March 31, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - juice tigers, dates, and matching

Last week Baden brought home this animal mask from church.  Don't you think my husband should wear it every time he juices?  (Think "So I Married An Axe Murderer " - "Your father and I bought a juice tiger!")

I love my husband, but I also really like him, too.

Rex had spring break, but there was a morning that Baden still had his preschool, so I got to take Rex out for a little fun.  I never get one-on-one time with him.  It was really fun.

While the boys definitely have their quarrels, but they've also been having a lot of fun together lately.  They've been trying to match their clothes quite often.  They'll go through their closets and see what they can find that's the most similar.  I love it.

On Saturday my husband took Rex to a Jazz game.  I even painted his cheek for the game.  He was pretty thrilled to go. 

March 30, 2013

Sharing Saturday - Help! Summer is soon approaching!

It's been a very, very very, long time since we've had a sharing Saturday.  In fact, many of you probably don't know what it even is.  Basically, I lay out a few questions (which are sometimes from readers) and everybody gives their two cents and ideas.

The subject today is SUMMER.  Why?  Because I need your help.  Blatantly speaking I'm a little scared.  We just finished a week of spring break and it reminded me of summer and how unstructured and challenging it can be.  You see, I'll be having the baby about a week after school ends.  Talk about changes.  Rex will suddenly have no school and a newborn sister.  (Cue the "Mom what can I do now?  We aren't doing anything fun?  I'm bored. etc.)

[old picture from THIS post]

You see, Baden can entertain himself really easily.  However, Rex is a lot more demanding and thrives with more structure and getting out of the house a lot.  I plan on doing Mommy School like last year, but I don't know how I'll put the same effort into it with a newborn around.

I found a cool idea/ concept on a different blog where she gave her kids assignments in the morning and then they did fun activities together in the afternoon, but I'm not sure my boys are old enough to independently handle assignments each morning and I don't want it to become a nag fest.

So, enough of the blabbing.  Here are a few questions to answer.  Answer whatever you like.  I LOVE hearing your ideas and insights.

- What do you do with your kids in the summer?  Summer school?  Nothing?  Playdates?  Trips?

- Do you go with the flow and enjoy less structure?  Do you organize the week to create more structure?

- What have you found really works for you and them?  (Obviously this is different for everyone, I know.)

- Do you schedule less because of a new baby or do you keep the older ones busy with activities and let your new baby take lots of naps in the car?

This is definitely going to be a time of reconfiguring things for us.  I want to make the transition easier for the boys, if possible and I want us to be able to enjoy the summer together.

Thanks in advance for your sharing.  See you tomorrow.

March 29, 2013

Five Finds Friday

Here are five things I found online this week that I thought were awesome.

1) Star Wars light switch plate found HERE at Mmm Crafts.  Get it?  The dark side.  ( I know.  You got it before I explained it.)  I thought this was hilarious.  My boys did too.

2) I thought this kitchen tablet holder was super smart.  It's found HERE at Mamie Jane's.  I'd love to make something similar because I use my iPad to try out new recipes all the time now.

March 28, 2013

Silhouette Winner and Sneak Peaks

First off, our random winner for the Silhouette giveaway is:

Congrats!  These giveaways make me wish I was Oprah and that I could just give one away to each of you.  If you want to take advantage of the promo, you can read up on it HERE and it's good till the end of the month.

So, honestly I don't have a lot to show today.  This week has been busy.  I started painting the baby's room a couple of weeks ago, but I only have one wall to show for it!  It's taking 2 coats of Kilz and then the top coat of white.  Ugh.

And yes, if you're looking at the blanket, we do have a name picked out for our little one.  It's actually a name I've had picked out for years.  My mom made the blanket...

...and she made this sweet flannel one, too.  I'm in love with it.

My dad has started working on the board and batten in the bathroom, I have to paint the walls, fill all the nail holes in the board and batten, and then caulk it all.  There's still a lot to do there.  However, it's functional now, which is awesome.

March 27, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - Creating WIth the Stars

Have you guys been following Creating with the Stars at East Coast Creative?  It's a really fun competition to watch.  I have loved so many of the projects I've seen there.

Here are a few projects I've been impressed with.

Yellow table and world map?  Yes please.  I LOVE this.  I wish I could just copy and paste it into my family room.

Isn't this pretty?  She made the bench, cornice, and stenciled the curtains.  Beautiful.

March 26, 2013

Silhouette Promo and GIVEAWAY

There's a simple one-entry giveaway at the end of this post.  You guys know I'm not a huge fan of giveaways, but I do love giving Silhouettes away because those machines rock.  There's also a promo at the end if you're looking to buy one.

When you think of the Silhouette, you think of a cutting machine.  However, the Silhouette can draw too.  You just put the sketch pens in place of the blade and draw away.  

Silhouette sent me this pack of sketch pens to play with.

The sketch pens are fun for making cards, place cards, stationary, or printed art.  I made this card with mine.

It's fun to just doodle around with the machine.

March 25, 2013

Mommy School - Easter Egg Ideas

Since Easter is almost here the boys and I decided to decorate some eggs.  We didn't do the traditional dyes, but we tried out a few other things instead.

The first thing we tried was glitter dots, just like we did HERE on the lamp shade.  

We stuck several dots on the eggs...

March 24, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - hot dates, legos, and cat naps

This week started out pretty rough with the boys and I both getting sick.  However, by the end of the week we were doing a lot better.  I even had a hot date Friday night.  We aren't very good about getting out together, but we have a new resolve to do so.  We had a great time.

Yesterday we visited a Lego exhibit that one of you awesome readers gave me a heads up about.  The boys really liked it.  Thanks!  Rex thought the Lego skateboard was pretty sweet.

And check these out.

The boys were talking about how the artist probably just builds Legos ALL day, only breaking for lunch.  I'm pretty sure it sounds like a good job to them.

My little guys don't really fall asleep anywhere these days, but when they do I love it.  There's something so innocent and perfect about seeing your kids sleep.  I love peeking in on them before I go to bed every night.

Man, I love the weekends.  It's definitely the best part of the week.

I hope your weekend's been great, too.  Thanks for reading.

March 22, 2013

Feature Friday - Healthy Recipes that were a Hit

A lot of you have asked about what recipes have been successful as we've tried to eat more healthy.  I thought I'd share a few today.  

Here is the criteria I'm judging them by:

Every member of the family ate it and liked it.

I figure it's a good bar to judge it by.  After all, it's frustrating to make a meal that takes a lot of time and then only have one or two takers.  So, here are 5 recipes that were a hit around here.

1) Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salad from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  This is a link one of you awesome readers gave me.  Thanks!  We really liked this one.  Quinoa is so good for you and easy to cook with, too.  I remember when my husband first told me about quinoa a couple of years ago.  I was like, "Keen-what?"  They even sell it at Costco now.  Good stuff.

2) Banana Ice Cream.  Here's a fun dessert one.  I read about this on Delia's blog HERE a while back and the original info and recipe comes from HERE (by Our Best Bites).  It's banana ice cream and the only ingredient is banana.  I know it sounds absurd, but it rocks.  You just freeze your bananas and then use a food processor to blend them up.  The consistency really is just like ice cream and it's very sweet.  Throw in a few chocolate chips if you like.  The kids absolutely loved it.  Obviously you have to like bananas for this one to be successful. 

I recommend reading the original post HERE for the details.  It was helpful.

March 21, 2013

Garage Organization Tips

Last weekend my husband and I took the plunge and cleaned out our garage.  It took about 5 hours, but it was well worth it.  I should have taken a before shot, but just imagine that it was filthy and not well organized.  I love tackling an unorganized area of our home because it suddenly becomes useful again.

Here are a few things we did and a few things I'd like to do.

1) After moving around our shelving to better locations (i.e. places where the car door wouldn't smack into the shelves ever) I started grouping things.  I tried to put the things I used the most on the more accessible shelves.

I am a sucker for nice, orderly bins, but buying them can add up quickly.  As I was telling my husband we should go out and buy some bins I realized that I had a few cardboard boxes waiting to fit into the recycling bin.  Duh!  I decided to use them instead.  I cut off the flaps and added some chevron duct tape that I found in the dollar bin at Target..... 


March 20, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - the 3 best things I ever bought my kids

As I look back on Christmas and Birthday gifts we've given our boys over the last few years, there are a few that I would purchase again in a second.  There are others that have faded in time, but there are a few that I think are just awesome all around.

None of them light up or play songs, but they all teach something along the way.

1) A Strider Bike.  There are a lot of different brands of these bikes without pedals, but this is the one we have.  If you aren't familiar with these bikes, let me explain the concept.  They teach kids to balance, which is something a 2-wheeler with training wheels doesn't do.  They learn where to put their weight.

We bought it for Rex on his 4th birthday.  He rode it for about 2 weeks and then we took him to the park with a regular 2-wheeler.  It took about 15 minutes and he had it.  Now, you might feel like it's a waste to buy something they won't ride for a long time, but nothing teaches them like this bike.  It would be awesome to have a neighborhood one that every kid could borrow at about age 3.

Baden has been riding it for the last year and a half.  He loves it.  He can actually ride a 2-wheeler at age 3 because of this bike, but because he is a more cautious kid he prefers riding the Strider instead.  He even keeps up with Rex pretty well while riding this.

March 19, 2013

Simply Embellished Burp Cloths

Back when my boys were babies I saw a lot of embellished burp cloths.  They often added a large strip of fabric down the middle.  While they were cute, they were a little too bulky.  I wanted a way to add a little more fun to a not-so-fun item, but without any extra bulk.  Here's what I came up with.

The project was really easy and pretty fast, too.  They make an easy shower gift.

I already had these colored burp cloths in a drawer.  I think they came from JoAnn's originally, but I'm not sure because they've been in my drawer for years.

Anyhow, I was at Hobby Lobby the other day and their ribbon was all 50% off, so I took a few of these home with me.

I ironed the ribbon in half as shown and cut it to be a little longer than the burp cloth.

March 18, 2013

Mommy School Monday - Spring Activities

Now that the weather is warming up a bit, it's so nice to get outside.  I'm sure we still have a little snow coming at some point, but this teasing warm weather has been awesome!  So, here are five things to do with your kids outside.

1) A Spring Scavenger Hunt (found HERE) that I posted about two years ago.  Wow, time flies.  I think I need to do it again!  This one was a lot of fun, hunting down all the items in our yard.  I used an egg carton for Rex to hold all of the items and to display what we were looking for.  You can customize it to your own yard by taking photos of the items you have.  Head to the original post for more info.

2) Our Superhero Scavenger Hunt (which is found HERE) has been the most popular thing with Rex.  I think we did one of these probably 20 times last summer.  I'm not joking.  The clues are pretty simple to come up with and it would keep him happy for about a half an hour or more.

3) Here are a couple of toys you can make in no time with what you have lying around the house.  Read more about it HERE.

March 17, 2013

Sunshine Sunday - warmth, the final tri, and coolness

This week has been warmer, which has been such a gift.  We've had a lot to time to play outside.  The boys have been riding bikes, playing with their stomp rocket, and running around like crazy.

I'm past the six month mark now, which makes things feel a little more real.

And I'm excited to have a baby, to take my mind off the fact that my boys are getting old.  Rex in particular is growing really fast.  His personality is so different from Baden's.  Here is a real conversation we had this week.  I'm not embellishing it one bit.  This kid is only five, keep in mind.

Me: Rex!  You have your first field trip for kindergarten!  It says they need moms to come along and help.  Do you want mommy to come with you?

Rex: (after a deep breath)  Do you know how sometimes you like your space, mom?  You know how sometimes you do a girl's night out?  Well, I need my space too.

Really?  Yes.  This kid won't go anywhere without me doing his hair just the right way and he asked me to take a picture of him the other day when he thought he looked extra cool.  The pose is his own.  Who is this kid?

It's a good thing that this little guy still can't get enough of me :)

These boys definitely keep life interesting.  I'm so glad they are mine.

Thanks for stopping by.

March 16, 2013

Sharing Saturday - Our Food Journey

About 6-7 weeks ago we completely changed our diet.  I mentioned it HERE, but I wanted to give you a full report on what we've done.  I'm really excited about how it's gone and the way it's working for all of us.

I thought it might be easiest to break it down into questions.   

What did we change?

We threw out all our processed food and focused on a diet of veggies, fruit, and whole grains.  There are no more crackers, cereals, or cookies in the house.  I'm not using refined sugar or white flour either.  We have a little bit of candy in the house for our kids (because I don't want to restrict them too much and have it come back to bite me in the end).

We are still eating meat, dairy, and wheat flour.  However, we use very little meat and we've cut down our dairy foods a LOT.  We use minimal cheese, but we aren't eliminating that entirely either.  We drink soy or coconut milk.   I don't plan to cut out wheat flour or whole grains.  

What are the GOOD things that have happened since then?

- In the past 7 weeks I have NEVER had that gross feeling of "I can't believe I ate that" or "I feel a little sick now."  I think I used to overeat more and it's harder to do that with real wholesome food.

- I don't feel as controlled by food.  I see it more as eating to live rather than living to eat.  It's less of an indulgence for me now.

- After 2-3 weeks I stopped craving sugar so much.  The first couple of weeks were hard that way, but now things that didn't taste very sweet to me taste super sweet.  I think I've retrained my tastebuds or something.  I can't say a giant piece of chocolate cake isn't tempting, but I can say no to it.

- The boys have eaten a lot more veggies than ever before.  (It hasn't been totally easy with them, but they are branching out a lot more now.)

- I've lost weight.  I waffled on whether or not to share that info with you.  I am pregnant and it's not a time you think of loosing weight or wanting to, but because it's been a matter of becoming healthy I have not been concerned about it nor has my doctor.  My belly is still growing, but the rest of my body has slimmed down a lot.  That wasn't my reason for changing our diet, but it's a nice side effect.  I started this pregnancy a lot heavier than my other two.

- My husband and I are seriously enjoying a new hobby together.  We don't have a ton of common interests naturally, but we've been been very engaged with these changes and it's been so fun to cook and research together.

March 15, 2013

Feature Friday - No Bake Energy Bites

I mentioned several weeks ago that we had changed the way we eat around here.  In fact, I plan on writing a big post about it tomorrow to tell you how it's gone and what we've learned.  One challenge was figuring out how to do portable snacks.  I didn't want the processed grab bag snacks, but I needed something we could just take along.  This recipe is a win for that.

This week I tried out a recipe one of my sisters uses and loves.  These no bake energy bites come from Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots right HERE.  There are a billion recipes like this on pinterest, but I liked Maggie's and she talks about lots of ways to do substitutes so you change them up a bit.

Here's what I liked about them.  They were really easy to make.  It takes a few minutes to throw it all in,..... 

....30 minutes to chill, roll it into balls, and you're set.  The boys really liked these.  They are plenty sweet.  There are a few chocolate chips in there too, so the boys think they are eating cookies.

They are loaded with lots of healthy stuff too - flax seed, oatmeal, and peanut butter.  (We use the peanut butter straight from the machines at the health stores so there's no added sugar.)

So it you're looking for a healthy grab-and-go snack, these are a great idea.  The recipe is HERE.  Thanks for sharing it, Maggie.

Thanks for stopping by.

March 14, 2013

Lego Star Wars Tee (with a free template)

So I mentioned on Sunday that Rex is hitting the Star Wars phase hard.  We decided it was time to make a t-shirt.  I figured it would be smart to combine his Lego and Star Wars love so here's the shirt we made.

It's an easy stencil - even if you don't have a machine, plus....

...I'll show you how to make two shirts from the same stencil.  It's nice to make all your efforts count.

I always buy my blank tees at Wal-mart because they are $3.47.  They are Fruit of the Loom and there's always a big selection of colors and sizes.  They are on a stand - not on hangers.

March 13, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - Best Places to Shop for Boys

As soon as I heard I was having a boy (when I was pregnant with Rex) people would chime in and say,  "Oh, it's so hard to find cute boy clothing.  It's just not the same as dressing a girl."  And while it's definitely not the same as dressing a girl, there are seriously cute clothes for boys, too.  You just have to know where to look and you just have to look a little harder at times.

So, here are my 5 top places to shop for my boys.  (Keep in mind my taste is less fire trucks and puppies and more rock n' roll, skater, or little man.) 

1) Target.  This one is a little more obvious, but I can't ignore my target love.  My love for Target runs deep - probably deeper than it should.  I could spend the day there.  Anyhow, where was I?

I particularly love the Shaun White clothing line there.  Now that Rex can wear that size, it's not hard to find a cool sweatshirt or thermal for him there.  

Plus, I just realized that online, you can purchase the Shaun White line in toddler sizes HERE.  I wish I would have know that a while back.

Target's clothing is pretty reasonably priced and I love to find cool sweatshirts in the spring when they clearance them out.

March 12, 2013

DIY Baby Onesies

All of my babies have been due in the spring/summer and I love that I can put them in just a onesie during the summer.  I bought a pack of onesies the other day and thought it would be fun to decorate them a little.  Here's what became of them.  All were made with fabric paint - no sewing involved.

They were all pretty easy and fast to make and they'd make a fun shower gift.  Here's how I made each one.

For the faux-cross stitch heart I found a little pattern online and printed it off.

When I slipped the paper under the shirt I could see the pattern just enough to use it as a guide.

March 11, 2013

Mommy School - Sentence Building

Rex has been working on sentences at school and I wanted to help him firm up the stuff he's learning.  Sometimes he forgets to put a period at the end or to use only lowercase letters, etc.  

When I do mommy school with my boys I try really hard to find a way to involve BOTH of them at the same time.  Baden (age 3) knows his letters pretty well, but he gets a few of them confused.  So this is what I did to help both of them.

I wrote out a sentence that I thought Rex (age 5) could read and write.

Then I cut out each letter, including blank ones for spaces.

I told Rex the sentence and he had to spell each word out.  When he spelled out the word, Baden had to find each letter and give it to him.


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