The Busy Giffs: 2018

March 15, 2018

Saving Money for A Trip to Build A Bear

When you are little, numbers don't hold the same value. To many little kids $100 is enough to feed the world so when my 6 year old daughter said she wanted to save up her money to go to Build A Bear, I wasn't expecting much from her.  I told her if she raised $20 I would bring her.  And she worked her butt off. Asking to do extra chores (which she never got paid for previously), and negotiating via "If I do.... will you give me $1?" was both entertaining and productive.  She would tell others she was saving up to go and would smile from ear to ear as they handed her a dollar to add to her savings.

I watched with pride as she counted the money she earned. The day she hit the $20 was amazing. She was beaming with pride so we made plans to go a few days later. We've been before but this trip was special.  She saved for it.  She was looking at prices and deciding what to get. I told her that she could pick her bear with her money and I would buy her two outfits.  When the doll she wanted was more than $20, she negotiated again, asking for me to pay for the extra part of the bear and buy her one outfit.  Deal.

Build A Bear has always held a little magic for me.  Both David and I worked there, at separate times, and it was him wearing his Build A Bear shirt at a bar that made me first notice him, so a trip to Build a Bear always makes me smile. 

In the grand scheme of things, it's just a stuffed bear. I easily could have purchased it for her without any issues but there was so much value and magic in her working so hard for it. Did I mention that now that she's saved up for Build A Bear, she wants to save for another Disney vacation?

xo, Heather

March 12, 2018

40 in 4 Update

I kind of love this 40 in 4 but really not sure if I'll get it all done. I'm already a year in and not making much progress. I think I had some lofty wishes and some I'm not super interested in anymore so maybe there is still hope.

So since the last time I posted, I have two new items to check off, bringing me to a grand total of  6. Ha! I'll need to step it up if I want to get this all done in 3 more years!

2. Have my palm read.
For my 32nd birthday, we went out to lunch and then visited the Regina Russell Tea Room in Quincy. I've always been a bit skeptical but wanted to do it anyways and I'm so glad I did.  The guy knew some awesome things and made some comments that just clicked.  And not overly generic ones that I found meaning in, but real honest, directed comments... it was crazy and I really want to go back!

16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
I was officially accepted into a program where I will get my Principal's license. We were supposed to start last week but with the weather it's been bumped but it's been started so it still counts! Based on the program I will be done with classes in October and will be able to receive my license after I do my practicum hours. 

So two more checked off-- why did I pick so many big things to put on my list? Oh well, I'll keep trucking along...

xo, Heather

40 in 4:

1. Run a 5k
2. Have my palm read.
3. Weekend in the Vineyard with my family.
4. Buy a bicycle.
5. Wear a bikini to the beach, no cover up.
6. Put my toes into the Pacific Ocean.
7. Go back to Disney
8. Go to Universal Studio
9. Get a job in Higher Ed
10. See another Broadway play
11. Fit into a size 8.
12. Travel to Europe, ideally London or Rome.
13. Get another tattoo (or two).
14. Be debt free, minus student loans and mortgage.
15. Put away a 4 month emergency amount.
16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
17. Take a photography class.
18. Travel somewhere tropical.
19. Go camping.
20. Get professional head shots for the blog.
21. Sew Emma a matching dress for her and her dolls
22. Consider selling the custom shirts I've been making for the kids...
23. Take a cooking or baking class.
24. Take a cake decorating class.
25. Go to Ireland.
26. Find a local church to belong to/Baptize Tyler.
27. Get out of the minivan.
28. Take a calligraphy class.
29. Participate in Restaurant Week in Boston or Providence.
30. Go to Disney Land.
31. Work on our kitchen: backsplash, new desk, new table...
32. Buy a jacuzzi and redo the back deck.
33. Fence in our yard.
34. Landscape.
35. Finish the basement.
36. Attending the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade
37. Create a real vegetable garden for an entire season/year.
38. Spend the day at the spa, getting pampered.
39. Splurge on our 10 year anniversary.
40. Save $10 for each accomplished task and spend it on something extravagant.

March 8, 2018

American Girl Cafe - Boston

After Emma discovered and fell in love with American Girl dolls when we went to New York, our family started heading to the local American girl for lunch and to check out the new doll of the each each January.  It's a great "girl day" for us. In addition to my daughter and myself, my mom, both of my sisters, my aunt and my grandmother all went to lunch.  Count it... that's 4 generations! How lucky are we that we have that still? There's only 74 years between Emmalee and her great grandmother, so I hope that she gets to have so many more years of memories with her.

Have you ever been to an American Girl Cafe? Honestly, the first time we went, I had pretty low expectations. I know, I know... for a company that makes such amazing products, I doubted their lunch.  I assumed it would be expensive and bland, because, let's be honest, more "character" things are.  I was so pleasantly surprised.

American has a great menu. Like a really great menu.  The meal includes a starter and the entree, and is only $16.50 plus applicable tax in the Natick store.  I spend that on a meal when I go out with my husband so it's a great price! Drinks range from $2.25 for hot tea to $5 for a Specialty Shake. Desserts range from $4.50 to $6.50, but they do offer 2 desserts that serve up to 6 people for $21- I need to try one one day!

We ordered tons of food.  From starters like fruit fondue, warm pretzel bites, hummus and pita, and warm artichoke dip to mozzarella sticks and chicken noodle soup, there is something for everyone.  Emma ordered the ever popular chicken tenders. One of my sisters ordered a turkey club sandwich and my other sister ordered a Herb Salmon, perfect for her pescatarian lifestyle.  I splurged on a grilled chicken sandwich with caramelized onions and a few others grabbed the Warm Bacon Dressing with a spinach salad. The meals are attractive to both kids and grown ups. All of them were delicious and we were passing plates back and forth the whole meal.

Dessert is super fun too! They have great prices so again, we all ordered different things and shared.  I didn't even get pictures of everything because we ate them too fast! They have the classics like an ice cream sundae, and how cute are the 3 mini cones!?, but I went with a Chocolate Chip cookie sundae and ohhhh man... so good. Emma's dessert was the cutest.  It came with 2 cupcakes, one for her and one for her doll, plus frosting and toppings to decorate them herself!

I love how included the dolls are! We got a high chair for both the dolls with us that day, plus doll sized plates and coffee mugs! If you don't have your own doll, they have dolls and Wellie Wishers that you can borrow for the meal so everyone can feel included.

After lunch we did some shopping, using up our Christmas gifts cards and had such an amazing trip! It's such a great way to spend the day with the women in our lives.

The local Boston store has tons of amazing events coming up in the next few months and I can't wait to head back up for a little more mommy and me time!

xo, Heather

March 7, 2018

How Is It March?!

Do you ever wonder where whole months of time go? Okay, well... not actually not remembering it but I make all these plans and next thing I know, it's 4 weeks later and I've accomplished nothing.

Well, I guess it hasn't been nothing...

We've been doing so much dance. With Emma competing now, we are super busy! More practices, weekends spent at competitions, and we spend more time fundraising to help pay for it all! I love, love, love her dancing but it's definitely made the weeks fly by quicker lately.

I turned 32! Yikes! I had a great birthday lunch and saw a spirit reader with my closest family and friends. It was so fun!

And my job has just been amped up.  I took on 3 adviser positions this year, not realizing I'd be switching positions a month into the year and between learning how to do my job AND balancing all the advisor responsibilities, some days it's hard to breath at work.

I have gotten so much dental work done. I know... weird to talk about... but after going years (and I mean yeeeeeears) with dental insurance it's quite a process to get my teeth back where they need to be.  As much as I have anxiety about the dentist, it feels so great knowing I'm on the right track to be healthier and set better examples for my kids.

Speaking of healthy-- I've lost 20 lbs since Thanksgiving! I'm still getting ultrasounds on my thyroid bi-monthly and taking a daily dose of my thyroid medicine, but again, it feels so great to see and feel the changes in my body.

I have a ton of things to write about so hopefully I'll be back soon!

xo, Heather

January 7, 2018

What do My Kids Think of Me?

There's always something new floating around Facebook, and I kind of love these ones...
Interviewing your kids is such a great way to see how they see the world. So, in all it's unedited wonder, my kids' responses:

Emmalee, 6 :
*What is something I say a lot? I love you
*What makes me happy? spending time with us
*What makes me sad? when me and Ty be rude to each other
*How tall am I? this one is hard, can we skip to the next one?
*What's my favorite thing to do? spend time with us
*What is my favorite food? favorite food... favorite food... umm... fish?
*What is my favorite drink? red water 
*If I could go anywhere, where would I go? London
*Do you think you could live without me? No.
*How do I annoy you? when you yell because I'm not listening
*What is my favorite TV show to watch? You only watch mine and Ty's tv shows.
*What is my favorite music to listen to? Taylor Swift
*What is my job? Being a teacher- a staff teacher.
*What's my favorite color? blue
*On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you love me? 1000.

Tyler, 3:
*What is something I say a lot? No screaming
*What makes me happy? keeping nice, pretty house
*What makes me sad? me being naughty
*How tall am I? giant
*What's my favorite thing to do? clean up
*What is my favorite food? macaroni
*What is my favorite drink? apple juice
*If I could go anywhere, where would I go? Cumberland Farms
*Do you think you could live without me? yeah (laughing)
*How do I annoy you? when you win Sugar Rush
*What is my favorite TV show to watch? Halloween and Sugar Rush
*What is my favorite music to listen to? Shake Your Tail by Rain Booms
*What is my job? Cleaning up, make pretty house
*What's my favorite color? pink
*On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you love me? like nine!

One of these kids is far more in tune with me than the other....

January 5, 2018

Ringing in the New Year at Foxwoods Resort Casino

Disclosure: David and I were invited guests, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy 2018!

I'm a couple days late but we had so much fun that I needed a couple days to write it all down! Normally New Years Eve is pretty boring for us.  David works a later shift so the kids and I are usually in bed by 10 pm.  Last year, however, we were invited to Foxwoods Resort Casino and it was one of those amazing nights that made us question why we hadn't gone out years earlier.

We were so excited when we received an invite again this year!

We figured out a babysitter and made our plans! Foxwoods Resort Casino has always put on an amazing event no matter what we were there for and I knew this would be no exception.  From the dinner, to the live band, to the gorgeous dancers... it could not have been more amazing.

Dinner was delicious.  A filet I could cut with a butter knife, a delicious salad, and literally the most amazing dessert I've ever had. I've already tried replicating it without much success, but if it happens, it will be a blog post- I promise! A bar was stocked with everything you could imagine!

The room was stunning. I literally joked that I felt like I had walked into Elsa's wonderland.  It was snowing indoors! I am obsessed with the crystal chandelier and am trying to figure out how to get one in our house. Even the dancers were incredible.  They were the sweetest girls and they ended up joining us and our friends for a good portion of the night!

I am constantly wowed by Foxwoods Resort Casino and New Years Eve was no exception. We danced for hours, even met the President of Foxwoods Resort Casino, and had an amazing time.  We honestly didn't want it to end. Thankfully, we were provided a room for the night so the fun didn't have to be over.  Our room was gorgeous. the bathroom was literally the size of my kitchen, complete with a walk in shower and a phone next to the toilet. We had an end room and the entire wall that faced outside was floor to ceiling windows, which made for a gorgeous view the next morning, watching the sun rise. The night before had been amazing, so I was floored by the fact that Foxwoods Resort Casino set up an amazing brunch for the next morning complete with a piano player and make your own omelette stations. Dave and I started our day with eggs, donuts, omlettes, fruit, tarts, parfaits... and mimosas.

Dave and I don't get to go out often just the two of us, but thanks to Foxwoods Resort Casino, it's an amazing experience when we do. I am so thankful that Foxwoods Resort Casino invited us and will be looking forward to next year!

xo, Heather

Saving Money for A Trip to Build A Bear

When you are little, numbers don't hold the same value. To many little kids $100 is enough to feed the world so when my 6 year old daugh...


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