Elf on the Shelf 2017 – Days 9, 10, 11

I’d like to go on the record to say that I have NOT fallen off the elf train. The blogging train? Well, that’s a different story. But in all fairness, I’ve been sick, Henry has been teething, and well, life has gone on. So, I’m just gonna lump the last few days of elf shenanigans all together here and not even worry about whether or not someone is going to judge me.

December 9 – The kiddos woke up to discover the elves had left them a few coloring pages and were just hanging from one of the sconces in the living room where they could watch the beautiful creations being made.

Of course, Cadence jumped right in and made a work of art, complete with a few dozen added hearts to let the elves know just how much she loves them. (She’s been telling us at least 3-4 times a day how much she’s going to miss them when they’re gone, to which I promptly reply, “Oh yeah, I’m going to miss them too!” in a very convincing tone).

Henry sat down and gave gave a few obligatory scribbles before deciding he would much rather watch Boss Baby for the 117th time.


December 10 – After being sick for a few days and not having the energy to eat much more than soup and crackers and grilled cheese, I decided it was time to bust out my new KitchenAid mixer and make some chocolate chip cookies. Mom and Dad surprised me with a Happy Monday Gift! back in November, and I’ve been dying to try it out.

Somehow I’ve survived most of my adult life and all the mixing/baking I’ve ever done with good ol’ elbow grease and my trusty little hand mixers, so the KitchenAid is a serious game changer.

Hell, I might be able to make multiple batches of pizza dough without overheating Stevie’s Ninja blender! Score!

So, I rummaged through the cupboards and discovered that I had exactly enough chocolate chips to make one large batch of cookies. It was surely meant to be. And wouldn’t you know those darn elves were just waiting to scavenge some cookies as soon as they returned from the North Pole the next morning. Cadence kept swearing she saw them move, and took careful note of how both Cosette and Leo managed to polish off the last bites without leaving so much as a crumb behind.

Henry? Well…Henry wasn’t sure how he felt about the elves dipping into his stash of cookies.


December 11 – So yesterday we did manage to finally go out and buy our Christmas tree. And I’d like to take a moment to let everyone know that the tides have turned in the Romano house. I’ve always been a real tree person. Stevie has always been a fake tree person. Growing up, I remember always picking out a real tree. Stevie can tell stories of how they had a fake tree for so long that it finally looked so beat up and ragged, his Mom insisted they buy a new one.

The first Christmas I spent with Stevie’s family on Long Island when we were engaged, Richie had accidentally thrown out half of the new tree when he was trying to replace the old one. Neither he nor Diane noticed until it was time to pull the tree out of storage and decorate. Diane was mortified when she realized she had a mismatched collection of tree parts in various stages of deterioration, but in true Diane form, she decorated the tree anyway and apologized to me at least two dozen times for it’s frightful appearance. If she didn’t already love me, I think my non-judgement (and good-natured joking) of her Frankentree would have sealed the deal.

The first year Stevie and I were married and living in Arizona, we had the great tree debate. I insisted it just didn’t feel like Christmas (especially in the desert) without going out and picking a real tree with the real pine smell. Stevie tried to convince me that it was an incredible waste of money. He even tried to argue how ridiculous it was to kill a real tree just to stand it up in your house for a few weeks before throwing it away.

But I’m stubborn and he let me have my way, but only after I agreed that if I got my real tree, he gets to choose our tree topper. I still don’t know if he’d actually seen the Yoda tree toppers in Target before he made the deal, or if the universe just decided that Stevie deserved the tree topper of his dreams after letting his wife win the real tree/fake tree argument. (If you want to read a little more about how this all went down, CLICK HERE). Either way, I’ve gotten my real tree every year since we struck the deal, until this year.

This year, I finally decided I’d had enough of the annual expense and the sticky sap and the pine needles littering the floor. I’ve had enough of the tree drying out because I forget to water it, or overflowing the water because I tried to fill it not knowing that Stevie had already filled it. I’ve had enough of trying to figure out how many strings of lights we need and never being able to find one whole string where all the bulbs are still intact. And I’ve had enough of worrying about the damn tree catching fire in the middle of the night because, well, have I mentioned that I forget to water it?

Stevie was wary at first. He must have asked me three or four times if I was sure, really sure that I really wanted a fake tree. No going back. And after answering to the affirmative each time without pause, he decided that I was actually serious. He has been good about not lobbing any I-told-you-so’s my way, but even if he did, I think I’d be okay with it.

Real trees, it’s been real. But I’m really done chopping you down to decorate my den for a few weeks each year. It’s not you. It’s me. We can still be friends.

So, we hit Menards yesterday and found a really great-looking tree that is the perfect height, nice and full, already covered in lights, and that took us all of 5 minutes to get put up, lit up, and looking great.

And I’m not even going to argue about the Yoda tree topper. Truth be told, it wouldn’t be a Romano Christmas tree without him.

And of course Cosette and Leo made sure they got in on the initial stages of decorating….





I always sort of wished I could be a painter. There’s something about the way the colors mix and mingle on canvas that reaches in and squeezes my soul. But painting was just never my forte. Sure I can manage here and there, and the perfectionist in me can do a decent job when I need to, but it was always very clear that my gift was words not painting, and so I will gladly take my place amongst the amateurs and enthusiasts and leave the beauty-making to those who have the creative vision and a paint palette running through their veins.

Even so, it’s fun to dig out my old paint brushes every now and then, especially now that Miss C is a budding artist who has still not yet reached an age where she has begun to question her talent.

Shortly after we moved into this house, I flexed my creative muscles painting both kids’ murals after we moved in–Henry got a skyline and Cadence requested pink and purple flowers.



I was really happy with the way both rooms turned out, but still thought it would be fun for the kids to have some original artwork to hang on the walls. On a whim, I bought a pair of 16×20 canvases when I saw them on sale at Hobby Lobby, thinking it would be fun to do some sort of art project with Miss C and create something for her and Henry’s rooms.

Today, we finally had the time to sit down and begin. All I really new is that I wanted to bring a little color to H-man’s room, and do something with his initials or a monogram. Other than that, I was flying blind. And Miss Cadence, well, she just let the creative juices flow as she usually does and got right down to business.

I finished today, but Miss C is still working on her project. I can’t wait to see how her’s turns out, and mine…well, I may not be an artist, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Not a bad way to spend a Monday if you ask me.



Snail Mail Smile

So, my friend Morgan is pretty amazing. She’s fun, gorgeous, sweet, and smart. She’s got a wicked sense of humor and one of those laughs that can catch your attention from across a crowded room and before you know it, you’re laughing along, even if you’re not quite sure why. She’s got a big ol’ heart, a flair for the dramatic, and a creative streak that runs deep. She’s the sort of girl who can make your day better just by walking in the room and flashing that million dollar smile.

Morgan is the type of girl who sees beauty that might otherwise get overlooked, and she has a knack for finding humor in even the most mundane situations. She has the soul of an artist coupled with something of a…well…an interesting sense of humor and somehow that has developed into her own little line of honest (and hilarious) greeting cards that are guaranteed to make you smile. Check her out on Instagram @snailmailsmile and her Etsy shop etsy.com/shop/SnailMailSmile1



I got my first card in the mail just when I needed it the most. Love you Morgan!!

Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 22

Well, it looks like the elves found the Sharpies. Lucky for us, they were satisfied drawing a few funny minions on our bananas instead of doing something destructive or tattooing us in our sleep.

And Cadence was pretty excited. It’s not everyday you get to take a minion banana to school in your lunch.






Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 18

The best place I ever found to write was in New York City’s Grand Central Station. Seems strange, I know, but I spent countless hours during my college years, sitting on the cool marble floor of that beautiful building, back pressed against the wall, writing page after page as the bustling crowds passed by and never even seemed to notice me.

The thing about writing in Grand Central Station is that there is never an uninspired moment. Trains arrive and depart, crowds swell and taper, announcements echo through the speakers. An endless parade of potential characters plays out an impromptu performance that moves and changes with a life of its own.

There, in that space, I never seemed to have trouble tapping into something greater than myself. Call it God, the Universe, a muse, or even just inspiration—whatever name you want to give it, that’s where I found it, my own tiny corner of calm in the chaos. It was there that I lost myself, that I found myself. It was there that I found the courage to keep going.

There, on that dirty floor of a the train station, my pen would fly across the empty pages on its own, filling the void with words and ideas from a place that I never even knew existed.

New York will always be the city that saved my life, and I think a part of me will always be there. And, of course, a part of Steven will always be there too. So we surround ourselves with the city we love in a million different ways, right down to the pictures on our walls.

And this is where we found Cosette this morning, showing us that, she too, has an appreciation for the city that is so near and dear to our hearts. Cadence thought it was pretty funny that she was “having lunch with the guys”. We thought it looked like she fit right in…



Project Life 365 – Day 69 – Doodle

I was never much of a doodler. My notebooks were always filled with words, so there was little room left over. My sketchbooks, however, were a different story.

This unfinished sketch was from my favorite photograph I took of our old cat Baby Gray…


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