February 28, 2013

Hot Air Balloon Mobile and a GIVEAWAY

If you're interested in purchasing a Silhouette, there's a promo and giveaway at the bottom of the post.  The giveaway is a simple one-entry one, which I know you love.  Me too.

Okay, so today I'm giving you a sneak peak at the hot air balloons I'm making for the baby's room.  They aren't all done because I'm going to do a lot of them and they'll cascade across the big wall, but this will give you an idea.  Plus, I'll give you the how-to as well.

I loved the idea of hot air balloon's for the baby's room and I've seen some where they're paper mache and some where they actually use balls.  I wanted to keep the cost low, so I went with paper.  Plus, it allowed me to use my Silhouette, making it a pretty easy project.

I googled "hot air balloon silhouette" and browsed images until I found one I liked the shape of.  Then I did a screen shot of it and imported it into the Silhouette program.  I traced it.  Then I cut them out.

(If this is all new to you or you need help with your Silhouette, I did a whole series of videos on using the Silhouette machine that will help you.  Click HERE and it'll take you through past projects and eventually the "Silhouette Made Simple" series.)

I purchased card stock and even some vellum to use for the balloons.

February 27, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - maps

I love maps.  I always wanted to have a globe in my home so I could show my kids where different places were.  My sister got me one a while ago and we've had fun pointing places out.

Maps are also so fun for decor.  Whether it's state-love or wall-sized maps, they can be a great way to add interest to your home.  Here are a few map-oriented things I've found online that I love.

I love this state sign from the Pine Nuts.

Go big or go home with this giant map wallpaper found HERE.

Or go for a city map like THIS one.

February 26, 2013

The Nursery - part 1

When Baden was a baby this is what his nursery looked like.  You can see more of it HERE.  Now that  a girl is on the way I have some big plans to revamp the room.  

While it won't be done for a couple of months, I thought I'd share all the plans in my head for fun.  There's a lot of work ahead because frankly, the room looks like this right now.  Ugh.

When we bought a king bed for our room last year and I figured we wouldn't be able to have more children, we moved our old queen into the room to make it a guest room.  However, we don't have a lot of guests and it became the room where I did laundry and ironing.  So, the bed has to go and the crib gets to come back.

February 25, 2013

Mommy School - Phy Ed Fun

On Friday I shared some ideas to do with a cardboard box and one of them was a slide on the stairs.  Well, one of you awesome readers mentioned that you used to do that with a foam mattress on the stairs.

We happen to have an extra twin mattress in the basement, so I got it out and put it on the stairs for our "Fun Friday."  I had plans to make a full obstacle course, but the boys had so much fun with it that I never added anything more.  They played on it the ENTIRE weekend happily.  No joke.  They came up with different moves they could do on it and even named some of them.  (The "mashed potato" and the old man's hop" were my favorites.)  

And there was just enough room for them to get back up the stairs.

So maybe you don't have a mattress you want to put on the stairs or maybe this is a bit wild for you.  One of the best secrets I've learned from my mom is to make "races" or "obstacle courses" for my kids.  On those days when they just need to get some energy out this is perfect.  For Rex I might say, "For this race I need you to run upstairs, do a somersault on my bed, jump on your bed three times, come downstairs, and then get in the recliner and shout 'My mom rocks!'"  Then he wants another challenge.  I can even sneak in occasional chores for them to do within the race.  Both of my boys will keep at that for almost a half an hour and they especially like to be timed.  I know it all sounds silly, but they love it.

So, here's a short, little video of them first trying out the mattress.

What do you do when your kids need to get some energy out?  I'd love to hear your ideas, too!  Thanks for stopping by.

February 24, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - personalities, 100 days, and salsa

This little guy can be quite a stinker and a charmer.  He is extremely honest like his daddy.  He'll tell me that my soup is pretty good, but not the best he's ever had.  He'll call me out on a bluff.  And on occasion he'll tell me I'm gorgeous.  I love having boys.

This little guy makes me work so hard for a smile when I get the camera out.  His bright mind and crazy eyebrow win me over quickly.  He's an absolute momma's boy and I love it.  He's also 90% me and I get him.

It all makes me wonder what our baby girl will be like.  It's so fun how each soul has such a distinct personality.

This week Rex hit 100 days of school and they had all the kids dress like they were 100 years old.  He sported my fake glasses, a flannel, suspenders, slicked hair with a little flour in it to make it gray, and some Crocs.  I kind of wish I could dress him like this every day.

February 22, 2013

5 Finds Friday - Awesome Things to do with a Cardboard Box

Today is a specialized 5 Find Friday.  My kids always love it when we get something that comes in a huge box.  It means playtime.  Well, here are a few different ways to create something seriously fun from your next cardboard box.

1) I pinned this slide idea the other day and you can find more details HERE at the Contemplative Creative.  This looks like a lot of fun.  (If it makes you nervous, just put a bike helmet on your child :)

2) This superhero car and reading nook stuck around our house for almost two and a half years.  It does take more than one box.  However, you can usually find leftover boxes for free.  The boys used it a lot.  We finally parted with it a couple of months ago as  the stickers began to fall off.  Find more info about it HERE.

February 20, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - TV picks

Sorry my post is a little late today.  We had no power for half of the day yesterday so I couldn't write my post.  It was weird.  Anyhow, today I'm sharing with you my favorite TV stuff.

About a year and a half ago we got really tired of paying an outrageous cable bill and we decided to cut it.  That decision has saved us a TON of money.  I purchased an apple TV box and we went with Netflix streaming.  We now pay $8 a month for the streaming and the apple TV box was around $100, but you only pay that once.

There are plenty of shows to keep the boys happy and we don't watch a lot of TV ourselves.  If there's something we really want to see we watch it online.  Or, we watch some older shows through Netflix.

My very favorite show right now is White Collar.  (It's on Netflix.)  I absolutely love this show.  There are fun cases to solve, but it's not freaky murder mysteries that scare me.  The characters are well-developed and I just can't get enough of it.  The first season was good and the second was even better.

As for other shows, I must admit that I'm hooked on Downton Abbey like everybody else.  That one got me through some of the morning sickness.  I might have watched all of season 2 on a really bad day.  It's a while until any of us will see the next season, though.  I hate being patient :)

So what's your favorite show?  Have any of you tried Amazon Prime for TV?  I wanted to look into that.  Fell free to give me the scoop.  Thanks for reading.

February 19, 2013

3 Years of Blogging - then and now

I told my husband the other day that my blogiversary was coming up.  He said, "Two years, right?"

I said, "No, three."



Today it's been three years since I began and I never would have guessed what would become of it.  I had no idea how much I would love it and how much of a part of my life it would be.

Thank you for your support and friendship.  Without you it wouldn't really be blogging.  These ties we've made have meant a lot to me and I am so grateful for the chance I've had to live this dream I never knew I had.

So, I thought it would be fun to take a little look at the very beginning.  This is how old Rex and Baden were when I began.  Rex was only 2.

Baden was about 8 months old.

And in three years I've gone from short hair...

February 18, 2013

Mommy School - Q-tip painting

For our mommy school this week we tried out some q-tip painting, using the PDF printables we found HERE at Therapy Fun Zone.  It was fun and easy.  We got out our washable paint and some q-tips and then printed off the picture.

It wasn't crazy-messy, which was a bonus.

It was good for both ages (3 and 5).

February 17, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - v-day, new foods, and pics of us

It's been a good week.  It was fun to see the boys excited about Valentine's Day.  Our favorite tradition is taking flowers, valentines, and treats to nearby widows.  Some of the most amazing people I know are widows.  I deeply admire their strength and faith.  

Costco had tulips so we bought our flowers there.  I love tulips.  They scream spring and I cannot wait for spring this year.

We've been having fun trying out new foods this week.  We tried kale chips and we're still juicing a lot.  This pineapple, apple, orange, carrot, strawberry juice we made was amazing.

A lot of you recommended the Cuisinart stick blender so my husband got me one for valentines day.  I'm in love (with him and the blender).  I made homemade salsa in the dish attachment.  It only took a few minutes to make and I felt seriously cool having made yummy salsa.  (Sidenote: If you need a stick blender it was only $29 at Costco with all the extra parts included.)  I even made Portuguese soup AND the boys loved it.  Victory!

February 16, 2013

Soapbox Saturday - Staples

A few weeks ago I was contacted and asked if I'd like to review a product from Staples.  I really like Staples, so I jumped on the chance.  Usually when I'm there I'm going for a specific item, but this time I took some time to browse.  

You all know they have printers, office supplies, and a copy center, but this time I noticed a lot more.  They have a ton of great office furniture with a lot of desks and chairs.  They have lots of fun organizational supplies.  They even have safes.  They have a Martha Stewart line of office supplies that's so fun.  There were a lot of items there I stopped to drool on.

So, I decided to review an office chair.  I always think it's hard to find a chair that's comfortable AND good looking.  Then I spotted this baby - the Eastcott chair.

She was the best of both worlds and she wanted to come home with me.  Now I'm trying her out as I write this post and we're already good friends.

Here's what I like about this chair.  It's heavy duty.  The arms and base are made of wood which makes the chair look so nice.

February 14, 2013

How to Make an iPad Case (or any other case for any other device really)

Not long ago my husband was given a gift through his business.  It was an iPad mini, but he already had an iPad that he uses for his business.  That was a complete score for me (evil laugh) because it became mine and I never thought I'd have an iPad.  I've brought it with me places, but without a case I don't feel comfortable letting it sit in the black hole that my purse is.  So, I made a case for it.

It's not a hard project.  You just need some scrap leather and a sewing machine and you can whip one out pretty quickly.  Here's how I made it.

February 13, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - a little more about food and then I'll zip it

Thanks for all your comments on last week's What I Love Wednesday post.  Some of you had great stories, ideas, and inspiration.  We've been digging in deep trying to figure out the best way for our family to be healthier.  Here are a few random things I've found or re-found this week that I love.

A couple of you mentioned the blog "100 Days of Real Food" in the comment section last week.  I spent some time over there and there was a lot of great info.  While we are trying to cut out a lot of processed stuff, we are trying to figure out the best way to make those changes for ourselves and our kids.  We aren't to the point she's at, but there are still some great ideas.  

Eating healthy while on our trip was a lot more tricky.  I just googled "healthy cuisine" and the city we were in and there were some really cool paces listed that I never would have found.  Now I need to google that for our city and see what it pulls up.

We only packed fruit, nuts, and some seeds in our car while traveling.  We stopped at a Trader Jo's to load up on more stuff like that.  I have always packed more "junk"and treats in the past for our road trips.  I felt a lot less sick at the end of the day than I remember feeling after other car trips.

We've been doing a lot of juicing.  I got my husband a juicer for his birthday a few weeks ago.  The green juices aren't as tasty, but it's cool to be drinking all those nutrients at once.  We've been making THIS one.  (Ha!  I should take a picture of my husband like this with his juice.  He is in love with his juicer.)

We don't plan on cutting grains, but we're branching out with different kinds to have more variety in our meals - quinoa, lentils, beans, whole grain rice, etc.

February 12, 2013

Girlified Converse Shoe Makeover

I've been looking through some of Rex and Baden's old clothing and shoes to see what I can convert to girl clothing for the baby.  These little red converse sneakers have been through a few boys in the family.  I decided to try and "girlify" them for the baby so she can wear them one day too.  It was a quick, easy project.

I started by removing the old laces and scrubbing the toes to get them a little cleaner.

Then I got out my Tulip Glitter Bond and some Tulip glitter.

February 11, 2013

San Diego Trip Recap

So you may notice that I didn't post the last two days.  We actually went on a little family trip.  You see we had this golden little window - baby still inside me, no napping kids, no diapers, etc - so we took it. I'm really glad we did.  We made some great memories and I have no idea when we'll really be able to do another family trip.

So here's the recap if you want to hear about it.  I really wanted to take the boys to Legoland, since I've heard that this is a great age for it.  They've never been to Disney and had nothing to compare it to.  

I searched on the internet a lot before buying tickets and finally found San Diego Go Passes on Costco's web site.  (I can't find them there any more though.  Maybe they'll come back?)  The passes gave us entry into a billion different places for 3 days only.  That's exactly how long we were going to stay and it had all the places we wanted to go so it was perfect and it saved us a lot of dough.

We also wanted to hit these locations during a not-so-busy time of year.  The weather was chilly as times, but I would take that over long lines any day.  Legoland was awesome.  If my kids were much older I probably wouldn't have thought so, but they were at the perfect age for it.  The rides were pretty mellow, so even I could ride most of them pregnant.  (Don't worry.  They were extremely mellow.)  We had no lines and a sunny day.  It couldn't have been better.

Legoland was super clean and the employees were really nice.  I'm glad we only planned to spend one day there, though.  We had plenty of time to ride pretty much everything.

The next day we hit the San Diego Zoo.  Now I see why people rave about it.  That place was incredible.  Rex was really excited to see a panda, after he'd learned about them in school. 

February 08, 2013

Feature Friday - lemon orzo and strawberry yogurt cake

As I mentioned Wednesday, we have been changing the way we eat around here.  Here's one dish we made last week that I loved.  I added salmon to ours and it was a hit.  The recipe is found HERE at A Big Mouthful.

I didn't take a picture of ours.  Frankly, there is no way I could be a food blogger because I start eating everything way before I think to take a picture of it.  This has happened to me many times.

If you want a fun sweet one we also tried THIS cake (due to Mandi's recommendation HERE) before we started changing our diet.  For the record, it was amazing.  Seriously good - especially when warm.

And that's all for today.  See you soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

February 07, 2013

The Bathroom Renovation - part 4

First off, I need to announce our Silhouette Portrait winner.  The promo still works until the 14th in case you didn't win and you want to get your hands on one.  Details for the promo are HERE.

Our winner is:

We'll be in touch, Sarah.

We are getting closer with the bathroom, which is seriously thrilling to me.  This week we had our new counters put in and I painted the cabinets.  (Well, half of them.  I still have the other side to do.) 

Here's what the vanity looked like before.  The previous owners had tested a stain on one cabinet front and not the rest.  I decided it was time to give it all a nice coat of paint.

I chose "Anonymous" by Behr.  It's a great true gray.  It doesn't feel like it leans towards purple or blue or pink like some grays can.

I plan on using my finishing wax as a top layer.  It's easy to rub on and it's not too glossy.

February 06, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - hungry for change

In my marriage my husband tends to be the one who is most health conscience.  He is a cyclist and he has always loved taking care of his body - eating as healthy as possible.  On the flip side, I grew up in Wisconsin eating lots of things covered in cheese and fried.  I love chocolate cake and almost any form of dessert.  

Over the years I feel like we've met in the middle pretty well.  We eat a fairly healthy - with a little wiggle room.  However, last week I watched something that changed my thoughts completely.  It was this documentary that I watched (via Netflix streaming).  If you ever needed some ammunition to change your eating habits, this will do it.  It's called "Hungry for Change."

I understand not wanting to watch something like this and wanting to be just be content with where you're at, but I promise it's worth your time.  It explains a lot of things about processed food and today's way of life that I didn't really know.

So, my husband and I completely cleaned out our pantry last Saturday and filled it with all sorts of real food.  We got rid of all crackers, cereals, and junk (though you might see a couple of things in there that we are slowly phasing out for the boys.)  It's actually been really fun.  It gives us a common hobby and we're even cooking together.  I don't want to claim that I'm perfect at this or that I'm so healthy now that I suddenly feel like I'm 18 again, because it's only been half a week.  However, I will keep you updated if you'd like.  

I even revamped my pinterest food board and started pinning healthy options - even homemade salad dressing recipes.  I'm also trying to pin things I've tried and loved there so it can be my virtual recipe box to come back to.

And the kids?  Rex has whined a bit about getting rid of sugar, but they both eat what we give them pretty well.

Here are some things I'm hoping will change for us:

- I want to have more energy and a clearer complexion.
- I want the boys to need snacks less often, since they'll be eating foods that actually fill them.  (I don't starve my kids.  They just think they need snacks every ten minutes.)
- I want to be able to be really active with my kids - especially after this pregnancy.
- I want this to be a continued hobby and sense of enjoyment for my husband and I.

So, that's where we're at for now.  So have any of you watched this documentary?  Have any of you made big changes in your food?  Did you make the changes gradually or all at once?  Do you have any awesome healthy recipes you want to recommend?  I'd love to hear your status and input on all of it.

Thanks for reading.

February 05, 2013

Homemade Valentine Cards

While it's texting and emailing is nice and convenient, there is still something fun about handwritten "real" letters and cards.  I think its just means more.  Here are a couple of easy, fun valentine cards you can make.

Fot this first one I printed off a picture of a jar and added text to it.  You could even use Word to do that.  You don't really need any fancy software.

Then I used a glitter pen I had to outline the jar in a sketchy kind of way.  I got my Tulip Beads in a Bottle to make the hearts to fill the jar.

The heart shape is easy to make.  It's basically like drawing a "V" as you squirt out the paint.  I love the 3D texture it gives the card.

February 04, 2013

Mommy School - Homemade Climbing Toys

About a week ago I saw this cute idea for making a climbing love bug HERE at All for the Boys.  I thought my boys would like this a lot.

I let the boys pick anything they wanted to draw to make theirs.  

We followed the instructions, adding two short straws to the back.  We strung them up on our stairs,  pulled the strings apart, and Ironman took flight.


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