be found.

4.     Nothing says loving like a little time.  If you have an elderly couple or person in your neighborhood, think of things you can do with your children to help them.  If there is snow, maybe a little shoveling is called for, or in warmer climates maybe some leaf raking or weeding.  Or maybe your family could put together a basket of goodies including fresh fruit, crackers and cheese, some paper decorations you can make with your children – or even the cute twig decorations featured in this magazine. 

5.     Write a letter to a soldier serving overseas.  Christmas is an especially difficult time for those who serve in our military.  You can find a multitude of organizations on line who forward things to our men and women in the military.  Pick one you like and spend an afternoon writing a thank you letter and sharing your concern for them.

6.     Have your children help you clean out and organize your pantry or cupboards and take extra supplies and duplicate food items to your local Hopelink or Food Bank.  This is a win, win, win activity.  If you are unsure of where these services are, look on line or call a local church and ask if they have drop off bins for your donations.  Many do.  And churches are great places to find out about any needy families in your area you can serve.

So there are 6 quick ideas for giving during the Christmas Holidays.  I imagine you could add 6 ideas of your own and your children can add their own ideas.  No one can think out of the box like a youngster.

As a closing note, in our homes Christmas is a religious holiday and we want to close this note from the editor by wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a prayer that you will know how loved you truly are.

Jane Kelly and Rae Friis
{but mostly gamma jane!}

08 November 2010

tgiff {on monday}

excuse the delay!

the scheduled posting did not do it's job and post on friday.

or it is quite possible that i scheduled it to post on november 5th 2111!

anywho, here are the dishes we love for this week:

m. beef with ravioli dumplings + crunchy bread
tu. pork and pepper stew + cabbage and apple salad
w. classic meatloaf + baked potatoes + carrots
th. tuna and potato toss + english muffins + salad
fr . panini sandwiches + sweet potato fries
sa . drelly’s simple {and delish} enchiladas
su . steak with spinach couscous

you can download the list and recipes here...

last friday, we made and brought some of the ravioli dish to our friends {patrick and meredith} 
who are new parents to a beautiful, incredibly alert, baby boy!  it was a big hit.

we also made drelly's delish ladas last night to share with our neighbors while we played "farkle"
{a fun game of numbers, dice and chances where you get to say things like, "shoot, i farkled!"}
i highly recommend trying it...  the game and the ladas!

happy monday lovelies!

xo . rae

03 November 2010

the 10 minute cleaner.

It is 11:30 at night and I {jane} am standing in my kitchen looking at a mess – again.  To make matters worse, I am leaving at 5:30 in the morning to accompany my husband on a business trip, so time is short.  I have not quite finished packing, there is laundry in the dryer and some ironing to do, and I still have a sample to make up for a product we are thinking about.  And I have to ask: “Why do I find myself in this mess again?”  My thoughts drift back to my first mother in law.  She was amazing and probably the best house keeper and home manager I have ever met.  I am sure she was often dismayed by my haphazard (at best) approach to keeping house.  My mother never had the knack and so my excuse is that I was never taught how to run a house.  That excuse sounds a little thin as I am 58 years old and bright enough to figure out a plan.  At least in theory, anyway.  But there is a nagging question those of us with a free spirit always ask.  Won’t a strict schedule cramp my style?  Just how organized is too organized?

I posed this question to some women in my church small group a couple of years ago, and one them told me to about FLY Lady.  The folks at FLY Lady have made a business out of saving people like me.  They began by expanding on a program from the 70s called the Sidetracked Home Executive – SHE for short.  FLY (which stands for finally loving yourself) Lady organizes all of us SHEs with a very practical approach.  The program has you set up routines, do a weekly quick pass over (called a Home Blessing Hour) and concentrate most of your energy on one “zone” or area of your home each week.  It works great and I encourage you to visit fly lady and see what you think.  Their website is a little too cluttered and chaotic for my taste – which I find really ironic.

So here is a quick overview of what I consider Fly Lady’s most useful habits.  The most important is that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!  Then she encourages you to set the timer for 10 minutes and do a chore.  I find it is amazing how much I can get done if I just concentrate on one chore for 10 little minutes.  Also, it helps to have routines around my chores - little things like run the dishwasher each night, and throw in a load of laundry each morning before you head to the kitchen to start breakfast.  So here is a 10 minute challenge.  Spend 10 minutes picking up your kitchen tonight before you go to bed.  FLY Lady encourages you to start by shining your sink each night (even if you have to take dirty dishes out of it to do so).  But I think if you spend 10 minutes tonight after the kids are in bed and putting away all the last minutes dishes, sweeping the floor and starting the dishwasher you will have a much brighter morning.  The important thing is to stop after 10 minutes.  Set your timer and stop when it goes off.  Let us know how this works for you and what challenges you face in keeping up with your home.

caio . jane . pres + gamma


thanks mom!

i decided to give the 10 minute rule a try.  
since i'm in a pretty good habit of cleaning the kitchen before i head to bed, 
i decided to set the timer

and clean up

this mess that exists every morning after 

we've had breakfast and made a packed lunch or two.

it really bothers me for some reason...  probably because my mind is racing with everything else going on the rest of the day.  so, i'm interrupted by my own thoughts and my children's {most likely} urgent needs which makes the task take a stinkin long time.  but, not this time.  
i sent the kids to play and i left my email and phone alone.

when my time was up...

with the exception of my pile of papers, and the dirty window that i just noticed {ha!}, i had a clean kitchen.  not sure why i didn't take a picture of the entire kitchen, but i promise, it was lookin good.  oh, and i would be misleading you if i didn't mention that i was sweating {just a little} when i was done.

you should try it.  the 10 minute clean up that is.

let us know if you have any magnificent cleaning tips.

loves . rae

29 October 2010

tgiff + more good stuff.

Welcome to Messy Menu week.  
I know you won’t want to make a Messy Meal every day this week, but choose a couple and fill in with Super Soups from two weeks ago and enjoy!

m.    sloppy joes + chips + salad
tue. chicken teriyaki + rice + carrots
wed.  spare ribs + mashed potatoes + peas
thur.  crab legs + salad + baked pears
fri.  tacos + tater tots
sat.  dinner in a pumpkin + apple slices or applesauce
sun.  papa’s spaghetti + salad + hot bread

we're going to try giving a download of the recipes instead of images.
let us know if you like this better.

the dinner in a pumpkin was D.E.L.I.S.H

even thought our pumpkin got a little wrinkly.

tilly had fun putting the lid on and off.



now for some more fun.

chop sticks for the kids!

grab chopsticks {disposable wood ones from the store or take out restaurant work great}, a rubber band and strip of paper.

fold the paper up.

like so.

then, wrap the rubber band around

turn over

and cross

repeating several times

you may need to work with it.




to grub!

have a fun weekend and safe halloween!

xo . jane + rae 

28 October 2010

still here.

hi lovelies. 

we've been mia the last week. 

and i can sincerely say that i've missed it.  

and missed you.

and am hoping that you haven't given up on us.

we have a ton of fun stuff in store.

here is a peek at what we've been up to:

it's birthday week at the friis abode.

this baby girl {trying on her new coat from gamma + papa} turned 2 yesterday.  
she insists that she is three.

so i made her a doll 
{pattern is from a bit of whimsy on etsy - she has tons of cute stuff!}
do you think it looks creepy without facial features?

and some invites.

and some party planning.


this handsome {and pretty amazing} young man will be double digits {sniff, sniff} tomorrow.
so we've been busy with a couple projects for him 
{because he reads this blog, i'll post more later}
and planning for a group of boys to come over and play flag football.  
the details for his party revolve mostly around food and yoder painting football lines in our backyard.  
i love how simple boys at this age are.


i will be thirty-something on sunday...  halloween.

which also means that our home will be pretty {i use that word a lot} happenin' this weekend

so i thought i'd make some pillows

and buy little shades for my highly controversial antler chandy...  still not sure if it looks just right.  might need to change to smaller bulbs and cover the fake candle sticks.  we'll see.

and i've been a slave driver to my husband who has been busy making storage benches

and painting a grip of molding.

he's so good to me.  certainly better then i deserve.

i've also been busy filling orders and designing christmas cards
{you can see some of them on our facebook page}.

that's a good peek for now.

we'll be back tomorrow with food friday.  come back to visit!

xo . rae . vp + mom