Growing Up Brooklyn: Graffiti Party

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Hazel celebrated her 8th birthday in true Brooklyn form with a Graffiti party – – cue the Beastie Boys. We met up with Leaf from Graff Tours in the heart of Bushwick to learn all things graffiti.

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Leaf demonstrated different fonts and spray techniques while encouraging the girls to create their own designs.

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Several layers were placed on the canvas to create …

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Leaf taught the girls how to pose without showing their faces – in true graffiti artist form.

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Leaf also taught the girls the importance of having a tag name. They stood wide-eyed and accepted the challenge to create their own.

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Smile: Aviva

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Shine: Zuri

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Angel: Sophie

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Sun: Vivian

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Split: Hannah

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Happy: Noa

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Star: Hazel

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Brooklyn Tag Team.

Cottage By the Sea: Demo Day

And the walls came tumbling down! The demo is not done … but is certainly on its way. We have taken the entire house down to the studs in order to:

  • insulate the house – this house currently has ZERO insulation!
  • create an open concept on the main floor
  • install central heat and air – good-bye radiators!
  • install new sheetrock throughout

Kitchen / Dining

kitchen dining

Living Room

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Sophie’s Room

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Hazel’s Room

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Stairway

stairs

Cottage By the Sea: Before Home Tour

We are ready to begin demo to this sweet little home! Introducing the old before we welcome the new!

Entryway / Dining Room

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Kitchen

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Living Room

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Laundry Room / Downstairs Bathroom

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Master Bedroom / Bathroom

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Sophie’s Bedroom

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Hazel’s Bedroom

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Upstairs Bathroom

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Our Cottage By The Sea

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It has been a long time coming … we finally have our little cottage by the sea!

We were introduced to Bellport Village in September and immediately fell in love with this house. Built and owned by the same family since 1950, there are a lot of memories already wrapped up in these four walls.

We can’t wait to build memories of our own in this humble abode. We are embarking on a full renovation with about 3 months until summer – what could go wrong?!

an approach to prayer

hand

i was introduced to the five-finger prayer during the christmas eve service held at trinity wall street. this approach offers a simple visual and reminder of how many people need to be remembered in our prayers.

thumb: the thumb is the finger closest to you, so pray for those who are closest to you, such as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, stepparents, stepsisters, stepbrothers, grandparents, godparents.

index finger: the index finger is the pointing finger, so pray for those who point the way for you, such as parents, teachers, clergy, policemen and women, firemen and women, security guards, bus drivers, crossing guards and elders.

middle finger: the middle finger is the biggest finger of all, so pray for those with big responsibilities like our president, government leaders, state and city leaders,  and others who lead and guide you.

fourth finger: the fourth finger is the weakest of all the fingers, so pray for those who are weak. pray for those who are sick or sad or alone; for those who are in hospitals and rest homes, as well as those who are poor, hungry and forgotten. pray for people who are disabled, physically and mentally. pray also for those who have died and for those who mourn them.

little finger: the little finger comes last. pray now for yourself and as your hands are now fully open thank god for your many generous blessings.

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edgar – our elf on the shelf

edgar kicked off our holiday season a bit early this year. {we are still scratching our heads in amazement that this little guy “magically” arrived in a bag brought by my mother from knoxville weeks before thanksgiving!}

thankfully my little gals eagerly embrace the magic of christmas and chalked up his early arrival as a prelude of mischevious behavior to be exhibited during the days leading up to christmas. edgar has  lived up to their predictions – leaving the girls, at times, to become a bit upset with him for not picking up after himself and playing with their things while they sleep.

below is a documentation of our time with edgar this holiday season and his silly antics. we will miss this funny little guy … until next year!

edgar

day 1: sugary snow angels
day 2: feeling close to santa by coloring a picture of him
day 3: chillin’ in the fridge with a santa towel to keep him warm
day 4: soaking in a marshmallow bath
day 5: dreaming of a white christmas with a q-tip snowflake
day 6: declaring his love for barbie
day 7: missing the girls when they spent the night out
day 8: sippin’ on maple syrup
day 9: rainbow looming for his elf friends
day 10: giving in to his sweet tooth
day 11: fooled by homemade baking soda ornaments {thought they were sugar cookies}
day 12: a quick shave – wishful thinking
day 13: peek-a-boo game {of course with sprinkles involved}
day 14: showing school spirit
day 15: love and candy canes
day 16: coming in like a wrecking ball
day 17: stripes on stripes
day 18: finding his twin in a snowy day
day 19: introducing his girlfriend in hopes to be adopted by the girls’ friends. {she was adopted and named rosie g!}
day 20: fishin’ for goldfish
day 21: late night tic-tac-toe games with pete the cat
day 22: his presence is present enough {he stole the girls’ sugar cookie for this … they were not thrilled with him!}
day 23: last late night rendevous with his buddy barbie

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why yes … there is a santa

girls with santa

i adore the ages of four + six when christmas magic is fully alive!

one of my favorite christmas traditions, since living in nyc, is visiting with santa at the plaza hotel. this year my father-in-law spoke to santa {while the girls were not looking} “reminding” him of their names. without skipping a beat, santa invited the girls by name to join him. watching the wonderment, excitement and the look on their faces after receiving a personal invitation from the big guy ignited within all of us a renewed sense of magic! this gentleman is thoughtful, engaging, calming and never in a rush. i will forever be thankful to him for taking the time to talk {and listen} to my girls.

i know as they grow older the magic {of santa} will look a bit different as they begin questioning the mysteries more deeply. i came across a letter written by author martha brockenbrough to her daughter lucy after she questioned who santa really was. martha’s thoughtful words and explaination are simply eloquent. while reading this letter i have cried with a mixture of saddness that the magic {as it had been known} was now revealed as well as with tears of joy that she is now empowered to embrace and share the magic with others.

i hope that you enjoy her words as much as i do!

may the magic always be alive within you! happy holiday!!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
 
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
 
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
 
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
 
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the Christmas magic stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
 
This won’t make you Santa, though.
 
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
 
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents, and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
 
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
 
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
 
So, no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
 
I love you and I always will.
 
Mama

*a version of this essay {designed as a picture book} will be available for purchase in 2015 by scholastic!

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filling my bucket {list}

katie

yesterday may go down in history as one of my most favorite days while living in new york! my friend heidi and i scored free tickets {thanks to 1iota} to the katie couric show with special guest sheryl crow. i have had a long standing love and and appreciation for both katie and sheryl and could not believe that i had the chance to see them both together live and only a few short feet away from me!

before the show, a woman that worked for the katie couric show asked if anyone knew a sheryl crow song and if they did to sing it into the microphone. i still can’t believe it … but holy crap … i volunteered! i sang a short bit of “c’mon c’mon” and the woman responded with “is that even a sheryl crow song?” she must not be a true sheryl fan because OF COURSE IT IS! i was waiting for sheryl to come out of the wings and back me up but to no avail.

i loved sheryl’s interview with katie. she inspired me to push the limits and to continue to seek out the things that will challenge + sharpen me as a woman, mother, wife, friend and creative. be sure to check out the show on december 5 on abc to see her interview, performance and of course look for us in the audience!!

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pennies for penny

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the holidays are on the horizon and once again i find myself searching for the perfect gift to give to my loved ones.  after happening upon pennies for penny i will look no further.

the thomas family abruptly lost their 21 month old daughter penny in a tragic accident in 2012. in the days immediately following the accident, a community came together to help them in a dark time of desperation. within a few short hours, friends and strangers established and funded a project called “pennies for penny” to help defray big costs that the family had incurred.

“through this charitable act–and many, many others–we felt God’s love like a reassuring arm around us, holding us tightly, letting us know that all was not lost. a little more than a year later, we continue to be inspired by these acts of kindness. we can never match or repay them, but they changed us forever, just like our little penny did. love, family, connection, service, curiousity–these were the important things in life. and so, we committed ourselves to them again. we ache dearly for her each day, but the outpouring we felt from the world around us following the accident reminds us how nice it feels to be taken care of in dark times.”

each sale on pennies for penny will benefit up to three families in need this holiday season.

the penny ring {sold in a set of two} is made from pennies, with “in God we trust” still visible. all rings are individually handmade {with love} by volunteers specifically for the pennies for penny fund.

lives will forever be changed in the rememberance of penny.

penny

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about me … about us

in case you missed it … the sprouse clan was featured this week on matilda jane’s blog! thank you to cj isaac of charlie juliet for spending the day with us in the city and capturing our family perfectly!

here is the interview …

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Q:  Please tell us a bit about yourself.  Where are you from and where are you now?

A: I am a southern girl recently transplanted to NYC.  Our family of four made the big move to the intimate community of Park Slope one year ago and I cannot imagine raising our children anywhere else!

Q:  I always love to hear about the incredible husbands that support the crazy schedule of a MJ Trunk Keeper.  What makes yours so special?

A: Matt is my best friend and greatest supporter hands down! Together we created and owned Abode – a home furnishings + accessories store in Knoxville, TN in 2006. Over the four short years of owning Abode, we welcomed our daughters {Sophie + Hazel} into the world while Matt continued to hold a full-time position as a television producer. Abode taught us many life lessons and reminded us how imperative it is to be in constant communication and to support each other unconditionally. Having past retail experience has allowed Matt to better understand the support that I need in Matilda Jane.

sprouse 2

Q: You’ve got two absolutely precious daughters!  Give us a glimpse into who they are.

A: Sophie {6} + Hazel {4} are the coolest gals I know! I have loved watching them grow and become young girls with Big dreams! Sophie loves to write and sing songs. She has a classic fashion sense while still making an outfit tailored to her. Hazel longs to be a cowgirl and definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. She has a free spirit approach to most things in life including her wardrobe, making it fun to see how her selections work in ways I would not have originally imagined.

Q:  If you could wear one item every day, what would that be?

A: I am in loving the midnight ruffle pants. – I wear them all the time! In fact, when talking to my girlfriend about Halloween costume ideas for herself she quickly replied, “well I can just throw on some Matilda Jane pants and go as you!” I may need to add some more staples into my clothing rotation …

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Q:  How did Matilda Jane find YOU?

A:  I have loved Matilda Jane from the time Sophie could fit into the clothes. The longevity and versatility of each piece has had me coming back for six years!

Q:  If you could have lunch with ANYONE, who would it be and why?

A: My mom. I was completely spoiled during the seven years we lived in the same city during my adult life. I miss her terribly and long for our impromptu mother/daughter dates.

sprouse 4

Q:  What are 5 words your friends would use to describe you?

A:  Passionate. Dreamer. Trend Setter. Listener. Creative.

Q:  Besides your family, what are you most passionate about?

A:  I have a passion for creating editorial through styling. Each summer, my sister-in law and I create a themed photo shoot involving our four kiddos and enlist the talents of a local photographer to perfectly capture each tyke’s personality. Each year these photos tell such a unique story of who are children are in that stage of life.

Q:  Share with us just ONE very important thing you do to try to leave this world a better place.

A: Instilling the importance of accepting others into my girls’ everyday life. This is one of the most important life lessons from my father that has made a huge impact on my life.  Throughout my life I have met and become friends with people that have a slightly different outlook on life than I do and because of that I have been inspired to grow, create and see the world through different lenses. I believe that individuality is what makes our world exciting and brings purpose to getting out of bed in the morning!

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Q:  What store makes your heart go pitter-patter when you shop in it?

A: The Brooklyn Flea. I love mixing old {sometimes what others may view as junk} with highly polished new home accessories. Our home holds many stories and is carefully/methodically put together so that our friends and family are able to easily join us in our story.

Q:  What do you value more?  Possessions or travel?

A:  Absolutely no question – Travel. Matt and I have always said that if we give our children anything it is that of a larger worldview. We walked through my grandparents’ home after they had passed away and marveled at the love that they had for each other and the memories that they shared while traveling the world together. Instead of investing in possessions that would eventually gather dust and then be sold at an estate sale they traveled – – seeing the world, visiting with family both in the US and abroad.  It is our hope to continue their legacy.

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Q:  If given the opportunity to have the day to yourself, how would you spend it? 

A:  I have recently come to understand how important it is to give myself “moments” in the day that are just mine.  These moments are long enough to spend time with a friend, organize my home, go to the gym or simply stare blankly at social media outlets. No matter how I spend these moments I hold them close because they are all mine and not dictated by the constant noise of “must-get-dones”.

Q:  If you could crawl into the pages of any book, what would it be and why?

A: One of my most favorite books is What Alice Forgot. I read it last year and have not been able to shake the message that it gives throughout showing unconditional love and forgiveness.

Q:  What is YOUR “must have” Paint by Numbers piece?

A:  My favorite dress out of the entire collection is the Rose Gold Jane Dress.  This dress gives a nod towards vintage. Giving girls a tailored and innocent look while having the freedom to run, play and discover new things.

sprouse 7

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27 Cupcakes

cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes.

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