January 31, 2013

Upcycled T-shirt Hoodie

THIS is a zip hoodie I made for Rex 2 years ago.  It took a while until he grew into it, but it's been his favorite thing I've made him.  He loves hoods, but he doesn't like thick sweatshirts.  He asked me today if I could make him some more.

I decided to mix it up a bit and this is what I made this time around.

It actually wasn't too hard to make.  Here's the low down.

January 30, 2013

What I Love Wednesdays - My Favorite Vacation

So, these Wednesday topics are going to be kind of random - other than the fact that they all include things I really love.  Today I thought I'd tell you about my favorite vacation I've ever been on.

About a year before we had Rex we went on a trip to Belize.  We had heard that taking a trip before you start your family was a great idea and even though it was a lot for us to spend, we decided to go for it.  I hadn't heard much about Belize, and for that reason I was intrigued.  I'd say it's more popular now (7 years later) and lots of cruise ships stop there.  However, it's well worth its own visit.

I purchased the Frommer's guide to Belize and read the entire thing before we went.  I love to plan trips.  The Frommer's guides are amazing because they tell you about every little hotel in existence with detailed info on all of them.  It's great for budget planning.  They also tell you about all the less-known but amazing sites in the area.  

I decided that I would rather have us stay in cheap, dumpy places and spend all our money on the adventures.  There's a LOT to do there and I wanted to try it all.  

We spent 2 days on a little island first.  We went snorkeling off a sailboat.  The coral reef there is incredible.  There's tons to see.  We got to pet nurse sharks (they aren't mean) and swim through the reef as if it were a maze.  (Sorry - no underwater pictures.  I didn't get to scan them in.)

We went parasailing behind a boat.

January 29, 2013

Valentines for the Boys

I get kind of excited to make the boys' Valentines each year.  This year I found these lip whistles at Oriental Trading.  They were $6 for a pack of 48 AND I got free shipping.  Sweet.

So I brainstormed taking cute pictures of the boys and then putting the lip whistles over their own lips on the pictures.  However, after taking the pictures I realized that the lips were way too big to put over their on the photo unless it was an extreme close-up that looked pretty weird.  Or I could have printed them life-sized which was even weirder.  Whoops.

I got on pinterest to see if anyone had ever made a Valentine with these whistles because I didn't want to copy anyone else's ideas.  I found THIS POST from Kalleen and after reading her line to go along with the whistles, I just couldn't think of anything better.

January 28, 2013

Mommy School - fun with tape

The other day I pinned THIS POST on some fun games to play inside with masking tape.  The past month here has been super cold, so I've been happy to find indoor ideas to keep the boys happy.  The original post has a lot of cute ideas.  The game my boys liked the most was making a target and throwing bean bags on it.

Here's what I set up.  Then I gave them 3 bean bags each time.  It was actually great math practice for them to add up their 3 scores.

It didn't keep them happy for hours and hours or anything, but it was nice to have something that was easy to whip out during a boring afternoon.

If you do try this, I would recommend taking the tape off the same day before it gets too stuck on there. We left ours for two days and after the boys had stepped on it a lot it was pretty stuck on the carpet.  If you left is longer it might even leave a residue there.

Anyhow, do any of you have any activities you've been doing in indoors that have been a hit?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by.

January 27, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - my phone, anniversaries, and melting me

One of the things I am really grateful for, even thought it seems trivial, is my iPhone.  The camera on it isn't my DSLR, but it's not bad and I take a whole lot more pictures on it because it's with me all the time.  It's fun to be able to catch those moments that typify my boys.

Rex actually asked me to take this picture of him.  He's working on skateboard tricks, though he's not Shaun White just yet.

We hadn't visited some of our elderly neighbors for a while.  (I didn't do much of anything during those morning sickness months.)  We stopped by the other day and brought some flowers.  It happened to be their wedding anniversary, so it was perfect.  They are in their 90s and still seem to be in love.  That makes me so happy to see.

This little guy needs a haircut, but he has been learning how to melt me.  His current line is, "Mommy is the beautiful princess of my dreams."  Really?  Yes, you can have whatever you want, Baden.

Oh, I love these boys.  I am so glad I get to be their mom.

Thanks for reading.

January 25, 2013

Feature Friday - DIY Baby Shoes

I've seen so many sew baby shoes on blogs in the past couple of years.  It was a project I'd been wanting to try, but never got around to.  Now I have a reason, though.  Here are the little shoes I whipped up this week.  

They look so tiny next to my dad's hands.

So here's the low down.  I have been admiring the shoes that Delia has been making HERE.  Look at how adorable they are!

 The original pattern can be purchased HERE in an etsy shop.  (Sorry, but I changed the link after finding out some addition info about the original source.)  Delia adjusted the pattern a little and it's worth reading her tutorial as well.  And if you used something like leather you don't have to necessarily sew a lining.  

I had been looking for something that was faux-suede on one side and sherpa on the other so I could make boots like Uggs, but I only saw some online and it was pricey.  However, at Hobby Lobby I found this leopard microsuede with a fluffy kind of fur on the backside.  It was around $12 a yard, so I bought a 1/2 a yard (which was way more than I needed for this project) and used my coupon.  The fabric doesn't really fray, so you can use it like leather.  That way the shoes are really comfy, but they were also really easy to sew.  Since they are 0-3 month size I didn't bother to worry about traction on the bottom of them.

Baden helped me pick the fabric and the buttons.  He was kind of proud of the shoes and carried them around with him all day.  Little victories :)  You know how kids randomly respond to what you make?  For some reason Rex was floored that I could make shoes.  They both made me feel like a rockstar.

Next up will be boots.  Wish me luck.

Thanks for dropping in.

January 24, 2013

the Bathroom Renovation - part 3

We're still deep into the bathroom renovation.  The guy doing our tile finally finished the other day and that was exciting.  He didn't come on a normal schedule, so it took a long time and it kind of felt like he was living with us for a couple of months.  He did great work, though, so we're happy.

Here's the shower.  It needs a door still.  The wall to the left separates the tub and the shower and it's the same height as the board and batten that will go around the room.

Here's the tub.

I am really happy with our tile choice.  I love it.  Here's the wall color for above the board and batten.  It's like a pale-limey-yellow.  It's called "Summer Resort" by Behr.

January 23, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - Love and Logic

While motherhood is one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced, there have been many moments in my motherhood experience where I feel frustrated and even feel like I don't know what to do.  One of my kids will start a new phase and I worry about how to teach them to do what's right and how to keep my patience.

I think it's helpful to get ideas from other people, but sometimes their situations aren't the same as yours.  I've read several books on parenting, and of all the books there is one that is my favorite.  I keep coming back to it.  It's "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood."  You can find it on the Love and Logic site HERE, but it's probably less expensive in other places (like HERE on Amazon).

Frankly speaking, you'll have to ignore the nerdy, weird cover and give the book a shot.  Here's what I like about this book and the concept in it.

- It explains that all people feel the need to have control in their lives - even our children.  It explained that in a way I hadn't thought of and goes on to tell why it's important to give children choices.

- It stresses the importance of being calm and communicating clearly.  This is something I have to keep working on.  When I get really frustrated, it doesn't ever help the situation.

- It shows you how to help your children make decisions and therefore gain confidence in themselves.

- It's an easy read, with lots of situations that you can relate to.

- It's written in chapters with suggestions to practice implementing at the end of each one.

The key to the success of the concepts is in your ability to be consistent with them.  I'm not perfect at this, which is why I keep coming back to the book again and again :)

I'm not being paid to write about this.  I just really like this book and figure there might be someone out there who is struggling with their kids right now.  It's great to have a fresh perspective.

Are there any parenting books you've loved?  I'd love to hear about them.  Thanks for stopping by.

January 22, 2013

The "Big Boy" Playroom - part 2

The other day I showed you all the pegboard in the playroom and a peek at the other side of the wall.  Well, here's the full report on the other side.  The brown furniture is a family hand-me-down.  My dad had it in his dental office when I was little.  I broke up the pieces and made a desk in the middle for building Legos.  The furniture stores all the Legos (though we don't have enough to fill it at this point.)

I thought about putting a board across the top to act as a desk, but in the end I purchased this child's table from Ikea to use instead.  I figure I'll re-use it even when this set up gets old.

As for sorting the Legos, I've seen a billion different systems from tackle boxes to silverware trays, etc.

January 21, 2013

Mommy School - Painting Fun

This week's mommy school activity was really simple, but the boys loved it.  It was an art project.  We were at Hobby Lobby and their cardboard/paper mache stuff was on sale.  I let the boys each pick one thing they wanted to paint.  They were each around a dollar.

We headed home and got out our paints.  For Baden, I made sure he was using the washable paints.  He just kind of globs it on still, so these are great since they come out of clothes.

Rex convinced me that he was ready to handle the "real" stuff.  Yes, I got out my Martha Stewart paints for the little guy.  He felt seriously cool.

It's so fun to see how happy they are to create something - especially when they get to make all the choices.  I was the official brush washer for them as they changed colors.

January 20, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - heat, poses, and learning

I am super duper thankful for heat this week.  We woke up yesterday to our home being less than 50 degrees.  It was freezing!  We made a call and were lucky enough to have a guy come fix our furnace the same day.  I thought he was going to say it was toast, but he was able to fix it.  I think it's a ticking time bomb, since it's super old.  However, it was still nice that we didn't have to replace it on the spot.

Baden has always had kind of a hard shell, but lately I feel like he's growing out of it a bit.  He let me do his hair the other day, which is big for him.  He was proud to look like Rex.  Rex asked if I'd take a picture of them looking like twins.

Rex decided to help teach Baden some of his cool posing techniques.

Baden caught on quickly.

January 18, 2013

Five Finds Friday

It's been a while since I've done a 5 find Friday and I didn't get to the project I intended to show today.  We had a bust week.  So, here are a few things I saw in blogland this week that I just loved.

1) These gold confetti walls found HERE at A Place For Us.  I think it's so pretty and it's not even paint - just a sticker essentially.  Anyone could do this and it's so fun.  I wasn't familiar with Destiny's blog, but I surfed around a bit just subscribed.  She has lots of great, fresh ideas.

2) This isn't a blog, but I love this sign from a really cute etsy shop HERE, which I found via Ko's blog.  There's a lot more great stuff in the shop.

January 17, 2013

The "Big Boy" Playroom - Part 1

About a year ago I moved my craft area from the basement into the main level office.  It's been much more efficient and the change was great.    We have the existing playroom in the basement (which is designed more for toddlers and you can see it HERE) and then this past week we made use of some existing toys and items things to make the old craft space a "big boy playroom."  That way the baby will still be able to use the other playroom and there's a separate room to keep Legos and things that she shouldn't have around her.

So today I'm showing you part of the new space.  I had a pegboard in the craft room that I found in the oops pile at the Depot.  I didn't want to take it down, but I wasn't sure how to best use it for the boys.  Then I saw THIS the other day.  Bam.  I loved the idea and went to work.

Here's our pegboard area now.  (Please excuse the weird coloring in the pictures.  I have a hard time getting good shots in the basement.)

We already had the little buckets there from the craft room (from Ikea),  I just filled them with rubber bands and dowels.  I didn't use colored pencils for dowels like the original idea because I figured that would add up quickly.  Instead I bought a bunch of 1/4 inch dowels.  My dad cut them into 2.25" pieces and I sanded the ends to make them easier to get in the holes.  They fit tightly enough that they hold the rubber bands well, but not so tight that the boys can't get them in and out.

I had a little fun playing and designing myself.

January 16, 2013

What I Love Wednesdays - Valentines

First off, I didn't mean to tease you telling you I was going to show the playroom changes yesterday.  A review post I had done ended up being scheduled for that date instead.  Today is What I Love Wednesday, so I'll be back tomorrow with the playroom stuff.

Since my kids have been old enough to give out valentines, Valentine's day has become more fun to me.  Here's a little round up of fun valentines to make for your kids to hand out.  A couple are the ones we did the last two of years and then I added some others I found browsing in blogland.  While there are some cute phrases out there, I like to make sure the actual candy/item is something a kid would really want.  Here we go.

1) I came up with THIS kiss Valentine for Rex a couple of years ago.  This was my favorite, but he probably wouldn't be willing to pose like this for me now that he's a little older.

2) THIS Valentine from Landee See Landee Do is a fun, different take on that one everyone did a few years ago with the child's hand holding the sucker.  My boys would think this was hilarious.

January 15, 2013

Moen Arbor with MotionSense - a faucet with a brain

Have you ever heard something about germs that you knew you would never forget? For me it was an episode of Oprah where they took samples off of surfaces in one lady's home and found all sorts of horrible things. Maybe it made me a germ freak, but I often replay some of the episode in my head when I'm cleaning or cooking in the kitchen. When I'm opening a package of uncooked meat I get pretty serious about washing every part of my body and kitchen that might have touched the meat. Okay, so I'm starting to sound crazy, but there's a point here.
Let me introduce you to my new friend: the Moen Arbor with MotionSense faucet. You see, this faucet is pretty cool and helps me relax about my germ phobia. Why? Because it's super smart. I was nerdy-excited to review it. Let me show you why.

The faucet has three ways to turn it on. There are two different types of sensors and then the regular handle as well. The first sensor is on top. It's a "wave" sensor. You wave your hand above the faucet (no contact necessary) and it turns on.

It will stay on until you wave your hand above the sensor again. This sensor is perfect for when you have dirty hands. No need to touch anything. Sweet.

The second sensor is great for my kids. The faucet turns on when your hands are under it and then turns off when they aren't. I like this "ready" sensor because I know the kids won't leave the faucet on or let the water run too long.

January 14, 2013

Mommy School - making boats that float

SIDENOTE:  If you need to stock up on Silhouette supplies, everything in the shop (other than the machines and the gift cards) is 40% off!  You can shop HERE and use "ROAR" to get the discount.

This is actually an activity I did with Rex and a friend of his a while back.  They loved it.  It's a great one for their age (5ish).  I got the original idea HERE (where they do a great job of explaining the scientific terminology like buoyancy, etc.  We kept it a little simpler for now.)  We used tin foil to make boats and then marbles to fill them.

I find that it's always fun to do something out of season.  For example, you get to play in the water a lot in the summer, but playing with a tub of water inside in the winter was really exciting to the boys.  

I let them design a few different models of boats from the aluminum foil.  It was fun to see how their boats changed as they figured out what would hold more.  

January 13, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - a girl, flannels, and playroom updates

It's been a week full of reasons to be thankful.  I am most thankful to know that everything looks good with the baby and it's kind of an extra bonus that it's a girl :)  I grew up with all girls and no brothers.  I'm excited to have a sidekick to do girly stuff with.  Thanks for your kind comments about our announcement.  I'm glad you all enjoyed Baden's video as much as I did.  

I'm almost 19 weeks now, so here's a belly shot.  You can see the progress in the bathroom and my belly in this shot (though it looks as though I'm carrying a second baby in my bum :)

Yesterday we got lots of time to hang out as a family and all my boys happened to wear flannels.  I secretly adore men in flannels.  It's partly from my Wisconsin upbringing and my partly from grandpa.

Lastly, we made some fun playroom updates for the boys that I'm excited to share.  The boys were so thrilled with what we did and I'll give you a peek this week.  Here's one of Rex's latest drawings.  I never get sick of seeing kid drawings.

And that's it.  I hope you had a great week, too.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

January 12, 2013

Soapbox Saturday - Zulily

I remember having seen a lot of online ads for Zulily, but I had never really checked it out.  Until Katy from No Big Dill mentioned it was where she got these leggings.  I thought they'd be cute for a girl or boy so I headed off to the site.

Since then, Zulily has become one of my favorites.  I actually purchased 85% of the boys' Christmas presents there.  Isn't online shopping so nice?  Oh yes.

So, I thought I'd tell you about the site, in case you haven't been there.  If you need an invite, just click HERE.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, if you sign up and buy something I get a $20 credit there.  This isn't because I'm a blogger.  If you sign up and tell your friends, you get the same bonus.  Sweet, huh?)

So basically Zulily has several sales a day and they last around 3 days.  It might be a cool brand of boys clothing....

....or some chic maternity clothes...

....or some ridiculously cute baby stuff....

....or some creative kids toys, home decor stuff, or anything else you can imagine.  

These are all things I found there this week.  (No my sweet husband, I didn't buy any of them.)  There's lots of good stuff.  You get an daily email telling you what the new sales are.  If anything interests you, you can click on it and browse through the sale.  If not, just delete the email.  Easy peasy.

And now that I know what the baby is, I might just have to make a couple little purchases :)  To visit/sign up, just go HERE.

Thanks for stopping by.

January 11, 2013

Feature Friday - Pretzel Bites

Quite a while back I pinned THIS RECIPE from Get Off Your Butt and Bake for pretzel bites.  Well, the boys and I got around to trying them and they were delicious.

The recipe uses Rhodes rolls and involves dunking the bread in boiling water and then baking them.  I wasn't sure about the dunking, but then I read that that's what makes them a little chewier on the outside like pretzels.  The process worked really well.

After they were cooked I got ready to bathe them in butter and parmesan cheese (or butter and cinnamon and sugar).  Can anything dunked in better be bad?

These little hands kept removing them as I loaded the plate.  Bite size?  Check.  Yummy?  Check.

I wouldn't make them weekly.  They take some time and they aren't exactly healthy, but they were really fun to try out and they'd be fun for a family movie night at home.

You can find the recipe HERE.  Thanks for dropping in.

January 10, 2013

We're having a......

There is a regular post below today if you haven't seen it.  BUT, here's the big news I'm dying to share!

So, the ultrasound went well today and everything looks good.  But, the extra information is that I'm going to need to get some superhero fabric like this.....

.....and I'm finally going to get to use one of these.

Yes, it's a GIRL!  It still doesn't feel real, but I am THRILLED.  The boys need a little more work.  I knew they were rooting for another boy, but I think a girl will be really good for them.

If you want a good laugh, I recorded Baden's reaction.  You have to at least watch the first 5 seconds to watch his face.  It's seriously funny.  Little does he know he'll end up adoring this little girl and loving the fact the HE gets to be the big brother now.

Thanks for sharing my excitement and thanks for sending all the pink vibes my way :)


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