easy neighbor gift idea

Several years ago I was given this as a neighbor gift and LOVED it! It is the handiest kitchen tool around and a definite must-have for any family. Especially around the holidays when I am brought an orange to peel every 15 minutes. $1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift

Have you seen this tool? It scores the orange and then you flip it around and the little scooper peels up the rind in the nicest full pieces! No juice all over, no pith in your fingernails. My kids can easily peel their own, too! It’s the greatest!$1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor GiftThese 6 packs put them at about $.80 each and then you can scale the gift up with as many oranges as you’d like, or what fits in your budget!

Since I was sending this to my own neighbors I figured I’d share the printable here, too!   $1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor GiftI can never seem to make the right amount of neighbor gifts and then there’s always a neighbor that you weren’t planning on that brings you something sweet. So having the bowl on hand to make them quick is always handy! Just grab cellophane bags, linen ribbon, the orange peeler tools, a hole punch, and then right click the printable below and you’re set!

$1 Neighbor Gift Idea | Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift


Orange Peeler Neighbor Gift Printable

hayes’ room update

Sponsored by ABRAMS Books.

We read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, the newest book in Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series, on our road trip for Thanksgiving this past week and suddenly, both Hayes and I were itching for a little room makeover!

Hayes' Room Update | Small Fry In Wrecking Ball, Greg Heffley’s family is given the chance to make some big changes to their house after an unexpected inheritance. But problems start to crop up – rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister – that make the Heffleys wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. But no matter how many things go wrong and how many times they wanted to give up, the Heffleys kept going and, of course, had lots of laughs along the way. The story of the Heffley’s home renovations sounded so much like what we’ve been going through the last bit that it inspired us both to get to work and get Hayes back into a space he loves!Hayes' Room Update | Small FryI haven’t spoken about this publicly because it’s been a complete disaster and was potentially going to be resolved in court, but we had a flood in our basement caused by a neighboring property a few months ago! (Cue sobs!) The water came in overnight and my boys slept right through it.Hayes' Room Update | Small FryThe Flood Response team estimated over 10,000 gallons of water came into our basement and it traveled all the way to Hayes’ room from the guest room hitting two bathrooms a laundry room, and all 3 boys’ rooms. LUCKILY we have tile so the damage (with the exception of the decimated guest room) was really just to the baseboards, drywall, and a few rugs.Hayes' Room Update | Small FryWhile we waited for things to resolve with the parties involved the boys were basically camping with all their belongings ripped out for repairs. They were such good sports about the whole thing, but now that our insurance has paid out, we can get things back on track. To celebrate we’re doing a little room makeover for each kiddo. Hayes was up first, and he loves his new additions!Hayes' Room Update | Small FryAnother part of the book that inspired me was how Greg loved (hoarded? Ha!) his mementos from years past. He loved to stash them and look at them and that is JUST like Hayes. I haven’t had a good way for him to access those things until the book convinced me to figure it out! He now has a whole section of his dresser devoted to his artwork, pictures, schoolwork, and other fun things he can pull out and look through anytime he wants. Now that his room is to his liking, he is ALL about planning our yard! Trampoline, dirt bike trails, tetherball, basketball court, pool, and lots of apple trees he can snack off of. I love seeing him dream big! Dirt hills are definitely doable right now with our grass-less yard! 😉 Hey at least it’s not a skating rink on the second floor a la Greg, right?Hayes' Room Update | Small Fry

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball is in stores now, so be sure to grab a copy!

New Rug // New Dresser 50% off right now! // Bed // Sidetable // Pennant Flags – Do Your Best + Hike Utah via Letters & Laurels – Stay Gold and Bear Lake via Everbear (they do custom pennants, too!) // National Park Print via FELL// Gold Foil Print via Robert and Stella // Macrame Plant Holder // Stuffed Instruments (old Crate and Kids) // Globes  // Print of Hayes’ first time swimming solo // Custom art piece by Colett Yarro for Hayes // Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

10 roadtrip essentials!

Today we are heading out for our Thanksgiving road trip to visit my sister! It’s about an 8 hour drive to Reno which will be a good warmup for our big 18 hour trip to Wisconsin next month for Christmas! I am always on the hunt for ways to make road trips more fun (more bearable for me because, real talk, I don’t enjoy them. I GET SO ANTSY! AND also! Unless you’re driving, it’s like a cardio workout grabbing every little thing the kids need. Shotgun = the short straw.)

Anyway, here’s what we’re bringing and BONUS! lots of these items have sweet deals this week! Would love to hear what other musts you guys love before our big trip in December, hit me up.

road trip essentials| SMALL FRY

  1. KIDS KINDLE! This is a new product Amazon just launched and I love that it is pre-stocked with thousands of titles like Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and more! One less thing to do for mom. Regularly $110 — $80 this week + $5 Kindle Credit!
  2. PURO HEADPHONES! I love this brand because they’re made for kids and have built in protection so the volume never gets too loud for their sensitive ears. I make sure every kid has their own pair. Again, one less thing to monitor slash worry about while they’re in the back seat. These are $10 off right now and only $20! Love the monochrome look, they have lots of colors!
  3. BACKPACKS! “EMILY20” for 20% off! I always let the kids pack whatever they want in their backpacks and then leave the actual suitcase/clothing/necessity packing to me. I don’t try to control it I just heavily warn that they should pack whatever they need to not get bored. We love State Bags, they give backpacks to American students in need with every purchase! You can see my favorite picks here and get 20% off with EMILY 20.
  4. ACTIVITY BOOKS! We do specific blocks of time for screens and then screen-free travel so I like to have activity books on hand for them. Here are several we love! — Mad Libs // GO! My Adventure Journal // Brain Quest Flip Books // Rainbow Scratch Paper // Laugh out Loud Jokes for Kids // Kids Awesome Activity Book
  5. SEATBELT PILLOW! Of course we want the kids to be as comfortable as possible and also safe, so this seatbelt pillow does the trick. Entices them to stay properly buckled, is $7 and has great ratings!
  6. COOLER! Love that this isn’t TOO huge, easy to transport with the straps and has the YETI stamp of quality. Packing snacks is a must and keeps us from stopping at inopportune times.
  7. CAR VACUUM! 4000 4 star ratings on this baby and only $30! (Save $4 with their coupon!) Comes with all sorts of attachments all connected to your cigarette lighter. Get all the nooks and crannies and grab spills as they come! The kdis love it, too! Put ’em to work.
  8. GO GIRL! Being pregnant and the only girl in the car means a lot of potential bathroom breaks. I can’t just pee in a bottle like the rest of my crew, but this thing is amazing. It’s just a funnel to help you pee wherever your boys might be able to. I HATE stopping when everyone is content or sleeping and refuse to be the reason a napping child wakes up, or we lose time.
  9. CAR TRASH! Roadtrips do a number on our cars so we do our best to keep things under control. This trash sits over a seat back, holds quite a bit of garbage, liquid too (3 gallons!) Hinged shut to keep the odors at bay and easy to clean!
  10. QUAD SUNGLASS CASE! This *is* my favorite product of the year so its going to be showing up in a lot of posts. A must for any travel but even better when you have lots of family members to keep track of. My kids are old enough to see the value in wearing sunglasses, but they’re not that great at keeping them out of harm’s way, this helps!

fryday update!

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve shared what’s going on around here lately!

PREGNANCY! 22 weeks now and still dealing with afternoon/evening nausea, but it has let up tremendously which I am so grateful for! I’m just throwing up a couple times a week and as long as I can get enough sleep (and exercise, too!) I am so much better off! I have an anterior placenta this time around which accounts for why I haven’t felt him moving around as much as my others. There’s more padding between us, but now moving into the 5 month arena I am feeling him several times a day which is so comforting! He’s over a pound already and everything looks perfect. New and fun (sarcasm) to this pregnancy is tinnitus, anyone ever had that? Ringing in my one ear and it has been constant for a few weeks. I have a few remedies I’m trying this weekend, but would love to hear if any of you have experienced it!! We’re down to two baby names which we might just mash them together and use both so we’ll see if it sticks until the due date.Fryday Update

COAT (40% off today!) // Full Panel Pixie (wear them pretty much daily) // Old Sweater but very similar and 40% off as well HERE. // Boot // RALEIGH: Coat // Jeans // Boots

Raleigh is killing me in these.

Fryday Update

WORK! I have taken less and less time online because our venue building is crazy busy right now. I was worried at the beginning of the Summer (we opened officially in April) because we weren’t booking as much as I had hoped. Either that was due to it being Summer and people wanting to celebrate outdoors, or that we were just so new, but I wasn’t sure this venture was going to work!!

Now that it’s gotten colder I can see that it is in fact working, and trying to navigate the man-hours it takes to keep things running smoothly… growing pains for real! Grateful to have a business partner to split it with, but ready to hire out yesterday. This was from a shoot we put together with other vendors, we styled 5 different wedding scenes and loved how it turned out!

State House Venue - Orem Utah

The handmade market I run at the venue Bijou Market is next weekend! I love seeing so many of you there and it’s a great line-up this year! 70+ vendors selling home decor, accessories, jewelry, clothing, toys, food, and so much more.Bijou Market

I’ve been thinking a lot about focus lately — as a mid-thirties adult I feel like you acquire a lot of work experience and skills and then other people’s opinion of what we should be doing pulling us in a million directions. I’ve had to really buckle down and focus – after taking care of my family and home I have to constantly recalibrate “Where is my time best spent right now?” People never really talk about pivoting jobs and careers and it is tricky and uncomfortable, but also exciting, too!

FAMILY!  Earlier this Summer Russ took Hayes to Minnesota to see their team play (the Twins.) Russ hadn’t been back or seen a lot of the family he got to see that trip and he came back on cloud nine. They were all so kind to him and he and Hayes got that big, hearty uncomplicated family welcome that is hard to come by in our regular lives. He was so touched by the experience! I think we both get so focused on the absolute chaos and dysfunction of our immediate family life (siblings/parents) we forget to look further. Trying to navigate around the many rifts – who’s talking to who – is like Christmas trigonometry, and I just can’t deal this year! Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-family want us in their lives and this holiday we’re making a better effort to return the love. So we’re hitting the road this holiday season!

Small Fry : Fryday Update

HOLIDAY TRAVEL! Heading to my sister’s in Reno for Thanksgiving and then taking my first trip to where Russ grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota! We have lots of family to visit while we’re there so we’re staying for a good chunk of time and I’m excited!! Somehow I’ve been married to him for 14 years without this and it’s long overdue! If any of you are from the Twin Cities, Woodbury, River Falls area I’d love recs of fun things to do with the kids or places to grab lunch etc. We’re also driving there (thinking of taking the South Dakota route to stop at Mount Rushmore) so if you’ve made the drive and know of good stops, we’re all ears!

Have a great weekend!!

mine + ours: books #15

The monthly series where I review books I read on myself and books I read with my kids! Find the whole series of posts here!


November 2019 Book Reviews

You can see I am definitely on a kick of sorts!

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone — I picked up this one on a whim because it had such high reviews! It’s the memoir of a therapist and she weaves her own personal stories of therapy through the stories of her patients and fact-based research type points throughout. There were some really heart warming parts, and then some that dragged on. Her personal relationship with “boyfriend” was a big theme and I see why it was good to humanize her, it started to wear on me. — 3 stars!

Being Mortal — The last few months Russ and I have been faced with his grandparents’ health decline and he’s been put as the executor of their wills. The situation is so complicated and the problem solver in me is so frustrated. It’s had me thinking about end of life care, and although it’s easy to say what I think I’d want in their shoes, I truly have no idea. This book is a must read for all humans. You can’t know until you’re there and this book maps out the highs and lows of end of life care, what works statistically, and anecdotes from actual people. So well written and held my attention the whole time. — 4 stars!

Talking to Strangers — I am a HUGE Malcolm Gladwell fan and heard his interview with Oprah on her podcast and that convinced me to read this book in about 5 minutes. Gladwell does what he does best. Weaves seemingly unrelated points/stories together and in the process changes perspectives and initiate change. This book covers the three ways we as humans get each other wrong. And how these fatal flaws are keeping us from learning from our mistakes in some of the hottest political topics we hear about daily. I loved this on Audible because it’s more like a podcast. He uses actual audio files from the interviews and stories he includes, it’s captivating and so EYE-OPENING. Changed my whole perspective in so many areas. His chapter on our misconceptions about alcohol (8) alone had me sending links and quotes out like a mad woman. — 5 Stars!


small fry book reviews

Big Cat: A cute little story about a grandma who can’t find her glasses and some funny situations they get in while she’s looking for them. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and there is  lots to look at on each page!

Can You See Me?: Think of this one like finding shapes in clouds or constellations. All the shapes make different animals and you read through to guess! A fun book that you can spend time on each page using your imagination. Raleigh loved it!

Language Theater: This author offered to send this title and I jumped at it because I think having a good understanding and intuition on grammar is priceless. This book is all about teaching the rules and intricacies of grammar in a bedtime reading style.



two girly gift ideas

This post is in partnership with Nakturnal. All opinions are my own.

I am starting to think about the Holidays and meaningful gifts for friends, sisters, and duh — myself! 😉


As I get older I really want timeless pieces that are made with excellent quality materials that I know will last. Top of my personal list is a nice pair of
gold earrings I can wear 24/7. I love the look of a huggie earring and how tight it fits on the lobe, super comfortable, too! So I can sleep, shower, and they’ll go with everything! Here are some inspo pics:

gold jewelry

I love this brand because the pieces are guaranteed for life and all ethically sourced. Making an investment like this should be backed, right?

Here’s what I have my eye on!


One gift that I can see being a hit with ALL the women and some fashionable men on my list is this sunglasses case! It solved all my sunglasses woes and I will be gifting to ALL! The outer shell is stiff so it protects them all from being squished or sat on.sunglasses case WIN It takes up a little bit more than a typical single sunglasses case and this holds FOUR. I love that I can have options in the car without taking up real estate. Amazing for travel, toss it into your bag or carry-on with confidence. This case has the velcro strap to hold them in place and a cloth wipe to keep them looking fresh and clean! It doesn’t hold ALL sunglasses, your  super oversized ones might not fit, but everything else does!
sunglasses case WIN

Shop here!

fall things

Fall is really doing it for me currently. The comforting food and soups and desserts are hitting the spot, the option for some baggy knits and layering on this not quite pregnant looking but still growing body, and the let-up on the scorching heat that never mixed well with the nausea. WELCOME FALL, I LOVE YOU.

Updating my life to fit accordingly and wanted to share some finds!

fall maternity look


One Fall Trend I have my laser focus on is lace-up boots! I love them all, whether it’s a Victorian-esque heeled boot, or a chunkier soled combat style. I bought these in black which were a great price and super comfortable, no lie, even though they’ve got a substantial heel. They have several colors and options for patent leather or suede. They are in between mid-calf and ankle which is perfect for what I have them planned for.lace-up boot outfit

I love the Straight leg jean styled with these boots! So cute and I love that there’s no leg showing, with the hem of the jean over the boot’s shaft. These boots look identical and I’d bet money the jeans are The Wedgie.

Via this pin.straight leg jean + lace up boot

Combat Style I LOVE the platform style of these, but found them in a burgundy red for a deal and went for this style instead!


You all know my answer to on-trend dressing is to update accessories. I keep my wardrobe pretty classic and use shoes, accessories, jewelry and make-up to do the talking. A deep red nail polish and a berry or burgundy lip instantly transport you to a new season even if you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans!

A couple trends I’ve spotted and dig are the paperclip chain necklace, and a new shopping spot (for me) for designer sunnies at a discount! I won’t wear nice sunglasses in the Summer, I’m harder on them at the pool, park, on-the-go, so I save them for the colder months when I don’t have as many chances to ruin them. I got these Dior pair as an edgy option and love them for Fall!

smart buy sunglasses

JEANS – If you’re in the maternity market like me I picked up these two pairs of maternity pants and have been so impressed! This coated denim looking pair is super stretchy but holds shape and has a full panel. It also has an adjustable waist (like kids pants with the elastic belt-loops + buttons! Perfect for a growing belly!

I also got this straight leg pair to help me execute some of Fall looks I’m inspired by. Still TBD if that shape is flattering on me or not. HA. Linked everything I’m sharing below!

Is this nesting mode coming around early? Loving updating a few things around the house, too! Bedding for my room (so overdue, ours is on its last leg) a few new pillows, comfy-fying our basement which I’ll be sure to share once things arrive.

books #15

Audiobooks have really been pulling through for me this pregnancy! Here’s the last few I’ve been listening to and my reviews! Spoiler alert: read the first and maybe skip the other two unless they sound up your alley!


book reviews

THE MOMENT OF LIFT: How Empowering Women Changes the World- Melinda Gates

It’s not often that I fist pump while reading. I did a few times while reading this amazing book. Gates did extensive research, data collection and has traveled the world seeing and hearing from those with firsthand experience. She offers amazing stories, both personal and from her travels, she weaves them with data and actionable items. She shares evenly distributed heartbreak and victory. Equal amounts of  what has been accomplished, and what we still need to do. SO well done and everyone should read it. Truly. I’m ready to quit all my jobs and work for Melinda and Bill. I’ll share a couple quotes that I loved (the whole last bit about equality and connection was so good I can’t even paraphrase.)

“What I realized is that by trying to fit in, I was strengthening the culture that made me feel like I didn’t fit in.”

“Opportunities have to be equal before we can determine if abilities are.”

FATES & FURIES –  Lauren Groff

This one had been on my to-read after I heard it was Barack Obama’s favorite book that year, 2015 and also a National Book Award finalist. It is the stories of the marriage and early lives of Lotto and Mathilde, told first from Lotto’s perspective and then Mathilde’s. It is an over-exaggerated, very dramatic, but also hyper-focused story on just these two broken individuals and essentially how their baggage effects their marriage. Almost a cautionary tale that promotes being open, honest, and vulnerable in our relationships… or else.  We read it for a book club which always heightens my sensitivity toward the content because I am thinking about how the other women are taking it, ha! But I think it’s safe to say regardless, there was a LOT of sex. Abuse and sex abuse, prostitution, language. I will say though, the book club discussion was really awesome!

Since Mathilde is originally from France I took that as excuse to get patisserie items from our local bakery Fillings & Emulsions (everything is delicious there!!) Almond croissants, scones, kougin amann, pain au chocolat. I also did Jillee’s crock pot hot chocolate since none of us drink coffee. Super yummy!

Fates and Furies review

PACHINKO – by Min Jin Lee:

Remember Homegoing? You can read my review on this link, but the highly acclaimed, award-winning Pachinko is similar in structure. Pachinko covers several generations of the same family told over decades from many perspectives. And similarly to Homegoing it shows how systemic inequality occurred and shifted over these generations for Koreans, both from the inside and also done from the outside by the Japanese and others. Maybe because Homegoing was such a powerful read for me, Pachinko didn’t quite catch me like that. It wasn’t as interesting or enveloping although I did learn a lot. Content: occasional sexual content, prostitution, abuse.

prime day 2019: for you

PRIME DAY for ME. Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday.


BEAUTY: #1:: $15 Stila Eyeliner. My favorite favorite. BUY THEM ALL!!! // Bioderma Micellar Water $5 off and I use this everyday. // Elemis Marine Cream – this a cult favorite and 30% off!! Still pricey but I’ve never seen it this cheap!

Have you noticed the 3 barrel crimper making it’s way back in style? Those crispy unbroken curls were a staple at my high school but I think they way I see them styled now it loads better. Beachy texture in a hurry! There’s a few deals on crimpers this one is 30% off and the best rated.

Wet Brush is a must have for sure. I love the small ones for in my bag or car and the big ones for in the getting ready drawer. 30% off today!

Loreal Luminous Mascara is one I always find myself going back to. It’s such a staple and never fails me. 3 pack for 30% off!

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black perfume is SOOOO good. Nicole got me hooked on it years ago. 30% off!


7000 4 star reviews. OKAY I SEE YOU. This is the famous Manhattan Winter coat that everyone has. Grab it for 40% off!

Levi’s are all discounted today as well! 721s are super flattering and I’ve seen them on several friends / body types / heights!

Lacoste is 30% off, always love a little bougie baseball cap to make me feel more put together when we all know that hair needs to be washed. $30. They also have some pretty cool bedspreads in the deal. Love this striped set for a boy’s room!

HOME + OUTDOORS: Bissell’s Steam Mop is a new purchase for me this Summer. It is such a great one to have for tile or hardwood. Doesn’t soak it, buffs it perfectly with no lines or streaks and my kids LOVE it! $69

SO cute! Modern Planter on black stand 30% off // Beach Umbrella (lots of colors!) 30% off // 4 Person Tent $50 // You guys know I love my Hoover Smartwash for carpet cleaning! It’s 40% off today! I think it’s a must for keeping carpet looking great.

Mortar and Pessle – 40% off. Functional but also pretty for shelf styling.

This lens has been on my list for years. So happy to see this deal! 65% off and $70. 50 mm is so great for portraits which I shoot a lot of the time but if you ever need a wider shot — this one is a must!