It is my pleasure to introduce you to one of the Smartiest Mom’s and friends that I know, Casey Fuller. She is one of my oldest friends (length of time), we go all the way back to Queens College. I don’t know where to begin to describe what a wonderful wife, mom and friend Casey is. She is married to Dean and mom to Owen, Anna Caroline and Chase and I can’t forget the dog Cooper. One of the biggest things I have always admired is her patience. She had her children within 3 ½ years, a husband that traveled with work and she just handled everything with this incredible amount of patience and made sure everyone felt loved and taken care of. As a friend she does the same thing, just makes you feel special and taken care of. She is always there to lend a hand, talk to, she is generous with her time and there is always room for one more in her home. Casey is creative, generous and an overall wonderful person. I can’t wait for you to get to know one of Smartiest Moms I know, Casey Fuller.
Tell us about your new Etsy adventure – Sweet Caroline Designs?
If you haven’t heard of ETSY, it is a website for buying and selling all things handmade. There are some really wonderful crafters and artisans on there. Sweet Caroline Designs is my new little venture, really more of a hobby, and it is still in the very, very beginning stages. But I am making several styles of little girls dresses and tops and can coordinate dresses for American Girls dolls too! I only have a few dresses listed right now, but will be adding more for spring and summer soon! Check it out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetannacaroline.
What was your inspiration to launch Sweet Caroline?
Well, really, it was just to see if I could do it and of course, my daughter, Anna Caroline She is 7 and is completely over wearing all of the cutesy little girl clothes that I love so much. About a year ago I became obsessed with finding/buying the same cute fabric that the “trunk shows” use to make my daughter some fun dresses in styles that she would want to wear. Keep in mind I had never made a piece of clothing in my life (unless you count Jedi Robes for my son’s birthday party) Not sure what I was thinking – but I guess I figured that if I could make a window treatment I could make a dress as long as I had a pattern to follow. What I learned was not only could I do it, but that I really enjoyed doing it.
How do you balance running the household and pursuing this creative outlet?
I make lots of lists and try to prioritize what needs to get done vs. what I want to do. Which is why I only have a few things on the site right now – laundry and making dinner seem to trump sewing! I also volunteer at my children’s schools and right now I am working on our preschool spring carnival and silent auction, I am constantly running late for everything and my house is never perfect! So I wouldn’t really say I balance very well – I just like to be busy! But, I manage to get done what needs to be done and if there is time left then I do the other, whether it is making a dress or some pillows or some other fun project (that list is a mile long). I love my Iphone and excel to keep me organized and everyone’s different schedules in one place!
As the mom of 3, what advice would you give new moms?
I think after having 3 children under the age of 3 1/2 I learned very quickly that you have do what works best for you and your baby and your family so that you can enjoy each other and be happy. You will read lots of books and get lots of advice, but sometimes that mommy instinct knows best and to trust yourself.
How do you make time for yourself and what is your favorite thing to do when you make that time?
Like most moms, I am sure, I have to make sure that I schedule it in or it doesn’t happen. A night out with friends or just a trip to the salon for some quiet time and a haircut or mani/pedi is good for me.
As the mom of a daughter and 2 sons, do you try to have mom/daughter time and mom/son time?
I do try, but it always feels as if someone is being shorted. I get extra time with my youngest son, because he is not yet in school so we have a couple of hours each day that it is just the two of us – I will miss that next year! I try to spend a few minutes alone with each of them at bedtime (no siblings allowed) after they’ve bathed, brushed teeth, read their books and are in bed. I lay down in bed with them for a few minutes and let them talk about whatever is on their mind- be it their day at school or something that happened with a friend, or what they want for their birthday. Sometimes it gets interesting. I am hoping this will help in keeping the lines of communication open as they get older.
What is your favorite date-nightspot?
Anywhere! We like to try new restaurants when we go out, but sometimes it’s nice to stick with old favorites.
What is your favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
We love Brixx and Five Guys! But my newest discovery is Earth Fare – kids eat free on Thursdays! The food was awesome and healthy and the kids got trading cards with their meals that you would have thought were gold!
Favorite family activity?
We love to get away and spend time at the beach, also we also love our Friday night family movie nights at home. We order pizza, rent a movie and chill out together. We have a great neighborhood and love spending time outdoors in the cul-de-sac just hanging out with the neighbors.
Smartiest way you save $?
I try to mostly grocery shop at Trader Joes which I think saves us tons and I don’t feel like I have to read every ingredient label there. I am not very good at clipping grocery coupons, except for the ones we get in the mail for costco – I try to keep my entertainment book and other coupons that come in the mail in my car so that I have them when I go shopping or out to dinner. As far a children’s clothing, I buy things at the end of the season sales for the next year – and my kids wear uniforms to school, I am sad to say that I haven’t been to a consignment sale in over a year because my kids are sort of aging out of them – but that was one way to save a ton of $$ when they were littler.
What is the best book that you’ve read lately?
I read The Help over the holidays. I really love forensic/murder mystery crime novels – and was fortunate enough to hear one of my favorite authors, Kathy Reichs, speak at Queens last month. Can’t wait until fall when her next book comes out.
What is the best movie that you have seen lately?
The last movie that we saw was Avatar.
Funniest thing that your children have ever done.
Not sure I can narrow it down to just one! Their favorite saying right now is “that is so last year!” My daughter told me she didn’t like pink anymore, it is so last year, blue is her new fav color!
During one of our bedtime talks, Chase, my youngest son described to me how pee comes out of his penis in great detail which I will not share with you (gotta love having boys!) And, while making some dresses for a customer in CA Chase asked me what I was doing, so I told him and he said “You mean you have a job?!”
My 9 year old son announced to me one evening that the Librarian at school had told them that “Sex was Ginder” After I picked my jaw off of the floor and realized what he was talking about I said “Yes, that is right, sex is gender. You are either a male or female and that is your sex” And then he says to me, “But, you know, the other one, mom…” horrified, I ask what he means and he replies “You know…(and he makes kissy noises)” “You mean kissing?” and he nods his head.
Oh, boy! I am not ready for this stage! Because he also informed me he will be a tween in 2 years!
What moment are you most proud of with your children?
I really can’t think of one – it makes me so proud when I sneak a peek at one of them helping a sibling or friend without prompting and it warms my heart when all three of them are playing together and getting along nicely without tattling or arguing. It is the little things… My daughter did want me to mention that I was SO very proud of her for “winning her heat in the swim meet” last summer.
What has been your favorite CSP article this far?
I’m not sure that I can say that I have a favorite – there are so many awesome articles. I love that I can go to the website and learn something new every time I log on. I really enjoy reading Dana’s Green Living articles (and am sad that she is moving) – I am always trying to find little ways to be healthier, improve our lives while helping the environment.
What is Charlotte’s best kept secret?
hmm…for me it is the consignment shops and antique stores. I love treasure hunting.
I could not live without my…
wine…great friends and neighbors and of course my sweet husband who puts up with all of my chaos! Oh, and definitely my DVR – don’t know what I’d do without that!