Tuesday, September 30, 2014

outfit of the day(bird): girl's weekend

jacket, jeans~ b. (a resale shop)
shirt~ Forever 21
scarf~ hand-me-down from my mom
shoes~ Michael Kors via Second Debut

This past weekend, I had a getaway with three of my oldest and dearest girlfriends. We have all been friends for almost 30 years which is just crazy and awesome. We had been planning the getaway for over a month and had been texting back and forth for the last few weeks, throwing out ideas and joking and sending lots of wine glass emojis. Finally, the weekend was upon us and it did not disappoint. My parent's have a small vacation condo in an adorable lakeside town about 2 hours southeast of the cities, which is where we stayed. We spent the entire weekend talking and laughing and eating and drinking and resting and repeating. The weather was amazing and we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the sun and the beautiful scenery. The lake was full of sailboats and the leaves on the trees have recently begun changing color and were so beautiful. It was pretty perfect. I always feel so inspired and invigorated and and refreshed after spending time with my friends. We are all busy with work and kids and family and just life in general and we don't get to spend nearly enough time together. This weekend away was much needed and we are already trying to plan our next one!

Do you have any getaways planned for this fall?

xoxo, nora bird

Monday, September 29, 2014

inspiration monday: solo bird

the inspiration
ashley olson

nora bird

tee~ Forever 21
jeans~ Levis
scarf~ Goodwill
shoes~ DSW

megan bird

tee, scarf, shoes, sunglasses ~ thrifted
pants ~ Forever 21
 Somehow, I convinced Megan to let me take over the blog this week while she is in San Fransisco so that she can just relax and enjoy her vacation. Unlike me, in all the years we have been writing this blog, she has NEVER taken a break and this is my first time ever posting the Inspiration Monday. I know! I promised her that I would try to keep the blog in one piece and that she wouldn't come home to a virtual pile of burning rubble. Fingers crossed that I do an okay job! I hope you guys all have an awesome Monday. And Megan, if you're out there reading this right now, we will all miss you this week! Now get off the computer and go enjoy your vacation!
 xoxo, nora bird

Friday, September 26, 2014

bird seed: gluten free pumpkin bread

We are not a gluten free family by any means, but Jim has had a few issues of late and decided to give the gluten free thing a try to see if it helped at all. I have been trying to accommodate by changing up a few of our favorite recipes to make them gluten free. Mimi and I love baking together and we decided to try a gluten free pumpkin bread! It actually turned out pretty good, so I thought I would share the recipe!

2 cups of brown rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
1/2 cup raw honey
2 eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease one bread pan.
Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.
Let bread cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Last minute, we decided to make a traditional cream cheese frosting to top the bread with. Always a good choice, if you ask me!

This is a great fall recipe for anyone who is gluten free or just trying to eat a little less wheat. I think next time I might add a little bit of apple sauce to make it a bit more moist, but other than that, it was a hit!

Do you have any favorite gluten free recipes? I'd love to hear them!
Happy Friday!
xoxo, nora bird

Thursday, September 25, 2014

outfit of the day(bird): alone in a new city

 tank, necklace ~ Forever 21
hat ~ Target
booties ~ swap
jeans, sweater ~ thrifted

Chris and I are going to San Francisco next week. He has a conference to attend, and I am just tagging along for fun. I am so excited, as I've never been to California (I know). Anyhow, I was all excited thinking about what I'd pack (yes, I get excited about that), and where I'd shop, and just the sheer fact that for a few days, I have nothing to do.
And then I really started thinking about it, and I had a brief panic attack. Here I will be, in a big new city, with a horrible sense of direction, and I will be on my own (as Chris will be in conferences most days). What if I get lost in the city? What if I don't know how to use the trolley? (Yes that thought went through my head.) What if I look dumb in front of strangers? (Yes, that is where all of this anxiety stems from.) And then I realized, who cares. Seriously, who cares? If I get lost, I'll take a cab. If I don't know how to use the trolley, I'll ask someone. And if all else fails, I'll order a bottle of wine and sit in the hotel room reading books all week. Because that would be ok too.
Having said that, I'm happy to hear some must go-tos while in San Francisco!
megan bird

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

bird.i.y.: alphabet block crafts

Here is the extent of my DIY...
1. Buy a bag of alphabet blocks at a bag sale at a church.
a. Because you're 40 and you  need a bag of alphabet blocks.
b. Because it's bag day and everything you can stuff into a garbage bag is $2.
2. Realize you need to start getting rid of craft items because your basement is turning into a TLC show.
3. Wonder randomly if all of the names in your family share letters that you could "crossword" together.
4. Grab the bag of alphabet blocks and test it out.
5. Realize they do.
6. Grab the hot glue gun that is still sitting out from your last craft project and start gluing.
8. Move the finished project around the house until you find a place (or two) for it.

Where do you like it best? The fireplace or on top of the hope chest by the window?
megan bird

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

outfit of the day(bird): hot tub party

denim jacket, shirt~ thrifted
jeans~ H&M
boots~ J Crew via Second Debut

I will preface this story by saying that I realize that many of my blog posts are basically just quotes overheard by my kids while in the car. As a stay-at-home mom, almost all of my time is spent with my kids, much of it in the car overhearing them say the darndest things. I know I find them hilarious because they are my kids, but hopefully you guys aren't totally bored by me! That said, here's another story about my kids saying funny things in the car...

The other day the kids and I were driving to the gym and the radio was on in the car. The person on the radio mentioned something about a hot tub party and when Mimi heard this she let out a loud and irritated sigh, and said "Hot tub party??? But where would they put the balloons? And what about the cake???" Frankly, I have to agree. I mean, a hot tub party sounds fun and all, but what's a party without balloons and a cake?

xoxo, nora bird

Monday, September 22, 2014

inspiration monday: hard lessons

the inspiration
Victoria Justice
megan bird

tee, jeans, sunglasses ~ thrifted
shoes ~ garage sale
sweater ~ Marshalls

nora bird

sweater ~ thrifted
tee ~ Urban Outfitters
jeans ~ Levi's
booties ~ The Closet Trading Co.

This weekend we went camping. We have a regular campground that we like to go to...it's close, it's gorgeous, it has hiking paths, and a gorgeous waterfall. The falls are huge...there are probably three or four tiers, and every time we go camping there, we see people walking behind or across some of the bigger tiers of the waterfall. Chris once brought the kids to one of the tiers, and they started to venture into the water only to find that the current was way too strong, so they quickly turned back.

Unfortunately, another camper didn't have such good fate this weekend. As we were at the falls, we noticed a girl, maybe 20 at the oldest, seemingly stuck on the top tier of the falls. She was dangerously close to falling down the falls. And let me tell you, it was one of the taller tiers, with powerful water, and huge jagged rocks all down the falls. I can't imagine how terrified she was.

Her friends were trying to find branches long enough to reach out to her, with no luck. We all wanted to help, but for anyone else to venture out to where she was would have been unsafe. I finally said to Chris that I didn't want to stay any longer because I was afraid she would fall and I didn't want the kids to be traumatized by seeing that, because a fall would have meant likely death. So we began to walk away, and felt a bit of relief as we saw the ranger driving up the hiking path.

That relief didn't last long as about 30 minutes later, we saw a medivac flying over our campsite. I was so worried for this poor girl, thinking that she came here to have a fun weekend, and now who knows what happened to her because of one stupid move.

I wasn't able to stop thinking about her, and I finally flagged down a ranger and asked him if he knew what happened. Luckily for her, they were able to get her out of the water safely, and she was being treated for mild hypothermia. Still not a great thing, but considering the other scenarios, I was happy to hear she would be ok!

Did you have any adventures this weekend?
megan bird

Friday, September 19, 2014

a bit about the birds


Today we thought we would share a few bits and pieces about us, just for fun! (Also, it's Friday and I am feeling lazy.) So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and learn a bit about the birds!

Megan Bird
1. I was once beat up my a convenience store clerk. She was at least twice my age at the time.
2. I have always loved being pregnant.
3. If I say I’m going to do something, I have to do it, no matter how much I don’t want to. It’s either very good willpower, or extreme stubbornness.
4. I am very stubborn (but I also have great will power).
5. I have extreme Catholic guilt and tend to overthink things.
6. I am very impulsive.
7. I hoard clothes and shoes, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
8. In the 25 years I have been a vegetarian, I don’t miss meat at all. I do, however, really miss pink Starburst.
9. I don’t like to ask for help and want everyone to think I can do most things on my own (with the exception of Chris, I’ll ask him to do anything for me).
10. I prefer salty over sweet any day. My favorite snack is air-popped popcorn with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The birds circa 2002 (before we were officially birds) and one of my favorite photos of us!

Nora Bird
1. I cannot leave a Target store without buying at least one jar of nail polish. In all honesty, it's usually two. My nail polish collection drives my husband crazy.
2. I am also a vegetarian and have been for about 14 years. Giving up meat was extremely easy for me, but I don't think I could ever give up cheese.
3. I love to sing. I'm not very good, but I love it!
4. I am horribly anxious and can easily keep myself awake all night worrying about almost anything.
5. I hate milk. I don't remember the last time I drank a glass of the stuff.
6. I get nervous when I have to call and speak to strangers on the phone. Making restaurant reservations, calling for pizza delivery, making doctor's appointments, etc. Answering the door for the pizza guy is also not my favorite. (I know, I know. I am working on this and getting much better about it!)
7. I could eat Mexican food every day and not ever get sick of it.
8. I own the cutest ukelele and will someday learn to play it. I taught myself this song by watching a YouTube tutorial once during my kids' nap time. It's one of my favorite ukelele songs.
9. The Jerk is one of my favorite movies and I have always had a small crush on Steve Martin.
10. I am terrified of heights. My heart actually just starting beating a bit faster typing that.

Tell us something about yourself!

xoxo, two birds

Thursday, September 18, 2014

outfit of the day(bird): inspired

sweater~ Marshalls
tank~ thrifted
jeans~ Levis
boots~ b. (a resale shop)
necklace~ Etsy, gift from Jim

Lately, I have become frustrated with the sheer amount of STUFF I have. Mostly, I am talking clothes and shoes here. I have talked about this before as this happens to me almost every time the seasons change. I start to go through my closet and pull out the summer stuff and move the fall clothes to the front and I start to realize how much I have and how much of it I rarely wear and I start to think to myself, "Why???" I love clothes and I love to shop but lately I have realized that I need to buy less and focus more on quality and staple pieces. I tend to always reach for the same items when I am getting ready or going out and everything else kind of just hangs there, unworn and sad. Yet, when I try to go in and do a big closet clean out, I always seem to find a reason to keep that old sweater or make some excuse as to why I might need that rarely worn pair of jeans someday. What is up with that? So, when I read Megan's post last week, I was SO inspired (thank you, Megan!) and I knew this was what needed to happen. I started a bit this past weekend and it felt pretty good. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am excited about starting this process and paring down my closet and making it more workable and simple. I want to open my closet and feel harmony and comfort rather than frustration and confusion. It's overwhelming and, like I said, I have just begun, but I will continue to share my progress here. Any advice you have to give is more than welcome!

xoxo, nora bird

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

bird.i.y.: How to Mount a Staghorn Fern (and a comedy of errors)

This project was an impulse for me. I went to a neighbor’s house for a party on Saturday and saw one hanging on her wall. I will admit I had never even heard of a staghorn fern, but I knew immediately that I wanted one for myself. I mean, it’s a plant, on a wall, that looks like a deer. Who wouldn’t want that?

So I immediately (or Monday night when  I realized I needed to do a DIY this week) ran to Bachman's to buy the fern. I also needed a block to mount it on, and some hanging accessories. On my way to Bachman's, I got the brilliant idea to stop at Goodwill (isn’t it always a brilliant idea to stop at Goodwill?) to see if they had something cheaper than the wood block I was planning on buying at Michael's. Determined to only buy a wood block and a cheap picture that has hook screws and wire (since I was no longer going to Michael's), I happened upon this gem and had to buy it. I mean, dogs in a pink bathroom…it’s a must-have.

Anywho, I found what I was looking for in the form of an old cheese plate. If I can teach you only one thing today, it’s that with a little imagination, you can find almost any craft need at a thrift store. For real. I left Goodwill with what I needed and headed to Bachman's.

At Bachman's, I was determined to only buy the fern and sheet moss. But then I saw this and remembered that I once told Chris that if he ever saw one, to buy it for me. Well, that was reason enough to buy it for myself. I mean, a little fairy plant that looks like peas…it’s a must-have.

So I left Bachman's with the fern, the fairy plant, and peat moss. Not sheet moss. My bad. Luckily, as I was in the middle of the project back at home, I remembered Nora had recently done a DIY that required moss, so I texted her:
“Do you have any moss I can have? I bought the wrong stuff and don’t feel like putting my bra back on.”

 What you need:
~ Wood block and hanging accessories
~ Staghorn fern
~ Hammer and 6-8 nails
~ Fishing wire
~ Sheet moss

Sisters always come through, and five minutes later, I was at Nora’s door in sweatpants and no bra. And a tank top, too…I’m not that indecent!

The actual project itself is pretty easy. 

Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Attach your hanging device to the wood piece, if there isn’t one already. Make sure it’s strong enough to hold some weight.
2. Draw a circle, about an inch larger than the circumference of your plant, where you’d like to place the plant on your wood piece.
3. Hammer about 6-8 nails (leaving at least an inch of nail above the wood) in the outline of the circle.
4. Spread the sheet moss (not peat moss) in the circle.
5. Remove the fern from the pot and break the roots until you have about 1-2 inches of dirt and root under the plant.
6. Place the plant over the moss.
7. Tie a piece of fishing wire to one of the nails.
8. Wind the wire over the plant, around the plant, connecting all the nails and making sure the plant is secure enough to the wood piece (eventually it will root).
8. Tie off the fishing wire to a nail.
9. Hang the plant.

Sounds easy enough.

Here’s what I did:
1. Buy a piece of wood that doesn’t fit where you actually want it to go.
2. Take your bra off, it’s craft time.
3. Attach the hanging device to the wood piece without even thinking/measuring if it will be the right placement
4. Draw a circle, hammer in the nails (I did one thing right).
5. Realize you have peat moss, run (braless) to your sisters.
6. Add sheet moss, tear plant, put plant on wood piece.
7. Wrap fishing wire only around the outside of the plant.
8. Try to hang the fern.
9. Have the fern fall off the wood piece on your face.
10. Reattach the fern to the wood piece, using about 20 yards of fishing wire to make sure it's secure.
11. Hang the fern, realizing it doesn't look good where you wanted it.
12. Take out screws and wire and move them to a new location to see if the fern will look better a bit higher. (It doesn't.)
13. Finally find a new place to hang it that you love.
14. Take out screws and wire and move to their original place so the fern looks perfect in it's new location.
15. Take lots of pictures and hope that the fern is still on the wood piece when you wake up the next morning. (It was.)

And that is how is should and shouldn't be done. A true comedy of errors, but I must say I am delighted with the finished product.

megan bird