family

Archie’s Playhouse

modern playhouse // customizing a kit playhouse // sarah sherman samuelJust before Clover arrived, I shared the tour of our family room/Archies playroom that we converted into the new nursery. After stealing away Archie’s playroom we wanted to give him a special place of his own so we  built him a whole damn house! ha Ok it is a tiny house but it is insanely cute and a spot of his own, none the less.

I thought about designing and building my own but with an already too full work load and the baby well on the way, I knew I didn’t have the time so I started looking around for kit playhouses and landed on this one from Wayfair that was the perfect foundation for just a little bit of customization…

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Framing and Elevating DIY & Kids Art

living room makeover // framing children's art // sarah sherman samuelLast week I shared the finished tour of our living room makeover, how we got it ready in time for baby and all the family that will be coming in for the holidays. If you haven’t seen it yet take a peek here and you will see this custom artwork we made for the space, which is a fancy way of saying we made it ourselves. ha But really, creating art has been my favorite thing to do since I was a wee one. I still remember when my kindergarten teacher held up a drawing I did of a dinosaur to show the class and I’m not sure I have been prouder of anything since. Of course a lot of the work I do for a living is creative, and is some form of art, but freely drawing and trying new mediums just for the sake of fun can sometimes slip through the cracks but I am ALWAYS so happy when I do get a chance to.

One step better than doing it by myself is sharing the arts with my son Archie (2.5 years old). Drawing and painting with him and being able to do an activity together, that we both love, at such a young age is priceless. Now, it can be super easy to draw and draw together and then tuck the pages away somewhere and never look at them again but when a company like Framebridge exists that makes framing art SO easy, there is no excuse not so get some up on the walls. So I am thrilled to have teamed up with them to show you just how simple it is.

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clear the shelters event

sarah sherman samuel // family Created with Petco

Pet adoption has always been near and dear to my heart. I wish I could personally house all the homeless pets out there but for now Rupe has limited me to our two (adorable) dogs. However, I am gearing up for the second annual ‘Clear the Shelters‘ pet adoption campaign, coming up on Saturday July 23rd, where Local NBC and Telemundo Television Stations team up with hundreds of animal shelters to match homeless pets with new homes. Last year they were able to place nearly 20,000 animals with new families!! So although I may just be going to support the efforts, I can’t promise I won’t take home just one more pup. Rupert might not notice just one more dog in the bed?

In honor of the upcoming event, Petco asked me to share my own pet adoption story, and since all moms can’t pass up an excuse to talk about their children (fur children included), I said sign me up! Also, it’s for a great cause. Petco is a main sponsor of the ‘Clear the Shelters’ event and have always been committed to a “Think Adoption First” philosophy. They host monthly in-store adoptions events (much like the ones where I found Pikku and Cracker) and have never sold cats or dogs in their stores. I am really happy to team up with them for this, to hopefully help find loads of pets their new homes, and to talk about how my two girls came to be part of the Samuel family.

samuel familysamuel familyWe found Pikku 7 years ago at an adoption center, or rather, I found Pikku at an adoption center, while Rupert was out of town. I grew up with a dog and cats my entire childhood but didn’t have a pet in my adult life and desperately wanted one. I used to ride my bike by this pop up adoption center every once in awhile and one day stopped in. There were so many adorable pups and I am such an emotional puddle when it comes to animals that I was a wreck. Pikku climbed right up on my lap and I filled out the application then and there. The agency does home checks, and all that, so I had plenty of time to tell Rupe about what I did later. ;) But really, I left and called Rupe immediately… told him I found a dog and we need her. When he got back in town we were able to arrange a time for Rupert to meet her and, as I knew would happen, Rupe turned into a puddle as well and there was no way we were leaving Pikku behind. We welcomed her home a few days later after home checks and her last round of immunizations (she was about a year old at the time).

pikkuAnd thus we started life as three. At that time I was at a full time job where they let me bring her to work every day and it was great! After about a year the office moved and they no longer allowed pets in the new space, so I would drive home 15-20 mins every day for lunch, walk Pikku, grab some food, and then drive back to work. Pikku felt the change, she didn’t love being at home on her own for two 4 hour chunks of time so that was when mission ‘find Pikku a friend’ came into play and I started casually working the idea into conversations with Rupe. Like “oh hey did you pick up the milk? We should really get another dog.”

Finally, one day we were out with Pikku and drove past the same pop-up pet adoption center and I was like “hey let’s just go check it out, See if Pikku responds to any of the dogs” (meanwhile, I had been stalking their website and knew there was a beautiful three legged dog about Pikku’s size and build that would be at the center that day). So we walked on over and the volunteers let us take Sardinia (the three legged sweetheart) on a walk with Pikku and it was not ideal. Basically they didn’t want anything to do with each other. I really had my heart set on finding Pikku a comrade (and Sardinia a home) but it wasn’t meant to be. Just as we were about to leave this little spitfire terrier caught my attention.

crackersss_petco-97Her name was “Spicy”, and she was probably the most adorably wire haired terrier I ever did see, and I wasn’t the only one who connected with her. Pikku and Spicy were all over each other, egging each other on to play and tails wagging incessantly. Rupert wouldn’t have been able to resist even if he tried (he did not).

Since it was the same adoption agency we went through before, they didn’t have to do the home check or any of the wait time so suddenly we were going home with two dogs. Just like that, Spicy (which we then re-named to be Cracker) was one of us.

samuel familysss_petco-70I still have the video of when we first brought them home together. They chased each other and played like crazy until they fell asleep and have been inseparable ever since. Pikku changed back into her happy spunky self and Cracker is her forever hysterical side kick. She also makes a great Archie sidekick too!

sss_petco-77I mean, I just can’t even take this photo!

If you are looking to add a new furry friend (or two) to your family, join Petco and I, and get yourself to a participating shelter on July 23rd!

Photos by Nicki Sebastian
Shop the post: My dress // Archies Overalls by Thimble Collection

This post is brought to you in partnership with Petco. All content words and thoughts are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep this blog going! x

Christmas Traditions – 12 Activities to try

holiday traditions // 12 activities to try // sss storiesI think I’ve mentioned a time or two how I am BIG on making new, and keeping old, traditions for various holidays. We didn’t have a ton growing up but the ones we did, I cherish. Growing up in Michigan meant the holidays were filled with all sorts of winter activities, sledding, making snow men and snow angles, ice skating etc and I can still remember exactly how the house smelled, with the wood burning stove going, as we would come in from playing outdoors for hours to thaw out, hanging the wet layers of clothes to dry and snuggle up in our long underwear with hot coco.

Just typing this out has me all weepy and homesick for Michigan. Thinking of Archie not being able to do these activities in sunny Los Angeles breaks my heart a little, so I’ve decided to really get planning on how I can make our holidays as a family extra special no matter where we are.

I came up with 12 activities for the 12 days of Christmas and in lieu of an advent calendar, each day we will pick an activity to do together. To get me in the mood, I pulled on my favorite pajamas, fixed up a cup of GODIVA hot chocolate and started checking #1 off the list. The activities themselves may change from year to year but a I am getting the warm and fuzzies just thinking about the fun we will have with Archer through the years to come.

holiday traditions // 12 activities to try // sarah sherman samuelhot-chocolate1#1 Ornament time capsule – cut a 1” strip of white paper, as long as you’d like and have each of your family members write down their favorite memories from the year. When everyone’s finished roll it up and tuck it inside the ornament. Now each year you will add a new ornament and can have fun looking back at the memories as the years go by.

#2 Hot chocolate stand – The lemonade stand’s adorable winter version… set up a stand and sell or give out hot chocolate to neighbors and spread the holiday cheer. Think vintage plaid thermoses, GODIVA hot choloate, Pendelton blankets, and kids dressed up Christmas Story style.

#3 Decorate the Tree – turn up the Christmas tunes and get at it!

#4 Ice Skating – Even in the warm climates you can find a rink around the holidays

#5 Baking Day – set aside an afternoon and bake all your favorite cookies and treats and then bring them around to friends, neighbors, and family. Sugar cookies, apple crisp, chocolate cookies… I’m dying to try the “GODIVA Triple Chocolate Chunk” cookies.

#6 Holiday Light Tour – jump in the car and drive around to see the lights at night

#7 Make a Gingerbread House

#8 Crafting day – Get out all your crafting supplies and make some homemade presents

#9 Put out the Nativity Scene and read the story of Christmas

#10 Present round up for charity – Round up your little’s toys they have outgrown or go shopping together for new ones to give to a local charity.

#11 Go caroling – No one really wants to hear me sing but I can lip-sink like nobody’s business

#12 Movie Night – Curl up in your holiday PJs and watch a marathon of Christmas Movies.

My hopes would be that having the activities lined up and making an effort early on will teach us to slow down a bit, enjoy the season for all it’s worth, and teach Arch the real meaning of Christmas.

If all this is too ambitious for you but you still want to give back, GODIVA is running a holiday promotion that makes it easy. For every cup of hot chocolate sold in their store, they are donating $1 to Toys for Tots. So add that to the list, or make it your whole list. Either way… I won’t judge. :)

Happy of Holidays from this sappy sally to you and yours. x

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

SOURCES: Mug // Hot Chocolate // RUG // Pajamas // Slippers 

This post was done in collaboration with Godiva. A as always, all thoughts and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors. x

from the weekend: mexico

encuentro guadalupeHappy monday… we are just getting settled back in from our roat trip to Mexico! We did some serious glamping, introduced Archie to all sorts of new sites, and danced under the stars. I’ll be sharing more about the route once I get through the zillion photos I took and recover from the post vacation blues. ;)

Photo above at the restaurant at Encuentro Guadalupe, by me via instagram (I’m @sarahshermansamuel)

weekend scenes: LA Lately

marina del rey // sarah sherman samuelThanks for all of the love on the new site! Things should be running a lot more smoothly now. We ended up having to move the site to another host all together because my old one (rhymes with slowdaddy) just could not handle all of the fabulousness ;). Anywhoo, there are a few things I need to finish up but I am just happy it is up and running and I am back at it again.

This weekend I caught up on sleep and it was MARVELOUS. I forgot what a good solid eight hours does for a person. I even worked in a good nap on top of it. Archer is getting more and more interactive and dare I say… we are falling into a pretty good rhythm. Of course I am quickly learning as soon as you say that everything changes and you are right back to feeling clueless again but I will enjoy this period of bliss even if it only lasts a hot second. We took him out for lunch and splashed around a bit at the beach in Marina Del Rey. It is just a few minutes from our house but it transported us to that good vacation feel.

Hope you guys had a good one too.

Image by me via instagram (I’m @sarahshermansamuel)